Seeking Alpha

Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust ETF (COIN)

- Pending
  • Thu, Nov. 5, 2:23 AM
    • Back from the dead? The price of a Bitcoin (COIN, OTCQB:BTCS) climbed as much as 50% this week to above $500, and over 100% over the past month, re-creating scenes from a manic 2013 run that took it from $13 to a high of $1,100 before it crashed.
    • The burst of buying follows a spate of positive publicity and a move by the EU to define bitcoin as a currency and not a commodity (meaning it won't be subject to value-added taxes).
    • The stance is at odds with a ruling by the IRS that bitcoin is property, but in line with an approach taken by the U.K.
    | Thu, Nov. 5, 2:23 AM | 5 Comments
  • Mon, Sep. 21, 4:07 PM
    • Though Bitcoin (COIN, OTCQB:BTCS) remains well off its 4-digit late-2013 highs - Coinbase currently shows Bitcoin selling for less than $229 - major enterprises continue throwing their weight behind the blockchain - the secure public ledger technology that underpins Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
    • IBM has been working on its own version of the blockchain, with plans to open-source the software when it's finished. Big Blue suggests its solution could be used to secure digital contracts, as well as drive transactions by allowing banks and others to share the same system of record.
    • In March, Reuters reported IBM has held informal talks with central banks about a cash/payment system that uses the blockchain to drive transactions involving existing currencies, and doesn't require a bank or payment processor (thus lowering transaction fees).
    • Meanwhile, JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, UBS, RBS, and 5 other i-banks have announced plans to work with startup R3CEV to create standards for using the blockchain within the financial industry. RBS exec Kevin Hanley: "Right now, you’re seeing significant money and time being spent on exploration of these technologies in a fractured way that lacks the strategic, coordinated vision so critical to timely success. The R3 [blockchain] model is changing the game,"
    | Mon, Sep. 21, 4:07 PM | Comment!
  • Sat, Aug. 1, 12:01 PM
    • Tokyo police arrested former Mt. Gox CEO Mark Kapeles last night on allegations he diverted funds from the Mt. Gox system to his personal accounts.
    • The $1M reported to be stolen by Kapeles is a far less than the hundreds of millions in bitcoins (COIN, OTCQB:BTCS) the company claimed is lost.
    | Sat, Aug. 1, 12:01 PM | 18 Comments
  • Fri, Jul. 3, 9:20 AM
    • Adding to their list of woes, Greeks can no longer use their PayPal (PYPL, EBAY) accounts, Quartz reports.
    • Capital controls have effectively crippled the online payment service, which relies on traditional banks and credit cards to transfer money.
    • Another area seeing a revival is Bitcoin (COIN, OTCQB:BTCS). New customers depositing at least €50 with BTCGreece, the only Greece-based Bitcoin exchange, rose by 400% between May and June. The average deposit quadrupled to around €700.
    | Fri, Jul. 3, 9:20 AM | 26 Comments
  • Sun, Jun. 7, 6:40 PM
    • Early Bitcoin (COIN, OTCQB:BTCS) backer Overstock (NASDAQ:OSTK) has circulated a proposal among hedge funds, P-E firms, and other potential investors to sell a $25M private bond using the blockchain, the distributed public ledger that underpins Bitcoin and other cryptocurencies.
    • Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne asserts in the proposal he "believes that cryptotechnology can do for the capital market what the internet has done for consumers." He adds Overstock might issue a bond worth less than $25M just to make one available.
    • The effort comes a month after Nasdaq OMX (NASDAQ:NDAQ) announced it plans to use the blockchain to "expand and enhance the equity management capabilities offered by its Nasdaq Private Market platform." Among other things, the Nasdaq claims using the blockchain's distributed ledger will "provide extensive integrity, audit ability, governance and transfer of ownership capabilities."
    • Two months before that, Reuters reported IBM has held informal talks with central banks about launching a digital cash/payment system that relies on the blockchain to enable transactions for existing currencies, while removing the need for a bank or payment processor to clear them (and collect transaction fees along the way).
    | Sun, Jun. 7, 6:40 PM | Comment!
