Second Bitcoin ETF Goes Live in Canada as US Firms Await SEC Approval

Canada has approved an exchange-traded fund from Evolve Funds Global Group Inc. The country is blazing the trail, while American firms hope 2021 finally becomes the year of the Bitcoin ETFs.

Canada’s crypto space continues to grow significantly as the country marks yet another milestone in adoption.

This week, Evolve Funds Global Group Inc., a financial services firm in the county, secured approval for a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF)

Evolve Joins the ETF Club

Official documents have shown that the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC), Canada’s financial regulator, has approved Evolve’s launch of its ETFs, providing additional exposure to investors looking to get into the crypto market.

A receipt published yesterday also showed that the company had partnered with Cidel Trust Company, a subsidiary of Cidel Bank Canada, to provide custody, while the Gemini Foundation will be a sub-custodian.

Evolve only filed the prospectus for its ETF earlier this month. Per the filing, the ETF will have two ticker symbols – EBIT for Canadian-denominated units, and EBIT.U for American-denominated units. Both variants will provide exposure to daily price movements of Bitcoin in the respective country’s fiat currency.

The fund will track price data using the Bitcoin Reference Rate from CF Benchmark, which aggregates data from several BTC/USD markets into a single-day benchmark index.

The fund’s prospectus explained that it hopes to provide holders to price movement while reducing tracking error by using specific creation and redemption processes.

To achieve this goal, the fund will invest in long-term BTC holdings purchases through several platforms – including Gemini NuSTAR LLC. Evolve has also gotten conditional approval to list on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX).

The fund is available in all of Canada’s provinces and three territories.

Evolve’s fund is only the second ETF to be approved by the OSC this month. Last week, the agency greenlit the Purpose Bitcoin ETF, an investment vehicle from Toronto-based investment firm Purpose Investments. The fund will offer units denominated in USD and CAD, with a 0.75 percent management fee. Like the Evolve fund, it also plans to list units on the TSX.

“The ETF will be the first in the world to invest directly in physically settled Bitcoin, not derivatives, allowing investors easy and efficient access to the emerging asset class of cryptocurrency,” Purpose Investments said in its announcement.

Uncle Sam Lags Behind

Over in the United States, there is some hope that the new administration – and, by extension, new head at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) – will be more welcoming of a Bitcoin ETF.

This year, crypto investment firm Bitwise Asset Management filed for an ETF with the SEC, hoping to make it through for the third time. New York Digital Investment Group (NYDIG), a crypto-focused investment fund, has also made a similar application, with investment banking giant Morgan Stanley acting as an authorized participant.

While several ETF applications have come and gone, none has passed through the SEC’s iron barrier. However, with the new administration showing a propensity towards progressive crypto policies, the anticipation of approval is high.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Ripple Partner, SBI Group, Looks to Form Crypto Joint Venture to Boost Revenue

Ripple Partner, SBI Group, Looks to Form Crypto Joint Venture to Boost Revenue

Tokyo-based financial giant SBI Holdings has opened up talks with various international financial institutions to form a crypto joint venture. The firm revealed that it aims to make the crypto business one of its main pillars.

Speaking to Reuters, Yoshitaka Kitao, SBI CEO, revealed that the bank is in talks with numerous financial institutions to set up a crypto venture. Kitao also stated that SBI has already secured two plausible deals but remained coy on the details. The CEO stated that part of the initiative is to pursue mergers and acquisitions.

To enhance its presence in the crypto space, SBI bought TaoTao, a Japanese-based crypto exchange, last year. Kitao explained that the merger and acquisition strategy does not involve taking the minority stakes but partnering with top crypto companies worldwide.

Ripple partner SBI Holdings has witnessed a big jump in profits from its crypto wing for the year ending December 2020. The financial conglomerate’s crypto pretax profit stood at $64 million, which increased 83% compared to 2019. Kitao explained,

“To be number one in the world, our choice is purchasing a leading firm or allying with major global companies. Our merger and acquisition strategy will not be something like taking minority stakes in many companies. Investors once lived in the world where they invested in stocks or bonds; it’s not an either-or situation anymore.”

