News

Cryptocurrency Act 2020 Prepares Regulatory Legislation, Ripple Promotes XRP With $200 Million, American Cancer Society Accepts Donations in Bitcoin, Tencent Starts Digital Currency R&D

In this edition:

  • Cryptocurrency Act of 2020 Will Regulate the Regulators
  • Ripple Raises $200 Million to Boost XRP Adoption
  • You Can Donate Bitcoin to the American Cancer Society
  • Tencent Reportedly Building Digital Currency Team

Fellow Anchorians, I sincerely hope that you are reading this while recovering from having a blast for Christmas! Cozy up and let’s muse about the future of crypto before we jump to top news that shaped the week behind us.

Ok, so 2019 didn’t start very well for the industry. Prices were low, making startups and heavyweights squirm. Market volatility and mainstream adoption are two major driving forces in this field and there was very little of either at the start of the year. But now, when 2019 is almost over, we do see some positive trends.

Experimentation and implementation is the first trend. Bank of France wants to start trials for digital currency in 2020. Malta’s casinos tested cryptocurrency under the watchful gaze of their Gambling Authority. The second one is the expansion of crypto derivatives. Once upon a time, only Bitmex was dealing with this kind of exchange, but now Binance, Huobi, and OKEx all offer futures and options on large-cap crypto assets. It’s safe to assume that this trend will continue well into 2020, as major exchanges fight for a larger share of the derivatives market.

The next trend is decentralized finances as a prime object of innovation. DeFi tripled the total value of their projects to over $650 million. New tech, handling the trustless and secure provision of financial services is ready and enabling entirely new lending and margin trading facilities. This helped China’s large-scale miners to access the capital through crypto as collateral, as provided by Babel Finance. Traders can use InstaDApp to seamlessly swap between debt positions. Another trend that we want to see extending into 2020.

Finally, there are new custodial solutions that keep cryptocurrency safe from hackers, and by the Gods of Blockchain, we could be close to mitigating the plague that has been pestering the industry from the earliest days. Today it is possible to have remote staking so that the holders can secure the network and earn passive income without putting themselves at risk from cyber-pirates.

The digital assets markets have grown and matured over the course of 2019. New service providers turned crypto from fringe asset class to fintech innovation hub. Market infrastructure and products now cater to a more sophisticated investor base and upcoming regulatory frameworks are slowly materializing to provide market participants with a legitimate space to work in. I think we have reason to be optimistic, as cryptocurrencies enter their second decade. 

Cryptocurrency Act of 2020 Will Regulate the Regulators

Speaking of improvement of the infrastructure and regulatory frameworks, U.S. legislators have introduced 21 bills addressing blockchain technologies for the Congress to consider in 2020. But the most important bill drafted, nicknamed “Cryptocurrency Act of 2020” deals with regulatory jurisdictions.

A copy of the bill was reviewed by Forbes and it seems that the document seeks to clarify which federal agencies will regulate cryptocurrencies. The bill has proposed three federal crypto regulators, one for cryptocurrencies, one for crypto securities, and one for crypto commodities. 

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CTFC) has been proposed to regulate crypto-commodities; the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for crypto-securities; and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) for crypto-currencies.

The bill states: “The Secretary of the Treasury, acting through the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, shall issue rules to require each crypto-currency (including synthetic stablecoins) to allow for the tracing of transactions in the crypto-currency and persons engaging in such transactions in a manner similar to that required of financial institutions with respect to currency transactions”

It remains to be seen what happens next. If the bill moves ahead it will provide much-needed regulatory clarity.

Ripple Raises $200 Million to Boost XRP Adoption

Ripple, a global payments network provider, started a new series of funding. It was spearheaded by investment firm Tetragon and followed by Route 66 Ventures and SBI Holdings from Japan. The total sum raised in Series C funding is, quite stunning, $200 million.

With this injection of capital, Ripple will boost the adoption of XRP and it’s native blockchain network, the XRP Ledger. Brad Galringhouse, CEO of Ripple said: “We are in a strong financial position to execute against our vision. As others in the blockchain space have slowed their growth or even shut down, we have accelerated our momentum and industry leadership throughout 2019.”

This new series of funding lands value of Ripple at $10 billion. Being one of the global unicorns for 2019, Ripple doesn’t exactly need this new investment, but it surely gets them some balance sheet flexibility for the upcoming expansion. Ripple’s business is going strong, with over $260 million worth of XRP sold in 2019. 

You Can Donate Bitcoin to the American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society (ACS) is a nationwide voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer. Their activities include providing grants to researchers, running public health advertising campaigns, organizing awareness-raising projects, as well as serving more than a million callers to its National Cancer Information Center.

