17 Trillion Reasons to Own Bitcoin, Starting with the Elephant in the Finance Market

According to the Bank for International Settlements report, the growing acceptance of negative interest rates has reached “vaguely troubling” levels.

Investors have been now paying for the privilege of lending, support for which came from the top central banks including the US Federal Reserve, the ECB, and China’s PBOC that has the amount of bonds trading at negative rates reaching a record $17 trillion.

The central bankers’ bank, BIS noted this, equivalent to 20% of the world’s GDP, wouldn’t have been possible even at the depth of the financial crisis.

While yield is sub-zero in the Netherlands and Germany for up to 25 years and recently in Italy as well, most government debts in Japan and Switzerland have dived into negative territory.

“There is something vaguely troubling when the unthinkable becomes routine,”

said the head of the BIS’s Monetary and Economic Department, Claudio Borio.

As such, BIS wants policymakers to use their remaining ammunition with caution as “should a downturn materialize,” they would need a helping hand.

These negative interest rates, however, could be behind the 15% upturn the stock market saw this year, according to Wall Street’s “bond king.”

Bill Gross, the co-founder of bond market behemoth Pimco said,

“Prepare for slow economic growth globally and an end to double-digit market price gains of months and years past.”

In their attempt to ease policy across the world, central banks pushed as much as $17 trillion in bond yields to below zero. This, in turn, boosted stock prices as lower yields on government bonds tend to pump riskier assets’ valuations.

The 10-year Treasury yield has declined from 2.60% at the beginning of this year to 1.696% while S&P 500 is up over 18% this year.

Another risky asset, Bitcoin is meanwhile, up more than 150% in 2019 YTD.

Another factor that would contribute to Bitcoin’s success which is spooking the markets this year is the inversion of the US and other bond yield curves, that historically preceded recessions.

Currently, the leading cryptocurrency is trading at $8,085 with 24 hours gains of 1.35%, as per Coincodex.

BTC bottomed at $3,200 in December 2018 after losing 84% of its value. However, moving in 2019, it went as high as $13,900 before correcting to $8,000.

Currently, the flagship cryptocurrency is getting ready for its upcoming mining reward halving event that historically has been bullish for its price. Even prior to six months to the event, BTC jumped 2.3x in 2012 and 1.7x in 2016, which means before the third halving, we could climb to at least $12,000.

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Author: AnTy

US Second Largest Bank, Bank Of America, Secretly Tests Ripple XRP Technology

Recent reports leak that the second-biggest bank in the US, has secretly piloted Ripple’s blockchain technology and is poised to do more with it.

Late last year, during a seminar organized by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Ripple recognized Warren Buffett-backed Bank of America as one of its customers during its presentation.

Probed about whether the Bank of America was indeed using Ripple’s products, the company’s spokesperson did not confirm nor deny if the bank was one of Ripple’s clients. She however stated that the two firms had done a pilot together. She stated that Bank of America has indeed been part of Ripple’s Global Payment Steering Group and joined in 2016. The spokesperson was adamant to reveal more details about the piloting project and Bank of America also refused to comment on the issue.

A Ripple representative told CoinDesk:

“Bank of America has been part of Ripple’s Global Payment Steering Group since 2016 and we did a pilot with them,”

Although it has been an open secret that Bank of America is a member of the steering committee which offers advice about rules as well as standards for Ripplenet, which is the network used by financial institutions that utilize Ripple products. However, the revelation that the bank has been conducting a pilot is the strongest indication that the two companies are involved in something bigger than friendly advice.

In the past, the bank has been shy of blockchain technology with its chief technology officer, Cathy Bessant, openly saying she was bearish about the technology despite the bank having the most blockchain patents. Bessant explained that the patents were only meant to ensure that the bank was ready to use the technology if need arises.

However, signs points out that the bank is poised to use Ripple technology after it advertised a job opening earlier this month for a product manager who will steer a team for ‘Ripple project’. As per the job advert, the project entails ‘a decentralized ledger technology-based solution to cross border payments marketed to GTS clients’.

The CD report states that the bank appears to have tested xCurrent which is Ripple’s payment system that will allow online global transfers among financial institutions.

