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Survey: Crypto Awareness, Use Doubles Since 2018, Adoption Lags

Survey: Awareness and Use of Cryptocurrency Doubled Since 2018, Adoption Lags

According to a recent report, 12% of cryptocurrency holders are long-term investors, and while awareness may have doubled from the 2018 count, adoption lags.

The survey conducted by HBUS, the US partners of Huobi cryptocurrency exchange, sampled 1,067 American cryptocurrency investors between the period of March and April, revealing a swooping rise in cryptocurrency investments from 8% in 2018 to 20% so far in 2019.

In gauging the income levels of those who invest, the source stated that about 19.58% of the respondents actively involved in holding cryptocurrencies had an average of USD 99,000 annual income, still with a sizeable potential of those in the six-figure range likely to invest in the industry.

While it may appear that a lack of proper education constitutes a major drawback in the adoption of cryptocurrencies as investment vehicles, especially in the retail sector, the survey did find that more than half of the people questioned about cryptocurrencies were quite knowledgeable and must have been facilitated on a peer-to-peer basis. In contrast, earlier this month Fidelity Investment conducted a survey targeted at institutional investors, which revealed only 22% of them actually owned one or more cryptocurrencies, further corroborating previous findings suggesting individuals are more prone to invest in the industry.

It’s an established fact that security and regulation are the utmost concern for all investors alike willing to engage with the digital asset industry. To this effect, several initiatives promising robust infrastructural layouts and specifically targeting institutional investors are currently ongoing.

The involvement from mainstream investment companies seemingly has a hold on the investment appetite, and the recent months have seen a significant rise in ingenious integration of digital asset trading systems into the traditional circles.

Recently, Fidelity Investments announced the imminent launch of its trading platform; to which some have suggested that the news had a positive influence on the recent market dynamics. It goes without saying that the seam between the traditional investment circles and the emerging niche of digital assets are becoming thinner, thereby having a rather positive impact on the overall growth of the industry.


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Fidelity to Offer Crypto Trading in a Few Weeks

Fidelity to Offer Cryptocurrency Trading in Few Weeks

Boston-based financial service firm Fidelity Investments is likely to open up its Bitcoin over the counter (OTC) trading desk to institutional investors in the coming weeks, according to reports by Bloomberg.

Citing a person familiar with the matter, the source stated that Fidelity will buy and sell the world’s most popular digital asset for institutional customers within a few weeks. This comes after discovering an institutional appetite for digital assets is still growing. According to reports from a survey carried out by the firm, of the 441 institutional investors questioned, 72% of them revealed they prefer to buy investment products that hold digital assets, while 57% preferred to buy them directly.

Fidelity will reportedly join brokerage firm E*Trade Financial Corp. and Robinhood in offering cryptocurrency trading to clients. However, Fidelity will only offer its services to institutional customers. This was made clear in an email disclosed to Bloomberg from Fidelity spokeswoman Arlene Roberts, who said: “We currently have a select set of clients we’re supporting on our platform.”

Last November, Fidelity was reportedly considering the top five to seven cryptocurrencies, however, it appears it will be fluid with client needs and will adjust its services based on the requirements of its client base. But first, Bitcoin will be its top priority upon launch. Roberts said:

“We will continue to roll out our services over the coming weeks and months based on our clients’ needs, jurisdictions, and other factors. Currently, our service offering is focused on Bitcoin.”

Earlier in March, Fidelity went live with a select few clients, stating clearly in a Tweet that it was after institutions and large funds:

 “We are live with a select group of eligible clients and will continue rolling out slowly. Our solutions are focused on the needs of hedge funds, family offices, pensions, endowments, other institutional investors.”

One of the most daunting challenges of the cryptocurrency markets is its allure for bad actors, and this to a great degree has limited the growth and adoption of emerging digital asset classes. Fidelity’s plan all along is to provide a top-notch custody solution that meets all regulatory standard and offer a safe portal for institutional investors to buy-in into the cryptocurrency markets.


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Crypto360 Exclusive: Inheritance, Custody – Crypto Deserves Same Protection as Traditional Assets

Crypto360 Exclusive: Inheritance, Custody – Crypto Deserves Same Protection as Traditional Assets

As the blockchain and cryptocurrency industries mature, firms are beginning to use the technologies to create increasingly sophisticated alternatives to mainstream financial services. Beyond cryptocurrency exchanges, startups have created solutions for cryptocurrency loan services and futures trading, with many expected to see a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund in action later this year.

