Pro 31

Bakkt Raises $182.5M From Microsoft And Other Big-Name Investors

Bakkt on Monday announced the completion of its first funding round, to the tune of $182.5 million. The platform which aims to offer the first-ever Bitcoin-settled futures contracts in the coming year says it is going ahead with its plans irrespective of the current market conditions.


$182.5 Million in Funding From High Profile Investors

In a Medium post published on Monday (Dec. 31, 2018) by the Bakkt CEO, Kelly Loeffler, the company announced that it had successfully carried out its first funding round. According to the announcement, 12 investors participated in the capital raising exercise.

The CEO notes the investors including some big names, namely:

The partners and investors in the first round include Boston Consulting Group, CMT Digital, Eagle Seven, Galaxy Digital, Goldfinch Partners, Alan Howard, Horizons Ventures, Intercontinental Exchange, Microsoft’s venture capital arm, M12, Pantera Capital, PayU, the fintech arm of Naspers, and Protocol Ventures.

Bakkt Moving Ahead Despite Bear Market

For Loeffler, the status quo remains unchanged despite the prolonged bear market that characterized the cryptocurrency space in 2018. The company intends to continue its drive for proper onboarding of clients, as well as, collaborating with relevant business partners.

New York Stock Exchange Owner to Launch Bitcoin Data Service

Reinstating Bakkt’s commitment and resolve to the process, Loeffler, said:

We have worked to build new markets and products many times before. Those of us building Bakkt have earned our stripes by helping advance markets in once-nascent asset classes, from energy to credit derivatives and, now, bitcoin. The path to developing new markets is rarely linear: progress tends to modulate between innovation, dismissal, reinvention, and, finally, acceptance.

According to Loeffler, focusing on the BTC price 00 action is a distraction from the groundbreaking developments happening with Bitcoin as a whole. The Bakkt CEO also noted that paradigm-shifting technological breakthroughs have a long incubation time and price isn’t always the best metric for gauging growth.

Notably, 2018 was the most active year for crypto in its brief ten-year history. This was evidenced by rising investment in distributed ledger technology and digital assets, as well as by blockchain network metrics such as daily bitcoin transaction value and active addresses. Yet, these milestones tend to be overshadowed by the more narrow focus on bitcoin’s price…

Bakkt Postponed From January to ‘Early 2019’

Bakkt and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) continue to work out modalities for the launch of the BTC-settled futures contracts. However, the current government shutdown in the United States looks like it has pushed back the January 2019 launch to “early 2019.”

The official statement published on December 31, reads:

Following consultation with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, ICE Futures U.S., Inc. expects to provide an updated launch timeline in early 2019, for the trading, clearing and warehousing of the Bakkt Bitcoin (USD) Daily Futures Contract. The launch had previously been set for January 24, 2019, but will be amended pursuant to the CFTC’s process and timeline.

While awaiting CFTC approval, the platform says it will continue to onboard customers while firming up its institutional-grade infrastructure.

Do you think the signs are good for Bakkt following this successful fundraising round? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below.


Image courtesy of Twitter (@Bakkt), Shutterstock

Share
Pro 21

Bakkt Bitcoin-Settled Futures Set To Be Approved in Early 2019

Bakkt, a platform for the first-ever Bitcoin-settled futures contract, is expected to be approved by the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), according to the Wall Street Journal.


CFTC Approval Imminent

According to the Wall Street Journal, Bakkt will soon receive a regulatory green light from the CFTC for its Bitcoin futures contract. The WSJ notes:

The first futures contract that will pay out in cryptocurrency rather than cash is expected to soon get regulatory approval.

Bakkt, owned by Intercontinental Exchange Inc., will be the first to offer a BTC-settled futures product.

The Chairman Of The CFTC Might Just Have Brought The Bitcoin Crash To An End

Both Bakkt and the CFTC have been working together to iron out crucial issues relating to the futures contract. CFTC is also reportedly examining Bakkt’s business plan to determine whether they comply with its regulations.

