SBI Holdings to Launch Japan’s First Crypto Fund; Including BTC, ETH, DOT, LINK, XRP & BCH

SBI Holdings to Launch Japan’s First Crypto Fund; Including BTC, ETH, DOT, LINK, LTC, XRP & BCH

Japanese financial services company SBI Holdings has announced the launch of Japan’s first cryptocurrency fund for retail investors that will invest in seven major crypto assets.

These assets include the top two cryptos, Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH), which are trading under $47k and $4k respectively, along with Polkadot (DOT), Chainlink (LINK), XRP, Litecoin (LTC), and Bitcoin Cash (BCH).

As per the official announcement, this SBI cryptocurrency Asset Fund is the first in Japan to invest directly in crypto for general investors.

The maximum number of its holders is 499, said SBI, adding, “This product is an investment of 5 million yen or more in units of 1 million yen” (just under $9k) with no upper limit.

The fund will have a one-year investment period and is aiming to manage at least 10 billion yen (about $88 million). The application period for purchase is between Dec. 17, 2021, and Jan. 31, 2022, while the contract period will be between Feb. 1, 2022, and Jan. 31, 2023.

In case one crypto asset gains high dominance in the crypto fund, the composition will be rebalanced, as per the announcement.

Besides allowing the trading of crypto, SBI said it “may temporarily lend the cryptocurrency assets” to be sold to a crypto exchange for a short period of time as a technical measure.

The firm will charge a sales commission of 3.3% and a 0.66% management fee.

The fund will be allocating 20% of investment in crypto over the next three months, depending on the market conditions.

Back in early September, Tomoya Asakura, who oversees asset management for Japan’s biggest online brokerage, told Bloomberg that “Once people feel it firsthand … they will understand that we aren’t recommending cryptocurrencies as a tool of speculation.”

Meanwhile, in its official announcement, SBI noted the launch of the Bitcoin futures ETF which has increased the value of crypto-assets and the widespread use of NFTs using blockchain technology.

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8% of Institutional Investors Managing $12.3T AUM to Increase their Crypto Allocations Next Year

These investors, including sovereign wealth funds and corporate pension plans, also see crypto assets as the “top contender” for a “major correction” in 2022.

Bitcoin price continues to struggle around the $50,000 level, giving no signs of where it wants to go next.

Quarter four started on a bullish note as we went from about $45k to a new all-time high of $69k in early November but only to fall back under $42,500 this month. Last week, Bitcoin wiped out all the gains made in the first half of Q4.

According to a survey, crypto assets are the “top contender” for a “major correction” in 2022. Three-quarters of institutions polled said crypto is not an appropriate investment for most retail investors.

The survey for Natixis Investment Managers was conducted by CoreData Research in October and November covering 500 global institutional investors, including four central banks, over 20 sovereign wealth funds, and more than 150 corporate pension plans.

As we reported, historically, a red November has resulted in a red December as well. And currently, the month is recording a negative 13.2% performance while Q4 performance is nearly 13% and YTD 70.7%.

The good thing is the interest and money in the crypto sector hasn’t stopped flowing in. Volume has also been seeing a jump, especially after the latest bout of volatility. Crypto exchange Bybit reported that its transaction volume reached $1.7 trillion in the past quarter while recording an increase of 77% in its number of users to 3 million in the past six months.

While expecting a correction, 28% of all institutions surveyed also said they are currently investing in crypto, while nearly a third of them plan to further increase it in 2022.

Overall, 8% of all institutional investors surveyed, collectively managing assets worth $12.3 trillion, plan to increase their crypto allocations next year. These investors include both who have deployed funds in crypto and those who haven’t.

Additionally, about 40% of respondents said they recognize crypto as a legitimate investment option though central banks will eventually need to regulate them.

Despite the ongoing turbulence, Brevan Howard Asset Management is also preparing to extend its push into crypto by launching a new multi-strategy hedge fund that will provide broad exposure to the booming ecosystem.

The investment firm is in preliminary talks with investors to raise money for the new fund that will be launched early next year, reported Bloomberg citing people with knowledge of the matter.

Besides investing in liquid cryptos, it will also look for relative-value and venture capital opportunities.

