$10.7 trillion custodian helping hedge funds invest in bitcoin (med impact)
Financial services firm Northern Trust which provides custody and wealth management services to corporations and institutional investors has started opening up its services to cryptocurrency hedge funds.
Forbes reported that Northern Trust, in the top 500 of the largest US companies, has been working with mainstream hedge funds in recent months that have been starting to sneak some crypto exposure into their portfolios. As of June 30, it had $10.7t in assets under custody/administration.
The firm also has a team working on rolling out a suite of services built on Hyperledger Fabric.
OTC markets gain more traction than exchanges (med impact)
International research company TABB Group released a study at the start of the week that claims over-the-counter (OTC) bitcoin trading is 2-3 times the volume done on exchanges. The research was conducted through interviews with OTC market participants and is more qualitative than quantitative but implies there is an average daily trading volume of $12m in BTC that doesn't hit exchanges.
High Times’ Nasdaq IPO to accept BTC and ETH (low impact)
On Thursday the High Times Holding Corp, the preeminent cannabis brand, announced that it will become the first traditional stock offering ever to accept investments through Bitcoin and Ethereum for its listing on the US tech-heavy index Nasdaq.
“High Times has been at the forefront of popular culture for more than four decades,” said High Times CEO Adam Levin. “Now we’re taking another step into the future, as not only one of the first cannabis-related brands to go public on the Nasdaq, but also as the first to allow Bitcoin and Ethereum as part of our public capital raise.”
Morgan Stanley “poach” Credit Suisse manager for crypto arm (low impact)
Morgan Stanley, one of the largest investment banks in the US, has appointed Andrew Peel as its head of “digital assets markets”.
Peel served for 12 years at Credit Suisse as vice president of trade and innovation during which he was the “the subject matter expert for Bitcoin and cryptocurrency”. Although it’s another endorsement for crypto from a major investment bank after Goldman Sachs announced it would set up a crypto trading desk, it’s unclear what Peel’s role will entail. Morgan Stanley does already clear bitcoin futures for clients according to Business Insider.
Morgan Stanley Wealth Management is among the largest broker-dealers in the world and has $2tr of client assets under management.
Hedge fund launches crypto VC fund through security token (low impact)
Morgan Creek Digital Assets - the crypto arm of hedge fund Morgan Creek Capital - has launched a venture capital fund, CityBlock Capital, aimed at early-stage investing in crypto startups.
Dubbed as “a VC for the digital age” it fundraises on a city-by-city basis in the US and taps into connections in each city. The first seeding round will start in New York where accredited investors in the US and abroad gain access to the fund by buying the CityBlock NYCQ token.
“CityBlock Capital is building a venture capital firm that is attractive to digital natives, optimizes for global participation, and gives investors more optionality,” said Morgan Creek Digital Assets co-founder Anthony Pompliano, who says bitcoin could hit $50,000 by year-end.
Hedera Hashgraph raises $100m from institutional investors (low impact)
On Wednesday, after announcing it raised $100m from institutional investors, Hedera Hashgraph, the DLT alternative to blockchain, opened up fundraising to all accredited investors up to a hardcap of $20m.
The crowdsale will be offered to the accredited community at the same terms and price as the institutional investors and Hedera staff. It will be open for two weeks and will be the last fundraising round before the network launches.
Hedera Hashgraph is the foundation rolling out the hashgraph technology globally (similar to Consensys for Ethereum). It has letters of intent from 19 corporations spanning various industries and several continents - Australia, Asia, US, Eu and South America - to sit on the Hedera Hashgraph Council. Hedera proposes the council to be “the most decentralized” governing body of any public DLT network.
Square made $37m in BTC services (low impact)
Nasdaq listed Square (SQ), the credit card and digital payments service, reported Q2 earnings of $385m, of which 6%, or $37m, was made through the recent addition of bitcoin trading and buying on its app. The earnings result beat Wall St analysts expectations of $367m.
Square was co-founded by Jack Dorsey, the founder and CEO of Twitter, who is famously bullish on bitcoin in the long-term and wants to help it become the native internet currency.
Bitcoin platform launches Australia’s first crypto fund (low impact)
CoinJar, a bitcoin platform for sending and trading BTC in various global fiat currencies has launched its Digital Currency Fund to appeal to wealthy Australians who wish to hold crypto while offloading custody to another entity.
The fund will have two classes, the first will be a bitcoin-only fund and the other will be a “mixed class” holding BTC, ETH, XRP and LTC and will be available only to Australian wholesale high-net investors in a product similar to the New York-based Grayscale Bitcoin Investment Trust, first launched in 2013.