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US Senate Confirms New CFTC Chair to Succeed ‘Crypto Dad’ Giancarlo – CoinDesk

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

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

Source: US Senate Confirms New CFTC Chair to Succeed ‘Crypto Dad’ Giancarlo – CoinDesk

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Can Bitcoin’s Lightning Network Power Payments in a Japanese Bar?

A bar in Japan is teaming up with a locally-based lightning startup to let customers pay for sparkling wine and soft drinks using the experimental payments network.

For the month of June, the Japan-based lightning startup Nayuta will be partnering with Awabar Fukouka to trial the payment system in what they’re calling a “field test.”

The Lightning Network is seen by its supporters as the best way to scale bitcoin so that more people can use the payment system at once, but the technology is still rather experimental and even risky to use. To that end, Nayuta sees this project as an way to further analyze how the technology works in the real world and to find out what still needs to be done to make it easier to use.

Though Awabar said their role is “small,” as the bar did not design the technology (Nayuta did), they’re “delighted” to participate, offering a place for the experimental technology to be tested in a brick-and-mortar context.

The company said in a statement:

“We hope it helps familiarize the community with the lightning network payment system.”

The following video shows how the point of sale app (created by Nayuta and run on the open source payment processor BTCPay) will look for customers purchasing their drinks:

Nayuta is known for helping to draw up specifications for the lightning network and recently launched its own implementation of the budding payment layer geared specifically for connected devices or the Internet of Things (IoT).

The idea is that as the tech components grow less expensive, more devices such as refrigerators and TVs will connect to the internet for data collection.

Source: Pivot – Blockchain Community

Bank of England: Cryptoassets Still ‘Too Volatile,’ Not a Good Store of Value By Omar Faridi

David Ramsden, the Deputy Governor of Markets and Banking at the Bank of England (BoE), has argued that cryptocurrencies are “too volatile” to be considered a reliable store-of-value (SoV).

In a brief interview with CNBC on April 30th, 2019, Ramsden said that BoE’s officials have been keeping track of the “emerging developments and then thinking about what they mean” or how they’re relevant to our current economic system.

The Deputy Governor noted that “just over a year ago, the financial policy committee looked at cryptoassets in some detail” – as “supported by” and within the context of the latest developments in FinTech and modern banking services. He confirmed that England’s central bank still believes blockchain-based digital assets are highly volatile, based on their recent price movements.

Cryptoassets Not An Effective SoV Or MoE

Cryptoassets are also not a reliable medium-of-exchange (MoE) because the “cost of transactions” remains quite high, Ramsden claims. Because of these issues, the BoE’s management thinks cryptocurrencies don’t satisfy the basic “principles of being a currency.”

Ramsden also pointed out that “this is why” the BoE considers them to be cryptoassets, and not cryptocurrencies. Ramsden further noted that cryptoassets “did not pose a risk” to the overall stability of the much larger traditional financial system. This, as the current market capitalization of the crypto market, which presently stands at over $174 billion, is relatively small compared to the multi-trillion dollar global financial market.

BoE Continues To Monitor Crypto Markets

Despite not being able to negatively affect the traditional financial system, Ramsden said that the BoE continues to monitor cryptoassets. He revealed that the UK’s Treasury Department, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and the Cryptoassets Task Force carefully examined the crypto industry.

According to the regulators, cryptoassets that “fall within” the current regulatory framework must comply with the European nation’s existing financial policies. However, Ramsden said that UK’s financial regulators “also had to be very mindful of [digital] assets and exchanges that [may be operating] in or outside” the UK’s regulatory guidelines.

“Very Positive” About DLT

Ramsden added that the BoE and other regulatory bodies in the UK “remained very vigilant about cryptoassets.” He continued to note that the BoE is “very positive” about the distributed ledger technology (DLT) that “underlies” cryptoassets. He also noted that part of his role “in embracing FinTech across the BoE” involves looking closely at the potential benefits of blockchain tech.

He also mentioned:

We are looking at the potential of DLT … for example, in the payments space, we’re making sure that our real-time gross settlement system can interface and be interoperable with blockchain/DLT technology.

