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Market Wrap: Bitcoin Hits $18.8K as Total Crypto Locked in DeFi Passes $14B

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The price of bitcoin hit new 2020 highs as the “alternative to gold” narrative increases. Meanwhile, smaller crypto tokens might be helping push DeFi to new heights.

  • Bitcoin (BTC) trading around $18,638 as of 21:00 UTC (4 p.m. ET). Gaining 3.5% over the previous 24 hours.
  • Bitcoin’s 24-hour range: $17,723-$18,813 (CoinDesk 20)
  • BTC above its 10-day and 50-day moving averages, a bullish signal for market technicians.

Bitcoin trading on Coinbase since Nov. 18.
Source: TradingView

Bitcoin’s price made gains Friday, going as high as $18,813, according to CoinDesk 20 data. The world’s oldest cryptocurrency then dropped a bit, to $18,638 as of press time. The last time bitcoin traded at the $18,800 level was back on Dec. 19, 2017, when the price went as high as $18,984.

btcdailynov20

Daily spot trading on Coinbase since 2017.
Source: TradingView

Some analysts see $19,000 as certainly within reach, but bitcoin won’t shoot straight up getting there, noted John Kramer, a trader at crypto firm GSR. “It feels more and more like we’re hitting a bitcoin tipping point,” Kramer told CoinDesk. “That’s not to say that the price will rocket past $19,000; in fact, a cooldown is to be expected.” 

Read More: BlackRock’s Chief Investment Officer Says Bitcoin Could Replace Gold

Despite any cooldown that may occur, bitcoin is certainly hotter than gold so far in 2020, with bitcoin up 147% year to date versus the yellow metal’s 22% performance.

btcvsgold2020-2

Bitcoin’s performance versus gold in 2020.
Source: Shuai Hao/CoinDesk Research

“I expect a lot more media coverage and reinforcement of the narrative around bitcoin being a better alternative to gold in the near future as more and more prominent Wall Street investors like BlackRock are openly sharing their positive views,” said Jason Lau, chief operating officer for San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange OKCoin. 

Read More: Y Combinator, Pantera Backs $3M in New Crypto Derivatives Exchange

Lau was referring to an appearance on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” by Rick Rieder, fixed income CIO at BlackRock, the $7 trillion assert manager. “Do I think it’s a durable mechanism that … could take the place of gold to a large extent? Yeah, I do, because it’s so much more functional than passing a bar of gold around,” Rieder said of bitcoin during the program.

In the derivatives market, options traders are betting on some bitcoin uncertainty for December expiration. Traders expect a 54% chance of bitcoin staying over $18,000, a 44% chance of $19,000 per 1 BTC and a 35% chance of $20,000.

skew_probability_of_btc_being_above_x_per_maturity-10

Bitcoin price probabilities based on December expiration.
Source: Skew

Denis Vinokourov, head of research at digital asset prime broker Bequant, said many are dismissing the impact ether could have on the derivatives market heading into 2021. 

“If one goes by the notion that bitcoin will become a more commonly held asset in traditional space, then there is little that would prevent [ether] in following suit,” Vinokourov told CoinDesk. “Expect the CME to launch ether futures and options in due course, as the current market positioning and flow clearly show growing demand.”

TVL in DeFi going up, but not from BTC, ETH

Ether (ETH), the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, was up Friday, trading around $510 and climbing 7.5% in 24 hours as of 21:00 UTC (4:00 p.m. ET).

The total amount of cryptocurrency “locked” (TVL) in decentralized finance, or DeFi, has passed $14 billion for the first time, at $14.1 billion as of press time.

tvldefinov20

Total value locked in dollar terms in DeFi the past three months.
Source: DeFi Pulse

However, the amount of ETH locked has been declining, perhaps because some stakers are moving the asset over to Ethereum 2.0 contract.

ethdefinov20

Ether locked in DeFi the past three months.
Source: DeFi Pulse

In addition, the amount of bitcoin locked is also dipping in DeFi.

btcdefinov20

Bitcoin locked in DeFi the past three months.
Source: DeFi Pulse

It seems that smaller tokens are seeing major gains along with BTC and ETH, likely contributing to TVL gains, although as of press time DeFi Pulse did not respond to a request for comment on how it accounts for those tokens in its metrics. 

“The substantial recent price run-up in ETH and BTC have caused in nominal dollar terms the TVL to balloon as the smaller absolute number of tokens of each is still representing a much larger dollar amount,” noted John Willock, chief executive officer of crypto custody provider Tritium.

