The announcement that David Marcus is leaving the company formerly known as Facebook marks the departure of the last name associated with its Libra stablecoin debacle.
As the head of what was then called the Calibra wallet (now Novi), Marcus headed up the launch of — and then defense of — Facebook’s stablecoin project (now Diem). Formerly president of PayPal, Marcus took up a wider role as the head of FinTech for the social media giant now called Meta.
From the start, Facebook and the stablecoin’s backers pitched it as a tool of financial inclusion, with the project described at its unveiling as “a simple global currency and financial infrastructure that empowers billions of people.”
The tagline was: “Reinvent money. Transform the global economy. So people everywhere can live better lives.”
In the Tuesday (Nov. 30) Facebook post announcing his departure, Marcus returned to that theme, saying “I remain as passionate as ever about the need for change in our payments and financial systems.”
That said, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s comment on that post talked about the as-yet-unlaunched Diem in a decidedly past tense, at least from his company’s perspective.
“We wouldn’t have taken such a big swing at Diem without your leadership and I’m grateful you’ve made Meta a place where we make those big bets,” Zuckerberg wrote.
Formally announced on June 18, 2019, the Libra/Diem project met with such immediate and fierce resistance from the political and financial worlds that it’s fair to say that it brought cryptocurrency regulation from a topic that was the purview of mid-level financial regulators to cabinet members and finance ministers, central bank presidents and CEOs, and mainstream media outlets around the world.
Bank of England Governor Mark Carney’s response to the launch announcement was that a stablecoin with instant access to Facebook’s 2.3 billion customers “will become instantly systemic and will have to be subject to the highest standards of regulation.”
By “systemic,” Carney meant the fear that an unregulated, globally available stablecoin suddenly usable by billions of people was threat to national currencies, governments’ control of their economies, and the global financial system as a whole.
Which is roughly why stablecoin regulation remains such a hot topic today. Speaking before the Senate banking Committee on Nov. 30, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said that while stablecoins could make payments easier and less expensive, “there are significant risks associated with them, including risks to payment systems and risks related to the concentration of economic power.”
A Brand Battered
First, Libra’s key financial industry backers jumped ship under enormous political pressure — and outright threats — with Mastercard and Visa, payments processors Stripe and Mercado Pago, and eBay departing in early October.
In a move that must have hurt, they were following PayPal, the first Libra Association member out the door.
Ultimately, the name Libra was jettisoned in favor of Diem, the June 2020 launch date was scrapped, Facebook’s Calibra wallet became Novi, and even the stablecoin’s basic design mutated from a single global means of payment backed by a mixed basket of fiat currencies to a series of national stablecoins backed by that country’s fiat.
And while it’s wildly overstating Libra/Diem’s impact and importance to say that it was behind Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s recent decision to change Facebook’s name to Meta, the reaction to the stablecoin project was fueled in part by the widespread distrust of Facebook by governments and financial leaders around the globe. The outcry at least underscored how damaged the brand it was.
Coming every Saturday, Hodler’s Digest will help you track every single important news story that happened this week. The best (and worst) quotes, adoption and regulation highlights, leading coins, predictions and much more — a week on Cointelegraph in one link.
Top Stories This Week
Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey announced Monday that he has stepped down from his role as CEO. Replacing Dorsey will be Twitter board member and chief technology officer Parag Agrawal, who was unanimously appointed to CEO by the company’s board of directors.
Dorsey also serves as the CEO and chairman of crypto-friendly payments tech firm Square, and it is unclear if he left Twitter to solely focus on the platform’s plans to develop a decentralized Bitcoin (BTC) exchange. He did note, however, that the company does not need to be founder-led to thrive.
“I believe it’s really important to give Parag the space he needs to lead,” said Dorsey. “I believe it’s critical a company can stand on its own, free of its founder’s influence or direction.”
On Monday, 14-year Wall Street veteran and former Citi banking executive Matt Zhang announced a $1.5 billion multi-strategy fund called Hivemind Capital Partners that is aiming to support up-and-coming crypto projects.
In particular, the fund will place a strong emphasis on crypto infrastructure builders, virtual worlds and Metaverse projects, and programmable money. The fund’s first technology partner will be proof-of-stake-based blockchain Algorand.
While Hivemind is yet to announce any major funding, Zhang said the firm will support crypto entrepreneurs with infrastructure that cannot currently be offered by traditional asset management models.
Speaking of Square, the firm revealed on Wednesday that it had rebranded to Block, suggesting it may be ramping up its focus on the blockchain sector.
The company said the rebrand will bring the payments firm together with Cash App, the decentralized Bitcoin exchange project tbDEX, and music and video streaming platform Tidal. As part of the rebrand, Square Crypto, the cryptocurrency-focused unit of the payments firm, will be changing its name to Spiral and joining the Block family.
