Tuesday 19 May 2020 9:02 am

J.K. Rowling Twitter Storm shows the Crypto Ecosystem Needs to Mature

City A.M's Crypto Insider

As more evidence of impressive institutionally compliant behaviour shows itself in the crypto world, it’s more juvenile side is exposed as J.K.Rowling inadvertently starts a crypto Twitter storm.

Price Watch

Bitcoin (BTC) trading volume hit a new high for 2020 with an average (on the top ten exchanges only) of US$2-3bn per day through May, but is still struggling to breach back through the US$10,000 resistance level and, at the time of writing, was trading at US$9,675.92  / GB£7,943.85; Ethereum (ETH) is at US$211.20 / GB£173.54; Ripple (XRP) is at US$0.2042 / GB£0.1672; Binance (BNB) is at US$16.50 / GB£13.52 and Cardano (ADA) is at US$0.05390 / GB£0.04433.  Overall Market Cap is up circa US$23bn from last week at US$265.92bn  / GB£218.12bn (data source: www.CryptoCompare.com

Before I get into this week’s edition as this is uploaded a major event is taking place online.  The ANON Summit 2020 organised by BlockExpo and Cointelligence is taking place, not attended by hordes of people on the ground, but by 8,000 plus registered guests from around the world online for the first test of an established major conference. Headline sponsors are Electroneum (see today’s Crypto AM: shines its Spotlight on Electroneum) I must also offer my congratulations to Cointelligence CEO, On Yavin, on becoming a father again to a healthy baby girl on Sunday. 

City AM’s Crypto Insider

What a difference a week makes! 

The sun is back and London looks like it is turning the tide against COVID-19 with the Government taking the first tentative steps towards easing the national lockdown.  On Thursday I stepped out for my daily walk on the Isle of Dogs but headed west for the first time and just carried on walking until St. Paul’s Cathedral.  I have never in my life seen the River Thames so calm and devoid of traffic which was in stark contrast to the Twitter storm that developed on Friday night becoming a full on tempest over the weekend.

J.K.Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, relaxing at home tweeted  “I don’t understand bitcoin. Please explain it to me.” Thirteen hours later Luna, my ten-week old yellow labrador puppy,  woke me up at 5:30am. Whilst guarding her outside, I looked at my phone’s Twitter feed with mild astonishment  many industry leaders scrambled to welcome her into the cryptocurrency world by answering her question in their own style – Charles Hoskinson of IOHK/Cardano went as far as producing two instructional videos, the second replacing the first because the first attempt had poor telecast – perfectionist to the core (see here).  Things turned ugly pretty quickly however, as a shocking number of juvenile ‘trolls’ drowned every well meaning voice out scoring an undesirable and pointless own goal reputationally.  It’s all the more disappointing, given the tireless and serious work being done by a number of very bright entrepreneurs who are paving the way for traditional institutional funds to enter the market.

By way of example, many regular readers of Crypto AM will be familiar with Koine, the City of London based digital asset custodian, founded by my friends of many years (seventeen to be exact) Al Moore and Phil Mochan.  Following the news last week that Koine has partnered with exchange Bitfinex, they announced another milestone yesterday, with Koine securing in-principle approval to provide custody in relation to Virtual Assets in the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), granted by the Financial Services Regulatory Authority.  There is no question that Koine is flying the flag for institutional investment in digital securities on a global scale. This move is supportive of UAE’s strategy to develop itself as a major global financial hub, bridging Africa and Asia.

Suitable for traditional capital markets, Koine’s post-trade solution provides secure, easy to use institutional custody, settlement and related cash management service for the new generation of digitised assets. It eliminates counterparty, credit and insolvency risks in a compliant framework with a strong governance environment.  Koine’s security model, which deploys Digital AirlocksTM, replaces the cold storage and hot wallet model that can compromise the security of private keys as a result of still needing to be “eye-balled” by staff.  This comes just days after the announcement that Koine customers who also have an account on Bitfinex will be able to obtain a line of credit on the Bitfinex trading platform using Bitcoin, or other cryptocurrencies held with Koine.

Thinking of the UAE Christopher Flinos, CEO of HAYVN, the ADGM licensed online OTC trading platform purpose-built for institutional and large volume cryptocurrency trading and custody contributed today’s Crypto AM: Technically Speaking article tackling what went wrong for Telegram’s TON Blockchain Platform.

As many readers will know 2019 was a bit of a bruising year for Libra. I caught up briefly with Crypto AM contributor Claude Brown (Partner at Reed Smith) who told me in his view that “the arrival of the state-backed Temasek into the Libra Association is certainly good news for the currency, particularly given Singapore’s reputation as a fintech hub. But unless broader concerns, particularly over apparent loss of ‘national sovereignty’, are addressed, the good news could be brief.  Importantly, Temasek coming in doesn’t restore the balance caused by the departure of a number of payment services companies in 2019.

The COVID-19 pandemic is never far from our minds and of course it is affecting the way we do things and how businesses continue to get their messages out.  One such example is Outlier Ventures whose Founder & CEO Jamie Burke is juggling running his business working from home and home schooling his daughter.  His solution is Outlier Ventures ‘Diffusion Digital’ designed as a virtual event and weekly podcast for its leading founders.  Jamie explained hurriedly that “We are in an exciting new phase of the Web, increasingly referred to as ‘Web 3’. However, the internet today still looks the same as it has for the last decade, its problems seemingly getting worse. ‘Web 3’ is fragmented and insular, with too few entrepreneurs that understand how its technologies can disrupt, transform and enable entirely new markets.  To meet this challenge we [Outlier Ventures], built Diffusion as a platform to onboard new developers and entrepreneurs into the space.”

I enthusiastically jumped onto iTunes to download the first episode of the ‘Founders of Web 3’ audio podcast which Jamie is able to host from home. In this launch episode he spent nearly a solid hour talking with CZ of Binance clearly living up to the podcast’s stated aim of providing insightful interviews with the founders, entrepreneurs, investors and policymakers that are shaping Web 3. The series has launched with 8 episodes including Muneeb Ali of Blockstack, Brock Pierce of Block One and of course CZ.

As mentioned above, as the second component to the Diffusion platform, Outlier Ventures will run a virtual free one-day event on May 28th https://diffusion.events/ The event explores a pragmatic pathway from Web 2 to Web 3, bringing together different communities in the ecosystem to participate in talks and panels featuring industry leaders from Binance, Chainlink, Cosmos, Fenbushi, Brave and more.

In closing, I’m turning back to the COVID-19 situation and was extremely heartened to learn of a massive philanthropic pledge made good from the digital community in the form of Bitcoin SV advocate, Calvin Ayre. He pledged a while ago to provide $4,000,000 of PPE to key workers in his now native Antigua which has landed and been delivered.  I hope that the Antiguans applaud his generosity in the same vein as we do our NHS on Thursday evenings.  In my own way I continue to do my best during London’s Lockdown and I’d like to remind you again about my ongoing local community effort for the elderly and vulnerable living on the Isle of Dogs where I have lived on and off for over thirty years. I teamed up with BABB (Bank Account Based Blockchain) and have so far distributed £3,000 to to pay for food and care parcels.  BABB has added a light registration for web donation which otherwise allows you to download the app and donate direct to the campaign via www.bit.ly/IoDFoodCare

James Bowater, City AM’s Crypto Insider