Longtime hedge fund manager Rob Citrone, managing about $2.4 billion, who invested in Bitcoin at $15,000 and sold his crypto earlier this year at $45,000, told investors at an event this week that he jumped back in after bitcoin fell to $30k in July.

Another fund interested in crypto is SoftBank. Paulo Passoni, managing director of SoftBank’s Latin America Fund said, about 10% of one of the firm’s $5 billion funds is invested in crypto-related assets.

According to him, it’s “obvious” the most attractive space to invest in Latin America is crypto.

And while there’s “some froth” in the market, he supports crypto investment and believes it’s “the most relevant thing going on around the globe right now.”

“There’s an old saying in investing — follow the talent — and the most talented people around the globe are going into crypto-related projects,” said Passoni at a webcast Wednesday hosted by Eurasia Group.

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Banks, Including Barclays, Ban Transfers to Crypto Exchange Binance Using Debit & Credit Cards

Banks, Including Barclays, Are Banning Transfers to Crypto Exchange Binance Using Debit and Credit Cards

All of this has been done in the name of keeping the customers’ money safe while Binance says, “If our partners have any concerns, we would welcome a dialogue to discuss,” adding UK regulator FCA’s notice to BLM, isn’t about Binance.com at all.

Leading cryptocurrency exchange Binance took to Twitter to share that many of their banking partners are not allowing their users to use their services.

“It’s disappointing to learn that some partners are taking unilateral action to stop servicing Binance users based on what appears to be an inaccurate understanding of events,” said Binance on Tuesday.

In one such instance, one of the partners referred its users to an FCA notice that was addressed to Binance Markets Limited (BML), saying it was taking this action to keep people’s money “safe.” Still, Binance has “always taken the security of our users’ money very seriously,” they said.

As Binance informed its users of this development, many in the comments section pointed out how banks are not letting them make transfers to the platform.

Barclays is one such platform that is not allowing its users to make transfers to Binance and is stopping any payments made by credit and debit card to the exchange for an unspecified time period, all in the name of keeping the customers’ money safe.

“It’s our responsibility to help protect your money. With this in mind, we’ve taken the decision to stop payments made by credit/debit card to Binance until further notice, to help keep your money safe,” reads the bank’s automated message.

Other users noted that it’s not just Barclays, but other UK banks like Natwest, Lloyds, and HSBC are also not allowing them to make deposits.

This has been after Binance reactivated GBP withdrawals last week after the exchange’s customers were unable to deposit or withdraw British Pound (GBP) from its platform after the regulator in Britain cracked down on crypto activities in the country. Binance has been at the center of  regulatory concerns for the past few weeks, with the UK as well as the Cayman Islands and Thailand SEC.

“The FCA notice was not about user deposits on http://Binance.com at all,” reiterated Binance adding, the notice relates to the UK incorporated BLM, which is regulated by the FCA. A separate entity, BML does not offer any products or services via Binance.com.

“If our partners have any concerns, we would welcome a dialogue to discuss.”

“We take our compliance obligations very seriously, and we are committed to working collaboratively with regulators to shape policies that protect consumers, encourage innovation, and advance the industry.”

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PBoC Talks Crypto ‘Hype’ with Banks and Institutions & Prohibits Use of Their Services

They will also increase the investigation and monitoring of customers, including exchanges and OTC dealers and capital transactions, and will take immediate action against those still involved because crypto trading “disrupt normal economic and financial order” and “infringe people’s property safety.”

  • The central bank of China summoned banks and payment institutions to talk about the speculation issues related to cryptocurrencies.

The People’s Bank of China met with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Agricultural Bank of China, China Construction Bank, Postal Savings Bank of China, Industrial Bank, Alipay, and others and ordered them not to participate in virtual currency-related business activities.

The relevant departments of the People’s Bank of China pointed out that virtual currency trading activities disrupt the normal economic and financial order, breed the risks of illegal cross-border transfer of assets, money laundering, and other illegal and criminal activities, and seriously infringe the people’s property safety.

All banks and payment institutions are now asked to strictly implement the “Notice on Preventing Bitcoin Risks” and “Announcement on Preventing Token Issuance Financing Risks” and other regulatory requirements.

Banks and institutions are not to provide account opening, registration, and registration for related activities such as trading, clearing, and settlement.

