Xolaris Investment Firm launches two Bitcoin Mining Investment Funds

Xolaris has launched a European private-equity fund focused on Bitcoin mining. The timing of the launch comes as a surprise to many experts, mainly because of Bitcoin’s market price going down. Nevertheless, the German investment firm Xolaris intends to raise between 34 and $57 million for the project’s 4-year period.

Xolaris CEO, Stefan Klaile said that the company was asked numerous times in the last few years to create a regulated product in the crypto and digital currency sphere. Many professional investors wanted to know if Xolaris has plans to launch such a service in the near future. Now that it’s live, the minimal entry investment fee is $285 000.

This new European fund is a joint venture between Xolaris and Marc Stehr. Stehr owns a 2000-supercomputer mining farm in Sweden. A small portion of the fund’s capital will go to the mining farm in Sweden. The goal is to further modernize and expand the already massive mining facility.

Xolaris are launching two Bitcoin Mining Equity Funds

When asked why he chose to partner up with Stehr, Klaile stated:

Our company had to look long and hard at many factors. We wanted to do the best for our customers so we decided to go with Stehr. He owns a large mining infrastructure, which has already proven to mine Bitcoin successfully. I believe that with his sound reputation and impressive infrastructure, we’ve made the right choice and already eliminated several risks

Another big advantage of Stehr’s mining farm is the location. Sweden has a cooler climate and very affordable electricity costs. The country’s political climate is also beneficial for the Crypto environment. Sweden is making great progress into becoming a cashless society and Digital Currencies will play a major role in that endeavor.

After the subsidy for Norwegian miners was stopped by their government, many miners are considering relocation to Sweden.

Xolaris is however, not interested in settling down only in Europe. A second fund is planned to launch. The $50 million Bitcoin mining fund in Hong Kong will be targeted only towards Asian investors. Klaile said that the subscribtions for the Asian fund would start later this month, after it rolls out its flagship European fund. Klaile actually believes the market is favorable for him since the rough conditions will scare away most of the competition.

Klaile remains optimistic about the funds’ development and says that the current market downturn doesn’t necessarily have to stop everything in place. He believes miners are long-term investments and the proof of that is the large amount of wealth which was accumulated over the past 5 years.

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Stablecoin Might Just Evolve to be the Asset Everyone Needs

Stablecoins are seeing a huge rise in offering. This is mainly due to the prolonged bear market thanks to which we have more than 50 stablecoins on offer today. That means the next big cryptocurrencies just be might a stablecoin.

Now that stablecoins have gained some media and industry attention, it’s important to look at how these assets might eventually grow in the near future. They have the biggest potential for change and positive impact and also present a lot of opportunities.

Stablecoins are simply a manifestation of a stable collateralized asset blockchain. This asset is used to hedge against the rampant decline and volatility of the many crypto prices. Because of this, stablecoins are more often than not, backed by traditional assets like fiat currencies and/or precious metals. As such, they have no appreciation value and only reflect on the performance of the underlying asset.

They are also used as a mechanism to move value in stable terms. While they are considered crypto, that is only in order to appease the tokenization process and guard against double spending. In fact, most stablecoins despite being on a public, decentralized blockchain, are centralized.

By being the first stablecoin, Tether experienced the both the pros and cons of being the only one of its kind. It’s on the slowest blockchain and failed to secure a third-party auditor. The inability to present a reliable bank account has dealt a strong blow to the stablecoin’s reputation.

The first stablecoin will be studied by all next-gen stablecoins

Many crypto projects around the world have experienced this as well. Despite all of its shortcomings and speedbumps, Tether has been very useful as a guinea pig for the industry. All the new coins entering the scene like GUSD, USDC and PAX will make use of Tether’s experience and forge the next generation of stablecoins. The stablecoin from the next generation will have very high expectations.

In order to unlock one of the biggest problems behind current offerings, the blockchain must be scaled. The majority of them are using the slow ethereum blockchain. Tether uses the Omni protocol, which is on top of bitcoin. These blockchains are by no means user-friendly and they prohibit the onset and velocity of payment mechanisms.

While blockchain is developing on all fronts, for stablecoins to reach the next level, they require a combination of speed, security and decentralization which is simply not found anywhere today. Sidechains are viewed by many experts as the natural scaling solution. The centralization inherent in incumbent payment systems however, doesn’t provide the advantages which cannot be copied in true decentralized systems.

