Abra Rolls Out Interest-Earning Accounts; Up to 9% on Cryptocurrency and Stablecoin Deposits

Abra users will now be allowed to generate extra income on the crypto investment application. Their customers are set to earn interest for their deposits on their Abra interest accounts as announced on their website.

In a short YouTube video, they have illustrated how by holding their deposits in the Abra interest accounts, they will earn income interests. The up to 9% interest rates yearly compounded at the end of every business day.

They are currently extending support for some popular crypto and stablecoins in the markets currently. The array of crypto assets to be deposited for interest generation are such as: Bitcoin (BTC), Ether(ETH) inclusive of some stablecoins like USDT, PAX, USDC and TUSD.

The BTC and ETH generating 4.1% and 4% respectively with the stablecoins accruing 9% interest rates according to Lomesh Dutta, the VP in charge of Abra’s growth. He however added that pending on the demand from their institutional borrowers the interest rates will be subject to evaluation. He remarked that their interest rates have surpassed what banks can currently offer in interest rates.

They have consolidated their place in crypto sphere receiving overwhelming response from the Philippine, US and UK markets garnering over a million users. They have collaborated with Prime Trust for custodial services in the project. This will obligate all the users that are to benefit from the initiative to confirm their identities with the Prime Trust as per the KYC policies.

Notably, Abra are onset to create a decentralized global banking solution on Stellar’s Blockchain. This move could have been inspired by Stellar’s Development Fund (SDF) $5 Million cash injection to the crypto wallet provider.

Abra’s recent tussle with the SEC and CTFC saw the digital asset firm fork over $300k in fines after the futures commission filed charges against Abra and their Philippine affiliate Plutus. According to the financial watchdogs, Abra failed to verify the eligibility of the clients to whom they offered their unregistered security swaps.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Abra to Venture Into Global Financial Services Powered by Stellar’s Blockchain

Abra, a popular crypto-fiat wallet along with an exchange application, is planning to create a decentralized global banking solution built on top of Stellar blockchain. The move could be inspired by Stellar’s $5 million investment in Abra earlier this year.

Bill Barhydt, CEO of Abra during the SDF’s digital second quarter review meeting on July 15, talked about the company’s roadmap and emphasized particularly on “interest-earning capability,” which will be one of the most sought after features in coming days. Barhydt while talking about the upcoming services and features and the interest-earning services commented:

“This allows consumers, for example, people who aren’t even familiar with cryptocurrency, to store dollars and earn significant interest on those dollars.”

During the meeting, Barhydt also said that the interest-earning features would also be made available for cryptocurrencies along with the staking services.

How Does Abra Work?

Abra being a crypto/fiat wallet exchange app and now collaborating with banks, exchanges, and other financial entities and acts as a liquidity provider through its platform. Recently it has shifted its focus towards retail players to offer its application and expand its reach.

Elaborating on his plans for introducing interest-earning, Barhydt explained that they would partner with large institutional players who would work in tandem with its backend infrastructure to offer “a very sophisticated lending system.” Talking about their plans and how Abra aims to create the global banking solution, Barhydt said:

“For us to take this to another level, Abra is building an entirely new part of our business to facilitate the movement of funds globally, in real-time, using the Stellar network. What this will enable for us in all forms of global lending.”

He also explained that the success of defi in the past couple of years made him believe that the crypto market is more than ready to accept crypto lending and interest-earning potential that these digital assets posses. He explained:

“We want to take this to another level, and use the Stellar platform to enable traditional banking applications at a global scale truly.”

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Author: Silvia A

Crypto App, Abra, Forks Over $300k to SEC, CFTC for Offering Synthetic Exposure to US Stocks

Abra, the crypto-based financial app, has settled a total of $300k with the U.S Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as per an announcement by both financial watchdogs on July 13. However, the firm did not deny or accept security laws violation charges brought forward by both agencies.

The SEC and CFTC had filed charges against Abra and its Philippine affiliate, Plutus, citing violations in their U.S market operations. According to the SEC, Abra offered unregistered security-based swaps to retail investors and failed to check the eligibility of participants:

“The order finds that Abra marketed its app to retail investors, yet Abra took no steps to determine whether users who downloaded the app were “eligible contract participants” as defined by the securities laws.” reads the SEC press release.

CFTC, on the other hand, charged Abra with facilitating illegal off-exchange swaps based on digital currencies:

“Entering into illegal off-exchange swaps in digital assets and foreign currency with U.S. and overseas customers and registration violations.”

It’s not the first time Abra has found itself at cross paths with the U.S regulators. Last year, the firm had, halted its operations following an SEC warning but resumed shortly after having ‘cut off’ U.S retail investors.

Records, however, show that Abra’s activities were still run from California and partly covered the U.S market despite the SEC threat. Daniel Michael, the SEC Enforcement Division’s Complex Financial Instruments Unit Chief, has since emphasized the underlying obligations in such a case:

“Businesses that structure and effect security-based swaps may not evade the federal securities laws merely by transacting primarily with non-U.S. retail investors and setting up a foreign entity to act as a counterparty while conducting crucial parts of their business in the United States.”

SEC and CFTC Combined Efforts

The two regulatory agencies have been working together as more digital assets seek to launch in the promising U.S retail market. Just recently, the CFTC chairman said that the listing of more crypto-based derivatives is pegged on SEC’s decisions on commodity classifications. That said, Abra’s case is the latest to reveal a combined effort by both agencies to protect U.S consumers. James McDonald, CFTC Director of Enforcement, acknowledged the progress in collaboration with the SEC so far:

“This case underscores, once again, that the Commission will continue working with our regulatory partners to ensure the integrity of our markets, including those involving digital assets.”

