Credit Unions Seeking Approval to Hold Crypto Directly to Compete with Banks

Credit Unions Seeking Approval to Hold Crypto Directly to Compete with Banks

Credit unions risk losing members to banks and seeing their industry “start to shrivel” if they can’t offer products that people want.

Credit unions are now looking for approval to hold crypto assets directly.

This comes after the federal regulator clarified that federally insured credit unions were allowed to partner with third-party crypto service providers last week.

The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) said in a letter that credit unions can now allow their members to buy, sell, and hold digital assets, as long as certain conditions are met.

The guidance is part of a broader trend toward the traditional financial services industry increasingly embracing crypto assets.

The recent letter from the regulator gives credit unions assurance that they may need to move forward with partnerships, said Lance Noggle, senior director of advocacy for payments and cybersecurity at the Credit Union National Association.

According to Noggle, credit unions would ultimately like to offer crypto-related products and services directly, much like banks. Last year, the banking regulator Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) gave banks the green light to offer custody services for crypto. More recently, they had written permission from their supervisory office first.

Without similar guidance as OCC, credit unions risk losing members to banks and seeing their industry “start to shrivel” because they cannot offer financial products and services that their customers want, Noggle said.

“It’ll help credit unions that have been kicking the tires move ahead and have a bit of a road map of what the regulator will expect,” he added.

Ann Kossachev, vice president of regulatory affairs for the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions, told Bloomberg that her trade group is also looking for explicit approval for credit unions to offer crypto custody services.

Meanwhile, Bitcoin service provider NYDIG is already working with banks and credit unions and is expecting a couple hundred to roll out Bitcoin products to their customers by next summer.

With the federal regulators have made it “abundantly clear” that such partnerships are permitted, Patrick Sells, chief innovation officer at NYDIG, is expecting these numbers to rise further.

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Author: AnTy

Fiserv Integrates with NYDIG to Allow Customers to Manage Bitcoin Directly within Bank Accounts

Fiserv Integrates with NYDIG to Allow Customers to Manage Bitcoin Directly within Bank Accounts

Fiserv, Inc. (NASDAQ: FISV) announced its integration with Bitcoin services provider NYDIG that will enable banks and credit unions to meet growing mainstream interest in bitcoin, grow their customer base, and increase non-interest income opportunities.

The payments and financial services technology solutions provider has 74.84 billion in assets as of March 31, 2021.

This integration, announced this week, means customers can manage bitcoin transactions directly within their bank accounts, providing them an easy way to buy, sell, and hold BTC through their trusted financial institutions. This partnership with Fiserv, Robert Gutmann, co-founder, and CEO of NYDIG, said,

“Represents a leap forward in bringing integrated bitcoin transactions to institutions of all sizes, positioning them to meet growing demand and interest from their customers.”

Besides using Bitcoin alongside bank accounts, both the companies are also working towards implementing the ability for banks to implement bitcoin-based rewards programs. Byron Vielehr, chief digital and data officer at Fiserv said,

“Interest in cryptocurrency, and particularly bitcoin, has skyrocketed over the past several years, to the point that bitcoin investing is now a commonplace activity,”

California-based First Foundation Bank is already working with Fiserv and NYDIG for the same. Its CEO Scott F. Kavanaugh said the banking industry “need(s) to lead in this area.”

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Author: AnTy

Bitwise Launches Crypto Industry Innovators ETF After a Green Light from the SEC

The ETF won’t be holding Bitcoin or Ethereum directly but tracks the performance of public companies that are involved in the cryptocurrency sector.

Bitwise, a digital asset manager with $1.5 billion in assets under management as of May 7, 2021, is launching the Crypto Industry Innovators ETF (NYSE: BITQ) that provides exposure to public companies that are involved in the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency sector. The ETF won’t be holding Bitcoin or Ethereum directly.

With this, it has become the first ETF with crypto in it to be approved by the SEC, while a Bitcoin ETF has yet to make it despite several, at least eleven, companies interested and having filed their applications.

But Hunter Horsley, CEO of Bitwise, is hopeful that SEC is moving closer to approving one.

“The bitcoin ETF journey has been almost a decade long,” Horsley told CNN. “But I think it will be possible. This is a big milestone for us.”

BITQ meanwhile seeks to track the Bitwise Crypto Industry Innovators 30 Index, which captures pure-play companies engaged in the crypto sector and has at least $100 million of liquid digital assets on their balance sheet.

Also, these companies derive at least 75% of their revenue from either directly holding crypto assets or serving the crypto market.

It basically tracks the performance of crypto stocks and not coins. A similar ETF (VanEck Vectors Digital Assets Equity – DAPP) has been launched by VanEck as well that trades on Nasdaq, London Stock Exchange, and Deutsche Boerse.

