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Bitcoin Mining Firm Reopens in U.S. after Regulators Revoke Cease & Desist Order

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

Genesis Mining, a provider of managed cloud mining, announced that it is resuming operations in the United States after South Carolina regulators withdrew a cease and desist order against the firm. Contracts serving U.S. residents have been disabled for five months up until now. SC Regulators Revoke Cease & Desist Order The cease and desist

The post Bitcoin Mining Firm Reopens in U.S. after Regulators Revoke Cease & Desist Order appeared first on CCN

Intercontinental Exchange to Introduce Bakkt, a Crypto Payment System for Retailers

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

Intercontinental Exchange to Introduce Bakkt, a Crypto Payment System for Retailers

This November, cryptocurrency users will be introduced to Bakkt, a new company designed to give millions of retail merchants the chance to buy, sell and trade digital currencies — and even buy a cup of coffee. The company is being launched by Atlanta-based Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the parent company to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and a leading operator of clearinghouses, global exchanges, and data and listing services.

Bakkt CEO Kelly Loeffler explained, “Bakkt is designed to serve as a scalable on-ramp for institutional, merchant and consumer participation in digital assets by promoting greater efficiency, security and utility. We are collaborating to build an open platform that helps unlock the transformative potential of digital assets across global markets and commerce.”

ICE is also devising “a 1-day physically delivered Bitcoin contract along with physical warehousing,” according to the official press release. If the offering receives the approval of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), it will begin trading in November of this year.

Introduced in 2000, Intercontinental Exchange is a Fortune 500 company and Fortune Future 50 company. The venture was built to modernize markets and ease the risks and tensions associated with stocks and futures trading by managing the data houses and exchanges traders regularly utilize.

Jeffrey C. Sprecher, the founder, chairman and CEO of Intercontinental Exchange, believes that as cryptocurrencies venture deeper into mainstream territory, it is ICE’s job to ensure that consumers and merchants alike can use them safely — which has ultimately led to the creation of Bakkt.

“In bringing regulated, connected infrastructure together with institutional and consumer applications for digital assets, we aim to build confidence in the asset class on a global scale, consistent with our track record of bringing transparency and trust to previously unregulated markets,” he explained.

To ensure customer security, executives of Bakkt have announced that they are partnering with software giant Microsoft to implement the company’s cloud solutions. This will create a globally regulated and open marketplace for digital asset users. Thus far, Bakkt has garnered funding from venture funds and Wall Street players including Pantera Capital, Protocol Ventures, Galaxy Digital and Horizons Ventures.

One of the biggest retail merchants to sit at Bakkt’s table will be the Seattle-based coffee king Starbucks, which plans to utilize the company’s payment system so customers can purchase drinks, baked goods and merchandise with cryptocurrency.

In a statement, Maria Smith, the vice president of partnerships and payments for Starbucks, asserted, “As the flagship retailer, Starbucks will play a pivotal role in developing practical, trusted and regulated applications for consumers to convert their digital assets into U.S. dollars for use at Starbucks. As a leader in Mobile Pay to our more than 15 million Starbucks Rewards members, Starbucks is committed to innovation for expanding payment options for our customers.”

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Breeze Wallet with Breeze Privacy Protocol Mainnet Now Available for Download

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

Breeze Wallet with Breeze Privacy Protocol Mainnet Now Available for Download

The Breeze Wallet with the Breeze Privacy Protocol public mainnet has been released and is now open to the public. The wallet showcases Stratis technology — a platform built for visual basic apps and blockchain solutions — and places heavy emphasis on both privacy and security for businesses seeking to implement business-to-business (B2B) transactions on the Stratis and Bitcoin blockchain networks.

The Breeze Wallet was first scheduled for release in mid-2017. Designed as a bitcoin wallet for desktops, the application would come with TumbleBit — a promising privacy advancement built on top of Bitcoin — and give customers the opportunity to mix their coins without the need to trust one another or the receiving wallets.

Speaking with Bitcoin Magazine last year, Stratis Founder and CEO Chris Trew explained, “We are integrating TumbleBit because it’s a trustless and secure solution that works with Bitcoin without any forks.”

Based in the U.K., Stratis is a startup that offers end-to-end solutions for development, testing and deployment of blockchain applications. Aside from maintaining its own blockchain, Stratis also boasts a native token, the Stratis token, and builds tools for existing blockchains like Ethereum and Bitcoin.

Developers claim the wallet boasts a user-friendly interface, along with what they dub the Masternode Client Discovery protocol, in which the Bitcoin or Stratis blockchain is used to discover, validate and connect to a Stratis Masternode. The process is decentralized and occurs through a trustless environment that is less vulnerable to network disruption.

Users employing the wallet can “obfuscate” transactions, meaning they can render them obscure or unintelligible. This primarily works for ventures or individuals seeking to conduct on-chain business while preventing that business from being viewed by the public. If a company receives regular payments from customers or makes payments to a supplier, this would be deemed commercially sensitive information and would thus be shielded.

Companies can also utilize the wallet to connect to a Stratis Masternode, thereby giving their transactions added protection across both the Bitcoin and Stratis networks. This is primarily done through TumbleBit, which provides anonymity by allowing several people to utilize the same payment channels. The channels are then protected with cryptographic puzzles that prevent any non-users from gaining access to the information they present.

The Breeze Wallet is compatible with Windows 64-bit and 32-bit, along with Mac OS X and Ubuntu. Respective wallet download links are available here.

At press time, Stratis had not responded to Bitcoin Magazine’s request for comment.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Mt. Gox Creditors Release Update of Civil Rehabilitation Plan

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

Mt. Gox Creditors Release Update of Civil Rehabilitation Plan

Creditors of Mt. Gox, the defunct bitcoin exchange, have announced an update to the civil rehabilitation plan agreed upon with the platform, according to a statement published on the group’s website.  

The updated terms are said to be in line with the latest court position in the ongoing legal proceedings, including a confirmation that compensation must be paid to victims in bitcoin and bitcoin cash.

Background

Between 2011 and 2014, Mt. Gox is estimated to have lost over 850,000 BTC, worth approximately $460 million at 2014 prices. Based in the upmarket Tokyo district of Shibuya, Mt. Gox was once the undisputed king of cryptocurrency exchanges, at one point controlling as much as 70 percent of the global bitcoin exchange market. By the middle of 2013, however, the platform had run into trouble, and, despite all assurances to the contrary, the company closed abruptly in February 2014, ceasing all trading and exchange operations, closing down its website and filing for bankruptcy protection under Japanese law.

Former CEO Mark Karpelès was arrested, and a civil rehabilitation plan was agreed to serve as a framework for ensuring creditors get their money back.

New Conditions

A few notable changes to the initial terms have been made, mostly concerning method and priority of payments to creditors. According to the updated terms, Mt. Gox shareholders are ranked behind its creditors regarding payment priority.

The statement reads:

“No distribution will be made to shareholders. Mt. Gox is not capable of returning all BTC deposited by creditors. Accordingly, we consider that all assets of Mt. Gox should be distributed to creditors and not to shareholders.”

Furthermore, disbursements will be made in bitcoin and bitcoin cash for ease of payment and to avoid the acceptance issues faced on many exchanges by several altcoins.

The update also stipulates that payments would be made after the approval and confirmation of the rehabilitation plan.

“Creditors have been waiting for payment to be made for as long as four years since Mt. Gox was bankrupted. Payment to creditors should be made as soon as possible. We are of the opinion that most of the assets, including approximately 166,000 BTC and 168,000 of BCH and other derivatives currently held by Mt. Gox, should be paid to creditors at the time of the first payment.”

Finally, the update states that Mt. Gox will find a way to give creditors access to their trading records, which it describes as “indispensable for the approval or disapproval of the civil rehabilitation plan.”


This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Mt. Gox Creditors Release Update of Civil Rehabilitation Plan

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

Mt. Gox Creditors Release Update of Civil Rehabilitation Plan

Creditors of Mt. Gox, the defunct bitcoin exchange, have announced an update to the civil rehabilitation plan agreed upon with the platform, according to a statement published on the group’s website.  

The updated terms are said to be in line with the latest court position in the ongoing legal proceedings, including a confirmation that compensation must be paid to victims in bitcoin and bitcoin cash.

Background

Between 2011 and 2014, Mt. Gox is estimated to have lost over 850,000 BTC, worth approximately $460 million at 2014 prices. Based in the upmarket Tokyo district of Shibuya, Mt. Gox was once the undisputed king of cryptocurrency exchanges, at one point controlling as much as 70 percent of the global bitcoin exchange market. By the middle of 2013, however, the platform had run into trouble, and, despite all assurances to the contrary, the company closed abruptly in February 2014, ceasing all trading and exchange operations, closing down its website and filing for bankruptcy protection under Japanese law.

Former CEO Mark Karpelès was arrested, and a civil rehabilitation plan was agreed to serve as a framework for ensuring creditors get their money back.

New Conditions

A few notable changes to the initial terms have been made, mostly concerning method and priority of payments to creditors. According to the updated terms, Mt. Gox shareholders are ranked behind its creditors regarding payment priority.

The statement reads:

“No distribution will be made to shareholders. Mt. Gox is not capable of returning all BTC deposited by creditors. Accordingly, we consider that all assets of Mt. Gox should be distributed to creditors and not to shareholders.”

Furthermore, disbursements will be made in bitcoin and bitcoin cash for ease of payment and to avoid the acceptance issues faced on many exchanges by several altcoins.

The update also stipulates that payments would be made after the approval and confirmation of the rehabilitation plan.

“Creditors have been waiting for payment to be made for as long as four years since Mt. Gox was bankrupted. Payment to creditors should be made as soon as possible. We are of the opinion that most of the assets, including approximately 166,000 BTC and 168,000 of BCH and other derivatives currently held by Mt. Gox, should be paid to creditors at the time of the first payment.”

Finally, the update states that Mt. Gox will find a way to give creditors access to their trading records, which it describes as “indispensable for the approval or disapproval of the civil rehabilitation plan.”


This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Google is looking for an ally in China to deliver its cloud services (GOOG, GOOGL)

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

Diane Greene

  • Google is reportedly looking for a partner to deliver cloud services to China. 
  • The report comes as Google is said to be preparing a version of its search engine for China — and that complies with government censorship rules. 
  • Microsoft and Amazon have already tapped local partners in China to deliver cloud services, because of the country's strict rules around data needing to stay within its borders.

Google is looking to make a grand re-entry into China, after years away.  Media reports earlier this week about Google's plans developing a special censored search product for China sparked outrage. But that's not the only effort Google has underway to tap into the world's largest internet market by users.

Google also wants to bring its cloud business to the Chinese mainland, and the company is recruiting a local ally to help make it happen, according to a Bloomberg report on Friday.

Specifically, the report says that Google is in talks with Tencent, Inspur, and other Chinese companies — though the current trade tensions between the United States and China loom large over the negotiations, and Bloomberg cites a source saying that the plans may not move forward. 

Under such a deal, Google's cloud partner would be responsible for hosting and delivering services like Google Drive and Google Docs to customers in China, from their own servers. It would give Google access to the tremendous Chinese market.

Because China has strict laws requiring that data needs to be stored within its borders, Google Cloud rivals Amazon and Microsoft have both tapped local allies, as well. In China, Amazon Web Services is delivered via Beijing Sinnet Technology, while the Microsoft Azure cloud is delivered via 21Vianet Group. 

Those same laws also require that the Chinese government has some oversight of how data moves through digital networks. In that sense, this move might not sit well with Google employees, who are already upset over reports that the company plans to release a version of its search engine that complies with Chinese government censorship. 

Google declined to comment.

Read the full Bloomberg report here>>

SEE ALSO: The rise of Apple CEO Tim Cook, the leader of the first $1 trillion company in the US

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: An early bitcoin investor explains what most people get wrong about the cryptocurrency

Distributed Dialogues: Crypto Reporters Look in the Mirror

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

Distributed Dialogues: Crypto Reporters Look in the Mirror

The Distributed 2018 conference that recently took place in San Francisco was accompanied by a new edition of the Distributed Dialogues podcast, a collaborative show between the Let’s Talk Bitcoin Network and Distributed Magazine.

With a focus on introducing listeners to blockchain technology thought leaders and innovators, the latest episode featured a trio of thought leaders. The first segment was an interview with Laura Shin, host of the crypto/blockchain podcasts Unchained and Unconfirmed, and formerly a Forbes editor. Talking with host David Hollerith, Shin weighed in on a question of increasing importance: Can journalists who hold a particular cryptocurrency report objectively on that cryptocurrency? Since their reporting on the space can reinforce market patterns such as momentum, it’s a self-examination that matters.

For the listener who may have assumed that having a working knowledge of their topic was simply a good thing, this is a thought-provoking point. Shin’s past experience as a journalist showed her firsthand that different media outlets could have very different policies, with owning and disclosing being fine at Forbes, while cryptocurrency ownership, save for tiny amounts, is prohibited at the New York Times.

“I see the rationale for all of these different policies,” Shin said, “and depending on the journalist, some people could go with the more flexible policy, and others need the really strict one. What it boils down to is that … every individual person who buys into these cryptocurrencies, they need to do their own research. You hear this all the time, but that is the truth of the matter.”

