John Lothian

John Lothian

Executive Chairman and CEO


The John Lothian Daily Update is a podcast turning the daily JLN hits and takes comments, our original content and the stories and quips in the top box of First Read into a daily podcast.


Hits & Takes

JLN Staff

Yesterday was the last day for SEC Chairman Jay Clayton, one million people in the U.S. have received the vaccine and Tennessee is now the U.S. COVID-19 epicenter. So much for the trip to Nashville for the holidays.

Boris Johnson is declaring victory for the UK for Brexit because that is what blowhards do. Are you ready for the roaring 2020’s? I know I am.

Robinhood Financial has been hit with a class-action suit for selling stock orders, which sounds like someone did not read the small print.

The new virus strain transmissibility is said to cause more deaths, according to a study, in case you were looking for some bad news.

The Block’s Frank Chaparo reports that Jump Trading and Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital, two of the largest crypto trading market makers |have stopped making markets for XRP after the SEC filed suit against Ripple.

The Washington Post’s Sarah Ellison wants to know what happened to Maria Bartiromo. She went from respected financial journalist to Trump apologist.

FINRA wished me happy holidays with this card. Happy holidays to all my friends at FINRA too!

Alas, egads, there were no new donations to the JLN MarketsWiki Education GoFundMe campaign yesterday. Help support our efforts to preserve industry history by donating to our GoFundMe campaign.

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


It’s been nearly a year since recreational cannabis was fully legalized in Illinois on January 1, 2020. Sales have been hot, with the state tallying more than $580 million in recreational weed sales for the year through November. However, applicants for state-issued social equity and craft grower licenses remain in limbo, waiting to get in on the action after a July 1 issuance deadline was delayed. The Illinois Craft Cannabis Association, a group of mostly minority small-business owners who invested heavily in the application process, held a Zoom rally Wednesday afternoon to lobby Gov. J.B. Pritzker to get the ball rolling on their grower, infuser and transporter applications. It was an oddly timed rally, right before the Christmas holiday, but it was when ICCA members were promised a ruling by Cook County Circuit Court Judge Allen Walker on their request for an expedited writ of mandamus that would require the state to issue the long-overdue licenses. As of late Wednesday evening, they were still waiting.~SC

Things are not going well for Ripple, creator of the digital asset XRP. News broke this week that the SEC was suing Ripple for selling XRP without registering a securities sale with the regulator. I guess that means XRP is a security? Maybe? Since word of the lawsuit broke, lots of folks are either liquidating their XRP positions or barring XRP trading from their trading platforms. Cryptocurrency asset manager Bitwise has reportedly $9.3 million worth of XRP in its crypto index fund. Chicago-based HFT firm Jump Trading, as well as Galaxy Digital, have ceased market making operations for XRP until further notice. Cryptocurrency payments processor Simplex has also begun blocking XRP transactions.~MR

First Read

The CryptoMarketsWiki Podcast Episode 16: A Year of Highs and Lows

In this episode of the CryptoMarketsWiki Podcast, Matt Raebel and Thom Thompson discuss their picks for the biggest cryptocurrency and blockchain stories of 2020.

Listen to the podcast »


Conferences Plot a Comeback Even Before Vaccines Are Widely Distributed; Singularity University’s Abundance 360, which abruptly scaled back an event for next month, is one of many organizers anxious to reopen.
Sarah McBride – Bloomberg
It could take a while before the handshake comes back, if it ever does. Business conferences, however, are set to restart in the U.S. the moment health code allows. And despite uncertainty around when exactly that will be, convention organizers are holding out hope—and event space—for a possible return in the coming weeks.

*****The idea is that folks are sick of Zooming all day and want to get their suits out of dry cleaning bags.~SC


U.S. Warns Crypto Stablecoins on Money Laundering, Risk Controls
Benjamin Bain – Bloomberg
President’s Working Group issues statement on stablecoins; Group says tokens should be backed by adequate cash reserves
Top U.S. financial regulators are warning firms behind an important part of the cryptocurrency market to tighten protections against money laundering. At issue are so-called stablecoins that traders rely on to facilitate payments for digital tokens. In a Wednesday statement, the Treasury Department and other agencies said they should be used in a way that “effectively manages risk and maintains the stability of the U.S. domestic and international financial and monetary systems.”

*****My one theory on where bitcoin gets its value from, its marginal utility as a means to launder money, fits stablecoins too. The risk of laundering money is the change in value of the medium which you are using. If bitcoin is very volatile, if the velocity of the medium is high, it can drive up the cost of laundering money. But if you have a stablecoin that is more stable, then you drive down the cost of laundering money. Now this is just one part of many reasons to own bitcoin, or just one theory.~JJL


UK company launches $30 bottled air range for homesick expats
Tamara Hardingham-Gill – CNN Travel
Thanks to ever-changing Covid-19 travel restrictions, many people around the world have found themselves stranded far away from home this year. Over in the UK, a fast-spreading new coronavirus variant has led to several countries around the world imposing bans and restrictions on travel to the nation, meaning a large number of residents currently abroad will not be able to return any time soon. However, relocation website My Baggage has dreamed up a special gift for homesick residents that’s quite literally a breath of fresh air. The company is currently selling bottles of “authentic” air from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to provide UK residents overseas with the scent of home.

*****And just like that my pet rock doesn’t feel like a dumb purchase anymore. ~JB


CFTC Announces Review of RSBIX NFL Futures Contracts Proposed by Eris Exchange, LLC
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today announced it has initiated a review, pursuant to CFTC Regulation 40.11(c), of RSBIX NFL futures contracts self-certified by Eris Exchange, LLC (ErisX) on December 15, 2020. ErisX self-certified three RSBIX NFL futures contracts: one based on the moneyline; the second on the point spread; and the third on total points for individual NFL games. Beginning today, the CFTC has 90 days—or longer as agreed to or requested by ErisX—to review and make a determination with respect to the submissions.

*****What is the over-under on this getting approved and where can I lay off my risk?~JJL


PEAK6 Acquires Switzerland-Based Hardcastle Trading
PEAK6, a financial technology business, announced today that it has acquired Hardcastle Trading AG, a trading firm based in Rapperswil, Switzerland.

*****Don’t underestimate this company. They are inspired.~JJL


Wednesday’s Top Three
The leading story on Wednesday was John Lothian’s commentary, In the Georgia Senate Elections There Is No Winning With Your Reputation Intact. Number two was
the SEC press release, SEC Charges Ripple and Two Executives with Conducting $1.3 Billion Unregistered Securities Offering, and the third was a Bloomberg story, Silicon Valley Wins as SEC Allows New Direct Listing

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