Nasdaq Lists an AI-Powered Index of Crypto Market’s Top 100 Performers
October 16, 2019 9:00 am
The Nasdaq stock exchange has listed an index of crypto’s top 100 coins alongside traditional market bellwethers like the S&P 500 and the Dow.
Binance Futures Bucks ‘Dismal’ Volume Trend — Trades a Record $700M
October 16, 2019 8:22 am

Most crypto exchanges put in fresh trading volume lows, with the exception of Binance’s Bitcoin futures, which conversely set record highs.

Binance’s Bitcoin futures product is the only winner in a lackluster market this week as trading volume hits local lows. 

Research highlights “very low” activity

Analysis of various platforms’ trading volumes by exchange eToro’s senior market strategist Mati Greenspan on Oct. 15 revealed cryptocurrency markets had all but bottomed out in terms of activity.

From a peak of around $4 billion per day several months ago, Bitcoin (BTC) now sees less than $200 million change hands, he said referencing data from research outlet Messari.

Other players told a similar story, including derivatives giant BitMEX and P2P exchange Localbitcoins

Futures providers likewise have not escaped; both CME Group and newly-launched Bakkt continue to see what Greenspan describes as “very low” activity. 

Binance sets unlikely $700 million record

The downtrend follows fresh losses across crypto assets in recent weeks. As Cointelegraph reported, Bitcoin remains down around 20% versus levels several weeks ago.

Binance Bitcoin futures trading volume

Binance Bitcoin futures trading volume. Source: Skew Markets, Twitter

Despite the difficult conditions, not every business appears equally affected. As analyst Skew Markets noted on Twitter, Binance’s futures product in fact set a new daily trading volume record on Tuesday. 

More than $700 million of activity occurred on its BTC/USD futures product, making it the third most traded behind Huobi and BitMEX’s offerings. By comparison, Bakkt managed 10 BTC ($81,000).

Skew previously noted last Saturday was a particularly slow day for BitMEX — its volumes dipping to $1 billion versus $14 billion highs in late June.

Wilshire Phoenix Updates Its Bitcoin ETF Filing With SEC
October 16, 2019 6:00 am

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission once again begins accepting comments regarding the updated Bitcoin exchange-traded fund proposal by Wilshire Phoenix.

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has once again begun accepting public comments regarding the updated Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund (ETF) proposal by Wilshire Phoenix Fund.

According to the official document published on Oct. 15, investment management firm Wilshire Phoenix and exchange NYSE Arca have filed an amendment to their Bitcoin ETF application to reflect new circumstances.

New and updated version

Per the proposal, Coinbase Custody will act as a custodian of the trust’s Bitcoins. But unlike the first application, the updated version states that Coinbase will be confirming the availability of assets used to secure the trust within five business days from the moment of its monthly rebalancing.

In addition, Wilshire draws the SEC's attention to the fact that when ETFs were approved for gold, the regulator focused on spot and futures markets which have “a meaningful impact on the particular ETP,” although gold is also traded in different market segments, adding: 

“Focusing on the spot market is appropriate because the spot market is the market to which the particular ETP would look to determine its NAV.”

A similar approach, the document implies, should be taken in regard to Bitcoin ETFs. Wilshire states that the trust is using “the CME CF BRR to determine the NAV of the Bitcoin held” which “exclusively utilizes its Constituent Platforms,” explaining:

“Since [...] CME CF BRR is determined based on the price of Bitcoin on the Constituent Platform and no other exchanges, the Sponsor maintains that the proper ‘market’ that one should evaluate to determine whether the ‘market’ is inherently resistant to manipulation is the segment of the market formed by the Constituent Platforms. [...] An independent examination of the methodology (Paine & Knottenbelt) of the CME CF BRR, supports the Sponsor’s assertion that the CME CF BRR is not susceptible to manipulation.”

Predicaments of Bitcoin ETFs

Wilshire's updated application was filed on October 4. It completely replaces and supersedes the previous one, comments on which the SEC began collecting back in June. At the time, only six individuals had submitted their opinions on the proposal, according to the SEC’s website.

As Cointelegraph reported previously, the SEC started proceedings to determine whether to approve or disapprove the proposed rule change, which would allow NYSE Arca to list and trade shares of Wilshire Phoenix’s Bitcoin and Treasury Investment Trust, on Sept. 24.

Also in September, another Bitcoin ETF proposal, this time from VanEck and SolidX, was withdrawn by its sponsors.

On Oct. 9, the SEC has stated that the Bitcoin ETF filing from Bitwise Asset Management and NYSE Arca did not meet the necessary requirements. The companies later said that they intend to refile their proposal in the future.

