Singapore’s Sovereign Wealth Fund Leads Digital Asset Bank Anchorage’s $80M Series C Round

Singapore’s Sovereign Wealth Fund Leads Digital Asset Bank Anchorage’s $80M Series C Round

Anchorage has raised $80 million in a Series C round led by Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC with participation from a16z, Blockchain Capital, Lux, and Indico.

“Largest sovereign wealth funds leading rounds in global crypto-asset custodians,” commented Su Zhu, chief executive officer, and chief investment officer at Three Arrows Capital.

Earlier this year, Anchorage received a national trust charter from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), making it the first federally chartered digital asset bank in history.

“Anchorage has gone through a brilliant metamorphosis — from a world-class custody solution to the standard-bearer for crypto banking,” said W. Bradford Stephens, Co-founder and Managing Partner of Blockchain Capital.

“In just a few short years, they’ve already been a powerful, catalytic force for institutional adoption, regulatory confidence, and overall maturation of the space.”

Now it is raising funds to expand its digital bank services with a focus on enabling institutions to participate in the digital asset space.

The firm laid down its five key goals for the year ahead, including offering at-launch support for new protocols. It will also continue to invest in broad asset support, just as with Filecoin, Oasis Protocol, and Celo.

Anchorage has already been seeing an “influx of interest” ever since it obtained the charter and helping organizations participate in digital assets through corporate treasuries and endowments.

As a bank, the focus is also to make crypto lending even more seamless and secure, and they further plan to scale its lending products and operations.

Besides partnering with neo banks, challenger banks, and traditional banks, the idea is to make institutional DeFi participation accessible.

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Author: AnTy

GlobaliD Launches New XRP MasterCard Debit Card; Earn Rewards Up to 5% Cashback

GlobaliD Launches New XRP MasterCard Debit Card; Earn Rewards Up to 5% Cashback

  • GlobaliD, a digital identity platform, launches a MasterCard debit card to allow users to spend, pay, and get paid through XRP, the sixth-largest cryptocurrency.
  • The card offers users up to 5% cashbacks on any amount spent through the debit card.

In an announcement on Thursday, GlobaliD confirmed developing a unique XRP debit card that is expected to launch later this year in the U.S. The MasterCard debit card offers users a quick and cheap avenue to transact and pay using digital assets offering cashback to customers who join the waitlist.

The first 1,000 customers will earn up to 5% cashback on their purchases using GlobaliD’s debit card on the first $10,000 spent. The next 2,000 customers will receive 4% cashback on their purchases up to a similar amount, while the remaining customers are promised a 2% cashback on their purchases using the debit card.

The card can be used in any MasterCard accepted merchant store in the world.

GlobaliD confirmed the initiative did not involve Ripple Inc. in any way despite joining the PayID Open Payments Coalition in 2020, which also houses Ripple.

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Author: Lujan Odera

RBI Governor Believes Crypto has ‘Major Concerns’ While Teasing the Launch of a Digital Rupee

RBI Governor Believes Crypto has ‘Major Concerns’ While Teasing the Launch of a Digital Rupee

  • Reserve Bank of India governor Shaktikanta Das expressed ‘major concerns’ on private cryptocurrencies in the country.
  • RBI is still working on a central bank digital currency.

In an exclusive interview with CNBC TV18, Shaktikanta Das, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor, said the central bank has “major concerns on cryptocurrencies.” The central bank has already communicated the government’s concerns, who will “take a call,” and if required, Parliament will also decide on regulating crypto.

“Blockchain, not cryptocurrencies.”

Despite the underlying blockchain technology offering certain benefits that should be exploited, according to Das, cryptocurrencies still present major concerns on the country’s financial stability.

“I also want to make it very clear that the blockchain technology is different,” Das said. “The benefits of it have to be exploited, that is another thing, but on crypto, we have major concerns from the financial stability angle.”

