CME Group Launching Micro Ether Futures Next Month After the Success of Micro Bitcoin Futures

CME Group Launching Micro Ether Futures Next Month After the Success of Micro Bitcoin Futures

After launching micro Bitcoin futures in early May, this year, the regulated exchange CME Group is further expanding its crypto derivatives offerings to include Micro Ether futures on December 6, pending regulatory review.

These Ether futures will be one-tenth of one Ether, which is currently trading at $4,485.

Micro Ether futures will provide an efficient, cost-effective way for individual traders and institutions to hedge their spot ether price risk, said the exchange.

“Since the launch of Ether futures in February, we have seen steady growth in liquidity in these contracts, especially among institutional traders,” said Tim McCourt, CME Group Global Head of Equity Index and Alternative Investment Products.

With the price of Ether more than doubled since then, it has created a demand for a micro-sized contract to make it even more accessible to participants, he added.

CME Group also noted that ever since the launch of Micro Bitcoin futures six months back, more than 2.7 million contracts have traded on the exchange.

As for Ether, over 675,500 Ether futures contracts, equivalent to about 33.8 million Ether, have traded since their launch in February.

In terms of open interest, CME sits at third place in the Ethereum futures market with $1.13 billion in OI compared to Binance at the top spot with $3.15 bln, followed by FTX and Bybit at $2.34 bln and $2.54 bln respectively, according to Skew.

Interestingly, last month, OI on CME went past $1 billion for the first time for Ether futures contracts, while for bitcoin futures, it sits just under $5 bln and just second to Binance’s $5.73 bln.

Meanwhile, the volume of Ether futures on CME was between $500 mln and $2 billion last month, which means it is not even among the top 10 Ether futures venues. Here, Binance is again at the top at $10.75 bln, followed by OKEx, FTX, Bybit, and Huobi, recording $4.92 bln, $2.44 bln, $1.66 bln, and $1.34 bln in volume, respectively.

Today, earlier in the day, the price of Ether also hit a new all-time high at $4,480, up 510% YTD.

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Author: AnTy

Canada’s First Multi-Crypto ETF Allows Investors to Hold Both Bitcoin and Ether

Evolve Funds Group has launched Canada’s first multi-crypto exchange-traded fund (ETF), which allows investors to hold both Bitcoin and Ether. The ETF now trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) under the ticker ETC.

The Evolve Cryptocurrencies ETF (ETC), a market-cap weighted crypto fund, currently has about 68% of its holdings in BTC and 32% in ETH.

Raj Lala, Evolve’s President, and CEO said in an interview,

“A lot of investors want to invest in cryptocurrencies. They’re not exactly sure which one to pick, or they may also want to get exposure to the cryptocurrencies that are growing.”

“They’re looking for more of a turnkey solution to participate in the cryptocurrency market.”

The ETF provides exposure to Bitcoin and Ether by holding its Evolve Bitcoin ETF (EBIT) and the Evolve Ether ETF (ETHR).

This new ETF will be rebalanced monthly but doesn’t use leverage and won’t pay distributions. While no management fee is imposed on the ETF, the underlying ETFs held in the fund charge a 0.75% management fee.

Being an ETF allows the product to be less costly, more transparent, and more tax-efficient than mutual funds.

On its first day of trades, the Evolve Cryptocurrencies ETF managed to amass only about $2.1 million in assets, according to the firm’s website. The other two crypto funds, Bitcoin and Ether ETFs, have about $181 million in combined assets under management.

In its most recent study that polled 208 advisors conducted from August 26 to September 10, Evolve found that 40% have invested in cryptocurrency ETFs, while 31% said client interest was their biggest driver. Of the 60% who weren’t investing in cryptocurrency ETFs, 40% cited the asset class as too volatile.

Interestingly, 80% of respondents believe Bitcoin will continue to be the largest cryptocurrency at the end of 2022, while 85% expect Ether to have the most market growth in the coming year.

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Author: AnTy

Binance.US Hires New President to Begin its “Journey Toward IPO,” VC Giant Onboards Former CFTC Official

Brian Shroder, who was previously an executive at Ant Group and Uber, believes it will be “an extremely successful IPO.” Meanwhile, Brian Quintenz, who left CFTC last month, will advise a16z on crypto policy issues.

Leading cryptocurrency exchange Binance’s US entity, Binance.US, has appointed a new president after former OCC head Brian Brooks stepped down in just three months, and before that, Catherine Coley, who became the CEO in late 2019 and left this April.

