Bitcoin (BTC) broke its all-time high price level following the launch of ProShares’ Bitcoin Strategy exchange-traded fund (ETF), BITO, on Tuesday, but JPMorgan Chase strategists believe the key driver behind the price jump is investor concern over inflation.The BITO launch, which saw the highest-ever first-day natural volume for an ETF, is “unlikely to trigger a new phase of significantly more fresh capital entering Bitcoin,” JPMorgan strategists said in a note. Instead, JPMorgan believes that as gold failed to respond to concerns over rising cost pressures in the last couple of weeks, Bitcoin’s renewed role as a better hedge against inflation in the eyes of investors is the main reason for the current bull run. The team highlighted that the shift away from gold ETFs into Bitcoin funds has bee gathering speed since September and “supports a bullish outlook for Bitcoin into year-end.”The JPMorgan strategists exemplified the waning interest after the first week following the launch of the Purpose Bitcoin ETF (BTCC) in Canada, claiming that the initial hype surrounding BITO could also fade after a week.As the first Bitcoin futures-linked ETF in the United States, ProShares’ Bitcoin Strategy ETF started trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday at an opening price of $40 per share. It enables investors to have direct exposure to cryptocurrency futures in a regulated market.Related: Bitcoin futures ETF hits $1B AUM in a record-breaking two daysJPMorgan’s comments echo others in traditional finance. Billionaire investor Carl Icahn praised Bitcoin as a great hedge against inflation as the next market crisis looms on the horizon.Bill Winters, CEO of British bank Standard Chartered, recently noted the passing of a long period of low inflation, adding that “it’s perfectly reasonable for people to want an alternative to fiat currency.”
Most young investors in the United Kingdom are entering the crypto market thanks to the hype on social media and news, but they are not aware that the market is not regulated, a new study published by the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) revealed.The survey revealed that a majority (69%) of the investors under the age of 40 mistakenly believe that crypto markets are regulated. More than three-quarters (76%) of young investors who put money on risky assets like cryptocurrencies, forex or crowdfunding are driven by competition with friends and family. The financial watchdog surveyed 1,000 British investors aged between 18 and 40 who invested in high-risk investment products in a bid to promote its five-year InvestSmart campaign, The Independent reports. Launched with a $15 million budget (£11 million), the campaign aims to raise awareness among young people about high-risk investments. The FCA estimates that more than a million investors in the U.K. have bought high-risk investments during the COVID-19 pandemic.The research found that more than half of the participants use social media, other people, and news stories as key drivers when investing in specific products. While a majority prefera more stable returns than dramatic price movements, only 21% consider holding their most recent investment for more than a year. Commenting on the results, FCA executive director of markets Sarah Pritchard stressed that more people are chasing high returns with higher risks. “We want to give consumers greater confidence to invest and help them to do so safely, understanding the level of risk involved,” she added.Related: Poll shows Brits concerned over the prospect of a digital pound The FCA survey follows Jon Cunliffe’s remarks on crypto regulations. Cunliffe, deputy governor for financial stability at the Bank of England, urged regulators to pursue crypto as a matter of urgency. Cunliffe said that the price volatility of crypto assets “could trigger margin calls on crypto positions forcing leveraged investors to find the cash to meet them, leading to the sale of other assets and generating spillovers to other markets.”
Gaming platforms are choosing sides on blockchain, cryptocurrencies and nonfungible tokens (NFTs) within their respective ecosystems. Following reports of Valve banning crypto and NFT-related games on Steam, its primary competitor, Epic Games Store showed a welcoming attitude for blockchain developers and the use of crypto in video games.Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney said that the Epic Games Store would enable games using blockchain technology as long as the developers abide by the relevant laws and disclose their terms. The games need to be age-rated by an appropriate group, Sweeney wrote, adding:“Though Epic’s not using crypto in our games, we welcome innovation in the areas of technology and finance.”Sweeney told The Verge that when it comes to the use of NFTs in video games, Epic is willing to work with early developers in this field under some limitations as a platform provider. However, he previously made it clear that Epic Games, as a game developer, is not planning to use NFTs in its own products like Fortnite.The CEO clarified that Epic will not support cryptocurrency transactions through its payment service, so the developers need to use another payment system. Epic Games Store also doesn’t have a plan to integrate blockchain into its client anytime soon.Epic Games Store, developed by major video game publisher Epic Games, is a platform to purchase and download video games. Launched in 2018, the platform enables users to buy the digital version of a video game via a desktop client and then store it in a library to be downloaded and played whenever they want. Related: Half of unique active crypto wallets played a blockchain game in Q3Sweeney’s commentary follows a blockchain game ban on Steam, a prominent digital video game store. Steam’s updated guideline for game developers states that video games that use blockchain technology and “issue or allow exchange of cryptocurrencies or NFTs” are not allowed on the digital store.Game developer SpacePirate claimed that “Steam’s point of view is that items have value and they don’t allow items that can have real-world value on their platform.”
