Commentary

My Skepticism Persists Despite BlackRock’s Larry Fink Reversing Stance, Declaring Bitcoin a Legitimate Financial Instrument

My Skepticism Persists Despite BlackRock’s Larry Fink Reversing Stance, Declaring Bitcoin a Legitimate Financial Instrument

The CoinDesk story that reported that BlackRock’s Larry Fink has declared that bitcoin is a legitimate financial instrument struck a sour note with me. It was just seven years ago, before BlackRock’s Bitcoin ETF hit $21 billion in equity since its launch in January of this year, that Fink was not a bitcoin fan. BlackRock may have $10.6 trillion in assets under management, which gives Fink headlines and gravitas, but his declaration is still just an opinion. 

In 2017, Fink, the CEO of BlackRock, had a notably different and critical view of bitcoin, describing it as “an index of money laundering.” This stance reflected a broader skepticism about the cryptocurrency, which he perceived as being associated with illicit activities.

Celebrating Independence and Competition: A Fourth of July Reflection

Celebrating Independence and Competition: A Fourth of July Reflection

We just celebrated the Fourth of July holiday and JLN continued its annual tradition of publishing the Declaration of Independence. I have always loved the beginning of the second paragraph:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. 

As a writer who advocates for market-based solutions, I believe certain market principles to be self-evident. I hold that markets should be open, transparent, and fair. These were the values that the open outcry futures markets I grew up with strived for every day, in every session and trade. These values produced the critical concept of price, which was the most powerful news imaginable. They gave the markets and their prices integrity, instilling in traders a way of life that transcended the action of the trading pit. From this openness, transparency, fairness, and integrity came a greatness that spread throughout the world as different financial communities embraced derivatives trading.

Clear Street’s Bold Move: Former Cboe Chairman & CEO Ed Tilly Joins Fintech to Revolutionize Clearing and Custody Systems

Clear Street’s Bold Move: Former Cboe Chairman & CEO Ed Tilly Joins Fintech to Revolutionize Clearing and Custody Systems

Clear Street, a fintech startup founded in 2018, is making waves in the financial services industry with its ambitious plan to revolutionize clearing and custody infrastructure and its big-name hiring of former Cboe Global Markets Chairman and CEO Ed Tilly. In an interview with John Lothian News, CEO Chris Pento and President-Designate Tilly outlined the company’s vision and progress.

The New York-based firm has set out to tackle a problem that has long plagued Wall Street and its LaSalle Street sibling: outdated clearing systems. “We started with the belief that the infrastructure operating most brokerages across the street was running on old, archaic infrastructure,” Pento said. 

David Downey’s Important Call: ForecastEx to Revolutionize Event Contracts with CFTC Green Light

David Downey’s Important Call: ForecastEx to Revolutionize Event Contracts with CFTC Green Light

David Downey does not call me very often, but when he does, it is important. He called me on June 25. Unfortunately, I was in London and missed the call.

There is also this strange thing that happens when someone calls me from the Cboe and their caller-ID has the general Cboe number on it, the same one I still have in my phone for the work phone for Downey from his days at OneChicago. Downey appears to be calling me. Thus, sometimes when I get a call from a Cboe PR person, it comes up on my phone as Downey.

But on Monday, the real David Downey called with something important. Back on June 24, the CFTC had approved the registrations of a project he has been working on, ForecastEx, LLC. The CFTC approved both the DCM and DCO applications for this privately held company owned by Interactive Brokers Group, LLC. 

John Lothian Reflects on Physical Challenges and Biden’s Debate Performance

John Lothian Reflects on Physical Challenges and Biden’s Debate Performance

Williams Bay, WI (JLN) – Describing Joe Biden’s debate performance last week, New Yorker Editor David Remnick quoted  Mark Twain, writing, “It is sad to go to pieces like this, but we all have to do it.”

I can identify with that quote. Some of my physical health issues are like those of President Biden, and last week the degradation of my physical abilities caused me to miss my connection between London and Chicago. 

The health issues I share with President Biden include obstructive sleep apnea, gastroesophageal reflux, seasonal allergies, spinal arthritis and peripheral neuropathy in the feet.

WAIFC Issues Groundbreaking Guide on Gender Diversity in Finance: “Women in Finance – Compendium of Good Practice”

WAIFC Issues Groundbreaking Guide on Gender Diversity in Finance: “Women in Finance – Compendium of Good Practice”

Gender equality is an issue across all business sectors. The Financial Services industry has particularly struggled despite many efforts to make progress, and the derivatives, hedge fund, and private equity areas have lagged even more so. To share practical examples of ways to attract and retain women at all levels of these organizations, and encourage companies to try new ways of addressing this critical business and social issue, the World Alliance of International Financial Centers (WAIFC) has issued a guide titled “WOMEN IN FINANCE – COMPENDIUM OF GOOD PRACTICE.”

Controversial Past Shadows CME Broker’s Present: Bobby Alpert’s Clash with Open Outcry Trading and Social Media

Controversial Past Shadows CME Broker’s Present: Bobby Alpert’s Clash with Open Outcry Trading and Social Media

Not everyone who participated in the open outcry markets looks back on those days with fondness, or likes to be reminded of them by seeing the videos from The Open Outcry Traders History Project. Case in point is Bobby Alpert, former CME broker and local, half-brother of Barry Lind and one of the administrators of a CME-themed Facebook group.

