LedgerX Set to Beat Bakkt and Become First to Offer Physically Delivered Bitcoin Futures

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LedgerX Set to Beat Bakkt and Become First to Offer Physically Delivered Bitcoin Futures
When approved, LedgerX will offer Bitcoin, Bitcoin options and Bitcoin futures to retail customers through its new platform Omni.
LedgerX Set to Beat Bakkt and Become First to Offer Physically Delivered Bitcoin Futures

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Source: CoinSpeaker

This Week in Cryptos: Facebook, Coinbase, Bitstamp and Pewdiepie Among Major Newsmaker

Key highlights

Facebook is looking for $1 Billion in Funding for Crypto Project
Bitstamp Cryptocurrency Exchange Obtains BitLicense in New York
Bakkt hires former Paypal and Google executive to strengthen its team
Coinbase enters the Crypto- Powered Debit Card Space
Pewdiepie Moves to Blockchain-Based Streaming Platform, DLive
Lawmakers Reintroduce ‘Token Taxonomy Act’ With Upgraded Version
China tightens screws on Crypto mining

Facebook is looking for $1 Billion in Funding for Crypto Project
Well, Facebook and cryptos have again appeared in the same news article and the world seems to have gone crazy over it. This time its Nathaniel Popper, the New York Times’ resident crypto and blockchain reporter who tweeted saying that Facebook is possibility looking big money for its crypto project. The figure happens to USD 1 billion and it is believed Facebook is knocking doors of private equities for its stablecoin project. The money is believed to be used as collateral to back the Facebook stablecoin. But again nothing officially announced by Facebook
Bitstamp Cryptocurrency Exchange Obtains BitLicense in New York
This week, The three year wait for Bitstamp finally came to an end. The Luxemburg based Cryptocurrency Exchange, Bitstamp has obtained a bitlicense from the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS). Bitstamp is also one of ten Cryptocurrency Exchange which was cleared of the ‘fake reported volume’ fiasco being identified as one of the authentic Exchanges in the world. The move is driven to increase its presence in the US, and the NYDFS BitLisence is expected to attract the Institutional Investors around the world as well.
Bakkt hires former Paypal and Google executive to strengthen its team
Another flow of talent from the main street to crypto street. This time its Bakkt, a yet-to-launch, a multi-faceted crypto platform backed by the Intercontinental Exchange which also owns the NYSE. According to the latest announcement  Bakkt has hired Mike Blandina, a former employee at PayPal and Google, as its new Chief Product Officer. In an announcement, Bakkt’s Kelly Loeffler also put forward that Bakkt is still working with regulators to ensure the launch of its physical Bitcoin futures contract pans out well.
Coinbase enters the Crypto- Powered Debit Card Space
Coinbase, the flagship crypto exchange of the United States has further diversified and this time it’s into Crypto-powered debit cards, an industry that has remained under questions due to regulatory stringencies. Not many companies have really been successful with this product and Coinbase seems to be here to change the game.  The launch is expected to be in the United Kingdom and this new offering will allow British Coinbase clients to spend their Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and many other digital assets in millions of stores and on thousands of online outlets for whatever they may please… within reason.
Pewdiepie Moves to Blockchain-Based Streaming Platform, DLive
Felix ‘PewDiePie’ Kjellberg (Pronounced: ‘PuDeePi’), who hosts the most subscribed channel on Youtube in the world since 2013 will stream live weekly on Blockchain based streaming platform, DLive from April 14, 2019. Felix signed an exclusive deal with DLive, he said in the press release: “I’m excited to start live-streaming again regularly,” said PewDiePie. “DLive is great for me because I’m treated like a real partner.”
Lawmakers Reintroduce ‘Token Taxonomy Act’ With Upgraded Version
Token Taxonomy Act, the bill which was introduced in the year 2018 for the first time to remove crypto from US securities laws- has again reintroduced with upgraded version and better clarity on Tuesday – aiming Congress to approve and signed into law.
China tightens screws on Crypto mining
This week saw the Chinese regulator, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) revealing that it is not really happy with the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency mining industry operating in the country, especially due to the industry’s energy consumption for what they see as little economic. While this news was to give jitters to the crypto community as China is a hub for mining, people who understand it well claim that the regulation (if approved) won’t go into full effect for years, and may not even be all-encompassing.
The post This Week in Cryptos: Facebook, Coinbase, Bitstamp and Pewdiepie Among Major Newsmaker appeared first on Coingape.
Source: CoinGape