“Block references the neighborhood blocks where we find our sellers, a blockchain, block parties full of music, obstacles to overcome, a section of code, building blocks, and of course, tungsten cubes,” said Square.
MicroStrategy, the analytics software firm led by fervent Bitcoin bull Michael Saylor, announced on Monday that it had snapped up a 7,002 BTC worth $414.4 million.
After the purchase, Saylor stated that the company’s total BTC holdings stood at a whopping 121,044, acquired for roughly $3.57 billion at an average price of $29,534 per BTC. To fund that latest shopping spree for digital gold, the firm sold 571,001 shares of company stock between Oct. 1 and Nov. 29 at $732.16 apiece.
MicroStrategy first bought Bitcoin back in August 2020 as part of its treasury strategy, and with Saylor at the helm, the firm has purchased the asset relentlessly since—regardless of price—and is showing no signs of slowing down any time soon.
Social media virtual reality firm Meta expanded the eligibility requirements for running crypto ad campaigns on Facebook and Instagram this week, enabling companies more freedom in running digital asset product-related promotions.
Prior to Meta’s latest update of its crypto advertising guidelines, a limited number of crypto firms were able to advertise on Facebook as the platform only recognized a small number of regulatory licenses.
According to the updated policy, crypto exchanges, trading platforms, wallet providers, mining infrastructure firms, crypto lenders and borrowing services can now receive written permission to run ads on Facebook. The firm cited maturation and increased regulation of the sector as the reasons why it changed its tune.
Winners and Losers
Among the biggest 100 cryptocurrencies, the top three altcoin gainers of the week are Terra (LUNA) at 62.30%, Stacks (STX) at 33.85% and Polygon (MATIC) at 29.04%.
The top three altcoin losers of the week are Gala (GALA) at -30.67%, WAX (WAXP) at -19.18% and Immutable X (IMX) at -17.85%.
For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.
Most Memorable Quotations
“There are certain services that we have that don’t really fit the regulatory mold. So there’s this gray area that the whole industry exists in, and that’s not specific to us. […] That’s just the nature of the fact that we’re dealing with an innovative technology that really doesn’t necessarily fit the criteria that existing regulators perceive as possible.”
Jonathon Miller, managing director for Kraken Australia
“A CBDC would be one of the tools to fight crypto. […] We assume that people would find CBDC more credible than crypto. CBDC would be part of an effort to address the use of crypto in financial transactions.”
Juda Agung, assistant governor of Bank Indonesia
“If a coin has a large number of users, then we will list it. That’s the overwhelming significant attribute. Consider, for example, meme tokens; even though I personally don’t get it, if it’s used by a large number of users, we list it. We go by the community, my opinion doesn’t matter.”
Changpeng Zhao, CEO of Binance
“There’s always hope for the Chinese crypto industry. We still have information sources and we keep getting more and more users, evangelists, developers and others. There’s nothing to worry about. Everything happens for the best.”
Anonymous, executive at a Chinese crypto publication
“It is one thing to say that a stablecoin issuer itself must be a regulated bank — I think that is probably overkill, as there are perfectly effective ways for nonbanks to meet our legitimate regulatory concerns, but there is at least a clear relation between the existing framework of bank regulation and the specific measures that stablecoin issuers must address to operate safely. It is, however, quite another thing to contemplate that wallet providers may need to be completely separated from commercial firms.”
Randal Quarles, exiting U.S. Federal Reserve governor
“Innovations are coming, proof-of-stake is much more computational efficient and low on energy consumption. Innovation is key here and it is coming.”
Gary Nuttall, emerging technology consultant at Distyltics
“Cryptocurrency may be tricky to understand, but the value of a major crypto donation converted into cash is not.”
James Lawrence, co-founder and CEO of Engiven
“Undoubtedly, metaverse land is the next big hit in the NFT space. Outputting record sales numbers and constantly increasing NFT prices, virtual worlds are the new top commodity in the crypto space.”
Prediction of the Week
Bitcoin started the week on Nov. 28 with a drop from nearly $55,000 down to almost $53,300, followed by a push up past $58,000, according to Cointelegraph’s Bitcoin price index. Following Sunday’s price action, most of the rest of the week saw BTC trade in a range between $55,800 and $59,300.
In a Wednesday tweet, crypto trader Michaël van de Poppe gave his thoughts on the crypto market, noting a desire to see sub-$60,000 BTC turn to support.
“It’s very simple. Below $60K I’ve remained cautious/bearish as I’d like to see that area flip,” he tweeted. “Levels to watch for buys; $53K-54K zone and $47-50K zones for #Bitcoin,” he added. “When to buy #altcoins? December. Nothing has changed past weeks.”
