Friday, March 27, 2020

After Coronavirus ‘War,’ Bretton Woods-Style Shakeup Could Dethrone the Dollar


For governments, fighting the coronavirus pandemic is like fighting a war.
The leaders of Italy, Spain and Germany have used the analogy – along with the CEOs of Bank of America and the U.S. telecommunications giant AT&T – to describe the mass-scale efforts needed to combat the disease: mobilizations of the health care industry, a retooling by factories to produce masks and makeshift morgues to accommodate a fast-rising death count.

During a televised press conference this week, U.S. President Donald Trump characterized himself as a "wartime president."

Now, it's becoming clearer that the economic toll of the virus, as in a war, is likely to be dire. In the U.S. alone, a record 3.3 million jobless claims were filed last week. Deutsche Bank predicts the country's job losses might exceed 15 million, with Europe approaching a similar level. Countries are prepping aid and stimulus packages into the trillions of dollars, stretching already heavily indebted government balance sheets. Central banks led by the U.S. Federal Reserve have pledged nearly unlimited support to financial markets. Investors have flown to safety in U.S. dollars, and in doing so driven down emerging-market currencies, inflicting additional economic damage on some of the world's poorest countries.

So with officials starting to envision what it might take to rebuild damaged economies and restore society to a semblance of normal, speculation is mounting that seismic shifts might be in the offing for the global monetary system — a phenomenon that historically has occurred in the wake of world wars.

Think Bretton Woods, the historic gathering in 1944 at a mountaintop resort in New Hampshire, which set the template for the current system and entrenched the dollar's near-century-long reign as the world's dominant currency.

"I wouldn't rule out anything at this point," says Markus Brunnermeier, a Princeton University economics professor who has advised the International Monetary Fund, Federal Reserve Bank of New York and European Systemic Risk Board.

Questioning dollar dominance
Even before the coronavirus hit, questions were percolating among some economists and monetary officials over whether the dollar-based system could last through the 2020s.

One concern is that monetary policy in the U.S. – actions by the Fed to maximize domestic employment and keep prices stable – reverberates through countries all over the globe, often saddling them with higher inflation whenever their currencies weaken versus the dollar; while exporters of raw materials or manufactured goods might become more competitive, consumers feel the pinch from higher prices for imported goods. Another factor is that so many commodities such as oil, copper and gold are priced in dollars, leaving producers including Russia, Brazil and South Africa at the mercy of foreign-exchange markets.  

Bank of England President Mark Carney floated the idea of a "synthetic hegemonic currency," possibly based on new digital-asset technologies, to reduce the dollar's "domineering influence" on global trade. China, the world's second-largest economy, has been pressing forward with a digital version of its yuan that might be used more widely in global trade. Facebook, the social network, proposed last year to create its own payment token, libra. Bitcoin, launched in the throes of the 2008-09 financial meltdown, offers another alternative.

"Eventually we're going to get past this crisis," said Tim Shaler, a former portfolio manager at the bond fund Pimco who now serves as chief economist for iTrust Capital, which allows clients to buy cryptocurrencies and physical gold through their retirement accounts.  "If there's a possibility to create some digital currency not tied to any domestic economy, there might be an opportunity for somebody to figure that out."

The Fed helicopters in with trillions
It's little surprise the Federal Reserve is intervening so deeply in U.S. markets during a time of crisis. That "quantitative easing" (QE) playbook was put in place by former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke, who garnered the moniker "Helicopter Ben" thanks to his advocacy for plying the financial system with large quantities of much money when needed. In a matter of months in 2008, from August to December, the Fed's balance sheet doubled in size to more than $2 trillion. It doubled again during the next few years to over $4 trillion.

On Monday, the U.S. central bank, now led by Chair Jerome Powell, made an unprecedented pledge to buy bonds in unlimited amounts to support markets, while reviving 2008-era QE emergency-lending programs to ply banks, Wall Street dealers and even corporations with fresh liquidity. The new efforts could quickly balloon the Fed's balance sheet to north of $8 trillion, says Stephen Cecchetti, who headed the monetary and economic department at the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, in the early 2010s.


