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Alex Tapscott – This Is Money in 2030

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In the year 2030, if we do this right, money, the foundation of our economy and civilization will be unrecognizable. As a society we have grown so accustomed to the status quo of today’s money – fiat currencies issued and controlled by governments and central banks – that we forget money periodically goes through a great upheaval. We are on the brink of one of these moments. Money, one of humanity’s greatest and most enduring creations, is becoming digital. 

The next decade of innovation will prove decisive as state powers, global corporations and an increasingly assertive digital civil society vie for control over the lifeblood of our economic lives. Each of these new stakeholders has a vastly different set of aims and objectives.

For some, the reinvention of money is a chance to break free from state and corporate control. For others, it’s an opportunity to further entrench the dominant businesses of today – such as Facebook and Goldman Sachs, two of many big firms with their eye on the reinvention of money. And for governments, it is a chance to either defend the status quo in the case of the U.S. dollar, or create a new global hegemon, in the case of China’s central bank digital currency. If you want to understand our collective future, follow the money.

Three concurrent and accelerating forces are driving this transformation:

First, the steady adoption of emerging technologies such as blockchain is laying the foundation for a new economic infrastructure that supports the digitization of all assets, most importantly money. Bitcoin, which emerged from our civil society outside the control of governments and big business, paved the way for the reinvention of money. Blockchain and crypto-assets will do for money, markets and virtually every kind of asset what the internet did for newspapers, film and TV. 

Alex Tapscott is co-founder of the Blockchain Research Institute. This essay is part of CoinDesk’s “Internet 2030” series.

Second, the balance of global economic dominance is shifting from the United States to China. In recent years, tensions have grown between the world’s two superpowers. The recent “tech cold war” is adding further fear and uncertainty that the new century will be defined by an adversarial relationship between these two economic giants. One area where this is apparent is in the realm of money. 

China is on the brink of launching its own digital currency while, at least on this issue, the U.S. is dragging its feet. The two visions for these central bank digital currencies couldn’t be more different. Whereas the U.S. wants to protect the U.S. dollar as global reserve currency, China wishes to export its own economic model around the world and tighten control at home. This new front in the tech cold war will be the most consequential. Every thinking person must understand the stakes, battle lines and consequences.

If you want to understand our collective future, follow the money.

Third, influential Silicon Valley giants such as Facebook having gobbled up the lion’s share of revenue in the media and information industries now have their sights on the bigger prize of payments and banking, with some setting their eyes on nothing short of the reinvention of money. 

These three unstoppable forces – an assertive digital civil society, powerful states and global corporations that aim to be the landlords of our entire digital existence – are on a collision course. The coming cataclysm will, for better or worse, reshape money and our world for decades to come.

This story is not about so-called fintech applications that have made banking a bit more convenient. This is about disruption on the magnitude of the post-World War II Bretton Woods conference, which made the U.S. dollar the global reserve currency. 

How will this coming cataclysm define the dynamic decade of the 2020s? Let’s peer into the future to find out:

The year is 2030. The U.S. dollar is now one of two major digital fiat reserve currencies. China was first to launch a fully digitized renminbi, creating a parallel currency regime in 2022. The U.S. Federal Reserve migrated the dollar to a blockchain in 2025. The U.S. and China are waging an economic war for influence in the world with their two competing visions for the future. In the United States, individuals with bank accounts at the Federal Reserve receive universal basic income checks every month. In China, citizens can be financially erased for running afoul of the Communist Party, with no recourse.

For most democracies in the world, the U.S. dollar had been, by necessity and by choice, the settlement currency for global business for nearly a century. But China’s crypto yuan has become an instrument of state-sponsored mercantilism and surveillance capitalism around the world. Each of the now-180 countries along the new Silk Road has adopted China’s currency standard in exchange for Chinese loans and access to China’s ever-expanding middle class. Crypto yuan is the currency of choice among African businesses. The Communist Party of China has exclusive visibility into all the transactions on its proprietary and permissioned platform. 

Corporate currencies are now a reality of life for billions. Only after the Chinese internet giants began aggressively exporting the crypto yuan did the U.S. government decide to allow its corporate champions to do likewise with their own version of the U.S. dollar. Amazon, Google and Facebook are now effectively shadow central banks with trillions of dollars in reserves, banking billions of people, some of them within alternative economies along the Silk Road.

See also: Alex Tapscott – When Money Becomes Programmable – Part 1

Is the strange and new scenario unrealistic? Perhaps. It is certainly speculative. But consider how much the world has changed in the last ten years. We are on the second half of the chessboard. 

