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The SEC Will Decide on 9 Bitcoin ETFs in the Next 2 Months

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

The SEC is set to make final decisions on nine proposed bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) in the next two months.

Bitcoin-Friendly U.S. Senate Candidate Austin Petersen Loses Republican Primary

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

Pro-bitcoin U.S. Senate candidate Austin Petersen has lost his Republican primary bid to challenge incumbent Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill in the upcoming mid-term election. Petersen, who accepted the largest single bitcoin donation in federal election history and was also forced to return several six-figure cryptocurrency contributions due to campaign finance regulations, was soundly defeated by

The post Bitcoin-Friendly U.S. Senate Candidate Austin Petersen Loses Republican Primary appeared first on CCN

Stocks go nowhere as US-China trade war drags energy lower

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

trump china xi

Stocks were mixed Wednesday despite a recent wave of upbeat corporate earnings as a new round of tariffs between the US and China dragged energy companies lower. The dollar and Treasury yields fell. 

Here's the scoreboard:

Dow Jones industrial average25,583.55 −45.36 (-0.18%)

S&P 500: 2,861.20 +2.75 (+0.096%)

Nasdaq Composite 7,888.33 +4.66 (+0.06%)

  1. Another $16 billion worth of US exports to China — including oil products and cars — will be subject to a 25% tax. After the Trump administration followed through with a 25% tariff on an additional $16 billion of Chinese goods, Beijing retaliated in kind. The latest tariffs, which bring the running total of targeted goods to $50 billion for both China and the US, are set to take effect August 23.
  2. Washington rolled out punitive sanctions against Moscow for the poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in March. The measures came amid pressure from Congress and months after the UK issued sanctions penalizing the Kremlin for the poisoning, which took place on British soil.
  3. Saudi Arabia's central bank ordered its fund managers to dump Canadian bonds, stocks and cash. The move came after Canada's foreign ministry criticized Saudi Arabia for its arrests of prominent human-rights activists and called for their release. Saudi Arabia's state airline is also set to suspend flights to and from Toronto Pearson International beginning next week. 
  4. Earnings season rolls on. 21st Century Fox and Roku report after the bell — follow Business Insider here for live updates. 

And a look at the upcoming economic calendar:

SEE ALSO: Tesla's surging stock has cost short sellers $3 billion this month

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The SEC has reportedly made inquiries into Tesla about Elon Musk's tweet regarding possibly taking the company private (TSLA)

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

elon musk

  • The Securities and Exchange Commission made an inquiry into Tesla about whether one of Elon Musk's tweets regarding the possibility of taking the company private was truthful, The Wall Street Journal reports.
  • According to the publication, the SEC is also looking into why Musk's first statement about the potential to take Tesla private was made on Twitter instead of in a regulatory filing.
  • The agency also asked the company if it believes Musk's tweet follows its rules about protecting investors, the Journal reports.
  • "Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured," Musk first said on Tuesday via Twitter before issuing a formal statement on the company's website.
  • The SEC declined Business Insider's request for comment and Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


The Securities and Exchange Commission made an inquiry into Tesla about whether one of Elon Musk's tweets regarding the possibility of taking the company private was truthful, The Wall Street Journal reports. 

According to the publication, the SEC is also looking into why Musk's first statement about the potential to take Tesla private was made on Twitter instead of in a regulatory filing. The agency also asked the company if it believes Musk's tweet follows its rules about protecting investors, the Journal reports.

The SEC declined Business Insider's request for comment and Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

"Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured," Musk first said on Tuesday via Twitter before issuing a formal statement on the company's website.

No details about funding have been disclosed, though. And according to Musk's statement, no final decision has been made. And that has some experts raising an eyebrow.

James Rosener, a partner at the law firm Pepper Hamilton, told Business Insider that Twitter was not the right medium for a securities disclosure since the platform's 280-character limit prevented Musk from disclosing enough information relevant to investors — including the structure of the deal, its tax impact, and the amount of debt it would require — to ensure he's not misleading them. According to Rosener, Musk's tweet likely ran afoul of the SEC's anti-fraud rules.

"There's definitely material omissions," he said. "Clearly, it was not what any lawyer with any experience in this kind of stuff would advise to put out."

David Whiston, an equity strategist at Morningstar who covers the US auto industry, said he was confused by Musk's tweets, which he said indicated Musk had both the funding and shareholder votes necessary to take the company private.

"I'm still trying to understand why he even went public like this, because I don't see a point in going public to say you are considering going private unless you're trying to get, perhaps, the price higher than $420 a share, or you're just really eager to hurt the short-sellers. Otherwise, why wouldn't you just wait until you're definitely doing a deal to say something," he said.

Tesla's board did release a statement on Wednesday morning, but it was very brief and offered few details besides that Musk met with the board last week to bring up the possibility of going private. Musk said via Twitter on Tuesday that the deal was contingent on a shareholder vote, but that "investor support was confirmed."

"I wish we could be private with Tesla," Musk said in an interview with Rolling Stone published in November 2017. "It actually makes us less efficient to be a public company."

Musk has also said on multiple occasions that Tesla will become profitable by the end of this year and won't need to raise additional funds, despite its increased cash burn rate in recent quarters.

At the end of June, Tesla achieved its goal of making 5,000 Model 3 sedans in one week. Musk previously said the company would hit that number by the end of 2017, and that sustaining such a production rate is critical for Tesla to become profitable.

The Financial Times reported on Tuesday that Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund has acquired a $2 billion stake in the company. The fund owns between 3% and 5% of Tesla's total stock, which means the stake is likely worth between $1.7 billion and $2.9 billion.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

SEE ALSO: Elon Musk is in perilous territory after tweeting about wanting to take Tesla private, experts say

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Elon Musk is in perilous territory after tweeting about wanting to take Tesla private, experts say (TSLA)

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

elon musk

  • Tesla CEO Elon Musk shocked observers on Tuesday by expressing his desire to take the company private.
  • In an email to employees, he said the pressures of being a public company create distractions and promote short-term thinking that may not produce the best decisions in the long-term, but added that a final decision could not be made until a shareholder vote is held.
  • David Whiston, an equity strategist at Morningstar, wondered why Musk didn't wait until a deal was certain before talking about going private.
  • If a deal doesn't go through, Musk will have to explain, in detail, why he expressed confidence on Twitter, Whiston said.


Elon Musk went rogue on Twitter Tuesday saying that he was considering taking Tesla private for $420 per share and that he had "funding secured."

No details about funding have been disclosed, though. And according to a statement from Musk posted after his tweets, no final decision has been made. And that has some experts raising an eyebrow. 

James Rosener, a partner at the law firm Pepper Hamilton, said Twitter was not the right medium for a securities disclosure since the platform's 280-character limit prevented Musk from disclosing enough information relevant to investors — including the structure of the deal, its tax impact, and the amount of debt it would require — to ensure he's not misleading them. According to Rosener, Musk's tweet likely ran afoul of the SEC's anti-fraud rules.

"There's definitely material omissions," he said. "Clearly, it was not what any lawyer with any experience in this kind of stuff would advise to put out."

Musk should have waited until a deal was confirmed

David Whiston, an equity strategist at Morningstar who covers the US auto industry, told Business Insider he was confused by Musk's tweets, which he said indicated Musk had both the funding and shareholder votes necessary to take the company private.

"I'm still trying to understand why he even went public like this, because I don't see a point in going public to say you are considering going private unless you're trying to get, perhaps, the price higher than $420 a share, or you're just really eager to hurt the short-sellers. Otherwise, why wouldn't you just wait until you're definitely doing a deal to say something," he said.

Tesla's board did release a statement on Wednesday morning, but it was also very brief and offered few details besides that Musk met with the board last week to bring up the possibility of going private. Musk said via Twitter on Tuesday that the deal was contingent on a shareholder vote, but that "investor support was confirmed."

"He thinks going private is the best path forward. He's saying he's got the money and he's saying he's got the votes. So, again, it begs the question: What are you waiting for? Is the board not on board with this? Or is he trying to get more money? Or was he just throwing it out there to gauge a reaction. Or was he just very interested in hurting the short-sellers as quickly as he could?" Whiston said. "The latter doesn't make sense to me because you can hurt the short-sellers once you announce you're going private anyway."

If a deal doesn't go through, Musk will have to explain, in detail, why he expressed confidence on Twitter, Whiston said.

"Otherwise, it could look like you're manipulating the stock price to hurt short-sellers."

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for a comment. 

Besides raising questions about stock manipulation, some experts are also questioning whether going public is actually in the company's best interest. 

Musk said in his statement that the pressures of being a public company create distractions and promote short-term thinking that may not produce the best decisions in the long-term. 

But Tesla has big ambitions, and the best way to accomplish its goals could be by staying public, Karl Brauer, executive publisher for Kelley Blue Book, said.

Brauer said he understands why Elon Musk would want to go private, but said that better execution on vehicle production could have improved the company's financial performance and reduced the amount of scrutiny it faced from shareholders and analysts.

"If there was clear movement toward costs not far outstripping revenue or income ... it would drastically change the conversation," he said.

While a company doesn't need to be publicly-funded to be successful, companies with ambitions on the scale of Tesla's tend to use public markets to meet their financing needs, Brauer said.

"I look around at most of the other hugely successful companies, and they're almost all public."

Going private may reduce Tesla's distractions

Musk may have a point about the benefits of going private, according to Michael Ramsey, a research director at Gartner. Like Musk, Ramsey said a privately-funded Tesla would be able to focus on what is best for the company, rather than making decisions based on external pressures.

"I think it's mostly a good idea for Tesla. There's a lot of advantages to going private if you feel like your behavior is being altered or affected by demands of Wall Street," he said.

