BBVA Switzerland Adds Ether (ETH) to its Crypto Trading and Custody Service

BBVA Switzerland Adds Ether (ETH) to its Crypto Trading and Custody Service

Besides Bitcoin, Ether sparks “the most interest among investors” and offers the guarantee or regulatory compliance, said CEO Alfonso Gómez.

BBVA’s Switzerland-based franchise is expanding its cryptocurrency custody, and trading service to now include Ether (ETH), announced the bank on Monday.

Last June, the crypto asset service of BBVA Switzerland became operational for all of its customers, and now its private banking clients, along with those with a New Gen account, will be able to manage both Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH).

These digital assets will also be available on the BBVA apps along with other traditional investments and can be automatically converted to dollars, euros, or any other fiat currency.

“We decided to add ether to our crypto asset ‘wallet’ because, together with bitcoin, they are the protocols that spark the most interest among investors, while also offering all the guarantees to comply with regulation,” said Alfonso Gómez, CEO of BBVA Switzerland.

The bank won’t stop with Ether, though, and will continue to expand its portfolio in the coming months to enable its customers to invest in the “new digital world.”

In its official announcement, BBVA Switzerland also said that its new digital asset custody services have been “very well received” among its new investors and private banking customers.

The greatest demand for crypto comes from those investors who want to diversify their portfolios, and they range from individual customers to institutional investors and family offices.

While the service is currently offered in Switzerland, due to the region having clear regulation and a high level of adoption, the bank plans to expand to new countries but only when the markets have the right conditions in terms of regulation, demand, and maturity.

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Author: AnTy

Arab Bank Partners With Tezos (XTZ) for Crypto Custody and Staking

Arab Bank Partners With Tezos (XTZ) for Crypto Custody and Staking

Crypto-friendly policies in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have been ramping up recently, with another leading financial institution making a big splash in the crypto industry.

Growth for Everyone Involved

Arab Bank Switzerland – the Swiss subsidiary of the Arab Bank, has partnered with the Tezos Foundation to enable institutional crypto custody, per a press release. The partnership will see Arab Bank Switzerland integrate Tezos’ XTZ token to ensure seamless asset custody while also adding services like staking and trading for the coin.

The new service will be targeted at high-net-worth individuals and large institutions. Arab Bank Switzerland explained that it had chosen XTZ because of the coin’s focus on energy conservation, quick upgrades, and gas fee reduction.

Commenting on the new development, Rani Jabban, Arab Bank Switzerland’s managing director, explained that cryptocurrencies remain an important part of the bank’s strategy going forward.

Jabban pointed out that Arab Bank Switzerland understands the need for agility and security when dealing with cryptocurrencies. The bank is looking to merge tradition and innovation while ensuring that customers’ funds are safe. In Tezos’s scalable infrastructure, the bank has a reliable partner.

Massive Crypto Adoption on Foreign Shores

The move underscores what appears to be a continued embrace from both Swiss banking institutions and the UAE. Swiss banks have been known for their foresight and innovation, so it’s no surprise that they are pushing ahead with crypto adoption.

Last week, SEBA Bank AG – a regulated Swiss financial institution that focuses on digital asset offering, announced that it had gotten a CISA license from the Swiss Financial Market Authority (FINMA) to offer institutional-grade custodial services for investment schemes.

The license, SEBA has become the world’s first crypto-centric bank to gain a custody license. The institution will be able to expand its investment opportunities to professional clients in the digital asset market.

The UAE has also welcomed the use of crypto trading through the Dubai free trade zone.

Last month, the Dubai World Trade Centre Authority (DWTCA) reached an agreement with the UAE’s Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) to support crypto trading regulation within the DWTCA free zone.

The new initiative will establish a framework for the DWTCA to issue all needed licenses and approvals for crypto-related financial services in the region. As part of the agreement, the SCA will monitor all crypto-related activities – including asset listing, issuance, trading, and licensing.

