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Nasdaq, Bloomberg, Reuters List CoinMarketCap Crypto Indices

Nasdaq, Bloomberg, Reuters List CoinMarketCap Crypto Indices

A number of major financial data feeds will now list two cryptocurrency benchmark indices provided by CoinMarketCap, as revealed in a blog post by the crypto markets monitor today.

The platforms involved in the launch include Nasdaq Global Index Data Service (GIDS), Bloomberg Terminal, Thomson Reuters Eikon and Germany’s Börse Stuttgart.

The first index has been dubbed CMC Crypto 200 Index (CMC200), including Bitcoin and over 90% of the aggregate cryptocurrency market. The second, CMC Crypto 200 ex BTC Index (CMC200EX), will track the cryptocurrency market performance without Bitcoin’s 50% market capitalization.

Independent German index provider Solactive AG will be responsible for calculating and administering both indices in line with the stated methodologies. Solactive AG has calculated the Cboe Bitcoin Futures index since the latter’s launch in December 2017.

Fabian Colin, Head of Sales at Solactive AG hinted that there may be more indices to come in a statement cited in the post: ”We are looking forward to developing more crypto indices in the future, which will optimistically result in investable indices and might lead to further products.”

CoinMarketCap also noted that the indices will be ”prominently displayed” on its own website, stating it as ”the most-trafficked site in the cryptocurrency space”.

 

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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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US Crypto Regulations Between a Rock and a Hard Place

US Crypto Regulations Between a Rock and a Hard Place

In the midst of the delay for the approval of Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) applications after several rejections, and current uncertainty regarding regulatory framework, US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Commissioner Hester Peirce provided insights into the matter as an opportunity for better industry development.

Last week, Heister made comments on the issues of state regulation at the University of Missouri School of Law where she opined that “entrepreneurship and innovation do not have the happiest relationship with innovation”, which may be the core reason why crypto ventures have suffered in the hands of most regulatory systems.

The SEC’s clamp down on non-compliant ICOs (issuing securities disguised as utility tokens), its rejection of Bitcoin ETF applications, and somewhat deliberate delay in providing a regulatory framework as regards the industry may have a more logical than malicious intent behind it. Innovations, while they make life easier most of the time, always come outside the norms, especially those of the regulatory system and often times drives regulators to accept changes despite skepticism.

“Regulators, for their part, tend to be skeptical of change because its consequences are difficult to foresee and figuring out how it fits into existing regulatory frameworks is difficult,” she said, implying that it’s not an easy task for the SEC to reject what seemingly looks like a financial innovation in an attempt to weigh and understand the situation correctly.

The last financial crisis has made it easier for trust issues to thrive, especially on the part of the regulator, given that some ascribe the crisis to be due to “financial innovations”. Peirce pointed out that “…every innovation — even one that almost everyone agrees is good — carries with it some risk”, something currently agreeable with the cryptocurrency system.

Accordingly, since innovations can be unpredictable, so caution must be applied when drafting regulatory frameworks, especially for a new industry such as blockchain and its underlying assets. Peirce continues by saying that “as regulators, therefore, we must allow innovation to proceed, even as we put in reasonable safeguards and watch for unanticipated consequences”, and still, it has to come with no comprise to the securities laws in place. It behooves one to imagine where the true line of trade-offs will be drawn, seeing that the core structure of the crypto industry lies in decentralization, which by implication makes it harder for any regulator.

Still, the regulatory polarity has created distinct shades of gray areas around the world. With the Chinese government adamant with its crypto ban, the Indian government chose a rather bizarre stance — first with a ban on banking services to crypto related ventures, and then planned to develop a state-backed cryptocurrency, which it shelved later on. Meanwhile, other jurisdictions have launched out to attract the “rejected”, by providing a safe haven to crypto ventures, and a few nations are developing their own state-backed crypto to augment their economies.

In the UK, the principal regulator has extended an invitation to the public through its consultation paper to better assess a possible way forward for industry regulations. It said in late January: “We are consulting on Guidance for crypto assets to provide regulatory clarity for market participants.” Meanwhile, in the Middle East, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has also hinted on possible ICO regulations to be introduced later this year.

