Wilshire Phoenix Keen to Launch New Bitcoin Commodity Trust Pending SEC Approval

  • Wilshire Phoenix to start offering BTC via a new Bitcoin Trust according to their latest SEC filing. The Trust will be offered to a select clientele with a max average of $2 million or 80000 shares. They haven’t experienced a smooth sailing with SEC as their proposed BTC ETF’s were rejected by SEC on several occasions

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has now revealed that Wilshire Phoenix intends to launch a new BTC Commodity Trust. This was according to a filing they made to the SEC’s pending approval.

The Wilshire Phoenix are in the process of applying for rights to offer Bitcoin to a select group of clients. The trust will accept a max proposed average of 80000 shares equivalent to $2 Million. The trust would enable clients who own Bitcoin a cost-efficient mode by mitigating some policies deemed too harsh in place for digital asset markets.

This will pit them against industry heavy weights, Grayscale Investments armed with a $3.6 billion warchest. Affiliates of the Digital Currency Group, have been in operation since 2013 but have since filed an application to convert the trust into an SEC reporting company.

The application further discloses that the primary custodian of the Bitcoin will be the Fidelity Digital Asset Services with cash deposits being held at the UMB Bank. The cash deposits will be FDIC insured with BTC holdings being insured against theft for up to $100million.

The Administrator of the trust will then be tasked with determining the exact value of the trust on daily basis at 4.00 pm Eastern time. This will be worked out by multiplying the amount of Bitcoin held in the reserve against the current BTC price

Their Latest ETF Bid Rejected by The SEC

Notably, Wilshire Phoenix had their latest Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) bid rejected by the SEC in February. In a 76-page dossier the SEC highlights that the main objection to the ETF bid was that they needed to protect the investors from risky markets and potential market manipulation.

However, Commissioner Hester dubbed crypto mom differed with the ruling. She was especially worried that the SEC was sending the wrong message to potential investors opting for friendlier jurisdictions, as it had rejected Wilshire Phoenix’s ETF bids on multiple occasions. They have rejected over 12 Bitcoin ETF applications over the past 2 years.

Latest Bitcoin Price News and Crypto Market Updates

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Author: Lujan Odera

Crypto Exchange Bitfinex Now Offers Staking on EOS, VSYS, and ATOM; XTZ Coming Soon

One of the largest crypto exchanges, Bitfinex, is ready to begin offering staking services to their customers as a result of high consumer demand for it.

The announcement was made on April 3 and says the staking rewards offered by Bitfinex will be up to 10% per year on crypto assets that use the Proof-of-Stake (PoS) algorithm. Here’s what Paolo Ardoino, the exchange’s CTO, had to comment about the news:

“We’re committed to engaging our existing users and the wider community with new products and innovations. The Bitfinex Staking Rewards Program provides our users with another avenue to increase their holdings on our platform.”

Customer Demand for Staking Has Been High

Ardoino also mentioned that the exchange’s customers asked in very high numbers for staking, the service that allows traders to make passive income on the crypto assets they hold with Bitfinex. Staking here will support 3 cryptocurrencies: Cosmos (ATOM), V-Systems (VSYS) and EOS. It was specified that more stackable tokens are going to be added in the following months and that Tezos (XTZ) will launch in May.

Furthermore, Ardoino talked about the launch of P2P margin trading or lending-related products and derivatives sometimes soon. The promotion of the new staking service includes a competition in which Bitfinex branded apparel can be won.

Passive Income Options Are Now Everywhere

Crypto exchanges are in a fierce competition when it comes to offering their customers opportunities to generate passive income on the crypto assets they’re holding. Back in March, OKEx consolidated its Earn interface for staking, lending and term-deposit services, offering passive income streams for up to 32 crypto assets. OKEx’s director of financial markets, Lennix Lai, said that traditional banking could never offer the opportunity of staking when it comes to generating passive income.

Crypto.com launched on March 23 the Crypto Earn service that offers returns of as much as 12% per year on its platform’s deposited TrustToken stablecoins. Crypto.com’s CMO Sean Rach said the more products that help customers generate passive income with crypto are created, the more the crypto industry gets a chance to compete fairly with banks and traditional banking models.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Huobi Wallet to Integrate Crypto Lender Cred Allowing Users To Earn Interest

The crypto exchange offering wallet services Huobi has closed a partnership with the decentralized crypto lending company Cred in order to offer user’s interest on their holdings.

The announcement that Huobi Wallet is going to integrate Cred’s borrowing and lending services was made on April 1. Huobi Wallet supports more than 1,000 crypto assets, out of which 8 are stablecoins, in 200 regions and countries. A list with the supported crypto assets for the program wasn’t provided yet, but it was mentioned that Bitcoin (BTC), Universal Dollar (UPUSD) and Ether (ETH) will be included.

