Former Coinbase Exec Nominated by President Trump to Lead US Comptroller of the Currency

President Trump has made several nominations, amongst them being that of the Office of the Comptroller of Currency (OCC), where former Coinbase Chief Legal Officer Brian Brooks is currently at the helm acting capacity. He has now been nominated to serve in a permanent position for the next five years, should the lame-duck senate approve his appointment.

Brooks assumed his acting role at the OCC in May after Joseph Otting resigned from the position, prompting Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to replace him. Before this, he had served as Coinbase’s general counsel, a background that made stakeholders optimistic of a more crypto-friendly OCC. Unsurprisingly, Brooks has introduced significant changes in line with Fintech and crypto services.

One of his office’s most popular moves was the announcement that regulated U.S banks could offer crypto custodial services. Since then, U.S banks have loosened their gun-shy approach towards crypto with some launching services in this niche. The OCC also announced in September that these financial institutions could further extend their services to stablecoin providers.

In a recent Forbes interview, the acting OCC head elaborated some options that payment companies, including crypto, can pursue to receive a federal bank charter. Per the breakdown by Brooks, firms can acquire this charter by applying for a non-depository bank charter, National Trust Bank Charter, or buying a depository institution.

Confirmation Still Uncertain

With the U.S elections just recently concluded, the Brooks appointment by outgoing President Trump could face some challenges if the senate does not act before Jan 20. This is when President-elect Joe Biden is expected to assume office, which means he could nominate another person for the position.

Notably, Brooks has faced a backlash from the Democrats in the past, especially with handling the COVID-19 pandemic. His appointment will first go through the U.S banking senate committee, which will hold a confirmation hearing before a decision is voted in the senate.

Meanwhile, Brooks has already welcomed the nomination by President Trump, noting that he will continue to advance the mission of the OCC if confirmed,

“As Acting Comptroller of the Currency, I am proud to contribute to this 157-year-old mission.

If confirmed, I will work ceaselessly to ensure the agency continues to fulfill its critical mission and the men and women of this agency have the resources, training, and leadership they need to succeed in their duties.”

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Author: Edwin Munyui

ECB’s President ‘Hunch’ is EU Might Push Forward with CBDC Plans; Decision in January, 2021

European Central Bank (ECB) president, Christine Lagarde, said on Thursday that the EU would make its decision on whether to pursue a digital euro in January 2021. This comes as more jurisdictions pay closer attention to Central Bank Digital Currencies, given the accelerated paradigm shift to virtual payment networks amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lagarde shared her sentiments during the virtual ECB Forum on Central Banking. In-attendance were other prominent monetary authority figures, including the Fed Reserve chair Jerome Powel and Andrew Bailey, Bank of England governor.

While all the three figures commented on the ongoing developments in CBDC, Lagarde hinted that the EU might decide to move forward with a CBDC, although the decision will be made collectively. She stated that,

“We might well go in that direction … My hunch is that it will come.”

Lagarde was also keen to highlight that the ECB is not in a race to be the first but rather seeks to derive value from a CBDC. She noted that if the CBDC option is fast, cheap, and highly secure, then the ECB should explore the possibilities of joining other nations that have forged ahead with CBDC plans.

“If it is going to contribute to better monetary sovereignty, a better autonomy for the euro area, I think we should explore it. If it is going to facilitate cross border payments, which are very laborious in quite a few corners of our big world, then we should explore it.”

Per Lagarde’s time-frame estimates, a digital euro will take at least 2-4 years before it is finally launched. This will allow the ECB to adequately prepare and get it right once the project is ready for mainstream adoption. Some of the ECB issues are still trying to figure out include Anti-money laundering, terror-financing, and users’ privacy.

Notably, the ECB intensified its efforts in CBDC research this year and recently published a report on the possibilities and implications of a digital euro. The central bank also applied for a trademark the name ‘digital euro’ as part of its effort to hedge, should it chose to roll out a CBDC.

