Digital Assets See Minor Gains, SEC Commissioner Says Bitcoin ETF is Inevitable
A commissioner with the U.S Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) says that a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) will be approved at some point. This is in sharp contrast to Binance’s CEO who thinks that a Bitcoin ETF is not at the core of the industry. An analyst at Fundstrat Global Advisors says that Bitcoin will likely plunge to new fresh lows. He added that smaller altcoins face a higher risk. Korea’s central bank has released a report stating that the issuance of a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) could pose a threat to financial stability.
The cryptocurrency market registered mild gains in the last 24 hours. The entire market has added slightly less than $1 billion in the same period.
Bitcoin surged 0.09 percent to trade at $3,413 while the majority of the top 10 assets are also up less than 2 percent. Tron is down 0.15 percent while Binance Coin, which recently bulldozed its way to the top 10,list lost 1.98 percent of its value.
SEC Commissioner Robert Jackson Jr. says Bitcoin ETF is inevitable
The crypto community has been keeping its fingers crossed for a long time in the hope that a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) will be approved by regulators.
Now, there is a glimmer of hope. It has always been there.
Robert J. Jackson Jr., a commissioner with the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) says that a Bitcoin ETF is coming. It is simply a matter of time before the SEC approves the first Bitcoin ETF, he thinks.
In a yet-to-be-published interview with the Congressional Quarterly, Jackson, the only Democrat at the agency expects and hopes that one day, a Bitcoin ETF filing will meet all of the agency’s requirements.
“Eventually, do I think someone will satisfy the standards that we’ve laid out there? I hope so, yes, and I think so. Getting the stamp of approval from the deepest and most liquid capital markets in the world is hard, and it should be. Once we make it available to everyday mom and pop investors, we are taking risks that Americans can get hurt,” said Commissioner Jackson.
The SEC has so far rejected all the Bitcoin ETF filings including two from the Winklevoss twins, the founders of the cryptocurrency exchange Gemini. The pair has vowed to continue fighting for the approval of a Bitcoin ETF.
In an interview with CNBC in October last year, legendary Wall Street advisor Ric Edelman also said that a Bitcoin ETF is inevitable.
Many believe that a Bitcoin ETF would drive institutions to the crypto space. Of course, there are some who think otherwise, and Binance CEO is one of them.
Binance CEO says ETFs are not key to the growth of the industry
The founder and CEO of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume think the crypto space needs entrepreneurs and projects to grow, not Bitcoin ETFs as may in the industry have suggested.
In a live stream via Periscope, Changpeng Zhao (CZ) said that Bitcoin ETFs are not the core of the crypto industry. He believes that the industry will grow with or without them.
“I think for our industry to grow we need more entrepreneurs to build real projects,” he said. A large number of people have been closely following Bitcoin ETF applications and how the SEC has responded to the filings.
At the same time, analysts share CZ’s sentiment as they believe the crypto market is need of real technology behind the project to trigger the next bull run last seen in 2017 when the price of Bitcoin – mostly driven by speculation – reached a near $20,000.
CZ refused to comment on the scandal involving cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX. The exchange has been locked out of $140 million following the unexpected death of its leader last year. CZ only said that something fishy is going on.
CZ said that there is nothing much going on at his exchange except for plans to bring Ripple onboard as a partner through the use of its xRapid system.
Binance is enjoying a little bull run of its own after its Binance Coin shot to the top 10 list by market capitalization, according to CoinMarketCap data.
Crypto futures platform ErisX taps talent from Barclays and YouTube
Digital asset trading platform ErisX has hired experienced executives from the tech and financial industries.
Robert Thrash is the new chief operating officer (COO). He previously worked for Barclays where he spent more than a decade in various senior positions.
“Crypto sits at the intersection of technology, finance, and regulation. Regulation will continue to evolve and impact this space bringing transparency to the market, which in turn should lead to increasingly active participation by traditional financial intermediaries. As these intermediaries provide market access to new market participants, a whole host of trading technology, crypto-based products, and financing solutions will need to be created,” he explained to CoinDesk his interest in the crypto sector.
Arnold Connell, a former senior technical program manager at YouTube has joined ErisX as the firm’s head of infrastructure. He spent a decade in various roles at Google.
The hiring comes along as the firm is preparing to launch spot trading for Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ether, and Litecoin in Q2 this year. ErisX is currently working hard to gain approval from the U.S Commodity and Futures and Trading Commission (CFTC).
“We are leveraging our industry relationships to secure talent and build the most robust, secure and regulated platform for digital assets,” said a spokesperson of ErisX’s CEO.
In December last year, ErisX raised $27.5 million from several high-profile investors including Bitmain, ConsenSys, Monex Group, Fidelity Investments, and Nasdaq Ventures.
Crypto exchange Xena plans to launch derivative for Telegram’s Gram token
Digital asset exchange Xena is preparing to launch derivate for Telegram’s yet-to-be issued Gram token towards the end of the month.
The derivative would allow investors to trade Gram tokens long before they are issued by Telegram. The derivative is expected to go live on Feb. 27.
“This is an extremely prominent step for the entire crypto market, considering the importance of the GRAM token and its potential value as an asset for derivatives trading. This is the first time on the cryptocurrency market where derivatives have been used not only to speculate on the rates changes but also to hedge the risks,” said Xena CEO Anton Kravchenko.
