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Crypto Banking Wars: Can BlockFi & Celsius Disrupt Banking?
These crypto lending & borrowing services found early traction. Are they capable of bundling more financial services and winning the broader consumer finance market? https://reddit.com/link/icps9l/video/98kl1y596zh51/player This is the third part ofCrypto Banking Wars— a new series that examines what crypto-native company is most likely to become thebank of the future. Who is best positioned toreach mainstream adoptionin consumer finance? While crypto allows the world to get rid of banks, a bank will still very much be necessary for this verypowerfultechnology to reach the masses. As we laid out in our previous series, Crypto-Powered, we believe a crypto-native company will ultimately become the bank of the future. We’re confident Genesis Block will have a seat at that table, but we aren’t the only game in town. In the first post of this series, we did an analysis of big crypto exchanges like Coinbase & Binance. In our second episode, we looked at the world of non-custodial wallets. Today we’re analyzing crypto lending & borrowing services. The Earn and Borrow use-case covers a lot of what traditional banks deliver today. This category of companies is a threat worth analyzing. As we look at this market, we’ll mostly be focused on custodial, centralized products like BlockFi, Nexo, and Celsius. Many of these companies found early traction among crypto users. Are they capable of bundling more financial services and winning the broader consumer finance market? Let’s find out.
Because speculation and trading remains one of the most popular use-cases of crypto, a new crypto sub-industry around credit has emerged. Much of the borrowing demand has been driven by institutional needs. For example, a Bitcoin mining company might need to borrow fiat to pay for operational costs (salaries, electricity). Or a crypto company might need to borrow USD to pay for engineering salaries. Or a crypto hedge fund needs to borrow for leverage or to take a specific market position. While all of these companies have sufficient crypto to cover the costs, they might not want to sell it — either for tax or speculative reasons (they may believe these crypto assets will appreciate, as with most in the industry). Instead of selling their crypto, these companies can use their crypto as collateral for loans. For example, they can provide $1.5M in Bitcoin as collateral, and borrow $1M. Given the collateralization happening, the underwriting process becomes straightforward. Companies all around the world can participate — language and cultural barriers are removed. https://preview.redd.it/z9pby83d6zh51.png?width=600&format=png&auto=webp&s=54bf425215c3ed6d5ff0ca7dbe571e735b994613 The leader (and one of our partners) in this space is Genesis Capital. While they are always the counterparty for both lenders and borrowers, they are effectively a broker. They are at the center of the institutional crypto lending & borrowing markets. Their total active loans as of March 2020 was $649M. That number shot up to $1.42B in active loans as of June 2020. The growth of this entire market segment is impressive and it’s what is driving this opportunity for consumers downstream.
While most of the borrowing demand comes from institutional players, there is a growing desire from consumers to participate on the lend/supply side of the market. Crypto consumers would love to be able to deposit their assets with a service and watch it grow. Why let crypto assets sit on an exchange or in cold storage when it can be earning interest? A number of consumer-facing products have emerged in the last few years to make this happen. While they also allow users to borrow (always with collateral), most of the consumer attraction is around growing their crypto, even while they sleep. Earning interest. These products usually partner with institutional players like Genesis Capital to match the deposits with borrowing demand. And it’s exactly part of our strategy as well, beyond leveraging DeFi (decentralized finance protocols). A few of the most popular consumer services in this category include BlockFi, Nexo, and Celsius. https://preview.redd.it/vptig5mg6zh51.png?width=1051&format=png&auto=webp&s=b5fdc241cb9b6f5b495173667619f8d2c93371ca
BlockFi (Crunchbase) is the leader in this category (at least in the West). They are well-capitalized. In August 2019, they raised $18.3M in their Series A. In Feb 2020, they raised $30M in their Series B. In that same time period, they went from $250M in assets under management to $650M. In a recent blog post, they announced that they saw a 100% revenue increase in Q2 and that they were on track to do $50M in revenue this year. Their growth is impressive. BlockFi did not do an ICO, unlike Celsius, Nexo, Salt, and Cred. BlockFi has a lot of institutional backing so it is perceived as the most reputable in the space. BlockFi started with borrowing — allowing users to leverage their crypto as collateral and taking out a loan against it. They later got into Earning — allowing users to deposit assets and earn interest on it. They recently expanded their service to “exchange” functionality and say they are coming out with a credit card later this year. https://preview.redd.it/byv2tbui6zh51.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=bac080dcfc85e89574c30dfb396db0b537d46706 Security Woes It’s incredible that BlockFi has been able to see such strong growth despite their numerous product and security woes. A few months ago, their systems were compromised. A hacker was able to access confidential data, such as names, dates of birth, postal addresses, and activity histories. While no funds were lost, this was a massive embarrassment and caused reputational damage. https://preview.redd.it/lwmxbz5l6zh51.png?width=606&format=png&auto=webp&s=ebd8e6e5c31c56da055824254b35b218b49f80e0 Unrelated to that massive security breach and earlier in the year, a user discovered a major bug that allowed him to send the same funds to himself over and over again, ultimately accumulating more than a million dollars in his BlockFi account. BlockFi fortunately caught him just before withdrawal. Poor Product Execution Beyond their poor security — which they are now trying to get serious about — their products are notoriously buggy and hard-to-use. I borrowed from them a year ago and used their interest account product until very recently. I have first-hand experience of how painful it is. But don’t take my word for it… here are just a few tweets from customers just recently. https://preview.redd.it/wcqu3icn6zh51.png?width=1055&format=png&auto=webp&s=870e2f06a6ec377a87e5d6d1f24579a901de66b5 For a while, their interest-earning product had a completely different authentication system than their loan product (users had two sets of usernames/passwords). Many people have had issues with withdrawals. The app is constantly logging people out, blank screens, ugly error messages. Emails with verification codes are sometimes delayed by hours (or days). I do wonder if their entire app has been outsourced. The sloppiness shines through. Not only is their product buggy and UX confusing, but their branding & design is quite weak. To the left is a t-shirt they once sent me. It looks like they just found a bunch of quirky fonts, added their name, and slapped it on a t-shirt. https://preview.redd.it/mi6yeppp6zh51.png?width=600&format=png&auto=webp&s=fd4cd8201ad0d5bc667498096388377895b72953 Culture To the innocent bystander, many of these issues seem totally fixable. They could hire an amazing design agency to completely revamp their product or brand. They could hire a mercenary group of engineers to fix their bugs, etc. While it could stop the bleeding for a time, it may not solve the underlying issues. Years of sloppy product execution represents something much more destructive. It represents a top-down mentality that shipping anything other than excellence is okay: product experience doesn’t matter; design doesn’t matter; craftsmanship doesn’t matter; strong execution doesn’t matter; precision doesn’t matter. That’s very different from our culture at Genesis Block. This cancerous mentality rarely stays contained within product & engineering — this leaks to all parts of the organization. No design agency or consulting firm will fix some of the pernicious values of a company’s soul. These are deeper issues that only leadership can course-correct. If BlockFi’s sloppiness were due to constant experimentation, iteration, shipping, or some “move fast and break things” hacker culture… like Binance… I would probably cut them more slack. But there is zero evidence of that. “Move fast and break things” is always scary when dealing with financial products. But in BlockFi’s case, when it’s more like “move slow and break things,” they are really playing with fire. Next time a massive security breach occurs, like what happened earlier this year, they may not be so lucky. Institutional Focus Based on who is on their team, their poor product execution shouldn’t be a surprise. Their team comes mostly from Wall Street, not the blockchain community (where our roots are). Most of BlockFi’s blockchain/crypto integration is very superficial. They take crypto assets as deposits, but they aren’t leveraging any of the exciting, low-level DeFi protocols like we are. While their Wall Street heritage isn’t doing them any favors on the product/tech side, it’s served them very well on winning institutional clients. This is perhaps their greatest strength. BlockFi has a strong institutional business. They recently brought on Three Arrows Capital as a strategic investor — a crypto hedge fund who does a lot of borrowing. In that announcement, BlockFi’s founder said that bringing them on “aligns well with our focus on international expansion of our institutional services offering.” They also recently brought someone on who will lead business development in Asia among institutional clients. BlockFi Wrap Up There are certainly BlockFi features that overlap with Genesis Block’s offering. It’s possible that they are angling to become the bank of the future. However, they simply have not proven they are capable of designing, building, and launching world-class consumer products. They’ve constantly had issues around security and poor product execution. Their company account and their founder’s account seem to onlytweetaboutBitcoin. I don’t think they understand, appreciate, or value the power of DeFi. It’s unlikely they’ll be leveraging it any time soon. All of these reasons are why I don’t see them as a serious threat to Genesis Block. However, because of their strong institutional offering, I hope that Genesis Block will ultimately have a very collaborative and productive partnership with them. Assuming they figure out their security woes, we could park some of our funds with BlockFi (just as we will with Genesis Capital and others). I think what’s likely to happen is that we’ll corner the consumer market and we’ll work closely with BlockFi on the institutional side. I’ve been hard on BlockFi because I care. I think they have a great opportunity at helping elevate the entire industry in a positive way. But they have a lot of issues they need to work through. I really don’t want to see users lose millions of dollars in a security breach. It could set back the entire industry. But if they do things well… a rising tide lifts all boats.
While many companies in this category seem to be slowly adding more financial services, I don’t believe any of them are focused on the broader consumer market like we are. To use services like BlockFi, Nexo, or Celsius, users need to be onboarded and educated on how crypto works. At Genesis Block, we don’t believe that’s the winning approach. We think blockchain complexity should be abstracted away from the end-user. We did an entire series about this, Spreading Crypto. For many of these services, there is additional friction due to ICO tokens that are forcefully integrated into the product (see NEXO token or CEL Token). None of these services have true banking functionality or integration with traditional finance —for example, easy offramp or spending methods like debit cards. None of them are taking DeFi seriously — they are leveraging crypto for only the asset class, not the underlying technology around financial protocols. So are these companies potential competitors to Genesis Block? For the crypto crowd, yes. For the mass market, no. None of these companies are capable of reaching the billions of people around the world that we hope to reach at Genesis Block. ------ Other Ways to Consume Today's Episode:
VipMex Crypto and Futures Contract Trading Platform Gives Away 346 USDT to Celebrate Launch
vipmex.com A new trading platform called VipMex has entered the market, allowing users to invest in cryptos and futures contracts with ease. About the Company Hong Kong-based VipMex is a company specialized in providing all-inclusive financial investment options and management for crypto assets and futures. The team behind VipMex is made up of many highly educated professionals with a background in various advanced technologies. Their main goal is to develop accessible futures and cryptocurrency options by establishing a secure investing environment which can be navigated by clients of all levels of experience. This cryptocurrency exchange relies on a powerful trading system that serves as the basis of a comprehensive and strong trading environment. VipMex focuses on providing low cost and easy to use crypto investment alternatives that can be accessible to all users. VipMex Risk Strategy The VipMex exchange was built on providing exposure to cryptocurrency markets for all kinds of investors at competitive and low rates. Usually, when the clients have opposing positions, let’s say one Bitcoin contract is long and the other Bitcoin contract short, both sides of the trade are covered, with the exchange making its profits from the fees of the trades. If most clients trade in the same position, VipMex will hedge in the underlying market or derivates markets, meaning they might actually buy Bitcoin or long Bitcoin futures if the majority of clients take long positions on Bitcoin contracts. This allows the platform to pay out all its clients if their positions turn out to be correct. In case of unforeseen market developments, the exchange will store a certain percentage of its profit in a Risk Reserve Fund to always pay out the revenues of their clients. USDT Base Currency On the VipMex crypto exchange, the Tether (USDT) stablecoin is used as the base currency, meaning that the exchange rates of the other digital assets are generally quoted against Tether. USDT is the most popular and used stablecoin in the crypto market, having its value pegged to that of the US dollar. The coin recently surpassed XRP and became the world’s third-largest crypto according to a market cap of $8.805.483.772. USDT is also the most traded crypto based on its 24-hour volume, surpassing even Bitcoin. With the occasion of platform launch, VipMex is giving 346 USDT to users who register on the crypto exchange and perform trading activities. Fees and Discount Bonus VipMex users can withdraw USDT from their account without having to pay any fees. A one-time transaction fee which is 0.05% becoming the best cost-effective comparing with Binance, Huobi, SnapEx, OKEX etc. for each position opened. The crypto exchange offers zero spread accounts, which have no difference between the bid and ask price. This allows traders to know their entry and exit levels when they open a position. There are no slippage costs (the difference between the projected price of a trade and the price at which the trade is completed) and no clawback (take back money as a form of taxation). Moreover, VipMex also introduced a system where users can gather bonus for missions or trading and then use these bonus to deduct their margin. Multi-Currency Account VipMex supports the trading of multiple digital assets and commodities from one single account. This means that users do not have to go and create multiple accounts to hold and manage different cryptos or futures. All trading can be done from one account, simplifying matters for investors who want a diverse trading portfolio. In addition to cryptocurrencies, users can also trade using fiat by making deposits on the platform’s Over The Counter exchange. This way, those who are new to crypto and do not yet own the assets can still invest by using their fiat funds. Up to 500x Leverage VipMex users can engage in margin trading and leverage anywhere from 10x to 500x. While margin trading is riskier compared to other types of trades, it can bring higher rewards. The trading platform incorporates a unique “close all” function. Also, in order to protect clients’ profitability and hedge against risk exposure, in certain extreme market conditions, VIPMEX might temporarily prevent clients from opening new positions in a single direction until it is safe to open trades on that position again. Accurate Price Listing VipMex displays its crypto prices by using a K-line weighted average based on the data sourced from 3 of the biggest crypto exchanges on the market, namely Binance (30%), OKEx (40%), and Huobi (30%). This is done in order to feature cryptocurrency prices in the most accurate way. Binance is the world’s first crypto exchange in terms of 24-hour trading volume, while OKEx is sixth. VipMex is ready to help investors find easy crypto trading solutions, as well as futures contract options, and help them get the best profits by adopting risk-mitigating strategies.
