World’s Largest Index Provider Is Looking Into “Direct Exposure” to Cryptocurrencies says CEO

World’s Largest Index Provider Is Looking Into “Direct Exposure” to Cryptocurrencies says CEO

Henry Fernandez, Chairman, and CEO of the world’s biggest index provider MSCI Inc. which is also developing some cryptocurrency indices and products, said in an interview with Bloomberg that they are actively looking into the crypto space.

“We’re still exploring a variety of options and talking to a number of partners, but we’re very bullish on digital assets on the blockchain technology associated with it, obviously including cryptocurrencies. I think they have a role to play in the world. And we’re looking at that. We’re looking at it from the point of you know about direct exposure to the various types of currencies.”

In June, Fernandez had said that the global securities index publisher is considering offering indices based on crypto assets and has been talking to experts about it.

MSCI publishes popular indexes for equities and other securities, which helped asset managers and investors allocate $14.5 trillion in assets globally by the end of last year.

In its recent expansion of offerings, MSCI launched 20 thematic indexes on “megatrends” in China this year to help investors guide their capital into projects in alignment with the Chinese government’s policy goals.

In this week’s interview, besides talking about crypto, Fernandez also shook off concerns about the “investability” of Chinese stocks following Beijing’s recent regulatory crackdown, pointing to previous instances where markets rebounded in the aftermath.

Regulatory compliance has weighed on China “every three, four, five years and obviously the markets have sold off at the time. But very quickly afterward, the markets have recovered and gone through to new heights,” he said.

“There is a lot of criticism on China in terms of lack of compliance,” and it is now going through a corrective phase, Fernandez said, adding: “Countries go through periods like this.”

China also cracked down on cryptocurrency mining and leverage trading in the country that led to a deep sell-off in the crypto asset prices in May and June; however, since then, they have rebounded sharply and are now making moves towards their all-time highs.

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Author: AnTy

World’s Leading Index Provider Launches Three New Digital Asset Indices

S&P Dow Jones Indices, the world’s leading index provider, which is behind S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average, has officially launched its new series of digital asset benchmarks, the S&P Digital Market Indices.

These new indices will be measuring the performance of cryptocurrencies. It covers the top two cryptos, with additional coins to be included later this year.

At launch, it includes three indexes, including S&P Bitcoin Index, S&P Ethereum Index, and S&P Cryptocurrency MegaCap Index; the last one will measure the performance of BTC and Ether.

The indices will use pricing data from crypto software and data provider Lukka.

With these indices, S&P Dow Jones aims to make it easier for investors to access the emerging asset class while potentially mitigating some common risks in this “speculative market” and bringing transparency to what it calls an “exciting” market.

“Traditional financial markets and digital assets are no longer mutually exclusive markets,” said Peter Roffman, Global Head of Innovation and Strategy at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “As cryptocurrency becomes more mainstream, investors now have access to reliable and transparent benchmarks backed by institutional quality pricing data.”

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Author: AnTy

Telecom Provider Serving Latin American Countries Now Accept Crypto as Payment

A leading telecommunications provider, GoldConnect, is now accepting Bitcoin as payment.

With locations in 17 Latin American countries, the company announced this week that it would be accepting cryptocurrency payments through its new LatamConnect platform.

Cryptos will be accepted through BitPay, the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency payment service provider. The service provider will manage the process, receive crypto from the customer, and deposit cash into the company’s account. Shaun Worley, Vice President of Product at BitPay said,

“Our goal at BitPay is to make accepting crypto a seamless process and increase adoption as crypto is the future of payments.”

This expansion will allow GoldConnect to attract new customers and address the increasing demand for flexible and easy-to-use crypto payments. Jeremy Villalobos, COO at GoldConnect, said,

“As a disruptive telecom provider in the LATAM region, we must continuously embrace the latest technologies and business methods to improve the interaction and experience of our clients.”

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Author: AnTy

Vermont-Based Teucrium Files Bitcoin Futures Proposal With The SEC

Popular agricultural exchange-traded fund (ETF) provider Teucrium is joining a long queue of Bitcoin ETF hopefuls.

Teucrium Makes First Crypto Filing

The filing made on Thursday to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) looks to track a benchmark of Bitcoin futures contracts. If approved, the proposed ETF named Teucrium Bitcoin Futures Fund (BCFU) will be publicly tradable on New York Stock Exchange’s subsidiary Arca.

According to Teucrium, the BCFU would provide a cost-effective means through which investors can gain exposure to the volatile asset class. The Vermont-based ETF issuer also said that the proposed fund might show a disparity of figures between its shares and the spot price of Bitcoin as it is tracking the cost of the Benchmark Bitcoin Futures Contract and not directly investing in the digital asset.

