🤷 Opinions Cyril Gilson

Ex-Central Banker on Crypto: “There is no Limits to Where This is Going to Go”

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“The way we think about money and earning a living is going to change”
Ex-Central Banker on Crypto: “There is no Limits to Where This is Going to Go”

Ex-central banker turned cryptocurrency aficionado and leader, Eugene Etsebeth gives us an inclusive insight into the psychological types and the mechanics of a Central Bank operations, fintech scene and its influence on governments in Africa and how ICO’s model is changing.  

The business unit head for Central Banks, ACH and Payments at Sybrin, Eugene Etsebeth worked at the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) where he founded the Virtual Currencies and Distributed Ledger Technology working group.

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Eugene Etsebeth: About a year ago I left the South African Reserve Bank where I have become quite prominent as someone who understood cryptocurrency from a conceptual and technical point of view. You know the central bank was a very policy-driven institution and it has a lot of academics or researchers and auditor types. I was trying to bring a technological perspective to their thinking. When I was immersing myself in cryptocurrency I felt that they are missing a large piece. It was the technological piece but also it came from a slightly decentralized, almost libertarian thinking, giving them a different point of view.

So that’s what I brought to them out of my passion and interest in that space. South African Reserve Bank is a certain organism typical for most central banks. I mean you have banking supervision, which looks after the banking resources, and those are more auditors types. Then you’ve got your research, which are more your economic people and academics. Then in South Africa, we have exchange control so they do financial surveillance where there is not a free flow of money: those are the investigator types. Then you have national payments where they are mostly focusing on high value and low-value payments in the financial market, they almost ran a software or a system.

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So there are many different types of people, and I managed to bring them all together. I chaired the Virtual Currencies and Distributed Ledger Technology working group, the committee where we started to influence, talk to, or make an offering to the government.

Then out of that we also got involved in building some consortiums in the financial space. We as a central bank managed to find some developers interested in Ethereum and we worked with consultants to start contributing to smart contracts. A couple of years ago we played around with moving money between banks and the Central Bank on the Ethereum Blockchain.

Fast forward to now, and I was offered to lead the cryptocurrency slot at Sybrin, my current company. Their business is predominately in Africa, we have over 250 customers mainly banks, and we also run complete clearing houses of Zambia, Kenya, and Lesotho. We started to engage with some partners for cross-border remittances using existing cryptocurrencies.

Among other things, I was approached to do an ICO for a gambling entity based in Africa but ultimately I realized that to become an advisor in an ICO means moving to an unstable territory because all of it would be my own branch. I didn’t know how it’s gonna go so I pulled out of that.

Now we are gonna start engaging and looking into the Lightning Network.

The second tier framework that sits on top of Blockchains for me is very compelling, it almost works like the Internet protocol.

I think there is a lot of concern on how is that going to get market share or get people to use another wallet or another system, but I think market opening will come over time and that we will move over to Lightning Network type of behavior and we will start building applications on a second tier.

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Cyril Gilson: Is South Africa showing the rest of Africa the headway of fintech?

Fintech in South Africa

EE: The fintech scene in South Africa isn’t as strong as it looks. There are a lot of early startups, but I wouldn’t put it in the same category as for instance Israel or the West Coast. There is a big drive in millenials, like everywhere in the world, to be the owner of their own destiny. If they are computer programming literate they will probably take a risk early on. The fintech scene is prominent in South Africa, but I wouldn’t say it’s extremely large.

The central bank has created a fintech unit, but it has only three staff members, yet they are being more open into regulatory innovation apps. That’s the one thing that the startups are missing in the world: they are out, they are young, they have great ideas, but their regulatory and ecosystem knowledge is just missing. This is the cool piece that can help the ecosystem develop.

I am trying to think of examples. For me in the cryptocurrency space you have Luno. They have an exchange offering in South Africa, they started up and running about four years ago, and they have done very well. They are actually now based in London and have offerings in Singapore. So in the cryptocurrency space there is a little bit of movement. There are people engaging in crypto, probably as much as other developed countries.

