Blockchain Bites: Bitcoin Shorts In, MicroStrategy Stock Downgraded, Bitwise Index Trades

Blockchain Bites: Bitcoin Shorts In, MicroStrategy Stock Downgraded, Bitwise Index Trades
Traders on of the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Bitso raised $62 million to expand its Latin American footprint. One of the world’s oldest banks will issue a euro stablecoin on the Stellar blockchain. Elliptic, a blockchain analytics firm, found 13% of the proceeds from crime involving bitcoin travel through “privacy wallets.”

Cornered market?
Latin American crypto exchange Bitso has raised a funding round, the largest in the region for a digital asset firm. Announced Wednesday, Mexico City-based Bitso’s Series B also heralded the first investment in crypto by renowned fintech VC firms QED Investors and Kaszek Ventures, which led the fundraise. With the capital, the company, which now boasts over over one million users and has cornered the Mexican and Argentinian crypto markets, looks to expand to the rest of Latin America, particularly Brazil.

Stellar stablecoin
Germany’s Bankhaus von der Heydt (BVDH), one of the world’s oldest banks, will on the Stellar blockchain network. Bitbond, a component in the project, has already partnered with the Stellar Development Foundation to issue a euro-denominated stablecoin with Tempo, and has also received approval from the German regulator BaFIN to issue tokenized bonds, also on Stellar. A fiat currency transfer is held at an escrow account at BVDH, which then triggers the issuance of the stablecoin.

Declining profit
The British arm of the U.S. cryptocurrency exchange in 2019, with annual profits dropping by nearly a quarter year on year as a result. In a filing with the U.K.’s business registrar Companies House on Tuesday, Coinbase UK reported turnover of €94.8 million (US$114.9 million) in 2019, down 38% from €153 million ($185.6 million) in 2018. Still, after taxes, Coinbase UK netted some €5.1 million ($6.2 million) – though that, too, is down by 22.5% from €6.6 million ($7.9 million) the year before.

Greenfield One, an early-stage crypto venture firm based in Berlin, has secured its first , including an investment from publishing giant Bertelsmann. Greenfield invests in “crypto networks and developer teams that use blockchain-based technology to create the infrastructure for Web 3.0,” according to the press release. “There seems to be a trend emerging with existing Ethereum applications moving over to other ecosystems, which is something we are excited about even though we remain long-term bullish on Ethereum,” Sebastian Blum, of Greenfield, said.

Following MicroStrategy’s latest bid to raise funds to invest in , Citibank analysts have . Citi analyst Tyler Radke lowered his recommendation on MicroStrategy to “sell” from “neutral,” warning investors in a Tuesday research note the company’s recent bitcoin euphoria may be overextended. Radke cited CEO Michael Saylor’s “disproportionate focus” on bitcoin as a potentially troubling trend for the business intelligence company. He also said MicroStrategy’s planned $400 million debt offering to fund additional bitcoin purchases signals “incremental risk to the story.”

Crypto index
Bitwise Asset Management announced Wednesday its is now live as a public-traded cryptocurrency index fund. Listed under the ticker symbol “BITW” and open to U.S. investors, shares of the fund will be tradable through traditional brokerage accounts and the assets will be custodied with Coinbase Custody Trust Company. The fund will track the Bitwise 10 Large Cap Crypto Index, a diversified, market cap-weighted index of the 10 largest cryptocurrencies. As of Nov. 30, the fund held approximately 75% bitcoin and 13% . The firm has had several failed bids to launch a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF).

Elliptic, a blockchain analytics firm, found involved bitcoin travel through “privacy wallets” – a 2% increase from 2019. In a report published Wednesday the firm estimated that some $160 million in bitcoin was laundered through privacy wallets this year, typically originating from scams, thefts and the darknet. These are tools like Wasabi Wallet and CoinJoin transactions, which work by mixing BTC transactions to obscure the users.

Short sell
Omkar is breaking out terms like “downside break” and “key support” “verge of crossing” and “bearish territory.” I am, of course, referring to CoinDesk’s markets oracle Omkar Godbole, who pieces together the market intel you’re reading right now. According to Godbole, bitcoin’s price position doesn’t look great – “, as demand rises for ways to hedge against further sell-offs in the spot market” – as the market dipped to its lowest level since Nov. 29, $17,640. While it has since bounced back (at press time), there are a growing number of shorts being taken out. Some 300 contracts are betting another fall to $17,000 have been traded on Deribit since midnight UTC, for instance.

Most influential
CoinDesk went live yesterday with its annual series, a package of 12 stories, and accompanying non-fungible (NFT) artworks, honoring those who have had the biggest impact in the crypto industry this year.

Among the “most influential” are Paxos’ , for his involvement in getting PayPal to offer crypto functionality; Protocol Lab’s , for launching the decentralized file storage network Filecoin; and , for lowering the barrier to entry to operating a regulated crypto firm in New York, among many more.

It’s an exciting series with tons of great writing and big personalities. I encourage you to check it out. Additionally, CoinDesk has teamed up with crypto charity platform The Giving Block as well as NFT marketplaces Nifty Gateway and Super Rare to auction off portraits of the nominees. Six crypto artists contributed work, who will all split their profits from the sold artworks with charity.

Stocking Stuffers: Bid on 12 of Crypto’s ‘Most Influential’ NFTs


OKEx Bitcoin Mining Pool Shows Signs of Life After Precipitous Hashrate Drop