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Lambda Protocol: Decentralizing Access to Decentralized Applications

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

Lambda Protocol: Decentralizing Access to Decentralized Applications

The Lambda Protocol has announced a decentralized, open-source solution for unrestricted access to decentralized applications (DApps). Utilizing the Lambda Protocol, DApp developers can leverage existing browsers such as Chrome or Safari to open up their applications to millions of devices currently being used. The Lambda Protocol plans to launch with support for both the Ethereum and Bitcoin blockchains, adding support for permissioned blockchains such as Hyperledger Fabric in the future.

The Lambda Protocol team, based in Singapore and Australia, is headed by CEO Taiyang Zhang. Team mentors include Santiment COO Dorjee Sun, KyberNetwork CEO Loi Luu and Liquidity.Network co-founder Arthur Gervais.

In an interview with Bitcoin Magazine, Zhang explained that there are two main problems when it comes to DApps: centralized access points and lack of interoperability between browsers and wallets.

Currently, most browsers for the decentralized web are centralized. For example, Google Chrome extensions and iOS applications allow users to access and interact with DApps on the Ethereum Network. These DApp browsers are controlled by private corporations, and they all share a common weakness: a single point of failure. They can easily be removed at a corporation’s discretion, no questions asked.

Zhang compared this single point of failure to a hypothetical in which a portal to search the entire web is hosted on a single website.

All it takes is for an ISP/Government to block one website, which defeats a core premise of decentralization.

All decentralized applications require a cryptocurrency wallet to function. Because of this restrictive prerequisite, desktop users must either integrate a wallet into a browser such as Chrome or Firefox by installing an add-on or create a new wallet by installing a new browser.

Users seeking to access DApps on mobile devices face greater limitations. Native iOS and Android apps do not support third-party browser/extension embedding, and popular mobile web browsers such as Chrome and Safari do not support add-ons.

The Lambda Protocol

The Lambda Protocol is an open-source internet protocol. "Our goal is to allow users to access the decentralized applications of the future in the browsers of today," said Zhang.

To facilitate this access to DApps, the Lambda Protocol plans to develop a decentralized messaging layer. This messaging layer has the capability to connect browsers such as Chrome and Safari to cryptocurrency wallets such as Ledger Nano S, Trezor, imToken and Jaxx. By utilizing the Lambda Protocol, DApp developers can open their applications to the millions of devices and applications that users currently use.

Conversely, users can connect to DApps via the Lambda decentralized protocol. For example, users can trade bitcoin on decentralized exchanges using hardware wallets without downloading additional software. And they can use decentralized applications on mobile devices without downloading additional applications.

Previously, it was impossible to access any DApps without downloading software that acts as a centralized point of access. But with the Lambda Protocol, users are offered a frictionless, decentralized entry point to the “Web 3.0.”

How the Lambda Protocol Works

DAP (Decentralized Application Particle) tokens fuel the Lambda Protocol. Zhang described the protocol’s basic structure from three standpoints: developers, users and relayers:

“Developers utilizing the Lambda Protocol pay DAP tokens to request a user’s wallet to sign a transaction. Users sign transactions, which are then broadcast to the network. Relayers (users who facilitate the execution of a transaction) earn DAP tokens by broadcasting and generating a proof.”

The amount of DAP required for an individual transaction varies and is calculated dynamically. A staking and rate-limiting mechanism is employed to ensure developers are only charged for on-chain transactions.

The Lambda Protocol plans to launch its testnet in Q1 of 2018.

The post Lambda Protocol: Decentralizing Access to Decentralized Applications appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

STOCKS SOAR: Here's what you need to know

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

planes

US stocks rallied big on Tuesday, even shrugging off North Korea's latest missile test during the trading session. 

Here's the scoreboard: 

  • Dow: 23,840.34 +259.56 (1.10%)
  • S&P 500: 2,627.40 +25.98 (1.00%)
  • Nasdaq: 6,911.52 +33.00 (0.48%)
  1. Roark Capital Group, the owner of Arby's and Cinnabon, has agreed to buy Buffalo Wild Wings for about $2.9 billion. The private-equity firm will pay $157 a share in cash for Buffalo Wild Wings, which is 34% above the company's closing stock price on November 13, the day before Roark's initial bid of $150 a share.

  2. Jerome Powell, the nominee to replace Janet Yellen as Federal Reserve Chair, said there are no more "too big to fail" banks during his confirmation hearingThis could come back to haunt him during his tenure if there's a financial crisis. "I think the case for raising rates at our next meeting [in December] is coming together," he also said.
  3. The Senate Budget Committee reported the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to the full Senate on a party-line vote of 12 to 11. It was the last procedural hurdle that needed to be cleared before the bill can be debated by the whole chamber.
  4. Bitcoin cleared $10,000 for the first time ever, according to data from Markets Insider. It's up more than $2,000 since Thursday's low of $7,979 per coin.
  5. Shares of Roku slumped as much as 2.5% on Tuesday afternoon following some downbeat commentary from short seller Andrew Left's Citron Research. "Time to pop some real bubbles," the firm's Twitter account said. "$ROKU, total joke."

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Investors are running out of money — and that's bad news for stocks

Japanese Bitcoin Exchange bitFlyer Now Licensed in the U.S.

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

Japanese Bitcoin Exchange bitFlyer Now Licenced in the U.S.

Tokyo-based bitFlyer has become the fourth digital currency exchange to receive approval from the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) for a “BitLicense” to operate as a virtual currency exchange in New York. This brings the total number of states in which bitFlyer is licensed up to 40.

The bitFlyer platform has over 30 percent of the worldwide bitcoin exchange volume and more than $100 million in virtual currency traded in 2017, all without access to the U.S. market. This latest expansion is providing access and technology to institutional investors in the United States, a largely untapped market.

“Our expansion and upcoming cross-border trading addresses a huge unmet need in the U.S. by institutional traders looking to access large amounts of liquidity across multiple virtual currency markets,” said bitFlyer USA’s chief operating officer, Bartek Ringwelski, in a statement. “Through our web interface or API, approved professional traders can be up and running and making trades in a matter of minutes.”

bitFlyer USA invited 2,000 experienced traders to take part in their closed beta to test buying and selling bitcoin on their platform. bitFlyer enables traders to place market, limit and complex trade orders, in addition to offering an API for programmatic traders. Their focus in the U.S. marketplace is on professional traders who trade $100,000 or more in virtual currency per month.

Ringwelski said they would be launching additional features in the coming year to make virtual currency trading — including global trading — more widely accessible.

Although bitcoin is the only supported cryptocurrency at the moment, bitFlyer plans to expand into other popular altcoins in early 2018.

The post Japanese Bitcoin Exchange bitFlyer Now Licensed in the U.S. appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Japanese Bitcoin Exchange bitFlyer Now Licensed in the U.S.

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

Japanese Bitcoin Exchange bitFlyer Now Licenced in the U.S.

Tokyo-based bitFlyer has become the fourth digital currency exchange to receive approval from the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) for a “BitLicense” to operate as a virtual currency exchange in New York. This brings the total number of states in which bitFlyer is licensed up to 40.

The bitFlyer platform has over 30 percent of the worldwide bitcoin exchange volume and more than $100 million in virtual currency traded in 2017, all without access to the U.S. market. This latest expansion is providing access and technology to institutional investors in the United States, a largely untapped market.

“Our expansion and upcoming cross-border trading addresses a huge unmet need in the U.S. by institutional traders looking to access large amounts of liquidity across multiple virtual currency markets,” said bitFlyer USA’s chief operating officer, Bartek Ringwelski, in a statement. “Through our web interface or API, approved professional traders can be up and running and making trades in a matter of minutes.”

bitFlyer USA invited 2,000 experienced traders to take part in their closed beta to test buying and selling bitcoin on their platform. bitFlyer enables traders to place market, limit and complex trade orders, in addition to offering an API for programmatic traders. Their focus in the U.S. marketplace is on professional traders who trade $100,000 or more in virtual currency per month.

Ringwelski said they would be launching additional features in the coming year to make virtual currency trading — including global trading — more widely accessible.

Although bitcoin is the only supported cryptocurrency at the moment, bitFlyer plans to expand into other popular altcoins in early 2018.

The post Japanese Bitcoin Exchange bitFlyer Now Licensed in the U.S. appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

TechCrunch Founder Arrington Raising $100 Million Ripple Hedge Fund

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

TechCrunch founder and Silicon Valley staple Michael Arrington has announced his newest venture – an XRP-denominated crypto hedge fund.

Bitcoin Price Hits Historic $10,000; Crypto Arrives in the Mainstream

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

[…]

The post Bitcoin Price Hits Historic $10,000; Crypto Arrives in the Mainstream appeared first on CryptoCoinsNews.

Meghan Markle claims she got Procter & Gamble to change its commercial when she was 11

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

meghan markle un women speech

  • Meghan Markle may have encouraged Procter & Gamble to change the tagline to an advertisement for dishwashing liquid when she was 11.
  • The tagline inspired jokes from her male classmates about how women "belong" in the kitchen.
  • After Markle wrote letters to Hillary Clinton, lawyer Gloria Allred, journalist Linda Ellerbee, and Procter & Gamble, the tagline was changed.

 

Meghan Markle may have encouraged Procter & Gamble to change the tagline to an advertisement for dishwashing liquid when she was 11, according to a speech she gave for UN Women on International Women's Day in 2015.

In the speech, she described seeing a TV commercial in school for Procter & Gamble dishwashing soap, whose tagline claimed, "Women all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans." After two male classmates made a joke about how women "belong" in the kitchen, Markle became frustrated.

"I remember feeling shocked and angry and also just feeling so hurt. It just wasn't right and something needed to be done," she said in the speech.

She told her father about the incident, and he encouraged Markle to make her voice heard. 

"He encouraged me to write letters, so I did, to the most powerful people I could think of," she said, which included Hillary Clinton, civil rights lawyer Gloria Allred, journalist Linda Ellerbee, and Procter & Gamble.

About a month later, Procter & Gamble made the tagline gender-neutral, changing "Women all over America" to, "People all over America."

You can watch Markle's full speech here.

SEE ALSO: Meghan Markle's first name is not actually 'Meghan'

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Someone in 2010 bought 2 pizzas with 10,000 bitcoins — which today would be worth $100 million

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

bitcoin pizza day

  • Bitcoin has just hit all-time highs of $10,000.
  • Back in 2010, a developer bought two pizzas for 10,000 bitcoins.
  • Today, those bitcoins are worth a whopping $100 million.


On May 22, 2010, a developer bought two pizzas using 10,000 units of a then-little-known digital currency called bitcoin.

Today, the price of a single bitcoin has hit $10,000 — making 10,000 of them worth a staggering $100 million (£75 million).

Bitcoin is going nuclear. Just a year ago, it was trading at less than $750, after deflating from what was then seen as the giddy highs of about $1,100 (£847) in late 2013. It has since embarked on an epic bull run.

"10k is a seminal moment for bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general," CryptoCompare CEO Charles Hayter said in an emailed statement, "highlighting the supernormal returns and speculative like nature of the industry as well as the potential and growing adoption."

The digital currency has come a long way since 2010, when the purchase of the two Papa John's pizzas by Laszlo Hanyecz from another bitcoin enthusiast marked what is believed to be the first "real-world" bitcoin transaction.

He posted on the Bitcoin Talk forum on May 22, 2010, writing (emphasis ours):

"I'll pay 10,000 bitcoins for a couple of pizzas.. like maybe 2 large ones so I have some left over for the next day. I like having left over pizza to nibble on later. You can make the pizza yourself and bring it to my house or order it for me from a delivery place, but what I'm aiming for is getting food delivered in exchange for bitcoins where I don't have to order or prepare it myself, kind of like ordering a 'breakfast platter' at a hotel or something, they just bring you something to eat and you're happy!

"I like things like onions, peppers, sausage, mushrooms, tomatoes, pepperoni, etc.. just standard stuff no weird fish topping or anything like that. I also like regular cheese pizzas which may be cheaper to prepare or otherwise acquire.

"If you're interested please let me know and we can work out a deal."

Ten thousand coins were then worth about $40 (£30). A British user agreed to buy the pizza for him, and even at the time the buyer got a good deal out of it: The person paid only $25 (£19) for the two pizzas.

