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A private bank in Liechtenstein has established a cryptocurrency trading platform for institutional investors. Balzers-based Bank Frick will offer the service through its new subsidiary DLT Markets AG.
Investors to Gain Access to Multiple Cryptocurrency Markets
According to a statement released by the bank on Feb. 20, DLT Markets will provide its customers with the infrastructural access to buy and sell digital assets from several exchanges. The company has said this “allows investors to trade and manage digital tokens in a regulated environment, as they are used to from the traditional securities business.”
The unit will also administer order data and perform risk and position management processes as part of efforts to book assets and payments securely, it said. At the same time, Bank Frick will provide custodial services to institutional investors trading cryptocurrency, who will have to comply with full know-your-customer and anti-money laundering requirements.
Roger Wurzel, chief executive officer of DLT Markets, who has experience trading equities and derivatives at Deutsche Bank, stated:
We are creating a unique market offering for institutional investors in the area of the new digital token asset class. With our fully regulated platform, we are driving professionalism with regard to the trading of digital tokens and cryptocurrencies.
Liechtenstein has demonstrated great enthusiasm adopting cryptocurrencies and the blockchain technology which underpins them. Sandwiched between Austria and Switzerland, the small country has sought to attract cryptocurrency companies through friendly legislation, even though it faces competition from other small European nations like Gibraltar and Malta. Liechtenstein’s central bank has also announced plans to issue a security token.
Bank Frick Expands
Bank Frick recently established Distributed Ventures AG, a subsidiary tasked with promoting and financing fintech and blockchain startups. The launch of DLT Markets is thus seen as representing “a further step for Bank Frick in developing a future-oriented financial ecosystem, which combines regulatory security with the benefits of blockchain banking,” according to CEO Edi Wögerer.
He explained: “With our spin-off, we are offering institutional clients a unique combination of a fintech company and a bank regulated by the EU. The trading and safekeeping of digital assets thus go hand in hand – just like they do in traditional securities business.”
Bank Frick is a family-run Liechtenstein bank with headquarters in Balzers, employing more than 120 people. It was founded in 1998 by Kuno Frick Sr, with the majority now controlled by the Kuno Frick Family Foundation. Minority shareholder Net 1 UEPS Technologies, Inc. (Net1) holds 35 percent of Bank Frick’s share capital. Net1 is a financial technology company listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange in New York.
The bank supports initial coin offerings, provides custody of crypto assets and dealing services in major cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.
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A much-watched experiment in Finland failed to provide evidence that offering people a guaranteed income is the answer to some of the insecurities caused by potentially profound changes in the jobs market.
WSJ.com: What’s News Europe
The nation’s airlines are blaming the partial federal government shutdown for putting another dark cloud in their path, with few federal workers and contractors taking to the skies and stalled federal agency approvals causing delays in expansion plans, including Southwest Airlines’ much-anticipated…
GlaxoSmithKline Plc is splitting into two companies and creating a consumer-health joint venture with Pfizer Inc. that will be the world’s biggest supplier of over-the-counter medicines with brands such as Advil and Panadol.
Glaxo will have a 68% controlling stake in the new entity, with combined…
Bitcoin was born as a wholly digital currency, and it might have remained that way had it not been for the efforts of an early adopter from Utah. His name was Mike Caldwell, but on the Bitcointalk forum, he was better known as Casascius. The physical bitcoin creator took a digital phenomenon and converted into physical matter. For the first time in history, bitcoins were tactile.
Why a Physical Bitcoin?
“Why a physical bitcoin?” That was the question with which Bitcointalk forum regular Casascius titled his thread on Sep. 6, 2011. Hours earlier, he’d posted a separate thread announcing the launch of the first physical bitcoins. In many respects, his creations looked and felt just like conventional coins, and back then were worth scarcely more. In fact, with the first batch that Casascius released, the cost of postage alone was set at 1 BTC, while each 1 BTC coin was priced at 1.25 BTC to cover production costs.
“One side has a hologram,” explained Casascius. “Underneath the hologram layer is a private key. The first 8 characters of the bitcoin address appears on each coin.” “These look awesome,” replied forum user ‘the joint,’ “but why would you buy this given the current state of the Bitcoin market/economy? This might be nice as an investment if there was a good indicator that your investment would give you any kind of return.” When he wrote these words, 1 BTC was trading for $ 6.86.
The 1,000 BTC Physical Coin
So successful were the Casascius physical coins that the 1 BTC batch was followed by 10, 25, 100, and even 1,000 BTC editions. At bitcoin’s peak, around this time last year, that holographic 1,000 BTC coin would have been worth around $ 20 million. Mike Caldwell sold his Casascius physical coins until late 2013, by which point close to 28,000 coins had been minted. Almost half of those coins have now been redeemed, but over 47,000 BTC remains unclaimed at this time, waiting until the owners can bring themselves to peel off the holographic layer and redeem them using the private key.
“Now we can cross out the line in the first sentence of the [Bitcointalk forum] FAQ, which is that “a bitcoin is not tangible,” wrote Casascius, upon announcing his invention. “The fact that a bitcoin is no longer invisible, I think, is huge in and of itself.” He wasn’t wrong. While BTC has remained a primarily digital currency, today physical bitcoins exist in many forms including paper wallets, commemorative coins, and limited edition trinkets. Simply through engraving, printing, or etching the public and private keys to a bitcoin address, and obfuscating the latter, anything can be turned into a physical bitcoin and used to hold any amount of BTC or BCH.
