Category Archive : Americas

Cuba’s communist regime is trying to control crypto

SAILY DE AMARILLO is an entrepreneur in a system that discourages diversity. In Havana she runs a boutique hotel, a café and a co-working space. She also teaches people about social media on Slyk, a website that has taken off in Cuba. Slyk gives her an online presence without having to build a website. Even more important, she can be paid for her work in cryptocurrency.

Parts of Latin America and the Caribbean are experimenting with alternatives to cash. In September Nayib Bukele, the president of El Salvador, introduced a law which makes bitcoin, a cryptocurrency, legal tender. Mr Bukele, who is increasingly authoritarian, pushed through the law despite the fact few Salvadoreans actually want to use crypto. Nicolás Maduro, Venezuela’s autocrat, may have been hoping to catch some of the same headlines when he announced the country’s new “digital bolivar” in August. Digital in name only, the new banknotes lop six zeros off a currency ravaged by years of hyperinflation. Locals, tired of carrying bundles of cash, use mobile payments and debit cards instead.

Cuba is part of this trend—but, as ever with the communist island, with a twist of its own. Interest in crypto had been bubbling for a while, but took off properly late last year, when President Donald Trump imposed sanctions on organisations affiliated with the Cuban armed forces. That included the banks which process much-needed remittances from family members abroad. Almost overnight, firms such as Western Union could no longer operate. This cut off a lifeline in a country in which payment firms such as Visa, Mastercard, Paypal and Stripe were already off-limits.

Accustomed to finding creative workarounds in desperate situations, Cubans abroad began offering to sell cryptocurrency, such as bitcoin, to people on the island with mobile phones and the technological know-how. The buyers would then deliver the purchase price in pesos to the seller’s family or friends.

Initially many of these transactions happened informally over social-messaging apps. As crypto became more common, people turned to specialist platforms, such as BitRemesas, founded in September 2020 by Erich García, a Cuban YouTube influencer who makes videos about the internet. BitRemesas matches crypto sellers outside the country with buyers on the island through auctions.

Now the Cuban government wants to muscle in. At the end of August, the central bank announced that it would recognise and regulate the use of…

Read more at www.economist.com

Regulatory Group Touts More Crypto Guidelines

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a Paris-based intergovernmental group that oversees government policy on illegal finance, is calling for more stringent cryptocurrency regulations to help thwart money laundering and other criminal activity, according to a Thursday (Oct. 28) report from the Wall Street Journal.  

The international body asked its several dozen members — including the U.S., China and most of Europe — to require crypto firms to undertake various safeguards, including verifying the identities of customers and informing regulators of suspicious activity, according to the report.  

To become law, national regulators in each country would need to enact the task force’s recommendations.

The FATF is the latest organization calling for more stringent crypto regulation.

Earlier this month, Bank of England Deputy Governor Sir Jon Cunliffe called for immediate regulation of cryptocurrencies, according to PYMNTS. 

See also: Bank of England’s Governor Says Cryptocurrencies Need Regulation 

In the U.S., too, crypto regulations are being considered. President Biden is eyeing cryptocurrency laws that would help prevent ransomware scams and cybercrimes, according to PYMNTS. An executive order is one of the ways to enforce guidelines, but it is not clear if that will be the president’s approach.

Read more: Crypto Regulation, and Possible Executive Order, Show Top Down Approach  

On the other hand, some experts say regulations are already in place to provide financial oversight, and that there isn’t a need to enact guidelines specific to cryptocurrencies.

QED Investors Partner and former U.S. Department of the Treasury Assistant Secretary Amias Gerety told PYMNTS’ Karen Webster recently that current regulations will suffice. The theory is that since all financial services are already highly regulated, oversight is instead needed where funds are being moved to ensure safeguards are in place.  

Related: Regulating Crypto: Is It…

Read more at www.pymnts.com

Bitcoin Back Over $60K as El Salvador Buys 420 BTC

Bitcoin is making a recovery, up 4% in the last 24 hours, trading at around $61,000. This comes as El Salvador’s government announced Wednesday it had purchased more bitcoin for its official account.

On Wednesday, El Salvadorian President Nayib Bukele tweeted that his government had “bought the dip,” adding an additional 420 BTC, which is equivalent to around $25 million. El Salvador’s treasury now holds an estimated 1,120 bitcoin, according to a Reuters report.

“Today the markets were buoyed by news of additional state level purchases from El Salvador, indicating the country’s intentions to continue to acquire,” said Jason Deane, analyst at Quantum Economics.

Underlying sentiment remains extremely bullish for the top cryptos, especially bitcoin, according to Deane.

