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A massive regulatory overhaul is boosting the stock of one Wall Street trading giant

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

Screen Shot 2017 12 01 at 3.51.21 PM

  • Virtu, the Wall Street trading giant, ended Friday's trading session up nearly 7%.
  • Investors have been pouring into the stock since a UBS analyst raised his price target for the firm. 
  • Virtu will likely benefit from a regulatory overhaul in Europe set to go live next year. 


Virtu soared by more than 7% on Friday, a day after a UBS analyst raised his price target for the Wall Street trading giant. 

It gave up some gains by the end of the trading day, and closed at $17.40 up 6.75%.

UBS analyst Alex Kramm upped his target for Virtu from $18 to $19. He wrote in a note to clients Thursday that the trading firm has quickly moved in on opportunities to cut costs after its acquisition of KCG, another trading firm. 

As Business Insider previously reported, the speed and success of Virtu's integration of KCG has caught Wall Street off guard. After the company reported results for the first time since the purchase closed, the stock soared more than 18%. 

Here's Kramm on firm's progress so far:

"After shutting down poorly performing offices (e.g. Singapore/Mumbai), closing down Neonet, selling BondPoint to ICE, and removing a management layer from legacy KCG, VIRT has already been able to upsize expense synergies and free up capital."

According to Kramm, Mifid II, a regulatory overhaul in Europe set to go live next year, could further benefit the firm.

"The company's increased presence in Europe should also allow it to better capitalize on MiFID II regulatory opportunities," he wrote. 

Mifid II will create a new unbundled environment in which investment banks will no longer charge for their services - such as investment research and trade execution - in one bundled package. That could benefit trading firms like Virtu.

"And it is a lot of uncertainty over there, but is certain is that in an unbundled environment where firms are looking for best execution," Virtu CEO Douglas Cifu said during the firm's quarter three earnings call. He added:

"And applying that transparency in that infrastructure to Europe in an unbundled environment, to me is a game change and the response from the institutional client has been terrific. We've had a number of them come to the offices in London and in Dublin and look at the technology and the tools that we have in that come away very, very impressed. So, I am excited about."

The logic is clients of big banks will go to trading firms like Virtu for trade execution, which specialize more in such services. 

SEE ALSO: Nasdaq just backed away from a controversial data product

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NOW WATCH: This is one of the best responses to Jamie Dimon calling bitcoin a fraud that we have heard so far

The crypto exchange Coinbase is down again as bitcoin prices near $11,000

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

Coinbase offline

  • Coinbase is down for maintenance as bitcoin prices soar back up toward $11,000. 
  • It's the second time this week the site has been unavailable.
  • On Wednesday, bitcoin mayhem overwhelmed the platform and caused an outage on Coinbase that locked many users out of their accounts.

 

The cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase is down again, just two days after a major system outage that kept many users from accessing their bitcoin wallets as prices on the digital coin fluctuated wildly between $9,200 and $11,400. 

A status update on the website Friday said that the company was preforming maintenance on the site from 1:10 p.m. PT. It's planned to last around an hour. 

The maintenance is likely an effort to address the issues leading to Wednesday's outage, which prevented many users from accessing their Coinbase accounts until Thursday morning. 

Bitcoin is currently trading around $10,900 a coin, up 9% from an opening price of $9,999.65.

Coinbase did not immediately respond to a request for comment.  

SEE ALSO: Bitcoin's price is collapsing and people can't trade because 2 big exchanges have crashed

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Sidechains Project Pushes Ahead with Bitcoin BIP Submission

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

One of the developers behind the Drivechain project for bringing sidechains to bitcoin is seeking feedback on the project's code.

Bitcoin’s Journey from $1,000 to $10,000: The Stories That Got Us Here

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

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The post Bitcoin’s Journey from $1,000 to $10,000: The Stories That Got Us Here appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

STOCKS FALL: Here's what you need to know

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

michael flynn

Stocks fell sharply but rebounded into the close on Friday following an ABC News report that said Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser, would testify that President Donald Trump told him to contact Russians. Flynn was charged with one count of making false statements to federal investigators.

Here's the scoreboard: 

  • Dow: 24,186.96 -85.39 (-0.35%)
  • S&P 500: 2,637.72, -9.86, (-0.37%)
  • Nasdaq: 6,834.75 -39.22 (-0.57%)
  1. Heavy buying across the Treasury complex had yields sharply lower — especially at the long end of the curve — following the Flynn news. The 10-year yield fell 77 basis points to 2.333%. 
  2. The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission said it would allow bitcoin futures trading on three exchanges including the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. "Bitcoin, a virtual currency, is a commodity unlike any the commission has dealt with in the past," J. Christopher Giancarlo, the CFTC's chairman, said in a statement.
  3. Republican leaders say they 'have the votes' to pass their massive tax bill. A vote on Friday would come just three weeks after the bill, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), was introduced.
  4. An analysis from the Tax Policy Center showed that the Republican tax plan would do little to boost economic growth and would cause the federal deficit to balloon. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) would add just 0.7% to US GDP in 2018 and its positive economic impact would diminish over time, the analysis showed. 

Additionally: 

A mystery trader keeps betting that the stock market will go crazy

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Blue Apron's CEO is out

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The hottest product on Black Friday and Cyber Monday wasn't even on sale

Google searches for bitcoin pass Trump for the first time

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

Cboe's president hints at ether and bitcoin cash futures

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

cboe eurodollar traders

  • Cboe President Chris Concannon said the firm could launch more products, such as futures for ether and bitcoin cash.
  • In August, Cboe announced it would launch a bitcoin futures contract.
  • Two months later, CME announced its product, which is set to go live first, on December 18. 

 

On Friday, the US Commodity Futures Commission gave exchanges the green light to roll out bitcoin futures, and Cboe President Chris Concannon says other cryptocurrency futures might be on the horizon. 

Concannon told Business Insider that bitcoin futures, which will allow investors to bet on the future price of the digital coin, is a meaningful development for the scorching-hot cryptocurrency. 

CME announced Friday it is set to roll out its futures product on December 18, whereas Cboe Global Markets is preparing for a launch as soon as the end of the year. Cboe will announce its launch day shortly, according to Concannon. 

Still, he made sure to hint at the fact that Cboe was the first exchange to lean in on bitcoin by throwing a bit of shade at his rival, CME head Terry Duffy. 

"I applaud Terry Duffy in joining us in this endeavor," he said. "This is the beginning of what will become a major asset class over the next 10 years."

Concannon said the exchange thinks a family of cryptocurrency products, including futures for ether and bitcoin cash, could come to fruition as the market continues to mature. A spokesperson for CME decline to comment on the launch of additional products in crypto. 

"We started down this road in the form of an ETF," he said. "A healthy market is a healthy underlying market, derivatives markets, and an ETF. That will take time."

Bats Global Markets, which was acquired by Cboe earlier this year, attempted to list a bitcoin exchange-traded fund from the Winklevoss twins. That attempt was rejected by regulators, with the Securities and Exchange Commission citing the lack of "surveillance-sharing agreements with significant markets for trading the underlying commodity or derivatives on that commodity."

As for CME, Duffy said the path forward is relatively uncertain. 

"Though we have worked through a lengthy, comprehensive process with the CFTC to get to this point, we recognize bitcoin is a new, uncharted market that will continue to evolve, requiring continued collaboration with the Commission and our clients going forward," he said in a statement. 

Not all market participants think launching a futures market for bitcoin is wise. 

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

"Cryptocurrencies do not have a mature, regulated and tested underlying market," he said. "The products and their markets have existed for fewer than 10 years and bear little if any relationship to any economic circumstance or reality in the world."

SEE ALSO: The biggest exchange group in the world is unexpectedly gatecrashing the bitcoin business

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NOW WATCH: This is what you get when you invest in an initial coin offering

Bitcoin exchange Coinbase just hired a VC and Hewlett-Packard veteran as president

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

Asiff and Brian

  • The popular cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase just hired industry veteran Asiff Hirji as president and chief operating officer (COO). 
  • Hirji joins from the legendary VC firm Andreessen Horowitz — though he's also served executive roles at Hewlett-Packard and TP Ameritrade. 
  • The new hire come at a time of growing pains at the richly-valued company, whose popularity has outpaced its ability to expand. 


Tech veteran Asiff Hirji is joining the bitcoin exchange Coinbase as president and chief operating officer, the company announced Friday

Hirji, a tech industry veteran, replaces Coinbase co-founder Fred Ehrsam, who served as president of the company until January. The leadership change comes as Coinbase, which has been valued by private investors at $1.6 billion, experiences growing pains.

With bitcoin's popularity and price surging, Coinbase's cryptocurrency exchanged has struggled to cope with a flood of novice traders. 

The exchange has had several large-scale outages in the last few months, including this week, after bitcoin prices surged above $11,000 and then crashed back down around $9,000. On Wednesday, many Coinbase users found themselves locked out of their accounts and unable to trade. 

The company has also faced challenges from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which on Wednesday won a year-long battle over its request for transaction information on more than 14,000 high-rolling Coinbase traders. 

Hirji joins from the famed venture capital firm and Coinbase investor Andreessen Horowitz, where he was a partner. He also spent time in executive roles at Hewlett-Packard and the popular online stock trading platform TD Ameritrade. 

Despite the challenges, Coinbase remains one of the more popular and mainstream exchanges for the digital currencies bitcoin, ether, and litecoin, at a time when both consumers and institutions like banks and governments are beginning to see value in cryptocurrencies.

The platform simplifies a trading process that many people find mystifying, and restricts its exchanges to established digital currencies that have shown stability, so as to not scare off new investors. 

In September, the company put some of its a $100 million funding round toward growing its customer service department after some customers said they spent weeks trying to contact the company about issues like locked up funds. 

SEE ALSO: The bitcoin exchange Coinbase has been ordered to hand the IRS info on 14,355 of its highest-rolling customers

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NOW WATCH: The disturbing reason some people turn red when they drink alcohol

Bitcoin exchange Coinbase just hired a VC and Hewlett-Packard veteran as president

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

Asiff and Brian

  • The popular cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase just hired industry veteran Asiff Hirji as president and chief operating officer (COO). 
  • Hirji joins from the legendary VC firm Andreessen Horowitz — though he's also served executive roles at Hewlett-Packard and TP Ameritrade. 
  • The new hire come at a time of growing pains at the richly-valued company, whose popularity has outpaced its ability to expand. 


Tech veteran Asiff Hirji is joining the bitcoin exchange Coinbase as president and chief operating officer, the company announced Friday

Hirji, a tech industry veteran, replaces Coinbase co-founder Fred Ehrsam, who served as president of the company until January. The leadership change comes as Coinbase, which has been valued by private investors at $1.6 billion, experiences growing pains.

With bitcoin's popularity and price surging, Coinbase's cryptocurrency exchanged has struggled to cope with a flood of novice traders. 

The exchange has had several large-scale outages in the last few months, including this week, after bitcoin prices surged above $11,000 and then crashed back down around $9,000. On Wednesday, many Coinbase users found themselves locked out of their accounts and unable to trade. 

The company has also faced challenges from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which on Wednesday won a year-long battle over its request for transaction information on more than 14,000 high-rolling Coinbase traders. 

Hirji joins from the famed venture capital firm and Coinbase investor Andreessen Horowitz, where he was a partner. He also spent time in executive roles at Hewlett-Packard and the popular online stock trading platform TD Ameritrade. 

Despite the challenges, Coinbase remains one of the more popular and mainstream exchanges for the digital currencies bitcoin, ether, and litecoin, at a time when both consumers and institutions like banks and governments are beginning to see value in cryptocurrencies.

The platform simplifies a trading process that many people find mystifying, and restricts its exchanges to established digital currencies that have shown stability, so as to not scare off new investors. 

In September, the company put some of its a $100 million funding round toward growing its customer service department after some customers said they spent weeks trying to contact the company about issues like locked up funds. 

SEE ALSO: The bitcoin exchange Coinbase has been ordered to hand the IRS info on 14,355 of its highest-rolling customers

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: The disturbing reason some people turn red when they drink alcohol

Regulators Greenlight Bitcoin Futures

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

Regulators Greenlight Bitcoin Futures

Bitcoin futures contracts to be offered by CME Group Inc. and Cboe Futures Exchange to mainstream investors.

CME Group, the world’s largest futures exchange, has announced that it has self-certified the initial listing of its Bitcoin futures contract. CME first announced its intentions to launch a Bitcoin futures product on October 31, 2017.

The new contract will be available for trading on the CME Globex electronic trading platform effective on Sunday, December 17, 2017, for a trade date of December 18.

At the same time, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) also announced that Cboe Futures Exchange (CFE) has self-certified new contracts for Bitcoin futures products, and that the Cantor Exchange (Cantor) has self-certified a new contract for Bitcoin binary options.

“Bitcoin, a virtual currency, is a commodity unlike any the Commission has dealt with in the past,” said CFTC Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo in a press release. “As a result, we have had extensive discussions with the exchanges regarding the proposed contracts, and CME, CFE and Cantor have agreed to significant enhancements to protect customers and maintain orderly markets.”

The exchanges assured the CFTC that the new products complied with the rules under a process of self-certification. While CFTC approval isn’t required, the regulatory body could have halted the CME’s plans if it wasn’t satisfied with the self-certification.

The press release stated: “Commission staff held rigorous discussions with CME over the course of six weeks, CFE over the course of four months, and had numerous calls with Cantor. CME, CFE and Cantor agreed to significant enhancements to contract design and settlement, and CME to margining, at the request of Commission staff.”

