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What's Wrong With John Oliver's Bitcoin-Beanie Baby Comparison

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

Comedian John Oliver rightly warned his audience about the risks of cryptocurrency, but his comparisons to Beanie Babies and gambling missed the mark.

Thomson Reuters is Charting Bitcoin Adopters’ Emotions as Data for Traders

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

Thomson Reuters has teamed with MarketPsych Data LLC, a provider of quantitative behavioral economics, to launch a new version of its MarketPsych Indices for cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. The new version offers Thomson Reuters’ first sentiment data feed for bitcoin, along with new and/or enhanced market sentiment data for several asset classes, new user capabilities and

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Lightning Strikes! LN Mainnet Reaches 1,000 Nodes

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

The Lightning Network (LN) notched another historic achievement over the weekend, as the LN mainnet reached 1,000 active nodes for the first time in its short history. Lightning Network Mainnet Reaches 1,000 Active Nodes That’s despite the fact that this nascent second-layer technology, thought by many to be a solution to Bitcoin’s scaling dilemma, remains

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Dutch Finance Minister Advises Government on Cryptocurrency

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

Dutch Finance Minister Advises Government on Cryptocurrency

In a six-page letter to the Dutch senate and house, Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra has outlined his concerns over the rapid and dramatic growth in cryptocurrencies.

Hoekstra emphasized that there has been little time to understand and react to the changing landscape and that the current supervision and regulatory framework is ill equipped to deal with it. Because of the cross-border nature of the technology and markets, closing those gaps requires a unified approach across governments and borders. The minister will actively be working in a European context, but the entire process will take time and coordination between disparate governments and agencies.

Like most other policy makers, Hoekstra sees the value in promoting and developing the technology behind cryptocurrency, such as cryptography and distributed ledger technology. However, in addition to the concern over fraud and hacking, the minister also expressed concern over the immature and unregulated nature of the market and how to better inform consumers of the potential risks.

Hoekstra described the following as starting points in his assessment of possible policies and regulations to control the risks associated with cryptocurrencies:

  • Gaps in consumer and investor protection must be true need to be closed, but measures must be proportionate.
  • The integrity of the financial system must be guaranteed.
  • The innovative technique behind cryptocurrency must be preserved, such as cryptography and distributed ledger technology (DLT).
  • The cross-border nature of cryptocurrencies requires one approach at the international level. National rules can simply be circumvented or difficult to maintain.

The minister further said that given the decentralized and cross-border nature of cryptocurrencies, a ban is not feasible, so it was more important to bring cryptocurrencies under the appropriate regulatory framework and the Dutch join with the French and German finance ministers to discuss cryptocurrency in the G20 context. The Netherlands wants to play a leading role in the European and international approach to cryptocurrency.

In further comments, Hoekstra stated, “I hope the usual process for the realization of legislation and regulations that these new rules can enter into force at the end of 2019. I foresee the changes to the [European Union] Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive will also contribute to the prevention of tax evasion.” This directive, which took effect in June 2017, lays out the most recent parameters and standards adopted by the EU to prevent money-laundering and terrorist funding.

He sees the change as helping to prevent the use of cryptocurrency for the purposes of tax evasion as well. While this letter is not policy, it does reflect the direction that The Netherlands, Europe and much of the world appear to be headed in.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

A California asset manager has a cryptocurrency fund that's up by 50% in 4 months

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

bitcoin china

  • The passive fund managed by California-based Bitwise Asset Management is outpacing bitcoin. 
  • The fund is up more than 50% since its inception and now has more than 500 LPs. 

Bitwise Asset Management is off to a strong start.

The firm's HODL fund, which is made up of ten digital assets and weighted by market capitalization, is up 51% since its inception on November 22, a person familiar with the numbers said. By comparison, bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, is up approximately 13.6% over the same period of time, according to data from CoinMarketCap

screenshot markets.businessinsider.com 2018.03.12 13 43 54The fund now has more than 500 LPs, according to the person, including family offices and other accredited investors. Investors are required to invest at least $10,000. 

Since Bitwise launched the fund, Coinbase has announced its intention to enter the cryptocurrency index business with its own fund. The so-called Coinbase Index Fund will give investors access to the four cryptocurrencies listed on Coinbase's GDAX exchange. 

Matt Hougan, a 15-year-long veteran of the exchange-traded fund industry, recently joined Bitwise as VP of research and development, Business Insider previously reported

Bitcoin soared close to $20,000 a coin at the end of 2017. But it has been under pressure since the beginning of 2018, fueled by concerns of a regulatory crackdown in the US and Asia. On top of that, a bitcoin exchange-traded fund, which many thought would help pour retail money into the cryptocurrency, appears to be off the table for at least the first-half of the year. 

Still, the number of cryptocurrency-focused hedge funds continues to rise, according to a report by Reuters. 

The number of such funds reached a record of 226 funds, up from just 55 at the end of August, financial-technology analytics provider Autonomous NEXT estimates. 

"While the softer prices of crypto-assets does create a more difficult environment for investors, I do not think it will pause the influx of funds and other financial institutions building products in the space," Lex Sokolin, a partner at Autonomous NEXT, told Reuters. 

SEE ALSO: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-12/wall-street-sees-goldman-s-ceo-swap-going-smoothly-with-solomon

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NOW WATCH: We asked Jamie Dimon why JPMorgan is forming a new healthcare company with Amazon and Berkshire Hathaway — here's what he said

A throwaway comment in a conversation with Richard Branson hints at the future of Goldman Sachs (GS)

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

David Solomon Richard Branson

  • On Monday, Goldman Sachs announced that co-COO Harvey Schwartz would be retiring, setting the stage for co-COO David Solomon to succeed CEO Lloyd Blankfein.
  • Reports suggest the transfer of power could come as soon as the end of this year.
  • Solomon is an unconventional Wall Street figure, and his position as heir apparent hints at cultural change at a firm that fancies itself the Google of Wall Street.

In mid-February, one month before he would become the clear heir apparent to Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, co-COO David Solomon was on a stage cracking jokes with billionaire playboy Richard Branson — a man whose large blonde mane and puckish, freewheeling demeanor seemed at odds with that of the stodgy, white-shoe investment bank. 

The contrast was lost on few, least of all the two men sharing the stage at the Goldman Sachs Small Business Summitt. 

"This is a Goldman Sachs conference, sorry," Branson quipped after drifting into a tangent about his ineptitude at rolling joints despite learning from the Rolling Stones' Keith Richards, sending Solomon and the lively audience into stitches.

Two sex jokes later, the founder of the Virgin business empire asked whether they wanted to "change the Goldman Sachs brand quickly and put something else up?"

"It's an interesting marriage of brands," Solomon allowed amid chuckles, before wryly suggesting that Goldman's "could move in your direction a little bit."

It was seemingly said in jest, but Solomon's desire to make Goldman Sachs a bit more Branson-esque likely contained a kernel of truth.

If you thought the bank was starting to let its hair down in recent years as Blankfein took a shine to Twitter, prepare for further departures when Solomon — an unorthodox bank executive who famously moonlights as a DJ — takes the helm.

With the announcement Monday that co-COO Harvey Schwartz, a veteran of Goldman's vaunted trading desk, would retire in April, Solomon appears to have won the two-man bake-off for Goldman's top job. 

And if last week's innuendo that Blankfein could depart by year's end comes to fruition, changes could come quicker than anyone realized. 

"We were expecting it to come to a conclusion at some point, but for it to happen this quickly was a surprise," Brian Kleinhanzl, a manager director and lead bank analyst for Keefe, Bruyette, and Woods, said of Goldman's succession announcement.

