SEC Moves To Expunge XRP Holders From Ongoing Ripple Lawsuit With Latest Filing

The US Securities and Exchange Commission’s ongoing lawsuit against blockchain firm Ripple Labs and its executives has taken a new twist.

SEC Files Opposition To Motion To Intervene

In a recent release, the agency filed a motion to stop XRP holders from intervening in the ongoing lawsuit. The filing termed the “Memorandum of Law in Opposition of the Motion to Intervene” seeks to ensure no third party is involved in the ongoing case.

The government agency said this is because the movants have no stake whatsoever and cannot be called in as reliable witnesses due to their association with the defendants.

It also noted that their grievances are properly represented by Ripple Labs and the company’s chairman Chris Larsen and CEO Brad Garlinghouse.

The SEC noted that this is not the first occasion the movants have tried infusing themselves into the case, citing their first filing in the Rhodes Island District Court.

It, however, said that the XRP holders might force the agency to take up a legal case against the body of interested movants since there has not been any reason to bring them into the matter.

The SEC said that this intervention is summarily against the agency’s sovereign immunity, and if the courts decide to let them state their case, it may be forced to bring in other disgruntled investors who feel the defendants were not honest in their dealings with them.

The financial agency also explained that the movants’ cause is a lost one given the fact that whatever funds they lost following the lawsuit on secondary markets cannot be recovered as they are not a party to the case.

The SEC said the recent filing by the lead counsel for the movants Jordan Deaton lacked any new substantive argument as they have repeatedly borrowed from the defendants’ narrative of XRP not being a “security.”

It says this sustained discourse is similar to XRP’s position and shouldn’t, therefore, be allowed to stand in order not to foster delay and confusion.

The regulatory body also jabbed at Deaton’s motive, subtly stating that this could be a platform for the lawyer to gain Twitter prominence following the growing media attention surrounding the case.

Ripple Scaling Up Despite SEC Lawsuit

The SEC’s lawsuit in the closing days of 2020 adversely affected Ripple Lab’s partnerships and its utility token’s valuation in the secondary market.

Following the December filing by outgoing Chairman Jay Clayton, crypto exchanges in the US swiftly delisted the XRP token from their platforms. If that weren’t enough, key partnerships with US companies, went underwater with MoneyGram reneging its agreement with the embattled company.

Ripple CEO Garlinghouse had noted that most of the blockchain company’s business was executed overseas, citing the regulatory haze in the American nation as a deterrent to innovative banking in the country.

He also pointed out that only the US SEC has a problem with the XRP token given that Asian nations, the area XRP has the most influence, do not classify the digital token as a “security.”

In the months that followed, XRP dropped from the 4th most valuable crypto position to the bottom ten, and its value traded way below a dollar.

But following preliminary victories in the opening case with the SEC, the XRP has rallied significantly, and calls for the digital payment firm to be relisted on exchanges have begun making the rounds.

And as the general crypto market has rallied, the XRP token has surged after it rose 17% in April and momentarily reclaimed its position as the 4th most valuable cryptocurrency.

The San Francisco-based fintech company has also been strategically repositioning itself since the SEC lawsuit was made public. Ripple said it was launching a private version of its XRP Ledger Protocol tailored for national banks in a release on its website. This private protocol would help apex banks in the issuance, maintenance, and monitoring of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), set to serve a secondary role to fiat.

The US tech company also recently appointed former US Treasurer Rosa Gumataotao Rios as a board member. Alongside, financial veteran Kristina Campbell will serve as the company’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO).

Rios’ former role as the currency maker is seen as a strategic move to sell the idea of digital currencies to anti-crypto critics. Campbell would be tasked with the responsibility of accelerating the company’s growth while delivering value to shareholders.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

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

Fidelity Launches Digital Asset Analytics Tool For Institutional Investors

Financial services firm Fidelity investment has launched a digital assets analytics platform for institutional investors.

Fidelity’s Sherlock To Guide Institutional Investors

Fidelity named the platform Sherlock, which is a digital assets analysis tool that will provide fundamental and technical analysis for fund managers and investors.

According to the firm, Sherlock will collate valuable pieces of information on the blockchain, market, social sentiment analysis, as well as industry news into a single portal.

