Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies: special focus


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Euromoney's latest coverage.

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Cryptocurrency’s rapid growth is a threat to conventional finance

Bitcoin’s astonishing rise in value from $750 at the start of December 2016 to more than $11,250 in December 2017 has lured in more and more institutional investors, disturbed regulators and confounded those in the conventional banking industry that once stove to belittle cryptocurrency.

They can no longer ignore it. Rather, bankers are deploying established financial market techniques – delta-one securities, exchange-traded notes, passive index tracking – to engage with cryptocurrency and allow even more wealthy investors and institutions to join the party.

The sharp sell-off in January, when the market capitalization of the entire cryptocurrency market almost halved in just 10 days, was a sharp reminder of the risks. But while the decline from $830 billion to $430 billion was alarming, remember that the whole market was worth just $17.5 billion 12 months ago. 

Recently launched bitcoin futures will bring a new mechanism to short cryptocurrency and so perhaps to manage its notorious volatility, allowing further comfort to institutional investors.

The market capitalization of the 1,450 cryptocurrency tokens now in circulation had recovered to $540 billion in late January – roughly equivalent to that of Bank of America and Citigroup combined – and a whole new financial system is now emerging. Insiders say there’ll be many thousands more crypto-assets as initial coin offerings – many supported by crypto millionaires and billionaires diversifying their wealth – replace venture capital equity as the way to fund blockchain-related start-ups.

The big questions now for governments and regulators is whether cryptocurrencies threaten the stability of the global financial system. Some investors will lose out. In crypto land, code is law. There is no benign central authority to correct obvious mistakes. Cryptocurrency has been stolen and accidentally wiped. Could such losses spiral across conventional financial markets?

Rather than try to ban them, many central banks are now considering launching their own cryptocurrencies. It would be the ultimate validation. It might also be the beginning of the end for conventional banking, if individuals, institutions and corporations all came to have digital accounts at central banks.

Cryptocraaazy: Rock around the block
June 2018

What a month for the cryptomaniac in us all.

Fintech: The cold, hard facts of bitcoin mining
May 2018
Soviet military bunkers in Kazakhstan and portable houses in Siberia linked up to the plumbing: Bitcoin mining is moving in some interesting directions that will become even more diverse as China cracks down on its domestic industry.

Estonian lender targets London’s fintechs
April 2018
LHV looks to expand cryptocurrency customer base; UK head sees opportunities for EU banks in Brexit.

G20 ministers wrestle with cryptocurrency oversight

March 2018
Finance ministers and central bankers at the G20 have called for greater global coordination in their approach to cryptocurrencies, but that looks a remote prospect when different regulatory bodies in the same country cannot agree a strategy.

Ripple India tries to ignore the noise

March 2018
India threatens cryptocurrency crackdown; Ripple argues it has a remittance model.

Dash aims to be the cryptocurrency that works like real money
February 2018
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The recent price collapse shows how far bitcoin and the rest have veered from working like currencies, but one cryptocurrency just wants to be used to pay for stuff.

Japan’s FSA defends approach after Coincheck fraud
February 2018


The Coincheck cryptocurrency fraud has rocked Japan, which had been the first country in the world to build a regulatory environment for crypto exchanges. The FSA regulator briefs Euromoney on how it built its rules and what Coincheck means for the future.

Asia totters on its cryptocurrency stance
February 2018


The region is a vital part of the world crypto community, mostly as investor and miner. But Korea and China have turned against virtual currencies, though Japan, despite recent setbacks, may have the answer.

Fintech: Up bit creek
February 2018


A bitcoin conference on a Thai beach, part of a cryptocurrency cruise, is quite a thing. Libertarian in outlook and cool in attendee, these are bitcoin’s true believers. But as the price of bitcoin tumbled in January, why were they still partying like it’s $19,999?

Gibraltar plans a regulated crypto exchange

January 2018
EU-regulated exchange to launch a new blockchain platform for initial coin offerings (ICOs) and token trading.