Leading Spanish bank Santander, American Express, as well as PNC, are some of the customers of the xCurrent payment service.

Make sure to read “XRP Ready to ‘Swell’ 220% in the Next Three Weeks as Ripple Event Nears” as many Ripplers are excited for the upcoming SWELL event happening Nov 7-8.

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Author: Andrew Tuts

Banque De France Governor: Crypto Assets Need a ‘Same’ Global Regulatory Framework

Denis Beau, the deputy governor of the French central bank, also known as Banque de France, has called out for a more global approach to regulation for crypto assets. According to him, there is a need for more consistency in deciding how to regulate the crypto world.

Because of this, the only way to properly ensure that the standardization is happening is to really reunite and set up the guidelines.

His comments come at a time in which Facebook’s Libra project has raised several doubts in the world about how to deal with a project such as this one. Beau cited Facebook’s currency and also talked about central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), which haven’t been launched yet, but will certainly be soon.

Beau affirmed that he hoped that more banks would experiment with their own digital assets, as he was very bullish on the technology, especially in the long term. According to him, the financial system is still relying on several slow and cumbersome mechanisms to transfer money, so the blockchain would certainly be very important when it comes to upgrading this.

The banker affirmed that the tokens that were released so far, including Bitcoin, were simply unable to fill up the position of becoming a faster way to send money. Most cryptos, in his opinion, are extremely volatile, so they are not very attractive to everyday use or to become a real way to store value.

He also believes that these assets, if left to be the solution, can also bring many risks to financial stability, such as fragmentation and increased risks of fraud. Because of this, bankers should consider creating their own solutions.

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Author: Silvia A

Swedish Central Bank Head: Facebook’s Libra Was A ‘Shake The Tree’ Event To Kick Start Reform

Sweden’s central bank chief has explained that Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency should serve as a catalyst for central banks around the world to rethink their role and reform to incorporate the digital age.

In an interview with CNBC’s Squawk Box Europe Stefan Ingves, governor of the Riksbank, explained that the Facebook’s led Libra project was an ‘incredibly imperative catalytic event’ that is forcing central banks around the world to rethink their primary aspect of money production and control.

The governor explained that part of the job for every central bank is to issue money that is convenient for use by the citizens of the country and the time has come for central banks to factor in the digital era or age when it comes to production of money.

According to Ingves, the Riksbank has had to reconsider its money development procedures in the wave of private currencies that have mushroomed in the recent past. In light of this, the Riksbank has been looking at the potential of issuing digital money even as use of cash in Sweden has declined tremendously in the recent past. Most of retail outlets in the nation do not accept physical or fiat currencies and are discouraging their customers from paying in cash.

The swedish central bank is in the process of piloting a digital currency dubbed e-krona before the end of the year and could be rolled out after the assessment of the piloting stage. According to Ingves, creation of a new currency is almost done and marks an unprecedented event that occurs only once after various centuries.

Sweden is not the only country that exploring the digital money aspect. Since Facebook announced its plans to venture into the digital currency market with its Libra cryptocurrency in June. Key among them is China which is developing its own digital currency to counter Libra with Chinese central bank announcing the project is almost done and launching will be done soon. Additionally, Swiss central bank announced last week that it was looking at how the virtual currencies could be used in trading.

CoinDesk reports that the Libra Association met in Geneva on Monday to agree on an official charter for its 21 initial members.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

People’s Bank of China to Onboard Six Technology Wizards in Helping Launch Its Digital Currency

The Chinese central bank, known as the People’s Bank of China, has recently put up a recruitment notice on its official site. According to the job post, the state bank is looking for six tech experts who have a lot of experience with blockchain technology.

Most of the people hired are set to work on the Digital Currency Research Institute. Candidates who apply should know that they are expected to be experts in cryptography, computing, microelectronics and/or econometrics.

The new employees would be responsible for developing software that would be used in the country’s new digital currency. They should also be able to do technical research and develop trading terminals, as well as study methods of payments and clearing.

Another important point is that the bank revealed that people with experience in systematic framework design, big data platforms, blockchain development and crypto research will be preferred.

