Dub 12

Mike Novogratz Hires Goldman Sachs Exec for Crypto Merchant Bank

· April 12, 2018 · 3:30 pm

Famous cryptocurrency investor and trader Mike Novogratz has hired a Goldman Sachs executive for his cryptocurrency merchant bank.


 $40K Bitcoin by End of 2018?

Last November, Mike Novogratz made headlines when he predicted that Ethereum would hit $500 by the end of 2017 and Bitcoin could reach $40K by the end of 2018. Novogratz’s prediction for Ethereum proved true as the cryptocurrency actually surpassed $500 and even almost hit $1400.

Mike Novogratz

Since then, the whole cryptocurrency market experienced a major “shakedown” and dropped from a total market capitalization of over $8oo billion to $260 billion. The big correction may have caused uncertainty for retail traders, but many institutional investors are confident that a correction to the market was due and will soon stabilize. Some analysts predict that the total market cap for cryptocurrency could far surpass its old all-time high.

From Wall Street to Cryptocurrencies

This optimism for the cryptocurrency space is leading quite a few people from Wall Street to make the jump into the crypto world. One of the more notable of these individuals is Mike Novogratz, who was one of the first institutional investors to start seeing a future for cryptocurrencies.

Novogratz didn’t only bring millions of dollars to the cryptocurrency space, but he also brought years of trading and investing experience that he gained from Wall Street. Last December, the legendary investor announced that he would launch one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency hedge funds. The fund was supposed to launch on December 15th but, due to uncertainty in the market situation, was put on ice. He then turned his attention to creating a merchant bank, Galaxy Digital, that would serve the blockchain and cryptocurrency space back in January.

merchant bank

But Novogratz won’t be investing alone. According to CNBC, Novogratz has hired Goldman Sachs executive Richard Kim for the position of the chief operating officer for Galaxy Digital. Even though Novogratz’s fund launch is still paused, he stated the following to CNBC:

We are still feverishly building out a full merchant bank for crypto, i.e., I am still very bullish on the space.

The new hire is part of an ongoing trend and shows that, in the future, more Wall Street executives may switch from traditional trading instruments like stocks and bonds to a market with a brighter future, such as cryptocurrency and digital assets.

What are your thoughts on Novogratz’s decision to hire a Goldman Sachs executive for his COO? Do you think that the fund will eventually be launched and receive interest from non-cryptocurrency investors? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of  Pixabay and Bitcoinist archives.

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Úno 28

So Why Did Goldman Sachs-Backed Circle Really Buy Poloniex?

· February 28, 2018 · 10:00 am

Goldman Sachs-backed startup Circle made waves earlier this week when it acquired cryptocurrency exchange Poloniex. A couple of experts share their thoughts on the implications for the soon-to-be first compliant US crypto exchange and its customers.


Most Crypto Exchanges ‘Over-Regulate Themselves’

As the dust settles on Circle’s acquisition of Poloniex, U.S. regulators are keeping a close eye on KYC/AML compliance of cryptocurrency exchanges.

Joseph Weinberg

Joseph Weinberg, OECD Think Tank Special Advisor and Chairman of Shyft, a blockchain protocol that will create a new standard for the KYC/AML mandates, shared his comments with Bitcoinist. He states:

Most crypto exchanges that are processing fiat to crypto transactions are very compliant and, in some cases, even more so than banks. It all really depends on jurisdictions and the compliance policies given by countries to crypto exchanges.

He continued:

For crypto exchanges, the challenge lies in how little formal guidelines there are from regulators. As a result, most of the industry has been doing self-compliance in absence of clear procedures. To err on the safe side, crypto exchanges over-regulate themselves. For example, most exchanges ask for passport verification in order to confirm users’ identities, whereas most banks only require government-issued IDs, such as drivers licenses.

Interestingly, Circle acquired the crypto exchange over a year after announcing it was shifting focus from Bitcoin to blockchain-based services. At the time, the company informed its Bitcoin customers that they can can cash out or transfer their balances to Coinbase, if they wished to continue to use the cryptocurrency.

So why did Circle decide to jump back into the crypto game?

It appears that Poloniex was struggling to keep up with the unexpected surge in new users as prices skyrocketed in the second half of 2017. Additionally, being based in the United States, the company also had to keep up with rising compliance costs as it rolled out its new KYC policies late last year.

Weinberg explains:

In the past, Poloniex had a lot of issues with onboarding new users and properly building out its KYC process, mainly due to the large amounts of time it takes to verify users. Given the level of KYC that exchanges force themselves to go through, scaling compliance is almost a separate product that the exchange has to build out.

According to him, this is where Circle comes in with their KYC/AML expertise. He says:

Through this acquisition, Circle will deploy more people to help handle compliance—more employees to build and process KYC due diligence faster. This is the same type of issue traditional banks have when it comes to scaling. Compliance costs keep multiplying, and yet, they aren’t always found to be effective.

The SEC Is Watching

Meanwhile, another takeaway has been put forth by Nathaniel Popper, author of Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaires Trying to Reinvent Money.

Popper noted on Twitter that the SEC informally suggested to Circle that no enforcement action will occur if the Boston-based startup “cleans up Poloniex and turns it into a regulated exchange.” He adds:

The SEC seems to be saying here that it’s okay if you broke the rules, as long as you get acquired by a legitimate player before we crack down on you.

