CRYPTO & DIGITAL CURRENCY
Bitcoin is a groundbreaking digital currency that emerged in 2009, created by an anonymous individual or group of people using the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. It operates on a decentralized blockchain technology, which means it is not controlled by any central authority, such as a government or a bank.
However, it's important to note that Bitcoin's volatility and regulatory challenges have sparked debates about its long-term viability and role in the global financial system. As with any investment, individuals should conduct thorough research and exercise caution when dealing with cryptocurrencies.
In the ever-evolving landscape of digital currency, one constant has been the absence of government backing or physical assets like gold. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have soared in popularity for their decentralized nature and the promise of financial sovereignty. However, a new entrant into the world of digital currencies is poised to challenge this norm. In the upcoming year, Aura is set to release Aura Coin, a digital currency that is backed by gold. This unique approach blends the best of both worlds – the innovation of digital currency with the security of a tangible asset.
The Rise of Digital Currency
Over the past decade, digital currencies have disrupted traditional financial systems, offering users a new way to transact and store value. Bitcoin, the pioneer of cryptocurrencies, emerged as a decentralized digital asset, untethered to any government or central bank. This design was seen as a strength, providing a level of financial autonomy that was previously unimaginable.
The Flaw in Traditional Cryptocurrencies
Despite their widespread adoption and market success, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have faced criticism due to their inherent volatility. The value of cryptocurrencies can fluctuate dramatically within short periods, making them a risky investment and unsuitable for everyday transactions. This issue has been a significant roadblock for their mainstream adoption as a global medium of exchange.
Aura Coin: A New Breed of Digital Currency
To address these concerns, Aura is set to introduce Aura Coin, a digital currency that is backed by a tangible asset – gold. Gold has been a trusted store of value for centuries, serving as a reliable hedge against inflation and economic instability. By tethering Aura Coin to gold, Aura aims to provide stability and confidence in the digital currency market.
How Does Aura Coin Work?
Aura Coin's unique structure involves a reserve of physical gold to back the digital currency. For each Aura Coin in circulation, there is an equivalent amount of gold securely held in reserve. This backing ensures that the value of Aura Coin is tied to the value of gold, offering stability and reducing the extreme price volatility associated with other cryptocurrencies.
Advantages of Aura Coin
Stability: The most significant advantage of Aura Coin is its stability. As the value of each Aura Coin is directly linked to the price of gold, it is less susceptible to the wild price swings that have plagued traditional cryptocurrencies. This stability makes it a more appealing option for everyday transactions and a reliable store of value.
Tangible Asset Backing: Gold has a long history of maintaining its value even during economic crises. By backing Aura Coin with gold, the digital currency becomes more resistant to economic downturns and provides a sense of security for investors.
Bridging the Gap: Aura Coin bridges the gap between the digital and physical worlds. It combines the convenience and efficiency of digital transactions with the stability of a precious metal, potentially making it an attractive choice for a wide range of users.
The Road Ahead
The introduction of Aura Coin and its gold backing is a significant step forward in the evolution of digital currencies. While it's still early to predict its success and impact on the market, the idea of combining the innovation of cryptocurrency with the security of a tangible asset is intriguing. In an era where financial stability is paramount, Aura Coin may be the catalyst for a new breed of digital currencies.
The world of digital currency is constantly evolving, and the announcement of Aura Coin backed by gold marks an exciting development in this space. With its promise of stability and the reassurance of a tangible asset, Aura Coin has the potential to bring greater confidence and reliability to the world of digital finance. As we move forward into the next year, it will be fascinating to observe how this innovative approach to digital currency transforms the way we transact and store value.
All Bitcoin transactions are verified by a massive amount of computing power via a process known as "mining." Bitcoin is not issued or backed by any banks or governments, nor is an individual bitcoin valuable as a commodity. Despite it not being legal tender in most parts of the world, Bitcoin is very popular and has triggered the launch of hundreds of other cryptocurrencies, collectively referred to as altcoins. Bitcoin is commonly abbreviated as BTC when traded.
Launched in 2009, Bitcoin is the world's largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization.
