Is DeFi The Future of Crypto Finance? Some Big Industry Names Think So

The hot potato in the world of crypto at the moment is decentralized finance. Satoshi’s original notion of cutting out the bankers is now possible in this new world of digital assets and DeFi protocols. The industry is still embryonic but some of the bigger names in the world of crypto and finance are finally paying attention.
Crypto Wealth Management Built on ETH
By definition decentralized finance is a movement that leverages decentralized networks to transform old financial products into trustless and transparent protocols that run without intermediaries. In essence it is doing away with the banks and middlemen to allow people to manage their own wealth on autonomous networks governed by smart contracts.
DeFi is currently dominated by DAI which is a decentralized hard asset backed, dollar pegged stable coin.  DAI, and the MakerDAO platform uses margin trading to respond to changing market conditions while preserving its value against the major world currencies. Maker is a smart contract platform on the Ethereum blockchain that backs and stabilizes DAI through a series of dynamic feedback systems called Collateralized Debt Positions (CDPs).
By depositing ETH, people can borrow stable DAI to make other investments without risking the loss of ETH, which is what happened to most during the ICO boom. Essentially it is a crypto credit facility that can issue loans at certain interest rates. Stakers are also able to use it to generate interest while protecting their stake. Industry observer Alex Saunders noted that in a world of negative interest rates DeFi could be the answer …

Imagine #Defi Apps offering 10%pa in a world of negative interest rates. Accessing stocks, commodities & tokenised assets. Portfolios auto rebalance. Smart contracts allow custody & insurance. No middlemen taking fees. The future of wealth management is being built on #Ethereum.
— Alex Saunders (@AlexSaundersAU) September 10, 2019

Maker is not the only DeFi platform out there but it is the most popular at the moment. Two others have recently be noticed by crypto exchange giant Coinbase which announced a new fund to invest in the fledgling industry.
Coinbase Invests in DeFi
In a company blog post yesterday, Coinbase stated that it aims to encourage growth in DeFi by channeling funds into the development of two protocols. To begin it will contribute 1 million of its own stablecoin, USDC, each to the development of the Compound and dYdX platforms.
Coinbase USDC Bootstrap Fund lead Nemil Dalal said that DeFi is a tiny portion of the world of banking and financial transactions, adding that the company is tracking growth in an effort to further fund its expansion.
Just last month Nasdaq announced that it was adding a decentralized finance index (DeFiX) to track the projects working in the field. It initially included Maker, Augur, Gnosis, 0x and two other obscure tokens but failed to include Ether which currently powers most of the industry.
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Model: Bitcoin (BTC) Price to Surge 100% to $20,000 by May

In just around nine months, Bitcoin (BTC) will see its next block reward reduction — dubbed “halving”. Despite this rapidly approaching bullish event, however, the cryptocurrency market has stagnated, establishing a trading range.
Related Reading: Bitcoin: Crypto-Like Global Monetary System To Be a Boon For BTC
But a model from PlanB suggests that should history repeat itself, the Bitcoin price has lots of room to rally ahead of the halving. In fact, the statistician’s chart hints that BTC will be up 100% by May next year.
$20,000 Bitcoin in Due Time
The Bitcoin halving is now nine months away. In May 2020, the number of BTC issued each block will get cut in half, resulting in a positive supply shock.
A chart from PlanB, a prominent industry analyst who claims to be followed by mainstream investors, can be extrapolated to reveal that by May, BTC will be trading at $20,000 — some 100% higher than current levels.

#bitcoin halving chart update: 9 months to go!
2012 halving: t-9 BTC $5 -> t=0 $122016 halving: t-9 BTC $314 -> t=0 $6272020 halving: t-9 BTC $10,100 -> t=0 $…
— PlanB (@100trillionUSD) August 24, 2019

You see, Bitcoin went into halvings at around double the price it was nine months out from the halving. More specifically, nine months prior to 2012’s halving, BTC traded at $5; during the halving, it was at $12. It was much of the same for 2016’s halving.
While this may seem irrational, there are analysts currently eyeing $20,000.
Tom Lee of Fundstrat recently made an appearance on Fox Business to talk about his $20,000 price prediction. He claimed that as the cryptocurrency is a safe haven, which is a narrative supported by the fact that BC is trading at a premium in markets like Hong Kong and Argentina.
With this in mind, Lee concluded by stating that Bitcoin is likely to end the year a lot higher than it is now, potentially at its all-time high of $20,000 or at a fresh high.
Related Reading: Bitcoin Bottomed at $9,080, BTC to Rally Into End of 2019
The Fundstrat analyst has previously mentioned factors that may be a boon for Bitcoin. These include the unveiling of Libra, which he believes will bring attention to the cryptocurrency space; the impassioned anti-crypto tweet thread from Donald Trump; and macroeconomic turmoil.
Also, Murad Mahmudov suggested that Bitcoin is most likely to test $9,750 — the 0.618 Fibonacci Retracement of this whole cycle — in the following month in a bout of sideways price action, then “continue steadily upwards” to $20,000 and fresh highs over the following year.
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3 Derivative Digital Asset Exchanges Transforming Crypto Investment

Cryptocurrencies are no longer a fringe financial instrument for its most ardent supporters. In 2019, digital assets are a prominent investment vehicle couched alongside stocks, bonds, and commodities, bringing both increased participation and higher valuations.
With the collective crypto market cap hovering around $300 billion, investors from all backgrounds with all different experience levels are pursuing digital asset investment. By most accounts, their efforts are being rewarded. The Wall Street Journal reports that 2019’s crypto rally has cryptocurrencies outperforming most other investment vehicles, including stocks, bonds, gold, and oil.
Interestingly, as institutional and individual interest in cryptocurrencies continues to grow, many aren’t looking to invest in cryptocurrencies directly. Instead, they are pursuing derivatives that allow them to bet on the value of crypto without owning the actual assets.
In many ways, a comprehensive derivatives market is indicative of the industry’s growth and maturity in the past several years as it reflects the advanced trading methodologies available to other traders in traditional markets.
Of course, not every platform offers derivatives, so investors looking to take advantage of these burgeoning markets need to find a place to invest.
Here are three derivative digital asset exchanges that are making this possible.

