A Hong Kong-based investment firm is planning to launch a new crypto-custody service to address the growing interest from institutional clients, and we’ve covered the story in today’s Bitcoin in Brief. Also in The Daily, billionaire Mike Novogratz expects an influx of institutional investors into the crypto space; a new survey claims 30 percent of Brazilians want to invest in cryptocurrency; and an Australian startup shows what to do with excess tokens if the sale did not meet its target; Samsung stores in the Baltic states don’t accept crypto after all, Coppay explains why.
Hong Kong Investment Firm to Launch Crypto Vault
Responding to increasing interest in cryptocurrencies from high-net-worth and institutional clients, a Hong Kong-based company is planning to launch a crypto-custody service by the end of this year. Fusang Investment Office is an asset manager focused on Asian private family offices. Its Fusang Vault is expected to open for customers in the fourth quarter of 2018.
“Digital assets are akin to bearer bonds, whereby whoever that is holding the security is presumed to be the owner and there is no registration of ownership information of the security. Hence, the way we keep digital asset secured is of paramount importance,” said CEO Henry Chong, quoted by the South China Morning Post.
Chong did not provide more details about the Fusang Vault’s services. However, he shared that Fusang Investment is already working with insurers to provide cybersecurity insurance coverage for future clients’ digital assets. SCMP’s report also notes that cryptocurrency trading is attracting more and more financial institutions like hedge funds and asset managing firms. This leads to an increasing number of over-the-counter (OTC) transactions and creates the need for alternative asset safekeeping options.
Novogratz Expects a ‘Herd of Institutional Investors’ in Crypto
Prominent hedge fund manager Michael Novogratz expects more financial institutions coming into the crypto space. A “herd of institutional investors” is headed towards cryptocurrencies, Novogratz said in a speech during the Blockchain Week Korea last week. In an interview with The Street, he added: “I think institutional investors are slowly coming to the realization that blockchain will be Internet or Web 3.0 and they’ll want to participate just like they want to participate in the Web.”
Novogratz, who earlier this year raised $250 million to launch Galaxy, a merchant bank trading cryptocurrencies, and invest in blockchain projects, also said that institutional investors will first participate through venture-capital funds. “Many of them are already participating because they’ve invested in Sequoia or Polychain or Benchmark or many of the other VC funds that invest in this area,” he added. According to the billionaire investor, the second step for these players will be to buy coins or even acquire ICOs.
A Third of Brazilians Interested in Crypto Investments
Amid rising popularity of cryptocurrencies around the world, a new study reveals that about 30 percent of Brazilians are interested or intend to invest funds in cryptocurrencies sometime in the near future. The survey, carried out by cybersecurity firm Avast, also found that more than 84 percent of the 1,900 people polled were aware of and familiar with cryptocurrencies.
The results published by the local crypto outlet Portal Do Bitcoin also show that 44 percent of respondents agreed to websites using their computing power to mine cryptocurrencies in exchange for an ads-free surfing experience. At the same time, more than 86 percent of the surveyed admitted they were concerned about their devices being infected with mining malware. Half of the rest believed they would not be affected because they did not own any cryptos.
Australian Startup Bitcar Burns Its Unsold Tokens
A company building a platform to support crypto payments for fractional ownership of collectible car brands has decided to demonstrate what a startup could do when its initial coin offering did not attract as much capital as expected. Bitcar launched its ICO last year hoping to raise $25 million at the start of 2018. Investors were offered to buy the BITCAR tokens that would allow them to pay for a share of a luxury vehicle. The firm wanted to buy the cars on their behalf with the intention to hold them for around 15 years, until they appreciate enough to be sold for profit.
The Australian startup, which was set up in Singapore where regulations are more favorable, managed to collect $S6.5 million (~$4.7 million USD) during the presale of its token and $S3 million (~2.2$ million USD) in the public sale later, bringing the total to $S9.5 million (~$6.9 million USD), or less than half of the stated target, Business Insider Australia reports. One token was worth US10c at the time but it’s currently trading for less than a cent.
The smaller amount of capital raised has forced Bitcar’s team to reassess the situation. The startup has decided to essentially get rid of the excess tokens in hope to improve the scarcity of those already sold. “Due to the smaller raise, Bitcar have decided to burn unsold tokens from the ICO –– thus reducing the circulating and total supply,” the company explained. The startup’s founders also announced they plan to “burn” half of their allocated tokens.
Samsung Stores in the Baltics Don’t Accept Crypto, Coppay Explains Why
Coppay, a European crypto payment processor, announced last week that Samsung stores in the Baltic States will be accepting seven cryptocurrencies through its payment gateways. Following the announcement, a Samsung spokesperson was quoted in some reports explaining that the corporation is not partnering with Coppay. The fintech firm denied the reports and provided in a new blog post its explanation about the situation after the original release was deleted.
In the update, Coppay clarifies that it has offered its solution to the Baltic premium reseller of Samsung products, which is a separate entity. The company signed an agreement with the reseller, activated its payment gates in the stores and even trained personnel there. Coppay CEO Ina Samovich emphasized: “We’ve never claimed that we enter into partnership with Samsung HQ. We announced about the possibility to buy Samsung products with cryptocurrencies in its Baltic stores.”
“Unfortunately, after Samsung officially announced that it doesn’t have any plans for the crypto and blockchain payments, the reseller decided to suspend [the] cryptocurrency payment method,” the blog post details. The company also says it has the evidence to prove its version of the chain of events and has uploaded a photo of a Coppay sticker with a sign saying “cryptocurrency accepted here” in what appears to be a Samsung branded store.
What are your thoughts on today’s news tidbits? Tell us in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Michael Novogratz (Twitter).
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