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South Korea Crypto Investors Spent $6,000 Average in 2018

South Korea Crypto Investors Spent ,000 Average in 2018

The Korea Financial Investors Protection Foundation (KFIPF) has published a new report which shows that South Koreans who invested in cryptocurrency last year put aside an average of USD 6,000 per individual, as reported by Finance Magnates.

The original news report in Korean referenced a survey from the Korea Financial Investors Protection Foundation, which was given to about 2,500 adults. Of these, about 7.4% had said that they had bought cryptocurrency. What was more interesting was that, those who had already bought before in the previous survey in 2017, had ended up buying even more, indicating that the belief in crypto had remained high even in a rocky year for crypto markets.

Compared to the results of the survey in 2017, the USD 6,000 figure was up 67%, and there appears to be some explanation. While the majority of crypto investors were millennials in 2017, older – and wealthier – age groups had formed the majority in 2018. Those in their 50s were now the biggest group of investors, followed by those in their 30s, and then those in their 40s.

Nevertheless, crypto investment is still a relatively niche investment in South Korea, with only a 1% growth from 2017. This does mean that it’s not too late for most still considering to dip their toes, to be an early adopter, especially with signs that the crypto market has likely bottomed out, en route to a new growth cycle.

 

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Survey: Retirees, Younger Investors Should Consider Long-Term Crypto

Survey_ Retirees, Younger Investors Should Consider Long-Term Crypto

One truth all too well hard to dispel is the fact that the older generations will always remember the impact of the last financial crisis, as well as the fear of it happening again. And while Bitcoin and the Blockchain may be making waves in their own ways, most American retirees can hardly picture themselves owning a Bitcoin without being reminded that if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

This probably summarizes the survey carried out by precious-metal resource website Gold IRA Guide, as it discovered that more than half of its respondents said they know about Bitcoin but aren’t interested in investing. The source blames it on proper education on Bitcoin, its technology and its function as a currency. However, it’s truly hard not to be cautious, especially when Bitcoin’s volatility is nothing like anyone on Wall Streets have experienced even with the most volatile of stocks. And so as an investment, it probably doesn’t signal much safety. Okay, granted maybe gold may have been a little crazy too at some point.

Bitcoin volatility vs other assets

If history has taught anything, it is that not having a radical investment in one’s diversified portfolio can make growth rather slow, but even that is a double-edged sword. Still, a recommended 1% investment of an entire hedge funds capital into Bitcoin seems like a logical bet. And while it appears small, the nature of Bitcoin’s volatility can make a hugely positive impact when the price goes up and minimal when it goes down – after all, it’s just 1 percent of the entire portfolio.

But it appears even those retirees willing to invest in bitcoin do not know how. Perhaps a proper education is long overdue here.

Recently, a crypto enthusiast and host of financial podcast Evolvement, Michael Nye, expressed his excitement when his father paid off a golf bet he lost to a 70-years old neighbor using Bitcoin.

My Dad recently lost a golf bet to his 70 year old neighbor.

Instead of asking for fiat, my Dad’s friend asked for $BTC.

So my Dad set up a @Coinbase, bought some Bitcoin, figured out how to use a public key, and set $300 in #Bitcoin to his friend.

I’m so fuckin’ proud. ☺

— Nye (@MrMichaelNye) April 20, 2019

Extrapolating the findings of the survey, the 70-years old neighbor may as well belong to the “smallest group of respondents, a mere 2.7 percent, claim that they own at least some Bitcoin.”

The survey concluded suggesting “retirees and younger investors alike should seriously consider long-term investing in cryptocurrencies,” as well as an argument for Bitcoin :

Firstly,

“It’s a government hedge. Their worth has little to do with the constantly shifting fiat environment. This is why many analyst observers and investors view the digital currencies as contrarian assets like gold.”

Secondly,

“It offers another form of retirement asset diversification. As the digital assets keep increasing their adoption and rising higher in value over time, this will represent a once in a lifetime opportunity for investors wishing to substantially increase the value of their retirement savings.”

Remember? A radical investment within a portfolio.

Thirdly,

“It provides massive longer-term growth potential. This is why Bitcoin is ideally suited for retirement planning, as this future planning is built entirely on the longer term.”

