Two years ago on the 18th June the first edition of Crypto AM was published in London’s City AM newspaper as a double page spread. With Crypto AM as a weekly feature, City AM became the only mainstream publisher to do this, thus providing an educational voice for the industry to share knowledge with the traditional square mile audience. Ai, Blockchain, Crypto, Digital Assets, Distributed Ledger Technology and Tokenisation all continue to be covered.
Alongside the newspaper segment, we have been focussed on building a direct relationship with the community with WhatsApp and Telegram groups and most important through a series of events: Blockchain Breakfasts at Balthazar in Covent Garden, the Crypto AM Keynote, Panel and Networking receptions at Smith & Wollensky and finally, the ‘Rolls-Royce’ event, The Crypto AM Awards which took place on the 11th March 2020 at Boisdale of Canary Wharf with special guest the Rt Hon. Lord Mayor of London, Alderman William Russell giving the keynote welcome speech.
Then of course COVID-19 hit London and we faced our biggest challenge as the printing presses stopped. With true grit and determination City AM rose to the challenge and went 100% Online and CryptoAM.io was born allowing a wider range of engaging content.
I’d like to take this opportunity to say my thank you’s.
First and foremost Harry Owen at City AM for backing the idea together with Lawson Muncaster and Jens Torpe for providing me with the platform. I must thank Bridie Wilson, Taylor Campbell, Julianna Hitchins and Madelaine Crisp from City AM without whom Crypto AM and its events could not exist and last but not least Phill Snelling of Bowater Media for providing such excellent graphics every week.
Bitcoin (BTC) has not really retested the US$10,000 too forcefully and at the time of writing, is trading at US$9,431.46 / GB£7,527.31 ; Ethereum (ETH) is at US$233.23 / GB£186.16; Ripple (XRP) is at US$0.1912 / GB£0.1504; Binance (BNB) is at US$16.42 / GB£13.09 and Cardano (ADA) is at US$0.08252 / GB£0.06601. Overall Market Cap is pretty much unchanged at US$267.92bn / GB£214.03bn (data source: www.CryptoCompare.com)
City AM’s Crypto Insider
As Crypto AM celebrates its second anniversary, Nickel Digital turns one, Binance three and Cygnetise four (see Crypto AM shines its Spotlight on Cygnetise)
Nickel Digital, a London-based regulated investment manager, dedicated to the digital assets space celebrated the first-year anniversary of their Digital Assets Arbitrage fund, which delivered solid positive performance, converting extreme volatility swings of the crypto market into low volatility returns, achieving Sharpe ratio of 5, with all positive months. The Fund is trading at 17 exchanges, eliminating pricing inefficiencies between various trading venues.
Nickel’s mission is to build a bridge between traditional finance and the crypto world by creating a secure and robust gateway to this new asset class. Nickel’s founding partners Anatoly Crachilov, Michael Hall, and Alek Kloda brought over 60 years combined of experience in traditional finance from banks including Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Bankers Trust and Deutsche Bank.
With leading service providers including KPMG as auditor, Trident Trust as administrator, and independent custody solutions from Fidelity Digital Assets and Copper, Nickel’s strategies are specifically designed to meet high institutional requirements.
The economic slowdown triggered by Covid19, resulted in governments around the world pumping money in the economy to battle the worst unemployment crisis of a generation. The newly printed cash creates inflationary pressure, still hidden at this initial stage, yet unprecedented at its scale. This triggered investors’ interest to revisit their views of crypto assets and explore portfolio allocations to Bitcoin as an inflation hedge. To accommodate this development, Nickel has extended its platform by launching Digital Gold fund, a long-only Bitcoin vehicle, designed to offer an efficient, liquid and secure access to crypto market at an industry-leading terms.
The entry of veteran hedge fund manager, Paul Tudor Jones, in the crypto space in April 2020 marks an important milestone in the institutionalisation of the digital assets market. An increasing number of institutional investors are seeking to harness the deflationary, independent, and uncorrelated nature of bitcoin to diversify their portfolios and shield from a possible period of heightened inflation. This has helped bitcoin to become the best performing asset so far this year, outperforming all conventional assets, such as bonds, equities, and commodities.
As Binance celebrated its third anniversary yesterday, Teana Baker-Taylor, Binance UK Director and Josh Goodbody, Director of Growth for Binance hosted a Zoom webinar for their community with special guest CZ, Founder & CEO of Binance. Setting the scene by explaining Binance’s expansion philosophy which is to grow globally by acting locally, they took the opportunity to announce Binance UK will be opening as a stand alone regulated exchange for both retail and institutional customers. Although the registered office is in London and there will be a physical office where the team may choose to meet when needs be, for the most part as a decentralised organisation with no formal working hours personnel will work from home (or coffee shop, bus, train or plane!)
