Canadian Fintech Firm Mogo Adds Another 146 Ethereum to Its Crypto Portfolio

Canadian Fintech Firm Mogo Adds Another 146 Ethereum to Its Crypto Portfolio

Vancouver-based fintech company Mogo has purchased Ether as it continues to allocate its cash reserves into cryptocurrencies.

Mogo Deepens its Belief in Crypto

The company which had previously purchased Bitcoin announced that it had purchased 146 ETH at an average price of $2,780. This brings the purchased cryptocurrency to $405,880 in value at the time of the investment.

Mogo’s earlier investment in Bitcoin totals $1,054,618 at the current exchange rate, bought at an average price of $33,083.

Mogo’s move shows its intention to focus more on crypto assets, especially now that it has liquidated its equity investments in Vena Solutions.

The fintech company sold its Vena solutions holdings for $4.7 million, where it locked in a 116% profit from the book value on December 31, 2020. The company had divested its equity stake in Vena during its $300 million Series C funding.

Speaking on the latest Ether purchase, CEO and founder of Mogo Greg Feller said that the current investment in Ethereum compliments the earlier acquisition of Bitcoin.

“This initial investment in Ether complements our earlier investments in Bitcoin and reflects our belief in the long-term potential of blockchain technology and its position as a core component of a next-generation financial technology platform.”

Feller has previously spoken about how much the company believes in cryptocurrency. Mogo’s product development-related investments in crypto date back to 2018, when the company launched MogoCrypto.

MogoCrypto is a platform that enables its members to buy and sell bitcoin at real-time prices instantly through the Mogo app using their mobile device.

In March 2021, the company announced its Bitcoin rewards program that provides members with the opportunity to earn Bitcoin through engagement with Mogo’s products while enabling them to accumulate Bitcoin over time.

Apart from Mogo’s new-found crypto love, the company also recently closed its strategic investment in Coinsquare Ltd. The firm acquired a 19.99% stake in the popular Canadian exchange with an option to increase its stake to 43%.

Institutional Investors Choosing Bitcoin Over Ethereum

Mogo happens to be one of the few companies that have chosen to invest in the second-largest cryptocurrency. For so long, many of the institutions buying cryptocurrencies focused solely on Bitcoin. This was somewhat attributed to the popularity of the premier digital asset. The last couple of weeks has seen many companies make inroads into Ethereum.

According to Coinbase’s annual review for 2020, more institutional clients are snapping up positions in Ether as they now see the crypto as a potential store of value and its growing status as an asset that powers transactions on the Ethereum network.

Last month, Chinese company Meitu, known for its mobile apps, purchased 386 BTC ($21.6M) & 16k ETH ($28.4M) on March 17th and another 175.6 BTC for $10M on April 9th.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Revolut Adds 11 New ‘Hot’ Cryptos Including DeFi Tokens for UK and EU Users

Revolut Adds 11 New ‘Hot’ Cryptos Including DeFi Tokens for UK and EU Users

London-based Fintech company, Revolut has announced support for eleven new cryptocurrencies, including popular DeFi tokens.

The cryptos selected are the result of the digital banking service provider “tracking hot tokens and top movers.”

Now Revolut’s UK and EU users can trade Cardano (ADA), Uniswap (UNI), Synthetix (SNX), Yearn Finance (YFI), Uma (UMA), Bancor (BNT), Filecoin (FIL), Numeraire (NMR), Loopring (LRC), Orchid (OXT), and The Graph (GRT).

“Revolut is moving much faster than PayPal and Square. Let the race begin!” noted Spartan Black, a partner at crypto fund The Spartan Group.

Revolut already supports a few cryptos, including Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ripple (XRP), Stellar (XLM), EOS, OMG, 0x (ZRX), and Tezos (XTZ).

According to its website, the majority of crypto funds are held in cold storage with custodians.

The app has constantly been expanding to new markets, with its Revolut Business going live in the US last month, and the same month they launched Revolut Bank in 10 new European markets.