The Fed Chair & Bank of England Governor’s Takes

Jerome Powel, who also shared his comments during the virtual policy panel, said that the U.S is committed to looking at the ‘potential costs and benefits of a central bank digital currency.’ However, he reiterated that it is more important to get it right than being first, especially with the U.S dollar’s position as the world’s reserve currency.

Andrew Bailey, the BoE governor, touched on private stablecoins in what seemed to be a warning to issuing authorities. According to him, the bar is very high for stablecoins, given the users’ expectation of value certainty. In fact, he went on to highlight that the bar or answer might actually be CBDCs.

“They haven’t met that bar in my view. And it may be that the answer to that bar is actually central bank digital currency.”

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Bitcoin Seeing New ‘Macro Bullish’ HODLers; Traders Call Out Short Term Sell-Off Before New High

Yesterday, we managed to get back above $10,800 before President Donald Trump sent the BTC price tumbling by announcing that he broke off the additional coronavirus relief fund negotiations with the Democrat.

Unsurprisingly, Bitcoin’s drop of 2% was in tandem with the equity market, which fell nearly 1.8%. But interestingly, it was gold that got hit the hardest, about 2.6%.

Markets are still wobbly, despite Trump backtracking, with altcoins continuing to drown in losses.

With notable losers including CREAM (24%), SWRV (20%), YFI (14%), SUSHI (13%), CRV (12%), and Aave (10%) DeFi tokens continue to bleed the most.

Micro Scenario

While the leading digital asset’s price remains subdued, bitcoin realized volatility has hit a three-year low at 20%.

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As we reported, this could result in a bout of volatility. Although network activity calls for bulls, bears can’t be called off altogether as the last time bitcoin realized volatility hit the lowest was right before the crash of November 2018 started.

“Bitcoin 30-day historic volatility has been falling fast and is in the ’20s. In the past, it has hit 20% vol 7 times. 6 times prices exploded higher immediately, and vol hit 80% in a few months. 1 time (Nov 2018) prices fell sharply. Either way, a big move is coming soon,” noted Raoul Pal of Real Vision Group.

Before BTC could jump higher in the near term, many are waiting for the price to take a dip first.

“I remain bearish for the time being. 10k support was tested, but lack of strength is apparent, price action is weak, no volume. breaking last low of $9,882 would likely trigger massive selling across the board. bearish until convinced otherwise by bull strength,” said Trader Crypto Yoda.

And while trader Loomdart is also looking for a downwards move, he doesn’t see BTC breaking the important $10,000 level before hitting the 2019 high of $14,000.

Macro Bullish

Amidst this, the coins on the spot exchanges are dropping, which is even more exaggerated with global exchanges.

According to on-chain analyst Willy Woo, this is “very macro bullish,” because “it’s a sign that new buyers are coming in to scoop coins off the markets and moving them into cold storage HODL, we are seeing new HODLers right now.”

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The analyst also points out how the 2017 bull market was fueled by the first scoop up of the coin at that time, which coincided with Wall Street Journal covering Bitcoin as a legitimate investment vehicle off the back of the Winklevoss ETF news. This time, the latest coins moving off the exchanges coincides with MicroStrategy buying Bitcoin.

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Author: AnTy

Fed Reveals Details About Digital Cash ‘Without The Anonymity Of Physical Currency’

Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland President Loretta Mester revealed that each American would receive digital dollars directly. She said,

“Legislation has proposed that each American have an account at the Fed in which digital dollars could be deposited, as liabilities of the Federal Reserve Banks, which could be used for emergency payments.”

This was revealed on Wednesday when Mester delivered a speech to the Chicago Payment Symposium titled “Payments and the Pandemic,” in which she talked about “Central Bank Digital Currencies.”

Here she wrote about how during the pandemic, CBDCs have gained traction around the world (China, Bahamas, Brazil, Bermuda, South Korea, Russia, UK, France, Thailand, Japan, and many more).

Fed Digital Cash

Other proposals include creating digital cash — which is just like the physical currency issued by central banks but in digital form and “potentially, without the anonymity of physical currency.”

Digital cash wouldn’t require the involvement of commercial banks as they would be directly issued to the users’ digital wallets with central-bank-facilitated transfer and redemption services.

