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India’s Crypto Trading Volume Soars Amid Economic Crisis

India's Crypto Trading Volume Soars Amid Economic CrisisDespite the economic crisis, cryptocurrency trading platforms in India are reporting record-breaking volumes and new users. “People in India are betting big on bitcoin,” Paxful’s CEO said. “The Indian market holds great potential and importance for the future of the crypto-economy.”

Record-Breaking Growth Across the Indian Crypto Industry

Cryptocurrency trading volume has been growing by leaps and bounds across many exchanges in India despite the coronavirus pandemic and economic crisis. Peer-to-peer (P2P) bitcoin marketplace Paxful announced Thursday its record-breaking performance in India.

From January to May, Paxful reported an increase of 883% in bitcoin’s trading volume over the same period last year, from approximately $2.2 million to $22.1 million. In May, the bitcoin trading volume on the platform was $6.2 million, a 41% increase, and new user signups increased by 12% for the month. On a monthly average, new user signups increased by 28%.

India's Crypto Trading Volume Soars Amid Economic Crisis
P2P marketplace Paxful reported a significant increase in bitcoin trading volume on its marketplace in India. Global and local cryptocurrency exchanges are seeing a similar trend.

Recently, global cryptocurrency exchange Okex also revealed in a report that its “visits from India saw the highest increase, reaching 545.56%. According to Okex, newly registered users from India rose 4,100% during the same period,” the report states. “After the policy was loosened, the increase in trading volume was not only reflected in local exchanges, but also the major global exchanges.”

Several local crypto exchanges in India have independently told news.Bitcoin.com that they have been seeing huge growth in trading volumes and new users on their platforms, especially during the nationwide lockdown. The growth was fueled by the country’s supreme court quashing the banking ban by the central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), in March. Wazirx and Unocoin recently said their trading volumes increased 10-fold. Zebpay also saw substantial growth in trading volume and new users during the lockdown. Meanwhile, new crypto exchanges are launching in India, while global exchanges are expanding in the country and venture capitalists are investing more in Indian crypto startups.

Great Potential for the Indian Crypto Industry

Paxful detailed that it “sees India as a center for innovation and is excited to see the growth and contribution Indians will bring to the industry.” The platform, which recently expanded operations in India, aims to use cryptocurrencies to “expand the financial inclusion and fiscal independence of a new generation of Indians.” Paxful CEO and co-founder Ray Youssef commented:

The Indian market holds great potential and importance for the future of the crypto-economy. People in India are betting big on bitcoin presenting an opportunity for greater financial returns.

“We are actively focussing our efforts on bringing cryptocurrency to the masses across the nation to aid in the eradication of poverty, boost economies, and create jobs, especially in the post-covid-19 economy,” he continued.

The Indian crypto sector is flourishing despite the covid-19 crisis and severe economic conditions throughout the country. Former Finance Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg recently said that he expects the Indian economy to contract by 10% this fiscal year. Global rating and research agency CRISIL said last week that India’s worst recession is here, concurring with Goldman Sachs’ prediction that the current recession is the country’s worst.

What do you think about the growth of India’s crypto sector? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Exponential Growth: Bitcoin’s Trading Volume Could Rival Major Asset Classes

Exponential Growth: Bitcoin's Trading Volume Could Rival Major Asset ClassesBitcoin’s trading volume has experienced exponential growth which could reach levels similar to major asset classes, according to a new report by Coin Metrics. The cryptocurrency’s daily volume could exceed that of all U.S. equities in less than four years and all U.S. bonds in less than five years, the analysis shows.

Bitcoin’s Volume Growth Could Match Stocks and Bonds

Cryptocurrency data provider Coin Metrics published its new State of the Network report (Issue 53) Tuesday that focuses on analyzing bitcoin’s trading volume. Coin Metrics estimates bitcoin’s free-float market capitalization to be $136 billion — a size similar to the largest publicly traded companies in the U.S. However, the report notes that while it is easy to estimate bitcoin’s market capitalization, a volume assessment is “more complicated and different calculation methodologies can yield significantly different results.”