I have been suspended from the Facebook group “Chicago Mercantile Exchange Friends” until June 14, 2024 by one of the administrators. I can only guess it is Alpert, with whom I have previously clashed on other CME-themed Facebook groups. Alpert has expressed his disdain and boredom multiple times upon seeing me post videos from The Open Outcry Traders History Project on Facebook.

The Power of Goodwill, Hard Work, Luck and Helping Other People

The Power of Goodwill, Hard Work, Luck and Helping Other People

My posting of the recent Hall of Fame induction news and my two commentaries to LinkedIn and Facebook produced an onslaught of congratulatory comments. It also produced many other comments lauding me for my contributions to the industry, hard work and more. It was a tremendous display of the goodwill that I have created over the years through my work.

There is No Way to Thank Everyone, but Some People Must be Mentioned

There is No Way to Thank Everyone, but Some People Must be Mentioned

I wish I could share this news of my being named to the FIA Hall of Fame with my mother and father, but both have passed, my mother in 2022 and my father in 2003. Even though my father has been gone for nearly a generation, his light shines through me via his wisdom, tolerance, community service, faith and love of family. I always said that using both of my college degrees, one in finance, the other in journalism, made my mother happy. As a teacher, education was important to her. But my parents insisted the only thing they were going to give me besides love was an education and then I was on my own.

Opinion: Class-Action Lawsuit Against CME Group Holds Disruptive Potential to Membership Prices, Future Deals and CME Leadership

Opinion: Class-Action Lawsuit Against CME Group Holds Disruptive Potential to Membership Prices, Future Deals and CME Leadership

A long-standing certified class-action lawsuit against CME Group, filed by members of the Chicago Board of Trade and Chicago Mercantile Exchange, poses a potential threat to the exchange group’s membership market. A mediated settlement, encouraged by the judge, could reshape how trading rights are offered at the exchange and potentially benefit a class of shareholders, whose B-shares have declined while A-share values rose.

DTCC’s Chris Childs on the Prospect of Trade Reporting 2.0

DTCC’s Chris Childs on the Prospect of Trade Reporting 2.0

In a recent interview, John Lothian of John Lothian News spoke with Chris Childs, managing director, repository & derivatives services at DTCC, about the evolution of trade reporting and the prospects of Trade Reporting 2.0. The discussion touched upon the history of trade reporting, the importance of data standardization, and the challenges of sharing data across jurisdictions.

Presidential Historian Jon Meacham’s Keynote Address at Expo Aimed to Give Hope in Divided Times

Presidential Historian Jon Meacham’s Keynote Address at Expo Aimed to Give Hope in Divided Times

In the keynote address to a large audience on Tuesday at FIA Expo, the historian and presidential biographer Jon Meacham talked about how we are living in “the most divided time since the 1850s” and compared what’s going on now politically with past tumultuous periods in U.S. history, in particular the 1930s and 1960s. His address was titled, “Hope Through History: How To Endure and Prevail When Everything Appears Hopeless.”  

ICE’s Chris Edmonds Expands on Crypto Commentary in JLN Video Interview

ICE’s Chris Edmonds Expands on Crypto Commentary in JLN Video Interview

Last Friday John Lothian News interviewed ICE Chief Development Officer Chris Edmonds about the commentary he wrote that JLN published and why he wrote it and what he was trying to accomplish.

We asked him what lessons were learned from the BAKKT experience and what was ICE trying to accomplish with the exchange and clearing offering and what didn’t work?

Edmonds said the lesson learned was that the market did not want a physically delivered bitcoin contract.

The Failed Promise of Unregulated Crypto; By Chris Edmonds, Chief Development Officer, ICE

The Failed Promise of Unregulated Crypto; By Chris Edmonds, Chief Development Officer, ICE

Markets have short memories. Four years ago, ICE created a fully-regulated, physically-delivered crypto futures market, with institutional-grade custody provided by ICE’s then-subsidiary, Bakkt. The custodian was regulated by the New York State Department of Financial Services – a license which is, rightly, not easy to obtain – and all crypto transactions were protected by our highly regulated clearing house.

Why did we start here?  The answer is simple. The history of markets shows that physically delivered commodities provide price signals and allowing such pricing to occur in a transparent manner with clear rules INCREASES consumer confidence.

Wall Street Starts Calling Time on ESG Labels After Backlash

Wall Street Starts Calling Time on ESG Labels After Backlash

First Read Hits & Takes John Lothian & JLN Staff Miami International Holdings, Inc. (MIH) announced that the SEC has approved MIAX Sapphire LLC's application to become a national securities exchange. MIAX Sapphire, MIH's fourth national securities exchange for...

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The Spread

Traders Betting on China Easing Boost Bearish Options on Banks

Observations & Insight Miami International Holdings, Inc. (MIH) announced that the SEC has approved MIAX Sapphire LLC's application to become a national securities exchange. MIAX Sapphire, MIH's fourth national securities exchange for U.S. multi-listed options,...

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