Bitcoin Daily: UBS Group Head Skeptical of Bitcoin’s Longevity; RM Sotheby’s to Take Crypto for Payment

UBS Group Bitcoin RM Sotheby's Crypto Payment Deutsche Bank

Speaking at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum on Wednesday (Nov. 17), Axel Weber, chairman of UBS Group AG, shared his skepticism around bitcoin and said the concept of anonymous payments won’t last.

Weber’s comments are consistent with his past views on cryptocurrency.

“I love the technology, I think the idea of having instantaneous transactions between a large number of people — fantastic,” Weber said, per Bloomberg. However, he thinks the idea of moving payments away from banks and cash into an “anonymous vehicle where both sides of the transactions are not known” wouldn’t last.

Weber compared it to times when governments phased out big-denomination bank notes in an effort to avoid unidentifiable big transactions. He said authorities wanted to stave off illegal activities and that at the end of the day, governments “will not tolerate” the cryptocurrency boom.

Meanwhile, Deutsche Bank analyst Marion Laboure thinks bitcoin has hurdles to overcome before the coin can be considered a completely viable option for global payments, CoinDesk reported Wednesday (Nov. 17).

Laboure says some of those hurdles are “extreme volatility, high transaction costs and its large carbon footprint.”

She added that while the bitcoin network can process up to seven transactions every second, equating to to 600,000 transactions per day, Visa can handle up to 24,000 transactions per second — more than two billion transactions a day.

Laboure did offer a solution in the form of the Lightning Network, which works on boosting scalability for bitcoin through more speed and less costs.

The Lightning Network has said it can process 25 million transactions a second, and costs 4 cents per transaction. That would make it a thousand times faster than Visa, and cheaper at that. However, the report says both Visa and Mastercard have bigger transaction volumes than Lightning Network.

Meanwhile, car auction house RM Sotheby’s announced on Wednesday (Nov. 17) that it will begin taking cryptocurrency payments for goods and services. The new service will be offered through BitPay, the largest global provider of such services.

By being able to accept crypto, RM Sotheby’s will be able to tap into the burgeoning crypto scene, drawing in new customers and sales.

RM Sotheby’s Chief Strategy Officer Bryon Madsen said crypto has become “a significant part of the financial landscape,” so the company wanted to offer it as an option.

Finally, Marathon Digital Holdings’ shares fell almost 28% on Monday (Nov. 15) after the company said it had gotten a subpoena from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The subpoena was in regards to a Hardin, Montana data center the company ran.

CEO Fred Thiel spoke on Bloomberg TV and said they’re “limited in what they can say,” but that the company shared the news of the subpoena out of a desire to be transparent.