Category Archives: bitcoin futures

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Nasdaq Announces “World’s First” Full-Stack Crypto Platform

Nasdaq Announces

The world’s second largest stock exchange has announced the upcoming release of what it is calling the “world’s first full-stack cryptocurrency ecosystem”.

Crypto startup Bcause LLC, using Nasdaq’s market surveillance tech, is planning to launch its spot cryptocurrency market in the next months, with a derivatives exchange application currently pending approval with the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

Until recently, Nasdaq’s primary interest in this area has been in blockchain. In September 2015, it joined a USD 30 million investment round in Chain, a blockchain startup that then partnered Nasdaq to launch Linq, a private equity platform.

Nasdaq’s team of specialists monitor all exchanges wishing to use the surveillance technology for both technical capability and ethics. To date, seven crypto exchanges have satisfied its stringent guidelines, although only the connection with Gemini and SBI Virtual Currency has been made public so far.

The exchange also made clear its Bitcoin futures program at the end of last year as coming online in 2019 when vice president of Nasdaq’s media team Joseph Christinat said:

“Bitcoin Futures will be listed and it should launch in the first half of next year – we’re just waiting for the go-ahead from the CFTC but there’s been enough work put into this to make that academic.”

On the current surveillance technology, Bcause CEO Fred Grede said that the Nasdaq-powered tech would help Bcause monitor its markets for “manipulative activities, among other misconduct, thereby creating a safer spot and derivatives market for all participants.” The company’s planned crypto ecosystem will include features such as mining facilities, a spot market, a regulated derivatives exchange, and a regulated clearinghouse.

 

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NYSE chairman Calls Bakkt a “Moonshot Bet”

Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange sees the eventual Bakkt launch as a “moonshot bet” according to its CEO and chairman of the NYSE, Jeff Sprecher.

Talking over the past few days, Sprecher says that he is optimistic that Bakkt will be worthwhile and sees ICE’s involvement as “different” claiming that the deal has “…been organized in a manner that is very different than the way ICE typically does businesses.”

Making the remarks at a conference call yesterday he suggested that there will be a launch this year, after earlier delays and the implications that it could be soon. “Bakkt has its own offices, its own management team, etc. They’re well along in building out an infrastructure that I think you’ll see launch later this year,” said ICE’s boss.

Bakkt, which will offer institutional investors bitcoin futures trading, should have gone live in January but was postponed partly due to the US government shutdown at the time. The claim is that Bakkt will provide custody and price discovery for bitcoin which will be free from market manipulation and fraud.

There is speculation that the move by NYSE could bring the long-awaited wave of institutional investment into the cryptocurrency space, thus rejuvenating the flagging market; a market which has seen some revitalization over the past 24 hours.

Scott Hill, ICE’s chief financial officer said that Bakkt-related expenses for the first quarter topped $20 million stating “Our investment in Bakkt will generate $20 million to $25 million of expense based upon the run rate in the first quarter.”

Sprecher said, by bringing in Starbucks and Microsoft the potential is for a “very valuable company” to be created.

 

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Fake Bakkt Emails Circulate, Claiming Profits for Investors

Fake Bakkt Emails Circulate, Claiming Profits for Investors

There are reports of email being received from what claims to be Bitcoin futures trading platform Bakkt. The emails, bearing the subject line “Bakkt News!” and purporting that the platform will launch on 12 March 12, at first sight seem convincing.

First of all, the email is sent, not from an official Bakkt account, but from a Gmail one. Secondly, the English used in the email itself is written in a manner that clearly suggests an automatic translation program was used to compose it. Thirdly, the email diverts users to a website, bakktplatform.io, which is not the official Bakkt website.

The website simply asks visitors to register by providing their name and email address. The complete lack of KYC, AML checks and other information leaves no doubt on the fake nature of the website.

Post registration, investors are presented with a Bitcoin address where they can transfer their investment. The website also asks for investors’ Bitcoin addresses, with the promise of giving profit returns within three days of the platform’s launch.

The actual Bakkt has denied any connection with the email and the website, saying, “…that is not a Bakkt website and we wouldn’t have communicated in that way.” The real platform also does not have any launch date at the moment. The platform has still no green light from regulatory point of view. Unless that is given, it cannot even start to offer its services.