Telegram managed to raise $1.7 billion from 81 institutional investors in its private offering instead of going the usual ICO route. The platform had planned to open its token sale to the public but canceled the event as it had raised enough money to go ahead with further development.
However, it was argued that the company was avoiding the possibility of legal battles as the SEC and regulatory bodies had begun cracking down on ICOs accused of infringing securities laws.
Telegram’s blockchain platform, the Telegram Open Network (TON) is at least 70 percent complete and the platform’s main network may be launched in March. Telegram claims to have more than 200 million active monthly users.
Korea Central Bank: issuing a digital currency threatens the country’s financial stability
Korea’s central bank, the Bank of Korea (BoK) published a study claiming that issuing a digital currency presents a risk to the country’s financial system.
The central bank published the report on Feb. 7 which models how a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) may affect liquidity at commercial banks.
The report says that if the public has access to the theoretical CBDC, it could result in reduced reserves at commercial banks and leave behind a cash shortfall. The commercial banks will potentially be forced to counteract the change by raising the interest rates on loans.
“This has negative effects on financial stability, which increases the likelihood of bank panic in which commercial banks are short of cash reserves to pay out to depositors,” explained the report.
The BoK has previously stated that issuing a CBDC can affect the country’s monetary policy and destabilize the economy.
Large financial institutions have long been against the issuance of digital currencies by central banks. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned the Marshall Islands against issuing its proposed cryptocurrency that would go work alongside the USD as a legal tender.
However, Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the IMF came out in support of digital currencies when she spoke at a fintech conference in Singapore. She urged central banks to explore CBDCs.
Bitcoin accepted in Argentina’s 37 cities for transport payments
The speculation phase of Bitcoin is now over and the next cycle is expected to be based on adoption, practical usability, and institutional investors coming to the party.
The scene is already shaping up in Argentina as Bitcoin payments are taking over the transport industry in 37 cities.
Argentina’s residents in the supported cities can top up their SUBE travelcards balances with Bitcoin. This effort is a collaboration between travelcard-loading platform Alto Viaje and fintech firm Bitex.
“We believe that this type of project is of great importance since it brings technology as disruptive as bitcoin to the common people, demonstrating the true value and the applications it has in everyday life,” said Manuel Beaudroit, the CMO of Bitex.
Alto Viaje wants to make the card-loading process as convenient as possible. Before the integration of Bitcoin payments, PayPal was the only supported payment provider.
Argentina, just like some of its peers in Latin America is in the middle of a financial crisis. This has resulted in high demand for Bitcoins as residents try to hedge their financial holdings against inflation.
The number of Bitcoin ATMs and the daily trading volumes for cryptocurrencies is on the rise in the South American country.
Omniex scoops best crypto trading platform award
Omniex, one of the leading platforms for institutional investment and crypto asset trading was announced as the winner of the inaugural award for Best Crypto Trading Platform in this year’s Fund Technology and WSL Awards event held on Feb. 6.
“It’s an incredible honor to be recognized in the first-ever Crypto Trading Platform category of the Fund Technology and WSL Awards,” said Omniex CEO and co-founder, Hu Liang.
The awards recognize the work done by crypto firms offering their services to asset managers and institutional traders. The firms must have demonstrated great customer service coupled with innovative product development in the last 12 months.
“While Omniex is not the only provider focusing on the institutional crypto market today, no other company has the combination of team experience and relevant knowledge required to successfully build and deliver such a platform. This award is a testament to the value of purpose-built technology in crypto,” said Liang.
Fundstrat says Bitcoin could test new fresh lows
Bitcoin has seen a fair share of plunges and when one thinks that the situation couldn’t be any worse, Fundstrat says that Bitcoin is likely to plunge to new fresh lows.
In a note on Feb. 6, Robert Sluymer, a strategist at Fundstrat Global Advisors said digital currencies are in a weak technical position. He added that the lesser known coins face more risk.
“The price structure for most cryptocurrencies remains weak and appears vulnerable to a pending breakdown to lower lows,” said Sluymer.
This is worrisome for many because Fundstrat is known for its bullish rather than cautionary approach to digital assets. In January last year, Tom Lee, the firm’s co-founder predicted that Bitcoin’s price would hit $125,000 by 2022. A few weeks later, he was at it again and said that Bitcoin’s price would exceed $19,000 in a space of five months.
Sluymer said that the key level that Bitcoin has to watch is $3,100. Bitcoin is currently trading above $3,400.
“A break below the fourth-quarter lows at $3,100 would imply a decline to $2,270, while a move above $4,200 is needed to signal Bitcoin is beginning to improve,” he said.
Cryptocurrency payments gateway CoinPayments adds supports for BitTorrent (BTT) token
The world’s pioneer in peer-to-peer file sharing protocol, BitTorrent Inc. announced on Feb. 7 that crypto payments gateway CoinPayments has launched support for BitTorrent (BTT) token to allow millions of customers to use the BTT token to buy goods and services from hundreds of online merchants.
BitTorrent recently held a successful ICO in which it raised around $7 million in 18 minutes. The file-sharing protocol was acquired by Tron last year in a deal worth over $120 million.
Justin Sun, the founder of Tron who also serves as the CEO of BitTorrent after the acquisition said, “Coming this summer, BitTorrent Speed will be implemented into our popular Windows-based µTorrent Classic client to create a healthier ecosystem and a foundation where content creators can distribute their work directly across the web.”
CoinPayments was founded in 2013 and supports Bitcoin and over 1,000 altcoins. Its services are used across 182 countries.