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Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that Bitcoin is “a far better way to transfer value than pieces of paper,” during an interview on the advisory services firm ARK Invest’s podcast.

Technology entrepreneur and Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that Bitcoin’s (BTC) structure is “quite brilliant” and that digital currency is “a far better way to transfer value than pieces of paper.” Musk made his remarks during an interview on advisory services firm ARK Invest’s podcast on Feb. 19.

In response to a question about whether Bitcoin becomes the only native cryptocurrency of the Internet, Musk said that “the Bitcoin structure was quite brilliant,” and that he thinks that “one of the downsides of crypto is that computationally it is quite energy intensive. So there have to be some kind of constraints on the creation of crypto. But it's very energy intensive to create the incremental Bitcoin at this point.”

On this note, Musk stressed that “it would not be a good use of Tesla resources to get involved in crypto. We’re just really trying to accelerate the advance of sustainable energy.”

Musk continued saying that cryptocurrency “bypasses currency controls [...] paper money is going away, and crypto is a far better way to transfer value than pieces of paper, that's for sure."

Last February, Musk tweeted that he only owned 0.25 BTC. He noted in the same tweet that apart from the 0.25 BTC a friend had given to him “many years ago”, he "literally own[s] zero cryptocurrency."

Previously, major industry players also argued that Bitcoin occupies a unique place as a store of value or “digital gold.” Mike Novogratz, a former Goldman Sachs partner and founder of crypto merchant bank Galaxy Digital, said that “Bitcoin is going to be digital gold, a place where you have sovereign money, it’s not U.S. money, it’s not Chinese money, it’s sovereign. Sovereignty costs a lot, it should.”

Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey — who is well known for his conviction that Bitcoin will become the “native currency of the Internet” — said earlier this month that “[Bitcoin] feels it’s the one that wants to be currency the most, versus others that are doing more general purpose things or distributed computing [...] I think [the altcoin space] has generated some really amazing ideas, but I’m focused on currency and the transactional aspect.”

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A Nova Scotia supreme court justice has chosen the legal representatives for clients of Canada’s major crypto exchange QuadrigaCX.

The Supreme Court of Nova Scotia has ordered Canadian law firms Miller Thomson and Cox & Palmer to represent customers of cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX in upcoming proceedings. The ruling was announced in a court filing published on Feb. 19.

On Tuesday, Justice Michael Wood rendered a decision that Miller Thomson and Cox & Palmer will act as lead counsel to represent the representative committee of users of Canada’s major cryptocurrency exchange Quadriga.

Specifically, the representative counsel will be responsible for “managing communications with users; acting as user liaison for the monitor [Ernst & Young]; advocating for user interests before the court; identify[ing] potential conflicting interest amongst users; and advocating for user privacy.”

In the filing, Wood says that the proceedings should concentrate on efficiency and cost effectiveness, and that the counsel should not have open-ended retainers and undertake inquiries where they can exact fees from the exchange’s assets. The filing further explains:

“Representative counsel can make the proceeding more efficient and cost effective for all parties by providing a clear mechanism for communicating with the stakeholders and avoiding a multiplicity of potentially conflicting retainers.”

While the next hearing is scheduled on March 5, 2019, Justice Wood stated in the filing that he “expect[s] that representative counsel, the Monitor and the Applicants should be able to come to an agreement on most, if not all, of the terms of the order which could then be presented to the Court for consideration.”

Wood’s decision follows a hearing on Feb. 14, when the Nova Scotia Supreme Court brought together over “a dozen” lawyers who were vying to represent the 115,000 cryptocurrency traders owed around $260 million ($195 million) by QuadrigaCX.

On Feb. 13, Cointelegraph reported that Ersnt & Young’s recently released report dubbed “First Report of the Monitor” stated that “on February 6, 2019, Quadriga inadvertently transferred 103 bitcoins valued at approximately $468,675 to Quadriga cold wallets.” Quadriga has purportedly been unable to access its cold wallets as its recently deceased found Gerald Cotten was solely responsible for the wallets and corresponding keys.

