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Saddle Up: Institutional Investors Are Coming to Crypto

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If institutional capital is what the cryptocurrency market needs to hoist it over the edge, the tide could be about to turn. Several signs are pointing toward the increased institutional adoption of cryptocurrencies, including the number of banks flocking to the blockchain as well as leading U.S. bitcoin exchange Coinbase’s next phase of growth, which according to reports involves targeting Wall Street.

Venture Capital

Spencer Bogart, a venture capitalist and partner at Blockchain Capital, told CNBC that for all its woes, bitcoin (BTC) remains a buying opportunity. The bitcoin price is trading at less than half of its value from its December 2017 high and has been struggling to regain momentum and reattain the $8,000 level.  Some market bears have forecast that it will get worse before it gets better. But others are calling a bottom.

Blockchain Capital’s Bogart is in the bullish camp, telling CNBC:

“Every major bank is trying to do something in the space. Either they’re going to be offering bitcoin to their clients, they’re working on a custody platform or they’re opening up a trading desk. A deeper institutionalization of bitcoin is overall positive,” Bogart said.

Bogart identified several leading cryptocurrencies that he likes at the current levels, but bitcoin was the only buy. He recommends holding Ethereum, XRP, Bitcoin Cash and as EOS, which he characterized as “neutral.” Others are overpriced, such as Cardano, TRON, IOTA and NEO, he told CNBC.

TRON and EOS on the MainNet

The TRON price is off its May highs but it has been holding its own and is trading approximately twice its April levels. TRON has had some standout moments alongside EOS, both of which are readying a migration away from the Ethereum blockchain and losing their ERC20 status.

In the coming days, TRON and EOS are launching on their own MainNet blockchains, separate and apart from Ethereum, and the cryptocurrency community has been abuzz about the launches.

EOS is a developers’ coin, as it is designed to provide scale to Dapps. Bogart must like EOS at these levels because it’s lost some ground of late and is trading at about $12.46 compared to its May high of approximately $19. While he is neutral on the coin, there could be more upside potential there with the migration to MainNet than he is giving it credit for.

Coinbase

Further signs of a “deeper institutionalization of bitcoin” can be found in Coinbase’s product suite, all of which reflect a targeting of hedge fund clients. One anecdotal sign is the San Francisco-based exchange setting up shop in New York, where it can gain access to potential hedge fund clients. Coinbase is also ramping up its institutional services by facilitating larger cryptocurrency trades that are inherent with sophisticated traders like hedge funds.

If Coinbase’s ability to attract individual investors into the cryptocurrency space is any indication, then saddle up because hedge funds are on their way in. Coinbase is largely responsible for growing the U.S. cryptocurrency investor base for its focus on the retail investor, which has come back to haunt the exchange in the bear market. But the bitcoin exchange is betting that institutional investors can fill the void left by declining trading volumes, as depicted in the below illustration –

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Coinbase’s odds based on past success are good, considering the number of accounts on its platforms at 20 million surpassed that of one of the most traditional brokerage houses on Wall Street, Charles Schwab. The stars may need to align for Coinbase to see the same growth in its institutional business, but with a clear roadmap of what needs to transpire across custody products and regulation, it may be just a matter of time before bitcoin fever strikes again.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 62 rated postsGerelyn has been covering ICOs and the cryptocurrency market since mid-2017. She's also reported on fintech more broadly in addition to asset management, having previously specialized in institutional investing. She owns some BTC and ETH.




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Altcoins

Stellar Acquires Blockchain Startup Chain to Form Interstellar

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The commercial arm of the Stellar Development Corporation has acquired a promising blockchain startup by the name of Chain, paving the way for possibly higher enterprise adoption of distributed ledger technology. The deal adds to Stellar’s credibility as one of the world’s leading blockchain companies.

Chain Acquired

Chain, a San Francisco-based startup pursuing enterprise grade adoption of blockchain technology in finance, has sold to Lightyear in an undisclosed cash agreement. Lightyear, the subsidiary of the Stellar Development Corporation, will be re-named Interstellar, according to official reports. Jed McCaleb, Stellar’s founder, will be the chief technology officer of the newly formed company, which he said should help companies build on the Stellar network. He adds:

“Chain’s team has led the market for enterprise adoption of blockchain technology, which is a critical component of building a future where money and digital assets move over open protocols.”

Interstellar’s new CEO Adam Ludwin explained how the newly merged company will work together:

“Chain has worked from inside the enterprise while Stellar has focused on the network between organizations. As a single team we will have a complete view and set of capabilities to make value-over-IP a reality.”

Chain is said to be a leader in the world of fin-tech, having built enterprise-grade blockchain solutions for Visa, Citigroup and Nasdaq, among others. With the merger, Interstellar will have access to Sequence, Chain’s powerful cloud solution that enables companies to monitor assets moving between private ledgers and the Stellar network.

Previously, Chain had raised more than $43 million across multiple deals. Financiers included Capital One, Citigroup, Pantera Capital and Blockchain Capital.

