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US Comptroller of Currency Warms Up to DeFi Banks

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In an op-ed published in the Financial Times, the US Comptroller of the Currency says he’s an “optimist” when it comes to DeFi banks. However, he says that legislators are not ready to give a bank charter to algorithms.

When the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced that money transfers could be settled in stablecoins, it was met with a lukewarm response. While the move was pro-digital currency, it did not support the beloved decentralization explicitly. 

But a Financial Times op-ed written by Brian Brooks, acting U.S. Comptroller of the Currency, puts things in a different light. Overall, the Comptroller says he is optimistic about decentralized finance (DeFi) and compares the field to self-driving cars.

DeFi — The Self-Driving Banks

Brooks is a self-described optimist when it comes to the future of digital finance. 

While he does not tout the famous advantages of decentralization itself, he is supportive of banks working solely through algorithms, without people. He believes that DeFi technology can be used to fight inequities in banks and currency markets. 

Comparing emerging DeFi technology to self-driving cars, Brooks said that self-driving banks could be more efficient than current banks.

By freeing banks from what could be called “human error,” prejudice in banking might come to an end.

Brooks argues:

“Could we usher in a future where we eliminate error, stop discrimination, and achieve universal access for all? Optimists like me think so.” 

The Comptroller proposed that legislators should come together to try to bring banking into the future, inspired by current DeFi projects:

“How different would banking in the US be today if regulators, bankers, and policymakers were as bold as carmakers 10 years ago?”

New Obstacles

Importantly, Brooks believes that calculating collateral digitally and providing loans algorithmically, as crypto DeFi currently does not come without risks.

He cites liquidity risk, such as a high-frequency trading, that could accelerate equity self-offs. In other words, trusting an algorithm to green light liquidations could end up in errors like flash crashes or manipulation.

Ethereum DeFi

Likewise, the Comptroller says that computers may not be able to evaluate and assess collateral or liquidity risk as accurately or holistically as humans. 

Nonetheless, Brooks notes that these risks are the same risks already seen by other emerging technologies, like self-driving cars, or even the current banking system.

The main roadblock to giving a national bank charter to an algorithmic, decentralized system is that charters need to be given to humans, not computers. In other words, current legislation, based on decades-old technology, does not provide for DeFi bank charters.

He wrote in Financial Times:

“Under current law, drawn up on the assumptions of the early 20th century, charters can only be issued to human beings. But those antiquated rules should be revisited, just as regulations that still mandate the use of fax machines should be.”

With a new SEC chairman coming in after Ripple Labs’ clash with regulators, there may be some change in attitude by the U.S. government in the coming years.

This op-ed is surprisingly warm to DeFi-powered banks, though it does not support the dream of an international-dollar-ending currency that some crypto-lovers fantasize about.

DeFi TVL Chart by DeFi Pulse

Over the last year, the popularity of DeFi has exploded, with over $22 billion locked in protocols today.

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Harry Leeds is a writer, editor, and journalist who spent much time in the former USSR covering food, cryptocurrencies, and healthcare. He also translates poetry and edits the literary magazine mumbermag.me.

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Source: https://beincrypto.com/us-comptroller-currency-defi-banks/

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Opimas estimates that over US$190 billion worth of Bitcoin is currently at risk due to subpar safekeeping

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May 2021. Safekeeping of cryptocurrencies presents a challenge for institutions holding cryptocurrencies on their clients’ behalf. Cryptocurrency transactions are irreversible and anyone with full access to a wallet’s private key controls the cryptocurrencies that reside within it. Frighteningly, a number of institutional participants and even some large cryptocurrency exchanges rely on subpar custody approaches, leading Opimas to estimate that over US$190 billion worth of Bitcoin is currently at risk due to subpar safekeeping.

Luckily, a number of companies have emerged to address this problem. A new research report from Opimas—Crypto Custody: No More Excuses, authored by analysts Suzannah Balluffi and Anne-Laure Foubert—looks at the landscape of cryptocurrency custody-enabling technology providers and institutional-grade cryptocurrency custodians as well as the size of the market for cryptocurrency custody and brokerage services.

Some key findings in the report include:

Many of even the largest holders of Bitcoin and other digital assets continue to rely on storage devices meant for individual investors. Although some of these self-custody devices and wallets are secure and reputable, the operational risk posed by this approach is significant for institutional investors. Furthermore, a chunk of institutionals’ cryptocurrency holdings sit in hot wallets on exchanges. In total, about 22% of institutional cryptocurrency holdings are safeguarded in these relatively risky manners (Figure 1).

Figure 1. CUSTODY METHODS UTILIZED BY INSTITUTIONAL INVESTORS 

 

Source: Opimas analysis.

There are no more excuses for lackadaisical safekeeping – institutions can now choose from several reputable cryptocurrency custody-enabling technology providers and institutional-grade cryptocurrency custodians. Yet no custody solution is equal – there is still no best practice when it comes to security and governance relating to private keys. For example, some providers may rely on time-tested Hardware Security Modules (HSMs), while others use a newer technology known as Multi-Party Computation (MPC) – see Figure 2.

Figure 2. A COMPARISON OF HSM AND MPC TECHNOLOGY PROVIDERS

Source: Ledger, Fireblocks, Opimas analysis.

Some cryptocurrency custodians have followed in the footsteps of traditional capital markets by adding prime brokerage services to their offerings, including trading and settlement, lending, margin finance, staking, reporting, and capital introduction services. Opimas estimates that the current annual revenues generated by the institutional crypto brokerage and custody market are roughly US$2 billion and will grow to nearly US$8 billion by 2026 – a sizeable portion of this coming from brokerage services (Figure 3).

FIGURE 3. THE MARKET FOR CRYPTO CUSTODY & PRIME BROKERAGE SERVICES IS GROWING 

Source:  Opimas analysis. 

