Robinhood Raises $460M for A Total of $660M in Series G As Trading App Popularity Grows

The retail trading app, Robinhood, announced an additional $460 million extended fundraising in its Series G round, bringing the total round funding to $660 million. Some of the current investors, including Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia, and DST Global, participate in the round.

According to a Robinhood spokesperson speaking to Reuters, Robinhood Markets Inc. extended its Series G funding round, adding an additional $460 million from top investment partners. The latest extended Series G funding came barely two months after a $200 million investment from D1 Capital Partners.

The latest extended funding round brings the total valuation of Robinhood to $11.8 billion. The extended investment came from some of the existing partners and new ones, including Ribbit Capital and 9Yards Capital.

The latest funding round follows a successful trading period during the quarantine period on Robinhood, which simplified and popularized trading for amateur and millennial traders. However, the digital mobile retail exchange has faced several shutdowns in the past few months, and customer experience failures, raising concerns for traders.

According to the spokesperson, the new funding round aims to reduce the cases of system crashes and provide a better user experience on their platform. Robinhood spokesperson said,

“We’ve raised an additional $460 million in subsequent closings to our Series G to support our core product and customer experience and new offerings like cash management and recurring investments.”

The surge in users and capital invested in Robinhood over the past nine months have seen the trading app raise over $1.25 billion from investors in 2020 alone. This brings the total investment in Robinhood to $2 billion.

The trading app announced in July that it would be pausing its expansion into the U.K as the exchange focuses on its operations in the U.S. The company blamed the tough COVID 19 pressure on business as the cause to shelve its expansion plans.

Moreover, there have been complaints across the U.S that Robinhood is offering amateur traders very complex financial instruments to trade. In a sad case, a 20-year old committed suicide after checking their account and wrongly misinterpreted the data output.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Overstock’s Crypto Trading Subsidiary, tZERO, Hits Record High Volumes in August

  • tZERO, the crypto trading app backed by retail giant Overstock, has announced new record volumes in August.
  • This digital securities platform noted that both their crypto trading app and blockchain-built alternative trading system (ATS) experienced the highest activity since they were launched back in June 2019.

The month of August saw tZERO’s user base grow by 11% compared to July, marking an increase of more than 1,000 new users on the digital asset app. Notably, this year has been relatively bullish for tZERO with a total of 143% growth in user base since it began. The platform is now looking to give traditional brokers a run for their money when it comes to offering digital securities trading services to Wall Street.

Going by last month’s stats, tZERO’s digital asset app grew by around threefold in traded dollar volumes. The reported figure, which is $22 million, is a jump from July’s $7.6 million, while the year-over-year growth stood at 684%. Saum Noursalehi, the CEO of tZERO, further highlighted significant milestones by the project,

“In addition to delivering record trading volume on the tZERO ATS in August, the St. Regis Aspen (ASPD) digital security began trading … These wins, coupled with FINRA’s approval of tZERO Markets, are exciting, and we look forward to offering our crypto customers the opportunity to open brokerage accounts at zero Markets.”

The platform is now incentivizing activity with its recently rolled out zero-fee structure for publicly-traded digital securities; private ones, however, retained the previous fee structure. Nonetheless, the project is not yet out of the words when it comes to product scaling and attracting heavyweight investors to compete favorably against traditional brokerages.

Apart from the crypto trading app, tZERO has been actively involved in the tokenization of assets, not limited to real estate and film productions. It is also quite noteworthy that Overstock began accepting BTC payments as early as 2014, giving the retailer a head start in the space.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Most Expensive Crypto Exchanges for Smaller Traders

While stock brokerages have reduced trading fees and various retail brokers like Robinhood offer zero commission trades, digital currency exchanges have increased fees for their lowest tier retail group since a year ago.

US-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase who is looking to IPO as soon as this year while being under controversy for selling its blockchain analytics software to the government agencies is one of the most popular exchanges despite having the highest fee level for new customers.

Trading Fees
Source: Arcane Research

In complete contrast, leading spot exchange Binance charges new customers 80% lower fees than Coinbase and Bitstamp.

When it comes to volume, Coinbase maintains the largest volume of a US-domiciled digital currency exchange. While it’s the largest in the US, Asian exchanges like Binance transact in higher volumes.

Source: TradeBlock

Coinbase has about 45% of the total market share amongst the largest US accessible exchanges. It recorded $3 billion in notional volume for the most recent full month which is below its second-best month in March at $6 billion and more than $8 billion recorded in January 2018, as per TradeBlock.

There are two types of fees, maker and taker fees. The maker is the one who places orders and provides liquidity to the order book and the taker initiates market orders and consumes booked liquidity.

