Grayscale Closes Private Placement in GBTC, Which Holds 3.5% of Bitcoin’s Circulating Supply

Meanwhile, the GBTC continues to trade at a discount as Grayscale, which does not have any redemption program, works on converting it into an ETF.

It’s been close to two weeks that Grayscale Investments, the world’s largest digital asset manager, has seen any inflows in its Bitcoin Trust (GBTC).

This is because the fund has closed any private placement for now. The message on the website reads,

“The Grayscale Bitcoin Trust private placement is offered on a periodic basis throughout the year and is currently closed.”

As of writing, GBTC has 655,360 BTC, representing just over 3.5% of Bitcoin’s circulating supply, $37.1 billion worth of total holdings.

This has been while GBTC continues to trade at a discount since late February. Much like GBTC, ETHE is also at a discount of 7%. While Grayscale Ethereum Trust is currently open, it only added 3,769 ETH this month, as per Bybt.

Grayscale’s infamous premium has provided hedge funds an opportunity to arbitrage, who deposit the coin with GBTC in exchange for shares that are worth more than the market value of BTC, and this premium is pocketed by them when they sell the marked-up shares after a six-month lock-up period. Nic Carter, of crypto-focused venture firm Castle Island Ventures, told Bloomberg,

“It became just too popular and there’s only so much demand at the end of the day by retail investors who are using Schwab or using Fidelity or a traditional brokerage.”

“Basically, too many funds plowed capital into this trade thinking it was a slam dunk, and then as that capital matured and the units in the trust became market-tradable, the demand that they expected to materialize wasn’t there from the market.”

Grayscale’s crypto products do not have a redemption program as assets are held in a trust currently; shares can only be created.

And the asset manager halts creations from time to time. “The Trust may, but will not be required to, seek regulatory approval to operate a redemption program,” states the website.

Bitcoin bull Cathie Wood of Ark Investment Management is one of the largest holders of the Trust along with Horizon Kinetics LLC and Churchill Management Corp.

This week, Digital Currency Group, the parent company of Grayscale, announced that it would be buying up to $250 million worth of GBTC shares.

As we reported, Grayscale is working on the process of becoming an exchange-traded Fund (ETF) as it hires several ETF executives.

While the US has yet to approve one, Canada has already seen two ETFs that made their debut last month and saw a great response. The first Purpose Bitcoin ETF (BTCC), has amassed $464 million in assets, while another one, Evolve Fund Group’s Bitcoin ETF (ticker EBIT), has attracted $42 million so far.

In the light of the growing demand for Bitcoin products, now US ETF issuers are getting creative. Simplify US Equity Plus Bitcoin ETF (SPBC) is investing up to 15% of its assets in cryptos either “indirectly and solely” through GBTC, as per a filing. Financial Enhancement Group’s Andrew Thrasher said,

“This fund will appeal to a lot of advisors who have had an interest in getting exposure to Bitcoin or have clients asking for crypto.”

“This gives the potential to have Bitcoin exposure within a traditional custodian account in an ETF wrapper, which hasn’t been done in the U.S. due to SEC resistance to approve a pure Bitcoin ETF.”

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Author: AnTy

SBI Group Rolls Out XRP on Its VC Trade Cryptocurrency Lending Service

SBI Group Rolls Out XRP on Its VC Trade Cryptocurrency Lending Service

Having launched its cryptocurrency lending service in late 2020, the Japan-based financial services company – SBI Group – has announced that it will be enabling access to XRP as part of its lending service – SBI VC Trade.

This news is according to an announcement made by the company on Feb. 4. SBI VC Trade Lending will enable users will be able to earn interest by depositing their XRP on the platform – so long as it was between 1,000 and 100,000 XRP. In order to obtain an interest dividend on whatever is staked, they would need to lend it for a period of up to 84 days.

Within the statement, SBI stated the following:

“VC Trade Lending is a service that allows customers to rent out their crypto assets to the company and receive interest rewards according to the quantity and duration of the crypto assets.”

