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Before discussing the main issue, let’s discuss about the crypto financial derivatives and their role in digital payments. Crypto financial derivatives also known as bitcoin derivatives, are in fact security arrangements with a price that is dependent upon or derived from an underlying contract whereby differences in settlement are made in the form of digital cryptocurrencies.

Due to the insecurity involved in this whole process, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has toughened its requirements for CFDs in terms of cryptocurrencies. If you are investing in cryptocurrency, this update may affect your future investment plans.

bitcoin investment

Role of ESMA in Financial Decision

In fact ESMA is an independent authority which makes sure to improve investor protection and promote more stable financial markets. ESMA’s board of supervisors is solely responsible for all the policy decisions. The decisions and policies of ESMA have a direct impact upon the following areas and stakeholders:

  • Financial service providers
  • The financial services industry
  • Retail and institutional investors and consumers
  • Users of financial markets
  • The economy of general public
  • Regulators of securities markets

What are CFDs?

To be precise and to the point, CFDs are in fact arrangements made in the form of a futures contract, according to which differences arising in the settlement are compensated in the form of cash payments, rather than physical goods.

CFDs are usually assumed to be an easier way of settlement as compared to other contemporary methods. It is also preferred by majority of users because as all gains and losses are paid in cash form. The most interesting case in terms of CFDs is that without actually owning one, it gives its investors all the risks and benefits of a security.

Expected change in leverage limit

It is being expected that the leverage limit of CFDs will be changed to 2:1 at its opening by the EU regulator. According to this leverage limit, the investor must have enough funds to cover at least half of the contract value upon its opening. Previously, the leverage limit was 5:1, it allowed the investor deposit only 20 percent of the CFD’s at the time of deal.

The reason behind this sanction is only that ESMA recently highlighted in one of its statements that cryptocurrencies required a deeper monitoring due to the risks it posed in case of undergoing investment deals. ESMA is not alone to show concern in case of cryptocurrencies, even the the Austrian Finance Minister proposed to strictly regulate the cryptocurrency derivatives in order to prevent money laundering with it.

Due to its lack of protection EU regulators have also warned investors about the ultimate risks associated with cryptocurrencies.

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Bitcoin and Games – Is Bitcoin making things More Difficult for Gamers?

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As digital currencies are creating momentum between a higher user base and getting fame within the non-virtual world, there are also some unexpected effects. For a supporter of Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency by market cap, more users of Bitcoin mean a more competitive and a greater market, as well as other examples of brick and mortar stores, are also taking on Bitcoin.

This shows that Bitcoin users can spend their coins without converting it into fiat currency and more easily as time goes on. Furthermore, a higher demand for Bitcoin creates a greater number of potential and Bitcoin miners are hoping to capitalize on the increased interest.

On the other side, some people are feeling negative pressure due to these developments, and one these groups are computer gamers.

Competition in Gaming and Mining Operations:

There is a question, why would Bitcoin fame make thing difficult for gamers? It comes down to basics as hardware costs for gamers are going high as demand for powerful rigs and in some particular graphics cards has driven prices up. It shows that gamers and Bitcoin miners both require some expensive hardware in order to run their operations most effectively.

Some professional and amateur miners have set up a huge number of rigs around the world, everyone working on complicated mathematical problems in order to get Bitcoin as a reward. The mining rigs use particular graphics cards as AMD RX 400/500 series, the increasing interest in mining has flooded the market with demand requests to purchase those cards. Many sellers in the market are out of stock completely, and the cards which are available have high prices.

Why Do Gamers Feel the Pressure?

On the other hand, the gamers use similar graphics cards for a different purpose. Many of the gamers felt the pressure of higher prices on the graphics cards and other different hardware items which they need in gaming.

However, one of the largest manufacturers of graphics cards “ASUS”, recently declared plans to introduce a new series of products with digital currency mining in mind. This may guide to the new generation of graphics cards with different focus dependent on whether the user is going to mine or to game.

