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The founder of controversial hedge fund Och-Ziff is reportedly at odds with the 34-year-old who had been set to succeed him

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

jimmy levin

Dan Och, the founder of the world's largest publicly traded hedge fund, is at odds with his 34-year-old protégé Jimmy Levin, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Levin, who has known Och since he taught Och's son how to waterski at a Wisconsin summer camp in the late 1990s, had been expected to succeed Och at Och-Ziff Capital Management. But the founder appeared to have abruptly changed his mind over Christmas weekend when Och-Ziff rushed out a letter to clients saying that Och had decided not to.

Here are the main takeaways from the WSJ report:

  • Many inside Och-Ziff were shocked by the shift.
  • People close to Och say he thinks Levin asked for more money and power than he deserved.
  • Och-Ziff is interviewing external execs about becoming the firm's CEO, and Levin is discussing what's next for his own future.
  • Och told the WSJ in a statement: “We are engaged in a robust CEO succession process that is progressing well. We have a committed team, the firm had an excellent year in 2017, and I am confident we will build on that success in 2018 and beyond.”
  • Some clients are expected to divest if Levin leaves.

A spokesman for Och-Ziff declined to comment. 

Read the Wall Street Journal report here.

SEE ALSO: A Spotify investor lays out the case for music streaming — including that it'll replace radio

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

Amazon User Orders Bitcoin Miner, Gets 'Boss Baby' DVD Instead

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

An Amazon UK customer is relieved after finally receiving a refund for an Antminer S9 which he paid for but never received.

Nasdaq’s Bitcoin Futures Plans Still in ‘Exploratory Phase’

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

The post Nasdaq’s Bitcoin Futures Plans Still in ‘Exploratory Phase’ appeared first on CCN

Nasdaq President and CEO Adena Friedman said on Tuesday that the exchange operator is investigating whether and how to launch bitcoin futures contracts but that those plans are still in the “exploratory phase.” Nasdaq’s Bitcoin Futures Plans Still in ‘Exploratory Phase’ Friedman, who was in Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum, confirmed reports that

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Nasdaq has launched a tool to help companies understand America's hottest investment product

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

FILE PHOTO: The Nasdaq logo is displayed at the Nasdaq Market site in New York September 2, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

  • Nasdaq launched passiveIQ to help clients better understand the passive investing market.
  • Exchange-traded products, one of the hottest passive investment products, saw combined US assets hit $3.3 trillion in November.
  • The service gives corporations a better understanding of what ETFs and indexes they and their competitors are included in.


Money has been flowing into passive investments at an explosive clip and now Nasdaq has a product that seeks to help companies make sense of the market. 

Exchange-traded funds, one of the hottest passive investment products, saw combined US assets hit $3.3 trillion in November, a roughly $900 billion single-year increase, according to Investment Company Institute data. As such, it is just as important for publicly traded companies to understand what is moving markets in ETFs and other passive investment vehicles as it is for them to know what's going on with their stock price. 

"With one-third of all mutual fund and ETF assets under management now in passive index funds, the need for an analytics-based solution with actionable insights on passive index trends has never been greater," Stacie Swanstrom, executive vice president and head of Nasdaq Corporate Solutions, said. 

PassiveIQ, which the exchange group's Corporate Solutions unit recently launched, seeks to provide a one-stop platform with insights into those passive markets. Companies can use those insights to potentially get into a certain index or ETF. With more and more money flowing into ETFs, such a move could expose companies to more capital. 

The product functions similarly to a search engine for exchange traded products and indexes, allowing users to see which ones they and their competitors are included in. It'll soon provide users with insights into why a company may or may not be included in an index. 

Kristen Pross, global head of the IR Intelligence division of Nasdaq Corporate Solutions, told Business Insider corporations tend not to notice this side of the market, but it is of equal importance. 

"A lot don't know why they're in the index, or what indexes they are in," Pross said. 

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

Payment Processor Stripe to End Support for Bitcoin

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

Payments processor Stripe announced it would end support for bitcoin in April, citing rising transaction costs and times as two reasons for the move.

Cryptocurrency Markets Make Bullish Pivot After Early-Week Lows

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

The post Cryptocurrency Markets Make Bullish Pivot After Early-Week Lows appeared first on CCN

The cryptocurrency markets pivoted back into the green on Tuesday following an early week dip that had forced the bitcoin price below $10,000 and led skeptics to declare that “the end of bitcoin” had arrived. Analysts had generally attributed the correction to regulatory pressures in major markets, but positive news — such as a report … Continued

The post Cryptocurrency Markets Make Bullish Pivot After Early-Week Lows appeared first on CCN

KPMG confirms it will be investigated over the collapse of Carillion: 'We are standing by the work that we did'

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

melanie richards kpmg

  • KPMG will be investigated by the FRC for its role in the collapse of the giant infrastructure firm Carillion.
  • "There is an investigation being conducted and we'll comply fully with that investigation, at this moment," Melanie Richards, KMPG UK's deputy chair told Business Insider at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
  • Carillion was once valued at more than £2 billion. It went into liquidation with debts of £1.5 billion ($2.1 billion).


DAVOS, Switzerland —Melanie Richards, KPMG's UK deputy chair, confirmed to Business Insider that her company will be investigated by the Financial Reporting Council over its role in the collapse of Carillion, the giant infrastructure contractor that went into bankruptcy on January 15.

KPMG had certified the company's 2016 annual report, which was filed on March 1, 2017.

The company was forced into liquidation in January 2018, after running up debts of £1.5 billion. At one time it had a market cap of above £2 billion. Up to 43,000 jobs, including 19,000 in the UK, are thought to be at risk, and 30,000 small businesses are thought to be owed money.

Carillion was one of the government's biggest contractors, building NHS hospitals, schools, and prisons. The collapse is being used by the Labour party to criticise the Conservative government's use of private companies to carry out public infrastructure works.

Carillion's main accounting problem was that although it won contracts by making low bids on government construction work, the company offered prices below the cost of servicing the lifetime of the contracts. To offset that, the company continued to bid on further government work, hoping that the new incoming revenue would make up for the shortfall on older, uneconomic contracts.

In the 2016 annual report, KPMG certified that Carillion was on a sound financial footing, and would be so until at least 2019. Its "viability statement" at the time said:

"We have nothing to report on the disclosures of principal risks:"

"Based on the knowledge we acquired during our audit, we have nothing material to add or draw attention to in relation to:"

"− the Directors’ viability statement on page 31, concerning the principal
risks, their management, and, based on that, the Directors’ assessment
and expectations of the Group’s continuing in operation over the three
years to 2019; ..."

Carillion's board relied on KPMG's certification to insist in the same annual report that the company could survive "extreme downside scenarios" over the coming three years:

"On the basis of both reasonably probable and more extreme downside scenarios, the Directors believe that they have a reasonable expectation that the Company will be able to continue in operation and meet its
liabilities as they fall due over the three-year period of their assessment."

In a conversation at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, Richards told Business Insider that KPMG stands by its work. "What we did was we signed their audit which we are standing by. We recognise that the scale of disruption and attention this is getting from the media and indeed the situation that has evolved, means that we are going to be subjected to an inquiry by the FRC and we are absolutely embracing that and it's the right thing to happen. But just to be very clear we are, we will completely comply with that, but as we stand here today we are standing by the work that we did," she said.

Richards said KPMG also stood by the work the company did for Carillion in 2017, when it was asked to review the company's existing contracts. KPMG looked at 58 contracts and found four that were troubling, according to the Financial Times.

"We are standing behind the work that we did, including the work we did around the original contracts," Richards said. "There is an investigation being conducted and we'll comply fully with that investigation, at this moment."

Companies go bankrupt all the time, of course. And all publicly traded companies have auditors. So it is fairly common for auditors to find themselves asking questions when one of their clients goes to the wall. It is likely that in any inquiry KPMG will argue that it is only able to look at the financial history of a company. It doesn't have a crystal ball allowing it to see the future. In Carillion's case, its contracts extended over periods of years or decades, and the company was required to bear the cost of construction delays or make good when flaws were found in buildings. KPMG was not in control of the many variables affecting Carillion's business, Richards said.

"We take our responsibility to the capital markets and to all the stakeholders incredibly seriously. So I don't want to diminish the seriousness, we take all that but I would say to you that clearly the Carillion situation ... has a number of factors that will contribute to an end result and I don't have intimate knowledge of the all the factors that have ended up with the result that we are now seeing here," she said.

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

Bitcoin.org Removes Mention of ‘Fast Transactions’ and ‘Low Fees’

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

The post Bitcoin.org Removes Mention of ‘Fast Transactions’ and ‘Low Fees’ appeared first on CCN

Bitcoin.org has removed the phrase ‘low transaction fees’ from its homepage. They’ve also made a slight change to how they refer to the speed of transactions, no longer calling them fast: While the website has evolved over the last couple of years, there really haven’t been any major changes to the content in quite some

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$9 billion startup Stripe drops bitcoin support because it doesn't make sense as a means of payment

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

Stripe cofounders Patrick and John Collison

  • Stripe, the $9 billion online payments company, is putting an end to the product that enabled retailers to accept bitcoin as payment.
  • It's a major hit to the popular cryptocurrency, once believed to be the future of online payments, but Stripe isn't the only company to back off.
  • Expensive transaction fees and long wait times have made it difficult to use bitcoin for small transactions, since mining fees spiked at $37 per purchase in December.

 

The $9 billion digital payments company Stripe is killing off its bitcoin product, the company announced Tuesday.

Citing a decrease in use by both retailers and customers, Stripe said will wind down support for its bitcoin payment application and stop processing bitcoin payments entirely on April 23.

"Empirically, there are fewer and fewer use cases for which accepting or paying with Bitcoin makes sense," Stripe product manager Tom Karlo wrote in the announcement. 

While the explosive growth of bitcoin — with prices shooting as high as $15,000 earlier this month, before sinking down around $11,000 at the time of writing — drove mass interest in the cryptocurrency as an asset for investment, it also brought to the surface concerns about its use for everyday payments on a large scale.

