Crypto Tidbits: Elon Musk Enamored With Bitcoin, CME Futures Set Record, Samsung Delves Into Blockchain

What a crazy week it has been for the crypto space. Elon Musk lauded Bitcoin for its “brilliant” structure, subsequently claiming that crypto assets are evidently a better medium of exchange than banknotes. CME’s Bitcoin futures posted a new record, even amid the “nuclear winter.” And Samsung delved into blockchain with its “KeyStore” offering, slated to launch on its Galaxy S10 flagship device.

Crypto Tidbits

  • CME Bitcoin Futures Set Record VolumesPer exclusive data gathered by The Block, the Bitcoin futures market backed by the Chicago-based CME has garnered monumental levels of attention as of late. Citing an internal email, February 19th, not 24 hours after the aggregate value of all digital assets spiked by 10%, saw CME’s biggest Bitcoin trading session ever in a seeming bear market rally. The firm’s futures vehicle, launched when Bitcoin was trading at $20,000 a piece, saw 18,338 contracts, valued at 91,690 BTC ($360 million), traded on that day alone. Compared to the product’s 4,630 contracts in average daily volumes over recent quarters, the 19th’s session was undoubtedly staggering.
  • Samsung Unveils Galaxy S10, Which Has Blockchain & Crypto OfferingAfter months of rumors, Samsung unveiled its new flagship — the Galaxy S10 — at its Unpacked event. While the announcement was the same old, same old, with a flashy keynote, extremely extensive media coverage, and marginal (yet visible) improvements over last year’s phone, something caught the eye of crypto industry participants across the board. According to a press release issued as Unpacked trended on Twitter, the entire S10 lineup will have a blockchain- and crypto-centric feature. The release read that the S10 is built with “defense-grade Samsung Knox,” along with hardware that “houses private keys for blockchain-enabled mobile services.” Although the words “crypto” and “wallet” weren’t explicitly divulged, many believe this facet of the press release indicates that Samsung likely has a wallet or cryptocurrency private key solution product ready to ship for S10 buyers.
  • U.S. SEC Pushes Two Crypto ETFs To The Federal Register: The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently pushed two crypto-backed exchange-traded fund applications to the Federal Register. This means that the governmental entity has 45 days from now to either approve, deny, or delay the proposals from making it through the regulatory hoops. Proposals from Bitwise Asset Management & NYSE Arca and CBOE, VanEck, and SolidX Partners are up on the chopping block.
  • Elon Musk Lauds Bitcoin For Its Brilliance: Elon Musk recently took to ARK Invest’s “FYI” podcast to touch on Tesla’s plans, autonomy, other innovations, such as crypto. Near the end of the interview, Musk claimed that the  “Bitcoin structure was (is) quite brilliant,” adding that Ethereum and “maybe some of the others” have merit too. Musk did admit, however, that he isn’t too enamored with Bitcoin’s mining consensus mechanism, noting that it is rather energy inefficient. Yet, he explained that from a fundamental point of view, cryptocurrencies are great as they bypass currency controls, especially in nations that are in the midst of financial and political turmoil, namely Venezuela. He added that cryptocurrencies are also a “far better way to transfer value than pieces of paper,” subsequently quipping that he’s sure of this “without a doubt.”
  • Pantera Secures $125 Million In Funding For Crypto Investment: CoinDesk reports that Pantera Capital has secured $125 million for an upcoming venture, slated to close its funding round in March. Citing a partner from Pantera, the outlet claims that the nine-digit sum has been derived from high net-worth individuals, family offices, and others that “could move money quickly.”
  • University Of Michigan To Invest In A16Z Blockchain Fund: According to an exclusive report from Bloomberg, the University of Michigan’s $12 billion endowment intends to siphon more of its funds into crypto-centric funds in the near future, in spite of the dramatic slump in the Bitcoin price. Per a Board of Regents agenda, the institution has its eyes on a “cryptonetwork technology” (they likely mean blockchain technology) fund managed by the world-renowned Andreessen Horowitz. More specifically “CNK Fund I,” as the vehicle in question has been dubbed by the Menlo Park, California-based venture group that backs it, is currently in the University of Michigan’s scopes. According to Kevin Hegarty, the chief financial officer at the state-run educational institution, CNK invests in “cryptonetwork technology companies across the spectrum of seed, venture and growth stage opportunities.” It wasn’t made clear whether CNK makes allocations to physical crypto assets, like Bitcoin and Ethereum, or not.
  • Facebook’s Zuckerberg Hints At Blockchain Offering: According to The Verge report, which cited an interview that Mark “Zuck” Zuckerberg had with Harvard Law professor Jonathan Zittrain, Facebook is looking into the latter. More specifically, in the recent interview, Zuck claimed that account authentication is a blockchain use case he is “potentially interested in.” He claimed that if this project comes to fruition, it would replace Facebook Connect, allowing individuals to determine what apps and partners can access their personal data in a decentralized manner.
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