Crypto Trading and Traditional Assets: New Options for Investors

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While trading of crypto-assets is booming, some investors are looking for options to trade traditional assets like stocks via cryptocurrencies. Three new operators are among those developing trading platforms to meet this need, with blockchain-based tokens pegged to the underlying assets.

Ankorus

Ankorus is establishing a platform that will permit trading traditional assets, including stocks, bonds, futures, options, gold, silver, commodities, ETFs, FX and bitcoin futures with cryptocurrency.

“Ankorus will establish an online exchange populated by any financial asset currently available worldwide,” reads the Ankorus white paper. “Various auditing measures will be taken to establish transparency, and customers will be able to validate that tokenised assets are fully backed and held by Ankorus.”

To enable cryptocurrency holders to buy real-world financial assets, Ankorus will create and allocate tokens that are exactly value-pegged to the underlying assets in exchange for cryptocurrency.

Ankorus will hold its “fundraising contribution” or “Token Generation Event” (TGE) between November 25 and December 25. The ANK token will be distributed to contributors during the TGE.

“The ANK is a utility token, used for commissions, for datafeeds, professional technical charting software, webinars, financial education materials and also membership for those who wish,” Ankorus CEO John Cruz told Bitcoin Magazine. “The ANK token will be allocated during our TGE and later listed on exchanges, beginning with EtherDelta. It is an ERC20 token.”

Another token, the Anchor Token, will be the asset value-pegged token, separately created to tokenize specific securities using a yet-to-be-determined technology.

“Anchor Tokens will come later, after we receive the requisite regulatory approval,” said Cruz. “Anchor Tokens will be created for our customers when they wish to tokenize specific assets. For example, if a customer wishes to purchase and tokenize Apple stock, we create an Apple Anchor Token (known as AAPL.A) or simply credit the customer with them if we created one earlier.”

One of the most interesting asset classes that Ankorus is targeting is that of traditional financial instruments based on cryptocurrencies, such as futures and derivatives. A few weeks ago Bitcoin Magazine reported that CME Group, one of the world’s largest derivatives exchanges, will launch a bitcoin futures product before the end of Q4 2017. In a video, Cruz explains why he considers CME bitcoin futures as a breakthrough that could soon push bitcoin’s price up to $50,000, and expresses confidence in Ankorus’s ability to offer CME bitcoin futures trading soon.

It’s worth noting that Ankorus’s offering can be seen as the reverse of CME bitcoin futures: while CME will offer a traditional financial instrument tied to cryptocurrencies to investors that prefer not to hold and trade cryptocurrencies directly, Ankorus wants to make CME bitcoin futures and other traditional financial instruments available to cryptocurrency holders.

One is left to wonder how Ankorus will navigate the compliance minefield, which has blocked similar initiatives before. The Ankorus team insists that they will be totally SEC-compliant and follow all KYC (Know Your Customer), AML (Anti-Money Laundering) and CTF (Counter-Terrorist Financing) regulations. According to the white paper, Ankorus intends to become a fully registered broker-dealer, acquire membership on a large and reputable exchange, follow best practices for insurance and auditing on a regular basis, and establish a compliant trading platform that will bridge the crypto and finance worlds.

“By becoming a broker-dealer entity, we will get SEC blessing,” said Cruz. “Everyone else is trying to tokenize assets by not being a broker-dealer entity; this is where they run into trouble with the SEC.”

“Within the team we have experience of complying with different market regulators’ KYC, AML and CTF requirements for an FX remittance company,” Ankorus COO Haldane Marnoch told Bitcoin Magazine. “PEP [Politically Exposed Persons] lists are vetted and we check against a suite of sanctions lists too. Documents supplied by our customers for proof of identity or proof of address expire and need to be renewed on a regular basis. Source of funds also needs to be proven for larger transactions.

“Our team is familiar with all the provisions required for operating across multiple jurisdictions,” continued Marnoch. “We’ll use as our primary reference the standards set by the SEC and the CFTC, but naturally we’ll be implementing processes to comply with each and every market we trade in, for instance the FCA in the U.K.”

“We will become a division of a Futures Commissions Merchant (FCM), expected early March, and will be able to fill orders for CME bitcoin futures at that time,” added Cruz.

LAToken and Jibrel Network

LAToken (LAT), which recently raised $19.6 million in a token sale, wants to broaden the use of cryptocurrencies in the real economy and allow cryptocurrency holders to diversify their portfolio by getting access to tokens linked to the price of real assets.