Cboe said they are “operational ready.” Both Cboe and the Cantor Exchange plan to announce a start date soon.

These new derivatives open the doors for institutional investors, as well as introducing the possibility of more cryptocurrencies becoming available in the future. After a record high on Wednesday for bitcoin price of $11,377, there was a 20 percent drop from profit takers down to $9,021; it has since fluctuated several times and is now selling at around $10,500.

The post Regulators Greenlight Bitcoin Futures appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Bank of France Governor: Invest in Bitcoin ‘At Your Own Risk’

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

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The post Bank of France Governor: Invest in Bitcoin ‘At Your Own Risk’ appeared first on CryptoCoinsNews.

Bank of France Governor: Invest in Bitcoin ‘At Your Own Risk’

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

[…]

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The Promise and Regulatory Challenge of "Physical" Bitcoins

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

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Physical bitcoins that can be exchanged like cash have been discussed for years. In 2010, Gavin Andresen himself started a Bitcoin Forum discussion on possible ways to “print out bitcoins to function as user-created paper money.” Physical bitcoins have been often implemented, but there are several challenges. Many physical bitcoin operators active a few years ago have either disappeared or don’t show signs of recent activity. Others are just novelty collectibles that don’t store actual bitcoins. But there are still some interesting options both on the horizon and on the market in the physical bitcoin space.

Physical bitcoins are a real killer app for many reasons, first and foremost because they can be exchanged privately and anonymously without leaving any trace whatsoever, just like cash. Of course, this is exactly the reason regulators hate the idea and will do anything to stop physical bitcoins from spreading. Also, designing physical bitcoins with both high security and high usability is difficult.

In an ideal world, simple paper wallets could be used as physical bitcoins. In fact, anyone can make a paper wallet, load it with any amount of BTC, print it out and give it to anyone. The recipient can easily check the balance before accepting the paper wallet and folding it in their physical wallet for further use, just like cash.

Of course, in the real world the chain will be broken very soon. Since both the public and the private keys are nicely printed on a paper wallet, anyone can empty the paper wallet after having passed it on. This forces the very first recipient to empty the wallet themselves immediately after receiving it, but then the transaction isn’t more private than a normal bitcoin transaction between the first and the second (last) owner.

It’s worth noting, in passing, that this simple chain of trust would only work among people who really trust each other. For example, members of a closed club with strong entry vetting could use bitcoin paper wallets as internal currency for goods and services exchanged within the club.

In practice, physical bitcoins must have private keys (or equivalent) hidden in a tamper-proof way. One possibility is to use scratch cards like Crypto Scratch Cards (now discontinued). One of the first attempts at developing physical bitcoins, dubbed Bitbills, announced in May 2011, used a credit card-like form with an anti-counterfeiting hologram and a QR code embedded within the card, which could not be read without the card showing evidence of tampering. The project was abandoned a few months after being announced.

Another possibility is to manufacture physical bitcoins with the public key visible on the outside, but the private key (or equivalent) hidden inside or by a tamper-evident seal. This method was used by late lamented Casascius Physical Bitcoins, which were discontinued in November 2013 after the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a branch of the Treasury Department, informed developer Mike Caldwell that minting physical bitcoins qualified him as a money transmitter business with heavy compliance requirements.

Today, there are a few options that seems to have worked out most of these difficulties.

The physical bitcoins sold by Denarium, headquartered in Finland, have a private key inside the coin and use a hologram as an anti-counterfeiting measure. “The hologram has a ‘window’ where a portion of the public Bitcoin address of the coin can be read for checking balance and loading bitcoins to the coin,” states the Denarium website. Denarium coins come in two versions, one loaded with a predefined amount, and an “empty” version that must be loaded by the users themselves by sending bitcoins to the coin’s address. Due to regulations, only empty coins can be sold to U.S. residents.

All Denarium coins, including pre-loaded ones, can be reloaded by sending bitcoins to the coin’s address. A Denarium coin can be redeemed “by opening the hologram sticker and importing the private key underneath to the wallet of your choice,” reads the Denarium user guide. “Please note that an opened hologram sticker implies that the coin has been spent. The hologram sticker cannot be put back after opening so it should not be removed without the intent to spend the bitcoins.”

Opendime, a tiny USB flash drive that can be loaded with bitcoin by the first user and passed along, is more of a light hardware wallet than a heavy paper wallet. Unlike most other options, the private key attached to each Opendime is generated by the device at the time of setup by the user: It is not known by anyone, not even by the first owner. Opendimes can be passed along multiple times to other users and verified; however, it can only be redeemed by the last user, who must break the device to access the private key and import it into any bitcoin wallet.

A pack of three Opendimes can be ordered for $37.50. Though perhaps too technically demanding for casual Bitcoin users and too expensive for small values (the device is useless after getting the funds out), Opendimes are certainly usable as physical bitcoins.

Earlier this month Fintech Select, a provider of prepaid card programs, mobile banking solutions, announced that it will be launching a test pilot project for physical bitcoins associated with the company’s Selectcoin product line.

Another interesting idea, which has been discussed a few times on Bitcoin Forum (e.g. 1, 2, 3), is that of “hijacking” physical banknotes to carry a value in bitcoin. A physical bill (say a $1 bill) identified by a serial number would be assigned a value in bitcoin (say 0.1 BTC) and used as a physical bitcoin bill, with robust anti-counterfeiting measures automatically provided courtesy of the state.

The idea was presented in a recent tweet by Andreas Antonopoulos. Cryptographer and Bitcoin developer Sergio Demian Lerner replied: “Not a bad idea: I proposed this seriously in 2013.”


“I found one of those powerful ideas that are so simple, but so odd at first sight, that can go unnoticed,” said Lerner in his 2013 post, inspired by a Bitcoin Forum discussion. “The idea is that people could use fiat banknotes as a medium to transfer bitcoins, for offline Bitcoin payments.”

Binding a value in bitcoin to the serial number of a banknote, in such a way as to permit the last bearer to redeem it, seems impossible to do in a watertight and decentralized way, but perhaps a central operator could implement a similar scheme.

Lerner’s solution is simpler: “[If] we transfer some BTC to a [unspendable] output which describes the banknote (e.g. country, denomination and serial number), we could bind the BTC to the banknote forever, as long as people believe the banknote represents those ‘destroyed’ BTC,” he said. “[For] the system to work, everyone must agree that those BitBanknotes really hold the BTC value. But you can count on me: I would agree! Why not?”

Lerner’s own project to develop physical bitcoins, dubbed “Firmcoin,” seems to have disappeared. But it’s plausible that new implementations of untraceable electronic cash, powered by strong cryptography and NFC-enabled smartphone apps, could resurface at any time to pose a very strong challenge to state monopolies and regulators.




The post The Promise and Regulatory Challenge of "Physical" Bitcoins appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

What you need to know on Wall Street today

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

File Photo: Retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, then-incoming White House national security adviser, speaks at the U.S. Institute of Peace

Welcome to Finance Insider, Business Insider's summary of the top stories of the past 24 hours. Sign up here to get the best of Business Insider delivered direct to your inbox.

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn is pleading guilty to lying to the FBI, and the plea deal indicates that he may be ready to flip on President Donald Trump.

The latest development in the Russia investigation has roiled the markets — stocks took a dive on the report, and the Russian ruble is getting smoked. Treasurys are surging and gold is spiking

Rick Rieder, BlackRock's $1.7 trillion bond chief, thinks sleeping is a waste of time, so he wakes up at 3:30 every workday and gets right down to business. "Every day is truly insane," he tells Business Insider. Read more about his hellacious schedule and remarkable work ethic. 

Deutsche Bank's brand new head of emerging market fixed income sales in Europe is already out after only three months on the jobNasdaq appears to be taking a step back in its foray into the world of big data, filing to withdraw four data products.

Republicans leaders say they 'have the votes' to pass their massive tax bill, but a brutal new analysis shows the GOP tax bill would do little for US economic growth. Stocks could surge 25% if it passes, according to UBS.

Here's what else is going on in the markets:

Lastly, here's what’s it’s like to party at Brooklyn’s wildest club — with all-night dance parties, gravity-defying performances, and crazy costumes.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: This is what you get when you invest in an initial coin offering

Options for Borrowing and Lending With Cryptocurrency Are on the Rise

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

borrowlend.jpg

Cryptocurrency has opened up a new world in the financial sector that was primarily owned by banks, namely the borrowing and lending of capital.

While peer-to-peer borrowing and lending has developed in recent years in the fiat currency space, it is only recently that companies have been finding methods of replicating these ideas in the cryptocurrency space. What follows is a short evaluation of several available options.

SALT

SALT is a lending platform for blockchain-backed loans. No credit check is required: Users purchase  ERC20 SALT tokens to become a member and then put up bitcoin or other blockchain-backed assets as collateral. They can then borrow money from the platform's network of lenders. Once the loan is paid back, borrowers get their crypto back: There are no prepayment penalties.

SALT makes no guarantee that a sufficient pool of liquidity is available to fulfill every loan request right away, however, even for approved borrowers. If the pool of money provided by the lenders is all lent out, then prospective borrowers will have to wait for more lenders to enter the system or for funds to be paid back into it.

The cost of one SALT token is set at $25. Tokens are currently sold within the SALT system; however, the token is also available on several exchanges where it is currently trading at about $4. SALT is used to pay for your membership in the SALT system; it is a tiered annual fee that varies based on the size of the loan. At the bottom is 1 SALT that covers up to $10,000 and at the top it is 100 SALT to borrow over $1,000,000 with various tiers in between.

Interest rates on the loans themselves will vary between 10 percent and 15 percent, depending on the terms of the individual loans. When borrowers apply for a loan, the available options are then presented and they can choose among them.

All of the member lenders at SALT are Accredited Investors under Regulation D of 17 CFR § 230.501 et seq., who have passed the SALT Lending Suitability Test. The loans are not transferable via blockchain; they are themselves securities that are transferable through existing financial channels.

Unchained Capital

Unchained Capital is very similar to SALT in that it provides loans against your bitcoin capital. Their details are easier to find on their website than SALT, namely the following:

  • Interest rate is 10 14 percent APR inclusive of all interest and fees

  • Terms are 3 24 months with options to renew

  • Loan to value ratio is 50 percent. Borrow $1 for each $2 you deposit as capital

  • Borrow up to $1 million without a credit check

  • Make monthly payments on the interest. Due in full on the final payment

CEO Joe Kelly told Bitcoin Magazine that Unchained Capital is working with accredited investors and small institutions. They are specifically reaching out to partners to work with them and do not have any public call for investors. Interested investors, however, can contact them and see about working with them. Their current lending fund is over $10 million at the time of this writing.

EthLend

EthLend has more of a full free-market approach as a facilitating platform. Borrowers and lenders can use their system to connect and negotiate everything from interest rate to duration. The platform is entirely based on Ethereum, any other ERC20 tokens are admissible as collateral on the loan. If borrowers fail to abide the terms of the smart contract, then all collateral is forfeit.

This setup is similar to what is currently available with many peer-to-peer fiat lending options. The price of the LEND token is not clear because of various discounts and the highly fluctuating price of ether right now, but the purpose of the token is to provide discounts on the fees charged to use their system.

Othera

Othera says they use blockchain technology to facilitate digital loan contracts, manage their risk and tokenize the repayment cashflow. There has been news going around about the company since the middle of 2016, but their website offers no demonstrations and very few details. A recent partnership announced with London-based commercial real estate lending company Lendhaus indicates big things are in the works, but the Lendhaus website itself is very slim on details and their Twitter profile was only recently created and has no tweets. It isn’t clear if the platform is currently available. Bitcoin Magazine reached out to Othera reps for more information but has not yet received a response.

Everex

Everex has been in the press for over a year and touts a number of products and services, such as the ability to transfer, borrow and trade in any fiat currency around the world. One aspect is their EVX token which provides a multitude of utility functions in their microfinance and payment program. EVX token ownership is required to access the system and can also be earned as an incentive or reward based on terms the lenders can specify. Those same EVX tokens can then be used as collateral for secured lending. To use their platform you need to either install their mobile wallet or use their Everex web service.

There is a lot of activity in other parts of the financial market with regard to cryptocurrency as well, such as tokenizing real world assets as investment vehicles. What this tells us is that there is a lot of interest and activity in this space that is certainly going to change the face of banking.

Note: This article is for informational purposes only. Bitcoin Magazine does not necessarily endorse any of the above platforms. Readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence.

The post Options for Borrowing and Lending With Cryptocurrency Are on the Rise appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Three New Cryptocurrency Platforms That Help Monetize Your Time

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

monetize time

The promise of a new economy built upon a decentralized government can offer a number of benefits to millions of people across the globe. More and more cryptocurrency platforms are being created to ensure faster, more secure payments, data protection, lower transaction fees and other advantages accessible to anyone who wishes to participate.  

And as crypto platforms get more creative to offer individuals a number of rewards via tokens, a new “proof of time” protocol is emerging to help users monetize every minute of their day. Just imagine living in a society where people get rewarded for their time spent playing video games or reading articles online.

This concept is exactly what three emerging cryptocurrency platforms aim to achieve. Mytime, Stream and Brave Browser are all offering tokens for the time people spend using services, creating video content and even browsing the internet. Rather than feeling like time is being wasted, these platforms are helping users — and service providers — make the most of every minute of their days.

