Libra Must Comply with Anti-Money Laundering Standards: US Treasury

Libra Must Comply with Anti-Money Laundering Standards: US Treasury

United States Treasury official Sigal Mandelker said that Facebook’s Libra stablecoin must meet the highest Anti-Money Laundering and terrorism financing standards.

Facebook’s Libra stablecoin must meet the highest Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and terrorism financing standards, according to United States Treasury Under Secretary of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Sigal Mandelker.

Business news outlet Reuters reported Mandelker’s remarks on Sept. 10.

Cryptocurrencies must comply

Per the report, Mandelker also told reporters in Geneva that any cryptocurrency operating in the U.S. — including Libra — has to satisfy local regulatory standards.

Regulators are concerned by Libra

Global financial regulators are concerned about Libra, with the European Central Bank’s key legal official Yves Mersch recently saying Facebook’s stablecoin is “beguiling but treacherous” during a speech at an ECB legal conference.

Meanwhile, a delegation of United States politicians visited Switzerland — where the Libra Association is headquartered — to investigate the project and meet local regulators. As Cointelegraph reported in late August, the visit did not assuage their concerns.

Facebook is also attempting to influence U.S. regulators by ramping up its lobbying efforts, hiring a firm at the end of August and two lobbyists.

Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England, suggested a transformation of the global financial system by replacing the United States dollar with a digital currency similar to Facebook’s Libra in August.

Trading Bitcoin Is Hard — 10 Things Every Beginner Trader Must Know

Trading Bitcoin Is Hard — 10 Things Every Beginner Trader Must Know

Trading Bitcoin and crypto is similar to traditional stocks but comes with far greater risk and a few other important caveats every trader should know.

We have all heard hundreds of stories about the life-changing money being made in the crypto space. Anonymous Twitter traders regale us with tales of turning $1,000 into millions in a matter of months, flipping altcoins and making 100x on investments daily. 

Moon. Lambo. To the outside observer, this seems like an easy and sure way to get rich quick. They leave their jobs to become “professional crypto traders,” even before learning the basics of trading and managing risk. We all know how this story ends.

Being a trader in any market is hard — 95% of all traders fail, most within a few months. They generally go completely broke or perform far worse than simply investing a lump sum in a safe investment and leaving it to grow. Contrary to popular belief, the crypto market is the most difficult to trade for beginners for a number of reasons.

The casino never closes

The market is open 24/7, giving traders the feeling that they always have to be trading. This causes tremendous fatigue and FOMO (fear of missing out) for emotional traders. Nobody can effectively track a market that is perpetually available, and new traders find it difficult to step away. This often ruins both their personal lives and destroys their finances.

What fundamentals?

The crypto market lacks fundamentals, the cornerstone of trading legacy markets. When purchasing stock, a trader can review quarterly earnings, sales reports, the company’s road map and countless other barometers of success.  More importantly, companies trading on the stock exchange are regulated and therefore transparent — you generally know what you are buying.

The strength of a team or project in crypto is nearly irrelevant for a trader’s purposes. Traders rely on technical analysis, which is hard to use properly for newcomers to the space.

I’m making money, so why is my Bitcoin balance down?

The interplay between Bitcoin (BTC) and altcoins adds a complicated wrinkle. Alts are rarely safe to trade and finding opportunities requires tremendous patience and experience — both things that newer traders inherently lack. New traders often mistakenly gauge the success of their trades in the USD value of the coin, not realizing that leaving their capital parked in Bitcoin would have been a far more profitable (and far easier!) strategy. Trading legacy markets with fiat is straightforward — you either make or lose dollars.

How do I set up a stop loss and take profit order?

Legacy traders have the benefit of placing both stops losses and take profit orders, as well as trailing stops. Trades require less babysitting and management. In crypto, exchanges lack the full breadth of orders necessary to properly manage risk, especially in a market that never closes. 