 

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Symbiont, Nasdaq Partnership Builds New Bridge to Crypto

Symbiont, Nasdaq Partnership Builds New Bridge to Crypto

As Nasdaq continues to explore new business opportunities, with clients now looking for smart contract and tokenization solutions, the Wall Street exchange has found a new partner in blockchain firm Symbiont, giving the lead to further speculation that full-fledged crypto adoption is around the corner.

With Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman now describing cryptocurrency as “the global currency of the future” prior to the Davos World Economic Forum and putting globalization under the microscope, the chance of the exchange launching into trading tokenized securities seems that little bit closer. From Symbiont’s perspective, its Assembly enterprise blockchain and smart contract platform will provide “…the opportunity for new participants to enter the digital asset market and offers existing participants a superior infrastructure on which to build the future of financial markets”.

Symbiont co-founder and CEO Mark Smith sees a “huge opportunity to be able to go all over the globe with Nasdaq”. Gary Offner, Head of Nasdaq Ventures, is equally upbeat, claiming that the company’s investments could “help build our future market infrastructure used by more than 100 marketplaces around the world”. En route to Davos, Friedman confirmed cryptocurrency’s future role, arguing that digital currency was “a tremendous demonstration of genius and creativity” and that it was deserving of “an opportunity to find a sustainable future in our economy”.

Nasdaq has shown through its cooperation with VanEck to bring Bitcoin-based futures to the market early this year that it has serious intent to back up the company CEO’s words with intent.

 

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Bakkt Announces $182.5 Million Funding Round, Launch Set for Early 2019

Bakkt Announces 2.5 Million Funding Round, Launch Set for Early 2019

In a blog post yesterday, institutional grade digital asset platform Bakkt announced the successful first seed funding round of USD 182 million.

According to the blog post, fourteen investors and partners were listed to have participated in this round, out of which 12 of them had raised the sum. Big players in the traditional finance and fintech industry were mentioned, to include Intercontinental Exchange, Goldfinch Partners, Boston Consulting Group, Microsoft’s Venture Capital arm and Pantera Capital.

The Bakkt project has for the latter part of 2018 been touted as the platform to finally make way for mainstream institutional investors to get into the cryptocurrency game. The blog reads: “Our work today is centered on driving institutional access for digital assets, along with merchant and consumer uses.” The project also revealed that they have expanded the vision to drive mainstream cryptocurrency adoption for the everyday user by extending their partnership to companies like Starbucks.

The announcement also included a current status of the project such as “working closely with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission for the better part of 2018” in order to obtain “regulatory approval for physically delivered and warehoused bitcoin.” They have also “filed applications and the timing for approval is now based on the regulatory review process.”

Another relevant angle the project will tackle while working through the 2019 objectives will also include a focus on “opportunities to provide new infrastructure, including the industry’s first institutional grade regulated exchange, clearing and warehousing services for physical delivery and storage,” reads the blog post.

The project has delayed its launch twice in a row as another official publication reveals that the updated launch timeline which was set for 24 January 2019 will be amended and set for early 2019, in line with CFTC’s process and timeline.

The blog post also revealed as many would agree, that 2018 was indeed an active year for cryptocurrency with Bitcoin at the center stage as volatility index peaked, as well as a notable increase in investment from venture capitals in distributed ledger technology and digital assets.

Many analysts and cryptocurrency enthusiasts have opined that the coming of the Bakkt will play a crucial role in restoring the market from the year-long bearish trend.

 

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Permabull Tom Lee Puts Bitcoin Fair Value Near $15k

Permabull Tom Lee Puts Bitcoin Fair Value Near k

Fundstrat Managing Partner and Head of Research Thomas Lee is sticking to his guns despite Bitcoin’s flailing fortunes, saying that its fair market value is no lower than USD 13,000 and as high as USD 14,800.

Thomas Lee predicted that Bitcoin would hit USD 25,000 by the end of 2018, and while that forecast is all but guaranteed to go out the window by some distance, he insists that evidence of the growing number of active wallet addresses, usage per account, and factors influencing supply calculates fair market value at far higher prices.

Without disclosing the exact formula that combines these indicators, Lee attributes Bitcoin’s “meltdown” below fair market value to ICO companies selling off their treasuries, and the overall macroeconomic climate.