The report proceeds to suggest that any institutional investors wanting to enter the crypto space need to make some decisions that “can have a material impact on [the] evaluation of [bitcoin’s] trading volume and liquidity.” They include deciding which exchanges, markets, and cryptocurrencies they feel comfortable investing in, as well as whether to invest in stablecoins, such as tether (USDT), or crypto derivatives. Nonetheless, Coin Metrics concluded that regardless of these decisions:

All facets of bitcoin’s trading volume have experienced exponential growth and, if sustained, will grow to levels similar to major asset classes.

Exponential Growth: Bitcoin's Trading Volume Could Rival Major Asset Classes
Coin Metrics’ latest State of the Network report shows that bitcoin’s spot volume could rival major asset classes if the current growth trend continues.

The Coin Metrics analysis compares bitcoin’s spot trading volume to that of other asset classes. Since its daily trading volume is only about $4.1 billion currently, the report asserts that bitcoin is “most comparable in size to a large capitalization stock rather than a distinct asset class.” Emphasizing growing volume, the report claims:

If historical growth rates can be maintained, however, bitcoin’s current daily volume from spot markets of $4.3 billion would need fewer than 4 years of growth to exceed daily volume of all U.S. equities. Fewer than 5 years of growth are needed to exceed daily volume of all U.S. bonds.

Ways to Determine Bitcoin’s Trading Volume

There are several ways to determine bitcoin’s daily trading volume, depending on what is included; each way yields a different volume number. An easy way is the $0.5 billion per day trading volume of bitcoin spot markets quoted in U.S. dollars from major exchanges, the report details, adding that most BTC trading occurs on a handful of centralized exchanges.

For this State of the Network report, the volume figures came from Binance, Binance US, Bitfinex, Bitflyer, Bithumb, Bitmex, Bitstamp, Bittrex, Bybit, Cex.io, Coinbase, Ftx, Gate.io, Gemini, Huobi, Itbit, Kraken, Liquid, Okex, Poloniex, and Upbit. About 90% of the volume of U.S. dollar quoted spot market volume is concentrated in four exchanges: Coinbase, Bitstamp, Bitfinex, and Kraken.

Exponential Growth: Bitcoin's Trading Volume Could Rival Major Asset Classes
Bitcoin’s trading volume compared to other asset classes such as U.S. Equity, U.S. Bond, and Global FX spot markets.

Bitcoin’s daily trading volume is much higher when including fiat markets, stablecoins, and derivatives. The volume jumped to $1.2 billion when including fiat markets, with the U.S. dollar representing about half of the total. The other major fiat quote currencies are the Japanese yen, the euro, the Korean won, and the British pound.

When including stablecoins, which have increasingly gained trading volume and market share, the analysis finds:

Including markets quoted in stablecoins significantly increases the daily trading volume to $3.5 billion, primarily due to tether.

Meanwhile, “The largest increase is observed when derivatives markets are added to the mix,” the report continues, noting that like other asset classes, “derivatives markets in bitcoin are several times larger compared to spot markets.”

What do you think of bitcoin’s trading volume growth? Let us know in the comments section below.

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US Government Prediction: Economy Faces 10-Year Recovery, $8 Trillion Loss From Coronavirus

US Government Predicts Economy Will Take 10 Years to Recover, Costing $8 TrillionThe U.S. Congressional Budget Office has projected that the coronavirus crisis will cost the U.S. economy about $8 trillion. Many factors play a part in shrinking the economy, such as business closures, social distancing measures, consumer spending, a drop in energy prices, and recent legislation.

Decade-Long Recovery Costing $8 Trillion

The U.S. Congressional Budget Office (CBO), a federal agency that provides budget and economic information to Congress, has estimated the impact of the coronavirus crisis on the U.S. economy. CBO Director Phillip L. Swagel explained on Monday in a letter to Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer:

CBO projects that over the 11-year horizon, cumulative real output (in 2019 dollars) will be $7.9 trillion, or 3.0 percent of cumulative real GDP, less than what the agency projected in January.

Schumer had asked the CBO to compare its “May 2020 interim projections of gross domestic product and its January 2020 baseline projections,” the letter details.

The agency projected in May that the level of nominal GDP in Q2 2020 would be lower than its January forecast. “The two largest differences between the two forecasts result from the economic effects of the covid-19 pandemic in reducing output and the legislation enacted between January and early May in response, which partly offsets that reduction,” Swagel described.