The question now seems to be whether the SEC will apply this same thinking to other virtual currency exchanges if they are acquired by large players.

In addition to facilitating compliance, Circle also announced that it will add fiat bridges and expand operation to other markets. Namely, the company promised to explore “USD, EUR, and GBP connectivity that Circle already brings to its compliant Pay, Trade, and Invest products.”

This would imply that the exchange must also become compliant and answer to regulators from across the pond, who are currently scratching their heads on how to approach cryptocurrencies without stifling innovation in the process.

Therefore, regulators in the U.S. and abroad could be playing the carrot and stick strategy by providing an incentive for crypto exchanges to get acquired by the large players, such as Goldman Sachs, before a potential crackdown. Admittedly, this could also be a clever way for traditional finance to not only appear innovative through association but also assimilate would-be future competitors.

If true, the strategy may be futile and usher in the Streisand effect to boot. As technology advances, so do new methods of exchanging cryptocurrency. Therefore, assimilating centralized exchanges like Poloniex could force users to migrate en masse to decentralized exchanges and further bolster their development.

Why do you believe Circle acquired Poloniex? Share your comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter/@nathanielpopper.

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Úno 26

Goldman Sachs-backed Circle Buys Poloniex Cryptocurrency Exchange for $400M

· February 26, 2018 · 11:30 am

Circle, the notionally cryptocurrency-focused payment services startup, has reportedly bought exchange Poloniex for $400 million.


Job Done Between Circle And Polo

According to Fortune editor Robert Hackett who leaked the news in advance, an official statement will follow Monday. The takeover means a cryptocurrency exchange is now under direct ownership of a Goldman Sachs funded company.

Hackett wrote on Twitter earlier this morning:

Rumors have swirled in recent weeks that Circle has been in talks to buy the cryptocurrency exchange (Poloniex). […] I can confirm here for the first time that, yes, Circle has completed the acquisition. (A source familiar with the terms told me the price tag came to roughly $400 M.)

Circle Takes On Crypto Exchange Giants

Circle had fallen out of favor with diehard Bitcoin fans after it made the decision to divest itself of Bitcoin interaction. One of the pioneering major movers in cryptocurrency, many saw the removal of Bitcoin from the Circle Pay app as a rejection of the more innovative values cryptocurrency represents.

Commenting on Poloniex’s incorporation, however, Hackett saw Circle establishing a firm foothold in the now vastly-expanded crypto corporate arena:

This is a huge coup for Circle—putting it within striking distance of other big U.S. crypto exchanges, like Coinbase’s GDAX, Kraken, and Bittrex.

According to the report, Circle’s revenue from cryptocurrency trading would significantly increase thanks to Poloniex – up to around $1 billion per year, proportionally roughly similar to the combined revenue of the entire exchange sector of South Korea.

Poloniex itself had been facing mounting criticism in recent months. A huge influx of new users over the second half of 2017 saw technical problems and outages at key trading moments as technology struggled to cope with demand.

Also struggling was customer support, a problem repeated across many exchanges in the industry as newbie traders made rookie mistakes and relied on staff to provide a remedy.

What do you think about Circle buying Poloniex? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of

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Říj 08

Former Goldman Sachs VP Believes Bitcoin is the Next Internet

· October 7, 2017 · 9:45 pm

Matthew Goetz, former vice president at the famous financial institution Goldman Sachs believes that investing in Bitcoin is like investing in the Internet in the late 90’s. 


Betting Big On Bitcoin

Betting big on Bitcoin

The decentralized cryptocurrency had a very good run this year. Even after receiving bad publicity from the comments of the JP Morgan CEO and the recent report that China ordered Bitcoin exchanges to close down. Bitcoin is up by 450% this year and is currently stabilizing at the $4350 area.  Former Goldman Sachs VP, Matthew Goetz, believes that investing in the digital currency is like investing in the Internet in the late 90’s. Many experts and analysts strongly believe that Bitcoin might not stay as the number one cryptocurrency for very long.

The Next Big Cryptocurrency

After leaving Goldman Sachs, Matthew Goetz started a hedge fund called BlockTower Capital that specializes in cryptocurrencies. In a recent article by Business Insider, Goetz stated that in the future another cryptocurrency will take over the first place from Bitcoin. He further quoted:

There is some chance that something an order of magnitude better than bitcoin, technologically, could come along.

Goetz also added:

It’s something like Facebook. If someone creates a new Facebook that has slightly better features, say 10% better. That’s great, but network effects are strong. So, that new thing isn’t going to kill Facebook.

Matthew Goetz believes that Bitcoin is just a software and so it can easily be replaced by a way better and more advanced version in the future. Similar to how Facebook managed to overtake MySpace as the number social media website, another cryptocurrency with more features will be able to overtake Bitcoin’s position in the future. Goetz said that the cryptocurrency market is still very risky just like the Internet was in 1992.

What are your thoughts on Matthew Goetz’s opinion? Do you think that another cryptocurrency will be able to overtake Bitcoin as the number one cryptocurrency? 


Images courtesy of Pixabay, AP

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