A decade on from the launch of the first ever Android phone, Taiwanese consumer electronics giant HTC has taken the wraps off its blockchain-powered smartphone, dubbed ‘Exodus’. HTC has officially announced the early access release
Retail brokerage giant TD Ameritrade and high-frequency trading firm Virtu Financial have invested in a cryptocurrency exchange that seeks to bridge the gap between Wall Street and the burgeoning cryptoasset ecosystem.
Originally launched as a traditional futures market in 2010, The Wall Street Journal reports that this exchange — ErisX — now intends to not only list cryptocurrency derivatives like bitcoin options and swaps but also the so-called “physical” cryptocurrencies themselves.
Initially, ErisX will list cryptocurrency derivatives, which are regulated financial instruments tied to the prices of the underlying assets. In addition to allowing investors to speculate on the future value of bitcoin and its peers, these products help sophisticated traders as well as cryptocurrency mining firms hedge against future price volatility.
However, the firm plans to launch a spot trading market as early as next year, at which point it will operate as a conventional cryptocurrency exchange and allow traders to directly exchange coins and tokens. Concurrently, ErisX says it will release physically-settled cryptocurrency futures contracts, meaning that — unlike with the bitcoin futures contracts currently available on CME and CBOE — contract owners will receive actual cryptocurrencies when the contracts expire, rather than cash.
“The traditional aspects of our market will create an environment that is open to a wide range of traders and intermediaries,” CEO Thomas Chippas told the publication.
ErisX isn’t the first cryptocurrency exchange to launch with the explicit mission of luring Wall Street investors. However, its impressive stable of backers could give it a leg up on the competition.
Electronic brokerage giant TD Ameritrade, which currently has more than 11 million customers and $1.1 trillion in client assets, invested in the exchange, stating that the firm desired to provide consumers with the ability to invest in cryptocurrency on a regulated platform.
“We wanted to find something that brings cryptocurrency to customers where they can see it on an actual exchange, something they feel comfortable with in regulated space,” said J.B. Mackenzie, head of futures and foreign exchange trading at TD Ameritrade, in an interview with the publication.
ErisX has also received financial backing from Virtu Financial, one of the world’s largest high-frequency trading and market making firms with an estimated $1.2 billion in annual revenue.
Virtu Financial CEO Douglas Cifu said during an earnings call that the trading firm would make markets on cryptocurrency exchanges once the asset class was more regulated.
|“I don’t have to make a qualitative judgment about whether or not those are appropriate asset classes. It’s a new asset class, we’re excited about it,” he said. “If and when it becomes more regulated and centrally cleared, we’ll put a big toe in and all the little toes will follow and we’ll be a big market maker there.”|
It’s not clear whether Virtu will make markets on ErisX.
Reuters reports that other investors include CBOE Global Markets — the operator of the first regulated U.S. exchange to list bitcoin futures contracts — and Digital Currency Group, Barry Silbert’s cryptoasset investment firm.
Even with support from firms such as TD Ameritrade and Virtu, ErisX will face stiff competition as it seeks to carve out market share. In addition to incumbent players such as LedgerX, the platform must contend with Bakkt, the ambitious bitcoin startup created by Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the owner-operator of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Bakkt will provide physical warehousing for cryptocurrency assets, as well as physically-settled bitcoin futures contracts. Over the long-term, ICE believes that Bakkt can help bitcoin potentially become the “first worldwide currency.”
Syndicated from CCN
Gemini, the U.S. cryptocurrency exchange founded by bitcoin billionaires Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, is rumored to be eyeing an expansion into the United Kingdom.
Citing two sources close to the process, the Financial Times reports that the New York-based exchange operator has hired advisors regarding a move into Britain and may soon submit an application to the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for regulatory authorization to open an exchange in the country under the agency’s e-money licensing program.
Gemini has not confirmed the report, telling FT that it has “no immediate plans” but is evaluating opportunities to increase its global presence.
“Gemini continues to explore potential jurisdictions around the globe to provide a best-in-class digital asset exchange and custodian which will enable growth and infrastructure to the entire digital asset community,” FT cited the exchange operator as saying. “Although we have no immediate plans, we . . . will always evaluate opportunities that allow the global economy to buy, sell and store digital assets in a regulated, secure and compliant manner.”
