Tag Archives: bitcoin

Digital Asset Savings and Loan Platform Ledn Raises US$30M Series A

Ledn continues its global expansion plans with a $30 million financing round led by London-based investment firm Kingsway Capital.

Ledn Inc. (“Ledn”), a global digital asset platform offering innovative saving and lending products for Bitcoin and other digital assets, is pleased to announce the completion of a $30 million Series A financing round led by Kingsway Capital, with participation from new investors including Alan Howard, Hashed, Susquehanna Private Equity Investments LLLP, ParaFi Capital, Alexis Ohanian, and John Pfeffer. All investors from Ledn’s prior round including White Star Capital’s Digital Asset Fund, Coinbase Ventures, Global Founders Capital and CMT Digital also participated to fuel Ledn’s growth.

Ledn has grown its assets on its platform by over 320% since its last round, just six months ago. Proceeds of the round will be used to grow Ledn’s team and global presence, as well as continue to enhance Ledn’s technology and product offerings. Additionally, Ledn’s investors bring regional-specific expertise that will enable Ledn to achieve its mission of unlocking the power of Bitcoin and other digital assets to build wealth through innovative financial products.

“We are building a world class company to help people globally unlock the power of the fastest growing asset class for building generational wealth,” says Adam Reeds, Ledn co-founder and CEO. “With this new injection of capital, we will expand on our success in North & South America and grow our global footprint, prioritizing growth markets. Our focus is to build simple and secure solutions that allow clients to participate in the growing digital asset economy in a way that meets their individual needs and our own rigorous standard for security and reliability.”

“We prioritize the needs of the people we serve, investing in solutions like proof-of-reserves to protect them, and provide assurance that all of our lending activities are covered by real assets,” said Mauricio Di Bartolomeo, co-founder and CSO. “Growing up in Venezuela, I saw first hand how an unregulated system with little to no transparency can impact its people, and that’s why it’s such a core component of how we manage the funds our clients entrust to us.”

Ledn also recently launched Ledn Trade, a service that enables clients to exchange between USDC and Bitcoin, specifically catering to clients in growth markets who wish to quickly move between the two digital assets. The product-market fit of Ledn’s services to date is evidence of a growing global demand for this kind of innovative digital asset solution.

“Having spent nearly a decade investing in emerging and frontier markets, we’ve had first-hand experience witnessing the power of disruptive technologies delivered to billions of consumers coming online for the very first time,” says Manuel Stotz, founder of Kingsway Capital. “The emergence of digital assets, whether via Bitcoin or USD Stablecoins, is perhaps the greatest opportunity for financial inclusion, as well as an opportunity for a more decentralized and thus more equitable global internet. We are proud to support the talented team at Ledn in making this vision a reality and are honored to co-invest alongside such a world-class roster of global investors.”

About Ledn

Ledn provides financial products with a mission to help clients across the globe unlock the power of digital assets to build wealth for the long term. Operating in over 100 countries, Ledn offers interest-bearing savings accounts and Bitcoin-backed loans, enabling clients to access dollars or additional Bitcoin without needing to sell any of their existing holdings.

Ledn has active clients in 105 countries, and has exceeded $1 billion in assets on its platform. Since the start of 2021, Ledn has tripled its team while growing its total lending book by over 800% and savings products by 280%. Ledn remains an industry leader when it comes to transparency and accountability standards, being the first-ever lending platform to undergo a formal proof-of-reserves attestation by Armanino LLP, a top public accounting and consulting firm and a recognized global leader in digital asset assurance solutions. For more information visit ledn.io.

About Kingsway Capital

Kingsway Capital is a London-based investment firm whose limited partners include leading US endowments and foundations with a long-term investment horizon, measured in years and decades. Kingsway has a successful history in backing promising companies at the nexus of Emerging Markets and disruptive technologies, such as mobile internet and digital assets.

Turkey Bans Cryptocurrencies for Payments

Turkey’s central bank (CBRT) in a surprising move, banned the use of all cryptocurrencies and digital assets to payments for services and goods, citing possible damage and significant transaction risks.

