Arival just participated in 5 conferences, here’s what we learned
It has been an interesting journey at Arival the past few years where we have been building solutions for global tech startups and blockchain enabled businesses. We took the time to go to various conferences since we first announced our launch at Bitcoin 2021.
Now in 2022, with the 18th Puerto Rican Symposium of AML, DC Blockchain summit, World Crypto Economic Forum, PRNOW and Consensus, we have seen a great shift for innovation with potential mass adoption.
Be prepared for a major transition in banking: it’s time to adopt cryptocurrencies. Retail-banking clients and institutional investors are expressing increased interest in this financial vehicle and in the distributed-ledger technology (DLT) that underlies it.
Compliance & Regulatory outlook
We have noticed in recent summits that despite the recent bad news heavily affecting stablecoins issuers, users and regulators are trying to create compliant frameworks to make real use cases. Some of these examples are the USDF Consortium and the Centre which are creating networks of banks, governments and other participants that are gaining traction. These initiatives will promote stablecoin adoption and prove that blockchain use cases go way beyond the private sector.
Indeed, some investors, fintechs, and capital funds are getting down to making a sustained commitment to cryptocurrency, regarding it as the way forward for money. Also, regulators are more open to such discussions as seen in the DC summit with bipartisan proposals and government speakers like Hester Peirce, SEC Commissioner’s disappointment about the commission’s misleading statements and vague regulations blocking innovation and causing long-term consequences and Senator Lummis’ proposal for federal oversight by the CFTC. Such conversations are extremely important for the industry and each individual participant as there is a solid chance the changes will be addressed not only by voting for the right candidate but through each individual voice and contribution through voluntary associations like the Chamber of Digital Commerce that Arival bank has recently joined.
Industry Disruption and Revolution During Covid
Startups and blockchain related businesses have become more prominent as seen with the PR development programs and grants, much like other jurisdictions. Banks finally can’t ignore the opportunity. These new offerings could draw away most capital from current accounts that banks may have difficulty lending. Some financial services leaders remain skeptical of the worth that cryptocurrency has as an asset class, and individual cryptocurrencies have lost capitalization from time to time (including this year). During the COVID-19 crisis, cryptocurrencies experienced volatility, and their reputation was tarnished by the association of Bitcoin, the foremost prominent cryptocurrency, with criminal acts like the Twitter hack of July 2020. Nonetheless, cryptocurrency may be a vehicle with great prospects.
A few examples that have disrupted the industry since 2019: over collateralized loans that are essentially risk-free for the issuer and also the need for underwriting and collections is totally eliminated; staking, which essentially, could be a mixture of an immediate investing and saving account that generates yield daily, sometimes hourly; liquidity pools and plenty of others that make an intermediary redundant.
What’s next for the industry?
Time is also running out for banks to avoid being disrupted by cryptocurrency-oriented competitors. Challengers from the technology industry are acquiring rapidly. Both large and regional banks are already entering this field, gaining a first-mover advantage, and winning the expansive margins that include any differentiated and profitable offering. Due to their track records in protecting their customers’ assets, these banks are often well trusted. some examples we’ve witnessed over the past number of years — Standard Chartered’s venture divisions announced the creation of a cryptocurrency custodian, JP Morgan is concentrating on the event of digital blockchain assets, Morgan Stanley offers its asset manager clients access to bitcoin assets.
Cryptocurrencies can help them boost their competitiveness in today’s increasingly digital business environment. The primary step is to lift their own awareness: to explore how cryptocurrencies can help them attract new clients and stop their existing clients from migrating away. Banks have many possibilities and business use cases to settle on from as they enter this market, involving the currencies themselves, the underlying distributed-ledger technologies (DLTs), or both. within the currency domain, they’ll help startup ventures bypass the standard capital markets through initial coin offerings ICOs, where the coin offering becomes the first vehicle for funding the new enterprise. Banks and investment firms can help customers invest directly in cryptocurrencies, steering them toward the relatively few offerings that are likely to succeed (by attracting enough customers to become hubs of activity).
