Market Experts View Cryptocurrencies As Major Risk, Fed Survey Reveals

Market Experts View Cryptocurrencies As Major Risk, Fed Survey Reveals

The latest version of the US Federal Reserve’s Financial Stability Report has highlighted cryptocurrency as one of the threats to financial stability. The survey polled responses from market experts, including investors and academics, political advisers, and brokerage firms.

Fear of Cryptocurrency Replaces Coronavirus Pandemic Worries

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and stablecoins were seen as a potential risk to the financial stability of the existing financial system, according to about 20% of the 24 professionals contacted by the Fed in the report.

Recall that the Feds had not included cryptocurrencies or stablecoins as a threat in a previous analysis of the risks. Instead, the coronavirus pandemic was mentioned in the previous report published in November.

The top risks or vulnerabilities in the Thursday report were all associated with the pandemic and its effects on the US and global economies. “Vaccine-resistant variants” ranked the highest, with 60% of respondents earmarking it as a potential threat to the continued stability of the economy.

This was followed by a “sharp rise in real interest rates,” which took 50%.

Inflation surge” came next, with 45% of respondents stating this may adversely impact the economy. “US-China tensions” and “risky asset valuations/corrections” both saw 35% of participants tapping them as probable threats, among other concerns.

Fed Reserve, A Potential Threat Not Crypto

The Federal Reserve has been seen as a potential threat to financial stability in the past due to the alleged printing of trillions of dollars by the Central bank, which sprung worries of inflation.

The Fed was said to have pushed the printing of dollars agenda as one of the many tools to help prop up the ailing economy during the coronavirus pandemic.

It also said that it could allow inflation to exceed its 2% target to escape the pandemic-induced recession; it won’t rush to raise rates to head off inflation.

Although Bitcoiners and crypto enthusiasts have argued that the Feds money printing practices could threaten financial stability and cause inflation, some economists do not believe so.

These concerns come at a time where cryptocurrencies have gotten a worldwide embrace from mainstream markets and institutional investors. Companies like Tesla, PayPal, Microsoft, Etsy, VISA, MasterCard, among others, have increasingly adopted cryptocurrencies for payments and services.

MasterCard recently signed a partnership with crypto exchange Gemini to help launch its cryptocurrency rewards credit card. The credit card would offer crypto cashback to Gemini customers every time they shop with it.

In the same vein, VISA partnered with Fintech firm Tala to push the use of the USD Coin (USDC). The collaboration involved Circle, the company behind USDC, and the Stellar Development Foundation that oversees the XLM cryptocurrency coming together to provide access to USDC via its digital wallet.

Read Original/a>
Author: Jimmy Aki

Digital Yuan Is Closing In On A Full Release As Major Institutions Start Using The CBDC

Digital Yuan Is Closing In On A Full Release As Major Institutions Start Using The CBDC

  • Alibaba’s Ant Group partnered with PBoC to develop China’s CBDC report.
  • The digital yuan could overpower the influence of WeChat Pay and AliPay in the future.
  • More institutions are adopting the CBDC as a form of payment.

Ant Group, a wholly-owned subsidiary by Alibaba, has been partnering with the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) on the central bank digital currency, popular as CBDC, a report from South China for the past four years China Morning Post reads.

This information was revealed over the weekend at a Digital China Summit in Fuzhou. MYbank, a mobile fintech app by Ant Group, was the intermediary to distribute the digital yuan since 2017. Additionally, the central bank’s main research institute, China Digital Currency Institute, picked up the app in mid-2019 to choose consumers to spend, pay and receive the CBDC.

“Ant Group, together with MYbank, will continue to support the research, development, and trial of PBOC’s e-CNY,” a representative familiar with the matter commented.

The influence of the CBDC is unquestionable across China with the trials conducted over major cities are well received by the population. At the core of the growing adoption rates is the support of China’s large banks such as the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the Agricultural Bank of China, Bank of China, HSBC, and the China Construction Bank, all of who have taken part in the trial phase of the digital yuan.

To further boost adoption, several large banks are promoting the use of the digital yuan in an upcoming festival on May 5th over the use of platforms such as WeChat Pay and AliPay. The banks are urging the population to download a digital wallet and purchase the digital CBDC, also known as e-CNY in a bid to make their payments “more convenient,” a representative said.

