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Bitcoin ATM Installations Draw Warning from Russian Prosecutors

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Prosecutors in the Russian state of Tatarstan have issued a warning to a local businessman about two bitcoin ATMs.

Op Ed: “We Never Thought of That” — When Venture-Backed Companies Undertake Reverse ICOs

Bitcoin Magazine, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Op Ed: “We Never Thought of That” When Venture-Backed Companies Undertake Reverse ICOs

With well over $3 billion raised this year alone, in very little time initial coin offerings (ICOs) have emerged as a major source of venture finance. Even companies that have already raised conventional venture funding will be tempted to raise additional funds through ICOs. Although not fully intuitive, some have labeled token issuances by entities that previously obtained equity financing as “Reverse ICOs.”

One prominent example of a Reverse ICO has already occurred. Recently, Kik Interactive successfully completed an ICO of nearly $100 million. With over $3 billion raised in ICOs this year alone, ICOs are not unsubstantial. What made the Kik offering far more unusual is that Kik has already raised over $100 million from venture investors.

The standard documents used for angel and venture investing predate the current ICO craze and, not surprisingly, do not expressly address ICOs. Understandably, these documents are all “share-centric.” The question that needs to be addressed, therefore, is: What rights, if any, do existing investors have when their company elects to undertake an ICO?

What makes the analysis particularly difficult is that, broadly speaking, there are three types of ICOs:

  • Equity Tokens — these tokens are essentially digital shares with the issuer specifying equity participation, voting rights and other token/shareholder rights.

  • Non-Equity Security Tokens — these tokens do not grant equity rights but under the Howey test are nonetheless classified as securities.

  • Utility Tokens — these tokens allow the purchaser to buy products or services from the issuer.

Although not the subject of this article, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued initial guidance with respect to the securities law status of tokens issued in ICOs. The SEC’s Chief Accountant has also put out guidance detailing some of the accounting issues raised by ICOs.

This article will identify several issues raised by ICOs under commonly used SAFE, Convertible Note, Series Seed and Series A documents.

Why Existing Investors Might Object to Reverse ICOs

On the surface, Reverse ICOs would seem to be a net positive for existing investors. Except for equity tokens, ICOs provide non-dilutive financing to companies. Even when tokens are classified as securities, they generally are not issued as equity  —purchasers do not have a share in the issuer, do not receive dividends and do not get voting rights. However, there are several reasons why existing investors might be concerned:

Multiple “Plays” on the Same Company

After a Reverse ICO, a venture-backed company will have both tokens and equity in the hands of investors. Prior to the ICO, the only way an investor could invest in the company was by buying its stock. After the ICO, the investor would have a choice of buying the stock or buying tokens.

At least in the current environment, there is reason to believe that demand for tokens will be greater and drive up relative prices for tokens. Equity holders may find reduced demand for their equity. Further, if the tokens remain outstanding at the time of an exit, it is difficult to predict the impact of outstanding token pools on exit valuations in either an acquisition or IPO scenario.

Impact on Follow-On Venture Funding

Many venture funds make relatively small initial investments, anticipating that they will deploy significantly more capital in subsequent rounds. ICOs may reduce companies’ needs for future equity raises. As a result, venture funds may have reduced opportunities for follow-on funding.

Delay or Elimination of Conversion Events

For holders of Convertible Notes and SAFEs, under most currently used form documents, ICOs typically will not be considered an event that triggers a conversion. In some cases, ICOs may also delay or even eliminate subsequent equity financings. Further, in successful companies, ICOs often will raise the pre-money valuation at which conversion occurs, thereby diluting SAFE/Note holders (although conversion caps in many of these instruments may mitigate the impact).

Avoiding Pre-Emptive Rights

Under the current agreement forms, tokens sold in an ICO would not trigger the pre-emptive rights of existing shareholders — thereby denying them an automatic right of participation in the ICO.

Absence of Transfer Restrictions

Under the current agreement forms, tokens sold in an ICO would not be subject to the rights of first refusal, co-sale rights and the transfer restrictions typically applicable to shareholders in venture-backed companies.

ICOs Do Not Trigger Other Typical Preferred Shareholder Provisions
  • Anti-Dilution Protection. If a company underprices its tokens, its impact on valuation could be similar to a “down round.” However, unless tokens are issued as equity, they would not trigger the anti-dilution protection clauses in the standard forms.

  • Liquidation Preferences. If token holders are given equity participation in an issuer, the issuing documentation will need to specify where they stand in the liquidation stack. For utility tokens, if the claim against the company is viewed as contractual (i.e., the holders of a pre-payment for products/services), token holders may be unsecured creditors instead of shareholders — in which case they would rank ahead of all equity classes.

  • Mandatory Conversion of Preferred Shares. Venture documents typically provide for mandatory conversion of preferred shares in an IPO of a specified minimum amount raised and minimum share price or approval by what is typically a supermajority of preferred shareholders. Several ICOs have raised in excess of $100 million. If these companies go public, it is possible that some may not need additional funding and may do so without a public offering of additional shares (i.e., a direct offering). However, if not all shareholders agree with the decision to go public, the mandatory conversion provision could not be utilized unless approved by a supermajority of the preferred shareholders, which in some circumstances could impede the ability of an IPO to proceed.

Impact on Future Cash Flow

Many ICO issuers are positioning their tokens as “utility tokens” that can be used in the future to buy the issuer’s product or service. As a result, these tokens constitute pre-pays for the future delivery of goods and services. In the future, when the products/services need to be delivered, the venture may experience cash flow issues because no new funds will be coming in to pay for the product or service.

Impact of Regulatory, Tax and Accounting Uncertainty

Currently, the regulatory status of ICOs is unclear. Issuance of tokens in a manner that does not comply with the eventual regulations that emerge could create liabilities for the company and/or limit its ability to issue equity in the future. In addition, the accounting and tax rules for ICOs have not been established, and as a result, there may be ambiguity with respect to several representations and warranties the company typically will need to make in future financings and liquidity events.

Fiduciary Uncertainty

Officers and directors of companies have fiduciary obligations to maximize shareholder value. When companies are insolvent, these duties shift to protection of the interests of creditors. What, if any, fiduciary duties a board has with respect to token holders has not been explored. If a company is facing a decision that would benefit shareholders at a cost to token holders, do board members have any fiduciary obligation to the token holders? Investor representatives on boards of companies that have conducted Reverse ICOs will not only have to deal with uncertainty but also potential conflicts of interest if they have not participated in the Reverse ICO.

Can Investors Prevent a Company from Undertaking an ICO?

While it is difficult to believe that a company would undertake an ICO without board approval, in many early-stage companies, investors do not have control of the board. However, commonly used investment documents may leave shareholders with limited recourse where boards back an ICO. In general, in SAFEs and Convertible Notes, holders do not have protective rights and, as a result, they do not have the ability to prevent an ICO.

The protective provisions in the Certificate of Incorporation for Series Seed financings would not provide Series Seed holders with the ability to prevent an ICO. In the NVCA Series A documents, ICOs do not easily fit into any of the matters for which the investor director’s approval is required. The same applies to the protective provisions for the benefit of preferred shareholders detailed in the Certificate of Incorporation.

What Now?

For blockchain startups, ICOs have become the dominant form of fundraising — far exceeding venture capital financing. Given the strength of the ICO market, “Reverse ICOs” are likely to become even more pervasive. For investors this could be very challenging. Existing form agreements in the venture space are likely to be revised to address the possibility of Reverse ICOs. However, the regulatory, tax and accounting uncertainties around ICOs may not be quickly resolved, leaving uncertainty around some of the concerns raised in this article.

Revising the form agreements will not address the thousands of venture-backed companies that were financed using pre-ICO forms. For existing investors the path forward is more difficult. Where investors control the board or have blocking rights, they will have the ability to prevent ICOs or influence their terms. For other investors, particularly in early-stage ventures with founder-dominated boards, ICOs have the potential to overturn several assumptions under which early investors funded. These investors may have to wait for situations in which their approval is needed for unrelated corporate actions or their funding is necessary and leverage that position to insist upon amendments to existing investment documents to address some of the investor challenges resulting from Reverse ICOs.

This is a guest post by Dror Futter. Views expressed are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Media or Bitcoin Magazine.

The post Op Ed: “We Never Thought of That” — When Venture-Backed Companies Undertake Reverse ICOs appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Bitcoin.com’s Mobile Bitcoin Wallet Now Defaults to Bitcoin Cash

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

[…]

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CBOE Releases New Details on Bitcoin Futures Contracts

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Options exchange CBOE has released early specifications for its planned bitcoin futures product.

STOCKS TICK HIGHER: Here's what you need to know

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

hiking desert jumping man summer air higher

It's officially the end of an era.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen submitted her resignation from the board of governors on Monday, effective as soon as her successor, Jerome Powell, is sworn in early next year. Yellen was the first chair in recent memory to not be appointed to another term despite performing well in the role.

Yellen could have stayed on as governor after Powell's ascension, but confirmed on Monday that she would not.

All of the US stock markets ticked slightly higher on Monday.

Here's the scoreboard:

Janet Yellen to resign as Fed governor after Trump denies her second term as chair. Jerome Powell is set to take her place at the top of the Fed early next year.

