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Bitcoin Devs Release Long-Awaited Schnorr Paper for Scalability Gains

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

Bitcoin devs have released the first paper on the Schnorr multi-signature protocol, which, if implemented, would increase bitcoin block sizes.

Bitcoin Will Be Back Up, Market Sell-Off an Overreaction: BitPay Executive

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

The post Bitcoin Will Be Back Up, Market Sell-Off an Overreaction: BitPay Executive appeared first on CCN

According to BitPay chief commercial officer, Sonny Singh, whenever Bitcoin’s price surges high or drops low, the situation is blown out of proportion. “You know every time there’s good news or bad news, the market tends to overreact. And now we are seeing an overreaction of the downward side”, Singh said in an interview with

The post Bitcoin Will Be Back Up, Market Sell-Off an Overreaction: BitPay Executive appeared first on CCN

American Express falls despite earnings beat (AXP)

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

American Express stock price

  • Shares of credit card provider American Express fell more than 2% after the closing bell on Thursday despite reporting earnings that exceeded Wall Street expectations.
  • A previously disclosed $2.6 billion tax charge resulted in the company's first loss in 26 years. Without the one-time charge, however, earnings were $1.58 per share — just above the expected $1.54. 
  • The company also reported revenues of $8.84 billion, 12% above Wall Street expectations.
  • "We ended the year with record billings and strong loan growth, which helped drive a 10 percent increase in revenues this quarter," CEO Kenneth I. Chenault said in a press release. “Card Member spending grew 11 percent with strong momentum across each of our business segments. Loans grew 14 percent in the quarter while credit metrics remained strong and were again in line with our expectations."
  • Analysts remain bullish on the stock, giving it an average target of $108 per share, roughly 8% above Thursday’s closing price of 99.86.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: The chief global strategist at Charles Schwab says a bitcoin crash won't infect the rest of the market

American Express falls despite earnings beat (AXP)

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

American Express stock price

  • Shares of credit card provider American Express fell more than 2% after the closing bell on Thursday despite reporting earnings that exceeded Wall Street expectations.
  • A previously disclosed $2.6 billion tax charge resulted in the company's first loss in 26 years. Without the one-time charge, however, earnings were $1.58 per share — just above the expected $1.54. 
  • The company also reported revenues of $8.84 billion, 12% above Wall Street expectations.
  • "We ended the year with record billings and strong loan growth, which helped drive a 10 percent increase in revenues this quarter," CEO Kenneth I. Chenault said in a press release. “Card Member spending grew 11 percent with strong momentum across each of our business segments. Loans grew 14 percent in the quarter while credit metrics remained strong and were again in line with our expectations."
  • Analysts remain bullish on the stock, giving it an average target of $108 per share, roughly 8% above Thursday’s closing price of 99.86.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: The chief global strategist at Charles Schwab says a bitcoin crash won't infect the rest of the market

Some cryptocurrency traders in South Korea took the bitcoin 'bloodbath' to a whole new level

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

Bitcoin Markets Insider

Cryptocurrency trading in South Korea, the world's third-largest market, is a huge deal in the country.

So huge in fact, that when the country's largest cryptocurrency exchanges were recently raided by authorities on suspicion of tax-dodging, and when the government proposed a bill to ban cryptocurrency trading through its exchanges, the global cryptocurrency market took a nosedive.

Since then, more than 220,000 people have signed an online petition against the proposed plan that they say infringes on their "happy dream" of cryptocurrency trading, something that has eluded them "until now."

"Buying my own home is difficult in South Korea, I don't know how I could even buy one," the petition said. "I don't know how I could live doing the things that I want to do."

Following the crypto "bloodbath," users from the South Korean online community "dcinside" displayed their frustrations by posting profanity-laced stories and uploading images of broken items, which apparently resulted from their anger over the valuations.

Although the user comments and images may be amusing for some, it underscores the implications of the South Korean government's approach to cryptocurrencies, especially for those who invested heavily in the market.

Cryptocurrency trading in South Korea is a lucrative venture, especially when over 11% of people aged 15 to 29 in the country are reportedly unemployed, and the lump-sum deposit for an apartment skyrocketed by 73% from 2007 to 2016, according to government officials.

Here's how some traders reacted:

"Just lost 45% and shattered the monitor," one user said.



This user said he was not going to trade anymore and allegedly threw his laptop. After calming down, he opened it up to discover it was broken.



Another user posted a picture of a single tear: "Why. I said I was going to earn some money. Why are you blocking that."



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Bitcoin Price Roller Coaster Makes Ransomware Cybercriminals Queasy

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

The post Bitcoin Price Roller Coaster Makes Ransomware Cybercriminals Queasy appeared first on CCN

Bitcoin has done what regulators haven’t been able to accomplish — getting cybercriminals to lay off of cryptocurrencies as the ransom payment du jour in malware attacks. Bitcoin’s price swings over the past few days — from below $10,000 24 hours ago to more than $11,500 today — have stoked emotions ranging from fear of a

The post Bitcoin Price Roller Coaster Makes Ransomware Cybercriminals Queasy appeared first on CCN

Delta's CEO says the nastiest rivalry in the airline industry is more complex than people think (DAL)

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

Delta CEO Ed Bastian

  • American, Delta, and United Airlines have long accused Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar Airways of receiving $50 billion in government subsidies.
  • Delta CEO Ed Bastian told Business Insider that the three Middle Eastern carriers cannot be treated as a monolith.
  • All three Middle Eastern carriers have differing business models and are dealing with different challenges.

The on-going feud between America's three major legacy airlines and their three Middle Eastern rivals has been one of biggest stories in aviation over the past few years. 

From the beginning, American, Delta, and United (US3) have accused Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar Airways (ME3) of using $50 billion worth of unfair subsidies to squeeze competition out of markets by lowering prices to unsustainably low levels. 

The US3 believes these alleged subsidies are in violation of the OpenSkies agreement that governs air travel between the US and the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. 

The Middle Eastern carriers have denied these allegations.

But, in recent months, political instability; failed investments; and a depressed oil economy has forced the Middle Eastern carriers to show more discipline when it comes to spending money. 

For instance, Emirates cut the number of flights to the US in the face of reduced demand while Etihad has been forced to shake up their entire senior management team after losing billions of dollars due to poor performance investments. 

In other words, these ME3 are making moves characteristic of profit-minded businesses. 

But that's not enough to convince one of their toughest critics, Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian.

Delta Airbus A350Even though Bastian said he doesn't believe they are profit-minded enterprises, the Delta CEO is quick to note that the Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar Airways are anything but a monolith. 

"I'm not sure they're all the same," Bastian told Business Insider in a recent interview. "I think there are three different business models between the three. We have to be careful we don't to group them together." 

That's certainly the case. Even though the ME3 are often presented as a unified front, they are anything but. Emirates and Etihad are neighbors separated by less than an hour's drive, but they are rivals fighting to be the main airline in the United Arab Emirates. And while both seem to get along with the Qatar Airways, political strife between the UAE and Qatar prevent Emirates and Etihad from having a closer relationship with the airline. 

Etihad's investments have failed

"Etihad is in a very difficult spot," Bastian said. "Their investments in Air Berlin, Alitalia, and a few others have turned out to be dismal failures." 

Alitalia declared bankruptcy in May after years of financial losses but is expected to survive in some form. Air Berlin followed Alitalia into bankruptcy in August with its assets sold to off to Lufthansa and others. 

In mid-2017, Etihad announced losses totaling $1.87 billion in 2016. Much of which was attributed to its investments in two ailing European carriers. 

According to Bastian, of the 75 largest airlines in the world, Air Berlin and Alitalia are the two worst performers financially.

"I think they are regrouping and reassessing," Bastian added.

This month, Tony Douglas joined Etihad Aviation Group as its CEO after the company's previous chief executive, James Hogan, left last May. 

Emirates expansion doesn't make economic sense 

"Emirates just purchased and acquired their 100th Airbus A380 and they are building an airport in Dubai that's four-time or five times the size of Chicago O'Hare," Bastian said incredulously.

"At some point, the economics just don't make sense and they'll need to evaluate for themselves how much growth they can add through Dubai to build the world's super-connector airport."

Emirates Airbus A380 100th planeIn addition, Bastian questioned the economic viability of Emirates' massive fleet of Airbus superjumbos. 

"The A380 has, I'll be honest with you, not been a wildly successful airplane given that (Emirates) is the only operator," the Delta CEO said. "Most operators I've talked to about the A380 are not thrilled with the performance given the cost."

Qatar Airways is just a government agency

"And Qatar Airways is just a government agency that bleeds money," Bastian told us. "If you look at their financial results, they weren't performing airline in the world, Alitalia and Air Berlin were worse than them. Qatar was third."

According to Bastian, the only reason Qatar Airways avoided finding themselves at atop the list of the worst financial performers was due to subsidies like cost-free ownership of duty-free licenses and the hotel franchises in Qatar. 

"It's a ruse," he added.

Qatar airways cabin crewBastian also pointed out that Qatar Airways is going around buying up equity stakes in foreign airlines while suffering through a costly blockade put in place by its neighbors in the Persian Gulf. 

"Now Qatar is buying Cathay Pacific, but where is that money coming from?" Bastian questioned. "It's coming from their government."

Delta believes there is a resolution to the conflict coming

"I can tell you everything we've talked to in Washington is concerned," Bastin said. "We've had 300 members of Congress who have written in and asked for this matter to be formally investigated on a bipartisan basis."

"To get 300 members of Congress to agree to anything tells you the importance of this matter is to our people," he added. "I think a resolution will come at some point."

Delta air lines comfort plusHowever, Bastian noted that Delta can't simply depend on the US Government to take on the ME3. 

"We can't put our competition solely in the hand of Washington, we have to compete in the marketplace," the Delta CEO said. "That's why we are continuing to invested in our international fleet with the new Airbus A350s while working hard with our partners to invest and to improve the quality of service together."

In addition, Bastian noted his airline's joint ventures with Air France-KLM in Europe and Korean Air in Asia as major pieces in Delta's strategy to compete on the global stage.

"There are many components to this strategy far and above this battle in Washington," Bastian told us. 

SEE ALSO: Delta's CEO explains why airline computers fail and how tech will change flying

DON'T MISS: Delta CEO slams Boeing's claims that Bombardier hurt its business

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NOW WATCH: A crypto expert explains the difference between the two largest cryptocurrencies in the world: bitcoin and Ethereum

Virginia Beach Government Backs Bitcoin Mine With $500K Grant

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

The U.S. city of Virginia Beach has granted $500,000 to help establish a new bitcoin mine in the area.

Here’s How a Bitcoin Crash Could Bring Down the Entire Stock Market

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

What to watch for.

The US government shutdown shenanigans pose a threat that investors are missing

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

 

government shutdown statue of liberty

  • Investors expect a fairly subdued short-run impact on markets and the economy from a possible US government shutdown, which now looks increasingly likely. 
  • The dysfunction of brinkmanship politics is further bruising America's already dented image as a global leader.
  •  Standard & Poor's estimates a government shutdown would cost $6.5 billion per week 


The US economy will keep humming along at a decent but unspectacular pace regardless of the outcome of this week’s widely-watched budget negotiations in Washington aimed at averting a government shutdown. But that doesn't mean the long-term effected in nil. 

"These developments are more of a backburner risk hence market disruptions are limited,”  Brittany Baumann, macro strategist at TD Securities, told Business Insider. “We expect that Congress once again will kick the can and extend the deadline to February."

Still, the shenanigans, mirrored by the debt ceiling negotiations that cost the United States its AAA credit rating in 2011, are a reminder of a gradual corrosion of American institutions that were once trusted but are increasingly viewed with deep suspicion by the American public and the country’s allies overseas

That damage, while subtle, should be measured in the country’s long-term global standing, not quarterly gross domestic product figures or immediate market reaction.

To put the issue in stark terms: the two major US political parties cannot agree to keep the government open over such basic things as immigration, health insurance for children and military spending. How can such a country be trusted with trade deals and military alliances?

The Senate needs 60 votes to keep the government running, and Democrats have opposed a move by Republicans to tie broader government funding to stipulations related to border security and the construction of a controversial border "wall."

Rising chances of a shutdown

The chances of a shutdown over the weekend appeared to rise after GOP Sen. Mike Rounds of South Dakota said he plans to vote against the short-term government funding bill put forward by Republicans. Making matters worse, Rand Paul, the influential Kentucky senator, added his own opposition to the mix

Congress has until the end of Friday to pass a funding bill or the federal government will enter a partial shutdown, including the possible furlough of hundred of thousands of federal workers.

"While the consensus remains that Congress will pass another four-week continuing resolution in order to hammer out a comprehensive budget agreement, the risk of a government shutdown is not negligible," Deutsche Bank economists wrote in a research note.

A report from credit rating firm Standard and Poor’s estimates a government shutdown would cost the economy around $6.5 billion a week.

"If a shutdown were to take place so far into the quarter, fourth-quarter GDP would not have time to bounce back, which could shake investors and consumers and, as a result, possibly snuff out any economic momentum," S&P said.

Gary Rose, who chairs Sacred Heart University’s politics department in Fairfield, Connecticut, told Business Insider the absence of short-run market and economic effects should not cloud longer-term investors’ perceptions of American dysfunction as a significant consideration.

He said the acrimony and infighting precedes Donald Trump’s presidency but has intensified under the former reality TV star's brash, uncompromising demeanor.

"It is sending quite frankly very troubling signals to our allies and the world in general," he said. "The United States is supposed to be sort of the beacon of good government. These shutdowns show we are now entering this era of uncertainty and instability that calls to question the nature of our own political system."

SEE ALSO: Fed officials are scrambling to figure out how to fight the next recession

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Bitcoin can be a bubble and still change the world

Soaring Bitcoin Price Leads $159 Billion Crypto Market Recovery

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

The post Soaring Bitcoin Price Leads $159 Billion Crypto Market Recovery appeared first on CCN

Well, somebody bought the dip. Just as critics were rushing to proclaim that the bitcoin bubble had burst, the markets staged a $159 billion recovery. The rally was headlined by the bitcoin price, which rebounded from its sub-$10,000 fling and is currently flirting with $12,000. Several other top-tier coins, meanwhile, returned single day increases in

The post Soaring Bitcoin Price Leads $159 Billion Crypto Market Recovery appeared first on CCN

Goldman Sachs says Walmart is 'in control of its own destiny' despite retail's troubles (WMT)

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

Walmart

  • Walmart's stock jumped after Goldman Sachs upgraded the company to "Buy" from "Neutral."
  • Goldman added Walmart to its "Americas Conviction List," a group of the bank's favorite stocks to buy.
  • Goldman said that Walmart will be a big beneficiary from the GOP's tax reform law.
  • View Walmart's stock price here.


Shares of Walmart popped on Thursday after it got a blessing from Goldman Sachs, which cited tax reform as a big boon for the stock.

Walmart was upgraded to "Buy" from "Neutral" and its price target was raised to $117, up 14% from current levels. The company was also added to Goldman's "Americas Conviction List," a group of the bank's favorite stocks to buy. 

Though Goldman downgraded the stock last November, an improving economic backdrop is expected to support Walmart's higher valuations, especially as tax reform is fully realized, Matthew Fassler, a Goldman analyst, said.

"Retail is still subject to significant disruption, while WMT, we think, is still very much in control of its own destiny," Fassler said.

Given Walmart's push into e-commerce and same-day delivery services through its acquisition of Bonobos, Jet.com, and Parcel, the analyst said that Walmart's strategy to target middle-income consumers in small-markets is compelling.

Moreover, Fassler expects the recently passed tax reform law to boost consumers' wallets, bringing stronger income growth and spurring spending at stores like Walmart.

The corporate tax cuts and repatriation of cash from overseas could also lead to Walmart reinvesting its tax savings and delivering a higher dividend to shareholders, Fassler said. Walmart has already announced it would raise wages and issue a one-time bonus to employees last week. Fassler projects that the tax cuts should add 10% to its price/margin above the 15% in wage growth. 

Walmart's stock was trading up 1.36% to $103.95 a share on Thursday afternoon. It's up 5.52% for the year.

Read more about how Walmart is taking action to increase its commitment to e-commerce here.