Review: The most thrilling 24 hours in Bitcoin history
From 12:00 on March 12th to 12:00 on the 13th, Bitcoin, the most influential currency in the cryptocurrency industry, suffered two major declines, and its price fell from a maximum of 7,672 USD to a minimum of 3,800 USD (data from Huobi, the next Same), the decline was 50.4%, which means that the price of Bitcoin has achieved a fairly accurate "half price" in these 24 hours. Previously, Bitcoin's "halving market" was mostly considered to be an increase in market prices caused by Bitcoin's halving production, although many people have questioned the "halving market" as " The price is halved ", but when bitcoin walks out of the current bad market, it still surprises most investors. First plunge The bad 24 hours started at 12 o'clock on March 12. Due to the rapid spread of the new crown epidemic in Europe and the United States, the global financial markets have been raining for several days. After several adjustments, the price of Bitcoin has hovered up and down within the range of $ 7600-8200 in the previous three days. However, after 12 o'clock on the 12th, Bitcoin The price fell below $ 7,600 for the first time, breaking the psychological expectations of many investors, entering a rapid decline channel, and dropping to about $ 7,200 at around 18 o'clock. At this time, the decline of Bitcoin is still around 7%, which is a common occurrence in the history of Bitcoin. However, after 18 o'clock that day, the market turned sharply, and the price of bitcoin plunged again in a short period of time. It fell to US $ 5,555 within tens of minutes, a drop of 28%, and the amount of contractual positions on each platform exceeded US $ 2 billion. During the decline, most major exchanges such as Huobi, Binance, and OKEx experienced systemic freezes of varying degrees. Many users complained for a long time that the exchange app could not properly display the homepage, market page, and transaction page, and added positions, stops, and withdrawals. Obstacles such as cash withdrawal and cash withdrawal operations have also shown that this situation also highlights that mainstream exchanges still fail to address the ability of their trading systems to respond to extreme conditions. For this decline, the collective sell-off of large Bitcoin holders is considered to be the main reason. For example, Grayscale Investment, the world's largest crypto asset fund management company, was sold and sold 40,000-50,000 Bitcoins. News from the exchange said that Bitcoin sold 400,000. For a long time, bitcoin has been called "digital gold" by the blockchain industry, and has good risk aversion properties. During the tense situation between the United States and Iran in January this year and the global stock market fell, Bitcoin rose from $ 7,200 all the way to more than $ 10,000. Bitcoin's safe-haven attributes have been widely recognized in history, but this time caused by the new crown epidemic Under the risk of the global economic downturn, the decline in the price of bitcoin has become the asset with the largest depreciation among various mainstream financial assets, and its high-risk nature will most likely collapse. Some analysts believe that bitcoin should be further classified as an alternative asset. At a time when liquidity shortage is extremely serious, as a high-risk alternative investment asset with the highest volatility in the world, funds will naturally be drawn from the market by investors. Looking for safer, more liquid assets, prices plummet. "Everyone in the future will realize that Bitcoin is not digital gold, but" an amplifier of risk. " Its value cannot be anchored. Unlike other asset prices, which are affected by costs and prices, Bitcoin has no normal market value range. As of now, it does not have any convincing valuation basis, more like a swaying boat. Without the anchor, its value fluctuates greatly, and the impact of halving the market and supply and demand on it is far less important than psychological factors. "Said Cai Kailong, senior researcher at the Institute of Financial Technology of Renmin University of China. However, some people in the industry hold different opinions. "BTC is still the most powerful currency in the history of mankind. It provides liquidity 24 hours a day. This is something that other markets simply can't imagine, but because liquidity is too good, this time it just happened to happen in other markets. When funds are scarce, the first choice for selling supplementary funds has also led to the decline of gold. Of course, the amount of BTC that is currently much lower than gold is certainly unstoppable in a short period of time. "A Weibo blogger" "fhrp". In addition to the sell-off of large institutions, some mortgage lending platforms have also passively become an important boost for this downturn. In the past six months, the Defi concept has been particularly hot in the blockchain industry, and many cryptocurrency-based cryptocurrency lending platforms were born. As a result, a large number of large Bitcoin users will pledge the Bitcoin in their accounts to third-party lending platforms and use the USDT to borrow cash to purchase cash, which is equivalent to increasing leverage. However, these platforms are not mature in terms of mortgage rate setting and liquidation mechanisms. Users who increase the mortgage rate of assets have a slower transfer speed on the chain. As a result, during this period of rapid decline in the market, a large number of mortgage orders have lower mortgage assets than loans. As a result, the amount of bitcoin out-of-market positions this time was far more than in the previous period of large market volatility, which further exacerbated the selling pressure of the bitcoin spot market. From 19:00 on the 12th to the early morning of the 13th, the price of Bitcoin hovered in the range of 5800-6200 US dollars, and the market began to prepare for the next stage of the trend. Second plunge On the evening of the 12th, the stock markets of mainstream countries in Europe and the United States successively opened and collectively fell, and the stock markets of at least 11 countries, such as the United States, Canada, and the Philippines, melted down. At the close of the morning on the 13th, both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S & P 500 Index had the largest single-day percentage decline since the 1987 stock disaster. The Dow closed down about 2352 points, the largest drop in history. The bad performance of the stock market quickly passed to the currency market. Beginning at 7 o'clock on the 13th, the price of bitcoin plunged from the position of $ 5,800 once again, dropping all the way, and successively fell below $ 5,000 and $ 4,000. For the rapid decline of the market, many people in the industry believe that the main factor is not only the panic selling of the market, but also the mutual stepping on of contract investors. Weibo blogger "AlbertTheKing" pointed out that most of the long positions in Bitcoin leverage are in the BitMEX perpetual contract market. The long positions caused by the decline in bitcoin prices caused a series of short positions, which in turn caused arbitrage spreads and spot arbitrage. The party rushed in to open multiple orders and sell spot arbitrage at the same time, thinking it was okay. As a result, I did not expect Bitcoin to fall more and more fiercely, and his own arbitrage and long positions also burst. So at first, the leveraged bulls stepped down on each other, and later became the arbitrage party. . "Fhrp" also pointed out that because BitMEX only has BTC margin, ETH's permanent liquidation also needs to be undertaken by btc. The profit portion of the hedge order cannot be included in the margin, and BTC is not sufficient because of the card being in serious shortage. The exploding warehouse order was opaque, so that no one dared to pick up the corpse later, fearing that it would become a corpse. Of course, the key is the lack of a fusing system, so that the market can slowly wait for liquidity to keep up. Under the interweaving of many risks, the price of bitcoin is about 10:15. It has fallen below 3,800 US dollars in many exchanges such as Huobi and OKEx, which is 38% lower than the price of 0 on the day and 50.4% lower than 24 hours ago. This is the highest record in the 24-hour drop since the birth of Bitcoin. Such a precise decline cannot be doubted as the bad taste of the bookmaker behind the exchange, if the bookmaker does exist. Of course, it is not excluded that this situation is due to the tacit understanding among the main market participants, or a purely natural phenomenon. But judging from objective facts, there is indeed some evidence that the situation is unnatural. After bitcoin hit a low of $ 3,800, its price quickly rose in the next 20 minutes, rising by 59% to $ 5,250, but then fell rapidly. At the turning point of $ 3,800, which is 10:16, the BitMEX trading system, the largest bitcoin exchange in the cryptocurrency industry, suddenly stopped until 10:40. It can be seen that the time point when the Bitcoin price stopped falling rapidly and stopped rising rapidly was close to the time point when BitMEX went down and returned to normal. This shows that BitMEX has a huge influence on the secondary market, and it also makes a lot of One suspects BitMEX is manipulating the market. Sam Bankman-Fried, chief executive of Derivatives Exchange FTX, tweeted that he suspects BitMEX may have intentionally closed transactions to prevent further crashes and to avoid using exchange insurance funds. Mining company BitPico also tweeted yesterday, "According to our analysis, BitMEX Research has closed its long position of $ 993 million with its own robots and capital. Today the manipulation of the bitcoin market is caused by an entity and the investigation is ongoing. " In response to this incident, BitMEX responded that there was a hardware problem with the cloud service provider, and in a subsequent announcement, it was pointed out that the DDoS attack was the real cause of the short-term downtime. Why the downtime of the BitMEX trading system is difficult to verify, but from its objective impact, its short-term downtime plays a vital role in curbing the further decline in the price of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, which has eased investment to a certain extent. The panic sentiment created by this has created space for the rebound and correction of cryptocurrency prices such as Bitcoin. Sam Bankman-Fried even speculated that if BitMEX did not go offline because of a "hardware problem" this morning (February 13), the price of Bitcoin could fall to zero. If compared with the traditional financial market, the effect of this BitMEX outage event is quite similar to the "fuse" mechanism of the stock market. Trading is suspended for dozens of minutes at the moment when investor sentiment is most panic, so this outage event Also aroused the emotions of many people in the industry. "BitMEX has helped the currency circle" melt out, "otherwise the chainless stepping will not know where to fall. After the fuse, everyone calmed down and the market returned to normal. Weibo blogger "Blockchain William" posted a blog saying, "The market is not afraid of falling, and it is not afraid of stepping on it. That is why. This is why the global stock market has melted down because investors panic. It is a bottomless pit. Once out of control, there is no bottom Now. " Of course, the factors that cause the market situation to reverse are not limited to this. According to the feedback from multiple users on social platforms, BitMEX and Binance's major exchanges forced the short positions of multiple accounts to close positions at 10 o'clock on March 13th, that is, the automatic lightening mechanism was in effect. According to the BitMEX platform mechanism, when investor contracts are forced to close out, their remaining positions will be taken over by BitMEX's strong closing system. However, if a strong liquidation position cannot be closed in the market, and when the marked price reaches the bankruptcy price, the automatic lightening system will lighten the investor holding the position in the opposite direction, and the order of lightening is determined according to the leverage and profit ratio . Specifically, due to the sharp fluctuations in the price of bitcoin, a large number of long single-series bursts and the scarcity of market liquidity. In order to control the risk, the platform will automatically place some short orders with high profit ratios and high leverage on the market, increasing market flow. It also avoids the risk to the platform caused by the inability of the short-selling order to be executed in a timely manner. According to BitMEX's announcement, about 200 positions were automatically closed by the system. And Twitter blogger Edward Morra said, "On BitMEX alone, short positions worth about $ 500 million have been liquidated." If this data is true, it means that BitMEX's strong liquidation operation has brought more than 5 to the contract market. The market price of 100 million US dollars has a significant positive effect on the market that is being sold out. However, as a compensation, BitMEX also stated that it would contact each damaged user and compensate them according to the maximum potential profit that the investor obtained during the automatic liquidation. In any case, through the operation of exchanges such as BitMEX, the price of bitcoin has entered a recovery channel, and it is still hovering at the $ 5,000 mark, while driving the entire cryptocurrency market to pick up. After this thrilling 24 hours of bitcoin, the ideal "halving market" has disappeared. The real and brutal "halving market" is coming. Perhaps many investors and investment institutions have expressed their confidence in the crypto assets represented by bitcoin. The understanding will change in this regard, and the confidence of the entire industry needs to be rebuilt. This depends on the application value of bitcoin to be deepened.
Dear CoinEx Users: I am Haipo, CEO of CoinEx. The Chinese New Year has just passed and the coronavirus outbreak casts a shadow on society and our hearts. At this moment, I sincerely hope that everyone stay safe and healthy. From December 24, 2017 to today, CoinEx has been with you for more than two years. Having experienced a rebirth in 2018, CoinEx embarked on a new journey since last year. “Do something that can change the real world with the blockchain.” This is my original intention to create CoinEx, and I hope more people will get to know blockchain through CoinEx. CoinEx always bears in mind the ambition of putting the blockchain to good use and making the world better. 2019 witnessed how CoinEx consolidated the foundation for its ambitions. CoinEx Accelerators, futures, options, CoinEx Lending, CoinEx DEX, CoinEx Chain, the key account privilege system, and a new value system for CET… We have completed what may take others four or five years, but we also know that a complete ecosystem is the first step to achieve our ambitions. CoinEx still has a long way to go, and what we are doing now is just a small part. With the arrival of 2020, the blockchain world has embraced its eleventh year, and CoinEx has also ushered in its third year of growth. I am very grateful to every user who has always been supporting CoinEx. It is your encouragement along the way that makes it possible for me to share with you our progress in 2019 and look into 2020. Now I’m going to explain to you in details of what CoinEx has gone through in the past year and every new breakthrough it has achieved.
First, users are our first priority: 24-hour online customer service and key account privileges
“Users first” is the service principle that CoinEx has always implemented, and the ultimate product experience is our basic practice in abiding by this concept. As the chief product experience officer of CoinEx, I deliver one idea to the team on many occasions, that is, the most important for a product developer is the ability of instantly changing from an expert to a novice so that he or she can judge and design the product from users’ perspective. We want CoinEx to be a product that can be operated with ease even by a novice and a digital asset service platform that serves as a wallet. I believe that’s exactly what CoinEx means to its users as we really did it. In addition, in order to serve users around the world, we have launched versions of ten languages, respectively Arabic, Italian, Malaysia, German, Ukraine, Portuguese, French, Turkish, Vietnamese and Indonesian, in 2019. CoinEx has become a global trading platform with the most languages. High-quality and efficient service represents our efforts to implement the “users first” concept. In 2019, CoinEx’s global customer service team expanded four times on the original basis, and gradually improved the customer service system in practice. At CoinEx, every customer service personnel must be strictly selected and trained from interview to induction. We strive to ensure that each customer service personnel can be timely, meticulous and professional in answering users’ questions so that our users can enjoy high-quality services. As long as you have any doubt, the CoinEx customer service team will be there for you around the clock. On September 26, 2019, after months of user surveys and reference to the VIP service cases of hundreds of Fortune 500 companies, we officially launched a privilege program for key users. We must never be unworthy of every user’s trust, and we want every key user to enjoy his or her privileges at CoinEx. In addition to basic customer service, we provide them with “customized fast services” and “customized value-added services” from three aspects: the account, transaction, and service.