Bitcoin Price Surpasses $5,000, as Crypto Market Capitalization Hits $171 Billion

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Bitcoin Price Surpasses $5,000, as Crypto Market Capitalization Hits $171 Billion
For the second consecutive day, Bitcoin price and the overall crypto market continues to march ahead with massive trading volumes.
Bitcoin Price Surpasses $5,000, as Crypto Market Capitalization Hits $171 Billion

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Source: CoinSpeaker

Bakkt’s Post-Money Valuation Stands At $740 Million Even Before Launch

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Bakkt’s Post-Money Valuation Stands At $740 Million Even Before Launch
Despite several delays in its launch, Bakkt’s valuation currently stands at $740 million with major financial institutions holding their stake in the platform.
Bakkt’s Post-Money Valuation Stands At $740 Million Even Before Launch

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Source: CoinSpeaker

Bakkt’s Parent Intercontinental Exchange Lists 58 New Crypto Tokens to Its Data Feed

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Bakkt’s Parent Intercontinental Exchange Lists 58 New Crypto Tokens to Its Data Feed
The ICE’s Data Services will provide real-time and historical data for all the newly added crypto tokens.
Bakkt’s Parent Intercontinental Exchange Lists 58 New Crypto Tokens to Its Data Feed

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Source: CoinSpeaker

Mike Novogratz: Another BTC Value Surge is About to Happen

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Mike Novogratz: Another BTC Value Surge is About to Happen
As Bitcoin (BTC) is clinging on to its $4,000 price tag, major crypto figures are betting big on a potential bull run. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that cryptocurrency investors should get too carried away by the recent price uptick.
Mike Novogratz: Another BTC Value Surge is About to Happen

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Source: CoinSpeaker

Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) Released a List of its Favorite Cryptocurrencies; Same ‘Tokens’ To Be Included in Bakkt As Well?

ICE (Intercontinental Exchange), the parent company of the NYSE (New York Stock Exchange) has initiated a research unit for 58 cryptocurrency projects and 19 FIAT currencies.
ICE, in partnership with Blockstream, has established the ‘Cryptocurrency Data Feed’, which will provide with real-time and historical data of cryptocurrency prices from all over the world. Nevertheless, it has selected only 2.75% of the total number of cryptocurrency projects in the market.

This is what this means for Crypto traders pic.twitter.com/eb2ejPB639
— ICE Data Services (@ICEDataServices) March 14, 2019

Cryptocurrency Projects Included in the Data Feed
The entire list of cryptocurrencies added to the Data Feed can be obtained here. The Data Feed would provide real-time thorough analysis of 58 cryptocurrencies on its official website.
Moreover, widespread inclusion of only 58 cryptocurrencies from a total of 2106 projects would narrow down the targets of the investors. However, at the same time could hurt the altcoin markets and exchange volumes in the short term.
Some of the notable cryptocurrencies from the list are:

Stable Coins: The stable coins which will be added to the list are USD coin, TUSD, Tether, and Gemini Dollar.
High Market Capitalization ‘tokens’: Despite the cryptocurrency markets being highly volatile a couple of projects have cemented their position and were rightfully included in the data. These included: Ether (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Cardano (ADA), Monero (XMR), NEM, Ripple (XRP), Stellar (XLM), and NEO
Potentially Valuable Projects: Some of the other cryptocurrencies with low market capitalization also features in the list. Currently, they can be analogous to penny stocks in traditional markets. These include Siacoin, Augur (REP), Ardor (ARDR), Basic Attention Token (BAT), Bitshares, Bytom, CyberMiles, Crypto.com (CRO), Digibyte (DBG), Dogecoin, Steem Dollars (SBD), Nebular, Mithril, Metaverse ETP, Zilliqa, and Ox.
Huobi Included But No Binance (BNB) Coin: In exchange related token Huobi was included however Binance (BNB) coin was included.