#1 BitMEX
BitMEX is a popular derivative exchange headquartered in Hong Kong. As a P2P crypto trading platform, its primary investment product tracks the price of Bitcoin against the US dollar; however, users can also establish derivative contracts on several other popular cryptocurrencies.
With BitMEX, users can leverage their Bitcoin with margin trading accounts that lets them open significant positions that are 100x on Bitcoin contracts and 50x on Ethereum. Most BitMEX products operate on three-month contracts, but users can hold their Bitcoin/USD contracts indefinitely.
The platform boasts a daily trading volume in excess of $3 billion, and, to bolster security, the platform keeps all of its funds in cold storage.
Currently, the platform is only available to users in the UK, China, South Korea, and Japan. Nonetheless, a probe by US regulators that’s investigating US users trading activity inspired record withdraws in July that totaled more than $500 million.

#2 ByBit
First launched in March 2018, ByBit offers a dynamic trading experience for its more than 100,000 users, and it provides broad usability for both novice and experienced traders. Co-founded by Ben Zhou and based in Singapore, ByBit has a global trading environment with users throughout North America, Europe, Russia, Japan, South Korea, and Southeast Asia.
The platform offers derivatives for several of the most prominent cryptocurrencies available today, including Bitcoin, Ether, EOS, and Ripple. Litecoin is expected to join the lineup soon.
Moreover, the platform’s powerful matching engine allows for 100,000 TPS per contract, a significant jump on industry norms, meaning users don’t have to worry about overloads of outages. With trading volume reaching $1 billion this June, that’s an important and distinguishing factor.
ByBit is the first crypto derivative exchange to integrate with TradingView, a social network for traders in various investment markets. Consequently, users can execute trades on ByBit directly from the TradingView platform.
With platform security being top-of-mind for many users, ByBit is prioritizing security and customer service. The platform uses a Hierarchical Deterministic Cold Wallet System to store its assets, and it offers 24/7 customer support to ensure that any pain points are continually addressed.
Like other platforms, ByBit derives revenue from a fee structure imposed on various transactions.

#3 Okex
First launched in 2017, Okex is a crypto exchange offering futures and options contracts for Bitcoin. Although it is a year older than ByBit, Okex is still getting started on comprehensive derivative offerings.
The platform has offices in Malta, and their services are widely available in more than 100 countries. While the platform targets both experienced and relatively novice traders, it’s futures features is geared toward veteran traders.
Its products have a varying fee structure that ranges between 0.15% and 0.2% depending on trading volume.
To prioritize security, Okex employes 2-factor authentication, mobile verification, and anti-phishing codes for every communication. Moreover, the platform features a customer support function to enhance the user experience on many fronts.
Closing Thoughts
Ultimately, as investor appetite for cryptocurrency derivatives soars, there is an inherent competition to carve out a niche by offering the most competitive and forward-thinking products possible. Each of these exchanges encapsulates that ethos, and their dynamic platforms are transforming the crypto investment space, making it more accessible and desirable for the burgeoning collection of crypto investors.
Currently, BitMEX appears to be leading the pack, but their recent controversy means that other platforms are positioned to gain significant market share. Therefore, ByBit’s rapidly growing user base and thorough derivatives offering make it an unquestioned rising star in this space. The platform will be pushed ahead by other exchanges like Okex that will ensure a competitive marketplace as the derivatives market continues to develop.
Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay
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ICON Foundation Will Give Away 3 Million Tokens Towards Representative Elections

Blockchain interoperability network ICON has announced a token giveaway in the run-up to its eagerly anticipated community elections. 3 million ICX tokens (about ~$600,000 USD) will be disbursed to members of the ICON community throughout the pre-voting period, which commences on August 26.
Scheduled to run for 30 days, ICON’s pre-voting period is designed to familiarize its community with the staking and voting process which is at the heart of the project’s decentralization process. In return for their participation, community members will receive a share of the 3 million ICX tokens that have been earmarked. Because ownership of tokens carries governance rights, the giveaway will also help to dilute the holdings of the ICON Foundation, further distributing the decision-making process and reducing the power of major stakeholders.
“We are very excited about the upcoming P-Rep elections,” said Min Kim, Council Member and Founder at the ICON Foundation. “We have been working on it together with the community for a long time. With the giveaway, we expect not just to re-distribute 3 million ICX for better decentralization and voting capabilities, but we also hope to encourage current ICX holders and ICON community members to transfer their coins to the ICONex wallet, so they can properly stake and participate in the upcoming P-Rep elections.”
One chain to unite them all
ICON is one of the first crypto projects to focus on interoperability, having launched in September 2017. Finding a way for blockchains to “talk” to one another has become one of the greatest challenges faced by developers as the number of crypto protocols has proliferated. Since ICON’s launch, a string of similarly focused projects have followed suit including Wanchain and LiquidApps. ICON has achieved the most headway so far in this regard, particularly in growing an active community, whose votes will determine the election of 22 Main Public Representatives (P-Reps).
Use cases for ICON’s technology include providing a framework for different chains operated by businesses such as hospitals, insurance companies, and NGOs to communicate with one another. Each chain will have the power to create its own system of governance, with ICON’s interchain technology facilitating the exchange of assets. Essentially a blockchain of blockchains, ICO relies on loopring technology that enables multiple channels to be created, each equipped with smart contract functionality and high throughput, allowing transactions to be settled in near real-time.
The many faces of blockchain governance
After solving the interoperability problem, blockchain governance has proven to be one of the greatest challenges facing the designers of crypto networks. Opinion remains divided over the best way to maximize stakeholder voting and community engagement. Some figures, such as analyst Nic Carter, believe the governance problem will never be satisfactorily solved, and that low voter turnout is inevitable. Others are more bullish, however, pointing to the success of projects such as Dash, whose masternode voting system has been emulated by the likes of Decred and Horizen, as proof.
For community members interested in participating in ICON’s forthcoming elections, be it for altruistic or financial reasons, a detailed tutorial on the staking and delegating process has been provided. Candidates seeking to be elected as P-Reps have also created videos outlining their case for inclusion. Through democratizing the decision-making process, projects such as ICON aim to boost community engagement, while adding further utility to their native token, giving holders an added incentive to participate. When voting commences on August 26, ICON token-holders will have the opportunity to vote for up to 10 P-Reps, and to decide how much staked ICX they wish to delegate to each one.
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Currency Wars Bullish for Bitcoin Price? Optimistic Investor Thinks So

While Bitcoin (BTC) in the wake of the Great Recession, the cryptocurrency has never lived through a macroeconomic imbroglio or geopolitical spats.
Related Reading: Goldman Sachs Predicts US-China Trade War to Continue into 2020, Will It Benefit Bitcoin?
But, ten years after the recession that shocked the world, Bitcoin is about to experience all the motions of a global crisis. And according to a number of prominent investors and analysts, this can only be good for the price of a decentralized, scarce, digital asset like BTC.
Bitcoin to Gain Steam in Currency War
Over the past few months, China has been duking it out with the United States. The two economic superpowers have been imposing tariffs on each other, resulting in dramatic tumult in the stock market and the relative value of their respective currencies.
Throughout all this, Bitcoin has managed to stay strong. As reported by NewsBTC previously, since this latest trade spat started in May, BTC has gained over 100%. During the same time frame, the average asset class that Grayscale Investments analyzed has shed 0.5%.

