News of the 23-year-old, Russian-born programmer’s demise was soon proved false – but not before 20%, or roughly $4bn, had been wiped from Ethereum’s soaring market value. The hoax not only drew attention to Ethereum, but also to the booming market in other so-called cryptocurrencies that could now be on the cusp of mainstream financial credibility.
“We have been talking to a couple of fintechs [financial technology companies] and have actually gone with the fintechs to the FCA [the Financial Conduct Authority, the UK regulator] to talk about how we could bring the equivalent of bitcoin, not necessarily bitcoin, but cryptocurrencies into play,” Vaswani told CNBC at a conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.
“Obviously [it’s] a new area, obviously an area we’ve got to be careful with. The People’s Bank of China has reportedly run trials, while the Danish central bank is considering a digital-only e-krone.
On June 19th, the International Monetary Fund issued a staff discussion note stating that banks should consider investing in cryptocurrencies, saying: “Rapid advances in digital technology are transforming the financial services landscape, creating opportunities and challenges for consumers, service providers and regulators alike.”
There’s no doubt a strong case for central banks to issue digital currencies that would be free to use. Since the start of the year, bitcoin, the world’s biggest cryptocurrency, has almost tripled in value to $2,565. By some estimates, the cryptocurrency business could be worth $5tn by 2022.
According to a prospectus, a total of US$893,200.77 worth of XTZ tokens will be issued on 1 July. I think Tezos is one of those tokens. Tezos’ founders, Kathleen and Arthur Breitman, anticipate their ICO will become a “digital commonwealth” or “self-governing network”.
The couple’s background in finance speaks to the seriousness of the endeavor: Arthur worked at the high-frequency trading desk at Goldman Sachs; Kathleen at Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund.
“We think our competitive advantage is in our ability to assign governance,” Kathleen told the Observer. “The thing about blockchain is it’s very interdisciplinary.“
A lot of people struggle to understand its value proposition, because it offers something different to everyone. Brock Pierce, managing partner of Blockchain Capital and a relative veteran of the ICO market, recently launched a tradeable, digital securities token called BCAP that he considers “the next giant leap in the democratization of venture capital and liquidity where everybody has equal access”.
Three days ago, Pierce launched the token distribution of EOS, a blockchain coin (or token) offering that’s already taken in $100m. Pierce predicts that the underlying technology of blockchain – essentially a public record of actions – “is going to impact our world more than the internet has”.
He added: “The implications are huge, and it’s going to have huge implications not only on venture, but private equity, real estate, digitizing currency. Five-year-old Ripple XRP , which is connected to 75 banks, including Bank of America and Royal Bank of Canada, has increased in value by 40 times this year alone. It’s a gold-rush mentality.”
However, Les Borsai, an early investor in Ethereum, believes that what is under way is a re-ordering of the financial systems. At root, he argues, blockchain technology shows “we don’t need a centralized solution for anything. Experts call for caution about digital currencies, such as bitcoin and Ethereum, but financial firms are considering adopting them or even establishing their own