As interest in mining is growing day by day, it is questionable that the pressure will abate. But in such situation, maybe gamers will get that their graphics cards are not much expensive any longer.

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Can Bitcoin become a Legal property?

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More and more people join the Bitcoin community every day. Thus, the drive to determine how it can integrate into mainstream society becomes even more essential. The questions that strike to everyone is whether any traditional laws apply to Bitcoin or not.

Although these determinations might bring implications to its holders and Bitcoin itself, and few will play a bigger role in the United States than property laws, which could ultimately govern ownership over the digital currency.

A new white paperTreatment of Bitcoin Under U.S Property Law, assembled by Perkins Coie. The report seeks to analyze how the worlds of virtual currency and property law intersect. Perkins Coie is an international law firm that specializes in blockchain technology and digital currency, also it has been active in space since 2013. It is pretty detailed and well researched but the paper’s conclusion is straightforward and transparent.

“We conclude that property interests should exist in Bitcoin under such law and that multiple sources of persuasive authority provide additional support for that conclusion,” the paper’s authors, J. Dax Hansen and Joshua L. Boehm, wrote.

The paper starts off with an overview of Bitcoin’s technological aspects and what those mean for how property law can apply to it.  The authors use California state law and Bitcoin transactions as an example and make their case.

“Parties may … enter into contractual arrangements in which one party entrusts partial or complete control of such private key(s) to a third party while still maintaining formal title to the bitcoin value represented inapplicable [unspent transaction outputs],” the paper reads. “These kinds of contractual arrangements are commonplace in custodial, trust, and escrow settings, which have generated well-developed legal principles that should generally translate to bitcoin custodial contexts.”

Even the country’s superior law professors support the idea that intangible property rights should apply to Bitcoin:

“Property law scholars who have encountered the bitcoin ownership issues in the context of broader, more theoretical undertakings have reached the same general conclusion… that is, interests in bitcoin should be protected by property law.”

The author further describes how Bitcoin has been widely treated as property by legal divisions and thus can be owned as one.

“Although the concept of ‘property’ is fundamentally a matter of state law in the United States, it is also important that bitcoin has been widely treated as property for the purposes of other state and federal statutory regimes,” reads the paper. “These treatments and assumptions have already had substantial consequences for the bitcoin sector. They, therefore, constitute informal but persuasive legal precedent further indicating that bitcoin can be owned as property.”

The author also pointed out the challenges that would come along with treating the currency as legal property. These include the lack of traceability that comes with Bitcoin, the multisignature arrangements, and pseudo-anonymity. Although, the authors are still positive that these obstacles can be overcome as the technology evolves.

“To be sure, difficulties in tracing ownership of particular bitcoin units across successive owners could cause some challenges in certain commercial use cases,” they wrote, but “blockchain technology itself has enables, and will likely continue to enable, solutions to obstacles that do arise.”

It appears to be that the worlds of Bitcoin and formal legal precedent are rapidly coming to a head. This could be a turning point for Bitcoin’s future.

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Will Pantera Fund Succeed, Even if Bitcoin Flops?

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As the first U.S. Bitcoin investment firm, Pantera Capital mainly focuses on tokens and projects related to crypto assets. Its chief executive officer, Dan Morehead (CEO) recently claimed that even if bitcoin fails, the Pantera fund would still not disappoint the crypto investors and they would continue to make money.

The above-mentioned words of Morehead were a part of his statement, which was included in a letter sent to Pantera’s investors. According to Dan Morehead in case any bad luck they could even make use of Pantera’s ICO Fund. Though Pantera´s ICO Fund lost about 25 percent of its value last year, it is still up more than 200 percent of its value since its creation. Pantera Capital is famous for exploring and growing digital coin ventures.

pantera fund

Facts behind Pantera’s Success Strategy

After its huge success with Bitcoin, Pantera has expanded its mode of investments to buy other digital tokens. Most prominent one of these is the Pantera Digital Asset fund, which currently holds 25 cryptocurrencies. Many of these tokens were introduced through the ICOs (initial coin offerings).

