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Bitcoin Startup BitGo to Buy Asset Custodian

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

Blockchain security company BitGo will acquire Kingdom Trust in a new deal announced on Thursday.

Nordea Bank Bans Employees From Owning Bitcoin, Unions Consider Legal Action

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

The post Nordea Bank Bans Employees From Owning Bitcoin, Unions Consider Legal Action appeared first on CCN

Union reps call it an “overreaction” and are preparing for the worst. Scandinavian lender Nordea is drawing the line against bitcoin internally, throwing down the gauntlet on any activity that’s “unethical” or worse, “criminal.” Bank officials are citing a lack of regulation, likening bitcoin to gambling but favoring the latter for its regulation. But critics are

The post Nordea Bank Bans Employees From Owning Bitcoin, Unions Consider Legal Action appeared first on CCN

The billionaire who controls electric-car startup Faraday Future is being pursued by another company he founded for billions in unpaid debt

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

jia yueting ff91

  • Jia Yueting, the billionaire tech entrepreneur who now controls the electric-car startup Faraday Future, may have to give up a piece of the company and several others in which he owns a stake.
  • Leshi Internet Information and Technology, a publicly traded business Jia founded in China, wants an equity stake in the automotive upstarts in which Jia is a shareholder — which include Faraday Future, LeSEE, and Lucid Motors — because of debts owed by Jia and the embattled tech conglomerate LeEco.


Tech billionaire Jia Yueting, the man who founded the electronics conglomerate LeEco and operates the electric-car startup Faraday Future, is being pursued by another company he founded because of unpaid debts in China.

Leshi Internet Information and Technology, a Shenzen, China-based business Jia founded in 2004, alleges that Jia and LeEco owe the company about $1.17 billion (7.5 billion yuan), Reuters reported this week, citing comments Leshi officials made during an investor briefing. Leshi is the publicly listed arm of LeEco. LeEco disputed the amount Leshi says it owes, saying the total is roughly $941 million (6 billion yuan).

Jia resigned as chairman and CEO of Leshi in July 2017, but he holds a 25.67% stake in the company, making him its largest shareholder, according to Reuters.

As a form of repayment, Leshi is seeking an equity stake in several electric-car startups in which Jia is a shareholder, including Faraday Future, LeSEE, and Lucid Motors.

The Los Angeles-based Faraday Future recently announced Jia would take over as CEO. LeSEE is an offshoot of Faraday Future. Lucid Motors is based in the San Francisco Bay Area city of Newark, about 10 miles from Tesla's Fremont factory.

Business Insider has reached out to Faraday Future for comment. A Lucid Motors spokesperson declined to comment on the Reuters report.

LeEco's business has all but crumbled worldwide under mounting debts. In the last year, a Chinese court froze millions of dollars in assets belonging to Jia and his associates that were linked to a loan for a LeEco subsidiary.

Jia, who now lives in the tony Southern California beach suburb of Rancho Palos Verdes, has vowed to repay the debts, but rejected a Chinese regulator's order to return to China to sort out the mess. He sent his wife and brother instead.

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 Takes the Stage at Davos in Currency Panel Debate

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

Cryptocurrencies took the stage Thursday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, during a panel discussion on bitcoin.

The president of the New York Stock Exchange pours cold water on a bitcoin ETF

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

new york stock exchange tom farley cnbc bob pisani

  • Tom Farley, president of the New York Stock Exchange, doesn't see a bitcoin ETF in the near term.
  • A number of companies have pulled requests for a bitcoin-linked ETF amid regulator worries.


One of the most powerful men on Wall Street doesn't see an exchange-traded fund linked to bitcoin in the cards for the near term. 

Tom Farley, the president of the New York Stock Exchange, told Bloomberg Thursday that it would take some time for regulators to approve such a fund. 

“I saw a message that said this is not a mature asset class in the vein of the U.S. dollar or gold,” Farley said in an interview with Bloomberg TV's Erik Schatzker at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland. “If I had to guess, it’s a while. I don’t have timing, but it is not imminent.”

NYSE Arca, a secondary exchange for ETF listings, lists more than 1,400 ETFs on its venue. A number of bitcoin-linked ETF have filed to list on NYSE but have since withdrawn requests after regulators expressed concerns about such a product so early in bitcoin's life-cycle.

VanEck, which filed for its actively managed Bitcoin Strategy ETF on December 11, for instance,asked the SEC to withdraw that amendment. ProShares, which said it would launch a suite of bitcoin ETFs in September, also withdrew its request, according to a filing

Ed Tilly, chief executive of Cboe Global Markets, told reporters during a media lunch in New York that the market would have to see a number of settlements in the bitcoin futures market before an ETF or any other type of exchange-traded product would get approved. 

“Before you get into mainstream ETPs, we need to get through a series of settlements before that makes sense to regulators,” Tilly said. “Those boxes have to be checked before there’s a mass roll-out of exchange-traded products.”

Cboe and cross-town rival CME Group launched futures markets for bitcoin in December. Cboe's January contracts settled on January 17. CME's front-month contracts expire Friday.

ICE, the parent company of NYSE, made headlines earlier this month for launching a cryptocurrency data feed aimed at professional traders. 

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Don't let stretched valuations keep you from betting on high-profile tech and media stocks, says CFRA

Indian Government Turns Fiat Currency War on to Cryptocurrencies

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

india-crypto-reg.jpg

The cryptocurrency marketplace in India is facing a siege from multiple parts of the government as several incidents amount to a buildup of the Narendra Modi–led government’s actions on regulating cryptocurrencies. If the reports out of India are true, the IMF’s “fastest growing country among emerging economies” may have to meet its 7.4 percent GDP growth target in 2018 without the boost that the digital currency industry has provided in the past.

The Prequel: PM Modi Demonetized Rs 500 and Rs 1000 Notes in 2016

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced in late 2016 a “demonetization policy” in which the Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes would no longer be considered “legal tender” as of November 9, 2016. The reasoning given for the move: curbing the impact of fake currency, “black money,” corruption and terrorism on the nation’s economy.

While the effectiveness of the campaign has been debated and politicized, the same reasoning the prime minister used on fiat currency bills is now being echoed about on the subject of cryptocurrency regulation.

Finance Minister Jaitley to Parliament: Cryptos Not “Legal Tender”

On January 2, 2018, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley answered questions before Indian parliament, in which he stated that “bitcoins or such cryptocurrencies are not legal tender and those indulging in such transactions are doing it at their own risk.”

Aman Kalra, marketing head of New Delhi–based Bitcoin exchange Coinsecure, stated:

If we listen to Mr. Jaitley’s comments carefully, we’ll notice that he never referred to bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as illegal, and always mentioned that they are waiting for the report from the group that was formed for this purpose …

Kalra’s point is an oft-repeated one in the industry, that excluding cryptocurrencies as “legal tender” doesn’t necessarily make their trade and usage illegal. However, parliament member Muthuvel Kanimozhi asked the minister during Question Hour if the government would be seeking to regulate cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ether given that India “accounts for more than 11 percent” of cryptocurrency trading globally.

While actions to regulate major cryptocurrency coins by Indian heads of state may concern outside investors, given India’s voluminous participation in the markets, Kalra indicated that “not calling it a legal tender doesn’t worry us [Coinsecure] at all. If the [government] had to ban it, they would have done it a long time ago.” Kalra also took the stance that the industry understands it takes time for the government to understand technology like Bitcoin “before coming out with regulations around it.”

Frozen Bank Accounts — Fake News?

On January 21, 2018, news reports from the Times of India indicated that several Indian banks (the State Bank of India, the ICICI, the HDFC Bank and Axis Bank) had frozen bank accounts associated with cryptocurrency trading. Users on Reddit debated the news with one user by the name of ubiquitous_raven, who stated (on reports inclusive of the frozen bank accounts notices):

This is why the nation can never ride the wave towards growth and be early adopters of world-changing tools/tech/ideas ... I believe in the blockchain and its successors and have no intention to scare people out of cryptocurrency. But it is extremely agitating/saddening to watch the largest democracy in the world with the second largest population take steps towards the dark ages.

When asked about the topic, Kalra hinted at two words Americans have tired of hearing: “fake news.” According to Kalra, it appears there is “very little truth” to those news reports. Kalra went on to add, “I cannot comment upon other exchanges in India, but Coinsecure hasn’t been contacted for any such issues from its banking partners.” Some users on the /r/cryptocurrency subreddit agree with Kalra’s statement, noting the reports were either “clickbait” or referencing earlier actions, stating, “This is the explanation of the issue that happened with Zebpay and Koinex one month ago.”

The news, fake or not, has had a negative impact on Indian trading volume for BTC. Conflating the issue even further were rumors and speculation that the banks that were freezing accounts did so to promote their associations with altcoins.

Coinsecure, via Kalra, notes that they have “noticed a significant drop in daily volumes since the beginning of this year.” Kalra speculated that the lack of volume was endemic to all Indian Bitcoin exchanges, stating, “It looks like the users are scared for the safety of their funds after reading such news/reports, and are reluctant to invest before the regulations are out or at least till the time there is a clear message from the government.”

Income Tax Department Sends Notices to Cryptocurrency Market Participants

Another of the main thrusts of the 2016 demonetization efforts seems to have turned toward cryptocurrencies: taxation. While not strictly an Indian issue, the Income Tax Department (IDT) took active measures this week, reportedly sending notices to those who have traded in cryptocurrencies. First reported on Jan 19, 2018, this batch of notices occured after a nationwide survey showed that more than $3.5 billion worth of transactions were conducted during a 17-month period, according to the IDT.*

To Kalra, it appears the IDT’s “only concern is to make sure that every individual who has generated some income though trading of cryptocurrencies [knows they are] liable for taxes.” Whether you agree with Kalra’s optimistic outlook, there is a negative fallout he also notes, namely that “users also get scared after such incidents and stop trading online.”

* Please Note: The Income Tax Department also reportedly sent notices out in December. This does not seem to be the same event, and the Income Tax Department releases data on monthly tax collection results.


This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Indian Government Turns Fiat Currency War on to Cryptocurrencies

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

india-crypto-reg.jpg

The cryptocurrency marketplace in India is facing a siege from multiple parts of the government as several incidents amount to a buildup of the Narendra Modi–led government’s actions on regulating cryptocurrencies. If the reports out of India are true, the IMF’s “fastest growing country among emerging economies” may have to meet its 7.4 percent GDP growth target in 2018 without the boost that the digital currency industry has provided in the past.

The Prequel: PM Modi Demonetized Rs 500 and Rs 1000 Notes in 2016

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced in late 2016 a “demonetization policy” in which the Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes would no longer be considered “legal tender” as of November 9, 2016. The reasoning given for the move: curbing the impact of fake currency, “black money,” corruption and terrorism on the nation’s economy.

While the effectiveness of the campaign has been debated and politicized, the same reasoning the prime minister used on fiat currency bills is now being echoed about on the subject of cryptocurrency regulation.

Finance Minister Jaitley to Parliament: Cryptos Not “Legal Tender”

On January 2, 2018, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley answered questions before Indian parliament, in which he stated that “bitcoins or such cryptocurrencies are not legal tender and those indulging in such transactions are doing it at their own risk.”

Aman Kalra, marketing head of New Delhi–based Bitcoin exchange Coinsecure, stated:

If we listen to Mr. Jaitley’s comments carefully, we’ll notice that he never referred to bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as illegal, and always mentioned that they are waiting for the report from the group that was formed for this purpose …

Kalra’s point is an oft-repeated one in the industry, that excluding cryptocurrencies as “legal tender” doesn’t necessarily make their trade and usage illegal. However, parliament member Muthuvel Kanimozhi asked the minister during Question Hour if the government would be seeking to regulate cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ether given that India “accounts for more than 11 percent” of cryptocurrency trading globally.

While actions to regulate major cryptocurrency coins by Indian heads of state may concern outside investors, given India’s voluminous participation in the markets, Kalra indicated that “not calling it a legal tender doesn’t worry us [Coinsecure] at all. If the [government] had to ban it, they would have done it a long time ago.” Kalra also took the stance that the industry understands it takes time for the government to understand technology like Bitcoin “before coming out with regulations around it.”

Frozen Bank Accounts — Fake News?

On January 21, 2018, news reports from the Times of India indicated that several Indian banks (the State Bank of India, the ICICI, the HDFC Bank and Axis Bank) had frozen bank accounts associated with cryptocurrency trading. Users on Reddit debated the news with one user by the name of ubiquitous_raven, who stated (on reports inclusive of the frozen bank accounts notices):

This is why the nation can never ride the wave towards growth and be early adopters of world-changing tools/tech/ideas ... I believe in the blockchain and its successors and have no intention to scare people out of cryptocurrency. But it is extremely agitating/saddening to watch the largest democracy in the world with the second largest population take steps towards the dark ages.

When asked about the topic, Kalra hinted at two words Americans have tired of hearing: “fake news.” According to Kalra, it appears there is “very little truth” to those news reports. Kalra went on to add, “I cannot comment upon other exchanges in India, but Coinsecure hasn’t been contacted for any such issues from its banking partners.” Some users on the /r/cryptocurrency subreddit agree with Kalra’s statement, noting the reports were either “clickbait” or referencing earlier actions, stating, “This is the explanation of the issue that happened with Zebpay and Koinex one month ago.”