The company has added that XRP annual interest would come to 0.1% (including taxes).

As readers may have noticed, the introductory interest rate (0.1%) is much lower than the going rate for lending Bitcoin BTC 1.63% Bitcoin / USD BTCUSD $ 37,416.45
$609.891.63%
Volume 68.15 b Change $609.89 Open $37,416.45 Circulating 18.62 m Market Cap 696.67 b
8 s SBI Group Rolls Out XRP on Its VC Trade Cryptocurrency Lending Service 3 h $72M New Crypto VC Fund Gets Backing from Billionaires like Paul Tudor Jones & LL Cool J 4 h Dutch Footballer Says “Don’t Wait to Buy Bitcoin” While Goldman Issues a Warning
on the platform. At present, there has not been a reason behind this, other than the potential risk associated with Ripple at present, but this is not validated.

While not facing domestic legal challenges in Japan, Ripple is facing a large-scale federal lawsuit within the United States – specifically for alleged violations of existing U.S. securities laws by selling unregistered securities. The decision by SBI comes from a difference in the legal definition of XRP; Japan, unlike the U.S., believes that XRP does not qualify as a security.

Since 2020, SBI has risen as one of Ripple’s large-scale partners, having brought out a few XRP-related products. In the wake of legal challenges in the United States, Yoshitaka Kitao – CEO of SBI – made it plain that Japan remains the most likely (or friendly) candidate for Ripple to move to.

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Author: James Fox

Tesla, Amazon, Netflix, & Pfizer Now Tradeable on Bittrex Against USD, USDT, & BTC

Cryptocurrency exchange Bittrex announced on Monday that it will now allow its users to trade popular stocks.

After derivatives platform FTX, Bittrex is the latest one to list the tokenized stocks on its exchange. This is made possible through its partnership with Digital Assets.AG.

Digital Assets.AG is a Swiss-based company that facilitates the tokenization of traditional financial assets. This will allow investors and traders to directly access the listed companies without an external broker or additional fees.

The popular stocks available to purchase and trade on Bittrex include Tesla (TSLA), Alibaba (BABA), SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY), Beyond Meat Inc (BYND), Pfizer (PFE), Apple (AAPL), BioNTech (BNTX), Google (GOOGL), Facebook (FB), Amazon (AMZN), Netflix (NFLX), and Bilibili (BILI).

These stocks will be tradeable against US dollars (USD), Tether (USDT), and Bitcoin (BTC).

“The traditional stock exchanges of the world’s financial capitals have for centuries set the terms for engagement and trading,” said Tom Albright, the chief executive of Bittrex Global adding that the decade-old inefficient, complex, and expensive infrastructure is “totally unnecessary.” He said,

“Blockchain technology has the potential to radically broaden access to financial services, and Bittrex Global is very proud to provide people with a portal to build their capital and private wealth in a way that was unimaginable a decade ago.”

Unlike the traditional stock market, Bittrex will allow people to trade twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Additionally, users can purchase a fraction of stock instead of entire shares. Even the countries where access to US stocks though traditional finance is not possible will now be able to trade them.

This is just the beginning as the exchange plans to “quickly increase their offerings by giving its customers exposure to ETFs, indices, and additional asset classes.”

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Author: AnTy

DEX Synthetix Now Allows Trading of Brent Crude Oil Powered by Chainlink Oracle

Popular DeFi project DEX Synthetix now allows the crypto market to trade Brent Crude Oil as well.

sOIL (Synthetic Brent Crude Oil) is a non-expiring Crude Oil Index based on the futures prices of ICE Brent Crude Oil, whose price is tracked through price feeds supplied by the Chainlink oracle, which will source the data from ICE for an undisclosed price.

“sOIL is a great case study showcasing that DeFi developers are on the precipice of going far beyond cryptocurrency price feeds and starting to create financial products that provide exposure to food, energy resources, rare earth metals, real-world assets, equities, NFTs, weighted asset baskets, and much more,” said Chainlink in an official statement.

sOIL

The tokens of both the projects are in the green today. Currently, SNX is trading at $4.32, up 561% YTD, while LINK is at $12.65, recording 605% gains in 2020.