The date is now marked on an annual basis by bitcoin users in a lighthearted celebration known as "Bitcoin Pizza Day."

And today, 10,000 bitcoins add up to about $100 million (£75 million).

"It wasn't like Bitcoins had any value back then, so the idea of trading them for a pizza was incredibly cool," Hanyecz told The New York Times in 2013. "No one knew it was going to get so big."

bitcoin price november 28

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JetBlue will sell you select round-trip tickets for $98 (JBLU)

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

JetBlue Airbus A320

  • JetBlue is having a two-day flash sale.
  • Round-trip flights are available for as low as $98.
  • Tickets must be purchased by midnight on Wednesday. 


JetBlue is having one heck of a sale.

On Tuesday, JetBlue launched a special two-day sale with one-way tickets available for as low as $49. As a result, certain round-trip tickets can be had for just $98.

Door-buster fares include $98 round-trip flights between Boston and destinations such as New York, Houston, and Atlanta. Round-trip flights between Philadelphia and Fort Lauderdale can be had for $118 while a round-trip ticket between New York and Palm Springs is just $138.

The always popular round-trip between New York and San Francisco costs as low as $268. It's not as cheap as the others, but still a significant discount over non-sale fares. 

However, there's some fine print to navigate.

JetBlue fare saleTickets must be purchased before midnight eastern time on Wednesday, Nov. 29. In addition, flights on Friday and Sunday are not included. All tickets must be for travel from Dec. 5 through Dec. 14, and from Jan. 11 through Feb. 14, 2018.

This is isn't the first time JetBlue has offered such low prices. In October, the New York-based boutique carrier made news by offering round-trip tickets for as low as $62. However, this sale does offer more flight options.

SEE ALSO: This tiny design innovation will change flying in economy class forever

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

Bitcoin Cash Demand Shocked Us, Says Circle Trading Chief

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

Representatives from several trading-oriented cryptocurrency firms took the stage at CoinDesk's Consensus: Invest event.

Blockchain Developers’ Token Creation and Smart Contract Movement

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

Blockchain Developers Thumb

New York entrepreneur Dean Anastos has a knack for creative ventures. He is a brain cancer activist known for the short films “The Assignment” and “Dear John McCain,” with several film projects in pre-production, such as “Maria Canje” (as well as the novel version, to be released soon) and “Ohneka,” a paranormal movie about a Native American vengeful spirit.

Accordingly, he is currently leading the effort to curate a groundbreaking film called “Rise of the ICO,” which will provide viewers with a multiple-perspective look at how the crypto world is evolving. 

Anastos also has a diverse background in the financial realm, having founded two companies dealing with mortgages in the secondary market. 

Today, he is bringing together his skills as a full-stack developer to lead an ambitious development team in his latest business: Blockchain Developers. This startup, which specializes in token creation and smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain, was recently launched to address the soaring demand for token creation and crowdsale services. 

Blockchain Developers could best be described as a boutique site for token launches. The company’s skilled and experienced staff of developers can assist with getting a token project expediently launched on the blockchain. This includes all interfaces with the Ethereum blockchain, crowdsale protocol, online token and crypto publication promotion, and other key details necessary to launch a proprietary token. All of these projects follow the ERC20 token compliance standards and requirements set forth by the Ethereum Foundation. 

“Our Solidity and DApp programmers can assist in creating a token and launching a crowdsale,” said Anastos. “We have specific coding capabilities in Java, PHP, Solidity, Native Android, SQL and Amazon Web Service.”  

The target market for these services is enterprises seeking to set up and release their own initial coin offerings (ICOs). Blockchain Developers not only delivers support on the software side, but on the business development and marketing sides as well. Essentially, it assumes a role as the ICO or token launch division of these companies, helping them raise sufficient funding via the Ethereum blockchain. 

The effort of Blockchain Developers comes on the heels of an unrelenting frenzy of ICO activity this year. Seen as the latest fad for startup fundraising, over 201 ICOs have collectively raised over $3 billion in funding just this year, according to the tracking service Coinschedule. This unprecedented level of activity and the resultant high returns among investors have led to some concerns of a bubble and potential crash. 

Anastos said that the services of Blockchain Developers are in high demand largely because the current ICO environment is complicated and exploding. This trend shows no signs of abating soon as new ICO ventures pop up every day, bringing new risk and speculation to the market. 

According to Token Report, a popular online repository of token sales information, of 226 ICOs analyzed, only 20 — including Storj, Augur and TenX — are being utilized to run their networks. The remainder are purely being traded and act as speculative instruments. 

Blockchain Developers has already experienced the complexities of helping companies navigate the intricacies of an ICO funding campaign. Just this year the team assisted a Macau company called Dragon Corp. in its efforts to raise $500 million through an ICO, to build a floating casino called the Dragon Pearl. Dragon plans to use these funds to erect this massive hotel concept by 2019 with the help of contractors from Norway. 

“Our firm led the development of the tech and smart contracts for that ICO project,” said Anastos. “I’m also on its board of advisors.”

Anastos is particularly bullish about the future of smart contracts, which he said will result in a lot of industries and professions becoming extinct. He points to the film industry, one that he is very familiar with, as a prime space for disruption. 

“Take movie ticket sales where these contracts allow for just-in-time payments the moment the ticket sale goes through,” he said. “At that point, those monies can be broken up into different pieces and distributed to the key stakeholders of the project.”

While his new venture has Anastos brimming with excitement, there is another cause that constantly remains front and center in his mind: the loss of his mom to glioblastoma, an extremely aggressive form of brain cancer. Even with how time-consuming his daily life is these days, Anastos said that he continues to pour his heart and soul into brain cancer awareness campaigns. 

“No matter how many projects I take on, I will always make time to give back to the community in the form of promoting brain cancer awareness,” he said.  

Anastos added that with so many safeguards and features coming up the pipeline for Ethereum-based smart contracts, this technology has nearly limitless potential. 

“No doubt we’re seeing a frenzy in terms of ICO activity,” Anastos concluded. “Companies are seeking to adopt blockchain technology for numerous reasons, but primarily it is the ability to design their own token on the Ethereum blockchain that has them most excited. That is exactly what we can assist them with in a fast and efficient way.”

The post Blockchain Developers’ Token Creation and Smart Contract Movement appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Google Trends: ‘Buy Bitcoin With Credit Card’ Searches Surge with Price Gains

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

[…]

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As Bitcoin tops $10,000, Elon Musk denies he is its creator

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

One of the biggest stories of 2017 has been the surge in the price of bitcoin, the cryptocurrency touted an alternative to gold and other investments. For years, many have wondered who the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of bitcoin, is.One person it's not? Elon Musk.

CITRON RESEARCH: 'Time to pop some real bubbles. $Roku, total joke' (ROKU)

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

Andrew Left

Shares of Roku are trading down 2.26% at $45.47 apiece on Tuesday afternoon following some downbeat commentary from short seller Andrew Left's Citron Research. 

"Time to pop some real bubbles," the firm's Twitter account said. "$ROKU, total joke."

Roku shares have rallied more than 200% since their initial public offering in September. They climbed more than 25% combined on Monday and early Tuesday after Needham analyst Laura Martin compared the service to Netflix and raised her price target to $50 a share.

"Like Netflix, we view Roku as a pure-play on over-the-top (OTT) TV-viewing growth, but Roku has no content risk," Martin wrote. "Recent announcements and press reports that Disney, Google, Amazon, etc. are launching new Over-The-Top services helps Roku but hurts Netflix."

But Citron doesn't agree, saying that Martin's target was "irresponsible" and that its price should be much lower unless it "finds a way to stream a BTC." The firm says RBC Capital Markets Analyst Mark Mahaney's $28 price target is more in line with their thinking. 

Left will be on CNBC's Halftime Report on Wednesday to explain why shares will slide back below $40.

"This is not just a bubble, this is just plain ridiculous," Citron tweeted

Roku

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Bitcoin Wallet App Abra Announces Ethereum Integration

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

Abra is adding new features to its bitcoin wallet app, including support for ethereum.

There's been a shake-up at secretive trading firm Jump Trading

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

Screen Shot 2017 11 21 at 5.07.55 PM

  • Steve Hunt, chief technology officer of Jump Trading, is leaving the firm.
  • Hunt spent more than 10 years with the trading firm, according to his LinkedIn page.
  • Samuel Tegel, head of liquidity strategy at the firm has also left.


Steve Hunt, the chief technology officer of Chicago-based trading firm Jump Trading, has left the firm, according to the company. 

Hunt's tenure with Jump, a trading firm with offices in Chicago, New York, London, and Singapore, has spanned more than 10 years, according to his LinkedIn page. Before joining the firm in 2007, Hunt was a vice president at Goldman Sachs. 

The firm is not looking for someone to replace Hunt, according to a person familiar with the situation. 

Samuel Tegel, the firm's head of liquidity strategy, has also left, the company said.

Jump, founded in 1999, describes itself as a "privately-funded company that is owned and managed by trading professionals who have set high standards around trust and leadership in a quantitative trading environment." It has more than 500 employees, according to its LinkedIn page.

It's known for its ultra high-speed trading strategies, but it's also been developing what it calls a "lower frequency trading strategy," and it also has a venture arm called Jump Capital. It's also known for its secrecy, with little information on the firm available on its website

Times have been tough for trading firms like Jump, which tend to thrive when there's market volatility. 2017 just hasn't had the surprising whipsaw market moments that 2016 did, such as Brexit and the election of US president Donald Trump. 

Hunt did not respond to messages seeking comment.

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

Abra Adds Ether, Launches New Multi-sig Wallet for Holding Digital Assets

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

Abra Launches New Multi-sig Wallet for Holding Digital Assets Using Bitcoin

The new Bitcoin-based, multi-signature wallet from Abra is being released hot on the heels of their recent funding announcement, supporting ether and 52 fiat currencies.

Now, after running our service for the past few months with tens of millions of dollars of funds, we’re ready for commercial deployment of our multi-signature solution. — CEO Bill Barhydt

The new update is currently rolling out to current users and is expected to be completed during the first week of December 2017. The Abra wallet is available on Android and iOS. This new release is a full rewrite that adds support for ether as a currency, as well as the “2-of-2” multi-signature model that requires both Abra and the consumer to sign a transaction when the consumer is holding anything but bitcoin.

In speaking with Bitcoin Magazine, Barhydt said this is the first phase of the next generation of their product — what they call “Synthetic Currency.” This concept will conceivably allow you to fold any asset class onto your phone and tie it to bitcoin, like real estate, art, precious metals, etc. The first supported asset class is currency.

Abra’s idea is similar in concept to what Venmo or Paypal provide — and what banks are now catching up with — in that it allows two parties to quickly exchange money but without a central authority. Abra now allows users to deposit any supported currency to a phone through a number of methods, including Automated Clearing House (ACH), wire transfer, bitcoin and American Express. It is also testing cash deposits in certain countries which have yet to be disclosed.

Deposited funds are then used to buy bitcoin at a fixed conversion rate, determined at the time of transfer. For example, assuming bitcoin costs $10,000 each and you deposited $10,000 in fiat, you would have 1 BTC. If the price of bitcoin goes up, the contract code would shed the excess satoshis so you still had $10,000 worth in fiat. If bitcoin goes down, then Abra makes up the difference. He declined to comment on how Abra would manage the counterparty risk, citing proprietary information.

“For the next few months we’ll be working with this 2-of-2 p2sh [pay-to-script hash] script-based solution that requires both Abra and the consumer (via their Abra app) to sign a transaction,” he added. “In a few months, we will migrate to a full 2-of-3 multi-signature smart contract solution that will enable a Contract Oracle to sign in lieu of either counterparty. This will provide significantly more protection to both the consumer as well as Abra in the case that either party disappears and will allow for much larger contracts due to the diminished counterparty risk inherent in the 2-of-2 model.”

The post Abra Adds Ether, Launches New Multi-sig Wallet for Holding Digital Assets appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Bitcoin clears $10,000

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

bitcoin

  • Bitcoin, the scorching-hot digital currency, cleared $10,000 per coin.
  • The digital currency, which many Wall Streeters have said is in a massive bubble, is up more than 875% this year. 

Bitcoin, the red-hot digital currency, has cleared $10,000 for the first time ever. 

The virtual currency, which has gripped the attention of Wall Street and Main Street, reached the much-anticipated threshold at around 1:26 p.m. ET, according to data from Markets Insider. It's trading up 2.85% at $10,011 a coin. 

