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Nasdaq slams upstart rival IEX with an intellectual property lawsuit

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

Adena Friedman NASDAQ

  • Nasdaq, the exchange operator, has filed a lawsuit against upstart rival IEX in a New Jersey court.
  • It claims IEX, the exchange made famous in the popular book "Flash Boys," used its intellectual property and it is seeking compensation. 

Nasdaq, the exchange operator, filed a patent infringement lawsuit against IEX, the company made famous in Michael Lewis' hit book "Flash Boys," in a federal court in New Jersey, the company announced Thursday. 

Nasdaq alleges that IEX used seven of its patented electronic trading technologies, which Nasdaq says cost "millions of dollars in investment over decades."

In the suit, Nasdaq says four of its former employees — with knowledge of its patented technology — joined IEX and were involved in the building of IEX's trading platform.

"IEX admitted in public filings that its closing auction process was 'designed based on extensive review of' Nasdaq’s patented process and that the information its system is designed to disseminate to the market during closing auctions is 'substantially similar' to the 'Nasdaq Net Imbalance Order Indicator,' one of the key features of patents asserted in the lawsuit," Nasdaq said in a statement. 

A spokesperson for IEX wrote in an email, "Similar to our exchange application process, this is yet another attempt by Nasdaq to obstruct an innovative new competitor."

Nasdaq and the New York Stock Exchange fought tooth and nail to keep IEX from getting a license to operate as an exchange. IEX got permission to do so  in 2016.

It's been a tough go for IEX, which commands just 2% of the market share in the exchange trading business. Since it got the green light from regulators, it has been trying to lure companies from NYSE and Nasdaq. Many observers expected Wynn Resorts to be the first company to switch to its exchange venue, but that hit a snag when its founder Steve Wynn was ousted after allegations of sexual misconduct. 

The company said in October it expected to have its first listings in early 2018. 

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More people are trying to bring guns onto planes than ever before — and most of them are loaded

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

tsa guns

  • The Transportation Security Administration found 104 firearms in carry-on bags from February 5-11, the week before the Parkland shooting, which set a new weekly record for the agency.
  • An overwhelming majority (84%) of the firearms found were loaded, while 40% had a bullet in the chamber.
  • The agency set an annual record of 3,957 firearms found in carry-on bags in 2017.

The Transportation Security Administration found 104 firearms in carry-on bags from February 5-11, the week before the Parkland shooting, which set a new weekly record for the agency. The previous record, 96 firearms, was set in July 2017.

An overwhelming majority (84%) of the firearms found were loaded, while 40% had a bullet in the chamber. Those findings are consistent with the TSA's 2017 report, in which the agency set an annual record of 3,957 firearms found in carry-on bags, 84% of which were loaded.

"Unfortunately these sorts of occurrences are all too frequent which is why we talk about these finds," the TSA said in a post on its website. "Sure, it’s great to share the things that our officers are finding, but at the same time, each time we find a dangerous item, the line is slowed down and a passenger that likely had no ill intent ends up with a citation or in some cases is even arrested. This is a friendly reminder to please leave these items at home."

These records come at a time when gun ownership has become one of the most divisive issues in American politics. As mass shootings become more common and more deadly, debates about gun control have split along party lines.

Republican lawmakers have opposed even modest gun control regulations, while Democratic lawmakers continue to push for measures like assault rifle bans and heightened background checks. On Wednesday, President Trump indicated his support for increased gun control measures during an informal, televised meeting with lawmakers.

 

SEE ALSO: Gun control really works — here's the science to prove it

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United has made a stunning turnaround a year after it dragged a passenger off a plane (UAL)

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

United Airlines

  • United Airlines' reputation is surging after it ended a discount program for NRA members, according to a new study.
  • The increase in positive sentiment comes after a difficult year for the airline, which struggled with its response to an incident in which it dragged a passenger off an overbooked flight.
  • Overall, the study found that consumer sentiment was largely unchanged for most brands that announced an end to their NRA partnerships.

Eleven months ago, United Airlines was in the middle of a colossal PR crisis after dragging a passenger off an overbooked flight. The airline dug itself into a deeper hole with its response to the incident, which many perceived as being insensitive. 

Now, United's reputation is surging after it announced it was ending a discount program for NRA members on Saturday. A study released by YouGov BrandIndex on Thursday, which measured consumer responses to brands that cut ties with the NRA, found that United received one of the biggest reputational bumps. 

The study included two surveys labeled "word of mouth" and "buzz," which asked respondents whether they had talked about a brand with friends or family members and if they'd noticed more positive or negative sentiments around a brand in the past two weeks, respectively. United received a larger increase in its "buzz" score than any of the 16 other brands that were measured, and the sixth largest increase in its "word of mouth" score. Delta Air Lines received the largest increase in its "word of mouth" score.

Overall, the study found that the sentiment around most brands was largely unchanged after announcing an end to their NRA partnerships. Respondents who identified as Democrats tended to like the brands more, while those who identified as Republicans didn't show a significant change in opinion.

That result is surprising, given the increasingly divisive nature of the debate around gun ownership. While most Americans, Democratic lawmakers, and President Donald Trump have shown support for increased gun control measures like more thorough background checks, many Republican lawmakers continue to oppose any new gun regulations.

SEE ALSO: Inside the world's largest plane, which has a wingspan longer than a football field and will debut in 2019

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These 3 companies could sprint ahead of Wall Street when it comes to cryptocurrency

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

Tom Lee

  • 2018 and 2019 could be a big for the cryptocurrency market, according to Fundstrat. 
  • The firm predicts bitcoin will hit $25,000 by the end of 2018, and sees three companies possibly launching their own digital coins. 

Fundstrat, the research firm, is predicting the next two years will be big for bitcoin and the world of crypto

In a note out to clients, analysts led by Tom Lee said at least three companies could issue their own digital tokens in 2018 and 2019. They also doubled down on their bullish forecast for bitcoin, which they say could reach $25,000 by year-end. 

"The fundamental story of crypto is improving in 2018," according to Fundstrat. "And improving apps, such as Robinhood, and now Circle (acquiring Poloniex), are [creating] new on ramps for users this year."

Robinhood, the California brokerage known for its popular stock-trading app, launched Robinhood Crypto earlier this month. On Monday, payments company Circle announced its acquisition of crypto exchange Poloniex. It is also working on launching its own crypto-trading smart phone app, Circle Invest. 

Bitcoin gripped the attention of Wall Street and Main Street as its soared to almost $20,000 in December 2017. The start of 2018 was rough to the digital coin, throwing it all the way down to $5,900 at the beginning of February. But a quick read of the chart indicates that rest of the year will be bullish for bitcoin. Here's Fundstrat:

"In 6 of the last 7 years, bitcoin posted its annual low within the first 60 days, before March. In 2018, bitcoin was down 50% by Feb 6 (36 days), which falls within that time frame. In other words, as we enter March, this is another reason to view 5,900 as THE LOW for the year and we see bitcoin reaching $20,000 by mid-year and $25,000 by year-end."

As for the crypto ecosystem more broadly, Fundstrat notes three non-financial companies are in the process of issuing or could issue their own digital coins in 2018 or 2019.

Starbucks, the ubiquitous coffee maker, is one company that could dive into crypto in the next 12 to 24 months, Fundstrat said. It's something the company has hinted at before. 

"I think blockchain technology is probably the rails in which an integrated app at Starbucks will be sitting on top of," Howard Schultz, the company's executive chairman, told Fox Business on Tuesday.  

Schultz mentioned the possibility of launching a "proprietary digital currency" as part of those efforts.

Line, a Japanese company, could also launch a digital currency exchange in the next 12 to 24 months.

"The company said it has started the process of registering a virtual currency exchange with the Financial Services Agency but gave no indication as to when this will likely bear fruit," Fundstrat wrote. "Likely to launch a token in conjunction with this effort."  

Also, ecommerce company Rakuten is one company that has already announced it's launching a cryptocurrency based on its loyalty program. 

Meanwhile, Wall Street banks are staying far away from digital currencies. Financial advisers employed by Bank of America Merrill Lynch were instructed to not hawk Grayscale's Bitcoin Investment Trust, an investment product that seeks to mirror the price of bitcoin, to clients. JPMorgan head Jamie Dimon famously called bitcoin "a fraud," and he once said he would fire bankers who trade it for being stupid. 

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Op Ed: Lobbying Efforts Promote the Blockchain Industry Around the World

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

Op Ed: Lobbying in the Community

Well-known crypto companies such as Coinbase, eToro, CryptoCompare, CEX.IO, BlockEx, CoinShares and CommerceBlock have recently announced the creation of CryptoUK. As stated on their official website, CryptoUK is a self-regulatory trade association established to promote higher standards of conduct. But why should these obvious competitors and big players unite? And is this becoming a trend?

Of course, their primary goal is perfectly clear: CryptoUK wants to lobby the U.K. government on behalf of their interests and to influence the market.

The aggregated volume of the exchanges is quite large for the cryptocurrency industry. The daily volume for CEX.IO alone is more than $34 million. However,  this is a small amount when compared to the market leaders.  Binance’s daily volume is around $2 billion, for example. CryptoUK unites not only crypto-exchanges but also such services as Coin Shares (a hedge fund and exchange), CryptoCompare (a community hub) and several others. By having a united policy, all of the above-mentioned companies can truly influence the different spheres of the crypto community.

As British Treasury official Stephen Barclay recently said, “The U.K. government is currently negotiating amendments to the anti-money laundering directive.” It will be adopted as early as the beginning of 2018, and it will certainly affect the sphere of cryptocurrency. Therefore, a large association representing several companies has a real chance of being heard by the regulatory authorities.

It seems that crypto associations are becoming a trend, and a source at Blackmoon — a platform uniting the traditional investment funds and digital currency — said that a similar association is being prepared with several market leaders mostly from the U.S.

