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IMF Advises Against Crypto as Legal Tender in Marshall Islands



Marshall Islands
Marshall Islands

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has advised against the Republic of the Marshall Islands’ plan to introduce a digital currency as a second legal tender alongside the U.S. dollar.

The Marshall Islands – a remote chain of islands in the central Pacific – passed a law on the issue in February, aiming for the planned “Sovereign” cryptocurrency to boost the local economy and counter the increasing risks of the nation becoming disconnected from the global financial system.

However, following a period of consultation with officials from the islands, the IMF published a paper on Monday advising against the move. According to the paper, the Marshall Islands economy is now “highly dependent” on external aid, as the country faces constant climate change and natural disasters.

The only domestic commercial bank in the country is now “at risk of losing its last U.S. dollar correspondent banking relationship (CBR) with a U.S.-based bank,” due to tightened due diligence across financial institutions in the U.S.

Tthe IMF argued that the introduction of a cryptocurrency as legal tender may backfire, if a lack of comprehensive anti-money laundering measures eventually leads to the U.S. bank cutting ties with the country.

The IMF continued:

“In the absence of adequate risk mitigating measures, the issuance of a decentralized digital currency as a second legal tender would not only increase macroeconomic and financial integrity risks but elevate the risk of losing the last U.S. dollar CBR.”

Should that happen, “external aid and other flows could be disrupted, which would result in a significant drag on the economy,” it argued.

While the IMF is specifically advising in this case on the social and monetary systems in the Marshall Islands, it perhaps offers a window into the thinking of the global monetary organization on whether cryptocurrencies should be elevated to the status of legal tender in the traditional financial system.

The paper also follows recent remarks made by IMF officials who argued that the rapid growth of crypto assets poses a threat to the demand for fiat currencies.

As such, they argued that central banks should raise their game, adopting desirable features of cryptocurrencies to better compete with the nascent technology – a move described as “fight fire with fire” by the IMF chief Christine Lagarde.

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Why Merging Cryptocurrency With Today’s Payment Platforms Should Generate Rising Revenue Streams



Bitcoin Severely

A report by McKinsey & Company on global banking, projected that global payment market revenues are poised to approach $3 Trillion by 2023. As cryptocurrency payment platforms become more common… that number should rise… but the purveyors of traditional payment methods may have to get over their initial reluctance to this new disruptive technology… or they could miss the boat! A recent article in the Bitcoin Exchange Guide addressed this subject:

“One of the longtime fears that the traditional financial world seems to have about cryptocurrency is its potential for overtaking payment systems. People who are comfortable with the archaic system do not want to see a broader market… However, as the technology behind cryptocurrency and blockchain finds more use cases, the disruption of the current payment system may not be far behind. Active Companies in the industry include NetCents Technology Inc. (CSE:NC) (OTC:NTTCF), Xunlei Limited (NASDAQ: XNET), PayPal Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: PYPL), Pareteum Corporation (NASDAQ: TEUM), Riot Blockchain, Inc. (NASDAQ: RIOT).

The report continued: “Lisa Ellis is an analyst with MoffettNathanson… (recently) stated that she believes that cryptocurrency’s global acceptance could change payment systems. To be clear, she does not believe that the big names like Visa, Mastercard and PayPal will be pushed aside anytime soon, but the… idea of crypto replacing (the traditional standards) is worth exploring. Cryptocurrency has this unique quality of remaining independent of any specific country, and the way that it has jumped in as a saving grace to many countries suffering from hyperinflation is a reprieve.

NetCents Technology Inc. (CSE:NC) (OTCPK:NTTCF) (Frankfurt:26N) BREAKING NEWS: NetCents Technology is pleased to announce that it has begun processing cryptocurrency transactions for its first charity partner, HS Aware.

NetCents is a strong believer about being able to invoke change. Change not only on its business side but more importantly throughout our communities with initiatives that positively impact people’s lives. On March 7th, the Company launched its Charity Impact Initiative and we are proud to announce our first charity partnership with HS Aware.