Goldman Sachs just called for a massive #bitcoin breakout. @BKBrianKelly gives his take.
— CNBC's Fast Money (@CNBCFastMoney) August 12, 2019

According to Brian Kelly, the in-house cryptocurrency bull and investor on the CNBC “Fast Money” panel, this is far from the end of Bitcoin’s outperformance.
Speaking to the panel on Monday, the BKCM chief executive officer claimed that macro funds and other investors in this class have begun to use Bitcoin as a “hedge” against a currency crisis. 
What’s interesting is that analysts are currently charting a currency crisis. Just yesterday, this outlet reported that the Argentinian Peso had shed approximately 20% of its value. Raoul Pal, a former Goldman Sachs hedge fund executive, claims that this is just the tip of the iceberg.
The Bitcoin bull noted that the Fed Broad Trade Weighted Dollar Index, which tracks the performance of the U.S. Dollar, is about to break past 130 for the first time ever. Simultaneously, the Asia Dollar Index, which tracks the region’s biggest currencies, is on the “CLIFF OF DEATH”, and is poised to fall by over 20% should a long-term head and shoulders pattern break.
Also, there has been talk of a devaluation war between the U.S. and China, which will see the two nations try and devalue their currencies.
Should the crisis happen, BTC should surge, according to the theses of Kelly, Pal, and their peers on Wall Street and on Crypto Twitter.  As Kelly explained to CNBC viewers:
“This is the perfect storm for Bitcoin. You have multiple currencies around the world breaking down at the same time that institutional investors are actually embracing this asset class. So the combination of the two things has funneled all the money into Bitcoin.”
Not the Only Macroeconomic Factor to Boost Crypto
The currency crisis that is currently storming isn’t the only macroeconomic factor that may be a boon for Bitcoin.
Here’s a brief list of some of the many issues (most of which deserve their own articles in and of themselves): over $15 trillion worth of negative-yielding bonds (debt), most of which is high-grade; a dovish Federal Reserve that recently cut rates for the first time since the Great Recession; Brexit and other turmoil in the European Union; and currency crises in places like Venezuela, where Bitcoin has already taken grip of the economy.
According to Fundstrat’s Tom Lee, all this is preparing Bitcoin to experience new all-time highs in the near future.
Featured Image from Shutterstock
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SEC Commissioner Advocates for Regulators to Take a Dynamic Approach to Crypto Markets

As a deluge of regulatory measures looms on the horizon of the nascent crypto markets, many analysts and investors alike have been quick to plead with regulators to not regulate the markets with the stroke of a broad brush, and to rather take a case-by-case approach.
Now, one pro-crypto SEC Commissioner is echoing these requests, and noted in a recent speech that she believes a dynamic approach to the crypto markets will be most effective and will stop the U.S. from falling behind other countries when it comes to regulating the bourgeoning markets.
Commissioner Peirce Fears US May Fall Behind Other Countries in Crypto Regulation
Last month the world was taken aback when US President Donald Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin both shared their negative opinions on Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in general, with the Treasury Secretary noting the crypto markets will soon be met with “very, very strong” regulations.
Despite this, if these “very strong” regulatory measures are not forward thinking and are implemented with the goal of restraining the technology, the United States may fall behind other countries.
Hester M. Peirce, a commissioner at the SEC, recently spoke about regulating the crypto markets during a speech in Singapore, where she explained that the country may drive companies and innovation into other countries.
“I often have expressed my concern that the U.S. will fall behind other countries in attracting crypto-related businesses unless we are more forward-leaning in establishing a regulatory regime with discernible parameters,” she explained.
One peculiarity about the US regulatory system that makes it difficult is the large amount of regulatory bodies that could have jurisdiction over the crypto markets.
“One of the peculiarities of the U.S. system is the sheer number of regulators. Not only do we have the state-federal allocation of responsibility that I just mentioned, but we have multiple federal financial regulators,” she noted.
Cryptocurrency Companies Concur with Commissioner Peirce
Recently, FinTech company Ripple sent a letter to Congress advocating for a case-by-case approach to regulating the crypto markets, with the company’s CEO Brad Garlinghouse explaining in a tweet that “not all crypto is the same.”
“This industry is at a crossroads. On the eve of more congressional hearings on blockchain, we @Ripple want to make things clear – not all crypto is the same, and we’re committed to partnering with govts and financial institutions globally,” he explained.

This industry is at a crossroads. On the eve of more congressional hearings on blockchain, we @Ripple want to make things clear – not all crypto is the same, and we’re committed to partnering with govts and financial institutions globally.
— Brad Garlinghouse (@bgarlinghouse) July 29, 2019

As the regulatory situation surrounding the crypto markets continues to unfold, it is highly probable that the world will soon know whether or not the US will stay a center for innovation, or if companies will begin shifting their operations elsewhere.
Featured image from Shutterstock.
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Driven by Market Demand, UltrAlpha Introduces Professional Asset Management Services to Digital Asset Space

UltrAlpha, a professional digital asset management service platform, announced the public sale of its native platform token (UAT) starting from August 12, 2019. With Han Liu, former VP at a $200B+ hedge fund giant as CEO, and Christina Jin, Co-founder of Ankr Network as CMO, UltrAlpha is designed to leverage the deep experience from both traditional finance and blockchain industries, and bring in a broad range of investment/trading products as well as fund admin services to different participants in the digital asset management market.