So what kinds of cryptocurrency and blockchain associations exist, and what goals do they pursue?

Government Support Plays a Role

Crypto Valley Association

The Crypto Valley Association was established in 2017 with the government support of the canton of Zug in Switzerland. Their stated goal is to build the world's leading blockchain ecosystem. At the moment, the association is engaged in garnering startup support (including contacts with investors and fundraising), conducting research in the blockchain, and holding events.

Some members of the association are Bitcoin Suisse, Bussmann Advisory, iprotus, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Luxoft, Monetas and Thomson Reuters.
KPMG is one of the associations partners. Crypto Valley is currently making their first report on an ICO together with the major global auditor, PwC.

Russian Association of Cryptocurrency and Blockchain (RACIB)

This association was also established in 2017 with the support of the Russian government. Among the activities of the association are "the preparation of proposals for legislative acts for the Government of the Russian Federation.”

The creation of the association was initiated by the Advisor to the President of the Russian Federation on internet issues, Herman Klimenko. He is not listed on the official website of the RACIB in the "Board members" section, however, he is the head of the RACIB supervisory board. That board also includes the CTO of one of the biggest Russian IT companies Mail Ru Group, the CEO of Waves platform and other well-known people from the industry.

The association actively conducts blockchain initiatives and events, and they also try to influence the decisions of the government. For example, recently, the president of the RACIB Yuri Pripachkin offered to provide free power from the state-run power plants for cryptocurrency mining.

Blockchain Research Institute

The main goal of this Canadian organization is to further research into the impact of blockchain technology on business, government and society. The study is financed by the institute members, including global leaders at IBM, Microsoft, Deloitte and others. BRI is helping member organizations to realize the benefits of implementing blockchain technologies. The institute was founded in 2017 by Don Tapscott and Alex Tapscott, authors of the bestselling book, Blockchain Revolution. This organization has some governmental support from the Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario, the City of Toronto, the University Health Network in Toronto, the Bank of Canada and the Federal Institute on Governance.

Associations Created for Lobbying and Education

Chamber of Digital Commerce

Created in 2014, the focus of the Chamber is to lobby for the use of digital assets and blockchain technology and to affect policy makers and regulators. The Chamber of Digital Commerce is successfully expressing the interest of the crypto community through the media and through public appearances of its members in many high-profile situations. For instance, recently Perianne Boring and Amy Davine Kim from the CDC board presented to U.S. legislators about the electronic signature act, proposing the usage of smart contracts instead.

Among other Chamber of Digital Commerce initiatives are the creation of the Token and Blockchain Alliance, the Digital Assets Accounting Consortium and many others. CDC host events on a regular basis, from small meetups to large conferences, like the DC Blockchain Summit. Boring has become an influencer in the industry, speaking at top conferences around the world and recognized as being among the “10 Most Influential People in Blockchain 2016.”

The U.S. Congress is beginning to take note of what the Chamber of Digital Commerce has to say and has taken steps to address some of its proposals (e.g. monitoring of extremists groups).

Coin Center

Another other association making its mark in DC is Coin Center. The goals of the organization are to educate policymakers about cryptocurrencies, to be engaged in regulators’ research on the topic and to advocate the blockchain solutions.

Coin Center produces research reports on topics that are important to the industry, including “The Need for a Federal Alternative to State Money Transmission Licensing.” Recently CEO Jerry Brito participated in CFTC’s Technology Advisory Committee Public Meeting, representing Coin Center’s position regarding virtual currencies, market regulations and development of the blockchain technology.

ACCESS, Singapore

This association was established in 2014 and aims to make a dialogue between the crypto community, large businesses, and regulators. Thus, ACCESS is the voice of Singapore's blockchain projects. In addition, the association regularly conducts seminars and workshops on the theme of the blockchain and cryptocurrency. The co-founders of such projects like CoinPip and JEDTrade are all on the board. The association also makes proposals to MAS Singapore’s central bank.

Bitcoin Association Switzerland

The first thing that catches your eye when you go to the official website of this association is Dostoevsky's quote on the main page: "Money is a coined freedom." In addition to the obvious love of Russian literature, the members of the association are united in carrying out joint events and trying to solve the problems of regulating cryptocurrencies. It is also a single entry point for the media: sharing of public relation resources, by the way, is another reason for the creation of such associations.

Members of the association include such giants as E&Y and Bosh, as well as blockchain projects like Crypto Finance. BAS regularly holds question-and-answer sessions with its members, stoking interest within the community.

This is a guest post by Maria Lobanova. Opinions expressed are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of Bitcoin Magazine.


This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Carl Icahn just dunked on Bill Ackman to end one of the most high-profile hedge fund spats in recent memory

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

carl icahn

  • Pershing Square exited from its $1 billion short position on Herbalife.  
  • The firm's Bill Ackman got into a public spat with famed investor Carl Icahn, who's bullish on the stock.
  • Icahn is now gloating for being right. 

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn is reveling in his victory over Pershing Square's Bill Ackman. 

Five years ago, the two investors publicly butted heads over the future of supplement maker Herbalife. Icahn was long on Herbalife, whereas Ackman was short, predicting the stock would hit zero. But it didn't. In fact, the stock is up more than 120% over the last five years. 

screenshot markets.businessinsider.com 2018.03.01 14 20 58

On Wednesday, Pershing Square gave up, exciting from its $1 billion Herbalife short position. As reported by the Wall Street Journal, the failed bet likely cost the firm hundreds of millions of dollars. 

In an interview with CNBC Thursday, Icahn took the opportunity to gloat, saying, "I enjoy a good fight, especially when I win it."

Icahn says he made $1 billion off of his position in Herbalife. 

"I honestly in a strange way I thank Bill...I wish him well," Ichan said. "He called me yesterday and congratulated me."

Ackman was a noted anti-Herbalife crusader, alleging the company had all the characteristics of a pyramid scheme

In 2013, Icahn called Ackman "a liar" in response to those claims during the on-air spat

"I've really about had it with this guy," Icahn said in 2013. "He's like a crybaby in the schoolyard."

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Lawsuit alleges bitcoin pioneer became a thief

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

Whether or not Craig Wright invented bitcoin, his early involvement in the cryptocurrency is clear.

One of Carl Icahn's top lieutenants has decided not to launch a hedge fund after all

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

FILE PHOTO: Billionaire activist-investor Carl Icahn gives an interview on FOX Business Network's Neil Cavuto show in New York, U.S.,  February 11, 2014.   REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo - RC126FF77DF0

  • A star investor who was backed by Icahn Enterprises has decided not to launch a hedge fund after all.
  • David Schecther's Serafima Investments told clients this week it won't accept outside capital.
  • "David Schecthter has elected to manage his own capital to maximize his investment flexibility," an email notifying investors said.

David Schechter, a former star investor at Icahn Enterprises, was supposed to launch a hedge fund in the coming months with the backing of his former boss. But plans to launch the fund to outside investors have since been scrapped, people familiar with the situation said.

Earlier this week, a representative for Schechter's fund Serafima Investments sent an email to potential clients announcing that Schechter plans to form a family office instead, meaning he won't accept outside capital, according to several people familiar with the matter.

"David Schecthter has elected to manage his own capital to maximize his investment flexibility," the email said.

Serafima Investments had staffed up with team including analysts, an administrative officer and head of business development, a LinkedIn search shows.

Billionaire Carl Icahn's Icahn Enterprises was expected to back the new venture. It's not clear where that funding lies.

Schechter didn't immediately respond to emails seeking comment, and calls to his listed phone number did not go through. An email and a call to Schechter's business development head were not immediately returned. Icahn didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The change was swift for investors who had considered an investment in the budding firm. Records with the Securities and Exchange Commission show that Serafima terminated its registration on February 26.

Schechter drew attention at Icahn Enterprises when he co-managed a $4.8 billion portfolio that produced double-digit returns with Icahn's son, Brett, the Wall Street Journal reported in 2014. They managed that portfolio, called Sargon, through 2016, and became consultants to Icahn Enterprises.

Forbes estimated that Schechter earned $280 million in 2016 for his role managing Sargon.

SEE ALSO: Hedge fund billionaire David Einhorn's bad start to the year has gotten worse

DON'T MISS: We asked a top recruiter what it takes to get a senior-level job these days

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Jaguar just unveiled its stunning all-electric SUV that will arrive this year — and Tesla should be nervous

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

jaguar i pace

  • Tesla is about to get a new rival. Jaguar revealed the details for its first fully-electric vehicle, the I-Pace, on Thursday.
  • The vehicle will have 240 miles of range per charge and be able to accelerate from 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds.
  • It will also feature a redesigned infotainment system and over-the-air updates.

Jaguar revealed the details for its first fully-electric vehicle, the I-Pace, on Thursday. The SUV will allow Jaguar to compete with rivals like Tesla  and Porsche in the luxury EV market.

The I-Pace will pack 394 horsepower and 512 pound-feet of torque in its standard two motor, all-wheel drive configuration. The vehicle will also have 240 miles of range per charge and be able to accelerate from 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds. Owners will be able to charge the SUV to 80% of its battery capacity in 40 minutes with a 100kW DC fast charger. Tesla's Model X SUV can drive 295 miles per charge and accelerate from 0-60 mph in 2.9 seconds.

On the inside, the I-Pace will feature a redesigned infotainment system with two touchscreens on the center console and a heads-up display that projects information like directions and the vehicle's speed on the windshield.

Over time, it will gather data about the owner's driving habits and interior preferences and use artificial intelligence to automatically adjust driving and interior settings. Owners will be able to integrate their Alexa devices with the car, so they can ask for information like charge levels before they have to drive. And the I-Pace will be Jaguar's first vehicle to receive wireless updates similar to those used by Tesla.