At the time of Brooks’ departure, Matthew Graham, CEO at VC Sino Global Capital, had said that foreigners taking executive-level positions at Chinese companies “frequently ends in disaster.”

The latest hire is Brian Shroder, who was previously an executive at Ant Group, where he oversaw South East Asia operations, and Uber Technologies, where he was the head of strategy and business development for the Asia-Pacific region.

He will oversee the exchange’s strategy, execution, business and corporate development, fundraising, and manage its legal, product, and technology functions, the company said in a statement.

Shroder further said that he is looking “forward to sharing our exciting story with the broader investment community as we begin our journey toward IPO.”

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, CZ, the chairman of the board at Binance.US, recently said that the US entity, which was launched in 2019, is expecting to close a funding round shortly and is planning an eventual public offering (IPO).

“Based on our current trajectory, I believe we could have an extremely successful IPO in the next two to three years,” Shroder told Bloomberg, adding, the exchange looks to “close its first seed round by the end of the year.”

Ongoing Dialogues With Regulators

Binance has been facing a lot of regulatory scrutiny from regulators all over the world, the latest being Singapore. But Binance says it is currently having ongoing dialogues with regulators all around the world.

“Right now, the regulators around the world are paying attention to crypto.” When they do that, they pay attention to Binance because it is one of the largest players globally, so “of course they look at us” as such, “we have taken a lead example of some of the regulatory compliance measures,” said CZ in an interview with CNBC this week.

These measures include implementing mandatory full KYC on all of its platforms, and before that, they limited certain products in certain regions, said Zhao adding, “we have a lot of other things in the pipeline, but I think overall the situation is regulators are paying attention to this industry.”

While bad from the perspective of PR, it’s “also good that we can help shape the regulatory narrative,” CZ added.

Regulatory Response To Crypto Innovation

Another big hire in the crypto industry was made by Silicon Valley venture capital giant Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), who onboarded former CFTC commissioner Brian Quintenz to advise on crypto policy issues.

Quintenz, who served at the CFTC from 2017 until last month and gave the green light to the listing of the first future contracts based on virtual currencies during his tenure, will be working with the team involved in crypto-related investments. He will be joining other crypto advisers at the firm, including Brent McIntosh, former top Treasury Department official for international affairs during the Trump administration, and Bill Hinman, who ran the corporate filings division at the SEC.

“The regulatory response to crypto innovation will be critical in whether an openly accessible, fully transparent, and decentralized value-creating financial ecosystem can be truly achieved,” Quintenz said in a statement.

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Author: AnTy

Fidelity Predicting $100 Million per Bitcoin by 2035

Boston-based investment giant Fidelity Group is injecting a heavy dose of hopium in the market with its latest “very special” webinar, where it took a deep dive into Bitcoin and its possible effects on the market.

Fidelity, which also has its own crypto arm, Fidelity Digital Assets that builds enterprise-grade bitcoin custody services for large institutions, isn’t new to the space as it first started mining Bitcoin (BTC) in 2014 and then Ether as well.

Now, the firm is putting out bullish reports on Bitcoin and sees the leading digital asset hitting $1 million before this decade is over and a whopping $100 million by 2035.

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This much hopium was difficult to digest for some as one Redditor noted, “Bitcoin is not gonna reach $100 million. That would give it a market cap of $2,100 trillion. The total wealth of the entire world is $418 trillion.”

Jurrien Timmer, Director of Global Macro Fidelity, hosted the event that shared several charts to help the audience understand Bitcoin.

One of the charts depicts Bitcoin’s adoption curve based on active addresses count and compares it with broadband subscriptions, Internet users, and mobile phone subscribers.

The webinar also discusses purchasing power of various assets, not covering Bitcoin, where stocks are the clear winner at $3.9 billion, followed by bonds at $19.9 billion, and cash at $326k compared to the inflation index. The purchasing power of $1 has the least in fiat at a mere $0.02. Even the safe haven, gold, isn’t doing much better at $94 when the inflation index has a reading of $65.

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Author: AnTy

Russian Ransomware Group, REvil, Attacks 200 Firms, Demands $70 Million in Bitcoin

Russian Ransomware Group, REvil, Attacks 200 Firms, Demands $70 Million in Bitcoin

Russian-based ransomware group REvil has again attacked no less than 200 firms in its latest operation. The group is demanding a ransom of $70 million in Bitcoin as ransom to release the stolen data.