Mining fees — the cost paid to the people who provide the computing infrastructure behind each bitcoin transaction — peaked in late December, when people were required to pay $37 on top of any transaction just to make sure their payment went through in a timely manner. Transactions submitted without a high-end mining fee could take hours or days to process, at which point the value of bitcoin in USD likely had changed.

Today, mining fees cost just over $6 per transaction, but that number is volatile and spikes when more people are making transactions. In addition, there can be other fees associated with paying in bitcoin — services like Stripe charge per transaction, for instance, which can drive the overall cost of a bitcoin transaction even higher.

Stripe — which makes much of its revenues on credit card transactions — is not the first company to back out of what has become a very expensive and time consuming means of exchanging money.

The online video game storefront Valve stopped accepting bitcoins in December, and Microsoft briefly disabled bitcoin payments around the same time. Both companies handled bitcoin payments through BitPay, a bitcoin-specific payment application and Stripe competitor, which itself temporarily banned payments under $100 because of the large fees associated with transaction. 

While Karlo wrote in the blog that Stripe remains "very optimistic about cryptocurrencies overall," the end of its bitcoin product marks a big shift in both the payments industry and bitcoin more broadly. 

When Stripe first enabled bitcoin payment process in 2014, advocates for the cryptocurrency believed that it could be a cheaper than credit cards like Visa, which charge seller-side customers a fee on top of each transaction, and more accessible to people in part of the world without banks or stable currencies. 

"Our hope was that Bitcoin could become a universal, decentralized substrate for online transactions and help our customers enable buyers in places that had less credit card penetration or use cases where credit card fees were prohibitive," Karlo wrote in the blog entry. 

That hope, it turns out, was misplaced. 

SEE ALSO: The cost of bitcoin payments is skyrocketing because the network is totally overloaded

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

Millennials are flocking to cryptocurrency and cannabis stocks, TD Ameritrade CEO says (AMTD)

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

TD Ameritrade CEO Tim Hockey

  • We talked to TD Ameritrade CEO Tim Hockey about investing, markets, and millennials. 
  • He says the $1.2 billion brokerage has seen a huge uptick in interest surrounding cryptocurrencies, blockchain, and cannabis stocks. 


Millennials are leading an investment revolution. Now the largest demographic in the economy, young investors under 35 are catalyzing a transformation in the asset management and stock trading world. 

Investment accounts opened by this demographic rose 72% annually, TD Ameritrade CEO Tim Hockey told Business Insider.

In a wide-ranging interview following the $1.2 trillion brokerage’s earnings report that beat Wall Street expectations, Hockey said the firm has seen an explosion of interest in cryptocurrencies, cannabis stocks, and ETFs, particularly from millennials.

However, he did caution that the cryptocurrency market was by no means mature. That’s why only a select group of TD Ameritrade clients have access to the Cboe bitcoin futures marketplace, which was launched in December.

Hockey also said TD Ameritrade has seen huge uptick in interest around cannabis and blockchain stocks. Here’s the full interview:

Note: This transcript has been lightly edited for length and clarity

Graham Rapier: It looks like TD Ameritrade had a phenomenal quarter. What do you attribute those good numbers to? 

Tim Hockey: The headline beat of $0.80 for non-GAAP was a spectacular number versus where most of the analysts were at, which was around $0.51. We think about $0.23 of that was driven by the tax effect, but even then, there were high single-digit cents depending on what you include, in terms of the beat. It was very strong organic growth, as you saw in the results. It was trading levels, it was stock lending, it was margin at all-time highs, so very broad based. 

Rapier: Let's talk about millennials. Is TD Ameritrade doing anything to attract younger investors? Has there been an uptick from the demographic?

Hockey: The way I would describe our distribution strategy is high-tech and right touch. We have the best trading and education platforms in the industry, in my view. And what do younger clients need? They love technology, and we've got the platforms that are the best out there. And they're in need of education, to make sure they are educated investors. They're younger in their investing and trading careers so as a result we've got that combination for them.

It seems to be working because our new accounts opened by millennials are up 72% year-over-year, and that's driven by both our offerings as well as what's of interest in the marketplace right now. Clearly, the two biggest stories of the quarter were the sectors of cryptocurrency and cannabis. Those are two sectors that didn't even exist a few years ago. That has driven the skewing of our new accounts opened to the younger trader and younger investor.

Rapier: How are you attracting them to your firm? Are there any new things you've tried?

Hockey: Funny you should ask, last quarter I sat down at a restaurant with my 26-year-old son and we traded 100 shares of stock at the table using Facebook Messenger's bot. We launched that last quarter. 

Rapier: You recently turned on 24-hour trading, what was the logic behind that new offering? Is it receiving the response you expected?

Hockey: I'm glad you asked! It's 24/5, so that allows clients to participate in after-hours market moving news that they didn't have before because markets were open 9:30 to 4. Previously they had opportunities to do this only in the futures markets, but now we've offered 12 broad-based ETFs that are quite liquid, for example SPY, QQQ, the gold sector, oil, gas, China... these are all broad-based ETFs that can all now be traded 24 hours a day, five days a week. 

It's only been two days, so it's just starting to get traction now in the media. It's still quite narrow, but even last night we're seeing a three cent spread, which is a nice tight range for people to trade in, even after hours. 

Rapier: You also launched bitcoin futures for some clients back in December, how much interest are you seeing from clients in the cryptocurrency space? Will more products show up soon?

Hockey: We just turned on the Cboe product in a very limited release — just to futures clients that were more sophisticated and understood the risk they were taking, and we'll expand that over time. 

This market is certainly not mature. I would say that what we saw in terms of levels of absolute interest prior to the holiday season seemed to peak. Everybody was talking about crypto of all types all the time because it seemed like it was a one-way increase.

Ever since the pricing has been normalized and there's been a bit of a correction, then you've seen a little bit less froth, if you will, in the market. We've actually seen that in the first few weeks of January, crypto trades — not just the Cboe product, but companies that are related to blockchain — have contributed a couple of points less toward our trading activity. It seems to have peaked just before the holidays. 

The technology certainly has not matured, and I believe the transformative nature of what blockchain can do is only just starting to be understood by the majority of the world. 

Rapier: Will we continue to see more companies pivot to crypto and blockchain?

Hockey: There's a distinction between blockchain and cryptocurrencies, but they are absolutely being conflated in many people's minds. They don't quite understand blockchain but they're being told that it is transformative. What comes with that is cryptocurrencies, and they don't quite understand the linkage between the two and what the differences are between the various ones. 

There's also a bit of FOMO, the fear of missing out. "Oh my god it's only going up, so therefore I need to participate." That's the classic sign of a bit of market hysteria. That will sort itself out as it always does. That's why you've heard many people like Warren Buffett say "we've seen this movie before, it doesn't end well." He's talking about that phenomenon as opposed to the blockchain technology in and of itself. There are some potential cryptocurrency survivors and thrivers as that technology matures. 

Rapier: Have you seen any "Robinhood effect" as other brokerages start to offer commission-free trading?

Hockey: There's been about a 50-year trend to continue to lower the price of a trade for a retail investor. TD Ameritrade, and Chuck Schwab and others, were all born out of a change in regulations in 1975 that allowed us to price what was then $70-$80 per trade, and here we are now down at the $6-7 range.

Our $6.95 price point is an all-in price point, which includes the best education and the best platforms for the best price. Others have a different price point and they sometimes include different things. We're clearly very keen on our value proposition and clearly our clients are too, particularly millennials like we talked about earlier. 

Rapier: Millennials are enthralled with passive investing and ETFs, are you seeing the same trends there? 

Hockey: We have $197 billion in ETFs overall. We just launched last quarter our refreshed ETF market center, which allows up to almost 300 ETFs to be traded for free. People often ask "if people are moving to passive, why would anyone want to be a self-directed trader anymore?" But ironically the instrument that was created as a result of the passive trend was the ETF. Today, ETFs are one of our most actively traded sectors, and it didn't exist a number of years ago. 

The market has had this quite long bull run, in a time where yields and other investment types have been relatively low. So as a result, cost has been a very large factor that people take into account. I think what will happen is, when markets start to top out, and perhaps have a downturn, which is inevitable at some point, there will be a bigger divergence in my own view of active and passive.

People will start to realize that not all instruments go up all the time. Pretty much everybody has been rising on this long-term bull market, but when you actually have a bear market, people continue to want to search for the winners and losers. There will be a bigger distinction between those who are actively winning versus those that are just now starting to ride the passive trend downward with markets, then you'll see a shift back to active trading and investing, in my own view. 

Rapier: What do you think could upset this bull market that's been going for so long now?

Hockey: I'm not a market strategist or economist, but I'm also old, so I've seen this before. In hindsight, there's always something that tips the market over. There's an event or a realization that something was overvalued. If you objectively look back at the turning points in previous cycles, there will be something that will come along.

It's not easy to spot in advance, or everybody would, but it's usually fairly transparent and obvious in hindsight. I can't spot anything, there are lots of good trends and euphoria in corporate America about the tax changes and opportunities to invest.

Unemployment is low. Interest rates are low but rising, maybe that will do it. Debt levels of consumers are increasing, but still not at the rates they were just prior to the last downturn, so it's any one of these factors could do it. 

SEE ALSO: Millennials are leading an investment revolution — and we spoke with the head of a $1 trillion provider to find out why

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EdgeSecure's Paul Puey: “Digital Security Will Take Place on the Edges”

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

EdgeSecure CEO Paul Puey: “Digital Security Will Take Place on the Edges”

Security is one of the hottest topics in today’s ever-evolving digital world. A steady flow of debate continues to take place at tech forums worldwide on topics like encryption, passwords, two-factor authentication, hardware wallets and the like.

As cryptocurrencies and the tools being used to manage them take shape, questions loom about the most efficacious ways to protect both user assets and privacy. One individual who is at the epicenter of this active space is Paul Puey. He is co-founder and CEO of EdgeSecure, a blockchain-inspired, decentralized, open-source, zero-knowledge, global information security solution platform.