The LAT platform is already operational: asset tokens can be created, listed for sale and traded on the LAT platform. At this time, tokens linked to the price of stocks (e.g., Apple, Amazon, Tesla), commodities (oil, gold, silver) and real estate are already being traded on the LAT platform. Tokens linked to artwork are soon to follow.

According to the white paper, the LAT platform provides cryptocurrency holders with transparent price discovery and diversification across multiple asset classes, allowing for the creation or listing of third-party asset tokens compliant with LAToken disclosure and legal structure rules.

Jibrel Network wants to provide currencies, equities, commodities and other financial assets and instruments as standard ERC20 tokens on the Ethereum blockchain.

Jibrel Network’s draft white paper explains that the platform will support tokens, dubbed Crypto Depository Receipts (CryDRs), which represent ownership of an underlying traditional asset held by Jibrel. On release, Jibrel will support six fiat currencies (USD, CNY, EUR, GBP, RUB, AED) and two money-market instruments.

In the future, Jibrel plans offer CryDRs pegged to a wide range of currencies, commodities, securities and derivatives. The project will hold a token pre-sale between November 27 and January 27.

Both LAToken and Jibrel Network expect to be fully compliant with applicable regulations, including KYC/AML rules, and apply for relevant licenses where needed. Full compliance may prevent the companies from targeting customers in certain jurisdictions. For example, the Jibrel token sale will not be available to U.S., Chinese and Singaporean residents.

The post Crypto Trading and Traditional Assets: New Options for Investors appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

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Blockchain Coalition Seeks to Make Bitcoin Welcome in Wyoming

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A group of people are on a mission to bring Bitcoin back to the state of Wyoming after unfriendly laws made it impossible to transact with cryptocurrencies there more than two years ago.

The Wyoming Blockchain Coalition announced its formation this week. Its volunteer members aim to create a legal and regulatory environment in the state that welcomes cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology companies with open arms.

Among the group’s advisors are Patrick Byrne, CEO of Overstock — Byrne lives in Utah but has been a Bitcoin advocate for years — a former Wyoming governor, and two deans and a computer science department head from the University of Wyoming.

Outdated Laws

Bitcoin used to be welcome in Wyoming. But a 2015 interpretation of the Wyoming Money Transmitters Act (which the state passed in 2003, years before Bitcoin even existed) by the Wyoming Division of Banking made it impractical for cryptocurrency exchanges to operate in the state.

Cryptocurrencies are not specifically included on the list of “permissible investments” within the Act, as stocks or securities would be. As a result, after learning it would have to put up huge financial backing to stay in operation in the state, Coinbase suspended its operations in Wyoming indefinitely in June 2015.   

But a lot of people think the law doesn’t make sense. They see cryptocurrency as the future, and they think Wyoming would benefit from being more progressive.

Caitlin Long is one of those people. Now living in New York, where she serves as chairman and president at smart contracts platform company Symbiont, Long grew up in Laramie, Wyoming.

Over the summer, she wanted to give back to her alma mater. But when she went to personally fund an endowment for female engineers at the University of Wyoming, she found out the school was unable to accept her bitcoin as an appreciated asset.  

Fortunately, Long was able to find a charity outside of Wyoming that could legally liquidate the bitcoin and send it to the university through a donor-advised fund.

“They still got the cash, but it prompted a lot of discussion internally in the university about ‘what just happened here?’” Long told Bitcoin Magazine.

Long would not disclose how much she donated, but typically, donations to an endowment are $50,000 and up.

“When universities have donors that are interested in donating properties, they usually try to find ways to accept the properties,” she said.  

The event prompted a lot of discussion among some of the people within the university and eventually led to the formation of a coalition aimed at educating about and advocating for the adoption of blockchain technology in the state.  

Long offered up her services as an advisor member. “I’m in the business,” she said. “So I volunteered to help with both the bitcoin and the blockchain education efforts.”

No Time to Lose

The coalition is moving quickly. Within a week, the group formed an LLC, sent out a press release stating its goals and launched a website. “This is very, very new, and it is happening in real time,” said Long.

They have good reason to make haste. The new legislative session begins in February. If the coalition wants to push through a bill that will get digital currencies recognized as a “permissible investment” under the Wyoming Money Transmitters Act, they will need to move quickly.

Currently the group is working on legislative language with local attorneys and legislators. Next, they need to educate the citizens of Wyoming and the legislators about the benefits of Bitcoin and blockchain technologies. Some of that will involve webinars and live events, as as well as organizing a dinner in Cheyenne during the legislative session.  