Jaguar plans to start delivering the vehicle in the US during the second half of this year, making it one of the first luxury electric SUVs to compete with the Model X, which has a growing backlog of orders due to a recent spike in demand. Luxury automakers like Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Porsche are increasing their investments in electric vehicles in the coming years, setting the stage for a battle for high-end electric vehicle supremacy.

 

SEE ALSO: 20 electric cars you'll see on the road by 2025

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CRYPTO INSIDER: Overstock stocks up with $100 million ICO

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

Patrick Byrne, Overstock

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.

Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne sat down with Business Insider's Sara Silverstein to discuss the company's ICO — tZERO — passing $100 million, the tokenization of Wall Street, and what people get wrong about blockchain.

Here are the current crypto prices:

Bitcoin crypto prices today

Join Business Insider's Crypto Insider Facebook group today to discuss cryptocurrencies and blockchain with readers from all over the world, as well as BI editorial staff. 

SEE ALSO: The iced tea company that pivoted to blockchain finally hired a board member with crypto expertise as it fights fraud accusations

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CRYPTO INSIDER: Overstock stocks up with $100 million ICO

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

Patrick Byrne, Overstock

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.

Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne sat down with Business Insider's Sara Silverstein to discuss the company's ICO — tZERO — passing $100 million, the tokenization of Wall Street, and what people get wrong about blockchain.

Here are the current crypto prices:

Bitcoin crypto prices today

Join Business Insider's Crypto Insider Facebook group today to discuss cryptocurrencies and blockchain with readers from all over the world, as well as BI editorial staff. 

SEE ALSO: The iced tea company that pivoted to blockchain finally hired a board member with crypto expertise as it fights fraud accusations

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Why Bill Gates’ Remarks on Bitcoin ‘Deaths’ are Flawed at Every Level

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

The post Why Bill Gates’ Remarks on Bitcoin ‘Deaths’ are Flawed at Every Level appeared first on CCN

This week, billionaire investor and Microsoft founder Bill Gates had controversial remarks on cryptocurrencies, claiming that bitcoin has caused deaths in a direct way. Gates said: “The main feature of crypto currencies is their anonymity. I don’t think this is a good thing. The Governments ability to find money laundering and tax evasion and terrorist

The post Why Bill Gates’ Remarks on Bitcoin ‘Deaths’ are Flawed at Every Level appeared first on CCN

What you need to know on Wall Street today

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

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

If you hadn't figured this out already, the streaming music business is a terrible one to be in.

That's the chief takeaway from the financial paperwork Spotify filed Wednesday in advance of becoming a public company. Despite dominating the subscription music market, the company generates relatively little money per user, has to give away nearly all the money it generates to the big recording companies, and continues to rack up losses.

In short, Spotify just proved that the streaming music business is a like a black hole — and investors might not see it until it’s too late. Elsewhere in Spotify news:

In other news, Jerome Powell, the new Federal Reserve chairman, pushed back against any possible changes to the central bank's 2% inflation-targeting frameworkInitial jobless claims— first-time filings for unemployment benefits — fell to a 48-year low of 210,000 last week. And President Donald Trump could announce new tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum as soon as Thursday, a move that could trigger significant economic repercussions.

In finance news, Deutsche Bank’s head of stock trading told us how markets went haywire, why volatility is here to stay, and what investors are actually concerned about.

Bank of America has reportedly fired 2 staffers who interfered with a sexual misconduct investigation. The global head of investor relations at $28 billion investor Angelo Gordon has left over misconduct. Hedge fund billionaire David Einhorn's bad start to the year has gotten worse.

In other news:

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Square’s competitors are ‘stuck in the past’ when it comes to bitcoin payments (SQ)

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

Jack Dorsey (L), CEO of Square and CEO of Twitter, and Jim McKelvey, co-founder of Square, (2nd R) applaud as NYSE President Tom Farley (R) fist bumps Mac Riley after the IPO of Square Inc., in New York November 19, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

  • Square was one of the first payments companies to accept bitcoin — something CEO Jack Dorsey doubled down on in the company's earnings call this week. 
  • "I’ve not heard discussions about bitcoin from pretty much any of its competitors," one analyst told Business Insider. 
  • Dan Dolev is one of the most bullish Square analysts on the Street with a $64 price target.

Square, the payments company run by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, is miles ahead of its competitors when it comes to accepting cryptocurrency payments, according to one Wall Street analyst.

"Square has been the pioneer of this field," Nomura analyst Dan Dolev said in an interview with Business Insider. "I’ve not heard discussions about bitcoin from pretty much any of its competitors."

CEO Jack Dorsey on Tuesday told analysts on the company’s fourth quarter earnings call that "bitcoin, for [Square], is not stopping at buying and selling. We do believe that this is a transformational technology for our industry and we want to learn as quickly as possible."

For now, bitcoin isn’t adding much to Square’s bottom line, though the payments firm is still beating Wall Street’s expectations. The company said it earned an adjusted $0.08 per share in the fourth quarter, beating the expected $0.067. Revenues of $282 million also topped the Street’s estimates.

"It’s also smart on Square’s side because they’re first to the debate," Dolev explained to Business Insider. "It kind of epitomizes, without naming names here, that some of their competitors are stuck in the past whereas Square is forward thinking."

Square could disrupt legacy financial services companies in areas beyond payments as well. That’s why Dolev has a $64 price target for the stock — 40% above the stock’s $44 price Thursday morning.

"We say Square are the Amazon of payments because they are on their way to becoming a much bigger part of the overall financial ecosystem than they are today," Dolev said. "Why can’t they disrupt some of the legacy HR and payroll providers? It’s just software. Once you’re sitting there and already own the point-of-sale system, you can bundle it with services that are helping businesses run on a day by day basis."

Shares of Square are up 160% in the past year. 

Square stock price

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

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Square’s competitors are ‘stuck in the past’ when it comes to bitcoin payments (SQ)

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

Jack Dorsey (L), CEO of Square and CEO of Twitter, and Jim McKelvey, co-founder of Square, (2nd R) applaud as NYSE President Tom Farley (R) fist bumps Mac Riley after the IPO of Square Inc., in New York November 19, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

  • Square was one of the first payments companies to accept bitcoin — something CEO Jack Dorsey doubled down on in the company's earnings call this week. 
  • "I’ve not heard discussions about bitcoin from pretty much any of its competitors," one analyst told Business Insider. 
  • Dan Dolev is one of the most bullish Square analysts on the Street with a $64 price target.

Square, the payments company run by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, is miles ahead of its competitors when it comes to accepting cryptocurrency payments, according to one Wall Street analyst.

"Square has been the pioneer of this field," Nomura analyst Dan Dolev said in an interview with Business Insider. "I’ve not heard discussions about bitcoin from pretty much any of its competitors."

CEO Jack Dorsey on Tuesday told analysts on the company’s fourth quarter earnings call that "bitcoin, for [Square], is not stopping at buying and selling. We do believe that this is a transformational technology for our industry and we want to learn as quickly as possible."

For now, bitcoin isn’t adding much to Square’s bottom line, though the payments firm is still beating Wall Street’s expectations. The company said it earned an adjusted $0.08 per share in the fourth quarter, beating the expected $0.067. Revenues of $282 million also topped the Street’s estimates.

"It’s also smart on Square’s side because they’re first to the debate," Dolev explained to Business Insider. "It kind of epitomizes, without naming names here, that some of their competitors are stuck in the past whereas Square is forward thinking."

Square could disrupt legacy financial services companies in areas beyond payments as well. That’s why Dolev has a $64 price target for the stock — 40% above the stock’s $44 price Thursday morning.

"We say Square are the Amazon of payments because they are on their way to becoming a much bigger part of the overall financial ecosystem than they are today," Dolev said. "Why can’t they disrupt some of the legacy HR and payroll providers? It’s just software. Once you’re sitting there and already own the point-of-sale system, you can bundle it with services that are helping businesses run on a day by day basis."

Shares of Square are up 160% in the past year. 

Square stock price

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NFL superstar Richard Sherman is all-in on cryptocurrencies, but doesn’t think his grandmother should invest

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

NFL cornerback Richard Sherman is a paid spokesperson for COBINHOOD, a cryptocurrency exchange with no trading fees. But Sherman's involvement with cryptocurrency started years ago when he started accepting bitcoin for merchandise on his website. Sherman sat down with Business Insider's Sara Silverstein to discuss his view of cryptocurrency. Following is a transcript of the video.

Sara Silverstein: So can you explain to me what COBINHOOD is?

Richard Sherman: COBINHOOD is a trading platform like many others out there, but it has no trading fee, which for most people that'll save them a ton of money. For me, it's saved me a ton of money and I'm thankful for it because you get frustrated, you feel like you're trading, you're having a heck of a day, and then you look up and every transaction you've got a fee, every trade you got a fee, every trade you got a fee, and it's like, you know what, it would be way better if I could do all this and save my money on these fees. So, I'm thankful for Popo, their founder who came up with COBINHOOD. He's incredibly adept at understanding blockchains and crypto and that whole world, you know. I mean, when I speak to him I feel like a small fish in a very, very, very big pond, but I'm trying.

Silverstein: And how does that business model work? How do they make money if they don't charge any transaction fees?

Sherman: Well they do a great job underwriting for companies that are trying to create a coin, ICO, or also marketing these companies and making sure that they're seen and that, you know, their coin is getting as much exposure as others. So they make their money that way, so they, that's how they save on these fees.

Silverstein: And this is not the first crypto project that you've been a part of, or interest that you've had. How did you first get involved and when did that happen?

Sherman: Well honestly, and I hate telling this story because it's frustrating. So I have like a merchandise website, you know, shirts and sweaters and things like that for people who wanna support. And, early on, I mean maybe like five, six years ago, some of the fans were reaching out like, oh man, we wanna pay in bitcoin, we wanna pay in this digital currency. And, I was kinda skeptical obviously. It's like, just normal cash will do. I mean, you know. But one of our managers for the website was from Asia and he had heard of cryptocurrency and bitcoin so he was more informed than I was. He was like, yeah just go for it, just allow it. I think you're gonna really like this. I think it's a future. And so we allowed it, for the most part though, we just converted it back to cash unfortunately. Yeah, so, if I could go back in time and not convert that to cash, then sure I'd have a lot of bitcoin probably. Millions of dollars.