Firms Hacked Through Software Supplier Kaseya

According to Reuters, REvil targeted software supplier Kaseya and used its technology management software to spread the ransomware via the cloud.

One of Kaseya’s tools, VSA, used by several firms, was encrypted with infected files, paralyzing hundreds of firms.

“More than a million systems were infected. If anyone wants to negotiate about universal decryptor – our price is $70 million in Bitcoin,” the ransomware group said as reported in a dark website, Happy Blog.

Updating firms on the incident, Kaseya said it was working on a patch that would increase the security of its VSA server. It also advised its customers to continue to remain offline until it is safe to restore operations.

Ransomware attacks by REvil have been constant these past few months. In May, the Russian group attacked a major pipeline firm, Colonial Pipeline, and received a $5 million ransom after spurring a gas crisis in the US.

That same month, JBS Holdings, the world’s largest meat company, was also attacked by the same group, which led to an $11 million ransom payment.

CNA Financial. CNA, one of the largest insurance companies in the US, reportedly paid $40 million in Bitcoin to restore access to its network after a ransomware attack.

Biden Taking Ransomware Attacks Seriously

Over the past few months, US president Joe Biden and his administration have taken a more serious stance on ransomware attacks.

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) had previously said that it would start treating these attacks with the same urgency it treats terrorism.

US Officials have spent the past few months scrutinizing these crimes while also tracing payments. Last month, the officials disclosed that they had recovered most of the $4.4m ransom paid to the hackers responsible for the Colonial Pipeline attack.

In a bid to curtail these attacks, last month, President Biden also met with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss and proffer solutions. Biden had told Putin that if ransomware attacks continued and were found to be from Russia, there would be consequences.

During a recent public appearance, Biden said that he had directed the US intelligence agencies to investigate the ransomware matter.

Biden’s statements come after the US Department of State’s official Victoria Nuland spoke about the Colonial Pipeline hack. In a meeting with Salvadoran president Nayib Bukele, Nuland said the US State Department was taking a tough look at bitcoin due to the Colonial Pipeline ransomware hack.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

DeFi Summer Starting? Investors Might Get Left on the Sidelines as the Market Breaks Correlation

Meanwhile, a group of crypto lobbyists, the so-called “Global DeFi Coalition,” has penned an open letter to the FATF for “well-balanced” approaches to regulating the DeFi.

Decentralized finance (DeFi) seems to be back in full force.

After it started bouncing last week, today, the market cap of the DeFi sector has risen to nearly $78 billion, now making its way towards the May peak of just under $144 billion.

ALPHA (57%), SNX (34%), AAVE (25%), SUSHI (22%), COMP (20%), and RUNE (20%) are leading the market gains in the past 24 hours.

DeFi is breaking out speculatively for the first time in months.

In the past 7-days, the best performers include PERP (68%), SNX (63%), ALPHA (60%), COMP (60%), RGT (59%), and AAVE (37%).

With this move, we have begun to see reduced correlation across assets and sectors in the crypto market over the past couple of weeks.

DeFi is leading the charge this time, with Bitcoin enjoying some boring sideways price action with Ethereum slowly trending up while stablecoins market supply is hitting new highs every day, currently past $110 billion.

“Compound kicked off DeFi summer 2020 with liquidity mining. Will it kick off DeFi summer 2021 again with Compound Treasury for businesses and institutions? Judging from the interest among tradfi funds to access yields offered by DeFi protocols, I say there is a good chance….” said SpartanBlack, partner at crypto fund The Spartan Group.

While Aave Pro for institutions is coming this month, last week, popular DeFi lending protocol Compound Finance, which is backed by cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, announced Compound Treasury,

“designed for businesses and financial institutions to access the benefits of the Compound protocol offering a fixed 4% APR on US dollars, with daily liquidity but none of the complexity of crypto.”

Multiple DeFi coins have more than doubled already from their bottom during the latest sell-off.

“In the past, crypto bottoms often end with cascading liquidations for shorts in large moves up, leaving many in the sidelines,” noted Jason Choi, partner at crypto fund The Spartan Group.

He further noted that with “retail darling” MATIC as a benchmark, it seems most short-term speculators in major DeFi names have capitulated, with about 90% of holders of coins like COMP, AAVE, and ALPHA having acquired their tokens before the market sell-off in May.

Amidst this, the so-called “Global DeFi coalition,” a group of crypto lobbyists across the UK, Europe, US, and Asia, have sent an open letter to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and are calling for “well-balanced” approaches to regulating the DeFi.