There's a new biggest bull on Wall Street. Brian Belski of Bank of Montreal Capital Markets sees the S&P 500 finishing 2018 at 2,950, the most bullish forecast on Wall Street.

The market is nearing a crucial turning point that could crush stocks. Societe Generale says a 10-year Treasury yield above 2.5% could result in a US equity sell off.

Bitcoin soars to new high above $8,200. Bitcoin has been on a tear over the past week as more traditional financial services firms dive into the nascent market for digital coins.

Hedge funds loaded up on these 10 stocks last quarter. Tech stocks have been on fire this year, and institutional investors have taken note.

Other headlines

 

Uber plans to purchase 24,000 self-driving cars from Volvo in a potential multi-billion dollar deal

JPMORGAN: It's time for Tesla to live up to its Model 3 promises

There are 3 things that could destroy one of the greatest stock rallies of all time

SEE ALSO: What you need to know on Wall Street today

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Why Amazon's new headquarters sweepstakes makes it the 'smartest company in the world'

STOCKS TICK HIGHER: Here's what you need to know

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

hiking desert jumping man summer air higher

It's officially the end of an era.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen submitted her resignation from the board of governors on Monday, effective as soon as her successor, Jerome Powell, is sworn in early next year. Yellen was the first chair in recent memory to not be appointed to another term despite performing well in the role.

Yellen could have stayed on as governor after Powell's ascension, but confirmed on Monday that she would not.

All of the US stock markets ticked slightly higher on Monday.

Here's the scoreboard:

Janet Yellen to resign as Fed governor after Trump denies her second term as chair. Jerome Powell is set to take her place at the top of the Fed early next year.

There's a new biggest bull on Wall Street. Brian Belski of Bank of Montreal Capital Markets sees the S&P 500 finishing 2018 at 2,950, the most bullish forecast on Wall Street.

The market is nearing a crucial turning point that could crush stocks. Societe Generale says a 10-year Treasury yield above 2.5% could result in a US equity sell off.

Bitcoin soars to new high above $8,200. Bitcoin has been on a tear over the past week as more traditional financial services firms dive into the nascent market for digital coins.

Hedge funds loaded up on these 10 stocks last quarter. Tech stocks have been on fire this year, and institutional investors have taken note.

Other headlines

 

Uber plans to purchase 24,000 self-driving cars from Volvo in a potential multi-billion dollar deal

JPMORGAN: It's time for Tesla to live up to its Model 3 promises

There are 3 things that could destroy one of the greatest stock rallies of all time

SEE ALSO: What you need to know on Wall Street today

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: How the iPhone X could make Apple a $1 trillion company

Starbucks is using the oldest trick in the book to boost its stock price (SBUX)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

starbucks howard schultz red cup

  • Starbucks will reportedly sell $1 billion of bonds in order to finance share buybacks, capex, dividend payments and acquisitions.
  • Throughout the bull market, shares repurchases in particular have been used to drive stock price gains, even during lean times.


Having slipped from its mid-year highs, Starbucks is turning to the oldest trick in the book to boost its stock price.

The company is planning to sell $1 billion of debt, and then use the proceeds to buy back its own stock, expand its business, pay cash dividends or finance acquisitions, according to a regulatory filing and a report from Bloomberg.

The first use — share repurchases — is a tactic frequently employed by companies to boost shares during times devoid of other positive catalysts. And considering Starbucks' stock has dropped 12% since hitting a record high in early June, it's clear that the company is willing to consider all options.

Starbucks could also drive some share appreciation by sinking money back into its business. After all, investors have been rewarding the stock prices of companies willing to shell out for capital expenditures.

Since the beginning of last year, a Goldman Sachs-curated basket of stocks spending the most on capex and research and development has beaten a similarly constructed index of companies offering high dividends and buybacks by a whopping 21 percentage points.

Shares of Starbucks were little changed as of 2:53 p.m. ET. And while it may initially seem surprising that the stock hasn't moved more on the announcement of the debt sale, it must be considered that investors are often wary when companies add to their existing debt load. It's entirely possible that's offsetting the potentially positive effect of buyback and capex spending.

Screen Shot 2017 11 20 at 2.54.26 PM

SEE ALSO: There's a new biggest bull on Wall Street

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: $6 TRILLION INVESTMENT CHIEF: Bitcoin is a bubble

Bitcoin Will Lead to the Rise of State Cryptocurrencies: Citigroup CEO

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

[…]

The post Bitcoin Will Lead to the Rise of State Cryptocurrencies: Citigroup CEO appeared first on CryptoCoinsNews.

Yellen to resign from Fed board, reinforcing Trump's mandate to revamp one of the world's most powerful institutions

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

janet yellen

  • Fed chair Janet Yellen will step down from the central bank's board of governors.
  • Yellen's vacancy reinforces President Donald Trump's power to reshape the world's most powerful central bank.
  • Supporters say Yellen, the first woman to lead the Fed, is a major loss.
  • Trump's two appointments so far have been men who worked at the same private-equity firm.

Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen will be stepping down from the central bank's powerful board of governors after President Donald Trump refused to reappoint her to a second term as the central bank's first female leader.

Yellen is the first Fed chair in recent memory not to be reappointed by the president despite a solid four-year term. Trump announced earlier this month that he was replacing her with Fed governor and former Carlyle Group executive Jerome Powell.

Trump now has four remaining seats on the central bank's seven-member board to appoint. The policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee may be on track for its biggest year of turnover since 1936.

The announcement ends some speculation — and for some, hope — that Yellen might stay on as a Fed board governor, which she was entitled to do under Fed rules.

"Yellen submitted her resignation Monday as a Member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, effective upon the swearing in of her successor as Chair," the Fed said in a statement.

The Fed Up coalition, a group of community organizations who have pressured the central bank to pay more attention to low-income communities, bemoaned Yellen's loss in a statement.

"Janet Yellen’s retirement is a loss for working people across the country," Shawn Sebastain, the group's codirector, said in a statement.

"Yellen showed remarkable leadership and spoke out about economic inequality, racial disparities in the economy, the role of women in the workplace, and the need for more diversity at the Fed," he added, urging her to stay engaged in the public debate over the economy even after returning to private life.

Fed board governors have terms that can last up to 14 years. While few complete their terms, the appointments could have a long-lasting impact on an institution that plays a key role in US economic policy.

The Fed not only sets interest-rate policy for the world’s largest economy but also plays a dominant role in the regulation of big Wall Street banks.

With so much attention focused on the top job, Fed watchers have paid little mind to other potential nominees. But the shortlists are likely to be filled with many of the same names, including ex-Fed governor and Morgan Stanley banker Kevin Warsh, Stanford professor and former Treasury official John Taylor, and perhaps Glenn Hubbard, a Columbia University professor and a former adviser to President George W. Bush.

Trump has already appointed Randal Quarles, who, like Powell, worked for Carlyle Group and the administration of George W. Bush, to the new role of vice chair for supervision. Trump ran for president on a platform of deregulating Wall Street despite evidence that a lack of adequate rules and enforcement caused the 2008 financial crisis. Outgoing officials like Yellen and ex-vice chair Stanley Fischer have warned against any drastic revamps.

SEE ALSO: Trump's choice for Fed chair reflects a harsh reality all women face in the workplace

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: $6 TRILLION INVESTMENT CHIEF: Bitcoin is a bubble

Bitcoin just passed $8,000

TechCrunch, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

 Bitcoin has been on a wild run. Yesterday the price shot past $8,000 for the first time, and per usual when it breaks through a milestone is now trading solidly above it at $8,250.  Read More

It's not looking good for Wall Street bond traders

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

wall street trader sad

  • There's more bad news for Wall Street credit traders: fourth-quarter revenue projections are looking bleak.
  • A recent credit sell-off and widening spreads have stoked fears that investment bank woes could get even worse.
  • It's been a dismal year for debt traders, who are looking at steep pay cuts amid declining revenues.


Bad news keeps piling up for Wall Street's beleaguered credit traders. 

dreary year for trading at top investment banks is expected to get worse in the fourth quarter, with revenues from fixed income, currency, and commodities (FICC) on pace to decline 13% from 2016, according to an analyst note from JPMorgan.

A recent sell-off in high-yield corporate debt and widening credit spreads are stoking fears that the problems could get even worse. 

"The recent sell-off in credit is concerning to us as there has been some volatility with spreads widening, particularly in [high-yield]," JPMorgan analyst Kian Abouhossein wrote in the note.

Abouhossein cited widening spreads in November in two credit indices: a 20-basis-point spread increase on the Itraxx Crossover and a 30-basis-point increase in the JPM Global High Yield index.

So far, the debt sell-off has been limited to specific companies — like French telecom Altice — but a sustained credit sell-off would compound traders' problems, as the falling value of corporate bonds could lead banks to take mark-to-market losses on their books. 

JPMorgan is less concerned right now by risk from mark-to-market losses rather than a "prolonged slowdown in revenues" from high-yield debt issuance stalling, as the Federal Reserve unwinding quantitative easing makes the borrowing market less attractive for companies. 

High-yield bond issuance was down 9% month-over-month in November, according to the note. 

Abouhossein anticipates that credit trading revenues will decline in 2018. He forecasts overall investment bank revenues will increase 3%.

