📌 Blackrock BTC Hype, GBTC's Newest Competitor, and Coinbase Acquires Bison Trails

January 20, 2020 | Issue #152

 MUST READS 

BlackRock SEC Filings Indicate Bitcoin Interest


Recent SEC filings from BlackRock, the largest asset manager in the world with more than $7.8 trillion AUM, contain language suggesting they may participate in Bitcoin futures markets, stating: "Certain Funds may engage in futures contracts based on Bitcoin".

This follows recent statements by BlackRock CEO Larry Fink showing a warming attitude towards Bitcoin. Additionally, BlockRock's CIO of Fixed Income stated two months ago that Bitcoin could eat into gold's marketcap.
 

Coinbase Is Looking For More


In a move that could rapidly broaden the number of cryptocurrencies listed, Coinbase announced a new issuance portal called Asset Hub – a feature that allows any asset issuer to apply for their coins to be listed on the platform.

“Our directive is to list every compliant asset possible. Streamlining the listing process is step one.”
 

GBTC Has A New Competitor


Grayscale is about to have a new competitor at 1/4 the cost.

The Osprey Bitcoin Trust (OBTC) is listing OTC and will cost just 0.49% compared to Grayscale Bitcoin Trust's (GBTC) 2.00% annual fee.

Grayscale currently has $23 billion in assets and a reputation as the spot for retail bitcoin access. That said, Osprey's goal of becoming the market leader won't be easy to achieve, but we shouldn't be surprised if it quickly blows up to at least a few billion in assets.

There's no official date yet on the OTC listing, but we'll keep you posted once we know more.
 

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 DEEP DIVE 

Coinbase Expands Into Infrastucture-As-A-Service by Acquiring Bison Trails


Coinbase continues to ready for a public offering...

This week the exchange announced the acquisition of Bison Trails to serve as the foundation of the company's infrastructure-as-a-service business operation.

The announcement comes just weeks after Coinbase announced the acquisition of Routefire, an execution services startup.
 

Short Reports


As we start to see more and more crypto companies going public, we will undoubtedly see companies trying to ride the momentum. Sometimes these companies aren't all they claim they are.

This week we have two short reports focusing on "crypto" companies.
  • J Cap Research has published a report on Bitcoin mining company, Bit Digital (BTBT). J Cap alleges numerous company executives were in jail or fleeing investigations, including the company’s controlling shareholder.
     
  • Phase 2 Partners has published a report on Triterras (TRIT), a “blockchain-enabled” trade finance lending platform that went public through a SPAC in November. Using Ethereum Blockchain data the report finds that on the company’s platform “at least 75% of transactions have connections to key company executives.” Triterras disputed the report and announced a $50 million stock buyback.

The 'Bit' Short


This week, Tether popped it's big, ugly, head up again. This time, with an anonymous Medium post titled “The Bit Short,” in which the author argues that the Tether (USDT) stablecoin isn’t actually backed by real US dollars.

The author believes that the stablecoin artificially props up the crypto market and that its eventual demise will one day collapse the entire cryptocurrency market.

We've covered this theory a few times as it's pretty much the same argument that pops up in every bull market (we here at CoinSnacks have been through a few since our launch in 2017).

Critics were quick to denounce the article, but arguments for and against the theory commence. Could it be true? We don't know, but it's obvious that Tether should be more forthcoming and transparent.

Here's your TLDR courtesy of Decrypt.
 

Bitwise 2021 Benchmark Survey of Financial Advisor Attitudes


The goal was to benchmark how financial advisors – who manage roughly half of all wealth in America – are thinking about crypto after the developments of 2020, including if and how they are allocating to crypto in client portfolios.

The findings were revelatory. Among the highlights:
  • The number of advisors allocating to crypto in client portfolios rose 49% in 2020, from 6.3% to 9.4%.
     
  • 81% are receiving questions from clients on crypto.
     
  • Preferred vehicle still an ETF. Better education still a need.
     
  • 31% of financial advisors believe BTC will trade above $50k in five years in the 2021 survey, versus 7% in the 2020 survey.

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 REGULATORY FRONT 

🌴 Miami Mayor Considers Bitcoin Investment to Create Crypto Hotbed


In any interview with Fox Business, Mayor of Miami, Francis Suarez, revealed his thinking in terms of attracting tech businesses, and specifically Bitcoin and crypto businesses, to Miami:

"We want to be one of the most crypto-forward and technological cities in the country. So we're looking at creating a regulatory framework that makes us the easiest place in the United States to do business if you're doing it in cryptocurrencies."

Mayor Suarez also specifically noted the possibility of putting Bitcoin on the City of Miami's balance sheet. 👍
 

Yellen Calls Terrorist Financing Using Crypto a 'Concern'


In case you were wondering how Biden's "crypto-friendly" administration is going...

Treasury secretary nominee and former Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen said during her Senate confirmation hearing yesterday that cryptocurrencies are a "particular concern" for law enforcement officials charged with policing money laundering and other illicit finance.

"I think many are used at least in a transactions sense mainly for illicit finance," she said, adding that the government needs to find new ways to curb money laundering from occurring via crypto platforms.

Perhaps Yellen should read the latest report from Chainalysis...

The "criminal" share of all cryptocurrency activity fell to 0.34% ($10 billion) in 2020 — much lower than its share of 2.1% (21.1 billion) last year, according to new data.
 

 TWEET OF THE WEEK 

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