Second, build a complete product system: spot, futures, leveraged trading, options, perpetual contracts, CoinEx Lending, and Accelerator
In order to meet users’ diversified trading needs, we have refined our products carefully, and now we have established a complete product system covering spot, futures, leverage, options, perpetual contracts, wealth management products, and high-quality project accelerators. Spot Trading To enrich the asset classes of the spot market, the CoinEx Research Institute has dedicated itself to exploring and screening of global blockchain projects last year. At the end of 2019, there were 100 asset classes on CoinEx, a success in fulfilling the target set at the beginning of the year. For trading depth, we have introduced preferential policies for market makers, which is to cooperate with excellent quantitative teams in the market and run operating campaigns to increase our asset liquidity. Futures Trading On July 15, 2019, we launched a new trading service — futures contracts, and opened five major trading markets: Binance Coin, Huobi Token, OKB, Polkadot, and Telegram Open Network. At the same time, our original Call Auction along with Short-term/Long-term price limit ensures the stability of Futures market and large fluctuations in futures prices can be avoided. Leverage Trading In 2019, we launched a leverage trading function that allows users to invest more with small funds. Perpetual Contracts In addition to futures trading, we have also developed perpetual contracts to support the trading of digital currency futures such as BTC, BCH, LTC and ETH to meet the needs of professional traders for high leverage and arbitrage, inter temporal arbitrage and hedging. In the long run, such market is of great positive significance for digital assets. Options Trading In August 2019, we successfully launched a new derivatives trading market — options trading, a financial instrument based on futures. Compared with futures trading, options trading features lower risks, helping investors to profit from multiple dimensions. CoinEx Lending We launched CoinEx Lending, a wealth management product, which improves our derivatives services and provides users with an additional option for the pursuit of a stable investment. CoinEx Lending will distribute 70% of the platform’s interest from leveraged. Users only need to transfer the idle assets to CoinEx Lending to enjoy daily revenue, further enhancing their asset utilization. Excavator of quality projects: CoinEx Accelerator For the past decade since the birth of the blockchain, digital assets and projects have been driving the blockchain to realize its value step by step. As an important exploration of the application of blockchain technology, blockchain projects are often In 2019, after rigorous screening and in-depth research by the CoinEx Research Institute, the CoinEx Accelerator screened 13 premium blockchain projects including SEELE and BNN for users. These projects have proved excellent in both technology and asset appreciation. Among the ten projects with the highest return on investment according to media statistics in 2019, technology-based SEELE was included in the list with a 400% increase. At this point, CoinEx has completed the construction of the entire ecosystem for the product system. The cornerstone of the product has been solidified. What we need to do next is to make every function and service perfect.
Third, optimize the team structure and do something interesting with great minds
I once said that I wanted to create a company that is very fun, interesting, and awesome where some great minds are working on something exciting together. I have created the fun and interesting part. The main task of the past year is to find those great minds to join me. In 2019, the team went through a period of confusion and groping. There are some problems in terms of both staffing and department collaboration. Fortunately, such troubles have been greatly relieved after two organizational structure adjustments. In September 2019, Eddie, former Marketing Director at Bitmain, officially joined the CoinEx team. Eddie is an all-rounder with extensive experience in market operation and team management. I believe with him working with us, CoinEx will make greater breakthroughs in team management and brand building in the future. In addition, we have attracted increasing outstanding talents for the past year, and have grown to a team with nearly 100 members. At present, we have established a complete team management system, incentive system and training system. I always believe that only when the team members are united as one and all do a great job, can we provide better services for users.
Fourth, it is the mission of a digital asset service platform to screen high-quality projects: to launch 100 high-quality projects
The abundant types of trading assets serve as the foundation of a digital asset service platform. In the past year, the CoinEx Research Institute has been committed to exploring and screening high-quality projects worldwide, increasing the types and number of tradable assets for users. I am proud to say that, as of December 31, 2019, CoinEx has launched 100 high-quality blockchain projects. We ensure that every project has undergone in-depth research and investigation by the think tank of the Research Institute, and is finally strictly appraised by the coin issuance decision committee before it goes online. We hope that each CoinEx user can avoid unnecessary risks and rest more assured in investment. In 2020, we will continue to improve the asset list on CoinEx and provide users with global high-quality blockchain projects to further realize the vision of global and professional cryptocurrency exchange service provider.
Fifth, build the most solid cornerstone of the blockchain: CoinEx Chain, CoinEx DEX, and CET
At present, the public chain, the cornerstone of the blockchain industry, remains the bottleneck of the industry’s development, and the key still lies in technological breakthroughs. In 2019, CoinEx also explored the third generation of public chains. Our solution is three dedicated chains in parallel to achieve both performance and flexibility. On Nov.11 last year, ViaBTC, Bitmain, Matrixport, and Bitcoin.com jointly launched the Mainnet of CoinEx Chain, a milestone in our journey towards the ambition. CoinEx DEX is the first application scenario of CoinEx Chain. It is the world’s first DEX dedicated public chain developed on the Tendermint consensus protocol and Cosmos SDK, under the leadership of my good friend Jiazhi Jiang, a senior blockchain technology expert. CoinEx DEX is friendly to ordinary users who have zero experience in digital assets, and has made many innovations in applications and wallets. After CoinEx Chain and CoinEx DEX went online, CET was also given higher value and mission. As the basic currency of the public chain ecosystem, it has more value sources than the income of the CoinEx platform. Now we can use CET to develop tools at CoinEx DEX, to open accounts, to purchase and modify account names, etc.
Sixth, CoinEx’s ecosystem and partners
In the past year, besides the fruitful results in products and ecosystem improvements, CoinEx has also gained many like-minded partners. Market liquidity team In 2019, CoinEx further upgraded the market maker’s preferential policies. Market makers on other platforms or other excellent maker strategy teams can directly match CoinEx market makers and enjoy privileges at a negligible rate in CoinEx. CoinEx Chain nodes On October 16, 2019, CoinEx Chain officially launched the global Node Election plan. We set off from Shenzhen to places such as Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Singapore to host offline campaigns. It’s easy to make new acquaintances, yet those who share the same ideals with you are hard to find. So we really cherish the cooperation with dozens of peers such as Matrixport, Hoo, TokenInsight, BTC.com, Bitcoin.com, Ant Mining Pool, Wayi, and NNB in the construction of the CoinEx Chain ecosystem. CoinEx Ambassadors Of course, CoinEx cannot grow without a group of special partners around the world — CoinEx Ambassadors. They commit themselves in work such as community building, promotion and product translation. They all contribute their share to CoinEx. I would also like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the CoinEx Ambassadors.
Seventh, keep moving forward in 2020
The year 2020 is a very special year. A considerable part of the important national strategic goals are set to be achieved in this year. Based on an intergenerational interval of a decade, we have entered the third generation of the 21st century. It is also a year of special significance for CoinEx. This year we will comprehensively upgrade our products to further enhance users’ experience, keep launching high-quality assets online at a steady pace to meet users’ more diversified demands for trading assets, accelerate globalization and compliance across the world, and launch a new Ambassador Program to drive the construction of CoinEx’s community. As for the CoinEx Chain, we will focus on the development of the Smart Chain, perform two hard fork upgrades on the DEX Chain, and introduce high-quality stable coins, Defi and other applications.
Blessings for the Future
The blockchain industry is still in its early stage of development, and huge room for growth is expected in the future. What we have to do is to continuously improve our product and service quality, as well as to enrich asset types to better meet user needs. Again, I would like to express my gratitude to the users who have shown great patience and support to CoinEx, to the CoinEx Chain nodes who have trusted us enough, to the CoinEx Ambassadors who have contributed a lot to our development, and to partners who have been working with us along the way. I wish you all the best in the new year! Haipo Yang, CoinEx CEO February, 2020 https://preview.redd.it/im4kwke3wtg41.jpg?width=1092&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=7bb452833f2fa827f06a80c034dca1fa71025c73
Cryptocurrency crosses are trading pairs that do not include the US dollar, and allow you to determine the value of altcoins relative to the value of bitcoin. With the help of crosses, you can find out which cryptocurrency dominates the pair. Cryptocrosses display a correlation between cryptocurrency rates, showing how much one cryptocurrency is dependent on another. If the correlation is strong, currencies in the pair will mostly be interconnected. Bitcoin is the main indicator for the crypto market. Its growth can cause both the growth of altcoins and their fall, depending on the situation. The level of dominance of the main cryptocurrency also plays an important role. With a positive correlation, volatility will be minimal, and with a negative correlation, if one cryptocurrency falls, the other will grow. This allows you to diversify risks. On the crypto market we sometimes see the phenomenon known as “altcoins season” . During this period, altcoins grow in price, and the bitcoin exchange rate falls, is flat, or grows slightly. With the help of crosses, you can quickly convert BTC to altcoins to increase positions. https://preview.redd.it/vsvtiy8vmja41.png?width=664&format=png&auto=webp&s=52eb74ecaf06a9da69dd7cabf2502a66ec626873 The correlation level can be determined using the TV graph integrated into the Trade-mate.io service. With the help of the service, you can analyze and trade cryptocurrencies on three major exchanges at once: Binance, BitMEX and Poloniex. The correlation coefficient indicator is used to assess the degree of correlation. The intersection with the zero level gives signals to buy and sell cryptocurrency in the cross.
Fundamental factors should be considered in the analysis. Some news influence the entire crypto market, and some are related to specific cryptocurrencies. A sharp fall in bitcoin almost always provokes the collapse of altcoins. Usually, altcoins fall sharper because of lower liquidity.
