SEC Chair Gensler says crypto ‘rife with fraud, scams and abuses,’ threatens national security

Aug 4, 2021

First Read

$51,906/$300,000 (17.3%)


Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff

SEC Chairman Gary Gensler has a good public relations team. I can tell by the ways they are communicating his messages. One example is this video they shot and embedded in Twitter telling the story of why “If crypto is going to be widely adopted, it needs some rules of the road & a cop on the beat to enforce them.” Gensler says in the video, “To be clear, I am technology-neutral.” To be clear is one of his favorite sayings. He goes on to say, “What I’m not neutral about: Investor protection.” You can watch the video HERE.

Here is Gensler’s speech to the Aspen Security Forum about cryptocurrency. — SEC

The price of the recently listed shares of Robinhood finally popped yesterday, surging 24% to surpass the IPO price. The volume was 88 million shares, more than the combined volumes of Friday and Monday. — Bloomberg

Intercontinental Exchange reported its July 2021 statistics, which showed July average daily volume up 33% year over year and open interest up 10% year over year. — ICE

If you want to dine indoors in New York City, you’d better bring your vaccination card with you, as proof of vaccination is now necessary “to enter certain indoor businesses — including all indoor restaurants, entertainment venues and gyms,” the New York Post reported. — NY Post

There were no new donations to the JLN MarketsWiki Education GoFundMe campaign yesterday.

I am working on a story about how traders are using micro futures and options, focusing specifically on introducing brokers’ customers. But I am also interested in FCMs’ experiences with them. If you have some thoughts you would like to share with me, please email me at

The next two interviews we will publish for the Open Outcry Traders History Project are of NYSE member Kenny Polcari and CBOT member Bruce Williams. Look for them in the coming days, or early next week.

Have a great day and stay safe and treat people the same way you want to be treated: with respect, equality and justice.~JJL


Correction: The long entry in Hits & Takes yesterday about the AFX’s Ameribor press briefing mistakenly quoted J. Christopher Giancarlo as having said that Ameribor was recommended by the Alternative Reference Rates Committee and is preferred by large primary dealers of U.S. Treasury securities. In fact Mr. Giancarlo said, correctly, that it is SOFR that was recommended by the ARRC and is preferred by large U.S. Treasury securities dealers. My apologies for the error.~SR


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Americans Are Willing to Take Pay Cuts to Never Go Into the Office Again; A new survey shows 65% of workers who said their jobs could be done entirely remotely were willing to take a 5% reduction to stay at home.
Lisa Fleisher – Bloomberg
What would you sacrifice to be able to work from home forever? A new survey shows that many Americans say they’d be willing to take reduced salaries, give up days off or put in more hours for a job that offers a fully remote option.

***** A monthly train ticket from Elmhurst (a suburb of Chicago) to Chicago is $181.25. That is close to 5% of $50,000/year. Driving is more expensive when including parking costs. Add in buying lunch downtown on occasion, buying work clothes, plus the hassle of a commute (time value) and it starts to make sense. ~JB

***** Subtle message from Jeff Bergstrom that he likes the work from home setup.~JJL

***** I can walk to work (five minute walk). ~JB


The Unbearable Cost of Waging a Forever War on Covid; What may have been necessary in an emergency is intolerable on a permanent basis.
Ramesh Ponnuru – Bloomberg
Covid caseloads are rising again, with the seven-day average even exceeding the peak last summer. Just as in the spring of 2020, newspapers are running stories that the White House thinks are exaggerating the threat. Governments are reintroducing mask mandates, and public-health experts are calling for more. Opponents of mandates and lockdowns are saying, as they did at the start of the pandemic, that liberty is being unjustly infringed and health fetishized.

****** It is a war. There are costs for war. And everyone needs to sacrifice to win the war.~JJL


Tennessee won’t incentivize COVID shots but pays to vax cows
Travis Loller – Associated Press
Tennessee has sent nearly half a million dollars to farmers who have vaccinated their cattle against respiratory diseases and other maladies over the past two years.
But Republican Gov. Bill Lee, who grew up on his family’s ranch and refers to himself as a cattle farmer in his Twitter profile, has been far less enthusiastic about incentivizing herd immunity among humans.

****** If you can’t vaccinate humans, then you need to vaccinate the udder herd too.~JJL


Plague-infected chipmunks force closures around Lake Tahoe
Olafimihan Oshin – The Hill
California officials have closed down areas near Lake Tahoe due to plague-infected chipmunks, the Tahoe Daily Tribune reported on Monday.
El Dorado County spokeswoman Carla Hass told the newspaper that the positive tests were found in chipmunks that had no human contact.

****** No one had this in the “What is the next mind-boggling headline you can imagine?” pool.~JJL


Tuesday’s Top Three
Our top story Tuesday was the tweet about the actor Gene Hackman, who retired from acting 17 years ago, but is pictured in the tweet “alive and well at 91, and living in New Mexico.” Second was the Mother Jones article Your Odds of Going Back to the Office Are Dropping by the Day, which was the top story on Monday. Third was – for its fourth time in the top three – the Insider story Wall Street legend Richard Dennis conducted an intellectual experiment that turned 23 novice investors into overnight millionaires.


MarketsWiki Stats
26,499 pages; 234,956 edits
MarketsWiki Statistics


Lead Stories

SEC Chair Gensler says crypto ‘rife with fraud, scams and abuses,’ threatens national security; Stablecoins could help the evasion of sanctions, Gensler said
Chris Matthews – MarketWatch
Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Gary Gensler on Tuesday warned that new regulations are needed on cryptocurrencies and digital assets in order to protect U.S. national security. “This asset class is rife with fraud, scams and abuses in certain applications,” he said. “There’s a great deal of hype and spin about how crypto assets work. In many cases, investors aren’t able to get rigorous, balanced, and complete information,” said the SEC chief during an appearance at the virtual Aspen Security Forum.

