Estonia‘s Head of AML Agency Proposes a 28x Increase in Minimum Capital Requirement for Crypto Firms

Estonia‘s Head of AML Agency Proposes a 28x Increase in Minimum Capital Requirement for Crypto Firms

Estonia’s head of anti-money laundering government agency wants to scrap its current crypto regulations and start afresh. Up until now, Estonia has been a crypto-friendly jurisdiction, but that could soon change.

Estonia should “turn the regulation to zero and start licensing all over again,” the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) chief Matis Mäeker, who was appointed in May this year, told a local news outlet.

Mäeker explained that crypto companies had made “tens of billions of euros per year,” but instead of helping the Estonian economy, it has moved to other countries “Their only goal is to get an Estonian license and use it to turn over very large sums, while Estonia gets nothing out of it,” Mäeker said.

The chief has proposed stricter rules for licensing crypto startups and raising the minimum capital requirements from €12,000 (US$13,900) to €350,000 ($405,000).

A bill proposing regulations for crypto licenses will also be introduced in the Estonian parliament, Mäeker said. In the meantime, he called for existing licenses to be revoked.

Last year, the FIU revoked 1,808 cryptocurrency licenses, and currently, there are 400 licenses in Estonia.

Read Original/a>
Author: AnTy

“We’re In A New Bull Market,” says Pantera Capital CEO But Warns Of A Bitcoin Bear Trigger

Pantera Capital CEO Dan Morehead is now calling for a new bull cycle as Bitcoin price moves towards $60,000 after recovering from the June low that was just under $29,000.

“​​We had a period of temporary insanity,” wrote Morehead in this month’s note to investors, pointing to China banning cryptocurrency mining and trading that had a negative impact along with the debate on the environmental impact of Proof-of-Work consensus mechanism, adding, “now we’re in a new bull market.”

Already up more than 30% in October, Bitcoin price is currently only 13% away from its all-time high of nearly $65,000. The market is hopeful of a strong performance this quarter, with Q4 being historically a bullish month.

According to Morehead, the deep bear markets where we experienced drawdowns of over 80% may be a thing of the past, and future bear markets will now be “shallower.”

“As the market becomes broader, more valuable, and more institutional, the amplitude of price swings will moderate.”

But at the same time, we won’t be seeing any more of the 100x-in-a-year rallies either, he added.

The Bear Catalyst

While Morehead is confident in the second round of the bull cycle, he warned of a potential bear catalyst in the form of the launch of the Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF).

As we reported, the market is highly hopeful that the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will finally approve a Bitcoin Futures ETF this month. SEC Chair Gensler has also been hinting at a possible futures-based ETF for months.

This could be why Bitcoin futures on the regulated exchange CME is trading at a much higher price than other exchanges. The CME bitcoin futures basis increasing at a faster rate suggests that institutional investors are buying BTC futures that can further put upward pressure on the crypto asset and lead to an even steeper curve.

Interestingly, as NYDIG pointed out, the number of contracts that a participant such as an ETF can own on the CME is also raised to a total of 6,000 starting October 18th. The decision on the first ETF filed by ProShares falls on the same day.

If SEC says nothing on this, the ETF “will be free to launch on 10/18 as the 75 days req will have passed,” said Eric Balchunas, Senior ETF Analyst for Bloomberg. “No news is prob good news at this point,” he added.

Meanwhile, to Morehead, this approval could turn out to be a ‘Buy the rumor, sell the fact’ much like two other past events.

Will History Repeat Itself?

The Pantera Capital CEO pointed to the launch of Bitcoin futures on CME in December 2017 and Coinbase going public via a direct listing in April this year as examples. The market rallied 2,440% the first time and 822% the second time but resulted in an 83% and 53% bear market, respectively.

The same can happen when Bitcoin ETF gets approved, said Morehead as he concluded:

“Will someone please remind the day before the Bitcoin ETF officially launches? I might want to take some chips off the table.”

Trader @SplitCapital, however, is not of the same opinion as he argued that the CME futures launch came at a time when the market was “coming off of the most frothy period in crypto history,” and funding rates were at 30% for short-dated futures. Similarly, during Coinbase’s IPO, there was the most amount of bitcoin openly traded in history.