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A new survey reveals that organizations are not ready to implement blockchain tech, although a half of respondents are considering blockchain adoption.

A new study has revealed that, while businesses are considering blockchain adoption, overall they do not feel ready to implement the technology. The survey was conducted by software development firm Globant and published on Feb. 19.

The report says that 64 percent of organizations are intent on investing in blockchain solutions to improve their internal operations, while only 46 percent of respondents feel ready to deploy the technology.

Out of 61 percent of organizations that are already researching blockchain, only 28 percent have chosen a blockchain provider. According to the survey, the majority of decision-makers are still investigating the technology and comparing vendors, and have not yet defined their stance on blockchain tech.

Diego Tartara, CTO Latin America at Globant, said, "Blockchain implementation is different for every organization, so it's imperative for business leaders to have a unified idea of what their integration will look like. The technology as such usually requires a shift in paradigm to adopt it, thus sharing core objectives for the technology is key for a successful blockchain integration."

To prepare the study, the researchers reportedly surveyed 679 senior-level decision makers employed in the fields of marketing, IT and operations in the United States during first quarter of 2018.

Earlier this month, a TD Bank survey revealed that 90 percent of treasury and finance professionals think that blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT) will positively affect the payments industry. Per the survey, only 14 percent of the respondents said that their organization has training strategies for blockchain.

A survey by the Global Blockchain Business Council published last January revealed that 63 percent of respondents believe that senior business executives have a poor understanding of blockchain technology. 30 percent consider their knowledge of the emerging technology as “average.” The remaining 7 percent described senior executive understanding of blockchain as “good.”

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A new survey from investment platform eToro has revealed that 43 percent of millennial traders trust traditional stock exchanges less than crypto exchanges.

Nearly half of millennial traders have more trust in digital currency exchanges than in United States (U.S.) stock market exchanges. Data regarding millennial investment attitudes was collected in a new study from investment platform eToro and published on Feb. 19.

Per the report, 43 percent of the surveyed millenial online traders demonstrate less trust in the traditional stock market, while having more faith in cryptocurrency exchanges. 93 percent of millennial cryptocurrency traders reportedly said that they would invest more in digital currency if traditional financial institutions proposed such an option. At the same time, 71 percent of millennials that do not trade cryptocurrency said that they would begin if it were offered by conventional institutions.

Managing Director of eToro U.S., Guy Hirsch, said that the market is now witnessing a generation shift in trust from traditional stock exchanges to digital currency ones. “Immutability is native to blockchains and that makes real-time audit to be sensible and cost-effective and that is why millennials and Gen X perceive crypto exchanges as less likely to be subject to manipulation and less likely to be a place where bad actors get rewarded with taxpayer money,” Hirsch explained.

45 percent of the respondents expressed interest in allocating cryptocurrency in their 401(k) retirement savings plans, and 74 percent of digital currency traders would like to receive that option from their 401(k) plan providers.

The research was conducted by market research and strategy firm Provoke Insights on behalf of eToro in September 2018. Throughout the course of the study, the company surveyed 1,000 online investors from ages 20 to 65. The company notes that the margin of error is around 3 percent.

Research published last November revealed that cryptocurrency investing is most popular among millennials earning from $75,000 to $99,999 annually. The survey collected responses from over 1,000 Americans between ages 18 and 80. Almost 40 percent of respondents cited peer influence as a main reason for investing in crypto, and over 35 percent have reportedly been lured into the crypto market by the “Fear of Missing Out.”

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Blockchain security firm and wallet service BitGo revealed plans to offer crypto insurance through Lloyd's of London.

Blockchain security firm and crypto wallet service BitGo has revealed plans to offer crypto insurance through Lloyd's of London, according to a press release on Feb. 19.

