JEX is Binance’s Latest Acquisition to Offer Derivative Trading Services

Leading cryptocurrency exchange Binance has announced its newest acquisition – JEX, a Seychelles-based crypto-asset trading platform that offers spot and derivatives trading services.

The news was communicated in a press release, citing “JEX will join the Binance ecosystem as Binance JEX and focus on further building the crypto-asset derivatives market.

JEX is a company that specializes in cryptocurrency-related derivatives products such as options and futures contracts. Following the acquisition, the firm will be rebranded as Binance JEX and it will keep its existing team intact. Meanwhile, Binance will introduce more utility to the JEX token and will provide Binance users with additional professional services such as futures contracts, options, and other derivatives products.

It is further noted that in a longer-term, JEX tokens will be distributed gradually to all users through marketing activities as well as community incentives. However, the tokens will be ultimately retrieved and burned in different forms including trading commission deductions.

This new acquisition follows Binance’s continuous interest in the derivatives market. Most recently, the exchange platform has added a new service to its range, specifically margin trading and has shown interest in pursuing offering options and futures trading.

Binance co-founder Yi He has stated that JEX developed solid derivatives product offerings, which are consistent with Binance’s product roadmaps in the crypto-asset derivatives market. He further added:

“We hold an open mind and welcome more partners to join the Binance ecosystem. We look forward to delivering more innovative derivative products in the future as Binance JEX.”

Subsequently, Binance noted that new financial products will launch in September. The exchange platform has also unveiled two futures testnet platforms – Futures A and Futures B –which will allow users to conduct a simulated trading competition. After exploring the platforms, users will be asked to vote for their favorite futures testnet and get the chance to win 10,000 Binance Coin (BNB).

“We think open competition is a great way to test out the products’ usability. Through the competition, we hope to fully review the two products in terms of market feedback, scalability, and liquidation model design. It’ll help with the ultimate decision making,” said a Binance spokesperson.

The spokesperson further explained that the exchange aims to address current common issues afflicting the market, such as high latency, overloads, and poor risk-control mechanisms, which are reportedly some of the problems faced by BitMEX.

Meanwhile, just last week it had been reported that Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao announced that the platform was planning to launch futures trading this month. Two days prior to this, the exchange had announced the launch of its first crypto lending product, allowing users to earn interest from Binance Coin (BNB), Tether (USDT) and Ethereum Classic (ETC).

Alan Howard Behind the $1 Billion Crypto Hedge Fund

Elwood Asset Management, a UK-based investment firm owned and founded by hedge-fund billionaire Alan Howard, is planning to launch a $1 billion venture in the cryptocurrency hedge fund space, according to a report published by The Financial Times on August 30th.

Elwood Chief Executive Officer Bin Ren disclosed to the Financial Times that the firm was working on a platform that would tailor portfolios of cryptocurrency funds for institutional investors.

According to the report, the new platform aims to address the volatility and security risks often associated with the crypto hedge funds. CEO Ren claimed that the objective was to provide investors with a selection group of vetted crypto funds have passed robust due diligence so that market participants can avoid “blow outs.”

Whilst the details of the new venture have yet to be finalized, it is noted that the platform would allow investors to specify their terms such as the risk level they are willing to take, the returns they expect, as well as their liquidity terms. In addition to that, it will also determine the potential correlation with other assets owned by the investors. As a result, investors will get portfolios specifically tailored to their needs.

Besides the fees the investors need to pay to access the underlying funds, they would also have to pay a certain fee to Elwood for using the new platform.

“I see this as a very big growth opportunity,” Ren said, adding that the new platform-style product could ultimately manage over $1 billion of assets.

Meanwhile, Elwood has been screening crypto hedge funds and has already identified up to 50 that “probably satisfy our due diligence.”

The new platform builds on Elwood’s previous work in the crypto space. Earlier this year, the investment firm launched the Elwood Blockchain Global Equity Index. The index, which is calculated by index provider Solactive AG, stimulates investment into both crypto and blockchain projects.

