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More Players Could Join Bitcoin Futures Game

Bitcoin futures debuted on the CBOE and later the CME in December, but other U.S. exchange operators have not joined in on the action. That does not mean they will not.

The Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), owner of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) could be one of the exchange operators that eventually gets into the bitcoin futures arena. Nasdaq would likely be the next major exchange operator to launch bitcoin futures.

“Nasdaq Inc. is still considering entering the bitcoin futures competition. Market observers previously expected Nasdaq to launch futures on the digital currency this year, perhaps as early as the second quarter,” according to ETF Trends.

In an interview with Bloomberg Television ICE CEO Jeffrey Sprecher said that while cryptocurrencies are still in their nascent stages as an asset class, the idea of futures on such currencies cannot be ignored.

Demand for bitcoin futures on CBOE and CME was initially tepid, due in part to high margin requirements, but some data points suggest volume is picking up.

“According to the CME Group, in December the average daily trading volume was about 1,600 contracts. In March, that tally jumped to 2,500 contracts, an increase of 56 percent in less than four months,” reports the South China Morning Post.

The CME and CBOE bitcoin futures are different. A CBOE contract is equivalent to one bitcoin whereas one CME contract is equal to five bitcoin.

Other Efforts

Futures can help increase liquidity for various asset classes and allow traders to adopt various directional strategies on the underlying asset. Some market observers have also speculated that a robust bitcoin futures market could compel regulators to finally approve exchange traded funds (ETFs) based on the largest digital currency.

CBOE and NYSE are among the exchange operators angling to list bitcoin ETFs. Last month, CBOE renewed its push to get regulators to list bitcoin ETFs.

In other related news in March, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said it is again examining a proposal from NYSE to list two bitcoin ETFs, including an inverse fund, from ProShares. Currently, no bitcoin ETFs are available in the U.S.

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Bitcoin

Coinbase Will Reward You For Holding Your Crypto

Coinbase is for the first time allowing general users to earn rewards by simply holding cryptocurrency, starting with the Tezos (XTZ) token.

In a company blog Wednesday, Coinbase said U.S. customers (barring residents of Hawaii and New York) can now stake the smart-contract platform’s crypto with an estimated 5 percent annual return.

Tezos uses an alternative consensus mechanism to proof-of-work mining – the system built into the largest cryptocurrency by market cap, bitcoin. Called proof-of-stake, the alternative mechanism rewards network users for holding onto its coins and thereby helping protect the network.

Coinbase’s 5 percent estimate is based on Tezos’ last 90 days of staking returns. The firm also notes that there’s an initial holding period of 35–40 days, after which stakers will start to see rewards appear in their accounts every three days.

The exchange has also added Tezos to Coinbase Earn, a program aimed at educating the public about crypto, and will give out XTZ to participants completing educational videos.

Coinbase soft-launched staking for both Tezos and decentralized finance token Maker (MKR) this March on Coinbase Custody.

As Coinbase wrote at the time, Coinbase Custody primarily serves institutional clients holding large amounts of crypto. This latest initiative brings staking to even the smallest of Tezos holdings, however.

Coinbase also recently rolled out 1.25 percent interest on users’ holdings of the dollar-pegged stablecoin USDC.

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Bitcoin

$19 million worth of Bitcoin (BTC) seized in dark web drug probe

The U.S. government has seized $19 million worth of BTC from a drug trafficker, who allegedly laundered funds through the cryptocurrency on the original dark web marketplace known as “Silk Road.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York announced the news on Thursday, saying that the trafficker, Hugh Brian Haney, 60, was arrested near Columbus, Ohio. In 2017 and 2018, Haney allegedly transferred bitcoins representing drug proceeds he had earned through Silk Road to an account held at a company involved in the exchange of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. He claimed falsely that the source of these bitcoins was from mining.

Haney is charged with one count of concealment money laundering and one count of engaging in a financial transaction in a criminally derived property. The former count carries a maximum jail term of 20 years, while the latter a maximum term of 10 years.

Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agent-in-charge Angel M. Melendez said:

“HSI special agents employed blockchain analytics to uncover and seize bitcoins valued at $19 million and usher Haney out of the dark web shadows to face justice in the Southern District of New York.”

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Bitcoin

“Cryptocurrency is a great idea” – Ron Paul

During a recent “Squawk Alley” interview, Former Republican congressman and presidential candidate, Ron Paul- discusses how he is in favor of cryptocurrencies as well as block change technology. Apparently, he enjoys competing currencies and believes they are a good idea. 

He also believes that the governments only have the right to step in to prevent fraud from taking place. In the interview, Paul states that, “the government has a role. And if somebody has a case that there is fraud, I think it should be investigated.” Paul then goes on to state that what he wants to do “is legalize the freedom of choice, absent blatant fraud.” Agreeably so, this is exactly the type of perspective that the crypto world needs.

Throughout the interview, Paul compares crypto to gold in many ways. He points out how both assets are competing with traditional fiat money. He discusses how our government has never been “very tolerant of competition, and they’re not even tolerant with using the Constitution to compete with the fiat dollar. Because gold and silver, you can’t use it.” 

This isn’t the first time that Ron Paul has discussed his views on crypto. Back in 2014, the Former Republican Congressman displayed his concerns about the foundation of crypto and Bitcoin. However, he acquired a bearish pro-crypto outlook on the future of fiat money. Paul believes that the dollar won’t last long as “they all self-destruct.” According to Paul, the only competition for the dollar is the euro and yen- which “isn’t any good.”

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