Airbitz, his signature enterprise was birthed in 2013 as a bitcoin wallet provider and merchant directory. Today, he’s orchestrating a rebrand of this wallet, now called EdgeSecure.

In an interview with Bitcoin Magazine, Puey talks about the tricky balance between new security and privacy measures being introduced and user experience. He also explores an emerging theme called “securing the edges” that forms the basis of his current work

BM: What sort of problems are you attempting to solve these days?

PP: The aspect of cryptocurrency we initially wanted to address revolved around how to effectively use secure keys. That was the impetus behind our decision to build a feature rich, functionally rich wallet at Airbitz over the years. We feel like this has really differentiated us in the whole area of key management.

BM: How does your concept of EdgeSecure fit in here?

PP: Our goal has been to broaden Airbitz by turning our key management standard into a platform for other apps. Even before we rebranded, we were already using the term Edge Security to examine how to come up with a solution that’s different from enterprise security. We view our approach as fundamentally different in the sense that we’re not trying to make a router or server more secure. Rather, our aim is to take data and secure it before it ever hits a device.

In short, we are able to secure data before it goes out onto a network or server. People and their devices are what we are trying to secure. That’s where the term Edge comes from — before a user’s data ends up on their device, goes out to a network, goes onto a server — the encryption of that data happens first, as we say, “on the edges.”

BM: But what about server networks?

PP: We still believe that server security is important. But the visibility and encryption of that data all happens first before the data gets saved, broadcast and sent out on the network or gets onto a server. The concept of making data private and secure to the point where only the user can access it “on the edges” has never been an area of focus for cybersecurity companies.

BM: So, in a nutshell, how does all of this actually work?

PP: It works through a combination of technologies we’ve had for decades but have never been packaged the way we are seeking to. The technology that we’ve developed involves encrypting data on the client side. Most of the software out there doesn’t do this. Rattle off any app that you are running on your computer or your phone, and the data you generate and create is not encrypted, let alone automatically backed up.

BM: Are there other security measures you’ll be employing?

PP: We’ve also added two-factor authentication, although I fundamentally hate it from a user experience point of view. Two-factor is particularly problematic and a poor approach if the second factor for authorizing access is a phone number or email address. It’s better than nothing, but it’s not what one would consider to be “good two-factor.”

BM: Is there a solution to this?

PP: Yes, since 2015, we’ve been employing what we call “one touch, two-factor,” where we take two-factor and make it invisible by baking it in our Airbitz app. This eliminates the need for notification by SMS or email, or via an app like Authy or Google Authenticator.

BM: Can you talk a bit about password recovery? This can be a big issue with crypto users.

PP: It is indeed. Think about this for a moment: If you lose your mobile phone or other type of device, in the Google Authenticator world you have just lost your access completely. So, it’s up to the service you are using to determine a recovery mechanism. What’s interesting is that some services don’t give you one. Others offer recovery via email, SMS, or other similar mechanism which then introduces the same issue. We, therefore, believe in recovery via time lock, where your account is locked for a period of time before you can reset it.

BM: In the meantime, are there ways to prevent users from losing their password in the first place?

PP: There is some psychology involved here. Part of our philosophy at EdgeSecure is to carefully align technology with humanity. This involves a recognition of the fact that we’re all fallible beings, that we do forget passwords. One step we employ to help people not forget passwords is to ask them to voluntarily enter it from time-to-time when they go to access their app. Our intent is to give them the opportunity to change it if they forget it at that moment.

BM: How exactly does this work?

PP: We have an algorithm inside of the app that has what we call a reminder “step off,” based on users actually entering it. This “step off” is how frequently we remind you based on how many times you’ve actually entered the password in the past. Obviously, you can get into the app with a pin, thumbprint and now facial ID. But if you lose that device, the password is the only way to get back on.

BM: This seems like an idea that other tech solution providers will likely want to pick up on.

PP: No doubt. We fashion ourselves as the world’s only password recovery for encrypted data. While that, in and of itself, is a patentable idea, we’ve opted to not patent, in the name of open source, open collaborative effort.

BM: What sort of criticism do you hear from the crypto community?

PP: One of the main ones we get is that we are not as secure as a hardware wallet. These criticisms come from people that often harbor the biggest fears of something that I have yet to see happen, namely, a person losing crypto from a device attack. Sure, you might hear of publications espousing theoretical exploits. But I haven’t seen evidence of a mass exploit with cryptocurrency taken on a device with encrypted data. Yet there are millions, if not billions, of dollars being poured into solutions for that problem.

BM: Aren’t hardware wallets a great resource then for those who have these concerns?

PP: They can be. But it’s important to keep in mind that with hardware wallets, the attack vector isn’t someone getting into it digitally over the internet. Rather, the attack vector is the individual user. I can’t count the number of people who say to me after purchasing a hardware wallet, “Now, I’m secure!” I then ask them, what did you do with the backup information? Often they’ll say, “I put it on Google Drive.” My response: “You did what? That’s the worst thing you could possibly do with the private key.”

BM: Finally, what are your thoughts regarding security vulnerabilities among centralized exchanges?

PP: It’s a big concern, no doubt. Coinbase is obviously the most recognizable example in the crypto world, but I don’t think that their model can survive long term. I’d describe them as a $15 billion piñata for hackers. Yes, they haven’t been hacked and I believe a combination of luck and skill has prevented that from occurring.

BM: So do you believe that it’s just a matter of time before a serious hack occurs?

PP: Let me say this. One of the hardest aspects of centralized security is that it doesn’t scale. In other words, the bigger you get, the harder it is for you to secure. And as the pot becomes bigger, you have to hire and entrust more and more people inside the company. So it takes just one bad apple with access and there goes a lot of user money.

BM: Where do you see this security space headed?

PP: In the next 3–5 years, we should actually see a trend where users will seek out what I call Edge-secured apps, where people can control their own data. These encryption and Edge solutions will be invisible to those using the app, which will go a long way toward enhancing user experience along with security and privacy.


This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Bitcoin is set to Undergo [Another] Hardfork to Create ‘Bitcoin Atom’

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

The post Bitcoin is set to Undergo [Another] Hardfork to Create ‘Bitcoin Atom’ appeared first on CCN

Since the creation of Bitcoin by Satoshi Nakamoto, there have been several modifications of the underlying protocol and entirely new projects have been forked out of this original protocol. Litecoin, Dash, Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Gold among others have all found existence with each of them claiming peculiar improvements from Bitcoin. In its present state, the

The post Bitcoin is set to Undergo [Another] Hardfork to Create ‘Bitcoin Atom’ appeared first on CCN

Bitcoin is set to Undergo [Another] Hardfork to Create ‘Bitcoin Atom’

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

The post Bitcoin is set to Undergo [Another] Hardfork to Create ‘Bitcoin Atom’ appeared first on CCN

Since the creation of Bitcoin by Satoshi Nakamoto, there have been several modifications of the underlying protocol and entirely new projects have been forked out of this original protocol. Litecoin, Dash, Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Gold among others have all found existence with each of them claiming peculiar improvements from Bitcoin. In its present state, the

The post Bitcoin is set to Undergo [Another] Hardfork to Create ‘Bitcoin Atom’ appeared first on CCN

Here's what UBS' bosses are saying about a big shakeup at its $2.3 trillion money management unit

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

FILE PHOTO: The offices of Swiss bank UBS are seen in the financial district of the City of London, Britain October 31, 2012.  REUTERS/Chris Helgren/File Photo

  • UBS, the Switzerland-based money manager, announced Monday the integration of its two wealth management arms. 
  • According to a memo obtained by Business Insider, the shakeup includes a number of role shifts.
  • The combined business, according to the memo, will oversee about $2.3 trillion in investable assets. 

 

UBS, the Switzerland-based money manager, announced Monday it would merge its two wealth management arms into one global business that will oversee more than $2 trillion in assets.

According to a memo obtained by Business Insider, the shakeup at the bank also includes a number of key role shifts. 

Tom Naratil, the former president of Wealth Management Americas, is now serving as co-president of the global wealth management business alongside Martin Blessing. The two UBS veterans coauthored the memo. Blessing was named head of the global wealth management business after Juerg Zeltner left the company last year. 

"The strong performance of our wealth management businesses lays the foundation for this new chapter," Naratil and Blessing write in the memo. "Our outstanding franchise across the Americas, Asia Pacific (APAC), Europe Middle East Africa (EMEA), Switzerland (CH) and the Ultra High Net Worth (UHNW) segment sets us apart from the competition, drives UBS's profitability, and provides us with unique global scale."

The move - which goes into effect on Feb. 1 - marks the final step of an ongoing evolution and integration of its two wealth management businesses, according to a person familiar with the matter. It is a process that has been in the works for nearly two years. The combined business, according to the memo, will oversee about $2.3 trillion in investable assets. 

Christine Novakovic, previously head of corporate and institutional clients for P&C and Region Switzerland, is set to head wealth management operations in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa regions. Paul Raphael previously filled that role. In addition, Slyvia Coutinho, the bank's previous head of Brazilian operations has been named head of Latin America, a growing area for the bank. 

The memo says the shakeup will not impact the way UBS' legion of financial advisers engage with clients. Nor will it impact compensation plans at the firm. Still, a global business could help the bank target wealthy clients interested in investing in foreign countries. 

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

Stripe is ending support for bitcoin payments on April 23

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

 Payments platform Stripe will stop supporting bitcoin in April, citing the cryptocurrency’s volatility and long transaction times, among other things. It’s a logical decision, but one likely to anger the easily provoked crypto-crowd. Read More

Ripple Price Swells 13%, Leading the Gains as Markets Climb Up

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

The post Ripple Price Swells 13%, Leading the Gains as Markets Climb Up appeared first on CCN

Ripple is leading the way as markets take a positive turn after enduring a sharp correction. At the time of writing, market cap data shows Ripple’s XRP up 13%, with all of the top ten currencies following with single-digit gains. While the correction has been widely felt, Ripple traders, in particular, were in desperate need of

The post Ripple Price Swells 13%, Leading the Gains as Markets Climb Up appeared first on CCN

CRYPTO INSIDER: Bitcoin hangs on above $10,000

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

Joseph Stiglitz at Davos

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.

