8.30am MORNING HEADLINES
Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of all things cryptocurrency, including price, regulation, innovation and financial crime.
The future of cryptocurrencies in India looks to be moving closer to resolution with Indian Quartz reporting that a finance ministry panel will suggest to regulators and the the government that digital assets be treated as commodities.
A finance ministry panel has been set up to move the discussion on, and a senior government official privy to the panel’s discussions told Quartz: “I don’t think anyone is really thinking of banning cryptocurrencies altogether. The issue here is about regulating the trade and we need to know where the money is coming from.
“Allowing it as a commodity may let us better regulate trade and so that is being looked at.”
After fighting a war on ‘black money’, money laundering and graft, India is keen to keep a track of investors and stop bad actors from using cryptocurrencies for illegitimate financing
The official said: “Trade is not a criminal offence. Most of us trade in various asset classes in the stock market. So how is this any different?
“What has to be in place is a mechanism to be sure that the money used is not illegal money, and to track its source is the most important thing.”
Shubham Yadav, co-founder of Coindelta, a Pune-based cryptocurrency exchange told Quartz that India were watching US regulations.
He said: “Though cryptocurrencies belong to a new class of financial assets, we can still welcome them as commodities and not currencies because of their high volatile prices.
“Many countries have been already going in this direction, including the US.”
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Updates below throughout the day….
9.43am – Is Fortnite this year’s bitcoin?
Callum McCaig, PR consultant at Clarity PR, told Express.co.uk that, “in many ways, Fornite could be this year’s bitcoin.
He said: “There are plenty of similarities in their trajectory as a cultural trend. Both saw an explosive rise in popularity which then self-perpetuated, both tapped into celebrity culture effectively, and both benefitted from a network effect – the more people who get involved, the richer and more valuable the experience is as an end-consumer.”
On what makes Fortnite so hot right now, he adds, “Fortnite ticks all the boxes of a blockbuster consumer tech trend. It’s free, accessible, packed with shareable moments and keeps players coming back with new updates and smart brand partnerships. So it’s no surprise to see boardrooms trying to understand – and perhaps emulate – the reasons it’s been such a success.”
However, according to the PR expert, “ease of access is a key difference.”
He said that crypto quickly hit a ceiling late last year because the regulatory infrastructure simply isn’t there to support mass consumer adoption yet. He warns, “it may be a while before we see the same level of consumer crypto hype roll back round again.”