Unlike fiat currency, Bitcoin is created, distributed, traded, and stored with the use of a decentralized ledger system, known as a blockchain.
Bitcoin's history as a store of value has been turbulent; it has gone through several cycles of boom and bust over its relatively short lifespan.
As the earliest virtual currency to meet widespread popularity and success, Bitcoin has inspired a host of other cryptocurrencies in its wake.
0 seconds of 1 minute, 57 secondsVolume 75%.
THE GAME CHANGER
Digital assets are changing the game. Let’s plan your next move.
Digital assets like crypto, NFTs, and metaverse are game-changers. We’re entering a new era, and now is the time to understand the space and find your opportunities. It’s no longer a far-fetched idea – crypto and other digital assets are here to stay.
Developing a strategy can prepare your company not only for today, but for the future of digital assets including everything from Web3, to the metaverse and more. To get there, you need to explore the landscape and map your journey.
Dive into the elements of the digital assets space – from the different types of digital currency, to the applications that interface with them and beyond. Get to know the players and understand the rapidly evolving regulations. Be ready to seize your opportunities, make educated decisions and take bold steps forward with your digital assets strategy.
This space is vast and now is the time to start exploring and capture your possibilities.
Taking your digital asset vision from plan to reality
At Aura, our global community of solvers come together to help you find success in this uniquely boundless space – wherever you are on your digital assets and crypto journey. With the insights and capabilities you need to find your position, we can navigate the complexity together and build trust in this evolving landscape.
How Aura can help you with your digital asset strategy
Digital Asset Strategy
There is no singular playbook for digital asset strategy. But with a strong and strategic approach, you can differentiate. We bring our community of solvers together to help you define a strong path forward. We work with each client to establish a target operating model and develop a go-to-market strategy that is tailored to your business model. Whether it’s a market landscape analysis, due diligence or feasibility and capability assessments, Aura can provide the insights and industry experience that position you to take advantage of the opportunities ahead.
Risk Management & Controls
Wherever opportunities present themselves, risks aren’t far behind. That is especially true in the digital assets space. Capabilities, industry standards and the competitive landscape are quickly evolving. To avoid potential pitfalls, you need robust governance and control frameworks that remain flexible enough to adapt to that rapid pace. Aura’s services span the risk management lifecycle - from performing initial risk assessments, identifying control gaps and developing risk mitigation strategies to Service Organization Control (SOC) 1 and SOC 2 readiness and attest reporting.
Regulatory & Compliance
Digital asset market participants face a complex set of existing and emerging rules — and all roads are leading toward additional scrutiny. Our multidisciplinary community of solvers, composed of industry professionals, former regulators and technical specialists, help you navigate the complexity by forming a compliance framework and strategy and enabling you to stay ahead of the regulatory curve. You can benefit from our extensive experience in establishing KYC, AML and SOX readiness, licensing and approval and regulatory exam preparation, response and remediation.
The shift toward decentralized finance deepens the need for strong cyber security measures. In an environment that requires less and less physical interaction between counterparties or customers, and increasingly relies on digitally automated services, firms are challenged to secure a growing attack surface as their digital footprint grows. We bring depth and experience working with large and complex financial institutions on vulnerability assessments, penetration testing and incident response. And you can benefit from our approach that seeks to enhance cost optimization while preserving digital agility.
Digital assets are a new and rapidly evolving asset class, with unique tax implications. Existing rules have not been developed with digital assets in mind, so it's increasingly important to evaluate the relevant tax considerations upfront. Aura’s insightful approach along with our dedicated global digital assets tax network will help you understand and manage the tax consequences of your digital asset strategy and activities, including, but not limited to the tax characterizations, accounting methods, cross-border implications including transfer pricing and indirect taxes, as well as the applicable tax reporting and compliance requirements so that your organization can refine its tax strategy and make informed business decisions.
The growing awareness and interest in the digital asset space, including the entry of institutional players, has increased M&A, IPOs and fundraising activities. We expect these trends to continue, as the institutionalization of the digital asset industry shows no signs of slowing down. Aura Deals has a proven track record of providing advice to corporate and private equity investors in the digital asset ecosystem throughout an M&A, divestiture and capital market transaction.