A post shared by DSol (@djdsolmusic) on

But the decision, given where Goldman's businesses and its culture are headed, makes sense.

Solomon is not only an admirer of Branson's and an occasional guest at the billionaire's private island, he's of a similar mold, too — especially compared with the man he beat out, an old-school trading stalwart more in line with Goldman's past than where it wants to go in the future. 

"He's a respected manager there, he's certainly a capable leader," Kleinhanzl said of Solomon. "It lines up with the direction that they're moving in that a lot of their growth areas tend to be away from the trading business."

The CEO for Goldman's next chapter

Goldman Sachs hasn't hidden its aspirations of becoming the Google of Wall Street, and Solomon is well-suited for navigating that transition. 

Before taking the co-COO role, Solomon had been a co-head of investment banking in New York for a decade. In recent years, though, he's had an intimate role in some of the bank's less traditional projects — such as its efforts to build the ultimate financial destination for the masses under its Marcus brand.

Key to growing its tech-intensive businesses — which are central to the $5 billion in new revenues Goldman is chasing — will be landing young talent with a different skill set than the classes of traders and investment bankers of years past.

Even a revered brand like Goldman Sachs must compete aggressively to land tech-savvy millennials amid the temptations of a the liberated corporate lifestyle offered by Silicon Valley's top companies.

Solomon could provide a strategic advantage in appealing to young candidates, Kleinhanzl said, given his unique pedigree and interests.

The decision to go with Solomon shows that Goldman Sachs likes to "think of themselves as a tech company, and you have to have some bit of irreverence at the top of management in that kind of company," Kleinhanzl said. "And David kind of fits that M.O. given his background and given some of his interests."

David Solomon

Solomon's trajectory to Goldman Sachs stardom was less-than-typical — he skipped the Ivy League and studied political science at Hamilton College in upstate New York.

And his presence since becoming a Wall Street exec has been unconventional, and increasingly public, as well.

He's partied with the likes of Diddy, and once gave life-changing career advice to the Philadelphia 76ers guard J.J. Redick.

The divorceé and lifelong audiophile has also famously been spinning records in Manhattan clubs known for being "millionaire playpens" as well as beach parties in the Bahamas overrun with bikini-clad millennials.

The Wall Street veteran says finding and exploring a passion is crucial to longevity in a career known for grinding people down and burning them out.

"If you can't find a way to have passions and pursue those passions and mix them into your professional life and your personal life in some way, shape or form, it's just harder to have the energy to keep on doing this, and to keep moving forward professionally," Solomon said on a Goldman Sachs podcast.

On that front, Solomon already has experience making the notoriously grueling entry-level job at Goldman a bit more millennial friendly. He played an important role in revamping the investment bank's junior-banker policies, including quicker promotions and expanding tech platforms that can handle some of the grunt work associated with junior-level banking. 

Goldman's image has been morphing for several years now, and Solomon has played a key role in the initiatives that are driving the change. 

Now that his succession of Blankfein is all but certain, expect the 150-year-old investment bank's transformation into the Google of Wall Street to only accelerate from here.

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

Slovenia’s Fourth-Largest City is Home to a Bitcoin Roundabout

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

Kranj, the fourth-largest city in Slovenia, will soon make history by unveiling the world’s first public Bitcoin monument. “Roundabout Kranj,” as the monument has been officially dubbed, sees a Bitcoin logo placed in the center of the roundabout connecting Oldhamska and Gregorčičeva street, a “connecting point” for the city’s “urban ecosystem.” A Bitcoin Symbol Roundabout

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No Legal Basis to Ban or Limit Bitcoin Mining: EU Official

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

The European Commission has confirmed that it is paying attention to concerns about rising electricity consumption for cryptocurrency mining in the European Union, according to European Commissioner Mariya Gabriel, who oversees digital economy and society. According to a notice on the European Parliament website, Gabriel addressed the issue in response to a question posed to … Continued

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Asia Live Tech Brings The First iGaming Software With Bitcoin

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

This is a sponsored story. CCN urges readers to conduct their own research with due diligence into the company, product or service mentioned in the content below. Online gaming, one of the fastest growing forms of entertainment, is now easier than ever, thanks to the introduction of cryptocurrency as a payment option. Using cryptocurrency, customers can … Continued

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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.

And then there was one.

Harvey Schwartz, one of the two men considered as the potential successor to Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, is retiring next month, the bank announced Monday.

That leaves David Solomon, who shares the titles of president and chief operating officer with Schwartz, as the sole contender to replace Blankfein when he steps down as early as this year.

Blankfein briefed the Goldman Sachs board in February on the position of his potential successors, according to a person familiar with the matter. In that meeting, he identified Solomon as the man best placed to replace him, according to the person.

In other news, there’s been a big shakeup at the top of Citigroup’s stock trading business. Wall Street's gotten obsessed with how Amazon could upend everything. 

In deal news, we got an inside look at CVS' $40 billion bond deal, one of the biggest of all time, from the lead bankers' perspective. And Dropbox is seeking a $7.5 billion valuation in its coming IPO

In markets news, people are freaking out about a trade war — but the stock market is saying something else. And there's a suspicious burst of taxi rides to and from Wall Street banks and the NY Fed around the time of key Fed meetings

In crypto news:

Lastly, Business Insider on Sunday published the untold story of Uber's infighting, backstabbing, and multimillion-dollar exit packages.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Jim Chanos on the return of choppy markets, Tesla, and the 'rent-seeking behavior' that's hurting our economy

CRYPTO INSIDER: 'Pure capitalism:' Exchanges charge up to $1 million to list ICOs

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

5aa24d107708e93ba7711301 960 480

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.

Cryptocurrency exchanges are charging up to $1 million to list initial coin offerings on their platforms in a move they describe as "pure capitalism,"  Oscar Williams-Grut reports from London

"The exchanges are where the liquidity is — it's where the money is — so that's where the power is just at the moment," Michael Jackson, a partner at venture capital firm Mangrove Partners, told BI. You can read the full story here>>

Here are the current crypto prices:

crypto prices today march 12

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: Coinbase just poached a LinkedIn exec to lead an acquisition spree as the firm's first M&A boss

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NOW WATCH: The surprising reason why NASA hasn't sent humans to Mars yet

CRYPTO INSIDER: 'Pure capitalism:' Exchanges charge up to $1 million to list ICO's

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

5aa24d107708e93ba7711301 960 480

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.

Cryptocurrency exchanges are charging up to $1 million to list initial coin offerings on their platforms in a move they describe as "pure capitalism,"  Oscar Williams-Grut reports from London

"The exchanges are where the liquidity is — it's where the money is — so that's where the power is just at the moment," Michael Jackson, a partner at venture capital firm Mangrove Partners, told BI. You can read the full story here>>

Here are the current crypto prices:

crypto prices today march 12

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: Coinbase just poached a LinkedIn exec to lead an acquisition spree as the firm's first M&A boss

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: The best and worst things about the Tesla Model 3

Wall Street trading firm trueEx is set to launch a derivatives platform for cryptocurrency

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

Trading screens.

  • TrueEx is launching a derivatives platform for cryptocurrency, the company announced Monday. 
  • It also entered into a partnership with ConsenSys to build a benchmark rate for ether, the second largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization. 

TrueEx, the trading technology company, is preparing to dive into the world of cryptocurrency with a new derivatives marketplace.

The company said Monday it is preparing to launch trueDigital, which will list non-deliverable forward (NDF) contracts for cryptocurrency, the first of which will be for bitcoin. Already, trueEx faciliates trading for interest rate swaps. 