The better question is, is this future desirable? Do we want the corporate landlords of today’s digital economy dominating the next era? Do we want governments to wage their own battles in the technology arena with the savings, earnings and even personal freedoms of billions of bystanders at stake? If not, what is to be done?

Francis Fukuyama said the fall of the Soviet Union signaled “the end of history.” We know this time not to make such proclamations. Still, it’s possible that 2020 will prove to be far more important and consequential in history than 1989, 2001 or 2008 because the global challenge that we face today will forever shape the future. This year marks the beginning of the end of the long 20th century, as we are forced to confront and rethink our institutions, our economic reality, and foundational concepts including money. 

The digital economy that is emerging from this crisis will require digital money. But what kind? Who will win this battle for the lifeblood of our economic lives? The transformation has already begun. Are you ready?





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MicroStrategy Buys Additional 13,005 Bitcoin for $489 Million

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With the current BTC price, MicroStrategy’s total Bitcoin holding is worth more than $3.4 billion.

MicroStrategy Inc (NASDAQ: MSTR) has continued its Bitcoin acquisition spree as it has purchased another $489 million worth of BTC. As of the 21st of June, the Nasdaq-listed business intelligence company holds 105,085 Bitcoins.

The company announced its latest Bitcoin acquisition earlier today. According to the company, the newly acquired BTC totaled 13,005 at an average price of about $37,617, fees and expenses included. The purchase came after MicroStrategy generated $500 million in cash from the sale of debt to fund the purchase of BTC.

Before MicroStrategy purchased the most recent Bitcoin, the company had unveiled plans to buy Bitcoin in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). In the filing, MicroStrategy said it would be selling up to 1 billion of its class A common stock through an “Open Market Sale Agreement” with Jefferies LLC. The company added that proceeds from the stock sales would be used to buy more Bitcoin. MicroStrategy explained:

We intend to use the net proceeds from the sale of any Class A common stock offered under the prospectus for general corporate purposes, including the acquisition of bitcoin, unless otherwise indicated in the applicable prospectus supplement.

MicroStrategy Focuses on Bitcoin Acquisition

In addition, MicroStrategy has made Bitcoin acquisition a focus for the company. The company said that it mainly pursues two corporate strategies. Apart from growing its enterprise analytics software business, a major strategy for the company is to acquire and hold BTC.

In the SEC filing, the Nasdaq-listed company added that it is currently seeking opportunities to implement Bitcoin-related technologies like blockchain analytics into its software offerings. Also, the company intends to hold its Bitcoin holdings long-term and not engage in regular trading.

MicroStrategy became the first publicly-traded company to buy Bitcoin in August 2020. At the time, the company bought 21,454 BTC worth $250 million, making BTC its primary treasury reserve asset. When MicroStrategy made its initial Bitcoin purchase, BTC was trading at $11,653 per coin. This means that the price of Bitcoin has surged about 5 times since the first purchase.

After debuting into the crypto space in August last year, MicroStrategy had purchased more and held more than 90,000 BTCs before its latest acquisition, announced on the 21st of June.

At the time of writing, Bitcoin is hovering around $33,000. With the current BTC price, MicroStrategy’s total Bitcoin holding is worth more than $3.4 billion. According to MicroStrategy, its new subsidiary – MacroStrategy, manages about 92,079 BTC of its coins.

MSTR stock is currently at $595.79, a 7.64% decline over its previous close of $646.46. The company has grown nearly 403% in the last twelve months and 53.57% in its year-to-date record. In addition, MicroStrategy stock has gained more than 26% over the past month. However, MSTR has shed 17.65% over the past three months and has dropped 0.30% in the last five days.

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Ibukun is a crypto/finance writer interested in passing relevant information, using non-complex words to reach all kinds of audience. Apart from writing, she likes to see movies, cook, and explore restaurants in the city of Lagos, where she resides.



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Wise Fintech to Go Public via Direct Listing on London Stock Exchange

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In the future, Wise plans to roll out OwnWise, a client shareholder program that will allow its users to own a stake in the company.

British fintech Wise, formerly TransferWise, announced Thursday its plans to go public via a direct listing on the London Stock Exchange (LSE). The money transfer company said it had sufficient funding and therefore, did not require underwriters or issuing of new shares.

Wise will pioneer direct listing in London, a deal which will be finalized on July 5. Sources speculate the listing could value Wise at anywhere between $6-7 billion, up from its latest $5 billion valuations. This would also make it one of the biggest floats this year.

Founded in 2010, Wise has managed to accumulate 10 million customers who use its services to send £5 billion ($7 billion) every month. Its rivals include Western Union and MoneyGram in addition to startups like WorldRemit and Revolut.

