NASDAQ Lists CIX100 an Index of the 100 Top Cryptos by Cryptoindex.com

NASDAQ has listed its first crypto index – the CIX100 from Cryptoindex.com. The index is made up of cryptocurrencies selected from a list of over 2500 coins and rebalanced on a continuous basis. Cryptoindex is quick to point out that they exclude “coins with fake volumes and ranks,” an ongoing issue in the crypto sector. Data is analyzed from the 9 largest crypto exchanges.

The Index said it only includes coins that have been in the top 100 for over three consecutive months. It rebalances once a month and is engineered to detect coins with fake volume.

Not too long ago, the CIX100 Index was listed on Reuters, Bloomberg, and TradingView so NASDAQ is doing a bit of catch up here but it is also a sign of crypto going more mainstream.

Cryptoindex says it wants to be the most usable entry point for newcomers as well as professional investors.

“The Cryptoindex team is honored to be listed on Nasdaq, which has always been a key platform for institutional investors to monitor classical indices. Now it’s time for a cryptocurrency one. Cryptoindex’s methodology meets the needs and requirements of heavily regulated asset managers, plus institutional and professional investors,” said Austin Kimm advisor of Cryptoindex.com.

Cryptoindex notes that since it was established, it has gained 1100%.

Web-Based Financial Services China Finance Online Announces Receipt of NASDAQ Notice of Bid Price Deficiency

China Finance Online Co. Limited NASDAQ GS:JRJC), a web-based financial services company that provides Chinese retail investors with fintech-powered online access to securities trading services, wealth management products, securities investment advisory services, as well as financial database and analytics services to institutional customers, announced on Thursday it has received a notification letter from the Nasdaq Listing Qualifications Department of the Nasdaq Stock Market LLC notifying the Company that, for the last 30 consecutive business days, the closing bid price for the Company’s American Depositary Shares has closed below a minimum $1 per share required for continued listing on The Nasdaq Capital Market pursuant to Nasdaq Listing Rule 5550(a)(2) (Rule 5550(a)(2)).

China Finance Online reported in accordance with Nasdaq Listing Rule 5810(c)(3)(A), it has been given 180 calendar days, or until January 27, 2020 to regain compliance with Rule 5550(a)(2).

“If the Company chooses to implement a reverse stock split, it must complete the split no later than ten business days prior to January 27, 2020 to regain compliance. If at any time before January 27, 2020, the bid price of the Company’s ADR closes at $1.00 per share or more for a minimum of 10 consecutive business days (an Automatic Compliance Event), the Staff will provide written confirmation that the Company has achieved compliance with Rule 5550(a)(2).”

The company also noted that if it does not regain compliance with Rule 5550(a)(2) by January 27, 2020, it may be afforded a second 180 calendar day period to regain compliance. The company added:

“To qualify, the Company would be required to meet the continued listing requirement for market value of publicly held shares and all other initial listing standards for The Nasdaq Capital Market, except for the minimum bid price requirement. In addition, the Company would be required to notify Nasdaq of its intent to cure the deficiency during the second compliance period, which may include, if necessary, implementing a reverse stock split.”

Robinhood Announces Nasdaq Level 2 Market Data Through Gold

Just a couple of months after the revamping of Robinhood Gold, Robinhood announced Nasdaq Level 2 Market Data has been added to the premium feature, which includes other research reports and margin investing.

Robinhood revealed for only $5 a month, users will receive all new premium features and bigger instant deposits. If the user is eligible and choose to invest with margin, their first $1000 in margin is included, and they’ll pay 5% yearly interest on any amounts they borrow above that.

“You can start your free trial of Gold at any time in your Robinhood account. If you already have Gold, look out for an email on how to upgrade to the new experience, or manage your Gold settings on Robinhood.”

Robinhood further explained that Level 2 Market Data shows real-time bids and asks for any stock so you can better determine the supply and demand for a stock at a certain price. In addition to the Nasaq Level 2 Market Data, other items added to Gold are the following:

  • Robinhood Snacks: Financial newsletter and podcast that brings users free, daily, and digestible financial news.
  • New Charts on Web: “Candlestick” charts and indicators for stocks and cryptocurrencies on Robinhood Web.

Robinhood went on to add:

“Get access to Robinhood’s stock and crypto pages faster, even if you aren’t logged into your Robinhood account. Track prices and view charts, news, and company info, or share pages with friends.”

Banq to Raise Capital for Helbiz in Advance of Planned IPO and Dual Listing on Nasdaq and AIM Italia

Banq, a digital platform that is part of investment bank Tripoint Global, is raising capital for Helbiz in advance of a planned initial public offering (IPO) on Nasdaq. Simultaneously, the shares are expected to list and trade on AIM Italia in what is being described as a first multilateral trading facility of its kind.

Headquartered in New York, Helbiz is an electronic scooter service where users may use an App to immediately rent the urban-friendly transportation. Helbiz is said to be the market leader in Italy. Italy’s Ministry of Transportation has recently approved nationwide use of electronic Scooters.

Helbiz currently has scooters operating in Milan and Malaga, with pilot programs in Italy in Rome, Turin, Florence and Pisa as well as pilot programs in Spain in Madrid, Marbella, Vitoria-Gasteiz and Palma de Mallorca. More pilot programs are said to be underway in Portugal, Greece, France, Singapore, and Georgia.

TriPoint Global Equities, working with its online division BANQ, will act as the lead managing selling agent and sole bookrunner for the offering in the United States. The company is utilizing Reg A+ to raise up to $15 million in advance of the planned public listing. Currently, investors may express their interest in a share purchase as Helbiz “tests the waters.”

Subject to NASDAQ requirements, Helbiz plans to list under the symbol “HLBZ.”

Helbiz intends to use the proceeds from the offering for expansion of its fleet of scooters, new territory deployment and working capital.

