Exchanges go on hiring spree as Checkout.com joins Libra Association
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.
EXCHANGES GO ON HIRING SPREES: A number of cryptocurrency exchanges have been adding staff amid the soaring number of job losses due to the coronavirus pandemic, Bloomberg’s Olga Kharif reported Thursday. Kraken, which had been planning to hire 250 employees this year, will instead add 350, while Binance expanded its workforce by 25% in the first quarter and is bolstering its team supporting Binance Pool. Additionally, OkEx is expecting to announce a global hiring initiative in May and Coinbase has posted dozens of openings. Exchanges and related business are boosting recruitment in anticipation of increased interest from investors due to the bitcoin halving in May.
CHECKOUT.COM JOINS LIBRA ASSOCIATION: Payments processor Checkout.com announced Thursday it would join The Libra Association, the Facebook (FB)-led effort to develop global cryptocurrency Libra. The company said, “We are technologists at heart and have always been fascinated by blockchain and the potential benefits it could bring to global transaction processing. At the same time, we felt strongly that regulation should form an integral part of any resulting framework, given its unique ability to protect the ecosystem from systemic abuses. Absent of such regulation, it is our fundamental belief that the technological advancements alone would fail to provide the secure and stable payments infrastructure required to drive mass adoption, impeding its progress. We greatly value the opportunity to uphold these views by joining the Libra Association.”
TZERO REPORTS Q1 REVENUE:On Thursday, Overstock (OSTK) reported Q1 tZERO revenue of $10M, an increase of 128% year-over-year as well as a 40% increase in tZERO Crypto app users from December 31. “I expect to see continued progress against our goal of realizing sustainable, profitable growth,” CEO Jonathan Johnson said. “Many of our Medici Ventures blockchain companies are also progressing toward having usable products in production. COVID-19 has altered the landscape for many…Several of our blockchain companies have received public attention because the problems they are solving using blockchain technology have been brought into the spotlight in the current pandemic. Areas like mobile voting, digital identity, digital currency, and supply chain tracking have become more important in our COVID-19 world. I am looking forward to the increase in tZERO platform activity I believe will result from the upcoming issuance of the Overstock digital dividend.”
RIOT BUYS BITMAIN ANTMINERS: Riot Blockchain (RIOT) announced Thursday the purchase of 1,000 next generation Bitmain S19 Pro Antminers for $2.4M from BitmainTech.This purchase is another step in the Company's recent strategic initiatives and was funded from Riot's available cash on hand. Once the new S19s are received and fully deployed, Riot estimates its aggregate operating hash rate will increase by 46% to approximately 358 petahash per second. Riot anticipates receiving the S19s by early July.
ANDREESSEN HOROWITZ RAISES $515M FOR CRYPTO FUND: Venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz announced Thursday it has raised $515M for it second fund focused on cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies. The firm said, “We think it’s important to keep investing in the long-term development of the internet to address the needs of the coming decades. That’s why we’re excited to announce a new $515M fund that will be used to invest in crypto networks and businesses.” The firm said areas it is excited about include next generation payments, modern stores of value, decentralized finance, new ways for creators to monetize and Web 3.
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, 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 16.8% this week to $8,772 in U.S. dollars, according to TradeBlock.