More Questions Than Answers For A Potential CryptoMarketsWiki ICO
John Lothian – JLN
In the announcement of CryptoMarketsWiki last week, I mentioned that the project would explore the initial coin offering process from an editorial and strategic perspective. If our due diligence works out, we may go ahead and conduct an ICO and use the token in our business operations.
But there are lots of questions to answer before we get there. In fact, there are lots of questions we don’t even know yet, let alone know the answers.
However, if we are going to build the central knowledge base for the cryptomarkets world, having real life experience with the product would be helpful.
I spent years as a broker, CTA and proprietary trader, on and off the floor, trading futures and options contracts for myself or for customers. I know futures. Or more accurately, as CNBC’s Rick Santelli once said of me in a talk he gave in Canada, I have forgotten more about futures than he will ever know.
For the rest of the commentary, click HERE
Hits & Takes
Don’t miss Spencer Doar’s “The Spread” produced from the pool at the Deerfield Beach Airbnb the JLN team stayed at last week during the FIA International Conference in Boca Raton, Florida. Make sure you watch the outtakes at the end.~JJL
The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business made No. 1 on the list of U.S. News & World Report’s rankings of MBA programs for the first time this year, tying with Harvard for the top spot.~SR
The 3rd annual University of Chicago Graduate China Forum will be held on Saturday, April 7, 2018 in the Ida Noyes Hall on the University of Chicago campus. The goal of this event is to bolster partnerships between businesses in the US and China. Speakers include David Han, Co-founder along with NBA Hall-of-Famer Yao Ming of Yao Capital, and now CEO. Also, Sunil Cutinho, President of CME Clearing, CME Group will speak on the FinTech panel on the Blockchain technology revolution. More details are available at https://www.uchicagochinaforum.org.~JJL
Fintech vulnerable to dishonesty and corruption, warns senior British judge
Martin Arnold, Banking Editor – FT
One of Britain’s most senior judges has warned that the dishonesty and fraud that have plagued the traditional banking system could spread to the new financial technology businesses that are springing up to challenge them.
**As Judge Smails so eloquently said in Caddyshack: “The most important decision you can make right now is what you stand for. Goodness…or badness.”~JK
Child abuse imagery found within bitcoin’s blockchain
Samuel Gibbs – The Guardian
Researchers discover illegal content within the distributed ledger, making possession of it potentially unlawful in many countries
German researchers have discovered unknown persons are using bitcoin’s blockchain to store and link to child abuse imagery, potentially putting the cryptocurrency in jeopardy.
**As they say, possession is nine-tenths of the law. The question is who?~JK
The Spread – The (Out)Take from FIA Boca
After much travel and a spell of ill health, we can confidently say The Spread is back in action. Our “weekly” options news recap will be much more of a weekly affair now. (Flu season is pretty much over, right?)
The JLN crew was at FIA Boca last week and your humble host really struggled without our usual teleprompter rig. As such, welcome to a rambling, stumbling version of The Spread that includes some outtakes from my poor pool performance. If you just want the behind the scenes action, skip to the last minute.
The following are stories referenced in this week’s episode of The Spread:
- Maven Wave – FIA Boca 2018 – Day One; FIA Boca 2018 – Day Two; FIA Boca – Day Three
- JLN – Potential CME-NEX Deal Is Full of History, Dilemma, Risk and Reward
- CNBC – It is ‘hard to understand’ why investors are suing Credit Suisse over volatility product, says its CEO
- Reuters – Chicago firm files lawsuit alleging manipulation of Cboe volatility index
Tuesday’s Top Three
Our top read piece yesterday was Jessica Darmoni’s Hehmeyer Blog Post: Heated Arguments Light Up The 43rd Annual FIA Boca Conference. Second was Bloomberg’s This Is No Way to Run the U.S. Stock Market. Third was a Marketswiki entry on Richard Sandor‘s burgeoning market, American Financial Exchange (AFX)
122,370,653 pages viewed; 23,045 pages; 212,090 edits
Has the Cryptocoin Market Met Its Match in the SEC?; More than 180 coin offerings in March are expected to raise $795 million, a 45% decline from February’s total
Paul Vigna and Dave Michaels – WSJ
Regulators looking into potentially widespread violations in cryptocurrency markets have taken a bite out of the once-soaring investor demand for token deals.
