As corporate finance leaders prepare to set sail into the post-COVID-19 world amid inflation storm warnings, an increasing number of corporations are taking stock of their treasury reserve holdings. If the worst happens, and the dollar and other reserve currencies weaken, are they sure that all their balance-sheet cash is lashed down securely?
It surely hasn’t escaped their notice, after all, that a number of public companies that “joined” Bitcoin (BTC) in a big way over the past year recently broadcast strong Q1 2021 earnings. Square, which holds $472 million worth of BTC, for instance, reported a quarterly gross profit increase of 79% year-over-year, doubling analysts’ expectations. While Tesla, which plunked down $1.5 billion — 8% of its cash — into BTC in February, posted record earnings with revenues surging 74%. MicroStrategy, which made Bitcoin its primary corporate reserve in 2020, notched a 10% gain in Q1 revenues.
“If inflation picks up, or even if it doesn’t, and more companies decide to diversify some small portion of their cash balances into bitcoin instead of cash, then the current relative trickle into bitcoin would become a torrent,” wrote storied investor Bill Miller in a market letter earlier this year. Already, “companies such as Square, MassMutual, and MicroStrategy have moved cash into bitcoin rather than have guaranteed losses on cash held on their balance sheet,” he added.
Elsewhere, Ark Investments commented in a company newsletter: “Microstrategy, Square, and now Tesla are showing public companies the way to add bitcoin as a legitimate alternative to cash on their balance sheets.”
But Bitcoin remains a volatile asset — as the most recent BTC price drop to $46,000 reminded users again — so maybe its embrace by corporate treasurers is really just a short-term happenstance? On the other hand, if the trend does have legs, is it really appropriate for all companies? If so, at what level of allocation is appropriate?
Overall, what does this say about the global economy if public firms now look to a 12-year-old digital currency to keep its cash stockpiles liquid and secure?
A longer-term trend or seasonal fashion?
“I do not view this as a fad,” Paul Cappelli, a portfolio manager at Galaxy Fund Management, told Cointelegraph. Bitcoin’s “inelastic supply curve and deflationary issuance schedule” make it a “compelling hedge against inflation and poor monetary policies that could lead to cash positions becoming devalued over time,” he told Cointelegraph, predicting:
“Corporations will continue to use Bitcoin as one of the tools available to preserve the value of their balance sheets.”
David Grider, lead digital asset strategist at Fundstrat, informed Cointelegraph that as crypto becomes more mainstream, he expects to see “more corporates holding crypto for legitimate business purposes.” Exchanges could hold it as inventory, tech companies might use it to stake tokens and participate in networks, while multinational corporations could accept it for payments.
“I expect two types of companies to consider early adoption of crypto — ones led by leaders who are strong believers in crypto, as well as companies that may have unique cross-border needs that are a good fit for Bitcoin transfers,” Gil Luria, director of research at D.A. Davidson & Co., told Cointelegraph.
If so, doesn’t this represent a sea change for corporate finance officers? “When I did my treasury exams, the thing we were told as number one objective is to guarantee security and liquidity of the balance sheet,” Graham Robinson, a partner in international tax and treasury at PricewaterhouseCoopers and adviser to the United Kingdom’s Association for Corporate Treasurers, told Reuters. BTC with its volatility might simply not fit the bill.
If Bitcoin were to be used as a corporate treasury reserve, and its price plunged, that company might not be able to meet its working capital requirements, noted Robert Willens, adjunct professor of Columbia Business School, in January, when he described it as “a high-risk, high-reward strategy.”
Has Willens changed his views? “I still believe it is a high risk/high reward strategy,” he told Cointelegraph, acknowledging that “lately, the rewards have far outweighed the risks.” He does see more firms following the lead of Tesla and Square, “as crypto investments become more ‘respectable’ and emerge as a viable outlet for corporate cash balances.” Asked who might lead the way, Willens answered:
“I think companies with iconoclastic leaders — not necessarily confined to a particular industry — would be the most likely to take the plunge and commit a decent amount of the corporation’s cash balances in crypto.”
Fundstrat’s Grider, citing the OTC trading firm Genesis’ Capital trading data, told Cointelegraph that more corporations may be buying crypto than has been reported in earnings statements. The Genesis Q1 2021 “Market Observations Report,” for example, reported a striking jump in “corporates’” share of crypto trading volume to ~27% from ~0% in the quarters prior. “As corporate clients began buying bitcoin for their treasuries in Q1, our ratios shifted,” noted Genesis.
Tesla allocated 8% — Is it too much?