A visit from Aaron van Wirdum, technical editor for Bitcoin Magazine, also touched on the topic of whether or not cryptocurrency journalists can themselves hold cryptocurrency and still report objectively on the space.

“For me, bitcoin is just my money of choice,” van Wirdum replied. “If you’re holding U.S. dollars as a journalist, does it mean you can’t cover what the Federal Reserve is doing? Or if you live in the United States, does it mean you can’t cover elections in the United States? You always have a stake in what’s happening in the world, and what’s happening around you, so the solution is to be honest and transparent about that.”

Po.et

During the sponsored segment, the show shifts from the journalistic ethics of covering blockchain technology to its opportunities for entrepreneurship in the arts, as host of The Tatiana Show, Tatiana Moroz, sat down in a sponsored interview with Po.et CEO Jarrod Dicker.

A blockchain-based decentralized protocol for content ownership, discovery and monetization, Po.et is “trying to build a standard for content value or creator value on the web where we could build a protocol that allows us to build reputation around each creator set,” Dicker explains.

“That could be music, that could be journalism, physical art, digital art, but really give a platform for them to build that reputation and drive more value directly to them via monetization.”

According to Dicker, Po.et strives to be an “all-creator tool” that serves multiple forms of  media. “That could be Pro Tools, WordPress, YouTube, Medium, Microsoft Paint, anywhere where people are putting IP and value on something. How can we immediately have that hooked, have that authorship and attribution stamped on the chain, be able to pull through all that metadata and information to have a proof of existence? Then taking it a step further, how do we build proof of effort within there?”

From that point, content can be licensed on the Po.et platform, said Dicker, creating “an end-to-end decentralized way for you, as a creator, to get the most value out of the work that you’re doing.”

Disclaimer: The parent company of Bitcoin Magazine, BTC Media, LLC, is an affiliate of Po.et.


This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

“Not a Great Precedent”: Commissioner Discusses the SEC’s Latest ETF Decision

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

“Not a Great Precedent”: Hester Peirce Discusses the SEC’s Latest ETF Decision

When the SEC announced its rejection of the Winklevosses’ latest bitcoin ETF filing, the industry found itself reckoning with a problem on repeat: striving toward the goal of approval, another Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) proposal faced the SEC’s death knell.

At this point in the industry’s development, securing an ETF has become the space’s institutional albatross, the elusivity of which hangs over each successive rejection. The most recent filing was the Winklevosses’ second attempt to list a bitcoin-backed ETF, the first being shot down last year.

Earlier this year, some dozen ETF filings, like those by Van Eck Associates Corp., never even made it to the discussion table after the SEC withdrew the applications from consideration in January. Decisions for another five filings have been delayed until September. Lacking these approvals, the industry’s only institutional market offerings come in the form of the CBOE’s and CME’s futures contracts.

The market’s slow march toward establishing a bitcoin Exchange Traded Fund or Exchange Traded Product (ETP) has become a reminder that the space is still in the midst of growing pangs, and it’s an even more salient reminder that the wheels of regulation spin slowly — and not always in every industry’s favor.

SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce thinks these wheels should be turning a bit more quickly. Recently sworn into the commission after an appointment by President Trump, Peirce did not partake in the SEC’s 3-1 vote to strike down the latest proposal, but that hasn’t kept her from expressing her disagreement with the commission’s decision. She took to Twitter on the same day as the announcement, linking to her dissenting public statement.

In the following interview with Commissioner Peirce, Bitcoin Magazine delves further into her dissent, uncovering what the decision means for the future of regulation and what it will take for the SEC to give bitcoin ETFs/ETPs a nod of approval.

Bitcoin Magazine: What were the key factors that made you dissent to the SEC’s ruling and vote “yes” on the ETP?

Hestor Peirce: So, I didn't vote yes originally because I wasn't here — I got here six or seven months ago, and a lot of it happened at the staff level and they can get kicked up to the commission, which is what happened here. What made me vote against what the commission did? There were three things playing into that.

One, I disagree with how they read our statutory mandate. The way I read our mandate, we should have approved this one because we really shouldn’t have been looking to the underlying markets the way that we did in the order that they put out last week.

Second issue, I do think that institutionalization in this space would address some of the concerns they lay out in their order.

And the third thing, I think that, historically, the SEC has not been great on innovation, on welcoming innovation, and for me, this order perpetuated my concerns in this regard. We need to have a willingness to welcome new approaches and I’m worried that if we keep sending the message that we’re not open to hearing from people who have new ways of doing things, then people will say we’re going to take our business to another country.

BM: In your dissent, you talk about the SEC playing gatekeeper to the bitcoin market. Is this decision setting a disconcerting precedent, giving the SEC the power to deem what should and shouldn’t be considered an asset, or have we seen this kind of behavior before?

HP: I actually think that it’s not only happened in this context, but that it’s happened with prior orders as well; however, in those cases, they were approved. But even in the past, we’ve looked to underlying commodities markets, and I think that walks us down a road that we don’t want to go down and we can’t go down.

You know, in this particular case, there’s a lot being said about bitcoin. It is a new type of asset, and I think that that played into the decision that was ultimately made. I’m worried that, by looking through to underlying markets, we’ve opened a can of worms that we don’t want to open up, where we’d have to assess underlying markets for all of these different types of assets.

I do think it’s not a great precedent. It plays into a bit of a thread in securities regulations — at the federal and at the state level — which is that there’s an inclination among regulators to almost step into the shoes of the investor and say whether or not the investor should be making that particular decision, based on our assessment of the actual product — in this case, the actual asset. So yes, that is a disturbing precedent, because I can’t make assessments about those things.

There are lots of people spending lots of time thinking about this new asset class and they should be able to make decisions about it. I can‘t stand in their shoes and say, “I can see the future better than you can see the future, I can assess where this is going better than you can assess where this is going.”

So yes, I’m very worried about the SEC putting itself in the shoes of investors, which is what it was doing here. Because frankly if this product comes to market, investors might decide, “We’re just not interested in it.”

There are lots of things that investors are going to look at when they look at an ETP — there are other products out there and they are different. There are different characteristics, so let’s put it out there. As long as the disclosure is good and as long as the exchange can manage the trading of the product, let’s put it out there and let’s let investors vote up or down based on whether or not they buy it.

BM: To what extent does the SEC decision show a lack of trust in such self-regulatory bodies, at least for this industry?

HP: Well, I mean, I think it does show a bit of a lack of trust for our existing SROs, meaning the exchanges. In my case, I’d say, look, the exchange has thought about the product it wants to list, so if it’s gone through that thought process and addressed our concerns about how the product will trade, then it’s done its job, so we can let it go forward.

In terms of the bitcoin market generally, my concern with the order’s approach is that it says, “Look, these markets aren’t regulated.” To some extent that’s true, but there are some of them that are regulated by governments; the Gemini exchange is regulated at the state level.

But the point that often gets lost in these discussions about regulations is that there’s actually a lot of self-regulation, not in the formal SRO context, but I’ve listened to a lot of discussions between factions in the crypto world and they’re criticizing each other, sometimes very openly and very harshly, and they’re calling each other out for things.

That kind of healthy, transparent, private regulation is relevant to the discussion because, to the extent that someone is going to engage in manipulation in a market, other players in that market — whether its gold or cryptocurrency — other players in that market will care about that because it will affect them. So there is some sort of a natural push to have regulation that grows organically within a marketplace.

I think the order did not give enough attention to the fact that, especially when you bring institutions into a market like this, there’s going to be a pressure to privately monitor each other. It’s not self-regulation so much as you’re watching what your competitors are doing.

BM: Not so much self-regulation as self-preservation, in some ways.

HP: In some ways, right.

BM: It’s a bit of a catch-22, isn’t it? The SEC is essentially saying, “The market isn’t regulated enough, so we can’t start regulating it.”

HP: Yes. You know, to one degree, there is a bit of logic to that. I had that same reaction as you had. The counterpoint I would offer is that we’ve got futures markets, so those markets are still relatively new, so as those markets develop, you’ll see more institutionalization and more regulation.

So there are different avenues through which you can arrive at regulation, but that’s part of what I was trying to get at with the institutionalization qualm of my dissent: If you really want this market to be more orderly, then you’ve got to let some of these forces in that are going to bring order to it.

[Here’s] another interesting point: I think some of the people in the Bitcoin community would not welcome an ETP because that’s precisely the point of why they wanted this decentralized financial system, [one] that did not involve traditional players in the financial market.

BM: The SEC has, understandably, been leading efforts to regulate the crypto industry. Are there other federal departments and agencies that you believe could be picking up some slack to give the industry some clarity regarding legislation?

HP: The problem is that we each have our own regulatory jurisdiction, and so for something like an ETP, we’re the only game in town. You know, that’s not totally true because you could go to a different country as some folks have done. But if you’re talking about in the U.S., outside of the ETPs, people are thinking about ICOs. [ICOs are] something we have to address, whether or not something’s a security.

So I think we really do have a role to play, but on the positive side — you know, I’ve been fairly negative about where the SEC has been on some of this stuff — but on the positive side, we do have Valerie Szczepanik who is focusing on cryptocurrency issues in the division of corporation finance. She is someone who is quite knowledgeable. From people I’ve talked to outside of the agency who work in the crypto space, they’re quite comfortable with her as the top staff regulator in this space because she is quite knowledgeable. I do think that there is a positive trend going on here, as well.

That said, I think your point is a good one, as there are other regulators that are looking at this space more generally. There’s the CFTC, there’s the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s sandbox. There are different ways, and I think part of what we’re going to have to do is work with our fellow regulators because part of the problem is that it’s not clear which regulatory box things fit in. I think there needs to be more cross agency work so that we can encourage each other through that process.

Look, some of these technologies are here to stay and we’re going to have to figure out how to build a regulatory framework or build on our existing regulatory framework to make sure that these products and the people designing them and the people who are thinking about possible use cases can come and get guidance on how they can operate within legal parameters.

BM: In your dissent, you write that “the order analyzes the ETPs through a legal and regulatory framework derived from prior approval orders for commodities with very different characteristics.” In your opinion, does bitcoin and the wider crypto market that it’s spawned deserve their own regulatory guidelines? Do we need to write a new playbook for a new market?

HP: Is it an asset class that we need to design a new regulatory framework for? Maybe, but maybe that’s not the best approach. To the extent that something is being offered and is actually a security then we should probably regulate it as such.

The questions that people have now are “How long is it a security?” and “How do we trade these in a way that is in line with securities laws?” I tend to think — and I’m open to being convinced otherwise — but I tend to think that the right approach is to work with our existing securities law framework. To the extent that something is a commodity, work with our commodities law framework and to see whether there are areas where we need to provide guidance or update our rules to accommodate any difference.

BM: It’s something that a lot of us in the space juggle around with because we get frustrated when we see what appear to be antiquated guidelines imposing rules on something that is completely new. And there are certain areas where it is a little more cut and dried with securities.

HP: To that point, to the extent that there are specific guidelines that you all are running up against that are proving problematic to engaging in legitimate activity, I’d like to hear about those. Because it’s often talked about in these broad strokes.

I’d like to know: What are the particular issues you’re running up against that are giving concern to you? That’s really helpful because we can think about areas where we may need to update our rules or issue guidance to make it work.

BM: In the dissent, you write “when we do finally approve an ETP on bitcoin...” You didn’t say if. Do you believe this is inevitable?

HP: [Laughing] I’m a bit optimistic.

BM: Perhaps not inevitable but probable?

HP: Well, the reason that I anticipate that it’s probable is because there’s a lot of investor demand. And I think at some point that that will help push the agency. When that point will come, I can’t speculate on.

BM: Do you think that surveillance-sharing agreements are going to be a large part of this?

HP: Well, the order did focus on surveillance-sharing agreements as something that it was looking at, though I don’t know if the order’s authors would say that that’s the only approach for approval.

We consider each of these on the facts and circumstances, and that is how it should be. So I’m not speculating on any particular product, but I do think that there is interest in this area and I’m hopeful that, ultimately, we’ll be able to get there with an approval.


This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Wall Street bonuses are set to soar as volatility breathes new life into trading desks once left for dead

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

Wolf of Wall Street Money Leo Dicaprio

  • "Substantial growth" in trading and equity underwriting across Wall Street points to good news come yearend, when employees learn what they will get for bonus pay, according to a new report from Johnson Associates. 
  • Equity sales and trading personnel may see incentive pay surge 15% to 20%, while fixed-income colleagues may see a 5% to 10% bump.

Wall Street workers who trade stocks or derivatives linked to equity markets may see annual bonuses surge as much as 20% as market volatility picks up and more startups head to the public markets to sell shares, according to a new report. 

People who work in sales and trading, regardless of their product area, are in line for a strong year, compensation consultant Johnson Associates said in its second-quarter report. At this rate, equities personnel will see incentive compensation climb ...

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NOW WATCH: An early investor in Airbnb and Uber explains why he started buying bitcoin in 2009

Bitcoin Price Intraday Analysis: BTCUSD Forming Bearish Pennant

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

Bearish bias stayed for dinner, and it now wants to stay the night. There is no stopping to the prevailing selling sentiment in the Bitcoin market. Over the past one week, after establishing a weekly high at 8512-fiat, the BTC/USD pair has slipped 11.6% already. The price action in the past 24 hours has somewhat … Continued

The post Bitcoin Price Intraday Analysis: BTCUSD Forming Bearish Pennant appeared first on CCN

On a Path to Recovery: Bithumb Reopens Deposits and Withdrawals

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

On a Path to Recovery: Bithumb Reopens Deposits and Withdrawals

Following a disastrous security breach in June that led to losses of more than $30 million, Korean cryptocurrency exchange giant Bithumb has announced that it is set to resume deposit and withdrawal services on its platform. The announcement, which was made earlier today on Twitter, revealed that the services would be restored on August 4, 2018, at 11 a.m. KST.

