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8th November 2022 > > Santander.

Updated: Nov 9, 2022


Santander really is a legacy financial institution.

Market Snap

Market Wrap

And now we lose the 2-handle. Again. See below about FTX.

Occasional Series – FTX

FTX is a large, centralised cryptocurrency exchange – in 2021 FTX and Binance accounted for approximately 30% of all trading volumes, a combined $27.5 TRILLION.

FTX’s stablecoin reserves are down 91% over the last two weeks.

FTX’s main wallet has been leaking assets and is now valued at $2bn of which more than half is its own token, FTT (FTX token).

FTX’s ETH balance dropped 70% over the weekend.

All stats sourced from The Milk Road.

If you are a user of FTX, and you have cryptos or fiat stored there, you should move them off the platform whilst you can. There is a growing threat of insolvency, which implies a steep haircut of your assets and years of delay accessing what little might be left.

Funny things going on over at Alameda too, a sister firm of FTX which acts like a hedge fund. The balance sheet claims to have over $14bn of assets but 40% is in FTT - approximately $6bn. However, the total market cap of FTT is only $2.4bn suggesting that Alameda’s auditors need to invest in a new calculator.

Curious Cryptos’ Commentary – Santander

Santander has announced that from 15th November 2022, retail clients will be limited in the amount of fiat they can transfer to centralised cryptocurrency exchanges such as Coinbase to a total of £1,000 per transfer, and a total transfer value of £3,000 in every 30-day rolling period:

This move is justified as follows:

“In recent months we've seen a large increase in UK customers become victims of cryptocurrency fraud.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has warned consumers about the risks of investing in crypto assets as money held in customers’ crypto wallets is unlikely to be protected by the Financial Ombudsman Service and Financial Services Compensation Scheme if something goes wrong.

We want to do everything we can to protect our customers and we feel that limiting payments to cryptocurrency exchanges is the best way to make sure your money stays safe.”

Which may sound reasonable to some in principle, but the press release confirms that senior management at Santander are sorely lacking in crypto knowledge.

Why do I make this claim?

The statement says:

“We’ll continue to stop payments being sent to Binance. This follows the FCA's warning to consumers about this cryptocurrency exchange and is to help protect you against fraud.”

It includes this link:

This link is a warning from the FCA about Binance Markets Ltd. whose business is to offer leveraged products on cryptos. Binance Markets Ltd. does not, and never has, carried out any business in the UK, making this warning rather redundant in principle and in practice.

The statement also makes clear that the FCA does not regulate any cryptos other than those considered as securities, without providing clarification as to which cryptos it considers as securities, if any at all.

Santander’s senior management have neither read the FCA warning properly, nor do they have a thorough understanding of how cryptos fit into the regulated landscape.

If I was a client of Santander, I would now be feeling very uncomfortable leaving my bank account in the hands of such ill-informed people.

Curious Cryptos’ Commentary – Santander part II

Reuters reports that from an as yet unspecified date in 2023, Santander will ban all payments to all centralised cryptocurrency exchanges:

I note the reporter for Reuters makes the same mistake as Santander senior management in confusing Binance Markets Ltd. with Binance, the centralised cryptocurrency exchange. Honestly, the quality of financial reporting seems to get worse daily.

Clearly Santander is putting no store in the crypto revolution, the greatest technological advance ever made by humankind.

Santander is a public company and is perfectly entitled to decide it will not facilitate payments to cryptocurrency exchanges. Customers who wish to engage in the crypto world will simply take their business elsewhere.

But this example is illustrative of one of the many dangers inherent in CBDCs (Central Bank Digital Currencies).

One can easily imagine a scenario in which the UK government bans use of GBP CBDCs for gambling, the French government bans EUR CBDCs for use of legal pornographic websites, and the US government bans USD CBDCs for the purchase of alcohol, or perhaps more than three McDonald’s hamburgers in a day.

Now you might agree with the sentiment behind any one of these potential bans, but if we grant the ability to governments to make value and moral judgements on our behalf that will lead rapidly to a dystopian nightmare of coercion and control exercised by an army of faceless bureaucrats.

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