Assuming that a company believes that crypto should be part of its treasury reserves, how much should it actually allocate? Last year, Cappelli told Cointelegraph that an investment of 50 basis points to 2% of reserves was about right, given crypto’s volatility. But since then, crypto prices have skyrocketed, and Tesla allocated a whopping 8% — or $1.5 billion — to its corporate cash reserves. Is the recommended allocation growing?
“I don’t think there’s a bright-line rule that we can apply here across the board,” Willens told Cointelegraph, “but I think something well north of 2% would be appropriate — perhaps as much as 8%–10% might even be acceptable.”
“It will all depend on the company,” Cappelli said this past week. “Corporations manage their balance sheets to fund operations and maintain a certain amount of liquidity.” Bitcoin is still a very volatile asset, “so while it does provide a hedge against inflation, it does come with a certain amount of market risk. I’d be very surprised to see a company allocation much more than a ballpark of 5% currently, but that may change over time.”
Still, what about Robinson’s contention that a corporate treasurer’s job is to guarantee liquidity and security of the balance sheet — and could Bitcoin not do that?
“If you think about crypto purely as cash, it is still very volatile relative to the dollar,” Grider told Cointelegraph. “But some assets like Bitcoin are becoming less volatile lately, and we are seeing strong liquidity emerge in crypto, which is encouraging.”
One way a firm could think about holding crypto is as an alternative to cash, continued Grider, “but you can also think about it like inventory or a marketable securities investment or an intangible long-term asset. That means even if not an ideal treasury asset in all respects, corporates could still hold crypto for other reasons,” such as:
“Certain incumbent businesses could buy crypto as a hedge against tech disruption, just like doing M&A of a competing startup.”
“I think the liquidity concern is a valid one,” responded Willens, “but limiting the investment to 8%–10% of the investible funds ought to insulate treasurers from criticism since the balance of the funds would be deployed in cash and cash equivalents with a readily realizable value.”
There is a sizing exercise that occurs for every investment, added Capelli, and “taking all balance sheet investments into account” is part of any corporate treasurer’s or chief investment officer’s job. Meanwhile, Luria declared that “crypto assets are liquid enough that this should not be a constraint.”
A more significant disincentive to using crypto as a corporate treasury reserve, in Willens’ view, may be the accounting treatment to which it is subjected at present — i.e., “the odd way investments in crypto are accounted for — they are treated as ‘indefinite-lived intangible assets,’ and thus any declines in the value of the asset must be reflected in income from continuing operations, whereas price increases cannot be so reflected.” He described this “unfavorable accounting treatment […] as the most unattractive aspect of an investment therein.”
A “tectonic shift” in global finance?
All in all, the current monetary environment has raised serious corporate concerns about inflation and the continued strength of the United States dollar. It should not be surprising, as Grider said, “that corporations would become more open to alternatives like crypto.”
But something even larger may be going on. As Perianne Boring noted recently in the New York Times, a “tectonic shift” may be underway in global finance thanks to cryptocurrency. “Digital assets have brought forth a new paradigm in global finance,” concurred Cappelli, though we are still in the very early stages:
“With every cycle, there are always pockets of froth, but structurally, what we have seen built over the last few years certainly provides a strong foundation for this new asset class.”
CoinFlip Installs Its First Three Bitcoin ATMs in Alaska
The company aims to install four more ATMs in the state by the end of the summer.
CoinFlip, a leading Bitcoin ATM provider, announced that it had expanded its operations to Alaska, United States, by deploying three Bitcoin ATMs on Thursday. According to the company, it has also planned to install three additional Bitcoin ATMs by the end of this year’s summer in the state.
With the new machines installed in Anchorage, users will not only be able to buy Bitcoins (BTC) but Dogecoin (DOGE), Ethereum (ETH), and six other cryptocurrencies with 24/7 customer support. The locations are Anchorage Wine House at Minnesota, Anchorage Wine House at Huffman, and Anchorage Wine House at Jewel Lake. With the installation of the ATMs in Alaska, CoinFlip now has over 2,500 machines installed in 47 of the 50 states in the US.
About the announcement, Ben Weiss, CoinFlip CEO, commented: “We’re excited to bring CoinFlip ATMs to Alaska this month. It has been our mission to help build financial wealth through inclusive financial systems so that anyone interested in investing can participate. We look forward to connecting Alaskans with our award-winning customer service to make Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies more accessible to the local community.”
Other Companies Installing Bitcoin ATMs in the US
Another company joined the bandwagon of deploying Bitcoin ATMs in more US states. Finance Magnates reported in April that Coinme expanded operations in the state of Florida with the installation of more than 300 Bitcoin-enabled Coinstar kiosks.