NetCents is providing all registered charities and non-profits free cryptocurrency processing. Any charity that signs up through this initiative is able to accept donations and sell their merchandise and tickets with zero processing fees. Interested charities can visit to learn more and sign up.

“HS Aware is excited to remain an innovator in the non-profit space by now accepting cryptocurrency donations to fund our future initiatives and events,” stated Maria Goguen, President of HS Aware. “We’ve had a lot of interest to begin accepting donations in crypto to further support the HS community and now through this partnership, we are able to. We are thankful for any and all support members of the community want to give.”

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LedgerX looks to Join Bitcoin Futures Party as it Makes a Big Push Towards Retail




In an interview with The Block, LedgerX co-founder Juthica Chou said the firm, which is better known for supporting the trading of options tied to bitcoin, submitted a request for a designated contract market license from regulators, which would allow it to offer the new bitcoin futures product. The announcement comes after a slew of other trading firms have announced similar products, such as Bakkt, ErisX, Seed CX, and CoinFLEX.

In the trading of physically-delivered futures, customers are paid out in bitcoin at the expiration of a contract, whereas cash settled futures pay out in USD. CME Group offers a cash-settled product. In November, LedgerX filed for the necessary license to offer the product to retail clients and it is currently speaking to regulators.

The new futures product is part of a broader retail push for the firm via a new platform, dubbed Omni. The new platform will support trading of futures, swaps, and options for retail users. In recent months, LedgerX has shifted its strategy away from large investors and bulge bracket banks.

“I think at this current time we don’t see the demand growing among really large institutions and banks. We are still a $85 billion market cap for bitcoin — really just the size of a large stock,” Chou said. “Right now we see the opportunity towards the other end of the spectrum.”

The firm counts over 200 institutions as clients for its physically-delivered swaps product. As for the future product it plans to support, Chou said the firm has an advantage over its rivals inasmuch as its been trading similar products longer than anyone else.

“We’ve been doing LedgerX since 2014 … tons of people have announced plans to do this but ultimately we are the only ones that have done it,” she said.

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New French Law Allowing Life Insurers to Offer Investments in Cryptocurrencies




In France a law was recently passed known as the Pacte law (Plan d’action pour la croissance et la transformation des entreprises, Action plan for the growth and transformation of enterprises). It will allow life insurance providers to invest in crypto-currencies and tokens without any limitation on the amount that can be allocated.

Les Echos report that a dual provision of the announced act will allow insurers to invest, this will be done through specialized professional funds, in crypto-assets. FPCIs (Fonds Professionnel de Capital Investissement, Professional Capital Investment Funds) which will also be impacted by the measure.

The Pacte law was passed by the French government this week in the National Assembly allowing the insurers to offer life insurance policies exposed to crypto-monies. They note this is the first type of such a product and will be popular in the country.

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Flexa Raises $14.1 Million to Catapult Retail Blockchain Adoption




Flexa, the pioneering payment network uniting retail and blockchain technologies, announces today that it has raised $14.1 million in funding, led by Pantera Capital, 1kx, Nima Capital, Access Ventures, and other strategic partners. The funding announcement precedes the company’s public launch in May 2019.

The Flexa network enables retailers to take control of their own payments by reducing costs, overhead, and fraud through frictionless, instantaneous, and reliable blockchain-based settlement. Flexa’s upcoming mobile app also helps customers make practical use of the cryptocurrencies they already own, unlocking the hundreds of billions of dollars stored in the global crypto ecosystem.

“The anti-fraud and cost benefits of global cryptocurrency payments are enormous, but there are many barriers to mainstream adoption for merchants and consumers alike. Flexa’s going to change that, and very quickly,” said Tyler Spalding, Co-Founder and CEO of Flexa. “With this funding, we’ll continue to develop our network infrastructure to support our retail network and strategic partners.”

“Flexa is one of those extremely rare applications in the cryptocurrency space that actually touches consumers in an impactful way while also solving a major problem of high fees in payments today,” said Joey Krug, Chief Investment Officer at Pantera Capital. “I’m excited to see people actually be able to spend their crypto!”

Flexa will announce a major product rollout in May, at the Consensus conference in New York City.