The continuous push towards a digital yuan controlled by the central banks will reduce the control and dominance private companies such as AliPay and Wechat have in mobile payments. To curtail big-company dominance in holding financial data, the Chinese government will launch a full public version of the e-CNY later in the year to battle with the private corporations.

All in all, big institutions have started embracing the CBDC as a form of currency boosting transactions within the country. JD.com, a China-based e-commerce company, announced Monday that some of their employees have started accepting to be paid using the digital currency electronic payment (DCEP) system.

Having participated in the DCEP trials, JD.com integrated the payment solution earlier this year in its business while paying some of its expenses using the digital yuan, a CNBC report stated

Read Original/a>
Author: Lujan Odera

Visa to Settle Payments in USDC on Ethereum; ‘Major Turning Point in Mainstream Crypto Adoption’

Visa to Settle Payments in USDC over Ethereum; A ‘Major Turning Point in Mainstream Crypto Adoption’

The second-largest stablecoin has added 7 billion to its total supply of almost 11 billion in just the three months of 2021.

Digital payments service provider Visa has announced support for stablecoin USDC as a native currency and settlement system on its network.

The USDC will now be used to settle the transaction with Visa over Ethereum ETH 7.83% Ethereum / USD ETHUSD $ 1,821.24
$142.607.83%
Volume 22.76 b Change $142.60 Open $1,821.24 Circulating 115.25 m Market Cap 209.91 b
10 h Decentralized Exchange, Uniswap, Accounts for 80% of The Daily Active DeFi Users 10 h Visa to Settle Payments in USDC over Ethereum; A ‘Major Turning Point in Mainstream Crypto Adoption’ 2 d “We are Believers in Bitcoin,” says Oakland A’s President on Accepting BTC & HODLing it
instead of the legacy banking system.

“We see increasing demand from consumers across the world to be able to access, hold and use digital currencies and we’re seeing demand from our clients to be able to build products that provide that access for consumers.”

Cuy Sheffield Head of Crypto at Visa

This bridge between digital and traditional fiat currencies is made possible with Visa’s pilot program with payment and crypto platform Crypto.com. The exchange reported “record-breaking growth” over the last year.

Visa is also working with Anchorage, the first federally chartered digital asset bank, which is its exclusive digital currency settlement partner.

Throughout last year, Visa was working on establishing a pathway for digital currency settlement within its existing treasury infrastructure, a platform that the company says moves billions of dollars each day across thousands of institutions in more than 200 markets and 160 currencies.

All of this will also allow Visa to support central bank digital currencies (CBDC) directly.

The settlement layer for the world

USD Coin (USDC) is a fast-growing stablecoin whose supply has increased 7 billion in just the three months of 2021 to a total supply of almost 11 billion, the second-largest stablecoin after Tether (USDT). Last year, USDC supply went from a mere $521 million to nearly $4 billion.

“This is massive news, and marks a major turning point in mainstream adoption of crypto,” said Jeremy Allaire, co-founder & CEO of Circle, which along with Coinbase, created USD Coin.

The Ether community is excited, calling it “another step on Ethereum’s journey to becoming the settlement layer for the world.”

With this connection to existing global networks, it will “accelerate (USDC’s) adoption as both a store of value and medium of exchange,” said Allaire.

Now any customer who has a USDC in a wallet and a card attached to their wallet can spend their USD-backed crypto at any Visa accepting merchant.

“This is “Over-the-Top” (OTT) money, and a major step in our mission to build a new global economic system on a more open, global, safe and inclusive foundation built on crypto and blockchain tech.”

Jeremy Allaire Co-Founder & CEO of Circle

Read Original/a>
Author: AnTy

MLB Franchise, Oakland A’s is Offering Full Season Suites for 1 Bitcoin

  • Major League Baseball (MLB) team Oakland Athletics announces they accept Bitcoin payments for their six-person suites.
  • According to the President of the MLB franchise, Dave Kaval, each full-season suite will cost 1 full bitcoin, instead of the normal $64,800, providing a limited discount for Bitcoin buyers till April, stating he is not concerned about the price fluctuations.

During the weekend, the price of Bitcoin hit an all-time high price of $60,000, as the demand for the cryptocurrency reached a fever point. One MLB franchise, Oakland A’s, looks to cash in on the opportunity by offering users Bitcoin-payment options for its full-season six-person suites.

In a tweet by the President, Dave Kaval, Oakland A’s will charge either $64,800 for each suite for the full season or pay 1 Bitcoin (approx. $57,700) an offer that stands until April 1.