CBRT said that digital assets based on distributed ledger technology (DLT) could not be used, directly or indirectly, as an instrument of payment in any business in Turkey.

Turkey’s Central Bank said that the cryptocurrencies prohibition had been introduced because digital assets are not regulated or supervised, their prices are very volatile, electronic wallets can be stolen and might be used in illegal transactions. Turkish watchdog has long pointed to cryptocurrencies use in illegal activities as a reason to be cautious on any exposure in the crypto industry.

Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies penetration in Turkey is very high. Turkish investors turn to digital assets such as Bitcoin and Ethereum and run away from the troubled Turkish lira (TRY) as they are looking for a hedge against the rising inflation in the country.

Bitcoin is under heavy selling pressure after the news and as of writing, BTCUSD is 4.43% lower at $60490 while Ethereum (ETHUSD) is 5.31% lower at $2370.

Meanwhile the USDTRY is trading 0.53% higher at 8.062 close to monthly lows for the pair.

UNICEF launches Cryptocurrency Fund

UN Children’s agency becomes first UN Organization to hold and make transactions in cryptocurrency

UNICEF will now be able to receive, hold and disburse donations of cryptocurrencies ether and bitcoin, through its newly-established UNICEF Cryptocurrency Fund. In a first for United Nations organizations, UNICEF will use cryptocurrencies to fund open source technology benefiting children and young people around the world. 

Under the structure of the UNICEF Cryptocurrency Fund, contributions will be held in their cryptocurrency of contribution, and granted out in the same cryptocurrency.     

“This is a new and exciting venture for UNICEF,” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director. “If digital economies and currencies have the potential to shape the lives of coming generations, it is important that we explore the opportunities they offer. That’s why the creation of our Cryptocurrency Fund is a significant and welcome step forward in humanitarian and development work.”

The first contributions to the UNICEF Cryptocurrency Fund will be received from the Ethereum Foundation and will benefit three grantees of the UNICEF Innovation Fund – and a project coordinated by the GIGA initiative to connect schools across the world to the internet.

“The Ethereum Foundation is excited to demonstrate the power of what Ethereum and blockchain technology can do for communities around the world. Together with UNICEF, we’re taking action with the Cryptofund to improve access to basic needs, rights, and resources,” said Aya Miyaguchi, Executive Director of the Ethereum Foundation. “We aim to support the research and development of the Ethereum platform, and to grow the community of those that benefit from a technology that will better countless lives and industries in the years to come. We’d like to thank UNICEF and the UNICEF family of national committees for their leadership as we create real progress together.”

The Ethereum Foundation will make its initial donation through the French National Committee for UNICEF.

UNICEF national committees of USA, Australia and New Zealand also accept cryptocurrency.

The launch of the UNICEF Cryptocurrency Fund is part of UNICEF’s ongoing work with blockchain technology. UNICEF co-leads the UN Innovation Network with WFP. The network is responsible for researching the potential and pitfalls of blockchain and other emerging technologies. 

CME Group to Launch Micro Bitcoin Futures on May 3

CME Group, the world’s leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace, today announced it will expand its suite of crypto derivatives with the introduction of a new Micro Bitcoin futures contract on May 3, pending regulatory review.

Micro Bitcoin futures will be one-tenth the size of one bitcoin. The smaller-sized contract  will provide market participants – from institutions to sophisticated, active, individual traders – with one more tool to hedge their spot bitcoin price risk or execute bitcoin trading strategies in an efficient, cost-effective way, all while retaining the features and benefits of CME Group’s standard Bitcoin futures.

“Since the launch of our Bitcoin futures contract in 2017, we have seen steady, ongoing growth of liquidity and market participation in our crypto derivatives, especially among institutional traders,” said Tim McCourt, CME Group Global Head of Equity Index and Alternative Investment Products. “The introduction of Micro Bitcoin futures responds directly to demand for smaller-sized contracts from a broad array of clients and will offer even more choice and precision in how participants can trade regulated Bitcoin futures in a transparent and efficient manner at CME Group.”

