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CFTC Commissioner Says Sheer Pace of Fintech Has Stalled Bakkt Type Approvals

CFTC Commissioner Says Sheer Pace of Fintech Has Stalled Bakkt Type Approvals

CFTC Commissioner Christopher Giancarlo believes that the current period of innovation makes it challenging to approve proposals like Bakkt.

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is an independent agency of the US government created in 1974, that regulates futures and options markets.

Bakkt had promised prospective clients it would request permission from the CFTC to provide the first Bitcoin futures that would be physically deliverable daily, as well as storing clients Bitcoin in a physical warehouse on their behalf. The CFTC suggested that Bakkt registers as a trust company to circumnavigate stalling compliancy issues.

With the news that the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the owners of the New York Stock Exchange, is now attempting to facilitate the launch of its delayed Bakkt platform by obtaining a New York cryptocurrency license, the complications that new crypto projects face are a sign of the times according to Giancarlo, who clarified the difficulties:

“The first is that we live in a period of exponential technological change. That is, the sheer speed of innovation has increased exponentially, both in terms of production of new models and products and their subsequent public adoption.”

Giancarlo makes it clear that the pace of change within the industry means that regulators simply can’t catch up with new innovations without what he calls “heightened technological literacy across leaders in business and government.”

However, he points out that cryptocurrency innovation could have saved the 2008 global financial crisis, commenting, “Today I want to take stock of the current state of blockchain technology and renew a focus on how it can impact – and improve – our markets,” adding:

“But imagine what a difference it would have made a decade ago on the eve of the financial crisis if regulators had access to the real-time trading ledgers of large Wall Street banks, rather than trying to assemble piecemeal data to recreate complex, individual trading portfolios.”

 

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John McAfee Claims $1 Million Bitcoin Prediction Based on Math

John McAfee Claims  Million Bitcoin Prediction Based on Math

John McAfee’s explanation for his USD 1 million Bitcoin price by the end of 2020 is all down to mathematics, according to the high flying tech mogul.

A recent McAfee Tweet offering to the market suggested that it would be “mathematically impossible” that one BTC will be less than USD 1 million “by the end of 2020”.

A brave claim worth investigating. Assuming Bitcoin remains around it current price for the next 24 hours, a good place to start from, now sitting at USD 5,277, it needs launch on a head-spinning lift off increasing by 20,000% in order to reach McAfee’s 2020 USD 1 million target. The leap in 2017, regarded by many as highly unexpected and unrepeatable saw a 20-times leap in the value of the flagship coin before it just as rapidly crashed to earth in 2018.

It is worth noting McAfee’s last big prediction of USD 500,000 by the end of 2020 made in 2017 is still current, so he does have the advantage of a fallback position should he wish to hedge his bets as the end of next year approaches, assuming Bitcoin is flying into the stratosphere.

McAfee’s math told him that his early prediction priced Bitcoin at USD 5,000 by the end of 2017, and it to be fair it had already doubled that by December to USD 10,000. A simple annual doubling up process, however, would not have taken Bitcoin to his original USD 500,000 prediction by the end of 2020; in fact, a mathematical total based on doubling would be closer to USD 80,000, but still no mean feat, and great for those BTC holders buying in 2017. McAfee was clearly hoping for a 20-times annual leap over the span over four years to get to his mammoth target.

Wences Casares, CEO of Xapo and a director at PayPal, is going for Bitcoin reaching USD 1 million in the next 7 to 10 years, but still gives McAfee’s claims a hint of a chance. Casares uses his own equation by multiplying the total of Bitcoin Hodlers with USD 7,000 and given there are 3 billion owners globally, then the currency could be worth USD 1 million with a fixed BTC supply of 20 million units.

No stranger to controversy, McAfee’s latest media offering has suggested that he is not ready to release the identity of Bitcoin’s founder yet, but has revealed:

“It is NOT the CIA nor any agency of any world government. It IS a collection of people, but the white paper was written by one man, who currently resides in the US.”

 

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2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang Hits Out at BitLicense

2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang Hits Out at BitLicense

Pro-Bitcoin Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang is calling for more clarity in regulating cryptocurrencies slamming BitLicence as “onerous”.

BitLicence, the business license of virtual currency activities issued by the New York State Department of Financial Services, has again come under fire in the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate’s latest comments.

Yang is an American entrepreneur, philanthropist and the founder of Venture for America. He worked in startups and early-stage growth companies as a founder or executive from 2000 to 2009. He is one of the few presidential candidates in history to accept crypto donations.