Maryam Al Suwaidi, the SCA’s acting chief executive, explained that the new project aligns with the DWTCA’s commitment to expand its services as a free zone and support the growth of emerging technologies. Dubai intends to become a digital-led economy, and the DWTCA will be looking to support blockchain and crypto-enabled businesses in any way it can.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

5th Largest US Bank Is Setting Up Bitcoin Custody, With Other Crypto’s to be Supported Soon

5th Largest US Bank Is Setting Up Bitcoin Custody, With Other Cryptocurrencies to be Supported Soon

US Bancorp (US Bank) has launched a cryptocurrency custody service for institutional investment managers with private funds in the U.S. or Cayman Islands.

The fifth-largest US bank has more than $8.6 trillion in assets under custody and administration and $282 billion in assets under management as of June 30, 2021.

It was this week; the bank announced the launch saying bitcoin service provider NYDIG will act as a sub-custodian.

“Investor interest in cryptocurrency and demand from our fund services clients have grown strongly over the last few years,” said Gunjan Kedia, vice-chair of the bank’s wealth management and investment services.

While starting with Bitcoin, it will soon support other cryptocurrencies as well.

US Bancorp is just another bank allowing access to cryptocurrency while the regulatory scrutiny increases.

This week, Bank of America also started covering crypto and released its first report titled “Digital Assets Primer: Only the first inning.”

“Companies aren’t taking the risk of ignoring digital assets and applications and are actively exploring this new technology and its use cases,” reads the report, adding, leading tech companies along with banks, financial institutions, and others have also started to adjust their approach to crypto.

It further noted that an estimated 14% (21.2mn) of US adults own digital assets, with an additional 13% (19.3mn) planning to buy this year. The average age of these potential buyers is 44, and 53% of them are female.

“Despite regulatory headwinds, we are bullish on the prospects for digital assets as it enters the mainstream. We anticipate significant growth as use cases move beyond BTC’s store of value thesis to an industry characterized by product innovation.”

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Author: AnTy

European Bank with $2.6 Trillion AUM Is Launching Crypto Custody Service

European Bank with $2.6 Trillion AUM Is Launching Crypto Custody Service

CACEIS, which has $4.96 trillion in assets under custody, is nearing the launch of a crypto custody service, reported CoinDesk, citing two people familiar with the plans.

The bank, which has $4.96 trillion in assets under its custody, is working with a Swiss-based custody technology provider Metaco. Metaco already provides its services to a number of European lenders, including BBVA and Standard Chartered.

CACEIS is looking for a comprehensive service provider which is integrated into the crypto market to address their various needs and not just custody.

The Paris headquartered bank is owned by Crédit Agricole (69.5%) and Banco Santander (30.5%) and provides its services to asset managers, insurance companies, pension funds, banks, private equity, and real estate funds, brokers, and corporate clients.

Earlier this year, the world’s largest custodian and the oldest bank in the US, BNY Mellon, announced that it would hold and transfer Bitcoin on behalf of its clients for which it invested in custody tech firm Fireblocks.

At the time, it further said that it would also cover stablecoins, tokenized securities, real assets, and eventually even central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) in its digital asset unit.

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Author: AnTy

Ethereum Developer Virgil Griffith Remanded In Custody For Violating Bail Terms By Accessing Coinbase Wallet

Ethereum Developer Virgil Griffith Remanded In Custody For Violating Bail Terms By Accessing Coinbase Wallet

Ethereum developer Virgil Griffith has been remanded in custody. He’s said to have reportedly violated the terms of his bail, per reports from Inner City Press. Griffith was granted bail in December 2019.

Griffith May Be In Jail Until His Trial In September

The remand order was given after a federal judge found out that he had violated the terms of his bail by seeking access to his Ethereum assets held by exchange Coinbase in May 2021.

Griffith, a former researcher with the Ethereum Foundation, will likely spend the next two months in jail as he is scheduled to be tried on September 21. If found guilty, he faces up to 20 years in prison.

