In a busy, if an unspectacular week of news, here are the stories that dominated the forex, fintech and crypto worlds, in our best of the week segment.
OneCoin Investors Settle with Co-Mastermind Konstantin Ignatov
As Finance Magnates reported on Friday, OneCoin investors have agreed for a settlement with Konstantin Ignatov, the defendant and co-mastermind of the infamous $4 billion crypto scam.
The settlement followed Ignatov’s request for more time to respond to the complaint.
He is also awaiting sentencing for his role in the crypto scam as the court pointed out that he is still negotiating with the US prosecutors about his plea deal.
Read more on the Konstantin Ignatov OneCoin Settlement here.
Revolut Extends Open Banking Service, Launches in Italy
UK challenger bank Revolut has expanded its Open Banking service to another European country, with the company announcing this Tuesday that it launched the service in Italy.
As Finance Magnates reported, Revolut has been expanding its Open Banking service across Europe after its launch in February. Recently, the UK fintech launched the service in France and over in Ireland.
Revolut users in Italy can now connect their Intesa Sanpaolo, UniCredit, UBI Banca, Banco BPM, Poste Italiane bank accounts.
Read more on the Revolut Italy Launch here.
Romanian ASF Forms New Wing to Crackdown on Unregistered Brokers
The Romanian Financial Supervisory Authority (ASF) has formed a new department to actively monitor the unauthorized companies offering investment and other financial services in the country.
According to multiple local news outlets, the new wing has been formed by amending the existing regulatory frameworks, and it came into effect on August 1.
The newly formed monitoring body will have multiple roles in cleansing the illegal market operators and comes after a number of complaints regarding practces.
Read more on the Romanian ASF FX crackdown here
Bitcoin Has Held Over $10k for Nearly Two Weeks: What Happens Now?
As Bitcoin seems to have broken the cursed $10,000 mark, Finance Magnates asks What’s driving this latest bull run? Will Bitcoin keep up its momentum, or will BTC once again fall below $10k?
With expert insights from Marie Tatibouet, Chief Marketing Officer at Gate.io, Sergei Khtirov, founder and chief executive of Listing.Help, and Daniel Worsley, co-founder, and chief operating officer of LocalCoinSwap, Bitcoin’s next moves are discussed in full
Read more on the Bitcoin Analysis here
OKEx to Launch P2P Crypto Exchange in India
In a Finance Magnates exclusive, we revealed that OKEx, a cryptocurrency spot and derivatives exchange based in Malta, is announcing the launch of a peer-to-peer trading platform in India.
The new platform will allow Indian users to buy cryptocurrencies with Indian rupees (INR) without paying any transaction fees.
Introducing Axiory Intelligence, an Independent Market News-ProviderGo to article >>
Read more on the OKEx India Launch here
Volumes and Earnings Reports
It was a busy week for the release of earnings and volumes reports.
DGCX Reports 357% YoY Jump in July Trading Volumes
The Dubai Gold and Commodities Exchange (DGCX) is witnessing a strong demand for forex trading as in July, the volumes for its G6 currency portfolio jumped 357 percent year-over-year.
Tuesday’s press release detailed that the three leading foreign exchanges for the month were Japanese yen, British pound, and euro as their average daily volume (ADV) surged by 767 percent, 267 percent, and 263 percent respectively.
Read more on the DGCX reports here
XTX Markets Posts Healthy Revenue and Profit Uptick for 2019
XTX Markets, a leading non-bank liquidity provider in the forex industry, has published its annual financials ending on December 31, 2019, showing a year-on-year revenue jump of 11.3 percent with a total of £339.8 million for the year.
Read more on the XTX Markets revenues here
CFTC Data Shows Flat Growth in Retail FX Deposits for June
Data from the US securities regulator for June shows that all registered retail FX platforms added less than $5 million in clients’ deposits. The less than one percent increase came despite trading activity surging in other segments amid a boom in retail investing during an unprecedented time for financial markets.
After consecutive increases in its market share, IG US has suffered a slight drop in retail deposits in June 2020. Specifically, the broker’s net balances decreased by $118,000, or one percent, to $20.7 million. The US arm of Europe’s largest spread better has been the best performer over the last year after recording an overall rise of nearly 600 percent in traders’ deposits relative to the figures it booked when the company re-launched its operations a year ago.
Read more on the CFTC June Data here
Trading Volumes Ease at Interactive Brokers, But Traders’ Bets Increase
Trading activity at Interactive Brokers LLC (NASDAQ: IBKR) lost momentum in July with volumes easing on a monthly comparison basis following strong gains in June. The broker, however, posted its third-best reading for Daily Average Revenue Trades (DARTs), a sign that trades continue to meaningfully accelerate with the pandemic volatility even thru the summer months.
