Crypto’s Self-Policing Unveils Insider Trading at $1.5 Bln Valued NFT Marketplace, OpenSea

Crypto’s Self-Policing Unveils Insider Trading at $1.5 Bln Valued NFT Marketplace, OpenSea

Popular non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace OpenSea addressed the reports of its employee being involved in insider trading.

It was only this week that it “learned that one of our employees purchased items that they knew were set to display on our front page before they appeared there publicly,” said Devin Finzer, CEO and co-founder of OpenSea, in his official statement.

Calling it “incredibly disappointing,” Finzer said they are conducting a third-party review of this incident to decide on the additional steps they need to take.

For now, they have implemented some policies, including that team members are prohibited from using confidential information to purchase or sell any NFTs, and they are not to buy or sell from collections or creators featured or being promoted by OpenSea.

“We’re committed to doing the right thing for our users and earning back the trust of the community we serve.”

Self-Regulation Is The Way

On Tuesday, Twitter user @ZuwuTV accused OpenSea’s head of product Nate Chastain of buying an NFT just before the marketplace, featuring it on the front page of its website only to sell it after the price had been pumped following the buzz around the main page listing.

According to 8btc, the sales tied to Chastain revealed that his front-running NFT sales only profited him just under 19 Ether, worth about $68,500, as of writing.

Jeff Dorman, CFA, CIO Arca applauded @ZuwuTV’s efforts noting that it is great to see the crypto community is self-policing.

“Working with regulators to come up with a new set of rules that include community self-regulation will lead to a better, fairer, & safer financial ecosystem.”

Explosive Growth

In July, OpenSea got a valuation of $1.5 billion after raising $100 million in a funding round led by a16z with participation from investors including Ashton Kutcher and Michael Ovitz.

For the past few months, OpenSea has been the biggest gas guzzler on the Ethereum network, accounting for more than 14% of all the Ether burned so far.

In August, OpenSea hit a new all-time high in monthly volume of $3.24 billion, up from $326 million in the previous month, according to Dune Analytics. Daily volume, however, is now going down, much like in the overall NFT scene.

On August 29, on Ethereum, OpenSea daily volume hit a $235.2 mln peak and since then has been on a continuous decline to drop to $52.6 mln on Sept. 11. This week, daily volumes are seeing a slight uptick to $81 mln.

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Author: AnTy

$1.5 Trillion Asset Manager Franklin Templeton Eyes Crypto With Latest Filing

$1.5 Trillion Asset Manager Franklin Templeton Eyes Crypto With Latest Filing

The crypto space is seeing a paradigm shift, with more legacy-backed financial institutions gradually transitioning into the blockchain industry. The latest is American multinational holding company Franklin Resources Inc.

$20 Million Total Value For Pooled Venture Fund

According to a Wednesday filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the investment firm plans to raise $20 million for its Venture Capital Fund dubbed the Franklin Templeton Blockchain Fund I, L.P.

The asset manager admitted in the filing that it had raised $10 million or 50% of the targeted value. The venture is expected to channel the raised funds to blockchain startups and crypto-focused businesses in the coming months.

However, the expected value is minimal given the funds crypto startups gulp in fundraising rounds. Franklin Templeton may likely be testing the SEC’s resolve with the venture fund and could go all out if the results are favorable.

Founded in New York City in 1947, Franklin Resources is a global investment manager with over 12,000 employees spread across 34 countries. It serves clients in 160 countries and provides mutual fund investment services. It is better known as Franklin Templeton, with over $1.5 trillion worth of assets under management (AUM).

Franklin Templeton Diving Deeper Into Crypto

Franklin Templeton has a long history with the cryptocurrency industry.

In 2019, Franklin Templeton joined forces with cloud-based institutional wallet provider Curv to bolster the security of digital shares in its money market fund. This saw the investment firm use Curv’s patented multiparty computation (MPC) to secure its blockchain and connect with the Stellar network.

Franklin Templeton was also a key contributor in the $15 million series A funding round of digital asset data company, Amberdata.

The California-based company has also made overtures in establishing a “Tokenized Asset Development Department” following a job posting advertising for a cryptocurrency research analyst last month.

In the LinkedIn post, Franklin Templeton specified that the successful candidate would research the most liquid and tradable crypto-assets like Bitcoin, Ether, and others. Also, the research analyst will conduct a market overview on decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and build out investment strategies for the firm’s digital products.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Southeast Asian Country, Laos, Authorizes Trading and Mining of Cryptocurrency

Southeast Asian Country, Laos, Authorizes Trading and Mining of Cryptocurrency

In a policy shift, Laos has approved the mining and trading of cryptocurrencies in the Southeast Asian country.

Analysts see this move as a logical step for an inland Communist-controlled country that has surplus hydropower.

