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U.S. Extends Olive Branch to China, Easing Trade Tensions

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Corporate America and the U.S. government alike have placed China in their sights, giving the markets hope that the tensions created by an otherwise escalating trade war will ease. In fact, a trio of separate developments between the United States and China are unfolding at the moment in a sign of easing regulatory restrictions and trade tariffs that have threatened to stifle China’s exports and suppress corporate America’s growth plans.

Perhaps the most surprising among the developments is President Trump’s decision to rescue telecom play ZTE Corp in the wake of a US ban that hurt the company’s business. Meanwhile, electric car maker Tesla and the No. 1 US bank by assets JPMorgan have similarly set their sights on expansion into China, though each company plans to take a different tack.

ZTE Corp

Even as the U.S. and Chinese governments are tussling over trade, President Trump said in a tweet that he’s working alongside China’s government to help telecom play ZTE to “get back into business, fast,” pointing to jobs lost as the catalyst for the cooperation.

ZTE had been crippled by a decision by the US government banning the sale of components by U.S. businesses to China’s industry. The US Commerce Department last month singled out ZTE, calling on corporate America to refrain from exports to the telecom company, a decision it’s now seemingly looking to undo. The change of heart comes amid thawing relations between the United States and North Korea, the latter of which the phone maker was accused of ignoring US sanctions against.

Tesla Footprint

Meanwhile, the wheels are in motion for Tesla’s shift eastward into Shanghai, according to reports. While many businesses opt to form a partnership with a local entity when gaining a foothold in a new region, Tesla appears to be going it alone in an attempt to keep its internal technology close to the vest. In doing so, the company is willing to inherit a 25% import duty on foreign cars.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based electric vehicle maker is eyeing Shanghai for its maiden international factory and has reportedly filed the paperwork to set up shop there. Tesla’s Hong Kong subsidiary is named as the only owner of the new business, which quashes the possibility of a local partner surfacing.

Tesla had hoped to unveil its Shanghai expansion sooner, but there were regulatory hurdles blocking the company from operating independently in the region. China’s government in a sign of goodwill removed cumbersome joint-venture standards that have paved the way for Tesla’s expansion.

JPMorgan Partnership

JPMorgan is close to making history as the first U.S. bank to take a majority ownership in a wealth management partnership whose customers are Chinese investors.

JPMorgan’s asset management division is looking to lift its ownership stake in China International Fund Management, a joint venture it entered in the early 2000’s, by 2 percentage points to 51%. The majority position is possible thanks to Beijing’s relaxed rules surrounding international ownership of domestic financial companies.

In a separate development, JPMorgan’s Hong Kong subsidiary is seeking the regulatory green light for control of a joint venture brokerage business in China, following in the footsteps of HSBC. This would reflect the second time around for JPMorgan’s brokerage business in China after the U.S. bank left a local partnership in 2016. JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon said in a statement that the bank intends to “bring the full force of JPMorgan Chase and our resources to the country.”

These advancements seemed to pave the way for gains on Wall Street, with all three of the major US indices trading comfortably in the green.

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 37 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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CoinShares Bitcoin ETN Adds USD, Markets Rally

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Given the positive trend in the cryptocurrency market today, you might think that a bitcoin ETF somehow slipped through the cracks. While that isn’t the case just yet, you wouldn’t be too far off. CoinShares, a digital asset management firm domiciled in the Channel Island of Jersey, has announced a bitcoin exchange-traded note (ETN) product that Americans can now get their hands on more easily.

CoinShares chief Ryan Radloff is quoted in Bloomberg as saying: “Everyone that’s investing in dollars can now get exposure to these products, whereas before they were only available in euros or Swedish krona. Given the current climate on the regulatory front in the U.S., this is a big win for Bitcoin.”

As Fundstrat’s Tom Lee pointed out, the ETN, which is dubbed Bitcoin Tracker One (CXBTF), is “quoted in USD” despite the fact that it’s a Swedish-based product.  Traders went so far as to suggest that this new product was the catalyst for today’s “green candles,” and if retweets are endorsements, then Fundstrat’s Lee agrees.

Source: CoinMarketCap

The CoinShares ETN is not a new product and has been trading on Nasdaq Stockholm for several years. But now that it’s also based on U.S. dollars, the brokerage community can access it and offer it to U.S.-based clients. Lee likened it to Grayscale’s bitcoin investment trust (GBTC) and noted that it “trades at NAV, so returns are virtually identical to bitcoin.” Indeed, as CoinShares’ bitcoin ETN has shed more than half its value this year alongside the decline in the bitcoin price. Lee provided the following snapshot into Bitcoin Tracker One:

Bitcoin Rivalry

Meanwhile, if you ask CoinShares’ Radloff, the Grayscale product is flawed because of a premium attached to the bitcoin price. Radloff told Bloomberg that CoinShares’ products have managed to avoid the premiums while still providing liquidity.

Wall Street, however, may not be so keen to adopt the product. An investor tweeted that when he attempted to purchase Bitcoin Tracker One in his Merrill Lynch IRA, the product was blocked. This individual was willing to redirect his assets to another firm just to gain access to the ETN and tweeted: “Can someone point me to a new IRA provider that will let me trade this? I’ll move my funds over today.”

Just yesterday, former PayPal CEO Bill Harris said on CNBC that the bitcoin price was headed to zero. But with developments like this bitcoin-esque product making its way into the market, he may have to eat his words.