Suspension and Maintenance

In June 2018, following the much-publicized hack that led to the hot-wallet theft, the platform temporarily disabled all currency transaction capabilities. Funds were hurriedly moved into cold storage wallets, and a moratorium was placed on all deposit and withdrawal services. The platform then announced some maintenance periods and security reviews, which led to significant downtime through much of July, although trading activities continued in between downtime periods.

Following a series of inspections carried out by the Korea Blockchain Association, Bithumb was certified as one of the 12 crypto exchanges that passed the check, out of 23 exchanges currently operating in Korea. Other crypto exchanges that passed the tests included Korbit, Huobi Korea, OKEx and Upbit, but the crypto market particularly welcomed Bithumb's return because it was Korea's largest crypto exchange by volume before the hack.

Due to the fund movement restrictions put in place after the hack, customers were unable to move their funds, and this had a knock-on effect on the wider Korean crypto industry, as many investors saw the hack and the subsequent KBA inspections as an indictment of the security of Korean crypto platforms. Traders and other stakeholders will no doubt hope that Bithumb's return to normalcy will be a shot in the arm for Korean crypto investment sentiment.

Bithumb Recovery Timeline

In a blog post, Bithumb stated that, although services are being restored, a few digital assets will not be included in the first wave of restorations, pending a return to market normalcy.

The statement reads in part:

Some cryptocurrencies with a significant price difference of about 10 percent between Bithumb market and standard market will be opted out for this customer's asset. When services return to normal, rapid changes in price are expected. Therefore resuming normal services for such cryptocurrencies will be put on hold for the time being.

Going further, the statement revealed that 10 cryptocurrencies have been approved for the first round of service restoration: Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Ripple (XRP), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Qtum (QTUM), Litecoin (LTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Monero (XMR), Zcash (ZEC) and Mithril (MITH).

Finally, the statement clarified the situation of uncredited deposit funds made while services were suspended, stating that such monies will be credited to holders’ accounts.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

On a Path to Recovery: Bithumb Reopens Deposits and Withdrawals

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

On a Path to Recovery: Bithumb Reopens Deposits and Withdrawals

Following a disastrous security breach in June that led to losses of more than $30 million, Korean cryptocurrency exchange giant Bithumb has announced that it is set to resume deposit and withdrawal services on its platform. The announcement, which was made earlier today on Twitter, revealed that the services would be restored on August 4, 2018, at 11 a.m. KST.

Suspension and Maintenance

In June 2018, following the much-publicized hack that led to the hot-wallet theft, the platform temporarily disabled all currency transaction capabilities. Funds were hurriedly moved into cold storage wallets, and a moratorium was placed on all deposit and withdrawal services. The platform then announced some maintenance periods and security reviews, which led to significant downtime through much of July, although trading activities continued in between downtime periods.

Following a series of inspections carried out by the Korea Blockchain Association, Bithumb was certified as one of the 12 crypto exchanges that passed the check, out of 23 exchanges currently operating in Korea. Other crypto exchanges that passed the tests included Korbit, Huobi Korea, OKEx and Upbit, but the crypto market particularly welcomed Bithumb's return because it was Korea's largest crypto exchange by volume before the hack.

Due to the fund movement restrictions put in place after the hack, customers were unable to move their funds, and this had a knock-on effect on the wider Korean crypto industry, as many investors saw the hack and the subsequent KBA inspections as an indictment of the security of Korean crypto platforms. Traders and other stakeholders will no doubt hope that Bithumb's return to normalcy will be a shot in the arm for Korean crypto investment sentiment.

Bithumb Recovery Timeline

In a blog post, Bithumb stated that, although services are being restored, a few digital assets will not be included in the first wave of restorations, pending a return to market normalcy.

The statement reads in part:

Some cryptocurrencies with a significant price difference of about 10 percent between Bithumb market and standard market will be opted out for this customer's asset. When services return to normal, rapid changes in price are expected. Therefore resuming normal services for such cryptocurrencies will be put on hold for the time being.

Going further, the statement revealed that 10 cryptocurrencies have been approved for the first round of service restoration: Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Ripple (XRP), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Qtum (QTUM), Litecoin (LTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Monero (XMR), Zcash (ZEC) and Mithril (MITH).

Finally, the statement clarified the situation of uncredited deposit funds made while services were suspended, stating that such monies will be credited to holders’ accounts.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

On a Path to Recovery: Bithumb Reopens Deposits and Withdrawals

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

On a Path to Recovery: Bithumb Reopens Deposits and Withdrawals

Following a disastrous security breach in June that led to losses of more than $30 million, Korean cryptocurrency exchange giant Bithumb has announced that it is set to resume deposit and withdrawal services on its platform. The announcement, which was made earlier today on Twitter, revealed that the services would be restored on August 4, 2018, at 11 a.m. KST.

Suspension and Maintenance

In June 2018, following the much-publicized hack that led to the hot-wallet theft, the platform temporarily disabled all currency transaction capabilities. Funds were hurriedly moved into cold storage wallets, and a moratorium was placed on all deposit and withdrawal services. The platform then announced some maintenance periods and security reviews, which led to significant downtime through much of July, although trading activities continued in between downtime periods.

Following a series of inspections carried out by the Korea Blockchain Association, Bithumb was certified as one of the 12 crypto exchanges that passed the check, out of 23 exchanges currently operating in Korea. Other crypto exchanges that passed the tests included Korbit, Huobi Korea, OKEx and Upbit, but the crypto market particularly welcomed Bithumb's return because it was Korea's largest crypto exchange by volume before the hack.

Due to the fund movement restrictions put in place after the hack, customers were unable to move their funds, and this had a knock-on effect on the wider Korean crypto industry, as many investors saw the hack and the subsequent KBA inspections as an indictment of the security of Korean crypto platforms. Traders and other stakeholders will no doubt hope that Bithumb's return to normalcy will be a shot in the arm for Korean crypto investment sentiment.

Bithumb Recovery Timeline

In a blog post, Bithumb stated that, although services are being restored, a few digital assets will not be included in the first wave of restorations, pending a return to market normalcy.

The statement reads in part:

Some cryptocurrencies with a significant price difference of about 10 percent between Bithumb market and standard market will be opted out for this customer's asset. When services return to normal, rapid changes in price are expected. Therefore resuming normal services for such cryptocurrencies will be put on hold for the time being.

Going further, the statement revealed that 10 cryptocurrencies have been approved for the first round of service restoration: Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Ripple (XRP), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Qtum (QTUM), Litecoin (LTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Monero (XMR), Zcash (ZEC) and Mithril (MITH).

Finally, the statement clarified the situation of uncredited deposit funds made while services were suspended, stating that such monies will be credited to holders’ accounts.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Bitcoin Price Must Hit $213,000 to Become Viable USD Replacement: UBS

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

Even after weathering a bear market that wiped out more than 60 percent of the flagship cryptocurrency’s value, the bitcoin price continues to trade at a mark far above what its critics thought it could ever reach. Nevertheless, it still has a long way to go if it hopes to supplant the U.S. dollar or

The post Bitcoin Price Must Hit $213,000 to Become Viable USD Replacement: UBS appeared first on CCN

The CEO of Nasdaq asks herself two questions to keep her career and her company moving forward

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

Adena Friedman Nasdaq CEO

  • Adena Friedman became CEO of Nasdaq last year, after two decades at the company.
  • From the very start of her career, she learned how to make her voice heard, and then figured out how to mediate her power when she became a leader.
  • She said that when competing with the New York Stock Exchange, particularly on cryptocurrency, it's not important to be a "first mover."
  • She said approaching every day like it's her first on the job is the key to avoiding complacency.


Adena Friedman has the top job at Nasdaq, the world's second largest stock exchange. She joined the company in 1993 as an intern, and she's worked there for all but three years of her professional career.

On an episode of Business Insider's podcast "This Is Success," Friedman said she judges herself based on two questions: "Well, have I achieved everything that I could have achieved with the skills that I have? Have I brought my best self to the job every single day and do I treat every day as day one? Because that to me is the most important thing that I can do for the success of the company."

When Friedman became the first female CEO of a global stock exchange, she got tired of being asked about her gender in interviews. But then she realized she could leverage it at Nasdaq by helping other women make it into the C-suite. It's how her mom inspired her in the first place.

Listen to the full episode here: 

Subscribe to "This Is Success" on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, or your favorite podcast app. Check out previous episodes with:

Transcript edited for clarity.

Adena Friedman: My mom really has been my hero because she grew up in a world where being a stay-at-home mom was very much the path of choice. And she was a stay-at-home mom, and she was awesome at it. But when I was 9, she realized that she really wanted to have a career of her own, and she had a real desire to become a lawyer. Her dad was a lawyer, and I think she really had great respect for what he did. And so she went back to law school and then became an estates-and-trusts lawyer, and then became the first woman partner in her firm. And just watching her progress and really transform her own life into something that was just so meaningful for her was really, really important for me to see, and I think that's why she became a hero.

Richard Feloni: Did that change your relationship with her as well?

Friedman: She was amazing, because she still was there to make dinner most nights — although my dad did start making dinner a couple nights a week, which was really cool too. He really changed some of his work habits so that he could be around.

They were never kind of overbearing parents in any regard at all, but it also forced me to be a little more independent as I got older and became a teenager, which I think was actually good for me. And so it changed the relationship just a little bit, but she was always there when I needed her. Always.

Feloni: And your dad, he was CIO at T. Rowe Price?

Friedman: That's right.

Feloni: Did that influence you wanting to get into finance?

Friedman: Yeah, yeah, I think so. My brother and I are both in finance, and part of it was because he would bring us to the office, and we did get to hang out there and get to see what people did, and he made the work environment seem fun. Actually, we had a ton of fun. And then people were really, really nice about giving me things to do and making me feel useful, and so I got to see what it was like to be part of that environment. And they would teach us about investments; we would talk about investments at home and just try to understand what it all meant. And so—

Feloni: So you'd be a kid talking about finance stuff?

Friedman: Well, I was very curious about what he did, and so understanding how he looked at fundamentals, how he would make investment decisions, what was important to him, why was he going to China in the '80s — he traveled all over the world — so what was he learning? What was he trying to understand? He would read every paper, so what was he trying to get out of the papers? Those are the kinds of questions that I would ask as I got older and had a better understanding of what he did.

And I think that having that and understanding it, at least at a surface level, made it so it wasn't this big mystery. It was something I could understand. And even though when I was growing up I wanted to be an astronaut and I wanted to go into international relations and other things, by the time I had matured into saying, "Well, what is it that I really find interesting?" finance really was at the top of my list.

Feloni: So you were considering going to DC, right?

Friedman: Yeah. So I had grown up in Baltimore, and DC was always the big city down the street and always to me was the center of power, and you could feel it. You'd go there, and you'd just feel these in the history of the country. You'd feel the power structure that was there. And so I kind of really thought that was where I wanted to go.

So I went onto the Hill, and I had a great experience working for a congressman and then a senator, and it was great. But at the end of the day I realized that I wanted to be in a place where I could have more immediate impact, and so business was ultimately the perfect choice.

Making her voice heard

Feloni: At the commencement speech that you gave last year at your alma mater, Vanderbilt's business school, you told the story about how when you were 28 you took on a project that basically changed how you started your career. Could you explain what that was?

Friedman: When I was 28, I became in charge of a product called the Mutual Fund Quotation Service. And it was a really small, like, little mini-business within Nasdaq. It was a small product that hadn't really been revamped for a long time. Since it was kind of a pretty standard service, it really hadn't been touched for probably 10 years or more by the time I took it, and I had written a business plan about it a couple of years earlier, saying, "Well these are the things we could do to maximize the opportunity in the business." And they said, "OK, well, here you go."

Adena Friedman

Feloni: Was this a project that was, like, more senior leaders wouldn't want to touch it? They're like, oh, just give it to you because you were younger?

Friedman: Yeah. I mean, it was very much kind of an ancillary product. It wasn't central to trading. And they kind of said, "Well, she's a young person — let's try to see what she can do with it," essentially. And they did give me complete autonomy to do with it what I could.

The most important thing was to find a technology team. And there was a gentleman in the technology organization who I really came to respect and admire, and he said, "If you give me enough time and money, I can do anything for you." And then once I kind of proved myself that I wasn't just this 28-year-old person who didn't know what she was doing, that I was actually someone who could really help him get the resources he needed, we actually formed a great partnership.

Feloni: What did you want the universal takeaway to be from this story when you told it?

Friedman: Well, the first thing is: take those opportunities when they're given to you. Right? I was offered this opportunity, and then—

Feloni: Even if it looks bad in the first place?

Friedman: Right. I mean, even though it's, like, this product that no one really thought much about, it was an opportunity for me to have a lot more autonomy by taking something that people didn't care as much about it. It actually makes it so you can have a lot more impact on it and you can have a lot more autonomy.

