RBI Governor Believes Crypto has ‘Major Concerns’ While Teasing the Launch of a Digital Rupee

RBI Governor Believes Crypto has ‘Major Concerns’ While Teasing the Launch of a Digital Rupee

  • Reserve Bank of India governor Shaktikanta Das expressed ‘major concerns’ on private cryptocurrencies in the country.
  • RBI is still working on a central bank digital currency.

In an exclusive interview with CNBC TV18, Shaktikanta Das, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor, said the central bank has “major concerns on cryptocurrencies.” The central bank has already communicated the government’s concerns, who will “take a call,” and if required, Parliament will also decide on regulating crypto.

“Blockchain, not cryptocurrencies.”

Despite the underlying blockchain technology offering certain benefits that should be exploited, according to Das, cryptocurrencies still present major concerns on the country’s financial stability.

“I also want to make it very clear that the blockchain technology is different,” Das said. “The benefits of it have to be exploited, that is another thing, but on crypto, we have major concerns from the financial stability angle.”

The RBI governor did not expound on the challenges that crypto causes on the financial system but said they had shared the government’s findings. The Indian government will consider the points and take a call on regulating private cryptocurrencies.

RBI governor on CBDC launch

The RBI has been stern on accepting crypto as a usable currency in India. In the past fortnight, local reports stated a ban on cryptocurrency looms as the government plans to eradicate cryptocurrency payments from the country. Citing a senior official at the Indian Finance Ministry, the government is planning on an “absolute ban” on crypto, affecting transactions of Indians on foreign exchanges.

In the past month, the central bank called for the launch of a framework for its public digital rupee. Differentiating cryptos to the digital rupee, Das stated the digital rupee is still a “work in progress” on the technology side and the procedural side with plans being made on how and when the CBDC will be rolled out.

The governor, however, did not give a specific date that the digital currency is expected to launch due to “several loose ends [that] need to be tied up.”

“We are targeting to launch it. But if you ask me a date, at this point, it will be difficult for me to say.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

Auditing Giant, KPMG & CoinMetrics Launch Service to Monitor Risk for BitGo Institutional Clients

Auditing Giant, KPMG & CoinMetrics Launch Service to Monitor Risk for BitGo Institutional Clients

  • Big four auditing giant KPMG and crypto intelligence firm CoinMetrics partnership offers institutional crypto custodian, BitGo, clients a channel to monitor and mitigate risk on public blockchains.

Announced on Thursday, the partnership among the three firms aims to enhance institutional investment in crypto via a “deeply integrated combined offering.” The offering consists of BitGo’s custodial service, Chainalysis data, and intelligence on blockchains and KPMG’s Chain Fusion, which offers crypto asset management tools to institutional investors.

The alliance started in October 2020 when KPMG announced a strategic partnership with CoinMetrics to expand its blockchain product suite. The alliance aims at ensuring the delivery of reliable and accurate data and proprietary analytics to institutional investors.

In the report, CoinMetrics also announced its FARUM business product suite’s commercial launch allowing BitGo clients to efficiently mitigate and monitor risks on public blockchains such as Bitcoin. FARUM provides risk management tools that allow identifying and monitoring network attacks, fee volatility risks, and any unusual events on the blockchain.

According to BitGo Chief Revenue Officer Pete Najarian, the alliance is designed to increase institutional adoption of crypto while boosting the safety of funds. He said,

“Through this collaboration, we will be delivering the products and services that our institutional clients have needed to allow broad adoption of digital assets.”

KPMG will integrate its Chain Fusion system, which provides users with a suite of products to manage crypto assets. The data infrastructure also provides institutional investors a simpler way to keep up with reporting, regulations, and compliance.

The new product “marks a significant step forward in uniting the core capabilities” of the firms, Arun Ghosh, Principal and KPMG Head of Blockchain for One Americas, said in a statement. Institutions and banks can now leverage the experience in custody, system integration security, risk, and compliance in a one-stop-shop.

