Amun Introduces Interest-Earning Tezos ETP on Swiss Stock Exchange

Switzerland’s primary stock exchange SIX has listed a Tezos (XTZ) exchange-traded product (ETP) that allows investors to generate passive income.

According to an announcement, the new ETP has been issued by fintech crypto startup Amun AG in partnership with the Tezos Foundation and will trade under the symbol AXTZ on the SIX Swiss Stock Exchange.

As a proof-of-stake (PoS)-based products, Tezos investors will be able to passively earn a form of interest by staking or depositing their tokens to both maintain the network and earn rewards.

The new ETP’s main objective is to provide exposure to the performance of the token whilst simulatenously generating additional yield for investors through so-called baking rewards.

Baking is a specific term to Tezos, which enables stakeholders to participate in the staking and governance process by delegating their coins to a delegation service of their choice. Once delegated, these holdings are set in correlation with the total staking balance of the service, with rewards paid out accordingly once they have been released by the network.

It is further explained that it is the first such product that will allow investors to yield a passive income through transactions that are validated on the Tezos blockchain. In addition to that, the firm will charge an annual management fee of 2.5%.

Hany Rashwan – co-founder and CEO of Amun – explained in a statement:

“Investors will be able to buy a stock for as low as $20 and we bake/stake on their behalf and return it to them as a dividend without them required to do any staking on their own.“

The Tezos ETP will be available for both retail and institutional investors, who can participate in the rewards for contributing to the security and stability of the Tezos blockchain, “without the need to ever have to set up a crypto wallet or taking care of a private key,” said Rashwan.

Rashwan further added:

“Via our ETP, [investors can] participate in the associated rewards for contributing to the security and stability of the Tezos blockchain – without the need to ever have to set up a crypto wallet or taking care of a private key.”

The Tezos ETP is Amun’s ninth issued crypto-based ETP and according to the statement the product’s underlying Tezos tokens will be custodied with and staked by Coinbase Custody.

Other cryptocurrency ETPs listed on the SIX exchange include ETPs based on XRP, Bitcoin (BTC), a Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Ethereum (ETH) amongst others.

Most recently, Amun has partnered up with Bitcoin Suisse to launch a new BTC and ETH- based ETP on the Swiss exhange stock.

Meanwhile, Amun AG has also launched seven of its ETPs on Germany’s Börse Stuttgart stock exchange, ready to be traded in Euros. Prior to this, the ETPs were available only in US dollars and Swiss francs.

Bakkt Launches Custody Solution for Institutional Investors

Bakkt, the institutional Bitcoin (BTC) trading platform backed by Intercontinental Exchange, has announced on Monday the launch of its custody feature for its entire client base.

The news was shared in a blog post on November 11th by Bakkt, confirming that it had received regulatory approval from the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) to offer custody services to any institution. Prior to this, this feature was only available for those trading its BTC futures.

The news came just weeks after the company said it would begin offering options on top of its existing BTC futures contracts, which in turn came less than a month after the company went live with its long-anticipated physically delivered offerings.

The new service provides is an extension of the company’s Bakkt Warehouse and will offer bitcoin custodial services to institutional investors. At the moment, several companies have signed on as initial customers for Bakkt Warehouse, including Pantera Capital, Galaxy Digital and Tagomi. Other marquee firms are expected to join in the next few weeks.

Following the release, Bakkt COO Adam White has claimed that the company believes that the custodial feature is a critical link in the institutional adoption of bitcoin is custody.

The blog post further noted that:

“Safely storing digital assets demands a comprehensive approach to custody. Institutions and sophisticated investors need more than cutting-edge technology. They require proven infrastructure, robust operational controls, and independent oversight.”

White further added that whilst technology provided the foundation by which the company stored customer funds, “the Bakkt Warehouse employs extensive physical, operational and cybersecurity safeguards too.”

He noted that due to the relationship between Bakkt and Intercontinental Exchange allowed them to uniquely address client needs in the digital asset custody space, including on-premises data centers and dedicated network connectivity between operational sites,that remove the need to rely on third parties.