Kitao also elaborated that institutional interest in crypto assets is rising, which presents a huge opportunity for SBI. He added that institutional investors, mostly hedge funds, are flocking the crypto market, presenting an opportunity for mergers and acquisitions. He also cited that renowned investors like Elon Musk are taking an interest in the crypto industry.

In December last year, SBI purchased cryptocurrency trading outfit B2C2, and the firm is looking to add more.

SBI Holdings is the largest online brokerage firm in Japan and has been offering crypto trading services since 2018.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Blockchain Group Develops Avalanche to Ethereum Bridge for Swift DeFi Transfers

Blockchain Group Develops Avalanche to Ethereum Bridge for Swift DeFi Transfers

  • The Avalanche blockchain now has its dedicated cross-chain bridge with Ethereum.
  • Supposed “Ethereum killers” are now actively looking to connect with the leading blockchain.
  • With the decentralized finance (DeFi) sector growing rapidly, blockchain connectivity appears to be the new norm.
  • A group of developers has connected two of the industry’s most prominent blockchains, Ethereum and Avalanche.

Simpler Asset Transfers to Avalanche

Yesterday, ChainSafe, a blockchain development group, completed a bridge linking the Ethereum and Avalanche blockchains. Per a tweet from the Avalanche blockchain developers, the company embarked on the project with several partners, including fellow blockchain developer Protofire and infrastructure service provider Hashquark.

The bridge will allow DeFi users to transfer assets between the two ecosystems, while also letting Ethereum-based protocol developers offer their users an alternative to transact.

Emin Gün Sirer, chief executive and co-founder of Ava Labs (Avalanche’s developers), sees bridges as a necessity required for the growth of the ecosystem. The rollout of the bridge means several Ethereum-based assets and protocols can now move into Avalanche.

To use the bridge, DeFi protocol users will need to lock either an ERC-20 token, an ERC-71 token, or Wrapped ETH in a ChainBridge contract on the Ethereum blockchain. The process will cause an equivalent token to be minted and deposited to the desired address on Avalanche. From there, the token can be used in applications on Avalanche.

Nervos Links Ethereum

The new bridge marks what appears to be a growing industry trend, supposed Ethereum alternatives looking for a way to bridge the leading blockchain and move Ether to faster ecosystems.

Over the past few weeks, several blockchains have developed tools to link themselves with Ethereum, providing DeFi users with an easy way of migrating to their ecosystems.

Last December, Chinese public blockchain project Nervos launched a cross-chain bridge with Ethereum, providing support for ERC-20 tokens and allowing frictionless transfers between the Ethereum blockchain and Nervos’ CKB chain.

As the Chinese company explained, the cross-chain tool, dubbed “Force Bridge,” was inspired by the “Force Staff” tool from the famous game Dota 2, which allows users to force object movements across its virtual universe. Thanks to the blockchain’s trustless architecture, developers and users will be able to easily make cross-chain transfers, register their addresses on Ethereum, and achieve true inter-chain functionality.

With Force Bridge, developers won’t require any integration. They merely need to deploy their ERC-20 tokens to initiate asset transfers, CKB’s support for ERC-20 smart contracts means they won’t need to take additional steps to execute contracts.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

SBI Group Rolls Out XRP on Its VC Trade Cryptocurrency Lending Service

SBI Group Rolls Out XRP on Its VC Trade Cryptocurrency Lending Service

Having launched its cryptocurrency lending service in late 2020, the Japan-based financial services company – SBI Group – has announced that it will be enabling access to XRP as part of its lending service – SBI VC Trade.

This news is according to an announcement made by the company on Feb. 4. SBI VC Trade Lending will enable users will be able to earn interest by depositing their XRP on the platform – so long as it was between 1,000 and 100,000 XRP. In order to obtain an interest dividend on whatever is staked, they would need to lend it for a period of up to 84 days.

Within the statement, SBI stated the following:

“VC Trade Lending is a service that allows customers to rent out their crypto assets to the company and receive interest rewards according to the quantity and duration of the crypto assets.”

The company has added that XRP annual interest would come to 0.1% (including taxes).