Yes, risky as it may appear, still having a little of it as a means of diversification only makes sense even for the most risk-averse.

A recent assessment done by Morgan Creek warns of high-risk exposure of pension funds. Gladly, the millennial generation is more dynamic and shifting focus away from proven traditional investment tactics into cryptocurrency aided retirement plans. Testing new verticals and expanding investment horizons is just what the digital asset ecosystem is about.

 

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John McAfee Claims $1 Million Bitcoin Prediction Based on Math

John McAfee Claims  Million Bitcoin Prediction Based on Math

John McAfee’s explanation for his USD 1 million Bitcoin price by the end of 2020 is all down to mathematics, according to the high flying tech mogul.

A recent McAfee Tweet offering to the market suggested that it would be “mathematically impossible” that one BTC will be less than USD 1 million “by the end of 2020”.

A brave claim worth investigating. Assuming Bitcoin remains around it current price for the next 24 hours, a good place to start from, now sitting at USD 5,277, it needs launch on a head-spinning lift off increasing by 20,000% in order to reach McAfee’s 2020 USD 1 million target. The leap in 2017, regarded by many as highly unexpected and unrepeatable saw a 20-times leap in the value of the flagship coin before it just as rapidly crashed to earth in 2018.

It is worth noting McAfee’s last big prediction of USD 500,000 by the end of 2020 made in 2017 is still current, so he does have the advantage of a fallback position should he wish to hedge his bets as the end of next year approaches, assuming Bitcoin is flying into the stratosphere.

McAfee’s math told him that his early prediction priced Bitcoin at USD 5,000 by the end of 2017, and it to be fair it had already doubled that by December to USD 10,000. A simple annual doubling up process, however, would not have taken Bitcoin to his original USD 500,000 prediction by the end of 2020; in fact, a mathematical total based on doubling would be closer to USD 80,000, but still no mean feat, and great for those BTC holders buying in 2017. McAfee was clearly hoping for a 20-times annual leap over the span over four years to get to his mammoth target.

Wences Casares, CEO of Xapo and a director at PayPal, is going for Bitcoin reaching USD 1 million in the next 7 to 10 years, but still gives McAfee’s claims a hint of a chance. Casares uses his own equation by multiplying the total of Bitcoin Hodlers with USD 7,000 and given there are 3 billion owners globally, then the currency could be worth USD 1 million with a fixed BTC supply of 20 million units.

No stranger to controversy, McAfee’s latest media offering has suggested that he is not ready to release the identity of Bitcoin’s founder yet, but has revealed:

“It is NOT the CIA nor any agency of any world government. It IS a collection of people, but the white paper was written by one man, who currently resides in the US.”

 

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London Stock Exchange Lists Blockchain ‘Token’ Shares in a First for the City

London Stock Exchange Lists Blockchain ‘Token’ Shares In A First For The City

The London Stock Exchange has heralded in a new era by the first issuing of shares using blockchain tokens.

The move is seen by the city as bringing cryptocurrency by proxy as into regulated financial markets due to blockchain’s role as a driver for digital currencies. The company selling the tokenized shares, fintech company 2030, sold GBP 3 million (USD 3.9 million) worth of shares in a first for the city’s financial Mecca.

Earlier this year the London Stock Exchange indicated its growing interest in blockchain and cryptocurrencies when it hooked a deal with Hong Kong-based global fintech company, ATOM Group (ATOM) in order to enable its AXX Digital asset exchange to be able to use LSE tech. Head of LSEG’s global sales and marketing, Lorne Chambers, commented than traditional tech expertise was much sought after by crypto firms and the LSE was well placed to market it.

Earlier this month the LSEG listed the Invesco Elwood Global Blockchain ETF and recently invested in London-based cryptocurrency startup Nivaura, leading a GBP 15 million (USD 20 million) funding round.

The prestigious UK exchange’s recent movements indicate a growing interest in blockchain and cryptocurrencies from mainstream finance, although many city analysts continue to maintain a suspicious stance on all things crypto.

As of April 2018, the London Stock Exchange (LSEG) had a market capitalization of USD 4.59 trillion. It was founded in 1571, making it one of the oldest exchanges in the world.