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Author: AnTy

We’re Not A Bank & Don’t Want To Compete: Microsoft Pres. On Fintech Companies Issuing Currencies

We’re Not A Bank & Don’t Want To Compete With Them: Microsoft President On Fintech Companies Issuing Currencies

Brad Smith says governments are best placed for that role. Meanwhile, the company is asking its Xbox customers about Bitcoin as a payment method.

Microsoft President Brad Smith is not in favor of financial technology companies issuing currencies. According to him, governments are still best-placed for that.

“I’m not a big fan myself of encouraging or asking or wanting us to participate in the issuing of currency,” said Smith at an online conference hosted by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). He added,

“The money supply almost uniquely needs to be managed by an entity that is responsible to the public and thinks really only about the public interest, and that means governments.”

The world has been seeing a shift to digital payments accelerated by the pandemic. The massive amount of money printing as financial aid to help the economy recover has further fueled the interest in cryptos and Bitcoin as a hedge against inflation.

This has raised concerns among policymakers while central banks around the globe study issuing their own digital currencies. Smith said,

“I think the world has been better served by what has been a movement over centuries to put that in the hands of governments.”

“We’re not a bank, and we don’t want to become a bank, and we don’t want to compete with our customers who are banks.”

Meanwhile, Microsoft is asking its Xbox users about Bitcoin as a payment option.

The survey is part of the Xbox Insider Program for beta testing OS Updates. It asks a couple of questions, including your current payment method, your views on the several payment methods supported on Xbox, which other should be added, and if the lack of your preferred method prompted you not to purchase something from Xbox.

Back in 2014, Microsoft allowed its users to pay for Xbox games with BTC, but the feature has been no longer available.

Just yesterday, Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, announced that the electric car maker accepts Bitcoin. He further said they wouldn’t be converting any BTC received in payment in fiat currency either, preferring to hold the cryptocurrency.

Tesla also divulged last month that it had invested $1.5 billion into Bitcoin, following which Smith said Microsoft didn’t have any investment in the cryptocurrency.

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Author: AnTy

UK Treasury-Ordered Report Calls for A 5 Point Plan; Includes FinTech Fund & Crypto Regulation

UK Treasury-Ordered Report Calls for A 5 Point Plan; Includes FinTech Fund & Crypto Regulation

Treasury report based on the U.K. fintech, concludes govt needs to run a specific regime for Crypto-asset’s regulations and control.

U.K. chancellor, Rishi Sunak, triggered that review back in March 2020, under Ron Khalifa’s supervision (former WorldPay boss). Afterward, the Treasury-ordered review points out a plan to make U.K.’s fintech a leading market in the world.

According to the report named “Khalifa Review of U.K. Fintech,” the country can play a vital role in crypto-mania and become a globally recognized center for trade, issuance, clearance, and exchange of cryptocurrencies.

Khalifa addressed the European finance’s progress after the crypto favored the proposal, MiCA (Markets in Crypto-assets), has come in force, so the U.K. also has to “act quickly” to put its fintech firms ahead of the curve. Khalifa’s Review states,

“The U.K. should aim to be at least as broad in ambition as MiCA – but should also consider whether it can develop a bespoke regime that is more innovation-driven. A bespoke regime for crypto assets should adopt a functional and technology-neutral approach, in line with the principles of the current regulatory framework, as well as the concept of ‘same risk, same regulation,’ while being tailored to the risks arising from crypto asset-related activitie.”

Also, there are no reasons to be ‘flexible’ to do with future challenges such as Decentralized Finance (DeFi), another spot that needs attention for being regulated in the state, says the report.

The review concludes that to have engagement in deploying policies and regulations for crypto-favored areas, U.K. must join the group of international regulators, Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN).

The U.K. Treasury has announced a consultation worldwide that started in January to depict the regulatory experience approached digital currencies and stablecoins. The program is still accepting feedback till March 3.

U.K. commissions have been aggressive to crypto trading and investments so far. On January 6, derivatives and exchange-traded notes sale was shut down by Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) which alleged the products ill-suited due to the potential harm they pose.

