Facebook develops cryptocurrency-based payments system as ICE uses 'crypto winter' to boost Bakkt
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.
FACEBOOK DEVELOPING CRYPTO PAYMENTS SYSTEM: Facebook (FB) has talked to financial institutions including Visa (V), Mastercard (MA) and First Data (FDC) seeking total investments of roughly $1B as well as e-commerce companies and apps about accepting a digital coin as it looks to build a cryptocurrency-based payments system, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday. The focus of the effort, which has been ongoing for over a year and is code-named Project Libra, is a digital coin that Facebook users can send to each other and use to make purchases on Facebook and the internet.
ICE USES ‘CRYPTO WINTER’ TO BOOST BAKKT: IntercontinentalExchange (ICE) Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Sprecher said on the company's quarterly conference call that the collapse in value of cryptocurrencies arrived at an opportune time for the exchange operator, as it allows it to acquire assets at a discount for its long-awaited crypto-trading platform affiliate Bakkt, Reuters’ John McCrank and Bharath ManjeshR reported Thursday. "It's really been helpful that the cryptocurrency industry sort of went into what they call a winter," Sprecher said. "That took some of the heat off of the timetable to launch."
E-TRADE PREPARES TO OFFER CRYPTO TRADING: E-Trade Financial (ETFC) is preparing to enable customers to trade cryptocurrencies on its platform starting with bitcoin and ethereum, Bloomberg's Julie Verhage reported last Friday. The firm will review adding other digital currencies in the future and will compete with startups like Coinbase, valued at $8B in 2018, and Robinhood, which was most recently valued at $5.6B.
IDEANOMICS ACQUIRES STAKE IN DBOT: Ideanomics (IDEX) announced Friday it has acquired an additional 71.7% ownership in Delaware Board of Trade Holdings, making it the largest shareholder with 98.4%. The acquisition is valued at over $18M. The Delaware Board of Trade Holdings operates three companies: DBOT ATS, their SEC recognized Alternative Trading System; DBOT Issuer Services, focused on setting and maintaining issuer standards, as well as the provision of issuer services to DBOT designated issuers; and DBOT Technology Services, focused on the provision of market data and marketplace connectivity.
MEDICI VENTURES NAMES CTO: Medici Ventures, a blockchain accelerator and subsidiary of Overstock (OSTK), announced Wednesday a new appointment to its executive leadership team. Jeremy Smith, who formerly served as a development manager for Medici Ventures, has been named to the role of chief technology officer.
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, 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 12.2% this week to $5,764, in U.S. dollars, according to TradeBlock.