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2019 Might be the Year for Institutional Investors and Stablecoins, says Huobi Global

The year is shaping up very well and Huobi Global, one of the biggest names in the cryptocurrency industry thinks this is the year of stablecoins and institutional investors. Coinbase cryptocurrency exchange has expanded its professional services into Asia. Bakkt, the cryptocurrency project of the New York Stock Exchange’s owner appears to be on a hiring spree although it is not clear when it will launch its Bitcoin futures market.

Coinbase’s professional services expand into Asia

Coinbase has cemented its place as one of the most innovative and leading cryptocurrency exchanges after announcing on Jan. 22 that it is extending its professional trading and custody services to clients in Asia.

The exchange’s high-volume clients now have access to the firm’s flagship platforms designed for institutions as well as the cold storage services. Coinbase’s custody service is meant for approved high-volume customers. The roll-out supports wire transfers which allow Coinbase’s clients in Asia to deposit funds in their holdings even if they do not have U.S bank accounts.

“In the past 12 months, hundreds of crypto-first hedge funds have launched around the world, and many hundreds more traditional institutions such as proprietary trading firms, family offices, and endowments have begun actively trading digital assets,” announced the exchange.

This prompted Coinbase to offer is professional services – Coinbase Pro and Coinbase Custody – to serve these customers including digital asset issuers, miners, and cryptocurrency exchanges.

The new offering allows customers to deposit, withdraw, and trade USD using Coinbase Prime. Asian clients now have access to the Coinbase’s stablecoin USDC and “can redeem USDC at any time for USD (and vice versa) on a one-for-one basis, free of charge, through Coinbase Prime.”

The stablecoin was launched in October last year but limited to certain geographical areas and promised to add more geographies in the future – something the exchange has started doing.

Huobi Group 2019 plans: institutional investors, stablecoins, and more

The early dust of the year has settled and many crypto firms are laying down solid plans for the year ahead. Huobi Global is looking ahead to a warmer 2019 despite coming from the 2018 bear market that forced many crypto firms out of business.

The crypto firm said 2019 will likely be a better year in terms of stablecoins and the growing appetite among investors for digital assets.

Speaking at an invitation-only event in Singapore on Jan. 20, Chris Lee, the CFO and Board Secretary of Huobi Group said, “2018 brought us huge challenges, but I’m personally optimistic about the crypto market. I do think we’ll see things get better this year.”

The exclusive event was attended by over 150 institutional investors and blockchain professionals. LiquidStone co-sponsored the event.

Lee identified a number of priorities that the firm will be concentrating on in 2019 and these include upgrading the platform’s trading systems, further development of regional exchanges, and stablecoins.

“This year will be huge for stablecoins and we will be a part of that. Likely Huobi Group will launch its own stablecoin in 2019 in the first half of the year,” said Lee.

He added that “2019 will be a good time for institutional investors. We’ve really started to see growth in this area.”

Lee’s sentiments were echoed by Lee Huo, the managing director of Huobi Capital, the investment arm of Huobi Group. “When it comes to institutional investment in digital assets, we are still very much in the infant stage. Now that infant is starting to grow up,” said Huo.

Bakkt on a hiring spree as it looks ahead launching its much-anticipated platform

Intercontinental Exchange’s cryptocurrency platform, Bakkt, has rolled out a career portal as it appears to be gearing for a hiring spree.

The firm has previously brought onboard new talent to develop its much-awaited platform including Adam White, the firm’s COO who crossed over from Coinbase. The firm is now looking to hire a director of blockchain engineering, blockchain developer, director of security engineering, senior full stack engineer, director of finance, institutional sales, software development engineer in test, and mobile developer.

The mobile developer will build a mobile app for the Bakkt product suite which the firm predicts will be used by millions of people.

Bakkt is planning to launch a Bitcoin futures market and already has the support of big names such as Starbucks and Microsoft. The company is also making major moves of its own after announcing its first acquisition and securing $182 million in a fundraising round.

However, the firm is still faced by several delays as it awaits regulatory approval from the U.S Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). The firm initially planned to launch its product late last year but later postponed.

The current partial U.S government shutdown does not help Bakkt’s predicted launch date as it means that its plans have stalled and will be pushed back to a later and unknown date.

CEO Kelly Loeffler had to put out some fire and reassure the industry that the firm was not just sitting idle and waiting for approval. “We’re not standing still as we await regulatory approval by the CFTC for the launch of regulated trading in our crypto markets,” she said.

Nasdaq CEO: Cryptocurrencies potentially have a future

It is not every day that the cryptocurrency industry gets a vote of confidence from mainstream finance, but when that happens, its great news for the market and in most cases, it has some elements of truth.

Adena Friedman, the CEO and president of the world’s second-largest stock exchange by market cap Nasdaq wrote a LinkedIn article in which she says that cryptocurrencies could still be a global currency of the future.

She highlighted that cryptocurrencies have gone several cycles since bursting through the scene 10 years ago.

“It’s been more than a decade since Bitcoin took the world by storm. With several thousand competing cryptocurrencies vying for investor attention, the world of “crypto” has gone through the first phase of the classic invention lifecycle, marked by early pioneers, followed by hype, followed by proliferation of newcomers and then a dose of reality,” she wrote.

She added that the cycle is likely to bring out two possible outcomes. The innovation will find practical utility and will be followed by several years of stability and integration into the economic fabric or the invention will fail to achieve mass adoption and have limited applications.

Friedman pointed out that the exchange, which is now a favorite of several crypto enthusiasts, invested in ErisX, a crypto firm. She thinks this year is an important one for the industry.

“While this year will be another proving ground for cryptocurrencies, we believe digital currencies will have a role in the future. The extent of its impact will depend on the evolution of regulation and broader institutional adoption,” she wrote.

Crypto bulls and speculators do not go hand-in-hand, says Morgan Stanley former MD

Cryptocurrency speculators played a huge role in driving the prices of digital assets and keeping many people interested in the nascent market. However, it seems that their time is over and the best they can do is exit the market so that the former good days can return, says Patrick Stringer, a former MD at Morgan Stanley.

Springer believes that speculators need to exit the market so that the price of digital assets can increase.

He was quoted by Cryptobriefing online publication saying, “A bull market for crypto will come again when all the speculators have exited, i.e. when investors who believe in the greater fool theory of selling the same asset to someone but at a higher price, all leave. It will also come again when there is a great shakeout in the number of cryptocurrencies and utility tokens – there is no value to having an unlimited number of digital currencies sprouting from numerous forks.”

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