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African dimension

CG: How about in terms of South Africa taking the rest of Africa along?

EE: I would say if there are any initiatives to take other countries along they are probably well concealed because everyone is trying to just look after their own house. I was in Rwanda recently, there I went to the innovation hub, where it’s a very big focus in Kigali to build both software and hardware innovation labs.

It’s almost a strategic decision by President Kagame to focus on cryptocurrencies and Blockchains.

There they are doing it very much on their own. I went there on a business trip, I went to go visit, but I would like to extend a hand in the community, but that’s more of goodwill rather than a national imperative.

There are national bodies, like the committee of central bank governors, that meets in Africa and they will talk about fintech and IT but that is just one element. It’s not organic.

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CG: Where would you put South Africa on a scale between Switzerland and China in terms of crypto regulation?

EE: Our position paper that came out in 2014 from the central bank wasn’t very helpful. It said its at your own risk and its a wait and see. That is still honestly the position.

Although when I look at these fancy maps of where its regulated and where its not, somehow South Africa is regulated it looks like because we have an exchange that its regulated, but on the outside, it’s slightly more just allowed to happen. We also have the added concern of exchange control which is unlike other companies. You aren’t allowed to just move money from cross-border, there is a lot of surveillance.

So to go back, I would say as a signal from the market, a big company called Sygnia they want to start a cryptocurrency exchange. They are picking up the correct signals from the regulator to make an investment in that regard. You know the one before, Luno, they took a risk. They were engaging a lot with the regulator early on but they couldn’t get any commitment from our KYC body called FICA.

They got quite far but they eventually got backtracked and it was at your own risk. We still are at that stage, although the central bank is making suggestions and names.

For instance, they say they will call them crypto tokens. I don’t know what that really means.

It just means they recognize it as a crypto token, that’s the language they will use and they don’t recognize it as a currency. It doesn’t really say much other than that they categorized it using their own categorization.

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ICO thinking

CG: Speaking about ICOs, there was a hype last year and they promised to disrupt finance, but it seems like now they are becoming more similar to what financing does in terms of equity they needed even before the presale or in many other aspects. Do you expect some new model changing the existing ICO model in the near future?

EE: You mean in response to the regulatory clampdown?

CG: Also maybe it will come out of some natural development, even from the inside the techniques are getting more and more oriented to mainstream...

EE: I am very excited about the ICO developments. I think it’s like cryptocurrency itself, the Bitcoins and some of the altcoins around them, it’s already a working use case that has billions of dollars of uptake. I think it’s a great future model. I think perhaps a greater responsibility should be placed on the people who start to randomize. I don’t like licenses, but you should know who they are, they should register in some shape or form because it’s a bit too scammy at the moment.

I think as a model it frees up liquidity a lot earlier, you can almost do an ICO within a day. You can create a method to raise an ICO in a short amount of time. You can offer in an exchange using a very simple protocol, the ERC20 protocol. I think for me its a case of that if a VC is doing it in a traditional sense, they better start moving quickly to an ICO thinking.

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Leadership required

CG: Do you expect more industries taking on the ICO model?

EE: I think there is no limits to where this is going to go. I think the human imagination is confined by what we know now, but it will become for our children, it will become more obvious how it’s matured. For instance, even here at this conference people are starting to offer ICOs and token sales for celebrities. And why not, anyone who adds value that you interact with, these things can be monetized.

I mean, money is really a form of communication, it’s almost a language. We have only known what we have known and know we have been introduced to a new way of money. I think this is going to change the way we think about money, how we earn money and how we earn a living.

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CG: Yeah but you are talking about cryptocurrencies being appealing to individuals rather than institutions and governments, the later would change in a slower manner. If at all - there are still this mass media stereotypes of all these crypto being scams.

