Cryptocurrencies are largely negative as Bakkt announces official December launch of Bitcoin futures trading
Caspian, a fintech startup based in the Cayman Islands, has completed its initial coin offering (ICO) ahead of schedule and raised USD$19.5 million in the process. Caspian was founded earlier in 2018 and aims to consolidate the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges under one single interface while also offering a full-stack of cryptocurrency asset management tools, including features geared towards compliance, algorithms, portfolio management, risk, and reporting. 40% of the USD$19.5 million raised will go towards research and development for Caspian while 25% and 15% will go towards sales/marketing and application support, respectively. Specifically, Caspian is geared toward attracting institutional clients to use their application.
Fidelity Investments’ head of blockchain research and development, Hadley Stern, has left Fidelity after 17 years to serve as COO of blockchain software startup, Bloq. Stern’s departure comes just days after Fidelity announced the launch of a new arm, Fidelity Digital Asset Services. In regards to the career move, Stern said, “I’m glad to dig deeper into the blockchain technology beyond just financial services use cases: healthcare, identity, internet of things, cross-border transactions. It really gets to this notion of tokenization of things, that anything that can be tokenized will be, and potentially what can be decentralized will be.” In his new role at Bloq, a startup that provides blockchain solutions to enterprises, Stern will focus on broad blockchain applications and delivering products to clients.
HTC, the producer of Android smartphones, has announced that their HTC Exodus is available for pre-order and must be purchased using cryptocurrency. Customers across 30 countries, including the United States, Hong Kong, and the UK can purchase the new phone, dubbed the EXODUS 1, using either Bitcoin (BTC) or Ethereum (ETH). The EXODUS 1 includes a ‘secret enclave’ within the device to store a user’s cryptocurrency wallet keys -- the ‘secret enclave’ is also kept separate from the Android operating system. The EXODUS 1 is known as the ‘world’s first native blockchain phone’, and features support for decentralized applications (DApps).
Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange and new cryptocurrency venture, Bakkt, has announced the launch date for Bitcoin (BTC) futures on Bakkt. Bakkt is a platform meant to facilitate the trading, storing, and spending of cryptocurrencies. According to a document posted on ICE’s website, Bakkt Bitcoin (USD) Daily Futures Contracts will begin trading on December 12th, 2018. The document goes on to read, “Each futures contract calls for delivery of one bitcoin held in the Bakkt Digital Asset Warehouse, and will trade in US Dollar terms. One daily contract will be listed for trading each Exchange Business Day.”
Square, the popular mobile payments startup, has open-sourced its solution for Bitcoin (BTC) cold storage, releasing the company’s documentation, code, and tools for Square’s ‘Subzero’ Bitcoin cold storage solution. Alok Menghranjani, a security engineer with Square, said in a blog post this morning that Square utilizes the Subzero solution to hold Bitcoin on behalf of its users in an offline environment based on a hardware security module -- this hardware security module is programmable, said Menghranjani, which allows Square and users of Subzero to send BTC from a hot wallet to storage in a cold wallet at any time.
The National Bank of Canada (NBC) is partnering with IT and business consulting firm, CGI, and blockchain startup, Skuchain, to simplify the process banks use to issue transactions by leveraging smart contracts to replace current email-based procedures. The partnership will combine CGI’s Trade360 trade finance platform with Skuchain’s software to create smart contracts in order to accomplish their goal. Patrice Roy, vice president of payments, cash management, and international solutions at the National Bank of Canada said about the partnership, “This will enable us to offer a simple, fast and efficient experience to our commercial clients which facilitates managing their business.”
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has suspended trading for American Retail Group, Inc. (OTC: ARBG) after allegations surfaced that the company issued false statements involving cryptocurrencies -- the company allegedly said that it had partnered with an “SEC-qualified custodian”. The US SEC cited two August 2018 press releases by American Retail Group where the company claimed its cryptocurrency products would be offered “under SEC regulations” and that its token sale was “officially registered in accordance with SEC requirements”. The US SEC is legally allowed to suspend the trading of a stock for 10 days or until reporting requirements are met. Earlier this month, the US SEC and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) noted concerns of companies issuing fraudulent claims referencing the regulating bodies.
Vertex Ventures, a subsidiary of Temasek Holdings, a government-owned investment company, announced in a press release of an investment in Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, to facilitate Binance’s expansion into Singapore. Founded in 2015, Vertex Ventures manages portfolios in the United States, Cina, Israel, India, and Southeast Asia and is responsible for USD$2.5 billion of assets under management. Binance previously announced plans to expand operations into Singapore early in September. Wei Zhou, CFO of Binance, said in regards to the expansion that Binance, “look[s] forward to building up the blockchain ecosystem and working with all stakeholders in Singapore to support continued innovation in the local fintech space.”
A dramatic increase in bitcoin trading volume occurred at around 11 am EST (or 16:00 UTC), a period which roughly coincides with bitcoin’s skewed price movements on December 7. Cryptocurrencies are notoriously volatile, both in intraday trading and over longer periods. For example, bitcoin’s price experienced a sharp spike in December 2017, reaching a high of $19,763.50, before falling to a low of $3126.29 in December of the following year In December, the trading volumes have been somewhat muted. With holiday season just around the corner, the trend in bitcoin trading volume remains to be seen. On the downside, BTC/USD faces minor support at 425 levels. Today, December 9 th, Bitcoin is trading at $7,495.58, with a decrease of 0.25% in the last 24-hours. The current 24-hour trading volume is $15,580,409,200, which is among the lowest values of the coin for the past month. December 28th The price of bitcoins fell after South Korea announced additional measures to regulate bitcoin trading, including the potential closure of exchanges, among the volatile movements in the world's third largest cryptocurrency market.
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