New York Fed: Cryptocurrency Won’t Challenge Dollar in Near Or Mid-Term

new york fed

Cryptocurrencies are “unlikely” to become an international monetary phenomenon in the coming years, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has claimed.

‘Unlikely To Meet Criteria’

In a research piece on US dollar supremacy published February 11, the NY Fed argued that despite the appearance of cryptocurrency in mainstream society, only its long-term perspectives could include significant usage.

“Cryptocurrencies, set up to challenge the conventional structure of payments in official currencies, thus far are unlikely to meet criteria for international roles in the near to medium term,” it commented.

The opinion is nothing new. As Bitcoinist reported, US finance continues to downplay to possible disruptive aspects of cryptocurrency.

In April last year, the San Francisco Fed argued Bitcoin lacked the characteristics which would allow it to become a currency altogether, echoing similar sentiments by banking structures worldwide.

“Cryptocurrency doesn’t pass the basic test of what a currency should be,” the Fed’s chief John Williams said at the time.

Not Everyone Convinced

Such bearish conclusions increasingly contrast with global business. Just this week, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey reiterated his belief that Bitcoin would become a global “currency of the internet,” having previously given a timeframe of just ten years for this to occur.

“Bitcoin is resilient. Bitcoin is principled. Bitcoin is native to internet ideals. And it’s a great brand,” Bitcoinist reported him as saying.

On the topic of the dollar meanwhile, the NY Fed said that despite various shifts, the US currency remained the go-to fiat currency.

The evidence to date is that the dollar remains the world’s dominant currency by broad margins. Alternatives have not gained extensive traction, albeit this does not rule out potential future pressures.

This week, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) proposed splitting off cash and electronic money as a method of making negative interest rates watertight economic policy. Such a move would make it much less appealing to hold stocks of cash in hard currency.

What do you think about the New York Fed’s perspective on cryptocurrency and USD dominance? Let us know in the comments below!

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First US Public Pensions Invest in $40M Cryptocurrency Fund

pension fund

A brace of public pension funds is backing a $40 million venture-capital fund established by Morgan Creek Digital which focuses on cryptocurrency investments. This development marks the first ever involvement of U.S. pension funds in the virtual currency investment space.

Pension Funds Anchor $40M Cryptocurrency Investment

Morgan Creek Digital announced on Tuesday (February 12, 2019) the launch of a $40 million cryptocurrency venture fund anchored by two public pension funds.

According to the announcement, the Fairfax County Employee’s and Fairfax County Police Pension Plans are the two largest investors in the fund.

Both pensions manage an asset portfolio worth about $1.2 billion. They are also the first ever public retirement fund to invest in cryptocurrencies, a notable milestone for the burgeoning industry.

Speaking to Bloomberg, Morgan Creek Digital founder, Anthony Pompliano revealed that the fund would invest in blockchain startups and cryptocurrencies. Already, the new fund has investments in notable companies like Bakkt and Coinbase.

Currently, there is no public disclosure of the investment terms, but Pompliano did indicate that the fund is a special purpose vehicle (SPV). Also, reports suggest that apart from equity investments in crypto-based companies, the fund will retain a portion of its value in cryptocurrencies like bitcoin 00.

Institutions ‘Already Here’

Many crypto critics usually never fail to bring up the absence of public pension funds in the virtual currency investment arena. Back in January, JPMorgan analysts repeated the same rhetoric as part of their “Bitcoin is only valuable in a dystopia” narrative.

The significance of these two public pension funds taking the plunge can potentially hold profound ramifications for the industry as a whole. Usually, critics attribute the reticence of pension funds in investing in cryptocurrency to issues related to manipulation, volatility, lack of security, among others.

In late 2018, the Morgan Creek Digital partner called on public pension funds to pivot towards the cryptocurrency and blockchain technology market. According to Pompliano, cryptos could serve as a viable hedge for such funds against what he called an “impending US pension crisis.”

