Category Archive : Americas

Lummis-Gillibrand crypto bill promises regulatory clarity

Diogo Mónica is president and co-founder of Anchorage Digital.

When I moved from Portugal to the United States to work at Square, it was hard to wrap my head around the two-party system that dominates American politics. As I saw at home, democracies, by their very nature, can be messy. But as an outsider looking in, I can’t help but worry that the ever-widening gap between America’s two major parties looms over crypto’s future.

Most recently, I’ve watched politicization begin to creep into crypto — despite the fact that my crypto-holding friends and industry colleagues span the political spectrum. The Republican Party has become increasingly outspoken in its support of deregulating crypto, whereas its Democratic colleagues have pushed for closing what they see as regulatory “gaps.”

This divide isn’t inevitable. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Cynthia Lummis are on the brink of announcing a long-awaited regulatory framework for crypto. Should they succeed, this will be the first real, bipartisan step toward achieving both consumer protections and market clarity — the type of compromise that Americans of all political stripes can get behind.

This kind of cooperation is more representative of the crypto ethos itself. Crypto doesn’t neatly fall along party lines because, as a foundational technology, it is — or should be — inherently nonpartisan.

Politicians have had heated debates over net neutrality, antitrust regulation and privacy laws. They debate how to govern the internet, but they don’t debate its existence, which is seen as a universal social good. If the internet had been regulated out of existence before its benefits were well understood, the world would be a very different place.

Crypto isn’t red or blue. The blockchain technology on which crypto is built represents benefits that both parties find attractive: financial inclusion for underbanked communities to the left, and financial autonomy, efficiency and innovation to the right….


What Should Congress Do About Bitcoin? Ted Cruz Has Some Ideas 

Sen. Ted Cruz is “bullish” about Bitcoin. 

“When it comes to Bitcoin and cryptocurrency generally, I am incredibly bullish,” the Texas Republican said, before adding that Bitcoin is going through a process that “will change the world.” 

Cruz spoke Monday at an event at The Heritage Foundation that revealed the boundless potential of digital currencies like Bitcoin, but also exposed the dangers posed by government meddling in cryptocurrency and digital money.  

During his remarks, Cruz described the myriad reasons Americans are flocking to cryptocurrencies.  

First, Cruz said that currencies like Bitcoin protect against inflation.  

There is a limited number of Bitcoins in existence, and once the last one is produced, or “mined,” no more can be created. This is unlike fiat currencies like the dollar or euro, which are controlled by central banks. Because central banks can print more currency if they wish, reliance on fiat currencies runs the risk of inflation. 

“As long as there have been centralized banks, as long as there has been government currency, the temptation to inflate your own currency is almost irresistible,” Cruz said. “One of the appeals of Bitcoin is the stability of amounts.” 

Second, Cruz said Bitcoin is appealing because of its speed and lack of cost to transfer funds to someone else.  

“Bitcoin is global. That means if you’re a subsistence farmer in Honduras, you may not have access to a secure store of wealth,” said Cruz. “Part of the beauty of Bitcoin is it gives access to global finances instantly, no matter where you are.” 

The senator added that one of the biggest advantages of Bitcoin is that it is free from the control of central government authorities. 

“There’s nobody in charge [of Bitcoin]. That terrifies government decision-makers. Reflect on why communist China has banned Bitcoin….


Ripple’s CEO Explains What Crypto Needs Most to Survive After the UST Meltdown

Transparency is a “critical” value in the crypto industry, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse has pointed out. Speaking to Fox Business news, the executive said operations clarity has become even more important with the recent “meltdown” of the UST stablecoin.

On May 9, UST de-pegged from the dollar, bringing down the whole Terra (LUNA) ecosystem with it. The crisis caused panic among investors, and many onlookers wondered whether other stablecoins would suffer a similar state.

Transparency Is Key: Garlinghouse

Garlinghouse clarified that he is not “personally involved” in lead stablecoin Tether (USDT). However, he noted that the whole crypto industry could do well if it provides clarity regarding its financial frameworks. For Tether, that would assure its users that it “is, in fact, dollar-backed.”

He gave Ripple and XRP as an example of transparent players in the industry, saying the two have done their best to be the “adult” in the financial sector.

Of note, Garlinghouse is currently attending the annual World Economic Forum in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland.

The event began on Sunday, May 22, and runs until May 26. According to its official website, the forum hosts different world leaders to discuss the world’s status quo, along with forging “partnerships and policies” for future use. Garlinghouse noted that he was in attendance with the aim of sharing Ripple’s mechanisms as part of keeping it transparent.

