Autonomous Next Report: Crypto Utopia (and Global Temperature Map at a Glance)

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Autonomous NEXT | mid-year 2018 Report

Global crypto temperature at a glance - Autonomous Next Report:  Crypto Utopia (and Global Temperature Map at a Glance)

Overview

Over $20 billion has been raised by Crypto projects through Initial Coin Offerings since the start of 2017. That’s $18 billion more than a year ago, when we released our first primer on the space, Token Mania. So what has this Cambrian Explosion brought to financial services? In this analysis, Autonomous tracks the complex themes developing within the crypto economy, separating underlying technology progress and institutionalization from the bubbly noise.

Additionally, global law firm Latham & Watkins offers its views on current global regulatory approaches to crypto assets, as well as common tax considerations.

See: 

We are excited to share with you our latest keystone analysis, called “Crypto Utopia”, which seeks to explore the crypto landscape over the past year and deep-dive into the status quo for crypto funds, ICOs, and the regulation that governs them. We highlight the difficult path from ICO to a successful large-cap liquid coin, touching on how the financial industry is working to build tokens into an asset class, which would place the current nascent $300 billion of market cap as part of the $10 trillion in global Alternative investments, and eventually as part of the $500 trillion representing all securities and assets.

Key Takeaways

  • 2018 YTD has seen $12 billion in ICO funding, vs $7 billion for last year, but nearly half of that funding is EOS ($4.2 billion) and Telegram ($1.7 billion) hiding emerging weakness in the ICO system.
  • The path from ICO to a successful large-cap liquid coin is difficult, and is often exposed to scams and fraud which constitute as much as 20% of project white papers, phishing and hacking responsible for the theft of 15% of all crypto assets by market cap, and over 50% of ICO projects have failed to raise funds or are no longer operational.
  • Over 300 crypto funds have formed to invest in crypto assets, and control around AUM of $7.5-10 billion; however, assets are highly concentrated with a few entities, and the operating future for funds of less than $25 million is likely to be difficult
  • The financial industry is working to build tokens into an asset class, with developments across custody, institutional exchanges, decentralized exchanges, traditional financial products (e.g., Bitcoin futures) and Security Tokens
  • A variety of third parties – from legal to corporate advisory to exchanges – have formed in the ICO space to monetize solutions around these needs, driving the all-in price of an ICO process to $1-5 million, which is in turn passed on to investors through unreasonable valuations
  • We highlight emerging token taxonomies in the space, and propose a unified framework that incorporates public and private blockchains; and in conjunction with Latham & Watkins, we survey the regulatory and legal environment for crypto offerings across the world

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Autonomous Next Report:  Crypto Utopia (and Global Temperature Map at a Glance)The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with fintech, alternative finance, blockchain, cryptocurrency, crowdfunding and online investing stakeholders globally. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, services, and networking opportunities to thousands of members and subscribers and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding and fintech industry. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: ncfacanada.org