Bitcoin is hovering around $10,000 Tuesday, having come within one dollar of the milestone in the early morning hours. 

Here's how all the other cryptocurrencies stack up: 

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: An exercise scientist reveals the exercise regime that will burn the most fat

CRYPTO INSIDER: Bitcoin hangs on above $10,000

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

Joseph Stiglitz at Davos

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.

Bitcoin is hovering around $10,000 Tuesday, having come within one dollar of the milestone in the early morning hours. 

Here's how all the other cryptocurrencies stack up: 

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: An exercise scientist reveals the exercise regime that will burn the most fat

CRYPTO INSIDER: Bitcoin hangs on above $10,000

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

Joseph Stiglitz at Davos

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.

Bitcoin is hovering around $10,000 Tuesday, having come within one dollar of the milestone in the early morning hours. 

Here's how all the other cryptocurrencies stack up: 

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: An exercise scientist reveals the exercise regime that will burn the most fat

CRYPTO INSIDER: Bitcoin hangs on above $10,000

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

Joseph Stiglitz at Davos

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.

Bitcoin is hovering around $10,000 Tuesday, having come within one dollar of the milestone in the early morning hours. 

Here's how all the other cryptocurrencies stack up: 

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: An exercise scientist reveals the exercise regime that will burn the most fat

CRYPTO INSIDER: Bitcoin hangs on above $10,000

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

Joseph Stiglitz at Davos

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.

Bitcoin is hovering around $10,000 Tuesday, having come within one dollar of the milestone in the early morning hours. 

Here's how all the other cryptocurrencies stack up: 

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: An exercise scientist reveals the exercise regime that will burn the most fat

CRYPTO INSIDER: Bitcoin hangs on above $10,000

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

Joseph Stiglitz at Davos

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.

Bitcoin is hovering around $10,000 Tuesday, having come within one dollar of the milestone in the early morning hours. 

Here's how all the other cryptocurrencies stack up: 

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: An exercise scientist reveals the exercise regime that will burn the most fat

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.

Over the past few decades, the US economy has helped rich Americans get richer as the middle class shrinks.

What changed? Americans embraced the idea that the only mission of companies is to maximize short-term profit for shareholders.

It's time for a more balanced approach. It's time for better capitalism, argues Business Insider CEO Henry Blodget. 

JPMorgan Chase put this ethos into action Tuesday, laying out a $20 billion, five-year investment plan that will include pay raises for 22,000 hourly employees, 4,000 additional hires, 400 new retail branches, and an increase in both small-business and affordable-housing lending. 

Also in JPMorgan news, an executive behind a $1 trillion deal is being promoted to JPMorgan's management team, according to a memo reviewed by Business Insider

Twitter's chief operating officer, Anthony Noto, has resigned to become the CEO of the financial services startup SoFi.

Tesla's board has proposed a compensation package for CEO Elon Musk that requires the electric automaker to eventually attain a market cap of $650 billion. The new pay plan isn't bold, it's delusional, says Matthew DeBord.

Trump's potentially trillion-dollar infrastructure plan has reportedly leaked — here's what it says.

Here's what else is going on in finance and markets news today:

And in crypto-land:

Competition for talent on Wall Street is fierce.

Banks, hamstrung by regulators on compensation and battling the stereotype of an onerous work culture, have seen a talent flight to investing firms and Silicon Valley. For their part, alternative-asset managers have experienced massive growth and a flood of inbound capital, requiring an ever-larger stable of investment professionals to manage the load. 

Making the right hiring decisions has rarely been more critical. And headhunters, often unseen to the outside world, specialize in making sure C-suite execs, managing directors, and portfolio managers get it right.

Introducing Business Insider's list of the best up-and-coming headhunters on Wall Street.

Join the conversation about this story »

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

Study: 6 in 10 Americans have heard about Bitcoin

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

 While crypto may be obvious to us overlords of digital media, awareness of all facets of cryptocurrency still belongs to a small – but growing – minority. In a large scale survey by SurveyMonkey and the Global Blockchain Business Council, 5,000 responded to an extensive poll about the popularity and use of cryptocurrency. Some interesting findings? First, only 5 percent of people… Read More

Physical Bitcoins: Our Hands-On, End-to-End Review of Opendime

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

https://opendime.com/

Opendime is a tiny USB flash drive that can be loaded with bitcoin by the first user and given to another user, who is, in turn, able to pass it along to a third user and so forth.

The private key attached to each Opendime is generated by the device at the time of setup by the user: It is not known by anyone, not even by the first owner or by the Opendime company itself. Opendimes can be passed along multiple times to other users and verified. An Opendime stick can only be redeemed by the last user, who must break the device to access the private key and import it into a bitcoin wallet.

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

“Opendime transactions are a little different from blockchain transactions,” notes the Opendime FAQ. “Whenever two people meet and trade goods or services for an Opendime, you could say a transaction has occurred, and yet there is nothing recorded on the blockchain. This is different from a normal bitcoin wallet which makes blockchain records continuously and can create a complex web of connections, which can later be explored by anyone.”

In other words, Opendimes can be used as totally anonymous, untraceable bitcoin cash. It is possible to do something similar with a paper wallet by printing a bitcoin address and its private key and then passing the paper wallet to another user, with no trace of the transaction recorded on the blockchain. “It is much more private because there is no subsequent blockchain transactions to track,” confirmed Opendime developer Rodolfo Novak in conversation with Bitcoin Magazine.

But the problem with using paper wallets in this way is that, somewhere along the transaction trail, someone could copy the private key and take the funds at any point after passing the paper wallet to the next user. Opendime solves this problem by hiding the private key, only revealing it to the last user who must break the device to take funds out.

Users of Opendime sticks can choose to pass their stick along to different owners only a few times before being emptied and destroyed, or they can treat their stick like physical cash, allowing it to change hands many times over years or decades. Novak confirmed that, according to user feedback, both scenarios are well used.

With bitcoin exchanges under increasing regulatory pressure, it seems likely that face-to-face exchanges like LocalBitcoins could become more popular, which could boost the adoption of Opendime. Novak confirmed that, indeed, users are pre-loading Opendimes and using them to sell bitcoin via LocalBitcoins.

According to Novak, Opendime is not vulnerable to regulatory actions because “the devices are ‘point solutions’ without any central service to be regulatory ‘captured.’”

Legally, Opendime is a trademark/product of Coinkite Inc., a company founded by Novak and Peter Gray and based in Toronto, Canada. Novak is skeptical of the possibility that Canadian regulators could order Coinkite to stop producing and selling Opendimes. “We and our lawyers don't believe that’s a possible scenario,” he said.

Opendime documentation claims the sticks will last for decades under normal usage conditions; however, Opendime hasn't been around for decades, so there's no way to know for sure. But, as Novak explained, the microchip used in each Opendime is rated for 25-100 years, as per the data sheet (page 816) linked in the FAQ.

“A few users have put it through a lot of abuse, washing machines, freezing, water, etc. and it survived,” said Novak

Novak also stated that it’s not practically possible to make a counterfeit because the device has a high security chip with a factory key just for that reason.

“They would have to break our private key, which is practically impossible,” said Novak. “Not even with a few tens of millions of dollars could they peel the chip and try to use an electron microscope to get our key because our chip choice also protects against peeling. So maybe a hundred million dollars could make that happen. If that happens the next batch would have a new key and they would have to spend the money again.”

The possibility remains, however, that malicious parties could make fake Opendimes, with an identical look and user interface, which claim a fake balance confirmed by a fake verification process. Therefore, it’s important to check the provenance of the device. Novak explained that there are a few ways for users to check an Opendime signature to verify it's not counterfeit, including a Chrome extension, the Samourai Wallet, which supports Opendime natively, Electrum (coming soon) and an open-source script.

Gray added that each Opendime ships with Python code for verification. “You can use a known-good Opendime to verify an unknown one,” he said. “No internet is required, and self-contained python code is used — just one command to be typed, which takes just seconds.”

How It Works

Anytime the stick is plugged into a computer, flickering green and red lights indicate its status. Only green means that the device is active; red indicates either that the device hasn’t been activated or that it has already been unsealed (broken) and can’t be used anymore. The lights work correctly even without a computer, with the stick connected to a USB charger or power pack. A file named index.htm on the stick provides all status information.

Bitcoin Magazine tested an Opendime stick end-to-end. When we plugged the Opendime stick into a computer for the first time, the red light flickered. The index file warned, “Your Opendime is new and unused. Follow these steps to pick a private key,” and gave us detailed instructions.

Following the instructions, we copied a few small files onto the device to seed a random number generator, which gets random bits from random.org. Once the private key was generated, the index file showed the stick’s Bitcoin address and a corresponding QR code.

Besides the index file and two folders with programs and utilities, there are four files on the stick: Address.txt, Private-key.txt, Qrcode.jpg and README.txt. The address and Qrcode files show the stick’s bitcoin address in both formats. The private-key file reads: “SEALED — See README.txt for details.” The README gives detailed instructions on how to use the Opendime stick, including how to verify that the device is authentic and how to get funds out.

The index file shows two status check buttons: “Check Balance” and “Verify.” Pressing the Verify button resulted in the status message “VERIFIED: Your Opendime does have control over the secret private key corresponding to Bitcoin payment address.” The balance was zero, of course, because we hadn’t yet sent funds to the stick.

We sent funds to the stick in multiple transactions from different users, physical locations and bitcoin wallets. After all the transactions were confirmed, the correct balance and previous transactions were displayed in the index file.

Now our Opendime stick was active, loaded and ready to be passed along to other owners. If the stick has been loaded with, say, 10,000 bits (0.01 BTC, about $120 at the current exchange rate), the stick could be used as a physical coin carrying that value.