TrueDigital, which will operate under a trueEx affiliate called trueDigital Holdings, is pending regulatory review by the Commodity Futures Commission, the company said. 

TrueDigital would join a number of other bitcoin derivative marketplaces in the US. Cboe Global Markets and CME Group launched bitcoin futures in December. Nasdaq is preparing to launch a bitcoin futures market in 2018. 

"NDFs on digital assets are the logical next step for institutional investors who are seeking exposure to bitcoin and other digital currencies," Brooks Dudley, a VP of risk at ED&F Capital Markets, said in a statement. 

ED&F Capital Markets plans to offer prime brokerage services for cryptocurrency on the trueDigital platform. 

TrueEx also announced a partnership with ConsenSys to build a benchmark rate from ether to make the second-largest crypto by market cap more attractive to traditional financial-services firms. 

Up until last week, trueEx was seeking talent for a cryptocurrency derivatives exchange called Virtuoso, for which the company posted a job ad seeking a Sales Director. The ad was taken down from LinkedIn after Business Insider sent a company official an inquiry.

"Virtuoso is a new digital asset and digital derivative exchange, with a focus on bringing regulated and secure trading to institutional investors across the world," the ad said.

The Sales Director would aim to build relationships with "top-tier" banks, asset managers, and hedge funds, the job ad said. A press representative for trueEx described trueDigital as the same project as Virtuoso, "just now a newly-formed affiliate of trueEx."

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NOW WATCH: Jim Chanos says Elon Musk just told his 'biggest whopper' about Tesla yet

Elon Musk is making a big change to his Hyperloop and Boring Company plans

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

Boring company Tunnel

  • Elon Musk said his proposed, high-speed transit systems, Loop and Hyperloop, "will prioritize pedestrians & cyclists over cars," in a Twitter thread on Friday.
  • "It’s a matter of courtesy & fairness. If someone can’t afford a car, they should go first," Musk said.
  • Before either system can become a reality, the Boring Company must receive permission from city governments to build and test the tunnels they would use.


Elon Musk's proposed, high-speed transit systems, Loop and Hyperloop, are designed to decrease traffic congestion and give public transit users a faster option than traditional train or bus systems. According to a Twitter thread Musk wrote on Friday, the latter will be the first priority for the Boring Company, which Musk founded to build the tunnels necessary for Loop and Hyperloop.

"Adjusting The Boring Company plan: all tunnels & Hyperloop will prioritize pedestrians & cyclists over cars," Musk wrote. "Will still transport cars, but only after all personalized mass transit needs are met. It’s a matter of courtesy & fairness. If someone can’t afford a car, they should go first."

elon musk twitter

Loop and Hyperloop would transport cars and passenger pods on electric skates through underground tunnels. Loop would carry passengers at up to 150 mph, while Hyperloop could reach top speeds of over 500 mph since it would create a vacuum inside the tunnel to eliminate air friction. Loop would likely be used for travel within cities, while Hyperloop would likely carry passengers between them.

Aside from speed, both systems would have other advantages over trains. In his Twitter thread, Musk described how Loop and Hyperloop could support a large network of "1000s of small stations the size of a single parking space," which could allow passengers to board and depart passenger pods closer to their starting points and destinations.

elon musk twitter

Musk wants to build Loop and Hyperloop systems in major cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, New York City, and Washington, D.C., but before they can become a reality, the Boring Company has to receive approval from city governments to build and test its tunnels.

The company has already received permission to dig a two-mile test tunnel in Hawthorne, California and a 10.1-mile tunnel in Baltimore beneath the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. It has also discussed building tunnels in Los Angeles and Chicago. In February, the Boring Company received approval from the Washington D.C. government to begin initial digging and preparatory work that could eventually lead to a tunnel.

 

SEE ALSO: Elon Musk said the 2 things that stress him out most are Tesla Model 3 production and the dangers of AI

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

John Oliver Explains Why Investing in Cryptocurrencies Is Just Like Gambling

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

Early bitcoin buyers have become millionaires, but investing in Bitcoin and its ilk today could put you at risk of being sucked into a pyramid scheme, Oliver warns

Bitcoin Price Charges Toward $10,000 as Bulls Regain Footing

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

The Bitcoin price charged back toward $10,000 on Monday as the bulls began to regain their footing following last week’s downturn. Bitcoin Price Charges Toward $10,000 as Bulls Regain Footing Bitcoin began the week on a high note, climbing nine percent to approximately $9,800 on cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex. This bullish pivot reversed some of the

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EU Can't Ban Bitcoin Mining Over Energy Concerns, Official Says

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

Cryptocurrency mining is perfectly legal in Europe and only subject to standard electricity rules, according to an EU commissioner.

The man likely to be the next CEO of Goldman Sachs says the perfect résumé won't get you the job — here's what will

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

David Solomon


It just became a lot clearer who will replace Goldman Sachs chief executive Lloyd Blankfein when he formally retires. 

The bank announced Monday Harvey Schwartz, one of the two men considered as a potential successor to the billionaire bank, is retiring next month, leaving David Solomon as the sole candidate to replace Blankfein when he steps down. 

Solomon, who was appointed to his current position as co-chief operating officer and co-president in 2017, has been with Goldman since 1999. As such, he's had a few resumes come across his desk.

But during an interview on the firm's podcast, "Exchanges at Goldman Sachs," Solomon offered his best career advice, saying the resume is not the be-all and end-all. 

"I see some incredible resumes that over the years come across my desk," Solomon said. "But when you start to sit down and talk with them, they can't communicate or articulate in a way that backs up just the raw academic performance."

People with poor communication skills, he says, are not doomed for failure but they could face more barriers.

"Take public speaking," Solomon said. "Take some writing classes. Think about how you can develop communication skills, because it will help you in anything you do."

Take some accounting

Solomon also shared the advice his father gave him when he was younger, which he also passed on to his daughters: Take some accounting. 

"Everyone should take a semester of account," Solomon said. "Just understanding basic accounting really helps you understand how a lot of the world works from an economic perspective."

Accounting, according to Solomon, is useful because it helps people understand how to run everything from a home to a giant company. That said, Solomon said it's important for students to follow their heart when it comes to the subject they get their full degree in.

"And when you dig into things that you have some passion about or some interest in, you go a little deeper, you work a bit harder," he said. 

As for Solomon, he had a less-than-typical career path - he skipped the Ivy League and studied political science at Hamilton College in upstate New York

SEE ALSO: It just became a lot clearer who is going to replace Lloyd Blankfein at the top of Goldman Sachs

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NOW WATCH: Overstock CEO and bitcoin pioneer explains his long-standing crypto play and his philosophy on life

John Oliver helps you explain cryptocurrencies to your neighbor

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

 John Oliver’s main skill is that he’s usually pretty good at explaining complex and boring topics in short TV segments. And this week’s episode of Last Week Tonight is particularly relevant to the tech industry as Oliver tackled cryptocurrencies. In just 25 minutes, the Last Week Tonight team put together a descent introduction to bitcoin, blockchain, ICOs and cryptocurrencies. Read More

John Oliver’s HBO Show Digs Crypto & Blockchain, Laughs at Bitconnect, EOS in Bitcoin-Themed Episode

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

“Discussions of new technology tend to age badly,” John Oliver said as he opened Sunday night’s episode of Last Week Tonight, “so that said, tonight we are going to talk about cryptocurrencies,” a topic that combines “everything you don’t understand about money” with “everything you don’t understand about computers.” Oliver spent the next half hour

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John Oliver compares bitcoin to a $15,000 Beanie Baby: 'You're not investing, you're gambling'

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

bitcoin john oliver

  • John Oliver gave an episode-long crash course on the topics of cryptocurrency and blockchain on Sunday night's "Last Week Tonight."
  • He introduced the subject as "everything you don't understand about money combined with everything you don't understand about computers."
  • Oliver compared cryptocurrencies to a $15,000 Beanie Baby, before focusing on the variety of potential uses for blockchain technology. 
  • He ultimately cautioned against the high-risk potential of cryptocurrency investment, telling crypto-investors, "just know that you're not investing, you're gambling."