On Wednesday, lawmakers in Washington were negotiating a $2 trillion aid package, but the investment-research firm Evercore ISI predicted this week in a report that another $3 trillion might be needed. Some of the Treasury bonds issued to finance surging U.S. government budget deficits might get sopped up by the Fed.  

"The central bank has to be a part of the war machine," said Cecchetti, now a professor of international economics at Brandeis University.

The dollar's inflationary threat
Despite the flood of new dollars, the U.S. currency has surged in recent weeks to its strongest levels in three years. Inflation is muted, and the economy's weakness means prices in the U.S. won't be pressured upward anytime soon.

But the Fed's trillions could eventually lead to higher inflation. There also might be a renewed outcry that such money injections merely bail out bankers and rich people, with few of the benefits going to the middle or lower classes – similar to the arguments of the Occupy Wall Street movement that followed the 2008 crisis.

Outside the U.S., central banks might emerge from the coronavirus shock with a stronger appetite for independence from American influence over the global monetary system.

"It's going to be interesting to see how it plays out when we have at least two major financial players that are going to emerge from this," said Omer Ozden, CEO of RockTree Capital, a merchant bank with expertise in blockchain technology. "China will have its own thoughts and may take a different direction from, let's say, a Bretton Woods-style global organization."

Trustless world, trustless systems
It's highly unlikely the global monetary system would see a negotiated accord along the lines of the Bretton Woods accord, which was joined by 44 countries, said Edwin Truman, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics who oversaw the Federal Reserve's division of international finance from the late 1970s through the late 1990s.

Trump's brash, freewheeling style and protectionist impulses in recent years have alienated former allies in Europe, and his border wall campaign has ratcheted up tensions with Mexico. He demonized China in last year's trade war and recently referred to the coronavirus as the "China virus."

"One of the big challenges of today, in contrast to 2008-2009, is that the state of national cooperation is pretty low," Truman said. "In order to do, collectively, a big change in the system, people would have to agree, and everyone seems to be fending for themselves."

For George McDonaugh, CEO and co-founder of Isle of Man-based KR1, a publicly traded cryptocurrency investment company, it's the head-scratcher of "helicopter money" that might ultimately raise fundamental criticisms of the current monetary system. Deep interest rate cuts and central bank money injections in ever-growing quantities appear to have become the default solution whenever a market crisis hits every seven to 11 years.  

The Fed's trillion-dollar money injections during the 2008 financial crisis did little to weaken the dollar's dominance in the years since, but this time might be different.

"If someone on TV says we can have infinite money, someone on the other side of that TV screen says, 'Why have I been working my ass off for the past 40 years?'" McDonough said.

Telegram token investors ‘ready to accept refund’ amid SEC court battle


A number of investors in the token issued by messaging app Telegram are reported to be ready to accept their money back, which would see the firm settle at a fraction of the funds paid into the token.

According to a TASS report, as many as 10 separate investors in Telegram's blockchain project are now poised to accept the offer, which would see 72% of money invested in the token returned.

Head of Russian digital currency investment firm Hash CIB, Yakov Barinsky, said the refund offer was looking more attractive to investors in light of the global coronavirus crisis: "What I see now among various investors is that many, at least 10 investors with whom I spoke, are inclined to take away 72% of the invested funds. Considering what is happening in the financial markets, this offer now looks much better than in October."

Back in October, investors were offered 77% of invested funds back as refunds for the project, which has been beset with difficulties—not least ongoing investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), over what the regulator argues was an illegal sale of securities.

At the time, investors rejected the offer and agreed to extend the deadline for issuing the tokens to April 2020. Now, Telegram has said investors can receive 72% of their funds back, with the remaining 5% already spent on the development process in the intervening months.

It follows on from a ruling earlier this week, in which a federal court in New York ruled against Telegram, finding that issuing the Gram tokens would constitute a violation of securities laws.

Barinsky said Telegram could now choose to register a transaction, and to recognize the court's interpretation of its Gram tokens as a security.

"To conduct an IPO, but in this case, the launch of the project will be postponed for another period, companies usually prepare for this for at least a year. For this scenario, it will also be necessary to conduct another consultation with investors and again ask for a delay in launching the project," Barinsky said. 