Silverstein: But is that regret what got you interested and starting to research bitcoin and get involved in the cryptocurrency?

Sherman: I mean, and not really regret, just kinda, like a missed opp. You know, like I passed on the opportunity where I could've done more research, I could've really looked into it. But I got into it. I've made some money. I've made $15,000 on it, but it could've been a lot more.

Silverstein: What other cryptocurrencies have you looked at other than bitcoin?

Sherman: I'm into Ethereum and other coins that come with that blockchain. Obviously I've got a few bitcoin, Litecoin I've dabbled in as I've learned more.

Silverstein: And is it true you told your grandmother not to buy bitcoin?

Sherman: Yeah because with that situation, I'm tryin' to explain it to her, you know, and I'm like, yeah it's blockchain and ethereum is the ledger for the blockchain and, you know, as I'm explaining it she's just like, you know, just blank-faced like, okay so how to I make money? I'm like well, if the cost of the coin goes up, and she's like, what happens if it goes down? Then you lose money. She's like, no, I don't wanna lose money, so make me money. I'm like grandma you're not really listening. You just don't mess wid it. Ima figure out, let me figure out more on it. Let me figure out how it works more, but, you know, sometimes, teaching a person who is, stuck in their ways about something new is very difficult so I advised her against that.

Silverstein: And would you, do you still convert all of your merchandise sales that are made in bitcoin directly to cash?

Sherman: No, no we don't do it anymore.

Silverstein: You hold the bitcoin now.

Sherman: We'll hold the bitcoin now.

Silverstein: Would you be willing to take your salary in bitcoin?

Sherman: I would be, as long as it equaled out to about the same amount, you know, I'd take it bitcoin. It'd be hard for them to tax it which is always appreciated. Hey, give it to me in bitcoin guys. I don't know how to tax it. It's not cash, so.

Silverstein: Where do you think the bitcoin price should be?

Sherman: That I don't know. I loved it when it was at $19,000. It was awesome. If it would like to go to $100,000 that'd be fine with me, I wouldn't mind that, at all.

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NFL superstar Richard Sherman is all-in on cryptocurrencies, but doesn’t think his grandmother should invest

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

NFL cornerback Richard Sherman is a paid spokesperson for COBINHOOD, a cryptocurrency exchange with no trading fees. But Sherman's involvement with cryptocurrency started years ago when he started accepting bitcoin for merchandise on his website. Sherman sat down with Business Insider's Sara Silverstein to discuss his view of cryptocurrency. Following is a transcript of the video.

Sara Silverstein: So can you explain to me what COBINHOOD is?

Richard Sherman: COBINHOOD is a trading platform like many others out there, but it has no trading fee, which for most people that'll save them a ton of money. For me, it's saved me a ton of money and I'm thankful for it because you get frustrated, you feel like you're trading, you're having a heck of a day, and then you look up and every transaction you've got a fee, every trade you got a fee, every trade you got a fee, and it's like, you know what, it would be way better if I could do all this and save my money on these fees. So, I'm thankful for Popo, their founder who came up with COBINHOOD. He's incredibly adept at understanding blockchains and crypto and that whole world, you know. I mean, when I speak to him I feel like a small fish in a very, very, very big pond, but I'm trying.

Silverstein: And how does that business model work? How do they make money if they don't charge any transaction fees?

Sherman: Well they do a great job underwriting for companies that are trying to create a coin, ICO, or also marketing these companies and making sure that they're seen and that, you know, their coin is getting as much exposure as others. So they make their money that way, so they, that's how they save on these fees.

Silverstein: And this is not the first crypto project that you've been a part of, or interest that you've had. How did you first get involved and when did that happen?

Sherman: Well honestly, and I hate telling this story because it's frustrating. So I have like a merchandise website, you know, shirts and sweaters and things like that for people who wanna support. And, early on, I mean maybe like five, six years ago, some of the fans were reaching out like, oh man, we wanna pay in bitcoin, we wanna pay in this digital currency. And, I was kinda skeptical obviously. It's like, just normal cash will do. I mean, you know. But one of our managers for the website was from Asia and he had heard of cryptocurrency and bitcoin so he was more informed than I was. He was like, yeah just go for it, just allow it. I think you're gonna really like this. I think it's a future. And so we allowed it, for the most part though, we just converted it back to cash unfortunately. Yeah, so, if I could go back in time and not convert that to cash, then sure I'd have a lot of bitcoin probably. Millions of dollars.

Silverstein: But is that regret what got you interested and starting to research bitcoin and get involved in the cryptocurrency?

Sherman: I mean, and not really regret, just kinda, like a missed opp. You know, like I passed on the opportunity where I could've done more research, I could've really looked into it. But I got into it. I've made some money. I've made $15,000 on it, but it could've been a lot more.

Silverstein: What other cryptocurrencies have you looked at other than bitcoin?

Sherman: I'm into Ethereum and other coins that come with that blockchain. Obviously I've got a few bitcoin, Litecoin I've dabbled in as I've learned more.

Silverstein: And is it true you told your grandmother not to buy bitcoin?

Sherman: Yeah because with that situation, I'm tryin' to explain it to her, you know, and I'm like, yeah it's blockchain and ethereum is the ledger for the blockchain and, you know, as I'm explaining it she's just like, you know, just blank-faced like, okay so how to I make money? I'm like well, if the cost of the coin goes up, and she's like, what happens if it goes down? Then you lose money. She's like, no, I don't wanna lose money, so make me money. I'm like grandma you're not really listening. You just don't mess wid it. Ima figure out, let me figure out more on it. Let me figure out how it works more, but, you know, sometimes, teaching a person who is, stuck in their ways about something new is very difficult so I advised her against that.

Silverstein: And would you, do you still convert all of your merchandise sales that are made in bitcoin directly to cash?

Sherman: No, no we don't do it anymore.

Silverstein: You hold the bitcoin now.

Sherman: We'll hold the bitcoin now.

Silverstein: Would you be willing to take your salary in bitcoin?

Sherman: I would be, as long as it equaled out to about the same amount, you know, I'd take it bitcoin. It'd be hard for them to tax it which is always appreciated. Hey, give it to me in bitcoin guys. I don't know how to tax it. It's not cash, so.

Silverstein: Where do you think the bitcoin price should be?

Sherman: That I don't know. I loved it when it was at $19,000. It was awesome. If it would like to go to $100,000 that'd be fine with me, I wouldn't mind that, at all.

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A $1 trillion money manager is looking to put crypto into some of its portfolios

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

bitcoin china

  • $1 trillion money manager Wellington Management has folks looking into putting crypto assets in its portfolios. 
  • Analysts wrote in a wide ranging note that the firm also updated its tech to trade bitcoin futures. 

Wall Street has derided bitcoin as a fraud and a tool only useful for criminals. 

But one $1 trillion dollar asset manager might jump on the cryptocurrency bandwagon. 

In a report exploring cryptocurrency, analysts at Boston-based Wellington Management said the company upgraded its systems to trade bitcoin futures and has teams looking into how it could include "cryptoassets" into portfolios. 

"Some of the firm's investment teams are evaluating the potential inclusion of cryptoassets in client portfolios," the firm said. "Portfolio teams would only invest in cryptoassets if explicitly permitted by client guidelines."

To be sure, the company maintains a cautious position on crypto, citing "the newness and volatility of the space."

Still, elsewhere on Wall Street banks and money managers are less interested in offering crypto to clients. Financial advisers employed by Bank of America Merrill Lynch were instructed last month to not hawk Grayscale's Bitcoin Investment Trust, an investment product that seeks to mirror the price of bitcoin, to clients. JPMorgan head Jamie Dimon famously called bitcoin "a fraud," and he once said he would fire bankers who trade it for being stupid. 

The rise of bitcoin and the overall cryptocurrency market in 2017 captured the attention of Wall Street and Main Street alike. At its peak, the market for digital coins and tokens hit over $800 billion and bitcoin soared close to $20,000, according to data from CoinMarketCap. The rapid rise of the market precipitated the launch of a number of crypto-focused investors. At last check, over 220 such hedge funds exist, according to a Reuters report

But mainstream money managers have stayed away. To be sure, the cryptocurrency market is brimming with fraud, uncertainty, and hacks. JPMorgan estimates that a third of bitcoin exchanges have been hacked. 

Looking at the market more optimistically, Wellington notes that the market's infrastructure is "falling into place." 

"Funds dedicated to cryptoassets have been created. Futures contracts were launched by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and Cboe Global Markets in December 2017. And starting in January 2018 Weiss Ratings began to assign ratings to several cryptocurrencies."

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NOW WATCH: Here’s a great explanation of what the blockchain is from the person tasked with explaining it to the world

CBOE Completes Upgrade, Other Crypto Futures Coming?

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

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When the Commodity Futures and Trading Commission announced that two major exchanges could begin to offer bitcoin futures to investors, people in the crypto community heralded it as a triumphant day. This decision was announced on December 1, 2017, and the price of Bitcoin rose 13% on this news. It was seen as a significant move into

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Researchers Explore Eclipse Attacks on the Ethereum Blockchain

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

Researchers Explore Eclipse Attacks on the Ethereum Blockchain

An eclipse attack is a network-level attack on a blockchain, where an attacker essentially takes control of the peer-to-peer network, obscuring a node’s view of the blockchain.

In a new paper titled “Low-Resource Eclipse Attacks on Ethereum’s Peer-to-Peer Network,” Sharon Goldberg, an associate professor at Boston University; Ethan Heilman, a Ph.D. candidate at Boston University; and Yuval Marcus, a researcher at the University of Pittsburgh, describe a way to carry out an eclipse attack on the Ethereum network.

