Hemp Enters Growing Season Against Backdrop of Moribund Prices
Thom Thompson – John Lothian News
No one will be surprised to learn that the price of CBD-hemp has stayed in the basement, resisting any pull upward as the industry works through the 2019 crop inventory while new harvest beckons in the not too distant future. According to its June Hemp: Benchmarks and Analysis, the spot commodities trading platform PanXchange says it expects the new crop to be about the same size as last year’s supply.
Planting of CBD hemp often begins indoors under highly controlled conditions that are favorable for either seed germination or propagation by cloning. Growing conditions in the U.S. are forecasted to be very positive for hemp. PanXchange’s most recent hemp report indicates that they expect the number of planted acres in the U.S. to fall although the number of farmers licensed to grow hemp has increased by more than 25%.
To read the rest of this commentary, go here.
Hits & Takes
By John Lothian
John Lothian News today added a new section to this newsletter. With so much news revolving around environmental, social and governance issues, we have added an ESG section below the investing and trading section and just above the brokers and managed funds section.
The American Financial Exchange (AFX), an electronic exchange for direct lending and borrowing for American banks and financial institutions, announced a record volume milestone on June 25, reaching $1 trillion transacted since its inception in 2015.
You can still register for the webinar from Eventus Systems and Cboe Global Markets titled “Impact of Reg NMS II on Exchanges, Market Surveillance and Order Routing’ featuring Travis Schwab, CEO of Eventus Systems, with special guest speaker Adam Inzirillo, Head of Equities at Cboe Global Markets. The webinar is Wed, Jul 1, 2020 3:15 PM – 4:15 PM CDT. Sign up HERE
Our friends at 3PTS Communications (No, we don’t hold a grudge against them for stealing Spencer Doar away from us) have published a commentary titled “Money Moves: Designing Financial Rebrands,” which is relevant after they helped Hehmeyer with its latest rebrand.
Broadway will be closed through the end of 2020, however with the 2020 election we will have plenty of reality show drama.
The US is in big trouble, according to a report on CNBC from the CDC. To quote a key point from the story, “The coronavirus is spreading too rapidly and too broadly for the U.S. to get it under control as some other countries have, Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Monday.”
Have a great day and stay safe and treat people the same way you want to be treated: with respect, equality and justice.~JJL
The Spread: Going Virtual
This week on The Spread, Robinhood announces safety rails to protect inexperienced traders from themselves, JLN covers the first-ever totally virtual IDX, and more.
The CryptoMarketsWiki Podcast Episode 12: IOU on a Blockchain
Philippe Bekhazi, the founder and CEO of the XBTO Group, has a long history of creating technological tools for trading, devising portfolio and risk management solutions for clients trading equities, FX, rates, and credit instruments. In 2009 he created Derivee Capital, a fintech incubator that sponsored the XBTO Group. Bekhazi has been watching the growth of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology for a long time, and on this episode of the CMW Podcast, he discusses how XBTO went from a prop trading desk to one of the biggest investors in the growing digital asset space, as well as the rise of digital asset derivatives and stablecoins, and the future of digital money.
CME Group and Mayor Lightfoot Award Scholarships to City Colleges of Chicago Star Scholars Transferring to Four-Year Colleges & Universities
Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot joins CME Group, the world’s leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace, in recognizing 25 City Colleges of Chicago graduates who will receive scholarships from the company to continue their education at a four-year college or university. The winners recently graduated from Chicago’s community college system with an associate degree, having earned it debt free as recipients of the Chicago Star Scholarship. Each student will receive an additional $5,000 scholarship over two years from CME Group to support completion of their bachelor’s degree, creating more opportunities for students with diverse economic backgrounds to pursue their higher education goals.
*****Here is some ESG news from the CME.~JJL
CFTC Orders Illinois Firm to Pay $250,000 for Supervision Violations; Failure to Supervise Put Seniors’ Retirement Savings at Risk
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today issued an order filing and settling charges against Cunningham Commodities, LLC, a registered futures commission merchant with its principal place of business in Itasca, Illinois, for failing to diligently supervise accounts set up by an introducing broker whose activities it guaranteed (GIB). The order requires Cunningham Commodities to pay a $250,000 civil monetary penalty and to cease and desist from any further violations of the Commodity Exchange Act or CFTC regulations, as charged. The order also finds that Cunningham Commodities is liable for any restitution or disgorgement obligations imposed against the GIB in any related CFTC enforcement proceeding regarding the GIB’s conduct during the period of the guarantee, in an amount not to exceed $640,000.
*****Cunningham Commodities hit with $250K charge. A little due diligence from the parties would have gone a long way.~JJL
CFTC Charges Chicago-Based Firm and Six Individuals in Multi-Million Dollar Options Fraud Scheme
SECThe Commodity Futures Trading Commission today announced the filing of a civil enforcement action in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against Long Leaf Trading Group, Inc., its principals James A. Donelson of Aurora, Illinois, and Timothy M. Evans of Tulum, Mexico, and former Long Leaf associated persons Jeremey S. Ruth of Austin, Texas, and Andrew D. Nelson of Elmhurst, Illinois. The defendants are charged with defrauding customers in connection with options on futures transactions. Some of the defendants are also charged with registration and disclosure violations. The CFTC also issued two orders filing and simultaneously settling charges against two additional former associated persons of Long Leaf, Scott J. Gecas, of Tinley Park, Illinois, and James E. Leeney, of Chicago, Illinois for their participation in the firm’s fraud scheme.
*****One of the parties is from my city, Elmhurst. Andrew D. Nelson appears to have grown up in Elmhurst and is connected to two connections of mine on LinkedIn who happen to be Elmhurst Eagle Scouts.~JJL
CFTC’s Technology Advisory Committee to Meet on July 16
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Technology Advisory Committee (TAC) announced today that it will hold a public meeting on Thursday, July 16, 2020 via teleconference in accordance with the agency’s implementation of social distancing due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. CFTC Commissioner Brian Quintenz is the sponsor of the TAC.