Just the latest bad news for credit traders

This is just the latest blow in what has been a dreary year for Wall Street FICC departments.

While many investment bank employees are looking at increased bonuses this year, a survey last week showed that FICC traders are looking at pay cuts — none more so than credit, where total compensation is expected to dip by 11%. 

Wall Street banks saw FICC revenues plummet in the third-quarter, with the largest firms reporting year-over-year declines of between 15% and 30%. 

The blame for the decline in trading has largely been ascribed to record-low market volatility, as 2017 has lacked whipsaw market moments that stirred up activity in 2016, such as Brexit and the election of President Donald Trump.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Why this New York City preschool accepts bitcoin but doesn't accept credit cards

Amazon could supercharge its biggest weapon by getting into healthcare

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos

  • People are thinking a lot about what Amazon could do to the healthcare industry if it decided to get involved. 
  • Should Amazon get into the business of prescription drugs, analysts at Morgan Stanley say that building pharmacies at Whole Foods could be a good way to get more Amazon Prime members who are over 55. 
  • Building pharmacies in Whole Foods could also generate $2.3 billion in sales and help grow Amazon's Prime Now business. 


People are starting to seriously think about what it might mean if Amazon were to get into the healthcare industry. 

In a 70-page report released Monday, analysts at Morgan Stanley broke down all of the potential ways Amazon could get into the industry, at varying degrees of involvement. 

"Amazon’s disruption of healthcare is a foregone conclusion," the analysts wrote. "Recent hires and public statements make it clear that Amazon is already moving into medical supply distribution."

If Amazon wanted to go all-in and get into the pharmacy business, especially by opening pharmacies at Whole Foods locations, it could be a major boost to Amazon Prime membership in one key demographic: People over 55.

"We note too that the older demographic still under-indexes toward Prime membership...which speaks to the opportunity for Pharma to help Amazon further penetrate the ~80 million 55+ population in the United States," Morgan Stanley analysts wrote in the note.

In particular, getting into the pharmacy business might be the right avenue to approach potential Prime members who are over 55 because they're already internet-savvy when it comes to finding cheaper prices or coupons to help them afford their medications.

Prime is a big advantage that Amazon has over other online retailers. According to survey data from RBC Capital Markets, more than half of the 2,200 people the group surveyed signed up for Amazon Prime, with more than half of that group spending more than $800 a year on Amazon.

Whole Foods doesn't have a pharmacy, though it does sell vitamins and supplements. Setting up pharmacies within Whole Foods could generate an estimated $2.3 billion of pharmacy sales within stores as well, Morgan Stanley analysts said, as well as drive Amazon's Prime Now business, which has free two-hour delivery. 

"Offering this benefit of convenience will help it compete against traditional retail pharmacies and will provide yet another benefit to being a Prime member," the report said. 

It still remains to be seen whether Amazon does enter the pharmacy business. If it does, what that business will look like could widely vary. There are a lot of people involved in the process of delivering and paying for your prescription, from the drugmakers, to insurers, to the pharmacy. 

SEE ALSO: A futuristic doctor's office that doesn't take insurance and is backed by Eric Schmidt and Marc Benioff is opening in LA

DON'T MISS: Healthcare companies are taking Amazon very seriously

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Why this New York City preschool accepts bitcoin but doesn't accept credit cards

What you need to know on Wall Street today

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

lloyd blankfein goldman sachs chairman and ceoWelcome to Finance Insider, Business Insider's summary of the top stories of the past 24 hours. Sign up here to get the best of Business Insider delivered direct to your inbox.

While many stock bulls have for months focused on positive corporate fundamentals — most notably earnings growth — equities have also benefited from how appealing they look compared with other assets.

Treasury notes issued by the US government are yielding roughly 2.36%. And while that's above a multi-month low of 2.04% reached in September, it's still down from highs reached earlier this year.

If the yield for the 10-year benchmark note climbs above the crucial threshold of 2.5% that could start working against US stocks that are already close to the most expensive since the dot-com bubble, according to strategists at Societe Generale. For more on that story, click here

In other markets news and views, there's a new biggest bull on Wall Street. There are three things that could destroy one of the greatest stock rallies of all time, according to Morgan Stanley. And a key recession indicator is getting closer to the danger zone — and the Fed can't ignore it.

On Wall Street, Goldman Sachs has struck a deal with Bloomberg to help its stock trading business. And we asked a top hedge fund recruiter what it takes to get a senior-level job these days.

In deal news, Marvell Technology will buy rival chipmaker Cavium for $6 billion. And Alibaba took a $2.9 billion stake in China's biggest grocer.

Lastly, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin says he should take it "as a compliment" that people compared him to a James Bond villain.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Why this New York City preschool accepts bitcoin but doesn't accept credit cards

Freewallet Enables Support for Bitcoin Gold in Wake of Third-Party Wallet Scam

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

[…]

The post Freewallet Enables Support for Bitcoin Gold in Wake of Third-Party Wallet Scam appeared first on CryptoCoinsNews.

Goldman Sachs has struck a deal with Bloomberg to help its stock trading business (GS)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Lloyd Blankfein

  • Goldman Sachs will begin executing trades made on Bloomberg Tradebook, the brokerage arm of the financial-services and media giant. 
  • The arrangement will allow the two firms to focus on their respective value proposition ahead of MiFID II, a European regulatory overhaul set to go live in January. 


Goldman Sachs announced on Monday that it'll begin executing stock trades for customers of Bloomberg Tradebook, the brokerage arm of the financial-services and media giant. 

The arrangement is set to go into effect immediately and allows both firms to focus on their respective value proposition in the stock trading business, according to a press release on the news.

"We are confident that Bloomberg’s expertise in technology, and analytics, combined with Goldman Sachs’ vast execution capabilities, liquidity offerings and ability to respond to the changing global execution landscape will result in a superior user experience," Raj Mahajan, global cohead of Securities Systematic Solutions at Goldman Sachs, said. 

The arrangement comes ahead of new European regulations set to go live in January — known as MiFID II — that will require financial firms to un-bundle their services in trading. Across Wall Street, firms are preparing for the ramifications of the regulatory overhaul. 

Goldman itself has been investing in its trade execution services to preserve and expand marketshare under the new regulatory framework. The firm, for instance, bought trading technology company Pantor Engineer in October to improve its capabilities in the space. 

SEE ALSO: Goldman Sachs wants to help improve your 'financial wellness’

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: We just got a super smart and simple explanation of what a bitcoin fork actually is

There's a new biggest bull on Wall Street

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

People pose next to the Wall Street Bull in the financial district in New York, U.S., August 10, 2017. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz - RC1AD75585E0

  • Brian Belski of Bank of Montreal Capital Markets sees the S&P 500 finishing 2018 at 2,950, the most bullish forecast on Wall Street.
  • He sees many of the same bullish conditions that existed at the start of 2017, and thinks that the market can power higher even without tax reform.


Buy stocks. Enjoy improving earnings growth. Profit. Rinse, repeat.

That's basically Brian Belski's 2018 outlook in a nutshell. If it sounds familiar, that's because it's largely the same view Bank of Montreal Capital Markets' chief investment officer put forth a year ago. Except this time, profit expansion is supposed to be even better.

That's emboldened Belski to slap a 2018 year-end price target of 2,950 onto the S&P 500 — a roughly 14% surge from current levels — making him the most bullish strategist on Wall Street.

Screen Shot 2017 11 20 at 11.45.49 AM

"We believe there is no reason to expect that a dramatic reversal in longer-term fundamentals is imminent," Belski wrote in a client note. "Rather, the slope of our long standing secular bull market call remains positive."

What's more, BMO's earnings growth forecast doesn't factor in any expectations for tax reform. Although the passage of a GOP tax plan is frequently cited as something that could underpin further gains in the stock market, Belski sees the S&P 500 standing on its own two legs even without it.

Still, progress on the tax front certainly couldn't hurt. Belski has an even more optimistic "bull case" scenario that calls for the S&P 500 to end 2018 at 3,250, spurred by corporate reinvestment and an acceleration in consumer spending. A lower corporate rate and a one-time repatriation tax holiday — both of which are expected to be part of a successful tax plan — could ultimately drive that reinvestment.

Belski also highlights an interesting wrinkle to the 8 1/2-year bull rally, which is that investors haven't trusted its stability throughout basically its entire run. He thinks it's time to shed those negative thoughts and embrace the positive factors leading the market higher.

"Investors have been climbing the wall of worry for nine years and counting," said Belski. "Doubt, fear and rushes to judgment have been trying to diagnose the end of the bull market since it began. We believe it is time to accept fundamentals and turn off the rhetoric."

Here's a round-up of the other 2018 year-end S&P 500 targets on Wall Street, ordered from most to least bullish:

  • UBS — Keith Parker — Target: 2,900
  • Credit Suisse — Jonathan Golub — Target: 2,875
  • Deutsche Bank — Binky Chadha — Target: 2,850
  • Goldman Sachs — David Kostin — Target: 2,500

SEE ALSO: The market is nearing a crucial turning point that could crush stocks

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: $6 TRILLION INVESTMENT CHIEF: Bitcoin is a bubble

Bitcoin Price Leaps to $8,277 as Record-Setting Rampage Continues

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

[…]

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How to talk about cryptocurrency at the holiday dinner table

TechCrunch, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

 You’re sitting down to a nice meal and your aunt, always one step ahead, mentions she wants to start investing in Bitcoin. You freeze, a drip of gravy plopping off the ladle. It’s your time to shine. You got this. First, you know that the state of crypto is very, very good. This has been a banner year for cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin rose from $738 a year ago to $8220 as of this year.… Read More

CME's Bitcoin Futures Likely to Start Trading December 11

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

CME Group's planned bitcoin futures product could start trading on Dec. 11, according to the firm's website.

