FCA: Thrill & Status-Seeking Young People Are Investing in Crypto; BIS Boss Calls for Regulation

FCA: Thrill & Status-Seeking Young People Are Investing in Crypto; BIS Boss Calls for Regulation

Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) says younger people seeking thrills are turning to high-risk crypto assets and foreign exchange though most of them are unable to absorb big losses.

The FCA shared the findings of its latest research that showed that new, younger, and more diverse groups of customers are getting involved in high-risk investments.

Reportedly, these consumers tend to be female, under 40, and from a BAME (Black, Asian, and minority ethnic) background, using social media for news and tips, said the agency.

“The research found that for many investors, emotions and feelings such as enjoying the thrill of investing, and social factors like the status that comes from a sense of ownership in the companies they invest in, were key reasons behind their decisions to invest.”

The FCA said it was launching a campaign to “disrupt” an investors’ journey by directing them to a high-return investments webpage covering key questions investors should be asking before investing.

“We are worried that some investors are being tempted – often through online adverts or high-pressure sales tactics – into buying higher-risk products that are very unlikely to be suitable for them.”

Sheldon Mills FCA Executive Director for Consumer and Competition

Online trading has been increasing ever since the pandemic that forced people to stay at home during lockdowns, and regulators have been issuing warnings to consumers about the risks of investing in crypto assets.

Agustin Carstens, the general manager of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), meanwhile called for regulation of crypto assets which he said are used as a “speculative vehicle.”

Many crypto assets are “used to do some arbitrage, or to circumvent some regulations,” and laws against money laundering and terrorism financing were “absent in many applications of some cyber currencies,” said Carstens in an interview with CNBC aired on Wednesday.

“I don’t see any dominance of cyber currencies,” he said, adding cryptos haven’t made “any inroads in terms of working as money.”

As for stablecoins, they have limited applications with the issue of backing; Carstens said, “I think we need to work on regulation so that these instruments are fit for purpose.”

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Author: AnTy

Coinbase Going Public Is A Watershed Moment for the Cryptocurrency Industry

Coinbase going public will be making some people very rich as institutions start to dominate exchange’s volumes, while CT was disappointed in the money-making crypto company having surprisingly small amounts of digital currencies in their treasury balance sheet.

Coinbase Global Inc. has filed with the US SEC for a direct listing on Nasdaq, and it has the crypto market excited, and the traditional markets are taking notice, as the financial statements of the company revealed that the exchange has been making a lot of money.

Interestingly, a good majority, 85% of the 130 companies that went public in the US last year, was unprofitable. But with Coinbase, the matter is altogether different.

San Francisco-based reported revenue of $1.28 billion in 2020 versus $533.7 million in 2019.

Given the record trading volume, the number of new users, as well as the crypto trading platforms it has been acquiring in just the two months of 2021 amidst the wild bull run, the revenue in the first quarter will be off the charts and is expected to surpass $2 billion, for the exchange.

This puts Coinbase with over a $100 billion valuation, more valuable than CME, ICE which owns the NYSE, CBOE, and Nasdaq.

ErikVoorheesCoinbase

Source: Twitter

This will certainly be making Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong, and its top executives, rich by billions of dollars as a result of this valuation, which would make it one of the biggest companies to go public since the social media giant Facebook.

The CEO owns 21.8% of the company’s voting power, followed by a16z’s Marc Andreessen at 14.2%, who owns twice as many shares as Armstrong, and co-founder Fred Ehsram 9%. In total, the 11-member board has the majority voting control.

coinbase-shares

Source: SEC Filing

To be listed under the ticker COIN, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, and Citigroup are the market makers who are also the advisors on the transaction with another addition Allen & Co.

One of the largest exchanges, Coinbase, reported 43 million verified users, steady growth from 23 million in Q1 of 2018. As for the transacting users, in Q4 of 2020, it was 2.8 million, nearly the same as 1Q18 at 2.7 million.

Unlike the transacting users, in 1Q18, when the market topped, Coinbase recorded $56 billion in trading volume, but during the last quarter, it was $89 billion.

The big difference has been in Coinbase’s volume by customer segment, as back in Q1 of 2018, retail dominated the exchange with more than an 80% share; it has completely changed to institutional accounting for 64% of volume in 4Q20.