Bitcoin Cash (BCH), BSV, Bitcoin Gold and Ethereum Classic (ETC) the infamous hard forks from Bitcoin and Ethereum were also included in the list.
Providing a Global Data Base For Cryptocurrencies
Due to their decentralization, Cryptocurrency Exchanges have become ubiquitous in the world. However, there is no authorized metrics that would give out authentic real-time data. Hence, ‘price discovery’ becomes a significant challenge due to a multitude of avenues.
The ICE data would provide insight on the project along with increasing the efficiencies for its traders. It would also facilitate pricing evaluation through proper surveillance and portfolio managers with statistics that will enable the crypto-assets to be traded between peers or customers directly.
While dealing with currencies, volatility and protection against adverse market movements is of prime importance to import/export traders and investors. Hence, the ‘global coverage’ would enable hedge funds to manage their risks better.
Expectations from the Bakkt Platfrom
The Bakkt Platform will be one of the first institutionally backed cryptocurrency trading platforms. Hence, the number of cryptocurrencies expected to be included in the initial phases was limited. However, the data feed suggests that the Bakkt Platform might consist of more than just a few cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin.
The post Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) Released a List of its Favorite Cryptocurrencies; Same ‘Tokens’ To Be Included in Bakkt As Well? appeared first on Coingape.
Source: CoinGape

Bitcoin [BTC] price discovery is going to happen in an end-to-end regulated ecosystem, says Bakkt COO

In the recent FIA Boca 2019 event, one of the topics discussed was the price discovery of Bitcoin. Representatives of Coinbase, ErisX, Bakkt, CME Group, and Cboe Global Markets, spoke about where the current price discovery occurred and where it would occur in the near future.
Adam White, the COO of Bakkt, began the discussion by stating that price discovery “is very fundamental” with respect to what Bakkt was bringing to the market. He went on to say that the current price discovery primarily occurs in cash markets. He added that the present market was bifurcated between traditional OTC players like Circle and Genesis, and markets like Coinbase, Gemini and Kraken. He said,
“I think those markets are really important. We wouldn’t be sitting out today if they hadn’t come about in the past five to six years. They’ve actually grown this market to one that’s meaningful and shows a lot of promise.”
White further stated that Bakkt “fundamentally believed” that price discovery was going to occur in an end-to-end regulated ecosystem, adding that Bakkt was trying to bring exactly this to the market. He said,
“Bakkt is providing the custodial services that allows ICE futures and ICE clear to trade or facilitate trading in a physically delivered product. And, we believe having that product traded on a regulated exchange for the first time is really going to be important.”
He stated that price discovery was going to switch from the cash market to the futures market, adding that Bakkt would hopefully be a “core product” for the discovery.
Further, John Deters, Head of Strategies and Multi-Asset Solutions at Cboe Global Markets, stated that the price discovery “kind of comes” from different places. He added that the platform’s Bitcoin futures product settled on another platform, Gemini, one of the leading cryptocurrency exchanges in the US. He said,
“That auction event is one of the greatest liquidity events in the global Bitcoin market at least those that are disclosed and its because the people are participating in the futures product and want to get a convergent price. So, where’s the price coming from? The futures traders or the cash traders, it’s kind of hard to say.”
Adam White stated that one of the problems that their customers have is that cash markets were “not regulated exchanges”. He added that these markets had custodial aspects of storing Bitcoin with a BitLicense or a trust, adding that they were absolutely “regulated and rightful”. He said,
“But we actually look at the matching, the center limit of the order book, those pieces aren’t. And, I do think that it is keeping some version of institutional capital on the sidelines saying ‘look we’re going to be ready to enter when we see this end-to-end kind of regulated product’ and I think this is great for the industry to see it happen.”
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Source: AMB Crypto

