the filter: the five most important stories in crypto [3 june – 10 june 2020]

Repeat attempts to list a Bitcoin exchange traded product in the US may have failed, but Europe is leading the way. ETPs are seen as a key way to broaden access, improve liquidity and answer growing investor interest in cryptocurrency. Switzerland was the first country to list a Bitcoin ETP and now Germany has followed, adding a 100% physically-backed product to Deutsche Börse’s Xetra exchange. This is backed by research revealed by Fidelity this week that over a third of institutional investors now hold crypto and eight in ten want to, while the largest Middle Eastern nation of Saudi Arabia has used blockchain to distribute billions of dollars of liquidity throughout its banking system. At the same time, US government agencies have differing views on crypto: the IRS and DEA want Coinbase software to help them carry out criminal investigations, while the Pentagon is running wild war games where Bitcoin is used for domestic rebellion.

IRS, DEA in talks to buy coinbase analytics software [5 june 2020]

The US government is apparently turning to industry to help tamp down on cryptocurrency crime. In May it was widely reported — and later confirmed — that the IRS was seeking third-party help to decipher whether US taxpayers had properly paid tax on their crypto holdings. Now public records show that two major agencies want to add Coinbase’s “enhanced law enforcement sensitive capabilities” to aid them in global investigations. Coinbase has replied that its Analytics software — developed after its controversial takeover of blockchain intelligence firm Neutrino — contains only public and not private user data. Read more here.

bitcoin ETP lists on german stock exchange [10 june 2020]

 London’s ETC Group has successfully listed a 100% physically-backed Bitcoin ETP called BTCE on the Deutsche Börse’s Xetra electronic trading exchange. It’s the first cryptocurrency investment product on the German exchange. Each unit gives the holder a claim on a specific amount of Bitcoin. BTCE “brings the transparency and investor protection that regulators and institutional investors require to the world of Bitcoin,” says ETC Group CEO Bradley Duke. “We are transporting Bitcoin into the fold of mainstream, regulated financial markets. Investors get the benefit of trading and owning Bitcoin through a regulated security,” he adds. It comes after landmark regulation from Germany’s Parliament in 2019 that clearly defined a ‘cryptoasset’, proving that quality regulation comes before wide adoption. Read more here.

36% of institutional investors hold bitcoin while 80% want it  [9 june 2020]

Fidelity is one of the largest asset managers in the world. Its digital assets arm has confirmed in a new survey that 36% of large institutional investors — including pension funds, family offices, hedge funds and financial advisors — hold cryptoassets, with Bitcoin the most popular. The survey of 800 large investors also found that 80% were interested in owning a portion of the world’s largest cryptocurrency. Read more here.

saudi central bank uses blockchain to pump $13bn into local banks [9 june 2020]

Blockchain’s use in trade finance is growing by the day. This recent news that the Saudi Arabia Monetary Authority used blockchain to transfer $13bn of liquidity to the country’s banks speaks to that fact. Read more here.

pentagon war game rewarded GenZ with BTC to take down Wall Street [5 June 2020]

Perhaps the weirdest news you’ll read all week. New documents reveal how the Pentagon, the centre of US military might, carried out war games in 2018 using Bitcoin as payment for agitators to take down financial institutions. Read more here.