In connection with the potential listing on the AIM Italia, Intermonte will act as bookrunner, EnVent Capital Markets LTD will act as nominated adviser and Deloitte Legal as legal adviser.

Salvatore Palella, founder and CEO of Helbiz, said his team is laser-focused on providing a solution to the “first and last mile” problem in congested urban areas around the world.

“Our experience serving these markets has been invaluable, and it has informed our proven approach to new markets that involves working proactively with city leaders. Our business model and technology stand apart from other companies that touch this space, and in ways that positively impact our bottom line.”

Nasdaq to Offer Cryptocurrency Pricing Product in Partnership with CryptoCompare

NASDAQ New York CityNasdaq has partnered with CryptoCompare to launch a new cryptocurrency pricing product: the Nasdaq/CryptoCompare Aggregate Crypto Reference Prices. The new product will be available on the Quandl platform, a wholly owned subsidiary of Nasdaq, headquartered in Toronto, that provides alternative data for financial professionals. Quandl sources, evaluates, and packages data assets, transforming them into actionable intelligence for institutional clients.

According to the two companies, the new product will enable institutional investors to monitor the digital asset sector and assess investment opportunities using a trusted data source. The Nasdaq/CryptoCompare Aggregate Crypto Reference Prices will support institutions in creating investment strategies. Based on CryptoCompare’s aggregate index datasets, the product will provide minute-by-minute pricing data for the most liquid cryptocurrency markets.

Charles Hayter, Co-Founder and CEO of CryptoCompare, said they are delighted to partner with Nasdaq on the new product.

“Reliable data is the bedrock of transparent, liquid markets and by bringing our high quality, granular dataset to a global institutional client base, via the Quandl platform, we will give traders and investors a competitive edge,” stated Hayter.

CryptoCompare claims to have the most granular data covering the crypto industry. Currently, CryptoCompare covers 5,800+ coins and 270,000+ currency pairs globally.

CryptoCompare also offers a  group of cryptocurrency indices and bespoke data products.

Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman Says Smaller IPO Market Needs to be Fixed

Last week, Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman sat down with CNBC to discuss the initial public offering market. Recently, multiple high profile issuers have completed an IPO or have indicated their intent to do so in the not so distant future.

On the day Friedman was discussing her exchange, Zoom’s (Nasdaq:ZM) IPO rocketed on Nasdaq zooming well over its IPO price of $36/share, topping out at $66 dollars. Pinterest (NYSE:PINS), another IPO, hurdled its initial price but not quite as dramatically.

On the other side of the fence, Lyft (Nasdaq:LYFT) sunk, plunging from its IPO price of $72/share.

Asked what happened with Lyft, Friedman said they have a “long road” ahead of them. “I believe it is really important to look at them over the long term and not just the last few weeks,” explained Friedman.

The mixed bag of IPOs that either left money on the table or, perhaps, took too much, highlights the challenge in pricing a public offering.

Asked how healthy the IPO market stands today? Friedman said the market has been “healthy for awhile.” She said there were 182 IPOs last year and 50+ so far in 2019. “There is a lot of pent up demand … still.”

So does regulation bog down the IPO market? Friedman had this to say:

“I actually still think there are still some impediments to companies wanting to tap the public markets earlier in their lifecycle. The companies we see coming out now are multi-billion dollar companies who waited many, many years to go public,” said Friedman. “What we would love to see is companies wanting to tap the public markets earlier in their life their life cycle to give more of the average investors access to their growth as they are younger companies … Not waiting until they become these great, $10 billion companies to go tap the public markets.”

[easy-tweet tweet=”What we would love to see is companies wanting to tap the public markets earlier in their life their life cycle to give more of the average investors access to their growth as they are younger companies @adenatfriedman” template=”light”]

Friedman said they continue to see these impediments to smaller firms raising capital publicly instead of privately, alluding to the challenging regulatory environment and cost affiliated with becoming a reporting firm.

The private markets, specifically Regulation D, is a trillion dollar market – annually. Reg D dwarfs public offerings. The deep pools of private capital seeking growth opportunities before retail types jump aboard has generated a certain amount of grumbling amongst the sophisticated masses. Friedman is correct in stating “impediments” exist for smaller firms.

Earlier in the month at an event in Toronto, the CEO of the Canadian Stock Exchange, Richard Carleton, hit a nerve when he called IPOs in the US a liquidity event for rich peoplemore of an exit than an entry point.

So will US policymakers, both elected and appointed, do something to address this shortcoming where access is given to the well off while the hoi polloi watches from the bleachers? Don’t hold your breath.


Demand is still steady in IPO market, says Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman from CNBC.

NASDAQ Partners with Brave New Coin on Bitcoin and Ethereum Index

Nasdaq is moving up the crypto ladder with a new “data dissemination relationship” with Brave New Coin (BNC). The partnership will send real-time Bitcoin and Ethereum index level information on the Nasdaq Global Index Data ServiceSM (GIDS) starting on Monday, February 25th.

The Bitcoin Liquid Index (BLX) and the Ethereum Liquid Index (ELX) are said to be designed to provide a real-time spot or reference rate for the price of 1 BTC and 1 ETH respectively, quoted in USD,

Nasdaq states that both indices are calculated using a methodology that has been independently audited against IOSCO principles.

Nasdaq adds that the BLX is one of the most widely-referenced BTC indices among crypto traders and has been calculated back to 2010. Likewise, the ELX has been calculated back to 2014.

BNC is a data and research company focused on the blockchain and the digital asset sector. Auckland based BNC was founded in 2014. The company provides data, analysis, and research to a global network of market participants.

Bear Market or Not: Nasdaq Moving Forward on Plans to Sell Bitcoin Futures

Nasdaq is proceeding with plans to list a Bitcoin futures product on its exchange despite Bitcoin’s waning fortunes in 2017, sources to Bloomberg say.