In a separate tweet on Wednesday, van de Poppe also provided his thoughts on a few possible price targets for the bull cycle top, noting price ranges between $350,000 and $450,000 for Bitcoin and between $10,000 and $17,500 for Ethereum, in addition to ranges for other assets as well. He tweeted out the same list with the same numbers back in April 2021, with the exception of Elrond, for which the new list gave an updated possible price range target.
FUD of the Week
Russian President Vladimir Putin, a man with a squeaky-clean reputation who has most certainly never engaged in any nefarious activity, took time out of his busy schedule this week to voice his concerns over the risky nature of crypto speculation.
According to reports from local media outlets on Tuesday, Putin aimed criticism at the “Russia Calling!” investment forum in Moscow. The 69-year-old called for greater monitoring and regulation of crypto in Russia and astutely pointed out that certain countries are seeing significant adoption of digital currencies.
“It is not backed by anything, [and] the volatility is colossal, so the risks are very high,” he said. “We also believe that we need to listen to those who talk about those high risks.”
Bitcoin failed to hit the November closing price of $98,000 demanded by Twitter personality PlanB’s so-called “floor model.” With Bitcoin sitting at $57,000 on Nov. 30, the actual price was roughly 71% below the forecast price.
In a Wednesday Twitter post, PlanB noted that he would give his famous model one more month, but was adamant in stating that $100,000 per BTC is still “on track” by year-end as he pointed to the S2F model. He further explained:
“No model is perfect, but this is a big miss and the first in 10y! Outlier/black swan? I will give Floor model 1 more month. S2F model unaffected and on track to $100K. Watch out for trolls confusing Floor and S2F model!”
DeFi protocol BadgerDAO reportedly suffered a $10 million security breach this week, with users on Twitter highlighting a “nasty frontend attack” where funds had been taken out of people’s wallets using “rug approval” at about 2 a.m. UTC on Thursday.
While BadgerDAO hadn’t officially confirmed the attack at the time, it said that all smart contracts on the platform had been paused to prevent additional potentially malicious withdrawals.
The malicious actors targeted the protocol on the Ethereum network at contract address 0x1fcdb04d0c5364fbd92c73ca8af9baa72c269107, and users that have interacted with this contract are urged to revoke permission from their wallet.
Best Cointelegraph Features
NFT digital art sales generate headline after headline, though this is not the real mass-market use of this novel technology.
“There are too many members of Congress that don’t have enough of a base of understanding. Congress needs to come in and bring regulations to this space.”
Here’s how “wear-to-earn” NFTs will impact the fashion sector and what may happen if they become a trend.
While Mr Johnson won the support of the public with his “Get Brexit done” slogan, Professor Curtice believes some support for the UK’s exit may now have been “shaved off”. Speaking to Express.co.uk, Prof Curtice claimed Mr Johnson will only retain Leave voters if they are convinced Brexit is working. He claimed issues such as the petrol shortage and the lorry driver crisis may begin to reduce Mr Johnson’s popularity.
Prof Curtice said: “Brexit works for as long as people think it does.
“It is probably true that some of the support for Brexit has been shaved off.
“People might be more likely to say Brexit was negative.
“Some of the arguments around lorry driver shortages may have driven that.
“But it’s true that for so long as Leave voters are convinced Brexit is working, he will have their support.
“It also depends on whether we have a substantial debate about Brexit is working or not, like we did last autumn and that may change matters.”
Some commentators have claimed the Prime Minister has used post-Brexit issues, such as the Channel crisis and fishing licences, as a way of showing his strong leadership.
Writing for The Guardian, columnist Polly Toynbee said: “When in trouble, Boris Johnson flees to his comfort zone.
“Just as Brexit havoc made him, so Brexit mayhem may yet save him.”
However, despite storming to a resounding 2019 general election win and delivering Brexit, Mr Johnson’s approval rating has plummeted.
On April 13, Mr Johnson’s approval surged to 66 percent but according to YouGov’s latest polling, it has now fallen to 29 percent.
In contrast, Mr Johnson’s disapproval rating sunk to a low of 26 percent on April 13 but has now risen to 64 percent on November 22.
BBC ‘groupthink’ unveiled: Warning Brexiteer staff left terrified [Latest]
Biden snubs Brexit Britain and pushes back trade deal [Update]
Boris snaps: Macron’s ‘clown’ jibe backfires as UK hits back [Insight]
In Conservative Home’s cabinet league table, which it conducts every month, Mr Johnson has slipped to -17.
That figure is the second-worst net approval rating among the Cabinet with only chief whip, Mark Spencer, who scored -21.
The Prime Minister has been damaged by the recent Tory sleaze scandal which saw Owen Paterson, former MP for North Shropshire, resign.