Micro Bitcoin futures will join CME Group’s growing suite of cryptocurrency derivatives, including Bitcoin futures and options and recently launched Ether futures. In 2021-to-date, 13,800 CME Bitcoin futures contracts (equivalent to about 69,000 bitcoin) have traded on average each day. In addition, CME Ether futures have seen 767 contracts traded (equivalent to 38,400 ether) on average each day since launched on February 8.

The new contract will be cash-settled, based on the CME CF Bitcoin Reference Rate, which serves as a once-a-day reference rate of the U.S. dollar price of bitcoin. Micro Bitcoin futures will be listed on and subject to the rules of CME.  

For more information on this product, please see: www.cmegroup.com/microbitcoin.

As the world’s leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace, CME Group (www.cmegroup.com) enables clients to trade futures, options, cash and OTC markets, optimize portfolios, and analyze data – empowering market participants worldwide to efficiently manage risk and capture opportunities. CME Group exchanges offer the widest range of global benchmark products across all major asset classes based on interest rates, equity indexes, foreign exchange, energy, agricultural products and metals.  The company offers futures and options on futures trading through the CME Globex® platform, fixed income trading via BrokerTec and foreign exchange trading on the EBS platform. In addition, it operates one of the world’s leading central counterparty clearing providers, CME Clearing. With a range of pre- and post-trade products and services underpinning the entire lifecycle of a trade, CME Group also offers optimization and reconciliation services through TriOptima, and trade processing services through Traiana.

CFTC Orders Coinbase Inc. to Pay $6.5 Million for False, Misleading, or Inaccurate Reporting and Wash Trading

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today issued an order filing and settling charges against digital asset exchange operator Coinbase Inc., based in San Francisco, California, for reckless false, misleading, or inaccurate reporting as well as wash trading by a former employee on Coinbase’s GDAX platform.

The order requires Coinbase to pay a civil monetary penalty of $6.5 million and to cease and desist from any further violations of the Commodity Exchange Act or CFTC regulations, as charged.

“Reporting false, misleading, or inaccurate transaction information undermines the integrity of digital asset pricing,” said Acting Director of Enforcement Vincent McGonagle. “This enforcement action sends the message that the Commission will act to safeguard the integrity and transparency of such information.”

Case Background

According to the order, between January 2015 and September 2018, Coinbase recklessly delivered false, misleading, or inaccurate reports concerning transactions in digital assets, including Bitcoin, on the GDAX electronic trading platform it operated. During this period, Coinbase operated two automated trading programs, Hedger and Replicator, which generated orders that at times matched with one another. The GDAX Trading Rules specifically disclosed that Coinbase was trading on GDAX, but failed to disclose that Coinbase was operating more than one trading program and trading through multiple accounts.

In addition, the order finds that while Hedger and Replicator had independent purposes, in practice the programs matched orders with one another in certain trading pairs, resulting in trades between accounts owned by Coinbase. Coinbase included the information for these transactions on its website and provided that information to reporting services, either directly or through access to its website. Reporting firms such as Crypto Facilities Ltd., which publishes the CME Bitcoin Real Time Index, and CoinMarketCap OpCo, LLC, which posts such transactional information on its website, received access to Coinbase’s transactional information via Coinbase’s Application Programming Interface, while the NYSE Bitcoin Index, received it directly in transmissions from Coinbase. According to the order, transactional information of this type is used by market participants for price discovery related to trading or owning digital assets, and potentially resulted in a perceived volume and level of liquidity of digital assets, including Bitcoin, that was false, misleading, or inaccurate. 

The order also finds that over a six-week period—August through September 2016—a former Coinbase employee used a manipulative or deceptive device by intentionally placing buy and sell orders in the Litecoin/Bitcoin trading pair on GDAX that matched each other as wash trades. This created the misleading appearance of liquidity and trading interest in Litecoin. Coinbase is therefore found to be vicariously liable as a principal for this employee’s conduct.

