Category Archives: Dollar

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Ready Steady Go: On Your Marks for the Stablecoin Steeple Chase

With Japanese regulators confirming that stablecoins do not fit the definition of cryptocurrencies outlined in the country’s Payment Services Act, the stablecoin chase seems well and truly on in that country and, so it appears, everywhere else.

As Bitcoin News reported yesterday, according to the FSA, firms issuing stablecoins in Japan need not register for licenses, though they may need to register for issuing payment instruments. Significantly, this clarification of the FSA’s 2017 guidelines means that large stablecoin transactions, up to JPY 1 million (around USD 9,000) can be made unhindered by the same guidelines which apply to other transactions.

A stablecoin is a cryptocurrency pegged against something of widely-accepted value such as a state currency, typically the US dollar, giving it price-stable characteristics. It is seen by some as a safe hedge against the volatility of conventional cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Ethereum. Currently, they are underutilized apart from traders using them to guard their positions during bear markets.

What is the current state of play in the apparent rush towards stablecoins? There seems to be no stopping the charge as the London Block Exchange (LBX) announced its plans to launch the LBXPeg, a stablecoin backed by the UK pound recently.

LBX has stated the current stablecoin market needs disruption due to many firms’ lack of transparency, commenting that “many available stablecoin offerings are inadequate for the needs of businesses, traders and consumers” and citing “opaque management structures, distribution schedules, and auditing processes”.

Nick Tomaino, founder of @1confirmation, calls stablecoins “the holy grail of cryptocurrency”, suggesting that coins such as Bitcoin were too prone to volatility. Tomaino suggests that the US dollar is a fiat working example of stability. The dollar falls down as a stablecoin, primarily because it lacks user control being dependent on the Federal Reserve and the US banking system.

The Winkevoss Twin would clearly agree with Tomiano’s “holy grail” epithet, given their recent success with the New York regulator. The Gemini Dollar, launched by the Winklevoss twins, will allow users a one-to-one exchange on the US dollar on the Ethereum blockchain.

A Hong Kong-based blockchain investment firm is also planning to launch a new stablecoin backed by the Japanese yen. The company, Grandshores Technology Group, will launch the funding round in late 2018 or early 2019. Grandshore feels that the stablecoins will have mileage on release. It argues:

“We believe cryptocurrency traders and exchanges will be potential takers of these stablecoins… We are entering the next stage of blockchain evolution, a stage which is akin to when computer operating system was transiting from MS-DOS to MS-Windows.”

Australia company Bill Trade, which launches its own coin next year, sees stablecoins as solving “one of the principal issues that may drive investors seeking steady returns and merchants that currently accept traditional currency away from digital currencies: volatility”.

The chase is on.

 

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Argentinian Economy Nosedive Attracts Crypto Investors as Peso Falls

Argentina is not quite undergoing the pain of Venezuela but it’s beginning to feel the economic pressure, driving numerous investors to Bitcoin as a safe haven for their pesos.

The Argentinian economy has shrunk by 4% during the second quarter, with President Mauricio Macri’s government announcing that it expects the economy to shrink further by 2.4% this year. One of the causes of the slump has been attributed to a drought that occurred early in 2018 which severely damaged soybean and corn production.

Fausto Spotorno, Director of the Buenos Aires-based Center for Economic Studies observed that the downturn was due to crop failure, saying: “That really hurt growth in the quarter… The second quarter is when we harvest soybeans and corn, so there was a big drop in agricultural production.”

As a result, peso’s value has fallen. This has affected the morale of both investors and savers, consequently opening them up to the Bitcoin market. Economist and mathematician D.H. Taylor writes:

“Argentinians are moving in large numbers out of their peso and into a more stable currency, BTC. The numbers being witnessed by the markets in BTC are surging from Argentina,” adding that “The stability being offered by the digital currency is far greater than the peso and Argentinians are moving in quickly.”

The Argentinian government is now looking at Bitcoin with real intent as the economy begins to falter and efforts by the Central Bank have made absolutely no impact. As a result, it’s been reported that the Central bank may even be considering investing their currency reserves into Bitcoin and US dollars to gain some stability in case of a further need to devaluate the peso.

In May of this year, a massive peso selloff forced the government to seek support from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), receiving a $50 billion bailout and contributions towards a public works fund as inflation continues to rise.

Meanwhile, the demand for BTC is rising with 12 ATMs scheduled for the capital Buenos Aries and plans to saturate the country with more machines, and more merchants are now accepting payments in Bitcoin.

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Cryptocurrency Market Decline Caused by Strengthening Dollar

A senior market analyst at eToro, Mati Greenspan, recently produced a commentary on cryptocurrency market. He argued that the recent market decline is a product of the strengthening US dollar.
 
As the dollar continued to perform well in recent weeks, fuelled by policies tightening the economy with the intention of preventing high inflation, the economies of emerging markets struggled to maintain the strength of their own currencies. Greenspan believes this has affected cryptocurrencies in the same way.
 
In the commentary that was shared with CCN, Greenspan compared the movements in the crypto market with those of local fiat currencies in emerging markets, noting that they mirror one another. While investors in these markets are choosing to invest in cryptocurrencies when their local currency is on the decline, Greenspan said that the US dollar is still the most popular reserve currency of choice.
 
His analysis suggests that many smaller economies rely on a stable exchange rate with the dollar, something threatened by its current appreciation. Additionally, because of its movements, there is less incentive for investors to move their capital into the digital currency market.
 
The value of cryptocurrencies is often regarded as unassociated with the movements of traditional commodities such as gold and oil. But in this case, they have been fluctuating in the same ways, in reaction to the surging dollar. It is common for these commodities to lose value in the face of the increasing dollar value. The digital currency market has followed suit this time.
 
As the past several days have seen the movement of the dollar slow down, currencies such as the lira, rand, and peso have begun to recover. As Greenspan’s analysis would suggest, so has the cryptocurrency market. Market capitalization hit USD 216 billion Friday from a Monday total of USD 190 billion.
 
An alternative analysis of the decline from Arthur Hayes, CEO of cryptocurrency derivatives exchange BitMEX, suggested that ICO-funded startups were cashing out capital before losing any more in another market dip.
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