Iran, Hong Kong, India: Failed Protests Point to Need for Crypto-Anarchy ‘Second Realms’

Iran, Hong Kong, India - Failed Protests Point to Need for Crypto-Anarchy ‘Second Realms’

What is the second realm? It’s both an abstract and concrete “place” parallel to here, where temporary autonomous zones (TAZ) provide a chance to escape the burning surveillance spotlight of the state and brutal law enforcement culture, and allow for at least temporary exercises of human rights and freedom. A TAZ may allow for free and private trade of crypto and other goods, use of substances, and freedom of speech unafforded by the state. As governments worldwide crackdown violently on protestors more and more, these decentralized, concrete nodes of freedom become increasingly essential to the true proliferation of liberty in our lifetimes.

Also Read: New Cypherpunk Podcast Debuts Discussing Cryptoanarchy

The Second Realm

Sometimes the best way to defeat one’s enemy is to remain quiet and just do what you want. The protestor shouting in the street and lobbing rocks at riot cops may not be morally amiss, but ultimately a club to the face, pepper spray, jail time or a bullet awaits him. Begging tyrannical governments to please give some more leeway to exercise natural rights ultimately amounts to further empowering the control freaks at the top. After all, how would you feel as a ruler to see hundreds of thousands standing below in the streets, begging and yelping for mere permission to have their rights back? The power dynamic is clear.

Though the exact body count is disputed, a look at what’s happening in Iran with the recent lethal crackdown on gasoline price protestors shows who is ultimately in control. Similarly, protests and demonstrations continue in Hong Kong. Though some semblance of good seems to have been won there, struggle through police brutality and reported protestor violence against Beijing supporters has led to little but another form of slavery-lite. To the ignorant, flag-waving praise of the brutal American regime, complete with continued submission to mob rule, democratic governance. In another example, residents of India in recent months have not been able to access their own bank accounts, though they’ve demonstrated and petitioned persistently.

Protest is typically a first realm strategy. The second realm takes a much more direct approach. We don’t ask, we take what is rightfully ours. The second realm is both abstract and concrete, and its definition varies from place to place. Though nothing is a one-size-fits-all solution in scale or quality for the above listed woes currently plaguing the earth, the second realm focuses on individuals, and what they can do right now to take a little power back for themselves.

Iran, Hong Kong, India: Failed Protests Point to Need for Crypto-Anarchy ‘Second Realms’

Temporary Autonomous Zones

TAZs can be both physical, brick and mortar locations or more virtual and cyber spaces. A TAZ might be a private club, abandoned shipping container, or one’s own inconspicuous house where anarchists meet on weekends. It could be a darknet website, an OTC trading platform, a campground for a weekend, or a moving train car. Though a more conspicuous example, it can also be an event, such as the recent Don’t Comply activists’ illegal feeding and sheltering of the homeless in Dallas, Texas.

Anywhere that is generally out of the purview and attention of the state, or which becomes more of a hassle to investigate and invade than to just let it be, can be a useful TAZ. In the case of the Texas activists, police interference with the legally armed lawbreakers would likely be much more costly both physically and reputationally than simply letting them function in peace. In fact, what the second realm affords is a chance to exercise freedom in the same way that the state does. Backdoor meetings, quiet alliances, and private favors and trades. It cannot be said that top makers and enforcers of the state’s laws are truly beholden to those same rules. They function largely in anarchy. Why not allow good people the same freedom?

We just released a new episode of the Cypherpunk Bitstream podcast where we talk about "The Second Realm": Is more liberty possible? Parallel systems, conflict management, TAZs, and The Sovereign Individual. https://t.co/UUSkEOvvsC

Hosts: @TheRealSmuggler & @thefrankbraun pic.twitter.com/hPC33NmUwi

— Frank Braun (@thefrankbraun) December 11, 2019

Unobtrusive Non-Compliance

Cryptoanarchists Frank Braun and Smuggler have recently released the second episode of their new Cypherpunk Bitstream podcast and go in-depth on the subject of the second realm. A point they repeatedly emphasize is the utility of blending in and remaining outwardly polite — as well as being a ‘non-good’ target for law enforcement. This goes hand-in-hand with maintaining good relationships with those surrounding oneself. Smuggler details:

Give them a story that is not too wrong … Keep a certain mystery, don’t tell everything, but give the plausible and unsuspicious part of what you do … Just be a good neighbor … build relationships, because they’re your allies.