In March, San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange giant Coinbase received such an e-money license from the FCA, authorizing it to provide payment and electronic money services to customers in the U.K. and 23 other European Union countries. Coinbase UK customers can currently trade GBP against BTC, ETH, BCH, LTC, and ETC.
Gemini currently ranks as the world’s 61st-largest cryptocurrency exchange, according to CoinMarketCap, with a 24-hour volume of about $12 million and a 30-day volume of nearly $750 million. Binance, the highest-volume exchange, averages more than $1 billion in daily volume.
Recently, the exchange launched a fully-collateralized, USD-pegged cryptocurrency called the Gemini dollar (GUSD).
Earlier this month, FCA chief Andrew Bailey said that regulators need to take a balanced approach on cryptocurrency, mitigating risks and maintaining consumer protections while also leaving sufficient room for innovation. Lawmakers, though, have been more critical of the nascent industry, alleging that regulators need to cease with the “feeble warnings” and regulate the “Wild West” cryptocurrency markets.
Increased regulation would likely not be a major hurdle for Gemini, though, as the exchange is already one of the few cryptocurrency companies to receive a charter authorizing them to operate in New York under the state’s rigorous BitLicense framework. The firm has also partnered with Nasdaq to police its markets for illegal trading activities using the stock exchange giant’s market surveillance technology.
According to a recent survey, 30 percent of London residents plan to invest in cryptocurrency assets, compared to 13 percent of the national average. A previous survey found that 27 percent of male millennials living in the U.K. consider bitcoin a better investment than real estate.
Both amateur crypto traders and retail investors alike are starting to lose interest within this booming cryptocurrency industry due to the rather lengthy and painful decline of the market. In spite of all this, cryptocurrency as a business continues to scale and evolve, especially cryptocurrency trading platforms.
New players to the cryptocurrency marketplace like Goldman Sachs and Intercontinental exchange (ICE) who is the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) are planning to allow their customers to trade Bitcoin futures. ICE on the other hand will offer swap contracts to banks so that clients can obtain their cryptocurrency the day following their purchase transaction.
While it seems some of the lower skilled investors are starting to leave the market the big players are starting to enter, which represents a huge potential for cryptocurrency trading. It’s more likely than not that cyber criminals will continue to target this industry more heavily now and in the near future.
Several security analysts have come up with a list of techniques that cyber hackers have utilized in order to hack user’s cryptocurrency trading platforms. The list below also includes some of the most common attack methods and highlights countermeasures used to combat these situations.
This includes a scenario where a security system message is sent from a cryptocurrency exchange letting you know that suspicious activity has been detected on your account. In response to this activity, the service send you a notification to your email along with a hyperlink and recommendation to change your password immediately in order to prevent your funds from being stolen.
Despite the simple scheme setup, many novice traders continue to fall for this as they click on the reset link and fill out several fields in order to change the old password to a new one. As you can imagine, once the old password field is completed, this information is transferred over to the hacker where he can readily access your account.
Here are a few rules that you need to follow in order to keep your accounts safe:
Example of spoofed email could be: firstname.lastname@example.org
Example of spoofed password reset link could be: http://passwordreset.binaance.com < notice the double aa.
Even the most savvy cryptocurrency trader will input the occasional typo when typing out their favorite cryptocurrency exchange into the address bar. Many have overlooked misspellings and security verification icons within their browser, which lead unsuspecting traders to input their username and password into a fake exchange.
In order to avoid this easy to make mistake be sure to:
The email link to your cryptocurrency exchange tends to be targeted just as much as your account itself. Once the hacker takes control of your email, he can then initiate a password reset from your cryptocurrency exchange, click the password reset link inside your email account, change your password, and then access your exchange.
This is where the two factor authentication method comes in handy. It’s the most effective protection mechanism to prevent unsuspecting attackers from accessing your account.
With TeamViewer installed, the attacker can access your computer in real time and hack into your exchange utilizing the Google authenticator embedded on your browser.
