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Binance Con 2019

Binance had its first conference last week, in Singapore. This was a good conference, with serious projects and a core group of crypto faithful. Now that the ICO ‘boom’ (at least the version 1.0), is well and truly behind us, the ‘tourists’ that mostly throng these conferences searching for/peddling for ‘when moon’ ICOs have disappeared, allowing for some quality conversations with the ‘remainers’. It is always a pleasure to spend time with ChangPeng Zhao (CZ), the ever-smiling founder of Binance. It was also a pleasure to finally meet in person the peerless ‘Pomp’ aka Anthony Pompliano; Immensely successful crypto veterans who wear their success lightly, and have no airs about them. Do sign up for Pomp’s newsletter, it is a must-read for us here at Satoshiand.co.

As expected, one key emerging theme for 2019 seems to be stablecoins. For now, stablecoins are mostly something that is exclusively of interest to traders, but in another couple of quarters, expect a multitude of stablecoins to pop up, with interesting, disruptive use cases in remittances and payments. For now however, there is a profusion of US stablecoins, and a few other currencies as well. In case you have not done so already, do check out our stablecoin watch section. (By the way, there are folks purporting to advise the Nigerian Government on their stablecoin strategy, and offered to partner with a stablecoin we know in exchange for their technology! Go figure).

Still undecided on the STO (securities tokenization) opportunity, which was another theme that kept coming up at the conference; It seems more and more like old wine in new bottle. There seems to be the same set of intermediaries providing distribution and access to pools of capital. Given the relative lack of institutional crypto uptake (at least as of now), would investors truly care if their investments are tokenized or not? There seems to be some specific use cases, such as with fractionalization and in cutting across cross-border regulatory hoops, but on the whole, we are not sure if the steak here matches the sizzle.

Singapore, as always, continues to amaze. Everything just works, almost like clockwork, and the regulators are working closely with the industry to keep regulation in step with fast-moving industry developments.

I will end with my favourite CZ quote “The opportunities in blockchain that are ahead of us are far greater than the opportunities behind us”. This is from a man who has created Binance, that in 2018 outperformed Deutsche Bank in profits, and almost pulled even with Nasdaq. Let that sink in. It is early days still. Really early.

Also, we have some exciting news. The folks that sit on the other side of the wall here at ZPX have been busy working on launching a Hybrid DEX. We will have more details for you soon, but do check out the newsletter link at the bottom of the Fordex landing page. Very soon, you will be able to swap between a bunch of USD stablecoins as well as a Korean stablecoin and a few other ones as well. What is more, if you are in the US, you can even buy stablecoins with plain old US dollars, and convert them to say, Korean stablecoins, and have a down-ramp into Korean dollars! Stay tuned….

Meanwhile in Crypto Wonderland….

“Crypto Rial is Coming” Shut out of the global financial system, Iran is inching closer to a workaround to US sanctions with the possible unveiling of its first state-backed cryptocurrency in the near future. The virtual currency is anticipated to be announced at the annual two-day Electronic Banking and Payment Systems conference, which kicks off on January 29 in the capital, Tehran. Iran’s cryptocurrency is expected to be rolled out in phases, first as a rial-backed digital token, to facilitate payments between Iranian banks and other Iranian institutions active in the crypto space, and later possibly as an instrument for the Iranian public to pay for local goods and services.

“Crypto-collateralized Corporate Loans” According to Business Insider, the cryptocurrency bank wants to offer cryptocurrency-collateralized US dollar loans to companies operating in the industry. Anonymous sources reportedly familiar with the project say Galaxy will accept crypto-assets as well as mining hardware as collateral for the loans. The reports also indicate that Galaxy Digital will close the first round of fundraising for the project in March 2019. Sources say the bank’s asset management arm will be responsible for offering the loans to cryptocurrency firms.

“Korean Exchanges Teaming up to Fight Money Laundering” Laundering funds with cryptocurrencies in South Korea could soon become a thing of the past if four of the country’s exchanges have their way. It comes months after the South Korean government’s attempts to clamp down on cryptocurrency activity were met by deafening resistance from investors and companies in the space. The news also follows an amendment to the country’s anti-money laundering rules, which requires domestic banks offering services to cryptocurrency exchanges to tighten up monitoring of related bank accounts.

“Kik Ready to Battle Against The SEC”Canadian messaging app company Kik Interactive Inc. is planning to take the SEC to court over a potential enforcement action against Kik’s 2017 initial coin offering (ICO) of the Waterloo, Ontario-based tech company’s proprietary cryptocurrency, Kin. Kik CEO Ted Livingston told the Wall Street Journal about his company’s upcoming legal battle with the Washington D.C. regulatory giant.

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