He cited the company's publicly-stated goal of making 5,000 Model 3 sedans in one week, a target it missed on multiple occasions but achieved at the end of June, as an example of how relying on public funding misaligned Tesla's priorities. The company would have been better off making a smaller number of cars and focusing on quality control, he said.

Have a Tesla news tip? Contact this reporter at mmatousek@businessinsider.com.

SEE ALSO: Tesla’s current fundamentals don’t support a valuation ‘anywhere close’ to $420, one bear says

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What you need to know on Wall Street today

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

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

Mutual funds are bleeding cash at an unprecedented rate, warns Moody's 

It's not getting any easier for stock pickers to hold on to their clients.

According to Moody's, investors have pulled cash from actively managed equity mutual funds in the US at the fastest year-to-date pace on record. The funds lost $129.11 billion of investor dollars from January to July, up from $99.88 billion a year earlier, data compiled by the Investment Company Institute and cited by Moody's show.

The flight of money away from managers who meticulously pick stocks and to exchange-traded funds is happening a bit faster than Moody's had forecast. The market share of passive investments last year was nearly 35%, more than the credit-rating agency's estimate of 34%.

Elon Musk reportedly met with Japan's SoftBank last year about taking Tesla private

Tesla's chief executive Elon Musk met with SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son in April 2017 about the Japanese investment firm assisting in taking Tesla private, Bloomberg reported Wednesday.

The report came the day after Musk said he was considering taking Tesla private and that funding had been secured, but did not offer any specifics about the unprecedented move.

Bloomberg reported that Musk and Son failed to reach an agreement over the structure of the company, citing sources. Tesla was trading around $300 per share in April 2017 when the talks reportedly fell through. The talks are no longer underway, Bloomberg said.

One in 2 ICOs failed in the 2nd quarter — and those that succeeded suffered huge losses

Money continues to flood into the booming market for digital tokens issued by startups despite declines both in the quality of the projects seeking funding and in the investment returns, according to a new report.

Fifty-five percent of so-called initial coin offerings failed to complete in the second quarter, according to a report from the agency ICORating. That was 5% more than failed in the first quarter.

ICOs are a fundraising method in which companies and projects issue digital tokens structured like bitcoin or Ethereum. These tokens are sold in return for cash used to fund the development of the seller's businesses. ICOs exploded from almost nothing to be a multibillion-dollar market in 2017, surging in popularity alongside the rise in the price of bitcoin.

In markets news

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Indicted Rep. Chris Collins shows why members of Congress should not trade stocks

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

chris collins

  • Rep. Chris Collins, a prominent backer of President Donald Trump in Congress, has been indicted on allegations of insider trading, along with his son and his son's fiancée's father.
  • Collins is on the board of an Australian pharmaceutical company. The US Securities and Exchange Commission alleges that he tipped his son about a failed clinical trial and that the son and associates saved $750,000 by trading on the tip.
  • This is a really stupid thing to allegedly have done.
  • Why are members of Congress even allowed to trade stocks or sit on corporate boards? So they can pull this nonsense and get indicted? 

Every time I read a criminal complaint about insider trading, my first thought is: How did they possibly think they were going to get away with this?

Of course, when there is a criminal complaint, that often means you are well on your way to not getting away with it.

Perhaps insider traders seem like morons who should have known what was coming to them because what we see in the news are cases with charges, which are the dumbest, most obvious cases of insider trading. There may be a lot of situations where criminals are being slightly more careful and getting away with it.

Or maybe not! The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority would like you to know it has algorithms to detect this sort of thing. I certainly recommend against insider trading, careless or otherwise.

Anyway: Rep. Chris Collins, a New York Republican who gave President Donald Trump his first congressional endorsement, has been indicted on allegations of insider trading in a case with an extremely obvious, how-were-you-dumb-enough-to-try-this fact pattern.

Get a load of this

Here's what's laid out in complaints from the US Securities and Exchange Commission and the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York (Collins has pleaded not guilty):

  • Collins sits on the board of Innate Immunotherapeutics, an Australian biopharmaceutical company in which he is also the largest shareholder.
  • On June 22, 2017, Collins learned that Innate's main drug had failed clinical trials, a grave outcome for Innate's financial condition.
  • Literally seconds after learning this news, Collins contacted his son, Cameron, who at the time owned 2% of Innate.
  • Over the following four days, Cameron Collins and several other associates of the Collinses proceeded to liquidate their positions in Innate before the public announcement of the drug failure on June 26, after which the stock fell 92%. They saved approximately $750,000 by selling before the announcement.
  • Innate is not an especially large company. As a result, per the SEC: "The sales by Cameron Collins, his girlfriend, and her parents, including Stephen Zarsky, made up more than 53% of the stock's trading volume [on June 23] and exceeded Innate's 15-day average trading volume by more than 1,454%."

Perhaps it is sometimes possible to trade on insider information and have those trades go unnoticed amid a sea of non-insider trades. But if the nonpublic information you're trading on is likely to tank the stock price by more than 90%, and your trades are going to make up about 15 times the stock's typical daily trading volume, and your close associate sits on the company's board of directors, it is probably not best to assume your trades will get lost in the shuffle.

This leads me to a question.

Is Chris Collins an idiot?

If the purpose of the seven calls in six minutes between Collins and his son that came immediately after Collins learned about the clinical-trial failure was, as alleged, to tip his son so he and other associates of theirs could sell, why would Collins have thought he would get away with that?

Was it because the trading wasn't on his own account and he thought the SEC wouldn't be able to draw a link between him and [checks notes] his son — even though Collins was already the focus of a congressional ethics investigation related to Innate?

Was it because he thought he and his son could just talk the FBI into the idea that the sales were unrelated to the clinical-trial news? Oops, now Collins and his associates have also been indicted on allegations they lied to the FBI.

Collins' public defense against these charges has focused on a fact prosecutors do not dispute: Even as his associates were selling, he did not liquidate his own, much larger stake in Innate. That might seem like a tiny bit of prudence in a sea of recklessness — among other matters, Collins would have had to publicly disclose the dates and amounts of his sales under rules pertaining specifically to members of Congress.

But as the SEC complaint says, it's possible Collins didn't sell because he literally couldn't. Unlike his son, he had not completed paperwork to transfer his stock to the US, where one could trade it on the over-the-counter market. His stock was stuck in Australia, where trading of Innate on the Australian Securities Exchange had been halted — because of the impending announcement of the clinical-trial failure.

OpenSecrets estimated, based on disclosure forms, that Collins' net worth was nearly $70 million as of 2015. I realize $750,000 is kind of a lot of money even if you have $70 million, but is it really worth risking the destruction of your career and, you know, prison in order to help your friends save that kind of money?

I wouldn't think so. But I do have a theory: One might develop an unhealthy attitude toward law-breaking and risk if one had previous success in enriching oneself through such an attitude.

Members of Congress should not trade stocks

Last January, I wrote that members of Congress should not trade stocks. I meant that as a policy proposal — that members of Congress should be prohibited from trading stocks — but the Collins incident provides a reason to take it also as investing advice.

As the liberal-leaning group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has pointed out, at least five sitting Republican members of the House bought stock in Innate in 2017. We don't know exactly why they bought shares in an obscure Australian pharmaceutical company, though former Rep. Tom Price, who went on to become Trump's secretary of health and human services, said he did so after learning about the company from Collins.

Those members' investments have presumably performed quite poorly, as they did not have Price's luck of needing to divest themselves of Innate shares to take a Cabinet position. (There is no cause, in Wednesday's complaints or elsewhere, to believe Collins tipped any of his colleagues that Innate's stock was about to plummet in June 2017.)

Collins' links to Innate Immunotherapeutics had drawn negative attention before because of Collins' role overseeing drug companies as a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. But even favorable legislative action is not enough to make a pharmaceutical company valuable if its main drug doesn't work.

So maybe we can now say that a rule forcing members of Congress not to engage in individual stock trading wouldn't just be in the public interest — it may even be for those members' own good, helping them stay out of junky pharmaceutical stocks their colleagues give them "hot tips" about, and helping them stay out of prison.

And I can add another proposal: Members of Congress shouldn't be allowed to serve on the boards of publicly traded companies. The SEC is seeking to apply this rule to Collins specifically, on insider-trading grounds, but a blanket ban would prevent some conflicts of interest and also some embarrassing scandals like this one.

SEE ALSO: Trump's environmental policy is mainly about owning the libs, and that's better news for the environment than you might think

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Elon Musk reportedly met with Japan's SoftBank last year about taking Tesla private (TSLA)

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

softbank masayoshi son

  • Tesla CEO Elon Musk met with SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son about taking the electric-car maker private last year, Bloomberg reports.
  • The news comes one day after Musk said he was considering taking Tesla private.
  • SoftBank has previously invested in Uber, Nvidia and GM's Cruise. 
  • Follow Tesla's stock price in real-time here. 

Tesla's chief executive Elon Musk met with SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son in April 2017 about the Japanese investment firm assisting in taking Tesla private, Bloomberg reported Wednesday.

The report came the day after Musk said he was considering taking Tesla private and that funding had been secured, but did not offer any specifics about the unprecedented move.

Bloomberg's Selina Wang and Giles Turner reported that Musk and Son failed to reach an agreement over the structure of the company, citing sources. Tesla was trading around $300 per share in April 2017 when the talks reportedly fell through. The talks are no longer underway, Bloomberg said.

SoftBank and its $100 billion Vision Fund have made a slew of investments in tech firms around the world. So far, it has bought a 20% stake in GM's Cruise autonomous driving unit and made smaller investments in Uber, Nvidia, WeWork, and more. 

Musk tweeted on Tuesday that he would like to leave public markets at $420 per share — a 20% upside to their price that day. At that price, and given Musk's 20% stake in Tesla, roughly $60 billion would be needed to go private. 

