“We’re Past the Point of No Return,” says Former NYSE President Who is Bullish on Crypto & DeFi

“We’re Past the Point of No Return,” says Former NYSE President Who is Bullish on Crypto & DeFi

Thomas Farley, the former president of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), is bullish on the entire growing cryptocurrency industry.

“The only thing I find more exciting than debating on tax policy is talking about crypto. I’m all in, and I think Coinbase (COIN) is a great company,” said Farley in an interview on CNBC.

He then shared how the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the US, Coinbase is the 8th largest exchange in the world but “if you ask the everyday American they would probably think it’s the biggest exchange in the world.”

According to him, the crypto space is “amazing,” notwithstanding the press that it has been getting. In fact, “it’s the best-kept secret in the world and maybe the history of the financial markets,” he added.

Farley then went to talk about decentralized finance (DeFi). “There’s this corner of crypto called DeFi where essentially very smart Kids are putting code up on a blockchain of their choosing, and then you have a self-operating smart contract,” said Farley.

“DeFi exchanges are doing as much volume if not more than Coinbase today,” he added.

The burgeoning DeFi space is home to DEXs, volume on which went parabolic in Q1 of 2021. Recording as much as $217 billion, volume on decentralized exchanges is up 236% from the previous quarter and a whopping 8,000% from Q1 2020, as per Messari.

While Ethereum-based Uniswap continues to lead the pack, BSC-based PancakeSwap was the winner as its market share grew from a mere 2% to 37% in the quarter.

Farley further notes that this growth has been ignored by traditional competitors like banks along with retail brokerages.

“The wall street banks who for a century have made markets in every asset around the world have ignored this and abdicated their role and allowed Coinbase to become an $80 billion company,” said Farley, adding that as retail brokerages ignored it as well, retail found other ways to access this asset class.

“I think it’s fascinating, and I think it’s here to stay. We’re past the point of no return,” he said.

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Author: AnTy

Gearing Up For An IPO: BlockFi Adds Former CFTC Chairman ‘Crypto Dad’ to Board

Gearing Up For An IPO: BlockFi Adds Former CFTC Chairman ‘Crypto Dad’ to Board

Former Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo has joined the board of directors of crypto neobank BlockFi.

“Just another step towards BlockFi’s mission of bringing financial products to crypto investors around the world,” tweeted Anthony Pompliano, founder and partner at Morgan Creek Digital.

Giancarlo headed CFTC in 2017 when Bitcoin futures made its debut on CME Group and Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE). He left office in 2019.

In early 2018, during his congressional testimony in which he advocated for a “do no harm” regulatory stance towards crypto assets, it earned him the title “Crypto Dad.”

Giancarlo is the first independent, non-equity holding director on BlockFi’s five-person board.

“As the adoption of digital assets accelerates, it is critical for the financial industry to consider how to adapt and integrate these innovations in a way that best serves investors and the broader economy,” Giancarlo said in a statement on Tuesday.

Crypto lender, BlockFi allows users to earn interest on their crypto assets and also offers Bitcoin Trust and is looking for Giancarlo’s guidance on regulatory developments and other initiatives.

The crypto unicorn managed over $15 billion in assets and reported just shy of $100 million revenue in 2020. Running toward generating $500 million in revenue this year, the company has grown its client base from 10k to 250k since 2019-end.

Founded in 2017 by Zac Prince and Flori Marquez, BlockFi is rumored to be planning for an initial public offering (IPO) in the second half of 2021, which was valued at $3 billion in its latest private funding round. Coinbase, the largest crypto exchange in the US, made its debut on Nasdaq at a valuation that briefly went to $100 billion.

“There are plenty of reasons a company like BlockFi might want a former high-ranking gov’t official like Chris Giancarlo on its board, & I’d guess one of them is preparation for an IPO. Great move,” tweeted Jake Chervinsky, General Counsel at Compound Finance.