CBOE Will No Longer List New Bitcoin Futures This March

CoinSpeaker
CBOE Will No Longer List New Bitcoin Futures This March
The Chicago Board Options Exchange will stop listing new Bitcoin futures on its platform this month as it needs to review its approaches in this sphere.
CBOE Will No Longer List New Bitcoin Futures This March

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Source: CoinSpeaker

How Rising Bitcoin Holdings of May Push BTC Price Up Significantly

The cryptocurrency industry was born during the fallout of the 2008 economic crisis that caused the Great Recession. Satoshi Nakamoto designed Bitcoin as the first-ever cryptocurrency with the goal of removing the control governments and banks had over individual’s funds.
Nakamoto designed the BTC supply to have a hard cap so that the cryptocurrency would have a deflationary attribute, but the limited supply also has a dramatic effect on Bitcoin price due to the ebb and flow of demand.
Intermediaries currently control as much as 16% of the BTC supply already, just ten years into the crypto’s life, and the percentage of control will only increase from here due to the influx of banks, businesses, and more trying to get a piece of the emerging crypto market.

But what implications will such control over the BTC supply have on Bitcoin price? And does this control go against everything Bitcoin itself stands for?
How Intermediaries Holding BTC Could Affect Bitcoin Price
The value of anything is in a constantly push and pull battle between supply and demand. If an item is scarce and has a high enough demand, its perceived value will increase and those interested in buying the item will be more willing to pay a higher price for the item.
Related Reading | Poll Reveals Majority of Crypto Investors See Bitcoin Price at $100,000 to Millions Long-Term
This is how eBay scalpers are able to charge $1,000 premiums on already expensive iPhones on launch day – there are simply not enough iPhones to go around to those that want them, and some are willing to pay well above retail price in order to own one.
The same is true about Bitcoin. The current bear market is due to Bitcoin’s demand waning, while the supply ever-increases as miners validate each new block on the blockchain. But what happens as other intermediaries such as banks begin to scoop up the BTC supply as the industry grows, and how does this affect Bitcoin price in the future?

at least 16.6% of bitcoin is held by intermediaries, and with all the institutions, banks, and apps that are coming, that number will only go up.
excellent work from my partner @RyanRadloff @CoinSharesCo https://t.co/cruEh24bnU
— Meltem Demirors (@Melt_Dem) March 7, 2019

As was pointed out by CoinShares Chief Strategy Officer Meltem Dimirors who also serves as a member of the World Economic Forum blockchain council, over 16% of the BTC supply is already controlled by intermediaries such as exchanges like Binance, or apps like Abra.
This number will only grow with the launch of Bakkt, Fidelity Digital Assets, and the many other retail and institutional operations that will no doubt enter the cryptocurrency market in the coming months to years.
Related Reading | Fidelity Bitcoin Custody Launched, Is This The End of Personal Integrity?
Bitcoin price should rise significantly due to basic supply and demand. All businesses are driven by demand – they move into markets where they are certain they can make money. Time-tested businesses like Fidelity or Intercontinental Exchange would not be entering the market if they didn’t view it as a viable business opportunity. The demand is there, but what will never change, is the supply of Bitcoin.
Given the simple dynamics behind supply and demand, as these organizations gobble up Bitcoin’s supply and demand rises, an increase in price is a certainty. This certainty is why many in the cryptocurrency community look to the launch of Bakkt or the VanEck/Solid X ETF, both of which require physical Bitcoin, as the catalyst that could ignite the next bull run. These developments are right around the corner.
Intermediaries Holding Bitcoin Goes Against Satoshi’s Vision
While crypto investors would welcome an exponential increase in Bitcoin price, it’s becoming increasingly clear that Satoshi’s original vision for Bitcoin is nothing more than a pipe dream.
The leading crypto by market cap is arguably the most decentralized of any cryptocurrencies.  But as these incredibly wealthy intermediaries come in and scoop up the limited BTC supply, they will have increasing control over Bitcoin in one way or another.
These companies cannot control the Bitcoin network consensus, however, by becoming the primary holders of private keys for their customers and clients, the original goal of Bitcoin being used by individuals to become their own banks and manage their own funds with complete ownership will never fully be realized.
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Bakkt: Starbucks receives disproportionate amount of shares in platform following deal