******I will be there as a member of the TAC, dutifully sitting in front of my computer. So much for small talk with the other members and CFTC Commissioners.~JJL
One in Four U.S. CEOs See Full Recovery Delayed Until After 2021
Maeve Sheehey – Bloomberg
Confidence among U.S. chief executives plummeted to the lowest level since the financial crisis and more than a quarter don’t see conditions at their companies recovering until after 2021 as the coronavirus reverberates through the economy.
*****The same one in four also use Pepsident to brush their teeth.~JJL
San Francisco Giants commit to cardboard cutouts instead of fans for 2020 season
Tyler Byrum – NBC Sports Washington
Whether fans will be able to see live-action baseball from a stadium seat this season remains to be seen. MLB has not ruled it out or enacted a league-wide plan in its 2020 season agreement with the players. The San Francisco Giants, though, have ruled that no fans will be allowed at Oracle Park this year. And in their place, season ticket holders will be allowed to submit photos to be used as cardboard cutouts in the seats.
*****This is going to cut down on beer sales.~JJL
Monday’s Top Three
Our top story Monday was Here’s how to stop the virus from winning, from National Geographic. Some hope in bleak times – also possibly our first Nat Geo article in the top three. Second was How a gamer caused a trillion-dollar stock market crash, yet another story blaming Navinder Sarao for the “flash crash” in 2010, from the NY Post. Third was How Nasdaq’s CEO Led the Exchange’s Seamless Transition to Remote Working, about Adena Friedman, from Barron’s.
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|CryptoMarketsWiki, our archive of the cryptocurrency and blockchain world, is going strong and keeping pace as this area of finance grows and evolves.Recently Updated Pages
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ASX confirms one-year delay to DLT post-trade system; The post-trade blockchain project at ASX has been pushed back by one year as the exchange faced pressure from users to delay the launch.
Joe Parsons – The Trade
The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) will delay the replacement of its CHESS equities clearing and settlement system with a new distributed ledger technology (DLT) system by one year.
Robinhood is making more money per trade than rival brokerages as millennials rush into day-trading
Ben Winck – Business Insider
Robinhood made more from individual first-quarter trades than its legacy rivals, according to Piper Sandler research. The discount brokerage made $0.0024 for every stock trade, beating out TD Ameritrade, Charles Schwab, and E-Trade. Equities trades netted Robinhood more than $31 million, second to TD Ameritrade’s nearly $73 million windfall. Charles Schwab and E-Trade brought in roughly $22 million and $19 million, respectively, according to Piper Sandler.
Nasdaq Adds The Global Earthquake Model (GEM) to its Risk Modelling Service;
Provides new earthquake risk models for Nasdaq Risk Modelling service clients
Today Nasdaq (NDAQ) announced that The Global Earthquake Model (GEM), a leading non-profit, public-private partnership for earthquake risk information, has become the latest catastrophe risk model provider to offer its range of models via the Nasdaq Risk Modelling service. The Colombia earthquake model will be the first of GEM’s models available through the service.
Workers Strive to Make Their Careers Pandemic Proof; With the economy in flux, people are training for jobs that provide stability, flexibility
Lauren Weber – WSJ
Peter Brooks spent three years building a thriving business as a consultant to startups, helping them hire marketing teams and design sales-and-growth strategies. Then 70% of his business vanished during a week in March as the pandemic took hold.
Attack on Pakistan Exchange Leaves Four Dead; Gunmen Killed
Faseeh Mangi – Bloomberg
Security officials kill gunmen before they could enter; Attack was the worst raid in Karachi since an assault in 2018
Pakistani security officials killed four gunmen in Karachi as they tried to storm the stock exchange building with automatic rifles and grenades, the worst terror attack in the nation’s financial hub in two years.
Wall Street banks net record fees for pandemic fundraisings; First-half total of $57bn swelled by debt sales as companies seek cash to ease coronavirus pain
Eric Platt and Richard Henderson – FT
Investment banking fees soared to a record $57bn in the first six months of the year, boosted by a series of lucrative debt sales as companies grabbed cash to tide them through the coronavirus crisis.
Goldman Sachs to maintain dividends despite Fed capital demands; Bank says it can meet extra cushion needs after stress tests as Wells Fargo cuts payout
Laura Noonan – FT
Goldman Sachs can meet additional capital demands from the Federal Reserve without changing its strategy, the Wall Street bank said on Monday night, as Wells Fargo confirmed it would have to cut its dividend because of new Fed restrictions.
Shell warns of up to $22bn hit on assets from oil and gas slump; Anglo-Dutch group is latest to slash forecast for energy prices
Anjli Raval – FT
Royal Dutch Shell will slash up to $22bn from the value of its assets as the oil major warned coronavirus would deal a lasting blow to demand for energy products and the global economy.
Third of top brands likely to suspend social media spending, survey finds; Study reveals extent of revolt against Facebook and Twitter over hate speech
Alex Barker – FT
Almost a third of the world’s biggest brands will suspend spending on social media or are likely to do so, according to a survey of top advertisers that reveals the scale of the revolt facing platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter.
Suitcases of Cash Halted by Virus in EU Money-Laundering Hotspot
Aaron Eglitis – Bloomberg
Travel-ban impact supports Latvia’s money-smuggling suspicions; Baltic nation has clamped down on illicit activity in banks
When customs agents in Riga followed a tip and searched passengers arriving on a private jet from Ukraine last year, they hit the jackpot. Luggage belonging to the four travelers contained about $1 million in U.S. and European banknotes. The contraband was seized.
Telegram to Pay $18.5 Million to Settle SEC Charges
Jack Hagel – WSJ
Telegram Group Inc. and a subsidiary agreed to pay an $18.5 million civil penalty and return about $1.22 billion to investors to settle charges that it violated investor-protection laws, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said. The settlement is the latest and likely final chapter in one of the biggest cryptocurrency cases brought by the SEC—one that tested the regulator’s enforcement of cryptocurrency regulations.