Also on Tuesday, the Financial Times reported that Saudi Arabia's public investment fund — a major backer of SoftBank's fund — had invested roughly $2 billion in Tesla for a stake representing 3% to 5% of the company.

Shares of Tesla skyrocketed Tuesday when the plan was announced, but sank about 1.5% in trading Wednesday.

A Tesla spokesperson declined to comment. 

Read the full Bloomberg report here>>

TEsla stock price

SEE ALSO: SoftBank will invest $2.25 billion in GM's Cruise self-driving-car division

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A $160 million corruption scandal in Argentina is roiling its financial markets

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

AP_18214581009751

  • More than a dozen former Argentine government officials and business executives have been arrested in a large scale corruption scandal.
  • The investigation is throwing Argentina upside down just as it gears up for economic recovery. 
  • Watch the Argentine peso trade in real time here.

Just as Argentina looked poised for a shot at economic recovery, a corruption scandal is roiling the embattled country.

More than a dozen former government officials and business executives were arrested after police raids last week in a case involving illegal payments for favors including public-works contracts that took place over a decade under President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

The century bond, which marks debts due in 2117, fell to a record low Wednesday. Its yields, which move opposite of prices, rose to as high as 9.37%. They have jumped by about 38 basis points since the end of July, when the corruption allegations came to light.

The Argentine peso also fell to a two-week low. It was trading down as much as 1% to 27.6710 against the dollar around 2 p.m. ET. Argentina's central bank, which has been struggling to effectively combat 30% inflation, had a day earlier held its key interest rate unchanged at 40%. 

Last Wednesday, Buenos Aires-based newspaper La Nacion published the notebooks of a former driver in the Fernandez administration that detailed how he transported roughly $160 million in bribe payments from construction companies to government officials from 2005 until 2015. 

Fernandez, who was president during much of that period, has been indicted in the case but enjoys immunity from prosecution as an Argentine senator. Prosecutors on Tuesday questioned President Mauricio Macri's cousin, who is a construction executive.

Argentina scored the largest bailout in IMF history earlier this year after its currency hit an all-time low. The $50 billion loan, which is part of a three-year standby program, was extended in attempt to rein in soaring twin deficits in the country and to stabilize the peso.

Moody's rating agency called the scandal "credit negative for Argentine corporations."

See also:

MOODY'S WARNS: Mutual funds are bleeding cash at an unprecedented rate, and they're increasingly vulnerable to the next market meltdown

SEE ALSO: ROUND 2: US, China announce newest round of tariffs as Trump's trade war shows no sign of slowing down

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Bitcoin Price Intraday Analysis: BTCUSD Pushed Off the Cliff

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

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) spoiled the upside gains we had made yesterday in the Bitcoin market. The regulator delayed its decision on the Bitcoin ETF proposed by the VanEck SolidX Bitcoin Trust. The Bitcoin price fell 11% soon after the news broke into the wire. To ease our pain, we joked and called

The post Bitcoin Price Intraday Analysis: BTCUSD Pushed Off the Cliff appeared first on CCN

This Crypto Scam Botnet Consists of Over 15,000 Separate Bots

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

This Crypto Scam Botnet Consists of Over 15,000 Separate Bots

Researchers at Duo Labs have discovered that Twitter is home to at least 15,000 scam bots and have published their findings in a new report.

Between May and July of 2018, staff members observed, collected and analyzed nearly 90 million public Twitter accounts that had released over 500 million tweets. In addition, researchers also examined elements of each account including profile screen names, number of followers, avatars and descriptions to gather one of the largest accumulations of Twitter data ever studied.

Among the report’s most interesting finds was a sophisticated “cryptocurrency scam botnet,” which consists of at least 15,000 separate bots. The botnet ultimately siphons money from individual users by posing as cryptocurrency exchanges, news organizations, verified accounts and even celebrities. Accounts in the botnet are programmed to deploy malicious behaviors to evade detection and look like real profiles.

Researchers were also able to map the botnet’s three-tiered structure, which consists of “hub” accounts that are followed by many bots, scam publishing bots, and amplification bots that specifically like tweets to increase their popularity and appear legitimate.

Olabode Anise, a data scientist and co-author of the report, explained, “Users are likely to trust a tweet depending on how many times it’s been retweeted or liked. Those behind this particular botnet know this and have designed it to exploit this very tendency.”

To discover the scam bots, researchers utilized subsets of varying machine-learning algorithms and built features that could train them to locate the bot accounts. Among the five considered algorithms were AdaBoost, Logistic Regression, Random Forest, Naive Bayes and Decision Trees. It was discovered that Random Forest outperformed the other algorithms during the initial testing phases. From there, three individual models of the algorithm were trained to deal with both social and crypto spam bots.

Researchers discovered that bot accounts follow certain behaviors, which, once identified, made them easier to recognize. For example, bot accounts often tweet in short bursts, causing the average times between messages to remain low, while actual Twitter users often wait longer periods between their tweets.

Some methods for evading discovery, however, are more sophisticated. Bots often use unicode characters in tweets rather than traditional ASCII characters. They also use screen names that are typos of spoofed accounts’ screen names, and add white spaces between words and punctuation marks. Profile pictures are also edited to prevent image detection. Finally, many bots appear to follow the same accounts.

Twitter has suspended cryptocurrency spam bots in the past and usually identifies fake accounts quickly. Nevertheless, executives appear to have missed several portions of the latest scam project.

A Twitter spokesperson claimed, “Spam and certain forms of automation are against Twitter’s rules. In many cases, spammy content is hidden on Twitter on the basis of automated detections. When spammy content is hidden on Twitter from areas like search and conversations, that may not affect its availability via the API. This means certain types of spam may be visible via Twitter’s API even if it is not visible on Twitter itself. Less than 5% of Twitter accounts are spam-related.”


This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Newsflash: Bitcoin Price Drops to $6,180 as Market Hits 3-Week Low

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

The bitcoin price took another major downward pivot on Wednesday, forcing the value of the flagship cryptocurrency to a three-week low. Bitcoin spent the majority of the morning and early afternoon trading near $6,500 but proved unable to sustain that level heading into the evening. Following a thirty-minute stretch that saw BTC/USD shed close to

The post Newsflash: Bitcoin Price Drops to $6,180 as Market Hits 3-Week Low appeared first on CCN

Snap sinks to a 2-month low as fewer people use Snapchat every day (SNAP)

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

Snap stock price earnings active users

  • Snap reported its first-ever decline in daily active users on Tuesday.
  • Shares initially popped 10% after the company said it lost less money than Wall Street expected, but sank when markets opened Wednesday.
  • Follow Snap's stock price in real-time here. 

Shares of Snap sank more than 6% Wednesday, falling to their lowest price since June, after the company reported active user numbers that disappointed investors.

For the second quarter, Snap said its total losses per share were smaller than Wall Street had feared and that revenue was more than analysts had expected. However, the company also saw its first-ever decline in daily active users.

Shares initially popped as much as 11% following the earnings report — which coincided with news that Saudi Arabia's Prince Alwaleed had invested $250 million for a 2.3% stake in the company — before sinking into the red early Wednesday as traders digested what the falling active users metric might mean for Snapchat's future.

Also weighing on the slumping share price Wednesday was the leak of some of Snapchat's source code on GitHub, a code-hosting side recently acquired by Microsoft. The forum quickly complied with a  DMCA takedown request, but not before the snippet could be downloaded and shared widely.

"While our monthly active users continue to grow this quarter, we saw 2% decline in our daily active users," CEO Evan Spiegel said on a conference call with analysts.

He added: "This was primarily driven by a slightly lower frequency of use among our user base due to the disruption caused by our redesign. It has been approximately six months since we broadly rolled out the redesign of our application and we have been working hard to iterate and improve Snapchat based on the feedback from our community. We feel that we have now addressed the biggest frustrations we’ve heard and are eager to make more progress on the tremendous opportunity we now have to show more of the right content to the right people."

Snap is now trading more than 50% off its first trading price when it went public in March 2017, and Wall Street thinks it will only sink more. Analysts polled by Bloomberg give the stock an average price target of $11.76.

Now read:

Snap stock price

SEE ALSO: A Saudi prince now owns $250 million worth of Snap, making him one of its biggest investors (SNAP)

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Tesla's board of directors says Elon Musk brought up going private last week (TSLA)

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

elon musk

  • The Board of Directors for Tesla said in a statement issued on Wednesday that company CEO Elon Musk had brought up the notion of taking the company private last week. 
  • Musk announced on Twitter on Tuesday that he is considering taking Tesla private at $420 per share. 
  • Some industry commentators have wondered if Musk opened himself up to legal ramifications because of the nature of his public announcement. 

Tesla's Board of Directors said in a statement issued on Wednesday that company CEO Elon Musk had brought up the notion of taking the company private last week, prior to his public Tweets on Tuesday afternoon. 

In a statement issued on the Tesla company website, Board of Directors members Brad Buss, Robyn Denholm, Ira Ehrenpreis, Antonio Gracias, Linda Johnson Rice, and James Murdoch wrote:

"Last week, Elon opened a discussion with the board about taking the company private. This included discussion as to how being private could better serve Tesla’s long-term interests, and also addressed the funding for this to occur. The board has met several times over the last week and is taking the appropriate next steps to evaluate this." 

Venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson and Kimbal Musk, Elon's brother, are also board members but are not listed among those who are included in making the statement.

Musk shocked the business world on Tuesday when he publicly announced in a series of tweets he may take the electric car company private at $420 a share. 

"Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured," Musk first said via Twitter before issuing a formal statement on the company's website.

In the formal statement, Musk wrote "a final decision has not yet been made, but the reason for doing this is all about creating the environment for Tesla to operate best." Musk cited a desire to leave behind the distractions brought on by stock market trading and operate without the pressures of quarterly earnings cycles. 