Owing to a new deal, Starbucks received a “disproportionate” amount of shares in Bakkt. The deal between the two comes in the middle of Bakkt’s launch that was awaited by a lot of institutional players in the United States.
According to The Block, a spokesperson close to the deal said, “There’s a high value from having a brand of this level” and that this was not surprising due to the support Starbucks gave Bakkt. The Seattle-based coffee company secured a “mutually beneficial” agreement which provides it with a huge stake in Bakkt.
Starbucks accepts payments through cryptocurrencies via Bakkt’s software that converts crypto-to-fiat. Currently, this service will only be available to customers in the US. However, there was no information regarding their future plans or Starbucks’ global expansion of the service.
Starbucks announced its partnership with Intercontinental Exchange, Microsoft, and BCG on August 3, 2018. Additionally, this would users to buy anything at Starbucks using cryptocurrencies and Bakkt’s software.
Starbucks’ Maria Smith, Vice President of Partnerships said,
“As the flagship retailer, Starbucks will play a pivotal role in developing practical, trusted and regulated applications for consumers to convert their digital assets into US dollars for use at Starbucks.”
Bakkt’s launch was delayed three times and is now awaiting approval from the CFTC [Center for Commodity and Futures Commission]. The delay in approval was speculated to be due to to the recent U.S Government shutdown.
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Source: AMB Crypto

Starbucks Secretly Holds Significant Equity in Bakkt Crypto Platform – Sip Coffee on Crypto

While many believe, Starbucks represent something beyond a cup of coffee – now they would probably sip its coffee with the taste of crypto. Although Starbucks’s name is already associated with the launch of Bakkt Bitcoin Futures, the firm had recently made a significant investment to become Bakkt’s first merchant for its customers.
Integrating Bitcoin Payments in Starbucks Stores
As per the reports, Starbucks holds a good amount of equity in Intercontinental Exchanged backed Bakkt – however, the specific amount is still out of sight but reports suggest ‘disproportionately high given that they did not make a cash investment’.
The report was first published on TheBlock and eventually shared on a social media by Mike Dudas Twitter enthusiast, stating;

SCOOP: @Starbucks received significant equity in @Bakkt in return for commitment to allow bitcoin payments in store in 2019 [GENESIS] via @i_woodford https://t.co/OBZE1vOzeo pic.twitter.com/rPqXXZVNlU
— Mike Dudas (@mdudas) March 4, 2019

While the well-known coffee brand holds significant equity – conversely – it is investing heavily in cards and app that would make it one of the early merchant of Bakkt crypto platform. By doing so, customers will be able to pay for the items at Starbucks with digital assets. Reports also mentioned that these assets will then be converted into fiat citing the volatility issue and then it would keep them off of the Starbuck’s books.
To remind, previously, Starbucks clarified to the rumors who claimed Starbucks was receiving bitcoin for Coffee – but the explanation made it clear that they’re just partnering with Bakkt platform and not accepting Bitcoin- eventually, Bakkt will enable its users to trade and convert the BTC into fiat currencies and then pay out for items at Starbucks.
“As the flagship retailer, Starbucks will play a pivotal role in developing practical, trusted and regulated applications for consumers to convert their digital assets into US dollars for use at Starbucks.
To note, Bakkt’s Bitcoin future platform is still on hold due to regulatory approval (pending from the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission) – nevertheless to add that it carries a number of plans related to crypto services to roll out in the year 2019.
The Positive Move
The indirect use of Bitcoin on branded platforms like Starbucks which as high profile customers since a decade and more, would more likely influence the value of Bitcoin.

