Category Archives: Financial times

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Could Wall Street Banks Become Crypto Custody Specialists?

Wall Street banks are slowly beginning to consider crypto custody as another mainstream service.

This, despite the occasional dig at crypto from the big players on Wall Street such as Goldman Sachs recent “cryptocurrency mania” comment last week citing it as one of the top risks for the market, even though the very same bank is dipping into Bitcoin derivatives on behalf of its fund manager clients.

The above service offered by Goldman Sachs may well be client-driven but behind the usual anti-crypto spin, a different picture can be detected after a bit of surface scratching. The Financial Times suggests that “trendy young crypto-types” are the new kids on the Wall Street financial block, although what crypto-related products will come from these young brains is still to be revealed. However, the trend is very much toward research and crypto is the name on the tip of everyone’s tongues.

Analysts are suggesting that the new frontier on Wall Street could well be cryptocurrency assets custody; looking after customer’s cryptocurrency funds. At the back of this are fees, another way the bank can make money out of cryptocurrency without dabbling themselves. In this way, billions of dollars held in custody by the banks can be another payday for the big names on Wall Street.

Recent Bitcoin News reports have illustrated some of the problems of safe storage of cryptocurrency assets, which vary in degrees of complexity from multiple vaults with random back up keys to Swiss Bunkers carved into the sides of mountains. Thus, there is clearly scope for bank intervention on behalf of clients.

Reportedly, forerunners in this new race are New York City-based ItBit, Gemini and more lately Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan now lining up to offer their services. Others are Japanese broker Nomara and notably the Swiss Stock Exchange part-owned by the 130-bank SIX group conglomerate.

Sam Mcingvale, San Francisco-based head of Coinbase Custody suggest that his company is joining the custody fray with plans to cold-store USD 5 billion of institutional crypto assets by the end 2018. Customers need these services, he argues:

“People were saying: “Hey, we’re already holding Bitcoin with you, we trust you, but we need more; we need a regulatory component, we need monthly statements, we need a different type of insurance.”


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Latest Data Shows Bitcoin Hodlers v Short Term Traders Now Near Parity

Recent data from Chainalysis — a blockchain research company, as published in Financial Times shows that the amount of Bitcoin owned by long-term investors is now almost equaled by speculators, reports Cointelegraph.

Day trading has increased since the end of last year and the amount held by this group is thought to have risen to 5.1 mln BTC according to the report compared to 6mln BTC held by investors hanging on in for the long-term, that is over a period of one year.

It appears, according to the Financial Times, that Bitcoin volumes have fallen in tandem to prices, from $4 bln daily in December to $1 bln today. It’s thought this may be a feature in Bitcoins decline in price, Chainalysis chief economist Philip Gradwell suggests. He estimates that longer-term holders sold at least $30 billion worth of bitcoin to new speculators over the December to April period, with half of this movement taking place in December alone.

Another feature of the current situation shown by the data is the imbalance of wealth distribution of the digital currency, that is small numbers of investors holding a vast amount of the cryptocurrency. Of the roughly 17 mln Bitcoin available, the data show that, as of April 2018, around 1,600 Bitcoin wallets hold at least 1,000 bitcoins each, equalling almost 5 mln BTC and accounting for almost a third of all Bitcoin in circulation.

Six months after its peak, bitcoin remains the most popular cryptocurrency, though its price has fallen to about $7,650 at the time of publication. It follows that for each of the bitcoin millionaires there are numerous casualties that came into cryptocurrency too late, unlike those who established themselves early and reaped the benefits.

One of these is a 39-year-old who has made enough money from trading digital currencies over 5 years to pay off his mortgage, buy a Mercedes and now swap office life for managing his remaining crypto investments full-time, writes The Irish Times.

“It was very euphoric…It’s been life-changing for me at this point,” says the California-based father of two, who has a cult-like Twitter following under the pen name ‘bitcoin Dad’.

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Mysterious Death of Everest Sherpa On ICO Stunt Climb

An ICO publicity stunt staged at Nepal’s Mount Everest led to the death of one person last week, the Financial Times’ Alphaville reported recently.