So far, the crypto industry has had checkered developments and have more recently been in a stalemate (regardless of minor spikes in market dynamics), and many have been waiting eagerly for the next bull-run trigger. It’s basically what most crypto enthusiasts talk about these days, consequently, dialing down tech innovation, development and mass adoption of crypto products — at least, for the innovations that they stand for — and are relying on adjuncts gunning for more institutional involvement that would supposedly propel the market further.

While the US SEC does recognize the potential this innovative technology may provide, as Peirce says. “the United States has benefited greatly from the relative importance of non-bank financing”, supposedly placing them on par with the capital market. This further buttresses the point made by SEC boss Jay Clayton who viewed crypto as a “promise for adding efficiency to our [capital] marketplace”.

However, the regulatory watchdog maintains a stance of balance that involved protecting the interests of investors as market volatility, manipulation, hacks, frauds, exchange illiquidity, and a host of other unforeseen consequences from the unstandardized cryptosystem remain legitimate concerns.

Perhaps, when the SEC, as well as other financial regulators, have finally regulated the industry, these problems will be adequately tackled. Meanwhile, the regulator itself is waiting for the maturity of the industry marked by improved oversight on market surveillance, definitive asset classification, and airtight custody solutions, before embracing the industry wholeheartedly. But it still remains to be known at what cost?

The good news so far is that earlier this year, a bill was introduced in the House to help with asset classification, that partly takes care of one problem. Nasdaq introduced its SMARTS Market Surveillance solution which may have provided precedence in the direction of play towards controlling market manipulation. On the subject of custody solutions, crypto ventures are urged to ensure best cybersecurity practices. Fidelity, Coinbase, Gemini, BitGo, Ledger, ItBi and even Goldman Sachs are among many reportedly racing toward that end.

Peirce’s overall sentiment in a manner of speaking, perhaps one shared on both sides of the tussle is that the delay in drawing clear lines may actually allow more freedom for the technology to come into its own.

 

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Seven Crypto Exchanges Use Nasdaq Surveillance Tech for Clean Trading

7 Crypto Exchanges Use Nasdaq Surveillance Tech for Clean Trading

Nasdaq’s cryptocurrency exchange guidelines are continuing to offer technical support for seven cryptocurrency exchanges, paying to use its tech to help them ensure trading activities are kept free from manipulation.

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 Nasdaq’s stringent guideless although only the connection with Gemini and SBI Virtual Currency has been made public so far.

Nasdaq’s head of exchange and regulator surveillance team, Tony Sio, explained the company’s thinking on allowing access to tech support: “Historically, we don’t do such a large vetting process for our clients because they are much more well-known… But as we started working with less well-known names, startups, then we realized we needed to do this check process.”

At yesterday’s Nasdaq briefing, the company’s surveillance head broke down the process of vetting crypto exchanges to members of the press, clarifying that not everyone makes the cut. Such is the rigorous nature of their prerequisites, which have separate criteria: a business model, KYC/AML, and exchange governance and controls.

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. Last week, Nasdaq also hooked up with Symbiont with a USD 20 million investment.

One key factor in allowing access to Nasdaq tech has been the company’s interest in how exchanges use their assets and exactly who is using them, and what they may have been used for in the past, illustrating the high level of ethical standard exchanges must demonstrate before passing muster, gaining access to the technology.

 

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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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Wall Street, Institutional Investors Prime for Next Crypto Bull Run

Wall Street, Institutional Investors Prime for Next Crypto Bull Run

Analysts are looking ahead to the potential for a sustained bull run on cryptocurrency markets in 2019, and many are expressing an expectation this will be the signal for Wall Street and institutions to up investment.

Many see large-scale investment being re-examined in 2019 after being scared off by Bitcoin’s December dip. Wall Street notably stood back prior to the end of the year with Goldman Sachs’ much-publicized plans to open a crypto trading desk called “top-of-the-market-hype thinking” by one New York executive.