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Toyota launches blockchain lab for verification, supply chain and more


Japanese automotive manufacturing giant Toyota has launched a blockchain lab that will focus on integrating the technology into most of its operations. Known as the Toyota Blockchain Lab, the project has been in the works since April last year. It will integrate blockchain into its verification processes, global supply chain, financial systems and more.

The global automotive industry has evolved rapidly, forcing carmakers to focus on providing more value to their customers. Toyota intends on keeping ahead of its rivals, and with the integration of blockchain, it will allow its customers to "connect more openly under safety and security," the company said in a press release.

#Toyota's latest #blockchaintechnology improves information reliability and accelerates the sharing of data among multiple parties in a more open environment that is safe and secure.

The Blockchain Lab is a collaboration between the Toyota Motor Corporation and Toyota Financial Services Corporation. It has been undertaking demonstration trials since its formation 11 months ago. It stated, "In the following initiatives focused on customers and vehicles, demonstration trials under specific conditions were completed in November last year, confirming the usefulness of blockchain technology in each use application."

One of the key application areas for blockchain technology will be in identity verification. Toyota currently requires its clients to verify their identity separately for every service they intend to use. This reduces the chances of fraud and data breaches, but at the same time, it's quite time consuming. With blockchain, the client will only need to verify his identity once, after which he can share the data in a permissioned blockchain system.

Toyota also plans on applying blockchain in its supply chain management to improve efficiency and traceability. It will record and share information regarding manufacturing, shipping and more on a blockchain-powered network. The company, which is the second-largest automotive manufacturer after Volkswagen, will also record information about its repair parts. This will enable the end user to verify genuine Toyota products.

Toyota intends to record information about its vehicles on the blockchain platform as well. Data to be recorded includes any repairs over a car's lifetime, its mileage and ownership. This data will make it much easier to accurately value a Toyota vehicle.

Going forward, the company will partner with other industry stakeholders in its project, it revealed, stating, "In addition, with regard to various blockchain platforms around the world, in collaboration with partner companies, we will formulate non-functional evaluation items to accelerate the social implementation of the technology, and accumulate technical knowledge to select a suitable platform for each application."

Toyota has also revealed that it will integrate blockchain technology in its utopian conceptual city. Known as Woven City, it will be powered by hydrogen and will rely on smart technology. It will be built on a 175-acre land in Japan, on the base of Mount Fuji, with the construction beginning early next year. Artificial intelligence will be central to the city's operations, Toyota revealed.

Indian Parliament probing suspect ‘Bitcoin businesses’


An investigation into dubious digital currency businesses in India is underway, amid concerns about rampant fraud in connection with digital currencies in the country.

The investigation was revealed in a filing submitted before India's lower house, the Lok Sabha, following a formal question to the Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs Anurag Thakur.

Center-left politician Mohammed Faizal asked the Minister whether he was aware of the "cheating and fraudulent practices by bitcoin companies", and whether these firms "are repeatedly violating rules laid out by the Corporate Affairs Ministry by not filing annual balance sheets".

In his answer, Minister Thakur said the companies concerned "are not defined under the Companies Act". The Minister said only two firms dealing with BTC were registered with the Companies Registrar, and one of the companies, Zeb IT, had previously been subject to prosecutions under the Companies Act. The firm is currently in liquidation.

The other firm, Unocoin Technologies, was reported to be up to date in its filings, with the Minister saying he had yet to receive any complaints against the company.

The developments come at a time of rapid change in the Indian digital currency sector, following the decision of the Supreme Court to overturn the Reserve Bank of India's earlier ruling effectively banning digital currency in the country.

The following day, Unocoin resumed fiat deposits, with several other exchanges including OKEx, Coindcx and Wazirx taking similar steps to resume business—despite none being registered by the authorities, according to the Minister's answer.

International exchanges Kraken and KuCoin have since confirmed their intentions to expand into the Indian market, with both companies expected to be eyeing a share of the newly liberated Indian sector.

The Reserve Bank of India has said it intends to appeal against the Supreme Court ruling, casting doubt on whether the position is settled long-term. For the time being, digital currency exchanges and other related companies can take advantage of the ruling to rebuild the sector so badly affected by the RBI decision.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Bank of England chief warns of CBDC ‘challenges’ on fiat money


The outgoing governor of the Bank of England has warned of the risks of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), highlighting the potential impact of CBDCs on fiat currency and the wider financial system.

