Crypto markets have continued yesterday’s downtrend, with Bitcoin Cash, EOS, and Binance Coin seeing major losses.
Thursday, Dec. 6: Cryptocurrency markets have continued yesterday’s losses, with just two of the top twenty coins seeing any gains, according to Coin360.
Market visualization from Coin360
Bitcoin (BTC) is down 3.13 percent the day, seeing a high of $3,887 and low of $3,587. At press time, the major cryptocurrency is trading around $3,656.
On its weekly chart, BTC is at its lowest price point over the past seven days, down 14.4 percent, while the coin’s monthly statistics show grim 43 percent losses.
Bitcoin monthly price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap
The second largest virtual currency by market capitalization Ripple (XRP) is trading at $0.320 at press time, down 5.36 percent on the day. The altcoin’s market cap is around $12.7 billion, while its weekly high point was $15.3 on Nov. 30, according to CoinMarkerCap.
XRP 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap
Ethereum (ETH) have lost 7.85 percent in the last 24 hours, dipping below the $100 mark for the first time during the past month. The coin is trading around $95 as of press time. ETH’s market cap is $9.7 billion at press time.
Ethereum 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap
Top 10 coin Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is one of the top 20 coins, has registered major losses on the day. The altcoin is down by over 14 percent during the last 24 hours and is trading at around $112 at press time.
The Bitcoin Cash hard fork has been followed by a lawsuit filed by Florida-based United American Corp. against crypto exchanges Bitmain, Kraken, Bitcoin.com, and BCH evangelist Roger Ver, claiming that they engaged in “unfair methods of competition” that were detrimental to UnitedCorp and other stakeholders.
United American Corp. claims that during the hard fork, a number of entities took control of the network using “rented hashing” to facilitate the adoption of Bitcoin ABC, while “no person or entity can be allowed to control them.”
Bitcoin SV (BSV), in turn, has seen noteable daily gains of 22.55 percent, and is trading at around $107.31 at press time. BSV’s maximum supply is 21 million, while its market capitalization is around $1.8 billion at press time.
Today’s major losers also include EOS and Binance Coin (BNB), which are down 14.19 percent and 17 percent respectively. As of press time, EOS is trading at $1.90 and BNB is around $5.
Total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies is around $114.4 billion at press time. On its monthly chart, total market cap has been showing a steady downtrend.
Total market capitalization 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap
Meanwhile, digital asset manager Bitwise launched two new beta funds for BTC and ETH, aiming to provide a “low-cost” and “liquid” means of capturing returns on both high-profile assets. Matt Hougan, global head of research for Bitwise, has contextualized the launch of the new funds as being driven by “significant inbound demand” spurred by part “positive developments on the horizon.”
The SEC has delayed its decision on rule change proposals to list a VanEck, SolidX Bitcoin ETF until Feb. 27, 2019.
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has again postponed its decision on a Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund (ETF), according to an official document published Thursday, Dec. 6.
The SEC set the new deadline for Feb. 27, 2019 in order to further review the rule change proposals to list a Bitcoin ETF by investment firm VanEck and blockchain company SolidX on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE):
“The Commission finds it appropriate to designate a longer period within which to issue an order approving or disapproving the proposed rule change so that it has sufficient time to consider this proposed rule change.”
Under the Securities and Exchange Act, the commission must “issue an order approving or disapproving the proposed rule change not later than 180 days” after the date of publication of notice. If the commission deems it necessary, it may subsequently extent that period by 60 days.
As the proposed rule change was first published in the Federal Register on July 2, 2018, the maximum period of consideration falls 240 days later, on Feb. 27, 2019.
The commission then requested further comments regarding the decision, claiming that the agency has not “reached any conclusions with respect to any of the issues” on the rule change.
In early October, the commission set a deadline for submitting comments about proposed rule changes related to a number of applications for Bitcoin ETFs.
Last week, the SEC published a memorandum on a meeting with representatives from VanEck, SolidX and CBOE. The applicants claimed there was precedent for a Bitcoin ETF based on other commodities with ETFs — like gold and crude oil.
“Don’t hold your breath. Look, it took a long time for [the] SEC even to establish Finhub.”
The prerequisites and aftermath of the Supreme Court decision regarding crypto exchanges accounts.
On Monday, Dec. 4, the Chilean Supreme Court welcomed the decision of state-owned Banco del Estado to close the accounts of local cryptocurrency exchange Orionx. The new phase in the legal battle between the banks and several crypto exchanges — including Buda.com and CryptoMarket (CryptoMKT), which had appealed against the denial of services — may look somewhat sinister from the outside. But the main players of the Chilean crypto market assured Cointelegraph that the recent decision could not prevent them from operating in the country.