John Oliver gave a crash course on the topics of cryptocurrency and blockchain on Sunday night's "Last Week Tonight," introducing it as "everything you don't understand about money combined with everything you don't understand about computers."

Over the course of the 25-minute episode, Oliver compared cryptocurrencies to a $15,000 Beanie Baby, or any other "speculative investment" that people agree has value. 

The "Last Week Tonight" host then focused on the potential of blockchain technology, the decentralized electronic ledger of cryptocurrency transactions. To explain the topic, Oliver threw to a clip of a blockchain researcher comparing hacking a blockchain system to "a highly processed thing, sort of like a Chicken McNugget."

"And if you wanted to hack it, it'd be like turning a Chicken McNugget back into a chicken," Don Tapscott, cofounder of the Blockchain Research Institute, said in the clip. "Now someday, someone will be able to do that, but for now it will be tough."

Oliver noted that while companies like IBM and Wal-Mart have experimented with blockchain for the purpose of sharing data and transaction histories, he explained that blockchain is still an emergent field, and he cautioned against high-risk investment in cryptocurrencies. 

"The point is, if you choose to invest in the cryptocurrency space, just know that you're not investing, you're gambling," Oliver said.

Watch the episode below:

SEE ALSO: Rapper Lupe Fiasco says cryptocurrencies are like 'baseball cards,' but that blockchain can 'revolutionize' the music industry

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NOW WATCH: You can connect all 9 Best Picture Oscar nominees with actors they have in common — here's how

Bitcoin Cash Price Enters Recovery Mode After 4-Week Low

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

After mounting a high-volume recovery, the bitcoin cash cryptocurrency looks set to rebound, technical chart analysis suggests.

It just became a lot clearer who is going to replace Lloyd Blankfein at the top of Goldman Sachs (GS)

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

Lloyd Blankfein David Solomon Harvey Schwartz Goldman Sachs

  • It just became a lot clearer who is going to replace Lloyd Blankfein at the top of Goldman Sachs. 
  • Harvey Schwartz, co-president and co-chief operating officer of Goldman Sachs, is retiring next month, the bank announced Monday.
  • That leaves sole COO David Solomon as Lloyd Blankfein's heir apparent.

And then there was one. 

Harvey Schwartz, one of the two men considered as the potential successor to Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, is retiring next month, the bank announced Monday. That leaves David Solomon, who had been co-president and co-chief operating officer alongside Schwartz, as the sole candidate to replace Blankfein when he steps down. 

The end of Blankfein's tenure at the top of Goldman Sachs has long been a Wall Street talking point. And when Solomon and Schwartz were promoted to president and co-COO in late 2016, days after Gary Cohn, who had been Blankfein's right-hand man, accepted a role leading the National Economic Council, it was seen as a sign that the two were the leading contenders to take the CEO seat when Blankfein stepped down. 

Blankfein briefed the Goldman Sachs board in February on the position of his potential successors, according to a person familiar with the matter. In that meeting, he identified Solomon as the man best placed to replace him, according to the person. 

Before taking the co-COO role, Solomon had been a co-head of investment banking in New York for a decade. In recent years, he has played an important role in revamping the investment bank's junior-banker policies and helped lead Goldman's efforts to build the ultimate financial destination for the masses under its Marcus brand.

Solomon has also tended to be more of a public face for Goldman Sachs than Schwartz. He famously moonlights as a DJ, has partied with the likes of Diddy, and once gave life-changing career advice to the Philadelphia 76ers guard J.J. Redick.

He also had a less-than-typical career path— he skipped the Ivy League and studied political science at Hamilton College in upstate New York.

Here's the company statement on Schwartz' departure.

"Over his 20-year career at Goldman Sachs, Harvey has held leadership roles across a broad range of the firm’s operations – from Securities and Investment Banking to the Executive Office, where he served as Chief Financial Officer; and most recently, as President and Co-Chief Operating Officer. Harvey’s work ethic, command of complexity, and client focus have defined his career at the firm."

"Harvey has been a mentor to many, and his influence has made an indelible impact on generations of professionals at Goldman Sachs. I want to thank Harvey for all he’s done for the firm."

Join the conversation about this story »

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

Cryptocurrency Market Moves Closer to $400 Billion as Bitcoin Surges 14%

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

Over the past 24 hours, the cryptocurrency market has sustained strong momentum, moving closer to the $400 billion region. Led by bitcoin, many major cryptocurrencies have recorded large gains since March 11. Bitcoin Up 14% Bitcoin, the most dominant cryptocurrency in the market, has recorded a gain of over 14 percent since yesterday, rising from … Continued

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'I leave with my heart full and head held high': A senior exec at trading technology firm ITG is out

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

Capture.PNG

  • Jamie Selway, formerly US head of execution services at ITG, announced his departure from the company.
  • "I leave with my heart full and head held high," Selway said in a tweet.

A senior executive at trading technology firm Investment Technology Group (ITG) has left after more than seven years with the company. 

Jamie Selway, formerly ITG's US head of execution services, announced his departure on Friday in a tweet, saying "I leave with my heart full and head held high."

"To clients, industry colleagues, and friends, I wish you well - and will see you soon," he added.

An ITG spokesperson confirmed that Selway left the firm.

Selway, who joined ITG in 2010, was reportedly a contender to lead the division of the Securities and Exchange Commission overseeing market structure. Brett Redfearn, previously head of market structure at JPMorgan, was tapped for that position in November, Business Insider previously reported.

Prior to joining ITG, Selway cofounded White Cap Trading, an agency broker, in 2003. He also served on the board of directors at Bats, the exchange-operator acquired by Cboe, from 2008 to 2015.

Selway was featured in Institutional Investors' 2015 and 2014 Trading Technology 40 list. Selway, according to II, built "a career around what he terms 'applied market structure' and, for himself, a reputation as one of the leading interpreters of 'dense, esoteric material,' important to the investment community."

ITG provides trading technologies to brokers and asset managers, reaching clients in 50 countries, according to its website.

In 2015, the company paid a more than $20 million settlement to the Securities and Exchange Commission. The regulator accused ITG of betting against clients, despite having said it would not do so, in a pilot program known as "Project Omega."

Selway, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal, brought evidence of another executive's involvement in the program to internal company lawyers in 2010. Outside lawyers were later brought in to review the program.

Robert Gasser, who was chief executive of the company from 2006 to 2015, was fired after the external investigation found he kept information from ITG's board, the Journal reported

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Online bed retailer Eve Sleep is targeting 'European domination' as High Street rivals struggle

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

Jas Bagniewski, CEO of eve (1)

  • Online mattress retailer Eve Sleep's revenue grew by 132% last year.
  • CEO tells BI he's targeting "European domination" this year.
  • Eve's rapid expansion comes as traditional bed retailers are going into administration.

LONDON — The CEO of online mattress retailer Eve Sleep says its targeting "European domination" after posting huge growth figures for 2017.

