High Times Will Not Accept Bitcoin in Its Initial Public Offering

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Marijuana culture media group High Times Holding Corp. has decided not to accept Bitcoin (BTC) in its initial public offering (IPO), according to an August 13 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The decision runs counter to the company’s Aug. 3 announcement, where it stated it will accept cryptocurrencies in order to attract investors.

In the beginning of August, High Times published a press release saying it would accept BTC and Ethereum (ETH) as a method of payment for subscription to the company’s shares. In the run-up to the IPO, High Times filed a Regulation A+ offering that enables smaller businesses to raise up to $50 million of funding from the general public within a 12-month period.

While High Times initially claimed that accepting cryptocurrencies in its IPO would make it the “first traditional stock offering ever to accept investments” in digital currencies, the SEC file states that the announcement was a mistake:

“This press release was distributed in error as the Company will not be accepting Bitcoin as payment for shares. As provided in the Company’s subscription agreement related to the offering, the Company will only be accepting check, credit card, ACH or wire transfer as payment for subscription to shares.”

The SEC document does not give reference to the other digital currency, ETH, which was also mentioned as a method of payment in the original press release.

Cryptocurrencies have been seen by many in the cannabis industry as a solution to banking bans and some of the industry’s legal woes by becoming an alternative to cash payments while the drug still remains illegal at the federal level. Banks’ unwillingness to deal with cannabis-related payments means that customers cannot use credit or debit cards to make purchases. A lack of banking makes marijuana dispensaries targets for robbers and thieves due to the large amount of cash on hand.

In order to create a better environment for the industry’s vendors, the digital currency Dash partnered with blockchain startup Alt Thirty Six in 2017 to integrate Dash as a payment option in the cannabis industry’s point of sale system. Dash claimed that providing a cashless option could save merchants up to 15 percent.

The blockchain investment arm of U.S. internet retailer Overstock announced that its investment choice Bitsy has begun a limited beta launch of its cryptocurrency wallet and exchange, the companies confirmed in a press release Friday, September 14.

Bitsy, which seeks to offer users custody of their holdings via private keys while facilitating password recovery using biometric security, will initially support Bitcoin (BTC) buying, with undisclosed altcoin assets to follow.

As a bonus, Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne confirmed, customers would now be able to purchase Bitcoin directly from its website via the integration with Bitsy.

“Bitsy sets a new standard for cryptocurrency wallets. It is a game-changer because it gives users the freedom that bitcoin has always promised,” he commented in the release:

“[I]ntegrating with Bitsy will allow Overstock to take the next step in its cryptocurrency journey by allowing the company to offer bitcoin for sale directly from the retail website.”

The move marks the latest commitment to Bitcoin from the retail giant, which first began accepting the cryptocurrency in January 2014.

Earlier this month, Byrne surprised many by selling 10 percent of his equity in the company in order to reinvest the proceeds in two investment projects and satisfy tax obligations.

Another Overstock subsidiary, tZERO, wrapped up its (Initial Coin Offering) ICO proceedings last month, with plans to build an ICO token trading platform.

The cryptocurrency market crossed an unwelcome milestone on Wednesday, as it not only fell to a year-to-date low but also surpassed the Nasdaq Composite Index’s 78 percent peak-to-trough decline in the throes of the dotcom bubble that kicked off the new millennium.

Cryptocurrency Decline Now Worse Than Dotcom Bubble

Following a fresh rout this week, the cryptocurrency market cap — the combined nominal values of all coins and tokens in circulation — is now valued at just $186.8 billion, down a tech bubble-style 78 percent from the $835.7 billion all-time high its set on just eight months ago, on Jan. 7.

cryptocurrency
Source: CoinMarketCap

The crash is even more pronounced when viewed without bitcoin‘s stabilizing effects. Since peaking above $550 billion in early January, the altcoin market cap has declined approximately 85 percent and is now valued at $78.4 billion. For reference, ripple (XRP), the third-largest cryptocurrency, was once nominally valued at $145 billion.

cryptocurrency altcoin market cap
Source: CoinMarketCap

Remarkably, the altcoin market cap is valued lower today than it was one year ago, when, even after the uncertainty surrounding China’s ban on cryptocurrency trading and initial coin offerings (ICOs), altcoins collectively traded above $80 billion on Sept. 12, 2017.