“Until recently, most great crypto innovators were private companies, but that’s changing rapidly. Today, there’s a growing set of public companies capitalizing on crypto,” said Matt Hougan, CIO of Bitwise.

Crypto exchange Coinbase (COIN), which recently went public, accounts for 11.63% of the index’s weightage joined by MicroStrategy, Galaxy Digital, Riot Blockchain, Voyager Digital, Canaan, Northern Data, Hive Blockchain, Bitfarm, and Marathon Digital Asset Holdings, along with PayPal, Square, Silvergate, and others.

“Over the past few years, many investors have had to watch from the sidelines as a select few have reaped the rewards of stellar cryptocurrency returns.”

“With BITQ, our aim is to make crypto investment opportunities available through traditional investing platforms and a familiar, liquid, and cost-effective ETF.”

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Author: AnTy

Jack Dorsey’s Cash App Now Allows Users to Send Bitcoins for Free

Users can now send BTC directly using a Cash App tag for free

Jack Dorsey has been at the forefront of promoting Bitcoin adoption to the world. A Cash App, a Twitter founder’s payments app, will make it easier and cheaper for users to send Bitcoin across the app.

This Wednesday, in a tweet, Cash App confirmed users can now directly send Bitcoin BTC -1.12% Bitcoin / USD BTCUSD $ 57,872.03
Volume 55.78 b Change -$648.17 Open $57,872.03 Circulating 18.66 m Market Cap 1.08 t
4 h Jack Dorsey’s Cash App Now Allows Users to Send Bitcoins for Free 4 h NFT Buyers and Sellers Could be Liable to “Unknown” Capital Gains Tax in the United States 5 h EU Regulators Warn Investors About the High Risks of Investing In Cryptocurrencies
on the app to other app users using their $CashAppTags. The service will be totally free, which places Cash App as the desired layer 2 solutions to boost Bitcoin adoption.

Allowing users to send BTC to tags directly reduces the errors in typing long Bitcoin addresses, leading to loss of coins.

The minimum amount to send is 1000 satoshis, or 0.0001 BTC (~$5.70, at current prices). A weekly sending and receiving limit of $7,500 is also set in the service.

To celebrate the achievement, Cash App gave away $1 million in BTC to its Twitter followers. To win an apportion of the free BTC, users had to follow the page and retweet the post disclosing your $cashapptag and #CashAppBitcoin. Even if you missed out on this giveaway, the popular app runs a promotion a few times a month.

Cash App has seen massive Bitcoin adoption rates – adding 3 million BTC users in 2020 and an extra 1 million users in January 2021.

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Author: Lujan Odera

A New ETF is Filed to Invest in Companies Having Direct or Indirect Exposure to Bitcoin

But the Valkyrie Innovative Balance Sheet ETF Fund has no plans to invest in Bitcoin directly or indirectly through derivatives.

Valkyrie Digital Assets has filed for an exchange-traded fund (ETF) with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that would invest in companies that have Bitcoin on their balance sheet or are indirectly dealing with the cryptocurrency.

A Form N1-A has been filed for Valkyrie Innovative Balance Sheet ETF in partnership with KKM Financial, which is the investment advisor of the fund, and for the distributor of the fund, the company has chosen institutional asset manager SEI. The document reads,

“The Fund is an actively-managed exchange-traded fund (“ETF”) that will invest principally in the securities of operating companies… that directly or indirectly invest in, transact in, or otherwise have exposure to bitcoin or operate in the bitcoin ecosystem.”

The Bitcoin ecosystem is defined here as trading platforms, miners, custodians, digital wallet providers, companies that facilitate payments in bitcoin, and companies that provide other technology, equipment, or services to companies operating in the ecosystem. However, the Fund has no interest whatsoever in investing in Bitcoin directly or indirectly through derivatives.

Just today, BTC/USD has made a new ATH above $60,000.

Last week, JPMorgan Chase published a filing for an incoming debt instrument that will also invest in companies like MicroStrategy, Square, chipmaker Nvidia, and others that are involved with cryptocurrency.

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Author: AnTy

Skybridge Launches Institutional-Grade Fund to Directly Invest in Bitcoin; Offers GBTC Swap Too

Anthony Scaramucci’s SkyBridge Capital Launches Institutional-Grade Fund to Directly Invest in Bitcoin; Offers GBTC Swap Too

Describing Bitcoins as a “monetary life raft” and better at being gold than gold, SkyBridge predicts a “tidal wave of institutional capital.”

Anthony Scaramucci, the founder of SkyBridge Capital has launched the Bitcoin Fund as shared by him during the last quarter of 2020 when he said Bitcoin is still in “very, very early innings.”