At the moment, Visa and MasterCard are in the possession of large networks. Stablecoins will need such networks to find a way to transact across borders and developing technologies. This has to happen with security and speed maintained at the highest possible level. There also needs to be a better defined global legal and tax framework to govern these new assets.

In the long-run know-your-client (KYC) and anti-money-laundering (AML) checks and balances must become enmeshed and connected with the blockchain. This will make stablecoins easily usable in applications ranging from buying milk to cross-border payments.

It’s foolish to think that all this will happen in the next year or two. 2019 is shaping to be a pivotal year for stablecoins, but there are already clear drawings on the horizon and if given to the right artists, can be used to paint a masterpiece for everyone to enjoy.

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Security Token Offering (STO) is still illegal in the country, reminds China

The many recent attempts by projects to raise money with a Security Token Offering (STO) triggered China to remind projects about the legal implications of Security Token Offerings. Huo Xuewen, the chief of Beijning’s Municipal Bureau of Finance has reminded many projects considering doing a Security Token Offering, that it’s still considered an illegal form of fundraising in Beijing.

Security Token Offering is currently replacing the most popular crowdfunding method – Initial Coin Offerings and Xuewen addressed upcoming projects at the Wealth Management forum last Saturday. His warning was straight and simple:

I want to warn everyone who are currently in Beijing and want to conduct a Security Token Offering. Do not do it here.

Security Token Offering is replacing Initial Coin Offerings

Security Token Offerings basically tokenize assets into digital tokens. This allows investors to purchase shares of the profits gained from the assets. Initial Coin Offerings on the other hand, had to carefully distance themselves from this approach. They insisted that tokens did not represent a share in profits. Security Token Offerings basically present international investors with the best of both worlds.

They combine the liquidity of Initial Coin Offerings with the much needed regulatory compliance of more traditional investment vehicles. The new concept, despite how appealing to investors it seems, will be treated the same way as Initial Coin Offerings, according to Beijing. The People’s Bank of China (PBoC), banned ICOs last year and in the process shut down many crypto exchanges.

Last month, the PBoC announced that they are beginning to go after all forms of crypto airdrops as well. Pan Gongsheng shared that the bank is already planning to take down Initial Coin Offerings based abroad which continue to solicit Chinese investments. He said:

Any new financial product or phenomenon, which is not authorized under the current laws, will be crushed as soon as it surfaces

Hardcore measures against Cryptocurrencies are nothing new in China. Back in August, a Chinese district strictly forbid for local businesses to host any events which promote or involve Cryptocurrencies. The harsh stance will most likely not change for the foreseeable future.

Initial Coin Offerings suffered a huge reputation blow this year and it’s more likely that this form of fundraising will keep decreasing. Security Token Offerings on the other hand, are gaining speed and companies like Indiegogo are hosting Security Token Offerings. ICOs owe their current downfall to the huge influx of scams, failed projects, lack of funding and regulation.

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Weiss Ratings Believes It’s Time to Purchase Bitcoin

During the last year, Bitcoin (BTC) has been in a bear market that affected the whole market. Several virtual currencies have lost more than 95% of their value while others were not able to keep operating. However, Bitcoin has also been affected. Since its all-time high in December 2017, it lost more than 80%  of its price.

Nevertheless, Weiss Ratings, the independent rating agency that rates virtual currencies, wrote a tweet in which they say that this is the best moment to buy Bitcoin during the year.

Weiss Ratings Says Bitcoin is Becoming a Good Buying Opportunity

Although Bitcoin is not recovering from the last bear trend, there are some analysts that believe that it is a good time to purchase Bitcoin (BTC). In a recent tweet, the company that rates virtual currencies and other companies said that Bitcoin is here to stay.

On the mater, Weiss Ratings wrote:

“BTC is getting to such low levels that it’s becoming one of the best buying opportunities of the year. As a store of value, Bitcoin is here to stay. We truly think it’s the least speculative investment a person can make in crypto right now.”

There are many experts currently talking about Bitcoin’s future and the bear market that is affecting the whole industry. However, there are bullish comments being made by firms and individuals.

