Fidelity Digital Assets Exploring the Possibility to Offer Yield Funds, Stablecoins, and DeFi Tokens

Fidelity Digital Assets Exploring the Possibility to Offer Yield Funds, Stablecoins, and DeFi Tokens

Fidelity Digital Assets also plans to increase its employee headcount by up to 70% by the end of the year. Meanwhile, its survey reveals over 60% of US investors are neutral to positive about a Bitcoin ETF.

Fidelity Investments is growing its digital assets team to expand its cryptocurrency-related products in response to the increasing interest from financial advisors, family offices, and other institutional investors.

Tom Jessop, president of Fidelity Digital Assets, said in an interview that the company is planning to increase its employee headcount by up to 70% by the end of the year.

Fidelity’s digital asset arm that provides institutional services including trade execution and custody is also exploring the possibility of offering yield funds and other products that may involve stablecoins or DeFi tokens, said the managing director, Peter Jubber.

“All of these are candidates for us as we begin this exploration.”

“Could they result in actual products? Early days.”

Fidelity also published a survey this week that showed that in the US, 79% of family offices have a neutral, positive view of digital assets. The survey of 1,100 professionals was conducted between early December and early April.

It further showed that factors such as fear of inflation due to financial stimulus was a catalyst for many investors to enter the crypto market.

“A catalyst for a lot of industries was the start of the pandemic.”

“Our clients said the factor to get them off the fence were the macro economic issues in the pandemic.”

For the first time, Fidelity surveyed Asian investors and found them to be the most accepting of digital assets, with more than 70% of those surveyed currently invested in them.

Investors are particularly looking for institutional investment products to hold digital assets. More than 60% of U.S. investors express a neutral to positive view about a potential Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF). Fidelity itself has filed an application with the SEC for a Bitcoin ETF.

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Author: AnTy

Swiss Companies to Offer Institutions Tokenized Assets Built on Tezos (XTZ)

Swiss Companies to Offer Institutions Tokenized Assets Built on Tezos (XTZ)

A trio of Swiss-based crypto-friendly banks has announced plans to offer regulated tokenized assets using the Tezos blockchain. The banks are Crypto Finance, InCore Bank, and Inacta.

Regulated Trio Team Up with Tezos to Create Tokenized Assets

Tezos was chosen because of its unique blockchain. The network is self-upgrading, which enables the activation of essential consensus updates without splitting the network.

The banks plan to integrate financial products for their institutional clients using a new token standard on the Tezos blockchain.

The new standard dubbed “DAR-1” was created based on Tezos’ FA2 design. The DAR-1 token standard enables smart contracts necessary to support the modern financial markets in compliance with regulations.

Crypto Finance would serve as the infrastructure provider on the project, while InCore Bank would handle the tokenization using the new DAR-1 token standard, which Inacta developed.

In addition to the joint partnership, InCore Bank has also introduced institutional-grade storage, staking, and trading services for XTZ, the native cryptocurrency of the Tezos blockchain.

This would make InCore Bank the first Swiss business-to-business bank to launch staking services for the Tezos network, unlocking new yield earning products for institutional customers.

The XTZ staking with InCore Bank can be initiated directly via embarking, unlike the traditional staking method. Clients will receive periodic statements regarding staking payouts.

Tezos is quite popular in Switzerland, which is not surprising as the network’s founders, the Tezos Foundation, is based there. Last year, Swiss-based digital asset firm Sygnum Bank launched trading and custody services for Tezos.

More recently, Crypto exchange Gemini announced the listing of the Tezos token on its Gemini Earn platform. Gemini Earn is a passive income program where tokens are locked with world-class security and interest accrued daily.

Tezos Rolling Out Upgrades On Network

In recent times Tezos has welcomed integrations from different protocols as it continues to upgrade its network.

Tezos is an open-source proof of stake blockchain network that powers applications and tools behind leading financial institutions, central banks, NFTs, DeFi platforms, and so on.