Bitcoin Dominance Hits 9-Month High as Altcoins Crash

The rout is perhaps even starker when viewed in its individual components. Thirteen of the 15 most valuable cryptocurrencies by market cap have declined at least 78 percent from their all-time highs, according to data from OnChainFX.

cryptocurrency prices
Source: OnChainFX

Six, meanwhile, have declined at least 90 percent, including XRP (93 percent), bitcoin cash (90 percent), cardano (95 percent), IOTA (91 percent), tron (94 percent), and NEO (92 percent).

Bitcoin, of course, has not been immune to the decline. Since peaking near $20,000, the flagship cryptocurrency has taken a 69 percent hit and is now testing whether support will hold at $6,000.

Even so, bitcoin’s position within the cryptocurrency market itself has seldom been stronger, at least since the beginning of the ICO boom, which has now swelled the number of cryptocurrencies to nearly 2,000.

bitcoin dominance index
Source: CoinMarketCap

Bitcoin dominance now stands at a commanding 58 percent, its highest point since Dec. 13, 2017. That’s a notable about-face since January when bitcoin briefly accounted for less than one-third of the total market cap.

Indeed, it’s been a long time since anyone has mentioned the “Flippening,” and Roger Ver’s May prediction that ethereum would surpass bitcoin in 2018 appears increasingly comical.

Bitcoin, it seems, is still the king.

The Dotcom Bubble’s Silver Lining

Often lost in the dotcom bubble comparison is that, though many companies went bust, tech stocks as an asset class eventually came back with a vengeance, and the Nasdaq Composite Index now stands far above its dotcom bubble peak.

Nasdaq composite index chart
Nasdaq Composite Index | Source: Yahoo Finance

There’s no guarantee that the cryptocurrency market’s trial-by-fire will produce similar results, but if it is truly analogous to the dotcom bubble, the real question isn’t when the market will crash to zero, it’s “Which cryptocurrency is Amazon, and which is Pets.com?”

If you’re like me and hate giving up your credit card information to some of these potentially shady online casinos or live in the United States where dealing with online casino transactions can oftentimes be a difficult and painful process. That’s where Bitcoin casinos come into play.

Not only can you gamble with complete anonymity, but you can rest assured that your private information is not released to more nefarious sources, where your information (email, address, phone number) is released but your bank account and credit card information can be sold. Cryptocurrency is perfect for this sort of thing.

Now the only problem is, with so many Bitcoin gambling sites out there today, it’s easy to get lost in all the hype of some of the more “unscrupulous” portals. This is why I’ve composed an updated list of the very best and most noteworthy Bitcoin casinos on the net.

Whether you’re a total novice or experienced gambler, playing on the sites I listed for you below are not only beginner friendly but highly addictive.

To all my US residents…

bitcoin casino gambling sites review cryptocurrency gamingYou’ll realize how relatively aggravating it can be to send over bank wire transfers, while submitting several forms of ID (sometimes including billing statements), taking selfie’s like you’re a self proclaimed convict, to only have your online verification turned down.

Due to the overwhelming demand for bitcoin gambling sites, you can use your money and start enjoying a round of blackjack within a matter of minutes. For those of you more experienced gamblers who have gone through the same arduous process, you’ll really appreciate speed at which you can get started playing your favorite online casino games.

There’s Comfort in Blockchain

With the inclusion of blockchain technology and digital ledgers, online casinos can’t rob us blind like some of the more nefarious ones in the past as everything is recorded on blockchain. This enables players like yourself to check and see if the games are provably fair.

