More Capital Flows to the Crypto Sector as Bloomberg Suggests that Bitcoin is Running out of Steam
A Bloomberg Intelligence analyst believes that Bitcoin’s recent momentum may be running out of steam, resulting in another sell-off and price plunge. Crypto futures exchange CoinFLEX has garnered financial support from two crypto venture firms and added more big names to its impressive list of backers. Abra investment app has added support for Ether and now allows users to deposit and withdraw the second largest digital asset by market capitalization. The U.S. securities regulator is preparing to go on a crypto road trip in which it will have physical discussions with fintech leaders.
Another milestone achievement: Coinbase users can trade directly from their cold storage wallets
Coinbase, one of the leading cryptocurrency exchanges in the world is taking the world into a new era of crypto trading and custody.
The exchange announced on March 13 via a blog post that its over-the-counter (OTC) trading desk is now integrating with its custody service.
Coinbase has managed to make an OTC trade directly from cold storage.
“Custody clients can leverage the OTC desk to price and confirm trades before moving funds. Additionally, we’ve honed this process to make it as simple and smooth as possible — our OTC and Custody client service teams work together to provide a single point of contact throughout the entire process,” said Coinbase in the announcement.
Per the announcement, the OTC is agency-only and can be used by counterparties that have completed robust KYC and AML policies.
Coinbase launched its OTC desk last year and targeted U.S. accredited investors before the services expanded into Asia and Europe.
This offering is similar to what blockchain security company BitGo achieved last month when it partnered with Genesis Trading to enable users to make trades without moving their assets out of their storage.
San Juan Mercantile Exchange in partnership to help sophisticated investors transact better
The San Juan Mercantile Exchange (SJMX) and its subsidiary, the San Juan Mercantile Bank & Trust (SJMBT), have inked three partnerships that will help the firm launch its integrated cryptocurrency exchange and banking solution, reported Banking Tech on March 13.
The new partnerships are designed to give accredited and institutional investors a rich experience when making transactions in the digital asset space.
SJMX has partnered with CQG, a service provider of electronic trading interfaces; Elysium Technology Group, a provider of office software; and Mercury Digital Assets.
Mercantile Global CEO Robert Collins believes that their platform offers unique solutions both to fiat and digital asset spaces.
“We consider our solution unique, particularly the ability to provide agnostic custody services for fiat and digital assets alike,” said Collins.
Bitcoin appears to be losing momentum, says Bloomberg
Bitcoin’s recent rally appears to be running out of steam, at least according to a Bloomberg report published on March 12.
The report says the technical gauges signaling a long-term buying interest in the world’s largest digital asset is declining, indicating that selling pressure is on the rise. Bitcoin’s Moving Average Divergence indicator has been in freefall since mid-February.
Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Mike McGlone wrote in a report that the crypto market is now ready for a move towards lower prices and compared the current conditions to those in November last year when the contentious Bitcoin Cash hard fork stirred a major sell-off.
“Conditions are akin to November, just prior to the collapse. Prices are consolidating within narrowing ranges, with a few sharp bear-market rallies that appear fleeting,” wrote McGlone.
In an email, eToro’s senior market analyst Matt Greenspan noted that Bitcoin’s 20 percent surge in the past three months isn’t a poor performance but is overshadowed investors’ interest in smaller digital assets.
“As we approach the culmination of the crypto winter, we’re actually seeing some of the altcoins delivering spectacular gains in the last few weeks. We are now in what industry insiders like to call alt-season,” said Greenspan.
Crypto futures exchange CoinFLEX secures funding from two venture capital firms
The crypto industry is doing well in attracting venture capital, a clear sign that all is well in the industry despite a protracted bear market that may have scared off some investors.
The self-proclaimed world’s first physically delivered crypto futures exchange, CoinFLEX, announced on March 13 that is has raised an undisclosed amount of money from two crypto venture firms – Polychain Capital and Digital Currency Group (DCG).
Polychain and DCG join an already existing consortium of CoinFLEX investors that include Dragonfly Capital Partners, Trading Technologies, Mike Komaransky, and Roger Ver among others.
The exchange also announced that it is launching FLEX Coin, a new digital token that enhances liquidity and incentivizes traders who use the platform.
Physically-settled crypto contracts are settled with real cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Ether. This is different from standard Bitcoin futures contracts that are settled in cash and not in crypto.
CoinFLEX CEO Mark Lamb said that the exchange is launching its own cryptocurrency to reward loyalty on its platform.
“We have a growing set of high-profile backers, a clear roadmap for delivery and are moving closer to our goal of helping crypto futures trading achieve its full potential,” said Lamb.
CoinFLEX was established in January after CoinfloorEX spun-off from holding company Coinfloor Group.
Gibraltar Stock Exchange lists five new stablecoins
The Gibraltar Stock Exchange (GBX) announced that it is adding five new stablecoins – Paxos (PAX), Gemini Dollar, Maker (DAI), TrustToken (TUSD), and USD Coin (USDC).
The GBX enjoys a reputation of being the first licensed digital asset exchange to be regulated by the European Union (EU). The GBX is among the first cryptocurrency exchanges to be owned by a stock exchange. This has caused the crypto exchange to adopt regulatory compliance standards and has received an operating license from the Gibraltar Financial Services.
The decision (to list the five stablecoins) is intended at luring affluent investors with a low-risk profile.
Founder and managing director of the Gibraltar Stock Exchange (GSX) Nick Cowan said that stablecoins bridge the gap between blockchain technology and traditional fiat currencies.