Travis Scher of New York’s venture capital firm Digital Currency Group sees a change in indirection from Wall Street and large investment as imminent suggesting that Wall St has lagged behind. He has been watching the industry, choosing to remain on the fringes waiting for signs of an upturn before making a move.

Canadian entrepreneur and activist Jeff Berwick (aka Dollar Vigilante) sees 2019 as the year that cryptocurrency prices will take off once institutions finally make their move. He suggests that trillions of dollars are waiting to be invested in the cryptocurrency market.

Despite Bakkt’s delay, the recent seed funding of over USD 182 million goes on to show that a lot of institution key players are supportive of a successful launch of the platform, after particularly after the New York-based platform acquired “certain assets” and employees of Rosenthal Collins Group (RCG) to expand the company.

With Nasdaq also waiting in the wings and the potential for non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and ETFs predicted to push blockchain adoption and kickstart a crypto bull run, 2019 already offers high expectations for both analysts and investors.

 

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Wall Street in Wait ‘n See Mode After Rocky 2018

2018 was the year of Wall Street’s suggestion that certain big names might be moving into cryptocurrency in one shape or form, but sentiments have cooled somewhat leading into 2019.

Goldman Sachs was one of these voices this year, with one exec saying he would “happily put his mother’s money into Bitcoin” However its much-publicized plans to open a crypto trading desk have been called “top-of-the-market-hype thinking” by Daniel H. Gallancy, chief executive officer of New York-based SolidX Partners, suggesting that the market’s expectation that Sachs and Co might trade was unrealistic.

Justin Schmidt, head of Goldman Sachs digital business suggested that the cooling off of some of the year’s over speculation was actually a good thing for the crypto ecosystem, as it allowed for companies that are actually providing institutional-grade products and services to come on board at the right time:

“Custody is part of an overall integrated system where different parts need to work well with each other and safely with each other and you have to be able to trust all the different parts in that chain, from buying something to transferring it to storing it in for the long-term.”

Wall Street has also been cooled somewhat by the usual less than realistic predictions which seem to de rigueur when talking about cryptocurrency, all of which have been well off the mark. Recent soundbites have made huge revisions to sky-high predictions of earlier in the year. Mike Novogratz, one of those earlier voices, has recently suggested that a much toned down $20,000 is a far more likely benchmark for Bitcoin in 2019, a figure which Sonny Singh, CCO of Bitcoin payment service provider Bitpay, agrees with.

Morgan Stanley, with its new head of digital assets Andrew Peel hasn’t actually traded a single contract this year despite it being technically prepared to offer swaps tracking Bitcoin futures one month after they began trading on Chicago-based exchanges CBOE and CME.

2019 looks to Nasdaq as the next entrée to a big players crypto feast.  Nasdaq is already supporting cryptocurrency exchanges and the company is certainly not new to cryptocurrency’s underlying technology, blockchain. Apart from its long-term relationship with blockchain startup, Chain, it has recently announced a collaboration with cryptocurrency exchange Gemini.

Joseph Weinburg, OECD Think Tank Special Advisor, and Shyft Chairman suggested that Nasdaq should definitely trade in Cryptocurrency:

“… this could be a great thing! Regulation, again, is a massive roadblock to something like this happening. You need to solve and create an informed model on self-regulation. By that, I mean how do you operate a bitcoin “marketplace” while at the same time enable a security token exchange… It’s not an easy process, but the entity that cracks it unlocks the holy grail in completing the bridge between traditional and the crypto ecosystem.”

Wall Street is not waiting with bated breath before it springs into crypto action; It is interested, but is certainly on hold until Bitcoin’s fortunes begin to stabilize in 2019.

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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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UK Fund Processor Calastone to Save $4.3 Billion with Blockchain Operations

Calastone To Move Operations to Blockchain in 2019

The Financial Times reported yesterday that UK leading investment fund processing firm Calastone will be considering moving its activities to the blockchain by May 2019, saving up to USD 4.3 billion in costs annually.