TradingView, the price charting platform used as a reference for price movements of cryptocurrencies and other assets, has secured $298 million in a funding round to attain a $3-billion valuation.Led by TradingView’s new investor, Tiger Global, the funding follows a strong growth of the platform’s user base, mostly retail investors, during the pandemic. According to the announcement, TradingView experienced a 400% increase in new accounts and a 237% increase in visitors in the last 18 months.TradingView CEO and co-founder Denis Globa highlighted Tiger Global’s expertise in fintech, adding that the partnership would contribute to informed financial trading. Established in 2011, the platform enables over 30 million monthly users in 180 countries to access price charts of assets such as cryptocurrencies, stocks and futures. “We built this company with the belief that people everywhere want the same thing: to be in control of their own economic futures,” Globa said, adding, “We work towards this by creating an environment where all traders and investors can look first, then leap.”Related: Elliptic raises $60M to advance crypto analytics serviceThe company said that TradingView aims to bolster its broker relationships with partnerships and integrations with major brokerage firms in a bid to enable visitors to trade directly from the platform.Tiger Global’s Alex Cook said that TradingView’s global standing among retail investors positions the company “to be the default social network and financial analysis platform used by all traders and investors.”A known investor in crypto, Tiger Global recently led another mega-funding round. Together with Coatue Management, the venture capital has invested $400 million into the crypto payments startup MoonPay.
Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies have a permanent role in financial markets, but other digital assets like central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) or nonfungible tokens (NFTs) could likely outperform crypto, according to Standard Chartered CEO Bill WintersSpeaking at a Standard Chartered conference call, Winters echoed the “crypto is here to stay” narrative and said there’s a role for non-fiat currencies given the concerns about inflation.“Broadly, we’ve gone through a long period of low inflation, and we’ve got central banks experimenting in uncharted territory with very, very loose monetary policy,” Winters said, adding:“It’s perfectly reasonable for people to want an alternative to fiat currency.”While the debate over fully decentralized cryptocurrencies are more beneficial than administered crypto continues, Winters believes the market will have the final say. “If there’s a role for these instruments in the market, there will be a role for us to support that, always subject to regulatory guardrails,” he added.Related: Billionaires are backing Bitcoin over gold… but some say Ethereum is even betterWinters’ bank is known for its positive approach to cryptocurrencies and digital assets. Last month, Standard Chartered joined the crypto and digital finance industry membership body Global Digital Finance (GDF) Patron Board. As Cointelegraph reported, the bank will help engage with international regulators, lawmakers and others in the industry to advocate for digital assets as a member of the GDF.The British bank also reportedly plans to launch a crypto exchange. A report from June claimed that Standard Chartered has partnered with Hong Kong exchange owner BC Technology Group to launch a platform for the U.K. and European institutional market.Recently, multibillion-dollar private equity firm Thoma Bravo’s co-founder Orlando Bravo expressed confidence in cryptocurrencies, saying, “Crypto is just a great system. It’s frictionless. It’s decentralized. And young people want their own financial system. So, it is here to stay.”
