Ripple CTO Bullish on Bitcoin But Has Been Selling His Stash for Years

David Schwartz, chief technology officer at Ripple, recently shared that he is still bullish on bitcoin but is currently selling his BTC stash.

On being asked by Adam Back, co-founder and chief executive officer of the blockchain technology company, Blockstream, “aren’t you pro-BTC and converting XRP into Bitcoin?” Schwartz shared,

“Nope. I’ve been slowly selling bitcoin for the past several years.”

And the reason behind selling bitcoin is the risk. “I’m still bullish on bitcoin, it’s just the level of risk that has me selling,” he said.

This snippet is from the discussion about who is the pseudo-anonymous bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto.

Stop Searching for Satoshi; We are all Satoshi

A Twitter user declared Adam Back as Satoshi Nakamoto to which the cryptographer replied with a simple “not me.”

Some also see Hal Finney, a cypherpunk and early Bitcoin contributor and Nick Szabo, a cryptographer who designed BitGold, as the pseudo-anonymous creator. Both are among the top runners for being Satoshi.

“FWIW they both said it wasn’t them also. We’ll never know – many cypherpunks had no social media footprint, and anon posts. Probably a digital ghost, who burned the nym to be safe,” said Back about Finney and Szabo being Nakamoto.

“Bitcoin is better as a decentralized digital commodity without a founder. We are all Satoshi,” he added.

This is where software engineer and Director at Ripple, Nik Bougalis, came who agreed with Back about Bitcoin being better without a founder.

“Abandoning the Satoshi Nakamoto persona and leaving Bitcoin to the world was a brilliant move,” he said.

A Ripple enthusiast also feels Ripple CTO Schwartz could be Satoshi Nakamoto. Still, Bougalis dismissed this, stating Schwartz has publicly denied it and that “his code & writing style simply don’t match Satoshi’s.”

And, “unfortunately” for Schwartz, he “didn’t find out about bitcoin until 2011.”

Schwartz chimed in to say that he thinks it’s plausible that instead of just an individual, Satoshi was a small group of people.

And that’s where Schwartz shared that he doesn’t have millions of Bitcoins, but he hasn’t lost the keys to his BTC holdings either, which he has been slowly selling for the past some years now.

“Bullish on X but Selling the X? Charlie is that you?,” a user commented on this statement.

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Author: AnTy

European Union Economic Council Aims to Introduce ‘Tougher’ Laws On ‘Global’ Stablecoins

  • Chief economic minister in the European Union calls for tougher and more stringent regulations to govern the cryptocurrency industry
  • Targeting global stablecoin projects such as Facebook’s Libra

In a speech made during the Digital Finance Outreach Conference 2020, Executive Vice President of the European Commission, Valdis Dombrovskis, spoke on the regulation of the digital finance industry, urging EU states to take the step forward in guiding proper regulation of the digital assets.

As the world continues its battle to stop the spread of COVID-19, many states and organizations have turned to digital payments, and Valdis does not expect this trend to go away any time soon. He said,

“Once the crisis passes, I would not expect the process of embracing digitalization to slow down – given how quickly technology evolves and the strong demand.”

The future is pointing towards a digital finance economy, and Dombrovskis is urging the European Union to take the step forward to “embrace digital finance and make it mainstream.” However, the challenge of regulation always arises in light of new technologies given the rapid movement in the field.

To remove these regulatory barriers, the commission is looking to launch a digital finance strategy for Europe later in the year. The strategy will focus on creating laws and regulations to make the most out of digital finance, enabling the continent to compete with the U.S, parts of Asia, and Russia in the space.

Crypto assets at the test

Crypto assets and distributed ledger technologies are the first tests for the commission. The fragmented regulation of crypto across European countries is making it difficult for market integration and companies to carry out businesses freely across the trade bloc. Dombrovskis said,

“Lack of legal certainty is often cited as the main barrier to developing a sound crypto-asset market in the EU.”

