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Legacy banks should learn about staking and DeFi or risk extinction

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It’s all about the economy, cryptocurrencies, art and future projections. To talk about all this, Cointelegraph en Español reached out to artist Alberto Echegaray, the director of Trustlink and former representative of Argentina in the Financial Action Task Force.

Cointelegraph: Let’s start off by talking about your artwork, the Moneyball.

Alberto Echegaray: Moneyball began developing in 2012. It is a piece that touches on something that is taboo in art: money. And it is still taboo, although it is something that is changing now with NFTs.

What Moneyball wants to show is how most, or basically all, fiat currencies have no backing in the world right now. And how many governments take advantage of issuing these currencies to generate inflation, which is basically a tax — a phantom that takes away people’s purchasing power.

With this concept, I started to work on Moneyball with dollars. I lived in Washington, DC for about 12 years — I did some consulting for the Fed. That’s how I came to the Fed, I was invited to tour the facilities of a division where they print dollars.

At that time, they were replacing old dollars with the new dollars that are in circulation now. In one part, I found a huge warehouse with billions of dollars destroyed. That’s when I thought, This is incredible. You couldn’t take pictures — there were a lot of security measures. I asked for the destroyed money, but I was told that the money is state property, it’s not our property. And even if it’s destroyed, it’s still federal property.

I had to write a series of letters, and after several months, they gave me two million dollars in 100-dollar bills, destroyed. And so I began to create the artwork.

CT: And how did you come up with the idea of adding Bitcoin to your work?

AE: At the end of 2013, a Venezuelan in San Francisco told me about BTC and gave me some, which I still have. I didn’t pay much attention to it until 2015 or 2016.

I talked to several people in Silicon Valley, and they were telling me that it was going to be part of the future, especially blockchain. I started buying Bitcoin and really getting into it. Then I opened a fund and became a crypto missionary.

“It was super interesting. Bitcoin started to grow. And at that time, I was able to travel to different countries for work. I started to discover resistance from all of the financial sectors. It seemed like I was talking about something linked to crime or money laundering. It was terrible.”

But in 2016, I was contacted by a person who became part of the Argentine government and needed some help with technology to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing. It was Mariano Federici, head of the Financial Investigations Unit. The FIU had practically nothing to fight against money laundering with Bitcoin and crypto. It was a mess. I was asked to help, and it was an interesting challenge. More advanced systems of analysis, data and information were installed.

But I was not interested in the prosecution part of the crime; I was much more interested in the technical and crypto part. At that time, Europol held a meeting where security specialists met on the subject of crypto and cybercrime. I was new, but I was invited by the Argentine government. Then, I was invited again to the FATF, and there I met some people — specifically from the U.S., China, Russia, South Africa and Australia — who knew something about crypto. They were a very strong team. And I started to see how regulations were going to develop

CT: Did you want to do more and see the other side behind the curtain?

AE: That was in 2016/2017. But before I joined FATF in the Argentina chair, I had four years of experience working in Paris on regulatory issues. I had started to develop, in parallel, a private note off-market, and it was the first synthetic with the underlying asset being Bitcoin.

And there, I was able to structure a financial product that you could invest from a bank account. It was super successful, until the banks told me that they could not accept money because it involved BTC.

I started thinking about Cryptoball. If I had gone through fiat money, showing it to be worthless, I said I’m going to try it with crypto. I started developing the Cryptoball, but in 2017/2018, it was hard to get curved displays that would show the price of BTC. I had to contact a person in China who gave me access to flexible screens.

Cryptoball is a sphere with two flexible screens connected to software in a processor. The processor shows the real-time value of BTC that is held in a hardware wallet within the piece. It shows the price in yen, euros and dollars. By that time, I got 250 BTC, and I placed them in the Ledger wallet.

“Next to the installation at the Venice Biennale, I placed a million dollars and a million euros. There were a lot of young people. Many people from the art world asked me what it was because they didn’t understand.”

That’s when a European collector who I didn’t know approached me. He offered to meet me at a restaurant the next day. It was very interesting because then they contacted me on his behalf and talked about “His Royal Highness.”

He turned out to be a prince who is very supportive of the culture. We sat down and talked about the artwork. I couldn’t believe it because the Venice Biennale is not a place where you sell.

The Biennale ended, and I took the artwork to his house, a place in Switzerland. It’s a very interesting story.

CT: The art and crypto worlds are getting along very well. What do you think about NFTs? Do you have plans to work with this technology?

AE: I am starting the process of tokenizing some works. I’m thinking about tokenizing the sphere, but I want it to be something interesting. Not just a 3D design of artwork or a sculpture but, for example, a kind of live ticker that shows the price. Something that exists in real life, that exists in parallel in different dimensions.

I’m also working on 3D mapping and augmenting reality with a group of people. I was also invited to be an adviser on an NFT platform that has established artists.

I think we are at the beginning of tokenization and a lot of interesting things that can spread the art. By this, I mean that before, it was very difficult for artists who graduated from art schools to access galleries. This is changing dramatically. Now, art school graduates who have chosen to dedicate themselves to digital or virtual art are getting job offers, as is happening in the gaming sector, for example.