As readers may have noticed, the introductory interest rate (0.1%) is much lower than the going rate for lending Bitcoin BTC 1.63% Bitcoin / USD BTCUSD $ 37,416.45
$609.891.63%
Volume 68.15 b Change $609.89 Open $37,416.45 Circulating 18.62 m Market Cap 696.67 b
8 s SBI Group Rolls Out XRP on Its VC Trade Cryptocurrency Lending Service 3 h $72M New Crypto VC Fund Gets Backing from Billionaires like Paul Tudor Jones & LL Cool J 4 h Dutch Footballer Says “Don’t Wait to Buy Bitcoin” While Goldman Issues a Warning
on the platform. At present, there has not been a reason behind this, other than the potential risk associated with Ripple at present, but this is not validated.

While not facing domestic legal challenges in Japan, Ripple is facing a large-scale federal lawsuit within the United States – specifically for alleged violations of existing U.S. securities laws by selling unregistered securities. The decision by SBI comes from a difference in the legal definition of XRP; Japan, unlike the U.S., believes that XRP does not qualify as a security.

Since 2020, SBI has risen as one of Ripple’s large-scale partners, having brought out a few XRP-related products. In the wake of legal challenges in the United States, Yoshitaka Kitao – CEO of SBI – made it plain that Japan remains the most likely (or friendly) candidate for Ripple to move to.

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Author: James Fox

Grayscale Donates $1M in Support of Crypto Advocacy Group; Will Match Another Million

Grayscale Donates $1M in Support of Crypto Advocacy Group; Will Match Another Million

Major digital asset manager Grayscale investment is donating $1million and would match further pledges from other firms

Top asset manager Grayscale Investments has donated $1 million to crypto-based think tank Coin Center. Grayscale also plans to match subsequent pledges from donors up to an additional $1 million, per an official announcement. The donate and match campaign is set to run through the end of February 2021. Grayscale’s CEO Michael Sonnenshein explains,

“While it is the responsibility of blockchain and digital currency firms to support good policy-making in DC to drive this industry forward, it is in the interest of all users, developers, investors, and other market participants that regulators are properly informed about developments in this space.”

Grayscale’s donation takes a cue from Kraken that raised over $3 million for the cryptocurrency advocacy group in 2018. Jerry Brito, executive director of Coin Center, in a statement,

“We’re grateful and humbled by this generous commitment from Grayscale and the ongoing commitment by so many other individuals and firms who support us.”

Educating Policymakers on Cryptos

Coin Center is a Washington-based think tank created to advance public policy that benefits the blockchain space.

The advocacy group is known for fighting for Bitcoin’s cause. In 2017, Brito testified before members of the Terrorism and Illicit Finance Subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee, explaining in simple details how Bitcoin works.

At the hearing, the Coin Center chief advocated for a deep understanding of the technology before slamming restrictive regulations on it.

Last month, Coin Center formed part of the opposition against the Treasury Department’s move against self-hosted wallets. Coin Center published an expert take from C Labs executive Jai Ramaswamy, who argued against restricting self-hosted wallets to detect and disrupt illicit financial activity in support of noncustodial wallets.

Grayscale’s donation comes amidst a change of guard as a new administration settles into Washington. With the new faces at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) helms and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) comes new ideas and possibly new regulations. However, there are speculations that the Biden administration is tapping technocrats with experience with blockchain technology.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Growing Number of Clients Bought ETH, But Only A Select Group Is Investing in DeFi: Coinbase

Growing Number of Clients Bought ETH, But Only A Select Group of VC Funds & Family Offices Investing in DeFi: Coinbase

DeFi remains retail-driven just like the early days of Bitcoin adoption, says Coinbase whose clients are interested in Ethereum’s evolving potential as a store of value and its status as a digital commodity.

2020 brought “traditional hedge funds to the forefront of participation,” states Coinbase in its 2020 in the Review report.

Covering the year “crypto cemented its status as an institutional asset class,” said the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the US, which is planning to launch its IPO, noting that macro funds are the earlier adopters with several large funds now begun trading Bitcoin and Ethereum directly with investor capital as well.

The company’s clients invested in Bitcoin for a range of reasons, including as a store of value, as an inflation hedge and/or insurance against new potential monetary policy risks, as a portfolio diversification tool, and as a treasury reserve asset.