The second thing is: find those people who are going to help you. Don't assume you're going to do it yourself. You have to have those people, those experts around you who are better at their jobs than you are, to help you find success.

Feloni: There's a profile of you in Vanderbilt magazine, and they interviewed some of your former classmates, and they basically described you as kind of being very confident and intense without being ruthless or aggressive. How do you see yourself?

Friedman: I thought that was actually interesting, because I thought it was very ... I was just interested in reading what they had to say than anyone else.

I think that the one thing that I learned early in my time at Vanderbilt was I always chose to be the editor of any group project. So that was the one thing that they probably saw, which was anytime I was in a group, I said, "I'll be the editor," which means you actually ended up doing a lot of extra work — but you want the product to be consistent. You want it to be consistently written. You want it to have consistent ideas throughout. And so there's extra work, but honestly it gave me the ability to kind of control the outcome a little bit better. And I think people, luckily, would trust me that I was going to do a good job at it. And so I think that probably manifested itself in me being considered kind of driven.

Feloni: Could you explain this meeting tactic that you have called, was it "lightbulb versus mandate"?

Friedman: Yeah, and it was actually Brad our CIO's idea to bring that into the room, because the former style within Nasdaq was very much a command-and-control style, which meant that the leader, once they said something it happened, right? And so it was before I became CEO, and I started realizing that every time I said something, everything just happened, even if it was just an idea, right?

So a lightbulb, it's just running an idea on the table — let's debate it, discuss it, let's get other opinions in the room. Just, in a way, kind of think of me as a peer in the room, all thinking together. But then in those times it becomes a mandate, meaning, "OK, it's decision time" — or there are certain things where I just say, "Look, we have to do it this way," then I say, "This is a mandate." And I use that pretty rarely. But it's an important moment when either we've all coalesced around a decision and we made a mandate, or there are certain things that I just feel like have to be done a certain way. But most of the time you kind of bring these lightbulbs into the room and you hopefully come to a better decision as a result.

Feloni: Do you think that that's changed your relationship with your employees?

Friedman: I do think that it makes it so it's a more open environment. So there's a collaboration element to it, and that's the lightbulb phase, and then there's the command element to it, meaning, "OK, now it's time to act. Let's go the road. Let's make decisions based on facts, based on analysis." But once the decision is made, we all have to march down the road the right way.

Feloni: So you went to an all-girls school until college. How did that prepare you for the world that you're in now?

Friedman: Well, definitely an all-girls environment for me — and it's different for everyone — it certainly gave me an enormous amount of confidence to stand up for myself, to voice my opinion, to ask questions. I was named the most inquisitive in my high school, which, I'm not so sure it was actually a compliment, but it was something where I never felt at all hesitant to ask questions in class. And then I got to college, and I was always the first one to raise my hand or whatever. I was always asking questions, and I realized that in many cases I was actually the only girl in the class asking questions.

And so I think it didn't dawn on me how important that was until I got to college and to a coed environment and I had that confidence to be able to be a person in the room like everyone else, to ask questions and answer questions. And I realized that it gave me an enormous amount of confidence. I didn't appreciate the all-girls education until I left, and then I looked back and said, "Wow, that really did shape me in a way that I'm really proud of."

Feloni: Even today you're looking at its influence?

Friedman: Yeah, I think so. Because it is a coed world though, and I was very fortunate because I had an older brother, and I think that helped also in terms of frankly creating a little balance and allowing me to understand how to interact in a coed world as well. But it is something for me, personally, it made a difference.

Feloni: Yeah, it's funny — I went to an all-boys school, and it was just, like, incredibly competitive. And I think that that's probably carried over with me, yeah.

Friedman: Yeah. And my brother went to an all-boys school, and it was incredibly competitive. I mean, the girls' school is pretty darn competitive too, but it still was competitive in the sphere of, you know, you always were kind of stacking yourself up against other girls, which I think is an important part of it too.

I also really loved math and science — and the math in particular, I really did love math — and I feel like that was probably an area where I particularly excelled because that was an all-girls atmosphere.

Becoming CEO

Feloni: When you became CEO of Nasdaq last year, there were a lot of profiles that were focusing almost exclusively on the fact that you were the first woman in charge of a global stock exchange and one of the few female leaders on Wall Street. Did that get annoying, seeing profiles seem to focus almost entirely on that?

Friedman: I would have to say I wasn't surprised, because it is new. I also was very clear that I don't really want to be remembered as a woman CEO; I want to be remembered as a great CEO, and I'm hoping that I'll be able to prove myself as someone who warrants that legacy. So it wasn't something that I tried to focus on, but it was kind of inevitable.

I think also what I really underestimated was the impact it had on some of the younger woman inside of Nasdaq and younger woman in the industry. So when I go out and talk to people now, I have younger women come up and tell me how important that was for them to see that there's a path all the way to the top. And I just didn't realize that was — I didn't understand that going into the role that that was going to be part of what this meant to the community around me. And it makes me really proud, and also humbled, frankly.

Feloni: So did those conversations kind of change how you saw your role yourself?

Friedman: No, other than frankly it just puts a little more pressure on myself to do really well.

Feloni: There have been some things that you've embraced like the Parity Pledge at Nasdaq — could you explain what that is?

Friedman: There was an organization called the Parity Pledge, which is a nonprofit organization that looked at the Rooney Rule in football. But in this case, what they were asking for is for companies to sign up and say, "I'm willing to interview one female candidate for every role at the VP level or above." And frankly, believe it or not, that's just not the standard practice today. Recruiting firms that you work with don't always provide you those candidates, especially if you don't ask outright. And internally, you also realize that as you go up the chain, you're finding that it's not as straightforward as you'd think it would be.

So I asked our leadership team, I said, "Look, we're not just going to do this willy-nilly. Is everyone ready to commit to this?" And they all said yes. And in fact we did have a recruiting going on at that time, and we didn't have any women candidates. We added a woman, and we chose her because she honestly was by far the best candidate.

So it does make you realize that if you force that into the interviewing process, it allows you to open your mind, and it allows you to open up to probably some really great candidates that you didn't realize.

Feloni: Do you think that the Parity Pledge is a way to finally change the culture of Wall Street?

Friedman: You do want to make sure that you have a diverse organization, because frankly I think there's tons of evidence out there that says that it will be ultimately a better-performing organization. And if you recognize that up front, then all you have to do is create those practices that make it so that it perpetuates itself.

And so now we have some amazing women leaders — particularly in our tech organization — that then open it up to other women realizing this would be a good place to work, because they can see women in leadership and these roles. And so it frankly has an effect all the way down the organization.

Feloni: And in terms of taking the CEO role: So you were a CFO, you were a COO — when you took the role of CEO, how did that feel different? What was your first day like?

Friedman: Well, the first thing I would say is Bob Greifeld, the former CEO, did a spectacular job of transitioning the role. And I really would say it's like a textbook of how to do it well, because we were together for three years as president and then COO, and we worked very closely together to give me the autonomy that I needed to be successful in my role but also prepare me for the next role. He also allowed me to make some leadership changes in the organization in those years so that by the time I became CEO I didn't suddenly have to make a lot of decisions at the leadership level — in fact, I had a team.

Feloni: There was a transition phase?

Friedman: It was a very good transition phase. So that first day was a big day, but it wasn't a day where I suddenly had to make a bunch of changes on Day One; I walked right into the role.

The difference really is how you manage your time. There are just so many pulls on your time when you become the CEO, because not only do you have the businesses in your clients, which really is where you focus when you're the COO or president, but you have the investors, and you have Washington or government organizations, and other stakeholders, and then you have the media — and you have just a lot of other constituents that you have to start to manage, and so it means that you have to really focus a lot on time management. So that's probably the biggest change of becoming CEO.

Feloni:  I interviewed Bob a couple of years ago, and he was saying to this note of transition that leaders at Nasdaq always know what their succession plan is going to be. Is that still a policy?

Friedman: Yeah. We do succession planning every year, and that's frankly a very important aspect of the board.

So we presented to the board every year, and we think a lot about succession planning as part of the hiring decisions, as we think about development plans, as we do development training for people, and it's very much part of the conversation. And it's not just a once-a-year exercise — I actually have those conversations throughout the year with our key leaders. But they always are thinking that way because they have to make sure that, you know, this company is bigger than one person. So you have to make sure that you're always thinking about how do you create a sustainable organization for yourself.

Feloni: Bob Greifeld, he was saying how when he took Nasdaq it was kind of a mess at first, but then he transformed it and kind of reinvented it as a tech company. Do you have a mission yourself on some things you want to change or take into a next step?

Friedman: He definitely came into the organization at a critical juncture where it was kind of having an identity crisis in terms of it being a very important equities market in the United States but going through a lot of regulatory change that it hadn't been able to acclimate well to. He turned it into a very functional and very successful equities market, and then he was able to grow it to being multi-asset-class and multinational, and then looking at technology as our core differentiator and taking that and getting the market tech business into a state where we really are a differentiated supplier.

So he did a spectacular job. I think my job now is to take all that strength — because he really handed over a company that is in a very strong position — but find new ways to grow and expand our business with technology being our core.

Competing with the New York Stock Exchange

adena friedman verisign

Feloni: A topic that's always being talked about in markets now is cryptocurrency and crypto exchanges with Nasdaq. I mean, like, you've provided some technology to crypto exchanges like Gemini, but you've still kind of hedged involvement there. The New York Stock Exchange's parent company is building a crypto-trading platform — their parent company, ICE, they're working on a trading platform for bitcoin specifically [this was launched on Aug. 3]. And with that, is there any danger that Nasdaq would fall behind on that?

Friedman: So we've made a conscious decision to serve as a technology partner to the crypto markets that exist today — to help new crypto markets form and evolve through our technology, as well as to make it so that they really start to focus on surveillance and monitoring their markets to make sure that it's a fair environment. So our technology, our smart-surveillance technology, is being used by more than one exchange, including Gemini. And our market technology, our trading and clearing technologies, are being used by multiple exchanges as well in the crypto space. And that's been our first effort, to make sure that we're serving the market appropriately with our technology.

The decision for Nasdaq to become a market itself, our view is that being the first mover is not necessarily the role that we want to play. So we've made a conscious decision not to be a first mover in that market. We have been evaluating the potential to launch a future, but we really want to make sure that if we do it that it's based on exchanges where the price formation of those exchanges can be relied upon, and, therefore, they're well surveilled, and they've got reliable technology.

So those are some of the things that we've considered as we start to consider whether or not to launch an index with the future. The second is looking more holistically at becoming an exchange itself. And I would say that the markets today are in a very early stage. I think that it's not a regulated environment. And so today Nasdaq believes that we're better served by being a technology provider to the exchanges than by trying to launch one ourselves.

Feloni: OK, yeah. So former New York Stock Exchange President Tom Farley, who served from 2013 to this past May, he was recently saying that Nasdaq, which has built a reputation as an exchange for tech companies — you have Apple, Facebook, Google — he was arguing that, "Oh, Nasdaq, they've outlived that. It's not true anymore," and it would drive him crazy to hear that. How do you reply to him?

Friedman: Well, first of all, I actually agree that we are a much more diversified market than just a technology market. So I was actually pleased to see him say that we're a much more evolved market than tech. Last year, Pepsi switched from the New York Stock Exchange to Nasdaq after 100 years of listing on the New York Stock Exchange, and they did that because we're not just a technology exchange — we actually are an exchange where innovators of all types come, and they want to be a part of an ecosystem that supports that innovation and that ability to continue to drive to the future. But our heritage in tech is something that we will always be thrilled to have.

Feloni: On that note, he was saying that when he was running the New York Stock Exchange, he saw its relationship with Nasdaq like the Hatfields and McCoys, like there was like some blood feud that he was cognizant of every day — he had respect, but there was a bitter rivalry that he had to go out and attack. How do you see it?

Friedman: I mean, certainly it's a very competitive situation, and every company has the option to choose one exchange or another, and it is every week that we do compete for every IPO. But we tend to really focus on all of the things that we need to do to make it a great experience for our listed companies, and at the end of the day, that's what's going to make us win, not so much looking at the person next door.

Feloni: Yeah. So on a separate note — but kind of related, in terms of competition — you're a black belt in taekwondo. How did you get into that?

Friedman: Well, I got into it because my kids were into it, and then my husband started doing it, and I sat there and I was watching the classes, thinking, "Why am I sitting here watching? Why don't I go do it too?" And so we all started doing taekwondo.

I really like it because it teaches self-reliance. It's not looking at your neighbor and deciding whether you're better than them. It's all about looking at yourself and being the best that you can be. And to me, I just think those are life lessons that I'm really happy that my kids have heard and gotten instilled in them. But I would also argue that it's very relevant in business too.

Feloni: How?

Friedman: So you're focusing on yourself and being your best self, and usually that means you're serving your customer. And if you're focusing on your mission, and you're dedicated to achieving that mission, and that mission is client-oriented, then you will have success. And it doesn't really matter what those companies next to you are doing as long as you know that you've got the right focus and the right execution and the right relationships with your customers.

And I think that we are really evolving to this client-oriented company that makes sure that we're thinking about our clients' needs today and over the next 10 years, like how are they going to change? And if we can stay focused on that and not necessarily get too wrapped up in the competitive landscape, I think we can be our best self. And I think those are the types of lessons that I have to say I have learned in taekwondo.