The letter addresses FATF’s executive secretary David Lewis and has laid out six guiding principles for governing DeFi organizations.

“It is crucial that the rapid growth of DeFi is well understood by authorities to adequately align their regulatory approaches to this space,” reads the letter, which warns of a premature crackdown that would risk “stifling innovation and preventing new ideas from emerging.”

As such, calling for an open dialogue between regulators and the industry through consultations and working groups.

“The letter aims to help authorities avoid potential pitfalls by providing regulatory recommendations by the industry,” said the group comprising of more than 350 companies.

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Author: AnTy

Japan’s SBI Holdings Says XRP Ledger Can Be Used To Build NFT Markets

Japan’s SBI Holdings Says XRP Ledger Can Be Used To Build NFT Markets

Japanese financial group, SBI Holdings believes the XRP token and XRP Ledger can be used alongside non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

Tokenization Could Be An Opportunity For XRP Ledger

In a new report titled “Current Management Information Briefing,” SBI listed reasons why it thinks XRP could be great for NFTs. The group argues that XRP has extremely low transaction fees and is an asset that settles transactions instantly. The company stated,

“The blockchain XRP Ledger has the ability to tokenize not only XRP but also a variety of other assets and has extremely low transaction fees that can be settled instantly with a very low environmental impact because it does not use mining and has decentralized trading capabilities.”

Citing a blog post on Ripple’s website dubbed “Building a More Sustainable, Scalable, and Accessible Future for NFTs with XRPL”, SBI said NFTs can be issued on the XRP Ledger.

The firm added that XRP community members have already proposed a model for NFTs showing that Ripple is thinking in that direction. The model will be formally adopted upon review and voting by the XRP community, SBI disclosed.

NFTs are digital assets that are established as unique contracts on a blockchain to indicate the true owner of a digital product.

The company’s Fintech arm subsidiary, SBI Remit announced plans to collaborate with the bank to build a RippleNet-based international remittance platform.

This partnership would SBI Remit which already uses RippleNet to join hands with Hamamatsu Iwata Credit Bank to create a RippleNet-based international remittance platform.

RippleNet is aimed at tackling the high demands of rapid, low-cost payments while changing the landscape of cross-border international payments.

RippleNet has a host of banks and money services businesses on its network that use its solutions to provide a frictionless experience to send money globally.

Ripple’s Focus On Expanding RippleNet

Ripple is continuing its plan on expanding the RippleNet network. SBI Ripple Asia, the joint venture between SBI Holdings and Ripple, is part of Ripple’s efforts in extending RippleNet’s use.

In May, the joint venture introduced Cambodia’s first international remittance service using blockchain rails. The partnership is aimed at delivering the money-transfer service between Cambodia and other countries using RippleNet.

Ripple is also broadening RippleNet in Europe. The firm just hired a Managing Director to head its European operations.

The new managing director Sendi Young would oversee strategy and champion the expansion of the RippleNet technology.

Ripple has previously described the European market as a critical one for the company. The company has experienced high transactions and customer growth in the region. In addition, a quarter of its customers currently are based in Europe.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Britain’s NatWest Group is Latest to Cap Daily Transfers to Crypto Exchanges

Britain’s NatWest Group is Latest to Cap Daily Transfers to Crypto Exchanges

One of Britain’s biggest domestic lenders, NatWest Group, has capped the daily amount customers can send to cryptocurrency exchanges due to concerns over investment scams and fraud.

This also affects leading cryptocurrency exchange Binance, which, as we reported, has already removed the ability to deposit and withdraw British Pounds (GBP) from the platform through Faster Payments and bank cards.

The suspension of both GBP payment channels on Binance came on the heels of the UK’s financial regulator, Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), issuing a consumer warning against Binance Markets Limited, which is not an outright ban.

Now, NatWest Group has imposed a temporary cap, on June 24, targeting several exchanges and digital asset firms with the maximum amount varying depending on the platform but typically in thousands of pounds. The company spokesperson said,

“We have seen a high level of cryptocurrency investment scams targeting our customers across retail and business banking, particularly through social media sites.”

As such, to protect its customers from criminals exploiting these platforms, a temporary step has been taken to reduce the maximum daily amount that a customer can send to crypto exchanges. The company has also blocked payments to a small number of crypto asset firms where NatWest saw “particularly significant levels of fraud-related harm for our customers.”