This time, however, financing rates are averaging below 15%, open value is at record lows, and we have a renewed macro tailwind in the form of fiscal and monetary policy, which means this is not a classic ‘sell the news’ event, and “this time really is different.”

Read Original/a>
Author: AnTy

Skybridge Capital Announces Intentions For Algorand (ALGO) Crypto ETF

Skybridge Capital Announces Intentions For Algorand (ALGO) Crypto ETF

Continuing his bullish stance on the future of blockchain-based assets popularly called cryptocurrencies, former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci has asserted that the burgeoning industry is here to stay.

He also laid out his asset management firm’s intentions in a CNBC-covered interview.

SkyBridge Has $700 Million In Crypto Holdings

Popular crypto supporter Anthony Scaramucci is stirring the crypto waters again as he admitted that cryptocurrencies are becoming too big to be ignored.

In a CNBC special, Scaramucci announced that his alternative asset management firm SkyBridge Capital has so far racked up $700 million worth of virtual assets. The crypto bull also noted that the New York-based investment firm plans to expand its crypto offerings for interested clients.

According to the Skybridge founder, the company will launch a crypto exchange-traded fund (ETF) focused on the popular ‘Ethereum killer,’ the Algorand (ALGO) blockchain. Scaramucci noted that $100 million has already been generated for the new ETF venture.

Comparing crypto to the rise of taxi-hailing service Uber, Scaramucci said that the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) might be fighting a losing battle. According to him, Uber triumphed due to the massive public backing it enjoyed.

“Before long, there will be 200 million crypto users in the United States.”

However, the SEC does not share this enthusiasm, and agency Chief Gary Gensler has repeatedly called out the nascent industry in the past. In a featured release, the former MIT instructor of blockchain technology noted that the crypto space was “rife with fraud and abuse,” asserting that regulating the space is the only means to ensure basic consumer protection.

SALT Conference Stirred Mixed Feelings

SkyBridge Capital has been on the front foot of crypto adoption, with the asset management firm organizing a series of blockchain-based conferences. One of such is Skybridge Alternative Conference or SALT. Hosted in New York early on Tuesday, hedge fund big wigs like Ray Dalio of Bridgewater Associates were in attendance.

Dalio noted the importance of “alternatives to cash,” pointing out that inflation was rapidly reducing purchasing power. According to him, these tools could help shore up the decline of cash and should be considered.

However, the billionaire investor noted that regulatory agencies might not be enthused about the emergence of these alternatives. Dalio said that government agencies would undermine the mass adoption of fiat alternatives like Bitcoin and may outrightly ban their use, thereby defragmenting the growing industry.

Meanwhile, Skybridge Capital is not deterred by the gloomy cloud hanging over the crypto industry and recently launched a non-fungible token (NFT) platform.

Noted in a Sept.13 release, Skybridge said the NFT platform would be called Flatter. The platform would enable users to buy sought-after collectibles from the emerging marketplace.

Read Original/a>
Author: Jimmy Aki

Unique Addresses Using DeFi Protocols Grow by 65% in Q2, Institutional Capital Flooding in DeFi Too: ConsenSys

Unique Addresses Using DeFi Protocols Grow by 65% in Q2, Institutional Capital Flooding in DeFi Too: ConsenSys

As of July 1, 2021, 161 million unique Ethereum addresses have been created, an increase of 10% over Q1 and a decrease in the 12% growth since January, according to ConsenSys’ 2Q21 report.

2.91 million unique addresses used at least one DeFi protocol by the end of Q2, representing a 65% growth from Q1. However, DeFi addresses are just 1.81% of all Ethereum addresses. The report noted,

“As community driven education, simple user interfaces, appealing yields, and general awareness around DeFi best practices increased throughout the quarter, so too did the number of new addresses.”

Growth in DeFi usage can also be seen in popular Ethereum wallet, MetaMask’s monthly users, which surpassed 8 million due to the development of DeFi applications on other Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) compatible networks that users can access via MetaMask, like BSC and Polygon.

These EVM compatible blockchains took off in Q2, attracting users with much lower fees and higher throughput with the number of transactions on BSC and Polygon’s Proof of Stake commit-chain overtaking Ethereum.

In the DeFi space, DEXs saw their highest volume ever in Q2 at $343 billion, surpassing the leading crypto exchange in the US, Coinbase’s $335 billion volume in Q1. Coinbase had identified decentralized exchanges as one of the key threats to their business in S-1. It went public via a direct listing in Q2.