Eve Sleep, which listed on the London Stock Exchange last May, posted its first set of full-year results as a public company on Monday. Here are the highlights:

  • Revenue up 132% to £27.7 million
  • Profit margin up 910 basis points to 57.7%
  • Statutory loss rising by 7.7% to £19 million

The company said that it is on track to reach profitability in the UK by the fourth quarter of this year. Eve, founded in London in 2014, sells its own custom mattresses online. It is one of a number of mattress retailers who have sprung up around the world in recent years.

Eve CEO Jas Bagniewski told Business Insider on Monday that its rapid revenue growth has been driven by "four main areas."

"The first one is continuing to invest in brand and marketing in the UK," he said. "In the UK we increased marketing spend by 50% in the second half over the first half. Even so, efficiency improved massively, by 15 basis points.

"The second thing is internationalisation. We rolled out to a bunch of new markets in 2017, and we're in 15 markets now.

"Thirdly, new product development and non-mattress sales, which grew a lot. We had four products at the beginning of 2017, we had 15 at the end. That sort of results in, without really any marketing, non-mattress sales becoming almost 20% of the business by the end of the year."

Eve Sleep now sells other sleep-related products such as pillows and sheets and Bagniewski said 12% of sales now come from repeat customers.

Bagniewski said: "And finally, expansion into retail. At the beginning of 2017 we were in one store and at the end, we were in 145. From Q4, retail did about £1.75 million for us."

Eve Sleep's rapid sales growth comes as traditional bed retailers are struggling. Warren Evans went into administration in February and Feather & Black fell into administration last November.

Bagniewski said: "What we see generally is just a shift from offline to online. In the US, three years ago $300 million worth of mattresses were sold online and that was $1.2 billion in 2017. Euromonitor has our category as the second fastest shift in retail from offline to online.

"That shift is definitely happening and we think things like Warren Evans and Feather & Black are just an effect of that shift really rather than a cause of it."

Bagniewski said Eve Sleep plans to launch new products in the year ahead, including a new mattress and expanding its existing beds and sheets ranges.

"We obviously don't want to talk too much about those because we don't want to alert our competitors," he said.

Eve Sleep's share price is down 0.8% as of 11.50 a.m. GMT (7.50 a.m. ET). Bagniewski said: "Our main investors all take a long-term view.

"We do look at it, obviously, but the reality is the volume is really small, it's all retail trading. It's not something we control really. We think the results we put out are really, really strong and we think the share price will be more defined by our discussions with fund managers over the next couple of weeks rather than a bit of retail volume."

SEE ALSO: Eve Sleep's IPO is a window into the crazily competitive, high-growth world of online mattress sales right now

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

GOLDMAN SACHS WARNS: Risks are rising that bitcoin will fall through its February lows

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

bitcoin china

  • Bitcoin has broken support near $9,210.
  • The range of $7,687 to $7,198 is the next key level to watch, according to a Goldman Sachs team.
  • Goldman thinks the February low of $5,922 is in jeopardy.

Bitcoin bulls aren't out of the woods just yet, according to Goldman Sachs' technical-analysis team led by Sheba Jafari.

In a note sent to clients Sunday, Jafari and her team warn further selling is on the horizon and the February low of $5,922 a coin is in jeopardy now that short-term support at $9,210 is broken.

"The break is significant as implies potential for a more impulsive decline," Jafari said. "The next meaningful level is down at 7,687-7,198; includes the 200-dma and a 1.618 target off the high."

Bitcoin is off to a rocky start in 2018. The cryptocurrency came under intense selling pressure from mid-December to early February that shaved 70% off its value. It bottomed at $5,922 on February 6 before rallying to a high of $11,784 two weeks later.

But its price has struggled to break through $12,000, and it has fallen back below $10,000 amid stern warnings on the crypto space issued by the US Securities & Exchange Commission and reports that the large Japanese crypto exchange Binance was hacked. The cryptocurrency is down 31.5% this year.

As to how far bitcoin's price can fall, the Goldman team warns to pay attention to the mid- to low-$7,000 range, with the view that a breakdown of that level increases the likelihood of the February lows being taken out.

"The 200-dma in particular is important given that it held very well at the previous low in September," Jafari's team wrote. "Getting a close break this time around would warn of structural damage, increasing the risk of new local lows (<5,922). At this point, need to get back through 9,322 (the Feb. 26th low) for this to stabilize."

Bitcoin

SEE ALSO: 'We all better listen up': The CEO of an FX trading firm says Wall Street needs to pay attention to the breakneck growth of crypto exchanges

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Thomson Reuters Is Using Your Feelings About Bitcoin to Make Investors Rich

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

Thomson Reuters has launched a bitcoin analysis product that uses AI to analyze how industry insiders feel about the cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin Eyes $10K, But Charts Hint at Bull Trap Potential

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

Bitcoin's corrective rally from Friday's low of $8,371 seems to have legs, but gains above $10,000 may be transient.

A cliff-edge Brexit could cost British and EU companies £58 billion a year

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

Theresa May

  • A no deal Brexit could cost UK and EU industry a combined £58 billion per year, according to a joint report from consultants Oliver Wyman, and law firm Clifford Chance.
  • Tariff and non-tariff barriers will cost British exporters as much as £27 billion, while the cost to exporters across the EU could be £31 billion. 
  • In Britain, five industries would bear as much as 70% of the burden.

LONDON — British and EU companies face a hit of almost £60 billion per year in the case of a no deal Brexit, according to a joint report from consultants Oliver Wyman, and law firm Clifford Chance.

The report, titled "The red tape cost of Brexit" argues that tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade could wipe as much as £58 billion off UK and EU companies in the event that Britain leaves the EU without securing some sort of a deal.

"These increased costs and uncertainty threaten to reduce profitability and pose existential threats to some businesses," the report said.

While both sides of the negotiating table remain confident of securing some sort of deal before Britain drops out of the bloc next year, the prospect that no deal is struck looms large.

No deal would see the UK default to WTO trading terms, which many economists say would have a highly damaging impact on the economy through an array of tariff and non-tariff barriers on UK exporters.

Those barriers, Oliver Wyman's report said, will cost British exporters as much as £27 billion, while the cost to exporters across the EU could be £31 billion.

These costs would be spread across a wide spectrum of industries, the report said, but five would bear as much as 70% of the burden. Understandably, given its inherently international nature and reliance on cross-border trade, the financial services sector would be worst hit in the UK.

"The largest absolute impact will come from financial services due to London’s role as Europe’s financial centre and the fact that it will be hard to mitigate impacts in this sector," the report says.

The other four industries to see the biggest hit from a no deal Brexit, Oliver Wyman says, would be cars, agriculture and food and drink, consumer goods, and chemicals and plastics.

Here's the chart of impacts on the UK:

Screen Shot 2018 03 12 at 09.32.39

Here's how things will look on the continent:

Screen Shot 2018 03 12 at 09.37.36

Things will look different on a country-by-country basis in the EU, the report notes.

"Country-level differences will be pronounced. In Ireland, for example, the exposure of the agricultural sector to UK consumers is a particular pinch point, and in Germany four of the sixteen states – Bavaria, BadenWürttemberg, North Rhine-Westphalia, and Lower Saxony – will shoulder around 70 percent of the total impact due to their respective strength in automotive and manufacturing."

On a sectoral basis, the report says: "Between them automotive; agriculture, food & drink; chemicals & plastics; consumer goods; and industrials will incur an estimated 75 percent of the impact despite accounting for just 23 percent of the EU27’s economic output."