For Pompliano, the news is a massive win for cryptocurrency, saying “the institutions aren’t coming. They’re already here.”

During the interview with Bloomberg, the Morgan Creek Digital founder also said:

There’s a belief in the institutional world that if the industry will be around for a long time, it will be very valuable. The smart money is not distracted by price but looks at the long-term trends, and believes they’re betting on innovation as a great way to deliver risk-mitigated returns.

Do you think this development will vastly enhance the pedigree of cryptocurrencies in the eyes of other reticent mainstream investors? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Image courtesy of Twitter (@APompliano), Shutterstock

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Source: Blockchain

Reality Shares Bitcoin Futures ETF ‘Moves Ball Forward’ For Crypto

ball bitcoin etf

Cryptocurrency advocates have reacted warmly to an effort by asset manager Reality Shares to gain approval for a ‘partial’ Bitcoin ETF from US regulators.

Less Exposure, Less Rejection?

Announced in a prospectus filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) February 11, Blockforce Global Currency Strategy ETF aims to invest 15 percent of funds into CME Group and Cboe’s Bitcoin futures.

“The Fund is an actively managed exchange-traded fund…  that is designed to provide investment exposure to global currencies, both fiat and virtual currencies, that have been widely adopted for use (e.g., as store-of-value, international remittance, foreign-exchange trading) throughout the world,” the prospectus summarizes.

The SEC Sets a Deadline to File Comments for or Against Bitcoin ETF Applications

The move comes as the SEC continues to adopt a highly risk-averse stance on the cryptocurrency ETF market.

As Bitcoinist reported, multiple rejections of launch applications preceded ongoing to-and-fro correspondence between operators and the regulator, with deadlines repeatedly pushed back.

In January, the applicants behind the VanEck/SolidX ETF withdrew their application due to the US government shutdown, resubmitting it when conditions improved.

Fundstrat Eyes Institutional Appeal

Last week, the SEC’s only Democratic commissioner said that the appearance of a regulated ETF was nonetheless inevitable.

“Getting the stamp of approval from the deepest and most liquid capital markets in the world is hard, and it should be,” Robert J. Jackson Jr. said in an interview.

Reality Shares began offering ETFs tracking blockchain companies last year, and appears keenly aware of the need to avoid too significant an exposure to Bitcoin markets under current conditions.

“The Fund will not invest directly in bitcoin,” it stressed.

Commentators nonetheless appeared buoyed by the news.

“The idea of currency diversified fund holding (Bitcoin) is brilliant and likely attractive to institutional and retail investors. And when approved, moves the ball forward for crypto as an asset class,” Fundstrat Global Advisors senior analyst Tom Lee wrote in response to the application.

What do you think about the Blockforce Global Currency Strategy ETF? Let us know in the comments below!

Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Source: Blockchain

Venezuela Imposes Capital Controls on Bitcoin Remittance Amid Record Volume


Venezuela continues to reach new heights in terms of weekly Bitcoin trading volume. Meanwhile, the country’s government has issued new regulations that impose fees on Bitcoin remittance.

2,545 BTC: New Weekly Bitcoin Trading Record

According to data from Coin Dance, Venezuelans traded 2,454 BTC via Localbitcoins (the P2P trading platform) for the week ending February 9, 2018. This figure surpasses the 2,004 BTC recorded in the previous week.

Last week’s volume amounts to the highest ever recorded in the country. In terms of VES, the country’s beleaguered fiat currency, 24 billion VES worth of Bitcoin changed hands during the period, an increase of 41 percent from the week ending February 2, 2019.

With the continued political, social, economic turmoil in the Latin American state, citizens continue to rely on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for survival. The current stand-off in the political scene is sure to exacerbate further the already dire issues surrounding forex shortage and hyperinflation.

15 Percent Fee on Bitcoin Remittance

With Bitcoin trading volume soaring, state officials are getting into the action, introducing exorbitant fees on cryptocurrency remittance payments in the country.