This is truly an amazing time for players who would like to get started playing their favorite casino games, quickly and easily, without all the troubles you have to go through from fiat based casinos.

Sifting Through the Clutter

If you’ve done any research as of late, you’ll realize there are quite a few “suspicious” Bitcoin gambling sites out there. However, there are only a few that are worth mentioning. Many of these casinos are plagued with programming errors, unfair game tactics, lack of customer support, and just look downright cheap.

I’ve created this review in order to clear out all the clutter and differentiate the portals that will stay honest and fair, so you don’t have to filter through all the nonsense I had to before finding a few that were worth their weight in gold.

Here is some of the criteria that I  used to review each site…

  • Provably fair (very important)
  • Available to US residents
  • Payment terms including minimum payouts, accepted payment methods, fees, withdrawals, and deposits.
  • Top-notch customer support. This includes fast ticket response times, open social media channels, as well as online chat support.
  • Ease-of-use. Games load quickly without any glitches or errors.
  • Quality content, selection, and graphics.
  • Anonymous registrations allowing the ability to play without registering your name, address, etc.
  • Deposit and Withdrawal Bonuses/Giveaways

Now that I’ve covered the basic requirements I use to review, let’s take a look at the top 5 Bitcoin gambling sites according to my personal analysis and user reviews.

#1 FORTUNEJACK

FortuneJack was established in 2014 and is the most trusted Bitcoin casino out there. Not only are they provably fair , but they are also regulated by the Curacao government.

The online crypto casino is developed and maintained by Eastern Europe’s top software professionals. They offer the very best when it comes to a high-end, secure online gaming experience.

The developers at FortuneJack created this casino for both newcomers and veterans alike by designing a unique and carefree environment that would ensure consistent entertainment no matter what your gambling preferences might be.

It’s currently one of the most visited Bitcoin casinos to date.

The casino welcomes US gamers with over 720+ various games to play. One things for sure, you’ll never lack from the selection of games or suffer from boredom. If there’s anything bad that I can say about this casino is that they may have too many choices, which can be a bit overwhelming to novice players (34 blackjack variations, 19 live games, 900 slots, etc, etc).

With FortuneJack you can bring the online gaming experience to your smartphone as this casino is compatible with any iPhone, Android, and Windows based smartphone.

Deposits/Withdrawals

Deposits can be made through various cryptocurrency’s like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Monero, Zcash, Litecoin, Dash, and Dogecoin. Their list of acceptable cryptocurrencies is beyond what any other online Bitcoin casino offers at this time.

Your crypto deposits show up within minutes after a single confirmation. Payouts are processed in a few hours, but I’ve seen these show up as quickly as 30 minutes.

Your initial deposit gets a 100% match bonus up to 0.5 BTC and monthly reloads of 1 BTC.

Customer Support

The company includes a comprehensive online ticketing platform along with online chat. The also stay very active on their social media channels in case you like to get in touch with them there. You’ll even be provided with your own customer support rep as soon as you register.

Conclusion

One of the most updated, comprehensive, aesthetically pleasing Bitcoin gaining sites out there, FortuneJack offers a plethora of gaming options regardless of what your particular poison is.

The site navigation is extremely easy to use, with games that are categorized very well making it as straightforward as they come.

The casino has one of the most comprehensive game selections out of any online casino on the net today, let alone Bitcoin casinos. With your choice of live games, video games, betting games, casino games, lottery games, and many other subcategories of gaming experiences, you’ll undoubtedly never suffer from a variety of choices.

This was one of my personal favorite Bitcoin gambling sites as they simply offered everything that I could possibly look for within an online casino and make it very easy for you to get started. Their support was also top-notch and eager to please, making you feel right at home from the very get-go.