 At this point in the process, anyone in the ownership chain could decide to empty the stick and transfer the funds to their bitcoin wallet. To do that, the user must unseal the device by pushing a pin through a little circle marked on the back of the device. When this is done, the red light flickers and the index file displays a warning: “UNSEALED ⚠ DO NOT send more funds to this address or accept this hardware as payment.” Clicking both status check buttons results in a further warning: “Bitcoin was spent from this address. If this is an Opendime address, this means it has been UNSEALED.” The private key is now shown in the index file.

The Opendime team recommends using the Samourai wallet. However, we decided to experiment and create a new wallet on blockchain.info. We imported our Opendime private key (Settings - Addresses) and transfered the funds to the blockchain.info wallet, and then to an exchange.

In summary, the Opendime stick passed our end-to-end test with flying colors. One caveat: At $13 a piece, Opendime sticks struck us as rather expensive for storing/transferring small amounts and may be better suited to large amounts of over $1,000 or so.

“But $13 is actually very cheap as it's amortized by multiple exchanges of the same unit,” Novak suggested. “Also, Bitcoin transactions are very often more than that.”

This is a fair point, since the chain ownership transfer could go on for a very long time, with the stick potentially changing hands many times, just like physical cash. Novak also added that improvements and new features are in the works.

Disclaimer: Opendime provided Bitcoin Magazine with free samples to use for the purposes of testing their product for review.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

JPMorgan just promoted Teresa Heitsenrether to head up a $4 billion business

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

Screen Shot 2018 01 23 at 11.16.52 AM

  • Teresa Heitsenrether is being promoted to head of Investor Services at JPMorgan, according to a memo reviewed by Business Insider. 
  • Heitsenrether, a long-time veteran of the bank, played a role in JPMorgan landing a $1 trillion deal last year. 


Teresa Heitsenrether is being promoted to head of Investor Services at JPMorgan, according to a memo reviewed by Business Insider. 

Heitsenrether, a veteran of the bank, is replacing James Kenny, who announced his intention to retire in October. 

Heitsenrether, who currently leads Custody & Fund Services, will join JPMorgan's corporate and investment bank management team as part of the promotion and report directly to Daniel Pinto, chief executive officer of the bank's CIB. 

"Teresa has proven herself time and time again during her career at J.P. Morgan, helping to build and grow multiple businesses including Prime Finance and Custody & Fund Services into the leading businesses they are today," the memo said. 

Custody & Fund Services doesn't often make headlines, but it is a strong source of revenue for the bank, accounting for nearly $4 billion of the bank's revenues. Revenues for JPMorgan's Securities Services — in which Custody and Fund Services is housed — are up 9% over the last year. 

During a fourth quarter earnings call, JPMorgan chief executive Jamie Dimon highlighted the business' growth. 

"In the Custody and Fund Services business, we've added great new technology," Dimon said. "We've gained – I think it looks like we've gained a little bit of share in the emerging markets where we were probably a little bit weak. Service levels have gone way up.”

Under Heitsenrether's leadership, the bank's Custody and Fund Services unit beat out State Street in a $1 trillion deal with BlackRock to be the firm's custodian

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

Goldman Sachs Warns Investors of Bitcoin 'Bubble' in New Report

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

Goldman Sachs analysts have claimed bitcoin is in a bubble bigger than the dot-com era and the famous Dutch tulip mania.

Biotech execs tell us why 2018 is a good year to invest in the brain

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

brain procedure

  • Neuroscience is in the middle of a "Renaissance" as far as developing new treatments for challenging diseases including Alzheimer's disease and depression.
  • "I think we are closer to solutions than we are to unknown. We are truly understanding the space better, and I think this would be an unfortunate time to really pull the plug," Norbert Riedel, CEO of Aptinyx, told Business Insider. 
  • From different approaches to treating neurologic conditions to more funding coming into the field, here's why neurology executives think 2018 is a good year to invest in the brain. 

 

The brain is still a massive challenge for the biotech industry.

The field of neuroscience has seen its fair share of ups and downs going into 2018. Pfizer said in January that it will be cutting 300 jobs as part of its closing of its neuroscience research and development program, and it was a brutal 2017 for Alzheimer's research as a number of key trials failed. But at the same time, a biotech company called Sage Therapeutics got positive results for its treatment for postpartum depression, which is now in front of the FDA. 

On a recent trip to San Francisco, Business Insider sat down with four executives working on neurologic conditions ranging from Parkinson's disease to autism. We asked them, given the track record neuroscience has had recently, what were their cases for investing in the brain in 2018? 

Overall, they were optimistic. Guy Seabrook, the vice president of scientific innovation, Neuroscience at Johnson & Johnson Innovation says that neuroscience is having a "Renaissance." What Seabrook and others mean is that scientific discoveries are being made all the time, and companies are getting creative, which is leading to new approaches in how to treat diseases related to the the brain. 

"To me, the pace of innovation is staggering," Seabrook said. He said that he's also seen a lot more funding pour into neuroscience starting in 2017.  For example, in November 2017, Bill Gates made a $100 million investment into Alzheimer's disease, $50 million of which is going to the Dementia Discovery Fund, which J&J is also a part of

That pace has led to researchers understanding a lot more about how to treat brain conditions. 

"I think we are closer to solutions than we are to unknown. We are truly understanding the space better, and I think this would be an unfortunate time to really pull the plug," Norbert Riedel, CEO of Aptinyx, a company that's developing treatments for chronic pain and neurologic disorders including post-traumatic stress disorder by modulating a receptor in the brain. "If you wait until now it is already a bad time to exit."

Karim Dabbagh, the chief scientific officer at Second Genome, a company that's looking for treatments for autism that are based on the bacteria in our guts, pointed to the change in approach to treating diseases of the brain that go beyond pills as a good sign. For example, companies are closing in new treatments for migraines that are injected monthly. 

There's also been a lot of excitement in figuring out whether what we've learned with treating cancer using the immune system could maybe translate to diseases of the brain. For instance, could rebooting the immune system — much in the same way a CAR-T cell therapy does in certain blood cancers —  have an impact on the central nervous system? 

Emile Nuwaysir, CEO of BlueRock Therapeutics, a company developing stem-cell-based treatments that could one day make and deliver medication directly into the brain, said that he's seen a lot excitement from the pharmaceutical industry for the work they're doing. 

"There is a strong interest in the background in these cell-based and gene-based approaches," Nuwaysir said. 

There's still a lot we still don't know

But even with all the new approaches companies are willing to take and the progress that's been made, there are still a number of fundamental questions the executives wish they had answers to.

The biggest hinges on tho major hypothesis Alzheimer's researchers have: Are the build-ups of amyloid-beta protein deposit or tau protein tangles — both markers related to Alzheimer's disease — causing the disease or just secondary to something else that's causing the degeneration in the brain? A number of drugs in development aim to wipe out one of the two proteins, with the hopes that by removing the protein, Alzheimer's cognition might start to get better. 

"If it's secondary, we're all chasing the wrong rabbit," Nuwaysir said. 

Seabrook said he wanted to know more about the APOE gene, which is associated with Alzheimer's. Particularly, why some people who have the APOE4 version of the gene are at a higher risk for Alzheimer's, with earlier disease onset. But not everyone who has APOE4 versions of the gene gets Alzheimer's at all, something Seabrook said he'd also like to understand better. 

SEE ALSO: The hottest thing in cancer drug development just won a $9 billion endorsement

DON'T MISS: We asked 3 top biotech VCs what kinds of companies they’d like to fund, and they all had the same answer

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

Bitcoin Cash will Surpass Bitcoin Because of its ‘Formula’, Says Roger Ver

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

The post Bitcoin Cash will Surpass Bitcoin Because of its ‘Formula’, Says Roger Ver appeared first on CCN

Digital asset exchanges are gateways for regular individuals and corporations to participate in the cryptocurrency ecosystem. These exchanges serve as platforms where tokens and digital assets can be traded across each other and also across fiat currencies. Hence, they represent a crucial aspect of the industry in determining the mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies and their

The post Bitcoin Cash will Surpass Bitcoin Because of its ‘Formula’, Says Roger Ver appeared first on CCN

Bitcoin Price Will Rise ‘Well Beyond $100,000’, Says Blockchain Marketplace Executive

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

The post Bitcoin Price Will Rise ‘Well Beyond $100,000’, Says Blockchain Marketplace Executive appeared first on CCN

“I have no doubt that Bitcoin is going to reach well beyond a $100,000.” This is what Eran Eyal, CEO of distributed marketplace Shopin, said when was asked if the price of Bitcoin was going to rise over $20,000. Although he did not give a specific time-frame of when Bitcoin will surpass $100,000, he pointed to some

The post Bitcoin Price Will Rise ‘Well Beyond $100,000’, Says Blockchain Marketplace Executive appeared first on CCN

Bitcoin nears $10,000: 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 April 14, 2015.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

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

Here's Lutz:

Good Morning!   US Futures were marked higher, led by QQQs as NFLX leaps 8%+ on numbers, but drawdowns in the commodity complex, coupled with profit-taking from all-time highs has weighed over the last hour.   Earlier the DAX kissed a record high, led by a 2% squeeze in Healthcare - Airlines acting well behind EasyJet, while Retailers liking Carrefour headers.  Right now the DAX is up 50bp in heavy trade, with volumes 40% above recent trend – Selling in the Banks seems to be a big trigger in the futures weakness in the last hour.   The FTSE shrugging off stronger Sterling despite Banks lower and Miners getting hit, as Consumer names act well. It was a Strong overnight in Asia despite Trump Tariff Headers - Nikkei up 1.3% - Hang Seng up 1.7% as Consumer and Tech ripped higher - Shanghai up 1.3% - KOSPI adding 1.4% as Sammy jumped 2% - Aussie added 70bp - Sensex squeezed thru 36,000

BOJ comments has a decent bid under both Yen and JGB’s – causing a rally across the Sovereign complex.  A Strong ZEW has Bunds trading higher, pressing the German 10YY 2bp lower and weighing on Treasury Yields.   Ahead of ECB Thursday, the Euro is drifting as it looses ground to the British Pound, as Sterling tests $1.40 overnight. Gold is bid despite the $ being slightly higher, while Bitcoin is rolling to test $10,000 on more South Korea Headers.  Ore was hit for 4.5% in Singapore, driving Copper off 2% to fresh 2018 lows, while Platinum drops 50bp.   WTI is up small despite the IEA seeing “Potential Further Upward Revision Of US Shale Output” – While Natty Gas continues to squeeze higher, up 3%, bringing YTD gains close to 13%.  

