The previous week saw numerous exciting developments take place in the world of crypto adoption. From news of higher willingness by institutional investors in the United States to invest in the sector over the coming years to Jaguar’s partnership with IOTA to help authorities gather traffic data, here we review the biggest crypto adoption stories from the past week.
Institutional investors in the US aim to invest in crypto
A new study carried out by Fidelity Investments revealed that cryptocurrency investment is likely going to increase in the United States over the next five years. According to the survey, 47 percent of the institutional investors in the United States who were surveyed are actively looking to cryptocurrency as a new form of investment. Many investors stated that they believe digital assets should be included as part of their investment portfolios.
Fidelity stated that institutional investors are slowly coming around and are finding crypto assets to be more appealing now than they had been in the past. According to Tom Jessop, President of Fidelity Digital Assets, institutional investors are slowly becoming more and more involved with digital trade by either purchasing them directly or executing orders via other service providers. Many are now willing to invest more in the sector, with investment timelines as long as five years on the books for many of those involved.
Cryptocurrency wallet users are on the rise
The number of cryptocurrency wallet users has jumped astronomically over the past three years, according to Statista. The firm, which is a market and consumer data provider, stated that in the first quarter of 2016, the total number of cryptocurrency wallet users was 6.7 million.
However, this figure has since increased and stood at 34.6 million users in the first quarter of this year. The data implies that the number of blockchain wallet users have been on the rise in each quarter over the past three years, signaling an increase in adoption despite the bear market. This is an important development to note for those watching this market; bear markets and falling prices are only two indicators of many to track, and user interest, market traction, use cases, and adoption are equally – if not more important – indicators of where the market is heading.
Bahrain becoming a crypto-friendly country
As countries around the world continue to regulate cryptocurrencies, Bahrain has emerged as a cryptocurrency oasis – not just a mirage on the horizon! The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) recently approved a number of companies for its regulatory sandbox program, and over 50 percent of them are cryptocurrency firms.
So far this year, four companies have been approved by regulators in the country, and three of them offer cryptocurrency services. This trend is a continuation of last year’s scheme which saw 35 percent of regulatory sandbox companies being crypto exchanges, and 11 percent being other crypto-related businesses.
The country’s regulatory sandbox enables companies to test their innovative tech-based solutions to see if they are viable. Unlike India that didn’t include crypto companies in their sandbox programs, Bahrain has been very open to cryptocurrency service providers. Q3 and Q4 of this year will prove to be very interesting in terms of crypto adoption and related developments in the region.
Crypto clearinghouses could emerge due to increase in cryptocurrency interest
The Chairman of the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), Christopher Giancarlo, stated that there is a growing interest in cryptocurrencies within the country that is becoming difficult to ignore. He said he expects more companies – both crypto-based as well as traditional – to apply to become federally-regulated clearinghouses.
He made this remark while speaking before the U.S. House Agriculture Committee last week. Clearinghouses are usually companies that ensure transactions between two parties go through. The CFTC regularly monitors clearinghouses to ensure that they are able to provide these services to their customers while also controlling their risks.
Mr. Giancarlo stated that the need to monitor the activities of clearinghouses is critical as interests in cryptocurrencies steadily increases countrywide. While growing pains are sure to ensue as all of the relevant players figure out how things should be worked out, the development indicates a move in a positive direction for cryptocurrencies.
Jaguar Land Rover drivers to get paid in crypto
Last week, Jaguar and IOTA partnered in a move that could boost the adoption of IOTA. According to a statement released regarding the collaboration, Jaguar Land Rover drivers in the UK would receive IOTA tokens for reporting road condition information such as traffic congestion to local authorities or navigation service providers.
Jaguar will make use of smart wallets to offer this service to its drivers. The IOTA tokens that they would earn will then be redeemable for purchasing the likes of coffee or for paying tolls. It could also be used to pay for parking fees and electric charging of the drivers’ vehicles.
IOTA’s vision is to become the primary cryptocurrency for the Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem, and its partnership with Jaguar is certainly a big step toward making that goal a reality.
IMF, 24 countries discuss global standards for crypto regulation
The International Monetary Fund alongside 24 countries across the globe met in New York last week to discuss global standards that need to be set for cryptocurrency regulation. The Financial Stability Board (FSB) Plenary talked about flaws in the global financial system and also discussed the progress report that is to be submitted to G20 leaders at the upcoming G20 summit in Osaka, Japan.
The FSB members noted the continued rapid evolution of the cryptocurrency sector and the need to monitor such developments. Many believe that having a global standard for cryptocurrency regulation would help countries around the world accept cryptos, thus boosting their adoption and making Money 4.0 a true reality.
Bitcoin to be used as a refund payment method for US taxpayers
Taxpayers in the United States can now receive both federal as well as state returns in Bitcoin, a move that will lead to millions of people exposed to – and likely in possession of –cryptocurrencies for the first time. According to BitPay, the company will work with the U.S.-based taxation services provider Refundo to provide this refund service to US taxpayers.
Customers of Refundo can choose to get either part or all of their refund amount paid to them in Bitcoin with the help of the CoinRT product. However, taxpayers would be required to open an account and receive a unique routing and account number which would be used for their tax refund.
According to BitPay, the service is expected to cover mostly the unbanked communities in the country and offer faster payments and lower transaction fees to them. Taxpayers would have to undergo know-your-customer (KYC) processes beforehand and be assigned Bitcoin addresses for the refund payments, but the rollout of the program is a big one since it is based in the U.S. and involves the U.S. government and official payments.
E*TRADE Financial to launch Bitcoin and ETH trading
E*TRADE Financial, a leading online stock brokerage firm, will soon launch Bitcoin and Ether (ETH) trading on its platform. Sources close to the matter say that the brokerage firm will start with BTC and ETH before adding other cryptocurrencies in the future.
According to numerous reports, E*TRADE Financial will work with a third-party firm to hold the cryptocurrencies in secure storage while it offers cryptocurrency trading services to its users. The company, which is listed on the NASDAQ, has roughly 4 million customers, and the introduction of cryptocurrency trading on the platform is what we can call the important baby steps that the market needs before cryptos are truly accepted by large, traditional investing houses and companies.