Bitcoin News also examined the possible causation driven by the launch of Bitcoin futures on CME. The Bitcoin market began its steep descent from USD 20,000 on 17 December 2017, the same day the futures launched. The Federal Reserve confirms that the launch of Bitcoin futures is a primary cause of the decline in Bitcoin’s price.

Combining Lee’s analysis and the Federal Reserve statements regarding Bitcoin futures, it can be postulated that Bitcoin really is below its fair market value due to the Bitcoin futures, and that price has become decoupled from reality. If this is true, it is similar to what happened to the spot gold markets after futures became a dominant force.

Essentially, once futures markets are introduced to an asset class, the fair market value no longer determines spot value. This theory is perhaps not well-known in the crypto space, leading to numerous price forecast busts in 2018.

Asked to update this forecast, Lee responded, “We are tired of people asking us about target prices.” Perhaps Lee now understands the tried and true weatherman adage that one should not make a forecast unless they have to.

 

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Nasdaq Bitcoin Futures Confirmed

Nasdaq Bitcoin Futures Confirmed

Just last week, Bitcoin News reported Bloomberg’s findings on the world’s second largest stock exchange’s plan on moving forward with Bitcoin futures listing. This week, Nasdaq has cleared the air of all speculation by confirming this.

UK news outlet Express heard it from the horse’s mouth yesterday that Nasdaq would definitely be launching its Bitcoin futures within the first half of next year. This was obtained from two credible inside sources from within the organization.

Vice president of Nasdaq’s media team Joseph Christinat told an Express point man: “Bitcoin Futures will be listed and it should launch in the first half of next year – we’re just waiting for the go-ahead from the CFTC but there’s been enough work put into this to make that academic.”

Christinat added, “We’ve seen plenty of speculation and rumors about what we might be doing, but no one has thought to come to us and ask if we can confirm it, so, here you go – we’re doing this, and it’s happening.”

The current market trends might just be in need of a good news as this, in particular, is of more interest to institutional investors. However, this has a way of rippling into other mainstream financial affairs. The most likely of all institutions to feel the most impact would be traditional banking institutions, as the move will enlighten them on the serious roles cryptocurrency has in the future of finance. More so, it may be a step closer to legitimizing the market.

From Joseph’s statement, it would seem that they are no strangers to the development of both the blockchain technology and the cryptocurrency market, as he does emphasize on the efforts of the exchange toward engaging with the new venture.

“We got into the blockchain game five years ago, and when the technology first popped up we just leaned out of the window and shouted “hey come over here” right at it.”

However, the most assuring is that the exchange has spent so much on achieving this milestone:

“We’ve put a hell of a lot of money and energy into delivering the ability to do this and we’ve been all over it for a long time – way before the market went into turmoil, and that will not affect the timing of this in any way. No. Period. We’re doing this no matter what.”

Right now, all that’s left for the exchange is the final confirmation from the CFTC. This would also be the case with other players who are currently looking to launch their Bitcoin futures too. In the case of VanEck partnering with SolidX for a physically-backed Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF), they are simply waiting on the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for approval.

 

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Federal Reserve: CME Bitcoin Futures Prompted Bear Market

Federal Reserve: CME Bitcoin Futures Prompted Bear Market

In a statement widely overlooked by the Bitcoin community, the Federal Reserve published a letter on its website in May 2018 blaming the launch of Bitcoin futures markets on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) for the decline of Bitcoin’s price.

Indeed, Bitcoin futures launched on CME on 17 December 2017, the same day the biggest Bitcoin rally in history reversed into a fall. On the very first day of Bitcoin futures trading, futures opened at USD 20,650 and closed at USD 19,055.

The Federal Reserve says this sort of market behavior has been observed in other asset classes when futures markets are introduced. Specifically, it mentions how the mortgage industry boom was reversed when futures markets for mortgage securities were launched.

Its reason for this is that when a new asset class is born, there are optimistic investors who buy it up, driving the market upwards. However, pessimistic investors have no voice and no way to bet against an asset’s value, until futures markets are launched. Once futures markets are launched, pessimistic investors can short sell, where they buy futures contracts via a loan, sell them for cash and then buy back the contracts later at a lower price before the contracts expire.

The Federal Reserve implicitly says that Bitcoin would have kept rising past USD 20,000 if CME had not launched Bitcoin futures and explicitly says the CME Bitcoin futures are the exact reason for the beginning of Bitcoin’s price collapse.

