The 2017 bull market in crypto seemed very much driven by wave upon wave of retail buying in Asia. This year's move is different, with increased acceptance by large North America buyers - from Microstrategy to Square to PayPal to Paul Tudor Jones to Scott Minerd, and even maybe to BlackRock - buttressing the big run higher.
That compares to exchanges serving East Asia, which saw net outflows of 240K coins last month.
A tighter regulatory regime in the U.S. has likely played a large role in giving comfort to American investors. In Asia, meanwhile - particularly in China - investors seem a bit cautious about the next exchange blowup, or crackdown by Beijing.
The S&P DJI products will be supported by Lukka, a leading crypto asset software and data company, and cover more than 550 top coins.
Roffman: "With digital assets such as cryptocurrencies becoming a rapidly emerging asset class, the time is right for independent, reliable and user-friendly benchmarks. We're excited to work with Lukka, who has been at the forefront of digital asset data services, to promote more transparency in this nascent sector."
Bitcoin (BTC-USD) today is up 2% to $19.33K. The Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC +1.2%).
Speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations, BlackRock (NYSE:BLK) CEO Larry Fink says it's possible cryptocurrencies in general, and Bitcoin (BTC-USD) specifically can "evolve" into a global market asset.
While crypto has caught the attention of many and gets plenty of headlines, says Fink, it remains a relatively small asset class. To put numbers on it, Bitcoin has a market cap of $344B versus, for instance, all the gold in the world valued at somewhere around $10T.
The full video is here. The discussion of crypto begins at about 55 minutes - a fun watch as former Bank of Canada and Bank of England Governor (who has now parachuted into Brookfield Asset Management) Mark Carney looks somewhat uncomfortable as Fink talks about the rise of Bitcoin..
While it's one thing for Paul Tudor Jones and Stan Druckenmiller - iconoclastic hedge-funders more or less running their own money at this point - to embrace Bitcoin, it's a whole different story for the head of the world's largest asset manager to do so. Fink's measured "endorsement" comes a few days after Rick Rieder, the CIO of BlackRock's fixed-income business did the same in a CNBC appearance.
Fink notes that Rieder's appearance generated the following search numbers on BlackRock's website: 3K for "Covid," 3K for "monetary policy," and 600K for "Bitcoin."
Bitcoin is flattish today at just a hair over $19K.
Schulman sees his biggest rival as Ant Group, China's biggest mobile-payment company. Ant, which is one-third owned by Alibaba (NYSE:BABA), has had "tremendous success inside China" with a digital wallet that includes "all elements of financial services, all elements of shopping," he said.
The Libra Association - the splashy effort backed by Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) to create a new digital currency - has rebranded itself.
It's renamed itself to Diem, and Reuters says the libra currency is also now called Diem.
The news follows reports in the Financial Times that the currency could roll out in a limited fashion as soon as January. That rollout would come as a single coin (backed one-for-one by the dollar), and with other currencies added to the backing basket later.
And it also follows the earlier renaming of Facebook's digital wallet from Calibra to Novi. Novi told the FT that the currency is ready as a product, but its rollout will be partial for reasons including that it needs to get licenses in up to 10 U.S. states.
Meanwhile, other backers of Diem including Uber (NYSE:UBER) and Spotify (NYSE:SPOT) say they'll wait to see how the public receives the currency before electing to use it.
The chief differentiator between Diem and popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC-USD) is the backing by government currency - meant to stabilize the new offering and ensure secure global transactions.
Visa (NYSE:V) earlier this year partnered with Fold to offer a debit card that earns rewards denominated in Bitcoin (BTC-USD). It's also teamed with Coinbase on a debit card. Now Visa's joining with cryptocurrency startup BlockFi to offer the Bitcoin Rewards Credit Card in which customers will get 1.5% of their purchases back in the most-popular of cryptos.
Users can also earn a quick $250 in Bitcoin if they spend $3K in the first three months of card ownership. The Bitcoin Rewards Credit Card does have an annual fee of $200, and the issuing lender is Evolve Bank & Trust. It's hoped to be available early next year.
Tejpaul: "Using our advanced execution capabilities, leading crypto prime brokerage platform, and OTC desk, we were able to buy a significant amount of bitcoin on behalf of MicroStrategy and did so without moving the market." He says the strategy resulted in saving of up to 1%, or $4.25M for Microstrategy.
Coinbase hopes to similarly serve other corporate treasuries looking to invest some of their assets in crypto.
Bitcoin this morning hit an all-time high for a 2nd consecutive day - touching $19.845K - but has pulled back sharply since, now selling for $18.474K.
MicroStrategy (MSTR +19.3%), Marathon Patent Group (MARA +28.5%), and Riot Blockchain (RIOT +20.3%) each climb at least 20% in morning trading after bitcoin recovers to over $19K after falling to as low as ~$16.3K late last week.
To review: Bitcoin (BTC-USD) started November at about $13.8K. On the Tuesday prior to Thanksgiving, it had come within a handful of dollars of touching its epic 2017 high just shy of $20K (also hit near Thanksgiving). By the time holiday meals had begun across the country last week, it had plunged to roughly $16.3K.
The crypto has been rallying since, and minutes ago crossed back over $19K to its current price of $19.25K.
"We are just getting started," says Grayscale's Michael Sonnenshein, appearing on CNBC this morning. Addressing what some see as excessive speculation in crypto, Sonnenshein says inflows into Grayscale's various crypto vehicles don't indicate unhealthy investor fervor.
In case you missed it: Guggenheim's Scott Minerd is the latest institutional type to be won over by Bitcoin, with his $5.3B Macro Opportunities Fund now having the green light to invest up to 10% of its assets in the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC).
In alt-coin news, Ripple (XRP-USD) is selling about one-third of its shares in MoneyGram (NASDAQ:MGI), its first sale of MGI since investing more than a year ago. Prior to sale, Ripple owned about 17% of MGI (with warrants included). MGI is lower by 2% premarket.
"The Guggenheim Macro Opportunities Fund (GIOIX, GIOAX) may seek investment exposure to Bitcoin (BTC-USD) indirectly through investing up to 10% of its net asset value in Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC)," says the company in an SEC filing.
The Macro Opportunities Fund - whose chief investment officer is Scott Minerd - has $5.3B in assets under management.
For now, any crypto investments will be limited to purchase of the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust. The fund will make no direct buys of Bitcoin, or any other cryptocurrencies.
Checking prices, Bitcoin continues its wild ride of the past few days. It crossed over $19K last Tuesday, plunged to as low as $16.2K on Turkey Day, and at current pixel time has bounced back to $18.2K.
Two days before the New York Times (NYSE:NYT)published an article alleging the firm discriminated against Black employees, Coinbase (COINB) put out a statement defending itself against the accusations.
This is a rare case in which a company strives to refute an article that will put it in a negative light before it's even published, as it seeks to direct the narrative.
The NYT piece, published online on Friday and citing five people with knowledge of the situation, said that at least 11 of 15 Black employees who left the company in late 2018 and early 2019 informed Coinbase's human resources department of racist or discriminatory treatment.
Those 15 people represented about three-quarters of the Black employees at the 600-employee company, the article said. About 3% of the company's employees are Black, less than half the average in most of the tech industry, and that number has stayed flat in recent years, the NYT article points out. Meanwhile, tech firms like Square, PayPal, and Twitter have been increasing the percentage of their employees who are Black.
The former employees described instances of racist comments, being excluded from meetings, and being passed over for promotions in favor of less experienced white colleagues.
"All of those complaints were thoroughly investigated, one through an internal investigation and two by separate third-party investigators, all of whom found no evidence of wrongdoing and concluded the claims were unsubstantiated," the company said in a blog post on its website.
The company also hired a consultant in August that specializes in data science and diversity and inclusion to go through its historic data related to diversity and conduct a large number of interviews with employees representing all background, functions, and tenures.
"The independent investigation concluded that there was no evidence of structural bias in hiring, promotions or performance evaluations," the company said.
The unsigned Coinbase blog post also emphasizes: "We are committed to maintaining an environment that is safe, supportive and welcoming to employees of all backgrounds. We do not accept intolerant behavior."
Having come close to doubling since Labor Day and with speculative fervor really starting to build, Bitcoin (BTC-USD) was surely set for a sizable plunge at some point.
That move began Wednesday night, sending the crypto all the way from $19.5K down to $16.3K. It's been attempting some sort of bounce since, and currently is changing hands at $17K.
Maybe at the top of the list of reasons for the selloff was a Wednesday evening tweetstorm from Coinbase (COINB) CEO Brian Armstrong suggesting Treasury boss Steven Mnuchin is attempting to rush out new regulation on self-hosted crypto wallets. Armstrong: "This proposed regulation would, we think, require financial institutions like Coinbase to verify the recipient/owner of the self-hosted wallet, collecting identifying information on that party, before a withdrawal could be sent to that self-hosted wallet ... This additional friction would kill many of the emerging use cases for crypto. Crypto is not just money – it is digitizing every type of asset."
Most agree that the new rule would be a major blow to crypto in the U.S., but the blockchain folks are not without some D.C. lobbying strength. Blockchain Association Executive Director Kristin Smith: "We are actively educating officials in both the executive branch and the legislative branch in order to address misconceptions about self-hosted wallets."
Speaking this week on the Alpha Trader podcast, Krakenfx's Dan Held says cryptocurrency can have bigger enemy in Washington than Steven Mnuchin, and whoever replaces him at Treasury (apparently Janet Yellen) will be a friendlier regulator for Bitcoin. Yellen was most recently at the Fed, and Held notes the U.S. central bank is surprisingly hip to cryptocurrencies, so he's hopeful for a more constructive regime at Treasury.
Riot Blockchain (NASDAQ:RIOT), MicroStrategy (NASDAQ:MSTR), Marathon Patent (NASDAQ:MARA), Silvergate Capital (NYSE:SI), DPW Holdings (NYSEMKT:DPW) are all showing sizable premarket losses.
While equity markets are closed for Thanksgiving, crypto traders are not taking the day off.
Bitcoin (BTC-USD) plunged by 15% overnight, or nearly $3,000, to as low as $16,328. The move is notable, as many in the industry had been expecting a $20K milestone in the next few days after hitting highs not seen since the end of 2017.
Other cryptos are getting hammered as well: Ethereum (ETH-USD) -15%; Bitcoin Cash (BCH-USD) -19%; Ripple (XRP-USD) -22%; Litecoin (LTC-USD) -15%.
"Long term I don't see anything derailing Bitcoin's irrevocable rise higher," said Antoni Trenchev, a managing partner and co-founder of Nexo, which bills itself as the world's biggest crypto lender. "That doesn't mean we won't have pullbacks along the way. Look what happened in March; Bitcoin plunged 40% in one day during the coronavirus market panic. 20-30% falls can and should be expected."
"Any healthy market needs to have pullbacks and periods of consolidation. Already in 2020 we've seen a gain of 160%."
Bitcoin (BTC-USD) has skyrocketed 160% since January, supported by strong institutional demand as well as scarcity, with payment companies like Square and PayPal buying it on behalf of customers.
The currency touched $19,000 overnight, within sight of its all-time peak of just under $20,000 hit in December 2017.
"I have seen bitcoin go up 10X, 20X, 30X in a year. So going up 5X is not a big deal," said Brian Estes, chief investment officer at hedge fund Off the Chain Capital. He predicts the cryptocurrency could hit between $100,000 and $288,000 by end-2021, based on a model that utilizes the stock-to-flow ratio measuring the scarcity of commodities like gold.
In a note last week, Citi technical analyst Tom Fitzpatrick added that Bitcoin could climb as high as $318,000 by the end of next year, citing its limited supply, ease of movement across borders and opaque ownership.
Not everyone is that optimistic. "Any hedge fund model on bitcoin is rubbish. You can't model a mania," declared Kevin Muir, an independent proprietary trader. "Is it plausible? For sure. It's a mania. But does anyone actually have a clue? Not a chance."
Marathon Patent Group (NASDAQ:MARA) shares jump 22% after H.C. Wainwright analyst Kevin Dede starts covering the stock with a Buy rating.
It also helps that bitcoin recovered to ~$18,556 after flirting with $19K then slipping to ~$17.5K over the weekend.
Other crypto-related names on the move: Riot Blockchain (RIOT +20.7%); Overstock (OSTK +5.7%); and Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC +4.3%), which generally tracks bitcoin's price.
DPW Holdings (NYSEMKT:DPW), which has crypto-mining operations along with a number of other businesses, announced an initiative to target fast-food chains to install its electric vehicle chargers. So its 42% surge reflects both alternative energy prospects and bitcoin's recent rally.
Square (NYSE:SQ) gains 2.5% in premarket, perhaps reflecting carryover from last week's positive calls on the stock.
Last week Mizuho analyst Dan Dolev raised his price target on the fintech to $300, noting strong prospects for its Cash App; Square's stock price of $195.97 (at Friday's close) is already higher than the average analyst price target of $184.54.
He sees Square's gross profit from the app rising to $7.7B by 2023 from ~$2.8B in 2020 with its user base more than doubling to 66M active users from 32M.
He also notes that Cash App is gaining on PayPal's Venmo in the 15 most populous states, based on Google searches.
One point of caution: Square's bitcoin service — which buys the cryptocurrency and sells it to customers who store and trade it on the Cash App — has been profiting from bitcoin's rally this year. That could dwindle, if bitcoin declines.
It was another big week for the most-popular of cryptos, with Bitcoin (BTC-USD) retaking $16K, pushing through $17K, and then moving past $18K on its way to the current $18.6K. That's not quite the all-time high of about $20K set during the 2017 mania, but in a couple of ways, Bitcoin has well-eclipsed what it did that year.
First, there's more Bitcoin available today than three years ago, so the current market cap of $345B is nicely higher now. Second, Bitcoin spent only a handful of days above even $10K in 2017 - crossing that level for the first time just before Thanksgiving, and then peaking for good about two weeks later. This year, Bitcoin surpassed $10K in mid-summer and has spent nearly all the time since above that mark.
Institutional acceptance is the major difference this year. In 2017, Charlie Munger called Bitcoin "worthless, artificial gold," and Warren Buffett described it as "rat poison." Seth Klarman was dismissive, and Jamie Dimon threatened to fire any JPMorgan trader caught dealing in crypto. This year, Paul Tudor Jones and Stanley Druckenmiller have sung its praises (and invested their money), and Microstrategy CEO Michael Saylor has put a significant portion of his company's treasury assets in Bitcoin. Square - whose CEO Jack Dorsey has only #bitcoinin his Twitter profile - invested $50M of its treasury assets as well.
This morning, Rick Rieder - the fixed income CIO for BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager - said Bitcoin could take the place of gold. "It's so much more functional than passing a bar of gold around."