Other than solving “real-world problems,” the executive said blockchain tech reduces remittance costs and “improves the efficiency of cross-border payments.” El Salvador cited similar reasons when it adopted Bitcoin as legal tender last year.

The Case for Ripple and UST

Since its inception, Terra, seemingly transparent, presented UST as an algorithmic stablecoin guided by the law of supply and demand. However, its shocking collapse painted a completely different picture and tarnished its reputation in a possibly irreparable manner.

Now the crypto sector has, more than ever, attracted regulators’ scrutiny. Gary Gensler, chair of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), recently warned investors that other crypto assets could mimic Terra’s downfall. Meanwhile, South Korea’s National Tax Service has hit Terra’s Do Kwon with a $78 million tax evasion fine, despite the notorious executive refuting these claims.

On the other hand, Ripple, along with its executives Garlinghouse and Chris…


‘Pay more attention’ Ethereum co-founder says of crypto crash – Metro US

Souvenir tokens representing cryptocurrency networks Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin and Ripple plunge into water

DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) – Ethereum’s co-founder Gavin Wood said cryptocurrency investors need to be more aware of what is backing their holdings after a market rout which wiped more than $800 billion off their value.

“I would hope that people pay more attention to what is belying the currency name when they get involved in a community, ecosystem, economy,” Wood told Reuters on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in the Swiss Alpine resort of Davos.

Crypto and blockchain firms have been highly visible at this year’s gathering of business and political leaders, despite the market plummeting in value in the weeks leading up to the event, with the eighth-largest coin Luna becoming virtually worthless.

British computer scientist Wood was attending for the first time to talk about a new partnership between his blockchain project Polkadot with American billionaire Frank McCourt’s Project Liberty.

Blockchains are public ledgers that keep records of transactions on networks of computers, and, along with cryptocurrencies, are largely unregulated.

“The internet has no real concept of legality, because legality is something that is determined by sovereign nations,” Wood said in an interview.

The new partnership is aimed at decentralizing control of the web and giving users more control of their data, Wood said.

“The technology cannot prevent people from making mistakes but can help those who want to understand better the facts of the world, what they’re buying,” said Wood.

The 42-year-old, who also coined the term Web3, also founded the Web3 Foundation, which backs the reorganization of the web away from big companies such as Google owner Alphabet to individual users.

(Reporting by Jessica DiNapoli; Editing by Alexander Smith)


How a Toronto comedian made $205,000 investing in crypto – then lost it all while Coinbase shut him out

Like most people when they first invest in cryptocurrency, Shane Rochman thought bitcoin was the future. The economies of the world could collapse next week, he once proclaimed, but his digital coin collection would emerge unscathed.

Unless, of course, it was stolen first.

Rochman’s saga began in 2018. The 33-year-old was starting a new business: a series of Toronto food tours led by standup comics (himself included). He had recently married, and his wife was pregnant with their first son, Avery.

Rochman needed to plan ahead. He wanted a home and an education fund for his son. He opened a few savings accounts and invested about $12,000 in a diverse portfolio of stocks and bonds.

But his collage of side-hustles weren’t quite paying the bills, and Rochman often found himself pulling money out of his savings. That’s when a friend told him about cryptocurrency — “the next big thing.”

Rochman opened an account with Coinbase, a Silicon Valley operation that lets members buy and sell cryptocurrencies, and purchased $6,000 worth of bitcoin, ethereum and a fledgling spinoff called litecoin.

At the time, cryptocurrency was dirt cheap. A single unit of the nascent tender was worth roughly $1,000, making Rochman the proud owner of 4.8 bitcoin and a leftover handful of litecoins and ethereum. (Today, one bitcoin is valued at $37,634).

Admittedly, some of his friends thought the investment was unwise.

“Most people told me not to get involved, honestly. They said it wouldn’t go well for me — that I’d lose money that could have gone somewhere else,” Rochman said.

“They were super right.”

Rochman wrote down the password for his Coinbase account and promptly forgot about the investment. Only in January 2021 was he reminded of the funds, when bitcoin’s price surged as retail investors, restless during public-health restrictions, poured their money into cryptocurrency.

In late January, when Elon Musk placed “#bitcoin” in his Twitter profile and tweeted, “In retrospect, it was inevitable,” the price of the much-hyped currency jumped $5,000 in an hour. A few weeks later, when Tesla announced it would accept bitcoin as legitimate payment for its products, the price grew even higher.