They are to comprehensively investigate and identify virtual currency exchanges and over-the-counter (OTC) dealers’ capital accounts and cut off the payment link for transaction funds.

Furthermore, they must analyze the capital transaction characteristics of virtual currency trading hype activities, increase technical input, and improve abnormal transaction monitoring models.

Amidst this, the price of Huobi Technology’s shares rose, which according to local publication Wu Blockchain, could be due to the central bank’s “relatively mild” action.

Before PBOC’s statement came, the Agricultural Bank of China issued its own on Monday stating that it prohibits the use of its services for virtual currency transactions and related activities. Now, Alipay and others have also issued their related statements.

The decision has been made in accordance with the recent guidance from the relevant departments of the People’s Bank of China and the meeting of the Financial Committee of the State Council.

According to the statement, the third-largest bank in China prohibits customers’ access involving virtual currency transactions and will increase the investigation and monitoring of customers and capital transactions.

If customers are still involved, the bank will take measures against them immediately, including suspension of account transactions and termination of customer relationships. The translated version of the notice reads,

“In order to protect your legitimate rights and interests and the safety of funds in your account, please actively cooperate with our bank’s due diligence work, assist our bank in fulfilling its legal obligations, and crack down on illegal and criminal activities involving virtual currency mining and fund transactions.”

The bank is further urging customers to be on high alert to the risk associated with virtual currency-related business activities and to beware of being deceived.

While most banks in China released a similar notice in 2014 to stop customers from trading cryptos, this time is different in three regards. As per Wu Blockchain, the latest notice clearly shows the requirements of the central bank, requiring an investigation of past behavior and reporting that to the government.

On the negative side of things, China doesn’t seem to be done with its crackdown on crypto. On the positive side, “meaningful reversal in global markets just now, with equity futures doing a 180 turnaround and bonds giving back all overnight gains,” said trader and economist Alex Kruger.

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MAS Receives Over 300 Applications Including Alphabet, Alibaba, & Binance for Payments and Crypto Exchange Licenses

MAS Receives Over 300 Applications Including Alphabet, Alibaba, & Binance for Payments and Crypto Exchange Licenses

While calling Bitcoin a “speculative asset,” which is very complex, the top central bank official Sopnendu Mohanty said, if people want to go out and buy such risky assets, “it is their choice.”

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) received more than 300 applications for payments and cryptocurrency exchange licenses.

Among those who made the requests involved Google’s parent company, Alphabet, Alibaba Group’s various entities, Ant Group, and Binance Holdings Ltd.

Singapore’s central bank is currently working on ways to speed up the application process, said Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief Fintech Officer at MAS, in an interview with Bloomberg.

“Giving licences to somebody is a premium; it is not something to be taken lightly,” Mohanty said. “We are ensuring that whoever gets an MAS licence will be credible.”

Companies are applying under the Payment Services Act, a regulatory framework for those involved in activities related to digital assets trading and payments.

Those who applied but are waiting for approval are allowed to continue offering their services while their application is being processed. These companies have been working under a grace period since the regulator made the new Payment Services Act effective in January 2020.

Mohanty also shared that investment into financial technology firms is pouring in this year as Singapore seeks to become a regional hub for capital raising in areas from payments to Robo-advisory.

Such investments rose from around $20 million in 2014 to a record $1.1 billion last year, with more expected this year, said the top central bank official. On the central bank digital currency (CBDC) front, Mohanty said:

“In the Singapore context, it is not obvious that a retail central bank digital currency would be useful because today, you can already send money to each other at zero cost and with a few clicks. What can you do better than that?”

While the world is moving to digital currencies in terms of “CBDCs and stablecoins,” his views on Bitcoin are much like any other official, crypto being a “speculative asset.”

“I haven’t touched Bitcoin till now. It’s a speculative asset,” Mohanty said.

“It’s common sense that nobody should indulge in assets they don’t understand. It’s so volatile, and it’s so complex. MAS is doing a lot of work through parliament speeches and messages to tell people to be careful. And if people still go out and buy such risky assets, it is their choice.”