This is the first crypto asset ETF proposal the agricultural ETF provider has filed. Its repository offers investors access to agricultural produce ETFs like Teucrium Soybean Fund, Teucrium Sugar Fund, Teucrium Wheat Fund, Teucrium Corn Fund, and the Teucrium Agricultural Fund.

Bitcoin ETFs have become the new mania in the US, given the surge of cryptocurrencies in the past few months. The world’s oldest cryptocurrency, which traded as low as $6,000 in 2018, has surged to over $64,000 three years after rising 90% in 2021 alone.

This exponential growth has seen the nascent industry cross the trillion-dollar mark in a few years.

Institutional investments have aided the growth of cryptocurrencies, but the underlying risks and volatility have made many others stand by the sidelines watching.

This is primarily due to the lack of regulatory oversight by the US government, and the regulatory uncertainty surrounding these virtual currencies has not helped issues.

ETFs are expected to serve as an indirect means to gain exposure to digital assets. A Bitcoin ETF would enable investors to track the price of BTC without necessarily worrying about the storage and other related complexities of owning digital assets.

Futures, on the other hand, would focus on the future price of the tracked asset.

One of the well-known futures issuers in the crypto space is the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) which launched Bitcoin Futures in 2017 and Bitcoin Micro Futures in 2021. It also launched Ethereum Futures in Feb of this year.

SEC Not Ready To Approve Bitcoin ETFs

Despite the growing proposals on the SEC’s table, there has not been any indication that the regulator will approve any filing anytime soon.

The recent appointment of former MIT scholar Gary Gensler seemed promising, but the recent comments of the former crypto instructor have left little to be desired.

In a recent interview with CNBC, Gensler noted that the crypto market is highly “speculative” and needs to be regulated.

Teucrium joins a long list of ETFs like VanEck, NYDIG, and Anthony Scaramucci’s SkyCapital looking for approval.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Software Provider Temenos Enables Crypto Trading for Banks

Banking software provider Temenos has announced a partnership with online digital asset firm Taurus to enable access to cryptocurrency for financial institutions.

Per its press release, the integration would make it easier for banks to offer cryptocurrency trading to their clients via Taurus’ platform.

Temenos Leveraging Taurus Blockchain Expertise

This will see Temenos’ banking clients exposed to a plethora of blockchain solutions like Taurus-CAPITAL (tokenization and lifecycle management), Taurus-PROTECT (hot, warm, cold digital asset custody), and Taurus-EXPLORER (API-based blockchain connectivity to ten blockchain protocols).

All this will now be accessible through the Temenos MarketPlace.

Temenos notes that Taurus was selected after a thorough review and evaluation process to help banks seamlessly integrate all forms of digital assets across cryptocurrencies, tokenized assets, and digital currencies.

Taurus will be integrated with Temenos’ next-generation core banking software called Temenos Transact.

Speaking on the occasion, Managing Partner at Taurus Sebastien Dessimoz noted that there had been an increase in demand for digital assets since 2020.

According to Dessimoz, Taurus’ blockchain expertise would aid Temenos clients in managing any digital asset and creating digital products easily.

Geneva-based Taurus received a securities license from the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) to launch the regulated crypto marketplace dubbed the Taurus Digital Exchange (TDX).

Taurus said that TDX would enable investors and banks to trade tokenized securities, private assets, real estate, art, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and cryptocurrencies.

Taurus is a seasoned blockchain company as it offers services for cryptocurrencies, including staking and decentralized finance (DeFi), tokenized assets, and digital assets, all within its platform.

Taurus Integrates Aave

Taurus has continued to grow its product suite. In March 2021, the Swiss digital asset provider added DeFi protocol Aave to its asset infrastructure. The integration would enable banks and exchanges to deposit and borrow cryptocurrencies like Ether.

Aave, a DeFi protocol catering to both institutional and retail users, facilitates borrowing and lending of digital assets has experienced exponential growth alongside the broader crypto market.

Banks are gradually warming up to decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols like Aave, as the amount of funds locked up in DeFi protocols rises above the $80 billion mark, per DeFi Pulse.

In a research paper published earlier this month by Netherlands-based ING Bank, it was agreed that both centralized and decentralized financial systems need to co-exist to achieve success. The paper states:

“Although DeFi currently appears to be a domain on its own, we envision that centralized and decentralized financial services will converge at some stage as both have unique capabilities that are beneficial to the other. There is, however, the challenge for centralized institutions of making sure that their assets stay within countries that are white-listed.”

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Author: Jimmy Aki

JPMorgan Piloting Blockchain-based Payment Solution in Asia

American investment bank and financial services provider JPMorgan, on Monday, April 12, launched ‘Confirm,’ a blockchain solution to reduce the number of rejected or returned payments.

