Interbank Market News Scan: The crypto-digital world finds the fiat currency worthless …

30 July 2021

The Takeaway: The crypto-digital world finds the fiat currency worthless …

The past couple posts I have been harping on whether Amazon or Facebook can create a viable digital nation-state.  Right now, I am putting Amazon in lead, but if Facebook can create a more viable transactions-based economy rather than relying on being a pure private data aggregator and reseller, then Facebook may have the potential in the longer run to rival Amazon.

For now, occupants of the digital world are not placing any crypto-monetary value on fiat currencies.  I don’t see this no-value perspective changing any time soon on the part of digital world residents.  For example, according to OANDA data from twelve months ago, USD/ETH was priced at .0031.  Today, the price of USD/ETH is at .0004.  I believe the more closed-loop the digital world can remain, the less the digital world’s demand for fiat currency. 

Holders of cryptocurrency are still interested in holding crypto as an asset versus a medium of exchange for trade even though the rhetoric is quick to describe crypto as a payment system as well. Examples of commercial entities accepting crypto as payment should be discounted by the preference for holding crypto as an asset versus medium of exchange.

On the other hand, I am mindful that on a global basis crypto as a medium of exchange is creeping into consumer mindset with El Salvador’s decision to accept crypto as legal tender.  It is way too early to tell what degree of success crypto will see in the Central American nation.  In the meantime, public policy in the United States is to treat cryptocurrency as a digital asset and until the time comes where legacy nation-states view the digital world as a trade partner, USD/ETH and USD/BTC will be priced at zero for a while.

Alton Drew

For a consultation on any regulatory or legislative discussions or announcements, please reach out to us at altondrew@altondrew.com for information on consultation rates and to reserve an appointment.

Rates reported by the Federal Reserve (Release Date 29 July 2021)

Effective Fed Funds Rate: 0.10%

Discount Window:  0.25%

Prime Bank Rate: 3.25%

3-month Treasury bill: 0.05%

6-month Treasury bill: 0.05%

1-year Treasury bill: 0.07%

Prices

Exchange rates of interest as of 9:49 am EST

Currency pairExchange rate
AUD/USD*0.7371
EUR/USD*1.1884
GBP/USD*1.3965
USD/CAD*1.2434
USD/CHF*0.9061
USD/JPY*109.6500
USD/MXN*19.8480
USD/BTC+0.0000
USD/ETH+0.0004
Sources: *Reuters +OANDA

Interbank market news scan: Jamaica closer to testing central bank digital currencies; Bitcoin is the world’s 3rd largest currency in total value …

The Strategic Takeaway: Governments of varying size from the United States to Jamaica are ready to compete with the threat alternative digital currencies like bitcoin poses to nation-state payment systems. Traders and investors should keep their eyes on the long term viability of cryptocurrencies in the current political environment. Even as larger financial institutions consider bitcoin as a hedge against declines in other assets including the dollar and consumers see more opportunities to use cryptocurrencies to purchase goods and services, nation-states will only tolerate the threat to their payment systems for so long.

Cryptocurrency issuers and the exchanges that support them will have to make the political and legal arguments that support their incorporation into a nation-state’s payment system. Central bank digital currencies have the potential of offering a faster payments system for the average consumer. Claims of decentralization, anonymity, and democratization of finance may fall on deaf ears if central bank digital currencies offer the average consumer a significant improvement over what the consumer is comfortable with.

In the meantime, cryptocurrency stakeholders should be prepared for closer regulatory scrutiny including threats of stringent regulation especially if there are either mass losses in cryptocurrency valuations or if investors are subjected to massive and/or frequent amounts of fraud.

Cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrencies have emerged as a financial instrument over the last year, but have reached new heights over the last quarter, becoming financial equality tools and placing power back in the hands of investors. How cryptomarkets revolutionised financial freedom (raconteur.net)

Stablecoins. Thailand’s central bank said it will issue regulations on asset-backed stablecoins this year after warning against the illegal use of a new baht-denominated stablecoin that was created outside the country. Thai Central Bank to Regulate Stablecoins This Year | Nasdaq

Cryptocurrencies. Now the third-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, Cardano (CCC:ADA-USD) is alive with buzz in the crypto community. Indeed, Cardano is one of those alt coins that gets less attention these days, mainly due to the sheer size of rivals Bitcoin (CCC:BTC-USD) and Ethereum (CCC:ETH-USD) 3 Reasons Why Cardano Has Outperformed So Impressively (yahoo.com)

Central Bank Digital Currency. Most of global payments are already digital, yet a central bank digital currency would provide risk-free, central-bank backed money denominated in a national unit of account — like cash, though updated to the demands of a digital financial system. Here’s How a Central Bank Digital Currency Could Work (msn.com)

Central Bank Digital Currency. After quietly exploring the viability of a central bank digital currency (CBDC) for some time, Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) took the decision in May 2020, as a part of our ongoing retail payments reform, to venture into this digital innovation that is fast becoming a feature of global central banks. A primer on BOJ’s central bank digital currency (jamaicaobserver.com)

Cryptocurrency. Deutsche Bank has published a report stating that bitcoin is too important to ignore, noting that it is now the third-largest currency in terms of the total value in circulation. Deutsche Bank: Bitcoin Now 3rd Largest Currency, Too Important to Ignore – Markets and Prices Bitcoin News

Currency pair20 January 202122 March 2021Percentage change
ADA/USD *.381.18210.5
BTC/USD36,841.7058,335.0058.3
ETH/USD1,358.491,813.6833.5
LTC/USD159.13200.6526.1
Source: OANDA *Yahoo Finance

Interbank market news scan: Foreign exchange and cryptocurrency rates …

As of 4:17 pm EST, these are prices for top traded currency pairs:

EUR/USD=1.1850

GBP/USD=1.3826

AUD/USD=0.7649

USD/CAD=1.2669

USD/CHF=0.9351

USD/JPY=108.8600

USD/CNY=6.5250

Source: Reuters

As of 4:30 pm EST, these are select prices for Ethereum and Bitcoin:

ETH/USD=1548.18 BTC/USD=49112.00

ETH/EUR=1299.20 BTC/EUR=41,213.70

ETH/GBP=1118.47 BTC/GBP=35,480.40

ETH/AUD=2011.80 BTC/AUD=63,818.80

ETH/CAD=1958.59 BTC/CAD=62,130.80

ETH/CHF=1439.56 BTC/CHF=45,666.20

ETH/JPY=167,662.00 BTC/JPY=5,318,610.00

ETH/CNY=10,049.70 BTC/CNY=318,798.00

Source: OANDA

8 March 2021

Interbank market news scan: central banks, banks, cryptocurrencies …

Cryptocurrency exchange rates at 11:46 am EST …

BTC/USD=47,627.90

ETH/USD=1,485.88

BTC/EUR=39490.20

ETH/EUR=1,232.00

BTC/GBP=34,138.00

ETH/GBP=1,065.03

Source: OANDA

Follow the news links …

Due to bitcoin’s potential to satisfy the three functions of money, bitcoin users expect them to replace paper currency in the long run. However, all of the above may be some of the reasons why Central banks and monetary authorities have been worried about the increasing adoption of Cryptocurrency around the world. Moreover, economists have been worried about how cryptocurrencies could transform the role of Central banks. Wait a minute! Can cryptocurrencies replace paper money? (msn.com)

“But I have to say, regulation is in its early innings – if there is no final use case for bitcoins, [and] I don’t think it’s going to be, [then] ultimately this bubble will pop, but it could take a decade.” Harvard Professor Kenneth Rogoff Warns Central Banks Will Never Allow Bitcoin to Go Mainstream – Regulation Bitcoin News

More cryptocurrency trading goes on in Nigeria than almost anywhere else in the world, reflecting a loss of faith in more traditional forms of investment, as Ijeoma Ndukwe reports. Cryptocurrencies: Why Nigeria is a global leader in Bitcoin trade (yahoo.com)