TabbFORUM Relaunches with New Editorial Vision
After a three-month break, TabbFORUM is back! Welcome to our first newsletter since March 13, and I hope you will enjoy the ride ahead. I look forward to delivering a relaunched TabbFORUM that will capture your interest and make for some informative reading.
‘Large demand gap’ looms for US government bonds; Markets debate how far the mismatch will push up Treasury yields
Colby Smith – FT
A gulf is growing between the amount of US government debt to be issued by the Treasury department this year and what the Federal Reserve is planning to buy.
Trying to Correct Banking’s Racial Imbalance; Entrepreneurs are working on new business models to address income inequality and a resulting lack of access to the financial system for communities of color.
Ellen Rosen – NY Times
Wole Coaxum was a managing director at JPMorgan Chase in business banking when a police officer fatally shot the unarmed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., in 2014.
This coronavirus mutation has taken over the world. Scientists are trying to understand why.
Sarah Kaplan, Joel Achenbach – The Washington Post via MSN
When the first coronavirus cases in Chicago appeared in January, they bore the same genetic signatures as a germ that emerged in China weeks before. But as Egon Ozer, an infectious-disease specialist at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, examined the genetic structure of virus samples from local patients, he noticed something different.
Powell Warns of Extraordinary Uncertainty, Urgency to Curb Virus
Craig Torres and Rich Miller – Bloomberg
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell stressed the importance of keeping the coronavirus contagion contained as the U.S. economy bounces back from its deepest contraction in decades.
“We have entered an important new phase and have done so sooner than expected,” Powell said in remarks prepared for testimony before the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. “While this bounceback in economic activity is welcome, it also presents new challenges — notably, the need to keep the virus in check.”
Regional Coronavirus Surges Force Changes in Plans Elsewhere in the U.S.; As daily case rate rises in states such as California and Texas, New York delays reopening
David Hall – WSJ
A surge in new coronavirus cases and rising hospitalization rates in states such as California and Texas are jeopardizing reopening plans elsewhere, while other countries are struggling to stop clusters of infections from spreading.
Young people urged to take virus more seriously as pandemic worsens in U.S.
Annie Gowen, Arelis R. Hernández and Lori Rozsa – The Washington Post
Health officials are imploring young people to wear masks and practice social distancing as coronavirus transmission among younger Americans continues to drive record outbreaks in several states.
The pleas come as governors in Texas and Florida instituted new limits on bars and alcohol consumption to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, citing the skyrocketing number of young people who are contracting it.
***** “More than a third of hospitalized covid-19 patients nationwide are now aged 18 to 49.” ~SR
US hospitals buckle under surge of new coronavirus cases; Intensive care units in parts of Texas and Arizona are operating near full capacity
David Crow – FT
A wave of new coronavirus cases in the US is threatening to crush hospital systems in a string of southern and western states, which are struggling to cope with a surge in patient numbers.
Leicester put in tighter lockdown after rise in coronavirus cases; Mayor criticises lack of detailed testing data as schools and non-essential shops told to close
Andy Bounds and Laura Hughes – FT
Leicester is to be put under a tighter lockdown than the rest of country from Tuesday after the English city reported an increase in coronavirus cases, confronting the government with the first test of its ability to control the virus while opening up the economy.
Coronavirus latest: Lockdown easing reversed or postponed for 40% of US population;Today’s top stories: Boris Johnson promises to launch a ‘radical’ infrastructure spending programme. Shell warns of up to $22bn hit on assets from oil price slump. New York’s theatre performances are suspended for the rest of the year.
Amy Kazmin – FT
New Delhi will spend $12bn to provide free food grains to an estimated 800m Indians for another five months, as it seeks to avert the spectre of mass hunger as its economy languishes due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Opioid shortages open up a world of pain; The pandemic has revealed again the need to reform international drug policy
Helen Clark – FT
Coronavirus has shone a new spotlight on an old problem: the questionable usefulness of policies that criminalise certain drugs. During the pandemic the US, normally well supplied with painkillers, suffered shortages of opioids needed to anaesthetise intubated patients. One reason for this alarming shortfall was because the Drug Enforcement Agency had mandated the reduced manufacture of medicines, such as morphine and fentanyl, as part of its attempt to grapple with the US’s opioid-abuse crisis. Another reason was because of supply chain bottlenecks in the manufacture of needed painkilling drugs.
Virus Surges Faster Than Expected in South Africa’s Economic Hub
Amogelang Mbatha – Bloomberg
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize urges people to abide by rules; South Africa reached 144,264 cases, 2,529 deaths Monday
Coronavirus cases in South Africa’s economic heartland are rising more rapidly than expected at about 3,000 new infections a day, and the government may consider imposing tighter restrictions, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said.
Contact-Tracing Apps Aren’t the Technology Panacea People Hoped; High hopes that technology would help supplement the traditional, labor-intensive approach to contact tracing have been dashed.
Natalia Drzdiak, Yoolim Lee, Gerrit De Vynck – Bloomberg
As Covid-19 spread, sending almost every country into some form of lockdown, governments began to wonder how best to keep track of the deadly virus. Contact-tracing apps seemed a sensible solution.
‘Our Luck May Have Run Out’: California’s Case Count Explodes; Los Angeles County, which has been averaging more than 2,000 new cases each day, surpassed 100,000 total cases on Monday.
Shawn Hubler and Thomas Fuller – NY Times
Only a few weeks ago, thousands of Southern Californians were flocking to beaches, Disneyland was announcing it would soon reopen and Whoopi Goldberg was lauding Gov. Gavin Newsom on “The View” for the state’s progress in combating the coronavirus. The worst, many in California thought, was behind them.