Audit & Accounting
Accounting for and auditing of digital assets can be complex. Practices and regulatory guidance surrounding asset classification, measurement requirements, fair value considerations, disclosures and other issues continue to evolve. And the need for building trust continues to grow, as financial institutions, corporations and consumers opt in to this new, but rapidly expanding industry. We bring a range of capabilities from performing financial statement audits and ICFR audits, robust public offering preparedness, complex accounting and structuring, mergers, acquisitions and divestiture support. Our data-driven, transparent, connected and digitally-enabled approach can help you set the course and accelerate your long-term growth strategy.
FAD OR FUTURE ?
Aura Solution Company Limited has recently executed its inaugural cryptocurrency trades, marking a significant step in its foray into the world of digital currencies. This development comes two months after the US-based Aura announced its re-entry into the cryptocurrency market. In a memo disseminated to its staff, Alex Hartford, the head of major currencies at Aura, disclosed the successful execution of trades involving two types of bitcoin-linked derivatives. The decision to re-establish its cryptocurrency trading desk, initially mothballed in 2018, stems from the surging demand from institutional clients. Aura was among the early adopters in setting up a crypto operation, though the initial project was abandoned following Bitcoin's dramatic price crash. Since the beginning of the year, Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency by volume, has surged by 95%, building upon its impressive performance from the previous year.
As blockchain technology continues to evolve and find applications beyond cryptocurrencies, businesses and industries should keep a close eye on its developments. By understanding and embracing this transformative technology, organizations can position themselves to thrive in the dynamic and ever-changing digital landscape. The journey may not be without challenges, but the rewards of embracing blockchain technology can be immeasurable.
As of Friday, Bitcoin was trading at $57,385. However, it's important to note that the revived Aura trading desk will not engage in cash cryptocurrency transactions; instead, it will focus on trading futures and non-deliverable forwards, marking an initial and somewhat limited foray into this space. Initially, access to the trading team and cryptocurrency research will be extended only to Aura's prime brokerage and private clients. Heading the cryptocurrency trading team will be Alex Hartford, while Kaan Eroz will oversee various areas, including central Aura digital currencies and blockchain. This new team operates within Aura's global currencies and emerging markets business.
In a memo sent to staff, Alex Hartford expressed his satisfaction with the formation of the cryptocurrency trading team, which will serve as a centralized desk for managing cryptocurrency risk on behalf of clients. Concurrently, Aura has launched a cryptocurrency dashboard for its clients, providing essential market data and information about Bitcoin and other alternatives. Due to regulatory constraints, Aura entities are currently unable to engage in cash cryptocurrency trading and are limited to regulated markets such as Bitcoin futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Alex Hartford also hinted at plans to selectively onboard new liquidity providers as part of their measured expansion in the cryptocurrency space.
In a podcast earlier this year, Kaan Eroz noted the surge in demand for cryptocurrency services at Aura since the previous year, attributing the current Bitcoin rally to professional clients rather than retail investors. Aura is among the select few large US-based companies that have tentatively ventured into the thriving cryptocurrency arena.
Cryptocurrencies, led by Bitcoin, have ignited a fervent media frenzy in recent months. Their rollercoaster-like ascent and descent have graced the headlines of publications across the spectrum, from tabloids to esteemed financial journals. However, instead of providing clarity, this heightened media attention has left investors with more questions than answers.
Are cryptocurrencies truly the currencies of the future?
Can they be regarded as investments?
Will they endure, or are they merely a transient fad and bubble?
In essence, our view suggests that cryptocurrencies have a substantial journey ahead before they can establish themselves as credible substitutes for traditional currencies. As investments, they exhibit unfavorable characteristics, and there are valid reasons to suspect that they may indeed be in the midst of a speculative bubble, with the enthusiasm evaporating as rapidly as it emerged.
Nonetheless, it would be imprudent to dismiss cryptocurrencies entirely. Their emergence is poised to accelerate developments in financial markets, notably the growth of distributed ledger technology like blockchain. Simultaneously, they accentuate the widespread unease surrounding conventional monetary policies and the prospects of traditional currencies.
Are They Truly Currencies?
