We live in an age of exploding technology and radically changing international relations. Nothing shows the intersection of these two worlds more than the recent news that champion boxer Manny Pacquiao has tokenized himself.
Pacquiao made the announcement last week before a crowd of fans in Manilla. The new cryptocurrency, aptly called the ‘pac’, allows fans to purchase merchandise directly from the Philippine boxer, and also interact with him directly.
Pacquiao is the first to officially tokenize himself, in a matter of terms, by offering a participatory share in his personal value. By connecting his own boxing career to his fan base in a peer-to-peer structure, Pacquiao has linked technology with his own fame. But he is certainly not the first celebrity to dip his toe into cryptocurrencies.
For example, Floyd Mayweather Jr., himself a boxer and rival to Pacquiao, heavily promoted CentraCoin—a debit based cryptocurrency project. However, the coin was eventually shuttered after the SEC brought fraud charges against the founders.
Others have also suggested a future self-tokenization. Of particular note, English soccer star Michael Owen has suggested that he will also take the plunge of tokenization. He will do so through the same platform as Pacquiao—the GCOX Group.
The news of celebrities beginning to offer their own self-promoting cryptocurrencies brings clear attention to the realities that are facing the technology as a whole. As blockchain technology and cryptocurrency grows in influence and support, the market continues to find new and interesting ways to tokenize.
Celebrities are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to tokenization. Everything from real estate to stocks have been suggested as token-worthy, with platforms popping up all over the place to offer such opportunities.
For example, platforms like currency.com have begun to offer tokenized opportunities in securities in global stock exchanges like Belarus and Cyprus. However, the company is also able to offer tokens on the platform that mirror the movement of other securities, like Apple or Google stock.
The movement of companies of this type simply highlights the growing influence of blockchain technology on the market. However, with all this growth, the underlying technological question remains—who will provide the necessary infrastructure to make such tokenized schemes work? The answer comes in the form of technology-centric companies.
Platforms to the rescue?
The need for greater and more robust blockchain offerings is only made clearer by the growing tokenization trend. Few of those pursuing such schemes are savvy enough with technology to produce their own tokens or coins.
This leaves them with just a few options in the market for dealing with the missing technology base. However, some companies have begun to offer just this type of service for their clients.
Take, for example, CPI Tech, a Germany-based firm dedicated to offering the blockchain technology solutions that tokenization platforms need. Designed by blockchain specialists, the firm offers plug-and-play solutions to businesses seeking to participate in the tokenization explosion.
By offering technology solutions, CPI Tech and a few others like them have taken the stress and worry out of tokenizing assets. Such a platform allows companies, businesses, asset holders, and founders to connect directly into the necessary IT solutions that allow for almost immediate tokenization of a host of assets.
The potential that firms of this type create should be obvious. By removing the IT barrier of entry that tokenization requires, these types of solutions make participation in the new wave of asset growth simple and easy.
Clearly the movement toward a B2B technology offering has created a new and better way for firms and asset holders to tokenize assets. But as the movement of blockchain technology continues to grow, the sky is, apparently, the limit.
With tokenized assets, investors are able to own a small share of a variety of assets, all through tokens. This creates the possibility of diversification that falls outside the scope of normal securities markets. Investors can now diversify in any asset that has been tokenized, from boxers to rental properties and back again.
As the world of celebrities and the world of technology collide, one thing remains quite certain. The trend that Pacquiao and the like have started shows no signs of slowing down.
Getting Out Of The Regulatory Woods In China And The Crypto “Aha” Moment: Changelly’s Eric Benz On The Latest In The World Of Crypto
- We’ve once again sat down with Changelly CEO and all-around tech oracle Eric Benz, for some inside baseball.
- First up is China, where the government crackdown has continued to the tune of shutting down five exchanges based in the country.
With more storm clouds gathering in Asia and the French government announcing that the country’s central bank will be dipping its toes into the proverbial crypto waters, we’ve once again sat down with Changelly CEO and all-around tech oracle Eric Benz, for some inside baseball. First up is China, where the government crackdown has continued to the tune of shutting down five exchanges based in the country. Next we asked Benz to weigh in on France’s recently announced plans to test out a digital euro, and, finally, we will head back to Asia to get Benz’s thoughts on SoftBank’s proposed crypto wallet and the waves it could make in the industry.