Nasdaq hopes to have its Bitcoin futures market up and running by Q1 2018 and is working now to meet expectations at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

The CFTC is the regulator responsible for managing financial derivatives in the US.

Last December, when Bitcoin was trading at an all-time high price of almost $20 000 US, the Chicago Board Options Exchange (Cboe) and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) listed the first Bitcoin futures products approved in the US after reportedly engaging in a “self-certification” process.

Since then, however, the CFTC has reportedly announced an “enhanced review process” and no other Bitcoin derivatives have yet been approved.

As well, over the past year, during the public consultation processes, the SEC has been conducting while it considers approving Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs), the regulator has been repeatedly warned about poor integrity and manipulation in underlying Bitcoin spot markets.

While approval of several Bitcoin ETFs is hotly anticipated among aficionados as one of the precursors needed to kick off another bull run in crypto, many have warned that instability in spot markets would amplify risk in any derivative.

Recent price declines in Bitcoin have been mirrored by declining interest in Bitcoin futures also. Bitcoin futures volumes at the CME hit their lowest levels this fall.

Bakkt, the forthcoming crypto-trading and custodial offshoot of the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), recently announced it was delaying the release of its “Bakkt Bitcoin Daily Futures” until January 24th, 2018, pending the resolution of various complexities and approval by the CFTC.

Singapore Exchange & Monetary Authority of Singapore Move Forward on Tokenized Assets Across Different Blockchains

Singapore Exchange (SGX) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) have announced a successful blockchain pilot of “Payment (DvP) capabilities for the settlement of tokenized assets across different blockchain platforms.” The two entities have a goal of simplifying back-office operations, post-trade processes while shortening trade settlement – all while reducing overall risk.

Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief Fintech Officer at MAS said that blockchain technology and tokenization are fuelling a new wave of innovation globally.

“This project has demonstrated the value of blockchain technology and the benefits it can bring to the financial industry in the short to medium term. The concept of asset tokenisation, as well as other learnings gleaned from this project, can potentially be applied to a broad spectrum of the economy, creating a whole new world of opportunities.”

Project “Ubin” started in November 2016 as an industry collaboration to explore the use of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) for clearing and settlement of payments and securities. The first two phases of the Project focused on domestic inter-bank payment and settlement.

Phase 1 is said to have achieved the objectives of producing a digital representation of the Singapore dollar for interbank settlement, testing methods of connecting bank systems to a DLT, and making the MAS Electronic Payment System (MEPS+) interoperate with the DLT for automated collateral management.

Phase 2 developed software prototypes of three different models for decentralized inter-bank payment and settlements with the decentralized netting of payments in a manner that preserves transactional privacy.

MAS and SGX announced the collaboration in August of this year, one of two spin-offs from Project Ubin.

According to MAS, the DvP prototypes, developed in partnership with Anquan, Deloitte, and Nasdaq, has proven the ability to simultaneously exchange and settle digital assets including securities and digital currencies.

The project is also said to demonstrate that DvP settlement finality, interledger interoperability, and investor protection can be achieved via blockchain tech. MAS and SGX have jointly published a report that provides an overview of the process using smart contracts.

The report also identifies other considerations to ensure resilient operations including arbitration.

Tinku Gupta, Head of Technology at SGX and Project Chair, said they are delighted to drive this industry effort to accelerate innovation in the marketplace.

“Based on the unique methodology SGX developed to enable real-world interoperability of platforms, as well as the simultaneous exchange of digital tokens and securities, we have applied for our first-ever technology patent.”

Magnus Haglind, Senior VP and Head of Product Management, Market Technology at Nasdaq, said they have now demonstrated how to create interoperability between multiple networks to secure settlement between different assets. Haglind called the results “a major step in the application of blockchain to the capital markets.”

“By leveraging our Nasdaq Financial Framework, we can create this interoperability through an agnostic approach in relation to specific DLT selection, as well as have the flexibility to support various business and settlement models depending on the market structure and readiness of participants.”

The Report on Project Ubin is available here.

Crypto Industry Responds to Old School Finance Getting into Crypto as Fidelity Launches Fidelity Digital Assets

Fidelity, a nearly seventy year old financial firm with $7.2 trillion in assets under management, announced its entry into blockchain based finance today with the launch of Fidelity Digital Assets. The vision is to offer institutional quality trading in crypto while providing a superior level  of custody – a requirement for institutional participation. The fact that a financial service firm like Fidelity is moving into crypto is a resounding affirmation of its future prospects.

The news out of Fidelity was joined by rumors that NASDAQ will soon join the crypto scrum.

NASDAQ CEO Adena Friedman said earlier this year that her company was open to becoming a crypto exchange over time. The growing security token movement, which is regulated exactly like a traditional security, opens the door for NASDAQ, and other regulated exchanges, to offer blockchain based securities.

NASDAQ’s potential entry into crypto would see it competing with platforms such as tZero, OpenFinance, and more.

As the news of Fidelity’s new venture was distributed, CI received several comments from current crypto industry executives.

Andy Bromberg, co-founder and president of CoinList – a digital asset platform that was created by AngelList, said they are excited to see established firms enter the crypto market:

“Every announcement is a vote of confidence in the future viability of digital assets. We expect these moves to further increase the confidence of regulators and help drive the law forward.”

Rahul Sood, CEO of Unikrn and Board Member of crypto bank Palladium, said that crypto is going to break the status quo in Fintech:

“Fidelity and Nasdaq will not be alone. Soon, asset managers will look at blockchain the way banking looks at the Internet: do or die.”

Josh Fraser, co-founder of Origin – a company that raised funding on CoinList that is launching a decentralized marketplace for services, said that blockchain tech is going to revolutionize the traditional finance world – just like the internet has impacted every part of daily life.

