News, Views & Truths (28/06/21)

Published on: June 28, 2021

Hello, everyone and welcome to another week; I hope that you have all refreshed and recharged your batteries, albeit amidst the murk of the past weekend’s weather.  Never mind, allow me to brighten your Monday with another News, Views and Truths.

Sotheby’s are having an auction.  “And?” you may be asking.  Well, this one is a bit special.

Not only for the object of the auction, which, in itself, is special.  The Key 10138 is the second-largest pear-shaped diamond ever to appear on the public market.  The 101.38 carat, D Flawless diamond has an estimated price of between $10-15 million and is simply stunning.  It also belongs to a rare subgroup comprising less than 2% of all gem diamonds, known as Type LLA. Diamonds in this group are the most chemically pure type of diamond and often have exceptional optical transparency.   

In fact, the announcement of the Key 10138 auction comes only a few days after a new record price was set for any jewel sold in an online market, with a 50.03 carat round diamond achieving $2.7million at Sotheby’s last week.

So, once again, “and?”

What makes this auction special, is that it’s the first time a diamond of such size has been offered for public purchase with cryptocurrency.

“This is a truly symbolic moment. The most ancient and emblematic denominator of value can now, for the first time, be purchased using humanity’s newest universal currency,” Patti Wong, Chairman of Sotheby’s Asia, said in a statement.

However, as digital currencies continue to bifurcate opinions, this historic auction has highlighted particular criminal issues.  Chainalysis’ 2021 report stated that in 2019, criminal activity represented 2.1% of all cryptocurrency transaction volumes (outrightly $21.4bn).  

Furthermore, and according to the UN, it is estimated that between 2% and 5% of global GDP ($1.6 to $4 trillion) annually is connected with money laundering and illicit activity.

And this comes hot on the heels of today’s announcement from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) that Binance, the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange, has been banned by the UK’s financial regulator.

The FCA said that Binance Markets Limited (BML), which is owned by Binance Group, is not currently permitted to undertake any regulated activities without the prior written consent of the FCA. It also stressed that no entity in the Binance Group holds any form of authorisation, registration or licence to conduct regulated activity in the UK.

Whilst the FCA does not regulate cryptocurrencies, it does regulate crypto assets. Firms must be authorised by the regulator in order to advertise or sell such products in the UK.  This means that people in the UK are not allowed to use Binance’s services to speculate or bet, on whether the price of a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin will go up or down.

However, they are still allowed to use the website to purchase and sell cryptocurrencies, an activity that is not regulated.

Once again, the world of crypto clearly defines the difference between volatility and risk, with the asset having both in bucket-loads.

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