Crypto Adoption Continues To Heat Up

With a glance at the prices of several cryptocurrencies, one would think that “crypto is dead” again. Prices are depressed with the total market having dropped ~60% from its highs, however, mainstream adoption has been kicking in lately, from strategic appointments at Wall Street’s giga-banks to rollouts of crypto trading facilities at Main Street firms. The new product offerings and services from these banks prove that the bigger boys in the world of finance keep coming to play the decentralized finance game. These developments bode well for the crypto “yaysayers” as the industry grinds toward broader acceptance. 

JP Morgan Appoints New Head of Crypto Regulatory Policy

According to a Bloomberg report, JP Morgan has appointed Aaron Lovine to its newly-created head of crypto regulatory policy role. Before this appointment, Lovine was formerly the head of policy and regulatory affairs at the now-bankrupt crypto lender – Celsius. The new role is to help the bank navigate the increasing complexities of crypto regulation in the U.S. as it continues to offer access to the trading and transfer of digital assets, including its own JPM Coin, on its in-house Onyx blockchain network. 

Cryptocurrency news involving JP Morgan always comes as a surprise to many as the bank’s CEO, Jamie Dimon has always been a big critic of cryptocurrency adoption and had once referred to them as decentralized ponzi schemes. The CEO, however, clarified that he believes in the several prospects and applications of blockchain technology outside the pioneer use case of ushering in a plethora of digital assets.

BNY Mellon Launches a Digital Asset Custody Platform

The oldest bank in America recently announced that its Digital Asset Custody platform is live in the U.S. Select clients can now hold and transfer Bitcoin and Ether. This milestone reinforces BNY Mellon’s commitment to supporting client demand for a trusted provider of both traditional and digital asset servicing. In the bank’s public release, Robin Vince, the CEO, and President, mentioned that it would leverage its scale of operations to reimagine financial markets through blockchain technology and digital assets.

Fidelity Brings Crypto Adoption via Ethereum to its 400 Institutional Clients

Fidelity Digital Assets has also recently sent an email to its clients, including investment advisers, hedge funds, and asset managers, announcing that Ethereum will be available for purchase by the 28th of this month. Interested clients will now be able to buy, sell and transfer Ethereum. This is the giant asset manager’s latest move to make crypto readily available to its institutional clients through its subsidiary arm, which launched in 2018. Earlier this month, the management firm said it started a new Ethereum Index Fund for accredited investors after raising about $5 million since sales began on September 26th. The firm currently offers two exchange-traded crypto funds dedicated to the metaverse and digital payments.

Nubank Launches its Cryptocurrency – Nucoin

Nubank, Brazil’s largest digital bank by market value, will roll out its token to the 70 million users it currently serves in 2023 driving crypto adoption in South America. The token named Nucoin will be launched and airdropped on Polygon, a layer-2 network built on Ethereum. Nucoin will be available to all users across Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico and will be used to offer discounts and rebates, plus several other perks to incentivize customer loyalty and encourage active engagement with the bank’s products. In 2017, Nubank had previously launched a loyalty program, Nubank Rewards, designed to offer customers points as they interact more with the bank’s services. 

Customers can redeem these non-expiring points for a product catalog or discounts on services, travel, and entertainment. This rebranding of this program to now integrate a cryptocurrency is geared towards luring crypto enthusiasts while taking out the fee customers once paid to use Nubank Rewards after they would have exhausted the 30-day window period they had to use it for free.

Mastercard Partners with Paxos to Bring Crypto Trading to Financial Institutions

In an official announcement on Monday, Mastercard said it had entered into a partnership with Paxos to help financial institutions offer crypto trading. Paxos is a regulated blockchain infrastructure that provides cryptocurrency brokerage, asset tokenization, and settlement services. 

The partnership will let the $287-billion payments giant provide the technical infrastructure needed under its Crypto Source program to help financial institutions verify crypto transactions, follow compliance rules, and provide anti-money laundering and identity monitoring services. 

N6 and Bitpanda Partner To Drive Crypto Adoption In Austria

Over in Europe, N6, the Berlin-headquartered digital bank, will leverage Austrian crypto exchange Bitpanda GmbH’s trading and custody platform – White Label – to give some of the bank’s customers access to up to 100 cryptocurrencies for trading. The bank announced that it was offering the service as a “wealth-building feature,” – meaning customers can buy and sell tokens but cannot transfer the assets to other digital wallets. This announcement mirrors similar moves by the digital bank’s peers like Revolut. N6 will test the product within Bitpanda’s home market of Austria first before, based on feedback, it rolls out more broadly to its other markets in the next six months.

It is important to remember that several other significant financial institutions have responded to their clients’ demand for digital assets and have opened their portcullises to provide access to and custody of these assets. BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, created its first Bitcoin private trust and teamed up with U.S. crypto exchanges Coinbase and Kraken in August to help clients efficiently manage and trade their Bitcoin. Meanwhile, Bank of America launched its cryptocurrency research division in October last year to look into all aspects of the digital assets industry.

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