And about gold (XAUUSD:CUR), it's having a good year - up 27% - but at $1,873 per ounce is well off its August high of about $2,100. As recently as Labor Day, the two (supposed) competing inflation hedges were neck-and-neck for 2020, but gold has roughly flatlined since, while Bitcoin has continued sharply higher.
Better than passing a bar around - Bitcoin moves past gold
Cryptocurrency fans have another big-name institutional type in their corner, with BlackRock's CIO for fixed income Rick Rieder taking time during a CNBC appearance to suggest Bitcoin (BTC-USD) could "take the place of gold."
"It's so much more functional than passing a bar of gold around," he tells Andrew Sorkin. Rieder does add that he's not necessarily a major bull on the price, and says he holds virtually none of it in his portfolios.
Bitcoin this morning continues at its cycle high, trading hands at about $18.2K. The Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) is up 1.9% premarket. Other names that typically move in tandem include Riot Blockchain (NASDAQ:RIOT) and Marathon Patent (NASDAQ:MARA).
Mexican billionaire Ricardo Salinas - whose Grupo Salinas has interests in telecommunications, media, financial services, and retail - says he has 10% of his liquid net worth invested in Bitcoin (BTC-USD). He also recommends Safiedean Ammous's The Bitcoin Standard to his followers.
In other news of interest to crypto fans, the Senate late yesterday blocked the nomination of Judy Shelton to the Fed Board of Governors. Shelton has advocated consideration of a return to the gold standard. Just one hard-moneyish voice among the hundreds of PhDs at the Eccles Building is apparently one too many for the D.C. crowd. Hodlers, needless to say, are again reminded for why they were drawn to Bitcoin in the first place.
As for prices, Bitcoin overnight shot up to a new cycle high just shy of $18.5K. It's since pulled back to $17.7K.
Riot Blockchain (NASDAQ:RIOT) +2.7% PM, has appointed Hubert Marleau to its board of directors, effective today, to fill in the earlier announced vacancy.
Mr. Marleau is a veteran capital markets professional, corporate director, and Chair of the Marleau Lecture Series on Economic and Monetary Policy at the University of Ottawa.
Currently, he serves as Chief Economist at Canada-based Palos Management, a boutique investment management firm.
Riot is one of the blockchain plays moving higher in early hours trade today with the Bitcoin (BTC-USD) currently trading 5.7% higher; Marathon Patent Group (NASDAQ:MARA) is up 6.1% in early hours trade today.
In a new presentation on its website, Marathon Patent Group (NASDAQ:MARA)estimates financial performance once all 23,560 of its miners are deployed in Q2 2021, based on ~$16,000 bitcoin price, which was the seven-day average as of Nov. 17.
MARA shares jump 13% in premarket trading.
Sees potential to produce 15-20 bitcoins per day at an average production cost of $3,863 per bitcoin;
Potential to generate $8.8M in revenue per month and $6.7M in gross profit per month;
Sees producing 2.6 EH/S, which will account for approximately 2.0% of the global bitcoin hashrate.
"If you had told me three years ago the U.S. was going to print a trillion dollars in one month, I would have said 1,000 to 1 against," says Dan Morehead, the CEO of Pantera Capital, and an early Bitcoin (BTC-USD) investor. "It just happened ... I think it's going to melt up."
Morehead believes the divided U.S. government means at least modest gridlock on the legislative front, putting more heat on the Fed to keep expanding its balance sheet. That's good, he says, for things you can't "quantitatively ease."
Citibank's Tom Fitzpatrick is a big fan of big price targets, earlier this summer suggesting gold could hit $8K in the next two-three years.
Turning his technical talents to Bitcoin (BTC-USD), Fitzpatrick says the crypto's "exponential move" followed by a massive correction reminds him of the 1970 gold market, when that metal finally broke free from 50 years of being pegged in the $20-$35 per ounce range.
Extrapolating that analysis out, he sees Bitcoin going to as high as $318K by the end of next year.
After stumbling back below $16K this weekend, Bitcoin this morning has returned to close to its multi-year high hit last week, now selling for $16,315. GBTC +0.85% premarket.
Welcome to Seeking Alpha's Catalyst Watch - a breakdown of some of next week's actionable events that stand out. Check out Saturday morning's regular Stocks to Watch article for a full list of events planned for the week or the Seeking Alpha earnings calendar for companies due to report.
Monday - November 16
Volatility watch: IPO share lockups expire on Chewy (NYSE:CHWY) and 89bio (NASDAQ:ETNB). Shares of Chewy are up 185% from where the IPO was priced, while 89bio is trades below its IPO pricing level. Some of the highest implied volatility stocks based on options trading are Brainstorm Cell Therapeutics (NASDAQ:BCLI), Nio (NYSE:NIO) and Electrameccanica Vehicles (NASDAQ:SOLO).
FDA watch: It is the FDA priority review date for Bristol-Myers Squibb's (NYSE:BMY) Transcend-NHL-001. The BsUFA date for Mylan's (NASDAQ:MYL) Tecfidera also arrives. The company says Tecfidera could expand treatment options for the thousands of Americans living with relapsing forms of MS. CymaBay Therapeutics (NASDAQ:CBAY) is presenting Phase 3 data at the AASLD Liver meeting. Earlier this year, CymaBay Therapeutics soared after the company announced that the FDA has removed clinical holds on seladelpar for three IND Applications.
Oil watch - The OPEC+ Joint Technical Committee and Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee hold meetings over two days. Traders will be watching for indications that an increase in scheduled oil output next year could be delayed at the full OPEC+ meeting at the end of the month. Crude oil futures (CL1:COM) are still comfortably above $40.
8:00 a.m. Mersana Therapeutics(NASDAQ:MRSN) plans to host a live webinar highlighting its novel Immunosynthen STING-agonist ADC platform. The presentation will review the therapeutic rationale for the development of STING-agonist ADCs including preclinical mechanistic data showing STING activation in both tumor cells and tumor-resident immune cells, the development and optimization of the Immunosynthen platform and preclinical data.
10:00 a.m. Seagen (NASDAQ:SGEN) holds a R&D Day event at which it will discuss the broad clinical development of marketed products like Adcetris, Papdcev and Tukysa, as well as an overview of its deep pipeline of innovative therapies for cancer. Shareholders will be looking for an update on the revenue potential of the new products.
10:30 a.m. Cummins (NYSE:CMI) will hold a well-timed Hydrogen Day event to discuss the company's outlook on the future of hydrogen fuel technologies and key actions it is taking to continue to broaden its capabilities. Earlier in the week, Cummins disclosed that it is working with Navistar on a hydrogen-powered Class 8 truck.
11:10 a.m. French oil giant Total (NYSE:TOT) holds an online investor fair called Les Lundis d'Investir Day. Total execs will discuss (in French) the company's strategy and outlook, which could include updates on sustainability and renewables initiatives. Total has outperformed many of its oil peers this year.
1:30 p.m. MicroStrategy (NASDAQ:MSTR) will be hosting a virtual Analyst Day. Expect plenty of talk about the company's $425M investment in Bitcoin (BTC-USD).
2:00 p.m. Federal Reserve Vice Chair Richard Clarida will give a speech on U.S. Monetary Policy.
4:15 p.m. DSG Global (OTCQB:DSGT) will host a conference call to discuss significant corporate activity and the company's plans for the future.
Tuesday - November 17
Premarket A couple of Walmart (NYSE:WMT) suppliers to watch when the retail giant reports earnings are Crown Crafts (NASDAQ:CRWS) and Green Dot (NYSE:GDOT). Crown Craft derives more than 40% of its revenue from Walmart and trades in tandem with it 75% of the time following earnings. Green Dot churns up 29% of its revenue from Walmart and trades in tandem with it 88% of the time in the week following the earnings drop. Home Depot (NYSE:HD) also reports earnings, which could be significant for Fortune Brands (NYSE:FBHS). The supplier derives almost 30% of its revenue from HD and Lowe's (NYSE:LOW) (reports 11/18) together, and moves in tandem with the home improvement retailers in the week after earnings about 75% of the time.
9:00 a.m. AVROBIO (NASDAQ:AVRO) will host a Virtual R&D Day for analysts and investors. The company will share updates on its clinical programs, including initial data on the first patient dosed in its Phase 1/2 trial for Gaucher disease, new data on the first two patients dosed in the investigator-sponsored Phase 1/2 trial for cystinosis and updated data from the Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trials for Fabry disease. The Virtual R&D Day also will include an in-depth review of AVROBIO’s proprietary platform designed to bring gene therapies to patients worldwide.
9:30 a.m. CyberArk (NASDAQ:CYBR) will be one of the more interesting presenters at the Needham Virtual Security, Networking, and Communications Conference. Shares of CyberArk have been clawing back from a sharp post-earnings decline.
10:00 a.m. Lindsay Corporation (NYSE:LNN) will host a Virtual Investor Event. Executive leadership will highlight Lindsay's strategic growth priorities, including its leading technology innovations addressing global megatrends across its irrigation and infrastructure solutions.
11:00 a.m. Ford (NYSE:F) has a meeting set with Wolf Research to discuss the new, all-electric E-Transit. The Ford team will provide details about E-Transit's future revenue opportunities from expanded dealer services, integrated charging solutions, connected data networks, mobile applications and subscriptions. Shares of Ford could use a jolt after lagging behind rival General Motors this year.
11:00 a.m. Cantor Fitzgerald hosts a call to discuss the path for Pennsylvania to legalize recreational marijuana and what compromise the governor and legislature could work out.
11:30 a.m. Rockwell Automation (NYSE:ROK) will host its annual investor meeting virtually in conjunction with the company's Automation Fair at Home event.
1:00 p.m. The New York Times DealBook event will feature a vaccine discussion between Bill Gates, Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) CEO Albert Bourla and the Vaccine Confidence Project's Heidi Larson. The expected timeline on distribution of the vaccine is critical to many sectors.
1:30 p.m. ARK Invest is holding a Q&A Video Conference that will cover gaming, drones and a general session with founder/CEO Cathie Wood. ARK funds like the Genomic Revolution Multi-Sector ETF (BATS:ARKG), ARK Innovation ETF (NYSEARCA:ARKK), ARK Next Generation Internet ETF (NYSEARCA:ARKW), ARK Fintech Innovation ETF (NYSEARCA:ARKF) and ARK Industrial Innovation ETF (BATS:ARKQ) are still posting chart-topping returns despite a recent snag after the U.S. election.
1:45 p.m. Colony Capital (NYSE:CLNY) will present at Nareit's REITworld: 2020 Virtual Annual Conference. The company could provide an update on its plans to pivot to becoming a digital real estate provider. Digital infrastructure is estimated to have a total addressable market of $241B. Shares of Colony Capital inched back over $4.00 during the week for the first time since March.
3:00 p.m. EVO Payments (NASDAQ:EVOP) will present virtually at the Citi 2020 Financial Technology Conference. The impact on the company of the recent spikes in COVID cases and resulting government restrictions will be of high interest to investors.
4:00 p.m. Calyxt (NASDAQ:CLXT) will hold its Virtual Analyst Day. The event will include a review of include a review of the company's research and development pipeline and a business update from management, followed by a Q&A session with the sell-side analyst community.
4:55 p.m. U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren will talk with Andrew Ross Sorkin on the post-election outlook for politics and policy at the The New York Times DealBook event. It is unclear if Warren will have any role in a Biden administration.
Wednesday - November 18
8:00 a.m. Target (NYSE:TGT) holds one of the bigger conference calls of the week. Unlike some of its peers, Target tends to get into the nitty gritty of its quarter and short-term outlook during its calls. JPMorgan expects positive commentary from Target management the impact of the Deal Days promotion around Prime Day, COVID spike stockups and Black Friday events planned for November. Investors may also get an update on how the new partnership with Ulta Beauty (NASDAQ:ULTA) could impact traffic and sales.
8:30 a.m. The retail sales report is due in for October. Bank of America expects retail sales (less auto and gas) to miss the consensus mark of +0.8%. "We look for both headline retail sales and retail ex auto sales to come in flat in October, weighed down by unfavorable seasonal factors," previews the firm. "Within the components, online activity picked up offsetting a decline in brick & mortar activity during the month, reflecting spending around Prime promotions and the iPhone release. Netting out restaurant spending, gas and building materials, we look for core control sales to contract 0.1% mom."
10:45 a.m. Fiverr International (NYSE:FVRR) will present at the upcoming Needham Virtual Internet Services Conference in one of its first updates since the Q3 earnings call. Shares are up more than 600% YTD, but bulls see even more upside.
11:30 a.m. Eagle Bulk Shipping (NASDAQ:EGLE) CEO Gary Vogel, Genco Shipping & Trading (NYSE:GNK) CEO John Wobensmith and Star Bulk Carriers (NASDAQ:SBLK) CEO Hamish Norton take part in a Marine Money panel discussion on the dry cargo market, including discussion on current conditions, retrofits, ESG initiatives, M&A and S&P.
1:55 p.m. Dana Incorporated (NYSE:DAN) will participate in Barclays 2020 Global Automotive Conference. Dana's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer James Kamsickas and Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Jonathan Collins will provide a brief overview of the company and answer questions.
Thursday - November 19
All Day - The last business day before the November 20 FDA action date on Merck (NYSE:MRK)-Eiger BioPharmaceuticals' (NASDAQ:EIGR) Zokinvy (lonafarnib) for treatment Progeria and Progeroid Laminopathies arrives. Part of the bull thesis on Eiger is the potential commercial launch of Zokinvy in the U.S and Europe.
Earnings spotlight - Options trading on Macy's (NYSE:M) is pricing in a double-digit move for the stock after earnings are reported. JPMorgan notes that Macy's reports after Kohl's and TJX for a change this quarter, which takes some of the surprise potential out of the report.
9:00 a.m. Trinity Industries (NYSE:TRN) will hold a virtual Investor Day. The half-day event will include presentations on the company’s business strategy.
10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) will hold a virtual Medical Devices Update for the investment community in which leadership will focus on the company's differentiated and competitive platforms across digital surgery and provide franchise and innovation highlights across the Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies. J&J plans to highlight how it is positioning itself for long-term success through meaningful innovation.
10:30 a.m. Workiva (NYSE:WK) will host a virtual Investor Day with presentations delving into the company's platform, markets, solutions and go-to-market strategies.
12:00 p.m. Barron's is holding a live event featuring Chegg (NYSE:CHGG) CEO Dan Rosensweig on the timely topic of what comes next for online education. Chegg and other education stocks have been rallying due the recent surge of COVID cases in the U.S. and the potential for more online school.
4:05 a.m. A new EV-SPAC creation will be in focus when Canoo Holdings (CNOO) presents at the Barclays Global Automotive Conference. The German-American EV automaker has previously announced a merger agreement with Hennessy Capital Acquisition Corp. IV (NASDAQ:HCAC)
Friday - November 20
9:00 a.m. Edgewell Personal Care's (NYSE:EPC) executive leadership team will unveil the details of a comprehensive strategy to drive sustainable growth and shareholder value at its Virtual Investor Day. The three-hour event is likely to include a guidance update.
11:00 a.m. Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) will conduct a webcast to provide an overview of the tirzepatide Phase 3 type 2 diabetes clinical trial program in preparation for five future Phase 3 top-line data disclosures. Management will review the trial designs and expected timing of the multiple readouts for the tirzepatide program.
12:00 p.m. Ascendis Pharma (NASDAQ:ASND) holds a highly-anticipated Oncology R&D day to update on its two leading programs. Bank of America expects a positive update from the company and thinks ASND will keep U.S. rights to its products and partner for global rights.
Mike Novogratz's Galaxy Digital (OTCPK:BRPHF) acquires two crypto trading firms — DrawBridge Lending and Blue Fire Capital, to strengthen the firm's trading solutions portfolio, relationships with global exchanges, and lending & derivatives expertise.
"Galaxy Digital's mission is to bring cryptocurrency to traditional finance and vice versa. DrawBridge and Blue Fire's market-leading capabilities will enable us to further amplify our strong position as a go-to trading desk in digital assets and more rapidly grow our innovative portfolio of trading products and services," said Christopher Ferraro, President of Galaxy Digital
DrawBridge Lending is engaged in digital asset lending, borrowing, and structured products. Blue Fire Capital is a proprietary trading firm specializing in market-making and two-sided liquidity for digital assets.
The acquisitions expand Galaxy Digital Trading's revenue-generating activities by diversifying GDT beyond its current annual OTC trading volume of $4B and into expanded derivatives and futures trading; on-exchange market-making; and lending, borrowing, and structured products.
The transaction also "provides near-term capital deployment opportunities for Galaxy Digital's recent $50M financing from institutional investors," the company said.
"It's good news, it's encouraging," Andrew Bailey, head of the Bank of England, said about the potential for a vaccine in the next few months.
It starts to reduce level of uncertainty that economies have been facing, but "we're not there yet," Bailey adde.
Christine Lagarde, President of the European Central Bank, reminded the virtual audience, "we were nine months ago facing a sea of uncertainty."
"We are clearly seeing a little less of an uncertainty on several fronts," she added, pointing to the U.S. presidential election having taken place and the vaccine news.
"We're seeing the other side now," Lagarde said. Monetary policy and fiscal policy "help bridge to the other side" of the uncertainty, she said.
As he has said several times before, Powell said more fiscal measures may need to be taken, but that, of course, is Congress's job. About 10M people have lost their jobs since the beginning of the pandemic.
The "most important leg of all is the health-care leg" in addressing the pandemic, he said. "There's no full recovery" until people feel safe enough to resume their normal activities.
Update at 12:15 PM ET: Regarding financial system stability, "banks have done well in this crisis so far," Powell observed, "But this is not a time for complacency."
He said the U.S. central bank will be looking at the non-bank financial sector for signs of weakness that may have to addressed.
He echoes Bailey's comment that the COVID crisis raises questions about how to regulate non-bank financial companies.
Lagarde adds that banks must be very attentive to corporate-loan books.
12:22 PM ET: Turning to Brexit, BOE's Bailey said "the financial sector has been able to do a lot of preparation", and he thinks "the financial sector is as ready" as it can be. There's more uncertainty for the non-financial sector, he added.
12:32 PM: The COVID-induced downturn has been disproportionately affecting women and young people with the increased risk of long-lasting scarring to their careers, she said.
Powell expects that there's going to be a substantial segment of workers who are going too need support in navigating the post-pandemic economy.
12:40 PM ET: The discussion turns to central bank digital currencies ("CBDCs"). Powell repeats that the Fed isn't rushing to issue a CBDC. "We haven't made a decision," he said, adding that a lot of work still needs to be done in studying the possibility.
"As the main reserve currency for the world, we feel it's critical too get it right, rather than be the first," Powell said.
Lagarde also said the ECB "is not racing to be the first" in issuing such a digital currency. Any CBDC from the ECB "won't be a substitute for cash, it will be a complement."
Issues that still need to be considered are anti-money laundering, privacy, and technologies that would be used, she said, pointing out that the People's Bank of China has been exploring a CBDC for about five years and Facebook has been working on Libra for about four years.
12:50 PM ET: In wrapping up the session, the three central bank heads were asked what worries them the most.
Bailey said he's most worried about the "huge uncertainty" his country faces and how that affects the U.K.'s citizens.
Powell talked about the potential for long-term damage to productive capacity of the economy as well as workers falling out of the labor force.
LaGarde points to two worries — "silliness and hubris" that can lead to war; and signs that the coronavirus is mutating in mink. "It means that the vaccine being developed at the moment wouldn't work" against the virus as transformed in the mink," she said (or other mutations that might occur in other animals.).
The last time Bitcoin (BTC-USD) was above $16K was early in January 2018, when it was in rapid decline from its bubbly $20K peak hit a few days earlier.
Sometimes forgotten in the discussion of Bitcoin's big move in 2017 was how little time the crypto actually spent above $15K - just a handful of days. It's already well more than topped that in 2020.
We've heard from Paul Tudor Jones (wildly bullish) and Stan Druckenmiller (bullish, but more reserved than Jones). What say you, Ray Dalio?
Speaking to Yahoo Finance, The Oracle of Westport says he's not a fan, citing an inability to transact with it, volatility, and - maybe most importantly - his belief that governments will outlaw crypto should it get too popular.
The Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) +1.8% premarket.
Using blockchain for issuing financial instruments allows the issuer to sell the securities at much lower costs because fewer financial intermediaries are involved in the process.
That gives retail investors an opportunity to buy the China Construction Bank debt, which will be sold in the form of tokenized certificates of deposit. Typically, such debt instruments are only accessible to institutional and professional investors.
The CDs will be issued through China Construction Bank's Labuan (Malaysia) branch with a tenor of three months, and will be issued at a minimum of US$100 each and yield about 0.75% at maturity. That's higher than the ~0.25% interest rate per annum at banks.
The initial tranche will make US$58M of digital certificates available to the public.
In addition, investors will be able to trade the digital certificates using bitcoin on Fusang Exchange, a digital exchange licensed by the financial regulator in Labuan, Malyasia.
Bitcoin, he says, has plenty of attraction as an asset class and store of value to not just millennials, but West Coast tech-types. It's been around 13 years and picks up more branding value each day, he notes.
He adds that has far more of his money in gold than he does in the most popular of cryptocurrencies.
Druckenmiller joins Paul Tudor Jones, Jack Dorsey, Michael Saylor, among others in putting a portion of their vast wealth in Bitcoin.
Bitcoin evangelist Raoul Pal: "The significance of the world's greatest and most respected money manager - Stan Druckenmiller - saying just now that he is long bitcoin can not be overstated. That has removed every obstacle for any hedge fund or endowment to invest."
Bitcoin (BTC-USD) has been active, initially rising to as high as $15.8K, but falling since, and now changing hands at $15.3K - still more than a double for 2020.
Among the bull arguments for Bitcoin has been a somewhat dystopian future of never-ending, pandemic-related monetary and fiscal stimulus driving the value of traditional currencies to an ultimate resting place near zero.
In other news, Jeff Gundlach recently weighed in on central bank moves to create digital currency. A product like that, says Gundlach, would give central banks the "necessary plumbing" to deliver money directly to citizens' bank accounts, opening "veritable floodgates" of liquidity and accelerating inflation.
Fresh off celebrating its 12th white paper anniversary, Bitcoin (BTC-USD) rose another 9% overnight to nearly touch $16,000, spurred by a tumble in dollar, ever looser monetary policy and after the DOJ seized a record amount of cryptocurrency.
Officials took possession of more than $1B, including 69,000 bitcoins that had been associated with the dormant dark web site Silk Road, marking the largest seizure of crypto in the agency's history.
The bitcoins had been stolen from Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht in 2012 and 2013 by a hacker who liquidated some of the coins but left most sitting untouched for years in a digital wallet. Ulbricht was convicted in 2015 of distributing narcotics and money laundering and sentenced to life in prison.
Bitcoin's surge widens the crypto's lead over gold as the top asset of 2020, according to Bloomberg, whose Galaxy Crypto Index of digital currencies is up about 120% this year exceeding gold's jump of about 30%.
Up nicely again this morning, Bitcoin (BTC-USD) is currently changing hands at $14.8K. That's the highest level since January 2018, when it was rapidly crashing from late December's all-time high of about $20K.
Today's move means Bitcoin has more than doubled in value this year, with a gain of about 40% just over the past four weeks.
Summing up the current bullish sentiment is GSR's John Kramer who says we may not know who the next president is, but we do know the Fed will continue keeping the money printer humming.
Crytpo fans, however, are finding interest in conference call comments from CEO Dan Schulman (full transcript is here). "Our base is very eager for us to offer these capabilities," said Schulman, speaking off his company's recent offering of cryptocurrency purchases.
Currently, just 10% of PayPal's customers have access to this new service, but that's expected to be expanded to everyone in the U.S. over the next couple of weeks. Interest is enough, says Schulman, that the company is raising its weekly crypto purchase limits to $15K from $10K. Management also says it will be rapidly expanding crypto offerings in 2021.
Bitcoin (BTC-USD) today is up modestly and continuing near multi-year highs at $13,753. The Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC +1.4%).
Blackstone Mortgage Trust (NYSE:BXMT)Q3 core EPS of 63 cents exceeds the average analyst estimate of 60 cents and compares with 62 cents in Q2 and 64 cents in Q1 2020.
Book value per share of $26.51 as of Sept. 30 increased from $26.45 at June 30.
Earnings and book value per share reflect 40 cents decrease in Q3 CECL reserve from ordinary course loan portfolio migration.
Reports 99% interest collection rate in Q3; $484M of loan repayments and $342M of loan fundings.
80% of loans are performing on pre-COVID-19 terms; COVID-19-related modifications have generally involved new financial commitments from sponsors.
Maintained liquidity of $1.2B at quarter-end.
Debt-to-equity ratio of 2.6x as of Sept. 30, 2020, the same level as at June 30, 2020.
"BXMT’s strong third-quarter results reflect the earnings power and credit performance of our loan portfolio, as well as the benefits of a focused strategy of senior lending backed by top-quality properties with well-capitalized, institutional borrowers," said CEO Stephen D. Plavin.
"Decoupling" was the word across the crypto markets earlier this month as Bitcoin (BTC-USD) managed big gains even as equity markets stalled and/or sold off.
That hadn't been the case for much of this crazy year, as Bitcoin plunged right alongside stocks (even worse, actually) in March, and then rebounded on a nearly perfectly-correlated basis up through about mid-October.
The correlation has returned today, and Bitcoin - which looked set to challenge $14K at one point overnight - has tumbled back below $13K alongside a 2.5% selloff in the S&P 500.
Whether inflation hedge, alternative asset, or the next Apple (see Paul Tudor Jones' recent comments), Bitcoin - at least over shorter time frames - continues to behave like a high-beta stock.
Overstock shares are facing some technical pressure. After failing at a challenge of its 50-day simple moving average on Oct. 8, it's now almost 15% below that level. It's now about 7% above the 100-day SMA.
JPM Coin will be used commercially for the first time this week by a large technology client sending payments globally, says Takis Georgakopoulos, JPMorgan's (NYSE:JPM) global head of wholesale payments.
That's got the bank excited enough to launch Onyx, a unit to house its blockchain and digital currency endeavors, with more than 100 employees. It will be headed by Umar Farooq.
"We are launching Onyx because we believe we are shifting to a period of commercialization of those technologies, moving from research and development to something that can become a real business," says Georgakopoulos.
Bank CEO Jamie Dimon famously called Bitcoin (BTC-USD) a "fraud" in 2017, and threatened to fire any JPMorgan traders who got involved. He's since said he regretted those remarks, and that "the blockchain is real."
Speaking of everyone's favorite crypto, it's up sharply again today a new multi-year high of $13.6K.
He doesn't provide any evidence that PayPal is actually exploring the possibility, but notes that developing its own crypto would reduce PayPal's dependence on traditional banking and payment partners, which would enable it to lower its fees and fatten profit margins.
Levy sees "a lot of potential for combining the utility of cryptocurrency with PayPal's expansive network of consumers and merchants."
"With its strong free cash flow, PayPal has the funds to acquire companies in the space and spend money on developing new technology, so it could move fast if it sees good results with the features it just announced," he wrote.
The Exchange page was actually live for a brief amount of time, and then taken down.
DBS is Southeast Asia's largest bank, so its entry into cryptocurrencies has fans excited. Grayscale's Barry Silbert: "This is a big deal."
Bitcoin, meanwhile, is taking out new multi-year highs this morning, up 2.5% to $13,442. Bitcoin for part of yesterday tumbled right alongside stocks, upsetting to those hoping for it to break off from its correlation to equities. Hodlers drew plenty of encouragement in the afternoon, though, as Bitcoin managed to rally back over $13K despite stocks continuing to lose ground.
Delivery of the new miners is scheduled to start in January 2021 and will be completed by March 2021. They're all expected to be deployed in Q1 — three months earlier than its last purchase, which is scheduled to be delivered between January and June of next year.
"As a result, there will be a substantial increase in our Bitcoin Mining revenue sooner than we had anticipated," the company said in its statement.
Each miner produces 110 Terehash/second, adding 1.10 Exahash to the company's existing 2,560 miners.
The schedule of S-19 Pro Miner deliveries: 500 in November 2020; 4,000 in January; 6,300 in February; 4,800 in March; and 1,800 each in months of April, May, and June.
The granddaddy of the Grayscale funds is the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), and AUM in that fund has surpassed $6B after pulling $234M of the $300M in inflows on Thursday. The second-largest is the Grayscale Ethereum Trust (OTCQX:ETHE), and AUM there is now just shy of $1B.
Crypto in general, and Bitcoin (BTC-USD) in particular has been in major rally mode of late, helped by corporates like Microstrategy, Square, and the U.K.'s Mode Global investing a portion of their treasury assets in cryptocurrency. Then there was Wednesday's news of PayPal allowing its 346M users to buy Bitcoin.
Appearing on Squawk Box, hedge-funder Paul Tudor Jones says he and the markets are assuming Joe Biden wins the presidency, with a Blue Wave also giving the Democrats control of Congress. Further, rallying markets are probably correctly pricing in a big fiscal package early next year.