Blackstone, Thomson Reuters Are Said to Weigh Tradeweb IPO, Sale
Matthew Monks, Matthew Leising, Kiel Porter – Bloomberg
Blackstone Group LP and Thomson Reuters Corp. are considering an initial public offering or a sale of their stake in the bond-trading platform Tradeweb Markets LLC, whose users and co-investors include the world’s biggest banks, people with knowledge of the matter said.
ECB’s Brexit Push for Derivatives-Clearing Power Gains Momentum
A “strong majority” in the relevant European Parliament committees supports handing the ECB the clearing power it wants, Danuta Huebner, the assembly’s lead lawmaker on the issue, said on Tuesday. That will heat up the Brexit debate on clearing, with the U.K. keen to ensure that London continues to dominate the business.
Major banks earned more in metals than oil last year
Peter Hobson – Reuters
Banks’ metals-related revenues exceeded their earnings from the oil sector last year for the first time since 2014 as low and relatively stable crude prices discouraged hedging activity, but this is unlikely to be the start of a new trend.
Introducing EverMarkets: A blockchain-powered exchange designed to modernize futures trading
A team of seasoned traders, technologists and senior executives from some of the U.S.’s largest financial institutions and technology firms is pleased to announce they are developing EverMarkets, a futures exchange and clearing house platform built on blockchain technology. The EverMarkets Exchange (EMX), expected to launch later this year for non-US participants, will list both cryptocurrency and traditional futures contracts.
Landmark “Finance for Fintech” report highlights growth ambitions of UK fintechs
London Stock Exchange Group
London Stock Exchange Group and TheCityUK publish today their first Finance for Fintech report, revealing insights into the scale, ambitions and barriers to international growth facing global fintech companies. The independent survey, carried out by YouGov, interviewed more than 400 fintech companies across eight countries (Australia, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Singapore, Turkey, UK & USA), all of which have had at least Series A funding rounds or above.
Return of Volatility Raises Liquidity Question for ETFs; The ETF industry is now worth more than $4 trillion, magnifying the risk if the funds run into difficulties
Mike Bird – WSJ
Are ETFs getting too big for their own good? The return of volatility to financial markets this year is reviving concerns about liquidity shortages in exchange traded fundsówhich have surged in popularity since the 2008 market crisis ?due to flexibility and low fees, but have yet to face a bear market at their current size.
CFTC Leads on Blockchain Innovation
Allan Grody, Financial InterGroup
The CFTC has expressed its intention to apply new technologies to further its reporting and regulatory mandates, and the benefits of blockchain technology could be game-changing – both for the regulator’s ability to oversee the industry and for long-term industry risk reduction and cost savings. But the CFTC has its hands tied in getting its industry members to adopt technology.
How Muriel Siebert Still Inspires NYSE’s Top Female Leaders
Tracy Byrnes and Julie Iannuzzi – The Street.com
As part of Women’s History Month, Alpha Rising had the privilege of spending time with women leading the New York Stock Exchange .
Once an S.E.C. Regulator, Now Thriving as a Lawyer for Whistle-Blowers
Randall Smith – NY Times
When Jordan A. Thomas left the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2011, he could have landed a job at a top law firm, likely earning $500,000 or more a year to defend corporations and Wall Street firms in government investigations.
CEO Pay Hits Record Highs on Stock Market’s Surge
Theo Francis and Joann S. Lublin – WSJ
The chief executives of America’s biggest companies are on track for another banner year of compensation, fueled by a soaring stock market and an improving economy.
Peter Peterson, Lehman Exile Behind Blackstone, Dies at 91
Laurence Arnold – Bloomberg
Rebuilt Lehman Bros., then left amid power-sharing struggle; He co-founded Blackstone, world’s largest private-equity firm
Peter G. Peterson, the Wall Street rainmaker with global connections who emerged from a fight for control of Lehman Bros. to become a billionaire as co-founder of the private-equity firm Blackstone Group LP, has died. He was 91.
