As bitcoin, ethereum and other cryptocurrencies get increasing attention from investors, Wall Street and its traditional banks continue to adjust to the shift. Catch up on this week's top stories highlighting the intersection of these old guard and new school areas of finance with this recap compiled by The Fly.
SQUARE CEO ANNOUNCES SQUARE CRYPTO: Payments startup Square (SQ) plans to hire a number of engineers and a designer to work on its crypto initiatives, according to tweets from Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey. Dorsey said Wednesday via Twitter (TWTR), which he also runs, "#BitcoinTwitter and #CryptoTwitter! Square is hiring 3-4 crypto engineers and 1 designer to work full-time on open source contributions to the bitcoin/crypto ecosystem. Work from anywhere, report directly to me, and we can even pay you in bitcoin! Introducing @SqCrypto... This will be Square's first open source initiative independent of our business objectives. These folks will focus entirely on what's best for the crypto community and individual economic empowerment, not on Square's commercial interests. All resulting work will be open and free."
ICE’S BITCOIN FUTURES LAUNCH STALLS OVER REGULATION: Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) had planned to launch bitcoin futures in November 2018 but the Commodity Futures Trading Commission has so far declined to sign off on the project called Bakkt, the Wall Street Journal's Alexander Osipovich and Gabriel Rubin reported Thursday. The delay is due to a disagreement between ICE and the CFTC over how the project should be regulated and Bakkt's initial plan to store customers' bitcoins ran aground in February when the CFTC said such a plan would require disclosures of the venture's business plan and a public comment period.
CBOE PULLS PLUG ON BITCOIN FUTURES: Cboe Global Markets (CBOE), the first U.S. exchange company to launch bitcoin futures in 2017, has sent a notice to traders saying it "does not currently intend to list additional XBT futures contracts for trading", the Wall Street Journal's Alexander Osipovich reported Monday. Monthly futures contracts expire every month and the exchange needs to continue listing new ones to keep the market going, meaning the bitcoin-futures market will wind down once the last contract expires in June.
IBM BLOCKCHAIN WORLD WIRE OFFICIALLY ACCESSIBLE: IBM (IBM) announced Monday that IBM Blockchain World Wire, a real-time global payments network for regulated financial institutions, is officially accessible in a growing number of markets. World Wire has enabled payment locations in 72 countries, with 47 currencies and 44 banking endpoints. The network already supports settlement using Stellar Lumens and a U.S. dollar stable coin through IBM's previously-announced collaboration with Stronghold. Pending regulatory approvals and other reviews, six international banks, including Banco Bradesco (BBD), Bank Busan, and Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation, have signed letters of intent to issue their own stable coins on World Wire, adding Euro, Indonesian Rupiah, Philippine Peso, Korean Won and Brazilian Real stable coins to the network.
DA DAVIDSON LOWERS OVERSTOCK PRICE TARGET: In a Tuesday research note, DA Davidson analyst Tom Forte lowered his price target on Overstock.com (OSTK) to $51 after its Q4 earnings miss, modeling all of the reduction to its legacy e-commerce business while maintaining the valuation on its Medici Ventures business at $25 per share. The analyst also keeps his Buy rating on the company, noting the progress and plans for tZERO provide "ample reason" that the share price "does not properly reflect the value of its portfolio". Forte maintains his positive stance related to Medici's completed first cryptobond offering, completed first crypto stocking, and being "one of the first to complete a securitized token offering and to launch an alternative trading system."
CRYPTO STOCK PLAYS: Cryptocurrency revenues have been pointed to as reasons to be bullish on Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and Nvidia (NVDA) in select research. Overstock, DPW Holdings (DPW), Kodak (KODK), Ideanomics (IDEX), Riot Blockchain (RIOT), Pareteum (TEUM) and Social Reality (SRAX) are other stocks that have been touted, or promoted themselves, as a way to play the crypto theme.
PRICE ACTION: As of time of writing, bitcoin rose roughly 2% this week to $3,987, in U.S. dollars, according to TradeBlock.
Keywords: bitcoin, ethereum, crypto, cryptocurrency, cryptocurrencies, token, stocks, blockchain, stablecoin, regulation