Etienne's newsletter: 🇪🇺 Crypto Weekly #21, AZTEC Protocol Interview, Ledger Partnership Announcement and Survey Findings

European Governments and stablecoins, The new largest EU crypto hedge fund in London, Telegram TON etc...

Hi Everyone,

This is issue #21 of my European crypto newsletter aiming to give updates on corporates, startups and regulation in 🇪🇺 If you’d like to sign up, you can do so here.

This edition is pretty packed with exciting news

  • Ledger Vault and my newsletter signed a partnership, we’ll have some interviews and product reviews. Thank you Ledger!

  • We interviewed Tom from AZTEC Protocol [Source]

  • I published the findings of my survey so that readers can understand better what community we are building [Source]

  • Lots of exciting news of new products, new funds and also European governments starting to have strong views on stablecoins

Thank you for supporting the European crypto ecosystem!

Etienne Twitter,

🏦Welcome to our first sponsor: Ledger Vault

I am super excited in having Ledger as our first sponsor. Since 2014, Ledger has been building solutions to keep crypto assets safe. First with their Ledger hardware wallet (Nano) for the consumer market and more recently with Ledger Vault for the institutional investor space. The company started in Paris and has now expanded rapidly in the US and in Asia 🚀. 

Thank you Ledger for supporting the crypto European ecosystem 🇪🇺

Note, this sponsorship will not change how our editorial process works.

🙏 Survey of my EU Crypto newsletter findings

Back in August, I was interviewing a company and they asked me ‘Do you have any info on your reader base? like Where are they from? What do they do?’etc…’ I answered that I did not, aside that they were interested in crypto and Europe. So I decided to send out a survey using Typeform (big shoutout! You guys are doing a great job!

See what I found below and what I learned - below super quick summary.

  • An overweight of EU readers but still an international reach

  • Not surprisingly, London weighs heavily but there is a substantial reader base outside of the classic crypto hub

  • Great place for projects to connect with angels, Finance and VCs

  • An experienced workforce with 46% of the readers with 10+ years of work experience

  • Almost everyone wants more curated news on the European Union and new products

  • What’s next: To add more landscape, new product deep dives and podcast!

Click here to read the analysis

🙈Who’s behind this? AZTEC Protocol, Tom (CEO & Co-founder)

This section aims to give the opportunity to introduce some of the best 🇪🇺 founders. Most people loves their products but don’t know who are the founders behind them. Hello World.

AZTEC Protocol

Hi Tom, we met back when you were at EF. At the time you were building creditmint and now AZTEC Protocol. In just few months your company has become the leading zero knowledge transactions solution on Ethereum. Your team has one of the strongest crypto / engineer individuals that I know. What’s even cooler is that you are based in London. Only few people know who is behind your company, Can you share a bit about your background?

I first started working with Zac in January 2017, just weekends at first. I came from finance and Zac had trained as a physicist and C++ developer. I had been working in a quiet corner of the debt markets and here was a seemingly perfect technology to build a sort of vending machine for company loans. I really liked the idea you could programme a swap between assets without a clearing house — the great paperweight of a public ledger could take settlement risk out of multi-trillion dollar markets.

But we soon realised privacy on Ethereum was quite a long way off. The only known technique at the time (the SNARK) was too expensive to run on mainnet. And pseudo-anonymity (the idea that a busy network with lots of transactions can help to ‘smudge over’ one’s transaction history) wasn’t good enough — the finance industry needs confidential transactions. So during our six month stint at the Biscuit Factory, Zac plunged into cryptography, and soon surfaced with a spec for AZTEC 1.0. We were lucky to work with Jens Groth, creator of the mathematics now running ZCash (GROTH16). He helped Zac build the soundness proof.

We doubled the team on the Entrepreneur First programme — Arnaud and Joe were in our cohort. Both are exceptional engineers as well as deep thinkers, and the four of us still run the company.

Continue reading this awesome interview here.

💵 Job of the week

  • Quant Trader - London - 3+ years of experience - Top Crypto Market Market and OTC. Contact: and sign up to the Typeform

  • Crypto Trading Operations Support - 2+ years of experience - Kraken Futures. Contact: [Link]

  • Strategic Partnership Manager (Banking/Payments) - Madrid - 3-5 years of experience - BitPesa. Contact [Link]

🐦 Tweet of the week

And a great announcement from the Bottle team!

