The price of bitcoin rallied by over 17 percent week-on-week giving bitcoin hodlers hope that the worst might finally be over for this year.
This week’s price surge was driven by the news that the world’s largest asset manager, BlackRock, may start to invest in bitcoin, as well as the arrival of more positive regulatory news suggesting that the feared crypto-unfriendly global regulation will not be passed.
BlackRock has announced that it is examining “whether BlackRock should invest in bitcoin futures.” Should an institutional investor with pockets as deep as BlackRock start to invest in bitcoin, not only would that immediately boost the digital currency’s price, but it would also likely lead to other institutional investors following suit once bitcoin has received the stamp of approval by BlackRock.
US Federal Reserve Chairman, Jerome Powell, said that he believes that the burgeoning virtual currency ecosystem doesn’t have what it takes to pose a threat to the country’s finance system, which suggests that the Fed will not be lobbying against cryptocurrencies despite their power to disrupt the existing central banking model.
In the altcoin market, several tokens that Coinbase has announced it is considering as additions to its platform continued their positive momentum. Stellar and Cardano, for example, rallied by 37 percent and 20 percent respectively.
Per a Financial News report, New York-based global investment management firm, BlackRock Inc., has established a task force to carry out a feasibility study of the cryptocurrency market and blockchain technology, as part of plans to launch into the nascent cryptospace.
According to closely tied sources, the working group is made up of experts in the traditional finance sector including Terry Simpson, a significant investment manager and multi-asset strategist.
The committee’s primary objective is to “examine whether BlackRock should invest in bitcoin futures,” and also take a sneak peek into what competitors who have already joined the virtual currency revolution are doing and report their findings to top management so that the next line of action could be initiated.
According to a Bloomberg report, US Federal Reserve Chairman, Jerome Powell, firmly believes that the burgeoning virtual currency ecosystem doesn’t have what it takes to pose a threat to the country’s finance system. During testimony before the House Financial Services Committee on July 18, the highly reputed Republican and alumnus of Princeton University made it clear that there are more significant issues on the Fed’s table than blockchain-based digital currencies.
Powell also stated that regulating cryptocurrencies is not in the jurisdiction of the US Federal Reserve as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), along with other regulatory watchdogs present in the state, are providing excellent oversight for the local cryptospace. The US SEC and the CFTC have been quite proactive in their crypto regulatory activities, hammering down many fraudulent initial coin offerings (ICOs) and bitcoin-linked businesses that do not meet their requirements.
Earlier in February, the SEC disclosed that quite many ICO organizers had abandoned their illicit projects because of a simple phone call from regulators. On May 17, 2018, BTCManager reported that the SEC had created a mock ICO, HoweyCoins.com, in a bid to better illustrate to prospective ICO investors what a fraudulent virtual currency-based investment scheme looks like.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) approved a patent filed by MasterCard allowing customers to link cryptocurrencies to fiat accounts through blockchain technology. Reportedly, the new method is aimed to expedite the transaction time of cryptocurrencies. Payment processor, MasterCard, had applied for the patent back in May 2018.
Elaborating its point, those at MasterCard said, “Consumers and merchants that are accustomed to fast transaction times are often either forced to wait a significant amount of time for a blockchain transaction to be conducted or the payee must rely on the payer’s good faith that their transfer will be valid.”
The patent claimed that the majority of people are unaware of how cryptocurrency-based transactions work (minimum amount of time is ten minutes) as opposed to fiat currency-based transactions that happen almost instantly.
MasterCard’s proposed plan intends to offer all the benefits of the decentralized nature of blockchain while at the same time maintaining the highest level of account security. The patent pointed out that while e-wallets are convenient, if the funds are lost, there is no known way to retrieve them, and that the anonymity feature of blockchain can make it impossible for the consumer to prove their ownership of the wallet.
In a blog post published on July 16, 2018, Block.one announced that it successfully managed to secure funding from some private organizations and individuals. The company is best known for its EOS blockchain platform that had its mainnet launch in June 2016.
Among the list of investors are PayPal founder, Peter Thiel, and Chinese cryptocurrency mining company, Bitmain Technologies Ltd. The previous funding round saw the company raise money from Christian Angermayer and Lansdowne Investment Company, among others.
Speaking about Block.one, Jihan Wu stated: “The EOSIO protocol is a great example of blockchain innovation. Its performance and scalability can meet the needs of demanding consumer applications and will pave the way for mainstream blockchain adoption.”
According to a report from the Big Innovation Centre, DAG Global, and Deep Knowledge Analytics, Britain has all the necessary resources, the government support, and the industrial will to lead the cryptocurrency and blockchain movement in the next few years. Britain has been quite progressive in 2018 when it comes to the cryptocurrency industry. Not only are they investing heavily into blockchain technology, but in April 2018, they also launched a cryptocurrency task force and global fintech sandbox to foster fintech development.
Britain, in the last few years, has emerged as a strong international fintech leader as well, particularly in regard to technologies like blockchain and cryptocurrencies. As a significant player in both arenas, crossovers and collaborations are imminent. “The gap between the two worlds of traditional finance and crypto economy remains, but in the coming years we can expect this to lessen and eventually disappear,” said Sean Kiernan, the chief executive of DAG Global.
The report analyzed the sheer number of investments that went into UK blockchain companies in 2017 and 2018. With over $600 million invested into UK’s cryptocurrency and blockchain sector, the report concluded that Britain had great potential to lead the blockchain and cryptocurrency ecosystem over the next few years.
Slowly but steadily, the dark clouds of global regulatory uncertainties are clearing as many governments have started formulating regulations for the digital currency space.
In a major breakthrough for Ukrainian hodlers, the Financial Stability Council – a body made up of officials from regulatory watchdogs including the National Bank of Ukraine, the Ministry of Finance, the National Financial Services Market Commission, the National Securities Commission, and the Deposit Guarantee Fund – has agreed to amenably regulate the local cryptocurrency industry.
According to head of the National Securities and Stock Market Commission (NSSMC), Timur Khromaev, specific categories of cryptocurrencies and tokens will be recognized as financial instruments, and the roles of various regulators in the digital currency space will now be clearly defined.
The official further noted that this latest development lays a solid foundation for greater things to come, saying, “[it] confirms its readiness to work with the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and the Kryptonian to form a legislative and regulatory framework,” fostering transparency and cordial relations between stakehodlers in the Ukrainian cryptoverse.
On May 14, 2018, reports emerged that the head of the NSSMC had made his stance concerning the creation of a regulatory framework for the industry. At the time, he stated that the crypto industry is fast becoming a formidable force to reckon with in global “economic and financial relations,” concluding that it only makes sense to regulate bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as financial instruments.
Even though bitcoin and altcoins have not been officially categorized as legal tender, a vast majority of Ukrainians remain quite enthusiastic about the burgeoning virtual currency ecosystem.