FT Highlights Crypto as One of Last 10 Years’ ‘Biggest Changes’ in Financial Markets

The Financial Times (FT) has released a Special Report on global financial markets Monday, October 1. In the report, FT dedicated two out of six sections to the cryptocurrency industry.

In their report entitled “Exchanges, Trading and Clearing,” FT names cryptocurrency alongside such phenomena as Brexit and the emergence of new markets as “some of the biggest changes” in financial markets over the past ten years.

One of the two crypto-focused articles in the report, entitled “Crypto exchanges must face up to responsibilities as they mature,” provides an overview of crypto markets in comparison with traditional markets, pointing out major issues in the industry, such as regulation.

The article covers major disputes between traditional markets experts and the disruptors in the crypto space. While chief executive of the U.K. division of Coinbase Zeeshan Feroz stated that crypto markets’ structure will “eventually mirror that of traditional markets,” Peter Randall, the opponent from the fiat trading industry, considered it “unlikely” to happen.

Randall argued that the existing ecosystem of crypto markets is unlikely to provide the “operational resilience” that is required by “complex markets and financial systems,” citing the lack of liquidity on crypto markets.

In the second crypto-related article of FT’s report, the outlet details how Chicago’s proprietary trading industry is “deepening its exposure to the wild crypto market,” with proprietary trading firms claiming that they are taking a “hard look” on crypto.

Emphasizing the fact that proprietary traders are usually “the highest-volume participants” on the markets, FT authors stated that crypto prices’ volatility is actually a “good thing” for those trading groups. Rob Sagurton, director of digital asset direct trading at proprietary trading firm Jump Trading, has revealed that the company is operating crypto trading of around 10-15 “most liquid main cryptocurrencies,” as well as working with futures markets.

In a speech addressed to the general debate of the 73rd Session of the General Assembly of the U.N. last week, the Prime Minister of Malta, Joseph Muscat, said that cryptocurrencies are the “inevitable future of money,” and that blockchain can galvanize a more transparent and equitable society.



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New US Gov’t Task Force Highlights Digital Currency Fraud for ‘Particular Attention’

Digital currency fraud will form one of the areas of “particular attention” for a new U.S. anti-crime task force with participation from several government bodies, according to an executive order issued July 11.

The Task Force on Market Integrity and Consumer Fraud, which will have the U.S. deputy attorney general as its chair and associate attorney general as vice chair, seeks to “provide guidance for the investigation and prosecution of cases involving fraud on the government, the financial markets, and consumers.”

The executive order outlining the taskforce highlights areas of particular attention as “digital currency fraud,” as well as fraud affecting the general public, along with “money laundering, including the recovery of proceeds; health care fraud; tax fraud; and other financial crimes.”

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is among the project’s members, with chairman Jay Clayton saying the move would allow regulators to coordinate activities more efficiently.

“At the SEC we work every day to protect Main Street investors,” he said, continuing:

“This Task Force will allow us to build on the close partnerships we have with our fellow regulators and law enforcement agencies to deter and combat retail fraud.”

The task force’s other participants meanwhile are set to be the U.S. Department of Justice, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission.

The SEC and fellow regulator the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) had previously committed to close monitoring of cryptocurrency this year, seeking to ensure actors conformed to existing securities laws.

A ongoing joint operation with Canada meanwhile seeks to probe Initial Coin Offering (ICO) operators specifically, intended as a crackdown on illegitimate or suspicious schemes.



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Consensus 2018 Highlights | Find Out What You Missed in NYC This Week

Consensus 2018 has come to an end. Instead of feeling upset, now is the time to reflect on all the news that various organizations announced. So, without further adieu, here are some Consensus 2018 highlights.

Consensus 2018 Highlights

Regulation at Consensus 2018

Regulation and the crypto industry go hand in hand. Therefore, it wasn’t a surprise that crypto regulation was discussed at Consensus 2018 and NYC Blockchain Week.

During a panel, it was announced that while United States regulators are continuing to look into virtual currencies and ICO’s, there is no plan (as of right now) to suppress the sector. Further, the government representatives that took to the stage at Consensus 2018 stated that there is no plan to hinder innovation in the field. 

Ripple (XRP) Consensus 2018 Highlights

On Monday, Ripple announced the Xpring project. It is an initiative with a goal of attracting entrepreneurs and expanding the use of XRP. On Tuesday, Ripple hosted its XRP Community Night, which was a success all around. Snoop Dogg performed, while the Ripple community danced and sang the night away.

Announcements that were runners-up were Stefan Thomas leaving Ripple to start Coil, and various companies piloting xCurrent. 

Bitcoin (BTC) Consensus 2018 Highlights 

Bitcoin (BTC) has struggled on the markets this week, particularly yesterday when it dropped below $8,500, but that didn’t stop Jack Dorsey, Twitter, and Square CEO, from speaking about Bitcoin on Wednesday at Consensus 2018 in a positive light. 

In fact, the 41-year-old said that when the time comes for the Internet to have a native currency, and that time will come, it should be Bitcoin (BTC). 

 

The Consensus 2018 Takeaway

There were other announcements made at Consensus 2018, but we thought the ones mentioned above were the priority. Either way, regardless of what started trending from Consensus 2018, the crypto community had a lovely week making connections with other crypto and blockchain enthusiasts around the globe. 