(The researchers disclosed their attacks to Ethereum on January 9, 2018, and Ethereum developers have already issued a patch — Geth v1.8.1 — to fix the network.)  

In speaking with Bitcoin Magazine, Goldberg explained the research, how it compares to Bitcoin eclipse attacks and why she thinks the work is important.

First, she emphasized that working with Ethereum developers to fix the vulnerability was a smooth process. “It was a very functional, easy disclosure,” she said.

In an email to Bitcoin Magazine, Martin Holst Swende, security lead at Ethereum Foundation the nonprofit that oversees the development of Ethereum explained that the recent Geth patch contains several modifications to the peer-to-peer layer and does not affect consensus-critical code. Users need not be concerned because “an eclipse-attack is a targeted attack against a specific victim,” he wrote, adding, “Nevertheless, we recommend all users to upgrade to 1.8.1.”

Splitting the Network

As in Bitcoin, a node on the Ethereum network relies on connections to its peers to get a full view of the network. In an eclipse attack, an attacker takes control of all the connections going to and from a targeted victim’s node. This way, an attacker prevents that victim from obtaining full information about other parts of the network.

People often think of an eclipse attack as a way to co-opt the mining power of the network around consensus, but an eclipse attack is particularly useful in a double-spend attack. A payee can send coins for a transaction and use the eclipse attack to prevent the receiver from learning that those same coins were used in another transaction in another part of the network.

Goldberg and Heilman, along with two other researchers, published the first paper on eclipse attacks on the Bitcoin network three years ago. Working with a new intern (Marcus), they wanted to explore the same type of attacks on Ethereum. “We were curious how it compared to Bitcoin,” Goldberg said.

“Totally Different”

Goldberg described launching an eclipse attack on Ethereum as “totally different” to launching one on Bitcoin. To pull off an eclipse attack on Bitcoin, an adversary needs to control a large number of IP addresses (machines) to monopolize the connections going to and from a victim’s node. This makes it a very costly attack in Bitcoin.

In contrast, researchers were able to launch similar attacks in Ethereum using just one or two machines, making eclipse attacks on Ethereum a lot stronger than those on Bitcoin. “That part surprised me a little bit,” she said.

So how big of a deal is this? “It is hard to know,” Goldberg said in explaining that what keeps the bar high in launching this type of attack in Ethereum is not the difficulty of the attack but rather the lack of understanding around how the Ethereum peer-to-peer network works. As Goldberg noted, the Ethereum network is “largely undocumented.”

Just as in the earlier work on the Bitcoin network, in working on Ethereum, the researchers had to reverse engineer the protocol based on the code and write their own parsers from packets, so everything was done from scratch. “It is difficult to do that work, and it takes a while,” said Goldberg.   

Less Resilient

At first glance, Ethereum appears to be more resilient to eclipse attacks. While Bitcoin nodes make only eight outgoing TCP connections to form the gossip network that propagates transactions and blocks, Ethereum nodes make 13. And while Ethereum’s peer-to-peer network uses a secure encrypted channel, Bitcoin’s network does not.

But, as it turns out, Ethereum was actually easier to attack mainly because while Bitcoin relies on an unstructured network where nodes form random connections with each other, Ethereum relies on a structured network based on a protocol called Kademlia, which is designed to allow nodes to connect to other nodes more efficiently.  

Nodes in Ethereum’s peer-to-peer network are identified by their public key. Remarkably, Ethereum versions (prior to Geth v1.8.1) allowed a user to run an unlimited number of nodes, each with a different public key, from the same machine with the same IP address.

By using a key generation algorithm, an attacker could create an unlimited number of node IDs (identifiers on the peer-to-peer network) very quickly. Worse, an attacker could even create node IDs in a way that made them more attractive to the victim than a random node ID, basically drawing the victim to them.  

“You see that a lot in Kademlia attacks,” said Goldberg.

More Work Ahead

Goldberg says she is not clear why Ethereum chose a Kademlia network in the first place. A structured peer-to-peer network is generally used to take some content, like a movie, break it into pieces and send those pieces to different peers and download pieces from each peer, similar to how BitTorrent, a peer-to-peer file sharing protocol, works.

But on Ethereum, the content is the Ethereum blockchain, and nodes store the entire blockchain locally. There is no requirement to break the blockchain up and have each node store only a few pieces of it. “I think it was an interesting design decision because I always think that an unstructured network would be safer for a blockchain system,” Goldberg said.

Goldberg indicated she would like to see more researchers dig down into the guts of the blockchain to get a better understanding how the “less sexy” parts work.

“We build sophisticated systems on top of this infrastructure and it is important people make sure that the infrastructure itself is secure,” she said.  

Researchers like Goldberg, Heilman and Marcus play an important role in the Ethereum ecosystem. The researchers submitted their finding via Ethereum’s bug bounty program, a program that rewards individuals for submitting bugs.

“Goldberg et. al. have responsibly shared the paper with us prior to public release and have graciously been of assistance evaluating the patches to Geth,” Ethereum Foundation’s Holst Swende confirmed.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

SEC Sends Wave of Subpoenas to ICOs, Including Overstock’s tZERO

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

SEC Sends Wave of Subpoenas to ICOs, Including Overstock’s tZERO

On February 28, 2018, The Wall Street Journal reported that the SEC decided to cap off the month the way the top U.S. financial regulator started it: targeting ICOs. On Wednesday, the Journal report stated that “scores” of subpoenas and information requests were sent out demanding details about the structure of sales and pre-sales of ICOs. While the article specifically mentions that the SEC has declined to comment and cites nebulous anonymous sources, the probes reportedly sought the subpoenas and requests from tech companies and advisers involved in the digital tokens market.

The SEC has been outright proclaiming its stance on ICOs as unregistered securities for a while now. In July 2017, a report came out concluding an investigation on DAO tokens, labeling the digital assets as securities. The U.S. regulator has hinted, not so subtly, at taking more action against ICOs generally. Prior to this year, however, actions taken against ICOs, like the shuttering of the Munchee’s ICO or the halting of AriseBank, have usually been linked to the idea that these ICOs were scams meant to defraud investors.

The tenor of the SEC’s stance on the broader ICO market appears to have changed, from hinting that the regulator views ICOs as unregistered securities in violation of U.S. Securities laws to outright warning ICOs of an oncoming crackdown in written and oral testimony. That testimony was delivered by SEC Chair Jay Clayton on February 6, 2018, before a Senate Committee hearing. During his testimony, the Chair noted, “From what I have seen, initial coin offerings are securities offerings. They are interesting companies, much like stocks and bonds, under a new label. You can call it a coin, but if it functions as a security, it is a security.”

Also of particular note to the ICO industry was an exchange during the same hearing that the SEC Chair had with Senator Elizabeth Warren, where Clayton noted that no ICOs had been registered as securities with the SEC prior to the hearing and no planned ICOs had sought registration as securities.

Overstock’s tZERO Is One of the ICOs

Some ICOs, such as Overstock’s tZERO, have purportedly planned to file a private placement memorandum (PPM) with the SEC. PPMs allow for direct sales of securities to investors and are usually marketed to accredited investors. Overstock announced its release of a restated version of the PPM, initially dated December 18, 2017, in an 8K filing this morning.

According to the document, “In February 2018, the Division of Enforcement of the SEC informed [tZERO] that it is conducting an investigation in the matter Re: Overstock.com, Inc. (NY-9777) and requested that the Company voluntarily provide certain documents related to the [PPM] and the Tokens in connection with its investigation. The Company is in the process of responding to this document request and will cooperate with the SEC in connection with its investigation.”

The PPM further states, “While the SEC is trying to determine whether there have been any violations of the federal securities laws, the investigation does not mean that the SEC has concluded that anyone has violated the law.”

The PPM also cites that both of the broker-dealer subsidiaries (Pro Securities and SpeedRoute) connected to the ICO are being investigated by regulators. Pro Securities was notified on February 22, 2018, that the SEC is conducting an examination on their practices and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has issued several document requests with SpeedRoute, dating back to December 2017.

While some in the industry may argue this is more FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) speculation from the media, the SEC appears to be making good on its prior warnings. And Overstock’s disclosures in its filing with the SEC show at least one case where the warnings are being acted upon.  

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Payments Provider Fleetcor Taps Ripple’s XRP for Cryptocurrency Pilot

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

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Major workforce and fleet payments provider Fleetcor will utilize Ripple’s native cryptocurrency XRP in a cross-border payments trial. Fleetcor, through its recently acquired B2B international payments provider Cambridge, is the latest company client to pilot xRapid, a Ripple product which uses its native XRP cryptocurrency to enable financial institutions with real-time liquidity. With over 13,000

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A 39-year-old who quit school to found his first biotech company now manages $365 million of his own money — here's what he looks for when he invests

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

Christian Angermayer

  • Christian Angermayer, a 39-year-old investor, in 1999 quit school to help found a biotech company that would eventually become Alnylam.
  • When he sold the company, Angermayer used the funds to launch his family office, which still invests in healthcare and biotech companies. 
  • Angermayer explained how he picks his investments — not just in biotech — and why he's not cut out to be in venture capital. 

Christian Angermayer has spent about half his life as an investor. 

Angermayer, a 39-year-old investor cofounded a biotech company in 1999 that eventually became Alnylam, quitting school to work on the biotech. Today, the company has a market cap of about $12 billion and in December submitted its first drug, patisiran, for FDA approval.

Angermayer now invests through his family office, Apeiron Investment Group, in three main areas: financial services, technology, and life sciences. The family office has about 300 million Euros ($365 million) in assets. A family office, he said, fit his style better than traditional venture capital. Typically, VCs fund a number of different companies, with the hopes that at least a few will be successful. That doesn't work for Angermayer. 