This is added to all the mass consumer brands that are getting into the virtual world. It’s amazing what’s coming.

CT: Regarding the future of private banking, do you think that banks are going to work with crypto or against crypto?

AE: All the big banks already have large crypto research divisions. They know that this is a new system within the financial system. It’s like when we talk about landline phones and cell phones — they are going to end up cannibalizing everything.

But they are still clinging to their transfer systems and their ways of charging commissions and making money, and they haven’t realized that this has changed dramatically.

“If they don’t understand staking or DeFi, and if they don’t adopt it quickly, they are going to see their business disappear overnight. There are some who try to understand it, but it’s very difficult.”

The same goes for regulators. There are not enough human resources to ask who understands both worlds. And there is no capacity, brainpower and determination. They think it is still a long way away.

CT: What do you think the state of the global monetary system will be like in 2030?

AE: I think there will be huge opportunities for the new generations. It’s a parallel system of governments, which is based on the speed of technology. I think in 2030, there will be a society that is more integrated on the one hand, but more discriminatory on the other. They are going to be very powerful groups.

What we are seeing with crypto is basically a revolution of assets or private currencies like we have never seen before. In the case of crypto, I clearly see private systems, linked to private space systems, which may or may not be open source. I see banks in this space, much more evolved digital assets, and the tokenization of commodities happening in the future.

Traders do not want to lose control of all this. That’s kind of the projection I see. I think there will be a new system that is neither capitalist nor socialist.



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Crypto miners eye cheap power in Texas, but fears aired over impact on the grid

Can Texas meet the electricity demands of migrating Chinese Bitcoin miners?



The recent crackdown on crypto mining in China has seen concerns expressed over the potential impact a hashrate migration could have on Texas’ unreliable electricity market, as an increasing number of dislocated miners eye the Lone Star State.

Texas’ abundant sources of renewable energy and highly deregulated power grid make the state an obvious choice for migrating miners from China and elsewhere, with 20% of Texan electricity being generated by wind as of 2019.

Speaking to CNBC, Brandon Arvanaghi, a former security engineer at crypto exchange Gemini, predicted Texas will see “a dramatic shift over the next few months” as miners look to set up shop.

“We have governors like Greg Abbott in Texas who are promoting mining. It is going to become a real industry in the United States, which is going to be incredible,” he said, adding:

“Texas not only has the cheapest electricity in the U.S. but some of the cheapest in the globe.”

Castle Island Ventures’ founding partner, Nic Carter told CNBC that half of the world’s hashing power could ultimately exit China’s borders and will need new homes, stating:

“Every Western mining host I know has had their phones ringing off the hook. Chinese miners or miners that were domiciled in China are looking to Central Asia, Eastern Europe, the U.S., and Northern Europe.”

Global hash rate has fallen by one-third since early May following reports that China’s mining industry would be subjected to stricter supervision.

But is the Texan power grid up to the challenge of providing power for an influx of more crypto miners? The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has just requested that Texans curb their electricity usage amid the recent heatwave that saw many residents turning up their air conditioners earlier this week.

Roughly 12,000 megawatts of generation capacity was offline as of Monday — enough to power 2.5 million homes. ERCOT described the scale of forced outages as “very concerning.”

The regulator warned that a failure to heed the request could result in a repeat of the widespread winter power failures that left 69% of Texans without electricity, and roughly half without water in February. According to Buzzfeed, February’s outages could have resulted in up to 700 deaths in the state.

Angela Walch, a Texas research associate at University College London’s Centre for Blockchain Technologies, tweeted her concerns regarding the share of Texas’ electricity being devoted to Bitcoin mining, emphasizing that her family has been “asked to reduce our air conditioning use, not run washing machines & dryers, etc.”

Obviously, Bitcoin is not the sole cause of this cluster*^% that our poor political leadership in Texas has caused.

But, I am curious to know the portion of the grid it uses. Maybe Bitcoin miners are the first to be shut down in times of grid stress.

— Angela Walch (@angela_walch) June 15, 2021

However Tierion CEO Wayne Vaughan responded by asserting that much of the electricity used to power Texan mining operations comprised stranded resources that “would never be able to reach your home to power your appliances.”

Others argued that wholesale Bitcoin mining operations could actually alleviate Texas’ power issues, with Texas’ seasonal surges in electricity demand incentivizing miners to sell power back to the state’s grid that otherwise go uncaptured.

In September 2020, the Peter Thiel-backed crypto miner Layer1 in West Texas reported it had reaped profits exceeding 700% by selling renewable electricity back to the grid amid surging summer demand.

While up-to-date data for global hashrate distribution is not available, the Cambridge University’s Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index (BECI) estimates that China represented 65% of the world’s hashing power as of April 2020.

Earlier this month, district regulators in Western Xinjiang and Yunnan issued notices mandating the suspension of virtual currency mining enterprises. BECI estimates the two regions account for 40% of the country’s hash rate.