Mytime

YouTube recently revealed that a billion hours are spent on its video streaming site daily. Users are also using on-demand service apps more than ever before. As a result, users spend thousands of hours each day on various apps and services. And while these platforms are benefiting greatly, users never see any tangible profits.

A new cryptocurrency platform called mytime aims to change this business model. Recently launched on October 31, the open-source blockchain-based platform operates by converting time spent using a service to cryptocurrency tokens called MYTC. Users are able to spend these tokens on additional service time or on services provided by other companies participating on the mytime platform. Alternatively, users will also be able to convert these tokens to fiat currency.  

As with most blockchain platforms, both parties end up benefiting. With mytime, users will earn MYTC cryptocurrency based on the time they spend using a service. The service providers partnering with mytime also have the opportunity to simultaneously earn MYTC by attracting loyal users to their platforms.

Mytime’s system functions on two parallel blockchains to ensure accurate proof of time. One is used to confirm the elapsed time a user spends on a platform for a service. This cannot exceed 24 hours a day and automatically prevents users from logging the same time period for more than one service. The second records the participating company’s MYTC reward dispensation. Token transfer will then occur in users’ and service partners’ applications on the MYTC online wallet. Users can spend earned MYTC rewards on any other mytime participating sites, or the rewards can be exchanged for other cryptocurrencies on the mytime exchange.

Stream

The most-followed YouTubers — those with 7 million subscribers or more — are able to earn about $300,000 for a video partnership. However, this isn’t always the case for all video content creators; even some major YouTube influencers are still unable to successfully monetize their content. This is especially disappointing considering how much time and effort goes into making YouTube video that generate millions of views.

YouTube continues to reign supreme in terms of revenue though, while their users often get paid very little for their time. A new decentralized, blockchain-based token called Stream aims to change this, allowing video content creators to be fairly rewarded for their time.

Launched this past September, Stream incentivizes new and existing video creators to make great content by automatically distributing newly minted tokens (directly exchangeable for any global currency) to creators based on their contributions to the ecosystem. This creates a system where, for the first time ever, video content creators are able to get paid directly for their work, without cost to viewers and without the need to rely on brand endorsements.

Stream also allows livestreamers to easily and anonymously accept payments from their global audience members with extremely low transaction fees, without platform lock-in. These innovations enable a fully decentralized system where content creators earn more, viewers pay less, and the industry is no longer dependent on advertising and big-brand partnerships to survive.

Brave Browser and the BAT

Overall, browsing the internet is one of the most time-consuming activities individuals partake in. And while millions of users spend endless hours online, even more time is spent due to the amount of ads that pop up during a browsing session.

In order to solve this problem, the co-founder of Mozilla, Brendan Eich, created a niche browser called Brave. Brave’s initial business model gained much attention, as it was known for blocking all ads, as well as ad trackers shown by website publishers.

This business model relied on scrubbing websites of ads and ad tracking, then replacing those ads with its own. This model was not aimed at individuals but at the anonymous aggregate of the browser’s user base. If enough people used the browser, Brave would share its ad revenue with users and content creators. Known as “Brave Payments,” this would replace existing ad revenue.

Brave Payments were made with bitcoin and funded by users. Website publishers were paid from users’ virtual wallets and Brave took a 5 percent cut from each wallet. However, several complaints were issued by various online publishers around this business model, noting that this practice violated federal laws.

Brave looked toward blockchain technology as an alternative to replace Brave Payments and recently launched a cryptocurrency project called BAT, which stands for “Basic Attention Token.” In order to solve the problems associated with digital advertising, Brave’s BAT aims to put a price on online users’ attention with blockchain-based tokens that will be traded among publishers, advertisers and those willing to view ads.

Through this model, advertisers can provide publishers with BATs based on the measured attention on ads from users. In turn, users will also receive some BATs for participating, which can be donated back to publishers or used on the platform. In a nutshell, users are essentially being rewarded for the time they spend viewing ads online.

Cryptocurrency platforms such as mytime, Stream and Brave Browser’s BAT are just a few examples of new ways digital currency is being applied to help us make the most of our time. Other similar models, like Vezt, are also starting to emerge as this concept gains traction. Finally, content creators, internet users, service providers and more are able to earn currency for time spent doing what they enjoy.

The post Three New Cryptocurrency Platforms That Help Monetize Your Time appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Bitcoin Price Rebounds to $10,500 After Dipping Below $9,000

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

[…]

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Bitcoin Price Rebounds to $10,500 After Dipping Below $9,000

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

[…]

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CBOE Receives CFTC Approval to List Bitcoin Futures

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

[…]

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CBOE Receives CFTC Approval to List Bitcoin Futures

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

[…]

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A Vibrant Community: Viberate’s Key to ICO and Product Success

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

Viberate

For most of the year, a heated debate has been raging across markets and industries about the regulation, speculation and proper utilization of cryptocurrencies and, more specifically, ICOs. With the increased popularity of ICOs and the overall phenomenon of digital currencies, more business professionals than ever before want to know what it takes for a company to launch an ICO and, subsequently, what they’ll need for success and legitimacy.


Live music platform Viberate’s record-breaking ICO raised $11 million in under five minutes. One key to their success was the concept of their VIB token — a live music industry token any user can earn and spend. Viberate’s first and current phase after raising money is to implement the VIB token into their ecosystem as an incentive mechanism.


It’s all about the community


Viberate’s successful initial coin offering is best seen as a reflection of the VIB token’s unique value compared with what else is offered in the live music industry. As with most blockchain-powered marketplaces, user engagement is the most essential part of Viberate’s platform and that is why the company has maintained a persistent vision of giving a voice to their community members and supporters. Based on the belief that live music should be accessible to all, Viberate reached out to users so they could contribute to the community and the community responded.


How to Earn VIB Tokens


Users in the Viberate ecosystem earn VIB tokens through social engagement such as posting on forums and across social media; inviting friends to join the community; publishing promotional content, provided by Viberate; and making contributions to Viberate’s database, such as adding new artists, venues or events to the database and suggesting changes to the existing profiles (provided it’s approved by the editorial team).


Moving Forward


Viberate managed to create a demand for their product by offering a secure, easily traceable token that offers real value, not just in fiat currency but in Viberate’s community. The company transfers 5,000 VIBs into the pool each day for the first 2,000 days during which the bounty pool will be drained in different time periods. Subsequently, at the end of each period, the total amount of VIB will be distributed among contributors, whose awarded actions will be marked valid by the editorial team in the respective period.


Users are able to see their VIBs balance and the value in fiat, as with most digital wallets, but that’s not all - users are able to spend VIB tokens in freshly launched VIB store, selling celebrity merchandise, Viberate merchandise and selected event tickets. In the future users will be able to spend VIBs for paying booking fees, subscribing to premium services, and even advertising on Viberate. But what is the roadmap for the next few months? By end of 2017, Viberate is scheduled to launch booking agency profiles and in Phase 2, Viberate plans to expand their service with event organizer profiles and marketplace features.


With the goal of becoming the go-to digital currency and biggest talent marketplace for the live music industry, Viberate is setting out to engage its users through empowerment one phase at a time.


The post A Vibrant Community: Viberate’s Key to ICO and Product Success appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

There's More Than One Way to Be Bitcoin Rich

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

Missed out on the bitcoin bubble? You might have gotten rich (in spirit) along the way.

China Turns Bitcoin Focus Inward

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

BitBank


The Chinese government has often had a tumultuous relationship with Bitcoin, but things came to a head in 2017. By the end of the year, there was no longer a Chinese industry exchanging bitcoin for fiat currency. How did that happen, and where does China go from here?


From his office in Shenzen, Virgilio Lizardo, Jr. has watched the waning of China’s influence on bitcoin pricing with interest. As Vice President of International Affairs at Bitbank Group, he sees cryptocurrency trends and pricing daily. The group’s businesses include China’s former fourth largest Bitcoin exchange CHBTC, alongside BW Mining, which manufactures miners and runs its own pool. With its Bitbank Bitcoin bank and crowdfunding business, the group is well-acquainted with all parts of the cryptocurrency’s ecosystem.


As Head of International at Bitbank Group, he sees cryptocurrency trends and pricing daily. The group’s businesses include Bitcoin exchange CHBTC, alongside BW Mining, which manufactures miners and runs its own pool. With its BitBank Bitcoin bank and crowdfunding business, the Group is well-acquainted with all parts of the cryptocurrency’s ecosystem.


First warnings


Fissures in China’s relationship with Bitcoin appeared in January, when the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) warned citizens about the risk of trading in bitcoin, and then investigated three exchanges: OKCoin, Huobi, and BTCC. The investigation led to a temporary freeze on margin trading, traditionally used as a means of capitalizing on short-term price changes.


Some exchanges subsequently re-introduced margin trading with limits on the available leverage, but the damage was done.


“In China, you could get into bitcoin and leverage by 10x, 20x, 100x – even up to 250x,” recalls Lizardo. “That ended overnight.”


International traders who were still interested in the Chinese market suffered another blow in early February, when the three exchanges froze bitcoin withdrawals altogether, locking up bitcoins for four months.


Enter Japan


This volatile policy shifted the focus of Chinese exchanges from the international to the domestic market. In the meantime, Japan gained dominance, passing legislation legitimizing bitcoin as a payment currency and increasing its price.


By the time the exchanges re-opened withdrawals, market focus had shifted. “By this time, Japan already cemented its position as the leading market for bitcoin trading, because a lot of international traders just didn't feel confident about Chinese exchanges,” Lizardo says.


That lack of confidence was well-founded. In September, the Chinese government once again cracked down on a key aspect of the cryptocurrency market, this time banning initial coin offerings (ICOs) (see original announcement here). These financial events allow the public to buy cryptocurrency tokens. The tokens give them a stake in new software applications that run on blockchain technology.


ICO bans and voluntary closures


“In the summer China was probably the number one market for ICOs,” says Lizardo. “There were a lot of scammy, fraudulent ICOs happening that caught the attention of the authorities.”


From there, the conversation escalated quickly, resulting in Chinese exchanges voluntarily closing down their Yuan-BTC trading services. BTC China and Via BTC both said that they would halt trading, as did OKCoin and Huobi, and BTCC. Some exchanges have since mulled moving operations overseas, or restricting activities purely to non-fiat cryptocurrency trading.


The exchange closures led to plummeting bitcoin prices, which slipped from a high of US$4884 on Sept 4 to US$3312 on Sept 17. But after that, bitcoin’s price rise has been astronomical. It was nudging US$9800 at the time of writing.


The rebound punctuates China’s decreasing influence over the last year, says Lizardo.


“It was a combination of the momentum built up by nation states – particularly Japan – legitimizing the currency, and traders realizing that the influence of China on the price of bitcoin is coming to an end.” There are other markets ready to absorb China’s bitcoin trading volumes, he adds.


Refocusing on domestic trading


There are still plenty of options for Chinese bitcoin traders, though, as the market focuses inward and moves to over the counter (OTC) trading.


“When exchanges were locked out of the picture, all the volume and trading in that network went into over-the-counter (OTC),” he says.


He notes that following the crisis earlier in the year, the user base for BitKan, the leading OTC bitcoin app in China, increased fifteen-fold.


Bitkan, which has since closed, connected users initially, but then enabled them to exchange their own messaging information and begin transacting directly.


“In China the mobile ecosystem is beyond anything in the world. It’s easy to transfer fiat to each other using just a messaging app,” he points out. Based on BitKan’s user numbers, the real volume of OTC bitcoin trades in China today is probably huge, but it’s also almost entirely invisible.


“Informally, every OTC trader in China is doing spectacularly well right now,” Lizardo Jr concludes. “The market is so huge that each trader can have their own network and it won’t overlap with another OTC network, and that doesn’t even count international OTC relations,” he says.


While the market has refocused internally for the time being, Lizardo  says that the government has “left itself some wiggle room” if it wants to re-establish a trading environment between Bitcoin and fiat markets in the future.


“Blockchain technology and Bitcoin are marching on at their fastest pace ever,” he says, adding that there is always an option to reopen the markets. “With Japan and others moving forward more positively, I don't think that China will stay on the sidelines forever.”


The post China Turns Bitcoin Focus Inward appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Bitcoin Price Rallies to $10,760 After CME Futures Get Launch Date

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

[…]

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Bitcoin Price Rallies to $10,760 After CME Futures Get Launch Date

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

[…]

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Stocks tumble, gold spikes on report that Flynn is prepared to testify against Trump

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

Screen Shot 2017 12 01 at 11.34.05 AM

US stocks fell in trading on Friday following an ABC News report that Michael Flynn would say President Donald Trump told him to contact Russians. 

ABC's Brian Ross broke the news in a televised special report. It has not yet been confirmed by any other media outlet. 

The former national security adviser was earlier charged with one count of making false statements to federal investigators. He has promised "full cooperation" with investigators, Ross reported. 

Stocks had opened lower amid concerns over the Republican tax bill and its impact on the federal deficit. The market gained this week as Senate Republicans moved closer towards passing the bill, although the new details on the Russia investigation have overshadowed that progress and interrupted the rally for now.

The Dow was down 113 points, or 0.47% to 24,159 at 11:27 a.m. ET. The S&P 500 was down 1% to 2,645. 

Other markets also reacted to the news. Treasurys rallied, sending the 10-year yield down by nine basis points to 2.322%. It was the biggest drop for the benchmark note's yield in over six months, according to Bloomberg

Gold jumped 1.1%, or $15.20 an ounce, to $1,288.40. 