The news, fake or not, has had a negative impact on Indian trading volume for BTC. Conflating the issue even further were rumors and speculation that the banks that were freezing accounts did so to promote their associations with altcoins.

Coinsecure, via Kalra, notes that they have “noticed a significant drop in daily volumes since the beginning of this year.” Kalra speculated that the lack of volume was endemic to all Indian Bitcoin exchanges, stating, “It looks like the users are scared for the safety of their funds after reading such news/reports, and are reluctant to invest before the regulations are out or at least till the time there is a clear message from the government.”

Income Tax Department Sends Notices to Cryptocurrency Market Participants

Another of the main thrusts of the 2016 demonetization efforts seems to have turned toward cryptocurrencies: taxation. While not strictly an Indian issue, the Income Tax Department (IDT) took active measures this week, reportedly sending notices to those who have traded in cryptocurrencies. First reported on Jan 19, 2018, this batch of notices occured after a nationwide survey showed that more than $3.5 billion worth of transactions were conducted during a 17-month period, according to the IDT.*

To Kalra, it appears the IDT’s “only concern is to make sure that every individual who has generated some income though trading of cryptocurrencies [knows they are] liable for taxes.” Whether you agree with Kalra’s optimistic outlook, there is a negative fallout he also notes, namely that “users also get scared after such incidents and stop trading online.”

* Please Note: The Income Tax Department also reportedly sent notices out in December. This does not seem to be the same event, and the Income Tax Department releases data on monthly tax collection results.


This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Robinhood will let users trade cryptocurrencies for free

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

Robinhood, the app that lets you make zero-fee stock trading and tracking, is moving into a new market: Cryptocurrencies. Next month, users in select US states will be able to buy and sell bitcoin and ethereum without having to pay transaction fees,...

Pilot Project Verifies Academic Credentials on the Bitcoin Blockchain

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

cv-verify.jpg

The UCL Centre for Blockchain Technologies at University College London (UCL CBT) is launching a new pilot project for blockchain-based verification of academic credentials. MSc Financial Risk Management graduates are now able to display a verified qualification on their CV through a QR code based on the Bitcoin blockchain, which instantly provides tamper-proof, verifiable information.

“The pilot will show that blockchain technology can be used outside of the financial sector,” said Professor Tomaso Aste, Scientific Director of the UCL CBT. “It will boost the CVs of students, providing proof of concept for the future potential to reduce universities’ burden processing verification requests and cut down the cost and time to verify qualifications for employers.”

UCL’s pilot project has been developed in partnership with Gradbase, a London-based developer whose technology leverages the Bitcoin blockchain to reduce fraud and administrative costs for both prospective employers and academic institutions.

Gradbase, founded in 2016 in London by two Imperial College London alumni, is funded by Global Advisors, a cryptocurrencies investment fund co-founded by Daniel Masters. “We are delighted that a top-tier academic institution such as UCL has recognized the potential for blockchain technology to change the world,” said Masters. “We look forward to receiving valuable feedback from this pilot.”

“We are very excited to have collaborated with Gradbase on a pilot which is a U.K. first,” added Dr. Paolo Tasca, the Executive Director of the UCL CBT. “The UCL CBT is playing a leading role in enabling the use of blockchain technology in the education sector, and we believe that, in the future, such technology will become mainstream.”

Gradbase is inspired by the "U.K. Digital Strategy for 2017,” which promotes new ways to work with personal data with more control and trust, and applications of blockchain and smart contracts. One of the main challenges for the UCL CBT pilot project was how to ensure compliance with the upcoming EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will be enforced as of May 25, 2018, and in particular the “right to be forgotten.”

“I am very excited that the pilot with UCL CBT was very successful,” Alberto De Capitani, co-founder of Gradbase, said in conversation with Bitcoin Magazine. “This pilot constitutes the first tangible proof that a frictionless, user-friendly and secure solution to the problem of CV fraud not only already exists but is also out there today. Now, every participating graduate of the MSc in Financial Risk Management can flaunt their QR code and with it be proud that they participated in the first pilot of its kind in the U.K.”

Gradbase Technical and Business Partner Maria Grazia Vigliotti, responsible for security and GDPR compliance, told Bitcoin Magazine that Gradbase is planning to work with many more academic and professional institutions in the U.K., Europe and Africa.

The UCL CBT is not the only educational institution to pilot blockchain-based verification of academic qualifications, nor is Bitcoin the only blockchain being used in this way. GRNET, the national research and education network of Greece, is working on a pilot project with blockchain research and development company IOHK to verify student diplomas on Enterprise Cardano, a private version of the Cardano blockchain which launched in September 2017.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

“Bitcoin and Its Sisters” Seem like a Bubble, Says Nobel Prize Winner Richard Thaler

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

The post “Bitcoin and Its Sisters” Seem like a Bubble, Says Nobel Prize Winner Richard Thaler appeared first on CCN

Nobel prize-winning economist Richard Thaler recently weighted in on bitcoin and the cryptocurrency ecosystem. Speaking to Portuguese publication ECO, Thaler stated that after taking a close look at the markets, cryptocurrencies are what “most looks like a bubble.” Despite his analysis, he doesn’t know when the bubble might burst. Thaler, known for his work in

The post “Bitcoin and Its Sisters” Seem like a Bubble, Says Nobel Prize Winner Richard Thaler appeared first on CCN

Trump Just Delivered Another Blow to the Solar Industry. Here's How Entrepreneurs Are Responding

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

Some believe the new tariffs could cripple the industry--and beyond.

The maker of Crock-Pot is plunging as people freak out over a character's shocking death on 'This Is Us'

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

Crock Pot

  • Newell Brands' stock is plunging after the company announced 2018 full-year guidance that disappointed analysts and investors.
  • The company is already dealing with the PR fallout after its Crock-Pot product caused the death of a beloved character on NBC's "This Is Us."


Newell Brands is having a rough day.

The maker of the popular Crock-Pot product saw its stock price plunge as much as 24% on Thursday after the company announced disappointing guidance for 2018.

Meanwhile, it's also facing a disaster on the PR front as people freak out about a shocking moment on Tuesday night's episode of NBC's "This Is Us," which saw a beloved major character apparently meet his demise due to a faulty Crock-Pot.

The company, which acquired the Crock-Pot slow cooker brand in 2016 when it bought consumer products maker Jarden, has been in damage control mode since the episode aired.

"For nearly 50 years, with over 100 million Crock-Pots sold, we have never received any consumer complaints similar to the fictional events portrayed in last night’s episode," Newell said in a statement. "In fact, the safety and design of our product renders this type of event nearly impossible."

The show's creator Dan Fogelman also sought to quell outrage, which extended to Twitter, where hordes of angry fans led a backlash against Crock-Pot.

The "This Is Us" bombshell is just the latest development for struggling Newell, whose stock had already dropped as much as 49% from a record high reached in June 2017, even before it released guidance on Thursday.

The fallout from the 2018 outlook came swiftly from analysts across Wall Street, as Wells Fargo and JPMorgan cut their price targets on the stock, while Barclays said "put simply, we've lost confidence" in Newell.

Screen Shot 2018 01 25 at 1.52.05 PM

SEE ALSO: Rapper 50 Cent reportedly made millions selling his album for bitcoin

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Here's what losing weight does to your body and brain

The maker of Crock-Pot is plunging as people freak out over a character's shocking death on 'This Is Us'

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

Crock Pot

  • Newell Brands' stock is plunging after the company announced 2018 full-year guidance that disappointed analysts and investors.
  • The company is already dealing with the PR fallout after its Crock-Pot product caused the death of a beloved character on NBC's "This Is Us."


Newell Brands is having a rough day.

The maker of the popular Crock-Pot product saw its stock price plunge as much as 24% on Thursday after the company announced disappointing guidance for 2018.

Meanwhile, it's also facing a disaster on the PR front as people freak out about a shocking moment on Tuesday night's episode of NBC's "This Is Us," which saw a beloved major character apparently meet his demise due to a faulty Crock-Pot.

The company, which acquired the Crock-Pot slow cooker brand in 2016 when it bought consumer products maker Jarden, has been in damage control mode since the episode aired.

"For nearly 50 years, with over 100 million Crock-Pots sold, we have never received any consumer complaints similar to the fictional events portrayed in last night’s episode," Newell said in a statement. "In fact, the safety and design of our product renders this type of event nearly impossible."

The show's creator Dan Fogelman also sought to quell outrage, which extended to Twitter, where hordes of angry fans led a backlash against Crock-Pot.

The "This Is Us" bombshell is just the latest development for struggling Newell, whose stock had already dropped as much as 49% from a record high reached in June 2017, even before it released guidance on Thursday.

The fallout from the 2018 outlook came swiftly from analysts across Wall Street, as Wells Fargo and JPMorgan cut their price targets on the stock, while Barclays said "put simply, we've lost confidence" in Newell.

Screen Shot 2018 01 25 at 1.52.05 PM

SEE ALSO: Rapper 50 Cent reportedly made millions selling his album for bitcoin

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Here's what losing weight does to your body and brain

US airlines are saving billions of dollars from Trump's tax reform and employees are getting $1,000 bonuses (LUV, JBLU, ALK)

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

Boeing 737 MAX Southwest Airlines

  • Southwest, JetBlue, and Alaska Airlines reported billions of dollars in tax savings during the fourth quarter of 2017.
  • The airlines attribute these savings to recent tax reform legislation.
  • Southwest, JetBlue, and Alaska have all announced it will give its employees a $1,000 bonus as a result. 

Tax reform legislation is having a major effect on airline earnings. And thus far, Southwest, JetBlue, and Alaska Airlines seem to have experienced the most immediate benefit from the recent changes in US tax policy. 

On Thursday, Southwest Airlines reported a $1.4 billion benefit due to tax reform legislation. JetBlue and Alaska Airlines reported fourth-quarter tax benefits of $502 million and $274 million, respectively. United Airlines also saw its tax expense in the fourth quarter of 2017 fall 95.9% in part because of a $192 million tax benefit. 

The end effect of these one-time tax benefits on fourth quarter and 2017 annual earnings are significant. 

Southwest's Q4 net income skyrocketed 261.7% to $1.89 billion while the airline's annual net income is up 55.4% to $3.49 billion. 

JetBlue's Q4 profits surged 291.2% to $672 million with the New York-based carrier's annual profits up 51.2% to $1.15 billion. 

Concurrently, Alaska Airlines' Q4 profits jumped 221.9% to $367 million and its annual net income up 26.3% to $1 billion. Alaska's figures also include Horizon Air and Virgin America, acquired for $2.6 billion in 2016. 

The $1.5 trillion Trump tax plan, which passed in early December, has reduced the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%. In addition, the plan changes the way the US government taxes companies that operate internationally. 

These airlines have also passed this tax benefit down to its workforce with Alaska, JetBlue, and Southwest all promising $1,000 bonuses for its employees.  American Airlines has also announced a $1,000 bonus. 

SEE ALSO: Hawaiian Airlines CEO reveals where he sees the next big opportunity

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NOW WATCH: Principal Global Investors CEO: Bitcoin lacks fundamental value and it won't replace gold

Should You Invest in Bitcoin? This App Can Help You Decide

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

A new app uses trading simulations to help you get familiar with Bitcoin before you invest. No real money. No risks. Just informed decisions about your Bitcoin-investing future.

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.

The Trump administration, to the surprise of few, is making headlines out of Davos. But most of the noise thus far isn't coming from President Donald Trump himself, but rather Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

Mnuchin applauded the weakness of the US dollar during a talk in Davos on Wednesday. The dollar promptly tanked, and world leaders and investors raised their eyebrows.

Deutsche Bank macro strategist Alan Ruskin noted that if the stock market likes a weak dollar, then the White House will too.

Mnuchin attempted to walk back "the first serious economic misstep by the Trump administration," saying the short-term position of the dollar was "not a concern of mine" and denying that he was hyping a trade war.

Here's what else is happening in markets and econ news:

In finance, hedge fund titans are bemoaning the difficulty of making a good trade these days. 

Seth Klarman, founder of $30 billion hedge fund The Baupost Group, says it's harder than ever to find good investment ideas.

Oaktree Capital's Howard Marks lamented the lack of potential returns across a wide range of asset classes. He says traders are behaving in uncharacteristic fashion as a result and 'unrealistic' investors are getting desperate. Marks isn't a fan of the shiny new GOP tax law either.

Meanwhile, Wall Street is begging Ford to be more like Tesla. The carmaker just acquired two startups that have nothing to do with cars as we know them.

Kroger is in talks with Alibaba about a potential partnership, a deal that could thwart Amazon's Whole Foods ambitions.

Big marketers like Airbnb and eBay are using Facebook to see which ads are a waste of money. CNN's $25 million bet on a YouTube star has failed.

Boutique investment bank Moelis & Co. announced its managing director promotions — here are the names.

In crypto news:

Lastly, here's what rapper 50 Cent said about the $8 million he made in bitcoin: 'Ima keep it real I forgot I did that sh--'.

Join the conversation about this story »

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

CRYPTO CLAWS: Katy Perry is getting on the bitcoin bandwagon with cryptocurrency nail paint

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

katy perry crypto claws bitcoin cryptocurrencies bubble

  • Pop-star Katy Perry is getting is getting on board with the cryptocurrency hype, sharing a photo of her nails painted with the logos of bitcoin, ethereum, litecoin, and monero.
  • Celebrities ranging from Floyd Mayweather to Paris Hilton are feeding into crypto-mania.
  • But due to its technical limitations, bitcoin is struggling under the weight of its own success.