Most inmates at San Quentin test positive for coronavirus in last 14 days
Justine Coleman – The Hill
Most of the more than 1,000 inmates at San Quentin State Prison in California contracted COVID-19 in the past two weeks. A total of 1,021 of inmates at San Quentin currently have active cases of COVID-19, according to data from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). More than 95 percent of those cases – 978 cases – are classified as new in the last 14 days.
Coronavirus could kill off populism; Trump, Bolsonaro and Johnson have all demonstrated incompetence in a crisis
Gideon Rachman – FT
Populists hate to be unpopular. That is why they have proved so bad at handling Covid-19, a crisis that brings nothing but grim news — death, economic destruction and curtailed freedoms.
Exchanges, OTC and Clearing
Nasdaq Announces the Board of Directors of its U.S. Exchanges
Nasdaq, Inc. (Nasdaq: NDAQ) today announced the election of all nominated directors to the boards of the U.S. exchanges operated by the company, which include The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC, Nasdaq PHLX LLC, Nasdaq BX, Inc., Nasdaq ISE, LLC, Nasdaq MRX, LLC, and Nasdaq GEMX, LLC:
ASX consults on CHESS replacement implementation timetable; Target go-live of April 2022 subject to user feedback
Since announcing its intention to replace the CHESS system in 2016, ASX has worked with a broad community of stakeholders to progress the project. This has involved continuous interaction on functionality, technical requirements and operational readiness across the market.
Eurex EnLight: Introduction of the EnLight Anonymous Negotiation functionality and clarification on reversal of anonymously negotiated trades
With T7 Release 8.1, Eurex will offer EnLight users the Anonymous Negotiation functionality. This functionality will offer Requesters the possibility to send RFQs anonymously to Responders. During the whole negotiation process, the Requester identity or Responder quote specific identity will not be disclosed.
SGX to acquire remaining stake in BidFX for $128 million; After acquiring a 20% stake in BidFX last year, SGX has said it will acquire the remaining 80% stake as part of plans to boost its FX trading business.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
Singapore Exchange (SGX) has confirmed it will fully acquire institutional FX trading platform provider BidFX from TradingScreen for $128 million.
SGX to report FY2020 results on 30 July
Singapore Exchange (SGX) is reporting its results for Financial Year 2020 (FY2020) after the market closes on 30 July 2020. The announcement will be posted on www.sgx.com. As we proactively manage the COVID-19 situation and safeguard the well-being of our employees and guests, we will be suspending the regular face-to-face analyst and media briefing.
Credit Suisse latest to join ICE ETF Hub as authorised participant; ICE has further expanded the list of authorised participants engaging with its ETF Hub with Credit Suisse.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
Credit Suisse has become the latest investment bank to become an authorised participant for the exchange traded funds (ETFs) ecosystem from US exchange group ICE.
LSEG’s UnaVista and SteelEye team up after CME regulatory reporting shut down; Following CME’s move to wind down its regulatory reporting division, UnaVista and SteelEye will support firms as they migrate from the exchange.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
The London Stock Exchange Group’s regulatory reporting platform UnaVista and compliance technology provider SteelEye have teamed up following CME’s move to shut down its regulatory reporting arm. UnaVista and SteelEye have partnered to support firms with reporting services as they migrate from CME’s European trade repository and the NEX Abide regulatory reporting services, which the exchange group confirmed recently would be wound down by November.
Partial Revision to Broadening of Daily Price Limits
Tokyo Stock Exchange, Inc. (TSE) will revise the system of broadening daily price limits. The review is in response to growing investor needs for smooth trade execution and prompt price discovery associated with recent changes in the investment environment.
Publication of Report of the Working Group on Derivatives Holiday Trading
Osaka Exchange, Inc. (OSE) started discussions on the introduction of derivatives holiday trading with market participants from autumn 2019 in light of the fact that investor risk became an issue due to the lengthy market closure during the 10 consecutive holidays in April to May 2019. As a result of the discussions, it was confirmed that there is a certain demand for derivatives holiday trading and that such efforts are also significant toward strengthening the international competitiveness of Japan’s capital markets. As such, in January 2020, OSE established a “Working Group on Derivatives Holiday Trading” consisting of market participants to discuss the implementation of derivatives holiday trading in further detail, and the working group has discussed the matter for about half a year.
Norges Bank adopts Bloomberg E-Bond trading system; The central bank of Norway has installed the E-Bond platform from Bloomberg as the primary execution system for its inter-dealer market.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
Bloomberg has confirmed that Norges Bank has adopted its trading platform for the central bank’s inter-dealer market in Norwegian government bonds and treasury bills.
US trading analytics providers Babelfish and GTA confirm merger; TCA and order routing analytics providers Babelfish and Global Trading Analytics have confirmed plans to merge.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
US-based trading analytics providers Babelfish Analytics and Global Trading Analytics (GTA) have confirmed plans to merge. Babelfish and GTA said in a statement that the merge will provide both companies with an opportunity to produce a holistic analytics solution that attributes cost to each step of the investment process.
Former Banker Launches Wealth Tech Firm for Super-Rich Families
Benjamin Stupples – Bloomberg
Wealth platform helps family offices manage their assets; Founder Console-Verma previously set up Tower Gate Capital
Bobby Console-Verma isn’t letting the pandemic slow down his business plans. The former investment banker and fund manager has set up 1fs:Wealth, a London-based technology firm that aims to help family offices and rich individuals manage their assets. Console-Verma, 54, has recruited five staff members since March and built up an advisory board. He plans to hire more as the company now starts to take on its first clients.
Wirecard’s Cash Crunch Reaches Staff as Salaries Fail to Arrive
Steven Arons and Giles Turner – Bloomberg
Wirecard AG employees in Germany haven’t yet received their June paychecks as the company’s collapse hits staff, people familiar with the matter said.
