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Fireside Chat with AvaTrade CEO Dáire Ferguson

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Whilst one of the most challenging years in history was drawing to a close, Finance Magnates was joined by Dáire Ferguson, CEO of online retail broker AvaTrade, to reflect on 2020 and what opportunities 2021 holds for the industry.

It’s been an interesting year for AvaTrade and for the markets in general. If I can start with what challenges and opportunities, from staff under lockdowns to negative oil, have both you and the industry faced because of COVID-19?

The pandemic has certainly been one of the most challenging events in recent history, and its impact will be felt across every industry for some time yet. The outbreak of COVID-19 and the ongoing repercussions has hugely affected the financial markets and damaged certain stocks.

While the swings in prices have been tricky for companies to manage, overall, for the online trading industry, the higher levels of volatility have been a great benefit. The potential for traders to take advantage and profit handsomely from the rises and falls of stock prices have been tremendous, and the lockdown period earlier this year meant that many people had more time on their hands to learn a new skill.

At AvaTrade, we had already anticipated seeing a significant increase in our userbase in 2020 given the new jurisdictions and product launches, but there was a substantial uptick in our user registrations when the bank reduced interest rates further and the lockdown hit. I know this experience echoes with many other retail brokers, so in general, I’d say our industry has done a great job of maintaining its resilience in what has been a very challenging year.

This year has also been a tremendous year of growth for AvaTrade. You already have multiple international offices and have now recently added a new Poland office and the Category 3A licence from Abu Dhabi. Can you expand further on AvaTrade’s regional growth plans and what regions excite you the most? Are other acquisitions part of the plans for 2021?

It is true that 2020 has been a great year for us, and we have been focusing a lot on our regional growth. We are now currently regulated in nine jurisdictions, and our expansion into Poland and the Middle East has been a major milestone for us after seeing these regions’ economies grow significantly over the last few years.

We are proud to say that AvaTrade is the first broker to have been issued with a full Category 3A licence from Abu Dhabi Global Market Authorities (ADGM). This means we can service both retail and professional clients, giving us an incredible opportunity to further strengthen the AvaTrade brand in the UAE and the Middle East as a whole.

Dáire Ferguson, AvaTrade CEO
Dáire Ferguson, AvaTrade CEO

AvaTrade prides itself on safety and regulation, so we’re always on the lookout for the next opportunities that we can capitalise on and ways in which we can expand. As for sharing our plans for 2021 and what acquisitions we’ll make, or where we’ll open a new office next, that’s not something I can disclose just yet! But we are definitely preparing to have an even bigger year and continue the strong momentum we have had in 2020.

 

It feels like barely a month goes by without Finance Magnates reporting the launch of a new AvaTrade product. You’ve recently introduced AvaSocial, AvaOptions and AvaProtect to name just a few. What has been the reaction to the new product launches and what can we expect in 2021?

Indeed, we have been busy this year rolling out new products to make the online trading environment more exciting, innovative, and crucially, accessible for our clients. For our more seasoned users, our vanilla options trading platform – AvaOptions – has been hugely popular as it enables traders to easily configure and execute a wide range of strategies. We are also seeing more of our customers – both new and experienced – equipping themselves with our new risk management tool, AvaProtect, to safeguard their positions in this climate of high risk, high reward. We have only recently launched our new social trading platform, AvaSocial, so it’s still early days on that one, but the response for that too has been extremely positive and encouraging.

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At AvaTrade, we like to see our clients succeed and offer as much support as possible across our platforms, as increasingly, we are seeing people seek openness, security, and convenience in all aspects of their lives. Moving forwards into 2021, our customers should expect to see a bigger focus on the technologies that allow for more flexibility and improves our platforms to ultimately enhance the user experience for retail traders and keep them with us.

 

This year, the FX industry has seen a whole new generation of traders onboarded. What can be done to keep these new traders, the ‘zero-free’ generation, within the ecosystem post-COVID-19?

Naturally, customer retention is one of our top priorities, and we want to keep as many of the new users we gained in 2020 as possible as we move into the new year and beyond. We would strongly recommend that anyone new to trading should be taking advantage of the various risk management tools and social trading platforms that are available to them – such as AvaProtect and AvaSocial.