Mr Johnson was also given a shock to his leadership credentials when, despite having a 77-seat majority, the Government’s Health and Social Care Bill only passed by 26 votes.
A further 67 Tory MPs abstained from the vote on November 23.
The Prime Minister has also come under fire for scrapping the eastern leg of the HS2 project.
The line between Birmingham and Leeds will now be scrapped which sparked fury among Blue Wall Tory MPs.
The Prime Minister instead pledged to spend £96billion on investing in rail in the Midlands and northern England.
EXCLUSIVE: Tottenham star Eric Dier hopes they can reboot their trophy challenging days under ‘special’ Antonio Conte… as he gives his views on Brexit, cancel culture and the disappointment of not winning a trophy under Mauricio Pochettino
- There is a renewed sense of optimism at Tottenham following their poor start
- Eric Dier has described the Antonio Conte effect at the club as ‘special’
- Tottenham are some way off the team that reached the Champions League final
- Not winning a trophy under Mauricio Pochettino will haunt Spurs players
- Dier is hopeful the Conte era will reboot the trophy challenging years
Published: | Updated:
Before we get on to Brexit and the future of the planet, let’s start with the big issues of the day: the tomato ketchup ban.
Antonio Conte might have introduced sophisticated analysis of feet movements, body position and sprinting technique to revive Spurs but banning tomato ketchup has so far been the most talked-about issue around the new manager. Apparently, it was the first casualty of Conte’s nutritional new era.
‘Everyone wants to talk about Conte’s training!’ says Eric Dier, with a wry grin. ‘Ketchup? Yeah! I heard about it. I don’t even know if ketchup’s banned. I don’t think it is. I don’t have ketchup. There is nothing I would have ketchup with!’
Eric Dier is upbeat with a sense of renewal about Tottenham at the moment after a tough start
This is unsurprising coming from a man so healthy that he been known to fast during the day because of his belief in the nutritional benefits, but he resists the caricature of himself as nut-eating health-obsessed athlete.
‘No, I would definitely eat ketchup,’ he adds. ‘All sorts of things have changed but I don’t think it’s as drastic as people are making out.’
Dier, 27, is remarkably upbeat. It could be an illusion that fades as quickly as Christmas lights, but there is a sense of renewal about Spurs at the moment, if his mood is an accurate barometer of team spirit. It is as if they have found some direction with Conte’s appointment after two years of drift.
‘I’m really, really excited looking forward, working under the calibre of manager he is and how much he improves not only his teams but also the players in it,’ says Dier, bubbling with the enthusiasm of a man who genuinely seems excited by the prospect of two-hour training sessions, meticulous work on team shape and frugal portions of healthy food.
‘If you want to improve and get better and push yourself and push the team forward, then that’s the kind of environment you want to be a part of, that’s the kind of environment you need. It’s exciting going into training every day where there is such intensity to the work, such attention to detail and where the manager and coaching staff demand a lot of you. Working along those lines is enjoyable and a stimulant.’
The Conte impact is unmistakeable, his charisma undeniable. ‘It’s special,’ says Dier. ‘When he talks to you, you can tell straight away his passion for football and intensity. The way he feels, you can’t help but feed off it, it’s energising. Every time he speaks, there’s such intent in it.’ Andrea Pirlo, who played under him at Juventus, once said of Conte: ‘When he speaks, his words assault you…’
‘Yeah,’ agrees Dier. ‘He really gets to you and that’s motivating. I have a sense of lot of similarities between that time and what I’m feeling now, in terms of the work ethic, intensity, the discipline. It’s a lot more enjoyable to go into training every day working in that environment, where you really are working hard and pushing yourself with a manager that demands a lot of you.’
Tottenham had a tough start to the season which led to the sacking of Nuno Espirito Santo
Dier though says the Antonio Conte impact is ‘special’ and that it is more enjoyable to go to training
‘That time’ is the phrase that hangs heavy in that sentence, the Mauricio Pochettino years. Dier is frank when assessing a five-year chunk of his life from 2014 to 2019 when, with Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen, Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld, Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier, Danny Rose, Dele Alli, Son Heung-min all at their peak, Tottenham reached a Champions League final, challenged for Premier League titles in 2016 and 2017 and genuinely had a team to take on the world.
Most players adopt a ‘no regrets’, blind positivity to any sense of falling short in a sporting context. Dier’s words are a little more reflective than that.
‘Looking back, getting to the Champions League final probably painted over a lot of the cracks from that season itself,’ he said.
‘And getting to the Champions League final and then losing it, it was a lot for all of us to take.