Elaborating on Datadash's 50k BTC Prediction: Why We Endorse the Call
As originally published via CoinLive I am the Co-Founder at CoinLive. Prior to founding Coinlive.io, my area of expertise was inter-market analysis. I came across Datadash 50k BTC prediction this week, and I must take my hats off to what I believe is an excellent interpretation of the inter-connectivity of various markets. At your own convenience, you can find a sample of Intermarket analysis I've written in the past before immersing myself into cryptos full-time. Gold inter-market: 'Out of sync' with VIX, takes lead from USD/JPY USD/JPY inter-market: Watch divergence US-Japan yield spread EUUSD intermarket: US yields collapse amid supply environment Inter-market analysis: Risk back in vogue, but for how long? USD/JPY intermarket: Bulls need higher adj in 10-y US-JP spread The purpose of this article is to dive deeper into the factors Datadash presents in his video and how they can help us draw certain conclusions about the potential flows of capital into crypto markets and the need that will exist for a BTC ETF. Before I do so, as a brief explainer, let's touch on what exactly Intermarket analysis refers to: Intermarket analysis is the global interconnectivity between equities, bonds, currencies, commodities, and any other asset class; Global markets are an ever-evolving discounting and constant valuation mechanism and by studying their interconnectivity, we are much better positioned to explain and elaborate on why certain moves occur, future directions and gain insights on potential misalignments that the market may not have picked up on yet or might be ignoring/manipulating. While such interconnectivity has proven to be quite limiting when it comes to the value one can extract from analyzing traditional financial assets and the crypto market, Datadash has eloquently been able to build a hypothesis, which as an Intermarket analyst, I consider very valid, and that matches up my own views. Nicolas Merten constructs a scenario which leads him to believe that a Bitcoin ETF is coming. Let's explore this hypothesis. I will attempt to summarize and provide further clarity on why the current events in traditional asset classes, as described by Datadash, will inevitably result in a Bitcoin ETF. Make no mistake, Datadash's call for Bitcoin at 50k by the end of 2018 will be well justified once a BTC ETF is approved. While the timing is the most challenging part t get right, the end result won't vary. If one wishes to learn more about my personal views on why a BTC ETF is such a big deal, I encourage you to read my article from late March this year. Don't Be Misled by Low Liquidity/Volume - Fundamentals Never Stronger The first point Nicholas Merten makes is that despite depressed volume levels, the fundamentals are very sound. That, I must say, is a point I couldn't agree more. In fact, I recently wrote an article titled TheParadox: Bitcoin Keeps Selling as Intrinsic Value Set to Explode where I state "the latest developments in Bitcoin's technology makes it paradoxically an ever increasingly interesting investment proposition the cheaper it gets." However, no article better defines where we stand in terms of fundamentals than the one I wrote back on May 15th titled Find Out Why Institutions Will Flood the Bitcoin Market, where I look at the ever-growing list of evidence that shows why a new type of investors, the institutional ones, looks set to enter the market in mass. Nicholas believes that based on the supply of Bitcoin, the market capitalization can reach about $800b. He makes a case that with the fundamentals in bitcoin much stronger, it wouldn't be that hard to envision the market cap more than double from its most recent all-time high of more than $300b. Interest Rates Set to Rise Further First of all, one of the most immediate implications of higher rates is the increased difficulty to bear the costs by borrowers, which leads Nicholas to believe that banks the likes of Deutsche Bank will face a tough environment going forward. The CEO of the giant German lender has actually warned that second-quarter results would reflect a “revenue environment [that] remains challenging." Nicholas refers to the historical chart of Eurodollar LIBOR rates as illustrated below to strengthen the case that interest rates are set to follow an upward trajectory in the years to come as Central Banks continue to normalize monetary policies after a decade since the global financial crisis. I'd say, that is a correct assumption, although one must take into account the Italian crisis to be aware that a delay in higher European rates is a real possibility now. !(https://coinlive.io/ckeditor_assets/pictures/947/content_2018-05-30_1100.png) Let's look at the following combinations: Fed Fund Rate Contract (green), German 2-year bond yields (black) and Italy's 10-year bond yield (blue) to help us clarify what's the outlook for interest rates both in Europe and the United States in the foreseeable future. The chart suggests that while the Federal Reserve remains on track to keep increasing interest rates at a gradual pace, there has been a sudden change in the outlook for European rates in the short-end of the curve. While the European Central Bank is no longer endorsing proactive policies as part of its long-standing QE narrative, President Mario Draghi is still not ready to communicate an exit strategy to its unconventional stimulus program due to protectionism threats in the euro-area, with Italy the latest nightmare episode. Until such major step is taken in the form of a formal QE conclusion, interest rates in the European Union will remain depressed; the latest drastic spike in Italy's benchmark bond yield to default levels is pre-emptive of lower rates for longer, an environment that on one hand may benefit the likes of Deutsche Bank on lower borrowing costs, but on the other hand, sets in motion a bigger headache as risk aversion is set to dominate financial markets, which leads to worse financial consequences such as loss of confidence and hence in equity valuations. !(https://coinlive.io/ckeditor_assets/pictures/948/content_2018-05-30_1113.png) Deutsche Bank - End of the Road? Nicholas argues that as part of the re-restructuring process in Deutsche Bank, they will be facing a much more challenging environment as lending becomes more difficult on higher interest rates. At CoinLive, we still believe this to be a logical scenario to expect, even if a delay happens as the ECB tries to deal with the Italian political crisis which once again raises the question of whether or not Italy should be part of the EU. Reference to an article by Zerohedge is given, where it states: "One day after the WSJ reported that the biggest German bank is set to "decimate" its workforce, firing 10,000 workers or one in ten, this morning Deutsche Bank confirmed plans to cut thousands of jobs as part of new CEO Christian Sewing's restructuring and cost-cutting effort. The German bank said its headcount would fall “well below” 90,000, from just over 97,000. But the biggest gut punch to employee morale is that the bank would reduce headcount in its equities sales and trading business by about 25%." There is an undeniably ongoing phenomenon of a migration in job positions from traditional financial markets into blockchain, which as we have reported in the past, it appears to be a logical and rational step to be taken, especially in light of the new revenue streams the blockchain sector has to offer. Proof of that is the fact that Binance, a crypto exchange with around 200 employees and less than 1 year of operations has overcome Deutsche Bank, in total profits. What this communicates is that the opportunities to grow an institution’s revenue stream are formidable once they decide to integrate cryptocurrencies into their business models. One can find an illustration of Deutsche Bank's free-fall in prices below: !(https://coinlive.io/ckeditor_assets/pictures/946/content_2018-05-30_1052.png) Nicholas takes notes of a chart in which one can clearly notice a worrying trend for Italian debt. "Just about every other major investor type has become a net seller (to the ECB) or a non-buyer of BTPs over the last couple of years. Said differently, for well over a year, the only marginal buyer of Italian bonds has been the ECB!", the team of Economists at Citi explained. One can find the article via ZeroHedge here. !(https://coinlive.io/ckeditor_assets/pictures/953/content_2018-05-30_1451.png) Equities & Housing to Suffer the Consequences Nicholas notes that trillions of dollars need to exit these artificially-inflated equity markets. He even mentions a legendary investor such as George Soros, who has recently warned that the world could be on the brink of another devastating financial crisis, on lingering debt concerns in Europe and a strengthening US dollar, as a destabilizing factor for both the US's emerging- and developed-market rivals. Ray Dalio, another legend in the investing world and Founder of Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund, "has ramped up its short positions in European equities in recent weeks, bringing their total value to an estimated $22 billion", MarketWatch reports. Nicholas extracts a chart by John Del Vecchio at lmtr.com where it illustrates the ratio between stocks and commodities at the lowest in over 50 years. As the author states: "I like to look for extremes in the markets. Extremes often pinpoint areas where returns can be higher and risk lower than in other time periods. Take the relationship between commodities and stocks. The chart below shows that commoditieshavennot been cheaper than stocks in a generation. We often hear this time it is different” to justify what’s going on in the world. But, one thing that never changes is human nature. People push markets to extremes. Then they revert. " !(https://coinlive.io/ckeditor_assets/pictures/954/content_2018-05-30_1459.png) Bitcoin ETF the Holy Grail for a Cyclical Multi-Year Bull Run It is precisely from this last chart above that leads Nicholas to believe we are on the verge of a resurgence in commodity prices. Not only that but amid the need of all this capital to exit stocks and to a certain extent risky bonds (Italian), a new commodity-based digital currency ETF based on Bitcoin will emerge in 2018. The author of Datadash highlights the consideration to launching a Bitcoin ETF by the SEC. At CoinLive, our reporting of the subject can be found below: "Back in April, it was reported that the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has put back on the table two Bitcoin ETF proposals, according to public documents. The agency is under formal proceedings to approve a rule change that would allow NYSE Arca to list two exchange-traded funds (ETFs) proposed by fund provider ProShares. The introduction of an ETF would make Bitcoin available to a much wider share of market participants, with the ability to directly buy the asset at the click of a button, essentially simplifying the current complexity that involves having to deal with all the cumbersome steps currently in place." Nicholas refers to the support the Bitcoin ETF has been receiving by the Cboe president Chris Concannon, which is a major positive development. CoinLive reported on the story back in late March, noting that "a Bitcoin ETF will without a doubt open the floodgates to an enormous tsunami of fresh capital entering the space, which based on the latest hints by Concannon, the willingness to keep pushing for it remains unabated as the evolution of digital assets keeps its course." It has been for quite some time CoinLive's conviction, now supported by no other than Nicholas Merten from Datadash, that over the next 6 months, markets will start factoring in the event of the year, that is, the approval of a Bitcoin ETF that will serve as a alternative vehicle to accommodate the massive flows of capital leaving some of the traditional asset classes. As Nicholas suggests, the SEC will have little choice but to provide alternative investments. Bitcoin as a Hedge to Lower Portfolios' Volatility Last but not least, crypto assets such as Bitcoin and the likes have an almost non-existent correlation to other traditional assets such as stocks, bonds, and commodities, which makes for a very attractive and broadly-applicable diversification strategy for the professional money as it reduces one’s portfolio volatility. The moment a Bitcoin ETF is confirmed, expect the non-correlation element of Bitcoin as a major driving force to attract further capital. Anyone Can BeWrongDatadash, But You Won't be Wrong Alone Having analyzed the hypothesis by Nicholas Merten, at CoinLive we believe that the conclusion reached, that is, the creation of a Bitcoin ETF that will provide shelter to a tsunami of capital motivated by the diversification and store of value appeal of Bitcoin, is the next logical step. As per the timing of it, we also anticipate, as Nicholas notes, that it will most likely be subject to the price action in traditional assets. Should equities and credit markets hold steady, it may result in a potential delay, whereas disruption in the capital market may see the need for a BTC ETF accelerate. Either scenario, we will conclude with a quote we wrote back in March. "It appears as though an ETF on Bitcoin is moving from a state of "If" to "When." Datadash is certainly not alone on his 50k call. BitMEX CEO Arthur Hayes appears to think along the same line. On behalf of the CoinLive Team, we want to thank Nicholas Merten at Datadash for such enlightening insights.
Will there be another 2017-like crypto pump ever gonna happen again? My rant on the future of crypto, ICOs, and 2018
Background I've been getting several messages lately inquiring about my old post from which I borrowed $30k to buy ETH back in May: https://np.reddit.com/ethtradecomments/68oshw/just_borrowed_30k_to_buy_eth_stay_tuned_for_the/ I started typing a long response to someone who asked me whether he thinks there's gonna be another opportunity like ETH in the future (from which I made over 100X returns, buying most between $10 and $100, and cashing out 90% at $1000-$1200)...and I realized I typed so much info that it could be worthwhile to share it with the community. Before I start my rant though... about the loan I had taken out at the time: don't ever invest in more than you're willing to lose. Opportunities will always come, in one way or another. Today is crypto, yesterday was flipping houses, before that was penny and internet stocks. But from a crypto standpoint, opportunities in this field are gonna be more rare. Bitcoin, ETH, and other large caps coins are probably done for for a while -- they'll go up in the long run but I don't think we'll see another new parabolic rise of 1000+% gains for a long while. People switched to ICOs after seeing some of the 3-10X gains, but the wild west of unregulated ICOs is starting to lose steam, mostly due to regulatory barriers. Identifying Fundamental Disruptions I invested in ETH first at $10 and buying all the way up to $100 (the $30k loan got me ETH at $80 each), and while others were selling for 2x flips, I was able to hold it all the way to $1000+. I think this is important to mention in the context of this post because of the necessity to realize the long-term disruption that lays ahead. At the time, I realized that ETH was about to give altcoins/tokens the ability to be speculated on due to their direct utility association in a tech startup's main business mechanism. I firmly believed that ETH should be worth at nearly as much as, if not at least, BTC in market cap because of this. Prior to ETH, it was just Bitcoins and then all clones/shitcoins. ETH gave rise to ICOs and speculative coins that could be assigned potential business value to it, thereby making crypto markets what it is today. Frankly, the entire crypto market owes ETH, and respectfully BTC of course, for what is today. Note though: I rolled the dice big for ETH, but even my $30k investment at the time was only about a quarter of my savings at the time. So again, don't invest in more than you are willing to lose or sleep soundly at night. The Future: Increasing Regulation Anyway, turning to the future. Here's what I think is going to happen. SEC is going shutdown alot of ICOs; they are really cracking down on ICOs claiming to be utilities, even if disguised through airdrops or SAFTs. In fact, just today's WSJ news said SEC issued subpoenas to multiple ICOs and have taken interest in SAFTs for so-called utility tokens. Just like the dot-com bubble, 90%+ of these previous ICOs are gonna tank and fail. We're gonna see a massive correction probably later in 2018, when roadmaps with major expected milestones start missing their deadlines, and a domino effect happens when SEC starts really flexing their muscle and forcing exchanges to go into delisting mode (we already are starting to see this with Bittrex). But a Hidden Opportunity So about looking for another crypto pump opportunity.... When the culling happens, the survivors are gonna be as follows. Look for US-based ICOs that have been SEC-compliant from the outset, or at least making a strong effort to do so. Having a legal advisor or team member will be big this year. Don't be afraid of lockups or holding periods if it's for the purpose of being SEC compliant (signs are mentions of Reg CF, Reg D, Reg S, and Reg A+ offerings... you could google these keywords with their company name to see if they have a filing record in SEC's database). See if these ICOs and team leaders had a successful and profitable business in the past, or at least spun out of a profitable company. Also, there's way too much bullshit with partnerships, many which are fake or with useless no/name companies. Next, a lot of these open ecosystem platforms rely on partner companies to attract customers -- but why would companies join when there are no customers, and vice versa. It's all bullshit and often pump and dump shilling. What you want is a closed ecosystem (think Apple iOS) to help consumers navigate the business model. An open ecosystem where customers have to attach their own crypto wallet, blah blah blah, yay decentralization, yeah... well that's all never gonna see mass adoption (think Linux... some hardcore advocates exist, but what layperson actually wants to operate command lines or deep menus all day long and accidentally break their system with one wrong syntax). Look how successful Coinbase has become by simplifying crap. Too much shit is focused on the crypto side and it's like a foreign language to mainstream customers who won't touch it with a ten foot pole. Look for ICOs that are consumer focused rather just have solely an ICO page. It's particularly appealing if they have a self-directing strategy in the form of a tangible product they can sell to generate data or transactions in their ecosystem, which would naturally attract additional customers/companies into their platform. Examples:
https://www.epigencare.com/ico - Selling a 23andMe-like skincare test to generate skincare profiles, then seeing how product ingredients affect the profiles. Then skincare companies can target their products to customer profiles through their recommendation engine, and present them as personalized solutions in the customer's test report.
https://holo.host/ico/ - Creating a new blockchain 3.0 that allows you store full websites and databases directly on the blockchain (instead of just transaction data), in order to allow decentralized hosting via peer-to-peer internet. They're selling small server boxes or software so you get paid crypto for cloud hosting (and apps and sites needing hosting pay the hosts).
