Winklevoss twins tell Wall St to wake up

Winklevoss is a big name in the crypto world. The twins, who were Facebook co-founders, have been advocating for cryptocurrency for many years now, and have built up a considerable bitcoin holding, as well as founding the Gemini crypto exchange.

In the last couple of weeks, bitcoin has risen above $10,000 and dipped below it, but overall this year its value has climbed by 200%, giving hope to the crypto bulls, who were left out in the cold during the bear market of 2018.

Enter the Winklevoss twins, who have now warned Wall St banks that they have been “asleep at the wheel” when it comes to bitcoin and cryptocurrencies generally.

“Unlike the internet, which you couldn’t buy a piece of, you can actually buy a piece of this new internet of money,” Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss told CNN. They added, “It’s still a retail-driven market, from day one. And a lot of people have done really well. Wall Street has been asleep at the wheel.”

As Billy Bambrough at Forbes comments: “Bitcoin’s epic 2017 bull run, which saw the bitcoin price soar from under $1,000 per bitcoin at the beginning of the year to almost $20,000 in December, was largely thought to be due to Wall Street and that institutional investment could be poised to flow into bitcoin and crypto.”

However, the institutional investment didn’t materialise and the price of bitcoin crashed. The Winklevoss twins took a different approach, “We had to invest because we were afraid of missing out, we couldn’t miss out on this future.”

It appears they are now lobbying the Wall St banks to become more involved with the aim of seeing that institutional investment emerge this year, even if it didn’t appear in 2017.

Bambrough suggests that in some ways keeping the banks outside the market has helped bitcoin retail investors, and he cites teen bitcoin millionaire Eric Finman as an example. Finman recently announced that he is backing Metal, which launched in 2017, but has been revamped as a “all-in-one digital banking platform for cryptocurrency” — despite slumping 98% in value since its all-time high. Finman’s support comes as Metal Pay relaunches to compete with more directly with the likes of Venmo and PayPal, payment platforms that want users to store and send cash on their apps.

Meanwhile, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss said they are open to partnering with Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg on the social media giant’s Libra cryptocurrency project after it was revealed they have been in talks about joining the Libra Association.

The banks may appear to be losing out in this emerging market; it may even make banks a thing of the past. But there is a way to go before we’ll see that, even if these institutions are slumbering giants.

Does China Have A New Relationship With Crypto?

Will crypto be the new operating system for capitalism?

Over centuries systems of exchange have evolved and right now we are at the ‘money’ stage, which has been around for some time. However, I’m not alone in thinking that fiat currencies won’t rule the roost forever. Chris Herd poses some interesting questions to think about in his article” Why cryptocurrency is the Next Operating System for Capitalism,” and he starts by suggesting that although traditionalists cling on the concept of cold, hard cash, it might disappear faster than they think.

The significance of a cashless society

We are almost at the point of becoming a cashless society for a start. More people than ever do not carry cash. Herd says, “I can count on one hand the number of times I have had cash in my wallet in the last 3 years. Paper cash and metallic coins are prehistoric.” This is true for many people, especially in larger cities. To some extent how ‘cashless’ you can be does depend on where you live; it’s a lot more difficult to rely on plastic in rural areas.

That brings us to cryptocurrency as a means of exchange. When the utility of notes and coins in your pocket decreases, it will be replaced by something the majority agree is more efficient. Herd argues that while the traditionalists shout that crypto is a ‘bubble’, he argues that fiat money is also a ‘bubble’, because as we know it is not backed by anything: “its price being entirely independent and it’s valuation contingent on what we collectively believe it to be ,” as he says.

If we stopped believing in the value Euros, pounds and dollars etc tomorrow, what would they be worth? With money we are in the land of ‘trust and belief’.

Loss of trust in governments

Herd writes, “Money is, and has been for the last 30 years, an intellectual construct centred on humanities trust in Governance.” And he correctly points out that right now, our trust in governments is at an all time low. And we have a solution to our loss of trust in them — a decentralised operating system.

Herd points us to the example of Venezuela, a country in deep financial and political distress. Bitcoin has enabled its citizens to have an alternative to the crippling inflation. They have an escape route from the government monetary policy.

Herd also argues that cryptocurrency can free us from government-imposed austerity measures, which plague a number of countries. As he says, the people who caused financial collapse are rarely punished for it; as we’ve seen Wall Street bankers are Teflon coated.

Crypto will destroy fiat?

What he believes we will see, and it’s a credible argument, is that Bitcoin and Ethereum will destroy fiat money and banks as well in the same way that Amazon has decimated the high street retailers and Facebook destroyed MySpace.

He admits that capitalism isn’t going anywhere, but states: “Cryptocurrency is simply a more efficient vessel which allows for its manifest destiny to be realised.”

It’s a compelling argument in my opinion, but what do you think?

JP Morgan still has Cryptophobia

It may have seemed that with the announcement of the JPM Coin, the banking giant had overcome its ‘cryptophobia’. However, I cam across a story last week that indicates it is still some way from showing crypto the love.

Cryptoraves, a company that is working on the tokenization of social media, had its bank account shut down last month by JP Morgan, without any explanation whatsoever.

In the long run, JP Morgan told them they were working in a “prohibited industry.” But that is as much information as Cryptoraves could wring out the stone that is the bank.

Cryptoraves was surprised to receive a letter saying, “After a recent review of your account, we have decided to end our relationship with you.” That is like ending a relationship by text. It is rather harsh, all the more because it doesn’t provide any reason for the break-up. Who wants a bank that treats its customers like this?

And is Cryptoraves really operating in a “prohibited industry”? Go to its website and the first thing you see is that you can get “FREE TOKENS.” People use the tokens to boost their credibility on social media. For example, a Twitter user can request free tokens and send them to other Twitter users. The tokens have no actual value, therefore they are not securities in the regulatory sense.

Cryptoraves has published an assessment of where it thinks the issue with JP Morgan arose: “We did send two wire transfers to Gemini to buy ETH and LOOM in order to cover future blockchain fees. We suspected that these transactions flagged our account, but the Chase rep would not confirm this. They would not give us a reason for the closure. We called the number in the letter and the agent told us to visit a branch for these details. Visiting our branch resulted in no other details except when our branch rep pressed the agent (yep as the primary course of action, our rep called the same phone number), they said we were operating in an ‘prohibited industry’. I guess JPM’s own blockchain department didn’t get the memo?”

Furthermore, Cryptoraves had had a 15-year relationship with the bank and praised its service. There is a suggestion that the timing of the account closure is connected to the launch of the JPM Coin, but that may just be a bit of a conspiracy theory. What is clear though is that banks are still making it difficult for crypto-related companies and crypto owners, especially when something as innocuous as a transfer can result in your account being closed.