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Rockefeller’s VC Arm Venrock Partners With Coinfund, Exec Highlights Focus On Long Term

Venrock, the official venture capital arm of the Rockefeller family, has partnered with crypto investment group Coinfund to support cryptocurrency and Blockchain business innovation, Fortune reported April 6.

Coinfund has recently added token-based financial services platform Coinlist, a spinoff of startup connection website AngelList, to the number of projects that it backs. Coinfund is also known for backing chat messenger app Kik, which raised almost $100 mln in the Initial Coin Offering (ICO) of its Kin token last fall. Fortune notes that Venrock and Coinfund met through their mutual investment in the live video streaming app maker YouNow.

When asked about Bitcoin’s (BTC) recent failure to strongly stay above $7,000, Venrock partner David Pakman told Fortune that the price of “a single currency over the next day, week, month, year” is not what they thought about when deciding to partner with a crypto investment group:

“We’re really patient long term investors […] we’re wondering what happens over the next five to ten years. Can we have fundamental change to a number of different markets because of a disturbed ledger, a token economy that all participants can take part in?”

According to an April 6 blog post by Pakman, cryptocurrency and Blockchain’s most important innovation is their creation of “the possibility of building sustainable decentralized computing platforms, services and apps”, writing:

“It may finally be possible to build widely-distributed networks without centralized trust or control, and to allow user consensus to govern their future […] In this scenario, ‘commodity’ applications like messaging, social media and application infrastructure like file storage and compute become very much like public utilities — and they are owned and governed by their participants. For many of us, this is the mission behind crypto.”

When asked by Fortune about the potential for scams running ICOs, specifically mentioning the recent news of the Centra-related arrests, Pakman referred to the crypto ecosystem as a “wild space up and down the whole stack,” with ICOs as “certainly one of the most wild spaces of it all.”

Pakman added that he supports regulations of the crypto sphere in order to clear out the “bad actors,” but that one needs to be careful not to “throw the baby out with the bathwater here”.

Pakman also noted that decentralized systems could eventually be a competitor to traditional venture capital fundraising, which he referred to as “effectively a gatekeeper industry” that he would “actually like to see undone”, adding:

“I don’t believe that a small group of people should make the decisions about which projects can raise some money and get off the ground.”

Coinfund co-founder Jake Brukhman told Fortune that Coinfund will be “working closely with [Venrock] to help mentor, advise, and support teams in the space.”

Major traditional investor George Soros, who had previously referred to Bitcoin as a “bubble,” will also reportedly be investing in cryptocurrencies, through the Soros Fund Management. In mid-February, Soros’s investment fund become the number three shareholder in Overstock, a retail company that accepts Bitcoin as payment and whose CEO Patrick Byrne is widely known for his pro-crypto stance.



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Cryptocurrency News Round-Up From Russia: Highlights

This is the first in a series of weekly news highlights about blockchain technology and cryptocurrency in Russia. Last week’s headlines included an endorsement of blockchain technology from President Putin, tax exemptions for cryptocurrencies and a legal decision that prevented the seizure of cryptocurrency assets in a bankruptcy case.

Putin Endorses Technological Development in Russia

During his conversation with Herman Gref, the head of Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he supports the development of new technologies, including blockchains, and stated that the country cannot be “late to the race” of blockchain development and adoption.

Gref, whose bank plans on implementing blockchain technology, spoke about the need for “professionals in this field.” He proposed that the government include blockchain technology in education and training programs in order to prepare specialists.

He also called for “soft” regulation, without a ban of cryptocurrency, that would help promote technological innovation. To which Putin responded that technological development is incredibly important for Russian economics, and that, while Russia has oil, gas, metals and diamonds, it still needs a “spurt” to become one of the global technological leaders.

Putin confirmed this message in his annual address to the Federal Assembly on March 1, 2018, claiming that countries riding the new technology wave will move ahead, while all the rest will be outdone.

Tax Privileges for Cryptocurrency Income

A working group of the Ministry of Economic Development has proposed to create tax breaks for cryptocurrency income as an amendment to the draft law “On Digital Financial Assets.” This means that all the income from cryptocurrency businesses (trading, mining, ICOs) will be taxed less than other types of businesses.

Another suggested modification called for increasing the limit of individual investments in initial coin offerings (ICOs), from 50,000 to 500,000 rubles (equivalent to $900 to $9,000 USD). The working group also proposed that Russian investors be permitted to invest in foreign ICOs. The law is still under development, but it should be enacted in July 2018.

Cryptocurrency Cannot Be Seized as Debt Payment

The Moscow Arbitration Court has ruled that cryptocurrency cannot be used as a payment to creditors in the bankruptcy case of Ilya Tsarkov, a Russian citizen who filed for personal bankruptcy in October 2017.

The prosecutor proposed that Tsarkov’s crypto assets be seized as a debt payment and requested that Tsarkov disclose his cryptocurrency holdings. Tsarkov reportedly showed that he was in possession of a wallet containing bitcoin on blockchain.info but claimed that, as cryptocurrency is not considered property in Russia, it would not be possible to foreclose on them.

The court agreed and refused to grant the prosecutor’s request to seize Tsarkov’s cryptocurrency assets as a way to repay his debt.

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