The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has urged El Salvador to drop Bitcoin, the world’s most dominant cryptocurrency, as a legal tender over rising concerns about “financial stability, financial integrity, and consumer protection.”
The Executive Board of the Fund said in a report released on Tuesday after it concluded the Article IV consultation with El Salvador.
The report said “Directors agreed on the importance of boosting financial inclusion and noted that digital means of payment—such as the Chivo e-wallet—could play this role.
“However, they emphasized the need for strict regulation and oversight of the new ecosystem of Chivo and Bitcoin. They stressed that there are large risks associated with the use of Bitcoin on financial stability, financial integrity, and consumer protection, as well as the associated fiscal contingent liabilities.
“They urged the authorities to narrow the scope of the Bitcoin law by removing Bitcoin’s legal tender status. Some Directors also expressed concern over the risks associated with issuing Bitcoin-backed bonds.”
The board, however, said while the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted a decade of growth, “El Salvador is rebounding quickly.” The economy contracted by 7.9% in 2020 and is projected to grow by about 10% in 2021 and 3.2% in 2022, the board said.
“Against this backdrop, public debt vulnerabilities emerged,” the board said. “Persistent fiscal deficits and high debt service are leading to large and increasing financing needs.”
El Salvador became the first country to accept bitcoin as legal tender in 2021 despite the uncertainty surrounding the unregulated coin and the entire crypto space. The government gave $30 in free bitcoins to citizens who signed up for its national digital wallet, known as “Chivo,” or “cool” in English, to deepen its adoption.
However, with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies falling with the United States plans to raise interest rates in 2022, the country and citizens that invested in the digital currency could be in trouble.
Bitcoin Plunges Below $30k as Cryptocurrency Market Recovers from Bearish Trend
Bitcoin still remains the number 1 crypto asset in the market with a market dominance of 44.57%
Bitcoin (BTC), the world’s most dominant cryptocurrency, pared losses to trade at $29,844.20 a coin as the global cryptocurrency market recorded a surge of 4.87% over the last 24 hours.
The asset recorded gains of 0.57% in the last 24 hours but dropped 9.26% in the last seven days. The live market capitalisation of the asset is pegged at $564,744,032,506 USD, while the 24-hour trading volume of the coin stands at $31,166,243,069 USD.
While the global crypto market is recovering from the bearish trend that gripped LUNA Coin and other assets last week, only a few top cryptocurrencies have shown signs of recovery.
Bitcoin, which is one of the top-performing cryptocurrencies, hit a 24-hour low of $29,412.58 and a 24-hour high of $31,308.19.
However, the fundamentals show that some investors are holding on to their BTC. One of them is value investor, Bill Miller, who is still bullish about Bitcoin despite recent price declines.
The founder of Miller Value Partners told CNBC that he still owns lots of Bitcoin amid market volatility, noting that he is confident about the prospects of the asset.
Meanwhile, President Nayib Bukele of El Salvador has announced that a meeting of 44 countries to discuss Bitcoin and financial inclusion will hold on Tuesday, May 17.
Bitcoin’s popularity soared after El Salvador’s adopted the coin as legal tender. The meeting is expected to highlight the benefits of using Bitcoin.
”Tomorrow, 32 central banks and 12 financial authorities (44 countries) will meet in El Salvador to discuss financial inclusion, digital economy, banking the unbanked, the #Bitcoin rollout, and its benefits in our country,’’ Nayib Bukele said.
However, despite the popularity enjoyed by Bitcoin, the network has come under criticism over its proof-of-work (PoW) consensus algorithm which is energy-consuming.
The PoW consensus algorithm, which validates Bitcoin transactions, relies on computers run non-stop to verify transactions and create new blocks for the network, a process known as mining. Over the years the number of computers doing this work has also steadily risen, leading to huge energy consumption.
Sam Bankman-Fried, the CEO of the fast-growing crypto exchange FTX, recently highlighted this concern when he stated that Bitcoin is not a suitable payments network.
To be clear I also said that it _does_ have potential as a store of value. The BTC network can’t sustain thousands/millions of TPS, although BTC can be xfered on lightning/L2s/etc,” he told he told the Financial Times via a tweet.
Professional Investors Expect Major Improvements in the Regulatory Environment for the Crypto/Digital Asset Market
72% of wealth managers, pension funds and other institutional investors expect the regulatory environment for crypto/digital to improve and become more constructive over the next two years
According to new research from London-based Nickel Digital Asset Management (Nickel), Europe’s largest regulated and award-winning digital assets hedge fund manager founded by senior traders and investment professionals formerly from major financial institutions including Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan, 72% of wealth managers, pension funds and other institutional investors expect the regulatory environment for crypto/digital to improve and become more constructive over the next two years. Nickel commissioned research with 200 professional investors from across seven countries who collectively manage around $329 billion in assets.
The study reveals 23% expect no change in the regulatory environment, and just 7% anticipate it will deteriorate.
Some 62% of professional investors expect Germany and the UAE to take a huge leap forward as market leaders in the crypto/digital asset space because of their proactive stance in developing a constructive and robust framework for the crypto/digital asset sector. However, this is likely to lead to other major countries following their lead as they fear missing out – this is the view of 63% of professional investors surveyed.
In terms of when professional investors believe financial regulators will agree a global framework for crypto/digital assets, 23% expect it to happen this year, 29% in 2023 and 28% in 2024, with the remainder anticipating it will take longer.
Overall, as regulation of the crypto/digital asset market develops, 20% of professional investors believe it will be a catalyst for a dramatic increase in wealth managers, pension funds and other institutional investors increasing their allocation to crypto and digital assets. A further 36% believe it will lead to a slight increase in their allocation.
Henry Howell, Head of Business Development, Nickel Digital, said: “We are only at the very beginning of the digital asset sector, and the most exciting developments have yet to happen. Record inflows of venture capital in 2021, continued product innovation at the blockchain level and ongoing adoption of the largest players in traditional finance all point to growth of the already multi-trillion-dollar asset class.”
Bitcoin Dip Moves With External Elements
Yesterday, Bitcoin dropped below $30,000 before recovering a portion of those losses. The selloff has been part of a multi-day slide that goes well beyond Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. The three major American stock exchanges also closed Monday with losses, including with the S&P 500 dropping to its lowest point in more than twelve months. Thursday, the Dow Jones and NASDAQ both posted their worst single days since 2020.
“As Bitcoin continues to track similar movements with the stock market, particularly tech stocks, the correlation gets continuously clearer. While that may not bode well for arguments that cryptocurrencies are still inflation hedges, it does indicate that they have value in their own right,” 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.
“It is important to see this slide in its full context. Inflation is staggering, the war in Eastern Europe rages on, and there’s a great deal of uncertainty and fear in the markets. However, while Bitcoin is making the headlines, there’s unfortunate news for most financial vehicles,” noted Gardner.
“The Australian and Canadian dollars have taken a hit, and oil just dropped 6% in one day — in part because there are worries that Covid-19 lockdowns in China may continue to affect economic activity,” Gardner said.
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.
“Bitcoin continues to track with tech stocks. The issue isn’t industry related. We’re seeing selloffs across the markets. Consumer confidence is low, inflation is up, and fear is high,” Gardner said.
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