SEE ALSO: Bitcoin futures trading gets the green light from US regulators

Join the conversation about this story »

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

This is one of the best responses to Jamie Dimon calling bitcoin a fraud that we have heard so far

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

Ari Paul, CIO of cryptocurrency hedge fund BlockTower Capital, talks with Business Insider executive editor Sara Silverstein about why he thinks Jamie Dimon called bitcoin a fraud. Following is a transcript of the video. 

Sara Silverstein: Jamie Dimon recently called bitcoin of fraud. What is your response to that?

Ari Paul: So a lot of the financial luminaries, people like Seth Klarman, Warren Buffett, Howard Marks have expressed their skepticism. And most frame it kind of like saying they don't think McDonald's can compete with fine French dining. Which is to say they don't really address what cryptocurrency’s trying to be. They say cryptocurrency is really bad at being PayPal or Visa. And they’re right, that's really not what it's good at. Cryptocurrency is trying to be the offshore banking system, I think. At least some of the cryptocurrencies. So most of the financial luminaries, I think genuinely don't understand what it’s trying to be. Jamie Dimon’s an exception. By all accounts, I know people who spoke to him about cryptocurrency four years ago, before I was really in the space. He gets it, he understands it, probably better than me and he views it, I think, as a brand new competitor to JPMorgan. So he understand that JPMorgan collects a lot of fees for providing a storage of wealth in a secure way that’s judgment resistant the clients, and bitcoin does it an order of magnitude better.

Join the conversation about this story »

US regulator approves Bitcoin trading

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

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission will let investors trade Bitcoin-related financial contracts.

ixo Foundation: A Blockchain-Based Response to U.N. Call for a Data Revolution

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

ixo foundation

Every year, over one trillion dollars is spent on impact projects supporting the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs), which aim to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all by 2030. Unfortunately, organizations lack the data they need in order to make informed decisions on what and how they can improve.

That is until now.

The ixo Foundation, an open source software development foundation, is aiming to optimize impact by combining data with trust to ensure transparency, accountability and security. To achieve this, it’s harnessing blockchain technology and Web 3.0 standards to create the ixo Protocol. It is through this that the foundation will be able to collect and verify high quality data about sustainable development.

Speaking to Bitcoin Magazine, Anne Connelly, network lead at ixo Foundation, said that organizations can build applications via the ixo Protocol, thereby enabling service providers to create an impact claim about the work they have achieved that relates to the SDGs.

Connelly used the example of projects that claim to have taught 100 children or planted 10,000 trees.

“The claim is then verified by an evaluator or a data source,” she added. “This verified impact claim is proof of impact. This proof enables increased access to social impact bonds, government subsidies and other types of impact funding.”

By validating the work that has been achieved, it reduces fraud, costs and corruption while giving the service provider and the funder valuable insight and proof of the work achieved. The data then becomes part of a global impact ledger, an open data commons that can be accessed by anyone, enabling governments, researchers, funders and organizations to make more informed decisions about their work and how to optimize their impact, said Connelly.

“[The] blockchain is a critical technology for changing the way we approach sustainable development,” she said, adding that the protocol would not be possible without it. “The ixo Protocol leverages public, public permissioned and private layers to ensure maximum functionality using blockchain technology while maintaining data privacy.”

Since November 2016, the ixo Foundation has been working with two of its founding partners, Unicef and Innovation Edge, on an application called Amply that supports early childhood development. Connelly explained that, in South Africa, many parents can’t afford to send their children to preschool, a critical time in a child’s development. In order to rectify this, the South African government has a subsidy programme to support over 800,000 children to attend preschool.

“However, in order for teachers to access these subsidies they must track attendance through an antiquated paper-based system and have the papers checked at a government office every quarter,” said Connelly.

Through the Amply project, which has now been through over a year of field testing, a basic mobile application was built using the ixo Protocol to enable teachers to track attendance digitally. With each positive attendance record, an impact claim is made, delivering greater access to government subsidies, which, in turn, means more underprivileged children being taught at school.

“To date, Amply is being used in over 72 schools across the country and has recorded more than 45,000 attendances,” said Connelly. “Through these trials, we have found that the digitized system has saved more than 4,000 hours every month.”

Access to a decentralized global ledger of data will answer the UN’s called for a data revolution for sustainable development. According to a press release from the UN, in 2015, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said “good data and statistics are indispensable for informed decision-making by all actors in society.”

“By tackling an issue that is at the foundation of every organization’s ability to succeed high quality data we’re enabling every funder, government and service provider to optimize their impact and achieve the UN’s SGDs by 2030,” stated Connelly.

On October 27, 2017, ixo Foundation announced that it had partnered with Singularity University’s SU Ventures and ConsenSys’ Blockchain for Social Impact Coalition (BSIC), both of which give it greater access to important resources.

Image courtesy of ixo Foundation

The post ixo Foundation: A Blockchain-Based Response to U.N. Call for a Data Revolution appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Don't Let Bitcoin FOMO Lead to Bad Cryptocurrency Investments

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

Missed the boat with bitcoin? Don't fall for new digital coin scams.

Paying Rent With Crypto? App for Tenants Adds BTC, LTC, ETH

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

Digital rent processor ManageGo will instantly convert the digital currencies into dollars before sending it on to landlords.

Paying Rent With Crypto? App for Tenants Adds BTC, LTC, ETH

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

Digital rent processor ManageGo will instantly convert the digital currencies into dollars before sending it on to landlords.

Amazon is reportedly talking to generic drugmakers

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

Jeff Bezos

  • Amazon could be getting into healthcare, and the company's reportedly had conversations with generic drugmakers about it, CNBC reports.
  • It's the latest hint in recent months that Amazon is serious about healthcare. Worry about the prescription drug business being Amazon'd has sent healthcare stocks tumbling, and is even credited with sparking the potential $60 billion+ CVS-Aetna deal.
  • Conversations with generic drugmakers could mean that Amazon is interested in either helping generic drugmakers distribute prescriptions to pharmacies or by selling the generic prescriptions itself. 

 

We just got another hint about Amazon's ambitions in healthcare.

CNBC reported on Thursday that Amazon has had exploratory talks with the drugmakers Sandoz, the generic drug unit of Novartis, and Mylan.

According to a note from Leerink cited by CNBC, the president of Sandoz "met and discussed with Amazon its plans for getting into the U.S. healthcare market." 

Amazon, Sandoz, and Mylan did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Of course, it remains to be seen what an Amazon entry into the prescription drug business would look like.  There are a lot of entities involved in the process of delivering and paying for your prescription, from the drugmakers, to insurers, to the pharmacy.

Chatting with generic drugmakers could mean that Amazon is interested in helping generic drugmakers distribute prescriptions to pharmacies (much like wholesalers Cardinal Health, McKesson, and Amerisource Bergen do today), or by selling the generic prescriptions itself. 

Members of the healthcare industry have conflicting opinions on Amazon's ambitions in healthcare. 

"They will not come in an industry so complicated as our industry," Walgreens Boots Alliance CEO Stefano Pessina said at the Forbes Healthcare Summit on Wednesday

If Amazon does want to enter the pharmaceutical industry, it would have to "buy or to team up," Pessina said.

That's a different sentiment than others have: Worry about the drug-sales business being Amazon'd has sent healthcare stocks tumbling, and is even credited with sparking a  potential $60 billion+ takeover.

Shares of Mylan were up 3% on Friday, while the wholesalers were slightly down. 

Screen Shot 2017 12 01 at 10.29.03 AM

SEE ALSO: Walgreens CEO isn't convinced Amazon will get into healthcare

Join the conversation about this story »

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

We talked to an economist who predicted the Great Recession about the next financial crisis

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

  • Jim Rickards has seen first hand the bailout of hedge funds and has testified before congress about the 2008 financial crisis.
  • He says another recession could hit before the Federal Reserve is done unwinding the processes put in places to save us from the crisis a decade ago. 
  • Rickards expects gold to go to $10,000 an ounce as some central banks may have to resort to the gold standard to restore confidence in the markets.


Jim Rickards, the author of "Currency Wars," "The Death of Money," and "The New Case for Gold," and most recently "The Road to Ruin," is no stranger to financial meltdowns. As general counsel for the hedge fund Long-Term Capital Management (LTCM), he had a front row seat as dozens of Wall Street institutions worked to bailout the firm with a $3.6 billion recapitalization. 

Instead of using traditional macroeconomic models, Rickards prefers to borrow one from physics: complexity theory. Using this framework, Rickards proposes a scenario in which the world shifts partially back to the gold standard, with an ounce of gold being valued at $10,000 per ounce. 

Here's the full interview, courtesy of The Bottom Line with Henry Blodget, with more from Rickards about what to expect from the next financial crisis — which could be here before you know it, and before the Fed is prepared:

This transcript has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Sara Silverstein:You have a $10,000 price target for gold. Can you tell me what your thesis is for that?

Jim Rickards: It's important to understand that this isn't a made up number or one I throw out there just to get attention. It's the implied, non-inflationary price of gold in a system where you have either a gold system or some reference to gold. Now, there's not a central bank in the world that wants the gold standard, but they may have to go to it — not because they want to, but because they have to — in order to restore confidence in some sort of future financial crisis. The problem right now is that central banks have not normalized their balance sheet since 2009. They're trying, but it's not even close. If we had another crisis tomorrow, and you had to do QE4 and QE5, how could you do that when you're already at $4 trillion? They might have to turn to the IMF or SDR or to Gold. 

Then, if you go back to the gold standard, you have to get the price right. People say there's not enough gold to support a gold standard. That's nonsense. There's always enough gold, it's just a question of price. Take Japan, Europe, China and the US — the big four economies — their m1 is approximately $24 trillion. If you had 40% gold backing, that would be $9.6 trillion. There are about 33,000 tons of official gold in the world. So you just divide 9.6 trillion by 33,000 tons and what you get is about $10,000 an ounce. If you had a gold standard with a lower price, that would be deflationary. You'd have to reduce the money supply. That was the mistake that was made in 1925. It did contribute to the Great Depression, and it wasn't because of gold, it was because they got the price wrong. So to have a gold standard today and not cause another depression, you'd have to have a price around $10,000 an ounce. 

Silverstein: So that would be a really big crisis, a disaster scenario? 

Rickards: Sure, but we've had them with regularity. You know, 1987 — the stock market falls 22% in one day. That would be the equivalent of over 4,000 Dow points. If the Dow went down 400 points it would be all anyone would talk about. Imagine going down 4,000 points. In percentage terms, that's what happened in 1987. In 1994 you had the Mexican tequila crisis. 1997,98: Asia, Russia, and Long-Term Capital Management. 2000: the dot com bubble. 2007: mortgages. 2008: Lehman, AIG. These things happen with some regularity. I'm not saying it's going to happen tomorrow, but we shouldn't be surprised if it does.

What I was covering in my book "The Road to Ruin," is let's say it does happen sometime soon, what's the response function? Because again, central banks... In 1998, Wall Street bailed out a hedge fund. In 2008, the Central Banks bailed out Wall Street, in 2018 who's going to bail out the Central Banks?

Silverstein: What are you looking at? You look at a  lot of predictive analysis, what factor do you think is the most worrisome right now that points to a crisis?

Rickards: The scale of the system. I used complexity theory. I pretty much discard all the standard models, they don't reflect reality

I pretty much discard all the standard models, they don't reflect reality

. Just a classic general equilibrium models, efficient markets, smooth continuous price movements, the Phillips curve, Black-Scholes — I'm good friends with Myron Scholes, and he's taught me a lot, but there's a lot of flaws in that model. None of those things reflect reality.

What does reflect reality very well is complexity theory, which comes from physics. It's had success in a lot of fields, climatology, seismology, and many other dynamic systems. It has not been used in finance except by very few people. I didn't invent it, but I'm the one pioneering the idea of bringing it to capital markets. When you look at capital markets through the lens of complexity theory, you ask yourself "what's the scale of the system?" Scale is just a fancy word for size. What measures are you using? If you look at total debt, gross national value of derivatives, the concentration of assets in the five largest banks, what percentage of the total assets of the five largest banks are interconnected? What you see is a very densely connected, fragile system that could collapse at any moment. 

Silverstein: Is that why we were so surprised by the 2008 crisis, because of the complexity and leverage that was built in to it?

Rickards: That's a great question. I was going around lecturing in 2005-2006, saying this crisis was coming up. I didn't say it was going to be mortgages on August 8, 2007, but we're seeing this happen again. I had a front row seat in the bailout of Long-Term Capital Management; I was general counsel, I negotiated the bailout. I was in the room with the Treasury and the Fed and the heads of all the 14 major banks, a bunch of lawyers, and we came this close to shutting every market in the world. It didn't happen and we got $4 billion cash, we propped up the balance sheet, Wall Street took over. The thing was unwound over the course of a year, but it was a really close run thing.

Having seen that, as we kind of tip-toed up to 2007, I could see all the same problems happening again. Then when it happened it was really not a surprise. In September 2007, I told them what to do. This was a year before Lehman. It had started — now, remember the crisis had started in August 2007. In September, Secretary Paulson came up with this "super SIV." He was going to roll up all these special purpose vehicles from all the banks, then that was abandoned. I went down to the Treasury and said "look, this crisis is going to get worse, here's what you need to do: call all the hedge funds, tell them to give you all their positions in machine readable form, put it into a matrix, hire IBM Global Services." I was completely ignored. You could really see this coming. I see it coming again. I'm not saying tomorrow, maybe not even next year, but sooner than later it should come as no surprise. 

