Coinbase to become 'remote-first' workplace as CoinPayments partners with Shopify
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.
COINBASE TO BE REMOTE-FIRST: Brian Armstrong, the chief executive officer of crypto exchange Coinbase wrote a letter on Wednesday to employees announcing the company will transition to a “remote-first” workplace following the pandemic lockdown. The CEO said, in part, “I believe that the future of work will look very different after the universal, forced work from home experiment of COVID-19. Over the last two months, I have come to believe that not only is remote work here to stay, but that it represents a huge opportunity and strategic advantage for us. Today, I’m excited to share that the future of Coinbase is remote-first. This means that in the future, anyone who wants to, can continue to work from an office. That won’t change. What is changing is that any employee who prefers to work outside of an office, can. For many employees, it will probably be a mix of both. But for all of us, being remote-first requires a mindset and behavioral shift. It means that the employee experience should be the same, whether you’re in an office one day a week, five days a week, or never.”
COINPAYMENTS, SHOPIFY PARTNER: CoinPayments announced Wednesday a new strategic partnership with Shopify (SHOP) which will bring CoinPayments' crypto payments processing platform to all Shopify merchants. This announcement follows a beta trial that started in 2019. Under the terms of the partnership, CoinPayments will now be a visible payment option for merchants on the Shopify platform and will make cryptocurrency transactions easier and more accessible while reducing transaction fees. Vendors will now get paid in any of the 1,800 cryptocurrencies supported by CoinPayments.
LUNO SEEKS AFRICA EXPANSION: Cryptocurrency platform Luno, which is backed by Naspers (NPSNY), is in negotiations regarding expansion in Kenya and Ghana to broaden its African footprint, Bloomberg’s Loni Prinsloo reported Wednesday. “It’s markets we have a keen interest in, and Ghana and Kenya are high on our list,” said Luno General Manager Marius Reitz. He added while the coronavirus pandemic has been positive in terms of transactions doubling on the exchange, it has become more difficult to travel to talk to key stakeholders. The exchange, which employs 400 people, trades Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP and Litcoin and has recently moved beyond South Africa and Nigeria into Zambia and Uganda.
GENESIS ACQUIRES VOLT: Genesis Capital, a New York-based crypto firm that serves institutional investors, has acquired London-based custodian Volt, Fortune’s Jeff John Roberts reported Thursday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The transaction allows Genesis a path forward to become a prime brokerage providing clients a full array of services, including crypto storage. Genesis CEO Michael Moro said the acquisition of Volt, which only has six employees, is a strategic step. "My view on the custody space is that it's not a great stand-alone business. There's a lot of competition, and it's race to zero on fees," Moro said, adding Genesis will offer custody complementary to its trading and lending products.
DPW RESTRUCTURES INTO THREE GROUPS: DPW Holdings (DPW) announced Tuesday that its board of directors has approved a proposed realignment of its corporate structure. DPW Holdings will structure the company into three separate groups: Gresham Worldwide, Coolisys Technologies and DPW Financial Group. Gresham Worldwide, led by its CEO Jonathan Read, consists of three companies that provide technology solutions required for mission critical applications in the defense, medical and telecommunications verticals. Coolisys, led by its CEO Amos Kohn and headquartered in Silicon Valley, consists of its subsidiary, Digital Power and its brand Power-Plus Technical Distributors. DPW Financial Group, led by its CEO Darren Magot, will focus on lending through its subsidiary, Digital Power Lending, as well as investing in new initiatives. As part of the realignment, DPW Financial Group will hold the company's investments in life sciences, materials science, e-commerce and hospitality companies, including internally incubated companies.
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, 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 dropped roughly 4.3% this week to $9,130 in U.S. dollars, according to TradeBlock.