Walmart stock price

SEE ALSO: Here's why Walmart is closing 63 Sam’s Club stores

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: THE BOTTOM LINE: Chipotle vs. Qdoba, the bear case on Apple, and diagnosing a bitcoin bubble

Goldman Sachs says Walmart is 'in control of its own destiny' despite retail's troubles (WMT)

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

Walmart

  • Walmart's stock jumped after Goldman Sachs upgraded the company to "Buy" from "Neutral."
  • Goldman added Walmart to its "Americas Conviction List," a group of the bank's favorite stocks to buy.
  • Goldman said that Walmart will be a big beneficiary from the GOP's tax reform law.
  • View Walmart's stock price here.


Shares of Walmart popped on Thursday after it got a blessing from Goldman Sachs, which cited tax reform as a big boon for the stock.

Walmart was upgraded to "Buy" from "Neutral" and its price target was raised to $117, up 14% from current levels. The company was also added to Goldman's "Americas Conviction List," a group of the bank's favorite stocks to buy. 

Though Goldman downgraded the stock last November, an improving economic backdrop is expected to support Walmart's higher valuations, especially as tax reform is fully realized, Matthew Fassler, a Goldman analyst, said.

"Retail is still subject to significant disruption, while WMT, we think, is still very much in control of its own destiny," Fassler said.

Given Walmart's push into e-commerce and same-day delivery services through its acquisition of Bonobos, Jet.com, and Parcel, the analyst said that Walmart's strategy to target middle-income consumers in small-markets is compelling.

Moreover, Fassler expects the recently passed tax reform law to boost consumers' wallets, bringing stronger income growth and spurring spending at stores like Walmart.

The corporate tax cuts and repatriation of cash from overseas could also lead to Walmart reinvesting its tax savings and delivering a higher dividend to shareholders, Fassler said. Walmart has already announced it would raise wages and issue a one-time bonus to employees last week. Fassler projects that the tax cuts should add 10% to its price/margin above the 15% in wage growth. 

Walmart's stock was trading up 1.36% to $103.95 a share on Thursday afternoon. It's up 5.52% for the year.

Read more about how Walmart is taking action to increase its commitment to e-commerce here.

Walmart stock price

SEE ALSO: Here's why Walmart is closing 63 Sam’s Club stores

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Bitcoin can be a bubble and still change the world

Portugal Consumer Watchdog Scolds Bank for Blocking Bitcoin-Related Transactions

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

The post Portugal Consumer Watchdog Scolds Bank for Blocking Bitcoin-Related Transactions appeared first on CCN

Shortly after revealing a proposal to tax bitcoin investors to make it fair on traditional investors who have to deal with the government taking one-third of their earnings, Portuguese consumer watchdog DECO has stressed that the country’s banks have “no known legal basis” to block bitcoin-related transactions. As CCN recently reported, the Portuguese branch of

The post Portugal Consumer Watchdog Scolds Bank for Blocking Bitcoin-Related Transactions appeared first on CCN

What you need to know on Wall Street today

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

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.

Morgan Stanley released fourth-quarter earnings Thursday, and, like the rest of the big Wall Street banks, it beat analyst expectations.

The bank reported adjusted earnings of $0.84 a share; analysts had been expecting Morgan Stanley to produce adjusted earnings of $0.77 a share. Morgan Stanley is the last of the big US banks to report, and, like the others, its nonadjusted earnings took a one-time hit from the new tax law.

But Morgan Stanley's net $1.2 billion loss on the law — primarily from deferred tax assets that declined in value — came in below the $1.25 billion that analysts projected and well below those of its Wall Street counterparts.

Elsewhere on Wall Street, Goldman Sachs's co-president allegedly had $1.2 million of wine stolen by his assistant. A startup that's helping big banks tackle one of the most vexing problems on Wall Street has landed $38 million in backing. And the CEO of $445 billion fund giant Principal Global Investors says everyone has the economy all wrong.

In crypto news, Morgan Stanley is jumping on the bitcoin futures bandwagon. The owner of the New York Stock Exchange is launching a crypto data product for Wall Street. And bitcoin's bloodbath was totally normal and opened up "the biggest buying opportunity in 2018," according to Tom Lee.

And in tech, Apple on Wednesday announced plans to open a new campus this year as part of an effort to hire 20,000 new workers over the next five years. Here's the latest:

Elsewhere in tech news, 20 cities are left in the running for Amazon's second headquarters — and the story of Disney's secret hunt for land nearly 60 years ago could predict how Amazon's HQ2 will change its home city.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: A crypto expert explains the difference between the two largest cryptocurrencies in the world: bitcoin and Ethereum

‘Shark Tank’ Star Daymond John Has a Key Piece of Advice About Bitcoin

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

Listen up.

Decentralizing the Sharing Economy With Blockchain Technology

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

Decentralizing the Sharing Economy With Blockchain Technology

San Francisco–based startup Origin is creating a set of protocols that allow developers and businesses to build decentralized marketplaces on the blockchain, with a focus on the sharing economy.

The Origin Protocol is a set of open-source blockchain protocols for buyers and sellers of services like car-sharing or home-sharing to transact on a decentralized, open web platform.

The protocol’s applications will store transactional data such as pricing and availability directly on the blockchain.

Leveraging the Ethereum blockchain and the Interplanetary File System (IPFS), the Origin platform will create and book services and goods in a decentralized way, without traditional intermediaries.

Recently, Origin launched its functional, completely decentralized prototype Origin Protocol Demo DApp, live on the Ethereum test network. It also announced that several companies have committed to developing further applications on the Origin platform.

“Our vision for Origin is to create protocols that allow marketplaces to be governed by a set of rules instead of corporate rulers. We want to eliminate the rent-seeking middlemen, maximize personal liberty, reduce censorship and redistribute value to the early participants in the network,” Origin co-founder Josh Fraser said in conversation with Bitcoin Magazine. “Partners are building on Origin because they realize they can get to market sooner and we can share network effects by working together.”

Tackling the Problems of the Centralized Marketplace

Uber and Airbnb, the hugely popular marketplaces for ride-sharing and home-sharing, are usually considered the leading players in the emerging “sharing economy.” Another buzz phrase, “people as a service,” describes the business models of these two companies, both of which attracted funding that values them in the tens of billions of dollars.

Consumers perceive that Uber and Airbnb are faster, cheaper and better alternatives to traditional services like taxis and hotels, delivered via sophisticated yet easy to use apps. But, while the consumer has the impression that they are buying services directly from individual providers in decentralized, P2P networks, Uber and Airbnb are centralized systems where transactions between individual consumers and providers are routed through infrastructure, hubs and software that belong to the companies that own the platform.

Centralization makes Uber and Airbnb vulnerable to regulatory actions, and there is the possibility that both services could be shut down by the government at any time. In the meantime, besides taking a fee, the platform owners are in complete control of the networks and the individual providers and are often accused of predatory behavior.

“Look at Uber and Airbnb as examples,” said Fraser. “Both companies have been banned or heavily regulated in cities all around the world. Likewise, those companies have a history of banning certain individuals for life from ever using their marketplaces.”

Uber and Airbnb (the Services) without Uber and Airbnb (the Companies)

According to data provided by Origin, Uber, Airbnb and other centralized sharing marketplaces are expected to earn $40 billion in platform fees annually by 2022, and the sharing economy as a whole is expected to top $335 billion by 2025. Some centralized sharing services charge upwards of 30 percent fees for hosting transactions.

Origin wants to cut out these middlemen with new standards based on blockchain technology.

The Origin platform “enables people to freely transact on the blockchain in decentralized marketplaces without rent-seeking middlemen,” says Coleman Maher. who recently joined Origin as its first business development hire. “We aim to eliminate excessive transaction fees, reduce censorship and redistribute value back to the community.”

“We imagine a broad collection of vertical use cases (e.g short-term vacation rentals, freelance software engineering, tutoring for hire) that are built on top of Origin standards and shared data,” reads the Origin product brief. Origin applications will be able to share users, creating a “shared network effect” that could benefit all application providers, as well as the consumers.

Bee Token, SnagRide, JOLYY, Acquaint, Aworker, BlockFood, Edgecoin and ODEM have committed to building on the Origin platform. More partners will be announced in the coming months.

The first two projects are in Airbnb and Uber territory. The Bee Token team, a group of former employees from Google, Facebook, Uber and Civic, is building a middleman-free, peer-to-peer network of hosts and guests on the decentralized web, with the stated goal of “reinventing the home sharing economy.” SnagRide is a ride-sharing application for mid– to long-distance rides, which leverages artificial intelligence and blockchain-powered smart contract technologies to smartly manage drivers and passengers willing to travel together between cities and share the cost of the trip.

The Origin ecosystem will offer incentives based on the Origin token, an ERC20 utility token on the Ethereum blockchain, described in the Origin white paper. The Origin token, to be distributed later in 2018, is the currency used for transactions on the Origin platform. However, the Origin team plans to implement on-the-fly conversions of fiat currencies and Ethereum to the Origin token in future releases.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Blockstream Releases Lightning Charge, Launches Test E-Commerce Store

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

Blockstream Releases Lightning Charge, Launches Test E-Commerce Store

Following the release of the first Bitcoin Lightning Network white paper, published in February 2015, developers have been working on Lightning Network implementations to enhance the throughput and usability of the Bitcoin network. For an overview, see this three-part series on “Understanding the Lightning Network.”

In December 2017, lightning developers ACINQ, Blockstream and Lightning Labs, announced the 1.0 release of the Lightning protocol and the world’s first Lightning test payments on the Bitcoin mainnet across all three implementations. The standardization and deployment of the Lightning Network’s second-level, off-chain payment layer is expected to result in instant bitcoin transactions, improved scalability and lower fees, enabling fast and cheap micropayments.

Blockstream’s implementation of the Lightning spec, c-lightning, is a low-level technology designed to implement the Lightning spec without added complexity. At the same time, Blockstream realizes that developer tools are needed to unlock the power of Lightning for advanced applications, such as those that integrate with credit card companies and with existing online payment systems.

Blockstream is releasing the Lightning Charge complementary package for c-lightning to make it simpler to build sophisticated applications on top of c-lightning.

“Web developers will be able to work with c-lightning through their normal programming techniques, and they’ll also get expanded functionality such as currency conversion, invoice metadata, streaming payment updates and webhooks,” reads the Blockstream announcement. “Together, these additions make it easy for developers to use c-lightning to create their own, independent web-payment infrastructures.”

Lightning Charge is a micropayment processing system written in node.js. It exposes the functionality of c-lightning through its REST API, which can be accessed through JavaScript and PHP libraries, both of which have also been released through the Elements Project.

"Lightning Charge makes integration with the Lightning Network much simpler, since it bridges the needs of application developers and the underlying infrastructure, to provide a simple and extensible way to accept Lightning payments," Blockstream developer Christian Decker said in conversation with Bitcoin Magazine.

“Since the introduction of Lightning Charge, less than 48 hours ago, we have seen a dramatic interest in the Lightning Network, both on the user as well as the developer side,” Decker added. “We have gotten a lot of feedback, and the mainnet network has doubled in the number of participants."

The desired effect of the Lightning Charge launch was to reach a wider audience, get early feedback from future users and to showcase what will be possible in a not-so-distant future, and I think we have achieved that goal.

Israeli entrepreneur Nadav Ivgi, founder of Bitrated, worked with Blockstream developers to create Lightning Charge. “Together with him we built this new code, or this immediate piece of software that provides this nicer to use interface,” said Decker.

“So far the development for Lightning has been mostly on the network side of things. It’s been very much this close-knit group of people that are building it and are trying to build the infrastructure. Infrastructure is nice to have. But if nobody can actually use it then it’s not worth much, right?”

To test Lightning Charge, Blockstream is launching the Blockstream Store, a working e-commerce site that allows users to make small purchases of stickers and t-shirts. “By offering an early demonstration of this cutting-edge technology, we hope to bring Lightning to life with real-world functionality, providing a way for you to test Lightning and become a part of the micropayment revolution,” states the Blockstream announcement.

The Blockstream Store, built on WordPress and WooCommerce, connects with Lightning Charge and c-lightning through a WooCommerce Lightning Gateway, which Blockstream also released as part of the Elements Project.

The only way to purchase the items in the Blockstream store is with a Lightning payment. A disclaimer warns that, although the products sold in the store are real, this store is for testing and demonstration purposes only.

“Lightning is still very new and contains known and unknown bugs,” reads the disclaimer, adding that users may lose funds.

"We believe this is an important step towards a full rollout of the network as a whole, however we’d like to remind users that the Lightning Network is still experimental and that testnet is to be preferred for testing before making the jump to mainnet," Decker told Bitcoin Magazine.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

First Bitcoin Futures Contract Settles at $10,900 and the Bears Won Round #1

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

The post First Bitcoin Futures Contract Settles at $10,900 and the Bears Won Round #1 appeared first on CCN

Bears 1. Bulls 0. That’s the score following the settlement of CBOE’s January bitcoin futures contracts, which closed on Wednesday at $10,900 following a steep correction in the spot markets. First Bitcoin Futures Contract Settles at $10,900 as Bears Win Round One CBOE had listed these contracts on Dec. 10, making them the first bitcoin

The post First Bitcoin Futures Contract Settles at $10,900 and the Bears Won Round #1 appeared first on CCN

Netflix may already be in half of all US homes, but it's still growing like crazy (NFLX)

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

Reed Hastings



Netflix is now a household name, recognized across the entire US. And that's probably because more than half of the nation's broadband households have access to a subscription.

With such a high household penetration rate, you'd think Netflix's growth would start to slow. But according to Ben Swinburne, an analyst at Morgan Stanley, the company's subscription numbers and profitability will continue to skyrocket.

"The supposedly mature US market added essentially the same number of customers in '17 as '16, as we see new distribution platforms (MVPDs like Comcast and Verizon, mobile carriers like T-Mobile) embracing Netflix," Swinburne wrote in a note to clients.

The company reported 49.4 million US subscribers in 2016 and had 52.7 million in its most recent quarter. Netflix is set to report fourth-quarter earnings on January 22.

Throughout the rest of the world, Netflix is growing even faster. Swinburne says that younger markets tend to add subscribers more quickly than developed ones, and notes that Netflix's large library of original content will help subscriber numbers in those fledgling regions expand even faster than in previous years.

In 2016, Netflix could be found in about 9% of broadband-enabled homes around the world. In 2017, Swinburne expects that number to grow to 13%, and says it will hit 20% by 2023.

All of this growth will lead Netflix to a healthy bottom line, predicts Swinburne. The company added about $3 billion in revenue last year, but only $450 million of that growth was left after the company invested heavily in programming. This year, Swinburne expects Netflix to add $1 billion of incremental earnings before interest and taxes.

"Despite emerging with the largest global content (ex sports rights) budget in history and boasting a global marketing budget that is akin to that of a major US Hollywood studio, Netflix should still drive meaningful profit growth," wrote Swinburne.

Swinburne raised his price target for Netflix from $235 to $255, about 17% higher than the company's current price.

Read about how Disney is coming to eat Netflix's lunch.

netflix stock price

SEE ALSO: UBS: Netflix is likely to stay on top of the video streaming world despite fierce competition (NFLX)

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: The chief global strategist at Charles Schwab says a bitcoin crash won't infect the rest of the market

Bitcoin, Blockchain, and ICOs: What You Need to Know

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

Bitcoin closeup

While Bitcoin has grabbed most of the attention, permanent advances in computing due to the invention of blockchain technology are likely to come from other innovative solutions. We'll take you through the differences.

The post Bitcoin, Blockchain, and ICOs: What You Need to Know appeared first on ExtremeTech.

CRYPTO INSIDER: Comeback time

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

roller coaster

Welcome to Crypto Insider, Business Insider’s roundup of all the bitcoin and cryptocurrency news you need to know today. Sign up here to get this email delivered direct to your inbox.

Cryptocurrencies are making slight rebounds after this weeks massive slump, with Ripple and other small cryptocurrencies leading the charge

Here are the current standings:

What's happening:

SEE ALSO: A popular bitcoin stock announced a 91-for-1 split that could make it more accessible to the masses

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: THE BOTTOM LINE: Chipotle vs. Qdoba, the bear case on Apple, and diagnosing a bitcoin bubble

CRYPTO INSIDER: Comeback time

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

roller coaster

Welcome to Crypto Insider, Business Insider’s roundup of all the bitcoin and cryptocurrency news you need to know today. Sign up here to get this email delivered direct to your inbox.