So far their source of funding was donations, fundraising events, and running thrift stores. However, since December 25, you can now make donations in crypto to the ACS. The main goal behind this move was to encourage young donors who favor high tech. 

“Our mission is urgent and in order to accomplish it, we need to engage donors where they are. The reality is that more and more people are utilizing cryptocurrency,” said Brant Woodward of the American Cancer Society. “This allows us to be relevant with younger donors and provide frictionless giving opportunities for them and for us to meet them where they are.”

Currencies they accept as of this moment are BTC, BCH, ETH, and stablecoins. Some are complaining about the ACS’s choice to use BitPay, hoping they will move to other solutions like Save the Children did after their initial experimenting with the crypto.

BitPay processes crypto coins donations at a 1 percent flat-fee so that charitable organizations don’t need to hold it. So, the ACS gets USD after BitPay settles the transaction. However, this process means it’s not possible to place the donations anonymously, as donors need to enter their name and email.

Maybe you are looking to offset your tax burden with a nice cryptocurrency donation, maybe you genuinely want to contribute to the cancer research, maybe you want to spread some Christmas love, whatever the motivation, please consider donating to the ACS!

Tencent Reportedly Building Digital Currency Team

Tencent? Of course, you know who they are! Maybe you thought, well duh, owners of WeChat. Maybe being the world’s largest social media, venture capitalist, investment corporation or the most valuable technology company came to your mind first. Honestly, to me, they are just the biggest video game company in the world, owners of League of Legends, PUBG, Fortnite and… ahem, anyway…

This giant of a conglomerate, according to Chinese media, issued an internal notice, titled “No­tice Con­cern­ing the Es­tab­lish­ment of the Dig­i­tal Cur­rency Re­search Pro­ject Group (Vir­tual Or­gan­i­sa­tion) and Des­ig­na­tion of Re­lated Ex­ec­u­tives”, informing employees it was recruiting for someone to lead a new cryptocurrency research unit.

The motivation behind this call was a response to the central government’s desire to: “un­der­take dig­i­tal cur­rency re­search, mo­bile pay­ment and other in­no­v­a­tive ap­pli­ca­tions in Shen­zhen” in the “CPC Cen­tral Com­mit­tee and State Coun­cil Opin­ions on Sup­port­ing Shen­zhen Es­tab­lish­ing an Ad­vanced Demon­stra­tion Zone for So­cial­ism with Chi­nese Char­ac­ter­is­tics.” 

In other words, the new research group will be responsible for advancing digital currency R&D projects, as well as track­ing and im­ple­ment­ing the lat­est poli­cies of gov­ern­ment de­part­ments and im­ple­ment­ing and test­ing sce­nario ap­pli­ca­tions. 

Tencent is not a newbie to the world of crypto. They have had a research and development team for blockchain technology since 2015. In 2017 they launched Tencent blockchain ecosystem platform, with the White Paper following in 2019. 

This new research team will be formed to support government initiatives in this field. The People’s Bank of China expressed their confidence in Tencent as the prospective issuer for the digital yuan. Hence the opinions that this team will work on developing the government’s pilot digital currency plan in the city of Shenzhen.

Tencent has not denied the reports. It still remains to be seen whether they will develop their own cryptocurrency or simply focus on supporting the new digital yuan.

Final Thoughts

Well, it was surely an interesting year. From prices slumping to Facebook’s Libra (aka ZuckBuck), from Bitcoin ETF blocked by U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to the greater interest of central banks to issue the national cryptocurrencies (China with digital yuan, Venezuela with Petro crypto). We have seen Twitter exploring decentralized social media and many scandals (remember when Virgil Griffith was arrested for assisting North Korea?).

What will the future bring? It seems that the future is bright. Not only there is an overall bullish sentiment about Bitcoin’s halving event, but the predictions for 2020 bring many optimistic forecasts. Ripple’s XRP adoption will surely help the world of crypto mature faster. The case of Bakkt shows that institutional capital can pour into crypto investments. The blockchain technologies are definitely here to stay, and while many obscure coins will disappear, while BTC price might not rebound, the trends are all pointing upwards across the many aspects of cryptocurrencies and blockchain tech. It makes me feel confident to wish you a happy new 2020 and may it be prosperous for you personally as well as for your favorite coin! 

Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is not legal, accounting, or financial advice. I am not a lawyer, accountant, or financial advisor. I am not registered as an investment adviser with any federal or state regulatory agency. The Information should not be construed as investment or trading advice and is not meant to be a solicitation or recommendation to buy, sell, or hold any cryptocurrencies.