For an outsider, the stories about the digital age Estonians live in are fascinating. The country is widely considered to harbor the world’s most digitized society, most technology-enabled government, and first-ever blockchain system serving a state government.
News and Analysis
As the recent news has it, the SEC rejected the last application for a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund it had to review. There are no more applications pending, and it seems the Commission isn’t going to make Bitcoin ETFs happen, at least soon.
Many crypto-enthusiasts anticipate the advent of large investors to make Bitcoin price grow rapidly and pull the whole market along with it. Galaxy Digital’s Mike Novogratz believes that Bitcoin will soon pass the $20,000 mark, chiefly driven by the regulated exchanges aimed at professional market participants.
Russian Central Bank has approved the digital platform of Norilsk Nickel for trading tokens backed by commodities. On February 17, the Central Bank confirmed that the platform’s testing was successfully completed. It took place in the regulator’s own “sandbox.”
Looking through the news that came up during the month, one may notice several closely packed cases of hacking, extortion, and other unsavory activities involving Bitcoin. While there seems to be no particular connection between these cases, this is an unkind reminder not to be negligent about basic cybersecurity.
On February 11th, the UK’s FCA has blocked the operation of ePayments due to the company’s failure to comply with AML requirements. Pursuant to the regulator’s request, ePayments froze nearly a million customer accounts.
Bloomberg’s recent article noted the rapid growth of certain altcoins which were long considered dead and gone. But due to cryptocurrency’s decentralized nature, no altcoin is truly dead.
On February 12th, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) is going to release new cryptocurrency regulations with “significant new requirements” regarding crypto.
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Analytic service Coingecko, which has around 8 million visits a month, and online publication ForkLog have concluded a memorandum of understanding and cooperation “seeking to boost the development of the international digital currency and blockchain markets.”
Lending is named the most profitable sector of the crypto-industry by return on investment. The niche keeps attracting capital and is expected to grow further in 2020. Akin to DeFi in general, the niche holds a lot of promise, but there is the other side to consider.
One of the high-profile deals in the financial market in January 2020 was the purchase of the Plaid fintech startup for $5.3 billion by the Visa payment system.