Another major point of concern has to do with cybersecurity infrastructure. Cryptocurrencies are a target of hackers and other cybercriminals. The CFTC is looking at Bakkt’s security framework and the modalities in place to recover from a possible cyberattack.

Previously, Bakkt had to postpone the launch of BTC futures contracts to 2019 to give more room for proper customer onboarding and warehousing for the product.

In a press released issued by ICE back in November, the company announced that Bakkt would begin trading BTC futures on January 24, 2019. According to available reports, the CFTC will likely vote on the matter in early 2019.

Focus on Price Discovery

For Bakkt, the mechanism of price discovery is a critical issue given that its contract will be BTC-settled and not cash-settled like the ones offered by the CME and the CBOE.

Back in 2017, the appeal of the futures contract provided by the latter two gave traders the ability to place leveraged bets on BTC price 00 movement without having to buy the cryptocurrency itself.

However, the dynamics of price discovery could improve with Bakkt contracts being settled in actual bitcoin to gauge real demand as opposed to placing USD cash bets on BTC price movement. In August 2018, Bakkt CEO, Kelly Loeffler, said:

A critical element to price discovery is physical delivery. Specifically, with our solution, the buying and selling of Bitcoin is fully collateralized or 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.

Apart from Bakkt, Nasdaq has also confirmed that it wants to launch its Bitcoin futures product in 2019 and possibly other altcoins like Ethereum thereafter.

Will Bakkt Bitcoin futures get approved and make Bitcoin price discovery more accurate? Share your thoughts below!


Image courtesy of Twitter (@Bakkt), Shutterstock

Share
Čvc 20

New Zealand Bank Shares Belief in Blockchain

SBS Bank in New Zealand seems to be considering using blockchain technology as a way to provide an improved user experience for their clients.


While some financial institutions are vehemently denying their customers’ interest in cryptocurrencies, New Zealand’s SBS Bank is taking a more pro-active approach.

According to The Southland Times, virtual currencies and blockchain technology were two of the topics discussed at the bank’s recent annual meeting. While the former still has the power to elicit skepticism, the latter is definitely a keen point of interest. The bank’s group chief executive, Shaun Drylie, explained:

We think, and the common consensus is, that it has real merit. Cryptocurrencies, we’re not too sure, and if you look at the volatility of cryptocurrencies that would suggest the market is not too sure as well.

However, this does not mean that there won’t be a possible place for cryptocurrencies in the bank’s future. Drylie added:

We’re keeping a close eye on it, but it’s very hard to pick where it’s going to go long term.

SBS chief executive, Shaun Drylie

Banking for All

Exploring the uses of blockchain technology is part of the institution’s plan to make banking more efficient for its existing clientele and more inclusive for its potential customers. They hope to provide a comprehensive banking experience to those clients who have limited access to their physical branches.

Financial inclusivity is a popular term when discussing the benefits of blockchain. This could be in the form of allowing the unbanked population, or those with restricted access to economic assistance, to easily get credit or apply for a loan.

All of the applicant’s information could be stored and easily accessed via the distributed ledger, making the reams of paper seemingly synonymous with loan applications a thing of the past. With SBS seeing an 11 percent increase in loan approvals, this could be where blockchain could make a difference.

No Stranger to Blockchain

This is not the first bank in the country that has turned to blockchain technology. The Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) and IBM have previously collaborated to create a more systematic and efficient solution to insurance reconciliation processes. The financial institution also used blockchain to digitize their previously paper-based bank guarantee process.

However, interest may soon turn more to virtual currencies with the possible introduction of Bitcoin ETFs. Major player Cboe Global Markets has filed an application with The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for approval thereof. Bitcoin futures trading, which began late last year, has also seen growth since it launched.

Do you think that more banks will turn to blockchain technology to replace their paper-based systems? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of John Hawkins/Stuff, AdobeStock

Share
Čvn 14

Crix.io: Digital Currency Futures Platform Lowers Risk Exposure

Source: bitcoin

Crix

Any financial advisor will tell you that futures trading is a risky investment decision.

Disclaimer: This article was provided by the Vanbex Group. Bitcoinist is not affiliated with the firms represented by the Vanbex Group and is not responsible for their products and/or services. 