Exchanges, OTC and Clearing
Hong Kong Stock Market Holds Out Hope for Aramco Listing; Head of Hong Kong’s exchange says Saudi oil giant will eventually need to list its anticipated IPO there
Saumya Vaishampayan – WSJ
The head of Hong Kong’s stock exchange said he believes Saudi Arabian state-owned oil giant Aramco will eventually need to list in Hong Kong, despite news that its highly anticipated initial public offering is likely to take place on its domestic market.
Meet the ‘Flash Boys’ of cryptocurrency looking to shakeup bitcoin futures trading
Frank Chaparro – Business Insider
EverMarkets is gunning for the bitcoin derivatives business of CME and Cboe Global Markets.
The company, which announced Tuesday it is coming out of stealth mode, draws some inspiration from IEX and offers an alternative model to current futures markets.
Ripple’s XRP Just Might Be the Next Big Crypto Futures Market
Michael del Castillo – CoinDesk
Bitcoin futures may have been launched with tremendous fanfare – XRP futures, on the other hand, not so much.
Qatar Stock Exchange Welcomes The Largest Single Country Islamic ETF In The World By Masraf Al Rayan
The ETF has the lowest management fee of any Shari’a-compliant fund globally
Qatar Stock Exchange today admitted to trading the Al Rayan Qatar ETF under the symbol “QATR”. To mark the launch of the ETF, the exchange today welcomed the fund’s founder, Masraf Al Rayan, and fund manager, Al Rayan Investment, to open trading in Doha. The Fund will track the QE Al Rayan Islamic Index (Price) which is comprised of large and medium sized, Shari’a-compliant, listed Qatari companies.
Layer 1 at an MSP, How Can That Be?
Scott Feagans, Co-founder of NetXpress
Looking around, it is evident that our competitors have adopted a more traditional network architecture which relies on a series of network layers for exchange access and multi-client distribution architecture. With larger deployments, the distribution network becomes even more complex, adding significant latency to your trading network. This model typically has several switch hops (we’ve seen 4-5 in some cases…ouch!) As a result, even if a competitor has deployed low latency switches for each of these hops, such as Arista 7150s, the latency of your trading stack is increased by 760ns -1400ns.
Active Management 2.0 – The Automation Imperative
Dayle Scher, Tabb – TABB Forum
The U.S. investment management industry is becoming increasingly technical across all aspects of the transaction lifecycle. Driven by the flow of assets to passive, lower-fee products and the iron fist of regulators demanding faster, more accurate consolidated reporting, the buy side is turning the corner toward automation. The portfolio management function, while perhaps the most challenging to automate, is following the transformation of the trading desk by encouraging adoption of advanced technologies to streamline workflows.
Connectivity Provider BSO Opens New Office in Dubai
Victor Golovtchenko – Finance Magnates
One of the most popular hosting and cloud solutions providers in the FX industry, BSO, has announced the opening of a new office in Dubai. The company is aiming to facilitate the delivery of its services in the Middle East and beyond.
Online lending platform CommonBond gains equity funding boost; Deal with US bricks-and-mortar banks promises collaborative interaction in sector
Ben McLannahan – FT
CommonBond, an online lending platform, has received a shot of equity funding from two US regional banks, in a deal that could herald a new, collaborative relationship between bricks-and-mortar lenders and the upstarts that once promised to put them out of business.
BNP Paribas, Barclays invest $30 million in AI startup; BNP Paribas and Barclays join Goldman Sachs and Nasdaq as investors in AI FinTech firm Digital Reasoning.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
BNP Paribas has led a $30 million funding round in Digital Reasoning, a FinTech firm that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to understand human intentions and behaviours.
A feature on Robinhood’s new web platform raises questions about the strength of its user base
Frank Chaparro – Business Insider
Robinhood, the brokerage startup known for pioneering free stock trading, reportedly landed a big $5.6 billion valuation recently.