Cryptocurrencies are making slight rebounds after this weeks massive slump, with Ripple and other small cryptocurrencies leading the charge

Here are the current standings:

What's happening:

SEE ALSO: A popular bitcoin stock announced a 91-for-1 split that could make it more accessible to the masses

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: THE BOTTOM LINE: Chipotle vs. Qdoba, the bear case on Apple, and diagnosing a bitcoin bubble

CRYPTO INSIDER: Comeback time

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

roller coaster

Welcome to Crypto Insider, Business Insider’s roundup of all the bitcoin and cryptocurrency news you need to know today. Sign up here to get this email delivered direct to your inbox.

Cryptocurrencies are making slight rebounds after this weeks massive slump, with Ripple and other small cryptocurrencies leading the charge

Here are the current standings:

What's happening:

SEE ALSO: A popular bitcoin stock announced a 91-for-1 split that could make it more accessible to the masses

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: THE BOTTOM LINE: Chipotle vs. Qdoba, the bear case on Apple, and diagnosing a bitcoin bubble

CRYPTO INSIDER: Comeback time

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

roller coaster

Welcome to Crypto Insider, Business Insider’s roundup of all the bitcoin and cryptocurrency news you need to know today. Sign up here to get this email delivered direct to your inbox.

Cryptocurrencies are making slight rebounds after this weeks massive slump, with Ripple and other small cryptocurrencies leading the charge

Here are the current standings:

What's happening:

SEE ALSO: A popular bitcoin stock announced a 91-for-1 split that could make it more accessible to the masses

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: The CIO of a crypto hedge fund shares the 3 biggest risks of investing in cryptocurrencies

CRYPTO INSIDER: Comeback time

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

roller coaster

Welcome to Crypto Insider, Business Insider’s roundup of all the bitcoin and cryptocurrency news you need to know today. Sign up here to get this email delivered direct to your inbox.

Cryptocurrencies are making slight rebounds after this weeks massive slump, with Ripple and other small cryptocurrencies leading the charge

Here are the current standings:

What's happening:

SEE ALSO: A popular bitcoin stock announced a 91-for-1 split that could make it more accessible to the masses

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: The CIO of a crypto hedge fund shares the 3 biggest risks of investing in cryptocurrencies

CRYPTO INSIDER: Comeback time

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

roller coaster

Welcome to Crypto Insider, Business Insider’s roundup of all the bitcoin and cryptocurrency news you need to know today. Sign up here to get this email delivered direct to your inbox.

Cryptocurrencies are making slight rebounds after this weeks massive slump, with Ripple and other small cryptocurrencies leading the charge

Here are the current standings:

What's happening:

SEE ALSO: A popular bitcoin stock announced a 91-for-1 split that could make it more accessible to the masses

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: The CIO of a crypto hedge fund shares the 3 biggest risks of investing in cryptocurrencies

The housing market still can't keep up with millennial demand even after its best year in a decade

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

hubhaus

  • New residential construction in the US rose to a 10-year high in 2017, the Census Bureau said in a report Thursday. 
  • But the number of entry-level units still falls short of demand from millennials. 
  • Homebuilders cite rising land and labor costs as barriers to new construction.


By some measures, the housing market just had its best year in a decade. 

On Thursday, the Census Bureau released its final report on new residential construction, completions, and building permits in 2017. All three rose to the highest levels since 2007.  

Construction was strongest in the market for single-family houses — the type that many young, first-time homebuyers want but can't find enough of in large cities. This shortage, combined with a strong jobs market that helped demand for homebuying, helped push home prices to record highs last year. 

"The annual amount of completions necessary just to keep pace with growing millennial demand is estimated at around 1.5 million units — we are just falling short," said Mark Fleming, the chief economist at First American, in a note.

Completions totaled 1.15 million units in 2017.

"Clearly, new construction would have to pick up substantially this year to make much of a dent in our inventory woes," Fleming said.

Screen Shot 2018 01 18 at 9.58.58 AM

The number of homes available for sale in the US fell in 2017 for a third straight year, Zillow said in a report also released on Thursday.

Homebuilders cite rising land and labor costs as barriers to new construction.

Many skilled construction workers fled the industry after the most recent housing crisis, according to the National Association of Homebuilders. This increased the value of those who stayed; a worker's average hourly wage last month was about $29, up from $23 in December 2007, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show

The ongoing shortage of skilled workers could be complicated by policy changes as the federal government seeks to reform legal and illegal immigration, according to Nela Richardson, Redfin's chief economist.

"Residential construction growth in 2018 will depend heavily on immigration policy as 30 percent of US construction workers are foreign-born," Richardson said in a note on Thursday. "Immigration policy that restricts opportunities in construction for foreign workers will make a bad situation worse."

SEE ALSO: ZILLOW: Here are the US cities where the housing shortage is at 'crisis levels'

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Bitcoin can be a bubble and still change the world

Morgan Stanley is jumping on the bitcoin futures bandwagon

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

James Gorman

  • Morgan Stanley is clearing bitcoin futures trades for clients, according to Bloomberg News. 
  • It joins rival Goldman Sachs and a number of large brokerages.


Morgan Stanley has followed the lead of its rival Goldman Sachs and is clearing bitcoin futures trades for clients. 

Jonathan Pruzan, the bank's chief financial officer, said the firm has been clearing bitcoin futures trades made on Cboe Global Markets and CME Group, in an interview with Bloomberg News.

The exchange groups launched bitcoin futures in December, but much of Wall Street has been taking a wait and see approach on the product which is tied to a cryptocurrency known for its spine-tingling volatility. Goldman Sachs is the only other major Wall Street bank known to be clearing bitcoin futures trades, according to Bloomberg.

“If someone wants to do a trade on the futures and settle in cash, we’ll do that,” Pruzan told Bloomberg. “I wouldn’t say it’s been a lot of activity, but it’s for core institutional clients who want to participate in a derivatives transaction.”

Large brokerages such as TD Ameritrade, E*Trade, and Interactive Brokers are allowing some clients to trade futures through their platforms. 

The news is on the heels of a major sell-off in the cryptocurrency markets. During Wednesday's trading session, the total value of the cryptocurrency market fell below $420 billion, almost half of its worth on January 7. 

The markets have since come storming back and at last check the market capitalization for all cryptocurrencies stood at $595 billion, according to CoinMarketCap data.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Expect Amazon to make a surprising acquisition in 2018, says CFRA

Psst! Morgan Stanley is Helping Clients With Bitcoin Futures Contracts

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

The post Psst! Morgan Stanley is Helping Clients With Bitcoin Futures Contracts appeared first on CCN

Morgan Stanley, the world’s fourth-largest investment bank, has been quietly clearing bitcoin futures contracts for clients amid a wider remit to engage cryptocurrencies even further. Morgan Stanley has become the second major Wall Street mainstay to offer bitcoin futures contracts for clients, after Goldman Sachs began offering the service last month. Speaking to Bloomberg, Morgan

The post Psst! Morgan Stanley is Helping Clients With Bitcoin Futures Contracts appeared first on CCN

Hospital groups and the VA are trying to upend the generic drug business

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

In this Monday, Jan. 8, 2018, photo, a nurse administers an I.V. push of antibiotics to patient Alice McDonald at ProMedica Toledo Hospital in Toledo, Ohio.

  • Hospitals have been dealing with drug shortages and rising drug prices for years, in part because there have been fewer generic drugmakers making older medications.
  • In response, a collaboration of five health systems, including the Department of Veterans Affairs, are forming a nonprofit generic drug company. 
  • "The new initiative will result in lower costs and more predictable supplies of essential generic medicines, helping ensure that patients and their needs come first in the generic drug marketplace," the companies said in a news release. 


Hospitals are getting into the generic drug business. 

For years, health systems have been on the hook for skyrocketing drug prices for injections or drugs delivered through IV solutions. And as of Thursday, there were 148 drugs currently facing shortages, according to the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. 

Those shortages include everything from bags of saline solution to common antibiotics. It's something Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Healthcare, and Catholic health systems Ascension, SSM Health, and Trinity Health, along with the Department of Veterans Affairs health administration (a group that in total represents 450 hospitals) want to fix by creating a nonprofit generic drug company. 

"The new initiative will result in lower costs and more predictable supplies of essential generic medicines, helping ensure that patients and their needs come first in the generic drug marketplace," the health systems said in a news release. 

To pull this off, the health systems will need to create a company that's an FDA-approved manufacturer of certain generic medications that will either make the drugs itself or contract with other manufactures to make the generic drugs.

Once the generic drugs are made, the health systems that are part of this group will need to purchase the medications to use in their hospitals, which could give the health systems a lot of power over the generic drug industry.

"If they all agree to buy enough to sustain this effort, you will have a huge threat to people that are trying to manipulate the generic drug market. They will want to think twice," Dr. Kevin Schulman, a professor of medicine at Duke University told The New York Times. 

Why hospitals are facing drug shortages and price hikes

There are a number of explanations for generic drug shortages. Most are related to manufacturing problems. In the cases of saline, Baxter's facilities in Puerto Rico were hit by the hurricanes, adding to existing shortages.  

In other cases, some of the companies which make large portions of the drug simply stop making it, or a drug is only being produced by a single manufacturer.

And therein lies the problem: There simply are not enough companies making the drug to keep up with demand.

It's all part of a consolidation of the manufacturers who produce generic drugs.

US generic companies have had a harder time turning a profit on generic drugs while competing with companies outside the US that are able to make the same drugs at a cheaper cost. That's caused manufacturers to home in on certain generic drugs and discontinue others that don't make as much money.

If a generic manufacturer has a shortage, there's no easy fix — you can't just pass off the job to another company while the first fixes its problems, since getting approval to take on a new drug can take years. It also creates situations in which only one or two companies produce a certain drug, making it vulnerable to price increases. 

SEE ALSO: We're running out of commonly used drugs — and hospitals say it's 'quickly becoming a crisis'

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: A crypto expert explains the difference between the two largest cryptocurrencies in the world: bitcoin and Ethereum

Vanguard's chairman says cryptocurrencies pose an ‘idiosyncratic risk’

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

Vanguard Bill McNabb

  • Vanguard Group chairman F. William McNabb said Thursday that the ongoing cryptocurrency boom worries him “a little bit.”
  • "If something’s too good to be true, it probably is," he told Bloomberg TV.


Vanguard Group chairman F. William "Bill" McNabb remains hesitant about the cryptocurrency craze, he told Bloomberg TV on Thursday.

"The cryptocurrency trading that’s going on right now actually worries me a little bit," he said from China. "I think there’s a lot of leverage, I think there’s a lot of speculation. If something seems to be too good to be true, it probably is."

Vanguard, which controls about $4.5 trillion worth of assets and is the world’s second-largest provider of exchange-traded funds (ETFs), is notably absent from the cryptocurrency space.

Cryptocurrency markets around the world were rocked this week when roughly 43% of the global market cap for the nascent space disappeared in the span of 24 hours. Prices are rebounding Thursday, with the flagship bitcoin back above the $10,000 benchmark it fell below on Wednesday, but the “bloodbath” has brought an air of caution.

"I don’t think it’s systemic, it’s a strong idiosyncratic risk," McNabb said of the slump.

Two blockchain ETFs debuted on Wednesday — one from Vanguard competitor Reality Shares — but not before the Securities and Exchange Commission requested the providers remove “blockchain” from the funds’ names.

ETF’s with a direct link to bitcoin have yet to hit the market, though they are considered the next natural step following the launch of Cboe Global Markets' and CME Group's bitcoin futures offerings in December. Both VanEck and ProShares withdrew their requests for bitcoin ETFs last month. 

Despite the hesitancy, McNabb remains cautiously optimistic about blockchain, the underlying technology for bitcoin and all cryptocurrencies.

"I think the blockchain technology that underlies cryptocurrencies is one of the most exciting developments in technology and I think there’s all kinds of potential uses of it and applications that we’re just beginning to talk about," he told Bloomberg.

SEE ALSO: Sign up to get the most important updates on all things crypto delivered straight to your inbox.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: The chief global strategist at Charles Schwab says stocks will keep soaring in 2018

Ripple and Stellar Lead the Way as Crypto Market Shakes Off Rout

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

The cryptocurrency market is showing early signs of possible recovery, with Ripple and Stellar performing best among the top 10 currencies.

Smaller cryptocurrencies are leading a comeback from the crypto bloodbath

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

tough mudder struggle



The past couple of days have been rough for crypto traders.

Bitcoin and Ethereum, the two largest cryptocurrencies, are down around 20% over the last week in what many referred to as a "bloodbath." But, the coins that aren't at the top of the market capitalization heap are faring a bit better on Thursday, and are bouncing back faster than the major coins.

Many of the cryptocurrencies with mid-sized market caps are posting double-digit gains on Thursday, as angst from possible Asian market crackdowns fades. The potential for increased regulation or a shutdown in South Korean and Russian exchanges wiped around $300 billion of value from the cryptocurrency markets over the course of a couple days.

According to some market watchers, the bone-chilling declines were just part of a regular pattern for cryptocurrencies, though.

"Today's correction might seem cataclysmic to those that are new to the scene, but crypto has been through this roller coaster numerous times before," David Sonstebe, the founder of the IOTA cryptocurrency, told Business Insider's Frank Chapparo.

Here's a roundup of some of the mid-sized cryptos and their moves on Thursday. Prices are of 9:30 AM.

Read more about the cryptocurrency bloodbath and comeback here.

bitcoin price

SEE ALSO: Cryptocurrency markets are rebounding after a massive crash

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Fidelity sector expert: Buy stocks that are sensitive to the economy

Smaller cryptocurrencies are leading a comeback from the crypto bloodbath

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

tough mudder struggle



The past couple of days have been rough for crypto traders.

Bitcoin and Ethereum, the two largest cryptocurrencies, are down around 20% over the last week in what many referred to as a "bloodbath." But, the coins that aren't at the top of the market capitalization heap are faring a bit better on Thursday, and are bouncing back faster than the major coins.

Many of the cryptocurrencies with mid-sized market caps are posting double-digit gains on Thursday, as angst from possible Asian market crackdowns fades. The potential for increased regulation or a shutdown in South Korean and Russian exchanges wiped around $300 billion of value from the cryptocurrency markets over the course of a couple days.

According to some market watchers, the bone-chilling declines were just part of a regular pattern for cryptocurrencies, though.

"Today's correction might seem cataclysmic to those that are new to the scene, but crypto has been through this roller coaster numerous times before," David Sonstebe, the founder of the IOTA cryptocurrency, told Business Insider's Frank Chapparo.

Here's a roundup of some of the mid-sized cryptos and their moves on Thursday. Prices are of 9:30 AM.

Read more about the cryptocurrency bloodbath and comeback here.

bitcoin price

SEE ALSO: Cryptocurrency markets are rebounding after a massive crash

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Fidelity sector expert: Buy stocks that are sensitive to the economy

Smaller cryptocurrencies are leading a comeback from the crypto bloodbath

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

tough mudder struggle



The past couple of days have been rough for crypto traders.

Bitcoin and Ethereum, the two largest cryptocurrencies, are down around 20% over the last week in what many referred to as a "bloodbath." But, the coins that aren't at the top of the market capitalization heap are faring a bit better on Thursday, and are bouncing back faster than the major coins.

Many of the cryptocurrencies with mid-sized market caps are posting double-digit gains on Thursday, as angst from possible Asian market crackdowns fades. The potential for increased regulation or a shutdown in South Korean and Russian exchanges wiped around $300 billion of value from the cryptocurrency markets over the course of a couple days.

According to some market watchers, the bone-chilling declines were just part of a regular pattern for cryptocurrencies, though.

"Today's correction might seem cataclysmic to those that are new to the scene, but crypto has been through this roller coaster numerous times before," David Sonstebe, the founder of the IOTA cryptocurrency, told Business Insider's Frank Chapparo.

Here's a roundup of some of the mid-sized cryptos and their moves on Thursday. Prices are of 9:30 AM.