Coinbase is particularly expanding its business in Europe and Asia, with Singapore as the staging post for Asia expansion because of its regulatory clarity. After opening its third office in Europe, Coinbase now has 120 full-time employees in the region.

A Trend Occurring out of View for Most of Wall Street

“While our institutional clients predominantly bought Bitcoin in 2020, a growing number also took positions in Ethereum,” reads the report.

The second-largest cryptocurrency, which has been more volatile than Bitcoin, is seen by Coinbase’s institutional clients as a “decentralized computing network that shares Bitcoin’s properties of trustless store and transmission of value, along with more flexible programmability via smart contracts.”

Ethereum’s evolving potential as a store of value and its status as a digital commodity required to power transactions on its network are the clients’ reasons for owning the digital asset. However, the community needs to settle on a clearer and simpler narrative, which Coinbase says is both a challenge and an opportunity for Ethereum.

Decentralized Finance (DeFi) is also seen as one of the most important growth developments for the Ethereum network as Coinbase clients believe this sector has “potential to reinvent financial products and services.”

Coinbase hasn’t yet seen significant investment in DeFi assets from institutional clients, except for “a select group of venture capital funds and family offices.”

DeFi remains retail-driven; just like the early days of Bitcoin adoption, Coinbase added maturity would take time.

“We can imagine a future in which institutional investors can access both traditional and decentralized financial services through trusted, regulated onramps,” which may be difficult to imagine today given the relatively small size of the DeFi market, a bottom-up trend that is occurring out of view for most of Wall Street.

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Author: AnTy

Huobi Global Partners With BCB Group; Traders Gain Access to European Fiat On-Ramp

Huobi Global Partners With BCB Group; Traders Gain Access to European Fiat On-Ramp

Crypto exchange giant Huobi Global has announced a new partnership with BCB Group in efforts to link its trading desks to the European banking system, including the United Kingdom.

Seychelles registered crypto exchange will now offer instant euro and GBP settlements to its clientele.

The deal, which was announced on Tuesday, reveals that Huobi’s over-the-counter (OTC) customers can now complete transactions instantly using either the pound (GBP) or euros through BCB’s BLINC network.

In the recent past, crypto exchanges have faced different hurdles in their efforts to establish banking relationships that can provide an interface to the fiat money world. Before the current deal, Huobi had no established European fiat gateway, BCB CEO Oliver von Landsberg-Sadie stated.

Speaking to media outlets, Landsberg-Sadie stated that the partnership would provide a robust infrastructure that will enable seamless trading for Huobi’s customers.

“We’re here to provide that robust infrastructure so that these guys can just get on with trading and know that trades are happening in a way that’s properly monitored, that’s regulatory-friendly.”

Huobi’s head of global business, Ciara Sun, stated that the process has been rigorous and although it took some time it is for the benefit of the firm’s European customers. Sun said,

“Partnering with BCB allows us to offer a European fiat on- and off-ramping service that we know is in line with the laws of that area, but it also allows our customers in Europe to experience a smooth and hassle-free user experience.”

Huobi becomes the latest major crypto exchange using BCB’s BLINC platform, following Bitstamp, which had joined earlier. BCB stated that other partnerships with various crypto exchanges would be announced soon.

Huobi Korea Secures Certification From Korea Internet and Security Agency

Huobi Korea, an offshoot of Huobi Global operating in Seoul, has been certified as an information security management system, or ISMS. The certification complies with Korea’s Special Payment Act.

The certification means that Huobi Korea will be granted a broad management system that guarantees security as well as compliance with Korean laws. The new law requires crypto-based enterprises to report transactions as per the updated KYC and AML policies issued recently.

Huobi Korea CEO, Park Si-deok, said that the issuance of the certificate is a testament that the exchange is well prepared to offer quality services to both institutional and individual clients.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Cryptocurrency Exchange, Coinbase, Hires Goldman Sachs for IPO Plans

San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has hired Goldman Sachs Group to lead the preparations for its stock market listing, reported Reuters, citing a person familiar with the matter.

Coinbase revealed that it has confidentially applied with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to go public.

As we reported, a cryptocurrency company to list on the stock market is huge news for the industry. Messari valued the company at $28 billion following this announcement, raised from the $8 billion valuations it got during its last funding round.