China Tightens Screws On Exchanges, Five More Down
What people have to keep in mind when processing news like this, according to Benz, is that when it comes to crypto and China, nothing is set in stone. “Regarding crypto, China is like that land of the Cimmerians in the Odyssey; it is perpetually darkened by clouds of regulatory confusion. Sometimes the winds blow one way, and it’s pro crypto and it’s great news, but the next day a stunning — to those who haven’t been observing the China/crypto relationship for some time — turnaround will occur undoing all the progress made.”
Benz highlighted the embrace of crypto that Chinese president Xi Jinping has seemed to have made in the past few months: “China is one of the most influential countries when it comes to crypto sentiment, which you can see in the effect that the president’s “warming up” towards digital assets has had over the past few months. Even just the perception that blockchain and crypto had been sanctioned by the president sent tidal waves through the global economy.”
Even though many have read doom in the recent regulatory tightening and exchange closures, Benz has an altogether different take on it, seeing all the recent activity as something that could end up being a big net-positive for the industry as a whole. “With China, and from a wider perspective with crypto in general, we are in a maturation period. As with any other industry, when you experience the kind of growth we’re having and the adoption that is happening, it puts regulators in a bit of a bind. China has, in effect, announced that it is “open for crypto business,” but in order for business to really start picking up speed there, first they are trying to establish broad regulations so that everything is under control. The entities the Chinese government has found to be non-compatible with its regulatory vision are being shut down, but those who align with that vision remain active and open for trading.”
“At the moment it is a bit of a lottery for those looking to find a good crypto exchange in China, but I expect that the situation will settle in time, as the regulatory vision becomes more concrete and, thereby, easier to comply with. China is attempting to establish itself as a main player on the global crypto scene and only time will tell how this develops.”
France To Pull The Trigger On Digital Euro In 2020
Moving from East to West, we trade in the dark forest of Chinese uncertainty for the clearer climes of France. Benz is enthusiastic about the central bank’s decision to go ahead with its own digital currency, taking it as a good sign of things to come and of the progress that has already been made by such a young industry. “If you were to tell me 7 years ago that central banks would be piloting digital currencies I would have thought you were crazy. Here we are though in 2019 and governments globally are building their own blockchain solutions and making plans to deploy central bank backed digital currencies (CBDC).”
Benz sees the increasing openness of banking institutions towards crypto as an acknowledgement of the fundamental change that is occurring, and which can be felt in a multitude of ways, noting, “the idea behind what a bank actually represents and how we interact with them is completely different now than what it was 40 years ago. In years past, banks were always represented as the biggest buildings on the block, pristine and above the fray, with the shiny marble floors and the white pillars. That is all changing now, as banks are being forced to rethink their place in the financial equation. People require different things now than they have in the past.”
Benz went on to explain that because businesses and individuals have different needs and capabilities, financial institutions are being forced to evolve. The elegance of the marble-columned bank is being forced to render its place to the financial institution that can provide an easy to use and effective mobile application. “Technological development is changing the face of finance, with banks trying as best they can to keep pace with the change and avoid redundancy and outgrowing their use. As the Central Bank of France prepares to release their CBDC in 2020, I would only hope this initiative acts to further inspire the growth and adoption of blockchain and crypto technologies.”
Japanese Titan To Introduce Crypto To 22 Million Overnight
With massive Japanese holding company SoftBank about to launch a new crypto wallet card, Benz sees it as the latest example of a company experiencing the crypto “aha” moment, something that he believes to be inevitable for finance in general. Benz himself was involved in launching one of the first crypto cards back in 2013, a project that was considered quite revolutionary. At that time — a mere six years ago — people couldn’t wrap their heads around it as a meaningful financial solution. “But,” he says, “fast forward to 2019 and exchanges, wallets and businesses globally are now offering crypto card products.”