Experienced crypto traders can share countless stories about missing a huge pump while they were sleeping because they had their downside protected with a stop loss and were unable to set sell orders at their targets. Traders should never have to choose between taking profit and properly managing their risk.

I can turn $10 into $1,000 with leverage!

Leveraged trading is far too common among beginners. Leverage is a tool that should only be used by the most experienced traders, those who have proven to be profitable for years. 

The barriers to entry are non-existent in crypto, on exchanges that are built to transfer the wealth of inexperienced retail traders into the pockets of the exchanges themselves. Beginners will likely lose everything they risk trading with leverage because the downside is massively compounded.

Getting rich quick is easy, right?

In legacy markets, nobody expects to get rich quick. Crypto appeals to people looking to quickly turn a small sum of money into their retirement, which is unrealistic. Twitter is selling Lambos while beginner traders end up selling their cars on the used lot to pay rent. 

Those who got rich quick in crypto were most likely lucky, not good. Further, there is a difference between being wealthy on paper and in real life — most of the crypto traders who “got rich” failed to sell at the top and saw their paper wealth disappear as quickly as it was made.

Crypto is not a safe investment

An inexperienced person is far less likely to go broke buying a random stock than they are buying any available asset in crypto. The stakes are far higher! Crypto is not a safe investment and should only be a small part of someone’s overall portfolio.

I get all of my trade advice from a cartoon on the internet

While there are experienced and successful traders on social media, most beginners are learning from other beginners and don’t know it. Taking financial advice from strangers on the internet is the cornerstone of the crypto market. 

There is no surer path to financial ruin than spending your hard-earned dollars on assets being shilled by avatars who are likely manipulating you for their own profit. Never base your decisions on the advice of those who don’t have to deal with the results.

Traders do not average down!

A common grave mistake many traders make is Averaging Down: buying more of the coin as the price drops with the logic that a good thing is now cheaper (an even better bargain). This logic applies to investing, not to trading

A trader has an invalidation level for their idea — price dropping significantly should invalidate their trade and cause their stop loss to fire! Most beginners do not understand this and dig a deeper hole than necessary.

Risk management is everything

Risk Management is boring — and happens to be the most essential skill necessary to be profitable. Understanding how much to risk on a trade and how to properly balance a portfolio are exponentially more important than entries and exits. Learning this takes time — most new traders are broke before they understand risk.

Most people would be far better off slowly investing a small percentage of their entire portfolio in crypto — and in Bitcoin, in particular. Don’t be fooled by the avatars on twitter — trading crypto is hard

 

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author (@scottmelker) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk. You should conduct your own research when making a decision.

South African Crypto Exchange Hits Milestone 3M Wallets, $5M Volume

South African Crypto Exchange Hits Milestone 3M Wallets, $5M Volume

South Africa’s crypto exchange Luno reaches three million wallets, reporting a surge of trading volumes in August.

Major South African crypto exchange Luno has continued growing — processing crypto worth more than $5 million a day in August 2019.

Marius Reitz, general manager for Africa at Luno, claimed crypto exceeding more than 80 million South African rand ($5.4 million) was processed on Luno’s South African platform on a daily basis in the past month, local tech publication TechFinancials reported on Sept. 10.

Three million wallets milestone

Reitz reportedly added that South Africa is one of Luno’s strongest markets, amid a rising appetite for crypto trading in the country. 

Luno has also seen a significant surge of new customers, having reached a milestone of three million wallets across 40 countries on its platform. In comparison, Blockchain.com, one of the most popular global crypto wallets, has about 41 million wallets to date.

According to Reitz, reaching three million wallets indicates increasing global adoption and reinforces the company’s purpose of “reimagining a financial system where money is cheaper, faster and safer with open and equal access for everyone.”

London-based South African exchange

Backed by major global Internet and entertainment group Naspers, Luno exchange was founded in 2013 by two South Africans: Marcus Swanepoel, a former investment banker, and Timothy Stranex, a former Google’s software engineer. Luno is headquartered in London and operates across Africa, South East Asia and Europe.