According to the notice published on the Official Gazette 41581 on February 7, 2019, the National Superintendence of Cryptoactives and Related Activities of Venezuela (SUNACRIP) now oversees cryptocurrency-based remittance in the country.

SUNACRIP now has the power to set limits on cryptocurrency payments. An excerpt of the decree published by local crypto news media Criptonoticias, reads as follows:

The ruling defines commissions that range from 0.25 euros ($0.28) as the minimum rate per transaction, to 15% of the funds transferred in cryptocurrencies [sic]. In addition, it limits the sending of remittances to a monthly amount equivalent to 10 Petros (PTR), a cryptocurrency [sic] created by the Venezuelan Government.

The notice also establishes an upper limit for the cryptocurrency payments pegged at $3,000.

The reaction from many commentators on the matter has been unanimously negative. Imposing fees on cryptocurrency remittance is counterproductive to the essence of international payments via cryptocurrency which is the removal of exorbitant fees charged by mainstream services.

According to the World Bank, the global average remittance fees range between 5.2 percent and 9.4 percent. The SUNACRIP fee structure effectively renders crypto remittance more expensive than fiat.

This new directive comes on the heels of an earlier law that seeks to punish what the state considers unauthorized cryptocurrency use.

What’s your take on the remittance fees being imposed on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency transactions by the Venezuelan state? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Images courtesy of and Twitter (@SunacripVe), Shutterstock

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Chinese Billionaire, Zhao Dong, Says Get Bitcoin Now ‘While No One Really Cares’

bitcoin bank

Zhao Dong, Bitcoin billionaire and one of China’s biggest OTC traders, has taken to WeChat to opine on the industry. He predicts no thaw of crypto-winter this year, but says now is the best time to stock up and hodl.

The Public Chain Alliance Crossing The Bulls And Bears Elite Team

Dong made his comments in the WeChat group for ‘The Public Chain Alliance Crossing The Bulls And Bears Elite Team’. One can only hope that sounds better in Chinese.

He said that obviously fewer people are following bitcoin now than during 2017’s bull run, hence the natural price drop. Furthermore, he suggested that these people would not start paying attention again until the price returns to tens of thousands.

For most people, if they don’t pay attention to Bitcoin now, they won’t pay much attention to most of the time, so for them, only how many tens of thousands of bitcoins will break them will be noticed again. If you and I believe in the future of Bitcoin, so it is best to hold as much as possible when nobody cares.

A Man For All Seasons (Except Autumn)

When asked about industry trends, he said that for 2019, everyone should just try to have a good winter. 2020 would bring the spring, he thought, with summer not expected until 2021. Incidentally, back in November 2018, Dong predicted a bitcoin price of $50,000 by 2021, on microblogging site, Weibo.

He explained his rationale for investing, and why to buy in a bear market, thus:

In the bull market, I don’t persuade people to buy Bitcoin, because it seems easy to make quick money but in fact it is not. Now [in the bear market], I start to talk people into buying Bitcoin.

It Was The Best Of Times, It Was The Worst Of Times

Back to 2019, Dong cautioned not to be too optimistic or pessimistic, saying that more companies and projects would die. However, he went on to say that some hope will be born of it because the next wave of projects will emerge from this period.

This, he said, would make 2019 both the best time and the worst time for entrepreneurs and investors. Despite the deaths of more companies and projects, good projects are cheaper to invest in. And entrepreneurs can take advantage of competitors at their lowest point.

Dong signed off with a simple piece of advice for investors and entrepreneurs alike:

The only thing you need is patience.

…only in Chinese, obviously.

Do you agree with Dong that patience is key? Share your thoughts below!

Images courtesy of Twitter, Shutterstock

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Source: Blockchain

Paris Fintech Forum Reportedly Over Crypto — But Who Really Cares?

paris cryptocurrency

It’s no secret that the Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency industry it spawned are currently experiencing the depths of what many are now calling ‘The Crypto Winter’ — a fact reportedly evidenced by this year’s Paris Fintech Forum. 

