Swiss Vontobel Bank to Offer Cryptocurrency Custody in Global ‘First’

Bank Vontobel Switzerland

Swiss private bank Vontobel is planning to offer custody services for cryptocurrencies in a move executives described as a worldwide “first.”


Vontobel To Create ‘Digital Asset Vault’

In an interview with local finance magazine Finews.ch, Vontobel, which has offered cryptocurrency-related investment products since 2016, said it now wanted to increase its integration.

“As far as I know, Vontobel is the only bank globally to offer itself as a custodian for digital assets,” investment banking head Roger Studer told the publication.

Alprockz Partners with Swiss Banks to Issue a New Stablecoin Backed by Swiss Franc

Switzerland continues to position itself as a leader in banking attitudes to cryptocurrency, with multiple entities seeking to open up the market to institutional and private investors.

However, Vontobel, Studer says, will be the first bank-sponsored custody solution to market, not just in Switzerland but in the world.

“…We decided two years ago to make the new crypto investment world available to our clients,” he continued. “Our custody offering is a further step in this direction.”

Legacy Finance Sidles Up To Crypto Assets

The move will come via a partnership with Geneva-based startup Taurus, which specializes in crypto custody and storage. Vontobel will ultimately operate what it calls a “Digital Asset Vault,” a label synonymous with the physical bunker currently operated in Switzerland by Xapo.

“The cooperation between Taurus and Vontobel is of high importance for the Swiss financial market because we are linking up two worlds: traditional banking and crypto finance,” Taurus co-founder Lamine Brahimi continued to Finews.

As Bitcoinist reported, 2018 already saw more direct support for Bitcoin specifically from Swiss financial sources.

IT consulting firm Inacta AG, one resident of the country’s Crypto Valley community in the city of Zug, became one of the first users of Blockstream’s Liquid sidechain in December.

What do you think about Vontobel’s cryptocurrency custody plans? Let us know in the comments below!


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Source: Blockchain

BIS Reports 70% of Central Banks Are Studying Cryptocurrencies

BIS

A new report published by the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) shows that the majority of central banks are studying central bank digital currencies (CBDC). However, most of them are unlikely to issue any type of digital currency in the near future. 


CBDC ‘Unlikely’ in The Short Term

BIS published the results of a new survey on central banks studying the technology behind Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. A total of 63 banks have responded. They represent jurisdictions, which cover about 80 percent of the population of the world and more than 90 percent of its entire economic output.

The intention of the survey was to find out whether central banks currently are developing their own central bank digital currencies (CBDC) and how likely they are to issue them.

Of the 63 banks, 70 percent said that they are either currently working or will soon be engaged in work on CBDC.

However, this includes conducting conceptual research on the matter, sharing studies and views of developing a “common understanding of this new field of study.” According to the report, half of the respondents have moved to a more “hands-on” proof-of-concept activities in order to test new technologies.

The report reveals that 85 percent of the central banks are unlikely or very unlikely to issue any type of CBDC in the short term (1-3 years).

Back and Forth

In September, Bitcoinist reported that the European Central Bank (ECB) has no intentions of issuing a central bank digital currency.

ECB

It’s also arguable whether a central bank issued digital currency will even fit the mold of decentralized cryptocurrencies. In December, a couple of researches at the St. Louis Fed, outlined that:

Once you add a central bank and remove the “permissionless” network—with nodes that can leave and join as they wish, there isn’t much left to the cryptocurrency you started with.

Nevertheless, some central banks remain open to the idea of CBDC. The BIS report outlines that the Central Bank of Uruguay has completed a pilot programme on a general purpose CBDC.

At the same time, the governor of UK’s central bank Mark Carney has previously said that the Bank of England is open to the idea of a central bank issued digital currency.

What do you think of CBDCs? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


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Source: Blockchain

Fred Wilson: 2019 Will Find the Bottom and ‘Slowly’ Enter a Bull-Run

Fred Wilson Union Square Vetures

Fred Wilson, the co-founder of Union Square Ventures, holds that 2019 will see the cryptocurrency market bottom out and ‘slowly’ enter a new bull run. However, he’s also concerned by actions of ‘misguided’ regulators. 


2019: Finding the Bottom

Venture capitalist and co-founder of investment firm Union Square Ventures, has laid down his predictions on the overall state of the cryptocurrency market in 2019.

The investor believes that we are currently in the process of bottoming out. However, he thinks that this would take much of 2019 but it will be followed by “some bullish runs.”

I expect we will see some bullish runs, followed by selling pressures taking us back to retest the lows. I think this bottoming out process will end sometime in 2019 and we will slowly enter a new bullish phase in crypto.

Unlike others who’ve based their positive predictions on catalysts such as further market adoption, institutional money entering the market, infrastructure, and so forth, Wilson sees the premise of a new bullish run in the face of the results of promises made back in 2017.

I think the catalyst for the next bullish phase will come as the result of some of the many promises made in 2017 coming to fruition in 2019 […] I think we will see a number of “next gen” smart contract platforms ship and challenge Ethereum for leadership in this super important area of the crypto sector.

