Crypto Exchange, Luno, Is Now a Wholly-Owned Subsidiary of Digital Currency Group (DCG)

Cryptocurrency exchange Luno has been acquired by New York-based digital asset firm Digital Currency Group.

London-based Luno, which also has hubs in Singapore, Cape Town, Kuala Lumpur, Lagos, Jakarta, and Johannesburg, has about 400 employees and caters to more than five million customers. The company, which is also backed by technology investor Naspers and others, will continue to be led by CEO Marcus Swanepoel.

Barry Silbert’s DGC, which backs more than 160 blockchain companies and is the parent of Grayscale Investments, Genesis, Foundry, and Coindesk, first invested in Luno in its seed round in 2014. Now, Luno has also become the independent, wholly-owned subsidiary of DCG.

“Luno is a high growth, global business, and there is a massive opportunity to expand organically and through acquisitions,” said Silbert, founder, and CEO of DCG.

With a long term vision to “upgrade the world to a better financial system,” the company targets bringing 1 billion people into the mix by 2030.

Read Original/a>
Author: AnTy

Genesis Capital to Become the ‘Goldman Sachs’ of Crypto with Vo1t Acquisition

New York-based cryptocurrency firm Genesis Capital announced on Thursday that it has acquired Vo1t for an undisclosed amount.

With this deal, Genesis is moving to become a prime brokerage and join the likes of Fidelity Digital Assets, BitGo, and Tagomi.

The aim is “to build the preeminent prime brokerage in the digital currency ecosystem — a one-stop-shop for trading, lending, and securing digital assets for financial institutions,” said Michael Moro, Chief Executive Officer of Genesis in its official announcement.

It would be like the ‘Goldman Sachs’ in the traditional financial world, offering a full suite of services to its clients.

Race to Zero Fees

With the digital currency marketplace maturing at a rapid pace witnessing the entry of small and large financial institutions, there is a raising need for a prime broker.

Offering crypto custody to its clients will also help the company attract a wide array of institutional clients, especially those that are required to hold assets with certified custodians. Moro said,

“My view on the custody space is that it’s not a great standalone business. There’s a lot of competition, and it’s race to zero on fees.”

Its latest acquisition Vo1t is a London-based custodian with only six employees that just recently partnered with IBM’s Hyperledger and Genesis is “absolutely thrilled to have them on board.”

Grayscale to make the shift from Coinbase to Genesis?

Interestingly, Genesis that goes back to 2013 is the subsidiary of crypto conglomerate Digital Currency Group just like Grayscale.

Grayscale currently uses Coinbase for its crypto custody needs which the US-based crypto exchange fulfilled by striking a $55 million deal with Xapo last year.

Now, it’s possible that Grayscale — that holds 1.7% of all the bitcoin in the world, will move its crypto custody business from Coinbase to its sister company Genesis.

There has been no comment from Moro on this, he just told Fortune they are governed by long-term contracts.

Besides becoming prime brokers, Genesis has already started growing its international team with new offices in London and Singapore. Soon, they will be launching a derivatives trading desk and adding capital introduction capabilities for hedge funds, quant funds, asset managers, and family offices.

[Also Read: Crypto Lender, Genesis, New Loans Issuance Hits $2B In Q1 For Its Largest Quarter Ever]

Read Original/a>
Author: AnTy

Ethereum incubator ConsenSys to Layoff 14% More Staff Members Amid Coronavirus Crisis

ConsenSys, the New York-based Ethereum incubator may be laying off further staff amid the coronavirus crisis.

A spokesperson from the firm revealed that Consensys is looking to layoff 14% of its current workforce, which is around 90 people. The crisis may have been fueled by the ongoing pandemic, forcing many firms to go on cost-cutting campaigns, including staff layoffs.

However, this is not the first time that the firm is looking to cut short its workforce to manage costs. They went through similar layoffs back in February by almost the same percentage. And prior to that, the firm made further layoffs in late 2018 during the Consensys 2.0 restructuring.

The rumours about layoffs surfaced after a Monday town hall meeting. The currently forecasted layoffs would bring the company headcount to around 550 from the 850 which they started with this year.