"I fundamentally believe that we are at our best when everyone is focused on executing, when we can remain focused on our long-term mission, and when there are not perverse incentives for people to try to harm what we're all trying to achieve," he said.

But Musk's tweets about going private created an immediate firestorm, with some industry experts wondering if he opened himself up to legal liabilities by announcing his intentions to leave the market prior to a unified corporate statement with his board of directors. 

Tesla's stock soared following Musk's tweets, reaching as high as $371.15 per share after trading around $361 in early afternoon trading on Tuesday. 

Other industry experts cast doubt on the feasibility of Musk's plan to pull off a buyout of Tesla. 

Musk said in his statement that a shareholder vote must be held before a final decision is made. But he also tweeted that investor support was confirmed, only that it was contingent on a shareholder vote.

SEE ALSO: Elon Musk announces proposal to take Tesla private, but says no final decision has been made

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DJ Who “Turned Down Wall St.” Is On a Quest to Decentralize Music Festivals

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

DJ Who “Turned Down Wall St.” Is On a Quest to Decentralize Music Festivals

Independent DJ Justin Blau (known on stage as 3LAU) didn’t exactly stumble into the cryptocurrency industry — to say so would misrepresent how much thought he’s put into his blockchain-based event network, Our Music Festival (OMF). But at the very least, his introduction to the space came through a touch of serendipity.

Blau became formally acquainted with blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies after a chance meeting with the Winklevoss twins at a music festival in 2014. The Winklevosses were making their own debut into the industry, as they were in the early stages of building their Gemini exchange at the time.

After hitting it off with the up-and-coming DJ, they invited Blau back to their penthouse, a welcome alternative to crashing at an  exorbitant downtown hotel, Blau admitted in an interview with Bitcoin Magazine. That night — and the blockchain-centric conversation that dominated it — had Blau hooked on the young and novel tech.

“I very quickly saw all the ways in which blockchain [technology] could disrupt the music business and all aspects of the music business — from digital music to live music to manager and artist relationships — disintermediating the entire business as a whole. And I just found myself thinking about it all the time.”

Business moguls and financial thoroughbreds as the Winklevosses are, the encounter may have felt a little like looking into a rearview mirror for Blau. Before dropping out of Washington University in St. Louis to pursue a music career — a decision encouraged by one of his finance professors — he was in line for an internship fast track to Wall Street. Instead of following in his father’s footsteps for a career in finance, he set out to ride the momentum of his early days playing frat parties and college shows across the nation, a move that earned him the title “The DJ that turned down Wall Street” from Forbes.

So in connecting with the Winklevosses, the doors of the financial industry were opened to him again — only this time, the door was to a niche and highly stigmatized five-year-old field. Still, this same door opened up the possibility to reimagine his current occupation under a new economic model.

“After I performed my first ether transfer — I paid a Dutch company at 1:00 a.m. on a Saturday night in ETH for some animation work — I was like, ‘Holy crap, this is insane! Instant transfer of value. And that’s when I really started to dive in and learn as much as I possibly could and ask myself, ‘How could I be a part of it?’”

The answer became clear in August of 2017. After consuming crypto-related literature with voracious curiosity and attending blockchain conferences, Blau began mixing with some of the space’s leading innovators and professionals with help from the Winklevosses and some of his old college friends who had made their careers in tech.

“I just had all of these people who were very powerful, making introductions for me, and that’s when I started diving in deeper,” he said.

And Blau has found his place in the industry: on stage, both as host and performer, at the world’s first blockchain-powered music festival. Coming to fruition on October 20, 2018, Our Music Festival’s first iteration will be held at the Greek Theatre at UC Berkeley, with German-Russian DJ Zedd headlining, and Big Sean, Matt and Kim, and Charlotte Lawrence on the lineup, as well.

At its inception, OMF began as an effort to tokenize live music events. In essence, Blau explained, it’s goal was to decentralize the entire process, giving fans a degree of control over lineup curation and even a share of the festival’s revenue.

But as the space evolved and tokens entered the regulatory conversation, things became complicated.

“I think it’s important for any blockchain startup to be honest about the scope of the project,” Blau said in the interview. “It became really difficult to keep [to our original model], given the regulatory environment. We shifted to this utility token model, where the token represents demand for the festival as a product. And then we shifted again and asked, ‘So how do we do both?’ And that’s where we are now.”

For its inaugural year, the festival will be blockchain-related inasmuch as fans will be able to pay for tickets in crypto as well as fiat. They’ll also issue paper Ethereum wallets to all fans once they check in to the festival, a gesture in line with the educational insight Blau hopes the festival’s blockchain/crypto information booths will offer to its attendees.

Come next year, Blau hopes to integrate blockchain tech even further into the festival’s features. He wants to enable payments in OMF tokens, as well as to launch a reward system that allows fans to earn OMF by inviting friends to the festival, buying tickets early and committing data and feedback to the OMF ecosystem.

These tokens will also be used for discounts and promotions within the festival grounds, and Blau even intends to leverage them to give fans access to their favorite artists, backstage passes and VIP experiences.

In the far future, Blau wants Our Music Festival to tap into blockchain technology’s decentralized, peer-powered ethos to give fans a say in the festival’s lineup and a share of its revenue.

But to get there, Blau and his startup must reason and reckon with the industry’s technological and regulatory growing pains.  

“We have to adapt as we go and that’s the biggest challenge for any company in an evolving space. Network scalability and regulatory environment are our biggest challenges,” he stated.

From a legal standpoint, Our Music Festival cannot offer revenue sharing, lest the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sees these payouts as dividends and its OMF token deemed a security. On the scalability front, Blau believes that the Ethereum network needs to mature before the festival can fully decentralize and implement more blockchain-driven functions.

If the network fails for whatever reason and someone can’t get into the festival, it’s a huge loss for the technology as a whole.

“In year one, we’re only going to start rolling out features if we know we can execute them. Because our biggest risk is the fan experience. If the network fails for whatever reason and someone can’t get into the festival, it’s a huge loss for the technology as a whole,” Blau reasoned.

“Year one is really kinda a launch event. Year two, start building out some of the tech. Year three to year five, our primary goals are giving fans ownership and enabling fans to vote for the lineups for these events. And in the long-term, even let them create their own small events.”

Until the long-term becomes the immediate present, the festival will “gradually decentralize over time,” Blau said, espousing “a firm belief in minimum viable centralization … to bring [his] concept to the mainstream.”

Helping him in his efforts, OMF features a stacked team of both music and tech industry professionals. COO Adam Lynn serves as co-founder and president of Prime Social Group, a concert and event company responsible for 900 events, 19 festivals and 400,000 ticket sales annually. Kevin Edelson, the company’s CMO, has a history of PR work for Universal Music Group and Red Light Management, among others.

For smart contract and blockchain development, Our Music Festival leverages the work and talents of Zach LeBeau, Shreesh Tiwari and G. Thomas Esmay, the core team at SingularDTV, a blockchain studio that focuses on digital media and entertainment.

Blau hopes that in bringing tech and creative professionals together, OMF will catalyze blockchain integration into the music industry. As for Blau, he’s hoping he can serve as a guiding intermediary between both industries.

There’s a little bit of a disconnect between existing industries and blockchain startups and my goal is to be that bridge. To show the tech people and engineers what people like me need, to bring the music business a little more across the fence into the space. So that’s my personal goal — to be the bridge.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

'The Thomas Edison of our age has come off rails': Brand expert says Elon Musk has put himself in a risky situation (TSLA)

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

elon musk

  • Tesla CEO Elon Musk has put himself in a risky position, Scott Galloway, an NYU marketing professor, said via Twitter.
  • Galloway referred to Musk as the "Thomas Edison of our age," but said Musk could find himself in legal trouble if he hasn't secured the funding necessary to take the company private.
  • "My mind is blow [sic] over Elon tweet today. I think the Thomas Edison of our age has come off rails. 'Funding Secured' means he has the money lined up or he's guilty of market manipulation. His animus toward short-sellers have gotten the better of him," he said.
  • On Tuesday, Musk signaled his preference via Twitter, where he said he had secured financing for such a move. 


Tesla CEO Elon Musk has put himself in a risky position, Scott Galloway, an NYU marketing professor, said via Twitter.

Galloway referred to Musk as the "Thomas Edison of our age," but said Musk could find himself in legal trouble if he hasn't secured the funding necessary to take the company private.

"My mind is blow [sic] over Elon tweet today. I think the Thomas Edison of our age has come off rails. 'Funding Secured' means he has the money lined up or he's guilty of market manipulation. His animus toward short-sellers have gotten the better of him," he said.

Musk shocked observers on Tuesday by expressing his desire to take Tesla private. The company has been public since 2010.

He first signaled his preference via Twitter, where he said he had secured financing for such a move. Tesla's share price surged after the tweet, rising by as much as 12% before trading closed. 

The company released an email Musk sent to employees in which he said taking the company private is "the best path forward." He said the pressures of being a public company create distractions and promote short-term thinking that may not produce the best decisions in the long-term, but added that a final decision could not be made until a shareholder vote is held.

Galloway later questioned the Securities and Exchange Commission's response to Musk, suggesting he would not be subject to the same level of regulatory attention as other CEOs due to his reputation as an innovator. 

"We no longer worship at alter of character, but innovators," he said. "SEC/DOJ, please join Marines, CIA, and National Parks Service and do ur job."

Have a Tesla news tip? Contact this reporter at mmatousek@businessinsider.com.

SEE ALSO: Elon Musk says he wants to take Tesla private — here are 5 reasons that makes sense

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ShapeShift Acquires Tool That Quickly Swaps Bitcoin for Other Cryptos

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

Cryptocurrency asset company ShapeShift has acquired blockchain startup Bitfract, the firms announced Wednesday.