Source: CryptoGlobe

VOLENTIX SUPPORTER FOR CRYPTOCURRENCY ADOPTION

In the past few years, we are facing a new phenomenon that brings significant changes to the financial transaction system. If at first we make money transfers through bank services, we can now do it personally through our own hands. The world is now in the grip. To just make a transaction, we don’t need to move one step. The new system developed in this decade provides enormous convenience for conducting digital transactions. for payment instruments now using digital tokens or coins. this fact has become a very serious conversation throughout the world both in the private life of the community and in international forums. How not, this new system does not even require more fiat money as a means of payment……

Source: VOLENTIX SUPPORTER FOR CRYPTOCURRENCY ADOPTION

SEC’s Senior Advisor for Digital Assets Valerie Szczepanik: Stablecoins May Be Securities

Senior advisor for digital assets at the United States Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) Valerie Szczepanik reportedly noted that stablecoins could experience issues under current securities laws. Blockchain-related news website Decrypt reported her comments on March 16.

Szczepanik, also known as the Crypto Czar, was appointed to the new position of associate director of the Division of Corporation Finance and senior advisor for Digital Assets and Innovation for Division Director Bill Hinman in June of 2018.

When Szczepanik reportedly made the statement concerning securities at Austin’s SXSW conference on March 15, she also broke stablecoins into three categories.

One kind of stablecoins are the ones tied to real assets such as gold or real estate, and another type are the ones tied to fiat currency held in reserves, in Szczepanik’s classification. The third and last category uses market financial mechanisms to keep the price stable. Explaining the last kind, Szczepanik said:

“I’ve seen stablecoins that purport to control price through some kind of pricing mechanism, whether it’s tied to the issuance, creation or redemption of another type of digital asset tied to it, or whether it is controlled through supply and demand in some way to keep the price within a certain band.”

Szczepanik reportedly said that since a central party controls the price fluctuations over time, that last kind of stablecoins “might be getting into the land of securities.” According to her, if buyers are promised that somebody else will be holding or guaranteeing a profit or controlling the price, the token could be a security.

Ultimately, she explained, whether the asset is labeled as a stablecoin or anything else, the SEC will always subject projects to the same level of scrutiny. She noted:

“Not to sound cliche, but we’d much rather people come to us and ask for [permission], or come talk to us before they do something, rather than doing something and then coming in and asking for forgiveness.”

As Cointelegraph reported in December last year, the United States-based stablecoin project Basis has officially stated that it will close operations and refund investors after they confirmed that they couldn’t avoid a security classification for their secondary token.

More recently, SEC’s chairman Jay Clayton seemed to confirm that Ethereum (ETH) and cryptocurrencies like it are not securities under U.S. law.

Source: SEC’s Senior Advisor for Digital Assets Valerie Szczepanik: Stablecoins May Be Securities

Mark Zuckerberg: “Encryption is decentralizing” | Crypto Insider

 

On March 6, Mark Zuckerberg published a 3000+ word essay “A Privacy-Focused Vision for Social Networking”. In the essay, he outlines the problems faced by Facebook, the Internet and the society, as well as his vision of the future.Lately, the rumors have been swarming about Facebook adding blockchain technology and even introducing its own cryptocurrency. In relation to this series of events, it remains to be seen if Mr. Zuckerberg provides any validation for the rumors mentioned in his address.

Source: Mark Zuckerberg: “Encryption is decentralizing” | Crypto Insider

 

 

JPMorgan Chase Launches Its Own Cryptocurrency: ‘JPM Coin’

JPMorgan Chase, the largest U.S. bank (and the world’s sixth largest), has created its own cryptocurrency, a stablecoin called “JPM Coin.” According to CNBC, J.P. Morgan “moves more than $6 trillion around the world every day for corporations in its massive wholesale payments business,” and in a few months, it will start trials for use of this new cryptocurrency for instant settlement of payments between its clients. The report says that J.P. Morgan is for a future blockchain-powered world, but before that happens………..

Source: CryptoGlobe

This week’s bad news for exchanges has been terrible for crypto

The disastrous and seemingly unending hack which devastated New Zealand exchange Cryptopia was only the first in a series of bad news coming from various crypto exchanges the past week, with Canadian exchange QuadrigaCX ‘losing’ about $190 Million worth of crypto following the death of a founder and the subsequent loss of access to a private key, as well as the sudden and unexpected insolvency of Coinpulse……………

Source: This week’s bad news for exchanges has been terrible for crypto

Taiwanese Chip Manufacturing Giant Blames Revenue Losses On ‘Crypto Winter’

Taiwanese chip manufacturer United Microelectronics Corporation saw a roughly 10% decrease in revenue in the fourth quarter of 2018. Like TSMC, who provide chips to Bitmain, they prominently attribute some of their losses to the downturn in demand for cryptocurrency. Less demand amounts to less need for mining, which subsequently lessens the demand for mining hardware…..

Source: Taiwanese Chip Manufacturing Giant Blames Revenue Losses On ‘Crypto Winter’

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