Feloni: So you've got a taekwondo mentality, not "the Hatfields and McCoys."

Friedman: I think that's right. So I really like that. It's a black-belt mentality for sure.

Taking every day like it's day one

Feloni: What would you say has been the biggest challenge that you've overcome?

Friedman: I think that making sure that you don't hold yourself back.

So there was a moment, and it was really when the kids were young, where there is an easier road to take than being a working mother. However, I think that, frankly, at the end of the day, I'm a better mother from the fact that I did work. My husband and I, I should say together, were able to find the right balance. My children have relationships with both of us that are deep and important and definitely sustainable.

It was hard, and there were moments when I felt overwhelmed, but there were two things that kept me going. One was my husband, who was always encouraging me and saying, "Adena, if you don't continue to work, you'll probably go do a whole bunch of volunteer work, and you'll be just as stressed out." So this is one of those things where I'm a driven person, so I'm going to be driven either in my career or I'm going to be driven in other ways. So kind of, "Keep going. You're going to be great."

The second was my mom, and she was very good in saying, "You know, Adena, you are a driven person, and I can tell you that from my own experience of going from being a stay-at-home mom to being a working mom that, at the end of the day, you can do both, and you can do it both successfully."

And so both of those people were really, really important to me in getting me through those really challenging years where you could decide that it's just too much. Beyond that, once I was able to get through that and my husband and I found a great balance together, it's been a pretty smooth process from there.

Feloni: And how do you personally define success?

Friedman: Well, I always look at home first, right? So to me, having a family — a happy family, well-adjusted kids, kids that are ready to face their own challenges in life and that are ready for any next step that comes their way — to me is the most important thing that any person can do.

Then I look at my profession, and I say, "Well, have I achieved everything that I could have achieved with the skills that I have? Have I brought my best self to the job every single day, and do I treat every day as Day One?" Because that to me is the most important thing that I can do for the success of the company.

And so those are the things I ask myself frankly every day to make sure that I'm bringing my best self to my role every day.

Feloni: Yeah. So it's trying to imagine that first day every day?

Friedman: It is, because I've always said that complacency is the killer of every great company, and the only way to overcome complacency is always to wake up every day saying, "What am I going to do to further the success of this company today?" Not next week or next month, but today. And if everyone in the company wakes up every day and says, "What am I going to do? What am I going to bring to the table that makes this company even more successful today?" it makes it so that you've got the company that is always looking for change, they're always listening to their customers, they're always finding new ways to do things, and they're always innovating. And that is, at the end of the day, what's going to be successful. That's what's going to drive Nasdaq's success.

Feloni: What advice would you give to someone who wants to have a career like yours?

Friedman: Well, the first thing is: take those opportunities when they're given to you, because oftentimes they are offered up and it's a matter of you realizing that even if it feels overwhelming, as I just talked about a minute ago, you can do it. And think about how to say yes as opposed to why say no. So I think that if you say yes to your opportunities early on in your career, and you think about also having some level of goals as you go through your career — they can change, but at least always looking forward and saying, "What would I want to do next?" — that it really helps drive you, and it helps keep you focused, but it also opens you up to opportunities that you may not have realized were there.

Feloni: Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Adena.

Friedman: All right. Thank you very much.

SEE ALSO: 'Million Dollar Listing' star Ryan Serhant explains how he went from broke actor to leading a top real-estate team that sold over $800 million worth of property last year

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High Times Launches First Ever IPO to Accept Bitcoin, Ethereum

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

High Times, a prominent New York publication advocating cannabis usage, is breaking new ground in the cryptocurrency world by accepting crypto during its IPO, the first ever stock offering to do so. High Times CEO Adam Levin said: “High Times has been at the forefront of popular culture for more than four decades. Now we’re taking

The post High Times Launches First Ever IPO to Accept Bitcoin, Ethereum 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.

Wall Street bonuses are set to soar 

Wall Street workers who trade stocks or derivatives linked to equity markets may see annual bonuses surge as much as 20% as market volatility picks up and more startups head to the public markets to sell shares, according to a new report. 

People who work in sales and trading, regardless of their product area, are in line for a strong year, compensation consultant Johnson Associates said in its second-quarter report. At this rate, equities personnel will see incentive compensation climb 15% to 20% compared to last year, while fixed income sales and trading staff will likely see a 5% to 10% increase, the report said. 

The owner of the New York Stock Exchange is building an 'ecosystem' for crypto

ICE, the parent company of the iconic New York Stock Exchange, is making a big move into the crypto market with a digital asset platform.

The firm, which previously dove into the market for digital assets via a data feed product earlier this year, had reportedly been exploring a cryptocurrency exchange platform. On Friday, the company officially announced it had been developing out such an offering.

ICE is teaming up with Microsoft to build out Bakkt, a new company that will serve as a "ecosystem for digital assets," including bitcoin.

The platform would allow folks to buy and sell digital assets.

Barclays has the fastest growing stock trading team around 

The hottest stock-trading team on the planet in 2018 isn't one of Wall Street's giants from the United States.

Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase, and Goldman Sachs may dominate the equities industry in terms of raw market share, but British lender Barclays has the fastest-growing operation in the business so far this year.

The bank reported stellar second quarter earnings results Thursday, and its equities business was a key reason why, growing to $807 million from $588 million in 2017 — a 37% increase.

No other major bank's stock-trading team grew faster in the second quarter.

Professional investors say Lazard should consider breaking itself up

Boutique investment bank Lazard has a 170-year history of providing expert financial advice to clients.

But according to the results of an industry survey, many professional investors think the bank should consider a shift in its own strategy to boost shareholder returns.

The anonymous survey was carried out by Devin Ryan at JMP Securities, who said he received more than 50 formal responses from various hedge funds and mutual funds.

In markets news

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NOW WATCH: An early bitcoin investor explains what most people get wrong about the cryptocurrency

Coinbase WooCommerce Plugin Makes Crypto Available to Millions of Online Merchants

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

Coinbase WooCommerce Plugin Makes Crypto Available to Millions of Online Merchants

Coinbase’s latest announcement heralds a WooCommerce plugin that makes it quick and easy to accept bitcoin and litecoin as payment methods on any WooCommerce-powered site.

WordPress-powered WooCommerce is one of the most popular e-commerce platforms on the web, and Coinbase claims that it is integrated with over 28 percent of all online stores. Now, each of these stores has a point-of-sale plugin to begin accepting cryptocurrency payments from customers the world over. The WooCommerce plugin can be found on the Coinbase GitHub account.

The plugin allows its users to transfer bitcoin and litecoin directly from Coinbase Commerce with an easy-to-use payment button. The plugin’s library is currently available in less than 10 lines of code for React and Python, and Coinbase says that client libraries for Node.js, Ruby and PHP are currently being built. While the plugin currently supports just bitcoin and litecoin, the company is working on support for ether and bitcoin cash, as well.

Coinbase sees the plugin as its next step to facilitate more widespread adoption of cryptocurrency and creating a more inclusive, open financial system.

“Note that all payments made through Coinbase Commerce are truly peer-to-peer,” the announcement blog post reads. “When customers send money from their cryptocurrency wallet it’s sent directly to a merchant-controlled cryptocurrency address and processed on-chain by the respective blockchain. This means merchants never have to pay transaction fees to accept payments and always remain in complete control over their funds.”

The Coinbase announcement concludes by noting, “We’re just getting started on our quest to make cryptocurrencies an easy payment option and are continually improving Coinbase Commerce based on your awesome feedback. If you have an idea for a feature or product enhancement, tell us on Twitter at @CommerceCB.”



This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Coinbase WooCommerce Plugin Makes Crypto Available to Millions of Online Merchants

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

Coinbase WooCommerce Plugin Makes Crypto Available to Millions of Online Merchants

Coinbase’s latest announcement heralds a WooCommerce plugin that makes it quick and easy to accept bitcoin and litecoin as payment methods on any WooCommerce-powered site.

WordPress-powered WooCommerce is one of the most popular e-commerce platforms on the web, and Coinbase claims that it is integrated with over 28 percent of all online stores. Now, each of these stores has a point-of-sale plugin to begin accepting cryptocurrency payments from customers the world over. The WooCommerce plugin can be found on the Coinbase GitHub account.

The plugin allows its users to transfer bitcoin and litecoin directly from Coinbase Commerce with an easy-to-use payment button. The plugin’s library is currently available in less than 10 lines of code for React and Python, and Coinbase says that client libraries for Node.js, Ruby and PHP are currently being built. While the plugin currently supports just bitcoin and litecoin, the company is working on support for ether and bitcoin cash, as well.

Coinbase sees the plugin as its next step to facilitate more widespread adoption of cryptocurrency and creating a more inclusive, open financial system.

“Note that all payments made through Coinbase Commerce are truly peer-to-peer,” the announcement blog post reads. “When customers send money from their cryptocurrency wallet it’s sent directly to a merchant-controlled cryptocurrency address and processed on-chain by the respective blockchain. This means merchants never have to pay transaction fees to accept payments and always remain in complete control over their funds.”

The Coinbase announcement concludes by noting, “We’re just getting started on our quest to make cryptocurrencies an easy payment option and are continually improving Coinbase Commerce based on your awesome feedback. If you have an idea for a feature or product enhancement, tell us on Twitter at @CommerceCB.”



This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Wall Street bonuses are set to soar as volatility breathes new life into trading desks once left for dead

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

Wolf of Wall Street Money Leo Dicaprio

  • "Substantial growth" in trading and equity underwriting across Wall Street points to good news come yearend, when employees learn what they will get for bonus pay, according to a new report from Johnson Associates. 
  • Equity sales and trading personnel may see incentive pay surge 15% to 20%, while fixed-income colleagues may see a 5% to 10% bump.

Wall Street workers who trade stocks or derivatives linked to equity markets may see annual bonuses surge as much as 20% as market volatility picks up and more startups head to the public markets to sell shares, according to a new report. 

People who work in sales and trading, regardless of their product area, are in line for a strong year, compensation consultant Johnson Associates said in its second-quarter report. At this rate, equities personnel will see incentive compensation climb 15% to 20% compared to last year, while fixed income sales and trading staff will likely see a 5% to 10% increase, the report said. 

These bonuses are likely to be paid in 2019 for work done this year.

Incentives for equities salespeople and traders are up "significantly" thanks to an uptick in volatility and client activity, even after a strong first quarter, Johnson wrote. Incentive compensation for fixed income trading is "gaining momentum."

The report is good news for Wall Streeters who have endured years of compensation declines and shrinking bonuses after the financial crisis and technology improvements reduced demand and left hundreds of longtime traders looking for work. The return of market volatility — which was absent for much of 2016 and almost all of 2017 — has revived banks' stock-trading businesses across Wall Street, and even given a boost to long moribund fixed-income trading desks. 

Johnson Associates' estimate for the top end of the range for equity traders is 33% higher than it was in the firm's  first quarter report

Despite a record year thus far in mergers and acquisitions activity, Johnson doesn't expect the pace to continue and projects bonuses to fall by 5% to 10% compared with the strong performance in the industry last year. Compensation for those bankers who help companies sell equity or debt issues will be flat to up 5%, Johnson estimates. 

Here's how the bonus pool for every other business is expected to fare this year, according to the Johnson Associates report:

Screen Shot 2018 08 03 at 11.23.35 AM

And here's how bonus compensation has changed across the major Wall Street industries since the financial crisis, a period in which private equity and traditional asset management have far outpaced banks and hedge funds:


Screen Shot 2018 08 03 at 11.24.58 AM

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NOW WATCH: An early investor in Uber, Airbnb, and bitcoin explains why it's actually a good sign that no one is spending their crypto

An American woman was dragged off a Korean Air flight after she commandeered a business class seat and went on an incoherent rant

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

Korean Air Boeing 777 200

  • An American woman was dragged off a Korean Air flight bound for San Francisco after she refused to leave a business class seat even though she'd originally booked an economy seat.
  • The incident was captured on a cell-phone video posted to YouTube.
  • It took six Korean Air flight attendants to restrain the woman, who chanted, "U.S. Marshalls" and "Nuclear disarmament."
  • In a statement given to AllKPop.com, airline police said, "The woman was transferred to the hospital first as she seemed to be suffering from a mental illness. We plan to investigate her as soon as the hospital completes her examination."

An American woman was dragged off a Korean Air flight at Incheon Airport outside of Seoul, South Korea last week after she commandeered a business class seat and proceed to go on an incoherent rant.

According to a report by the San Francisco Chronicle, the incident on board Korean Air Flight 25 took place on July 27 which caused the flight to San Francisco to be delayed an hour and 44 minutes.

"The woman, who originally booked an economy seat, sat down in the business class seating instead," Korean website AllKPop.com reported. "The woman refused to move and caused a disturbance when the flight attendant told her, 'You have to sit in your designated seat,'" 

Korean Air was not immediately available for comment. 

However, the airline told Newsweek that the woman ignored multiple requests to leave the business class seat and then became violent once airline staff started to remove her, adding that she ignored police officer's requests as well once they boarded the plane. 

The incident was captured in a cell-phone video that was posted on the Korea JoonAng Daily YouTube page. It opens with a collection of Korean Air flight attendants surrounding the woman in her seat. The six flight attendant's faces are pixelated so one cannot see their facial expressions. 

