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Arca secures $10M in Series A funding as traditional financiers back crypto

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Arca, an emerging digital-asset manager, has secured $10 million in Series A funding to bootstrap the next phase of its business strategy — one that could bridge the gap between traditional finance and cryptocurrencies. 

In a Wednesday press release, Arca said the funding round was led by venture capital firm RRE Ventures, with key contributions from Alex Tisch, president of Loews Hotels & Co, and a “coalition of financiers led by Littlebanc Advisors.”

Arca sai it will use the funding to enhance its infrastructure and digital service offerings, as well as stay abreast of all the legal and regulatory requirements in the industry.

Rayne Steinberg, Arca’s CEO, told Cointelegraph that 2020 was a watershed year for cryptocurrency. Although that’s in large part due to Bitcoin (BTC), the firm has seen “this initial awareness translate into interest in the many other aspects of digital assets.”

When asked about the biggest roadblock to digital asset adoption, Steinberg identified the “confusing and fractured narrative” around cryptocurrency. He explaine:

“Sophisticated investors need to understand what they’re investing in before making investments. So, education standardization and consistency [in] message are things that are of equal importance to the actual products.”

Steinberg said the Series A investors have recognized that there is a large addressable market for crypto asset management — and have identified Arca’s potential in filling the void.

“Our investors recognized Arca’s plan to become the premier branded asset manager in digital assets as an idea with enormous potential,” he said.

Those views were echoed in the press release. James Robinson, founder and CEO of RRE Ventures, said his decision to back Arca stems from his long-standing experience with the firm’s management team:

“We have worked with members of the Arca senior team for the past two decades as they revolutionized asset management, giving us high confidence they can do it again with future evolutionary products.”

Founded in 2018, Arca provides a suite of investment products marketed to traditional investors who are looking for a way to tap into cryptocurrencies. The firm provides actively managed hedge funds and treasury management services dedicated to crypto.

Digital-asset management is a growing niche within the cryptocurrency industry, with firms like Bitwise and Grayscale seeing an influx of capital from new investors looking for direct exposure to the asset class. 

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/arca-secures-10m-in-series-a-funding-as-traditional-financiers-back-crypto

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How did Bitcoin lending become so popular?

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The rising valuation of Bitcoin witnessed the growth of several sectors involved with the digital asset. The crypto lending market has exhibited extraordinary growth as institutions-focused Genesis registered a 245% growth in their outstanding loans in 2020.

While the BTC lending market is young, its swift adoption has created a billion-dollar industry, which is one of the benchmarks of development for the current Bitcoin ecosystem.

Total Bitcoin collateral grew by 1170%

Source: Arcane Research

According to Arcane Research’s recent Banking on Bitcoin report, the total active collateral in the BTC lending market has increased to ~$25 billion from $2 billion in 12 months. It was estimated that the number of Bitcoin used for collateral at the moment is around 420,000 BTC, however, this estimation is based on a modest evaluation that only 50% of the active loans are backed by Bitcoin collateral, whereas various industry experts believe it could be close to 70-80%.

While there are various Bitcoin lending companies in the current market, the impact of the institutional lending organization such as BlockFI and Genesis have been vital.

As mentioned earlier, Genesis’ active loans outstanding improved from $649 million in Q1 2020 to a whopping $3,821 million in Q4 2020. From Q3 to Q4, the growth was roughly 80%.

BlockFi registered similar impressive numbers, with a 50x increase in retail loans BTC collateral from Q4 2018 to Q4 2020; from $10 million to $500 million.

Bitcoin lending’s popularity grows

There are multiple factors that played into the expansion of the BTC collateral market. Over the past 12 months, the asset has received significant recognition after recovering at a rapid rate following the March 2020 crash. However, some of the most common reasons include leveraging on an existing position, arbitrage plays, and covering operation costs without selling any crypto holdings.

Source: Arcane Research

Some of its innate properties have improved over the few months. Bitcoin’s market has a 24/7 availability, which can be traded all year round and it is easily updated. Other assets such as Gold are only trading during the working days of the week, which is close to 30% less than Bitcoin.

Its store-of-value credentials have also improved drastically, with 75% of Bitcoin remaining in profit throughout its history.

However, one of the major reasons involves the ease at which BTC loans can be processed. Traditional loan methods require a certain amount of credit score, a tediously long process, and a lot of paperwork.