  • Thu, Jun. 4, 4:03 AM
    • With just weeks to go before he steps down, Ben Lawsky, New York’s top financial regulator, released the final set of rules governing virtual-currency businesses in the state, concluding a nearly two-year effort to regulate the growing Bitcoin (COIN, OTCQB:BTCS) industry.
    • Lawsky said that the final form of the so-called BitLicense would put in place crucial guidelines for protecting consumers and preventing money laundering.
    | Thu, Jun. 4, 4:03 AM | 4 Comments
  • Tue, Mar. 24, 4:02 AM
    • Nasdaq OMX (NASDAQ:NDAQ) has agreed to provide New York-based startup Noble Markets with its X-stream trading system (used by more than 30 exchanges and marketplaces worldwide) to power a marketplace for trading Bitcoins (COIN, OTCQB:BTCS) and related digital-currency assets, WSJ reports.
    • The agreement follows other Wall Street initiatives that could pave the way for financial institutions to own and trade digital currencies, including the NYSE's recent investment in Bitcoin exchange Coinbase.
    | Tue, Mar. 24, 4:02 AM | 3 Comments
  • Sat, Mar. 14, 4:11 PM
    • Reuters reports IBM is working on a digital cash/payment system that would rely on the blockchain - the transaction ledger technology that underpins Bitcoin (COIN, OTCQB:BTCS) and other virtual currencies - to enable transactions for major currencies that don't require a bank or payment processor, thus lowering fees.
    • Big Blue has reportedly "been in informal discussions about a blockchain-tied cash system with a number of central banks, including the U.S. Federal Reserve." If central banks approve, IBM will "build the secure and scalable infrastructure for the project."
    • A source: "When somebody wants to transact in the system, instead of you trying to acquire a Bitcoin, you simply say, here are some U.S. dollars. It's sort of a Bitcoin but without the Bitcoin."
    • Bitcoin's support for transaction fees far lower than those charged by credit card processors (Visa, MasterCard, etc.) and traditional online payment platforms (e.g. PayPal) has led many big online merchants to support the virtual currency. However, Bitcoin's tremendous volatility - after peaking above $1,100 in late 2013, Bitcoin now trades below $300 - has scared off many would-be users.
    • In theory, IBM's offering would provide the transaction cost benefits of Bitcoin, while allowing consumers to rely on dollars, euros, yen, etc. The reported solution could be linked to a user's bank account via digital wallet software.
    • Also: Whereas Bitcoin is completely decentralized, central banks would serve as overseers for the IBM-backed currency system. "These coins will be part of the money supply," says Reuters' source. "It's the same money, just not a dollar bill with a serial number on it, but a token that sits on this blockchain."
    | Sat, Mar. 14, 4:11 PM | 24 Comments
  • Mon, Jan. 26, 3:18 AM
    • Coinbase, a startup backed by $106M from the NYSE (NYSE:ICE), banks and venture-capital firms, will open the first licensed Bitcoin (COIN, OTCQB:BTCS) exchange in the U.S. today.
    • Assuring traders that their money won’t disappear, the company says it has insurance.
    • Coinbase’s founders say they have been working for five months to win licenses from state financial regulators, and they now have approval to conduct business in half of all U.S. states.
    | Mon, Jan. 26, 3:18 AM | 8 Comments
  • Wed, Jan. 14, 2:18 PM
    • Following a massive two-day nosedive, Bitcoin (COIN, OTCQB:BTCS) are down over 50% from where they stood in mid-November, and over 80% from their giddy late-2013 highs.
    • Coinbase is showing a bid-ask spread of $188.51-$189.41. The total value of all existing Bitcoins is down to $2.53B.
    • Explanations offered for the decline include last week's Bitstamp hack, a broader selloff in equities/risk assets, Russia's attempts to ban Bitcoin sites, and a "vicious cycle" of miners giving up their efforts due to falling prices (leading prices to fall even more).
    • Another factor, of course, could be that real-world Bitcoin usage remains limited in spite of growing merchant support, as many consumers remain unfamiliar with the cryptocurrency and concerns about its volatility offset the allure of lower transaction fees (and the discounts provided on account of them).
    | Wed, Jan. 14, 2:18 PM | 8 Comments
  • Wed, Jan. 7, 7:04 AM
    | Wed, Jan. 7, 7:04 AM | Comment!