US Government Prediction: Economy Faces 10-Year Recovery, $8 Trillion Loss From Coronavirus
The U.S. Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has projected that it will take more than a decade for the U.S. economy to recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, which will cost the country about $8 trillion.

Furthermore, the director wrote that the “revised forecast for nominal GDP reflects a significant markdown in CBO’s projection of real (inflation-adjusted) production in the United States as a result of the pandemic.” He added: “Business closures and social distancing measures are expected to curtail consumer spending, while the recent drop in energy prices is projected to severely reduce U.S. investment in the energy sector. Recent legislation will, in CBO’s assessment, partially mitigate the deterioration in economic conditions.” Swagel elaborated:

CBO projects that over the 2020–2030 period, cumulative nominal output will be $15.7 trillion less than what the agency projected in January.

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The director noted, however, that “An unusually high degree of uncertainty surrounds these economic projections” due to the coronavirus pandemic, adding that the office will continue to evaluate the impact of the pandemic which could be affected by future federal policies.

The U.S. Congress has passed the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief & Economic Security (CARES) Act, which was signed into law by President Donald Trump on March 27. Several other bills have been proposed, including Nancy Pelosi’s $3 trillion Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act which proposes a second round of stimulus checks for Americans.

“The second quarter is still likely to see the biggest GDP drop in U.S. history while the unemployment rate for May is expected to be near 20%, the highest since the Great Depression,” CNBC reported Monday. The publication quoted Senator Schumer as saying, “In order to avoid the risk of another Great Depression, the Senate must act with a fierce sense of urgency to make sure that everyone in America has the income they need to feed their families and put a roof over their heads.”

What do you think about the CBO’s predictions? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Travala Sees 205% Jump in Booking Revenue as Travel Demand Returns — 60% Paid With Cryptocurrencies

Travala Sees 205% Jump in Booking Revenue as Travel Demand Returns - 60% Paid With CryptocurrenciesCrypto-friendly travel booking platform Travala has reported booking growth as demand for travel returns despite continued coronavirus crisis and extended lockdowns in many places. Its booking revenue in May soared 205% and 60% of all bookings were paid with cryptocurrencies.

Travel Demand Returning Despite Covid-19

Travala.com, a website where travelers can book flights from over 600 airlines and over 2 million hotels and accommodations worldwide, published on Monday its monthly performance report for May. The global travel industry has been severely hit by the coronavirus pandemic, economic crisis, and extended lockdowns.

“We have endured a turbulent few months, due to travel restrictions and border closures resulting in cancellations and reduced bookings,” Travala admitted. However, the company added:

Confidence and a desire to travel are returning with a significant increase in demand … Overall [our] booking revenue for the month of May was $68,162 which is an increase of 205% compared to April.

Traffic to Travala.com grew substantially during the month, the company detailed. Direct traffic to the site from the U.S. grew the most at 541%, followed by Vietnam (118%), the U.K. (80%), the Netherlands (56%), and Germany (54%).

Moreover, “the total number of room nights booked [in May] was 541, which is an increase of 45.8% compared to April.” The top countries booked were the U.S., Thailand, Spain, the Netherlands, Australia, Poland, and Vietnam.

More Than 60% of All Bookings Were Paid With Cryptocurrencies

Travala has listed many business partners across several categories as well as numerous payment methods on its website. Its travel partners include Booking.com, Priceline, and Travelbybit. Its blockchain partners include Binance, Litecoin Foundation, Digibyte, Tron, Huobi, Bitcoin.com, Gemini, Komodo, Waves, Coingate, Gocoin, Kucoin, Crypto.com, and Changelly.

Travala Sees 205% Jump in Booking Revenue as Travel Demand Returns — 60% Paid With Cryptocurrencies
List of Travala’s partners showing many crypto companies and cryptocurrencies accepted on the Travala.com website.

The crypto-friendly travel booking website accepts a wide range of cryptocurrencies, such as BTC, BCH, BNB, AVA, USDT, ETH, LTC, XRP, TRX, EOS, ADA, WAVES, XEM, DAI, QTUM, DASH, XMR, XLM, NANO, NEO, and GUSD. Overall, the company detailed:

Over 60% of the total bookings in May paid with cryptocurrencies.

