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Demand for cryptocurrencies surged in the past year as people often have been allocating more time to the digital medium. Cryptocurrencies have always levitated between institutional adoption and scrutiny by centralized institutions. Goldman Sachs announced it’s time to take Bitcoin more seriously, labeling it as an investible asset. Through the extent of Goldman Sachs’s announcement, cryptocurrencies are gaining interest as an investable asset from institutional entities and higher capital funds.

The Coinbase IPO pushed the cryptocurrency market towards the extreme. Retail investors and institutional or corporate investors all craved a piece of the promising technology. To that end, 2021 bears a resemblance to the dot com era when a forward-looking technological advancement was breaking into the mainstream. As reported by JP Morgan, Bitcoin is becoming an attainable investment asset, and their views are shared by other global investment banks such as Goldman Sachs.

Goldman Sachs Adds A Stamp Of Approval

The Global Head of digital assets at Goldman Sachs, Mathew McDermott, discussed in a new research article that Bitcoin “is now considered an investable asset” because of its individual characteristics. In fact, the piece pivots Goldman Sachs’s previous position towards a more attainable asset for investors. Partly because of its “idiosyncratic risk,” investors are viewing it as an investible asset. McDermott highlights Bitcoin’s emergence as a new asset class is a rare occurrence.

Because Bitcoin is still in the adoption phase, any regulatory actions on the cryptocurrency market will eventually alter the future appreciation of cryptocurrencies. Regardless, data presented by Goldman Sachs emphasizes that investors are still “keen” on investing in crypto assets. Although clients are treating Bitcoin as a new asset class, the author indicates crypto-assets trade unlike any regular stock, pointing to the heightened volatility. Despite Bitcoin’s comparison to digital gold, the leading cryptocurrency is viewed as a “risk-on asset” as its price is densely affected by every piece of news.

Concerns regarding regulatory actions could be advantageous for cryptocurrencies; however, pessimistic governmental views towards crypto creates shifts in investor perception. Goldman Sachs has acknowledged the fact that crypto is a new asset class, as the message from investors such as PayPal or Square investing into crypto resounds through the market. Still, the attention Bitcoin receives from institutional investors is dissimilar to their views from 2017.

Although Bitcoin accounts for high volatility, research indicates it is one of the main reasons investors are drawn to it. Active price movements in Bitcoin constitute the basis of a store of value. Goldman Sachs emphasizes that institutional investors are keener towards understanding the underlying technology and how to gain access to the asset rather than asking the question of “what is it.” Additionally, investors’ mentality towards Bitcoin and the new asset class has generated fear of missing out on behalf of financial investors.

As stated by Goldman Sachs’s, Senior Multi-Asset Strategist, Bitcoin’s risk-reward ratio can add value to investors’ portfolios. What’s more, Goldman Sachs reentered the cryptocurrency market due to client demand, establish a dedicated crypto desk.

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Naabiae Nenu-B is a Medical Health Student and an SEO Specialist dedicated to flushing the web off fake news and scam scandals. He aims at being "Africa's Best Leak and Review Blogger" and that's the unwavering stand of Xycinews Media.

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Fx Analysis

Block.one Settles Second Lawsuit Stemming from Past ICO

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A resolution to a longstanding lawsuit between the Crypto Assets Opportunity Fund (CAOF) and Block.one has finally been reached, which will see Block.one on the hook for $27.5M.

The aforementioned settlement stems from an ICO, which ran between June 2017 and June 2018.  This event, which was controversial at the time due to its extended run-period, successfully generated over $4B for Block.one.

Although Block.one may have been successful in convincing investors to hand over their hard-earned funds, both the SEC and CAOF were not as impressed – each of which alleged the ICO constituted the illegal offering of unregistered securities.

While a settlement may have been reached, Block.one has remained steadfast in its innocence.  Rather, the settlement was reached as a means of finally putting its past behind it, so that it could look forwards instead.

The company states that, “Block.one believes this lawsuit was without merit and filled with numerous inaccuracies.  However, accepting this settlement allows us to focus more time and energy on running our business and delivering new products.”

Block.one did not elaborate on what these inaccuracies were, however they did allude to a productive future with new products on the way.

A Growing Tally

Notably, this settlement is the second of its kind to stem from Block.one’s ICO.  This first occurred roughly two years ago when the Securities and Exchange Comission (SEC) targeted Block.one due to the ICO.

Not only was a settlement reached in both instances, but the agreed upon figures were quite similar – the SEC received $24M while the CAOF received $27.5M.