Bitcoin isn't just a wildly speculative bubble struggling not to collapse under the weight of its own success. It's also a fashion accessory — if you're Katy Perry, that is.

Growing numbers of celebrities are lining up to praise the purported wonders of the cryptocurrency boom, and the pop star is joining their ranks. On Thursday, she posted a photo to her Instagram account of her nails painted with the logos of various high-profile cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin is there, along with its smaller sibling litecoin, as well as ethereum and the privacy-focused monero. The caption? "$—CrYpTo ClAwS—$".

And this isn't the first time Perry has used cryptocurrencies to promote her personal brand. Back in November 2017, she posted a photo of herself having a chat with legendary investor Warren Buffett. "nbd just asking Warren Buffett his thoughts on cryptocurrency," she wrote.

nbd just asking Warren Buffett his thoughts on cryptocurrency

A post shared by KATY PERRY (@katyperry) on Nov 29, 2017 at 12:24am PST on

Media personality and businesswoman Paris Hilton has also got in on the crypto hype.

In September 2017, she publicly promoted the ICO, or initial coin offering (a mechanism for company fundraising that involves selling cryptographic tokens to investors, similar to an unregulated IPO), of a marketing-AI-blockchain platform called LydianCoin.

She quietly deleted her tweet, however, after attention was drawn to the fact that it was being led by a man previously convicted of domestic assault.

Boxer Floyd Mayweather was relatively early to the ICO game, hyping up prediction market Stox in July 2017. "I'm gonna make a $hit t$n of money on August 2nd on the Stox.com ICO," the boxer wrote on Instagram, alongside a photo of him sitting on a private jet next to literal piles of money.

floyd mayweather money ico

Stox went on to raise $30 million (£23 million) — and was subsequently promoted by another high-profile sportsperson on Instagram, Uruguayan footballer Luis Suarez. "You can call me Floyd Crypto Mayweather from now on," Mayweather later told his followers.

The price of bitcoin — and other cryptocurrencies — has skyrocketed over the last 12 months, from less than $1,000 to highs of almost $20,000. But since then it has undergone a major correction, and is currently hovering around the $11,000 mark.

Bitcoin is under serious strain from all this attention. Due to technical limits on the number of transactions it can handle, the network is being overloaded, meaning payments can face fees of tens of dollars each and take hours to process — making it effectively useless as an actual day-to-day means of payment. 

Some businesses that previously accepted bitcoin payment are not ending their support for the cryptocurrency, despite its popularity, because these issues make it too technically challenging to handle.

Gaming platform Steam removed it as a payment option in December 2017, and payments startup Stripe dropped it earlier this week, explaining: "Empirically, there are fewer and fewer use cases for which accepting or paying with Bitcoin makes sense."

SEE ALSO: This 19-year-old bitcoin millionaire is traveling the world recruiting an A-team to build an alternative to the 'corrupt' world of cryptocurrency

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Principal Global Investors CEO: Bitcoin lacks fundamental value and it won't replace gold

CRYPTO CLAWS: Katy Perry is getting on the bitcoin bandwagon with cryptocurrency nail paint

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

katy perry crypto claws bitcoin cryptocurrencies bubble

  • Pop-star Katy Perry is getting is getting on board with the cryptocurrency hype, sharing a photo of her nails painted with the logos of bitcoin, ethereum, litecoin, and monero.
  • Celebrities ranging from Floyd Mayweather to Paris Hilton are feeding into crypto-mania.
  • But due to its technical limitations, bitcoin is struggling under the weight of its own success.


Bitcoin isn't just a wildly speculative bubble struggling not to collapse under the weight of its own success. It's also a fashion accessory — if you're Katy Perry, that is.

Growing numbers of celebrities are lining up to praise the purported wonders of the cryptocurrency boom, and the pop star is joining their ranks. On Thursday, she posted a photo to her Instagram account of her nails painted with the logos of various high-profile cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin is there, along with its smaller sibling litecoin, as well as ethereum and the privacy-focused monero. The caption? "$—CrYpTo ClAwS—$".

And this isn't the first time Perry has used cryptocurrencies to promote her personal brand. Back in November 2017, she posted a photo of herself having a chat with legendary investor Warren Buffett. "nbd just asking Warren Buffett his thoughts on cryptocurrency," she wrote.

nbd just asking Warren Buffett his thoughts on cryptocurrency

A post shared by KATY PERRY (@katyperry) on Nov 29, 2017 at 12:24am PST on

Media personality and businesswoman Paris Hilton has also got in on the crypto hype.

In September 2017, she publicly promoted the ICO, or initial coin offering (a mechanism for company fundraising that involves selling cryptographic tokens to investors, similar to an unregulated IPO), of a marketing-AI-blockchain platform called LydianCoin.

She quietly deleted her tweet, however, after attention was drawn to the fact that it was being led by a man previously convicted of domestic assault.

Boxer Floyd Mayweather was relatively early to the ICO game, hyping up prediction market Stox in July 2017. "I'm gonna make a $hit t$n of money on August 2nd on the Stox.com ICO," the boxer wrote on Instagram, alongside a photo of him sitting on a private jet next to literal piles of money.

floyd mayweather money ico

Stox went on to raise $30 million (£23 million) — and was subsequently promoted by another high-profile sportsperson on Instagram, Uruguayan footballer Luis Suarez. "You can call me Floyd Crypto Mayweather from now on," Mayweather later told his followers.

The price of bitcoin — and other cryptocurrencies — has skyrocketed over the last 12 months, from less than $1,000 to highs of almost $20,000. But since then it has undergone a major correction, and is currently hovering around the $11,000 mark.

Bitcoin is under serious strain from all this attention. Due to technical limits on the number of transactions it can handle, the network is being overloaded, meaning payments can face fees of tens of dollars each and take hours to process — making it effectively useless as an actual day-to-day means of payment. 

Some businesses that previously accepted bitcoin payment are not ending their support for the cryptocurrency, despite its popularity, because these issues make it too technically challenging to handle.

Gaming platform Steam removed it as a payment option in December 2017, and payments startup Stripe dropped it earlier this week, explaining: "Empirically, there are fewer and fewer use cases for which accepting or paying with Bitcoin makes sense."

SEE ALSO: This 19-year-old bitcoin millionaire is traveling the world recruiting an A-team to build an alternative to the 'corrupt' world of cryptocurrency

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Principal Global Investors CEO: Bitcoin lacks fundamental value and it won't replace gold

Boutique investment bank Moelis & Co. announced its managing director promotions — here are the names

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

Ken Moelis

  • Boutique investment bank Moelis & Co. announced its new class of managing directors Thursday.
  • Five new managing directors were promoted from the company's New York, London, and San Francisco offices.


Boutique investment bank Moelis & Co. announced its new class of managing directors Thursday.

The firm, which has over 700 employees globally, elevated five new people to the MD level:

  • Ben Axelrod (New York)
  • Francesco Del Vecchio (London)
  • Anthony Doeh (London)
  • Mark Laoun (New York)
  • Swati Rao (San Francisco)

Moelis & Co., which was founded a decade ago by Wall Street rainmaker Ken Moelis, prefers to promote from within.

"I've learned the hard way that one negative culture carrier will undercut 10 positive culture carriers," Moelis, the company's CEO, said at the Bank of America Future of Financials Conference in November. "It's really that bad on Wall Street. So we really would prefer to do internal promotion.”

With the new promotions, 30% of the company's MDs have reached that level via internal promotion, the company said in its announcement. 

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

PhD Student Successfully Hacks a DNA Strand, Promptly Wins a Bitcoin

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

The post PhD Student Successfully Hacks a DNA Strand, Promptly Wins a Bitcoin appeared first on CCN

University of Antwerp student Sander Wuyts has reason to celebrate. He is the proud new owner of a full Bitcoin after deciphering a code hidden in strands of DNA. British professor Nick Goldman laid out a challenge to scientists at the 2015 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The challenge was for a scientist to

The post PhD Student Successfully Hacks a DNA Strand, Promptly Wins a Bitcoin appeared first on CCN

Bitcoin Won't Cause Lehman-Style Meltdown, Says MAS Fintech Chief

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

The fintech chief at the Monetary Authority of Singapore believes bitcoin won't cause a financial meltdown like the 2008 Lehman Brothers bankruptcy.

American Power Consumed by Bitcoin Mining. Black Mirror, Anyone?

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

American Power and Gas calls out extreme US energy concerns over top cryptocurrency.

CRYPTO INSIDER: Robinhood branches into bitcoin

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

Screen Shot 2018 01 25 at 10.19.17 AM

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.

You'll soon be able to buy and trade bitcoin and ethereum alongside stocks on Robinhood, the fee-free app announced Thursday

Here's how the prices stand Thursday morning: 

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 exactly how long you need to work out to get in great shape

CRYPTO INSIDER: Robinhood branches into bitcoin

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

Screen Shot 2018 01 25 at 10.19.17 AM

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.

You'll soon be able to buy and trade bitcoin and ethereum alongside stocks on Robinhood, the fee-free app announced Thursday

Here's how the prices stand Thursday morning: 

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 exactly how long you need to work out to get in great shape

CRYPTO INSIDER: Robinhood branches into bitcoin

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

Screen Shot 2018 01 25 at 10.19.17 AM

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.

You'll soon be able to buy and trade bitcoin and ethereum alongside stocks on Robinhood, the fee-free app announced Thursday

Here's how the prices stand Thursday morning: 

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 exactly how long you need to work out to get in great shape

Robinhood adds zero-fee cryptocurrency trading and tracking

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

 No-commission stock trading app Robinhood will let you buy and sell Bitcoin and Ethereum without any added transaction fees starting in February, compared to Coinbase’s 1.5 to 4 percent fees in the US. And as of today Robinhood will let all users track the price, news, and set up alerts on those and 14 other top crypto coins, including Litecoin and Ripple. “We’re planning… Read More

Robinhood adds zero-fee cryptocurrency trading and tracking

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

 No-commission stock trading app Robinhood will let you buy and sell Bitcoin and Ethereum without any added transaction fees starting in February, compared to Coinbase’s 1.5 to 4 percent fees in the US. And as of today Robinhood will let all users track the price, news, and set up alerts on those and 14 other top crypto coins, including Litecoin and Ripple. “We’re planning… Read More

Robinhood adds zero-fee cryptocurrency trading and tracking

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

 No-commission stock trading app Robinhood will let you buy and sell Bitcoin and Ethereum without any added transaction fees starting in February, compared to Coinbase’s 1.5 to 4 percent fees in the US. And as of today Robinhood will let all users track the price, news, and set up alerts on those and 14 other top crypto coins, including Litecoin and Ripple. “We’re planning… Read More

'Micro' Finance Giant Robinhood Makes Big Bet on Bitcoin Trading

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

Mobile stock trading provider Robinhood is now providing bitcoin and ethereum trading alongside the traditional assets it offers.

Robinhood dives into cryptocurrency with free bitcoin and ethereum trading

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

Screen Shot 2018 01 25 at 10.19.17 AM

  • Robinhood, the free stock trading app, is going to offer free bitcoin and ethereum trading in February.
  • The company says the services will provide users a superior experience to existing cryptocurrency trading platforms.


Robinhood, the California brokerage known for popularizing free stock trading, is diving into the world of cryptocurrencies with Robinhood Crypto.

The firm announced Thursday that users in 5 states would be able to trade Ethereum and bitcoin 24/7 on its app for free starting in February. Customers will also be able to track 16 other cryptocurrencies including Monero, litecoin, and Dash.

Baiju Bhatt, the cofounder of Robinhood, told Business Insider that cryptocurrencies are something he and his cofounder Vlad Tenev have been thinking about for a while.

"Back in 2010 or 2011 we were mining bitcoin," Bhatt said in a telephone interview. "If we noticed one thing about cryptocurrencies it is that they have this incredible resiliency to them."

Robinhood, which has been a darling of younger and inexperienced traders, has been expanding its offerings over the course of the last year. The company rolled out margin trading via Robinhood Gold, and late last year it launched a web platform and started offering free options trading.

The new cryptocurrency offering, according to Bhatt, is tied to Robinhood's ethos of democratizing financial services and toppling the old guard of Wall Street. 

"Crypto is going to change the world and we want to help drive that," he said.

Robinhood would be one of the first non-crypto companies to try to break into the cryptocurrency trading market which is known for outages, high-fees, and long periods of downtown. Bhatt said the company is prepared to onboard new clients and handle volumes.

Here's Bhatt:

"Today our business transacts 10,000 different symbols in equities and ETFs. We see millions of trades a day. In our brokerage industry there is not excuse for down time. We plan on bringing that mind-set to the crypto space. We don't view any of that stuff as acceptable."

Still, the service will only be available in California, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, and New Hampshire.

Square, the online payments company founded by Twitter's Jack Dorsey, has been running a trial that allows users of its Cash App to buy and sell bitcoin.

From a business standpoint, Bhatt said the move is a customer acquisition play. The firm has already racked up over 3 million users. Bhatt sees cryptocurrency bringing that number to new heights.

"We are going to break-even on this," he said. "But it could dramatically increase user growth."