He goes on to detail an episode where law enforcement was snooping around his community, and good relationships with those in the area helped to disincentivize further state interest (presumably in non-violent activities the state deems illegal). Braun and Smuggler note the value of impersonal non-compliance. Give a fake name. Don’t get hot-headed and shout about your right not to give it. Give a real name but refuse a search. Make yourself a “non-threatening” pain in the ass that isn’t worth the state’s time and resources. This can be part of the essence of functioning effectively in the second realm.

Iran, Hong Kong, India: Failed Protests Point to Need for Crypto-Anarchy ‘Second Realms’

Free Trade and Free Association

Second realm strategies don’t have to be illegal. Free and private trade of crypto can be afforded to individuals everywhere via non-KYC, encrypted internet trading platforms and private chats. Whether or not the individuals then choose to report their dealings to a violent agency like the IRS is up to them and only them.

Decentralized exchanges also afford crypto enthusiasts the ability to trade more freely, without jumping through the cumbersome, unethical hoops imposed by a violent, non-individual-self-ownership-respecting state. The second realm affords traders the ability to buy and sell in person, privately. If person A wants to sell a plant like cannabis, and B has the crypto to pay, they might meet in any TAZ and make their transaction with the lowest possible risk of state interference. Also with the lowest risk of attributability. Meeting in a crowded TAZ, in an urban environment for example, makes it harder for law enforcement to pinpoint any “guilty” party associated with the plant matter should they invade.

Iran, Hong Kong, India: Failed Protests Point to Need for Crypto-Anarchy ‘Second Realms’

A Network of TAZ ‘Nodes’

Critics of the second realm strategy might say it’s a fantasy. A kind of libertarian live action role play which ultimately has little effect on the tyranny of the state. But look where centuries of riots and protests have put humanity. The global economic and social situation at present is dire, with blatant abuse of human rights becoming more and more commonplace. One small shipping container facilitating disobedience and freedom for a few people may not seem like much, but multiply this “node” by a thousand, and then a hundred thousand, and that concrete feeling of freedom inspired by direct experience — and the network effect of disempowering the state and its culture via non-participation — becomes clear.

In the same way a decentralized network like Bitcoin has gained value and ubiquity to the point of being virtually unstoppable — and this in parallel, and not in direct opposition to, existing monetary systems — so can “encrypted people” around the world exercise freedom and liberty now, with a little knowledge and awareness, by creating their own second realms.

There is always risk to such disobedience. There is also great personal and societal risk in continuing to comply with anti-human laws and regulations. Each individual must decide what is right for them, of course. That said, a whole decentralized world of tiny nodes would be much freer than the monolithic, centralized violence we experience at present. And like cryptocurrencies, people could pick and choose freely which social nodes and networks they’d like to participate in, instead of being forced into non-consensual relationships, as is the current dysfunctional model under statism.

What are your thoughts on the second realm? Let us know in the comments section below.

Op-ed disclaimer: This is an Op-ed article. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the Op-ed article. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the content. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any information in this Op-ed article.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, iarecottonstudio, fair use.

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Original Article

Mainstream Investment Vehicles Tied to Cryptocurrencies Grow Exponentially

Mainstream Investment Vehicles Tied to Cryptocurrencies Grow Exponentially

These days bitcoin and a variety of other digital assets are now being traded as funds and traditional equity holdings. The landscape of crypto investment vehicles has changed significantly as institutional and retail investors don’t need direct exposure to cryptocurrencies in order to invest in this technology.

Also Read: Gocrypto SLP Token Starts Trading on Bitcoin.com Exchange

Traditional Investment Products Tethered to Digital Assets

Bitcoin has been around for more than a decade and the digital asset has invoked the creation of trusts, exchange-traded products, cash-settled futures, and investment funds. Investment products like these are tied to cryptocurrencies like BTC but there’s a slew of others that track baskets of coins and single assets like ETH, BCH, and XRP. Derivatives products allow investors to trade crypto-based futures and options adding a whole new landscape to digital currency markets. For products like these, customers don’t need to hold the cryptocurrency or be concerned about storage as the exposure is quite different than traditional crypto spot markets.