The RBI governor did not expound on the challenges that crypto causes on the financial system but said they had shared the government’s findings. The Indian government will consider the points and take a call on regulating private cryptocurrencies.

RBI governor on CBDC launch

The RBI has been stern on accepting crypto as a usable currency in India. In the past fortnight, local reports stated a ban on cryptocurrency looms as the government plans to eradicate cryptocurrency payments from the country. Citing a senior official at the Indian Finance Ministry, the government is planning on an “absolute ban” on crypto, affecting transactions of Indians on foreign exchanges.

In the past month, the central bank called for the launch of a framework for its public digital rupee. Differentiating cryptos to the digital rupee, Das stated the digital rupee is still a “work in progress” on the technology side and the procedural side with plans being made on how and when the CBDC will be rolled out.

The governor, however, did not give a specific date that the digital currency is expected to launch due to “several loose ends [that] need to be tied up.”

“We are targeting to launch it. But if you ask me a date, at this point, it will be difficult for me to say.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

US Fed Chairman Jerome Powell Hinges Digital Dollar’s Fate on Lawmakers

US Fed Chairman Jerome Powell Hinges Digital Dollar’s Fate on Lawmakers

Jerome Powell, the U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman, has hinted that the Fed is eyeing a digital dollar, an initiative that will see the apex bank control digital assets.

According to the Federal Reserve chief, in the course of the year (2021), members of the public and lawmakers will likely debate the project.

Nationwide Consultations Needed

During a House Financial Services Committee hearing, which held on Wednesday, February 24, 2021, Powell admitted that there are many concerns surrounding the digital dollar project, hence the forum for lawmakers to engage with the public for common ground.

“This is going to be the year in which we engage with the public pretty actively, including some public events that we’re working on. In the meantime, we’re working on the technical challenges and also collaborating and sharing work with the other central banks around the world that are doing this.”

In the meantime, Powell revealed that the central bank is advancing on solutions to the technical challenges it has so far identified regarding the digital dollar, adding that it is also in talks with other central banks that are exploring or issuing the Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC).

Addressing why the Federal Reserve needs consultations from lawmakers before kickstarting the digital dollar, Powell explained that the health of other markets is essential to the US government, especially as it relates to creating a digital dollar.

“We could well need legislative authorization for such a thing. It isn’t clear until we see which way we’re going.”

Why the US Reserve is Eyeing CBDCs

It would be recalled that last year, while Powell was addressing his fellow panelists during a cross-border payments program that was hosted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), he explained that the digital dollar would improve the payment system of the country by modernizing payment infrastructures.

Powell also mentioned that the digital dollar would be helpful in bridging the gap between the banked and unbanked, as it will reach consumers who are traditionally underserved by financial institutions. When asked why the Federal Reserve was yet to decide if the digital dollar was the way to go, Powell responded that,

“There’s a great deal of work yet to be done as well as extensive public consultation to be had with all stakeholders before making such a decision.”

In spite of the fact that many central banks across the globe have already adopted the digital dollar policy, Powell maintained that the Federal Reserve is not in contention on who’s first to do it.

“I think it’s more important for the United States to get it right than it is to be first. Getting it right means that we not only look at the potential benefits of a CBDC but also the potential risks and also recognize the important trade-offs that have to be thought through carefully.”

Digital Dollar Fuss

For the Federal Reserve and other apex banks, the primary objective for the consideration of the digital dollar is the need to limit the risks associated with cashless payments.

Should the digital dollar be institutionalized, the Federal Reserve will have a stronger and authoritative presence in the digital payments environment, which is expected to reduce the risk of fully relying on private payment systems for individuals.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Rising Treasury Yields are a Danger to Bitcoin & They Are Soaring Right Now

The ongoing yield debacle is not good for risky assets and gold, and the leading digital currency is still struggling to recover from the losses.

Risky assets are back on the incline as Treasury yields ease off after hitting multi-year highs on Thursday. Also, the Federal Reserve Chairman calmed the nerves by committing to keeping the interest rates low and that it will continue to pump money into the economy.