One of the concerning factors of BitLicence that many exchanges cite is its dictatorial approach to regulating the market, even to the extent of instructing exchanges exactly which cryptocurrencies they are permitted to trade. When the BitLicense was first enacted at least ten major cryptocurrency companies shuttered their doors to New York customers, and some people have called this the Great Bitcoin Exodus. Ripple gained their license in 2016 and Coinbase in 2017.

Yang is pushing for much clearer regulation, a well-trodden path by many industry players, arguing that has the US will fall behind due to conflicting regulation measures and such introductions as the Token Taxonomy Act, pointing to Wyoming as a beacon of sensible legislation regarding cryptocurrency. He said:

“It’s time for the federal government to create clear guidelines as to how cryptocurrencies/digital asset markets will be treated and regulated so that investment can proceed with all relevant information.”

Wyoming continues to build legislative bridges between the cryptocurrency system, its underlying blockchain technology, and legacy financial laws of the state. Efforts so far have been channeled towards innovation and improved economic activities of digital assets. Its most recent bill aims to identify and classify digital assets into three categories: digital consumer assets, digital securities, and virtual currency.

The bill mentioned that virtual currency is “intangible personal property and shall be considered money”.

 

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Satoshi’s $1 Million Bitcoin Treasure Hunt Hits Blockstream Satellite

Satoshi's  Million Bitcoin Treasure Hunt Hits Blockstream Satellite

Another Bitcoin treasure hunt is on the way, this time worth USD I million in the flagship cryptocurrency.

Satoshi’s Treasure, designed to “test the resolve, courage, intelligence, and savvy [sic] of would-be hunters”, has been launched through a broadcast to the Blockstream Satellite this week enabling gamesters, hunters and would be millionaires the chance to own 198 BTC at current rates.

The last of such hunts was set in France in January this year when French crypto artist Pascal Boyart hid the public keys to a USD 1,000 in BTC prize in his mural based on Delacroix’s original “Liberty Leading the People” in honor of yellow vest protesters standing up against government cuts in streets of Paris.

The anonymous gamemaster on this occasion has lifted the stakes considerably suggesting that they will provide clues to the one million dollar reward on the website satoshistreasure.xyz with the three magic keys to come. A message reads:

“What you are reading is the first clue in a grand Hunt. It is not the first Hunt, nor of course will it be the last one, but the hunt is MINE, and so it is to me that you must prove yourself.”

The challenge of Satoshi’s Treasure is to find just 400 out of a thousand pieces of the Bitcoin stash’s private key referring to this process as the “splitting magic of the wizard Shamir”, a method employed by Israeli cryptographer Adi Shamir who is said to have originally invented the secret key sharing mechanism, rather than to a magical spell in Lord of the Rings.

The first three keys will be provided over the next three days at three different locations across the globe according to the initial message.  Those solving the riddle using Shamir’s “spell of recombination”, the gamemaster assures his followers, “the treasure will be irrevocably yours”.

 

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Could IMF’s “Learning Coin” Mean a Shift from Fear and Loathing to Acceptance?

Could IMF’s “Learning Coin” Mean A Shift From Fear and Loathing to Acceptance

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank’s recent announcement suggest that they are not quite going crypto, but are nonetheless launching a private blockchain complete with a coin. And this could have major implications for world finance.

Although the “Learning Coin” may be a new concept that the two financial giants have carefully designed to carry no monetary value, but with plenty of stored intellectual content, this could be seen as an indication that change is in the air when it comes to the financial establishment’s tolerance-come-actual-interest in cryptocurrency as 2020 approaches.

When these two agencies make a murmur, the financial establishment pricks up their ears. The intention seems clear when the IMF states that “the development of crypto-assets and distributed ledger technology is evolving rapidly, as is the amount of information (both neutral and vested) surrounding it”, without accompanying it with the usual criticism of abuse and misuse. That said, IMF chief Lagarde’s concerns are still clear. Her views indicate that it is very much about treading carefully and testing the water at this stage:

“…we don’t want innovation that would shake the system so much that we would lose the stability that is needed.”

Of course, the IMF is always ready to cast one keen protective eye across the global financial landscape, such as in the agency’s recent warnings to Malta regarding its rate of blockchain and cryptocurrency adoption, saying that unchecked proliferation carries “significant risks” for money laundering and terrorism. during a recent financial assessment carried out on the island.

Another hint that the financial establishment may be leading from the top in its softening attitudes towards cryptocurrency can be seen in its recent online poll, on its own website, asking the question asking “How do you think you will be paying for lunch in 5 years?”  — a clear attempt to measure public feelings on cryptocurrency.