These companies with revolutionary ideas, who are making an effort to be legally compliant and also have a tangible product, are the ones that are gonna survive the mass culling of alts and ICOs later this year. If we ever get our first ICO unicorn (from revenue, not pumped market cap of their token), then it will bring truly mainstream recognition of the crypto markets that will give the traditional stock markets a serious run for their money. I'm not talking about less than 1% of the $70 trillion stock market value of the world -- I'm talking like double digit levels of the entire global stock market. And I bet you it will happen. This is the sorting-out phase of the future -- a shift from old world Wall Street-type money to Silicon Valley. Crypto allows direct investments into technology startups, and tokenization of the actual business transaction mechanism cuts down all the traditional valuation crap dealing with public relations and whatever meta valuation factors. If the business is making sales, then the token is worth something, and that's all that matters. If the business is losing sales, then the token is worth less. Straightforward. When All The Puzzle Pieces Fit Together Two more things to note. First: If ETH successfully pulls off scaling through sharding/raiden and drastically reduces gas fees through proof of stake, then it will be fit for enterprise use. ETH's stress tested blockchain with upgrades will facilitate real world adoption (Most of these ERC20 platforms are currently not fit for real adoption due to high gas fees and low TPS). Otherwise, consider hedging into alternative smart contract-, high volume-, low cost-capable platforms with implementation documentation (e.g., Stellar) to potentially get some good gains. Second: A lot of these current crypto exchanges are not registered ATS's (alternative trading systems) that are permitted to trade securities by the SEC, so they can only trade utilities. But SEC is cracking down on these fake-utilities and are deeming them all securities... that's gonna leave these exchanges in the dust. So we're seeing big companies entering this space, Overstock building tZero, Circle/Goldman Sachs acquiring Polo, Cobinhood, etc. They are prepping for ATS compliance, and when legal tokenized securities become tradeable, they will be traded on these platforms... not hot messes like Binance. And they will be user friendly -- gateways for mainstream to invest directly in the tokenized assets of a company's core business model. It's all culminating to the survival of legit companies, mainstream adoption, and these are your clues. Enjoy trading shitcoins while they last, but don't get caught with your pants down bagholding them. Rant over. TL;DR Look for coins based on fundamentals and legal compliance so they will survive the massive culling in late 2018 when roadmaps don't meet milestone deadlines Edit: Grammar, and Readability
Emerging Technologies by 2020 As we come to approach a new era of technological revolution this coming year 2020, the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), Fifth Generation Cellular Technology (5G), Internet of Things (IOT) and Blockchain technology, these technological innovations would undoubtedly disrupt most of our traditional Industries here in the Philippines as we know it. (Hold that thought for a minute.) Current Situation of the Crypto Industry in the Philippines Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are among the top picks where most people get their news. It is then obvious, that most marketers, journalists, and influencers, take advantage of these mainstream social media channels as the perfect medium to promote their digital currency of choice or ads to reach a larger target audience compared to the traditional newspapers or postal mail. These have its pros and cons. As the cryptocurrency space is gaining popularity at a rapid rate, more and more Filipinos are enticed to seek refuge to the promises of guaranteed and instant returns “get rich quick schemes” from networking companies to Ponzi schemes, and cyber scamming sites, just to name a few. The innovation of the blockchain technology using cryptocurrencies especially bitcoins has also been a godsend for criminals. Money laundering through various casinos in prominent cities in the Philippines has been rampant, as transactions through Bitcoin is easy and convenient while tracking the original money is near impossible. Extortion also play a major role. We may have no major reports of extortion here in the Philippines that involves crypto (AFAIK) but just recently, Binance a big player and the top cryptocurrency exchange by far with an average of 13–15 million users worldwide (according to a recent interview with CZ), has been in the social media radar due to an extortion attempt to their company, on an alleged Binance Know Your Customer (KYC) data leak. With all the fear, uncertainty and doubt, it is obvious that the common response of most Filipinos, when asked about cryptocurrency in general (especially when asked about Bitcoin), is that it is a scam, a Ponzi, a bubble, and the most convenient medium of exchange for drugs, terrorism, pornography, human trafficking etc etc. which is (IMHO) partly true. Mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies in the Philippines A study made last January 2019 by Napoleoncat reveals a total of 74,850,000 Facebook users in the Philippines. That accounts for roughly 68.6% of the country’s entire population. What does social media demographics have to do with cryptocurrency in the Philippines as you may ask? As Facebook recently announced its development and launch of its Libra coin by 2020, along with the deployment of 5G, IOT, AI and the continued improvements of the blockchain technology. Imagine the 68.6% population of Filipino Facebook users that will be exposed to the convenience of this technology. There is a good chance that this will pave the way for Filipinos to finally get involved and adopt cryptocurrencies for day-to-day transactions. Aside from the internet usage, remittances from Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) would certainly play a major role as remittances have a proven track record of being the top dollar earner among all financial sectors for the last 2 decades. It is also a proven fact that OFW remittances is currently the biggest economic lifeline of the Philippines apart from the BPO Industry. Let us say cryptocurrencies get adopted in a year or two, thanks to social media and Facebook as a common past time of Filipinos (no pun intended). Everyone would enjoy a safer, more efficient transactions, with zero to minimal transaction costs, instant cross-border money transfers or payments, transparent transaction history and the coolest thing, this could all be done with just a few swipes on a smartphone. Compare this to the current traditional remittance transactions which usually takes days to transact, staggering 10–20% transaction fee, heavily centralized, meaning you have to spend a few minutes to hours just to find the nearest remittance center (pera padala center) to execute your transaction, think about it, think about how inefficient and unfair that is in our current technological state. We are coming to the point that these major financial intermediaries like banks, remittance centers, and financial companies will be eradicated and replaced by smartphones. Sure, the idea seems overrated but it is already happening. Just take a look at some of the countries that are currently experiencing hyperinflation, where their currency is losing value at an alarming rate. The people of these countries no longer trust their banks, nor their government. Instead, relying on the use of smartphones to transact and convert their money through various crypto-coins has been the only proven way that works to hedge their financial assets, their life savings, from hyperinflation. In conclusion: It is no longer a question of “will cryptocurrencies be adopted” in the Philippines, but a question as to when. I firmly believe, with the growing community of Filipino crypto enthusiasts, surfacing in various social mainstream Media, promoting the use case of blockchain technology, we are going to be an influential part of this financial technological revolution sooner than expected. People want freedom, the freedom to transact anywhere, anytime, with no limits. People want something that is efficient, transparent and safe with fair transaction costs and seamless that it happens in an instant. People want full control of their finances, and these technologies we have is the key. The key that will promote a decentralized system that will eliminate the traditional financial problems of transparency, corruption and economy unevenness here in our country.
WELCOME TO ETERBASE (UPDATED 14.12.2019) This thread is a summary of all that entails Eterbase (Xbase, Ebase, etc) and will be updated when more news comes out. It’s highly recommended to take your time and read this post if you’d like to know more about the company, token or exchange. If you have any amendments, feel free to post a reply and we’ll change it as soon as we can. 1 Overview / Company Eterbase is a Slovakia based Digital Asset Exchange, which is compliant with EU laws and regulations, and offers the fastest and most secure API within the space. Having its own collateralized payment token EBASE and many features superior to its competitors, Eterbase aims to position itself amongst the TOP crypto exchanges and as a financial institution. Source 1.1 Exchange The exchange is the cornerstone of the ETERBASE project. As history has shown, when it comes to periods of increased business activity (e.g. panic selling), the load on exchanges is increased by several orders of magnitude. Many current exchanges suffered severe slow-downs or outages as a result of such activities.We believe that a good exchange is one that delivers not only for sustained periods of time, but also during unexpected heavy load and peak times. We have also seen that in many projects, the initial design changed significantly during the development of the final product, and therefore these projects suffer from architectural constraints that make change management and development difficult. We want to have a robust, scalable and flexible architecture for our exchange. To support these goals, the design team at ETERBASE has defined seven primary objectives for the solutions behind the technical and architectural choices:
Own development of key components
Design to change
Design to cost
Ability to partition and scale
We want to deliver, maintain and continually develop our platform, as well as bring new features and experiences to users in the emerging fintech market. To be able to achieve this goal, we must design, develop and control every critical component of our exchange. We have developed every key component of ETERBASE EXCHANGE in house. Source 1.2 Eterbase coin The Eterbase Coin (XBASE) was originally airdropped by its founders through the Ethereum Network to partners, traders and marketers to incentivize and promote the use of ETERBASE EXCHANGE. The Eterbase Coin (XBASE) has no legal connection to ETERBASE a.s. and it is at the sole discretion of the management to utilize Eterbase Coin (XBASE) or any other digital asset for that matter by the company at any given moment. According to the ESMA opinion we consider the Eterbase Coin (XBASE) to be a transferable utility token. However, the precise classification might change due to the planned experimental mainnet implementation. It is also likely that this classification might differ in various jurisdictions. Eterbase Coin (XBASE) gives no rights to any entitlements of any kind or any decision-making power within the company or on the platform. The only utility of the token is to serve as a trading pair on the ETERBASE EXCHANGE and to unlock bonus features via Premium Memberships if certain conditions are met based on the sole discretion of the management. Premium Memberships can be obtained via means other than the utilization of Eterbase Coins (XBASE). These two are not legally linked and it is solely up to the discretion of the management of ETERBASE a.s. to enable the features of Premium Membership for individuals. The Eterbase Coin (XBASE) is currently following ERC223 (Ethereum Network) standard and was audited by several external parties for potential security risks. ETERBASE a.s. might initiate the sale or purchase of Eterbase Coins (XBASE) at any time in any quantity with its own account, as it might do with other digital assets such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and others. Furthermore, the Eterbase Coin (XBASE) exists on the BEP-2 network as XBASE-B. 1.3 Eurbase On September 1st, 2019; Eterbase announced that it has launched the first phase of the stablecoin named EURBASE [Ebase], which its sole aim to create the first anti-inflationary based stablecoin. As of now it’s pegged to the Euro, but this will change. As most of us know the central banks and governments tend to tax most of us via inflationary taxation that is to certain degree sold to us via macroeconomic need to push people to spend instead of hoarding the savings and deposits. Currently, this pressure is getting stronger by the very introduction of negative interest rates and negative yields to AAA-AA government bonds.What we are concluding is that holding Euro and other major currencies can get very expensive in the near future by virtue of both higher inflation due to global trade sanctions and negative interest rates. We are modelling EURBASE stablecoin to be able to keep up with the inflation within the EUROZONE (current ECB target being 2%) and to be free from negative yields to its holders. In order to cover up the marginal increase the stablecoin will be use its earnings from fees, market making and portfolio appreciation of its underlying assets to manufacture the peg and anti-inflationary hedge in the mid-term utilizing BTC overcollateralization, EUR cash deposits and cash guarantees as the core holdings of its portfolio. 1.4 Token Information / Supply Symbol
XBASE / XBASE-B
ERC Contract (ERC223)
BEP Contract (BEP-2)
1,000,000,000 XBASE (450m Xbase / 550m Xbase-B)
1,000,000,000 XBASE (As per whitepaper foundation tokens are not locked, therefore can be considered as a part of the circulating supply). *According to the team, most of the remaining 25% will probably enter circulation until end of Q1 2020, which is dependent on other revenue streams like EBASE and listings
Current State & The Future Of Digital Assets From Ariel Ling, BitMax COO.
Ariel Ling, co-founder and COO of BitMax, has shared her thoughts on the current state of digital assets and what to expect in the next years, what retail investor should take into account when buying any cryptocurrencie and the key factors that drive the value of the token/coin. Ariel Ling, BitMax COO Why, when and how have you started your crypto journey? I started my crypto journey at the beginning of 2018 when my long-time friend, the co-founder and CEO of BitMax.io, Dr. George Cao “pulled” me out of the traditional Wall Street and asked me to join him in launching this exciting venture. Three main drivers are 1) to learn more about blockchain technology and its transformational applications in different industries; 2) to leverage in-depth traditional finance expertise to improve overall crypto trading and exchange market structure for better efficiency and transparency; 3) to have a chance to work with a talented and driven team who share similar vision, passion and conviction to build a top global digital asset trading platform as well as a wonderful organization from good to great! If your friend will ask you: should I consider cryptocurrencies as investment opportunity? What will be your answer? Will you recommend any specific digital asset? Coming from traditional finance perspective, I would explain my thoughts process from three angles — 1) types of crypto or digital assets as the foundation for understanding; 2) whether they, are more for short-term trading or mid-term investment 2) what are elements for investment valuation and decision-making so our friends can assess and make decision for themselves. First, in general there are three types of digital assets:
Major currency / coin-type like Bitcoin, ETH, XRP, Litecoin, etc. and stable coins;
Security-type tokens representing some equity or debt rights of underlying projects;
Utility tokens for usage on specific blockchain platform or network.
Each type represents different type of opportunity and risk. Second: is digital asset good for trading or investment? due to the nascent nature and very short history of market development with most of retail investors’ participation and lack of proper regulatory framework globally, there are quite some market manipulation, speculation and fraud activities in the current market, causing significant volatility and investors loss across all types within very short period of time. This made it very hard for any investors to assess the real valuation and momentum drivers behind those large swings. So at this point, I would think with its high volatility and risk, digital asset in general is more of very short-term trading product than investment vehicle. From liquidity perspective, major currency/coin-type will have more market depth across exchanges, hence more suitable for short-term trading-focused strategies. Third, from traditional investment perspective, it is critical to assess digital asset investing from valuation and fundamental perspectives, such as business model, future growth, economic return vs. person’s risk tolerance and investment objectives. For major coins, especially Bitcoin itself with its longest history among all the digital assets, have started to provide certain payment function similar to fiat currencies in certain countries. Hence, there are more interesting dynamics to the Bitcoin investing based on one’s view of Bitcoin usage over mid-term horizon and the relative valuation vs its production (mining cost) especially with the price down to 3,500–3,650 USD. For security-type or utility tokens, the performance over short-to-medium term really comes down to combination of intrinsic value of underlying blockchain projects and token economics. Similar to Internet in 1990s, blockchain technology projects are still at the early stage of development and looking for meaningful and applicable use cases to bring real economic benefit from the economics and business model perspective, so it becomes very difficult to apply traditional finance valuation and assess the real intrinsic value of those projects. Recent market crash has brought many of those tokens down to near zero value. So the investment in those tokens are extremely high risk and everyone should be really careful and prudent in the evaluation of any specific projects for the decision-making and risk protection. What is the story behind BitMax? Who are the foundefounders? When it was founded? Q1 2018, Dr. George Cao and I founded Global Digital Mercantile (GDM), global operator of digital asset platforms, including BitMax.io based on Singapore for overseas markets and North America’s trading platform aiming for the first half of 2019. BitMax.io started public beta testing mid July, 2018, and was officially launched later mid August. On November 18th , we launched our mining mechanism, the industry very first transaction-mining & reverse-mining mechanism, which has made us the industry leading third-generation cryptocurrency exchange — after first generation of traditional exchanges like Binance, Gemini, Coinbase, etc. and 2nd generation of transaction-mining ones like FCoin, Bitthumb, etc. Just a quick introduction of my partner. Dr. Cao studied Computer Science in the University of Science and Technology of China, and earned his PhD degree from the University of Chicago. Dr. Cao was the Founder and the Chief Investment Officer of Delpha Capital Management, LLC., New York, specializing in trading equity, ETFs and commodity future products in all major exchanges across the globe. He is also the founder and managing partner of Whitestone Investment Group, a New York based venture fund that invests in a large variety of startup companies that are in the high tech, fintech, big data and medical area. Before founding Delpha Capital, Mr. Cao worked at the Equity Division of Barclays Capital in both the New York and London offices. During that period, he oversaw equity electronic trading in the U.S., European and Asian markets. Prior to Barclays, he researched and traded U.S. equity as a Portfolio Manager at Knight Capital Group. For me, I have built more than 18-year extensive experience in strategic planning, business development, financial risk management and regulatory implementation across major trading asset classes (Equity, FX, and Fixed Income) at several top global banks. Previous to jumping into digital asset trading, I ran USD liquidity and investment product for top financial institutions and corporate clients at tier-one global investment bank. Before that, I ran US Broker Dealer as COO and head of Business Development for Germany 2nd largest bank. Earlier from 2007 to 2012, I was global equity trading COO across Lehman Brothers and Barclays Capital, building out trading franchise and market making businesses globally. I have four degrees — graduated top of class from Nankai University with two Bachelor degrees in Finance and English Literature and got my MBA from NYU and Master of Mass Communication from University of Georgia. Where is Bitmax located? Are you a distributed team or do you have an office to work together? How many people work for Bitmax? Our global team of 50 members are based off two main location — New York with 20 members, including all the founding members, and Beijing with 30 members. Would you be so kind to introduce briefly the core team members? Both George and I are very proud of our 10-member founding team. Similar to us, they are all from Wall Street top firms like Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Bloomberg, and top high-frequency hedge funds with deep experience in the fields of financial engineering research and development of large-scale quant trading infrastructure. Our educational background span across multiple prestigious institutions including Columbia University, University of Chicago, Carnegie Mellon University, and New York University in the United States, as well as Peking University and Tsinghua University in China. So one special thing about BitMax.io is that very few exchanges in the crypto trading space are built by solid team like ours with strong traditional finance mindset and trading background. You’ve started BitMax during market downtrend in pretty competitive environment. What is your value proposition? Why traders should switch to BitMax? I think BitMax.io is actually very special in this market, and our team is very proud of what we have built in the short period of six months. There are at least three reasons I think traders should chooseBitMax.io:
It’s our real-word professional trading experience and expertise;
It’s is our platform, resilient, high volume quantitative-trading platform;
It’s is our top-quality customer-centric strategy.