EE: I think this is where it becomes very important for each individual to analyze the market, to read deeply. It’s so much easier now for you to make a prediction of what lies ahead of us. It may not be right, but we almost empower it because knowledge is so free.

We know as much or more than the previous controllers of knowledge. So I think that is going to set people apart, is by how they can predict and shape the future because I think people are complacent by thinking they have more knowledge. That’s certainly not the case.

I wouldn’t put too much emphasis on someone who has gotten to place in government by virtue of a bureaucratic career and who doesn’t know what the real reason may be why the organization was founded 100 years ago because it’s always morphing and changing. So too it might change not only growing bigger but it could grow smaller. It’s gonna take some courageous leadership going forward.

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Bearish Ripple Chart Analysis Pointing Towards Short Term Price Losses: Is It Time to Sell XRP?

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After a week or so of good price growth, Ripple looks as if it could be in for a short bear run, so maybe it's time to take profit
Bearish Ripple Chart Analysis Pointing Towards Short Term Price Losses: Is It Time to Sell XRP?

A look over the charts for XRP shows some good growth since last week. However, there has been a bit of a flattening out, and even an inability to hold key support levels. This is key in trying to predict the next steps of XRP’s price, and technical analysis suggests that a small bear run could be imminent.

Ripple’s price failed to stay above the $0.3250 and $0.3200 support levels and declined against the US dollar. The price also failed to hold gains and declined recently against Bitcoin. XRP/USD could slide towards the $0.3050 support before starting a fresh upward move.

Because of these predictions, it might be time for some smart trading, selling some tokens for profit taking before looking for the bottom again and buying back in.

A look at the charts

Over the last five days, XRP peaked at $0.354 on Wednesday before correcting down and rebounding to $0.352; however, it has since fallen back to $0.342. There was some fight back from the XRP token to try and pick up those gains again over the last few days, but overall it has fallen twice, unable to maintain those support numbers.

Bearish Ripple Chart Analysis Pointing Towards Short Term Price Losses: Is It Time to Sell XRP?

After a period of trading relatively flat, and with indications showing it is struggling to hold its gains, the prediction would be that the price of the coin will face bearish tendencies in the short term.

More small drops can be expected, with undulating rises that fail to stick. It is not gloom and doom for the cryptocurrency, rather a period of correction after a good rise that set off the market growth earlier in the week.

For investors or traders, this is actually good news given that if the prediction is correct, there will be a chance for profit taking as people sell off tokens after the bull run, only to ride out the bearish run in order to buy back.

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Litecoin Price Forecast 2019: Set Sail to Break the $50 Iceberg and Swim as Far as $230

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Litecoin price forecast 2019: The coin has the chance to reach the value of $230. What are the factors contributing to LTC growth?
Litecoin Price Forecast 2019: Set Sail to Break the $50 Iceberg and Swim as Far as $230

Following Bitcoin’s path, Litecoin seems to be on the rise: it’s becoming quite popular among investors and is slowly gaining in price. There’s a very high probability that it will trade higher than $30 all year long, but what about its highest points?

Litecoin Price Forecast 2019: Set Sail to Break the $50 Iceberg and Swim as Far as $230

Focus on numbers: Litecoin’s future in 2019

Although the bearish period seems to be over, the crypto market is still highly volatile. That’s why making any short-term predictions is quite hard. However, it doesn’t discourage analytical websites and people from making their own forecasts.

Thus, according to publications on various crypto websites, Litecoin has enough potential to reach the $1,000 edge. Some articles mention the number $2,000 – it seems to be far from reality. What are these suggestions based on? It’s not clear.

However, these forecasts are on par with predictions from some experts. For example, George Tung, a cryptocurrency analyst, claims that Litecoin will reach $1,500 towards the end of 2019. Brian Kelly, the head of BK Capital Management (LLC), is sure we might witness an LTC price of $500 or even $600 by the end of this year. Though conservative, this approach seems to be close to reality.