This needs to be balanced with the IMF’s stance regarding state cryptocurrencies. To date, it has come down hard on countries considering the move. There is a critical view held by economists in some countries whose governments may be considering moves to adopt a national cryptocurrency, that a mass decentralization of financial power may result in the diminishing of IMF’s authority.

A warning by IMF deputy director Dong last year clearly suggests that the organization may be secretly worried at the movement towards global digital currency adoption. While admitting that cryptocurrency had an advantage over banks when it comes to speed, anonymity, and divisibility, Dong claimed then that Bitcoin’s fixed supply was a disadvantage since that would lead to deflation, which is theorized to reduce economic activity due to money hoarding. According to him, a stable monetary system must protect against deflation.

It remains to be seen how long the IMF can tread this middle path of warnings and dabblings, caught between fear and acceptance of what many in the crypto space see as the inevitable global adoption of cryptocurrency. What of its latest toe in the water; its so-called “hub for knowledge”? It could be just a possible novelty or distraction for the agencies’ Washington-based employees at first glance, but although the two giants watching over the world’s monetary control are not predicting a permanent place for blockchain anytime soon amongst the worlds banking system and even less for cryptocurrency, they are nonetheless peeking under the carpet; not quite fear and loathing, but apprehension with interest.

 

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Two Men Charged as Dubious OneCoin Hits Singapore

Two Men Charged as Dubious OneCoin Hits Singapore

OneCoin, a cryptocurrency listed as fraudulent in the US, has become the subject of a court case in Singapore with two men currently held under arrest for promoting a multi-level marketing scheme.

The men currently being held are facing charges for incorporating a company called One Concept Pte Ltd in violation of Singapore’s Multi-Level Marketing and Pyramid Selling (Prohibition) Act. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) have listed OneCoin and One Concept Pte Ltd on the Investor Alert List (IAL).

A news release over the arrests stated: “the fact that a company is listed on the IAL does not necessarily mean that it has breached any of MAS’ regulations. However, investors should bear in mind that these entities have had a past record of being wrongly perceived by others as being licensed by the MAS when they are not.”

New Zealand is another country which has issued a warning regarding OneCoin in the past. In this case was revealed by the Commercial Affairs Department that the scheme involved the purchasing of educational courses and promotional tokens which could be used to mine OneCoins, a Bulgarian created token with features similar to Bitcoin.

The Singapore Police Force has warned the public about the risks of being involved in any One Concept Pte Ltd marketing schemes and OneCoin itself. If convicted the two men face a maximum jail term of up to five years or a stiff fine which could be as much as USD 200,000.

Singapore has a limited history of cryptocurrency-related crime. The last major case involved a claim of some BTC 3,085 due to a trade reversal by Quoine exchange in 2017 when market maker B2C2 sued Quoine for the unauthorized reversal of 7 trade orders amounting to BTC 3,092, placed by the plaintiff on the defendant’s exchange platform.

 

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Harvard University Backs $50 Million Digital Token Offering

Harvard University Backs  Million Digital Token Offering

Harvard University’s endowment fund has invested in cryptocurrency company Blockstack Inc continuing the trend of educational establishments’ interest in the burgeoning digital payment industry.

Harvard joins a small group of institutional investors that have jumped into crypto assets. Two pension plans in Virginia invested in a venture-capital fund for the blockchain and digital-assets Along with Harvard, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Stanford University, Dartmouth College, and the University of North Carolina (UNC), have all made investments from their endowments into at least one crypto fund in 2018.

Harvard Management currently manages the prestigious university’s USD 39 billion endowments. Blockstack’s USD 50 million digital token offering has been boosted by the endowment fund’s investment of about USD 11.5 million, with Havard Management purchasing 95.8 million company tokens to date.

The trend of university investment in cryptocurrency was commented on last year by Henrik Andersson, chief investment officer of Apollo Capital Fund, when he predicted, “During the coming year we will see a gradual adoption from institutions… We have the first US university endowments investing in funds.” Crypto entrepreneur Mike Novogratz expressed similar views on the impact of institutional investment in Bitcoin at the time:

“The fact that David Swensen [Yale’s chief investment officer] put an investment into Bitcoin — with his reputation on the line, his endowment on the line — tells you something… Some of the smartest people in the investing world think it’s a store of value.”

Keeping the uni connection alive, a network designed by computer scientists at Princeton University will become the backbone of Blockstack’s digital assets called Stacks tokens, which will become a method of tracking stakeholders details on the network itself.

 

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Julian Assange Arrest Provokes Surge of Bitcoin Donations

Julian Assange

Just hours following the arrest of WikiLeak’s founder Julian Assange, the whistleblower site received over 50 fresh Bitcoin donations.