In the video, the woman can be heard screaming, "U.S. Marshals!" as the flight attendants approach her. 

The woman appears to place her passport in her mouth while the flight attendants are unbuckling her from her seat and pulling her up on her feet. A smattering of claps can be heard from other passengers as the woman is pushed by flight attendants down the aisle and off the plane. 

She then abruptly collapses to the ground and begins yelling, "Korean Air stole my passport!" as she is pulled down the aisle, amid multiple cries and yells. 

Once the flight attendants load her onto a restraining wheelchair, the woman looks up at the person filming the incident and chants, "DDoS Korean Air! DDos Korean Air? Nuclear disarmament!" 

(DDoS stands for distributed denial of service. It's a cyber attack that can shut down a website or server by overwhelming it with traffic.)

Then she looks directly into the camera and says, "Meanwhile at SpaceX," as she is lifted in her wheelchair and brought off the plane as she shouts, "I love you!"  

In a statement given to AllKPop.com, airline police said, "The woman was transferred to the hospital first as she seemed to be suffering from a mental illness. We plan to investigate her as soon as the hospital completes her examination."

Here's the incident captured on video:

 

SEE ALSO: 'Do you know what hell is?': A Spirit Airlines passenger began yelling and acting 'erratic' and 'irate' after the plane made an unscheduled stop because of a medical emergency

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NOW WATCH: An early investor in Airbnb and Uber explains why he started buying bitcoin in 2009

Bitcoin Could be ‘First Worldwide Currency’: NYSE Owner

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

The chief executive of the company that owns and operates the world’s largest stock exchange believes that bitcoin has the potential to be the world’s “first worldwide currency,” and he’s throwing his firm’s weight behind an ambitious plan to make that a reality. As CCN reported, Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) — owner of the New York

The post Bitcoin Could be ‘First Worldwide Currency’: NYSE Owner appeared first on CCN

'I think it will double or triple my money many times over': People are paying close to $100,000 for rare 'Magic' cards that some compare to getting in early on bitcoin and predict will one day be wor

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

Magic the gathering cards

  • "Magic: The Gathering" is a wizardry-inspired card game from the early '90s that has a cult following even today.
  • Several rare, early print editions of the cards are worth thousands of dollars, with one particularly hard-to-find card selling for close to $100,000.
  • But one investor thinks that this is just the beginning of the cards' value. Get in early, he suggests, and you could make millions.

"If the Black Lotus gets $70,000 tonight, it'll be worth millions in about twenty years," Bryan Goldberg told me last week over the phone.

Goldberg, a tech entrepreneur and self-described geek who owns a stable of media sites including Bustle, Elite Daily, and most recently Gawker.com, is predicting the outcome of an eBay auction that's underway for the Black Lotus, the most powerful card from the trading card game "Magic: The Gathering."

At the time of our conversation, bids for the coveted Black Lotus hover around $60,000. Goldberg is betting that the price will balloon by $10,000 in just a few short hours. If his call is right, Goldberg estimates that the Black Lotus's value will compound many times over in upcoming years. By 2038, he predicts, it will be worth a minimum of $1 million.

"Magic: The Gathering" isn't a new trend or an emerging fad like Crypto Kitties. The wizardry-inspired card game came out in the early '90s and precedes Pokémon by about three years. The people who play it, says Goldberg, are "nerds, geeks, and people who grew up as nerds and geeks." Today, many of those same "nerds and geeks" are tech-savvy millennials who spend thousands of dollars on select cards from their beloved game. 

"In my childhood, I was completely absorbed by it," said Goldberg. "The game today is the best it's ever been. It's a wonderful game. It's not just fun to play  there's so much nostalgia for it."

Goldberg says he invests in the cards for the same reason he's bought up companies or bitcoin: He thinks it's going to make him a lot of money. 

Just how much money?

"I think it will double or triple my money many times over," said Goldberg. The payoff, he says, will be similar to investments in cryptocurrencies like bitcoin or ethereum, with the potential to make early investors extremely wealthy.

"In 2018, it's hard to think of any investment opportunity that's even remotely in the same ballpark as bitcoin," said Goldberg. "With these cards, I feel like I found an asset class that could really be huge. If this does what I think it can do, it could be a fantastic investment."

Magic: The Gathering

Since the '90s, Goldberg estimates that billions of "Magic: The Gathering" cards have been printed, with more and more decks released all the time. Today, you can buy a 60-pack  "battle deck" for around $10.

The cards' collectability emerges from a select group of early print editions and a few cards that have been retired from print altogether.

Some of these cards are so powerful in the context of the game that the player who holds them would almost always win by default, explained Goldberg. Because this ruined the fun for the rest of the players, the card makers agreed to stop printing them early on, making the likelihood of owning them today extremely rare.

Many of the existing editions have been lost or badly damaged, with very few surviving in mint or perfect condition. Goldberg says he believes that only 40 mint condition Black Lotuses remain in circulation today. While he declined to disclose the exact number he owns, Goldberg did say that he's bought up a meaningful percentage of the 40 remaining first-edition, mint-condition Black Lotuses.

Magic The Gathering Black Lotus

This group of rare Black Lotuses might be compared to early edition baseball cards, some of which sold for millions of dollars decades after their release.

But the earning potential for "Magic: The Gathering" cards is even greater than those faded sports collectibles, said Goldberg, mostly because the game is still incredibly popular. 

"It's exploding," said Goldberg. "The people who were kids when it came out are grown-ups now who have made money and can afford to buy them."

Of course, there's the very real possibility that Goldberg could be wrong. After all, Beanie Babies were also once a highly sought-after collectible that fizzled out in popularity years later.

But Goldberg is correct that "Magic: The Gathering" (MTG) is still incredibly popular.

If you've never heard of MTG before, it might be because the community is — as Goldberg puts it — "small and private." Online, however, enthusiasm for "Magic: The Gathering" is widespread.

Magic the gathering

On YouTube, for instance, a single video of someone buying a collection of MTG cards for $21,000 has nearly a million views with hundreds of comments trailing below. It's not uncommon for videos of people opening decks of cards, brokering trading deals, or examining vintage decks to accrue hundreds of thousands of viewers.

There's one video on YouTube that embodies the MTG zeitgeist particularly well: 

In it, an unseen collector meticulously slices through a vintage deck with a scalpel. For ten minutes, he painstakingly flips through the deck, card by card, his hands sheathed in blue plastic gloves so as not to damage them. Right around the eight-minute mark, he strikes gold: Embedded at the bottom of the pack is a mint-condition alpha Black Lotus.

"Holy....Blrsh! [unintelligible]" He shouts. "That's a freaking Black Lotus! Oh my god! That's an alpha-freakin-Lotus."

With shaking hands, he starts to cry, or laugh, or maybe both. The video has over six million views. Some commenters say they've watched the 10 minute-long video multiple times, over and over again.

And YouTube is only the beginning of the MTG community's pervasive online presence. Reddit, Twitter, blogging sites, and Facebook all suggest a deeply engaged community. There's also in-person gatherings as well: Tournaments with thousands in attendance, Meetup groups, and themed weddings, to name just a few. (There's also a well-populated Pinterest page documenting various ideas for MTG-themed celebrations.)

The money, for Goldberg, is just one part of the game's appeal  a pleasant bonus he didn't quite expect.

So, was Goldberg's prediction of the Black Lotus's value for the upcoming auction accurate?

No. As it turns out, he was way off, by more than $15,000.

Around 1 am during the night of the auction, Goldberg shoots me an email.

"Holy shit," he writes. "~$88,000 for the Black Lotus...that is way more than I would have ever guessed even when we were on the phone. Tonight was insane."
Bryan Goldberg email

Cameron Kunzelman, a reporter for gaming site Kotaku, later described the record-breaking $87, 672 purchase as "a lot of money for a little bit of cardboard."

"Should rarity and cultural prestige account for an $87,000 price tag?" Kunzelman wrote."That’s maybe a little bit high for me."

Goldberg's bullish prediction that the card will one day be worth $1 million or more could end up being wrong — but the recent auction proves there's also a very real chance he's right. In twenty years, that same piece of cardboard could be worth more than a house.

At the very least, it's a good reminder that value is relative. Maybe there's not much of a difference between precious minerals, computer-generated lines of code, and laminated cardboard after all.

There's another Black Lotus up on eBay, in mint condition.

The asking price? $100,000.

SEE ALSO: Top investors gambled $12 million on the blockchain equivalent of Beanie Babies. Now, sales are plummeting.

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Bitcoin Not Stable Enough to Be Used as Real Money, Says Ubs Strategist

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

Global investment bank UBS believes Bitcoin is not stable enough to become mainstream money. The bank believes the cryptocurrency has a lot of factors preventing a breakout, chief of which are technological limits and constant price changes. In her notes to clients, as reported by CNBC, UBS global macro strategist Joni Teves said Bitcoin is

The post Bitcoin Not Stable Enough to Be Used as Real Money, Says Ubs Strategist appeared first on CCN

NYSE Parent ICE's New Futures Contract Will Deliver Real Bitcoin

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

Intercontinental Exchange, owner of the New York Stock Exchange, says it plans to launch a digital assets platform and bitcoin futures product.

Starbucks drops major hint at plans to accept Bitcoin

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

Back in May, reports surfaced that New York Stock Exchange owner Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) was developing a Bitcoin trading platform. This morning, it officially announced the creation of Bakkt, a new company that will help trade and convert the best known cryptocurrency to fiat money — government-backed legal tender. As one might expect from a […]

GOLDMAN SACHS: Bitcoin is never coming back

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

Goldman Sachs

  • Goldman Sachs' investment strategy group says bitcoin will continue to decline.
  • It also says the virtual currency meets none of the three definitions of usable money and makes up just 0.3% of global GDP.
  • Bitcoin has declined by 45% in 2018.
  • Follow bitcoin in real-time here. 

Despite headline-making plans to open a bitcoin trading desk earlier this year, Goldman Sachs still isn’t sold on the virtual currency.

In a midyear economic-outlook report, the bank’s investment strategy group says the price of bitcoin is likely to decline even further than the 45% it has in the first seven months of 2018.

"Our view that cryptocurrencies would not retain value in their current incarnation remains intact and, in fact, has been borne out much sooner than we expected," the team lead by chief investment officer Sharmin Mossavar-Rahamani said.

"We expect further declines in the future given our view that these cryptocurrencies do not fulfill any of the three traditional roles of a currency: they are neither a medium of exchange, nor a unit of measurement, nor a store of value."

Cryptocurrencies — and  especially the blockchain technology that underpins their distributed nature — have been heralded as disruptors to the global financial system, theoretically allowing for more efficient databases, quicker transactions, and more transparent operations. For now, at least, Goldman maintains they won’t have much of an impact on any other asset class.

"Importantly, we continue to believe that such declines will not negatively impact the performance of broader financial assets, because cryptocurrencies represent just 0.3% of world GDP as of mid-2018," the report said. "In fact, we believe that they garner far more traditional media and social media attention than is warranted."

In May, Goldman touted its plans for a bitcoin trading operation. Two of the planned executives for the unit sat down with the New York Times to discuss how the bank plans to get regulatory approval and calculate risks inherent to the nascent space. For now, at least, Goldman's bitcoin operations will be limited to institutional investors.

You can read the full mid-year investment outlook here.

SEE ALSO: UBS: Bitcoin is 'too unstable and limited' to be money or a new asset class â and 70% of the price action is driven by speculators

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Square should focus on growing its services (SQ)

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

This story was delivered to Business Insider Intelligence "Payments Briefing" subscribers hours before appearing on Business Insider. To be the first to know, please click here.

Square’s gross payment volume (GPV) reached $21.4 billion in Q2 2018, marking a 30% year-over-year (YoY) increase. That's a slight decline from the 32% annual GPV growth the firm saw between Q2 2016 and Q2 2017.

Square Subscription and Services-Based Revenue

And Square's overall GPV growth rate was down a bit from Q1 2018, when it grew 31% annually, but this marks a trend of slight sequential growth deceleration that the firm has been seeing over the past few quarters. 

Despite that deceleration, Square’s revenue grew 48% YoY to reach $815 million, which is considerably faster than the 26% YoY growth it saw in Q2 2017. 

Continuing to ramp up initiatives in two main areas will likely enable Square to accelerate its growth. First, larger sellers: Square has been pushing into larger sellers, which has been working — this group, defined as retailers with over $125,000 in annualized GPV, now comprises half of Square's total GPV, up from 42% two years ago. That's likely because of Square's aggressive pursuit of key subsets of these sellers, like retailers and restaurants, which represent 85% of the firm's GPV.

New tools, like Square for Restaurants — its first product for full-service restaurants, which launched in May and features a point-of-sale (POS) system and restaurant management tools — are its most sophisticated and robust solutions yet, which could help it further attract, engage, and retain this client segment. More offerings like these, for subsets with a higher percentage of larger sellers, could boost Square's presence in this segment. 

Second is subscription- and services-based revenue: This segment reached $134 million, up 127% annually — an acceleration from the 99% annual growth Square saw in Q2 2017. Square's performance here was boosted in part by Square Cash, it's peer-to-peer (P2P) offering.