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Apple Hiring a Manager with Experience in Alternative Payments including Crypto and Digital Wallets

Apple Hiring a Manager with Experience in Alternative Payments including Crypto and Digital Wallets

Tech giant, which is sitting at $195.57 billion in cash, is looking for a professional in global alternative and emerging payment solutions.

Tech giant Apple is now hiring for a Business Development Manager for Alternative Payments.

The Apple Wallets, Payments, and Commerce (WPC) team is looking for a Business Development Manager to lead Alternative Payments Partnerships — a professional in global alternative and emerging payment solutions.

Posted this week, the job is located at the company’s headquarters in Cupertino, CA, and they are looking for someone with over a decade of experience in financial services.

However, the most important part is more than five years of experience required in or with alternative payment providers, such as digital wallets, BNPL, Fast Payments, cryptocurrency, etc.., as per the job description.

This is an interesting development given that back in August 2019, Apple credit card launched with Goldman Sachs Group, designed to be used with Apple Pay on Apple devices, specifically stated that they would not allow the purchase of cryptocurrencies with it.

Ever since Tesla announced its $1.5 billion investment in Bitcoin earlier this year, the crypto community has been expecting another big name like Google, Facebook, or Apple to do the same, but so far, nothing of the like has happened.

In its fiscal Q1 2021 earnings report, the company with a $2.1 trillion market cap revealed that Apple has one of the largest cash piles in the US. Up 2% from last quarter, Apple has $195.57 billion in cash on hand.

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Bitcoin Price to Rise as it Captures Bigger Share of ‘Anti-fiat Market’ Driven by ‘Stimulated Environment’

“Strong” crypto performance leads to rising interest among institutions, including university endowments and foundations, a trend that will continue “at an accelerated pace,” says experts. As for the govt. banning Bitcoin, “Crypto Mom,” says that would be “foolish.”

Bitcoin is trading above $60,000, giving off strong bullish signals with traders getting in on this action.

According to Dhaval Joshi, chief strategist for BCA Research’s Counterpoint product, the price of Bitcoin will rise as it becomes a bigger share of what he calls the $15 trillion anti-fiat market, currently dominated by gold.

“So long as we have a fiat money system, there will be demand for an ‘anti-fiat’ asset that is a hedge against a debasement of the fiat money system,” said Joshi, who called cryptocurrencies “the new vigilantes to prevent rampant inflation.”

Currently, Bitcoin accounts for 10% of this anti-fiat market but, “as this share doubles or trebles, it arithmetically requires a doubling or trebling of cryptocurrency prices.”

He recommends investors to hold $1 of crypto for every $3 of gold, which implies 25% of the precious metal market, putting BTC at $120k.

Tipping Point

The prices are rising as the institutionalization of the crypto space gains speed.

During a MarketWatch virtual panel discussion, “How to Invest in Crypto,” Tom Jessop, head of Fidelity Digital Assets at Fidelity Investments, said the maturation and adoption of digital assets as a class of investments would continue “at an accelerated pace.”

According to him, ultralow interest rate and easy-money policies helped drive momentum into bitcoin, which are increasingly being seen as alternatives to assets like bonds that offer meager yields.

“Pandemic, quite frankly, was a catalyst for institutional adoption, and specifically bitcoin and the narrative, or use-case, around digital gold,” Jessop said. And “we’re not going to get out of this stimulated environment anytime soon,” he added. “I think we’ve reached a tipping point.”

As Mark Yusko, founder and CEO of Morgan Creek Capital Management, told MarketWatch, “We really believe that we’ll look back five years from now, and it will be deemed fiduciarily imprudent to have zero exposure to digital assets.”

With Bitcoin becoming a trillion-dollar asset and total crypto market cap surging past $2.1 trillion, “you can’t ignore it anymore,” Yusko said. “I really think we are at an inflection point.”

According to him, crypto performance has been “so strong” that even a small allocation can make a big difference. And Yusko has seen a rising interest among institutional investors, including university endowments and foundations.

A Good Regulatory Framework

When it comes to the regulatory front, it might not be of big significance as SEC commissioner Hester Peirce says it would be “foolish” to ban Bitcoin.

“I think we were past that point (of banning Bitcoin in the US) very early on because you’d have to shut down the internet.”

“I don’t see how you could ban it. You could certainly make the effort. It would be very hard to stop people from doing it.”