Moreover, Travala provided details of popular payment methods used on its website. About 21% of all bookings were paid in bitcoin (BTC), followed by its native token AVA (16%), Crypto.com Pay (14%), BNB (2%), and other cryptocurrencies (7%). Meanwhile, credit card and Paypal accounted for 40%.

What do you think about Travala’s growth? Let us know in the comments section below.

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2 Swiss Banks Launch Cryptocurrency Trading and Custody After Gaining Regulatory Approval

2 Swiss Banks Launch Cryptocurrency Trading and Custody After Gaining Regulatory ApprovalSwitzerland’s financial regulator, FINMA, has approved two Zurich-based banks to offer a range of cryptocurrency services, including trading and custody. Maerki Baumann Bank subsequently announced the launch of its trading platform for major cryptocurrencies while Incore Bank is offering a range of crypto services.

Maerki Baumann Launches Cryptocurrency Trading Desk and Custody Service

The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) recently approved two banks — Maerki Baumann and Incore Bank — to offer a number of cryptocurrency services, the two financial institutions independently announced Friday.

Maerki Baumann, a Zurich-based private bank with a dedicated crypto desk, stated Friday that it has obtained a license from FINMA “to offer the trading and custody of cryptocurrencies as well as other digital assets (tokens).” With this new license, the bank will offer its clients the trading and custody of cryptocurrencies starting this month. Noting that its trading platform will also support ERC20 tokens, the bank explained:

Maerki Baumann will initially offer trading in the principal cryptocurrencies, namely bitcoin (BTC), bitcoin cash (BCH), ethereum (ETH), litecoin (LTC) and ripple (XRP).

Swiss Authority 2 Banks to Offer Cryptocurrency Trading and Custody Services
Zurich-based private bank Maerki Baumann has been opening business accounts for crypto companies since April 2019 and is now expanding its crypto services to include trading and custody.

Besides providing business bank accounts for crypto and blockchain companies, the bank has also been supervising initial coin offerings (ICOs) and security token offerings (STOs) for its clients. As of Dec. 31, 2019, the bank had approximately 8.5 billion Swiss francs ($8.84 billion) in assets under management, 80% of which originated in Switzerland and 10% in Germany.

Its Friday announcement outlines the bank’s near-term plans to further expand its universe of tradable cryptocurrencies and crypto investment services in the second half of the year. The bank detailed:

Maerki Baumann is in no doubt that digital assets will be a fixed element of a professional investment advisory and asset management service in the future.

Incore Bank Launches Several Crypto Services

The second bank recently authorized by FINMA to offer crypto services is Zurich-headquartered Incore Bank, a transaction bank that provides outsourcing services for financial institutions, such as settlement, custody, payments, accounting, compliance, and tax support. Its clients include Maerki Baumann. Incore announced Friday that the Swiss financial regulator has approved it to “trade, hold, transfer and generate (tokenize) digital assets,” elaborating:

This makes Incore Bank the first Swiss business-to-business bank to offer financial service providers and institutions worldwide easy and secure access to a new and forward-looking asset class.

Incore Bank recently created a Digital Services division to offer a “full range of services from issuance, distribution, brokerage and storage,” its announcement details. “We guarantee a full segregation of crypto client assets on individual wallets, whereby no additional capital requirement of the client bank is required,” said Daniel Blatter, Incore’s Head of Digital Services.

Swiss Authority 2 Banks to Offer Cryptocurrency Trading and Custody Services
Swiss financial regulator, FINMA, has recently approved two Zurich-based banks to offer cryptocurrency services. Maerki Baumann is launching a trading platform supporting major cryptocurrencies while Incore Bank is launching a range of crypto services.

The bank has also partnered with several companies in the crypto sector, such as the Swiss company Crypto Finance AG. Jan Brzezek, the CEO of Crypto Finance, commented:

We are convinced it is only a matter of time before bitcoin is part of a bank’s standard product portfolio. Incore Bank took an early and consistent approach to this topic, and we were immediately able to implement our brokerage and custody infrastructure.

The bank additionally revealed that it also plans to “expand the brokerage, custody and transfer services to security tokens,” noting that it has partnered with Inacta AG, an independent Swiss IT crypto consulting firm, to develop additional services in the area of the tokenization of assets.