In the early hours of Thursday, 10-Treasury yields jumped to 1.427%, last seen in March 2020, but ended the day lower at 1.3740%. Yields on 30-year Treasury soared to 2.888%, Dec. 2019 high to end lower at 2.226%. Bond prices and yields have an inverse relationship.

Today, they both are back on the rise by about 0.059%.

“Bonds puking, again… Need this to stop going down (i.e., rates going up) to have nice things,” said trader and economist Alex Kruger.

The 30-year German yield has also turned positive, rising to 0.2% from -0.2% in three short months. German 10-year yields are still negative though at -0.3%.

This spooked the central bank, and now “the ECB is closely monitoring the evolution of longer-term nominal bond yields,” said European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde this week.

Fed, however, is not that concerned when asked about the rise in yields; Jerome Powell said, “It’s a statement of confidence on the part of markets that we will have a robust and complete recovery.”

Rates going up is negative for stock valuations, particularly tech, and assets that benefited from negative real yields the most, gold and bitcoin, Kruger said,

“The thesis is the Fed will intervene to bring rates down.”

“If that trend is not stopped hold on to your horses because risk assets, gold and highly likely bitcoin as well are all in for a very rough ride down. You want to watch interest rates like a hawk.”

Risk On or Off?

This fall in yields, meanwhile, has sparked a rally in stocks. S&P 500 is yet again reaching its peak at nearly 3,935 from Feb. 12.

Tech-heavy Nasdaq, which slid 5.6% this week, is back at 13,600, still in need of a pump to hit its 14,095 all-time high from Feb. 12.

“In institutional circles, corporate treasuries are often looked down on as dumb money,” notes Kruger.

While stocks are clearly enjoying this fall in Treasury yields, the same is not the case for the traditional safe-haven asset.

Gold is not having a good week, and today the spot gold went under $1,790 per ounce. The precious metal is on a downtrend ever since it hit a new high in August at about $2,075.

The US dollar is also not enjoying the increase in yields and is back under 90, aiming to go for fresh multi-year lows at 89.2 in early January.

Coming to digital gold, Bitcoin had a brutal week, losing 23% of its value with a drop under $45k. For now, the market struggles to recover completely despite the price of Bitcoin going above $50,000. Trader Cantering Clark said,

“Rates are rising. Risk-on assets don’t really benefit in that situation. All assets would get hurt with a rapid rise. Saylor purchase and Tether news came out, and we don’t have a very obvious response. Would not get overly bullish.”

However, according to him, this is all just short-term as “Bitcoin has already cleared the runway and is now on its way to further appreciation and adoption.”

Alex Kruger is of a similar opinion as he notes that there’s a chance Bitcoin will do its thing as “institutional penetration remains very low.” This means the institutional inflow may continue, and retail will be busy stacking regardless. Also, corporates may join in and “be more focused on inflation or digitalization than rates.”

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Author: AnTy

Fed Is Investing ‘Time and Labor’ As A Digital Dollar is ‘High Priority’ says Chairman Powell

Fed Is Investing ‘Time and Labor’ As A Digital Dollar is ‘High Priority’ says Chairman Powell

The Federal Reserve is also “committed” to solving the tech problems. Treasury Secretary, unlike her predecessor, also says it “makes sense for central banks to be looking at.”

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told Congress on Tuesday that a digital dollar is a “high priority project for us.”

While the central bank is “looking carefully” at the prospect of issuing a digital currency, Powell said there are “significant technical and policy questions” related to it. Powell said,

“We are committed to solving the technology problems and consulting very broadly with the public and very transparently with all interested constituencies as to whether we should do this.”

Much like always, the Chairman said that as the world’s reserve currency, the US doesn’t have to be the first, but the point is in getting it right.

“This is something we’re investing time and labor in, across the Federal Reserve System.”