With the addition of one of the major futures contracts for global oil markets, a real-world asset has officially entered the DeFi trading world. Recently, crypto derivatives exchange FTX also provided the crypto market exposure to stocks like Apple, Google, Tesla, and Amazon.

“There is significant demand for these assets particularly given the liquidity of the underlying markets and the difficulty of access for the average trader,” notes the SIP 62 “Futures reference price methodology,” which is about converting future market prices into a single reference price for Synths.

According to Chainlink, this is just the beginning as compared to DeFi’s $13 billion TVL, the global market for crude oil is over $1.7 trillion, not including the derivatives market.

“Traditional financial markets are orders of magnitude larger than cryptocurrency markets; DeFi has only begun to scratch the surface of tapping into it.”

Recent News: Synthetix Upgrades to L2 Scaling to Alleviate Gas Costs for SNX Stakers

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Author: AnTy

FTX Launches Trading of Tokenized Shares in Partnership with German CM Equity AG

Cryptocurrency derivatives exchange FTX will now allow its users to trade not just crypto but tokenized shares of big giants and some of the world’s most popular companies like Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Facebook, and Tesla.

These tokenized equity offerings are backed by the shares of actual stocks, custodied by CM-Equity, and can be redeemed for the underlying shares.

For now, trading is available on more than 12 equity and cryptocurrency pairs like BTC and stablecoins.

Because the tokens represent a fraction of one share, traders will be able to trade even half of a share if they want. Erik Voorhees, CEO of crypto exchange ShapeShift said,

“American companies cannot offer or compete with this. I’m glad intl companies can still innovate, and that crypto breaks down all borders over time.”

There have been some concerns in the crypto community about FTX breaking US regulations by offering trading opportunities for stock CFDs.

But for starters, traders in the US and other restricted jurisdictions won’t be eligible to trade these new offerings.

Also, for this, FTX has partnered with Swiss-based Digital Assets AG and CM Equity AG, a financial firm fully regulated in Germany, to offer fractional stocks.

“CFDs aren’t illegal – and offering them for US-traded companies on the NYSE and NASDAQ is allowed – you just need to follow the regulations and not try and skirt the rules just because you are on a blockchain,” said Adam Cochran, a partner at Cinneamhain Ventures.

In response to this news, the price of FTT jumped to $3.91. But it is to be expected, as FTX CEO Sam Bankman Fried said, “Everything on FTX involves FTT.”

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Author: AnTy

Contour Trade Finance Platform Backed by HSBC Launches; Reducing LC Processing Time by 90%

Contour, a blockchain-based trade finance platform, has gone live after a successful beta testing phase. The trade finance platform aims to optimize the traditional financial system by digitizing them and putting them on a blockchain. The trade finance platform is backed by 8 major banks, including HSBC, Citi, ING, Bangkok Bank, BNP Paribas, CTBC, Standard Chartered, and SEB.

The platform was launched back in 2017 as Voltron built on top of the R3s Corda Platform. The platform promise to ease up the slow bureaucratic process for several institutions and companies via a global blockchain network. HSBC tweeted about the official launch of the platform and said,

“We’re excited to announce the world’s first global, decentralized, digital trade finance platform using #Blockchain technology has gone live this week to coincide with #Sibos2020:”

However, it is also important to note that the network is a private blockchain that would be exclusively available for partner companies for data sharing. Thus, even though HSBC’s tweet calls the platform a decentralized network, it is not centralized in the traditional sense.

How Would Contour Optimize Traditional Trade Finance?

After its launch, the first goal for Contour would be to optimize the letter of credit (LC) process among parties, which, on average, takes 10 days to process currently. With Contour’s blockchain system, the time consumed for processing would be reduced by 1/10th, taking around 24 hours.

Contour would develop a rulebook and membership agreement system, which would allow for the reduction of processing time by 90%.

