Greetings from Berlin! Stablecoins, stablecoins, stablecoins were in the news this week. With Facebook’s Libra project waiting for the regulatory response, Tether and Binance are also making moves in this market. Digital assets are also making inroads in other areas of financial infrastructure, such as custody and securities. Meanwhile, cryptocurrency is piquing the interest of a decidedly niche market: terrorists.
On Unchained this week, I have a really interesting and fun discussion with Sandra Ro, who gave us two contrarian takes: why she thinks, eventually, the U.S. will lead on crypto regulation, and why the fragmented state of crypto regulation in the U.S. is actually a strength. She even gives us the scoop on how she got CME to launch Bitcoin futures. Plus, on Unconfirmed, I chatted with Joerg Platzer, a Bitcoin legend in Berlin, who gave a fascinating peek at what it was like to accept Bitcoin payments in 2011, and the latest tech he’s playing with: a point-of-sale device that uses the Lightning Network.
This Week’s Crypto News…
As my former colleague, Lauren Debter, writes in this well reported story for Forbes, “In 2017 and 2018, as Byrne shifted his attention to expanding in crypto and blockchain, the company began bleeding red ink—a whopping $316 million over two years, which is more than twice the profits Overstock has ever delivered.”
The delegation, led by U.S. Representative Maxine Waters, will meet with Swiss Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner Adrian Lobsiger over the coin proposed by Facebook. Meanwhile, the FT reports Libra’s partners are getting cold feet.
The biggest crypto exchange plans to roll out stablecoins in a number of markets; it’s already launched one pegged to the British pound.
This tip comes from an over-the-counter (OTC) trader in China who is also a shareholder of Bitfinex, which shares the same parent company as Tether. He believes the new stablecoin could be launched within weeks.
Frank Chaparro of The Block writes, “Don’t let the futures distract you. Custody is at the heart of Bakkt …. The value proposition of using Bakkt as a custodian are clear. It’s a truly institutional-grade offering with the blessing of the CFTC and New York State.”
The first security token sale registered with the SEC is by a crypto exchange startup.
Hamas is attempting to raise money via Bitcoin. “[E]very visitor is given a unique Bitcoin address where he or she can send the digital currency, a method that makes the donations nearly impossible for law enforcement to track,” writes the NYT’s Nathaniel Popper.
Did someone say “cyberpunks?”