The 2FA is only effective if it’s installed on another device like your smartphone. This reduces the risk of being hacked considerably. You might find that the two factor authentication is a bit redundant, but you should keep in mind that hackers can outwit even the most successful traders.
It’s extremely crucial to follow these basic and simple guidelines which will significantly reduce the risk of you losing your valuable cryptocurrency in a potential hacking attempt.
The “herd” of institutional investors that cryptocurrency bulls such as Mike Novogratz have perennially said is just over the horizon is finally making an appearance, as reports have emerged that one of the world’s largest university endowments has invested in two cryptocurrency funds.
Citing an anonymous source familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reports that Yale University, the Ivy League school whose endowment is the second-largest in higher education, has invested in Paradigm, a cryptocurrency fund founded by Coinbase co-founder Fred Ehrsam, former Sequoia Capital partner Matt Huang, and Pantera Capital veteran Charles Noyes.
Including Yale’s investment, Paradigm has raised $400 million to invest in the cryptocurrency space, making it one of the largest such investment funds alongside Pantera, Polychain Capital, and Andreessen Horowitz (a16z).
Concurrently, CNBC reports that David Swenson — Yale’s “Warren Buffet” — invested university money in Andreessen Horowitz’s $300 million cryptocurrency fund, which the firm announced in June. Notably, a16z said at the time that it does not intend to be a fair-weather investor.
“We have an ‘all weather’ fund. We plan to invest consistently over time, regardless of market conditions. If there is another ‘crypto winter,’ we’ll keep investing aggressively,” the firm said at the time.
Yale’s endowment currently stands at $29.4 billion, a record high, following a return of 12.3 percent during the fiscal year that ended on June 30. A majority of those assets, 60 percent, are directed at alternative investments. Over the past decade, the university has returned an average of 7.4 percent, beating the 5.5 percent average university endowment return by a sizable margin, according to the Yale Daily News.
Earlier this year, John Lore, founder of Capital Fund Law Group, suggested that academic institutions had begun to invest in cryptocurrency on a “limited basis for strategic reasons,” though he declined to name the endowments.
It’s not clear how much capital Yale contributed to Paradigm and a16z — and it should also be noted that the endowment has not confirmed the news publicly — but the size of the investment might not matter. Ari Paul, chief investment officer at cryptocurrency hedge fund BlockTower Capital and a former portfolio manager at the University of Chicago’s endowment, said in April that he thought it was “inevitable” that endowments would dip their toes into the cryptoasset space, a move that he said would convince other institutions to make similar bets.
|“We’re in a bear market until new buyers are enticed,” he said. “Even a small dollar amount is legitimizing. If that happens, every family office says, ‘Oh, Yale’s in. That gives us the excuse.’”|
Paul’s forecast is beginning to come true, at least per the reports. The next major step will be when, rather than entrust capital to digital asset investment funds, university endowments and pensions themselves begin investing directly in the cryptocurrency market.
A key hurdle toward realizing this has been the shortage of regulated cryptocurrency custodians, particularly among the respected Wall Street banks with whom endowments are comfortable working. However, three of the largest investment banks in the U.S. — Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, and Morgan Stanley — are said to have been building out custody products for cryptoassets.
Meanwhile, Bakkt — the cryptocurrency wing of Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) — will begin offering physical warehousing for bitcoin in November, allowing institutions to easily trade BTC in a regulated environment overseen by one of the world’s largest exchange operators.
Billionaire macro trader Mike Novogratz, a longtime bitcoin bull who has nevertheless pared back his short-term price forecast in recent weeks, gave a speech in late 2017 titled, “The Herd is Coming,” in which he argued that institutional investors are not far off from making a significant crypto play. Throughout the current bear market, he has maintained that, although the cryptocurrency market has heretofore been driven by retail enthusiasm, the next rally will be fueled by institutions.
Wall Street strategy firm Fundstrat recently conducted a recent poll of cryptocurrency investors which found that, perhaps contrary to popular perception, institutional investors are more bullish on bitcoin than their retail counterparts. According to the survey, a majority of institutions expect the flagship cryptocurrency to end 2019 above $15,000, an increase of about 130 percent from its present level below $6,600.