  • Tue, Jan. 6, 6:44 AM
    • Bitstamp, one of the largest exchanges for trading Bitcoin (COIN, OTCQB:BTCS), has temporarily suspended its service.
    • Some of Bitstamp’s operational wallets were compromised on Sunday, resulting in a loss of less than 19,000 BTC.
    | Tue, Jan. 6, 6:44 AM | 1 Comment
  • Fri, Jan. 2, 12:08 PM
    • "Safety used to mean gold, US treasuries, and blue chip stocks. Now it means Google, Apple, Amazon, and Facebook," says high-profile VC Fred Wilson while offering his 2015 predictions. Though believing rising interest rates and low oil prices will trigger "a noticeable flight to safety," he sees major tech firms continuing to have easy access to capital.
    • On the other hand, Wilson is cautious on the near-term outlook for the budding wearables market (John Legere feels differently). "Apple Watch will not be the homerun product that iPod, iPhone, and iPad have been. Not everyone will want to wear a computer on their wrist. Eventually, this market will be realized as the personal mesh/personal cloud, but the focus on wearables will be a bit of a headfake..."
    • He also expects virtual reality to "hit some headwinds" after getting hyped in 2014 following the Facebook/Oculus (NASDAQ:FB) deal. "Oculus will struggle to ship their consumer version and competitive products will underwhelm. The virtual reality will eventually catch up to the virtual hype, but not in 2015."
    • He forecasts cybersecurity budgets "will explode in 2015 as every company, institution, and government attempts to avoid being Sony’d." But Wilson also thinks "the hacks will continue because on the open internet there is no such thing as an impenetrable system." Cybersecurity plays: FEYE, PANW, FTNT, IMPV, QLYS, PFPT.
    • Wilson, a long-time Bitcoin (COIN, OTCQB:BTCS) believer, once more defends the cryptocurrency. "The horrible year that bitcoin had in 2014 will be a wakeup call for all stakeholders. Developers will turn their energy from creating the next bitcoin (all the alt stuff) to creating the stack on top of the bitcoin blockchain. Real decentralized applications will start to emerge..."
    | Fri, Jan. 2, 12:08 PM | 4 Comments
  • Dec. 31, 2014, 8:11 AM
    • The Winklesvoss Bitcoin Trust files to sell 20.1M shares. The ETF will trade on the Nasdaq under the symbol COIN.
    • Prospectus
    | Dec. 31, 2014, 8:11 AM | 2 Comments
  • Dec. 11, 2014, 9:42 AM
    • Microsoft's U.S. customers can now use Bitcoin (COIN, OTCQB:BTCS) to make purchases of apps, games, and videos for Windows, Windows Phone, and Xbox hardware. The software giant is partnering with Bitcoin payment processor BitPay to support the cryptocurrency.
    • Overseas customers aren't supported yet. Also, Microsoft isn't supporting direct purchases - users have to add Bitcoin to a digital wallet, or use it to create digital gift cards.
    • Bitcoin prices are up $5.45 over the last 24 hours on Coinbase - the payment processor is showing a bid-ask spread of $355.67-$356.43. Bitcoin prices have bounced since plunging below $300 in early October, but remain far below their late-2013 highs.
    • Other companies supporting Bitcoin payments to some degree include Expedia, Dish, Overstock, Dell, and Newegg.
    | Dec. 11, 2014, 9:42 AM | Comment!
  • Nov. 18, 2014, 4:02 AM
    • The U.S Marshals Service has announced that it will auction 50K Bitcoins (COIN, OTCQB:BTCS), worth around $19M, seized in connection with the now-defunct online bazaar Silk Road.
    • The auction, scheduled for Dec. 4, comes just five months after the Marshals Service’s first Bitcoin auction, when it sold nearly 30K Bitcoins confiscated from Silk Road.
    • Silk Road was shut down in October 2013 after officials said it was online marketplace for illegal drugs and other illicit activities.
    | Nov. 18, 2014, 4:02 AM | 5 Comments
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