In June 2018, the Cash App's Cash Card, or physical and virtual debit card, nearly tripled its spend from December 2017 to $250 million, showcasing notable engagement since launch. The firm is working to build the Cash App into a financial services ecosystem, pointing out new features like its rewards program, Cash Boost, as a way of generating more revenue for the segment — critical gains, since Square Cash hadn't been a major monetization force before. Meanwhile, Cash App's Bitcoin trading feature is generating small amounts of revenue as well.

And Instant Deposit, which gives users access to bank account cashout in real time, saw $4 billion in Q2, driven by both sellers and Cash App users. Building out this segment by identifying popular offerings to supplement its main products can allow Square to continue seeing strong revenue growth. Added features, like coupons and Bitcoin trading, can boost engagement among existing customers and act as effective onboarding tools that might drive new users to Square's more lucrative offerings. 

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Toys R Us' bankruptcy delivered a big blow to the jobs report

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

Toys R Us

  • Toys R Us might be the reason why the US economy added fewer jobs than economists forecast in July.
  • The jobs report released on Friday showed that no group of companies saw bigger losses than retailers of sporting goods, toys, books, and music. 
  • Toys R Us announced in January that it was closing all its US stores, meaning that over 31,000 workers lost their jobs. 

Toys R Us appears to have taken a chunk out of the US economy's job gains in July. 

The jobs report, released on Friday, showed that employers added 157,000 nonfarm payrolls, fewer than economists had expected. And the subsector that had the biggest loss was hobby, toy, and game stores.

Toys R Us filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last September, and announced in January that it was closing all its stores. This also meant mass layoffs of its 31,000 US employees, and explains why retail recorded so many losses in July.

The gains in retail jobs "were offset by a decline of 32,000 in sporting goods, hobby, book, and music stores, reflecting job losses in hobby, toy, and game stores," the Bureau of Labor Statistics said. 

Excluding this subsector, total retail payrolls increased by 7,100 month-on-month, according to John Herrmann, a rates strategist at MUFG Securities. 

In the liquidation filing, Toys R Us blamed its poor holiday performance on Walmart, Target, and Amazon pricing their toys so low that it couldn't compete and profit.

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NOW WATCH: An early bitcoin investor explains what most people get wrong about the cryptocurrency

Breaking: World’s Biggest Stock Exchange Operator is Launching a Bitcoin Market

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

Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the owner of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), has announced that will list a physically-settled bitcoin futures contracts and form a new company intended to make bitcoin a mainstream financial asset. ICE made the groundbreaking announcement on Friday, revealing that the new platform — Bakkt — has been developed in partnership

The post Breaking: World’s Biggest Stock Exchange Operator is Launching a Bitcoin Market appeared first on CCN

The owner of the New York Stock Exchange is teaming up with Microsoft and Starbucks to build an 'ecosystem' for crypto

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

trader NYSE

  • ICE, the parent company of NYSE, unveiled its crypto asset platform, Bakkt, on Friday. 
  • The firm says it'll serve as a global ecosystem for crypto. 

ICE, the parent company of the iconic New York Stock Exchange, is making a big move into the crypto market with a digital asset platform.

The firm, which previously dove into the market for digital assets via a data feed product earlier this year, had reportedly been exploring a cryptocurrency exchange platform. On Friday, the company officially announced it had been developing out such an offering.

ICE is teaming up with Microsoft to build out Bakkt, a new company that will serve as a "ecosystem for digital assets," including bitcoin. 

The platform would allow firms to buy and sell digital assets.

Other companies partnering with ICE on the platform include BCG and Starbucks, according to a release. The firm hopes the effort will  help mature the market for digital coins, which is known for market manipulation and spine-tingling volatility. Starbucks will leverage the platform to allow their customers to use digital assets at their coffee shops. 

“In bringing regulated, connected infrastructure together with institutional and consumer applications for digital assets, we aim to build confidence in the asset class on a global scale, consistent with our track record of bringing transparency and trust to previously unregulated markets,” said ICE's CEO Jeffrey Sprecher in a statement. 

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Bitcoin Price Retreats 2% as Crypto Market Continues Decline, $8 Billion Dropped

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

In the past 24 hours, the crypto market dropped $8 billion as major digital assets including Bitcoin, Ether, and Bitcoin Cash recorded losses in the range of two to five percent. Bitcoin Cash and Stellar recorded the largest losses amongst the top ten cryptocurrencies, while Ripple and EOS remained relatively stable with a one percent

The post Bitcoin Price Retreats 2% as Crypto Market Continues Decline, $8 Billion Dropped appeared first on CCN

Bitcoin Price Retreats 2% as Crypto Market Continues Decline, $8 Billion Dropped

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

In the past 24 hours, the crypto market dropped $8 billion as major digital assets including Bitcoin, Ether, and Bitcoin Cash recorded losses in the range of two to five percent. Bitcoin Cash and Stellar recorded the largest losses amongst the top ten cryptocurrencies, while Ripple and EOS remained relatively stable with a one percent

The post Bitcoin Price Retreats 2% as Crypto Market Continues Decline, $8 Billion Dropped appeared first on CCN

China threatens to retaliate with tariffs on $60 billion worth of US goods in response to Trump's latest trade war threat

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

Donald Trump Xi Jinping

  • China threatened to impose differential tariffs on $60 billion worth of US goods.
  • The move comes after the Trump administration threatened to raise the tariff rate on an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. 
  • The two countries have already imposed about $34 billion worth of tariffs on each other.

China announced Friday it would hit the US with retaliatory tariffs on about $60 billion worth of goods if the Trump administration continued to escalate a trade war between the two countries. 

The tariffs would be imposed at four different tax rates, the Ministry of Commerce said in a statement

"The implementation date of the taxation measures will be subject to the actions of the US, and China reserves the right to continue to introduce other countermeasures," the statement said.

The move comes after the Trump administration threatened to raise the proposed tariff rate on an additional $200 billion worth of goods to 25% from 10%. The latest threat is part of efforts to "create a situation where it’s more painful for [China] to continue their bad practices than it is to reform," Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Thursday on Fox Business Network.

The Trump administration last month enacted a 25% tariff on roughly $34 billion worth of Chinese goods and threatened to slap additional duties on nearly all Chinese imports to the US, prompting Beijing to retaliate in kind. US tariffs on another $16 billion worth of Chinese imports are set to be enacted at a later date.

This story is developing.

Here's a timeline of the US-China trade war so far:

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NOW WATCH: An early bitcoin investor explains what most people get wrong about the cryptocurrency

UBS: Bitcoin is 'too unstable and limited' to be money or a new asset class — and 70% of the price action is driven by speculators

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

bitcoin

  • UBS: Bitcoin is "currently too unstable and limited to become a viable means of payment for global transactions or a mainstream asset class."
  • As much as 70% of bitcoin's price action appears to be driven by speculation, according to UBS.
  • The bank doesn't rule out bitcoin becoming a viable payment system in future though, saying it may follow a similar adoption path to PayPal.


LONDON — Bitcoin is neither a new type of money or nor a new asset class, according to UBS.

Joni Teves, a global macro strategist at the Swiss bank, said in a note to clients this week that the world's biggest digital currency is "currently too unstable and limited to become a viable means of payment for global transactions or a mainstream asset class."

"Owing to its lack of price stability, bitcoin falls short of criteria that need to be satisfied to be considered money," Teves said.

Bitcoin surged over 1,000% against the dollar in 2017 to reach a peak of around $20,000 in December. It has since crashed to around $7,370 as of Friday.

Teves said bitcoin also has a problem with speculators influencing the price. UBS' analysis suggests as much as 70% of price action driven by "speculative demand."

Aside from price fluctuations, bitcoin also has scalability problems associated with the size of "blocks" — packages of transactions that are processed — and money supply.

"Putting bitcoin's limitations into context, in order to match US M1 money supply, bitcoin's price would need to be around $212,992," Teves wrote.

"To process Visa's c.$30 billion of daily transactions using the old core protocol, the block size would need to be 18.8MB instead of 1MB, or the price would have to be around $187,611."

Bitcoin is not yet used as a common payment method, another negative factor when assessing its viability as a new form of currency.

While bitcoin may have some diversification benefits as it is relatively uncorrelated to other assets, Teves said that "this is offset by bitcoin's price volatility and its lack of clear regulatory support or investor safeguards."

UBS' verdict will come as a blow to bitcoin bulls, who have variously touted bitcoin as a digital equivalent to gold or a decentralized payment network.

However, while Teves is downbeat on the current state of bitcoin, she doesn't write off the cryptocurrency completely.

"Like new technologies that have been introduced throughout history, it is possible that it is just a matter of time before bitcoin (or some form of it) is adopted on a larger scale," she writes.

Teves compares bitcoin to Paypal, suggesting bitcoin could follow a similar growth path as a digital payment system, However, she said that bitcoin must overcome issues around regulation and scalability before this can be the case.

It is not the first time UBS has taken a pessimistic stance towards digital currencies. The Swiss bank called cryptocurrencies, in general, a "speculative bubble" in a note to clients last year. But the bank added that crypto's underlying technology, blockchain, is "akin to investing in the internet in the mid-nineties."

SEE ALSO: UBS: Cryptocurrencies are in a 'speculative bubble'

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Bitcoin Eyes Short-Term Bear Market After Two-Week Lows

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

Bitcoin has retraced 40 percent of the rally from the June low of $5,755, signaling a short-term bullish-to-bearish trend change.

OKEx Initiates ‘Clawback’ after Bitcoin Futures Market Unable to Cover $420 Million Liquidation

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

OKEx has moved to protect its futures market with an injection of 2500 BTC into the exchange’s insurance fund from its own capital after a forced liquidation on July 31st threatened to destabilize its operations. The futures contract amounted to a staggering $420 million worth of BTC. OKEx moved swiftly to counter this liquidation with

The post OKEx Initiates ‘Clawback’ after Bitcoin Futures Market Unable to Cover $420 Million Liquidation appeared first on CCN

OKEx Confirms $9M Clawback After 'Enormous' Bitcoin Futures Position Fails

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

After a user made an "enormous" gamble on bitcoin futures, and lost, OKEx said it is having to claw back millions from other traders.

Coinbase Begins British Pound Support for UK Bitcoin Customers

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

Users at Coinbase will now be able to deposit and withdraw funds in British Pound, the San Francisco company announced on Wednesday. Until now, Coinbase UK users had to convert their cryptocurrency holdings into Euro and then into pound sterling via international transfers. The process owed costly intermediaries; for instance, SEPA fees that could go

The post Coinbase Begins British Pound Support for UK Bitcoin Customers appeared first on CCN

The pound falls below $1.30 after Carney warns of 'uncomfortably high' no deal Brexit risk

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

mark carney

  • The pound dropped below 1.30 against the dollar on Friday morning.
  • The fall came after Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said there was an "uncomfortably high" chance that Britain will leave the EU without a deal.
  • The Bank of England ran an economic simulation of what might happen after a no deal Brexit. It suggested the UK would fall into a recession and interest rates and unemployment would soar.
  • You can track the pound's movements live at Markets Insider.


LONDON — The pound fell below $1.30 against the dollar on Friday morning after Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said there was an "uncomfortably high" chance that Britain will leave the EU without a deal.

"The possibility of a no deal at the moment is uncomfortably high. It is highly undesirable, parties should do all things to avoid it," Carney said during an interview on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme.

During the interview, Carney also cited the scenario from the Bank of England's last stress test — the annual test to make sure Britain's banks could handle a financial crisis and economic downturn — which suggested that in a no deal scenario, the UK could fall into a recession and see unemployment more than double to 9%.

The pound dropped significantly against both the dollar and the euro in response. Just after 8.40 a.m. BST (3.40 a.m. ET), the pound was trading at $1.2993, a fall of close to 0.2% on the day.

Screen Shot 2018 08 03 at 08.42.59

SEE ALSO: Bank of England hikes rates for the 2nd time since the financial crisis

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RBS will pay a dividend for the first time since the financial crisis

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

ross mcewan

  • Royal Bank of Scotland will pay shareholders a dividend for the first time since the financial crisis, the bank announced on Friday.
  • Investors will receive an interim dividend of two pence ($0.026) per share, pending the final settlement of a fine from the US Department of Justice.
  • RBS achieved an attributable profit of £888 million ($1.15 billion) in the first half of the year.
  • RBS shares jumped on the news, gaining around 2% in the first 30 minutes of trading in London.


LONDON — Royal Bank of Scotland has announced plans to pay shareholders a dividend for the first time since the financial crisis as its business continues to return towards normality.

The bank, which was once the world's biggest, said at the release of its financial results for the first half of 2018 that will pay an interim dividend of two pence ($0.026) per share, pending the final settlement of a fine from the US Department of Justice relating to the historical sale of mortgage-backed securities. That fine is expected to be in the region of $4.9 billion (£3.8 billion)

After being bailed out by the British government during the financial crisis, RBS has spent 10 years in partial government ownership and struggled to turn a profit. In February this year, it announced its first profits since the crisis.

The bank remained profitable over the first half of 2018, posting an attributable profit of £888 million ($1.15 billion) over the period between January and June.

"We are pleased with the progress we’ve made in the first half of 2018 and see these as a good set of results in a more uncertain and highly competitive environment," Ross McEwan, the bank's CEO said in a statement.