Cumutively Block.one has paid a total of $51.5M in settlement fees to date.  While this may be a lofty total, it is a ‘drop in the bucket’ when compared to the $4B that the company was able to raise.

Settlements Preferred

Over the past few years, there have been many lawsuits levied against companies which took part in ill-thought out ICOs, and similar actions.  Interesting, it seems as though all parties involved seem to prefer opting for settlements as opposed to seeing the lawsuits through.  The following are a few other examples of settlements reached between the SEC and other blockchain related companies from years past.

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Fx Analysis

Tesla may Accept Bitcoin Payments Again

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Reacting to a report that held him responsible for the Bitcoin price manipulation, Tesla & SpaceX CEO, Elon Musk, has been trending again as he tweeted that Tesla will resume accepting BTC payments for Tesla cars “when there’s confirmation of reasonable (~50%) clean energy usage by miners with positive future trend…”.

It all started when South Africa’s richest woman and CEO of Sygnia, Magda Wierzycka, called for an investigation into Elon Musk for manipulating Bitcoin price. Wierzycka claims that Musk manipulated the price of Bitcoin with a series of Twitter mentions and announcements, and hence, he should be held accountable for the price plunge, noting “what we have seen with Bitcoin is price manipulation by one powerful and influential individual”.

She also said that Musk might have accumulated more Bitcoins when the prices were moderate and pumped the price with the announcement of BTC payments for Tesla cars. She claimed similar instances with Dogecoin prices in the past, and the SEC was also rumored to investigate about the same.

Bitcoin And Elon Musk – A Love-Hate Relationship?

Elon Musk has been one of the most popular Bitcoin proponents for a long time. He has extended his support to Bitcoin in several instances with positive mentions and has even added the Bitcoin logo on his Twitter profile. It was believed that his mentions always had a positive effect on Bitcoin prices, and hence people bought more Bitcoins following his mentions.

When Tesla announced it would accept Bitcoin as a method of payment for Tesla cars in February, Bitcoin prices started rising rapidly. Unfortunately, Bitcoin for Teslas was short-lived, as Musk announced the withdrawal of Bitcoin as a method of payment, citing the Bitcoin mining process as environmentally hazardous.

Musk mentioned that Bitcoin mining is not greener and hence hazardous for the environment. Musk, along with the CEO of MicroStrategy, Micheal Saylor, also held talks with the miners from North America and pushed a “Greener Bitcoin” narrative, which was fruitful to some extent.

However, it was speculated that withdrawing Bitcoin payments might be due to Tesla looking to enter a multi-billion dollar US market for Renewable Credits. According to some unnamed sources, Tesla is hoping to get some profit from Biden’s administration to march towards zero-emission goals. The electric-car company is one of the eight companies with a pending application at the Environmental Protection Agency tied to power generation and renewable credits.

Bitcoin Price Surges

Bitcoin price was under pressure for a long time after Elon Musk announced the withdrawal of BTC payments. It was trading within a very narrow range, and a boost was needed to propel BTC prices to reach $40,000. However, with the recent tweet from Elon Musk mentioned at the start of this article, Bitcoin prices swelled nearly 10%.

Musk might be attempting to regain his lost image in the crypto space as he received severe backlash from the crypto community. Many Bitcoin proponents canceled orders for Tesla cars after Musk’s tweet that Tesla would no longer accept Bitcoin as a form of payment. The negative backlash may have compelled Musk to come forward to rebuild his tarnished image.

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Fx Analysis

Overview of ‘The Security Token Report’, 2021

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In a recent report, Cointelegraph has thoroughly assessed the potential and desire for security tokens.  Over the course of 90+ pages, quantitative analysis and commentary from industry insiders paints a picture, hinting at big things yet to come.  Below we take a look at some of the highlights in the report.

Terminology

Simply put, security tokens are an investment contract.  They are blockchain-based digital representations of shares in various forms of investment vehicles.  Security token applications are vast, with potential underlying assets ranging from precious metals to financial instruments, collectables, and more.

As the blockchain industry is rapidly expanding, so too are token standards available for use among security tokens.  As of today, examples can be found on not only Ethereum, but others such as Raven, Tezos, and more.

Access to security tokens is most commonly obtained through either Security Token Offerings (STOs) or secondary marketplaces like OpenFinance.

Why the Fuss?