The network’s seventh successful upgrade called Granada went live this year. Granada contains numerous bug fixes and minor improvements for the Tezos protocol. The update cuts block times in half and decreases smart contract gas consumption by 3-6x. It also introduces liquidity banking.

The upgrade, which is the third to occur this year, was named after a Spanish city. Granada goes live less than three months after the previous one, dubbed Florence.

The Florence upgrade was the update that doubled the size of maximum operations (from 16kB to 32kB), reduced gas in smart contract execution. It streamlined the amendment process by deactivating unused test chains on the Tezos protocol.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Singapore’s DBS Bank Gets Approval from MAS to Offer Crypto Services to Asset Managers & Companies

Singapore’s DBS Bank Gets Approval from MAS to Offer Crypto Services to Asset Managers & Companies

Singapore’s DBS Bank is the latest to receive approval “in principle” from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) under the country’s Payment Services Act.

DBS Vickers, the bank’s brokerage arm, is the one that received the go-ahead from the country’s financial regulator to begin offering crypto services directly to companies and asset managers via its DBS Digital Exchange (DDex).

“We are pleased to have made steady progress on our digital asset ecosystem in the six months since we launched the DDEx last year,” said Eng-Kwok Seat Moey, group head of capital markets at DBS, who also reported of “keen interest” among corporations and asset managers for access to crypto.

Earlier this month, cryptocurrency exchange Independent Reserve received the first such approval.

In 2019, the Payment Services Act was passed requiring all digital payment token service providers to operate. Since it came into effect in January last year, hundreds of applicants have applied for the license.

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Author: AnTy

BNPL Firm Afterpay to Offer Bitcoin Purchase Option to Customers Following Acquisition by Square

BNPL Firm Afterpay to Offer Bitcoin Purchase Option to Customers Following Acquisition by Jack Dorsey’s Square

Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey’s payments company Square Inc. has announced that it will purchase buy now, pay later (BNPL) firm Afterpay for $29 billion, the biggest buyout of an Australian firm.

The transaction amount is expected to be paid in all stock. As of writing, Square (SQ) has been trading at $247.26. Afterpay shareholders will receive a fixed exchange ratio of 0.375 shares of Square Class A common stock for each Afterpay (APT) ordinary share. Square may elect to pay 1% of the total consideration in cash, said in its official announcement.

The deal is expected to be closed in the first quarter of 2022, subject to certain conditions. Dorsey, Co-Founder, and CEO of Square said,

“Square and Afterpay have a shared purpose. We built our business to make the financial system more fair, accessible, and inclusive, and Afterpay has built a trusted brand aligned with those principles.”

The company plans to integrate Afterpay into its existing Cash App and Seller business units and offer Afterpay customers the ability to manage their payments directly in Cash App. Also, Afterpay consumers will receive the benefits of Cash App’s financing tools, including stock and Bitcoin purchases, money transfer, cash Boost, etc.

As we recently reported, another Australian BNPL firm Zip Co Ltd. is exploring the option to allow its users to trade cryptocurrencies using their Zip wallets, which was one of the most requested new product features from the company’s users. Brian Grassadonia, Lead of Square’s Cash App business said,

“The addition of Afterpay to Cash App will strengthen our growing networks of consumers around the world while supporting consumers with flexible, responsible payment options.”

By combining with Square, Afterpay also plans to accelerate its growth in the US and globally and further offer access to its new category of in-person merchants, said Anthony Eisen and Nick Molnar, Afterpay Co-Founders and Co-CEOs. They will join Square upon completion of the transaction.

Square will also appoint one Afterpay director as a member of the Square Board following the transaction’s closing.

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Author: AnTy

Top Crypto Data Aggregator, Coinmarketcap Integrates Uniswap to Offer ‘Direct Token Swaps’

Top Crypto Data Aggregator, Coinmarketcap Integrates Uniswap to Offer ‘Direct Token Swaps’

  • Crypto data aggregator, Coinmarketcap launches Uniswap portal on its website introducing decentralized token swaps to millions of users.