Elon Musk boosted his net worth by $1.4 billion with just one short tweet (TSLA)

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

elon musk

  • Elon Musk became $1.4 billion richer on Tuesday as Tesla's stock surged after he tweeted that he was thinking of taking the company private. 
  • With a $25.8 billion net worth, he's the world's 31st richest person. 
  • He's also Tesla's largest shareholder. 

The tweet was only 61 characters long, but it was powerful enough to make Tesla CEO Elon Musk $1.4 billion richer.

Musk tweeted on Tuesday that he was considering taking Tesla private at $420 a share and had secured the funding.

Many other companies would halt trading of their stock before disclosing news of such importance to their shareholders, and the announcement would be made in a regulatory filing. However, Musk is not one to be Twitter-shy, and his unexpected post sent Tesla's shares skyrocketing.

The shares were already flying after the Financial Times reported that Saudi Arabia's investment fund had bought a $2 billion stake in the company.

Musk's tweet was the extra fuel that spiked Tesla's shares within reach of their all-time high. They closed up 11% at $379.57 apiece, lifting his net worth to $25.8 billion. He is the world's 31st richest person, according to a Bloomberg ranking of billionaires. 

Musk could climb the ranking faster if investors decide Tesla is worth more than its current $58 billion market cap. As Tesla's largest shareholder, Musk owns nearly 20% of the outstanding shares and stands to gain as the stock price rises. 

However, he may not reap an instant reward in the event that Tesla goes private at $420 a share. The value of his shares at that price would total $72 billion, short of the $100 billion performance bar it must cross for him to be able to exercise his $2.6 billion stock-option grant, Bloomberg noted. 

Tesla's stock is up 25.5% in August. Investors who bet against Tesla's stock — so-called short sellers — have lost $3 billion on their wagers, according to the financial-analytics firm S3 Partners

In other words, as Musk has gotten richer this month, his skeptics have lost money.

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A $300 billion asset manager says investors are overlooking a huge threat that's building right in front of their eyes

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

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  • In an exclusive interview, Sebastien Page, the global head of T. Rowe Price's Multi-Asset division, breaks down an overlooked risk he says could eventually derail markets.
  • Page, who helps oversee nearly $300 billion, also expresses concerns over constrained liquidity, which Wall Street increasingly says will worsen any type of risk-off selling.

With so much going on in the market, it's easier than ever to overlook potential threats percolating under the surface.

You have President Donald Trump roiling markets on a weekly basis with his latest trade-war actions. That, in turn, spurs retaliation from China, which also throws investor sentiment for a loop.

There's also the continual "bubble watch" playing out, as investors wary of overextended conditions sell at the first sign of any slowdown. Look no further than Facebook's recent plunge, which came after the company warned that growth had already peaked for the year.

And while these developments trouble Sebastien Page, the global head of T. Rowe Price's Multi-Asset division, he's also keeping an eye on the more overlooked risks that — if left unaddressed — could wind up taking everyone by surprise.

Page, whose asset-allocation team helps oversee nearly $300 billion, is specifically focused on the historically large debt burdens being held by both governments and corporations. That, coupled with more restrictive monetary policies worldwide, is creating a potentially perilous situation, Page says.

He spoke with Business Insider in an exclusive interview and shared the following thoughts (emphasis ours):

"The level of government and corporate debt right now is quite ...

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Internet Giant Opera Brings Native Ethereum Wallet to Desktop Web Browser

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

Opera, the web browser backed by bitcoin mining giant Bitmain, has announced that it will add a native ethereum wallet to the desktop version of its web browsing software. Opera Brings Built-in Ethereum Wallet to PC Browser The Oslo-based firm made the announcement on Wednesday, citing “strong interest” in and an “overwhelmingly positive response” to

The post Internet Giant Opera Brings Native Ethereum Wallet to Desktop Web Browser appeared first on CCN

Mylan stock dropped 7% after second quarter sales slumped (MYL)

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

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  • Mylan's stock dropped 7.4% shortly after markets opened on Wednesday due to poor second quarter earnings.
  • The company's total revenue for the second quarter was $2.8 billion, down 5% compared to last year. Sales in North America also fell 22%. 
  • Mylan then announced that it was going to conduct a strategic review of the company, saying it believes it is undervalued. This means the company could be broken up or sold. 
  • Mylan N.V. is an American pharmaceutical company registered in the Netherlands that makes both generic and specialty drugs. It is best known as the manufacturer of EpiPen. 

SEE ALSO: Ovid Therapeutics shares fall 28% as investors question new drug data

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Mylan stock dropped 7% after second quarter sales slumped (MYL)

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

Screen Shot 2018 08 08 at 9.37.07 AM

  • Mylan's stock dropped 7.4% shortly after markets opened on Wednesday due to poor second quarter earnings.
  • The company's total revenue for the second quarter was $2.8 billion, down 5% compared to last year. Sales in North America also fell 22%. 
  • Mylan then announced that it was going to conduct a strategic review of the company, saying it believes it is undervalued. This means the company could be broken up or sold. 
  • Mylan N.V. is an American pharmaceutical company registered in the Netherlands that makes both generic and specialty drugs. One of the company's best-known products is EpiPen. 

SEE ALSO: Ovid Therapeutics shares fall 28% as investors question new drug data

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The SEC Is Delaying Another Bitcoin ETF Decision

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


The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is in no hurry to review the pile of Bitcoin ETF filings it has been accumulating over the past year.

Not three weeks since postponing its decision on five other Bitcoin ETFs, the SEC has indicated in a public statement that it will be delaying its decision to approve or reject SolidX Bitcoin Shares until late September.

“Accordingly, the Commission, pursuant to Section 19(b)(2) of the Act, designates September 30, 2018, as the date by which the Commission shall either approve or disapprove, or institute proceedings to determine whether to disapprove, the proposed rule change (File No. SR-CboeBZX-2018-040),” the statement reads.

Submitted back in June, the proposed rule change to permit the ETF comes from the Chicago Board Options Exchange (Cboe), which was cleared to list Bitcoin futures in December of last year. If approved, the ETF would be listed on Cboe’s BZX exchange in cooperation with legacy investment management company VanEck and crypto startup SolidX. This is VanEck’s second attempt to list a Bitcoin ETF after their first attempt was nixed by the SEC last year.

This is also the BZX exchange’s second attempt to secure a Bitcoin ETF listing. On July 26, 2018, a day after the SEC prolonged its deliberation for Direxion Asset Management’s five filings, the SEC rejected BZX’s joint filing with the Winklevoss twins. The ETF was rejected on the grounds that BZX has “not met its burden under the Exchange Act and the Commission’s Rules of Practice to demonstrate that its proposal is consistent with the requirements of the Exchange Act Section 6(b)(5), in particular the requirement that its rules be designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices.”

With each successive rejection or prolonged decision, the industry continues to fight an uphill battle against regulators to secure its first exchange traded fund. Many believe such a listing would open the floodgates for institutional money.

SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce believes that it could also invite more mature regulation, both from the private and public sectors. On the latest rejection by the SEC, she expressed to Bitcoin Magazine that the decision is “not a great precedent,” believing that the SEC’s decision misconstrues the commission’s purpose to protect investors as a method to decide what is and isn’t a legitimate investment.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Oil slides after China announces tariff on US crude

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

shale oil young worker


Oil prices slumped Wednesday after Beijing announced it would retaliate against the Trump administration with a 25% tariff on another $16 billion worth of US products, including crude exports to China. 

West Texas Intermediate, the US benchmark, shed 2% to $67.70 per barrel after the Ministry of Commerce released a new list of American goods that will be subject to tariffs. Brent was down 0.6% to just above $74 a barrel. 

China, the second-largest destination for American crude, also said it would levy tariffs on liquified natural gas, diesel, coal, chemicals, cars, steel products and medical equipment.

The announcement came after the Trump administration followed through with a 25% tariff on an additional $16 billion of Chinese goods Tuesday evening. The latest round of American and Chinese tariffs, which bring the running total of targeted goods to $50 billion on each side, are set to take effect August 23.

Jameel Ahmad, global head of currency strategy and market research at FXTM, said the escalation "is just reminding investors that their trade war concerns are going nowhere anytime soon."

President Donald Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on nearly all Chinese imports to the US. Beijing can't match that dollar-for-dollar because it imports significantly fewer American products than the US does from China. But officials have threatened to retaliate in other ways, like increasing the rate of tariffs on additional American imports.

Oil prices had been edging higher prior to the announcement. A report by the Energy Information Administration showed a 1.4 million barrel drawdown in US inventories last week.

WTI is up 40% year-over-year. 

See also:

Screen Shot 2018 08 08 at 9.55.45 AM

SEE ALSO: ROUND 2: US, China announce newest round of tariffs as Trump's trade war shows no sign of slowing down

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2 of the largest crypto exchanges have snagged veteran Wall Streeters as they build out businesses to lure in billion dollar investors

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

Wall Street

  • Two of the largest players in the crypto space have snagged employees from top Wall Street banks for similar roles, according to people familiar with the matter. 
  • Amy Yu, who previously worked in sales for synthetic products at JPMorgan, joined BitMEX to head up institutional sales.  
  • Meanwhile, Lauren Abendschein, formerly a director at Credit Suisse, has joined as a manager of institutional sales. 
  • Both will be tasked with luring more large players in financial services to their respective markets. 

Count this as another sign that the cryptocurrency space is growing up. 

Both BitMEX and Coinbase, two of the largest market places for crypto, have snagged veteran Wall Streeters as the firms vie for more business from large traditional financial services companies, people familiar with the matter tell Business Insider. 