Robinhood is valued at $1.3 billion, according to the company, and has raised over $170 million. The firm has declined to comment on its profitability.

Join the conversation about this story »

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

Robinhood dives into cryptocurrency with free bitcoin and ethereum trading

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

Screen Shot 2018 01 25 at 10.19.17 AM

  • Robinhood, the free stock trading app, is going to offer free bitcoin and ethereum trading in February.
  • The company says the services will provide users a superior experience to existing cryptocurrency trading platforms.


Robinhood, the California brokerage known for popularizing free stock trading, is diving into the world of cryptocurrencies with Robinhood Crypto.

The firm announced Thursday that users in 5 states would be able to trade Ethereum and bitcoin 24/7 on its app for free starting in February. Customers will also be able to track 16 other cryptocurrencies including Monero, litecoin, and Dash.

Baiju Bhatt, the cofounder of Robinhood, told Business Insider that cryptocurrencies are something he and his cofounder Vlad Tenev have been thinking about for a while.

"Back in 2010 or 2011 we were mining bitcoin," Bhatt said in a telephone interview. "If we noticed one thing about cryptocurrencies it is that they have this incredible resiliency to them."

Robinhood, which has been a darling of younger and inexperienced traders, has been expanding its offerings over the course of the last year. The company rolled out margin trading via Robinhood Gold, and late last year it launched a web platform and started offering free options trading.

The new cryptocurrency offering, according to Bhatt, is tied to Robinhood's ethos of democratizing financial services and toppling the old guard of Wall Street. 

"Crypto is going to change the world and we want to help drive that," he said.

Robinhood would be one of the first non-crypto companies to try to break into the cryptocurrency trading market which is known for outages, high-fees, and long periods of downtown. Bhatt said the company is prepared to onboard new clients and handle volumes.

Here's Bhatt:

"Today our business transacts 10,000 different symbols in equities and ETFs. We see millions of trades a day. In our brokerage industry there is not excuse for down time. We plan on bringing that mind-set to the crypto space. We don't view any of that stuff as acceptable."

Still, the service will only be available in California, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, and New Hampshire.

Square, the online payments company founded by Twitter's Jack Dorsey, has been running a trial that allows users of its Cash App to buy and sell bitcoin.

From a business standpoint, Bhatt said the move is a customer acquisition play. The firm has already racked up over 3 million users. Bhatt sees cryptocurrency bringing that number to new heights.

"We are going to break-even on this," he said. "But it could dramatically increase user growth."

Robinhood is valued at $1.3 billion, according to the company, and has raised over $170 million. The firm has declined to comment on its profitability.

Join the conversation about this story »

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

Why Robinhood Just Started Supporting Bitcoin and Ethereum

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

Crypto is the Wild West. 'We can make it a healthier ecosystem,' says Robinhood's CEO.

50 Cent forgot he had a stash of Bitcoin now worth $8m

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

The rapper forgot about an agreement to accept Bitcoin payment as part of a record deal.

Rapper 50 Cent confirms he accidentally made around $8 million in bitcoin: 'Ima keep it real I forgot I did that sh--'

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

50 cent

  • Rapper 50 Cent confirmed a TMZ report on Wednesday that he made millions in bitcoin for accepting the cryptocurrency for his 2014 album "Animal Ambition."
  • 50 Cent said in an Instagram post that he "forgot" about the bitcoin payments, which sat in his account for four years and, according to TMZ, are now worth between $7 million and $8.5 million.

 

Rapper 50 Cent on Wednesday confirmed a TMZ report that he made around $8 million in bitcoin by accepting the cryptocurrency as a payment for his 2014 album "Animal Ambition."

TMZ calculated that the 700 bitcoin 50 Cent received for the album in 2014, which sat untouched in his account for four years, would be worth between $7.5 million and $8.5 million today. 

50 Cent confirmed the report by posting a since-deleted screenshot of the TMZ article on Instagram, with a caption that read, "Not bad for a kid from South Side, I'm so proud of me." As The Verge notes, he later commented on the post: "Ima keep it real, I forgot I did that shit lol."

50 cent

50 also took to Twitter with the TMZ article, adding a promotional hashtag for his new film "Den of Thieves":

SEE ALSO: The biggest hit song the year you were born

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NOW WATCH: Here's how easy it is for the US president to launch a nuclear weapon

TD Ameritrade CEO: The bitcoin market is 'certainly not mature' (AMTD)

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

TD Ameritrade CEO Tim Hockey

  • Business Insider recently interviewed the CEO of TD Ameritrade, one of the largest online brokerages, to talk stocks, cryptocurrencies, and millennials.
  • He says the bitcoin market is far from mature, and that the interest in cryptocurrencies and related stocks was correlated with bitcoin’s price.


The bitcoin and cryptocurrency craze has taken Wall Street by storm, and retail investors on online brokerage TD Ameritrade are no exception.

In an interview with Business Insider, Tim Hockey, CEO of the $1.2 trillion online brokerage giant, explained why he and his firm were cautious about cryptocurrencies, despite intense interest from seemingly every type of investor.

Hockey explained TD Ameritrade's approach to the recently launched Cboe bitcoin futures market. "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," he said.

"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."

Hockey said the frenzy was roughly correlated with bitcoin’s price, which has seen extreme volatility in the past year. When bitcoin finally saw a correction last week, trading volumes declined on TD Ameritrade.

"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," he said. "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."

Like many other executives on Wall Street, Hockey was careful to draw a distinction between cryptocurrencies, like bitcoin, ethereum, and hundreds of others, and blockchain, the distributed ledger technology that powers cryptocurrencies and could have applications in nearly every industry.

"There's a distinction between blockchain and cryptocurrencies, but they are absolutely being conflated in many people's minds," Hockey said. "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."

You can read Tim Hockey’s full interview with Business Insider here>>

SEE ALSO: Millennials are flocking to cryptocurrency and cannabis stocks, TD Ameritrade CEO says

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: A sleep expert explains what happens to your body and brain if you don't get sleep

TD Ameritrade CEO: The bitcoin market is 'certainly not mature' (AMTD)

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

TD Ameritrade CEO Tim Hockey

  • Business Insider recently interviewed the CEO of TD Ameritrade, one of the largest online brokerages, to talk stocks, cryptocurrencies, and millennials.
  • He says the bitcoin market is far from mature, and that the interest in cryptocurrencies and related stocks was correlated with bitcoin’s price.


The bitcoin and cryptocurrency craze has taken Wall Street by storm, and retail investors on online brokerage TD Ameritrade are no exception.

In an interview with Business Insider, Tim Hockey, CEO of the $1.2 trillion online brokerage giant, explained why he and his firm were cautious about cryptocurrencies, despite intense interest from seemingly every type of investor.

Hockey explained TD Ameritrade's approach to the recently launched Cboe bitcoin futures market. "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," he said.

"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."

Hockey said the frenzy was roughly correlated with bitcoin’s price, which has seen extreme volatility in the past year. When bitcoin finally saw a correction last week, trading volumes declined on TD Ameritrade.

"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," he said. "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."

Like many other executives on Wall Street, Hockey was careful to draw a distinction between cryptocurrencies, like bitcoin, ethereum, and hundreds of others, and blockchain, the distributed ledger technology that powers cryptocurrencies and could have applications in nearly every industry.

"There's a distinction between blockchain and cryptocurrencies, but they are absolutely being conflated in many people's minds," Hockey said. "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."

You can read Tim Hockey’s full interview with Business Insider here>>

SEE ALSO: Millennials are flocking to cryptocurrency and cannabis stocks, TD Ameritrade CEO says

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Here's how LeBron James stays in incredible shape

8 Crazy and Surprising Ways People Are Using Blockchain

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

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are just the beginning of how Blockchain can be used for transactions and tracking

Crypto repos could hit the market in 2018

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

Traders attitude towards cryptos

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

Alex Grebnev, a former Wall Street investment banker, is launching a platform, called Oxygen, that will allow cryptocurrency holders to strike repurchase (repo) agreements with each other. Oxygen will collaborate with cryptocurrency exchange Changelly, targeting its 1.6 million private and institutional users.

In a repo agreement, a party (typically a bank) sells an asset it owns, like US Treasury bonds, to investors in return for funds (essentially a short-term loan), with the asset acting as collateral. The party later buys back the asset, regaining the original asset and interest on it. Oxygen is expected to launch in 2018.

The introduction of repo agreements could impact the cryptocurrency market in a couple of ways:

  • Boosting liquidity in the market. Currently, many cryptocurrency owners struggle to liquidate their holdings, as transaction prices on the assets have climbed, making them hard for holders to sell, and unattractive for investors to buy. Oxygen hopes to remedy this by allowing crypto holders to lend out one asset like Bitcoin, and take on another like Ether as collateral. This way, a holder lending out their Bitcoin can trade Ether for the duration of the agreement, as well as get their Bitcoin back at its conclusion. This will allow people holding cryptocurrencies to make income on them without having to sell.
  • Attract sophisticated investors to cryptos. Oxygen also wants to enable cryptocurrency shorting. For instance, the person in the example above who borrows Bitcoin may sell it hoping the price will subsequently fall, so they can repurchase the asset when it's time to return it and profit from the difference. Shorting is a widespread tactic among hedge funds and FX traders, so enabling it within the cryptocurrency space could draw more mainstream investors to the asset class, as this would allow them to transact with the asset in a way they're familiar with and adept at.

Although promising in theory, the circumstances of cryptocurrency markets will make these instruments highly risky. In conventional repo agreements, the collateral in question is usually a less risky asset, most commonly government bonds and securities, whose price changes relatively little and in familiar ways. By contrast, virtually all cryptocurrencies are characterized by dramatic price fluctuations, making it very hard even for sophisticated investors — which most cryptocurrency owners aren’t — to make a reasonable guess about what the price of these tokens will do. As such, this vehicle could result in heavy losses, especially for the uninitiated.

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

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UK Prime Minister Theresa May: We’ll Look into Bitcoin ‘Very Seriously’

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

The post UK Prime Minister Theresa May: We’ll Look into Bitcoin ‘Very Seriously’ appeared first on CCN

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has said her administration will look into the use of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin after concerns of their abuse by criminals. Speaking to Bloomberg on the sidelines of the ongoing World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, UK prime minister Theresa May was discussing a possible ‘clamp down’ on technology companies like

The post UK Prime Minister Theresa May: We’ll Look into Bitcoin ‘Very Seriously’ appeared first on CCN

Op-Ed: The Weiss Cryptocurrency Ratings Are Laughably Bad

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

Weiss Cryptocurrency Ratings are Laughably Bad

In the current cryptocurrency hysteria, everyone is a level 70 blockchain wizard launching a new hedge fund.

Weiss Ratings released their cryptocurrency ratings yesterday. In response, they received a lot of criticism on social media. And rightly so.

I’ll get to the specific issues with the Weiss Cryptocurrency Ratings, but first I need to point out that the low quality of these ratings is merely an illustration of the current hysteria around cryptoassets more generally.

Weiss Ratings has a long history as an independent ratings agency covering traditional assets, but it’s clear they don’t understand Bitcoin at all. However, they’ve proclaimed that they’re the cryptocurrency experts who can tell you whether speculating on the price of a specific token is a safe bet.

Weiss Ratings is not alone in their Dunning–Krugering. This sort of thinking is extremely common for new people who are coming to Bitcoin for the first time, and there might not really be any way to get around it. People have to learn on their own.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQegMA_kY9Y&t=3s

According to Morgan Stanley, 100 crypto hedge funds have been launched, with 84 of them starting out just last year. Even two freshmen at Princeton are getting into the business of offering cryptocurrency trading advice. YouTube is also filled with plenty of personalities who push their audiences toward specific cryptocurrencies and outright Ponzi schemes (see BitConnect).

Who would have thought there would be so many cryptocurrency experts sitting around who could offer their opinions just as the total value of all cryptoassets was reaching all-time highs? What a great coincidence!

So anyway, let’s go through some of the key issues with the Weiss Cryptocurrency Ratings.

The Bitcoin Rating

The first thing we must talk about is the Bitcoin rating.

Bitcoin is the gold standard in the cryptoasset ecosystem. The cryptoasset market as a whole is only possible because of Bitcoin.

No other cryptoasset has the network effects, liquidity, reliability or longevity that Bitcoin has. When there’s a cryptoasset price panic, Bitcoin doesn’t fall as fast as the altcoins. It’s often referred to as the reserve currency of cryptoassets. In a rating system that is designed around the avoidance of risk, Bitcoin should be the star of the show.

But no. Ethereum, Steem, Cardano, EOS and NEO were all rated higher than Bitcoin.

The EOS rating is especially notable because the project hasn’t even launched yet.

There was so much disagreement with Bitcoin’s initial rating in the Weiss Cryptocurrency Ratings that Weiss Ratings made a blog post explaining their reasoning behind the rating. While the post noted Bitcoin’s superb fundamentals, it also claimed that the world’s first cryptoasset is lacking in other areas.

“Bitcoin falls short in two other important areas: Our Risk Index, reflecting extreme price volatility[,] and our Technology Index, reflecting Bitcoin’s weaknesses in governance, energy consumption and scalability,” said the blog post.

In terms of the Risk Index, Bitcoin getting bad marks for price volatility is all well and good, but it’s still less volatile than the newer altcoins that haven’t been around for extended bear markets.

The Technology Index is where they really lose me.