Crypto ‘Wild West’ Needs Stronger Investor Protection, SEC Chief Says; Gary Gensler highlights platforms that allow investors to borrow against cryptocurrencies
Paul Kiernan – WSJ
The Securities and Exchange Commission will regulate cryptocurrency markets to the maximum extent possible using its existing authority, Chairman Gary Gensler said Tuesday, while also calling on Congress to grant the agency more scope and resources to oversee the sector. Calling the asset class rife with “fraud, scams and abuse,” Mr. Gensler signaled the SEC is likely to become more active in policing crypto trading and lending platforms, as well as so-called stablecoins.

Canadian securities regulators to establish new single enhanced self-regulatory organization
Vancouver and Toronto – The Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) today announced its plan to create a new, single self-regulatory organization (SRO) that will provide enhanced regulation of the investment industry.

MFDA and IIROC Support Decision of the Canadian Securities Administrators to Create a New Single Enhanced SRO
The Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada (MFDA) and the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) applaud the decision of the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) to create a new, single, enhanced self-regulatory organization (SRO). The CSA’s decision represents meaningful and impactful change that will foster an innovative and competitive industry, deliver value for investors and is fully supported by both the MFDA and IIROC.

Global Banks’ $170 Billion Haul Marks Most Profitable Year Ever
Harriet Habergham – Bloomberg
Dealmaking, trading gains lift earnings in recent quarters; Lenders also walking back dire forecasts on loan losses
Never mind banker burnout, return-to-office headaches, and new pandemic waves. A simple reality stands out for the biggest global investment banks: they’re minting money like never before.

SEC’s Gensler Signals Pathway for a Bitcoin ETF With Tough Rules
Benjamin Bain and Robert Schmidt – Bloomberg
He hints at openness for an ETF with full mutual fund rules; He says he looks forward to SEC reviewing such a product
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler is signaling a pathway for approving a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund, a move that crypto enthusiasts say is crucial for taking tokens to the mainstream.

Robinhood Surges 24% to Surpass IPO Price for First Time
Bailey Lipschultz – Bloomberg
Wall Street’s lackluster welcome for Robinhood Markets Inc. didn’t last long.Shares of the popular trading app, which gained prominence when legions of stuck-at-home amateurs turned investing into a hobby, soared 24% to $46.80 on Tuesday. The move came as more than 88 million shares changed hands, larger than the trading volume for Friday and Monday combined.

Quant Shop Jump Trading Buys Blockchain Firm Certus One
Joanna Ossinger – Bloomberg
Quant firm Jump Trading Group has acquired blockchain-engineering company Certus One for an undisclosed amount. The move is the latest step into decentralized finance for the closely held quantitative trading house, which in April announced Pyth, a network that blasts out up-to-the-millisecond price updates on stocks, traditional currencies and cryptocurrencies via the blockchain.

Covid Shots Targeting Delta May Be Needed, Researchers Say
Tim Loh – Bloomberg
Breakthrough infections raising concerns about effectiveness; Delta spreading quickly among unvaccinated younger people
Vaccines targeting the highly transmissible delta variant may now be needed, given its ability to infect people with fading immunity and potentially increased severity, researchers leading a large English study of Covid shots said.

What More Crypto Oversight Should Look Like; SEC Chair Gary Gensler says he is preparing regulations that would protect investors from the burgeoning cryptocurrency market. Bloomberg Opinion writers and contributors have some ideas.
Bloomberg Opinion
In his first major speech on cryptocurrencies, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler signaled a pathway for approving a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund. Although Bloomberg News reports that such a move would help bring the tokens into the mainstream, the SEC has been slow to act. The agency wants to make sure investors would be adequately protected before approving any of the at least half a dozen Bitcoin ETF applications. “We just don’t have enough investor protection in crypto,” Gensler said in remarks prepared for the Aspec Security Forum. “It’s more like the Wild West.”

China intervenes to manage commodity prices
Reuters Staff
Chinese policymakers have been trying to tame surging commodity prices – from coal to copper – that have squeezed manufacturers’ margins in the world’s second biggest economy. The country has been selling state reserves of coal, metals and imported corn to cool prices, but is buying pork to prop up a slumping market.

Tencent Selloff Shows Deep Scar Tissue in Chinese Markets; After the crackdown on education companies, every regulatory blip is seen as a possible death sentence
Jacky Wong – WSJ
China’s recent crackdown on education companies has left scars that could be long in healing. Putting the fear of God into investors may help Beijing direct capital more easily into areas it prefers, but also risks magnifying volatility and complicating corporate-investment plans, as every regulatory blip is seen as a possible death sentence.

CFA Level II Success Rate Falls to Lowest Level in a Decade
Katherine Doherty – Bloomberg
Institute says 40% pass exam’s second level, down from 55%; Latest test was the first to be administered using computers
The CFA Institute said 40% of candidates passed its Level II exam in May and June, the first time it was given using computers. The success rate was the lowest since 2010 and down from the 55% of applicants who passed the second level of the chartered financial analyst exam in December 2020, a 15-year high, according to the Charlottesville, Virginia-based institute. That was the last time the test was administered on paper.

FIS Surveys Financial Services Execs In A Volatile Year: Key Takeaways
Renato Capelj – Benzinga
Fidelity National Information Services Inc (NYSE: FIS) published the findings of a survey covering the perspectives of over 1,000 C-level executives in financial services, including 200 from brokerage firms and investment banks.

Computer-driven funds to muscle into new markets, says Man Group CIO; Sandy Rattray predicts quant ‘invasion’ in corporate debt and private equity
Robin Wigglesworth – FT
The quantitative investment industry is set to push deeper into previously inhospitable markets such as corporate debt and private equity, shaking up areas dominated by human financiers, according to Man Group’s Sandy Rattray.

