‘Britcoin’ not bitcoin? UK considers new digital currency

Other central banks are also looking to set up digital versions of their own currencies

British finance minister Rishi Sunak told the Bank of England on Monday to look at the case for a new “Britcoin”, or central bank-backed digital currency, aimed at tackling some of the challenges posed by cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.  A BoE-backed digital version of sterling would potentially allow businesses and consumers to hold accounts directly with the bank and to sidestep others when making payments, upending the lenders’ role in the financial system.

“We’re launching a new taskforce between the Treasury and the Bank of England to coordinate exploratory work on a potential central bank digital currency (CBDC),” Sunak told a financial industry conference. Soon after, Sunak tweeted the single word “Britcoin” in reply to the finance ministry’s announcement of the taskforce.

Other central banks are also looking at whether to set up digital versions of their own currencies, essentially widening access to central bank funds which only commercial banks can use at present. This could speed up domestic and foreign payments and reduce financial stability risks.

https://www.reuters.com/

Coinbase is listing for US$100 billion on NASDAQ

Instead of following the traditional initial public offering (IPO) route, Coinbase plans to post its shares straight on the NASDAQ exchange via a direct listing, a technique pioneered by big names like Spotify and Palantir in recent years. Whereas an IPO involves a company creating new shares and having an underwriter that buys them for a set price and then sells them to the market, in a direct listing a company sells existing shares and has no underwriter.

Coinbase was founded in 2012 by Brian Armstrong, a former engineer at Airbnb, and Fred Ehrsam, who was a trader at Goldman Sachs. Their mission was to make investing and transacting in cryptocurrencies easier, more efficient and fairer. The company has since risen to become the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the US. Even though there are numerous other exchanges around the world with considerably larger trading volumes, including Binance, Huobi and OKEx, Coinbase’s growth has been incredible lately.

https://theconversation.com/

Citi says bitcoin could become the currency of global trade

Change in tone for major financial institutions on bitcoin

Citi thinks bitcoin is at a “tipping point” and could one day “become the currency of choice for international trade” as companies like Tesla and PayPal warm to it and central banks explore issuing their own digital currencies.

“There are a host of risks and obstacles that stand in the way of Bitcoin progress,” the U.S. bank’s global perspectives and solutions team wrote in a note Monday. “Bitcoin’s future is thus still uncertain, but developments in the near term are likely to prove decisive as the currency balances at the tipping point of mainstream acceptance or a speculative implosion.”

It marks a change in tone for major financial institutions on bitcoin. Many banks have historically shunned the digital asset, arguing it has no intrinsic value and the hype surrounding it is akin to the tulip mania of the 17th century. But bitcoin’s wild ascent over the last few months has forced big Wall Street players to reevaluate the cryptocurrency. BNY Mellon, the oldest bank in the U.S., last month said it would offer custody services for bitcoin and other digital currencies. Meanwhile, JPMorgan has said it’s looking seriously as bitcoin.

https://www.cnbc.com/

Bitcoin

If applied widely to the inner workings of our global economy, this model could slash trillions in financial fees; computerize much of the work done by payment processors, government property-title offices, lawyers and accountants; and create …
http://www.marketwatch.com/?dist=rss — Sat, 31 Jan 2015 14:09:00 -0800