Besides a move suggesting BlockFi gearing up for going public, this addition also underscores the ongoing demand for regulatory experiences in the crypto industry. Just yesterday, Binance.US tapped former acting OCC chief Brian Brooks as its new CEO.

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Author: AnTy

Former PBoC Governor: China Doesn’t Have ‘An Ambition to Replace Existing Currencies’

China’s former head of the central bank said digital yuan could be useful for cross-border trade and support its efforts to promote yuan as an international currency.

Zhou Xiaochuan, who stepped down as governor of the PBOC in 2018, spoke at the Shanghai Financial Forum on Friday. According to him, digital currency allows payments and currency conversions in real-time and “brings new possibilities for interconnection.”

“If you are willing to use it, the yuan can be used for trade and investment,” said Zhou, who has been a leading advocate for China’s sovereign digital currency. He also noted that the digital yuan isn’t intended to replace globally accepted fiat currencies like the US dollar.

“We are not like Libra and we don’t have an ambition to replace existing currencies.”

China has learned a lesson from Diem and took a more cautious approach. The idea is to persuade consumers and merchants to accept digital yuan payments as it quickly resolves “the problem of cross-border remittances.” He said.

“Some countries are worried about the internationalisation of yuan.”

“We can’t push them on sensitive issues and we can’t impose our will. We must avoid the perception of great power chauvinism.”

China is preparing for cross-border testing of digital yuan in partnership with Hong Kong. Additionally, over $3 million in digital yuan was airdropped to 10k residents of Suzhou on Friday. Trials are being run in other cities, including Chengdu, the Xiong’an New Area, and Hong Kong, in collaboration with companies like Didi Chuxing, Meituan, and Bilibili.

Central Banks Divided on Private Sector’s Role

According to a survey by the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum (OMFIF), more than half of the central banks surveyed expect countries to collaborate with the private sector to build and run payments systems.

The central banking and economic policy forum found that central banks are split over whether to work with private sectors in payments as three-quarters of the banks said it was the state’s job to govern such systems.

The survey by the think tank involved 20 central banks and regulators in advanced and developing economies. Bhavin Patel, OMFIF’s head of fintech, said,

“It’s up to the central banks to balance how they approach collaboration – whether it’s setting joint projects together … or if it’s more just making sure that what comes to the market is properly regulated.”

The report was produced with fintech firms that include PayPal, Citigroup, Mastercard, and Novi, the digital wallet division of Facebook. Patel said,

“Regulators need to keep pace with these innovations. New, non-traditional payment entities will emerge as systemically important components of the financial system. Proactive central banks and regulators, keen to harness the benefits of payments innovation without undue policy risks, engage more with industry.”

Demand for more efficient payments is growing, a trend that has accelerated during the coronavirus lockdowns but regulators fear that the wide use of private currencies could lower their control over monetary policy. Just last week, German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said,

“We must do everything possible to make sure the currency monopoly remains in the hands of states.”

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Author: AnTy

Not Having Bitcoin in your Portfolio has Now Become a ‘Career Risk’ Says CoinShares Chairman

Bitcoin has entered a new era, said Danny Masters, former J.P. Morgan Commodity trader and current chairman of CoinShares in a recent interview with CNBC’s ‘Power Lunch.’

According to Masters, this has been largely due to the global pandemic which increased the need for inflation-resistant investments. Bitcoin is further driven by digitization because it is a digital store of value and people are looking for that, he said.

Additionally, it is driven by the fact that people are now accepting its volatility which is not only declining but the volatility of other asset classes has proved to be a lot more than people expected, added Masters.

He also pointed to CoinShares’ research which talks about four percent allocation to bitcoin in a traditional balanced portfolio having performance and diversification benefits. Masters said,

“There is definitely a narrative at the moment that this so-called this sort of perceived career risk of having bitcoin in your institutional portfolio as a portfolio manager is fast migrating into a career risk for not having bitcoin in your portfolio and that’s a really stunning development.”

Demand-pull effect

Talking about the overall current environment, Masters said that the “sentiment is electric” in the market.