DTCC Launches Enhanced CDS Kinetics Platform to Provide Increased Transparency Into Credit Default Swaps Markets; New DTCC data platform will offer new insights into notional outstanding, net notional and trading volume metrics along with enhanced analytics capabilities
The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC), the premier market infrastructure for the global financial services industry, today announced the launch of an enhanced DTCC CDS Kinetics platform to support growing demand for more transparency into the credit default swaps (CDS) market within the over-the-counter derivatives space.


Tyson to require COVID vaccine; A spokesman said the shots “are a condition of employment” at the meat company, which has about 1,100 employees in the Chicago area.
Tyson Foods Inc. is requiring all of its U.S. workers to be fully vaccinated no later than Nov. 1. The move by Tyson, America’s biggest meat company, is among the most aggressive yet to prevent another wave of infections that shuttered food-production plants in 2020.

Investment firm Vanguard offers $1,000 to employees to get vaccinated
Will Feuer – NY Post
Investment giant Vanguard will give $1,000 to any employee who can prove they’ve gotten one of the COVID-19 vaccines by October. The offer will apply to staff who got vaccinated before the incentive was extended as well as to those who roll up their sleeves and get the shot between now and October, Bloomberg reported, citing a person familiar.

Japan warns of unprecedented COVID spread as Tokyo cases hit new record
Leika Kihara – Reuters
Japan’s pandemic entering ‘new phase’ – minister;Tokyo COVID cases, at record of 4,166;Ruling party lawmakers call for roll-back of new hospital policy;Controversy is another setback to PM Suga ahead of elections;Top medical adviser warns of broadening COVID clusters
Japan warned on Wednesday that coronavirus infections were surging at an unprecedented pace as new cases hit a record high in Tokyo, overshadowing the Olympics and adding to doubts over the government’s handling of the pandemic.

Biden tells Florida, Texas leaders: Help on COVID-19 or ‘get out of the way’
Trevor Hunnicutt, Jeff Mason – Reuters
U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday urged Republican leaders in Florida and Texas – home to roughly a third of all new U.S. COVID-19 cases – to follow public health guidelines on the pandemic or “get out of the way” as the country struggles to contain the rapid spread of the disease’s Delta variant.

U.S. CDC announces new 60-day COVID-19 eviction moratorium
David Shepardson, Trevor Hunnicutt – Reuters
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday issued a new 60-day moratorium on residential evictions in areas with high levels of COVID-19 infections citing the raging Delta variant after having rejected an earlier push by the White House.

Florida Battles Record Covid-19 Hospitalizations, as Delta Variant Surges; State trails only Louisiana in seven-day rate of new cases, federal data show
Jon Kamp – WSJ
Covid-19 hospitalizations in Florida have reached a record high, federal data show, as the state battles a surge in cases brought on by the highly contagious Delta variant. There were 11,515 confirmed Covid-19 hospitalizations in the state, according to data released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Delta’s Spread Seen Pushing Herd Immunity Threshold Above 80%
Emma Court – Bloomberg
Highly contagious strain raises bar for limiting infections; Virus experts say more transmissible variant shifts goalposts
The spread of the delta coronavirus variant has pushed the threshold for herd immunity to well over 80% and potentially approaching 90%, according to an Infectious Diseases Society of America briefing on Tuesday.

A San Francisco hospital is offering a dose of Pfizer’s or Moderna’s vaccine to people who got J&J
Aria Bendix – Insider
It’s not a booster shot, the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital says — it’s a “supplemental dose.” Starting later this week, the hospital will allow people who received Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine to get a second shot of either Pfizer or Moderna.

Idaho Sees Surge in Covid-19 Infections in Babies and Toddlers
Vincent Del Giudice – Bloomberg
Idaho is suffering a surge in Covid-19 infections among babies and toddlers, prompting an urgent call for un-vaccinated adults to get jabs and “cocoon these kids.” The current pace is 53 per 100,000 children from newborn to age 4, up from 16 per 100,000 two weeks ago, Kathryn Turner, deputy state epidemiologist at the Idaho Division of Public Health, said during an online briefing Tuesday.

After Months of Avoiding the Vaccine Issue, Companies Begin to Mandate; Tyson and Microsoft were the latest to require employees to be vaccinated. Other major employers have tried less sweeping approaches.
Michael Corkery, Lauren Hirsch, Brooks Barnes and Kellen Browning – NY Times
Some of the nation’s largest employers, for months reluctant to wade into the fraught issue of whether Covid-19 vaccinations should be mandatory for workers, have in recent days been compelled to act as infections have surged again.

Delta Variant Fears Spur More Americans to Get Covid-19 Vaccine; Concerns about the Delta variant, confidence in vaccines’ safety and pressure from friends and family are helping people get past their hesitancy
Arian Campo-Flores – WSJ
Growing numbers of people are getting vaccinated in areas hit hard by the Delta variant, offering a glimmer of hope but still falling far short of what is needed to fight Covid-19, public-health officials say.

Microsoft to Require Vaccinations to Enter U.S. Offices
Spencer Soper and Matt Day – Bloomberg
Microsoft Corp. said it will require employees to show proof of Covid-19 vaccinations before they can enter any company facility in the U.S. beginning next month and won’t fully reopen work sites until Oct. 4 at the earliest, becoming the latest employer to update its policies in the wake of a resurgence in coronavirus cases cause by the delta variant.