However, the demand for and use of such instruments is to be further considered, she said, adding the potential risks and policy issues surrounding CBDC also needs to be better understood and costs and benefits evaluated.

Mester also said that the Fed has been researching about issuing CBDC for some time, and already the technology lab of the Board of Governors has been testing the benefits and tradeoffs of distributed ledger platforms.

While the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston is working with MIT on different technologies for the CBDC, the New York Fed has collaborated with BIS to understand the relevance of fintech for central banks.

Although the authorities have been doing all the research, she said it “does not signal any decision” by the Fed to adopt such currency as they need to first better understand the issues related to financial stability, market structure, security, privacy, and monetary policy.

Metser concluded her speech by saying that the payment system, which is a critical part of the US infrastructure, must remain modern, resilient, and able to adapt to changing customer needs as they evolve.

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Author: AnTy

ECB Exploring Benefits & Risks of Digital Euro to Provide an Alternative to Crypto: President

In her introductory remarks, during the Franco-German Parliamentary Assembly on Monday, ECB President Christine Lagarde said they are “exploring the benefits, risks and operational challenges of introducing a digital euro.”

This ensures the strength and autonomy of European payment systems as the digital euro could be complemented to cash. She said,

“It could provide an alternative to private digital currencies and ensure that sovereign money remains at the core of European payment systems.”

While Lagarde, like other regulators, wants to keep the control of money issuance with the central banks, Galaxy’s Mike Novogratz says that it doesn’t matter because just like the traditional version, the digital one would devalue as well.

“Digital Central Bank issued FX is coming. I believe it will help the adoption of BTC and other crypto’s as well. If those same CBs keep printing their FX like its toilet paper, the digital version will depreciate. BTC won’t,” Novogratz said.

Shaping Europe’s Future

According to Lagarde, digitization is one of the trends that pandemic has the potential to accelerate.

“Trends that will lead to structural changes in the global economy.”

“We need to fully reap the potential gains from digital technologies and, at the same time, make sure labour markets remain inclusive,” she said.

Lagarde talked about accelerating the progress towards the Digital Single Market through economies of scale for digital firms.

Besides the digital euro, she also touched upon transitioning to a carbon-neutral economy and the coronavirus crisis, which is of “unprecedented magnitude,” giving Europe the “opportunity” to strengthen the Union.

Lagarde said ECB expects a rebound in activity in the second half of the year and judged that the economy still needs fiscal support for the recovery to continue and strengthen further, which has been critical in alleviating the impact of the pandemic.

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Author: AnTy

Eurosystem to Make a Decision on Digital Euro in the Coming Weeks, ECB President

European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde says a panel of eurozone central bank officials is exploring the pros and cons of a digital euro and will soon reveal whether or not the region needs to create their very own central bank digital currency.

The initiative of a CBDC may be critical to ensure they don’t get left behind in the move to digital currencies and global changes in payments, said Lagarde, in a virtual event with Germany’s Bundesbank. Thursday evening she said,

“The Eurosystem has so far not made a decision on whether to introduce a digital euro. But, like many other central banks around the world, we are exploring the benefits, risks, and operational challenges of doing so.”

“The findings of a Eurosystem task force are expected to be presented to the public in the coming weeks, followed by the launch of a public consultation.”

While the fact that Europe is dominated by foreign payment service providers isn’t necessarily a concern, the ECB president said the “global context” and “increase in protectionist policies” do present new risks.

“We have a responsibility to ensure that our citizens have choice and cannot be excluded from the payments ecosystem due to the unilateral actions of others.”

A digital euro would be useful for retail users that are increasingly ditching banknotes in favor of digital payments. Still, it also poses the danger of crowding out private sector solutions and hollowing out the banking sector.

In the meantime, Sweden’s Riksbank has been testing its e-krona for months now. However, cash remains prevalent in eurozone countries, including Germany.

The Bank of England and the Federal Reserve have taken a cautious approach to introduce a CBDC. People’s Bank of China, meanwhile, is already running a trial for its DC/EP while the Bank of Japan is currently at the research phase of a digital yen.