“There are so many obvious benefits to the tokenization of securities, it’s no surprise that NASDAQ is investigating this opportunity. It will be interesting to see how they merge the two worlds. How much control are they ready to relinquish to the network? While some will argue that this move represents continued legitimization of the space.”

Fraser believes that NASDAQ needs crypto far more than crypto needs NASDAQ though. But the custody issue may be at an end:

“… institutions are holding back billions of dollars of cryptocurrency market investment due to lack of trusted custody providers. Fidelity is well positioned as a trusted brand, but they’ll need to develop new technical competencies if they want to get into the custodianship business,” said Fraser.

Akbar Thobhani, CEO of SFOX – a prime dealer that raised $22 million to build an institutional crypto asset management platform, said the announcement by Fidelity shows that cryptocurrency is here to stay.

“There’s already significant interest in security tokens and the compliance, cost-efficiency, and liquidity they provide to securities markets, but they will need to be registered, traded, and structured correctly. As the second-largest global exchange by market cap, Nasdaq has the proper experience, tools, and network to deliver security tokens to be adopted by the traditional masses.”

Thobhani says that Fidelity’s custody service and trading for institutions is indicative of the demand they are seeing from their clients.

” … we’ll really hit a turning point when Fidelity offers cryptocurrency to their retail and 401K customers.”

Ben Waters, Head of Digital at blockchain infrastructure company IOST, said traditional finance entering crypto is good for the industry but cautions on “exploitive financial systems” piggybacking into the space:

“Historically, the legacy financial system has been used to exploit the general public — making the rich get richer and creating centralized points of failure.”

Bruce Elliott, President of ICOx Innovations – a blockchain based rewards and payment platform, called the announcements a huge step forward for the mainstream adoption of cryptocurrency:

“For many reasons, seasoned investors have either been shut out of crypto markets or have been slow to invest up until now. This is a signal that financial markets and regulators are gaining clarity and comfort on the outlook for trading cryptocurrencies.”

[easy-tweet tweet=”This is a signal that financial markets and regulators are gaining clarity and comfort on the outlook for trading #cryptocurrencies” template=”qlite”]

Industry Advocates in Washington, DC This Week to Consult on Cryptocurrency Legislation

Representatives from Wall Street and prominent US crypto investment/services firms are convening in Washington this week to attend a legislative roundtable hosted by Republican Representative Warren Davidson of Ohio, CNBC reports.

Attendees at the roundtable, titled “Legislating Certainty for Cryptocurrencies,” are reportedly hoping to influence the creation of clear legislation that both protects consumers and “fosters innovation” in the sector.

“Your input is critical to helping us preempt a heavy-handed regulatory approach that could stall innovation and kill the U.S. ICO market,” Rep. Davidson reportedly stated in a letter to invitees.

Traditional finance firms Fidelity and State Street, as well as venture capital firms Union Square Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz, have confirmed they will attend.

They will be joined by representatives from the NASDAQ, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Ripple, and Coinbase.

Reps. Ted Budd, R-N.C., Tom Emmer, R-Minn., French Hill, R-Ark., and Darren Soto, D-Fla. gave opening addresses at the roundtable Tuesday.

Though firms banking on the new sector claim ICO’s free up capital and allow the industry to compete on an international scale,  some, like industry pundit, former Wall Street risk analyst and Bitcoiner Tone Vays, have criticized ICOs (initial coin offerings) for allowing project purveyors to essentially “print money” by soliciting funds from “unqualified investors” while providing negligible protections to consumers.

Since the advent of Bitcoin, thousands of ICO fundraises have allowed projects to skirt what they consider to be onerous restrictions on raising capital while also permitting retail investors to invest directly in tech start ups, something previously permitted only to institutional investors.

But among those ICOs, many scams have occurred.

In the absence of explicit legislation to govern ICOs, representatives at the SEC have made a number of comments suggesting they regard most ICOs as unregistered securities, but only a few of the most obviously fraudulent projects have so far been sanctioned.

A lawyer for the Ethereum blockchain-related firm Consensys, Pat Berarducci, who will also be attending the round table, says he believes there are, “a lot of regulators wanting the U.S. to develop ‘do no harm’ policies to allow innovation to grow, just like they did in the internet era.”

Meanwhile, several class action lawsuits by disgruntled ICO and cryptocurrency investors against companies like Ripple are now making their way through US courts.

There are also rumours afoot that some of the first projects to raise money by ICO, companies that very often did so with nary a prototype nor alternate revenue stream, are now running out of money and starting to fail.

Singapore Exchange and the Monetary Authority of Singapore, Join to Offer Tokenized Securities Using Blockchain. Partners Include: Nasdaq, Deloitte, & Anquan

In a significant move by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Singapore Exchange (SGX), the government entities announced its intent to offer digital assets including tokenized securities and virtual currencies. MAS and SGX will develop “Delivery versus Payment (DvP) capabilities” by using different blockchain platforms.

The project expects to provide improved operational efficiency while reducing settlement risk for institutions and corporate investors. Singapore has targeted Fintech innovation as strategically important to its economy and thus incorporating blockchain tech into the securities / payment transaction process aligns with this goal.

MAS / SGX said that three separate companies were collaborating on the project including Nasdaq, Deloitte and Anquan. These three partners will leverage open-source software which will be made publicly available in Project Ubin Phase 2. Anquan previously partnered with SGX on BondChain which utilised Anquan’s proprietary combination of high on-chain scalability, decentralised security, and privacy preserving features based on a hardware root of trust.

Magnus Haglind, Senior VP and Head of Product Management, Market Technology, at Nasdaq, said that in their experience of developing projects to leverage blockchain, a willingness to collaborate was a key component for success.

