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For once in a blue moon, the Bitcoin (BTC) market saw notable price action over the past week. On Friday, the aggregate value of all crypto assets saw a 9% hike, as Litecoin (LTC) posted a jaw-dropping 34% gain to precede a collective market rally. BTC moved above $3,700, catalyzing optimists’ quips that further recovery is inbound.
This aside, the fundamental side of this budding space posted just as strong of a performance, as notable strides were made by crypto startups. ErisX, a crypto trading platform backed by TD Ameritrade, secured three key staffers, Abra revealed a plan to allow its users to purchase U.S. equities with Bitcoin, and Kraken finalized a $100+ million deal straight out of left field.
- Twitter CEO Lauds Bitcoin, Makes Public Lightning Network Transaction: Just days after Jack Dorsey took to Joe Rogan’s podcast to laud the merits of Bitcoin, the chief executive of both Square and Twitter, made a surprise appearance on what is best known as Crypto Twitter. In the midst of a community-run initiative called the Lightning Trust Chain, which sees participants send marginally more BTC with each transaction on the Lightning Network, someone called on Dorsey to take the “torch.” Surprisingly, the Silicon Valley star accepted the offer, pasting a Lightning Network invoice in response to the inquiry from Matt Odell. And just like that, proverbial lightning struck, and Dorsey was sent 2.86 million satoshis (0.0286 BTC) for near-negligible fees, within seconds, and broadcast for the world to see. In later tweets, the Bay Area citizen doubled-down on his affection to the Bitcoin maximalist mindset. When asked why he only holds BTC, an amount which he deemed “enough,” Dorsey noted that the project is resilient, principled, native to the ideals of the Internet, and a great brand in and of itself.
- Coinsquare Lays Off 40 Staffers: According to Canadian fintech media outlet Betakit, the Toronto-based Coinsquare, one of the North American nation’s leading Bitcoin exchanges, laid off a good portion of its staffers last week. Citing sources with familiarity with the unfortunate debacle, the company purged 40 employees across the board, bringing its cumulative headcount down to ~150. This represents a 27% reduction in total staffers. It was also revealed that even key C-suite members, including COO Robert Mueller and CFO Ken Tsang, were shown the door. In a statement, CoinSquare chief executive Cole Diamond remarked that the current market conditions are the “most volatile that you or I have ever seen,” thus mandating tough choices, such as laying off staffers. The Canadian entrepreneur explained that Coinsquare needs to be “prudent” in the way it uses its capital, as it needs to stay afloat to fulfill its long-term ambition of creating an organization that “has a real chance at changing the world.”
- ErisX Hires Wall Street Execs: ErisX, an American crypto investment upstart that is backed by TD Ameritrade, Virtu Financial, and CBOE, recently hired an array of key staffers as it purportedly nears its launch. Per a press release from the company released Thursday, ErisX will be bringing on Robert Thrash, Arnold Connell, and John Denza, who will take up executive and C-Suite positions at the group. Thrash, chief operating officer, joins the Bitcoin-friendly company from Barclays, where he headed the giant’s futures execution and clear platform facets. This new hire is evidently a step that ErisX is taking towards the eventual launch of cryptocurrency futures, pending approval from U.S. regulators. Former Youtube executive Connell will be taking up the mantle of the infrastructure head, while Denza hails from the CBOE. In a comment regarding the new ErisX staffers, chief executive Tom Chippas, a Wall Street legend that once was a part of top brasses of Citadel, Citi, Barclays, and Deutsche Bank, stated that the three bigwigs’ move onto ‘Satoshi Street’ only accentuates the opportunity that crypto & blockchain pose.
- Abra To Allow For U.S. Stock Purchasing With Crypto Assets: Popular crypto investing upstart Abra, headquartered in Mountain View, California, revealed that it would soon allow its clients to invest in “stocks, ETFs, commodities, cryptocurrencies, and fiat currencies,” all through its flagship application. Starting shortly, users in 155 countries will be able to buy U.S. stocks, whether it be Apple, Amazon, Google, or otherwise, along with a list of other traditional equities for no fee, and with a minimum investment of $5. Interestingly, all this will be done through crypto-collateralized contracts, which will be based on Bitcoin. As this news propagated, the broader crypto sector erupted in excitement. Ryan Selkis of Messari noted that this is “much, much bigger news than the Lightning torch if it works,” referencing the Jack Dorsey narrative.
- Kraken Secures $100+ Million Deal To Launch Crypto Futures: San Francisco-based Kraken, headed by Jesse Powell, revealed Monday that it had acquired Crypto Facilities, a European digital assets derivatives provider, for a minimum of $100 million. This marks the biggest crypto-related deal in 2019 so far. With this move, Kraken will now be able to offer crypto-linked futures investment opportunities for Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, XRP, Litecoin, and Ethereum.
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