BitGo Business Wallet clients will be able to acquire insurance for their digital assets held on BitGo’s Business Wallet service and Custodial offering

Assets held by either BitGo or BitGo Trust Company can insured for up to $100 million by global insurance and reinsurance market Lloyd’s, the release says. Lloyd’s had nearly $43.8 billion in gross written premiums in 2017, and has insured such eccentric items as Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richard’s hands.

BitGo crypto insurance can be paid out following the loss of private keys caused by a hack or a theft by third parties or insiders, or in the case of physical loss or damage of private keys, the press release notes.

BitGo Business Wallet clients will be able to purchase theft insurance and key recovery service called Lost Key Cover through Digital Asset Services, an insurance provider operating under the purview of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the United Kingdom’s financial services regulator. The Lost Key Cover service will reportedly be available for purchase on an annual subscription basis, or at the time when needed, the release says.

On Feb. 1, Canadian crypto exchange QuadrigaCX filed for creditor protection when it was revealed that it had lost the keys for cold wallets holding $145 million in digital assets. The exchange’s founder Gerry Cotten, who was purportedly the sole controller of the wallets and corresponding keys, passed away suddenly in December on a trip to India. Following his death, neither officials, Cotten’s wife nor the court-ordered monitor — Big Four audit company Ernst & Young — have been able to locate the keys.

Earlier in January, BitGo partnered with Bitcoin (BTC) over-the-counter (OTC) trading platform Genesis Global Trading to provide clients with an option to trade crypto directly from BitGo custody.

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Cyprus’ securities regulator is calling for the transposition of an extended version of the European Union’s Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive into national law.

The Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) is calling for the transposition of the European Union (EU)’s Fifth Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Directive (AMLD5) into national law — bringing local regulation of cryptocurrencies under its provisions. CySEC’s announcement and consultation paper on the matter were published on Feb. 19.

Тhe directive, which came into force on July 9, 2018, sets a new legal framework for European financial regulators to monitor crypto-related businesses and service providers in order to protect against money laundering and terrorism financing.

Specifically, the directive extends the scope of regulatory oversight to crypto exchanges and wallet providers, enforcing stricter transparency requirements directed at anonymous payments — whether made via exchanges or prepaid cards. EU member states must incorporate the directive into their respective national laws by Jan. 20, 2020.

In its announcement, CySEC notes that its fintech-oriented CySEC Innovation Hub has received multiple enquires from crypto-related entities, many of which do not yet “appear to fall within the existing regulatory framework.”

The agency thus advocates for the formalization of the AMLD5 into law, and proposes bringing several additional areas of crypto-related activity  in Cyprus under AML/CFT obligations. These, which are notably not included in the provisions of AMLD5, would be as follows:

“a) exchange between crypto assets, b) transfer of virtual assets, and c) participation in and provision of financial services related to an issuer’s offer and/or sale of a crypto asset.”

In its consultation paper, the agency states this extension is based upon its “judgement of the potential risk posed to investors’ protection and the integrity of the market, and the industry-accepted definitions.”

As recently reported, this January Ireland's cabinet approved a bill that would give effect to AMLD5 in the country.

Last December, Cyprus was one of seven southern EU member states to release a declaration calling for the promotion of the use of Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLT) in the region.

In fall, Invest Cyprus — the republic’s national investment partner — signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Singapore-based blockchain platform VeChain Foundation to work on a series of national level investment strategies to foster blockchain innovation.

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U.S. hardware manufacturer Nvidia reported full-year revenue gains in 2018.

On Feb. 14, California-headquartered gaming and computer hardware manufacturer Nvidia reported full-year revenue gains in 2018, despite being one of the companies worst hit by the cryptocurrency market dip and subsequent lack of demand for mining components.

The firm’s main products include graphics processing units (GPU), among others, which became widely purchased by miners during the crypto boom of 2017 — as a result, the firm’s revenue started to correlate with the crypto market condition (at least to some extent), which resulted in a few shake-ups.  