Bitcoin has the strongest governance out of any cryptoasset network in existence today because it is the only one that has reached a level of adoption that makes it less vulnerable to a single entity having too much control over the system. The value proposition of a coin with “strong governance” is lower than a coin with no governance at all because the whole point of these systems is to be permissionless and resistant to censorship.

Energy consumption is irrelevant and has no place in a comparison of cryptoasset valuations. Perhaps Weiss Ratings could explain the relevance here in the future.

Weiss Ratings’ knock on Bitcoin in terms of scalability is due to the 4 MB block weight limit. “It is encountering major network bottlenecks, causing delays and high transactions costs,” says an announcement from the ratings publication.

In other words, Weiss Ratings thinks too many people are using Bitcoin to transact, so it should receive a lower grade. If only Bitcoin had fewer users!

Every cryptocurrency network faces a tradeoff between centralization and transaction costs if enough people are using it. Building layers on top of the base blockchain is generally accepted as the best method of scaling these cryptocurrency networks further, and Bitcoin’s first stab at this scaling method, known as the lightning network, is already being played around with on mainnet.

If Bitcoin is getting a knock in scalability, it’s likely that they haven’t accounted for the centralization tradeoffs — in terms of technical implementations and/or governance — that come with the other, “more scalable” networks.

Electroneum and Monero

The clearest indicators that the Weiss Cryptocurrency Ratings are complete hogwash are found when you compare some of the ratings on the list.

For example, Zcash and SmartCash have the same rating. While Zcash introduced zero-knowledge proofs for better privacy on a cryptocurrency network for the first time, SmartCash appears to be a knockoff of Dash that has less than $1 million worth of trading volume over the past 24 hours. I don’t hold either of these coins, but at least Zcash is doing something interesting.

The two most hilarious cryptocurrencies to compare from the Weiss Cryptocurrency Ratings are Monero and Electroneum. Monero is a C and Electroneum is a C-.

Electroneum is literally a knockoff of Monero, which is perhaps the most-promising altcoin in terms of protecting user privacy, as evidenced by the fanfare it receives on the darknet markets.

Parts of the Electroneum paper are plagiarized from the original CryptoNote paper, on which Monero is based. The development team behind Electroneum is so inept that they did not know zero-fee transactions would be a bad idea.

But yes, this is a close call. Electroneum is clearly nipping at the heels of Monero.

The issues with the Weiss Cryptocurrency Ratings should come as no surprise. After all, they’re new here. They don’t know what they don’t know. Their status as the expert cryptocurrency ratings agency is self-proclaimed, much like every other cryptocurrency expert that has popped up over the past few months.

This is an opinion piece by Kyle Torpey. The views expressed are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Media Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Op-Ed: The Weiss Cryptocurrency Ratings Are Laughably Bad

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

Weiss Cryptocurrency Ratings are Laughably Bad

In the current cryptocurrency hysteria, everyone is a level 70 blockchain wizard launching a new hedge fund.

Weiss Ratings released their cryptocurrency ratings yesterday. In response, they received a lot of criticism on social media. And rightly so.

I’ll get to the specific issues with the Weiss Cryptocurrency Ratings, but first I need to point out that the low quality of these ratings is merely an illustration of the current hysteria around cryptoassets more generally.

Weiss Ratings has a long history as an independent ratings agency covering traditional assets, but it’s clear they don’t understand Bitcoin at all. However, they’ve proclaimed that they’re the cryptocurrency experts who can tell you whether speculating on the price of a specific token is a safe bet.

Weiss Ratings is not alone in their Dunning–Krugering. This sort of thinking is extremely common for new people who are coming to Bitcoin for the first time, and there might not really be any way to get around it. People have to learn on their own.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQegMA_kY9Y&t=3s

According to Morgan Stanley, 100 crypto hedge funds have been launched, with 84 of them starting out just last year. Even two freshmen at Princeton are getting into the business of offering cryptocurrency trading advice. YouTube is also filled with plenty of personalities who push their audiences toward specific cryptocurrencies and outright Ponzi schemes (see BitConnect).

Who would have thought there would be so many cryptocurrency experts sitting around who could offer their opinions just as the total value of all cryptoassets was reaching all-time highs? What a great coincidence!

So anyway, let’s go through some of the key issues with the Weiss Cryptocurrency Ratings.

The Bitcoin Rating

The first thing we must talk about is the Bitcoin rating.

Bitcoin is the gold standard in the cryptoasset ecosystem. The cryptoasset market as a whole is only possible because of Bitcoin.

No other cryptoasset has the network effects, liquidity, reliability or longevity that Bitcoin has. When there’s a cryptoasset price panic, Bitcoin doesn’t fall as fast as the altcoins. It’s often referred to as the reserve currency of cryptoassets. In a rating system that is designed around the avoidance of risk, Bitcoin should be the star of the show.

But no. Ethereum, Steem, Cardano, EOS and NEO were all rated higher than Bitcoin.

The EOS rating is especially notable because the project hasn’t even launched yet.

There was so much disagreement with Bitcoin’s initial rating in the Weiss Cryptocurrency Ratings that Weiss Ratings made a blog post explaining their reasoning behind the rating. While the post noted Bitcoin’s superb fundamentals, it also claimed that the world’s first cryptoasset is lacking in other areas.

“Bitcoin falls short in two other important areas: Our Risk Index, reflecting extreme price volatility[,] and our Technology Index, reflecting Bitcoin’s weaknesses in governance, energy consumption and scalability,” said the blog post.

In terms of the Risk Index, Bitcoin getting bad marks for price volatility is all well and good, but it’s still less volatile than the newer altcoins that haven’t been around for extended bear markets.

The Technology Index is where they really lose me.

Bitcoin has the strongest governance out of any cryptoasset network in existence today because it is the only one that has reached a level of adoption that makes it less vulnerable to a single entity having too much control over the system. The value proposition of a coin with “strong governance” is lower than a coin with no governance at all because the whole point of these systems is to be permissionless and resistant to censorship.

Energy consumption is irrelevant and has no place in a comparison of cryptoasset valuations. Perhaps Weiss Ratings could explain the relevance here in the future.

Weiss Ratings’ knock on Bitcoin in terms of scalability is due to the 4 MB block weight limit. “It is encountering major network bottlenecks, causing delays and high transactions costs,” says an announcement from the ratings publication.

In other words, Weiss Ratings thinks too many people are using Bitcoin to transact, so it should receive a lower grade. If only Bitcoin had fewer users!

Every cryptocurrency network faces a tradeoff between centralization and transaction costs if enough people are using it. Building layers on top of the base blockchain is generally accepted as the best method of scaling these cryptocurrency networks further, and Bitcoin’s first stab at this scaling method, known as the lightning network, is already being played around with on mainnet.

If Bitcoin is getting a knock in scalability, it’s likely that they haven’t accounted for the centralization tradeoffs — in terms of technical implementations and/or governance — that come with the other, “more scalable” networks.

Electroneum and Monero

The clearest indicators that the Weiss Cryptocurrency Ratings are complete hogwash are found when you compare some of the ratings on the list.

For example, Zcash and SmartCash have the same rating. While Zcash introduced zero-knowledge proofs for better privacy on a cryptocurrency network for the first time, SmartCash appears to be a knockoff of Dash that has less than $1 million worth of trading volume over the past 24 hours. I don’t hold either of these coins, but at least Zcash is doing something interesting.

The two most hilarious cryptocurrencies to compare from the Weiss Cryptocurrency Ratings are Monero and Electroneum. Monero is a C and Electroneum is a C-.

Electroneum is literally a knockoff of Monero, which is perhaps the most-promising altcoin in terms of protecting user privacy, as evidenced by the fanfare it receives on the darknet markets.

Parts of the Electroneum paper are plagiarized from the original CryptoNote paper, on which Monero is based. The development team behind Electroneum is so inept that they did not know zero-fee transactions would be a bad idea.

But yes, this is a close call. Electroneum is clearly nipping at the heels of Monero.

The issues with the Weiss Cryptocurrency Ratings should come as no surprise. After all, they’re new here. They don’t know what they don’t know. Their status as the expert cryptocurrency ratings agency is self-proclaimed, much like every other cryptocurrency expert that has popped up over the past few months.

This is an opinion piece by Kyle Torpey. The views expressed are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Media Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Coinbase is teaming up with a Chicago-based tech firm to unleash crypto onto Wall Street

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

trading desk

  • Trading Technologies International (TT) is teaming up with cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase to enable spot and futures bitcoin trading on its platform.
  • TT chief executive officer Rick Lane said the move would push trading firms to dive deeper into the market for digital coins.


Two trading companies are joining forces to make cryptocurrency investing more palatable for traditional financial services firms.

Trading Technologies International (TT), a Chicago-based technology provider for some of the largest market makers, banks, and proprietary trading shops, announced on Thursday a partnership with San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase. The collaboration is intended to allow clients to trade futures and spot bitcoin side-by-side starting on March 1.

Currently, TT provides a complete tool set that allows traders to trade cash against futures in other markets, such as fixed-income. Having bitcoin futures and spot bitcoin on one platform will lead to a significant growth in the muted futures market as well as in spot bitcoin, according to chief executive Rick Lane.

"Without that, firms can only dip their toes in the water," Lane said in an interview with Business Insider.

That's because trading firms are limited in what they can do when things are separated. For instance, they can't execute spread trades — which is the buying and selling of two assets simultaneously. In addition, traders are creatures of habit, so seeing bitcoin on a familiar platform like TT could push them to dive deeper into the market, according to a firm spokesperson.

At this time, only about 20 market participants are trading on the Cboe Global Markets bitcoin futures market. And volumes for both Cboe's and rival CME Group's bitcoin futures markets have been low. For instance, volumes for front-month contract trading on Cboe are slightly above 1,500, according to the company's data.

Adam White, general manager of GDAX — Coinbase's digital currency exchange — told Business Insider that clients have pushed for them to be integrated onto TT's platform.

"It'll allow them to take risk neutral positions without having long and short exposure," he said.

SEE ALSO: Ripple, the firm behind the cryptocurrency XRP, just added 2 financial services firms to its roster of clients

Join the conversation about this story »

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

Coinbase is teaming up with a Chicago-based tech firm to unleash crypto onto Wall Street

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

trading desk

  • Trading Technologies International (TT) is teaming up with cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase to enable spot and futures bitcoin trading on its platform.
  • TT chief executive officer Rick Lane said the move would push trading firms to dive deeper into the market for digital coins.


Two trading companies are joining forces to make cryptocurrency investing more palatable for traditional financial services firms.

Trading Technologies International (TT), a Chicago-based technology provider for some of the largest market makers, banks, and proprietary trading shops, announced on Thursday a partnership with San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase. The collaboration is intended to allow clients to trade futures and spot bitcoin side-by-side starting on March 1.

Currently, TT provides a complete tool set that allows traders to trade cash against futures in other markets, such as fixed-income. Having bitcoin futures and spot bitcoin on one platform will lead to a significant growth in the muted futures market as well as in spot bitcoin, according to chief executive Rick Lane.

"Without that, firms can only dip their toes in the water," Lane said in an interview with Business Insider.

That's because trading firms are limited in what they can do when things are separated. For instance, they can't execute spread trades — which is the buying and selling of two assets simultaneously. In addition, traders are creatures of habit, so seeing bitcoin on a familiar platform like TT could push them to dive deeper into the market, according to a firm spokesperson.

At this time, only about 20 market participants are trading on the Cboe Global Markets bitcoin futures market. And volumes for both Cboe's and rival CME Group's bitcoin futures markets have been low. For instance, volumes for front-month contract trading on Cboe are slightly above 1,500, according to the company's data.

Adam White, general manager of GDAX — Coinbase's digital currency exchange — told Business Insider that clients have pushed for them to be integrated onto TT's platform.

"It'll allow them to take risk neutral positions without having long and short exposure," he said.

SEE ALSO: Ripple, the firm behind the cryptocurrency XRP, just added 2 financial services firms to its roster of clients

Join the conversation about this story »

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

Principal Global Investors CEO: Bitcoin lacks fundamental value and it won't replace gold

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

Business Insider's Sara Silverstein recently spoke with the CEO of Principal Global Investors Jim McCaughan about bitcoin's volatility and its future as a currency. McCaughan believes bitcoin's volatility is due to its lack of fundamental value. He thinks bitcoin has become a temporary substitute for gold but doesn't believe it will displace it in the long run. Following is a transcript of the video.

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

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

Join the conversation about this story »

Steem Price Mounts 50% Rally After Ratings Firm Issues Bullish Grade

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

The post Steem Price Mounts 50% Rally After Ratings Firm Issues Bullish Grade appeared first on CCN

Steem price experienced a 50 percent rally after market research firm Weiss Ratings assigned Steem a B- grade, making it one of only five cryptocurrencies to achieve a rating higher than a C+ and ranking it ahead of Bitcoin. Steem Price Mounts 50 Percent Rally Steem, the blockchain-based social media platform co-founded by serial entrepreneur … Continued

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Proxy Card to Launch Proxy Wallet in Partnership with eBitcoin Foundation

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

The post Proxy Card to Launch Proxy Wallet in Partnership with eBitcoin Foundation appeared first on CCN

This is a submitted sponsored story. CCN urges readers to conduct their own research with due diligence into the company, product or service mentioned in the content below. Privacy and security have never been so important, as technological advancements increasingly undermine trust. This is particularly pertinent to the financial services industry, which has seen banks confronted

The post Proxy Card to Launch Proxy Wallet in Partnership with eBitcoin Foundation appeared first on CCN

Bitcoin Dev Jimmy Song Is Now at Blockchain Capital

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

Blockchain Capital has announced that Jimmy Song, a bitcoin core developer, has joined the blockchain firm as a venture partner.