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Author: James W

JPMorgan Chooses ‘Fintech Over Bitcoin’ As the Real Financial Game Changer during Global Pandemic

JPMorgan Chooses ‘Fintech Over Bitcoin’ As the Real Financial Game Changer during Global Pandemic

Fintech is the long-term story for COVID-19 related financial developments, not Bitcoin, JP Morgan analysts.

In a story first covered by CNBC, analysts from the top U.S. bank dismissed the recent superficial growth in Bitcoin’s price as an “economic sideshow” during the current global COVID-19 pandemic. According to the report, fintech development and digital payment systems will be the major story arising from the financial field in current pandemic times.

The price of Bitcoin has soared past $58,000 to set new all-time highs in 2021 as institutional investment soars from firms such as MicroStrategy, Tesla and MasterCard entered the Bitcoin market, a note from JP Morgan reads. However, it is the fintech innovations that will get the credit in the long term, it further states.

“Fintech innovation and increased demand for digital services are the real Covid-19 story with the rise of online start-ups and expansion of digital platforms into credit and payments.”

Over the past year, there have been increased efforts by non-financial firms such as Google and Apple to get into the fintech space. As financial firms invest heavily in technology, these Big Tech companies are moving rapidly to capture the digital payments market. With an advantage in digital spaces by owning a huge amount of consumer data, big tech firms rapidly narrow the gap to financial institutions and banks.

Bitcoin, on its part, saw a boost in demand, reaching the $1 trillion market cap, as investors looked for “diversification assets” during the pandemic. Comparisons with gold as a store of value is also increased over the year. JP Morgan previously stated the digital coin could rally as high as $146,000 as it competes with gold as a hedge against inflation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite the optimistic price targets (which could take years to achieve), JP Morgan analysts warn cryptocurrencies are still the “poorest hedge” against stock prices and still hold a questionable amount of risk.

As previously reported, JP Morgan Chase Co-President, Daniel Pinto stated the bank could invest in Bitcoin if there’s a demand for the crypto. However, strategists at the bank revealed a report stating BTC’s price is “unsustainable” at $52,000 claiming volatility will kill the current hype cycle in the market.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Jamie Dimon: Banks Should be “Scared Shitless” by Fintech Rivals like Paypal & Square

Jamie Dimon: Banks Should be “Scared Shitless” by Fintech Rivals like Paypal & Square

JPMorgan Chase’s chief executive officer expects brutal competition in the payments sector in the next 10 years.

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon says banks should be frightened of the new breed of fintech players led by Square, PayPal, and tech giants.

“Absolutely, we should be scared s—less about that,” was Dimon’s blunt assessment in a conference call with analysts on Friday in response to the question about fintech players having ‘trounced” traditional banks in recent years.

“We have plenty of resources, a lot of very smart people. We’ve just got to get quicker, better, faster. … As you look at what we’ve done, you’d say we’ve done a good job, but the other people have done a good job, too,” said the chief executive officer of the banking giant with $3.4 trillion in assets.

According to Dimon, PayPal, Square, Ant Financial, Stripe, and US tech giants, including Google, Apple, and Amazon, are competitors that the banks need to keep an eye on. These rivals are also clients of the banks in many cases, he added.

“I expect to see very, very tough, brutal competition in the next 10 years,” Dimon said. “I expect to win, so help me, God.”

In some cases, the new players have “unfair competition,” which he says they will “do something about eventually.”

Dimon also called out digital currency-friendly payments start-up Plaid, whose $5.3 billion deal with Visa was scrapped amid a US antitrust suit, saying “people who improperly use data that’s been given to them, like Plaid.”

Both PayPal and Square support Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, which Dimon has previously called “fraud.” Still, the bank has changed its tune on digital currencies and predicts a $146,000 price target for BTC in the long-term in its trajectory to achieve gold’s market cap.

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Author: AnTy

Publicly-Traded Canadian FinTech Company Invests 1.5% of its Assets into Bitcoin

Publicly-Traded Canadian FinTech Company Invests 1.5% of its Assets into Bitcoin

The $1.5 Million worth of corporate Bitcoin investments is just the beginning, MOGO plans to buy more BTC next year.