Pledged Assets Will Have a Monthly Interest

Cred is based in California and a licensed lender. It was also a founding member for the Universal Protocol Alliance of crypto and blockchain companies. What should also be mentioned about it is that it’s backed by Binance, FBG Capita, Blocktower and Arrington XRP. Its CEO, Dan Schatt, said Cred is very keen to provide its decentralized financial services during so unstable financial times.

Together with Cred, Huobi will offer its users the ability to lend crypto services while receiving a monthly interest, plus the possibility to roll over pledged assets for certain amounts of time. There are no minimum requirements for participation to the program, whereas the interest will be paid in crypto assets and stablecoins. Holders of $150,000 in their wallets will also be able to join a special program and consult with Cred’s Private Client Associates.

Crypto Borrowing and Lending Gaining More Traction

The partnership between Huobi and Cred comes at a time when crypto borrowing and lending are gaining more traction in the crypto industry. Back in January, one of the fastest-developing crypto lender that has a coin loan origination of $4.25 billion, Celsius Network, made the announcement that it will implement compounding interest in the cryptocurrencies being deposited in its wallet. Some other big names in the crypto lending industry are Nexo, BlockFi, SALT Lending and YouHolder.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Civic’s Hot Wallet to be Backed by $1M Insurance Policy Through Coincover Partnership

The non-custodial and multi-signature wallet Civic Wallet is now offering a $1 million insurance from Coincover.

Established as one of the biggest decentralized identity providers in the crypto industry, Civic Technologies (CVC), is the first non-custodial wallet company offering $1 million protection. At the moment, the wallet is in beta.

FDIC-Like Protection

The CEO and co-founder of Civic, Vinny Lingham, said the protection provided from the company is similar to the one from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Here are his exact words on this:

“This is the first time that both technical and non-technical users can feel safe about their holdings. Until now, people had to keep their coins in the cold storage, but now they don’t have to worry about it as their holdings are insured up to $1,000,000 just like a bank account with the FDIC.”

In the meantime, David Janczewski, the CEO of Coincover, said he’s not running an insurance company, but one for crypto security and protection.

Advantages of Multi-Signature Wallets and Civic

With Civic Wallet being multi-signature, the user stores 1 key, the custodian BitGo another one and Civic the third one, which will migrate to Coincover soon. This means that in case something happens with Civic, users coins won’t be lost.

Another great thing about it is that legal heirs can recover funds from the wallet, which only works for US residents at the moment but will expand at a global level and support all BitGo’s coins. The coverage offered by Civic is free for now, but Lingham said they may charge accounts with more than $1 million in cryptocurrency a fee.

Civic Wallet has to abide by strict Know Your Customer (KYC) rules by supplying user identification issued by governments and using facial recognition identification technology. Users won’t have to leave the wallet in order to buy crypto and connect bank accounts. The insurance couldn’t have had a better time to arrive, seeing cryptocurrencies held in wallets are growing day by day in numbers.

Users Will Automatically Qualify for the Insurance

The $1 million insurance will be automatically activated, so users won’t have to do anything in order to get it. The coins covered are Bitcoin (BTC), USDC and Ethereum (ETH), which will be stored and bought straight in the app, only with a bank account.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Apple Co-Founder Steve Job’s Widow Invested At Least $5M Into Telegram’s Controversial ICO

Telegram’s Open Network (TON) Initial coin Offering saw a few well known names as investors in the Gram tokens (GRAM) ICO project, such as Mikhail Abyzov, former Russian Minister of Open Government Affairs, Russian-Israeli billionaire Roman Abramovich, and Laurene Powell Jobs, Steve Jobs’s widow.

According to BlockTV, she was an early investor in the blockchain project. She invested $5 million or more since $5 million was the minimum amount for an entry in the pre-sale funding round. Laurene Powell Jobs inherited around $20 billion from her husband. Today, she’s a businesswoman, the social change organization Emerson Collective’s executive and a philanthropist.

Telegram Raised Around $1.7 Billion from the ICO

In 2018, Telegram managed to raise around $1.7 billion with its ICO. The company that has Pavel and Nikolai Durov as founders encountered some problems with the (SEC) and no longer launched the project. The SEC states there are thirty nine investors that were committed investors of the TON’s ICO.

Telegram Didn’t Register the Token Sale

The charge brought by the SEC against Telegram is that the token sale was never registered, which represents a violation of the law in the US. 1 billion GRAM was bought by American investors, at a price starting somewhere under $1. The total of tokens bought by 171 people and organizations from across the world was 2.9 billion tokens.

