Bakkt to Become a NYSE-Listed Publicly Traded Company with a $2.1 Billion Valuation

Bakkt to Become a NYSE-Listed Publicly Traded Company with a $2.1 Billion Valuation

Renamed Bakkt Holdings, the company appointed new CEO Gavin Michael from Citi bank as it prepares to launch its App in March.

Bitcoin trading platform Bakkt is now becoming a publicly-traded company with a value of $2.1 billion and will be listed on the New York State Exchange with renamed Bakkt Holdings.

Launched during the bear market of 2018 by Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), Bakkt investors will roll their equity into the combined company, with ICE contributing an additional $50 million in capital.

This is made possible through its merger with Victor VPC Impact Acquisition Holdings that completed its initial public offering in September 2020. Together, they aim to grow Bakkt’s “market-leading position in digital assets.”

The company also announced a new CEO, Gavin Michael, former head of technology of Citi’s Global Consumer Bank, as it focuses on the rollout of its consumer application. Meanwhile, interim CEO David Clifton will sit on the Board of Directors.

The new Bakkt App, to be rolled out in March 2021, will allow the users to buy, sell, store, and spend digital assets. Michael said,

“The average consumer holds a wealth of digital assets but rarely tracks their value and lacks the tools to manage and utilize them.”

“I’m excited to join the management team of a company, at this important time in its expansion, whose vision is to bring trust and transparency to digital assets through innovation and technology and, through that process, unlock trillions of dollars currently held in customer and loyalty accounts and allow consumers to put them to work.”

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Author: AnTy

JPMorgan: Corporate Demand for Bitcoin Is A Strong Vote of Confidence for its Future

The tables have turned.

As Bitcoin gets special attention from the publicly traded companies, the banking giant’s views are also changing about the leading digital asset.

According to JPMorgan, Jack Dorsey’s Payment company Square investing $50 million investment in Bitcoin is a “strong vote of confidence for the future of bitcoin.”

What started with MicroStrategy, the first publicly-traded company to put $475 million worth of Bitcoin in its Treasury, has gained strength with Square’s 1% bitcoin allocation. Yesterday, $10 billion asset manager Stone Ridge also announced that it had made BTC its primary treasury reserve asset.

According to the bank’s strategists, including Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou, this signals that Square sees a “lot of potential” for the cryptocurrency as an asset.

Not only it expects Square to make more BTC purchases in the future, but it also expects other payments companies to follow in its footsteps or risk being left out of a growing segment.

Square already has a deeper connection with Bitcoin; it allows people to buy the digital asset and even actively participates in its development through a special division of Square Crypto. Not to mention, its CEO is a vocal Bitcoin proponent who sees BTC becoming a currency of the internet.

JPMorgan also noted that millennials have been using Cash App to buy BTC; this demand, along with the purchases made by companies like MicroStrategy, indicates the demand for Bitcoin surpassed its supply at a greater level in Q3 than in Q2.

Amidst this source of corporate demand, Bitcoin’s price is trading around $11,400, down from above $11,700 it reached yesterday.

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While BTC has made a good head start this month, JPMorgan only sees a “modest headwind” for Bitcoin in the short term based on its intrinsic value. Although a drop in September eliminated much of the “froth,” it remains 13% higher than the intrinsic value estimate.

Futures show that “there still appears to be an overhang of net long positions.” Meanwhile, options contracts volume is rising, which strategists said is likely that retail traffic is driving this surge.

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Author: AnTy

MicroStrategy CEO: Bitcoin is the “Ultimate Inflation Hedge,” 1000x Better than Gold

Publicly traded MicroStrategy has taken a deep dive into Bitcoin, having bought a total of 38,250 BTC at a rate of $425 million and making the leading digital asset a part of their reserve, replacing cash.

This is a big conversion from MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor’s tweet about “bitcoin days are numbered. It seems like just a matter of time before it suffers the same fate as online gambling,” in 2013.

However, in a conversation with Anthony Pompliano on his podcast, Saylor shared that he is “ashamed” for tweeting what he did, which he didn’t even realize until the crypto community reminded him of when the company first announced buying $250 million worth of bitcoin. He said,

“I’m like oh my god, I literally forgot I ever said that…but I took it as kind of like, kind ribbing like I didn’t get all worked up about. I’m like you’re right, I was wrong, what an idiot I was.”

