Israeli Asset Manager Invests $100 Million in Bitcoin via GBTC

“A little intimidated” by the speed at which BTC gained in value, the firm has already sold one-third of its holdings after doubling its investment. Now holds $150 million GBTC shares.

Altshuler Shaham Investment House, an Israeli asset manager, invested $100 million in Bitcoin by purchasing the shares in the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) late last year, reported a local publication.

At the time, Bitcoin was trading around $21k; since then, the crypto asset has soared to a new ATH at $58,350.

Grayscale Investments is the world’s largest asset manager with north of $40 billion in AUM.

One of the largest investment managers in Israel, Altshuler Shaham, already sold some of its stake in early February when BTC price was around $40k, as co-CEO Gilad Altshuler said his group was “a little intimidated” by the speed with which bitcoin gained in value.

The price of Bitcoin has appreciated more than 13.5x in value since its March low, becoming a trillion-dollar asset. Still, the fund was able to double its investment before selling about a third of it. He said,

“This is a new investment for us. It took a few months until we got all the relevant approvals and all the opinions that approved our investment in the field.”

This is the first time an Israeli institutional body gained Bitcoin exposure. Altshuler Shaham had over $50 billion in assets in long-term savings associates’ accounts – provident funds and pension funds as of the end of January.

Currently, the company holds $150 million GBTC shares. As for increasing this investment, Altshuler said, “It depends on the price.”

Meanwhile, investment company Altshuler Shaham Horizon, a subsidiary of Altshuler Shaham, is looking to expand into the cryptocurrency market.

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Author: AnTy

Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC) Beats Aave & Curve to Become the Third Largest DeFi Project

Bitcoin on Ethereum continues to grow at warp speed, reaching above $1.6 billion, on pace with 145k BTC.

Several projects like renBTC, imBTC, HBTC, TBTC, pBTC, and sBTC are putting BTC on the second largest network. Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC) dominates this growth by accounting for 73.6% of the BTC on Ethereum.

105,132 WBTC worth $1.2 billion has been minted so far, which has increased a whopping 9,380% since the beginning of 2020.

With this, WBTC has jumped past the likes of Yearn.Finance, Synthetix, Compound, Curve Finance, and Aave to become the third-largest DeFi project.

Uniswap, with a record of $2.73 billion in total value locked (TVL) and dominance of 24.12%, and Maker with nearly $2 billion of crypto funds locked are the only ones bigger than Wrapped Bitcoin.

wbtc
Source: DeFiPulse

WBTC is one of the fastest-growing DeFi projects, much like the overall sector, which is hitting new highs of $11.4 billion in TVL.

Interestingly, yesterday, the largest WBTC was minted in a single day by CoinList. This largest mint of 5,000 WBTC was made in two separate transactions — the first one involved 1,299.48 WBTC while the second transaction involved 3,697.5 WBTC.

This record breaks the last one made by FTX CEO Sam Bakman-Fried’s crypto trading firm Almeda Research that one-upped the previous record with 2,316.5 WBTC.

WBTC is an ERC-20 token backed by bitcoin in a 1:1 ratio, where the BTC is held in the custody of BitGo.

With this, DeFi users can participate in various applications without actually using their Bitcoin. It further brings Bitcoin’s vast liquidity, with a $210 billion market, to the $42 billion market cap Ethereum network.

Demand for WBTC continues to soar, as seen in its growth as this allows Bitcoin holders to take part in exciting DeFi apps like yield farming and earn income on their BTC without giving it up.

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Author: AnTy

Goodbye Stellar, Kin Project Approves Switch To Solana Blockchain Due To Scalability Issues

In a move to increase the scalability and speed of its platform, Kin Foundation, the lead development team of the Kin crypto, voted to move from its Stellar blockchain fork to Solana blockchain.

The Kin Foundation lead team voted on the proposal to move to Solana blockchain to solve the scalability constraints on the Stellar blockchain. According to a the KIN community, the company has been exploring the possibility of the move for the past month, raising the proposed move to Solana.

The proposal on GitHub, raised by Kik Interactive Inc., was overwhelmingly supported by the board and community of the project set off plans to start the move in the coming weeks.

The journey of Kin crypto started in mid-2018, with the founder of the Kik messaging app, Ted Livingstone, building it on the Ethereum network. Scalability issues on ETH caused Kin to move its transactions to Stellar’s blockchain and successively create its fork on the blockchain.

The trouble with Stellar

Stellar’s latency times of five seconds and the scalability constraint of only 100 transactions per second is “not great consumer experience,” the report on GitHub reads. With a growing customer base, currently, at 3 million and over 50+ partnering applications, Kin Foundation turned to Solana for solutions.

Solana’s co-founder, Anatoly Yakovenko, says the platform can settle over 6000 times more transactions per second and 400ms block times. This will boost the overall transaction speeds while reducing latency times on the Kin platform. Anatoly further said,

“In addition to speed, Solana’s natural ability to scale turned out to be a major determining factor in their (Kin’s) decision.”

Despite the progress of the Kin crypto project, the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) is on the company’s neck challenging its ICO process. These recent troubles with the SEC are causing a slow growth to Kin’s project, one analyst argued.

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Author: Lujan Odera

The Coordinated Crypto Crackdown Continues: NASAA Has 130 New Cases This Year

Bitcoin’s Use In Illegal Marketplaces Expected To Rise in 2019, Chainalysis Predicts $1 Billion Spent

Operation Cryptosweep is moving forward at full speed. It seems that the people at the Administrators Association (NASAA) are really taking seriously their latest operation to sweep unlawful cryptos out from the market.

According to the organization, 130 new crypto-related cases were opened and are being investigated in 2019. At the beginning of the year, the agency only had 35 cases open.

The Operation Cryptosweep was originally launched last year and the aim was to go after illegal ICOs in the U.S. and Canada.  NASAA representatives have recently confirmed that their latest investigations involve mostly securities fraud and scammers.

Michael Pieciak, the President of the NASAA, blames Facebook for the “environment” that is being created right now. According to him, the eminent launch of Libra is calling the attention of several bad types who are promoting illegal investments and scams across the country.

The president also affirms that people should be extremely careful when dealing with ICOs and cryptos, as there are many scammers out there. His advice was to always check with the authorities before any money is invested.

Crypto Companies Are Moving Away

As part of this effort to put down any kind of operation that is now fully regulated, most crypto companies are leaving the U.S. This is, obviously, both a good and bad thing. For instance, it means that the NASAA is doing a good job and weeding out the scammers. On the other hand, innovation is possibly stifled when there are so many companies leaving for overseas markets.

According to data presented by the NASAA, most companies are now choosing to move to Malta, the so-called Crypto Island. Other popular locations are Switzerland and Eastern Europe.

[Author Alert] The author’s opinions above are solely based on their own self-conducted research. Assume any and all authors are using, holding, trading and/or buying cryptoassets mentioned as a portion of his or her financial portfolio. Use information at your own risk, do you own research, never invest more than you are willing to lose.

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Author: Hank Klinger