Get Paid to Learn about Cryptocurrency TradingGo to article >>
The Bitcoin cash machines have been strategically installed inside grocery chains like Winn Dixie, Fresco y Mas, and Harveys across small towns and big cities. The company aimed to bring Bitcoin purchasing facilities to the local groceries of the Florida residents.
Coinme is one of the major Bitcoin ATM operators in the United States, with around 6,000 Coinstar kiosks installed in supermarkets across 45 states.
According to CoinATMRadar metrics, United States has 18,936 Bitcoin ATMs, becoming the leader globally, followed by Canada with 1,526, and the United Kingdom with 196.
What is Phemex’s all-new Learn and Earn program?
A decade ago, Bitcoin was merely a philosophical research paper for a new type of digital currency. Today, there is no major technology or financial publication or news portal with no cryptocurrency stories or blockchain news.
From being ridiculed as magic internet money backed by thin air to narratives of the wild west, nerdy money, get-rich-quick schemes, and gaining mainstream consciousness as we settle into 2021, the crypto industry has indeed seen it all.
Since Bitcoin’s inception over ten years ago, things have changed considerably. Industries across the world have embraced its underlying blockchain technology. Its main characteristics include decentralization, transparency, immutability, and automation that has the potential to create a multitude of use cases and replace legacy frameworks.
The digital asset industry has not been that lucky. The narrative of “Blockchain, not Bitcoin,” is still very much prevalent in several regions. Countries struggling with political instability and hyperinflation, such as Venezuela, and Argentina have witnessed a formidable interest in cryptocurrencies. The sentiment resembled the nations that have a massive unbanked local population.
Today, the great dream of cryptocurrency is still very much alive despite all its struggles. The cryptocurrency industry has not only unlocked access to financial services for users around the globe it has also opened avenues for new applications. The remittance, for one, can be a nightmare for many living in developing countries. Crypto and blockchain technology aims to settle transactions instantly with significantly lower or even negligible fees.
The main objective behind asset-backed tokens, on the other hand, is to grant ownership to assets like real estate and precious metals. In addition, stablecoins have their own use cases and have seen unprecedented growth because they trade uniformly with fiat. The list does not end there.
While pessimism has dwindled, there is still plenty of skepticism around the entire asset class.
What’s impeding crypto adoption?
There are numerous reasons for the hindrance. But one that stands out is the lack of education. It is a daunting issue that plagues the cryptocurrency industry even today, in this day and age when everything is just one click away. Many people don’t understand the industry. It is as simple as that.
The digital asset realm is a complex one. While there are plenty of resources to fall back on, there need to be better and more accessible vehicles, one that is perfectly curated for the newbies – simple and easy-to-follow lessons on everything crypto and blockchain. And what’s better than earning a reward for learning this groundbreaking technology? Seems far-fetched? Not anymore. Pemex’s newly launched program dubbed ‘Learn and Earn’ aims to do just that.
Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange Phemex is one of the most prominent platforms in the world. Just two years since it was first launched, Phemex has already emerged as one of the most trustworthy exchanges in the industry. Its user base exploded quickly to over a million traders, thanks to user-friendly platforms and unique offerings.
It has recently rolled out an all-new educational program called “Learn and Earn,” which aims to provide users with simplified concepts on different cryptocurrency and blockchain-related concepts. This program includes an in-depth course structure coupled with intuitive lessons and interactive videos that offer a unique and fun learning process. But it does not end there.
Phemex plans to reward its users via Learn and Earn after the completion of each lesson. How? Users will have to take a short quiz to test their knowledge, and if all the answers are correct, they will be incentivized.
It is one of the most beginner-friendly and fun ways to learn more about the new financial world. Learn and Earn is put together into a few fundamental courses, each comprising its own set of sub-lessons. These cover introductory passages, explainer videos, and a final quiz for users to test their knowledge. Upon answering all questions correctly, Phemex offers a reward in the form of trading bonuses and cryptocurrencies.
Lean and Earn’s first set of courses proceed with the platform’s essential features. This program encompasses some core concepts about the workings of cryptocurrencies and the process of buying, trading, and selling them on an exchange. Rewards will be in the form of trading bonuses that participants can use with perpetual contracts on Phemex to exercise their proficiency on the subject matter.
In the days to come, Phemex also plans to broaden its course material and reward users directly in cryptocurrency assets. However, in order to receive rewards, the users are required to complete KYC protocols. As of now, the program is not widely available, but the team behind the project is working on expanding the Lean and Earn initiative on a global scale.
In short, Learn And Earn aims to cater to mainly the beginner but is also available for experienced crypto enthusiasts who seek to know more about the industry and how to trade digital assets seamlessly. This program is essentially for everyone who wants clarity and eventually wants to foray into the trading space of cryptocurrencies but does not know where to begin. It is open to anyone who wants to build a passive income stream by just learning about cryptocurrencies.
