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‘Bitcoin Trading Not for the Faint of Heart,’ Says Barry Silbert

The Digital Currency Group (DCG) is flexing its balance sheet muscle once again in the Bitcoin market. The parent company of Grayscale Investments revealed it’s acquiring London-based cryptocurrency exchange Luno, whose focus is on the emerging and frontier markets, where Bitcoin is king. DCG and Luno aren’t strangers to one another, as the venture blockchain […]

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The Digital Currency Group (DCG) is flexing its balance sheet muscle once again in the Bitcoin market.

The parent company of Grayscale Investments revealed it’s acquiring London-based cryptocurrency exchange Luno, whose focus is on the emerging and frontier markets, where Bitcoin is king.

DCG and Luno aren’t strangers to one another, as the venture blockchain investor first backed the bitcoin exchange six years ago via a seed round. The deal brings the tally of DCG’s subsidiaries to five, as it continues to claim more ground and increases its influence.

DCG’s Grayscale subsidiary is a force to be reckoned with, overseeing $4 billion in institutional AUM as of Q2 2020. With the Luno deal, DCG is entering the retail investor fray.

Crypto Craze

DCG chief Barry Silbert was featured as a guest on CNBC’s Squawk Box, where he discussed how the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated Bitcoin adoption around the world as investors seek store-of-value assets, saying,

Most of the companies in the bitcoin space are seeing some fantastic growth this year…Bitcoin is probably one of the best if not the best performing assets this year.

Since the pandemic, Luno has been growing hand over fist, evidenced by record growth in transaction volume, revenue, and customers. In addition to London, Luno also has hubs in Singapore and Cape Town and as a result of the deal will benefit from DCG’s global footprint.

Barry on Bitcoin

All eyes have been on Bitcoin during the global economic turmoil as monetary stimulus has ballooned. Stocks have been on a roller coaster ride and yields have sunk. Bitcoin has similarly gotten caught in its own market downdraft.

The BTC price has fallen from a recent high of more than $12,000 to below $10,000 and currently hovers around $10,250. This volatility has not been lost on the traditional financial world, in response to which Silbert said,

Bitcoin trading is not for the faint of heart. The downs are amplified, the ups are amplified. But so far this year bitcoin has played its role, as a diversifier, as an asset that’s…up about 40% this year.

Despite the BTC price volatility, the network’s fundamentals remain intact.

Silbert went on to tout bitcoin as the “next generation’s version of gold,” spotlighting the precious metal’s multi-trillion dollar market size and predicting that digital gold will continue to gobble up more of that share.

DCG is doing its part to see that happen, most recently making a splash with a late-summer ad campaign across the major cable networks (CNBC, MSNBC, Fox, and Fox Business), designed to bring crypto to the masses.

In a Twitter thread, Silbert asked his followers which region Luno should expand into next. The responses ranged from Latin America to Southeast Asia and beyond.

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Source: https://beincrypto.com/bitcoin-trading-not-for-the-faint-of-heart-says-barry-silbert/

Blockchain

The Countdown: Cardano (ADA) to Reach Full Decentralization on March 31st

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Less than a year after launching its IOHK-owned network of federated nodes, Cardano is on schedule to reach full decentralization at the end of March 2021. At that point, the already established network of over 1,800 community pools will be responsible for producing all new blocks.

Cardano Goes for Full Decentralization

With the approaching so-called D (=0) day, IOHK, the company behind the popular blockchain project Cardano, published a post highlighting the latest milestone in its development.

Cardano is on track to get out of the realm of centralization in less than a month. The post explained that upon the release of the Shelley update in July 2020, the developers built the network in a way that every block was produced by IOHK’s network of federated nodes.

This caused some confusion within the cryptocurrency community as such an approach was the “antithesis of decentralization.” However, the statement justified this somewhat controversial decision with enhanced security – “a wise approach for the near term while the stake pool operator (SPO) network got up and running.”

Furthermore, Cardano’s developers built in an automatic readjustment process, which reduced the parameter that governs what percentage of transactions are processed by the genesis nodes (referred to as d) at a rate of 0.02 per epoch. This means an increase by 2% in community block production every five days.

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Thus, the community received a more significant role in block production over time, which led to the current situation – only 12% of blocks are produced by federated nodes. The number will continue to gradually decrease until it reached zero (also known as D=0 Day) on March 31st.

Upon doing so, the network will become “fully decentralized,” as “D=0 pushes power to the edges.”

ADA Price Update

While the Cardano community is patiently anticipating the D=0 day, the native cryptocurrency has been on a roll since the start of the year, despite the recent retracements.

ADA entered 2020 at about $0,18 before it skyrocketed to a new all-time high just shy of $1.5. Following this 730% surge, the asset retraced slightly intact with last week’s market crash but has remained well above the $1 tag.