The Division of Enforcement staff members responsible for this case are Jon J. Kramer, Bryan T. Hsueh, Elizabeth N. Pendleton, Scott R. Williamson, and Robert T. Howell.

deVere CEO: “I sold half my Bitcoin holdings over Christmas”

As Bitcoin hits nearly $32,000, Nigel Green, the CEO of one of the world’s largest financial advisory and fintech organizations has revealed that he has sold half of his Bitcoin holdings.
 
The revelation from the deVere Group chief executive Nigel Green – one of the first high-profile cryptocurrency advocates – comes as the Bitcoin price hit another all-time high.
 
The world’s largest cryptocurrency by market capitalisation jumped to more than $34,000. The value of all Bitcoin in circulation is now around $492 billion.
 
Mr Green stated: “I have sold half my holdings of Bitcoin as it hit an all-time high.  Why? Because it should now be treated as any other investment –that’s to say, where possible, it’s better to sell high and re-buy in the dips.
 
“The steady gains in the price of Bitcoin has made the digital currency the top-performing asset of 2020, up over 200%. As such, I felt the time was right for profit-taking.”
 
He continues: “There should be no misunderstanding about my decision to sell.  It is not due to a lack of belief in Bitcoin, or the concept of digital currencies – it’s profit-taking now to buy more later.
 
“Indeed, more than ever, I believe that the future of money is cryptocurrencies.”
 
As Bitcoin surged past $20,000 for the first time ever last week the CEO noted that as some of the world’s biggest institutions – amongst them multinational payment companies and Wall Street giants – “pile ever more into crypto, bringing with them their enormous expertise and capital, this in turn, swells consumer interest.”
 
He went on to note that with governments continuing to support economies and increase spending due to the pandemic, investors are increasingly going to look to Bitcoin as a hedge against the “legitimate inflation concern.” 
 
Previously Mr Green observed that inherent traits of cryptocurrencies are ever-more attractive. “These characteristics include that they’re borderless, making them perfectly suited to a globalised world of commerce, trade, and people; that they are digital, making them an ideal match to the increasing digitalization of our world; and that demographics are on the side of cryptocurrencies as younger people are more likely to embrace them than older generations.”
 
In addition, a global poll carried out by deVere Group found that nearly three-quarters of high-net-worth individuals will be invested in cryptocurrencies before the end of 2022.
 
The deVere CEO concludes: “Like me, many traders will sell record high prices as an opportunity to sell, so we can expect some pullback on prices in the near-term.
 
“But the longer-term price trajectory for Bitcoin is, I believe, undoubtedly upwards.”

Source: deVere

Nouriel Roubini: Bitcoin is a bubble!

The Stern School Profesor and the CEO of Roubini Macro Associates Nouriel Roubini hit the wires earlier today with a tweet about bitcoin:

My 12-parts thread on Bitcoin/Shitcoins. I stand by my views: the higher they bubble, the harder they will fall once the criminal Tether manipulation is crashed & FOMO driven retail/institutional suckers get burned hard as in 2018. The parabolic rise in BTC has no fundamentals

In a tweet back on November 26, he said:

Bitcoin has no role in institutional or retail investors portfolios. It is not a currency: not an unit of account, not a scalable means of payment & is a highly volatile store of value. It is heavily manipulated: look at the investigation of  Bitfinex by US law enforcement. 1/n

and he added:

See also the academic evidence that Tether is used to manipulate the Bitcoin market. And look at the recent indictment of BitMex and his criminal CEO & gang. It has no intrinsic value, it is not backed by any asset, it is not legal tender, it cannot be used to pay taxes.