The currency was flirting with $10,000 throughout the trading day on Tuesday, and has been on a tear since the US Thanksgiving holiday. It's up more than $2,000 since Thursday's low of $7,979 per coin.

Bitcoin has been on a wild ride this year. In addition to rising nearly $9,000 since the beginning of the year, the cryptocurrency has withstood a number of splits in its blockchain, including one in August that resulted in the creation of clone coin bitcoin cash. Disagreements over how the coin should scale continue to divide power brokers in the bitcoin community.

Wall Streeters, including JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon, have derided the cryptocurrency as only useful for criminals. In September, Robert Shiller, one of the most renown economists in the world, said bitcoin was "the best example of a bubble."

Still, a number of Wall Street firms have warmed up to bitcoin. Most notably, CME and Cboe, two exchange giants for futures and derivatives, are set to roll out bitcoin futures. And a number of trading firms including Virtu, DRW, and B2C2 are set to provide liquidity for such markets.

As for the coin's future, many think 2018 will be the year in which traditional financial-services firms pour into the market, which has been dominated mainly by smaller firms and scrappy traders.

"2018 is the year when things start moving with regards to institutions moving into the market and dominating it," Bartek Ringwelski, the US COO of bitFlyer, a Japan-based bitcoin exchange, told Business Insider.

Bitcoin

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

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NOW WATCH: Tesla's biggest problem is one nobody saw coming

Bitcoin clears $10,000

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

bitcoin

  • Bitcoin, the scorching-hot digital currency, cleared $10,000 per coin.
  • The digital currency, which many Wall Streeters have said is in a massive bubble, is up more than 875% this year. 

Bitcoin, the red-hot digital currency, has cleared $10,000 for the first time ever. 

The virtual currency, which has gripped the attention of Wall Street and Main Street, reached the much-anticipated threshold at around 1:26 p.m. ET, according to data from Markets Insider. It's trading up 2.85% at $10,011 a coin. 

The currency was flirting with $10,000 throughout the trading day on Tuesday, and has been on a tear since the US Thanksgiving holiday. It's up more than $2,000 since Thursday's low of $7,979 per coin.

Bitcoin has been on a wild ride this year. In addition to rising nearly $9,000 since the beginning of the year, the cryptocurrency has withstood a number of splits in its blockchain, including one in August that resulted in the creation of clone coin bitcoin cash. Disagreements over how the coin should scale continue to divide power brokers in the bitcoin community.

Wall Streeters, including JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon, have derided the cryptocurrency as only useful for criminals. In September, Robert Shiller, one of the most renown economists in the world, said bitcoin was "the best example of a bubble."

Still, a number of Wall Street firms have warmed up to bitcoin. Most notably, CME and Cboe, two exchange giants for futures and derivatives, are set to roll out bitcoin futures. And a number of trading firms including Virtu, DRW, and B2C2 are set to provide liquidity for such markets.

As for the coin's future, many think 2018 will be the year in which traditional financial-services firms pour into the market, which has been dominated mainly by smaller firms and scrappy traders.

"2018 is the year when things start moving with regards to institutions moving into the market and dominating it," Bartek Ringwelski, the US COO of bitFlyer, a Japan-based bitcoin exchange, told Business Insider.

Bitcoin

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

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: A senior investment officer at a $695 billion firm breaks down tax reform

What you need to know on Wall Street today

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

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Roark Capital is buying Buffalo Wild Wings for $2.9 billion — a 34% premium over the company's valuation before Roark began bidding for it in mid-November.

The private-equity firm, which also owns Cinnabon and engineered a breathtaking comeback for Arby's, is betting it can do the same for the struggling chicken and sports bar chain.

In Wall Street meets Washington news, JPMorgan says there's still a fortune to be made betting on tax reform. Here are the GOP senators who could still derail the tax push.Jerome Powell, President Donald Trump's nominee to replace Janet Yellen as Fed chair, faces a grilling today in his Senate confirmation hearing — he faces two big questions, according to Business Insider's Pedro da Costa. 

Two Berkeley grads are using AI to make stock-buying decisions — and it could change investing foreverDeutsche Bank is hiring an ex-Goldman Sachs partner to run its global equities business, part of a growing investment in the firm's US presence.

TV ad spending is down — but not for the reason you think.

Elsewhere:

Lastly, here are the 21 hot cars we can't wait to see at the 2017 LA Auto Show.

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NOW WATCH: This is what Bernie Madoff's life is like in prison

MIZUHO: The crypto boom is over for AMD and Nvidia (NVDA, AMD)

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

nvidia ceo jensen huang

  • Bitcoin is trading at record highs and is closing in on $10,000 a coin.
  • Nvidia and AMD have enjoyed strong demand for their chips that could be ending soon.
  • The companies will have to focus on other areas of their businesses to continue to do well in the future.
  • Watch the price of Bitcoin move in real time.


As bitcoin nears the fabled $10,000 a coin mark, it looks like the crypto boost chip makers AMD and Nvidia have enjoyed is finally coming to an end.

"While the Blockchain software technology is here to stay ... we expect crypto-mining will be a much less meaningful market for AMD/NVDA in 2018," Vijay Rakesh, an analyst at Mizuho Securities said in a note to clients.

AMD was down 3.55% on Tuesday after Rakesh's note, and Nvidia was lower by 1.61%.

Both Nvidia and AMD have enjoyed increased demand for their graphics processing unit chips thanks to their abilities to speed up some cryptocurrency mining. But, as the power required to mine bitcoin remains out of reach for individual miners, and ethereum looks to move to a different payment verification system in the next six months, it looks like that demand will be much lower than current levels.

When bitcoin first started, individuals known as miners would lend computing power to bitcoin's blockchain network to help verify payments and were rewarded with small payments in bitcoin for their services. These miners soon figured out that GPUs from AMD and Nvidia were well suited to the type of math used to verify payments and bought them in droves.

As bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies, exploded in price and popularity, it looked as if AMD and Nvidia's share prices would mirror bitcoin's rise. Both companies have said that cryptocurrency miners have made it hard for retailers to keep their products in stock, and the graphics card business has been booming because of it.

The companies approached the crypto market a bit differently, though. AMD has said previously that it appreciated the crypto boost, but has not focused on addressing it directly because it doesn't see crypto mining as  "long-term growth driver." Nvidia has had the opposite reaction to the boom, saying it will stay very close to the market and react as needed.

Now, Rakesh thinks that both companies should move on.

"We believe it is increasingly important for AMD/NVDA to show traction in core PC/NB, DT, Gaming and Data Center markets in 2018," Rakesh wrote.

Rakesh reiterated his buy rating for both companies. He has a price target of $225 for Nvidia — which is 7% higher than the current price. His $17 price target for AMD is 52% above its current level.

AMD is down 1.46% this year, while Nvidia is up 106.71%.

See why some people call crypto mining a "bomb" just waiting to go off for Nvidia and AMD.

bitcoin price chart

SEE ALSO: Nvidia's boost from cryptocurrencies is slowing down

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Why Nintendo is dominating like the old days

MIZUHO: The crypto boom is over for AMD and Nvidia (NVDA, AMD)

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

nvidia ceo jensen huang

  • Bitcoin is trading at record highs and is closing in on $10,000 a coin.
  • Nvidia and AMD have enjoyed strong demand for their chips that could be ending soon.
  • The companies will have to focus on other areas of their businesses to continue to do well in the future.
  • Watch the price of Bitcoin move in real time.


As bitcoin nears the fabled $10,000 a coin mark, it looks like the crypto boost chip makers AMD and Nvidia have enjoyed is finally coming to an end.

"While the Blockchain software technology is here to stay ... we expect crypto-mining will be a much less meaningful market for AMD/NVDA in 2018," Vijay Rakesh, an analyst at Mizuho Securities said in a note to clients.

AMD was down 3.55% on Tuesday after Rakesh's note, and Nvidia was lower by 1.61%.

Both Nvidia and AMD have enjoyed increased demand for their graphics processing unit chips thanks to their abilities to speed up some cryptocurrency mining. But, as the power required to mine bitcoin remains out of reach for individual miners, and ethereum looks to move to a different payment verification system in the next six months, it looks like that demand will be much lower than current levels.

When bitcoin first started, individuals known as miners would lend computing power to bitcoin's blockchain network to help verify payments and were rewarded with small payments in bitcoin for their services. These miners soon figured out that GPUs from AMD and Nvidia were well suited to the type of math used to verify payments and bought them in droves.

As bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies, exploded in price and popularity, it looked as if AMD and Nvidia's share prices would mirror bitcoin's rise. Both companies have said that cryptocurrency miners have made it hard for retailers to keep their products in stock, and the graphics card business has been booming because of it.

The companies approached the crypto market a bit differently, though. AMD has said previously that it appreciated the crypto boost, but has not focused on addressing it directly because it doesn't see crypto mining as  "long-term growth driver." Nvidia has had the opposite reaction to the boom, saying it will stay very close to the market and react as needed.

Now, Rakesh thinks that both companies should move on.

"We believe it is increasingly important for AMD/NVDA to show traction in core PC/NB, DT, Gaming and Data Center markets in 2018," Rakesh wrote.

Rakesh reiterated his buy rating for both companies. He has a price target of $225 for Nvidia — which is 7% higher than the current price. His $17 price target for AMD is 52% above its current level.

AMD is down 1.46% this year, while Nvidia is up 106.71%.

See why some people call crypto mining a "bomb" just waiting to go off for Nvidia and AMD.

bitcoin price chart

SEE ALSO: Nvidia's boost from cryptocurrencies is slowing down

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: One type of ETF is taking over the market

Japanese bitcoin exchange bitFlyer is coming to the U.S

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

 Japansese cryptocurrency exchange bitFlyer announced today it’s expanding to the U.S, with approval to operate in 41 states starting today. This includes regulatory approval in New York via the state’s Department of Financial Services’ “BitLicense”, which only five other cryptocurrency companies currently have. For comparison, Coinbase has approval to operate in… Read More

Japan's BitFlyer Launches Bitcoin Exchange in US Market

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

Japanese bitcoin exchange bitFlyer has officially launched in the US.

Memphis ranks as the most generous city in the US

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

memphis

  • Memphis, Tennessee ranked as the most charitable city in the United States, according to a new study from the Chronicle of Philanthropy
  • On average, people in Memphis give 5.6% of their incomes to philanthropy.
  • The study notes that the city's ranking was spurred by a large number of donations to public schools, including from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, in the past decade.

November 28 is Giving Tuesday, a holiday that follows Black Friday and Cyber Monday — shopping events when Americans spend billions of dollars. The goal of Giving Tuesday, on the other hand, is to encourage people to donate money to charities.

Some cities may give more than others this year. According to a new study from the Chronicle of Philanthropy,  Memphis, Tennessee is the most charitable city in the United States for 2017.

The Chronicle, a magazine that covers the nonprofit industry, found that the average Memphis resident gives 5.6% of their income to charity. In recent years, the city has used donations to improve Overton Square, maintain Beale Street for tourism, extend the Green Line bike trail, renovate Shelby Farms park, and complete Big River Crossing, a boardwalk over the Mississippi River.

Southern cities rooted in church philanthropy, like Birmingham and Atlanta, also led the ranking. Memphis is the top city largely due to local family donations to public schools, spurred by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's $90 million grant to Memphis' education system in 2009.

Over the last decade, the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis — a local organization that includes 800 families — has increased nearly 50% in asset size to $430 million, Robert Fockler, president of the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis, told The Commercial Appeal.

The donations to public schools keep coming despite the fact that many wealthy families attend expensive private schools in the area, he added.

“What happened here among these privileged families was the realization that if we’re going to make this city better, we have to invest in Memphis," Fockler said.

SEE ALSO: Chicago wants to give over $1 billion in taxes from workers at Amazon's new headquarters back to Amazon

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

Japan's biggest crypto-exchange is coming to the US — and it's hoping to solve one of bitcoin's biggest problems

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

Capture.PNG

  • bitFlyer, the largest bitcoin exchange in Japan, is setting up shop in the US.
  • The firm's US Chief Operating Officer told Business Insider the move will provide new liquidity to the US market, which will entice institutional investors to dive into the space.

bitflyer, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in Japan, is opening up shop in the US.