Exciting & Embarrassing

Crypto Twitter (CT) has been excited about this development as Matt Huang, Co-founder at Paradigm, previously a partner at Sequoia, congratulated the company, “The Coinbase S-1 is just one step along the way toward building a legendary company… but still, one hell of a milestone.”

“This represents another major milestone in the development of the cryptocurrency industry,” tweeted Jay Hao, CEO of crypto exchange OKEx. “Coinbase’s S-1 filing will undoubtedly have a profound impact on the crypto market and usher in a new era of mainstream crypto adoption,” he added.

RobertLeshnerCoinbase

Source: Twitter

What really set off the CT was the fact that Coinbase, which started in 2012 when the price of BItcoin was about $5, holds only $130 million worth of BTC.

Square’s recently announced the purchase of $170 million worth BTC is more than this, and Coinbase’s BTC stash is nowhere even near Michael Saylor’s $2.171 billion bet on Bitcoin.

Besides having 55% of their modest crypto treasury, separate from cash and cash equivalents at $1.1 billion, the company has $24 million (10%) in Ethereum ETH -5.02% Ethereum / USD ETHUSD $ 1,446.93
-$72.64-5.02%
Volume 31.49 b Change -$72.64 Open $1,446.93 Circulating 114.84 m Market Cap 166.16 b
6 h Crypto Hedge Fund Arca is the Latest to Join the Crowd of Bitcoin Trust Issuers 6 h Coinbase Going Public Is A Watershed Moment for the Cryptocurrency Industry 7 h 1Inch Decentralized Exchange to Transition to Binance Smart Chain as Ethereum Exodus Begins
, $49 million (20%) in USDC stablecoin USDC -0.02% USD Coin / USD USDCUSD $ 1.00
$0.00-0.02%
Volume 2.46 b Change $0.00 Open $1.00 Circulating 8.59 b Market Cap 8.59 b
6 h Coinbase Going Public Is A Watershed Moment for the Cryptocurrency Industry 1 w Private Aviation Company Sees 20% Revenue Coming from Bitcoin Paying Users 1 w You Can Now Buy Bitcoin with Apple Pay as BitPay Adds Support
, and $34 million (15%) in other altcoins.

Given that Coinbase is a cryptocurrency-centered company, some even called this crypto stash “embarrassing.”

But many expect Amrstong, Ehsram, and other early backers to own heavy Bitcoin BTC -4.15% Bitcoin / USD BTCUSD $ 46,344.77
-$1,923.31-4.15%
Volume 351 b Change -$1,923.31 Open $46,344.77 Circulating 18.64 m Market Cap 863.85 b
5 h A “BIG Deal:” Stone Ridge Files to Add Bitcoin to its Diversified Alternatives Fund 6 h Crypto Hedge Fund Arca is the Latest to Join the Crowd of Bitcoin Trust Issuers 6 h Coinbase Going Public Is A Watershed Moment for the Cryptocurrency Industry
and crypto bags personally.

Coinbase going public, meanwhile, is also expected to be bullish for other exchanges and their tokens. “I think the bigger the Coinbase IPO gets, the better for exchange tokens. Doesn’t matter that owning an exchange token ≠ actually owning stock. Just matters that a lot of people will feel priced out of coinbase” noted trader DonAlt.

As we reported, US-based Kraken is also planning to raise funds that could more than double its valuation and surpass $20 billion.

Interestingly, in its filing with the SEC, Coinbase also mentions that they do not maintain a headquarter as of May 2020 and that they have become a remote-first company.

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Author: AnTy

Interest in Buying Crypto Has Never been This High

People are just as interested in searching for “how to buy crypto” and DeFi as per Google Trends.

The cryptocurrency fever is spreading, as we have seen since last year. But in 2021, it is only getting hotter and hotter.

Besides the new user-ups, traffic, and increasing volumes on cryptocurrency exchanges, the search interest for the related terms on Google has been taking a shot to the moon as well.

Interest in the search term “buy crypto” has climbed to its highest level ever worldwide. In the US, while people are searching to ‘buy crypto’ at never seen before levels, during the last bull run, it only had a reading of 38 compared to 75, on a scale of 0-100, in the first week of 2018 worldwide.