I'm not saying tomorrow, maybe not even next year, but sooner than later it should come as no surprise. 

Silverstein: I know where the complexity was in 2008, it seems like a lot of it was cleaned up when everything fell apart. Where's the complexity now?

Rickards: It hasn't been cleaned up, it's been moved around. Household debt is much more manageable today. Debt to net worth of households looks very good. Part of that is because the stock market's gone up and houses have gone up so the denominator of the fractions expands. That's improved, but the balance sheets of the central banks are far far worse. The Fed is leveraged 115 to 1, with a maturity mismatch. It looks like the worst hedge fund you've ever seen.

The Fed is leveraged 115 to 1, with a maturity mismatch. It looks like the worst hedge fund you've ever seen.

I actually spoke to one of the members of the Board of Governors, it was a social occasion and I was kinda tweaking her a little bit and said "you guys are insolvent every now and then depending on the level of interest rates because you have all these 10-year notes," and she said "no we're not." I said "I think you are." She says "well, maybe, but it doesn't matter."  So here's a governor of the Federal Reserve telling me that the insolvency of the Fed doesn't matter. 

 

Silverstein: Does it?

Rickards: Well, I think it does. There are a lot of people that don't. Modern monetary theorists, they think it doesn't matter. They would see no problem taking the Fed balance sheet to $8 or $12 trillion. Why don't we want bigger deficits, monetize the debt, stow it away on the Fed balance sheet? Who cares, it's all good.  It's all good up until the point when confidence breaks and people look around, it's sort of like waking up out of a dream, like "oh, you guys are leveraged 200 to 1, you're insolvent on a market to market basis?" You lose confidence in the dollar and you want to get out of the dollar, at which point you're like "okay you can pay me in dollars, but I'm going to buy land, fine art, gold, silver, that's when velocity accelerates almost of nowhere, and inflation takes off. By the way, this is exactly what happened in the 1970s. In 1977, the US had to issue bonds denominated in Swiss francs. There were Swiss franc denominated Treasury bonds, we called them Carter bonds, because people didn't want dollars. It can get that bad and it can happen almost overnight. 

Silverstein: The Fed is in a tricky situation. Is there any way that they can get out this? Is there any good path for them? 

Rickards: I don't see it. Here's what the Fed is trying to do: They need to normalize the balance sheet, meaning get the balance sheet down to maybe $2 trillion. Right now it's over four. It's coming down a bit, but there's a long way between $4 trillion and $2 trillion, bearing in mind that in 2008 it was $800 billion. It also needs to normalize interest rates, which means getting from 1% to 3-3.25%. The question is how do you get there? The Fed is trying to raise interest rates 25 basis points, four times a year every March, June, September, and December through 2019 to get to 3.5% or so and bring down the balance sheet. They're going to be reducing it by the end of next year by $50 billion a month, which is a lot.

There are some estimates that the impact of that is the equivalent of 1 percentage point rate hike, because it is a form of tightening — you're reducing the money supply. You're reducing base money. The question is why are they doing it? Why are they doing it in kind of a relatively weak economy? The answer is they're preparing for the next recession. They want to run the playbook again, which is cut rates and go to QE4 and QE5. How do you prepare for the next recession without causing the recession you're preparing to cure? That's the finesse, that's the problem, and I don't think they can do it. 

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Invest in Bitcoin 'At Your Own Risk,' Warns French Central Bank

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

The governor of the Bank of France has warned on the risks of investing in bitcoin, calling the cryptocurrency "speculative."

CME’s Bitcoin Futures to Launch December 18

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

[…]

The post CME’s Bitcoin Futures to Launch December 18 appeared first on CryptoCoinsNews.

CME’s Bitcoin Futures to Launch December 18

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

[…]

The post CME’s Bitcoin Futures to Launch December 18 appeared first on CryptoCoinsNews.

Nasdaq just backed away from a controversial data product

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

FILE PHOTO: A view of the exterior of the Nasdaq market site in the Manhattan borough of New York City, U.S., October 24, 2016.  REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo - RC1E36F004D0

  • Nasdaq, the US exchange operator, filed to withdraw a controversial data product, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. 
  • Nasdaq Pathfinders helps clients monitor the buying and selling behavior of market participants.
  • The exchange also requested to withdraw three other data products.

 

Nasdaq appears to be taking a step back in its foray into the world of big data.

The US exchange operator filed to withdraw four data products, including controversial Nasdaq Pathfinders, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. 

The exchange has come under fire for its data products including Nasdaq Pathfinders and another one yet to be approved called Intellicator.

Nasdaq faced opposition from a number of market participants, including startup exchange IEX and the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, a large organization representing big trading firms. The objections are all basically around the idea that these products might give away information about large firms' trading strategies.

Here's a description of the Pathfinders by Nasdaq in its filing:

"The product identifies bullish or bearish positions taken by three or more market participants over an extended period of time and captures the aggregate sentiment of this well-informed group by indicating the number of Pathfinders bullish versus bearish in a particular stock, as well as the ratio of shares bought versus sold."

IEX called out Nasdaq Pathfinders, in a Medium post after Nasdaq proposed Intellicator.

"To minimize market impact, investors do everything they can to disguise their intentions — including breaking up large orders into smaller ones so they aren’t obviously coming from a large investor," IEX said. "Pathfinders directly undermines those efforts."

Nasdaq said in a filing that its request to withdraw the four data products was triggered by feedback from the marketplace and a number of other factors. Here's the exchange:

"As a result of an ongoing review of its product offerings, the Exchange has elected to withdraw these products due to the evolution of the market, including the competitive forces of operating an Exchange, market feedback, and the advancement of market structure since the products were introduced."

Data has quickly become an important area of profit for exchanges and a point of contention on Wall Street.

Big traders have long accused Nasdaq and its rival, the New York Stock Exchange, for unfairly spiking the cost of their proprietary market data, which market-makers claim is essential to competing in the trading business.

Revenues brought in from data have increased for Nasdaq from $337 million in 2012 to $427 million in 2016, according to the exchange. Nasdaq was putting more capital behind data products, its updated strategy said.

Investors have responded positively to the move, with Nasdaq's stock up more than 18% this year. 

Capture.PNG

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

Google searches for bitcoin pass Trump for the first time

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

Screen Shot 2017 12 01 at 8.56.17 AM

  • Google searches for bitcoin have surpassed queries for President Donald Trump for the first time.
  • Interest in the cryptocurrency this year has helped drive a nearly 1,000% rally. 
  • US regulators on Friday cleared the way for bitcoin futures trading, which should further increase participation in the crypto market. 

 

More people are asking Google about bitcoin than are seeking information on the president of the United States, according to Google Trends data. 

It's one anecdote that shows how interest in bitcoin and buying have driven its parabolic 1,000% rally this year. 

Another is the growing number of top Wall Streeters — from bank CEOs to equity strategists — who have been asked or have offered takes on bitcoin. On Thursday, Carl Icahn told CNBC bitcoin was similar to the Mississippi Bubble of the early 1700s.

Bitcoin searches on Google surpassed Trump searches late in November.

Throughout last month, speculation mounted that US regulators would give the green light to futures trading. The confirmation came Friday when the Commodity Futures Trading Commission said it would permit futures on three exchanges.

Futures contracts will allow traders to profit from their bets on bitcoin price moves without necessarily buying the cryptocurrency, and could increase participation among larger Wall Street firms.  

Bitcoin jumped 7% to $10,746 against the dollar at 9:04 a.m. ET, after the CFTC's announcement. It hit an all-time high above $11,000 on Wednesday. 

Screen Shot 2017 12 01 at 9.03.55 AM

SEE ALSO: The price of bitcoin has a 91% correlation with Google searches for bitcoin

DON'T MISS: Bitcoin futures trading gets the green light from US regulators

Join the conversation about this story »

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

Bitcoin Price Claws Back to $10,000 as Markets Creep into the Green

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

[…]

The post Bitcoin Price Claws Back to $10,000 as Markets Creep into the Green appeared first on CryptoCoinsNews.

Bitcoin Price Claws Back to $10,000 as Markets Creep into the Green

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

[…]

The post Bitcoin Price Claws Back to $10,000 as Markets Creep into the Green appeared first on CryptoCoinsNews.

Bitcoin Price Pushes Above $10,500 on U.S. Futures Listings

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

The wait is over for regulated bitcoin futures contracts in the U.S., and prices are rising strongly on the news.

Local Meetups: Growing Bitcoin and Blockchain Tech at the Grassroot Level

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

grassroots.jpg

Bitcoin is exploding and interest in the associated blockchain technology is at an all-time high, with Bitcoin being talked about on sitcoms as well as the news. But much of this success has been the result of a vibrant grassroots movement that has been fostered over time by dedicated and devoted communities of crypto enthusiasts around the world.

Bitcoin Magazine spoke with several blockchain Meetup organizers around the world to find out more about their groups and how they started them, grew them and kept people coming.

West Palm Beach, FL

John P. Riley is one of the organizers for the West Palm Beach Government Blockchain Association Meetup in Florida. They started just a few months ago and have over 100 members with about half signed up for the next meeting. His Meetup is a “chapter” of the Government Blockchain Association, which is not part of any government; rather, it is trying to facilitate education and use of blockchain technology in the public and private sectors.

When Riley started his group, he reached out to all the other Meetup groups in the area and met the organizers for lunch to facilitate a cooperative spirit and organization so that they didn’t set up conflicting meetings.

Riley’s focus is on making the Meetup experience comfortable and relevant for his attendees. He makes sure that there is an opportunity for people to network ahead of any presentations. And because his group is new, he has been paying expenses for things like food out of his own pocket in order to keep the Meetup free of charge.

Riley said, “We’re not selling anything here. We want to add value in a non-intrusive fashion so people are comfortable coming and don’t think it is an MLM [multi-level marketing] presentation. We have done really well so far getting local business and government workers to the meetings. My discussions with the other local Meetup leaders helped me learn about best practices for promoting on social media and that has been very helpful; we are also talking about setting up complementary topics so attendees have a reason to cycle around between the different groups.”

Seoul, South Korea

Ruben Somsen is one of the organizers for the Seoul Bitcoin Meetup in South Korea. They have nearly 2,000 members and an average of 50 attendees at their monthly meetings. He started his group in 2013 in a casual fashion after he first became obsessed with Bitcoin and wanted to talk to others about it. No other group existed at the time in Seoul.

What Somsen found useful to grow the group originally was consistent Meetups same time and same place. It needed to be beginner-friendly and provide interesting content, while walking the fine line between welcoming newcomers and keeping it engaging for the regulars. He solved this in part by having more advanced Meetups for the regulars, but in the end, having a solid reputation has been what has mattered most in terms of attendance. He had originally allowed non-Bitcoin projects to present, but over time, said Somsen, those pitches had a tendency to turn into sales pitches, so he stopped.

If you are truly an enthusiast and not in it for the money then stick with your principles,” Somsen advised. “The space is overrun with nonsensical altcoins, blockchains and ICOs that you’ll have to avoid. If you provide the right environment, then the real enthusiasts will find your Meetup, and they are the ones that make your community valuable. The rest of the crowd will follow naturally.”

Dubai, U.A.E.

Adam Schneider is one of the organizers for the Bitcoin Dubai Meetup in the U.A.E., with about 2,200 members and an average of 75 that come to their monthly meetings. The group has existed for four years now and grew quite organically. They have done no promotion at all other than announcing their meetings on Meetup; everyone has just found them by doing Google or Meetup searches or have been referred by people who have attended.

“I encourage people to attend by trying to provide great content at every Meetup and by building friendships so we can have a nice and strong community,” said Schneider. This is what drives him to find particular speakers and sponsors.

He keeps the Meetup free of charge, but when there are sponsors, then they have free food and drinks. He schedules his Meetups months in advance so everyone is able to schedule with plenty of notice. He takes extra care to screen any companies that want to be involved to make sure they aren’t scammers or some get-rich-quick scheme, which has become all too common in this sector.

Orange County, CA

Sean Goodwin is the organizer for the Ethereum Orange County Meetup in California, with about 1,000 members (tripled in the last three months) and averaging nearly 200 attendees per meeting, which they have two to four times a month.

“Something as simple as food will get people out,” said Goodwin. “We supply food and drinks that have been sponsored by corporations. In fact, this cooperation between corporations with a Bitcoin interest and Meetups has been very successful for us so far. We’ve had a sponsor for every event for some time now.”

Goodwin continued, “I’ve had a lot of success in reaching out to local conferences and seminars and having them provide giveaways that people are interested in, like a free ticket to their conference, and in return, we promote their conference at our Meetup. This creates value for everyone. I like to support all the other Meetups in the area by going to their meetings and coordinating so people don’t have to choose between groups.”

Goodwin likes to make sure that people have time to network before and after the speakers. “For a lot of people, this is their favorite part of the group,” he noted.

In order spread the word and be sure that the Meetup is addressing topics that people are interested in, organizers engage with their members on social media. Goodwin has also recently started putting out questionnaires to rate people’s interest in various speakers and topics.

“I’m always amazed at the number of people that are entirely new to blockchain [technology] that come to our meetings; it helped me realize how important it is to cater the topics so they aren’t over the heads of someone that is totally new and are still interesting to the general group. We started having colored name badges that indicate your area of expertise to help people connect quickly and that has been popular.”