Calastone manages an industry share of more than USD 217 billion a month, to include transaction among buyers, sellers, and distributors. According to the news report, CEO of Calastone Julien Hammerson said that “funds were being hampered by continually rising costs and [the] threat of competition… rendering the current system economically and operationally unsustainable”.

The objective of this strategic move will be to reduce the cost of operations and provide a blockchain mainstream approach for finance through over 1,700 firms currently being served, including the JP Morgan Asset Management, Schroders and Invesco firms. The processing will involve a network of banks and other financial advisers.

The fund processing constitutes sending of messages between the communicating firms and their counterparties. The current fund processing done by most industries are manual involving the use of fax to transmit these messages. Calastone operates a digital messaging services where these messages essentially constitute placing orders, receipt confirmation, and price confirmation.

Following a report earlier this year by Forrester, where Calastone was able to achieve cost reduction of up to USD 585 million for mutual funds through automation to major global funds markets; Calastone believes that it could achieve more using the blockchain technology.

The CEO of Calastone Julien Hammerson is optimistic about the roles of technology in managing funds, and in a comment on the Forrester report, said, “These results are [a] testament to the impact technology can have on an industry at a global level. Though that is just the first step… analysis highlights how significantly these benefits can be accelerated when using blockchain technology to automate the entire lifecycle of mutual fund transactions.”

In June, Calastone said it had successfully completed the first phase of its proof-of-concept, a blockchain-enabled distributed market infrastructure (DMI) and has now moved on to bringing mutual funds market onto the blockchain in 2019.

Mutual funds are increasingly showing an interest in blockchain technology. As far back as 2016, Aberdeen Asset Management and Aviva Investors worked on exploring blockchain in trading systems to reduce costs. Last year, Nasdaq and Sweden’s SEB bank together explored the blockchain for mutual funds. Another US mutual fund manager Vanguard said it will consider using smart contracts in some of its business operations.

 

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As Bakkt Looms, Wall Street Boss Says Bitcoin Here to Stay

As Bakkt Looms, Wall Street Boss Says Bitcoin Here to Stay

Jeff Sprecher, CEO of the NYSE’s parent company Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), has asserted that digital assets will survive, regardless of the market’s dips and dives as seen over the past weeks.

A firm backer of Bitcoin, Sprecher had announced that, with the help of technology partner Microsoft, ICE was planning to launch a new digital asset platform called Bakkt. Starbucks and Microsoft will be major partners of the much-anticipated platform Bakkt and are reportedly going to accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

The excitement surrounding Bakkt is centered around its plans to launch physically-settled Bitcoin futures by January next year; recent market sentiment is thought to have postponed the launch, originally scheduled for late 2018.

Sprecher reflected on recent events in the market and Bitcoin’s current position: “Somehow Bitcoin has lived in a swamp and survived… There are thousands of other tokens that you could argue are better but yet Bitcoin continues to survive, thrive and attract attention… Often times in finance, it’s not about being the best — it turns out to be about being the broadest and the most commonly accepted and for whatever reason Bitcoin has become that.”

Despite SEC commissioner Hester Peirce declaring in a 24 November podcast that long-awaited ETF approvals are “definitely possible”, the SEC warns that these won’t be any time in the near future. Kelly Loeffer, Bakkt’s CEO and wife of the NYSE chairman, claims that Bakkt is creating its own opportunities for the future, stating:

“We’re creating that infrastructure that doesn’t exist today, which we think is a big opportunity for institutional investors to come in.”

As for the future, Nasdaq seems unfazed and retains a bullish optimism with its plans to launch Bitcoin futures in 2019 through its partnership with VanEck . Both Nasdaq and the NYSE forging ahead towards becoming cryptocurrency exchanges and Nasdaq’s CEO Adena Friedman asserted that over time the exchange giant could become a cryptocurrency exchange once “the sector matures”.

Clearly, major players are not simply waiting on the SEC for ETF game-changing thumbs up in 2019. New Year’s resolutions are already being made.

 

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