Luno offers operating major cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) and is the 105th-biggest crypto exchange by average daily trading volume, according to CoinMarketCap. On Aug. 23, Luno added support of Bitcoin Cash (BCH).

In late August, Luno’s CEO Marcus Swanepoel claimed that the majority of its clients use Bitcoin as a tool for investing and speculating, while transaction purposes account for a small share of use cases on the platform.

Nasdaq Lists Decentralized Finance Index for Digital Assets

Nasdaq Lists Decentralized Finance Index for Digital Assets

Nasdaq has launched a decentralized finance index including crypto assets of projects like 0x, MakerDAO and Augur.

Major United States stock exchange Nasdaq has unveiled a blockchain decentralized finance index called Defix (DEFX).

According to a Defix press release published on Sept. 9, brokerage firm Exante streamlined the launch of the index.

A disparate group of crypto assets

The index includes crypto assets of projects such as those belonging to Proof-of-Work blockchain Amoveo (VEO), decentralized exchange protocol 0x (ZRX) and prediction market Augur (REP), as well as the governance token of the decentralized autonomous organization behind the DAI stablecoin and MakerDAO (MKR). 

Amoveo main developer Zack Hess said:

“[I am] glad to see increased awareness being brought to decentralized finance projects.”

A broker specialized in crypto funds

Exante launched its Bitcoin (BTC) fund in 2012. Notably, the fund reportedly totaled an overall return of investment of 70,000% since its inception. 

Furthermore, the firm also released the XAI fund, composed of major altcoins including Ether (ETH), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Monero (XMR), XRP and Zcash (ZEC).

As Cointelegraph reported at the end of August, Elwood Asset Management — owned by British billionaire and Brevan Howard founder Alan Howard — is planning a $1 billion venture into the crypto hedge fund space.

Europol Shuts Down Counterfeiting Ring Which Sold $1.44M for Bitcoin

Europol Shuts Down Counterfeiting Ring Which Sold $1.44M for Bitcoin

Five figures were arrested over the scheme, which police say was one of the most sophisticated ever seen in Europe.

Portuguese police and Europol have seized funds worth €70,000 ($77,200) in what they describe as one of the most advanced counterfeiting operations ever seen. 

€1.3 million in fake notes sold since 2017

As Brazilian daily news outlet Sputnik and others reported on Sept. 10, law enforcement succeeded in bringing down the ring, which sold fake notes on the dark web in return for Bitcoin (BTC). 

In action since 2017, the operation created €1.3 million ($1.44 million) in fake money. The leader, from Portugal, was found and extradited from Colombia this week. 

According to police, the notes were some of the best-quality forgeries they had encountered, bearing features such as watermarks and holograms.

“Often they are only detected when entering bank deposits. In terms of normal trade, they are bank notes that pass quite easily,” police investigation coordinator Luís Ribeiro said in a statement quoted by Sputnik. 

Swapping easy money for hard money

The news is conspicuous for highlighting the perpetrators’ preference for Bitcoin over printable fiat

It is the second cautionary tale to emerge from Europe in recent weeks, after alarm at the discovery of fake gold bars in the vaults of some of the best-known institutions worldwide. 

As Cointelegraph reported, around 1,000 spurious bars have been discovered, but experts fear the complete supply is much larger. 

“Bitcoin fixes this,” Francis Pouliot, founder of Canadian Bitcoin consumer platform Bull Bitcoin, subsequently commented, alluding to the ability of individuals to verify Bitcoin transactions by running a full network node.

Blockchain Startup CasperLabs Raises $14.5M for Scaling Development

Blockchain Startup CasperLabs Raises $14.5M for Scaling Development

Blockchain company CasperLabs announced it has raised $14.5 million in a Series A funding round led by Terren Piezer.

Blockchain company CasperLabs has raised $14.5 million in a Series A funding round led by Terren Piezer, an international financier and chairman of Los Angeles-based investment company Acuitas Group Holdings.