Exchanges vs. banks — a brief outline of the confrontation
In March, two crypto exchanges — Buda and CryptoMKT — came out with a joint statement, claiming that some banks in Chile had closed their accounts. “We are killing the whole industry long before exploring it and understanding its approach,” the release read. CryptoMKT also claimed that another bank received instructions not to deal with anyone who is related to cryptocurrencies. Both crypto businesses then urged the Chilean Association of Banks (ABIF), which coordinates all the private and foreign financial institutions in the country, to intervene — or at least clear up its stance on cryptocurrencies.
A response was given within a few days of the statement: The president of ABIF, Segismundo Schulin-Zeuthen, told Chilean business outlet Diario Financiero that the banks were free to moderate relations with their clients. Schulin-Zeuthen also criticized Buda and CryptoMKT for “[generating] false judgments about the institutional role of the ABIF,” while the association’s role consisted of discussing and analyzing existing regulation in the finance sector.
The bank that closed the crypto exchanges’ accounts was soon revealed to be Itau Corpbanca, the fifth-largest bank in Chile, along with a branch of Latin American banking giant Itau Unibanco and Scotiabank Chile, a branch of a Canadian banking group by the same name. They were soon joined by Banco del Estado — the only public bank in the country managing up to $52 billion in assets, as of 2017.
Later in April, Itau Corpbanca opposed the crypto industry’s stance that the move was illegal and insisted that the closure of accounts result in an internal investigation. According to Itau, Buda had failed to comply with their Anti-Money Laundering (AML) policy. Moreover, the bank accused the exchange of failing to verify the users’ data, as Buda’s website only requested basic information during the registration and did not verify the identities of its clients.
The whole story, including the media coverage and official responses, fueled a huge backlash on social media. As Cointelegraph reported in April 2018, crypto enthusiasts blamed financial institutions for “a huge negative blow to Chile’s reputation as a rational, innovation-friendly, free market economy,” stating that those actions “stifle innovation.” Twitter users created a hashtag #ChileQuiereCrypto (Chile wants crypto), urging the government to resolve the problem with crypto exchanges.
In mid-April, the Chilean crypto exchanges decided to fight for their rights and started a legal battle, applying to Tribunal de Defensa de la Libre Competencia (TDLC) — an independent, anti-monopoly institution established to ensure that free competition rules are not violated. Buda and CryptoMkt, joined by Orionx (whose accounts had also been closed), had filed a petition against several banks, including Itau Corpbanca, Scotiabank and Banco del Estado.
Guillermo Torrealba, Buda’s co-founder and CEO, summed up the whole turmoil in an comment for Cointelegraph:
“There hasn’t been one regulator, legislator or government official saying that cryptocurrencies aren’t legal, it was just the decision of a very powerful sector of the economy: the banking industry.”
Blockchain regulation instead of crypto promises
Only a few weeks after the first complaint, TDLC ruled against Banco del Estado and Itau Corpbanca, forcing them to re-open Buda’s accounts.
Later in June, the same decision was made in favor of Orionx. As the company wrote on its official Facebook page, the anti-monopoly court ordered Banco del Estado and Banco de Chile — another major bank in the country that was mentioned in the initial lawsuit — to reopen Orionx’s accounts within three days.
It would be logical to assume that the long-term battle would force Chilean authorities to introduce relevant legislation on cryptocurrencies to prevent such situations in the future.
In late March, following the first news of the closure of the crypto accounts, Diario Financiero spoke to Chile’s Minister of Finance Felipe Larrain. He was reassured that both the Ministry and the Central Bank of Chile had started exploring the possibility of crypto regulation to normalize the situation:
“Technical progress and the digital economy bring people new services; we have to consider this fact. But when the regulation issues arise […], we have to avoid situations that could affect the normal development of markets and healthy competition.”
Chile’s central bank reaffirmed that intention in May. Mario Marcel, the president of the institution, proposed incorporating the crypto regulation in order “to allow having a registry of participants in these activities and thus have information to monitor the associated risks.” Marcel also stated that the industry needed more transparency and consumer protection — as cryptocurrencies could possibly be involved in illicit activities, such as money laundering and the financing of terrorists.
Six months after the recent claim, there is still no sign of a legal framework for cryptocurrencies in Chile. In October, local deputies instead introduced a resolution on blockchain adoption to the lower house of the country’s parliament. Miguel Angel Calisto and Giorgio Jackson — along with eight other MPs — urged Chile’s President Sebastian Pinera to implement blockchain in all the country’s public areas, along with carrying out studies on the advantages of decentralized security and energy solutions.
The Supreme Court comes into play
A new, unexpected chapter began on Dec. 4, when the Chilean Supreme Court published its resolution in favor of Banco del Estado. As cited by major Chilean newspaper El Mercurio, the document reads:
“The resolution taken July 11, 2018, is revoked. It is declared in its place that the protection appeal filed by Orionx SPA against the Banco del Estado is rejected.”