47-year-old Australian Assange was arrested yesterday at the Ecuadorian embassy in London after the South American country had offered him diplomatic protection in 2012; protection which was recently withdrawn allowing for his arrest. The Wikileaks co-founder entered the embassy over six years ago to avoid extradition to Sweden over a sexual assault case which was subsequently dropped. Assange’s next hurdle is to answer US federal conspiracy charges that he leaked US government secrets.

The US Justice Department began investigating the Assange website in 2010. In 2017, after the US banking embargo against WikiLeaks, its leader, Julian Assange, publicly thanked the US government for forcing his organization into relying on Bitcoin donations, reportedly giving WikiLeaks a 50,000% return:

“My deepest thanks to the US government, Senator McCain, and Senator Lieberman for pushing Visa, MasterCard, Paypal, AmEx, Moneybookers, et al, into erecting an illegal banking blockade against WikiLeaks starting in 2010. It caused us to invest in Bitcoin with > 50,000% returns.”

In the few hours following Mr. Assange arrest yesterday receipts to the WikiLeaks account totaled 0.617 BTC, or more than USD 5,000; taking into account pending transactions, that sum increased to 1.365 BTC, or nearly USD 6,900. The wallet has reportedly received nearly 3 BTC since 20 February. Both WikiLeak’s Coinbase and Paypal accounts had previously been suspended.

The 50 plus donations made to the account yesterday represented more than a quarter of the 176 transactions the account received since its first transaction in February of this year.

 

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Major Banks at US Congress Meeting Express Guarded But Tolerant Views on Crypto

Major Banks at US Congress Meeting Express Guarded But Tolerant Views on Crypto

Bank CEOs assembled before the United States House of Representatives Financial Services Committee on 10 April to give their spin on banking’s status quo following the 2008 financial crisis, including the position of cryptocurrencies and blockchain.

Rep. Warren Davidson’s view was that blockchain had found its place in addressing cybersecurity and transforming outmoded financial systems, but felt that regulation was still dragging behind other jurisdictions where progressive measures were being introduced to facilitate the blockchain industry.

A less accusative view than expected was expressed by Jamie Dimon. The chairman and CEO of banking giant JPMorgan Chase suggested that the bank was “supportive of cryptocurrencies as long as they are properly controlled and regulated”. It was noted that Dimon was one one of cryptocurrencies greatest detractors at one time and with the recent issuance by JPMorgan of its JPM coin showed a markedly different view, given prior comments elsewhere. Dimon’s latest spin is that blockchain can work over time, although he still felt that there was “no value behind it (cryptocurrency)” other than what the next person pays.

JPM Coin is the first dollar-backed cryptocurrency from a major bank. It was announced by JP Morgan Chase in February, 2019 as an institution-to-institution service. A permissioned blockchain variant of Ethereum called Quorum is used as the distributed ledger platform.

The Chairman and CEO of the Bank of New York Mellon, Charles Scharf, voiced a guarded approach regarding cryptocurrency’s position in the global financial system, suggesting:

“Cryptocurrencies are very early in their existence. They are not significant today to speak of in terms of being used as a real currency to move value, and so we are actively thinking about what we want to do. One of the biggest issues that we have relates to any money laundering and KYC.”

 

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US Reintroduces Token Taxonomy Act Bill to Clarify Crypto Status

US Reintroduces Token Taxonomy Act Bill to Clarify Crypto Status

A bill designed to exclude cryptocurrencies being defined as securities has been reintroduced for consideration by representatives in the United States House of Representatives.

Warren Davidson (R) and Darren Soto (D) representatives in the United States House of Representatives, introduced the bill, the Token Taxonomy Act last December in an attempt to amend the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Act of 1934 to exclude cryptocurrencies.

The new bill has some carefully chosen amendments included; it clarifies the jurisdictions of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and attempts to challenge the right for jurisdictions to make what it calls “heavy-handed” regulations.

Soto, a long-time champion of blockchain, said that “it is time for the United States to step up and lead in blockchain technology”. He said:

“After months of public input, our Token Taxonomy Act and the Digital Taxonomy Act add critical definition and jurisdiction to create certainty for a strong digital asset market in the United States.  This is an important step to promoting innovation and maximizing the potential of virtual currencies for the US economy, all while protecting customers and the financial well-being of investors.”

Washington has seen a wave of lobby groups campaigning to promote blockchain technology over the past 12 months, to the extent that these number swelled, tripling over the course of 2018, with 33 projects in place by the close of 2018. Much of the growth is thought to be driven by an increase in securities regulation activity by government departments such as the SEC.

 

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