Fidelity Targets March as the Launch Date for its Crypto Custody Solution Amid the Bear Market
Those who joined the crypto market about a year ago have been exposed to one of the longest stretches of the bear trend to hit the sector in its short but colorful history. However, they have also seen more institutional interest coming from traditional financial institutions. Fidelity Investments, one of the biggest names in finance is planning to launch its crypto custody solution in March this year. This is a welcome development as the market is in need of better custody solutions. This comes after an exchange was hacked for the second time in two weeks.
Stablecoin Tether capitalizes on the bearish market
The bearish trend continues to grip the crypto market and after a brief moment of consolidation, some of the key digital assets have been trading below the key support levels.
Although Bitcoin is down 0.37 percent in the last 24 hours, the flagship cryptocurrency was relatively stable, re-igniting hope that a bullish trend may follow soon.
Some altcoins registered mild gains. In the top 10 list, Tron leads the pack with a 2.66 percent price surge followed closely by EOS at 2.49 percent. Tether, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin are all up less than 1 percent.
After a brief round of price declines, the stablecoin Tether (USDT) quietly climbed into the fourth spot temporarily before dropping one place down. USDT is trading at $1.01, 0.07 percent higher than it did in the last 24 hours.
Given the prevailing bear trend, this could be a sign that traders are being cautious of the volatility and in order to minimize the risk, they are holding their money in USDT.
Fidelity plans to launch crypto custody service in March
Fidelity Investments, a U.S based multinational financial services company with $2.5 trillion in assets under management (AUM) has targeted a March launch date for its eagerly awaited Bitcoin custody service, reported Bloomberg on Jan. 29.
The big move from one of the largest financial institutions on the planet has the potential to ease fears of trading in cryptocurrencies and lure institutional investors into the young crypto market that is already going through a tough spell over the last couple of months.
Much to the delight of crypto enthusiasts, Fidelity announced last year that it was going to offer a number of crypto products specifically designed for institutional and large investors such as hedge funds.
According to employees of firms who spoke with Fidelity, Bitcoin storage is expected to be the first on the agenda followed by Ether storage.
“We are currently serving a select set of eligible clients as we continue to build our initial solutions. Over the next several months, we will thoughtfully engage with and prioritize prospective clients based on needs, jurisdiction and other factors,” said Fidelity.
The nascent cryptocurrency market has suffered from many hacks and security breaches that have left institutional investors in search of a more trusted name they can work with in securing their crypto holdings should they decide to invest in digital assets. This is the role that Fidelity hopes to fulfill.
Abigail Johnson, the CEO of Fidelity is a strong believer of digital assets and steered the company to start mining Bitcoins in 2015. She believes that the new business codenamed Fidelity Digital Assets will get Wall Street to start trading digital assets and have them safeguarded by her firm.
The crypto industry needs Fidelity to deliver on its promise in order to instill confidence in investors.
BlockFi secures additional funding from Coinbase Ventures and Able Partners
Crypto lending platform BlockFi announced on Jan. 29 that it received new funding from Coinbase Ventures and Able Partners as an extension of its previous $4 million funding round. The announcement did not provide any specific details of the deal.
“BlockFi is excited to announce that we have raised an extension of our latest $4M raise from Coinbase Ventures and Able Partners,” read an excerpt from the blog post.
To date, BlockFi has raised close to $60 from an A-list of investors that include Fidelity, Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital, ConsenSys, SoFi, and more.
BlockFi CEO Zack Prince stated that the company is likely going to form strategic partnerships with its new investors.
“In addition to growing our product set, one of our big focuses for this year is internationalizing the platform and we look forward to offering better support for the EU, Latin America, and the Japanese market soon,” said Prince.
Coinbase Venture is an early stage venture fund arm of Coinbase that provides financing to startups that have the potential to move the crypto space to the next level.
CoinShares CSO in Davos: Crypto market is in adjustment phase in line with reality
The bigwigs of the universe recently gathered in Davos, Switzerland to attend the highly important World Economic Forum annual meeting where crypto leaders and commentators gave their take on the under-fire crypto market.
Speaking in Davos, the Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) of CoinShares gave a mouthful about investing in crypto assets and blockchain technology.
She said that people initially invested in crypto projects and companies without any working project.
“Over the last 18 months, we saw this crazy frenzy. People were investing in projects at multi-billion-dollar valuations without a single line of code being shipped, without a single product, without a single use case, a little bit detached from reality,” she said.