 

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IEO Offers Light Post-ICO Era, but Not All Are Convinced

IEO Offers Light Post-ICO Era, but Not All Are Convinced

After the apparent bursting of the initial coin offering (ICO) bubble, startups have been struggling to raise funds through the crypto or token model of token/coin offerings as investor interest dwindled and price problems continued. That is, until 2019 introduced the concept of initial exchange offerings (IEOs).

Retail investors have warmed up to the idea of buying tokens for a project that has already been assessed by a trusted entity, in this case cryptocurrency exchanges, believing that the likelihood of getting scammed by a project is far less if the project has been approved by an exchange.

As reported by Bloomberg, crypto analytics firm CoinSchedule has recorded 23 such offerings already since February 2019, raising a total of USD 180 million. Bittrex CEO Bill Shihara, whose own platform launched its first IEO this month, selling out in under 1 minute, spoke in positive terms of the new concept:

“It [IEO] has the potential to be larger than the ICOs of 2017. We are seeing significant demand both from our users and token teams.”

However, not everyone is viewing this with positive eyes. Zach Fallon, a securities lawyer who worked on ICO-related issues at the US Securities and Exchange Commission until last year, makes a brutal assessment that IEOs “take everything from an ICO and make it worse”. He believes that IEOs are still exposing investors to the risk of fraud because the vetting processes are not transparent nor standardized.

ICOs have not yet died completely. CoinSchedule shows that ICOs have raised USD208 million, only slightly more than IEOs in their early stages of discovery.

 

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Visa, Horowitz, Among Investors in African Lending App’s $170 Million Funding Round

Visa, Horowitz, Among Investors in African Lending App's 0 Million Funding Round

Mobile lending app Branch International has just completed a USD 170 million funding round, considered one of the largest ever Series C funding rounds by an African startup. Led by Foundation Capital and Visa, other participants included Andreessen Horowitz, B Capital, Formation 8 and Trinity Ventures.

Branch International provides its services to over 3 million users in the African continent, across Kenya, Nigeria and Tanzania, while extending services as far as India and Mexico. It uses a unique combination of data collected by smartphones, from GPS, call logs, contact lists and even bank balance messages and payment receipts to determine the credit capability of users. From this, it provides loans from as little as USD 2 to USD 700, with payment schedules of up to 68 weeks. In Nigeria and Tanzania, interest rates are up to 21% while in Kenya it goes up to 14%.

This unique model has proven to be successful in developing markets as borrowers continue to face difficulties obtaining credit from traditional banks. The World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2019 still lists credit access as the second most important problem among 10 parameters in doing business in sub-Saharan Africa.

The funding round follows a recent announcement by the lending app firm that it would partner with Visa to offer preferential loan terms to African merchants who accept Visa on mobile. This would enable the firm’s borrowers to access approved funding from local ATMs using virtual credentials via Visa, even without a bank account or debit card.

The recently concluded Blockchain Africa Conference 2019 also recognized the many challenges in banking and financial technology in the region. Speakers stressed the importance of real-world application and pragmatic approaches to regulating emerging tech such as blockchain.

 

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London Firms Snared 39% of European Fintech Funding in 2018

London Firms Snared 39% of European Fintech Funding in 2018

Financial technology (fintech) firms based in London took the lion’s share of investment in 2018, collectively attracting 39% of all European funding, against a total USD 36.6 billion in global venture capital (VC) investment last year, according to a CNBC business report.

Research from Innovate Finance has singled out the United Kingdom as an emerging leader when it comes to securing VC funding in fintech, ranking third in the world, behind only China and the United States.

These have largely been thanks to London’s top fintech unicorns that include financial service providers and so-called neobanks such as Revolut, TransferWise, and OakNorth. Challenger bank OakNorth is tipped as the one to keep an eye on, citing its “phenomenal” income growth from GBP 77.1 million (USD 100.81 million) to GBP 177.6 million in just twelve months — a year-on-year revenue increase of 268%. OakNorth was valued at USD 2.8 billion when SoftBank pumped $440 million of investments into the bank.

Another UK unicorn, digital bank Monzo, was reported by the Guardian as nearing a US deal that would double its value to GBP 2 billion.