Announced Tuesday, Coinmarketcap.com, a Binance-owned crypto data aggregator, introduced a Uniswap-powered token swap feature on its website. The feature aims to give eager crypto traders and investors a direct channel to make a swap as soon as they check the price of tokens.

According to the statement, Coinmarketcap.com integrated Uniswap (both V1 and V2) and the Ethereum blockchain. This allows anyone who has connected an Ethereum wallet to swap the thousands of Ethereum-based tokens through Uniswap. Other cryptocurrencies currently supported include Uniswap (UNI), AAVE, Tether (USDT), and Bitcoin (BTC).

The integration is expected to increase the overall volumes on Uniswap, the largest decentralized exchange by trading volume, with millions of visits on Coinmarketcap monthly. According to SimilarWeb, Coinmarketcap.com had over 270 million visits in the past month alone, showing the impact the integration could have on Uniswap’s volumes. A statement from Coinmarketcap’s team read,

“With the rise of altcoins in the DeFi [decentralized finance] boom, the need for seamless ways to exchange tokens for participating in different crypto products and ecosystems has become essential.”

The integration supports any wallet accepted by Uniswap, including Metamask, Coinbase, Portis, WalletConnect, and Fortmatic. To start swapping directly from Coinmarketcap, you need to navigate to the coin page you wish to swap. On the right-hand side of the page, click the converter and select the “Swap on Coinmarketcap” option to start swapping on Uniswap.

The new integration could help the top crypto data aggregator keep its position as Coingecko, the second-largest crypto data aggregator, closes in on the top spot.

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Author: Lujan Odera

A ‘Significant Amount of Interest’ Pushes Goldman Sachs to Offer Ether Options & Futures Trading

A ‘Significant Amount of Interest’ Pushes Goldman Sachs to Offer Ether Options & Futures Trading

Mathew McDermott, head of digital assets at the bank, said clients are eager to trade crypto assets at current prices, which are currently at a “more palatable entry point” following the “cleansing exercise” in terms of leverage reduction.

Goldman Sachs Group is expanding into Ether.

The banking giant is now planning to offer futures and options trading in Ether, the second-largest cryptocurrency, in the coming months, according to Mathew McDermott, head of digital assets at Goldman.

Currently trading above $2,600, the $300 billion market cap cryptocurrency is still up 254% YTD after experiencing a drawdown of 60% from its all-time high of $4,380 last month.

The recent sell-off in the crypto market has resulted in the activity falling significantly, which has the average fees on the Ethereum Network at about $3 after going for $100 towards the end of May.

Since last month, the market has been in a deep rut; it makes sense that it will take time to attract interest again.

Meanwhile, it was only this year that the bank restarted its trading desk to help clients trade futures tied to Bitcoin. McDermott said Goldman also plans to facilitate trades via exchange-traded notes tracking Bitcoin. BTC -0.94% Bitcoin / USD BTCUSD $ 40,116.98
-$377.10-0.94%
Volume 40.11 b Change -$377.10 Open $40,116.98 Circulating 18.74 m Market Cap 751.63 b
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“We’ve actually seen a lot of interest from clients who are eager to trade as they find these levels as a slightly more palatable entry point,” McDermott told Bloomberg in an interview on Thursday.

“We see it as a cleansing exercise to reduce some of the leverage and the excess in the system, especially from a retail perspective.”

McDermott joined Goldman last year as the head of its digital currency efforts, and under him, the business has grown from four to 17 people. This year, the bank also invested in crypto start-ups. Last month, Goldman led the $15 million investment into Coin Metrics, and this month it put $5 million into Blockdaemon.

“We are looking at a number of different companies that fit into our strategic direction.”

In his interview, McDermott said his conversations with clients show that digital currencies aren’t just a fad. In a survey of 850 institutions last week, Goldman found that close to one in 10 are trading crypto, and 20% are interested in it. He said,

“Institutional adoption will continue. Despite the material price correction, we continue to see a significant amount of interest in this space.”