What if, during the purchasing period, the price of BTC falls drastically? According to Kaval, fans will be treated to a huge discount if this happens to be able to pay less than $60,000 per suite for the 2021 season. Kaval said the volatility is “part of the romance of the whole situation [with Bitcoin payments],” adding that the company is looking for innovations.

“We’ve always been an organization that wants to innovate, and that’s not to say this is an offer that will still be around in 10 years, but if you don’t try to innovate, it’s never going to happen.”

Oakland A’s becomes the first MLB franchise to accept Bitcoin for tickets. Kaval has been a revolutionary in integrating crypto to sports having been a part of the San Jose Earthquakes, a Major League Soccer (MLS) team, which added crypto in 2014 when he was still an executive. This, alongside demand from Oakland A’s fans, caused the latest turn to crypto payments, Kaval confirmed. He said,

“So, on some level, this is a response to customer demand and when we saw enough of those data points, and when we also saw that the Bitcoin price was approaching our suite price, it was a perfect storm.”

Despite several companies adding Bitcoin as a payment option, very few people choose to pay in Bitcoin given the rising prices and store of value qualities it offers. However, Kaval expects the cryptocurrency to transition from an SoV to a medium of exchange as the price continues to rise. Speaking to Decrypt, he said,

“I think, especially if their Bitcoin has appreciated in value a lot, people will [use it for payments].”

“Right now, it’s being used more as a store of value, but I think its use as a transaction medium will increase over time, and we’re hopeful our product offering will help with that.”

The MLB is the latest Major League to accept crypto payments as sports franchises open up accepting cryptocurrencies. NBA team, Dallas Mavericks, owned by Mark Cuban, announced the addition of Dogecoin (DOGE) for payments – after becoming the first NBA team to add BTC payment options and use blockchains for ticketing.

Kaval believes the widespread adoption of crypto across the Major Leagues shows crypto is here to stay given the “value it provides customers.”

“I think you just need it to be adopted in more places, and MLB, the oldest and most tradition-bound of the professional sports, doing it in our industry is a bellwether moment for people to realize it is in the mainstream, it does provide value to customers.”

Read Original/a>
Author: Lujan Odera

RBI Governor Believes Crypto has ‘Major Concerns’ While Teasing the Launch of a Digital Rupee

RBI Governor Believes Crypto has ‘Major Concerns’ While Teasing the Launch of a Digital Rupee

  • Reserve Bank of India governor Shaktikanta Das expressed ‘major concerns’ on private cryptocurrencies in the country.
  • RBI is still working on a central bank digital currency.

In an exclusive interview with CNBC TV18, Shaktikanta Das, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor, said the central bank has “major concerns on cryptocurrencies.” The central bank has already communicated the government’s concerns, who will “take a call,” and if required, Parliament will also decide on regulating crypto.

“Blockchain, not cryptocurrencies.”

Despite the underlying blockchain technology offering certain benefits that should be exploited, according to Das, cryptocurrencies still present major concerns on the country’s financial stability.

“I also want to make it very clear that the blockchain technology is different,” Das said. “The benefits of it have to be exploited, that is another thing, but on crypto, we have major concerns from the financial stability angle.”

The RBI governor did not expound on the challenges that crypto causes on the financial system but said they had shared the government’s findings. The Indian government will consider the points and take a call on regulating private cryptocurrencies.

RBI governor on CBDC launch

The RBI has been stern on accepting crypto as a usable currency in India. In the past fortnight, local reports stated a ban on cryptocurrency looms as the government plans to eradicate cryptocurrency payments from the country. Citing a senior official at the Indian Finance Ministry, the government is planning on an “absolute ban” on crypto, affecting transactions of Indians on foreign exchanges.

In the past month, the central bank called for the launch of a framework for its public digital rupee. Differentiating cryptos to the digital rupee, Das stated the digital rupee is still a “work in progress” on the technology side and the procedural side with plans being made on how and when the CBDC will be rolled out.

The governor, however, did not give a specific date that the digital currency is expected to launch due to “several loose ends [that] need to be tied up.”

“We are targeting to launch it. But if you ask me a date, at this point, it will be difficult for me to say.”

Read Original/a>
Author: Lujan Odera

S&P Dow Jones Indices to Launch Cryptocurrency Indexes in 2021; Easing Access for Investors

“Slowly, at first, then all at once.” The latest major finance company to join the crypto bandwagon is S&P Dow Jones Indices. A division of finance data provider S&P Global Inc, the company said on Thursday, would be launching cryptocurrency indices in 2021.