According to Bakkt, the new tool will employ a range of security and safeguards, such as redundant secondary facilities, geographically-distributed signing operations, as well as independent reporting structures amongst others. The company is currently working with BNY Mellon to support its geographically separated key storage feature.

In addition to that, the company will also protect its systems with 24 hour video monitoring, armed guards, and security operations and incident response teams. The trading platform has also secured its SOC2 certification – a review of its systems by a third-party auditor.

Although a number of other companies are currently developing their own platforms for physically-settled bitcoin futures in the U.S., Bakkt has been the only one to launch so far.

In the meantime, Bakkt has also recently announced its plans to launch a cryptocurrency consumer app and merchant portal – Starbucks – which would launch in the first half of 2020 with Starbucks.

Meanwhile, Bakkt Warehouse is entering a market with a fair amount of competition, including Fidelity Digital Assets, which fully rolled-out its platform in October. Another market competitor is Coinbase Custody, which launched in 2018 and now manages over $7 billion thanks in part to its acquisition of Xapo’s institutional business.

DX.Exchange Platform Shuts Down Less Than A Year From Launch

DX.Exchange, a Nasdaq-powered cryptocurrency and tokenized securities trading platform, has announced its closure just 9 months after its launch in January. According to the announcement, the company cited financial hardships as the main reason for its decision.

On November 3rd, the Estonia-based platform announced via a blog post about its imminent shutdown. However, the blog post notes that the shutdown is only temporary, as the remaining members are looking for an acquisition or a merger to continue running.

The blog post reads the following:

“We must inform the community that the board of directors of DX.Exchange has decided to temporarily close the exchange as we pursue a merger or outright sell of the company. […] The costs of providing the required level of security, support and technology is not economically feasible on our own.”

Upon the announcement, the exchange suspended trading on the platform as well as blocked all deposits. In addition to that, all open orders had been canceled at 12:00 GMT on Sunday. The exchange further asked users to withdraw their funds by November 15th in order to allow a merger/sale to proceed.

For the withdrawal process, the exchange requires that users email its support team with a copy of their government ID used for the initial signup, the wallet address and the amount for each asset they are withdrawing, as well as a selfie with a paper with the date and the words DX Exchange. Users are required to use the same email they set up the account with.

Meanwhile, if a merger or acquisition does not happen soon enough, then the exchange will stop operations permanently, according to the announcement. However, the exchange remains hopeful as it wants to achieve “success for its shareholders and compete in this challenging market.”

With the shutdown announcement, it remains unclear what will happen to the platform’s staff, which ranges between 51-200 employees, according to LinkedIn. The firm has yet to comment on the matter.

DX.Exchange launched its platform in January of this year, and offered trading in cryptocurrencies as well as tokenized securities such as stocks of Tesla and Apple and exchange-traded funds or ETFs like Invesco QQQ and SPDR S&P 500.

Noteworthy, DX.Exchange was the first cryptocurrency trading platform to be built with Nasdaq trading technology in combination with the exchange’s in-house tech, making it a potential powerhouse.

Coinbase Generated $2 Billion in Revenues from Transactions Since 2012

Co-founder and CEO of major US cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase Brian Armstrong has revealed that the firm has been profitable since 2017 and has generated close to $2 billion in transaction fees revenue since its launch in 2012.

Speaking at Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit on October 23rd, Armstrong has stated that the exchange has generated more operating profits than the funds it raised from venture capitals.

He further noted that the exchange has turned a profit the last three years, including during the 2018 bear market, and has earned more operating profit than venture capital raised so far, estimated at nearly $550 million in nine funding rounds, according to CrunchBase.

“We were profitable in 2018 and in 2017,” and as well as this year, he stated. However, instead of paying out to the investors, the exchange is focusing on putting the profits in its expansion.

 “Most of these profits we’re plowing back into the business to create new products. […] I sort of think of us as the anti-unicorn unicorn… I want Coinbase to be a company of repeatable innovation.”

Armstrong further added that it’s due to technology, which has always been the focus of Coinbase that the exchange has managed to remain profitable.

The San Francisco-based exchange is continuously adding digital coins to offer more options to its crypto traders. Moreover, as a way to boost the crypto ecosystem, the exchange is also heavily investing in startups that work in the development of blockchain technology.