A spokesperson from the firm commented on the current layoffs saying:

“The global COVID-19 pandemic has deeply impacted the world’s health and livelihood. ConsenSys has carefully analyzed its business in relation to what is occurring globally.

Like most of its peers, the company is seeing extraordinary uncertainty in the market, with businesses rebalancing priorities and reevaluating timelines.”

The spokesperson also assured that the layoffs were being conducted to manage underlying costs. However, a lot of meticulous planning has gone into it, ensuring that the key functions are maintained to ensure timely development of key products and solutions. ConsenSys would offer laid off staffs with 2 months of severance pay and career transition services.

Talking about the firm’s current focus of work, the company noted that they are currently looking into:

“crisis-related opportunities such as Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), emergency loans disbursement solutions, supply chains for personal protective equipment (PPE), and related identity solutions.”

Industries Laying Off Staff, and Cost Cutting To Get Through The Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has brought the whole world to a standstill. With most industries shutting down, laying off their workforce or going through complex cost-cutting procedures. The aim is to survive through the pandemic while ensuring the key aspects of their business is up and running.

Consensys is not new to layoffs as mentioned above it had done two layoffs prior to the current one for different reasons, however, the current layoffs are purely to manage cost amid the COID-19 crisis.

Read Original/a>
Author: James W

Institutional Client Three Arrows Capital Turns Investor in Crypto Lending Platform BlockFi

Three Arrows Capital has become a strategic investor for the New York-based provider of crypto lending products BlockFi, via a secondary transaction, after already being its institutional client.

Three Arrows Capital is a crypto and hedge fund manager founded by Kyle Davies and Su Zhu. It’s focused on markets currently emerging and has been for almost 10 years a provider of risk-adjusted returns.

BlockFi Raised Another $30 Million in a Series B Funding

The deal with Three Arrows Capital comes 2 months after BlockFi has collected $30 million in a Series B funding that was led by Valar Ventures. BlockFi is supported by Galaxy Capital’s billionaire Mike Novogratz. In 2018, Galaxy Capital raised almost $58 million from multiple funding rounds. More than this, the Gemini exchange of the Winklevoss twins is a custodian for the BlockFi accounts covered by digital asset insurance.

According to a BlockFi statement, the crypto lending platform obtained by now more than $650 million in deposits from institutional, corporate and retail crypto investors. It began its loaning services in March last year, offering loans between $2,000 and $100 million against Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH) and stablecoins.

BlockFi Interest Rates Are Rising

Recently, BlockFi announced a 6% raise in interest rates for its Interest Account (BIA). At the moment, its Tier 1 customers who loan up to 6 BTC have an interest yield of 3.6%. The rate for ETH lenders is 4.5% for up to 500 ETH, which is more than the 2 – 3.6% previous APY. The rates for the USD Coin (USDC) and the Gemini dollar (GUSD) remains the same at 8.6% APY. Making a comment about the latest Three Arrows Capital news, CEO and co-founder of Three Arrows Capital, Su Zhu, said:

“In being an institutional client of BlockFi, we quickly recognized that the company’s mission of helping to expand the cryptocurrency ecosystem aligned with our own philosophy for the space. We have had a great relationship with BlockFi and when presented an opportunity to become more involved on the investor level, the answer was evident.”

BlockFi CEO Announces an Extension of Credit to Miners

In the meantime, BlockFi’s CEO, Zac Prince, said its company is extending miners’ credit, seeing BlockFi’s competition is at ease ever since the coronavirus crisis has started. He also mentioned that until now, it didn’t do it because the lending platform’s competitors were up to taking large risks which BlockFi wasn’t in any way comfortable with.

Read Original/a>
Author: Oana Ularu

Gemini To Add Sixth Crypto To Exchange; Brave’s BAT Opens For Trading on April 24th

The famous New York-based cryptocurrency exchange Gemini is going to add the Basic Attention Token (BAT) on Friday, April 24, says a statement.

The trading of the token is going to begin at 9:30 am ET, on the same day. BAT will be tradeable against Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH) and the US dollar. Back in September 2019, Gemini created its institutional-grade platform for custody services and started with 18 cryptocurrencies, amongst which the BAT was included.

What Is BAT?

