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Crypto Biz: Goldman Sachs tip-toes into ETH, Mar. 4-10

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Crypto Biz: Goldman Sachs tip-toes into ETH, Mar. 4-10

Wall Street’s embrace of digital assets is showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, they don’t even need to tell us about it as the proof is in the fine print. This week, a United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing revealed that multinational investment bank Goldman Sachs has been quietly offering clients exposure to Ether (ETH) through Galaxy Digital, a crypto-focused financial services provider headed by billionaire Mike Novogratz. 

Of course, this isn’t the first time Goldman has worked with Galaxy Digital to offer clients a gateway to digital assets. In June 2021, the investment giant began trading a Bitcoin (BTC) futures project in collaboration with Galaxy Digital. Like other financial services giants, Goldman Sachs sees the writing on the wall and realizes that crypto is an emerging asset class with long-term potential. Either that or its clients really want to invest in crypto.

This week’s Crypto Biz newsletter features classic storylines about a major Wall Street bank expanding its crypto offerings and venture capital continuing to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into blockchain startups. We also take a deeper dive into Binance’s new crypto-to-fiat gateway.

Goldman Sachs is hooking clients up with Galaxy Digital’s ETH fund

According to regulatory documents filed with the SEC, Goldman Sachs has already begun offering ETH investments to its clients through Galaxy Digital, possibly opening the door to wider institutional adoption of digital assets. The Form D filing, which was submitted by Galaxy Digital, listed Goldman Sachs as a recipient of introduction fees for referring clients to the Galaxy ETH Fund. As per the filing, Goldman is accepting a “minimum investment” of $250,000 per client for exposure to the investment product. Interestingly, the filing appeared on the SEC’s website just two days after Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman’s senior chairman, tweeted that he’s “Keeping an open mind about crypto.”

Keeping an open mind about crypto, but given the inflating US dollar and the stark reminder that governments can and will under certain circumstances freeze accounts and block payments, wouldn’t you think crypto would be having a moment now? Not seeing it in the price, so far….

— Lloyd Blankfein (@lloydblankfein) March 7, 2022

Bain Capital Ventures sets up a half-billion-dollar fund for crypto projects

The crypto economy has received renewed interest from the venture capital community after Bain Capital Ventures, a Massachusetts-based asset management firm, announced the creation of a $560 million fund dedicated to blockchain startups. According to Bloomberg, the firm has already invested $100 million in 12 undisclosed projects. Cointelegraph managed to get ahold of a Bain Capital Ventures representative, who informed us that the crypto fund is focused on supporting open internet infrastructure — that probably means Web3. I’ve spent the last six months screaming from the rooftop that venture capital funding is changing the composition of the crypto industry. Not accounting for price appreciation for crypto assets, the influx of VC capital is one of the most bullish indicators we have for the industry right now.

Binance to focus on crypto payments with new subsidiary Bifinity

As the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, Binance has a lot of resources to address the ever-growing needs of the digital asset community. This week, the Changpeng Zhao-led company unveiled Bifinity, a new fiat-to-crypto payment onramp that allows merchants to provide crypto services to their customers. Bifinity has already secured partnerships with crypto-focused platforms such as Safepal and Zilliqa, as well as payment solutions Paysafe and Checkout.com. Binance has been exploring fiat gateways since at least 2020 and only recently finalized its acquisition of Swipe, a leading crypto Visa card provider. (I’ll be honest, though, the partnership with Zilliqa — a blockchain sharding developer — was a bit surprising.)

Andreessen Horowitz invests $70M in Ethereum staking protocol Lido

Silicon Valley venture firm Andreessen Horowitz has made another big splash in the cryptocurrency market by investing $70 million in Ethereum staking solution Lido Finance. The cash injection will be used by Lido’s developers to further support the adoption of staking solutions on Ethereum 2.0, which has been renamed as the consensus layer. Andreessen likes Lido because the protocol makes it easier for users to stake Ether without having to meet the 32 ETH threshold to become a network validator. Although 32 ETH didn’t amount to much a few years ago, it now sets you back almost $90,000 at current prices.

Excited to share that @a16z has invested $70M in @LidoFinance, one of the easiest ways to stake ETH and other PoS assets, and we used Lido to stake a portion of our ETH holdings on the Beacon chain. More from @DarenMatsuoka & @_PorterSmith: https://t.co/vc2tzDJ3mS

— cdixon.eth (@cdixon) March 3, 2022

Before you go…

The Terra ecosystem continues to generate a lot of buzz in the cryptocurrency community. This week, the network’s native token Terra (LUNA) reached new all-time highs after a 30% rally in just three days. The latest edition of The Market Report took a deep dive into up-and-coming Terra ecosystem projects. You can watch the replay to learn more about exciting projects such as StarTerra, Loop Finance and Mirror Protocol.

Crypto Biz is your weekly pulse of the business behind blockchain and crypto delivered directly to your inbox every Thursday.