Student cracks DNA code to take home $10,000 worth of bitcoin

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

Just days before the deadline set by its creator, a 26-year-old student successfully deciphered a message encoded in DNA, gaining access to a digital wallet containing a bitcoin reward.

10 things you need to know before the opening bell

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

switzerland flag geneva

Here is what you need to know.

Trump arrives in Switzerland to take 'America First' to the Davos elite. The US president arrived in Zurich on his way to the Swiss ski resort of Davos for two days of events, including a speech on Friday.

Billionaire investor Howard Marks says 'unrealistic' investors are getting desperate. In his year-end 2017 memo, the founder of hedge fund Oaktree Capital says the lack of potential returns across asset classes has traders taking on uncharacteristic levels of risk.

Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon announced she is resigning. Her resignation follows the sentencing of Larry Nassar, the former medical doctor who molested females under the guise of medical treatment.

The Russia investigation is reaching a pivotal moment and it looks like it's closing in on Trump. Special counsel Robert Mueller's team reportedly questioned former FBI director James Comey last year. Now all signs show that he may be homing on President Donald Trump for obstructing justice by firing Comey.

Evan Spiegel loses a key lieutenant as Snapchat's VP of product leaves tech altogether. Snapchat head of product Tom Conrad will leave the company in March, Snap Inc. confirmed.

The CEO of one of China's biggest bitcoin companies endorses just 4 cryptocurrencies and says he 'wouldn't touch' ICOs. BTCC CEO and founder Bobby Lee told Business Insider: "Unfortunately I’m very conservative, I’m very old school. I don’t touch altcoins, I don’t touch ICOs. It's just too risky."

JPMorgan CEO Dimon warns more than 4,000 UK jobs could go in a bad Brexit scenario. Cuts would come if the UK and EU failed to agree on some sort of regulatory equivalence in the financial services sector post-Brexit.

Stock markets around the world are mixed. China's Shanghai Composite (-0.31%) decreased, while Germany's DAX (+0.17%) rose. The S&P 500 is set to open up 0.3% near 2,849.

There's a heavy slate of corporate earnings reports. 3M, American Airlines, Celgene, and Raytheon are set to report before the market open, while E*Trade Financial, Intel, and Starbucks will release results after the market close.

US economic data reports are due. Initial jobless claims will be release at 8:30 a.m. ET, while new home sales will comes out at 10 a.m. The US 10-year yield is up 3 basis points at 2.65%.

SEE ALSO: Billionaire investor Howard Marks says 'unrealistic' investors are getting desperate

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Here's how the map of the United States has changed in 200 years

10 things you need to know before the opening bell

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

switzerland flag geneva

Here is what you need to know.

Trump arrives in Switzerland to take 'America First' to the Davos elite. The US president arrived in Zurich on his way to the Swiss ski resort of Davos for two days of events, including a speech on Friday.

Billionaire investor Howard Marks says 'unrealistic' investors are getting desperate. In his year-end 2017 memo, the founder of hedge fund Oaktree Capital says the lack of potential returns across asset classes has traders taking on uncharacteristic levels of risk.

Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon announced she is resigning. Her resignation follows the sentencing of Larry Nassar, the former medical doctor who molested females under the guise of medical treatment.

The Russia investigation is reaching a pivotal moment and it looks like it's closing in on Trump. Special counsel Robert Mueller's team reportedly questioned former FBI director James Comey last year. Now all signs show that he may be homing on President Donald Trump for obstructing justice by firing Comey.

Evan Spiegel loses a key lieutenant as Snapchat's VP of product leaves tech altogether. Snapchat head of product Tom Conrad will leave the company in March, Snap Inc. confirmed.

The CEO of one of China's biggest bitcoin companies endorses just 4 cryptocurrencies and says he 'wouldn't touch' ICOs. BTCC CEO and founder Bobby Lee told Business Insider: "Unfortunately I’m very conservative, I’m very old school. I don’t touch altcoins, I don’t touch ICOs. It's just too risky."

JPMorgan CEO Dimon warns more than 4,000 UK jobs could go in a bad Brexit scenario. Cuts would come if the UK and EU failed to agree on some sort of regulatory equivalence in the financial services sector post-Brexit.

Stock markets around the world are mixed. China's Shanghai Composite (-0.31%) decreased, while Germany's DAX (+0.17%) rose. The S&P 500 is set to open up 0.3% near 2,849.

There's a heavy slate of corporate earnings reports. 3M, American Airlines, Celgene, and Raytheon are set to report before the market open, while E*Trade Financial, Intel, and Starbucks will release results after the market close.

US economic data reports are due. Initial jobless claims will be release at 8:30 a.m. ET, while new home sales will comes out at 10 a.m. The US 10-year yield is up 3 basis points at 2.65%.

SEE ALSO: Billionaire investor Howard Marks says 'unrealistic' investors are getting desperate

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Here's how the map of the United States has changed in 200 years

10 things you need to know before the opening bell

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

switzerland flag geneva

Here is what you need to know.

Trump arrives in Switzerland to take 'America First' to the Davos elite. US President Donald Trump arrived in Zurich on his way to the Swiss ski resort of Davos for two days of events, including a speech Friday.

Billionaire investor Howard Marks says 'unrealistic' investors are getting desperate. In his year-end 2017 memo, the founder of the hedge fund Oaktree Capital says the lack of potential returns across asset classes has traders taking on uncharacteristic levels of risk.

Michigan State University's president, Lou Anna Simon, announced resignation. Her resignation follows the sentencing of Larry Nassar, the former medical doctor accused of molesting more than 150 girls and women under the guise of medical treatment.

The Russia investigation is reaching a pivotal moment, and it looks as if it's closing in on Trump. The special counsel Robert Mueller's team reportedly questioned former FBI Director James Comey last year. Now all signs show that he may be homing in on President Donald Trump in an obstruction-of-justice inquiry.

Evan Spiegel loses a key lieutenant as Snapchat's VP of product leaves tech altogether. Snapchat's head of product, Tom Conrad, will leave the company in March, Snap Inc. confirmed.

The CEO of one of China's biggest bitcoin companies endorses just 4 cryptocurrencies and says he 'wouldn't touch' ICOs. BTCC CEO and founder Bobby Lee told Business Insider: "Unfortunately I'm very conservative, I'm very old school. I don't touch altcoins, I don't touch ICOs. It's just too risky."

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon warns more than 4,000 UK jobs could go in a bad Brexit scenario. Cuts would come if the UK and the European Union failed to agree on some sort of regulatory equivalence in the financial services sector post-Brexit.

Stock markets around the world are mixed. China's Shanghai Composite (-0.31%) decreased, while Germany's DAX (+0.17%) rose. The S&P 500 is set to open up 0.3% near 2,849.

There's a heavy slate of corporate earnings reports. 3M, American Airlines, Celgene, and Raytheon are set to report before the market open, while E-Trade Financial, Intel, and Starbucks will release results after the market close.

US economic data reports are due. Initial jobless claims will be release at 8:30 a.m. ET, while new-home sales will comes out at 10 a.m. The US 10-year yield is up 3 basis points at 2.65%.

SEE ALSO: Billionaire investor Howard Marks says 'unrealistic' investors are getting desperate

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: An exercise scientist explains what everyone gets wrong about stretching

10 things you need to know before the opening bell

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

switzerland flag geneva

Here is what you need to know.

Trump arrives in Switzerland to take 'America First' to the Davos elite. US President Donald Trump arrived in Zurich on his way to the Swiss ski resort of Davos for two days of events, including a speech Friday.

Billionaire investor Howard Marks says 'unrealistic' investors are getting desperate. In his year-end 2017 memo, the founder of the hedge fund Oaktree Capital says the lack of potential returns across asset classes has traders taking on uncharacteristic levels of risk.

Michigan State University's president, Lou Anna Simon, announced resignation. Her resignation follows the sentencing of Larry Nassar, the former medical doctor accused of molesting more than 150 girls and women under the guise of medical treatment.

The Russia investigation is reaching a pivotal moment, and it looks as if it's closing in on Trump. The special counsel Robert Mueller's team reportedly questioned former FBI Director James Comey last year. Now all signs show that he may be homing in on President Donald Trump in an obstruction-of-justice inquiry.

Evan Spiegel loses a key lieutenant as Snapchat's VP of product leaves tech altogether. Snapchat's head of product, Tom Conrad, will leave the company in March, Snap Inc. confirmed.

The CEO of one of China's biggest bitcoin companies endorses just 4 cryptocurrencies and says he 'wouldn't touch' ICOs. BTCC CEO and founder Bobby Lee told Business Insider: "Unfortunately I'm very conservative, I'm very old school. I don't touch altcoins, I don't touch ICOs. It's just too risky."

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon warns more than 4,000 UK jobs could go in a bad Brexit scenario. Cuts would come if the UK and the European Union failed to agree on some sort of regulatory equivalence in the financial services sector post-Brexit.

Stock markets around the world are mixed. China's Shanghai Composite (-0.31%) decreased, while Germany's DAX (+0.17%) rose. The S&P 500 is set to open up 0.3% near 2,849.

There's a heavy slate of corporate earnings reports. 3M, American Airlines, Celgene, and Raytheon are set to report before the market open, while E-Trade Financial, Intel, and Starbucks will release results after the market close.

US economic data reports are due. Initial jobless claims will be release at 8:30 a.m. ET, while new-home sales will comes out at 10 a.m. The US 10-year yield is up 3 basis points at 2.65%.

SEE ALSO: Billionaire investor Howard Marks says 'unrealistic' investors are getting desperate

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: An exercise scientist explains what everyone gets wrong about stretching

Bitcoin Bull Reversal Sighted, But Momentum Proves Weak

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

Bitcoin bulls seem to have gained an upper hand, but the cryptocurrency is still struggling to find follow-through buying today. On Wednesday, CoinDesk's Bitcoin Price index (BPI) closed (as per UTC) 5.15 percent higher at $11,399. The positive close above $11,000 adds credence to the solid defense of the $10,000 mark seen earlier this week. […]

ECB leaves policy unchanged at its first meeting of 2018

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

Mario Draghi

  • The European Central Bank left monetary policy unchanged on Thursday in a widely anticipated move.
  • It was always highly unlikely that any policy changes would occur, and any movement would have given a major shock to financial markets.
  • ECB President Mario Draghi will speak to the media at 1.30 p.m. GMT (8.30 a.m. ET)


The European Central Bank left monetary policy unchanged on Thursday in a move widely anticipated by the financial markets.

That means a deposit rate of -0.4%, a base interest rate of 0.0%, and a quantitative easing programme of €30 billion per month.

"The Governing Council expects the key ECB interest rates to remain at their present levels for an extended period of time, and well past the horizon of the net asset purchases," the central bank said in a statement.

It was always highly unlikely that any policy changes would occur, and any movement would have given a major shock to financial markets.

Investors are now waiting for President Mario Draghi's news conference for clues about when and how the bond stimulus might end. The bank decided in October to reduce the purchases to €30 billion a month from €60 billion and to extend them at least until September, or longer if necessary.

It is widely expected to announce a further lowering of its monthly purchases at some point in 2018, although when that will be remains unclear.

While policy changes are unlikely, investors will be keenly watching Draghi when he speaks to the media at 1.30 p.m. GMT. It is thought that Draghi may strike a dovish tone, despite the eurozone's rampant recent growth, in an effort to subdue the rally seen in the euro in recent months.

The single currency hit a fresh three-year high on Thursday, and there are worries that continuing appreciation could dampen inflation and endanger the work done by years of unprecedented stimulus.

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

Blockchain Based Music Platform Voise Announces Partnership with Bitcoin PR Buzz Agency

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

The post Blockchain Based Music Platform Voise Announces Partnership with Bitcoin PR Buzz Agency appeared first on CCN

This is a submitted sponsored story. CCN urges readers to conduct their own research with due diligence into the company, product or service mentioned in the content below. The blockchain economy is growing faster than ever. We have new Token Generation Events, coin startups, exchanges and even governments being involved in different cryptocurrency endeavours. The whole

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6 Things Good and Bad You Should Consider Before Investing in Cryptocurrencies

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

A small investment in Bitcoin a few years ago would be a small fortune now, which predicts absolutely nothing about what an investment now will be worth later

Former Ripple Exec Invests $57.5 Million in Digital Money Platform Uphold

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

Digital money platform Uphold has received a $57.5 million investment from former Federal Reserve analyst and Ripple chief risk officer Greg Kidd.