Stablecoins and CDBCs
Investors often prefer to use public stablecoins instead of fiat balances to trade cryptocurrency, because this allows for near-instantaneous 24/7 trading without relying on non-DLT payment systems or custodial holdings of fiat currency balances. Banks also can provide currency-trading services (for example, in bitcoins or digital euros if they’re offered) and crypto-enabled digital payments and transactions. These coin swaps may be offered through three forms of exchanges: central-bank digital currencies (CBDCs) issued by national financial authorities, private blockchain-based currencies from a bank or company, and network-issued currencies, like USDC or Litecoin, with a public blockchain.
Cross Border payments and remittances
Stablecoins and other cryptocurrencies are used to facilitate fast peer-to-peer and cross-border payments. They also hold the potential for new payment innovations, such as programmable money. Also on the Cross-Border Remittance side it functions as a standard global payment and money transfer solution for the dollar-based economy. Today’s payment infrastructure is plagued by high fees and slow speeds, with average fees of $50 plus foreign exchange rates, and 2–5 business days in settlement time. This technology and companies using it seek to greatly reduce these. Stablecoins are digital assets that can be easily and securely transferred anywhere at any time, serving the global economy as a trustworthy medium of exchange with a universal understanding of its fiat-based peg. These can also be used for internal transfers and liquidity management since institutional stablecoins facilitate transfers of funds within a bank and allow efficient movement of internal cash across subsidiaries to manage liquidity risk and regulatory requirements.
Blockchain and not just Crypto
As for deploying DLTs, banks can do this for either front- or back-office operations. They can offer real use cases to serve customers in a more efficient and trustworthy manner. Crypto or blockchain technologies can be used to set up smart-contract offerings, with automated time stamps, updates, and verification of milestones. To some extent, bankers should take cues from their clients and customers, who are moving rapidly to advance in the most relevant directions and may request crypto-oriented services from their banks.
Form of investing and wealth management
For example large investors may be interested in crypto-based growth assets or in having their banks offer transaction-monitoring services based on DLTs. Venture capital funds tend to favor designated crypto funds and other vehicles for raising capital for startup investments, while retail clients may be looking for rapid-growth investments to diversify their portfolios.
These are transactions carried out using blockchains which eliminates the need for processes that can significantly slow down payments. A stable and secure wallet can be used to store this cryptocurrency. When it’s time to send funds to someone, they will give you the address for their wallet, which is similar to an account number at a traditional bank. Since these addresses may contain hundreds of characters, meticulous transcription is crucial. The receiver has many options once funds have been received in their account. They can either withdraw the cryptocurrency in fiat or exchange it for a less volatile digital asset like a stable coin.
Yield and loans
Blockchain also allows the use of the famous smart contracts to facilitate lending and other yield strategies. This makes a more efficient market for banks and customers to have their hard earned money working somewhere while maintaining a security beyond what normal operations would see in the lending markets. This works in various ways such but the most common one is by participating in pools of over collateralized loans and serving as a liquidity provider.
Finally, banks should consider developing a risk management software solution for his or her own transactions and selling to other parties, like exchanges, to assist finance the banks’ costs. These best practices are turning into requirements in 2022 following the recent Biden’s executive order and multiple joint statements from FDIC and OCC regarding close oversight of custodian services, buying/selling crypto-asset, stablecoins, their issuance and distribution, accounting and taxation. Right now, the bill is being finalized and eventually we’ll see more of the mentioned practices turning into regulatory requirements across the entire country. Though it’s unlikely to become law immediately, this kickstarted legislation will definitely drive new policy conversations including with industry members.
All these steps can help institutions prepare for their cryptocurrency endeavors while managing the most material risks and taking current and future regulations into account. The real uncertainty is not about risk but about missing opportunities. The biggest question is who will be the bank that is open for such innovation.
We invite you to check us out to see how we’re preparing for the future of crypto-friendly banking!