For this, he mentions the world’s largest asset manager BlackRock’s CEO, Larry Fink who recently pointed out the enormous interest that they have been sensing over its social channels and websites.

Fink in his conversation with former Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney shared that the hits on the BlackRock website were 3k on COVID, 3k on monetary policy, and 600k on Bitcoin.

Bitcoin has caught the attention and imagination of many people and they are “fascinated” and “excited” about it, said Fink. Although it is still untested and pretty small relative to other markets, it can possibly evolve into a global market, he added.

We look at it as something that is real but it is still untested and it has to go through many markets to see if it is real, said the CEO of the asset manager which has about $7 trillion in AUM.

He further went on to say that having a digital currency has a real impact on the digital dollar as they make the need for the US dollar less relevant. Digital currency also brings down costs quite considerably according to Fink but he added that it needs to be organized and governed and be a component of government policy worldwide.

“That’s the demand-pull effect,” said Masters referring to Fink’s change of tune, adding that companies like Square, MicroStrategy, and PayPal are outperforming the market because they are going public with their exposure to Bitcoin.

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Author: AnTy

Former Goldman Sachs President Not a ‘Strong Believer’ in Bitcoin; It ‘May Fail’

Gary Cohn, former economic chief to Donald Trump, says Bitcoin may fail, despite the digital asset having more than a decade long history, growing adoption, and increasing value from mere cents to $19,550 today.

On being asked about his views on Bitcoin, which is on a tear, and how the digital asset and cryptocurrency fundamentally transform our economy, Cohn had the typical ‘love blockchain but hate bitcoin’ reply. Former Goldman Sachs President and Chief Operating Officer in an interview with Bloomberg on Tuesday said,

“When we talk about blockchain we come back and talk about the infrastructure, that’s the highways and the pipes that are necessary for bitcoin but they’re necessary for many other applications and I think they’re very useful and I’m very bullish on them.”

As for Bitcoin, he doesn’t have a “strong opinion” on the flagship cryptocurrency, which has a market cap of $360 billion. He said,

“In essence, I’m not a strong believer in bitcoin… it is a developing asset potentially and for all the reasons it’s a strong developing asset class it may fail.”

He further explains that part of an asset class’s integrity to a system is knowing who owns it, why it’s being transferred, and if it is used for legitimate causes or corrupt practices. The 60-year old said,

“The bitcoin system today has no transparency to it, so there are a lot of people that question why would you need a system that does not have an audit trail, does not have integrity.”

According to him, Bitcoin “lacks some of the basic integrities of a real market” because “you don’t know who owns it, you don’t know exactly how much exists today, how much has been mined how much has been lost, how much has been thrown away on hard drives because they don’t exist anymore so it.”

This is the weakest argument ever for starters, he is talking about cash, and second, if Cohn had bothered to get himself acquainted with Bitcoin, he would have known the most extensive network is a transparent one, and that’s why the different government agencies have been able to catch people trying to route their funds in BTC to avoid authorities.

Haters are just going to hate and miss being part of this revolution until it’s too late.

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Author: AnTy

Macro Investor Raoul Pal Goes ‘Irresponsibly Long’ on BTC, But More Bullish on ETH

You got faith in it; bet everything on it. This seems to be the philosophy of Raoul Pal, a former Goldman Sachs hedge-fund manager who announced over the weekend that he is going all-in in Bitcoin.

However, he did clarify that he can afford to take this road and cautioned others to do the same as him and “do your own research and size accordingly.”

By betting his 98% liquid net worth, Pal has beaten another vocal Bitcoin bull Anthony Pompliano who says his 90% investment is in BTC. But as Pal points out, he is

“older and in a position to take more risk. And it is risk, no guarantees.”

The prominent bitcoin bull is putting it where his mouth is as he prepares to sell all of his gold and invest it all in Bitcoin and Ethereum. Pal, the co-founder of Real Vision tweeted,

“I have a sell order in tomorrow to sell all my gold and to scale in to buy BTC and ETH (80/20). I don’t own anything else (except some bond calls and some $’s). 98% of my liquid net worth. See, you can’t categorize me except #irresponsiblylong.”