Interestingly, DEXs enable trading only for EMV-compatible assets while more than half Coinbase’s trading is in Bitcoin.

Regulated Institutional Investors Stepping In

Over the past year, DeFi has come a long way and has now started to attract institutional investors’ attention. ConsenSys noted,

“With radical financial innovation and growth comes radical investment returns and opportunity, leading to more and more institutional capital flooding into this space.”

This can be seen in Coinbase custodial assets at over $90 bln and Gemini having more than $30 bln in assets under custody, while purely institutional custodians like Bitgo having have at least $16 billion assets under custody.

The report further mentions PWC reporting 47% of traditional hedge fund managers representing $180 billion of AUM looking at investing in crypto. An Intertrust survey finds that hedge funds are expected to hold 7% of their assets, equating to $312 billion in crypto in 5 years.

DeFi projects like Aave and Compound are already taking steps towards this with permissioned pools and Treasury to earn a fixed rate. MetaMask also launched a wallet built for institutions with an address tracking system called Codefi Compliance that allows custodians to identify addresses within pools suspected of nefarious activity effectively. The report says,

“Driven to take advantage of the exceptional investment returns, but also able to do so from a regulatory and compliance perspective, more regulated institutional investors are now stepping into this space.”

Read Original/a>
Author: AnTy

$162 Billion Asset Manager Files for a Crypto Basket ETF

Victory Capital Management, the wholly-owned investment advisor of Victory Capital Holding, which has $161.9 billion in assets under management, has launched the Victory Hashdex Nasdaq Crypto Index Fund LLC.

This private fund that provides US accredited investors access to digital assets tracks the Nasdaq Crypto Index (NCI).

This crypto basket fund is primarily made up of Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH), having 62.39% and 31.70% weightage, respectively. Other crypto assets in this fund include Uniswap (UNI), Chainlink (LINK), Litecoin (LTC), Stellar (XLM), Filecoin (FIL), and Bitcoin Cash (BCH).

The core exchanges of the index include Bitstamp, Coinbase, Gemini, itBit, and Kraken, while BitGo, Fidelity, Coinbase, and Gemini are the custodians.

The Nasdaq Crypto Index will be rebalanced quarterly, charging a management fee of 1.75%. Subscription can be made daily, while daily redemptions come with 3 business days’ notice. The fund has a minimum initial investment requirement of $25,000 and subsequent investments of $10,000.

Coming without any lockups, unlike the world’s largest digital asset manager, Grayscale, the company believes this new private is unique due to its multi-coin access, daily liquidity at NAV, and Nasdaq index governance.

“We’re confident we’re on the verge of fast and remarkable advancements in this arena, and the Victory Hashdex Nasdaq Crypto Index Fund, along with a potential future ETF offering, will provide our clients with convenient exposure to multiple coins while introducing a new asset class for their portfolios,” said Mannik Dhillon, CFA, CAIA, President of VictoryShares & Solutions.

The company also filed an initial registration statement with the SEC to offer the Fund strategy in an ETF vehicle.

This new filing comes as Grayscale announced veteran David LaValle as its global head of ETF.

“Kinda interesting timing given the cold water Gensler poured on 33 Act physical bitcoin ETFs. Prob had it planned bf then and just want to get hat in ring. But prob not getting approved anytime soon,” commented Eric Balchunas, Senior ETF Analyst at Bloomberg.

Speaking at the Aspen Security Forum on Tuesday, US SEC Chair Gary Gensler said he is interested in a Bitcoin ETF which complies with the SEC’s strict rules for mutual funds, which left the industry disappointed because such an ETF doesn’t get much traction.

It’s all about physically-backed ETF, as can be seen in the case of bullion, where gold futures ETF DGL has less than 1% of the assets of physically-backed gold ETFs.

Read Original/a>
Author: AnTy

SoftBank Invests $200 Million in Latin America Crypto Exchange

SoftBank Invests $200 Million in Latin America Crypto Exchange

This fresh capital will be used to scale Mercado Bitcoin’s operations, expand its offerings, and invest in infrastructure to meet the rising demand for cryptocurrency in the region.