We asked a top hedge fund recruiter what it takes to get a senior-level job these days

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Ilana Weinstein.

  • Ilana Weinstein is the founder of The IDW Group, which focuses on recruiting investment talent for all kinds of investment strategies.  
  • We asked Weinstein about the biggest trends in the hedge fund business, how to get a senior level job today, and 
  • "As the industry has become more crowded and efficient, I would argue the definition of talent has gone up," she said. 


Ilana Weinstein is a force within the hedge fund industry, recruiting senior investment talent and C-level staffers for some of the industry's biggest funds. Her firm's approach has gotten it a reputation for being the "don't call us, we'll call you" search firm– something Weinstein is completely fine with.

She founded The IDW Group about 15 years ago. The New York firm recruits investment talent specializing in all kinds of investment strategies, ranging from long-short equity to credit and macro. IDW also recruits for private equity funds, asset managers, and family offices.

We wanted to get a sense of what it takes to get a top job in money management, and we reached out to Weinstein to get her two cents. She emailed us back with her thoughts. We've lightly edited the transcript.

Rachael Levy: You are coming up on your 15th year since founding IDW.  How have you seen this industry evolve?

Ilana Weinstein: When we started in the beginning of 2003 the hedge fund industry was still relatively nascent. There were 3,000 hedge funds compared to 9,000 today. AUM [assets under management] was $500 billion versus $3.4 trillion. That’s explosive growth.  Talent doesn’t proliferate like that.  Back then proprietary trading desks on the sell-side were where we went for talent because they were like mini hedge funds and there weren’t enough developed hedge funds to pull from.  After the crisis prop trading became a ‘no go’ zone at the banks and anyone who was a risk-taker (and any good) left.

Eric Mindich, Founder and CEO of Eton Park Capital Management attends a session at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos January 29, 2010.  REUTERS/Christian HartmannToday the war for talent is largely hedge fund to hedge fund and as the industry has become more crowded and efficient, I would argue the definition of talent has gone up.  There is less alpha in the market, less volatility, less dispersion and more market participants.  If you get five consumer portfolio managers in a room with 20 ideas each, you don’t get 100 ideas.  You are lucky if you get five to six.  There aren’t enough factors to make 80% of hedge funds do well.  The list of truly investable hedge funds is probably 2% of existing funds.  And concentration of AUM reflects this: 10% of hedge funds control 90% of the AUM. That’s a surprising statistic to a lot of people.  It also means seismic changes can happen quickly.  We’ve seen big, institutional funds like Eton Park and Perry shut down; other large players have had enormous and swift AUM drops.  This leads to a recalibration of who the best funds are and where talent wants to be.

Levy: What is your approach to recruiting?

Weinstein: Think of a Venn Diagram with one bubble being best-in-class, stand-out talent and the other being miserable, disenfranchised players whose resumes are papering the street.  We have never cared about the second bubble.  We are not in the business of helping people find jobs. The niche IDW has cultivated is to help the best funds attract exceptional talent. We only go after that first bubble. If there is overlap, it’s a happy coincidence. 

Levy: What are some recent trends you have seen with regard to talent?

Weinstein: We are all about and only about cultivating the most talented people in our industry.  

Historically the overlap between those two bubbles was low; as you might expect talented people sat at what they thought were the best funds and were not receptive to leaving.  This made our job difficult because we were only as strong as our ability to create an opportunity that didn't exist where they were.  

Now many people are telling us how frustrated they are – so that overlap in my Venn diagram has never been greater.  It feels like we at the center of a perfect storm.

It feels like we at the center of a perfect storm.

Even if fund performance is better this year, we are still coming off the back of three to four years where these people outperformed the funds in which they work.  If you have multiple years of P&L where you were the bulk of your fund’s return – sometimes in its entirety – and then have compensation netted by poor performance in other parts of the fund, you start to question the value proposition.  These last few years have given these investment professionals more experience and confidence and made them more willing to bet on themselves.  I recently interviewed someone who referred to this as “labor arbitrage” – his view of how he was being taken advantage of at the fund in which he sits.  The risk/reward dynamic of staying and leaving changes.  Funds that have the resources and forward thinking-ness to seize this moment are going to pick up the best people in our business.  

Levy: How would you define the current hiring environment?

Weinstein: Robust! All the doomsayers in 2016 who predicted industry AUM would fall by some big percent were dead wrong. The industry has never managed more capital that it does today.  That is the yardstick of health for our business.

Ilana Weinstein.However, LP patience is thin and we are going to see more funds – big ones – shutter or become family offices. There will be a shake-out in this industry and there should be.  Yet overall AUM is growing – so that means those that remain will get bigger and there will be space for new entrants who can build something unique.  That said you need to be rich to start a hedge fund now to build something attractive to institutional LPs. The industry is moving to greater scale and more sophistication. Those that can leverage scale and invest in people and systems to drive opportunities will win.  

Levy: So, if once upon a time the natural progression was to leave and start a fund but that is tougher now, where do these talented people go?

Weinstein: The best platforms are becoming more creative and bespoke about how they attract talent.  I liken it to a managed account for an LP.  There are accommodations made for someone truly unique – maybe more flexibility with risk parameters, concentration or the ability to invest in privates. More capital out of the gate – resources to build and train a team.  And then economics to take a lot of the risk off the table in the near term and unlimited upside longer term. If the choice is go at it on your own – bang the tin cup for capital, have a never-ending series of marketing meetings – and even if things go well still spend 20-30% of your time marketing because there is a natural 10% attrition of capital every year, and on top of this fund this enterprise out of your pocket until you break even (if you ever do) versus be plug and play somewhere which will give you incredible resources why take that risk? And just to underscore that point, we are helping platforms gobble up small funds because the economics and time allocation of marketing versus investing no longer makes sense for these smaller guys.

Similarly, funds that have a real partnership are interesting. “Partner” is an overused and often meaningless title in our industry.

“Partner” is an overused and often meaningless title in our industry.

 I can’t tell you the number of partners we meet – from big funds who can barely articulate what it means beyond looking good on their business card.  Giving someone small points and then a “jump ball” for more is still a discretionary compensation model in my view.  It’s a convoluted way of saying the same thing. Once you get to a point where you are ready to do your own thing, you want to build something or having a meaningful stake in doing so. The best platforms get you there as do funds with a real partnership and culture of meritocracy. We recently took a senior guy out of a firm he had been at for 14 years.  He left because the founder created a role around him that leveraged his ability to build a business and mentor a team.  Joining a $30 billion fund as a partner with a clear path on how to grow that stake and work directly for a founder who is brilliant at what he does and always expanding in ways that complement the fund’s strengths is exciting.

Levy: What has most surprised you in 15 years of interviewing the best people in this business?

Weinstein: How hard it can be to get them to make a move! Even now where they are the most receptive because of this disconnect between their performance and that of their fund, I still see the economic loss aversion theory at play. These are people who are the most talented at taking risk for a living and yet when it comes to assessing their own career they have an inherent bias to weight the risks of a new opportunity over what they are likely to gain. It’s amazing how lop-sided their thinking can be but luckily, they are also highly rational so once they wrap their head around what they are doing they can make the leap.

Levy: What is the most misunderstood aspect of the hedge fund industry by hedge fund investors?

Weinstein: Four things:

  • How lean these investment teams are.  You can be a $10 billion-plus fund and have a team of five to 10 people if it’s a single strategy fund.  That means it is critical that everyone contribute in a meaningful way but that is often not the case. 
  • The strength of investment teams is lumpy. You may say so what but when the team is lean it matters. This is obfuscated when fund performance is good because everyone is happy and doing well and there is less individual accounting going on. Over the last few years returns were more challenging and it became clear who the stars are. If they leave it’s a problem.  
  • Right now many talented people are unhappy and in play  LPs should know the hedge fund industry is like a giant Jenga puzzle. All you need is a few key people to leave, returns drop and the whole thing comes crashing down. If I’m an LP, I want to know who is key on the team and likelihood of them leaving. I don’t think anyone has this bird’s eye view but us. 
  • Turnover is not a bad word. Founders are often afraid of letting people go because of the perception of turnover by LPs. LPs should encourage founders to prune their team. This also makes room for talented people to grow and not be as vulnerable to our call.  The key is for LPs to diligence who drove the turnover (founder or the person who left) and what the reputation is of the person leaving.  The story that gets spun after the fact is often not the reality.

Levy: What do you think investment professionals in this industry most underestimate about themselves?

Weinstein: How difficult the transition is from analyst to portfolio manager to founder. These are different skill sets and people over-rate their ability to make these transitions. An analyst is an idea generator.  Once he becomes a portfolio manager he is no longer deploying capital through the lens of the founder. He is now responsible for portfolio construction, sizing and hedging.  The buck stops with him.  I can’t tell you the number of people who don’t fully appreciate this ahead of time and flame out. As a founder you are building a team, running a business and dealing with LPs. There is little about an investment professional’s training that prepares him for this.