The world’s largest cryptocurrency reached an all-time high on Oct. 20 around $66,900, a day after the first bitcoin futures exchange-traded-fund (ETF) in the U.S. launched on the New York Stock Exchange. Bitcoin crashed a week later, falling below the $60,000 mark – before retaking the level early Thursday.

“After a legendary sell-off that was predominantly in altcoins, we are seeing some relief and a bounce off initial $58,000 support,” said Matthew Dibb, chief operating officer at Stack Funds.

Looking forward, Dibb said that “the next day will likely continue to be volatile with a large options expiry happening tomorrow.”

Dibb expects bitcoin and ether to surpass recent all-time highs within the next few weeks.

Ether (ETH), the native cryptocurrency of the Ethereum blockchain, reached an all-time high on Oct. 21 of $4,359. At press time, ETH was trading up 4.1% over the past 24 hours to $4,186.

Other altcoins rallying in the last 24 hours include DOGE, which is up 25%, and SHIB, which has surged 30%.

Read more at finance.yahoo.com

Global Regulators Back Tougher Rules to Prevent Criminals From Using Crypto

Cryptocurrency firms could be forced to take greater steps to combat money laundering under new guidelines released on Thursday by the Financial Action Task Force, an international body that coordinates government policy on illicit finance.

The task force called on governments to broaden regulatory oversight of crypto firms and force more of them to take measures such as checking the identities of their customers and reporting suspicious transactions to regulators.

Read more at www.wsj.com

The Mystery Behind Why Crypto Prices Are All Over The Place

The crypto world is riddled with numbers — cryptocurrency prices and their all-time highs, trading volumes, number of tokens in circulation, market capitalization, the list goes on. Making sense of these numbers can be a daunting task that becomes even more complicated when the numbers from different sources do not match. 

Take ProShares Bitcoin Strategy Fund, the first Bitcoin futures exchange traded fund in the U.S. that launched last week. According to reputable media sources including CNBC, Bloomberg, Coindesk and Forkast.News, ProShares started trading at an initial price of US$40 on October 19. 

But data from the New York Stock Exchange where ProShares launched shows that it started trading at the initial price of US$40.88. This figure was also cited by credible media sources including Reuters, Blockworks — and Forkast.News, which cited this number in a separate news analysis. 

When you look at the numbers, the difference of less than a dollar seems minuscule. But when you try to calculate how much the price of ProShares increased on the first day of trading, the seemingly insignificant difference causes a not-so-minuscule discrepancy.

ProShares closed on the first day at US$41.94, according to all sources cited above, including New York Stock Exchange data. The percentage hike in the price of ProShares on the first day considering the opening price as US$40 is 4.85%. But when you consider the opening price as US$40.88, the increase in price is 2.59%. As far as price hikes go, the difference in percentage is quite significant. 

So which one is right? The answer is both. It seems US$40.88 is the correct opening price of ProShares because it corresponds with the NYSE data. But this does not necessarily mean that US$40 is the wrong opening price. According to Tony Sycamore, financial markets analyst APAC at City Index, the difference could be because of different opening prices on different trading platforms. 

There’s at least one trading…

Read more at forkast.news

‘Crypto AWS’ Alchemy Hits $3.5B Valuation in $250M Round Led by A16z

Crypto infrastructure company Alchemy said Thursday it raised $250 million, padding an already hefty venture war chest for building out crypto’s Web3 stack.

“We actually haven’t touched any of the money” from Alchemy’s $80 million Series B, announced in March, said co-founder Joe Lau, “because we’re profitable as a business.”

Thursday’s Series C valued Alchemy, which provides developer services to decentralized finance (DeFi), non-fungible token (NFT) and other crypto projects, at $3.5 billion.

Alchemy’s behind-the-scenes positioning makes it one of the most prolific rails for crypto infrastructure, though most end-users are unfamiliar with the brand. It focuses on Ethereum, its layers 2s and the Flow blockchain but has plans to stretch further.

Read more: ‘AWS for Blockchains’ Alchemy Closes $80M Funding Round at $505M Valuation

Adding a big backer to Alchemy’s term sheet was as important as stocking extra cash, CEO Nikil Viswanathan said in an interview. Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), one of crypto’s most active venture firms – and one that invests in many of the companies Alchemy calls clients – led its Series C.

“We power virtually every NFT [marketplace], we power the majority of DeFi, we power most of the top apps in this space,” Viswanathan said. “Working with a16z is just another extension for us, so that we can see all the early projects get onboarded.”

Read more: Dapper Labs Taps Alchemy to Give Boost to Blockchain Powering NBA Top Shot

Added early investor Paul Veradittakit of Pantera Capital, “Alchemy pioneered the core developer platform that supports the entire blockchain industry.”