2 March 2021

Interbank market news scan, as of 10:50 am AST: Central banks, forex, cryptocurrencies

19 January 2021

The United States Senate Committee on Finance today considers the nomination of Janet Yellen as Secretary of the Treasury. Hearing | Hearings | The United States Senate Committee on Finance

China’s interbank treasury bond index in net price opened lower at 980.92 points Monday, lower from the previous close of 981.93 points, according to the China Foreign Exchange Trade System. China’s interbank treasury bond index opens lower Monday – Xinhua | English.news.cn (xinhuanet.com)

The shift of jobs and assets to Paris after Brexit will accelerate this year, providing Europe with an opportunity to strengthen its own financial infrastructure, according to Bank of France Governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau. Bank of France Governor: Brexit Finance Shift to Paris to Accelerate in 2021 – Bloomberg

Australia’s major bank economists expect the country’s central bank to extend its A$100 billion ($77.05 billion) government bond buying programme beyond April with an updated guidance expected as soon as next month. Australia central bank seen extending QE beyond April – economists (msn.com)

More London-based financial firms are expected to relocate to France this year after Britain completed its Brexit transition, the head of the French central bank said on Tuesday. French central bank sees firms speeding up Brexit relocation this year | Reuters

Ether is closing in on an all-time high. The cryptocurrency, one of many alternatives to bitcoin, rallied as much as 17% on Tuesday to an intraday high of $1,439, according to data from industry site CoinDesk. Ether, the world’s second-biggest cryptocurrency, is closing in on an all-time high (msn.com)

Stablecoins are taking a promising step forward after the Department of the Treasury approved them for use by U.S. banks. While that helps them progress toward being a currency on par with those issued by governments, many are still unclear on what exactly stablecoins are and what sets them apart from other cryptocurrencies. What Are Stablecoins? Why Investors Are Moving To Cryptocurrency’s Safest Bet (ibtimes.com)

As 12:45 pm AST, the price of Bitcoin and Ethereum across certain currencies ….

BTC ETH 
BTC/USD=23510.50 ETH/USD=624.02 
BTC/EUR=19,290.00 ETH/EUR=512.00 
BTC/JPY=2,436,310.00 ETH/JPY=64,664.60 
BTC/CNH=153,182.00 ETH/CNH=4,065.75 
BTC/DKK=143,458.00 ETH/DKK=3,807.66 
BTC/CHF=20,933.10 ETH/CHF=555.606 
BTC/GBP=17,330.00 ETH/GBP=459.973 

Legal/Political Events Impacting Cryptocurrencies

No report at this time.

Bitcoin, Ether value in terms of certain currencies …

BTC/USD=23,512.70ETH=610.610
BTC/EUR=19,293.30ETH/EUR=501.034
BTC/JPY=2,433,610.00ETH/JPY=63,199.30
BTC/CNH=153,591.00ETH/CNH=3,988.66
BTC/DKK=143,499.00ETH/DKK=3,756.28
BTC/CHF=20,893.10ETH/CHF=542.580
BTC/GBP=17,480.70ETH/GBP=453.963
Source: OANDA

Legal/Political events impacting cryptocurrency

SEC Issues Statement and Requests Comment Regarding the Custody of Digital Asset Securities by Special Purpose Broker-Dealers

Washington D.C., Dec. 23, 2020 —

The Securities and Exchange Commission today issued a statement and request for comment regarding the custody of digital asset securities by broker-dealers in order to encourage innovation around the application of Securities Exchange Act Rule 15c3-3 to digital asset securities.