A+ Mess: Controversial Weiss Cryptocurrency Ratings See DDoS Attacks, Fake Grading Leaks

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

The post A+ Mess: Controversial Weiss Cryptocurrency Ratings See DDoS Attacks, Fake Grading Leaks appeared first on CCN

Last week Weiss Ratings, a US financial research and investment grading agency located in Palm Beach, FL, announced that it would be releasing the world’s first professionally rating cryptocurrency grades. The grades were scheduled to be released Wednesday, January 24th, and would include popular cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, EOS, NEM, Monero,

The post A+ Mess: Controversial Weiss Cryptocurrency Ratings See DDoS Attacks, Fake Grading Leaks appeared first on CCN

A+ Mess: Controversial Weiss Cryptocurrency Ratings See DDoS Attacks, Fake Grading Leaks

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

The post A+ Mess: Controversial Weiss Cryptocurrency Ratings See DDoS Attacks, Fake Grading Leaks appeared first on CCN

Last week Weiss Ratings, a US financial research and investment grading agency located in Palm Beach, FL, announced that it would be releasing the world’s first professionally rating cryptocurrency grades. The grades were scheduled to be released Wednesday, January 24th, and would include popular cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, EOS, NEM, Monero,

The post A+ Mess: Controversial Weiss Cryptocurrency Ratings See DDoS Attacks, Fake Grading Leaks appeared first on CCN

Australia Bound? Brisbane Airport Accepts Cryptocurrencies in a World-First

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

The post Australia Bound? Brisbane Airport Accepts Cryptocurrencies in a World-First appeared first on CCN

Brisbane airport will soon be accepting Bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies at various retail establishments for travelers arriving or departing the airport’s terminals. In an unprecedented move, Brisbane Airport (BNE), Australia’s third-busiest airport, will introduce cryptocurrency payments at a number of terminal retailers where travelers can make retail purchases with digital currencies. In its official

The post Australia Bound? Brisbane Airport Accepts Cryptocurrencies in a World-First appeared first on CCN

Nigerians Adopt Ingenious Ways to Ward Off Bitcoin Scams

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

The post Nigerians Adopt Ingenious Ways to Ward Off Bitcoin Scams appeared first on CCN

Bitcoin as a cryptocurrency came to be accepted and loved by the Nigerians as it was an easy and fast way of acquiring wealth. With the idea being so new to the Nigerians, it attracted many people and groups that took advantage of the people’s little knowledge of the new concept to robe them. Top

The post Nigerians Adopt Ingenious Ways to Ward Off Bitcoin Scams appeared first on CCN

This influential Tory MP thinks the UK needs to continue its 'light touch' approach to fintech to encourage growth: 'It's not our birthright'

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

Former Cabinet minister Douglas Hurd (R) and Conservative MP Adam Afriyie arrive for the Ceremonial funeral of former British Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher at St Paul's Cathedral on April 17, 2013 in London, England. Dignitaries from around the world today join Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh as the United Kingdom pays tribute to former Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher during a Ceremonial funeral with military honours at St Paul's Cathedral. Lady Thatcher, who died last week, was the first British female Prime Minister and served from 1979 to 1990 (Photo by Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

  • Conservative MP Adam Afriyie is head of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Fintech.
  • Afriyie told BI that the UK needs to maintain a "light touch, but stable, regulatory environment" to encourage fintech growth.
  • Fintech advantage is not a "birthright" and the government should be wary of the UK losing its "headstart," he warned.


LONDON — The head of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Fintech says the UK must continue its "light touch" approach to regulation to ensure continued growth in the sector.

Conservative MP Adam Afriyie told Business Insider: "We have to continue to maintain that light touch, but stable, regulatory environment to ensure that we stay right at the forefront."

Fintech has exploded in the UK over the last decade and the Treasury estimates that the sector is now worth £7 billion to the UK economy and employs 60,000 people. The sector covers everything from online lending to back-office banking services and even cryptocurrency.

Afriyie, the MP for Windsor, said that the UK is the global leader for fintech at the moment. But he said this "headstart" was "not our birthright" and governments and regulators should be wary about losing the advantage.

Afriyie, who was an IT entrepreneur before going into politics, said: "When I started in business myself in my mid-20s, the development cycle, even around technology, was around five to seven years, from idea to deployment of something. That cycle is now probably about nine months.

"Therefore, even if we are the perfect environment for fintech today, within 12 months to 18 months we could be the worst environment in the world if we’re not careful about what we do."

Afriyie pointed to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)'s handling of peer-to-peer lending as a good example of how to approach fintech regulation. The FCA left peer-to-peer lending, which took off around 2010, to grow relatively unchecked until last year when it began to take a closer look at the sector.

"By enabling there to be a bit of a wild west when it all started, the FCA, the Treasury, we’re now looking at it and saying: well OK, now we’ve clearly got the foothold, innovation has clearly taken place in business models and deployments of these models, now is the time to say OK, let’s take a look at these operating models and ensure we’re not turning a blind eye to anything that may be untoward in the way that peer-to-peer lending takes place," Afriyie said. "So far it’s been a pretty good story."

The FCA has voiced some concerns about "transparency and fairness" in the peer to peer sector and is proposing tougher new rules for the sector.

Afriyie said: "At the same time, the government must absolutely protect people both from monopolistic practices within the fintech sector and secondly to ensure that the information that consumers are getting is sufficient for them to make an informed decision about what they’re investing in."

But he said: "That relationship with the regulator is actually at the heart of why we’re doing well with peer-to-peer lending."

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Major Cryptocurrencies Recover as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Cardano Surge in Value

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

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With the exception of Ripple, which has demonstrated a poor performance throughout the past few weeks, major cryptocurrencies in the market including bitcoin, Ethereum, and Cardano have increased in value. Within the past 24 hours, the price of bitcoin increased by 8 percent, Ether surged by 10 percent, and Cardano rose by 15 percent. While

The post Major Cryptocurrencies Recover as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Cardano Surge in Value appeared first on CCN

Major Cryptocurrencies Recover as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Cardano Surge in Value

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

The post Major Cryptocurrencies Recover as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Cardano Surge in Value appeared first on CCN

With the exception of Ripple, which has demonstrated a poor performance throughout the past few weeks, major cryptocurrencies in the market including bitcoin, Ethereum, and Cardano have increased in value. Within the past 24 hours, the price of bitcoin increased by 8 percent, Ether surged by 10 percent, and Cardano rose by 15 percent. While

The post Major Cryptocurrencies Recover as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Cardano Surge in Value appeared first on CCN

JPMorgan CEO Dimon warns more than 4,000 UK jobs could go in a bad Brexit scenario

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

JP Morgan Chase and Company CEO Jamie Dimon

  • JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon warns that Brexit could force the bank to cut more than 4,000 UK jobs.
  • Cuts would come if the UK and EU failed to agree on some sort of regulatory equivalence in the financial services sector post-Brexit.
  • "If we can't find reciprocal recognition of rules - and there are a lot of people who are mad with the Brits for leaving and want their pound of flesh - then it could be bad. It could be more than 4,000," he said.


Jamie Dimon, the chief executive officer of JPMorgan has warned that the bank could cut more than 4,000 jobs from its UK operations after Brexit, if the UK and EU fail to agree on common banking rules.

Speaking in an interview with the BBC at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Dimon said that a quarter of JPMorgan's 16,000 UK staff could be cut from the bank.

JPMorgan's UK staff are based in its Canary Wharf office, as well as in Bournemouth and Glasgow.

"If we can't find reciprocal recognition of rules - and there are a lot of people who are mad with the Brits for leaving and want their pound of flesh - then it could be bad. It could be more than 4,000," he said.

"We love London, we love working there. We've got, as you point out, huge efficiencies for us. Huge efficiencies for the eurozone too. But if they determine that you can't have reciprocal trade practices and reciprocal regulations it would be a lot," Dimon told the BBC.

Fears abound in the City of London about the future relationship between the financial centre and the rest of Europe, once Britain leaves the EU. Most have now given up on Britain retaining passporting rights — a set of rules and regulations which allow UK-based finance firms to trade with and sell their services into Europe — but remain hopeful of some sort of regulatory equivalence between the UK and the continent.

Equivalence would effectively mean the UK transferring existing EU financial regulations onto its own statute book allowing banks and financial services companies to continue operations on both sides of the channel without breaking any rules.

The trouble comes, Dimon says, if the UK and EU can't agree on such an arrangement. 

"When asked if that outcome would represent a real threat to the future success of London as a financial centre," the BBC's Simon Jack writes: "He gave a single word answer: 'Yep.'"

Dimon has previously been a vocal critic of Brexit, and even warned around four months after the referendum that the UK's vote to leave the European Union had made the chance of a eurozone collapse five times more likely.

Brexit made the "chances of the eurozone not surviving in the next decade five times higher," Dimon said.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Principal Global Investors CEO: Bitcoin lacks fundamental value and it won't replace gold

More than €5 billion has been invested using PayPal-backed German savings platform Raisin

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

Raisin's cofounders Michael Stephan, Tamaz Georgadze and Frank Freund

  • Raisin lets people put money into savings accounts across Europe from one platform.
  • The four-year-old startup said on Thursday that €5 billion has now been invested using its platform.


LONDON — German fintech business Raisin on Thursday said that more than €5 billion has now been invested using its savings tool.

Raisin, launched in 2014, lets people invest in savings accounts across Europe from one platform. It has over 40 banks on its platform and said on Thursday that it now has 100,000 customers.

Deposits made across its platform more than doubled in 2017, rising from €2 billion at the start of last year.

CEO Tamaz Georgadze said in a statement: "In times of negative interest rates, many banks are not interested in their customers' deposits and therefore offer them zero or even negative interest rates. We are pleased to be able to offer savers throughout Europe an attractive alternative."

The highest interest currently offered on Raisin's platform is 1.92% from a Czech bank.

Raisin is available in English across Europe and has localized platforms in Germany, Austria, Spain, and France. The company has raised over €60 million in funding to date from investors including Silicon Valley's Ribbit Capital, New York tech fund Thrive Capital, and PayPal.

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

Forget Bitcoin. These Startups Will Help Your Company Make Its Own Digital Currency

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

Don't fully understand how cryptocurrencies work? Don't worry! Quick, inexpensive services are now available to help your company use blockchain technology and create a digital coin.

Ripple Adds Two New Payments Providers for xRapid XRP Pilots

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

The post Ripple Adds Two New Payments Providers for xRapid XRP Pilots appeared first on CCN

Ripple’s XRP token just became a little more valuable. The company has signed deals with IDT Corporation and MercuryFX, two international payment providers that handle hundreds of millions of transactions worldwide per year. Both companies will be using Ripple’s xRapid platform, which allows institutions to save on the cost of accessing and providing liquidity to

The post Ripple Adds Two New Payments Providers for xRapid XRP Pilots appeared first on CCN

Millennials will be the richest generation ever, according to UBS – so perhaps they ought to stop complaining about the housing market

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

Paul Donovan UBS copy

  • Millennials have been locked out of the housing market by rising property prices, sparking a debate about economic inequality between the generations.
  • But people forget that property and assets don't just disappear. One day, millennials will inherit these riches, UBS Wealth Management chief global economist Paul Donovan tells Business Insider.
  • Because the millennial generation is smaller than the baby-boom generation they are inheriting from, this wealth will be more concentrated when it is finally transferred.
  • This will make the millennials the richest generation of all time.

Every morning, UBS's Paul Donovan wakes up at about 5 a.m. to record his daily podcast on global economics. Donovan is the chief global economist of UBS's Wealth Management unit, and between 10,000 and 15,000 people are on his listening list.

If you're interested in economics — or if you are rich enough to be one of UBS's private wealth clients — then Donovan's arch commentary is crucial daily listening. His monologues are delivered in a withering, sarcastic style: Imagine a Bond villain who has a particular disdain for PMI data. And then imagine he has jetlag.

If Donovan is in London where he is based, this means he is waking up in the pitch dark. That's not a guarantee, however. Donovan travels for 10 months of the year and has been known to record his 15-minute soundbites in airport lounges or from the back seat of limousine shuttles.

Regardless, he delivers his commentary largely without error or stutter. In two hours' time — after UBS's lawyers have vetted it —  the Donovan daily briefing arrives in your email inbox at 7 a.m. That's a full hour before the notionally official bell at the London Stock Exchange (which also rings in the dark, at least during winter). 

We caught up with him recently to discuss one of the perennial topics of the World Economic Forum at Davos, inequality. Millennials have long complained that rising property prices have locked them out of the housing market, but Donovan's view is that this is a problem that will eventually solve itself.

"It's worth pointing out that the millennial generation, which we're all wringing our hands about — these poor people not able to own houses! — this is going to be the wealthiest generation ever that we've experienced," he told Business Insider. "The basic fact is that wealth does not disappear in a puff of smoke," he says. "The wealth is still there in the economy. As it's passed down the generations, the fact that the millennial generation is a smaller age cohort necessarily means that the same amount of wealth will be distributed to a smaller number of people."

"When I die my nieces will inherit the assets that I have accumulated. And indeed the assets my parents have accumulated. ... There are fewer millennials than baby boomers. The concentration of wealth will increase, and fewer people will share the national wealth."

So if you're a millennial now you can look forward to a bright future in late middle age, when your parents die and you inherit their house. If that generational transfer were to take place today, it would be worth £7 trillion ($10 trillion) in the UK and $32 trillion in the US. Those are the estimates of total existing property value. Global property wealth today is worth $217 trillion.

'Distribution of wealth is far less important than distribution of income'

But won't that wealth transfer exacerbate inequality, because not everyone owns property? Inheritance is one of the main drivers of inequality, according to Thomas Piketty's masterful analysis of wealth distribution.