Weiss Ratings provides research, data and information about stock markets, ETFs, insurance companies and also cryptocurrencies. With its trajectory in the space, Weiss Ratings gained a space in the crypto market and their analyses are taken very seriously in the industry.

In the near future, there are many things that could start a new bull market in the space. For example, in January, the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) is expected to launch the so-called Bakkt platform and allow institutional investors to enter the market. This would clearly allow new funds to purchase virtual currencies and have a substantial impact on the market.

Furthermore, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission could also approve the first ever cryptocurrency exchange-traded fund (ETF) in February. If that happens, one of the most important regulatory agencies in the world would be legitimizing Bitcoin as an established investment asset.

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New Assets and Exciting Independent Projects to be Listed on Coinbase

Coinbase has revealed it’s planning on listing more than 30 new assets. This does not mean the tokens will be added to the platform. According to a blog post from December 7th, the exchange is currently exploring its options. There is a wide variety of tokens taken into consideration ranging from ERC-20 tokens to entirely independent projects.

The blog post emphasized on Coinbase’s desire to grant their customers an increased amount of access. It’s the exchange’s goal to offer customers access to more than 90% of all compliant digital assets by market cap.

The new assets must be chosen carefully so reputation blows are evaded

With the current market state and the horrible reputation blow suffered by ICOs, Coinbase goes into detail how the process must be conducted extremely professionally:

“Adding new tokens requires an immense amount of exploratory work. This includes both the technical and legal compliance aspects. This is why it’s impossible for the company to guarantee which tokens will be added.”

“Our listing process also might result in a few of the listed assets being listed only for users to buy and sell, without the ability to send or receive using a local wallet. As for the listing process, we will continue adding assets based on a jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction basis. This allows us add assets with ease and security.”

Coinbase also issued a warning to its users that some assets might appear on public-facing APIs and other services before they are listed officially. If this indeed becomes the case, there are absolutely no guarantees from the exchange whether or if these assets will be available.

Historically, Coinbase users have received hints of assets being listed before the official announcements. Just a few months ago, bots took advantage of Coinbase’s API and begun trading 0x less than an hour before the listing became official. Other customers have reported seeing Zcash (ZEC) appear on the exchange’s wallet before the official announcement.

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Huawei Cloud has lauched their Blockchain Services internationally

Huawei Cloud announced that they finally launched their Blockchain Service (BCS). The cloud services arm of Huawei Global, Huawei Cloud launched the BCS in China earlier this year. With the new launch however, the BCS Blockchain Services are available to the entire world through Huawei Cloud’s official website.

This new service will allow entrepreneurs from all over the world to develop, use and manage many Blockchain apps on Huawei Cloud. Additionally, all actions will be incredibly faster and way cheaper for all users. BCS launching globally is only the first step in Huawei Global’s large Blockchain initiative. A new global Blockchain platform is in its finishing stages and will soon also be released worldwide.

Huawei Cloud wants to release a global Blockchain platform

It’s the company’s belief that BCS can be applied in most industries especially finance, big data and data applications. The BCS is essentially a cloud service which leverages on the blockchain and on a few of the advantages inherent to the Huawei Cloud container and security tech. If everything is working as intended, BCS should be able to cover many scenarios like ID verification, remote healthcare, Internet-of-Things device management, Proof of Information and the Internet of Vehicles (IoV).

At the present, a lot of Blockchain’s potential applications are investigated and already used by many enterprises across industries. Huawei is making a bold step by deploying Distributed Ledger Technology on a cloud device. This is mainly because deployment is a process which consumes a lot of time and resources. That’s why it’s paramount that developers have a firm understanding of the technology and its possible applications under Blockchain tech.

Huawei takes pride in its Blockchain services, with the biggest strengths being flexability and efficiency. Switching, joining, quitting multi-role nodes and members is incredibly easy. Users can also use multiple efficient consensus algorithms (5000 + TPS). The company also believes another advantage is the relatively low cost of the delployment combined with the rediced O&M costs with unified management and its security and privacy protections.

Huawei is positive in its ability to manage, but also isolate users, persimission and their private keys while still providing multi-layer encryption for the users. The Linux foundation was launched back in 2016 by the partnership founded by Hyperledger and Huawei. Due to its many technical and code contributions to Fabric and STL, the company was recognized as a one of the biggest maintainers of Hyperledger.