Asset Management – Increasing Market Demand in Digital Asset Space

Asset management typically refers to the management of investments on behalf of others.  Factoring into investors’ investment objectives, horizon and their risk tolerance, the process in principle is designed to optimize asset allocation and achieve investment value appreciation over a certain period of time while mitigating risk.
With the global policy development and adoption of digital assets underway, more professional asset management institutions are entering the digital asset trading market with different trading and investment strategies. In the meantime, more investors are contemplating on how to deploy their capital into this new asset class. However, due to the lack of formal broker-dealer structure in the digital asset industry, potential investors have limited access to good digital asset financial products for their investment needs. For digital asset trading teams or investment firms, it is also challenging for them to identify and reach out to the right investors for fundraising. As a result, there is a strong market demand for professional digital asset management service platform to not only give the potential investors a list of quality products or strategies for their selection but also effectively support fundraising and other fund admin services required by digital asset managers like trading teams and funds.

UltrAlpha (UAT) – Multi-service Platform Built upon Robust Infrastructure and Deep Understanding of Client Needs

Under current market conditions, digital asset exchanges are probably the most effective among all market participants to connect and serve both trading clients and investors. Built upon deep strategic collaboration with  top tier digital asset trading platforms and brokers, UltrAplha is launching a professional investment management service platform aiming to provide potential investors with access to quality products based on their risk/return needs as well as  trading teams and digital asset managers with a variety of fund admin services, including but not limited to account management, performance auditing, PL reporting, asset transfer, etc.
As a professional digital asset management service platform, the UltrAlpha team have made its core mission to build out a multi-service platform based on process efficiency, robust infrastructure, and deep understanding of client needs and goals.
UAT platform’s comprehensive service offering to trading/asset management teams:

Work with all the professional asset management and trading teams to coordinate the launch of their investment/trading products.
Seek to open up all those products to top-tier digital asset exchanges or trading platforms.
A series of professional fund admin services, ranging from account management, performance audit to PL reporting as well as various other administrative support services per request.

UAT platform’s comprehensive service offering to fund investors:

Conduct independent due diligence (“DD”) on asset management fund and share DD result per request.
Provide wallet management service for each investment product to safeguard client asset. Conduct fund performance audit and PL reporting for each investment product.
Investors can utilize and consume UAT token on the platform for any inquiry, transfer, redemption and other administrative operational services on an ad-hoc basis.
The activities of the UAT platform are of a supporting service nature, solely restricted to connecting trading teams/funds with their end customers, and shall not carry out any fund/securities management, financial advisory, investment, brokerage, deposit-taking or banking activities.

Seasoned Team Building Unique Ecosystem with Innovative Token Economics

UltrAlpha’s core teams of technology and operations come from traditional finance, Internet and Blockchain industries with solid experience in quant modeling, infrastructure buildout and digital asset trading operations.
Computer science major from Carnegie Mellon University, Han Liu, CEO of UltrAlpha, has developed his successful career in traditional asset management industry from BlackRock to AQR Capital Management specializing in institutional application and platform development. Christina Jin, CMO of UltrAlpha, graduated from University of Auckland and New York University, with a degree in Digital Marketing. Christina co-founded Ankr Network and was nominated as the first CMO of Ankr project.
Furthermore, the UltrAlpha team has introduced the platform native utility token, UAT, and integrated into the platform ecosystem to facilitate payment and incentive programs for all the services between the participants on the UAT platform. Dr. George Cao, Co-founder & CEO of (,  shared his expertise and provided critical strategic advice on the overall design of token economics and model. has been widely recognized by the industry for its very first introduction of the “Transaction-mining & Reverse-mining” mechanism and has successfully established itself as the leading digital asset trading platform. Its highly reputable token economics has built-in incentive mechanisms, including reverse-mining and token consumption to balance the demand and supply and the design of Data Usage Reward Distribution Pool that supports longer-term token value. (Please note that and UltrAlpha are completely two separate businesses).
In summary, the launch of UltrAlpha is a promising indicator where the digital asset industry is further building out the necessary market components to serve dynamic changing needs and support longer-term industry growth. By connecting potential investors with digital asset managers and providing value-added services over the robust and transparent platform, UltrAlpha has clearly set a new standard for a professional service provider in the expansion and development of this new digital asset management space.
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Huawei CEO on Crypto: China Should Issue Its Own Libra

The past few weeks have been an absolute flurry for the crypto space. Facebook’s launch of Libra awoke something in the public, forcing anyone and everyone to take note of this budding industry.
Related Reading: Fresh Bitcoin Uptrend May Start in September, But Drop to $7,000 Could Precede Bull Run
Case in point, the chief executive-founder of one of the world’s most powerful technology companies, Huawei, was recently reported to have finally publicly addressed digital assets for seemingly the first time.
Libra, China Edition?
Sina Finance, a top business news publication that recently added support for Bitcoin and crypto feeds, recently covered legendary Chinese entrepreneur Ren Zhengfei’s comments on Libra.
Responding to a question from a reporter about if Libra is a way for the U.S. government to maintain global hegemony over finance, the Huawei chief executive stuck with the party stance.
Related Reading:
Per Chinese cryptocurrency insider CnLedger, Zhengfei stated that to mitigate these concerns, China should launch its own version of Libra — its own digital asset — to counteract any encroachment by an entity that could theoretically be in cahoots with the American government.
He adds that with the backing of a government, a “crypto Yuan” is likely to outpace Libra, as “the power of a country is always stronger than that of an Internet company.”

