BrokerDealer Firm Focuses On Bitcoin

A bitcoin sticker is seen in the window of the 'Vape Lab' cafe, where it is possible to both use and purchase the bitcoin currency, in London blog update profiles the continued interest in the bitcoin craze. While some bitcoin advocates prepare to launch an bitcoin ETF, another is preparing for a bitcoin IPO, and another is pushing New York City  accept them as payments for fines. Now, one New York- based firm, founded by a bitcoin advocate, is rebranding its brokerdealer division to specialize in digital currency trade, mainly bitcoins.  This brokerdeaeler blog update is courtesy of Reuters’ article, “Bitcoin-focused firm rebrands broker-dealer for digital currencies” with an excerpt below.

Digital Currency Group, a New York-based entity founded by bitcoin advocate Barry Silbert, rebranded its broker-dealer division of SecondMarket Inc specializing in trading virtual currencies including bitcoin, according to a press statement on Thursday.

The Trading Division of SecondMarket Inc is now called Genesis Trading and focuses solely on institutional clients such as hedge funds and alternative asset investors, it said.

The rebranded Genesis Trading has executed over $25 billion in the trading of specialized fixed income securities over the last two years, said Chief Executive Officer Brendan O’ Connor.

The division also carried out trades for more than 800,000 bitcoins worth over $300 million, making the company the bitcoin industry’s largest over-the-counter trading desk.

“Our goal is to become the partner of choice for large institutional buyers and sellers who are beginning to recognize the economic potential of digital currency,” said O’Connor.

To continue reading about this brokerdealer firm’s shift to bitcoin trading, click here

BrokerDealers Eye On The Next Bitcoin IPO: Secretive Firm Backed By Best and Brightest

Bitcoin blog update profiles the $116 million raised over multiple fundraising rounds by bitcoin starup 21 Inc. While the startup is planning to use the funds to create top secret products that no one knows much about, brokerdealers anticipate the launch of the next bitcoin IPO. The update comes from CoinDesk’s Joon Ian Wong’s 10 March article “Bitcoin Startup 21 Announces $116 Million All-Star Backing blog has done extensive coverage of the emerging bitcoin market. Just last month a New York City public official proposed accepting bitcoins as a form of payment for fines and fees, while the Winklevoss twins prepare to launch a bitcoin ETF.

Stealth bitcoin startup 21 Inc, formerly 21e6, has announced new information about its funding history, staff members and investors, revealing it has raised $116m in fundraising over multiple rounds.

In a new interview with the Wall Street Journal, 21 CEO Matthew Pauker indicated that Andreessen Horowitz, Data Collective, Khosla Ventures, RRE Ventures and Yuan Capital are among the firms that have participated in the company’s funding rounds.

Dropbox CEO Drew Houston; eBay co-founder Jeff Skoll; Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi; PayPal co-founders Peter Thiel and Max Levchin; and Zynga co-founder Mark Pincus have also invested in the startup.

Perhaps most notable is the involvement of Qualcomm Ventures, the venture capital subsidiary of the global semiconductor company that designs and markets wireless telecommunication products.

Pauker told the news source that 21 aims to leverage Qualcomm’s production capabilities to develop a suite of undisclosed products to be released in the coming months.

Co-founder Balaji Srinivasan, a partner at VC firm Andreessen Horowitz, compared the ambitions of the project to the development of 56-kilobit Internet modems and wireless Internet towers, suggesting a long-term vision that helps bring bitcoin to consumer households.

The figure would top the $106.7m raised by Coinbase to date through its four public funding rounds. 21 raised $5m in venture capital in 2013 as 21e6.

For the entire article from CoinDesk, click here.

New York City Considering Accepting Bitcoins For Fines

New York City Councilman, and Bitcoin Supporter, Mark Levine

New York City Councilman, and Bitcoin Supporter, Mark Levine blog update courtesy of Pete Rizzo from CoinDesk.

Over the past few months, has covered the growing trend and interest in the mystery that is the electronic currency, bitcoin. With the anticipation of the Winklevoss twins’ launch of a bitcoin ETF and brokerdealers studying the trade of bitcoins, it is inevitable they will soon become widely accepted in all parts of life. Now a New York City Councilman is proposing that the city accepts bitcoins as a form of payment for fines and fees as a way to save the city more money.

Last Thursday New York City councilman Mark Levine introduced a bill petitioning for the city to accept bitcoin as payment for fines and fees.

Levine opened up about the bill, which he says could be passed as early as June, in a new interview with CoinDesk, indicating that he believes New York City has a pressing incentive to begin accepting the payment method due to its cost advantages when compared to credit cards.

The democrat from the 7th District in northern Manhattan recalls that it was this benefit that led him to introduce the bill, one that will now go through a process of gathering co-sponsors, before heading to a vote with the city’s technology committee and finally a full vote in the city council.

Levine told CoinDesk:

“It started with realizing how much money the city of New York is losing on transaction fees on credit cards, ultimately it’s several million a year because of all sorts of fees and fines.”

Levine added that if the city were to partner with an intermediary in accepting bitcoin, it would bear some costs, but that these would still be less than those charged by payment card providers.

While Levine is optimistic about an expedited timeline for the bill, he indicated that the end-of-June estimate is far from concrete.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty in the process,” he said.