Read more about the cryptocurrency bloodbath and comeback here.

bitcoin price

SEE ALSO: Cryptocurrency markets are rebounding after a massive crash

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Fidelity sector expert: Buy stocks that are sensitive to the economy

Smaller cryptocurrencies are leading a comeback from the crypto bloodbath

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

tough mudder struggle



The past couple of days have been rough for crypto traders.

Bitcoin and Ethereum, the two largest cryptocurrencies, are down around 20% over the last week in what many referred to as a "bloodbath." But, the coins that aren't at the top of the market capitalization heap are faring a bit better on Thursday, and are bouncing back faster than the major coins.

Many of the cryptocurrencies with mid-sized market caps are posting double-digit gains on Thursday, as angst from possible Asian market crackdowns fades. The potential for increased regulation or a shutdown in South Korean and Russian exchanges wiped around $300 billion of value from the cryptocurrency markets over the course of a couple days.

According to some market watchers, the bone-chilling declines were just part of a regular pattern for cryptocurrencies, though.

"Today's correction might seem cataclysmic to those that are new to the scene, but crypto has been through this roller coaster numerous times before," David Sonstebe, the founder of the IOTA cryptocurrency, told Business Insider's Frank Chapparo.

Here's a roundup of some of the mid-sized cryptos and their moves on Thursday. Prices are of 9:30 AM.

Read more about the cryptocurrency bloodbath and comeback here.

bitcoin price

SEE ALSO: Cryptocurrency markets are rebounding after a massive crash

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: How the sale of Qdoba will impact Chipotle's future

Smaller cryptocurrencies are leading a comeback from the crypto bloodbath

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

tough mudder struggle



The past couple of days have been rough for crypto traders.

Bitcoin and Ethereum, the two largest cryptocurrencies, are down around 20% over the last week in what many referred to as a "bloodbath." But, the coins that aren't at the top of the market capitalization heap are faring a bit better on Thursday, and are bouncing back faster than the major coins.

Many of the cryptocurrencies with mid-sized market caps are posting double-digit gains on Thursday, as angst from possible Asian market crackdowns fades. The potential for increased regulation or a shutdown in South Korean and Russian exchanges wiped around $300 billion of value from the cryptocurrency markets over the course of a couple days.

According to some market watchers, the bone-chilling declines were just part of a regular pattern for cryptocurrencies, though.

"Today's correction might seem cataclysmic to those that are new to the scene, but crypto has been through this roller coaster numerous times before," David Sonstebe, the founder of the IOTA cryptocurrency, told Business Insider's Frank Chapparo.

Here's a roundup of some of the mid-sized cryptos and their moves on Thursday. Prices are of 9:30 AM.

Read more about the cryptocurrency bloodbath and comeback here.

bitcoin price

SEE ALSO: Cryptocurrency markets are rebounding after a massive crash

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: How the sale of Qdoba will impact Chipotle's future

Smaller cryptocurrencies are leading a comeback from the crypto bloodbath

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

tough mudder struggle



The past couple of days have been rough for crypto traders.

Bitcoin and Ethereum, the two largest cryptocurrencies, are down around 20% over the last week in what many referred to as a "bloodbath." But, the coins that aren't at the top of the market capitalization heap are faring a bit better on Thursday, and are bouncing back faster than the major coins.

Many of the cryptocurrencies with mid-sized market caps are posting double-digit gains on Thursday, as angst from possible Asian market crackdowns fades. The potential for increased regulation or a shutdown in South Korean and Russian exchanges wiped around $300 billion of value from the cryptocurrency markets over the course of a couple days.

According to some market watchers, the bone-chilling declines were just part of a regular pattern for cryptocurrencies, though.

"Today's correction might seem cataclysmic to those that are new to the scene, but crypto has been through this roller coaster numerous times before," David Sonstebe, the founder of the IOTA cryptocurrency, told Business Insider's Frank Chapparo.

Here's a roundup of some of the mid-sized cryptos and their moves on Thursday. Prices are of 9:30 AM.

Read more about the cryptocurrency bloodbath and comeback here.

bitcoin price

SEE ALSO: Cryptocurrency markets are rebounding after a massive crash

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: How the sale of Qdoba will impact Chipotle's future

Three major incumbents are dedicating funds to fintech

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

global fintech funding

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

Fintech funding came out of the gate with a strong start in 2018. And now, three big incumbents — US financial holdings company BB&T, UK bank Standard Chartered, and Japanese financial services company SBI Holdings — are adding fuel to this trend by launching new fintech funds.

  • BB&T. The company announced a $50 million fund that will invest in and acquire emerging fintech companies, with the aim of increasing customer satisfaction and lowering operating costs. As part of BB&T’s digital business transformation, it has already developed new digital tools and improved its security to protect client accounts. This new fintech fund will further contribute to BB&T’s overhaul.
  • Standard Chartered. The bank has introduced a new business unit, called SC Ventures, that will invest in new fintechs as well as manage previous investments. The money for investments will be taken from its three-year $3 billion fund launched in 2015, which is dedicated to investing in new technologies. Standard Chartered has already invested in the distributed ledger network Ripple, with which it developed a new cross-border payments platform in November 2017.
  • SBI Holdings. The company aims to raise $450 million for an artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain fund. The fund will start investing this month and be managed by its subsidiary, SBI Investment. An initial 20 billion yen ($180 million) was raised for the fund in two months and investors include 50 domestic and international financial institutions, as well as nonfinancial companies. Investors will also use the solutions of the fintechs to help them grow. SBI previously launched a fintech fund in December 2015, worth 30 billion yen ($270 million), which was the biggest fintech fund in Japan back then.

These three funds demonstrate ongoing interest from incumbents in fintechs globally.That these companies are choosing to up their engagement with fintechs suggests they've been pleased with their strategic investments in the past, and continue to believe that acquiring new technology will bear more fruit than building in-house. This is good news for the fintech industry, as the three incumbents will likely fund a plethora of fintechs and implement their solutions throughout the next year.

Moreover, we will likely see more incumbents increasing their fintech commitments in response to their own investments starting to pay off, demonstrating a sustained focus among legacy players on working with these startups.

Maria Terekhova, research analyst for BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, has written the definitive Fintech Ecosystem report that:

  • Looks at how the environment in which the fintech industry operates is changing, and what that means for the digitization of financial services.
  • Gives an overview of the main subsegments within the global fintech industry, and discusses which categories have had to adapt to survive, which have reaped benefits from their original game plans, and which new segments have come to the fore in the past twelve months.
  • Outlines the adaptations that incumbent financial institutions have begun making to adjust to an economy that's inevitably shifting to digital, and in which tech-savvy fintechs are increasingly setting the standards.
  • Discusses what the future of financial services will look like as fintech embeds itself into the financial mainstream.

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

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

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The CEO of $445 billion fund giant Principal Global Investors says everyone has the economy all wrong

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

  • Business Insider recently spoke with Jim McCaughan, CEO of Principal Global Investors, a fund manager with $445 billion in assets. 
  • McCaughan thinks the economy is growing faster than GDP numbers suggest, because of the improvement in technology and quality of goods and services.
  • “I think we’re better off than the numbers say we are and there’s maybe 1% more growth and 1% less inflation than most people think,” he said when asked about current economic indicators.
  • “Tech stocks are the future and I think that's one of the reasons why the equity market is justified at this level and why the economy is changing the way it is,” he said when asked about the future of tech stocks.


Following is a transcript of the interview as aired on "The Bottom Line." It has been edited for clarity.

Sara Silverstein: So when you look at the economic picture right now, what do you think people are missing?

Jim McCaughan: I think they're missing the impact of technology, and I think it's being underestimated by a lot of commentators. What I mean by that is the consistent improvement in quality of goods and services is not reflected in the official data. If you think about it, the economy is really growing faster than the GDP numbers suggest, because the improvement in quality has accelerated. It's always been built into the GDP numbers, but inadequately. I'd also point out on the economy that capital investment is now a lot more productive than it used to be.

Nanotechnology

Technology makes sure of that, whether it's the sharing economy that brings assets into productive use, like say Airbnb. Or maybe it's if you have a factory that's working 24/7 with robots, or as it used to be, a shift system with people. So the capital stock is working much harder. All of this means the interest rates are and will stay lower than most people thought. And I think they're missing this and I think it's important for the valuation of every other asset, including equities.

Silverstein: Can you just start with valuations and tell me why you're not worried about equities dropping from the historically high valuations measured by things like the CAPE ratio?

McCaughan: Well, I would suggest that equities are not yet in anything like bubble territory. With tax reform having gone through and reduced the tax rate on corporations, like it or loathe it, it does improve corporate earnings. And what you've got is corporate earnings and a market on about 20 times, which is a 5% earnings yield. Now the 10-year yield which you'd compare it with is 250.

So that's a pretty good margin for equity risk. I would regard equities in the current situation, so long as we don't expect a recession in the next two or three years, as a buy on setbacks.

Silverstein: And what about tech stocks?

McCaughan: Tech stocks are the future and I think that's one of the reasons why the equity market is justified at this level and why the economy is changing the way it is. And, you know, I'd point out that in the US market as a whole, the top four or five stocks are mostly technology. Facebook, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, those are the really big stocks in the US market. That means there is a market here that can grow and can develop and can really drive a lot of the future of the world. If you look at other markets around the world, they're old economy stocks.There are many fine companies in Europe, but they're financials, they're manufacturing stocks. HSBC, BP,those are the biggest stocks in the European market. That isn't really where the economy's going in the future. So I think Europe, relative to the US, has been a value trap for the last two or three years and will continue to be so.

In this June 2, 2015 file photo, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal speaks during a ceremony announcing a $300 million expansion of Google's data center operations in Lithia Springs, Ga.

Silverstein: You say that technology is building in some deflation and that that'll keep interest rates low?

McCaughan: I suspect that's right. You know, it's one of the puzzles, most economic commentators if they'd been shown four or five years ago what the US economy has done, they'd have said, 'Woah, rates will be high, the 10-year will be 4% or 5%, the short rates will be 3%.' You know, they'd have said that rates had to go up, because at the current sort of economy 20 years ago, they would have. What they're missing is the fact that the prospective inflation is a lot less, because of the rapid adoption of technology. And I think that means that the valuations remain OK on equities. The same's true of commercial real estate. It's done very well,but it's still not overly extended, given the likely outlook for interest rates.

Silverstein: So for 2018,you think that the economy can continue to expand and that US equities can continue to rise?

McCaughan: Here's what I would say, which I hope is a helpful comment. There's a 80% probability it continues to be pretty good; 80% probability you get 2% or 3% growth on the flawed GDP numbers that we've been talking about; that you see profit growth even after the acceleration caused by lower tax rates. So a 80% probability things are all pretty benign; inflation doesn't really hit.  So you've got bond yields around the current level, maybe up a bit at the short end. And as the Fed tightens further, you could see equities be a bit better. What's the other 20%?

Silverstein: What is it?

McCaughan: The other 20% is the negative tail risk mostly from geopolitics. Something bad happening in Korea. It looks less likely at the moment, but you know military hostilities are still possible. Something bad happening in the Gulf; there's a lot of change going on in Saudi Arabia that we hope goes well. But if it goes badly, it could interrupt oil supplies to a lot of the world.

Trump kim jong un

A trade war, you know, it doesn't look at the moment as if we're going to pull out of NAFTA, but if we did, that would hurt supply chains. Any of those and a number of other things could cause the market to go down quite sharply, and could bring the next bear market forward, but I don't think it's the most likely outcome. That's why I give it a 20% probability. I think that the real decline — absent policy errors — is two or three years away. If you like, in terms of the '98, '99 internet boom,  we are still in early '98;  we're not in late '99. If that's true, that's quite a long way to go on the markets.

Silverstein: And just to go back to the improper measures of where we are economically speaking, what percentage are we missing in GDP and inflation? How much are those off by?

McCaughan: Well I suspect inflation may be overstated by about 1% per annum. And that GDP therefore may be understated by about 1% per annum. And, you know, if you want to have a very general understanding of how that works, here's a question sometimes asked of graduate students in economics — if you took a typical income, say $70,000 a year, would you rather live now or in 1900? And most people will say there's been so much inflation, I'll go for 1900. But then if you really think about it, you wouldn't have technology, you wouldn't have antibiotics, routine diseases that are easily cured now would kill you, life would be pretty uncomfortable, no appliances. How do you keep in contact with people? You can't travel and see the world. In a 1900, even if you are rich, would be pretty miserable. There's an example of the very long term quality improvement I'm talking about. And I think that continues at a very rapid rate. So I think we're better off than the numbers say we are and there's maybe one percent more growth and one percent less inflation than most people think.

Silverstein: I have to ask about bitcoin. What do you think and what do you think people don't understand?

McCaughan: Well, I'm not sure any of us really understand it, because things will come through over the next few years. It's a big enough phenomenon to be quite important. The thing I'd say about bitcoin is — there is no fundamental value. It could just as easily double as it could go to zero. It did an enormous rise last year; it's roughly halved in the last couple of weeks. This is not a surprising behavior. From $10,000, it could go to near zero, and it could go easily up to well beyond its previous high, just because there's no fundamental value there. But there could be fundamental value in the future if it became, for example, a medium of exchange — a real coin. But I would argue that with all the funds that have been set up, all the financial instruments using bitcoin, the prospect of it becoming a medium of exchange is more distant now than it was. So I think the fundamentals don't look very good for creating any fundamental value in bitcoin. It's become a kind of substitute for gold, but at the moment. It doesn't look like it will displace it.

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Balding Prince William has finally shaved his head — take a look back at the road to acceptance

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

prince will hair   wide

  • Prince William has shaved his head, suggesting he has finally embraced baldness.
  • Photos of the freshly shaven head emerged on social media on January 18. 


His thinning hairline has long been the subject of ridicule by the media, but it appears that Prince William has finally embraced baldness.

New photos have emerged of the Prince debuting a freshly shaven head, suggesting he has finally taken the plunge.

The photos were taken while the Duke of Cambridge met Sir Hugh Taylor, chairman of Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, in London on January 18.

Here he is debuting the new cut. 

prince w

Some close-up shots also emerged on Twitter.

The move appears to have been a drawn-out process.

Here's a photo of him in October, with a slightly longer, albeit wispy 'do.

GettyImages 862815380

In 2015, at the launch of the Centrepoint Awards, he looks to have combed some of it over. 

wills 2

On safari back in 2014 he had more hair, but a clear receding hairline.

Prince william

But one thing is for sure — we can officially say RIP to the head of hair he once had.

GettyImages 2078229

SEE ALSO: There's a theory for why Prince William always holds George's hand in public while Kate looks after Charlotte — and experts on royals say it could be true

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NOW WATCH: A crypto expert explains the difference between the two largest cryptocurrencies in the world: bitcoin and Ethereum

Cryptocurrency Market Recovers as Bitcoin, Ethereum, et al. Spike 20%

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

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After experiencing a 2-day slump during which the price of most cryptocurrencies including bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, and Bitcoin Cash declined significantly, the cryptocurrency market has started to recover. Major Cryptocurrencies Surge in Value Cryptocurrencies in the top 20 rankings of the global cryptocurrency market have recorded large gains over the past few hours. Ripple in

The post Cryptocurrency Market Recovers as Bitcoin, Ethereum, et al. Spike 20% appeared first on CCN

Cryptocurrency Market Recovers as Bitcoin, Ethereum, et al. Spike 20%

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

The post Cryptocurrency Market Recovers as Bitcoin, Ethereum, et al. Spike 20% appeared first on CCN

After experiencing a 2-day slump during which the price of most cryptocurrencies including bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, and Bitcoin Cash declined significantly, the cryptocurrency market has started to recover. Major Cryptocurrencies Surge in Value Cryptocurrencies in the top 20 rankings of the global cryptocurrency market have recorded large gains over the past few hours. Ripple in

The post Cryptocurrency Market Recovers as Bitcoin, Ethereum, et al. Spike 20% appeared first on CCN

The owner of the New York Stock Exchange is launching a crypto data product for hedge funds

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

FILE PHOTO: An electric board showing exchange rate between South Korean Won and Bitcoin at a cryptocurrencies exchange in Seoul, South Korea, December 13, 2017.  REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji/File Photo

  • ICE, the owner of the New York Stock Exchange, is launching a new cryptocurrency data feed. 
  • It's teaming up with Blockstream to launch the product, which is aimed at hedge funds. 