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 37 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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Coinbase Chief Brian Armstrong on Bitcoin Bubbles and Corrections

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It’s not often that you have two blockchain pioneers like Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong and Ethereum Co-Founder Joseph Lubin address the market in the same week. But in recent days, the stars aligned, with Armstrong and Lubin both meeting with Bloomberg for separate interviews.

While each of them has their own take on the state of the market, they appear to agree on overarching themes that have gripped cryptocurrency investors of late surrounding digital currency prices and the bubble theory.

Coinbase’s Armstrong didn’t shy away from questions on bitcoin’s price, which has taken investors on a roller coaster ride since its December 2017 peak of more than $19,000 and recent dip below $6,000. Today, a corrective rally is in place in which the bitcoin price is up more than 6% on CoinMarketCap to $6,455. Armstrong suggested that it’s part of the evolution of the emerging technology.

“This technology is going through a series of bubbles and corrections. We’ve actually been through about four or five of them now where bitcoin made this big run-up in price and there was … irrational exuberance and it corrected back 60-70%. and each time it does that it’s at a new plateau,” said Armstrong.

Joseph Lubin, who in addition to co-founding Ethereum is at the helm of ConsenSys, seems to agree, adding in a discussion with Bloomberg that “each of these bubbles has the advantage to bring attention to our ecosystem.”

Coinbase and Crypto

Coinbase, which launched about six years ago, holds anywhere between $10 billion and $20 billion of clients’ cryptocurrency assets on a given day. In 2017, Coinbase transacted approximately $150 billion in cryptocurrency volume. Armstrong likened the bitcoin bubbles to the growth of Coinbase, which is the most popular U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange.

For instance, as the bitcoin price has traversed this series of bubbles and corrections, Coinbase’s growth has performed in a similar trajectory, with the number of daily new users rising on the heels of major market corrections.

Armstrong is in the camp of comparing cryptocurrencies to the internet of 2001, pointing to “a lot of good companies that got started in the trough as well,” such as Facebook, for instance. While the expectations for the cryptocurrency prices may be “all over the map,” he said that “the real world adoption and usage is pretty steadily increasing.”

While adoption and usage may be on the rise, don’t expect to walk into your local Starbucks and pay with bitcoin any time soon, at least not in the U.S. The reason, Armstrong suggests, is that payments aren’t a major “pain point” in the U.S. unlike some developing economies. As much as 90% of cryptocurrency usage surrounds investments, leaving a mere 10% for “real world usage.”

Armstrong, who more than once likened Coinbase to the New York Stock Exchange, also addressed topics like regulation and ICOs, saying of the latter that the exchange “is not trying to list everything under the sun.”

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 37 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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ETFs

Winklevoss Twins Shift Crypto Focus to Retail Investors, not Resentment

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If anyone in the world has good reason to feel resentment toward Wall Street regulators for rejecting their bitcoin ETF application, it’s Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss of the Gemini cryptocurrency exchange. Their bitcoin ETF product was rejected by the U.S. SEC not once, but twice, the most recent decision of which was responsible for igniting the crypto market meltdown that was exacerbated by the VanEck bitcoin ETF delay.

Instead of harboring feelings of resentment, however, the brothers only seem to be empowered by the development, as evidenced by their decision to focus on the one client group in which they can depend — retail investors, according to a Bloomberg report. If investors could adopt a similar big-picture perspective, perhaps we wouldn’t be in the current situation in which more than $20 billion has been shaved off the total value of the cryptocurrency market over 24 hours.

In fact, for Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, it’s not only business as usual but it’s more business than usual by the retail segment.

“Wall Street is taking cryptocurrencies seriously, however, the vast majority of Wall Street firms are still not participating in the cryptocurrency market, which remains primarily a retail-driven market. This will change over time, but it will take time,” Tyler Winklevoss told Bloomberg.

Winklevoss isn’t the only one to feel this way. Adam White, vice president and general manager at Coinbase, a rival exchange to Gemini, recently told CNBC: “What’s so unique about cryptocurrencies, and in many ways this asset class, [is that it] was driven by retail investors — not institutions,” characterizing the interest among institutional investors as “profound.”

OTC Market

Meanwhile, a report by Tabb Group earlier this summer revealed that trading volume in bitcoin’s over-the-counter (OTC) market exceeded that of exchanges as much as threefold, which would attach a value of $12 billion in OTC bitcoin trades every day. Here’s the tweet by crypto industry engineer Eric Wall –

A report on Yahoo Finance concluded that the dramatic selling in the cryptocurrency markets on the heels of the Winklevoss bitcoin ETF rejection could have been the result of bitcoin whales selling not on exchanges like Gemini, where the adjusted trading volume over the last 24 hours hovers at $69 million, but instead the OTC market. This inserts a bit more uncertainty into the drivers of cryptocurrency prices.

Nonetheless, it appears clear that the market is placing a great deal of emphasis on a bitcoin ETF, or lack thereof currently. Such a product could open up the asset allocation of large pension funds, for instance, to crypto.

And as for the Winklevoss twins, they already have a “first” in this market. They were behind the maiden Bitcoin Futures Contract (XBT) on the CBOE last December. And if the CBOE has its way, it will be part of the inaugural bitcoin ETF, as well.

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 37 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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