Just this week, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen also said that the Biden administration supports research into the viability of a sovereign digital currency, unlike her predecessor Steven Mnuchin who didn’t see any need for that at the point.

“It makes sense for central banks to be looking at” issuing a digital dollar, Yellen said at a virtual conference on Monday hosted by the New York Times.

According to her, the digital version of fiat currency can help with the financial inclusion of lower-income groups.

“Too many Americans don’t have access to easy payments systems and banking accounts, and I think this is something that a digital dollar, a central bank digital currency, could help with.”

“It could result in faster, safer, and cheaper payments, which I think are important goals.”

Janet Yellen Treasury Secretary

While positive about a digital dollar, Yellen echoed Powell’s views about needing to address the issues first.

“There’s a lot to consider here, but it’s absolutely worth looking at,” she said.

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Author: AnTy

Ant Financial and Tencent- Backed Banks Joins China’s Digital Currency Trials

Ant Financial and Tencent- Backed Banks Joins China’s Digital Currency Trials

Alibaba and Tencent owned banks set to launch China’s digital yuan trials. The private banks will simulate trials set across state-owned banks.

  • MYBank, an Ant-Financial-owned bank, plans to launch digital yuan trials across China as the state’s digital currency/ electronic payment (DC/EP) project edges closer to full launch.
  • Tencent-backed WeBank also announced similar plans to launch digital currency wallets.

According to a Bloomberg report, the two projects will have the same functionalities as the digital wallets already in trial across six government-owned banks. The six banks, including Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Construction Bank, Agricultural Bank of China, and Bank of China, launched the trials across provinces in the country, allowing users to make digital payments and transfer money.

The addition of the two banks aims at increasing the adoption and utility of the digital yuan across China. MYBank, in particular, has been a key researcher in developing an electronic yuan in the past and looks forward to furthering its commitment to digital payments. The bank will partner with the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) to “steadily advance the trial” of the digital yuan in the future.

The central bank has already made massive steps in preparing for the launch of the digital yuan. Earlier in the month, BEG reported a partnership between the PBoC and SWIFT to launch a new digital payment service that could be tied to its CBDC. Additionally, the bank completed its largest yet rollout test for the CBDC, disbursing over $3 million worth of the digital currency to over 30,000 citizens.

The two firms become the first private firms to join the digital yuan trials with a potential battle with payment services such as WeChat Pay and Alipay in sight. Despite

Alibaba’s Ant Financial owns a 30% stake in MYBank, while Tencent is the largest shareholder of WeBank, holding 30% of its stake.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Former TD Ameritrade Digital Assets Head Joins Fed Reserve as Chief Innovation Officer

Former TD Ameritrade Digital Assets Head Joins Fed Reserve as Chief Innovation Officer

Sunayna Tuteja has joined the Federal Reserve System as the Chief Innovation Officer. Before heading this position, Tuteja was previously working at TD Ameritrade as the Managing Director, Head of Digital Assets & DLT (Blockchain, Crypto), reads her LinkedIn profile.

TD Ameritrade has been providing its services to cryptocurrency users for some time now. It also made a strategic investment in ErisX, the cryptocurrency spot, and futures exchange during the bear market.

Tuteja joined the broker in 2014 to head its digital strategy department, following which she changed the department that specifically dealt with cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. Here, Tuteja only spent less than two years.

Under her latest role, she will be working on the Federal Reserve System’s digital innovation strategy. As a CINO, the official is required to stay abreast of the technology industry and market trends to understand their impact on the Fed system. The description for this position reads,

“This role will be responsible for identifying, researching, enabling and evangelizing for innovative new technologies while fostering a culture of technical innovation, encouraging System-wide collaboration and experimentation.”

This is another positive development for the cryptocurrency market, bringing us all that much closer to positive and clear regulations.