Donovan has a counterintuitive answer to that: Wealth inequality is less important than income inequality, he says. The issue, Donovan argues, is that you cannot spend housing wealth until you cash it in, and when you cash it in your income can drop dramatically. Thus it is your income, not your assets, that drives true inequality. 

Inequality in Britain"What is it that you are judging on? Inequality of wealth? Absolutely," he says.

"But if we're looking at inequality of lifestyle that's not necessarily the case. A stock of shares and equities doesn't dictate your lifestyle. Income, arguably, does. But that's not something that is going to be necessarily coming out of wealth inequality. What we are talking about is wealth in the future ... inequality of living standards is not necessarily something which is distributed by the level of wealth in a society in terms of assets. Distribution of wealth is far less important than distribution of income."

For most people, this is a controversial position. Surely a person who lives in a £1 million house in London is richer than someone with a salary of £50,000 who lives on Merseyside?

Wrong, Donovan says.

"So if you sell your house, fine. Where do you live? You will need income to afford somewhere to live (even if renting) and if the return on the cash that you get from investing your house proceeds is lower, your ability to rent a nice place to live is lower," he says.

"You can, of course, spend the money, but the question becomes what do you do when the money is gone? (Apropos, my mother used to do a lot of work with the elderly in private care homes, and this was a huge worry for them. What happens when the capital runs out? Can I stay here? Etc.). Which is why most investment ultimately comes down to providing an income stream – pensions that go into annuities and the like."

In the meantime, that $217 trillion millennial payday is likely to grow over the years. Does Donovan have an estimate of how much that generation will inherit in the future?

No, unfortunately.

"We're talking about wealth coming through in 20 to 30 years time. You have to make quite a lot of heroic assumptions about asset prices to put a precise number on it."

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

The CEO of one of China's biggest bitcoin companies endorses just 4 cryptocurrencies and 'wouldn't touch' ICOs: 'It’s just too risky'

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

Tezos co-founder Kathleen Breitman speaks during the Money 20/20 conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. on October 24, 2017.

  • Over $4 billion raised last year by around 1,400 companies issuing their own digital coins through "initial coin offerings" (ICOs).
  • BTCC founder and CEO Bobby Lee told BI: "I don’t touch altcoins, I don’t touch ICOs."
  • Lee supports more regulation around how ICOs are carried out.


LONDON — The founder and CEO of one of China's biggest bitcoin companies says he would not invest in so-called "altcoins," which are new cryptocurrencies created by companies through "initial coin offerings" (ICOs).

BTCC CEO and founder Bobby Lee told Business Insider: "Unfortunately I’m very conservative, I’m very old school. I don’t touch altcoins, I don’t touch ICOs.

"It’s just too risky. It just doesn’t make sense to invest in those guys. Maybe I’ll change my mind next month, next year, I don’t know."

2017 saw a huge boom in companies raising money by issuing their own digital currencies, which are structured similarly to bitcoin, in return for funds to build their business. Over $4 billion was raised through these so-called ICOs last year and there are now over 1,400 "altcoins" in circulation, according to CoinMarketCap.com.

But doubts have been raised about the viability of many of the projects raising money and the lack of investor protection or regulatory overnight.

Tezos has proved a cautionary tale for many watching the sector. The startup, which wants to build a more efficient blockchain, raised $232 million last year but has since been wracked with internal fighting and legal disputes. Investors have been told they are not eligible for refunds.

Lee said: "I only recognise and endorse: bitcoin, litecoin, ethereum, bitcoin cash. Anything outside of that basket I wouldn’t touch myself — I don’t touch myself, I wouldn’t touch myself, and I wouldn’t endorse or recommend for anyone else to touch."

Founded in 2011, BTCC was the world's oldest bitcoin exchange until it shuttered its exchange in September last year under pressure from Chinese authorities. The company has now pivoted to bitcoin mining and a mobile wallet product and employs 100 people in Shanghai.

'This technology is a double-edged sword'

Aside from mismanagement and lack of investor protection, there are also concerns about scams in the ICO market, which is unregulated in many jurisdictions.

Lee told BI this week that there are "a lot" of scams and warned: "There’s going to be more of them, unfortunately."

A Business Insider investigation last November found "pump and dump" scams rife in the cryptocurrency markets, with scammers targetting small altcoins whose prices can easily be manipulated.

Lee said: "Certainly, buyers beware. This technology is a double-edged sword. It can enable good things but it can also enable bad things if you have a criminal mindset. That’s true of anything.

"If you have a steak knife, you can cut steaks with it or you can use it to stab people if you have a criminal mindset. The internet — you can use email for communication but it can also be used to entice for fraud. Any new technology can be used in two ways. The issue is not the technology itself, but the people behind who might try and use it for bad."

Lee's brother, litecoin creator Charlie Lee, has also voiced concerns about scams the space, telling Business Insider: "I think there's a bit too much scam in the space, in terms of people getting in just to get rich quick."

Bobby Lee said that while he's "almost libertarian at heart" he supports some regulation of the cryptocurrency space.

"Regulation on how companies are run, whether people can do ICOs — stuff like that," he said.

China and South Korea have both banned ICOs and the US has warned that these fundraisers are likely to be treated as security issuances and will be regulated as such.

US Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Jay Clayton said this week: "I have instructed the SEC staff to be on high alert for approaches to ICOs that may be contrary to the spirit of our securities laws and the professional obligations of the US securities bar."

Lee was talking to Business Insider at London Blockchain Week, where he also discussed how China's recent crackdown on cryptocurrency trading has affected his business.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: A $445 billion fund manager explains what everyone gets wrong about the economy

The CEO of one of China's biggest bitcoin companies endorses just 4 cryptocurrencies and 'wouldn't touch' ICOs: 'It’s just too risky'

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

Tezos co-founder Kathleen Breitman speaks during the Money 20/20 conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. on October 24, 2017.

  • Over $4 billion raised last year by around 1,400 companies issuing their own digital coins through "initial coin offerings" (ICOs).
  • BTCC founder and CEO Bobby Lee told BI: "I don’t touch altcoins, I don’t touch ICOs."
  • Lee supports more regulation around how ICOs are carried out.


LONDON — The founder and CEO of one of China's biggest bitcoin companies says he would not invest in so-called "altcoins," which are new cryptocurrencies created by companies through "initial coin offerings" (ICOs).

BTCC CEO and founder Bobby Lee told Business Insider: "Unfortunately I’m very conservative, I’m very old school. I don’t touch altcoins, I don’t touch ICOs.

"It’s just too risky. It just doesn’t make sense to invest in those guys. Maybe I’ll change my mind next month, next year, I don’t know."

2017 saw a huge boom in companies raising money by issuing their own digital currencies, which are structured similarly to bitcoin, in return for funds to build their business. Over $4 billion was raised through these so-called ICOs last year and there are now over 1,400 "altcoins" in circulation, according to CoinMarketCap.com.

But doubts have been raised about the viability of many of the projects raising money and the lack of investor protection or regulatory overnight.

Tezos has proved a cautionary tale for many watching the sector. The startup, which wants to build a more efficient blockchain, raised $232 million last year but has since been wracked with internal fighting and legal disputes. Investors have been told they are not eligible for refunds.

Lee said: "I only recognise and endorse: bitcoin, litecoin, ethereum, bitcoin cash. Anything outside of that basket I wouldn’t touch myself — I don’t touch myself, I wouldn’t touch myself, and I wouldn’t endorse or recommend for anyone else to touch."

Founded in 2011, BTCC was the world's oldest bitcoin exchange until it shuttered its exchange in September last year under pressure from Chinese authorities. The company has now pivoted to bitcoin mining and a mobile wallet product and employs 100 people in Shanghai.

'This technology is a double-edged sword'

Aside from mismanagement and lack of investor protection, there are also concerns about scams in the ICO market, which is unregulated in many jurisdictions.

Lee told BI this week that there are "a lot" of scams and warned: "There’s going to be more of them, unfortunately."

A Business Insider investigation last November found "pump and dump" scams rife in the cryptocurrency markets, with scammers targetting small altcoins whose prices can easily be manipulated.

Lee said: "Certainly, buyers beware. This technology is a double-edged sword. It can enable good things but it can also enable bad things if you have a criminal mindset. That’s true of anything.

"If you have a steak knife, you can cut steaks with it or you can use it to stab people if you have a criminal mindset. The internet — you can use email for communication but it can also be used to entice for fraud. Any new technology can be used in two ways. The issue is not the technology itself, but the people behind who might try and use it for bad."

Lee's brother, litecoin creator Charlie Lee, has also voiced concerns about scams the space, telling Business Insider: "I think there's a bit too much scam in the space, in terms of people getting in just to get rich quick."

Bobby Lee said that while he's "almost libertarian at heart" he supports some regulation of the cryptocurrency space.

"Regulation on how companies are run, whether people can do ICOs — stuff like that," he said.

China and South Korea have both banned ICOs and the US has warned that these fundraisers are likely to be treated as security issuances and will be regulated as such.

US Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Jay Clayton said this week: "I have instructed the SEC staff to be on high alert for approaches to ICOs that may be contrary to the spirit of our securities laws and the professional obligations of the US securities bar."

Lee was talking to Business Insider at London Blockchain Week, where he also discussed how China's recent crackdown on cryptocurrency trading has affected his business.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: A $445 billion fund manager explains what everyone gets wrong about the economy

10 things you need to know before European markets open

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

David Cameron

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

1. Former Prime Minister David Cameron was caught on camera saying Brexit was not going as badly as he had believed it would." As I keep saying, it's a mistake not a disaster. It's turned out less badly than we first thought," Cameron was caught saying to Indian steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

2. Saudi oil giant Aramco is looking to expand in the United States where President Donald Trump's tax cuts and support for the oil industry are making business increasingly attractive. "We are looking at new business opportunities in the US and with the tax cuts it will make it much more profitable," CEO Amin Nasser told Reuters.

3. Insured losses from natural disasters came to $134 billion in 2017, making it the second-costliest year on record. Three major hurricanes in the United States and Caribbean alone led to losses of $100 billion in 2017, according to risk modeling agencies and reinsurers.

4. US President Donald Trump said that his plan to help rebuild the nation’s infrastructure will result in about $1.7 trillion in overall investment over the next 10 years. Trump had previously estimated that the plan, which is expected to feature a mix of federal and local investment, at $1 trillion.

5. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said his European partners couldn't always appreciate the challenges of living with an 'aggressive' neighbour such as Turkey. Tsipras was speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos in a discussion about stabilizing the Mediterranean and addressing the migration crisis.

6. JPMorgan plans to expand its African presence into countries including Ghana and Kenya, CEO Jamie Dimon said. "You'll see us open in some countries we are not in, in Africa you'll be hearing about some of that stuff," Dimon told Bloomberg Television.

7. Ford reported a quarterly net profit, versus a loss in the same period in 2016 caused by pension liabilities. The second largest US automaker reported quarterly net income of $2.41 billion or 60 cents per share, versus a loss of $781 million or 20 cents per share a year earlier. 

8. The United States is not starting a trade war but trying to fend off Chinese protectionism, including a "direct threat" in high-tech goods, US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said. Ross was speaking a day after Washington imposed steep import tariffs on washing machines and solar panels.

9. Ryanair pilots' unions demanded joint meeting with management, saying individual talks on a new collective bargaining system were not satisfactory. A letter signed by 11 trade unions also demanded that Ryanair commit by March 1 to introduce permanent direct employment contracts in accordance with the local laws of the country where staff are based.

10. Macedonia will change the name of its airport to help resolve a decades-long dispute with Greece over the ex-Yugoslav republic's name. Macedonia took that name when it declared independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, but Greece has disputed it since, saying it implies territorial claims to a Greek province of the same name as well as to Greece's history.

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

UBS Chairman Predicts Big Bitcoin Market Correction, Won’t Invest

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

The post UBS Chairman Predicts Big Bitcoin Market Correction, Won’t Invest appeared first on CCN

Alex Weber, chairman of UBS Group AG, said the bank will not trade bitcoin or offer it to clients due to an expected massive drop in value caused by regulation. In an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Weber said bitcoin’s future will be undermined by market corrections. Weber said South Korea

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50 Cent realizes he’s a Bitcoin millionaire thanks to sales of a 2014 album

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

 Call him the ultimate hodler. After being one of the first musicians to accept Bitcoin all the way back in 2014, Rapper 50 Cent (a.k.a. Curtis Jackson) appears to have accumulated a small fortune in the volatile digital currency. As TMZ first reported, and the man himself seems to have confirmed, 50 Cent left his Bitcoin sales untouched until rediscovering them some time recently. At the time,… Read More

This Swiss Commodity Fund is Launching its Own Cryptocurrency Backed by Metals

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

The post This Swiss Commodity Fund is Launching its Own Cryptocurrency Backed by Metals appeared first on CCN

Switzerland-based commodities fund “Tiberius Group” plans on becoming one of several traditional finance firms to try its hand at cryptocurrencies. Its entry follows a string of offerings from big finance in the crypto space such as Bitcoin Futures, new Crypto Currency Exchanges, and optimism from some of the biggest investment banks in the world. The

The post This Swiss Commodity Fund is Launching its Own Cryptocurrency Backed by Metals appeared first on CCN

Bitcoin Exchange Hit By Armed Robbers in Thwarted Theft

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

Canadian police are looking for two armed robbery suspects, having arrested one after an attempted heist at cryptocurrency exchange Canadian Bitcoins.

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