South American MercadoLibre Adds $7.8 Million worth Bitcoin to its Treasury

South American MercadoLibre Adds $7.8 Million worth Bitcoin to its Treasury

The online marketplace company also posted a larger quarterly loss, hit by a higher tax bill. Meanwhile, its fintech arm, Mercado Pago, reported a surge of 81.8% in total payment volume during the pandemic.

Argentina-based online marketplace MercadoLibre Inc incorporated in the US is the latest company to invest in Bitcoin. The SEC filing reads,

“As part of our treasury strategy this quarter, we purchased $7.8 million in bitcoin, a digital asset that we are disclosing within our indefinite-lived intangible assets.”

The South American company’s move to Bitcoin in order to protect from currency debasement came as MercadoLibre posted a larger quarterly loss on Wednesday, hit by weak margins and a higher tax bill.

The income expense of the company soared to $43.5 million in the first quarter ended March 31, from $4.4 million a year earlier, while its gross profit margin shrunk by about 5% to 42.9%. Meanwhile, net loss rose over 61% to $34 million, and excluding income tax expenses; the company posted a net income of $9.5 million.

MercadoLibre’s foreign currency losses were $15.1 million due to additional costs for buying U.S. dollars following restrictions imposed by Argentina’s government.

The company is also increasing investment in key areas like fintech services and warehouses as it faces competition from the giant like Amazon.

Quarterly revenue meanwhile more than doubled to $1.4 billion. With the second wave of Covid-19 hammering Brazil, which comprised 56% of the company’s total revenue, the surge in online shopping and digital payment in the region and neighboring countries, including Argentina, sustained.

Its fintech arm, Mercado Pago, reported a surge of 81.8% to $14.7 billion in total payment volume as the company revs up its digital payments engine during the pandemic.

Read Original/a>
Author: AnTy

Canadian Fintech Firm Mogo Adds Another 146 Ethereum to Its Crypto Portfolio

Canadian Fintech Firm Mogo Adds Another 146 Ethereum to Its Crypto Portfolio

Vancouver-based fintech company Mogo has purchased Ether as it continues to allocate its cash reserves into cryptocurrencies.

Mogo Deepens its Belief in Crypto

The company which had previously purchased Bitcoin announced that it had purchased 146 ETH at an average price of $2,780. This brings the purchased cryptocurrency to $405,880 in value at the time of the investment.

Mogo’s earlier investment in Bitcoin totals $1,054,618 at the current exchange rate, bought at an average price of $33,083.

Mogo’s move shows its intention to focus more on crypto assets, especially now that it has liquidated its equity investments in Vena Solutions.

The fintech company sold its Vena solutions holdings for $4.7 million, where it locked in a 116% profit from the book value on December 31, 2020. The company had divested its equity stake in Vena during its $300 million Series C funding.

Speaking on the latest Ether purchase, CEO and founder of Mogo Greg Feller said that the current investment in Ethereum compliments the earlier acquisition of Bitcoin.

“This initial investment in Ether complements our earlier investments in Bitcoin and reflects our belief in the long-term potential of blockchain technology and its position as a core component of a next-generation financial technology platform.”

Feller has previously spoken about how much the company believes in cryptocurrency. Mogo’s product development-related investments in crypto date back to 2018, when the company launched MogoCrypto.

MogoCrypto is a platform that enables its members to buy and sell bitcoin at real-time prices instantly through the Mogo app using their mobile device.

In March 2021, the company announced its Bitcoin rewards program that provides members with the opportunity to earn Bitcoin through engagement with Mogo’s products while enabling them to accumulate Bitcoin over time.

Apart from Mogo’s new-found crypto love, the company also recently closed its strategic investment in Coinsquare Ltd. The firm acquired a 19.99% stake in the popular Canadian exchange with an option to increase its stake to 43%.

Institutional Investors Choosing Bitcoin Over Ethereum

Mogo happens to be one of the few companies that have chosen to invest in the second-largest cryptocurrency. For so long, many of the institutions buying cryptocurrencies focused solely on Bitcoin. This was somewhat attributed to the popularity of the premier digital asset. The last couple of weeks has seen many companies make inroads into Ethereum.

According to Coinbase’s annual review for 2020, more institutional clients are snapping up positions in Ether as they now see the crypto as a potential store of value and its growing status as an asset that powers transactions on the Ethereum network.

Last month, Chinese company Meitu, known for its mobile apps, purchased 386 BTC ($21.6M) & 16k ETH ($28.4M) on March 17th and another 175.6 BTC for $10M on April 9th.

Read Original/a>
Author: Jimmy Aki

Crypto Custodian BitGo Adds an Additional $600M Insurance Coverage As Demand Increases

Crypto Custodian BitGo Adds an Additional $600M Insurance Coverage As Demand Increases

This follows increased institutional interest in crypto assets. Crypto.com is one of the first companies to take advantage of the excess limits.