Coinbase fees are in the middle to higher fee bracket of US exchanges at 50 bps on both the maker/taker side for the lowest tier.

The taker fees for traders trading less than $10,000 a month are 5x higher on Coinbase Pro and Bitstamp than on Binance. “A trader with a $9,500 monthly trading volume would save $456 a year by switching from Coinbase Pro or Bitstamp to Binance,” states Arcane Research in its report.

While most exchanges have either kept the fees unchanged or reduced them over the past year, Coinbase and Bitstamp have doubled both their taker and maker fees making them the “most expensive exchanges for smaller traders.”

In the short run, they may result in “traders staying with Coinbase and Bitstamp, despite the price increase, and drive revenue for the companies,” over the longer term, “there is a reputational risk, especially for Coinbase that has been getting a lot of heat for other activities lately.”

Trading Fees
Source: Arcane Research

The pattern in the market is the higher the volume the lower the fees.

Out of the three largest fiat spot exchanges, Kraken offers the lowest taker fees for small traders and the least favorable taker fees for large traders.

While Binance US and BitFlyer offer the lowest initial taker fees among fiat-supported exchanges at 0.1% and 0.12%, both carry a larger additional bid/ask spread than some of the competitors. As for those without fiat-pairs, Binance and Poloniex hold some of the lowest initial fees at 0.125% and 0.1%.

“Arriving late to the party, Binance US seeks to win market shares through competitive pricing.”

As for maker fees, ItBit is the only exchange that offers negative maker fees, essentially paying customers to place trades and fill up the order book.

Besides trading business, Coinbase also has a custody business and offers staking services, both of which “will see continued growth over the next few years.”

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Author: AnTy

Bitcoin Retail Investors will Eat Up All the New Supply Starting 2028: Report

The latest study titled, “Retail Investors Steady in Physical Bitcoin Snatch-Up” talks about how the remaining 10% of bitcoin supply will take 120 years to come to market, reflecting just how scarce the leading digital asset is already and “looks to displace gold as the global store-of-value.”

Bitcoin’s limited supply is what makes this digital asset so attractive, especially during the current unprecedented money printing by governments around the world.

The Supply & Demand of it

When the first block of the digital asset was solved, the miner was rewarded with 50 Bitcoin, which in May 2020 was reduced to 6.25 BTC.

The creator of the cryptocurrency, pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto designed its inflation rate to “emulate the new supply of gold coming to the market,” as such every four years it goes through halving that decreases the miners’ rewards by half until 21 million BTC are created. At that point, there won’t be any new supply.

Currently, 900 BTC is generated per day, and before this decade is over, only 225 new BTC will enter the market as fresh supply. “This means a near 90% loss in new supply – within the next eight years alone.”

Now, if we look at the demand side, as Chainalysis data states, there’s a continuous growth in bitcoin investment regardless of its price.

Interestingly, even during the global market sell-off when BTC also crashed, addresses/entities with rounded bitcoins, 1, 2 up to 10, increased and have grown by 11% since the start of the year and have “yet to see a single month in decline” since April 2019.

Source: Zubr via Chainalysis Data

In April 2020, addresses holding exactly 1, 2, 3 all the way to 10 BTC have surpassed 500,000 and have been growing every month since the start of the 2018 bear market except for a single month.

“The value of these on-chain holdings at the start of June 2020 breached the $5bn mark for the third time ever.”

Zubr extrapolates future demand at this pace which points to a “very dramatic shift in 2028” when these retail addresses begin to eat up all the new supply alone, which means in about 2024, they will be gobbling up more than 50% of the physical supply.

Source: Zubr via Chainalysis Data

Replacing Gold

The traditional safe-haven asset gold is a valuable commodity because of one of its main attributes that is a limited supply – “an attribute that Bitcoin is designed to mimic in electronic format.”

But while technology helps bitcoin remains truly limited in supply, it has done the opposite to the bullion.

The new quantity of gold entering the market has been actually increasing, in 2019 gold production rose by 11% over 2010, as per the World Gold Council. On the other hand, there has been a decline in demand.

However during the coronavirus pandemic, both gold and bitcoin saw “strong demand.” But gold faced supply interruption due to lockdown which resulted in price dislocation so much so the spread between London’s spot market and COMEX gold futures rose by 700% which usually is just a few US Dollars.

Such production supply disruptions are unlikely to be a problem with bitcoin, an electronically transferable commodity but “physical Bitcoin supply-constraints could have the same effect regardless and in turn, as seen with gold, push prices further higher.”

But the critical difference is these supply constraints will be the result of the “permanent perpetual nature of the store-of-value cryptocurrency that is designed to cut off new supply,” which might come sooner if the demand from small investors remains as steady as it has been all these years.