The Mysterious Chinese Digital Currency

China is not very open with information, so the state-backed digital currency of the country is pretty mysterious so far. The People’s Bank of China is supposed to be working on it since 2014 and it said that it is ready to be launched this year, but the lack of official information makes it hard to know.

What is certain is that this project could certainly change the world and help China to improve its financial system, something important for a country that intends to become the largest economy of the world in the future.

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Author: James Fox

Employees From Bank of Ireland Won’t Testify, Change Stance Against OneCoin Crypto Scheme

The U. S. government is having trouble convincing the staff of the Bank of Ireland to testify against the scammers from OneCoin. According to new reports made by The Next Web’s Hard Fork, a new court letter affirms that it is becoming increasingly difficult to convince voluntary witnesses to appear in the case.

Witnesses Diane Sands, Derek Collins, Gregg Begley and Deirdre Ceannt, all from the Bank of Ireland, are said to have backed down from willingness to testify in court. Now, it seems that they will only cooperate with the case if their cooperation is compulsory.

Initially, the Bank of Ireland affirmed that two of the witnesses would not testify, despite having claimed they would on a prior occasion. On the following day, the other two also declined. Now, the U. S. government is issuing the documents to make the staff testify on a compulsory basis, which is set to slow down the case.

The OneCoin Scam

OneCoin was known as one of the largest scams to ever appear in the crypto market. It was created by two Bulgarian brothers, Ruja and Konstantin Ignatova. They launched another crypto, but it was fake as there wasn’t a real blockchain behind the product.

The Bank of Ireland is involved because of a man named Mark Scott, a former partner of Locke Lord, is being accused of using the bank to launder over $300 million USD for OneCoin. The four people from the bank who are involved in the case handled the transactions for Scott.

While their refusal to testify may delay the case, there was so much money involved that the U. S. government would probably force them to testify in a compulsory manner, anyway.

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Author: Silvia A

Bank Of England Spells Out UK’s Requirements for the Libra Coin Launch

United Kingdom’s central bank, Bank of England, has announced a raft of rules that Facebook’s Libra crypto must adhere to if it wishes to launch in UK.

In its October Financial Policy and Summary released by the bank’s Financial Policy Committee, BoE stated that it discussed innovative explorations within the financial and payment sector. As per the release, the bank noted that Libra has the capability of becoming ‘a systemically important payment system’ in the future.

According to the FPC, a system like Libra should comply with the highest standards of resilience and fall under the relevant supervisory oversight. In addition, the FPC called on regulators to come up with terms of engagements for various innovative payment systems before they can be introduced in the market.

A key aspect of the policy summary is that BoE stated it would require access to allow for monitoring of the payment chain information as a key condition. However, the FPC urged regulators to utilize their powers accordingly as per the published principles.

The document also explained that the Libra Association, as well as the Libra Reserve of different fiat monies, are of high importance. The FPC continued to explain that the platform participants, wallet providers as well as validators will also need to be regulated and scrutinized thoroughly.

CoinDesk reports a similar form of measures and conditions were discussed by Olaf Scholz who was earlier this week nominated as the EU Commission’s finance minister. During the discussion, Scholz stated that EU should come up with a regulatory framework for such payment networks like Libra.

The Libra project has come under intense scrutiny and skepticism with both German and French finance ministers saying that Libra cryptocurrency should never be allowed to launch on European soil since it will undermine the sovereignty of their nations, Cointelegraph reports. The two ministers argued that it was the work of the government to issue currency and that mandate should never be left on private entities.

The UK seems to be open to a discussion on the prospect of Libra being launched in the country as it positions itself as Europe’s financial hub in the wake of Brexit.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Switzerland Central Bank and SIX Digital Exchange Eye Digital Currencies for Trade Settlements

Swiss National Bank (SNB), Switzerland’s central bank, together with Bank for International Settlements (BIS) are jointly exploring on how a central bank digital currency (CBDC) can be used to trade tokenized assets, the Block reports. Bank for International Settlements (BIS) acts as the central bank for other central banks in the world.

In a press statement, the SNB stated that it had already inked an operational contract with BIS and the two will launch a hub in Switzerland whose main mandate is to explore the possibility of a central bank issued digital currency in the country.