Founder of Huawei: China can just issue our own version of Libra. Why should we wait for others to do it? The power of a country is always stronger than that of an Internet company.
Source (in Chinese):
— cnLedger (@cnLedger) July 26, 2019

This is presumably in reference to the fears purportedly festering in the Chinese community that the crypto project, despite it being based in Switzerland and slated to be comprised of global partners, could be used to hurt China’s economy and political status.
Indeed, should Libra make it to fruition, it is expected for the basket of currencies and government securities backing the crypto to consist of mostly U.S. dollars.
What’s funny is that the comment from Zhengfei comes as representatives of the People’s Bank of China — the nation’s central bank — have begun to hint at actually launching a cryptocurrency. No joke.
Per previous reports from NewsBTC, the head of the research division at the People’s Bank of China, Wang Xin, told an audience at the Peking University that Libra could affect international fiscal stability, and thus the Yuan. Thus, he added that there may be a move to digitize the Yuan, which is arguably already well on its way through WeChat Pay (literally 90% of stores and services accept this payment medium in urban areas),
He isn’t the first Chinese technology tycoon to have commented on the cryptocurrency project. Previously, the founder of Tencent, Pony Ma, tacitly endorsed Libra.
The billionaire, who founded the company behind WeChat, Fortnite, League of Legends, Clash of Clans, and other massive brands, remarked that he believes that Libra’s technology is “very mature.”
And Wang Xiaochuan, the chief executive of China’s second-largest search engine, made a similar comment. In a comment published via Weibo, the technologist claimed that “Internet 3.0 (meaning blockchain) is coming.” Wang added that with 2.7 billion users, a global vision and brand, a number of alliances, and other network effects, Libra is likely to make the “world different”.
Crypto on the Rise in China 
The Huawei founder’s comments come as Libra and crypto have started to trend in China, despite Facebook being vehemently banned, as are foreign cryptocurrency exchanges and certain operations in the Bitcoin space.
Last week, cryptocurrency venture capitalist Dovey Wan pointed out that Libra had temporarily become the second-largest trending topic on Weibo, China’s take on Twitter. She added that per data from Weibo, the topic had seen over 220 million views and tens of thousands of comments.

#LIBRA made the second top trending topic on Weibo, Chinese twitter
Unlike the first hearing didn’t make much splash outside crypto groups, in second one Marcus admitted “Libra will compete with Alipay/Wechat” which trigger the attention bomb widely @nlw narrative watch
— Dovey Wan (@DoveyWan) July 18, 2019

According to Wan, this trend is easily explainable. She writes that this “attention bomb” in China was set off due to David Marcus’ mention of Alipay and WeChat Pay, the nation’s two foremost digital payment ecosystems.
Also, WeChat keyword analytics have recently registered a massive uptick in the volume of “Bitcoin”. In fact, the past ninety days have seen keyword volume for the Chinese term for “Bitcoin” skyrocket by five times.
Featured Image from Shutterstock
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Wanchain Partners with Malaysian E-commerce Giant PUC Berhad on Enterprise Solutions

Wanchain – the blockchain project that seeks to build the future of digital finance through blockchain-to-blockchain interoperability, has just announced that it has formed a partnership with Malaysian eCommerce leader and digital creator, PUC Berhad.
The company – which is publicly listed in Malaysia, is behind a number of well-known ventures such as online eCommerce hub PrestoMall, and Presto Super App.
The news once again reaffirms Wanchain’s long-term vision of bridging the gap between real-world companies and blockchain integration.
Loyalty points, credit scoring and more
The newly formed partnership will see Wanchain act as the core provider for PUC Berhad’s long-term blockchain strategy. Through Wanchain’s enterprise solution initiative, PUC Berhad will be able to use the project’s private chain for a number of key business objectives.
For example, the blockchain integration will allow PUC Berhad to facilitate decentralized credit scoring. This is an area of decentralization that has excited the cryptocurrency community for some time now, with the underlying technology able to execute secure identity and credit scoring tasks while at the same time, enable consumers to retain full control over their sensitive financial data.
On top of credit scoring, PUC Berhad will also be looking to apply a tokenization strategy to its loyalty point system. This will allow the company to distribute loyalty points via the blockchain with ease, in a cost-effective and fully transparent manner.
Facilitating Microlending for PUC Berhad
A further, and perhaps even more interesting opportunity that the partnership will yield is that of PUC Berhad’s ambition to engage in microlending. This is something that blockchain technology is highly suited for, especially when one considers the low-cost and fast processing times that cryptocurrencies offer.
Ordinarily, microlending via fiat currency is a highly challenging arena for lenders, not least because fees often outweigh the actual cost of the loan itself – subsequently making it unviable.
When asked about the partnership, Kenneth Hiew – Group Chief Commercial Officer at PUC Berhad, was quoted as saying: “A partnership with Wanchain will strengthen our position in the blockchain vertical as we look to incorporate this groundbreaking technology in various aspects of our business. We look forward to working together to bring added efficiencies, customer offerings, and other benefits to PUC’s ecosystem.”
Outside of its proprietary Presto Mall online marketplace and Presto Super App, PUC Berhad is also involved in a number of other key sectors. This includes a strong foothold in payment solutions and media services, and ongoing research and development of innovative financial technologies, digital imaging, and artificial intelligence.
Wanchain CEO Hints That Further Partnerships are in the Making
Hinting at further impending partnerships with conventional offline sectors, Jack Lu – Wanchain Founder and CEO, noted that “The partnership with PUC is only the first of several upcoming cooperations between Wanchain and traditional companies looking to integrate blockchain into their businesses, and is significant not only for the Wanchain organization, but for the greater adoption and use of blockchain worldwide.”
Lu continued to add that the project aims to become the “go-to blockchain for businesses looking to take advantage of the uniquely powerful benefits blockchain brings.”
All-in-all, partnerships with traditional organizations – especially those with a publicly listed status, are crucial for global adoption of blockchain technology. As such, it is hoped that the cryptocurrency community is accustomed to further real-world partnerships in the coming months.
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Bitcoin Price Crosses Under $10,000, What are Analysts Expecting Next?