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WCX: Investing Bitcoin in the Financial Markets has never been easier

One of the most important factors for successful investing has always been diversification. A lot of beginner investors learned this the hard way, by going all in on Crypto and not exiting with their profits. Diversification has always been a tool for reducing risk and optimizing your portfolio. Every investor with ambitions to be successful has to research and study every financial market. From Stocks, Bonds to Fiat Currencies and Commodities, the opportunities are everywhere. A recent trend of investing your Bitcoin in the traditional financial markets shows just how much the industry has advanced. Trading platforms that allow mixed trading between digital currencies and traditional financial markets have experienced exponential growth in 2018. Digital Currencies created a whole new market on their own and are here to stay. The exponential growth happened with the Switzerland-based trading platform WCX.

WCX allows you to invest Bitcoin in the traditional markets

WCX is the leading trading platform to trade the financial markets with Bitcoin. WCX is based in Switzerland and was founded in 2018 by engineers that worked for Apple California previously. The founders of WCX, Amatsu Soyonobu and Tagawa Hayashida are very experienced in software engineering and finance and launched their platform in October of this year. Although relatively new, WCX grew exponentially since its launch and is growing at a record pace with user base from over 190 countries and more than one billion dollars in trades.

Amatsu Soyonobu and tagawa Hayashida were Bitcoin early adopters and were angry that Bitcoin didn’t have more real world use cases. That’s how the idea of WCX was born to let regular people trade the traditional financial markets using their Bitcoin. WCX focuses on security, performance and simplicity and stands out in the trading and financial world, because it allows its users to trade by using just Bitcoin. Cryptocurrency traders know that Crypto exchanges often are faster and more user friendly than regular trading desks. WCX combines the speed, user experience and trading experience of Cryptocurrency exchanges with the range of markets and financial instruments, offered by traditional trading brokers.

Because traders use Bitcoin and don’t rely on banks, WCX provides 0% fees, the lowest spread in the industry and high liquidity. WCX is compliant with Know-your-Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering procedures and is self-regulated, covering all requirements for external regulation in Switzerland. The fact that they accept BTC for trading means that WCX can provide among the lowest fees possible and focuses on the Crypto community. Investing Bitcoin in Forex, Stocks or Commodities is a great opportunity for investors to use their Bitcoin to diversify their portfolio.

WCX combines a clean design with incredible security features

Starting with WCX is simple and easy. You can create an account with just an email and minutes later you will be using the trading dashboards. WCX offers more than 100 markets to trade in, but also some of the most popular digital currency like Bitcoin, Ripple and Ethereum. There are no fees for trading, depositing or withdrawing. Deposits and withdrawals are processed within minutes in Bitcoin.

For beginners or people that want to trade for fun, when creating a new account people can chose to skip ID verification and start demo trading. Demo accounts have 10 BTC in their balance and unlimited refills, which let people get a feel of the platform, test out things and experiment without risking their money. For experienced traders, WCX provides flexible leverage trading. Unlike other trading platforms that lock you into one leverage level, users can select the leverage that they want to use on each specific trade they make from 1x to 300x.

WCX has a 24/7 customer support and puts security as their number one priority. Digital Funds are stored in cold wallets and users can enable two-factor authentication for that extra layer of security. WCX Trading dashboards are fast and simple to use on desktop and mobile. Charts are full of drawing tools and indicators for technical analysis, letting users enjoy the full trading experience. WCX’s Affiliate program offers 50% revenue share on the traders that are referred. It’s one of the biggest percentages of revenue share in the industry and the payments are instantly transacted in Bitcoin.