– Breakthrough cases aren’t the cause of the US Covid-19 surge; Unvaccinated people still make up the vast majority of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. — VOX
– Louis Pasteur’s Vaccine Successor Bets on mRNA; Vaccine giant Sanofi is buying out its partner in mRNA development, Translate Bio, in another validation of the promise of the technology. — Bloomberg
– Vaccine Mandates for Kids Could Be the Next Big Back-to-School Fight; Children have to get vaccinated for less urgent threats—and it works. So why not with Covid? — Bloomberg
– Indonesia Becomes Second in Asia to Hit 100,000 Covid Deaths — Bloomberg
– Apathetic U.S. Youth Shrug Off Vaccines as Delta Variant Spreads — Bloomberg
– Rising Covid cases stoke fears of Indian third wave — FT
– Australia vaccine missteps keep it in the grip of Covid; Poor inoculation rollout leaves country ill-prepared to handle new outbreak fuelled by Delta variant. — FT
– Vaccination stops half of Delta infections, community survey shows; Another study finds long Covid is much less frequent in children than in adults — FT
– Majority of Covid test providers unaccredited, says UK assessor; Consumer groups and industry bodies criticise government for lack of oversight on tests for travellers — FT
– UK Covid vaccination programme to be extended to 16- and 17-year-olds; Officials say independent committee will change its guidance and ministers will accept recommendation — FT


Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

Intercontinental Exchange Reports July 2021 Statistics; July ADV up 33% y/y; OI up 10% y/y
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc.
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE :ICE), a leading global provider of data, technology and market infrastructure, today reported July 2021 trading volume and related revenue statistics, which can be viewed on the company’s investor relations website at in the Monthly Statistics Tracking spreadsheet.

MIAX Reports Record SPIKES Futures Trading on MGEX in July 2021
MIAX®, creator and operator of high performance securities exchanges, products and services, today announced average daily volume for SPIKES® Futures in July, 2021 reached 1,596 contracts, a new monthly record. In addition, SPIKES Futures volume on July 13, 2021 totaled a record 4,097 contracts. An expanded group of market participants and a zero fee exchange policy that began July 1, 2021 are key factors driving volume growth.

CME Group Announces First Trades of Nature-Based Global Emissions Offset (N-GEO) Futures
CME Group
CME Group, the world’s leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace, today announced that its Nature-Based Global Emissions Offset (N-GEO) futures have launched and are available for trading. 1,315 total contracts have traded since launching on August 1, equivalent to over 1.3 million environmental offsets, with participation from 10 firms, including Andurand Capital Management, Hartree Partners, Macquarie Group and Vitol.

Guest-of-Honour Speech by Tan Boon Gin, CEO of SGX RegCo, at the launch of the Singapore Governance and Transparency Index 2021
Mr Max Loh, Divisional President – Singapore, CPA Australia, Associate Professor Lawrence Loh, Director, Centre for Governance and Sustainability, NUS Business School, Ms Wong Su-Yen, Chairperson, Singapore Institute of Directors
Ladies and gentlemen, good morning.

Intercontinental Exchange Reports July 2021 Statistics
July ADV up 33% y/y; OI up 10% y/y
Intercontinental Exchange
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE :ICE), a leading global provider of data, technology and market infrastructure, today reported July 2021 trading volume and related revenue statistics, which can be viewed on the company’s investor relations website at in the Monthly Statistics Tracking spreadsheet.

New MSCI Index Futures Contracts To Be Listed For Trading On September 13, 2021
Intercontinental Exchange
Effective with the start of trading for trade date Monday, September 13, 20211 ICE Futures U.S. will begin trading new futures contracts on the following MSCI Indexes:
MSCI China NTR Index (contract symbol CHH)
MSCI USA Small Cap GTR Index (contract symbol USC)
MSCI Germany NTR Index (contract symbol GEA)
MSCI Italy NTR Index (contract symbol ITH)

MEMX on LinkedIn
In our latest X Sessions episode, Hudson River Trading’s Adam Nunes explained how #innovations in U.S. markets are faring compared to other regions and asset classes. Watch the full episode

M&A: Messy and Awkward
Virginie O’Shea, founder, Firebrand Research via The Trade
It’s interesting to note the amount of industry commentary that goes on around mergers and acquisitions, and how often people seem to be surprised when the firms in question struggle with the integration part of M&A. The recent merger between the London Stock Exchange Group and Refinitiv is a case in point. I ask myself, were people asleep when Thomson Financial and Reuters merged? Refinitiv has been here before and anyone left from those days already has the T-shirt. Mergers are never easy and they are rarely simple.

NZX Shareholder Metrics – July 2021

Nasdaq July 2021 Volumes
Nasdaq (Nasdaq: NDAQ) today reported monthly volumes for July 2021 on its investor relations website. A data sheet showing the monthly volumes and quarterly capture rates can be found at:

Cboe Global Markets to Present at UBS Financial Services Virtual Conference Tuesday, August 10
Cboe Global Markets, Inc.
Cboe Global Markets, Inc. (Cboe: CBOE), a leading provider of global market infrastructure and tradable products, announced today that Chris Isaacson, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, and Brian Schell, Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer, will present at the UBS Financial Services Virtual Conference, on Tuesday, August 10 at 1:00 p.m. ET.

– Storage and Handling Rate Changes for PGS — [[|CME]]
– Storage and Handling Rate Changes for C. Steinweg-Handelsveem B.V. —CME
– Storage and Handling Rate Changes for Henry Bath LLC — CME
– Storage and Handling Rate Changes for Metal Ox Warehousing, Inc. — CME
– Storage and Handling Rate Changes for C. Steinweg (Baltimore), Inc. — CME
– Storage and Handling Rate Changes for Access World (Rotterdam) BV — CME
– Treasury Spot Month Position Limits for Sep 2021 — CME
– CME Direct Microsoft .Net Framework Update Required — CME


Open Source DeFi Platform Celo Announces New Partnership With FinClusive; FinClusive’s AML/KYC capabilities create decentralized payment and compliant solutions for unhosted wallets and defi; Through partnership, U.S. users can now on and off ramp from cUSD into dollars on Celo
Celo, an open-source blockchain ecosystem focused on making decentralized financial (DeFi) systems and tools accessible to anyone with a smartphone, and FinClusive, a hybrid fintech/regtech platform providing accounts and payments solutions for fintech and virtual asset service providers with an embedded full-stack anti-money laundering compliance application, today announced a partnership designed to provide a fully compliant U.S. dollar on and off ramp for cUSD by leveraging Valora, a mobile-first digital wallet native to the Celo Platform, which allows you to save, send, and spend crypto as easily as sending a text.