It will be working with the New York-based virtual currency company Lukka to provide data on more than 550 of the top traded cryptos. S&P’s clients will also work with the index provider to create customized indices and other tools on digital assets, it said in a joint statement. Peter Roffman, the global head of innovation and strategy at S&P Dow Jones Indices said,

“With digital assets such as cryptocurrencies becoming a rapidly emerging asset class, the time is right for independent, reliable, and user-friendly benchmarks.”

They further said that the idea is to make it easier for investors to access more reliable pricing data about this new asset class and reduce some of the volatile and speculative market risks.

Bitcoin adoption has been gradual up until 2020, when suddenly, everyone wants in.

This is just another step this year that takes crypto into the mainstream. As Bitcoin rallies 170% in 2020, everyone wants to adopt the leading digital currency and enter the realm of cryptos. One analyst noted,

“Having mainstream indexes which represent crypto performance will only bolster adoption, and lead to the creation of fund which represent those indexes.”

Read Original/a>
Author: AnTy

Andre Cronje’s Yearn.Finance Confirms Fifth Partnership with DEX SushiSwap

It’s another day and another merger for Yearn.Finance, which just notched up its fifth major collaboration in a week.

In a blog post from yesterday, yearn founder Andre Cronje confirmed that the decentralized finance (DeFi) protocol had collaborated with decentralized exchange (DEX) SushiSwap.

Overlapping Developments and a Path Forward

SushiSwap is a fork of DEX Uniswap. In his blog post, Cronje explained that Yearn and SushiSwap had overlapped in recent developments. SushiSwap has expanded on its automated market maker (AMM), and Yield has broken bonds with its money market and yield strategies. With so much overlap in the systems, Cronje claimed that they could take their relationship to the next level.

Under the new merger, both protocols have agreed to share resources. The total value locked in both protocols will also increase, and the collaboration will see Yearn strategies use SushiSwap going forward.

Also prominent in the new marriage is that SushiSwap will help Yearn launch Deriswap, a new product from Cronje. Announced last week, DeriSwap is a protocol that combines different aspects of DeFi. It focuses primarily on options, swaps, futures, and loans. While Cronje offered scant details about the protocol, he pointed out that it would use the standard Uniswap contract, with liquidity providers offering ETH-BTC. When traders swap tokens, liquidity providers earn fees.

Beyond the developments already laid out, Cronje also highlighted that users would need to vote on several new ones. These include Yearn participating in SushiSwap’s governance and adding SUSHI tokens to its treasury and vice versa. Developers are also proposing grants for Sushi contributors, which will be paid via yGift, and more.

Yearn’s Landmark Week

This appears to be the one merger that doesn’t have to do with any other announced by Yearn Finance in the past week. So far, Yearn’s SushiSwap collaboration is it’s fifth in a week, demonstrating the protocol’s seriousness about expanding its footprints across the DeFi space.

Yesterday, the lending and savings protocol Akropolis confirmed that it had partnered with Yearn to develop its operational strategies.

The protocol will benefit from the expanded Yearn ecosystem, including names like lending protocol Cream and insurance market coverage provider Cover.

Yearn is expected to benefit from Akropolis’ business development infrastructure and institutional contacts. Akropolis will deprecate AkropolisOS and Spark, two of its products that aren’t related to yield farming. Both products will be moved to open-source development and incorporate front ends to allow professional traders to access the new ecosystem from Akropolis and Yearn.

Read Original/a>
Author: Jimmy Aki

Over 3 Billion XRP Held on Coinbase Exchange to Miss Out On Flare Network’s Spark Airdrop

  • Ripple is ready to airdrop a new token to all XRP holders on major cryptocurrency exchanges.
  • Coinbase and Binance.US users will miss the airdrop as the exchanges do not support the token.

Flare Networks, a Ripple funded blockchain firm, will airdrop free Spark tokens (FLR) to anyone holding XRP in supporting wallets and exchanges on December 13. However, with over 3 billion XRP tokens held on California based crypto exchange, Coinbase is likely to miss out on the airdrop, Flare Networks, the firm conducting the Spark token airdrop, confirmed.

According to a tweet sent out over the weekend, Flare Networks claimed that the exchange “is likely too late” to participate in the airdrop.