Mainstream Investment Vehicles Tied to Cryptocurrencies Grow Exponentially

Crypto Products Managed by Grayscale, CME Group, Erisx, Amun AG, Ledgerx, and Wisdomtree

One of the earliest investment vehicles tethered to BTC is Grayscale’s Bitcoin Investment Trust (OTC:GBTC) which launched on September 25, 2013. Originally GBTC was an investment for accredited investors only but the product eventually received FINRA approval so eligible shares could trade publicly. The Trust is not an exchange-traded fund (ETF) per se, but the product is modeled in a similar fashion. GBTC can be traded on the over-the-counter market OTCQX and since the trust’s launch, Grayscale has created a variety of other investment solutions for other cryptocurrencies. Currently, there’s the Bitcoin Cash Trust, Ethereum Trust, Ethereum Classic Trust, Litecoin Trust, Stellar Lumens Trust, Horizen Trust, Zcash Trust, XRP Trust, and the Digital Large Cap Fund.

Mainstream Investment Vehicles Tied to Cryptocurrencies Grow Exponentially

Investors can also purchase bitcoin exchange futures offered by the global markets company CME Group. The company announced it was offering BTC-based futures on October 31, 2017, and investors have been able to trade the derivatives product since December 2017. Essentially CME Group’s BTC futures are cash-settled, based on the CME CF Bitcoin Reference Rate (BRR). The BRR allows the exchange to reference the daily rate of BTC prices measured in USD. Each contract unit is equal to five bitcoins and with a margin rate of 35%, investors can trade the BTC product on CME Globex and CME Clearport.

Mainstream Investment Vehicles Tied to Cryptocurrencies Grow Exponentially

Investors interested in crypto futures products can also trade with Bakkt, but the offerings are physically settled futures. Additionally in July, Erisx was approved by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and granted a derivatives clearing organization (DCO) license. Ledgerx was also CFTC approved a week prior by receiving a designated contract market (DCM) license so the firm can provide new derivatives products. More futures contracts that utilize bitcoin cash (BCH) will soon be available at a CFTC-regulated exchange during the first quarter of 2020.

News.Bitcoin.com just reported on Amun AG getting its base prospectus approved by the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority (SFSA). Right now Amun manages nine exchange-traded products (ETPs) that are traded on Swiss Bourse. The company offers the Amun Bitcoin Suisse ETP (ticker: ABBA) a fund that tracks prices for both ETH and BTC.

Mainstream Investment Vehicles Tied to Cryptocurrencies Grow Exponentially

Alongside this, Amun’s other index ETPs consist of the ‘Hodl’ crypto basket, the Bitwise Select 10, and the Sygnum Platform Winners ETP. Amun also offers six single digital currency tracking ETPs for BCH, BNB, BTC, XRP, ETH, and XTZ. Investors can obtain Amun products on the Swiss exchange SIX and after the SFSA approval Amun plans to expand into more European markets. Another ETP listed on Swiss Bourse is Wisdomtree’s physically-settled ETP which was recently listed on the stock exchange. The New York-based Wisdomtree ETP called BTCW allows people to invest in BTC “without needing to set up with a custodian themselves.”

Mainstream Investment Vehicles Tied to Cryptocurrencies Grow Exponentially

ETPs and Traditional Finance Applications Changed the Precious Metals Landscape, Will It Do the Same to Cryptocurrencies?

On December 7, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approved the Stone Ridge Trust VI registration and the firm is cleared to launch the NYDIG Bitcoin Strategy Fund. The fund invests in BTC futures contracts that are cash-settled on CFTC registered exchanges. A similar fund from France launched on December 6 when the French asset management firm Napoleon AM launched the “Napoleon Bitcoin Fund.” The fund is only available to residents of France and it requires a $110,000 buy-in. Just like the Stone Ridge Bitcoin Strategy Fund the Napoleon Bitcoin Fund will use CME Group-based cash-settled BTC futures.

Mainstream Investment Vehicles Tied to Cryptocurrencies Grow Exponentially

Just like precious metals markets in the eighties, digital currencies are finding a home within traditional finance. Exchange-traded products, trusts and other types of investment funds transformed gold and precious metals markets 16 years ago. During the late nineties, precious metal-based funds started to grow exponentially, but the first gold exchange-traded fund (ETF) didn’t launch until March 28, 2003. The same thing is happening with bitcoin and other digital currencies within the cryptoconomy. Even though there’s a wide range of traditional investment vehicles tied to crypto many speculators are patiently waiting for a U.S. approved Bitcoin ETF. So far, after many attempts from myriad firms the U.S. regulator (SEC) still hasn’t approved a Bitcoin ETF. Despite the lack of a regulated ETF in the U.S., firms like Amun, Bakkt, Grayscale, CME Group, Wisdomtree, and others still provide traditional investment vehicles tied to crypto.