“Stablecoins provide an attractive proposition to market participants who want to harness blockchain technology to transact in familiar, more accessible currencies and assets,” said Cowan.
Ethereum’s Istanbul upgrade may include ProgPoW mining changes
Ethereum is gearing for its next major upgrade – Istanbul – and is considering the inclusion of the long-debated new mining algorithm that may further decentralization and lower entrance costs for new miners on the network, reported CoinDesk.
The possibility was discussed on March 12 during a meeting of project managers who are working on the Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP) 1057 or Progressive Proof-of-Work (ProgPoW). This proposal has long been debated with both sides giving their own views on the merits or lack thereof of the upgrade.
One side of the camp believes that implementing the new mining algorithm will limit the dominance that large miners have on the market while those against the upgrade claim that it does not do much to offer a level playing field.
The discussion of the ProgPoW is most likely in full swing after the successful activation of Constantinople hard fork upgrade last month.
Tim Beiko, a product manager on ConsenSys’s protocol engineering group said that ProgPoW will be considered for discussion during a core developer call scheduled for March 15.
Those who attended the last call are ready to push for ProgPoW if everything works according to plan.
“In the worst case, if the audit comes with a huge red flag in it, we can pull that EIP out before Istanbul but assuming that everything goes well, we’ve already done the work … and the audit is just validation afterwards,” said Beiko.
JP Morgan Chase and Facebook coin still a puzzle for the crypto industry
Enterprise blockchain technology is beginning to show it’s a mark in space dominated by public blockchains.
JP Morgan Chase has already launched a stablecoin that will be reserved for in-house use and pegged on a 1:1 ratio with the USD. The other hand hosts Facebook’s highly anticipated secretive cryptocurrency projected rumored to be launching before the second half.
While these two cryptocurrencies will certainly shine the spotlight on the blockchain space and probably prove the industry’s worthiness, they go against the core values and principles of digital assets in the first place – decentralization of finance.
This is the reason why the crypto community has not yet responded with a unified voice on the announcements of these coins. Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse has weighed in on JP Morgan’s stablecoin is not impressed by it. He believes that it has no relevant role to play.
Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao welcomes the two coins as it reflects well for the industry as a whole. He also noted that entities can do as they please in a decentralized world but should do so without hurting others.
“In a decentralized world, anyone can do as they please (within limits, so long as they don’t hurt others). The more people adopt #crypto, the better. Adoption is #adoption. Welcome! How well will they do? Well, let’s wait and see,” tweeted Zhao regarding the two coins.
Zhao’s sentiments were echoed by Justin Sun, the founder and CEO of Tron. This comes as no surprise as the two camps are collaborating together on a number of projects.
However, others are not impressed with Facebook’s move into the crypto space after the social media giant previously banned crypto-related ads on its platform.
Global investment app Abra adds support for real Ether
The world’s first and easy-to-use investment app Abra has added support for real Ether. The users of the app can now deposit, withdraw, and invest Ether directly.
The digital asset was previously available as a synthetic asset – users were only exposed to Ether’s price movements and could only make deposits through a U.S. bank account, American Express, and a few select digital assets – Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin.
“By adding native ether support, Abra users will now be able to easily buy and move Ether from other wallets to the Abra app. […] This also opens up the potential to use ETH as an on-ramp to invest in the other assets listed on Abra,” said Abra CEO Bill Barhydt.
The SEC to embark on a crypto road trip to engage with industry stakeholders
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is embarking on a road trip across the country in a bid to engage with stakeholders as the regulatory agency wants to get more clarity about the industry.
The agency will kick off its engagement with innovators, developers, and entrepreneurs on March 26 in San Francisco before moving on to Colorado, Denver on May 3.
The March 26 meeting marks the first time that the agency holds “local peer-to-peer” meetings around the country and allow players in the crypto space to have face-to-face conversations with regulators.
The road trip is organized by the SEC’s Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology and topics to be discussed range from digital assets, digital marketplace financing, digital asset trading platforms to advisory services related to digital assets.
The road trip comes after SEC chairman Jay Clay Clayton confirmed that Ethereum, the second most valuable blockchain is not a security.
Dash partners with PolisPay for Mastercard payments
Liquidity is a stumbling block for the adoption of digital assets on a wider scale but a new partnership may address this issue.
Blockchain payments service provider PolisPay is partnering with Dash cryptocurrency to allow users with a Mastercard debit card to make payments using Dash cryptocurrency.
The Polis app is already supporting payments using a number of cryptocurrencies that include Bitcoin, Digibyte, Ethereum, and Litecoin. Users use the Polis app to make deposits in crypto and receive an equivalent amount in fiat currency.
The users can spend their crypto holdings wherever Mastercard is supported. Transactions are settled in cryptocurrencies but the merchants receive their dues in fiat.
If this works out, it could mean good things for Dash, a cryptocurrency which is trying to position itself as the easiest payments solution.
Four suspects steal $200,000 from Canadian Bitcoin ATMs
Canadian authorities are searching for four suspects who netted $200,000 in a Bitcoin fraud targeting crypto ATMs in seven cities in the country. The police believe that the quartet used double spend attacks to defraud Bitcoin kiosks, reported CBS on March 12.
Nearly half of the attacks were carried out over a 10-day period in September last year. The police believe that 112 fraudulent transactions were carried out in Calgary and other cities that include Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Hamilton, and Sherwood Park.
The suspects are described by the police as people with “in-depth knowledge or interest in cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, and/or blockchain technology.”
The suspects withdrew money from Bitcoin ATMs and remotely canceled the transactions before they were processed for withdrawal by the ATM operator.