SkyBridge Bitcoin GP LLC. is the new institutional-grade weekly-subscription based product that invests directly in bitcoin with a minimum investment of $50,000. Compared to GBTC’s 2% fee, this fund charges a 0.75% management fee with redemptions to be made quarterly with 30 days notice.

The fund has selected Fidelity as its custodian and Silvergate Bank to custody the US dollars. While Ernst & Young is the fund auditor, it will be administered by M.G. Stover.

Besides offering this product, the official website lists the ‘GBTC Swap’ option noting that the premium on GBTC can be monetized by selling it and investing in the Skybridge Bitcoin Fund.

The world’s largest asset manager, Grayscale holds over 3% of Bitcoin’s circulating supply while its product GBTC trades at a premium of 17% to Bitcoins’ market price. SkyBridge Capital notes,

“The GBTC premium exists because there are a dearth of vehicles for traditional investors to obtain exposure to Bitcoin. However, the premium is likely to disappear when more investment products, particularly a Bitcoin ETF, become available.”

SkyBridge encourages GBTC holders to swap it into their Bitcoin fund because SkyBridge Bitcoin Fund trades at NAV, making the swapping potentially more beneficial as the price of BTC rises BTC -3.19% Bitcoin / USD BTCUSD $ 31,930.84
-$1,018.59 -3.19%
Volume 81.19 b Change -$1,018.59 Open $31,930.84 Circulating 18.59 m Market Cap 593.62 b
6 h Why Does Bitcoin (BTC) Continue to Tear Up Without Ever Stopping? 7 h Ethereum Blockchain Becomes Absolutely Unusable Yet Again as Average Fees Hits ATH at $20 8 h Anthony Scaramucci’s SkyBridge Capital Launches Institutional-Grade Fund to Directly Invest in Bitcoin; Offers GBTC Swap Too

“Monetary life raft”

In its presentation, SkyBridge notes massive currency collapses that can be seen all over the world. Not to mention the system banking crisis and the ever-present risk of government confiscation of assets that make Bitcoin a “monetary life raft.”

The New York-based global investment firm further notes that the digital asset is a vast improvement over traditional safe-haven asset gold and is gold 2.0.

With BTC having a mere $500 million market cap compared to yellow metal’s $10 trillion, “if Bitcoin archives the same market capitalization of gold, the price per Bitcoin will be $535,000,” it states.

SkyBrige predicts a “tidal wave of institutional capital,” that involves hedge funds, public company treasurers, insurance companies, pension funds, RIAs, banks and brokerage firms, and a Bitcoin ETF.

Currently, BTC is trading around $30,500, down from Sunday’s $34,850 high, a level Scaramucci encouraged people to buy BTC saying that even now, “You’re still way early to Bitcoin.”

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Author: AnTy

Salt Lending to Begin the Process of Refunds to Investors in Early 2021

“Anyone who bought SALT from us directly before and including 12/31/2019 will have an opportunity to submit a written claim at a later date to recover the consideration paid plus interest,” tweeted SALT Lending.

This has been in response to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) ordering Salt Blockchain, the owner of the lending platform that offers dollar-denominated loans collateralized by cryptos that it has to refund the raised amount to investors.

As per the SEC’s decision, the token is deemed a security because Salt told investors they could expect to make a return on their investment. Investors will have three months after the filing of a registering statement to submit their claims to Salt, which the company is obligated to pay back with any agreed interest.

“We’re in the early stages of registering the token with the SEC,” said Salt adding that the claim form is expected to be available “in the early part of 2021.”

The refunds for tokens purchased will be provided directly from the company, as per the SEC Order, and if one no longer holds the tokens, they will be asked to provide the evidence of loss or damages.

The company raised $47 million in its initial coin offering (ICO) starting in 2017 through 2019.

Interestingly, the news of Salt reaching a “settlement” with the SEC, which means the company doesn’t have to agree or deny the agency’s findings, worked in its token’s favor. In the past 24 hours, the SALT price has spiked nearly 150%.

At the time of writing, SALT has been trading at $0.131 with a 24 hour ‘real’ volume of $106,183

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Author: AnTy

Token Listing Platform CoinList to Streamline The Wrapped BTC (wBTC) Buying Process

  • Coinlist well into minting wBTC directly from users’ digital wallets, helping users avert a tedious process.
  • They are reportedly responsible for minting about 25% of the total wBTCs in circulation.

There have been reports of San Francisco based Coinlist now venturing into the Decentralized Finance Sphere. Since February this year, they have been directly involved with helping investors mainly financial firms with wrapped Bitcoin (wBTC) acquisitions.

The wBTC is an ERC token based on Ethereum that is backed by Bitcoin on 1:1 ration. This translates to for each wBTC in circulation there is an actual BTC in cold storage by Bitgo according to their forum. This may not be fully transparent but it has now put the BTC in a standard Ethereum form hence the BTC could now be used in Ethereum smart contracts.