2017: Nvidia enjoys the crypto boom, becomes substantial part of the market

In 2017, its primary GPU product line, labeled "GeForce" — as well as its direct competition, Advanced Micro Devices' (AMD) "Radeon" units — began surging in price as the crypto frenzy unfolded and Bitcoin (BTC), along with altcoins, gained mainstream recognition. That year, according to Jon Peddie Research, a market research firm for the computer graphics industry, miners purchased around 3 million devices for more than $700 million. As a result, Nvidia inadvertently became one of the market’s most significant players.

The ever-increasing demand for mining equipment lead to higher prices: As Cointelegraph previously reported, the cost of flagship chips rose by 25 percent, with Nvidia’s GeForce 1080 being sold for more than $1,000 during the market peak, while it normally retailed for $550. According to media reports, Nvidia even started limiting its online sales to avoid excessive resell, allowing customer to buy no more than two items per person.

The company’s seniors greeted the sudden increase in sales caused by the rapid growth of an emerging market. In August 2017, while talking to MarketWatch, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang appeared notably bullish about the crypto industry:

“Crypto is here to stay, and the market will grow to be quite large. [...] It’s not likely to go away any time soon. There will be more currencies to come, they will come from different nations. [...] We stay very close to the market, and understand the dynamics very well.”

In May 2018, Nvidia shared information about its revenue from chip sales to the crypto mining market for the first time. Specifically, the manufacturer reported earning as much as $289 million from processor sales to miners. Essentially, Nvidia was growing along with the market: The firm’s first-quarter crypto sales that year amounted to over 9 percent of overall revenue for the company, which stood at $3.2 billion.

“Crypto miners bought a lot of our GPUs in the quarter and it drove prices up,” the company’s CEO reportedly explained on the conference call, adding, however, that high prices prevented other consumers, such as gamers, from buying into the newest GeForce graphics card series.

First half of 2018: Crypto market plunges, Nvidia GPUs decline in price

However, by that time, Bitcoin had long entered its notorious nosedive — in January alone, the cryptocurrency lost half of its value from the $20,000 landmark high — and Huang wasn’t as optimistic about the market anymore. The sales to the crypto market would likely decrease by two-thirds in Q2 2018, the company forecasted.

“In the beginning of the year, we thought and projected crypto would be a larger contribution through the rest of the year, but at this time we consider it to be immaterial for the second half,” Huang told MarketWatch at the time.

Indeed, as Cointelegraph reported, revenue for miners had decreased, as the crypto market underwent a correction following record highs in December 2017. Hash rates were still growing, however, indicating that the mining pool continued to expand globally.

In August 2018, the hardware developer declared that crypto mining sales in Q2 were even lower than expected. Nvidia began to dismiss the once profitable market, arguing that it does not expect to make significant mining-related sales for the rest of the year. Colette Kress, the company’s chief financial officer, stated:

“Our revenue outlook had anticipated cryptocurrency-specific products declining to approximately $100 million, while actual crypto-specific product revenue was $18 million. Whereas we had previously anticipated cryptocurrency to be meaningful for the year, we are now projecting no contributions going forward.”

Nvidia also forecasted its third quarter revenue between $3.19 billion and $3.32 billion, lower than the figure predicted by analysts of $3.34 billion. As a result, the manufacturer’s shares declined more than 5 percent.

In July 2018, media started to report that the price of specialized GPUs has been declining along with sinking prices in digital currency markets. Thus, according to Computerworld, in April 2018, AMD’s OEM 4GB RX 580 six-pack was sold out at the price of $3,600, while in July, it was available for just $2,500. Respectively, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition, 8GB GDDR5X PCI Express 3.0 Graphics Card was sold out at a price tag of $1,050 in April, but could be purchased for $709 around July.