The statement sets forth the Commission’s position that, for a period of five years, a broker-dealer operating under the circumstances set forth in the statement will not be subject to a Commission enforcement action on the basis that the broker-dealer deems itself to have obtained and maintained physical possession or control of customer fully paid and excess margin digital asset securities for the purposes of paragraph (b)(1) of Rule 15c3-3. These circumstances, among other things, include that the broker-dealer limits its business to digital asset securities, establishes and implements policies and procedures reasonably designed to mitigate the risks associated with conducting a business in digital asset securities, and provides customers with certain disclosures regarding the risks of engaging in transactions involving digital asset securities.

In addition, the Commission is requesting comment to provide the Commission and its staff with an opportunity to gain additional insight into the evolving standards and best practices with respect to custody of digital asset securities. Such insights will serve to inform any potential future Commission action in this space.

The Commission statement and request for comment are published on the Commission’s website and will become effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. The Commission welcomes engagement from interested parties on these issues.

Source: U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

As of 4:07 am AST, the price of Ether and Bitcoin per various currencies …

BTC ETH 
BTC/USD=23080.3 ETH/USD=614.193 
BTC/EUR=18,907.8 ETH/EUR=503.158 
BTC/JPY=2,388,500 ETH/JPY=63,560.7 
BTC/CNH=150,898 ETH/CNH=4,015.67 
BTC/DKK=140,642 ETH/DKK=3,742.65 
BTC/CHF=20,477.7 ETH/CHF=544.935 
BTC/GBP=17,232 ETH/GBP=458.564 

Source: OANDA

Legal/Political news impacting cybercurrencies

How not to treat forex traders: CFTC wins order of restitution against Winston Reed Investments

December 22, 2020

Washington, D.C. — The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today announced that Judge Max O. Cogburn Jr., of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, entered a consent order against Mark N. Pyatt, of North Carolina,imposing a permanent injunction and ordering Pyatt to make restitution in the amount of $255,850. The order also permanently bans Pyatt from registering with the CFTC and from trading commodity futures and retail foreign exchange contracts (forex). In the order, Pyatt admitted to fraudulently soliciting individuals to place funds in a commodity pool and to misappropriating most of the funds he solicited.

The consent order resolves a CFTC case against Pyatt that was filed in the Western District of North Carolina on February 10, 2020. [See CFTC Press Release No. 8120-20] The CFTC’s litigation continues against Pyatt’s company, Winston Reed Investments LLC.

The consent order finds that from at least April 2017 to February 2019, Pyatt accepted $276,850 from pool participants to trade commodity futures and forex. The consent order also finds that Pyatt misappropriated most of pool participants’ funds for business expenses and personal use, and to make Ponzi-like payments to other pool participants, while using only a fraction of the funds to trade. In addition, despite overall net trading losses, Pyatt sent reports to investors claiming profits of between 18.8 percent to 86.5 percent per month.

Related Criminal Action

In a parallel criminal action, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina announced that Pyatt pleaded guilty to wire fraud in connection with the scheme. On October 27, 2020, Pyatt was sentenced to 37 months in federal prison and ordered to pay restitution to his victims. [See United States v. Mark Nicholas Pyatt, Case No. 1:20-cr-00016, ECF No. 42 (W.D.N.C. Nov. 5, 2020)]

The CFTC cautions that orders requiring repayment of funds to victims may not result in the recovery of any money lost because the wrongdoers may not have sufficient funds or assets. The CFTC will continue to fight vigorously for the protection of customers and to ensure the wrongdoers are held accountable.

The CFTC appreciates the cooperation and assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina in this matter.

The Division of Enforcement staff members responsible for this case are Michael Loconte, James A. Garcia, Erica Bodin, and Rick Glaser.

* * * * * *

CFTC’s Foreign Currency (Forex) Fraud Advisory

The CFTC has issued several customer protection fraud advisories, including the Forex Fraud Advisory, which provides information about a type of fraud involving the trading of foreign currencies and how customers can detect, avoid, and report these scams.

Customers can report suspicious activities or information, such as possible violations of commodity trading laws, to the Division of Enforcement via a toll-free hotline 866-FON-CFTC (866-366-2382) or file a tip or complaint online.

Source: Commodity Futures Trading Commission