Elwood had also indicated it was planning to increase its cryptocurrency offerings as it announced the launch of a blockchain exchange-traded fund in partnership with Invesco, which would be listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Last month, Invesco Japan launched the Japanese domestic ‘Invesco Global Blockchain Equity Fund’, offering Japanese investors exposure to digital assets and blockchain technology. The fund will track the performance of the Elwood Blockchain Global Equity Index.

Prior to this, there had been other reports that also suggested Elwood was planning to launch a range of cryptocurrency products targeting institutional investors. Moreover, Alan Howard himself has a host of crypto investments under his belt, including in EOS developer Block.one as well as the ICE-owned digital assets platform Bakkt.

The new venture follows other billion-dollar-plus investments in the space. For reference, Telegram’s blockchain, TON, which is expected to be released in the coming months, raised over $1.7 billion.

Crypto Banks Appear in Switzerland With First Two Licenses Awarded

FINMA, the Swiss financial watchdog has approved banking and securities dealer licenses to two new “crypto banks”. SEBA and Sygnum are two companies entirely focused on working with blockchain-based products and have been cleared to operate at the same level as traditional banks, making them effectively the first crypto banks.

First Licenses Awarded

FINMA published the announcement on Monday, this being the first time it has issued such licenses blockchain-focused companies. The awarded licenses allow SEBA Crypto Sygnum to provide services to institutional customers as well, marking a major milestone for the digital asset industry.

SEBA says it will be operational in October once it fulfils secondary criteria requested by FINMA. It plans to offer corporate and asset management services for the new asset class.

Sygnum, headquartered in Zurich, is working with the German stock exchange, telecoms operator Swisscom and other partners to list and trade tokenised securities on a distributed ledger technology platform.

“Being awarded the banking and securities dealer licence from FINMA is a significant milestone, and an important step towards the institutionalisation of the digital asset economy”, said Manuel Krieger, co-founder and CEO of Sygnum Switzerland.

AML Restrictions Extend to Crypto As Well

At the same time, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) issued rules on how to apply anti-money laundering regulations to the banks “where the inherent anonymity of blockchain technology presents increased risks”.

The watchdog agency clarified that the existing rules to check money laundering will apply to virtual asset service providers (VASPs) including exchanges, wallet providers, and trading platforms.

This restricts the transfer of tokens to people the bank knows. According to the guidelines, the blockchain-based service providers are obligated to verify the identity of their customers, to establish the identity of the beneficial owner, and to take a risk-based approach to monitor business relationships.

“FINMA-supervised institutions are thus not permitted to receive tokens from customers of other institutions or to send tokens to such customers. This practice applies as long as information about the sender and recipient cannot be transmitted reliably in the respective payment system.”

The Swiss financial centre has for the last couple of years been gearing up to provide a blockchain-based infrastructure to trade the new digital assets. The Swiss stock exchange operator SIX plans to launch a new platform next year while several start-ups have also sprung up in Switzerland.

Following these initial license awards, other companies are expected to take advantage with applications already submitted by Bitcoin Suisse, Crypto Finance and Lykke.

Binance Reveals Plans to Launch a Libra-like Cryptocurrency

Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange platform in the world, has announced it is launching an open blockchain project “Venus” naming it an “independent regional version of Libra,” with the goal to develop localized stablecoins all across the globe.

According to an announcement published on August 19th, Venus is an open blockchain project to develop “localized” stablecoins and digital assets pegged to fiat currencies. It is further added that the exchange will leverage its existing infrastructure and experience with various regulatory regimes to reinforce a compliance risk control system and build a multi-dimensional cooperation network for the Venus project.

As Venus is an open blockchain project, Binance is currently seeking partners amongst governments, corporations and tech firms to create a new currency ecosystem that will “empower developed and developing countries to spur new currencies.”
The exchange stated that it “welcomes additional government partners, companies and organizations with a strong interest and influence on a global scale to collaborate with us to build a new open alliance and sustainable community.”