Bitcoin has continued to crack under pressure. As of the time of writing this, BTC has dipped under the auspicious $10,000 price point, falling to four digits for the umpteenth time in a matter of weeks.
Related Reading: Analyst: Bakkt Could be a Huge Catalyst for Bitcoin; Is a Price Surge Inbound?
With this move lower, altcoins have surprisingly kept pace with the market leader. Ethereum, XRP, and other large-cap cryptocurrencies are trading pretty much in tandem with Bitcoin, losing close to the same value in terms of percentage.
Analysts suggest that if Bitcoin closes a daily or weekly candle under $10,000, which acted as a clear resistance level in May and June, BTC could fall further.
But where to exactly?
Bitcoin Could See Another 20% Loss
According to most analysts, a further correction from current levels will see Bitcoin stumble to at least $8,500. Per previous reports from this outlet, Chonis Trading, a popular cryptocurrency analyst, suggested that BTC could fill the CME futures gap at $8,500.
You see, the exchange does not open its futures market during weekends, so there are often large gaps in price action, especially if Bitcoin spikes or collapses significantly on Saturday or Sunday. Over the course of the past 10-odd weeks, the CME futures have been subject to many of these gaps, a good majority of which were filled two or three weeks later.
Some have been a tad more bearish, however. Crypto Kea, an analyst that focuses on the Mayer Multiple (price over 200-day moving average), wrote last week that should BTC follow in the footsteps of the last bull market’s first leg higher, it could find support anywhere from $7,148 to $8,700. This corresponds to 1.20 times to 1.46 times of the 200-day moving average, which then sat at $5,957.
Most likely, however, Kea notes that the “most probable target” as per the use of the Mayer Multiple will be $7,505 — another 25% drop from the current Bitcoin price of $9,900.
Basic technicals also suggest that Bitcoin is currently trading bearish. Per Bloomberg, the GTI Vera Band Indicator, which tracks upward and downward trends, is showing that BTC is trending in a “selling pattern”.
Related Reading: Bullish For Bitcoin? Trump Turns Up Pressure on Federal Reserve to Cut Interest Rates
Not All Hope is Lost
Bitcoin may have some saving graces, however. Case in point, the New York Stock Exchange-backed Bakkt has begun testing its Bitcoin (BTC) futures contract.
While this has been marketed as a seemingly mundane “user acceptance testing” phase, this launch has been met with much hurrah from every corner of the cryptocurrency community.
This contract is physically deliverable, meaning that the purchasing of a future contract grants the purchaser access to actual coins. Unlike the futures product from the CME, which pays out its holders in cash, owners of Bakkt’s product actually get the “physical” BTC. This means that the futures market will have a more tangible effect on the spot price of Bitcoin.
With buy-side volume for the CME’s BTC futures contracts only hitting record highs month-over-month, it can be assumed that institutions are leaning long on Bitcoin.
Should the Bakkt contract see similar demand, BTC will be taken off the spot market and held in custody for contract holders, which should theoretically lead to price appreciation.
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A Lesson in History – How Crypto Exchange Security Has Moved on Since Mt. Gox

The beginning of the Bitcoin revolution also gave birth to the concept of cryptocurrency exchanges, which offered a way for people to convert their fiat to bitcoin by purchasing the cryptocurrency on them. One of the first movers in this segment was Mt. Gox.
Mt. Gox, with a “rich history”, at one point stood to be the largest cryptocurrency exchange of that time, with users from across the world using its services. However, it didn’t stay that way for long. The first huge bitcoin rally, which witnessed the price crossing $1000 mark for the very first time also eventually led to the downfall of the giant. Since then, the case of rise and fall of Mt. Gox has become a prime learning example of how not to run a cryptocurrency exchange business.
After an extensive investigation of Mt. Gox following the reports of hacking incidents indicated multiple failures, in terms of cybersecurity as well as accountability of users’ funds. Following the aftermath of the Mt. Gox hack, the price of Bitcoin fell from an all-time high of that period and took a long time to recover. Subsequent investigations revealed that in addition to multiple hacking incidents, the CEO of Mt. Gox funneled the user’s funds to his other companies and also spent that money for personal expenses.
While Mt. Gox fiasco was the first of its kind to rock the cryptocurrency industry, there have been numerous cases of mismanagement and hacking incidents affecting various other exchanges as well, in most such cases, the users and investors on those platforms bore the burnt, and incurred huge losses. Since then, people have become overtly cautious when it comes to choosing the right platform and they are right to do so.
Analysis of all these cases shows the same result – The need for accountability among the exchange promoters and state-of-the-art cybersecurity with multiple failsafe. Learning from these experiences, newer exchanges have started focusing more on the security and the upcoming regulations in crypto sector across various geographies have made licensing mandatory to operate a cryptocurrency exchange or trading platform. By doing so, they hold the owners of these platforms accountable for mismanagement or loss of public’s hard-earned money due to negligence or factors other than regular operations.
Decentralized and Hybrid Exchanges
In order to build trust and ensure compliance, exchange platforms have taken different routes, all the while ensuring high levels of cyber security. Decentralized and Hybrid exchanges are a result of this evolution. While decentralized exchanges seem to be the perfect answer when it comes to security as users will hold the keys to their wallets and are responsible for safekeeping of their funds, they miss out on the compliance part as there is no centralized structure to ensure the implementation of satisfactory KYC and AML measures. Without fulfilling these requirements, these exchanges are not eligible to receive the necessary licenses which force them to operate in the regulatory grey area, which by some jurisdictions can be construed as illegal.
Hybrid exchanges, on the other hand, are more practical as they ensure a certain degree of decentralization, allowing users to maintain control over their funds while the centralized features allow conformity with the law of the land. Centralized management of user accounts and records will enable these crypto platforms to maintain AML and KYC compliance and also secure financial licenses on-par with traditional or new-age banking, finance and insurance enterprises. Armed with the required license, they can offer services well within the boundaries of the law and build trust among the crypto community.
Security is the Key
Irrespective of the nature of exchange platform, the only way to avoid a re-run of Mt. Gox scenario is to factor in all kinds of cyber threats as well as possible manipulation by the employees and design security measures to thwart any such attempt. A good example for the hybrid approach with Fort Knox like security is the relatively new CODEX crypto and digital asset exchange. The platform is armed with industry standard security protocols like 2-factor authentication, EDDSA API authentication, Login alerts and more.
In addition, CODEX also implements SCATTER multiplatform wallet with inbuilt RIDL mechanism that detects the presence of potentially malicious applications to prevent data leakage. Also, the presence of PCI-DSS compliant payment gateway ensures secure handling of credit card information. Further, the security infrastructure of CODEX has undergone successful audit by Hacken and found to be more than adequate to ensure high levels of security to users and funds held on the platform. The combination of CODEX’s security features and official financial licenses (FVR000169 and FRK000141) turns it into a benchmark for new exchanges. And that’s not all, the CODEX platform also ensures transparency of its operations by voluntarily sharing data with CER, which includes the exchange’s wallet addresses for validation and Proof of Funds CERtification. By doing so, CODEX joins the likes of Huobi, Kraken, Bitfinex, Gemini and more which have all been granted the CERtified status on CER platform confirming their position on the top of the Blockchain Balance Rating. These ratings not only help verify the financial health of platforms but also sends a message to the community saying the company is reliable and means serious business. CER and Hacken are also CoinMarketCap’s DATA partners.
Apart from CODEX, there are other platforms like Coinbase, Binance, Bittrex etc. who claim to follow the highest security standards. However, it is to be noted that there is no sure way of knowing whether an exchange is “unhackable” or not, as only in an event of a security breach will one know the limitations of their respective security infrastructure. But so far, the industry has learned its lesson from the likes of Mt. Gox and there hasn’t been a repeat of such catastrophic incidents in recent times.
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
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Post-Halving Bitcoin to Hit $100,000 in 2020? It’s Unlikely, Data Shows