Second half of 2018: ASIC’s takeover, Nvidia experiences “crypto hangover”

Meanwhile, application specific integrated circuits (ASICs), a special type of computer chip that is designed solely for cryptocurrency mining, had been developed for a number of cryptocurrencies, outperforming GPUs. The largest company to ride the ASIC wave was the China-based Bitmain company, which was eventually also severely hit by the bear market. Nevertheless, the outfit began selling devices that mined non-ASIC-resistant cryptocurrencies much more efficiently than GPUs, hence partially forcing Nvidia out of mining, especially within the BTC blockchain.

Nevertheless, some cryptocurrencies can still be mined only with GPUs, says Mark D’Aria, founder and CEO of Bitpro, a New York-based installation and mining operation management firm:

“It is unlikely that Bitmain can drive Nvidia *completely* off of the market – they can certainly drive Nvidia GPUs mostly out of mining certain coins, but there are many ASIC resistant coins out there, and it would be extremely beneficial for Nvidia (and AMD) if Ethereum goes through with the ProgPoW update.”

The target markets of Nvidia and solely crypto-oriented players like Bitmain are completely different, agrees Jonathan Bertrand, president of Technologies D-Central, mining equipment provider located in Quebec, Canada:

“Bitmain's performance is closely tied to the performance of cryptocurrency while Nvidia has a wide range of markets such as gaming, AI and hash functions more general, it is not only mining operations that are hashing. Nvidia cards are excellent for the vast majority of hashing operations needed in the world, far more than an ASIC that has a single use. Not to be confused, the unique use of an ASIC is very useful, but strictly in the case of Bitcoin mining.”

Further, on Nov. 15, Nvidia released its earnings report for the Q3 of 2018. In the report, Huang revealed that the company’s “near-term results reflect excess channel inventory post the cryptocurrency boom, which will be corrected.”

Basically, while the crypto frenzy increased prices for Nvidia’s gaming cards, once that demand vanished, prices did not decrease quickly enough to attract customers who were waiting for more affordable cards. The CEO referred to this period as a “crypto hangover” in an interview with Reuters:

“The crypto hangover lasted longer than we expected. We thought we had done a better job managing the cryptocurrency dynamics.”

Nvidia’s post of sales for Q3 missed expectations yet again, and the company’s shares dropped another 17 percent. Around the same time, Goldman Sachs removed Nvidia from its list of stocks with the most potential for investors. “We were clearly wrong on the stock as we underestimated the magnitude of the channel inventory build in midrange gaming GPUs,” its analysts explained. Thus, Wall Street’s crypto-driven expectations from the hardware developer were not met.

In December, CNBC reported that in Q4 2018, Nvidia experienced a massive sell-off of its shares, cutting the stock price by 54 percent, which made it the worst performer in the S&P 500. Later that month, Nvidia even faced a class-action lawsuit over its losses. Specifically, the complaint filed by Schall law firm stated that “the Company made false and misleading statements to the market” and “touted its ability to monitor the cryptocurrency market and make rapid changes to its business as necessary.”

2019: Weak sales are likely to continue. However, the company will carry on regardless of crypto

In January 2019, Nvidia updated its financial estimates for Q4 for the fiscal year of 2019, reflecting weaker forecasted sales in its gaming and data center platforms, explained by excess midrange channel inventory following the slump in crypto market. The revenue for that quarter was now expected to be at $2.20 billion, opposed to the previous projection of $2.70 billion.

Jensen Huang said in the press release:

“Q4 was an extraordinary, unusually turbulent, and disappointing quarter.”

In addition to a lack of crypto-related business, Nvidia also cited “deteriorating conditions” in China as a indicator of lower-than-expected revenue from gaming GPU sales in Q4.

Finally, in February 2019, the United States hardware firm reported full-year revenue gains after publishing its Q4 earnings. According to the press release, its total 2018 revenue climbed 21 percent from 2017 numbers to $11.72 billion, even despite the crypto market crash. The growth was allegedly driven by all-time high sales of its gaming, data center, professional visualization and automotive products.