The debt-laden country has its domestic tourism industry severely impacted by the pandemic, and while it has a strong power generation capacity, domestic demand is relatively small and weakened.

This shift to crypto comes after last month, the central bank of Laos issued a notice warning the public about the use of crypto assets.

This week, the Prime Minister’s Office said six companies, including banks and the construction groups, were authorized to start mining and trading crypto assets while relevant ministries draft regulations governing their use.

A host of ministries led by the Ministry of Technology and Communications in coordination with the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Energy and Mines, Ministry of Planning and Investment, and the Ministry of Public Security will work with the Bank of Laos (BOL) and the national utility the Lao Electric Power Company to regulate the industry, reported the Laotian Times.

The research findings and consultation between ministries and relevant organizations will be discussed at a meeting later this month.

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Author: AnTy

Jump Trading Launches Crypto Division to Build the “Plumbing” Necessary for Widespread Adoption

Jump Trading Launches Crypto Division to Build the “Plumbing” Necessary for Widespread Adoption of Crypto & DeFi

Secretive Wall Street firm Jump Trading has officially announced the launch of Jump Crypto; a dedicated team focused on the growth and development of cryptocurrencies and blockchain ecosystems.

After more than six years of “deep involvement” across the crypto space, Jump Crypto has been introduced, which will be headed by the 25-year old Kanav Kariya.

“We believe that current DeFi applications are only the tip of the iceberg. These new, open rails have the capacity to enable innovation and product models that stretch far beyond the realms of traditional financial systems.”

Kanav Kariya President of Jump Crypto

He further said that Jump Trading Group, which is a data and research-driven trading business, will be bringing its decades-long experience to crypto with an aim to “contribute to the construction of the ‘plumbing and the railroads’ necessary for widespread adoption of crypto.”

With its crypto division, the idea is to venture beyond trading and delve into venture capital investments, decentralized finance (DeFi), and on-chain governance.

Jump Crypto is already a founding code contributor to Solana-based Pyth Network, an oracle for real-time on-chain market data, and Wormhole, which is an interoperability protocol.

Last month, the company also announced the acquisition of blockchain development firm Certus One as part of its expansion into crypto.

Jump Trading has a team of more than 90 people and has deployed billions of dollars of capital across the crypto ecosystem.

Along with the launch, Jump Capital closed a new $350 million fund, the seventh since inception, which will focus on crypto and has already invested in PayPal acquired Curv and BitGo, which is to be acquired by Galaxy Digital.

“The finance industry is undergoing one of the biggest paradigm shifts in its history propelled by innovations in decentralized ledger technologies that will significantly enhance legacy systems and facilitate connectivity across financial service firms, and institutional and retail investors globally.”

Dave Olsen President and CIO of Jump Trading Group

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Author: AnTy

European Bank with $2.6 Trillion AUM Is Launching Crypto Custody Service

European Bank with $2.6 Trillion AUM Is Launching Crypto Custody Service

CACEIS, which has $4.96 trillion in assets under custody, is nearing the launch of a crypto custody service, reported CoinDesk, citing two people familiar with the plans.

The bank, which has $4.96 trillion in assets under its custody, is working with a Swiss-based custody technology provider Metaco. Metaco already provides its services to a number of European lenders, including BBVA and Standard Chartered.

CACEIS is looking for a comprehensive service provider which is integrated into the crypto market to address their various needs and not just custody.

The Paris headquartered bank is owned by Crédit Agricole (69.5%) and Banco Santander (30.5%) and provides its services to asset managers, insurance companies, pension funds, banks, private equity, and real estate funds, brokers, and corporate clients.

Earlier this year, the world’s largest custodian and the oldest bank in the US, BNY Mellon, announced that it would hold and transfer Bitcoin on behalf of its clients for which it invested in custody tech firm Fireblocks.

At the time, it further said that it would also cover stablecoins, tokenized securities, real assets, and eventually even central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) in its digital asset unit.

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Author: AnTy

Interactive Brokers with 1.5M Customers and $360B Assets in Custody Now Allows Trading for Crypto Assets

Interactive Brokers with 1.5 Million Customers and $360 Bln Assets in Custody Now Allows Trading for Crypto Assets

Interactive Brokers Group announced this week that it had launched a low-fee cryptocurrency trading on its platform, making it the latest retail brokerage to offer its customers exposure to crypto-assets.

Its US clients will now be able to trade and custody Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) alongside stocks, futures, options, bonds, mutual funds, and ETFs, the company said.

The platform will charge 0.12% to 0.18% of trade value or up to $1.80 per $1,000 trade, depending on monthly volume, in crypto-trading commissions but with no added spreads, markups, or custody fees the company said.

