Archive for Camomile Shumba ,Harry Robertson

Bitcoin hovers near $63,000 ahead of the launch of the first futures ETF later in the day

Bitcoin bullish
Bitcoin bullish

Bitcoin nudged towards $63,000 for the first time since April on Tuesday, ahead of the market debut of a hotly-anticipated futures exchange-traded fund later in the day.

ETF provider ProShares said on Monday its bitcoin futures fund - the first of its kind in the United States - would launch on Tuesday.

After largely treading water over the summer, bitcoin has been steadily rallying in recent weeks, partly because of the anticipation around regulatory approval of an ETF backed by the token. It's set for a gain of around 41% so far in October, the largest monthly increase since December. It was last changing hands around $62,032, little changed over the past 24 hours, having blipped up to as much as $62,987 earlier in the day.

"The cryptocurrency has rallied in recent weeks as news picked up that the first US bitcoin ETF would be approved," Deutsche Bank said in a note to clients Tuesday.

The ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF will be listed on the Nasdaq and investors will be able to trade it like a stock, without having to own any bitcoin.

"BITO will open up exposure to bitcoin to a large segment of investors who have a brokerage account and are comfortable buying stocks and ETFs, but do not desire to go through the hassle and learning curve of establishing another account with a cryptocurrency provider and creating a bitcoin wallet, or are concerned that these providers may be unregulated and subject to security risk," Michael Sapir, CEO of ProShares, said in a statement.

The SEC is set to approve at least two more bitcoin futures this month: the VanEck Bitcoin Strategy ETF, and the Valkyrie Bitcoin Strategy ETF. ETF provider and asset manager Invesco was originally on that list, but this week dropped its plans.

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Crypto asset manager Grayscale has filed to convert its bitcoin fund into a spot ETF: report

Bitcoin Balloon 2
Bitcoin Balloon 2
  • Grayscale intends to file an application with the SEC to convert its bitcoin fund into a spot ETF, according to CNBC Friday.
  • The company's spot ETF would be backed by bitcoin and have no derivatives attached to it.
  • The first bitcoin futures ETF is set to start trading this week after the SEC approved it on Friday.
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Grayscale intends on converting its main bitcoin trust, which is the largest such fund in the world, to a spot exchange-traded fund (ETF) this week, according to a CNBC report Friday.

The spot bitcoin ETF would be backed purely by bitcoin and have no derivatives attached to it, unlike bitcoin futures ETFs.

Grayscale was waiting for the Securities and Exchange Commission to approve the first bitcoin futures ETF before they filed for this change, a person with knowledge of the matter told CNBC. The idea was if the SEC approved a bitcoin futures ETF, it would indicate the regulator was comfortable with how the underlying spot market functions.

Grayscale was not immediately available to comment when contacted by Insider.

The SEC approved ProShares' Bitcoin Strategy ETF on Friday - a market first. The fund is set to start trading this week. This will give investors exposure to the bitcoin futures market, but not the spot market.

Bitcoin has been steadily rallying in recent weeks and was last heading towards this year's record highs near $65,000.

The Grayscale Bitcoin Trust has $38.7 billion assets under management. Cathie Woods' Ark Invest is one fund that has bought into the trust as a means of participating in crypto.

Grayscale has recently expanded its offering of cryptocurrencies and added the likes of decentralized finance token sol and decentralized exchange token uniswap to its funds.

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Crypto activity in Asia has grown over 700% in a year thanks to a boom in DeFi: Chainalysis

  • Activity in crypto in Central and Southern Asia, and Oceania grew 706% in the year to June 2021, Chainalysis said Monday

  • Ether had the largest share of crypto activity in India, Pakistan and Vietnam.
  • DeFi platforms accounted for most crypto activity across the region in the last year.
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Crypto-related activity in the fast-growing economies across the Asia-Pacific region soared in the 12 months to June this year, fueled by booming interest in decentralized finance (DeFi), according to a new study by Chainalysis.

The Central and Southern Asia and Oceania (CSAO) crypto market is the fourth largest in the world, and transaction activity there increased 706% between July last year and June this year, the data analytics company noted in a report released Monday.

In dollar terms, that translates into $572.5 billion in value received, or 14% of total global transaction value, it said.

The region is home to the top three countries in Chainalysis' Global Crypto Adoption Index, with Vietnam at number one, India at two, and Pakistan at three. In those top three, ether has proven to be the most popular crypto, largely because of its close ties to DeFi applications and platforms. Stablecoins and bitcoin vie for second place, while altcoins come next.