Naturally, ADA’s price surge impacted the market capitalization as well. As such, ADA surpassed other altcoins like Binance Coin and Ripple and is currently the 3rd largest cryptocurrency by market cap.

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/the-countdown-cardano-ada-to-reach-full-decentralization-on-march-31st/

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Ripple’s CEO: SEC Lawsuit Did Not Affect Business in Asia Pacific

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Ripple’s CEO Brad Garlinghouse told Reuters in an interview today that the company is still conducting and growing its business in the Asia Pacific region despite the SEC legal case against Ripple and its executives. 

The last four months have been some of the toughest for Ripple after the company was slammed with a $1.3 billion lawsuit by the United States Security and Exchange Commission (SEC). The regulator alleged that Ripple and its executives, including Garlinghouse, conducted an unregistered securities offering using XRP. 

News of the lawsuit spurred panic, and some major crypto exchanges offering services to U.S. clients were quick to delist XRP from their platforms. Ripple’s partner Moneygram also pulled the brakes on its alliance with the company following the SEC fiasco.

The price of XRP suffered severely, and the once-third-largest cryptocurrency by market cap now ranks seventh on CoinMarketCap.

No Fallout In Asia

Despite the company’s mishap in the United States, Garlinghouse noted that Ripple has continued its operation without hassle across Asia, especially Japan, thanks to the regulatory clarity in the region. 

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“It (the lawsuit) has hindered activity in the United States, but it has not really impacted what’s going on for us in Asia Pacific. We have been able to continue to grow the business in Asia and Japan because we’ve had regulatory clarity in those markets,” Ripple’s CEO said during the interview.

Garlinghouse believes the lack of a clear regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies in the United States is a hindrance to innovation and the SEC lawsuit is an attack on all crypto. However, he said that Ripple will not let the regulator bully the industry.

An Attack On All 

The CEO, alongside Ripple’s co-founder Chris Larsen, recently filed two separate motions, calling for the dismissal of the lawsuit against them and the company. 

Garlinghouse described the SEC action as a “regulatory overreach.” Ripple and its executive want US regulators to treat XRP as a virtual currency just like Bitcoin and Ether, but the SEC continues to insist that it is a security. 

With a settlement very unlikely at this point, both parties have agreed to August 16, 2021, as the discovery phase deadline, during which they will present all evidence and argument.

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/ripples-ceo-sec-lawsuit-did-not-affect-business-in-asia-pacific/

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Bitfury’s US Bitcoin mining subsidiary to go public via $2B SPAC merger

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Cipher Mining Technologies Inc. a subsidiary of blockchain development firm Bitfury has inked a $2 billion merger deal with Nasdaq-listed Good Works Acquisition Corp — a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC. Both companies have entered into a business combination agreement.

According to a press release issued on Friday the merger will see Bitfury’s U.S. Bitcoin (BTC) mining enterprise become a publicly-listed company under the banner Cipher Mining Inc.

In addition to the combined $2 billion valuation for Cipher, investors like Morgan Stanley-backed Counterpoint Group and Fidelity Management and Research company will also lead a $425 million funding round.

This additional cash influx will proceed via a private investment in public equity, or PIPE, funding round. Bitfury will also provide a $50 million investment-in-kind to add to the $170 million left over from the October 2020 Good Works initial public offering, thus setting the combined company’s gross cash holdings at $595 million.

Commenting on the merger, Cipher Mining CEO Tyler Page remarked that the deal was a significant step in the emergence of properly capitalized Bitcoin mining enterprises, adding:

“With this transaction, we will be able to combine the formidable skill sets and technologies developed by Bitfury Group over the past 10 years with what we believe will be a leadership position on the global cost curve, and thereby create a true leader in the Bitcoin mining industry.”

With the merger expected to close in Q2 2021, Cipher is looking to achieve a 745 megawatts mining capacity by end of 2025. The company says it hopes to cross the 445 MW milestone between the end of 2021 and Q2 2022.

Cipher is the latest Bitcoin mining establishment to pursue a public listing albeit via a merger with a SPAC entity. As previously reported by Cointelegraph, Australian green energy Bitcoin mining outfit Iris Energy is set for a $39 million IPO in the summer.

With designs towards 745 MW in mining capacity, Cipher is also the latest example of the expanding Bitcoin mining outlay in North America. While China still dominates the BTC hash rate distribution, firms in the U.S. and Canada are reportedly increasing their inventory in the quest to dilute China’s control of the Bitcoin mining arena.

Meanwhile, Chinese miners are coming under significant regulatory pressure from municipal authorities. Earlier in March, reports emerged of crypto miners planning to exit Inner Mongolia amid energy consumption concerns.

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Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/bitfury-s-us-bitcoin-mining-subsidiary-to-go-public-via-2b-spac-merger

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