Message to entrepreneurs

Yet another benefit to accepting bitcoin, Levin said, is the message that New York City is an innovator that deserves the attention of entrepreneurs considering Silicon Valley as the hub for their endeavors.

Levine framed New York City as “in competition” with areas like Silicon Valley and Boston when seeking to attract top tech talent, and framed bitcoin as a key differentiator that could provide value to city.

“I think that being the first major city in the US to make this move sends a clear signal that we’re innovators here,” Levine said.

New York has already positioned itself as at the forefront of developments in the bitcoin space, with its introduction of the proposed ‘BitLicense’, the first state-specific bitcoin regulation in the US.

Further, the city was home to the first physical bitcoin center, Bitcoin Center NYC, opened at the start of 2014.

Negative reactions

Though excited and optimistic about his proposal, Levine indicated that some of his peers in the New York City council have taken issue with the bill and the idea of accepting bitcoin.

“Some of the reactions I’ve gotten in the last few days are concerns that bitcoin is the ‘Wild West’ of currencies,” he said.

The councilman indicated that he countered such claims as ill-informed, arguing to his colleagues that the city accepts cash, the “ultimate untraceable financial instrument”.

Levine, however, framed the ongoing discussion by the New York State Financial Services Department (NYDFS) over its BitLicense proposal as one that would likely help “calm the nerves” of those in the state government, though he indicated it would not directly affect the outcome of the bill.

For bitcoin community members, he also clarified a provision of the bill that would enable the city to accept fees for bitcoin transactions, arguing that, while the city would be looking to pass on the cost of the transaction to payees, the fee would likely be less than 1%.

Issue of legal tender

Given the uncertain status of bitcoin in the eyes of US courts, there are also questions about whether the city could accept the payment method, given that bitcoin the currency is not considered legal tender in New York state.

Levine indicated, however, that the bill was fully vetted by the city council’s legal team, and that he believes having a financial intermediary accept bitcoin, thereby providing the city with US dollars, would help the city circumvent potential legal issues.

The issue is one that remains murky for the number of proposals introduced in US governments over the last few weeks.

Levine’s bill in New York City notably follows others recently introduced to state legislatures inUtah and New Hampshire.

For the original article, click here.

Bitcoin Market Could Be Too Good To Be True blog update courtesy of CNBC.bitcoin-scams

In December, covered the emerging bitcoin market and in January, MarketMuse profiled the Winklevoss twins’ plans to launch a bitcoin ETF. The bitcoin market is still emerging and was on track to be a booming business but the market now is taking a step back. In fact, UK International Business Times is saying that the bitcoin market is dying off, now with the supposed bitcoin scam occurring in Hong Kong, the bitcoin market seems to be even more hopeless.

Hong Kong-based bitcoin exchange MyCoin has allegedly shut its doors and stolen HKD 3 billion ($386.9 million) in the process.

The South China Morning Post reported Monday that 30 MyCoin clients approached a local lawmaker with complaints that the company had fled with funds from up to 3,000 investors.

The reports coming out of Hong Kong would seem to indicate that there may have been a Ponzi scheme at play.

“No one seems to know who is behind this,” a woman surnamed Lau, who said she lost HKD 1.3 million, told the paper. “Everyone says they, too, are victims … but we were told by those at higher tiers [of the scheme] that we can get our money back if we find more new clients.”

One warning sign of a pending collapse could have been that when the company changed its trading rules to bar people from exchanging all of their bitcoins unless they solicited new investors for the firm.

As bitcoin-focused site CoinDesk reasons, the incident may lead to new regulations for the cryptocurrency industry in Hong Kong, “which has so far operated with little scrutiny.”

According to the SCMP, MyCoin had hosted events at luxury hotels and a roadshow in Macau in 2014.

MyCoin did not immediately return a request for comment.

For the entire article from CNBC, click here.


Bitcoin and Brokerdealers

Broker blog update courtesy of extract from CoinDesk

Bitcoin is a form of currency that is tied directly to the Internet and is the world’s first free market, decentralized global currency. It is operated through an open-source software so there is no central control unlike the US dollar or Euro. Similarly to gold, only 21,000,000 Bitcoins will ever be created so the value of the Bitcoin continues to rise as time goes on.Bitcoin Bitcoins can be exchanged for goods and services as well as currencies such as the US dollar and the Euro. As long as people trust that Bitcoin has value, people will continue to invest in it.

Bitcoin is still very small by market capitalization when compared to the traditional markets, and the need for more liquidity within exchanges is an ongoing issue in the industry. However, a number of startups are looking to attract the traditional investment sector to cryptocurrencies.

SecondMarket was expected to launch an institutional bitcoin exchange this year, but it still only offers the Bitcoin Investment Trust, its managed investment vehicle. Other companies looking to cater to larger investors include exchanges itBit and Coinsetter, which are both based in the finance hub of New York City.

Mirror, formally known as Vaurum, is an institutional-grade exchange platform for bitcoin investors.  The platform’s exchange is currently invitation-only but customers can sign up to request access. “We’re currently onboarding investors, market makers, over-the-counter (OTC) traders and bitcoin businesses,” said Bhama. “We evaluate each sign up on a case by case basis and will be sending out invites at an increasing rate as we prepare to open it up publicly.”

Find your own Brokerdealer that will help you understand the Bitcoin market and how to begin collecting your Bitcoins or invest in a platform such as Mirror.