‘That group had been together, pretty much everyone, for four or five years. And it was something we’d been working towards. But football doesn’t stop, it doesn’t give us a breather. So after the final, before you know it, you’re going into the new season and it’s pre-season again. I don’t think everyone had got over it by then.
‘I don’t think emotionally that everyone was back. And you saw that going into that season [2019-20, when Pochettino was sacked in November]. We felt it in the building that the comedown from that was still happening. Which is completely normal.
‘I don’t know how you fight it but we had five-and-a-half years incredible years, we didn’t win a trophy and that’s going to haunt us all forever. But it was still a great, great time at the club and I look back on it with amazing memories. They were a special group.’
Dier admitted it will haunt Tottenham players they didn’t win a trophy under Mauricio Pochettino despite several close calls
Dier feels 2016-17 was the year the team were at their strongest and title eluded them, not 2015-16 when Leicester won.
‘The year that Chelsea won it, they weren’t playing any European football, so they were focused on the Premier League and that was the difference that season,’ he said. ‘Because that season was fantastic. I feel like more that year than 2016 we had a fantastic group all the way through the squad, the manager and his staff so we can all look back with great memories but there’s always going to be that…’ he pauses, for the right word, ‘…sore spot. It will stay with us forever.
‘In terms of what we learned, I look back at the time and I feel like, as a squad, we did give everything for that moment to happen. But football’s cruel sometimes. For one reason or another it didn’t. In terms of the culture in the building, the work ethic in the building, everything throughout was exceptional.’
His hope is that the Conte era will reboot the trophy challenging days. ‘That’s definitely my ambition,’ he said. ‘It’s definitely the manager’s ambition, definitely the squad’s ambition. It’s easy to talk about those things. I can say whatever I want but we need to show every day at the training ground and take that into games.’
For Dier personally, the last two years have been a difficult period, which have seen him go from England penalty shootout hero against Colombia in 2018 to being dropped from the squad for Euro 2020, despite being one of the characters Gareth Southgate most relies on. The moment the phone rang prior to the announcement and he saw it was from Southgate, he knew what was coming.
‘It’s probably the hardest thing I’ve had happen to me in my career, which, at same time, tells me how lucky I’ve been,’ he said.
‘A huge disappointment, you can either let it get you down or get on with it, get through it and react in the best possible way.
‘My ambition is always to be in the England squad and that’s my target. I feel very lucky, I have lots of great people around me. An hour after that call, I was having dinner with Jan Vertonghen in Lisbon. And then I just look at positives. I had a full pre-season. I hadn’t experienced that for so, so long, I really enjoyed it.’
It also allowed him to gain a fresh perspective on the game. Dier clambered into the crowd at Tottenham in March 2020 after fans were abusing his brother and received a four-match ban for it.
Dier is not afraid to speak out about topics such as Brexit and cancel culture
While not condoning abuse, he feels he understands fans’ frustrations better. He said: ‘The Euros were a good education for me as I watched games around other people, which rarely happens. You get to see the average football fan. You have a lot better understanding where it’s coming from.’
He feels sometimes there is not sufficient understanding of the context of a tactical decision. ‘But football is amazing because it’s so emotional and there is so much emotion involved in it and that’s why I love football,’ he said.
‘I love everything around it. It’s normal that people and fans, players, everyone involved, can go too far sometimes because the emotions can get the better of you, because football gets to that point in you and that’s the beauty of it.’
Dier is one of football’s articulate ambassadors, not shy in addressing extra-curricular issues. That much was clear when, at the height of the Brexit fall-out in 2019, when parliament was debating whether a confirmatory vote on the referendum should be allowed, Dier dared to express an opinion. English to the core — his grandfather was Football Association secretary Ted Croker — he was brought up in Portugal and set his stall out against Brexit simply with one tweet: ‘#PeoplesVote’.
That predictably prompted a raft of people telling him to stick to football and you wonder whether his finger hovered over the ‘send’ button as he weighed up whether to get involved in such a polarising debate.
‘No, not really,’ he said. ‘I was in Barcelona at the time with Tottenham for a week of training so I was in my hotel room a lot and it was really angering me. It was really annoying me at the time.
‘I don’t regret it all. I’m very strongly against it [Brexit] and time is telling, showing that [it’s wrong for the country].
‘I grew up abroad so I feel very strongly about it in that sense, because I was in another country all my life. There are so many sides to Brexit and so many sides I don’t understand but, just from a human level…
‘One of the problems was the huge detachment between London and the rest of the country and how the rest of the country felt versus London. And that’s something that’s a really interesting topic, just because London is so multicultural and so diverse.
‘It’s an incredible city in that way and, when my friends visit from abroad, that’s what they gravitate towards, how amazing it is to have different people from all over the world living in this city, in a country which, compared to lots, is so free. That’s London, there are different issues [in other areas]…
‘I can only speak for where I live and that was a beautiful thing. But at the time, every time it [the peoples’ vote] was going to Parliament and getting rejected. I still think it’s a real shame.’