"Centralized exchanges are becoming more stringent and harder to use for people in certain jurisdictions. DeFi doesn't discern where you're from, or care if it has a relationship with your bank," Krishna Sriram, managing director at blockchain security platform Quantstamp told Chainalysis.

Part of the attraction of a DeFi platform, particularly in regions where market regulators are tough, is its independent nature. They operate free from central players such as governments, central banks, brokers or commercial banks. DeFi platforms attracted more than $60 billion in cryptocurrency value in April and May this year, when bitcoin hit record highs.

Ether peaked in May at around $4,000 and has since fallen by 14%, while bitcoin reached a top of around $65,000 in April and has since lost around 23%, but broke back through $50,000 on Tuesday. Bitcoin is the leading crypto with a market capitalization of $936 billion, while ether is in second place with a market cap of $400 billion.

It's not just DeFi that has fed crypto activity in the CSAO region. The report showed non-fungible tokens - a form of digital collector's item - have found huge popularity, thanks to the endorsement of celebrities such as Bollywood star Kunal Kapoor, Quantstamp's Sriram said.

Other celebrities, such as Akshay BD and Tanmay Bhat, as well as social media influencers have created a crypto education YouTube channel called Superpumped.

"These people aren't just shouting 'Buy bitcoin!' Influencers are discussing the merits of different projects in a nuanced way," Sriram said.

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A financial TikTok influencer with almost 500,000 followers says bitcoin is going to ‘get slayed’ – and shares how cryptos and stablecoins make up his trading strategy

Mason Versluis
Mason Versluis
  • 21-year old Mason Versluis has almost 500,000 followers on TikTok, where he shares tips on crypto and markets.
  • He recently spoke to Insider about how he picks which coin to invest in and why.
  • Versluis said he would like to see bitcoin 'get slayed' as other coins have far more real-use cases.
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Bitcoin is the biggest cryptocurrency by market value and, for now, continues to dwarf its competitors. But the rise of crypto rivals with far more real-life applications means it will be dethroned sooner rather than later, according to financial TikTok influencer Mason Versluis.

21-year old Versluis also goes by the user name Crypto Mason and has almost 500,000 followers on his TikTok account, which he uses to make short videos to educate his viewers about crypto and the markets.

Versluis, who has been trading crypto since he was 15, recently spoke to Insider about his outlook for the market.

"The psychological thing of bitcoin always being number one and king can be gone. So, by 'slaying bitcoin', I mean I want something to pass it and then we'll see what happens after that," Versluis said.

Bitcoin has a market capitalization of just under $800 billion, out of the roughly $1.9 trillion that the entire crypto market is worth, according to CoinMarketCap.

In the last 12 months, it's gained almost 350% in price, but Versluis thinks there's more value to be had elsewhere.

"My dad actually told me about XRP when I was 17, and I've been in ever since, off and on," he said.

"I am one of these people who think XRP is a 'better bitcoin'. And it actually tackles the payments problem better than bitcoin can or ever will," he added. Ripple Lab's XRP token is used in fast-payments systems - an area where bitcoin cannot really compete given how slow its network is in comparison. XRP is one of the larger crypto coins and has kept pace with bitcoin in the last year, rising around 320%.

Ether, the native token of the ethereum network, is the second-largest cryptocurrency and accounts for about 20% of the market. Its blockchain's ability to run decentralized finance applications, smart contacts and other protocols has seen a rush of investor cash into ether this year, which has gained almost 800% in that time.

"It's got to have use cases, meaning: does this token do nothing? Am I just buying this token because I think it's going to go up in value?" Versluis said.

"That is what I am personally invested in, just because of the potential - they actually do something. Ethereum has so many decentralized applications built on it," he added.

When it comes to taking a position in a coin, Versluis says he isn't a day trader.

"That's a lot of stress, you've got to be at your computer watching the markets," he said.

"I'll see an opportunity, put some money in, and I'll basically ride that rocket up until I think it's time to sell. I sell out of it and I put it into a stablecoin, such as USDT or USDC. And then, I just make profits, and then I'll reinvest some of that into my main portfolio. So it's a slow process," he said.

As a relatively young trader who says part of his crypto passion is its decentralized, free nature, the question arises as to what Versluis thinks about regulation in this market. Unlike a lot of crypto fans, he's not against it. But he does believe that any rules need to adapt to the reality of the crypto market and one size does not fit all.