While the speech gives little away on the planned crypto regulation regime, Valdis said the new regulation strategy would boost innovation and development in digital finance across Europe through a harmonized rulebook.

A closer look at stablecoins

Valdis also differentiated the need to have a separate regulation handbook for “global stablecoins” backed by fiat currency. He believes global stablecoins such as Libra “are likely to raise additional challenges in terms of financial stability and monetary policy,” hence the need to adopt stringer policies on them.

The speech did not state any specific stablecoin, but the rise of Facebook’s Libra currency has seen several financial authorities take a keen look at the stablecoin.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Bitmain’s Wu Jihan, Micree Zhan Continue Spat As Mob Brawls With Co-Founder

Luyao Liu, Bitmain’s Chief Executive, and the former legal representative has been arrested for his part in a ‘mob-like attack’ conducted on Micree Zhan, the exiled co-founder of Bitmain.

Bitmain’s Beijing subsidiary business license was apparently stolen, and the police held Liu responsible for what happened, together with others. Zhan has been involved with Bitmain’s other co-founder, Jihan Wu, in a power struggle since October of last year.

What on Earth Happened?

A group of people with masks (due to COVID-19) hassled Zhan at the Beijing Municipal Administration of Industry and Commerce.

Zhan was there to obtain a business license for Beijing’s Bitmain subsidiary so that he could become the legal rep for the company. Liu got arrested soon after the altercation for being involved in the assault.

Bitmain Says Liu Is the Company Legal Rep

An announcement from Bitmain’s WeChat official account says Zhan no longer holds a position at the company since October 2019, adding that Liu Luyao is the legal rep of Bitmain Beijing. Even if there are documents who show Zhan is in fact occupying this position within the firm.

The documents were called by Bitmain a registration error. Wu abandoned his CEO post at the firm in 2018, yet he appears to have appointed Liu as a legal rep this year. In February, Zhan appealed the decision with the Beijing Haidian District Bureau of Justice and won.

The Power Struggle at Bitmain

In October last year, a power struggle between Wu and Zhan started because Wu decided to oust Zhan. Zhan’s position within the company at that point was of chairman and legal rep. Bitmain staff was forbidden by Wu to have any interaction with Zhan, who said back then that he was removed as a legal rep without him giving his consent.

Ever since, he filed many lawsuits against 2 Bitmain subsidiaries, trying to also restore his position within the company and to obtain a business license for Bitmain Beijing.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Coinbase Loses Chief Legal Officer To US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency

Brian Brooks, the chief legal officer of Coinbase, has left the crypto exchange in order take the second senior role with the US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC).

The announcement was made by the OCC on Monday. It says that Steven Mnuchin, the US Treasury Secretary, has appointed Brooks as deputy starting with April 1. Brooks used to be Fannie Mae’s general counselor, corporate secretary and executive vice president. He also worked as chief legal officer for Coinbase from September 2018. Mnuchin said the cooperation with him will improve the financial system’s security.

What Does the OCC Do?

The OCC supervises and regulates US financial institutions and national banks. It was formed back in 1863 and is an independent entity that makes sure banks meet risk requirements and capital. Joseph Otting, who runs the OCC, was nominated and sworn by President Donald Trump back in 2017. About the collaboration with Brooks, he said that it will bring to the agency extensive banking, career and legal innovation. Here are his exact words about Coinbase’s former chief legal officer:

“He is a visionary thinker with a passion for service and a deep understanding of how the financial services industry supports our nation’s prosperity. We are fortunate to attract such an experienced and talented individual to join our federal agency.”

Brooks Supported the Development of a Private Digital Currency in the US

Brooks has been very vocal when it comes to the US creating a private virtual currency. He even wrote in the Fortune Magazine, back in 2019, that the digital dollar would be better built by private corporations. Furthermore, he conceptualize a process in which the public sector sets the monetary policy and the private space builds the actual technology for it. Here’s what a spokesperson for Coinbase said about Brooks and its future role at the OCC:

“Brian is an amazing and accomplished leader who has been invaluable in shaping the Coinbase legal and compliance programs, and helping policymakers and regulators better understand the opportunities and benefits of crypto. We’re always proud of Coinbase alumni who go on to serve in government, bringing a crypto-friendly perspective with them.”

