Bitcoin ETP Boom, Crypto & Zero, Mortgage & Cows On Blockchain + More News 101
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Get your daily, bite-sized digest of cryptoasset and blockchain-related news – investigating the stories flying under the radar of today’s crypto news.

Bitcoin news

  • German bitcoin exchange-traded product (ETP) from ETC Group has garnered volumes matching those of popular European funds, as BTCetc Bitcoin Exchange Traded Crypto (BTCE) has recorded average daily trading amounting to EUR 57m (USD 68.9m) in the first 11 days of January, according to the Financial Times, citing data from Deutsche Börse. The structure of the bitcoin ETP had “increased the appeal of cryptocurrency investments for institutional investors,” who can trade the asset without having to set up a specialized infrastructure or use an “unregulated” crypto platform, Stephan Kraus, head of Deutsche Börse’s ETF segment, is quoted as saying.
  • Strategists at one of the world’s largest wealth managers, UBS Global Wealth Management, claim that “there is little in our view to stop a cryptocurrency’s price from going to zero when a better-designed version is launched or if regulatory changes stifle sentiment.” “Netscape and Myspace are examples of network applications that enjoyed widespread popularity but eventually disappeared,” according to the strategists. (Learn more: What And How ‘Slow’ Bitcoin Wins In The Storm Of Crypto Innovations)
  • Institutional platform Tokensoft has announced a partnership with qualified custodian Anchorage, to develop xBTC on Stacks 2.0, which is a blockchain that enables apps and smart contracts on Bitcoin (BTC), said the press release. They will provide institutional-grade custody and programmability of new digital assets on Stacks 2.0 via Wrapped, enabling BTC to be natively wrapped on the Stacks 2.0 blockchain, which the partners find an important step toward native decentralized finance (DeFi) on Bitcoin and a move that could help activate some USD 627bn in largely passively held capital on the network.

Blockchain news

  • Blockchain mortgage platform Figure has closed a USD 100m financing facility for conforming and jumbo mortgages from investment giant JPMorgan, said the platform owner Figure Technologies. Per the press release, this is the fifth financing facility for its online lending business, which has now closed almost USD1.5bn in total. This USD 100m loan facility is an opportunity for Figure to continue fuelling growth in its mortgage lending, it added, with the business growing nearly 50% month over month in the fourth quarter of 2020.
  • Chinese cows have been issued with blockchain-powered ID cards, per Fnews (via East Money). The move is part of a pilot being conducted in Changji, Xinjiang, and involves 1,000 animals that are being monitored via IoT and sensor-powered identification solutions, with data pertaining to “each cow’s life cycle” shared on a blockchain network. The data includes growth stats, information on how long cows have spent sitting down, standing up and so on, the amount of “exercise” each cow has completed in a day and how much weight it has put on (or perhaps lost, with all that exercise).
  • Utopia Genesis Foundation, the organization formed to support the development of an open platform for the music industry, has announced its move from Ethereum (ETH) to a Polkadot (DOT) parathread this year, aiming to provide interoperability, consensus, scalability, and security to its users. Per the emailed press release, this expansion will allow Utopia Genesis, which is currently running on a proof of authority (PoA) blockchain with Ethereum interoperability, to offer its ecosystem applications with the full economic security of Polkadot’s validator set.

Mining news

  • Publicly traded digital asset management firm Galaxy Digital launched Galaxy Digital Mining, a new business unit dedicated to providing Bitcoin miners with a comprehensive suite of financial services and products. According to the press release, Galaxy Digital Mining has also established its own proprietary Bitcoin mining operation, hosting its machines at a third-party datacenter in the US. Leading the new business is Amanda Fabiano, who joined Galaxy from Fidelity Investments.

Financial services news

  • The South Korean blockchain firm Delio has sealed a deal with the Chinese blockchain consulting company Wenergy, and hopes to target the Chinese market, per EBN. Delio currently offers a range of financial services tied to digital assets, including lending, depositing, swapping and yield farming. Last month, the South Korean company began offering BTC lending using hash power as collateral, claiming that it had started lending to hash power providers “such as Bitfury mining pools.”
  • More major commercial South Korean banks are growing increasingly keen on offering crypto custody services. Per Yonhap News TV, KEB Hana is also thought to be considering a move into the sector. Cryptonews.com has previously reported that Woori Bank is also mulling kicking off its own services, while rivals Kookmin, Shinhan and NongHyup have already unveiled their own plans.

Regulation news

  • A petition has been sent to the European Parliament, filed by lawyer Jonathan Levy on behalf of the victims of crypto crime (fraud, piracy and extortion), which is asking for the implementation of a “regulatory scheme to compensate victims” as “no cryptoasset funding has been set aside to compensate the victims of directly related criminal activities,” it said. So far, 44 supporters have signed the petition.

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