The Week in Crypto: Sept. 29-Oct. 7
Yale reportedly makes investment in early-stage Crypto fund
Proponents of Cryptocurrency as an asset class celebrated Yale CIO David Swensen’s decision to invest a portion of the Yale endowment in early-stage crypto-fund Paradigm. The move comes at a welcome time for the industry, as questions have been lingering over the long-term viability of cryptocurrencies after prices cratered in the spring. Swensen’s name alone brings lends credence to the space, as his performance as manager of Yale’s endowment, currently the world’s second-largest, has earned him international renown.
TD Ameritade (along with DRW Holdings and Virtu Financial, also announced intentions to get in on the action via an investment in ErisX, a new derivatives exchange and clearing organization.The platform will enable investors to trade Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and Litecoin (LTC) in additions to associated futures contracts. Notably, ErisX plans to physically deliver assets when the futures expire, meaning traders will receive the actual cryptocurrency instead of the USD cash value.
Finally, Ric Edelman, CEO of the largest independent registered investment advisor in the country, announced an undisclosed investment in Bitwise Asset Management, a cryptocurrency index fund. Edelman notes, “Crypto assets are not going to go away…[t]his is an emerging asset class and as legitimate as any emerging asset class.”
Gemini announces Digital Asset Insurance
The Gemini cryptocurrency exchange revealed an insurance program for cryptocurrecies held on the Gemini platform. Aon, an international insurer, will head a group of industry-leading insurance firms underwriting the effort. Gemini Head of Risk Yusuf Hussain said Gemini was able to secure the insurance by demonstrating to underwriters the safety of the exchange. The insurance will be provided alongside existing FDIC deposit insurance of fiat USD stored in exchange accounts.
London Block Exchange Launches GBP-backed stablecoin
London Block Exchange, a UK-based startup, announced plans to offer the world’s first “cryptopound.” CEO Benjamin Dives projects the coin, LBXPeg, to launch by the end of the month. LBXPeg will be built and distributed on the Ethereum blockchain. The cryptocurrency will be the first Great Britain Pound (GBP) backed stablecoin.
Venezuela launches State-Issued PETRO Currency
Venezuela released its long-awaited (by no one in their right mind…) Petro currency. Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro claims the cryptocurrency is a key part of his economic recovery plan. It will be backed by one barrel of Venezuelan crude oil reserves. Reportedly, Venezuelans seeking a passport will be required to pay for them in Petro. However, Alex Tapscott of the Blockchain Research Institute noted, “[t]he government says each unit of the Petro is backed by oil, but we have no proof at all. There is very little technical information about it.”