“So I think it would be a foolish thing for the government to try to do that.”

According to her, technology is likely to outpace the government’s attempt to limit the use of BTC.

During the panel discussion, while reiterating that the US remains “behind the curve” in regulating crypto, Peirce, aka “Crypto Mom,” said Gary Gensler as SEC Chairman might push it in the right direction.

“I’m optimistic with a new chairman coming in with a deep knowledge of these markets that is something we could do together—build a good regulatory framework.”

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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

Every Internet Community Might Have Its Own Micro-Economy, Including NFT’s, Someday

Every Internet Community Might Have Its Own Micro-Economy, Including NFT’s, Someday

“Crypto, and specifically NFTs (non-fungible tokens), can accelerate the trend of creators monetizing directly with their fans,” reads a16z latest blog post written by Chris Dixon, a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz.

While social platforms will continue to be useful for building audiences, creators can increasingly rely on other methods, including NFTs and crypto-enabled economies, to make money, he said.

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are gaining a lot of attention lately as people digitize their art, videos, music, gifs, games, text, memes, and any number of things and sell them online.

HighestSellingNFT

Source: Twitter

While NFTs will have their own ups and downs, they offer fundamentally better economics for creators by removing rent-seeking intermediaries, enabling granular price tiering, and reducing customer acquisition costs to near zero by making users owners, he wrote.

As such, this new sector which is still early and will evolve, Dixon believes, will see an increase in their utility as digital experiences are built around them, including marketplaces, social networks, showcases, games, and virtual worlds. He added,

“Someday, every internet community might have its own micro-economy, including NFTs and fungible tokens that users can use, own, and collect.”

In this burgeoning sector, recently, the major auction house Christie’s also joined in through Beeple’s digital art, the payment for which was accepted for the first time in crypto, Ether.

ChristiesBeepleNFT

Source: Twitter

People are pouring in huge amounts of money in these NFTs, with a batch of digital collectibles known as CryptoPunks getting sold for about $1 million in cryptocurrency in just a few minutes recently.

These digital collectibles are created on the Ethereum blockchain using the ERC-721 standard and are embedded into a smart contract.

This obviously has people making copycats, as seen with “Binance Punks.” Larva Labs, the company behind the Punk collectibles, clarified last month that it “has taken the art from CryptoPunks and is selling it as a copy on another chain. This is in no way an authorized project.”

AmandaCernyNFT

Source: Twitter

On February 22nd, volume in the NFT space peaked above $64 million and over 44k traders, an uptrend of 114x and 26.5x respectively from the beginning of the year, as per Dapp Radar.

Since then, the volume on NFT marketplaces has come down to just under $16 million and traders to over 25k.

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Author: AnTy

PayPal Exploring Acquiring Crypto Companies, Already in Talks with Bitcoin Custodian BitGo

PayPal is now exploring acquisitions of crypto companies, including bitcoin custodian BitGo, reported Bloomberg.

This week, Paypal announcing support, buy, sell, and hold for cryptos has been the biggest news. The online payments company will also be soon allowing its customers to shop at its 26 million merchants within its network with digital currencies.

This led to a spike in bitcoins’ price past $13,000, a new 2020 high last seen in July last year, and the other three altcoins – Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and Litecoin (LTC), that are supported as well.

Now, PayPal is holding talks with BitGo, which are still in the early stage, and it could either be finalized within weeks or fall out as it is possible PayPal might opt to buy other targets.

BitGo basically helps investors store BTC securely. Besides custody, it also provides trading, lending, and staking functions. The company has also issued $1.5 billion worth of wrapped bitcoin (WBTC) on the Ethereum network.

Backed by investors like Goldman Sachs Group, Digital Currency Group, DRW, Craft Ventures, Galaxy Digital Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, Founders Fund, and Valor Equity Partners, BitGo raised $58.5 million in 2018 at a $170 million valuation.

The Palo Alto, California-based company, was founded in 2013 by CEO Mike Belshe and applied to New York regulators in August to become an independent, regulated qualified custodian under New York State Banking Law.

At the time of the crypto announcement, PayPal had said it would partner with the regulated crypto service provider and BitGo competitor Paxos Trust Company.

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Author: AnTy