The Paris Fintech Forum (PFF) bills itself as “the most exclusive European annual event on digital finance and Fintech.” Last year, the event was packed full of newfound ‘cryptocurrency experts’ and ‘blockchain advisors’ and others looking to ride the wave of the recently-deceased 2017 bull market. This year was different.

According to Bloomberg, the overarching theme of the conference focused on traditional banking — with topics such as branchless lending and ‘banking-as-a-service’ taking center stage.

SWIFT vs. Ripple

The highlight of the conference for the cryptocurrency crowd was the battle between SWIFT CEO Gottfried Leibbrandt and Ripple Labs Inc. CEO Brad Garlinghouse. The latter likened the two companies to Amazon and Wal-Mart, while Liebbrandt stated:

Banks are not ready for a model where you convert into a crypto and then convert back again. It’s not clear to us that blockchain is better than what we have today.


Who Cares?

With a conference regularly dominated by those interested in, at most, ‘disrupting’ the traditional banking system, viable cryptocurrencies — such as Bitcoin (BTC) — really have no place. The first and foremost cryptocurrency wasn’t made to provide blockchain solutions for financial institutions and traditional banks. It was made to provide individuals the opportunity to be their own bank while rendering third-parties irrelevant and traditional banks unnecessary.

Unless you are an XRP bagholder or one who truly believes cryptocurrencies’ primary usage is to make banks operate better, this year’s vibe at the PFF shouldn’t concern you.

What do you think about the Paris Fintech Forum’s reported disinterest in cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below! 

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Source: Blockchain

Startup Receives $1.7 Million to Help Keep Cryptocurrency Controlled

cryptocurrency law

Token Relationship Management (TRM) has received $1.7 million from investors like Blockchain Capital to provide cryptocurrency startups with solutions to stay compliant with local regulations. 

Staying compliant in an ultra-confusing and ever-changing regulatory landscape is not easy for your average cryptocurrency startup looking to actually stay complaint as opposed to simply exit scam with users’ funds. Now, startup TRM is offering a RegTech solution as part of its Token Relationship Management platform.

TRM’s offering is designed to simplify on-chain anti-money laundering (AML) compliance for companies working with cryptocurrencies and digital assets. According to a press release, the platform offers solutions for “on-chain customer due diligence, transaction monitoring, and customer relationship management.”

money laundering

KYC and Transaction Monitoring

In addition to RegTech, TRM is also developing solutions for the automated detection of suspicious activity. Such activities include money laundering and the manipulation of markets.

More than 20,000 individuals have already KYC’d themselves and their Ethereum (ETH) addresses on RegTech.

TRM’s product has already been put to use with TrustToken’s TrueUSD — a stablecoin backed by the US dollar not entirely dissimilar to Tether (USDT).

Explained Esteban Castaño, TRM CEO and co-founder:

We believe that cryptocurrency is going to be a democratizing force in the world that lets anyone exchange value and access financial services. But to get there, we need to make it easier for everyone to be compliant. Just as the Internet led to an explosion of new content, crypto is leading to an explosion of new financial products and markets. We need regulatory and compliance infrastructure that scales with this new world.


Keeping Cryptocurrency Controlled

Though regulatory compliance is important for any legitimate business, Bitcoin (BTC) and many other cryptocurrencies were created and developed to help individuals maintain control over their financial and personal freedom. Solutions like TRM’s RegTech appear help centralized institutions maintain centralized control over the cryptocurrency space. Solutions like this may help facilitate the mainstream adoption of cryptocurrency-related technologies but appear to do little to further decentralization.

What do you think about TRM’s RegTech solution to help cryptocurrency startups remain regulatory compliant? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Twitter CEO to Joe Rogan: I Think Currency of The Internet Will Be Bitcoin

Jack Dorsey Joe Rogan Podcast JRE

Appearing on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, Twitter and Square CEO, Jack Dorsey, stated that the Internet will eventually have a currency, which he thinks will likely be Bitcoin.

