Thriller Rundown - S3EP9: SWIFT Recognize Crypto Financial Evolution


The Rundown

Bankers Start to Recognize Bitcoin’s & Crypto Role in Financial Evolution

SWIFT Chairman of the Board, Yawar Shah

Speaking during the Sibos 2019 conference held recently in one of the world’s financial capitals, London, “The financial industry is undergoing an extraordinary change, because of new entrants like Facebook’s Libra and the emergence of technologies like crypto assets,” said Yawar Shah, chairman of Swift, the global interbank financial telecommunication system used by banks around the world to send and receive information about financial transactions. 

Shah’s presentation concerned payments and recognized four factors that influence their development. Three of them – the aforementioned emergence of crypto assets, changing technology, and competition from ecosystems are in one way or another related to the phenomenon catalyzed by Bitcoin. That includes other attempts to develop faster and more reliable digital payments than those offered by the traditional fiat world.

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The Hard Truth

LedgerX cries foul; CFTC says there’s no favoritism

Executives at U.S.-based cryptocurrency options exchange LedgerX are claiming that their primary regulator, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), has acted unfairly, favoring their legacy rival Bakkt over the Chicago-based crypto-native firm. 

Paul Chou, the firm’s CEO, went off in a series of tweets Friday night, alleging that the CFTC broke promises and engaged in backroom dealings.

The Twitter drama follows an embarrassing roll-back of its crypto derivatives platform in August. At the time, LedgerX was under the impression that the CFTC had given the firm the necessary clearance to roll-out physically delivered futures, sources told The Block. However, following LedgerX’s announcement of its Omni platform — which was originally marketed as an options and futures platform — on social media, a spokesperson for the CFTC told The Block that the firm didn’t have the green light to launch physically delivered bitcoin futures. 

Now, two letters obtained by CoinDesk’s Nikhilesh De claim that the bias of former CFTC chairman Christopher Giancarlo is behind the firm’s delays. 

“This submission has been with the Commission for well over 180 days without approval or denial,” the letter, dated July 11, noted. “We have strong reason to believe that this unreasonable delay is in clear violation of the Commodity Exchange Act is related to the Chairman’s animus towards a blog post written by our CEO.”

Why would the CFTC show favor to LedgerX’s rivals? That is not entirely clear, although sources close to the matter have told The Block LedgerX’s leadership was under the impression that the CFTC is playing favorites, working more closely with Bakkt and ErisX. Other sources have said it is common for regulators to favor existing market participants over new entrants.

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