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Author: AnTy

Yet Another Bitcoin ETF, Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital Positioning Itself to Lead This Boom

Yet Another Bitcoin ETF, Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital Positioning Itself to Lead This Boom

While the first Bitcoin ETF has made its debut in Canada, the U.S. will be the next — “It’s all part of this accelerating evolution of being a store of value,” says the CEO.

Mike Novogratz’s crypto firm Galaxy Digital is filing for a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) through CI Global Asset Management.

The preliminary prospectus dated February 16, 2021, with the securities commissions in each of the provinces and territories of Canada, is still subject to completion or amendment. Galaxy Digital is registered in Canada.

Galaxy Bitcoin ETF (“BTCX” or the “ETF”) will be managed by CI GAM, and Galaxy Digital will act as its Bitcoin sub-advisor and execute trades on behalf of the proposed ETF.

The fund will invest directly in Bitcoin with the holdings of BTC priced using the Bloomberg Galaxy Bitcoin Index, designed to measure the performance of a single Bitcoin traded in US dollars. Novogratz said in an interview,

“Crypto is being institutionalized at an accelerating rate.”

“And now an ETF product is showing up in Canada first; it will show up in the U.S. next. It’s all part of this accelerating evolution of being a store of value.”

No Bitcoin ETF has been approved in the US yet.

Already, the company’s closed-end fund CI Galaxy Bitcoin Fund (TSX: BTCG) is offered by CI GAM trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange in Dec. 2020.

Galaxy’s trading desk is one of the several that are providing BTC for the Purpose Bitcoin ETF, the first-ever approved, which debuted Thursday.

According to Novogratz, following Tesla and MicroStrategy buying Bitcoin, many more companies and pension funds are seeking to do the same.

“All of these stories — and there’s a story every day — really point to a sustainable bull market in crypto,” the billionaire former hedge fund manager said.

The price of Bitcoin surged to a new record high of about $56,600 late on Friday, pushing the market cap of the leading cryptocurrency past $1 trillion for the first time.

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Author: AnTy

Auction House Christie’s Is Accepting Ethereum for the First Time for Digital Art Sale

Auction House Christie’s Is Accepting Ethereum for the First Time for Digital Art Sale

Christie’s, the world’s leading auction house established in 1766, will start accepting the cryptocurrency Ethereum (ETH) as payment.

This decision came following the announcement that it will auction a work by Beeple, “Everydays: The First 5000 Days,” in a standalone sale that will run from Feb. 25 to March 11.

“Christie’s is excited to announce that, for the first time, it will accept Ether as a payment option for the sale of beeple’s ‘First 5000 Days.’ We are grateful to beeple +makersplace for its partnership on this monumental sale,” shared the auction house on Twitter.

While the principal price would be accepted in Ether, the premium, which is their fees, will be paid in dollars.

“We’re at this precipice where crypto is going to be such a more established and mainstream mode of conducting business,” Noah Davis, the Christie’s specialist who’s organized the auction, told Bloomberg.

“With this [sale], I think it’s the perfect way to dip our toes in and give this a shot.”

According to analyst Mati Greenspan, it isn’t about the top auction house accepting crypto for art, “In fact, you might call it a revolution.”

Digital artist Beeple, whose real name is Mike Winkelmann and has 1.8 million Instagram followers, put out a digital artwork last October. Each of the 100 editions cost $1, and they were sold out in less than a second. Beeple said about this mania,

“The rabbit hole of possibilities that this is going to bring to the art world—I don’t think people are fully recognizing that this is going to be a massive, massive shift.”

Non-fungible tokens (NFT) have exploded in popularity over the last few months, some pieces being sold for as much as millions of dollars.

“NFTs are now going mainstream, and the innovative gameplay is worth learning,” noted Jau Hao, CEO of crypto exchange OKEx, who said, “we need more liquid NFT markets for mass adoption.” Hao added,

“Leveraging the VR and the open-world gaming market to build a digital realm during the pandemic is another way we can bring NFTs to the masses.”

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Author: AnTy