WCX Conclusion

Features:

  • 100+ Markets
  • Zero fees on trades, withdrawals and deposits
  • Tiny Spreads
  • Unlimited Demo trading
  • Bitcoin In, Bitcoin Out
  • KYC/AML compliance
  • REST and Websocket API
  • Easy to use User Interface on all devices, with light and dark themes
  • Instant withdrawals and BTC deposits credited after one confirmation
  • 24/7 Customer Support
  • High-paying affiliate program (50% revenue share forever)
  • Minimum trade size: Just 0.001 BTC
  • Flexible Adjustable Leverage

WCX allows simple and fast ways to trade the financial markets and invest your Bitcoin in them. Providing zero fees, incredible security, demo trading without risk and a modern trading dashboard, WCX has become the preferred place to trade for hundreds of thousands of people. By supporting the Crypto community and trading, WCX is an ecosystem that will continue to grow and give Bitcoin a great use case. If you want to check them out, visit them at: WCEX.com

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How TripAdvisor Destroyed Trust in the User Review

Image Source: tripadvisor-warning.com

TripAdvisor is a true giant in the travel industry. The company was one of the few that emerged successfully from the dot-com bubble in 2001. Although it wasn’t launched with the intent of being a review site, once the “Add your own review” button was available on existing property listings, the concept took off.

Now, TripAdvisor is the number one destination and accommodation website in the US, expected to turn over $1.6 billion in 2018. The site contains more than 600 million reviews covering more than 7 million restaurants, hotels, and attractions, making it the go-to resource for independent recommendations from other travellers.

But Is TripAdvisor Reliable?

The problem is that TripAdvisor reviews aren’t always genuinely objective. In some cases, they may not even be genuine reviews from actual users. Over the years, stories have emerged that indicate up to one in three reviews are fake. While TripAdvisor flatly denies this, analysis from Fakespot’s machine learning algorithms found that 32.9% of reviews were suspect.

TripAdvisor may quibble about the numbers, but you don’t have to look much further to find that fake reviews exist. Earlier this year, reports emerged that TripAdvisor had spent years investigating a company called PromoSalento, that was selling fake reviews to restaurants and hotels. The company turned over its findings to Italian prosecutors, and the owner of PromoSalento could now face jail time as a result.

This came four years after the Italian antitrust authorities fined TripAdvisor $600,000 for not warning users that reviews on the platform may be fake. Before that, the UK Advertising Standards Authority had also forced the company to change some of its website copy as references to “50 million honest travel reviews” was misleading to users.

After all this, it’s hardly surprising that renowned UK food critic Marina O’Loughlin wrote a scathing review, describing her “loathing” of TripAdvisor’s misleading restaurant recommendations.

Fake Reviews Aren’t the Only Problem

One of the underlying issues is that unlike other user review systems such as Amazon or booking.com, TripAdvisor has no way of knowing if a user actually ate at a listed restaurant or stayed at a listed hotel. However, some cases show the listings themselves may be fake.

Image source: 2Oceansvibe

Vice writer Oobah Butler had formerly written fake reviews for TripAdvisor, so knew better than most how to game the system. He famously listed his garden shed in south London, and managed to wriggle “The Shed” restaurant to the number one rated restaurant. This, in a city with more than 18,000 competing restaurants listed on the platform. An Italian newspaper also managed to pull off a similar stunt.

Can Blockchain Help Re-establish Trust?

Blockchain technology offers many benefits in establishing trust between parties, so ratings and reviews could soon improve through the implementation of blockchain. There are now glimmers of hope on the startup horizon for anyone wary of fake reviews.

Restaurant Sector

Resto is a blockchain project seeking to create more trust in user reviews across the restaurant sector. Resto is a rating and loyalty platform tailored specifically for the restaurant sector. Food service operators will pay for their participation in the Resto ecosystem. However, a listing is more than just a portal for online reviews.

Once listed, the restaurant can access the database of Resto customers, targeting deals and promotions to those in their area and with the same dining preferences. As the platform has a loyalty component, users will also be able to accrue loyalty points in the form of Resto tokens, that they can spend in other participating restaurants.

Image source: restotoken.org

Because the visits to each restaurant are recorded on the blockchain through the loyalty token accrual, only verified customers can leave a review on the platform. This means that users of Resto are assured that the listing and the review are both genuine. Food service operators will also have access to reporting tools and statistics on their customer feedback.

Crypto Space

Revain is another blockchain-based review platform. Unlike Resto, Revain is not limited to users posting only on businesses within its own network. To offset the risk of fake reviews, Revain uses a robust KYC process. The system also puts limits on how many reviews a user can post in a single day and has a two-step checking process in place, to prevent fake reviews from slipping into the system.

The Revain platform is targeted at user reviews for ICOs, cryptocurrency exchanges, e-commerce, and fast-moving consumer goods. Users who post high-quality, useful reviews are rewarded in the system tokens.