Canadian Fintech company MOGO is investing $1.5 million in Bitcoin. This investment represents the company’s 1.5% assets, as of the end of the third quarter of 2020. But the company is not done with its Bitcoin investment, it plans to do more of it with more of it in 2021. Greg Feller, President, and CFO of Mogo said,

“We plan to initially allocate a modest portion of our capital toward bitcoin investments and will consider additional investments in bitcoin as we monetize some of our existing $17 million portfolios which we expect to begin doing in 2021.”

The company which is publicly traded on the NASDAQ and TSX believe it is “well-positioned to capitalize on the fast-growing demand for bitcoin.”

This isn’t the first time that Mogo has ventured into the cryptocurrency market. Back in 2018, it launched MogoCrypto to enable the buying and selling of Bitcoin in Canada. Recently, it also announced its bitcoin rewards program, an opportunity to earn BTC by engaging with Mogo’s products.

Earlier this month, the company reported a 135% month-over-month increase in the value of Bitcoin traded on its platform from Oct. to Nov. 2020. Feller said,

“We are strong believers in bitcoin as an asset class and believe this investment is consistent with our goal to make bitcoin investing available to all Canadians. In addition, we believe bitcoin represents an attractive investment for our shareholders with significant long-term potential as its adoption continues to grow globally.”

Mogo is just another addition to the long line of companies that have been making corporate investments in the world’s largest cryptocurrency.

MicroStrategy, Square, Ruffer Investment, and many others have jumped on the Bitcoin bandwagon along with the big names like Guggenheim, Paul Tudor Jones, Stanley Druckenmiller, Ben Miller becoming Bitcoiners.

“Most investment banks and private banks will announce crypto offerings,” and “several large public companies will issue BTC-related capital structure instruments,” predicts Su Zhu, CEO of Three Arrows Capital for 2021. He also sees several central banks announcing “substantial stakes in BTC.”

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Author: AnTy

Chinese e-Commerce Giant JD.com to Accept Digital Yuan in the 2nd Round of Public Trial

Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com said on Saturday that its fintech arm, JD Digits will accept digital yuan as payment for some products.

JD.com is China’s first virtual platform to accept the central bank digital currency, as part of an experimental giveaway of digital yuan to the citizens of Suzhou, according to the company’s post on its official WeChat account.

Under the trial, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) and the municipal government will issue a total of 20 million yuan ($3 million). 100,000 consumers selected through a lottery will be receiving 200 digital yuan “red envelopes”.

This will be the second such program after the PBOC issued 10 million yuan worth of digital currency to 50,000 selected customers in Shenzhen in October, South China’s Guangdong Province. It was the first time the trail of digital yuan went public after a series of internal tests.

Last month, PBOC Governor Yi Gang said over 2 billion yuan had been spent using the DCEP so far in 4 million transactions.

The new round of public trials of the central bank-backed sovereign digital currency involves a wider range of consumer and application scenarios compared to the first test.

Booming Digital Industry

As we reported, the central bank of China is also discussing the technical pilot testing of digital yuan for cross-border payments with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA). The exact date of the launch is unknown but it will offer an additional payment option, said Eddie Yue, chief executive of HKMA. Yue said  on Friday,

“As the yuan is already in use in Hong Kong and the status of digital yuan is the same as cash in circulation, it will bring even greater convenience to Hong Kong residents and tourists from the Chinese mainland.”

The central bank governor also said on Monday that China will push forward the R&D of the digital yuan in a steady manner, launch pilot tests in an orderly manner, and improve its legal framework.

According to Pan Helin, executive director of the Digital Economy Research Institute at the Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, 2021 will usher in an important period for the digital industry as the technologies have become more mature after several years of development. Pan told the Global Times,

“In recent years, China’s digital industry has been booming, and new technologies such as big data, cloud computing, 5G, artificial intelligence and blockchain have been rapidly developed and widely applied in various fields of social economy, laying a good foundation for the development and application of digital currency.”

