The CFTC tapped Heath Tarbert as incoming chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), replacing current chairman and “Crypto Dad” J. Christopher Giancarlo. The announcement was made yesterday during a Senate confirmation hearing.
The CFTC is tasked with regulating derivatives, digital assets, and over-the-counter trades. The regulatory authority has taken a light-handed approach towards the cryptocurrency industry under outgoing chair Giancarlo.
“During my time of service, it has been a priority to transform the CFTC into a 21st Century regulator for today’s digital markets. With Dr. Tarbert’s confirmation, I know the agency is in safe hands to continue this transition,” said Giancarlo in a statement regarding the succession.
Prior to this designation, Tarbert served a short stint as Acting Under Secretary for International Affairs, beginning April 16, 2019. Before that Tarbert served as Assistant Secretary for International Markets for two years, to which he was confirmed by a vote of 87-8, showing a high degree of bipartisan support.
Politico previously reported Tarbert would likely succeed Giancarlo as chief derivatives regulator.
Tarbert is a member of the Financial Stability Board, the international body established after the financial crisis to monitor global markets, and serves on its steering committee, according to his Treasury Department biography.
Giancarlo has committed to stay on as chairman until July 15, 2019, as Tarbert completes his current Treasury obligations.
J. Christopher Giancarlo image via CoinDesk archives
In its neverending conquest to take over the world, Facebook is building a network of online merchants and financial institutions to support its secretive new cryptocurrency. The Wall Street Journal reports that Mark Zuckerberg’s war machine is looking for $1 billion to fund the secretive stablecoin project, Project Libra, and is talking with heavyweights like Visa and Mastercard to get that cash.
FACEBOOK WANTS $1 BILLION TO FUND PROJECT LIBRA
The company started Project Libra over a year ago as a simple way to transfer money between WhatsApp users. But in true Facebook fashion, it’s grown far beyond that original scope.
The project has expanded to include e-commerce payments on Facebook and other websites as well as rewards for viewing ads, shopping online, and interacting with content.
The upcoming Facebook cryptocurrency would reach the platform’s nearly 1.6 billion daily active users. | Source: Wall Street Journal
Facebook’s 2.38 billion monthly active users mean that, at launch, Project Libra would almost immediately compete with rivals Apple Pay (383M) and PayPal (267M). However, there are several reasons why you, and everyone else, should avoid Facebook’s upcoming cryptocurrency at all costs.
WHO TRUSTS FACEBOOK ANYMORE?
Let’s take a walk down memory lane to remember the times that Facebook proved it should be nowhere near your money.
There’s no better place to start than Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal – the mac daddy of screw-ups. In 2014, the social media company sold the personal data of 87 million users to Cambridge Analytica without the users’ consent. Doing so was in direct violation of the company’s privacy policies.
Adding your financial data to the massive pile of personal information that Facebook already has on you is asking for trouble.
If Facebook’s data breaches weren’t enough to scare you, let’s examine how the company handles passwords. Hint: Not well.
In March, Facebook revealed that it had been storing hundreds of millions of account passwords in a readable, plaintext format since 2012. Although there was no evidence that outside parties had access to the passwords, employees could grab them with ease.
By trusting any amount of money to a company that can’t even secure passwords, you’re effectively placing a sign on your back that says, “Please come and rob me!”
The beauty of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency assets is that they’re censorship-resistant. No single party can freeze your bitcoin wallet or block a transaction. Facebook can, and will, block your financial account whenever it pleases. The company’s already begun showing this overreach of power with its recent account bans.
This week, Facebook announced the bans of several individuals including Alex Jones, Louis Farrakhan, and Milo Yiannopoulos. Representatives from the company explainedthat those they banned violated the platform’s policy on hate speech and promoting violence.
While that reasoning may hold, it sets a dangerous precedent for future action. Where do you draw the line on censorship? The banning demonstrates that Facebook has the power to freeze your crypto assets if it doesn’t share your particular views and can block transactions to causes it may not support.
FACEBOOK CRYPTO SHOULD BE DEAD ON ARRIVAL
Facebook’s cryptocurrency comes with all of the downsides of the company behind it and none of the benefits of an actual cryptocurrency. Anyone hyping it up as a step toward mass adoption simply doesn’t understand what makes crypto great.