"I can't see companies die," Angermayer told Business Insider. "I can't be a normal VC."

When investing — whether it's a startup or a company needing a new direction — Angermayer looks for two to three "trigger factors" that he can act on. It keeps him from investing in companies that might be earlier in developing a particular treatment, which can be a riskier bet if the treatment fails in a key trial. 

In the case of MagForce, a medical device company approved in Europe to treat brain cancer, the company needed a new CEO, needed to roll out its device, and needed more funding when Angermayer decided to invest in 2013. 

That year, MagForce hired veteran medical device executive Ben Lipps as CEO. MagForce is now in the process of running a clinical trial in the US to use the technology to treat prostate cancer.

It's also his approach to Compass Pathways, a startup that's working to get psilocybin, the active ingredient in mushrooms, approved for use in hospitals to treat depression and anxiety. Because psilocybin has been tested in the past, the company can go straight to later stage trials, which might make it more straightforward to get to approval.

"I don't like gambling," Angermayer said. 

SEE ALSO: There's a clear playbook for how Amazon could upend the healthcare business — along with an obvious victim

DON'T MISS: The richest families in America are pouring money into healthcare startups

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NOW WATCH: Ken Rogoff on the next financial crisis and the future of bitcoin

Online retailer Overstock has raised $100 million for its ICO it says will replace Wall Street

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

Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne sat down with Business Insider's Sara Silverstein to discuss the company's ICO — tZERO — passing $100 million, the tokenization of Wall Street, and what people get wrong about blockchain. Following is a transcript of the video.

Silverstein: Anything you can tell me about tZERO? Any new announcements coming out?

Byrne: Well I can announce that we have — we're just putting out the announcement. We've crossed the $100 million mark in our security token offering. So it's now to the public — accredited investors. However, I want to emphasize this is extraordinarily risky — extremely dangerous. The general public should think of coming nowhere close. In fact, most of these ICOs you should stay — get nowhere close to. But ours is very risky — accredited investors only. Even if you are accredited, it should be. But we're raising $250 million, finishing up some acquisitions, and building an ecosystem that we intend to challenge Wall Street with. Whether we can pull it off or not, that's — I just can't emphasize enough — it's really risky and make your own decision.

Silverstein: And what is tZERO? Can you explain that?

Byrne: tZERO is the application of blockchain to capital markets or Wall Street. We believe we can, you know, recreate Wall Street on the blockchain. Really eliminate a lot of opportunities for mischief around here. So that's tZERO. And it's been in business — we've been at it a few years. I think we have a good head start on most people.

Silverstein: So you can only sell an asset once?

Byrne: You can only sell an asset once.

Silverstein: Which makes sense —

Byrne: And you're selling the asset. You're not selling someone's claim, to someone's claim, to someone's claim, to someone else who owns the asset.

Silverstein: And what kind of assets would be on tZERO then?

Byrne: Well we issued the world's — two and a half years ago — we issued the world's first — it was a blockchain bond. It was a private deal — $5 million — nothing big. But we tested the system. And then a year ago, we issued the world's first public blockchain security — common stock. And in the future, you know, I recently saw somebody on Wall Street — somebody notable — said that 100% of the stocks and bonds being issued on Wall Street today could be tokenized and in five years 100% will be tokenized. If he's right, that means the current architecture and plumbing of Wall Street will obsolete over five years. And what we have — we have had like a three-year run on building up this alt — this new system.

Silverstein: And has it been difficult having a public company — is it easy to just have an ICO and to create a blockchain investment company that's fully owned by a public company?

Byrne: No —

Silverstein: How does that work

Byrne: It's been kind of weird. And four years ago, when I started telling my shareholders, "look I'm diverting tens of millions of dollars to this thing called blockchain and I'm sorry. Trust me this is going to be huge." And I did hear a lot from shareholders about, you know, isn't this, you know, we hear bitcoin is about ecstasy dealing and gunrunning and all this stuff. And I kept, you know, if you remember in the late 90s, there were these ads were like the chimpanzee rides into town on the back of a horse. Remember that? I forget what the company was, but a lot of those companies went under. But if somebody had concluded from that, "gee a bunch of these internet companies are going under. This internet thing is just a fad. It's not going anywhere." That would have been the wrong conclusion. Similarly, there have been a lot of riffraffy types of elements involved in bitcoin — some good people too. But there have been some criminals and such. Last I checked, there were some criminals who used US dollars, too. But anyway, there was a lot of that kind of element. But that shouldn't get people to overlook the fact that the underlying technology — this thing called blockchain — is going to remake civilization as we know it.

Silverstein: And what do you think people get most wrong about blockchain?

Byrne: What they get most wrong is the stuff about, "well doesn't this amount gox and I heard about these companies went down and  I heard about silk road and people, you know, selling ecstasy on the internet and stuff." And it still suffers from that stigma. And it's really a shame because that's just some companies who came into the industry. That's just — you know, the main event is the technology underlying. Everything that's going is this new type of technology called blockchain, which you can think of as like a ledger. That is a magic ledger. That people can have copies of the ledger and when you change one place, it changes everywhere. And it's cryptographically protected and immutable. So we can finally have a version of the truth that is the truth. And we don't have to depend on third parties to sprinkle holy water on it and say, "yes, this is the truth." We know that the laws of mathematics have cryptographically protected it. So that's an application that can apply with which you can disrupt Visa cards, capital markets, land titling, birth and death records. You can disrupt government.

There's all kinds of aspects of government that can be made foolproof and in a way so there's no corruption. So governments have started joining, you know, looking into blockchain and saying, "oh, this is great. This is going to get us, you know, complete surveillance of society." Well actually what it's going to do is give society complete surveillance of government.

So it's really — it's breathtaking in what's it going to do for the world.

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Litecoin Booms in February But 'Golden' Crypto Takes Price Podium

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

Lesser known DigixDao was February's top-performing large-cap cryptocurrency, data from CoinDesk reveals.

Bitcoin Cash Price Posts Strong Return as Market Trades Sideways

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

The post Bitcoin Cash Price Posts Strong Return as Market Trades Sideways appeared first on CCN

The cryptocurrency markets were mixed on Thursday, with the index more or less trading sideways after recovering from an early morning dip. Against this backdrop, though, the Bitcoin Cash price achieved a strong return, enabling it to lead the large-cap index by a comfortable margin. The cryptocurrency market cap had entered the day at $449.6 … Continued

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Payment Provider Fleetcor to Pilot Ripple's XRP Cryptocurrency

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

Workforce payment services provider Fleetcor has announced a pilot using xRapid, a product powered by Ripple's XRP cryptocurrency.

Bill Gates says crypto-currencies cause deaths

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

In a Reddit thread, the Microsoft founder expresses his concerns about digital currencies like Bitcoin.

Blockchain-Based BetterBetting Announces Its Native BETR Token Listing on HitBTC

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

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

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HashFlare Offers Cheaper Bitcoin and Scrypt Cloud Mining with 5% Discount

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

The post HashFlare Offers Cheaper Bitcoin and Scrypt Cloud Mining with 5% Discount appeared first on CCN

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

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A top strategist compared money management to running a nuclear power station — and warned an accident is already unfolding in slow motion

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

nuclear power plant

  • Money management has some similarities to running a nuclear power station, according to a big note on the funds industry from Alliance Bernstein.
  • That's based on the thesis of "normal accidents" made famous by sociologist Charles Perrow. Perrow's argument is essentially that system failures are inevitable where there are complex interactions and tight coupling. That's true of nuclear power stations and chemical plants, but it's also true of money management. 
  • Alliance Bernstein warned: "Here we see a "normal accident" unfolding in slow motion that could lead to a significant underperformance of pension funds compared to their long-run needs."

Wall Street firms have been known to hire nuclear physicists to help them build complex, quantitative models. And for good reason: It turns out that investing in capital markets and running a nuclear power station might have more in common than at first blush. 

In a 121-page note on trust in asset management, Alliance Bernstein strategist Inigo Fraser-Jenkins and his team describe a "two-part revolution in asset management." The first phase is the switch from active management, where fund managers pick which stocks and bonds to buy and not buy, to passive, where money tracks an index. 

"Part two is just starting and involves a focus on idiosyncratic returns and a change in the whole process of choosing funds and allocating assets," Fraser-Jenkins and team said.

As part of an exploration of different models for choosing funds and allocating assets, the note includes a 5,000 word essay on why active management is more like running a nuclear power station than you might realize.

And included in that essay is a warning: there's an accident waiting to happen to pension funds. 

A "normal" financial crisis

The essay starts with the thesis of "normal accidents" made famous by sociologist Charles Perrow. Perrow's argument is essentially that system failures are inevitable where there are complex interactions ("each element of the system performs multiple functions") and tight coupling ("where when one step in the process happens, it cannot then be decoupled from the next step"). From the note:

"Essentially, the idea is that when systems acquire a certain level of complexity, interactivity, and rapid response then there is a category of accident that we should think of as normal."

Screen Shot 2018 02 28 at 10.57.09 AM

And in this sense, investing in the markets is on a par with with running a nuclear power station or a chemical plant, or flying an aircraft, according to the note. Specifically:

  • "Financial markets are "tightly coupled." There is no opportunity to unhitch one asset from another and observe in a leisurely way the action of one security in response to news before it impacts another."
  • "Financial systems and portfolios of securities are also complex in the very specific definition of individual components performing multiple roles. Any asset plays several roles in a portfolio."
  • "That leads to the third criterion, which is the potential for incomprehensibility on the part of the portfolio manager when things are going wrong. Sometimes, the interactions and the reason for the underperformance can be baffling and it can be far from obvious how to respond."

What does that mean for money management?