Dier is hopeful of working his way back into the England fold after missing the Euros
Dier breaks the mould of the stereotype but insists he is not an outsider in football’s bubble.
‘People would be very surprised about the topics spoken about in a dressing room,’ he said. ‘Football players are very much pigeonholed into a the way that footballers are: money, cars, tattoos. I have no problem with any of those things! I like nice things. I like nice cars. And that’s normal. I’m a 27-year-old boy, so that’s completely normal. I just think that when players fit the stereotype, it’s OK but when one doesn’t and he’s doing something else with his time other than PlayStation, it’s a problem.’
That said, he understands why some are cautious about opening up on subjects outside the game. He recounts a recent benign interview when he was being asked about London, which included the question where he would most like to be buried in London. ‘I said, “I’m not from London, Tottenham is my only attachment to London, so the stadium would be as good a place as any.”
And the title was: “Eric Dier wants to be buried atTottenham Stadium!” The boys at training were battering me. It was harmless but that’s the type of thing!
‘But players are feeling more and more open about talking about those things. This whole conversation about “Oh, you’re losing your focus on football” … I totally disagree. Because football for me is the most important thing and I would never lose my focus on it. I’ve seen Gary Neville talk about the whole social media thing and how the players don’t write their own tweets.
‘I agree it’s a real shame players don’t and that they can’t be more personal. But at the same time, players are so terrified of writing something wrong or saying the wrong word or writing a message that gets perceived in the wrong way. Then there’s outrage at this post that they’ve made and then you’re cancelled! For there to be progress, there needs to uncomfortable conversations and at the moment it’s very difficult to have uncomfortable conversations because anyone’s view can be misinterpreted or put in a certain way.’
For the record, he confirms that he does write his own tweets. ‘I write all my own and I know a lot of players do. What I don’t like is any unnecessary attention on me when I don’t really need it. More and more footballers are feeling more and more comfortable to speak about different subjects and rightly so. I don’t see why we shouldn’t be allowed to express our opinions.’
He has his limits, however. He dislikes the superficiality aspect of social media grandstanding. We discuss COP26 and the environment, because he is at the stadium to launch Tottenham’s new battery technology partner, which provides sustainable energy. He is keen to address the issues but careful to avoid giving the impression that the world can be changed by an Instagram story.
He says: ‘I’m definitely interested in it [environmentalism]. It’s important we try to do as much as we can. I’m not a scientist but it seems clear it is a huge issue and one that could cause a lot of problems in the future for the younger generation, so it’s up to the younger people to try to push this subject.’
He discusses the complexity of making such a case when football is an industry where flying is essential at present. ‘Of course. I’m definitely not perfect. I could still do a lot better myself. But everyone can,’ he says. But when a footballer commits to a cause, Dier insists there is a need for authenticity. ‘What I don’t like is to see people with influence take advantage,’ he says. ‘I wouldn’t speak to you about sustainability unless I educated myself on the subject and do have a genuine interest in it.
‘For me, that’s really important, that you’re not just putting out a soundbite. If you are a person who has a big following and who has a lot of influence over a lot of people, it’s important you respect that.
‘When it comes from a genuine place and you’ve done the research and genuinely know what you’re talking about, then I’m a huge fan of it. Footballers have always been a little scared of talking about different subjects.’
Maybe once upon a time. Not so much now and definitely not Dier.
ERIC DIER was speaking on behalf of VivoPower, Tottenham’s Official Battery Technology Partner, providing sustainable energy solutions across the club’s stadium campus and training centre.
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Tottenham star Eric Dier on Brexit, cancel culture and the joys of working with Antonio Conte
LONDON — The British and Irish governments expressed optimism Thursday that a thorny spat between the U.K. and the European Union over Northern Ireland trade can be resolved, but Ireland’s top diplomat indicated that negotiations were likely to drag on into next year.
Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said the talks over post-Brexit rules for Northern Ireland, the only part of the U.K. that shares a border with an EU member, had not produced a “breakthrough moment.” But neither has there been a breakdown that seemed to loom for months.
“Do I think that all issues can be resolved linked to the (Northern Ireland) protocol by the end of the year? I think that’s a very tall order and unlikely to happen,” Coveney said after a meeting of U.K. and Irish ministers in London.
Under a deal agreed to before Britain’s departure from the EU last year, Northern Ireland remains inside the EU’s tariff-free single market for goods. The provision was designed to maintain an open border on the island of Ireland – a key pillar of Northern Ireland’s peace process.