Other markets

Digital assets on the CoinDesk 20 are mostly green Friday. Notable winners as of 21:00 UTC (4:00 p.m. ET):

Read More: US Firm Launches Company-Sponsored Bitcoin Retirement Plans

  • Oil was up 1.6%. Price per barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude: $42.40.
  • Gold was in the green 0.43% and at $1,873 as of press time.
  • The 10-year U.S. Treasury bond yield fell Friday dipping to 0.826 and in the red 0.19%.
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MicroStrategy Buys Additional 13,005 Bitcoin for $489 Million

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With the current BTC price, MicroStrategy’s total Bitcoin holding is worth more than $3.4 billion.

MicroStrategy Inc (NASDAQ: MSTR) has continued its Bitcoin acquisition spree as it has purchased another $489 million worth of BTC. As of the 21st of June, the Nasdaq-listed business intelligence company holds 105,085 Bitcoins.

The company announced its latest Bitcoin acquisition earlier today. According to the company, the newly acquired BTC totaled 13,005 at an average price of about $37,617, fees and expenses included. The purchase came after MicroStrategy generated $500 million in cash from the sale of debt to fund the purchase of BTC.

Before MicroStrategy purchased the most recent Bitcoin, the company had unveiled plans to buy Bitcoin in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). In the filing, MicroStrategy said it would be selling up to 1 billion of its class A common stock through an “Open Market Sale Agreement” with Jefferies LLC. The company added that proceeds from the stock sales would be used to buy more Bitcoin. MicroStrategy explained:

We intend to use the net proceeds from the sale of any Class A common stock offered under the prospectus for general corporate purposes, including the acquisition of bitcoin, unless otherwise indicated in the applicable prospectus supplement.

MicroStrategy Focuses on Bitcoin Acquisition

In addition, MicroStrategy has made Bitcoin acquisition a focus for the company. The company said that it mainly pursues two corporate strategies. Apart from growing its enterprise analytics software business, a major strategy for the company is to acquire and hold BTC.

In the SEC filing, the Nasdaq-listed company added that it is currently seeking opportunities to implement Bitcoin-related technologies like blockchain analytics into its software offerings. Also, the company intends to hold its Bitcoin holdings long-term and not engage in regular trading.

MicroStrategy became the first publicly-traded company to buy Bitcoin in August 2020. At the time, the company bought 21,454 BTC worth $250 million, making BTC its primary treasury reserve asset. When MicroStrategy made its initial Bitcoin purchase, BTC was trading at $11,653 per coin. This means that the price of Bitcoin has surged about 5 times since the first purchase.

After debuting into the crypto space in August last year, MicroStrategy had purchased more and held more than 90,000 BTCs before its latest acquisition, announced on the 21st of June.

At the time of writing, Bitcoin is hovering around $33,000. With the current BTC price, MicroStrategy’s total Bitcoin holding is worth more than $3.4 billion. According to MicroStrategy, its new subsidiary – MacroStrategy, manages about 92,079 BTC of its coins.

MSTR stock is currently at $595.79, a 7.64% decline over its previous close of $646.46. The company has grown nearly 403% in the last twelve months and 53.57% in its year-to-date record. In addition, MicroStrategy stock has gained more than 26% over the past month. However, MSTR has shed 17.65% over the past three months and has dropped 0.30% in the last five days.

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Ibukun is a crypto/finance writer interested in passing relevant information, using non-complex words to reach all kinds of audience. Apart from writing, she likes to see movies, cook, and explore restaurants in the city of Lagos, where she resides.



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Wise Fintech to Go Public via Direct Listing on London Stock Exchange

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In the future, Wise plans to roll out OwnWise, a client shareholder program that will allow its users to own a stake in the company.

British fintech Wise, formerly TransferWise, announced Thursday its plans to go public via a direct listing on the London Stock Exchange (LSE). The money transfer company said it had sufficient funding and therefore, did not require underwriters or issuing of new shares.

Wise will pioneer direct listing in London, a deal which will be finalized on July 5. Sources speculate the listing could value Wise at anywhere between $6-7 billion, up from its latest $5 billion valuations. This would also make it one of the biggest floats this year.

Founded in 2010, Wise has managed to accumulate 10 million customers who use its services to send £5 billion ($7 billion) every month. Its rivals include Western Union and MoneyGram in addition to startups like WorldRemit and Revolut.

Since 2017, Wise’s track record shows consistent profitability with a 54% annual growth rate. The latest 2021 fiscal year report shows it made £30.9 million in profits out of the £421 million ($589 million) sales revenue. This year, the company’s payments app registered £54.4 billion of international transfers for 6 million clients.