What does that mean? Well, first, it might mean that there are "normal accidents" in markets that are not necessarily the fault of any one individual, but of the system of investing. From the note:

"An "accident" in investing could either refer to a major loss of wealth such as occurred during the financial crisis but also, and more our focus here, everyday investment decisions that don't work out and lead to the underperformance of a fund or an outcome that is not what the end-client requires. These mistakes are often described as "operator error," but the thesis under consideration here suggests that, in fact, they may sometimes be the fault of the system itself."

How is finance to respond? The note makes a few suggestions, such as equipping portfolio managers with technology that allows them to see the risk exposures of their portfolio across multiple dimensions. And there's the use of checklists, which are common in the aircraft industry and in nuclear power.

A warning

And then there's the question of asset allocation. And it's here that Alliance Bernstein has a warning.

"We see a "normal accident" unfolding in slow motion that could lead to a significant underperformance of pension funds compared to their long-run needs," the note said. 

While that might not sound as scary as an accident at a nuclear power station, the consequences are real.  State and local governments’ unfunded pension liabilities now exceed $6 trillion, according to the American Legislative Exchange Council.

"We worry that the system of pension plan boards, pension consultants, and asset management firms, with the host of other parties who are in on the act of fund allocation is ill-suited to the emerging world that has three new characteristics that were not a significant feature of the process of fund allocation over the last three decades," the note said. 

These characteristics are:

  • Returns are likely to be lower for longer, with yields still at historic lows, and the persistent negative correlation between stocks and bonds starting to shift. 
  • There has been a huge shift towards passive investing.
  • There's a growing demand for asset managers to be engaged with the companies they invest in (see "Larry's letter")

Alliance Bernstein has a few ideas on how to address this, including incentives that align fund managers with their clients, with outcome-based pricing one possibility. There's also the idea that time horizons on fund assessments should be extended so that allocators aren't switching funds every three years. And traditional and alternative strategies should be considered together based on their contribution to the asset owners' return. 

The essay concludes:

"The process of selecting stocks, constructing portfolios, and then selecting funds might sound less exciting than making the case for the next big tactical idea, but in the end it is more important. Nuclear power stations and flying aircraft may seem far removed from investment, but we have shown that they share similar features of complexity and tight coupling. The lesson from those other areas is that an organizational response is needed and that is what we propose here to make sure that an improved process of investing is possible."

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Millennials are buying more diamonds than you think — just not for other people

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

FILE PHOTO: A trader inspects a 6.19 carat diamond worth 1.2 million dollars during a four-day show at the trading floor of Israel's Diamond Exchange in Ramat Gan, near Tel Aviv, Isreal August 29, 2013. REUTERS/Nir Elias/File Photo

  • Millennials are buying diamonds at a rate higher than their parents, according to the CFO of the world's biggest diamond producer.
  • Nimesh Patel of De Beers told Business Insider that it is a "fallacy" to say that millennials aren't buying diamonds.
  • Patel's words contrast with an Economist article that asked "Why aren't millennials buying diamonds?"

LONDON — It's wrong to suggest that millennials aren't buying diamonds, according to De Beers Chief Financial Officer Nimesh Patel, because they're spending a higher proportion of their income on jewellery than previous generations.

Back in 2016 an article in The Economist magazine went viral after asking the question "Why aren't millennials buying diamonds?"

The article drew criticism from the millennial generation — most of whom are unable to get on the property ladder, and are forced to rent into their 30s — for wondering why they're not buying a precious stone that is nowhere near being a necessity in life.

"Maybe because they're burdened with crippling student loan debt and can't actually find a good paying job," was among the most common responses, according to a Huffington Post article at the time.

Speaking to Business Insider last week, Patel called the idea that younger people aren't buying diamonds a "fallacy" and said that demand among millennials (generally classed as anyone aged between 18 and 35) is actually pretty similar to, if not higher, than in previous generations.

"There's a slight fallacy here that younger people don't want to buy diamonds," Patel told BI over the phone.

"Look at the facts. If you look at the millennials in our top four markets, they account for 45% of diamond purchases. That's an impressive number."

"That is the same or higher proportion of diamond jewellery purchases as the generations that came before them when they were the same age."

The trend of millennials buying diamonds, Patel says, is even more impressive given that most have not yet reached what he calls "peak affluency" — the point in one's life where you have the largest proportion of disposable income.

"That's despite the fact that millennials haven't reached peak affluency. In fact they're probably 10 years away from that peak. Again, compared to previous generations, that means that they're probably spending a higher proportion of their total personal disposable income on diamond jewellery," Patel said.

Trends for diamond purchase are shifting however, Patel noted, saying that the millennial generation is more inclined towards what he called "self-purchase" of diamonds and diamond jewellery.

Millennials are more likely to buy themselves diamonds to celebrate their acheivements and successes, rather than for life events such as an engagement, than other generations.

"The last point to pick up on is the trend towards self purchase. Self purchase today is at 26%, and we are seeing self purchases being more frequent, and at an earlier age," Patel said, before noting that De Beers is specifically targeting such purchasers with its marketing strategies.

"That's why the work that we're doing in our marketing campaigns is critical, because we're marketing to the self purchasing consumer," he said.

"We're marketing to women who want to celebrate their achievements — with their families — but actually also in their own lives, whether that's career, social, or sporting achievements."

Patel spoke to Business Insider after De Beers reported a $5.8billion (£4.2 billion) loss for the year to the end of December 2017, down 4% from 2016. De Beers blamed that revenue drop on a one-off industry restocking in 2016.

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In Consolidation Mode, Bitcoin Awaits Decisive Move

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

Bitcoin is stuck in $10,000 range and could witness a big move in either direction, technical charts indicate.

RBS CFO: 'It’s inevitable that there will be further job cuts'

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

ewen stevenson large

LONDON — Royal Bank of Scotland's chief financial officer has said it is "inevitable" that there will be more job cuts at the government-owned lender.

Ewen Stevenson told Bloomberg TV: "It’s inevitable that there will be further job cuts, but we are not going to talk publicly about figures."

Stevenson said job losses were coming as part of the bank's digital transformation plan, announced last week. RBS announced a £2.5 billion restructuring plan last week that Stevenson told Bloomberg would create "a better bank in 2020, a better bank equipped for digitization."

RBS's staff numbers fell 8.5% last year to 71,200 and many banks are cutting headcount as customers move online, leaving branch networks overstaffed.

Antony Jenkins, the former CEO of Barclays, predicted in late 2015 that Uber-style disruptions could shrink headcount in banking by as much as 50%, while profitability in some areas could collapse by over 60%.

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Today is the last day to spend your old £10 notes

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

Mark Carney New £10

  • The old £10 note goes out of circulation at the end of the day.
  • These notes will cease to be legal tender — meaning shops are no longer obliged to take them — after 11.59 p.m. GMT on March 1.
  • The old note was replaced by a new polymer £10 note in September last year, but over 200 million remain in circulation.


LONDON — If you've got any paper £10 notes left, you need to spend them on Thursday, as they will go out of circulation at the end of the day.

The Bank of England, which has responsibility for all bank notes in the UK, brought the new polymer £10 note into circulation in September last year, and has been gradually phasing out the older, paper notes ever since.

Around 211 million paper notes were still in circulation this time last week, however, worth in excess of £2.1 billion. These notes will cease to be legal tender — meaning shops are no longer obliged to take them — after 11.59 p.m. (GMT) today.

People will still be able to trade them in for new notes at the Bank of England and some high street banks, but the BoE is encouraging people to spend the money so that the old notes can be naturally taken out of circulation.

For anyone with old £10 notes, there is no time limit on how long they can keep the notes before trading them in at the Bank of England.

New £10 vs old

The Bank of England said last Thursday that the notes will retain their face value for "all time," meaning you can exchange your old notes for new ones at the Bank of England in London (by post or in person), if your bank or post office refuses to do it themselves.

The new £10 note, which features an image of Jane Austen, and is made from a sophisticated polymer. It is the most secure bank note in British history, the Bank of England's chief cashier, Victoria Cleland told Business Insider when the new note came into circulation.

According to the bank, the new note is also the most technologically advanced it has ever made, including a series of new features, both visible and invisible that make it much more difficult to counterfeit the notes, which are printed on an advanced polymer made by the firm CCL Secure.

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Las Vegas LocalBitcoins Trader Accused of Money Laundering

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

The post Las Vegas LocalBitcoins Trader Accused of Money Laundering appeared first on CCN

CEO of Bitcoin, Inc., Morgan Rockcoons was arrested by officials from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at his home in Las Vegas, Nevada. He was charged with operating an unlicensed money transmitting business and money laundering according to the court records. According to those records, in December 2017 Rockoons allegedly exchanged 10 Bitcoins (Worth

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Banks and fintechs are battling for your cash — and it could be life or death for startups

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

Investment ad blitz

  • There has been a boom in online investment "robo advisors" in recent years.
  • Startups and big banks alike are all pushing their products in adverts at the moment.
  • The marketing blitz is a sign of competition in the space — but also due to the looming ISA deadline.


LONDON — Banks and fintech startups are going on an advertising blitz in the UK right now as part of a land grab among online investment platforms.

I counted no fewer than four adverts for online investment platforms during my morning commute in London this week, while adverts for similar services have been popping up on Instagram and Facebook.

Nutmeg, one of the earliest of the so-called "robo advisor" startups in the UK, is advertising its investment offering all over the London tube. Barclays and UBS are advertising their new digital products. And the recently launched Wealthsimple, a Canadian online investment startup, is advertising on the TV. These are just a few examples.

Simon Miller, the cofounder and UK CEO of digital investment startup Scalable Capital, told me this week that the trend is notable to those within the industry too. Something is happening.

"Robo advice" has been one of the hottest trends in UK financial technology for the last 18 months. The term is broad but generally covers automated or semi-automated online investment and financial advice services that charger lower fees than traditional, human-heavy services.

UK entrepreneurs and banking incumbents alike had their heads turned in recent years by the success of early US pioneers in the space such as Betterment — $10 billion under management — and Wealthfront — over $8 billion under management. British takes have sprung up: Nutmeg, Scalable Capital, Moneyfarm, Wealthify, to name just a few.