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Bloomberg | Lulu Yilun Chen | Sep 23, 2020 Jack Ma’s Ant Group Co. is seeking to raise $17.5 billion in its Hong Kong share sale and won’t seek to lock in cornerstone investors, confident there will be plenty of demand for one of the largest equity deals in the financial hub, according to people familiar with the matter. The fintech giant has assessed investor interest, betting it can pull off the Hong Kong portion of the initial public offering without cornerstone investors that are often needed for large deals, according to the people. Ant is leaning toward inviting these big investors for the Shanghai sale to mitigate price fluctuations, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. The Hangzhou-based firm is planning to issue new stock equal to about 11% to 15% of the shares outstanding and split the float evenly between Hong Kong and Shanghai, the people added. Ant is mulling what could be the world’s largest IPO, seeking to raise about $35 billion in the dual listing at a valuation of about $250 billion, people familiar have said. See:  Exclusive: Ant Financial shifts focus from finance to tech services: sources Plans are ...
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OSFI | Release | Sep 15, 2020 OTTAWA, ON, Sept. 15, 2020 /CNW/ - Today the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) launched a three-month consultation with the publication of a discussion paper, Developing financial sector resilience in a digital world.  The paper focuses on risks arising from rapid technological advancement and digitalization, as these trends impact the stability of the Canadian financial sector. This consultation supports OSFI's strategic objective to ensure that federally-regulated financial institutions and pension plans are better prepared to identify and develop resilience to non-financial risks before they negatively affect their financial condition. While technology is a key enabler for financial institutions and financial consumers, its widespread use and rapid adoption can pose risks in many different areas of the business if not properly understood and managed. See:  Fintech & Cybersecurity: Key Risks and Solutions Cyberattacks now cost small companies $200,000 on average, putting many out of business Cybersecurity Body of Knowledge Understanding the financial sector's use of technology and how technology risks are managed is central to this consultation. OSFI's discussion paper focuses on the risk areas of cyber security, advanced analytics (artificial intelligence and machine learning), and the use of third party services ...
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Wealth Professional | James Burton |Sep 23, 2020 Robo-advisor trumpets easy-to-use, transparent and safe product, which is now open to investors Weathsimple Crypto went live yesterday, with more than 130,000 Canadians having signed on to the waitlist since the product was announced last month. The digital platform is offering commission-free trading of the two largest cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin and Ethereum, through a mobile trading app. The robo-advisor believes it will make a largely complex and inaccessible asset class more inclusive and easy to use. There is no minimum account size, no charges for deposits or withdrawals, and no extra hidden costs. Wealthsimple CEO Mike Katchen told WP that its primary arim is to be simple and accessible. He said: “You don’t need to be an expert in cryptocurrency or blockchain to use this platform. It’s geared toward people who are interested in learning more or dipping their toes into crypto trading. The other big one is that the pricing is transparent. The price you see when you tap buy is what you pay — no extra hidden costs. There’s no minimum account size, and we don’t charge for deposits or withdrawals. Watch FFCON20 Video:  Wealthsimple's Road to Regulatory Crypto Approval and What it Means ...
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Global Risk Institute | Markos Zachariadis, University of Manchester | Sep 24, 2020 Executive Summary:  Data-sharing frameworks in financial services:  Discussing open banking regulation for Canada  Data-sharing frameworks in financial services are becoming increasingly prevalent with the potential to shape drastically the future of banking and finance. As data assets are of strategic importance to financial institutions and central to their ‘datafication’ and digital transformation processes, sharing and accessing new data can alter the dynamics of competition and lead to the emergence of new players as well as nascent markets. Innovative technologies such as application programming interfaces (APIs) can help simplify data communication between systems and thus standardize the exchange of information between organizations allowing them to experiment with new, more open, business models. APIs also give the ability to effectively control openness and orchestrate ecosystems of third-parties that can add value to organizations’ supply chain and end users. Having said that, the deployment of open APIs in financial services raises numerous questions regarding the appropriate regulatory (or not) framework and infrastructure for opening up data in the banking sector. See:  Open Banking – North American Style Explore Fintechs in Canada Sign-up for NCFA's Weekly & Insights Newsletter The current ...
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Betakit | Meagan Simpson | Sep 23, 2020 Neo Financial, the new Canadian FinTech startup focused on challenging the status quo in banking, has begun rolling out its services in Western Canada. Neo Financial is a Prairies-based startup created by SkipTheDishes founders Andrew Chau and Jeff Adamson, alongside Kris Read. It is the newest challenger bank entrant into the Canadian financial market and is on a mission to re-imagine everyday banking. After spending the first year and a half of its existence building out its tech and banking infrastructure, Neo has officially brought its financial services offering to market. Over the last couple of weeks, Neo began offering its savings account, Mastercard, and merchant rewards program to a select number of individuals on its 30,000-plus waitlist. With a current focus on Western Canada, Neo hopes to have its products available across Canada later this year. See:  Open banking would help the recovery Refusal to embrace open banking puts Canada behind yet another curve C.D. Howe Institute Report: Open Banking Holds Promise, Risks for Consumers Rebank Podcast: How to Build a Profitable Digital Bank with Tinkoff Chau, Neo’s CEO, recently spoke to BetaKit about the startup’s go-to-market strategy and its goal ...
