The Week in Crypto: Nov. 5 – Nov. 11
Chicago Options trader reports record low trading volatility
Kevin Davitt, a senior member of The Options Institute at the Chicago Board of Exchange (CBOE), reported the CBOE saw record low levels of volatility in the bitcoin futures market last month. While the CBOE XBT futures instrument has had an average weekly value of 15.65% since its launch in December 2017, October’s average came in at 6.6%, which was “far and away the lowest monthly average.” Furthermore, the result continues the general trend of declining volatility since the launch. However, not all commentators see this as a good sign. BitMEX CEO Arthur Hayes argues “[c]ontrary to popular belief, Bitcoin requires volatility if it is ever to gain mainstream adoption. The price of Bitcoin is the best and most transparent way to communicate the health of the ecosystem. It advertises to the world that something is happening – whether that is positive or negative is irrelevant.”
Iran launches Rial-backed crypto pilot
An Iranian rial-backed cryptocurrency, reported to have been in the works for months, has moved into the pilot phase after gaining approval from the Iranian Central Bank. In an interview with IBENA, a central bank-linked news agency, Seyyed Abotaleb Najafi, CEO of Informatics Services Corporation, the development company, said in this first stage the currency will be available only to Iranian commercial banks for use as a payment option when settling inter-bank transactions.
The announcement comes days after the Trump administration announced a fresh round of sanctions aimed at cutting Iran off from the international monetary system. Likely inspired by the Venezuelan PETRO currency, the Iranian cryptocurrency potentially allows them to circumvent the sanctions by offering an alternative to the international clearing system, SWIFT, which was forced to sever ties with Iran.
Apple pulls plug on “Off the Chain” podcast, then reverses course
Off the Chain, the popular cryptocurrency investing podcast, was pulled from the iTunes store without any notice. Anthony “Pomp” Pompliano, the show’s host, broke the news via Twitter while claiming the cut came after an episode with Murad Mahmudov, a noted Bitcoin proponent, on the reason fiat currencies are doomed to fail and why governments should embrace cryptocurrencies. Apple failed to respond to follow-up questions regarding its actions, but began reoffering the podcast a few days later. Said Pompliano, “this has highlighted the challenges of centralized organizations. Regardless of the reason for Apple’s actions, an individual corporation was able to make a unilateral decision to censor content. They didn’t give us a warning or explanation.”