Since 2017, Wise’s track record shows consistent profitability with a 54% annual growth rate. The latest 2021 fiscal year report shows it made £30.9 million in profits out of the £421 million ($589 million) sales revenue. This year, the company’s payments app registered £54.4 billion of international transfers for 6 million clients.

Wise Listing on LSE

Listing the giant company is a great accomplishment for London as it competes with “The Big Board”, New York Stock Exchange Group (NYSE), to attract more high growth and Blue-chip firms. As of 2020, the NYSE had 2800 company stocks and its market cap as of June, 2021 was $24.68 trillion. LSE, on the other hand, has listed over 1300 companies and its market cap is at 40.08 from today’s MarketWatch data.

To further this development, the British government is considering increasing leniency in firm enlisting guidelines to encourage issuing of dual-class shares. However, European stock markets have been hit with a lot of volatility this year, with at least two IPO cancellations in recent weeks.

The dual share structure is what Wise is opting for as it allows them to retain voting control while accommodating investors and customers into their shareholder base. At present, however, it locks them out of the lucrative Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE) indices.

Nevertheless, the company intends to issue both class A and class B shares with the latter holding the privilege of 9 votes per share. The expiry for Class B shares is in the fifth year following Wise’s IPO. It is likely for concerns to arise over this structure as it may give executives excessive influence on shareholder votes.

In the future, Wise plans to roll out OwnWise, a client shareholder program that will allow its users to own a stake in the company. Financial endeavors for the company are advised by Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Barclays and Citigroup.

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A financial analyst who sees positive income in both directions of the market (bulls & bears). Bitcoin is my crypto safe haven, free from government conspiracies.
Mythology is my mystery!
“You cannot enslave a mind that knows itself. That values itself. That understands itself.”



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JPMorgan Acquires Nutmeg Robo-Advisor, Furthering UK Retail Banking

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Before the deal, JPMorgan and Nutmeg had partnered late last year to offer clients an assortment of globally diversified exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM) said Thursday it has closed a deal to purchase Nutmeg, an online investment management service, for an unnamed price. US biggest bank hopes the agreement, which awaits regulatory approval, will complement its launch of a standalone digital bank brand in the UK during the year.

Using the latest technology from Nutmeg will help boost JPMorgan’s retail and institutional push since the company aims at establishing as many branches as it can outside the US.

With over £3.5 billion (4.9 billion) worth of assets under management, the decade-old Nutmeg is one of the UK leading and award-winning robo-advisors. The company offers various investment accounts including Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs), general investment, and pensions accounts.

Additionally, its competitors include Wealthsimple, Moneybox, and Moneyfarm. Before the take-over, Nutmeg had raised over $150 million in investments from Goldman Sachs and the British venture capital firm – Balderton Capital.

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon stated last year that the banking giant would be “much more aggressive” in adding assets by conducting more acquisitions. The bank may also be stepping up to competition from adversary Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) which, in recent years, has spent $20 billion in merger agreements with E-trade and Eaton Vance.

Dimon also mentioned leveling up against blue-chip tech firm Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOGL) and other fintech firms such as PayPal Holdings Inc (NASDAQ: PYPL).

JPMorgan Stock Market and Nutmeg Acquisition

Before the deal, JPMorgan and Nutmeg had partnered late last year to offer clients an assortment of globally diversified exchange-traded funds (ETFs). This is not the first time the bank has partnered with a company then acquired it later. In October 2020, JPMorgan partnered with 55ip, a tax-smart fintech start-up, then bought it a couple of months down the line.

Differing regulatory guidelines in Europe and the UK made it necessary for JPMorgan to purchase the robo-advisor, rather than use investment technology available in the US. However, its US-based investment service You Invest is currently doing well, with assets valued at about $50 billion, as Dimon states.

JPMorgan’s tech initiative marks one among many happening in Britain’s retail banking sector. Banks such as Revolut, Starling, and Monzo manage digital-only checking accounts which have attracted a host of clients. Going by data from Innovate Finance, FinTechs in the UK probably make up the world’s largest markets, having pulled in $4.1 billion investment from venture capitalists as of last year.

JPMorgan Securities served as financial advisor in the JPMorgan-Nutmeg transaction, while Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer acted as legal counsel. Arma Partners was Nutmeg’s financial advisor and Taylor Wessing was legal counsel.

As of June 17, 2021, at 7:59 p.m. EDT, JPMorgan stock closed at $151.76, down 2.89%. In the after-hours session, it was trading at $151.48, down 0.18% in 24-hours.

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A financial analyst who sees positive income in both directions of the market (bulls & bears). Bitcoin is my crypto safe haven, free from government conspiracies.
Mythology is my mystery!
“You cannot enslave a mind that knows itself. That values itself. That understands itself.”



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