Bitcoin (BTC) turned out to be a far more attractive prize than airline miles or other cashback rewards, new data from BlockFi suggests. It’s been three months since the New York-based crypto loans startup launched its Visa-backed Bitcoin rewards credit cards, BlockFi Rewards Visa Signature Credit Card, to customers. The card offers rewards in Bitcoin instead of using a more traditional points system.According to the company, if the average Bitcoin rewards card owner continues the shopping habit seen in these first three months, they’ll be on track to spend more than $30,000 per year on average. This is almost six times the average of $5,111 per cardholder in the United States.“The fact that cardholders are pacing towards over 2 billion dollars in annualized spend reinforces BlockFi’s mission to provide clients with broader access to financial products and services that allow them to invest in cryptocurrency more easily,” BlockFi Co-founder and CEO Zac Prince told Cointelegraph.BlockFi said its Bitcoin rewards card has grown past 50,000 owners across all 49 states, excluding New York, where the card is not available. California accounts for over 20% of total spending while Washington D.C., California, Texas and Florida follow as the highest spending states.Related: AMC Theatres debuts crypto payments for e-gift card purchasesCardholders have amassed more than 124 BTC in rewards collectively during the program’s first three months, with Costco, Amazon and Home Depot being the top three merchants. The spending behavior ranges from everyday purchases like groceries, utilities, and home improvement projects to more significant purchases.“For the Bitcoin maximalist, Compass Mining has been a top merchant for those who want to earn even more bitcoin from their home mining rigs,” the announcement reads. Available to use anywhere Visa is accepted, BlockFi’s card enables its owners to earn 1.5% back in the original cryptocurrency with an introductory 3.5% rate. Due to the price movements of Bitcoin, cardholders who were paid out rewards at their 3.5% intro rate made an effective rate of over 4.25%. Customers earning the standard 1.5% back were also getting a 1.8% effective rate, the BlockFi team explained for Cointelegraph.
Six months following its application with the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), BetaShares is now close to launching a new crypto-focused exchange-traded fund (ETF).According to an Oct. 13 announcement, the official name of the Aussie ETF manager’s new product is BetaShares Crypto Innovators ETF. After relevant regulatory approvals, it would trade under the ticker symbol CRYP on the ASX. As with the similar Bitcoin (BTC) or crypto-focused ETFs, BetaShares’ fund aims to provide a level of crypto exposure to institutional investors looking to invest in cryptocurrencies indirectly.The new fund will track the Bitwise Crypto Industry Innovators Index, which launched in May as a way to get exposure to the top publicly listed firms operating in the blockchain and crypto industries. The announcement highlights crypto exchange Coinbase, Bitcoin mining company Riot Blockchain and Michael Saylor’s MicroStrategy as current index constituents. A majority of the index (85%) consists of companies that derive at least 75% of their revenue from directly serving crypto markets such as crypto exchanges, mining companies and service providers.Related: Bitcoin futures ETF will likely be delayed until 2022 says research firm CFRA“The crypto economy is highly dynamic and growing rapidly and is built using exciting and disruptive technology,” said BetaShares CEO Alex Vynokur. He added that the new fund would enable exposure to the crypto sector in a familiar, liquid ETF structure.“Mark Twain is famous for saying that ‘during the gold rush it’s a good time to be in the pick and shovel business.’ CRYP will take a ‘pick and shovel’ approach to the crypto sector, investing in the companies that are driving the crypto economy.” BetaShares submitted its application to the ASX in March. The company didn’t reveal the nature of its fund initially. Vynokur then stressed the significant demand for crypto-focused ETFs, adding that a regulated structure of an ETF is the more appropriate structure for the majority of investors.
Following a $680 million funding round, nonfungible token (NFT) marketplace Sorare is looking to be an active player in bridging the gap between sports and digital entertainment.Now valued at $4.3 billion, Sorare told Cointelegraph that the company plans to use the fresh capital to expand its business with new hires and partnerships, as well as support community-led programs. Besides working with community-led football programs aimed at helping young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and backing underprivileged entrepreneurs in sports and gaming, Sorare CEO Nicolas Julia explained via email that the NFT unicorn would also support female representation in sports. He said:“We believe that NFTs can significantly accelerate the development of women’s sports. We will actively invest in this by beginning with women’s football.”Sorare, a Paris-based NFT marketplace focused on sports, made headlines in September following a SoftBank-led $680 million Series B funding. Julia further detailed how Sorare would use the raised capital for business purposes, starting with the new hires to expand the team. “We’re looking to fill many new roles,” he said, both in Europe and the United States. He added that new partnerships would introduce new football leagues and national teams to the NFT marketplace. Such partnerships require an upfront payment, and Sorare is loaded enough to sign the deal with the top 20 leagues and top 50 national teams, thanks to the hefty funding.Related: Sports-themed NFTs spark gold rush as projects raise $930M in a weekSorare also plans to reserve some part of the funds for mobile and marketing efforts. “Our fantasy game will be a mobile-first experience,” Julia explained, adding that the company’s growth was organic till now. The last topic on Sorare’s agenda is to bring new sports to the platform. “We’ve received interest from leagues and fans across the globe to replicate our model in other sports,” Julia said.