Presently, there is a mad-dash occurring within the security token sector as a variety of companies attempt to gain first-movers advantage.  Those that can establish themselves now, along with the necessary infrastructure, will be looked back upon as both pioneers and pundits within the sector.  Cointelegraph states, “Currently, the market for security token trading is a competitive one with banks, traditional exchanges, startup token exchanges, cryptocurrency exchanges, and decentralized exchanges all vying to capture market share.”

Why is this the case though?  What is it that these companies envision that makes the hassle worthwhile?

The benefits afforded by blockchain-based securities are numerous and significant in nature.  While investing has seen a steady influx of technology over the decades, few examples can match the potential of security tokens to radically improve methods of operation.  Aside from the oft-noted increase in liquidity, the following are a few notable benefits expected to be realized through the use of security tokens.

Settlement Times

Through traditional means of trading stocks, settlement times can run up to 48 hours.  This process involves various entities, and resulting inefficiencies.  Depending on their implementation, security tokens have the ability to be settled near-instantaneously.

Opportunities

Traditional securities are typically only accessible for trading during normal business hours.  World events do not operate on a set timeline however, meaning that opportunities can often get missed.  Security tokens solve this, as markets never close – meaning no lost opportunities.

Regulatory Compliance

While decentralized currencies like Bitcoin can be traded quite freely, assets designated as securities must adhere to strict guidelines.  This adherence can be a difficult process as different securities have varying underlying assets and structuring.  With security tokens, programmers can ensure regulatory compliance from the get-go by building it into its code.

Regulation

From a regulation standpoint, security tokens have a slightly steeper hill to climb than most digital assets.  Thankfully, many countries have already begun developing framework for their implementation as seen in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, United Kingdom, and more.

Despite these strides being made surrounding regulations, various past and on-going events have resulted in what were deemed securities violations.  The following are a few notable examples that saw fines doled out by regulators such as the Securities and Exchange Commission.

While the companies noted above were issued heavy fines, the verdict is still out on a few high-profile cases – the most notable of which being SEC vs. Ripple.  Despite each of these fines being issued within the United States, and a generally agreed upon lack of regulatory clarity, the nation remains the most popular for hosting an STO.

‘The United States solidified its position as the most popular jurisdiction for the incorporation of STOs, with Switzerland being a distant second’

STO Market

Although current market participants may be looked back upon as trailblazers, they are expected to soon be joined by a plethora of others.  In its report, Cointelegraph references an interview with Raiffeisen Bank International in which it expressed a belief that ‘By 2030, most securities will be tokenized’.

Interestingly, it is noted that while “the majority of investors are not currently asking for exposure to security tokens, investors are beginning to demand a trading experience for stocks that is similar to cryptocurrencies.  They want transparency, liquidity, and instant settlement.”  If these wants and desires sound familiar, just look towards our overview of the benefits afforded by security tokens.

The potential is there.  The interest is there.  So, what can we realistically expect the market size for security tokens to look like in the coming years?

As of April 2021, the security token market-cap as a whole approached $1 billion, with trading volumes nearing $5 million per month.

These totals build on 2020, which saw 80 companies host STOs and a market growth rate of 517% per Cointelegraph.  Headliners included in these 80, noted by Cointelegraph, include both Red Swan, and the Thai Central Bank.  Between these two alone $3.8 billion was raised – the market as a whole raised $5 billion.

During the 2020 calendar year, the following were the best and worst performers among security tokens.

Company / Security Token Return on Investment
tZERO 205%
Overstock 195%
Protos -60%
Lottery.com -80%

Based on multiple reports, it is expected that the security token market will grow to lofty heights in a short period of time – more specifically, $1.5-14.7 trillion within 4 years (2025).
Firms that believe the market will fall within this range include the World Economic Forum (WEF), Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler (KPMG), Finoa, PWC and more.

In the immediate future, it is expected that growth will be fueled first by small and medium enterprises (SMEs).  Cointelegraph notes that, “the reason for this is twofold.  First, security tokens bring down the costs associated with raising capital…Second, security token markets do not have sufficient liquidity for larger funding needs”.  The second point will eventually change with the advent of secondary marketplaces, facilitating the trading needs of large corporations.  For the time being, SMEs that do not require the same levels of liquidity will lay a strong foundation within the sector.

Conclusion

Overall, it is clear that the future is bright for security tokens.  While it may have taken a bit of time to get the ball rolling, it is now beginning to pick up speed.  Regulators are laying out guidelines, and investors are becoming increasingly savvy to the benefits of blockchain based assets.

If any one of the various intelligence reports are correct on what the future holds for this nascent asset class, it will be sooner rather than later that security tokens take the world by storm.

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