Ghent, Belgium

Roeland Creve is one of the organizers for the Cryptocurrencies & Decentralized Innovation Meetup in Ghent, Belgium. They have over 800 members and an average of 50 attendees at their regular meetings and 25 at their beer Meetups.

According to Creve, “We started the group with a post on Bitcointalk in October 2013. It was just a loose gathering of people who were interested in Bitcoin. We have never had a ‘president.’ The management has been done, since the beginning, by a loose group of people who want to do the work (planning the Meetups, planning the talks, outreach, etc.).”

To promote the group, they organized Gent Bitcoincity and contacted various university student groups, as well as the Belgian Bitcoin Association. They plan several Meetups in advance and get it on the Meetup calendar and send out the notices, without any other social media outreach.

To get speakers, they are mostly supported by people asking to present, and they organize the calendar to support them. Their approach is to screen out pumpters, ICOs or anyone encouraging any sort of investment. Their reputation is such that they rarely get these requests anymore.

They don’t charge for their Meetups as they have worked out an arrangement with two local bars that they alternate between. One is the “beer Meetup” that is more of a networking event, and the other is a larger facility where presentations happen. They did a fundraiser once and received 1 BTC in donations; this has covered their other costs so far.

Creve also cooperates with the Meetup in Brussels, and they sometimes attend each other’s Meetups and support one another.

The common thread among these groups is that a passion for the topic is really key, and that this isn’t a competitive environment. The most successful Meetups are the ones that are reaching out and working together to help each other grow. With cooperation, there is a tremendous opportunity for synergistic relationships to develop that help everyone.

The key to success on this is being passionate and involved yourself; you want a group that is something that you would personally want to be a part of. I just love this space and all the energy and excitement. It really drives me. — Sean Goodwin, Orange County

The post Local Meetups: Growing Bitcoin and Blockchain Tech at the Grassroot Level appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Local Meetups: Growing Bitcoin and Blockchain Tech at the Grassroot Level

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

grassroots.jpg

Bitcoin is exploding and interest in the associated blockchain technology is at an all-time high, with Bitcoin being talked about on sitcoms as well as the news. But much of this success has been the result of a vibrant grassroots movement that has been fostered over time by dedicated and devoted communities of crypto enthusiasts around the world.

Bitcoin Magazine spoke with several blockchain Meetup organizers around the world to find out more about their groups and how they started them, grew them and kept people coming.

West Palm Beach, FL

John P. Riley is one of the organizers for the West Palm Beach Government Blockchain Association Meetup in Florida. They started just a few months ago and have over 100 members with about half signed up for the next meeting. His Meetup is a “chapter” of the Government Blockchain Association, which is not part of any government; rather, it is trying to facilitate education and use of blockchain technology in the public and private sectors.

When Riley started his group, he reached out to all the other Meetup groups in the area and met the organizers for lunch to facilitate a cooperative spirit and organization so that they didn’t set up conflicting meetings.

Riley’s focus is on making the Meetup experience comfortable and relevant for his attendees. He makes sure that there is an opportunity for people to network ahead of any presentations. And because his group is new, he has been paying expenses for things like food out of his own pocket in order to keep the Meetup free of charge.

Riley said, “We’re not selling anything here. We want to add value in a non-intrusive fashion so people are comfortable coming and don’t think it is an MLM [multi-level marketing] presentation. We have done really well so far getting local business and government workers to the meetings. My discussions with the other local Meetup leaders helped me learn about best practices for promoting on social media and that has been very helpful; we are also talking about setting up complementary topics so attendees have a reason to cycle around between the different groups.”

Seoul, South Korea

Ruben Somsen is one of the organizers for the Seoul Bitcoin Meetup in South Korea. They have nearly 2,000 members and an average of 50 attendees at their monthly meetings. He started his group in 2013 in a casual fashion after he first became obsessed with Bitcoin and wanted to talk to others about it. No other group existed at the time in Seoul.

What Somsen found useful to grow the group originally was consistent Meetups same time and same place. It needed to be beginner-friendly and provide interesting content, while walking the fine line between welcoming newcomers and keeping it engaging for the regulars. He solved this in part by having more advanced Meetups for the regulars, but in the end, having a solid reputation has been what has mattered most in terms of attendance. He had originally allowed non-Bitcoin projects to present, but over time, said Somsen, those pitches had a tendency to turn into sales pitches, so he stopped.

If you are truly an enthusiast and not in it for the money then stick with your principles,” Somsen advised. “The space is overrun with nonsensical altcoins, blockchains and ICOs that you’ll have to avoid. If you provide the right environment, then the real enthusiasts will find your Meetup, and they are the ones that make your community valuable. The rest of the crowd will follow naturally.”

Dubai, U.A.E.

Adam Schneider is one of the organizers for the Bitcoin Dubai Meetup in the U.A.E., with about 2,200 members and an average of 75 that come to their monthly meetings. The group has existed for four years now and grew quite organically. They have done no promotion at all other than announcing their meetings on Meetup; everyone has just found them by doing Google or Meetup searches or have been referred by people who have attended.

“I encourage people to attend by trying to provide great content at every Meetup and by building friendships so we can have a nice and strong community,” said Schneider. This is what drives him to find particular speakers and sponsors.

He keeps the Meetup free of charge, but when there are sponsors, then they have free food and drinks. He schedules his Meetups months in advance so everyone is able to schedule with plenty of notice. He takes extra care to screen any companies that want to be involved to make sure they aren’t scammers or some get-rich-quick scheme, which has become all too common in this sector.

Orange County, CA

Sean Goodwin is the organizer for the Ethereum Orange County Meetup in California, with about 1,000 members (tripled in the last three months) and averaging nearly 200 attendees per meeting, which they have two to four times a month.

“Something as simple as food will get people out,” said Goodwin. “We supply food and drinks that have been sponsored by corporations. In fact, this cooperation between corporations with a Bitcoin interest and Meetups has been very successful for us so far. We’ve had a sponsor for every event for some time now.”

Goodwin continued, “I’ve had a lot of success in reaching out to local conferences and seminars and having them provide giveaways that people are interested in, like a free ticket to their conference, and in return, we promote their conference at our Meetup. This creates value for everyone. I like to support all the other Meetups in the area by going to their meetings and coordinating so people don’t have to choose between groups.”

Goodwin likes to make sure that people have time to network before and after the speakers. “For a lot of people, this is their favorite part of the group,” he noted.

In order spread the word and be sure that the Meetup is addressing topics that people are interested in, organizers engage with their members on social media. Goodwin has also recently started putting out questionnaires to rate people’s interest in various speakers and topics.

“I’m always amazed at the number of people that are entirely new to blockchain [technology] that come to our meetings; it helped me realize how important it is to cater the topics so they aren’t over the heads of someone that is totally new and are still interesting to the general group. We started having colored name badges that indicate your area of expertise to help people connect quickly and that has been popular.”

Ghent, Belgium

Roeland Creve is one of the organizers for the Cryptocurrencies & Decentralized Innovation Meetup in Ghent, Belgium. They have over 800 members and an average of 50 attendees at their regular meetings and 25 at their beer Meetups.

According to Creve, “We started the group with a post on Bitcointalk in October 2013. It was just a loose gathering of people who were interested in Bitcoin. We have never had a ‘president.’ The management has been done, since the beginning, by a loose group of people who want to do the work (planning the Meetups, planning the talks, outreach, etc.).”

To promote the group, they organized Gent Bitcoincity and contacted various university student groups, as well as the Belgian Bitcoin Association. They plan several Meetups in advance and get it on the Meetup calendar and send out the notices, without any other social media outreach.

To get speakers, they are mostly supported by people asking to present, and they organize the calendar to support them. Their approach is to screen out pumpters, ICOs or anyone encouraging any sort of investment. Their reputation is such that they rarely get these requests anymore.

They don’t charge for their Meetups as they have worked out an arrangement with two local bars that they alternate between. One is the “beer Meetup” that is more of a networking event, and the other is a larger facility where presentations happen. They did a fundraiser once and received 1 BTC in donations; this has covered their other costs so far.

Creve also cooperates with the Meetup in Brussels, and they sometimes attend each other’s Meetups and support one another.

The common thread among these groups is that a passion for the topic is really key, and that this isn’t a competitive environment. The most successful Meetups are the ones that are reaching out and working together to help each other grow. With cooperation, there is a tremendous opportunity for synergistic relationships to develop that help everyone.

The key to success on this is being passionate and involved yourself; you want a group that is something that you would personally want to be a part of. I just love this space and all the energy and excitement. It really drives me. — Sean Goodwin, Orange County

The post Local Meetups: Growing Bitcoin and Blockchain Tech at the Grassroot Level appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

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 (NYSE) in New York City, New York, U.S., October 27, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

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

Here's Lutz:

Morning!  US Futures under pressure as the DC Circus ramps up – “U.S. Senate suspended voting on the tax bill until Friday as it emerged a key compromise to win a majority had collapsed” – Nasdaq off 70bp as selling continued in Asia, while that Russell is off 60bp as Fins falter.   Wide sea of red in Europe, with the DAX and FTSE on 2month lows.   Every sector red in Germany, led by 1%+ drops in Tech, Industrials and Consumer names, pressing the DAX off 90bp.   Banks are among the downside leaders, while Energy Names outperforming.   FTSE slightly better, but off 30bp as Defensive shares rally.  In Asia, Nikkei added 40bp, but Hang Seng lost 30bp as Tencent was hit for 3.5%, bringing week’s losses to 7.5% - Shanghai unch, but smallcap driven Shenzhen up 80bp - KOSPI off small after decent whacks this week with Sammy losing 8%+, and Aussie up 30bp as Energy rallied

The Dollar was under decent pressure on the Washington Antics, but has staged a rally back towards unch.  A sharp bid in Bunds is driving the US 10YY lower as Mitch McConnell said lawmakers would resume voting at11am. Sterling drifting around 2M highs as UK PMI prints better, but Euro breaking downside $1.19 despite EU PMI printed a 17Y high.   Gold up very small, a uninspiring move despite the DC headers and $, while Bitcoin is back over $10,000 - Ore was up another 1.2% in China, and we have Copper up 40bp early.   WTI is holding a 1% gain early as Economic data continues to print strong, while Natty is squeezing 3%

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: THE BOTTOM LINE: Huge market warnings, Keurig's political stand, and the future of the Fed

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 (NYSE) in New York City, New York, U.S., October 27, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

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

Here's Lutz:

Morning!  US Futures under pressure as the DC Circus ramps up – “U.S. Senate suspended voting on the tax bill until Friday as it emerged a key compromise to win a majority had collapsed” – Nasdaq off 70bp as selling continued in Asia, while that Russell is off 60bp as Fins falter.   Wide sea of red in Europe, with the DAX and FTSE on 2month lows.   Every sector red in Germany, led by 1%+ drops in Tech, Industrials and Consumer names, pressing the DAX off 90bp.   Banks are among the downside leaders, while Energy Names outperforming.   FTSE slightly better, but off 30bp as Defensive shares rally.  In Asia, Nikkei added 40bp, but Hang Seng lost 30bp as Tencent was hit for 3.5%, bringing week’s losses to 7.5% - Shanghai unch, but smallcap driven Shenzhen up 80bp - KOSPI off small after decent whacks this week with Sammy losing 8%+, and Aussie up 30bp as Energy rallied

The Dollar was under decent pressure on the Washington Antics, but has staged a rally back towards unch.  A sharp bid in Bunds is driving the US 10YY lower as Mitch McConnell said lawmakers would resume voting at11am. Sterling drifting around 2M highs as UK PMI prints better, but Euro breaking downside $1.19 despite EU PMI printed a 17Y high.   Gold up very small, a uninspiring move despite the DC headers and $, while Bitcoin is back over $10,000 - Ore was up another 1.2% in China, and we have Copper up 40bp early.   WTI is holding a 1% gain early as Economic data continues to print strong, while Natty is squeezing 3%

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: Why Nintendo is dominating like the old days

Bitcoin is gaining ground after futures trading gets approval from US regulators

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

bitcoin price

This price of bitcoin is rising after the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission approved bitcoin futures trading on three US exchanges.

"Bitcoin, a virtual currency, is a commodity unlike any the commission has dealt with in the past," said CFTC chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo in a statement.

CME, Cboe and Nasdaq have all announced interest in offering bitcoin futures, and CME said that its futures would launch on December 18. Both CME and Cboe have said that their futures contracts would settle in cash.

The approval from the CFTC came just days after the price of bitcoin crossed the historic $10,000 per coin mark. The coin hit its all-time high of $11,413.01 on Wednesday, according to data from Markets Insider.

The price of bitcoin is notoriously volatile, and futures contracts could help dampen the volatility in the markets.

Bitcoin has risen 932% this year.

Read more about bitcoin's crossing of $10,000 here.

SEE ALSO: Bitcoin has been on a wild ride since crossing $10,000

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: The stock market is flashing warning signs

U.S. Regulator Clears CME, CBOE to Trade Bitcoin Futures

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

U.S. derivatives giant CME Group will launch bitcoin derivatives trading on December 18 following approval from regulators.

Deutsche Bank's brand new head of emerging market fixed income sales in Europe is already out

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

deutsche bank logo

  • Deutsche Bank's head of emerging markets fixed income sales has left the company after only a couple months.
  • Ken Reich was hired in September to help run the company's fixed income sales operation for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
  • It was his second stint at the firm. 