Interesting.
But probably well worth it on the long term. The Starbucks angle was the most interesting thing about the Bakkt announcement.$BTC needs more use cases and more retail adoption. https://t.co/xUd8L07yK8
— Richard Johnson (@_richjohnson) March 4, 2019

However, at press time the market is favoring across many cryptocurrencies, having the average trading volume of BTC as $66,402,996,992 with the positive mark of 0.59 percent over the past 24 hours. Additionally, as per the data from Coinmarketcap, one Bitcoin is trading at $3,778.91 against US Dollar.
The post Starbucks Secretly Holds Significant Equity in Bakkt Crypto Platform – Sip Coffee on Crypto appeared first on Coingape.
Source: CoinGape

Starbucks Receives Bakkt Equity to Start Accepting Bitcoin Payments in 2019

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Starbucks Receives Bakkt Equity to Start Accepting Bitcoin Payments in 2019

It seems that Starbucks has received a significant portion of equity in Bakkt despite not being a direct cash investor.

Starbucks Receives Bakkt Equity to Start Accepting Bitcoin Payments in 2019

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Source: CoinSpeaker

The 100 Million Bitcoin Users Case – Could Bakkt Massively Boost Adoption?

Bakkt, a digital asset platform which is set to introduce the very first physically-settled bitcoin futures, will launch later this year. And, according to Alec Ziupsnys, the launch could legitimize the dominant cryptocurrency before 100 million potential users per week.
The chief innovation officer at BlockEdge Capital tapped on how Bakkt’s partnership with Starbucks was a key to bitcoin awareness. He suggested that the American coffeehouse chain was processing the mobile transactions of up to 25.6 million every day. In comparison, Apple Pay and Google were handling a lesser 24.5 million and 12.4 million sales every day, respectively.

Bitcoin will soon be legitimized in the eyes of 100 million customers per week through Starbucks and Bakkt.
Mobile payments:Starbucks: 25.6MApple Pay: 24.5MGoogle Play 12.4M
Worrying about catching the exact bottom is like trying to pick up a penny in front of a steamroller.
— Alec Ziupsnys (@AlecZiupsnys) February 23, 2019

The statement followed months of speculation about Starbucks accepting bitcoin as one of the payment methods. At the time of Bakkt announcement, media had wrongly perceived the story as the coffeehouse chain’s interest in bitcoin.
However, in a clarification shared with Motherboard, Starbucks admitted that it was not going to accepting bitcoins anytime in the future. At the same time, the company said that its partnership with Bakkt would focus more on helping people who want to spend their bitcoins.
“It is important to clarify that we are not accepting digital assets at Starbucks. Rather the exchange will convert digital assets like Bitcoin into US dollars, which can be used at Starbucks,” a Starbucks spokesperson told Motherboard. “At the current time, we are announcing the launch of trading and conversion of Bitcoin. However, we will continue to talk with customers and regulators as space evolves.”
Analyzing Ziupsnys’ Statementon Bitcoin
There are around 14,606 Starbucks stores across the world, according to Statista. As of now, these stores have an average of just over 500 customers every day. But, according to a report from Trefis, a US-based market analysis firm, the number would grow to more than 750 by 2020.
The study found that an expanded food menu, a mobile app, and introduce fresher mobile payment options would back Starbucks’ growth. That said, considering the coffeehouse chain will not open new stores, the total number of users it would serve could reach a minimum 11 million every day.

7/ Phase two is a mystery. Bakkt hasn't said what it is or when it's coming.
Given all the talk about "spending" via Bakkt, I'm guessing it's some type of consumer-grade payment system. Maybe the kind you'd use at Starbucks to buy coffee with bitcoin. We'll have to wait and see.
— Jake Chervinsky (@jchervinsky) November 6, 2018

Ziupsnys believes Starbucks to be a natural advertiser for bitcoin is the growth potential. Per the Bakkt announcement, it would be mainly focusing on “spending” in its phase-2 development.
It is not necessary that their so-called payment application would focus on bitcoin, which remains to be highly volatile in terms of pricing. It is possible that the company would look into using a stablecoin. But, in the end, at least those “100 million” Starbucks customers would know about bitcoin. At least, that is what we could interpret from Ziupsnys’ tweet.