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Bitcoin Announces a New Distribution Partner to Sell its Bitcoin Gift Cards in the USA



Bitcoin core, the company that makes purchasing Bitcoin as simple as buying a gift card, has today announced a new distribution partner for their Bitcoin Gift Cards: has been successful in helping newcomers and seasoned crypto-investors alike purchase Bitcoin by simply purchasing a gift card and then transferring the purchased Bitcoin into a wallet.

Its leadership in the Bitcoin gift card space is not accidental. Various team members have been creating payments solutions for the crypto industry since 2012, while other team members have been in the gift card and payment processing industry for over 28 years.

This partnership has opened an easy Bitcoin purchasing option to millions of new users without the need to deal with exchanges.

“Partnering with allows more people to buy Bitcoin just like they buy any other gift card — quickly and hassle-free,” says Ed Gieske, CEO of™ “It’s a much simpler and quicker way to purchase Bitcoin.”

The addition of Bitcoin Gift Cards™ is a lucrative move for gift card retailers, and even more so for their customers. People already go to looking to buy a gift card at a discount. Since Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have already demonstrated that their price can grow, purchasing a Bitcoin gift card provides an interesting opportunity for investment.

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Jamaica Stock Exchange and Blockstation Sign Historic Agreement Bringing Regulated Digital Asset Trading to Investors




The Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) is proud to announce the execution of an historic Master Agreement with Blockstation, a leading Canadian FinTech company, becoming one of the first stock exchanges in the world to sign an agreement to enable live trading of digital assets and security tokens in a regulated and secured environment.

Blockstation provides one of the first end-to-end digital asset trading platforms for the stock exchange network, offering compliant listing, trading, clearing and settlement of digital assets and security tokens to the entire ecosystem of broker-dealers, investors, depositories and regulators.

The JSE and Blockstation completed the Master Agreement following a successful live-trading pilot, which included participation from the JSE’s broker-dealer members and the Jamaica Central Securities Depository (JCSD).

“Blockstation has been a good partner over the past year, working closely with us and our stakeholders to ensure that their platform satisfies every requirement,” said Marlene Street Forrest, Managing Director of the JSE. “This is an unprecedented opportunity for the JSE to diversify its product offerings and attract new listings and inbound investments. We welcome retail investors and companies both locally and around the globe to trade digital assets under a safe, efficient and transparent regulatory framework.”

Named the world’s best-performing stock market in 2018 by Bloomberg, JSE stocks have surged nearly 300% in the last five years, more than four times the next best performing national benchmark and over five times the S&P 500’s advance.

The JSE plans to leverage the new agreement with Blockstation to:

  • Support international Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) by providing them with a streamlined and simple process for raising capital in a compliant and transparent manner through security token offerings (STOs).
  • Demonstrate market leadership by showing the financial community that digital assets and cryptocurrencies can be traded safely through trusted broker members like any other security, in full compliance with regulations.
  • Create an inclusive, regulated market that is more accessible to institutions, as well as non-accredited investors who would otherwise be excluded from lucrative opportunities in the digital asset space.
  • Streamline the public disclosure process for SMEs, making it easier and more cost effective to list shares and other assets.

“We are incredibly excited to reach this milestone in our partnership with the JSE, bringing digital assets including cryptocurrency and security tokens to mainstream investors,” said Jai Waterman, Blockstation’s Co-Founder and Chief Enterprise Architect. “Digital assets are the future of capital markets, and our turn-key solution paves the way for traditional financial institutions to easily adopt this new, game-changing asset class. We look forward to being part of the evolution of finance going forward.”

A limited pilot to trade bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH) through the JSE and participating broker-dealers will be launched soon. Retail investors can register and reserve their seat at:

About Jamaica Stock Exchange

The Jamaican Stock Exchange (JSE) is an affiliate member of the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE). The JSE offers a fully electronic, efficient, secure market with world class regulation, trading and clearing systems, and settlement of transactions. More information about the JSE and its subsidiary, the Jamaica Central Securities Depository (JCSD) can be obtained from the JSE website;

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Aave Announces a Recovery Program for “Crypto Addicted”




AAVE, a UK-based fintech startup, today revealed its rehabilitation program aimed at helping people who are addicted to cryptocurrency.