What do you think about all the traditional investment products that utilize cryptocurrencies? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

Image credits: Shutterstock, Grayscale, CME Group, Amun AG, Pixabay, Wiki Commons, and Fair Use.

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German Fintechs Rush to Offer Crypto Custody Services Under New Law

German Fintechs Rush to Offer Crypto Custody Services Under New Law

Fintech companies in the Federal Republic are quickly moving to develop and offer custodial solutions for digital assets under the new German legislation that will allow banks to store, transfer and trade cryptocurrencies next year. Berlin-based Solarisbank has established a subsidiary that will focus exclusively on the niche. The new entity and another German startup, Finoa from Potsdam, are planning to apply for new crypto custody licenses.

Also read: Skrill Now Lets You Swap BTC for BCH

Solaris Digital Assets to Apply for Bafin License

As an important partner of crypto companies in Germany and Europe, Solarisbank aims to be among the first financial institutions in the Federal Republic to start keeping cryptocurrencies. The tech company maintains a digital banking platform to which other businesses can connect and use its API to build and offer their own financial products and services. It obtained a German banking license in 2016 which allows it to operate also in other jurisdictions in the European Economic Area (EEA).

German Fintechs Rush to Offer Crypto Custody Services Under New Law

Solarisbank has been involved with important projects in the European crypto space such as the development of the crypto trading app Bison and the launch of the digital asset trading platform BSDEX by the Boerse Stuttgart stock exchange. Its partnership with cryptocurrency banking provider Bitwala allows customers in 31 EEA countries to have a German bank account with an integrated bitcoin wallet. The new subsidiary which was presented Wednesday will allow it to take full advantage of the new German anti-money laundering law permitting banks to hold cryptocurrencies.

Solaris Digital Assets will offer crypto custody services in compliance with the regulatory requirements of Germany’s Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (Bafin), the leading German business daily Handelsblatt reported. To be able to do so, the entity is going to apply with Bafin for one of the newly introduced licenses for custodial activities in 2020. Cryptocurrency storage solutions will be the new company’s main product at the initial stage but the subsidiary plans to expand its offerings in the future. Michael Offermann, Managing Director of Solarisbank’s Blockchain Factory, told the newspaper:

We have been working intensively on crypto custody for a year and a half. With the new regulation, a good time has come to start. After all, we are not a research institute but a commercial bank.

Bringing Fundamental Change to the Financial Market

According to the publication, Solarisbank will remain true to its well established approach to provide white label solutions. The company will offer the new service only to other financial institutions and business clients while private customers will not be able to open a direct account with the Solaris Digital Assets subsidiary. “So far, we have done well with our focus on business customer offerings. Our partners keep in contact with end customers and that should remain so,” Offermann stressed.

The Solarisbank executive believes that digital assets will fundamentally change the financial market. “As soon as the purchase and safekeeping of bitcoin and company becomes easier, we expect strong growth,” he added. Michael Offermann described the decision to create a separate entity instead of offering crypto custody directly through Solarisbank as a good move in case the regulatory environment in Germany changes again.

German Fintechs Rush to Offer Crypto Custody Services Under New Law

Since its establishment about three years ago, the fintech company has more than tripled its revenues to €7.4 million in 2018. At the end of last year, Solarisbank’s balance sheet totaled €120 million, Handelsblatt remarks. Its success is part of the rapid development of the crypto banking sector in the past few months and years that led to the introduction of a variety of new services in the space. Platforms like Cred, for example, offer bitcoin enthusiasts an opportunity to earn up to 10% on their BTC and BCH holdings through custodial services.

Another German startup that’s been working on a new crypto storage product is the Potsdam-based Finoa, which already operates as a crypto depository and claims to be serving over 50 professional investors. The company hopes to receive a provisional license from Bafin around the end of the year and, like Solarisbank, is going to apply for a full crypto custody license in 2020.

Do you think we are going to see more crypto custody services in Europe following the adoption of the new German legislation? Share your expectations in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

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