Another area where Wilson thinks 2019 will bring ‘meaningful progress’ and further adoption is stablecoins. He’s not alone on the matter.

Bitcoinist reported earlier in November that CoinJar’s co-founder Asher Tan also believes in the potential of stablecoins to solve the problem of volatility in the cryptocurrency space.

Regulatory Concerns

The venture capitalist also shares that there will be pressure on the cryptocurrency industry, in general. According to him, it will stem from ‘misguided regulators’.

The area I am most concerned about are actions brought by misguided regulators who will take aim at high quality projects and harm them.

Back in October, industry proponent Jeremy Allaire, CEO of investment application Circle, called for globally coordinated cryptocurrency regulations. At the same time, the Chairman of the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) J. Christopher Giancarlo urged regulators to apply a “do no harm” approach to cryptocurrency legislation.

Last but not least, Wilson thinks that scams, hacks, and overall failures are going to remain a “drag on the sector.” However, he also holds that this is normal and ‘always the case’ with emerging tech.

What do you think of Fred Wilson’s prediction of the cryptocurrency industry’s condition in 2019? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


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Source: Blockchain

India Likely To Lift Cryptocurrency Ban in 2019

India's Supreme Court to Issue Final Ruling on RBI Cryptocurrency Ban in September

India’s long-running saga regarding the legality of cryptocurrency is likely to see a lifting of the current ban in 2019.


Indian Flip Flops

Reports suggest the Gov’t formed committee debating the matter are in favor of legalization, although with strong regulations.

India was a notable early adopter of Bitcoin, prompting the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to issue its first cryptocurrency warning way back in December 2013. But Indians continued to embrace cryptocurrency with a fervor matched only by RBIs increasing animosity towards it.

Despite this, it is interesting to note that RBI was considering its own fiat-cryptocurrency, the Lakshmi, back in September 2017. In the end, though, it seems that the bank considered a ban to be a better solution.

But Who Banned What Exactly?

In April this year, RBI ordered financial institutions to stop providing services to businesses involved with cryptocurrency. Companies were given a three month grace period, so the ban came into force on July 5.

However, though the central bank’s position on the matter was made fairly explicit, the government’s position seemed increasingly at odds with this. Reports stated that the Indian government had no intention to enforce a blanket ban on cryptocurrency.

Ongoing Confusion

Lawyers for industry players are locked in an ongoing legal battle to repeal the RBI ban, which was allegedly implemented without any research being conducted.

Reserve Bank of India

RBI Headquarters in Mumbai

The government has been deliberating its final decision, suggesting that it may reach some conclusion before the end of the year. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court gave the government a two-week deadline to provide some clarity back in October – which it missed.

The government’s own suggested resolution date has again slipped back, and this latest report suggests the committee’s recommendations will come in February 2019 (a further delay).

When Clarity Comes

Companies are queuing up to (re)enter the Indian market if the ban does finally get lifted.

This includes social media giant, Facebook, which is supposedly working on a stable coin for WhatsApp. The initial focus of this venture is said to be the remittances market in India.

Will India eventually lift its ban on cryptocurrency? Share your thoughts below!


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Source: Blockchain

Cryptocurrencies Get ‘Santa Rally’ To the Envy of the Stock Market

santa rally bitcoin price cryptocurrency

As the final week before Christmas comes to a close, the cryptocurrency market closes out a well needed ‘Santa Rally’ to the envy of the traditional markets, we take a closer look at what happened with the top cryptos and if an end is in sight to the twelve-month bear market.


Christmas Santa Rally for Crypto

The total cryptocurrency market cap managed to find support around the $100bn valuation level last week and rallied hard to close up around 30% at $130bn with a large bullish engulfing candle and a noticeable uptick in volume. A move of such positive magnitude has not been seen since the first week of April 2018 and it certainly feels a like long time in the cryptocurrency world.

Moving into the early hours of Monday morning, the market did not let up steam and pushed ahead with another 10% towards $143bn.  While this goes some way towards signaling that buyers are returning to the market and that demand at these prices may outweigh supply, there is a significant amount of work to be done before we can say with conviction that this market – which has suffered staggering losses of $650bn (87%) – has bottomed.

Christmas Eve gains across the board

Each of the top cryptocurrencies saw significant gains, with XRP 00 being the biggest mover over 20%. Notable gains were seen across the board, with six of the top ten coins making double-digit gains and tether falling as people ditched the USD equivalent for the soaring cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin Daily Chart

After finding its legs just north of $3k, the market leader, Bitcoin, has found some resistance around the 23.6% retracement level at $4k. But it convincingly broke out of this overnight and is now eyeing $4.4k, which is where significant resistance was previously found after a bounce following the initial test of the mid $3ks.

This has a high probability of proving to be a significant level of resistance with a backtest of $4k, which must now turn from previous resistance to support.

For this market to show real signs of interim bullishness, however, Bitcoin price really needs to see a convincing attempt to break $4.5k on the first try.  Should BTC be able to consolidate around this level, the bulls will be eyeing just north of $5.2k at the 61.8% retracement of the fall from $6.5k where there will be significant profit taking and short interest.