#2 BETCHAIN

betchain bitcoin cryptocurrency gambling site casino players and gamblers gaming
click to enlarge

Another more established Bitcoin gambling site,  BetChain was established in 2014, and was one of the pioneers to the online Bitcoin casino industry, when this phenomenon was relatively new. They recently decided to open their doors to other fiat currencies however the site is still widely regarded as one of the “early adopters” of the Bitcoin casino industry.

The company is also fully licensed by the laws and regulations of the Curacao government. Their security and anti-hack protocol is some of the best in the industry.

Welcome Bonuses

BetChain offers their newer players a nice welcome bonus. They now offer 100% welcome bonus up to 1 Bitcoin + 200 free spins. A minimum deposit of 0.05 BTC is required in order to qualify for this offer.

Deposits/Withdrawals

BetChain gives its players the chance to play using Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Dogecoin currencies. For those outside of the US, you can use both euros and the Russian ruble.

There is no minimum or maximum limits to deposit or withdrawal your funds. They even allow the ability to withdraw to other fiat currencies like the Euro and Russian ruble.

Withdrawals are typically subject to a 24 hour waiting period before processed. This is due to the fact that the casino employees employ a secure socket layer encryption system to ensure that all funds are protected from online threats.

Customer Support

The customer support over at BetChain has been fairly good. I never had to wait more than 24 hours for a response, however there has been a few negative reviews regarding lackluster support as well as wait times for verification.

Regardless if this is true or not, the casino has responded to these negative reviews with an explanation or an apology. This says a lot for their online reputation.

Conclusion

This well established and highly reliable Bitcoin gaming site should be placed high on your list if you love Bitcoin gambling sites as much as I do. They have an extremely large selection of slot machines (probably one of the largest selections out there) and are worthy enough to be considered one of the top online casinos offering both crypto and fiat funding options.

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#3 BITSTARZ

Welcome package bitstarz

One of the most popular Bitcoin casinos as of this release, BitStarz, offers 1200+ high quality games. Much like the other 2 Bitcoin gambling sites mentioned above, they were established in 2014, have provably fair games, and are regulated by the Curacao government.

This online casino is powered by the SoftSwiss gaming technology which provides an enhanced gambling experience. These games range from traditional casino games to highly addictive video games. The casino also offers live dealers, where you play in real time and compete against other live players. BitStarz  is also one of the most appealing Bitcoin casinos out there in terms of design.

Deposits/Withdrawals

There are many different ways to fund your BitStarz account. This online casino is to offer multiple currencies including Euro, USD, AUD, and British pound. Take note that there are processing fees involved with depositing funds into your account. Most of the payment outlets charge a 2.5% processing fee which allows your deposit to be processed immediately.

However, you’ll be happy to know that Bitcoin, bank transfers, and SoFort wire transfers do not deduct any transaction fee from your balance. This is yet another reason to utilize Bitcoin for your online crypto gaming needs.

Once you’re ready to withdraw your funds, you can choose whichever payment processor you’d like to have your funds sent to. This is what makes BitStarz  stand out among other online crypto casinos as it has the ability to process your transactions through various payment methods (much like BetChain).

Also worth noting, unlike the deposit fees, BitStarz doesn’t charge you anything for the withdrawals. You simply need to have at least 5 mBTC in order for a BitStarz to process your payout.

Welcome Bonuses

This Bitcoin casino offers their players a 100% match bonus of up to €100 or 1 BTC. That means if you deposit €100, you’ll receive €200 to gamble with. However that’s not all! BitStarz will award your second deposit with a 50% bonus which will be instantly credited to your account.

We’re not done there folks…

They also have a 3rd and 4th deposit bonus as well. As you can see it pays to be a low loyal customer of BitStarz as the more you play, the more bonuses you’ll receive. You can read more about their promotions and bonus specials located here.

Customer Support

BitStarz offers several support channels including live chat support, social media and email support. The company also has a sub Reddit where they quickly respond to user complaints which shows that they care about their customers and are willing to publicly help when called upon.