Because They’re Going to Crush Everything

During his conversation, Saylor further talked about how before agreeing on bitcoin is the right idea, “we all needed to collectively be of the opinion that we were going to be generating cash at infinitum,” for which they went on a journey through corporately over the past year.

The company had $500 million in cash, and they had to decide whether to buy-back stock, buy another company, or keep it for a rainy day.

Saylor credited his friend Eric Rice, who owns bitcoin investment fund and kept on advising him on bitcoin, which the CEO kept on dismissing until “one day we’re sitting around my pool in Miami and he starts explaining it and something clicks in my head that maybe this is a pretty good idea.”

So, here they had to decide between precious metal and bitcoin after dismissing commercial real estate and equities and “I want something that can go up by a factor of 10,” Saylor said.

He compared Bitcoin to Amazon and Apple when they first came out — a good investment that has a digital dominant network and dematerialized something fundamental. So, you invest in that thing when they have a hundred billion dollar market cap because,

“When they’re ten times bigger than the next biggest thing, and they’re a hundred billion dollars, they’re probably going to crush everything.”

This is the Real Deal

Saylor, however, isn’t interested in hundreds of other cryptos available in the crypto space. Because, while it’s “great” to have all that innovation which may or may not work, an outsider needs something in which one can put in their $500 million and,

“Everybody in the community is going to spend every iota of their energy to make sure no one f’s with that network.”

Not to mention, bitcoin is the dominant crypto, and nothing comes close to it. Also, community ethos is one of the key drivers of their belief in its success.

And although BTC is volatile, what other choice does anyone have in the current environment.

“Let’s be honest there’s a negative real yield on everything else,” whether it’s gold, bond, or cash.

“Every other non-volatile asset is a negative real yield, which means that everything else is lifeblood draining out of my veins,” said Saylor, adding he would choose the asset with volatility over “non-volatile cash that bought 30 percent less in a matter of eight weeks.”

Moreover, in the next ten years, with people coming into move hundreds of millions of dollars, they will tend to damp all the volatility because it’s in their interest.

“I think people were kind of oblivious to the need to slash the role of bitcoin and the bitcoin narrative of digital gold – this is the ultimate inflation hedge,” said Saylor, who sees the digital asset as a 1000x better than the yellow metal.

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Author: AnTy

Grayscale Ethereum Trust Files with SEC to Halve the ETHE Locking Period Same as GBTC

Grayscale Investments has publicly filed a registration statement on Form 10 with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on behalf of its Ethereum product, Grayscale Ethereum trust (ETHE).

If approved, it will offer the product a higher SEC status, the same as Grayscale Bitcoin Trust, to become the second digital currency investment vehicle to attain the status of a reporting company by the SEC.

The prominent change will be reducing the unlocking period of ETHE shares from 12 months to 6 months, the same as GBTC. If effective,

“accredited investors who purchased shares in Grayscale Ethereum Trust’s private placement would have an earlier liquidity opportunity, as the statutory holding period would be reduced from twelve months to six months.”

This is a “milestone” for Grayscale Ethereum Trust as even though Bitcoin is the most popular of its products, “Ethereum has gained significant traction and interest over the years.”

Grayscale notes that there is a “strong demand” for access to Ethereum which has grown to become the “largest” Ethereum investment vehicle.

In Q2 2020, Grayscale’s Ethereum Trust hit a weekly investment of $10.4 million in ETHE, amounting to the record quarterly inflows at $135.2 million. Overall, demand for ETHE accounts for nearly 15% of total inflows into Grayscale products this past quarter.

In other news, Grayscale is interested in getting its products on the Robinhood app. A zero commission trading place, Robinhood is popular among millennials that got even more so in 2020 thanks to the lockdown and government’s monetary stimulus to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

However, not everyone thinks it is a good decision, given that Robinhood already allows trading for Bitcoin and Ethereum along with five others including Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin SV, Ethereum Classic, Litecoin, and Dogecoin.