Such tools and platforms can be a great jumping off point in helping those less experienced to “learn while they earn” and get to grips with the financial markets. They can also be great for boosting confidence as knowing you have a cushion to land on and a community to turn to should any positions not go to plan will certainly help traders feel more comfortable in executing their strategies.

Alongside AvaTrade’s risk management tools and social trading platform, we also provide our customers with up-to-date online education services which includes daily videos, informative articles, podcasts, webinars and much more. We really want to ensure our customers are making informed decisions and can hedge the risks they take, as we strongly believe the more successful our customers are, the more successful AvaTrade will be.

Finally, a timely opportunity to look back and look ahead. What have you learned from such a unique 2020 and, with Brexit and regulatory bodies globally tightening the rules, what trends are we going to see next year for the trading world?

We have already discussed how much the pandemic has impacted the markets this year, but we have also witnessed major political events that have led to high levels of volatility. The lead up to the US elections in November saw the global markets swing with almost every new headline it seemed, but since the result has been confirmed, we have started to see a notion of market stability return.

In the UK, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has also recently made the divisive decision to ban the sale of crypto derivatives to retail clients from January 2021. The announcement comes alongside what is already a turbulent economy for the UK owing to the ongoing impact of COVID-19, and, of course, Brexit, which endures being one of the biggest political challenges facing Europe.

High levels of volatility will clearly be the recurring theme for 2021 as well, and with that, we expect to see more regulation. By introducing safer regulation, users will ultimately be better protected which should lead to existing customers continuing to trade and new customers having the confidence to take the plunge into the online trading world.

Thanks to Dáire Ferguson, CEO of AvaTrade

Source: https://www.financemagnates.com/executives/interview/fireside-chat-with-avatrade-ceo-daire-ferguson/

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Fund Manager Bashes Bitcoin: An Extreme Form of Libertarian Anarchism

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As Bitcoin price makes headlines across mainstream and financial media, skeptics of cryptocurrencies have come out of the woodwork in droves.

The latest skepticism comes from Tim Bond, partner and portfolio manager at Odey Asset Management, who claims that Bitcoin has very little benefit to society, and instead is an extreme form of Libertarian anarchism. But could there actually be truth in the bold, blanket statement?

Tim Bond Bashes Bitcoin As Pointless, Vile, And Damaging To The Environment

Bitcoin is a subject that most economists, tech enthusiasts entrepreneurs, and fund managers alike are asked about these days, as the asset has ballooned from under $10,000 to more than $50,000 per » Read more

” href=”https://www.newsbtc.com/dictionary/coin/” data-wpel-link=”internal”>coin in less than one year.

Depending on who you ask, it is the most important technological revolution since the internet, while others might claim it is a bubble wait to burst.

Tim Bond, fund manager at Odey Asset Management, instead calls it “particularly vile,” “pointless,” and “damaging to the environment.”

Related Reading | Summing Up The Case For Crypto As The Future Of Collateral

Bond claims that Bitcoin isn’t only emitting more CO2 than most small economies, but that it is spearheading “a particularly extreme form of libertarian anarchism,” which he says is why the cryptocurrency is so popular amongst Silicon Valley types.

“If bitcoin starts to displace fiat currencies [government-issued currency that is not backed by a commodity], governments’ ability to tax, spend and redistribute will be severely impaired,” Bond continued.

bitcoin btcusd

As Bitcoin grows in value, the more disruptive power it wields | Source: BTCUSD on TradingView.com

Crypto Anarchist Future Prefers Consensus Over Forced Taxation

Bond, however, is absolutely right about at least one thing: Bitcoin could severely impact a “governments’ ability to tax, spend and redistribute” – a system that is arguably broken already.

Governments like the United States establish control over society through their money, and without that leverage, society won’t be as compelled to comply with taxation and other forms of control.

While much of this infrastructure was designed for the benefit of civilized society, governments have abused this control and how they redistribute wealth is a major ongoing economic problem that only Bitcoin has the potential to fix.

Related Reading | Why March Is The Bloodiest Month In Bitcoin History

By removing the government from the equation, it will require community consensus – something the crypto industry does well – to handle redistribution in the future.