During the crypto market peak of last year, a lot of people bought digital currency. Today, most of these individuals now experience hard times, holding their tokens in the hope that the market recovers and value increases. After seeing how crypto winter has harmed the mental and even physical health of many lives, Aave has decided to invest some resources in a solution to help the community: Crypto Harmony Program.

“We are proud of this initiative and convinced that we can make the difference. We saw many people giving up their lives and suffering without even knowing. As an active part of the crypto community, we could not remain passive in front of this and we decided to invest in this project,” said Aave CEO Stani Kulechov.

The program was firstly announced two months ago to restricted groups of people to be tested on some patients. After achieving the desired results and improving the dedicated facilities, the company is now ready to go public and help the entire community. The program consists of 12 steps and lasts from one to three months, depending on the patient’s level of addiction.

“I was completely out of my mind. I heard about Crypto Harmony from one of my friends and my life changed. They helped to get out of this self-destructive cycle, and I started to get real utility out of my coins. For sure, from now on, no more hold, just spend,” said Pablo Candela, one of the first patients at the Zug center.

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#DeleteCoinbase: Best Cryptocurrency Exchanges For Smart Traders




Coinbase is one of the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, and became the poster child for crypto alongside Bitcoin during the cryptocurrency’s meteoric rise to $20,000 in 2017.

Since then though, Coinbase has seemingly done everything in its power to put itself at risk in the face of increasingly stiff competition in the emerging market. The firm’s asset listing policy has resulted in new assets being added to the platform in an extremely slow and frustrating manner, there was a recent scandal where Coinbase acquired a team of former hackers, and most recently, Coinbase upset its entire user base by increasing their fee structure for regular users with reasonable amounts of capital, while lowering fees for their wealthiest clients.

The recent turmoil created by Coinbase themselves has prompted a social media campaign dubbed #DeleteCoinbase, aimed at convincing Coinbase users into sending their funds to a different exchange, and deleting the Coinbase app from one’s smartphone.

Comparing Other Crypto Exchange Fees Against Coinbase Changes

While Coinbase is faltering, they are potentially creating an opportunity for their fiercest competitors to swoop in, and steal customers and ever-important market share.

For transactions under $100,000, Coinbase has raised their total fees by 33%. Coinbase had been known for its 0% maker fee, with a low taker fee of 0.30%. With the most recent change, Coinbase now charges 0.15% on maker fees and 0.25% on taker fees, taking the total fee from 0.30% to 0.40%.

Another US-based cryptocurrency exchange, Kraken, beats Coinbase but only by a tiny amount, offering 0.14% on maker fees and 0.24% on taker fees. Bitfinex, another popular cryptocurrency exchange sets their maker fees at 0.1% and their taker fees at 0.2%.

Elsewhere in the cryptocurrency market, fees are even lower. At Binance, maker and taker fees are just 0.1% each for any orders under $400,000 or 100 BTC. And that’s not including the 25% discount traders can gain by electing to use BNB to pay for fees.

PrimeXBT, a relative newcomer making waves for their 100x leverage and cutting edge trading tools, appears to offer the most attractive fee structure for the most active traders on the market today. Rounding out their offering, are the lowest fees out of any exchange at 0.05% across any trade type.

Binance and PrimeXBT To Lead Cryptocurrency Game in 2019

Not only should traders consider leaving Coinbase behind due to the ever-growing trading fees that put them far behind the rest of the competition, the Coinbase platform itself leaves a lot to be desired, and leaves crypto traders wanting more from their experience.

While Binance has a great reputation for safety and security, and can open traders up to a massive opportunity in trading altcoins for profit, that profit is currently limited due to the tight trading ranges across the market. Binance only offers simple buying and selling of assets, so there is no way traders can profit from the falling cryptocurrency market. Sell orders don’t increase profits, it only protects capital from dropping due to asset value declining. Throughout the bear market, cryptocurrency prices have only fallen lower and lower, making a buy-to-profit strategy a losing one.