While only 20% of the latest investment is in Ethereum, Pal has a “hunch” that it would be Eth that would beat Bitcoin in price performance. Explaining the reason behind his 80/20 allocation, he said,

“I think ETH outperforms possibly by 5 to 1 but who knows. BTC is the easy bet.”

It would be no surprise if Eth actually outperforms Bitcoin because it did so in the last cycle too.

Compared to Bitcoin’s 1,300% gains in 2017, ETH rallied 9,162% the same year. Moreover, while BTC is just over 7% away from its all-time high of $20,000, ETH has yet to surge 63% to reach its all-time high of $1,570.

In terms of year-to-date performance as well, ETH has gained 341% to Bitcoin’s 156% while trading at $575 and $18,470, respectively.

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Author: AnTy

Bitcoin and MMT Critic Janet Yellen Picked as Treasury Secretary by Biden

President-elect Joe Biden has chosen former Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen to become the next Treasury Secretary. Yellen, an economist, if confirmed by the Senate, will become the first woman to hold the position.

This holds meaning for the crypto market as Jake Chervinksy, a General Counsel at Compound Finance, said,

“This is the single most important decision for the next four years of US crypto policy. The next Treasury Secretary will have enormous influence on whether the right to financial privacy is upheld or sacrificed to mass surveillance & forced custodianship.”

For Wall Street, it could be good news as just last month she said the US needs to “continue extraordinary fiscal support.”

Yellen had been at the forefront of policy-making for three decades, which means nobody knows the Fed better than her. Not only will she be a great Treasury Secretary, but she will also help the government achieve its objective of increased coordination between monetary and fiscal policy, said crypto trader and economist Alex Kruger.

But not only Yellen is not a fan of MMT, having said that its proponents are “confused,” but she is not really a bitcoin proponent either.

Back in December 2017, at the height of the bull run, she called Bitcoin a “highly speculative asset.”

“Bitcoin, at this time, plays a very small role in the payment system. It is not a stable source of value, and it does not constitute legal tender,” she said at the time, adding that while the Fed is researching it, “I think to my mind, limited benefits from introducing it, a limited need for it and some substantial concerns.”

During Yellen’s testimony before the House Financial Services Committee in July 2017, someone photobombed her with the “Buy Bitcoin” sign.

Yellen-buy-bitcoin

In Oct. 2018, while explaining why BTC is not a useful form of currency, Yellen shared that she received “a gift of bitcoins.” Raz Suprovici, the founder of the bitcoin gifting service Biterica, had sent 0.0031642 BTC, worth about $20 at that time, which has now increased to roughly $60, to Yellen to make her understand it better.

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Author: AnTy

Former Australian Senator With Highly Conservative Views Becomes the Next Bitcoiner

Former Australian senator Cory Bernardi describes Bitcoin as “the millennial’s version of gold.”

A Bitcoin convert, Bernardi took to Twitter to share that it has been only in the last couple of years that he became a bitcoiner.

“My conclusion is it is the millennial’s version of gold.

Still see risks attached but are basically the same as other asset classes – leg, confidence and demand. See demand getting stronger.”

He further mentioned Morgan Creek Digital partner Anthony Pompliano for advocating Bitcoin, to which Pomp said, “There are hundreds of people pushing content, education, and knowledge in the space. Complete team effort.”

Earlier this January, he left politics after serving under the Liberal Party for over a decade. Bernardi, who served as a senator for South Australia, is known for his highly conservative views.

Following his controversial career in politics, Bernardi now runs a membership-based website Confidential Community which, according to him, offers “more common sense than most people can handle.”

Last week was the only other time Bernardi tweeted about Bitcoin when he retweeted Pomp and said his self-proclaimed “famous” newsletter covered the impact of the election on Bitcoin and other potential asset classes.