If you’re looking for a currency with poor security and oppressive censorship, give your money to Facebook. If not, stay far, far away.
Steven Buchko has been in the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry for over two years. Previously the Executive Editor at CoinCentral, he is now a contributing writer for CCN. Steven is also a co-founder of Coin Clear, a mobile app that turns your daily spending habits into cryptocurrency investments.
Spencer Bogart, a general partner at Blockchain Capital, recently revealed the results of a survey which suggest that despite the extended cryptocurrency bear market, “Bitcoin awareness, familiarity, perception, conviction, propensity to purchase and ownership all increased/improved significantly.”
According to a blog post, published on April 30th, 2019, by Bogart, the survey “results highlight that Bitcoin is a demographic mega-trend led by younger age groups.” Bogart also wrote that the “only area where older demographics matched younger demographics was awareness.”
Notably, the survey was “conducted online by The Harris Poll, on behalf of Blockchain Capital, from April 23–25, 2019 among 2,029 American adults.”
Most Americans Have “Heard Of Bitcoin”
Bogart, a business economics graduate from the University of California, Santa Barbara, explained that those surveyed had a relatively high awareness about cryptocurrencies. He noted that “regardless of age, the vast majority of the American population has heard of Bitcoin.”
As mentioned in Bogart’s blog, the “percentage of [US residents] that have heard of Bitcoin rose from 77% in October 2017 to 89% in April 2019.”
18-34 Year Olds Have “Highest Rate Of Awareness”
Moreover, the survey results indicated that overall “awareness of Bitcoin is strong across all age groups — those aged 18–34 have the highest rates of awareness at 90% and those aged 65+ have the lowest at 88%.”
60% Of 18-34 Year Olds Are “Somewhat Familiar” With Bitcoin
When compared to last year, the “percentage of people that have not heard of Bitcoin fell by more than half — from 23% in October 2017 to 11% in April 2019,” the survey data revealed.
Approximately 60% of survey participants aged between 18 and 34 said that they were “at least ‘somewhat familiar’ with Bitcoin — up from 42% in October 2017.” Moreover, Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 are “3x as likely to be at least ‘somewhat familiar’ with Bitcoin as those aged 65 and over,” the survey data suggested.
More Americans Now Believe Bitcoin Is “A Positive Innovation”
Other notable survey results indicate that the “percentage of [Americans] who ‘strongly’ or ‘somewhat’ agree that ‘Bitcoin is a positive innovation in financial technology’ rose 9 percentage points — from 34% in October 2017 to 43% in April 2019.”
Meanwhile, the “younger demographics were most inclined to have a positive view of Bitcoin,” the survey results suggested. In fact, around “59% of those aged 18–34 ‘strongly’ or ‘somewhat’ agree that” the Bitcoin protocol will have a positive impact on the world’s existing financial system. Notably, the overall positive attitude towards Bitcoin (BTC) among younger US residents increased by as much as 11% “from October 2017.”
Many Americans Think “Most People Will Be Using Bitcoin” In The Next Decade
Interestingly, more Americans now believe that “most people will be using Bitcoin in the next 10 years.” According to survey data, the percentage of US citizens who think Bitcoin will play a significant role in the future economy increased “ from 28% in October 2017 to 33% in April 2019.”
Survey results also indicate that “48% of those aged 18–34 ‘strongly’ or ‘somewhat’ agree that ‘it’s likely most people will be using Bitcoin in the next 10 years’ — up 6 percentage points from October 2017.”
Significantly More Americans Are Now Planning To Buy Bitcoin
According to recent survey data, 27% of Americans said “they are ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ likely to buy Bitcoin in the next 5 years” – up “from 19% in October 2017.”
Other key findings from the survey are as follows:
“21% of [US residents] said they would prefer Bitcoin to government bonds — up from 18% in October 2017,”
“17% of [US residents] said they would prefer Bitcoin to stocks — up from 14% in October 2017,”
“14% of [US residents] said they would prefer Bitcoin to real estate — up from 12% in October 2017,”
“12% of [US residents] said they would prefer Bitcoin to gold — up from 8% in October 2017,”
“11% of the [American] population owns Bitcoin — including 20% of those aged 18–34 and 15% of those aged 35–44.”