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Facebook Ditched Bitcoin For Libra Over Its Inability to Scale: Bill Barhydt

  • Facebook (FB) actually preferred to use Bitcoin: Abra CEO, Bill Barhydt
  • The plan was to create a scalable Bitcoin as anything transactional with BTC was effectively untenable
  • Bitcoin consultant, Udi Wertheimer begs to differ

Before going with its own stablecoin Libra, social media giant Facebook (FB) has been considering using Bitcoin, Bill Barhydt, CEO of the Bitcoin Investment platform Abra shared with Peter McCormack, on the What Bitcoin Did podcast.

Instead of creating its own fiat-backed cryptocurrency Facebook apparently wanted to use the leading cryptocurrency to power its payment system. But, Barhydt claims the company had “no choice” but to develop its own digital currency because of Bitcoin’s inability to scale.

His claims are based on his conversation with a number of people that were directly involved in the development of Libra.

Earlier this year, Abra announced the launch of a new way to invest in traditional stocks, commodities, ETF’s using Bitcoin, becoming the first one to introduce fractional-share investing with BTC.

In July, the cryptocurrency investment app restricted its services for US users over

“regulatory uncertainty and restrictions”

in the country.

A Plan for a Scalable Bitcoin

In his multiple conversations with Facebook’s team members, Barhydt got to know about the goal of the company that was to become a payment platform that serves the users’ needs and not to create a cryptocurrency.

“Ideally, from my discussions, they actually would have preferred to use Bitcoin,” he said.

Facebook had plans to create something like a “scalable Bitcoin” but Barhydt said,

“you can’t go fully permission-less out of the gate.”

So, with the problems FB has been trying to solve, Bitcoin, was not going to work for them.

“I think there’s a huge belief in the system. But if you want to build a remittance system and you want to build a cross-border commerce system and you have 1.2 billion users today, what would happen to Bitcoin? Fees would skyrocket. Doing anything with Bitcoin that was transactional was effectively untenable.”

However, Bitcoin consultant, Udi Wertheimer doesn’t agree with this. He said, scalability wasn’t the issue, Facebook didn’t want to in the first place.

Facebook according to Barhydt considered all the options including Lightning Network, the second layer on Bitcoin network that aims to solve Bitcoin’s scaling problem.

“These are smart people. They’ve looked at Lighting, they’ve looked at Bitcoin, they’ve thought this through. And they came to the conclusion that Bitcoin is not optimized to be a payment network, Bitcoin is optimized to be digital cash right now,”

he added.

Barhydt said, Facebook, however, had “infinitely” more favorable chance of executing it than any other company.

As for the heightened regulatory scrutiny Libra is facing from regulators all over the world, Barhydt said the company’s previous track records are that make it easier for lawmakers to question it.

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Author: AnTy

Tesla Reigns Supreme as Abra’s Bitcoin-Based Stock Trading Heats Up

Tesla Reigns Supreme as Abra’s Bitcoin-Based Stock Trading Heats Up

Barely a month after launching a crypto trading app for its global clients, Abra is back with lots of eye-opening information. The investment firm has been busy collecting reviews and responses to its Bitcoin-powered stock and ETF site. And the outcome so far is positive, highlighting a massive demand for timely and affordable investment solutions.

Exclusively Serves Traders Located Outside the US

The whole concept Abra employ for its non-US based clients is simple and super-effective. First, the firm opted for Bitcoin when trading stock and ETF trading. It then embarked on launching the app, ensuring it goes live in more than 150 countries.

Since rolling it out, the investment company has immensely eased the overall stock trading procedure. It has also decentralized how financial services could be accessed while bringing on board active users in more than 82 countries.

Interestingly, the app enables its users to invest in popular traditional stocks, including that of Tesla, Uber, Facebook, and Alibaba, besides going for ETFs such as gold SPDR. They do this conveniently and off their smartphones using Bitcoin.

Abra, excited by the findings, couldn’t remain silent about them. The firm’s Twitter outlet posted a series of tweets on how the app had faired on after a month’s use by traders from across the world. The tweets told the whole journey, from Abra launching Bitcoin-based stock and ETF investing for its non-US based traders.

Everything aside, the whole service now highlights how Bitcoin can help bypass borders while allowing crypto traders to markets that are geographically impossible to reach. According to Abra, 43% of its client base said that BTC had eased the overall process of investing in financial markets. A further 35% said they now invest in all popular stocks without breaking a sweat.

Speaking to BitcoinMagazine, the platform’s founder and CEO, Bill Barhydt, was equally elated by the findings. He spoke of how they launched their wait-list in February, but had to wait till May before rolling out the app for their international clients. Yet, despite the app going live for such a short time had it reached about 14,000 equity wallets.

From the Statistics, Millennials love Tesla

According to the survey, the most sought after stock among investors using the app is Tesla. The Global Investor Insights further reported that the world is crazy over tech and immensely loves Tesla, as evidenced by the firm’s findings. Generally, the statistics revealed that any medium investment in Tesla was comparatively higher, unlike investing the same in a different platform.

The phenomenon, according to Barhydt, is because of the vast millennial investors. He added that the whole scenario was a testament to their vibrancy in investing in whatever they believed on. The project that Elon Musk is creating clearly endears many millennial’s to Tesla’s stocks.

Five countries where Tesla is trending hot, according to the statistics are his birthplace; South Africa, Argentina, France, the Philippines, and Austria. Besides Tesla, top ranking stocks include e-commerce giants Amazon and Alibaba as well as tech behemoths Apple and Google.

Ultimately, the findings highlight what many probably see across the world; preference for tech stocks.

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Author: Lillian Peter