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Author: AnTy

Interactive Brokers, with 1.3 Million Clients, to Offer Direct Crypto Trading on Customer Demand

Interactive Brokers, with 1.3 Million Clients, to Offer Direct Crypto Trading on Customer Demand

Back in January, during the meme stock mania, Interactive Brokers was involved in placing temporary restrictions on speculative stocks like GME and AMC to safeguard the market and because they were “worried about the integrity of the marketplace.”

Interactive Brokers is expecting to offer cryptocurrency trading by the end of the summer, revealed Thomas Peterffy, the firm’s chairman and CEO, during the Piper Sandler Global Exchange and FinTech Conference.

The company first started offering access to cryptocurrency when bitcoin futures began trading on the CME in December 2017.

Peterffy said at the conference that customers have been asking for direct crypto trading.

He further shared that the biggest obstacle in offering cryptos is keeping customers safe and ensuring that no one steals their coins.

Back in late January, during the meme stock mania, Robinhood said the brokerage service providers, including Interactive Brokers, placed temporary restrictions on speculative stocks like GameStop, AMC Entertainment, and Koss to what they called to safeguard the market.

“We are worried about the integrity of the marketplace and the clearing system,” Peterffy said at the time.

A month later, Peterfly said the US financial system faced greater stress during this GameStop frenzy. “We have come dangerously close to the collapse of the entire system, and the public seems to be completely unaware of that, including Congress and the regulators,” he said in an interview.

Not a choice anymore!

The Connecticut-based brokerage firm executes about 3.3 million trades per day in 135 markets worldwide. In April, the company reported an increase of 74% from a year-ago quarter in its customer accounts to over 1.3 million.

“A year ago, Interactive Brokers wouldn’t go anywhere near crypto. Now they are coming in. They don’t have a choice. Eventually, they will all come in because crypto is going mainstream and clients want it,” commented SpartanBlack, Partner at crypto fund The Spartan Group, which has begun deploying capital for a newly raised $110 million fund.

Interactive Brokers competitors Fidelity and Charles Schwab currently do not offer direct access to cryptocurrency.

“Although bitcoin futures are now available for trading on the CBOE and CME, Fidelity does not currently have any plans to offer bitcoin futures trading for its retail brokerage customers,” states Fidelity’s website; however, the brokerage giant has been involved in the crypto space and has launched a subsidiary Fidelity Digital Assets (FDA) to support its institutional customers’ holdings in digital assets.

Schwab said in May that its customers could access cryptocurrency markets through Grayscale Trusts but noted that aspects of a cryptocurrency remain “immature” and can pose risks to clients, adding SEC’s approval of a crypto ETF will be a key step in the market’s development.

“When there is more regulatory guidance, you can expect Schwab to have more investment options for clients, including spot crypto trading and custody,” according to the company’s website.

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Author: AnTy

NBA’s Sacramento Kings to Pay Players and Staff Salary in Bitcoin

The Sacramento Kings is planning to offer a Bitcoin payment option to all of its players and staff. This move will make it the first major sports franchise to do so.

Just late last year, Russell Okung became the first NFL player to receive half of his salary into Bitcoin.

Last month, as we reported, American professional baseball team Oakland A’s President Dave Kaval announced that they are also adopting Bitcoin. Instead of paying its staff and players, they will accept BTC as payment on fans’ demand.

“We are believers in it,” said Kaval at the time, adding that they will be HODLing any BTC they receive.

Now, the basketball team has entered the arena as shared by team chairman Vivek Ranadivé on Clubhouse on Monday.

“I’m going to announce in the next few days that I’m going to offer everyone in the Kings organization, they can get paid as much of their salary in bitcoin as they want, including the players,” reads a tweet about the same.

