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.
CITIGROUP TO HIRE 100 FOR DIGITAL ASSETS EFFORTS: Citigroup (C) is seeking to employ 100 people amid efforts to push digital assets inside its institutional division, Bloomberg’s Jennifer Surane reported Monday, citing a person familiar with the matter. The firm has hired Puneet Singhvi as its new head of digital assets in the institutional clients group, reporting too Emily Turner, head of business development for the broader group. “We are focused on assessing the needs of our clients in the digital-asset space,” the company said in a statement. “Prior to offering any products and services, we are studying these markets, as well as the evolving regulatory landscape and associated risks in order to meet our own regulatory frameworks and supervisory expectations.”
MOONPAY CLOSES $555M FINANCING ROUND: Cryptocurrency startup MoonPay announced in a Monday blog post that it had closed a $555M Series A financing round, bringing the company’s post-money valuation to $3.4B. The company said, “This is the largest and highest valued Series A for any bootstrapped crypto company globally. This equity-only round, led by Tiger Global Management and Coatue, with participation from Blossom Capital, Thrive Capital, Paradigm, and NEA, will be used to continue our remarkable growth, enabling us to accelerate international expansion and broaden our world-class team. Most importantly, it will bring us significantly closer to achieving our mission of giving the next billion people access to cryptocurrency by 2030.”
MERCADOLIBRE TO ALLOW CRYPTO INVESTMENTS: MercadoLibre's (MELI) digital payments app MercadoPago will soon allow customers in Brazil to be able to buy, sell and hold cryptocurrencies using their digital wallets, Bloomberg’s Vinicius Andrade reported Monday. The possibility became available to a small group of clients earlier in November and will be rolled out more broadly in the coming weeks, Tulio Oliveira, a MercadoPago vice president, told Bloomberg. "We took the time to study and learn before deciding to step into crypto," Oliveira said. "This has a transformational potential ahead and opens up a new avenue for us." The idea is to replicate the product in other Latin American markets going forward.
FEDERAL AGENCIES TO CLARIFY BANKS’ CRYPTO ROLE: The Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency issued a joint statement on Tuesday announcing plans to start outlining how banks can legally be involved in with cryptocurrencies next year. The agencies will concentrate on what activities banks can join in on as well as establishing rules to ensure safety, consumer protection and compliance with current laws. “The emerging crypto-asset sector presents potential opportunities and risks to banking organizations, their customers, and the overall financial system,” the group said.
USIO CLOSES $1M INVESTMENT BY VOYAGER: Usio (USIO) announced Tuesday the closing of a private placement of 142,857 shares of common stock, at a purchase price of $7.00, for net proceeds of $1M. The shares were priced using a five-day weighted average at the market price with November 19th as the closing date. Usio intends to use the proceeds from the placement for working capital. Stephen Ehrlich, CEO of Voyager (VYGVF), noted, “Our relationship with Usio has been a true partnership over the past three years. That will continue, as we have just extended our exclusive ACH and debit card issuance agreements for another three years. Usio has helped our company grow by allowing us to focus on our core competencies, while leaving the complexity of payment processing to Usio. For Voyager, the investment in Usio is strategic and demonstrates our commitment to the ongoing partnership and to our commitments to Usio’s growth plans. I am impressed by the quality of Usio’s business and the clarity of management’s vision for growth. We are delighted to provide capital to support that vision and join the company as a long-term, supportive shareholder.”
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 SRAX (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 6% this week at $56,365 in U.S. dollars, according to TradeBlock.