As a result, Nvidia’s shares jumped 8 percent after the figures were unveiled. Q4 performance turned out to be extremely low, however: Revenue was down 24 percent versus the same quarter the previous year to $2.24 billion, staying just slightly above the adjusted forecast.

Commenting on the statistics, Nvidia’s CEO stressed the market’s infamous volatility:

“The combination of post-crypto excess channel inventory and recent deteriorating end-market conditions drove a disappointing quarter.”

D’Aria of Bitpro was not surprised by those numbers, arguing that Nvidia is not that depended on its performance within the crypto market. He told Cointelegraph:

“Crypto mining was never the foundation of Nvidia’s revenue, more like a cherry on top. During the 2017 bull run it was a really big cherry, but Nvidia is one of the most innovative chip makers and they are completely dominating their competition in gaming, AI, scientific compute, etc. If crypto went away entirely, Nvidia would be just fine.”

He adds, however, that 2019 might not be as bleak for the hardware developer, especially if the market recovers enough to make GPU mining profitable again, and large projects such as Ethereum (ETH) adopt ASIC resistance measures, making more room for GPUs over ASICs. However, the frenzy times might be over for at least another few years, D’Aria warns:

“Nvidia has strong ProgPoW performance, and since they also lead AMD in general power efficiency with their latest GPUs, those two factors would definitely increase crypto mining’s contribution to their revenue, at least compared to the tail end of 2018. It’s unlikely we’ll see a return to the bonanza of late 2017-early 2018 without a another bubble, but I don’t expect that for a few more years. When that does eventually come around again, Nvidia will undoubtedly experience another huge few quarters, followed by another hangover a few quarters later.”

Similarly, D-Central President Jonathan Bertrand argues that Nvidia will stay afloat regardless of the market condition:

“I have confidence in the products of Nvidia and I am convinced that with the mining or not, the hash centers have the wind in the sails. It is the parallelization and specialization of traditional data-centers that drives us to the emergence of these new ‘hash-centers’ specialized in computing.”

Meanwhile, Bitmain has recently announced its next generation 7 nanometer ASIC mining chip, following a series of negative news caused by the crypto winter, suggesting that mining players are not giving up, but are patiently waiting for the spring to come.

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Third-largest cryptocurrency exchange OKEx has added 4 additional crypto assets pairs to its margin trading platform.

Malta-based cryptocurrency exchange OKEx has added four new crypto derivative pairs to its platform, according to a press release shared with Cointelegraph on Feb. 19.

OKEx, the third-largest crypto exchange by trade volume, has announced the listing of Bitcoin SV (BSV), QTUM, DASH and NEO against Bitcoin (BTC) or Tether (USDT) on margin with a 3x leverage option.

Last month, OKEx added seven new crypto derivative pairs to its platform, including Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Bitcoin SV (BSV), EOS (EOS), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC) and Ripple (XRP), as Cointelegraph reported on Jan. 3.

As Cointelegraph wrote on Dec. 4, the digital asset exchange OKEx had earlier launched a derivative product, dubbed a “perpetual swap,” that supports BTC/USD with up to 100x leverage. In January, the exchange noted that the newly added contracts would only support up to 40x leverage, as opposed to today’s press release noting a 3x leverage option.

Also in December of last year, Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex launched margin trading for stablecoin Tether (USDT) against USD, as Cointelegraph reported on Dec. 22.

Earlier today, Cointelegraph wrote that major United States exchange and wallet Coinbase has acquired a blockchain intelligence startup, dubbed Neutrino, underlining that the new deal is aimed at helping add more cryptocurrencies and features to Coinbase services.

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New York-based True Digital announced the appointment of former Bridgewater Associates COO Thomas Kim as its new CEO.

New York-based fintech company TrueDigital Holdings (TDH) announced the appointment of former Bridgewater Associates chief operating officer Thomas Kim as its new CEO through a post on its website on Feb. 19.