Also, while ETH is trading on Robinhood at the same price as any spot exchange, ETHE shares are trading at $100.50 at a premium of over 200%. The premium has come down drastically from about 950% in early June 2020, as per Ycharts.

Also, no matter which option users go with, they are not getting the crypto to themselves as while Grayscale has Coinbase Custody to safe keep the digital assets for their users, Robinhood doesn’t support coin withdrawals or transfers of existing cryptos.

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Author: AnTy

Bitfarms Forced to Lay Off Staff, Cuts Expenses, and Optimize Crypto Mining Due to COVID-19

Canada-based and publicly listed blockchain infrastructure and mining company Bitfarms is at the moment reducing staff as a result of the economic and social effects brought by the coronavirus pandemic.

In an update from April 6, Bitfarms informed that it managed to maintain the average hashrate of about 750 PH per day since March 19, all because it optimized operations for its computing power to be maximized. According to the firm, this was very helpful as far as generating a positive cash flow during the current difficult times when crypto and traditional markets are in chaos.

Being in Line with Government Guidance

Bitfarms also mentioned that it remains viable in this crisis by temporary cutting staff so that it’s in line with government guidance. It aims to fight the coronavirus’s spread, but it didn’t provide any details on what arrangements it made with the workers being let go. In the same update, the firm talks about what it intends to do in order to reduce administrative costs and save as much as 20 to 25%. Here’s how Bitfarms’ chief financial officer, John Rim, commented the situation:

“Seeking cost efficiencies is consistent with our business model and thesis that efficient miners like Bitfarms will be best positioned to be able to withstand short-term volatility in mining economics and remain profitable through the long-term, including potential challenges relating to the upcoming Bitcoin halving.”

What’s Happening with Other Firms?

Recent reports say that there some mining firms are trying hard to overcome the market volatility brought by the coronavirus until now. However, earlier in March, Argo Blockchain, the mining firm listed on the London Stock Exchange, mined the most Bitcoin (BTC) ever in its own records. It also said operations at its sites in North America haven’t in any way been affected by the pandemic.

The Bitcoin halving from May this year is also mentioned in the update published by Bitfarms. The adjustment that will reduce by 50% mining rewards is going to be very challenging in terms of profits for the mining sector all over the world. Some other mining firms that have laid off staff because of the coronavirus are Bitcoin.com and Galaxy Digital. The former let go of 15% of its workforce globally, whereas the latter of 10%.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Australia’s National Stock Exchange Is Building A DLT-Based Real-Time Trading Platform

Both companies listed publicly, NSX Ltd., which is the owner of the National Stock Exchange of Australia, and the financial institution known as iSignthis (ISX) have announced on Thursday that they’re partnering up to offer a platform for trading digital securities.

The platform will be called ClearPay. It is going to be distributed ledger technology (DLT)-based and at the same time offer almost instant transactions instead of delayed settlement. The know your customer’s customer type of security and other solutions offered by iSignthis will be integrated in it.

ClearPay to Compete with ASX

ClearPay aims to compete with ASX, also known as the Australian Securities Exchange, since the ASX is also working to replace its out-of-date CHESS clearing system with DLT. The exchange is collaborating with the blockchain company Digital Asset to provide same-day settlement solutions, as traditional trades take up to 3 days at the moment. The ASX is thinking about starting to test its new platform in July this year.

NSX’s Time to Act

NSX’s CEO Thomas Price mentioned in an interview that cash equity exchanges all over the world are going through a technological revolution and that the market is in agreement when it comes to challenging settlement and clearing legacy methods. Here are his exact words on what NSX should do in such a climate:

“Having patiently monitored the development of the appropriate technology … we consider that this is the right time for the NSX to act.”

ISX Invested $4.2 Million in NSX

ISX invested through a private placement not less than $4.2 million in NSX. This means the investor gets a 12.96% stake in NSX at a share of $0.145. It’s expected for ClearPay to go live at the beginning of next year. After this will happen, the international and domestic broker network should join through the ISO20022 electronic data interchange standard while using a standard blockchain for participation. Share registry operators and participants will gain access to the DTL platform that is going to have the National Stock Exchange of Australia as a central authority.

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Author: Oana Ularu