The developer is being charged with conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

Griffith is said to have allegedly assisted North Korea in laundering money through cryptocurrency in order to avoid US sanctions. The developer was arrested in November 2019.

Although he was denied bail initially, he was finally granted a bond order for $1 million in December 2019. Griffith’s father reportedly offered his house worth $835,000 as security for bond. His sister also secured the bond with her property.

The developer was granted bail on the condition that he would not access his accounts and would remain under house arrest with his parents in Alabama.

However, he is said to have violated these bail terms when he tried to access his cryptocurrency account by contacting Coinbase to request the removal of account security functions.

Although Griffith’s lawyers claimed the attempt to access the account on Coinbase was made by proxy. The lawyers argue that his family only contacted Coinbase to ascertain if the assets in Griffith’s account could cover his legal fees. The lawyers said,

“Given the impending trial date, Mr. Griffith may need to sell certain assets to fund his legal defense…In connection with their strategy to assess and access necessary resources to fund his defense, and after consulting counsel, his mother made an online request to access a US-based and regulated cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase…”

US District Judge P. Kevin Castel said Griffith’s attempt to access the assets suggested a flight risk since the assets Griffith held had surged in value into the $1 million range.

Virgil Griffith’s Failed Attempt To Dismiss Case

Griffith had previously filed a motion to dismiss the conspiracy charges in October 2020. He claimed that his April 2019 conference presentation consisted of public information that was widely available. Therefore he did not provide a service to North Korean officials. This argument was not accepted as the US government labeled the statement as absurd.

Griffith’s case also gained support from the Crypto community, who championed his release. Ethereum (ETH) co-founder Vitalik Buterin had defended and declared his solidarity with Virgil Griffith last year. He said that Griffith didn’t do any wrong as he only tutored in his presentation.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Cryptocurrency Exchange Gemini Acquires Crypto Custody Firm Shard X

Cryptocurrency Exchange Gemini Acquires Crypto Custody Firm Shard X

Cryptocurrency exchange Gemini has acquired cryptocurrency custody specialist Shard X.

Per an official blog post, Gemini disclosed that it would use Shard X’s multi-party computation (MPC) technology to speed up its efficiency.

Gemini To Use Shard X’s MPC Technology

The technology would help increase the speed at which the exchange transfers customer assets on its platform, the New York-based firm said.

“We’re excited to announce the acquisition of Shard X, a leading developer of secure multi-party computation cryptographic technology. Gemini will integrate Shard X’s MPC technology into our distributed, multi-site key management and signing infrastructure.” Gemini stated.

MPC is a type of cryptographic technology that is fast and secure. It breaks up private keys into shards or parts and distributes them between various parties to execute a transaction.

Shard X was founded in 2018 by Yaniv Neu-Ner, Nikita Lesnikov, and Navaho De Wet in London. The firm claims to be the first company to offer multi-party computation (MPC) on hardware security modules (HSMs).

This acquisition would enhance the security of Gemini’s crypto custody platform, which surpassed $30 billion of crypto assets under custody last month.

The addition of Shard X’s MPC will work in concert with all other aspects of Gemini’s custody offering, including Gemini’s key security, like role-based governance protocols, biometric access controls, and physical security.

It will also expand Gemini’s reach to decentralized finance (DeFi) and other applications. Basically, this acquisition is set to beef up Gemini’s custody tech.

The terms of the deals were not disclosed. However, the exchange’s Chief Operating Officer Noah Perlman revealed that Shard X would join Gemini’s UK affiliate.

Gemini was founded by brothers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss in 2014. The company, which has more than 440 employees, is known for its regulated platform that allows users to buy, sell, store, and earn interest on more than 40 cryptocurrencies.

Shard X Joins Growing List Of Gemini’s Acquisitions

The Shard X deal is the third acquisition for Gemini in the last two years.

In November 2019, Gemini acquired the popular non-fungible tokens (NFTs) marketplace Nifty Gateway. The platform, which launched in 2018, facilitates nifty purchases for some of today’s most popular crypto-games and applications, including OpenSea, Gods Unchained, and CryptoKitties.

