Ep. 52 Bakkt Launches and the Fed Traunches
On this episode of the unhashed podcast: Bakkt launches to a small crowd; is there just no interest or are institutional firms just extremely hesitant to dip their toes in the water until they know bakkt is secure? Bobby Lee is back with a very strange new…“hardware wallet”? Is this just a way to cash in on his name or is this thing worth hodling on? And...Binance is now back in compliance with US regulatory bodies and American customers can now trade on the exchange once again, but is another compliant KYC infested exchange really worth getting excited about?
Weekly News Wrap Up:
Trading for the Intercontinental Exchange’s (ICE) Bakkt bitcoin futures product launched on September 22, 2019, at 8:00 p.m. EST. As of this writing, 57 monthly futures contracts (1 contract = 1 bitcoin) have been sold on the platform, 29 of which changed hands in the first 12 hours. However, there’s no available data on the daily futures volumes (perhaps because no one is trading these yet). (source)
The New York Fed just financed $278 billion worth of repurchasing agreements from September 17 to 19, 2019. The move raised an alarm because, as Paul Krugman put it, the financial turmoil that necessitated this intervention “was at the heart of the 2008 financial crisis.” Still, other economists have posited that the cash injections came in response to a hiccup and that markets are doing just fine. That “hiccup” was a spike in the overnight money market interest rate in response to a cash crunch. Typically, this rate stays on track with the Federal Reserve’s federal funds rate — an interest rate set by the Federal Reserve to guide the lending rates for bank-to-bank loans. At the beginning of the week, the money market rate decoupled from the funds rate — surging from the target 1.75 to 2 percent rate all the way up to 10 percent. By pumping more dollars into the cash-strapped lending market, the Federal Reserve brought the market money rate back in line with its funds rate. (source)
More than a year after he sold one of China’s longest-running bitcoin exchanges, Bobby Lee, co-founder and former CEO of BTCC, is back. Announced Thursday at CoinDesk’s Invest: Asia event in Singapore, Lee’s new venture, Ballet, is rolling out a hardware wallet supporting multiple cryptocurrencies. To further the goal of fostering mass adoption, Lee said the pre-order price of Ballet will be $29, less than what existing hardware wallets with more advanced cold storage security measures cost. The company now eyes October for shipment after taking in pre-orders. In a fireside chat at Thursday’s event, Lee said the project started in late December and has raised an undisclosed amount of capital in a seed round backed by Ribbit Capital, a venture capital firm that has invested in crypto exchange Coinbase. Lee said Ballet has 20 staffers worldwide with a global headquarters in Las Vegas. The company does the pre-setup for each wallet being sold to generate blockchain addresses and the associated private keys, but Lee said the firm deletes the data after production. “We generated the keys for you in two locations thousands of miles apart,” he said. “[After that] we manufacture ourselves out of the process.” “We wanted to create a wallet that is simple and elegant. And that is what we’ve done,” Lee said on stage Thursday. At their kickstarter - seeking to raise a paltry $1000 - you can watch the explainer video here. (source)
Binance Welcomes Back U.S. Clients With Dedicated, Compliant Platform. In June 2019, the exchange announced that it would block U.S. citizens from accessing its global site, while it worked on creating a regulation-compliant platform for them in the interim. On September 23, 2019, the exchange announced that Binance.US, an American-focused, fiat-to-cryptocurrency trading platform, would soon begin trading for bitcoin and a range of other cryptocurrencies. Binance.US won’t be available in all of the country’s states, however. Alabama, Alaska, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Vermont and Washington are excluded from its scope of operations. It is suspected that most of these states were excluded due to the strict cryptocurrency regulations governing them.
Number go down a little
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