Intercontinental Exchange, the Atlanta-based owner of the New York Stock Exchange, announced Thursday it is gearing up for the launch of a cryptocurrency data feed built for hedge fund clients. 

The so-called Cryptocurrency Data Feed, which ICE built in partnership with blockchain tech company Blockstream, will draw information from 15 cryptocurrency exchanges, according to a release on the news. 

“With the broad array of cryptocurrencies and exchanges, and given the price variances between exchanges, it’s critical that investors have a comprehensive source of pricing information,” said ICE data services president and COO, Lynn Martin, in a press release.

Blockstream, a San Francisco-based blockchain tech company, is behind a number of projects aimed at enhancing the the underpinning technology of bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency on the market. 

The feed is set to launch in March and will join a family of more than 450 real-time data feeds operated by ICE. Such a product could be easily integrated into the infrastructure of banks and hedge funds which already utilize the exchange's other data feeds. 

The news is on the heels of a massive sell-off in the cryptocurrency markets. During Wednesday's trading session, the total value of the cryptocurrency market fell below $420 billion, almost half of its worth on January 7. 

The markets have since come storming back and at last check the market capitalization for all cryptocurrencies stood at $582 billion, according to CoinMarketCap data.

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NOW WATCH: A crypto expert explains the difference between the two largest cryptocurrencies in the world: bitcoin and Ethereum

TOM LEE: Bitcoin's bloodbath was totally normal, and now offers 'the biggest buying opportunity in 2018'

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

Tom Lee

  • Tom Lee, the managing partner and head of research at Fundstrat Global Advisors, sees bitcoin's recent slump as a buying opportunity.
  • He notes that bitcoin has seen similar patches of wild volatility in recent months, and that the 34% decline seen over the past two days is normal.


Tom Lee doesn't get all the fuss about bitcoin's recent skid, which some experts characterized as a "bloodbath."

Sure, the wildly popular cryptocurrency plunged as much as 34% in just two days, hitting an intraday low near the $9,185 level, but Lee says that sort of whipsawing price action is normal for bitcoin.

Lee, the managing partner and head of research at Fundstrat Global Advisors, points out that bitcoin has seen similar fluctuations over the last two years. He notes that since mid-2016, it's seen six rallies of more than 75%, and six selloffs exceeding 25%.

The chart below shows this pattern at work. As Lee puts it: "what happens in years in equity markets is months in the crypto-world."

Screen Shot 2018 01 18 at 8.48.33 AM

Because bitcoin has repeatedly shown the ability to recover from similarly-sized drops in recent months, Lee sees depressed levels as offering an opportunity for bulls to increase exposure.

"We think the best way to think about sell-offs is to look at it through the lens of retracements — how much of the prior rise is given back," he wrote in a client note. "We view this $9,000 as the biggest buying opportunity in 2018 — and we would be buyers at levels around here."

It would appear that Lee's forecast for a rebound is already being fulfilled, as bitcoin has rallied roughly 20% off its overnight low.

On a longer-term basis, Lee remains extremely bullish not just on bitcoin, but on cryptocurrencies in general. He sees the total crypto market cap exceeding $1.2 trillion, with digital currencies leading the way, and he says that the newest generation of consumers are the key.

"Looking beyond 2018, adoption of blockchain is powered by millennials and outside the US," said Lee. "Millennials are the largest population cohort at 96 million and are now just entering their prime income years — surveys show millennials have low trust in existing financial institutions and we see this demographic driving adoption."

SEE ALSO: These 14 stocks will see sales skyrocket in 2018, Goldman Sachs says

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NOW WATCH: Facebook and Google need to capture more of the ad market to justify valuations

Ripple's XRP is leading the cryptocurrency comeback

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

Ripple XRP price

  • Cryptocurrencies of all sizes got smoked this week, when a “bloodbath” of sell-offs wiped out roughly 43% of the world’s total cryptocurrency market cap.
  • But the highly-volatile space appears to be making a comeback on Thursday, with Ripple’s XRP cryptocurrency leading the charge.


XRP, the third-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, has gained over 75% since Wednesday’s lows, trading at $1.589 per coin Thursday morning, according to Markets Insider data.

The digital coin had plunged well below the $1 mark on Wednesday, bottoming out at $0.8771, in the depths of a global cryptocurrency sell-off.

Less than two weeks ago, the cryptocurrency market reached an all-time high above $830 billion, before fears that South Korea, China, and Russia were all mulling crackdowns on mining and exchanges lead to a global sell off.

XRP, which was invented by Ripple for global payments and bank transfers, lost 73% of its value in less than a month. Those steep losses could have amounted to as much as a $12 billion hit for co-founder Chris Larsen, who owns 5.71 billion units of XRP.

To be sure, XRP is still more than 5,000% above its price a year ago. The high volatility of cryptocurrencies has attracted both Wall Street and retail investors looking to find more alpha than they could in the highly-regulated and much less volatile stock market.

"Most people who were buying bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies most recently, are not using them for transactions, but holding them in the expectation of profiting from the endless rising price," Hussein Sayed, chief market strategist at FXTM, said in an email on Thursday morning.

"Whether the animal spirits have already released their grip, remains to be seen and this cannot be ascertained from a two-day slump."

Track the price of XRP in real-time on Markets Insider here>>

SEE ALSO: Sign up to get the most important updates on all things crypto delivered straight to your inbox.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Fidelity sector expert: Buy stocks that are sensitive to the economy

Ripple's XRP is leading the cryptocurrency comeback

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

Ripple XRP price

  • Cryptocurrencies of all sizes got smoked this week, when a “bloodbath” of sell-offs wiped out roughly 43% of the world’s total cryptocurrency market cap.
  • But the highly-volatile space appears to be making a comeback on Thursday, with Ripple’s XRP cryptocurrency leading the charge.


XRP, the third-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, has gained over 75% since Wednesday’s lows, trading at $1.589 per coin Thursday morning, according to Markets Insider data.

The digital coin had plunged well below the $1 mark on Wednesday, bottoming out at $0.8771, in the depths of a global cryptocurrency sell-off.

Less than two weeks ago, the cryptocurrency market reached an all-time high above $830 billion, before fears that South Korea, China, and Russia were all mulling crackdowns on mining and exchanges lead to a global sell off.

XRP, which was invented by Ripple for global payments and bank transfers, lost 73% of its value in less than a month. Those steep losses could have amounted to as much as a $12 billion hit for co-founder Chris Larsen, who owns 5.71 billion units of XRP.

To be sure, XRP is still more than 5,000% above its price a year ago. The high volatility of cryptocurrencies has attracted both Wall Street and retail investors looking to find more alpha than they could in the highly-regulated and much less volatile stock market.

"Most people who were buying bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies most recently, are not using them for transactions, but holding them in the expectation of profiting from the endless rising price," Hussein Sayed, chief market strategist at FXTM, said in an email on Thursday morning.

"Whether the animal spirits have already released their grip, remains to be seen and this cannot be ascertained from a two-day slump."

Track the price of XRP in real-time on Markets Insider here>>

SEE ALSO: Sign up to get the most important updates on all things crypto delivered straight to your inbox.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Fidelity sector expert: Buy stocks that are sensitive to the economy

Ripple's XRP is leading the cryptocurrency comeback

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

Ripple XRP price

  • Cryptocurrencies of all sizes got smoked this week, when a “bloodbath” of sell-offs wiped out roughly 43% of the world’s total cryptocurrency market cap.
  • But the highly-volatile space appears to be making a comeback on Thursday, with Ripple’s XRP cryptocurrency leading the charge.


XRP, the third-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, has gained over 75% since Wednesday’s lows, trading at $1.589 per coin Thursday morning, according to Markets Insider data.

The digital coin had plunged well below the $1 mark on Wednesday, bottoming out at $0.8771, in the depths of a global cryptocurrency sell-off.

Less than two weeks ago, the cryptocurrency market reached an all-time high above $830 billion, before fears that South Korea, China, and Russia were all mulling crackdowns on mining and exchanges lead to a global sell off.

XRP, which was invented by Ripple for global payments and bank transfers, lost 73% of its value in less than a month. Those steep losses could have amounted to as much as a $12 billion hit for co-founder Chris Larsen, who owns 5.71 billion units of XRP.

To be sure, XRP is still more than 5,000% above its price a year ago. The high volatility of cryptocurrencies has attracted both Wall Street and retail investors looking to find more alpha than they could in the highly-regulated and much less volatile stock market.

"Most people who were buying bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies most recently, are not using them for transactions, but holding them in the expectation of profiting from the endless rising price," Hussein Sayed, chief market strategist at FXTM, said in an email on Thursday morning.

"Whether the animal spirits have already released their grip, remains to be seen and this cannot be ascertained from a two-day slump."

Track the price of XRP in real-time on Markets Insider here>>

SEE ALSO: Sign up to get the most important updates on all things crypto delivered straight to your inbox.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Bitcoin can be a bubble and still change the world

Ripple's XRP is leading the cryptocurrency comeback

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

Ripple XRP price

  • Cryptocurrencies of all sizes got smoked this week, when a “bloodbath” of sell-offs wiped out roughly 43% of the world’s total cryptocurrency market cap.
  • But the highly-volatile space appears to be making a comeback on Thursday, with Ripple’s XRP cryptocurrency leading the charge.


XRP, the third-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, has gained over 75% since Wednesday’s lows, trading at $1.589 per coin Thursday morning, according to Markets Insider data.

The digital coin had plunged well below the $1 mark on Wednesday, bottoming out at $0.8771, in the depths of a global cryptocurrency sell-off.

Less than two weeks ago, the cryptocurrency market reached an all-time high above $830 billion, before fears that South Korea, China, and Russia were all mulling crackdowns on mining and exchanges lead to a global sell off.

XRP, which was invented by Ripple for global payments and bank transfers, lost 73% of its value in less than a month. Those steep losses could have amounted to as much as a $12 billion hit for co-founder Chris Larsen, who owns 5.71 billion units of XRP.

To be sure, XRP is still more than 5,000% above its price a year ago. The high volatility of cryptocurrencies has attracted both Wall Street and retail investors looking to find more alpha than they could in the highly-regulated and much less volatile stock market.

"Most people who were buying bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies most recently, are not using them for transactions, but holding them in the expectation of profiting from the endless rising price," Hussein Sayed, chief market strategist at FXTM, said in an email on Thursday morning.

"Whether the animal spirits have already released their grip, remains to be seen and this cannot be ascertained from a two-day slump."

Track the price of XRP in real-time on Markets Insider here>>

SEE ALSO: Sign up to get the most important updates on all things crypto delivered straight to your inbox.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Bitcoin can be a bubble and still change the world

Nando's just opened a recording studio in the middle of its central London restaurant — and it's free to use

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

Soho Studio_9056

  • Restaurant chain Nando's has launched a high-tech recording studio in central London.
  • The studio is available to use completely free to successful applicants.
  • The chain has worked with the likes of Stormzy and Ella Eyre to mentor new artists.


Cult restaurant chain Nando's may be known for its peri-peri chicken, but it could soon become a name in the music industry.

Nando's has opened a recording studio inside its Soho, London restaurant, complete with an in-house sound engineer and industry-standard equipment — including a Neumann U87 microphone.

And the equipment is branded, of course.

Soho Studio_9165

The studio, which is visible to diners in the restaurant, is targeted at "budding producers, artists, and DJs" — and it's available completely free to successful applicants.

Here's what you can see as a diner:

Soho Studio_8889c

The chain, which claims to have been "fueling the music industry backstage" for years, just entered into the fourth year of its Nando's Music Exchange, a programme which "inspires the exchange of global music influences through mentoring, workshops, and explosive events."

The programme has seen the likes of Stormzy and Ella Eyre mentor young artists — and now they have a new place to do so, open five days a week.

Nando's Studio 9359

The company said it hopes to grow its network of artists through the programme, adding: "Some of the best ideas have started over PERi-PERi (or so we’re told), so we’re looking forward to hearing what happens when we bring together chicken and tunes!"

Interested artists can apply here.

Nando's Studio 9291

SEE ALSO: Inside the most reviewed eatery in the world, a Portuguese bakery where the most popular dish costs less than £1

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NOW WATCH: A crypto expert explains the difference between the two largest cryptocurrencies in the world: bitcoin and Ethereum

Morgan Stanley jumps after reporting better than expected fourth-quarter earnings (MS)

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

James Gorman



Morgan Stanley edged higher on Thursday after it reported fourth-quarter earnings that beat analysts' expectations.

The Wall Street bank reported adjusted earnings of $0.84 a share compared to an expected $0.77 adjusted earnings per share.

In line with Wall Street's expectations of a short-term impact from the new tax law, Morgan Stanley also took a net $1.2 billion loss as a result of the law, primarily from deferred tax assets that declined in value. The loss still came in below Wall Street estimates.

The bank also had a weak quarter for fixed income sales and trading, taking a 46% decline in revenues from that sector. This is on par with rival Goldman Sachs, which saw a 50% decline in revenue from its trading unit, a historically bad quarter for bond trading.

Morgan Stanley's stock was trading up 1.39% at $56.12 per share before the opening bell. It was up 8.08% for the year. Shares of other major banks were flat on Thursday morning.

Some of the banks are listed below with their current trading prices. Click on each name to go to its real-time chart. You can also see when each bank reports its earnings here.

Read more about a single client that is affecting the earnings of major Wall Street banks here.

Morgan Stanley stock price

SEE ALSO: A 'single client' is blowing a hole through Wall Street bank earnings

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NOW WATCH: THE BOTTOM LINE: Chipotle vs. Qdoba, the bear case on Apple, and diagnosing a bitcoin bubble

Ripple Price Surges 49% as Market Shakes Off Wednesday Woes

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

The post Ripple Price Surges 49% as Market Shakes Off Wednesday Woes appeared first on CCN

The ripple price surged by 49 percent on Thursday as the cryptocurrency markets made a $177 billion recovery from Wednesday’s low-point. Ripple Price Makes 49 Percent Recovery Like all cryptocurrencies, this week’s market movements have dealt ripple a losing hand. After peaking near $4 earlier this month, the ripple price plunged as low as $0.88

The post Ripple Price Surges 49% as Market Shakes Off Wednesday Woes appeared first on CCN

The crypto bloodbath is over: 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, U.S., May 6, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

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

Here's Lutz:

Good morning! US Futures are unchanged, digesting yesterday’s rally to new highs, as the street noodles over Upbeat China Data released. While the Talking Heads are focused on the “Shutdown” – we are seeing little angst as smokesignals from DC show a chance of a can kicktomorrow. AAPL headers have a fire under Tech shares globally, helping the DAX jump 40bp early, with Banks in rally mode just behind. HC Shares continue to stumble, while Yield Sectors like utilities, telecom and real-estate companies under pressure. Rising Sterling is a headwind for FTSE, which is off 35bp with every sector except for the miners under pressure. Mixed Overnight in Asia - TOPIX Lost 70bp - Hang Seng gained 40bp - Shanghai popped 90bp - KOSPI Flat, while Aussie off tiny as Miners continued to see pressure.

The 10YY Jumping over 2.6% and $ rallying on hawkish banter from Fed Heads and AAPL’s repatriation headlines, while the ECB heads still trying to jawbone down Euro. Sterling catching a nice bid, nearing $1.39, while South Korea’s Won getting hit as their central banks stays unch. Inflation hawks are eyeballing 10Y Breaks over 2.06%, but the stronger dollar has Gold under pressure early. Bitcoin is drifting around unch as more headers come about a Asia crackdown. Ore was up 1% in China, and we finally have a bid in Copper, climbing 60bp early. WTI is resting just over $64 as Nigeria angst and a bigger API draw help buoy the complex into DoE data in a few hours. 