Based in Italy, Crypto360 is one such company offering an innovative finance solution as a digital currency custody provider. The project has two main selling points: 1) it offers a legally compliant platform to administer digital currency inheritance and 2) it provides a custody solution suitable for institutional and retail traders alike.

Ivan Rossi, who works at the company’s front desk, told Bitcoin News:

”We want to give to cryptocurrencies the same protection that traditional assets have on the hereditary front, and we do it in a different way from the competitors without taking possession of the asset.”

Crypto360’s founders claim they were ”not amazed” by other custody solution providers in the market but appreciated that these alternatives confirmed that custody is valid if integrated with the possibility for assets to be handed down in the face of decisive events.

Contractual and conditional custody on the go

The firm provides an ”ad hoc solution” for institutional investors, offering them different contractual conditions from that of other investors. 

A major group of users is expected to be those looking for a way to manage their cryptocurrency for inheritance with full legal compliance. Rossi explained, ”It is compatible with local tax laws because cryptocurrencies are not yet included as goods in the hereditary asset. The Crypto360 service has been conceived as an encrypted custody of private keys and the aspect of succession is an integrative character that makes its sphere of application complete.”

As well as inheritance, clients can assign a designated beneficiary to assume funds in the event of a particular incident that is contractually identified. 

The platform does save a copy of clients passwords but this is protected by a double level of encryption and stored in protected archives. If somehow the account was accessed fraudulently, any request to redeem funds in the account would be met with a request to verify the individual’s identity.

Rossi told Bitcoin News that the security process on Crypto 360 means the usual storage precautions needed to protect your private key does not apply. ”Clients can pin their password up on the wall or store it freely on multiple clouds. He could adopt any duplication and storage solution without countermeasures for the secret protection of the data, all in order to prevent its loss and without the fear that someone can use it,” he explained.

Because Crypto360 securely stores an encrypted copy of clients’ security details, if you lose your password through your own negligence you have not lost access to your account. As the company’s white paper cites, in 2017, as much as 23% of mined Bitcoins had been lost forever due to human error, so this is a way to help prevent client holdings from joining that statistic.

Security is, however, still a huge issue for cryptocurrency traders as compromised exchanges continue to make the headlines. Most recently it was revealed QuadrigaCX was given another 45-day extension for creditor protection, meaning any clients who lost money when the exchange lost control of USD 134 million in cryptocurrency will be unable to begin legal proceedings against the exchange during this time period. The exchange claims it lost control of the funds when its founder, who had sole control of the funds, died suddenly without passing on the private keys.

Rossi stated that Crypto 360 offers a different service to that of cryptocurrency exchanges, also operating with a unique security protocol which means incidents such as that experienced by QuadrigaCX would not happen on their platform. He added, ”It is important for users in the crypto world to understand that it is not safe to hold cryptocurrencies within exchanges. They are at risk of hacking and in the absence of countermeasures aimed at protecting the loss of access to funds, customers will lose their cryptocurrencies.”

How popular will crypto custodial services be?

It is no secret that cryptocurrency prices are not having their best moment. The success of projects such as Crypto360 is dependent on a large enough demand for its services, something directly correlated to the popularity of cryptocurrency and largely market prices also.

As the firm sees it, as the market matures there is a natural selection of projects as there was last year, but it is unlikely that performance similar to that of 2018 are repeated. ”Our vision on the market remains optimistic and we assume that it is a trend that is constantly growing, but in a more natural way that allows it to be consolidated,’ Rossi told Bitcoin News. 

Crypto360 also faces the potential problem of competition as more blockchain firms emerge to offer similar cryptocurrency solutions. Being one of the very first players, however, they are confident they will stay at the top of the game.

”We pride ourselves on being the first to think of a custody solution that keeps the clients’ funds private. It is very likely that the next competitors will be the banks, which as they currently do with the other assets, will keep the cryptocurrencies coming directly into possession,” Rossi affirmed. 

The prediction that 2019 will be the year of the cryptocurrency institutional investor had perhaps the largest consensus of all the year’s forecasts. In Rossi’s view, the time has already arrived: “[Custody soloutions] are a need very felt by the market and there are already large institutions ready to enter this business.”


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Report Suggests Retail Investors Are Slowly Amassing Bitcoin

Retail Investors Are Slowly Amassing Bitcoin

Institutional grade crypto investments have frequented the news of late, and while upcoming crypto derivatives may have been tailored to create a demand in this market niche, there is another set of investors who have been bullish about the industry from the get-go – the retail investors.