Tend token sale points to a regulated future for ICOs
January 2018
The luxury-asset investment platform is to raise funds by selling tokens that mirror participation certificates under Swiss law, with full KYC and AML checks on buyers.

Bitcoin bonanza: the rise of regulation
January 2018
The latest cryptocurrency price crash is shining the spotlight on the regulation of these borderless, digital currencies, but the rules differ wildly from country to country; global super-regulator IOSCO is set to make an announcement.

Sideways: Masters of the bitcoin universe

January 2018
The search is on for masters of the bitcoin universe to rival the bond traders who appalled and fascinated the public in the 1980s.

Alternative awards for the year 2017
December 2017

The King Canute award for ordering back the bitcoin tide: Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan.

Macaskill on markets: Bitcoin greed will overcome fear
December 2017
An important step to confer respectability on trading in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies was taken in mid December when analysts from Deutsche Bank highlighted the role played in the emerging market by male leveraged foreign exchange investors from Japan.

Bitcoin: accept no substitutes
December 2017
Help is at hand for those investors who find putting their money into bitcoin just not quite risky enough.

Macaskill on markets: Bitcoining it in 2018

December 2017


Jon ‘Mystic Mac’ Macaskill looks ahead at possible highlights for markets in 2018.

Fintech: Conventional investors tiptoe up to cryptocurrency
November 2017


As retail and high net-worth investors embrace cryptocurrency, delta one synthetics allow institutionals to allocate to this new asset class, but sceptics say that cryptocurrency is an immature market. They warn that catastrophic losses in crypto could destabilize the regular equity, commodity, debt and currency markets.

Russia and cryptocurrencies: will they, won’t they?
November 2017


Anyone trying to keep track of attitudes to cryptocurrencies among Russian policymakers could be forgiven for feeling a trifle dizzy going into December.

FX: Cryptocurrency exchanges expand offerings as concerns remain
November 2017
Fees and regulatory uncertainty remain a concern for traders as cryptocurrency exchanges continue to broaden the range of fiat currencies they support.

Bitcoin falls victim to its own success
November 2017

As investors seek to allocate to cryptocurrency in bigger size, delays in processing blocks, limits on file sizes and increasing electricity consumption expose disagreements among those behind it and lead to high volatility.

China’s cryptocurrency ban is not what it seems
November 2017
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The People’s Bank doesn’t want a crypto-free country – it wants to own the market.

Bitcoin reaches fork in road as alternative Bitcoin Gold prepares for launch
November 2017
Cryptocurrency architects have unveiled Bitcoin Gold, a new currency based on the bitcoin network set to begin trading in December, which attempts to resolve what some see as the excessive influence miners have on the bitcoin network.

CME to launch bitcoin futures

October 2017
The more mainstream banks pour scorn on cryptocurrency, the greater their investing clients’ interest in new investment products for taking exposure in regulated markets.

Seven things we learned in Washington – and you won’t believe number five
October 2017

In true clickbait style, Euromoney offers some highlights from this year’s IMF/World Bank meetings. For example, Jamie Dimon’s bitcoin problem is worse than we thought.

Dimon in the rough: bitcoin gets a thrashing
October 2017
JPMorgan's CEO finds it hard to shake a habit.

Delta-one securities for cryptocurrency

October 2017

As more retail and high-net-worth investors embrace cryptocurrency, lightly structured delta-one synthetics now allow institutional investors to allocate to a new asset class.

Investment banking goes crypto
October 2017
In the month when Jamie Dimon dismissed cryptocurrency as a fraud, there was a string of new breakthroughs in banking on blockchain and Euromoney caught first sight of a crypto investment bank.

Initial coin offerings suggest financial system fragility

August 2017
Panic buying of altcoin offerings is an obvious bubble that hints at a far more worrying loss of faith in the world monetary system.

FX: SEC rejects bitcoin ETF but market remains buoyant
March 2017
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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rejected an exchange’s request to list what would have been the first bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF), but it might not be long before such a digital currency fund becomes reality, say commentators.