Conclusion

Overall the online gambling experience over BitStarz is beyond most other online Bitcoin casinos with regard to gaming features and the vast array of payment methods they offer. This company has been around for a very long time so you can rest assured that your gaming experience is not only secure but provably fair.

Deposits and withdrawals were always credited fast along with bonus opportunities that were beyond any that I’ve seen from some of the other Bitcoin gambling sites.

I highly recommend this casino to both novice and advanced gamers as they have a ton to offer both. The graphics and gameplay are beyond any that I’ve seen so far. You can check out some of their Bitcoin games located here.

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#4 CLOUDBET SPORTSBOOK

cloudbet online bitcoin gambling casino sites gaming
click to enlarge

CloudBet isn’t necessarily known for their online casino, however seeing that the 3 casinos mentioned above do not contain a sportsbook, I thought I’d include this in the mix as it’s one of the most noteworthy Bitcoin sports betting sites around.

You can clearly see that the company put a lot of time and money into the product as they not only contain sportsbook betting, but also a full Bitcoin casino and wide selection of live games.

CloudBet was established in 2015 and is one of the most impressive Bitcoin sportsbook gambling sites around. Both online players and industry experts alike agree… CloudBet is one of the best regulated fiat as well as crypto based sports betting sites around. You just can’t compete with the packages that CloudBet offers (covered below).

The company offers one of the most advanced Bitcoin sports betting sites on the planet. Everything about it is authentic, which many other sports betting sites seem to lack. The graphics, gameplay, and interface are just as polished as some of the world’s most elite online sports betting casinos, like William Hill and Pinnacle.

Sports betting includes all major leagues like EPL, Champions League, NFL, NHL, NBA, Cricket, Tennis, and even UFC.

Deposits/Withdrawals

CloudBet sportsbook is one of the very few to offer both Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash deposits and withdrawals. All deposits are received directly into cold storage where your keys are kept safely off-line and away from potential hackers.

The company maintains a hot wallet which contains enough funds so that players can quickly withdrawal their amounts each day. Withdrawals are instant and typically processed within the same day.

Welcome & Deposit Bonuses

CloudBet offers some of the largest deposit bonuses available for any Bitcoin sports book on the internet today. First time deposits receive a 100% match bonus up to 5 BTC.

This is easily the largest match bonus limit across all online sports betting sites as it can easily award you with thousands of EUR, USD, GBP, or BTC. To top it off, players have a total of 365 days to clear the bonus once it has been applied to their account.

You’ll also be awarded bonuses by earning loyalty points, which CloudBet rewards for using both the sports betting and casino games. An award of 0.01 BTC will be released for every 800 loyalty points earned. As you can see the potential for large bonus amounts are extremely rewarding. This is yet another reason why CloudBet is a cut above the rest of the competition.

Mobile Betting

Even though CloudBet doesn’t offer a particular smart phone app, I found it extremely easy to view on both iPhone and Android devices. The pages are very mobile responsive and fits well within the layout of the screen.

The interface was very well developed to provide players with the best possible experience. All their games can be tested for free on your smartphone before making any deposits.

Conclusion

CloudBet offers the best Bitcoin sports betting platform out there. It’s very hard to find another Bitcoin sportsbook that even comes close to CloudBet offers with their various sports betting options and large deposit bonuses.

Support and live chat are very responsive and get back to you within a timely manner. The company clearly understands the importance of what sportsbook gamblers truly want… convenience and hassle free access to their most coveted sporting events.

Highlights include…

  • Instant withdrawals so that your winnings go straight to your account with the push of a button.
  • Every sport imaginable is covered.
  • The most impressive deposit and wagering bonuses around with a 100% match bonus of up to 5 BTC.

728x90 - Sports

Have Something to Add?

Post a comment below and let us know if you found any hidden gems or newer sites worth mentioning.