Swiss authorities tread wary path through ‘Crypto Valley’; Officials seek balance between encouraging new technologies and risking reputation
Ralph Atkins – FT
“Bitcoin accepted here,” reads the sign at House of Wines in Zug. For Albert Osmani, the shop’s owner, allowing payment in the cryptocurrency was a smart move. He pulled off a public relations coup in the tiny Swiss Alpine town ó and found a new profit source.
G20 agrees to ‘monitor’ cryptocurrencies but no action yet
Francesco Canepa – Reuters
Financial policymakers from the world’s top 20 economies agreed to keep a watchful eye on cryptocurrencies on Tuesday and opened the door to regulating the booming industry at a later stage.
Exclusive: Russia Secretly Helped Venezuela Launch a Cryptocurrency to Evade U.S. Sanctions
Simon Shuster – Time
President Donald Trump may not have realized on Monday that his executive order would step on Russia’s toes. Its official target was Venezuela, specifically the country’s plan to create the world’s first state-backed cryptocurrency, the petro, which went on sale Tuesday.
Fox News Analyst Quits, Calling Network a ‘Propaganda Machine’
Michael M. Grynbaum – NY Times
A longtime analyst for Fox News is leaving the network, saying that he could not “in good conscience” remain with an organization that, he argued, “is now wittingly harming our system of government for profit.”
Senate to House: Don’t Risk Upending Deal on Dodd-Frank Rollback; House is weighing changes to bill that passed Senate with bipartisan support
Andrew Ackerman – WSJ
Senators are pressing House lawmakers not to jeopardize what they see as their best opportunity to ease postcrisis financial regulations, urging them to quickly pass bipartisan Senate legislation without making changes, people familiar with the discussions said.
Facebook Crisis Reignites Washington’s Scrutiny of Social Networks
Ben Brody, Billy House – Bloomberg
Congress demands briefings as FTC reviews prior data agreement; Crescendo of criticism met with silence from CEO Zuckerberg
Facebook Inc. is struggling to respond to growing demands from Washington to explain how the personal data of millions of its users could be exploited by a consulting firm that helped Donald Trump win the presidency.
EU grapples with Trump problem as US relations turn sour; Unpredictable behaviour hits Brussels’ efforts to find solution in tariffs spat
Alex Barker, Jim Brunsden and Shawn Donnan in Washington – FT
One dilemma that will tower over EU leaders when they gather for a summit in Brussels this week: what to do about Donald Trump?
FCA sets out its Approach to Supervision and Enforcement; The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has today published its Approach to Supervision and its Approach to Enforcement.
When the FCA launched its Mission, it committed to publishing a series of documents that would explain its approach to regulation in more depth. These articulate how the FCA carries out its main activities, aiming to provide transparency to its thought process and decision-making.
Securities Commission Malaysia Warns Investors Over ‘Pump And Dump’ Schemes Via Internet And Social Media
The Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) today issued a warning to investors over the increase use of blogs, forums and social media platforms to spread false and misleading information on certain companies in order to perpetrate ‘pump and dump’ schemes.
Meridian Financial Group
We believe this firm has been providing financial services or products in the UK without our authorisation. Find out why to be especially wary of dealing with this unauthorised firm and how to protect yourself from scammers.
U.S. judge to question Big Oil on climate change
Dan Levine – Reuters
Five of the world’s biggest energy producers will be questioned by a federal judge on Wednesday about climate change science, part of a lawsuit that accuses the companies of misleading the public for years about their role in global warming.
NFA Letter to CFTC: RIN 3038óAE62: Retail Commodity Transactions Involving Virtual Currency
Dear Mr. Kirkpatrick:
National Futures Association (NFA) appreciates the opportunity to comment on the proposed interpretation issued by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (the Commission) on December 15, 2017. The proposed interpretation addresses the meaning of the phrase “actual delivery” set forth in Section 2(c)(2)(D)(ii)(III)(aa) of the Commodity Exchange Act (the Act) with respect to retail commodity transactions involving virtual currency. NFA supports the proposed interpretation and the Commission’s goal of protecting retail participants engaged in the virtual currency market from fraudulent schemes and abusive practices. We respectfully request that the Commission consider the following comments.