Digital asset custodian, BitGo announced an additional $600 million to its “Dedicated Customer Excess Specie” insurance program as institutional investment in crypto skyrockets to new highs. The custodian launched a $100 million insurance program in 2019 via Lloyds’ of London to protect investors’ crypto holdings from any kind of external threat.

The additional cover is a response to the strong institutional investment growth in digital assets in 2021. With the insurance now covering up to $700 million, BitGo ranks as the largest insurance coverage in the crypto-space, Peter Najarian, BitGo’s chief revenue officer, boasted.

“We’ve been able to offer to our clients the ability to purchase bespoke insurance directly from a group of insurers that sit on top of our insurance at very favorable rates,” he said. “I would imagine our in-force coverage of over $600 million is certainly the largest in the marketplace today.”

Similar to its first insurance cover, the additional cover is sourced from Lloyds of London in collaboration with Woodruff-Sawyer & Co. and Paragon International Insurance Brokers of London.

BitGo opened up doors for companies to purchase “excess limit” insurance cover above the $100 million in 2020, and the latest additional cover is an extension to that program. Major crypto payment platform and exchange, Crypto.com was one of the first to purchase the dedicated customer excess limits in a bid to protect assets held in cold storage.

Speaking on the additional $600 million insurance cover, BitGo CEO Mike Belshe said,

“This milestone demonstrates that the offering has been very popular with clients seeking the ultimate secure and insured storage.”

However, crypto insurance marketplaces are still in the budding stage as regulatory concerns and security challenges push most global insurance companies from offering cover. As such, crypto custodians are forced to store their assets in cold storage to avoid hack attempts on the wallets. While security is enhanced, storing assets in cold storage has its challenges, such as difficulties in trading and withdrawing the funds.

A “specie” insurance policy covers such risks, also used to insure fine art and bullion stored in banks and other institutions.

According to Jacob Decker, a vice president at Woodruff-Sawyer, having specie policies protects the clients from “fraudulent activity involving insiders such as employees and possible collusion with external bad actors”. Also, it insures the funds in case of “physical destruction of key material due to fire, flood or earthquake.”

BitGo recently received its charter from the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) to become an independent custodian operating in the city.

Read Original/a>
Author: Lujan Odera

Gearing Up For An IPO: BlockFi Adds Former CFTC Chairman ‘Crypto Dad’ to Board

Gearing Up For An IPO: BlockFi Adds Former CFTC Chairman ‘Crypto Dad’ to Board

Former Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo has joined the board of directors of crypto neobank BlockFi.

“Just another step towards BlockFi’s mission of bringing financial products to crypto investors around the world,” tweeted Anthony Pompliano, founder and partner at Morgan Creek Digital.

Giancarlo headed CFTC in 2017 when Bitcoin futures made its debut on CME Group and Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE). He left office in 2019.

In early 2018, during his congressional testimony in which he advocated for a “do no harm” regulatory stance towards crypto assets, it earned him the title “Crypto Dad.”

Giancarlo is the first independent, non-equity holding director on BlockFi’s five-person board.

“As the adoption of digital assets accelerates, it is critical for the financial industry to consider how to adapt and integrate these innovations in a way that best serves investors and the broader economy,” Giancarlo said in a statement on Tuesday.

Crypto lender, BlockFi allows users to earn interest on their crypto assets and also offers Bitcoin Trust and is looking for Giancarlo’s guidance on regulatory developments and other initiatives.

The crypto unicorn managed over $15 billion in assets and reported just shy of $100 million revenue in 2020. Running toward generating $500 million in revenue this year, the company has grown its client base from 10k to 250k since 2019-end.

Founded in 2017 by Zac Prince and Flori Marquez, BlockFi is rumored to be planning for an initial public offering (IPO) in the second half of 2021, which was valued at $3 billion in its latest private funding round. Coinbase, the largest crypto exchange in the US, made its debut on Nasdaq at a valuation that briefly went to $100 billion.

“There are plenty of reasons a company like BlockFi might want a former high-ranking gov’t official like Chris Giancarlo on its board, & I’d guess one of them is preparation for an IPO. Great move,” tweeted Jake Chervinsky, General Counsel at Compound Finance.

Besides a move suggesting BlockFi gearing up for going public, this addition also underscores the ongoing demand for regulatory experiences in the crypto industry. Just yesterday, Binance.US tapped former acting OCC chief Brian Brooks as its new CEO.

Read Original/a>
Author: AnTy

OKEx Adds Lightning Network Support for Cheaper and Faster BTC Deposits & Withdrawals

Crypto Exchange OKEx Adds Lightning Network Support for Cheaper and Faster BTC Deposits & Withdrawals

Cryptocurrency exchange OKEx has added Lightning Network deposits and withdrawal support. The integration was first announced in February.