My second point is one I see talent becoming savvier about and that is how quickly things can change. Now that they have seen several large funds shut down and others struggling, there is more awareness about asking the right questions about where they sit. Just because it’s a big, brand-name fund that doesn’t mean it is a stable seat.  They need to look around and ask: Are our returns differentiated? Are talented people likely to leave? Is the founder committed to investing in people, resources and technology – effectively the future? Or is he just resting on his laurels?  That’s the kind of stuff we help people see through – inertia is a killer and it’s a shame for a talented person not to be everything he can because he doesn’t have broader perspective.

Levy: What is critical for founders to know to hang onto their best people?

Weinstein: Founders need to provide their people with four things:

  1. Impact: their people need to feel like they can impact the bottom line. Even if the Founder is the ultimate arbiter of how capital is deployed if he has the right team they should be able to influence these decisions in a material way. 
  2. Transparency: clarity around how they are measured, what they need to do to progress; why and how capital gets allocated.  This is a pay-for-performance culture and people need to feel connected to the results of the fund as well on their own trajectory. 
  3. Scope: measured by remit and access to capital.  As people progress they want to do more – maybe it’s a sector PM who now wants to expand to other sectors.  Founders need to find a way to let talented people develop or they will lose them.
  4. Compensation: obviously an important one and you need to know the market and be in line with that but if the above three are in good shape this one usually is too.  It’s also the easiest one for a Founder to fix.  

Levy: What advice would you give to a young person coming out of school who wants to join a hedge fund? What kind of educational background are funds looking for now?

Weinstein: Focus on what lights you up – not the dollar signs.  There are thousands of hedge funds and most won’t make it.

There are thousands of hedge funds and most won’t make it.

It’s kind of like the dot-com bubble when I was coming out of school. Unless you live and breathe investing and everything that goes on in your area of interest, this is not for you.  What I am most inspired by is passion.  This manifests itself through someone who is on fire about what is evolving in his industry, sector, how committed he is. I know it when I see it.

I wouldn’t worry much about majors.  School is a time to expand your horizons and learn how to think.  That skill set and flexibility will serve you better as an investor than any individual class.  I have had a few Founders disparage the value of an MBA.  They would rather the person spent those two years in an investing seat going through different markets.  As an MBA myself I am mixed on that but I understand the point.

Levy: What career advice would you give in general?

Weinstein: Always work harder than everyone else so you know you gave it your all.  Very few people consistently put in 110%. It takes discipline but it’s worth it.  It goes to the concept of grit too.  I always tell my 13-year-old being smart doesn’t count for much unless you pair that with exceptional effort.  I didn’t have much growing up – I went to Stuyvesant High which fostered an immigrant, survivor culture – there was no safety net.  No one was going to help me so I had to do it myself.  That sense of needing to make it work also builds confidence because you see what you can do on your own and overcome.

That sense of needing to make it work also builds confidence because you see what you can do on your own and overcome.

It gives you the confidence to take risks.  I wouldn’t be where I am if not for that set of experiences.

You also have to keep moving forward and not take things personally.  I deal with a lot of colorful and sometimes intense personalities.  I won’t deal with bad people but other than that I can pretty much handle anything! It sounds cliched but it is true – if things don’t go your way, pick yourself up and move on.  You will learn from it and do better next time.  Don’t get bogged down in negativity.  As my dad often said: “Don’t sweat the small stuff.  It’s all small stuff.”  I have to remind myself of that sometimes because I care deeply about what I do but dwelling on negative things is not productive.

Weinstein: What was the most formative moment in your career?

Levy: I was at a big search firm and thinking about starting my own company. I didn’t know if I could build a business but knew I was good at what I did.  I asked a client if he worked with me because of me or the fact that I was part of a big firm. I don’t know if he knew what was behind my question but he said, “Ilana I don’t even know the name of your firm.” Of course he was being cute but it gave me the confidence to go for it.  

Leda BragaLevy: Why are there so few women in investing seats and what needs to be done to change that?

Weinstein: I gave a lecture on the hedge fund industry at Wharton earlier this year and one of the female students asked me that.  I in turn asked how many women in the room wanted to join a hedge fund and barely any hands went up.  I then asked how many men and about 70% of the guys raised their hands.  So there is self-selection going on which makes the pool shallow.  You then factor in attrition and by the time we get there we have very few talented women to pull from.  I can tell you founders do want more women but this is a meritocracy – they have a fiduciary duty to their LPs to hire the best possible person.  If we had more women electing to go into the industry, we would have better numbers. It’s also a circular loop – women don’t see many female role models so this dampens their interest.  That being said, I do think there is something to this industry still being relatively young. Look at law, medicine, banking and consulting. They all have better female representation in senior roles. When I was at Harvard, the MBA class was roughly 30% female.  Now I am told it is closer to 50%.  So hopefully this is something that changes over time but we have to do a better job of encouraging talented women to join from the get go.

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NOW WATCH: I spent a day trying to pay for things with bitcoin and a bar of gold

With CME’s December Futures Launch, Can Bitcoin Price Hit $10,000 This Year?

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

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Alibaba is up after buying a big stake in China's largest grocer (BABA)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Jack Ma, Chairman of Alibaba Group, speaks during the Computing Conference in Yunqi Town of Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China October 11, 2017. REUTERS/Stringer



Shares of Alibaba are up 2.33% to $189.45 on Monday after the company bought a $2.87 billion stake in China's largest grocery operator.

Alibaba said on Monday it would make an investment in Sun Art Retail Group, which owns 8.2% of China's total grocery market.

The move is reminiscent of Amazon's $13.7 billion deal for Whole Foods, though Alibaba will be only the second-largest shareholder in Sun Art, as opposed to owning the company outright. Alibaba's stake would represent about 36.16% of the company's shares, second only to the French retailer Groupe Auchan's 36.18% stake.

China's food retail sector is worth about $500 billion annually, and about 85% of those sales are made offline. 

"Physical stores serve an indispensable role during the consumer journey, and should be enhanced through data-driven technology and personalised services in the digital economy," Daniel Zhang, CEO of Alibaba, said in a statement.

Alibaba is up 113.61% this year, and recently outsold all of Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Amazon's "Prime day" during its Singles Day Celebration.

Read more about Singles Day here.

alibaba stock price

SEE ALSO: Alibaba is slipping despite a record-setting Singles Day

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NOW WATCH: $6 TRILLION INVESTMENT CHIEF: Bitcoin is a bubble

Rublix Is Reimagining Crypto Trading

Bitcoin Magazine, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

RBLX thumb


The soaring fortunes of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies is attracting massive amounts of media attention worldwide. This has led to a steady stream of traders flocking to the space amid record prices and subsequent asset returns.

In some circles, this exuberance has to raise concerns about a bubble akin to the great global recession of 2008. On a weekly basis, a seemingly endless stream of new crypto projects, many predicated on little more than a hastily developed white paper and website, are being launched and creating a crowded array of options for would-be traders.

Enter Rublix, a Canadian blockchain and smart contract technology startup that aims to eliminate many of the common concerns and uncertainties arising in the prevailing world of decentralized markets or speculative asset classes. Charting a course of transparency, while nurturing a world-class ecosystem of problem solvers and supporters, Rublix endeavors to create a new normal for trading performance among cryptocurrencies or any asset class. Bolstered by highly astute technology and investment experts, Rublix is actively unveiling a suite of products tied to an ambitious roadmap with a series of launch dates.

The Rublix platforms are being developed in collaboration with some of the top designers and coders in the world and the team is seeking to attract professionals in the finance space who desire to actively participate in the world of decentralized markets. Its target market? Traders of any sophistication level in any industry including people who believe that cryptocurrencies and the blockchain have barely scratched the surface in terms of its growth potential.

Hedge

Rublix’s flagship product is called Hedge, a platform which assists those who are interested in, yet unacquainted with, trading in making thoughtful, informed and educated decisions. Users will have the ability to track and mimic trades made by sophisticated investors on the platform with a verified ranking. The more accurate a trader, the higher their corresponding rank. The platform features an advanced block explorer that displays and records real-time trading predictions on the Rublix chain. The result is that novice traders will be able to rapidly assess and learn from more experienced counterparts with proven track records.

“The problem with many trading platforms that allow entry level traders to follow ‘successful traders’ is that they employ a month-by-month portfolio model,” said Rublix co-founder and CEO David Waslen. “Unfortunately, portfolio growth is only one piece of the puzzle when analyzing performance. A twenty percent increase in one’s portfolio is not an accurate measure as to whether a trader is highly skilled or not. Perhaps they got lucky with one trade while the balance of their portfolio is mediocre or poor.”

The goal of Rublix, Waslen added, is to change this dynamic.

“Rublix, therefore, aims to expose each trading prediction both before and after the event to increase transparency and accountability,” he said. “By making each blueprint public information with blockchain immutability, we give users a secure tool that will aid in making calculated decisions on which information to trust the we hope will help them enter the cryptocurrency space and successfully trade.”