The platform will also research crypto-assets relying on quality institutional data providers coupled with the provision of unique analytics to guide investors.

Fidelity’s Sherlock is expected to provide much-needed competition against existing solutions produced by companies like Messari.

In 2018, Messari launched a data solution service and had gained valuable recognition worldwide by integrating with Kaiko’s Rest API.

Other giant forces to be reckoned with in the provision of data and analytics are Dune Analytics, Glassnode, Skew, Coin Metrics, and Santiment.

Speaking on the new development, Kevin Vora, Vice president, Product Management, Fidelity Center for Applied Technology (FCAT), said Sherlock would deliver comprehensive data and deep analytics as clients will no longer face numerous irrelevant resources.

Fidelity Dominating the Crypto Space

Besides developing Sherlock to help institutional investors, Fidelity investment has been making significant contributions to the crypto space.

Earlier, Fidelity Charitable, the charitable arm of the mutual fund giant, reportedly raised $28 million in cryptocurrency donations.

The acceptance of cryptocurrencies as part of donations for the non-profit was a welcome development in the crypto space.

More importantly, the investment firm plans to launch its bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) for digital assets and virtual currency, per Form S-1 filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

While SEC is yet to approve any firm to date, Fidelity might be feeling lucky due to its track record in the traditional finance space.

Given the prevalence of existing data and analytics solutions for institutional investors, observers will be eager to see if the newly introduced Sherlock solution by Fidelity investment will also turn things around.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

U.S.-Based Bitcoin Mining Firm, Foundry is Now the Fifth Largest Mining Pool

U.S.-Based Bitcoin Mining Firm, Foundry is Now the Fifth Largest Mining Pool

  • The U.S. is finally challenging the Chinese Bitcoin mining dominance, and it may be a matter of time before a full flipping happens, Digital Currency Group founder and CEO Barry Silbert reckon.

Foundry USA, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Digital Currency Group (DCG), ranked as the fifth-largest BTC mining pool at some point on Thursday – becoming the first non-Chinese pool to break the milestone. As of writing, the pool has dropped back to eighth, with Binance, Huobi, and BTC.com pools overtaking the American mining pool.

On Thursday, data from BTC.com showed Foundry USA as the fifth largest pool with its daily hashrate surpassing 10.10 Exahashes per second, or nearly 8% of the total Bitcoin mining hashrate. The daily hashrate has since dropped to 5.54 Eh/s or 4.13% of the total hashrate.

“Incredibly proud to announce that the Foundry the USA bitcoin mining pool from Foundry Services just became at top 5 pool in the world,” Barry Silbert, CEO at DCG, wrote on Twitter. “Bitcoin hashrate is quickly shifting from China to North America.”

The U.S based mining firm has witnessed exponential growth since launching its beta phase in October 2020. Only in March, the firm announced they would be opening their mining services to the public following a successful beta launch phase – and the news seems to have further boosted Foundry’s hash power.

At the time, Foundry was the 12th largest mining pool with only 1.4% of the total hashrate power or 2.77Eh/s.

Bitfarms Ltd. is the latest company to join the Foundry USA pool purchasing 2,465 Whatsminer M30S Bitcoin mining machines through Foundry’s services. This marks the first time Bitfarms has joined a North American-based pool, showing the growth of Bitcoin mining across the continent.

According to a post, the additional machines are set to increase Bitfarm’s operating hashrate by 133 petahashes per second. Emiliano Grodzki, CEO of Bitfarms said,

“We are excited to partner with an industry-leading provider of equipment financing to secure timely and reliable access to the latest generation of Bitcoin mining machines and to continue to grow our business.”

The partnership will see Bitfarm also receive other upgrades and rehabilitation to its older mining machines.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Billionaire Investor Daniel Loeb’s Third Point “Outed as a HODLr”

Billionaire investor Daniel Loeb’s Third Point LLC is the latest firm to own cryptocurrency.

Last month, Loeb took to Twitter to share that he has been “doing a deep dive into crypto.” On the reports of Third Point owning crypto, Loeb tweeted, “Outed as a hodlr.”

The $17.6 billion hedge fund holds an unknown amount of cryptocurrency through crypto exchange Coinbase’s custody arm.