In around 300 days, Bitcoin (BTC) will experience what is known as a “halving” or “halvening”. This event, which occurs in predictable four-year cycles, sees the amount of the cryptocurrency issued every ten minutes halve, this time from 12.5 coins to 6.25 coins per block.
Related Reading: Bitcoin Bears Ramp Up Selling Pressure as Weekly Close Looms; Factors & Trends
This is Bitcoin’s monetary policy, which is practically set in stone due to the consensus mechanisms that Satoshi Nakamoto implemented into his brainchild.
While the halving may seem mundane, with it being something that the mainstream and media outlets can easily gloss over, Bitcoin investors have clutched to these events as precursors to bull rallies.
Just look to the below chart. As the long-term, logarithmic chart of BTC’s price history accentuates, the halvings, marked by the black vertical lines, were what seemingly kicked off parabolic moves higher, during which the cryptocurrency market saw spurts of growth that can be defined by orders of magnitude.

Halvening centric perspective on Bitcoin price. H/T @StoicTrader_ & @MLescrauwaet
— Tuur Demeester (@TuurDemeester) May 16, 2019

Due to this chart, which effectively implies that block reward reductions are what helps the Bitcoin price appreciate, investors have been eagerly awaiting the next halving event, slated to occur in mid-May 2020. Per a new study though, all this hype may just be unfounded.
Halvings Unlikely to Boost BTC or LTC: What?
It may seem crazy to believe, but research completed by Strix Leviathan, a Seattle-based crypto startup, and first spotted by CryptoSlate indicates that halvings may not have as much of an effect on the price of Bitcoin-based assets as the hype indicates.
The analysis of data on 32 halvings across 24 crypto assets, which includes Bitcoin and Litecoin, suggests that there is no clear evidence that crypto assets that see their emission halve “outperform the broader market in the months leading up to and following a reduction in miner rewards.”
In fact, Strix’s researchers suggest that for Bitcoin in particular, halvings actually act as a negative catalyst leading up to the event, which goes somewhat against the narrative put forth by many on Crypto Twitter.
Strix attributes the hype around these block reward reduction events to “limited sample sizes and historical data”, coupled with the idea that fundamentally, a reduction in Bitcoin and Litecoin issuance should result in some form of positive price action, barring that demand for cryptocurrencies shrinks that is.
Bitcoin May Still Appreciate
While there may be not material rallies before and after halvings, a model from a prominent cryptocurrency statistician suggests halving events should have a long-term effect on prices, the price of Bitcoin anyway.
Related Reading: Don’t Hold Your Breath, Bitcoin to Outperform Altcoins For Now
Per previous reports from NewsBTC, this model is from PlanB, a popular analyst in the Bitcoin space. He suggests that the stock-to-flow ratio (SF) of a precious commodity (gold, silver, and Bitcoin) can be related to its total market capitalization. The higher the SF ratio — meaning the lower the inflation rate that a commodity has — the higher the value of the asset should be.

This is becoming scary: using Oct instead of Dec data, Stock-to-Flow model fit improves to 99.5% R2! Model error was mainly caused by Nov2013 and Dec2017 ATH, so sampling without ATH gives less noise. Predicted #bitcoin prices increase: $100K (2020+), $1M (2024+), $10M (2028+)…
— PlanB (@100trillionUSD) July 14, 2019

One of PlanB’s models, which fits Bitcoin’s valuation to a 99.5% R2, suggests that should BTC continue to follow the model to an eerie degree of accuracy, it could reach over $100,000 a pop after 2020’s halving event. The thing is, the model doesn’t predict when exactly that milestone will be breached, only that it makes sense from a statistical standpoint.
Even one of the analyst’s less optimistic models, which uses other statistics, implies that with the halving, Bitcoin’s market capitalization could $1 trillion, which would give BTC a fair value of around $55,000 a pop.
As to what will cause this nascent asset to rally to these levels, PlanB wrote that money from silver, gold, negative interest rate economies, authoritarian and capital control-rife states, billionaires looking for a quantitative easing hedge, and institutional investors will eventually flood into this space.
So what are PlanB’s models and Strix’s report saying? Well, when digested as a whole, their research suggests that Bitcoin could hit upwards of $55,000 after the halving, but not as a direct result of it and only sometime after 2020.
Featured Image from Shutterstock
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Cryptocurrency is Part of the Global Currency War, Says Federal Reserve Branch Head

Cryptocurrency has found itself on the center stage of the global political sphere over the past several weeks, which first began when Fed Chair Jerome Powell compared Bitcoin to gold. Shortly after this, US President Donald Trump shared his thoughts on BTC, which sparked what appears to be a regulatory crackdown on the nascent markets.
Now, the President of the St. Louis Federal Reserve is noting that cryptocurrencies are the newest entrants to the ongoing global currency competition, which means that, in his view, crypto is increasingly becoming a competitor to fiat currencies like the US Dollar.
Cryptocurrency Can and Is Competing with Fiat Currency, Claims St. Louis Fed President 
Many cryptocurrency advocates have long claimed that the decentralized aspects of Bitcoin are what make it a better alternative to the US Dollar and other fiat currencies, but as of late it has become unclear as to whether or not Bitcoin is like a “Dollar 2.0”, or more like a “gold 2.0.”
Recently, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell explained during a recent testimony in front of the US Senate that as of now Bitcoin is more comparable to gold, as it is primarily used as a “speculative store of value,” and that its somewhat infrequent use for transactions negate its status as a currency.