The US Markets Saturated with Illegal TON

Last year, the SEC stopped Telegram’s token offering, saying it doesn’t want the US markets to be flooded with tokens that were sold illegally. Here’s what Stephanie Avakian from the SEC’s Division of Enforcement had to say about the matter:

“We allege that the defendants have failed to provide investors with information regarding Grams and Telegram’s business operations, financial condition, risk factors, and management that the securities laws require.”

Telegram Still Launching a Blockchain Platform

In spite of all that happened, Telegram is still developing and planning on initiating their blockchain platform. In early 2020, the exchange released a notice of the TON and GRAM tokens to the public. Aside from Laurene Powell Jobs, Roman Abramovich, the Russian Israeli billionaire, and former Minister of Open Government Affairs in Russia, Mikhail Abyzov, also participated to the ICO.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Bitmain’s Founder Jihan Wu’s Crypto Startup Seeks $40M at $300M Valuation, A 3x Increase

Bitmain’s spin-off offering crypto trading solutions that was created an year ago is seeking to be valued at $300 million after its latest funding round, CoinDesk reports.

Matrixport which was started by Jihan Wu, Bitmain’s co-founder, is expecting to raise $40 million in its upcoming funding round which will see the firm’s value shoot to $300 million.

The startup reported a revenue of between $7 to $8 million last year and forecasts that this figure will be doubled before the end of this year. Bloomberg reports that the details about the firm’s financial performance and status was sent to investors in the form of a slide deck. The deck reveals that after the previous funding round, Matrixport saw its valuation stand at $114 million.

The firm which operates from Singapore is seeking funds to expand its cryptocurrency financial services solutions to serve the professional crypto traders and investors. The startup was hived from Bitmain last year at a time when the biggest developer of Bitcoin mining equipment sought to become a public trading company and was struggling with finances.

Matrixport provides crypto trading services solutions like custodial services, trading, payment products as well as services and loans to institutional customers, encompassing mining equipment suppliers, crypto lending firms, crypto exchange platforms, mining pools, as well as crypto funds.

The startup competes with American-based companies Genesis Global as well as BitGo. Other than Bitmain, Matrixport also has strategic partnership agreements with BTC.com, BITDEER, Antpool and CoinEX. The firm’s main shareholders are Wu Jihan and Bitmain.

The firm claims that it has more than $500 million of crypto assets within its custody. The firm has also generated about $100 million in terms of outstanding loans. When it comes to crypto trades, it has processed more than $500,000 since its inception last year. Most of the firm’s clients are miners and, as a result, it provides different risk management solutions to miners through derivatives contracts as well as structured products.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

R3 To Provide Blockchain Identity Solutions To Help Recover $48B In Unclaimed Pensions

Blockchain technology provider, R3 has revealed that it is working on offering pension companies with the requisite technology to develop fresh identity solutions built on blockchain which could enable savers to recoup part or all of $48 billion worth of lost pension pots in the UK, CoinDesk reports.

The head of R3’s digital identity unit, Abbas Ali, pension services providers are set to debut their solo solutions that will use R3 tech within this year.

According to a study by Profile Pensions, there are about 33 million people who have a pension in the UK. The study also shows that 24% of pension owners cannot trace at least one of their pension plans. As per the study, there are currently about 1.6 million pension pots which have been lost in the UK where averagely each is valued at £23,000. This means that there are about £37 billion or approximately US$48 billion pension which is unclaimed in the UK.

According to R3, the main challenge comes down to identity. Ali explained that the most costly and challenging aspect for pension services providers is user identification. The firm has to verify whether the user remains alive and if they are entitled to these funds every year.

Majority of pension services providers are left with no option other than mailing documents to the holder’s last known address as a way of verification. This leaves lots of loopholes as a verification process.

Ali explained that blockchain will provide the users with an opportunity to have control of the identification process. Rather than having identity profiles for every pension scheme that one has signed up to, users will only have a solitary identity profile that will contain verifiable details such as driving licenses or passports.

Ali also revealed that the new technology is being used by GROW Super, an Aussie pension startup that aids Australians to recoup unclaimed workplace pensions. Blockchain-based virtual identity is gaining traction in the world and its use in the insurance sector will no doubt lead to positive results.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

DeFi Startup Amber Raises $28M From Pantera, Coinbase To Expand Operations

The Hong Kong-based firm offering crypto finance services Amber Group has managed to raise $28 million in Series A round of funding.

The main investors were Pantera Capital, Paradigm, Coinbase Ventures, Polychain Capital, Fenbushi Capital and Blockchain.com. Dragonfly Capital invested as well. On Friday, Amber Group said the funds are going to be used to add fresh attributes to the platform and expand operations so that client demands are met. Here’s what Michael Wu, the CEO at Amber Group had to say about what the company is planning to do:

“While the industry has come a long way, there is still plenty of work to do in order to meet the growing demands of clients in a fragmented market. We’re thrilled to partner with some of the world’s leading investors and crypto companies to accelerate our mission of strengthening the crypto finance ecosystem.”