Before his time at Bridgewater Associates, which had almost $125 billion assets under management in 2018, Kim worked at now-defunct global financial services firm Lehman Brothers in charge of the Townsend Analytics Electronic Trading franchise.

According to today’s post, Kim will manage TrueDigital’s existing initiatives, such as the launch of Bitcoin (BTC) swaps planned for this year. In January of this year, blockchain platform Qtum also announced that it was introducing Bitcoin atomic swaps to its mainnet infrastructure.

TrueDigital’s announcement states that TrueDigital launched Signature Bank’s blockchain-based payment infrastructure earlier this year, which was approved by the Department of Financial Services of New York (NYDFS) in December 2018.

The aforementioned payment platform also attracted a “significant number of institutions within the first 30 days of operation,” according to the announcement.

As Cointelegraph reported in March of last year, TrueEX — whose affiliate is TDH — partnered with a blockchain tech company led by Ethereum (ETH) co-founder Joseph Lubin, ConsenSys, to create a benchmark rate for the price of Ethereum.

In early December 2017, CBOE had launched the first Bitcoin futures contracts, with CME Group launching the second around a week later.

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Yoshitaka Kitao is vesting his future hopes for crypto in Ripple and R3 technologies.

Yoshitaka Kitao, CEO and representative director of Japanese financial services giant SBI Holdings, has singled out Ripple (XRP) and blockchain consortium R3 as reasons to remain optimistic about the future of the crypto industry — bear market notwithstanding. Kitao made his remarks during an interview with Japanese crypto news outlet Coin Post on Feb. 18.

SBI Holdings is an active partner of Ripple via their joint venture, “SBI Ripple Asia,” established to promote the use of XRP in Asian financial markets back in 2016.

In his interview with Coin Post, Kitao underscored that the protracted crypto market slump is not to be thought of as an end to the industry, and that SBI has been working intensively to foster the adoption of XRP among financial institutions.

He affirmed that the real demand for the asset’s use in cross-border remittances and settlement is already underway and will continue to burgeon— pointing to Santander’s use of Ripple’s blockchain-powered xCurrent and RippleNet platforms for international payments as an exemplary, high-profile case.

Aside from predicting that Ripple’s still-fledgling market capitalization would eventually grow to be a global standard, Kitao also made positive remarks in relation to enterprise blockchain consortium R3 — of which SBI is a member, as well as reportedly being the largest outside shareholder — as well as the R3 Corda settlement platform.

Alluding to the now-resolved legal disputes between R3 and Ripple, Kitao said he had encouraged the two former ostensible rivals”to cooperate on a joint venture, and was bullish on the potential impact of “Corda Settler” — R3’s universal payment settlement platform, which unveiled XRP as its first supported crypto in December.

Among the rest of his wide-ranging remarks, Kitao said he judged the “temperature of institutional investors [in regard to crypto] to be extremely hot,” noting that surveillance and real-time data on the crypto markets are improving, as well as clearing services.

Kitao said he hoped that Japan would spearhead cryptocurrency regulation and act proactively ahead of other global markets, such as the United States. He noted that SBI was awaiting more legislative clarity from the Japan’s watchdog, the Financial Services Agency, before launching its own crypto fund for institutional investors.

As previously reported, the past couple of years have seen SBI pursue multiple ventures in the crypto sector, including its own exchange — VCTRADE — alongside a series of investments in businesses developing crypto infrastructure and services. It also has its own blockchain initiative S coin platform, which it trialed for retail payments in September 2018, integrating R3 Corda technology.

In January, SBI published its nine-month financial report, which identified the implementation of R3 and Ripple technologies as a major part of its strategy.

In October 2018, SBI and Ripple’s XRP-powered payments app, MoneyTap, went live for account holders at selected Japanese banks — with the eventual ambition of including a consortium of 61 institutions (representing over 80 percent of all of Japan’s banking assets) in the service.

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