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Author: Oana Ularu

Even At Sub $200B Market Cap, Bitcoin is A Store of Value Now: Macro Trader Dan Tapiero

  • The Fed is being too “aggressive” and responding “wrongly” – chief financial economist of MUFG Union Bank
  • 200 billion bitcoin means it’s SoV now – macro trader Dan Tapiero
  • Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong believes falling stock market and interest rate cuts may lead to growth in crypto this year

While the US stock market has been recording considerable losses despite the Federal reserve’s emergency 50 basis point rate cut, investors have piled into the safe haven asset Treasuries to combat the economic impact of the deadly coronavirus (covid-19).

The two-year Treasury yield has dropped to 0.70% while the 10-year plunged for the first time ever to below 1%. Investors have fled from the risk assets as the spreading virus threatens to derail global growth. The other safe haven asset, gold, has also been rising during this time, climbing to a 7-year high.

According to Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist for MUFG Union Bank, the Fed is being too “aggressive” and responding “wrongly” to the financial markets. “We aren’t in a recession yet,” and Fed cutting rates won’t keep it from coming. He added,

“Moving between meetings with a bigger than normal interest rate cut looks like Fed officials are panicking as much as stock market investors did last week.”

Bitcoin is a SoV

Macro trader Dan Tapiero says on Twitter,

However, this could be good for the crypto market, bitcoin especially, as the crypto asset like gold have non-negative yields.

Bitcoin currently is a store of value as Tapiero explains,

The Year of Crypto

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong also feels,

“A down stock market and interest rate cuts may lead to growth in crypto this year. Governments around the world are likely to look to stimulate the economy in any way they can, including using quantitative easing and expanding the money supply (printing money).”

He pointed out how China has already printed $173 billion which may lead to the movement of these finds into cryptocurrencies, which,

“Are viewed as a hedge against inflation.”

“This could be the year where the mindset of institutional investors begins to shift, from crypto as a venture bet, to crypto as a reserve currency.”

However, the crypto community was quick to point out that it isn’t crypto rather bitcoin. Today, Amstrong again took to Twitter,

It is interesting that “the CEO of the world’s most prominent Bitcoin-related company seems so skeptical of Bitcoin” said Joe Weisenthal Co-host of ‘What’d You Miss?’ on Bloomberg TV.

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Author: AnTy

BoE’s Chief: It Is ‘Absolutely Important’ To Consider Central Bank Digital Currencies

Sarah John, the chief cashier at the Bank of England, has stated that it is imperative that central banks in the world consider researching and supporting digital currencies before it is too late for them, Telegraph UK reports. She said,

“We need to think as an institution about how to position ourselves to make sure society still has a broad range of payments that it can use with confidence.”

“It is absolutely right that central banks think about whether a public sector or private sector would be best to provide a digital currency going forward.”

As the BoE’s chief cashier, John is also the director of notes and she noted that it is also the time for central banks to come up with ways to define what role should be played by the private firms which are offering their respective cryptocurrencies.

Central banks all over the world are increasingly concerned about the rise of cryptocurrencies especially after Facebook announced its intention to introduce the Libra stablecoin. Indeed, BoE together with seven other financial institutions around the world started a working group last month which is geared towards sharing research as well as findings about the formation and the operations of a central bank digital currency (CBDC).

One of the members of the working group, Sweden’s Riksbank, revealed on Friday that it is set to pilot a fresh e-krona project which will run up to 2021. The testing will allow the bank to get firsthand knowledge on the effectiveness of CBDCs in the economy.