The company on Tuesday announced the launch of its US platform after running a beta version with 2,000 traders and investors.

Capture.PNG

bitflyer, which launched in 2014, told Business Insider it has been growing at an explosive clip in Japan, where bitcoin trading has exploded this year. According to CoinDesk's recently published State of the Blockchain Report, trading between bitcoin and the Japanese yen is higher than trading with any other fiat currency.

Already, bifFlyer has a number of institutional investors trading on its platform in Japan. It says by moving to the US, it will provide massive liquidity to the US markets, thereby enticing institutional investors to jump on the bitcoin bandwagon.

"Our expansion and upcoming cross-border trading addresses a huge unmet need in the US by institutional tradings looking to access large amounts of liquidity across multiple virtual currency markets," said bifFlyer USA Chief Operating Officer Bartek Ringwelski.

Ringwelski told Business Insider the firm's trial in the US included a mix of professional traders and institutions. He said a number of firms, ranging from hedge funds to asset managers, have expressed interest using the platform, but declined to name specific firms.

As Business Insider has previously reported, many top trading firms have jumped on the bitcoin bandwagon, including market-makers, DRW and DV Trading. Exchange giants CME and Cboe are set to launch bitcoin futures, which will allow investors to bet on the future price of bitcoin, in the near-term. That could open the door to institutional investors, such as asset managers, entering the market.

"2018 is the year when things start moving with regards to institutions moving into the market and dominating it," Ringwelski said.

Capture.PNG

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

Join the conversation about this story »

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

An estimated $30 billion in Bitcoins may be lost forever

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

The Bitcoin cryptocurrency's value has increased exponentially in 2017, which means that with an estimated few million coins misplaced over the years, nearly $30 billion may have been lost forever.

Deutsche Bank is hiring an ex-Goldman Sachs partner to run its global equities business (GS)

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

Peter Selman LinkedIn

  • Deutsche Bank is hiring former Goldman Sachs partner Peter Selman to run its global equities business.
  • Selman spent 22 years at Goldman Sachs before retiring in 2016 from his position as co-head of global equities trading and execution services.

 

Deutsche Bank is hiring an ex-Goldman Sachs partner to run its global equities business. 

Peter Selman, who had been co-head of global equities trading and execution services at Goldman Sachs before retiring in 2016, has agreed to material terms to join the German bank as head of global equities though the deal has not been finalized, according to people familiar with the matter. 

Selman will be tasked with reviving Deutsche Bank's equities business at a time when trading is facing deep struggles across Wall Street. While the equities business hasn't fared as badly as bond trading, it's nonetheless down 3% from 2016 through the first nine months of the year, with revenues falling $1 billion from $33.3 billion to $32.3 billion. 

Deutsche Bank declined to comment. 

In the first half of the year, Deutsche Bank ranked toward the bottom of the top-10 in global equities league tables, consistent with its ranking for all of 2016, according to industry consultant Coalition.

Selman, 44, spent 22 years at Goldman Sachs and was named a partner in 2006. He has a degree in economics from the University of Cambridge. 

He will be based in New York and report to Marcus Schenck and Garth Ritchie, the co-heads of Deutsche Bank's corporate and investment bank, and Tom Patrick, who was previously the global chief of equities and was named the bank's Americas CEO this summer

Join the conversation about this story »

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

Early Bitcoin Buyers Talk Bubbles and Origin Stories at Consensus: Invest

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

Early buyers Glenn Hutchins and Mike Novogratz took the stage at CoinDesk's Consensus: Invest event today.

It Was Fun for a While, But Elon Musk Denies Theory He Created Bitcoin

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

And he did so in in true Elon Musk fashio

It's going to take a 'disruptive moment' to make healthcare more affordable

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

Cheryl MacDiarmid

  • Healthcare in the US and around the world is due for a major shake-up. 
  • We spoke to Cheryl MacDiarmid, an executive at the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline about one major similarity between the US and Canada's healthcare system: they're unaffordable as both countries' populations age. 
  • To change this will take a conversation that's not happening right now, and it won't until something disruptive appears, MacDiarmid said. 
  • It could be the entry of a new player like Amazon, or it could be something painful like a healthcare system running out of funds.

 

The US healthcare system has a reputation for being too expensive and difficult to navigate. 

But the US isn't the only country in the world struggling to afford healthcare. Cheryl MacDiarmid, the senior vice president of primary care at drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline — a Canadian who has worked in both the US and Canada — says her native country faces the same challenge. 

"Both Canada and the US cannot afford the health systems they have. Period. Full stop," MacDiarmid said in an interview.

That's in large part because more people in both countries are turning 65 every year, and the older population brings with it an increase in healthcare costs. 

Of course, there are big differences in the two medical systems — notably that in Canada the government pays for care. But that just means the inefficiency shows up in different places. 

In Canada, it translates to wait times for certain procedures, like an elective knee replacement. In the US, you can get the knee replacement done quickly but it'll cost you as a patient more. 

"How we're funding them is different, and in both systems there's massive inefficiency for different reasons," she said.  

The exact solutions to each country's woes aren't easy to pin down, but MacDiarmid said it'll likely take the different aspects of healthcare (the companies that make the products, the people using them, and the companies that pay for them) to come together and talk.

Those conversations aren't happening yet, at least not at a point where things will change. Changing that is going to take something substantial.

"It's going to take something really disruptive, like a new player in the mix," MacDiarmid said.

Chatter about Amazon's potential entrance into health care could be that disruption. It's already reportedly sparked a $60 billion+ deal between pharmacy giant CVS Health and health insurer Aetna. The merger would create a new kind of healthcare company that includes a health insurer, a retail pharmacy, and a company that negotiates prescription drug prices with drugmakers, giving CVS more control over the connection between drugmakers and patients.

But alternatively, the disruption could be a lot more painful experience if countries going bankrupt because of their healthcare costs and need to find drastic ways to make changes.

"I think there's a disruptive moment coming, I just don't know when," MacDiarmid said. 

SEE ALSO: Here's what would happen if you broke your arm in 9 countries around the world

Join the conversation about this story »

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

Billion-dollar Crypto Club Swells to 16 Big Hitters as Bitcoin Price Tests $10,000

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

[…]

The post Billion-dollar Crypto Club Swells to 16 Big Hitters as Bitcoin Price Tests $10,000 appeared first on CryptoCoinsNews.

12 Things You Need to Know About Bitcoin

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

The cryptocurrency has had a tumultuous existence so far

As Bitcoin Prices Soar, Forked Rivals Face Different Paths

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

Bitcoin's stellar rally looks to have boosted its spin-offs bitcoin cash and bitcoin gold. But what lies ahead for the rival cryptocurrencies?

A lung condition is the third leading cause of death in the US, and 'no one's talking about it'

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

A X-ray of a patient with a lung tumour caused by smoking is seen at Ruijin Hospital in Shanghai April 27, 2011.   REUTERS/Carlos Barria

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is the third leading cause of death in the US behind heart disease and cancer. 
  • While the condition is prevalent, it doesn't get as much attention as other leading causes of death like cancer. 
  • There aren't as many resources being used to research and develop new approaches to treat the condition, which makes tackling the condition challenging. 

 

When you think about the leading causes of death in the US, it's likely that cancer and heart conditions pop into your head first. 

Cancer and heart disease are indeed the two leading causes of death in the US, but they're talked about far more than the third leading cause of death: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. 

The condition makes it difficult to breathe, leading to coughing and shortness of breath as it progresses. There are about 16 million people diagnosed with the condition in the US. But, according to Cheryl MacDiarmid, the senior vice president of primary care at pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline, it doesn't get as much attention as other deadly diseases. 

"It's the third leading cause of death in the US, and no one's talking about it," MacDiarmid said. 

That's in part because of the nature of the disease, MacDiarmid. Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of COPD. About a quarter of the people who get COPD haven't smoked, and in those cases, environmental factors like polluted air could be involved as well as certain genetic risk factors. 

Treatments for respiratory conditions like COPD are a key part of GSK's prescription drug business, and the company's one of the only major drugmakers still working to develop treatments for COPD as companies shift their attention toward cancer.   

There's also a lot less basic research going into COPD compared to other top killers. While the National Institute of Health budgeted $6 billion for cancer and more than $1.3 billion for heart disease research in 2017, it budgeted just $100 million for COPD.

That's a problem that's only increasing as Baby Boomers who may have smoked at one point in their life get older, MacDiarmid said.  While we do know a lot more about COPD and how to treat it than we might have a decade ago, there is still a need to do basic research and find better ways to treat the condition.

SEE ALSO: A $88-a-month startup that wants to help straighten your teeth just raised $15 million

DON'T MISS: How to quit smoking, according to scientists

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

Bitcoin hit yet another all-time high – but its long-term future is less certain

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

Price of Bitcoin

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The price of Bitcoin started an astronomic climb on Saturday, when it hit a new high of $8,471. It then continued to soar, breaking the $9,000 barrier for the first time on Sunday morning, and climbing to $9,649 at this time of writing.

As of yesterday, the market cap for all cryptocurrencies combined had reached an unprecedented $301 billion, of which Bitcoin's market cap accounted for $158 billion.

Other major cryptocurrencies also saw gains over the weekend, with Ether trading at a new high of $475 on Monday. This latest price jump means Bitcoin is now up 848% since the start of the year.

The dramatic price increase can be largely attributed to a recent proliferation of cryptocurrency-based investment vehicles. The price of Bitcoin started rising, albeit at a more measured pace, on October 31, when major US exchange CME Group announced plans to roll out Bitcoin futures by the end of 2017, according to The Guardian. Multiple other financial institutions (FIs) have come forward with similar propositions, including CBOE, another big US exchange, and Swiss players Vontobel and Leonteq.

The proliferation of such vehicles, which aim to give institutional investors less risky exposure to the booming yet very volatile asset, is fueling retail investors' enthusiasm for Bitcoin, due to the prospect of institutional funds pouring into the space, and the "legitimacy" incumbents' involvement lends to the asset, said analysts speaking to Reuters and The Guardian.

This could turn into a self-perpetuating cycle for the cryptocurrency. Institutional investors will likely increasingly want to pile into the Bitcoin space as prices keep rising, while retail investors will see ever-greater promise in the asset as more institutional money and endorsement floods into the space. And if this cycle continues, Bitcoin will increasingly come to resemble a money market.

However, how long this pattern will be sustained for remains to be seen: In the short term, it's likely to continue, as more incumbent FIs are emboldened to roll out their own Bitcoin investment vehicles to cater to rising investor demand and competitive pressure from their peers. On the other hand, the trend's long-term prospects are less certain, as its continuation will probably depend on such vehicles' performance, and specifically, on how well they will be able to deliver on their promise to reduce risk for investors seeking to tap into the Bitcoin bonanza.

To receive stories like this one directly to your inbox every morning, sign up for the Fintech Briefing newsletter. Click here to learn more about how you can gain risk-free access today.

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The 'immature' global bitcoin market is ripe for arbitrage

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

A bitcoin (virtual currency) coin placed on Dollar banknotes is seen in this illustration picture, November 6, 2017.

  • Bitcoin hit $10,000 on a South Korean exchange on Tuesday morning but was trading at $9,748 on US exchange at the same time.
  • Price disparity sign of "incredibly immature market," an analyst says, and makes market ripe for arbitrage.


LONDON — Has bitcoin hit $10,000 yet? It depends on who you ask.

The cryptocurrency hit the symbolically significant level on some South Korean exchanges early on Tuesday morning but, as of 1.30 p.m. GMT (8.30 a.m. ET), it has failed to clear the level on most Western exchanges.

The mismatch highlights the huge arbitrage opportunity in cryptocurrency markets, which remain diffused, unregulated, and disjointed.

Neil Wilson, a senior analyst with ETX Capital, said in an email on Tuesday: "When [South Korean exchange] CEX quoted BTC at $10,026, [US exchange] Kraken had it at $9,748 – a gap of $278 – a near 3% spread."

It's not the first time this kind of disparity between exchanges has occurred. Back in May, Bitcoin was trading at the equivalent of $2,500 on Japanese exchanges while it was priced at $2,100 on US exchanges.

Charles Hayter, the CEO and founder of CryptoCompare, highlighted arbitrage opportunities in an email at the time and said: "The Japanese have caught the Bitcoin bug and inefficiencies across markets are being exposed."