People are just as interested in knowing “how to buy crypto,” which started seeing a small uptick in November only to gain momentum this year, going from a reading of 15 at the beginning of the year to now 100.

During the last bull run, the interest wasn’t even half what we see this time, at least in the US.

Not to mention, people on TikTok still haven’t lost their interest in sending altcoins like DOGE to the moon, to $1, while the coin has already lost more than 60% of its value since the pump last week to above $0.08.

Interest in the term “DeFi” has also beaten the 2020 summer levels on Google Trends in the US and is ready to do so worldwide.

Price-wise, DeFi is the one that is stealing the show yet again, which has the total value locked rising to above $27 billion.

Sushiswap (SUSHI) has actually rallied 30%, while Uniswap (UNI) also gained over 10%. However, despite the latest surge, the top two DEXs continue to trade at relatively low price multiples compared to their peers.

Uniswap is currently trading at 18x based on price/sales ratio, with annualized revenue of over $1 billion, while Sushiswap is trading at a mere 7x, with an annualized revenue of $ 430 million.

In 2020, so far, the notable gainers include COVER (6,151%), ALPHA (837%), BADGER (533%), CREAM (344%), 1INCH (319%), CRV (311%), UNI (297%), and AAVE (221%).

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Author: AnTy

European Central Bank (ECB) Member: ‘Not Sure Why People Invest’ in Crypto Assets

European Central Bank (ECB) Member: ‘Not Sure Why People Invest’ in Crypto Assets

Central bank members are back with their warnings regarding Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.

Much like any other time, the warnings remain the same — be prepared to “lose all their money” for crypto investors.

This time the warning came from European Central Bank governing council member Gabriel Makhlouf.

The latest warning from a central banker on the cryptocurrency on Friday when Makhlouf, who is also governor of Ireland’s central bank, said, “Personally, I’m not sure why people invest in those sorts of assets, but they see them as assets clearly.”

“Our role is to make sure that consumers are protected,” he added.

Makhlouf doesn’t see any “financial stability issues at the moment arising from Bitcoin itself” but said the concern is more about the consumer “making the right choices.”

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Author: AnTy

Argentina Passes the ‘Solidarity’ Law to Confiscate Wealth

Argentina has approved the wealth tax that will impose a tariff on people with large fortunes in an attempt to boost its revenue. The third-largest economy in Latin America struggling with high inflation and an increase in poverty is heading into its third year of recession.

The “Social Solidarity and Productive Reactivation” Bill was already passed by the lower house and late on Friday, Senators also gave its nod with 42 votes in favor and 26 against.

“This law will allow Argentina to move forward because the situation is really serious,” the Committee on Budget and Finance president Carlos Caserio said. “The emergency declaration is the way to get out of this problem quickly.”

It involves a one-time tax of at least 2% on individuals with assets of more than 200 million pesos ($2.45 million), through which the government aims to collect about $3.7 billion.

“We must find points of connection between those who have the most to contribute and those who are in need,” said ruling party Senator Anabel Fernandez Sagasti on Twitter.

image1

“When QE is no more sufficient, seize it directly from the people. All in the name of Covid,” wrote one Bitcoiner on Twitter.

The proceeds from the tax will be used for medical supplies (20%), SMEs (20%), “social developments” (15%), student scholarships (20%), and natural gas development programs (25%).

“Bitcoin is the only exit door from this nonsense,” added the crypto enthusiast.

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Author: AnTy

Nouriel Roubini and Peter Schiff Can’t Stop Talking About Bitcoin Day In, Day Out

2020 has been all about people coming out of fiat’s influence and finding the importance of Bitcoin. But among these high-profile names, celebrities, legendary investors who have found love for Bitcoin do not include Nouriel Roubini and Peter Schiff.

These two people have been bashing Bitcoin for a decade now; either they like to be wrong way too much or are just holding Bitcoin secretly while keeping up with the appearances.

Like a broken record, they started calling names to the leading cryptocurrency yet again as BTC took a drop of 17% to nearly $16,300. Since October, the loss came after a new 2020 high of $19,500, a rally of more than 85%. Even now, BTC is up 135% YTD.

In his latest attempt to do… something, Peter Schiff, a gold proponent, attributed this rally to CNBC promoting Grayscale and covering Bitcoin non-stop positively, which led “greedy speculators” to jump in.