Notably, it appears that the exchange plans to use its Binance Chain to launch these stablecoins. Binance Chain has already issued several native asset-pegged stablecoins, including a Bitcoin (BTC)-pegged stablecoin (BTCB) and the Binance BGBP Stable Coin (BGBP) pegged to the British Pound.

Unlike the Facebook’s Libra, Binance will be encouraging collaborators to build directly on its proprietary chain – Binance Chain, which uses a “distributed proof of stake” consensus model, with transactions validated by a handful of entities close and “affiliated” with the exchange.

Meanwhile, the exchange stated it is well-positioned to launch such a currency ecosystem due to its existing public chain technology – Binance Chain – as well as its wide user base and already established global compliance measures.
Binance co-founder Yi He said:

We believe that in the near and long term, stablecoins will progressively replace traditional fiat currencies in countries around the world, and bring a new and balanced standard of the digital economy.”

Yi He further added that the exchange hopes to break the “financial hegemony” and reshape the world’s financial system, including allowing countries to have more tangible financial services and infrastructures, and protecting their financial security and increase the economic efficiency of countries.

The announcement follows as major companies including Facebook and Walmart have recently revealed plans to launch their own stablecoins.

Likewise, Facebook’s cryptocurrency project, Libra, has a similar structure, which intends to serve the unbanked and facilitate low-fee money transfers across the globe. Libra is expected to launch sometime next year.

Earlier this month, it has been reported that retail giant Walmart could also be working on issuing a USD-pegged stablecoin, similar to Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency.

Chinese Police Investigate EtherDelta for Potential Exit-Scam

Chinese police have reportedly initiated an investigation against non-custodial token trading platform EtherDelta after being suspected of participating in an exit scam.

EtherDelta is a DEX that was founded by Zachary Coburn and it is mainly a trading platform for Ethereum tokens (ERC-20). It enables users to trade digital assets by means of an order book and Ethereum blockchain-powered smart contracts.

On Wednesday, August 7th, Dovey Wan – a Founding Partner of blockchain-focused venture investment firm Primitive Ventures, reported in a series of tweets that Chinese police are investigating an alleged exit scam involving a token listed on decentralized exchange (DEX) EtherDelta.

Wan noted through a series of tweets that the alleged exit scam, involving the sale of native exchange asset EtherDelta Token (EDT), took place after EtherDelta had been acquired by unnamed Chinese investors.

“The actual beneficiaries of EtherDelta are all Chinese after ownership transition in 2017 […] Basically [the founder] Zack Coburn sold EtherDelta to a group of Chinese who later issued exchange token $EDT and turned out to be a exit scam. Now furious investors of $EDT whistle blowed to local police the case was recently taking into official investigation process.” 

Respectively, the police was informed by the “furious investors”. Wan further added that the Chinese police shows no mercy in instances when any crypto scam involved large amount of retail capital.

In addition to that, Wan also shared a snapshot of the ownership agreement signed between Coburn and the Chinese buyers. She further alluded that the new owners bought it with the intent to use it as a front to issue their initial coin offering (ICO).

Prior to this, the exchange platform had faced legal challenges when the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed charges against EtherDelta founder Zachary Coburn for running a securities exchange without a license.

Almost all of the orders placed through EtherDelta’s platform were traded after the Commission issued its 2017 DAO Report, which concluded that certain digital assets, such as DAO tokens, were securities and that platforms that offered trading of these digital asset securities would be subject to the SEC’s requirement that exchanges register or operate pursuant to an exemption,” stated the regulator.

At that time Coburn neither admitted nor denied the charges, however consented to the order and agreed to pay $300,000 in unlawful profits plus $13,000 in prejudgment interest as well as a $75,000 penalty.

Earlier in May, crypto analytics startup Coinfirm found that over 500 of the Ether (ETH), which had been stolen from hacked New Zealand-based cryptocurrency exchange Cryptopia and were worth over $125,000 —  had been moved to EtherDelta.