In most financial markets, this kind of asset price gaps would generally be closed in minutes or even seconds as algorithmic trades buy up the lower priced asset to sell on the exchange offering a higher price. This spike in buying pushes up the price of the cheaper asset until it is on a par with the higher price.

However, cryptocurrency markets lack the unified infrastructure of more advanced markets that supports this kind of complex trading. Hayter said in his May email: "Bitcoin trades across multiple fiat pairs in a range of local and global exchanges. These pairs often trade at different prices due to fees, entrance and exit routes, and various perceptions of the safety of the exchange."

Cryptocurrency market participants are also relatively unsophisticated. The bulk of the market is made up of retail traders who lack the resources to exploit these loopholes to their full potential.

ETX Capital's Wilson argues that this is part of what's putting off institutional investors. He said: "Arbitrage potential between exchanges is exceptionally large, indicative of the fact this is an incredibly immature market that is completely decentralised and unregulated, which makes it totally unsuitable for institutional investors.

"From an investment point of view we are still in the very early stages and the investment community just doesn’t know enough, doesn’t have the depth of data to fairly value bitcoin. Volatility has been so extreme that the big institutional investors don’t want to take the risk."

Still, while there aren't many established institutions currently in the market, there is growing interest. Goldman Sachs is considering setting up a bitcoin trading desk to meet client interest and CME Group, the largest exchange group in the world, has announced plans to start offering bitcoin futures contracts.

Wilson said: "CME’s futures contract might be able to help traders get a clearer picture with a blended price but the arbitrage potential is so large it simply highlights that, while speculative buyers think it will keep on rising, bitcoin has yet to show itself as capable of behaving like a proper asset for investment purposes."

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As Bitcoin nears $10,000, Elon Musk denies he is its creator

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

One of the biggest stories of 2017 has been the surge in the price of bitcoin, the cryptocurrency touted an alternative to gold and other investments. For years, many have wondered who the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of bitcoin, is.One person it's not? Elon Musk.

Here's a super-quick guide to what traders are talking about right now

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

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell June 17, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Dave Lutz, head of ETFs at JonesTrading, has an overview of today's markets.

Here's Lutz:

Good morning!  US Futures are starting upbeat, as Powell’s released testimony soothes transition concerns, and momentum builds into the Senate’s Tax vote on Thursday.   Russell climbing 25bp, while E-Minis continue to find buyers upside 2600.  In Europe, all green as the DAX climbs 35bp in a broad-based move.  SocGen pacing banks higher on headers of branch closures, while Alt-Energy names like the Siemens-Sweden deal.  Miners are getting hit, with Euro Mining Index off 1%+.   EU Volumes pacing very light again, with Frankfurt trading 35% below normal trends.   FTSE jumping 60bp as London banks a touch higher after UK Stress Test results announced and Oil Majors acting well behind RDSA LN headers, but Miners lag, with names like Glencore off 2.5%.   In Asia, TOPIX off 25bp - Hang Seng off small, rebounding from those headers about China restricting investment into Hong Kong - Shanghai up 30bp, while Shenzhen jumps 1.3%.  China’s 10YY is pinned at 4% - KOPSI up 25bp as Sammy rebounded from yesterday’s smackaroo, but most Asian chipmakers remained under pressure, and Aussie closed off small

10YY up small and holding upside 200d into Fed’s Powell Congressional testimony, but Germany’s 10YY nearing month lows while Ireland’s 10YY shrugging off election angst.  The DXY is higher, but drifting under the 200d, with the Euro slipping under $1.19, Sterling under some pressure, $/Y back upside 111, and Commodity Currencies shrugging off weakness in the metals.  Ore was off small, but Shanghai nickel futures down 4% on more housing curb angst, and that has Nickel off 3%, Copper off 2% and Zinc 1.5% in early trade.  WTI off another 1% as angst builds on OPEC cuts this week and traders eyeball a keystone restart, while Natty continues to rebound from last week’s smack.

Here are the 10 things you need to know today.

SEE ALSO: 10 things you need to know before the opening bell

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: We talked to the bond chief at the $6 trillion fund giant BlackRock about the most important issue for markets right now

Here's a super-quick guide to what traders are talking about right now

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

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell June 17, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Dave Lutz, head of ETFs at JonesTrading, has an overview of today's markets.

Here's Lutz:

Good morning!  US Futures are starting upbeat, as Powell’s released testimony soothes transition concerns, and momentum builds into the Senate’s Tax vote on Thursday.   Russell climbing 25bp, while E-Minis continue to find buyers upside 2600.  In Europe, all green as the DAX climbs 35bp in a broad-based move.  SocGen pacing banks higher on headers of branch closures, while Alt-Energy names like the Siemens-Sweden deal.  Miners are getting hit, with Euro Mining Index off 1%+.   EU Volumes pacing very light again, with Frankfurt trading 35% below normal trends.   FTSE jumping 60bp as London banks a touch higher after UK Stress Test results announced and Oil Majors acting well behind RDSA LN headers, but Miners lag, with names like Glencore off 2.5%.   In Asia, TOPIX off 25bp - Hang Seng off small, rebounding from those headers about China restricting investment into Hong Kong - Shanghai up 30bp, while Shenzhen jumps 1.3%.  China’s 10YY is pinned at 4% - KOPSI up 25bp as Sammy rebounded from yesterday’s smackaroo, but most Asian chipmakers remained under pressure, and Aussie closed off small

10YY up small and holding upside 200d into Fed’s Powell Congressional testimony, but Germany’s 10YY nearing month lows while Ireland’s 10YY shrugging off election angst.  The DXY is higher, but drifting under the 200d, with the Euro slipping under $1.19, Sterling under some pressure, $/Y back upside 111, and Commodity Currencies shrugging off weakness in the metals.  Ore was off small, but Shanghai nickel futures down 4% on more housing curb angst, and that has Nickel off 3%, Copper off 2% and Zinc 1.5% in early trade.  WTI off another 1% as angst builds on OPEC cuts this week and traders eyeball a keystone restart, while Natty continues to rebound from last week’s smack.

Here are the 10 things you need to know today.

SEE ALSO: 10 things you need to know before the opening bell

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Criminalizing Bitcoin Users? US Congress Holds Hearing to ‘Modernize’ AML Laws Today

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

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A top hedge fund recruiter explains how founders can make sure they hire the best talent

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

Ilana Weinstein IDW - smaller 2x1

  • 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 and how to get a senior-level job today.
  • She says there are four key qualities a founder should have in order to hire and retain the best talent on Wall Street.


llana Weinstein, founder of the The IDW Group, is a tour de force within the hedge-fund industry.

She recruits top-level talent for the world’s most prestigious investment firms, including hedge fund managers, family offices, and private equity funds.

Weinstein recently sat down with Business Insider’s hedge fund reporter, Rachael Levy, for a wide-ranging interview about the industry. She says fund founders need four key characteristics in order to hire — and keep — the top financial talent. 

From the interview:

Levy: What is critical for founders to know to hang on to 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.

You can read the full interview with Ilana Weinstein here

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

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Global Bitcoin Price Average Hits $10,000 in Korea-Led Rally

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

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Falling Dominoes? $10,000 Bitcoin Price Now Looks Inevitable

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

Already over $10,000 in Asian markets, bitcoin looks set to pass the notable milestone across global exchanges very soon.

Bitcoin soars over $9,900

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

Bitcoin.PNG

  •  Bitcoin's impressive tear continues Tuesday morning with the digital currency reaching a new high above $9,900.
  • The scorching-hot digital coin was trading up 2.14% at $9,942 per coin, according to data from Markets Insider.

 

Bitcoin pushed closer to the much-anticipated $10,000 threshold Tuesday morning.

The scorching-hot digital currency, which has been gunning for $10,000 since the US Thanksgiving holiday, was trading up 2.14% at $9,942 a coin as of 7:03 a.m. ET.

The digital currency has gained nearly $2,000 since Friday's low of $7,958, according to data from cryptocurrency watcher CoinDesk. Traders, according to John Spallanzani, chief macro strategist at GFI Group, are eagerly awaiting $10,000. 

"The BitcoinBulls really want the $10,000 print," he told Business Insider over email.

Already the coin is trading above $10,000 on some exchanges, including the CEX digital currency exchange. 

As for how high bitcoin will go, billionaire businessman Mark Cuban told Business Insider the coin will continue to push higher as retail investors pour into the space and folks with large bitcoin holdings continue to treat it more as a collectible than a currency.

"The number of people opening up new accounts and buying bitcoin, even fractionally, is skyrocketing," he said. "Yet the people who have it as a true store of value have no reason to sell it as long as demand continues."

Since the list of merchants that accept bitcoin is still relatively small, so-called holders (or hodlers as they are referred to in bitcoin circles) don't have many places where they can spend their coins, either.

"They can't spend it, so they keep it," Cuban said. "If big holders don’t sell and the number of Coinbase users keeps going up, the sky is the limit."

Novogratz, Mike Novogratz, Fortress CEO, SALTFamed hedge funder turned crypto-investor Michael Novogratz doesn't think bitcoin will top out any time soon

The former Fortress manager told CNBC Monday that bitcoin could potentially hit $40,000 by the end of 2018. 

Novogratz, who is planning to launch his own cryptocurrency hedge fund, said a spike in interest from both retail and institutional investors could push  bitcoin to his bullish price target. 

"There's a big wave of money coming, not just here but all around the world," he said. 

To be sure, Novogratz thinks there will be bumps on the road to $40,000, with 50% corrections along the way.

Also, not everyone is bullish on bitcoin. A number of Wall Street's most respected heavy hitters, including JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon and BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, have come out against the coin.

Bitcoin is up 875% year-to-date.

SEE ALSO: NOVOGRATZ: 'Bitcoin could be at $40,000' by end of next year

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Billionaire Hedge Fund Legend: Bitcoin Price Will Reach $40,000 in 2018

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

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10 things you need to know before the opening bell (SPY, SPX, QQQ, DIA, BWLD)

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

Kenya protests

Here is what you need to know. 

Powell testifiesPresident Donald Trump's Fed Chair nominee, Jerome Powell, will testify before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday.

The GOP tax plan could slam into a wallThe Senate Budget Committee is expected to take up the GOP tax bill on Tuesday, and Sen. Ron Johnson has said he will not vote for it without some changes. Because of the Republicans' one-vote majority, that would prevent the bill from making it to the Senate floor. 

A Bank of England survey says politicians pose the biggest risk to the UK financial systemAlmost all respondents said political risk ps a threat to the UK financial system while 67% said it was the biggest perceived threat. 

Bitcoin hits a new highThe cryptocurrency hit a record high of $9,920 a coin on Tuesday morning, according to data provided by Markets Insider. 

SoftBank wants a 30% discount for a chunk of UberThe conglomerate wants to pay a valuation of about $48 billion, or 30% off its current valuation of $69 billion, for as much as $9 billion worth of Uber stock, Bloomberg reports, citing anonymous sources.  

Roark Capital agrees to buy Buffalo Wild WingsThe private-equity firm agreed to pay $2.4 billion, or about $157 a share, for the chicken wing chain, Bloomberg says, citing people with knowledge of the matter. 

Shell was reportedly involved in the 1990s Nigerian human rights abusesAmnesty International is calling for a criminal investigation into the oil giant after saying it uncovered thousands of documents showing the oil giant's involvement in human rights abuses in the oil-producing Ogoniland region of Nigeria in the 1990s. 

Stock markets around the world trade mixedAustralia's ASX (-0.47%) trailed overnight and Britain's FTSE (+0.55%) leads in Europe. The S&P 500 is set to open up 0.12% near 2,605.

Earnings reporting is lightAutodesk and Marvell Technology report after markets close.

US economic data picks upFHFA and Case-Shiller home prices will be released at 9 a.m. ET and consumer confidence crosses the wires at 10 a.m. ET. The US 10-year yield is unchanged at 2.33%. 

Join the conversation about this story »

10 things you need to know before the opening bell (SPY, SPX, QQQ, DIA, BWLD)

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

Kenya protests

Here is what you need to know.

Powell to testify. President Donald Trump's nominee for Federal Reserve chair, Jerome Powell, will testify before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday.