While Bitcoin and many of the other cryptos have has managed to provide some relief for investors and savvy dip buyers, this market has a lot of work to do to become bullish.

The high probability is that Bitcoin will struggle to retake the $6k and will need to spend some time holding and building a base above $3k. There is also still a week to go for some investors to crystallize losses and recognize them on their tax returns, which may still have a downward effect on the market.

So while the much needed ‘Santa rally’ has brought some Christmas cheer to the crypto markets, traders will be looking for signs of strength, with all of the coins needing to find higher highs and proving resistance at each of the key Fibonacci levels can turn to support with at the first time of asking.

Does Bitcoin price suggest it is now a buyers market? Where is the bottom? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

[Disclaimer:  The views expressed in this article are the personal opinion of the author and do not reflect the views of Bitcoinist. The information in the article should not be taken as financial advice.]

To get receive updates for the writer you can follow on Twitter (@filbfilb) and TradingView.


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Source: Blockchain

President Trump Appoints Bitcoin Proponent as White House Chief of Staff

mulvaney trump

President Donald J. Trump has announced that he will be naming Mick Mulvaney as the new acting White House Chief of Staff. Mulvaney is a well-known Bitcoin proponent and has previously expressed his support of blockchain technology. 


Mulvaney: New Acting Chief of Staff

Mick Mulvaney, who’s currently the director of the US Office of Management and Budget (OMB), has been named Acting White House Chief of Staff and will reportedly assume the position at the end of the year.  He will be succeeding the post from John F. Kelly.

“I am pleased to announce that Mick Mulvaney, Director of the Office of Management & Budget, will be named Acting White House Chief of Staff, replacing General John Kelly, who has served our Country with distinction. Mick has done an outstanding job while in the Administration,” President Trump tweeted.

According to CNN, Mulvaney will not be resigning as director of the OMB while he is acting White House Chief of Staff. Citing sources familiar with the situation, CNN reports that it is President Trump who wants Mulvaney to keep his current role as OMB director as well. The latter has been occupying the position since February 2017.

 Good News for Bitcoin

Mulvaney is a well-known Bitcoin and blockchain proponent, spearheading the Blockchain Caucus – a soundboard for policy creation handling blockchain technology as well as the growing impact of virtual currencies.

“Blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionize the financial services industry, the U.S. economy and the delivery of government services, and I am proud to be involved with this initiative,” Mulvaney previously stated.

Mulvaney is yet another appointment of President Trump who seems to be favoring the development of the cryptocurrency industry. In September Bitcoinist reported that the President has appointed Elad Roisman as an SEC commissioner.

Roisman has previously demanded regulations, which treat the industry “in a fair and transparent manner, provide clarity and certainty to the markets and investors.”

What do you think of Mick Mulvaney becoming White House Chief of Staff? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


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Source: Blockchain

Ethereum Price Analysis: Ether Burns to a Crisp

ethereum price eth price fire

Ethereum has turned into an unattended dumpster fire. Let’s take a look at the Ethereum price analysis and see what it will take to turn the price around.


Ethereum Price: Market Overview

2018 has been a rough year for Ethereum price 00 and at the moment it doesn’t look like the situation will improve. Of the top 5 cryptocurrencies, ETH price disintegration has been nothing short of harrowing and with the ICO market being declared dead by a growing number of analysts.

Meanwhile, the SEC in constant pursuit of what it deems to be unregistered securities sales and illegal marketing has put a ton of pressure keeping it from rebounding from its current lows.

ETH-USD Shorts

Additional pressure is also coming from a record high number of shorts (400,000) betting against an Ether recovery and this seems to be pinning ETH price below $95. A break above $95 – $100 could cause some shorts to cover and the price could extend to $115 to $125.

However, it seems a strong Bitcoin led recovery is the only catalyst that would set this sort of action into motion.

ETH-USD Longs

Here is the ETH/USD longs chart.

4 HR Chart

ETH had been trading in a tightening range of $83 to $103 but a decline in volume and pattern of lower highs hinted that ETH price would break down over the short-term.

ETH under $85 is a problem and below $83 – $80 could be catastrophic. The pattern of lower highs remains and ETH’s oversold bounces on the Stoch and RSI are diminishing in the amount of lost ground reclaimed.

Longs have 300,000 contracts open and a drop below $80 could accelerate ETH losses and the considerable support gap below $80 could lead to ETH price dropping to $60, if not to $41.

1HR Chart

Ethereum price dropped supports at $89, $87.60, $85.90. Now $83 – $80 appears to be the last support before a steep fall. Ambitious traders should either wait patiently for a bullish pattern to present itself or attempt to catch and oversold bounce if ETH drops below $83.

But setting a tight stop loss would be wise in order to protect against the possibility of a steep decline below $80.

[Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are not intended as investment advice. Market data is provided by Bitfinex. The charts for analysis are provided by TradingView.]

Where do you think Ethereum price will go over the short-term? Share your thoughts in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Trading View. Market data sourced from Coinbase and Bitfinex.

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Source: Blockchain