PrimeXBT on the other hand, allows traders to profit from both rising and falling cryptocurrency prices by allowing them to “go long”, or “short” the market. In addition to being able to profit whichever way the trend takes us, PrimeXBT offers 100x leverage.

100x leverage is the most serious trader’s solution to profiting during sideways trading, as we are currently seeing throughout the crypto market. When trading ranges contract and prices consolidate, volatility disappears and price swings are smaller, fewer, and further in between. By margin trading with 100x leverage, traders can profit from even the smallest price movements.

In addition to 100x leverage and the ability to short sell against the market, PrimeXBT has all of the traditional features from other cryptocurrency exchanges, as well as a host of cutting edge features not found anywhere else in the space. Traditional exchange order types such as market, limit, and stop orders join OCO (one cancels the other) orders and protection orders. These advanced order types can help a trader get the best entry or exit price, and generate the most profit possible.


Coinbase cannot remain a market leader if it doesn’t listen to the needs of traders everywhere. Traders want low fees, many assets to choose from, the ability to trade with leverage, and advanced order types.

There is a massive variety of exchanges to choose from each with unique benefits, but the leaders in the cryptocurrency market remain obvious. Traders who are looking to invest in and hold a variety of altcoins for long-term growth should choose Binance. For active traders seeking to generate the most profit from their capital, who want to profit from both rising and falling markets, and generate profit from even the smallest price movements using 100x leverage – PrimeXBT is definitely the place to go.

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CoinMarketCap Cryptocurrency Benchmark Indices to Launch on NASDAQ and Bloomberg



Crypto Exchange

CoinMarketCap launching two cryptocurrency benchmark indices on NASDAQ GIDS, Bloomberg Terminals, Thomson Reuters Eikon (Refinitiv), and Börse Stuttgart. These indices will be the most comprehensive ones on the market, covering the Top 200 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization, one including Bitcoin, and one without.

Our cryptocurrency benchmark indices will help users to quickly reference and track the general performance of the cryptocurrency market. Including 200 cryptocurrencies weighted by market capitalization, the headline index CMC Crypto 200 Index (CMC200), which includes Bitcoin, essentially covers more than 90% of the global cryptocurrency market. Another index excluding Bitcoin, CMC Crypto 200 ex BTC Index (CMC200EX), has also been created to track the performance of the market without the influence of Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency dominating ~50% of total market capitalization at the time of writing.

“We are excited to launch and share these indices with the market,” says Brandon Chez, CEO of CoinMarketCap, “These indices will promote greater accessibility to cryptocurrency data in an easier-to-digest format. In partnership with Solactive, our chosen index administrator, we hope these professionally-calculated indices will serve to expand the reach of cryptocurrencies into the larger financial markets.” – Brandon Chez, CEO of CoinMarketCap

At CoinMarketCap, we pioneered the use of the terms “market capitalization” in the cryptocurrency space back in 2013, when we needed to a way to quickly compare other cryptocurrencies to Bitcoin. We also created the term “circulating supply”, inspired by the concept of “public float” in equities. We also popularized “Bitcoin dominance” as a quick indicator of Bitcoin’s market capitalization against the value of all other listed cryptocurrencies. With the indices launching today, we aim to capture these data points in a single, easy-to-use index performance number that can efficiently describe the state of the cryptocurrency market.

The market capitalization for each cryptocurrency calculated as “price multiplied by circulating supply”. The circulating supply metric used by CoinMarketCap accounts for locked, reserved or non-saleable coins or tokens that cannot affect the price of a cryptocurrency, and hence are not factored into a cryptocurrency’s market capitalization.

Solactive AG, the independent German index provider, will calculate and administer the CoinMarketCap indices to exacting standards and strictly adhere to the stated methodology, such as rebalancing the index quarterly accordingly. The company counts among its index-calculating capabilities a Cboe Bitcoin Futures index launched in December 2017. Administering over 3,000 custom indices, Solactive is well-placed to provide and uphold the standards required to launch and maintain these comprehensive, market-wide indices in collaboration with CoinMarketCap. Solactive is fully compliant with the IOSCO Principles for Financial Benchmarks.

