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.
CHINA LOOKS TO BAN BITCOIN MINING: The National Development and Reform Commission of China wants to stop bitcoin mining in the country signaling rising government pressure on the cryptocurrency sector, Reuters' Brenda Goh and Alun John reported Tuesday. The NDRC is seeking public opinions on the revised list of industries it wants to encourage, restrict or eliminate and cryptocurrency mining, including that of bitcoin, was added to the over 450 activities the agency said should be phased out as they did not adhere to relevant laws and regulations, were unsafe, wasted resources or polluted the environment.
COINBASE LAUNCHES COINBASE CARD: In a Wednesday blog post, Coinbase said, “We’re excited to announce the launch of Coinbase Card, a Visa (V) debit card that lets customers in the UK spend crypto as effortlessly as the money in their bank. Coinbase Card is powered by customers’ Coinbase account crypto balances, giving them the ability to pay in-store and online using bitcoin, ethereum, litecoin, and more. Customers can use their card in millions of locations around the world, making payments through contactless, Chip and PIN, as well as cash withdrawals from ATMs. When customers use their Coinbase Card, we instantly convert crypto to fiat currency, such as GBP, which is used to complete the purchase. To help customers manage their spend, we’ve also launched the Coinbase Card app…Coinbase Card is currently only available in the UK, but we plan to support other European countries in the coming months.”
HARVARD MAKES TOKEN SALE INVESTMENT: Harvard University’s endowment is backing cryptocurrency firm Blockstack as the company looks to hold a $50M digital-token offering, Bloomberg’s Michael McDonald and Alastair Marsh reported Thursday. Charlie Saravia, a Harvard Management Co. managing director, is a representative on a Blockstack advisory committee formed for the token sale and Harvard Management along with two additional investors have already bought roughly 95.8M of the company’s tokens valued at about $11.5M. Blockstack’s offering will support the development of its decentralized computing network, which uses the digital currency.
DRAPER, FACEBOOK TO MEET ON CRYPTO: Venture capitalist Tim Draper is planning to meet with Facebook (FB) to talk about investing in the company’s cryptocurrency project, Bloomberg’s Olga Kharif and Julie Verhage reported Wednesday. Facebook, which is working to create its own stablecoin to let users transfer money on WhatsApp, is looking to raise as much as $1B for the initiative and hedge funds, venture capitalists and other wealthy individuals are seen as likely to invest.
BITSTAMP GRANTED VIRTUAL CURRENCY LICENSE: In a Tuesday announcement, the New York State Department of Financial Services announced it had approved the application of Bitstamp USA for a virtual currency license. DFS has authorized Bitstamp USA to offer services providing its customers with the ability to buy and sell bitcoin, along with select other virtual currencies, for USD and vice versa. Bitstamp USA is also authorized to facilitate transfers of funds onto the Ripple Network, issuing Ripple Balances in USD, other virtual currencies, and select fiat currencies. In addition, in a Wednesday announcement, the agency said it had denied the applications of Bittrex to engage in virtual currency business and money transmission activity in New York “due to failure to meet the licensing requirements of DFS, primarily due to deficiencies in Bittrex’s BSA/AML/OFAC compliance program; deficiency in meeting the Department’s capital requirement; and deficient due diligence and control over Bittrex’s token and product launches.” The agency said Bittrex must immediately cease operating in New York State and within 60 days wind down its business in New York effective April 11.
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 (OSTK), 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 1.9% this week to $5,078, in U.S. dollars, according to TradeBlock.
Keywords: bitcoin, ethereum, crypto, cryptocurrency, cryptocurrencies, token, stocks, blockchain, stablecoin, regulation