Singapore FinTech Festival 2021 to take place from 8 to 12 November, with key focus on Web 3.0
MAS sets up new entity to drive future expansion of the SFF
Monetary Authority of Singapore
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) today announced that the Singapore FinTech Festival (SFF) will take place from 8 to 12 November, as a hybrid digital and physical event. A company limited by guarantee (CLG) will also be incorporated to spearhead future growth of the SFF and lead a series of new initiatives to provide year-round engagement with the global FinTech community.

Volante Technologies Launches The Volante Experience™, Rapid Onboarding for Cloud Payments as a Service; Latest offering brings the simplicity of modern Software as a Service (SaaS) onboarding and support to cloud payment processing for financial institutions
Volante Technologies, the global leader in cloud payments and financial messaging, announced today the launch of The Volante Experience™, its latest Payments as a Service (PaaS) customer experience offering. Volante Experience will bring the speed, lower cost and simplicity of the modern SaaS customer onboarding experience to banks and financial institutions adopting Volante’s cloud-native payments solutions.

Symphony continues acquisition spree with purchase of startup StreetLinx; It is the second acquisition under Symphony’s new chief executive Brad Levy
Lucy McNulty – Financial News
Symphony, the $1.4bn communications provider for banks, agreed to buy market infrastructure tool StreetLinx as part of an acquisition spree under new chief executive Brad Levy.

Cohen SPAC to Merge With Business Services Firm Pico
Crystal Tse – Bloomberg
Deal would value combined public company at $1.75 billion; Agreement follows Cohen’s SPAC deals for Perella, eToro
Serial blank-check company dealmaker Betsy Cohen has found her seventh target, a technology provider for financial services companies. FTAC Athena Acquisition Corp. has agreed to merge with New York-based Pico in a deal that will give the combined company an equity value of $1.75 billion, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Nexus Could Be Banking’s Next Big Thing; Budding cross-border fast payment systems could put fee-heavy international wire transfers in the museum where they belong.
Andy Mukherjee – Bloomberg
In the age of smartphones, international wire transfers belong in money museums. In more than 60 countries, including many developing nations, it has become incredibly easy to send funds in real time to someone else over the internet — knowing nothing more than their mobile phone number.

StanChart Eyes ‘Stratospheric’ Fintech Values in Digital Push
Harry Wilson. – Bloomberg
CEO Winters will give update next month on fintech investments; Bank’s SC Ventures has invested in technology businesses
Standard Chartered Plc reckons it can spot the next fintech gem. The bank, which has 85,000 employees across 59 markets, has already fallen behind financial technology in one respect: its market capitalization is barely half the latest valuation given to payments startup Revolut Ltd.

Symphony expands institutional network with StreetLinx acquisition; The acquisition adds around 200 institutional counterparties to Symphony’s existing network of 1000 institutions.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Communication technology platform, Symphony, has expanded its institutional network with the acquisition of counterparty mapping platform StreetLinx. Symphony said the acquisition provides it with an updated verified directory, which will be essential to increasing efficiency and reducing risk in trading communications.


Some Cyber Experts Want to Investigate Hacks Like Plane Crashes
David Uberti – Wall Street Journal
President Biden in May ordered the Department of Homeland Security to create a public-private board to investigate major hacks but offered few details on how the initiative would work. Some security wonks say the administration should look to transportation disasters for clues.

The Cybersecurity 202: Experts are split on whether the relationship between ethical hackers and government has improved
Joseph Marks and Aaron Schaffer – The Washington Post
Cyber experts are about evenly split on whether the often-complicated relationship between the government and ethical hackers has improved in the past two years. Those years included the launch of a slew of programs inviting ethical hackers to search for bugs in government computer systems and a landmark Supreme Court ruling limiting when prosecutors can bring cases against security researchers that violate tech products’ narrow terms of service.

Cyber Security Today, August 4, 2021 – Report details problems with and solutions for supply chain attacks
Howard Solomon – IT World Canada
IT departments need to assess the cybersecurity maturity of the software and hardware products they buy. That’s the recommendation of the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity, which looked at the increasing number of cyberattacks that are going through the supply chain. These include attacks on applications like Microsoft Exchange, SolarWinds Orion and, most recently, Kaseya VSA.

Edge computing emerges as the next big cybersecurity challenge
Daniel Kuhn – Illinois News Today
Edge computing platform adoption is beginning to skyrocket as organizations discover the benefits of processing and analyzing data in near real time at the time of data creation and consumption. Currently, the only problem with ointments is that each edge computing platform added to the expanded enterprise expands the attack surface that needs to be protected.

Ransomware: The $20 Billion Cybersecurity Problem
Christian Wiens – Security Boulevard
Once thought of primarily as a rare, international tech crime, ransomware has become the “go-to method of attack” among threat actors, according to a Cybercrime Magazine article, “Global Ransomware Damage Costs Predicted To Reach $20 Billion (USD) By 2021.” Cybersecurity Ventures, the article says, estimates that businesses are being hit by ransomware attacks nearly every 11 seconds.


Rothschild-backed RIT co-leads funding for crypto platform Aspen Digital
Abhinav Ramnarayan – Reuters
RIT Capital Partners, the investment trust founded by Jacob Rothschild, is co-leading a funding round for crypto investment platform Aspen Digital intended to finance the creation of an online platform that would give wealthy investors a single portal to manage crypto investments.