Cryptocurrencies, with prevailing volatility in a marketplace that never closes, provide an abundance of opportunities for any trader. What is needed is a trusted source of advice to help professional and novice traders develop their knowledge base and hone their skills. That is why through integration with three inherent components of blockchain technology - transparency, decentralization, and immutability - Rublix’s Hedge platform debunks market manipulation while providing a trusted source of trader information.

“The blockchain aids in keeping our data secure and unsusceptible to intrusion or manipulation,” Waslen said. “It’s obviously a foundational element in helping us create a reliable, unbiased data source that will allow users to make calculated decisions on how to trade appropriately. A decentralized database of users’ past trade history paired with smart contract verification will give us a significant competitive advantage over other trading networks.”

Waslen goes on to note that the platform rewards users with the company’s native RBLX token on an exponential scale based on how many times they are “accurate” in their predictions. Hedge is targeted for release in Q1 2018.

TradersEdge

Rublix’s next product for helping new traders enter the cryptocurrency market is called TradersEdge. Set to launch in Q3 of 2018, it will feature a suite of tools that offer a similar feel and aesthetic to that of many well-known modern trading platforms. This attention to user experience is seen as a vital cog to building long-term interest and user adoption in the crypto-sphere as many cryptocurrency exchange platforms lack a user friendly interface.

Centurio

Finally, Rublix is building a tool called Centurio which will assist newcomers in getting up to speed with how to use cryptocurrencies for daily transactions and savings. This cross-platform solution, which doubles as a wallet and contract organizer, is targeted for release in early 2018.

Unfriendly platforms, difficulties in finding trusted information and general hesitation are what limit the growth and proliferation of cryptocurrencies. Recognizing this, Rublix is laser focused on bringing a whole new cast of entrants into the marketplace by mitigating a number of common concerns that hinder adoption. Rublix’s goal is to create an environment where embracing the blockchain and owning cryptocurrencies feels second nature.


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Zimbabwe’s Bitcoin Price Surge: Only a Temporary Upheaval?

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

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$8,200: Bitcoin's Price Starts Week With New All-Time High

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

The price of bitcoin has hit yet another all-time high, passing above $8,200 for the first time.

Bitcoin soars to new high above $8,200

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Screen Shot 2017 11 20 at 9.31.26 AM

  • Bitcoin hit a fresh all-time high of $8,222 per coin Monday morning, according to data from Markets Insider. 
  • Bitcoin has been on a tear over the last week as more traditional financial services firms dive into the nascent market for digital coins. 

Bitcoin, the red-hot cryptocurrency, continued its upward tear on Monday, hitting an all-time high above $8,200 per coin. 

The digital coin was trading up 2.35% at $8,222 at 9:31 a.m. ET, according to data from Markets Insider. 

The price of bitcoin has been pushed higher as more traditional financial services players look to dive into the nascent market for digital coins. 

Square, the mobile payments firm, is running a trial that allows some users of its Cash app to buy and sell bitcoin. In a note out to clients Monday morning, Credit Suisse, the Switzerland-based bank, said the move might push other firms to jump on the bitcoin bandwagon. 

"While we are positive on SQ's strategy, to the extent it confers legitimacy on bitcoin and prompts adoption by other providers (i.e. PayPal) the biggest beneficiary may be the crypto-asset industry," the bank said. 

Elsewhere, two Chicago-based exchanges are looking to launch bitcoin futures, a product that would allow investors to bet on the future price of the coin. Some believe it would also help dampen the coin's spine-tingling volatility. 

Not everyone, however, is convinced that such a product would be good for the economy. 

In an open letter addressed to J. Christopher Giancarlo, the chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Thomas Peterffy, the chairman of Interactive Brokers, one of the largest derivatives traders and a provider of clearing services for hundreds of brokers, expressed his concerns about CME's plan to launch bitcoin futures this year.

Peterffy said bitcoin's unbridled volatility could have a dangerous impact on other futures products trading on the market.

"If the Chicago Mercantile Exchange or any other clearing organization clears a cryptocurrency together with other products, then a large cryptocurrency price move that destabilizes members that clear cryptocurrencies will destabilize the clearing organization itself and its ability to satisfy its fundamental obligation to pay the winners and collect from the losers on the other products in the same clearing pool," Peterffy wrote.

Bitcoin is up 706% this year, according to data from Markets Insider. 

SEE ALSO: We just got a glimpse of how bitcoin futures will work

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NOW WATCH: Why Nintendo is dominating like the old days

Crypto futures are taking off

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

november bitcoin prices

This story was delivered to BI Intelligence "Fintech Briefing" subscribers. To learn more and subscribe, please click here.

There has been an increase in incumbent financial institutions (FIs) looking to make Bitcoin futures products available to give investors a new way to access the booming market.

US-based exchange CBOE announced plans to launch such a product in August, and derivatives marketplace CME Group unveiled similar plans earlier this month.

Now, two more players have now joined the trend — specialist bank Vontobel and investment solutions provider Leonteq, both based in Switzerland, each listed Bitcoin futures products on the SIX Exchange on Friday.

FIs are launching futures products to provide investors with alternatives when accessing the cryptocurrency space. Investor demand for Bitcoin exposure has intensified as the asset's price has risen dramatically: It is now up some 600% since the start of the year, and saw a 35% hike in the past five days alone. However, Bitcoin prices also continue to swing wildly. Futures products allow investors to spread their overall risk exposure by hedging against future movements in the price of an underlying asset, in this case Bitcoin. Essentially, a futures contract allows an investor to counterbalance gains and losses in the price of an underlying asset, giving them a more diverse spread of risk while also granting exposure to a volatile market.

However, that's not to say that futures products make Bitcoin a "safe" investment option. CME's CEO provided more details regarding its product on Friday, saying it would require anyone wishing to trade in its Bitcoin futures to post a deposit of about 30%. For context, futures based on more conventional assets typically demand a margin in the single digits, according to the Financial Times.

This suggests that the exchange is aware that crypto- based products are potentially more risky than others. However, given futures integrate cryptocurrencies into mainstream investment markets, it remains to be seen whether such safeguards will be enough to prevent Bitcoin-based products contributing additional risks to the wider financial ecosystem.

Sarah Kocianski, senior research analyst for BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, has put together a report that compiles various fintech snapshots, which together highlight the global spread of fintech, and show where governments and regulatory bodies are shaping the development of national fintech industries. Each provides an overview of the fintech industry in a particular country or state in Asia or Europe, and details what is contributing to, or hindering its further development. We also include notable fintechs in each geography, and discuss what the opportunities or challenges are for that particular domestic industry.

 In full, the report:

  • Explores the fintech industry in six countries or states, and identifies individual fintech hubs.
  • Highlights successful fintechs in each region.
  • Outlines the challenges and opportunities each country or state faces. 
  • Gives insight into the future of the global fintech industry. 

 Interested in getting the full report? Here are two ways to access it:

  1. Subscribe to an All-Access pass to BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and over 100 other expertly researched reports. As an added bonus, you'll also gain access to all future reports and daily newsletters to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and benefit personally and professionally. >> Learn More Now
  2. Purchase & download the full report from our research store. >> Purchase & Download Now

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The market is nearing a crucial turning point that could crush stocks

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

trader

  • Societe Generale warns that if 10-year Treasury yields climb above 2.5%, that could result in a US equity sell off.
  • US stocks are close to the most expensive on record, and their position of strength is getting increasingly tenuous.


While many stock bulls have focused for months on positive corporate fundamentals — most notably earnings growth — equities have also benefited from how appealing they look compared to other assets.

Treasury notes issued by the US government are yielding roughly 2.36% right now. And while that's more than a multi-month low of 2.04% reached in September, it's still down from highs reached earlier in 2017.

If the yield for the 10-year benchmark note climbs above the crucial threshold of 2.5%, that could start working against US stocks that are already close to the most expensive since the dotcom bubble, according to strategists at Societe Generale.

If Treasurys reach that level, that would imply 7% downside for US equities, while an increase to 2.75% would translate to a possible 15% drop, SocGen data show.

Screen Shot 2017 11 20 at 9.16.28 AM

"Richness in both absolute and relative valuations leaves little scope for any disappointment on earnings or upward drift in bond yields," Alain Bokobza, the firm's head of global asset allocation, wrote in a client note.

Bokobza compares the US stock market to a frog being boiled alive, in the sense that investors are so comfortable with conditions right now that they don't notice overheating conditions bubbling up around them. While he doesn't expect any sort of major market reckoning in the next 12 to 18 months, he does say that the S&P 500 is "showing an asymmetric risk/reward profile."

That much may be true, but for the time being the market should be safe as long as 10-year Treasury yields don't spike above 2.5% in the near future.

SEE ALSO: There are 3 things that could destroy one of the greatest stock rallies of all time

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NOW WATCH: $6 TRILLION INVESTMENT CHIEF: Bitcoin is a bubble

Bitcoin Price Tests $8,100 Amid Rising Altcoin Tide

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

[…]

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Bitcoin Price Tests $8,100 Amid Rising Altcoin Tide

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

[…]

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Marvell Technology will buy rival chipmaker Cavium for $6 billion (CAVM, MRVL)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

technicians working tech semiconductor

  • Marvell Technology has agreed to buy its rival Cavium for $40 a share in cash and 2.1757 Marvell common shares for each unit of Cavium stock in a deal worth about $6 billion.
  • Cavium shareholders will own about 25% of the combined company.