‘I Think It Will Be Bitcoin’

Appearing on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, which has over 4.4 million subscribers, Dorsey stated his conviction that the Internet was evolving towards having a native currency. For the Twitter and Square chief, Bitcoin, the top-ranked cryptocurrency seems best-suited to that role.

Commenting on the possibility, Dorsey said:

I believe the Internet will have a native currency and I don’t know if it’s Bitcoin. I think it will be [Bitcoin] given all the tests it has been through and the principles behind it, how it was created. It was something that was born on the Internet, was developed on the Internet, was tested on the Internet, [and] it is of the Internet.

In the past, Dorsey has made similar remarks, commenting in May 2018 that Bitcoin should be the native currency of the Internet. Thus, Dorsey says Square’s focus is solely on BTC with no present plans to offer support for other cryptocurrencies on the Square Cash App.

Bitcoin Enables Better Financial Inclusion

Dorsey explained to Joe Rogan that Bitcoin adds another dimension to the goal of creating easier access to financial services. Elaborating on Square’s decision to offer support for the popular cryptocurrency, the CEO said it gave the company the ability to serve more people across the world far better than was possible using mainstream channels.

Square Cash App

Dorsey likened the Internet to a single nation that exists digitally. Thus, it only makes sense that it would have its own universally accepted currency.

Present-day fiat money is usually subject to nationalistic policies that might not appeal to different places across the globe. Bitcoin, however, is based purely on mathematical algorithms providing a certain sense of neutrality and universality devoid of any geographical or political bias.

Banks Hate Bitcoin’s Disruption

Dorsey also touched on the attitude of banks and other stakeholders in mainstream finance towards Bitcoin. Unsurprisingly, banks and many other financial institutions aren’t fans of Bitcoin’s disruptive tendencies, the Twitter CEO said.

Earlier in January, JPMorgan analysts released a report claiming that BTC’s value could only exist in a dystopian economy. In 2018, ‘nocoiner’ Warren Buffet infamously called Bitcoin “rat poison squared,” which, oddly enough, implies that the banks are the rodents.

However, he also touched on the philosophical aspect of Bitcoin changing people’s perception of what constitutes value. For Dorsey, it is vital that people critically examine the emerging trends or risk being left behind much like the way the Internet revolutionized communication and the global business process.

As for staunch critics of Bitcoin who repeat worn out rhetoric, Dorsey says:

Technology will continue to march on and make you irrelevant.

Do you think that Bitcoin will become the native currency of the Internet? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock,

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‘Blockchain’ Being Used by London Rail Company to ‘Incentivize Changes in Passenger Behavior’

london train blockchain

DOVU, a startup from London with goals of becoming the world’s leading marketplace for transport data, has reportedly commenced a working relationship with rail company Go-Ahead. 

The working relationship has some serious investment interests behind it. DOVU launched two years ago and is backed by both Jaguar Land Rover’s InMotion Ventures and U.K. government-backed fund Creative England. Go-Ahead, likewise, is listed on the FTSE 250 — an index that contains the 101st to the 350th largest companies listed on the London Stock Exchange — and boasts more than one billion passenger journeys per year.

jaguar land rover blockchain

‘Incentivizing Changes in Passenger Behavior’

According to a report from TechCrunch, the rail company plans on using DOVU’s blockchain-powered reward platform “to learn more about its customers and to incentivize changes in passenger behavior.” What kind of data will be collected has not been detailed, but it is known that customers will be able to earn loyalty points in the form of cryptocurrency for sharing said data.

train passengers blockchain

Blockchain or Buzzword?

From the sounds of it, DOVU and Go-Ahead’s plan sounds like a prime example of a ‘blockchain‘ project that aims to further centralize an already-centralized industry, as opposed to disrupt or decentralize it. It also appears that ‘blockchain technology’ is being used as little more than a buzzword tacked on to traditional rewards points for completing post-ride surveys.