Federal Court Orders Former Church Pastor Wesley Allen Brown, Maverick International, Inc., and Edward Rubin to Pay More than $8.6 Million for Commodity Fraud Scheme that Preyed on Church Congregation
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today announced that Judge Brian J. Davis of the Middle District of Florida has ordered Defendants Maverick International, Inc. (Maverick), and its principals Edward Rubin and Wesley Allen Brown to pay $8,605,274.92 in combined restitution and civil monetary penalties for commodity futures fraud, commodity pool fraud, and related violations of federal commodity laws.
CFTC’s Agricultural Advisory Committee to Meet April 5, 2018 in Overland Park, Kansas
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) Agricultural Advisory Committee (AAC) will hold a public meeting on Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Overland Park, Kansas. This meeting will precede AgCon2018, a first-of-its kind agriculture commodity futures conference presented by CFTC and the Center for Risk Management Education and Research at Kansas State University (see CFTC Press Release 7646-17).
Steven Maijoor on CMU, Brexit and ESA review – What’s next?
Steven Maijoor, ESMA Chair, delivered the opening remarks at the BVI 2018 Annual Reception in Brussels on the evening of 20 March.
ESMA clarifies treatment of packages under MiFIR’s trading obligation for derivatives
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has issued today an opinion providing further guidance on the treatment of packages under the trading obligation for derivatives which the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation (MiFIR) introduced on 3 January 2018.
UBS fined $4.5 million for record keeping failures; Hong Kong financial watchdog fines UBS after it failed to produce transaction and client consent records.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
UBS Securities in Hong Kong has been handed a $4.5 million fine for failing to record transactions and client consents of trading activities effectively.
Squared CEO must pay $12.4 million in SEC case: U.S. judge
Nate Raymond – Reuters
The former chief executive of F-Squared Investments Inc, once the largest U.S. money manager creating portfolios out of exchange-traded funds, must pay more than $12.4 million for making false statements to investors, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday.
Investing and Trading
Cargill executive calls time on traditional supply model; President of agricultural supply chain division says making money through grain sales is ‘over’
Gregory Meyer and Emiko Terazono – FT
Long-established methods of making money through grain sales are “over”, a senior executive at Cargill has said, declaring a lasting shift has taken place in agricultural commodities markets.
Facebook Is Blacklisted at Nordea’s Sustainable Investment Unit
Kati Pohjanpalo, Frances Schwartzkopff – Bloomberg
The biggest bank in the Nordic region will no longer let its sustainable investment unit buy more stock in Facebook Inc.
Giant Oil Trader With No Women in Top Jobs Says Change Must Come
Andy Hoffman, Agnieszka De Sousa – Bloomberg
Trading houses ‘need to do better,’ Chairman Ian Taylor says; Bloomberg figures show traders lag other financial services
Commodity houses must do more to get women into top jobs, according to Vitol Group, the biggest independent oil trader, and a firm that like others in the industry staffs its leadership committee entirely with men.
Soaring U.S. Libor Rate Trickles Into Funding Markets Worldwide
Alex Harris, Liz McCormick – Bloomberg
Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong policy makers grapple with the impact; Australian short-term funding costs are surging as well
From Riyadh to Sydney, short-term funding markets worldwide are starting to feel the effects of soaring U.S. dollar Libor rates.
A new quagmire for quarterly U.S. taxpayers
Beth Pinsker – Reuters
If you pay quarterly U.S. taxes, the April IRS deadline is a double whammy – you have to file your 2017 return and you have to pay the first portion of your taxes due for the current year.
Libor-OIS Blowout Has Citigroup Eyeing More Negative Effects
Liz McCormick – Bloomberg
The recent blowout in one of the financial market’s key short-term borrowing indicators may be more a product of technical factors than banking stress, but the negative effects are likely to spread as the gauge deteriorates further, according to Citigroup Inc.
Europe Is Only Halfway To Healthier Banks; Completing the euro-zone banking union would prevent future crises from spreading.
Ferdinando Giugliano – Bloomberg
Last week, the European Commission and the European Central Bank announced new rules on how banks should treat dud loans. The good news is that the changes will help make European banks more resilient in the future. The bad news is that the euro zone banking system remains insufficiently equipped to deal with a new crisis.