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MarketWatch | Jonathan Burton | Sep 18, 2020 Veteran hedge-fund manager says capitalists don’t divide the economic pie well, so the system isn’t working effectively for all Ray Dalio certainly is no radical idealist, but in his frequent writings and media appearances the veteran investor consistently calls for Americans to rewrite their longstanding contract with capitalism so that it is fairer and more generous to more people. Otherwise, he predicts, life in the U.S. could become more difficult: mountainous debt that stunts economic growth; fewer opportunities for ordinary citizens to get ahead financially; and a worldwide lack of trust in the U.S. dollar that diminishes Americans’ purchasing power and could lower their standard of living. Dalio is the founder of Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge-fund firm, which has made him a billionaire. So it’s not surprising that he champions capitalism as a proven way to expand economic growth and living standards. “Capitalism and capitalists are good at increasing and producing productivity to increase the size of the economic pie,” he says. Then Dalio stands this tenet on its head. Capitalists don’t divide the economic pie very well, he says, and so today the capitalist system, the foundation of the ...
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Investment Executive | James Langton | Sep 21, 2020 Sweeping recommendations to reform Ontario’s securities laws are facing a barrage of criticism from certain corners of Bay Street. The Ontario Capital Markets Modernization Taskforce, which began its review of the province’s securities laws in February, published its draft recommendations in July. The task force aims to deliver its final recommendations to the government by the end of the year, despite conducting most of its consultations amid a global pandemic. The task force’s work has been remarkable for both its speed and its ambition, but critics say the group’s recommendations are ill-conceived, threaten investor protection and could undermine the province’s efforts for more vibrant capital markets. The task force’s July report proposes a series of reforms largely designed to stoke growth in the capital markets. In addition to the Ontario Securities Commission’s (OSC) traditional priorities of investor protection and ensuring fair and efficient markets, the task force proposes expanding the regulator’s mandate to include an obligation to foster capital formation and competition. The task force also recommends overhauling Ontario’s existing regulatory structure, easing a variety of constraints on raising capital, remodelling proxy voting and corporate governance, and revisiting enforcement and investor ...
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Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Press Release |  Sep 21, 2020 WASHINGTON—The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) today published a letter clarifying national banks' and federal savings associations' authority to hold "reserves" on behalf of customers who issue certain stablecoins. Stablecoins refer to cryptocurrency backed by an asset such as a fiat currency, including U.S. dollars or other foreign currency. "National banks and federal savings associations currently engage in stablecoin-related activities involving billions of dollars each day," Acting Comptroller of the Currency Brian P. Brooks said. "This opinion provides greater regulatory certainty for banks within the federal banking system to provide those client services in a safe and sound manner." See:  Stablecoins: Experience the Stability Visa’s digital dollar concept opens a door to central bank currencies FFCON20 Video: Future of CBDCs, Digital Assets and Trading Virtual Panel via Toronto Centre (Apr 17): Using Stable Coins to Facilitate Financial Stability and Inclusion Under Unprecedented Times The letter responds to questions regarding the application of stablecoin-related bank activities. It concludes national banks and federal savings associations may hold "reserves" on behalf of customers who issue stablecoins, in situations where the coins are held in hosted wallets. The ...
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SBE Council | Sep 16, 2020 New Report Highlights Investment Crowdfunding’s Success, and COVID-19 Policy Opportunities for Recovery Today, Crowdfund Capital Advisors (CCA) and the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council) released a new report detailing the growing power and prevalence of investment crowdfunding and the need for a “Main Street Recovery Co-Investment Fund.” “We need to act quickly to stop the bleeding on Main Street,” says Sherwood Neiss, Principal at Crowdfund Capital Advisors. “Short term band aids might slow the trauma, but we need a program that can quickly get capital to local businesses in a way that is supported by local investors. This will create a long-term win that will rebuild and sustain local economies, provide dividends to investors and achieve what Congress is trying to accomplish at the local level,” adds Neiss. In the report, Regulation Crowdfunding by Congressional District: A Report Card, CCA and SBE Council review the progress of investment crowdfunding since 2016.  The Jumpstart Our Businesses Startup Act (JOBS Act) of 2012 enacted changes that ushered in investment crowdfunding, which officially launched following the finalization of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rules in 2016. Currently, the SEC is in the process of advancing ...
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McKinsey Global Institute | Sep 21, 2020 In 2015, the 193 member countries of the United Nations came together to commit to 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Goal 5 focused on gender equality and set the ambitious target of achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls everywhere by 2030. Five years later, large gender gaps remain across the world, and the early evidence suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a regressive effect on gender equality. Learn More: Banking Must Take A Stand On Tough Social Issues Women In Fintech Will Play A Crucial Part In The Covid-19 Recovery Plan Black tech founders say venture capital needs to move past ‘diversity theater’ Three Big Things: The Most Important Forces Shaping the World Why venture capital firms need more women partners and entrepreneurs Why Older Entrepreneurs Have the Edge Gender Bias Contributes to Blocking Female Founders Out of Investment & Venture Capital. We Need to Fix This. Six steps to achieve financial gender parity this #IWD How can we ensure that the role of women in the workplace and in society is central to efforts to rebuild economies in the COVID-19 era, and that women do not fall further behind? As ...
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