Crypto Markets News from John Lothian News – May 16, 2018

John Lothian

John Lothian

Executive Chairman


Notes from Consensus 2018 – Day 2

By Chuck Mackie – JLN

As expected, Day 2 of Coindesk’s Consensus conference lacked some of the energy and fireworks of the first day but it did manage to defy what seems to be a law of nature: fewer people in attendance at the second day of an industry event when compared to the first. In this case, Coindesk announced that total registration ticked up to over 8,500 and it was definitely harder to fight the lines for lunch on the second day compared to the first. Somehow I survived.

Beyond that, there was the expected slew of mostly underwhelming corporate enterprise announcements, some insights from other panels, and one blockbuster investment partnership to finish off the day like the cherry on top of a sundae. Read on to find out more.

Koch, IBM, Deloitte, ConsenSys, SAP. . . . . .zzzzzzzz!

Corporate America took over the morning session and it was, for the most part, exactly what you would expect at this point in the evolutionary history of blockchain: loads of marketing speak about enterprise worthy efforts to transform either this or that.

IBM made a good go of it by bringing their partners Veridium and Global Citizen to the stage to highlight the ways that they are trying to make the world a better place. Veridium intends to use blockchain to create a program to digitize carbon credits and offsets while Global Citizen announced the “Challenge Accepted: Blockchain for Good” developer challenge. It’s open to all and details can be found on the IBM website. In both cases, the efforts are aspirational and even inspirational but they are not operational.

To read the rest of the recap, go here.

Big Bitcoin Exchange Welcomes High-Speed Traders; Coinbase plans to allow trading firms to place servers directly in its data center, a practice called co-location
Alexander Osipovich – WSJ
The bitcoin market is about to get a lot faster. Coinbase Inc., which operates the largest U.S. cryptocurrency exchange, said on Tuesday that it would upgrade its systems with services that cater to ultrafast traders. The upgrade, planned for later this year, will make Coinbase one of the first bitcoin exchanges to welcome the controversial business of high-speed trading.

Crypto Exchange Kraken Says It Will Probably Register With SEC
Lily Katz and Annie Massa – Bloomberg
Move would come after firm dismissed questions from New York; CEO is also considering stock trading and going public
Kraken, the digital-currency exchange that recently refused to respond to inquiries from New York’s top lawyer, seems to be warming up to regulators — at least federal ones.

Coinbase plans revamp to lure institutional and high-speed traders
Anna Irrera, John McCrank – Reuters
Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase is planning a revamp of its trading technology and creating a new suite of services to attract more institutional investors, including hedge funds and high-frequency trading firms, it said on Tuesday.

U.S. Crypto Trading Platforms Are About to Get More Competition
Camila Russo – Bloomberg
Cryptocurrency trading platform eToro plans to open its doors to U.S. investors. U.S. users can join the waiting list for the Tel Aviv-based platform and the service will be rolled out in the second-half of this year, eToro Chief Executive Officer and co-founder Yoni Assia said in an interview Tuesday.

CME to Gauge User Interest for Ether Futures After Index Launch
Camila Russo – Bloomberg
CME Group Inc. will review client demand for Ether futures after launching an index tracking prices of the second-largest cryptocurrency.

Leading cryptocurrency trader Coinbase moving an exchange to Chicago
Lynne Marek – Crain’s Chicago Business
San Francisco-based Coinbase is making a big move into Chicago, bringing the backbone of its system to the city.
Coinbase plans to transfer its current exchange to Chicago and overhaul it using the city’s trading tech talent to upgrade the matching engine, says Paul Bauerschmidt, who was recently hired to oversee the company’s new Chicago office. The rebranded Coinbase Markets infrastructure will be rolled out over the next year.

French Finance minister: Let France be the first blockchain & crypto-active innovation in Europe
During a breakfast with entrepreneurs, including representatives of Blockchain Partner, the Minister of Economy and Finance Bruno Le Maire revealed his plans for French blockchain and cryptocurrencies. He assured his ” total and determined support “. Among the themes mentioned: the banking difficulties of companies in the sector, the taxation of cryptocurrencies, their accounting treatment and the legal framework of the ICO

Circle raises $110 million, plans to create dollar-pegged cryptocurrency
Anna Irrera – Reuters
Goldman Sachs-backed (GS.N) cryptocurrency startup Circle has raised $110 million in an investment round led by Chinese virtual coin mining giant Bitmain Technologies, Circle said on Tuesday.