In November 2017, Litecoin was traded at $100 and investors managed to enjoy 25x ROI. If the market is hit by the bullish wave again, the scenario can repeat: LTC might jump from its current $48 to $1,200. But what if that won’t happen?

Our guess is that Litecoin can reach the range of $150-$230 by the end of 2019. How can it crawl to such numbers? First, in August 2019, the block reward for miners will be cut by 50%, which might provoke the growth of demand for LTC.

What will kick-start Litecoin growth?

Here’s the whole gamut of factors that can make Litecoin soar separately or altogether:

  • The rate of accepting Litecoin on exchanges and online websites will gradually increase. One of the adoption examples is the Surf Air store that started accepting LTC payments.

  • Of course, Litecoin’s growth is partially defined by Bitcoin’s performance. At the moment, BTC is on the rise. However, Litecoin seems to recover from the bearish period much faster and better.

  • At the same time, while Bitcoin’s gaining in traffic, users start complaining about growing transaction fees and slow performance. That’s when their attention switches to Litecoin, with its lower commissions and better speed.

  • A big influx of traffic on Coinbase is expected – it backs three major crypto assets, including LTC.

Thus, Litecoin is getting more and more media attention, which only contributes to its growth. Some Internet users are sure that it has to reach the $50 mark to get back on track and start gaining in value. This event is definitely around the corner!

Disclaimer: The opinion expressed here is not investment advice – it is provided for informational purposes only. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of U.Today. Every investment and all trading involves risk, so you should always perform your own research prior to making decisions. We do not recommend investing money you cannot afford to lose.

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EOS Price Expected to Keep Rising After Doubling in Value Since December Lows

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EOS is one coin that has shrugged off its lows to double in value since December, with more growth expected
EOS Price Expected to Keep Rising After Doubling in Value Since December Lows

In the current climate, there is optimism returning to the market with Bitcoin pushing the $4,000 mark. However, a lot of this positivity has come from an altcoin rush of late. Coins such as Tron, Ethereum, Ripple and Stellar have played their part in boosting the market, but one particular coin has been striving since its lows in December last year.

EOS, a cryptocurrency that is currently ranked fourth by market cap, has quietly been going about its business, growing not only in price but also value as a blockchain company. It is showing some medium to long term bullish tendencies, outperforming many others.

The coin reached a low of $1.54 on December 7th, 2018, but at the moment, it is heading beyond the $4 mark, having doubled in value since that late last year low. It currently sits at $3.38.

Many are expecting the coin to keep growing, with its highest point touching $4.05. This move represents a 161% gain in only 74 trading days. If the bullish tendencies can continue across the markets, there is no doubt that EOS will cash in.

EOS Charts

More to come

EOS is seen as a rival to Ethereum, and because its intention is to improve upon the original smart contract blockchain, it will feel it has an edge in terms of adoption in the coming months.

It is a double-edged sword, as added adoption of the blockchain platform will help increase its reputation, which in turn will boost its price. Then, because EOS’ price is already starting to grow substantially, it will bring the platform to the fore for future blockchain applications.

If EOS can continue to offer a good blockchain service and the market keeps positive, there is every reason to believe that the coin’s price will continue to grow — and also outperform many of its rivals and other altcoins.

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Ripple XRP Price Prediction: Major Financial Services Group Sees XRP Exceeding Bitcoin’s Market Cap

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The president of SBI Holdings in Japan believes that Ripple will dominate global expansion and soon have a bigger market cap than Bitcoin
Ripple XRP Price Prediction: Major Financial Services Group Sees XRP Exceeding Bitcoin’s Market Cap

The SBI Group, a Japan-based financial services giant as well as a keen partner with Ripple for their bank settlement cryptocurrency, are bullish on the XRP token overtaking the current head of the market cap standings, Bitcoin.

