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Cryptocurrency Morning Brief

Jun 19, 2018

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  • Three separate industry trackers have compiled data for cryptocurrency hedge fund performance for May and year to date. While all three benchmarks reflect declines roughly in the same amount, the difference between benchmark are due to tracking different funds. Barclay Hedge showed that cryptocurrency hedge funds were up 44.86% in April, yet they were down 19.09% in May and are down 34.57% YTD.
  • The Malta Stock Exchange (MSE) has announced that cryptocurrency exchange Binance will be supporting its newly launched program to support FinTech and crypto startups. The stock exchange recently tweeted that twelve FinTech companies will be utilizing their facilities as an accelerator program. Thomson Reuters has reportedly joined this effort and will be serving as a mentor to companies.
  • The Swiss Crypto Fund AG, has received a license to distribute crypto funds to qualified investors in Switzerland. This decision has been backed by the country’s financial regulator, FINMA. The fund is a subsidiary of the Swiss Crypto Finance Group (CFG). It is reported that this is the first time a crypto business has been granted permission to distribute funds by the authorities in Switzerland. Crypto Fund AG is looking to create a passive investment vehicle tracking a benchmark of up to 10 cryptocurrencies. The Swiss bourse SIX will calculate and maintain the index.
  • The city of Zug, home of the Swiss Crypto Valley, is accepting payments in bitcoin and ether for municipal services, including company regisrations
  • South Korean banks are using blockchain technology to launch the next-generation digital identification system in July 2018. The Korean Federation of Banks (KFB), called BankSign, is a conglomeration of national and regional banks. The joint effort utilizes Samsung’s enterprise blockchain solution, Nexledger. The new identification system will seek to replace the labor-intensive steps of physical documentation. Users will have an improved verification process for mobile and online banking.
  • The CEO of UBS, Sergio Ermotti, has said has said that blockchain will be essential for the financial services industry in an interview with CNBC yesterday. The firm’s CEOs said that the technology will free up resources and allow those resources to become more efficient which will allow firms to reduce costs. The bank recently joined a blockchain partnership called Batavia with IBM, Bank of Montreal, CaixaBank, Commerzbank and Erste group. The partnership performed pilot transactions in April which involved sending cars from Germany to Spain and furniture textiles from Austria to Spain.
  • Blockstream research director, Andrew Poelstra, is looking to bring privacy to bitcoin by covering the cryptocurrency’s “trails”. Trails can be described as the traces of information: who you are, what you buy, and for how much. Poelstra is looking for ways that Bitcoin (BTC) can use smart contracts without using large amounts of data. Additionally, Poelstra is interested in seeing Bitcoin’s lightning network become private so that bitcoin transactions all look the same.