"It's a digital world. And we're only going to get more digital and more virtual," he said.

"They can't just take the old system, laws and slap it on to crypto. It doesn't work. So, what's gonna come out of this is a whole new way of looking at these tokens."

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Altcoins surge as Evergrande crisis cools off, with avalanche, cosmos and polkadot leading the charge

Crypto coins circle
crypto coins circle
  • Avalanche, cosmos, dot and sol rose sharply, recovering from this week's meltdown.
  • Risk appetite picked up after Evergrande made interest payments on some of its bonds, allaying some investor concerns.
  • Crypto is not tightly correlated with other risk assets in the long term, Marcus Sotiriou from GlobalBlock said.
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The smaller cryptocurrencies rallied sharply on Thursday, enjoying a swell of risk appetite after some of the concerns around the debt crunch at Chinese property company Evergrande that had rattled markets earlier this week subsided.

While the likes of cardano's ada, solana's sol and even ether have posted major gains in recent weeks, it was the smaller coins such as the native tokens of the avalanche, cosmos and polkadot networks that led the charge higher on Thursday.

Cosmos, a decentralized, peer-to-peer network that enables data exchanges between blockchains, was the front runner, as its atom token gained 23% over 24 hours to stand at $40.38 at 06:13 a.m. ET, according to Avalanche's avax token rose 20% in a day to $76.39, while layer-zero protocol polkadot's dot went up 9% to $31.26. So-called "ethereum killer" solana's sol rose 12% to $148.02.

Worries cooled about Evergrande on Thursday after the firm agreed to settle interest payments on a domestic bond the previous day and the Chinese central bank injected extra liquidity in the financial system.

The company owes more than $300 billion to bondholders and banks all over the world and an announcement earlier this week that it might not make a key coupon payment hit risk assets such as stocks and cryptocurrencies hard.

"Crypto is a risk-off asset, so will fall with stocks in the short term, but they are not correlated over the long term," Marcus Sotiriou, sales trader at UK based digital asset broker GlobalBlock.

Altcoins have been on a tear so this year, with sol up almost 10,000%, meme-token dogecoin up 4,000% and avalanche's avax up 2,300%, prompting many to question whether some of these lesser-known tokens linked with smaller networks are in a bubble.

"Many coins with strong fundamentals that are solving real life problems are experiencing rapid network adoption. I think these cryptocurrencies are very undervalued given the power of network effects and size of the market they are going after," Sotiriou said.

"When comparing the same (total value locked) TVL amounts of these networks against ethereum [it] indicates that they are likely undervalued," Eliézer Ndinga, research lead at 21 Shares, a crypto exchange traded products provider, said.

Total Value Locked is the dollar amount invested in decentralized financial applications built on blockchains, Ndinga said. This metric measures the overall health of an application in real-time and is one way to determine the value of one network versus another.

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Mark Cuban-backed OpenSea says it’s found evidence of insider trading on its NFT platform

  • OpenSea said it found evidence of insider NFT trading on its platform and was looking into the matter.
  • The company said it has now put policies in place to prevent further insider trading.
  • It said an employee was responsible but did not name them.

OpenSea, the non-fungible token platform backed by billionaire Mark Cuban, said it has uncovered evidence of insider trading by an employee in a statement on Wednesday.

An employee had purchased some digital tokens knowing that these were due to be featured on the OpenSea front page before this information was made public, the statement said.

Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, are unique digital collectible items that reside on a blockchain that can be bought and sold on platforms such as OpenSea and have grown in popularity this year.

Celebrities, sports players and even fashion houses have embraced them and OpenSea is the largest online marketplace for these digital assets. The company has 400,000 registered traders who have made at least one transaction. It logged a record of more than $3 billion in transaction volumes in August alone, according to Dune Analytics data.

"For a new, more open internet that empowers creators and collectors, we will need to bake in trust and transparency into all that we do. We're committed to doing the right thing for our users and earning back the trust of the community we serve," OpenSea said.

The platform did not name which employee was responsible for the insider trading, but one Twitter user named OpenSea employee Nate Chastain, who is head of product, as being at the center of the transactions. Chastain was not immediately available to comment when contacted by Insider.

"Hey @opensea why does it appear @natechastain has a few secret wallets that appears to buy your front page drops before they are listed, then sells them shortly after the front-page-hype spike for profits, and then tumbles them back to his main wallet with his punk on it?" @ZuwuTV's tweet said.