Castle Island Ventures’ founding partner, Nic Carter told CNBC that half of the world’s hashing power could ultimately exit China’s borders and will need new homes, stating:



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Bitcoin price hits $40K as Paul Tudor Jones slams Fed inflation claims

Bitcoin price action is back at $40,000 as Paul Tudor Jones recommends a 5% BTC portfolio.



Bitcoin (BTC) passed $40,000 on June 14 as a consolidation period snapped to unleash a solid breakout.

BTC/USD 1-hour candle chart (Bitstamp). Source: TradingViewBTC price breaks out past $40,000

Data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView showed BTC/USD gaining 3% in under an hour, reaching $40,500 on Bitstamp.

The largest cryptocurrency capitalized on upside which resulted from a new positive tweet from Elon Musk over possible acceptance by Tesla in the future.

Earlier, Cointelegraph reported on traders betting on a leg up to around $47,000 before a correction.

A look at buy and sell positions on major exchange Binance showed support at $38,000, wit resistance at $40,500 the next hurdle for bulls.

Buy and sell levels on Binance as of June 14. Source: Material Indicators/TwitterTudor Jones advocates 5% BTC allocation

Bitcoin reached a $2 trillion market cap because of a “dichotomy” in Federal Reserve policy which “questions” its credibility, says famous trader Paul Tudor Jones.

In an interview with CNBC on June 14, the founder of Tudor Investment Corporation sounded the alarm over advancing inflation.

After last week’s consumer price index (CPI) report showed that U.S. inflation had hit a 13-year high, Bitcoin’s deflationary nature has rarely looked so appealing.

For Tudor Jones, the idea that higher inflation is just temporary due to recent events, as suggested by the Fed and central banks in general, is a myth.

“It’s somewhat disingenuous to say, for them to say, that inflation is transitory,” he told CNBC’s Squawk Box segment.

Today’s environment is entirely different to that which saw episodes of inflation in the past, such as 2013, and as such, there is little sense in the Fed applying the same forecasts.

CPI was much lower then, Tudor Jones noted, while now, unemployment and jobs also roughly equal each other.

Related: Paul Tudor Jones says Bitcoin is ‘like investing early in Apple or Google’

Meanwhile, gold and Bitcoin have provided a refuge for many. Despite the precious metal vastly underperforming Bitcoin in terms of gains, it remains near record highs.

“When you look at the Fed today and the Fed back then, you wonder how can you have such wildly different policy views on what constitutes the right levels for employment, the right levels for inflation,” he continued.

“How can you have that with an eight-year timeframe? It’s almost like a split personality and you wonder why Bitcoin has a $2 trillion market cap and gold’s at $1,865 an ounce. And the reason why is you have this dichotomy in policy that again questions — questions — the institutional credibility of something.”

Ultimately, a 5% Bitcoin allocation is one of the only things he advocates to those seeking portfolio advice.

“I say, ‘OK, listen, the only thing I know for certain is I want to have 5% in gold, 5% in Bitcoin, 5% in cash, 5% in commodities at this point in time,'” he added.

A look at buy and sell positions on major exchange Binance showed support at $38,000, wit resistance at $40,500 the next hurdle for bulls.



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Investment product issuer 21Shares will list Bitcoin ETP on Aquis Exchange

Exchange-traded product issuer 21Shares said it will make its Bitcoin ETP available to U.K. professional investors through the Aquis Exchange.



The announcement comes the same day as ETC Group’s Bitcoin ETP began trading on the same exchange.

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Investment product issuer 21Shares will list Bitcoin ETP on Aquis Exchange

Switzerland-based 21Shares, formerly known as Amun, has said it will make its Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded product available to traders in the United Kingdom through the Aquis Exchange.

According to an announcement from 21Shares, its Bitcoin exchange-traded product (ETP) will be available to professional investors on the Aquis Exchange this summer. U.K.-based firm GHCO will be acting as the crypto ETP’s liquidity provider, with 21Shares saying the product would be “engineered like an [exchange-traded fund].”

“ETPs trade on exchanges in a similar manner to a listed stock and institutional investors in the U.K. will get exposure to Bitcoin via a regulated framework and structure which they are already accustomed to,” said 21Shares. “The ETP has been designed to provide institutional U.K. investors with secure and cost-effective exposure to Bitcoin without the associated Bitcoin custody and security challenges.”

21Shares reported more than $1.5 billion in assets under management across 14 ETPs available on European stock exchanges. One unit of the firm’s Bitcoin ETP on Aquis will reportedly represent exposure to 0.00035 BTC, or roughly $12.54 at the time of publication.

A few companies have begun expanding their crypto products to the U.K. market. Also on Monday, crypto investment manager ETC Group’s Bitcoin ETP began trading on the Aquis Exchange in London and Paris. However, the country’s financial watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority, banned the sale of crypto derivatives to retail traders in January.

21Shares reported more than $1.5 billion in assets under management across 14 ETPs available on European stock exchanges. One unit of the firm’s Bitcoin ETP on Aquis will reportedly represent exposure to 0.00035 BTC, or roughly $12.54 at the time of publication.



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