 

Ken Reich, who was hired by Deutsche Bank in September to help run its fixed income sales operation for emerging markets, has left the company after only a couple months, the company confirmed. 

It was not immediately clear why Reich left the firm after such a short spell. 

Deutsche Bank declined to comment further on the matter. 

Reich was hired as head of emerging market fixed income sales, covering Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, the company confirmed in September. This was his second go around at the German bank, where he formerly ran global FX sales.

Prior to returning to Deutsche Bank, Reich worked at Man Financial. Before that, he was the European regional head of financial markets for Standard Chartered in London.

Reich's responsibilities will be assumed by others in the firm in the meantime, including David Posen, global head of emerging markets sales.

The bank has been expanding its emerging markets bond trading business, hiring nearly 20 debt traders and 4 sales people since mid-year.

This story is developing.

 

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

US regulators just gave the green light to bitcoin futures trading

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

The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission on Friday said it would allow bitcoin futures trading on three exchanges. 

In a statement, it said the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and the CBOE Futures Exchange self-certified new contracts for bitcoin futures products.  The Cantor Exchange self-certified a new contract for bitcoin binary options.

The contracts will make it possible to bet on bitcoin prices without buying the coins. Bitcoin has seen a parabolic rally of nearly 1,000% this year amid growing interest from retail traders and big-money managers.  

The decision came after several months of discussions with the exchanges, and with the warning that bitcoin remains a largely unsupervised market. 

"Bitcoin, a virtual currency, is a commodity unlike any the Commission has dealt with in the past," said CFTC chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo in a statement.

"We expect that the futures exchanges, through information sharing agreements, will be monitoring the trading activity on the relevant cash platforms for potential impacts on the futures contracts’ price discovery process, including potential market manipulation and market dislocations due to flash rallies and crashes and trading outages."

More to come ... 

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

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

Bitcoin Not Legal Tender in India, Finance Minister Says

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

India's finance minister, Arun Jaitley, has said bitcoin is not legal tender in the country and indicated that regulations are under consideration.

Here's what Morgan Stanley actually said in the note that led Jeremy Corbyn to call them 'speculators and gamblers who crashed our economy'

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

Jeremy Corbyn

  • A note from US bank Morgan Stanley was widely quoted as saying Jeremy Corbyn was a "bigger risk than Brexit" to the UK economy.
  • Corbyn hit back calling banks like Morgan Stanley "speculators and gamblers who crashed our economy."
  • The bank's words, however, have been taken hugely out of context, and refer merely to the UK stock market.


LONDON — This week an unusual fight developed in the UK. The participants: Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, and strategists at banking giant Morgan Stanley.

In a note published on Sunday, a team from the bank led by equity strategist Graham Secker published their annual outlook for the European stock markets. The outlook totalled 73 pages, but two small sentences grabbed all the headlines. 

On the surface, Secker and his team argued that a Corbyn government — now a very realistic possibility — would be "the most significant political shift in the UK" since Margaret Thatcher, and said it could be "a bigger risk than Brexit" to Britain's slowing economy.

Corbyn was not pleased.

In a video posted on social media on Wednesday, Corbyn attacked the bank, and bankers in general. He criticised Morgan Stanley for its role in the 2008 financial crisis, labelling it as one of the "speculators and gamblers who crashed our economy"

"Their greed plunged the world into crisis and we're still paying the price," he said.

"Nurses, teachers, shopworkers, builders, just about everyone is finding it harder to get by, while Morgan Stanley’s CEO paid himself £21.5 million last year and UK banks paid out £15 billion in bonuses."

The video struck a chord with Corbyn's backers, gaining hundreds of thousands of views, likes and shares on Twitter and Facebook.

The success of the message makes sense. Much of Corbyn's base support comes from those who feel disenfranchised and think bankers are actively trying to screw the little guy, so to see their leader attack those interests is a welcome sight.

In reality, Morgan Stanley's comments were taken wholly out of context.

Most media articles covering the "bigger risk than Brexit" comments failed to acknowledge that Morgan Stanley's team was not referring to the UK economy as a whole, but rather a very small segment of it — the stock market. In their true context, the quotes are far less bombastic.

Here's the full pair of quotes, as they appeared in Morgan Stanley's 2018 European Equity Outlook:

For the UK market, domestic politics may be perceived as a bigger risk than Brexit

From a UK investor perspective, we believe that the domestic political situation is at least as significant as Brexit, given the fragile state of the current Government and the perceived risks of an incoming Labour administration that could potentially embark on a radical change in policy direction. Against this backdrop, even if we see good progress in the Brexit negotiations, the scope for UK sensitive assets to rally may be muted, unless we also see an improvement in the government's position in opinion polls.

UK politics could see its biggest shift since the late 1970s

For much of the past 30 years and more, a change of government ultimately had a relatively limited impact on the UK equity market,as policy settings didn't change too dramatically. However, this may not be the case if we see a Labour government take power under its current leadership, given its very different policy approach. It is certainly plausible that the Labour Party could ultimately moderate some of its more radical policy ideas; the alternative could be the most significant political shift in the UK since the end of the 1970s.

Pretty innocuous, right? Morgan Stanley isn't trying to suggest that a Corbyn government would totally crash the economy, but instead merely believes that investors — who by their nature do not really like the unknown — would be put off by a Labour government coming to power, leading to a substantial, but not catastrophic, stock market correction.

For Corbyn, it is a perfect political play. He almost certainly knows that Morgan Stanley was just talking about the stock market, but that doesn't matter. Attacking the alleged vested interests of the banking sector is a perfect one-two punch that will enthuse and mobilise his core support, while also allowing him to play the victim and perfectly illustrate his —probably fair — belief that the establishment is running scared of the Labour Party in its current form.

We may yet find out whether Corbyn does cause the UK stock market to tank: Morgan Stanley itself believes that the UK is heading for a fresh general election next year.

Earlier this week, the bank's British economics team of Jacob Nell and Melanie Baker wrote in their European Economic Outlook that the Conservative Party is "torn." This disharmony will eventually lead to the government's untimely demise, they believe.

"With a minority government torn over Europe and facing a divisive choice between 'taking back control' and maintaining close links, we see another early election as likely."

Given that Corbyn effectively needs only 1,682 more votes in marginal constituencies to become prime minister, we might find out if Secker and his team's misinterpreted forecast comes true sooner than later.

Join the conversation about this story »

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

Bitcoin Claws Back to $10k: Can Bulls Turn the Tide?

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

The bitcoin price is entering sideways trading, but a break above $10,000 could signal a rally back to all-time highs.

Bring Instant Payments to Beat Bitcoin, ECB Director Tells Banks

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

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Bring Instant Payments to Beat Bitcoin, ECB Director Tells Banks

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, APRN, QCOM, BRCM, CVS, AET)

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

2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1

Here is what you need to know. 

The Dow soars above 24,000The Dow Jones industrial average soared 331.67 points on Thursday, vaulting above the 24,000 level for the first time. 

The Senate's tax vote is comingThe Senate is expected to vote on its version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act at some point on Friday, with passage appearing closer than ever.  

OPEC and Russia agree to extend oil production cuts until the end of 2018. The agreement will allow the oil-producer cartel and other key players to finish draining the excess supply of crude oil that dragged prices down in 2014.

Broadcom won't increase its offer for Qualcomm until next yearBroadcom likely won't raise its $105 billion offer for Qualcomm until closer to its board meeting in March, according to Bloomberg's Alex Barinka, Ian King, and Ed Hammond. 

A 'Big Four' accounting firm is accepting bitcoin payments. "This decision helps illustrate how we are embracing new technology and incorporating innovative business models across our full range of services," Raymund Chao, chairman of PwC Asia-Pacific, said in a statement. 

CVS and Aetna are reportedly nearing a $66 billion dealCVS is closing in on a deal that would pay $200 to $205 per Aetna share, the Wall Street Journal reports. 

Blue Apron's CEO is out. Co-founder Matt Salzberg has stepped down as Blue Apron's president and CEO after shares of the company have tanked 70% since its initial public offering in June. 

Stock markets around the world are lowerChina's Shanghai Composite (-0.62%) trailed in Asia and Germany's DAX (-1.39%) lags in Europe. The S&P 500 is set to open down 0.52% near 2,634.

Earnings reporting is lightBig Lots reports ahead of the opening bell.

US economic data flowsMarkit US Services PMI will be released at 9:45 a.m. ET before both ISM Manufacturing and construction spending cross the wires at 10 a.m. ET. The US 10-year yield is down 4 basis points at 2.37%.

Join the conversation about this story »

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

10 things you need to know before the opening bell (SPY, SPX, QQQ, DIA, APRN, QCOM, BRCM, CVS, AET)

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

2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1

Here is what you need to know.

The Dow soars above 24,000. The Dow Jones industrial average soared 331.67 points on Thursday, vaulting above the 24,000 level for the first time.

The Senate's tax vote is coming. The Senate is expected to vote on its version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act at some point on Friday, with passage appearing closer than ever.

OPEC and Russia agree to extend oil production cuts until the end of 2018. The agreement will allow the oil-producer cartel and other key players to finish draining the excess supply of crude oil that dragged prices down in 2014.

Broadcom won't increase its offer for Qualcomm until next year. Broadcom is unlikely to raise its $105 billion offer for Qualcomm until closer to its board meeting in March, according to Bloomberg's Alex Barinka, Ian King, and Ed Hammond.

A 'Big Four' accounting firm is accepting bitcoin payments. "This decision helps illustrate how we are embracing new technology and incorporating innovative business models across our full range of services," Raymund Chao, the chairman of PwC Asia-Pacific, said in a statement.

CVS and Aetna are reportedly nearing a $66 billion deal. CVS is closing in on a deal that would pay $200 to $205 per Aetna share, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Blue Apron's CEO is out. The cofounder Matt Salzberg has stepped down as Blue Apron's president and CEO after shares of the company have tanked 70% since its initial public offering in June.

Stock markets around the world are lower. China's Shanghai Composite (-0.62%) trailed in Asia, and Germany's DAX (-1.39%) lags in Europe. The S&P 500 is set to open down 0.52% near 2,634.

Earnings reporting is light. Big Lots reports ahead of the opening bell.

US economic data flows. Markit US Services PMI will be released at 9:45 a.m. ET before both ISM Manufacturing and construction spending cross the wires at 10 a.m. ET. The US 10-year yield is down 4 basis points at 2.37%.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Why Nintendo is dominating like the old days

Bitcoin Too Volatile for Goldman Sachs, Says CEO

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

Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein has said it's to early for the bank to consider a bitcoin strategy as it "doesn't feel like a store of value."

LocalBitcoins Traders Charged with Fraud for Selling Bitcoin to Thief in Kenya

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

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LocalBitcoins Traders Charged with Fraud for Selling Bitcoin to Thief in Kenya

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

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Bitcoin 'Seems Like a Bubble', Says Billionaire Investor Carl Icahn

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

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn has jumped on the bandwagon of those in finance who have recently claimed bitcoin is in a bubble.

London Stock Exchange board: Xavier Rolet's 'operating style' was a factor in his exit — but we won't provide details

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

Xavier Rolet, London Stock Exchange

  • London Stock Exchange board in row with investors The Children's Investment (TCI) Fund over LSE CEO Xavier Rolet's departure.
  • TCI Fund claims Rolet is being forced out by the board, who allegedly are threatening to publish a damaging dossier on him unless he leaves.
  • LSE says in a letter to shareholders on Friday that Rolet's "operating style" played a part in the decision to look for new CEO but says it "would be detrimental... to provide further detail on these aspects."
  • LSE calls for shareholders to vote down motion from TCI Fund to remove chairman Donald Brydon, who TCI alleges is behind Rolet's ousting.


LONDON — The board of the London Stock Exchange said that outgoing CEO Xavier Rolet's "operating style" played a part in his exit as the corporate governance crisis at the exchange group rumbles on.

The LSE board has been locked in a battle with shareholder The Children's Investment (TCI) Fund over Rolet's departure for more than a month.

LSE first announced in late October that Rolet planned to step down as CEO by December 2018. TCI Fund CEO Sir Christopher Hohn became suspicious when Rolet said he couldn't answer questions as to why he had decided to leave.

Hohn then alleged that LSE chairman Donald Brydon was trying to force Rolet out, claiming Brydon was using a threat to publish a dossier on Rolet's behaviour as leverage. Hohn, whose TCI Fund owns 5% of LSE, called for a shareholder vote on firing Brydon and keeping Rolet in position.

LSE announced on Wednesday that Rolet was leaving "with immediate effect" after "unwelcome publicity" and said Brydon would step down as chair in 2019 after a new CEO is firmly in place. The board called for TCI Fund to withdraw its call for a shareholder meeting.

Christopher Hohn of The Children's Investment Fund leaves Portcullis House on January 27, 2009 in London. Senior hedge fund managers appeared before the Treasury Select Committee hearing into the banking crisis. (Photo by )However, Hohn has stood firm. On Thursday he withdrew his motion to keep Rolet in place as CEO but said he would still ask shareholders to vote on Brydon's ousting.

LSE sent a letter to shareholders on Friday calling a general meeting of shareholders on December 19 to hold the vote. Independent director Paul Heiden called for shareholders to reject the motion, saying that getting rid of Brydon "risks significantly damaging the Company."

In the letter, seen by Business Insider, Heiden also set out some of the logic behind Rolet's exit in a bid to assuage suspicions.

