Coinbase has released its recent Transparency Report, and the results are not at all encouraging for privacy advocates and believers in an “anti-establishment” philosophy of cryptocurrencies.
According to the company, out of 1914 requests for information it received, 1848 of them corresponded to subpoenas and interactions made by criminal investigation agencies, and only 66 came from civil or administrative agencies.
Coinbase Unveils An Unsurprising Report
Such statistics from Coinbase are not strange. The company has consistently expressed its willingness to cooperate with U.S. law enforcement agencies, having contracts and good relations with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
This number far exceeds the 710 requests received by Kraken during 2019. This exchange is also based in the United States and discloses data on requests made by authorities. This year, Kraken reported that the authorities developed an increasing interest in crypto, raising the number of information requests by almost 50%.
It’s that time again. Here’s a snapshot of our Compliance team’s 2019 Transparency Report. Team America still ahead with 61% of total requests, down from 66% last year. Other geos gaining fast. Trend is obvious. Costs are increasing, even in a relatively flat market. pic.twitter.com/4AMe11unoL
— Kraken Exchange (@krakenfx) January 7, 2020
The team at Coinbase said they have no problem disclosing information to the authorities as long as legal procedures are followed. Still, they also emphasized that customer privacy is also considered. In any case of conflict of interest, they could act in favor of their customers.
As a financial institution with a duty to detect and prevent prohibited activity on its platform, we respect the legitimate interests of government authorities in pursuing bad actors who abuse others and our platform. Yet, we will not hesitate to push back where appropriate.
However, it is important to consider that both Coinbase and Kraken were ranked among the top cryptocurrency exchanges of 2020 by CryptoCompare. The fact that they are registered in the US, have strong AML/KYC policies, and comply with US law, is a major point when it comes to assessing how safe and trustworthy a crypto exchange platform is.
Another highlight of the report is the most interested agencies in tracking cryptocurrencies across the crime world. According to Coinbase, 30.5% of the requests came from the FBI, Homeland Security followed by 16.5%, several local entities with 16.2%, and finally the DEA with 9.3%.
Running An International Business Comes With a Cost
Agencies with direct competence in the economic area had a minimal relationship with Coinbase. The SEC presented 2.6%, the CFTC 0.6%, and the IRS administrative area a little more than 2.2% (in contrast to the 6% of the area that is dedicated to criminal investigations).
Outside of the United States, Coinbase also collaborates with many governments. America has 1113 of the 1914 applications, while the rest of the countries have very little interest in this world. The U.K. sent 443 requests, and Germany 116, the rest of the countries did not reach the 50 interactions with the exchange.
The Coinbase report shows that the United States is increasingly interested in regulating cryptocurrencies to the fullest extent. From trying to force encryption service providers to work on solutions to allow law enforcement agencies to access private citizen data to paying companies to develop methods to track down privacy-focused blockchains, such as Monero or Zcash.
As Corporations Build Bitcoin Treasuries, We All Win
The last three months in Bitcoin have been marked by large corporate entities transitioning significant portions of their treasury holdings into bitcoin. In August, software intelligence company MicroStrategy announced that it purchased 0.1 percent of the total BTC supply (its CEO Michael Saylor has since gone full maxi, and become a bit of a celebrity in the space). Major payments company Square, which has been offering BTC exposure to users of its mobile payments platform for some time, allocated $50 million of its assets to bitcoin in early October. And just yesterday, U.K. fintech company Mode allocated 10 percent of its cash reserves to buy BTC as a treasury asset.
To compile this trend into a single, easily-digestible database, Coinkite’s Rodolfo Novak, a.k.a. NVK, launched bitcointreasuries.org. It lists companies that have made the transition to hold bitcoin as a treasury asset, along with their market caps, the base price of their investment vs. today’s value, the amount of BTC they hold and, critically, the percentage of the total supply of BTC that each has bought up. The allocations listed total a whopping 3.74 percent of all of the bitcoin that will ever exist.