The GOP tax plan could slam into a wall. The Senate Budget Committee is expected to take up the GOP tax bill on Tuesday, and Sen. Ron Johnson has said he will not vote for it as written. Because Republicans have only a one-vote majority in the committee, that would prevent the bill from making it to the Senate floor.

A Bank of England survey says politicians pose the biggest risk to the UK financial system. Almost all respondents said political risk posed a threat to the UK financial system, while 67% said it was the biggest perceived threat.

Bitcoin hits a new high. The cryptocurrency hit a record high of $9,920 a coin on Tuesday morning, according to data provided by Markets Insider.

SoftBank wants a 30% discount for a chunk of Uber. The conglomerate wants to pay a valuation of about $48 billion, or 30% off Uber's current valuation of $69 billion, for as much as $9 billion worth of Uber stock, Bloomberg reports, citing anonymous sources.

Roark Capital agrees to buy Buffalo Wild Wings. The private-equity firm agreed to pay $2.4 billion, or about $157 a share, for the chicken-wing chain, Bloomberg says, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

Shell was reportedly involved in the 1990s Nigerian human-rights abuses. Amnesty International is calling for a criminal investigation into the oil giant after saying it uncovered thousands of documents showing the oil giant's involvement in human-rights abuses in the oil-producing Ogoniland region of Nigeria in the 1990s.

Stock markets around the world trade mixed. Australia's ASX (-0.47%) trailed overnight, and Britain's FTSE (+0.55%) leads in Europe. The S&P 500 is set to open up 0.12% near 2,605.

Earnings reporting is light. Autodesk and Marvell Technology report after markets close.

US economic data picks up. FHFA and Case-Shiller home prices will be released at 9 a.m. ET, and consumer confidence crosses the wires at 10 a.m. ET. The US 10-year yield is unchanged at 2.33%.

Join the conversation about this story »

7 Bitcoin Experts Who Can Teach You About Crypto

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

Once you understand Bitcoin it's hard to forget about it.

Buy Bitcoin at Your Own Risk, Gamblers: Nigeria’s Insurance Regulator

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

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The post Buy Bitcoin at Your Own Risk, Gamblers: Nigeria’s Insurance Regulator appeared first on CryptoCoinsNews.

Ocado shares pop 20% as it signs long-awaited international deal

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

ocado

  • Online grocer Ocado has signed a deal to develop automated warehouse with France's Groupe Casino.
  • Ocado first promised investors an international deal in February 2015.
  • It's part of a push to turn Ocado into a global technology provider, not just a UK online grocer.


LONDON — Shares in online grocer Ocado surged as high as 23% on Tuesday morning after the company announced a long-awaited international deal.

Ocado said in a statement that it has signed a deal with France's Groupe Casino to develop its "Ocado Smart Platform" grocery picking technology in France. Ocado and Casino, which owns Monoprix, will jointly build an automated warehouse in the Greater Paris region that will feature Ocado's robots and picking technology.

The deal is the first real fruits of Ocado's efforts to market itself as a white-label technology supplier to the grocery market, rather than simply an online supermarket. Ocado first promised investors an international deal in February 2015.

George Salmon, an equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said in an email: "There’s never been much doubt about Ocado’s technology, but to what extent the group can monetise its wondrous whirring machines has long been debated."

ocado van image largeOcado has long been a favourite target of short-sellers and is one of the most shorted UK stocks. 16% of its stock is currently loaned out to short-sellers betting its share price will fall, according to ShortTracker.co.uk.

This high short interest helps explain the dramatic share price rise on Tuesday, as the short-sellers rush to limited losses by buying stock. BlackRock Investment Management, JPMorgan Asset Management, and hedge fund Marshall Wace are all among the largest short-sellers.

Salmon said: "The news that a major French retailer has signed an agreement to utilise its software should go some way to swaying investors sentiment more conclusively in Ocado’s favour.

"This development has kick-started Ocado’s transformation from niche British retailer into an international provider of game-changing technology."

Neil Wilson, a senior analyst with ETX Capital, said in an email: "This is a transformative deal for Ocado as not only will it expose the firm to a large chunk of the French market, it could also be the launch pad for many more international partnerships."

Ocado said the deal won't affect earnings this year and the cost of investing in the warehouse build will offset fees from Casino next year. Bernstein analyst Bruno Monteyne estimates the deal will cost Ocado £100 million in capital expenditure costs.

Monteyne also cautions investors, saying in a note on Tuesday morning: "Deals like this will be signed but justifying the Ocado share price requires one such big deal each year."

Ocado CEO Tim Steiner said in a statement: "We continue to make investments to commercialise our proprietary platform and expect this deal to be one of many successful collaborations with leading retailers to use it the world over."

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Bitcoin Just Hit $10,000. Stay Very Far Away From Bitcoin

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

Bitcoin might be here to stay, but that doesn't mean now is the time to buy.

Bank of England: Fintech competition could cut banks' profits by £1 billion

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

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson speaks with head of Tyro Fintech Hub Andrew Corbett-Jones during a visit to the Tyro Fintech technology hub in Sydney, Australia, July 26, 2017.

  • Impact of fintech on the UK banking sector included in Bank of England's stress testing scenario for the first time ever.
  • The Bank says lenders could lose £1 billion in profits from increased competition and higher customer liquidity.
  • The BoE admits that it may be underestimating the risks posed by fintech.


LONDON – The Bank of England thinks banks could be underestimating the risks to their business posed by financial technology startups.

The Bank wrote in its stress testing results that fintechs could:

  • reduce banks' overdraft revenues
  • erode payment services fee income
  • increase liquidity risk as customers switch accounts more frequently
  • and make it harder for lenders to attract and retain customers, or cross-sell products.

The BoE speculated that banking profitability could take a £1 billion hit from all this increased competition, although cautioned that these were just thought experiments rather than predictions. 

The impact of fintech on the banking industry was included in the central bank's stress testing scenario for the first time ever this year. The stress tests are "war games" for the financial sector to make sure that lenders could cope with a nightmare economic scenario and ensure another financial crisis doesn't occur.

The results, published on Tuesday, show that all major lenders passed for the first time ever. But the BoE highlighted the growing threat of fintech as something banks must watch out for.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Bank of England governor Mark Carney said that banks "took the good from financial technology and said that will help drive down their costs" when asked about the impact on their businesses.

But he questioned their "basic assumption" that fintech will allow established banks to lower the cost of acquiring and maintaining customers as it lowers costs.

"Actually, from a consumer perspective, this is potentially a very exciting environment," Carney said, suggesting customers could switch banks more often and therefore push up their cost of business for traditional lenders.

He pointed to new reforms coming into force in the new year that will make data sharing and accounting switching easier.

"It's possible that some banks become not front-facing to the customer but utilities behind," Carney said, adding that new apps that are not even banks could become consumers' main point of contact with financial services.

This kind of competition is included in the Bank's stress testing scenario, which speculated that fintech "contributed to the significant squeeze in net interest margins banks experienced in the exploratory scenario, leading to a reduction of £1.1 billion in banks’ aggregate profits by end‑2023 — worth just over 0.2 percentage points of projected return on equity in 2023."

The Bank also admitted that it may be underestimating the risks posed by fintechs to traditional banks, saying in its stress testing results: "Competitive pressures enabled by FinTech, and in particular the emergence of Open Banking, may cause greater and faster disruption to banks’ business models than banks project. "

The Bank stressed that they are supportive of the fintech sector, which the government see as a key service to export in post-Brexit Britain, despite the possible threats it poses to traditional banks.

The fintech industry has exploded in the UK over the last decade and is now worth an estimated £7 billion. Banks such as Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Barclays, and BNP Paribas have moved to embrace the sector in recent years by investing, partnering, and monitoring startups in the space. They hope that these innovative new businesses can help them reduce costs and future-proof them.

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The 4 biggest financial headaches caused by a 'no-deal' Brexit, according to the Bank of England

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

mark carney

  • Bank of England publishes checklist of key financial stability risks of a "no deal" Brexit.
  • These include the "continuity of existed cross-border insurance and derivative contracts," and "ensuring a UK legal and regulatory framework for financial services is in place."
  • BoE Governor Mark Carney laid out the plans at a press conference following the release of the bank's twice yearly Financial Stability Report.


LONDON — The Bank of England's key Financial Policy Committee is creating a checklist of all the risks to UK financial stability should Britain fail to secure a Brexit deal.

"The FPC continues to assess the risks of disruption to UK financial services arising from Brexit so that preparations can be made and action taken to mitigate them," the committee said in its bi-annual Financial Stability Report, published on Tuesday morning.

While the Bank of England is currently working on the assumption of what it calls a "smooth" Brexit — effectively where the UK leaves the EU with some form of deal, and most likely a transition arrangement — it has also taken steps to address what could happen in the event of a so-called "cliff edge" exit.

Risks from a cliff edge are significant, with the financial services sector — and particularly the derivatives and insurance markets — likely to be among the worst impacted. That's because these areas of finance rely on a series of fiendishly complicated cross-border rules and regulations which allow the free movement of capital around the continent.

If Britain drops out of the EU without a deal, many of those rules could cease to be in effect, causing chaos in the derivatives markets. As such, the FPC, which is tasked with ensuring the stability of the UK financial sector, is taking steps to mitigate such risks.

"Consistent with the bank's statutory responsibilities, the FPC is publishing a checklist of the steps that would promote financial stability in the United Kingdom in the event of a no deal outcome," Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said at a press conference following the publication of the Financial Stability Report on Tuesday.

"This checklist has four important elements," he said. These elements, in Carney's words are:

  • "Ensuring that a UK legal and regulatory framework for financial services is in place at the point of leaving the EU. The government plans to achieve this through the EU withdrawal bill and related secondary legislation.
  • "Recognising that it will be difficult ahead of March 2019 for all financial institutions to have completed all the necessary steps to avoid disruption in some financial services. Timely agreement on implementation is necessary to reduce such risks, which could materially disrupt the provision of financial services in Europe and the UK.
  • "Preserving the continuity of existing cross-border insurance and derivative contracts is necessary. Domestic legislation will be required to achieve this in both cases, and for derivatives, corresponding EU legislation will also be necessary. Otherwise, six million UK insurance policy holders with £20 billion of insurance coverage, and 30 million EU policyholders with £40 billion of insurance coverage, could be left without effective cover. Around £26 trillion of derivative contracts could also be affected.
  • "Deciding on the authorisations of EEA banks that currently operate in the UK as branches. Conditions for authorisation, particularly for systemic firms will depend on the level of cooperation between regulatory authorities in the UK and EU. As previously indicated, the PRA plans to set out its approach next year."

Carney spoke to the media and outlined the checklist soon after the bank revealed that Britain's major banks all passed its annual stress tests for the the first time since their introduction in 2014.

"For the first time since the Bank of England launched its stress tests in 2014, no bank needs to strengthen its capital position as a result of the stress test," the Bank of England said in a statement.

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$10,000 Bitcoin Price is “Cheap, Highly Undervalued”, Says Gatecoin Executive

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

Does Bitcoin's potential for decades to come make it super cheap at $10,000?

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BANK OF ENGLAND SURVEY: British politicians pose the biggest risk to the UK financial system

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

Theresa May and her Cabinet

  • The biggest source of risk to the UK financial system is the UK's political sector, according to the Bank of England's latest risk survey.
  • Almost all respondents cited political risk as a threat, with 67% citing this factor as the biggest perceived threat to the system.
  • Geopolitics and cyber attack were the second and third most commonly cited risks. 

 LONDON — The biggest source of risk to the UK financial system is the UK's political sector, according to the latest Bank of England Systematic Risk Survey published Tuesday.

The risk to the financial system most cited by respondents in the 2017 H2 survey was "UK political risk," mentioned by 91% of respondents and up 9 percentage points since 2017 H1.

Political risk was also overwhelmingly cited as the number one source of risk, by 67% of the 96 respondents, compared to geopolitics (7%), cyber attack (7%) and the risk of a UK economic downturn (3%).

Here's the chart:

Screen Shot 2017 11 28 at 08.23.45

The biannual survey asks market participants about perceived risks to, and their confidence in, the stability of the UK's financial system. Respondents tend to be executives responsible for firms' risk management or treasury functions.

Around 90% of those respondents that cited political risk explicitly referred to the implications of the Brexit vote. However, cyber attack was the risk most cited by UK building societies and large UK banks, while political risk was most cited by other sectors.