“As we partner to develop technological capabilities to bridge between blockchains from both SGX and MAS, we are excited to join forces in backing and advancing Singapore’s focus on building a Smart Financial Centre ecosystem.”

Ho Kok Yong, Financial Services Industry Leader, Deloitte Southeast Asia, said they were excited to partner with SGX and MAS on the initiative.

“Using two different open source blockchain technologies to implement and design the Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLT) prototype, we are able to mitigate counterparty risks in DvP and achieve DvP settlement finality with clearing members.”

Project Ubin started in November 2016 as an industry collaboration to explore the use of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), or blockchain, for clearing and settlement of payments and securities. This is with the aim of understanding DLT’s potential in making financial transactions and processes more transparent, resilient and at lower cost. The project will produce a report that examines the potential of automating DvP settlement processes with Smart Contracts and identify key design considerations to ensure resilient operations and enhanced protection for investors. The report will be released by November 2018.

Phase 1 was said to have achieved the objectives of producing a digital representation of the Singapore dollar for interbank settlement, testing methods of connecting bank systems to a DLT, and making the MAS Electronic Payment System (MEPS+) interoperate with the DLT for automated collateral management.

MAS states that Phase 2 successfully developed software prototypes of three different models for decentralised inter-bank payment and settlements with decentralised netting of payments in a manner that preserves transactional privacy.

The source-codes and technical documentations are available for public access under Apache License, Version 2.0. Central banks, financial institutions, as well as academic and research institutions are encouraged to tap on the open source-codes to facilitate their experiments, research and innovation.

“Blockchain technology is radically transforming how financial transactions are performed today, and the ability to transact seamlessly across blockchains will open up a world of new business opportunities,” commented Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief Fintech Officer of MAS. “The involvement of three prominent technology partners highlights the commercial interest in making this a reality. We expect to see further growth in this space as FinTechs leverage on the strong pool of talent and expertise in Singapore to develop innovative blockchain applications and benefit from the new opportunities created.”

Tinku Gupta, Head of Technology at SGX, and Project Chair, said the project will deploy blockchain technology to link funds and asset transfers while eliminating risk in the DvP process

“This is a collaborative innovation bringing together multiple players to pursue real-world opportunities that will benefit the ecosystem.”

 

High Times Gets Crypto Buzz in Reg A+ Crowdfunding Offer & Possible NASDAQ Listing

High Times, the inimitable marijuana magazine, is in the midst of a Regulation A+ crowdfunding round. CI first covered the offering when the media firm first issued its first Form 1-A with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The offering documents have since been qualified by the SEC (March 12) and the offering circular provides a wealth of important information any investor should definitely read.

Recently, High Times juiced the Reg A+ offering a bit by adding some crypto shine to the common stock sale. Last week High Times announced “it will become the first ever stock offering to accept cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. Its current equity-crowdfunding process, under Regulation A+, has already begun the process of bringing in cryptocurrencies.”

High Times CEO Adam Levin stated;

“High Times has been at the forefront of popular culture for more than four decades. Now we’re taking another step into the future, not only as one of the first cannabis-related brands to go public on the Nasdaq but also as the first to allow Bitcoin and Ethereum as part of our public capital raise.”

Levin said that crypto has created a new global investor base – and his company was giving them “more stable opportunities for investment.”

“Beginning with our Reg. A+ crowdfunding, we’ve been focused on giving everyone from retail investors to long-time fans more ways to own a piece of High Times. While we didn’t believe that the ICO process was the right move for our brand, it would’ve been foolish to leave this emerging investor base out as we continue to transform into a diversified media, events and merchandise giant.”

If you are interested, you may read all about the stock offering here. At $11 a share, and a $99 minimum, individual investors may participate in an offering seeking up to $50 million – the max amount under Reg A+. If it is accepted by NASDAQ, investors will gain access to liquidity (proposed ticker symbol HITM).

High Times has also added a bundle of perks for investors.

At $420, the magic marijuana number, you get to have your stock certificate framed. At $50,000 you receive a VIP Amsterdam Cannabis Cup Trip for two.

High Times explains their value proposition beyond their legendary magazine:

“Due to our unique positioning in the cannabis space, we believe that considerable monetization opportunities present themselves in brand licensing and e-commerce. We intend to leverage our brand and platform to showcase quality products as well as to companies who wish to grow and sell cannabis in states where the growing and dispensing of medical and/or recreational cannabis is permitted.”

The political environment is changing when it comes to recreational use of cannabis. In the US, the weed may be on a path to national legalization as it is easier to control and, of course, to tax. That is what the Canadians decided as the country will treat Cannabis more like booze this fall.

High Times may be well positioned to benefit from the changing societal norm. From counter culture to accepted entertainment.

So should you invest in this Reg A+ offer? That is a decision for each individual investor to ask.

High Times notes that they have altered the offering a bit as its most recent Reg A+ filing shared an “almost $29 million in reduction of negative equity, significant decreases in operating losses, and a debt reduction.”

The valuation of the company stands at $225 million. This means you, as an investor, expect the company to increase in value over that amount at some point in the future.

For the 12-month period from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2017, the High Times magazine had advertising revenues of $2,411,430, revenues of $339,934 from newsstand sales, revenues of $420,428 from subscriptions, and revenues of $275,021 from product, licensing, royalties and miscellaneous services.

During 2016, Cannabis Cup Events generated approximately 68%, of the total consolidated revenues of the company. High Times was acquired by the THC Group in February 2017. The company has focused more attention on events and festivals. For the year ended December 31, 2017, High Times conducted 22 live events shows including nine Cannabis Cup. These events and festivals reported $11.04 million in revenues and a gross profit of $680,000. This compares to the prior year 12 months where revenues of $9.94 million and a gross profit of $3.25 million was booked.

Perhaps the capital injection from the Reg A+ IPO and the changing sentiment regarding marijuana may help High Times return to growth.