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IBM Blockchain is Live and Bank-Issued Stablecoins Are On Their Way




Six international banks are planning to issue their own stablecoins on IBM’s Stellar-powered money wiring service, IBM and Stellar announced Monday.

Today more than 44 international banks that support payments are on the service, IBM Blockchain World Wire — and several of them have signed letters of intent to issue their own stablecoins, according to Jesse Lund, Vice President of IBM Blockchain, who made the announcement in a keynote at Money 2020 Asia in Singapore alongside Stellar cofounder Jed McCaleb.

The crypto industry’s 2018 bear market resulted in a flood of stablecoin issuances, which seek to keep a constant price in the face of the high volatility of bitcoin and other crypto assets. They include Circle’s USDC, Gemini’s GUSD, and Paxos’ PAX, all of which are U.S. dollar-backed. Last month JPMorgan Chase announced JPM Coin, which it didn’t call a “stablecoin” but effectively functions as a dollar-backed bridge currency for the corporate clients and other banks with which it transacts.

The banks looking to create their own stablecoins include Brazil’s Banco Bradesco, South Korea’s Bank Busan, and the Philippines’ Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation — as well as banks IBM has yet to name whose stablecoins would be backed by the Euro and Indonesian Rupiah. IBM plans to continue expanding the ecosystem of settlement assets, Lund said in an interview with Cheddar Monday.

“We let the market drive the expansion and selection of the network incrementally,” Lund said. “We are really feeling excited that we are on a roll to build something new and revolutionary that’s really going to change the landscape of cross-border payments.”

Many in the cryptocurrency community are critical of fiat-backed stablecoins (as opposed to crypto-backed or algorithmic stablecoins) because the collateral for funds are kept in custodian banks that in theory could be seized by the government at any point; the concept merely borrows from blockchain technology’s distributed ledger capabilities and isn’t truly decentralized. But most people don’t really care about that.

“At the end of the day, centralization is okay for the utility it provides,” said Steve Ehrlich, chief operating officer of the Wall Street Blockchain Alliance.

World Wire aims to replace traditional banking intermediaries that add complexity to cross-border payments and make transactions more expensive, like Ripple. By using Stellar’s XLM token as a settlement instrument for fiat currencies, two companies that agree to a transaction in different fiat currencies can exchange those respective currencies into the XLM token. The transaction would then take place using XLM, or lumens, and be recorded on the blockchain. (World Wire also supports a U.S. dollar-backed stablecoin through a collaboration with Stronghold.) Ultimately, this makes payments faster, cheaper, and safer for the end users as well.

Unlike Ripple, IBM isn’t the issuer of the decided-upon settlement asset. (Ripple issues XRP, the token used to transact over the Ripple network.). Big Blue believes there should be a variety of digital assets to enable cross-border payments and that the network participants should be able to choose and negotiate their asset choice.

And unlike other markets whose central banks use real time gross settlement software with the money center banks of its jurisdictions, wholesale payments in the U.S. are driven more by product, like ACH, than the Federal Reserve.

“If you think that a wholesale coin or digital coupon has the ability to reduce the friction for these types of wholesale transactions, it’s a natural progression to say central banks will want to do that too,” said Pascal Bouvier, managing partner at Middlegame Ventures. “How the market structure evolves is difficult to predict … but it’s very much akin to loyalty coins that airlines use for their own purposes.”

Similarly, Ehrlich said one day “stablecoins will turn into their own various payment networks that almost become economies in their own regard, like loyalty programs.”

In the near term, fiat-backed coins will be the most prevalent. As some explode in market cap, others will recede as it becomes more difficult and costly to support a stablecoin — which requires hiring banks to hold the dollars to back each coin plus intense dedication to regulation and compliance requirements. If issuers don’t see the revenues for the fees associated with it, some sort of fallaway would be expected.

“You can think of all kinds of use cases these digital tokens can be used for — either from a payments perspective with all the clients of a bank or to reward some type of behavior. Again, they’re like digital representations of something that has been satisfied,” Bouvier said.

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