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Fintech A.M.: 05-01-2018

Cryptocurrencies are entering 2018 in good shape

Ethereum’s crypto token ether crossed the USD 1,000 mark yesterday afternoon, confirming its third place behind Ripple’s XRP token and bitcoin. Ripple’s XRP token reached an all-time high above USD 3. Ripple’s cryptocurrency’s evolution displays a more than 1,000% increase month over month, and is now second in terms of market cap far in front of Ethereum, going from a USD 17 billion lead on Wednesday to a lead of USD 26 billion yesterday. Top cryptocurrencies are all as healthy as a crypto can be in this beginning of 2018.

2017 saw cryptocurrencies booming. One year ago, bitcoin was priced around USD 1,000, ether fluctuated around USD 10 and Ripple’s XRP was barely spoken of. One year later, institutional players and industry leaders are involved in the market. Yesterday for instance, the Bank of England announced the creation of an eventual digital currency. This currency would allow individuals to store their money in the form of a cryptocurrency directly within the bank. Exchange markets are not ignoring cryptocurrencies either, and derivatives are now traded in the market, indicating the maturity the sector gained in the period.

Little shadow over this flourishing start of the year, Merrill Linch has forbidden its clients and financial advisors to trade in investments related to bitcoin. They blocked any investments towards the Greyscale’s Bitcoin Investment Trust, a decision driven by a concern towards ‘sustainability and eligibility standards of this product’. The ban would apply to any cryptocurrency-related derivative.

Alternative finance to be facilitated by the European Union, industry leaders  are carefully supportive

Recognizing the lack of regulation at a European level, the European Commission is working on a pan-European regulatory framework, similar to the European payment regulation, enabling local companies to scale-up throughout the Union. Concerned industry leaders appear to be supportive, while expressing worries regarding the implementation schedule, but mostly a concern that “there is a risk that what emerges is the lowest common denominator of what each country thinks appropriate”, stressed Lendix co-founder Patrick de Nonneville.

By Jean Leguy, Research Coordinator at Holland FinTech

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