VOIP pioneer’s new startup is paying users interest on millions in crypto
Celsius, a cryptocurrency lending startup, is paying thousands of users interest for depositing Bitcoin and Ether with its wallet app. Celsius claims to have garnered more than 10,000 users since the soft launch of its mobile app on June 29th, with an average deposit of 0.5 bitcoin or 5.5 ether earning up to 6.7% on an annualized basis. The interest comes from income Celsius makes lending fiat and crypto, much of the latter to hedge funds that want to short, or bet against, the coins.
“When we make interest income we pay a chunk of that back to the people who gave us BTC,” said Celsius CEO Alex Mashinsky, who’s best known as a pioneer of Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP). Celsius requires collateral for all its loans and it operates more like a bank than a P2P platform. The startup also boasts dignitaries in the community: Telecom veteran Mashinsky & cryptographer Scott Stornetta, who was cited multiple times in the original Bitcoin white paper, as an adviser. “I made an exception, the first exception, for Celsius because I think their success is going to be a win for the entire blockchain community” Stornetta said. Speaking to how Celsius offers services comparable to traditional banking, he concluded: “You have to take your idealism and couple it with the nuts and bolts of building a compelling, end-user value proposition.”
SEC asks for additional comments on rejected Bitcoin ETFs
The US Securities and Exchange Commission is asking for comments on 9 different Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) rule change proposals that are currently under review after initially being rejected. The SEC had previously rejected the proposals while highlighting issues with the underlying Bitcoin futures markets and the risk that the actual spot Bitcoin market is at risk of manipulation.
In new filings published Thursday, the SEC asked for public comment on all nine proposals, designating October 26th as the due date for any new comments that the general public wishes to make. “It is further ordered that the order disapproving the proposed rule changes shall remain in effect pending the Commission’s review… by October 26, 2018, any party or other person may file a statement in support of, or in opposition to the ETF rule proposals” wrote assistant secretary Eduardo Aleman. The SEC is also separately considering a Bitcoin ETF proposed by crypto startup SolidX and money management firm VanEck.
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