XLM Price Update

Although the merger between Chain and Lightyear has not had a demonstrably positive effect on XLM’s price, the cryptocurrency continues to outperform leading assets such as Ethereum and bitcoin cash. The XLM price was down 4.4% on Tuesday but has gained 3.2% over the past seven days. By comparison, bitcoin has declined nearly 1% over that period while Cardano has lost more than 10%. Ethereum is trading in positive territory over seven days as prices recovered from 16-month lows.

XLM, which is currently valued at $0.197, has declined roughly 12% over the past month. At current values, it has a market capitalization of $3.7 billion, placing it sixth among active cryptocurrencies. Bitbox is the most active market for XLM traders, accounting for more than 54% of daily transactions.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 610 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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Grayscale’s $6 Million Dollar Bet

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Grayscale Investments, the company behind the Bitcoin Investment Trust, has announced plans to back a little-known privacy coin by the name of Zen. The news came mere months after Grayscale put Zen on its “conviction list” of potentially high-impact cryptocurrencies.

Zen Investment Trust

On Thursday, Grayscale announced the creation of the Zen Investment Trust, which gives accredited investors direct access to the cryptocurrency. It is the eighth such fund mandated to hold just one currency, joining a list of products that include bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP and Ethereum Classic.

Although the announcement came as a surprise to some crypto observers, Grayscale said the decision was based on intensive research and due diligence.

“Grayscale conducts unparalleled research and due diligence on their investment products, striving to offer regulated and professionally managed exposure to the digital currency market for institutional and accredited investors worldwide,” said Rob Viglione, Grayscale’s founder and president.

According to Fortune, Grayscale has already purchased $6.3 million worth of Zen tokens and plans to increase its holdings in the future.

Grayscale appears to be increasing its exposure to privacy-focused coins, having recently added Zcash to its list of single-currency investment funds. These assets align with Viglione’s vision of financial privacy, which he believes will be a dominant theme in the future.

Zen Token: An Introduction

Horizen, the company behind Zen token, launched in May 2017 as ZenCash before rebranding this past summer. The company has designed a platform that provides users with complete control of their digital footprint, including private chat and development features. Once scaled to full capacity, Horizen’s side-chain technology will allow anyone to develop privacy-focused applications and generate income from them. Sidechains ensure that Horizon has the bandwidth to process large volumes of transactions without running into scalability issues plaguing other cryptocurrencies.

For users, Horizen’s platform is intended to provide end-to-end encryption of their online activity. The company employs zk-SNARKs, a protocol that can prove possession of certain information without revealing that information and without any interaction between the prover and verifier. This protocol is also employed by zCash.

Valued at $82 million, Zen is currently ranked no. 72 by market capitalization, according to latest available data. Zen was down only 1% on Thursday compared with double-digit losses for the broader market. At press time, Zen was valued at $17.16, according to CoinMarketCap. Trade volumes amounted to $1.8 million, with Binance accounting for more than half the daily turnover.

There are currently less than 4.7 million ZEN tokens in circulation out of a total supply of 21 million.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 610 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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Bitcoin

The Anarchist Case For Bitcoin

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Previously, we have discussed how Bitcoin receives a ton of support from libertarians because of how it works in line with many of their core principles regarding market freedoms. But there are other groups who also share principles with Bitcoin, one of them being anarchists.

Anarchists are known to generally believe in the abolition of all government with force and compulsion being ruled out of the means by which organizations are managed. By extension, crypto-anarchists use software related to Bitcoin to exchange information without affecting their privacy or political freedom.

What Bitcoin Can Do for Anarchism

Bitcoin is essentially the perfect tool to use against corruption, whether in big business or in the government. You have something that is untraceable, impossible to censor or block, and just so happens to cut out a lot of the middlemen. It is basically every beaurocrat’s nightmare.

Many people describe Bitcoin’s protocol as “trustless”, because of how it used an intelligent design to make it technically impossible to rip people off or cheat the system. This takes away the possibility of corruption and creates a world where a certain level of governance is not needed.

Cryptocurrencies are especially attractive to those who have built up a strong disdain for big banks and governments who are mostly net takers. Banks are no longer getting paid, and then there is inability of governments to figure out how to tax these assets. It isn’t easy to track the flow of funds, and sometimes money is put in the system that is never going to come out.

The Politics of Bitcoin

It is important to remember exactly why Bitcoin was invented in the first place. Although we can’t be sure of Satoshi Nakamoto political stances, the fact that he made the string for the first block of Bitcoin contain “The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks” is telling. It alludes to the fact that the existing institutions weren’t doing an adequate job of managing the economy.

This brings us to the second point about Bitcoin. No single institution can prop it up, and equally, no single institution can bring it down. It is an inherently populist movement that depends upon grassroots support for its survival. Of course, there are big companies like Coinbase and massive investors involved in the industry, but they don’t directly affect the longevity and function of Bitcoin.

As a standalone protocol, Bitcoin is powerless, but with the backing of a growing number of “evangelical” supporters, it has real potential to change the way business is done. By extension, the political world is going to change as a reaction to the funding and support they receive. It has been said that you can vote at the ballots, or you can vote with your money, and Bitcoin may just be the perfect means by which to put your money behind an ideal.

Granted, this is yet another reason why the price action of Bitcoin is so volatile. It is a “currency” founded on ideals and technology rather than any single economy, and as a result it is only natural that extreme booms and busts occur.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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