The stunt, organized by Ukranian global social networking site ASKfm, was staged in order to promote the company’s initial coin offering by placing a ledger wallet holding the new tokens at the summit. YouTube’s promotional video had linked Everest with what they called. “literally the highest token” in their scripted piece asking anyone “brave enough” to come and get it. The wallet tokens were reported to have been worth USD$50,000 at launch.

Three crypto enthusiasts, Taras Pozdnii, Roman Gorodechnii and Dmitrii Semenko were sponsored to do the dangerous climb to position the two wallets, the second containing an equal amount of coins, as part of the promo event.

The accident occurred on the crews’ descent from the world’s highest peak, according to Everest blogger Alan Arnette’s confirmed report on the FT, as one of the crews accompanying Sherpas, Lam Babu, died after the filming. Russian media site reported that Lam Babu Sherpa had died, either due to snow blindness or physical exhaustion.

Nepal’s Ministry of Tourism later confirmed the reports, suggesting that the Sherpa had indeed died due to snow blindness on the descent. A later 4Ssport report released by the Ukrainian team describe the accident:

“In a second – animal fear, and I shout to Dima – let’s get out of here, or these will be the last pictures we’ll ever take. At this time there were three of our sherpa at the top, we saw Dima’s sherpa and as it turned out, he did not return to the camp.”

One of the climbers descending with the Sherpa wrote an untranslatable report, and Arnette suggests on his blog page that there is still an element of mystery about the exact events:

“I confirmed the events the day of the death with Gyanendra Shrestha, the Ministry’s representative at EBC who said he had snow blindness, went “missing” and the rescue team stationed at Camp 2 was unaware of the incident as it was happening. I find it hard to understand how the 45-year-old Sherpa developed snow blindness, was reported to be staggering and no one was able to help him. I look forward to obtaining more details on this sad event”

Max Tsaryk, CEO of ASKfm, told the FT that, “we have become aware that a Sherpa who successfully assisted one of our sponsored climbers on a part of their journey, prior to assisting other non-related groups of climbers, later became missing:”

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Putin Claims Russia Won’t Be Late in Blockchain Race

Russian president Vladimir Putin’s economic advisor, Sergei Glazev has stated that cryptocurrency could be useful to carry out “sensitive” state activities, according to a report in UK daily, the Financial Times.

At a recent meeting of Russian government officials, Glazev suggested that the adoption of digital currency by the Russian government may be a way of avoiding sanctions imposed by foreign governments and private companies.

“We can settle accounts with our counterparties all over the world with no regard for sanctions,” Glazev reportedly said.

Putin has previously led the charge against the adoption of digital currency in Russia, calling for closure of websites selling digital currencies, saying that Bitcoin and its rivals were risky and used for crime. Also last month, Sergei Shvetsov, Central Bank deputy, suggested that cryptocurrencies were “dubious instruments for retail”, according to Reuters.

These news announcements mark a massive turnaround by a previously anti-cryptocurrency regime, although it has been reported recently that Putin had instructed Kremlin regulators to look into blockchain technology as the basis for a future “cryptorouble”.

Putin has begun to show clear signs that he sees Russia as a major world player in bringing blockchain into mainstream usage, stating recently that he has no intention of allowing the country to be “late in the race” and even meeting Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum.

Russia is not the first country to be considering its own cryptocurrency. Sweden’s Riksbank has looked into an electronic Krona and Venezuela’s government said last week that it was close to launching its own oil-backed currency.

Perhaps the most relevant asset that Russia can attain by using blockchain technology, apart from it enabling the country to evade sanctions, is the country’s ability to keep up with, or even get ahead of, other nations in its pursuit. Gilbert Verdia, head of the British delegation at a recent ISO blockchain meeting in Tokyo, spoke of the “the future that is coming”. He suggested, “To get behind it and back it now is going to put people at an advantage, either politically or economically.”

photo source:  – klimkin


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