Data from crypto analytical provider Diar revealed that Bitcoin holdings of addresses holding 1 – 10 bitcoins before the burst have shown a steady growth of 5% since the last all-time high in December 2017.

The report did note that while 2018 had slightly deterred from 2015 through 2017 year-over-year average increase of 35% in the holdings of popular addresses; registering a mere increase of 0.7%, the year 2019 has picked up pace and is seeing a steady increase of 3% in bitcoin holdings in the 1-10 bitcoin containing addresses.

More so, within the system, there may be a fairly noticeable activity of even distribution of wealth, as addresses holding larger amounts of bitcoins (10 – 1000 BTCs) have followed opposite trends to those of 1 – 10 BTCs.

While this phenomenon could have contrasting interpretations; call it a positive sentiment on the part of retail investors in preparedness for the supposedly long-awaited bull run. On the other hand, according to the source, “it may mean an exodus of larger investors.” Whichever the case, increase in retail buying against the market trends and amassing more Bitcoin could perhaps mean that the true speculative value of Bitcoin lies in the unwavering hopes that Bitcoin could someday revolutionize the barter system.

Recently, the source published a report detailing the healthy state of Bitcoin transactions, describing the fees trend as touching 2014 lows.

While it appears that institutional investors may be sitting on the sidelines, billionaire investor Mike Novogratz had advised that hedge funds should have at least 1% of their holdings in Bitcoin as a safe bet whilst profiting from its volatility.

Retail investors’ holdings are currently estimated to be worth around USD 6 billion and perhaps with such a rise in optimism for the flagship decentralized cryptocurrency, this could grow over time to become a significant stake in Bitcoin’s circulating supply. And maybe by the time institutions finally become fully vested into crypto – Bitcoin most especially – Satoshi’s dream of a decentralized peer-to-peer electronic cash system may have taken full effect.


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EU-Regulated Bank Frick Launches DLT Markets for Institutional Investors

EU-Regulated Bank Frick Launches DLT Markets for Institutional Investors

One of the European leaders in blockchain banking, Bank Frick, announced last week that it will be starting up a subsidiary service to provide a secure environment for institutional investors to trade in digital assets.

The bank said it is introducing a digital asset marketplace dubbed DLT Markets with the regulatory properties of the traditional financial market. It will provide institutional investors with professional access to cryptocurrencies being traded on multiple exchanges.

CEO of DLT Markets Roger Wurzel said:

“We are creating a unique market offering for institutional investors in the area of the new digital token asset class. With our fully regulated platform, we are driving professionalism with regard to the trading of digital tokens and cryptocurrencies.”

This appears to be the second blockchain-related initiative of the bank, following the recently established Distributed Ventures AG – a subsidiary tasked with promoting and financing fintech and blockchain start-ups – the bank clearly wants a stake in the future digital assets market, as CEO of Bank Frick Edi Wögerer explains: “In establishing The DLT Markets AG, we are significantly building on our leading position in the area of regulated blockchain banking.”

Evidently, the digital asset ecosystem has become a gold rush for institutional investments and while regulatory framework and a secure custody solution may be holding some back, many financial service operators are seeking for ways to stake a place in the emerging market.

Bank Frick is a private bank based in Liechtenstein with a branch that operates in the UK. It has nearly two decades of financial service experiences offered to intermediaries such as fiduciaries, asset managers, payment service providers, and fintechs. Its services include custody of crypto assets, and as per the statement, the bank supports initial coin offerings. Earlier in February, it announced an official partnership with blockchain advisory AmaZix, as part of a drive towards mainstream adoption in blockchain banking services.

Many other financial institutions are participating in the blockchain economy.

Fidelity Investments, with over half a century’s worth of experience in the financial market, whose recent valuation was estimated to be worth USD 2.46 trillion in asset under management (AUM), has launched crypto subsidiary Fidelity Digital Asset Services to provide institutional grade crypto asset custody and cryptocurrency trading services. More so, a deadline has been set for March for the release of its Bitcoin custody solution.

Also, US investment bank JPMorgan recently launched its own JPM Coin, a digital coin backed by the US dollar meant for internal money settlements between its clients. Although it may have received many criticisms from crypto enthusiasts, the gesture remains one of clear certification that blockchain and its underlying asset classes are revolutionary to the traditional financial marketplace.

