Bank of America to Speed Up Stock Trade Settlement Using Paxos Blockchain Network

Bank of America to Speed Up Stock Trade Settlement Using Paxos Blockchain Network

Crypto firm Paxos has welcomed Bank Of America to its blockchain-based network for settling US equities.

According to Bloomberg, Bank of America has become the latest US bank to join the Paxos Network for blockchain stock settlement. The Paxos network facilitates the quick settlement of securities.

European banking giant Credit Suisse and Nomura Holdings Inc’s Instinet already use the network known as Paxos Settlement Service.

Improving Return-on-Assets for BoA

Speaking on the new development, the Bank of America’s head of financing and clearing, Kevin McCarthy, said joining the Paxos network would help improve the return-on-assets in the business, which he said has been a challenge for the bank.

Paxos Settlement Service is an alternative settlement platform to existing market infrastructure. It was launched in 2020 after receiving a no-action relief from the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in October 2019. Paxos has also applied for a clearing license with the SEC.

The CEO of Paxos, Chad Cascarilla, said his platform could threaten the Depository Trust & Clearing Corp. (DTCC), which currently dominates equity settlement. The DTCC offers a “T+2” settlement process via legacy software. The DTCC settlement takes up to two days and only offers same-day settlement for trades are recorded on or before 11 a.m.

This is unlike Paxos that settles stock trades within minutes using the blockchain. Paxos runs a permissioned version of the Ethereum blockchain.

Using Blockchain In The Stock Market

In recent times, financial firms worldwide have begun to explore how blockchain can help address inefficiencies in the financial markets. Even as the total value of stocks traded globally is pegged to be around $77.5 trillion, the complexity in stock-related transactions persists. The stock market still has problems regarding the time it takes for transactions to be approved and the operational costs.

NASDAQ is one stock exchange that has been a front-runner when it comes to adopting blockchain. The exchange already uses blockchain technology to issue and manage private securities. Most of the other exchanges are still exploring prototypes and looking into the opportunities in blockchain technology.

Banks like JP Morgan Chase have also leveraged blockchain technology to develop specialized payments systems and offer niche banking products. Since last year, JPMorgan has used the blockchain to execute intraday repurchase agreements totaling billions of dollars.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

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