It was time to sell. “Finally,” Rochman thought. His crypto investments were far more valuable than the contents of his TFSA. His dreams of financial freedom were coming true — with this crypto windfall, now valued at a whopping $205,000, Rochman was going to…


Column: Crypto regulators may see 10% household exposure as high watermark

Representations of virtual cryptocurrencies are placed on U.S. Dollar banknotes in this illustration taken November 28, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

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LONDON, May 25 (Reuters) – Whatever the broader financial or economic stability risks of volatile crypto tokens, government watchdogs may reasonably balk at 10% household exposure to loosely-regulated speculative punts that double or halve in value every 6 months.

So far this year the leading crypto ‘currencies’ such as Bitcoin and Ether have dropped 40-50% and there’s been an earthquake in the parallel ‘stablecoin’ world of supposedly pegged tokens that act as links from regular finance to the twilight zone of crypto, or ‘decentralised’, finance. read more

Another typical year in the nether regions of finance? Caveat emptor, some might say.

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But the latest twists touched another nerve among governments and central banks who fear they’ve let this ecosystem get out of hand without proper oversight or adequate transparency to reach levels beyond which they may find it difficult to control or shore up.

G7 finance chiefs meeting in Germany late last week cited the crypto turmoil and urged its Financial Stability Board “to advance the swift development and implementation of consistent and comprehensive regulation.” read more

French central bank chief Francois Villeroy de Galhau reinforced the message this week and upped the urgency at the World Economic Forum in Davos, warning of lax investment protection as well as money laundering risks.

“It’s an emergency question now… I strongly hope we will have this regulation in Europe this year,” Villeroy said.

While still relatively small compared to stocks, bonds or real estate, two surveys released this week from the U.S. Federal Reserve and European Central Bank show that at least 10% of all households in both regions have dabbled in…


Central African Republic Teases Plans for Crypto Hub

The Central African Republic is planning to launch a new crypto hub to attract talent and spur economic growth. The hub is an island called “Sango” and will offer many crypto-friendly features.

President of the Central African Republic, Faustin-Archange Touadéra, revealed on May 24 that the country would launch a crypto hub to foster innovation. The Central African Republic, which recently made bitcoin legal tender, is aiming to bolster its economy through crypto initiatives, with the hub being the first of its actions.

The objective is to attract businesses and entrepreneurs from all over the world, such that the country becomes the crypto hub of Africa. This will happen through the launch of a crypto island, called “Sango,” which presumably will be something like Malta, another country known for its support for blockchain and crypto.

The official documentation for Sango confirms that the Central African Republic will create a dedicated legal framework for crypto by the end of the year. One confirmed legal guideline is that there will be no taxation for exchanges in cryptocurrencies.

The Central African Republic is also taking a lot of inspiration from El Salvador, which was the first country to make bitcoin legal tender. It will launch an e-residency program, offer citizenship by investment, and there will be no income and corporate tax.

A crowdfunding system using crypto, for infrastructure projects, is also on the cards, as is a tokenization framework for assets and resources. There are also plans to introduce a metaverse, where the Sango island is represented by the real world. As such, there will be marketplaces and NFT minting.

Could this be the start of a new era?

El Salvador’s experiment with bitcoin might not be one without some hiccups, but the country has certainly benefited in some ways. Organizations like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have criticized the decision, but that hasn’t stopped the Central African Republic from doing the same. The IMF has criticized the African nation’s decision for the same reasons.

Countries, especially developing ones, are interested in bitcoin and…


Why is Alchemy Pay (ACH) crypto soaring today?

The price and volume of Alchemy Pay (ACH) crypto have been rising in the past day as the cryptocurrency market recorded a slight gain worldwide. In the last 24 hours, the global crypto market cap surged 0.4% to US$ 1.27 trillion.

At the time of writing, Bitcoin’s dominance had increased by 0.4% to 44.69 per cent. It was trading at US$ 29,750.58 per token after 1.4 per cent over the previous day, according to CoinMarketCap data.

The price of ACH crypto was up by 12.3 per cent over the previous day to US$ 0.02435 per token. Meanwhile, the volume of Alchemy Pay soared over 227% to US$ 190.6 million at 3 AM EST.

What is Alchemy Pay?

As per the whitepaper, Alchemy Pay was built to fill the gap between the fiat and crypto worlds. It was founded in Singapore in 2018 as a payment solutions provider.

The network connects fiat and crypto economies for institutions, developers, global consumers, and merchants. According to CoinMarketCap, Alchemy Pay is supported in more than 70 countries and has touchpoints with over two million merchants through partnerships with QFPay, Binance, and Shopify.

Also Read: What is LockPay and is it a pump and dump scheme?