Investment to develop products and hire engineers

In a news release shared with Cointelegraph on Sept. 10, the blockchain protocol research and development company CasperLabs announced the results of the Series A funding round led by Piezer, also known as the “Zelig of Wall Street,” through his personal holding company.

Other major investors include Arrington XRP Capital, Consensus Capital, Axiom Holdings Group, Digital Strategies, MW Partners, Blockchange Ventures, Hashkey Capital and Distributed Global. 

CasperLabs, a company that is trying to develop the so-called correct-by-construction Casper Proof-of-Stake Ethereum (ETH) consensus algorithm, will allocate the newly invested funds into further development of its products and hiring of new engineers.

Mrinal Manohar, CEO of ADAPtive Holdings Ltd., parent company of CasperLabs, said that they are humbled by the enthusiasm and financial support for its Series A from leading traditional and blockchain investors to build enterprise-grade, decentralized blockchain infrastructure. He added: 

“We look forward to delivering several interesting technical updates in the coming months and welcome any and all feedback via our open source code repository on Github.”

Piezer said that he has been waiting for a company that can build the strength and decentralized aspects of a public chain with the speed, security, and scalability of a next-gen platform, adding:

“Scalability of a product and company is the leading driver of value creation. Consistently, the most proficiently scalable company becomes the industry leader.”

CasperLabs hires Ethereum researcher Vlad Zamfir

Cointelegraph reported in February that CasperLabs has appointed Ethereum Foundation researcher Vlad Zamfir as lead consensus protocol architect. Zamfir infamously stated in March 2017 that Ethereum is not safe, scalable and is an immature technology, while urging the community to not rely on it for critical applications when it’s avoidable.

Telegram’s TON Crypto Token to Be Listed on Crypto Exchange Blackmoon

Telegram’s TON Crypto Token to Be Listed on Crypto Exchange Blackmoon

Cryptocurrency exchange Blackmoon plans to list Telegram’s forthcoming native Gram token via a partnership with Swiss crypto custodian Gram Vault.

Caymans Island-registered cryptocurrency exchange Blackmoon plans to list encrypted messaging app Telegram’s forthcoming Gram token via a partnership with Swiss crypto custodian Gram Vault. 

According to a Finance Magnates report on Sept. 10, Blackmoon — which was founded as a traditional financial products provider before launching crypto trading services — plans to boost liquidity by enabling users to purchase Gram tokens using bank cards.

Gram Vault claims its clients among biggest investors in Telegram ICO

By any stretch, Blackmoon is not a household name in the cryptocurrency space. Yet the clients of its partner for the listing — the fully regulated Swiss crypto custodian Gram Vault — were reportedly among the largest investors in Telegram’s $1.7 billion private initial coin offering (ICO).

The cooperation will, therefore, mean that Gram tokens will be transferred directly from Gram Vault onto the exchange, ensuring instant and deep liquidity for traders, the partners have claimed.

Ahead of Blackmoon’s listing announcement, Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Liquid had claimed it would be the representative of sales of Gram tokens for Gram Asia — yet this announcement was later disputed by sources close to the Telegram.

Earlier this month, Liquid disclosed the public blockchain wallet address that now holds all participating investor funds from its own Gram token offering, in which the token was sold to investors at triple the original $1.33 sale price of Telegram’s second ICO round in March 2018. 

The token arms race

Recent reports indicate that Telegram is on track to launch its Gram cryptocurrency by October, following a process of planned public testing for its Telegram Open Network (TON) this month. 

If true, Telegram would beat Facebook’s much-anticipated Libra stablecoin, which is planned for integration into the social media giant’s three wholly owned messaging services and would thus potentially have exposure to as many as 2.7 billion monthly users

Winklevoss’ Gemini Crypto Exchange Launches Custody Service

Winklevoss’ Gemini Crypto Exchange Launches Custody Service

New York-based cryptocurrency exchange Gemini has launched its own custodial solution, Gemini Custody, with support for 18 digital assets.