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: Here's how LeBron James stays in incredible shape

Bitcoin nears $10,000: 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 April 14, 2015.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

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

Here's Lutz:

Good Morning!   US Futures were marked higher, led by QQQs as NFLX leaps 8%+ on numbers, but drawdowns in the commodity complex, coupled with profit-taking from all-time highs has weighed over the last hour.   Earlier the DAX kissed a record high, led by a 2% squeeze in Healthcare - Airlines acting well behind EasyJet, while Retailers liking Carrefour headers.  Right now the DAX is up 50bp in heavy trade, with volumes 40% above recent trend – Selling in the Banks seems to be a big trigger in the futures weakness in the last hour.   The FTSE shrugging off stronger Sterling despite Banks lower and Miners getting hit, as Consumer names act well. It was a Strong overnight in Asia despite Trump Tariff Headers - Nikkei up 1.3% - Hang Seng up 1.7% as Consumer and Tech ripped higher - Shanghai up 1.3% - KOSPI adding 1.4% as Sammy jumped 2% - Aussie added 70bp - Sensex squeezed thru 36,000

BOJ comments has a decent bid under both Yen and JGB’s – causing a rally across the Sovereign complex.  A Strong ZEW has Bunds trading higher, pressing the German 10YY 2bp lower and weighing on Treasury Yields.   Ahead of ECB Thursday, the Euro is drifting as it looses ground to the British Pound, as Sterling tests $1.40 overnight. Gold is bid despite the $ being slightly higher, while Bitcoin is rolling to test $10,000 on more South Korea Headers.  Ore was hit for 4.5% in Singapore, driving Copper off 2% to fresh 2018 lows, while Platinum drops 50bp.   WTI is up small despite the IEA seeing “Potential Further Upward Revision Of US Shale Output” – While Natty Gas continues to squeeze higher, up 3%, bringing YTD gains close to 13%.  

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: I tried the 7-minute workout for a month — here's what happened

Nobel economist Stiglitz sees no legal functions for bitcoin — "We have a good medium of exchange called the dollar"

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

Economist Joseph Stiglitz speaks about strengthening global tax policy at the 2016 IMF World Bank Spring Meeting in Washington April 17, 2016.      REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

  • Nobel-prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz says bitcoin serves no useful function — other than circumventing legality. 
  • Stiglitz, who has called on bitcoin to be outlawed, told Blooomberg Television from Davos: "We have a good medium of exchange called the dollar."
  • He argues that regulating bitcoin would mean driving it out of existance — and he thinks that would be a good thing.  

It’s not a secret that Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel-winning economist and Columbia professor, is not a special fan of bitcoin.

He has called for the so-called "cryptocurrency" to be outlawed, arguing that it is used primarily for illicit purposes such as money laundering and tax evasion.

Pressed about it during a Bloomberg Television interview from Davos, Stiglitz explained his rationale in simple terms. Essentially, he says, bitcoin is attempting to solve a problem that never existed in the first place.

"We have a good medium of exchange called the dollar," he told Bloomberg Surveillance’s Tom Keene Tuesday morning from the snow-capped Swiss peaks. "We can trade in that. Why do people want bitcoin? For secrecy."

The banking system can and is already moving toward greater use of digital payments, Stiglitz added, "but you don’t need bitcoin for that."

"My feeling is that when you regulate it so that you couldn’t engage in money laundering and all these other things, there would be no demand for bitcoin," he said. "So by regulating the abuses you are going to regulate it out of existence."

The price of bitcoin crashed recently after a jaw-dropping run-up that drove it to a peak of nearly $20,000. The decline has been driven in part by fear of increased regulation in major Asian economies like South Korea and China. 

Screen Shot 2018 01 23 at 7.07.48 AM

SEE ALSO: Janet Yellen says bitcoin is a highly speculative asset — but the Fed played a key role in its rise

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Bitcoin Price Plunges Below $10,000 as Markets Continue to Feel Regulatory Heat

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

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The bitcoin price plunged below the $10,000 support level in a correction that analysts are attributing to increased pressure from regulators throughout the world. Bitcoin Price Plunges Below $10,000 The bitcoin price dipped below $10,000 on Tuesday, deepening an early-week correction that began on Monday on the heels of a fleeting $13,000 weekend rally. At

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JPMorgan Chase is raising wages to as much as $18 an hour as part of a $20 billion investment in the US business (JPM)

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

Jamie Dimon

JPMorgan Chase announced Tuesday that it's giving pay raises to 22,000 US employees who work in its branches and customer service centers as part of a $20 billion investment in the business that's connected to the company's tax windfall. 

These employees will see hourly wages increase to between $15 and 18, up from $12 and $16.50, the company said in a statement. The pay bump goes into effect in over 100 cities across the country, depending on the cost of living, on February 25. 

As part of the $20 billion, five-year investment, JPMorgan is also opening up 400 new branches, hiring 4,000 new employees, increasing lending efforts, and ramping up philanthropic giving. 

“Having a healthy, strong company allows us to make these long-term, sustainable investments,” CEO Jamie said in a statement. “We are excited about further investing in our outstanding workforce and expanding into new U.S. markets. When we enter a community, we enter it with the full force of JPMorgan Chase behind it. We hire people. We lend to and support local businesses."

Here are other key details from the $20 billion investment plan, from the statement:

  •  Investing in employees with further increases to wages and benefits. Wages will increase 10 percent on average – ranging from between $15 and $18/hour – for 22,000 employees.
  • Expanding the branch network into new U.S. markets, leading to increased small business lending and philanthropic investments, and further support for local low-and moderate- income communities.
  • Increasing community-based philanthropic investments by 40percent to $1.75 billion over five years.
  • Increasing small business lending by $4 billion.
  • Accelerating affordable housing lending by (a) increasing mortgage lending in low-and moderate-income communitiesand (b) accelerating commercial lending to buildaffordable housing.

The bank said the new investments were "made possible by the firm’s strong and sustained business performance, recent changes to the U.S. corporate tax system and a more constructive regulatory and business environment."

This story is developing.

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The mayor of Venice has intervened after 4 tourists were charged €1,100 for steak, fried fish, and mineral water

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

grand canal venice flickr pedro szekely

  • A restaurant charged four tourists €1,100 ($1,350/£970) for a meal.
  • The four Japanese students had four steaks, fried fish, and mineral water at Osteria da Luca.
  • They paid the bill but complained to police in Bologna.
  • Venice's mayor pledged to look into the case.


The mayor of Venice has pledged to intervene in a "shameful episode" in which four tourists said they were charged €1,100 ($1,350/£970) for four steaks, fried mixed fish, and mineral water at a local restaurant.

The four Japanese men had been dining at Osteria da Luca near St Mark's Square last Friday when they were presented with the massive bill, The Daily Telegraph reported.

They paid, but complained about it to police upon returning to Bologna, where they were studying, the BBC reported.

Venetian Mayor Luigi Brugnaro tweeted on Sunday: "We will thoroughly examine this episode over the coming days. We'll make sure the complaint was justified.

"If this shameful episode is confirmed, we'll do all we can to punish those responsible. We are for justice, always!"

venice st mark's square tourists

A spokesman for Osteria da Luca said he had "no recollection of any problems with Japanese customers," The Guardian reported, citing local news sources.

Earlier that evening, three women in the same tour group suspected they were getting ripped off and went to another restaurant, where they were charged €350 for seafood pasta, Marco Gasparinetti, a spokesman for local civic group Gruppo 25 Aprile, told Italy's Ansa news agency.

Osteria da Luca, which Ansa says is managed by an Egyptian and owned by Chinese investors, appears already to be notorious for its exorbitant prices and lacking service.

Photos posted on TripAdvisor of the restaurant's bills show that the restaurant had charged €6 for fried potatoes, €8 for draft beer, and €8 for coffees with milk.

Pricey meals are not uncommon among Venetian restaurants. In November, a British family claimed they were charged €526 ($608/£462) for oysters, squid ink pasta, French fries, mixed vegetables, and a plate of mixed fish that they never ordered.

SEE ALSO: Tourists in Venice were charged more than £450 for a lunch they claim they didn't order — and this is a more common scam than you'd expect

READ MORE: Cruise ships are being banned from sailing through Venice after locals got sick of them dwarfing their city

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Bear Grip Strengthens as Bitcoin Price Nears $10K

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

Bitcoin prices look set to explore sub-$10,000 levels, leaving the bulls an uphill task to achieve a reversal.

License Approved: Japanese Bitcoin Exchange bitFlyer Expands to Europe

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

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Continuing its global expansion after its entry into the US market last year, Japanese bitcoin exchange giant bitFlyer has announced its launch in Europe. Bitflyer, one of the world’s earliest and largest cryptocurrency trading platforms, has officially launched in Europe after receiving regulatory approval that deems it a recognized Payment Institution (PI) in the European … Continued

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International SEO Provider to Accept BTC + 9 Altcoins and Give a 15% Crypto Bonus

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

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This is a paid-for submitted press release. CCN does not endorse, nor is responsible for any material included below and isn’t responsible for any damages or losses connected with any products or services mentioned in the press release. CCN urges readers to conduct their own research with due diligence into the company, product or service mentioned

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International SEO Provider to Accept BTC + 9 Altcoins and Give a 15% Crypto Bonus

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

The post International SEO Provider to Accept BTC + 9 Altcoins and Give a 15% Crypto Bonus appeared first on CCN

This is a paid-for submitted press release. CCN does not endorse, nor is responsible for any material included below and isn’t responsible for any damages or losses connected with any products or services mentioned in the press release. CCN urges readers to conduct their own research with due diligence into the company, product or service mentioned

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The rising stars of headhunting everyone on Wall Street should get to know

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

Competition for talent on Wall Street is fierce.