Carl Wegner, the CEO of the platform, explained how the rulebook would help in optimizing the process and said,

“The rulebook is really important. Rather than having to string together four or five different legal agreements between the buyer, seller, buyer’s banks, and seller’s banks, which was very onerous, we now have a rulebook which makes it very easy for everybody to sign up and know what their roles and responsibilities are.”

With the official launch of the platform, all the existing members would migrate to the main net. However, it is unclear how many other members are on the platform apart from the official partners.

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Author: James W

Nigeria to Regulate Cryptocurrency Trading; SEC Says Digital Assets Are Securities

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of Nigeria will start regulating trade in digital currencies to ensure investor protection and that transactions are transparent. The authorities said on Monday,

“The general objective of regulation is not to hinder technology or stifle innovation, but to create standards that encourage ethical practices.”

The agency said it’ is required to regulate “when the character of the investments qualifies as securities transactions.”

In the past, the West African nation declined to recognize digital currencies as legal tender. In 2018, the Central Bank of Nigeria said that cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin (BTC), Litecoin (LTC), XRP, Monero (XMR), and Onecoin, weren’t considered money.

The Abuja-based regulator said in a statement that it views digital currencies as exchangeable securities and that the issuers or sponsors of these virtual assets “shall be guided by the commission’s regulation.”

The country is now coming to acknowledge the growing presence of digital assets, and Ayodeji Ebo, managing director at Afrinvest securities in Lagos, said, “the earlier it is regulated, the less havoc on the economy.”

“It’s another way to provide alternative assets to investors,” he told Bloomberg.

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Author: AnTy

Gemini Debuts DeFi Listings in New York Market With Amp, Compound, and Pax Gold

Gemini crypto exchange has announced that New York users will now be able to trade Compound (COMP), Amp (AMPL), and Pax Gold (PAXG) against the USD. The Winklevoss brothers’ led crypto exchange noted that it worked in collaboration with the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) to receive approval for listing these digital assets. According to the official announcement, active trading of the newly added pairs is scheduled for September 15.

This move is quite significant for the New York market, which had been left out of the DeFi space when it comes to listings on centralized crypto exchanges. Coinbase, for instance, has been quite active in listing ‘hot’ DeFi tokens, but yet to cover prospective users in New York. With COMP’s listing on Gemini, crypto investors and enthusiasts in the big apple will now be able to acquire positions in DeFi through the exchange.

COMP made waves in May when the decentralized protocol debuted this governance token to be used in running the platform. The protocol has since risen to become one of the leading DeFi lending and borrowing platforms; currently, its market cap stands 544 million while the price of one COMP token is $163 as per Coingecko metrics. Tyler Winklevoss, Gemini’s Co-founder, tweeted bullish sentiments as well,

“The #DeFi revolution is upon us. @Gemini is now accepting deposits for $AMP @amptoken, $PAXG @PaxosStandard, and $COMP @compoundfinance. Trading to begin on 9/15!”

Amp and PAXG, on the other hand, propose value in digital collateralization and gold tokenization, respectively. The former will expose Gemini’s clients to Flexa’s Network collateral token ‘AMP’ whose underlying is to act as a form of collateral, supporting the fundamentals of Flexa’s payments network. This innovation allows users to pay merchants’ in crypto while Flexa handles ‘under the hood’ to convert these payments to the merchants’ preferred fiat currency.

Gemini’s venture into the DeFi space has scaled its range of tradeable digital assets to 12; notable mentions that were already featured include BTC, LTC, ETH, and BCH. The exchange highlighted that its updated trading portfolio would be available via API connections and the platform’s Active Trader.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Binance UK Joins the CryptoUK Self-Regulatory Association Ahead of Its Expected Launch

Binance U.K has joined CryptoUK, a self-regulatory trade association, as it prepares to launch its trading services in the United Kingdom. The exchange’s U.K subsidiary broke this news on Twitter, noting that they are joining the association as an executive member.

This milestone will see Binance U.K operate alongside the likes of Coinbase, Ripple, CryptoCompare, eToro, and CoinShares, who are also part of the CryptoUK executive committee.