The New York-based cryptocurrency exchange Gemini, founded in 2014 by twin brothers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, has launched its own custody service, Gemini Custody.

In a news release shared with Cointelegraph on Sept. 10, Gemini said the newly launched custody solution will allow its customers to check balances, download account statements, initiate withdrawals, and grant auditors view-only access to confirm balances, transactions and activity. 

Customers will also be able to trade their assets in custody on the Gemini exchange without waiting for them to be transferred from cold storage. 

Eighteen supported assets

Gemini Custody reportedly supports 18 cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ether (ETH) and Litecoin (LTC), as well as the following ERC-20 tokens: 0x (ZRX), Augur (REP), Basic Attention Token (BAT), Bread (BRD), Dai (DAI), Decentraland (MANA), Enjin (ENJ), Flexacoin (FXC), Gemini dollar (GUSD), Kyber Network (KNC), Loom Network (LOOM), Maker (MKR) and OmiseGo (OMG).

Gemini CEO Tyler Winklevoss said that the much-needed maturation of crypto as an asset class depends on custodial security. He added: 

“From day one, Gemini recognized the need for a world-class custody solution that is secure, compliant, and easy to use for individuals and institutions around the world.”

Jeanine Hightower-Sellitto, managing director of operations at Gemini, explained that institutional investors have demonstrated a clear and growing demand for crypto, but that some struggle to find a solution that fully meets complex regulatory and security requirements.

Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss recently said they are open to partnering with Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook’s Libra stablecoin project. Cameron argued that Libra represents a step forward in the mass adoption of cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin Is a Truth Machine, Says Gold Bullion International Co-Founder

Bitcoin Is a Truth Machine, Says Gold Bullion International Co-Founder

Bitcoin, as a truth machine, is worth hundreds of billions of dollars, according to Gold Bullion International co-founder Dan Tapiero.

Gold Bullion International co-founder Dan Tapiero has said Bitcoin’s (BTC) value is a truth machine.

Tapiero made his regards during an interview with business news outlet AlphaWeek published on Sept. 10. He said:

“What it is is an invention, and I think it should be referred to as an invention rather than all the other things. It’s a, you know, what it really is […] It’s a truth machine. […] It’s a way to eradicate all fraud or lying by human beings.”

Bitcoin is a reward for network maintenance

Tapiero also noted that the system is now 10 years old and has a good track record, all of which contributes to his will to ask “what is a security platform like that, with that track record” worth. In the end, he concluded:

“Bitcoin, really, is just the reward that miners get for guaranteeing the security of the framework of the network, that’s what it is. ”

BTC is worth hundreds of billions of dollars

Tapiero also asked what it would cost for a company to develop such a system. He said that he believes it would cost hundreds of billions of dollars, touching on the number of work hours dedicated to the development and maintenance of Bitcoin and its ecosystem. 

He also added:

“Could a company even develop that? You know, maybe Satoshi realized it can only be developed slowly over time in a decentralized way.”

As Cointelegraph reported earlier today, Blockstream CEO said that Bitcoin is reverting to its historical market dominance of more than 90% at altcoins’ expense.

SWIFT: Crypto Useless, ‘Goes Down In Value Like A Yoyo’

SWIFT: Crypto Useless, ‘Goes Down In Value Like A Yoyo’

Representatives at interbank payments network provider SWIFT have lambasted cryptocurrencies as being “useless and unstable.”

The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT), an interbank payments network provider, has dismissed cryptocurrencies as being “useless and unstable.”

An FXStreet report published on Sept. 10 cites unnamed SWIFT representatives at a London briefing earlier this week, who reportedly claimed that:

“They go down in value like a yoyo, they’re useless and unstable. And even if crypto companies do make it stable, it’s still a basket of currencies.”

SWIFT: unruffled by competitors such as Ripple

At the briefing, representatives reportedly conceded the shortcomings of the SWIFT network itself, which connects roughly 11,000 banks and financial institutions worldwide.