The Supreme Court further explained that the actions conducted by Banco del Estado were not “unjustified” or “illegal,” as the bank acted correctly and did not violate any rules of the Chilean constitution. Moreover, the top court stated that the cryptocurrencies “have no physical manifestation and no intrinsic value.” The document also proclaimed that they are controlled neither by a government nor by a corporation, citing the characteristics of crypto as reasons for letting banks refuse services to the exchange.
No pasaran: How Chilean crypto exchanges treat the highest court’s decision
Despite the apparent harshness of the Supreme Court’s decision, Chilean crypto exchanges believe it will have no bearing on the case. Reacting to the aforementioned resolution, Orionx published a statement on their official Facebook page:
“Orionx wants to clarify that this ruling does not imply the closure of the company’s current bank accounts. [D]ue to the fact there is a current precautionary measure issued by TDLC, which prevents banks from closing the mentioned accounts.”
Moreover, Orionx emphasizes that it disagrees with the arguments provided by the Supreme Court and regrets the latest ruling.
Buda shares the same stance, also citing the ruling of the anti-monopoly court in its official statement:
“The valid ruling in our favor pronounced by TDLC assures that our bank accounts will be maintained during the trial that is held in the mentioned court.”
Moreover, the firm insists that the Supreme Court’s resolution on Orionx has nothing to do with their company. Speaking to Cointelegraph, Buda’s co-founder Agustin Feuerhake said:
“The situation with Buda.com has been slightly different. Since [the] very beginning[,] we had a relevant KYC [Know Your Customer] policy. We also tackle money laundering and terrorism financing, so the bank’s argument to close an account does not apply to our case. There are no anonymous users on Buda.com.”
Feuerhake further added that the Chilean courts are not evaluating the ban on crypto exchanges, but rather seek ways to “condemn banks for abusive behavior” toward them.
As the decision of the Supreme Court did not mention Buda and CryptoMKT, it might be a turning point in the plot. The legal framework for crypto, if introduced, could side with crypto exchanges or stand with the banks.
Four international banks have completed a live commercial paper transaction based on blockchain consortium R3’s Corda platform.
A group of international banks in partnership with enterprise blockchain software firm R3 have completed a live commercial paper transaction based on blockchain platform Corda, Finextra reported Dec. 6.
The transaction was implemented on the Corda-based Euro Debt Solution application developed by R3, with German banking and financial services company Commerzbank, French corporate and investment bank Natixis, and Dutch financial services firm Rabobank as the participant.
In the course of transaction, Natixis reportedly issued 100,000 euro ($113,722) notional, while Rabobank acted as the incestor and ING as both dealer and escrow agent. Commerzbank developed the pilot framework, software and distributed ledger (DLT) network for the trade, and instructions on regulatory implications.
The banks have also developed a legal framework for the project in cooperation with external counsel Allen and Overy. Marnix Bruning, head of money market and central bank sales at ING reportedly said that the initiative “marks the start of building an improved DLT platform that enables direct settlement and reduces operational risk and costs at the same time.”
Launched in 2016, Corda is a decentralized platform based on the Ethereum blockchain, that is geared for use by financial institutions. Corda purportedly enables businesses to build interoperable blockchain networks that transact directly and privately.
Financial institutions around the world have been actively implementing blockchain technology into their operations. Yesterday, Cointelegraph reported that Brazil’s largest private bank partnered with United Kingdom bank Standard Chartered to create a blockchain-based platform for small loans. The two parties successfully conducted a proof-of-concept for the platform based on R3’s Corda Connect.
Also this week, Saudi Arabian developmental institution the Islamic Development Bank Group (IsDB) partnered with a Tunisian startup iFinTech Solutions to develop interbank blockchain tools. The new offerings will purportely improve Islamic financial institutions’ liquidity management and increase overall efficiency.
Swiss bank Gazprombank has partnered with fintech and crypto startups Avaloq and Metaco to develop crypto asset services.
Fintech company Avaloq and crypto custody solution specialist Metaco are reportedly collaborating with Gazprombank –– which as CHF 3.1 billion ($3.12 billion) in total assets under management ––“to implement their integrated crypto asset solution” aimed at banks and wealth managers.
The system is meant “for the management of client portfolios across all asset classes, including cryptocurrencies.” The press release reports that this is the latest development in a preexisting relationship with the bank, noting that:
“Gazprombank (Switzerland) Ltd, which is already an Avaloq client, aims to offer a cryptocurrency service to its clients in mid-2019.”
The implementation of the system is meant to make transactions in crypto assets “simple.” After the implementation, the report states that clients will be able to buy, sell and transfer crypto “without any need for a crypto-wallet or private key management.”
The solution makes use of Metaco’s Hardware Security Module (HSM), which, according to the press release, “ensures a military security solution for storing private keys and managing wallets and operations” with multisignature support.
According to its website, the Swiss Gazprombank is 100 percent owned by Russian state-owned Gazprombank (JSC), and regulated by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA).