Get your daily, bite-sized digest of cryptoasset and blockchain-related news – investigating the stories flying under the radar of today’s crypto news.
- Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the operator of the New York Stock Exchange and the owner of Bakkt digital asset platform, has sold its 1.4% stake in the newly Nasdaq-listed crypto exchange Coinbase. Per their earnings call, the sale generated over USD 1.2bn in gross proceeds and approximately USD 900m net after taxes. Chief financial officer Scott Hill said that the proceeds were used to reduce ICE’s debt at the end of the first quarter, which he added is being paid off faster than expected. The company posted record revenues in Q1 totaling USD 1.8bn, up 4% year-over-year.
- Speaking of Coinbase, the exchange has denied the allegations that its executives sold large amounts of their stock holdings following the company’s listing. The blog post said that its CEO, Brian Armstrong, sold 2% of his holdings, and not 71% as some have suggested. Other named executives sold between 8% and 38% of their total outstanding equity, it claimed. Coinbase executives and early investors sold portions of their total holdings to create liquidity on the opening day of trading for Coinbase stock, which is critical to a direct listing, it added. Selling holdings, or buying additional stock, may happen at "various points in the future."
- CME Micro Bitcoin (BTC) futures trading will begin at the start of the Globex session on Sunday, May 2. "These smaller, right-sized CME Micro Bitcoin futures contracts will make crypto futures trading more accessible to traders of all sizes providing greater choice, flexibility and precision in trading," Brooks Dudley, Global Head of Digital Assets at ED&F Man Capital Markets, said in an emailed comment. This new product offers "a cost-effective way for investors to fine-tune bitcoin exposure and add versatility to their trading strategies." It builds on the strength and liquidity of CME Bitcoin futures but is smaller in size, offering the same benefits as the larger contracts at 1/50 of the contract size on a traditional bitcoin future. It will be cash-settled and traded electronically on Globex and OTC through Clearport.
- As of next Thursday, Revolut UK customers using their Revolut Metal premium account will be allowed to withdraw bitcoin to another BTC wallet outside the Revolut ecosystem, altfi and the Financial Times reported. It will start small-scale, in “beta mode”, with withdrawals restricted to GBP 500 a day or GBP 1,000 a month, they added.
- Business intelligence company MicroStrategy has announced financial results for Q1 2021. CEO Michael Saylor said that the company had one of its strongest operational quarters in their software business in years. Total revenues were USD 122.9m, a 10% increase, or a 7.6% increase on a non-GAAP constant currency basis, compared to the first quarter of 2020. Gross profit was USD 100m. They raised more than USD 1bn of additional capital in the quarter to expand their BTC holdings, which now exceed BTC 91,000 (USD 4.96bn). "MicroStrategy’s first quarter results were a clear example that our two-pronged corporate strategy to grow our enterprise analytics software business and acquire and hold bitcoin is generating substantial shareholder value," Saylor said.
- US-based mutual fund giant Fidelity Investments announced Sherlock, a digital assets data and analytics solution that helps institutional investors navigate digital assets by bringing together data coverage and analytics tools. Sherlock offers access to fundamental and technical data about development ecosystems, network activity, trading, social media activity, news and other research on digital assets from some of the major institutional data providers, as well as blockchain data, and analytics to help investors evaluate the market.
- Hotbit said it "suffered a serious cyber attack starting around 08:00 PM UTC, April 29, 2021, which led to the paralyzation of a number of some basic services." "Hotbit team has shut down all services for inspection and restoration immediately, and the overall recovery period is expected to be no less than 7 days," they said, adding that "all your assets are safe and secure."
- A Turkish court jailed pending trial six suspects late on Thursday as part of a probe into cryptocurrency trading platform Thodex, including the CEO’s siblings, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office told Reuters. At least 83 people were detained over the past week. Most of those detained over the past week have been released, per the report. Others, including seven on Thursday, were let go with judicial control measures, it added.
- Coinbase said it is acquiring skew, an institutional data visualization and analytics platform for crypto markets, that now serves more than 100 customers, including One River Asset Management and Susquehanna International Group. "Through this acquisition, Coinbase reinforces our commitment to serving the growing institutional market," the exchange said without providing any further details about the deal.
- There has been more crypto-themed political wrangling in South Korea as senior figures in the main two political parties – the ruling Democratic Party and the opposition People’s Power Party – have turned up the charm in a bid to win over voters aged 20-39. Younger voters have typically voted Democrat in recent years, but have shown signs of frustration with recent policies. However, Dailian reported that senior Democratic politicians have suggested that a possible delay to crypto tax is not completely off the table, with an opposition “crypto taskforce” criticizing the government for its refusal thus far to budge from its plans to introduce a flat-rate 20% tax on crypto profits from 2022.
- Dispersion Holdings, a publicly-traded decentralized finance (DeFi) fund established by the co-founders of listed crypto mining firm Argo Blockchain, made its debut on London’s Aquis Stock Exchange Growth Market (AQSE). The shares are traded under the ticker symbol DEFI, said the press release. The company was admitted to the access segment of the AQSE following a placing and subscription that raised a combined GBP 9m (USD 12.5m), and a pre-IPO fundraising that raised GBP 2.2m (USD 3M), before expenses. On admission, the company received 612.5m ordinary shares in issue, valuing Dispersion Holdings at a market capitalization of approximately GBP 18m (USD 25m).
- Inverse Finance’s governance has approved a proposal to acquire Tonic Finance in a USD 1.6m deal. The members of the Inverse Finance DAO voted on a proposal to acquire Tonic and hire its founder and lead developer Tony Snark, quickly surpassing the 4,000 token approval mark. It seems that no votes were cast against the proposal. Inverse described the event as "the first on-chain DAO acquisition vote in the history of crypto."
- Automated market makers (AMMs) have catalyzed the explosion of DeFi over the past year, but they are burdened with problems, wrote Haseeb Qureshi, an investor at Dragonfly Capital. What market makers needed was a platform to let them efficiently serve DeFi order flow, said Qureshi, introducing Hashflow – a protocol that connects users on-chain to the top crypto market makers. He describes it as a decentralized shadow brokerage — it connects users with the "world’s most elite market makers," thus creating a portal to all of the liquidity in centralized finance, and doing so cheaper as well, he claimed. Dragonfly co-led Hashflow’s seed round.
- Kyrgyzstan has become another country to fall victim to what appears to be crypto mining-related electricity scarcity-related issues. Recent months have seen the de facto South Caucasus state of Abkhazia suffer from crippling power shortages, with blackouts and fires, and the police blaming home crypto mining operators for a massive drain on the grid. And per Tazabek (via Feranga), Daniyar Akmatov, the former director of Kyrgyzstan’s Investment Attraction and Protection Agency, a rise crypto mining is “one of the reasons” for an energy shortfall that has been exacerbated by low levels of investment in the sector.
- The first purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) has been made on a Sberbank-operated blockchain platform. Per Finam, the transaction was made by Polyus, the largest gold producer in Russia and one of the world’s top 10 producers of the precious metal. The firm snapped up 303,460 certificates, a move that it claims will offset its carbon output for the first quarter of 2021. The platform is the brainchild of Sberbank’s Sberbank Blockchain Laboratory.
- Jason Somensatto, a former lawyer at decentralized exchange project 0x Labs (ZRX), is the new acting director of LabCFTC, the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) financial technology research division, per the regulator’s website. Somensatto will take over from Melissa Netram, who left in early April.