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 CIO of a crypto hedge fund shares the 3 biggest risks of investing in cryptocurrencies

The crypto bloodbath is over: 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, U.S., May 6, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

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

Here's Lutz:

Good morning! US Futures are unchanged, digesting yesterday’s rally to new highs, as the street noodles over Upbeat China Data released. While the Talking Heads are focused on the “Shutdown” – we are seeing little angst as smokesignals from DC show a chance of a can kicktomorrow. AAPL headers have a fire under Tech shares globally, helping the DAX jump 40bp early, with Banks in rally mode just behind. HC Shares continue to stumble, while Yield Sectors like utilities, telecom and real-estate companies under pressure. Rising Sterling is a headwind for FTSE, which is off 35bp with every sector except for the miners under pressure. Mixed Overnight in Asia - TOPIX Lost 70bp - Hang Seng gained 40bp - Shanghai popped 90bp - KOSPI Flat, while Aussie off tiny as Miners continued to see pressure.

The 10YY Jumping over 2.6% and $ rallying on hawkish banter from Fed Heads and AAPL’s repatriation headlines, while the ECB heads still trying to jawbone down Euro. Sterling catching a nice bid, nearing $1.39, while South Korea’s Won getting hit as their central banks stays unch. Inflation hawks are eyeballing 10Y Breaks over 2.06%, but the stronger dollar has Gold under pressure early. Bitcoin is drifting around unch as more headers come about a Asia crackdown. Ore was up 1% in China, and we finally have a bid in Copper, climbing 60bp early. WTI is resting just over $64 as Nigeria angst and a bigger API draw help buoy the complex into DoE data in a few hours. 

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 chief global strategist at Charles Schwab says stocks will keep soaring in 2018

10 things you need to know before the opening bell

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

flaming horse

Here is what you need to know.

Morgan Stanley beats on fourth-quarter earnings despite big hit to trading revenues. The firm reported adjusted earnings of $0.84 a share, exceeding the consensus analyst estimate of $0.77 a share.

Apple appears to be bringing nearly $245 billion home from overseas. The company said on Wednesday that it will make about $38 billion in tax payments to bring funds kept overseas back to the United States under new federal tax laws.

Bitcoin is making a comeback. The cryptocurrency, which slipped below the key technical level of $10,000 overnight, has now rebounded almost 20% from that low. The buying has also extended to all major altcoins.

There's one chart that explains what's driving the stock market's record-breaking explosion. It shows the degree to which the S&P 500 has tracked corporate earnings revisions, with a recent spike in the latter helping the index to new all-time highs.

Apple is taking a page out of Amazon's playbook by teasing its new campus. The company announced on Wednesday, among other initiatives, that it plans to build a new campus in the US, as part of an effort to hire 20,000 new Apple employees over the next five years.

Buses carrying Apple and Google workers had their windows broken in a series of targeted highway attacks. The incidents happened in both the morning and evening on both directions of Highway 280, between the cities of Woodside and Cupertino, where Apple is headquartered.

What 12 major analysts from banks like Goldman, JPMorgan, and Morgan Stanley think of bitcoin. Their takes vary, with some considering it worthless, while others sees practical uses for it.

Stock markets around the world are stronger. China's Shanghai Composite (+0.87%) surged, while Germany's DAX (+0.43%) climbed. The S&P 500 is set to open unchanged near 2,804.50.

Earnings reports continue to be released. Morgan Stanley has already reported, while Bank of New York Mellon and BB&T are also set ot report before the market open. American Express and IBM are due to announced quarterly earnings after the market close.

US economic data reports are dueHousing starts and building permits will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET, along with initial jobless claims. The US 10-year yield is up 3 basis points at 2.58%.

SEE ALSO: These 14 stocks will see sales skyrocket in 2018, Goldman Sachs says

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Facebook and Google need to capture more of the ad market to justify valuations

10 things you need to know before the opening bell

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

flaming horse

Here is what you need to know.

Morgan Stanley beats on fourth-quarter earnings despite big hit to trading revenues. The firm reported adjusted earnings of $0.84 a share, exceeding the consensus analyst estimate of $0.77 a share.

Apple appears to be bringing nearly $245 billion home from overseas. The company said on Wednesday that it will make about $38 billion in tax payments to bring funds kept overseas back to the United States under new federal tax laws.

Bitcoin is making a comeback. The cryptocurrency, which slipped below the key technical level of $10,000 overnight, has now rebounded almost 20% from that low. The buying has also extended to all major altcoins.

There's one chart that explains what's driving the stock market's record-breaking explosion. It shows the degree to which the S&P 500 has tracked corporate earnings revisions, with a recent spike in the latter helping the index to new all-time highs.

Apple is taking a page out of Amazon's playbook by teasing its new campus. The company announced on Wednesday, among other initiatives, that it plans to build a new campus in the US, as part of an effort to hire 20,000 new Apple employees over the next five years.

Buses carrying Apple and Google workers had their windows broken in a series of targeted highway attacks. The incidents happened in both the morning and evening on both directions of Highway 280, between the cities of Woodside and Cupertino, where Apple is headquartered.

What 12 major analysts from banks like Goldman, JPMorgan, and Morgan Stanley think of bitcoin. Their takes vary, with some considering it worthless, while others sees practical uses for it.

Stock markets around the world are stronger. China's Shanghai Composite (+0.87%) surged, while Germany's DAX (+0.43%) climbed. The S&P 500 is set to open unchanged near 2,804.50.

Earnings reports continue to be released. Morgan Stanley has already reported, while Bank of New York Mellon and BB&T are also set ot report before the market open. American Express and IBM are due to announced quarterly earnings after the market close.

US economic data reports are dueHousing starts and building permits will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET, along with initial jobless claims. The US 10-year yield is up 3 basis points at 2.58%.

SEE ALSO: These 14 stocks will see sales skyrocket in 2018, Goldman Sachs says

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Facebook and Google need to capture more of the ad market to justify valuations

10 things you need to know before the opening bell

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

flaming horse

Here is what you need to know.

Morgan Stanley beats on 4th-quarter earnings despite big hit to trading revenue. The firm reported adjusted earnings of $0.84 a share, exceeding the consensus analyst estimate of $0.77 a share.

Apple appears to be bringing nearly $245 billion home from overseas. The company on Wednesday said it would make about $38 billion in tax payments to bring funds kept overseas back to the US under new federal tax laws.

Bitcoin is making a comeback. The cryptocurrency, which slipped below the key technical level of $10,000 a coin overnight, has now rebounded almost 20% from that low. The buying has also extended to all major altcoins.

One chart explains what's driving the stock market's record-breaking explosion. It shows the degree to which the S&P 500 has tracked corporate earnings revisions, with a recent spike in the latter helping the index to new all-time highs.

Apple is taking a page out of Amazon's playbook by teasing its new campus. The company announced on Wednesday, among other initiatives, that it planned to build a new campus in the US as part of an effort to hire 20,000 new Apple employees over the next five years.

Buses carrying Apple and Google workers had their windows broken in a series of targeted highway attacks. The incidents happened in both the morning and the evening on both directions of Highway 280, between the California cities of Woodside and Cupertino, where Apple is headquartered.

What 12 major analysts from banks like Goldman, JPMorgan, and Morgan Stanley think of bitcoin. Their takes vary, with some considering it worthless and others seeing practical uses for it.

Stock markets around the world are stronger. China's Shanghai Composite (+0.87%) surged, while Germany's DAX (+0.43%) climbed. The S&P 500 is set to open unchanged near 2,804.50.

Earnings reports continue to be released. Morgan Stanley has already reported, while Bank of New York Mellon and BB&T are also set to report before the market open. American Express and IBM are due to announce quarterly earnings after the market close.

US economic data reports are due. Housing starts and building permits will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET, along with initial jobless claims. The US 10-year yield is up 3 basis points at 2.58%.

SEE ALSO: These 14 stocks will see sales skyrocket in 2018, Goldman Sachs says

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: The chief global strategist at Charles Schwab says stocks will keep soaring in 2018

10 things you need to know before the opening bell

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

flaming horse

Here is what you need to know.

Morgan Stanley beats on 4th-quarter earnings despite big hit to trading revenue. The firm reported adjusted earnings of $0.84 a share, exceeding the consensus analyst estimate of $0.77 a share.

Apple appears to be bringing nearly $245 billion home from overseas. The company on Wednesday said it would make about $38 billion in tax payments to bring funds kept overseas back to the US under new federal tax laws.

Bitcoin is making a comeback. The cryptocurrency, which slipped below the key technical level of $10,000 a coin overnight, has now rebounded almost 20% from that low. The buying has also extended to all major altcoins.

One chart explains what's driving the stock market's record-breaking explosion. It shows the degree to which the S&P 500 has tracked corporate earnings revisions, with a recent spike in the latter helping the index to new all-time highs.

Apple is taking a page out of Amazon's playbook by teasing its new campus. The company announced on Wednesday, among other initiatives, that it planned to build a new campus in the US as part of an effort to hire 20,000 new Apple employees over the next five years.

Buses carrying Apple and Google workers had their windows broken in a series of targeted highway attacks. The incidents happened in both the morning and the evening on both directions of Highway 280, between the California cities of Woodside and Cupertino, where Apple is headquartered.

What 12 major analysts from banks like Goldman, JPMorgan, and Morgan Stanley think of bitcoin. Their takes vary, with some considering it worthless and others seeing practical uses for it.

Stock markets around the world are stronger. China's Shanghai Composite (+0.87%) surged, while Germany's DAX (+0.43%) climbed. The S&P 500 is set to open unchanged near 2,804.50.

Earnings reports continue to be released. Morgan Stanley has already reported, while Bank of New York Mellon and BB&T are also set to report before the market open. American Express and IBM are due to announce quarterly earnings after the market close.

US economic data reports are due. Housing starts and building permits will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET, along with initial jobless claims. The US 10-year yield is up 3 basis points at 2.58%.

SEE ALSO: These 14 stocks will see sales skyrocket in 2018, Goldman Sachs says

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: The chief global strategist at Charles Schwab says stocks will keep soaring in 2018

Why Warren Buffett's Right About Bitcoin

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

Investing is not just about movement, but momentum.

A startup that's helping big banks tackle one of the most vexing problems on Wall Street has landed $38 million in backing

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

lloyd blankfein goldman sachs chairman and ceo

  • Visible Alpha, a technology company that aims to help banks excel in a MiFID world, landed $38 million in a fundraise led by Goldman Sachs. 
  • The firm counts a slew of Wall Street banks including Bank of America, Citi, and Morgan Stanley, as backers. 

 

MiFID II, a European regulatory overhaul with far reaching implications on Wall Street research, has arrived. And now banks are asking themselves how they can make their research stand out. 

To help answer that question, a group of big banks led by Goldman Sachs has poured $38 million into Visible Alpha, a financial technology startup, in a fundraising round announced Thursday. The company seeks to provide research units with technology to enhance the value of their research, and help investors figure out how much research is worth to them. The company's platform allows buyside clients to keep track of calls with analysts and the value of research notes, for instance. 

“Visible Alpha empowers investment professionals to redefine their research experience with technology that brings relevant and quantified insights to the forefront,” said Scott Rosen,  chief executive of Visible Alpha, in a statement. 

MiFID II requires banks on the continent to unbundle their services. As such, they can't charge for trade execution, research, and other services in one package. 

"We are looking to help them differentiate themselves and tell stories in a way that is valuable," Rosen told Business Insider.

Other backers of the company include Royal Bank of Canada, Santander, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and Morgan Stanley.

Join the conversation about this story »

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Bitcoin Is Back Above $11,500, But Bulls Not Out of the Woods Yet

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

Despite a sharp recovery to over $11,500 today, bitcoin's price is still on shaky ground, the charts suggest.

Paycent Debit Cards Keep Hopes of Mass Digital Payment Adoption Alive

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

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This is a submitted sponsored story. CCN urges readers to conduct their own research with due diligence into the company, product or service mentioned in the content below. There have been a few blows in recent times to the digital currency revolution. The Bitcoin price boom came with a rise in fees which made it hard … Continued

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You can now bid on the black outfits celebrities wore to the Golden Globes — and the money will go to the same cause they did it for

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

time's up collage 2

  • Almost every celebrity on the red carpet wore black at this year's Golden Globes.
  • The stunt was to raise awareness for Time's Up — a movement against sexual harassment in the workplace.
  • Now, some of the black dresses and tuxes are being auctioned off on eBay from Friday.
  • You could also take home a Stella McCartney gown for as little as $25 (£18) in a raffle.


2018's Golden Globes' red carpet had all the glamour, flashing cameras, and celebrities that it usually does, but there was one big difference — almost everyone was wearing black.

Both men and women donned black attire in support of Time's Up — an organisation founded earlier this year by 300 women who work in film, television, and theatre who want to confront sexual harassment in the workplace and hold predators accountable.

Now, publishing giant Condé Nast — known for the likes of Vogue and Vanity Fair — is teaming up with Time's Up and eBay to auction off a selection of the black dresses and tuxedos donned by celebrities last Sunday night.

The auction will, of course, raise money for the Time's Up cause.

group golden globes getty frazer harrison

The auctions will launch on eBay on Friday January 19 at 5 p.m. GMT, or 12 p.m. EST.

Dresses worn by the likes of Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Viola Davis, Margot Robbie, Meryl Streep, and more will feature among the listings.

All of the money raised will go to Time's Up Legal Defense Fund, which subsidises legal support for women who have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace and otherwise may not have the money or means to seek legal advice or defence to hold their harassers, attackers, and abusers to account.

If you want to get involved but aren't sure that your funds will stretch as far as a designer dress worn by an A-List celebrity, there'll also be a $25 (£18)-a-ticket raffle where tickets holders can win dresses designed by Stella McCartney, Diane von Furstenberg, and Rosie Assoulin. If your ticket comes up, you can choose which of the three dresses you want to take home.

Nicole Kidman, Zoe Kravitz, Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern and Shailene Woodley getty frederick m. brown

"At Condé Nast, we've always believed in the importance of swift action to support meaningful social change," said Anna Wintour, artistic director of Condé Nast and editor-in-chief of Vogue.

"Through this auction powered by eBay for Charity, and harnessing the compelling pull of both fashion and activism, we're hopeful that the black dresses worn at this year's historic Golden Globe Awards will raise funds for the Time's Up initiative, and serve to support the stories and voices of those who have been victims of sexual misconduct."

The Time's Up website states:

"To every women employed in agriculture who has had to fend off unwanted sexual advances from her boss, every housekeeper who has tried to escape an assaultive guest, every janitor trapped nightly in a building with a predatory supervisor, […] and to women in every industry who are subjected to indignities and offensive behaviour that they are expected to tolerate in order to make a living: We stand with you. We support you."

SEE ALSO: Keira Knightley doesn't like playing modern-day characters because they 'nearly always get raped'

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: A crypto expert explains the difference between the two largest cryptocurrencies in the world: bitcoin and Ethereum

MORGAN STANLEY: Here are 2 alternative sources of income if you're trying to avoid 'lower-quality' stocks and bonds

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

oil rig worker

  • Markets may not see a repeat of last year's strong returns on risky assets like stocks. 
  • Meanwhile, the yields on high-quality assets like Treasurys are historically low. 
  • For alternative sources of income, investors can use dividend growers and Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs), according to Morgan Stanley Wealth Management. 


2017 was a spectacular year for markets. But there's no guarantee that we'll be talking about an encore this time next year.

Morgan Stanley's Wealth Management unit recognizes this, and is adjusting accordingly.

"We are starting from a very different place than in 2017," a team led by Lisa Shalett said in a note on Tuesday. "Valuations for both equities and fixed income are elevated, while late-cycle risks — particularly in the US — are rising."

To that end, the team is advising two sources of income that are alternatives to "lower-quality bonds and equities:" stocks that have consistently grown their dividends, and Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs).

"During periods of high equity valuations, stocks that have consistently grown their dividends have outperformed," Shalett wrote. "Furthermore, consistent dividend growers are not expensive relative to their own history, in sharp contrast to the broad equity market."

The team did not provide any specific individual stock ideas, although the myriad of exchange-traded funds that track dividend growers might be good starting points. Goldman Sachs' dividend-growth basket gained 24% last year, more than the S&P 500's 19% gain.

Publicly traded limited partnerships are another attractive source of income in this market environment, Shalett said.

Considered favorites after the financial crisis, these partnerships offered tax benefits together with high yields, and were a common business structure for many of America's oil pipelines. But the oil-price collapse that started in mid-2014 sunk MLPs because many of them had taken on too much debt. 