Meanwhile, Nouriel Roubini felt the need to share, yet again, that it is not a currency. A highly volatile store of value, “Bitcoin has no role in institutional or retail investors portfolios,” he said.

“In every bubble those who don’t participate always look like fools for missing out. It’s only after the bubbles pop and the air comes out that the real fools are exposed,” said Shiff in another tweet.

If only he would have just put his investment in Bitcoin, like his son, if not done already, that is, instead of seeing these declines after explosive rallies as a way to criticize bitcoin, he would have been buying the dips and accumulating wealth.

According to him, once bitcoin’s bubble deflates, “the real gold remains the best safe haven and store of value left standing.”

He didn’t share with his followers that ever since making a new all-time high above $2,000, the price of the precious metal has declined more than 13% to $1,800.

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Author: AnTy

Poker Websites Buying Millions of Dollars Worth of BTC Per Day to Meet Crazy High Customer Demand

Bitcoin is helping people get hilariously rich as it continues to surge. According to Bloomberg, online gamblers have also taken to cashing out in BTC to get their winnings bigger and bigger.

Winning Power Network, which operates AmericasCardRoom.eu is one of the poker websites that reported buying millions of dollars worth of Bitcoin a day from the over-the-counter (OTC) trading desks in recent weeks to meet the demands of its players, which is dominated by Americans despite online poker being illegal in most states, said Chief Executive Phil Nagy. He said,

“Right now, 90-95% of our payouts are people asking for Bitcoin because it’s going up.”

“We are constantly having to go out and buy Bitcoin — lots. Lots. More than we’ve even had to before.”

More than 60% of its transaction volume, which is about $100 million a month, is currently in Bitcoin. Due to this crazy high demand, brokers are charging up to a 1.5% premium.

This makes sense given that Bitcoin beats the traditional asset by a wide margin, up 150% YTD reaching $18,600, a level last seen right around the peak of December 2017.

While before this rally, 60 of WPN’s customers were cashing out in Bitcoin, this has now shot over 90%.

Poker sites have been accepting Bitcoin since 2014. Just last year, a Guinness World Record for the largest crypto jackpot in online poker was set for $1 million.

In 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic, the poker business exploded, growing a whopping 43%, as people were stuck home with business shutdowns as part of the lockdown measures.

WPN, whose long-term customers can make both the deposits and withdrawals in Bitcoin, doesn’t hold it but instead converts BTC into fiat right away. Nagy said,

“When Bitcoin drops or does something significant, inevitably, we have people send us $100,000 or $200,000 in Bitcoin because it’s the fastest way to liquidate it.”

“And we are kind of stuck with it.”

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Author: AnTy

Game of Thrones’ Maisie Williams Name Drops Bitcoin; Did Arya Stark Help Propel BTC’s Run Today?

It is no wonder that as Bitcoin continues to rip higher and higher, more and more people are name dropping the leading digital currency. Currently trending on Twitter with 167,000 tweets.

The latest is Maisie Williams, known for her role of Arya Stark in the popular Game of Thrones series.

On Monday, she asked her 2.7 million followers on Twitter, whether she should “go long on Bitcoin.”

This got the crypto community started with memes and encouraging her to go in Bitcoin. Even Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who is also a Bitcoin proponent, joined in with his “Toss a bitcoin to ur Witcher.”

With a few hours still left in the voting, out of the current 889,833 votes, the majority, 53.6%, voted against going long on BTC.

Going long on an investment means purchasing with the expectation that it will go up in the future, while shorting is expecting it to decline in value.

This has been while the leading digital asset is up about 22% in November and 56% in the fourth quarter of 2020.

Just today, we hit just shy of $17,800, a level last seen on Jan. 7, 2018. But market participants still believe we are way short of the bubble levels, which saw BTC hitting the all-time high of $20,000 in 2017.

“While reversals are entirely possible, the best assets trade like this. Overboughtness can be cyclical and reversible, but it can also be sustained for long periods, especially for high growth assets,” noted Charlie Morris of ByteTree.

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Author: AnTy

Bitcoin Comes to the Rescue of Nigerian Protesters as Account Gets Suspended

It’s been more than a week now that people across Nigeria have been protesting against police brutality and demand reform and accountability.