Heiden said the topic of Rolet's departure first arose when LSE was planning to merge with Deutsche Borse. Rolet had offered to step aside once the merger was completed. The deal eventually fell through but the board felt the issue was worth addressing given it had been raised publically.

"Given the length of Xavier Rolet’s tenure (which would have been almost 10 years by the end of 2018), having a clear CEO succession plan was a priority for the Company," Heiden said.

But Heiden admits that "aspects of Xavier Rolet’s operating style were also important factors taken into account by the Board when assessing the right time to put in place a succession plan."

"In all the circumstances, including given that Xavier Rolet is leaving the Company and that the second resolution has been withdrawn, the Board has determined that it would be detrimental to the Company and its stakeholders to provide further detail on these aspects," Heiden wrote.

TCI Fund has criticised the LSE board for committing Rolet to a non-disclosure agreement, which has prevented him from explaining his reasons for leaving.

In this handout image provided by Royal Mail Group Xavier Rolet, Group Chief Executive Officer, London Stock Exchange Group, Donald Brydon, Chairman, Royal Mail plc, Moya Greene, Chief Executive Officer, Royal Mail plc, Rt Hon Michael Fallon MP, Minister of State for Business and Enterprise and Rt Hon Danny Alexander MP, Chief Secretary to the Treasury attend the Royal Mail plc's opening of the London Stock Exchange on October 15, 2013 in London, England. Full trading in Royal Mail shares has begun on the London Stock Exchange, with their value rising at one stage to 488p from the Government's initial offering of 330p. (Photo by )Explaining the decision, Heiden wrote: "The Company (as would be typical) agreed a set of materials setting out standard “questions and answers” to ensure a consistent message was given in response to media enquiries regarding the 19 October Announcement.

This became a negotiated document. In response to representations made on behalf of Xavier Rolet, to ensure that the Company did not represent that Xavier Rolet had agreed to retire, the settlement agreement included obligations on both parties to comply with these agreed messages.

He added: "Xavier Rolet and the Company have now agreed that these obligations will no longer apply. However, they have agreed that they will not seek to make statements with the intention of causing damage to the interests and reputation of LSEG, its directors, companies in the LSEG group or Xavier Rolet in any statements that they make."

TCI Fund's recent vocal criticism has "negatively impacted" the "relationships between Xavier Rolet and the Board," Heiden said.

"This has also led to pressure on the relationship between Xavier Rolet and certain members of the senior management team. Given these circumstances, it became clear to the Board during this period that it would be in the best interests of the Company for Xavier Rolet to step down from office with immediate effect and, on the Board’s request, Xavier Rolet confirmed he would do so."

Heiden told shareholders: "Tribute was paid to Xavier Rolet’s very considerable achievements in the 19 October Announcement. But no CEO is irreplaceable and the Board considers that, without Xavier Rolet in office, the Company will continue to prosper with its existing strong management team."

He added that Brydon "has brought invaluable skills and experience, and performed to the high expectations of an experienced Board for over two years, and he should continue to do so."

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'It pays to be paranoid': A senior Bank of England official is sounding the alarm on the UK's debt

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

Dealers trade on the floor of the London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange March 5

  • Senior Bank of England official warns about the UK's high levels of government debt.
  • Former Goldman Sachs banker Richard Sharp says that high debt could pose financial stability risks.
  • Among other things, high debt-to-GDP ratio makes it more difficult to react to crises.


LONDON — A senior official at the Bank of England has voiced concerns about the possibly negative implications of the UK's high debt-to-GDP ratio, effectively saying that any increase in government borrowing could damage the country's financial stability.

In a speech at University College London on Thursday evening, Richard Sharp, an ex-Goldman Sachs banker and a  member of the BoE's Financial Policy Committee, said that the UK must maintain some fiscal space, or risk "jeopardising" the country's financial stability. 

"It is important to remain aware of the fact that if we lose our fiscal space, financial stability is jeopardised," Sharp told the audience, outlining three major concerns about government debt levels and financial stability.

First, he argued, UK government debt has spiked higher since the financial crisis, as the chart below illustrates:

UK government debt ratio

"In this context, given that the UK is a very open economy it is worth remembering that it is vulnerable to spillovers from the rest of the world," Sharp said.

Secondly, the more debt the government has, the more difficult it is to react to bad news and unexpected problems.

"A highly indebted government has less capacity to react to crises," Sharp said.

"We cannot assume that further shocks do not materialise; and, evidence demonstrates that fiscal space is a vital national resource to have available to counteract such a shock. Reducing fiscal space, therefore, means financial stability is harder to achieve."

Finally in the speech, titled "It pays to be paranoid" Sharp argued that some fiscal space must be kept in order to allow the UK government to deal with the sclerotic growth currently expected in the country in the coming years.

"In seeking to address unsatisfactory real growth prospects, the need for spare debt capacity should not be underestimated," he said.

"The uncertainty inherent in assessing financial stability risks also makes it difficult to get this trade-off right."

Sharp's comments come as debate around the future of fiscal policy in the UK intensifies. Some, particularly the senior leadership of the opposition Labour Party, believe that the UK should take advantage of near-record low interest rates to take on more debt and finance infrastructure spending on things like roads, houses, schools, and hospitals.

Others, including Conservative Chancellor Philip Hammond, see deficit reduction as a more important course of action, although Hammond's Budget last month suggested that he is starting to believe in more borrowing, with £15 billion of funding for new homes one of his key announcements.

Whatever direction fiscal policy takes, Sharp warned, governments should be careful. Citing the example of Venezuela, Sharp emphasised the continued uncertainty in the financial sector.

"As a financial practitioner for well over 30 years, uncertainty is no surprise to me – for example, when I started in finance Venezuela was a AAA credit! Let me remind you of the definition of a AAA rating: 'An obligor […] has extremely strong capacity to meet its financial commitments.' Venezuela is now in default."

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Soros-backed hedge fund Glen Point gains 17.5% despite dropping in October

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

champagne cheers friends

  • Soros-backed hedge fund Glen Point gained 17.5% through October.
  • That's after the fund lost 4.2% last month, it's biggest monthly drop this year.
  • The fund is still beating its peers by a wide margin.

LONDON – Glen Point Capital, a London hedge fund backed by billionaire investor and philanthropist George Soros, has gained 17.5% this year through October, according to a client update seen by Business Insider.

While the macro fund is beating its peers by a wide margin – HFR's macro fund index gained 2.4% over the same period – the firm had a bad month.

Glen Point lost 4.2% in October, its biggest monthly loss this year, according to the client note. Glen Point runs a global macro strategy with an emerging markets focus, and counts Soros as one of its investors. 

In its client note, Glen Point said: "Losses for the month can broadly be attributed to a move lower in EMFX high yielders and wider in local rates, with an acceleration of the trend sparked by South Africa's worse than expected 25 October Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement."

The firm was founded by Neil Phillips and Jonathan Fayman, who previously managed the BlueBay Macro Fund at BlueBay Asset Management from 2009 to 2014.  The firm managed $2.3 billion as of earlier this year, according to Bloomberg.

The fund lost 4.1% last year, according to the update.

A spokesman for the fund declined to immediately comment.

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

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'There are so many lights flashing red': Fund manager Neil Woodford warns of a stock market bubble

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

Neil Woodford

  • Fund manager Neil Woodford has warned stock markets around the world are in a "bubble," citing bitcoin, ETFs, and yields on European junk bonds as "red lights."
  • Woodford made his name as a money manager by avoiding bank shares before the 2007 financial crash and by avoiding the tech sector before the tech sector's dotcom crash in 2001.

LONDON — Star British fund manager has warned stock markets around the world are in a "bubble" which could result in one of the worst market crashes in history.

Speaking to the Financial Times, Woodford said: "Whether it’s bitcoin going through $10,000, European junk bonds yielding less than US Treasuries, historic low levels of volatility or triple-leveraged exchange traded funds attracting gigantic inflows — there are so many lights flashing red that I am losing count."

He said current equity valuations represent a bubble the likes of which he had "only witnessed two or three times in my career as an investor."

Woodford is the founder of Woodford Investment Management, which manages over £15 billion of assets. He said he was buying out of over-hyped "zeitgeist" stocks and instead buying up UK-focused housebuilders and banks whose share prices have been discounted by the Brexit vote.

Woodford made his name as a money manager by avoiding bank shares before the 2007 financial crash and by avoiding the tech sector before the tech sector's dotcom crash in 2001.

His flagship £8 billion equity income fund has performed badly this year, but he insisted his strategy will bear fruit.

"In the dotcom bubble it was the old economy stocks which became profoundly unloved and undervalued and today in the UK stock market, it is domestically-focused stocks," he told the FT. "The funds I manage are positioned to exploit this opportunity and I am utterly convinced it will pay off when the bubble bursts — which I believe it inevitably will."

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NOW WATCH: The CIO of a crypto hedge fund explains the value in cryptocurrency — and why the market will explode over the next 2 years

White House Team Is Monitoring Cryptocurrencies, Says Press Secretary

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

The Trump administration has said it is keeping an eye on cryptocurrencies like bitcoin in the wake of its recent explosive price jumps.

The owner of online beauty retailer Feelunique is exploring a sale of the company

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

feelunique

  • Sources: Palamon Capital Partners puts Feelunique up for sale.
  • Online beauty retailer had revenues of £80 million last year.


LONDON — The private equity owner of online beauty retailer Feelunique is exploring a sale of the company, Business Insider understands.

Two sources told BI that Palamon Capital Partners has commenced a sale process in recent weeks. Investment bank Jefferies has been appointed to explore options for the business, one of the people said.

Palamon Capital Partners declined to comment. A spokesperson for Jefferies declined to comment. A spokesperson for Feelunique said: "Like all private equity-backed companies, Feelunique is asked frequently about corporate interest in the business. As a rule, we never comment."

Feelunique claims to be Europe’s largest online beauty retailer with a choice of more than 30,000 products from 500 brands such as Benefit, L'Oreal, and Charlotte Tilbury. It sells make-up and skin care product across 120 markets and has dedicated websites for the UK, France, the EU, Germany, Norway, China and the US. 

Palamon, which also owns Sweden's Happy Socks, has owned Feelunique since 2012. It paid £26 million for the UK business.

Feelunique reported sales of £80 million in the year to March 2017, up 27% year-on-year. The company said on Wednesday that it sold £6 million-worth of goods during its recent Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions, up 40% on last year.

CEO Joel Palix said in a statement at the time: "Feelunique’s trading through the Black Friday promotion is further compelling evidence of the shift in the beauty sector to online purchasing.

"The focus we have given to establishing the leading technology-led digital platform in the sector, building an online community and solidifying our brand relationships, is really coming to fruition."

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This chart shows how many banking jobs are at stake in the City after Brexit

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

A painted sign for a public house named 'The Banker' is seen in the City of London July 30, 2014. Bankers who break the rules may have to hand back bonuses up to seven years after being awarded them, the Bank of England said on Wednesday.

  • Nomura estimates that as many as 10,000 banking jobs could leave the UK on "Day One" of Brexit.
  • Numerous major lenders have already announced plans for new offices on the continent.
  • Banks will be forced to shift staff if the UK fails to maintain financial passporting rights.


LONDON — It is no secret that the world's major financial institutions are making plans to shift staff out of London and the wider UK once Britain leaves the European Union in March 2019.

The Brexit vote has prompted a fundamental move in expectations for the future of the City of London, with some even speculating that London could lose its place at the heart of the European financial sector.

As it stands, staff moves are being planned as a result of the expected loss of Britain's so-called financial passport.

The passport is effectively a set of rules and regulations that allow UK based financial firms to access customers and carry out activities across Europe. Many non-EU lenders use the passport to operate a hub in the UK and then sell services across the 28-nation bloc.

Once Britain leaves the EU, however, it is almost certain to lose passporting rights, which are tied strongly to membership of the single market, a marketplace the UK intends to leave as part of Brexit. This means that to continue providing clients with comprehensive services across the EU after Brexit, many lenders will need new branches.

Numerous major lenders have already announced plans for new offices on the continent, with Goldman Sachs leasing a major office space in Frankfurt, Citi opening a private banking hub in Luxembourg, and Japan's biggest bank, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, choosing Amsterdam for its post-Brexit EU HQ.

But just how many jobs are at stake? According to a new analysis from Nomura, as many as 10,000 jobs could move on the very first day of Brexit.

"The hope of 'passporting' financial services is close to zero, the UK government’s hard Brexit aim is very clear, but banks still have not yet fully announced their contingency plans," a note compiled by Jordan Rochester and Yujiro Goto says.

"We estimate that the worst case for 'Day one of Brexit' job move preparations is likely to be around 10k, with the possibility of a lower number if a transition deal is agreed earlier on in the process." 

The chart below illustrates just how many jobs major banks have in the UK, and how many are thought to be at risk, based on media reports and Nomura's own calculations:

Brexit banking jobs Nomura

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

Bitfinex and Tether Break Silence, Go on Media Offensive

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

One of the world's largest bitcoin exchanges is pushing back against allegations its business is engaging in improper market practices.

Bitcoin Is an Emerging Systemic Risk

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

The bubble in cryptocurrency threatens the broader financial system, given new buyers’ different motivations from early adopters and use of leverage.

Bigger Blocks, Shorter Intervals: Bitcoin Cash Devs Reveal Mid-Term Roadmap

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

[…]

The post Bigger Blocks, Shorter Intervals: Bitcoin Cash Devs Reveal Mid-Term Roadmap appeared first on CryptoCoinsNews.

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