”Binance.UK (currently in the name of EddieUK Limited Co No 09510915 now Binance Markets Limited) is a fiat-to-cryptocurrency platform regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) that enables customers in the United Kingdom and Europe to easily buy and trade cryptocurrencies with British Pounds (GBP) and Euros (EUR). As a Binance affiliate, Binance.UK offers users deep liquidity and convenient deposit and withdrawal methods while leveraging cutting-edge technology from Binance.com’s advanced trading platform.”
Teana Baker-Taylor (recent Crypto AM Contributor) also highlighted that customers would be able to have fully functional virtual bank accounts with sort code, account number and IBAN, whilst Josh Goodbody announced that the Binance Credit Card would be launching in the summer but only when ready.
As regular readers will remember, I got to meet and discover more about the team from Nayms (see Crypto AM shines its Spotlight on Nayms) so it was great to hear that they are opening an office in Bermuda and as such being welcomed with open arms by the great PM David Burt (who has recently been interviewed by Jamie Burke, of Outlier Ventures, for his Podcast)
Burt said “Nayms represents a promising blend of digital assets and insurance, which showcases what the future of insurance looks like. Bermuda has taken great strides to position itself as an attractive domicile for players like Nayms and it is exciting to see the kinds of new ideas that are being developed. The ability to create shared digital rules around traditional insurance contracts are a game changer for the industry. They allow for increased efficiency and greater market opportunity which ensures Bermuda continues to play a leading role in the insurance linked securities market. We look forward to welcoming more innovators like Nayms who are showcasing the way digital assets will reshape the core infrastructure of traditional financial services.”
As the world continues to adjust to the scourge of COVID-19 it is interesting to note how some members of the Crypto AM Community are playing their part. Last weekend, Blok BioScience started conducting the first live tests of its Covid-19 management solution (see Crytpo AM: In conversation). This is an early validation of the basic ability of the solution to capture input of test results and symptoms; the live trial of the full My Immunity Passport app will be going live in Brazil next month. A group of about 100 individuals were given one of the most accurate rapid lateral flow antibody tests available, then invited to input their results. This pilot was performed in the UK. The main centre of testing was Weston-super-Mare in southwest England; additional tests were performed in other cities throughout the UK as well.
In keeping with Blok’s principles of full data self-sovereignty, no names, ID’s or any other identifying information were captured during the process. Each participant received a redemption code so that these early results can be included in their full Immunity Passports once the app is fully live. Initial results look very positive; only two UI bugs, and no errors in data capture. Also, participants provided some extremely useful feedback on how we can improve the instructions for how to take the tests themselves.
I spoke with CTO, Areiel Wolanow, who confirmed the rigour of the testing and he personally monitored the accuracy and performance of the solution platform itself, medical advisor, Dr. Rose Ong, who served as the Chief Medical Officer for Cathay Pacific during the height of the SARS epidemic, and was available to resolve any questions arising from the usage or results of the test themselves. Behavioural economist, Yolanda Berry MSc, was on hand to observe the manner in which people engaged with the platform, to gauge their understanding and identify those parts of the protocol which might come across as vague or confusing. I would have liked to have taken part in the trial to experience it first hand – however, Luna needs her Dad at home in London!
As food and beverage venues struggle to launch themselves back out of lockdown with two-metre rules only allowing for 30% capacity and one-metre rules allowing for 60%, they need all the help they can get. That’s where a fusion of London based blockchain companies are helping make a smoother transition to the new normal. Zapaygo.com is a mobile payments platform that replaces the need to touch money, card machines, stand in line, or wait while your order is prepared. To help venues rebuild their customer base, they have RewardZ, which utilises blockchain, and offers incentives to customers in exchange for their loyalty. Zapaygo has integrated with over 60% of the UK’s sports and concert venues EPOS systems.
Craft Coin Company, finalists at the Crypto AM Awards 2020, already have a relationship with the craft breweries in London and together with Zapaygo, they intend on supporting those breweries get back on their feet. Zapaygo is soon closing a fundraise that is already three times their target. To find out more email, email@example.com.
Finally as WhatsApp’s new payment platform, launched this week in Brazil, may herald a more phased approach for the future launch of Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency. Claude Brown, Partner at Reed Smith and Crypto AM contributor, reached out to me with his sixpenny worth:
“Whilst the platform relies on its users having fiat currency denominated credit cards, the fact that it uses Facebook Pay, which is capable of integrating Libra-denominated Novi wallets into WhatsApp suggests that, in the face of regulatory concerns over Libra, Facebook is embarking on a phased approach of doing what it can, where it can, when it can in preparation. The Brazilian market ticks those three boxes whilst paving the way for a transition to Libra in the future.
Any market offering a potential 2.4 billion transactions a day is not to be sniffed at, particularly when the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a significant increase in digital payments across the globe. Put simply, WhatsApp looks in the right place for now and well-positioned for Facebook’s future Libra plans.”
James Bowater, City AM’s Crypto Insider