A spike in the perception of the threat posed by UK politics was recorded in the first survey of 2016, carried out just before the Brexit vote.

At that time, the proportion of respondents that cited this threat jumped from 26% to 72%, and almost all respondents that mentioned this risk referenced the possibility of the UK leaving the European Union.

The second and third most commonly cited threats to the UK financial system in 2017 H2 were geopolitical risk (61%, unchanged from 2017 H1) and cyber attack (57%, up six percentage points). The proportion of respondents fearing cyber attacks is now at its highest level since the survey began in 2008, while the proportion of respondents citing "sovereign risk" has dropped to 14%, from 76% in 2011 H1.

Compared to 2017 H1, a slightly larger proportion of respondents cited the risk of a UK economic downturn (34%, up six percentage points).

Screen Shot 2017 11 28 at 08.27.07

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Faraday Future is reportedly struggling to raise $500 million ahead of a major deadline

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

Faraday Future

  • Faraday Future has more than $400 million in debt that will come due in December if it fails to raise half a billion dollars in a Series A round.
  • The electric-car startup has been scrambling for cash since at least the beginning of 2017.
  • So far this year, Faraday has scrapped plans to build factories in North Las Vegas and the San Francisco Bay Area, and lost scores of top talent, including its recently hired COO/CFO Stefan Krause.
  • The company owes millions of dollars in unpaid bills.


Faraday Future is said to be running up against a December deadline to raise $500 million in what has so far been an unsuccessful Series A round.

According to a Bloomberg report published Monday night, Faraday will be on the hook for a $400 million convertible note plus 12% interest if it can't raise half a billion dollars by next month. Faraday needs the money to pay off Chinese investors who financed the debt, according to unnamed sources cited by Bloomberg.

The flailing electric-car startup has been trying to raise more money since at least the beginning of 2017. Business Insider reported in July remarks from company insiders who said at the time that Faraday was "in a precarious situation" as it grappled with some of the same problems that linger at the company today.

Faraday owes millions of dollars in unpaid bills and is facing lawsuits from some of its suppliers. The company has also suffered an exodus of top talent, including the recently hired COO/CFO Stefan Krause, who quit the company last month.

Krause had been spearheading a $1 billion fundraise for Faraday over the summer. The venture had taken him on a worldwide blitz to the Middle East, London, Germany, China, and back to the US to speak with roughly 35 investors — mostly private individuals — to fund a two-year plan designed to get Faraday's North Las Vegas factory off the ground and move its concept car, the FF91, closer to production.

The lack funding forced Faraday to shelve the massive factory project in North Las Vegas. The company later said it signed an agreement to lease property about 40 miles south of Fresno, California.

People familiar with the fundraising effort told Business Insider this month that Faraday's difficulty raising $1 billion for its Series A was partially due to investor anxiety over Faraday's primary backer, Jia Yueting, and his control of the company. A Chinese court froze millions of dollars in assets belonging to Jia earlier this year because of past-due loans linked to one of his businesses there.

Jia has been unwilling to relinquish control of Faraday Future, Business Insider's sources have said. Bloomberg's report seemed to confirm this, noting that Jia rejected a bankruptcy plan drawn up by Krause before Krause left the company, and scrapped other solutions that would lead to him being pushed out of his company.

Faraday has insisted that the bankruptcy documents, which had been floating around online, were "faked."

SEE ALSO: A would-be Tesla rival that's developing a 1,000-horsepower electric luxury sedan expands, will move into Tesla's neighborhood

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To the Moon? Time to Grow Up, Bitcoin

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

The immaturity of bitcoin’s investing culture constrains progress toward attaining the technology’s fundamental social value, Michael J. Casey writes.

Bank of England says UK lenders could cope with 'disorderly' Brexit — as all banks pass stress tests for the first time

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

London, City

  • All seven of the UK's biggest lenders pass the Bank of England's 2017 stress test.
  • 2017 marks the first time all banks have passed since the introduction of the tests four years ago.
  • "The 2017 stress test shows the UK banking system is resilient to deep simultaneous recessions in the UK and global economies, large falls in asset prices and a separate stress of misconduct costs," the BoE said.

  • Banks would be OK, even in the event of a "disorderly" Brexit, according to the BoE.


LONDON – Britain's major banks all passed the Bank of England's annual stress tests for the the first time since their introduction in 2014, the central bank said on Tuesday morning, adding that UK lenders would be alright even in the event of a "disorderly" Brexit.

"For the first time since the Bank of England launched its stress tests in 2014, no bank needs to strengthen its capital position as a result of the stress test," the Bank of England said in a statement.

The stress test is designed to ensure that banks are in possession of right tools — such as sufficient liquidity and relatively strong capital positions — to weather an economic storm. They were administered to the UK's seven largest lenders — Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC, Barclays, Lloyds, Santander, Nationwide, and Standard Chartered.

"The 2017 stress test shows the UK banking system is resilient to deep simultaneous recessions in the UK and global economies, large falls in asset prices and a separate stress of misconduct costs," the BoE said.

The scenarios used by the Bank of England are pretty apocalyptic, setting out major collapses in a whole heap of asset classes and a massive worsening of economic conditions. As the BoE put it when announcing the test scenario in March, the scenario "incorporates a severe and synchronised UK and global macroeconomic and financial market stress." You can see more of what it involved here.

While all the UK's biggest lenders passed the tests based on their current capital ratios, the Bank of England said that had the test been based on capital positions at the end of 2016, both RBS and Barclays would have been required to take action.

"Based on their end‑2016 capital positions, Barclays and RBS did not meet their CET1 capital ratio systemic reference points. Barclays also fell marginally below its Tier 1 leverage ratios systemic reference point," the BoE said.

"However, Barclays and RBS have significantly improved their capital positions since the end of 2016.

"If the test were run on the basis of their latest capital positions, both banks would meet their CET1 capital ratio and Tier 1 leverage ratio systemic reference points."

In 2016's test, Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays, and Standard Chartered came up lacking, with RBS forced to submit plans to the PRA — the BoE's regulatory arm — detailing how it would raise capital and boost resilience to financial shocks.

The Bank of England's Financial Stability report, released in tandem with the stress test results, was positive on the prospects of the UK's banking sector, even if Brexit goes awry.

"The FPC [Financial Policy Committee] judges the UK banking system could continue to support the real economy through a disorderly Brexit," the BoE said.

Brexit coupled with a global recession, however, could be a different story.

"The combination of a disorderly Brexit and a severe global recession and stressed misconduct costs could result in more severe conditions than in the stress test," the bank said.

As part of its recommendations following the stress tests, the Bank of England decided to increase the UK's so-called counter cyclical capital buffer (CCB) from 0.5% to 1%. This move had been telegraphed, with the bank saying in June that it expected to make this change this month. 

The move will increase the overall cash buffer in the UK's lenders to around £11.4 billion.

The buffer is put in place to ensure that lenders do not get themselves into the same positions that they did during the financial crisis, protecting themselves from debt going bad and triggering another credit crunch.

This is done by setting aside capital in good times so that banks can keep lending during a downturn, and are protected if customers lose their ability to make repayments on their debt.

Essentially, it is the banking equivalent of putting money aside for a rainy day.

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A would-be Tesla rival that's developing a 1,000-horsepower electric luxury sedan expands, will move into Tesla's neighborhood

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

Lucid Air

  • Lucid Motors, an electric-car startup that's developing a 1,000-horsepower luxury sedan it says could rival the Tesla Model S and flagship offerings from Mercedes-Benz and BMW, is moving to a bigger headquarters.
  • The company is setting up its new home in Newark, California, not far from Tesla's factory.
  • The upstart was deep into a Series D round earlier this year.


The electric-car startup Lucid Motors announced on Monday it is doubling the size of its San Francisco Bay Area headquarters. The company, which is developing the 1,000-horsepower Lucid Air, will move its operations from Menlo Park, California, to Newark — one city over from Tesla's factory in Fremont.

The new digs will allow for a larger design studio and an expanded space for research and development, the company said in a blog post on its website. Lucid Motors has previously touted itself as a challenger to Tesla, but with larger ambitions to take on the mainstays of the full-size luxury sedan segment.

In an exclusive interview with Business Insider earlier this year, Lucid Motors' Chief Technology Officer Peter Rawlinson talked about a future production-ready Lucid Air that would compete with the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and the BMW 7 Series.

At the time of that interview, Lucid Motors had about 300 employees and was backed by Venrock Capital, the same company that led Apple's Series A round in 1978. It was not immediately clear by how much Lucid's ranks have grown since then. The company had a Series D round in the works earlier this year. Months later, Lucid brushed off rumors of a potential sale to Ford, telling Business Insider that the fundraising effort was "going well."

Lucid Motors has been compared to flashy, boisterous electric-car startups like Faraday Future, a Chinese-backed, Los Angeles-based company that's in poorer financial shape, and steadily losing top talent — including its COO/CFO Stefan Krause last month — but is also trying to build a 1,000-horsepower electric vehicle.

Rawlinson has not taken kindly to the comparison. He has insisted that Lucid will try to avoid making the same mistakes that have thrown its rivals into turmoil. During his February interview with Business Insider, Rawlinson said of building a new electric car from the ground up: "This team realizes the enormity of the task. We're car guys. This is the team that has done it before. We know how to do this."

SEE ALSO: We took a 1,000-horsepower electric luxury sedan for a spin on the streets of Silicon Valley

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Wrangling Data For Enterprise: Blockchain Company Libra Launches Crypto Office

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

Blockchain Tax Company Libra Targets Enterprise with New Product and $7.8 Million Funding

Libra, a developer of blockchain tax and auditing software, has launched Crypto Office, a new product aimed at the industry’s biggest players: exchanges, market makers and hedge funds.

The company will make its formal announcement November 28, 2017, at Consensus Invest in New York, while also naming cryptocurrency exchange ShapeShift and liquidity provider XBTO as early adopters of the technology.

The product announcement comes the day after Libra also announced $7.8 million in Series A financing. The round was led by an undisclosed European family office. Participating investors included Liberty City Ventures; XBTO; Boost VC, an accelerator run by longtime cryptocurrency investor Adam Draper; and Lee Linden, an entrepreneur and early stage investor.

Libra, which recently relocated its offices from San Francisco to New York, plans to put those funds to use in hiring more software engineers and expanding its sales and marketing efforts. The venture previously raised $2 million, bringing its total funding to $10 million.

Into the Enterprise

Crypto Office is not Libra’s first product. In 2014, the startup announced LibraTax, a blockchain tax software geared to helping consumers stay on top of their bitcoin and cryptocurrency trades and keep the tax collectors happy.

The U.S. Government considers cryptocurrency a property, like stocks and bonds. As a result, anyone who buys and sells cryptocurrency needs to keep accurate records of all the transactions they make, so they can account for every acquisition and disposal.  

Now Libra is shifting its focus to enterprise applications with its new product, Crypto Office, aimed at institutional investors. The timing is good. More than 90 hedge funds focused solely on bitcoin and cryptocurrencies entered the market this year alone. All of these funds have a fiduciary responsibility to their investors to keep accurate, up-to-date transaction records.

As Libra sees it, most of these funds are relying on manual processes or auditing software retrofitted to the blockchain to track trades and run the numbers. These complexities can make it difficult for these companies to scale their businesses and keep up with the needs of their customers.

“Right now there are guys that are up until 2AM at these hedge funds and family offices trying to keep track of everything manually on spreadsheets,” Jake Benson, CEO at Libra, told Bitcoin Magazine. “[Crypto Office] is a missing piece to what is out there.”

It’s not just funds. Market makers — companies like XBTO that stand ready to buy and sell cryptocurrencies on a regular basis at a publicly quoted price — and exchanges also need visibility into their data, so they can understand their profit and losses and get a real-time picture of their performance.

"Calculating tax on cryptocurrency transactions is just one of the capabilities of our software," Benson noted. "We also bring information transparency to transactions such that individuals and businesses can calculate their revenue and profitability of their trades. In fact, some of our clients are buying our software to help with performance reporting not tax reporting. 

“It is all one interconnected ecosystem,” Jeremy Drane, chief commercial officer at Libra, explained to Bitcoin Magazine. “Institutional investors invest money into funds. Those funds work with market makers to place trades on exchanges. Each of those three stakeholders need to have an efficient and scalable infrastructure.”