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Author: AnTy

Brazil Fast Tracks CBDC Launch; Central Bank President Calls for Roll Out In Next Two Years

  • Brazil’s central bank president, Roberto Campos Neto, announced the country’s plan to launch its own central bank digital currency (CBDC) by the end of 2022.

Speaking at a Bloomberg-sponsored event, Roberto Campos Neto, president of the Banco Central, praised digital currency payment systems as the future of financial systems claiming the country is in the pipeline of launching their CBDC in the coming two years.

Despite starting their research on its digital payments systems and CBDC recently, Brazil aims to accelerate its efforts in the field to provide a stable and working platform by 2023. According to Neto, Brazil’s CBDC will be built on an instant payment system allowing efficient, open, and interoperable transactions across similar systems in a bid to improve the financial system.

Neto stated Brazil is ready to launch its CBDC given it has “all the ingredients” to start its CBDC project and complete it by 2022. He said,

“To have a digital currency, you need an instant payment system that is efficient and interoperable; an open system, where you can create competition; and a currency that has credibility, is convertible and international. After that, I think you have all the ingredients to have digital currency. We think we will have it in 2022.”

Additionally, the central bank has been working on its banking infrastructure in a bit to provide instantaneous banking settlements between peer banks. The new infrastructure, PIX, will be launched in November, allowing peer-to-peer open banking transactions that can be settled in a matter of seconds.

Neto, however, did not mention the role that the CBDC will play in its new PIX infrastructure. It is expected to be complementary to the latter. He further clarified the role of a CBDC as:

“A CBDC distinguishes itself from cryptocurrencies without national trust, like Bitcoin, because it is just a new form of representation of the currency already issued by the national monetary authority, that is, it is part of the monetary policy of the issuing country.”

With the launch of its own CBDC project, Brazil joins several countries already working on CBDC’s, including China, Japan, and Canada.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Pres. Trump’s Ex-Chief Of Staff Launches A Hedge Fund; Will It Invest in Cryptocurrencies?

Mick Mulvaney, who served as chief of staff under President Trump, has launched a hedge fund. From 2014 after Mulvaney has been acknowledged as a pro-Bitcoin crusader calling for crypto-friendly regulations in the country.

Mulvaney has partnered with ex Sterling Capital Management top manager Andrew Wessel to launch the new fund known as Exegis Capital. The new hedge fund was revealed at a podcast with S&P Global Market Intelligence.

During the Bitcoin Demo Day conference held in 2014, Mulvaney urged the government not to rush to regulate Bitcoin. At the time, Mulvaney stated that the king coin could easily become a crucial medium of trade as well as a vital means of payment. He explained:

“My interest in it is just to try and make sure that the government doesn’t act too soon in such a fashion that curbs the potential for Bitcoin. Because I see the potential for Bitcoin as a medium of trade and as a transactional tool, and I’d hate to see the government make decisions early that sort of retard its growth.”

From that day, Mulvaney has vigorously urged the government to regulate the crypto sector prudently. After Mulvaney was appointed as White House chief of staff, the crypto industry executives generally supported the move.

However, it remains unclear whether Mulvaney’s optimistic view of Bitcoin will lead the newly launched fund to be active within the crypto market.

In the last few weeks, the Bitcoin market has witnessed a surge in institutional investors. The recent entrant is Fidelity Investments, which is seeking approval from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to launch a Bitcoin fund.

The surge in institutional players within the Bitcoin market has led to speculations on whether other hedge fund players are set to enter into the crypto space.

Although Mulvaney has long left his White House appointment, he still holds a special envoy post. Trump’s administration has maintained a negative stance on cryptos, and it is unlikely that Exegis Capital will immediately jump into the crypto market.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Dave Portnoy’s Crypto Stint Already Over with Buying at the Top & Selling at the Bottom

About ten days back, Barstool Sports president Dave Portnoy who became a day trader during the coronavirus pandemic, jumped in bitcoin — million dollars deep in it.