The younger generations are using social media to document the event in real life to amplify their cause and counter false narratives.

The youth-led rallies in several parts of the countries target the federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). Authorities have announced that SARS will be disbanded, but the promise is not enough to quell the anger.

Nigerians continue to protest and fight for accountability, calling for an end to police violence and a complete overhaul of the system.

As part of the protests, various organizations have been asking for support. One such activist, the Feminist Coalition Group, which has managed large funds, reported having its accounts suspended.

“For demanding an end to police brutality, we are now under attack! Our bank account has been deactivated, and so has the Flutterwave donation link. Our members lives are also being threatened!” it was written on twitter earlier this week.

Amidst this attack, Bitcoin came to the rescue as the official twitter account of Nigerian feminists fighting against the injustice of SARS through peaceful protests, fundraising, and social media organization shared the option to donate with BTC.

The platform accepts BTC through BTC Pay Server, a self-hosted cryptocurrency payment processor, which is a “free, secure, and censorship-resistant platform.”

Already, over 180 transactions have been made to their addresses and raised about $10,800 (0.94749255 BTC) at the current BTC price.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, a Bitcoin proponent, also mentioned the protest in several tweets and asked people to donate via BTC to support the protest.

“Donate via Bitcoin to help EndSARS,” tweeted Dorsey.

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Author: AnTy

Trader Calls for an Extended DeFi Winter for the Best Performing Assets of 2020

The decentralized finance (DeFi) rage made many people in the crypto community very rich. With DeFi tokens surging by as much as 10,000% and more, they have become the best-performing assets of 2020, so far.

2020 saw everything from stocks, bonds, and commodities flying, hitting new all-time highs (ATH). But nothing compares to the success of DeFi.

In the macro, the YTD returns have been: gold 25% and S&P 500 2.62%.

In the crypto market, Bitcoin recorded 45.7% returns YTD. The center of the DeFi world, Ether, which according to Bloomberg strategist Mike McGlone, “appears to be maintaining its platform leadership status” meanwhile rallied 160%.

Now, in the DeFi market, the top year-to-date performers include Cream (+98,900%), Aave (+2,617%), YFI (+2,144%), Loopring (+953%), and Melon Protocol (+877%).

Crypto assets performed well during the Covid-19 crisis thanks to Bitcoin becoming a “refuge” like gold and offering a store of value amidst the concerns of fiat devaluation, weakening dollar, and inflation propelled by huge stimulus injections to counter the pandemic.

“A purely ethereal instrument performs well when the real economy is on pause,” said Marc Fleury, CEO of crypto asset management and fintech firm Two Prime.

As for DeFi solutions, they basically port financial functions like lending, borrowing, trading, earnings, and insuring on blockchains.

DeFi also led to a surge in interest in Ethereum contracts, with 5.2 million ETH now locked in the sector, as per DeFi Pulse.

“Retail cryptocurrency users have increasingly turned to derivatives to maximize their returns,” said Aziz Zainuddin, chief product officer of Fasset.

Time for a Break?

However, recently the growth of DeFi is slowing down. On Sept. 18, the DeFi collateral levels reached over $13.2 billion from less than $700 million at the start of the year.

This week, the losses recorded by DeFi tokens have the TVL of DeFi declining to $6.3 billion, currently around $8 billion.

While the deposits are struggling to get back up, the price of the tokens has been taking a hard beating for the past few days.

In the past seven days, DeFi projects have lost a considerable amount of their value, including Swerve (65%), Rune (59%), Balancer (32%), UMA (30%), YFI (30%), Bancor (25%), and Curve (20%) to name a few.

“Been expecting a DeFi mini-winter since two weeks ago, but the kind of obnoxious shit that happened last few days makes think we are headed for a much longer winter. Could easily be invalidated by price action but need to be mentally prepared whether you’re an investor or founder,” said entrepreneur and quant trader, Qiao Wang.

While the past week, the largest DEX by volume Uniswap launched its much anticipated token UNI, this week, a group of large accounts were caught dumping their coin.

This week, we also saw Curve fork Swerve’s TVL crashing from over a billion-dollar last week to a mere $44 million today.

But while the Defi bull market might take a pause, the builders aren’t stopping

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Author: AnTy