She was speaking from experience as she has personally invested in projects such as Verge. Like the many people who joined the crypto bandwagon in its early days, she bought Bitcoins on the infamous Mt. Gox crypto exchange that left users with ‘big holes’ in their crypto wallets.
“Investing in Crypto assets is fundamentally different from owning a stock, or investing in real estate… There are all of these nuances and weird things that just take a lot of time and energy,” she added.
She noted that the crypto market is now in an adjustment phase and expectations are more in line with reality. There is new narrative and even said that ICOs are a different case altogether.
She is now excited by the emerging security token model that seems to be taking over where the ICO model left off.
Gemini celebrates a ‘first for a cryptocurrency exchange and custodian’
U.S cryptocurrency exchange Gemini announced on Jan. 29 via a blog post that it successfully completed its SOC 2 Type 1 examination. The exchange says that it engaged with one of the big four firms, Deloitte & Touche LLP (Deloitte) last year in order to complete the review.
“This makes Gemini the world’s first cryptocurrency exchange and custodian to demonstrate this level of security compliance in protecting customer data and funds,” said the exchange in the blog post.
Gemini says it is on a mission to provide its users with a safe and secure platform to buy, sell, and store digital assets. SOC 2 reviews have become a tradition in the traditional financial and technology industries to demonstrate security compliance. By completing the review, Gemini reckons that it has taken another step in raising the bar for the industry’s best practices.
The exchange, owned by the Winklevoss twins, plans to obtain the SOC Type 2 this year.
“Going forward, we will perform a SOC 2 examination on an annual basis in order to demonstrate our ongoing commitment to safeguarding your data and cryptocurrency,” the exchange said about its future plans for the SOC examination.
Iran in talks with 8 countries over using cryptocurrencies in monetary transactions
After being hit by two rounds of sanctions by the U.S, Iran is looking for ways to circumvent the sanctions.
The acting head of Iran’s Trade Promotion Organization (TPO), Mohammad-Reza Modoudi told a news publication that representatives from eight countries – Austria, Bosnia, England, France, Germany, Russia, South Africa, and Switzerland – are in Iran to discuss how cryptocurrencies can be used for monetary transactions by the mentioned states.
“Starting a new chapter in its international monetary transactions to circumvent U.S.-led sanctions, Iran is in negotiating the use of cryptocurrency in its financial transactions with eight countries,” said Modoudi.
Iran has been rumored to be developing what is likely a stablecoin pegged to the Rial and is expected to announce the details of the crypto project as soon as possible.
This move will likely hold water because Europe has already lifted its sanctions against the Islamic state while the U.S is not yet backing down.
Whether this happens or not, it is a sign that cryptocurrencies have a big role to play in a world in which money and financial systems are used as weapons and means to effect regime changes. This will cause other countries to follow suit and play a major in pushing for the mass adoption of digital currencies.
Cryptopia cryptocurrency exchange hit for the second time in two weeks
Once beaten, twice shy, but it seems that a certain cryptocurrency exchange did not get the memo.
New Zealand-based cryptocurrency exchange Cryptopia has been hacked for the second time in a space of two weeks, probably before it has completely dealt with the first hack. Two weeks ago, hackers made off with $2.5 million in Ether (19,391 ETH). The second hack culminated in the loss of 1,675 ETH, bringing the total amount of ETH stolen to well over 17,000.
It is believed that the recent hack was in progress for almost 15 hours.
While this obviously paints a bad picture for the hacked exchange, it paints an overall bad picture for the entire market and reaffirms institutional investors’ fears to enter the crypto space when it still hasn’t sorted out issues as basic as security.
Thanks to a growing number of crypto custody solutions coming onto the picture, maybe it is time to focus on security issues and more before the next bull run commences.
Chicago receives 30 ATMs in 2019
Chicago is on its way to become a major cryptocurrency hotspot after Atlanta-based Lux Vending installed 30 cryptocurrency ATMs in the city since the turn of the year. Lux CEO Brandon Mintz is deploying the ATMs under the brand name Bitcoin Depot. Red Leaf Chicago and Athena Bitcoin have launched their own crypto ATMs in the city.
The firm targeted Chicago because of its large size and history as a financial center. “It’s a very, very niche customer base,” said Mintz.
Chicago has its own bragging rights its big exchanges – Cboe Global Markets and CME Group – have both launched a Bitcoin futures contract.
Although the crypto market is coming from a bear market that Mintz likes to call the ‘dead year,’ he thinks that the decline in prices gave his company enough time to build up infrastructure in preparation for the next bull run.
Eric Gravengaard, CEO of Athena Bitcoin thinks that “there’s a large degree of adoption” in Chicago.