Maerki Baumann is Incore’s first client for crypto services, having been a long-standing client of Incore and its parent company holds a stake in the transaction bank. “The trading orders placed with Maerki Baumann will be transferred via established partner companies, most notably the transaction bank Incore Bank AG, to professional crypto brokers and to the world’s leading and most liquid crypto exchanges,” the private bank clarified. “This will ensure that transactions can be rapidly executed and with a narrow trading spread.”

What do you think about Swiss banks offering cryptocurrency services? Let us know in the comments section below.

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India to Significantly Increase Crypto Market Share This Year: Report

India to Significantly Increase Crypto Market Share This Year: ReportIndia’s cryptocurrency market is set to gain significant market share this year, according to an industry report. The regulatory environment, the instability of the rupee, and remittances are key drivers that will send the Indian crypto industry soaring.

Indian Crypto Sector Flourishing

The Indian cryptocurrency market is poised to gain considerable global market share starting this year, according to a report published last week by Coinpaprika and Okex. The former is a cryptocurrency research platform while the latter a global crypto exchange. They analyzed the Indian crypto sector, major players, the challenges they face, and the rapid development of the country’s crypto ecosystem.

“India is one of the fastest-growing crypto markets, gradually catching up on cryptocurrency development,” the two companies wrote, elaborating:

We attribute the driving force of the Indian cryptocurrency market development to three significant factors, namely immigrants, finance, and government policies … It is expected that the global market share of crypto transactions in the Indian market will increase significantly in 2020-2022.

Rapid Growth: India to Significantly Increase Crypto Market Share Globally This Year, Report Finds
A report by Coinpaprika and Okex states that the global market share of crypto transactions in the Indian market will likely increase significantly in 2020-2022.

Key Factors Behind Rapid Growth of Indian Crypto Sector

The report attributes the rapid growth of the Indian crypto industry to three key factors. The first is cross-border remittances. “The amount of remittances by Indian immigrants has been the highest in the world over the years,” the report details, citing that the country had more than 17 million immigrants in 2019. Since cross-border transactions traditionally carry high fees, Coinpaprika and Okex believe that “Using bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies as a cross-border payment medium, Indians can save a large number of remittance fees,” adding:

Cryptocurrency as a cross-border payment medium will make a big difference in the Indian market. Due to great remittance demand, it will drive the prosperity of digital currency growth in India for a long time.

Rapid Growth: India to Significantly Increase Crypto Market Share Globally This Year, Report Finds
Trading volumes on peer-to-peer crypto platforms Localbitcoins and Paxful have been growing steadily in India. Many Indians convert their INR to bitcoin and then to U.S. dollars using these two platforms.

The next factor concerns the instability of the Indian rupee and Indians’ strong demand for U.S. dollars, the report outlines. “The value of Indian rupee is not stable, especially during the covid-19 epidemic … The exchange rate between rupee and USD continued to rise, causing the former to enter constant depreciation … with the constant depreciation of the rupee, the Indians have a strong need to convert their rupee into a more stable fiat currency,” the report describes, noting:

However, due to strict foreign exchange regulations, it is complicated to convert rupee directly to US dollars. Therefore, most Indians will choose to convert rupee to bitcoin and then to US dollars through C2C trading platforms such as Localbitcoins and Paxful.

“Many rupees are exchanged to bitcoin through chat groups, such as Whatsapp, Telegram, and Facebook, which then converted into US dollars,” research by Coinpaprika and Okex shows. “To maintain their asset’s value, cryptocurrency is being used as a vehicle to convert rupee into more stable fiat currency in India.”

The third factor is the regulatory environment for cryptocurrency in India. In March, the country’s supreme court quashed the banking restriction imposed by the central bank which has had profound effects on the local crypto industry. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) recently confirmed in a reply to a Right to Information (RTI) request that there is no longer any banking ban on crypto exchanges, companies, or traders.

“After the policy was loosened, the increase in trading volume was not only reflected in local exchanges, but also the major global exchanges,” the report continues. According to Similarweb, a website analytics data provider, traffic on major crypto exchanges from India increased many-fold in Q1 2020. The report further highlights:

Okex’s visits from India saw the highest increase, reaching 545.56%. According to Okex, newly registered users from India rose 4100% during the same period.