Bitcoins you can grab
February 2017
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Bobby Lee, co-founder and chief executive officer of BTCC, the Shanghai-based bitcoin platform and second-largest bitcoin exchange in the world, certainly stole the show at London blockchain week, a series of conferences held in late January.

BitLicense not template for UK, say experts
December 2016
While accepting that regulation can help increase consumer and business confidence in cryptocurrencies, providers and industry analysts agree that the BitLicense model is not the way forward for the UK.

Fintech creeps up on the capital markets
November 2016
The application of fintech to wholesale banking is, to date, less clear than in retail financial services, where peer-to-peer lenders, start-up remittance companies, crowdfunders and robo-advisers are quickly picking up market share from the incumbents. It is more likely that fintech startups will collaborate with and sell to the incumbents in capital markets than disintermediate them. But they will still transform those markets and the business leaders.

Celent calls on central banks to issue their own digital currencies
October 2016
Celent has called on central banks to issue their own digital currencies to help raise inflation and reduce systemic risk

Fintech 2016: Wirex brings blockchain to personal banking
April 2016
Start-up is growing fast; bitcoin leg cheapens FX conversion.

Banks begin blockchain payment integration
April 2016
Banks are taking tentative steps to integrating blockchain technology, but so far they have focused on following established payment processes.

Fintech 2016: Safello bridges crypto and fiat currency
April 2016
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Acting for now as a secure exchange between conventional and cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, Stockholm-based Safello is developing what it sees as a ground-breaking transaction browser.

FX: Cryptocurrency trading venues snowball
March 2016
The emergence of new trading venues marks a notable advance in the development of cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, although exchanges vary in their product offerings.

Fintech: Blockchain moves from hullabaloo to hard graft
December 2015
In the second half of 2015 hype around the potential for shared ledger technology to transform banking rose to a peak. Now comes the hard work as banks and fintech companies seek to put test cases into actual use. As the first practical applications begin to emerge, Euromoney surveys the banking market to ask what’s next for the blockchain.

Rival blockchain services test corporate appetite
November 2015
Interoperability rather than exclusivity appears to be the likely path to success for corporate blockchain services.


Getting to grips with blockchain
November 2015
Banks have suddenly cottoned on to the power of the blockchain technology beneath Bitcoin. Inside their own treasuries and innovation labs, and increasingly in collaboration, banks are testing uses for rebranded distributed ledgers to replace their costly, proprietary systems. 

Blockchain questionnaire
November 2015
Have the banks been caught up in the hype around blockchain, or will it transform the financial system in the years ahead? Have your say, by participating in the questionnaire accompanying Euromoney's investigation.

Regulation: The benefits of blockchain
November 2015
Banks are suddenly obsessed with potential of the distributed ledger in financial markets, but regulators must make sure it is used in ways that remove collusion and wrongdoing.

Bitcoin: Jury is still out on derivatives
October 2015
Bitcoin is riding high after a recent European Court of Justice ruling that users in Europe are not liable to pay value-added tax when trading the cryptocurrency. But regulators worldwide are divided on whether it is a commodity or a currency and are still probing the advent of bitcoin derivatives as exchanges flourish to satisfy traders' demand for a wider range of products.

Crypto currencies: Bitcoin options come a step closer
June 2015
Opportunity for banks same as in FX; Goldman investment ‘a positive signal’.

Exit Bitcoin, enter block-chain technology
January 2015
Negative publicity around cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin has deflected attention from the potential of the underlying technology to facilitate real-time – and therefore much cheaper – international payments.

Bitcoin market starts to mature
October 2014
Interest and use of cryptocurrency bitcoin has undergone a meteoric rise in the past year, but it is now moving away from speculative investments into the real world of cross-border business transactions.

Rising Bitcoin adoption emboldens crypto-enthusiasts
September 2014
Despite the volatility in its price and its still-limited practical use, an increase in the number of merchants accepting Bitcoin in recent months has ignited optimism among digital-currency proponents.