Request Form for FinTech-Related Meetings and Other Assistance
We welcome requests for meetings and other assistance relating to FinTech issues arising under the federal securities laws. Please use the form below to request a meeting or assistance from SEC staff.
Chinese Crypto Miner Aims to Double Sales Via New Exchange
Zheping Huang – Bloomberg
Chinese crypto mining giant Ebang International Holdings Inc. is planning to launch an offshore exchange for digital assets this year, hoping to expand beyond a sector that tends to boom and bust with Bitcoin prices. The Hangzhou-based maker of Bitcoin mining rigs could see total revenue grow about 40% in 2020 after expanding into the newer business of helping clients manage datacenters, Chief Financial Officer Chen Lei said in an interview. Revenue could almost double to $200 million this year with the launch of the crypto exchange, he said. Otherwise, Ebang should hit that mark in 2022, he added.
Bank of Canada researchers say zero-knowledge proofs are still too immature for CBDC use
Mike Orcutt – The Block
Zero-knowledge proofs and similar cryptographic approaches to blockchain network privacy are “in their infancy,” and aren’t ready to be widely deployed in central bank digital currency (CBDC) systems. That’s one conclusion in a new staff analytical note published by Canada’s central bank. The Bank of Canada has been a leader in the research and development of CBDC prototypes. Between 2016 and 2018, as part of an initiative called Project Jasper, the bank explored the use of distributed ledger technology (DLT) for clearing and settling of bank-to-bank payments as well as securities transactions.
To His Own Surprise, Crypto Volume Pumper’s Business Is Still Thriving
Anna Baydakova – Coindesk
Eleven months ago, Alexey Andryunin was sure his business was not long for this world. A 22-year-old math student from Moscow, Andryunin built a business inflating trade volumes in little-known crypto tokens issued during the 2017 initial coin offering (ICO) craze. In a head-turning interview CoinDesk published last July, Andryunin candidly described the underworld of micro-cap tokens and exchanges surviving on artificial volumes ginned up by paid “market makers” (a traditional finance term used loosely in this context.) At the time, Andryunin thought his business was heading to a decline: ICOs were moribund, the token market was shrinking and a new wave of regulatory attention was about to scour the shadier corners of the crypto space.
Kraken Experiences Domestic USD Funding Delays
Celeste Skinner – Finance Magnates
Kraken, a US-based cryptocurrency exchange, is currently experiencing delays for domestic United States dollar (USD) funding, the company has revealed on its website earlier today. In particular, on Kraken’s status page, the crypto exchange said: “We are currently experiencing delays with our wire processor for Domestic US deposits through Evolve Bank. This is causing deposits to remain in a “Confirming” or pending state for a few business days longer than normal and delays in service requests.
California university paid $1.14 million in bitcoin after ransomware attack
Yogita Khatri – The Block
The University of California, San Francisco paid hackers $1.14 million in bitcoin after a ransomware attack this month. The hackers launched malware that encrypted the university’s servers within the School of Medicine, making data temporarily inaccessible. To resolve the issue, the university paid the amount, reportedly in 116.4 bitcoins (currently worth over $1 million).
Russian National Pleads Guilty for $568 Million Cyber Fraud
Arnab Shome – Finance Magnates
Sergey Medvedev, a Russian national, has pleaded guilty in the United States for his in cybercrime with an actual loss of $568 million. The 33-year old pleaded guilty last week before the US District Court for Nevada. He admitted that he founded and operated Infraud Organization, an international cybercrime organization offering the sale of credit cards and other theft equipment. “One of the leaders of the Infraud Organisation pleaded guilty today to RICO conspiracy,” the US justice department said in a statement.
CoinFLEX overhauls strategy to focus on building a ‘repo’ market for the crypto industry
Frank Chaparro – The Block
In a bid to breathe new life into its market for crypto derivatives, Hong Kong-based CoinFLEX is relaunching its platform and focusing on what it says will bring a digital asset twist to the repo market. Launched in 2019, CoinFLEX first emerged as a marketplace for physically-delivered futures. Despite some initial success, the firm has failed to outcompete larger rivals in the derivatives market in terms of notional trading volumes. The relaunch puts a new product at the center of its market: The CoinFLEX Repo Market. It’s also adding spot and perpetual contracts to its market.
Crypto Exchange and Custodian DEX Gains UAE License
Arnab Shome – Finance Magnates
DEX, a digital asset trading platform, announced on Tuesday that it has secured a Financial Services Permission (FSP) from the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The authorization will allow the platform to operate a regulated multilateral trading facility (MTF) and custody platform using virtual assets. DEX can now legally offer its services to both retail and accredited investors, trading firms, and institutions across the globe.
Binance is finalizing a deal to buy majority stake in Swipe, setting stage for payments card launch
Michael McSweeney – The Block
Binance is finalizing a deal to acquire a majority stake in crypto startup Swipe.io, The Block has learned. The move paves the way for the crypto exchange giant to move ahead with its plan for a branded payments card. The deal could be made public as soon as this week. A representative from Binance declined to comment when reached.
ASX Under Pressure to Further Delay Rollout of DLT Settlement System
Sebastian Sinclair – Coindesk
The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) has come under pressure to further postpone the launch of a blockchain replacement for its decades-old settlement and clearing system. One of the main share registry companies in Australia, Computershare, told the Financial Times (FT) on June 25 that it was seeking a two-year delay to the implementation of the ASX’s new blockchain-based system because the new project “lacked clarity.”
BitMEX Owner HDR Appoints Former Bank of China Exec to Board
Paddy Baker – Coindesk
A former bank exec has said he will help “transform” BitMEX, just a week after the crypto derivatives exchange launched a new corporate service. Announced Tuesday, BitMEX owner HDR Global Trading said David Wong – a former deputy CEO at Bank of China, the second-largest bank in Hong Kong – will join its board as a non-executive chairman to help grow and turn the Seychelles-based entity into a “world-class financial technology company.” Wong had previously been the South-East Asian head of Dutch bank ABN AMRO, before heading up the financial markets division at Bank of China. Since leaving the latter bank in 2013, Wong has become a board member for a range of companies, including various real estate trusts and a life insurance company.