Further, the investment opportunity presented by Bitcoin futures diverts investment away from the spot markets. Bitcoin futures on CME are cash settled, meaning no Bitcoins are backing them. Therefore, investment into the futures does not increase spot demand for Bitcoin but in fact, causes Bitcoin’s price to be lower since the money invested into the futures is diverted from the spot market.

The Federal Reserve explains how the combination of short selling and diversion of investment away from the spot markets creates a feedback loop which forces Bitcoin’s price lower.

 

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Nasdaq Full Steam Ahead on Bitcoin Futures, New Target Q1 2019

Bloomberg has reported that Nasdaq Inc has decided to move forward with its plans to list Bitcoin futures and this could happen as soon as the first quarter of 2019.

Nasdaq is following up on its initial plans in November 2017 to launch Bitcoin futures in 2018, doing so in the hopes of sustaining a long-term cryptocurrency patronage. However, it failed to execute its original plans, committing to satisfy the standards imposed by the US financial regulator Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

Bitcoin futures were thought to be instrumental to the astronomical rise of the price of Bitcoin last year, with the market registering price verticals as high as USD 20,000. The first two derivative markets to launch the bitcoin futures were CBOE Global Markets Inc and CME Group Inc, after which the CFTC decided to review the processes for listing crypto derivatives.

Nasdaq’s decision comes as a bold move considering the current market conditions, as Bitcoin has dropped from its all-time high and now trades as low as USD 4,000.

The current market conditions seem to have fallen short of the initial expectations that institutional investments attracted by the Bitcoin futures contract would be the sustaining wave for the next cryptocurrency mass adoption. However, this year’s market has only been in the reverse. Still, institutional investments remain a topic of focus as speculation on them make headlines daily.

Moving forward, it does seem as though Nasdaq had been brewing on its plans to ensure that it meets the demand of a wide range of investors and ensure that its contracts services are foolproof, thereby outpacing its competitors. This was disclosed by an unnamed source reported by Bloomberg who said:

“The Nasdaq futures will be based off the Bitcoin’s price on numerous spot exchanges, as compiled by VanEck Associates Corp… CME uses prices from four markets, while it’s just one at Cboe.”

On a general note, Nasdaq has shown a keen interest into blockchain technology as a whole alongside the derivative systems, even considering the possibility of a Nasdaq cryptocurrency exchange in the future.

 

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Sell or Hodl? Crypto Traders Seek Direction in Fluctuating Market

With uncertainty in the cryptocurrency market and a sudden drop in Bitcoin’s value overnight, investors are again posed with the sell or hold dilemma, but many experts maintain that increased demand for a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) augers well for the flagship digital currency in the long term.

Long-term forecasters say that Bitcoin has a strong likelihood of becoming a reliable store of value and a viable payment mechanism. Experts point to rising futures volumes and increased institutional participation in trading as positive outcomes going forward.

Historically, negative news hits the market with a crash, such as the SEC’s rejection of nine cryptocurrency ETFs in August, despite the US regulator stressing it “emphasizes that its disapproval does not rest on an evaluation of whether Bitcoin, or blockchain technology more generally, has utility or value as an innovation or an investment”.

Signs are that despite this latest drop in market prices, the cryptocurrency ecosystem is healthy with daily trading almost doubling its total just days ago. Crypto advisory firm Autonomy’s co-founder Ricky Lee suggests, “For our trading activities, the [upcoming Bitcoin Cash] hard fork recently has generated tremendous interest and trading volume, above 4 billion daily, among traders.”

With Bitcoin’s value shedding almost USD 1,000 in just a few hours late yesterday, Willy Woo, the founder of data analytics site Woobull suggests that overnight recovery is highly unlikely and the current market trend may continue well into 2019. CNN Bitcoin analysts suggest that USD 5,633 is looking to be the current interim resistance level, but a break below that support would have the effect of scaring off investors. Conversely, a break above this level would suggest a long position at USD 5,712.

Looking for factors as to why the drop happened, whether it be Bitcoin futures or the Bitcoin Cash fork, there are suggestions that the effect of the sell-offs in tech stocks led by Apple on Wednesday are making their mark on cryptocurrency prices, although most point to the current uncertainty around so-called altcoins Bitcoin Cash and Ethereum, both poised for fundamental and controversial changes in development and infrastructure.

 

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