The biggest crypto exchange in the US is all set to go public through a direct listing on Nasdaq next week. The company had said that it expects “meaningful growth” thanks to custody in part, driven by the increased institutional interest in the crypto asset class.

In its earnings call, Coinbase revealed that out of the $223 billion held by the exchange, $122 billion belongs to institutions.

Additionally, in Q4 of 2020, 64% of its volume came from institutions which is a drastic change from Q1 of 2018 when retail accounted for 80% of the volume.

Coinbase helped several big names accumulate Bitcoin, including Tesla, MicroStrategy, Meitu, Ruffer Investments, and Paul Tudor Jones.

Three Point’s crypto exposure, it had said, could be direct or indirect through derivatives contracts and is also open to staking and lending cryptos.

The company is also backing crypto and stock exchange eToro, which announced that it is going public through a merger with FinTech Acquisition Corp. V ( FTCV).

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Author: AnTy

New Zealand Digital Asset Firm Launches Country’s First Compliant Stablecoin, $NZD

New Zealand Digital Asset Firm Launches Country’s First Compliant Stablecoin, $NZD

The stablecoin is built on Ethereum leveraging Circle, Coinbase, and Blockchain Labs frameworks. Audit reports on the reserves will be released quarterly, the report states.

Techemynt, a digital asset transaction service, announced the launch of a New Zealand dollar-backed stablecoin, $NZD.

Auckland-born digital asset service provider, Techemynt announced the launch of a New Zealand dollar-backed stablecoin. The Ethereum-based token is fully backed 1:1 with cash and cash equivalents in the firm’s treasury (denominated in New Zealand Dollars).

According to the report, the stablecoin will provide an avenue to digital payments, remittance, arbitrage opportunities across the country. Additionally, $NZD aims to strengthen and stabilize the New Zealand dollar in order to make it “a prominent participant in the global digital asset economy,” it further reads.

Fran Strajnar, Executive Director of Techemynt, said the company partnered with top teams in crypto such as Circle, Coinbase, and Blockchain Labs to successfully deploy $NZD on Ethereum. This will be the first compliant New Zealand dollar-backed stablecoin and will continue to be built “adhering to NZ legal requirements,” he added.

“After nearly a year of development, $NZDs is now first to fully execute and deliver on the promise of bringing a New Zealand Dollar stablecoin to the world.”

To ensure transparency and accountability in issuing the $NZD stablecoins, Techemynt will employ the services of a “leading accounting firm” to provide quarterly audit reports on the state of the reverses to $NZDs issued.

Starting today, the Techemynt $NZD tokens will be distributed directly to customers who wish to acquire $100,000 NZD or more worth of tokens (~$71,300). Users can also acquire coins in the secondary markets through Bittrex owned exchange, Dassetx.com.

However, this is not the first time a New Zealand stablecoin has launched in the markets. Back in 2017, now-defunct crypto exchange, Cryptopia launched its NZDT stablecoin, reported to be backed 1:1 to the New Zealand dollar.

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Author: Lujan Odera

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

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

UK Investors Have Crypto FOMO

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rise of Bitcoin’s Addition to Corporate Treasuries

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

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

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

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Israeli Asset Manager Invests $100 Million in Bitcoin via GBTC

“A little intimidated” by the speed at which BTC gained in value, the firm has already sold one-third of its holdings after doubling its investment. Now holds $150 million GBTC shares.

Altshuler Shaham Investment House, an Israeli asset manager, invested $100 million in Bitcoin by purchasing the shares in the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) late last year, reported a local publication.

At the time, Bitcoin was trading around $21k; since then, the crypto asset has soared to a new ATH at $58,350.

Grayscale Investments is the world’s largest asset manager with north of $40 billion in AUM.

One of the largest investment managers in Israel, Altshuler Shaham, already sold some of its stake in early February when BTC price was around $40k, as co-CEO Gilad Altshuler said his group was “a little intimidated” by the speed with which bitcoin gained in value.

The price of Bitcoin has appreciated more than 13.5x in value since its March low, becoming a trillion-dollar asset. Still, the fund was able to double its investment before selling about a third of it. He said,

“This is a new investment for us. It took a few months until we got all the relevant approvals and all the opinions that approved our investment in the field.”