While it processes millions of payments daily, it is held back by significant cost and time efficiencies. 

“If you want to send a payment [with SWIFT] from Australia to China after midday, you instantly have a 12-hour delay because of opening hours,” representatives reportedly admitted.

Yet this recognition did not reportedly extend to a sense of the potential threat posed by blockchain-powered alternatives such as Ripple’s xRapid solution, which uses the XRP token to facilitate the instant settlement of money sent in one currency into a destination currency.

SWIFT believes Libra could have short-term impact

One potential rival that SWIFT does recognize is Facebook’s planned stablecoin Libra, which would be integrated into the social media giant’s three wholly owned apps — WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram — bringing its potential exposure to a combined 2.7 billion users each month.

SWIFT representatives said they anticipated its impact only be short-term.

As reported, Facebook’s ambitious cryptocurrency plans have sparked a range of concerns not only from rivals in the commercial sector, but from citizens, crypto industry figures, governments, regulators and central bankers worldwide.

Japan: Bitcoin Surpasses XRP in Yen-Denominated Crypto Holdings

Japan: Bitcoin Surpasses XRP in Yen-Denominated Crypto Holdings

As of April 2019, the value of yen-denominated Bitcoin holdings has outstripped those in XRP on domestic exchanges.

Fresh data from the Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA) has revealed that as of April 2019, the value of yen-denominated Bitcoin (BTC) holdings has outstripped those in XRP on domestic exchanges. 

As Cointelegraph Japan reported on Sept. 10, the surge in the value of exchanges’ Bitcoin holdings coincides with the beginning of Bitcoin’s 2019 bullish uptrend, which saw the top cryptocurrency hit close to $14,000 by late June. 

Value of yen-denominated Bitcoin (red) and XRP (blue) holdings on JVCEA member exchanges, January-July 2019

Value of yen-denominated Bitcoin (red) and XRP (blue) holdings on JVCEA member exchanges, January-July 2019. Source: JVCEA

Bitcoin holdings soar in value amid stagnating altcoin market

The JVCEA is a self-regulatory crypto exchange association that formed in March 2018 in order to help establish industry-wide investor protection standards. The organization was granted formal self-regulatory status by Japan’s Financial Services Association (FSA) in October 2018.

As Cointelegraph Japan notes, back in December 2018, the value of yen-denominated XRP holdings had been higher than that of Bitcoin holdings — despite Bitcoin’s larger market capitalization globally.

This trend has now apparently reversed in 2019, as Bitcoin price performance continues to outstrip that of the wider altcoin sector.

More XRP is being accumulated, but value declining

Yen-denominated XRP holdings on JVCEA member exchanges, Dec. 2018-July 2019

Yen-denominated XRP holdings on JVCEA member exchanges, Dec. 2018-July 2019. Source: JVCEA

JVCEA’s data indicates that throughout 2019, more and more XRP is consistently being accumulated — perhaps reflecting the increasing number of banking partnerships secured by Ripple for its cross-border payments and remittances network. 

Yet despite this accumulation, as the token’s value continues to falter, its yen-denominated value is on the decline.

Yen-denominated Bitcoin holdings on JVCEA member exchanges, Dec. 2018-July 2019

Yen-denominated Bitcoin holdings on JVCEA member exchanges, Dec. 2018-July 2019. Source: JVCEA

The value of yen-denominated Bitcoin holdings hit a peak in June 2019, while the peak measured in terms of total accumulated Bitcoin was reported in April, at 156,651 BTC.

As reported, Japan has seen a spate of significant cryptocurrency-related developments this fall, with the country’s deputy prime minister addressing regulatory approaches to the sector earlier this month and news that Japanese financial services giant SBI Holdings aims to seal regulatory approval for a new self-regulatory body for security token offerings in 2020.

SBI has also stated that Ripple’s plans to invest $50 million in payments service MoneyGram over the next two years will have a meaningful impact on its own business.