Representatives from OpenSea were not immediately available to comment when contacted by Insider.

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Crypto adoption in Africa has surged 1,200% over the last year, as people in some of the fastest-growing crypto economies favor digital coins to avoid bank and exchange restrictions: Chainalysis

Crypto coins circle
crypto coins circle

Africa's digital-asset market has grown over 1,200% by value over the last year, making it the third-fastest growing cryptocurrency economy in the world, as users seek out cheaper and faster ways to transfer money at home and abroad, Chainalysis said in a report on Tuesday.

This is no surprise as Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and Tanzania all ranked in the top 20 of the 2021 Global Crypto Adoption Index. Chainalysis also said Africa also has a bigger share of its overall transaction volume made up of retail-sized transfers than any other region at just over 7%, versus the global average of 5.5%.

Peer to peer platforms (P2P) like Paxful and Remitano that do not have a central player like a bank or exchange, have become more popular than ever across Africa as a way of sending crypto.

Users have moved away from exchanges like Binance in favor of this alternative way of moving funds, Adedeji Owonibi, CEO and founder of a Nigerian blockchain consultancy company Convexity, told Chainalysis.

Binance has been banned and blocked in several countries around the world and South Africa issued a warning to the exchange in September and said it was not authorised to operate in the country.

"P2P platforms are especially popular in Africa compared to other regions, and many African cryptocurrency users rely on P2P platforms not just as an on-ramp into cryptocurrency, but also for remittances and even commercial transactions," Chainalysis said in their blog

Cross-region transfers make up 96% of Africa's cryptocurrency market, but they only account for 78% of all other regions combined. People in Africa have been opting to send remittances using crypto because of the high cost of sending money abroad.

Chainalysis's research also showed crypto adoption is also correlated with instability in local currencies, such as the Nigerian naira. It said its data showed crypto trading volumes tend to increase when the naira falls in value, which can fire up inflation.

On top of that, Nigerian banks don't allow customers to send more than $500 out of the country at a time.

"If the government is strictly limiting the amount of money people can send abroad, they'll get creative and turn to cryptocurrency," Artur Schaback, COO and cofounder of popular P2P exchange Paxful said.

He said his company's platform saw 57% growth in Nigeria over the last year and 300% growth in Kenya.

"In many of these frontier markets, people can't send money from their bank accounts to a centralized exchange, so they rely on P2P, " Schaback continued.

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Coinbase has increased its debt offering to $2 billion after getting flooded with bids

Coinbase and Bitcoin
Coinbase and Bitcoin

Coinbase has increased the size of its bond sale to $2 billion from the original $1.5 billion, after receiving an influx of bids from private investors, according to a press release from the cryptocurrency exchange on Tuesday.

There were at least $7 billion in offers for the bonds, Bloomberg reported, citing someone familiar with the matter.

Coinbase said it would offer two bonds - one maturing October 1, 2028 that would carry a coupon of 3.375% per year and a second maturing October 1, 2031, with a coupon of 3.625% per year.

The swell in demand reflects investors' positive outlook on the company and its creditworthiness, thanks to their faith in the crypto space, analysts said.

"Coinbase cemented itself as a reputable US company acting as the top on-ramp to crypto and a primary custodian for institutional-grade products. $7 billion worth of bids is not a total surprise US debt investors are willing to get exposure to a significant player in the crypto infrastructure," Eliezer Ndinga, research lead at 21 Shares, told Insider.

Coinbase initially announced the $1.5 billion bonds package on Monday in a press release. The company had said that it planned to use the money to fund takeovers, develop new technologies and products plus any additional investments.

The bonds were rated BB+ by S&P Global, which is a notch below investment grade, meaning that they are likely to be riskier than paper that is rated more highly. But S&P Global said the rating was a favorable one because of the company's "very low" risk, strong liquidity, "track record of avoiding security breaches" and scale.

Coinbase is the largest publicly listed cryptocurrency exchange and has benefited from the rise in popularity of crypto tokens like bitcoin. Prior to this the company listed on the Nasdaq in February. By the second quarter of this year, the crypto exchange generated $2 billion in net revenue with a total of 68 million users.

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Solana-backed products drew in record investment of $50 million last week, thanks to the sol token’s resilience during the altcoin crash

  • Solana-backed investment products saw a record $49.4 million inflows in the week ending September 10, CoinShares said.
  • There is now a total of $97 million invested in solana-backed products, according to CoinShares data.
  • When the broader crypto market tanked last week, solana's sol bucked the trend, rallying to record highs.
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Investors poured a record amount of cash into solana-backed products last week, encouraged by the sol token's steadfastness when the crypto market went into meltdown for two days, according to CoinShares' weekly flows report.

