Deutsche Bank Report Claims Demand for Crypto to Accelerate in the Next Decade

Banking giant Deutsche Bank has recently published its outlook for the decade ahead – the ‘Imagine 2030’ report – highlighting the dangers of the forces holding the fiat money system unravelling in the next decade, thus fostering the demand for crypto.

According the recent research report from Deutsche Bank, by 2030, the demand for alternative currencies will rise, with digital currencies eventually replacing fiat money.

Deutsche Bank strategist Jim Reid raised awareness, in the recent report, of the challenges the existing fiat system has encountered in recent years, specifically with the emergence of cryptocurrencies. He further claimed that people’s heightened demand for dematerialized means of payment and anonymity could lead to more individuals switching to digital currencies.

According to data provided by the banking giant, nearly two thirds of consumers prefer dematerialized to cash payments and a third are concerned about anonymity, two things unique to digital currencies.

Whilst digital currencies may not have gained as much traction as a means of payment despite their well-known benefits, such as security, speed, minimal transaction fees, ease of storage and relevance in the digital era, this may change in the next decade.

In the meantime, the researcher report noted that cryptocurrencies need to overcome three main hurdles in order to gain wider acceptance. Firstly, digital currencies must become legitimate in the eyes of governments and regulators, which requires bringing stability to the price as well as advantages to both consumers and merchants.

Secondly, cryptocurrencies must allow for global reach in the payment market. According to the report, this could be achieved by forging alliances with key stakeholders. For instance, mobile apps such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, card providers such as Visa and Mastercard, and retailers, such as Amazon and Walmart.

Last but not least, to realize a smooth transition to a fully digitalized platform, the financial system needs to be ready to overcome any kind of electricity shutdown or cyberattack. These are challenges that may arise with mainstream adoption and Reid pointed out that “as that occurs, the line between cryptocurrencies, financial institutions, and public and private sectors may become blurred.”

Deutsche Bank further noted in its research report how prone to inflation and unstable fiat money could be, further suggesting the possibility that inflation could become more embedded in our system and doubts will rise about the sustainability of fiat money.

“Politically it is always too tempting to create money when nothing is backing it. That this current fiat system has survived so long has required a fortuitous set of global forces across multiple decades that have created sizeable natural offsetting disinflationary forces,” they said.

Researchers estimate that by 2030 there could be 200m blockchain wallet users and digital currencies might eventually replace cash , granted that governments back cryptocurrencies, and consumers want them, and if current trends continue.

However, currently, political support remains far from clear. Buying and selling cryptocurrency in countries like China and India is still banned, with the former adopting a singularly hard stance of late.

Chinese Region Hainan to Invest 1 Billion Yuan to Foster Blockchain Development

China’s interest in the blockchain technology continues to grow and the Hainan Free Hainan Free Trade Zone (FTZ) committed to invest 1 billion Yuan to stimulate local businesses.

According to local news outlet Xinhua Net, Hainan’s dedicated economic pilot zone has pledged to foster businesses in the blockchain industry by incentivizing talent and promoting the technology’s implementation in sectors like housing, healthcare, tourism and trade.

Hainan is the first blockchain pilot zone and will be based in the Hainam Resort Software Community. According to Wang Jing, the head of the department, this is also the first pilot to be approved by the local government.

The fostering measures include a fund worth 1 billion yuan, approximately $142 million. The announcement sees Hainan fall in line with various other Chinese provinces which have confirmed financial support for blockchain in recent weeks and months.

In general, the Hainan Free Trade Zone is a pilot economic area established by President Xi Jinping in 2018. The plan set out to make the island a free trade zone by 2020 and eventually turn into a free port by 2025.

Blockchain continues to be a hot topic in China and for Chinese officials with endorsement of technology application. However, the Chinese government remains vigilant on trading activities, iterating their stance that trading needs to be monitored and sanctioned.

In a comprehensive plan to utilize blockchain technology and big data, the government aims to facilitate the development of secure and trusted data sharing and digital governance.

The Hainan zone has seen an influx of blockchain companies, including two major cryptocurrency exchanges in Huobi and OkEX. In total there are over 100 blockchain businesses that joined the Hainan Resort Software Community.

Among the latest funds to come from the local industry was a $140 million injection from OK Group, the parent company of trading platform OKCoin. Prior to that, the government of Guangzhou also said it would inject 1 billion Yuan into the industry.

FinTech Firm SoFi Receives BitLicense from NYDFS

San Francisco-based financial firm SoFi has announced that it was granted a BitLicense from the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS).

According to a press release, the fintech firm confirmed that the NYDFS granted a BitLicense, which would allow its users in the state of New York to trade digital currencies through its SoFi Digital Assets subsidiary.

The BitLicense acquisition comes just a couple of months after the firm launched in September its cryptocurrency trading services within its investment platform.

SoFi launched as a student loan refinancing platform and has ever since offered a varied portfolio of fintech services including online lending, such as student loans and mortgages. In addition to that, the platform also facilitates investing in other securities such as ETFs and stocks as well as robo-investing.

Following the announcement, SoFi will be authorized to support a total of six digital assets including Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Litecoin (LTC) and Stellar (XLM). SoFi’s cryptocurrency offering sits alongside other investment vehicles including stocks and ETFs on its SoFi Invest application, released earlier this year.

In addition to the BitLicense, SoFi has acquired another license – a money transmitter license, which will help the firm offer crypto trading service to its clients.

“After a rigorous application process, SoFi can now provide its members in the state of New York a trusted, secure platform to trade crypto,” stated SoFi in a press release.