Besides Okex, several other crypto exchanges have reported huge growth in trading volumes and new users. For example, two prominent local exchanges, Wazirx and Unocoin, independently told news.Bitcoin.com that they experienced 10X volume growth as Indians explored crypto trading during the extended nationwide lockdown. Moreover, new crypto exchanges are launching in India, global exchanges are expanding in the country, and more venture capitalists are investing in Indian crypto startups.

Okex is preparing to launch a P2P trading platform in India where a number of cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin (BTC) and tether (USDT), can be traded against the Indian rupee via several payment channels. Kraken also said that it plans to expand into India this year. “The competition between local and global major crypto exchanges in the Indian market will become increasingly fierce,” the report concludes. “Exchanges are expected to steer their focus on enhancing the stability of their derivatives products and offering more diverse depositing channels for users.” As for the entire Indian economy, Goldman Sachs’ strategists have predicted that the country’s recession will be its worst ever.

Do you think India will lead the crypto revolution? Let us know in the comments section below.

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UK Government Seizes $185 Million From Dormant Bank Accounts for Crisis Relief

UK Government Seizes $185 Million From Dormant Bank Accounts for Crisis ReliefThe UK government is seizing funds in dormant bank accounts worth approximately $185 million to fund its coronavirus relief efforts. So far, 30 banks have been voluntarily transferring money from dormant accounts to the government, including HSBC, Barclays, Clydesdale, Credit Agricole, Danske, Santander, Lloyds, and Bank of Scotland. The government has also proposed adding other types of assets that can be seized, such as insurance policies and share proceeds.

Government Unlocks Funds From Dormant Accounts

The U.K. government announced last week that “£150 million [$185.74 million] from dormant bank and building society accounts is to be unlocked to help charities, social enterprises and vulnerable individuals during the coronavirus outbreak.”

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden detailed that “This includes accelerating the release of £71 million of new funds from dormant accounts alongside £79 million already unlocked that will be repurposed to help charities’ coronavirus response and recovery.” According to “The Dormant Assets Scheme: A Blueprint For Expansion” report, published by the British government in April last year:

UK banks and building society accounts collectively hold over £1.3tn of customers’ money in savings or current accounts that would be eligible under the Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts Act 2008.

UK Government Seizes $185 Million From Dormant Bank Accounts for Crisis Relief

30 Banks Voluntarily Transfer Dormant Funds to Government

The U.K. government’s asset seizure program under the Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts Act 2008 began in 2011. Currently, 30 companies, including all major high street banks, are participating in the program. They include Allied Irish Bank UK, ANZ (London branch), Bank Leumi UK, Barclays Bank, Clydesdale Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia (London branch), Co-operative Bank, Credit Agricole, Danske Bank, HSBC Bank, Lloyds Bank, Bank of Scotland, Nationwide Building Society, Riyad Bank, Santander UK, and TSB Bank.

These banks “have voluntarily transferred funds from accounts that have been inactive for 15 years into the scheme and so far over £600 million has been distributed to good causes,” Dowden said, elaborating:

The government is currently consulting on expanding the dormant assets scheme to include a range of financial assets from the insurance and pensions, investment and wealth management, and securities sectors.

According to the government, consumers can still reclaim the amount owed to them even if their funds have been transferred to the scheme. Reclaim Fund Ltd., an entity regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), is supposed to hold enough money to cover any claims.

Other types of assets that the British government has proposed adding to the program follow different rules of when they can be seized. If approved, insurance policies and pensions could be seized after seven years, cash assets after six years, and non-cash assets, shares and dividends of public companies could be seized after 12 years. The UK government expects that “The expansion has the potential to bring billions more pounds into the scheme.”

What do you think about the UK government seizing dormant accounts for crisis relief? Let us know in the comments section below.

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China Passes Law Protecting Cryptocurrency Inheritance

China Passes Law Protecting Cryptocurrency InheritanceChina has passed the country’s long-awaited civil code which expands the scope of inheritance rights to include cryptocurrency, such as bitcoin. Inherited cryptocurrencies will be protected under the new law. Meanwhile, several Chinese courts have recently ruled that bitcoin and ethereum are properties protected by law.

