weekly roundup – Positive News amid the Turmoil
In a week dominated by market moves, we share some of the news and insight pieces which remind us all that adoption is still growing and positive news is still about in the midst of all the turmoil. We also have some exclusive BCB content – an interview with our Founder and CEO.
During this turbulent week, the BCB Group team were asked for comments and views by leading journalists in the crypto and mainstream press.
Europe’s New AML Rules Making Crypto More Attractive to Institutions
At Crypto Compare’s Digital Asset Summit last Tuesday, part of London Blockchain Week, we listened to Boerse Stuttgart’s Chief Digital Officer explain that Europe’s new anti-money laundering directive AMLD5, has attracted traditional financial institutions into cryptocurrencies.
In Europe, banks and other financial institutions can already custody and trade crypto assets, but relatively few do so. Clearer rules could encourage even more to explore this option and expand their services.
Coinbase Rolls Out Bitcoin Transaction Batching
In a blog post released last week, Coinbase announced the launch of bitcoin transaction batching. The new feature will significantly reduce the load that Coinbase puts on the Bitcoin blockchain and could save users more than 50% on network fees.
According to Coinbase, the release will introduce a small delay in transactions being broadcast to the network, but will not impact the time it takes for transactions to be confirmed for customers.
This matters because during periods of high activity users compete to get their transactions added to the blockchain. Given that Bitcoin has low transaction throughput, and exchanges are large users of block space, it’s up to exchanges to be good stewards of the network to ensure usability. According to CoinMetrics, there are a handful of exchanges that already offer transaction batching including Kraken, Bitfinex, and Shapeshift.
Digital Pound Could Present Challenges for UK, Says Carney
The outgoing governor of the Bank of England has highlighted the potential risks to monetary governance if a central bank digital currency were to be launched in the U.K. “While CBDC poses a number of opportunities, it could raise significant challenges for maintaining monetary and financial stability … and would need to be very carefully designed if it were to be introduced,” Carney said in the foreword to a very interesting BoE discussion paper.
Kraken Launches Forex Trading
US Based Crypto Exchange Kraken announced last week that it is embracing traditional forex trading, going live with nine new fiat currency pairs.
Users worldwide – excluding United States residents – will be able to use the Kraken platform to directly trade between Euros, U.S. Dollars, Canadian Dollars, Japanese Yen, GBP and Swiss Francs. Kraken appears to be the first major crypto exchange to make an entry into the forex market. The exchange has presented its move to provide forex services as something that will enable its clients to be “more agile and sophisticated” in their trading strategies.
New Podcast – The Wolf of All Streets
The first episodes of a brand new podcast, The Wolf Of All Streets, launched last week. Catherine Coley of Binance US speaks to Scott Melker about the regulatory challenges of running a crypto exchange in the US.
Long Term Holders Not Selling Their Positions
In a highlight from ID Theory’s weekly Bitcoin Insights report, the writers take a look at Bitcoin Hodler Net Change (Adamant Capital, 2019). This metric uses liveliness (Blumer, 2018) as its foundation which indicates how many meaningful transactions are occurring on the network, thus accounting for lost coins. When liveliness is used alongside the current circulating supply, they can determine the changes in long term holders every month. Interestingly, despite a sharp retrace in bitcoin price last week, there has only been a small net negative change so far in march signifying that long term holders are not selling their positions.
New York Department of Financial Services Requires Preparedness Plans for Virtual Currency Businesses Due to Coronavirus
The New York Department of Financial Services has issued a requirement that all institutions engaged in virtual currency businesses to have a preparedness plan due to the impact of COVID-19.
Virtual currency businesses regulated in the state of New York are not alone as other financial services sectors have received a similar demand by the regulator.
Although there’s currently nothing specific or similar for the UK, we’re happy to share our BCB Group COVID-19 Business Continuity Plan here.
Exclusive: Interview with Oliver von Landsberg-Sadie
Our Founder and CEO talks about his career to date. How, after finding himself in the thick of the financial crisis at Lehman Brothers, and spending over 10 years at Barlcays, followed by a spell at Lloyds Banking Group, he co-founded BCB Group. The interview also covers the inefficiencies of our financial system, AI and understanding consciousness, cultural diversity, as well as DASL – our Corda-based digital asset shared ledger for financial institutions.