Banks, hamstrung by regulators on compensation and battling the stereotype of an onerous work culture, have seen a talent flight to investing firms and Silicon Valley. For their part, alternative-asset managers have experienced massive growth and a flood of inbound capital, requiring an ever-larger stable of investment professionals to manage the load. 

Making the right hiring decisions has rarely been more critical. And headhunters, often unseen to the outside world, specialize in making sure C-suite execs, managing directors, and portfolio managers get it right.

Introducing Business Insider's list of the best up-and-coming headhunters on Wall Street.

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Oxford University is giving students extra time to finish exams because women are 'adversely affected by time pressure'

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

university of oxford

  • Oxford University added 15 extra minutes to maths and computer science exams.
  • Adjudicators thought female students were "more likely to be adversely affected by time pressure," according to The Daily Telegraph.
  • The university said women have performed better since the change last year.


The University of Oxford has added extra time to maths and computer science exams because female students aren't performing as well as their male counterparts.

Students sitting maths and computer science exams last summer were given an extra 15 minutes to complete their papers because "female candidates might be more likely to be adversely affected by time pressure," according to a decision seen by The Daily Telegraph.

The number of male students achieving first-class degrees was double that of women before the change was made, the Telegraph reported. As a result, the department changed the goal posts in an attempt to help female students achieve better grades.

But while the change was implemented in order to help more women achieve first-class degrees, the added time simply helped more female students achieve 2:1 grades overall, with fewer women securing a lower class 2:2, according to the Telegraph.

Antonia Sir, an undergraduate representative of Oxford Women in Computer Science, told the Telegraph: "I am uneasy about schemes to favour one gender over another.

"But I am happy when people see gaps between groups of people who should not reasonably have such gaps — such as between genders, races, or class — and take that as a starting point to think about the kinds of people they unintentionally leave behind."

An Oxford University spokesman told Business Insider:

"As part of an ongoing review of our examination process, the Mathematical Institute in Oxford decided to extend its 90-minute examinations to 105 minutes for all students.

"We believe that this extra time allows us to better determine which students have gained the fullest understanding of the course material, in a way which remains academically demanding and fair.

"We are encouraged to note that following these changes, women have performed better in our examinations. However, it is too soon to draw firm conclusions from this evidence."

SEE ALSO: Racism, a fear of not fitting in, and insane competition: Why there's still a chronic lack of black students at Oxford and Cambridge

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This large private island in the Bahamas is on sale for $20 million — and it was once home to parties for royals and celebs hosted by its cross-dressing oil heiress owner

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

1

  • A 711-acre private island in the Bahamas has gone on sale for $20 million (£14.4 million)
  • The island, which has 12 miles of shoreline and features 13 white sandy beaches, was previously owned by Marion Barbara Carstairs.
  • Carstairs, an eccentric heiress turned speedboat racing champion, once entertained royalty and Hollywood A-listers at Whale Cay.


Whale Cay, a large private island in the Berry Islands, Bahamas, has come on the market for $20 million (£14.4 million) — and it has a rather interesting past.

The island was bought by Marion Barbara "Joe" Carstairs, the daughter of an American heiress to the Standard Oil fortune and a British army captain, in 1934.

Carstairs, seen below, became a famous speed boat champion racer nicknamed the "fastest woman on water."

Joe Cairstairs

Robert Cooper, director of 7th Heaven Properties, told Business Insider that Carstairs "led a colourful life cross-dressing as a man and having affairs with high-profile women," including Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, and the niece of Oscar Wilde.

According to the 7th Heaven Properties website, she then "retired to the island where she hosted guests including British royalty (the Duke and Duchess of Windsor visited several times) and stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age."

Carstairs sold Whale Cay for $1 million in 1975, according to Homes & Property.

The island is now accessible by boat, seaplane, or via a 4,000-foot paved airstrip. 

13

It has 12 miles of shoreline, and features 13 white sandy beaches stretching seven miles in total.

2

Whale Cay offers some of the region’s best water for boating and fishing. It's located just 30 miles off the coast of Florida, and the nearby island of Chub Cay is the main port of entry with customs, immigration, and a marina, as well as food, fuel, and supplies.

14

The island is being marketed as a "rare" development opportunity, and has been divided into multiple residential lots with a two-phase plan for redevelopment. 

In phase 1, the sale will include 75 of 155 lots in a subdivision on the southern section of the island, as a former owner sold on or retains ownership of the remaining 80. In phase 2, the sale will include all 60 lots in the northern section of the island.

10

The offering also includes several historical buildings which were built by Carstairs between the 1930s and 1970s and have since fallen into disrepair.

4

These include the "Great House," guest cottage, music room, staff dormitory, storage buildings, a museum, laundry room, maintenance buildings, sea plane hangar, and a lighthouse.

5

Located on the northern side of Whale Cay is a 2.5 mile natural waterway which, if dredged, could become a marina for boats.

11

The listing on 7th Heaven Properties is courtesy of Damianos Sotheby’s International Realty. 

SEE ALSO: 11 of the most incredible places in the world that are best reached by private jet

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'It's a bad thing:' The City of London thinks Macron has it wrong on Brexit

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

FILE PHOTO - French President Emmanuel Macron looks on during the COP23 U.N. Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany, November 15, 2017.  REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

  • Lobby group TheCityUK disputes Emmanuel Macron's claim that the UK must choose between full membership of the single market and a Canada-style trade deal which excludes financial services.
  • "It's absolutely right that most free-trade agreements don't cover services, but that's not a good thing, that's a bad thing," said chief executive Miles Celic.


LONDON — A lobby group representing Britain's financial services disputed Emmanuel Macron's claim that the UK must choose between full membership of Europe's single market and a Canada-style trade deal which excludes financial services.

"A number of people have made similar comments [to Macron]," Miles Celic, chief executive of TheCityUK, told Business Insider. "Barnier said something relatively similar before Christmas. It's absolutely right that most free-trade agreements don't cover services, but that's not a good thing, that's a bad thing."

French president Macron said last week that Britain can have "no differentiated access to financial services" after Brexit. "If you want access to the single market, including the financial services, be my guest. But it means that you need to contribute to the budget and acknowledge European jurisdiction," he said.

He said the alternative to single-market was a unique deal, but one like that between the EU and Canada which does not include financial services. "If you want trade access, it can cover everything, but then it’s not full access to the single market and to the financial services, otherwise it’s closer to Canada's situation," he said.

"A degree of choreography and theatricality"

Celic suggested Macron's words had carried a degree of "theatricality" associated with negotiations. "Possibly we need to aim off for a degree of the choreography and theatricality that comes in any negotiation," he said.

TheCityUK has called since last year for an untested system of "mutual regulatory recognition" after Brexit, a system which Brexit secretary David Davis spoke about favourably at a speech in November.

Under that system, the EU and Britain would broadly accept firms in each other's markets because their regulatory systems were broadly similar. There would likely be a dispute resolution authority which arbitrated when one system moved to diverge from another.

Celic said mutual recognition would dampen the impact of losing financial passporting rights when the UK leaves the single market. Passporting is a valuable system which allows UK-quartered banks to sell products and services to financial markets across the EU.

"The government has been forthright and crystal clear on this: The UK is leaving the single market," he said.

"If we leave the single market, what goes with that is the passporting regime. Therefore the question is how you create something that captures the benefits of the passporting regime, which works well for both sides. We'd argue that mutual regulatory recognition allows for that," he said.

The think-tank Institute for Government has criticised such an approach, saying it would be "unlikely to prove the magic bullet that allows the government to avoid the choice between domestic freedom on regulation and friction-free access to the single market."

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Cryptocurrency Exchange BitFlyer Launches New EU Branch

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

Japan-based bitcoin exchange bitFlyer has opened a new EU branch, after receiving regulatory approval in Luxembourg.

Bitcoin Can Bring Respite to Africa’s Inflation Problem

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

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Inflation runs high in Africa and bitcoin could be a potential alternative to regional currencies. African central banks have consistently followed policies that have eroded the purchasing power of their citizen’s money.  As a result, bitcoin will offer Africans a choice and another option for money as a store of value. Bitcoin has been portrayed by

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A South Korean regulator sold his crypto holdings 2 days before new rules were announced — and people are furious

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

south korean soldiers training angry screaming

  • A South Korean civil servant sparked outrage in the country by selling his holdings in cryptocurrencies just days before a regulatory crackdown.
  • The country's government is now considering stricter codes of conduct for public sector workers.
  • The unnamed man is thought to have made 7 million Korean won ($6,550; £4,700).


South Korea is set to introduce stricter codes of conducts for civil servants after one official sparked outrage by selling his holdings in cryptocurrencies just days before the country's financial regulator announced new laws governing the space.

According to the Yonhap news agency, Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon told his cabinet on Tuesday to create a new code of conduct in the wake of the incident, which is said to have caused huge controversy in the country.

"People have expressed anger following revelations that an employee of the main department handling measures on virtual currency earned profits from virtual currency trading," Lee is reported as saying.

"The reason people are upset and a relevant agency is investigating is because public servants have a special (moral) responsibility."

Yonhap reports that the anger stems from the belief that "the official, who is supposed to act as a watchdog, took advantage of unannounced information affecting the market."

The unnamed male civil servant, works for the Financial Supervisory Service, South Korea's financial regulator. The man is said to have made a profit of as much as seven million Korean won ($6,550; £4,700) by selling a stake in cryptocurrencies. 

The stake was sold just two days before the FSS announced numerous measures designed to curb speculation on bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, including the trading of bitcoin futures contracts.

South Korea has been struggling to control the speculative market for bitcoin in the country, which is believed to account for roughly 20% of all global bitcoin trading. It has introduced numerous measures to curb speculation and regulate the market, including saying on Tuesday it would ban the use of anonymous bank accounts in cryptocurrency trading.

The move is designed to prevent the currencies from being used for money laundering and other illegal activities.

It is also believed that South Korea could even ban crypto-trading altogether, with an unnamed government source telling Reuters on Tuesday that the "government is still discussing whether an outright ban is needed or not, internally."