Also, let us know about some of your experiences with the sites mentioned above. If you had a negative experience, I highly recommend you take that up with support (or a corresponding subreddit) as most of these grievances can be taking care of internally.

Good luck and happy gaming!

 

Unikrn, a Seattle-based e-sport betting platform is facing a new class-action lawsuit. The case accuses the company of violating securities law in the United States. The suit relates to Unikrn’s Initial Coin Offering (ICO) in 2017.

Unikrn Accused Of Selling Unregistered Securities

John Hastings, a resident from Las Vegas decided to file the case at a court in Washington. As per accusations presented on August 13, Unikrn has been selling unregistered securities. The lawsuit includes Unikrn’s founder Rahul Sood, who sold UnikoinGold Tokens (UKG) via the ICO last year.

According to Hastings, UKG tokens should be considered securities. Investors were expecting the tokens to increase in value and be worth more than the funds initially invested.

Additionally, he explained that Unikrn ‘crafted a flimsy façade that UKG Tokens are not securities.’ Founder Sood commented that Unikrn is aware of the lawsuit but did not expand on the matter.

Unikrn’s ICO collected 112,720 Ether from the public between September and October 2017. The amount gathered was worth over $31 million dollars at that time.

The firm submitted a file to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on October 6 informing that they raised at least $16 million dollars from other accredited investors. The mechanism for this investment was through a Simple Agreement for Future Tokens (SAFT).

‘Shark Tank’ VC Mark Cuban backed the ICO and confirmed his participation in the offering. About it he said that it was a high-risk investment with a high reward.

Bittrex, one of the most important virtual currency exchanges in the market, listed UKG tokens.

At the moment of writing, each UKG coin can be bought for $0.05 dollars. At the beginning of the year, it reached an all-time high of $2.18 dollars. According to CoinMarketCap, it has a market capitalization of $7.2 million dollars.

The ICO market has been full of scams and non-compliant projects. Several of them are currently facing problems. This may be a step toward the market receiving clearer regulations to protect investors and allow projects to focus on growth.

GMO Internet, a leading Japanese bitcoin mining firm, has informed investors that it has stopped mining bitcoin cash, documents purportedly distributed by the company show.

Those documents, made public by “The Bitcoin Knowledge Podcast” host Trace Mayer, indicate that the Tokyo-based GMO mined 0 BCH in July, down from a high of 287 in February.

However, it’s possible GMO will resume mining BCH if its profitability increases in the future. The firm’s bitcoin cash mining operation has been highly-sporadic, and it also mined 0 BCH in April before mining 37 and 62 BCH over the next two months.

GMO’s bitcoin mining operation, however, has been characterized by a steady increase in BTC revenue. In July, GMO mined 568 BTC — worth $3.8 million at the present exchange rate — up from 528 the month prior and just 21 in Dec. 2017.

Earlier this year, GMO said that it hoped to scale its mining operation to 3,000PH/s by December. However, that now seems unlikely, as declining cryptocurrency profits have squeezed miner profit margins and reduced the incentive to invest in new hashpower. Indeed, GMO mined with 384PH/s in July, which made it the first month this year that it did not bring new devices online.

In June, GMO unveiled the B2, first bitcoin mining chip wholly-developed by a Japanese company. The device, which also featured the world’s first 7nm chip, quickly sold out. GMO is now accepting preorders for the B3, which the firm claims can achieve a hashpower as high as 33TH/s, compared to the 14TH/s offered by the Antminer S9, Bitmain’s flagship mining rig.

Bitmain is currently planning the cryptocurrency industry’s largest-ever initial public offering (IPO). However, the China-based firm, which once had a market share as large as 85 percent, is facing increasing competition from GMO and others, leading market research firm Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. to speculate in a recent report that the ASIC designer has lost its competitive edge.

“I respect Bitmain,” GMO CEO Masatoshi Kumagi said in June, perhaps presciently, “but we will top them.”