Wise Listing on LSE

Listing the giant company is a great accomplishment for London as it competes with “The Big Board”, New York Stock Exchange Group (NYSE), to attract more high growth and Blue-chip firms. As of 2020, the NYSE had 2800 company stocks and its market cap as of June, 2021 was $24.68 trillion. LSE, on the other hand, has listed over 1300 companies and its market cap is at 40.08 from today’s MarketWatch data.

To further this development, the British government is considering increasing leniency in firm enlisting guidelines to encourage issuing of dual-class shares. However, European stock markets have been hit with a lot of volatility this year, with at least two IPO cancellations in recent weeks.

The dual share structure is what Wise is opting for as it allows them to retain voting control while accommodating investors and customers into their shareholder base. At present, however, it locks them out of the lucrative Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE) indices.

Nevertheless, the company intends to issue both class A and class B shares with the latter holding the privilege of 9 votes per share. The expiry for Class B shares is in the fifth year following Wise’s IPO. It is likely for concerns to arise over this structure as it may give executives excessive influence on shareholder votes.

In the future, Wise plans to roll out OwnWise, a client shareholder program that will allow its users to own a stake in the company. Financial endeavors for the company are advised by Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Barclays and Citigroup.

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A financial analyst who sees positive income in both directions of the market (bulls & bears). Bitcoin is my crypto safe haven, free from government conspiracies.
Mythology is my mystery!
“You cannot enslave a mind that knows itself. That values itself. That understands itself.”



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JPMorgan Acquires Nutmeg Robo-Advisor, Furthering UK Retail Banking

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Before the deal, JPMorgan and Nutmeg had partnered late last year to offer clients an assortment of globally diversified exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM) said Thursday it has closed a deal to purchase Nutmeg, an online investment management service, for an unnamed price. US biggest bank hopes the agreement, which awaits regulatory approval, will complement its launch of a standalone digital bank brand in the UK during the year.

Using the latest technology from Nutmeg will help boost JPMorgan’s retail and institutional push since the company aims at establishing as many branches as it can outside the US.

With over £3.5 billion (4.9 billion) worth of assets under management, the decade-old Nutmeg is one of the UK leading and award-winning robo-advisors. The company offers various investment accounts including Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs), general investment, and pensions accounts.

Additionally, its competitors include Wealthsimple, Moneybox, and Moneyfarm. Before the take-over, Nutmeg had raised over $150 million in investments from Goldman Sachs and the British venture capital firm – Balderton Capital.

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon stated last year that the banking giant would be “much more aggressive” in adding assets by conducting more acquisitions. The bank may also be stepping up to competition from adversary Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) which, in recent years, has spent $20 billion in merger agreements with E-trade and Eaton Vance.

Dimon also mentioned leveling up against blue-chip tech firm Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOGL) and other fintech firms such as PayPal Holdings Inc (NASDAQ: PYPL).

JPMorgan Stock Market and Nutmeg Acquisition

Before the deal, JPMorgan and Nutmeg had partnered late last year to offer clients an assortment of globally diversified exchange-traded funds (ETFs). This is not the first time the bank has partnered with a company then acquired it later. In October 2020, JPMorgan partnered with 55ip, a tax-smart fintech start-up, then bought it a couple of months down the line.

Differing regulatory guidelines in Europe and the UK made it necessary for JPMorgan to purchase the robo-advisor, rather than use investment technology available in the US. However, its US-based investment service You Invest is currently doing well, with assets valued at about $50 billion, as Dimon states.

JPMorgan’s tech initiative marks one among many happening in Britain’s retail banking sector. Banks such as Revolut, Starling, and Monzo manage digital-only checking accounts which have attracted a host of clients. Going by data from Innovate Finance, FinTechs in the UK probably make up the world’s largest markets, having pulled in $4.1 billion investment from venture capitalists as of last year.

JPMorgan Securities served as financial advisor in the JPMorgan-Nutmeg transaction, while Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer acted as legal counsel. Arma Partners was Nutmeg’s financial advisor and Taylor Wessing was legal counsel.

As of June 17, 2021, at 7:59 p.m. EDT, JPMorgan stock closed at $151.76, down 2.89%. In the after-hours session, it was trading at $151.48, down 0.18% in 24-hours.

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A financial analyst who sees positive income in both directions of the market (bulls & bears). Bitcoin is my crypto safe haven, free from government conspiracies.
Mythology is my mystery!
“You cannot enslave a mind that knows itself. That values itself. That understands itself.”



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