Bitcoin (BTC) adoption grows in the auction world, where privacy is a key concern. An anonymous buyer purchased a legendary rally car, driven by iconic rally figures Colin McRae and Carlos Sainz, that was thought to be long lost in an auction for half a million Australian dollars (US$360,000), and reportedly used Bitcoin as a payment method.Australian auction house Lloyds Auctions announced that the 1994 Subaru Prodrive 555 Group A World Rally Championship Car had been found in a barn, covered in dust, in the Victoria state of Australia. The car originally thought to be valued at 15,000 to 20,000 Australian dollars ($10,900 to $14,500). But a 6-month investigation from the International Classic Automobile Authentication and Rating System (ICAARS) revealed that “it may well be worth more than $1 million [US$725,000].”Lloyds said that the rally car, one of only 63 commissioned by Prodrive, was sitting in the barn for 10 years, and the owner was unaware of the vehicle’s actual value. It only had three owners since its racing days and was in untouched condition.Touted as a “golden treasure” by an ICAARS inspector, the car went under the hammer on Sept. 26 and was auctioned for half a million Australian dollars. The winner was said to have paid the bid in Bitcoin.Related: NFTs could mark a resurgence in art galleriesLloyds announced in June that the Aussie auction house would start accepting crypto payments, enabling bidders to buy items auctioned on the platform with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.“As a longtime patron of Lloyds I had no hesitation and couldn’t believe how simple it was for me to pay with cryptocurrency,” a bidder then said, adding that the seller receives the payment in cash and “never know the difference.” Beyond cryptocurrencies, nonfungible tokens (NFTs) are also taking over the auction world by storm. Art galleries are adopting the new form of digital art as auctionable items. Sotheby auctioned Yuga Labs’ 101 Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT collection in September with a winning bid of $24.39 million.
Scientists are continuously pursuing ways to lengthen the human lifespan, and blockchain might have been a missing part of the puzzle. The Longevity Science Foundation, a Swiss entity launched by a consortium of biotech founders, clinicians and leading longevity research institutions, aims to spend more than $1 billion over the next 10 years to find tech-based means to achieve a 120-year human lifespan.The foundation seeks to fund research, institutions and projects that use blockchain and other next-gen technologies to find new horizons in four critical areas of the field, namely therapeutics, personalized medicine, artificial intelligence (AI) and predictive diagnostics. The announcement states that such projects can make a significant difference in people’s lives even within a time window of five years.Applying theoretical longevity concepts to real-world use is a primary goal for the group. The foundation aims to transform scientific findings and technological advances into clinical treatments and solutions through donations.“By identifying and funding the most promising and cutting-edge advances, the Foundation seeks to address one of the most pressing issues in the science and applicability of longevity medicine radical inequality in accessing and understanding longevity-focused treatment,” the announcement reads.The foundation’s contributors, who can also make donations with cryptocurrencies, will get voting rights to have a say in deciding which projects receive funding. A visionary board will pre-select and evaluate potential candidates “for their technical soundness and potential impact on human longevity.” Related: The next generation of data-driven healthcare is hereJoining the Visionary Board of the Foundation is Dr. Alex Zhavoronkov, known for his work on longevity tech. Dr. Zhavoronkov is also an advisor to blockchain medical data marketplace Longenesis, which launched a joint project with the Bitfury Group to establish a blockchain-based consent management system for the healthcare industry. “The Foundation has created a unique and transparent mechanism for boosting early longevity research worldwide and ensuring mass public participation in decision making,” Dr. Zhavoronkov said. As for how technology can help healthcare research, LongeVC Managing Partner Garri Zmudze told Cointelegraph that if paired with AI, blockchain can unlock hundreds of terabytes of unstructured hospital data for further analysis.