Last year, a similar regulatory effort, Wyoming House Bill 26, did not pass, but that was due to lack of knowledge and some “unrelated political feuds,” Robert Jennings, another one of the group’s advisor members, told Bitcoin Magazine.

This time around, he thinks “blockchain [technology] and cryptocurrency will stand on its own merits.”

Jennings added, “There is already a groundswell of support in the state due to the rise in popularity of Bitcoin.”

But, he cautioned, it will require “an extensive education campaign, which is why we formed the Wyoming Blockchain Coalition.”

The post Blockchain Coalition Seeks to Make Bitcoin Welcome in Wyoming appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

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Hillary: I Have a Lot of Questions About the Legitimacy of the 2016 Election


During an interview with Mother Jones Senior Reporter Ari Berman released on Friday, former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton stated she has many questions about the legitimacy of the 2016 election. Interviewer Ari Berman asked, “So between the Republican voter suppression you talked about and Russian interference, do you think it was a legitimate election?” Hillary said, “I think that there are lots of questions about its legitimacy, and we don’t have a method for contesting that in our system. That’s why I’ve long advocated for an independent commission to get to the bottom of what happened. Because, look, this is the first time we’ve ever been attacked by a foreign adversary, and then they suffer no real consequences. And so, I’m worried that we’re not learning all the lessons, it’s one of the reasons why I wrote the book. Because I wanted people at least to understand what I saw as the factors, including shortcomings of myself and my campaign. But the forces at work outside my campaign are not going away. Somebody else is going to be running for Congress, or governor, or eventually president. We’ve got to know how to protect ourselves.” Interviewer Berman followed up, “So you have
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Gillibrand: ‘Yes’ Bill Clinton Should Have Resigned over Lewinsky


Thursday, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) told The New York Times former President Bill Clinton should have resigned amid the sexual harassment scandal involving former White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Partial transcript as follows: REPORTER: Is it your view that the President Clinton should have stepped down at that time given the allegations? GILLIBRAND: I would — Yes. I think that is the appropriate response. But um I think things have changed today, and I think under those circumstances there should be a very different reaction. And I think in light of this conversation we should have a very different conversation about President Trump, and a very different conversation about allegations against him. (h/t Grabien) Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN
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Megyn Kelly: Trump ‘Tone Deaf’ For Criticizing Franken


Friday, NBC morning host Megyn Kelly said President Donald Trump was “tone deaf” to criticize Sen. Al Franken (D-N) over inappropriate sexual behavior. Kelly said, “We could soon have not one, but two sitting U.S. senators accused of sexual assault. Not to mention our president. Fear not, women of America, all is well. All is — it’s fine. Senator Al Franken of Minnesota has been accused of forcefully kissing radio personality Leeann Tweeden without her consent and also groping her breasts while she was asleep during a USO tour to the Middle East in 2006. Two years before Senator Franken ran for office. This picture appears to show Mr. Franken’s hands hovering over her breasts.” She continued, “Last night President Trump felt the need to weigh in on this tweeting ‘The Al Frankenstein picture is really bad speaks a thousand words.’ He went on to ask, ‘Where do his hands go in picture two, three, four, five and six while she sleeps?’ And then this from Mr. Trump, ‘And to think just last week he was lecturing anyone who would listen about sexual harassment and respect for women.’ I Know. Who that has been accused of sexual assault would have the gall to preach
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Schweizer: ‘Very Inside Guy,’ Whistle-blower Coming Forward on Uranium One


Thursday on Fox News Channel’s “Hannity,” Breitbart editor at Large Peter Schweizer, president of the Government Accountability Institute and author of “Clinton Cash,” reacted to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s dismissal of the Uranium One deal that happened under her tenure as secretary of state. In an interview with Mother Jones magazine, Clinton claimed wrongdoing involving the deal had been “debunked countless times” and described it as “false charge.” She also went on to say that further investigation into the matter by the Trump administration would be “an abuse of power.” Schweizer laid out the timeline and reiterated how Clinton and her husband former President Bill Clinton had ties to Canadian investor Frank Giustra and went on to say a new whistle-blower would be coming forward with the details on the possible wrongdoing. Partial transcript as follows: HANNITY: Here more with reaction, author of the bestselling book “Clinton Cash.” Really? We’re going to get a lecture on the rule of law? You know, I watch people now assail you even the Trump crowd is now trying to come to the defense I noticed of Hillary Clinton. I want to give you a chance to respond and explain to people all of
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