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Miami’s Mayor Remains Unfazed by Crypto Crash, Still Receives His Paycheck in Bitcoin

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Miami’s Mayor Remains Unfazed by Crypto Crash, Still Receives His Paycheck in Bitcoin

Despite the tragedy of TerraUSD (UST) de-pegging and the subsequent chaos that plagued the cryptocurrency markets, Miami’s mayor remains resolute in receiving his salary in Bitcoin, but it seems he has other streams of income.

At the World Economic Forum (WEF), Miami Mayor Francis Suarez told attendees of a panel that he was still receiving his paycheck in Bitcoin and has no plans to stop. Suarez’s comments are coming on the heels of plummeting cryptocurrency prices over the last few months with Bitcoin down by over 30% in the last 2 months.

The Mayor told the audience that he remains unperturbed by the mayhem in crypto streets and will continue accepting his salary in Bitcoin. A reason for his cool, calm, and collected nerves is because of his multiple income streams that might serve as a buffer during volatile moments.

“I will note, for the record, that it’s not my only salary,” said Suarez. “It’s a different decision than if a person was deciding to take their salary in Bitcoin if it was the only source of income for them.”

Mayor Suarez drew the attention of cryptocurrency enthusiasts last year when he announced that he will begin taking his entire paycheck as Mayor in Bitcoin. Before the announcement, Suarez publicly announced his desire to pay government employees in Bitcoin as part of efforts to improve crypto adoption in the city. 

Making Miami the crypto capital of the U.S. 

Mayor Suarez has been making moves to make Miami a leading crypto hub since his assumption of office. The city has been receptive to cryptocurrency miners, and there have been conversations about allowing citizens to pay bills and taxes with crypto.

“I want us to differentiate ourselves as a crypto capital of the United States or the world,” he said in an interview with Bloomberg.

Suarez has been backing his claim with actions, with the city famously launching MiamiCoin which netted the city over $5.2 million. In November 2021, there were plans for the city to distribute $21 million to Miami’s citizens through the ambitious plans to create a digital wallet for each citizen.

Miami was the center of attention after successfully hosting the Bitcoin 2022 conference. Major players in Bitcoin’s ecosystem like MicroStrategy’s CEO Michael Saylor, ARK Invest CEO Cathie Wood, billionaire Peter Thiel, CEO of Strike Jack Mallers, and others. Nayib Bukele, El Salvador’s pro-Bitcoin president, was scheduled to make an appearance but pulled out due to unforeseen circumstances.

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All the information contained on our website is published in good faith and for general information purposes only. Any action the reader takes upon the information found on our website is strictly at their own risk.

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Billionaire Investor Ray Dalio Says ‘Cash Is Still Trash’, Prefers ‘Digital Gold Bitcoin’

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Billionaire Investor Ray Dalio Says ‘Cash Is Still Trash’, Prefers ‘Digital Gold Bitcoin’

Billionaire investor and hedge fund manager, Ray Dalio, has reiterated his previous call that “cash is trash”. Dismissing equities as “trashier”, the Bridgewater Associates founder said he preferred “a digital gold like bitcoin” instead.

“Of course, cash is still trash,” Dalio said. “Do you know how fast you’re losing buying power in cash?” He was speaking on CNBC’s Squawk Box during the ongoing World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

“When I say cash is trash, what I mean is all currencies in [relation] to the euro, in relationship to the yen,” he explained. “All of those currencies like in the 1930s will be currencies that will go down in relationship to goods and services.”

Dalio is the founder of the world’s biggest hedge fund firm, Bridgewater Associates, which manages around $223 billion. In January 2020, the 72-year-old American investor advised people to diversify their portfolios by “getting out of cash”, which he called “trash”.

Bitcoin as ‘digital gold’

At Davos, Dalio spoke about a range of issues including stocks, the global economic outlook, and the U.S. central bank’s efforts to combat inflation. He said stock markets had become too crowded, and that compared to cash, “equities are trashier”.

“Everybody is long equities, and everybody wants everything to go up,” said Dalio. “The more they hype it the more it becomes somebody else’s financial asset they’re holding. You can’t have that, so you’re going to have an environment of negative real returns.”

For the billionaire, bitcoin (BTC) is a preferred form of investment at a time of worldwide economic uncertainty. His list of safe-haven assets also includes real estate and precious metals such as gold.

“I think blockchain’s great,” Dalio stated. He touted cryptocurrency’s potential as a fix to what he expects to be a tough year for the U.S. economy, marked by high inflation and a lack of real returns on investments. Continuing, he said:

“But let’s call it a digital gold. I think a digital gold, which would be a bitcoin kind of thing, is something that – probably in the interest of diversification of finding an alternative to gold – has a little spot relative to gold and then relative to other assets.”

Bitcoin’s inflation-hedge credentials under spotlight

Dalio’s comments come against the backdrop of rising disillusionment in the credentials of bitcoin as an inflation-hedge asset. Proponents have argued that bitcoin is a gold-like store of value.