Incentivising users for learning about the technology, what a great way to spur adoption as well as trading activity! This will help more and more individuals dispel myths and filter out FUDs and FOMOs that are often endorsed by the critics and the flag bearers of centralized financial infrastructure.
Ethereum to $20,000? Factors Behind The Bold Call
Ethereum could reach $20,000 by 2025 according to a Finder’s panel.
Ethereum has since been gaining momentum, starting out at $1,000 at the beginning of the year and reaching an all time high of $4,196.63, according to Coin Metrics. Before losing steam and dropping down to its current price at $2,400. Clocking an average growth rate of 197.4% in 2021.
This massive run has given the » Read more
” href=”https://www.newsbtc.com/dictionary/coin/” data-wpel-link=”internal”>coin a lot of popularity. Ethereum currently ranks as the second most popular » Read more
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Related Reading | Billionaire Tim Draper: Bitcoin Will Reach $250,000 By The End Of 2022
With so much support pouring out for the » Read more
” href=”https://www.newsbtc.com/dictionary/coin/” data-wpel-link=”internal”>coin, investors in the » Read more
” href=”https://www.newsbtc.com/dictionary/coin/” data-wpel-link=”internal”>coin have been very bullish on it. Lots of analysts believe that Ethereum is poised to overtake Bitcoin as the most popular » Read more
” href=”https://www.newsbtc.com/dictionary/coin/” data-wpel-link=”internal”>coin in the market. So much technological advancements are being carried out on the blockchain that its use cases seem to be endless.
Impact Of DeFi and NFTs
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About 70 percent of the panel agreed that with DeFi and NFTs, Ethereum now has more use cases than Bitcoin.
John Hawkins, senior lecturer at the University of Canberra, went against the grain to say more use cases would not necessarily benefit the » Read more
” href=”https://www.newsbtc.com/dictionary/coin/” data-wpel-link=”internal”>coin. He expanded on this by saying that Ethereum will most likely get dragged down with Bitcoin. Despite having more use cases.
Ethereum price sits below $2,5000 | Source: ETHUSD on TradingView.com
With staking and yield farming with DeFi, investors have found another way to put their investments to work, while at the same time benefiting the network.
With Ethereum 2.0 on the horizon, developers are looking to replace the existing Ethereum blockchain with a new one. This will help to solve the current bottlenecks of the network. It will also increase the number of transactions being made on the network. Hopefully helping to reduce the exorbitant fees being charged for transactions when network traffic is high.
Ethereum Predictions By Finder’s Panelists
The Finder’s panel consisted of a number of prominent panelists. Present were Dr. Iwa Salami from the University of East London. COO of BitBull Capital, Sarah Bergstrand. Vishal Shah, CEO of Alpha5. Head Economist at ConsenSys, Lex Sokolin. Amongst others.
A good number of the panel seemed to agree that while the » Read more
” href=”https://www.newsbtc.com/dictionary/coin/” data-wpel-link=”internal”>coin might not have much further to run this year, the next four years is going to see a massive run.
CEO Vishal Shah was on the more conservative side. He predicted that the » Read more
” href=”https://www.newsbtc.com/dictionary/coin/” data-wpel-link=”internal”>coin would not be worth much more than it is now. Putting it at just $4,000 by 2025. Shah believes that Ethereum will continue to perform. But that the unlimited supply of the » Read more
” href=”https://www.newsbtc.com/dictionary/coin/” data-wpel-link=”internal”>coin is a demerit to it. He also added that Ethereum was in a race with other protocols for the its usability profile. And that there are other faster and cheaper chains that will rival the » Read more
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Related Reading | TA: Ethereum Price Holds Strong, Why Dips Remain Limited Below $1,850
Others did not see this as a befitting forecast. Citing the upgrades being done on the network, Sarah Bergstrand, Chief Operations Officer at BitBull, gave a price prediction of $100,000 per ETH by the end of 2025. A staggering forecast.
She believes that mass adoption of Bitcoin will be followed by mass adoption of Ethereum. Also that the upgrades being carried out on the network will help to push the price higher.
Dr. Paul Ennis put his prediction at $10,000 by the end of 2025. Stating that Ethereum is currently undervalued.
Dr. Salami went on to give the » Read more
” href=”https://www.newsbtc.com/dictionary/coin/” data-wpel-link=”internal”>coin a $20,000 forecast by 2025.
This brought the average of the panel’s predictions to $19,842 per ETH by 2025.
Featured image from Blockchain News, chart from TradingView.com