Contrary to cynical sentiment touted by skeptics of Bitcoin, crypto isn’t dead in the water. As Mike Novogratz, the founder of leading crypto-centric merchant bank Galaxy Digital, “[there’s] tons of activity under the hood.” Over the past week, VanEck & its fellow hopefuls refiled their Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) application, while Binance and Fidelity made notable announcements that could eventually drive the adoption of blockchain technologies. Yet, there have been a few shortcomings too.
- VanEck, CBOE, SolidX Refile Bitcoin ETF Application: On Thursday, reports arose that VanEck, CBOE, and SolidX Partners refiled their collaborative Bitcoin ETF application to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which reopened following a near-five-week government shutdown. It is assumed that the newfound stability of the U.S. government reassured VanEck that its Bitcoin investment vehicle proposal could see approval, catalyzing the document’s resubmission. The proposed investment instrument is still centered around providing Wall Street investors, high net-worth individuals, and notable crypto funds, with a proper, secure, and regulated way to gain exposure to physical, not futures-based Bitcoin. From this point, the SEC purportedly has 240 days to make a final decision on the Bitcoin-centric product.
- Binance Launches Debit & Credit Purchase Feature: It may be a mere four weeks into 2019, but Binance has already begun to flex its muscles and bare its fangs. On Thursday, the Malta-headquartered company took to Twitter in tandem with Simplex, a crypto-friendly fiat payment servicer, to reveal that its world-renowned trading platform would be accepting credit card and debit card payments. Through a company release pertaining to the matter, chief executive Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, a golden child in the crypto industry, explained that this Simplex integration is intended to aid Binance’s traders, as it will provide them “fast and easy access to crypto, in the most secure way possible.” Through this integration, Binance clients will be able to use their Visa and Mastercard debit & credit cards to buy Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP, and Litecoin. Simplex purchases will cost the user 3.5% on each transaction, but a flat rate of $10 will be imposed if the transaction doesn’t surpass $285 (or an equivalent amount in another currency).
- Blockchain.com Loses Wall Street Talent: Blockchain.com, a San Francisco-headquartered crypto upstart that has historically been centered around consumers, was revealed to have lost Jamie Selway, a veteran of Wall Street turned the head of global institutional markets at the firm. Per a report from The Block, Blockchain, which sports offices in financial capitals New York and London, has begun to shift its institutional business strategy. In a company statement, Blockchain did acknowledge Selway’s value to the company, but then noted that “that segment” has slowed as the “needs of professional [crypto] investors have grown over the last year. And as such, the company determined that it was best if it handed over the institutional reins to more crypto-centric businesspeople, who would be more fit appealing to “crypto-native” firms, funds, and investors.
- Kik To Challenge SEC Over Regulatory Status of ICOs: According to a statement from Ted Livingston of Kik, the world-renowned social media company, the company intends to fight proposed enforcement action over the KIN ICO, which raised $100 million and wasn’t registered with the SEC. While cynics would claim that Livingston & crew don’t have a leg to stand on, Kik believes that its rebuttal, which is to be filed in civil courts, is valid and could set a precedent for this nascent ecosystem. In fact, Kik’s lawyers even called the financial regulator’s approach to cryptocurrencies “flawed.”
- Bloomberg Reveals Fidelity May Launch Crypto Custody By March: The Wall Street herd may just be around the corner. According to an exclusive from Bloomberg, which later seemingly corroborated by Fidelity itself, the Boston-headquartered finance giant’s crypto subsidiary, Digital Asset Services, will be launching its flagship Bitcoin custody product by March. The Bloomberg report, which cited three familiar with Fidelity’s operations, claimed that the company has begun to onboard a select set of “eligible clients” for its cryptocurrency custodial program. Mike Novogratz, the aforementioned Galaxy Digital head who once was an institutional hotshot, once claimed that an offering like Fidelity’s regulated, secure, and trusted crypto custody could catalyze a wave of interest from Wall Street’s largest entities.
- Crypto Exchange Liqui Exchange Folds, Cites Lack Of Liquidity: Liqui, a Ukranian crypto exchange launched in 2016, revealed that it would be shuttering its operations early last week. Per a company release that replaced the company’s homepage, Liqui determined, (ironically enough), that it would be “unable” to provide liquidity for its remaining clients. As such, the startup’s top brass deemed that it wouldn’t be economically feasible nor logical to offer its trading platform, thus catalyzing the release of the message. From January 28th, traders have thirty days to withdraw their cryptocurrency holdings from the site. In a response to this harrowing industry occurrence, Ran NeuNer, the showrunner at CNBC Africa’s “Crypto Trader,” noted that as exchanges “require infrastructure that is expensive to maintain,” more trading mediums could bite the dust in the coming weeks/months.
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