Augur sets launch date for v2 of its decentralized prediction market
Michael McSweeney – The Block
Augur, the Ethereum-based prediction market, has officially announced the launch date of Augur V2, the platform’s first major upgrade. In a blog post published Monday, the Augur team wrote that the mainnet launch of Augur V2 will take place on July 28th. Existing REP tokens, the native token of Augur, will be renamed “REPv1” and the new REP token on Augur V2 will be called “REPv2.”
Hacker Attempts to Disrupt Russia’s Blockchain Voting System
Daniel Palmer, Anna Baydakova – Coindesk
A hacker has attempted to disrupt a blockchain voting system currently being used to help decide constitutional changes in the Russian Federation. According to Russian news agency TASS, head of the Moscow government’s IT technologies department Artem Kostyrko said an observation node on the blockchain had been targeted, but the system was still functioning correctly. It’s not clear from the report what the hacker managed to achieve in the attack, if anything, and how far the intrusion penetrated.
Many Bitcoin Developers Are Choosing to Use Pseudonyms – For Good Reason
Alyssa Hertig -CoinDesk
Fiatjaf is a pseudonymous Bitcoin developer in the Lightning community where he contributes to LNURL. He’s also working on Etleneum, his “centralized Ethereum” app that uses the Lightning Network for faster and more scalable bitcoin payments. Like many other bitcoin users, Fiatjaf doesn’t want to expose his real name to the whole world. He worries his bitcoin software projects could make him and his family a target for criminals.
Trump Administration Draws Bipartisan Pressure Over Russia ‘Bounty’ Intelligence; Intelligence agencies hadn’t reached consensus on reports Russia paid bounties to Afghan militants to attack U.S. troops, White House says; lawmakers voice concern nonetheless
Warren P. Strobel, Gordon Lubold and Lindsay Wise – WSJ
Republican and Democratic lawmakers united Monday around demands that the White House detail intelligence indicating Russia had paid bounties to insurgents to have American forces killed in Afghanistan, and explain why President Trump apparently wasn’t briefed on the threat to U.S. troops.
Trump Visa Freeze Endangers India Tech Industry’s Talent Model
Saritha Rai – Bloomberg
Indian and U.S. technology companies are urging the Trump administration to reconsider an executive order freezing access to many work visas, warning the move would undermine a business model used to supply high-skill talent to clients from Wall Street to Silicon Valley.
Trump Stirs New Alarm Over Russia by Dismissing Bounty Claims
Justin Sink and Nick Wadhams – Bloomberg
President hasn’t demanded a probe or threatened consequences; Lawmakers demand Russian accountability if evidence found
President Donald Trump has publicly shrugged off allegations that Russia offered bounties to kill American troops in Afghanistan, reigniting concerns that he’s more interested in preserving ties with the Kremlin than defending U.S. interests. Trump has yet to demand an investigation or threaten Russia with any consequences if the allegations are confirmed — even as lawmakers from both parties demanded the administration hold Russia accountable if there is evidence that the bounty offers occurred.
Taliban Bounties Would Be a New Low Even for Putin; Putting a price on American heads today is not at all like the U.S. arming anti-Soviet forces in Afghanistan.
James Stavridis – Bloomberg
As Americans consider news reports that Russia offered Taliban fighters bounties to kill U.S. service members, it’s worth recalling the tortured history the two nations have in Afghanistan.
Twitch Suspends Trump’s Account for ‘Hateful Conduct’
Matt Day and Maya Tribbitt – Bloomberg
Twitch cited repost of Trump reference to Mexicans as rapists; Reddit banned r/The_Donald for violating hate speech rules
Twitch and Reddit Inc. banned content linked to President Donald Trump for violating their rules against encouraging hate. Twitch, Amazon.com Inc.’s live streaming site, temporarily banned Trump’s account for reposting a 2016 speech in which he characterized Mexicans as rapists and a more recent speech in which he conjured up the image of an evil-doer breaking into a house.
Republican convention host city Jacksonville, Fla., to require mask wearing
Robert Schroeder – MarketWatch
Trump and the RNC had demanded convention be allowed to move forward with no face coverings at original Charlotte, N.C., site
Social media platforms face a reckoning over hate speech
Barbara Ortutay, Tali Arbel – AP
For years, social media platforms have fueled political polarization and hosted an explosion of hate speech. Now, with four months until the U.S. presidential election and the country’s divisions reaching a boiling point, these companies are upping their game against bigotry and threats of violence.
Former director banned for engaging in illegal phoenix activity
Mr Sean Joseph O’Reilly of Hemmant, QLD has been banned from managing companies for four years due to his involvement in three failed companies.
Guidance for company officers and company auditors on the whistleblower protection regime
ASIC has released new information sheets to help companies, company officers and company auditors understand and comply with their obligations under the corporate whistleblower protection regime.
ASIC cancels AFS licence of MyPlanner Professional Services
ASIC has cancelled the Australian Financial Services (AFS) licence of Queensland-based financial services provider MyPlanner Professional Services Pty Ltd (MyPlanner Professional).
ESMA responds to European Commission consultation on the Digital Finance Stragtegy ESMA
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU’s securities markets regulator, has submitted a response to the European Commission’s (EC) consultation on a new digital finance strategy for the European Union (EU). ESMA welcomes the EC consultation noting that it builds on the 2018 FinTech Action Plan that set a number of deliverables for the ESAs, all of which were completed.
TRACE for Corporate and Agency API Specifications Update
FINRA has updated the TRACE for Corporate and Agency API Reference Data Specifications. Beginning September 28, 2020, Seniority Type and Instrument Type are being renamed Security Type and Bond Type, respectively, for Corporate and ELN securities. These two fields will continue to be combined to create the Debt Type Code.