With this integration, OKEx will bring scalability, instant payments, and low cost to its users. As of now, it is live on the exchange’s desktop website, with mobile support to follow soon. OKEx tweeted,

“If you thought layer one of BTC was something else, wait until you use layer two for the first time.”

Launched in 2018, Lightning Network is a second layer on top of the Bitcoin network that facilitates faster and cheaper transactions.

On OKEx, this support is expected to bring down the average cost of Bitcoin transactions to under 0.01 cents and the average confirmation time to be reduced to mere 1-3 seconds.

Over the past year, a number of crypto exchanges have adopted Lightning Network in a bid to lower the deposit and withdrawal fees for their clients. Before OKEx, Bitfinex, Bitstamp, OKCoin, and River Financial announced the integration, while Gemini and Coinbase have yet to provide support.

Kraken is also expected to follow suit this year.

Read Original/a>
Author: AnTy

Social Trading Platform, eToro US, Adds Chainlink (LINK) & Uniswap (UNI) For Trading

Social Trading Platform, eToro US, Adds Chainlink (LINK) & Uniswap (UNI) For Trading

Social investment platform, eToro adds Chainlink (LINK), a decentralized oracle network, and Uniswap (UNI), a decentralized exchange token to its platform bringing the total number of cryptocurrencies to 18. The two tokens join Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), and Tezos (XTZ) on the eToro trading platform.

This move marks eToro’s involvement in the booming decentralized finance (DeFi), which has grown to over $55 billion in total locked value (TVL), according to DeFi Pulse. Uniswap currently places as the third-largest DeFi protocol on DeFi Pulse with $5.65 billion locked on the DEX while LINK’s ubiquitous nature sets it apart from every decentralized oracle in the industry.

Despite lagging behind in listing cryptocurrencies, Doron Rosenblum, VP of Business Solutions at eToro, believes “now is the right time to add tokens” as investor appetite for cryptos reaches fever pitch.

“Both LINK and UNI have interesting use cases and remind us that not all cryptos are designed to be currencies.”

“Chainlink is an important project that aims to overlay internet data with information stored on the blockchain and Uniswap is a critical part of the crypto trading infrastructure.”

eToro has seen magnificent growth since launching its first crypto products in 2013. In its plans to expand, the company is planning to go public through a merger with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) FinTech Acquisition Corp. in a $10.4 billion valuation deal. The company boasts of 20 million customers across the world enjoying zero-commission trading o crypto.

Rosenblum further stated the social trading app is looking forward to adding more cryptocurrencies across the year.

“We will continue to find ways to open up this sector to more people, including adding more tokens later this year.”

Read Original/a>
Author: Lujan Odera

Revolut Adds 11 New ‘Hot’ Cryptos Including DeFi Tokens for UK and EU Users

Revolut Adds 11 New ‘Hot’ Cryptos Including DeFi Tokens for UK and EU Users

London-based Fintech company, Revolut has announced support for eleven new cryptocurrencies, including popular DeFi tokens.

The cryptos selected are the result of the digital banking service provider “tracking hot tokens and top movers.”

Now Revolut’s UK and EU users can trade Cardano (ADA), Uniswap (UNI), Synthetix (SNX), Yearn Finance (YFI), Uma (UMA), Bancor (BNT), Filecoin (FIL), Numeraire (NMR), Loopring (LRC), Orchid (OXT), and The Graph (GRT).

“Revolut is moving much faster than PayPal and Square. Let the race begin!” noted Spartan Black, a partner at crypto fund The Spartan Group.

Revolut already supports a few cryptos, including Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ripple (XRP), Stellar (XLM), EOS, OMG, 0x (ZRX), and Tezos (XTZ).

According to its website, the majority of crypto funds are held in cold storage with custodians.

The app has constantly been expanding to new markets, with its Revolut Business going live in the US last month, and the same month they launched Revolut Bank in 10 new European markets.

Read Original/a>
Author: AnTy

Robinhood Adds 6 Million New Crypto Users in First 2 Months; 2021 Starting With A Bang

Robinhood Adds 6 Million New Crypto Users in First 2 Months; 2021 Starting With A Bang

“The numbers are clear: 2021 has started with a crypto bang,” says the online brokerage.

Zero commission online brokerage Robinhood revealed that 6 million new users signed up for its cryptocurrency services in the first two months of this year.

The company launched its crypto services three years ago. Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Bitcoin SV (BSV), Dogecoin (DOGE), Ethereum (ETH), Ethereum Classic (ETC), and Litecoin (LTC) are the only available cryptos on the platform.