Marvell Technology has agreed to buy Cavium for about $6 billion as it tries to expand beyond semiconductors that control hard disk drives.

Marvell will pay Cavium shareholders $40 in cash and 2.1757 Marvell common shares for each unit of Cavium stock, according to a release. This represents a total deal value of roughly $6 billion, and Cavium shareholders will own about 25% of the combined company.

"This is an exciting combination of two very complementary companies that together equal more than the sum of their parts," Marvell's president and CEO, Matt Murphy, said in the release. "This combination expands and diversifies our revenue base and end markets, and enables us to deliver a broader set of differentiated solutions to our customers."

Cavium's stock soared 7.4% in premarket trading on the news, while Marvell shares climbed 1%.

The deal is part of Marvell's attempt to revamp its business after a scandal that led to the removal of its founders under pressure from Starboard Value, an activist investor.

The acquisition is just the latest sign of consolidation in the semiconductor industry. Earlier this month, Broadcom offered to purchase Qualcomm for more than $100 billion in what would be the biggest tech deal of all time. While Qualcomm rejected the approach, Broadcom is expected to pursue a proxy battle.

Screen Shot 2017 11 20 at 7.47.36 AM

SEE ALSO: There are 3 things that could destroy one of the greatest stock rallies of all time

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Bitcoin Price Surge Leads to Electricity Consumption Spike: Blog Questions Environmental Impact

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

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Rally Fatigue? Low Bitcoin Volumes Could Cap Upside

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Bitcoin prices are at their highest ever, but there may be a chink in the cryptocurrency's armor – low volumes.

(+) Is Ethereum Ready to Play Catch Up With Bitcoin?

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One chart shows how terrible a decision it has been to bet against Amazon (AMZN, FB, GOOGL)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Jeff Bezos

  • Thousands of traditional retail stores are closing down as more people shop online.
  • A chart from T. Rowe Price shows that investors who stuck with the sector are most likely badly burned.
  • Amazon's stock performance has far outpaced a basket of traditional retailers and the broader stock market.


Investors who stuck with traditional retail companies over the past few years were going against a ferocious tide.

More than 6,400 store closings have been announced this year alone by chains including RadioShack and Kmart. That's primarily because more people are shopping online — and especially at Amazon.

The chart below from T. Rowe Price illustrates just how much Amazon's performance has outpaced the broader stock market, and how badly a basket of traditional retailers has done.

"I still am struck by just how dramatic that impact is for investors," said Ken Allen, a portfolio manager of the $5 billion Science and Technology Fund at T. Rowe Price. "If you owned Amazon, you did great. If you owned a traditional retailer, you did horrible. If you did both, you did really really well."

Screen Shot 2017 11 15 at 10.06.01 AM

And that's just Amazon's retail unit. Its more profitable cloud-computing division is also helping the stock outperform incumbents like Cisco and IBM.

Though Amazon has captured nearly 50% of e-commerce, its share of the overall retail market is about 5%, Allen said. That's similar to Facebook and Alphabet, which dominate the digital advertising market but are surrounded by several stalwarts of the broader industry.

"All these companies are addressing enormous total addressable markets," Allen said. "That gives many of them continued runway for strong growth and potentially solid stock performance to grow into their valuations, which have appreciated quite significantly especially in the last year or so."

SEE ALSO: DEUTSCHE BANK: Something 'very unusual' is happening in markets

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The EU is set to vote on new cities for banking and medicines agencies post-Brexit

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

European Commission

  • EU members will vote on where to relocate the European Banking Authority and European Medicines Agency on Monday.
  • Both agencies are currently located in London, but are required to move to separate European cities when the UK leaves the EU in 2019.
  • The moves will impact hundreds of jobs and transfer millions in funding to two new locations.

 

LONDON — Two key London-based European Union (EU) agencies that employ hundreds of people find out on Monday where they will be relocated when the UK leaves the EU.

The 27 EU member states will vote in Brussels on where the European Banking Authority (EBA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) are to be moved, from 27 proposals across 23 cities. Although Brussels, Dublin, Vienna and Warsaw have proposed to host both agencies, a member state will not be permitted to host both agencies.

Frankfurt, Vienna and Dublin are bookies' Ladbrokes' favourites for the EBA, while Bratislava, Milan and Amsterdam are the favourites for the EMA. The moves will impact almost 1,000 jobs and transfer millions in annual funding from London to two new cities.

"Nobody really knows what is going to happen," a diplomat told Reuters. "They will be locked there for hours... You can try to secure some backing but it's a secret ballot and you have no way of checking whether what you agreed was honoured."

The EMA is responsible for the scientific evaluation, supervision and safety monitoring of medicines in the EU, while the EBA works to ensure effective and consistent prudential regulation and supervision across the European banking sector. There have been eight offers to host the EBA and 19 offers to host the EMA.

Drug companies have warned that relocating from London could delay drug approvals and patient safety checks.

Members will vote according to six criteria. The new site must: assure members the agencies can be established and working by the time the UK leaves the EU; be conveniently located; have good education facilities for the children of agency staff; have a good labour market, social security and medical services for the families of agency staff; ensure business continuity. How many EU agencies the proposed new site has will also be considered.

There will be successive rounds of voting if required, with the votes case by secret ballot. In the event of a tie, the presidency will select one of the two tied offers from a ballot box.

As a result of the UK's Brexit vote, the EU27 leaders unanimously agreed in June this year to relocate both agencies, and the method for choosing new sites. This endorsement means members cannot reject the outcome of the vote.

1707_eu agencies_relocations_website

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Hyper-wealthy Monaco is trying to fix its mansion shortage with a £1.2 billion reclaimed land project

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

LONDON — Builders have begun to construct a £1.2 billion scheme in Monaco which will see new mansions, apartments, and casinos built on six hectares of land reclaimed from the sea, according to a report in the Guardian.

Spending such a big sum on a small site would make no financial sense in most places, but house prices in the sovereign city-state are hyper-inflated, and there is high demand for new homes in a region only slightly bigger than London's Regent's Park.

Here's where the land will be built:

Screen Shot 2017 11 20 at 08.21.51

The country has in fact been building into the sea for years. The entire district of Fontvieille (pictured above) was also constructed reclaimed land in the 1970s, and reigning monarch Prince Albert II approved the new Portier Cove ecological neighbourhood in a bid to keep attracting the world's richest people.

Estate agents Knight Frank say house prices in Monaco are the highest in the world, at an average £47,000 (€53,000) per square metre, although that figure rises beyond £89,000 (€100,000) in super-prime areas such as Monte Carlo's Carre d'Or. Luxury apartments in the new Portier development are also expected to sell for over €100,000 per square metre.

Knight Frank also say the principality will be home to 16,100 millionaires and 1,450 ultra high net worth individuals — those with assets worth over $30 million — by 2026. Its current population is just 37,550, 35% of whom are millionaires.

Screen Shot 2017 11 20 at 08.16.05

Watch how construction firm Bouygues plans to build the scheme below:

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Hong Kong Banks Shun Bitcoin, Driving Startups to Seek Foreign Banks

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(+) Asian Market Update – Monday: Bitcoin Flirts with $8,000; Asian Stocks in Red

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The post (+) Asian Market Update – Monday: Bitcoin Flirts with $8,000; Asian Stocks in Red appeared first on CryptoCoinsNews.

Bitcoin Price Reaches New Record High Close to $8,100

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

As the cryptocurrency market in general continues to climb, bitcoin prices reached new heights close to $8,100 last night.

What to expect from Philip Hammond's Budget this week

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Philip Hammond

  • Chancellor Philip Hammond is hamstrung by his own deficit reduction targets, which mean he is unable to announce any major spending plans.
  • However, housebuilding is one area where he is expected to take action, with reports that building on green belt land could be announced.
  • The government's official opposition, the Labour Party, has been vociferous in the lead up to the budget, with Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell calling on Hammond and May to announce an "emergency budget."


LONDON — Chancellor Philip Hammond will this week deliver his first ever Autumn Budget against a backdrop of slowing economic growth, continued uncertainty about the form Brexit will take, and a government that is so fragile it could collapse any minute.

Hammond, who is by nature a conservative chancellor, would almost certainly not have announced any fireworks or some sort of spending bonanza even during strong and stable times, but these three prongs make anything exciting even less likely.

Hammond is also likely to be hamstrung by new forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility, the independent body, which holds the government to account on matters of spending.

Late in October the highly respected Institute for Fiscal Studies argued that the UK's budget deficit could be as much as £20 billion higher than forecast by 2020/21 when the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) — the government's budget watchdog — downgrades productivity forecasts.

The OBR said at the start of October that it will have to "significantly" lower its estimates for UK productivity, writing down past estimates of productivity.

The budget deficit is the annual sum the government borrows to meet any shortfall between incoming tax receipts and its spending. In March this year, the OBR forecast that the UK deficit would be cut to £17 billion by 2020/21.

The IFS predicts that the OBR will revise that forecast up to around £36 billion if the UK does not solve its long-running productivity problem, something which has been attributed to factors including a chronic lack of investment, low interest rates, and quantitative easing.