Inherited Cryptocurrencies Protected by Law

The third session of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s top legislature, voted on and passed the “Civil Code of the People’s Republic of China” on Thursday. In addition to general and supplementary provisions, the civil code ”includes six parts on real rights, contracts, personality rights, marriage and family, inheritance, and tort liabilities,” Xinhua News Agency reported.

Noting that the decision to draft a civil code was announced in October 2014 and the legislative process started in June 2016, the news outlet detailed:

[The new civil code] states that the property rights of individuals are equally safeguarded to those of the State and collective, and online virtual assets are protected, too.

Chinese President Xi Jinping at the third session of the 13th National People’s Congress where the country’s long-awaited civil code, which addresses crypto inheritance, was voted on and passed.

Wang Chen, vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, told the session that “The compilation of the civil code is an important component of the plans of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core for developing the rule of law,” the publication conveyed. This new civil code will enter into force on Jan. 1, 2021.

The scope of inheritance has been expanded from the existing law. Under the new civil code, “virtual assets, such as bitcoins, [can] be inherited,” as are all property legally acquired by a natural person, the news outlet emphasized.

Wang Liming, executive vice president of the Renmin University of China and a law professor, was quoted as saying: “The civil code is the first law to carry the title ‘code’ for the People’s Republic of China. It lays down the fundamental principles and regulations regarding civil activities and relations. It reflects the will of the people and protects their rights and interests.”

Several Chinese courts have also ruled that cryptocurrencies are property that should be protected by law. For example, the Shanghai No.1 Intermediate People’s Court ruled that bitcoin is an asset protected by law while the Shenzhen Futian District People’s Court ruled that ethereum is legal property with economic value.

Meanwhile, China is working on issuing its own central bank digital currency but there is currently no timetable for the launch, Yi Gang, governor of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), told reporters this week. Internal pilot tests have been conducted in various cities “to check the theoretical reliability, system stability, conveniency, applicability and risk controllability of the digital currency,” the governor confirmed.

What do you think about China’s new civil code protecting inherited cryptocurrency? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Grayscale Bitcoin Trust Buys Over 1.5 Times Total BTC Mined Since Halving

Grayscale Bitcoin Trust Buys Over 1.5 Times Total BTC Mined Since HalvingGrayscale Investments has purchased more than 1.5 times the number of bitcoins mined since the third Bitcoin halving for its bitcoin trust. This indicates that there is a strong institutional demand for the cryptocurrency, which is expected to grow significantly post the coronavirus crisis.

GBTC Buys 1.5 Times the Amount of Bitcoin Mined After Halving

Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) has been racking up the number of BTC it has purchased since the third Bitcoin halving. Between May 12 and May 18, the week following the halving, Grayscale Bitcoin Trust acquired 12,021.15320371 bitcoins representing $112,336,936, according to Grayscale Investments’ filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The following week, from May 19 to May 26, the trust aggregated 6,889.32628892 bitcoins representing $65,231,657. During the two-week period, Grayscale Investments bought a total of 18,910.47949263 bitcoins. Analyst Kevin Rooke tweeted on Wednesday:

Grayscale’s Bitcoin Trust bought 18,910 bitcoins since the halving. Only 12,337 bitcoins have been mined since the halving.

This means Grayscale Bitcoin Trust added more than 1.5 times the number of bitcoins mined during the two-week period after the third Bitcoin halving. This represents a major increase in its buying. For the 100-day period ending May 17, news.Bitcoin.com previously reported that Grayscale Investments purchased 33% of all bitcoin mined.

“Grayscale’s Bitcoin Trust is on a whole new level in 2020 … Institutional money has arrived,” Rooke asserted last week. In response to his analysis showing GBTC’s average weekly investment of $29.9 million in Q1 2020, a substantial increase from the $3.2 million in the first quarter of last year, Grayscale CEO Barry Silbert hinted on Twitter: “just wait until you see Q2.”

All Grayscale Investments’ cryptocurrency products as of May 28: Bitcoin Trust, Bitcoin Cash Trust, Ethereum Trust, Ethereum Classic Trust, Horizen Trust, Litecoin Trust, Stellar Lumens Trust, XRP Trust, Zcash Trust, and the Digital Large Cap Fund.

