BlackRock 'Dabbles' In Bitcoin, CBDC Card, Ethereum Futures + More News
Get your daily, bite-sized digest of cryptoasset and blockchain-related news – investigating the stories flying under the radar of today’s crypto news.
Rick Rieder, BlackRock's Chief Investment Officer of Global Fixed Income, told CNBC that the world’s largest asset manager started "to dabble a bit" in bitcoin (BTC), but he did not specify any further. "My sense is that technology and regulation have evolved to the point where a number of people think it should be a part of their portfolio," he said. As reported, in January, BlackRock revealed its intentions to invest in cash-settled BTC futures.
- Major crypto wallet Blockchain.com said it has closed on a strategic financing round, securing USD 120m from investors such as Moore Strategic Ventures (Louis Bacon), Kyle Bass, Access Industries, Rovida Advisors, Lightspeed Venture Partners, GV (aka Google Ventures), and more. "Our Institutional Markets business is growing exponentially, and while the Wallet remains the core of our business, our Institutional business is now significant enough to cover the entire operating cost of the business globally while also delivering additional operating profits," CEO and Co-founder Peter Smith said.
- There is a surge in interest from large banks who are asking for help to assess the compliance risk of taking on BTC, The Telegraph reported, citing Tom Robinson, Co-founder of Elliptic, a major crypto compliance company. According to him, several financial institutions in the US "are seriously considering launching some type of cryptocurrency service."
- Bitwise Asset Management announced the launch of the Bitwise DeFi Crypto Index Fund. The new fund holds a portfolio of cryptoassets such as uniswap (UNI), aave (AAVE), and maker (MKR) among others, and seeks to track the Bitwise Decentralized Finance Crypto Index, they added.
- Collider Ventures said it led a strategic group of investors to contribute USD 2.7m to the Nexus Mutual treasury. The capital is meant to help in the platform’s development and expansion of its insurance cover capacity, the company said.
- Mastercard said that in collaboration with the Central Bank of The Bahamas and Island Pay they launched the "world’s first central bank digital currency-linked card." The Bahamas Sand Dollar prepaid card gives people the option to convert the digital currency to traditional Bahamian dollars and pay for goods and services anywhere Mastercard is accepted, the company added.
- Ethereum (ETH) futures "are gaining momentum" after their first five days of trading, with 1,856 contracts traded (equivalent to ETH 92,800 (USD 168m)) across three expirations, major derivatives exchange CME said today, adding that there are 121 unique, active accounts trading. "27% of overall volume came from outside the US and over 33% of the volume traded during non-US trading hours with quoting available nearly 24 hours a day," they said.
- Top-tier crypto exchanges have increased their market share from 61% (USD 347bn) in October 2020, to 74% (USD 1.41tn) in January this year as both retail and professional traders utilized lower risk exchanges during the current BTC bull market, according to crypto market data provider CryptoCompare.
- The South Korean crypto exchange Upbit paid out some USD 1.2m in compensation to 60 victims of voice phishing attacks in 2020, reported Yonhap News. The trading platform has been stepping up its security networks of late and last year set up an emergency hotline for customers who are concerned that they may have been targetted by scammers posing as members of its staff. Upbit has also started operating a multi-level marketing and crypto fraud reporting rewards system and said that it regularly releases news about recent instances of fraud that it feels investors should be made aware of.
- And also in South Korea, Upbit rival Korbit has announced that it is set to adopt an AI-powered anti-money laundering (AML) solution. Per Hanguk Kyungjae, the crypto exchange has teamed up with a domestic firm named S2WLAB, which uses Big Data analytics solutions to build cyber threat responses to dark web activities. Together, the companies have created a platform named EYEZ, which uses artificial intelligence innovations to monitor cryptoasset-related activity, examining blockchain network data in real-time, finding and reporting “problematic” or suspicious-looking transactions.
Crypto adoption news
- A Dubai government-owned and operated free zone for overseas businesses and startups named Kiklabb has announced that it will accept payments in BTC, ETH, and the stablecoin tether (USDT) for services including visas and trading permits. Kiklabb added that it is “in talks” with “high-profile” crypto players who have expressed an interest in setting up shop in the UAE, and noted that it was the “first government-owned licensing entity” in the nation to “accept cryptocurrency payments, and certainly not the last.” The Khaleej Times quoted the firm’s CEO Tasawar Ulhaq as stating, “We’ve seen growing interest in cryptocurrency, with several customers in the blockchain and fintech sectors part of the Kiklabb community.”
- Ahead of the much-discussed cryptocurrency Bill, the Indian government "is likely to levy both income-tax (I-T) and goods and services tax (GST) on gains and trading of bitcoins or cryptocurrencies," Business Standard reported, citing an undisclosed "senior finance ministry official." "A circular will be released soon," the report added.