LedgerX Debuts First Bitcoin Savings Account Licensed By CFTC
Ana Alexandre – Coin Telegraph
Trading and clearing platform LedgerX has launched a new Bitcoin (BTC) savings product that is licensed by the US Commodities Future Trading Commission (CFTC), Forbes reported May 15.
The savings product introduced by LedgerX is certified by a CFTC derivatives clearing organization (DCO) license and a swap execution facility (SEF) license.

US Regulators Say They Want to Avoid ‘Hindering’ Blockchain Innovation
Nikhilesh De – Coindesk
U.S. regulators are still looking into cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings, but don’t aim to suppress the industry, according to comments made during a panel at CoinDesk’s Consensus 2018 conference in New York.

Bitcoin Mining Equipment Maker Canaan Files for $1 Billion IPO
Crystal Tse and Blake Schmidt – Bloomberg
China’s Canaan aims to start trading as early as July; Firm seeks first Hong Kong IPO from cryptocurrency industry
Canaan Inc., the world’s second-biggest maker of bitcoin mining hardware, submitted a listing application to the Hong Kong stock exchange.

Bitcoin in Zimbabwe has been banned by Reserve bank
Tawanda Karombo – Quartz
Tech savvy Zimbabweans have long used bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to plug foreign currency and liquidity gaps plaguing the country, so much so that the southern African country has become one of Africa’s most active markets for crypto transactions. But that hedging strategy has suffered a major setback after the Zimbabwean central bank ordered finance houses to stop processing virtual currency payments and gave then a two-month ultimatum to put this into effect.

Nomura becomes first crypto custody bank; Institutional investors have held back from large-scale investing in cryptocurrencies due to lack of certainty around storage and security of digital assets.
Joe Parsons – The Trade
Nomura has become the first bank to offer custody services for digital assets such as bitcoin, a move that could unlock significant institutional investor interest.

Bitcoin May Be Down, but a Digital Currency Startup Still Soars; Circle Internet Financial Ltd., backed by Goldman Sachs, now worth about $3 billion after new fundraising round
Telis Demos – WSJ
A digital-currency startup backed by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is now worth about $3 billion after a new fundraising round.

IBM Is Helping Build a Carbon Credit Blockchain Token
Stan Higgins – Coindesk
IBM is collaborating with environmental technology firm Veridium Labs to launch a token with the goal of shaking up the carbon credits industry.
Veridium, whose plan to issue the so-called verde was revealed last year, isn’t the first token-related project to land IBM as a partner, but it could prove to be one of the most consequential.

A match made in Silicon Valley: can blockchain reinvent dating?; ‘The company hopes to make anonymised data open to researchers, who will design algorithms to match couples’
Hannah Kuchler – FT
I rolled my eyes when I first heard about Luna, described as “blockchain for dating”. In Silicon Valley, “blockchain for x” is the new “Uber for y” as start-ups embrace the idea of digital ledgers. On Wall Street, the Securities and Exchange Commission has warned companies to stop “pivoting to blockchain” to boost their stock.

Blockchain Is Being Taken Seriously by Companies, Deloitte Finds
Olga Kharif – Bloomberg
Nearly 75 percent of executives see a business case for it; Only 22 percent surveyed don’t see a compelling application
Blockchain may be one of the hottest catchphrases among global companies right now, but a survey from Deloitte LLP finds that it’s more than lip service.

Facebook deleted 583 million fake accounts in the first three months of 2018; That’s more than a quarter of Facebook’s 2.2 billion monthly active users.
Alfred Ng – CNet
Facebook is in a state of constant deletion. The social network released its Community Standards Enforcement Report for the first time on Tuesday, detailing how many spam posts it’s deleted and how many fake accounts it’s taken down in the first quarter of 2018. In a blog post on Facebook, Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president of product management, said the social network disabled about 583 million fake accounts during the first three months of this year — the majority of which, it said, were blocked within minutes of registration.

Facebook’s blockchain experiment raises eyebrows; Mark Zuckerberg flirts with decentralisation of his very centralised social network
Hannah Kuchler in San Francisco and Chloe Cornish in London – FT
“A lot of us got into technology because we believe it can be a decentralising force that puts more power in people’s hands,” Mark Zuckerberg wrote in his New Year message to his Facebook followers.

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