Bitcoin is down just over 1.5% to trade at around $10,600:

Screen Shot 2018 01 23 at 09.09.26

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Japanese bitcoin exchange BitFlyer comes to Europe

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

 Japanese bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchange BitFlyer has expanded into Europe after it landed a payment license to operate across the EU. Data from Coinmarketcap.com shows that BitFlyer is the world’s 14th largest exchange based on volume, with more than $294 million trading in the last 24 hours at the time of writing. Bitcoin is the dominant choice for BitFlyer users, having account… Read More

The pound jumped above $1.40 to a fresh post-Brexit high

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

  • Sterling climbs above the psychologically significant 1.40 level against the dollar overnight.
  • During early trading in Europe, sterling drops back to around $1.3950.
  • The pound has rallied aggressively during 2018, and is the best performing G10 currency over the past six months.



LONDON — The pound moved to its highest level against the dollar since Britain voted to leave the European Union in June 2016 overnight, climbing above the psychologically significant level of $1.40 in the process.

By just after 8.15 a.m. GMT (3.15 a.m. ET) sterling has pulled back from those gains to trade at around $1.3950, a fall of roughly 0.3% from the beginning of the day's trading.

Here's the chart:

pound jan 23

"The British Pound attracted most of the traders’ attention after breaking above $1.4 earlier today. The 1.4 is not only a psychological level, but it has also been considered a key support level during the past three decades prior to the Brexit vote," Hussein Sayed, chief market strategist at forex firm FXTM, said in an email.

While most analysts expected sterling to post gains during 2018, the speed at which it has appreciated early in the year has confounded expectations. The currency is up by almost five cents against the dollar since the beginning of the year, and is the best performing of the G10 basket of major currencies over the past six months.

It may seem as though sterling's rise reflects growing confidence that the UK and EU will be able to strike a Brexit deal beneficial to both parties — and to a certain extent that is true. However, much of the appreciation is down to the continually weakening dollar as investors worry about the future direction of the US economy under the Trump presidency.

The recent government shutdown has only served to exacerbate those concerns.

Should weakness in the dollar continue, ING FX strategist Viraj Patel believes that sterling could reach $1.53 this year, a level higher than the days before the referendum.

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Competition watchdog: Fox's takeover of Sky would be 'against the public interest'

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

rupert murdoch

  • 21st Century Fox announced plans to take over Sky in 2016. The deal was referred to the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) last September.
  • CMA said Tuesday the deal is "against the public interest" as it would give the Murdoch family too much control over UK media.


LONDON — The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has raised concerns about Sky's planned takeover by 21st Century Fox, saying the deal would give media mogul Rupert Murdoch and his family too much control over the UK news media.

The CMA said in a statement on Tuesday that it believes the deal would be "against the public interest" because there needs to "be a sufficient plurality of persons with control of the media." Rupert Murdoch is a majority shareholder of both Sky and 21st Century Fox and a merger would centralise his control.

The watchdog is concerned that the deal could "reduce the diversity of viewpoints available to and consumed by members of the public."

"The specific concern is that the Transaction might reduce the independence of Sky’s news and current affairs content on Sky News, and this, in turn, could lead to a reduction in the diversity of viewpoints across the news and current affairs offerings operated by the media 6 enterprises controlled by the MFT [Murdoch Family Trust], including Sky News, The Sun, The Sun on Sunday, The Times, and The Sunday Times," the CMA wrote.

"The Transaction might make it more likely that Sky News and the newspapers owned by News Corp could take a similar approach on specific topics or issues, push certain stories, or downplay others. These concerns do not rely on full editorial alignment, but rather the potential for increased editorial alignment."

The CMA notes that the Murdoch family already have significant sway when it comes to influencing public debate in the UK.

"In addition to this perception of influence, we have noted that members of the Murdoch family and representatives of News Corp have met with government ministers significantly more frequently than other newspapers owners over the past two and a half years," the report said.

Sky and Fox's response

Sky acknowledged the verdict in a brief statement on Tuesday morning, saying it would look at the CMA's recommendations.

Fox said in a statement: "We welcome the CMA's provisional finding that the Company has a genuine commitment to broadcasting standards and the transaction would not be against the public interest in this respect. 

"Regarding plurality, we are disappointed by the CMA's provisional findings.  We will continue to engage with the CMA ahead of the publication of the final report in May."

Fox is already a minority shareholder of Sky and the US company announced plans for a full takeover in December 2016. The deal was referred to the CMA in September last year for review. Sky has already threatened to close down Sky News to force through the merger.

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The government has a 'gaping black hole' in its money laundering defences

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

the wolf of wall street

  • The government's system for registering companies is a "gaping black hole" in anti money laundering defences, a senior member of the UK's accountancy body told Business Insider.
  • Companies House is exempt from the due diligence regulations that were tightened last year under the Fourth Money Laundering Directive.
  • Individuals wishing to establish businesses under false pretenses or with dirty money are not subject to due diligence by Companies House, which takes information on good faith.


LONDON — The government's system for registering new companies is a "gaping black hole" in defences against money laundering and fraud, a legal professional at the UK's accountancy body has said.

The government's online system by which company details are registered and updated, Companies House, is not subject to the same scrutiny as private businesses that offer company formation services, David Stevens, Integrity and Law Manager at the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), told Business Insider.

"No matter how much you ramp up regulation on [private firms]," said Stevens, it "doesn’t address the gaping black hole" that is Companies House.

New regulations introduced last year under the EU's Fourth Money Laundering Directive require due diligence to be done on all companies registered with Trust and Company Service Providers, and the individuals behind them. But Companies House is exempt since it is not considered a commercial business provider.

"People can just go directly to Companies House with no questions asked," said Stevens. "There is scope for abuse.

"One of the best descriptions I’ve come across is, whereas previously if I wanted to make some illegal cash I'd walk into an off license with a handgun, now it is significantly less risky just to set up a Limited Liability company and use that as my handgun," he said.

According to Richard Osborne, managing director of eFiling, an administrative service for company formation agents, around 40% of all companies set up annually are established via Companies House. Filings are "accepted in good faith," said Osborne, which is "making a mockery of the registry."

Individuals do not need to prove they have permission to use the address they give, he said: "you can pick an address out of the yellow pages."

Lax regulation also enables fraud and tax evasion, both men said. One tactic is for individuals to establish trading companies and dissolve them within a year, before any meaningful accounts are filed, in order to evade paying tax.

"I have come across that in a context of a couple of quite specific scams, it’s a known practice," said Stevens.

A 2017 report by Transparency International found there are only six people at Companies House who police four million firms' compliance with company law, and around half of the 766 companies alleged to have been involved in high end money laundering were based at just eight UK addresses.

Exempting Companies House from due diligence legislation could be tactical, said Osborne: "It's better for the UK to be an 'easy' place to do business, and to ignore and accept fraud."

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Annual Blockchain Cruise Sails Over Choppy Bitcoin Waters in Asia

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

The post Annual Blockchain Cruise Sails Over Choppy Bitcoin Waters in Asia appeared first on CCN

Hundreds of devoted cryptocurrency investors set sail from a Singapore port and luckily were wearing their sea legs. When these passengers departed for the high seas for the Second Annual Blockchain Cruise, on Jan. 15, the bitcoin price was trading in the $13,500 range, with their profits intact. But by the time they docked in

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10 things you need to know before European markets open

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

world economic forum davos

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

1. The US Securities and Exchange Commission is scrutinizing public companies that change their name or business model in a bid to capitalize upon the hype surrounding blockchain technology. Dozens of little-known companies across the globe have seen their share prices leap in recent months after unveiling plans to enter the bitcoin industry or that of its underlying distributed ledger blockchain technology.

2. The global economy and geopolitical tensions are taking a back seat to a more immediate problem at this year's Davos summit of political and business leaders: heavy snow is burying the venue. Part of the main train line into Davos had been buried in snow over the weekend, forcing people onto buses, and helicopters were disrupted by poor visibility.

3. Netflix added more international subscribers than expected in the fourth quarter. Netflix signed up 6.36 million subscribers internationally, compared with the average analyst estimate of 5.1 million, according to data and analytics firm FactSet. 

4. France will hire an extra 95 customs officers this year to cope with the consequences of Brexit on its borders, officials said on Monday. In a sign that European countries were now taking concrete steps to deal with a possible return to customs checks on British trade, French customs have already advertised the new positions on their website.

5. George Weah, the former international soccer star who won the presidency of Liberia last month, promised a crackdown on corruption as he was sworn in. Thousands of exuberant supporters and regional presidents and dignitaries packed into a stadium in the capital Monrovia to watch as Weah, who rose from the city's slums to become one of Africa's greatest footballers, took the oath of office.

6. Britain's biggest retailer Tesco said it will cut a net 800 jobs from its UK business in its latest move to simplify operations and achieve targeted cost savings. The supermarket group said the role of "people manager" and "compliance manager" will be removed from large UK stores and fulfillment centers.

7. The recently hired chief executive of Uber said that he was focused on what he called "responsible growth" as he seeks to put an end to the take-no-prisoners' culture he inherited in joining the company. Speaking at a technology conference in Munich, Uber Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi said he was "focused on going from growth-at-all-costs to responsible growth."

8. Nordea has forbidden all its roughly 31,000 employees from trading in cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin due to high risks. The Nordic region's biggest bank said the ban will be imposed from Feb. 28.

9. Deutsche Boerse has launched an index that tracks companies that are leaders in artificial intelligence by using an algorithm to identify early adopters of the technology. Companies in the index include Apple, Deutsche Telekom, Bank of America and Facebook, the German stock exchange operator said.

10. Activist investor Third Point called on the board of Swiss company Nestle to clarify its corporate strategy and speed up the disposal of "ill-fitting businesses." Third Point, founded by investor Dan Loeb, also said Nestle could accelerate and even expand its share buyback programme, the letter showed.

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How To Save on Bitcoin's Soaring Fees

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Transaction fees are the talk of the bitcoin ecosystem, with many users upset by the rising cost to send funds, but there are simple ways to cut fees.

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