Japan’s Soft Group Corp. has invested $200 million in one of Latin American’s biggest cryptocurrency exchanges, Mercado Bitcoin.

According to Roberto Dagnoni, executive chairman and chief executive officer of 2TM Group, the parent company of the exchange, it was part of the firm’s Series B funding round.

SoftBank made the investment through its Latin American Fund, which represents the Japanese multinational company’s largest investment in a Latin American crypto company.

With this funding round, 2TMhas reached a valuation of $2.1 billion.

Launched in 2013, Mercado Bitcoin has grown its client base to 2.8 million in 2021, over 70% of the entire individual investor base in Brazil’s stock exchange, 2TM said.

During the first five months of the year, about 700,000 new customers signed up to use Mercado Bitcoin’s services, and the company’s trading volume increased to $5 billion, more than the total for its first seven years combined, it said.

This latest investment from SoftBank comes at a time when the cryptocurrency market is in capitulation after experiencing a drawdown of as much as 50% to 75% from their all-time highs while money continues to flow into the private crypto market as investors bet on the long-term growth of the industry.

Dagnoni remains unfazed by the sideways price action going on in the crypto market, saying, “We are strong believers in the fundamentals of crypto.”

Meanwhile, the fresh capital will be used by Mercado Bitcoin to scale its operations, expand its offerings, and invest in infrastructure to meet the rising demand for cryptocurrency in the region.

The company is looking at regional expansions in Latam and expansions via mergers and acquisitions while focusing on custody which is “very important in releasing the power of the institutional market,” said Dagnoni in an interview with Reuters.

Read Original/a>
Author: AnTy

a16Z Launches Largest Ever $2.2 Billion Cryptocurrency-focused Fund

Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz has launched the third and biggest multi-billion dollar cryptocurrency-focused fund to continue to invest in the market.

Founded by Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, the firm announced its new $2.2 billion fund on Thursday. It plans to deploy capital across blockchain, digital assets, next-generation payments, decentralized finance (DeFi), Web 3, and more. Katie Haun and Chris Dixon, partners who run Andreessen’s cryptocurrency group said,

“The size of this fund speaks to the size of the opportunity before us: crypto is not only the future of finance but, as with the internet in the early days, is poised to transform all aspects of our lives.”

The company launched its first crypto-focused fund three years ago during crypto winter. Currently, Bitcoin has halved from its all-time high, and altcoins have lost even more of their value.

But as Haun and Dixon noted, “prices may fluctuate but innovation continues to increase through each cycle.”

“We believe that the next wave of computing innovation will be driven by crypto,” they wrote, adding that they’re “radically optimistic about crypto’s potential.”

The firm is known for its early bets on companies like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Lyft. It made the first move into the crypto asset space in 2013 through Coinbase, which went public this year. Additionally, it is now an early investor in Facebook-backed stablecoin Diem, previously known as Libra. The firm has also joined the NFT boom by investing in Dapper Labs and OpenSea.

Andreessen Horowitz said it plans to hold these crypto investments for a decade or more.

The firm also announced new hires for the fund, including former SEC director Bill Hinman as an advisory partner and former undersecretary of the Treasury for International Affairs Brent McIntosh as an advisor.

For the global head of policy, Tomicah Tillemann, the former chair of the Global Blockchain Business Council and an adviser to the White House, has been appointed. Anthony Albanese, who left the New York Stock Exchange last year, will serve as the new COO, while Rachael Horwitz, who led communications at Twitter, Facebook, and Google, is joining as an operating partner.

Read Original/a>
Author: AnTy

Venture Capital Giant Is Planning to Raise $1 Billion to Invest In Cryptocurrencies and Startups

Venture Capital Giant Is Planning to Raise $1 Billion to Invest In Cryptocurrencies and Startups

Andreessen Horowitz, a venture capital giant, is looking to raise as much as $1 billion in cryptocurrencies and crypto startups.

This new fund aims to raise between $800 million and $1 billion from investors, reported the Financial Times, citing people familiar with the matter.

With this latest move, one of Silicon Valley’s highest-profile venture capital firms is introducing one of the largest pools of capital to crypto, potentially twice the size of its predecessor — its third crypto fund, which raised $515 million a year ago.

After the success of Coinbase, currently valued at about $60 billion down from the initial brief valuation of $100 billion, institutional investors such as endowments and foundations are now renewing their bet on the technology.

