- Facebook to Launch Cryptocurrency Stablecoin
Facebook Inc. is planning to introduce cryptocurrency for its over 1 billion WhatsApp users, according to people familiar with the matter.
The social media giant is working on a digital currency, stablecoin, that will be pegged to the U.S. dollar in order to minimize volatility.
Stablecoins are asset backed cryptocurrencies but centralised since it is regulated by body managing the underlying assets. Stablecoins are correlated to assets outside cryptocurrency, therefore, limiting risk exposure.
The source who asked not to be identified said Facebook will be focusing first on India market, however, said the company is far from releasing the digital coin as they are still working on implementation strategy.
Mark Zuckerberg announced in January that Facebook is studying blockchain technology to see how it could be integrated into its business. The company later made David Marcus, former PayPal president the head of its blockchain initiatives. Since then it has employed about 40 blockchain technologists.
“Like many other companies, Facebook is exploring ways to leverage the power of blockchain technology,” a company spokesman said in a statement. “This new small team is exploring many different applications. We don’t have anything further to share.”
The social media giant is focusing on India because of two main reasons; WhatsApp has more than 200 million users in the Asian country, and Indians remits the most money back home in 2017, a total of $69 billion, according to a data released by the World Bank. Facebook is leveraging its huge global presence for revenue growth, most especially after series of lawsuits and several security issues that are projected to hurt its revenue going forward.
“Facebook adoption of the blockchain technology will boost its mainstream penetration and enhance its global acceptance,” said analysts at Investors King Ltd.
The news boosted Bitcoin value to $4170 a coin after declining to $3104 on December 14th. Still, the uncertainty surrounding the cryptocurrency industry remained especially as most potential investors continue to doubt its viability.
Bitcoin Sets a New Record High at $63,000 on Tuesday
Bitcoin surged to a fresh record high of more than $63,000 on Tuesday, as investors awaited the highly-anticipated stock market debut of cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase.
The price of bitcoin climbed 5% in the last 24 hours to hit $63,171, according to data from Coin Metrics, before easing slightly to around $62,653. Ether, the second-most valuable digital coin after bitcoin, also set a fresh record, climbing to $2,222.
Coinbase is set to go public on Wednesday through a direct listing that could value the company at as much as $100 billion — more than major trading venue operators like Intercontinental Exchange, owner of the New York Stock Exchange. Crypto investors are hailing the company’s stock market debut as a major milestone for the industry after years of skepticism from Wall Street and regulators.
“This is really good and really important for the industry,” Marcus Swanepoel, CEO and co-founder of London-based cryptocurrency platform Luno, told CNBC. “It’s going to increase the trust and transparency in our industry.”
“There’s still a bit of distrust in the industry and I think having a company of that size be public is going to help a lot of people realize that this is not just an asset class to take seriously but also a business to take seriously.”
Coinbase, founded in 2012, is the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the United States. It’s seen surging revenues this year thanks to a climb in the value of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The company reported estimated revenues of $1.8 billion in the first quarter of 2021, a nine-fold increase from the same period a year earlier, while profits grew to between $730 million and $800 million.
Bitcoin has more than doubled in price since the start of this year, as mainstream investors jumped into cryptocurrencies. Tesla recently made a $1.5 billion bet on bitcoin and now accepts the digital currency as a method of payment for its cars. Meanwhile, Wall Street giants like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are looking to offer their wealthy clients some exposure to bitcoin.
Bitcoin bulls view the cryptocurrency as a store of value akin to gold that can be used to diversify investment portfolios in times of economic crisis. But skeptical economists like Joseph Stiglitz and Nouriel Roubini are unconvinced, viewing bitcoin as extremely volatile and a vehicle for illegal transactions.
Ripple Scores Second Victory As Court Denies SEC’s Request On Financial Records
A judge has granted a motion to dismiss the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) request to peer into years’ worth of financial records belonging to Ripple executives.
A court document from Judge Sarah Netburn, filed on Friday, shows the SEC’s request for eight years of financial data belonging to Ripple’s Brad Garlinghouse and Chris Larsen has been denied.
CEO Garlinghouse and Executive Chairman Larsen asked the courts to quash the request by the securities regulator last month labeling the request as a “wholly inappropriate overreach.”
The development means Ripple has scored a second victory in its fight against the regulator after having won the right last week to look into the SEC’s internal communications over how it classifies cryptocurrency as a security.
Netburn said the SEC’s request for personal financial records, outside of those belonging to transactions relating to XRP (+24.28%), that were already promised by the executives, was irrelevant and disproportional to the “needs of the case.”
“The SEC shall withdraw its requests for production seeking the individual defendants’ personal financial records and withdraw its third-party subpoenas seeking the same,” wrote Netburn.
However, should discovery progress to a point where the SEC uncovers evidence demonstrating Garlinghouse and Larsen lied about their XRP transaction records, Netburn said the regulator may renew its application.
In December, the SEC sued Ripple, Garlinghouse and Larsen alleging the company and its executives had sold XRP to retail investors in direct violation of U.S. federal securities laws.
Rap Icon Nas Could Net $100M When Coinbase Lists on Nasdaq
U.S. rapper Nasir Jones (better known by his stage name, Nas) is among the fortunate few to have made early investments in Coinbase, the cryptocurrency exchange expected to reach over $100 billion in valuation when its COIN stock lists on Wednesday.
Jones’ investment firm, QueensBridge Venture Partners, got into Coinbase’s Series B round back in 2013 when it raised $25 million. Around that time Coinbase was valued at about $143 million, according to PitchBook.
The Nas news shows just how far Coinbase’s public listing will ripple across the world of venture capital, with everyone from Wall Street veterans to A-list celebrities all standing to win big when the chips fall this week.
QueensBridge, which was also a backer of Robinhood in 2013 and later Lyft and Dropbox, makes early-stage investments of between $100,000 and $500,000, according to Jones’ QueensBridge co-founder Anthony Saleh.
Dividing the firm’s $100,000–$500,000 stake by the share price at the time of Coinbase’s Series B ($1.00676) points to QueensBridge owning around 99,329 shares on the low end or 496,642 on the high end, according to an analysis by CoinDesk.
At the price that Coinbase shares last traded on private secondary markets – $350 per share – Jones’ firm would have a pot of somewhere between $34.76 million and $173.8 million. If Coinbase shares trade at investment bank DA Davidson’s new price target of $440, QueensBridge could see the value of its Coinbase stake rise to $43.7 million and $218.5 million, respectively.
Saleh and Jones did not return requests for comment. Coinbase declined to comment.
But a source familiar with the matter confirmed QueensBridge remains on the Coinbase cap table.
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