For this, the Greenwich, Connecticut-based company is partnering with Paxos Trust Company, a regulated crypto brokerage provider which was also the PayPal partner on digital asset trading. Paxos said in its announcement,

“In the last year, the interest in cryptocurrencies has exploded. Now, more than ever, people want access to this new asset class through their trusted intermediaries. Sophisticated investors see the value in diversifying portfolios by tapping into new technology.”

Increasingly Seeking Allocation

Interactive Brokers (IBKR), one of the largest online trading brokerages which cater to active traders and sophisticated investors, holds more than $360 billion in assets under custody.

It has about 1.5 million customer accounts, and they have an average of approximately $250,000 in their accounts, in contrast to Robinhood’s about 22.5 million funded accounts at the end of June, with its average account size roughly $5,000 as of February. Chief Executive Officer Milan Galik said,

“As financial markets evolve, sophisticated individual and institutional investors are increasingly seeking out allocations to digital currencies as a means of achieving their financial objectives.”

In June, Chairman Thomas Peteffy had said that the brokerage would launch crypto trading by the end of the summer as the asset class continues to become more mainstream.

Other online brokers, Robinhood Markets and TradeStation already offer crypto trading, while Fidelity and Charles Schwab currently offer access to Bitcoin futures.

“As the regulatory environment emerges, we’ll be there to work with it,” said Steven Sanders, EVP of Marketing and Product Development at Interactive Brokers. “We work with a lot of regulators.”

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Author: AnTy

Two Public Pension Funds Are Investing $50M in A Fund that Provides Exposure to Crypto

Two Public Pension Funds Are Investing $50M in A Fund that Provides Exposure to Crypto and Their Derivatives

Crypto is “an area that’s going to grow in adoption and interest. We think that it’s inefficient enough, so we think there are some alpha opportunities to take advantage of,” said the CIO of one of the pension funds.

Two Virginia public pension funds are making a more direct bet on cryptocurrencies.

After entering the crypto world by investing in venture capital two years ago, the Fairfax County Police Officers Retirement System (PORS) and Fairfax County Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) are now planning to invest $50 million in the main fund of Parataxis Capital Management LLC, according to a report from Bloomberg.

This Fund buys various cryptocurrencies and crypto derivatives. The decision to invest in the Fund is currently pending board approval.

Back in 2018, both the retirement systems within Fairfax, which is the 40th largest in the country, invested in blockchain technology. At the time, PORS invested 0.2% of its holdings, $11 million, and ERS invested 0.3%, about $10 million into the Morgan Creek Blockchain Opportunities Fund. They then invested another $52 million in the following year.

However, despite the stellar upside in the cryptocurrency’s prices with Bitcoin up 329%, Ethereum 734%, and the total crypto market cap 550% in the past year, according to PORS Chief Investment Officer Katherine Molnar, cryptomarkets aren’t accurately reflecting the true price of cryptocurrencies.

“It’s an area that’s going to grow in adoption and interest. We think that it’s inefficient enough, so we think there are some alpha opportunities to take advantage of.”

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Author: AnTy

Southeast Asia’s Largest Bank Sees Increasing Crypto Demand from Corporate Investors & Family Funds

Southeast Asia’s Largest Bank (DBS) Sees Increasing Crypto Demand from Corporate Investors and Wealthy Family Funds

DBS Group’s DBS Digital Exchange is “growing very rapidly” and is expected to double the number of clients on the members-only bourse as investors gradually explore cryptocurrencies and digital assets.

Singapore’s DBS Group is seeing robust demand from accredited individuals, corporate investors, and investment firms that manage the fortunes of wealthy families for its DBS Digital Exchange.

DBS Digital Exchange, set up in December as a members-only bourse, expects to double the number of members on its new platform for crypto trading to 1,000 by the end of December, reported Reuters. It is further expected to grow by 20-30% annually for the next three years as digital tokens gain acceptability.

“We are growing very rapidly. Investors are gradually exploring cryptocurrencies and digital assets,” said Eng-Kwok Seat Moey, head of capital markets at Southeast Asia’s largest bank by assets and the chairperson of the DBS exchange.

Eng-Kwok also said that the bank’s position as one of the biggest wealth managers in Asia and its expertise in originating deals in capital markets would help it attract more users and grow trading volume.

She added that the exchange is also hoping to list at least half a dozen security tokens by the end of next year. DBS DIgital exchange currently offers trading services between Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and XRP against U.S., Singapore, Hong Kong dollars, and the yen.

DBS’ brokerage arm has already received in-principle approval for the new regulatory framework introduced by Singapore’s central bank that came into effect in January 2020. This license allows its crypto exchange to directly support companies and asset managers to trade in digital payment tokens through its platform.

Kwee Juan Han, DBS’ group head of strategy and planning said,

“Our aim was to create a platform that could serve the entire digital asset value chain, from deal origination to tokenisation, listing, trading, and custody – all within a trusted and regulated bank franchise.”