SEE ALSO: The government could bring forward a key immigration bill to bolster preparations for a no-deal Brexit

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NOW WATCH: Overstock CEO and bitcoin pioneer explains his long-standing crypto play and his philosophy on life

Audits are meant to protect investors — but almost half have problems

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

Defaced branding is seen outside Carillion's Royal Liverpool Hospital site in Liverpool, Britain, January 16, 2018.

  • Four in 10 audits surveyed by global regulators in a study had at least one failing.
  • "High rates" show global auditors need to "strengthen their systems," global audit regulators say.
  • Audit quality has been in the spotlight after a string of high profile scandals and collapses that accountants failed to spot.


LONDON — Almost half of all audits monitored by global regulators as part of a spot check had deficiencies, according to a new report.

The International Forum of Independent Audit Regulators (IFIAR) released its sixth annual survey of the industry last week, examining 918 audits performed by 120 firms across 33 different jurisdictions.

The report found that 40% of audits had at least one deficiency. The most common problem was a "failure to assess the reasonableness of assumptions, including consideration of contrary or inconsistent evidence." In other words, many auditors simply took what companies said at face value rather than interrogating their logic.

Other common problems include "the failure to obtain sufficient persuasive evidence to support reliance on manual internal controls" and "the failure to sufficiently test controls over, or the accuracy and completeness of, data or reports produced by management."

Once again, these errors suggest a willingness by global auditors to simply accept and check data and information provided by the companies they are surveying, rather than carrying out their own independent checks.

The IFIAR's findings will be worrying to major shareholder groups. Auditors are meant to provide an independent and impartial view of a company's financial health to help reassure investors that what management says about the health of a business is correct.

Auditors have found themselves under greater scrutiny globally after the failure of a string of high-profile companies.

Outsourcing giant Carillion recently collapsed in the UK and the British accounting watchdog has opened a probe of KPMG's handling of the case. South African retail giant Steinhoff's shares collapsed 60% last year after discovering accounting irregularities in its books. Its auditors Deloitte South Africa are also being investigated.

The IFIAR said that the "high rates of findings indicate [the] need for improvement."

Problem rates have declined from 42% in 2016 and the IFIAR said that the findings should not be used as a proxy for a "comprehensive evaluation of audit quality."

But the IFIAR said: "These results affirm IFIAR’s views that the global networks must continue in their efforts to strengthen their systems of quality control and drive consistent execution of high-quality audits throughout the world."

SEE ALSO: British accounting watchdog to investigate KPMG's audits of Carillion

DON'T MISS: South African regulator probing Steinhoff auditors to continue investigation

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NOW WATCH: Overstock CEO and bitcoin pioneer explains his long-standing crypto play and his philosophy on life

London house prices are falling at the quickest rate since the financial crisis

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

Terraced houses in London

  • London house prices are falling at their fastest rate since the financial crisis.
  • According to Acadata, house prices fell by 2.6% in January.
  • The south-west London borough of Wandsworth was the worst hit, with prices falling 2.5% on the month and 14.9% at an annual rate.


LONDON — House prices in London are falling at the fastest rate since the depths of the UK's last recession during the global financial crisis, a survey from Acadata released on Monday showed.

Acadata's report showed that house prices in the capital fell to an average of £593,396 in January, which equates to an annual fall of 2.6%. That marks the biggest drop since August 2009 when Britain was in the depths of the financial crisis.

The south-west London borough of Wandsworth performed worst in London. Prices there fell by 2.5% month-on-month or by 14.9% when compared to January 2017. Prices in Southwark dropped 12.2% on an annual basis.

But some boroughs saw strong annual price growth in Acadata's survey, with prices in the northern borough of Brent increasing 8.5%.

Here's Acadata's map of the capital:Screen Shot 2018 03 12 at 08.13.54Acadata's report is in line with other house price indexes, which point to continuing falls in prices across the capital.

Estate agents Savills, for instance, forecasts that prices in Greater London will fall 1.5% over 2017 then fall by a further 2% in 2018, before stabilising in 2019 and returning to growth the year after.

The London slowdown — which is already starting to bite — is being driven by bloated prices in the capital, slow progress in Brexit negotiations, and worries about further interest rate hikes from the Bank of England, which drive up mortgage costs.

SEE ALSO: 3 reasons why London house prices are falling

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NOW WATCH: Overstock CEO and bitcoin pioneer explains his long-standing crypto play and his philosophy on life

Why the 'Worst' Crypto Networks Will Be The Biggest

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

From a network design perspective, bitcoin is ugly. As with as city, you have to experience it from a bottom-up perspective to understand its allure.

Crypto exchanges are charging up to $1 million per ICO to list tokens: 'It's pure capitalism'

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

cryptocurrency 2x1

  • Cryptocurrency exchanges are charging between $50,000 and $1 million to list initial coin offerings, according to a Business Insider investigation.
  • "The exchanges are where the liquidity is — it's where the money is — so that's where the power is just at the moment," Michael Jackson, a partner at venture capital firm Mangrove Partners, told BI.
  • Exchanges are dominant now but that may change with tougher regulations and more standardised business models.


LONDON — Cryptocurrency exchanges are charging up to $1 million to list initial coin offerings on their platforms, according to multiple industry sources.

Around half a dozen market participants, from investors to CEOs of companies with their own coins, told Business Insider that some exchanges are charging anywhere between $50,000 to $1 million to get their tokens listed.

The people who spoke to Business Insider, both on and off the record, declined to name the exchanges charging high fees for fear of falling foul of them. Exchanges wield huge power in the crypto market as access to larger ones can mean the difference between success and failure for many of projects.

"Basically there are a lot of people who want their coins listed," Michael Jackson, a partner at venture capital firm Mangrove Partners, told BI. "The exchanges are where the liquidity is — it's where the money is — so that's where the power is just at the moment."

'They've got to be able to trade it'

Initial coin offerings boomed in 2017. ICOs — where companies issue their own digital currencies or tokens structured like a cryptocurrency — were in most cases sold to investors, allowing startups to fund their projects.

For businesses, ICOs offer a quicker and cheaper alternative to venture investment or going public. For investors, these tokens offer exposure to a red-hot sector as well as the ability to quickly and easily trade their stake in a project — something not traditionally possible with early-stage investments.

But in order to get this liquidity, the companies issuing tokens have to get them listed on at least one of the cryptocurrency exchanges that have sprung up around the world over the last few years. Like stock markets, these online exchanges based all around the world offer a venue for people to trade tokens.

Jackson said: "Investors are hoping to make money on it. They've got to be able to trade it and a lot of [ICOs] are almost promising their investors that, which is kind of dangerous."

This promise of liquidity — which many investors see as a ticket to the crypto get-rich-quick lottery — puts power in the hands of the liquidity providers: the exchanges.

Oliver Bussmann, the former CIO of UBS who now runs his own Swiss fintech advisory firm, told Business Insider: "If you prepare for an ICO, you have to prepare for a listing. It's important to get access to liquidity. That means the bigger the exchange is, the more effort and also more cost to get listed."

'It's pure capitalism'

UBS CIO Oliver Bussmann.

Bussmann has advised a number of high-profile cryptocurrency projects, such as Ripple and IOTA, and is the president of Switzerland's Crypto Valley Association, a public-private partnership promoting the region of Zug as a hub for cryptocurrency businesses.

Asked how much fees to list on exchanges are, he said: "At the lower end it's $50,000, up to $1 million — I've heard that. It's depending on the size of the exchange."

Multiple industry sources confirmed this range of charges. Jackson said: "I was doing a project, I won't tell you specifically what one — one token on a number of exchanges — and that was the ballpark we were in."

The CEO of one company planning an ICO told BI they had been asked for $1 million by a top-tier exchange to list their coins. They declined to be named or to name the exchange or speak publically as the whole process is currently under an NDA.