BAT is Brave browser’s native currency. Brave is a Chromium privacy-first browser that gives its users the ability to choose what ads they’re viewing and the opportunity to earn tokens for looking at ads. At the same time, it lets them tip websites in crypto. What’s also great about is that it keeps identities and personal data protected. BAT commodifies the attention of users.

The distributed ledger on which it’s built collects accurate data on what ads are going on and their effectiveness. When knowing all this, advertisers become more able to create very efficient marketing campaigns at lower costs. BAT can also be used to pay content publishers for their ad space, and users for the ads they have watched or clicked on.

What Makes BAT So Special?

BAT is a special token because it’s used to reward Brave users for interacting with ads. Besides, targeted ads make the browser experience much better, not to mention that pages with fewer advertising pop-ups load much faster. BAT keeps things private because it uses the ANONIZE algorithm in order for the information on its users to remain confidential.

Before their 2017 token sale, BATs were pre-mined. At the moment, the total BAT supply is of 1.5 billion tokens. A billion BAT were sold at the ICO, whereas 500 million are held in reserve for developing the BAT platform and increasing the numbers of token holders.

Read Original/a>
Author: Oana Ularu

WisdomTree Investments Looks To Launch SEC Approved Stablecoin Backed By Basket Of Assets

The New York-based investment company WisdomTree has made the announcement that it’s going to issue a stablecoin before its competition does.

It seems Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) actions have already been taken by the giant in this direction. The digital token it wants to launch is supposed to be a stablecoin that’s anchored to a variety of assets like public debt, fiat currencies and gold, even if this hasn’t been yet declared to the SEC. WisdomTree’s CEO and founder, Jonathan Steinberg, has been the only one to comment on the matter until now, by saying:

“You want to be early. We came to ETFs 13 years after State Street. This gives us an opportunity to be ahead of the State Streets, Fidelitys, on regulated stablecoins”.

Steinberg: Being Ahead of Competition in the Crypto World is Very Important

Steinberg also mentioned how important it is to be ahead of competition when it comes to digital currencies. In December 2019, WisdomTree launched its Bitcoin (BTC), based exchange traded product (ETP) that gives investors access to BTC without having to hold it. The product was listed on Six Swiss Exchange, the Zurich Stock Exchange that’s a leader in the world of cryptocurrency ETP-based exchanges.

WisdomTree Financed the Securrency Inc. Project

WisdomTree was last week in the center of attention for being a participant at the Securrency Inc. funding project. Securrency Inc. is also a leader, but when it comes to developing financial blockchain-based technology and regulations at an institutional level. Its project raised not less than $17.65 million.

As far as launching an ETF stablecoin goes, WisdomTree is going to offer access on the blockchain to traditional assets like property and gold. The rivals it’s planning to beat are Fidelity Investments and BlackRock, and it looks like it has already taken the necessary steps to do just that.

Read Original/a>
Author: Oana Ularu

Paxos Gold Opens Up for Trading on HitBTC and Bithumb Exchanges, Holders Can Earn Interest

The New York-based crypto exchange Paxos has recently revealed that its gold-backed asset Paxos Gold will be listed in two additional exchanges. According to the company, HitBTC and Bithumb will receive the token. Also, holders will be able to redeem their tokens for physical gold if they wish to.

All Paxos tokens are backed with gold bars, so people basically own the gold already when they own a digital token. This option, however, would make it easier to use these products as people could redeem as much gold as they wanted, which would increase the versatility of the asset. According to the company, every 430 PAXG tokens can be redeemed for a gold bar.

The gold is fully audited and verified periodically, which improves the security of the asset. There is also a way to gain interest on holdings via third-parties, the company affirmed. By using the holding services of Celsius, Genesis Lending or Nexo, people can get more money from their tokens.

PAXG To Hit Two New Exchanges

The most important part of the announcement is that HitBTC and Bithumb Global will list the asset. It was even hinted that other exchanges could also jump on board, but no other names were announced at this point.

This is part of Paxos’ strategy to popularize digital holdings of gold and to increase its customer base. The company is focused on the creation of ways that people can basically participate in the industry without having to participate in all the bureaucratic parts that may complicate their lives.

Read Original/a>
Author: Gabriel Machado