Amber Offers its Clients a Plethora of Services

Amber Group offers its clients services like collateralized lending, automated OTC trading and crypto electronic market making. It serves mining pools and companies, hedge funds, wallets and exchanges. The CEO and founder of Pantera Capital, Dan Morehead, had this to say about the investment its company made in Amber:

“Our most successful investments have been when we’ve found companies doing something better than we can ourselves. Amber dramatically improved our electronic execution across a wide spectrum of assets.”

Amber AI Was the First Ever Created Amber Structure

In 2015, Amber started as Amber AI, a company providing artificial intelligence algorithms for trading Chinese stocks and securities. In 2017, it switched to crypto as there were huge opportunities for arbitrage. They could, for example, buy from one exchange Bitcoin (BTC) for $7,300 and sell it on another exchange for $7,700, making this way a 5% profit. In the October – December 2017 time period, Amber gained 100% to 200% each month, even though its total assets were only a few millions of US dollars.

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Author: Oana Ularu

ErisX Now Provides Users Access to Etale’s Institutional Grade Data and Trading Solutions

ErisX has made on January 23 the announcement that it’s offering access to Etale’s institutional trading platform to its users.

This means ErisX members will be able to view market data in real-time, also to manage their account balance and to execute orders via a secure connection, just by using Etale’s API or front end.

The ErisX Platform to Use the Best In-Class Technology

Etale offers complete digital asset trading solutions to institutions, including exchange connectivity, accounting, order management and market data. Its execution algorithms are built on machine learning quantitative models that enable customers to achieve the best execution. This is what the head of product at ErisX, Ian Grieves, had to say about the Etale technology:

“We want to align the ErisX platform with best-in-class technology providers who will enhance the trading experience for our Members. We are impressed with the functionality of the Etale platform and pleased to work with them to offer our Members a high-quality solution to trade digital assets.”

Regarding the partnership, Etale’s CEO, Matthew Cushman, had this to say:

“Their [ErisX] familiar infrastructure for institutional investors, unified platform for spot and regulated futures as well as state and federal licenses to help protect market integrity make the ErisX offering an attractive marketplace.”

ErisX Intermediary-Friendly Model Has Made the Digital Asset Space More Secure

The intermediary-friendly model at ErisX has made the digital asset space more conventional and secure. At the moment, the platform operates a live market for Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH) and Litecoin (LTC). More than this, it also operates a regulated futures market for BTC futures that are physically delivered, planning to expand its futures offering in 2020.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Budweiser Brewer, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Uses Blockchain Technology To Help African Farmers Get Paid

The AB InBev Budweiser owner is offering African farmers the opportunity to prove their revenue by using a blockchain-based system that was developed in a partnership with BanQu.

The system tracks and replaces the AB InBev local suppliers and removes all the burden of paper trails. The giant company behind Budweiser, Corona, Stella Artois and others, AB InBev represents the most famous of beer brands. They help local suppliers receive tax breaks because they play a large part in the country’s economy. With the banking infrastructure in Africa being underdeveloped and based on paper, it has been challenging for AB InBev to help farmers in local rural areas.

BanQu Provides Blockchain Supply Chain Solutions

A company distinctive for offering solutions in blockchain supply chains, is BanQu. AB InBev has partnered with BanQu in order to use BanQu’s distributed ledger system that tracks the supply of barley and malt products from area farmers. This will also help farmers to provide their income information to banks, which will allow the farmer open lines of credits or bank accounts. Carlos Brito, the AB InBev CEO explained more about the situation:

“And now this farmer, who was never bankable — because she couldn’t prove income of any source, had no reports, or material or paperwork — now in a flip phone, she has in the blockchain proof that she is a supplier to AB InBev, a global company.”

Farmers Will Have Access to More Performant Farming Tools

Farmers will be able to make more money because they’ll be given loans. The system is also efficient against the corruption conducted by middlemen who don’t pay farmers what they are owed for shipments. With the tamper-proof blockchain-based technology, farmers will be able to prove how much money they need to receive.

The BanQu Product Has Been Implemented in Uganda and India

As noted by reports, the BanQu product has already been implemented in Uganda and India, even after in 2018 Binance opened its branch here, leading the central bank of the country to be very skeptical about decentralized cryptocurrencies. More than this, it has witnessed the famous Dunamis Coins pyramid crypto Ponzi scheme that has defrauded more than 10,000 people for about $2.5 million.

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Author: Oana Ularu