Rapper Akon Says Bitcoin Better Than ‘Military-Backed’ US Dollar

Rapper Akon Says Bitcoin Better Than ‘Military-Backed’ US Dollar

Grammy award-winning rapper Akon has rebuffed Bitcoin naysayers who claim that the asset lacks intrinsic value.

Grammy award-winning music artist Akon has rebuffed Bitcoin (BTC) naysayers who claim that the asset lacks intrinsic value.

In a radio interview published on Sept. 10, Akon lambasted the perception that fiat currencies are any less vulnerable to this same critique, arguing that:

“Nothing backs the dollar. The U.S. doesn’t have natural resources that back the dollar. What they do have is the military.”

People give cryptocurrency value, not governments

Akon — who has twelve Billboard Top Ten Hits to his name, including the popular single “Smack That” — spoke out during the interview in favor of decentralization and trustless blockchain-based mechanisms that underpin the value of cryptocurrencies. 

National fiat currencies have long ceased to be backed by physical commodities or natural resources, he noted, going on to argue that the United States dollar is ultimately sustained only by convention and military might. 

He is bullish on cryptocurrency, he revealed,  because it’s the people — not the vested interests of national governments — that wield control over their value.

The rapper’s comments come as his cryptocurrency project for a pan-African digital currency to replace fiat currencies, dubbed Akoin, gathers pace.

As Cointelegraph has previously reported, Akon had first revealed the initiative in the context of a Senegalese smart city project back in June 2018, arguing at the time that crypto can empower African citizens and bring security to the continent’s currency system.

A peace prize for Satoshi

Akon’s fresh endorsement of cryptocurrency chimes with the perspective of American investor Morgan Creek Digital Assets co-founder Anthony Pompliano, who recently argued that Satoshi Nakamoto should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for inventing Bitcoin. 

Pompliano said that with Bitcoin, we finally have “a currency that can assume global reserve status without anyone having to engage in violence.”

What Does Mass Adoption Mean Relating to Crypto? Experts Answer

What Does Mass Adoption Mean Relating to Crypto? Experts Answer

Experts in blockchain technology and crypto take on the question: What should happen to say that cryptocurrency mass adoption has started?

Since its inception in January 2009, Bitcoin’s (BTC) popularity has been increasing, peaking in December 2017 when the leading cryptocurrency’s price hit record highs around $20,000 per coin and dropped back down.  

Google Trends chart for Bitcoin

After 10 years of existence, the question of whether or not the mass adoption of cryptocurrency has been started is still debated in the space. We reached out to experts in the crypto and blockchain industries, asking them their opinions about the meaning of mass adoption relating to crypto.

Banks and giant retailers, social media and tech behemoths, crypto liquidity, the institutional investors’ involvement, the role of governments and national central banks — what could possibly force the start of crypto’s mass adoption? 

Mass adoption of cryptocurrency: What does that mean?

Erik Voorhees, founder and CEO at ShapeShift

Erik Voorhees, founder and CEO at ShapeShift

Mass adoption needs to be specified according to the specific use case. Mass adoption as a store of value is different from mass adoption as a payment method, or mass adoption of smart contracts, or NFTs [nonfungible tokens], etc.

While we aren’t at mass adoption of any of these categories yet, we are certainly past the point of “mass awareness” in at least a couple. 

The majority of people, in the U.S. at least, have heard of Bitcoin, and from rough estimates, perhaps 2-5% of Americans have used it. When that surpasses maybe 10%, then mass adoption has truly begun.

 

Joshua Ashley Klayman, Linklaters LLP, U.S. head of fintech and of blockchain and digital assets

Joshua Ashley Klayman, Linklaters LLP, U.S. head of fintech and of blockchain and digital assets

First, in my view, there is a distinction between digital assets generally and cryptocurrency specifically. For purposes of my response, I’m going to focus on cryptocurrency — specifically, the use of crypto assets for payments. 