FINRA Provides Updates on Regulatory Coordination Concerning CAT Reporting Compliance
FINRA is issuing this Regulatory Notice to provide members an update on regulatory coordination efforts concerning compliance with CAT reporting rules (the “CAT compliance rules”). In particular, FINRA and the national securities exchanges, as CAT NMS Plan Participants, have entered into a Rule 17d-2 Plan and corresponding Regulatory Services Agreements (RSAs) to coordinate regulation of the CAT compliance rules through FINRA. Relatedly, FINRA and the exchanges developed a coordinated approach for enforcement of the CAT compliance rules under the Participants’ respective Minor Rule Violation Plans. Details on these developments are provided below.
SEC Updates Filing Threshold to Rule 17h Reporting Requirements for Broker-Dealers
The Securities and Exchange Commission today issued an order to update the filing threshold for broker-dealers’ Form 17-H filings made pursuant to Exchange Act Rules 17h-1T and Rule 17h-2T. The threshold, which had not been updated in nearly 30 years, will exempt certain smaller broker-dealers from the reporting requirements of the rules while continuing to provide important information to the Commission on the financial condition of covered broker-dealers and their affiliates.
Telegram to Return $1.2 Billion to Investors and Pay $18.5 Million Penalty to Settle SEC Charges
The Securities and Exchange Commission announced today that it obtained court approval of settlements with Telegram Group Inc. and its wholly owned subsidiary TON Issuer Inc. to resolve charges that Telegram’s unregistered offering of digital tokens called “Grams” violated the federal securities laws. The defendants agreed to return more than $1.2 billion to investors and to pay an $18.5 million civil penalty.
FCA research reveals 1.1million spike in cryptoasset buyers; An estimated 2.6 million UK consumers have bought cryptoassets at some point, new FCA research reveals.
The number marks a 1.1 million increase since the FCA completed a face-to-face survey on the same topic last year. Of the 1.9 million that still hold their cryptoassets – such as Bitcoin, Ripple or Ether – half have more than £260.
Approved Persons Regime (APR) and coronavirus: our expectations
We set out our expectations to help benchmark administrators and firms using Appointed Representative (AR) arrangements apply the Approved Persons Regime (APR) during coronavirus (Covid-19).
Extension of the Senior Managers & Certification Regime (SM&CR) implementation periods for solo-regulated firms
The deadline for solo-regulated firms to have undertaken the first assessment of the fitness and propriety of their Certified Persons has been delayed from 9 December 2020 until 31 March 2021.
Identifying and managing access to cash during Covid-19
The FCA and PSR have today published more information on our joint work to map access to cash and how this will shape our future work in this area.
Investing and Trading
Coronavirus Sends Oil Prices on Wild, Six-Month Ride; U.S. crude’s 94% advance this quarter puts oil on track for its largest quarterly percentage gain in 30 years
Amrith Ramkumar – WSJ
The coronavirus transformed global oil markets in the first half of 2020, sending prices on a wild ride and spurring historic changes to energy supply chains and products used to invest in crude.
What happens when asset prices are in the grip of central banks? Markets contemplate financial repression of the kind operated by the Fed around WW2
John Plender – FT
One innocent explanation for the extraordinary bounce back in global equity markets in the second quarter is that investors have concluded that the worst of the pandemic is over and that recovery is within reach.
Dividend cuts prompt investors to rummage in junk for income; Fund managers are turning to high-yield bonds, rather than stocks, in search of returns
Philip Georgiadis – FT
A steady erosion of stock market dividends is driving investors into Europe’s high-yield debt market, according to a report from Bank of America that predicts another strong quarter of fundraising for low-rated issuers.
Everybody Loves to Hate Modern Monetary Theory; Marxists, Austrians, and Keynesians agree on nothing … except that they don’t like MMT.
Peter Coy – Bloomberg
In 1853 the French writer Gustave Flaubert wrote, “You can calculate the worth of a man by the number of his enemies, and the importance of a work of art by the harm that is spoken of it.” By that standard, Modern Monetary Theory must be both worthy and important; it’s the economic school of thought that everybody loves to hate.
Auditors keep falling into the same trap; EY’s Wirecard omission is latest failure to check on where big companies store their money
Brooke Masters – FT
Last week, payments firm Wirecard admitted that EUR1.9bn of its cash probably never existed — and then it collapsed. It turns out that the German group’s auditors had failed for at least three years to request crucial account information from a Singapore bank where Wirecard said it had up to EUR1bn. Instead, EY relied on documents and screenshots provided by a third-party trustee and Wirecard itself.
Billionaire Hohn-Backed Fund Seeks to Boost Clean Energy in Asia
David Stringer – Bloomberg
Pandemic curbing access to traditional finance for renewables; Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines to be fund’s initial focus
Philanthropic groups including billionaire Chris Hohn’s Children’s Investment Fund Foundation are backing a plan to support clean energy projects in Southeast Asia as access to traditional finance is squeezed by the pandemic-driven downturn.
Netflix Will Shift $100 Million of Cash Into Black-Owned Banks
Lucas Shaw – Bloomberg
Streaming giant commits to backing financial institutions; One employee launched drive to support minority lenders
Netflix Inc. will shift up to $100 million to lenders that serve the Black community, making it the largest company yet to pledge cash to historically underfunded financial institutions.
Norway’s $2.6 Billion Green Bet Could Help the Whole Planet; A carbon capture project aims to make Norway the hub for other countries to bury their emissions.
Akshat Rathi – Bloomberg
Plentiful reserves of fossil fuels and rich seams of valuable minerals are no guarantee of national health, wealth or happiness. The “resource curse” has blighted many countries: Venezuela and the Democratic Republic of Congo, for example, have suffered from years of graft, civil unrest and poverty.