— Melik Manukyan ludvigart.com (@realLudvigArt) November 20, 2018
Casascius started out as just another arcane pseudonym on an obscure digital currency enthusiasts’ forum. Today, his moniker stands synonymous with the birth of physical bitcoins.
Bitcoin History is a multipart series from news.Bitcoin.com charting pivotal moments in the evolution of the world’s first and finest cryptocurrency. Read part three here.
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The Fact Checker blog of the Washington Post has just added a brand-new category to rank what it sees as the more egregious of lies, and only one person in the world has managed to qualify so far: President Trump. What’s more, he’s done so 14 times, according to the…
Following a decision to recognize mining as an industry, the Islamic Republic of Iran is about to legalize the import of mining equipment. Also in The Daily, an executive at a leading Spanish bank insists cryptocurrencies are “perfect” and must be understood; trying to better understand the crypto space, Cyprus has set up a fintech innovation hub; and in Zimbabwe, the new finance minister is pushing the country’s central bank in a similar direction, calling on the RBZ to create a crypto unit.
Iran to Legalize the Import of Mining Equipment, Considers Exchange
Just two weeks after Iranian authorities announced a decision to recognize cryptocurrency mining as an economic activity, the government in Tehran is preparing to officially endorse the import of hardware equipment used to mint digital coins.
The move is aimed at supporting the new industry in times when the country’s economy is under heavy pressure exacerbated by reintroduced US sanctions. It also comes after in August Iran stepped up plans to issue a national cryptocurrency.
This week, the Secretary of the Islamic Republic’s Supreme Council of Cyberspace, Abolhassan Firouzabadi, was quoted by Iranian media saying: “Necessary coordination has been done with related entities to allow the flow of hardware needed to mine bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.” The high-ranking official also noted that besides legalizing crypto mining, the Council is also considering the establishment of an online digital assets exchange.
Cryptocurrencies Must Be Understood, Says Chair of Major Spanish Bank
Cryptocurrencies are “perfect” but are used for “bad purposes” today, so we have to be careful, according to Francisco Gonzalez, Group Executive Chairman of Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, Spain’s second largest bank.
In an interview with CNBC, BBVA’s representative also noted that blockchain, the distributed ledger technology underpinning digital currencies, is a “big, big tool”, but warned about the insufficient understanding of it too. Gonzalez, whose bank is actively investing in the fintech space, also pointed out:
We are in the middle of an incredible digital revolution. And in fact, a new world order is in the making, both social and economic…Something must be done in order to spread the wealth of this revolution to everybody…There are some ripple effects which must be understood in the case of cryptocurrencies.
Cyprus Creates Fintech Hub to Catch Up With Competition in the Crypto Space
Probably as part of its efforts to better understand cryptocurrencies and the underlying technology, the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) has established a Fintech Innovation Hub on the island. The Mediterranean nation, where financial services are a significant contributor to the gross domestic product (GDP), has to catch up with countries like Estonia, Malta and Lichtenstein which are definitely ahead in the race to attract businesses from the crypto space.
CySEC Chair Demetra Kalogerou believes regulation has to ensure the transfer of financial goods and services in a fair way. However, she also says that it’s not just about supervision of persons but the very technology that’s being used.
“We don’t want our regulatory framework to be static. We want it to progress in line with the demands of today’s and tomorrow’s investor,” Kalogerou stressed in an interview with Finance Magnates. That’s why, she pointed out, a dedicated hub would allow the Cypriots to experiment with the new technology in a safe environment and understand the risks and benefits before potential investors are exposed to new investment products.
New Finance Minister in Harare Pushing for a Crypto Unit at RBZ
Mthuli Ncube, Zimbabwe’s newly appointed finance minister, revealed he is trying to convince the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), the central bank of the economically hurting country, to establish a “cryptocurrency unit”, African media reported. The push is part of his plans to mitigate the nation’s ongoing cash shortage and position it better for new investments.
“Zimbabwe should be investing in understanding innovations and often central banks are too slow in investing in these technologies. But there are other countries which are moving faster. If you look at the Swiss central bank, they are investing in and understanding bitcoin,” Ncube said, quoted by IT Web Africa. The minister believes that if countries like Switzerland see value in cryptocurrencies, Zimbabwe should also pay attention.
“We have innovative youngsters, so the idea shouldn’t be to stop it and say don’t do this, but rather the regulators should invest in catching up with them and find ways to understand it. Then you regulate it because you now understand it,” added the representative of the current executive power in Harare.
What are your thoughts on today’s news tidbits? Tell us in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Mthuli Ncube (Twitter).
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Sen. Dianne Feinstein says she’s notified federal investigators about information she received concerning Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, the AP reports. The California Democrat says in a statement that she “received information from an individual concerning the nomination.” Feinstein isn’t saying who that person is or describing the information in…
Last year, President Trump signed an executive order on religious freedom , and now the Department of Justice is creating a “religious liberty task force” to implement the guidance that was issued as a result of that order. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the task force Monday during the DoJ’s religious…
A Connecticut teenager has designed an online resource to help immigrant children prepare for the possible deportations of their parents or guardians.