“I always assumed that there was a place where you could see, not a complete list, but some list of large holders of bitcoin that are not private entities,” Novak explained to Bitcoin Magazine. “Especially with publicly-traded companies, because they have all of their books public anyway and it’s all audited. But I couldn’t find anything and I’m a lover of buying domains, so I just started putting [bitcointreasures.org] together in the hopes it would create more FOMO for other companies.”
The listing mostly consists of blockchain-focused companies that have divested into BTC some time ago as part of their larger business missions. Grayscale Trust, for instance, holds the highest proportion of bitcoin on the list by far at 2.17 percent of the total supply.
But many of the purchases or filings listed on the site took place this year. Novak explained that, while it might seem like lots of companies are jumping into Plan B all at once, it’s likely that even the most recent purchases have been planned for a long time, demonstrating a HODLer’s understanding of the asset.
“Corporate governance, especially for publicly-traded companies, moves at a snail’s pace,” he said. “So there had to be some mechanisms in place — sort of like a template of how to go about this. And that took years to make and, you know, bitcoin goes up, bitcoin goes down. And if you haven’t been in this space for a decade, it’s hard for you to understand that after bitcoin goes down, it goes up again. Number go up.”
But the reasons for moving toward a bitcoin-heavy treasury should be clear, especially in recent months.
“You have this store of value, everything serves at the pleasure of store of value,” Novak said. “And, you know, you hold it because you still want to be above water 30 years from now…. It’s just like, ‘Hey, I have cash in the bank, it’s going to shit, I need to find a solution.’ And, you know, gold pet rocks are not a solution.”
What Does This Mean For Bitcoin?
Because there is a finite supply of bitcoin (there will only ever be slightly less than 21 million BTC released into circulation), when any entity snatches up a significant amount, it affects everyone who might want to get their hands on some as well. And, because a major value proposition for bitcoin is this scarcity, these corporate purchases have implications for the price of bitcoin relative to fiat as well.
As a Bitcoiner who is frontrunning corporate interest, Novak is bullish about the trend.
“Everything’s good for Bitcoin, right?” he asked. “Bitcoin scarcity comes from people buying, right, and you have a limited cap supply on it. So, the more these behemoths buy it, the price goes up for everybody else.”
He also pointed out that as more diverse types of entities begin to hold bitcoin, the more the network overall will benefit.
“You want your enemies to have bitcoin, you want your competitors to have bitcoin,” he said. “Because the more types of people with different sets of preferences, different sets of incentives, that have it, the more secure the network is… If Kim Jong-un has bitcoin and the U.S. has bitcoin and China has bitcoin, it’s in everybody’s interest to not make any change to Bitcoin, right? Because if one wants a change that’s beneficial to them, the other ones are going to want that change too. So, it’s a beautiful set of incentives.”
Some retail-sized investors might see this trend as a warning to stack sats while they’re still available. But Novak points out that, while the bitcointreasuries.org roster is growing, there’s still significant opportunity to get ahead of the bulk majority of corporations.
“The little guy still has a chance to frontrun a Berkshire Hathaway,” he said. “You can even DCA at $10 a week or whatever, and you can be buying before they do. So, I think it’s not an opportunity that people should waste. It’s criminal not to have bitcoin exposure at this moment.”
Where Is This Trend Going?
When asked about where the trend in corporate allocation of BTC is headed, Novak said that he thinks bitcointreasuries.org will no longer exist in 10 years because “every single publicly-traded company that has treasury management in assets that are not just the dollar, they will have some exposure to bitcoin.”
That seemed to be a matter of inevitable hyperbitcoinization, but in the shorter term, it may help that some groups already on this list have published their methodology for divesting into BTC. For instance, Square released a white paper detailing its investment. Novak could see this utilized by other groups that are interested in following it toward Plan B.
“They created a template that other publicly-traded companies in the U.S. can just sort of follow and be regulatorily compliant to get this done,” he explained. “Now, you just go to a [corporate] board, you show that paper. You go to your legal, you show that paper. Compliance, show that paper, done. You just make the transfer and buy the bitcoin.”
A near-future bull run will also likely motivate more companies to follow Square’s lead. But the ultimate motivator may just be Bitcoin’s end game. The companies that have already made the ranks of bitcointreasury.org have adopted an incredible tool for opting out of the legacy financial system if and when that becomes necessary. Others will want to join them.