Started back in 2018, the CryptoUK initiative came about as an avenue to accelerate crypto growth in the U.K through self-regulation. Some of the issues that the association advocates for include the development of best practices in crypto as well as sustainable growth. On this front, CryptoUK operates in liaison with stakeholders, not limited to financial regulators.

Currently, they are focused on giving feedback to Her Majesty’s Treasury, which recently inquired the public about crypto asset promotions. In addition, the association is set to play a contributing role in the U.K Cryptoasset Task Force stablecoin consultation, which is slated for late 2020. Ian Taylor, the chairman of CryptoUK, has since welcomed Binance U.K to advance the association’s course,

“Binance.UK will bring significant local and global expertise to our Executive Committee and initiatives. We look forward to working with them to help develop a supportive regulatory framework for cryptoasset businesses and customers in the U.K.”

This latest move by Binance U.K solidifies an entry position into the British market following the acquisition of EddieUK, which now operates as Binance Markets Limited. Notably, the firm was already regulated by U.K’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) hence a smooth transition that would have been otherwise cumbersome, given regulatory hurdles. Binance U.K head, Teana Baker-Taylor, acknowledged the additional value in joining a self-regulatory body,

“Self-regulating bodies play a key role in developing […] best practices, as well as building consumer confidence. Associations like CryptoUK help to facilitate meaningful discussion and education with policy makers, which enables the development of more informed policies that are more effective in supporting both the industry and consumers.”

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Binance Plays Catch Up, Launches DeFi Index Perpetual Contract With Up to 50x Leverage

“Trade DEFIUSDT. Trade the trend,” says Binance.

“Long or short the DeFi market, all in one contract,” it further states as the exchange announces the DeFi Composite Perpetual Contract with a leverage of up to 50x. The futures will start trading from August 28th, 7:00 AM (UTC).

That’s right, Binance is offering you 50x leverage to trade the explosive DeFi tokens which have been already surging like crazy.

Binance isn’t the first one to offer a DeFi index trading, except for the 50x leverage, of course. FTX first announced the launch of a DeFi Index perpetual contract, and just this week also introduced Uniswap index futures that cover the top 100 Uniswap pools. FTX also launched a decentralized derivatives platform, Serum.

This week, the exchange also acquired Blockfolio in a $150 million deal to attract retail traders. While the community celebrated the acquisition, “FTX didn’t pay for a portfolio tracker they could build in 5 minutes, they paid $150M for your data and bag info.”

What’s Available & Missing?

Binance’s DeFi index covers 10 DeFi projects that are currently popular in the market. This list comprises some of the hottest tokens that almost completely feed the DeFi appetite of a trader.

With names like Band Protocol (BAND), Compound (COMP), Kava.io (KAVA), Kyber Network (KNC), Aave (LEND), Chainlink (LINK), Maker (MKR), Synthetic Network Token (SNX), and 0x (ZRX), the index is attractive.

However, amidst this is Swipe (SXP), which has more weightage in this index than any other token except for Chainlink, Aave, and 0x.

The community didn’t appreciate that while this list lacks the DeFi darling YFI, it also covers Swipe, arguing it isn’t even a DeFi project. Swipe might not be a DeFi yet, but it is on its way to join the craze as it announced earlier this month that Swipe would be launching a decentralized finance lending/earn application on Binance Smart Chain.

Binance acquired Swipe last month; the latter one also added BNB making it spendable with fiat at over 50 million locations worldwide via the Swipe Visa Debit Card.

Reportedly, when Binance acquired CoinMarketCap, in the biggest ever deal of $400 million, first introduced DeFi project ranking, it published its native token BNB at the top, which has since then been removed.

Binance has constantly been listing new DeFi tokens to capture this hot trend and now advertising its Binance Smart Chain with EVM compatibility, rich & growing ecosystem of assets, cheap transaction fees, high performance, funding, and cross-chain DeFi mechanisms to be the perfect blockchain to launch DeFi projects.

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Author: AnTy