Not all exchanges are equal, which is why the range of fees varies greatly. The 24-hour trading volume of Binance, which vies for the title of biggest exchange in the world, was $1.7 billion as of Wednesday, according to market data provider CoinMarketCap.com. Bitstamp, the tenth biggest exchange globally, had  avolume of $334 million — around a sixth of Binance. CoinMarketCap.com lists almost 200 exchanges, with volumes declining steadily as you go down the list.

Access to the best exchanges carries a premium because the bigger the liquidity pool, the higher the potential market value of a coin, and the higher the chance of success for a project.

"Good exchange means a high probability of good market fit, because you have access to liquidity and investors," Bussmann said. "If you don't get access to certain exchanges, then it's tier two exchanges, which means access to investors is limited."

This week the price of Ripple jumped 5% on rumours it was going to be added to Coinbase, showing the influence exchanges wield on the perception of a project or coin.

'It's too much'

A man walks past an electric board showing exchange rates of various cryptocurrencies at Bithumb cryptocurrencies exchange in Seoul, South Korea, January 11, 2018.  REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

Not all exchanges charge companies to list their coins. Some chose coins to list themselves, based on a project's merit, or ask their customers to vote for coins to be added. (Exchanges earn money from trading so popular coins earn cash regardless of whether the company pays.)

But the ability of those exchanges that do charge to effectively name their price highlights the growing power of these market infrastructure operators.

"It's too much," Bussmann said. "$1 million is too much. Usually, if you do a proper ICO, with legal, accounting, etc. it's half a million to a million. Then another million for listing? It's not a fair relationship."

IPOs can easily cost $1 million in fees but these tend to be spread across lawyers, compliance costs, accountants, and other sundry costs — not simply up-front fees to exchanges.

Many ICO projects will also seek to list their token on multiple exchanges, meaning they can be hit with multiple up front costs.

But Jackson said: "What we see on the crypto side is people who have raised $100 million and the exchanges are saying, 'why the hell would I not get $1 million of that?' It's pure capitalism, is probably the best way of expressing it."

Companies and projects raised $5.6 billion through ICOs last year and the top 10 ICOs last year raised a combined $1.4 billion. The exchanges could make a reasonable argument that these projects can afford to pay an entry fee.

The counter-argument is that the exchanges themselves aren't doing too badly either. Bloomberg estimated earlier this month that the top 10 exchanges are making as much as $3 million a day in fees, based on calculations from publically available volume data and trading fees.

'We do not release this kind of information to the public'

So who is charging companies big listing fees? Business Insider contacted the ten largest exchanges by volume, according to CoinMarketCap.com, to ask how much they charge to list coins.

A spokesperson for US exchange Kraken told BI: "We do not release this kind of information to the public."

Korean exchange Huobi lets customers vote on which new coins to list with no charges, according to a spokesperson.

Coinbase, which also owns the GDAX exchange, pointed out that neither of its platforms currently support ICO tokens. The company highlighted a framework published by last November setting out how it might assess any potential new listings. The framework makes no mention of any possible associated costs.

Mandy Lau, a PR manager for OKEx, told BI: "There will be no listing fees for any tokens to be listed on OKEx. However, we would require the token to commit on a marketing budget to promote their companies, their business models/ideas, missions & visions etc. in order to drive awareness, as well as efficiency."

Bittrex's published guidance says: "Bittrex does not currently charge a fee for listing a token on our Exchange. We believe in promoting the blockchain industry, and we have spent, and will continue to invest, significant resources to review tokens for listing on our Exchange."

A spokesperson for Bitfinex told BI: "We do not charge a fee for projects to be listed on Bitfinex. We are excited to support the development of the digital token ecosystem by providing quality projects, of all sizes, with a platform through which they can build a community of supporters."

The spokesperson said that the company has a two-step review process that involves a quality review and an internal compliance review.

"Through applying these rules we strive to list only the highest quality tokens which we believe have a long future, and which therefore align with the best long-term interests of our customers," the spokesperson said. "We find that every situation is different and we do not adopt a one-size fits all approach. Moreover, all of our commercial agreements and relationships are confidential."

Binance, Upbit, Bithumb, and HitBTC did not respond to Business Insider in time for publication.

'I think it will calm down'

BI's inquiries did not yield a clear view of fee structures across the industry. That's perhaps because there isn't one.

"It's normally a negotiation from my experience," Bussmann said. "It's variable. You can bring it down [by] even $100,000 I've heard."

The lack of clarity and variability of exchange listing fees across the market could raise questions for regulators.

Huge amounts of money have poured into cryptocurrency markets over the last year, largely going to exchanges. But most remain unregulated and, in many cases, the operations and ownership of these businesses remain opaque. Business Insider reported in December that customers of Bittrex were furious after being unable to withdraw money and kept in the dark as to why. Customers of Binance were similarly left confused when they were unable to withdraw money without explanation for a few hours this week.

Regulators are beginning to catch up. Japanese, British, and US officials have all recently called for cryptocurrency regulation and the US Securities and Exchange Commission said last week that crypto exchanges must register with the regulator. Jackson and Bussman both believe these moves will push down fees and increase transparency in the market.

"There's always going to be a premium for listing on good exchanges but I think in the end it will get more rational when things become more rational," Jackson said. "I think it will calm down a bit."

He added that decentralized exchanges are also being developed that could also disrupt the exchange businesses. These decentralised exchanges would allow people to trade with each other without the oversight of a central party.

Bussmann said: "I think with regulation the business will become more standard and professionalised and I think the listing fees will be impacted by that. It will attract more players, different players, and on the other side, there will be more mature, more professionalised ICOs that will be 100% in line with the regulatory requirements.

"The more we go into the securities business, this will be more transparent, the fee structure has to be published etc. — the whole sector of the market will change."

Join the conversation about this story »

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Crypto exchanges are charging up to $1 million per ICO to list tokens: 'It's pure capitalism'

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

cryptocurrency 2x1

  • Cryptocurrency exchanges are charging between $50,000 and $1 million to list initial coin offerings, according to a Business Insider investigation.
  • "The exchanges are where the liquidity is — it's where the money is — so that's where the power is just at the moment," Michael Jackson, a partner at venture capital firm Mangrove Partners, told BI.
  • Exchanges are dominant now but that may change with tougher regulations and more standardised business models.


LONDON — Cryptocurrency exchanges are charging up to $1 million to list initial coin offerings on their platforms, according to multiple industry sources.

Around half a dozen market participants, from investors to CEOs of companies with their own coins, told Business Insider that some exchanges are charging anywhere between $50,000 to $1 million to get their tokens listed.

The people who spoke to Business Insider, both on and off the record, declined to name the exchanges charging high fees for fear of falling foul of them. Exchanges wield huge power in the crypto market as access to larger ones can mean the difference between success and failure for many of projects.

"Basically there are a lot of people who want their coins listed," Michael Jackson, a partner at venture capital firm Mangrove Partners, told BI. "The exchanges are where the liquidity is — it's where the money is — so that's where the power is just at the moment."

'They've got to be able to trade it'

Initial coin offerings boomed in 2017. ICOs — where companies issue their own digital currencies or tokens structured like a cryptocurrency — were in most cases sold to investors, allowing startups to fund their projects.

For businesses, ICOs offer a quicker and cheaper alternative to venture investment or going public. For investors, these tokens offer exposure to a red-hot sector as well as the ability to quickly and easily trade their stake in a project — something not traditionally possible with early-stage investments.