Whilst sharing more details about the license, CEO SoFi Anthony Noto noted that the decision to pursue a BitLicense was a result from client demand:

“Putting our members’ interests first is our top priority at SoFi. That includes both offering individuals the products they want, like cryptocurrency within SoFi Invest, as well as protecting them, through a solid regulatory framework like that created by the New York State Department of Financial Services. We’re thrilled to now be able to offer the trading of cryptocurrency, in addition to active and automated investing, as part of SoFi Invest in New York State, in addition to the full suite of SoFi products that help our members borrow, save, spend, invest, and protect their money.”

Noto further added that the approval is proof to SoFi’s ongoing commitment to earning the trust of regulators and stakeholders as the platform tries to expand their line of services and products targeted at investors.

As it is known, a BitLicense serves a major business license for cryptocurrencies with a number of terms and conditions such as rules on operating with digital currencies, its control, administration, maintenance, storing and issuing, among others.

The California-based financial firm is now one of 24 crypto-related firms that have been granted a BitLicense since 2015, including exchanges like Gemini and trading operations like Tagomi. Earlier this year, NYDFS granted a BitLicense to two subsidiaries of crypto derivatives firm Seed CX — Seed Digital Commodities Market LLC and Zero Hash LLC.

CryptoBridge Trading Platform Shuts Down After Strict KYC is Implemented

CryptoBridge, a U.S.-based decentralized cryptocurrency exchange, has announced today that it will be ceasing all operations, citing several reasons that led to their decision.

The news was announced through an official notice on the exchange’s website, stating that the decision had been made as the exchange lacks the funds to further develop and maintain operations due to market conditions and increasing regulation.

The decentralized exchange accounted for around 320,000 visitors in October, with most coming in from Russia and Bulgaria, according to web analytics firm SimilarWeb. CryptoBridge shared that its vision was to provide a gateway to decentralized cryptocurrency trading and did everything in its power to save the ship from sinking but it seems it came up short.

According to the notice, all deposits will close tomorrow – December 3rd – and withdrawals will be processed after December 15th, adding that users have to withdraw their funds in the meantime. However, the exchange mandates that a KYC (know-your-customer) process is required by the EU laws for them to process withdrawals and it advices users to start the process as early as possible as verification can take up a few days.

CryptoBridge is known for its strict KYC requirement process to complete withdrawals. Notably, two months ago CryptoBridge forced KYC on its users, who were caught by surprise as the exchange had seemingly stolen their funds and forced a hostile KYC process.

At that time, the exchange claimed to have acted under the Fifth EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive, citing that it wanted to ensure that its users were not held responsible for any illegal intentions or money laundering activities.

Subsequently, this made users frustrated with the exchange as it had enforced KYC checks without any warning and were forced to reveal their identity in order to retrieve their funds. Following this, many users questioned whether the exchange was at all decentralized seeing as it now required KYC.

CryptoBridge isn’t the only exchange that had recently shut down. Coinexchange.io, a cryptocurrency exchange that has been running since 2016 also recently shut down, citing similar reasons as CryptoBridge.

Although CryptoBridge has some unique trading pairs, in the last 24 hours the exchange saw a volume of less than $75,000. Presumably, the forced KYC requirement was the last straw which led to more users leaving the exchange and further tanking its volume.

Meanwhile, the exchange noted as well that it will closing down all its social media accounts. However, a Twitter account seeming to be impersonating CryptoBridge, tweeted: “We are only temporarily shutting down. We will be opening a new and improved exchange.”

The exchange was reached for comments regarding these speculations, however hasn’t responded yet.

Germany: Proposed Bill Set to Introduce Cryptocurrencies at Local Banks

Cryptocurrencies might get the same treatment as fiat money in Germany. A newly introduced bill hints at authorities looking to allow German banks to sell cryptocurrencies and provide custody solutions.

According to local news agency Handelsblatt the new bill was proposed for voting in the Bundestag, the German parliament and has seen positive reception. Now, it requires consensus across the country’s 16 federal states to be successfully implemented.

As it stands, banks and financial institutions are restricted from allowing transactions related to cryptocurrencies for clients. The proposed legislation, if approved, will make a monumental difference for cryptocurrency availability in the country.

If the states agree upon the legislation, German citizens will be able to buy and hold Bitcoin, Ethereum, along other cryptocurrencies directly with their banks. The whole spectrum of banking services might be available for cryptocurrencies as well.

Banks have been eager to get into the cryptocurrency industry as the interest for digital currencies seems to be mounting both from consumers as well as governments and corporations. The bill is set to be implemented in 2020, as Handelsblatt outlines:

“​​Starting in 2020, financial institutions will be able to offer their customers online banking, virtually at the touch of a button, along with classic securities such as stocks and bonds, as well as cryptocurrencies.”

The new legislation has seen wide support and enthusiasm from the domestic industry. The Association of German Banks — a major lobbying group representing over 200 financial institutions — is a huge advocate of the bill, arguing that established financial institutions have the experience and risk mechanisms in place to safeguard client assets.

In October, the Association released a paper arguing that the European economy may benefit from a programmable digital euro.

At the same time, there have been mixed signals towards cryptocurrencies from various governments. The Bundestag has recently shared an opinion that cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are not real money, citing their volatility and allegedly limited use for payments. Concurrently, nation states have been quick to dampen the development of Facebook’s stablecoin, fearing a potential disruption of the existing monetary system.

The European Central Bank has also been stringent on digital currencies, stating that global stablecoin payments raise potential risks across a broad range of policy domains, which is the primary objective of a central bank.