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Author: AnTy

Bitwise Plans To Target Retail Investors With Its Crypto Index Fund

Bitwise has revealed that plans are underway to allow the retail market to participate in its large-cap index service.

According to CoinDesk, Bitwise is working closely with the relevant regulatory bodies to list its Bitwise 10 Index Fund shares on OTCQX, which provides an alternative trading system and is licensed by the SEC. According to Hunter Horsley, Bitwise’s CEO, if the plans are okayed, retail investors will have a chance to trade the fund on various renowned platforms such as TD Ameritrade as well as Charles Schwab.

The firm has various steps before trading can kick-off. The firm will start with an announcement to all the shareholders and Horsley revealed that this was done on Friday. The firm will also need to publish all the public disclosures to comply with the ATS reporting rules. The firm will also need to prepare a market maker and file Form 211 as per FINRA requirements. Trading will only kick-off after the approval of Form 211 by FINRA. Horsley explained:

“We expect approval for trading in the second half of 2020. It’ll take a number of months for trading to commence.”

Horsley compared the process to that of Grayscale Investments’ Bitcoin Trust offering that is currently trading on OTCQX. At the moment Grayscale has listed various shares on OTCQX such as Digital Large Cap Fund, Ethereum Classic Trust as well as Ethereum Trust.

The Bitwise 10 Index Fund is highly diversified just as the Grayscale large-cap fund. As Horsley explained, it holds assets that are representative of about 85% of the whole crypto market capitalization.

Horsley stated that the fund comprises Bitcoin, XRP, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Stellar Lumens, EOS, Tezos, and ADA.

There has been a growing interest in such types of products, Horsley stated. He added that his firm has been holding about 2,000 calls every month with advisors. A recent survey revealed that about 72 percent of advisors stated that their clients have been inquiring about crypto products.

Horsley also stated that plans are underway to launch a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund in the near future.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Crypto Lender Nexo Now Allows Retail Investors To Use PAX Gold (PAXG) As Collateral

Renowned crypto lending firm Nexo has opened up the possibility of retail investors to use PAX Gold (PAXG) as a collateral option against loans. The firm had previously launched a pilot scheme on the same but the services were only available to institutional investors only. The pilot saw a high demand for the gold-backed credit lines and the firm has decided to extend the service to retail investors.

The announcement signifies that collateralized borrowing backed by high-grade gold can be extended to everyone and not only the rich.

PAX Gold token was introduced in September last year and is entirely backed by as well as redeemable for actual gold which is currently kept in Brink’s vaults. Every token is backed by ‘fine troy ounce of London Good Delivery Gold’ that allows the user to own gold which is a safe-haven asset. Tokenization adds to the convenience of the safe-haven asset.

During the pilot phase, there was a high demand for its gold-backed credit among the institutional customers such that the firm had to invest an extra $5 million in PAXG to satisfy the investors demand.

The expanded scheme that will rope in the retail customers will enable everyone to take advantage of gold-backed PAXG assets using it as collateral within the Nexo platform.

According to Nexo co-founder, gold backed PAXG is highly relevant more so during high volatility times like currently and majority of retail clients have been seeking for such a service. He explained:

“Especially in high-volatility times, as in the present, gold is sought after by many of our retail clients and we have worked towards reflecting their wishes.”

The crypto loans sector has been growing rapidly in the recent past as the majority of crypto owners or holders are looking to use their assets as collateral as opposed to liquidating them.

Nexo enjoys the backing of Michael Arrington, TechCrunch founder, and was able to raise $52.5 million during a private token sale back in 2018.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Luxury New York Condo in Manhattan Gets Sold in Bitcoin Worth $15.3 Million

A retail condo in the Upper East Side has been sold by Ben Shaoul for $15.3 million in Bitcoin. The 11,400-square-foot living space was owned by the landlord’s firm Magnum Real Estate Group. The company is converting rentals in the 389 Easy 89th Street into condos. It all happened earlier this month, with the buyer being the Taiwanese entity Affluent Silver International LLC.

The Transaction Was Completed in Bitpay and Starr

The two parties of the selling agreement have used Bitpay and Starr in order to complete the transaction. The Jet Real Estate broker Eric Hedvat, who was a representative for Magnum, said that the process was “seamless”, while Shaoul refused to make any comments.

Magnum Has Used Bitcoin for Transactions Before

It’s not the first time that Magnum has gone into a contract with buyers and used Bitcoin transfers. Last year, they sold a 624-square foot space for $875,000 in Bitcoin and a 989-square-foot unit priced at $1.48 million. Shaoul previously said he would accept Bitcoin payments for his 62 Avenue B residential spaces in Alphabet City, but he ended up selling the unfinished building to Martin Shapiro for $82 million last year.