Almost no merchant uses Bitcoin as its price volatility leads to market risk that any profit margin is wiped out before u can convert it back into fiat. Not scalable means of payments. It’s toxic for the environment as POS hogs enormous amounts of energy & pollutes the earth.

in another tweet Roubini said:

Bitcoin is not an asset as it has ZERO intrinsic value. Assets do either provide an income or capital gains or utility or real use of some sort. Stocks, bonds, real estate, other assets provide both income (dividends, interest, rent) & capital gains & housing services for RE;

Gold/silver don’t provide income but give capital gains, utility (jewelry) & used in industry.  BTC doesn’t give income, has no other utility services (such as unit of account or means of payments) & provides only capital gains (or losses) based purely on speculative motives.

So Bitcoin has NO intrinsic fundamental value, use or utility or any other service. So it is a pure speculative manipulated “asset” & bubble with no fundamental value. It is not even an hedge against risk off episodes: every time stocks go down, bitcoin falls much more.

Valour Launches World’s First Fee-Free Bitcoin Exchange Traded Product (ETP)

  • New ETP, Bitcoin Zero, will enable institutions and individuals to invest in Bitcoin in a similar way to ETFs and shares
  • Trading and owning Bitcoin Zero will not incur management fees
  • Bitcoin Zero is the first of several innovative financial products Valour plans to bring to market
  • Trading in Bitcoin Zero to begin on Nordic Growth Market Stock Exchange on December 3, 2020

Zug/Switzerland, December 3, 2020: — In a world first, Valour, the Swiss-based creator of investment products that provide exposure to innovative technologies, has announced the launch of Bitcoin Zero, a Bitcoin (BTC) exchange traded product (ETP) that comes with zero management fees.

From today, Bitcoin Zero will begin trading on the Stockholm-based Nordic MTF, part of the Nordic Growth Market (NGM) stock exchange. It will make investment in the world’s best-known digital asset easier, more secure and more cost-effective than all other options.

Valour Founder and Director, Johan Wattenström, said: “Our mission is to make investment in disruptive technologies accessible to all. The launch of the Bitcoin Zero ETP is very much a part of this. It marks a significant step towards the mainstream adoption of digital assets, enabling investors to diversify their portfolios and gain exposure to Bitcoin, whose value has almost tripled this year.

Trading Bitcoin Zero is as simple and secure as buying shares. It can be done through any broker or financial institution with access to the Nordic Growth Market Stock Exchange. Tommy Fransson, Deputy CEO of the exchange, said: “Nordic Growth Market has been a dedicated partner for developing and supporting the ETP market for more than 15 years. We are delighted to welcome Valour and their new, innovative ETPs to NGM. Digital assets are an important part of the future of financial markets, and this is a significant step in making these products available to all investors.

Please note that while Valour doesn’t charge any management fees, trading Bitcoin Zero will incur investors’ usual brokerage fees.

About Bitcoin Zero Bitcoin Zero is the first fully-hedged, passive investment product with Bitcoin (BTC) as its underlying asset and charging zero management fees. The Bitcoin Zero ETP is available in euros (BTC ZERO EUR, ISIN CH0573883474); and Swedish krona (BTC ZERO SEK, ISIN CH0585378661). It is traded and available for purchase on the Nordic Growth Market (NGM), a regulated stock exchange in Stockholm, Sweden, in the same way as any other security, removing the mystery, complexity and costs of BTC investment and custody that have thus far impeded mainstream adoption of digital assets.

About Valour Valour Structured Products Inc. issues exchange-listed financial products that enable retail and institutional investors to access investment in disruptive innovations, such as digital assets, in a simple and secure way. Established in 2019 and based in Zug, Switzerland, Valour is backed by leading entrepreneurs and investors in the fintech space. For more information on Valour, visit www.valour.com.

About Nordic Growth Market Nordic Growth Markets is one of the leading Nordic stock exchanges with more than 30 years of experience as a dedicated partner for growth companies. Through our marketplaces In Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway, we provide trading in more than 20,000 instruments such as equities, bonds, AIFs and derivatives. The exchange is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Börse Stuttgart, the leading retail exchange in Germany. For more information about Nordic Growth Market, visit www.ngm.se.