First of all, as I mentioned in the last question, architected by a group of Wall Street veterans, BitMax.io builds upon the core value of blockchain, transparency and reliability, and delivers high-quality client services and trading experience through its innovative trading platform. Second, our quant-driven tech platform. Our development members were all from high frequency and quantitative systematic trading shops. They definitely make sure the platform was resilient and it can actually handle billions of volume during the design and build. The platform resilience and scalability were fully being tested when we launched the transaction mining and reverse-mining. The first day, we actually had, within the first 24 hours, the trading volume of 1.6 billion in notional; and our system didn’t flinch, didn’t slow down, and didn’t shut down. This is very rare in any of today’s exchanges where you can frequently see the slowdown, the crash, and very slow user responses, especially with transaction mining exchanges. Third, what we are extremely proud of and all the users can see, is our 24/7 customer services built upon the core Wall Street client-centric concept. Besides our customer support team who never sleep, George actually stands behind the platform almost 24/7 answering questions from the customers, seeking solutions for their issues, and providing the most responsive customer service for the entire crypto trading space. BitMax CEO, George Cao, is often seen in official Telegram group answering different questions. We constantly remind our team: customer first. When we design a product, when we launch a system, and when we look at user needs, we all look from customers’ perspective, from how we can protect the users. When we look at primary listing, we only select the high-quality projects because we want our users to have the best investment and trading experience on BitMax.io. Are you satisfied with the current results of BitMax? Is transaction mining model giving expected volume? What is the % of traders using this model? We are very pleased with current business development and delivery results from client acquisition and trading perspectives. On the business development side, we completed the global setup for both 50-member team organization and comprehensive legal entity structure from Asia to North Americas in 2018, which laid down foundation and paved way for 2019 business expansion especially with US. Since our platform launch in mid Aug, we successfully started Industry FIRST transaction mining and reverse-mining exchange and built out the most active global communities and users within four months in the bear market, with registered users more than 95k; average daily active traders more than quadrupled since the start of transaction mining; average daily trading volume of $465mm through the month of January and February in 2019. Those are extremely promising under this tough market condition. From the composition of trading volumes, there are two parts — transaction mining which grows exponentially; second is organic, the regular trading which has experienced healthy increase as well because of all the listing activities and all the incentives we have. The regular trading takes about 5% of total trading volume, which is very good for an exchange which was launched in August and running right into the bear market. What are the key factors that drive the value of the token/coin? From traditional finance /investment view token economics is really a balance act between business / economic model and exchange market force, driven by three factors: intrinsic value and sustainability, supply and demand, and liquidity and depth. First, from a traditional finance perspective, we need to look at the intrinsic value, the economic valuation behind a project. How does this project make money? Do they really have fundamentals? Do they really have a viable business model? Do they really have a solid user base for future growth? For example, our exchange business model is very simple. We are exchange; People trade on our platform. The more they trade, the more transaction fee the exchange collect — the revenue source. The exchange will last when people keep trading on the platform and the transaction revenue generated covers the operating cost of running an exchange. Second, it is the supply and demand of token on the market — who will buy and for what purpose; who will sell and under what scenarios. For major currency coins like Bitcoin, people might buy and sell for potential investment or use in actual payment processing. For other types of token, it is more driven by short-term trading pattern and profit taking. So it is extremely important to set up certain token mechanism to support the equilibrium of supply and demand like how Central Banks manage the supply of currency in circulation through monetary policies. Third, when the market force comes in, it comes down to the liquidity and depth. Exchange is about liquidity and market depth. That means there has to be enough of trading volumes at each pricing level for each token. For BitMax.io, we have very sophisticated market making model that is similar to Designated Market Maker model of New York Stock Exchange. We focus on providing liquidity and maintaining a fair and orderly market for those token listings who agree to engage our market making services. Every exchange is looking for good projects in order to become a premiere market for this new asset. Can you name some projects that impressed you recently (even if you are not discussing possible listing with them)? BitMax.io has strict listing requirements in order to identify high-quality projects for our users. Very proud that we have listed five industry star projects in the last several weeks, with more in the pipeline. All of them have the following attributes that made them successful — viable and profitable business model, growing user bases, strong community support, and comprehensive funding sources. One of the shining examples is European project named LTO Network listed mid Jan. Its price has been steadily rising since then, as more and more people get to know their business model and more project support comes into the market place to buy the tokens — It uses blockchain technology to streamline a lot of legal processing for one of EU governments, which is very easy to understand its economic value from a revenue perspective. This is simply what people need to see eventually, clean and clear from business economic model perspective. Let’s imagine a crypto market in 5 or 10 years. Can you make any prediction what the market will look like? What customers will expect from exchange in 5–10 years? Based off my long-time experience in traditional trading, especially how equity market evolved last twenty years, I would imagine maturing market structure and entrance of institutional investors are key mandatory and healthy development of digital asset market. First, As the market develops and expands globally, traditional institution participation is a must, in order to upgrade and strengthen the overall market structure and maturity, making it more transparent and resilient, and most importantly enabling the real broad-base adoption of digital assets. Most institutional investors, such as mutual fund, pension fund and other financial institutions, hold the majority of world investment assets, not individual retail investors. Only when those big guys join the market, will there be real revolutionary improvement and expansion of the digital asset just like any other financial markets. Second, I would expect the market to become more structured with major building blocks for transparent trade life cycle processing and separate risk analytics supporting services. Current crypto trading market is very fragmented with exchanges taking on different roles of trading, wallet management, custodian, etc. Also the lack of clear and consistence regulation on market structure has led to many aspects of market inefficiency — inconsistent liquidity and depth, wide spread, high transaction cost, high volatility, speculation, etc. This definitely hampers the broader adoption of digital assets from institutional investors. Forward looking, multi-tier structure under some level of regulatory framework with clear guidance is required for future maturing market. Similar to security market, there should be at least three layers of different and independent roles: the role of broker dealer to handle the client relationship with good KYC/ AML processes, retail clients, other financial institutions, blockchain players and to take client order as agent or dealer; the role of exchange to focus on listing and trading — liquidity provision and order matching; the role of clearing house to provide clearing and settlement and custodian on custody of assets with proper control and independence. It is very clean and clear with good check and balance in place. What are the key challenges for 2019? During our 2018 business planning, we clearly view 2019 to continue being full of challenges with market uncertainty from both asset price and valuation as well as regulatory development globally. In prep for that and further growth of our platform, we have laid out the following four main strategic objectives and they are all well underway:
To launch North America trading platform for high networth and institutional clients. With North America being heavily regulated market, there are two aspects of our plan — First is to leverage a trust structure to facilitate the major coin trading with fiat, and the second is broker-dealer license application with potential for securitized tokens pending regulatory guidance in place.
To enhance BitMax.io platform and reach global top-tier exchange. We will continue listening to our users and working hard to enhance user interface and experience by upgrading website vs. other competitors for better client retention.We will continue leading product innovation among the competitors with margin trading (successfully launched in mid Feb) and then derivative to attract new clients.
Relent focus on implementation and expansion of current business lines — listing, Market Making, marketing advisory services to grow current revenue base; and further seek new revenue opportunity through North America platform while maintaining cost discipline.
we are always on the lookout in terms of exchange alignments, acquisition target, and any business partnership from different aspects of the value chain.
When do you expect a market recovery or next bull run? What are the factors that will influence the start of the market recovery? With current market crash or correction, there are two possibilities from trading perspective — recovery depending on whether this is a V down or U curve. The U curve occurs when the market collapses, it takes a longer time for market to find the bottom and struggle to rise up. The V down is like a quick collapse — dropping down very fast and reaching the bottom, and then, with some catalyst event, either catalyst from market structure, or catalyst from the market expansion itself, suddenly it gives a boost and bounces right back up. For market recovery, besides all the investment and economics elements I’ve discussed above, I believe one critical factor is the regulatory development especially clear guidance from key regulatory bodies of those major financial markets such as US, UK, EU, etc. on those key building blocks I mentioned in the maturing market structure. Once those in place, more traditional institutional investors will be ready to get in and hence boost the liquidity and valuation of the digital assets. That is the new beginning of digital assets being accepted as part of Main Street investment globally.