This is the first time an Israeli institutional body gained Bitcoin exposure. Altshuler Shaham had over $50 billion in assets in long-term savings associates’ accounts – provident funds and pension funds as of the end of January.

Currently, the company holds $150 million GBTC shares. As for increasing this investment, Altshuler said, “It depends on the price.”

Meanwhile, investment company Altshuler Shaham Horizon, a subsidiary of Altshuler Shaham, is looking to expand into the cryptocurrency market.

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Author: AnTy

Publicly Traded Firm, Bitfarms (BITF), Orders 48,000 MicroBT Bitcoin Mining Machines

Publicly Traded Firm, Bitfarms (BITF), Orders 48,000 MicroBT Bitcoin Mining Machines

Bitfarm is a Canada-based Bitcoin mining company that came to an agreement of buying 48,000 new MicroBT machines-to enlarge their capacity of exahash (EH) or hashrate.

The announcement held on Tuesday reveals that the capacity of hashrate will be expanded to 5 EH/Second from its current 1.0 EH/second.

The implementation of all machines will be completed around Dec 2022. The first batch of the order is expected to deliver by January 2022 and others by the end of that year.

The company would grow its hashrate to 8.0 EH/second when all the machines will have fixed and in force simultaneously. Bitfarms infrastructure will hit 3 EH/second by the end of 2021 and then 8 EH/second in Dec 2022.

Bitfarms generates 5.7 Bitcoins in a day, even with the current capacity of 1 EH per second. The CEO at Bitfarms, Emiliano Grodzki, explained the moto behind the move and said,

”With this equipment purchase agreement, Bitfarms is positioned to remain in the top tier of publicly-traded crypto mining companies in the world.”

“The supply of miners will be one of the greatest challenges in for the foreseeable future due to a global shortage of wafers used to create semi-conductor chips which is a vital component in mining rigs. Our strategy will be to continue to grow our own infrastructure and professional operations and conduct mining in our own facilities, which increases operational efficiency and profitability.”

Other mining firms, especially from North America, also have been placing bulk pre-orders since the last month. The investment in the mining hardware till now is equated to $500 million in which more than 10 firms are involved.

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Author: James W

Dubai Government-Owned Licensing Firm Starts Accepting BTC, ETH, & USDT as Payments

Dubai Government-Owned Licensing Firm Starts Accepting BTC, ETH, & USDT as Payments

“Cryptocurrencies are the payment method of the future,” said Tasawar Ulhaq, CEO of Kiklabb.

Dubai government-owned licensing solutions, Kiklabb, has started accepting cryptocurrencies as a payment option for the trade licenses and visa fees.

The supported digital currencies include Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and the stablecoin Tether (USDT), reported a local publication.

Besides paying with a digital asset, the firm allows its customers to register for Dubai trade licenses remotely just using their smartphone. Tasawar Ulhaq, CEO of Kiklabb said,

“We’ve seen growing interest in cryptocurrency, with several customers in the blockchain and fintech sectors part of the Kiklabb community. So it really was just a matter of time before we recognised Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Tether. Cryptocurrencies are the payment method of the future.”

Ulhaq further shared that they are the first government-owned licensing entity in the UAE to accept cryptocurrency payments. Still, it expected this trend to only continue as the technology rapidly gains traction across the Middle East.

“I’m eager to see how it changes the way we do business in the near future,” he added. “We’re in talks with high-profile players in the cryptocurrency sector who are exploring entry into Dubai.”

The region has a robust community of local and international companies working in the cryptocurrency sector in the fields of education, healthcare, and food technology.

Cryptocurrency adoption took over the starting 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic made digital payments a necessity. This year, this is continuing even at a faster pace, with big giants also joining in.

Besides companies, even cities and municipalities are taking an increased interest. Miami has already voted to start using Bitcoin for city government transactions and even add it to their Treasury to attract tech companies to the area.

While Mayor Francis Suarez is looking to turn Miami into a tech hub as he said, “It’s wonderful to be a very ‘crypto-forward’ city in the city of Miami,” Commissioner Joe Carollo, who voted against the plan, said, “I can’t drink the Kool-Aid on this one.”

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Author: AnTy