 

Fintech Pintec Technology Holdings will IPO on NASDAQ Global Market

PINTEC, a China based Fintech firm that offers financial solutions that connect business partners and financial partners to provide financial services to end users, has announced its intent to do an initial public offering on NASDAQ Global Market. PINTEC expects to trade under the symbol “PT”. Goldman Sachs (Asia) L.L.C., Deutsche Bank Securities, and Citigroup are the underwriters.

The Fintech provides various online lending and other financial services. According to the company, they had 21 million registered users for its point-of-sale financing and personal and business installment loan solutions as of March 31, 2018. Since platform launch, PINTEC has originated $3.8 billion in loans for 3.8 million unique borrowers.

Via its wealth management vertical, PINTEC has facilitated transactions for over 168,000 cumulative unique investors.

The Company’s risk assessment and credit assessment engine evaluates both fraud and credit risks on the basis of over 10,000 data points and a series of different credit models utilizing machine learning technologies to automatically provide personalized, accurate and instant credit decisions with risk-based pricing.

PINTEC points to the fact that the consumer finance market in China is huge already but it is expected to grow to $3.7 trillion by 2022. Growth in the outstanding balance of loans facilitated through online consumer lendin g platforms in China is expected  to be significant, reaching $115.3 billion within four years, representing a five-year CAGR of 35.3%.

According to the filing with the SEC, PINTEC expects to raise $70 million.

PINTEC won’t be the first Chinese Fintech to list on a US exchange but it is probably the first one that provides such a wide range of services. There have been a few others that have successfully IPOed. As a company with less than US$1.07 billion in revenue for their last fiscal year, they qualify as an “emerging growth company” pursuant to the JOBSAct of 2012. An emerging growth company may take advantage of specified reduced reporting.

 

Nasdaq CEO Says ICOs Exploiting Retail Investors

The CEO of stock marketplace and benchmark index for US tech stocks, Nasdaq, has come down hard on the opportunism of issuers of ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings), whom she believes are “taking advantage” of retail investors, CNBC reports.

An initial coin offering is a relatively new method of issuing tradable digital “tokens” or “coins” to raise funds for nascent tech projects.

ICO came into being with the creation of the Ethereum network, a blockchain protocol that allows anyone to create a cryptographic digital token which can be bought and sold for “ether,” the Ethereum network’s native “cryptocurrency.”

Today, several other platforms also allow creation of ICOs, and the whole market for the past year has been the subject of a speculative frenzy that created more than a few ostentatious new “crypto millionaires.”

Enthusiasts say the technology expedites innovation by allowing tech companies to sidestep cumbersome and slow IPO fundraises and vetting by predatory venture capital firms, which often take a sizeable cut of the project.

ICOs have until recently flown under the regulatory radar, but an increasing number of critics have expressed concerns about fraudulent ICOs and whether or not capitalization by ICO is really creating lasting value. “There is no there, there,” they say.

Now Nasdaq CEO, Adena Friedman has joined the chorus. She believes a swath of naive investors, like “Auntie May in Iowa,” are being drawn into markets where hype outsizes fact, and where investors have few, if any, enshrined rights:

“(I)t’s all being bought by retail…I have real concern on lack of transparency, oversight, and accountability that these companies have as they’re going out to raise capital through an ICO.”

In their terms of service, many, even most, ICO agreements impart to investors about the same level of rights as crowdfunding agreements- meaning none. Friedman sees danger in that:

“To make it no rules at all, when companies can just willy-nilly take people’s money and offer no information at all, with no governance, that sounds to me like you’re taking advantage of people…

I sympathize with SEC saying these are really securities offerings. I support the SEC on that.”

Freidman made the comments Wednesday at the Future Fintech Conference in New York.

 

 

 

 

 

 

China: WeiyangX Fintech Review

Tiger Brokers and Nasdaq Reach Strategic Cooperation on US Stock Data Solutions

On June 14th, Tiger Brokers and Nasdaq announced a strategic cooperation to jointly provide Chinese Fintech platforms access to the US stock market data.

According to the agreement, Tiger Brokers will become the official strategic partner of Nasdaq market data and will distribute its US stock market data to the Chinese online world. At the same time, Tiger Brokers will use its own technological advantages to provide customized data access solutions.

Tiger Brokers is an emerging Fintech brokerage company. Established in June 2014, Tiger Brokers is committed to becoming a global asset allocation platform. It has received the backing of investors such as Xiaomi Technology, Zhen Fund, Interactive Brokers, and other well-known investors such as Wall Street Investors Rogers.

Wu Tianhua, founder of Tiger Brokers, said that there will be dozens of companies from mainland China that will IPO in Hong Kong and the US, which is a great opportunity for Tiger Brokers. (Source: lieyun)

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Zhejiang University Introduces First Blockchain Course

Zhejiang University will offer a course entitled “Blockchain and Digital Assets” for some undergraduates and postgraduates from the fall semester of 2018.

The reporter learned from the Blockchain Research Center of Zhejiang University that this course is a module course for senior undergraduates and postgraduates in the “finance and technology” direction of the School of Computer Science and the School of Software.

In April 2018, China’s first billion-dollar blockchain innovation fund was established in Hangzhou. According to incomplete statistics, Hangzhou has already recorded 193 blockchain patents. (Source: Xinhua.net)

[clickToTweet tweet=”Zhejiang University in China Introduces First #Blockchain Course” quote=”Zhejiang University in China Introduces First #Blockchain Course”]

Ant Financial Becomes the Only Chinese Founding Partner in MIT Fintech Laboratory

Recently, the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory officially announced the establishment of the MIT Financial Technology Laboratory- FinTech @ CSAIL- at its annual University Partner Conference.