Hong Kong-based BitMEX is a platform that offers peer-to-peer trading of leveraged bitcoin contracts, while Coinbase is a US-based cryptocurrency exchange operator best known for its brokerage unit. Both have been building-out their services to attract large investors.

As for BitMEX, the firm has brought on Amy Yu as head of institutional sales, according to people familiar with the situation. She joins the firm from JPMorgan where she worked in sales for synthetic products. 

A BitMex spokesperson confirmed the hire. 

Meanwhile, Lauren Abendschein, formerly a director at Credit Suisse, has joined Coinbase as a manager of institutional sales, according to people familiar with the hire. 

She is joining the team in New York, which has been building out its white-glove broker business aimed at getting large firms onto Coinbase's venue. Notably, the firm recently onboarded a $20 billion hedge fund onto its platform, as Business Insider previously reported

Abendschein, who worked in Credit Suisse's prime business, will play a role in building out the prime business Coinbase is looking to get off the ground as soon as year-end. 

Offering so-called white-glove services to large institutions — from face-to-face meetings to block trades — is one way exchanges are trying to lure larger investors to the nascent market for digital currencies, market experts says. 

Kiran Nagaraj, KPMG's leader of cryptocurrency services, said larger investors need to be supported on crypto-specific issues such as managing crypto forks — when a crypto splits into two — for them to enter the market in a serious way. Big investors, Nagaraj says, don't want to be concerned with the technicals.

"They're in the investment business," he said. "They can't hold their own private key. Maybe you'll find some that'll do it, but they are looking for market exposure. They don't want to deal with the operations."

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Goldman is rolling out crypto custody services (GS)

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

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Goldman Sachs is exploring offering custody services for crypto funds, according to people familiar with the matter cited by Bloomberg. This would result in Goldman holding cryptos on behalf of the funds, providing secure storage for clients.Sources of Traffic on Global Cryptocurrency Markets, by Country

There is no launch date for the new offering yet, and the announcement comes after Goldman said in May that it would launch crypto-related trading options, including derivatives, to allow customers to buy contracts related to price fluctuations in Bitcoin.

Offering custody for cryptos seems to be a new movement on Wall Street — Bank of New York Mellon, JPMorgan Chase, and Northern Trust are also looking into offering such services, says Bloomberg.

Custody services are much-needed to help drive institutional investment in cryptos. Securely storing digital assets is a major concern for firms, and has perhaps been a barrier to entry — custody services are commonly available for other financial instruments, yet have been lacking in the crypto sector.

By offering such services, Goldman and others could help make investing in cryptos more accessible for financial institutions (FIs) wanting to engage responsibly with the nascent asset class. Additionally, by getting into the business of storing cryptos, Goldman could position itself well to drive uptake of any future digital asset services it deploys.

Coinbase rolled outcrypto custody services earlier this year, but Goldman moving into the space may be a gamechanger. Although Coinbase's services are likely helping to drive adoption of cryptos among FIs, these investors are probably far more likely to trust a Wall Street giant like Goldman.

Moreover, if this move is simply a preview of what's to come from Goldman and other incumbents — we reported in April that around one in five financial firms surveyed by Thomson Reuters were considering launching crypto trading services in the next year — we could be on the verge of a major shift toward the mainstream for the industry.

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Tesla's surging stock has cost short sellers $3 billion this month (TSLA)

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

elon musk shrug tesla


The "short burn of the century" that Tesla CEO Elon Musk promised back in May may have finally happened.

Tesla's 27% surge this month, fueled by Musk's cryptic tweet Tuesday about taking the company private at $420 a share, has cost short sellers — the investors betting against Tesla's stock — at least $3 billion, according to data from the financial-analytics firm S3 Partners.

Still, it remains the most shorted equity in the US, easily outpacing other heavily bet-against equities like Apple, Amazon, and Alphabet by at least 50%. And as the stock price has climbed this year, so too have the bets against it.

"If the market believes that Elon Musk's financing is in place and the chances of a buyout is high, we should see short covering in size, driving Tesla's stock price higher in the short term as short sellers attempt to close out their positions at lower than the $420 takeout price," said Ihor Dusaniwsky, a managing director at S3 Partners.

Musk hasn't been quiet about his disdain for short sellers. "These guys want us to die so bad they can taste it," he said last year. And on a conference call in May, he interrupted questions by two analysts on an earnings conference call in May, complaining they represented a short-seller thesis.

Shares of Tesla are up 18% this year as a solid earnings report, reports of a $2 billion investment by Saudi Arabia's public investment fund, and Tuesday's proposed buyout sent the stock to near-record highs.

Now read:

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SEE ALSO: Tesla’s current fundamentals don’t support a valuation ‘anywhere close’ to $420, one bear says

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US SEC Postpones Decision on VanEck/SolidX Bitcoin ETF to September

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

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has postponed its decision on the VanEck/SolidX Bitcoin ETF until September 30, 2018, according to an official document released by the Commission. This notice comes some days after Van Eck sent a 13-page report to the SEC where it addressed concerns cited as reasons for rejecting a similar

The post US SEC Postpones Decision on VanEck/SolidX Bitcoin ETF to September appeared first on CCN

Canadian dollar gets whacked after Saudi Arabia reportedly starts dumping the country's assets 'no matter the cost'

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

Screen Shot 2018 08 08 at 9.10.26 AM

  • The Canadian dollar slid Wednesday after the Financial Times reported that Saudi Arabia had begun selling off its holdings of the country's bonds, stocks, and cash. 
  • The divestment came after Canada's foreign ministry condemned the kingdom's arrest of a prominent women's rights activist.  
  • Saudi Arabia's national airline suspended flights to and from Toronto on Tuesday. 
  • Watch the Canadian dollar trade in real-time here.

The Canadian dollar fell on Wednesday after the Financial Times reported that Saudi Arabian officials instructed the kingdom's asset managers to dump their holdings of the country's assets. 

According to the FT's Simeon Kerr, Saudi Arabia ordered the divestments "no matter the cost" after Canada criticized its arrest of Samar Badawi, a women's rights activist. Saudi central bank and state pension funds told their overseas asset managers to unload Canadian bonds, stocks, and cash holdings "no matter the cost," the report said. The selling began on Tuesday, it said. 

The Canadian dollar was down by 0.2% against the US dollar to 1.3096 at 8:59 a.m. ET. It slid to its lowest level in two weeks. 

Canada's foreign ministry tweeted Friday that it was "gravely concerned" about the arrests of women's rights activists. Then on Tuesday, Saudi Arabia's national airline Saudia suspended flights to and from Toronto in the feud over the arrest of several prominent human-rights activists. 

"The Kingdom views the Canadian position as an affront to the Kingdom that requires a sharp response to prevent any party from attempting to meddle with Saudi sovereignty," the Saudi foreign ministry said in a statement.

SEE ALSO: MOODY'S WARNS: Mutual funds are bleeding cash at an unprecedented rate, and they're increasingly vulnerable to the next market meltdown

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

One measure shows the stock market is stretched to double tech-bubble extremes — and investors should be very scared of the implications

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

trader surprised shocked upset

  • Leuthold Group has sounded the alarm on a valuation metric that shows the S&P 500 is twice as expensive as it was at the peak of the tech bubble.
  • This development could have large implications for stock investors of all types, particularly value traders who make their living by finding discounts in the market.

With the stock market within shouting distance of a new all-time high, traders are readying their champagne bottles.

Just don't tell them about the eye-popping statistic just published by reputed research outfit Leuthold Group, lest you spoil their fun.

Leuthold has taken a fairly traditional valuation measure — the price-to-sales ratio (P/S) — and added a twist. Rather than take the market cap-weighted P/S for the benchmark S&P 500, the firm has calculated the median P/S for every company in the index.

And as you can see from the red line below, the historical chart is jarring. Going by the median P/S measure, the S&P 500 is actually twice as expensive as it was at the peak of the tech bubble.

Screen Shot 2018 08 08 at 8.01.50 AM

Leuthold has already sounded the alarm in the past about the blue line, which is the market cap-weighted version of the P/S metric. The firm previously considered it the "scariest chart in our database" — but it appears to be a distant number two now.

"The addition transforms an already alarming chart into one that’s almost unfit for a family-friendly publication," Doug Ramsey, Leuthold's chief investment officer, wrote in a client note. "The nature of this market’s overvaluation is very different than in 2000."

It's different in the sense that the overvaluation is more widespread — and the implications of that fact are potentially devastating. When the stock market does face its next armaggedon stage, there will be nowhere to hide.

When the broader market got crushed in the dotcom era after the tech bubble burst, that was largely because of the massive concentration of positions in the sector. Traders could've theoretically protected themselves by hiding in more fairly valued industries. Investors today have no such luxury.

"Overvaluation in 2000 was highly concentrated," said Ramsey. "Today it is pervasive."

The lack of comparatively cheap opportunities in the market right now is a particularly troublesome development for so-called value investors, who are left searching for bargains that simply don't exist.

In a more concentrated market, value investors could position themselves to outperform by patiently waiting in cheaper areas for the more crowded, pricy segments to collapse. With no inexpensive areas to speak of, that strategy becomes much more difficult.

"This breadth of overvaluation certainly helps explain today’s level of despondence among value managers," said Ramsey. "The long period of penance has not rewarded them with any truly cheap pockets of the stock market — like it did in 1999 and 2000. They still stand to lose serious money in the next bear market, but their results should be much better than the throngs who’ve decided to put their equity investing on auto-pilot."

SEE ALSO: One dirty word keeps popping up as Wall Street weighs the next market crash — and it should strike fear into the hearts of investors everywhere

Join the conversation about this story »

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

The pound is below $1.29 for the first time in almost a year as 'no-deal' Brexit fears mount

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

pound

  • The pound is below $1.29 for the first time since 2017 and falling against the euro and yen.
  • Sterling's price is suffering from ongoing concerns about a potential no deal Brexit.
  • Analysts say the currency's poor performance is likely to continue in the short-term.