"Our sector is undergoing significant change and we are positioning ourselves well to compete. We still have a lot more to do to achieve our ambition of being the best bank for customers in the UK and Republic of Ireland. However, with our major legacy issues largely behind us, we are able to fully focus on closing this gap."

McEwan was brought in as CEO in October 2013 and has said he will leave the bank once the worst of its post-crisis legacy is fixed.

RBS is currently around 62% owned by the British taxpayer, down from more than 70% earlier in the year.

Shares jumped on the announcement, gaining around 2.5% in early morning trade. This reflects the increased attractiveness of the stock now that the bank is once again paying a dividend:

Screen Shot 2018 08 03 at 08.27.16Earlier in the week, Barclays announced a 44% rise in second-quarter profits, buoyed by its investment bank, and Lloyds booked a 23% rise in first-half profits.

SEE ALSO: The London Stock Exchange is triggering its no deal Brexit contingency plan

DON'T MISS: A pick-up at the investment bank helped Barclays' second-quarter profits pop by 44%

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Mt Gox Creditors Are Already Making Plans to Claim for Bitcoin Repayments

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

A group of creditors of the now defunct bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox are already making plans for bitcoin repayments in the civil rehabilitation pr

10 things you need to know in markets today

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

Tim Cook

Good morning! Here's what you need to know in markets on Friday.

1. Apple became the first US publicly traded company to reach a $1 trillion market capitalization. The milestone was hit when the company's share price rose to $207.05 Thursday morning. It comes just days after the company reported its strongest third quarter,which spurred a 6% spike in share price Wednesday. 

2. Asian stocks were steady on Friday, with gains from the tech-led rise on Wall Street capped by the latest exchange of trade threats between Beijing and Washington, while safehaven flows lifted the dollar to a two-week high. Investors also remain cautious ahead of the July U.S. jobs report due later on Friday, which will give a reading on the health of the world's largest economy and possible clues about the pace of Federal Reserve interest rate rises.

3. President Donald Trump's trade war is grabbing the attention of some of America's largest companies. An analysis by CB Insights found that mentions of the word "tariff" on earnings calls hit a record high in the second quarter, even before the most recent round of threats between the US and China.

4. Two-thirds of business leaders believe the UK is "likely" to be heading for a no-deal Brexit, according to a new survey which reflects a growing concern that Theresa May will fail to strike a deal in Brussels by March next year. A Survation poll of CEOs, founders, and directors found that 66% believe that Britain is "likely" to leave the EU without a deal, with 25% of that cohort believing that it is "very likely."

5. The Bank of England raised interest rates for just the second time since the financial crisis on Thursday, in a move widely expected by commentators and market participants alike. Britain's central bank raised its base rate of interest from 0.5% to 0.75%, its second hike in less than a year as it continues the process of slowly normalizing monetary policy following more than a decade of unprecedented stimulus.

6. Sonos — the smart-speaker company powering sound waves in seven million homes so far — raised $1.5 billion in an initial public offering on Thursday. The Silicon Valley firm has been making high-fidelity speakers for more than 16 years. And after raising more than $450 million over the course of nine rounds on Sand Hill Road, Sonos finally made the leap to Wall Street.

7. Tesla's CEO, Elon Musk, and CTO, JB Straubel, suggested the company may not hit its goal of making 1 million vehicles by 2020 during its second-quarter earnings call on Wednesday. After Wall Street Journal reporter Tim Higgins asked if the company still planned to make 1 million vehicles in 2020, Musk and Straubel said that was their goal, but suggested the actual number may be lower.

8. Chinese tech giant Huawei, which overtook Apple as the world's second-largest smartphone vendor in the June quarter, said on Friday it shipped more than 95 million smartphones globally in the first six months. Huawei said its wearables posted growth of 147% during the period from a year ago, and it plans to add another 10,000 retail stores around the world before the end of 2018.

9. Shares of the commercial-real-estate giant Cushman & Wakefield rose by as much as 7% in their trading debut on Thursday. In a regulatory filing on Wednesday, the company said it priced the shares on sale at its initial public offering at $17, the midpoint of its estimated range, and raised $765 million. It sold 45 million shares.

10. Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Friday he was humbled to be elected and called for unity after a poll marred by the deaths of six people in an army crackdown on opposition protests. "This is a new beginning. Let us join hands, in peace, unity & love, & together build a new Zimbabwe for all!," Mnangagwa said on Twitter.

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NOW WATCH: An early investor in Uber, Airbnb, and bitcoin explains why it's actually a good sign that no one is spending their crypto

Data Shows US Dollar, Not Japanese Yen, Is Dominating Bitcoin Trade

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

Inconsistency in the way data providers count trades across exchanges has overstated the yen's importance as a trading pair, CoinDesk research finds.

Apple is officially the first $1 trillion US company — here's the competition it knocked out to clinch that milestone

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

Tim Cook


Apple's market cap briefly topped $1 trillion on Thursday, the first time a US company has ever achieved that feat. 

It's been a long slog to the top since the iPhone maker went public at $22 a share on December 12, 1980.

The chart below, which came to our attention via Pension Partners' Charlie Bilello, shows that the company had to outmaneuver corporate giants like General Electric and Microsoft, which once held the title for most valuable company in the world. 

The pace of growth in Apple's market cap really picked up steam in the late-2000s, which coincided with the launch of the first-generation iPhone. 

Apple's rise to a $1 trillion market cap is also symbolic of the evolution of what kinds of companies are most valued by investors, and society at large. Five of the 10 largest US companies by market cap on Thursday were tech companies, including Amazon, Alphabet, and Facebook. In 2011, Apple was the only tech company in the top five.

Investors gave Apple the lift over $1 trillion after its second-quarter earnings on Tuesday beat Wall Street's expectations, sending the stock up to the magic price of $207.05. 

biggest companies by market cap

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White House staffers reportedly had to apologize for one of Trump's tweets that may have violated a long-standing rule

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

donald trump

  • One of President Donald Trump's tweets in June appeared to violate a long-standing government rule and struck a nerve for some employees at the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • In his tweet, Trump discussed national employment numbers about an hour before they were publicly released.
  • Although Trump did not mention any specifics in his tweet, BLS employees were still displeased he had breached protocol and publicly commented on the report.
  • The bureau's acting commissioner said in an email the White House was "very apologetic" for the flub.

President Donald Trump's tweets have incensed some people over the years, but one particular message in June appeared to violate a long-standing practice and struck a nerve with government employees at the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

"Looking forward to seeing the employment numbers at 8:30 this morning," Trump tweeted in the morning of June 1.

According to about 200 BLS employee emails reviewed by Quartz, staffers at the agency were shocked after Trump tweeted about national employment numbers around an hour before they are publicly released.

The rule, as noted in government records, prohibited a member of the executive branch from publicly commenting on the results until one hour after they were released.

"Except for members of the staff of the agency issuing the principal economic indicator who have been designated by the agency head to provide technical explanations of the data, employees of the Executive Branch shall not comment publicly on the data until at least one hour after the official release time," the Federal Register said.

The president is typically briefed by the chair of the Council of Economic Advisers about a day before its public release.

Although Trump did not mention any specifics in his tweet, employees were still displeased he had breached protocol and publicly commented on the report, according to the emails obtained by Quartz.

Here are a few samples of the internal reactions to Trump's tweet:

  • "I'm guessing there won't be any repercussions for him," one staffer said in an email, according to Quartz.
  • "Consequences are for the little people, not bigshots with little hands," an economist reportedly said.
  • "What an ass," another staffer said.
  • "I don't know why anyone tells Trump anything," another person wrote.

Following Trump's previous missive on the job numbers, acting commissioner William Wiatrowski said in an email the White House was "very apologetic" for the flub. Wiatrowski added that discussions were underway "to emphasize rules" and prevent the incident from occurring again.

Other employees appeared to be indifferent to Trump's tweet. A supervisory economist reportedly said in an email, "Surprisingly, this did not impact our day at all."

SEE ALSO: 'Donald rambled. He spoke gibberish': Former White House staffer Omarosa Manigault questions Trump's mental health in upcoming book

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Robinhood Opens Cyptocurrency Trading to Georgia Residents

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

Robinhood, a commission-free stock trading platform, announced that residents in the state of Georgia can now invest in cryptocurrency through the app. Users in Georgia can now trade bitcoin, bitcoin cash, ethereum, litecoin, and dogecoin. Residents should have the option to trade coins in their Robinhood app without changing any settings. Robinhood, which started as

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Robinhood Opens Cyptocurrency Trading to Georgia Residents

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

Robinhood, a commission-free stock trading platform, announced that residents in the state of Georgia can now invest in cryptocurrency through the app. Users in Georgia can now trade bitcoin, bitcoin cash, ethereum, litecoin, and dogecoin. Residents should have the option to trade coins in their Robinhood app without changing any settings. Robinhood, which started as

The post Robinhood Opens Cyptocurrency Trading to Georgia Residents appeared first on CCN

Robinhood Opens Cyptocurrency Trading to Georgia Residents

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

Robinhood, a commission-free stock trading platform, announced that residents in the state of Georgia can now invest in cryptocurrency through the app. Users in Georgia can now trade bitcoin, bitcoin cash, ethereum, litecoin, and dogecoin. Residents should have the option to trade coins in their Robinhood app without changing any settings. Robinhood, which started as

The post Robinhood Opens Cyptocurrency Trading to Georgia Residents appeared first on CCN

Oracle is trying an 'unusual' tactic to calm investors, according to an executive compensation expert (ORCL)

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

larry ellison

  • A compensation expert calls a presentation Oracle made to its investors last month "unusual."
  • In the presentation, the company explains to investors why it issued a mega-grant of stock options to its top four executives.
  • The odd thing is, this is old news. Investors got a chance to vote on the pay package in question in 2017 — and voted it down.
  • Oracle appears to be trying to head off investor angst before it publicly reveals that it went ahead with a pay package that investors didn't like and didn't vote for.


Oracle made an unusual disclosure earlier this week when it revealed a presentation it had given to investors last month.

The presentation covered the details of a five-year, mega-grant of stock options the board is paying its four top executives: co-CEOs Mark Hurd and Safra Catz; executive chairman Larry Ellison; and top cloud exec Thomas Kurian. 

The presentation was odd because this grant is old news. Oracle first revealed it to investors in the September of 2017, when the company filed last year's shareholder proxy statement. But while investors may know it's coming, Oracle may still be trying to soften the sticker shock when it's spelled out in this year's proxy statement, coming soon — or at least, that's what an executive compensation expert we spoke to believes.

The one bit of new info in the presentation was that, with the first year of the grant window over, none of the Oracle execs had met any of the performance objectives given to them as part of the plan, and so they had not yet been paid any of this new stash of options.

Still, the execs will be paid plenty of options from the grants made in previous years. And they haven't forfeited any of the options in this new grant. They have the whole five years to meet the performance objectives tied to them, so they shouldn't be worrying just yet.

So why is Oracle on a roadshow with investors in July to explain an executive-pay situation that it revealed 10 months ago? One possible reason: in another month or so, Oracle will be sending out this year's proxy statement where it will be disclosing executive pay.

And, depending on how it accounts for this grant, those might be "eye-popping numbers," says executive compensation watchdog Rosanna Landis-Weaver, of shareholder advocacy group As You Sow.  

Specifically, Hurd, Catz, Ellison, were each allocated $103.7 million worth of options, payable in seven equal chunks over five years as various metrics are achieved. The fourth exec, Thomas Kurian, got a similar up-front, five-year grant of $69.38 million.

"They are clearly trying to get in front of it," says Landis-Weaver. "It is unusual. But there are a number of things about Oracle that is unusual."

For one thing, she said, Oracle has two CEOs and "it is paying them significant amounts." She's not a fan of the duak- CEO situation, but if a company does opt for that structure, "then they both should be paid below rate, not above. But CEO pay at Oracle has always been an interesting question," she said.

She's referencing Ellison, who for decades landed on lists of the top-paid CEOs, before stepping out of that role a few years back. Investors have bristled at that for years. And this presentation acknowledges it, by continually pointing out that his compensation is reduced under this current plan.

The bigger point is, not only does this plan pay its two CEOs well, it's still paying Ellison well, even if his pay is reduced.

And investors still aren't thrilled. They get to cast non-binding votes on executive pay each year at their annual shareholders meetings and they tend to vote it down, which Landis-Weaver calls "extraordinary." Most shareholders tend to vote in support of their boards on everything from pay to proposals.

Last year, when this mega-grant plan was revealed, it received far more "no" votes than "yes" votes. And then, the board clearly went with that plan anyway.

The key, going forward, will be if the board keeps its word to investors and doesn't pay these top execs any new stock options if they don't meet the business goals. 

SEE ALSO: Oracle’s top four execs didn’t get their latest $21 million chunk of performance-based stock options for a very telling reason

SEE ALSO: A promising 11-year-old cloud startup that raised $56 million from top investors has quietly shut down

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No Coins for You! North Carolina Rejects Bitcoin Campaign Donations

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

North Carolina has barred electoral candidates in the state from accepting campaign donations made in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. This declaration is contained in a response from the North Carolina State Board of Elections Campaign Finance Office to Emmanuel Wilder, a Republican candidate running for a seat in the state’s legislature. Regulatory Snafu Earlier in

The post No Coins for You! North Carolina Rejects Bitcoin Campaign Donations appeared first on CCN

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