But it created a new customs border in the Irish Sea for goods entering Northern Ireland from the rest of the U.K., even though they are part of the same country. That has brought red tape and supply problems for some businesses, and has angered Northern Ireland’s British Unionists, who say the checks undermine Northern Ireland’s place in the U.K. and destabilize the delicate political balance on which peace rests.
The U.K. is seeking major changes to the arrangements and has threatened to use an emergency break clause to suspend parts of the legally binding Brexit divorce agreement, if no solution is found. Using the emergency clause, known as Article 16, would trigger EU retaliation and could spiral into a trade war between the U.K. and the 27-nation bloc.
“Triggering Article 16, in my view, from an EU perspective, will move us into a new space where we don’t want to go because I think that will be a signal that negotiation has failed,” Coveney said.
Britain’s language toward the EU has grown less belligerent in recent weeks, with ministers saying they would prefer to strike a deal rather than act unilaterally.
U.K. Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis said Thursday he was “an optimist” about the outcome of the talks, which remain snagged over Britain’s insistence that the EU remove its top court from its role in resolving any disputes over the agreement — an idea the bloc flatly rejects.
“I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to come to a positive resolution with the EU. Our focus has got to be about resolving the issues for the people of Northern Ireland,” Lewis told reporters.
Lewis and Coveney declined to confirm a report in the Financial Times that U.S. concerns about the dispute’s impact on Northern Ireland peace had led Washington to drag its feet on lifting tariffs on British steel, something it has done for steel from the EU.
Coveney said the U.S. had played a big role in securing peace in Northern Ireland, “and they watch it closely.”
“It’s not new that there are concerns in Washington in terms of the impact of the sort of polarized politics around the protocol and its implementation on the broader peace process and political stability in Northern Ireland,” he said.
“The U.S. can speak for themselves on that,” he said. “But for us, this is about trying to find accommodation, trying to settle difficult issues for both sides in a way that can allow us to move on and that will continue to be our focus.”
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The cryptocurrency industry in the U.S is reeling under intense regulatory scrutiny and uncertainty. Market participants have been waiting with bated breaths for financial authorities to release a regulatory framework. To that objective, Bahamian-based cryptocurrency exchange FTX released a list of principles and proposals to help policymakers build the regulatory framework.
The timing “FTX’s Key Principles for Market Regulation” blog was interesting. It came just days after House Committee on Financial Services’ chair, Maxine Waters invited several CEOs of major cryptocurrency exchanges in the country, including FTX’s Samuel Bankman-Fried. The agenda of the meeting – to discuss digital assets and the future of finance
The 10 key principles and proposals released by FTX include policy recommendations for market structures. It especially included those followed by leading cryptocurrency exchanges, along with regulatory implementation, transparency, and security.
One of the proposals included in the blog suggested an alternative regulatory approach of implementing a unified regulatory regime for spot and derivatives marketplaces, which would be governed through a primary regulator model. It further elaborated,
“…for traded crypto markets, the key principles for market regulation generally apply equally across spot and derivatives markets, and commodities and securities markets. That is, the regulatory label on a given product or market need not change the core goals of regulation, and the same rule sets should generally apply across all markets.”
Other proposals included the need for a direct membership market structure, where entities would be allowed to carry out regulated trades without the requirement of a third party.
Another recommendation highlighted the demand for greater transparency around crypto-asset custodians. This is to ensure that the platform’s users have greater visibility into the security and recovery plans that custodians have prepared in the case of fraud and theft.
It also included a demand for reporting transactional activity to avoid market manipulation and ensure customer protection. In line with concerns often raised by regulatory watchdogs such as SEC Chair Gary Gensler, the blog also underscored the importance of regulating stablecoin issuance. It said,
“A platform operator that permits the use of stable coins for settlement of transactions should be required to explain the standards the platform operator uses in deciding which stable coins it permits for such purposes.”
Last month, Binance had also released a set of ‘10 Fundamental Rights’ for crypto users amid heightened regulatory pressure. These had included points for financial inclusion, “smart regulation,” personal data privacy, reliable security, and rules around selling crypto derivatives.
Earlier this week, Gensler had doubled down on his calls for more oversight of cryptocurrency trading platforms. While stressing the need for registration, the watchdog had warned exchanges that they could no longer “throw a fastball” by the SEC.
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Recently, the RBI cautioned the public against some co-operative credit societies using the word “bank” in their names. Further, it has been clarified that these entities aren’t allowed to perform banking activities, as per the Banking Regulation Act, 1949, through acceptance of deposits from non-members, and nominal or associate members. Nor are their deposits protected under the deposit insurance cover of DICGC. The RBI has exhorted the public to be cautious with such misleading co-operative credit societies.