A record $49.4 million flowed into solana-backed products in the week to September 10, roughly the same amount that flowed into bitcoin-backed products in the month so far, the report released Monday showed. There is a total of $97 million in solana assets under management now.

Last week, after El Salvador made bitcoin legal tender, cryptocurrencies sold off quite heavily. Bitcoin itself lost 11% over Monday and Tuesday, while ether fell 13%. The smaller altcoins came under even more intense pressure - dot and dogecoin dropped around 20%, while cardano's ada gave up 21.4%. By contrast, solana's sol token gained around 25% in that time and hit an all-time high later in the week.

"During last week's price falls (sol's) price was a stalwart, outperforming a basket of the top 10 digital assets by 34%, having risen 24% week-on-week," digital asset management firm CoinShares said in its report.

Sol is the seventh-largest coin by market capitalization, at $49 billion. Bitcoin, the largest by market cap, is worth around $866 billion, according to CoinMarketCap.

"​​One thing that is anything but stifled despite surrounding market activity is solana. Sol has been the talk of our fringe finance town square these last couple weeks, and has shrugged off any negative news, sentiment, and broader market action entirely," crypto exchange Coinbase said in its newsletter Friday.

Solana is seen as a potential rival to ethereum, the largest blockchain for decentralized finance activity. It's faster and cheaper to use than its bigger competitor, according to CoinShares' investment strategist James Butterfill. Solana can handle 60,000 transactions per second at $0.0015 per transaction, while ethereum accommodates only around 17,000 at cost of $5.80 per transaction, he said last week.

CoinShares' data showed bitcoin products registered inflows of $200,000 in the week to September 20, while ether logged a second week of outflows, down $6.3 million.

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Central banks must ‘roll up their sleeves’ and urgently speed up their work on their own digital currencies before crypto upends the current financial system, the BIS says

Bitcoin and fiat
A representation of bitcoin and fiat currency
  • Benoit Coeure, head of the BIS Innovation Hub, urged central banks to speed up their work on digital cash.
  • In a speech in Ljubljana, he said digital currencies should ensure price and financial stability.
  • He said they must up the pace because "stablecoins and crypto assets are already here".
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The Bank for International Settlements is urging central banks to crank up their efforts in developing their own digital currencies while the current financial system is still in place, because stablecoins and cryptocurrencies are already a reality.

Benoit Coeure, who is head of the BIS Innovation Hub, said central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) should be easy to use, low cost, convertible, offer instant settlements, continuously available and offer a high degree of security, resilience, flexibility and safety.

But they're competing with cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ether, as well as stablecoins, which are pegged to the likes of the dollar, or gold, and central banks will need years to develop digital cash that is fit for purpose, he said.

"The time has passed for central banks to get going. We should roll up our sleeves and accelerate our work on the nitty-gritty of CBDC design. CBDCs will take years to be rolled out, while stablecoins and crypto-assets are already here. This makes it even more urgent to start," Coeure said in a speech at the Eurofi Financial Forum in Ljubljana.

Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and stablecoins, such as tether, have surged in popularity recently, prompting concern among central banks over the risk these assets may pose to the stability of the financial system. And so many are actively looking into, and even developing, their own CBDCs.

"Banks are worried about the implications of CBDCs for customer deposits. Central banks are mindful of these concerns and are working on answers. They see banks as part of future CBDC systems," Coeure said. "But make no mistake: global stablecoins, DeFi platforms and big tech firms will challenge banks' models regardless," he said.

China is already trialling a digital version of the yuan, while the Bahamas have issued the "sand dollar" and Nigeria this week said it would pilot its "e-naira" next month. Major central banks such as the Federal Reserve, the Bank of England and the European Central Bank are still very much at the exploratory stage.

The BIS innovation hub, which focuses on "critical trends in technology affecting central banks", and the central banks of Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and South Africa announced they are working on "Project Dunbar", which will run trials of cross-border payments in CBDCs.

"A CBDC's goal is ultimately to preserve the best elements of our current systems, while still allowing a safe space for tomorrow's innovation. To do so, central banks have to act while the current system is still in place - and to act now," Cœuré, who previously served on the executive board of the European Central Bank, said.

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