Bitcoin (BTC) mining firm Bitmain will build a $500 million blockchain data center and mining facility in Texas as part of its expansion into the U.S. market, the company revealed in a press release August 6.

Bitmain, which is valued at around $12 billion after its early July funding round, is also reportedly looking to plan an overseas Initial Public Offering (IPO) in a market with U.S. denominated shares.

Bitmain’s new data center will take over the former Alcoa smelter in Rockdale, Texas, with the estimation that the construction and set-up will be completed in the fourth quarter of 2018 and the center set to be “initiated” in early 2019.

Last month, job vacancies for a Project Manager and a Data Center Site Manager for Bitmain in Rockdale had been posted on Indeed.com, with Bitmain only confirming the center’s location in the August 6 press release.

The press release notes that Bitmain expects to bring in 400 local jobs in the first two years, quoting $500 million as the total investment into the economy over an initial period of seven years.

Despite mixed noises from both U.S. and Canadian authorities regarding cryptocurrency mining, both countries have become targets for businesses seeking out cheaper electricity costs in new jurisdictions.

In June, mining firm Coinmint confirmed it would transform a former smokestack facility in upstate New York into a Bitcoin mining facility.

In Canada, local miner Hut 8 launched its second mining facility in mid July, becoming the world’s “largest publicly-traded” operator by capacity in the process according to figures published at the time.

Crypto mining hardware manufacturer Bitmain has reportedly secured China’s biggest technology company Tencent and Japan’s Softbank, Uber’s biggest shareholder, as investors in a pre-IPO financing round.

Chinese crypto giant Bitmain, commonly known for manufacturing bitcoin mining equipment and operating mining pools, is attracting interest from some of the world’s biggest companies and investors ahead of its initial public offering (IPO) on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange later this year.

Bitmain was in the process of securing a $1 billion round of financing in a round that, at closing, would value the firm at $15 billion.

According to a report by Chinese publication QQ, Bitmain completed the pre-IPO raise on Saturday in a round of financing that notably includes Chinese technology conglomerate Tencent with a market cap that rivals that of Facebook and Japan’s Softbank, a tech giant heavily invested in a number of tech ventures globally including its standing as Uber’s largest shareholder.

The participation of the two investors, in particular, underlines the growing mainstream appeal of the sector and the relevance of the industry’s biggest firm.

An array of ASIC mining chips developed by Bitmain.

The backing follows Bitmain’s robust revenues this year, raking in a profit of $1.1 billion during Q1 2018. Compare that to mainstream hardware giant Nvidia with a reported net Q1 net income of $1.2 billion and it’s easy to understand investors’ interest in Bitmain, which was valued at $12 billion before closing a $400 million round of financing in June. After closing its latest round to peg its value at $15 billion, Bitmain has seen a 16.5% increase in its overall valuation in less than 45 days.

The QQ report also confirmed that Bitmain has begun the process for its listing in Hong Kong, hiring China International Capital Corp (CICC) – China’s oldest investment bank – as its lead underwriter ahead of its anticipated IPO on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX) in September. According to local media reports in China, insiders expect Bitmain to go public with a market cap between $30 billion and $40 billion before the turn of the year.

Bitmain has thrived in spite of China’s largely restrictive crypto industry policies since early 2017 and continues to make record profits in what is largely a bear market for cryptocurrencies.

Bitmain has diversified its own portfolio through major investments in U.S.-based crypto trading firm Circle and major internet web browser Opera. This week, Bitmain confirmed its intention to establish a $500 million cryptocurrency mining facility in a Texas town, a move that is expected to generate 400 new jobs. Bitmain has also moved established a new base in a 20,000 square-foot office space in Silicon Valley and is tripling its employee-count at a development center in Israel.

Starbucks has clarified that it will not be accepting Bitcoin (BTC) or other cryptocurrencies as payment, despite misleading reports from mainstream media, a spokesperson told MotherboardFriday, July 3.