Data Wranglers

At its core, Crypto Office is a set of business logic that sits on top of another Libra product dubbed Enterprise Platform, which does the heavy lifting of pulling data off the blockchains. Both solutions live in the cloud and Crypto Office is available on a yearly subscription basis.

Essentially, Enterprise Platform does three things. First, it allows users to connect to blockchains, exchanges and other data sources (such as wallets and enterprise systems) through a single sign-on, so they don’t have to juggle passwords.

Second, it extracts, normalizes and enriches the data. This is key because different databases store their data differently. For instance, one exchange may use the ticker symbol “BTC” for bitcoin while another uses “XBT.” And because ether (ETH), the native currency of the Ethereum blockchain, can be represented by up to 18 decimal places, one exchange may roll that up to two decimal places while another rolls it up to nine, and so on.

All of these variables need to be standardized. And, in instances where a variable may exist on some databases but not on others, that variable may need to be created so everything fits snuggly into the same table when it’s all been gathered together on a database server. (Libra stores the data on a PostgreSQL server.)

Given that some funds pull information from five, 10 or 20 different exchanges, this is not an easy task. “Right now everyone is pulling data out of exchanges or data from the blockchain in a very manual way and then throwing it into Excel spreadsheets,” said Benson. “There is no institutional grade solution that automates this stuff.”   

Once the data is wrangled, Crypto Office steps in to generate the information that will ultimately go into making up the various reports, like tax, inventory, profit and loss, that market makers, exchanges and hedge funds require to run their businesses.

Enterprise Platform then assembles that information and sends it off to Crypto Office’s user interface, packages it into reports that get sent to investors or makes it available to other enterprise systems via application program interfaces.

In summary, the goal of Libra Crypto Office and Enterprise Platform is to take data from millions of relevant blockchain transactions and make it continuously available in near real time, so investors can get an overall picture of their performance and stay compliant.

If Libra’s hunch is correct, the company could see big opportunities in the cryptocurrency space, at least until other tax services like Quicken, TurboTax and SAP catch up and adapt their services to interface with blockchains.

The post Wrangling Data For Enterprise: Blockchain Company Libra Launches Crypto Office appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

REPORT: Internal documents suggest oil giant Shell was involved in 1990s Nigerian human rights abuses

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

Logos of Shell is pictured at a gas station in the western Canakkale province, Turkey April 25, 2016. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

  • Internal company documents suggest oil giant Shell was involved in human rights abuses in Ogoniland in Nigeria in the 1990s. 
  • Protests against Shell's production in the region led to violent military intervention. Shell allegedly supported the military financially, in the knowledge such support could lead to human rights abuses.
  • Amnesty International is calling for a criminal investigation into Shell's role during the Ogoni crisis.

 

LONDON — A cache of thousands of internal documents suggests Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell's complicity in crimes committed by the Nigerian military in the 1990s, according to Amnesty International.

Shell repeatedly called for military intervention against peaceful protests in the oil-producing Ogoniland region, Amensty said, and was aware this was likely to prompt human rights abuses. Amnesty is now calling on Nigeria, the UK and the Netherlands to begin criminal investigations into Shell's role in the crimes.

"Shell repeatedly encouraged the Nigerian military to deal with community protests, even when it knew the horrors this would lead to — unlawful killings, rape, torture, the burning of villages," said Audrey Gaughran, director of global issues at Amnesty.

"In the midst of this brutal crackdown Shell even provided the military with material support, including transport, and in at least one instance paid a military commander notorious for human rights violations. That it has never answered for this is an outrage," she said.

Shell denied any wrongdoing. In response to Amnesty's allegations, Shell said:

"The allegations cited in your letter against [Royal Dutch Shell] and [Shell Nigeria] are false and without merit. [Shell Nigeria] did not collude with the military authorities to suppress community unrest and in no way encouraged or advocated any acts of violence in Nigeria. In fact, the company believes that dialogue is the best way to resolve disputes. We have always denied these allegations, in the strongest possible terms."

The Ogoni crisis

The Movement for Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) began campaigning in 1990 for greater control over their land, and protesting against environmental damage caused by oil production. Shell temporarily stopped production in the region in 1993, and allegedly requested military assistance.

Violence perpetrated by the Nigerian military in an effort to stop the protests escalated until 1995. The military campaign culminated in the execution of nine Ogoni men in 1995, including MOSOP President Ken Saro-Wiwa, following a trial Amnesty has branded "blatantly unfair."

Based on internal Shell documents and witness statements, released as part of US legal proceedings, it is "indisputable" that Shell played a "key role" in the violations, said Gaughran. 

Internal company documents

According to Amnesty's report, internal memos and minutes from meetings show how Shell lobbied senior Nigerian government officials for military support during the Ogoni crisis, even after security forces had carried out mass killings of protesters.

Documents show Shell provided logistical or financial assistance to the military and police on several occasions, while aware they had been involved in attacks on villagers, Amnesty said.

On October 29 1990, Shell allegedly requested "security protection" from an elite paramilitary police unit in Umuechem village, where peaceful protests were taking place. A massacre followed, in which at least 80 people were killed.

"From at least this point on, Shell executives would have understood the risks associated with calling for intervention from the security forces. Despite this, there is clear evidence that Shell continued to do just that," says the report. 

According to Amnesty, one document shows Shell making a payment in March 1994 of $909 to a special military unit, ISTF, to "restore order" in Ogoniland. This came ten days after the unit's commander ordered the shooting of unarmed protestors outside Shell's regional headquarters in Port Harcourt.

An internal Shell memo allegedly described the payment as a "show of gratitude and motivation for a sustained favourable disposition towards [Shell] in future assignments."

Later that year, the ISTF carried out raids on Ogoni villages, "killing, raping, torturing and detaining people," according to the report. Documents allegedly show the Dutch ambassador told Shell in July 1994 the army had killed some 800 Ogonis.

Trial and execution

Screen Shot 2017 11 23 at 14.46.30According to Amnesty, documents show Brian Anderson, Shell's then-Chairperson in Nigeria, had at least three meetings with General Sani Abacha at the height of the Ogoni crisis. In April 1994, Anderson allegedly raised "the problem of the Ogonis and Ken Saro-Wiwa" in a meeting, highlighting the economic consequences of MOSOP's protests.

He allegedly came away from the meeting with a sense that Abacha "will intervene with either the military or the police."

Within a month, Saro-Wiwa and other MOSOP leaders were arrested, and were executed in November 1995.

According to Amnesty, Shell "knew that it was highly likely that Ken Saro-Wiwa would be found guilty and executed."

"In his final words to the tribunal that convicted him, Ken Saro-Wiwa warned that Shell would face its own day in court," said Gaughran. "We are determined to make this happen."

"It is difficult not to see causal links"

Amnesty alleges Shell's directors based in The Hague and London were also aware of what was occurring in Nigeria.

"It is difficult not to see causal links — or to suppose that Shell was not aware at the time how its requests were being interpreted," said Gaughran. "Sometimes Shell played a more direct role in the bloodshed — for example, by transporting armed forces to break up protests, even when it became clear what the consequences would be," she said. 

"We will not be preparing a criminal file to submit to the relevant authorities, with a view to prosecution," she said.

In June this year, the widows of four of the executed men filed a writ against Shell in the Netherlands, accusing the company of complicity in their deaths.

 

Business Insider has approached Shell for comment.

In October, Italian prosecutors requested to charge four former Shell executives over an alleged $1.1 billion bribery scheme in Nigeria in 2011.

Screen Shot 2017 11 23 at 14.45.32

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Here's the doomsday scenario British banks faced in the Bank of England's annual stress test

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

  • Bank of England to publish results of its annual stress test of the UK financial system later on Tuesday.
  • The test is designed to ensure that banks are in possession of right tools — such as sufficient liquidity and relatively strong capital positions — to weather an economic storm.
  • It included a 4% fall in the UK's GDP growth, as well as a more than 30% fall in the value of the pound.
  • Last year Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays, and Standard Chartered were all found to have inadequacies.

LONDON — The Bank of England will publish the results of its annual stress test of the UK's banking system on Tuesday morning.

The test was the fourth run by the Bank of England, and was used as a measure of how well Britain's banks would be able to cope should the world suffer a major economic shock in the coming year.

The test is designed to ensure that banks are in possession of right tools — such as sufficient liquidity and relatively strong capital positions — to weather an economic storm.

It is pretty apocalyptic, setting out major collapses in a whole heap of asset classes and a massive worsening of economic conditions. As the BoE put it when announcing the test scenario in March, the scenario "incorporates a severe and synchronised UK and global macroeconomic and financial market stress."

Here is what Britain's banks had to resist in the case of a global macro shock:

  • In the UK economy, the BoE modelled the effects of a sharp recession of more than -4% GDP. This is accompanied by the pound collapsing to just $0.85, a fall of about a third from current values.
  • Global growth is also hit, with banks tested on how they would cope with a worldwide contraction of 2.4%. This scenario also includes a collapse in Chinese commercial real estate of more than 40%.
  • As a result, unemployment in the UK climbs higher than during the financial crisis.
  • Commercial lending collapses, leading to disaster in the property market. House prices fall by 33% and commercial real estate loses 40% of its value.

It is important to note that the scenario presented in the stress test is not supposed to be indicative of what the BoE actually thinks will happen to the British and world economies but rather a total worst case scenario.

Domestically, the Bank of England said in March that the stress test scenario is broadly the same to the one undertaken in 2016, but globally "the stressed outcome is worse than in 2016, largely reflecting continued rapid growth of credit in China."

This year, the bank also outlined another test, known as the exploratory scenario, which tested how banks would cope with increased competition and a bank rate cut to zero.

The Bank of England used its exploratory scenario to "consider how the UK banking system might evolve if recent headwinds to bank profitability persist or intensify."

"It incorporates weak global growth, persistently low interest rates, stagnant world trade and cross-border banking activity, increased competitive pressure on large banks from smaller banks and non-banks, and a continuation of costs related to misconduct. The test will have a seven-year horizon to capture these long-term trends," the bank said.

Stress tests have gained a lot of popularity with central banks since the financial crisis when numerous banks across the globe collapsed or had to be bailed out by governments. Nowhere was that more true than in Britain, where the government, then led by prime minister Gordon Brown, had to pump billions of pounds into both RBS and Lloyds to keep them afloat.

Last year Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays, and Standard Chartered were all found to have inadequacies in the test, with RBS forced to submit plans to the regulator detailing how it would raise capital and boost resilience to financial shocks.

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NOVOGRATZ: 'Bitcoin could be at $40,000' by end of next year

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

Michael Novogratz

  • Famed hedge funder turned crypto-investor, Michael Novogratz told CNBC bitcoin could reach $40,000 by the end of 2018.   
  • A wave of money from both institutional and retail investors is sitting on the sidelines, according to Novogratz. 


Famed hedge funder turned crypto-investor Michael Novogratz does not think bitcoin will top out any time soon. 

The former Fortress manager told CNBC Monday that bitcoin, which has been flirting with $10,000, could potentially hit $40,000 by the end of 2018. 

Novogratz, who is planning to launch his own cryptocurrency hedge fund, said a spike in interest from both retail and institutional investors could push bitcoin to his bullish price target. 

"There's a big wave of money coming, not just here but all around the world," he said. 

As Business Insider has previously reported, a number of Wall Street firms have jumped on the bitcoin bandwagon, including market makers, DRW and DV Trading. Exchange giants CME and Cboe are set to launch bitcoin futures, which will allow investors to bet on the future price of bitcoin, in the near-term. That could open the door to more Wall Streeters entering the fray. 

To be sure, Novogratz doesn't think the road to $40,000 will be without twists and turns. He said 50% corrections could happen on the way. 

Novogratz has been on the money before. In October, he told CNBC that bitcoin could break through $10,000 as soon as soon as March 2018. 

Bitcoin was trading at $9,698 per coin at 6:21 p.m. ET, a bit shy of its all-time high of $9,733, according to data from Markets Insider. Bitcoin started the year just under $1,000.

Screen Shot 2017 11 27 at 6.21.26 PM

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World’s Largest Bitcoin Market Japan has “Loose” Regulations, Doesn’t Bode Well: Analyst

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

[…]

The post World’s Largest Bitcoin Market Japan has “Loose” Regulations, Doesn’t Bode Well: Analyst appeared first on CryptoCoinsNews.

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