Launched your own cryptocurrency lately?

Crypto coinsI shall open with a rhetorical question:

Is anyone not looking into launching another crypocurrency? 

Right now, CoinMarketCap lists 2,346 of them, from giants like Bitcoin to not-giants like Onedex.

But today’s rhetorical question is more about the fact that, besides Facebook, JP Morgan and Walmart are in, Goldman Sachs is taking a serious look, and speculation is mounting that Amazon will sooner or later have no choice but to jump in as well.

Facebook’s Libra is by now old news. After all, I wrote about it clear back in July, an eternity in crypto-life. Libra is also plagued by critics, among whom U.S. House Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters may be foremost. According to PYMTS.com, Waters …

… met with government officials in Switzerland about Libra, and said she remained concerned about the viability of the currency, according to a report by Reuters. Waters released a statement on Sunday (August 25) saying that despite meeting with the regulatory body for the proposed cryptocurrency, the implications of a large tech company providing a digital currency for billions of people still troubled her.

Yet Quartz’s cryptocurrency reporter Matthew De Silva went so far as to suggest that Facebook is “late to the party.” He pointed out that when WeChat and QQ parent Tencent launched its own QQ Coin in 2005 …

… they were initially designed to pay for online services and games in the Tencent ecosystem … But shortly after Tencent launched its virtual money, QQ Coin escaped its control. In 2006, a year after the digital unit launched, “online game sites beyond Tencent started accepting QQ Coins as payment.

But, as I said, giants are eager to unleash their own cryptocurrency.

Goldman, J.P. Morgan, Walmart … et tu, Amazon?

In an interview with Les Echos reported by TheNextWebGoldman Sachs CEO David Solomon said his company is doing “… extensive research on the concept of tokenization.’”

Solomon expressed his belief in the potential of blockchain-based digital currency in enabling frictionless cross-border payments. Similar to J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs believes such a currency will need to be backed by actual fiat currencies.

Speaking of which, you may recall that J.P. Morgan announced in February that it was …

… the first U.S. bank to create and successfully test a digital coin representing a fiat currency. The JPM Coin is based on blockchain-based technology enabling the instantaneous transfer of payments between institutional clients.

CNBC report observed, “While J.P. Morgan’s Jamie Dimon has bashed bitcoin as a ‘fraud,’ the bank chief and his managers have consistently said blockchain and regulated digital currencies held promise.”

Despite repeated denials from Amazon Pay VP Patrick Gaulthier, reports Market Realist’s Margaret Patrick, rumors persist that Amazon may enter the cryptocurrency arena: 

The rumors started in November 2017, when Domain Name Wire reported the company had registered three blockchain- and cryptocurrency-related domain names. This news may not necessarily prove the technology giant’s interest in the cryptocurrency field, however. Domain Name Wire proposed the company may have registered the domains to protect its brand name.

Notwithstanding, Patrick continues,

Amazon has launched its own fully managed blockchain service for the development of scalable blockchain networks. The company has also developed a fully managed ledger database, Amazon QLDB, which can be used to develop blockchain applications. This capability, coupled with the company’s broad customer base, makes it one of the most eligible companies to enter the cryptocurrency space.

A game-changer for Amazon may exist in the fact that Walmart has applied for its own digital currency patent. CCN’s P. H. Madore snarked earlier this month …

The only thing that could make this better for the retailer and crypto adoption is if Walmart acquired Facebook … The move might be interpreted as part of the company’s larger strategy to compete with Amazon.com by leveraging its mammoth distribution network. Sorry, Facebook. If you thought creating Libra was a big deal, whatever Walmart does in terms of virtual currency will be much, much bigger.

Market Realist’s Mayur Sontakke wrote:

Based on the patent filing, Walmart Coin looks a lot like Facebook’s Libra. Both are set to be a stable coin. While Walmart Coin is to be pegged to the US dollar, Libra is to be backed by a reserve of high-quality, low-volatility assets denominated in major stable currencies around the world. Both coins target low-income households with little or no access to banking.

The face of Bitcoin, it seems, has launched a thousand ships. Believe it or not, Bitcoin has been around for a decade. During that time, the U.S. dollar value of a single Bitcoin has ranged from .03¢ to $20,000 and everywhere in-between. As of this writing, CoinMarketCap puts a Bitcoin’s value at about $9,500. Of course, by the time I type the period at the end of this sentence, its price will have changed again.

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