The long process of converting Bitcoin to wBTC that involved first converting it to Ethereum was tedious and the tokens listing platform deciding to ease the burden at a small cost. They now offer their users the ability to convert BTC to wBTC and Vice versa at their own convenience straight from your wallet. Coinlist has revealed that they are responsible for minting up to 25% of the total wBTCs in circulation and a daily trading average of 20%. Their current rate for every transaction is 0.25%.

Coinlist rise to fame in ICO Era

Notably, Coinlist founded in 2017 and backed by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey and Polychain Capital made their name during the Initial Coin Offering era (ICO). They have reportedly held 12 ICOs since its launch including the $257 million Filecoin ICO the same year and more recent Dfinity sale of $102 million.

Their growth was however stunted as they suffered post ICO era. They have been involved in much smaller ICOs: $60 million Algorand and $72 million ICO for Nervos in 2019. The most recently held this year March for Solana Blockchain raising a meager $1.76 million.

They raised $10 million in a series funding backed by Jack Dorsey and VC Polychain Capital held last year in October.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Zabo Raises $2.5M From Moonshots Capital, Tezos To Bring Crypto Into The Mainstream

The crypto software company Zabo, which claims to directly connect bank accounts and crypto wallets, has just raised $2.5 million in funding so that it can start adding new customers and building its engineering team.

Based in Dallas, Zabo announced on Thursday that its funding round is complete and that it hosted participants like the Tezos Foundation, Digital Currency Group (DCG), Castle Island Ventures and CoinShares. Moonshots Capital led the round and is known as an early-stage investor that also led the funding for the Slack messaging platform.

Zabo Connects Bank Accounts to Crypto Wallets

Zabo claims it can directly connect bank accounts to crypto wallets by using code. The software company will use the new funding to improve its engineering capabilities and to gain more customers. It claims its technology went through tests and has been used with many apps, personal finance management tools, tax software and decentralized finance platforms included. Here’s what the general partner of Moonshots Capital, Craig Cummings, had to say about Zabo:

“[Zabo] built an incredibly important piece of technical infrastructure that will enable cryptocurrency financial services to touch billions of people.”

The Process that Connects Banks and Wallets Simplified

The co-founder of Zabo, Christopher Brown, made a statement in which he says his company’s success has grown as a result of the simplified solution for connecting banks and wallets it offers. It’s a well-known fact that many of the other attempts of connecting crypto to traditional finance are technologically complicated, so Brown says that:

“Zabo solves this by dramatically reducing the complexity. We enable leading financial services companies to swiftly and easily integrate into hundreds of leading cryptocurrency wallets with just a few lines of code.”

Another $1 Million From Ken Seiff’s Blockchange Ventures in 2018

The other co-founder and Zabo’s president, Alex Treece, said his company helps traditional financial entities deal with cryptocurrencies, making it possible for more compelling products to be built, in order for the new generation of clients to be served. The software startup has also raised $1 million from Ken Seiff’s Blockchange Ventures in a pre-seed round from 2018.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Banks Awaiting Approval to Sell and Hold Cryptocurrency Next Year

  • Banks in Germany should be able to directly sell and hold cryptocurrency by January 1st , 2020.
  • Industry experts weighed in on this matter with their differing views, including Neils Nauhauser and Sven Hildebrandt.

One of the biggest issues that have faced the cryptocurrency industry has been the need for countries to amend their laws to allow the use of these assets. Now, based on new reports from The Block, banks in Germany are in the process of passing a law that would allow them to hold and sell cryptocurrency assets.

Though the amendment was passed through the German parliament last week, it will not go into effect until January 1st, changing the fourth EU Money Laundering Directive. The report states that the original version limited custody to third-party platforms, rather than the banks themselves. In the final version, the institutions have the ability to get a license that allows them to take on this role, and the deadline for the application for this crypto license has been pushed out further.

A partner with Distributed Ledger Consulting in Hamburg, Sven Hildebrandt, believes that this step in the country is another move towards Germany establishing itself as “a crypto heaven,” according to The Block. Hildebrandt added, “The German legislator is playing a pioneering role in the regulation of crypto storage,” while speaking with Handelsblatt.

Consumer protection has been a concern of some industry experts in Germany, as these laws change to accommodate cryptocurrency at local banks. Niels Nauhauser, for example, believes that consumers won’t be adequately educated on the potential risks in the cryptocurrency industry, and will overconfidently invest through their banks, costing them money.

Speaking with Handelsblatt, Nauhauser pointed out that “special bonds” have been the only way for banks to distribute. With these bonds, banks were required to provide their consumers with details about the costs and other data that allows consumers to know what they are doing with their funds. However, he added, “This is not the case in direct sales of bitcoin and co.”

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Author: Krystle M