Coinbase was founded in 2012 and is now one of the eight blockchain unicorns globally. The exchange offer a wide range of crypto-based services for both retail and institutional traders. Coinbase was valued at $8 billion in its last funding round, raising money from investors which include Andreessen Horowitz, Y Combinator, and Polychain Capital.

Meanwhile, Coinbase is currently part of Facebook’s cryptocurrency initiative – Libra. When asked about the future of the project, CEO Armstrong replied that he doesn’t know why regulators’ response to the project were preponderantly negative, adding:

“I’d really like to see the U.S. embrace this area of innovation. […] My hope is the U.S. embraces this kind of innovation, even if it comes from a company like Facebook that they’re not necessarily very happy with.”

Coinbase is currently one of the 21 remaining companies included in the Libra Association. The association has been under scrutiny by lawmakers across the world for its potential to put at risk user privacy as well as diregard regulatory rules. Most recently, Libra has lost seven high-profile contributors such as Visa, eBay, Mastercard, PayPal and others.

Earlier this month, Coinbase acquired an Irish e-money license from the Central Bank of Ireland, effectively expanding its European operations. Following this, the cryptocurrency exchange is certified to offer money and banking services throughout the European Economic Area and the EU.

Thailand Has First SEC-Approved ICO Portal

SE Digital Co., Ltd. (SE Digital) – a subsidiary of a leading Thai financial services firm Seamico Securities Plc (ZMICO), has been officially granted approval by Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to operate in Thailand as an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) Portal.

Announced on October 11th by The Bangkok Post, the ICO Portal will mark the official beginning of the regulated digital capital market and contribute to the economic advancement of Thailand.  Accordingly, SE Digital plans to launch Thailand’s first investment token, with a target transaction size of 2-3 billion baht (around $65,800,000-$98,700,000).

As an ICO Portal, SE Digital provides a highly secure feature-rich digital platform for capital raising as well as diverse financing solutions. Due to its team of experienced professionals and robust technology platform, the company is able to offer customized comprehensive solutions for each client.

As this marks a new chapter in Thailand’s capital market history, SE Digital plans to offer a broad set of services for ICOs, including strategic advisory, primary issuance as well as support for secondary market access, from compliance to investor communications.

The company will vet prospective token issuers before they seek approval from the SEC and assist them in meeting requirements such as Know-Your-Customer (KYC), CDD, Anti-Money-Laundering and investor suitability. It will also conduct due diligence on the proposed tokens before allowing them to reach investors.

In addition to that, apart from retail investors in Thailand, institutional investors, ultra-high net worth individuals, venture capital, and private equity funds will also be able to invest in these digital tokens.

Stephen Ng, Chief Marketing Officer at SE Digital, has stated the SEC’s approval was made to open a new chapter in Thailand’s capital market history and pave the way to its digital economic transformation, as it becomes one of the first ASEAN nations to offer fully-compliant ICOs. He emphasized:

“SE Digital will be able to promote the tokenisation of traditional assets providing investors with access to previously illiquid and difficult to access assets such as commercial real estate and investment products with global exposure, while offering issuers with a new fundraising alternative that allows access to a wider pool of capital providers with cost savings accrued from the digitisation on the blockchain.” 

He further added that Thailand has already a strong foundation for digital transformation, seeing as the country has positioned itself as a regional financial hub, a growing and vibrant start-up community, and a progressive regulatory regime that promotes digital innovation.

Furthermore, as digital tokens is a new subject to most Thai investors, SE Digital announced that it plans to introduce a series of educational programs through cooperation with its local partners, regulators and leading organizations.

“As asset tokenisation fully takes hold, it will help bolster innovation and competitiveness of Thailand’s capital markets. This digital transformation will bring Thais, public sectors and private sectors forward by providing them with greater access to capital formation and new investment opportunities, enhancing transparency, and automating of costly compliance requirements,” concluded.

Meanwhile, Seamico Securities’ strategic investor – Elevated Returns, has seemingly applied to the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for a Digital Assets Exchange License with the goal to launch a new trading venue that would provide a secondary market for such tokens by 2020.