In 2020, many people believed BTC was now poised to transition from a risk-on speculative asset to the crypto market’s version of the metal after its correlation to gold jumped to an all-time high.

But that argument may have started to fall apart with the massive decline in crypto markets this year. Bloomberg data shows that BTC’s correlation to gold dropped to almost zero earlier in January, and as bitcoin prices fell in later months, gold continued to rise.

In April, the 50-day correlation coefficient for BTC and gold was around minus 0.4, the lowest since 2018, Bloomberg said. A reading of 1 implies assets are moving in lockstep, and minus 1 is the reverse.

Crypto markets have become more tied to the stock market instead, particularly to blue-chip technology stocks such as Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft. More than $1.5 trillion has been wiped off the face of crypto markets so far this year.

Dalio forecasts ‘squeeze on demand’

Dalio, the Bridgewater Associates founder, painted a gloomy picture of the global economy in 2022. He expects inflation in the U.S and elsewhere around the world to erode the purchasing power of money, saying:

“We are in an environment that we are now going to ask ‘what is the new money?”

On bonds, he said: “The Federal Reserve is going to sell, individuals are selling, foreigners are selling, and the U.S. government is selling because it has to fund its deficit. So there’s going to be a supply/demand problem, that means that it produces a squeeze.”

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Polkadot parachains spike after the launch of a $250M aUSD stablecoin fund

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Polkadot parachains spike after the launch of a $250M aUSD stablecoin fund

Crypto prices have been exploring new lows for weeks and currently it’s unclear what it will take to reverse the trend. Despite the downtrend, cryptocurrencies within the Polkadot (DOT) ecosystem began to rally on May 24 and have managed to maintain gains ranging from 10% to 25%, a possible sign that certain sub-sectors of the market are on the verge of a breakout.

Here’s a look at three Polkadot ecosystem protocols that have seen their token prices trend higher in recent days.

Acala launches a $250 million aUSD ecosystem fund

Acala (ACA) is the leading decentralized finance (DeF) platform on the Polkadot network, primarily due to the launch of aUSD, the first native stablecoin in the Polkadot ecosystem.

Following the collapse of Terra’s LUNA and TerraUSD (UST), traders were searching for “safer” stablecoin options.

On March 23, ACA rallied after the project announced the launch of a $250 million “aUSD Ecosystem Fund” that aims to support early-stage startups planning to build strong stablecoin use cases on any Polkadot or Kusama parachain.

— Acala (@AcalaNetwork) March 23, 2022

Acala also announced the launch of a kickoff rewards program that has set aside 1 million ACA tokens as rewards for LCDOT/DOT, LCDOT/aUSD, ACA/aUSD and aUSD/LDOT liquidity providers.

Following the aUSD ecosystem fund announcement, the price of ACA spiked 31% from a low of $0.364 on May 23 to a daily high of $0.478 on May 24.

Astar rallies after revealing a partnership with Microsoft

The Astar (ASTR) network is a smart contract hub for the Polkadot community that supports Ethereum (ETH), WebAssembly and other layer-two solutions like zk-Rollups.

Since the Polkadot relay chain doesn’t offer Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) support, Astar was created to become a multi-chain smart contract platform capable of supporting multiple blockchains and virtual machines so that they can integrate with the Polkadot ecosystem.

On May 24, it was revealed that AstridDAO, an Astar-based protocol responsible for minting the collateralized BAI stablecoin, had signed a partnership with Microsoft to become part of Microsoft for Startups, an initiative “which removes traditional barriers to building a company with exclusive access to technology, coaching, marketing and support.”

— AstridDAO – No.1 native stablecoin on Astar (@AstridDAO) May 24, 2022

If successful, the partnership should accelerate AstridDAO’s go-to-market speed and maximize its market influence. It also includes up to $350,000 worth of benefits through Github Enterprise, Microsoft Teams and Azure credits.

Following the partnership announcement, the price of ASTR spiked 61% from $0.055 to a daily high of $0.0888.

Related: Polkadot vs. Ethereum: Two equal chances to dominate the Web3 world

Uniswap v3 to deploy on Moonbeam

Moonbeam (GLMR) is an Ethereum-compatible smart contract parachain on Polkadot that streamlines the use of Ethereum developer tools to build or redeploy Solidity projects in a substrate-based environment.

Interoperability with the Ethereum network is a highly sought-after capability since a majority of decentralized applications currently operate on Ethereum along with a majority of the value in decentralized finance.

The benefit of EVM interoperability was demonstrated with the May 24 announcement that a proposal to deploy Uniswap (UNI) v3 on the Moonbeam network passed, meaning that the top decentralized exchange in the crypto ecosystem will soon be accessible to Moonbeam users.

— Uniswap Labs (@Uniswap) May 23, 2022

Following the announcement, the price of GLMR climbed 29% from a low of $1.15 on May 23 to a daily high at $1.48 on May 24 as its 24-hour trading volume increased 106% to $75.3 million.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

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