Past that, however, Jones isn't so sure, believing the Biden tax plan might cause suffering for stocks. He takes note of the historic inverse relationship between the capital gains tax rate and the S&P 500 price-to-earnings multiple. Further, Jones expects a corporate tax hike will hit earnings. A combination of lower earnings and lower multiples isn't a great recipe for higher share prices, he says.
Turning to Bitcoin (BTC-USD), Jones says he's an even bigger fan of the crypto now then when he first famously invested a few months ago. He equates owning Bitcoin to being an early stage investor in Apple or Google. "I've never had an inflation hedge where you've got this kicker, this great intellectual capital behind it ... I think we're still in the first inning ... It's got a long way to go."
Bitcoin earlier today shot through $13K for the first time in a long time. It's in a bit of a pullback mode now, changing hands at $12.86K. GBTC +0.7%
"This PayPal news is the biggest news of the year in crypto," tweets Mike Novogratz. "All banks will now be on a race to service crypto. We have crossed the rubicon people. Exciting day."
That Novogratz believes this is the biggest news of the year carries some significance, given this year has also included Microstrategy (MSTR +6.4%) and Square deciding to hold a portion of their treasury assets in Bitcoin (BTC-USD).
Ryan Selkis notes PayPal has 346M users, 26M merchants, and would be the country's 20th-largest bank (were it a bank). Between PayPal, Square, and Grayscale (GBTC), says Selkis, "it's safe to assume that all remaining BTC will be hoovered up by public companies."
Outside of the U.S., U.K.-listed fintech player Mode Global Holdings today announced plans to move as much as 10% of its treasury assets into cryptocurrency. Executive Chairman Jonathan Rowland: "Faced with the challenges of COVID-19 and with U.K. interest rates at the lowest level in the Bank of England's 326-year history, our confidence in the long-term value of bitcoin has only increased."
Bitcoin has now topped $12.7K, the highest price since early 2018 (when it was in the middle of crashing from the $20K area).
Ether (ETH-USD), Bitcoin Cash (BCH-USD), and Litecoin (LTC-USD) are also in the green today, but trailing Bitcoin's advance.
In competition with Square's service that allows users to buy and hold Bitcoin (BTC-USD), PayPal Holdings (NASDAQ:PYPL) introduces a new service that enables customers to buy, hold, and sell cryptocurrency directly from their PayPal account.
In addition, PayPal signals plans to increase crypto's utility by making it available as a funding source for purchases at its 26M merchants.
PayPal jumps 3.7% in premarket trading. As for Bitcoin, it's continuing its big rally, up another 4.6% today $12.4K. That's the highest level in two months and closing in the strongest since early 2018. GBTC +4.7% premarket.
The company is introducing the ability to buy, hold and sell select cryptocurrencies, initially featuring Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin, directly within the PayPal digital wallet. The service will be available to PayPal accountholders in the U.S. in the coming weeks. It plans to expand the features to Venmo and select international markets in H1 2021.
There are no service fees when buying or selling cryptocurrency through Dec. 31, 2020, and there are no fees for holding cryptocurrency in a PayPal account.
Beginning in early 2021, PayPal customers will be able to use their cryptocurrency holdings as a funding source to pay at PayPal's 26M merchants worldwide.
"HODL," tweeted Social Capital chief and SPAC mogul Chamath Palihapitiya overnight. Chamath, of course, has been a longtime fan and owner of Bitcoin (BTC-USD).
The popular crypto continues its run, higher by 8% today, and just shy of $12K. It's now up about $1.5K since Square announced its $50M purchase less than two weeks ago, which was quickly followed by CEO Jack Dorsey chatting up a blueprint for how other corporate players might invest part of their treasury into Bitcoin.
The targeted rate of interest is 4% per year, but that's very much not guaranteed. Money deposited with Luno is lent to a chosen lending partner to generate a return. The success of the lender will determine depositors' return.
Bitcoin fans for some time have been looking for a safe, insured, and regulated way to get a higher rate of interest on their holdings vs. fiat money. Luno appears to be a modest step in that direction, but it's not close to that ideal yet.
Luno: "Your savings wallet is not a traditional fiat currency bank account, and cryptocurrency accounts are not covered by deposit protection insurance." Indeed.
Bitcoin is up nearly 5% today to $11.59K. Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) +1.6% premarket.
The Federal Reserve hasn't yet made a decision on whether it will issue a central bank digital currency ("CBDC"), Fed Chair Jerome Powell said during a virtual panel on cross-border and digital payments held by the International Monetary Fund.
"A great deal of work needs to be done" before making such a decision, he said.
He pointed to several reasons why a central bank might issue a CBDC, including improving payment systems to provide faster and cheaper transactions.
If the Fed does decide to issue a digital currency, it would "serve as a complement to cash and private sector electronic payments," not a replacement, Powell said during the session.
He observed that in the U.S. there is still "strong demand for cash" and that "many [people], though not all, have access to electronic payment systems" that already exist.
Malta-based OKEx is one of the more active cryptocurrency trading platforms. At issue, according to the company, is that one of its key holders has "been out of touch" while cooperating with a Beijing probe.
CEO Jay Hao says the key holder's cooperation with Chinese officials is thanks to a "personal issue," and the investigation would not affect business.
A Chinese news source says one of OKEx's founders "Star" Yu was detained by police at least a week ago, and hasn't been seen since.
More from OKEx: "We are unable to disclose the nature of an ongoing investigation but would like to assure all OKEx users that their funds are safe and that all other functions on OKEx are unaffected."
The news did send Bitcoin (BTC-USD) a bit lower, but it remains modestly higher for the day at $11.36K.
The Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) down 2% premarket.
The global economy, says Pal, is headed toward the "insolvency phase" as it tries to recover from the pandemic. "We've got more problems to come in Europe, the U.S., and elsewhere ... And businesses don’t have enough cash flow, they’re closing in droves."
The only answer, he says, is more money printing from the central banks, and that's going to be good for Bitcoin (BTC-USD). He's got more than half of his portfolio in the crypto, and believes it could hit $1M in five years from the current level just above $11K.
The possibly of a stablecoin being used by billions of people - think of Facebook's (NASDAQ:FB) Libra - is spurring central banks to put together rules that would govern the currency.
Stablecoins are an attempt to address the high volatility of "traditional" crypto-assets by tying the stablecoin's value to one or more other assets, such as sovereign currencies.
The latest? The Financial Stability Board, which groups central banks and financial regulators from the G20 economies, has agreed to build a roadmap to enhance cross-border payments, flexibility, efficiency and coordination:
"Completion of international standard-setting work by December 2021."
"Establishment or, as necessary, adjustment of cooperation arrangements among authorities by December 2021 (and as needed based on market evolution)."
"At a national level, establishment or, as necessary, adjustment of regulatory, supervisory and oversight frameworks consistent with the FSB recommendations and international standards and guidance by July 2022 (and as needed based on market evolution)."
"Review of implementation and assessment of the need to refine or adapt international standards by July 2023."
The roadmap on stablecoins follows a joint report released by seven central banks last week through the BIS outlining a transnational front around central bank digital currencies (CBDC).
Bitcoin (BTC-USD) trades at its highest level in a month as the stimulus wildcard in the U.S. hangs in the background. Within the last 24 hours, Bitcoin swapped digital hands as high as $11,491.25.
Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) is up 8.4% over the last week. Notable movers in the crypto sector over the same period also include Cardano (ADA-USD) +15%, Chainlink (LINK-USD) +15%, Bitcoin Cash (BCH-USD) +9.5%, Litecoin (LTC-USD) +8.1% and Ethereum (ETH-USD) +7.8%.
Within the sector, Marathon Patent Group (NASDAQ:MARA) rose 10.2% over the last seven days, Riot Blockchain (NASDAQ:RIOT) gained 19.0% and Overstock (NASDAQ:OSTK) increased 6.8%.
The line of thinking of some Bitcoin bulls is that high government and central bank spending around the world in response to the pandemic will eventually led to inflation. That is expected to boost Bitcoin demand on top of the increasing institutional support (see developments with Square).
"More important than Square (NYSE:SQ) investing $50M in Bitcoin (BTC-USD) is sharing how we did it (so others can do the same)," tweets @jack.
He provides a link to a Square whitepaper describing how the company was able to purchase $50M worth of Bitcoin in a day without disrupting the market. The paper also details the security measures the company has taken to protect its crypto assets.
Even more important, says Dorsey, is Square's investing in open source development with Square Crypto, opening access to patents in conjunction with Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA), and making Bitcoin more accessible and useful to millions with the Cash App.
“We believe that Bitcoin (BTC-USD) has the potential to be a more ubiquitous currency in the future,” says CFO Amrita Ahuja. “As it grows in adoption, we intend to learn and participate in a disciplined way. For a company that is building products based on a more inclusive future, this investment is a step on that journey.”
Riot Blockchain (NASDAQ:RIOT)continues its operational expansion with the purchase of an additional 2,500 next generation S19 Pro Antminer (110 TH/s) cryptocurrency miners for $6.1M from BitmainTech PTE, scheduled for receipt and deployment delivery in December 2020.
The company now expects to achieve a total hash rate capacity of 2.3 EH/s by June 2021, with 22,640 total miners deployed.
RIOT says that: "As far as the Company is aware, no other publicly traded bitcoin mining company has disclosed a hashing capacity exceeding 2 EH/s".
Such products are ill-suited for retail customers, says the U.K.'s Financial Conduct Authority, releasing final rules that ban the sale of derivatives and ETNs tied to cryptocurrency-related assets.
The ban goes into effect on Jan. 6, 2021.
At issue, says the FCA, are things like high price volatility, and the difficulty of reliably valuing crypto assets. "We remain of the view that the price of cryptoassets is determined by sentiment and speculative behavior," says the FCA. Huh? Now do the Nasdaq.
Bitcoin (BTC-USD) is modestly lower today, now changing hands at $10,702. Ether (ETH-USD) is slightly in the red. The Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) is down 2.3%.
"We really felt we were on a $500M melting ice cube," says MicroStrategy (NASDAQ:MSTR) CEO Michael Saylor. "Once the real yield on our treasury got to more than negative 10%, we realized that everything we are doing on P&L is irrelevant."
"We feel pretty confident that Bitcoin is less risky than holding cash, less risky than holding gold," he says, noting gold continues to be mined, while there's a finite amount of Bitcoin that might ever be issued.
Saylor owns 73% of the voting stock of MicroStrategy.
Not necessarily a hardcore hodler, Saylor says he'd have little issue selling his Bitcoin and re-buying government paper should yields move sharply higher.
Some of the speculative froth continues to slip away from stocks in early action on Monday morning. DJIA futures are down 2.1%, S&P 500 down 1.7%, and Nasdaq 100 down 1.5%.
Previous pandemic favorite, Nikola Corporation is off another 27% to $25, after its founder exits the company. The EV player was taken public via SPAC merger in April, and its stock subsequently rose about 9X to $94 in the space of a couple of months.
Proving again to be not much of a port in the storm during big stock market declines, gold (XAUUSD:CUR) is down 1.8% to $1,926 per ounce, silver (XAGUSD:CUR) is off 3.8% to $26.11, and Bitcoin (BTC-USD) is lower by 3% to $10,607.
The company yesterday completed the acquisition of another 16,796 Bitcoins (BTC-USD) for a total purchase price of $175M. Combined with previous purchases, the company has now spent $425M for 38,250 Bitcoins - that's 11,111 each vs. current price just above $10.9K.
In other news are the results from MicroStrategy's (NASDAQ:MSTR) modified Dutch Auction tender offer: The company will buy back 432.3K shares for $140 each, or a total amount of $60.5M. That number of shares is about 4.5% of the float.
Last month, MicroStrategy (MSTR +1.2%) shares popped after the company said it would spend half of its $500M cash hoard to purchase bitcoin.
In a new filing, MicroStrategy reveals the board has approved a new policy that splits the treasury reserve assets into "(i) cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments (“Cash Assets”) held by the Company that exceed working capital needs and (ii) bitcoin held by the Company, with bitcoin serving as the primary treasury reserve asset on an ongoing basis, subject to market conditions and anticipated needs of the business for Cash Assets, including future potential share repurchase activity."
Under the new policy, MicroStrategy's bitcoin holdings might increase beyond the previously disclosed $250M.
Gold is a $8-9 trillion asset class, and it's a matter of time before bitcoin starts to capture a portion of that, Digital Currency Group CEO Barry Silbert said in an interview on CNBC Wednesday.
Pointing to big name investors like Paul Tudor Jones, who in May famously said he was buying bitcoin, and later estimated that 1-2% of his assets were involved at the time, Silbert said when those kinds of investors get involved, it doesn't take much to move the value when the current market for bitcoin is just a couple hundred billion dollars.
The comments come as the currency recently dipped below $10,000 as equities sold off Tuesday following a volatile end to the prior week's market action. The digital currency is back above $10K in Wednesday's trading.
Mastercard (NYSE:MA) introduces a proprietary virtual testing environment for central banks to evaluate Central Bank Digital Currencies ("CBDCs") use cases.
The move comes after a recent survey by the Bank for International Settlements finds that 80% of central banks are engaging in some form of CBDC work and ~40% of them are experimenting with concept and design.
The platform that allows for the simulation of issuance, distribution, and exchange of CBDCs between banks, financial service providers, and consumers.
Central banks, commercial banks, and tech and advisory firms are being invited to partner with Mastercard to assess CBDC tech designs, validate use cases, and evaluate interoperability with existing payment rails available for consumers and businesses today.
Beginning in February, residents and companies in the Swiss canton of Zug will be able to pay up to CHF100K (about $109K) of their taxes in either Bitcoin (BTC-USD) or Ether (ETH-USD).
Zug is partnering with Zug-based Bitcoin Suisse to convert the payments into francs which would then be forwarded to the tax office.
Known as "crypto valley" for the concentration of crypto firms located there, Zug has been accepting Bitcoin for certain government services since 2016.
Bitcoin Suisse Chairman Niklas Nikolajsen: "There’s almost nothing controversial about trading Bitcoin anymore. It’s completely mainstream."
As for the price of Bitcoin, it continues to struggle. Less than 48 hours after again pushing through $12K, it's threatening to drop below $11K, currently changing hands at $11.075K. Ether is off recent highs as well, now at $413.
Up nearly another 11% today, Ethereum (ETH-USD) has more than doubled since the start of Q3, and is ahead more than 5x since the March low.
Bitcoin's (BTC-USD) done nicely since the March bottom as well, but Ether has pulled away in a big way since mid-July.
Behind the outperformance of Ether is excitement over decentralized finance (DeFi), in which financial services agreements (think mortgage loan, for example) use the Ethereum blockchain, rather than a third-party (i.e. a bank or lawyer).