Think You Know Your Bitcoin From Dogecoin? Test Your Crypto Knowledge; Everyone’s talking about digital currencies, meme coins and DeFi. But how much do you really know about them?
Emily Cadman – Bloomberg
After the euphoria comes the doubt. Following a stellar run that took Bitcoin to lofty highs of over $60,000, the biggest cryptocurrency has retreated, with prices now hovering around $40,000.

Bitcoin mining crackdown in China is a boon for Texas
Akiko Fujita – Yahoo Finance
John King knew his small town of Rockdale, Texas, had landed on the global crypto map when three Chinese bitcoin miners showed up at City Hall unannounced this summer. Then came the phone calls to the city’s Chamber of Commerce, from investors asking about power hookups, to connect mining equipment they planned to ship from China. None had ever stepped foot inside the rural West Texas community, with a population of roughly 5,600 people.

Ryne Miller Joins FTX.US as General Counsel
West Realm Shires Services Inc.
West Realm Shire Services Inc (“FTX.US” or “the Company”), a leading US-regulated cryptocurrency exchange, today announced that Ryne Miller has joined FTX.US as its General Counsel. This hire is another development by the Company to grow its presence in the US and expand on its mission in delivering trust, transparency and credibility to the industry.

Grayscale Hires ETF Head in Push to Convert Biggest Bitcoin Fund
Katherine Greifeld – Bloomberg
LaValle will lead company’s efforts to turn GBTC into an ETF; Largest crypto product has traded at a discount since March
The company behind the largest cryptocurrency fund is building out its ETF team, despite dimming odds that U.S. regulators will approve the structure this year.

Crypto Coin Bitcoin SV Appears to Have Faced a ‘51% Attack’
Joanna Ossinger – Bloomberg
Attack may give control of blockchain to miners with conflicts; Some damage done to crypto network, Coin Metrics says
Cryptocurrency Bitcoin SV is under a blockchain attack that appears to have inflicted at least some damage to the network, according to a firm that analyzes system data.

Former Citadel Securities fixed income operations chief joins institutional crypto market maker B2C2; New USA president at B2C2 brings 16 years of experience to the role working at Morgan Stanley and Citadel Securities.
Wesley Bray – The Trade
Crypto market maker B2C2 has appointed the former fixed income chief operations officer at Citadel Securities as president of its USA business. Nicola White joins B2C2 from Citadel Securities where she had served as global operations chief for fixed income for nearly four years, remaining under a non-compete for the last year and a half.

Alan Howard Owns 5.8% of German Crypto Asset Management Firm Iconic Holding
Will Canny – Coindesk
Alan Howard, the co-founder of macro hedge fund Brevan Howard, has invested in German crypto asset manager Iconic Holding, according to the shareholder list of the German Handelsregister.

Global Precious Metals Retailer Kitco to Issue Gold-Backed Stablecoin
Sebastian Sinclair – Coindesk
Canadian precious-metals retailer Kitco is getting into the stablecoin game. According to a press release shared with CoinDesk on Wednesday, Kitco Gold (KGLD) will be fully backed by physical gold held in Kitco’s DirectReserve vaults and track the real-time market value of the yellow metal.

Reddit Crypto Traders Rush for Riches Before Wall Street Invades
Justina Lee – Bloomberg
Matthew Tweed is worlds apart from Wall Street traders. The 20-year-old finished high school just two years ago, never went to college and works out of his bedroom at the family home in Surrey, England.

Bitcoin Backers Not Happy Even as SEC Signals ETF Openness
Vildana Hajric and Claire Ballentine – Bloomberg
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commissioner Gary Gensler gave what may be the strongest sign of support yet from the agency for a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund. Crypto fans, though, are not exactly thrilled.


GOP senators feud over cryptocurrency plan as lawmakers seek funding for infrastructure deal
Jeff Stein – Washington Post
Two leading Republican senators are at odds over a proposal to step up tax-reporting requirements on cryptocurrency transactions, a measure designed to help pay for the $1 trillion infrastructure proposal moving through Congress.


SEC Says Finra Can Now Mandate That High-Risk Firms Set Aside Funds
Tracey Longo – Financial Adviser
The Securities and Exchange Commission approved a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority rule late last week designed to rein in broker-dealers with a history of sales abuses by forcing them to set aside money in an account that could be used only to pay regulatory arbitration awards and regulatory penalties.

FCA wins case against Avacade in the Court of Appeal
The Court of Appeal has upheld findings of breaches against Alexandra Associates (UK) Limited trading as Avacade Future Solutions (AA), and Craig and Lee Lummis in a case brought by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Harder. Better. Faster. Stronger: Has the FCA cracked its enforcement troubles? Changing processes at the regulator could herald a faster, firmer era of enforcement
Justin Cash – Financial News
Tough times call for a tough regulator. Is that how the financial services sector describes the Financial Conduct Authority, as the City is buffeted by the headwinds of Brexit and Covid? Rarely, most observers would readily admit. But could change be in the air? Could the FCA finally unlock some of its potential to be a sterner warden of consumers’ interests, as the public continues to raise gripes about everything from rip-off charges to market-manipulating cabals? The answer is that, through a minor procedural change, the FCA might actually be getting somewhere on the path to become a more effective and feared policeman.

Bonds Feel Pull of Sub-Zero Yields as Virus Concern Takes Toll
Masaki Kondo – Bloomberg
Italy two-year yield below -0.5%, Japan 10-year rate at zero; Virus-related uncertainty dragging yields globally: AU Jibun
Bond yields in Europe and Asia gravitated toward zero and below amid concern the spread of the coronavirus delta variant will derail the global economic recovery. On Wednesday, Italy’s two-year yield fell below the European Central Bank’s deposit rate of minus 0.5% for the first time. The entire German yield curve turned negative this week and Japan’s 10-year bond yields fell to zero, a level last seen in December.