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Author: AnTy

P2P Marketplace Paxful Launches Visa Crypto Debit Card with BlockCard in the US

Paxful, the Peer-to-peer digital asset marketplace, has partnered with the Ternio-powered crypto Fintech platform, BlockCard, to roll out a Visa debit card the U.S. This move comes amid the increasing demand for more crypto utility, apart from the prevalent speculative narrative where most coin hodlers depend on a price surge to realize value from their digital assets.

The Visa card rolled out by Paxful and BlockCard will enable U.S clients to convert their crypto assets to dollars for instant purchases. Other functions will include a checking account and the ability to withdraw one’s crypto funds from any ATM across the world. Notably, Paxful users who leverage this card will make purchases from over 45 million outlets.

According to the launch announcement by Paxful, the Visa debit cards will initially be available in the U.S. However, plans are underway to further scale outreach into more jurisdictions where the firm operates. With the minimum balance set at $10, the Visa card initiative by Paxful aims to bank the unbanked and increase alternatives for the underbanked.

Paxful’s CEO, Ray Youseff, emphasized the importance of onboarding more people into financial ecosystems as well as exposure to the underlying products,

“Access to reliable and affordable financial products is indispensable … Whether looking to invest in education, start a business, or simply manage the financial demands of everyday life; there should be a viable option for everyone across the globe.”

Ternio, on the other hand, is assured of its commitment to linking traditional finance and crypto through the firm’s CEO Daniel Gouldman. He noted that the firm is “committed to providing interoperability between cryptocurrencies and the traditional banking system.”

Recent News: Paxful, Exits Venezuela; Due to Regulatory Risks From US Sanctions

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Silvergate Bank Q3 Earnings Call Upholds Bullish Trajectory; Net Income Shot Up 29% to $7.1M

Silvergate, a Fintech and crypto-focused bank, has reported another bullish quarter according to its latest earnings call. The Q3 Silvergate Bank stats show that they have been gaining on most fronts, especially with increased activity in the Silvergate Exchange Network (SEN). As earlier reported by BEG, this platform recently crossed the $100 billion mark in transfer volumes.

Notably, $36 billion of the total transfer volumes were done in the last quarter, according to the Silvergate Q3 report. The company’s CEO, Alan Lane, attributed this growth to increased activity and strong digital asset prices during the past quarter,

“During the third quarter, bitcoin and other digital currencies saw strong price appreciation and an active trading environment, which we believe contributed to the increase in the number of transactions occurring on the SEN.”

Silvergate’s Q3 Earnings Call Break Down

The California-based bank’s growth has been quite exponential, most of which can be pegged to a burgeoning crypto industry in 2020. On that note, Silvergate reported a 29% increase in net income to $7.1 million compared to the previous $5.5 million in Q2. The figure also jumped year-over-year compared to 2019’s third quarter, where the reported net income stood at $6.7 million.

As for the market growth, Silvergate’s clients are now over 900, with a larger part being institutions. Lane has also pointed out that there around 200 prospective clients who might soon be onboarded as well. With such growth, he is confident that the debut of heavyweights like JP Morgan is not a threat to Silvergate’s sustainability and market expansion. In fact, Lane believed that exchanges are better off with more banking options,

“Those exchanges really want to have multiple banking partners and multiple sources of liquidity … And when volumes increase across the ecosystem and volumes are increasing from other customers, we’re seeing the same type of volume increases from those customers that JP Morgan is reportedly banking.”

Silvergate also reported a spike in its clients’ deposits; the amount went up by $586 million, marking its second-highest quarterly increase after the 2017 bull-run. Consequently, the firm’s fee income increased to $3.3 million in Q3; this is a 40% gain compared to the Q2 $2.4 million fee income.

Another highlight is Silvergate’s lending service ‘SEN Leverage,’ which recorded a $13 million increase, bringing the total amount of credit approvals to $35.5 million. Lane is quite optimistic about this specific product, although there are no plans to scale past Bitcoin anytime soon,

“We anticipate a long growth trajectory for SEN Leverage and will judiciously expand credit availability to our customers over time.”

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Author: Edwin Munyui