Earlier this week, in his BlockFi sponsored session, he called himself the “Baron of bitcoin,” stating that he is up to $100,000 in his investment only to declare yesterday that he currently has zero bitcoins.

“I currently own zero bitcoins. I will wait and watch,” tweeted Portnoy to his 1.7 million followers. “I may or may not be done.”

“Just like with the stock market, it took my brain time to figure it out,” he said.

Thanks to his venture into shitcoins, he reportedly lost $25k. Blaming the crypto market, which he said doesn’t keep on going up like the stock market, he added, “The Link Marines are weak, and the orchid flowers do die in the crypto world.”

But according to trader and economist Alex Kruger, “Link Marines are not weak. Link marines dumped on Portnoy.”

The day Portnoy talked about pumping LINK to the moon, a week back, the digital asset made a new all-time high to $20. However, before that, LINK had already become the fifth largest cryptocurrency with its explosive gains and repeated new highs.

Since that day, LINK has corrected nearly 20% and is currently trading at $15.52.

As for the Orchid (OKT), the day Portnoy shilled the altcoin, one of the handful cryptos available on Gemini — the Winklevoss twins’ founded cryptocurrency exchange that has been sponsoring Portnoy’s crypto stint, the token dumped, having already rallied over 200% in the weeks before that.

Portnoy, who was heralded as the one bringing a mass of new investors into the market, was torn into by the crypto community for being a bad cryptocurrency trader.

Many weren’t happy with Tyler and Cameron shilling him “shitcoins” and that he should have just stuck to bitcoin because “they are designed to separate people from their BTC (or their money generally),” said Adam Back, co-founder of Blockstream who further advised HODling BTC or went with leveraged perpetual futures if one wants to day trade BTC.

bitcoin 101

Others meanwhile pointed out how, “No suits to beat here, Dave. It’s a pure street fight,” and “saying a prayer for his next pump and dump attempt.”

portnoy bought the top

And as one crypto trader said, “This is what we qualify as a noob trader.”

hype make oney lose it all

According to Dan Tapiero, co-Founder of 10T Holdings, the Winklevoss twins “did him the disservice of not explaining bitcoin; instead of focusing on the absurdity of gold asteroid mining and chainlink, which itself is complex.” Portnoy cried for some mentorship on BTC, but “no one answered his call,” he added.

As we reported, Portnoy first got into Bitcoin during the bull rally of 2017 when he said he doesn’t understand it but can’t get enough of it either, calling it “Mario Brothers.”

It’s to be seen if Portnoy will re-enter the market once bitcoin starts flying again or if it’s finally over for the so-called “King of Bitcoin.”

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Author: AnTy

Putin Approves Cryptocurrency Bill, Stopping Russians From Using Bitcoin for Payments

On Friday, Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, signed one of the two digital assets bills into law, Russian media outlet RIA reports.

The new law was passed by Russia’s parliament, Duma, last week and states that firms can provide virtual securities on blockchain platforms provided they are well registered with the country’s central bank, Bank of Russia, as issuers as well as meet various provisions.

The new law also states that decentralized cryptos are taken to be a form of property that should be declared by the holders for taxation purposes.

The bill notes that as a property, cryptocurrency cannot be used to pay for goods and services in the country. However, businesses accepting crypto payments have until January next year to adjust to the new development.

According to RIA, the bill seems like a mild version of what was essentially proposed. Russian parliamentarians had developed a new proposal of the bill which would render any entity providing or trading cryptocurrency illegal in the country.

The first draft of the bill highly represented the skeptical stance that has been advanced by the country’s central bank. It led to widespread condemnation from the crypto community as well as from the country’s Ministries of Economic Development and Justice.

The law also states that Russian residents will now have a chance to challenge any transaction involving the digital currencies in a court of law provided the plaintiff has proof of transaction and is a crypto holder.

The Russian parliament is currently working on a more comprehensive digital bill that will touch on various issues regarding digital currencies. The bill is expected to be discussed and passed before the end of the year. However, no specific details on dates have been disclosed to the public.

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Author: Joseph Kibe