Han expects new businesses, including the digital exchange and a carbon exchange, to bring a total revenue of S$350 million ($260 million) by 2022-end.

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Author: AnTy

Fantom Sees an Avalanche of New Activity to Hit Records, Announces Rewards to Build on the Platform

Fantom Sees an Avalanche of New Activity to Hit Records, Announces Rewards to Build on the Platform

The layer-1 platform is processing more than a million transactions and recording 16.5k FTM in fees as TVL hits $750 mln and FTM token nears $0.95 peak.

Layer 1 platform Fantom (FTM) is following the footsteps of Polygon (MATIC) and Avalanche (AVAX) as it announced ecosystem-wide liquidity mining.

Like very recently, AVAX benefited immensely from its program by pumping more than 500% in just over a month; FTM has now taken to rallying.

In a matter of just four days, FTM has surged over 110% to above $0.88. As of writing, FTM is trading at $0.83, still down 12% from its all-time high in early May at roughly $0.95.

The rally came as the project announced a 370 million FTM incentive program for builders. “If you’re a protocol team, we’ll reward you for sustaining and increasing your TVL on Fantom,” it said.

With liquidity mining getting popular, the Fantom team notes that they have been asked to provide rewards to its users willing to deploy on top of the chain. They noted,

“We believe that playing by the book doesn’t warrant different results. Therefore we have decided to introduce a different kind of program to better align incentives between users, builders, and the network.”

Starting this Monday, the protocol has committed 370,000,000 FTM to the program. A protocol can apply to avail of the rewards if their TVL on the protocol stays above a time-weighted average of $5-$100 million for an extended period.

Since Friday, the total value locked (TVL) on the protocol has gone from just under $440 million to $750 million on Monday. At the beginning of May, the TVL on Fantom was under $2.9 mln which has now reached just above $683 mln, according to DeFi Llama.

SpookySwap accounts for 29.5% of this TVL, followed by Curve, Scream, and SpiritSwap, with Cream Finance at 8th place, while Sushi has deployed $5.3 mln as well.

The liquidity mining program and the subsequent surge in FTM prices have resulted in the platform recording more than 1 million in daily transaction count.

The number of transactions on Fantom has exploded to a peak of 1,169,019 transactions on August 30, from just over 263k last week.

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The same is the case for transaction fees on the platform, which kept around 5k FTM every day when it posted a massive increase to 67,588 FTM on Monday. The ATH before that was 16,582 FTM on May 23, 2021, according to FTMScan.

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Author: AnTy

Canada’s Security Regulator Prohibits Regulated Crypto Exchanges from Trading in Tether (USDT)

Canada’s Security Regulator Prohibits Regulated Crypto Exchanges from Trading in Tether (USDT)

The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) has put the dominant stablecoin Tether (USDT) in its prohibited crypto assets list while allowing cryptocurrency exchanges to trade in Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and Litecoin (LTC).

This was disclosed in the regulatory documents regarding the exemptive relief applications in multiple jurisdictions for crypto exchange Coinberry Limited – “the first pure-play crypto trading platform in Canada to be fully registered” and Wealthsimple.

These two Toronto-based cryptocurrency exchanges are the only crypto asset dealers to receive regulatory approval by the OSC to operate their platforms in all Canadian provinces and territories for two years. Evan Thomas, Head of Legal at Wealthsimple Crypto, told a local publication in a statement,

“Canadians are still waiting to see the impact of regulatory standards being consistently applied across the industry. We hope regulators will ensure other platforms bring themselves into compliance with Canadian securities laws very soon.”

Both the companies’ documents put Tether in the “Appendix C – Prohibited Crypto Assets” section. It further noted that the application filer,

“Will not trade Crypto Contracts based on crypto assets, digital or virtual currencies, and digital or virtual tokens listed in Appendix C to this Decision.”

While not allowing trading in USDT, the documents do not specify the reason behind the decision. But it does put the disclaimer that OSC’s “decision should not be viewed as precedent for other filers.”

Tether, which has a market cap of $65.7 billion, settled its lawsuit with the New York Attorney General earlier this year for $18.5 million and is required to release quarterly transparency reports. As per the settlement, the stablecoin operator is also barred from doing business in New York.

In its latest transparency report, Tether said USDT is fully backed with 75.85% of it backed by Cash & Cash Equivalents & Other Short-Term Deposits & Commercial Paper.

Late last month also came the report that the US DOJ is probing the largest stablecoin and its executives for bank fraud. Tether, however, said that it “routinely has an open dialogue with law enforcement agencies…as part of our commitment to cooperation, transparency, and accountability.”

But it looks like Canada’s securities regulator is not yet comfortable with Tether’s situation and may even perceive it as high-risk.

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Author: AnTy