Coinbase has been rumored to go public for a long time now, and it started making plans for the listing in July.

Founded in 2012 by CEO and board director Brian Armstrong and board director Fred Ehrsam, Coinbase has raised $525 million to date.

Coinbase’s filing comes after multiple startups, including Airbnb, DoorDash, Wish, Roblox, and Affirm, have filed to go public or have already gone public this year.

The crypto market is in full bull mode, with Bitcoin hitting yet another all-time high yesterday above $24,000. Armstrong wrote in a blog post cautioning newcomers to cryptocurrency,

“While it’s great to see market rallies and see news organizations turn attention to this emerging asset class in a new way, we cannot emphasize enough how important it is to understand that investing in crypto is not without risk.”

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Author: AnTy

SBI Holdings Acquires Crypto Trading Platform B2C2 After Taking Minority Stake in July

Japanese financial group SBI Holdings subsidiary SBI Financial Services has acquired the UK-based crypto trading firm B2C2.

The deal’s financial terms were not disclosed, but with this acquisition, which was announced by the companies on Tuesday, it will make SBI the first major financial group to run a digital asset dealing desk.

Founded in 2015, B2C2 helps exchanges, brokerages, and fund managers make large trades in digital assets.

SBI first acquired a minority stake in the crypto firm in July, and its clients have already been using the platform to trade crypto assets. With the latest deal, the companies want to help the mainstream financial firms invest in cryptocurrencies. Yoshitaka Kitao, president and CEO of SBI Holdings said,

“Their (B2C2’s) vision, expertise and offering complement SBI’s, and we look forward to working in partnership as we expand our footprint across the global markets.”

B2C2’s team in Japan will now move into the SBI’s offices as part of the acquisition. Max Boonen, the founder of B2C2, expects the team to grow from the current 50 to 70 people over the coming months.

This is no surprise for the crypto market; in 2020, everyone wants a piece of digital assets as Bitcoin soars to new all-time highs, breaking the crucial $20,000 price; Altcoins are rallying as well.

S&P Dow Jones Indices and Cboe Global Markets have announced the launch of their crypto index in 2021 while several mainstream financial and insurance firms, hedge fund managers, high net worth individuals have been investing in Bitcoin as a hedge against inflation and devaluing fiat currencies around the world.

“A lot of people have been dismissive for a long time,” Boonen said in an interview.

“Bitcoin’s price at an all-time high has put concerns to rest.”

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Author: AnTy

Southeast Asia’s Biggest Bank, DBS, Launches Digital Exchange for Institutions

Southeast Asia’s biggest bank, DBS Group Holdings, is ready to launch an exchange for cryptocurrencies that will provide trading, custody, and tokenization services to institutional and accredited investors.

The Singapore exchange will have a 10% stake in the DBS’s digital exchange.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore has given in-principle approval to the new exchange to trade assets from bonds, shares, and private-equity funds, the bank said. DBS Chief Executive Piyush Gupta said,

“I believe that the time is right for this (digital assets) industry to increasingly find partnership and sponsorship from the formal banking sector.”

“There are thousands of different coins today being traded on different exchanges, and increasingly you are beginning to find that they are forming an important part of the asset allocation of wealth and private investors.”

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In Nov. 2017, David Gledhill, chief information officer at DBS, called Bitcoin “a Ponzi scheme.”

The exchange initially supports trading of Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), XRP, Bitcoin Cash (BCH) against four fiat currencies: SGD, USD, HKD, and JPY. These four crypto assets account for 70% to 80% of global crypto trading volume, said the bank adding, the trading activity on the exchange would start next week.

The DBS Digital Exchange will also be using blockchain technology to provide a fundraising platform through tokenization, said the bank in a statement. Tokenization involves converting the rights to an underlying asset such as shares of an unlisted company and private equity funds into digital form, which is then eligible for trading. Gupta said,

“We are on the cusp of a massive tokenization and therefore you’ll find tokenization of all kinds of assets around the world and I think more and more exchanges will start dealing with tokenized assets.”

Earlier this week, Standard Chartered also said it would start a crypto custodian for institutional investors in partnership with Northern Trust Corp. The bank has a substantial presence in Singapore.

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Author: AnTy