Morgan Stanley is not counting them out just yet.   

"Today, MLPs offer a yield of 750 basis points, nearly 200 bps above that of high yield bonds," Shalett wrote.

"While some of last year’s weakness was certainly driven by fundamentals, as a result of the industry moving toward self-funding, growing commodity prices and volumes, cheap valuations, underlying credit strength, and reduced tax uncertainty suggest 2018 may offer stronger price action."

One area the team is not so bullish on is so-called bond proxies: sectors like utilities and consumer staples known for paying consistent dividends and not closely linked to economic cycles. That's because they can underperform the market during periods of rising interest rates, Shalett said.  

Screen Shot 2018 01 17 at 3.34.01 PM

SEE ALSO: There's a 'significant risk to markets' that's a bigger worry than where the economy is headed next

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NOW WATCH: The chief global strategist at Charles Schwab says a bitcoin crash won't infect the rest of the market

Here comes Morgan Stanley ... (MS)

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

James gorman

Morgan Stanley is set to report fourth-quarter results at about 7 am Thursday. 

It's the last to report of the big US banks. Its Wall Street competitors have each exceeded expectations thus far, despite taking sizable losses attributable to tax reform. 

Analysts are expecting Morgan Stanley to produce adjusted earnings of $0.77 a share.

But they're expecting the firm to report a non-adjusted loss of $0.33 a share after accounting for an estimated $1.25 billion hit from the new tax law, primarily from deferred tax assets that declined in value. 

Still, that's a much smaller one-time tax loss than competitors reported: JPMorgan earlier reported a $2.4 billion fourth-quarter loss, Citigroup a $22 billion loss, Bank of America a $2.9 billion loss, and Goldman Sachs a $4.4 billion loss

Each of the banks has been buoyant about the long-term prospects of tax reform, however. 

Here's what else analysts will be looking for from Morgan Stanley:

  • Revenues of $9.24 billion
  • Adjusted net income of $1.43 billion
  • Like the rest of Wall Street, a decline in trading revenues — especially in fixed income. How will the results stack up with Goldman Sachs and other rivals?
  • An increase in investment banking revenues
  • Any exposure to Steinhoff International?

As a refresher, Steinhoff International is the scandal-wracked South African retailer that has been singlehandedly blowing a hole through Wall Street bank earnings, reappearing in the fourth-quarter announcements of major banks as the culprit for hundreds of millions in unexpected, one-time losses.

A group of Wall Street banks loaned money last year to an entity controlled by Christo Wiese, the former chairman of Steinhoff, and they subsequently sold off chunks of the loan to other banks. The deal went belly-up after Steinhoff stock cratered.

Will Morgan Stanley be on the hook for any substantial amount?

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NOW WATCH: A crypto expert explains the difference between the two largest cryptocurrencies in the world: bitcoin and Ethereum

Bitcoin Wallet Ledger Raises Mammoth $75 Million in Series B Funding

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

The post Bitcoin Wallet Ledger Raises Mammoth $75 Million in Series B Funding appeared first on CCN

French cryptocurrency hardware startup Ledger has announced a new $75 million Series B round of funding to ramp up operations and keep up with demand for products like its hardware bitcoin wallet. Paris-based cryptocurrency and blockchain security firm Ledger has raised €61 million ($75 million) from investors in a Series B round led by UK-based

The post Bitcoin Wallet Ledger Raises Mammoth $75 Million in Series B Funding appeared first on CCN

How the 'Brussels Effect' will continue to run Britain's economy long after Brexit

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

Protesters wave the EU and Union flags outside the Palace of Westminster, London, Britain, December 20, 2017

  • Brexit backers promise that EU departure will liberate the UK from the grip of Brussels.
  • The reality is likely to be very different.
  • It comes down the "Brussels effect," a term coined by law professor Anu Bradford which describes the huge and growing influence Europe's single market wields over companies across the world.


LONDON — Speaking last year, foreign secretary Boris Johnson said it would be "madness" to leave the EU "without taking back control of our regulatory freedoms," adding that Britain "may just may want to do things differently" after Brexit.

It echoes a key pledge from Brexit backers before the referendum: That EU departure would liberate the UK from the grip of Brussels, allowing Britain to forge its own future as an independent trading powerhouse.

The reality is likely to be very different. "In many ways, the promise of taking the UK out of the EU's regulatory leash was one of the biggest false promises of the campaign, because it's not going to happen," Anu Bradford, an EU legal expert and professor of law at Columbia University, told Business Insider.

Why? It comes down the "Brussels effect," a term coined by Bradford which describes the huge and growing influence Europe's single market wields over companies across the world.

What is the Brussels effect?

The idea is simple enough. Companies operating in markets with different rules tend to adopt the toughest set of rules, because the alternative would be running several different compliance systems for the same product.

The EU has some of the strictest regulations of any market in the world — generally much higher than the US, its rival in the battle for regulatory supremacy — and any company which wants to access the EU's lucrative market needs to comply with those regulations.

In essence, therefore, the EU sets global rules across a huge range of areas, including food, chemicals, competition, and the protection of privacy.

"There are very few companies that can afford to forego Europe. It's [a market of] over 500 million relatively wealthy consumers," Bradford said.

"Few global companies can divert all their trade and find enough business opportunities in the US or in China, which also are big markets. It's very unlikely that if your scale is big enough you can just say that you don't care about the EU market."

Take the example of REACH, the EU's chemical regulator, which sets rules for everything from toys and paint to furniture and fabrics. US regulators dislike Reach, because it sets the barriers for a product entering the market much higher than the US does.

But many big US companies such as the Dow Chemical Company are now committed to producing Reach-compliant dossiers on all their products, regardless of whether they are sold in the EU.

Or take the example of the EU's strict new privacy regulations, which come into force in May. North American companies like Microsoft will still have to comply with those regulations if they want to avoid huge fines the EU plans to levy on tech companies which flout its rules.

"Microsoft has a single global privacy policy and that's the EU's privacy policy," Bradford said. "It's very hard for them to take advantage of laxer privacy regulations somewhere."

"If you have customers in the EU, this [new privacy legislation] matters to you," Brad Smith, Microsoft’s chief legal officer and president of Microsoft Corp told the Financial Post in November. "If you have employees in the EU, this matters to you. If you’ve even heard of the EU, this matters to you."

What does the "Brussels effect" mean for Brexit?

In the decades-long battle for regulatory supremacy between the EU and the US, the former appears to be winning — and that should have big repercussions for post-Brexit Britain.

The UK and EU are yet to decide what their trading relationship will look like after Brexit. Options range from full single market membership to a no-deal scenario which sees the UK revert to World Trade Organisation tariffs.

The Brussels effect suggests, however, that UK companies will continue to comply with EU regulation anyway — whatever their politicians decide. 

"It's the market forces that convert the EU standard into the global standard," Bradford said. It is the market forces, too, which will likely keep the UK bound to the EU long after it leaves.

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The founder of one of Britain's biggest hedge funds thinks the Bank of England is 'embarrassing' itself by being too negative on Brexit

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

Mark Carney

  • Paul Marshall, cofounder of $34 billion UK hedge fund, Marshall Wace, accuses the Bank of England of anti-Brexit bias.
  • The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street's forecasts since the vote have been "so far adrift as to be embarrassing," Marshall wrote in the Financial Times.
  • Marshall was a major backer of the leave campaign during the run up to the referendum, and donated around £100,000 to the campaign.


LONDON — Paul Marshall, a cofounder of British hedge fund giant Marshall Wace has accused the Bank of England of being excessively negative about Brexit, and by doing so, says the central bank is at risk of endangering its credibility with the general public.

Writing in the Financial Times on Wednesday, Marshall said that the bank's persistently pessimistic forecasts about the negative economic impacts of the vote to leave the EU could now be considered to mark the beginnings of what he called a "systematic cognitive bias."

"All of us have these types of biases and good economic forecasters are careful to be aware of their own prejudices," Marshall wrote.

"Not so the Bank of England. It has now come to embody anti-Brexit cognitive bias to such a degree that it endangers its credibility as an institution."

Marshall, it should be noted, was a major backer of the leave campaign during the run up to the referendum, and donated around £100,000 to the campaign.

The biggest point of criticism of the bank, Marshall wrote, centres around its August 2016 forecasts — the first set after the referendum.

"The bank’s forecasts were so far adrift as to be embarrassing. And because the Bank of England not only makes predictions but also sets monetary policy, poor forecasting can lead to poor policy," Marshall, whose firm has assets under management of close to $34 billion.

"Those errant forecasts provided the rationale for last year’s emergency cut in interest rates and additional quantitative easing that were, with the benefit of hindsight, unnecessary."

Marshall's article resurfaces criticisms that were aggressively levelled at the bank soon after the referendum, when numerous leave backing politicians called for the resignation of Governor Mark Carney, over what they saw as Carney's embodiment of the bank's anti-Brexit biases. 

In late 2016, Carney faced attacks from the likes of former Tory leader William Hague, failed Conservative party leadership candidate Michael Gove, and former chancellors Norman Lamont and Nigel Lawson.

Most of his critics at the time felt he was too supportive of the Remain campaign prior to the EU referendum, and had politicised a role that is supposed to be purely technocratic.

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“Bitcoin Laundering” Study: Where Do Criminals Turn to Mask Illicit Cryptoassets?

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

Bitcoin laundering study

A recent study (PDF) from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance and blockchain analytics company Elliptic explored the “bitcoin laundering” ecosystem. In the study, Elliptic’s forensic analysis of the Bitcoin blockchain and other publicly available data were used to track the flows of illicit funds from 2013 to 2016.

“This study aimed to identify where individuals turn in order to cash out or transmit bitcoins (BTC) acquired from illicit entities and to discover typologies for criminals ‘laundering’ bitcoins,” the report says.

The study describes bitcoin laundering as a special type of money laundering that exists within the Bitcoin network where a user moves some bitcoins to a new address in a manner that obscures the original source of funds. The conversion of bitcoins into fiat currency on exchanges that lack adequate anti-money laundering (AML) and know-your-customer (KYC) policies can also fall under the category of bitcoin laundering.

In addition to describing the common mechanisms for bitcoin laundering and explaining that this sort of activity is a small percentage of all transactions sent to exchanges and other conversion services, the study also offers some recommendations for law enforcement in terms of preventing the masking of illicit funds on the Bitcoin network.

It should go without saying that any study related to the dark web or illicit use of the Bitcoin network needs to be taken with a grain of salt because avoiding detection is the whole reason for a criminal to use these sorts of platforms in the first place.

The Bitcoin Laundering Ecosystem

Much of the study, which is titled “Bitcoin Laundering: An Analysis of Illicit Flows Into Digital Currency Services,” revolves around the use of “conversion services.” Conversion services are basically platforms where users convert bitcoins to fiat currency (a Bitcoin exchange) or another cryptocurrency (a cryptoexchange), or move the bitcoins to another Bitcoin address accessible to the user. This results in a flow of funds that cannot be viewed or traced directly on the public blockchain.

According to the study, darknet markets are the main source of funds that are sent to conversion services in bitcoin laundering attempts.

Additionally, the number of illicit services that could be the source of “dirty bitcoins” sent to a conversion service increased fivefold from 2013 to 2016. Having said that, the study finds that the sources of illicit funds entering conversion services are quite centralized.

“Only a small number of entities account for the majority of illicit activity in our sample,” the study says. “Nine of the 102 illicit entities were the source of more than 95 percent of all laundered bitcoins in our study. All nine were darknet marketplaces.”

bitcoin-laundering_Figure1.png

While exchanges are the most commonly used type of conversion service, bitcoin mixers and gambling sites have much more illicit funds coming into their platforms as a percentage of their overall transactions. As potential conduits for bitcoin laundering, these two types of conversion services benefit from concealing their country of operations and avoiding enforcement of AML regulations.

“Fewer than 10 percent of all transactions overall passed through unknown jurisdictions ... while 52 percent of illicit laundering went through them,” the study says.

Much like the sources of illicit funds, the conversion services where these funds are sent are also highly centralized, the study finds. The data indicates that 97 percent of illicit transaction volume at mixers and gambling sites goes through three different entities. Additionally, two platforms in Europe account for half of all illicit transfers that go into exchanges.

Not Much Bitcoin Laundering Activity Overall, and It’s on the Decline

Another notable aspect of the study is that the data indicates a low level of bitcoin laundering as a percentage of all payments sent to conversion services.

“The amount of observed Bitcoin laundering was small (less than one percent of all transactions entering conversion services),” notes the study.

The report clarifies that the actual volume of illicit Bitcoin transactions sent to conversion services is “almost surely to be significantly larger” than what the data in the study shows because intermediate transactions are not counted. In other words, the report only covers transactions made directly from an illicit source, such as a darknet market, to a conversion service.

The study also indicates a decrease in illicit Bitcoin transaction volume going to conversion services over time.

bitcoin-laundering_Figure2.png

“It is likely that illicit bitcoins fell as a percentage of total volume entering conversion services due to the cryptocurrency’s increasing popularity as a speculative investment as well as new laundering techniques,” the study says. “The drop may also reflect better AML/CFT compliance by conversion services, including the use of blockchain analysis services to determine customers’ source of funds.”

The study later adds, “Our study, the first of its kind, indicates that while most types of conversion services have received some bitcoins from illicit activity, the vast majority of the funds they receive do not appear to be illicit.”

Recommendations for Law Enforcement That Will Likely Fall Short

The report offers recommendations for law enforcement in terms of what they can do to combat the effectiveness of bitcoin laundering.

First, the study says proper KYC and AML policies need to be enforced on the bitcoin mixers and gambling sites that allow for anonymous usage. It notes that the three conversion services that account for 97 percent of bitcoin laundering on these types of platforms should be targeted by financial authorities.

“The fact that most mixers and gambling sites hide their location of operations indicates they probably seek to evade the basic regulations in place to uphold transparency and financial integrity standards in most jurisdictions,” adds the study.

Of course, it should be noted that targeting these sorts of services will become nearly impossible as they become more decentralized over time. Decentralized platforms like JoinMarket, TumbleBit and ZeroLink remove the ability for authorities to clamp down on bitcoin mixing in an effective manner, as these solutions act more as software than services.

Second, the report also calls for increased AML and KYC compliance at European exchanges.

“Many large European Bitcoin exchanges do implement robust AML policies,” says the study. “However, this is out of choice rather than obligation, and there are some who choose not to, possibly to attract business from criminals.”

The study adds that the European Union is already moving in the right direction via an update of their 2015 Anti-Money Laundering Directive to include fiat-to-cryptocurrency exchanges, but in the view of the authors of the paper, crypto-to-crypto exchanges must also be regulated in this manner.

Again, it needs to be pointed out that more problematic technology — at least from law enforcement’s point of view — is on the horizon in the form of decentralized cryptoexchanges. Through the use of cross-chain atomic swaps via the lightning network, users will be able to instantly trade between different cryptoassets without the need for a trusted third party.

Third, the study calls for a sort of propaganda campaign against the use of darknet markets by criminals and the general public at large.

“Law enforcement should increase customer skepticism about [darknet market] sites’ integrity and reduce the perceived security of such platforms by exposing their vulnerabilities publicly,” says the study.

The report adds that law enforcement should make it well known that they’re lurking on these darknet markets to further shake confidence in them.

Darknet markets are another area of the Bitcoin ecosystem that are becoming more decentralized through platforms such as OpenBazaar. While illicit activity on the OpenBazaar network appears to be limited at this time, it could potentially explode in popularity as a reaction to law enforcement’s hypothetical campaigns against the centralized darknet markets.

Fourth, the report praises the decision by financial authorities in the United States to regulate exchanges as Money Service Businesses. The authors of the paper would like to see this sort of policy rolled out worldwide.

Last, the study notes the need to prevent the illicit use of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to get around economic sanctions imposed by the United States or other nations.

“In addition to mitigating illicit finance risks like criminal money laundering, there will likely be a need to develop strategies to counter state actors aiming to use cryptocurrencies to circumvent U.S., EU, and UN sanctions.”