Now, there's a land grab going on in the UK. Why?

One reason is that the big incumbents are ready to push their products. Startups led the way in "robo advice" but big banks, spotting that their cash cows were at risk, have been quick to catch up. UBS first launched SmartWealth in late 2016 and said at the end of 2017 it was ready to go big with the product. Barclays relaunched its stockbroking platform as "Smart Investor" last August and, after some initial teething problems, appears to be ready to push the product more widely.

But there's a more anodyne reason for the advertising blitz too — the upcoming ISA deadline. Miller pointed out that the deadline people to get their tax-efficient investments sorted for the year is April 5, meaning theirs a bunfight to win a chunk of the stocks and shares ISA cash pile that's potentially up for grabs.

Shane Williams, co-head of UBS' SmartWealth, said in an email on Thursday: "This is the time of year where most investment decisions are taken. First and foremost, will they invest at all. Over the last five years, a lot of people have chosen not to invest, keeping their savings in low returning cash accounts."

For the startups, this could be a battle for survival. Most charge fees below 1% of assets under management and will likely need to attract billions in order to turn a profit. If the poster campaign pulls in plenty of fresh cash, the many thousands they spent on them will seem like a small price to pay.

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A startup that's making 'superblood' to treat conditions like cancer just raised $100 million to get its treatments through key trials

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

Torben Straight Nissen

  • Rubius Therapeutics, a biotech developing red blood cell therapies, just raised $100 million.
  • This is the second time the startup has raised money in the past year. In June 2017, Rubius raised $120 million from investors including Flagship Pioneering.
  • The company is starting by developing enzyme replacement therapies for rare conditions in which the body doesn't make a particular enzyme, as well as cancer therapies that aim to re-engineer the body's immune system. 


Rubius Therapeutics, a startup building red blood cells that have been reprogrammed to treat conditions like cancer, just raised $100 million.  

It's the second time the startup has raised money in the past year. In June 2017, Rubius raised $120 million from investors including Flagship Pioneering. Thursday's crossover funding round included investments from mutual funds and institutional investors that weren't immediately named. 

Red blood cell therapies can be thought of like pretty much any other medication, with one distinction: It's made out of red blood cells, not chemicals or other biological materials

"They're basically superblood," Rubius CEO Torben Straight Nissen said. The red blood cells, produced in tanks at Rubius's labs, are "armed" with a therapeutic protein. That superblood is then infused into the body — an amount less than 1% of the total blood in your body — where it can get to work treating a particular condition.

To start, Rubius is developing enzyme replacement therapies for rare conditions in which the body doesn't make a particular enzyme, as well as cancer therapies that aim to re-engineer the body's immune system. 

This funding will ideally get Rubius into clinical trials for some of its programs, and possibly even into later-stage trials that the company could bring to the FDA.

The potential for cell-based therapies

In 2017, the Food and Drug Administration first approved two highly personalized cancer versions of cell therapy, known as CAR T-cell therapy (CAR is short for chimeric antigen receptor). These treatments — approved for certain forms of blood cancer — aren't your run-of-the-mill pill that can be mass produced. Since the therapy is made from a person's own immune system, the process can take about three weeks.

To start, a doctor removes some white blood cells, the part of our body's immune system responsible for combatting infections and foreign substances, from a patient. In a healthy body, the immune system can recognize abnormal, cancerous cells, but for people with cancer, it doesn't recognize that the cells are spreading.

Then the cells are taken to a manufacturing facility at which point the cells are reengineered to recognize cancer cells and wipe them out. Those reprogrammed cells are sent back and administered to the patient.

Rubius, using red blood cells, wants to make treatments that don't have to be as personalized as these initial cell therapies

"We think this is a great next generation cell therapy platform that has a lot of benefits over the CAR-Ts," Nissen said.

And to affect more people, the cell therapies would need to go beyond blood cancers. Right now, that's where most of the big successes have come from. But cell therapies could one day tackle solid tumors and maybe even the rare diseases Rubius is going after, along with autoimmune diseases like Type 1 diabetes.

SEE ALSO: A medical breakthrough that hacks genes to fight cancer just got approved, and it's the beginning of 'a big new field of medicine'

DON'T MISS: There's a clear playbook for how Amazon could upend the healthcare business — along with an obvious victim

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A hot startup that could be a model for the JPMorgan-Amazon-Berkshire Hathaway healthcare initiative just raised $110 million

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

Collective Health co-founders Ali Diab & Dr. Rajaie Batniji

  • Collective Health, a startup that works with self-insured employers, just raised $110 million.
  • The company helps employers build out health plans that fit their needs by adding technology with the hope of making things like submitting claims and reading bills easier.
  • Self-insured employer plans have recently come into the spotlight after JPMorgan, Amazon and Berkshire Hathaway said they're forming a new independent nonprofit venture aimed at lowering healthcare costs for their employees.


A startup that could be a good model for the JPMorgan-Amazon-Berkshire Hathaway healthcare initiative just raised an additional $110 million. 

Collective Health helps employers build out health plans that fit their needs by adding technology with the hope of making things like submitting claims and reading bills easier.

In total, the company has now raised about $230 million from investors including Peter Thiel's Founders Fund, NEA, and GV.

If you're an employee with a self-insured employer, it means that when you're going to a doctor's appointment, your employer is ultimately footing the bill for the MRI you receive, rather than a health insurer. More than half of the non-elderly population is covered by an employer-sponsored plan, and almost 80% of large companies are self-insured.

The companies that you might be familiar with on a health insurance card are there in the middle to handle the logistics of getting the claim from one place to another, which means you might not realize your employer's footing the entire bill on the other end. Employers pay insurance companies for their services on a per member, per month basis. 

What Collective Health is trying to do is make that experience better. The most recent funding round will be used to build out its technology platform and increase its operations. 

So far, Collective Health covers about 125,000 members, consisting of employees and their dependents from companies like Zendesk, Palantir, eBay, and Pinterest.

SEE ALSO: A hot startup could be the perfect model for the JPMorgan-Amazon-Berkshire Hathaway healthcare initiative

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Hedge fund billionaire David Einhorn's bad start to the year has gotten worse

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

David Einhorn

David Einhorn's bad start to 2018 keeps getting worse.

The Greenlight Capital (Gold), L.P. - Dollar fund, which roughly tracks the firm's flagship fund, dropped 5.7% in February, bringing year-to-date losses to 11.4%, according to a Greenlight client update seen by Business Insider that estimates the returns.

By comparison, the S&P 500 gained 0.67% over the same period, according to Markets Insider data.

Greenlight had already gotten off to a rough start to the year, with the same fund tumbling about 6% in January. The firm's flagship fund returned 1.6% last year after fees, compared with a 21.8% gain in the S&P 500, Business Insider previously reported.

Einhorn said on a conference call last week that Greenlight's performance was the worst since 2000, Bloomberg reported.

A Greenlight spokesman didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Greenlight managed $7 billion as of mid-year 2017, per the Absolute Return Billion Dollar Club ranking.

SEE ALSO: The global head of investor relations at $28 billion investor Angelo Gordon has left over misconduct

SEE ALSO: Bank of America has reportedly fired 2 staffers who interfered with a sexual misconduct investigation

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Elon Musk went on a Twitter rant about America's failing infrastructure — and it made his Hyperloop idea sound less crazy

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

HyperloopTT_station 1

  • In a Twitter thread on Tuesday, Elon Musk pointed out how difficult it can be to make improvements to existing infrastructure due to incentives that increase their cost and difficulty.
  • The thread addressed points made by critics that Hyperloop, a high-speed transit system proposed by Musk, is impractical.
  • Musk's Hyperloop concept and Boring Company both have their fair share of critics who think it's a fantasy, but Musk's tweets pointed out how traditional infrastructure improvements can be expensive and difficult as well.

Elon Musk's ideas for future transportation systems might sound a little crazy at first. 

The Hyperloop, a high-speed transit system, first proposed by Elon Musk in 2013, would send pods full of passengers through tubes at over 500 mph and require tunnel networks to be built from scratch. 

His Boring Company, which is working to build a tunneling system, could be used to build those networks,  but doing so requires approval from the governments of cities the tunnels would pass through. On top of that, the basic Hyperloop system is still in the early stages of development, so it's unclear if the underlying technology would allow for safe and reliable inter-city transport.

But the vast amount of work that would be needed to get a Hyperloop system running might not be as impractical as it seems. In a Twitter thread on Tuesday, Musk pointed out how difficult it can be to make improvements to existing infrastructure due to incentives that increase their cost and difficulty.

elon musk infrastructure twitter

Musk started the thread by comparing a Chinese train station that was built in just nine hours to overworked and out-of-date transit systems in San Francisco and New York CityHe then described some of the reasons why American cities have trouble keep their infrastructure in good shape.

"True root cause imo is an exponential growth in bureaucracy & a self-serving private sector consultant industry earning a % on project cost, incenting them to maximize cost," he wrote.

elon musk twitter infrastructure

Musk's Hyperloop concept and Boring Company both have their fair share of critics who think it's a fantasy, but Musk's tweets pointed out how traditional infrastructure improvements can be expensive and difficult as well.

New York City's subway system, for example, is in horrible shape after years of inadequate maintenance, and the influence of unions and private contractors makes construction projects far more expensive than in comparable cities. It doesn't help that the system's combination of state and city funding means that no one group can be held fully accountable for its problems. 

So if Hyperloop seems like a pipe dream, so do timely and reasonably-priced public infrastructure projects.

SEE ALSO: Bill Gates says he's not sure Elon Musk's Hyperloop concept makes sense — but he's bullish on electric cars

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NOW WATCH: Goldman Sachs investment chief: Bitcoin is definitely a bubble, Ethereum even more so

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