According to the press statement, the new type of central bank currency will aim at aiding the settlement of tokenized assets among various financial institutions. At the moment, the project is creating a proof of concept together with SIX Digital Exchange (SDX) which is a subsidiary of SIX stock exchange.

In a separate press statement released by SIX, the new project by SDX will seek to come up with a platform that will explore the technical options of digitizing the Swiss franc on the SDX blockchain platform. The project will also look at the possibilities of linking the Swiss Interbank Clearing System on the SDX platform.

SDX explained that distributed ledger-based tokenized assets, as well as a central bank issued digital money, will reduce counterparty risk and free financial innovations.

The head securities and exchanges at SIX, Thomas Zeeb, explained that their proof of concept about a central bank-issued digital currency for use by various participants on DLT platforms will open up technological advancement and encourage different market participants to explore the DLT technology as well as digital assets.

In the recent past SIX has been a crucial player in financial innovation and has listed various crypto-based exchange-traded assets. Just last week, a fintech-based company Amun AG stated that it had successfully listed a Bitcoin and Ether ETP that will be denominated through the Swiss franc on SIX exchange. In addition, Six is set to launch its own digital assets exchange after the release of a prototype platform in September this year.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

New BIS Innovation Hub Center Will Study Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) Integration

Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) are an important subject in Switzerland right now. The Swiss National Bank (SNB) has recently started a partnership with the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) to begin a study on CBDCs, which will be conducted at the BIS Innovation Hub Center, which is based in Switzerland.

According to the latest announcement made by the banks, this will be one of the three hubs that will be established to research more about the project. The other two will be set in Hong Kong and Singapore.

The focus of the Swiss center will be on how to integrate CBDCs to the blockchain and to analyze the requirements for tracking electronic markets, which are much faster than their non-digital counterparts. The first joint project will be a proof of concept about how to release a CBDC in the country that could facilitate the settlements between financial organizations.

Another important goal of the researchers is to identify more insights and important trends of the technology that can be used by the experts of the bank to innovate in the creation of solutions.

The chairman of the SNB, Thomas Jordan, affirmed that the central bank is following the trend of the market closely and that it is important to cooperate with other banks and the financial sector to develop.

Right now, Switzerland is still unconvinced of CBDCs, but willing to learn more. Jordan recently claimed that stablecoins could hurt the country’s monetary policies and that access to a CBDC could result in a negative outcome. Despite this stance, however, the country seems willing to learn more about the technology before completely disregarding it.

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Author: Denis Miriti

The Malta Based Crypto-Focused Founders Bank Raises $10M From Binance And Polychain

A crypto friendly bank has managed to raise $10 million from major crypto players. The bank which will be located in Malta secured the money from lead investors which comprise of Binance and Polychain Capital and will start operations from next year.

The bank which is known as Founders Bank will be co-founded by Paula Pandolfino. According to CoinDesk, the bank also secured the backing of Carduus Asset Management.

Although it is not clear the amount every investor contributed, Pandolfino stated that the bank is looking forward to raise an additional $30 million in the near future.

Pandolfino explained that cryptocurrencies will take over the finance industry and as such it is important to have a bank that will fully support the sector. She added that Founders bank aspires to be a major pillar within the banking sector focusing majorly on crypto based projects and startups. The co-founder also stated that the bank is in the process of changing how the conventional banking conducts its operations.

Currently, the bank is still waiting for the European Union banking certification and initially planned to get funding through equity tokens. However, to speed up the licensing process the idea of equity tokens was abandoned to ensure that there are minimal regulatory aspects.

According to Polychain president, Joe Eagan, the decision to fund the bank was as a result of personal experience after his company had challenges to get a banking partner in 2016. Eagan explained that while the situation has changed after several banks like Metropolitan Bank and Silvergate started to serve the crypto space, there is still room for more players and Founders can help to bridge the gap.

Malta has been working hard to market herself as a blockchain hub and has managed to attract some of the largest companies in the industry. The country is currently dubbed as the Blockchain Island and has so far passed three bills that seek to come up with a regulatory framework and encourage innovation in the blockchain space.

The passing of the three legislative bills made the country the inaugural nation to come up with a legal framework to guide the nascent blockchain industry.

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Author: Joseph Kibe