With Bitcoin, users do not need to establish a relationship with their banks to get a loan and they can easily lend from the emerging borderless Bitcoin lending market.


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Source: https://ambcrypto.com/how-did-bitcoin-lending-become-so-popular

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OLB Group enables crypto payments for thousands of US merchants

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OLB Group (OLB), a New York-based e-commerce merchant service provider, is making it easier for businesses to accept cryptocurrency payments.

OLB’s more than 8,500 merchants are now able to accept Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), USDC and DAI at the point-of-sale through the company’s OmniSoft business management platform. Customers wishing to pay with cryptocurrency in-store or through their mobile phones can simply elect to do so with their cryptocurrency wallets. All payments are processed through SecurePay, a payment gateway that authenticates the transaction, converts the cryptocurrency to U.S. dollars and approves the final sale.

The decision to integrate cryptocurrency payments was partly driven by the growth of contactless and online orders during the Covid-19 pandemic. With the OmniSoft platform already providing merchants with several options to facilitate payments, cryptocurrencies were the next logical step. 

Ronny Yakov, OLB Group’s CEO, says the payment gateway and point-of-sale architecture are “familiar territory for merchants,” which makes integrating cryptocurrencies through such channels easy.

On the topic of cryptocurrency payments – a promising but underutilized use case for the industry – Yakov believes we are still in the very early stages of adoption.

“It’s very early in crypto-as-a-payment adoption, but we see increasing interest from merchants exploring this payment option as a means to meet their customers however and wherever they prefer,” Yakov tells Cointelegraph.

He also believes certain industries are more likely to adopt crypto payments before others:

“We anticipate that adoption will happen more quickly in higher-ticket transactions such as jewelry, B2B billing and real estate because the transaction fees for cryptocurrency processing are lower – often half of typical credit card fees.”

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have struggled to become a viable medium of exchange, inviting criticism about their utility. Charlie Munger, the billionaire investor and Berkshire Hathaway vice chairman, recently criticizedBitcoin for being “too volatile to serve well as a medium of exchange.”

With development work on scaling and sidechains still in progress, it remains to be seen whether cryptoassets will ever function efficiently as payment systems. In the meantime, assets like Bitcoin and Ethereum are valued for their store-of-value and development capabilities, respectively.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/olb-group-enables-crypto-payments-for-thousands-of-us-merchants

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Litecoin, Monero, Dash Price Analysis: 28 February

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Litecoin witnessed a downwards breakout from a parallel channel and moved to its support at $156.75. Monero was projected to move sideways as trading volumes and buying activity was suppressed. Lastly, a descending triangle emerged on Dash’s chart but a breakout largely depended on the direction of the broader market.

Litecoin [LTC]

Source: LTC/USD, TradingView

On the hourly timeframe, Litecoin broke below its parallel channel and moved to another region of support at $157.5. The On Balance Volume dipped as the price broke below the bottom trendline, but the index was recovering at the time of writing. A bullish crossover in the Stochastic RSI added some more optimism as LTC picked up from the $157 support line.

However, it was hard to overlook LTC’s bear market and stronger cues could be needed to back a move above the immediate overhead resistance. A spike in the 24-hour trading volumes could be one such signal that could project an upwards breakout on the charts.

Monero [XMR]

Source: XMR/USD, TradingView

The 24-hour trading volumes on Monero were muted as the cryptocurrency failed to break out from the $224.5 and $196.3 range. The  Bollinger Bands showed that volatility remained on the lower side as the bands were compressed. This also meant that massive movements were unlikely and XMR could continue to trade within its current channel over the next few sessions.

A bullish twin peak setup on the Awesome Oscillator was negated as momentum tilted in the favor of the sellers at the time of writing.

Dash [DASH]

Source: DASH/USD, TradingView

Dash formed a descending triangle on its 4-hour chart as the price formed lower highs since snapping a local high at over $330. The On Balance Volume also steadily declined as the sell-off was heightened by a correction in the broader market. The Stochastic RSI continued its southbound trajectory after reversing from the overbought region.

Further weakness in market leaders BTC and ETH could continue to have a negative impact on Dash, and support levels at $166.8 and $135.3 could be tested in the event of a downwards breakout. On the flip side, Dash’s pattern could be invalidated if the price moves north on the back of a broader market rally.


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Source: https://ambcrypto.com/litecoin-monero-dash-price-analysis-28-february

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