Advice For The Investors

A letter was sent to the investors by Morehead in which it was noted that if bitcoin fails, the hedge will still work well. Taking an example of Pantera’s ICO Fund, he highlighted that it’s going to be still positive for them. In his letter, Dan Morehead, advised investors to have 1 or 2 percent of their portfolio invested in blockchain technology. He further explained that he was not certain either blockchain will be able to make a return of 20,000% again or not.

It was also revealed by Morehead that he is optimistic about ICOs, as he expects their thriving success to be similar to the 90s IPO boom, however it’s much bigger if they’re compared. ICOs have been under pressure lately, as dozens of subpoenas have been issued by the US SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission).

The Bitter Example Of Amazon

Morehead further elaborated his point by presenting the example of Amazon. If someone remembers, Amazon was a major investor behind Pets.com. Although the company was filed for bankruptcy, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos still managed to earn an intense amount of wealth due to his innovative set of strategies.

According to Morehead this was only because Bezos’ investment strategy was to put his money in more than one companies, and he did so to make sure that he had exposure to the ultimate winners.

After the bankruptcy of Pets.com, Amazon’s shares came down to 4,000 percent which still is a handsome amount and that’s why Bezos is one of the richest people on earth as he’s still worth over 130 billion dollars.

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US Officials Commend Blockchain Surrounded by ICO Distress

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On Wednesday, a message was broadcasted by U.S. government officials at the DC Blockchain Summit in Washington-even as securities officials cautioned exchanges who offer ICO tokens trading. James Sullivan (Deputy Assistant Secretary of services at the Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration) remarked during his address;

“We cannot make policy in the abstract” and concluded by saying;

“I would welcome all of you in the audience to reach out … and to hear your recommendations”

There’s no doubt that Sullivan showed support for the use of blockchain inside the trade finance chain, especially for smaller companies with hardly any resources, as he stated;

Blockchain

“The companies that are usually hit hardest by that gap of trade finance are small- and medium-sized businesses”

Attendees who talked to CoinDesk, turned out to be more divergent on the question of blockchain’s use in government and also on the the subject of cryptocurrency regulation, which was the greatest concern at the event as well. Scepticism was also expressed by one of the employees of a major blockchain startup that the U.S. officials would seriously obligate to utilize this tech, conflicting that agencies might be served a lot better, seeing at the advances of tokenization.

Chief data architect of OPM (Office of Personnel Management), Marcel Jemio, alongside Mark Fisk, who’s an IBM Public Service Blockchain partner stated that blockchain could be utilized in order to aggregate government employee information in a more efficient and well-organized way.

Fisk stated;

“I think blockchain in a lot of cases is going to be an enabler of solving the problem, but not necessarily with solving the problem only with blockchain”

Jihan Wu, co-founder of Bitmain also revealed that the bitcoin mining hardware giant wants to invest in startups and looking forward  to make a “private central banks” that utilize cryptocurrencies. Wu thinks that tokens on the market today will eventually come to be viewed as securities under traditional meanings.

CoinDesk was told by conference attendees that they’d definitely appreciate regulation, specifically relating to ICOs, whereas others asserted that these emerging regulations at this time would probably lodge businesses into inflexible models ill-suited for such a quick moving situation. Attendees also showed their concern about the unreliable treatment of cryptocurrencies by the U.S. government, specified that the IRS considers bitcoin as property and the CFTC views it as a commodity.

But at the same time, two members from a cryptocurrency services company said that they believed such dissonance could eventually profit the industry, with the lack of agreement by the SEC, the CFTC and the IRS, eventually imposing further discussion on the finest way onward.  Brian Quintenz, a commissioner for the CFTC, was also seen at the event, firmly encouraging more self-regulation in the cryptocurrency space. Quintenz even told the audience that cryptocurrency platforms should come forward and self-regulate.

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