Secure Bitcoin Futures Trading With Crix

When combining futures trading with Bitcoin and digital currency exchanges with sub-par security, the risk to the trader is exponentially greater.

However, Bitcoin and digital currency futures exchange Crix.io helps mitigate both problems so customers can trade with greater trust and peace of mind.

When trading futures, there is worry over the value of your investment falling before your contract’s maturity date, which also makes it difficult to pay back any leverage you may have had with the exchange.

What’s worse is that many bitcoin exchanges don’t have stop-loss measures in place, which have led to large rounds of margin calling, producing intense “flash crashes” in the bitcoin price.

Dmitry Koval, founder of Crix, said in a previous interview that the shorter contract term — three hours, 24 hours — is the “trade-off for totally mitigated slippage risk and full transparency of all the calculations.”

Furthermore, margin calls are prevented by setting particular trading rules.

Prices throughout the session, whether for a three hour or 24-hour contract, are limited to model-predicted limits so a trader cannot place an order priced outside of these limits, said Koval.

“Therefore, none of the traders can lose more than their initial collateral during the session.”

But there is also the threat of hacking and security breaches.

Theft is unfortunately a common occurrence on bitcoin exchanges, so much so that it has significantly influenced negative perceptions of Bitcoin.

Mt. Gox, for example, suffered a security breach in which 850,000 bitcoins suddenly vanished from the exchange’s coffers in 2014.

Being the largest bitcoin exchange in the world at the time, Mt. Gox’s breach was plastered all over mainstream media, painting Bitcoin as an insecure, criminal hot-spot.

In the years since, other exchanges have also been hacked due to weak security, resulting in untold losses. This is a turn-off for a segment of investors and traders, especially those on the fringes just considering whether to get into the cryptocurrency space.

Recognizing these risks, Crix made an effort to create a bitcoin futures platform as secure as possible.

Using sophisticated security architecture, a proprietary algorithm for private key storage, as well as cold storage and virtualized key servers, Crix offers a storage solution that makes potential attackers unable to locate private keys to any bitcoin wallet.

To protect its website from DDoS attacks, Crix uses CloudFlare combined with firewall functionality. The exchange also safeguards data passing through its website with SSL encryption.

Security solutions from Arbor Networks and F5 Networks further secure the overall platform. Additionally, Crix says that all “software components are virtualized,” and that “hardware is hosted at a Tier 3 data center,” with “extremely high levels of availability.”

To ensure everything was truly in order, Crix enlisted the services of Cobalt, a San Francisco-based online security firm, to test their infrastructure’s protection against vulnerabilities.

Cobalt subjected Crix to it’s signature “crowdsourced penetration testing.” After a rigorous, ten-day course of manual testing and review by a third-party security team, Cobalt concluded that Crix’s security was robust.

Cobalt COO Jakob Storm said, “The penetration test confirmed that Crix.io … had good security controls in place [and] … No high severity vulnerabilities were identified.”

The security team also noted, it was evident the platform’s application was written by a team with security expertise.

After passing the audit, Storm said that Crix “initiated a bug bounty program” to ensure the longevity of their security measures. “A bug bounty program is a great way to continuously get exposure from skilled researchers,” noted Storm.

When asked for advice on web-security, Storm recommended periodic penetration testing.

“A live application is a very dynamic thing,” Storm said, “it changes over time when the new features are introduced and environments are updated.”

Concluding, Storm remarked, “A general recommendation is to do, minimum, two [penetration] tests per year per application.”

While it’s impossible to fully eliminate the financial risk exposure of futures trading, the Crix platform is a start. With its Cobalt-verified security, model predicted limits and transparent protocol, the digital currency exchange and futures contract platform is one of the most accessible and secure environment investors and traders can enjoy on the market today.

Visit Crix.io to review the platform and what it can offer.


Images courtesy of Crix.io.

The post Crix.io: Digital Currency Futures Platform Lowers Risk Exposure appeared first on Bitcoinist.net.

Crix.io: Digital Currency Futures Platform Lowers Risk Exposure

Share