Crypto Tidbits: Meet JP Morgan Coin, SEC Drops Bitcoin ETF Application

After last week’s price action, the crypto market quieted down. Bitcoin entered a lull, while altcoins followed close behind. Yet, the wheels of the crypto train have continued to spin.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey revealed that his fintech upstart would eventually integrate Bitcoin’s Lightning Network, JP Morgan launched its own digital asset on a private Ethereum-based chain, a Filipino banking giant launched crypto ATMs, and Chainalysis secured millions amid this market rut.

Crypto Tidbits

  • Reality Shares Files Semi Bitcoin ETF, SEC Requests Application Withdrawal: Reality Shares, a California-based crypto-centric investment services provider, filed a peculiar application to the SEC, America’s leading financial regulator. This proposal outlined an ETF that was composed of both allocations in CME’s and CBOE’s Bitcoin futures and monetary instruments, like sovereign debt products denominated in the British Pound, Japanese Yen, Swiss Francs, among other government-issued currencies. But, in an odd turn of events, the governmental agency politely requested for Reality Shares to pull its innocuous application. Spokespeople told CoinDesk that the SEC enlisted such a move due to the fact that it wasn’t “appropriate to file a registered 40 Act fund with cryptocurrency exposure at this time.”
  • ICE CEO: Bakkt Is Our Moonshot Bet On Crypto: In the Intercontinental Exchange’s Q4 earnings call, chief executive Jeff Sprecher touched on crypto upstart Bakkt and its prospects in 2019. Sprecher, who is wed to the founder of Bakkt, explained that the company is “unique,” especially due to its independence and intentions. Yet, he explained that ICE has been able to apply its infrastructure — “settlement capabilities, warehouse and custody management capabilities, large treasury operations, and banking connectivity” — to the cryptocurrency venture. And thus, this “star power” has attracted “a lot of very very interesting companies,” such as Microsoft and Starbucks, giving Bakkt the potential to become a “very, very valuable company.” With all this in mind, the finance heavyweight concluded that if you boil Bakkt down, it could be classified as his firm’s very own “moonshot bet [on crypto].”
  • Chainalysis Secures $30M From Silicon Valley Venture Group: Earlier this week, Chainalysis, leading blockchain research and analytics boutique, revealed that it had scored over $30 million in funding for its Series B round, led by Accel, a Palo Alto-based venture group that also has investments in Circle. Accel’s deal with Chainalysis will also see the Bay Area investment group’s Philippe Botteri and Amit Kumar join the blockchain upstart’s board. Per Business Insider, the duo will aid Chainalysis in bolstering its presence, in the European region, along with its overall research efforts. The company explained that this influx of funding will help it double-down on its raison d’etre to make blockchain data easy to digest, useful, and accessible for governments, institutions, and native cryptocurrency firms.
  • Jack Dorsey Hints At Eventual Bitcoin Lightning Integration For Square: Just days after appearing on the Joe Rogan Experience to laud Bitcoin and releasing dozens of crypto-related tweets, Jack Dorsey, the chief executive of both Square and Twitter, took to Stephan Livera’s podcast to confirm that the integration of the Lightning Network onto Square is a matter of “when,” not “if.” Speaking on the rationale of eventually making such a move, Dorsey explained that his firm’s raison d’etre is to serve customers best, with Lightning only accentuating this goal. The Silicon Valley legend added that Square sees Bitcoin’s underlying nature as a currency, rather than solely a speculative asset. And as it stands, the widespread adoption of the Lightning Network is the most promising means to get to that ambitious end.
  • Philippines Banking Giant Has Launched Two-Way Crypto ATMs: According to reports from Filipino media, Union Bank of the Philippines, a banking giant that is the seventh largest in the country, is launching crypto asset automated teller machines (ATM). Per the statement, the company launched its first two-way cryptocurrency ATM earlier this week, allowing customers to purchase and sell assets like Bitcoin for pesos. Union Bank has purportedly collaborated with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the nation’s central bank, to ensure that this newfangled offering is compliant.
  • JP Morgan Launches Ethereum-like Chain For In-House Crypto Asset: In a move that was straight out of left field, JP Morgan Chase, the world’s sixth largest bank, took to CNBC divulging that it would be launching an in-house crypto asset, fittingly named “JPM Coin.”According to a comment from Umar Farooq, the Wall Street institution’s blockchain division lead, the asset will be backed by physical U.S. dollars and will first be based on Quorum, JP Morgan’s private Ethereum-based chain. Eventually, the asset will go multi-chain, with interoperability solutions allowing for JPM Coin to be transacted in different ecosystems. Farooq remarked that his team intends the venture to eventually be a multi-purpose asset for the bank’s operations, whereas “anything, where you have a distributed ledger, [that] involves corporations and institutions” will use the stablecoin. For now, however, the JP Morgan executive made it clear that the newfangled offering is intended to bolster the company’s internal, yet international corporate transactions.
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