LONDON — The pound fell below $1.29 for the first time since September 2017 on Wednesday as fears about a possible no-deal Brexit continued.

Sterling is down 0.6% against the dollar to $1.2860 at 12.00 p.m. BST (7.00 a.m. ET). It marks an 11-month low for the pound against the greenback. The pound is also down 0.58% against the euro and down 0.86% against the Japanese yen.

Lukman Otunuga, a research analyst at FXTM, said in an email on Wednesday lunchtime in London: "Concerns of a potential hard Brexit scenario have haunted investor attraction towards the Pound and have left the currency vulnerable to downside shocks."

Traders are concerned about a no-deal Brexit, which would see Britain drop out of the European Union without an agreement on future trading relations with the bloc. This would likely cause huge disruption for everything from food to medical supplies in the UK.

The deadline for Britain to leave the EU is March 2019. The UK government has so far made little progress in agreeing on a post-Brexit trading deal with the EU. Bank of England Governor Mark Carney and UK International Trade Secretary Liam Fox have both warned about the rising likelihood of a no-deal Brexit in recent weeks.

The pound has fallen almost 2% since the start of August and Otunga warned it is likely to stay under pressure for the rest of the week at least.

"The currency is likely to remain depressed ahead of Friday’s second quarter UK GDP report, which could offer fresh insight into the health of Britain’s economy," he said. "While a solid GDP print could throw the bruised Pound a short-term lifeline, any meaningful gains may be obstructed by Brexit-related uncertainty and an appreciating Dollar."

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

Join the conversation about this story »

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

Bitcoin Outlook Sours As Price Sheds 70% of Recent Rally

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

Bitcoin's price has surrendered more than 70 percent of the rally seen in July, putting the bears in a more commanding position.

Inside the power struggle at the top of Citigroup's equities unit that's a window on the latest Wall Street fad (C)

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

citi citigroup

  • A struggle at the top of Citigroup's equities division several months ago resulted in the departure of the bank's global head of cash trading.
  • Executives disagreed over how integral a role the firm's central risk book should have in its overall equities strategy and how it would interact with clients.
  • The dispute is a window into Wall Street's latest fad, as banks turn to central risk books as a lifeline for cash equities trading desks suffering from shrinking commissions and new research rules. 

Armando Diaz didn't see it coming.

One Friday in March this year, Diaz, who had joined Citigroup two years earlier as its global head of cash trading and helped the bank claw back equities market share from competitors, was suddenly summoned to his boss' office hours before US stock markets would open.

In an office looking out on the third-level trading floor, where baseball bats stand in a corner and a bottle of whiskey sits on a shelf, Dan Keegan, Citi's cohead of global equities, delivered the news: Diaz was out of a job.

For months, Diaz and Keegan had gone back and forth over Citigroup's central risk book, a desk where technology aggregates risk across dozens of traders so it can be actively managed. The CRB was led by an executive named Peter Lambrakis, but the profits and losses of the book had been Diaz's responsibility, a tension-inducing mismatch. And Diaz and Keegan couldn't agree on how the CRB should be positioned.

In the weeks following Diaz's departure, ...

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SEE ALSO: Citi profit rises 16% in second quarter

SEE ALSO: Citi has poached a quant trading exec from Credit Suisse as Wall Street's equity derivatives hiring binge continues

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

A top Bank of England official says he's seeing an 'exodus' of EU bankers from London

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

City of London

  • European bankers are leaving London in an "exodus", a senior Bank of England official claims.
  • Iain McCafferty said the number of Europeans moving to the city has "fallen quite sharply" since the 2016 referendum.


LONDON — Bankers from the EU are leaving the City in an "exodus" according to Iain McCafferty, a senior official at the Bank of England

McCafferty told Britain’s LBC in an interview on Tuesday that the number of German, French, and other European bankers coming to work in the City has "fallen quite sharply" since the 2016 referendum.

"The number of foreign bankers coming to London has fallen very sharply over the course of the last couple of years or so," he said. "As they return to their native countries, they are not being replaced in anything like the same numbers."

McCafferty, who is a member of the bank's monetary policy committee, added that Europeans leaving London are pushing down property and rent prices as they relocate from the capital back to their home countries, as demand for housing drops.

McCafferty did not provide any statistics to support his claims of EU bankers leaving or their effects on the London housing market.

Analysts and economists have warned since the referendum that Brexit was likely to lead to a reduction in the number of banking jobs in the UK. A recent report by the City of London estimated that 5,000 jobs will be lost due to Britain's exit from the EU.

LBC presenter Iain Dale questioned whether McCaffery was playing into "project fear" by making the comments.

Brexiteers have criticised the Bank of England for what they have dubbed "project fear", claiming the central bank has been overly negative about the economic effects of Brexit. Tory MP Jacob Rees Mogg recently called BoE Governor Mark Carney the "high priest of project fear," after Carney warned that a no deal Brexit was highly undesirable.

Dale said: "You've used the word exodus, which to my mind means a massive outflow of people… Isn't that playing into the narrative that Brexiteers have of the Bank of England that all you're interested in doing is playing project fear?"

McCaffery replied: "I don't consider an exodus as a massive outflow of people; I consider it an outflow and that's what we have seen."

While London’s housing market has suffered since the referendum, on June 25 Boston Consulting and TotalJobs released a study that named London as the most attractive destination for foreign workers, beating New York to the top spot despite the impacts of Brexit.

SEE ALSO: A Brexit exodus may cost London 40,000 investment banking jobs

Join the conversation about this story »

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

Bitcoin is under pressure and leading the crypto market lower

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

bitcoin



LONDON — The price of bitcoin is slipping on Wednesday, extending a poor run for the digital currency.

Bitcoin is down 2.8% to $6,531.86 at 8.15 a.m. BST (3.15 a.m. ET). It extends a slump for the cryptocurrency, which has fallen 13% since the start of the month.

Recent positive news has failed to provide much support for bitcoin. ICE, the owner of the New York Stock Exchange, announced plans earlier in the week to launch a new platform in partnership with Microsoft and Starbucks that aims to bring bitcoin and other digital assets more into the mainstream.

Other major digital tokens are also under pressure:

Analysts for FXPro, a London-based foreign exchange broker, said in an email on Tuesday: "The crypto market cap lost 20% in the last 2 weeks, falling from $300 billion to $250 billion. Although analysts remain bullish on the BTC perspectives, currently they warn us to be cautious.

"In the short terms, technical analysis is still on the bears’ side. The benchmark currency [bitcoin] doesn’t have important levels of consolidation near current trading marks. It means that after a short pause the bitcoin could slide down to the nearest consolidation level close to $6,200 mark, and even lower to $5,800."

A report released on Wednesday found that ICO tokens — digital assets issued by startups to raise cash for projects — had an average return of -55% in the second quarter, pointing to extended weakness across the sector.

See also:

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

DON'T MISS: 1 in 2 ICOs failed in the second quarter — and those that succeeded suffered huge losses

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: A Nobel Prize-winning economist says 'non-competes' are keeping wages down for all workers

Bitcoin is under pressure and leading the crypto market lower

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

bitcoin



LONDON — The price of bitcoin is slipping on Wednesday, extending a poor run for the digital currency.

Bitcoin is down 2.8% to $6,531.86 at 8.15 a.m. BST (3.15 a.m. ET). It extends a slump for the cryptocurrency, which has fallen 13% since the start of the month.

Recent positive news has failed to provide much support for bitcoin. ICE, the owner of the New York Stock Exchange, announced plans earlier in the week to launch a new platform in partnership with Microsoft and Starbucks that aims to bring bitcoin and other digital assets more into the mainstream.

Other major digital tokens are also under pressure:

Analysts for FXPro, a London-based foreign exchange broker, said in an email on Tuesday: "The crypto market cap lost 20% in the last 2 weeks, falling from $300 billion to $250 billion. Although analysts remain bullish on the BTC perspectives, currently they warn us to be cautious.

"In the short terms, technical analysis is still on the bears’ side. The benchmark currency [bitcoin] doesn’t have important levels of consolidation near current trading marks. It means that after a short pause the bitcoin could slide down to the nearest consolidation level close to $6,200 mark, and even lower to $5,800."

A report released on Wednesday found that ICO tokens — digital assets issued by startups to raise cash for projects — had an average return of -55% in the second quarter, pointing to extended weakness across the sector.

See also:

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

DON'T MISS: 1 in 2 ICOs failed in the second quarter — and those that succeeded suffered huge losses

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: A Nobel Prize-winning economist says 'non-competes' are keeping wages down for all workers

Bitcoin is under pressure and leading the crypto market lower

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

bitcoin



LONDON — The price of bitcoin is slipping on Wednesday, extending a poor run for the digital currency.

Bitcoin is down 2.8% to $6,531.86 at 8.15 a.m. BST (3.15 a.m. ET). It extends a slump for the cryptocurrency, which has fallen 13% since the start of the month.

Recent positive news has failed to provide much support for bitcoin. ICE, the owner of the New York Stock Exchange, announced plans earlier in the week to launch a new platform in partnership with Microsoft and Starbucks that aims to bring bitcoin and other digital assets more into the mainstream.

Other major digital tokens are also under pressure:

Analysts for FXPro, a London-based foreign exchange broker, said in an email on Tuesday: "The crypto market cap lost 20% in the last 2 weeks, falling from $300 billion to $250 billion. Although analysts remain bullish on the BTC perspectives, currently they warn us to be cautious.