Powell says the central bank going forward will have little issue - and in fact would welcome - inflation moving above 2%. The goal now, he says, is inflation that "averages" 2% over time. In other words, don't expect any tightening of the monetary spigots for several years.
Treasurys reverse as Fed Chair Jerome Powell sets out a plan to allow for higher inflation in his virtual Jackson Hole speech. The 10-year Treasury yield pares its decline to less than 1 basis point to 0.69%. Earlier yield fell by almost 4 bps.
Gold gains 1.6% to $1,982.90 per ounce.
Powell said the central bank will use a flexible form of inflation averaging. "In seeking to achieve inflation that averages 2% over time, we are not tying ourselves to a particular mathematical formula that defines the average," he said.
The Fed also plans to review its policy framework roughly every five years, he said.
In early trading, S&P 500 and Nasdaq gain 0.2% and the Dow rises 0.4%.
The Fed, says Powell, will seek to achieve an inflation rate that "averages" 2% over time. Maximum employment will be a "broad-based and inclusive goal."
Powell: "Many find it counterintuitive that the Fed would want to push up inflation. However, inflation that is persistently too low can pose serious risks to the economy."
The Cliff's Notes: Not particularly interested in heading into negative interest rate territory, the Fed is attempting to ease policy by signaling its willingness to allow inflation to rise above its 2% target. Alongside, will be shying away from NAIRU, i.e. the concept that there's some level of unemployment, below which inflation begins to become a big worry.
To see the significance, consider that the Fed began a rate hike cycle in December 2015, when inflation was running at 1.5%, and the unemployment rate was 5%. Under the new policy, inflation would have to be significantly higher and unemployment well lower before the Fed would repeat.
Bottom line: The current zero-percent policy rate isn't being raised for a very long time. Whoever is inaugurated as president in January will have many things to worry about, but a rate hike cycle during their four-year term isn't one of them.
Marathon Patent (NASDAQ:MARA) shares rise 6.2% in premarket, after it executed a Letter of Intent to acquire Fastblock Mining for ~8.7M shares.
Once the transaction closes, the company’s cost to mine Bitcoin will decline from $7,400 to $3,600/Bitcoin due to the lower than industry-standard electricity cost of $0.0285 per KwH.
Marathon will also acquire 3,304 ASIC Miners from Fastblock’s customers which will increase its deployed ASICs from 2,060 to 5,364 Miners and immediately add 208/Ph of Hashing capacity to the current Hashrate of 186/Ph, increasing the current Hashrate to 394/Ph.
Fastblock Mining was established in 2014, and has managed Mining as a Service (MaaS) business and built/managed 20 data centers having mined over 50,000 Bitcoins.
Bernardo Schucman, Fastblock's CEO and Co-Founder will stay on with the combined company and become Head of Mining Operations.
The company will immediately begin expansion of the current power capacity in the Atlanta, Georgia facility from 15MwH to 45MwH. The facility may be expanded up to a maximum of 100MwH of power.
The transaction is expected to close by September.
Over one year, the company's shares have climbed ~44%.
JPMorgan Chase (JPM +0.2%) divests Quorum, its enterprise-variant of the Ethereum blockchain, to blockchain software firm ConsenSys.
JPMorgan also made an investment in ConsenSys. Terms of both transactions weren't disclosed.
ConsenSys will merge its existing protocol engineering roadmap with Quorum, in an effort to use the best of both codebases.
"All Enterprise Ethereum protocol technology at ConsenSys will fall under the ConsenSys Quorum brand, and developers will have the option to choose their underlying technology stack," ConsenSys said in a statement.
JPMorgan had been considering spinning off Quorum for about two year, Reuters reported in February, and was considering setting up an open-source foundation, creating a new startup, or merging it with another company.
Cryptocurrencies have made a big move higher of late, but the Bloomberg Galaxy Crypto Index is bumping up against 600, a level that's been pretty solid overhead resistance for more than one year.
It's too early to call it a downtrend, but the crypto market has struggled over the past couple of sessions after hitting 600 earlier this week. For reference's sake, Bitcoin (BTC-USD) makes up 30% of the gauge, and it pushed well above $12K earlier this week before pulling back to the current $11.6K.
The Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) is up 73% this year, but just 4.9% on a year-over-year basis.
Receipt and deployment are expected in begin in January and continue through April.
Despite Bitcoin's big recent rise, Riot says the size of the purchase allowed the company to secure a lower cost per miner than what it's typically paid.
Chairman Remo Mancini calls the mega-order a milestone deal moving the company towards its goal of becoming one of the largest bitcoin miners in North America. Riot, he says, is seen becoming cash flow positive by year-end 2020.
The last time Bitcoin (BTC-USD) was firmly above $12K was January 2018, and then it was taking the elevator on the way down from $20K a month earlier to its ultimate bottom of $3.2K.
With a big move upward in the last few minutes, Bitcoin is now changing hands at $12.3K.
At a minimum good entertainment, Dave Portnoy has now taken an interest in crytocurrencies, and last week spoke with crypto-evangelists Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss. The Winklevii case for Bitcoin instead of gold: Eventually there's going to be mining on asteroids and other planets, and massive gold discoveries there will boost supplies to such an extent as to make the metal nearly worthless.
The Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) today is up 9.1%.
The trusts are open-ended trusts sponsored by Grayscale and are intended to enable exposure to the price movement of each trust’s underlying assets through an investment vehicle, avoiding the challenges of buying, storing, and safekeeping digital Bitcoin Cash or Litecoin directly.
The trusts have offered private placements to accredited investors since March 2018. As of July 31, 2020, there were ~6.03M shares of BCHG with each share representing ownership of 0.00941311 Bitcoin Cash.
At the same date there were 2.50M shares of LTCN with each share representing ownership of 0.09413112 Litecoin.
AG Mortgage Investment Trust (NYSE:MITT) offers to exchange newly issued shares of its common stock for up to 1.36M shares of 8.25% series A cumulative redeemable preferred stock, 8.00% series B cumulative redeemable preferred stock, and 8.000% series C fixed-to-floating rate cumulative redeemable preferred stock, all par value $0.01 per share.
Consideration will be limited to 6,818,350 newly issued shares of common stock, representing ~19.9% of MITT's common stock outstanding immediately prior to the offer's expiration date.
Fed Governor Lael Brainard gave some updates yesterday on the Fed's ongoing experimentation with central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).
"We have been conducting in-house experiments for the last few years, through means that include the Board's Technology Lab, which has been building and testing a range of distributed ledger platforms to understand their potential opportunity and risk. This multidisciplinary team, with application developers from the Federal Reserve Banks of Cleveland, Dallas, and New York, supports a policy team at the Board that is studying the implications of digital currencies on the payments ecosystem, monetary policy, financial stability, banking and finance, and consumer protection."
"To enhance the Federal Reserve's understanding of digital currencies, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston is collaborating with researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in a multiyear effort to build and test a hypothetical digital currency oriented to central bank uses."
"Given the dollar's important role, it is essential that the Federal Reserve remain on the frontier of research and policy development regarding CBDCs. As part of this research, central banks are exploring the potential of innovative technologies to offer a digital equivalent of cash."
"There are also important legal considerations. It is important to understand how the existing provisions of the Federal Reserve Act with regard to currency issuance apply to a CBDC and whether a CBDC would have legal tender status, depending on the design."
The $1.2B market cap company has been mostly notable of late for its $500M cash hoard. This morning, it's announced its intention to take half of that amount and buy back stock via a modified Dutch Auction. The price paid won't be more than $140 per share, nor less than $122. Shares closed last night at $123.62.
CEO Michael Saylor: "This investment reflects our belief that Bitcoin, as the world’s most widely-adopted cryptocurrency, is a dependable store of value and an attractive investment asset with more long-term appreciation potential than holding cash ... MicroStrategy observed distinctive properties of Bitcoin that led it to believe investing in the cryptocurrency would provide not only a reasonable hedge against inflation, but also the prospect of earning a higher return than other investments."
Those with longish memories will remember MicroStrategy as one of the highest fliers, and then largest crashers of the late 90s tech bubble.
MSTR is higher by 9.2% premarket to $134.96. Bitcoin is down a fraction to $11,706.
McDermott had been Goldman's managing director in charge of internal funding operations.
He envisions a future in which all of the world's financial assets are held in electronic ledgers and activities that currently require teams of bankers and lawyers, such as debt issuances and IPOs, could be mostly automated.
"In the next five to 10 years, you could see a financial system where all assets and liabilities are native to a blockchain, with all transactions natively happening on chain," McDermott told CNBC.
He's building up the digital assets team, doubling its headcount as it hires in Europe and Asia.
Of particular interest, McDermott has brought in Oli Harris, who was JPMorgan Chase's head of digital assets strategy, according to people with knowledge of the move.
Harris was involved in JPM Coin, the first digital coin from a major bank.
In what shouldn't be too much of a surprise, a JPMorgan study finds millennials looking for an alternative currency to be fans of Bitcoin (BTC-USD), while older folks tend to be more inclined to gold.
Things get more interesting on a deeper look, though. The survey also finds those same millennials prefer buying individual stocks (as opposed to stock funds), and eschew bonds.
Add it up, and we've got millennials whose preference is to buy Bitcoin and stocks - perhaps explaining the strong correlation in the price action between crypto and equities since the pandemic broke out.
S&P 500 and Bitcoin - Getting hard to tell them apart
Gold is getting all the headlines this morning, up another 1.6% to a new record $2,053. Bitcoin is ahead 2% to $11.4K.
Bitcoin (BTC-USD) hit nearly a one-year high of $12.1K early Sunday, and then, shortly after, "flash crashed" all the way down to $10.7K in the space of a few minutes. At current pixel time, Bitcoin is changing hands at $11.1K.
The sudden price drop forced liquidation of nearly $1.4B worth of positions across major exchanges, reports Coindesk.
Also caught up in the flash crash was red-hot Ethereum (ETH-USD), which plunged more than 20%.
In Sunday evening precious metals action, gold (XAUUSD:CUR) is again making a push for $2K, earlier climbing as high as $1,994, before pulling back to the current $1,988, up 0.7% on the session. Silver (XAGUSD:CUR) is ahead 2% to $24.70.
Horizon Kinetics' Murray Stahl has spoken early and often about concerns over inflation - and no less recently, as the government's money creation has "taken on a historically monumental character."
In Horizon's Q2 market commentary, Stahl acknowledges he's swimming against a tide by saying inflation is "already here" - explaining that the low CPI is all about how it's weighted, and asking his audiences which prices have gone down for them, aside from computers (which "haven't gone down that much"). Insurance and property taxes continue to go up and by more than 2% in general; "How about lawyers ... How about doctors? Are those bills down?"
Those data lead him to expect "a commodity cycle the likes of which has never been seen before and I do not think it is going to be quick. I think it could last for 40 years."
When it comes to oil, the severe production drops of the past year can't be quickly reversed, he argues, with difficulty getting new permits, and traditional sources of capital swearing off fossil fuels. And "personally ... I think TPL (Texas Pacific Land Trust) is the best piece of property for this commodity on the planet," he says, noting profitability and a "quite robust return on equity" for the company with heavy landholdings in West Texas.
TPL's stock price thrived despite years of a deflationary environment in oil, so "can you imagine what would happen if you actually had inflation?" He ports that example to Franco-Nevada (NYSE:FNV), which flourished despite a drop in the gold price (which dropped from 2012's $1,800/ounce to not far from $1,000/ounce).
The key difference is royalty companies that don't need to throw cash back into the business, vs. high-equity base companies where return on capital is low, he argues.
The "Royalty Model" companies (here including Wheaton Precious Metals (NYSE:WPM)) stack up favorably when it comes to cash flow upside vs. some of the most profitable companies, the firm points out.
As for why to own both Franco-Nevada and Wheaton, the firm notes that silver's deeper decline than gold provides an advantageous optionality in Wheaton. Both companies have "very, very long" expected mine production lives of their reserves, with very large proportions of their contract portfolios not even producing yet.
Meanwhile, talk of Stahl's inflation expectations wouldn't be complete without talking crypto. "If we as a society can enable people to easily transfer bitcoin (BTC-USD), if a network were to develop sufficiently, I personally don’t see how anyone is going to prefer a government-issued fiat currency constantly being debased to a fixed issuance currency, a currency with a fixed reference point."
Imagining the market value of bitcoin were instead equal to the market value of just the U.S. dollar, the coefficient of expansion by itself would be 100x, "and I think even that figure dramatically understates the appreciation potential, because bitcoin is a universal coin."
Gold (XAUUSD:CUR) has pushed to a new all-time high of $1,967 per ounce, up nearly 2% since the afternoon close. Silver (XAGUSD:CUR) is ahead more than 6%, and now up to $26.04. The white metal has made the bigger move of late, but would need to nearly double from here before taking out an all-time high. Bitcoin (BTC-USD), meanwhile, has cracked $11K for the first time in nearly one year, now trading hands at $11,100.
Alongside the rise in precious metals and crypto, the dollar (UUP, USD) - which hit a multi-year peak in mid-March and has been headed south since - is roughly flat in evening trade. Some perspective: At 93.57, the dollar index remains well above the levels from where it spent the decade from roughly 2004-2014.
Metals prices are racing higher and Bitcoin is bouncing back above $10K. But long-term bond rates are still falling as the market looks at Fed accommodation for the long term and sees little to no threat from inflation.
At the same time the longer end of the Treasury curve is under pressure, with yields on the 10-year, 20-year and 30-year falling. And the spread between the 10-year and 2-year yields has been shrinking since early June.
The market looks to be pricing in near-zero Fed rates not just beyond the pandemic, but for a decade or more, echoing Japan, strategists say. This past month, fed funds futures again have been pricing in negative rates in 2021.
Some of that belief is coming from the Fed’s consistent message that it will do whatever it takes for as long as it takes to support a recovery. And some is coming from the dismissal of any inflationary pressures for the foreseeable future.
Inflation forecasts are caught between the macro view of inflation being a purely monetary phenomenon (and a concern given the size of central bank balance sheets) and the micro view of no wage or price pressure whatsoever, Catherine Mann, chief economist at Citi, says.
There’s also a big gap between economic expectations for inflation and financial market measures, which could lead to an adjustment in the markets, Mann told Bloomberg.
“Even though we might not have inflation surprising on the upside of the 2% objective, the financial markets could still be surprised because of such low (current) expectations for prices inflation,” she said.
The market is pricing in 5-year forward inflation expectations well below the Fed’s 2% target.
And the old Fed playbook may be changing. Officials have indicated that they may be happy to overshoot and raise rates only once they see measure like the core-PCE price index top 2%, rather than previous policy decision that have tried to anticipate that level.