SEC’s Gensler seeks new powers to regulate ‘Wild West’ crypto markets; US securities regulator calls on Congress to help protect investors from fraud and abuse
Gary Silverman – FT
Gary Gensler, the chair of the US Securities and Exchange Commission, has called on Congress to give his agency additional powers to protect investors in “Wild West” cryptocurrency markets that are “rife with fraud, scams and abuse”.

Remarks Before the Aspen Security Forum by Chair Gary Gensler

Investing and Trading

Robinhood shares soar more than 20 percent despite a lack of news
Lydia Moynihan and Theo Wayt – NY Post
Robinhood is starting to behave like a meme stock. Shares of the free stock-trading app popped more than 20 percent Tuesday morning despite a lack of news, befuddling traders and drawing comparisons to the wild movements of shares like GameStop and AMC.

As SPAC Creators Get Rich, How Incentives Are Shared Remains Murky; Some investment executives who back SPACs keep lucrative benefits known as ‘sponsor promotes’ for themselves rather than share with clients
Juliet Chung and Amrith Ramkumar – WSJ
Many investment executives who back special-purpose acquisition companies are scoring big paydays as more deals get completed. Some of their clients are missing out. The divergence results from the varying methods SPAC creators use to share the lucrative incentives known as the “sponsor promote.” It typically consists of deeply discounted shares and other securities executives receive for risking capital to set up the SPAC and vet a company to take public. The promote typically allows creators to make tens of millions of dollars on paper on average—sometimes several times their initial investment—even if that company’s shares fall.

Robinhood Surges 24% to Surpass IPO Price for First Time; Robinhood Surges 24% to Surpass IPO Price for First Time
Bailey Lipschultz – Bloomberg
Wall Street’s lackluster welcome for Robinhood Markets Inc. didn’t last long.Shares of the popular trading app, which gained prominence when legions of stuck-at-home amateurs turned investing into a hobby, soared 24% to $46.80 on Tuesday. The move came as more than 88 million shares changed hands, larger than the trading volume for Friday and Monday combined.

Robinhood Retail Traders Join Cathie Wood to Get Stock Above IPO
Abhishek Vishnoi and Bailey Lipschultz – Bloomberg
Robinhood Markets Inc. shares rose above the company’s initial public offering price for the first time as individual investors joined Cathie Wood on Tuesday to boost the zero-fee trading platform.

As producer sentiment holds steady, farmers weigh in on rising input prices and farmland values
CME Group
The Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer leveled off after two months of sharp declines, down just 3 points to a reading of 134 in July. Both producers’ sentiment regarding current and future conditions also dropped. The Index of Current Conditions was down 6 points to a reading of 143, primarily as a result of weakened principal crop prices. The Index of Future Expectations was down 2 points to a reading of 130. The Ag Economy Barometer is calculated each month from 400 U.S. agricultural producers’ responses to a telephone survey. This month’s survey was conducted between July 19-23, 2021.

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

Heat waves to drastically worsen in Northern Hemisphere, studies warn; Climate models project heat waves will regularly break records and induce more heat stress before the end of the century
Kasha Patel – Washington Post
In July 1936, the central United States roasted during one of the most notable summers of the Dust Bowl-era. Parched lands, low rainfall and a strong ridge of high pressure over the region led to record-breaking temperatures in the Upper Mississippi River Valley — a handful of which still stand today. La Crosse, Wis., experienced temperatures at or above 90 degrees Fahrenheit for two consecutive weeks. Nationally, about 5,000 deaths were linked to the heat wave.

Facing Severe Droughts, Developers Seek to Reuse the Water They Have; Water recycling in office buildings is seen as a promising sustainability effort, as well as a smart hedge against rising costs and future shortages.
Patrick Sisson – NY Times
When Salesforce Tower in San Francisco fully reopens this year after 16 months of pandemic-induced closure, one of its more unusual features will be found in the basement.

Africa Needs to Spend $15.7 Billion on Refineries to Curb Emissions
William Clowes – Bloomberg
Facilities need overhauling to cut sulfur emissions, body says; Oil, gas demand expected to rise with renewable energy output
African nations need to spend about $15.7 billion on their refineries to curb emissions and meet climate-change targets as demand for oil and gas surges, according to an industry lobby group.

Ex-Enron Trader Discovers Greed Is Good—for the Environment; Carbon markets create an unlikely alliance between speculators and the green movement.
Will Mathis – Bloomberg
Anytime Ulf Ek needs to think, he goes for a walk in London’s Richmond Park with Dollar, a ­Maltese-Yorkie mix. The 2,500-acre expanse of fields, forest, and deer herds about 12 miles southwest of the financial district has long been a bucolic respite from urban life.

Global investor group begins to step up pressure on steel industry; Climate Action 100+ coalition says producers ‘not on track’ for 91% cut in carbon emissions by 2050
Chris Flood – FT
An influential institutional investor group with assets of $55tn under management has begun to step up pressure on the steel industry over its failure to make progress on reaching climate change goals.


Lazard Raises Annual Pay for First-Year Bankers to $100,000
Mary Biekert – Bloomberg
Lazard Ltd. is raising salaries for its U.S. junior financial-advisory analysts amid increased competition from buy-side and technology firms and intensified workloads during the pandemic. First-year analysts will now earn at least $100,000, matching pay at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Deutsche Bank AG, Citigroup Inc., Barclays Plc and JPMorgan Chase & Co., according to a person with knowledge of the move. Second- and third-year analysts will make $110,000, the person said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.