According to the Block, late last year, Mark Carney, BoE’s outgoing Governor explained that a digital currency issued by a central bank, has the potential to overthrow the US dollar from the helm of the world’s hedge currency. Carney will be replaced by the current U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority CEO Andrew Bailey after his term comes to an end on March 16.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Ex OKEx COO To Launch Crypto Derivative Exchange ACDX By Mid-Year, Seeking $40M Raise

Andy Cheung who served as the chief operations officer (COO) at renowned crypto exchange firm OKEx, is aiming at raising $40 million to roll on his own crypto derivatives exchange, CoinDesk reports.

The outlet reports that Cheung is planning to raise the funds through selling tokens as well as equity investment mostly in the crypto funds. The proprietor is also targeting family offices in Asia and Europe and private equity companies to raise the required amount.

Cheung left his top position at one of the largest crypto exchange platforms in the world in December. He started his own consultancy firm dealing with matters blockchain in Hong Kong.

After careful study of the crypto market, Cheung noticed that demand for crypto-base derivatives is increasing rapidly and has now decided to start his own platform. He said that the new platform will be started before the end of the current quarter.

Cheung’s platform will target both retail and institutional clients. He stated that he wants to come up with a platform which allows retail clients to access its services. This will help in opening up the derivatives market which is largely a preserve of the institutional investors. The new crypto derivatives exchange is also set to serve high-end institutions as well as allow wealth managers to better manage their investments. He stated:

“One of our main goals for the exchange is to provide retail investors with … structured products that are more commonly used by accredited crypto investors and wealth managers,”

The exchange platform plans to roll out different investment instruments that comprise of futures, fixed coupon notes, options, warrant contracts as well as callable bear/bull contracts.

The new crypto derivatives platform aims at serving the Asian markets as the demand for services is rising at a higher rate.

Cheung also stated that the new platform has already acquired a backing of more than $4 million mostly from the co-founders. Currently, the startup is in talks with various potential investors and more investment is expected soon. At the moment the firm has about 25 employees who are busy developing the products.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

We Left Facebook Led Libra Association Due Lack Of Transparency: MasterCard CEO

MasterCard’s Chief Executive Officer has said the payment processor abandoned the Libra project, which was led by Facebook after realizing that there were some issues regarding its business model as well as some revolving regulatory compliance.

Ajay Banga, the president and CEO of MasterCard since 2009 recently sat down with the Financial Times and had a candid conversation pertaining to the Libra project. According to Ajay, his attitude towards this project began to weaken when some of the members in this project advanced proposals that would have seen it get linked to Calibra, a proprietary digital wallet.

His problem with this proposal stemmed from the fact that when the idea to develop Libra was first muted, the currency was supposed to be all-inclusive. It was to be accessible to all people across the globe. Banga told the Times that:

“It went from this altruistic idea into their own wallet. I’m like: ‘this doesn’t sound right.’”

Global Financial Inclusion

Banga noted that financial inclusion would imply that governments and other authorities would be in a position to pay its people using a given currency. Once paid, the recipients would be in a position to understand how that currency is used, and would thus be able to use it in their day-to-day lives, e.g., paying for their daily food supplies. He went on to note that:

“If you get paid in Libra [coin]…. which go into Calibras, which go back into pounds to buy rice, I don’t understand how that works”

According to the CEO, the lack of a viable business model also raised some concerns for MasterCard. Based on the proposals being put forward, the proponents of the project had not identified a way in which the Libra Association would start making money after launch, which would then make it profitable.

He noted that when an investor is unable to understand how money is being made, it may end up being made in ways that he or she will not be proud of. Other issues that concerned him was the lack of commitment by the project members to abide by data management, AML, and KYC rules.

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Author: Daniel W

Crypto’s Have ‘Intriguing Possibilities’ But Won’t Replace USD As Global Reserve Currency: IMF Chief

International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) chief economist, Gita Gopinath, said on Tuesday that digital currencies aren’t threatening the US dollar’s role in the global trade.