Very little seems revolutionary about this news. However, it nevertheless serves as an example of how ‘blockchain technology’ continues to permeate into the post-2017 Bitcoin world.

What do you think about DOVU and Go-Ahead’s working relationship to incentive the sharing of passenger data via cryptocurrency rewards? Do you think ‘the blockchain’ is even needed in this instance? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below! 

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Visualizing Bitcoin Adoption Across the Globe

bitcoin globe world

Bitcoin remains the most popular cryptocurrency in the world today with a network that spans across the globe. But just what the distribution of Bitcoin nodes tell us about the rate of adoption of the top-ranked cryptocurrency on a global scale?

Global Distribution of Bitcoin Nodes

According to a 2019 study by Themetafriend, there are 36 countries in the world with at least one percent of their population as Bitcoin users. This study assumed a relationship between the ratio of Bitcoin nodes in any two countries to that of the number of users in those countries.

Using this ratio, it seems theoretically possible to examine the distribution of Bitcoin users worldwide. The following is an estimate of the number of Bitcoin users in different continents.

Europe and North America

Europe and North America are hardly ever absent from any conversation related to technological advancements. Of the 36 countries where Bitcoin users make up at least one percent of their population, 26 are in Europe or North America.

These nations include Canada, France, Belgium, Belarus, Germany, the U.K., and the U.S. Others are Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Romania, Iceland, Slovenia, and Sweden.

Looking at the current global nodes distribution as provided by Bitnodes, there is a high density of nodes in both Europe and North America. Also, of the top ten countries based on the number of nodes, only three (China, Singapore, and Japan), come from outside Europe and North America.

South America, Asia, and Australia

Back in November 2018, Bitcoinist reported that the total number of public Bitcoin nodes had surpassed 10,000. According to the latest figures from Coin Dance, the Bitcoin network currently boasts 10,071 listening full nodes and with over 61,000 nodes in total, according to other data sources.

Apart from Japan and Singapore, South Korea, Australia and India also have at least one percent of their population as Bitcoin users. China, however, does not fall into this category making India’s presence particularly noteworthy given the similarities in their population figures.

In South America, Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina have the most BTC users. Venezuela does not appear to rank on a significant scale, however.


In Africa, only South Africa registers any significant number of users. According to the study, the southernmost nation in Africa has between 0.1 and 0.99 percent of its population as Bitcoin users. Places like Angola and Tanzania have between 0.01 and 0.099 percent.

With access to electricity still a luxury in many places on the continent, the results from the study come as no surprise. According to Bitnodes, the highest ranked African nation based on the number of Bitcoin nodes, South Africa, is in the 33rd position (out of 100).

Not the Full Picture of BTC Adoption

The methodology by Themetafriend uses node distribution to determine Bitcoin users. It should be noted, however, that such a methodology might not show the entire spectrum of adopting technology as multifaceted as Bitcoin.

For example, countries in Africa aren’t running Bitcoin nodes (maybe due to inadequate electricity supply and/or lack of hardware), but the three of the top five countries on Google Trends for Bitcoin are from the continent including Nigeria – the country marked in orange (low adoption) on the map.

Bitcoin adoption also involves such aspects as remittance, mining, acceptance for payments, infrastructure support etc. apart from running nodes.

For example, it appears that Venezuelans aren’t running a significant number of Bitcoin nodes, but the country continues to post massive figures on Localbitcoins.

Unsurprisingly, places like China and Iceland where electricity is cheap but using BTC is restricted tend to be the leaders in mining.

Businesses in countries like Japan and the Netherlands meanwhile are taking initiative in accepting BTC for goods and services.

There are more BTMs in the United States and Switzerland, for example, as there is more emphasis on building Bitcoin-based businesses. Meanwhile, Vietnam and the South East Asian region as a whole are more engaged in remittance.

What is the best way to gauge adoption? Let us know your thoughts below!

Images courtesy of Themetafriend, Bitnodes, Google Trends, Shutterstock

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Source: Blockchain