‘Confirm’ Validates Transactions In ‘Near Real-time’

Following the launch, the US bank is now test-running the blockchain solution with 12 banks in Taiwan. The financial institutions include CTBC Bank, Taiwan Cooperative Bank, and First Commercial Bank.

As part of the test run, the banks were required to transfer money to Indonesia, using JPMorgan’s clearing solution – ‘PayDirect.’

Disclosing this development to the investing public, the banks which were used as case studies, according to JPMorgan, were able to request and receive confirmation of beneficiaries’ account information in ‘near-real-time.’

According to the US banking giant, there are numerous risks attached to transaction failures in the blockchain market, some of which are -a heightened risk of fraud, increment in cost from payment returns, and poor customer experience because of delays in processing payments.

Why this solution is timely for digital asset holders

In the blockchain industry, transactions are mostly seamless as cryptocurrency transactions are often done without problems. But there are instances where unsuccessful and failed transactions are recorded. In situations where failed transactions occur, one of the most common reasons is ‘fees.’

It is pertinent to note that the fees asset holders input in their transactions is collected by miners, who are shouldered with the responsibility of confirming transactions on the network.

These fees are used to determine the priority of each transaction as far as blockchain is concerned. Meaning that the higher the fee, the higher the level of importance placed on a transaction, and vice-versa. So, if the price an asset holder includes is too low, there are chances that miners will not consider such a transaction worthwhile to validate. And the most common consequence of this is rejection.

While no data is accessible at press time to confirm the rate at which traders experience failure in their transactions, there are indications most of the transactions that suffered rejection were because of the injected fee. More so, when a low price is used during the period that a network is experiencing congestion, there is a likelihood that it will not be successful. Due to how the blockchain is designed, miners are the only ones that determine every transaction’s status.

However, with ‘Confirm,’ JPMorgan brings a solution aiming to reduce failed transactions and increase successful ones.

Through a secure peer-to-peer network in the blockchain industry, trading entities can request an account’s validation before payment initiation. They can also respond to requests for account owner and status or participate as both a requestor and a responder.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Ledger Wallet And Shopify Face Class-Action Suit After Rogue Employee Leaks User Data

Crypto wallet provider Ledger and its e-commerce partner Shopify are in for a tough year.

Both firms are defendants of a class-action lawsuit filed against them following the aftermath of a phishing attack that saw a quarter-million of their customers’ details exposed online.

The lawsuit, which is the first of many, was filed by law firm Roche Freedman for John Chu and Edward Baton in California on April 6.

Shopify’s Employee Stole Customer Details

According to the 43-page document, the complaints allege that the defendants had been negligent in their duties of safeguarding customer’s personal details between April and June 2020.

The plaintiffs also ask for commensurate compensation for the damages incurred from the data breach and have asked the court to grant all relief allowed by law, including injunctive relief.

According to John Chu, he saw BTC and ETH worth over $267,000 stolen from his digital wallet, and Baton said that he lost $75,000 worth of XLM through phishing scams.

The duo claims to have been deceived by correspondence from the defendants.

Ledger and Shopify later identified the leak’s source as one of Shopify’s employees who shared full customer names, email, phone numbers, and shipping address on the database sharing website RaidForums. Following this, customers said they got strange calls and were threatened by unknown persons.

Ledger CEO Pascal Gauthier tweeted to reassure customers of the safety of their funds. He also assured that no hardware wallet was affected by the attacks.

Even though it’s been almost a year, the plaintiffs insist that the companies failed to notify affected customers or admit the full scope of the breach.

Speaking to The Block, Kyle Roche said the investigation had begun since the news of the breach became public knowledge. He said experts in the data security and cryptocurrency fields were consulted before any action was taken against the defendants.

In a July 2020 blog post, Ledger tried unsuccessfully to explain the breach admitting that only 9,500 users were affected by the attacks.

It published another blog post in the opening weeks of 2021, notifying customers about the changes they will be initiated in a bid to protect client’s data better. The cold storage wallet provider also admitted that its earlier number of affected customers was way off and said that the culprit leaked roughly 272,000 customer data.

It said it was creating a 10 BTC bounty fund for information that could lead to the culprits’ arrest.

Roche Freedman Is Crypto’s Bane

Even as the adoption of crypto has grown in a little over a year, many issues have cropped up. One of the most prevalent being malicious attacks that led to losses of digital assets by crypto owners.

US law firm Roche Freedman has been quite active in the past year as cases of retail investors seeing their crypto assets stolen due to the negligence of their service provider have grown.

