Retail Investing Behemoth Is ‘Closely’ Looking at Crypto Market; Awaiting ‘More Regulatory Clarity’

Retail Investing Behemoth Is ‘Closely’ Looking at Crypto Market; Awaiting ‘More Regulatory Clarity’

Operating nearly 32 million brokerage accounts with over $7 trillion in client assets, Charles Schwab says they will be highly competitive and disruptive when that comes.

Charles Schwab is looking “closely” and “cautiously” at the cryptocurrency market, said the head of the brokerage on Thursday, adding that they are awaiting more guidance from regulators before offering crypto capabilities on its platform.

It has been exploring the launch of crypto brokerage since last month, and as we reported, it has been seeking a compliance director for its futures and forex team that involves crypto aspects.

“We would like to see more regulatory clarity,” Schwab Chief Executive Officer Walt Bettinger said on a call with analysts.

“And if and when that comes, you should expect Schwab to be a player in that space in the same way it has been a player in other investment opportunities across the spectrum.”

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has yet to provide any clear rules and regulations regarding digital assets, but with crypto-friendly Gary Gensler being the new chairman, “guidance and clarity” is expected soon.

One of the largest retail brokerages and retirement account providers in the industry, Charles Schwab added a record 3.2 million new clients in the first quarter of 2021, more new accounts than the entire 2020.

The company said it now operates nearly 32 million brokerage accounts and has more than $7 trillion in client assets.

The retail investing behemoth also said it is closely watching for any new developments on the regulator front regarding whether they allow a crypto-based investment-oriented product like an exchange-traded fund (ETF). “We recognize a bit, I’d say, well, what’s going on,” Bettinger said.

“If Charles Schwab, the company, decides to participate in the crypto market, we will be highly competitive, we will be disruptive, and we will be client-oriented.”

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Author: AnTy

Survey: UK Investors See Cryptos as Better Investment Attractions To Stocks

A poll carried out by Censuswide for UK firm Parliament Street shows British investors closely monitor the crypto space.

UK Investors Have Crypto FOMO

The survey carried out in Feb. 2021 aimed to know how responders intend to diversify their investment portfolio following the economic uncertainty occasioned by the pandemic.

According to the 2,000 participant poll result, one-third of those questioned said they failed to take advantage of owning cryptocurrencies earlier and won’t consider joining due to current prices.

Despite feeling left out, 31% of investors believe the crypto market is expected to continue its bullish run. According to them, Bitcoin will likely hit the £50,000 mark before the year runs out. A further 18% of responders said BTC would surpass the £100K mark sooner rather than later.

For investors who were late to the crypto party, 25% of participants say they would have become millionaires if they had bought crypto at the start of 2020. Also, 37% of those questioned said that traditional assets like stocks, bonds, and shares were less profitable given the economic impact of the covid-19 pandemic on the capital markets. To them, cryptocurrencies are better investment attractions.

Cryptocurrencies have grown tremendously since the start of the year. Institutional demand has risen as corporate bodies see digital currencies as a hedge against the fast-eroding fiat currencies. With some of them converting all their cash reserves to cryptocurrencies, the industry has surpassed the $1 trillion mark in less than five years.

Bitcoin currently trades above $56,000, and there are many reasons why the prices are expected to rise even further. Increasing adoption of BTC as a speculative asset and medium of exchange are two essential factors. The limited 21 million supply restriction is also gradually turning it into a scarce commodity, leading many investors to call it “digital gold.”

But, Bitcoin is not alone. Ethereum stands heads-over-shoulder over other digital assets suitably called “altcoins.” With many altcoins fulfilling different specific purposes, the digital economy has become a wonderland for many investors. As a result, the traditional asset class has seen money moving into the crypto space due to its lower ROI.

Cryptocurrencies are highly volatile, falling sometimes 30% in a day, but their higher ROI and the utopian ideal of no central authority intermediating in transactions has seen the nascent industry continue to grow. Its underlying technology, distributed ledger technology (DLT), has also been praised for its myriad applications.

Rise of Bitcoin’s Addition to Corporate Treasuries

Last year, the addition of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin to corporate balance sheets became a thing. Business executive and CEO of MicroStrategy Michael J.Saylor made it popular. Saylor was instrumental in convincing other industry heavyweights to join the crypto train. One of these tech veterans is Tesla’s Elon Musk.

Both men have done for crypto what Steve Jobs did for the internet. Saylor broke into the crypto space much earlier with a $625 million investment in BTC. At press time, his intelligence company holds a staggering $4.45 billion stake in Bitcoin alone. Musk came a little later, but his impact cannot be disregarded. In early February, Tesla’s $1.5 billion stakes in BTC saw BTC leave the support level of $42,000 to a new ATH of $58,000 in less than a month, climbing 20%.

Key collaborations from large firms like MasterCard, Square, Paypal, and assets management firm Grayscale have also made cryptocurrencies an exciting project.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

FBI Prevents Ransomware Attack At Tesla’s Gigafactory; Hacker Sought $4M Bitcoin Payment

US-based electric carmaker Tesla working closely with the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) has thwarted a planned ransomware attack that involved millions worth of Bitcoin payments.

According to a complaint that was filed by the FBI, the attackers were targeting Tesla’s Gigafactory situated in Nevada.

The FBI revealed that it arrested a 27-year-old Russian. Pavel Kriuchkov, who was residing in Los Angeles. he had lived almost a month in the United States looking to rope in as a Tesla employee for what he called a ‘special project.’

The FBI’s claim states that the ‘special project’ involved a lucrative incentive of a bribe amounting to $500,000, which was later upgraded to $1 million. An advance bribe was to be paid into the employee’s Bitcoin wallet that was installed via a Tor browser to avoid detection.

The Tesla employee was to help in the installation of malware into Tesla’s servers that were to be carried out in two stages consisting of a distributed denial-of-service attack as well as stealing of sensitive company data.

The attack was to involve holding Tesla to a ransom with threats of making vital private data and information public. The FBI states that Kriuchkov was eyeing a $4 million ransom from Tesla.

However, the Tesla employee who remains anonymous alerted the company’s management following the first meeting with Kriuchkov. It is at this juncture that Tesla informed the FBI about the hacking plot.

The FBI then went ahead to surveil a number of meetings in August between Kriuchov and the anonymous employees. This allowed the FBI to collect vital intelligence in regards to the hacking plot against Tesla and other related cyberattacks by Kriuchov and his accomplices.

The conspirator was planning to deposit a $1 million to the Russian-speaking anonymous Tesla employee’s Bitcoin account. Kruichov revealed to the staffer that the money would be deposited in a few days but was to leave the country on August 22. However, the hacker was arrested by the FBI on August 22.

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Author: Joseph Kibe