Parent Co. of World’s Largest Crypto Exchange OKEx Launches Trading in Argentina

OKCoin, the parent company for world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange OKEx, has  launched fiat-crypto trading services in Argentina, the company revealed in a tweet Thursday, Nov. 15.

According to the company’s blog post about the move, customers can already deposit Argentine peso (ARS) in exchange for major cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Litecoin (LTC), Ripple (XRP), Cardano (ADA), Stellar (XLM), Zcash (ZEC), and 0x (ZRX) “and more.”  

OKCoin has also revealed its plans to extend its services all over Latin America, adding other local fiats to the list “in the coming months.” The company also revealed its plans to open an office in Buenos Aires in the near future, building up a team to support development in the region.

As of press-time, OKEx, a global service based in Hong Kong, is the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by daily trading volume, reaching $1.6 billion in trades to press time, according to CoinMarketCap.

Argentina has seen several crypto-friendly moves throughout the year. In May, local bank Banco Masventas began allowing clients to use Bitcoin for cross-border transactions; in June, crypto enthusiasts launched a travelling “Bitcoin-wagon” campaign to promote cryptocurrency awareness in rural Argentina.

In another expansion move, Binance, the world’s second largest crypto exchange by press time, recently extended its fiat-crypto trading services to Uganda, letting customers trade crypto against the Ugandan shilling.

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NYSE Parent Company Reveals Launch Date for Bitcoin Futures on Bakkt Platform

The parent company of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), has announced the launch date for Bitcoin (BTC) futures on its platform Bakkt, according to a document released Oct. 22.

Bakkt is a platform for trading, storing, and spending digital assets that was established earlier this year by global exchange operator ICE.

Per the document, ICE will list Bakkt Bitcoin (USD) Daily Futures Contracts for trading on Dec. 12, 2018. The product will be physically-settled and cleared by ICE Clear U.S., Inc. The notice further explains:

“Each futures contract calls for delivery of one bitcoin held in the Bakkt Digital Asset Warehouse, and will trade in U.S. dollar terms. One daily contract will be listed for trading each Exchange Business Day.”

The announcement is backed by a previous statement in September that the company’s “first contracts will be physically delivered BTC futures contracts versus fiat currencies” against U.S. dollars, pounds sterling, and euro.

As previously reported, Bakkt will not support margin trading for its BTC contract. By refraining from allowing for margin, leverage and cash settlement, the platform will reportedly better support market integrity and enable the “trusted price formation” that it says is the key to “advancing the promise of digital currencies.”

In December of last year, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) and the Chicago Board Operations Exchange (CBOE) launched Bitcoin futures. This summer, the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco wrote an Economic Letter stating that “the rapid run-up and subsequent fall in the price after the introduction of futures does not appear to be a coincidence” and “it is consistent with trading behavior that typically accompanies the introduction of futures markets for an asset.”

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NYSE Parent ICE’s New Futures Contract Will Deliver Real Bitcoin

Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the Atlanta-based firm that owns the New York Stock Exchange, announced Friday that it plans to launch a digital assets platform and a bitcoin futures product.

Called Bakkt, the platform will leverage Microsoft’s cloud to build “an open and regulated, global ecosystem for digital assets,” according to a press release. Effectively, it will allow consumers and institutions to trade, store and spend digital assets over a worldwide network.

The company said that it believes that the regulated venues will create new protocols for managing “the specific security and settlement requirements” of cryptocurrencies.

Notably, ICE also plans to offer a one-day “physical” bitcoin futures contract – meaning bitcoin is actually delivered on a specified date, unlike other offerings that are settled with cash. The product is expected to launch in November, pending U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) approval, ICE states.

The firm adds that major companies including BCG, Microsoft and Starbucks are providing expertise on risk management and consumer experience for the project.

Jeffrey Sprecher, founder and chairman of ICE, said in the release:

“In bringing regulated, connected infrastructure together with institutional and consumer applications for digital assets, we aim to build confidence in the asset class on a global scale, consistent with our track record of bringing transparency and trust to previously unregulated markets.”

“Bakkt is designed to serve as a scalable on-ramp for institutional, merchant and consumer participation in digital assets by promoting greater efficiency, security and utility,” said Kelly Loeffler, CEO of Bakkt.

The release also indicates that M12, Microsoft’s VC arm, Galaxy Digital, Horizons Ventures, Alan Howard and Pantera Capital are among the firms who have either invested in, or are expected invest in, the project.

NYSE image via Shutterstock

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Alipay’s Parent Company Secures $14 Bln for Blockchain Development

Alipay’s operator Ant International has entered into “definitive agreements” with investors to secure $14 bln in a Series C equity financing round. The money will be spent to pursue blockchain and technological innovation, according to a company announcement today, June 8th.

Recently valued as high as $150 bln, China’s Ant International plans to invest the capital in accelerating Alipay’s blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), security, and Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities for its global tech platform, that targets delivering financial services to unbanked and underbanked consumers and small enterprises globally.

The financing round includes an RMB tranche raised from domestic investors, as well as a USD tranche raised from over nine of Ant International’s existing international institutional investors. Major global banks including Deutsche Bank, Citi, China International Capital Corporation, J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley acted as financial advisors for the deal.

According to the company announcement, in the year ended March 31, 2018, Alipay, together with its global partners, served approximately 870 mln annual active users globally and over 15 mln small businesses in China.

Eric Jing, Executive Chairman and CEO of Ant Financial, said that the company will dedicate the funds to “building an open ecosystem… [and investing] in technology and innovation in order to serve unmet financial needs of people everywhere and to enable them to benefit from the development of the digital economy.”

As early as summer 2016, Ant Financial, introduced blockchain technology to improve accountability in its work with the Chinese charity industry, going on to recruit blockchain experts in the company at large the following year.

In 2017, CEO Eric Jing said that he “definitely” expected to see blockchain becoming “deeply” implemented into Alipay in future, eventually acting as a base protocol for the overwhelmingly popular mobile payment application.

Ant International has been a long-term subsidiary of Alibaba Group Holding, whose founder Jack Ma last year became the richest man in Asia, with his net worth surging to $41.8 bln.

This May, Ma spoke at the 2nd World Intelligence Conference in Tianjin, saying he has been researching blockchain for years, and believes strongly in the technology’s wide-ranging potential. Ma however reserved sharp comments for Bitcoin, dismissing the leading cryptocurrency as “a bubble.”

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