Monday, April 15 — after yesterday’s mixed movements, all of the top twenty cryptocurrencies are seeing solid green on the day to press time, seeing growth of between one and 10%, as Coin350 data shows.
Bitcoin (BTC) is up around 1.5% on the day and is trading just under $5,200 by press time, according to CoinMarketCap. After hitting a multi-month price high of over $5,420 on April 10, the price of Bitcoin has subsequently corrected downwards — briefly dipping back below the $5,000 mark on April 12.
The top coin has since seen mild renewed growth in recent days, mostly trading sideways since mid-week. Today’s price point has brought Bitcoin’s weekly losses to a little over 1%.
The largest altcoin by market cap, Ethereum (ETH), is also up about 1.5% on the day to trade near $167. The alt saw a peak on its weekly chart on April 8, breaking through $180, before faltering downward to as low as $161 on April 11-12.
Despite today’s mild growth, on the week Ethereum remains down by 6.75%.
Ripple (XRP) has reported mild growth of less than one percent on the day, and is currently trading at around $0.327. Correlating with Ethereum’s price movements, the altcoin saw bullish price points April 8-11, before seeing a subsequent correction. On its weekly chart, XRP is now down over 8%.
Among the uniformly green top 10 cryptocurrencies, XRP’s growth is the mildest, with Bitcoin Cash (BCH) seeing the largest uptick, rising about 7% on the day to trade at $298 by press time. Litecoin (LTC) and Binance Coin (BNB) are both reporting the second highest gains among the top 10, both up around 3.5% by press time.
Widening out to the top twenty, the highest gainer is Tezos (XTZ), which has surged close to 10% to hit $1.13 by press time. Aside from Maker (MKR) — ranked 20th and up a strong 5.2% — most other top 20 coins are seeing gentle gains between one and two percent.
Also today, Cointelegraph reported that Japanese financial services giant SBI Holdings has become a shareholder in crypto startup FXCoin, which hopes to become a licensed local cryptocurrency exchange.
The CEO of retail giant Overstock.com, Patrick Byrne, noted the potential profitability of the firm’s retail arm in its Q4 2018 earnings conference call on March 18. Byrne’s statements indicate that Overstock may not be divesting from its retail wing as soon as was previously indicated. Last year, Byrne reportedly told The Wall Street Journal that Overstock would sell off its retail wing sometime in early 2019. During the section of the conference call devoted to retail, Byrne said that “this is going to be a year of explosive growth,” and that the retail wing would “spit out cash…..
Announced Monday, six international banks have signed letters of intent to issue stablecoins, or tokens backed by fiat currency, on World Wire, an IBM payment network that uses the Stellar public blockchain. The network promises to let regulated institutions move value across borders — remittances or foreign exchange — more quickly and cheaply than the legacy correspondent banking system. So far three of the banks have been identified — Philippines-based RCBC, Brazil’s Banco Bradesco, and Bank Busan of South Korea — the rest, which are soon to be named, will offer digital versions of euros and Indonesian rupiah, “pending regulatory approvals and other reviews,” IBM said. The network went live Monday, although while the banks await their regulators’ blessings, the one stablecoin running on World Wire at the moment is a previously announced U.S. dollar-backed token created by Stronghold, a startup based in San Francisco.
Bithumb lays off 50% of its staff Leading South Korean crypto exchange Bithumb has announced a significant number of layoffs. Around 50 percent of its staff members will be part of what is referred to as “voluntary retirement”, as reported by CoinDesk Korea……
A company that offers the service of converting crypto to fiat in the form of luxury goods is reported to record a staggering amount of transactions. Elizabeth White, the founder and CEO of The White Company that offers the service admitted in an interview that her company records $250 million worth of transactions during the ongoing bear market. She said that the fear of “a crypto doom” has led many crypto owners, most of which are millionaires even billionaires to turn to her company’s one-of-a-kind services, as reported by BTC Wires…………..
QuadrigaCX, the largest bitcoin exchange in Canada, has lost $190 million worth of crypto after it lost access to its cold storage wallets. An affidavit filed on January 31 with the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia revealed that $190 million in Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Cash SV, Bitcoin Gold, Litecoin, and Ethereum were lost. How Did the Bitcoin Exchange Lose All of its Crypto Funds……