Mark Carney, who is due to leave his post on Friday, addressed the risks posed by central bank digital currencies, highlighting the "significant challenges" that could be posed to financial stability.

First reported by Reuters, the comments come at a time when the bank is reported to be considering the feasibility of issuing its own digital currency on the blockchain:

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 there were likely implications for commercial banks, should significant balances move towards CBDCs: "If significant deposit balances are moved from commercial banks into CBDC, it could have implications for the balance sheets of commercial banks and…the amount of credit provided by banks to the wider economy."

The comments come in the final days of Carney's tenure at the bank, as he prepares to take up post as the U.K. government's Finance Adviser for COP26. He is set to be replaced by Andrew Bailey, the current head of the U.K. financial regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

In the report, the bank also addressed the decline of cash, with consumers and businesses alike increasingly opting for digital payment alternatives.

The Bank of England is scheduled to meet, alongside representatives from five other financial regulators, to discuss models for issuing a digital currency. On its preferred approach, the bank said that any digital currency would be denominated in Sterling, and would not be allowed to entirely replace cash notes.

It comes as other central banks are already testing their own digital currencies. In Sweden, for example, the central bank is running tests on issuing a digital currency dubbed the 'e-Krona', while other central banks are known to be running their own feasibility assessments on the technology.

FCA issues warning to avoid coronavirus-linked digital asset scams


Just like there always have been, scams are found in the digital currency space. There will always be those who are too inept to make a decent living and want to take advantage of situations in order to line their own pockets. As the coronavirus has gripped the world, there's no doubt that it is being used as a tool for initiating fraudulent activity, and the U.K.'s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has issued a warning to remind individuals to use caution when approached about making investments related to COVID-19.

In a message posted by the FCA on its website this past Wednesday, the financial watchdog explains, "Watch out for scams related to coronavirus (COVID-19). These scams take many forms and could be about insurance policies, pensions transfers or high-return investment opportunities, including investments in cryptoassets."

As is often the case, the potential scams will offer investment opportunities that are too good to be true, which should be the first sign for individuals to stay away. The FCA adds, as it has warned in the past, "If you decide to invest in something offering a high return or in a cryptoasset, you should be prepared to lose all your money."

The scams could come in many styles – requests for donations to the World Health Organization or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or as a means to prepare for a rebound once the markets begin to recover. Common sense dictates that any investor perform his or her due diligence before making any type of investment, and understand the source of the request before turning over any funds.

Fortunately, digital asset enthusiasts have grown accustomed to potential scams and don't fall for the tricks as easily as may have once been seen. According to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau in the U.K., those COVID-19 scams that have already been seen haven't had a lot of success. However, conventional investment scams in the U.K. tied to the virus have reportedly been able to collect more than £800,000 (a little more than $1 million).

The FCA recommends that individuals stay away from offers that appear out of the blue and to ignore investment opportunities that pop up on social media. It also suggests calling back those individuals who make contact looking for investments and to never provide any personal detail under any circumstances. In addition, before making any type of investment, consumers should check the FCA's register and its official Warning List to see if the entity is legitimate. If the company isn't listed in the register, don't hand over any money. The extra five minutes taken to do the research can help individuals avoid massive financial losses and headaches.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Pair linked to crypto Ponzi scheme in US pleads not guilty


Two co-founders of an alleged crypto Ponzi scheme have pleaded not guilty to a range of charges, following a criminal indictment on money laundering and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

John Caruso and Zachary Salter of Zima Digital Assets have been accused of running a crypto scam responsible for defrauding some $9 million from its customers, in a structure defined as a "classic Ponzi scheme."

The first $1.9 million of deposits into the scheme were returned to early investors, validating the scheme and its claims for significant investment returns. These payments were allegedly used to encourage more investment in the scheme.

The following $7 million invested was purported to have been spent frivolously by the founders, including on luxury vacations, private jets and casino trips. The founders themselves claimed no taxable income during the period, despite showcasing their monied lifestyle on their social media profiles.

Some 90 investors were conned by the scheme, including former athletes and some elderly victims. The pair were arrested by law enforcement authorities on January 30, with an initial plea hearing for Salter taking place earlier today.

Caruso entered his not guilty plea on February 26, having previously been released from prison in 2017.

The case will now move to trial in front of a jury, scheduled to begin on July 4. If either party is convicted on the charges, they will be required to return all assets acquired through the scheme or from the proceeds of their crimes.

Among the charges on the indictment are allegations of false statements in investor contracts, alongside misrepresentations through direct messages to investor clients.

At a hearing in February, the prosecution said, "There is no evidence any of the investment funds that have been provided to Caruso and Salter have gone to any cryptocurrency/digital asset investment, or to any investment of any kind, as fraudulently misrepresented by both Caruso and Salter."

On the date of the hearing, Zima Digital Assets was still receiving new funds from investors, which the co-accused were personally misappropriating to fund their own lavish lifestyles.

Altered Carbon reduces cryptocurrency to black market payment option


The world of Bitcoin involves a lot of speculation of what the future will be like. Through the power of unlimited on chain scaling, Bitcoin SV (BSV) offers a world where much of the data and transactions of the world can be immutably recorded on chain, and micro transactions create entirely new business plans for intrepid individuals to pursue. But in fictional future of Netflix's Altered Carbon, cryptocurrencies appear to have found their place as nothing but black market currencies.

If you're unfamiliar with Altered Carbon, the show depicts our galaxy several centuries in the future, where a breathrough in science has allowed the rich and powerful to avoid permanent death by passing their consciousness into new bodies indefinitely. The central conflict of the show is between those with power and infinite life, nicknamed the Meths, and the various groups principally opposed to this technology due to the imbalance it creates between rich and poor. The main character of the show, Takeshi Kovacs, falls in the second camp.

The currency of the future is typically referred to as credits. The financial system supporting it is never discussed at length, and as the main characters typically have more than enough credits to do whatever they need to, the topic is never explored at very much length. But in season 2, episode 5, the set designers of the show decided to have a little fun inserting some cryptocurrencies into the mix.

In a scene where the characters are shopping for contraband technology and weapons, price tags for the items clearly have labels for several cryptocurrencies.
The Bitcoin logo in particular caused some conversation on twitter. Depending on how you tilt your head, it could either be a BTC or BSV logo.

The prices drawn up for the stickers were probably done without much thought, but the fictional prices of these contraband items is fun to think about. Gloves in the shot are worth 0.867 (either BTC or BSV) and 3,089 Litecoin. That would mean a current day price of between $210.57 and $193,309.62. Considering they are high tech, contraband gloves, it's probably toward the higher end.

While this is all a bit of good fun based on the background of a fictional universe, BSV supporters will want to hope that the real Bitcoin becomes the credits of the universe, rather than the black market payment option.

This is the second time in just a few weeks that Bitcoin gets referenced by a significant piece of pop culture. The Simpsons also recently gave a cryptocurrency explainer, with an on screen gag noting they knew the real identity of Satoshi, but "we're not telling."

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Seoul to debut blockchain petition system in March


Seoul is set to launch its blockchain-powered petition system on March 1. The system will enable the residents of the city to air their views and share them with the local government. It will replace the existing system which has been marred by claims of fake identities and vote manipulation.

Known as Democracy Seoul, the new system will give the residents of South Korea's capital the opportunity to turn the government's attention to issues that affect them. A resident will be able to propose any issue on the platform and if it gets at least 1,000 votes from other residents, the city's Mayor Park Won-soon will have to address it. This system will be similar to an existing national system that allows South Koreans to air their issues with the government. Once an issue receives 200,000 votes, the national government has to address it.

The national petition system, as with any other online voting system globally, has been marred by accusations of vote manipulation and fake identities. As Decrypt reports, experts have unearthed that it's quite easy to deceive the system, even with little technical expertise. All one needs to cast a vote multiple times is to use a different username and internet service provider.

The use of blockchain will eliminate the authenticity challenge, with the technology being used to verify the identity of every person who votes, preventing duplicate voting. Blockchain will also give the system more transparency, giving the residents more trust in the system.

The blockchain system comes just a fortnight after the Seoul Mayor lowered the threshold number of votes required for the government to respond from 5,000 to 1,000. This will make it possible for the government to respond to more issues. According to a report by the Maeil Business Newspaper, Democracy Seoul has registered over 5,900 civic proposals since it launched in October 2017. 59 of these proposals have gone on to become official city policies.

As Seoul launches its blockchain petition system, South Korea is working on its national blockchain voting system. Announced in November 2018, the system provides real-time visibility of the voting process, making the system more credible. The system incorporates other emerging technologies including the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and big data.

Iranian leader urges the country to use crypto to evade sanctions


An Iranian commander has called on the country to seek more unique ways to bypass the several sanctions imposed against it. The general cited cryptocurrencies as one ideal solution at a time when the sanctions have crippled the economy and are forcing the country into a recession.

Saeed Muhammad, a commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, was addressing a crowd recently, reported local crypto outlet The general criticized the stand taken by the American government, saying that it has been trying to impede the livelihoods of the Iranians and block its development.

For a solution, he suggested, "We are demanding the creation of a more sophisticated mechanism to bypass sanctions. To circumvent sanctions, we must develop solutions such as the exchange of products and the use of cryptocurrencies with our partnerships in other countries."

Iran has long been looking at using cryptos to evade the sanctions by the U.S government. For decades now, the country has been at loggerheads with the U.S especially regarding its nuclear programs. However, things took a turn for the worse after Donald Trump became president, imposing tougher sanctions as he seeks to force the Middle Eastern country to renegotiate its nuclear deal with the U.S.

Iran's president Hassan Rouhani called on all Muslim nations to unite and build a crypto that would rival the U.S dollar. In an event in December last year held in Malaysia, the president described the U.S as a bully and urged his fellow Muslim leaders to unite against it. By creating and using their own crypto, Muslim nations could be able to finally stand up against the U.S, he stated. Other Muslim leaders supported his call, including the presidents of Malaysia and Turkey.

The Iranian government has also sought to support existing cryptos by enabling crypto mining in the country. Iran has very affordable electricity which has attracted miners in their numbers. To bring the industry under control, the government legalized crypto mining last year. A month ago, it also issued licenses to over 1,000 miners.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Binance not licensed to operate in Malta, regulators say


Controversial cryptocurrency exchange Binance has found itself scrambling to perform damage control and repair after regulators in Malta called it out over false claims. In a statement published by the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) on Friday, the regulator made it quite clear that Binance has never received authorization to operate in the country. As a result, Binance has been trying to dance around the subject with some creative responses.

The MFSA's message reads, "Following a report in a section of the media referring to Binance as a 'Malta-based cryptocurrency' company, the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) reiterates that Binance is not authorised by the MFSA to operate in the crypto currency sphere and is therefore not subject to regulatory oversight by the MFSA. The Authority is however assessing if Binance has any activities in Malta which may not fall within the realm of regulatory oversight. Admission of virtual financial assets to trading and/or for offering virtual financial assets to the public in and from Malta requires an MFSA licence in terms of the Virtual Financial Assets Act (CAP 590) of 2018."

It isn't clear where the assertion that Binance is a Malta-based company originated, but the exchange, led by controversial figure Changpeng "CZ" Zhao, is attempting to create its own rules regarding what defines business operations. Those attempts are falling flat.

For example, the company's chief growth officer, Ted Lin, told Decrypt just a few days ago, "We have offices in Malta for customer services, and some compliance people there, but it's not the headquarters per say [sic]. It's the spiritual headquarters. It's a name that people think about when they think about Binance."

Lin's comments to Decrypt were part of a larger story regarding the fate of the company in another region. Binance is, according to the countries' registry offices, registered in both the Cayman Islands and the Seychelles. However, the European Union (EU) is now ready to put the Cayman Islands on a blacklist of tax havens, which could make it difficult for any company registered there to do business with entities or individuals in the EU.

When it got started, Binance launched in China. However, as the country began to crack down on crypto, it decided to move to Japan. Not long after getting set up in its new headquarters, Binance suffered an attack on the exchange, leading Japan's Financial Services Authority (FSA) to require Binance to apply for a license. That apparently wasn't within the scope of the exchange's business model, and it left to find a new home, reportedly landing it in Malta.

The CEO of Malta-based Chiliz, Alexandre Dreyfus, weighed in on whether or not Binance is in Malta. He told Decrypt, "Insinuating that Binance doesn't have offices and people in Malta is offending for the employees here. As you can see on their website, they are still recruiting significantly in compliance, security, customer care."

Friday, February 14, 2020

$10K Bitcoin Prompts Influencers to Call a Bull Market


Cryptocurrencies have gained significant value over the last few weeks and it's causing exuberance among digital currency proponents. Now a number of traders and influencers believe bitcoin and other coins are in bullish territory. Despite the surge to $13K last July and the deep pullback that followed, BTC investors and influencers have no issue believing that crypto is on the threshold of another bull market.

'Calling the Bull' Is a Bold Move, But a Number of People Are Doing So After BTC Surpasses $10K
Bitcoin traders, analysts, and thought leaders on social media and forums seem to think that the crypto market is facing another bull run. Statements about a "bull market" and a possible "altcoin season" are littered all over Twitter and news articles about the cryptoconomy's swift rise. You can find a number of crypto influencers explaining that the bitcoin bull market is overdue for a variety of reasons.

Some people claim the reward halving is pushing BTC's price up, they say miner capitulation is over, the BTC hashrate has touched an ATH, and most of the non-ideological investors capitulated. Moreover, lots of crypto investors are stressing that "this time is different" even though they know calling a bear or bull market requires judgment and is considered a bold call. But this hasn't stopped a number of crypto's influential figures from doing so.

"Early signs of a bull market," explained @American_hodl on Wednesday. "I am finding myself explaining bitcoin to skeptics and new entrants again. This did not happen during the bear. During the bear, it was just us here."

However, other people disagree with American_hodl and the others who assume the market has turned bullish. Some individuals have certain price points that need to be obtained until they call the bull. "We aren't in a bull market until we close above $10.7k," emphasized @llamamarket. "So I'm patient but it looks more likely I was wrong about $5k at least at this very moment. I'll keep everyone posted if/when I buy." The specific price point at which a bull market occurs has been a trend lately and the crypto influencer Luke Martin touched upon the subject on February 6, tweeting:

Fun observation about BTC in a bull-market is the post each day stating: 'Bitcoin isn't bullish until we cross $10k' which quickly turns into 'Not bullish until we cross $11.6k' which quickly turns into 'Not bullish until we cross $14k,' which turns into 'Not bullish until…'

Bullish Pomp Tweets 'Altcoin Season' Phases, and Never Shorting the Bull
Anthony "Pomp" Pompliano, the well known cofounder of Morgan Creek Digital Assets has been talking about the bull run lately too. On Twitter, Pomp felt the need to give an "important message as we enter the next bitcoin bull market." Pomp explained: "BTC is very volatile, you can lose all of your money, only invest what is ok to lose, Twitter is not investment advice, don't buy BTC with credit cards, keep low time preference, [and] do your own research." When BTC crossed the $10K zone, Pomp let his 309,000 Twitter followers know that he still thinks "bitcoin will hit $100,000 by end of December 2021." In between all the social media and forum discussions about the bull market, a number of individuals say that "altcoin season or altseason" typically happens before the BTC bull market or comes in phases.

Managing partner at Blocktown Capital, Joseph Todaro, discussed the altseason topic and the next bull market on Wednesday. "This is the first altseason of the next bull market," Todaro tweeted. "You only get 3 real altseasons: The early alt pump when bitcoin is still less than ATH (weak), the mid alt pump after bitcoin passes ATH ~$20k (strong), [and] the late alt pump as bitcoin marks cycle top (strong). Bitcoin just hit $10,000." Todaro also quipped and said:
"You know we are in a bull market when Peter Schiff refuses to tweet about bitcoin."

Despite knowing about the prior BTC price dump after July's $13K high, bitcoiners everywhere are still calling the bull after the $10K position was reached. "Bitcoin is currently in an intense bull market and investors are getting excited," another individual tweeted on Wednesday.

"Never short bitcoin in a bull market," explained the BTC thought leader Whale Panda on Tuesday. "Never short bitcoin, period," the popular Twitter account @Arminvanbitcoin replied to Whale Panda's statement. Crypto Twitter influencer Paul McNeal from tweeted to his 20,000 followers about the bull market situation as well: "Market Cap goes up – Bitcoin dominance goes down — Welcome to the bull market of 2020."