JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon indicated in a recent interview with Yahoo Finance that he had not spoken with Facebook about the development of Libra.
“But it’s very possible someone in the company did,” Dimon said.
“Blockchain is real,” he said, citing his company’s foray into the space with JPM Coin blockchain. “And I think competition is real.”
For Dimon, cryptocurrencies bring disruption to the banking industry because they provide similar services that banks traditionally provided like money transmission, clearinghouse activity, and real-time payments – though he adds, “It’s not an existential threat.”
“We’re going to have competitors, whether its a cryptocurrency competitor or another FinTech competitor. We’re going to have competitors.”
“I tell our people, don’t guess, you know they’re there, you know they’re coming, you know they want to eat our lunch. Assume it.”
Whether it’s a bank or a crypto service startup, Dimon said there are serious issues regarding the future of money. He believes some of these are caused by the government, specifically in determining whether they will be subject to banking regulations, KYC, the bank secrecy act, or anti-money laundering rules.
Sympathetic to the crypto industry’s desire to serve their clients, Dimon also said he’d “want to be able to serve their clients.”
“I always look at these [blockchain] systems like we’d like to do some of it too, ourselves.”
Jamie Dimon photo courtesy of flickr/Stefen Chow
Billionaire investor and philanthropist Henry Kravis is dipping his toe into the world of crypto assets. According to a piece by Bloomberg on Friday, Kravis – who is co-founder of global investment firm KKR & Co. – is said to have invested in a cryptocurrency fund offered by ParaFi Capital.
The news comes via ParaFi founder and CIO Ben Forman, a former KKR employee who left to form the San Francisco-based digital asset startup. Bloomberg said a spokeswoman for Kravis has declined to comment on the investment.
Forman describes ParaFi Capital as an “investment firm focused on the blockchain ecosystem” with backing from Bain Capital Ventures, Dragonfly Capital Partners and more. According to Crunchbase, ParaFi has invested in crypto exchange Coinbase and ethereum-based stablecoin developer MakerDAO,
As well as working on debt investments, Forman led KKR’s research efforts on blockchain and crypto before leaving the firm in 2018, Bloomberg says.
“While I toyed with the idea of pursuing blockchain investing within KKR, it was clear to me that the firm did not provide the optimal format to do so. Instead of pursuing crypto at KKR, I wanted to build the KKR of crypto.”
Kravis has an estimated net worth of $5.8 billion as of mid-2018, and is ranked by Forbes as the 365th richest person in the world, according to Wikipedia.
Bitcoin’s meteoric 2019 rally may have shown signs of cooling Wednesday, but that didn’t stop the cryptocurrency from ending the day in the green.
In fact, the price of bitcoin ended yesterday’s session with its eighth consecutive day in the green, closing up by more than $1,200 on the day’s open of $11,375 and ending just below $13,000.
The streak is a record for 2019, passing the six Green candles seen between June 12 to June 17 as the only other significant run of multi-day gains.
Still, that’s not to say that streak isn’t in jeopardy heading into Thursday’s session.
At 20:00 UTC on June 26, the world’s largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, dropped by more than $2,000 in just under 30 minutes amid a service outage at major U.S. exchange provider Coinbase.
However, with Coinbase’s fix implemented, bitcoin’s (BTC) price is also back up above $12,588 at press time, after dropping to a temporary low of $11,754.
BTC is currently changing hands for $12,827, as per CoinMarketCap data.
As can be seen above, the sharp sell-off from the 24-hour high at $13,785 brought prices to a local low of $11,710 before opportunistic traders picked up a cheaper bid and drove the prices higher, back toward $13,000 at around 23:31 UTC, 29 minutes before the daily close.
Total daily volume for BTC has also shown up in a big way with the world’s largest exchange, Binance, posting record-high trading volume in Tether (USDT) terms over a 24-hour period. Other exchanges such as Bitstamp and Coinbase are posting 500-day highs in total daily volume for June 26, with over 81.2 million BTC traded in a single day on those exchanges.
What’s more impressive, if data from CoinMarketCap is to be believed, over 45.9 billion BTC were traded during June 26’s trading period amounting to some of the highest levels ever recorded.
Its “Real 10” volume – a metric that takes into account trading volume from exchanges reporting honest volume figures as identified in a report by Bitwise Asset Management – currently stands at $46.17 billion, a small difference, according to Messari.io.
Meanwhile, other notable currencies such as Cardano (ADA), bitcoin cash (BCH) and Ether (ETH) are also back on the rise, up between 1.7 and 7.72 percent, respectively amid strong volume.
Also worth noting, the total market capitalization for the entire cryptocurrency market has recovered by more than $21.7 billion, up from $351.8 billion to stand at $373.5 billion.
Singapore’s central bank, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), is seeking more information from Facebook about its recently unveiled cryptocurrency project, Libra.
As reported by Bloomberg, MAS managing director Ravi Menon said at a media briefing on Thursday that his institution has held talks with the social media giant over concerns about how Libra would function, although he acknowledged there are potential benefits too.
Currently, MAS is having trouble deciding on how to categorize Libra in terms of regulation. “At this point we are not sure yet,” Menon said.
Regarding the possible benefits, he said that Libra “offers a very interesting proposition that could help to address” existing “expensive, inefficient, sometimes risky” methods of remittance.
However, MAS needs more information to gauge these benefits over existing electronic payments systems. The regulator needs to understand “how exactly it’s going to work.” Menon said, including aspects such as Libra’s economics, security and privacy.