Fast forward to January this year, Gemini also acquired crypto credit card company Blockrize to accelerate its plans of launching the Gemini Credit Card. A card that offers rewards in digital currencies.

Meanwhile, there have been a couple of crypto custody acquisitions lately. A notable one among them is Galaxy Digital’s $1.2 billion acquisition of crypto custodian BitGo and PayPal’s acquisition of Curv.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Investment Bank Cowen to Custody Crypto for Institutions, Signs Partnership With PolySign

Investment Bank Cowen to Custody Crypto for Institutions, Signs Partnership With PolySign

Renowned investment bank Cowen Inc is set to make its foray into the cryptocurrency market.

The firm would offer hedge funds and other asset managers crypto custody service through a partnership with fintech company PolySign Inc, per an official announcement.

Cowen Leads PolySign’s Funding Round

Cowen said that its digital asset investment division would provide crypto custody services to institutional clients, helping them seamlessly secure, access, and leverage Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in their portfolios.

As part of the partnership, the bank invested $25 million into PolySign, which is a part of the $53 million funding raised for the firm recently. Other investors include Blockchain.com, Race Capital, Sandia Holdings, and PilotRock Investments.

The custody solutions for the digital assets will be provided by Standard Custody & Trust Company, a subsidiary of PolySign. Standard recently received a trust company charter from the New York State Department of Financial Services.

The CEO of Cowen, Jeffrey Solomon, noted that the heightened demand for crypto assets had intensified the importance of custody service, especially since there is a lack of clear regulations for asset managers. Solomon added,

“The demand is clearly here. We’re going to be able to help a lot of our institutional clients get over the hump and start trading digital assets in the not-too-distant future.”

Founded in 1918 and headquartered in New York, Cowen holds almost $12 billion in assets under management. It is a diversified financial services firm that offers investment banking services, equity, and credit research services.

Cowen also offers sales and trading, prime brokerage, global clearing, commission management services, and actively managed alternative investment products.

Surging Crypto Prices Luring Investment Firms To Take A Closer Look At Crypto

The recent surging crypto prices seem to be luring hedge funds and investment managers into entering the market. Due to the high demand for crypto, wall street banks want to help their clients gain access to digital assets.

Prime examples of investment banks with unveiled plans to help their clients get exposure to the crypto markets are Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.

However, Goldman and Morgan’s offerings differ from Cowen’s because they only offer indirect access to crypto through futures trading and mutual funds respectively. On the other hand, Cowen plans to actually provide custody for the underlying assets, which no major Wall Street firm has tried before.

Cryptocurrency exchange Gemini has also been winning in the crypto custody business. As of May 11, the exchange had reported about $30 billion worth of assets under management. Gemini works with the likes of BlockFi, CoinList, and WealthSimple.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

NYDIG Files for a Bitcoin ETF with the SEC with Morgan Stanley as Authorized Participant

Bitcoin trading and custody services provider NYDIG has filed for a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Morgan Stanley will serve as the proposed authorized participant, as per the NYDIG’s S-1 filing published on Tuesday. Authorized Participants are expected to sell shares to the public at prices that reflect the value of the Trust’s assets, supply and demand for the shares, and market conditions at the time of a transaction reads the document.

If approved, it will trade on the NYSE Arca exchange.

The investment objective of the Trust is to “reflect the performance of the price of bitcoin less the expenses of the Trust’s operations,” but won’t seek to mirror the performance of any index, says the filing.

The subsidiaries – NYDIG Asset Management LLC is the sponsor of the trust, and NYDIG Trust Company LLC would be the custodian of the digital asset.

“Shareholders who decide to buy or sell Shares of the Trust will place their trade orders through their brokers and may incur customary brokerage commissions and charges. Such trades may occur at a premium or discount relative to the net asset value (“NAV”) of the Shares of the Trust.”