Recently, there have been reports of North Korea, Russia and Venezuela all looking into separate mechanisms for avoiding economic sanctions through the use of cryptocurrencies.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

No one in the markets is scared, and that should scare everyone

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

The Fear Factor casting tour bus arrives at the Hard Rock Cafe on March 20, 2003 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by )

  • "The fact that the fear is gone is the main reason why we should be worried," Joachim Fels, a global economic advisor to PIMCO said.
  • Markets are rallying aggressively as the global economic expansion continues into its 10th year.
  • Fels, however, urged caution, pointing to rising inflation as a possible source of woe for investors.


"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself," Franklin Roosevelt famously said in his in inaugural address as US president.

Fast forward 85 years, and the thing that should be scaring us — from a financial market perspective at least — is the lack of fear. That's according to a senior figure at PIMCO, the dominant fixed-income-focused money manager.

"The fact that the fear is gone is the main reason why we should be worried," Joachim Fels, a global economic advisor to PIMCO, said during an interview on Bloomberg TV on Wednesday.

"That means most investors are now pretty fully invested and that means they will want to get out if the markets start to correct — exacerbating the downdraft."

Fels' basic argument is that investors are now so used to the good times, that they are simply not prepared for the fact that things could start to turn, especially as inflation rises and central banks prepare to normalise monetary policy.

This is especially true given that global equity markets are enjoying a somewhat spectacular start to the year, and according to data cited by Bloomberg, the MSCI World Index — which tracks major stock indices around the world — is up close to 5% in the first three weeks of January, it's best start to a year in three decades.

"We do worry about a coming correction," Fels said, arguing that a healthy dose of worry could be a positive for investors right now.

"We’ve seen a big rally, markets are still going higher, but this is now a time for caution, and for prudence. We think that first of all you need some exposure to rising inflation."

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: A crypto expert explains the difference between the two largest cryptocurrencies in the world: bitcoin and Ethereum

Ethereum is back below $1,000

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

eth

  • Cryptocurrencies falling again on Thursday morning, although the sell-off is not as bad as the past two days.
  • Ethereum is back below $1,000. Bitcoin is also falling.


LONDON — The cryptocurrency market's wild week is continuing on Thursday, with many major digital assets falling after a brief respite overnight.

Cryptocurrency markets tanked on Tuesday and Wednesday, before a slight pickup during late US and Asian trading on Wednesday. But the rollercoaster price action doesn't appear to be over, with major cryptocurrencies falling again during morning trade in London.

The most notable drop is Ethereum, which has fallen back below the psychologically significant level of $1,000. The cryptocurrency is down over 4% at 8.20 a.m. GMT (3.20 a.m. ET). Bitcoin is also falling, down almost 3% against the dollar at the same time.

You can follow the live prices for most major cryptocurrencies here.

There are multiple theories as to what is causing this week's slump in the cryptocurrency markets, ranging from Chinese Lunar New Year to bitcoin futures crashing the market. Read a full roundup of the theories here.

Hussein Sayed, chief market strategist at FXTM, said in an email on Thursday morning: "Finding a fair value in cryptocurrencies is an impossible mission, as animal spirits will remain the key driver.

“Most people who were buying bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies most recently, are not using them for transactions, but holding them in the expectation of profiting from the endless rising price. Whether the animal spirits have already released their grip, remains to be seen and this cannot be ascertained from a two-day slump.

"Brick and mortar stores have been very slow to accept cryptocurrencies as a method of payment. This is what worries me most. If we don’t see growth in their acceptance as payment method, then it is not serving its true purpose."

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Netflix is headed for a huge profit milestone in 2018

French cryptocurrency storage startup Ledger raises $75 million

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

ledger

  • Ledger raises $75 million from Draper Espirit, FirstMark Capital, Cathay Innovations, and Korelya Capital.
  • The Paris-based company makes hardware for your to store cryptocurrencies offline with.


LONDON — Venture capital fund Draper Espirit has led a $75 million (£54 million; €61 million) investment round into cryptocurrency storage company Ledger.

Paris-based Ledger makes so-called "cold storage" devices for cryptocurrencies, allowing people to store their digital assets on offline hardware away from the reach of hackers.

Founded in 2014, the company has sold over 1 million of these devices since launch and is already profitable. Ledger's products start at €94.

Ledger_product3

FirstMark Capital, Cathay Innovation, and Korelya Capital also took part in the $75 million Series B investment. Ledger's valuation has not been disclosed in the round.

Matt Turck, managing director at FirstMark Capital, said: "Considering the massive amounts of money flowing into the ecosystem, there is no more pressing need at this stage than a bullet-proof security infrastructure."

CEO Eric Larchevêque said in a release announcing the deal: "These funds will be used to keep investing significantly in R&D while scaling our operations and deploying our teams globally."

Ledger plans to launch a new product pitched at financial institutions, the Ledger Vault, that will "enable banks, hedge funds and family offices to manage their crypto assets," it said in a statement.

Draper Esprit CEO Simon Cook said: "Blockchain, as evidenced by crypto assets, is a truly revolutionary technology. Security will be paramount to its success and we believe that Ledger has built the world’s best security platform to manage private keys for all blockchain and crypto asset applications."

Ken Rumph, a Jefferies analyst who covers Draper Espirit, said in a note sent to clients on Thursday that Ledger is "not so much shovels in the gold rush as strongboxes."

"Covering >20 coins/tokens including Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ether, Ledger also serves other secure blockchain use cases in autonomous vehicles and IoT, for instance," Rumph wrote.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Expect Amazon to make a surprising acquisition in 2018, says CFRA

French cryptocurrency storage startup Ledger raises $75 million

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

ledger

  • Ledger raises $75 million from Draper Espirit, FirstMark Capital, Cathay Innovations, and Korelya Capital.
  • The Paris-based company makes hardware for your to store cryptocurrencies offline with.


LONDON — Venture capital fund Draper Espirit has led a $75 million (£54 million; €61 million) investment round into cryptocurrency storage company Ledger.

Paris-based Ledger makes so-called "cold storage" devices for cryptocurrencies, allowing people to store their digital assets on offline hardware away from the reach of hackers.

Founded in 2014, the company has sold over 1 million of these devices since launch and is already profitable. Ledger's products start at €94.

Ledger_product3

FirstMark Capital, Cathay Innovation, and Korelya Capital also took part in the $75 million Series B investment. Ledger's valuation has not been disclosed in the round.

Matt Turck, managing director at FirstMark Capital, said: "Considering the massive amounts of money flowing into the ecosystem, there is no more pressing need at this stage than a bullet-proof security infrastructure."

CEO Eric Larchevêque said in a release announcing the deal: "These funds will be used to keep investing significantly in R&D while scaling our operations and deploying our teams globally."

Ledger plans to launch a new product pitched at financial institutions, the Ledger Vault, that will "enable banks, hedge funds and family offices to manage their crypto assets," it said in a statement.

Draper Esprit CEO Simon Cook said: "Blockchain, as evidenced by crypto assets, is a truly revolutionary technology. Security will be paramount to its success and we believe that Ledger has built the world’s best security platform to manage private keys for all blockchain and crypto asset applications."

Ken Rumph, a Jefferies analyst who covers Draper Espirit, said in a note sent to clients on Thursday that Ledger is "not so much shovels in the gold rush as strongboxes."

"Covering >20 coins/tokens including Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ether, Ledger also serves other secure blockchain use cases in autonomous vehicles and IoT, for instance," Rumph wrote.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Expect Amazon to make a surprising acquisition in 2018, says CFRA

Carmaker Proton Suspends Auto Dealership for Accepting Bitcoin

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

The post Carmaker Proton Suspends Auto Dealership for Accepting Bitcoin appeared first on CCN

It wasn’t Malaysian regulators that suspended the dealership branch but instead the auto manufacturer, Proton Holdings. A Selangor-based Proton dealership took it upon itself to begin accepting bitcoin as a form of payment. The problem is that automaker Proton never gave the dealership the green light, with the company saying it doesn’t recognize cryptocurrencies as

The post Carmaker Proton Suspends Auto Dealership for Accepting Bitcoin appeared first on CCN

What 12 major analysts from banks like Goldman, JPMorgan, and Morgan Stanley think of bitcoin

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

A trader looks at his screen on the IG Group trading floor in London March 18, 2013. The surprise decision by euro zone leaders to part-fund a bailout of Cyprus by taxing bank  deposits sent shockwaves through financial markets on Monday, with shares and the bonds of struggling euro zone governments tumbling.

A bloodbath gripped the crypto markets this week, with virtually every single major cryptocurrency taking significant losses, but huge amounts of excitement remains about the space from all corners of society.

Bitcoin, the first, biggest, and most recognisable cryptocurrency, has been at the heart of much of that excitement, with acolytes touting it as the future of global finance, and some even suggesting that it could replace fiat currencies like the dollar and the pound.

Bitcoin's rise has been so rapid and so aggressive that the market's more established institutions and figures have been simply unable to ignore it.

There is a big spread of opinion across the sector, with some seeing cryptocurrencies as a possible driver of a fundamental shift in the global financial system, others disliking bitcoin, but having some faith in the blockchain technology that underlines it, and others just seeing crypto as, basically, a complete waste of time.

To find out where the industry's big players stand on the cryptocurrency world, Business Insider looked back through recently published analyst notes from major investment banks, research houses, and asset managers.

You can see what staff from the likes of Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and JPMorgan think below:

 

James Faucette, Morgan Stanley: Bitcoin is worth $0.

Bullish or bearish?: Bearish

What they say: Faucette's issue with the currency is that it is incredibly hard to value, and that it also very hard to determine what kind of an asset it is.

As BI's Jim Edwards wrote back in December when the note was first released:

"Morgan Stanley analyst James Faucette and his team sent a research note to clients a few days ago suggesting that the real value of bitcoin might be ... $0.

"That's zero dollars. (Bitcoin stood at around $14,400 at the time of writing.)

"The paper (titled "Bitcoin decrypted") did not give a price target for bitcoin.

"But in a section titled "Attempts to Value Bitcoin," Faucette described why it is so hard to ascribe value to the cryptocurrency. It's not like a currency, it's not like gold, and it has had difficulty scaling."



Chief Investment Office team at UBS: Crypto is a bubble but blockchain is important technology.

Bullish or bearish?: Bearish on bitcoin, reasonably bullish on blockchain.

What they say: "Cryptocurrencies have soared in popularity since 2008, with more than 1,000 in existence today and an aggregate value greater than the market capitalization of IBM. But we are highly doubtful whether they will ever become mainstream currencies," a note from the Swiss bank said back in October 2017.

"The need for companies and individuals to pay tax receipts in government-issued currency, and the potentially unlimited crypto-money supply, pose significant barriers to widespread adoption. We think the sharp rise in crypto-currency valuations in recent months is a speculative bubble."

"But while we are doubtful cryptocurrencies will ever become a mainstream means of exchange, the underlying technology, blockchain, is likely to have a significant impact in industries ranging from finance to manufacturing, healthcare, and utilities."



Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou, JP Morgan: Futures contracts for bitcoin have the "potential to elevate cryptocurrencies to an emerging asset class."

Bullish or bearish?: Bullish

What they say: Panigirtzoglou and his team believe that the recent introduction of futures contracts for bitcoin have the "potential to elevate cryptocurrencies to an emerging asset class."

"The value of this new asset class is a function of the breadth of its acceptance as a store of wealth and as a means of payment," Panigirtzoglou and his team said in the note back in December.

"Simply judging by other stores of wealth such as gold, cryptocurrencies have the potential to grow further from here."



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

A flagship policy to help millennials buy a house is having almost no impact

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

Houses in Camden

  • The government's flagship policy to help millennials buy homes is having almost no impact.
  • The survey found that 86% of respondents reported no response from first-time buyers following changes to Stamp Duty  introduced by Chancellor Philip Hammond in November.

LONDON — The government's flagship policy to help millennials buy homes is having almost no impact, according to a monthly survey by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.

The survey found that 86% of respondents reported no response from first-time buyers following changes to Stamp Duty, the purchase tax levied on new homes, that were introduced by Chancellor Philip Hammond in November.

In a bid to improve the Conservatives standing among younger voters, Hammond abolished stamp duty for all first-time homebuyers on properties under £300,000, many of whom are struggling to get onto the housing ladder after decades of runaway house price growth.

But RICS chief economist Simon Rubinsohn said initial feedback suggested the changes had made no initial difference to prices, and echoed warnings from the government's own statistics watchdog that the changes could push prices up.

"The initial feedback from the market doesn’t suggest that the change in the Stamp Duty regime announced in the budget is going to have a material impact on activity.

"Indeed, the risk was always that a good portion of the benefit would be capitalised in the price, therefore limiting the benefit for the first-time buyer," Rubinsohn said.

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NOW WATCH: A crypto expert explains the difference between the two largest cryptocurrencies in the world: bitcoin and Ethereum

Cryptocurrency markets are rebounding after a massive crash

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

Screen Shot 2018 01 17 at 6.18.55 PM

  • The cryptocurrency market rebounded in evening trading on Wednesday. 
  • A massive crash sliced market capitalization in half from its all time high.
  • At the time of writing, the market had picked up over $100 billion in value from the day's lows. 


The cryptocurrency market rebounded Wednesday night after a massive sell-off over the previous two days.

The market for digital coins picked up around $100 billion in value after bottoming out at $412 billion. At the time of writing, total cryptocurrency market capitalization was close to $520 billion. 

Just ten days ago, the cryptocurrency market reached an all-time high above $830 billion. Fears of a crackdown on trading in South Korea, however, brought the crypto world to its knees. Across the board, digital currencies were down for much of Wednesday, with bitcoin hitting a low below $9,500, according to Markets Insider data

The coin, which hit close to $20,000 in December, was trading at $11,080 a coin at 6:26 p.m. ET. 

Market watchers view the downturn as natural. David Sonstebe, the founder of digital currency IOTA, told Business Insider the correction was not that big when viewed in context. 

"At peak, over 40 individual tokens were valued north of $1 billion, most of which neither have a working product or even team," he said. "Today's correction might seem cataclysmic to those that are new to the scene, but crypto has been through this roller coaster numerous times before. The current market cap today is what crypto was at just one month ago."

As for the future of the market, Brad Zastrow, the core director of global business at Dash, another cryptocurrency, told Business Insider that in the near term, similar situations could occur, but strong projects will survive in the long run. 

"I don’t see this impacting strong projects," he said. "Which have a differentiated value proposition coupled with a robust governance system." 

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Facebook and Google need to capture more of the ad market to justify valuations

Cryptocurrency markets are rebounding after a massive crash

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

Screen Shot 2018 01 17 at 6.18.55 PM

  • The cryptocurrency market rebounded in evening trading on Wednesday. 
  • A massive crash sliced market capitalization in half from its all time high.
  • At the time of writing, the market had picked up over $100 billion in value from the day's lows. 


The cryptocurrency market rebounded Wednesday night after a massive sell-off over the previous two days.

The market for digital coins picked up around $100 billion in value after bottoming out at $412 billion. At the time of writing, total cryptocurrency market capitalization was close to $520 billion. 

Just ten days ago, the cryptocurrency market reached an all-time high above $830 billion. Fears of a crackdown on trading in South Korea, however, brought the crypto world to its knees. Across the board, digital currencies were down for much of Wednesday, with bitcoin hitting a low below $9,500, according to Markets Insider data

The coin, which hit close to $20,000 in December, was trading at $11,080 a coin at 6:26 p.m. ET. 

Market watchers view the downturn as natural. David Sonstebe, the founder of digital currency IOTA, told Business Insider the correction was not that big when viewed in context. 

"At peak, over 40 individual tokens were valued north of $1 billion, most of which neither have a working product or even team," he said. "Today's correction might seem cataclysmic to those that are new to the scene, but crypto has been through this roller coaster numerous times before. The current market cap today is what crypto was at just one month ago."

As for the future of the market, Brad Zastrow, the core director of global business at Dash, another cryptocurrency, told Business Insider that in the near term, similar situations could occur, but strong projects will survive in the long run. 

"I don’t see this impacting strong projects," he said. "Which have a differentiated value proposition coupled with a robust governance system." 

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: THE BOTTOM LINE: Chipotle vs. Qdoba, the bear case on Apple, and diagnosing a bitcoin bubble

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