🛒Circle Buys Poloniex ⚔️Bill Gates vs. Cryptos — Cryptos for the Rest of Us

🛒 Circle Buys Poloniex

What’s The Story?

Goldman backed payment company Circle announced that they had purchased Poloniex, a popular cryptocurrency exchange.

Who Are Circle?

Circle are a peer-to-peer payment service based on blockchain technology. As such they have been in the cryptocurrency space for a while. Their payment app allowed purchases and transfers of Bitcoin as early as 2014. In recent years their popularity has been eclipsed by other purchase options such as Coinbase and cryptocurrency exchanges and last year they stopped offering Bitcoin purchases.

Why Should I Care?

Circle are one of the best-funded blockchain startups out there having raised over $130MM from investors such as Baidu and Breyer Ventures. Notable they also count Goldman Sachs as an investor and many in the cryptocurrency markets are seeing this as a signal that the investment bank is getting into the game.

This view seems premature given that Circle are an autonomous entity. A much clearer signal is that Goldman Sachs has toyed with the idea of opening cryptocurrency trading desk in the past.

Either way, this is a great thing for Poloniex who will benefit from Circle’s infrastructure. This seems like the first step for Circle who are poised to launch a competing service to Coinbase and Robinhood.

⚔️ Bill Gates vs. Cryptos

What’s The Story?

Bill Gates, the billionaire founder of Microsoft voiced his opinion on cryptocurrencies stating that they kill people in a ‘fairly direct way’.

The main feature of crypto currencies is their anonymity. I don’t think this is a good thing. The Governments ability to find money laundering and tax evasion and terrorist funding is a good thing. Right now crypto currencies are used for buying fentanyl and other drugs so it is a rare technology that has caused deaths in a fairly direct way. I think the speculative wave around ICOs and crypto currencies is super risky for those who go long.

The comment came on Reddit, a popular forum where he held an AMA (Ask Me Anything), an interview format where anybody can ask any question, but the interviewee is at liberty to pick and choose which questions to answer.

Is He Right?

Partially. As many Reddit users were quick to point out most cryptocurrencies aren’t particularly anonymous and it’s far from their ‘main feature’. In fact, most transactions remain permanently on their respective blockchains making tracing money much easier than with fiat. In addition, since most crypto/fiat conversions are done through centralised entities governments do have a way to track these identities.

Of course, motivated criminals can find ways around this and there are cryptocurrencies that anonymise transaction logs. However, blaming cryptocurrencies for drug-related deaths makes as much sense as blaming Microsoft and Internet Explorer for enabling the same thing.

The view seems outdated, from an era when the dark web drug marketplace Silk Road was the main venue for Bitcoin-related transactions. The technology has quickly moved on to more legitimate use cases with major companies supporting cryptocurrency transactions. Ironically the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which Bill Gates was promoting with his AMA, have also given grants to blockchain initiatives and partnered with Ripple.

Finally, this view completely brushes over the potential of smart contract tokens which have formed the new wave of cryptocurrencies and are not designed to be used as currency in the traditional sense.

So while he’s not wrong that cryptocurrencies, especially the anonymous variety, can facilitate criminal activity the comment seems to miss the big picture. The only part of the comment that makes real sense is that heavy speculation in cryptocurrencies is dangerous for investors.

📖 Extra Reading

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Crypto Ban Lifted by Israel’s Supreme Court | Coin Daily — www.coindaily.co 
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