In a report by investigative outlet OffshoreAlert, Roche Freedman filed 11 class-action lawsuits against 42 defendants. According to the filing, the listed parties were said to have allowed the investing public to trade unregulated cryptocurrencies.

The affected parties included popular exchanges like Binance, TRON, KuCoin, BitMEX, and others. Their company chiefs were not left out, with Binance founder Changpeng Zhao (CZ), Brendan Blumer, Dan Larimer, Vinny Lingham, and BitMEX co-founder and former CEO Arthur Hayes made the list.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

NYDIG Files for a Bitcoin ETF with the SEC with Morgan Stanley as Authorized Participant

Bitcoin trading and custody services provider NYDIG has filed for a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Morgan Stanley will serve as the proposed authorized participant, as per the NYDIG’s S-1 filing published on Tuesday. Authorized Participants are expected to sell shares to the public at prices that reflect the value of the Trust’s assets, supply and demand for the shares, and market conditions at the time of a transaction reads the document.

If approved, it will trade on the NYSE Arca exchange.

The investment objective of the Trust is to “reflect the performance of the price of bitcoin less the expenses of the Trust’s operations,” but won’t seek to mirror the performance of any index, says the filing.

The subsidiaries – NYDIG Asset Management LLC is the sponsor of the trust, and NYDIG Trust Company LLC would be the custodian of the digital asset.

“Shareholders who decide to buy or sell Shares of the Trust will place their trade orders through their brokers and may incur customary brokerage commissions and charges. Such trades may occur at a premium or discount relative to the net asset value (“NAV”) of the Shares of the Trust.”

NYDIG is the latest in the line of firms filing for a Bitcoin ETF [Accelerate and VanEck], which many are expecting to be approved this year, while JPMorgan strategists believe a Bitcoin ETF approval would have negative implications for the price in the short-term by eroding Grayscale’s GBTC’s effective monopoly status and causing a cascade of GBTC outflows.

No Bitcoin ETF has been approved by the SEC to date.

Just last week, the first publicly traded Bitcoin ETF was approved in North America by Canada’s financial regulator, the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC).

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Author: AnTy

Australian Crypto Payments Service Provider, Banxa, Set to Go Public in Canada

Banxa, an Australian based fiat-crypto payments service provider, is set to list on the Canadian Stock Exchange this December. The shares of this crypto startup will begin trading on the Canadian VC marketplace dubbed ‘TSX Venture Exchange,’ an ecosystem run by TMX Group, which is also in charge of the Toronto Stock Exchange.

According to the initial reporting by a local Financial Review Street talk section, Banxa will be listed on TSX Venture Exchange with an estimated market cap of $50 million. Notably, the firm had already received a green light from Canadian authorities to debut within this jurisdiction. Banxa touted the listing as the first of its kind for a crypto payments provider. Domenic Carosa, the founder and Chairman of Banxa, informed the publication that,

“Our TSX listing will make Banxa the first crypto Payment Service Provider (PSP) to be listed in the world, bringing well-needed transparency and governance to the crypto sector.”

The Aussie crypto startup has been operational for around six years and now enjoys the backing of heavyweights, including OKGroup, Alium Capital, and Alex Waislitz’s Thorney. Some of its clients include prominent exchanges and digital wallet providers like Shapeshift, Abra, Kucoin, OKEx, and Binance. Banxa has raised around $5 million pre-IPO, holding its series A funding earlier in the year.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Nexus Mutual Expands Beyond DeFi, Now Provides Insurance Cover for CeFi

DeFi insurance provider Nexus Mutual has announced Custody Cover’s launch for the users of centralized exchanges and custodians. This means users can now purchase the insurance cover for the funds put into an organization to safely keep their crypto assets’ private keys on behalf of them.

It will cover the users if the custodian gets hacked and the user loses more than 10% of their funds or if withdrawals have been halted for more than three months. Initially, six custodians are supported: BlockFi, Nexo, Celcius, inLock, Ledn, and Hodlnaut.

Nexus Mutual’s second and the latest product aims to “provide protection outside of the DeFi space.” In the long-term, the idea is to cover risks both in and outside the crypto space.

“Having trustless coverage for CeFi services is hugely market expansionary for DeFi,” said the head of research at the crypto fund, The Spartan Group.

A building block for the broader ecosystem, Custody Cover is working towards encouraging more widespread adoption and DeFi onboarding by helping protect newcomers, said the team. A partner of the crypto fund, The Spartan Group, noted,

“Given the amount of assets sitting with CeFi lenders, this move could scale Nexus’ active cover by a multiple of current cover. Potentially very accretive to NXM over time.”

This DeFi project has about $100 million in TVL (total value locked), while its token NXM is trading at $23.90.

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Author: AnTy