Founded in 2009 by Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, the venture capital firm, which was also an early investor in Coinbase along with Ripple through traditional funds, was managing $35.8 billion in regulatory assets at the end of last year.

Its latest fundraising would rival the capital raised by Paradigm, a crypto investment firm founded by Coinbase co-founder Fred Ehsram and former Sequoia Capital partner Matt Huang in 2018.

Paradigm has raised $1 billion from investors, including endowments of Harvard and Yale universities.

Another one, Pantera Capital, aims to raise $600 million for a new blockchain fund that will combine investments in private companies and tradable tokens. Its last venture fund raised $175 million in 2018, which surged 3.8x in January this year.

Read Original/a>
Author: AnTy

UK Hedge Fund Brevan Howard Plans to Invest 1.6% of $5.6B Capital in Cryptocurrencies

UK Hedge Fund Brevan Howard Plans to Invest 1.6% of $5.6B Capital in Cryptocurrencies

European hedge fund Brevan Howard Asset Management is reportedly planning to invest part of its capital in Bitcoin, according to Bloomberg.

Hedge Fund Joins League of Institutional Investors

Per the report, the firm is set to invest up to 1.6% of its $5.6 billion capital in cryptocurrencies. This translates to about $84 million soon to be allocated into digital assets.

Co-founders of crypto investment firm Distributed Global, Johnny Steindorff and Tucker Waterman, will oversee the crypto purchase for Brevan Howard.

Brevan Howard plans to have a diversified portfolio of cryptocurrencies; not just Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH).

The billionaire co-founder, Alan Howard has been investing in cryptocurrencies with his personal investments. He joins the likes of wall street heavyweights backing cryptocurrencies.

Howard owns a significant stake in European cryptocurrency asset manager CoinShares. He has also led and participated in many funding rounds for crypto startups. These include European companies such as Komainu and Nextmarkets.

More To Come, Less To Go

With the increasing debut of institutional investors in cryptocurrencies across the world, experts believe that more will come in and less will go because of the rising value of Bitcoin. At press time, Bitcoin trades at $61,896, still down 1.6% in the last 24 hours.

A survey report conducted by Glassnode showed that there was about 4 million Bitcoin in circulation, a feat that has never happened before.

The report added that the sharp rise in the demand for digital assets might lead to a massive supply squeeze in the meantime, which is capable of pushing the price higher.

As a result, the coins being mined are not even enough to meet the people’s demand. Most experts believe the short squeeze is also a factor driving crypto prices.

Read Original/a>
Author: Jimmy Aki

Gitcoin Spins Out of ConsenSys After Raising Over $11M in a ‘Strategic’ Capital Move

Gitcoin Spins Out of ConsenSys After Raising Over $11M in a ‘Strategic’ Capital Move

Gitcoin, a decentralized funding program supporting open-sourced blockchain projects, has grown its Treasuries by $11.3 million, a blog post confirmed on Wednesday. The funding was led by Paradigm, with top crypto firms such as IDEO, 1kx, Electric Capital, The LAO, and MetaCartel Ventures also joining the round. Other individual investors included Andreessen Horowitz’s board partner, Balaji Srinivasan, and Naval Ravikant, co-founder of AngelList.

The additional funding aims to increase the firm’s capital during tougher crypto market times and assist the company spin-out from its parent company, ConsenSys.

“It was time for us to go and see if this bird can fly and if we can do this on our own and manage our own balance sheet accordingly,” Gitcoin COO Kyle Weiss said.

Launched in 2017, the firm has helped several companies get off the ground, including Uniswap (UNI), Defiant (a crypto-focused publication), and the Ethereum 2.0 testnet, Prysm. The program has released nearly $20 million in grants to connect crypto and Web3 startups with open-source developers.

Weiss said the extra funding would enhance the “general development of the space” to decentralize the internet while helping open source developers in funding, especially in times of crisis.

“We want Gitcoin and Gitcoin Grants to have staying power, so now is the time to make sure there’s enough money in the treasury to last the next four to 10 years, potentially through at least another bear market” Weiss said.

Gitcoin rolled out four grant programs in 2020 to over 20 projects after $975,000 in grants across 2019.

Read Original/a>
Author: Lujan Odera