Federal Court Orders Colorado Company to Pay Over $900,000 for Digital Asset and Forex Ponzi Scheme

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission announced that the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado entered a judgment against defendants Venture Capital Investments LLC (VCI) and its principal and manager Breonna Clark d/b/a Eliot Clark d/b/a Alexander Pak (Clark), both of Denver, Colorado, for fraudulently soliciting and misappropriating funds from clients in a digital asset and forex Ponzi scheme.

The order requires VCI and Clark to pay $450,302 in restitution to defrauded clients, a civil monetary penalty of $450,302 and the CFTC’s costs. Additionally, the defendants are now permanently enjoined from engaging in conduct that violates the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) and CFTC regulations, as well as banned from registering with the CFTC and trading in any CFTC-regulated markets.

Case Background

The order stems from a complaint filed on February 14, 2020. [See CFTC Release No.  8118-20] The court ruled that the defendants fraudulently solicited more than 72 clients to invest in commodity pools that purportedly trade in forex and digital assets, including bitcoin, only to then misappropriate the money. Further, the court found that the defendants lured their clients primarily by using social media, touting the ability of their purported “master team of traders” to provide consistent trading profits. The court found that the defendants misappropriated their clients’ money to acquire, among other things, a luxury automobile. The defendants also used their clients’ money to make Ponzi-type payments to others to maintain the scheme. In total, the defendants fraudulently solicited and misappropriated $450,302.

The CFTC cautions victims that restitution orders may not result in the recovery of money lost because the wrongdoers may not have sufficient funds or assets. The CFTC will continue to fight vigorously for the protection of customers and to ensure the wrongdoers are held accountable.

The CFTC thanks and acknowledges the assistance of the Financial Supervision Commission of Bulgaria, the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Financial Services Authority, the Financial Services Authority of Seychelles, the United Kingdom Financial Conduct Authority, and the Financial Markets Authority of New Zealand.

The Division of Enforcement staff members responsible for this case are Erica Bodin, Kevin Samuel, Kim Bruno, Michael Solinsky, and Rick Glaser.   

 

 CFTC’s Foreign Currency (Forex) Fraud Advisory

The CFTC has issued several customer protection Fraud Advisories that provide the warning signs of fraud, including the Foreign Currency (Forex) Trading Fraud Advisory, to help customers identify these scams.

The CFTC also strongly urges the public to verify a company’s registration with the Commission before committing funds. If unregistered, a customer should be wary of providing funds to that entity. A company’s registration status can be found using NFA BASIC.

Customers and other individuals can report suspicious activities or information, such as possible violations of commodity trading laws, to the Division of Enforcement via a toll-free hotline 866-FON-CFTC (866-366-2382) or file a tip or complaint online.

Prison for buying bitcoin? Proposed law could see Russians serving time for using cryptocurrencies

Politicians in Russia have suggested punishment of up to 2 million rubles and seven years in jail for the illegal use of digital assets and currencies. Some say the proposed law amounts to a total ban on cryptocurrencies.(Bitcoin what you need to know)

Members of the State Duma, Russia’s parliament, are in the process of creating legislation that would introduce criminal liability for using digital financial assets and currencies.

Under the new law, Russians could be penalized for any use of cryptocurrency, from full-blown operations like owning an exchange or mining farm, to smaller transactions, such as buying bitcoin with a Russian bank account.

According to the draft bill, fines would start from 500,000 rubles ($7,000). If someone breaking the law was determined to have earned an “especially large income” from the crime, the offender could receive a sentence of up to five years of forced labor or imprisonment for up to seven years.

Yuri Pripachkin, the president of the Russian Association of Cryptoeconomics and Blockchain (RACIB), explained to Russian newspaper RBC that the proposed legislation would lead to a complete ban on cryptocurrencies in the country. According to Pripachkin, the law could drive Russian cryptocurrency companies to other jurisdictions, such as Belarus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Ukraine.

Earlier this week, Alexey Guznov, the Bank of Russia’s legal department director, told Interfax News Agency that legalizing cryptocurrency operations comes with significant problems with things such as financial stability, the prevention of money-laundering, and consumer protection.