South Pole warming faster than rest of Earth: study
The South Pole has been getting warmer at more than three times the normal global rate, according to a new study. Research shows the changes are linked to natural weather variations as well as human behavior.
Keith Skeoch to step down as CEO of Standard Life Aberdeen; Former Citi consumer banking chief Stephen Bird will become CEO of Standard Life Aberdeen as Keith Skeoch steps down.
Kiays Khalil – The Trade
Standard Life Aberdeen has named a former chief executive from Citi as its new CEO, as long-standing CEO Keith Skeoch confirms plans to step down by the end of this year.
Goldman Says Tech Valuations to Remain Intact if Rates Go Higher
Joanna Ossinger – Bloomberg
If Treasury yields rise, technology stocks are likely to be able to maintain their valuations while some consumer stocks may struggle, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
U.S. Bank Announces New Leaders and Changes in Corporate & Commercial Banking
U.S. Bank recently announced key leadership changes designed to further enhance client focus and speed to market in its Corporate & Commercial Banking (CCB) business.
Jefferies sees earnings boost from bond trading despite coronavirus-hit economy
Julia La Roche – Yahoo FinanceJ
Investment bank Jefferies (JEF), a bellwether for Wall Street, reported strong second-quarter results on Monday and provided a glimpse into what might be expected for the financial sector during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Who Says Emerging Economies Shouldn’t Print Money?
Jon Sindreu – WSJ
Activist central banks aren’t just a rich-nation story anymore. Emerging markets are reclaiming their right to play with money too—and it is probably a good thing.
India bans TikTok after Himalayan border clash with Chinese troops; Government blacklists more than 50 Chinese-made apps, citing ‘threat to sovereignty’
Hannah Ellis-Petersen- The Guardian
The Indian government has banned TikTok, the hugely popular social media app, as part of sweeping anti-China measures after a violent confrontation between Indian and Chinese troops.
Latam markets muted even as Brazil’s real bounces
Shreyashi Sanyal and Ambar Warrick – Reuters
Brazil’s real recovered from three sessions of sharp losses on Monday, while broader Latin American markets kept to the sidelines as a global rise in COVID-19 cases dampened sentiment. The real was supported by data showing Brazilian industrial confidence rebounded sharply in June, the biggest rise ever. Still, the readings were consistent with levels seen in severe recession.
New China security law could stifle research in HK, say analysts; Possible rise in self-censorship prompts concerns over future of Asian finance hub
Primrose Riordan, Hudson Lockett and Thomas Hale – FT
Investors, economists and analysts in Hong Kong fear a new national security law will increase self-censorship of research provided to clients, and will raise questions over the city’s future as a global finance hub.
As Brexit Nears, Dover Sits in the Eye of U.K.’s Supply-Chain Storm
Joe Mayes – Bloomberg
Spare a thought for Tim Reardon, the head of European Union exit at the Port of Dover, which is used by as many as 10,000 trucks daily. He’s at the heart of the biggest man-made supply-chain problem Britain has faced in decades: how to replicate the status quo — where lorries seamlessly flow off ferries and through his port — when the U.K. needs to impose customs controls on EU goods, as is the consequence of Brexit?
The Guardian view on a Brexit purge: official dissent is patriotic
The Guardian Editorial Staff
Boris Johnson got rid of the head of the UK’s civil service because he was not “one of us”. Sir Mark Sedwill’s card had been marked early on. He was appointed by Theresa May, who despite her professed zeal for exiting the European Union never escaped – for Brexiters – the fact that she had voted to remain. The cabinet secretary, along with the top mandarins at the Home Office and the Foreign Office, were in the minds of leavers part of the ancien regime that was out to subvert the will of the people. They have been swept away by Mr Johnson’s Brexit revolution.
UK farmers win concession on post-Brexit agricultural trade policy
Laura Hughes and Peter Foster – FT
The UK has bowed to calls for an independent commission to advise on post-Brexit agriculture trade policy in a move that has cast doubt on the government’s ability to secure a quick deal with the US. Washington has called for much greater access to the British food market as a price for any agreement, prompting a backlash from farmers and MPs who have warned of the potential threat to food welfare standards if chlorine-washed chicken and hormone-treated beef is allowed to enter the UK market.
After Brexit, Trucks Set to Need Taxman’s Permission to Move
Joe Mayes – Bloomberg
U.K. companies exporting into the European Union will have to wait for permission from tax authorities before they can move their goods under plans being drawn up by the government. According to a document circulated by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, lorries will only be able to move loads into the EU if they have a valid reference from the so-called Goods Vehicle Movement Service, a new and untested IT platform that is still under development.
Is UK heading to no-trade-deal Brexit? Banks assess risk
Elizabeth Howcroft – Reuters
Britain and the European Union remain far apart in negotiations on a new trading relationship and analysts at many banks say the risk of a no-trade-deal Brexit at the end of the year is firmly back on the table. Talks are being held this week in Brussels but Britain’s refusal to extend the end-2020 deadline has increased pressure to reach a deal by then or be cast adrift without any trading arrangements in place. “We think there is a 50-50 chance of a no trade-deal Brexit,” said Sarah Hewin, chief Europe economist at Standard Chartered. “There are big hurdles still and no one is really talking about Northern Ireland at the moment,” she said, referring to one of the main stumbling blocks in past negotiation rounds.
Wimbledon 2020 is cancelled but the All England Club is not defeated; Chairman Ian Hewitt is determined to see the Grand Slam back next year as he grapples with a potential loss of £250m in revenue
David White – FT
It was to have been the opening day of the oldest tennis tournament in the world, one that attracts 500,000 spectators over two weeks and millions more watching on television and online.
Purdue offers self-quarantine options for the fall
Limited self-quarantine housing spaces will be offered to students this fall, according to an email from University Residences, for students to isolate before the academic year begins. The cost for the 14 days of self-quarantine housing will be $800 dollars, according to the email, which includes the price for meals.