But in order to get this liquidity, the companies issuing tokens have to get them listed on at least one of the cryptocurrency exchanges that have sprung up around the world over the last few years. Like stock markets, these online exchanges based all around the world offer a venue for people to trade tokens.

Jackson said: "Investors are hoping to make money on it. They've got to be able to trade it and a lot of [ICOs] are almost promising their investors that, which is kind of dangerous."

This promise of liquidity — which many investors see as a ticket to the crypto get-rich-quick lottery — puts power in the hands of the liquidity providers: the exchanges.

Oliver Bussmann, the former CIO of UBS who now runs his own Swiss fintech advisory firm, told Business Insider: "If you prepare for an ICO, you have to prepare for a listing. It's important to get access to liquidity. That means the bigger the exchange is, the more effort and also more cost to get listed."

'It's pure capitalism'

UBS CIO Oliver Bussmann.

Bussmann has advised a number of high-profile cryptocurrency projects, such as Ripple and IOTA, and is the president of Switzerland's Crypto Valley Association, a public-private partnership promoting the region of Zug as a hub for cryptocurrency businesses.

Asked how much fees to list on exchanges are, he said: "At the lower end it's $50,000, up to $1 million — I've heard that. It's depending on the size of the exchange."

Multiple industry sources confirmed this range of charges. Jackson said: "I was doing a project, I won't tell you specifically what one — one token on a number of exchanges — and that was the ballpark we were in."

The CEO of one company planning an ICO told BI they had been asked for $1 million by a top-tier exchange to list their coins. They declined to be named or to name the exchange or speak publically as the whole process is currently under an NDA.

Not all exchanges are equal, which is why the range of fees varies greatly. The 24-hour trading volume of Binance, which vies for the title of biggest exchange in the world, was $1.7 billion as of Wednesday, according to market data provider CoinMarketCap.com. Bitstamp, the tenth biggest exchange globally, had  avolume of $334 million — around a sixth of Binance. CoinMarketCap.com lists almost 200 exchanges, with volumes declining steadily as you go down the list.

Access to the best exchanges carries a premium because the bigger the liquidity pool, the higher the potential market value of a coin, and the higher the chance of success for a project.

"Good exchange means a high probability of good market fit, because you have access to liquidity and investors," Bussmann said. "If you don't get access to certain exchanges, then it's tier two exchanges, which means access to investors is limited."

This week the price of Ripple jumped 5% on rumours it was going to be added to Coinbase, showing the influence exchanges wield on the perception of a project or coin.

'It's too much'

A man walks past an electric board showing exchange rates of various cryptocurrencies at Bithumb cryptocurrencies exchange in Seoul, South Korea, January 11, 2018.  REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

Not all exchanges charge companies to list their coins. Some chose coins to list themselves, based on a project's merit, or ask their customers to vote for coins to be added. (Exchanges earn money from trading so popular coins earn cash regardless of whether the company pays.)

But the ability of those exchanges that do charge to effectively name their price highlights the growing power of these market infrastructure operators.

"It's too much," Bussmann said. "$1 million is too much. Usually, if you do a proper ICO, with legal, accounting, etc. it's half a million to a million. Then another million for listing? It's not a fair relationship."

IPOs can easily cost $1 million in fees but these tend to be spread across lawyers, compliance costs, accountants, and other sundry costs — not simply up-front fees to exchanges.

Many ICO projects will also seek to list their token on multiple exchanges, meaning they can be hit with multiple up front costs.

But Jackson said: "What we see on the crypto side is people who have raised $100 million and the exchanges are saying, 'why the hell would I not get $1 million of that?' It's pure capitalism, is probably the best way of expressing it."

Companies and projects raised $5.6 billion through ICOs last year and the top 10 ICOs last year raised a combined $1.4 billion. The exchanges could make a reasonable argument that these projects can afford to pay an entry fee.

The counter-argument is that the exchanges themselves aren't doing too badly either. Bloomberg estimated earlier this month that the top 10 exchanges are making as much as $3 million a day in fees, based on calculations from publically available volume data and trading fees.

'We do not release this kind of information to the public'

So who is charging companies big listing fees? Business Insider contacted the ten largest exchanges by volume, according to CoinMarketCap.com, to ask how much they charge to list coins.

A spokesperson for US exchange Kraken told BI: "We do not release this kind of information to the public."

Korean exchange Huobi lets customers vote on which new coins to list with no charges, according to a spokesperson.

Coinbase, which also owns the GDAX exchange, pointed out that neither of its platforms currently support ICO tokens. The company highlighted a framework published by last November setting out how it might assess any potential new listings. The framework makes no mention of any possible associated costs.

Mandy Lau, a PR manager for OKEx, told BI: "There will be no listing fees for any tokens to be listed on OKEx. However, we would require the token to commit on a marketing budget to promote their companies, their business models/ideas, missions & visions etc. in order to drive awareness, as well as efficiency."

Bittrex's published guidance says: "Bittrex does not currently charge a fee for listing a token on our Exchange. We believe in promoting the blockchain industry, and we have spent, and will continue to invest, significant resources to review tokens for listing on our Exchange."

A spokesperson for Bitfinex told BI: "We do not charge a fee for projects to be listed on Bitfinex. We are excited to support the development of the digital token ecosystem by providing quality projects, of all sizes, with a platform through which they can build a community of supporters."

The spokesperson said that the company has a two-step review process that involves a quality review and an internal compliance review.

"Through applying these rules we strive to list only the highest quality tokens which we believe have a long future, and which therefore align with the best long-term interests of our customers," the spokesperson said. "We find that every situation is different and we do not adopt a one-size fits all approach. Moreover, all of our commercial agreements and relationships are confidential."

Binance, Upbit, Bithumb, and HitBTC did not respond to Business Insider in time for publication.

'I think it will calm down'

BI's inquiries did not yield a clear view of fee structures across the industry. That's perhaps because there isn't one.

"It's normally a negotiation from my experience," Bussmann said. "It's variable. You can bring it down [by] even $100,000 I've heard."

The lack of clarity and variability of exchange listing fees across the market could raise questions for regulators.

Huge amounts of money have poured into cryptocurrency markets over the last year, largely going to exchanges. But most remain unregulated and, in many cases, the operations and ownership of these businesses remain opaque. Business Insider reported in December that customers of Bittrex were furious after being unable to withdraw money and kept in the dark as to why. Customers of Binance were similarly left confused when they were unable to withdraw money without explanation for a few hours this week.

Regulators are beginning to catch up. Japanese, British, and US officials have all recently called for cryptocurrency regulation and the US Securities and Exchange Commission said last week that crypto exchanges must register with the regulator. Jackson and Bussman both believe these moves will push down fees and increase transparency in the market.

"There's always going to be a premium for listing on good exchanges but I think in the end it will get more rational when things become more rational," Jackson said. "I think it will calm down a bit."

He added that decentralized exchanges are also being developed that could also disrupt the exchange businesses. These decentralised exchanges would allow people to trade with each other without the oversight of a central party.

Bussmann said: "I think with regulation the business will become more standard and professionalised and I think the listing fees will be impacted by that. It will attract more players, different players, and on the other side, there will be more mature, more professionalised ICOs that will be 100% in line with the regulatory requirements.

"The more we go into the securities business, this will be more transparent, the fee structure has to be published etc. — the whole sector of the market will change."

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Plattsburgh, NY city officials want to reserve their cheap electricity for non-crypto economic development. Plattsburgh, NY is located in Clinton County, and its current claim to claim to fame is a new Showtime series featuring Ben Stiller about an escape from a local prison being filmed downtown. But bitcoin mining is also making headlines, amid

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