A More Transparent Future for User Reviews

User reviews in their current format are ripe for abuse. As TripAdvisor has grown, the company struggles with managing the scale of the fake reviews problem. At the same time, its policies and review process are not set up with any significant barriers to fake reviews.

Blockchain provides a proactive way to prevent fake reviews, which is a substantial improvement over the reactive uphill battle faced by TripAdvisor.

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Gemini Lists Bitcoin ABC as the Only Bitcoin Cash

On December 7th, the Gemini crypto exchange announced they are adding support for Bitcoin Cash (BCH). Gemini will however, only support the fork, which is based on the Bitcoin ABC roadmap. There is absolutely no support or use for Satoshi’s Vision (SV) on Gemini yet.

After last month’s hard fork, tensions were high. The rapidly-declining market didn’t make things easier for anyone. Now after the hard fork, the network is split into two different blockchains, both of which are competing against one another with their own tokens. Gemini announced they are adding replay protection in order to ensure transactions are online valid on the network they support.

VP Eric Winer said:

“We will continue to evaluate Bitcoin SV in the near future. It’s entirely our decision whether we chose to support Bitcoin SV in the future. At the present time, any cryptocurrency sent to our exchange over Bitcoin SV will be deemed invalid and will be irrecoverable.”

The Friday announcement stated that the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) has already given its approval on the bitcoin cash listing. NYDFS have already allowed Gemini to offer both trading and custody services to its customers within state.

Starting early next week, Gemini’s customers will be able to deposit bitcoin cash into their accounts. Trading support will be available today at 18:00 UTC. The initial launch will offer BCH trading pairs with USD, BTC, ETH, LTC and ZEC.

Gemini is fully aware of Bitcoin SV

This is by no means a controversial decision by Gemini since Bitcoin Cash ABC is listed as bitcoin cash by several other exchanges. Kraken and Coinbase have also listed ABC as the only Bitcoin Cash. Poloniex is currently still listing both ABC and SV as different separate coins.

Gemini shared their interest about Bitcoin Cash back in the beginning of the year before the hard fork was announced. The Winklevoss twins were also taking litecoin as a potential addition at the time. Litecoin was officially listed by the exchange in October.

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Gazprom Banking Department Announces a new Crypto Trading Service for 2019

Gazprom Bank, the Russian bank’s Swiss division, seems to be working with two companies to implement crypto services to allow customers to deal with virtual currencies. The firms are Avaloq and Metaco and will be implementing a service allowing customers to handle cryptocurrencies without having to manage wallets or passwords.

Gazprom to Launch Crypto Trading Service

As reported by FinanceMagnates a few days ago, the company released a statement in which it announces a new crypto-related service for 2019. The main intention is to offer services to financial institutions. During this year, and after a bull market in 2017 triggered by retail investors institutions are searching for ways to enter the market without having to deal with virtual currencies themselves.

In order to do so, Metaco integrated a custody solution known as SILO that allows companies to store their digital assets and make transactions with them without problems. The integration was made into one of Avaloq’s Banking Suite product.

The SILO integration can make the management platform very easy to use and simple.

Thomas Beck, Group Chief Technology Officer at Avaloq, commented:

“Thanks to the close integration of the Metaco storage solution, banking and wealth management customers won’t have to trust additional third parties when trading with cryptocurrencies. By bringing together all asset classes in one portfolio view, the solution will also ensure the highest levels of convenience and usability.”

With this new platform, Gazprom will have the possibility to purchase, sell and transfer cryptocurrency assets on behalf of its clients. At the same time, it will be able to provide a consolidated portfolio view, without the need for a crypto-wallet or private key management.

There are several companies in the space that are trying to offer similar products and services for institutions. The Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) has also taken the decision to launch a platform called Bakkt that has been designed specifically for institutions.

The current companies working in the space and offering trading services or storage solutions are not designed for institutions. Some of the exchanges are not regulated and many others have been affected by hacks during the last years. Wealthier investors are searching for better platforms built from scratch specifically to serve their custody and trading needs.

Other firms developing similar services are Goldman Sachs, Fidelity Investments and Coinbase, one of the largest and most popular companies in the crypto world.

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