Libra Networks names CFO, CRO as OKEx suspends crypto withdrawals
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.
LIBRA NETWORKS APPOINTS CFO, CRO: The Facebook (FB)-backed Libra Association announced Thursday the appointment of Ian Jenkins as chief financial officer and chief risk officer of Libra Networks. Libra Networks, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Libra Association, will manage the operations of the licensed Libra payment system. “I am excited to join the Libra Networks leadership team at a time when innovation in the financial sector has the potential to empower billions of people worldwide,” said Jenkins. “The Libra project is poised to transform the industry and I am looking forward to being part of this team.” Prior to joining the Libra project, he was the Head of Business Finance and Group General Manager at HSBC (HSBC).
OKEX SUSPENDS CRYPTO WITHDRAWALS: Cryptocurrency exchange OKEx announced Friday it has suspended withdrawals. The company said, “One of our private key holders is currently cooperating with a public security bureau in investigations where required. We have been out of touch with the concerned private key holder. As such, the associated authorization could not be completed...In order to act in the best interests of customers and deliver exceptional longtime customer service, we have decided to suspend digital assets/cryptocurrencies withdrawals...We assure that OKEx’s other functions remain normal and stable and the security of your assets at OKEx will not affected. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience caused by the suspension of digital assets/cryptocurrencies withdrawals. We will make public announcement in a timely manner on any important development of the matter. We will resume digital assets/cryptocurrencies withdrawals immediately once the concerned private key holder is able to authorize the transaction.”
BANKS NEED TO ACCELERATE DIGITAL CURRENCY CONSIDERATIONS: Bank of Canada Deputy Governor Tim Lane said the bank must move more rapidly to evaluate how a central bank digital product would work as the coronavirus pandemic accelerates the use of online services, Reuters’ Julie Gordon reported Wednesday. The bank has been researching and building capacity for products like a central bank digital currency, but has set no specific timeline for launching one. “The main point, I think, is this is all looking a lot more urgent because of the speed with which technology is evolving,” said Lane. “With COVID, we’ve seen an acceleration of the shift of activities online and that suggests if we want to be ready to develop any kind of digital central bank product, we need to move faster than we thought was going to be necessary.”
CHINA BEGINS DIGITAL YUAN TRIAL: China has begun one of largest real-world trials for digital currency as it progresses towards creating a cashless future, CNBC’s Arjun Kharpal reported Monday. The Shenzhen government ran a lottery last week to hand out a total of 10M yuan worth of digital currency, which garnered 2M applications and resulted in 50,000 winners. The winners can download a digital renminbi app to receive the yuan and spend it at over 3,000 merchants in a particular district, which includes local supermarkets, pharmacies and Walmart (WMT).
MARATHON, BEOWULF FORM JV: Marathon Patent Group (MARA) announced Tuesday the formation of a new joint venture with Beowulf Energy focused on delivering low cost power to Marathon's bitcoin mining operations. Marathon has entered into agreements with Beowulf to co-locate its Bitcoin Mining Data Center at the Big Horn Data Hub, which comprises 20 acres of land adjacent to Beowulf's Hardin Generating Station. Beowulf will provide power from the Hardin plant to the Data Center at a production cost of $0.028/kWh. Beowulf will also become an equity shareholder of Marathon as a result of the joint venture. Marathon will retain 100% of the bitcoin mining output generated at the Data Center. Marathon will deploy the 11,500 next generation S19 Pro Antminers it previously acquired through its partnership with Bitmain at the Data Center. These miners will generate 1.265 EH/s when fully deployed, with full deployment anticipated through 2Q21.
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), 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 2.6% this week at $11,355 n U.S. dollars, according to TradeBlock.