Menon’s comments come as the latest in a line of global regulators to state that more information is needed to understand the benefits and risks of Libra.
Authorities in Italy, the U.K. and France have recently indicated that Libra raises issues that must be examined.
Over in the U.S., the House Financial Services Committee will host a hearing on Facebook’s libra cryptocurrency next month, just a day after the Senate Banking Committee holds its own hearing.
Maxine Waters, chair of the powerful House committee, has raised concerns that Facebook’s token could ultimately rival the dollar, while French finance minister Bruno Le Maire has said it’s “out of question’’ that Libra be allowed to “become a sovereign currency. It can’t and it must not happen.”
As a result, France is creating a task force within the Group of Seven (G7) nations to examine the issues.
Bitcoin has done it again, hitting a new 2019 high above $12,000 before retracing slightly. At 21:00 UTC on June 25, the world’s largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization broke from sideways trading after being held beneath $11,400 for over 11 hours.
However, perhaps most notable is the fact that bitcoin also crossed above 60 percent market dominance for the first time in over 17 months.
A metric maintained by data provider CoinMarketCap, the Bitcoin Dominance Index shows bitcoin continues to gain altitude at a time when broader confidence in the crypto market, now nearly $350 billion, has yet to return.
The move to fresh 2019 highs is further a welcome sight for the bulls who continue to enjoy the incredible 230 percent gains experienced from the beginning of this year.
Notably, the price rally was also accompanied by an uptick in the 24-hour trading volume as an increase of $13.8 billion was added overall, according to data from CoinMarketCap.
However, its “Real 10” volume – a metric that takes into account trading volume from exchanges reporting honest volume figures as identified in a report by Bitwise Asset Management, is delivering more sober results, currently standing up $4.09 billion, according to Messari.io.
Still, bitcoin’s dominance may be the broader story.
At press time, bitcoin’s market capitalization now records $202.8 billion, which is about $67.1 million more than the market capitalization of every other cryptocurrency combined – which currently stands at $135.7 billion.
Meanwhile, other highly ranked cryptocurrencies like NEO, Ether (ETH) and Ontology (ONT) have gained between 2 to 10 percent value on a 24-hour basis, according to CoinMarketCap.
Eyes are now firmly set on bitcoin’s new target along the $12,0000 psychological price tag, last seen 17 months ago on Jan 28, 2018, signaling a very strong upward toward its all-time high near $20,000.
CIUDAD GUAYANA, Venezuela — On Tuesday, I went shopping for milk. With the chronic food shortages in Venezuela, that errand already is very complicated, but there’s an extra layer of difficulty for me: I don’t own bolívars, Venezuela’s official currency.
I keep all of my money in Bitcoin. Keeping it in bolívars would be financial suicide: The last time I checked, the rate of daily inflation was around 3.5 percent. That’s daily inflation; the annual inflation rate for 2018 was almost 1.7 million percent. I don’t have a bank account abroad, and with Venezuela’s currency controls, there’s no easy way for me to use a conventional foreign currency like American dollars.
Things just keep getting crazier here. Venezuela now has two presidents. One of them, Nicolás Maduro, wants to take on the British billionaire Richard Branson in a competition of charity concerts. While we Venezuelans are going hungry, there have been violent standoffs over humanitarian aid piling up at the borders with Colombia and Brazil. And before I can buy milk, I need to convert Bitcoins into bolívars.
Actually, that part is easier than you might think. I go through the listings on LocalBitcoins.com, the exchange that most Venezuelans seem to use, looking for offers to buy my Bitcoins from people who use the same bank I do; that way the wire transfer can go through immediately. Once I accept the offer, the Bitcoins get deducted from my wallet and are held in escrow by the site. I send my banking information to the buyer and wait.
After the buyer sends me the bolívars via wire transfer, I release the Bitcoins from escrow and they are transferred to the buyer’s Bitcoin wallet. We give each other a positive score, and that’s it. The whole process takes about 10 minutes.
Turns out, I’m not the only Venezuelan using cryptocurrencies. The local market for Bitcoins broke a record on April 17, reaching $1 million worth on that day alone, Bloomberg reported. Venezuela has been ranking second worldwide in volume of activity on LocalBitcoins.com, after Russia. According to Coin Dance, a website that monitors cryptocurrency transactions, during the week ending on Feb. 16, people in Venezuela traded about $6.9 million on LocalBitcoins.com, compared with about $13.8 million in Russia. (I’m converting at the average Bitcoin exchange rate CoinMarketCap applied that week.) That’s saying something for a country in its fifth year of a recession, whose economy contracted by some 18 percent in 2018.
I can’t change too many Bitcoins at once, though. The government doesn’t monitor cryptocurrency transactions (yet), but it does monitor transactions in bolívars — and any worth about $50 or more will automatically freeze your account until you can explain to your bank where the funds come from.
Still, you could say that cryptocurrencies have saved our family. I now cover our household’s expenses on my own. My father is a government employee — in a printing department with no paper — and earns about $6 a month. My mother is a stay-at-home mom with no income. And cryptocurrencies helped my brother Juan, 28, escape Venezuela last summer.
For years, he tried to make it as a lawyer here, but in times of hyperinflation, everyone is constantly getting poorer, including a lawyer’s clients. Juan was earning so little that he was actually spending money to work (buying stationery, taxi fare). Eventually he gave up.
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A version of this article appears in print on Feb. 24, 2019, on Page SR9 of the New York edition with the headline.