How far we've come. The Chairman of the Federal Reserve just compared bitcoin to gold
Folks, it's happening
— Barry Silbert (@barrysilbert) July 11, 2019

Despite this, James Bullard, the President of the St. Louis Federal Reserve, recently noted that cryptocurrencies are still creating a movement towards having a non-uniform currency in the United States, which signals that they are in fact competitors to fiat currency.
“Cryptocurrencies are creating drift toward a non-uniform currency in the U.S., a state of affairs that has existed historically but was disliked and eventually replaced,” he explained during a recent presentation.
Furthermore, Bullard also explained that he believes cryptocurrencies are the newest entrants into what he describes as the “ongoing global currency competition.”
“I want to view cryptocurrencies of various types as new entrants into the ongoing global currency competition,” he said.
Crypto Trend Could Lead to a Non-Uniform International Currency System
One key aspect of Bitcoin that makes it unique from fiat currencies is that it is borderless, and its utility is not limited by geographical regions.
That fact has led Bullard to believe that the increasingly popular crypto trend is ushering in a new era of global finance, which could result in the formation of a non-uniform global currency system.
“I am arguing that the current cryptocurrency wave may be driving the U.S. uniform currency system toward something more like the international non-uniform currency system,” he boldly stated.
Although only time will tell as to whether or not the rapidly growing popularity of the crypto markets will be enough to start altering (or moreover, modernizing) the global finance system, there’s no question the Bitcoin helped create, and is largely the result of, the global population yearning for a more decentralized world.
Featured image from Shutterstock
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China Should Take Precautions against Facebook Crypto: Ex-PBoC Head

Facebook’s foray into the payment sector has drawn backlash from governments and regulators across the globe. This time, it is China fencing its borders to keep the social media giant out.
Xiaochuan Zhou, the former governor of the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), suggested the government to take precautionary monetary measures against Libra, the so-called Facebook Cryptocurrency. The noted economist, whose tenure saw China becoming the world’s second-largest economy, supported broader policy research to help prepare the financial systems against emerging payment solutions.
“In future,” he said, “there may emerge a more internationalized, globalized currency, a currency so strong that will cause major currencies to establish exchange relations with it. It may not necessarily be Libra, but there will be more institutions and people try creating it.”
Zhou realized the immense potential of Libra to become the face of the global dollarization trend. The reformist said the Facebook cryptocurrency is a better version of bitcoin because of its ability to avoid fluctuations and speculations and thus offering a more stable cross-border remittance solution.
“Meanwhile, Libra also faces challenges including AML and fund custody,” he added.

1/ Xiaochuan Zhou, former governor of PBoC: Libra reprensents the trend of digital currencies, China should take precautions. Zhou was the PBoC governor during 2013 to 2018, when the famous Chinese bitcoin exchange crackdown and ICO ban were conducted.
— cnLedger (@cnLedger) July 10, 2019

Roadblocks before Facebook
Introduced in June, Libra quickly became a sore in the eyes of governments both at home and abroad. The US Congress last week asked Facebook to halt the project’s development until lawmakers investigate the possible consequences of it. In Europe, France’s Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said he fears Facebook is attempting to replace sovereign currency with Libra.
Graphic Illustration Reflecting How Facebook Coin Libra Works | Image Credits: Facebook
Sentiments are the same in countries that are to benefit the most from Facebook’s cross-border remittance solutions. India, which receives approximately $80 billion annually from expats, is unsure about letting the social media giant take control of its payment sector. Subhash Garg, the secretary of India’s Economic Affairs Committee, told Bloomberg in an interview that they would most likely stop Libra from becoming a phenomenon in Asia’s third-largest economy.
“Design of the Facebook currency has not been fully explained. But whatever it is, it would be a private cryptocurrency and that’s not something we have been comfortable with.”
With China joining the ranks, Facebook’s plans of taking its cryptocurrency to 36.28 percent of the world’s population are looking bleak. PBoC, meanwhile, is ramping up efforts to create its own digital cash.
“We had an early start, but lots of work is needed to consolidate our lead,” said Wang Xin, director of the PBoC research bureau in an interview to SCMP.
Facebook Response
Mark Zuckerburg’s cryptocurrency team has sent letters to various US government offices, explaining they are not looking to invade users’ financial privacy or take over the existing economic framework. Facebook blockchain lead David Marcus gave a personal assurance about data privacy.
“Similar to existing and widespread cryptocurrencies such as ethereum and bitcoin, transactions that take place directly on the Libra Blockchain are ‘pseudonymous,’ meaning that the user’s identity is not publicly visible,” Marcus told the House Financial Services Committee.
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Source: New

Japan Developing SWIFT Type Crypto Payment Platform

The Japanese government has started developing a crypto payments platform similar to SWIFT according to reports. The effort has come as part of a wider spread initiative to combat money laundering.
SWIFT Not So Swift
According to Reuters, citing ‘a person familiar with the plan’, the international network for crypto currency payments will rival SWIFT which is the current standard. The existing service links over 11,000 financial institutions in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide.
However, in today’s modern times, the Belgian head-quartered financial transfer protocol is often considered antiquated and expensive. As a result Japan has joined the likes of Ripple in developing an alternative.
The report added that Tokyo plans to have the network in operation within the few years. Japan will co-ordinate with other nations via the international Financial Action Task Force (FATF) which approved the plan for the new network last month. The G7-initiated intergovernmental organization promotes legal, and regulatory measures to fight money laundering on a global scale.
Japan’s Ministry of Finance and the Financial Services Agency (FSA) proposed the platform as a further effort to secure the transfer of digital assets and help to stimulate its fintech industry.
The east Asian island nation was the first to recognize Bitcoin as legal tender in 2017. It also implemented crypto regulation in the same year and was one of the first countries to officially open its doors to digital assets.
Cryptocurrencies are still in themselves largely unregulated although the exchanges are, and there is concern that consumers will still favor the former over a state controlled transaction system.
Facebook Crypto Concerns Climbing
The news comes just days after the US Treasury Secretary cited illicit activity and money laundering as the curses of crypto currency. Japan could also be joining the growing number of countries concerned about Facebook’s proposed foray into global finance.
The social media giant has certainly rattled a few regulatory cages recently with its ambitions to control user’s financial transactions on a scale similar to its manipulation of their information. Nations of the world are growing wary of a US tech giant backed by a bunch of other US tech giants controlling a dollar backed crypto currency with a potential market of 2 billion people.
The development of an alternative crypto transfer protocol maybe Japan’s effort at safeguarding its own financial economy from outside threats, which Facebook clearly is. Other nations in Asia such as India, China, Russia, and Thailand have also mulled their own central bank based crypto assets to maintain and control of the flow of money across their borders.
Image from Shutterstock
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