On November 13, Flare Networks launched the airdrop campaign promising users holding XRP free Spark tokens at a ratio of 1:1. Every XRP holder on supported wallets and exchanges as of Dec 12 00.00 GMT (when the snapshot will take place) will be eligible to receive the free tokens.

The XRP Army is enraged with Coinbase and several top crypto exchanges that have yet to announce any plans to support the airdrop. According to Flare Networks, any XRP user on exchanges and wallets not supporting the airdrop will not receive the Spark tokens.

In a message targeting these crypto exchanges, Flare Networks reminded most of the exchanges to announce their position on Spark token distribution on November 24. Binance (except Binance US), Bittrex, and Bitfinex have since replied in support of the Spark token distribution, which will allow XRP users on their platform to enjoy the airdrop.

Coinbase has yet to respond to the distribution despite holding over 3 billion XRP tokens (approx. $1.87 billion) in its wallets. Kraken exchange responded, stating they “do not have plans to support this airdrop/fork.”

Users who hold their XRP in non-supporting exchange wallets and wish to participate in the airdrop need to move their tokens to another supportive exchange.

If you don’t move your tokens from unsupportive exchanges, you are bound to lose the rewards with Flare Networks planning to redistribute the remaining tokens to the eligible XRP holders.

Read Original/a>
Author: Lujan Odera

Vitalik Buterin: Ethereum has No Non-L2 Path for Scalability in Medium Term with ETH 2.0 Years Away

“Base-layer scalability for applications is only coming as the last major phase of eth2, which is still years away,” wrote Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin in the Ethereum roadmap update.

But Buterin doesn’t like that crypto media is putting it out there. Buterin’s saying that the media “selectively sound-bites” him and he’s just going to ignore it all has been in response to a crypto community member‘s remarks on the co-founder “comments not helping ETH.”

On ”A rollup-centric ethereum roadmap,” Buterin proposed a full focus on the second layer method because the base layer is nowhere near becoming a reality yet.

Buterin may not like what the media is publishing, but it has been just his words. About a year back, he had also talked about scalability being a “big bottleneck” for Ethereum blockchain, which is “almost full” and “keeping people from joining.”

“No Choice”

Over the past few months, the DeFi mania took over the Ethereum network sending the fees to an all-time high, breaking new records every month, pushing the small players out, and making it a big players game.

“The L1 is nearly unusable for many classes of applications, and there’s no non-L2 path that can get us to scalability in the short-to-medium term,” are exactly Buterin’s words this time.

He further talked about how the high fees on prediction platform Augur made it “very much “for the niche people and not for the world.”’

“If you are not convinced to go “all the way” on the “phase 1.5 and done” direction, there is a natural compromise path to take,” — which is to have a small number of execution shards and more data shards.

He has also been a staunch supporter of Layer 2 solutions, which he suggests building into the wallets like Metamask or Status. But more work needs to be done on cross-L2 transfers.

With most of the applications on layer 1, they would need to be migrated to layer 2 solutions. Some of the popular DeFi projects like Compound, Sunyetix, and Uniswap have already announced support for one such solution, Ethereum Optimism, which recently launched the first stage of their testnet.

Though there is “no choice” but to go with Layer 2 solutions, that will still take time.

Read Original/a>
Author: AnTy

Crypto Exchange Raises $52 Million in Series A Round to Offer Access to Stock Markets

Cryptocurrency exchange Bitpanda has raised $52 million in its first major funding round, Series A led by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures. Other backers included Austrian Speedinvest and other unmanned investors.

As part of the investment, Valar Ventures’ founding partner Andrew McCormack will also join the board of the centralized exchange.

Founded in 2014, the Vienna-based company boasts of 1.3 million users and 300 employees. It is focused on trading digital assets along with tokenizing precious metals. This year, the exchange expanded to France, Spain, and Turkey and further plans to enter other European markets as well.

The new funding round will be used for this expansion to offer users access to stock markets next year and recruit 70 new employees.

With this move, the digital investment platform is expanding into real-world assets joining the likes of eToro, Robinhood, and Revolut, which came from the traditional assets’ world and now entering the world of crypto assets.

Interestingly, 2020 has been a good year for trading assets, with retail investors pouring money into apps like Robinhood thanks to the government stimulus program to counter pandemic.

“The Robinhood movement in the U.S. helps a lot, but we want to be more customer-friendly,” said Eric Demuth, co-founder, and co-chief executive officer of Bitpanda.

Read Original/a>
Author: AnTy