The ACH crypto is the native token of Alchemy Pay, and it is an ERC-20 token. The network was designed to promote the adoption of cryptocurrencies and support the virtual currency’s mission to provide financial freedom.

Alchemy Pay integrates technology and traditional finance to drive mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies. The ACH crypto is listed on cryptocurrency exchanges like DigiFinex, Binance, Bybit, and Hotcoin Global.

Bottom line

The ACH crypto could be gaining investors’ attention as Alchemy Pay announced on Twitter that it has partnered with Binance to enable Binance Pay crypto payments for Instpower, allowing users to rent a power bank.

The facility of crypto payments will be available at 14,000 locations in countries like Austria, Canada, Mexico, Japan, and Germany.

The total supply of the ACH crypto is 10 billion, and the circulating supply is 4.49 billion. Notably, the cryptocurrency market is going through tough times as the global market cap has declined massively from the US$ 2 trillion mark.

Investing in cryptocurrencies is risky, and it is important to assess the risk capacity before trying to earn profit from the virtual currencies.

Also Read: What is AgeOfGods (AOG) crypto and why its volume soared 1200%?

Risk Disclosure: Trading…


Latest Crypto Fund Offers Yield on USD Amid Rampant Inflation

  • Product is designed to offer collateralized dollar-denominated yield at a 5% rate
  • 21Shares is looking into expanding its presence in several dozen countries

Cryptocurrency exchange-traded product issuer 21Shares’ latest fund is designed to divvy up yields  to investors amid concerns around inflation and fluctuating interest rates. 

The 21Shares USD Yield ETP (USDY) offers collateralized dollar-denominated yield at a 5% rate, the firm told Blockworks. The product generates yield by taking in US dollars and lending them to crypto counterparties against a minimum of 110% collateral in bitcoin and ether marked-to-market daily.

USDY — an exchange-traded product (ETP) — is set to become available on the SIX Swiss exchange on Wednesday and is available to investors in US dollars, with a fee of 30 basis points.  

“We see this ETP as a useful tool for investors to navigate market volatility and stay invested through complex market conditions — like today’s,” 21Shares President Ophelia Snyder said. “While investors grapple with inflation, fluctuating interest rates and a range of economic pressures, this product is a first-of-its-kind way for investors to both gain maximum exposure to risk-adjusted yield and preserve liquidity in their portfolios.” 

21Shares, which has more than $2.5 billion of assets under management, has launched a range of digital asset investment products this year, with more in the pipeline.

The Switzerland-based company earlier this month launched two DeFi-focused ETPs and more recently entered the US market with two index funds offering diversified exposure to some of the space’s largest assets.

21Shares intends to launch between 20 and 30 additional ETPs by the end of this year, Snyder said. 

The executive previously told Blockworks that 21Shares intends to establish a Middle Eastern foothold next month in Dubai. Snyder…


As Crypto Corrects, What’s Next for El Salvador’s Bitcoin Gamble?

Bitcoin witnessed a boom in retail and institutional adoption during 2021. Among notable adopters, El Salvador became the most prominent one after the country announced the acceptance of Bitcoin as legal tender in September last year. The Central American country not only adopted the digital asset but also started accumulating for future gains.

However, El Salvador’s Bitcoin bet has now turned negative for its economy. The country, which is also suffering from rising debt, is expected to pay around $38.25 million on its foreign debt in mid-June. El Salvador spent more than $100 million on Bitcoin purchases since September 2021. With a nearly 40% plunge in Bitcoin’s price since El Salvador first purchased Bitcoin, the country has started feeling the heat of the recent market correction.

BTC Price

While El Salvador’s financial issues are not new, its ambitions to solve economic problems through Bitcoin are falling apart after BTC’s price dip. “El Salvador’s financial problems are not because of bitcoin, but they have gotten worse because of bitcoin,” said Ricardo Castaneda, the Senior Economist and Country Coordinator for El Salvador and Honduras at the think tank Central American Institute for Fiscal Studies (ICEFI).

Bitcoin Losses

El Salvador has already lost nearly $40 million of its Bitcoin holdings since the first purchase. Simon Peters, a Market Analyst at eToro believes that the recent reduction in BTC’s price has had a substantial impact on the reserves of the Central American nation.

Simon Peters

Simon Peters

“Bitcoin’s price reduction has hit El Salvador’s reserves, with losses tantamount to the nation’s next expected payment to bondholders. Since becoming the world’s first government to make bitcoin a legal tender last September, President Nayib Bukele has invested around $105 million in buying BTC. Unfortunately, the crypto asset’s…