Digital Currencies Not Yet Widely Accepted in Real Estate

Since digital currencies and Bitcoin are continuing to have their value fluctuate, and they’re not accepted by many Real Estate sellers. Only over the last year, Bitcoin has had its value ranging from just above $3,000 to $12,000. However, New York sellers are starting to use it more and more. For example, the Brooklyn rental management company ManageCo has announced last year that it accepts cryptocurrency as payment.

Digital money is starting to be welcomed for the priciest listings, like the 10 East 76th Street on the Upper East Side, for which Corcoran is marketing a $29 million mansion and states that the seller accepts Bitcoin, Ripple or Ethereum as payment. A mansion that Sotheby’s is marketing at 40 Riverside Drive is priced at $13 million, with the seller accepting Bitcoin. Since New York’s Real Estate market is already embracing digital currencies, it can be expected others to do it too.

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Author: Hank Klinger

Alibaba Offers Bitcoin Shopping Cashback Rewards Via Lolli App With New Partnership

The affiliate retail startup Lolli has started a new partnership with the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba. Now, Alibaba will offer Bitcoin (BTC) rewards for clients who use Lolli to make purchases. Lolli is an in-browser app that is focused on allowing the users to get cashback in crypto and earn small rewards.

This new partnership was announced on Singles Day, a Chinese shopping holiday which is similar to Black Friday. As this is a major day for retail in the country, there are many people shopping, so it was the ideal day to launch the new project.

Aubrey Strobel, the head of communications at Lolli, has recently affirmed that China residents will, unfortunately, not be able to participate. Only Chinese-Americans, foreign students or travelers who are currently in the U. S. will be able to participate as Lolli cannot operate legally in China. Another reason is that all products need to be sent from China to the United States.

Lolli’s CEO Alex Adelman said that this partnership could be considered a milestone for the company and that Lolli had plans for an international expansion next year. He also noted that this was an important step to connect two important economies via Bitcoin and e-commerce.

Adelman acknowledged that the opportunity was only available for U. S. residents right now and claimed that the goal was to actually let anyone participate as soon as possible.

The industry of BTC cashback is growing. Companies such as Fold and SPEDN have also invested in this niche, so Lolli has a fierce competition to beat.

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Author: Silvia A

Bitcoin Can Now be Bought at All 7-Eleven Stores in the Philippines

In 6,000 retail outlets including all 7-Eleven stores across the Philippines, people can buy Bitcoin (BTC), thanks to the new partnership between Abra, a global investment app and ECPay, Electronic Commerce Payments.

This partnership means Abra users can conveniently add money to their Abra wallet though these stores.

The idea is to make moving cash to crypto and other digital assets simple and fast and this partnership is another step towards making cryptocurrency use and investing simple and accessible to everyone.

Now, anyone with an Abra wallet can convert cash to crypto by locating a CLIQQ kiosk inside any 7-Eleven store in the Philippines.

From there, the user has to find Abra listed under “Bills Payment” option and add the amount to deposit in their wallet — the minimum deposit is of PHP500 and the maximum amount is of PHP100,000.00 on a daily basis with a two percent transaction fee.

Cash is added to the Abra wallet within 1-2 business days, except for weekends and holidays, which can then be used to invest in any of Abra supported crypto assets.

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Author: AnTy

Following Patrick Byrne’s Exit, Overstock Will Change Former CEO’s Crypto Dividends

Overstock, a giant of the retail industry, has recently decided to drop the originally intended restrictions for its digital dividends. This happened because of trouble with the former CEO of the company Patrick Byrne.

Byrne left the company after a scandal which was said to involve a romantic affair with a Russian spy. However, before he left his position, he arranged so that the dividends of the year would be paid using a digital security listed on the company’s subsidiary tZERO.

Now, however, as he left the company, Overstock decided that it was better to restructure some of the ways that dividends would be paid in order to make the experience more seamless. In order to do it, the company has put the dividends on hold. Overstock will need time to set everything right, though, which is why the decision of freezing the assets for the moment was taken.

According to the official statement of the company, Overstock is working with the authorities in order to provide more liquidity and to structure the dividend shares in a way that they bring the most benefits to investors.

Originally, part of the dividends were paid in the way that the Byrne was structured, was to make short sellers move away from the firm. Byrne believed that people were shorting Overstock. Initially, as he presented the new payment structure, the price of the shares went up. However, after that, they went down again as some banks started to accept them.

Now, the company is working on the restructuring of the whole system to cater to the needs of the investors.

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Author: Gabriel Machado