Bitcoin has several key benefits that give the unique cryptocurrency its underlying value. It cannot be counterfeited, there are only 21 million BTC available ever, and much more. However, the greatest benefit of all could be the fact that governments can control it – something that Bond clearly can’t comprehend.

Featured image from Deposit Photos, Charts from TradingView.com

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Source: https://www.newsbtc.com/news/bitcoin/bitcoin-libertarian-anarchism/

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Chiliz (CHZ) rallies 60% to a $1B market cap as fan token offerings expand

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Nonfungible tokens (NFTs) and decentralized finance (DeFi) are two of the hottest concepts in the crypto sector, and each is altering the way projects and companies interact with the public on a wide scale. 

One project that is looking to apply these concepts into a framework for sports fan engagement is Chiliz, a blockchain platform created by the Socios fan engagement platform. The project is designed to allow fans to purchase branded Fan Tokens that let them influence their teams through the popular vote.

According to the project website, all Fan Tokens are minted on the Chiliz blockchain with on-platform voting being executed through a series of smart contracts.

Data from Cointelegraph Markets and TradingView shows that over the past month, the price of Chiliz (CHZ) has increased 760%, going from $0.022 on Feb. 8 to a new all-time high of $0.189 on March 8. CHZ trading volume also hit a 24-hour record at $1.92 billion.

CHZ/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

The platform currently offers Fan Tokens for some of the most popular sports teams in the world, including FC Barcelona, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, AS Roma, Galatasaray and Atletico de Madrid.

Token launch sparked a strong rally

Momentum for Chiliz began to gather steam at the end of 2020 when the platform partnered with Binance to launch the ACM Fan Token for AC Milan on Feb. 24. The launch generated $6 million in revenue for the CHZ ecosystem.

ACM is part of a network of 23 major sporting and esports organizations that also have plans to work with Chiliz on launching Fan Tokens.

CHZ price received an added boost on March 2 when CEO Alexandre Dreyfus announced that the project would allocate $50 million to expand operations to the United States, and there are already plans to start working with local leagues and sports franchises.

VORTECS™ data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro began to detect a bullish outlook for CHZ on March 1, prior to the recent price rise.

The VORTECS™ score, exclusive to Cointelegraph, is an algorithmic comparison of historic and current market conditions derived from a combination of data points including market sentiment, trading volume, recent price movements and Twitter activity.

VORTECS™ Score (green) vs. CHZ price. Source: Cointelegraph Markets Pro

As seen in the chart above, the VORTECS™ score hit a high of 66 on March 1, less than 5 hours before the price of CHZ began to break out above $0.06. Following the price rise and consolidation above $0.11, the VORTECS™ score climbed to 69 on March 6, two days before the price surged to a new all-time high.

Currently, Chiliz is in ongoing talks with Formula One, and if the team is able to onboard popular U.S. sporting teams, the project could be well positioned to see further growth as blockchain technology and NFTs become more ingrained into the sports industry.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

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Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/chiliz-chz-rallies-60-to-a-1b-market-cap-as-fan-token-offerings-expand

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Decentralized esports tournament series looks to bring traditional gamers to crypto

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Non-fungible token-focused investment firm Polyient Games is launching a new online tournament to introduce mainstream gamers to the crypto space.

In an announcement today, Polyient Games said it would be partnering with esports tournament platform Community Gaming for a $100,000 series featuring games using non-fungible tokens, or NFTs. The esports games will reportedly “function as a method of introducing mainstream gamers to the world of cryptocurrency and blockchain assets” by allowing players to acquire digital collectibles and use NFTs as in-game items.

“The marriage between decentralized technology and gaming will be one of the most significant themes of the coming decade,” said Craig Russo, co-founder of Polyient Games. “Our work with Community Gaming on this brand new decentralized tournament series serves as a major step towards bringing mainstream adoption to this new industry.”

In addition to esports games, the tournament will reportedly feature blockchain games including trading and battling game Axie Infinity and Ethereum-based digital trading card game SkyWeaver. All games will reportedly utilize Polyient Games’ decentralized exchange for in-game currencies.

The first event of the $100,000 tournament will begin on March 29, with prizes paid out in U.S. dollars and Polyient Games’ native token, PGU. 

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Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/decentralized-esports-tournament-series-looks-to-bring-traditional-gamers-to-crypto

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