Last month, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency drafted a Joint Statement on Crypto-Asset Policy Sprint Initiative and Next Steps. In its introduction, the paper acknowledged that the “crypto-asset sector presents potential opportunities… for banking organizations, customers, and the overall financial system.” It continued by noting the importance of agencies providing clarity and guidance, particularly to “promote safety and soundness, consumer protection, and compliance with applicable laws and regulations, including anti-money laundering and illicit finance statutes and rules.”
“It’s been a long time coming, but our regulators seem to finally see the urgency in developing a rulebook for the digital assets space. It is interesting, if not particularly remarkable, that they highlight the need is for banking organizations. But the industry, as a whole, has needed standardization for quite some time, including in the area of AML. Even if it took pressure from the banking industry, it will be a welcome change for the industry. It is definitely a win,” said Richard Gardner, CEO of Modulus, a US-based developer of ultra-high-performance trading and surveillance technology that powers global equities, derivatives, and digital asset exchanges.
“We’ve gotten to a point, given that central banks are now racing to release their own digital currencies, that regulators understand they need a more nuanced approach than a simple ban. They can’t ban it. Blockchain is too powerful. They can’t wish it away. Digital assets are here for the long-haul. Now, they’re faced with the task of protecting the general welfare while ensuring that industry can function and take advantage of everything the new innovations offer,” said Gardner. “One thing that most regulators can agree on, even if they’re not saying it, is that they don’t want to cede the power of the blockchain to other countries, particularly their adversaries. This is about more than Bitcoin. This is about the future of the financial system. Countries which attempt to ban, rather than embrace, new technologies will be left behind.”
The statement notes that “[t]hroughout 2022, the agencies plan to provide greater clarity on whether certain activities related to crypto-assets conducted by banking organizations are legally permissible, and expectations for safety and soundness, consumer protection, and compliance with existing laws and regulations related to: [c]rypto-asset safekeeping and traditional custody services [and a]ncillary custody services.
“Functionally, this could be a sign that we’re moving beyond looking primarily at AML and to the industry more generally. Consider the specific mention of custody, a part of the industry which has raised its share of questions. For example, one of the leading providers in the industry has been named in a lawsuit which alleges that they are responsible for the loss of $70 million in digital assets. $70 million in losses is far from buttoned up. I think that regulators are going to have to recognize that custodians have an even greater role in the trading of digital assets as compared to dealing in more traditional assets,” said Gardner.
Modulus is known throughout the financial technology segment as a leader in the development of ultra-high frequency trading systems and blockchain technologies. Modulus has provided its exchange solution to some of the industry’s most profitable digital asset exchanges, including a well-known multi-billion-dollar cryptocurrency exchange. Over the past twenty years, the company has built technology for the world’s most notable institutions, with a client list which includes NASA, NASDAQ, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Barclays, Siemens, Shell, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Cornell University, and the University of Chicago.
“Headlines like that, $70 million in losses, whether due to incompetence or malfeasance, it doesn’t inspire confidence. And this is an industry which deserves the full confidence of mainstream investors. The technology is worthwhile, and, indeed, it is slated to change the way the world interacts with money. In order to get to that point, we must insist on service providers which prioritize safety and security,” opined Gardner.
$430 Million Worth of Bitcoin Traded Amidst CBN’s Restrictions
Paxful has said it has 1.5 million cryptocurrency traders/investors in Nigeria despite the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) restrictions.
Paxful, one of the major peer-to-peer (P2P) cryptocurrency exchange platforms in the world with a strong presence in Nigeria and Africa as a whole, has said it has 1.5 million cryptocurrency traders/investors in Nigeria despite the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) restrictions.
According to the exchange platform, Nigerians have traded over $1.5 billion in cryptocurrency volume on the platform up until 2021. This, the company said Bitcoin accounted for $420 million, adding that the number jumped by 23% between February 2021 and March 2021. Just after the CBN restricted banks from facilitating cryptocurrency payments for traders and investors in Nigeria.
Last year February, the central bank of Nigeria made a statement saying “Further to earlier regulatory directives on the subject, the bank hereby wishes to remind regulated institutions that dealing in cryptocurrencies or facilitating payments for cryptocurrency exchange is prohibited.”