The research project is based on the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory with research directions mainly in blockchain, privacy security, multi-party security computing, database systems, etc. Moreover, this laboratory also collaborates with outstanding global technology companies to jointly explore the application of these technologies in financial science and technology scenarios and tap the real value in the real world.

Among them, Ant Financial Services was selected as the only Chinese company to be a founding member of the MIT Financial Technology Laboratory.

It is reported that the number of patent applications from Ant Financial ranks first among global internet companies. At present, it has made breakthroughs in large-scale transaction processing capabilities, privacy protection, and cross-linking.

In the past two years, this Chinese Internet giant has begun to exert its efforts in technological investment and cooperation in production, education and research.

In addition to the MIT Financial Technology Laboratory, Ant Financial has also established joint laboratories with universities such as the University of California, Berkeley, Stanford University, and Tsinghua University to promote basic technology research and development. (Source: mpaypass)

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9F Group Completes $65 Million D-round Financing

This week, China’s leading wealth management platform 9F Group has completed the full investment of USD $65 million D-round of financing, which was initiated in the first quarter of this year. This round of investment was from FAMOUS GROUP and Plentiful International, two industrial funds from two powerful companies which both have large-scale integrated businesses in the fields of banking, real estate, manufacturing, and technology with an asset scale of over 100 billion. In October 2017, 9F announced the completion of the C round of financing (USD $400 million).

9F was established in 2006 and has accumulated a user base of more than 46 million. It owns a number of brands and products including 9F Hui, Wukong Wealth Management, 9F Wallet, 9F Wanka, and 9F Securities (Hong Kong).

In 2016, 9F became the first group of members of NIFA Board of Directors and was selected as one of the Deloitte – top 50 Technology Fast Growing Chinese companies for two consecutive years.

In August 2017, 9F Group officially launched its internationalization strategy and accelerated its business layout in the United States, Silicon Valley, Southeast Asia (Singapore), and Hong Kong. (Source: lieyun)


WeiyangX is the most influential website focusing on Fintech in China. The site covers the latest news, industry data analysis, business practices, and in-depth fintech cases in fintech. WeiyangX is incubated by Fintech Lab. Founded by Tsinghua University’s People’s Bank of China (PBC) School of Finance in 2012, the Fintech Lab is the first and leading research entity dedicated to leading best practices, promoting interdisciplinary innovation, and encouraging entrepreneurship in the field of fintech through scientific research and innovative project incubation.

Swedish Fintech iZettle Announces Intentions to Launch IPO & List on Nasdaq Stockholm

Swedish fintech platform iZettle announced on Tuesday its plan to proceed with an initial public offering (IPO) or and to list its shares on Nasdaq Stockholm. Founded in Stockholm in 2010, iZettle reported its a mission to help small businesses succeed by revolutionizing mobile payments with a mini cheap card reader and software for mobile devices. The company also offers a commerce platform for small businesses in Europe and Latin America, which provides tools to get paid, sell smart, and grow businesses.

iZettle reported that its shareholders and Board of Directors believe that it is now an appropriate time to broaden the shareholder base and list iZettle’s shares on Nasdaq Stockholm. The IPO is expected to support the Company’s future growth and operational strategy and provide the Company with improved access to capital markets and a diversified base of new Swedish and international shareholders. The company revealed that the listing committee of Nasdaq Stockholm has approved the Company’s shares for listing, subject to customary conditions. Depending on market conditions, the IPO is expected to be completed in 2018.

While sharing more details about the IPO and Nasdaq plans, Jacob de Geer, CEO and co-founder of iZettle, comments:

“Ever since first revolutionising mobile payments in 2011 through its first card reader, iZettle has shown rapid and sustainable growth and moved beyond payments to offer a leading commerce platform tailored to small businesses in Europe and Latin America. Small businesses face many of the same challenges as big businesses – finding customers, marketing their products and services, efficiently running their businesses and getting access to finance – but have long been underserved since the solutions available have been both timeconsuming and expensive. iZettle offers small businesses affordable and hassle-free tools to help them get paid, sell smarter and grow their businesses. We are still in an extensive expansion phase and are in a unique position to make a difference for millions of small businesses in the markets that we serve. The IPO will provide us with improved access to capital markets to facilitate our continued growth and help us strengthen our profile with merchants, key business partners and in the fierce competition for talent. We look forward to embarking on the next stage of our journey together with existing and new shareholders in iZettle.”

Magnus Nilsson, Chairman of iZettle’s Board of Directors and Co-Founder, added:

“Having so far been under private ownership and primarily financed by private capital raisings, our shareholders and Board of Directors believe that now is a suitable time to broaden our shareholder base and list our shares on Nasdaq Stockholm. We are very proud of what iZettle has accomplished since its inception and how we day after day manage to help small businesses succeed. As Chairman, I am particularly impressed by the dedication and talent of the people we manage to attract and the challenges we solve. For us, as founders, this is yet another milestone in our journey. Together, we now take the next important step on iZettle’s exciting path forward. We are well positioned to continue our growth journey and the contemplated IPO will offer new shareholders an opportunity to participate in iZettle’s success.”

Crypto Related Company Longfin “Voluntarily” Delists from NASDAQ as SEC Receives Continuing Freeze of $27 Million in Company Assets

Longfin Corp. has announced its intent to “voluntarily” delist from the NASDAQ. The move comes as an ongoing enforcement action by the Securities and Exchange Commission saw allegations of illegal distributions and sales of restricted shares.

Longfin raised capital using the Reg A+ crowdfunding exemption in 2017. Soon after the offering, Longfin shares listed on NASDAQ trading under the symbol “LFIN.” Soon after the listing, Longfin announced the acquisition of a blockchain based firm “Ziddu,” a company that ostensibly would provide micro-finance lending backed by an initial coin offering.  The announcement caused the share price of Longfin to rise dramatically while simultaneously catching the attention of the SEC. Last December, Venkata Meenavalli, CEO of LFIN, visited the studios of CNBC where he struggled to explain the trading activity in his company.