NYDIG is the latest in the line of firms filing for a Bitcoin ETF [Accelerate and VanEck], which many are expecting to be approved this year, while JPMorgan strategists believe a Bitcoin ETF approval would have negative implications for the price in the short-term by eroding Grayscale’s GBTC’s effective monopoly status and causing a cascade of GBTC outflows.

No Bitcoin ETF has been approved by the SEC to date.

Just last week, the first publicly traded Bitcoin ETF was approved in North America by Canada’s financial regulator, the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC).

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Author: AnTy

Over 12,000 BTC Moved to Coinbase’s Custody Wallet; Bitcoin Active Addresses Climb to 1.1M

Over 12,000 BTC Moved to Coinbase’s Custody Wallet; Bitcoin Active Addresses Climb to 1.1M

While Bitcoin’s adoption grows at a fast pace, “BTC veterans continue to hold strong.”

It’s been over a week now that the price of Bitcoin has been keeping above the 2017 high of $20,000. The BTC price continues to hold above $23,000 but is in red today with $4.77 billion in ‘real’ volume.

Price-wise, Bitcoin is trading in a range between $23,300s and $24,000. Trader Josh Rager said,

“A break above $24,000 would lead to bullish continuation but looks like liquidity was grabbed with fake-out. Further pullback with close below $22,550s likely lead to back down to $20k.”

The ongoing strong institutional adoption, however, spells only bullish momentum for BTC. Today, 12,006 BTC flowed out from Coinbase and were transferred to the “custody-looked-like wallets,” which makes Ki-Young Ju, CEO of CryptoQuant “very bullish on BTC.”

CryptoQuant

Source: CryptoQuant

The biggest benefactor of this price action on the bitcoin network has been the fees, transfer value, and the market cap of the digital asset.

Last week, the network transferred $4.3 billion in adjusted value, up from $0.8 billion at the start of 2020. Much like this, in January, the average fee on the network was 2 cents which have now increased substantially to $12.

Amidst this price action, the active BTC addresses have hit a new yearly high.

The number of active addresses, 7-day average, on the Bitcoin blockchain is currently at 1.1 million, fast approaching the December 2017 record high of 1.13 million active addresses.

These addresses have been increasing consistently throughout this year to reach the levels that haven’t been seen since late 2017. At the beginning of this year, the number of active addresses was about 500k on average which went to 1.14 million just this week.

While the number of bitcoin daily active addresses doubled over the course of 2020, those holding at least 0.01 BTC grew by more than 700k during the same period.

“While adoption grew, BTC veterans continued to hold strong,” noted Coin Metrics.

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Author: AnTy

Nexus Mutual Expands Beyond DeFi, Now Provides Insurance Cover for CeFi

DeFi insurance provider Nexus Mutual has announced Custody Cover’s launch for the users of centralized exchanges and custodians. This means users can now purchase the insurance cover for the funds put into an organization to safely keep their crypto assets’ private keys on behalf of them.

It will cover the users if the custodian gets hacked and the user loses more than 10% of their funds or if withdrawals have been halted for more than three months. Initially, six custodians are supported: BlockFi, Nexo, Celcius, inLock, Ledn, and Hodlnaut.

Nexus Mutual’s second and the latest product aims to “provide protection outside of the DeFi space.” In the long-term, the idea is to cover risks both in and outside the crypto space.

“Having trustless coverage for CeFi services is hugely market expansionary for DeFi,” said the head of research at the crypto fund, The Spartan Group.

A building block for the broader ecosystem, Custody Cover is working towards encouraging more widespread adoption and DeFi onboarding by helping protect newcomers, said the team. A partner of the crypto fund, The Spartan Group, noted,

“Given the amount of assets sitting with CeFi lenders, this move could scale Nexus’ active cover by a multiple of current cover. Potentially very accretive to NXM over time.”

This DeFi project has about $100 million in TVL (total value locked), while its token NXM is trading at $23.90.

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Author: AnTy