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Author: AnTy

Jack Ma’s Ant Group Sells NFTs on Alipay, Clarifies They’re Different from Cryptocurrencies

Jack Ma’s Ant Group Sells NFTs on Alipay, Clarifies They’re Different from Cryptocurrencies

China’s Ant Group, the Jack Ma-controlled fintech group, put non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on sale via its payment platform Alipay. The items sold out quickly on Wednesday amidst the ongoing crackdown from the authorities.

Based on the Dunhuang theme, about 16,000 NFTs were issued by AntChain, the Ant unit that develops blockchain-based technology solutions.

AntChain provided technical services for the issuance of digital works and their virtual certificates. The purchase requirement for each was ten Alipay points plus 9.9 RMB (~$1.53), and users need to purchase the NFTs through a mini-program on Alipay called Fensili.

According to Sino Global Capital, this launch had two key takeaways; first, it involved Alipay users directly using RMB to purchase NFTs, and second while NFTs, AntChain based digital assets are more like JPGs and not what we see in the crypto market.

Ant Group, which is undergoing a government-ordered revamp restructuring after the collapse of its mega-IPO last year, drew a distinction between NFTs and cryptocurrencies following the concerns on social media regarding whether they are even allowed to be involved in NFTs while China is cracking down on crypto trading and mining.

“NFT is not interchangeable, nor divisible, making it different by nature from cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin,” said a spokesperson at AntChain.

NFT digital artworks are also auctioned on Alibaba’s platform that can be accessed by the Alipay app. According to AntChain’s product agreements, it provides blockchain technologies to NFT products. Sino Global Capital said,

“There has been much excitement about these NFTs in China with some people wondering, if the NFTs prove a hit, will the combination of Alipay’s hundreds of millions of users, the convenience of its direct payments and integration with other Alipay products, make Alipay one of the world’s largest “NFT” marketplaces in the future?”

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Author: AnTy

NEM Group Launches ‘Interoperable’ Public Blockchain For Enterprise Users

Blockchain company NEM Group has announced the release of a new public blockchain called Symbol, per a press release today.

Symbol With Atomic Swap Capabilities

The project comes with enterprise-grade programmability and security. It will enable development teams and businesses to execute projects with minimal costs and without complexities.

Its hybrid chain structure layout will enable native compatibility with both public and private chain deployments, providing developers with the option of working with their preferred chain setup. Businesses would also be empowered to create permissioned ecosystems on private networks to store confidential information while still keeping in contact with public blockchains.

According to NEM, Symbol was created with interoperability in mind. The upgrade will see developers leverage on its state-of-the-art Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to easily integrate with existing systems and blockchains, making the shift much easier for them.

Symbol will also enable cross-chain atomic-swaps, allowing users to transfer digital tokens between the network and other blockchains. This is a major plus as atomic swaps allow users to send and receive data (usually a coin) without the presence of an intermediary.

NEM’s Symbol blockchain would also enable decentralized applications (DeFi), security tokens, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on its network. This feature dubbed “mosaics” would enable creating custom tokens, shares of stocks, signatures, votes, and others. Each mosaic would operate on a unique identifier, making it easy for the network to monitor its use.

Speaking on the launch, NEM Group’s CEO David Shaw said Symbol’s development results from key learnings the company gleaned from its NEM NIS1 public network. Symbol takes this further by providing a simple blockchain enterprise solution focused primarily on building use cases in the wider blockchain ecosystem.

Symbol would also be introducing what it termed a “delegated financial authority” protocol which would enable on-chain, multi-layer, multi-signature accounts. This feature would greatly streamline business processes like payroll management, according to CTO of NEM Software Kristy-Leigh Minehan. Minehan also said Symbol aims to reduce the chasm between public and private blockchains in the ecosystem.

NEM Group Moves Into CBDCs With Symbol

During the launch, the blockchain technology company said it is already moving into the central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) space announcing a partnership with LBCOIN– the world’s first blockchain-based digital coin collector issued by the Bank of Lithuania working on NEM’s platform.

LBCOIN first made a foray into the digital space working with NEM NIS1 in July 2020, with the Lithuanian apex bank issuing 4,000 LBCOIN, equaling 24,000 digital tokens and 4,000 physical collector coins. Symbol’s subsequent launch would see the digital coin collector migrate to leverage on the platform’s more sophisticated offerings.

The team says its NEM NIS1 protocol would still be operational catering to development teams, while its new Symbol blockchain would see enterprise-facing businesses.

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Author: Jimmy Aki