Lloyd’s of London Posts Loss on ‘Exceptionally Difficult Year’
Jack Sidders, Ross Larsen – Bloomberg
Lloyd’s of London Chief Executive Officer Inga Beale said insurance contracts across Europe will remain at risk unless there’s an agreement on how they should be treated in post-Brexit Europe.
Peter Peterson, Blackstone Co-Founder, Dies At 91; Son of Greek immigrants became secretary of commerce in the Nixon administration and a co-founder of private-equity firm
James R. Hagerty – WSJ
Peter G. Peterson, the son of Greek immigrants who ran a diner in Kearney, Neb., grew up in a family so frugal that the parents and two sons took turns using the same water to bathe on Saturday nights. “It was never clear to me whether I was cleaner after the bath, or before,” he wrote in a memoir.
Trade war fears shake confidence of money managers; Nervousness over protectionism emerges as asset managers worry global economy is slowing
Adam Samson, Chris Flood and Chloe Cornish – FT
Money managers have flagged the spectre of a trade war as their top “tail risk” for the first time in more than a year, according to a closely watched survey released on Tuesday that highlights growing caution among some investors.
BlackRock bets on algorithms to beat the fund managers; Larry Fink’s firm hopes to build a ‘quant’ powerhouse through its active equities arm
Robin Wigglesworth – FT
Last year, Larry Fink finally threw his lot in with the machines. On March 28, BlackRock unveiled a secret project codenamed “Monarch”, a radical restructuring of its equities unit that is still reverberating across the industry.
Morgan Stanley’s President Can’t Wait for Electronic Bond Trading
Sonali Basak – Bloomberg
Morgan Stanley, the top equities shop on Wall Street, is ready for dealing bonds to look more like trading stocks.
Azerbaijan in Talks To Join OPEC
Benoit Faucon – WSJ
OPEC and Azerbaijan are in talks about the former Soviet republic joining the group, as the cartel looks to bolster its position amid a surge in U.S. shale oil.
EU proposes online turnover tax for big tech firms
Philip Blenkinsop – Reuters
The European Commission proposed rules on Wednesday to make digital companies pay their fair share of tax, with U.S. tech giants such as Google (GOOGL.O), Facebook (FB.O) and Amazon (AMZN.O) set to foot a large chunk of the bill.
The World’s Happiest Place Wants to Hire the Best Finance Brains
Raine Tiessalo – Bloomberg
About 30 finance professionals well versed in bank regulations are urgently needed to help Finland prepare for the arrival of a global systemically important bank this year.
Europe’s banks told to keep planning for full Brexit in 2019; Officials maintain June deadline for eurozone licences despite UK transition deal
Claire Jones, Caroline Binham and Alex Barker – FT
The eurozone’s top financial supervisors have told banks to keep planning for Brexit without any transition arrangements, despite this week’s deal to delay the UK’s exit from the EU’s single market.
EU Digs In Over Banks’ Post-Brexit Access, But Divisions Emerge
Nikos Chrysoloras, Ian Wishart – Bloomberg
EU proposal is based on unilateral equivalence systeml; Ambiguity in wording of draft reflects internal debate in EU
The European Union is preparing to offer the U.K. a bare bones deal for its banks after Brexit, even as divisions are starting to emerge within the bloc about how harshly to treat the City.
Google Pledges $300 Million to Clean Up False News
Kevin Roose – NY Times
In a move to combat the epidemic of false and unreliable information on the internet, Google is pledging to spend $300 million over the next three years to support authoritative journalism.
Bloomberg kicks tires on Fortune magazine
Alexandra Steigrad – NY Post
Bloomberg is among potential acquirers who have circled Fortune magazine, The Post has learned.
New York Prepares for a Foot of Snow From Slow-Moving Nor’easter
Brian K. Sullivan – Bloomberg
Air travel, power outages, coastal flooding all possible; ‘It is still coming, and there is still quite a lot coming’
A winter storm that has closed government offices in Washington and schools in New York is arriving late but slowly moving north, threatening to set snowfall records across the Northeast.