The President and Representative Director of SBI Holdings, Yoshitaka Kitao, has come out and said XRP is dominating international expansion and will become global in the future. This global domination, based on XRP’s propensity to partner with major financial institutions across the globe, means Kitao sees it overtaking Bitcoin.

Bitcoin has stood at the head of the market cap standings in relation to cryptocurrency ever since it was invented some 10 years ago. Other coins have come close to knocking it off, but the decentralised coin has stood firm. But, if Kitao is right, XRP could overtake the market cap with a huge growth in price from global adoption.

International adoption

Ripple’s XRP token is as a cryptocurrency global and borderless, just as Bitcoin, because of its decentralised nature. However, Ripple has been looking to run XRP like a business with its xRapid product.

Thus, its growth is based on its adoption by financial institutions around the globe, and as this adoption grows, the worth and interest in XRP will increase, and thus its market cap will begin to rise.

“Because XRP is already beginning to become international, xRapid will be used for fund transfers in 2019. By increasing the so-called XRP’s plastic use, we anticipate that the [Ripple] market capitalization will easily exceed the market capitalization of Bitcoin,” Kiato said.

Ripple has already shown its power in growth as opposed to other major cryptocurrencies, often stealing second spot from Ethereum in the recent past. Ethereum was once a coin that was almost overtaking Bitcoin, but it is now under threat by a much more compliant and potential-full XRP token.

Better use cases

Because Ripple is trying to build XRP’s use cases for financial institutions, it has an advantage over other tokens in that it will be useful rather than just a cryptocurrency experiment. It is highly believed that once crypto finds its killer application, the price of it will skyrocket as people flock in demand.

If XRP does become more globally adopted, there will be an influx of interest in the coin and thus its price will shoot up, allowing it to overtake Bitcoin’s market cap in no time.

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EOS Price Jumps 25% as Market Flattens Out: Is There More to Come?

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The cryptocurrency market’s best performer in the last 24 hours has been EOS as the rest of the growth plateaus – what’s next?
EOS Price Jumps 25% as Market Flattens Out: Is There More to Come?

Ever since last week Friday, where there were small indications that a rally could happen, the cryptocurrency market has shown some good growth, with Bitcoin, the head of the market, topping off at just under $4,000.

What has been typical of this small rally has been the effect of some of the major altcoins in pushing the cryptocurrency market. It began with the likes of Binance Coin, Stellar and Tron, and then saw Ethereum take over, but now EOS has shown a huge 25% growth spike in the last 24 hours.

It would seem that this rally has flattened out for the moment, with a lot of the coins levelling out. It is now important to see what comes next as another rally following this levelling could be massive for the medium to long term growth of the entire market.

EOS Drive

The now-fourth biggest cryptocurrency based on market cap has advanced nearly 25 percent in the last day to reach $3.47 and is currently neck-and-neck with Litecoin, whose own value has also ballooned 11 percent since year-end 2018.

Today’s gains reflect support from the EOS community and could have something to do with Block.one, the creator of EOS, recently providing greater clarity on the roadmap.

Block.one CEO Brendan Blumer addressed some of the community concerns on social media, reminding them in a message entitled “Great Things Take Time” that there is more ahead than meets the eye.

Of course what is important to note in regards to this kind of reaction is that these altcoin projects are putting out positive news, and that is having an effect not only on the coin, but the market in general.

There is positive news being met with results which are driving the market, and this has not been seen for a long period. The bullish market tendencies being seen could be indicative of a change in the sentiment.

What next?

It is still early to call, and quite tentative, but it certainly feels like a bull run could be developing. It may be based off the altcoin news and sentiment, but Bitcoin will play a important role. The major cryptocurrency came $30 short of cracking the $4,000 mark.

If Bitcoin is able to breach that resistance, even if it is through the drive of another altcoin, it could open up a whole new level of potential gains across the market and could possibly start a new bull run.

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