Last year, top cryptocurrency exchange Binance announced that it was adding a sub-account feature to attract institutional investors. US-centered crypto exchange Coinbase also launched its over-the-counter (OTC) trading service for institutional investors. And most recently, New York-based digital asset management firm Grayscale Investstment LLC reported an increase in the number of institutional investors making up 66% of its portfolio under management.

Certainly, it’s turning out to be a bouquet of institutional grade digital investment niche, and with so many to choose from, the industry will perhaps be the replacement venture to traditional finance as many have speculated it to be.


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Report: Grayscale AUM Largely Patronized by Institutional Investors

Report: Grayscale AUM Majority Patrons Are Institutional Investors

New York-based digital asset management firm Grayscale Investments, LLC has published its Q4 2018 financials that reveal a steady inflow of cash from institutional investors into its Bitcoin Trust product.

2/19/19 UPDATE: Holdings per share and net assets under management for our investment products

Total AUM: $866.1 million$BTC $BCH $ETH $ETC $ZEN $LTC $XLM $XRP $ZEC

— Grayscale (@GrayscaleInvest) February 19, 2019

The company claims over USD 866.1 million in assets under management (AUM), and the year 2018 had been the most lucrative in over 3 years of operation despite a reduced quarter-to-quarter average investment. It did say in the report that a total of USD 359.5 million was recorded as investments into Grayscale products in 2018; this was three times those recorded in 2017 and twice as much as those for 2014-2017 combined.

According to the report, much of the investments had come from institutional investors accounting for 66% of the total investments recorded. As for its Bitcoin Trust product, it had a larger percentage compared to other products being offered by the firm.

In Q4 of 2018, its Bitcoin Trust portfolio saw an average weekly investment of USD 2 million while those of non-Bitcoin products had just USD 300,000 weekly inflow, though “below average quarter, but [a] strong year”, as the report says. During the entire year, the company recorded a weekly average of USD 6 million from investors, of which its Bitcoin Trust portfolio received a weekly average of USD 4.7 million.

Institutional investors continue to show interest in digital assets and their derivative markets. The speculation of an economic recession spurring an increase in market prices of cryptocurrencies has been one of the motivations to trail price trends to find suitable entry points.

Though the year 2018 had been entirely bearish and injurious to many retail investors, it has actually paved way for institutions to get more involved in the market. Volatility, being one of the most attractive traits of the market, has led some financial experts to recommend a 1% investment into Bitcoin – playing it safe. Perhaps, with more favorable regulatory oversight on the industry and solid market infrastructure, more influx of investments from institutions will drive the market to its next pinnacle.


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If Institutions Could Change the Crypto Market Narrative, What’s Keeping Them?

If Institutions Could Change the Crypto Market Narrative, What’s Keeping Them_ (1)

Last year saw lots of interest from institutions, who were a part of a hype-drive that supposedly should have ushered Bitcoin and the altcoins out of a prolonged bear market in 2019.

Suddenly, the prospects for institutional investments in the cryptocurrency markets have far more long-reaching effects than the actual application of the blockchain technology itself. It suggested that investors were bored with the cliché of what blockchain is and its potential, and are far more interested in how much they can profit off its underlying asset class.

Institutional investor flux

In preparation for these new class of investors, crypto ventures were adjusting their business infrastructures to accommodate the changes that would ensue from the influx of these sophisticated investors.

Top cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume Binance reportedly added sub-account features; Chicago-based cryptocurrency exchange Seed CX introduced spot trading facility for institutional investors; number one US crypto trading platform Coinbase launched an over-the-counter (OTC) trading platform for institutional clients; Circle’s Poloniex opened up trading services exclusive for institutional clients, and many more strides in the direction of high net-worth investment categories.

Perhaps the most currently notable investment interests for this class of investors include those to be offered by Intercontinental Exchange’s (ICE) Bakkt and Fidelity. The growing interests in these platforms suggest that these products would probably turn the tides for the crypto market upside, as it is perceived that they would offer a fresh inflow of capital and liquidity into the space.

Rewriting the market narrative

Accordingly, when the market crashed in November 2018, falling below the supposed bottom of USD 6,000 at the time, many thought that was the moment for institutional investors to hop in. Still, prices have breached many more speculated bottoms and are currently hovering around USD 3,400; yet, most of these investors have stayed their hands. One question, if these investors could actually change the narrative for the market, what’s stopping them?

Here are a few pointers: liquidity issues, susceptibility to market manipulation, regulation uncertainty, and crypto custody issues. Above all, the right framework may yet be the reason why these investors have not fully immersed themselves.