Foxconn Founder: Libra Can ‘Converge’ With China’s Digital Currency in Taiwan
October 16, 2019 5:00 am
Terry Gou, Taiwan's richest man and the founder of manufacturing giant Foxconn, wants the island to roll out the red carpet for Facebook's Libra.
RBC Analysts: Squashing Libra Could Boost China’s Digital Currency
October 16, 2019 3:08 am

RBC analysts believe that China’s digital currency might become the dominant digital currency if U.S. regulators dismiss Facebook's Libra coin.

Analysts at RBC Capital Markets have suggested that stifling Facebook’s Libra may leave the field open to China’s central bank digital currency (CBDC) to dominate in emerging economies.

China shifts development of digital currency in extra gear

On Oct. 15, financial news outlet Markets Insider reported that RBC analysts believe that once Facebook announced its Libra stablecoin plans, China shifted development of its own yuan-backed CBDC into the next gear. RBC wrote to clients:

"If US regulators ultimately dismiss Libra and decide not to draft regulations to encourage crypto innovation in the US, China's CBDC may be strategically positioned to become the de facto global digital currency in emerging economies.”

United States Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin recently said that firms that decided to drop Facebook’s Libra stablecoin project did so because of regulatory concerns. Mnuchin added that the Libra project is not up to par with American Anti-Money Laundering standards, saying:

“If they don’t meet the standards of our money-laundering standards and the standards that we have at FinCEN, we would take enforcement actions against them. I think they realized that they are not ready, they are not up to par and I assume some of the partners got concerned and dropped out until they meet those standards.”

However, RBC analysts believe that many companies are still interested in joining the Libra project and those that left may return given the right regulatory circumstances. The global investment bank said:

"If a clear regulatory roadmap is developed and Libra launches successfully, we would not be surprised to see these firms reapply to the association.”

Facebook should add Bitcoin

Cointelegraph reported that U.S. Rep. Warren Davidson said that Facebook should consider adding Bitcoin (BTC) to its Calibra wallet, instead of creating its new currency Libra. The Republican added that part of the beauty of Facebook’s Libra stablecoin is that brought all of the problems that already existed on the social media platform to the surface.

He said that Facebook’s bid to launch its stablecoin had served to intensify focus on many of the platform’s existing operations, arguing that:

”Facebook already filters content — some people say with bias, some people say it’s great, they’re protecting my safe space [...] So do we want filtered speech or free speech? Do we want filtered transactions or freedom?”

XRP Price Exits Downtrend to Hit Three-Week High
October 16, 2019 2:45 am
XRP has been on the offensive, having ended a 3.5-month-long downtrend with a move to three-week highs.
HSBC Enacts First Letter of Credit on a Blockchain in Malaysia
October 16, 2019 1:34 am

Major bank HSBC carries out what it claims to be the first blockchain letter of credit to be enacted in Malaysia.

Major bank HSBC has announced the successful enactment of a letter of credit (LC) on a blockchain in Malaysia.

The transaction

English language local fintech news outlet Fintech News Malaysia reported the development on Oct. 14, noting that the transaction involved packaging firm Simply Packaging importing resin from an unspecified Singaporean chemicals company. The issuing bank was HSBC Malaysia and the nominated bank was HSBC Singapore.

Per the report, this is the eleventh blockchain-powered transaction carried out by HSBC and the first such pilot carried by its Malaysian branch. HSBC Malaysia CEO Stuart Milne commented on the successful test:

“I am very pleased that HSBC has pioneered Malaysia’s first pilot blockchain LC transaction. This showcases our strong commitment and ability to support cross-border trade by Malaysian businesses using cutting-edge technology platforms.”

HSBC’s involvement with blockchain

According to the article, trade between Malaysia and Singapore was worth over $85 billion last year and the administrative paperwork often delays the delivery of goods traveling across this trade route. The exchange and processing of the documents involved in reportedly take five to 10 days on average, while the pilot managed to cut the time to 24 hours.

As Cointelegraph reported in September, at the time HSBC has completed the first yuan-denominated letter of credit transaction on a blockchain using the Voltron trade finance platform.

New Gov’t Initiative to Put South Korean Trade on Blockchain by 2021
October 16, 2019 12:04 am

South Korea has established a digital trade foundation to reduce the costs of trade with more than 90% by using blockchain technology.

The South Korean government is planning to establish a digital trade foundation to reduce the costs of trade by using blockchain technology.

Reduce trade costs by more than 90%

On Oct. 14, South Korean Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki introduced the country’s Development Plan for Digital Trade. Under the plan, technologies such as blockchain, big data and AI, will be applied to digitize the entire Korean trade finance ecosystem by the year 2021. Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki reportedly said:

“We will build a digital trading platform that can be easily and conveniently used in all stages of export, such as contracts, customs and logistics.”

The Korean government also established a digital trade foundation, with the aim to promote e-commerce exports and reduce time and cost related to trade finance with more than 90%. 

Vice Minister of Commerce and Industry Chung Seung-il added that these initiatives are focused on South Korea’s lead in the global digital trade market and upgrading the Korean online export support base, adding:

“We will make trade more convenient by integrating and providing trade information and export support services of government and trade organizations.”