The world of money is revolutionizing in front of our eyes. Cryptocurrency is creating new paradigms for alternative payment systems and decentralized banking. There is no doubt that the user adoption of various cryptocurrencies is rapidly increasing. The cryptocurrency industry has become more fluid as the borders between it and mainstream finance continue to blur. At the same time, regulators are spending long hours at work to regulate the booming circle of crypto-enthusiasts.
It could be one of the prime reasons why Brian Armstrong believes crypto-adoption will increase at an astronomical pace in the next half-decade.
The Coinbase chief executive was responding to a question about cryptocurrency’s international outreach at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco, to which he predicted that 1 billion people would eventually be using cryptocurrencies in the next five years.
Armstrong believes a growing number of cryptocurrency companies will contribute to the overall crypto ecosystem growth. These companies, under a regulated environment, will issue their tokens backed by their respective market caps. In a way, these institutionalized digital assets will prove to be an alternative investment system in addition to equities.
“It makes sense that any company out there who has a cap table should have their token,” Armstrong said. “Every open source project, every charity, potentially every fund or these new types of decentralized organizations [and] apps, they’re all going to have their tokens.”
Coinbase, the U.S. company Armstrong heads, is one of the world’s largest bitcoin and altcoin exchanges by trading volume. They have only recently entered the U.K. markets to tap the growing crypto-user base in the country. Previously, it had been working actively in the U.S. and Europe, and it has amassed over 13 million users to date. That makes it 32.5 percent of the overall crypto-users — arguably, anyway.
Armstrong plans to expand Coinbase to more global territories. They have recently announced their plans to open new offices in Africa.
In the long run, Armstrong believes they will function like the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), with “probably” millions of tokens in their portfolio.
“We do feel a substantial subset of these tokens will be securities,” he said. “Our approach has always been to be the most trusted [cryptocurrency exchange] and the easiest to use. So we want to be the legal compliant place where you can start to trade these tokens that are classified as securities.”
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has rejected a total of nine applications to list and trade various Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded funds (ETFs) from three different applicants, according to a three separate orders published by the SEC today, August 22.
The disapprovals come one day ahead of the anticipated deadline, August 23, stipulated for a pair of BTC ETFs that had been submitted by ProShares in conjunction with the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) ETF exchange NYSE Arca.
The SEC has now rejected a further seven proposed ETFs alongside the ProShares pair –– these being five further proposed ETFs from Direxion, also for listing on NYSE Arca –– and two proposals from GraniteShares, for listing on CBOE.
For all three disapprovals, the SEC has stated that:
The SEC has today reinforced its qualms over inadequate “resistance to price manipulation” in an insufficiently sized BTC derivatives market. In the case of ProShares’ two ETFs –– and repeated in the two other disapproval orders –– the SEC has stated that:
As a March 2018 registration statement from the SEC noted, “the [ProShares] Funds do not intend to hold Bitcoin Futures Contracts through expiration, but instead intend to either close or ‘roll’ their respective positions.” This had been specifically designated as a potential risk for the two ETFs in question –– in addition to the “extreme volatility and low liquidity” attributed to both Bitcoin spot and derivatives markets.
In today’s three orders, the SEC has however notably stated that:
The SEC’s fresh disapprovals echo the concerns the agency had already articulated in its initial rejection of a high-profile Bitcoin ETF application from the Winklevoss twins in March 2017:
This July the SEC rejected the Winklevoss’ petition following their initial application’s denial, in which the twins claim that crypto markets are “uniquely resistant to manipulation.” In their rejection of the petition, the agency said that “the record before the Commission does not support such a conclusion.”
At the beginning of August, the SEC delayed its decision over yet another Bitcoin ETF application –– this time filed by by investment firm VanEck and financial services company SolidX, for trading on CBOE. Notably, instead of proposing a Bitcoin futures-based fund, the application proposed a physically-backed model, which will raise the further question of custody.
Bitcoin is currently trading around $6,380, down about 2.2 percent on the day to press time.