This is not the first time that the central bank has issued such an advisory. A similar press release was issued on November 29, 2017. The only difference is the reference to the statute that is supposed to have been violated. The latest advice differs from the earlier advisory by mentioning the violation of Section 7 of the Banking Regulation Act while bringing in the amendments introduced by the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Act, 2020 (Act 39 of 2020) which came into force on September 29, 2020, whereas the earlier notice made a reference to Section 7 of the Banking Regulation Act (As Applicable to Co-operative Societies) only.
However, this is the tip of the iceberg. The co-operative credit societies are plagued by a myriad of problems, which need to be addressed urgently.
The vast number of co-operative credit societies aim to promote economic interests of their members. They can maintain accounts and accept deposits from members only and not from non-members. They are registered and regulated by the Registrar of Co-operative Societies of the respective State governments and by the Central Registrar of Co-operative Societies if these entities function in more than one State. However, these societies do not come under the RBI scanner despite accepting deposits from and disbursing loans to their members.
While those co-operative credit societies with reserves and paid-up capital of over ₹1 lakh have to seek a licence from the RBI, most of them operate with a lower capital to avoid regulatory oversight.
Co-operative credit societies are governed by anachronistic and arcane laws, and their customers stand to lose if these societies go bust. There could be systemic repercussions too. This is buttressed by the fact that some of these societies registered under the Multi-State Co-operative Societies Act, 2002 have reportedly garnered public deposits running into thousands of crores during the last ten years.
Interestingly, one such entity carries the following disclaimer on its website: “Multi-State Cooperative Societies are functioning as autonomous cooperative organisations accountable to their members and not under the administrative control of the Central Registrar, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare. Therefore, the depositors/members are advised to take decision for investing deposits based on the performance of their society at their own risk. Central Registrar, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare does not provide any guarantee for these deposits.”
Frequently we come across advertisements by some co-operative credit societies offering exorbitantly high interest rates (say 12 per cent) on their deposits, compared to what banks — commercial or co-operative — offer. In that case, the question is at what rate of interest would they be lending and to whom? Since these societies have little fee-based income, let us assume that they keep a minimum spread of 6-8 per cent so that they can pay salaries and wages to their employees and service the deposits. In that case, they should be lending at least at 18-20 per cent. If so, who could be the borrowers?
This is important because if a borrower is capable of borrowing at over 20 per cent he must be investing the money in very high yielding assets so that he can repay the loan and also keep an adequate margin for himself. In the real or even financial sector, it is very difficult to get such a high return.
The borrowers of this sort must be investing in highly risky and fragile assets, thus jeopardising the entire co-operative credit structure. There may be connected lending or on-lending to others in the unregulated market at still higher rates too.
So how can the societies lend to such risky borrowers, which is totally inimical to the health of the financial sector in general? Since these societies have very thin base of capital and reserves, they are ab initio fragile, and if many fail like this, a ‘domino effect’ could ensue.
Who are the depositors?
Another pertinent question is who are the depositors? Money launderers, since these societies are not subject to Know Your Customer rules and Anti-Money Laundering laws? The very fact that the societies are offering such high rates of interest, totally misaligned with the market, should raise a doubt in the minds of the people that all isn’t well with them. Why the societies are in such desperate need of funds? Are they trying to avoid a collapse?
Here a question may be asked as to the working of the Registrars of Co-operative Societies. Are they monitoring properly and adequately? A more fundamental question would be: Are they ‘modernised’ enough to do so? Ill-functioning societies need to be isolated and special precautionary investigations must be held by the controllers and supervisors.
Going by the repeated warnings issued by the RBI, it appears that the central bank may be having definite information on co-operative societies circumventing the provisions of Section 7 of the Banking Regulation Act. If that be the case, it is essential that appropriate legal action is initiated against the wrongdoers to protect the interests of depositors and safeguard the institutional framework governing the conduct of banking activities.
There is also another warning that such societies may be taking undue advantage of the poor in financially excluded areas and exploiting them. This is a lesson for financial inclusion. Can DICGC, an RBI subsidiary, take any step as the insurer of deposits? They cannot, unless and until the societies are legally brought into their ambit.
Member-depositors have to be careful before putting in money in these kinds of societies. They should be first concerned about the safety of their principal and then the return thereon. It is better to be safe than sorry.
Internal surveillance mechanism has to improve substantially.
A majority of the ills will be remedied if the State governments, along with RBI, regulate and supervise these societies. This will be good for both the common man and the financial sector at large. The ticking of the time bomb must be stopped fast and at any cost. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.
Das is a former senior economist, SBI, and Rath is a former Chief General Manager, RBI. Views are personal
New retirement planning rule gets it right: Sustainable investing is here to stay
By Georges Dyer, opinion contributor
12/04/21 01:30 PM EST
The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the view of The Hill