During July 2020, the number of DARTs, a standard industry metric, was reported at 1.79 million transactions, a fall of -4 percent month-over-month from 1.86 million in June and a record 1.96 million in June. On a year-on-year basis, Interactive Brokers saw a brighter performance in its DARTs with July’s figure up 124 percent relative to nearly 800k transactions reported in the same month last year.
Read more on the Interactive Brokers DARTs here
StoneX Posts Positive Financial Results for Fiscal Q3, But Disappoints QoQ
StoneX (formerly known as INTL FCStone) released its financial results for the fiscal third quarter ending June 30, 2020, showing a modest increase in revenues relative to last year.
StoneX’s net revenues for Q3 2020 increased five percent from a year earlier, coming in at $8.24 billion compared to $7.87 billion reported back in the April-June quarter of 2019. Over a quarterly basis, however, the company revenue nearly halved from $20.4 billion for the three months through March 2020.
Read more on the StoneX Results here.
Major Indian exchange proposes new regulatory framework to avoid crypto ban
Major Indian cryptocurrency exchange BuyUCoin has developed a framework to regulate cryptocurrency in India that it claims has the support of “all the Indian cryptocurrency stakeholders”.
However, it is not clear yet which stakeholders helped develop the framework, or ‘sandbox’, which will be officially released on October 2.
BuyUCoin, which has more than 350,000 users and handles billion-dollar transactions, described the framework as a draft set of community driven rules, propositions and implementation methods.
The framework will be presented to the Indian Government. It comes after the Indian Supreme Court in March struck down the Reserve Bank of India’s circular banning banks and other financial institutions from dealing with crypto companies. Bloomberg reported last week however the Indian government planned to introduce a new bill to ban the trade of cryptocurrencies during the monsoon session.
“This is the first milestone of a long journey for making cryptocurrency accessible to the masses,” said Shivam Thakral, CEO and co-founder of BuyUCoin.
“This draft of the sandbox is driven by the inputs from crypto experts and industry insiders, and will not only help the government to make laws but will also guide the startups and budding entrepreneurs to enter in this booming industry.”
Cointelegraph has contacted BuyUCoin to find out which stakeholders had contributed to the framework and will update this story when they respond.
The new ‘sandbox’ was praised by Charles Bovaird, VP at Quantum Economics and Forbes Senior Contributor who said:
“Banning crypto trading would cause India to fall behind other nations that allow it. By lobbying the Indian authorities, industry participants can implement the much needed crypto regulations in the country.”
Separately, Indian blockchain focused lawfirm, Crypto Kanoon, has also taken aim at the potential crypto ban, comparing it to the country’s ban on derivatives trading in 1953 which had lasting, damaging effects on the finance industry.
“We took 50 years to regulate our commodities,” co-founder Kashif Raza said in a Hindi-language video posted to Twitter. “The government should not repeat the mistake. The first step in the right direction would be to regulate cryptocurrencies as commodities”.
Raza points out that during those 50 years, commodities trading did not stop after the ban. Instead, it was being carried out illegally by private players. The same could happen with crypto.
“The longer we take to come up with the legal framework, the further back in time we’ll go and give access to the mafias to do illicit activities.”
The first draft of the sandbox by BuyUCoin will be released on Oct. 2, 2020 and can be accessed at buyucoin.com/sandbox.
Bitcoin Recovery Runs Into Crucial Resistance, But 100 SMA Holds The Key
Bitcoin price started a decent recovery from the $10,139 swing low against the US Dollar. BTC gained pace above the $10,550 resistance, but it is facing a major hurdle near $10,800.
- Bitcoin managed to stay above the $10,000 support and started a decent recovery.
- The price is now trading above the $10,550 resistance and the 100 hourly simple moving average.
- There was a break above a major bearish trend line with resistance near $10,600 on the hourly chart of the BTC/USD pair (data feed from Kraken).
- The pair is currently facing a strong resistance near the $10,800 level (the previous support).
Bitcoin Price is Gaining Traction
After trading as low as $10,139, bitcoin price started a decent recovery against the US Dollar. BTC broke a few important hurdles near $10,400 and $10,550 to move into a short-term positive zone.
The recovery was such that the price settled above the $10,550 level and the 100 hourly simple moving average. There was also a break above a major bearish trend line with resistance near $10,600 on the hourly chart of the BTC/USD pair.
Bitcoin is now testing the next key resistance near the $10,800 level. A high is formed near $10,789 and the price is consolidating gains. An initial support on the downside is near the $10,640 level or the 23.6% Fib retracement level of the recent increase from the $10,139 low to $10,789 high.
Bitcoin price breaks $10,550. Source: TradingView.com
The next major support is near the $10,550 level and the 100 hourly simple moving average. The 50% Fib retracement level of the recent increase from the $10,139 low to $10,789 high is also near $10,464 to act as a support.
On the upside, the bulls are facing a huge task near the $10,800 level. If they manage to clear the $10,800 resistance, the price is likely to accelerate higher towards the $11,000 and $11,200 levels.