South Korean mobile carrier on the blockchain

Cointelegraph reported on Sept. 11 that Union Mobile, the fourth-largest mobile carrier in South Korea, announced the launch of its blockchain project called ELYNET. The project aims to use blockchain technology to make telecommunications more efficient for those users who rely on a single carrier for telecom service and allow those clients to use data communication services without roaming fees and contracts.

Grayscale: Q3 Saw Record High Inflows, Growing Institutional Interest
October 15, 2019 11:24 pm

Digital asset management giant Grayscale registered over $254 million in total investments into its products in the third quarter of 2019.

Digital asset management giant Grayscale registered over $254 million in total investment into its products in the third quarter of 2019.

In its Digital Asset Investment Report for Q3 2019, Grayscale provided details on the inflows into its products for the period from July 1, 2019 through Sept. 30, 2019.

The third quarter of the year marked the highest demand for the company’s offerings since its establishment, resulting in $254.9 million of inflows. The figure shows a threefold quarter-on-quarter increase, from $84.8 million last quarter.

The quarterly inflows into Grayscale Bitcoin Trust amounted to $171.1 million, wherein July was the month with the highest level of inflows during Q3. As reported in July, Grayscale Bitcoin trust outperformed indices in the first half of 2019, up almost 300% on the year at the time.

Domination of institutional investors

Institutional investors were the major contributors to the company’s products both in Q3 and year-to-date, with 84% and 83% respectively. Worth noting, total investments into Grayscale products from Jan. 1, 2019 through Sept. 30, 2019 amounted to $382.3 million, while the figure over the past 12 months is $412.3 million.

Previously, Grayscale’s director of sales and business development Rayhaneh Sharif-Askary stated that institutional investors are constantly piling into the space in 2019. Sharif-Askary said:

“You know, it’s really funny, I get asked this a lot — there’s this rhetoric in the media about when are institutional investors going to get involved, when are they going to start investing, and it’s so funny because it’s ironic. We see institutional investors invest with us all the time and that’s been the case for a long time now.”

Ahead of conquering the market

On Oct. 14, Grayscale Investments was approved by the United States Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) to publicly quote its Grayscale Digital Large Cap Fund on over-the-counter markets. This purportedly enables the first publicly quoted security based on a selection of digital currencies in the U.S.

In August, Cointelegraph reported that Grayscale was going to move almost $3 billion worth of its digital currency holdings to American major crypto wallet provider and exchange Coinbase. Coinbase Custody would then serve as custodian of the underlying assets for the company’s products.

Ford Uses Blockchain Tech to Track 'Green Miles' Driven By Vehicles
October 15, 2019 10:31 pm

Ford Motor Company looks into blockchain technology to track the number of “green miles” driven by its energy-efficient vehicles.

The Ford Motor Company is looking into blockchain technology and geofencing to accurately track the number of “green miles” driven by its energy-efficient vehicles.

Analyzing real-world benefits of energy-efficient vehicles

On Oct. 15, Ford announced that it is expanding its European plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) pilot project to Cologne in Germany. The United States car manufacturer aims to analyze the real-world benefits of these energy-efficient vehicles for the environment, commercial vehicle owners and operators.

The pilot, which is also conducting tests on the streets of London and Valencia, will put nine Ford Transit Custom Plug-In Hybrid vans and one Tourneo Custom Plug-In Hybrid people-mover to the test in a variety of real‑world use cases. 

By recording all the metadata on the blockchain, the car company hopes to optimize the environmental benefits of its fleet of PHEV vehicles. Ford Europe director Mark Harvey said:

“Ford is committed to delivering new, more environmentally sustainable vehicles that can help address the mobility challenges our cities face. [...] The plug-in hybrid electric vehicle trials with our partners in the City of Cologne build upon our ongoing electrification programmes elsewhere in Europe, and bring us all closer to meeting our combined urban air quality goals.”

Throughout Europe, cities are introducing low-emission zones in an attempt to tackle air quality challenges, making sure the most polluting vehicles do not enter the city. Ford hopes this geofencing and blockchain technology pilot might help cities to implement and administer these zones. Ford-Werke GmbH chairman Gunnar Herrmann said:

“The blockchain technology we are testing here in Cologne enables secure, tamper-proof tracking and logging of vehicle emissions records, which makes it ideal for the PHEV pilot. Security, trust and transparency of emissions data are of paramount importance to all stakeholders in this project, and are key for our vision of cleaner air in the city.”

Ford testing blockchain payments in cars

Cointelegraph previously reported that Ford, together with BMW, General Motors, Renault and Honda, will start testing a blockchain car identification and payment system next month in the United States.

The partnership between the five major automakers aims to test the vehicle ID system developed under the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative. As part of the project, cars are assigned digital IDs linked to ownership, service history and a wallet allowing the vehicle to automatically pay fees without specialized hardware.

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