The SEC first revealed a freeze of more than $27 million in trading proceeds from allegedly illegal distributions and sales of shares of Longfin involving the company, its CEO, and three other affiliated individuals in April.  A federal judge unsealed the SEC’s complaint while shares in Longfin were halted.

Longfin has made multiple announcements in the following weeks including a notice of its intent to cooperate with the SEC.

Earlier this week, the SEC announced an extension of the asset freeze until the conclusion of the case that alleges illicit activity by Longfin, its CEO, Venkata Meenavalli, and three affiliated individuals, Andy Altahawi, Dorababu Penumarthi, and Suresh Tammineedi.

 

Longfin stated yesterday that the Company believes that it is preferable for the Class A Common Stock to trade on the Over The Counter market as soon as possible as opposed to proceeding with an extended review process with the Nasdaq Stock Market.

Longfin intends to file a Form 25 with the SEC on May 14, 2018, with the delisting becoming effective 10 days after the filing. The company anticipates that the last day of trading on NASDAQ of its Class A Common Stock will be on May 14, 2018.

The Company believes that its Class A Common Stock will be eligible for quotation on the OTC Market following its delisting from the Nasdaq Stock Market.

The SEC has asked that anyone with information about potential securities law violations involving Longfin to contact them by emailing longfin-info@sec.gov.

 

NASDAQ is Open to Becoming a Cryptocurrency Exchange

This should really come as no surprise. NASDAQ is open to becoming a cryptocurrency exchange. The regulated exchange says it is already providing its technology to other crypto exchanges so taking the additional step would not be that difficult.

Speaking on CNBC today, NASDAQ CEO Adena Friedman was questioned by Kevin O’Leary (of Shark Tank fame). Friedman said she agrees with the SEC that initial coin offerings (ICOs) need to be regulated.

“Certainly NASDAQ would consider becoming a crypto exchange over time,” said Friedman.

She thinks it is a pretty immature space right now.

“I believe that digital currencies will be something that will continue to persist,” added Freidman. It is just a matter of time as to how long it will take for crypto to mature.

Commenting on the statement by the NASDAQ CEO, Joseph Weinberg, OECD Think Tank Special Advisor & Shyft Chairman, said should Nasdaq become a crypto exchange;

“… this could be a great thing! Regulation, again, is a massive roadblock to something like this happening. You need to solve and create an informed model on self-regulation. By that, I mean how do you operate a bitcoin “marketplace” while at the same time enable a security token exchange. SROs take years to build from scratch. It’s not an easy process, but the entity that cracks it unlocks the holy grail in completing the bridge between traditional and the crypto ecosystem.”

Weinberg said there is a  division right now between crypto marketplaces and security token exchanges.

“However, because it’s all within the same asset class, a proper exchange should be both. Like the derivatives market, it’s highly complex. For example, if you move from a derivative to a future, those are two entirely different models, but it’s effectively two exchanges in one. Not to mention that crypto tokens present a tonne of edge cases in how they function, which makes the models quite different from the traditional way of thinking about exchanges.”

Yo Kwon, CEO of Hosho and co-founder of crypto exchange Coinsetter, said it was smart for traditional exchanges like NASDAQ to leverage their experience from existing exchanges like Gemini (a NASDAQ partner);

“There are unique challenges from a cybersecurity perspective that need to be accounted for such as wallet management. Someone who has already had to deal with those challenges will put NASDAQ on a better footing before they seek professional cybersecurity consultation. Wallet management is highly complex when covering different coins and tokens that have a variety of capabilities and best practices available. Most tokens released are managed by a smart contract that may or may not be secure.”

Kwon said that exchanges like NASDAQ need to be wary of not only their own security practices but also of the challenges of tokens and wallets.

“Many of the other aspects relating to cybersecurity of a prominent regulated exchange should already be taken care of. “

It is encouraging that NASDAQ is keenly interested in the crypto space and they are aware of the opportunity. This is most likely due in part to Friedman’s leadership. Soon after taking the helm of NASDAQ, she described the company as a global Fintech firm.


Nasdaq CEO: Seeing revenue growth across the entire business from CNBC.

Longfin Receives Reprieve from SEC Temporary Asset Freeze

Longfin Corp. (NASDAQ:LFIN), is reporting that Judge Denise L. Cote has vacated the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) that froze the assets of the company.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) obtained a court order freezing more than $27 million in trading proceeds from allegedly illegal distributions and sales of restricted shares of Longfin Corp. stock involving the company, its CEO Venkat Meenavalli, and three other affiliated individuals.

A federal judge unsealed the SEC’s complaint on April 6. Shortly before the SEC’s complaint was unsealed, the Nasdaq Stock Market halted trading in Longfin’s stock.

Previously, Longfin initiated a Reg A+ offering and quickly listed its shares on NASDAQ after the sale of the shares. Soon after the listing, Longfin announced the acquisition of an apparent blockchain based micro-lender Ziddu that intended to issue Ziddu coins. The price of shares soared following the announcement.  Subsequently, Meenavalli visited the studios of CNBC defending that actions of his company following the extreme price change in his company’s shares.

At the  time of the asset freeze, Robert Cohen, Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Cyber Unit stated;

“We acted quickly to prevent more than $27 million in alleged illicit trading profits from being transferred out of the country. Preventing defendants from transferring this money offshore will ensure that these funds remain available as the case continues.”

Longfin is still not out of the woods as the case SEC v. LongFin et al., 18 Civ. 2977 (DLC), remains pending before Judge Cote. The SEC has created a dedicated email address for Investors with questions about Longfin and for anyone with information about potential securities law violations involving Longfin: longfin-info@sec.gov.