Is This Just a Recovery in BTC?
If bitcoin fails to continue higher above $10,780 and $10,800, it could start a fresh decline. The first major support is seen near the $10,550 level and the 100 hourly SMA.
A downside break below the 100 hourly SMA might put the bulls on the back foot. In the stated case, the price could trim gains and dive back towards the $10,200 support.
Hourly MACD – The MACD is now losing steam in the bullish zone.
Hourly RSI (Relative Strength Index) – The RSI for BTC/USD is correcting lower and it is above the 60 level.
Major Support Levels – $10,640, followed by $10,550.
Major Resistance Levels – $10,780, $10,800 and $11,000.
Report Questions Uniswap Token Distribution to Team, Investors
Glassnode says Uniswap isn’t being fully transparent about its token vesting process for team members and investors.
- A report from Glassnode Insights today says the storage method of UNI tokens essentially gives Uniswap admin rights over the platform.
- The report presumes Uniswap is acting in good faith as it seeks to gradually decentralize real governance.
- It urges Uniswap to provide details about the vesting schedule for its UNI governance token.
In a report published today, market analysis firm Glassnode chided Uniswap for not being more transparent about elements of its token protocol and suggested it may be deviating from its promise to vest tokens set aside for the Uniswap team and investors.
When Uniswap, the decentralized exchange for Ethereum-based ERC20 tokens, unveiled its UNI governance token on September 16, it said tokens distributed to team members and investors would vest over four years. But those tokens currently appear to be sitting in standard Ethereum addresses, where they can be used by anyone who controls the key.
According to the report, “This method of storing the tokens gives the Uniswap team and investors what essentially amounts to admin rights over the protocol.”
Though it assumes Uniswap is acting in good faith, either to transition to decentralized governance over time or to repel attacks from centralized exchanges, Glassnode wants to know: Who controls the keys and why are the tokens not locked in a smart contract?
(Decrypt has reached out to Uniswap and its creator, Hayden Adams, for comment.)
In its UNI announcement, Uniswap stated that 1 billion UNI had been minted and would become accessible over four years. While the bulk (600 million) were set aside for Uniswap community members, just over 215 million were reserved for current and future employees, and 178 million were earmarked for investors. Advisors were to receive just under 6.9 million tokens.
UNI tokens are supposed to be vested over the course of four years. That means team members and investors wouldn’t be able to access all of their tokens until the four years expire. But as Glassnode notes, vesting details are hazy.
You might be asking: So what? Whether Uniswap gets them in batches over four years or has them all now, same difference, right?
There are two main reasons timing is an important detail.
The first is price. UNI tokens are currently selling for over $5 a pop. If someone were to dump millions of them on the open market, the price of the coin could collapse. Of course, there’s no indication Uniswap would come all this way to create a usable product just to cash out and blow it up. But that’s essentially what the creator of its much younger clone, SushiSwap, did before repenting.
Even without a massive rug pull, selling tokens can affect price, at least in the short term. In the past, Ripple, the main holder of XRP, has been taken to task for selling large volumes of the cryptocurrency on the market. Former Ripple founder Jed McCaleb, who owned 9 billion XRP, was once selling off about 500,000 XRP each day.
All of which make it important for community members to know more about the vesting process.
Second, UNI’s primary purpose isn’t to stuff wallets; it’s a governance token. Those who possess it control the network, just like shareholders vote on a company’s direction. But as with company shares, you need a certain amount of tokens in order to be truly relevant. At the moment, just to submit a governance proposal, a user needs to have—or have delegated to them—at least 10 million tokens. That benefits holders that can vote as a team, such as Uniswap.
Moreover, token holders make real financial decisions. They have control over the governance treasury, which is currently stocked with 430 million UNI. Those funds, locked by smart contract, begin being distributed in October. Forty percent of the supply is released in year one, then 30% in year two, and so on until it’s empty. How the funds are used, however, is determined by vote.
Glassnode’s report reads: “Even if we assume that the team and investors will not use tokens that have not vested, Uniswap’s team and VC investors will have a disproportionate amount of power in the early stages of governance.”
Ryan Watkins, a researcher with Messari, says that’s intentional. “It allows the team to still play a significant role in governance while the project is still young,” he told Decrypt.
But that’s something the Uniswap team says it won’t do…at least, kinda. Its September 16 UNI announcement states, “Team members will not participate directly in governance for the foreseeable future, although they may delegate votes to protocol delegates without seeking to influence their voting decisions.”
As the Glassnode report notes, “While the seemingly unattainable 1% proposal threshold may seem like a power grab on the part of the Uniswap team, it is more likely that this model was implemented with benevolent intent, in order to protect the protocol from radical changes in the early stages of its transition to decentralized governance—even at the cost of community disenfranchisement.”
And enfranchisement is really what’s at stake here. Who’s controlling the decentralized exchange? At the moment, it appears, it’s still the people who created it.
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