  • Regulations surrounding institutions’ ability to store cryptocurrency have become clearer (and in some cases more favorable) in numerous jurisdictions. Notably, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) ruling in the US has allowed banks to store cryptocurrencies for their customers. This regulatory clarity has led a number of financial institutions around the world to provide trading and custody for digital assets. With the advances in brokerage and custody solutions, Opimas expects institutional cryptocurrency holdings to grow from 20% of the cryptocurrency market cap to over 50% by 2026 (Figure 4).

FIGURE 4. INstitutional cryptocurrency holdings over time 

Source:  Opimas analysis.

Source: PlatoData Intelligence

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Bitcoin (BTC) Price Prediction: BTC/USD Faces Rejection Thrice at the $60,000 Resistance Zone, Resumes Downward Correction

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Bitcoin (BTC) Price Prediction – May 9, 2021
Bitcoin bulls have broken above the $58,000 resistance but the bullish momentum could not be sustained. Today, BTC/USD traded as price reached the high of $59,450. The king coin is likely to retrace to $57,000 low if the bulls fail to break the $60,000 psychological price level.

Resistance Levels: $65,000, $70,000, $75,000
Support Levels: $50,000, $45,000, $40,000

BTC/USD – Daily Chart

Bitcoin price was rejected thrice at the $60,000 resistance level. Buyers made frantic efforts to sustain the bullish momentum above the recent high but were repelled by overwhelming selling pressure. Consequently, Bitcoin has resumed a downward move as a result of a strong rejection at the resistance of $59,200. The current retracement will extend to the low of $57,000. Nevertheless, if price breaks below the $57,000 support, the market will continue the downward move. That is, the selling pressure will extend to the low of $53,000. On the upside, if price retraces and finds support above $58,000, the upside momentum will resume.

Bank of England Governor Warns on Crypto Investment
Andrew Bailey is the governor of the Bank of England who has warned crypto investors of the inherent dangers of cryptocurrency investment. The governor argued that cryptocurrencies lacked intrinsic value. According to him, “I would only emphasize what I’ve said quite a few times in recent years, [and] I’m afraid they have no intrinsic value. I’m sorry; I’m going to say this very bluntly again: Buy them only if you’re prepared to lose all your money.” Bailey’s comments are coming at a time when crypto markets are characterized by a huge spike in crypto prices. Major altcoins such as Polkadot, Chainlink, and XRP have also seen vertical price actions.

BTC/USD – 4 Hour Chart

Bitcoin risks another downward correction as the king coin faces stiff rejection at the $59,450 resistance. The Fibonacci tool has already indicated a marginal upward move of Bitcoin and a possible reversal. On May 1 uptrend; a retraced candle body tested the 78.6% Fibonacci retracement level. The retracement indicates that Bitcoin will rise to level 1. 272 Fibonacci extension or the high of $59,819.90. From the price action, BTC price has reached a high of $59,450 and has commenced a downward move.

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://insidebitcoins.com/news/bitcoin-btc-price-prediction-btc-usd-faces-rejection-thrice-at-the-60000-resistance-zone-resumes-downward-correction

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Dogecoin dumps following mention from Elon Musk on Saturday Night Live

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Meme cryptocurrency Dogecoin finally got its long-awaited shoutout on Saturday Night Live — but despite hodler hopes, the immediate result has been a violent dump.

First teased by entrepreneur and DOGE cheerleader Elon Musk in late April, the Tesla CEO finally mentioned the digital asset on live television tonight in his opening monologue of the sketch comedy show. The reference was a throwaway line from Musk’s mother, who joined him onstage and asked if her Mother’s Day gift would be Dogecoin; Musk replied that it would be. 

In the minutes afterwards, $DOGE dumped upwards of 25%, falling as low as $.50 from $.66 highs at the start of the show. It has since partially recovered, trading at $.52 at the time of publication.

An hour before the episode began, the price of DOGE sat at $.66, down from an all-time high of $.72. A pair of bearish headwinds may have shared responsibility for the pullback: Musk himself seemed to try and get ahead of the hype, urging followers in a Tweet to “invest with caution,” and a host of new data indicates that many investors may be rolling their DOGE profits into other, largecap digital assets

Additionally, Barry Silbert — the founder and CEO of Digital Currency Group, the parent company of crypto investment vehicle company Grayscale — announced a public short on DOGE via the FTX exchange. In a series of follow-up Tweets, he revealed that the position was $1 million in size, and that any proceeds or remaining funds after closing the short would be donated to charity. 

(It’s unclear if Silbert was is using “we” in reference to Digital Currency Group, one of its portfolio companies, or is simply and bizarrely using a plural pronoun in reference to himself). 

Many DOGE investors were nonetheless holding out hope for a high-profile shoutout on what looked to be a major pop culture event. NBC, the studio behind SNL, chose for the first time ever to live-stream the episode on Youtube, per the Wall Street Journal.

Even a mention could have significant impact on the price of DOGE as well: the meme currency has proven to be susceptible to price movements based on positive social media volume, and multiple studies have shown that Tweets from Musk often lead to price appreciation. A mention on an even bigger platform was thought to potentially lead to even greater gains. 

Leading into the premier of the episode, Alameda Research trader Sam Trabucco (who said in a previous Tweet that he was “studying the typical SNL episode structure to try and understand when a DOGE mention would be the most natural”) speculated that if a joke or mention didn’t come in Musk’s opening monologue, it would be “all over.”

Despite arriving during the monologue, traders nonetheless responded negatively. It remains to be seen if a DOGE-centric skit later in the show can perhaps turn the speculative asset’s fortunes around.

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/dogecoin-dumps-following-mention-from-elon-musk-on-saturday-night-live

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