Robinhood Crypto, which is licensed to engage in virtual currency business activity by the New York State Department of Financial Services, recorded high trading volume amidst a sharp rise in the prices of cryptos.

These numbers just show that much like crypto exchanges which have been registering a sustaining number of new peaks in new user sign-ups and volume, the crypto-mania has spread to everyone.

As we reported, in January, the global crypto users broke the milestone of 100 million, and this week, Square also revealed in its earnings report that its Cash App recorded 1 million new Bitcoin users in January 2021, adding to its 3 million throughout 2020.

As for Robinhood’s crypto division, they averaged about 200,000 new customers trading on its platform per month in 2020, the company said in a blog post. “The numbers are clear: 2021 has started with a crypto bang,” it said.

Robinhood crypto traders by year

Source: Robinhood

The average transaction size of crypto investors on the platform is around $500.

Robinhood, which also offers stock and options trading, currently allows its customers to only buy, sell, and hold cryptos and recently said it also plans to introduce the ability to deposit and withdraw cryptos to other wallets.

The company is expected to go public this year, with a value of over $20 billion, nowhere near the more than $100 billion valuation crypto exchange Coinbase got. The largest crypto exchange in the US, Coinbase, filed to go public with Nasdaq through a direct listing on Thursday.

Read Original/a>
Author: AnTy

You Can Now Buy Bitcoin with Apple Pay as BitPay Adds Support

You Can Now Buy Bitcoin with Apple Pay as BitPay Adds Support

Online and in-store purchases can now be made on ApplyPay with crypto and soon on Google Pay and Samsung Pay as well.

Apple’s direct integration of Bitcoin will be a real deal, but still, one step in making BTC and cryptocurrencies available to Apple Pay users is taken by BitPay. The cryptocurrency payment service provider BitPay, which was founded in 2011 announced,

“Exciting day for U.S. based BitPay Wallet app users. You can now add your BitPay Card to Apple Pay to make online and in-store purchases with crypto.”

The US cardholders of the BitPay Prepaid Mastercard can now add their card to Apple Wallet and spend with Apple Pay.

The firm is further planning to provide support for Google Pay and Samsung Pay as well but later this quarter. BitPay chief executive officer Stephen Pair said,

“We have thousands of BitPay Wallet app customers using the BitPay Card who are always looking for new places and ways to spend their crypto.”

“Adding Apple Pay and soon Google and Samsung Pay makes it easy and convenient to use the BitPay Card in more places from day-to-day items to luxury purchases.”

BitPay Card enables its customers to instantly convert crypto into fiat currency. Its wallet app currently supports Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and Ethereum (ETH), along with four dollar-pegged stablecoins, USDC, GUSD, PAX, and BUSD.

To add a card to Apple Wallet, cardholders need the most recent version of the BitPay app, 12.1.0, which is available in the App Store.

Read Original/a>
Author: AnTy

Bitwise 10 Large Cap Index Adds AAVE and Uniswap; CIO Calls DeFi Inclusion a ‘Milestone Event’

Bitwise 10 Large Cap Index Adds AAVE and Uniswap; CIO Calls DeFi Inclusion a ‘Milestone Event’

The DeFi virus is spreading.

Cryptocurrency asset manager Bitwise Asset Management has added two new DeFi blue chips to its Bitwise 10 Large Cap Crypto Index as part of the January month-end index rebalance.

“DeFi assets entering the Bitwise 10 Large Cap Crypto Index is a milestone event,” said Matt Hougan, Chief Investment Officer at Bitwise.

The Bitwise 10 Large Cap Crypto Index (BITX) tracks a total return of the 10 largest crypto assets, which is measured and weighted by their free-float market capitalization and is currently trading at $36,286.

The Index now tracks Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), EOS, Tezos (XTZ), Stellar (XLM), Chainlink (LINK), Uniswap (UNI), and Aave (AAVE). Hunter Horsley, chief executive officer at Bitwise, said,

“The last few weeks has seen de-platforming & censorship by some of our country’s leading companies. In response, new decentralized services—with no corporation, executives, or board—are growing in popularity. Today, the 1st decentralized exchange (UNI) entered the Bitwise 10.”

Just last month, Bitwise liquidated its just over $9 million worth of position in XRP, representing approximately 3.8% share of the Fund, in response to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) suing Ripple And its top executives for allegedly selling unregistered securities XRP.

“The Bitwise 10 Crypto Index Fund does not invest in assets that are reasonably likely to be deemed securities under federal or state securities laws,” said the company at the time.

Bitwise is not the only one to provide its clients exposure to the world of decentralized finance through the popular DeFi tokens. As we reported, the largest asset manager Grayscale Investments has also filed with the SEC for several single-asset trusts that cover various DeFi tokens, including Aave.

Read Original/a>
Author: AnTy