CureCoin: A cryptocurrency aiming to beat cancer
August 2014
The CureCoin Forum has teamed up with Stanford University to launch a new ethical cryptocurrency that aims to find cures for common, life-threatening illnesses, such as cancer and Alzheimer’s, by bringing together science and the craze for cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin: big in emerging markets
February 2014
Surveys suggest that virtual currencies look a safer bet than local stocks and property.

Bankers’ lobby weighs Bitcoin threat
January 2014
Regulators have woken up to the currency’s potentially huge impact on the global payments system, given the decentralized, virtual and anonymous nature of the peer-to-peer network.

China leads fresh regulatory response to Bitcoin bubble
December 2013
Successive interventions by China’s central bank to rein in trading of Bitcoins in recent weeks have not only knocked the cryptocurrency hard but seemingly helped legitimize its existence.

Bitcoin: banks are beginning to believe the hype
December 2013
The emergence of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin is beginning to pose a real threat to banks’ dominance of the multi-billion global payments business. Banks are still trying to figure out how best to respond. Some are a bit further ahead than others.

Year of the Bitcoin set to end on a low after China clampdown
December 2013
The Bitcoin rollercoaster has lurched down as BTC China said it would no longer be accepting renminbi deposits, triggering a massive sell-off across most cryptocurrencies. But Bitcoin believers remain unbowed. Here is a round-up of the most bullish projections.

Meet Monetas, the latest in Bitcoin-inspired payment platforms
September 2013
The genesis of cryptocurrencies has revolutionized the payments space, tearing down the technological boundaries of what is possible and creating a swath of new platforms to move money around faster and cheaper.

Taking a chance on Bitcoin
August 2013
Banks are trying their best to avoid doing business with Bitcoin exchanges, but some hardy institutions are actively seeking them out.

Bitcoin infrastructure evolving to enable greater use for payments
August 2013
Escrow services crop up but lack of mainstream financial intermediaries might be an obstacle to bitcoin’s evolution into a mainstream currency.

Worlds apart: banks and Bitcoin convergence unlikely anytime soon
July 2013
Banks remain disinterested or wary of Bitcoin but there is a growing acknowledgement that the digital currency’s popularity cannot be overlooked indefinitely, if a recent gathering of the faithful is anything to go by. From trade to settlement, Bitcoin offers plenty of opportunities – and threats – for banks.

Bitcoin: to use or to hoard, that is the question
July 2013
Bitcoin faces an uphill battle to satisfy the conventional functions of money as a medium of exchange, store of value and a unit of account, participants say at a leading conference on the digital currency this week. 

Explosion of digital currencies such as Bitcoin creates regulatory headache
June 2013
Like it or not, electronic currencies are here to stay, challenging traditional payment channels. Euromoney surveys the contenders for digital dominion as security and regulatory challenges bite. 

First Bitcoin, now Google-backed OpenCoin: a new disintermediation threat for banks
June 2013
The success of electronic currencies such as Bitcoin has turned the worlds of currencies and payments systems upside down. The latest player to join this game is OpenCoin, which in April received seed capital from a consortium of venture capitalists, including Google Ventures. Rather than becoming merely another payments system, OpenCoin is looking to be a paradigm-changing payments system that disintermediates traditional bank platforms. 

Bitcoin: a threat to the transaction banking industry?
May 2013
Transaction bankers should wake up to the competitive threat that is Bitcoin, which, in theory, offers a multitude of benefits for multinational companies. Nevertheless, an information deficit and regulatory concerns will continue to temper corporate adoption of the digital currency, analysts say. 
Technology & innovation: special focus
From cloud technology to cashless payments, digital currencies to social media, mobile banking to FX robots... financial institutions worldwide are looking to lead technological advances while also trying to keep up with them. And as well as the cost of innovation, many organizations are finding much of their technology budgets focused on dealing with regulatory burdens. Here is the latest coverage from Euromoney.