Deutsche Bank Set to Resume Sponsoring Hong Kong IPOs After Filling Staffing Gap; Two hires give bank personnel required to sponsor offerings in city
Frances Yoon – WSJ
Deutsche Bank AG DB 0.48% is set to regain its ability to sponsor Hong Kong initial public offerings, after losing the capability temporarily in June when it failed to line up replacements in time for two departing staffers. Sponsors take a senior role in an IPO in Hong Kong, conducting due diligence on companies that are preparing to go public and helping guide the companies through the listing process. Banks and brokerage companies that act as sponsors need to have at least two experienced individuals serving as IPO principals who have been approved by the city’s Securities and Futures Commission.

Hedge Fund Alphadyne Loses $1.5 Billion in Short Squeeze
Nishant Kumar and Sridhar Natarajan – Bloomberg
Hedge fund Alphadyne Asset Management is one of the biggest casualties from a short squeeze in the global bond market, with its $12 billion macro trading strategy snared in a series of bad bets on rising interest rates.

Commerzbank’s Growth Ambitions Are Hit by Long List of One-Offs
Steven Arons – Bloomberg
Court ruling, IT project cause bigger-than-expected loss; CEO Knof wants to grow revenue even as he slashes costs
Commerzbank AG saw earnings last quarter hit by a long series of one-time charges, undermining an otherwise solid performance and complicating efforts by Chief Executive Officer Manfred Knof to grow the lender.

Jamie Dimon Sees Himself Atop JPMorgan for Five More Years, But Not 10
Hannah Levitt – Bloomberg
Jamie Dimon said he’s unlikely to be running JPMorgan Chase & Co. in 10 years, but he does see himself staying for another five years. “I’m not going to go play golf and smell flowers,” Dimon said in an interview with Fox Business that aired Wednesday.

Archegos employees face $500m losses from crashed bonus fund; Value of deferred pay plan had swelled before Bill Hwang’s family office collapsed
Ortenca Aliaj and Eric Platt Tabby Kinder and Leo Lewis – FT
Employees of Archegos Capital Management face losses of about half a billion dollars after the value of a deferred pay plan set up by the firm crashed along with its other investments.

UK investment trusts that are taking on thematic ETFs; Risks and rewards could be higher with some trusts targeting unlisted early and growth stage companies
Dave Baxter – FT
Having agreed to pay £16.5m for a 63 per cent stake in thematic exchange traded fund provider Rize, AssetCo has delivered the latest vote of confidence in a growing industry. Thematic ETFs are a promising area for any provider: the level of assets in such funds reached a new high of EUR32.4bn across Europe in the second quarter of this year, according to Morningstar.

Fidelity’s Joel Tillinghast Was Out of Favor. Then the Meme-Stock Craze Happened; The meme-stock boom drew attention to some of the stock picker’s holdings; ‘It was very weird’
Justin Baer – WSJ
Fidelity Investments’s Joel Tillinghast was picking cheap stocks before it was cool. For most of the past decade, investors have favored big technology companies and other growth stocks over the kinds of overlooked businesses Mr. Tillinghast has spent his career mining.

Apollo Profit Climbs as Gains Outpace Broader Markets; Private-equity firm’s distributable earnings are highest since 2013
By Miriam Gottfried – WSJ
Apollo Global Management Inc. APO 2.47% reported higher second-quarter profit Wednesday, as the value of its private-equity portfolio climbed faster than the broader market. The New York firm posted net income of $657.7 million, or $2.70 a share, up from $446.3 million or $1.84 a share, a year earlier.


Singapore banks’ quarterly results signal growth slowdown amid COVID impact
Anshuman Daga – Reuters
OCBC Q2 profit jumps 59% on-year, falls 23% on quarter;United Overseas Bank pofit up 43%, flat on quarter
Trading income declines after strong first quarter;Banks post big drop in loan losses on the year
Singapore lenders Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp (OCBC.SI) and United Overseas Bank (UOBH.SI) beat profit estimates, driven by recovery in core markets, but their sequential performance slowed sharply, underscoring challenges to maintain growth.

Factbox: China’s key commodities targeted by Beijing’s recent measures
Shivani Singh, Min Zhang – Reuters
As a key producer, importer and consumer of most of the world’s major commodities, China is uniquely sensitive to sharp price rises or supply disruptions in the raw materials on which its manufacturing sector and massive population depends.

China vows to crack down on high-risk banks as economy’s post-coronavirus rebound slows
Frank Tang – South China Morning Post
Chinese regulators say they will “spare no effort” as part of a clamp down on high-risk financial institutions, including using targeted anti-corruption investigations, amid a flush of liquidity generated by coronavirus-related stimulus and increased fiscal spending.

JPMorgan Blames Turkey’s Volatile Lira for Investor Misgivings
Asli Kandemir and Ercan Ersoy – Bloomberg
The lira’s best month this year may only serve to highlight the volatility that still haunts Turkish assets. For JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s top executive in Turkey, swings in the currency remain a key hurdle to convincing investors to buy into the appeal of local securities. Markets are also on alert for how price growth, already at a two-year high, performs in the months ahead, Mustafa Bagriacik, senior country officer for Turkey and Azerbaijan for the U.S. lender, said in an interview.

Brazil poised for biggest interest rate increase since 2003; Central bank expected to accelerate pace of tightening in an effort to tame spiralling inflation
Michael Pooler – FT
Brazil’s central bank is expected to enact its biggest interest rate rise in almost two decades on Wednesday, with economists predicting an increase of 100 basis points to curb the risk of spiralling inflation.

Thailand’s currency wilts as Covid wreaks havoc on tourism; Baht has shed 9% this year as ‘balance of payments shock’ takes heavy toll on sentiment
John Reed – FT
Thailand’s baht has gone from being one of Asia’s strongest currencies before the pandemic to one of its worst performers this year as the coronavirus crisis ravages its crucial tourism sector.

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