Decentralized cryptocurrency trading platform AirSwap has announced a new partnership designed to aid in the tokenization of one of the Western Hemisphere’s most expensive real estate markets.
That partnership, inked with FINRA-registered broker-dealer Propellr, will see the two firms use AirSwap’s peer-to-peer trading protocol to create a platform that allows brokers and their clients to tokenize securities and trade these crypto tokens in a manner that complies with securities regulations.
AirSwap and Propellr will initially focus their efforts on the New York real estate market, though details on how they aim to achieve this remain slim.
Though often labeled a decentralized crypto exchange (DEX), AirSwap does not quite fit this designation since it serves more like a decentralized search engine that helps buyers and sellers arrange trades over a peer-to-peer protocol.
In a statement, AirSwap highlighted how this technology can benefit secondary market transactions:
“Ultimately, we hope to reduce the time to complete secondary market transactions of private securities from months to days, with the actual execution, clearing, and settlement taking place in a matter of minutes. With a non-custodial, no order book model, our technology is far better positioned for the private securities market than alternatives that take custody, use order book matching engines, and wrongly assume that private securities will trade with the same frequency as publicly traded securities or cryptocurrencies.”
They aren’t the only ones who believe that real estate, a notoriously illiquid capital asset class, will greatly benefit from tokenization.
Recently, crowdfunding giant Indiegogo partnered with a broker-dealer to host its first security token offering (STO), which aims to sell tokens that represent equity in a luxury resort in Aspen, CO.
Separately, cryptocurrency startup Swarm has begun issuing tokens that represent equity in privately-held tech companies such as stock trading platform Robinhood, helping make another class of secondary market securities more liquid.
AirSwap raised $20 million during an initial coin offering (ICO) presale held last August and September and ultimately netted close to $25 million following the conclusion of the firm’s public sale, according to data from CoinSchedule.
Earlier this month, AirSwap announced the creation of an over-the-counter (OTC) cryptocurrency trading product, which is currently in private beta.
Investors may now have a new way of purchasing cryptocurrencies without actually having to own them.
Manhattan, New York-based banking giant Citigroup has reportedly developed a product which could reduce the risk hedge funds and asset management firms are exposed to when they invest in cryptocurrencies. According to the Business Insider, the instrument which was jointly developed by Citigroup’s depository receipts services team and the capital markets origination team is known as Digital Asset Receipt.
While Citigroup will issue the Digital Asset Receipt, a custodian will be responsible for holding the cryptocurrency assets. Upon issuing the receipt, Wall Street clearing and settlement services firm Depository Trust & Clearing Corp will then be informed by the financial giant. This is expected to offer legitimacy to the fledgling asset class as well as provide investors with a new way of tracking an investment within a familiar system.
Digital Asset Receipt works in a similar way to the American Depository Receipt (ADR) which allows investors in the United States to own foreign stocks that are not traded on domestic exchanges. With the ADR, U.S. citizens and residents are able to invest in foreign stocks where a bank acts as a custodian while the investors issued with a depository receipt. Having started issuing ADRs around nine decades ago, Citigroup is now one of the biggest issuers of American Depository Receipts in the world.
No information is, however, available regarding when the crypto product will be launched by Citigroup. It is also not clear how regulators would view the instrument especially coming in the wake of several bitcoin exchanged-traded funds (ETFs) being rejected by the U.S. markets regulator, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Last month, for instance, several ETFs were turned down as CCJ reported and this included one proposed by GraniteShares, two which had been proposed by ProShares and five leveraged and inversed ETFs proposed by Direxion. In rejecting the ETFs the SEC argued that the applicants failed to demonstrate that they had put in place measures necessary for the prevention of malpractices.
“Surveillance-sharing with a regulated market of significant size related to bitcoin is necessary to satisfy the statutory requirement that the Exchange’s rules be designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices,” explained the SEC.
In July the SEC also rejected a second bitcoin ETF proposal by Cameron Winklevoss and Tyler Winklevoss, popularly known as the Winklevoss twins. Despite the rejections, the applications continue to pile in and the SEC is expected to give a decision on a ETF application by VanEck SolidX Bitcoin Trust at the end of this month.
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