“Now they have an instrument that they can just send somewhere else,” Novak explained. “Let’s say the U.S. decides to go to shit, right? They could just send this BTC out, they don’t need permission.”
To listen to our full conversation with Novak, check out our podcast on this topic on these platforms:
Bitcoin Price Paints A Fresh All-Time High Against Two National Currencies
While most cryptocurrency community members speculate when or if Bitcoin will ever top its all-time high against the dollar, the digital asset has already marked an ATH against other government-issued fiat currencies – the Brazilian Real and the Turkish Lira.
Bitcoin Smashes Through BRL ATH
The past several days have been significantly exciting for the cryptocurrency industry, especially for its most well-known representative. Compared to the US dollar, BTC dipped to $11,200 on Friday, but since then, it has been on an impressive ride, resulting in a new 2020 high.
As CryptoPotato reported earlier, BTC pushed above $13,000 and topped at above $13,200. Looking at its price developments from the past few years, it’s easy to spot that this is still $7,000 less than its highest level of nearly $20,000.
Naturally, Bitcoin is compared with the US dollar as the latter is the world’s reserve currency. However, since BTC operates internationally without border limits, it’s compelling to follow its performance against other national currencies.
For example, during the December 2017 boom, one bitcoin cost 69,000 BRL in Brazil. Despite being officially ranked as the world’s ninth-largest economy by nominal GDP, Brazil’s currency has suffered since then.
BRL’s decline in value, combined with Bitcoin’s recent increase, has resulted in a new all-time high. According to data from TradingView, the trading pair BTC/BRL reached 72,000 BRL today.
Bitcoin Sees New High In Turkey As Well
The Turkish Lira is another national currency that has dumped in value lately. The country, led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, experienced rising inflation and borrowing costs, resulting in loan defaults in 2018. The COVID-19 pandemic only accelerated its economic decline.
As the virus infiltrated the nation in April, the central bank enhanced its efforts to keep credit flowing through the economy by cutting interest rates from 12% at the end of 2019 to 8.25% in May.
Despite Erdogan’s intentions, the loan growth increased by 40% and even 50% – record numbers not seen since the previous financial crisis in 2008.
Ultimately, this credit explosion, the need for foreign currencies, and the rising imports led to a near 12% domestic inflation increase in July alone.
Amid Turkey’s declining currency, Bitcoin took advantage and marked a fresh ATH in August this year. One bitcoin equaled 83,500 liras at the time.
The situation has only worsened for the TRY since then, while BTC has grown to new highs as described above. The chart below illustrates that BTC/TRY has surged to a six-digit territory at 101,200 TRY per one bitcoin.
I Like Bitcoin Even More, It’s The Best Inflation Trade: Billionaire Investor Paul Tudor Jones
- Billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones III has become an even bigger Bitcoin fan following the most recent price developments.
- As CryptoPotato reported back in May, Jones bought an undisclosed amount of BTC to protect himself amid the rising fears of increased inflations.
- In an interview with CNBC’s Squawk Box, the prominent investor doubled-down on his words that Bitcoin serves as a hedge against the failing traditional financial world.
- Jones noted that “I like Bitcoin even more now than then [when he bought BTC in May]. It’s in the first inning and has a long way to go.”
- He also clarified now that BTC has a single-digit percentage in his investment portfolio. However, he believes that Bitcoin could outperform all other traditionally regarded as safe-haven investment assets:
“The reason I recommended Bitcoin is because it was one of the menu of inflation trades, like gold, like TIPS breakevens, like copper, like being a long yield curve and I came to the conclusion that Bitcoin was going to be the best inflation trade.”
- Jones is not the only representative of the traditional investment world to have come on board the Bitcoin bandwagon. The Former CEO of the insurance giant Prudential and current Chairman of Sanders Morris Harris, George Ball, recently said that BTC is an attractive long-term investment.
- In addition, giant companies like MicroStrategy and Square recently purchased millions of dollars worth of Bitcoin.
Featured Image Courtesy Of CNBC
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