The Bitbuy Brief: US Exchange Becoming A Bank?

The Bitbuy Brief

Issue #114

September 17th, 2020

Bitbuy Platform Announcements

Coming up: US based exchange Kraken makes announcements but first..

XRP – Spark/Flare Fork Support

Bitbuy will not be supporting the Spark/Flare XRP fork. We recommend all users withdraw with XRP to a personal wallet that will support the fork in order to claim your tokens. To withdraw XRP, follow the instructions in this article.

Bitbuy to Bitbuy Account Transfers – Temporarily Disabled

As Bitbuy upgrades our systems, we have temporarily disabled account to account crypto transfers. This means you will not be able to send Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies from your Bitbuy account to a wallet address associated with a different Bitbuy account. All withdrawals and deposits for cryptocurrency will need to be between a Bitbuy and non-Bitbuy wallet until the upgrades are complete.

Weekly Market Movement

Analysis: Crypto had an up and down week., with most major coins up 2-5% in the 7-day term. For a rare instance, Bitcoin was up while most DeFi and traditional alts were down, with some calling it the “Bitcoin Revenge Rally”. Spot volumes are down from this time a month ago overall.

Big Story Of The Week: US Based Exchange Kraken

Yesterday, US Based Exchange Kraken Announced They Had Been Approved To Operate A Special Purpose Depository Institution (SPDI), Which They Describe As A Form Of Bank, In Wyoming – At Face Value This Concludes A Long Saga And Fractious Relationship Between The Exchange And The US-Banking System. It Is Not Yet Known How This Will Affect International Markets.

  • Kraken is legitimately one of the earliest North American crypto exchanges and one of few remaining from the pre-Mt Gox era. The firm was founded in 2011 and trading formally launched in July 2013. The platform has a history of issues with the US-banking system which included a move to suspend USD-deposits/withdrawals. The announcement notes that the State of Wyoming has approved a firm, tentatively being referred to as, ‘Kraken Financial,’ to operate a Special Purpose Depository Institution (SPDI). The intention of the move is to be able to offer a full-service crypto-fiat gateway and custody solution. Kraken espouses a vision where clients can transfer their assets seamlessly between fiat and crypto.

Takeaway: The functionality that Kraken describes in their announcement is not new to the space. Both Silvergate and Deltec among others operate similar ‘seamless’ systems that even allow for some cross-exchange operability. We expect, however, that the announcement will come as a relief for Kraken, which has had near death experiences when the US banking sector has turned its back on them. That said, bank friendliness towards the sector has greatly increased anyways, with even JP Morgan offering services to exchanges Gemini and Coinbase.

Other Weekly Headlines

  • Decentralized exchange UniSwap has launched a governance token called UNI. A total of 1 billion UNI tokens have been minted, of which 60% will go to community members of the next 4 years. A further 21.51% will go to team members and future employees, and 17.8% to investors, with both having a ‘4-year vesting.’ UniSwap users can immediately begin claiming UNI tokens based on their prior use. Coinbase, FTX and Binance all quickly listed the token. – link – @UniSwap
  • The Bahamas is set to roll out a digital currency called the Sand Dollar in October after successful testing on two islands. Officials behind the project claim it will make digital payments easier, especially in remote islands that play important roles in the country’s tourist-centric economy. The Sand Dollar will be backed by Bahamian dollars (which are pegged to USD). – link – @Bloomberg
  • India is planning to ban cryptocurrency trading in the country, according to a report from Bloomberg. The Reserve Bank of India had previously banned commercial banks from providing services to crypto business, however that ban was overturned by the nation’s supreme court in March. – link – @Bloomberg

Other Media

Bitcoin CEO: MicroStrategy’s Michael Saylor Explains His $425M Bet On BTC, CoinDesk, September 15, 2020

PODCAST: Andre Cronje Of Yearn Finance On YFI And The Fair Launch: ‘I’m Lazy’, Unchained Podcast, September 15, 2020

PODCAST: How SushiSwap Proved That Liquidity Is Not A Moat, Unconfirmed Podcast, September 11, 2020

EU Aims For Tight Grip On Digital Currencies To Stave Off Risks – Bloomberg, September 11, 2020

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Disclaimer: The opinions and analysis expressed in this newsletter are those of the writer, and not of Bitbuy. Nothing in this note should be considered investment advice.