Earlier on Friday, New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) operator the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) announced plans to create a new “global platform and ecosystem for digital assets,” dubbed “Bakkt,” alongside a group of big name enterprises including Starbucks, BCG and Microsoft.

Following the major announcement, a number of mainstream media outlets, including Bloombergand CNBC, ran misleading headlines –– such as CNBC’s “New Starbucks partnership with Microsoft allows customers to pay for Frappuccinos with bitcoin” –– directly implying that the partnership would mean customers could purchase items at Starbucks for crypto.

A spokesperson for the multinational coffee chain clarified in comments to Motherboard that in fact “customers will not be able to pay for Frappuccinos with bitcoin,” but rather the company is part of a new venture creating a platform, Bakkt, to “convert digital assets like Bitcoin into U.S. dollars, which can be used at Starbucks,” adding:

“At the current time, we are announcing the launch of trading and conversion of Bitcoin. However, we will continue to talk with customers and regulators as the space evolves.”

Starbucks’ official press release Friday elaborated on the project, stating that it would, pending regulation, include physically delivered Bitcoin futures:

“As an initial component of the Bakkt offering, Intercontinental Exchange’s U.S.-based futures exchange and clearing house plan to launch a 1-day physically delivered Bitcoin contract along with physical warehousing in November 2018, subject to CFTC review and approval.”

In May, the New York Times reported on sources suggesting the ICE was considering launching physically-delivered BTC futures contracts, a move Friday’s news confirms.

In late July, former Wall Street exec turned crypto entrepreneur stated crypto markets “need a trusted, name custodian — a Japanese bank or HSBC or ICE or Goldman Sachs — to allow institutional investors to feel comfortable.”

Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the operator of 23 leading global exchanges including the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), has announced plans to create a Microsoft cloud-powered “open and regulated, global ecosystem for digital assets,” according to a press release published August 3.

The operator of NYSE is forming a new company, dubbed “Bakkt,” and will work alongside a marquee group of enterprises that includes BCG, Microsoft, Starbucks, and others, to create the new ecosystem.

The intention is to create an integrated platform that enables consumers, merchants, and institutional clients to buy, sell, store, and spend digital assets on a “seamless global network,” the press release notes.

First use cases will be for trading and conversion of Bitcoin (BTC) against fiat currencies, which ICE notes is currently “the most liquid cryptocurrency.” This conversion into fiat will enable consumers to purchase any item at their local Starbucks, in what will be crypto’s debut with the popular chain.

The ecosystem is expected to include “federally regulated markets and warehousing” alongside “merchant and consumer applications”:

“As an initial component of the Bakkt offering, Intercontinental Exchange’s U.S.-based futures exchange and clearing house plan to launch a 1-day physically delivered Bitcoin contract along with physical warehousing in November 2018, subject to CFTC review and approval.

These regulated venues will establish new protocols for managing the specific security and settlement requirements of digital currencies. In addition, the clearing house plans to create a separate guarantee fund that will be funded by Bakkt.”

By mobilizing trusted market infrastructure, ICE says it intends to design Bakkt to “support transaction flows” in the $270 billion digital asset marketplace, and facilitate its “secure” and “efficient” evolution.

Investors in the Bakkt ecosystem are expected to include Microsoft’s venture capital arm, Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital, Alan Howard, Pantera Capital, and Susquehanna International Group, LLP, among others.

The news confirms sources in May that had suggested the NYSE operator was considering launching physically-delivered BTC futures contracts, distinct from those currently offered on CMEand CBOE that are ultimately settled in fiat. Analysts said at the time that physical delivery would open “the floodgates” to institutional capital and potentially result in some “big price moves” in the crypto markets.

This chimes with Mike Novogratz’s recent estimation that “a trusted, name custodian — [such as] a Japanese bank or HSBC or ICE or Goldman Sachs — [is what would ultimately] allow institutional investors to feel comfortable.”

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