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Author: Lujan Odera

IOTA and Dell Technology Launch a Platform to Measures the ‘Trustworthiness of Data’

IOTA and Dell Technology Launch a Platform to Measures the ‘Trustworthiness of Data’

The partnership started back in 2019 when Dell Technologies launched its ‘Data Confidence Fabric.’ This demonstration paves the way for integrating systems on hardware and software devices for highly compliant institutions.

On Thursday, IOTA Foundation, a blockchain-based technology firm, announced its partnership with Dell Technologies to launch the world’s first demonstration, Alvarium, which measures data’s trustworthiness. Alvarium aims at improving the data sent out to apps and servers by providing a “measurable way of evaluating the confidence in the data.”

Dell Technologies started developing the project back in 2019 after the launch of the first Data Confidence Fabric. The project was subsequently passed on to the IOTA Foundation team, who added scalability, security, and blockchain properties to birthing Alvarium.

Alvarium maps data as it passes through every point, whether an IoT device, router, server, or cloud, and rates each point. The trust score ratings are built using “industry-specific requirements.” Once the trust ratings are made, the scores are broadcasted on the IOTA Tangle, ensuring transparency and permanence. Steve Todd, Fellow at Dell Technologies said,

“Data confidence is needed to manage data at scale, creating systems of trust in this data, so users at all levels understand the terms of use”

“Project Alvarium will create this transparency, and the more companies that integrate it into their processes and systems, the closer we’ll come to a future without data ambiguity.”

Blockchain smart contracts require external data to function properly hence the recent growth of decentralized oracles such as Chainlink. Alvarium aims to compete with these decentralized oracles in the future by offering institutions and industries a reliable oracle and a confidence score.

The statement confirms the demonstration will be held through a webinar on February 24th starting at 11.00 AM EST.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Bitwise Files Application to Launch Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) for ‘Crypto Innovators’

  • Bitwise has filed to launch a new investment product, tracking performances of crypto companies.
  • Investment firms are expanding their operations as crypto demand continues to grow.
  • Asset managers and investment firms in the crypto industry are getting more creative as they look to attract new investors and grow their business.

This week, Bitwise Asset Management, a premier cryptocurrency fund manager, announced plans to launch a new product.

Tracking Crypto-Loving Companies

In its filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Bitwise confirmed plans to launch a Crypto Innovators Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF).

The filing explained that the new product would track performances of projects on the Bitwise Crypto Innovators Index. Bitwise describes “Crypto Innovators” firms with services and transactions in blockchain and crypto-facing sectors. These companies include asset custodians, digital trading services, wallet providers, and others.

The Bitwise Crypto Innovators Index will include firms that derive over 75 percent of their revenues from the crypto sector. Eligible companies are required to hold at least 75 percent of their net assets in cryptocurrencies. Bitwise is also looking into large-cap firms that have “dedicated business initiatives” focused on cryptocurrencies.

It is worth noting that Bitwise’s proposed ETF won’t invest in any cryptocurrencies or crypto-based derivatives firms. The company will also not participate in any Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs).

Good Times for Crypto Investment Companies

Bitwise has seen tremendous growth in its core business recently. Thanks to investors’ focus on cryptocurrencies, the firm has seen significant growth in its business. Earlier this year, the company’s assets under management (AUM) surpassed $500 million – a considerable increase from the $100 million in AUM that it held in October 2020.

In a press release, the investment firm explained that most of its new demand came in the fourth quarter of 2020 – a quarter where it surpassed inflows for 2018 and 2019 combined. Most of its new demand came from large investment houses – including hedge funds, financial advisers, family offices, and other institutions.

Bitwise’s most popular product remains its 10 Crypto Index Fund, which provides exposure to the ten largest digital assets by market cap. As the press release showed, the fund drew in $400 million from investors, with the Bitcoin and Ether-focused funds seeing exceptionally high demand. Now that it is launching a new fund, the company hopes to increase its business ventures beyond just cryptocurrencies themselves.