There are tentative signs that productivity is improving, and on Wednesday ONS data showed that average output per hour — a key measure of productivity — is growing at its fastest rate since 2011. That will not be, however, enough to stop the OBR cutting its deficit forecasts.

If Philip Hammond wants to stick to his deficit reduction targets, he is unlikely to able to pull any rabbits out of hats.

In short, Wednesday's budget will almost certainly be totally unspectacular. That said, the chancellor could still spring some surprises.

With that in mind, Business Insider decided to look at some of the policies that Hammond could announce when he speaks in the House of Commons on Wednesday lunchtime.

Housebuilding

A builder working for Taylor Wimpey builds a roof on an estate in Aylesbury, Britain, February 7, 2017.

One area where some spending could be possible is on housing. It is no secret that the UK has a chronic shortage of housing supply, which has led to inflated property prices across the country.

Hammond is believed to favour allowing building on the so-called green belt land — undeveloped and often agricultural land surrounding urban areas — as a means for allowing more homes to be built, alleviating some of the pressure on the housing market.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid is one of those within government who favours this approach, calling last week for what he called "a giant leap" forward in terms of house building.

"The figures that have been released today [figures released last Thursday showed that the number of homes in England increased by 217,000 last year] show that we have started turning things around," he said in a speech.

"But they are only a small step in the right direction. What we need now is a giant leap. You wouldn’t know it if you listened to some people. Even today, I still hear from those who say that there isn’t a problem with housing in this country."

"In next week’s Budget you’ll see just how seriously we take this challenge, just how hard we’re willing to fight to get Britain building," he continued.

"Faced with the crisis of the Second World War, Churchill demanded ‘action this day’ so the country could rise to the challenge.

"And, faced with an unprecedented housing crisis, that’s what you’re going to get from this government.

"Real action, day after day, week after week, to give this country a housing market that works for everyone."

Javid used his speech to call for higher government borrowing to fund this house building. Hammond is unlikely to be able to take decisive action, however, with his own deficit reduction targets getting in the way. 

"Given the restrictions of the self-imposed fiscal mandate, it is unlikely that Mr Hammond will go far in supporting the recent suggestion by Communities Secretary Sajid Javid that the Government should borrow to fund housebuilding," Martin Beck, an economist at Oxford Economics said in research note on November 15.

"That said, extra borrowing for construction could ultimately be offset by the revenue from renting out or selling the properties. Hence, this policy should have merits even to hardline austerity advocates."

Taxation

As with most budgets, taxes are set to be a hot topic. The Conservative Party is ideologically committed to keep taxes low, but taxes could rise in certain areas, and a number of tax relief schemes are believed to be under threat.

One of those is the so-called Entrepreneurs' Relief scheme, which allows directors of companies who own more than 5% of the company to pay just 10% tax on capital gains. Without that relief, capital gains are taxed at 28%. The scheme is essentially designed to give small business owners a tax break, but has been accused of being open to abuse in the past.

"There’s a growing expectation that Entrepreneurs’ Relief will be attacked as part of the Autumn Budget 2017, which will prove an unpopular move with business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs. Such a change might appeal however to younger generations who feel that wealthy business owners shouldn’t benefit from such a generous tax saving measure," Steven Tebbutt, tax director at accountancy firm MHA MacIntyre Hudson said in an email.

"The Government has already introduced “anti-phoenixing” rules to combat business owners abusing the relief by extracting profits through liquidation, only to resume the same business, sometimes multiple times or even ad infinitum. However, there remains a number of planning opportunities which the Government could still look to limit or close."

Another possible measure when it comes to taxation, but this time in the form of a cut, is to lower stamp duty for first-time buyers, as a small measure to help the millennial generation get on the housing ladder. Such a move has "been mooted as a ‘Millennial’-friendly measure, although the likelihood that lower duty would be capitalised in higher property prices makes the logic of such a move debatable," Beck writes.

Although not strictly related to the implementation of taxes, it is thought that Hammond could set the wheels into motion with regards to a crackdown on the use of offshore tax havens by corporations and wealthy individuals to avoid paying taxes.

Tax havens are in the spotlight following the recent publication of the Paradise Papers, a huge dump of documents which revealed, among other things, that the Queen held offshore investments through her leadership of the Duchy of Lancaster. 

Last week Labour MP Dame Margaret Hodge led an emergency debate in the House of Commons calling for new laws to force big firms to report profits more openly. Hodge called tax avoidance "a national and international disgrace." 

Other measures

As Beck points out, Hammond will likely re-announce a number of spending commitments already made by the government since the last budget in March, including commitments made by Theresa May when agreeing a deal with the DUP that allowed the Conservative Party to govern after their failure to win a majority at June's general election.

The government is already committed to:

  • "Almost £500m per year for two years to Northern Ireland flowing from the ‘confidence and supply’ arrangement with the DUP";
  • "A lifting of the 1% cap on pay growth for some public sector workers. With a total public sector pay bill of £180bn, increasing the cap to 2% for all state employees would cost an extra £1.8bn per year";
  • "The ceiling on university tuition fees will be frozen next year and the minimum earnings limit at which student debt is repaid increased."

Hammond is also set to announce the introduction of a new railcard for 26-30 year old Brits, set to come into effect in 2018.

The opposition response

John McDonnell

The government's official opposition, the Labour Party, has been vociferous in the lead up to the budget, with Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell calling on Hammond and Prime Minister Theresa May to announce an "emergency budget" including a series of fairly drastic measures.

During a speech last week, McDonnell called on the Conservatives to announce the following measures on Wednesday:

  • Pause the roll-out of Universal Credit;
  • Pump money into health, education, and local government;
  • Put money towards public sector pay rises;
  • Increase funding for infrastructure projects;
  • Launch a national, large-scale house-building programme;

McDonnell also attacked Hammond for having "no idea what is going in the real world" as the chancellor prepares to announce the budget.

"Let’s hope he wakes up and see what is happening to the real people," McDonnell told a press conference in Westminster.

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10 things you need to know before European markets open

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Philip Hammond conference

Good morning! Here's what you need to know.

1. Britain will submit its proposals on how to settle its financial obligations to the European Union before an EU Council meeting next month, Philip Hammond said on Sunday. On Friday the European Union repeated an early December deadline to move on the divorce bill.

2. Volkswagen will invest €22.8 billion in its main car brand over the next five years, it said on Saturday, a day after it announced a spending program aimed at bolstering its position as a maker of electric cars. Most of that sum, around €14 billion, will be spent in Germany, Volkswagen said, adding that one of the key measures included a €1 billion injection to transform the carmaker's Zwickau plant into a pure e-mobility facility.

3. US satellite communications company Iridium Communications said the last call from its device aboard a missing Argentine submarine was made at 1136 GMT on Wednesday, the day the vessel vanished. Argentina's Defense Ministry has said seven failed satellite calls on Saturday may have been from the submarine.

4. Chinese-owned aircraft leasing company Avolon has firmed up an order for 75 Boeing airplanes and may order 20 more, its parent Bohai Capital said on Sunday. Based on published prices, the confirmed part of the deal would be worth $8.7 billion at list values, though analysts say buyers typically get discounts of at least 50% for significant orders of such models.

5. France's fourth-biggest listed bank Natixis aims to grow revenue by 5% annually over the next three years and to return more than 60% of earnings to investors, it said on Sunday. Natixis, majority-owned by retail banking group BPCE, said it would have up to €4 billion in capital available for distribution of dividends over 2018-2020.

6. European Council President Donald Tusk said he was alarmed by the similarity of policies pursued by Poland's right-wing government to what he described as "Kremlin's plan." Tusk, Poland's former prime minister and the arch-rival of PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski, won a second term in March as chairman of EU summit meetings - with Poland the only country to vote against his extension.

7. Chancellor Philip Hammond's budget statement this week will include measures to encourage the development of driverless and electric cars, artificial intelligence and telecommunication. Hammond is under pressure to turn around the fortunes of Prime Minister Theresa May with Wednesday's budget, but with Brexit weighing on the economy he has limited options.

8. Honda is recalling about 900,000 minivans because second-row seats may tip forward if not properly latched after being adjusted. The Japanese automaker said the recall covered 2011-2017 Honda Odyssey minivans and that it had 46 reports of minor injuries related to the issue. 

9. Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador in Germany for consultation over comments made by German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel during a joint news conference with his Lebanese counterpart. The ministry said in a statement that Saudi Arabia would deliver a protest note to Germany's ambassador in Riyadh.

10. Talks about forming a three-party coalition government in Germany dissolved after the free-market liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP) pulled out on Sunday. FDP leader Christian Lindner said there was no "basis of trust" with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union bloc and the left-leaning Greens, the BBC reported.

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Survey: Institutional Traders Are Split on Bitcoin's Price, Wary of ICOs

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

A plurality of respondents to a new survey from brokerage firm Triad Securities said they believe bitcoin is in a bubble that's primed to crash.

FUD From All Sides: In Defense of CME's Bitcoin Futures Plan

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The CME’s plan to offer bitcoin futures will benefit the futures trading and bitcoin communities alike – notwithstanding hand-wringing in both worlds.

Bitcoin's Price Climbs Above $8,100 to Hit New All-Time High

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Bitcoin's price rose above $8,100 for the first time on Sunday.

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