It's older news, but I still think it deserves some continued excitement about it.
— Alec Ziupsnys (@AlecZiupsnys) February 23, 2019

The Bottoming Out
In near-term, Bakkt could be just the catalyst bitcoin needs to come out of its most extended bear cycle. A federally regulated platform would allow the digital currency to broaden its horizons among serious investors. Atop that, it would also pave the way for the approval of crypto-based exchange-traded funds by resolving the core underlying issue – the lack of trusted price information. As Bakkt CEO Kelly Loeffler stated:
“A critical element to price discovery is physical delivery. Specifically, with our solution, the buying and selling of Bitcoin are fully collateralized and pre-funded. As such, our new daily Bitcoin contract will not be traded on margin, use leverage, or serve to create a paper claim on a real asset. This supports market integrity and differentiates our effort from existing futures and crypto exchanges which allow for margin, leverage, and cash settlement.”
Bitcoin could effectively bottom out after Bakkt’s launch. At the same time, Starbucks’ involvement in the project could boost digital currency’s awareness among a wider mass. It is the first step towards a potential adoption.
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CME Bitcoin Futures See Record Volumes, Crucial Signal For Rising Institutional Demand

This week saw the highest ever volume for Bitcoin futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange as volume exceeded 18,000. The big signal is that institutional investors are paying attention as futures contracts get snapped up at an ever-increasing rate.
Record BTC Contract Volumes on CME
According to stats from the CME there were 18,338 on Wednesday, the highest figure ever recorded. This is equivalent to 91,690 Bitcoins or roughly $365 million at today’s prices.
Source: CME
Futures contracts enable speculators to bet on the prices rather than purchasing the physical assets themselves so these figures may be a little misleading. What they do indicate however is that there is a lot more interest in crypto futures now than ever before.
When new products that offer physically settled contracts hit the market, they will be paying out in BTC which will drive massive momentum for crypto markets. Over the past year or so the anticipation of a crypto exchange traded fund (ETF) being launched has dominated the news. 2018 has been the year of regulation and cooling off which was only to be expected after the previous year of rampant FOMO and parabolic market action.
This year will be different and many industry experts predict the launch of at least one institutional investment vehicle. Bakkt is the primary candidate but it has been in a holding pattern with a few others while US regulators finally wake up from their month-long imposed vacation.
According to The Block European exchange giant, Eurex, is gearing up to launch crypto futures so the list of institutional offerings is growing rapidly. The derivatives exchange operated by Germany’s Deutsche Börse will be offering Bitcoin, Ethereum and XRP imminently according to the report.
Exchange Traded Funds are The Future
In addition to these future products, there is already one type of ETF that is actually traded through an ETN (exchange traded note) which allows investors to get direct exposure to Bitcoin prices. The Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) bypasses the technicalities of buying and storing Bitcoin but still allows investors to get in on the action by buying shares that trade at around a thousandth of the price of BTC, so a few dollars instead of thousands.
GBTC has been wildly popular with over $800 million already invested in the Bitcoin fund:

2/21/19 UPDATE: Holdings per share and net assets under management for our investment products
Total AUM: $872.1 million$BTC $BCH $ETH $ETC $ZEN $LTC $XLM $XRP $ZEC pic.twitter.com/tzQxkd7ilX
— Grayscale (@GrayscaleInvest) February 21, 2019

In addition to BTC are 8 other crypto assets but clearly, Bitcoin is the most popular. The fund eliminates the volatility of buying and owning Bitcoin directly which is something that institutions want, slow and steady wins the race. The outlook for 2019 is currently taking shape and the institutions are already involved. Buckle up and get ready for the ride!
Image from Shutterstock
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