[AMA SUMMARY] Coin98 AMA #29 Ferrum Network with Ian Friend - COO At Ferrum Network
https://preview.redd.it/cjzluk91i6h31.jpg?width=960&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=12d87043df93ed0c81317d2857f245627f1efdf4 Coin98, a Facebook Group, recently did an AMA with Ian Friend, COO of Ferrum Network. Grace Pham: Before we start the AMA could you please introduce a little bit about yourself as well as a quick introduction about FRM for anyone who hasn't heard about FRM yet? Ian Friend: Yes of course. I am the Co-Founder and COO of Ferrum Network. Prior to joining Ferrum I was a lawyer in New York City where I founded my law firm's blockchain practice team. I then met Naiem Yeganeh, PhD and we founded Ferrum. Q: Could you briefly describe what is FRM in 3-5 sentences? Ian Friend: Ferrum is really the combination of two interconnected components. First, is the high-speed interoperability network that can connect to any blockchain and executes transactions of any digital asset - even bitcoin - in milliseconds for near zero fees. Q: You guys are building among other things an Interoperability Network, can you explain a bit how this works and what the advantages are compare to the existing networks? Ian Friend: Ok so the interoperability network is a innovation from an older design, essentially it uses proxy tokens that can represent any digital asset. And because it runs on a DAG instead of a blockchain, transactions can be executed instantly for almost no fees. Q: What is the ferrum token utility in the ecosystem? Where it will be used and why the demand for the token should increase? Ian Friend: FRM is the gas of the network. You need to spend it to run transactions. The unique thing is that everytime a token is spent, it is burned. Our African users alone will account for thousands of daily token burns on day 1 of main net launch. The token should increase as we acquire more users for our products. The next product we will launch is called UniFyre Wallet. This will be available worldwide and coming to an app store near you. Q: What are the advantages of DAG that you used for Ferrum Network? Why did you choose DAG instead of blockchains? Ian Friend: We chose DAG instead of a blockcahin because they are inherently faster and cheaper than blockchains because there are no miners confirming blocks. Each transaction confirms another transaction. This is more suitable for high-speed and low cost transactions like we need to run our financial products Q: What made you decide to start with the Kudi Exchange and why Africa? Ian Friend: Africa is a huge market with billions of people and the existing banking and financial systems are lacking in many ways. They are also open to blockchain technology. Nigeria is the 7th biggest market in the world for BTC trading. Q: Is there any rewards for staking FRM TOKEN in the future? Ian Friend: Yes so there is pseudo staking now thru social mining. community.ferrum.network There will be staking in the UniFyre Wallet and staking once the main net is released in 2020. But for now you can earn thru social mining which allows you to earn FRM based on teh amount you hold plus the value you provide to the ecosystem in the form of tweets, articles, videos, etc. Q: Till now whether they conducted any TPS for their blockchain because we need to have enough security for the transactions which most of the people will show much interest in security blockchain. Through POS layer whether we can hold the coin in order to increase the staking rewards? Ian Friend: Ferrum Network can do thousands of transactions per ssecond and each transaction clears almost instantly. Here is a demo of a BTC transaction on our test net which execute in milliseconds Q: What is your go-to-market strategy? Ian Friend: Depends on the product you are talking about but for Kudi Exchange we are focused on bitcoin traders in Nigeria and also signing up merchants to our point of sale system that is built into the app. Q: What prospects of Ferrum are you most excited about? Ian Friend: UniFyre Wallet, Infinity DEX and laucnhing fiat gateways in parts of the world that really need crypto to help improve their lives. Q: What is your monetary policy? Ian Friend: We are a lean start up. We built Kudi Exchange on less than $100,000. We are very frugal and never waste money. Q: How much fund raised until now, have you reached the softcap? will you do an IEO in the future? Ian Friend: We just did an ICO. Total raised in all rounds was $1.12 million. The last round was $300,000 and we raised it in just a few minutes. Q: What technology stands behind Ferrum Network and why it’s better than the existing one? Ian Friend: So fundamentally it is a DAG based interoperability network which uses decentralied proxy tokens to achieve instant transactions of any digital asset without holding anyones private keys. Q: Currently, there is no public Github repository for the project, do you intend in showcasing the code at some point? Ian Friend: We will be showing more public repositories as we continue. https://github.com/ferrumnet Q: What's your plan after listing on Bitmax? Ian Friend: Binance DEX application was made last week, we are just waiting on the validators to vote. We are in talks with many other exchanges just looking for the right one to list on next. Q: What is the Unifire wallet? and when the Unifire wallet lauch? Ian Friend:https://unifyre.io/ is a non-custodial wallet with many unique features like the ability to recover your assets if you lose your phone, and risk free OTC trading and staking any token. Version 0.1 will be released in the next few months. Later versions will have all the features once main net is live. Q: What are Ferrum weaknesses? Ian Friend: Because of our low raise we dont have a big marketing budget or a budget to spend millions to list on exchanges. We need to work hard and be creative. But it has worked for us so far considering we listed on BItMax 5 days after the ICO. We also need to hire more engineers. If anyone here is a developer, we are hiring! Q: It's believed that staking on exchanges is a hot trend. Do you have the plan to do staking on Kudi Exchange? Ian Friend: Not on Kudi but we will have staking of FRM on UniFyre with the push of a button. Once main net is out UniFyre will enable the staking of any token even those that do not use smart contracts like BEP-2 tokens! Q: What is the biggest problem that Ferrum team has faced? and how has your team solved it? Ian Friend: Many challenges but one big one was the trend in crypto to raise money and list on an exhange before any product was built or there were users. We raised only after we built Kudi Exchange. I hope this trend continues and people do not fall for "vaporware" projetcs anymore The other big one is providing a banking app to the unbanked in Africa. With Kudi you can send real money using What's App, and access US Dollar stable coins from the same app. This had never been done before Kudi. Q: Can you share more details about the relationship between Ferrum and Gemini? What's the benefit for user under the partnership? Ian Friend: Sure so we partnered with Gemini to become the only app in West Afica offering a US Dollar backed stable coin. This means our Nigerian users can hedge out of volatile bitcoin, and also hedge out of their own fiat currency, which has lost 50% of its value since 2013. We are now looking to partner with other stable coin providers to offer alternatives to GUSD. Q: What is your inflation and deflation in Tokenomics? Ian Friend: All investor tokens are unlocked after 3 months so after that you dont have to worry about "dumping". The rest are locked up over the course of years and only slowly released. One unique thing we are doing is called the Traction Based Reserve wher tokens are unlcoked only based on the amount of burned tokens. Q: I heard a lot people said: DEX is the future so Centralized exchange will dead. so why Ferrum don't develop DEX only? Ian Friend: I agree in the long term DEXes are the future. But we will still need CEXs as fiat onramps/offramps. These fiat gateways are stil regulated by the financial rules, and therefore cannot be fully decentralized. At Ferrum, we have fiat gateways to buy crypto with fiat, but then you enter into a decentralized non-custodial ecosystem which has inherent benefits in terms of costs, privacy, speeds, and global reach. Ian Friend: Thank you all for attending! Please join our channel for all things Ferrum: https://t.me/ferrum_network https://www.facebook.com/groups/Coin98.Net/about/
In case you missed it: Major Crypto and Blockchain News from the week ending 12/14/2018
Developments in Financial Services
A cryptocurrency exchange-traded product (ETP) that trades on Switzerland’s Six Exchange saw record trading volumes on Thursday and Friday last week, suggesting that institutional investors may be buying the dip in cryptocurrencies. Four major cryptocurrencies underlie the HODL ETP, including Bitcoin (BTC), Ripple (XRP), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), and Bitcoin Cash (BCH). While HODL ETP’s one-month average daily trading is 20,000 shares, on Thursday, December 6th, and Friday, December 7th, 53,233 shares and 62.986 shares were traded, respectively.
A report published last week by global anti-money laundering policymaker, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), indicates that cryptocurrency exchanges in the United Kingdom pose a, “low risk,” for money laundering and terrorist financing activities. The report, however, does highlight that such activities on UK cryptocurrency exchanges are an, “emerging risk,” although there is not yet enough evidence to suggest that these activities are occurring through cryptocurrency exchanges. In its report, the FATF urged UK regulators to, “Continue to develop an understanding of emerging risks (such as virtual currencies) and intelligence gaps, and take appropriate action.”
Andreas Utermann, CEO and CIO of Allianz Global Investors, called on global financial regulators to ban cryptocurrencies while speaking at a panel discussion in London. According to a report by Reuters, Utermann said, “You should outlaw it,” while participating in a panel alongside Andrew Bailey, the head of Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority. Bailey responded by saying that Utermann’s comments were, “quite strong,” before adding that cryptocurrencies have, “no intrinsic value.”
Basis, a major US-based stablecoin project, is shutting down its operations and returning most of its funds to investors, according to a report by crypto news outlet The Block. The report by The Block cited, “multiple people with direct knowledge of the situation,” in claiming that the algorithmic stablecoin project, which generated UDS$133mm of funding through private investments in April, will return funds to investors. According to the Co-Founder and CEO of competing stablecoin project Nevin Freeman, Basis’ shutdown is due to regulatory concerns around one of its token types. Freeman explained, highlighting that algorithmic stablecoins implement a “secondary token”, known as a “bond token”, to help maintain the primary token’s peg. In many cases, regulators like the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) consider these secondary tokens to be securities.
Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by daily trading volume, announced that it has added Circle’s US dollar-pegged stablecoin, USD Coin (USDC), to its combined Stablecoin Market. Circle, a company backed by Goldman Sachs, first released its stablecoin in September of this year. Binance’s combined Stablecoin Market features other notable stablecoins, like Tether (USDT), that trade against cryptocurrencies as interchangeable base pairs.
Coinone, a South Korea-based cryptocurrency exchange, has officially launched Cross, a cross-border payments application that leverages Ripple’s xCurrent product to increase efficiencies. The application, released by Coinone’s payments subsidiary, Coinone Transfer, targets unbanked or underbanked South Koreans by enabling the transfer of funds to Thailand or the Philippines at a low cost.
Gemini, a cryptocurrency exchange heralded by the Winklevoss twins, released an official company blog post this weekend announcing that the firm will support Bitcoin Cash (BCH) custody and trading. The exchange will support only the Bitcoin Cash ABC network at this time, adding that they, “are continuing to evaluate Bitcoin SV over the coming weeks or months, and we may or may not choose to support withdrawals and/or trading of Bitcoin SV in the future.” Additionally, the company detailed that its listing of BCH is pending regulatory approval by the New York State Department of Financial Services.
Gemini, the cryptocurrency trading platform founded by the Winklevoss twins, announced the launch of a mobile crypto trading application in an official blog post today. Accompanying the launch of the crypto trading app is a new investment vehicle, dubbed, “The Cryptoverse,” that is comprised of a basket of cryptocurrencies weighted by market capitalization. While speaking to Bloomberg today, Cameron Winklevoss said that, “A lot of our decisions have perhaps given off a perception that we’re more institutional-based. The reality of the situation is that we have a diverse customer base. And the retail story is just beginning.” The Winklevoss twins went on to detail of a goal to expand reach to Asian markets by 2019’s end.
Good Money, a US neo-banking platform, has closed its Series A investment round that generated USD$30mm led by cryptocurrency-focused merchant bank Galaxy Digital and the founder of EOS (EOS) Block.one. Good Money aims to provide a variety of banking service and certain financial instruments to US account holders while exploring innovative changes to traditional banking practices. “Modern banking is a primary driver of so many issues we as a society face – from economic inequality, institutional racism, environmental destruction to political corruption,” said Good Money founder Gunnar Lovelace. Specifically, Good Money eliminates ATM fees while offering each bank user equity in the company.
Kraken, a notable cryptocurrency exchange, is seeking to raise funding with a USD$4bn valuation for the company and a USD$100,000 investment minimum, according to CoinDesk. In an email to investors, Kraken CEO Jesse Powell wrote, “There is presently a limited time opportunity available to a very small select number of clients to purchase shares.” The email goes on to detail that the exchange will close its offer on December 16th.
OKEx, the second-largest cryptocurrency exchange by daily trading volume, will begin listing Bitcoin Cash ABC under the original Bitcoin Cash ticker (BCH), as per an official announcement Tuesday. Additionally, OKEx will change the Bitcoin Cash SV ticker from BCHSV to BSV. The announcement by OKEx comes after other notable cryptocurrency exchanges have made the same switch, including Coinbase and Gemini.
PayPal, an online payments portal, has launched its own internal private blockchain platform that will allow staff to trade and exchange tokens while generating ideas and participating in programs to foster innovation, as per a report by news outlet Cheddar. The private blockchain network, which was built by 25 PayPal employees in just 6 months, will allow employees to earn more for enrolling in learning and development programs. The PayPal tokens are not tradeable, or worth anything for that matter, outside PayPal’s blockchain.
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), a big four consulting firm, is partnering with Bitfury Group, a large blockchain software and mining firm, to develop a blockchain accelerator specific to Russian businesses. As per an official press release by PwC, the partnership will leverage Exonum, Bitfury’s open source framework to build blockchain applications, for educational courses and seminars. The partnership aims to meet the, “current needs,” of PwC’s enterprise clients in Russia.
Revolut, a digital banking alternative with an in-application cryptocurrency exchange, announced that it has been awarded a European banking license. Seeking to become the, “Amazon of banking,” the license will allow Revolut to offer traditional banking services alongside its current cryptocurrency offerings to European customers. Nikolay Storonsky, Founder and CEO of Revolut, said in regards to the newly acquired license that, “With the banking license now secured, commission-free stock trading progressing well, and five new international markets at final stages of launch, we are living up to our reputation as the ‘Amazon of Banking’. Our vision is simple: one ap with tens of millions of users, where you can manage every aspect of your financial life with the best value and technology.”
Shinhan Bank, the second-largest commercial bank in South Korea, is launching a new project to implement blockchain technology in its internal processes with a goal of eliminating human error. According to a report by news outlet The Korea Times, Shinhan also recently completed a training program for its staff to increase their knowledge of blockchain technology across various applications. After Shinhan implemented blockchain technology for interest rate swap transactions on November 30th, South Korea’s second-largest bank is now aiming to apply the technology in its record-keeping process to enhance overall efficiencies.
SolarisBank, Germany’s second-largest and Europe’s ninth-largest stock exchange, is partnering with Stuttgart Exchange Group, a German fintech company, to jointly develop a cryptocurrency exchange. As per a report by Cointelegraph Germany, the joint cryptocurrency exchange venture, “is scheduled to launch in the first half of 2019.” This news comes after SolarisBank announced plans to launch a zero-fee cryptocurrency trading application this past May.
The Canadian city of Calgary is becoming the first city in Canada to launch a digital version of its local currency, according to a report by the Global News. Dubbed as the Calgary Digital Dollar, the digital currency will be exclusive to Calgary and operate alongside the country’s Canadian Dollar. Calgary-based businesses will now be required by law to accept at least 10% of a payment in digital currency, although they are allowed to accept up to 100%.
The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) is launching a pilot of its Global Payment Initiative (GPI) to combat growing blockchain and fintech solutions, according to an official announcement last week. Currently, the SWIFT Network is used by global financial institutions to conduct global financial payments and cross-border transfers of fiat currency. Although the project is still in its early stages, the GPI pilot hopes to, “build the foundation of a new integrated and interactive service that will significantly improve efficiencies in the payments process and which will ultimately be made available to all 10,000 banks across the SWIFT network.”
The United Arab Emirates’(UAE) central bank is partnering with the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) to develop a cryptocurrency to facilitate cross border transactions between the two countries, according to a report by news outlet GulfNews. In a meeting pertaining to global banking standards and regulation in the Arab region, Mubarak Rashed Al Mansouri, the governor of the UAE’s central bank, said, “This is probably the first time ever that witnesses the cooperation of monetary authorities from different countries on this topic and we hope that this achievement will foster similar collaboration in our region.” The prospective digital currency will be used by both central banks and financial institutions in the countries.
TokenSoft, a security token offering (STO) startup, has acquired a 20% stake in regulated broker-dealer Marpine Securities LLC in order to launch its own regulated broker-dealer. After acquiring the 20% stake, TokenSoft will launch its new regulated broker-dealer entity, called TokenSoft Global Markets, that will be registered through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). The new regulated broker-dealer entity will allow TokenSoft to advise token issuers through every step of the Initial Coin Offering (ICO) process. Additionally, TokenSoft will now be able to legally operate in services related to insurance and management.
Tom Lee, co-founder of Fundstrat Global Advisors and a notable cryptocurrency pundit, believes that the current fair value of Bitcoin (BTC) is between USD$13,800 and USD$14,800, according to a note published on Thursday. Lee arrived at this valuation by taking into account the number of active wallet addresses, usage per account, and other supply and demand metrics. Additionally, Lee forecasted that the fair value of BTC will reach USD$150,000/coin once BTC wallets account for 7% of Visa’s 4.5bn account holders.
UAE Exchange, an exchange based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is partnering with Ripple to launch a blockchain-based cross-border remittances platform by 1Q2019, as per a Reuters report on Thursday. The report details further that Finablr, a payments and foreign exchange company that owns UAE Exchange, observes a high level of remittance inflows from expatriate workers in the Middle East region. “We expect to go live with Rippel by Q1, 2019 with two other Asian banks,” said Finablr CEO Promoth Manghat, adding, “This is for remittances to start with, from across the globe into Asia.”
De Nederlandsche Bank, the Netherlands’ central bank, will soon require domestic cryptocurrency providers to obtain a license from the regulator to operate, as per a report by Dutch news outlet DeTelegraaf. The Netherlands' central bank is taking these measures in the hope that it will, “prevent such cryptocurrencies from being used to launder money obtained through crime or to fund terrorism.” In order to receive a license, cryptocurrency firms must maintain Know-Your-Customer procedures and report any suspicious activity to the Dutch central bank.