She also mentioned that while cryptocurrencies seem to offer intriguing possibilities, they still aren’t globally accepted and lack the infrastructure they need to defeat the US dollar in order to become a global reserve currency. Many voices in the financial sector have expressed the notion that virtual currency may challenge the power of the US dollar, including Mark Carney, Bank of England’s governor. Gopinath thinks that even if SHCs would rebalance the global trade, they’d need to be accepted on the global market, and this isn’t very likely to happen.

Many Central Banks Talking about Releasing Their Own Digital Currency in 2019

As reported by IMF, the US dollar represented more than 60% of the global exchange reserves in the third quarter of 2019, while the Euro comprised 20% of the same reserves. Also last year, many central banks have openly spoke of launching digital currencies, with People’s Bank of China (PBOC) noting this past summer it’s intention of issuing the digital Yuan in order to compete with private initiatives such as Libra.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell mentioned in Nov 2019 that even the US central bank is looking into how a digital dollar would bring benefits to the country’s economy, not to mention that Christine Lagarde, European Central Bank’s chief, has talked about a potential digital Euro.

The IMF Is Researching Digital Currencies

Back when Christine Lagarde was running the IMF in 2018, she said central banks should be serious about exploring the possibility of issuing CBDCs that would permit financial inclusion and increase payments’ privacy. However, the same IMF said CBDCs shouldn’t be adopted prematurely either.

Back in Sept 2018, it advised Marshall Islands officials to rethink the launch of a digital currency that would work together with the US dollar, as the country needed to introduce stricter anti-money laundering regulations. IMF mentioned that in case this wouldn’t happen, banking relationships with US banks would be lost and access to the US dollar decreased, which would cut the country from the global financial system.

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Author: Oana Ularu

The Best Investment of the Last Decade is a “Pyramid Scheme” with “No Real Utility”: Economist

  • LendingTree Chief Economist Tendayi Kapfidze says in Bitcoin, “You only make money based on people who enter after you.”
  • Bitcoiners, he says has been trying to create a utility for it for ten years now
  • Though a speculative asset class, speculation is the way to get educated on it

2019 has come to an end and we have entered a new decade. During the past decade, Bitcoin went through three bull cycles, where each one has been of more than 10,000% of upside, with as much as 300,000%.

Overall in Bitcoin’s decade long history, it registered gains of 9,000,000%.

However, during its recent bear market, Bitcoin price lost 84% of its value. But what’s more important is that almost every year, Bitcoin made a higher low.

  • $0.05 in 2010
  • $0.29 in 2011
  • $4.19 in 2012
  • $13.29 in 2013
  • $314.69 in 2014
  • $201.29 in 2015
  • $374.06 in 2016
  • $784.75 in 2017
  • $3,232.93 in 2018
  • $3,385.97 in 2019

A recent report from Bank of America had Bitcoin as the winner of the decade as the best investment for the last decade.

But still, according to some critics like LendingTree Chief Economist Tendayi Kapfidze, Bitcoin is “a pyramid scheme. “You only make money based on people who enter after you.”

According to Lapfidze, it has no real utility in the real world.

“It has no real utility in the world. They’ve been trying to create a utility for it for ten years now. It’s a solution in search of a problem and it still hasn’t found a problem to solve.”

But when it comes to utility, neither does have gold or cash. Only 15% of gold is used in industries, the majority is used for making jewelry, and gold coins and bars. As for paper money, the Federal Reserve says it costs only about 14.2 cents to create a $100 bill, so the remaining $99.85 comes from the trust people place in it.

Despite Bitcoin adoption within some of the world’s largest financial institutions and central banks eagerly making their way to creating their own digital currencies, experts still emphasize that investing in this asset class is just speculation.

As an investor and Chief Market Strategist of Bruderman Asset Management, Oliver Pursche says he owns several cryptocurrencies but doesn’t know what it is.

And though he does say it is “purely speculative” as “you can lose all of your principle,” Pursche says,

“it’s also a way to get educated on it… to me, if you want to learn about it, you’ve got to own it because that’s the only way you’re going to truly educate yourself and pay attention.”

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Author: AnTy