These developments, according to a report by British recruiter Robert Walters and research firm Vacancy Soft, could put the status of San Franciso as the world’s unicorn breeding ground, under threat. Out of the world’s fintech unicorns numbering 29, 7 are already based in London, only 2 fewer than in San Francisco.

The report saw “signs of potential to threaten San Francisco’s historic dominance of the market”, noting also that London led all other EU cities in European fintech funding. Berlin and Paris came in second and third respectively.

 

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PayPal Invests in Blockchain ID Startup

PayPal Invests in Blockchain ID Startup

US-based online payment company PayPal has invested in a blockchain start-up called Cambridge Blockchain which specializes in online identification technology.

In what appears to be PayPal‘s first venture into blockchain investment, the third-party payment facilitator has entered into a Series A funding round held by Cambridge Blockchain. By May 2018 the funding round had collected USD 7 million, with the most current total now standing at USD 10.5 million.

While PayPal has as yet declined to provide details of its investment, it is known that the self-described philanthropic firm Omidyar Network has participated in the extended funding Series A round since May last year.

According to Forbes, an undisclosed person familiar with the situation said PayPal made the investment because ”it is applying blockchain for digital identity in a way that we believe could benefit financial services companies including PayPal”, They also noted that PayPal had plans to explore blockchain for financial applications.

Cambridge Blockchain has joined the ranks of Microsoft, IBM, Mastercard, and Accenture to participate in a non-profit organization called the Decentralized Identity Foundation.

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London Stock Exchange Leads $20 Million Investment Round for UK Crypto Startup Nivaura

London Stock Exchange Leads  Million Investment Round for UK Crypto Startup Nivaura

London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) revealed today that it had invested in London-based cryptocurrency startup Nivaura, leading a GBP 15 million (USD 20 million) funding round.

The investment was revealed in a joint statement from the two companies which acknowledged LSEG had paid an undisclosed amount for a minority stake.

Nivaura was the company responsible for the world’s first cryptocurrency-denominated bond issuance back in November 2017, offering clients a platform to manage corporate bonds, loans, and equity, whilst giving the option to settle transactions via digital tokens.

Through the use of tokens, Nivaura says it can provide a solution up to 80% faster than traditional options while proponents have argued the tokenization of debts is far more economical and can give smaller companies greater access to capital markets.

LSEG’s investment indicates the continually growing interest in blockchain and cryptocurrencies from mainstream finance, despite much negative rhetoric that emerges from the very same sector.

Earlier this month JP Morgan announced the launch of its own digital token pegged to USD, targetting institutional clients that are looking to reduce the typical settlement time of transactions. Despite being USD-pegged, the multinational investment bank says it is not a stablecoin, nor should it be considered legal tender.

JP Morgan’s apparent U-turn regarding its attitudes towards cryptocurrencies has been controversial for many in the community, with Jerry Brito – executive director at Coin Center telling Market Watch ”it’s not public, and it’s not permissionless, so it’s not a cryptocurrency”.

 

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Mike Novogratz Increases Galaxy Digital Shares Stake to 80%

Mike Novogratz Increases Galaxy Digital Shares Stake to 80%

Chief executive officer and founder of merchant bank Galaxy Digital, Mike Novogratz, has increased his portion of shares in the firm to nearly 80%.

Unpeterbed by Galaxy Digital‘s 19% loss in share value over 2018, Novogratz has reportedly purchased an additional 7.5 million ordinary shares in the company worth around USD 4.8 million. This represents 2.7% of the aggregate shares in the company, bringing his total stake in the stock to 79.3%.

Since New York-based Galaxy Digital Holdings Ltd. was first listed on Canada’s TSX Venture Exchange in August 2018, the cryptocurrency bear market influenced their poor market performance as the bank places a heavy focus on cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies. Ex-Goldman Sachs’ partner Novogratz, however, has continued to insist the market direction will change in 2019, predicting institutional investors will bring ”new highs” to Bitcoin’s price.

Novogratz’s move has succeeded in boosting the price of Galaxy Digital shares for now at least, with their value up 36% at the time of press, reaching USD 1.36 according to MarketWatch.

The ex-hedge fund manager of the Fortress Investment Group has been a longtime proponent of cryptocurrency, with around 20% of his net worth said to be distributed between Bitcoin and Ethereum.

 

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