Eddie Hughes, a conservative member of the United Kingdom’s Parliament, suggested that Bitcoin (BTC) should be accepted as legal tender for tax and utility payments, according to news outlet Express.co.uk. The article discusses that Hughes, who is a self-described, “crypto enthusiast with amateur knowledge,” recently met with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, which accepts cryptocurrency donations. This news comes after the US state of Ohio announced that it would begin accepting BTC as legal tender for tax payments.
Following a case in Canadian courts that resulted in a ruling ordering mistakenly sent crypto funds to be returned to their owner, a blog post from the University of Oxford Faculty of Law is noting that there could be repercussions with the case potentially setting a precedent for lost or stolen cryptocurrency claims. The Canadian court case’s ruling will require defendant Brian Wall to return USD$370,482 worth of Ethereum (ETH) tokens to the plaintiff, Copytrack. The blog post from the University of Oxford Faculty of Law reads, ‘This precedent may have major repercussions for the enforcement of claims regarding lost or stolen cryptocurrencies,” adding that the ruling allows the plaintiff to recover tokens, “in whatsoever hands those Ether Tokens may currently be held.”
Japan’s government is considering plans to ease cryptocurrency taxes in an effort to revitalize the domestic cryptocurrency and blockchain industry. This week, Japanese Congressman Takeshi Fujimaki proposed four significant changes to taxation requirements pertaining to digital assets, which include: a reduction on the cryptocurrency gains tax from 55% to 20%; elimination of taxes on crypto-to-crypto payments; elimination of taxes on miniscule cryptocurrency payments; and an adjustment that would allow cryptocurrency investors to carry forward losses across quarters and years, effectively until cryptocurrencies are ‘cashed’ out.
Jay Clayton, Chairman for the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (US SEC), said during a speech that Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), “can be effective,” for fundraising, but that, “securities laws must be followed.” Clayton went on in his speech to comment on the US SEC’s work regarding distributed ledger technology (DLT), digital assets, and ICOs, saying that it is an, “area where the Commission and staff have spent a significant amount of time,” and, “that this trend will continue in 2019.”
Jay Clayton, the Chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), expressed his optimism for distributed ledger technology’s potential impact on traditional financial markets in a testimony before the US Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs yesterday. According to a transcript published on the SEC’s website, Clayton said, “I am optimistic that developments in distributed ledger technology can help facilitate capital formation, providing promising investment opportunities for both institutional and Main Street Investors.” Additionally, Clayton highlighted that the SEC is, “Focusing a significant amount of attention and resources on digital assets and initial coin offerings (ICOs).”
Maxim Akimov, the Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, announced that no significant changes will be made to the draft of a bill concerning cryptocurrency regulation in the country, as per news outlet Finmarket. The bill was already approved by Russia’s parliament, the State Duma, in May 2018, although the bill has generated substantial discussion since. Since approval of the bill, all cryptocurrency and token-related terminology have been removed and replaced with the term “digital rights”. At the beginning of December, Pavel Krasheninnikov, Chairman of Russia’s State Duma, said that the bill needed to be, “significantly,” changed.
Pan Gongsheng, a deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China, highlighted that Security Token Offerings (STOs) in China are illegal while speaking at a summit in Beijing. As per a report by news outlet the South China Morning Post, Gongsheng told the summit that, “illegal financing activities through STOs and ICOs were still rampant in the mainland despite a nationwide clean-up of the cryptocurrency market last year.” In citing reasoning for the continued ban on STOs, Gongsheng explained that, “Virtual money has become an accomplice to all kinds of illegal and criminal activities.”
Pantera Capital, a blockchain and cryptocurrency-focused investment firm and hedge fund, is warning investors that as much as a quarter of their ICO project could potentially be violating US securities laws, according to a Bloomberg report. In a newsletter to clients, Pantera Capital warned, “While we believe the vast majority of the projects in our portfolio should not be affected, approximately 25% of our fund’s capital is invested in other projects with liquid tokens that sold to US investors without using Regulation D or Regulation S”
Russia has no intention of implementing Venezuela’s state-backed digital currency, the Petro, into commercial operations, according to a report by news outlet RIA Novosti. While speaking to reporters this week, Russian Deputy Finance Minister Sergey Storchak said, “Representatives from our tax service and central bank... got acquainted with the cryptocurrency Venezuela is introducing,” adding, “But no more than that. As for payments, they’re not happening yet.”
South Korea’s representative body, the National Assembly, held its first official meeting with seven of the country’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges on Monday. The purpose of the meeting was to debate cryptocurrency regulation between stakeholders of South Korea’s cryptocurrency industry. Cryptocurrency exchanges Bithumb, CobitCoin, Coinone, Upbit, Gopax, Coinplug, and Hanbitco were among the attendees of the debate, which reportedly focused on Anti-Money Laundering (AML) customer protections and Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures.
The United Kingdom’s Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an intergovernmental financial security body, is calling on the country’s government to increase monitoring of cryptocurrency markets. According to an official report last week, the UK must overhaul its Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and combat terrorist financing (CFT) efforts in order to prevent illicit activities with cryptocurrencies. “Virtual currency exchange providers are not yet covered by AML/CFT requirements,” the report details, adding, “this is an emerging risk and there is not yet evidence to suggest that broad scale ML/TF is occurring in the UK through this relatively small sector.”
The United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is interested in learning more about the Ethereum (ETH) network, its technology, and the markets build around it. On Tuesday, the CFTC published a Request for Input (RFI) that requests the public’s feedback on different questions concerning Ethereum. The RFI explains that its goal is to inform the CFTC about Ethereum and similar emerging technology, saying, “The input from this request will advance the CFTC’s mission of ensuring the integrity of the derivatives market as well as monitoring and reducing the systematic risk by enhancing legal certainty in the markets. The RFI seeks to understand the similarities and distinctions between certain virtual currencies, including here ether and bitcoin, as well as ether-specific opportunities, challenges, and risks.”
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (US SEC) is ordering that cryptocurrency asset manager CoinAlpha Advisors LLC pay a USD$50,000 fine, alleging that the firm conducted an unregistered securities sale. After forming in October 2017, CoinAlpha raised more than USD$600,000 from investors to invest in digital assets. In an official release, the US SEC said that CoinAlpha did not file a Notice of Exempt Offering of Securities, meaning that the firm breached securities laws by soliciting securities investors. Additionally, the firm allegedly did not adhere to proper know-your-customer procedures to verify that investors were accredited.
Venezuela is reportedly beginning to convert its citizens’ monthly pension payments into Petros, Venezuela’s controversial state and oil-backed cryptocurrency, according to a report by local economics blog the Caracas Chronicles. The conversion of Venezuelan pensioners’ payments into Petros came after the country already sent pensioners their monthly payment in the form of a check for Venezuelan Bolivars -- normally, upon receiving their check, pensioners would deposit their funds into a bank account where they could then withdraw fiat from local branches. The Venezuelan government, however, converted pensioners’ fiat payments into the Petro upon their deposit into a bank. In the first few weeks of the Petro’s existence, its value has risen from 9,000 to more than 15,000.
Warren Davidson, an Ohio Congressman and notable advocate of blockchain and digital assets, is floating blockchain technology as a solution to fund US President Donald Trump’s prospective US-Mexico border wall. While interviewing with NPR, Congressman Davidson suggested, “the American people, or whomever should choose to donate,” could pay for the border wall, adding, “you could do it with sort of like a crowdfunding site or you could do a blockchain and you could have WallCoins.”
“The long-term value of Bitcoin (BTC) is more likely to be USD$100 than USD$100,000,” says Kenneth Rogoff, a former Chief Economist for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the current Harvard University Professor of Economics and Public Policy. While writing an article for major UK news outlet The Guardian, Rogoff highlighted that, because BTC’s use is limited to transactions, it makes the digital asset more vulnerable to a bubble-like collapse. Rogoff also cited that BTC’s energy-intensive verification processes is, “vastly less efficient,” than systems that leverage, “a trusted central authority like a central bank.”
A new report by PeckShield, a blockchain security company that monitors various cryptocurrency ecosystems, details that decentralized applications (DApps) on the EOS (EOS) blockchain have lost as much as USD$1mm in hacks since July 2018. The report details further that DApps on the EOS network have sustained 27 breaches since July, which are responsible for the up to 400,000 EOS that have been compromised from hacks. Guo Yonggang, a blockchain security expert cited in a report on the matter by crypto media firm Blockchain Truth, believes that the hacks can be attributed to security problems with the DApps themselves, rather than with the EOS network.
A new study published by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance on Wednesday finds that the number of unique ID-verified cryptocurrency users nearly doubled in in the first 3 quarters of 2018. The study details that total ID-verified users increased to 35mm in the first three quarters of 2018 from 18mm at the end of 2017, representing an increase of 94%. As per an analysis of the study by Bloomberg, the growth of crypto’s userbase despite the market decline, “could signal that an eventual recovery could be coming.”
Amid the continued cryptocurrency sell-off, only two cryptocurrency mining machines remain profitable, according to real-time data from ASICMinerValue.com. ASICMInerValue.com, which calculates the profitability of Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) miners, indicates that only indicates that only the Ebank Ebit E11++ and ASICminer 8 Nano 44Th mining models are profitable for mining cryptocurrencies based on the SHA-256 hash function -- notable cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) use this has function.
Bitmain, a large Chinese cryptocurrency mining firm, announced that it is closing its development center in Israel, citing current cryptocurrency market conditions. In closing Bitmaintech Israel, the crypto mining giant was forced to fire all 23 employees. Among the employees let go is Gadi Glikberg, head of Bitmain’s Israeli branch and Vice President of International Sales, who said on the recent market turmoil, “The crypto market has undergone a shake-up in the past few months, which has forced Bitmain to examine its various activities around the globe and to refocus its business in accordance with the current situation.”
Busan, a major South Korean city, will be the beneficiary of the South Korean government’s plan to spend 4bn Korean won (USD$3.5mm) to establish a blockchain-enabled virtual power plant (VPP). As per a report by South Korean news outlet Yonhap News Agency, the project will be angled as a national competition in 2019, hosted by South Korea’s largest electric utility, Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO). The VPP will integrate the idle capacities of multiple energy resources through a cloud-based distributed ledger in order to optimize power generation and decrease costs.
Church’s Chicken, a large international fast food franchise, is partnering with Dash Venezuela to accept cryptocurrencies in its Venezuelan locations. According to an official press release, 13 Church’s Chicken establishments will begin accepting Dash (DASH) as payment following, “extensive and rigorous days of training,” staff to understand cryptocurrencies. With the addition of Church’s Chicken, more than 2,200 establishments in Venezuela accept DASH as payment.
Crypto.com, a Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency payments platform, announced the appointment of former PayPal executive Tyson Hackwood to serve as the firm’s Vice President and Head of Global Merchant Acquisition in an official press release today. Crypto.com aims to increase cryptocurrency adoption by both merchants and consumers through their point-of-sale (PoS) transaction terminals. Crypto.com CEO Kris Marszalek believes that Hackwood will be integral in furthering this goal, saying, “As we develop the Crypto.com Chain to fulfill the current industry need to pay and be paid in crypto, Tyson will play an important role in expanding the number and quality of merchants that are part of our network.”
Hyperledger, a notable blockchain consortium, is continuing its robust expansion after announcing the addition of 16 new members at the Hyperledger Global Forum in Basel, Switzerland. Among the notables to join the consortium are, Alibaba Cloud, Citigroup’s Citi Ventures arm, and Deutsche Telekom. The latest addition of 16 members brings the total membership of Hyperledger to more than 260 different companies. In a public statement, Hyperledger Executive Director Brian Behlendorf said that, “The growing Hyperledger community reflects the increasing importance of open source efforts to build enterprise blockchain technologies across industries and markets. The latest members showcase the widening interest in and impact of DLT and Hyperledger."
Jeremy Henrickson, the former Chief Product Officer at Coinbase, has departed the US-based cryptocurrency exchange after serving since July 2016. “Jeremy’s contributions to Coinbase over the past two years were invaluable,” said a Coinbase spokesperson, adding that, “he helped to build our scrappy startup team into a high-functioning product and engineering organization -- overseeing a 5x+ growth of the team.” Henrickson’s departure comes after long-term Coinbase executives Adam White and Hunter Merghart left the US-based cryptocurrency exchange in recent months.
LinkedIn’s, “2018 U.S. Emerging Jobs,” report released on Thursday ranks the role of blockchain developer as the fastest growing job in the United States. The report by LinkedIn indicates that blockchain developer jobs have increased 33-fold in the past 12 months alone. San Francisco, New York City, and Atlanta are among the cities with the highest demand for blockchain developer jobs.
Orbs, a unique hybrid blockchain platform, raised more than USD$15mm in cryptocurrencies to fund its development of a public blockchain, according to a company blog post. South Korean application provider Kakao lead the fundraising efforts with a representative telling CoinDesk that the company, “always seeks to invest and support innovative startups, and Orbs is a good example.” In total, Orbs raised 139,000 Ether (ETH) and 892 Bitcoin (BTC), amounting to roughly USD$15.4mm. Orbs aims to build a public blockchain with this funding that is, “universal,” and, “scalable,” for decentralized applications (DApps) with the, “liquidity of a base layer.”
Samsung has reportedly filed patent applications for three different blockchain-related trademark requests that all pertain directly to smartphones, according to news outlet Galaxy Club. Specifically, the patents named “Blockchain KeyStore”, “Blockchain Key Box”, and “Blockchain Core” all pertain to cryptocurrency custody capabilities on smartphones. This news comes amid the release of HTC’s Exodus 1 and Sirin Labs’ FINNEY, both of which are being marketed as blockchain smartphones with cryptocurrency custody capabilities.
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