It’s been another interesting week in the world of crypto with some fascinating developments taking place. Miami plans to host the biggest cryptocurrency conference in history; China’s two largest online brokerages step into the global crypto trading market; Coinbase hopes to fight crypto misinformation with its own media arm; and India confirms that banks cannot restrict cryptocurrency transactions.
Miami plans to host the biggest cryptocurrency conference in history
Miami is set to host the largest cryptocurrency conference in history this week with an expected attendance of over 50,000. The conference will be held at the Mana Convention Centre in Wynwood and will run from June 3 to June 5.
The conference was initially planned to be held in Los Angeles from April 30 to May 1 but those plans were scuppered after concerns over California’s strict COVID-19 protocols. The date was also moved a month forward to allow for the second wave of the coronavirus to pass and for the vaccination programme to roll out easier.
The conference will welcome some reputable attendees including Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, and Francis Suarez, Mayor of Miami, who recently mentioned that he envisages Miami as a crypto hub and wants to allow citizens to pay taxes and fees using Bitcoin. Suarez said, “We want to be one of the most crypto-forward and technological cities in the country… So we’re looking at … creating a regulatory framework that makes us the easiest place in the United States to do business if you’re doing it in cryptocurrencies.”
China’s two largest online brokerages step into the global crypto trading market
While Chinese authorities continue to crack down on crypto trading within its borders, China’s two largest online brokerage companies, Tiger Brokers and Futu, are planning to increase their global footprint in the crypto market.
Beijing-based Tiger Brokers and Shenzhen-based Futu hope to compete with global giants like Robinhood and eToro, and have recently applied for local licenses in the US and Singapore. Both Chinese brokers believe that rising interest in cryptos coupled with participation by retail and institutional players will give brokerages an advantage in the crypto market.
The management teams of Tiger Brokers and Futu have made it clear that crypto trading services will only target customers that are not based in China. CEO of Tiger Brokers, Wu Tianhua, said, “We notice cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, have become more acceptable by mainstream investors since last year and are emerging as an asset class. Tiger’s mission is to make investing more efficient and enjoyable for investors.”
Coinbase hopes to fight crypto misinformation with its own media arm
Cryptocurrency exchange platform, Coinbase, wants to become a source of truth amidst claims of biased journalism that promotes conflict of interest and misinformation. Coinbase believes that all tech companies should have the ability to speak directly to their audiences by becoming media companies in their own right.
Coinbase says that plans are in place to create its own media arm due to the rise of false information about cryptocurrencies that frequently appear in the press and social media. While the intention of this information is not always negative, the impact of false information is damaging to the industry. A recent blog post by Coinbase outlined three potential courses of action such as, let it happen, fight it, or publish the truth.
CEO of Coinbase, Brian Armstrong, was clear that publishing the truth offers a middle ground that entails establishing a direct relationship with the public. They plan to use a fact-checking approach to show transparency, even if those facts have a negative effect. Coinbase also plans to launch a sub-section of its blog called Fact Check that aims to fight misinformation about the company and cryptocurrencies. Industry reactions are mixed, however, as while some appreciate the project, others anticipate an information war where answers are ambiguous and may never be found.
India confirms that banks cannot restrict cryptocurrency transactions
India’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), has confirmed that restrictions on cryptocurrency transactions are no longer in effect. This announcement comes amidst much confusion surrounding a recent letter sent to bank account holders regarding cryptocurrency transactions.
Two of India’s largest banks, HDFC and SBI, recently sent notices to their account holders that warned them that cryptocurrency transactions were not permitted according to RBI guidelines. The notice referred to an April 2018 document published by the RBI that ordered: “entities regulated by the RBI shall not deal in cryptocurrencies or provide services for facilitating any person or entity in dealing with or settling cryptocurrencies.”
The RBI has sought to quell the fears of account holders by clarifying that those guidelines are no longer valid. They made reference to India’s Supreme Court order of March 2020 that ruled in favour of crypto investors in India and overturned that ban. A statement from the RBI said, “The circular is no longer valid from the date of the Supreme Court judgment, and therefore cannot be cited or quoted from…”