While Bitwise continues to grow in the institutional market, one company that’s in hot demand right now is Grayscale Investments. The New York firm is the industry’s largest asset management firm, and it is making significant expansion plays. It recently filed with the Delaware corporate registry to launch several investment trusts focused on the decentralized finance (DeFi) space.

According to its filing, Grayscale hopes to launch funds targeting top DeFi tokens, including DOT, AAVE, and ATOM. The company is looking to capitalize on the growing DeFi space, which has seen over $20 billion in new assets locked this year alone.

Grayscale is also looking to open investment trusts in top-performing altcoins ADA and XMR, allowing it to expand its current count. The company, which has over $25 billion in AUM, has also seen significant growth in its business as institutions tend to choose it as their go-to source for crypto exposure.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Bermuda-based, CrossTower to Launch a Bitcoin Fund for Accredited Investors

Bermuda-based, CrossTower to Launch a Bitcoin Fund for Accredited Investors

  • Digital assets trading and investment firm, CrossTower, launches a crypto hedge fund to compete with Grayscale’s Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) and other institutional crypto hedge funds.
  • The fund gains its competitive advantage by offering a lower management fee and no lockup periods for its client’s assets.

In an announcement on Wednesday, CrossTower, a Bermuda-based crypto investments firm, plans to launch its bitcoin hedge fund at the end of February for accredited investors. The fund will not be tradable in the secondary market but aims to compete with other Bitcoin-based hedge funds such as GBTC in management fees and liquidity.

The fund will only accept accredited investors with the minimum fund requirement set at $100,000. The fund has already raised $20 million in assets under management (AUM) from early-stage investors, most of the demand coming from family offices and high net worth individuals.

Kristin Boggiano, CrossTower co-founder, and president confirms the fund will charge up to 60 basis points (0.6%) in management fees, lower than GBTC’s 2%, and have no lockups for clients’ funds. The fund trades Bitcoin on a Net Asset Value (NAV) basis. Notwithstanding, CrossTower is also planning to include different crypto-based instruments in the future, Boggiano further confirmed.

“This is the most plain-vanilla of the suite of offerings that we expect to be popular.”

“We’re building infrastructure at CrossTower so that entities that want to shape their risk have different instruments whether they want to use an exchange, they want a loan, they want to go short.”

Anchorage, which recently acquired the first license to become a crypto bank, will be the custodian of CrossTower digital assets and Apex as the fund’s legal counsel. Grant Thompson will lead accounting for the firm.

As alluded to, the fund will focus on accredited investors from the U.S. and across the globe. This will allow investors with offshore accounts to easily invest in Bitcoin without the tax implications set in the U.S. However, the fund is limited to a maximum of 99 U.S. investors. Still, it is open to an unlimited number of offshore investors due to the daily liquidity provisions set on the fund.

The fund is starting its journey of a thousand steps (pun intended) towards reaching Grayscale’s GBTC $20 billion AUM and is looking for ways to add more U.S. based investors to its fund. The fund will also be competing with BlockFi who recently filed for a Bitcoin Trust with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

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Author: Lujan Odera

Canadian Firm, Accelerate, Files for a Bitcoin ETF (ABTC) on Toronto Stock Exchange

Companies have a growing demand to launch Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) as the cryptocurrency market settles above the 41 trillion market cap. Accelerate Financial Technologies, a Canadian fintech firm, is the latest to file and obtain a receipt for a preliminary prospectus with the Canadian financial regulators to launch its Accelerate Bitcoin ETF under the ticker “ABTC.”

In a statement released on Wednesday, Accelerate confirmed a share of ABTC units have filed for listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange but are yet to receive conditional approval on the listing. ABTC will offer U.S. dollar-denominated units and Canadian dollar-denominated units, with a management fee of 0.70%.