According to Benz, more and more people are beginning to see the light: “I have been saying it for years and it continues to ring true; the more on-ramps and off-ramps provided in and out of crypto the bigger the ecosystem will become and the faster the technology will be adopted. Adoption comes as a result of consumer influence meeting true societal needs. Corporations, financial institutions and governments across the board are beginning to have that “aha” moment, and, from there, more infrastructure is being built, more ways are being developed for people to get involved and for this technology to flourish.”
As CEO of Changelly, Benz has been engaged in the struggle to advance blockchain technology and realize its capabilities for some time now. In doing this, “ease is the essence,” according to the man in charge, who notes that his company is at the frontlines of making crypto accessible to everyone. “From day 1 Changelly has worked tirelessly to see that crypto was available to everyone in a simple, sustainable way. Now, as we stand on the threshold of our 5th year in action, this is still our priority. We pride ourselves in being able to provide our customers, partners and people from all over the world with the easiest and fastest way of purchasing and swapping cryptocurrency.”
That about does it for us this week. Thank you for reading! We hope that the positive developments we covered this week will turn into a trend.
Till next time,
EToroX – A Convenient Way To Access Crypto Markets
What is eToroX? It’s the crypto and blockchain arm of the eToro group, which also counts among its services the eToro Trading Platform, a Fintech social trading platform for trading and investing in crypto and stocks, commodities, indicis as CFDs and tokenized FOREX trading. eToro Group has been around since 2007. The eToro Group has regulated entities in Cyprus, UK, USA, Australia, and South Africa. eToroX is established in Gibraltar and licensed by the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission (GFSC) as a Distributed Ledger Technology provider under its Financial Services Regulations. Initially, eToro was established on the idea of giving access to financial markets to everyone, not only to ultra wealthy investors, and introduce the concept of social trading to people. eToro social trading means that anyone can copy the trades of successful traders and make profit on it. Now, expanding this idea, eToroX allows the trading of cryptoassets from anywhere in the world. The eToro platform has more than 11 million registered users. How well do they perform during this crypto winter?
Retail investors don’t care about cryptowinter
Since 2018, the amount of registered accounts on eToro increased from 9 to 10 million. Also it’s worth noting that the number of its users tripled during the last 4 years, as in 2014, when Bitcoin trading was launched, the platform had only 3 million customers. This means that more and more people want to become part of the global financial market. eToro Group has a goal to give an affordable access to everyone as opening an account is free. Novice traders who want to open the account shouldn’t have any problems with the interface, as the registration process is intuitive. After your account has been verified, you can start trading on your own or subscribe to other successful traders to copy their deals.
The variety is everything that they need
It seems that eToroX as an exchange does not suffer from the decline in prices of Bitcoin and other crypto assets. The amount of its users grows over time, even while the volume of all major exchanges fell 40% this year. At the same time, the futures volume of institutional Bakkt exchange grows a lot lately. eToro Trading Platform also specializes in futures markets, and even though they don’t disclose their volume, they should feel the same effect.
eToroX offers unique variety of cryptoassets:
- The most popular cryptocurrencies, including BTC, XRP, ETH, BCH, LTC, XLM, DASH
- Popular stablecoins, such as USDT and USDC
- Digitized fiat currencies (Chinese Yuan, South African Rand, Canadian Dollar, Japanese Yen, Russian Ruble, Euro, Pound Sterling and many more)
- Digitized precious metals (Gold, Silver)
This variety of assets can satisfy even the most demanding trader. The authorities are also satisfied with the activities of the exchange. The eToroX platform is fully licensed by the GFSC, which is pretty hard to achieve for a financial organization in the DLT sector. That means that eToroX follows the nine principles established by the GFSC, including honesty and integrity, customer care, risk management, cybersecurity and protection of client assets.
The eToroX platform is highly secure, keeps all data of its customers encrypted and uses a dedicated secured mechanism to prevent CSRF attacks. It limits login attempts, preventing brute force attacks, and supports whitelisting some attributes, such as IP address, and 2FA. eToroX has a bug bounty program and its own 24/7 security operation center. All assets are stored in the isolated environments. In other words, every part of it is secured by design, so traders shouldn’t bother that their personal data could leak to some fraudsters.