As gold and silver have been making historic moves higher this summer, Bitcoin (BTC-USD) has been notable for not doing anything much at all - mostly residing in a tight trading range around $9,500.
Things have gotten interesting in the last 48 hours though, with Bitcoin poking its head above that trading range and touching $10K minutes ago. It's pulled back a bit since, now changing hands at $9,940.
The rally in Ether (ETH-USD) has been even more impressive, now up to a two-year high of $312.
Gold minutes ago crossed $1.9K for the first time since 2011, and is within a few dollars of its all-time high. Zero percent or negative rates and QE across the developed world, massive fiscal deficits, and highly-heated rhetoric and actions being exchanged between D.C. and Beijing make a good argument for owning the yellow metal.
Bitcoin (BTC-USD), however, might have been the most stable asset class across the globe since May, with the popular crypto locked in a narrow trading range around the $9.5K area. It's currently changing hands at $9,524.
Crypto fans will point out a big move in Ether (ETH-USD), which has about doubled this year, roughly tripling the gain in Bitcoin. But that doubling is off some very low levels, both absolutely and relative to Bitcoin.
Getting back to Bitcoin, it continues to find use. U.S. prosecutors say Carlos Ghosn's son sent 63 Bitcoin (roughly $500K worth at the time) to the team that smuggled Ghosn out of Japan.
Mastercard (NYSE:MA) strikes a deal with London-based crypto platform Wirex, enabling Wirex to issue cards on Mastercard's network.
“The cryptocurrency market continues to mature, and Mastercard is driving it forward, creating safe and secure experiences for consumers and businesses in today’s digital economy,” Raj Dhamodharan, Mastercard’s executive vice president for digital asset and blockchain products and partnerships, says.
Coinbase and Wirex both already offer Visa payment cards.
Since recovering from March's panicky plunge, Bitcoin (BTC-USD) for the last 2.5 months has mostly been confined to a trading range in the mid-$9K area. That's continuing today, with the popular crypto down 0.75% to $9,128.
Making some news on the technical front, the GTI Vera Convergence Divergence Indicator has triggered its first sell signal since early June, when Bitcoin tried, but failed to put in a move above $10K.
But with all those headlines, the interest in Bitcoin based on online searches is back down to where it has been the rest of the week. There was an overnight spike of searches at 1 a.m. ET, but similar to others seen the past few days.
"Yesterday’s Twitter hack was a great reminder of how vulnerable cryptocurrency traders are to hacking incidents," says Oanda's Edward Moya. Maybe. But a Venn diagram of those who own Bitcoin, and those who send it to Bill Gates when his Twitter account promises to send back twice that amount would seemingly yield a microscopic overlap. "A fool and his money are soon parted," once said another wise man.
According to Glassnode, there are now just 103 addresses holding at least 10K Bitcoin (BTC-USD) - that's the lowest amount since May 2019, and down 8% over the last 2.5 months.
At current prices, 10K Bitcoin would be worth nearly $100M.
The knee-jerk reaction to that information seems bearish, i.e. "whales" lightening their stakes might not be great news. But GSR Markets' Richard Rosenblum opines that the data suggests crypto markets are becoming more decentralized, and that's a bullish trend.
Coindesk takes note of a rise in lower-value Bitcoin addresses of late, with 2,155 now holding at least 1K coins in their accounts, up 3% since April. Also on the rise are those accounts holding at least one coin in their account, not to mention those holding fractions of coins.
Bitcoin this morning continues its extreme flatline action of the last few weeks, currently changing hands at $9,260.
Coinbase (COINB) is drafting plans for a stock market listing that could occur as early as this year, which would make it the first major U.S. crypto exchange to go public, Reuters reports, citing three people familiar with the matter.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission would have to approve the listing if it was to proceed.
Coinbase, which was valued at more than $8B in its latest private capital raise in 2018, has started talks with investment banks and law firms regarding a potential listing, but hasn't yet registered its intention with the SEC.
One of the sources told Reuters that Coinbase is considering going public through a direct listing, rather than an IPO.
The company could seek a listing later this year or early next year, the people said, but warned that the plans could still change.
The Securities and Exchange Commission's settlements with Telegram Group and its wholly owned TON Issuer over the company's unregistered offering of digital tokens called "Grams" receive court approval.
Under the settlements, the defendants agree to return more than $1.2B to investors and to pay an $18.5M civil penalty.
On Oct. 11, 2019, the SEC filed a complaint against Telegram, alleging that the company raised capital to finance its business by selling ~2.9B Grams to 171 initial purchasers worldwide.
The SEC sought to preliminarily enjoin Telegram from delivering the Grams it sold, which the SEC alleged were securities that had been offered and sold in violation of the registration requirements of the federal securities laws.
On March 24, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York issued a preliminary injunction barring the delivery of Grams and finding that the SEC had shown a substantial likelihood of proving that Telegram's sales were part of a larger scheme to unlawfully distribute the Grams to the secondary pubic market.
The defendants neither admit nor deny the SEC's allegations.
Bill Miller, the former Legg Mason star, is optimistic about bitcoin's future, he said on a webcast sponsored by Digital Galaxy.
Miller, who now runs Miller Value Partners, hasn't sold any of his bitcoin; he first got into the digital currency when it was at ~$200 and after the Mt. Gox collapse, he snapped up more, buying it at levels up to $500 with his average cost for is bitcoin investment at ~$300.
Mike Novogratz, founder and CEO of Galaxy Digital, sees a number of factors in bitcoin's favor, such as hedge funds and institutional investors getting into the digital asset. He also points to the macroeconomic story of the Fed buying Treasurys and other securities.
Furthermore, increased access and ease of buying bitcoin should also bode well, he said.
"The pieces are in place now for people to feel safe making that bet," said Novogratz, who described bitcoin as "turbo-charged gold."
Miller says: "At the current price, at the high $9Ks, I think it's much safer than where it has ever been before."
"I don't see why and FA couldn't advise clients to put 1% of assets" in bitcoin, he said.
Currently, PayPal (PYPL +3.7%) is an alternative for withdrawing funds from exchanges such as Coinbase, but the move marks its entry into offering direct sales of crypto, CoinDesk reports, citing three people familiar with the matter.
One of the people explained that PayPal will have a sort of built-in wallet functionality to allow its users to store crypto.
They didn't know how many or which cryptocurrencies would be available, but that the fintech would be working with multiple exchanges.
The new services may arrive in the "next three months, maybe sooner," one of the people said.
PayPal isn't the first fintech to offer crypto — Square's Cash App allows users to buy bitcoin and Robinhood first offered cryto in February 2018.
Apropos for the pandemic era, ETFMG launches the ETFMG Treatments, Testing, and Advancements ETF, which seeks to invest in biotech companies that are engaged in testing and treatments of infectious diseases.
Ticker is GERM; expense ratio is 0.68%; top three holdings are Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA), Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ALNY), and Bio Rad Labs (NYSE:BIO).
The methodology behind the fund focuses on the advancements in the infectious disease subsector of biotech with targeted exposure to U.S.-listed companies at the forefront of R&D, vaccines, therapies, and testing technologies.
"GERM represents an investment theme that is much more than topical, it provides unique exposure to a previously underrepresented growth sector within biotech," said Sam Masucci, CEO and founder of ETFMG.
Silvergate Capital (NYSE:SI) is expanding SEN Leverage, its new product, thereby allowing Silvergate Bank customers to obtain dollar denominated loans in collateral to bitcoin held at select digital currency exchanges who are also the bank's customers.
During Q120, SEN recorded $17B in USD transactions as the company partnered with Bitstamp to serve as its custodian. It has now partnered with Anchorage to offer access to increased trading capital.
Alan Lane, CEO of Silvergate said that "Many in our network of over 500 institutional investor customers have asked us to help create greater capital efficiency and we are excited to be working closely with Anchorage to offer this solution for them."
Marathon Patent (MARA -17.6%) announced the purchase of an additional 500 of the latest generation Bitmain S19 Pro Miners for $1.19M, with delivery expected by the end of September.
These 500 miners will produce 110 TH/s and generate 55 PH/s (petahash) of hashing power, bringing Marathon’s total Hashrate to ~240 PH/s when fully deployed.
“In the past month, we have heavily invested in our business through the purchase of these 2,360 next generation miners. We anticipate that, upon full installation, we could experience at least a 500% increase in our aggregate hash rate as compared to our production rates before these new miners were acquired and installed”, stated Merrick Okamoto Marathon’s CEO.
Expects the move to significantly decrease the direct cost of BTC production vs. its Oklahoma City operation.
During May and early June 2020, Riot relocated 4,000 Bitmain S17 Pros to Massena, NY. To date, 75% of the miners have been deployed, and all miners are expected to be fully deployed by June 15, 2020.
Riot expects to exit its Oklahoma facility when its lease expires at the end of this month.
During May, the company produced 71 newly mined BTC with its ~4,000 Bitmain S17 Pros.
Compared with the previous month, Riot's BTC production was affected by the bitcoin halving event on May 11 and downtime required to transport Riot's mining fleet to Coinmint's more efficient mining facility in Massena.
Riot Blockchain (NASDAQ:RIOT) purchases an additional 1,000 Bitmain S19 Pro Antminer for $2.3M.
Riot funded the acquisition with available working capital and has no long-term debt.
By Q4, without any further miner purchases, Riot estimates its aggregate operating hash rate will be ~567 petahash per second (PH/s), consuming 14.2 megawatts of power, assuming full deployment of the total 7,040 next-generation miners.
This would represent an estimated 467% over Riot's average mining hash rate as of late 2019 and an efficiency rating of 38.6 joules per terahash ("J/TH") versus 98 J/TH in 2019.
Expects the additional S19 Pro and S19 3,040 miners will be deployed in H2 2020 and are estimated to represent more than 56% of Riot's total hashing capacity.
It is "really hard to fight the tape," Galaxy Digital CEO Michael Novogratz said of equity markets now, highlighting that he was putting on puts and put spreads, and has almost thrown in the towel with that strategy and his views on the market direction short term.
The market "feels like" it wants to go up, he said in an interview on CNBC, but notes that it is not a market you buy and come back twelve months later.
He is seeing rotation into stocks that lagged the market, and so there may be another leg up, but ultimately the supply dynamics and economy itself mean that stocks are getting "very expensive" as the economy is unlikely to come back the same way it was.
It is not a great sign for market bulls, he said in response to the observation that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) were at one point in the red today and how they aren't rallying on days when banks and other cyclicals rally. He noted it looks like there's rotation just one way or the other.
His other frustration on the market was on supply dynamics, with buybacks down 80% this year, and M&A "pretty much dead" -- when the market runs out of enthusiasm, it could have a ways to fall, he added.
On Bitcoin (BTC-USD) and in response to Goldman's recent criticism of the cryptocurrency, he rhetorically asked when anything becomes a store of value, pointing out heavy hitters like Paul Tudor Jones and 100 million others that own the currency. "Does Alan Greenspan" need to endorse it?
"I think" we're "way past" the point of whether the currency has credibility, he said.
"It's a matter of time" of when we see more and more adoption. We've already crossed the "rubicon" Novogratz concluded.
Novogratz has been a vocal proponent of the currency for some time and runs a crypto investment firm.
Cruising along with very volatility over about the past week, Bitcoin (BTC-USD) midday dropped about $400 in minutes after Whale Alert noted the transfer of 40 Bitcoin from a wallet that had been dormant since 2009.
The coins in the transaction were mined within the first month of Bitcoin's existence, says Whale Alert. It's possible the wallet was owned by Satoshi - the mysterious supposed creator of the crypto.
It could have been anyone, says Nic Carter, co-founder of Coin Metrics. Thousands may have been mining Bitcoin during that time.
Bitcoin has recovered a bit - currently down 1.2% to $9,524.
With the halving now passed, Bitcoin's annual issuance rate has dropped to 1.8%, roughly inline with that of gold (as comparison, the crypto's annual issuance rate was 60% in 2011, 10% in 2015, and 3.9% last year). This, as central banks globally race to print currency - the top four alone having digitally created $4.1T over the past three months.
Bitcoin's first two halvings and subsequent big run-ups in price were marked by early adopters and then by retail interest. This next "epoch," says the team, will be defined by large institutions getting into the game.
"The herd is here," they say, noting Paul Tudor Jones recently making the case for Bitcoin, and putting about 2% of his fund in the crypto. "For professional investors, it often just takes someone else going first before the rest follow."
Bitcoin today continues to mark time at about $9.6K. It's been in an extraordinarily tight range for about the last week.
Marathon Patent Group (NASDAQ:MARA) surges 20% after Q1 revenue more than doubled from a year ago and the crypto-mining company bought more mining equipment after the end of the quarter.
Q1 revenue of $592K increased from $231K a year ago; net loss per share of 12 cents narrowed from 16 cents in the year-ago quarter.
At March 31, 2020, MARA had ~$0.5M of cash and cash equivalents.
After the end of the quarter, Marathon raised $5.5M from its effective at-the-market program, bought $3M of new mining equipment and has ~$2.3M cash on hand.
In the last week, the company announced the purchase of 1,360 next generation miners. Its mining production will produce 2.8x the petahash of its previous miners and dramatically lower our break-even costs, said CEO Merrick Okamato.
Bitcoin stocks gain in premarket as the cryptocurrency approaches pre-halving levels.
Riot Blockchain (NASDAQ:RIOT) climbs 11% in premarket trading, Marathon Patent Group advances 12%, and Grayscale Bitcoin Trust rises 5.5%.
Bitcoin rises 3.2% to $9,578.00, according to CoinMarketCap; that's up 11% in the past three days and recovering much of its pre-halving decline.
Coindesk's Omkar Godbole writes that the gains have erased more than 75% of the drop from $10,500 to $8,100 that occurred in the three days to May 10.
Godbole points out that a decline in hash rates — the seven-day average dropped to 114 EH/s from the pre-halving high of 122 EH/s — suggests that some miners have scaled back or shut down operations after Monday's halving.
That event cut block rewards to 6.25 BTC from 12.5 BTC, making it much harder or impossible to turn a profit with older mining machines.
Founded in 2012, Coinbase is the largest U.S.-based bitcoin exchange, with over 30M accounts; founded by the Winklevoss brothers in 2014, Gemini is a somewhat smaller player.
While JPMorgan will handle traditional banking business with the two, it won't be involved in any crypto-based transactions. Nevertheless, crypto players for years have been blocked by banks from opening up accounts, so it's a significant move for the industry.
Bitcoin (BTC-USD) this morning is little-changed at $8,777.
Chamath Palihapitiya, the CEO of Social Capital and the Chairman of Virgin Galactic (NYSE:SPCE), on CNBC said that there is now "no doubt" that the economy is "completely" divorced from equity and bond markets, with the Fed as the "principal agent" of that "obfuscation."