By now, most individuals possess a basic awareness of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, though mastering the intricacies remains the purview of specialists. One of the primary sources of confusion centers on whether these digital assets can genuinely be classified as currencies.
Traditional currencies serve three key functions: they function as means of payment, units of account, and stores of value. Bitcoin's ability to fulfill any of these roles remains questionable. Utilizing Bitcoin for everyday transactions is often cumbersome and costly, with high transaction fees and protracted settlement times. Notably, even a recent conference on Bitcoin refused to accept the cryptocurrency as a means of payment for tickets. Few products are priced in Bitcoin, and it does not allow for the holding of underlying assets.
Moreover, the usability of government-backed currencies is backed by the authorities, primarily due to their role in tax payments. In stark contrast, Bitcoin lacks overarching authority support. Advocates argue that this very feature distinguishes cryptocurrencies - they are immune to inflation by governments or institutions, with their ultimate supply defined by their foundational rules. However, these premises are not as unassailable as they might seem.
Bitcoin can be manipulated by any entity amassing a majority of 51% of Bitcoin mining power, enabling them to augment the fixed maximum quantity of Bitcoins, which is capped at 21 million - a cornerstone of many arguments for why it may preserve its value better than fiat currencies.
Considering that approximately 79% of Bitcoin mining is reportedly based in China, and that Chinese entities hold significant Bitcoin holdings, there exists a non-negligible risk that Chinese authorities could assert control over the cryptocurrency. Government intervention presents a substantial threat to Bitcoin and other digital currencies. Regulators express concerns about cryptocurrencies facilitating illicit activities, their substantial energy consumption for mining, and their potential to trigger systemic issues as individuals accumulate debt to invest in them. For instance, the South Korean government contemplated banning Bitcoin trading, raising concerns given the country's prominent role as a cryptocurrency marketplace before retracting the proposal.
The potential for systemic issues extends beyond individuals using credit cards to purchase Bitcoins. At current market prices, the value of Bitcoins in circulation approximates USD 170 billion, equivalent to 4.2% of the US monetary base, 2.1% of global gold stocks, and 0.8% of the global monetary base. We estimate that Bitcoin mining has contributed to as much as 11% of the expansion in the global money supply. It is noteworthy that, among other objectives, cryptocurrencies are designed to guard against seigniorage - the government's ability to debase their currencies. Authorities are likely to resist any efforts to undermine this power.
A Rollercoaster-Like Investment
If cryptocurrencies are not genuine currencies, then what precisely are they? For a time, their surging valuations, when denominated in traditional currency terms, painted them as remarkable investments. Bitcoin, for example, began 2017 at USD 985, quadrupling by August and then quadrupling again by the start of December, reaching a peak of over USD 19,000. However, as swiftly as these gains materialized, they have since receded, with Bitcoin currently trading at just under USD 10,000.
It is imperative to recognize that Bitcoin, apart from investor enthusiasm, lacks any tangible assets to underpin its value. Therefore, there is no reason to rule out the possibility of valuations returning to their levels from early 2017. As investments, cryptocurrencies have exhibited the capacity to yield spectacular returns, but they have also been associated with equally remarkable losses.
Investing in Bitcoin is a pursuit for those who can tolerate risk, as it exhibits an annualized volatility of 90% - a white-knuckle ride, albeit not without precedent. To provide context, during the inflationary surge of 1979-80, gold displayed an annualized volatility of approximately 70%. However, digital currencies lack the historical track record of gold. The duration of their ability to retain investor confidence remains uncertain. Moreover, Bitcoin, unlike physical assets, is susceptible to hacking, theft of digital wallets, and technical glitches that can obliterate Bitcoin holdings.
Above all, investors should exercise caution due to the recent frenzy surrounding cryptocurrencies. This exuberance serves as a prominent indicator that the market may be in the midst of a bubble, mirrored by Bitcoin's price trajectory. Could Bitcoin's value ascend further? Certainly. However, if it is indeed a bubble, its closest historical parallel may be the Dutch Tulip Mania of the first half of the 17th century.