Mass adoption of cryptocurrency would mean that use of cryptocurrency would become ordinary course, and no longer a point of discussion, just as mere use or acceptance of fiat would not prompt headlines. Upon mass adoption, so-called “crypto-native” companies potentially may be viewed as “normal” technology companies and would be able to obtain bank accounts and traditional financing. 

In order for us to say that mass adoption of crypto has begun, in my view, individuals need to be able to access, purchase, hold and use cryptocurrencies without having to understand what a digital asset is, just as nontechnically sophisticated people can use cell phones without understanding how they work. For that, user experience needs to be enhanced, and scaling needs to be addressed.

Just as importantly, there must be meaningful opportunities in everyday life to pay for goods and services using cryptocurrency, which means that individuals and businesses must be willing to accept cryptocurrency as payment for such goods and services. For that to occur within the United States and in other nations, and across borders, we need to have clear paths forward legally that enable businesses and individuals to transact using crypto.

 

Cristina Dolan, founder and CEO at InsideChains, vice chair at MIT Enterprise Forum

Cristina Dolan, founder and CEO at InsideChains, vice chair at MIT Enterprise Forum

A number of stages are required for mass adoption of cryptocurrencies to take place. The first stage was awareness, which the hyper-innovation stage of the ICO [initial coin offering] craze kicked off. 

The next is institutional adoption, which Libra is working on to pave the way (with its army of lobbyists) to enable institutional, political and regulatory acceptance. 

The next phase will require a seamless end-to-end experience for users and institutions to transact, where the user doesn’t have to deal with awkward conversions into an acceptable currency at the point of exchange. 

Enabling the last mile will require a mix of well architected user experiences, technologies and institutional acceptance. This will facilitate the creation of marketplaces for digital assets, digital securities and other digitized value including data. 

Today, there are many institutions pursuing early B2B [business-to-business] and B2B2C [business-to-business-to-customer] models that utilize a digital tokens of some kind on private network utilizing a variety of different blockchain technologies. 

One key ingredient for mass adoption is liquidity, and yet there are currently few marketplaces with the volume and engagement required to provide the efficiencies and liquidity needed.

 

Shailee Adinolfi, Director of government blockchain solutions at ConsenSys

Shailee Adinolfi, Director of government blockchain solutions at ConsenSys

Mass adoption means governments globally have created an enabling environment for blockchain and cryptocurrency to flourish or adopted the technology in their own practices, whether it’s blockchain-as-a-service for intergovernmental transactions, BTC or ETH-based futures contracts or central bank-issued digital currencies.

We are seeing promising signs of early adoption by governments — for example, Project Khokha with the South African Reserve Bank and Project Ubin with the Monetary Authority of Singapore — but more broadly, policy is lagging behind.

 

Oliver von Landsberg Sadie, CEO and co-founder of BCB Group

Oliver von Landsberg Sadie, CEO and co-founder of BCB Group

When we attempt to project the growth of the cryptocurrency industry, we see three distinct market segments, each of which will have its own adoption curve. In an organic adoption cycle, the man on the street discovers a great idea and spreads the word, accelerating adoption in the retail segment. 

Businesses take note and seek to monetize the opportunity, and so we see the growth of adoption in the commercial segment. As this spreads, financial institutions like banks and payments businesses consolidate industry-wide solutions and lay down the bedrock for efficient global service, and this drives adoption in the institutional segment.

This pattern is playing out with textbook accuracy in cryptocurrency markets. In the beginning, cryptocurrency was the preserve of technophiles and mathematicians, until it found a foothold as a medium of exchange and later as a vehicle of financial speculation in the retail segment. 

Businesses like brokerages, exchanges and payment services sprang up to better service this market. Today, we have major institutions like Fidelity, JPMorgan and other headline-grabbers all servicing parts of the cryptocurrency value chain at a global level.

With all three segments now on the adoption curve, we are beyond the inflection point of mass adoption.

These quotes have been edited and condensed.

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