🤹 Startups

  • Blackmoon, a blockchain-based fintech company, announced that it will be one of the first exchanges to list Telegram’s Gram token for trading. To provide this service, the company has partnered with Gram Vault, one of the few custody providers for Gram token and regulated under the Swiss laws. The native tokens of the messaging platform will directly flow from Gram Vault to the exchange [Source]

  • Crypto and fiat digital payment platform Wirex announced the launch of its new rewards program for its Visa cardholders rewarded up to 1.5 percent in Bitcoin if users hold at least 500k WXT tokens [Source]

  • Marius Reitz, GM for Africa at Luno, claimed crypto exceeding more than $5.4m was processed on Luno’s South African platform on a daily basis in the past month and reached a milestone of 3m wallets across 40 countries on its platform [Source]

  • CryptoFacilities Benchmarks received authorization from the FCA to become a Benchmark Administrator under the European Benchmarks Regulation (EU BMR) - a first in the UK. With this, financial service firms across Europe can use CF Benchmarks’ in any European financial products after the full effect of EU BMR on January 1, 2020 [Source]

  • Hodl Hodl plans to make its software freely available so anyone can launch their own version of the peer-to-peer bitcoin exchange [Source] - As a reminder, Hodl Hodl’s founders believe they don’t have to identify customers because the exchange never takes custody of users’ funds


  • Alfa-Bank and X5 Retail Group partnered to launch a blockchain liquidity management service in Russia. According to a press release published by the bank, the service — dubbed Distributed Treasury and Cash Management (DTCM) — enables Alfa-Bank’s corporate clients to manage their payments, loan and deposit products, as well as liquidity pool inside the holding [Source]

  • Banco Santander issued what it claims is the first end-to-end blockchain bond. The bank revealed that it had issued a $20m bond directly onto the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain, where it will remain until the end of its one-year maturity [Source]

🏦Regulations / Universities

  • The government of Germany has spoken against the authorization of the development of Facebook’s forthcoming Libra stablecoin in the European Union "Up to now, the economy has done a great job in countering crises and inflation with measures taken by central banks. Once a digital currency provider dominates the market, it will be quite difficult for competitors." [Source]

  • This is following that French Finance Minister saying that he would be discussing the potential for a European public digital currency while he reiterated his concerns that the proposed Libra stablecoin could pose risks for consumers, financial stability and even “the sovereignty of European states.” [Source]

  • While the rest of the European leaders seem against the launch of Libra stablecoin

    • Mark Carney (Governor the Bank of England) says stockpiling dollars has become a barrier to global trade and thus, see a currency backed by a large group of nations would unlock dollar funds that governments currently hoard as an insurance policy in uncertain times [Source]

    • The Switzerland’s financial watchdog see Libra ‘fitting perfectly’ into Switzerland’s regulatory framework and would like to see international cooperation and oversight to regulate Facebook’s planned cryptocurrency network [Source]

  • French economy minister Bruno Le Maire said that French authorities won’t tax crypto-to-crypto trades, but will tax when cryptocurrencies are sold for fiat currency. In line with other European countries such as Portugal that clarified that both cryptocurrency trading and payments in crypto will not be taxed in the country [Source]

  • Poland Authority Charges Crypto Exchange BitMarket Co-Founder. The investigation into the exchange follows on from it closing down suddenly in July. The investigation found that from mid-2015 until the 7th of July 2019, the founders of BitMarket, misled its customers, which led to users of the exchange losing at least 2,300 bitcoins, which amounts to around PLN 100 million ($25.3 million) [Source]

  • On the back of AMLD 5, New AML Laws will not only force domestic companies to register with the central bank but that foreign entities will also not be allowed to conduct services within the country [Source] - It would be interesting to see what impact it has on Deribit


  • U.K.-licensed Nickel Asset Management says it has raised $50m for a fund aimed to make profits off the volatility of cryptocurrencies. The firm said Monday it has now “soft closed” its Nickel Arbitrage Fund to new investors, two months after launch. The raise was joined by funds of funds and family offices in the U.K., Europe, North America and Singapore [Source] - I am a big fan of the Nickel’s team. And just like that they have now the largest EU crypto fund! Congrats

  • Square Crypto, the crypto-focused branch of mobile payment company Square, took to Twitter to announce that it is providing BTCPay Foundation with a grant of $100,000 to support BTCPay Server, an open-source cryptocurrency payment processor [Source] - BTCPay is an open source project but its founder, Nicolas Dorier, is Swiss French and also works with the awesome people of Metaco

🕹️ Products of the week

  • Cindicator launches Edge, a new product for CND token holders, announces a partnership with Kyber. Cindicator Edge is a web application for receiving and tracking Hybrid Intelligence indicators for 150+ digital assets. Thanks to Kyber, users can acquire CND tokens directly in the Edge app without going to an exchange and then transferring tokens to an external wallet [Source] - This is very interesting as Cindicator Edge could be the dashboard for crypto traders accessing DEXes and alternative data on a single window

Everyone is talking about San Francisco as the epicentre of everything in crypto. Well, I wanted to shed light on Europe and show how exciting the ecosystem is.

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