As of May 28, Grayscale Investments’ total assets under management (AUM) is $3.7 billion, spread over 10 cryptocurrency investment products. Among them, Grayscale Bitcoin Trust has the largest AUM of $3,302.2 million, followed by Grayscale Ethereum Trust with an AUM of $292.6 million. Grayscale previously revealed that 88% of all capital inflows in the first quarter were from institutional investors, dominated by hedge funds. Both the Bitcoin Trust and the Ethereum Trust saw record capital inflows.

Analysts have predicted rising institutional demand for cryptocurrency after the global economy recovers from the coronavirus pandemic and economic crisis. Several billionaire investors have also recommended investing in bitcoin as they expand their portfolios’ exposure to the cryptocurrency. With the sheer amount of bitcoin Grayscale has been purchasing, Rooke noted:

Wall Street wants bitcoin, and they don’t care what Goldman Sachs has to say.

His tweet followed Goldman Sachs’ client call about bitcoin, during which the firm highlighted its negative outlook towards the cryptocurrency. Goldman Sachs told its clients that cryptocurrencies “are not an asset class,” ignoring a ruling by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) which found cryptocurrencies to be a commodity. Meanwhile, another major investment bank, JPMorgan Chase, is warming up to bitcoin and has reportedly begun providing banking services to crypto clients.

What do you think about the amount of BTC Grayscale Bitcoin Trust is buying? Let us know in the comments section below.

The post Grayscale Bitcoin Trust Buys Over 1.5 Times Total BTC Mined Since Halving appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Source: Bitcoin News

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Crypto News Updates

JPMorgan to Pay $2.5 Million to Settle Lawsuit for Overcharging Crypto Fees

JPMorgan to Pay $2.5 Million to Settle Lawsuit for Overcharging Crypto FeesJPMorgan Chase has reportedly agreed to pay $2.5 million to settle a crypto class-action lawsuit. Originally filed in 2018, the suit alleges that the bank overcharged customers for buying cryptocurrencies using Chase credit cards, classifying the purchases as cash advances.

JPMorgan Settles a Crypto Class Action Lawsuit

JPMorgan Chase allegedly overcharged its customers who bought cryptocurrencies with their Chase credit cards. The bank decided to treat the purchases as “cash advances,” which carry higher fees than normal purchases. A class-action lawsuit was filed in 2018 and was settled out of court in March this year. As part of the deal, JPMorgan Chase is not admitting to the wrongdoing. Reuters reported Thursday that according to the motion filed in Manhattan federal court this week, JPMorgan Chase has agreed to pay $2.5 million to settle the lawsuit, noting:

Plaintiffs said the settlement would result in class members getting about 95% of the fees they said they were unlawfully charged.

One of the plaintiffs, Brady Tucker, claims that JPMorgan violated the Truth in Lending Act since the bank did not inform customers that cryptocurrency purchases were being treated as cash advances. This classification resulted in higher fees charged to customers. In his complaint, Tucker explained that the bank charged him more than $160 in fees and interest for regularly purchasing cryptocurrencies from Coinbase with his credit card and refused to refund the charges.

When the lawsuit was filed, JPMorgan was hostile towards cryptocurrency at the time. CEO Jamie Dimon called bitcoin “a fraud” but later admitted to CNBC that he regretted doing so.

JPMorgan has come a long way since its initial stance on bitcoin. The bank even created its own stablecoin called JPM Coin, which is “a digital coin designed to make instantaneous payments using blockchain technology,” its website describes. “It is a digital coin representing United States dollars held in designated accounts at JPMorgan Chase N.A. In short, a JPM Coin always has a value equivalent to one U.S. dollar.”

Recently, it has also been reported that the bank now provides banking services to two bitcoin exchanges, Coinbase and Gemini. Meanwhile, JPMorgan Chase reported a 70% decline in profits in the first quarter as the bank expects the coronavirus-led economic crisis to worsen.

What do you think about JPMorgan’s $2.5 million settlement? Let us know in the comments section below.

The post JPMorgan to Pay $2.5 Million to Settle Lawsuit for Overcharging Crypto Fees appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Source: Bitcoin News