Crypto exchanges should feel themselves fine on any market – when people buy or sell, they still pay fees for trades, that means that exchanges make money on that. The blockchain and crypto industry isn’t as hot anymore as it was in 2017, but it has matured since then. eToroX is the venue of the most well-respected companies in Fintech industry, and their approach to introduce as many people to trading to give them the key to improve their financial state is admirable. They even have launched the GoodDollar initiative to reduce global wealth inequality by using principles of universal basic income, and donated money to this initiative. That means that by using the eToroX platform, you also participate indirectly in this program. eToroX has all in one – an exchange and its own regulated crypto wallet, available on Google Play and the App Store, so it’s not necessary to look for something else if you are a novice trader.
Crypto Firms Take Note: New York Regulator Wants to Change Up BitLicense Rules
In New York, the BitLicense business licensing rules have proven to be the bane of more than a few cryptocurrency firms over time. That reality has led to there being little support for the BitLicense in some circles of the space.
That’s why many eyes widened in the crypto arena on December 11th when the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS), the state of New York’s top financial watchdog revealed it was proposing some key changes to the BitLicense rules that, if enacted, would change how crypto enterprises approach supporting specific coins in the state going forward.
In the past, the NYDFS has worked with crypto exchanges and crypto ATM operators on an individual basis to rather painstakingly approve each enterprises’ coin listings one by one. Under the regulator’s new proposed rules, two key changes would be made to this system.
Changes May Be Coming, But Are They For the Better?
The first change would be the creation of a list of cryptocurrencies that have been approved by the NYDFS to be supported by any BitLicense holders in the state, so long as notice of listing is provided; this modification would mitigate the watchdog from having to go through one-by-one approval processes in many cases.
Moreover, the second change would involve the NYDFS creating a “proposed model framework” for “company coin-listing policies” that the agency would expect firms in the state to generally adhere to.
“An existing licensee [would] tailor the model framework to its own operations and risk profile and submit a proposed coin-listing policy for DFS approval,” the watchdog said.
These two principle alterations to the BitLicense rules are accordingly up for public comment until late January 2020, though it remains to be seen how stakeholders in the state will respond to these proposed changes. In explaining why these changes were being put forth, NYDFS Superintendent Linda Lacewell said:
“New York is the center of both innovation and consumer protection, and the Department must strive to deliver speed to market and continually adapt to keep pace as the financial services industry continues to rapidly evolve. This is an important first step in our review of our virtual currency regime and is designed to make it easier for those who have obtained a New York license to periodically add new coins to their existing products.”
To date, only 18 companies have been awarded the BitLicense since the regulatory system began in earnest in 2015. These firms are Circle, Ripple, bitFlyer, Coinbase, NYDIG, Coinsource, BitPay, Square, Xapo, Genesis, SoFi, Zero Hash SXCM, Bitstamp, Tagomi, Cottonwood, LibertyX, and Robinhood.
In her Wednesday remarks, Superintendent Lacewell noted these companies will carry over their existing BitLicenses even if the aforementioned regulatory regime modifications are implemented.
America’s Crypto Rules Leave Much to Be Desired
Since being enacted, New York’s BitLicense system has gained a reputation for being the most onerous state-level crypto industry legislation in the U.S.
Comprehensive federal crypto laws may arrive in the future that would supersede the BitLicense’s state-level authority, but such legislation has failed to materialize for now. That dynamic leaves the BitLicense as a prime example of the patchwork regulatory system that currently hinders the U.S. crypto sector.
For example, instead of having comprehensive rules to play by in all 50 U.S. states, crypto firms wanting to operate in America currently have to tailor their operations on a state by state basis, which is meticulous and calls for considerably tougher restrictions in some states compared to others.
With that said, the NYDFS will continue to do what it thinks is best for its constituents, and it’s the agency’s prerogative and mandate to do so. Yet one can help but wonder if the entire American crypto ecosystem would be better off with a single top-down regulatory framework that would mitigate the need for a state-level BitLicense regime altogether.