Read more at finance.yahoo.com

Coinbase hits number 1 spot on Apple’s US App Store

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Crypto exchange operator Coinbase’s mobile app has hit the number one spot on Apple’s U.S. App Store, making it the most downloaded iOS app in the U.S. over the last few days.

This is not the first time Coinbase’s app has hit the top spot. In May, the app reached the same ranking and once in 2017 as well. The recent rankings suggest that crypto fever is currently seeing a lot of mainstream awareness.

Bitcoin is trading above $61,000, and the meme coin Shiba Inu’s (SHIB’s) market capitalization has surpassed that of another meme coin, dogecoin (DOGE).

Amid the bull market, Crypto.com’s iOS app has also become one of the most downloaded apps in the U.S., with the app reaching the fifth spot on Apple’s U.S. App Store.


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Read more at www.theblockcrypto.com

What Bitcoin’s Environmentalist Critics Miss

When the telegraph made its mid-1800s debut, Samuel Morse was besieged by critics. Some, including members of Congress, thought his new technology—which transmitted dots and dashes over wires at great distances—was just a clever magician’s trick.

Others, like Henry David Thoreau, wondered about technology’s value. “We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas,” he wrote, “but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing important to communicate.”

Maine and Texas, it turned out, had a fair bit to say to one another. Over time, the telegraph became the forerunner to the telephone and the internet—epoch-defining technologies that ushered in the modern era. Since then, Thoreau’s critique is a powerful reminder: What is new will be condemned and critiqued—that is, until it is embraced.

That’s an instructive thought as another technology both comes into…

Read more at www.newsweek.com

Voyager Digital Secures $75 Million Strategic Investment from Alameda Research

TSX: VOYG
OTCQX: VYGVF
Borse Frankfurt: UCD2

Strategic partnership will focus on execution, asset management, and broader crypto initiatives

NEW YORK, Oct. 28, 2021 /CNW/ – Voyager Digital Ltd. (“Voyager” or the “Company”) (TSX: VOYG) (OTCQX: VYGVF) (FRA: UCD2), one of the fastest-growing, publicly traded cryptocurrency platforms in the United States, today announced a $75 million investment from Alameda Research (“Alameda”).

“We are excited to enter into a strategic alliance with Alameda, a clear pioneer in the crypto industry,” said Steve Ehrlich, CEO and Co-founder of Voyager. “Alameda is one of the largest crypto market makers in the world, and we believe there are significant opportunities in working together. While the immediate opportunity is on the order flow and asset management front, we are tremendously excited about potential future synergistic opportunities in the continuously evolving crypto industry. These opportunities include NFTs and crypto derivatives through Alameda, as well as the creation of thought leadership as we work with lawmakers on shaping regulation.”

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Voyager as they have emerged as a key player in the retail crypto market,” commented Caroline Ellison, Co-CEO of Alameda. “As a public company, we have admired Voyager’s transparency in the industry and believe the management team has laid the groundwork to succeed at scale as evidenced by their explosive growth this past year. Through our strategic partnership, we believe there are endless mutually beneficial opportunities to grow both our businesses.”

Alameda Research trades over $5 billion per day across thousands of products including all major coins and altcoins, as well as their derivatives. Alameda has a full-scale global operation with the ability to trade on all major exchanges and markets. Alameda’s market making abilities and sophisticated market neutral algorithms are a perfect fit to be a core lending partner of Voyager and will allow Voyager to further expand the breadth of its rewards program.

About Voyager Digital Ltd.
Voyager Digital Ltd. (TSX: VOYG; OTCQX: VYGVF; FRA: UCD2) is a fast-growing, publicly traded cryptocurrency platform in the United States founded in 2018 to bring choice, transparency, and cost efficiency to the marketplace. Voyager offers a secure way to trade over 60 different crypto assets using its easy-to-use mobile application and earn rewards up to 12 percent annually on more than 30…

Read more at www.newswire.ca

Insights on the ID Technologies Global Market to 2026 –

Dublin, Oct. 28, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The “ID Technologies Market – Forecasts from 2021 to 2026” report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com’s offering.

The ID technologies market was valued at US$61.211 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 11.48% over the forecast period to reach a market size of US$130.981 billion by 2026.

ID technology or identification technology includes smart cards, voice recognition, face recognition, biometrics, and barcodes among other techniques used to identify objects and individuals. Growing concern about data security and safety is driving the demand for ID technologies across a variety of industries.

Travel and tourism industries are booming globally, so national security uses of biometric technologies are on the rise, positively impacting the market growth of ID technologies. Emerging economies such as India are increasingly…

Read more at www.globenewswire.com

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