This, however, isn’t Kings’ first foray into crypto, as they have been involved with cryptocurrencies since 2014 when they started selling their tickets for BTC through its partnership with BitPay. In 2019, they also launched reward tokens for their fans.

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Author: AnTy

Blockstream Offer Investors Exposure to Bitcoin Mining with BMN Security Tokens

Blockstream Offer Investors Exposure to Bitcoin Mining with BMN Security Tokens

Blockstream, a Bitcoin mining company, is planning to tokenize Bitcoin mining, according to a release.

1BMN To Cost $240,000

Blockstream Chief Adam Back said that this would give investors access to Bitcoin mining without investing in the traditional mining hardware.

The investment opportunity, which will be publicly-listed as a security token offering (STO), targets non-US qualified investors and gives them access to hashrate mined at Blockstream’s colocation facilities.

The mined token will be called Blockstream Mining Note (BMN for short) and represents 2,000 terahash per second of the company’s computing resources.

Each Bitcoin mined would be held in cold storage for a period of three years before they are released to their hodlers, the company notes.

One BMN would cost investors $240,000 and would go on sale on April 7. The first tranche of 62.5 BMN would be available on European digital assets investment marketplace STOKR as fungible assets.

BMN mining operations will begin officially on July 9, with subsequent BMN tranches released in Q3 2021. Interested investors can get their hands on these tokens by paying cash or through crypto-assets like BTC and dollar-pegged USDt.

Blockstream will offer the BMN token on its sidechain, the Liquid Network.

Blockstream says it aims to raise about €12.5 million (about $14.5 million) from the first tranche and will raise €85 million (about $100 million) in total.

Hashrate Tokens Appealing To BTC Investors

Hashrate tokens are recent additions to the ever-expanding crypto space. It works more like a derivative and was launched by Bitcoin miner Poolin and the largest crypto exchange by trading volume Binance in December 2020.

They serve as a roundabout way high-net investors can gain Bitcoin exposure without owning the digital asset or setting up a mining business. This makes it easier for liquidity to flow into the Bitcoin mining market. They are usually traded on over-the-counter (OTC) secondary markets before moving into the exchanges.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Kentucky Legislators Approve A Bill To Offer Tax Breaks For Crypto Miners

Kentucky Legislators Approve A Bill To Offer Tax Breaks For Crypto Miners

After a 19 to 2 vote, Kentucky legislators voted in favor of a bill likely to attract crypto miners to the state.

On Tuesday Kentucky House budget committee okayed House Bill 230, which proposes tax breaks to crypto mining businesses that open their shop in the state of Kentucky.

A Kentucky-based publication Lexington Herald-Leader reported that the new bill aims at introducing sales and use tax breaks specifically for electricity purchased for use in crypto mines that, in essence, operate on a 24/7 basis.

According to a government’s fiscal note in relation to the bill, the state is likely to lose about $9 million per annum if the bill goes through. The loss is approximated on the assumption that at least one mining farm will be established in the coming year while the existing ones will take advantage of the bill to maximize their profits.

The new bill is in tandem with the government’s broad efforts to attract as many tech startups in the state by offering various tax incentives. In related news, the House budget committee okayed another separate bill to offer similar tax breaks for firms starting open data centers within the state.

Representative Steven Rudy, who sponsored the bill, said that Kentucky needs to become a center of crypto miners as it’s an industry growing rapidly. He said,

“Mining for cryptocurrency takes a lot of electricity. It is very heavily impactful on industrial-type things. It is not just a few people sitting in their mom’s basement or in their parents’ basement writing code. This is actually highly sophisticated, highly technical.”

The bill will now be introduced to Kentucky’s upper house for a review. This will join the Senate’s similar bill offering tax breaks on mining-based businesses. However, the bill was opposed by some lawmakers citing that mining businesses use high volumes of electricity, which is not a good thing for the state.

The new developments come in the wake of heightened mining activities across the country brought about by the surging prices of digital assets as well as the entry of institutional investors in the crypto space.

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Author: Joseph Kibe