Big tech companies have trained consumers to save, he said -- by waiting, you get more value, so consumers rely on companies that give them more for less, like Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL), which becomes part of the deflationary supercycle.
The profits get "trapped" at these major tech companies which disproportionately perform in the stock market, where other business with traditional business models are left behind, he added.
Reiterates stimulus measures must go directly into the hands of taxpayers and consumers rather than current measures which inflate asset prices -- if not, we risk a Japan deflationary scenario.
Chamath strongly said that one must admit that asset price inflation does not "trickle down."
He notes that though he appreciate the efforts from the Fed to stabilize during the crisis, it now risks creating a deflationary cycle.
On bitcoin (BTC-USD), says that, as a believer, he felt it originally was a "store of value." He says that investors now, like Paul Tudor Jones, have come to know the currency, as a hedge, given the fact that we are in a deflationary spiral.
Digital Galaxy Holdings CEO Michael Novogratz on CNBC's Fast Money says 'you can't put a cap on valuation' with the money printing from central banks right now, and there's no valuation metric that you can point to in the stock market environment as a result.
He adds that "disposable income this year will be larger than last year" with all of the stimulus being pumped into the market, citing, among other things, the unemployment benefits program.
But with lower growth, a "messier opening" of the economy until tracing and testing is put together, it's hard to get bullish and looking for areas to get short, he said. He is however, supportive of some quick service restaurants that have drive-thrus, and is "bottom fishing" in some leisure names.
On bitcoin (BTC-USD), Novogratz says it's "really really significant" that Paul Tudor Jones bought in to bitcoin for his fund, but the retail frenzy was sold off and he expects the market to hold at $8K to $8.5K and trade back up.
Anecdotally, he says his co. is seeing interest from high net worth individuals and funds. Bitcoin should "take out" $10,000, on its way to $20,000 by the end of the year given the favorable macro drop of quantitative easing.
"The herd is on the way," he says of those interested in buying in to crypto, and the recent news has removed the "career risk" of getting involved in the currency.
For context, last year, Novogratz didn't see a lot of upside for bitcoin, with an expectation that the cryptocurrency would consolidate in the $7-10K area. Bitcoin is currently trading below $9K despite after attracting attention from some heavy hitters like Paul Tudor Jones II recently.
Paul Tudor Jones II, in an interview on CNBC, expands on his thoughts first published last week, estimating that he has just over 1%, "maybe 2%" of his assets involved in Bitcoin (BTC-USD), which he sees as the "right amount". It's a "speculation"
He indicated a few days ago that his fund had "low single digits" in bitcoin futures and appears to be more specific in an interview this morning.
Each day that goes by, he says, trust builds in bitcoin, as, it being 11 years old, is still not very trustworthy but is part of the digitization story in the economy amid Covid-19.
He also supports having assets in gold, as a store of value -- reiterating much of the content relayed in his most recent fund letter, that can be found at this link. Gold can go "substantially higher," he added.
Jones says that central banks have "an avowed goal" to depreciate currencies by 2% -- cash is a "wasting asset."
Bitcoin, he says, is just 11 years old, and still lacking a lot of trust. But each day that goes by brings more of that trust, he argues. He's got nearly 2% of his assets in the crypto.
"The digitization of the world clearly benefits Bitcoin... Bitcoin will be that much more accessible by that universe of people that could own it as a stored value."
And don't forget about gold (XAU:USD), says PTJ. Production growth of bullion is 1% annually, while the U.S. money supply is going up at a 30% pace. Gold's (NYSEARCA:GLD) been a store of value of 2.5K years, and the price is going "substantially higher."
Bitcoin, by the way, had a rough weekend, dropping from nearly $10K to its current level of $8.9K. Gold is modestly lower this morning at $1,707 per ounce.
It could be time to dust off those Bitcoin $10K hats. Ahead of Bitcoin's (BTC-USD) "halving," the crypto is making a new post-crash high today, up 2.6% to $9,231 - that's up about 85% from the mid-March low.
To review, a Bitcoin halving cuts in half the rewards miners get for processing transactions, thus slowing the rate at which new tokens are created. They occur roughly every four years, and fans believe the next one could come as soon as May 12.
Overstock.com (NASDAQ:OSTK) rises more than 25% in pre-market trading after beating analyst expectations for earnings and revenue for the quarter ended March 31, while disclosing that April-to-date retail sales are up 120% y/y. Shares are on pace to open at their highest since September 2019.
Sales strength was mostly attributed to home furnishings and "benefited from an increased demand" by "customers looking to shop from the safety of their homes."
Discussing the logistics in the pandemic, the co. in the earnings statement added, "Our online-only platform and partner network of more than 4,500 drop-ship facilities has allowed us to meet this surge in demand without significant operational disruption. However, we have faced challenges with increased volume through our customer service channels and with capacity issues from our shipping carriers."
As far as the co.'s blockchain efforts were concerned, they saw "little interruption at tZERO and its subsidiaries, but we recognize potential risks to the platform due to market depression, volatility, and delays in trading and capital raises. Most of our Medici Ventures blockchain companies have seen little disruption; some are working to solve problems exacerbated by the global pandemic.''
The big gains being seen in the stock market are being mirrored in the crypto realm.
Bitcoin (BTC-USD) has soared 18.6% to $9,388.30 in the last 24 hours, while the entire market capitalization of cryptocurrencies jumped by $35.3B.
"We could be seeing a lot of money flowing into equities and crypto as well, as a result of the new money printing," said Vijay Ayyar, head of business development at crypto exchange Luno. Other are pointing to an event known as bitcoin "halving."
Bitcoin (BTC-USD) continues to rally alongside the stock market, up another 4% today to $8.1K. That's the first time above $8K since the popular crypto was crashing with everything else in early March.
Notable during this rally is Bitcoin's outperformance against the rest of the crypto market.
Coming up in a couple of weeks is Bitcoin's latest "halving," at which block rewards paid to miners are cut by 50%. Traders don't believe this and the price rally have anything to do with each other, instead pointing to macro factors like runaway central bank policy and government debt.
Cruising along above $10K for much of February, Bitcoin (BTC-USD) plunged to below $5K alongside the general market panic of early March.
It's been modestly taking back ground since, and - with a big move over the last couple of hours - is now just shy of $7.5K, which would be its strongest level since about March 11. The popular crypto started the year at about $7.1K.
Put in different terms, that means Bitcoin has gained ground vs. the greenback in 2020, something neither the yen, Swiss franc, or euro can't claim.
The Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) is higher by 7.4% on the session.
Before getting the idea that Jim Simons and team are hodlers, understand that they don't have a bull or bear position on assets, but instead use a purely computerized system to rapidly move in and out of trades.
"The computer runs itself and we hardly ever interfere, the machine tells us what we should do," a source tells the WSJ's Greg Zuckerman. "Every experience we’ve had shows that humans mess up worse than machines."
According to Zuckerman, the fund is ahead a whopping 24% YTD through April 14, including a 10% gain in March.
Since 1988, Medallion has averaged annual gains of 39% after fees.
Riot Blockchain (NASDAQ:RIOT) will relocate a portion of its recently purchased Bitmain Antminer S17s to Coinmint's Massena, NY, facility for initial operational, security, and reporting controls testing and verification.
Riot believes the hosting arrangement can positively affect its power costs, the Oklahoma City facility's heat and environmental operating issues, and provide a path to diversify its mining operations.
The Coinmint facility offers a cost-effective solution to Riot's mining needs and allows Riot to potentially expand its total hashing capacity.
Visa (V -0.1%) joins with startup Fold to roll out a debit card that offers rewards denominated in bitcoin instead of cash or airline miles.
Users will get credited as much as 10% of cash purchases made with the co-branded card in bitcoin.
For Visa, it's a turnaround from its original stance on cryptocurrency.
About two years ago it engaged in a public spat with crypto exchange Coinbase over transactions made using its cards. Then in April 2019, the two companies launched the Coinbase Card, which allows users to spend bitcoin via a debit card.
The cards are expected to be issued in July, Fold's CEO told Bloomberg News.
Corporate headquarters in Newport Beach, CA, is closed and headquarter staff is working remotely; believes it has adequate internal communications system and will remain operational.
Digital Farms’ cryptocurrency mining operations have been suspended indefinitely, primarily due to the sharp decline in the market price for Bitcoin.
Coolisys Technologies temporarily suspends operations at Fremont, CA, but the firm has been able to fulfill many orders through direct shipments from third-party manufacturing partners; receives an increase to an existing order of ~$680K.
I.AM Prep Kitchens in San Diego, CA, and Gresham Power Electronics in Salisbury, U.K., both temporarily suspend operations.
Microphase in Shelton, CT, developed emergency plan to ensure mission critical manufacturing and logistical functions continue to run.
Enertec Systems 2001 in Karmiel, Israel, gets a waiver from the Israeli government to remain open to complete key projects that impact national security.
DPW will be relying on the SEC's 45-day grace period for filings as various mandatory closures have prevented its personnel, particularly its senior accounting staff, from obtaining access to its subsidiaries’ books and records necessary to prepare its financial statements for its annual report.
DPW says it will file its annual report no later than May 14, 2020.
Hit harder or worse than all the rest of the risk assets over the past month, Bitcoin (BTC-USD) is finally seeing some buying interest, gaining 17.2% to $6,163.
Some are noticing parts of the yield curve slipping into negative rate territory. Sounds like a decent excuse for the move, but - as with crude oil - Bitcoin's recent plunge demanded a sizable bounce at some point.
Other cryptos like Ether (ETH-USD), Bitcoin Cash (BCH-USD), and Litecoin (LTC-USD) are in the green today, but not faring nearly as well at Bitcion.
Digital money platform Uphold introduces a multi-asset account that links to a debit card, allowing users to convert such funding sources as bitcoin, XRP, BAT, and gold into fiat currency to spend where ever Mastercard (MA -4.2%) is accepted.
It also allows users to withdraw cash at ATMs worldwide.
The assets are held in an Uphold account, enabling holders to convert 27 fiat currencies, 24 digital currencies, and four precious metals instantly to fiat currency at the time of a transaction.
The Uphold card comes in physical and virtual forms and enables holders to access through an app card details, temporarily freeze their cards, change their PINs, and break down spending by category.
DPW Holdings (NYSEMKT:DPW) terminates its agreement to acquire two broker-dealers consisting of Glendale Securities and its correspondent clearing broker-dealer after reviewing information provided by Glendale and reviewing its options.
On Jan. 8, DPW had announced that FINRA informed the company that the transaction wouldn't be approved in its then-current form. As a result the companies, withdrew their applications seeking FINRA approval of the agreement.
DPW Holdings (DPW -4%) enters a settlement agreement between plaintiffs Ethan Young and Greg Young, under which it agrees to implement certain changes to DPW's bylaws, committee charters, corporate governance policies, and the composition of the board.
The settlement includes the resignation of a current director and the appointment of two new independent directors.
The parties have agreed upon a payment of $600K of attorneys' fees payable by the company's director and officer liability insurance.
The agreement contains no admission of wrongdoing and DPW continues to believe that it didn't violate any federal or state securities laws or other laws.
DPW Holdings (NYSEMKT:DPW) surges 74% in premarket trading of 858,918 shares after announcing it received a $1.4M follow-on order from a leading defense and aerospace customer of its Enertec Systems 2001 subsidiary.
The new order is in addition to a $2.9M order it received in 2019 to develop a complex testing system.
DPW’s management said its recent restructuring of debt and improvement to its capital structure puts the company in a stronger position to execute on expected growth in backlog from this and other customers of the Gresham Worldwide operating units.
Enertec is part of DPW's Gresham Worldwide defense business.
Overstock.com (NASDAQ:OSTK) shareholders approved the proposed changes for the company to proceed with the issuance of its previously announced series A-1 preferred stock dividend on a 1:10 basis.
The shares, which will be registered with the SEC, trade exclusively on the tZERO ATS under the symbol OSTKO.
"I expect it will increase investor interest and activity in the tZERO ATS trading environment and incentivize both issuers and broker-dealers to further utilize tZERO’s revolutionary blockchain-meets-capital-markets technology," said Overstock CEO Jonathan Johnson.
Overstock is working with industry participants to finalize the record and distribution dates for the aeries A-1 preferred stock dividend, expects to notify investors soon of those dates, and expects to distribute the dividend no later than this April.
Riot Blockchain (NASDAQ:RIOT) jumps 4.1% after it gets an additional 1,060 of S17 Pro Antminers from BitmainTech at its Oklahoma City mining facility.
Expects to complete the final installation in the next seven days.
Upon full deployment, Riot estimates aggregate operating hashrate at the Oklahoma facility, assuming full utilization of the facility's total 12 MW available electric supply to be ~248 petahash per second, which would be an estimated 240% increase over Riot's late-2019 average mining hashrate.
Riot anticipates that total deployment of the 4,000 S17 Pro new miners will represent ~ 90% of the Oklahoma City's mining facility's total current power capacity.
The company said coronavirus-related work bans at crypto-miner manufacturers didn't delay the upgrade at the Oklahoma City mining facility.
JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) is in talks to merge its Quorum blockchain unit with startup Consensys, Reuters reports, citing people familiar with the plans.
The transaction is expected to be formally announced within about six months, although financial terms are still unclear, they said.
The bank has been considering spinning off Quorum for about two years, evaluating such options as setting up an open-source foundation, creating a new startup, or merging it with another company.
JPMorgan built the Quorum blockchain internally using the ethereum network, the software that underpins ether. It's being used to furn JPMorgan's Interbank Information Network, a payment network that involves more than 300 banks.
A merger with Consensys wouldn't impact IIN or other JPMorgan projects running on Quorum, one of the people said.
After the merger, the plan is to keep the Quorum brand and keep the technology open source, according to one person.
The popular crypto's big 2020 rally has sped up over the past couple of sessions.
The move higher got so steep earlier this morning, that some may have been dusting off their Bitcoin (BTC-USD) $10K hats. But the rally fizzled just above $9.8K, and has pulled back to the current $9.7K.
Intercontinental Exchange (NYSE:ICE) agrees to acquire Bridge2 Solutions, a provider of loyalty solutions for merchants and consumers, and extend's its push into consumer digital asset management.
Following the completion of the transaction, Bakkt, a majority-owned subsidiary of ICE, intends to acquire Bridge2 Solutions from ICE using proceeds from Bakkt’s Series B round of funding, which is expected to close later this quarter.
The combination is intended to accelerate the development of Bakkt's consumer application, which will provide digital asset aggregation, conversion, and payments through a single platform.