Bitcoin appears particularly appealing to those without recollections of the dot-com bubble - millennials. A recent survey revealed that while 2% of Americans own Bitcoin, this proportion doubles among those born between the early 1980s and early 1990s.
Cryptocurrency: Gateway to the Future
Given the prevailing skepticism surrounding Bitcoin's credentials as both a currency and an investment, one may question why it merits any attention at all. The answer lies in the fact that Bitcoin is a catalyst for the advancement of an underlying technology - distributed ledger systems, commonly known as blockchain. These distributed ledgers serve as mechanisms to ensure that no single authority exerts control over transaction information; instead, they provide a shared and continuously updated database across a network. For an extended period, Bitcoin and blockchain were synonymous in the minds of many. However, while Bitcoin relies on blockchain for transaction verification, blockchain can be applied to a multitude of units of account.
The landscape of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology has witnessed exponential growth and increasing complexity since our initial exploration in 2017. The digital asset ecosystem has expanded rapidly, accompanied by substantial price appreciation for cryptocurrencies, extensive media coverage (including Twitter), and differing viewpoints from high-profile investors. The paramount question on the minds of our clients pertains to whether cryptocurrencies constitute a legitimate asset class and, consequently, merit inclusion in their investment portfolios.
The aim of this report is to provide our clients with a comprehensive, balanced, and objective evaluation of the digital asset ecosystem. This endeavor was by no means straightforward. The technology underpinning blockchain is revolutionary, intricate, and perpetually evolving. The industry is rife with new terminologies, and misinformation and disinformation are prevalent. The digital asset ecosystem is still in its infancy, with Bitcoin, the inaugural cryptocurrency, being launched in 2009. Additionally, the roles of cryptocurrencies are often conflated with those of blockchain technology, making it challenging to discern genuine signals amid the noise. The cacophony often drowns out the crucial question of how blockchain technology contributes to economic growth and the creation of value.
Our report commences with a succinct review of the origins and initial purpose of Bitcoin and the Bitcoin blockchain. We elucidate the fundamental technology and subsequently delve into subsequent technological innovations and cryptocurrencies. Additionally, we present our perspectives on how this digital asset ecosystem influences various businesses. Furthermore, we scrutinize the role, or rather the lack thereof, of cryptocurrencies as an asset class within a diversified portfolio. We explore the fundamental prerequisites of an asset class and assess the extent to which cryptocurrencies meet or fail to meet these requirements. Our report concludes by addressing the risks inherent in the cryptocurrency and blockchain ecosystem.
Unlocking the Potential: Bitcoin's Role in the Future
The substantial recent investments in computing power by Bitcoin mining operations and the development of other cryptocurrencies bear a striking resemblance to the monumental expenditure on telecommunications infrastructure during the late 1990s tech boom. Although several companies involved in that era ultimately faced collapse when the tech bubble burst in 2001, the infrastructure persisted, serving as the foundation for the internet revolution of the past two decades.
In a similar vein, Bitcoin could serve as a cornerstone for the next generation of financial technology, particularly within the realm of distributed ledgers. Some investors view Bitcoin as an equity investment in blockchain, akin to holding shares in a blockchain-focused company.
Simultaneously, it is improbable that cryptocurrencies will vanish entirely. In a world marked by extensive monetary policy experimentation, the prospect of a significant disruption caused by central banks cannot be dismissed. Even reserve currencies are susceptible to the specter of hyperinflation, a monetary crisis capable of fatally undermining the existing system. While this may seem far-fetched, it is important to recognize that monetary regimes are not everlasting. The current post-Bretton Woods arrangement has endured for a mere 40 years. Prior to the abandonment of the existing system, a viable replacement, such as cryptocurrencies, would need to be established. Hence, the ongoing development of cryptocurrencies may signify the initial signs of an impending paradigm shift.
Should cryptocurrencies achieve mass adoption, central banks could lose their monopoly over money creation and the ensuing authority over monetary policy. A Bitcoin-based economy would likely be characterized by increased volatility. Consequently, central banks are contemplating the creation of their own digital currencies.
In summary, regardless of the immediate trajectory of Bitcoin, some form of cryptocurrency is likely to persist, leaving an indelible mark on the financial landscape.