Australia’s CoinJar introduces cryptocurrency fund for wholesale investors
CoinJar, an Australian Bitcoin exchange, today launched the CoinJar Digital Currency Fund, an index-style cryptocurrency fund for wholesale investors. The Fund has two classes; Bitcoin Class, which provides exposure to Bitcoin only; and Mixed Class, which aims to track the performance of BTC, LTC, and other cryptocurrencies, weighted by fixed supply.
The CoinJar team believes that both classes of the Fund offer wholesale investors a convenient way to invest with Australian Dollars, which may provide diversification to traditional asset classes. Management fees are 1.3% per annum for Bitcoin Class and 1.8% per annum for Mixed Class plus normal operating costs. Only applications from wholesale clients can be accepted into the fund. CoinJar takes on the management and security of the digital assets on behalf of investors with the underlying crypto secured in multi-signature wallets.
Square earned $37M from Bitcoin trading in Q2
Square reported earnings this week, revealing that the company earned $37 million from its Bitcoin trading feature in its peer-to-peer money transfer app, Square Cash. It was a strong quarter for Square with adjusted EPS beating estimates ($0.13 vs. $0.11) and revenues up nearly 5% from expectations ($385 million vs. $368 million). Total net revenue was $815 million in the second quarter of 2018, up 48% year over year.
While Square’s Bitcoin revenue is up quarter over quarter, Square netted ~$1 million from the new trading feature, as the cost of Bitcoin operations was ~$36M for Q2. This has been the largest critique of the company, the current margins on its cryptocurrency activities are not relatively big. However, given the current regulatory landscape, these costs are likely related to investments in state and federal licensing efforts. Notably, the share price of Square has been on an absolute tear over the last year, up nearly 200% due largely from consistent earnings beats and bullishness over the company’s new focus on cryptocurrency.
Overstock’s Medici inks deal with Zambian Gov on blockchain land registry pilot
Overstock’s blockchain-powered property rights subsidiary, Medici Land Governance, is reportedly partnering with the Zambian government to build a blockchain-based land title registry. Under the agreement, MLG will provide Zambia a “land governance program that collects and secures property ownership information using blockchain.” MLG has agreed to deliver certificates of title in digital and printed form to the nation’s government by November 30th, 2018 to serve as proof of concept for a streamlined process.
Overstock.com founder and CEO Patrick Byrne said the project would help the country move toward a global economy that builds trust through technology. On a related note, Byrne has been working with Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto on a joint blockchain property rights venture called De Soto Inc. The business aims to provide services for about five billion individuals by granting them access to global capital markets.
Australian government invests in crypto startup to promote tourism
The Australian government plans to issue a grant to a crypto startup as part of $8 million of innovation funding. The TravelbyBit digital currency payments platform for travel and tourism industries is one 70 companies that will receive “Advance Queensland Ignite Ideas” funding, which supports entrepreneurs in Queensland to develop their businesses.
The company’s objective will be to boost the number of tourists to Central Queensland by selling travel offers with cryptocurrencies and creating more jobs. Innovation Minister Kate Jones said: “TravelbyBit has devised a clever way to make it easier for visitors to our state to pay for their purchases with a growing number of local businesses accepting cryptocurrency payments… I understand TravelbyBit is specifically targeting places like Bundaberg (along the Great Barrier Reef) – using cryptocurrency to make it easier for tourists to book holidays.”
Brazilian crypto exchange wins injunction against bank who closed its account
Brazilian cryptocurrency exchange Walltime has recently won a court battle against a hostile local bank Caixa Econômica Federal, forcing it to unfreeze its account holding more than $200,000 worth of funds. Walltime won a preliminary injunction, meaning the court’s decision isn’t yet final but nevertheless lets the exchange use the funds on its account to keep on serving clients in the interim.
Walltime wasn’t able to process customer deposits because their funds were frozen & reportedly suffered damage during this period. Walltime’s attorney said the losses exceed the $250K that was stuck in the account at Caixa Econômica & only a “probable future indemnity action” will see it recoup them. Walltime’s case against Caixa Econômica was filed back in early April of this year, as it claims its “bank account was blocked without any notice or justification” on March 22nd. According to Walltime’s attorney, the bank’s moves go against guidelines set by Brazil’s central bank.
SBI invests $9M in institutional grade cryptocurrency derivatives platform
Japanese financial services giant SBI Holdings has invested $9 million in US digital marketplace architect Clear Markets to fund the creation of a cryptocurrency derivatives trading platform built for institutional investors. SBI Crypto Investment has obtained a 12% stake in Clear Markets, which is headquartered in Charlotte, NC and has branch offices in NYC, London, and Tokyo. SBI reportedly paid 1 billion yen ($9 million) for its minority ownership position in the company.
In funding Clear Markets, SBI aims to build a derivatives exchange that allows institutional investors to trade investment products tied to the price movements of Bitcoin and other cryptoassets. Such products, which may include futures, options, and swaps, allow institutions to hedge other positions that they may have in the cryptocurrency market, reducing risk and enabling them to lock in profits or mitigate losses.The entry of new custodians into the market & the development of new platforms are expected to provide institutions with more flexibility in how they obtain exposure to cryptoassets.