Accelerate launched its first Bitcoin fund in 2017, providing its clients with one of Canada’s most innovative and fastest-growing alternative investment solutions. Julian Klymochko, CEO and founder of Accelerate, said, “he has always been an advocate of the asset class” given the coins’ past performance. Klymochko added,

“Bitcoin has been one of the best-performing asset classes on a 1-year, 3-year, 5-year, and 10-year basis, both absolute and risk-adjusted. Given bitcoin’s historical track record and future potential, along with its portfolio diversification properties, we are looking forward to offering investors exposure to the asset class in an easy-to-use, low-cost ETF.”

The demand for Bitcoin ETFs seems to be back after a long layoff in the market following VanEck’s rejected proposals by the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) in 2018. The company has once again filed for a Bitcoin ETF, claiming it will hold physical BTC this time.

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Author: Lujan Odera

SWIFT and China’s Central Bank, PBoC, Partner To Launch A New Digital Payments Venture

SWIFT and China’s Central Bank, PBoC, Partner To Launch A New Digital Payments Venture

  • PBoC partners with the SWIFT payments system to form a new financial payment company.
  • The full details of the partnership are yet to be released.
  • China is hastening the release of its central bank digital currency (CBDC).

In a report first published by The Block, the clearing center and the digital currency research institute at the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) and SWIFT, the global interbank settlement firm, SWIFT, have formed a partnership to launch a new financial payment service, Finance Gateway Information Service Limited, public records show.

According to the reports, the firm was registered on January 16, starting with 10 million EUR (~412 million) as the incorporation capital. No further details on the functions or scope of the funding were offered on the registration document. The PBoC and SWIFT both declined to comment on the matter.

SWIFT’s Hong Kong subsidiary largely owns the firm with 55% of the incorporation contribution and PBoC’s fully-owned domestic subsidiary, China National Clearing Center (CNCC), which will own 34%of the new entity. Other investors in the initial funding include CNCC’s subsidiary Cross-border Interbank Payments and Settlement Limited (CPIS), PBoC’s Digital Currency Research Institute, and Clearing Association of China (PCAC).

According to a person familiar with the matter, there are five board members in the new entity, including SWIFT China’s CEO, Daphne Huang; Cheng Shigang, a vice general secretary of the PCAC; three members from the global settlement firm and Mu Changchun, the head of the PBoC’s digital currency research institute.

SWIFT announced a new platform to ease account payment services and compete with Ripple, VISA, and MasterCard in April last year. Moreover, SWIFT has been at the forefront in boosting the Chinese Yuan’s use through its platform.

China’s CBDC is Around the Corner

The increasing digital payment projects cropping up in China could signal that the digital yuan is closing in on its launch. Earlier this month, the PBoC completed its largest pilot program for the CBDC in Shenzhen province, with over $3 million worth of digital yuan distributed to over 100,000 citizens in the area.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Singapore’s Central Bank Gives SDAX In-Principle Approval to Launch its Digital Asset Exchange

Singapore’s Central Bank Gives SDAX In-Principle Approval to Launch its Digital Asset Exchange

  • Singapore’s Digiassets Exchange Pte. Ltd. (SDAX) received ‘in-principle” approval from the country’s financial regulator, Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), to operate its digital asset exchange.

Reports from a local news website, MarketsMedia, states leading financial authority, MAS has reached an agreement “in principle” with the country’s leading digital assets service provider, SDAX, approving the launch of the latter’s exchange. This agreement allows SDAX to start its preparations to launch its digital asset exchange in the near future.

The new exchange from SDAX will provide an institutional-grade platform that “simplifies and speeds up traditional exchange processes” while offering clients “new fundraising and investment opportunities.” In principle, the agreement allows the Singapore-based exchange to attract clients, accredited investors, and institutional investors –giving them a seamless and regulated platform to trade digital and synthetic assets on a blockchain. SDAX Chairman, Mr. Khoo Boon Hui said,

“SDAX [new exchange] will contribute to Singapore’s fintech sector by offering innovative solutions to raise funds and trade fractionalized and digitized assets like real estate.”