The terms of the acquisition, the closing of which is contingent on completion of Hart-Scott-Rodino review, weren't disclosed.
Additionally, the acquisition will not have a material impact on net income and is not expected to impact ICE’s capital return plans.
The CEO of Overstock's (OSTK -0.4%) majority-owned tZERO blockchain-focused subsidiary said it "may become appropriate to approach external sources of capital in late 2020 or 2021," according to his letter to investors.
tZERO CEO Saum Noursalehi also said the company expects trading its third digital security on the tZERO ATS, formerly called the PRO Securities ATS, in coming weeks.
Long-term pipeline of potential issuers exceeds 200; potential issuers include real estate, investment funds, technology, film, and pharmaceutical companies.
Near term, tZERO expects real estate to be a leading asset class, followed by funds and other private companies.
Amid a big run higher this year, the popular crypto crept over $9K a few days ago, before quickly pulling back. The move today - for the moment - is more definitive, with Bitcoin (BTC-USD) currently changing hands at $9,323, up 4% on the session.
DPW Holdings (NYSEMKT:DPW) finalizes terms of the settlement agreement between plaintiffs Ethan Young and Greg Young, derivatively on behalf of nominal defendant DPW against the company's then directors and DPW itself, filed on July 31, 2018 in federal court.
On Jan. 21, 2020, the plaintiffs filed a Notice of Settled case in the derivative action.
Although settled in principle, any proposed settlement must be approved by the court.
DPW believes a motion for preliminary approval of the agreement will be filed within the next 14 days.
If the court approves the agreement on a preliminary basis, it would then schedule a final hearing on the matter.
Before the final hearing DPW stockholders will be given the opportunity to raise objections.
The exact terms of the agreement will be made publicly available through the PACER website once the motion for preliminary approval is filed.
The resolution of the derivative action is expected to include a waiver of all claims against the company, and release thereof, by all of the company's stockholders.
There's a modest bit of panicky action in markets as coronavirus fears spread. Asia sunk about 2% last night (though Shanghai was closed), and Europe's lower about 2% at midday. U.S. stock index futures are down 1.5%.
Gold and government bonds are higher, while oil is down more than 3%.
Cryptos, meanwhile, are holding onto the already big gains they've scored this year. Bitcoin (BTC-USD) is up 1% on the day to $8,721, with similar advances for Ether (ETH-USD), Ripple (XRP-USD), Bitcoin Cash (BCH-USD), and Litecoin (LTC-USD).
The patent provides for a system that could let people holding different asset types transact in real time: "The present technology permits a first party to pay in any currency, while permitting the second party to be paid in any currency," according to the application.
That could smooth the use of currencies like bitcoin (BTC-USD) for retail use - an application where few merchants can take payment methods that take too long to process amid wildly swinging values.
The patent suggests the system could be extended to add support for asset classes including securities, derivatives or loans, Coindesk notes.
Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) becomes the first digital currency investment vehicle to become an SEC reporting company.
Accredited investors who own or purchase shares from the trust’s private placement now have an earlier liquidity opportunity as the statutory holding period of shares purchased through the private placement will be reduced from 12 months to 6 months.
The holding period reduction will become effective after Grayscale Bitcoin Trust has been a reporting company for at least 90 days and has satisfied the other requirements under Rule 144 of the Securities Act.
The trust will now file quarterly and annual reports as well as audited financial statements with the SEC.
The structure of the trust won't change and it will continue to not operate a redemption program nor trade on a national securities exchange.
The Bank of Canada, the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan, the European Central Bank, the Sveriges Riksbank, and the Swiss National Bank, together with the Bank for International Settlements, have created a group in which to discuss potential cases for central bank digital currency (CBDC) in their home jurisdictions.
The group will assess CBDC use cases: economic, functional and technical design choices, including cross-border interoperatbility; and the sharing of knowledge on emerging technologies.
It will also closely coordinate with such institutions as the Financial Stability Board and the Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructure.
Options on exchange-traded bitcoin futures launched Monday on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (NASDAQ:CME), in response to growing crypto attraction and demand for tools to manage bitcoin (BTC-USD) exposure.
While volumes and open interest on a rival exchange known as Bakkt have been "rather small," the new offering could be a game changer, said strategists at JPMorgan led by Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou.
"The first day of trading might be irrelevant - the first weeks and months might be more material," added Mike McGlone, an analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence.
The crypto continues its new year run, rising to as high as $7,920 a few minutes ago, and now standing at $7,879. That's roughly up $1K from a few sessions ago.
In between, of course, was the U.S. taking out one of Iran's top military commanders. In addition to the policy debate, the action has re-opened chatter about whether Bitcoin (BTC-USD) can be thought of as a safe-haven asset.
Facebook's (FB) Libra crypto project will need a revamp before it can be approved, said the president of Switzerland, where the cryptocurrency is seeking regulatory consent.
"I don't think (Libra has a chance in its current form), because central banks will not accept the basket of currencies underpinning it," Ueli Maurer, who is Switzerland's finance minister and outgoing president, told Swiss broadcaster SRF.
Plans for the digital currency, which is to be issued and run by the Geneva-based Libra Association, have had regulators and politicians raising questions about such issues as privacy and its potential to influence monetary policy.
The officials running the project, including co-creator of David Marcus at Facebook, have said regulatory challenges may delay Libra's launch beyond its planned June date.
The crypto is designed to be backed by a reserve of assets such as bank deposits and government debt held by a network of custodians.
DPW Holdings (NYSEMKT:DPW) surges 16% in premarket trading after an entity controlled by DPW's CEO and Chairman Milton C. Ault, III, acquires a 19.9% stake in DPW's common stock at $1.12 per share, or 1 cent higher than its closing price on Dec. 20.
Coming up next year for Bitcoin? An expected halving in May, which will cut by half the number of new coins awarded to miners who provide global supply of the cryptocurrency by solving complex math puzzles.
The event occurs roughly every four years. Currently, about $120B of Bitcoin is added every year.
The theory behind "halving" is that the dwindling new supply will boost prices assuming demand stays constant.
Citing interviews with seven crypto traders and miners, Reuters says the May halving will probably lead to increased volatility and trading volumes.
But the new supply throttling is likely to be more priced in than previously, they said, with many traders already preparing for the event.
Bitcoin fell as low as $6,540.05 yesterday, but is up 4.4% over the past 24 hours to $7,139.27.
A new leg down in Bitcoin's (BTC-USD) bear move brought the crypto to a $6-handle a few days back. Despite a near-4% bounce today, Bitcoin currently is changing hands at about $130 below the $7K level.
Some technicians are looking at the 200-day moving average, and note the recent dip brought Bitcoin below that for the first since May. They're eyeing a coming possible break of the $6.5K level.
State Street (NYSE:STT) and crypto exchange and custodian Gemini Trust collaborate in a pilot that builds on R&D in the digital space to combine Gemini Custody with State Street's back office reporting.
The pilot allows the user to consolidate the reporting of their digital assets serviced by Gemini, an independent digital asset custodian, with their traditional assets serviced by State Street.
The pilot reports holdings of two cryptocurrencies chosen for their liquidity reasons, however, it can be adapted to report on other digital assets, such as security tokens.
European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde comments after her post-monetary policy meeting: "The risks surrounding the euro-area growth outlook, related to geopolitical factors, rising protectionism and vulnerabilities in emerging markets, remain tilted to the downside, but have become somewhat less pronounced."
Still, the central bank needs to take a highly accommodative stance for a prolonged period, she said.
The euro rises 0.1% against the U.S. dollar.
Lagarde describes herself as "neither a dove or a hawk," rather she aims to be more like an owl. "I will try to bring the best out of my Governing Council" to reach decisions that are as consensual as possible.
Similar to the Federal Reserve's strategic review, the ECB will assess its strategic framework. Lagarde plans to start the review in January and complete it by the end of the year.
The ECB's mandate for price stability won't be under review, she said. "The way the we deliver on the mandate" will be the focus of the strategic review, Lagarde said.
Update at 9:25 AM ET: On digital currencies, Lagarde said, "My personal conviction on the issue of stable coins is that we better be ahead of the curve. There is clearly demand out there that we have to respond to."
Bitcoin (BTC-USD) euphoria is wearing off fast as the currency plunged another 10% overnight to below $6,600 on concerns about a crackdown on crypto operations by China.
That puts it on track for eight straight days of declines, tying a record losing streak from 2014.
Bitcoin soared to $10K last month on comments from President Xi, who said Beijing should speed up research into blockchain, though the PBOC is now warning investors not to conflate the technology with cryptocurrencies.
Bitcoin (BTC-USD) breaks below $7,000 and sank as low as $6,929, its lowest point since May, after China's central bank said it will crack down on crypto.
Bitcoin recently traded at $6,951.36.
The People's Bank of China Shanghai headquarters said it will fight a resurgence in illegal activities regarding virtual currencies, and warned investors not to confuse crypto with blockchain technology.
Other digital currencies followed suit - Ethereum falls 12% to $142.91, XRP falls 6.6% to $0.2279, Litecoin slides 11% to $45.47.
Bitcoin sinks below $8,000 for the first time in almost a month, breaching its 200-day moving average line, which is considered a sell signal by many analysts and chartists if the asset doesn't quickly recover, Bloomberg reports.
Bitcoin sinks 6.4% to $7,612.56.
The decline continues themes that developed since the summer, says Arca Chief Investment Officer Jeff Dorman. “Volumes are low, no new money is coming into the ecosystem, and stocks/bonds/gold are all up double-digits year-to-date, which makes the non-crypto world lose focus on this emerging asset class.”
Though analysts are finding it difficult to pinpoint the cause of the selloff, some see China's latest crackdown on crypto as a potential catalyst.
The country has taken steps to curb crypto trading even after it recently said it may start to embrace the blockchain technology that underlies cryptos.
The wave of zero-fee trading that washed across online ETF, stock, and option trades is now pushing into crypto.
ShapeShift, which has operated as a cryptocurrency exchange since 2014, has started offering free "perpetual" trades.
This may be one way for crypto exchanges to drive trades in a market where trading volume and coin prices have slid.
At ShapeShift, traders have to use so-called Fox tokens to execute the free trades. Every ShapeShift.com user will get 100 free tokens, and the exchange may sell additional ones, the company's CEO, Erik Voorhees, told Bloomberg.
Each token, which are deposited in a user’s crypto wallet and are never spent, provides $10 of free trading volume on a rolling-30-day basis. The more Fox tokens customers hold, the more free trades they can execute.
Some smaller exchanges are also offering zero fees through promotions. Liquid.com waives costs for traders with less than $25M per month in transactions, and Zebpay started zero-trading fees in February. HitBTC lowered fees in August.
Meanwhile, Binance, which is often the largest spot trading exchange, allows users to lower trading fees by investing in its own Binance Coin cryptocurrency.
New York State's Department of Financial Services grants a charter to Fidelity Digital Asset Services to operate as a limited liability trust company as part of the state's virtual currency marketplace.
The charter authorizes Fidelity Digital to provide a virtual currency custody and execution platform on which institutional investors and individuals can store, purchase, sell, and transfer bitcoin.
Including this latest charter, New York's Department of Financial Services has approved 23 charters or licenses for companies engaged in virtual currency business activities.
If deemed effective, the statement on Form 10 would designate Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) as an SEC reporting company, register its shares, and would designate the trust as the first digital currency investment vehicle to attain the status of a reporting company by the SEC.
It would also give accredited investors who purchased shares in the trust's private placement an earlier liquidity opportunity, reducing the statutory holding period of the placement to 6 months from a year.
Mike Novogratz's Galaxy Digital (OTC:BRPHF) Capital Management launches the Galaxy Bitcoin Fund and the Galaxy Institutional Bitcoin Fund.
Both funds are passively managed vehicles that offer institutional and accredited investors low-fee, institutionally wrapped bitcoin exposure supported by vetted service providers, the company said in a statement.
The Galaxy Bitcoin Fund requires a $25K minimum investment and has quarterly liquidity, while the Galaxy Institutional Bitcoin Fund has weekly liquidity and a higher minimum investment.
Bakkt, a digital assets platform founded by the Intercontinental Exchange (NYSE:ICE), and Fidelity Digital Assets will act as custodians for the funds. Bloomberg LP, which first partnered with Galaxy on the Bloomberg Galaxy Crypto Index, will be the pricing agent.
At Marathon Patent Group's (NASDAQ:MARA) annual meeting, its stockholders approved the issuance of shares that will allow the company to acquire the purchase of 6,000 S-9 Bitmain 13.5 TH/s Bitcoin Antminers at the company's annual meeting.
Marathon Patent anticipates that all 7,200 miners will be fully deployed by year-end, increasing its HashRate to ~98 PH/s from 14 PH/s.
CME Group (NASDAQ:CME) announces options on its bitcoin futures contracts will be available for trading starting Jan. 13, 2020, pending regulatory review.
Since the December 2017 launch of bitcoin futures, average daily volume has grown to 6,500+ contracts in 2019, equivalent to ~32,500 bitcoin; there have been 22 successful futures expiration settlements; and individual accounts trading number 3,500+, CME says.
"I don't think of Bitcoin (BTC-USD) as a currency. It's actually not a great medium of exchange because of it’s volatility, David Marcus, the head of Facebook’s cryptocurrency projects, told the NYT DealBook Conference in New York."I see it as digital gold."
Facebook is already targeting the market with its Libra cryptocurrency and Calibra digital wallet. Unlike Bitcoin, Libra's value will be tied to currencies like the U.S. dollar and the euro, which will help it remain stable.
A single large player manipulated the price of bitcoin (BTC-USD) as it peaked at almost $20,000 two years ago, according to a paper written by two professors.
The study, to be published online today by the Journal of Finance, reviews the period between March 2017 and March 2018 when bitcoin's total market value rose to $326B.
About half of that increase was from the manipulation scheme, wrote the authors -- John M. Griffin, a finance professor at the University of Texas, and Amin Shams, a Ohio State University finance professor.
The unknown manipulator operated from a single account at Bitfinex, which was the largest crypto exchange at the time. The manipulator used another crypto, tether, to increase demand for bitcoin leading to the price surge.
The paper strongly suggests that Bitfinex executives either knew of the scheme or were aiding it, the Wall Street Journal reports.
"We should be happier to have a job than to have our savings protected," says incoming ECB President Christine Lagarde. That line came as Lagarde was criticizing Germany and the Netherlands for the sin of having a government budget surplus.
Lagarde, of course, comes over from the IMF, an organization that has never met a currency debasement it wasn't in favor of. Her comments suggest she's not only going to continue flooding markets with euros, but she will now break from ECB tradition and go after individual states that don't toe the line. Gold (NYSEARCA:GLD) and crypto (BTC-USD) fans are taking notice.