"In the short terms, technical analysis is still on the bears’ side. The benchmark currency [bitcoin] doesn’t have important levels of consolidation near current trading marks. It means that after a short pause the bitcoin could slide down to the nearest consolidation level close to $6,200 mark, and even lower to $5,800."

A report released on Wednesday found that ICO tokens — digital assets issued by startups to raise cash for projects — had an average return of -55% in the second quarter, pointing to extended weakness across the sector.

See also:

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

DON'T MISS: 1 in 2 ICOs failed in the second quarter — and those that succeeded suffered huge losses

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: A Nobel Prize-winning economist says 'non-competes' are keeping wages down for all workers

Iranian Hackers Developing Ransomware for Bitcoin, Cybersecurity Experts Warn

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

As the U.S. gets ready to impose sanctions on Iran, hackers in that country are working on ransomware to secure bitcoin, according to cybersecurity experts interviewed by The Wall Street Journal. Accenture PLC’s cybersecurity intelligence group has followed five Iranian built ransomware variations in the last two years. The hackers are hoping to secure payments in

The post Iranian Hackers Developing Ransomware for Bitcoin, Cybersecurity Experts Warn appeared first on CCN

Bitcoin Price Plummets to Mid-$6,000 as Crypto Market Crashes: Factors and Trends

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

Similar to the short-term trend outlined by CCN yesterday, the Bitcoin price has dropped by mid-$6,000 as it failed to demonstrate a recovery in its volume. Yesterday, CCN reported that the volume of BTC and the rest of the crypto market have dropped substantially since late July, by more than 30 percent. Given the failed

The post Bitcoin Price Plummets to Mid-$6,000 as Crypto Market Crashes: Factors and Trends appeared first on CCN

1 in 2 ICOs failed in the second quarter — and those that succeeded suffered huge losses

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

Eoh Kyung-hoon, leader of a club studying cryptocurrencies, checks a chart after a meeting at a university in Seoul, South Korea, December 20, 2017. Picture taken December 20, 2017.

  • The amount of funding raised through "initial coin offerings" rose from $3.3 billion in the first quarter to $8.3 billion in the second, according to a new report.
  • But the proportion of funding campaigns that failed also rose to 55%, leading analysts to say the quality of projects in the market has "significantly worsened."
  • The average return for ICO tokens in the quarter was -55%, compared with a gain of nearly 50% in the first quarter.

LONDON — Money continues to flood into the booming market for digital tokens issued by startups despite the projects seeking funding getting worse and investment returns suffering, according to a new report.

55% of "initial coin offerings" (ICOs) failed to complete in the second quarter, according to a report from agency ICORating. That was 5% more than failed in the first quarter.

ICOs are where companies and projects issue digital tokens structured like bitcoin or ethereum. These tokens are sold in return for cash used to fund the development of their businesses. ICOs exploded from almost nothing to be a multi-billion dollar market in 2017, surging in popularity alongside the rise in the price of bitcoin.

The increasing failure rate came despite a rise in the amount of money being invested into ICO tokens. 827 projects raised $8.3 billion through initial coin offerings in the second quarter of the year, the report states, compared to $3.3 billion in the first quarter.

This mismatch led ICORating to conclude that "the overall quality of projects has significantly worsened." Fewer projects are attracting bigger sums, while many others languish with small sums or outright failure. The biggest ICO in the second quarter of 2018 was PumaPay, a cryptocurrency solution for merchants that raised $117 million in May.

The increase in investment into ICO tokens comes despite poor performance in the second quarter. ICORating found the median return for tokens in the second quarter was -55.5%, compared to +49.3% in the first quarter. Bitcoin, the bellwether for the crypto and digital asset market, has declined over 50% since the start of the year.

North American startups attracted the bulk of funding, taking in 64.6% of the total raised in the quarter. Financial services continued to be the most popular sector for startups, with 87 ICOs focusing on the industry.

ico marketSeparately on Wednesday, blockchain-focused VC firm Outlier Ventures released a report saying that venture capitalists invested $1.8 billion into blockchain-focused businesses in the second quarter of the year. Most ICO projects use blockchain technology in one way or another, although the majority of VCs still invest in equity rather than buying tokens issued during an ICO.

Outlier Ventures' review of activity in the blockchain space found an increase in M&A activity among startups. Tron acquired torrenting service BitTorrent for $140 million in June, for example. Tron aims to decentralize the entertainment industry and raised $70 million through an ICO last December.

Jamie Burke, CEO at Outlier Ventures, said in a release: "We are seeing extremely well-capitalized protocols launch venture funds and accelerators as well as acquire equity-backed companies and teams to scale development or buy network-market-fit."

SEE ALSO: Barclays traders say they're building out a crypto desk— but the bank says it has nothing in the works

DON'T MISS: 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

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Most affluent investors would rather go to the dentist than invest in a company that hurts the environment

MOODY'S WARNS: Mutual funds are bleeding cash at an unprecedented rate, and they're increasingly vulnerable to the next market meltdown

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

Worried nervous trader

  • Investors are pulling money from actively managed US stock funds this year at the fastest year-to-date rate on record, according to Moody's.
  • The credit-ratings agency said this has made mutual funds vulnerable to the next market downturn. 
  • "The lack of organic AUM growth at a time when asset markets are at historical highs is a cause for concern," Moody's said. 

It's not getting any easier for stock pickers to hold on to their clients. 

According to Moody's, investors have pulled cash from actively managed equity mutual funds in the US at the fastest year-to-date pace on record. The funds lost $129.11 billion of investor dollars from January to July, up from $99.88 billion a year earlier, data compiled by the Investment Company Institute and cited by Moody's show.

Screen Shot 2018 08 07 at 10.00.38 AM

The flight of money away from managers who meticulously pick stocks and to exchange-traded funds is happening a bit faster than Moody's had forecast. The market share of passive investments last year was nearly 35%, more than the credit-rating agency's estimate of 34%.

While the active versus passive debate has been extensively discussed, the vulnerability of stock pickers has not been as obvious, according to Moody's. That's because the shift away from active management has coincided with a nine-year bull market, the second-longest in history. 

"As equity market values have risen over the past decade, asset managers have experienced stable cash flow generation," Stephen Tu, a senior credit officer at Moody's, said in a report on Monday. "However the lack of organic AUM growth at a time when asset markets are at historical highs is a cause for concern."

With the growth of cheaper and commission-free trading apps, the pricing power of mutual funds has eroded, and their business model is under pressure. The average active equity manager's net expense ratio, a gauge of their fees, has fallen below 60 basis points, according to Moody's.

"Because investors’ shift toward passive products and the continued net expense ratio deterioration of high-fee products are trends that appear to be accelerating, asset managers are more susceptible to equity market volatility and elevated valuations," Tu said. 

When the next inevitable bout of volatility slams the stock market, more passive funds are likely to retain their clients compared to active funds, Tu said. That's because there's added pressure on active fund managers to outperform the market.

So far this year, large-cap mutual fund managers are delivering on that mandate with the help of growth stocks including Amazon and Apple, according to Goldman Sachs. But even this trend poses a risk because a sell-off could force many major investors out of the exit doors at the same time. 

"The crowding risks in FANG stocks and the tech sector still remain elevated," Bank of America Merrill Lynch said in a note on Tuesday. 

If stocks sell off and investors feel that mutual funds are no longer beating the market, the floodgates of client redemptions could intensify, Tu said.

SEE ALSO: MORGAN STANLEY: The stock market is heading for its biggest sell-off of the year — here's how to protect yourself

Join the conversation about this story »

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

Code as a Weapon: Amir Taaki Wants You to Join the Real Crypto Revolution

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

Infamous developer Amir Taaki believes bitcoin's potential is exhausted, but he's not giving up the fight to change the world with cryptocurrency.

XRP, Litecoin Fall to Lowest Prices Yet Seen in 2018

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

The price of XRP and Litecoin, two of the world's largest cryptocurrencies, fell to new 2018 lows on Wednesday.

XRP, Litecoin Fall to Lowest Prices Yet Seen in 2018

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

The price of XRP and Litecoin, two of the world's largest cryptocurrencies, fell to new 2018 lows on Wednesday.

Bitcoin the ‘Best House in a Tough Neighborhood’: Wall Street Strategist

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

Despite the positive news seen in the crypto space recently with ICE, the owner of the world’s largest stock exchange, setting up a new bitcoin market, the rumors that bitcoin ETFs are on the way (but maybe not in 2018), and the classification of bitcoin as a commodity by the SEC, the price of bitcoin

The post Bitcoin the ‘Best House in a Tough Neighborhood’: Wall Street Strategist appeared first on CCN

DEA Agent: Speculators Are Using Bitcoin More Than Criminals

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

Criminals were behind 90 percent of all cryptocurrency transactions five years ago – not anymore according to a DEA agent.

Another Major Investment Firm Says Bitcoin ETF Not Likely in 2018

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

Canaccord, the biggest investment firm in Canada, has said that the approval of a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) is highly unlikely in 2018. In an official report entitled “Blockchain and Digital Assets: US Equity Research” Canaccord researchers Michael Graham and Scott Suh wrote: “And although the VanEck SolidX Bitcoin Trust, seen by many as the

The post Another Major Investment Firm Says Bitcoin ETF Not Likely in 2018 appeared first on CCN

Coinbase Begins Taking Ethereum Classic Deposits, Raises Buy Limit to $25,000

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

It’s been a tough week for most cryptocurrency investors, as the groundbreaking news that the world’s largest stock exchange operator is launching a bitcoin market failed to translate into bullish price movement. For ethereum classic supporters, however, the week could not have gone much better. Coinbase Pro Begins Taking Ethereum Classic Deposits Over the past

The post Coinbase Begins Taking Ethereum Classic Deposits, Raises Buy Limit to $25,000 appeared first on CCN

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