Notwithstanding, the new exchange will also offer users digitized debt, equity, and other alternative assets with “high-quality real estate as the underlying asset class,” the report states.

Global investors will be subject to KYC compliance and AML standard measures to trade on the platform. The exchange will also build liquidity pools on Ethereum and offer high yielding investment products to its clients.

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Author: Lujan Odera

A ‘Surge in Interest’ in DOT Leads 21Shares to Launch World’s First Polkadot ETP on SIX

A ‘Surge in Interest’ in DOT Leads 21Shares to Launch World’s First Polkadot ETP on SIX

Amidst the growing interest in decentralized finance (DeFi), investment product provider 21Shares AG, previously known as Amun, has launched the world’s first Polkadot (DOT) exchange-traded product (ETP).

Zurich-based 21Shares is the issuer of crypto ETPs and will be launching the DOT ETP on the Swiss stock exchange (SIX Exchange) on Feb 4th, 2021.

The move came right on the heels of 21Shares adding DOT to its HODL basket. DOT is the second-largest constituent after Bitcoin in the product. Hany Rashwan, CEO 21Shares AG, said in a statement,

“We remain committed to the unprecedented demand we are seeing from institutional investors wanting exposure to crypto-assets.”

According to the chief executive, investing in other crypto-assets is a natural transition from Bitcoin for investors, and European investors have been approaching the company to launch new products.

While the company has been seeing a 5-fold increase in demand, mainly from institutional investors, across its suite of crypto ETPs since Q3 2020, it says there has been a “recent surge in interest” for DOT.

With DOT, 21Shares AG aims to provide “exposure to the multi-chain application environment that enables cross-chain interoperability on a level previously not possible via their traditional broker or bank.”

Created by Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood, DOT is the 5th largest cryptocurrency with a market cap of $15.28 billion. Currently trading at $16.84, DOT is up 104% so far in 2021.

The firm says that despite the rising popularity of the DOT token, it is “not easy for non-technical users to buy and hold and interact with it,” as such, with its ETP, they are lowering the barriers to entry for newcomers. Rashwan said,

“We are launching the DOT ETP to give investors a safe, regulated, and easy way to obtain exposure to this exciting new blockchain technology.”

Each share of the product is fully collateralized by the corresponding amount of physical DOT tokens.

The company is preparing to add more ETPs in the next three months and new European exchange listings.

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Author: AnTy

Pantera Capital Is Looking to Launch A New Institutional-Driven Fund Next Month

Pantera Capital Is Looking to Launch A New Institutional-Driven Fund Next Month

  • Pantera Capital CEO Dan Morehead says the billion-dollar crypto fund is working towards launching a new fund aimed at big institutional investors.

In an episode of The Scoop, Dan Morehead, CEO at Pantera Capital, confirmed the company is in the works to launch a new fund. The company currently runs over $1 billion of assets for its customers and is focusing on adding new institutional investment through the new fund, Morehead further said.

Across 2020, institutional funding has spiked in the crypto market, adding an unprecedented $4 billion into Bitcoin hedge funds, during the year. Pantera aims to continue riding on this customer demand wave by targeting heavyweight institutional investors for its new “crypto-focused fund,” which is expected to launch next month.

According to Dan, there has been an influx of institutional investors getting on the crypto act in the past year as Bitcoin spiked to an all-time high price of $42,000. The new fund will offer institutional investors a diversified class of assets rather than a single-asset fund such as Grayscale’s Bitcoin Trust.

“We’re really seeing an inflection point with more coming into the market over the last couple of months,” Morehead said. “We’ve had a ton of inbound calls from endowments and others that are trying to get exposure to the space.”

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Author: Lujan Odera