However, Paxful revealed that;
“Nigeria is leading in cryptocurrency, and we expect this growth to only continue. To share some stats:
- Nigeria is our largest market, with 1.5 million users and over $1.5 billion volume to date (since 2015)
- Compared to last year – we are on pace to have 23% more bank transfer trades in Nigeria on the platform than last year
- Compared to last year – we are on pace to have 36% more bank transfer volume in Nigeria on the platform than last year
- Looking at YoY data from end of June 2020/2021, we see increases in Bitcoin trading volumes of 57% in Nigeria
- Looking at YoY data from end of June 2020/2021, we see increases in user numbers of 83% in Nigeria
- To date, in 2021, we’ve seen over $430M in USD traded in BTC alone in Nigeria
- From Feb 2021 to March 2021 (after CBN restrictions were placed), trade volume increased over 23% on Paxful in Nigeria
- As of April 2021, Bitcoin P2P trading in Nigeria has surged by 27% since restrictions were introduced by CBN”
Asides from Paxful, there are other P2P platforms that focus on buying and selling bitcoins and other digital currencies in Nigeria.
Binance, Bybit, Kucoin, etc are some of the known cryptocurrency exchange platforms in Nigeria, one of the largest participating nations. However, there are no available figures to authenticate their transaction volume or value like Paxful.
Since the CBN restricted banks from dealing in cryptocurrencies, Nigerians now rely on P2P platforms like Paxful, Binance and others for their cryptocurrency transactions.
Cryptocurrency Crash: It’s Not All Doom and Gloom
Research into cryptocurrency capital inflows has shown that about $140 billion is sitting in four of the leading stablecoins.
Despite the cryptocurrency crash and rising global uncertainty, research into cryptocurrency capital inflows has shown that about $140 billion is sitting in four of the leading stablecoins as institutional investors that have been backing the cryptocurrency space in recent months assess happenings.
Capital inflow into dollar-pegged Tether’s USDT, Circle’s USDC, Binance’s BUSD, and MarkerDAO’s DAI has risen from $7 billion in the last 2 years to $147 billion in 2022, suggesting that cryptocurrency investors are not withdrawing their funds or converting to U.S. Dollar but sitting on the sideline for possible re-entry.
“The amount of money sitting on the digital sideline has never been greater and points to an abundance of patient investors ready to pounce on discounted digital assets,” Stated Digital Asset Investment Management (DAIM) analysts. “That means the ecosystem has an additional $140 billion ready to be deployed into bitcoin and altcoins.”
According to Louis Schoeman, managing director at broker comparison site Forex Suggest, we are currently experiencing the biggest crypto crash in history, with the crypto Fear and Greed index having slipped into “extreme fear” category.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Coins such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and Solana gained in their prices in the last 24 hours. Equity markets, too, recorded some gains including Nasdaq, the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average.
“It’s worth noting that various coins including Bitcoin were heavily inflated in a bubble over the last 2 years, so a crash of this enormity was bound to happen. With investors dumping assets in response to high inflation and the semi-collapse of the Celsius network driving the downward spiral, I think only the best fundamentally strong crypto projects will survive this bear market, as is proving to be.
This is a cleansing process of note as we believe between 80% – 90% of the crypto projects will not survive this period especially if Bitcoin falls below $20,000 again.
But, it also serves as a massive opportunity for many no-coiners to enter the crypto market for the 1st time ever.
Fortune favours the brave in crypto right now.”
Binance, the World’s Largest Cryptocurrency Exchange, is 5 Years Old Today
Binance, the world’s leading blockchain ecosystem and cryptocurrency infrastructure provider, is celebrating its 5th anniversary by eliminating trading fees on a wide range of bitcoin spot trading pairs.
Binance, the world’s leading blockchain ecosystem and cryptocurrency infrastructure provider, is celebrating its 5th anniversary by eliminating trading fees on a wide range of bitcoin spot trading pairs. While Binance has long maintained one of the lowest spot trading fees in the industry, it is establishing itself as the global leader in pricing with this latest move.
From July 8, users will be able to enjoy fee-free trading on thirteen stablecoin and fiat combinations including BTC/USDT, BTC/BUSD, BTC/USDC, BTC/EUR, BTC/TRY, and more. The new trading fees will be in effect until further notice, allowing Binance users globally to enjoy the fee-free feeling beyond the two weeks of anniversary celebrations.
Binance Founder and CEO “CZ” (Changpeng Zhao) said: “In line with our user-first philosophy, Binance has always strived to provide the most competitive fees in the industry. At its core, Binance is an inclusive platform with accessibility in mind. Eliminating the trading fees on selected BTC spot trading pairs is another move towards that direction.”
“Within the span of five years, Binance has amassed an amazing community that believes in us and supports our vision. Our growth and achievements would not have been possible without them. We hope to give back to the community by providing them with the world’s best products and services,” added CZ.
Binance launched in July 2017 as a crypto-to-crypto exchange and within six months, became the world’s largest crypto exchange. Today, Binance is a global blockchain ecosystem spanning across trading services, infrastructure solutions, educational resources, research, social good and charitable programs, investment and incubation initiatives, and more. By providing access to broad financial tools while maintaining one of the lowest fees in the business, Binance is making crypto accessible to everyone in Africa and beyond.
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