What has been happening around Blockchain Technology and Cryptocurrencies this week? The most relevant local and international developments as well as appealing background reports in a pointed and compact way in retrospect in our weekly review.
Last week, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva gave a speech entitled “A New Bretton Woods Moment”. Georgieva stated that governments need to work together to revive the global economy after suffering badly from the pandemic. She cites the Bretton Woods System of 1944, which was a historic change in the world economic system. Shortly after the Second World War, centralized rules for currency management were established between Australia, Japan, the United States, Canada and a number of Western European countries. For this purpose, institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) were created. While the latter had the function of accelerating reconstruction after World War II and supporting economic development, the IMF was to assist the stability of exchange rates and financial transactions. Georgieva’s renewed call for an expanded Bretton Woods Moment has worried advocates of a free market economy. In addition to an acceleration of monetary devaluation, there are also fears of an increasing loss of monetary sovereignty. Future possibilities for central banks to create and distribute money directly via CBDCs not only left open questions of stability, but also additional privacy concerns. It was also argued that the link to the Corona pandemic was not entirely conclusive.
Although crypto currencies can be used as a digital means of payment in some cases, there is a lack of widespread usage. Apart from regulatory hurdles, the general introduction of digital currencies has traditionally been hampered by their limited utility as a means of exchange due to the volatility, costs and speed of transactions. Paypal now counteracts this shortcoming. Although the solution is a hybrid concept; a purchase made with a crypto currency is exchanged into FIAT, the addition of a crypto payment option covering 26 million merchants is a major achievement. 300 million consumers within the PayPal network will thus have access to crypto currencies in the near future. Initially Paypal will offer its US customers the possibility to buy, hold, sell and use different crypto currencies. Besides Bitcoin Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin are supported. The acceptance of crypto currencies by PayPal will substantially advance a broader adaptation. The announcement is also remarkable from a regulatory point of view and represents a further step towards the merger of the decentralized and the financial services industry. The regulatory environment with regard to the offering of trade and services with digital assets is not uniformly regulated. The future opportunity for U.S. consumers to gain easy access to crypto currencies via a widespread payment application is, in addition to the surprising announcement in July of a nationwide license for U.S.-based banks to offer safekeeping services for crypto currencies, an important step towards the recognition of crypto currencies as a means of payment and a store of value.
The integration of digital assets into traditional banking can also be observed in Switzerland. The private bank Maerki Baumann & Co. AG and the transaction bank InCore Bank AG are among the pioneers of a new banking era. Last spring, the two banks received approval from the Swiss Financial Market Authority (FINMA) for trading, custody, transfer and creation of digital assets. In an interview with the CEOs Dr. Stephan A. Zwahlen and Mark Dambacher, the merging of the new and old financial world is highlighted.
The importance of clear regulation and compliance is reflected in the case of the OKEx exchange. After the Bitmex case, the arrest of one of the founders of the OKEx exchange has brought another trading place into the focus of justice. The Malta-based exchange is a heavyweight in Bitcoin’s trading landscape and, together with Huobi and Binance, is one of the world’s largest crypto trading places. The arrest led to a temporary suspension of withdrawals and separated tens of thousands of users from their crypto assets held on the exchange.
In addition, the Dolder Grand Hotel above Zurich now has a crypto ATM. For some time already overnight accomodation, meals, beverages as well as Spa Treatments can be paid with Bitcoin. From now on also Crypto currencies can be bought and sold on the spot with the new Krypto-ATM.
Selected articles in the weekly review:
Last week’s Bretton Woods speech by the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund raised some concerns among critics. In addition to an acceleration of monetary devaluation, there are fears of an increasing loss of monetary sovereignty.
Crypto-currencies have not become widespread as means of payment so far. PayPal counteracts this shortcoming.
They are at the forefront of a banking era with digital assets. In an interview, the CEOs of the two banks Maerki Baumann and InCore Bank AG describe why the new area is so significan.
OKEx, one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges, has suspended all crypto currency withdrawals for the moment due to the arrest of its founder.
Guests of the Dolder Grand in Zurich have been able to pay with Bitcoin for some time now. From now on they can also buy and sell crypto currencies at the ATM in the hotel.