Moreover, insights provided by John Devlin, chief analyst at P.A.ID suggested that crypto needs to rise above stigma, and also become more regulatory compliant: “According to P.A.ID Strategies, 68% of Bitcoin exchanges across the US, and Europe is not KYC compliant.”

On another note, head of regulatory surveillance and marketplace at Nasdaq Tony Sio told business insider that while lots of exchanges were reaching out for Nasdaq’s SMARTS Trade Surveillance platform, it was however difficult because according to him, as a startup, “it is quite hard to set up because it requires a fair bit of work… [and] probably one of the sticking points”. This would imply that some of these investment propositions to institutions need time to develop and mature before implementing to scale.

Although some of the new projects reportedly claim that they are working diligently to ensure that their final product will meet the standards and expectations of the new class of investors. However, it remains to be seen exactly how the market will play out in the event that these platforms are finally launched.


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Cartoon Corner – Institutional Investors in Crypto

institutional investors in crypto cartoon bitcoinnews

institutional investors in crypto cartoon bitcoinnews

Cartoonist: Ram N
Title: Institutional Investors in Crypto
Date: 17 December 2018

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Binance Adds Sub-Account Features to Attract Institutional Investors

Binance Adds Sub-Accounts Features for Institutional Investors

Top cryptocurrency market shareholder by daily trading volume Binance announced today through its blog post that it is creating a sub-account support feature to help with accommodating institutional investors.

It’s widely acknowledged that there’s a growing interest from the institutional sectors in cryptocurrency and some believe that the next phase of cryptocurrency development will be facilitated by these entities.

Binance seems to be preparing itself for this expectation by adding features to improve its services. “Binance is thrilled to announce the launch of our long-anticipated sub-account feature, which brings improved managerial control and asset audit tools to institutional account holders”, the blog post reads. It further touts this development as “one step closer to a comprehensive, full-stack offering for institutional clients”.

Binance further explains that “the new sub-account feature is available to corporate users and individuals with VIP 3 tier (or higher) accounts”. That is based on the already established institutional account system.

These sub-accounts are designed to allow institutions to have flexible handling and access control to multiple trading accounts for different firms. Different account levels will be provided to these institutions and they’ll have control over each sub-accounts of the firms. According to the exchange, “the original/main account has sole control over the movement of assets… different access levels for up to 200 sub accounts”.

The blog also infers that sub-accounts are properly compartmentalized with enhanced with security features to minimize risks of tampering. More so, the accounts have unique APIs with different access privileges.

The perceived coming influx of institutional investments has prompted similar service providers to adjust their operations to accommodate these significant changes when they happen. About a week ago, Coinbase launched over-the-counter (OTC) trading for institutional clientsIn Israel, an investment house plans to launch the first dedicated digital coin investment platform for institutional and accredited investors.


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Fidelity Considers Digital Trading of Top 7 Cryptocurrencies

Fidelity Considers Digital Trading of Top 7 Cryptocurrencies

Fidelity Investments is reportedly looking into the feasibility of offering the top five to seven cryptocurrencies on its Digital Asset Services platform.

Extending beyond Bitcoin and Ether

Last month, the investment firm revealed its new Digital Asset Services arm alongside plans to offer Bitcoin and Ether trading services for institutional investors, also giving them a much-anticipated custody solution for these cryptocurrencies.

Tom Jessop, head of Fidelity Digital Assets, shared at the Block FS conference in New York on Thursday the company’s willingness to extend these services to other major cryptocurrencies.

“I think there is demand for the next four or five in rank of market cap order. So we will be looking at that,” he said in response to a question posed by Coindesk.

One of the potential issues he perceives is the question of which tokens will fall into the US Security and Exchange Commission’s definition of securities, as this will significantly impact the regulation surrounding their use. ”We are waiting for that space to develop,” he noted.

Jessop added there is not a huge call from institutional investors yet to venture into the lesser known cryptocurrencies on offer, so Fidelity will focus on the top seven or so, although other aditions will be considered when the demand is there.

Right now, he says Fidelity services over 13,000 institutional clients and their main interests are in the two leading cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin and Ether.

In August, the Bitcoin Tracker One Exchange Traded Note (ETN) became the first fully regulated financial instrument tied directly to Bitcoins, a service Fidelity offers its clients.

Given the relatively poor performance of the cryptocurrency market this year compared with 2017, many are counting on an influx of institutional investors using digital currency investment services such as that offered by Fidelity to boost prices.


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