In 2020 more and more high-profile people have publicly shared bullish views about Bitcoin and declared their BTC holdings. From Paul Tudor Jones, Stan Druckenmiller, Ben Miller to companies like Square and MicroStrategy have found Bitcoin as the best alternative asset class as a hedge against inflation and devaluing the US dollar.

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Author: AnTy

IRS Successfully Prosecute First Bitcoin Tax Case, Ordered to Pay Over $8 Million in Restitution

Volodymyr Kvashuk, a former Microsoft engineer, has been sentenced to nine years in prison for defrauding the tech giant for over $10 million, using a bitcoin mixer to hide taxable income, and filing fraudulent crypto tax returns.

In what is described as the “nation’s first Bitcoin case” by the IRS, Kvashuk was ordered to pay $8,344,586 in restitution. He may be deported to Ukraine following his prison term. IRS-CI Special Agent in Charge Ryan L. Korner said on Monday,

“Today’s sentencing proves you cannot steal money via the Internet and think that Bitcoin is going to hide your criminal behaviors.

Our complex team of cybercrimes experts with the assistance of IRS-CI’s Cyber Crimes Unit will hunt you down and hold you accountable for your wrongdoings.”

image1

A Skiller developer, Kvashuk, 26, worked at Microsoft from August 2016 to June 2018, during which he used his testing access to Microsoft’s online retail sales platform to steal “currency stored value” (CSV) such as digital gift cards.

He made millions of dollars by reselling them on the internet and used the proceeds to purchase a $1.6 million lakefront home and a $160,000 Tesla vehicle.

To hide the source of the funds that he ultimately sent to his bank account, he used a bitcoin “mixing service.” During the seven months of illegal activity, he transferred about $2.8 million in Bitcoin then filed fake tax return forms, claiming the bitcoin had been a gift from a relative.

While gifts are not taxable to the recipient under the current US tax code, one is required to check “yes” on the infamous crypto tax question “At any time during 2019, did you receive, sell, send, exchange, or otherwise acquire any financial interest in any virtual currency?” even if it is a crypto gift. CoinTracker noted,

“Before the 2019 tax year, if you received a crypto gift, you wouldn’t have to disclose it any tax forms encouraging tax cheats to hide crypto income.”

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Author: AnTy

Bitcoin-Friendly Ex-CFTC Chief Gary Gensler to Advise Biden on Wall Street

Former Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Chairman Gary Gensler will be joining Joe Biden’s presidential transition to examine financial regulators.

Gensler, a former Goldman Sachs partner, is known for implementing a new regulatory regime for swaps and has gained a reputation for standing up to Wall Street.

He is also known for his bitcoin-friendly views, which he called a “catalyst for change.” Gensler actually taught a course at MIT called “Blockchain and Money” on how Bitcoin and the technology underpinning it could be used in finance.

It has been under Donald Trump’s presidential term that the IRS added the infamousdo you own crypto” question, and the President told the Treasury to “go after Bitcoin.” Not to mention he himself isn’t a fan of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies either.

Meanwhile, Gensler has said although many currencies face regulatory scrutiny, Bitcoin “should remain exempt” from that.

Crypto market participants feel positive about Joe Biden and that he could be good for the industry. Even cryptocurrency derivatives exchange FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried made the second biggest contribution to Biden.

The real winner of this election has clearly been Bitcoin as not only the price of the digital currency reached some important levels to climb to a 24-month high, but crypto-friendly faces could be seen in the government too.

Quant trader and entrepreneur Qiao Wang also noted that Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have been “openly hostile towards BTC.”

Not only “a likely Republican senate to counter Dems’ aggressive regulation tendencies,” but Wang also believes, “Democrats are more likely to create inflation which is good for BTC.”

Recently we also saw Wyoming electing Bitcoiner Cynthia Lummis to the US Senate.

KeyBank NA executive Don Graves has also been tapped for the role, a longtime Biden adviser involved in reviewing bank regulators.

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Author: AnTy