Grayscale confirms it will convert its popular bitcoin trust into a ETF

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Bitcoin’s meteoric rise has boosted crypto hedge funds

  • Grayscale confirmed its intent to convert its flagship bitcoin trust into an ETF.
  • In a blog post Grayscale said it always intended for the trust to become an ETF when permissible.
  • The announcement should relieve recent selling pressure GBTC shares, Fundstrat said.
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Grayscale Investments said in a blog post Monday it’s “100% committed” to converting its flagship Grayscale Bitcoin Trust into an exchange traded fund.

The world’s largest digital asset manager confirmed its intent to re-apply with the US SEC to offer an ETF after previous failed attempts to win approval.

“First and foremost we wish to make clear: we are 100% committed to converting GBTC into an ETF,” Grayscale said.

The Grayscale Bitcoin Trust was launched in 2013 and has been the go-to option for investors who want to add bitcoin exposure to their portfolio without directly buying the digital asset.

In the blog post, the investment company said that it always intended for its fund to become an exchange-traded fund when permissible. Grayscale first submitted an application for a bitcoin ETF in 2016 but ultimately withdrew iy because it determined the regulatory environment wouldn’t allow for a bitcoin ETF.

Now, several firms including Fidelity, NYDIG, and VanEck have applied for bitcoin ETFs in the US in the hopes that 2021 will finally be the year the SEC approves one.

“While several firms have submitted Bitcoin ETF applications in the form of an S-1 or 19b-4 to the SEC, we are confident in our current positioning and engagement with the SEC,” Grayscale said. “Today, we remain committed to converting GBTC into an ETF although the timing will be driven by the regulatory environment.”

Grayscale also said that the management fee of the GBTC fund will be “reduced accordingly” when the trust is converted to an ETF.

According to Fundstrat‘s lead digital asset strategist David Grider, the plan to convert the fund should relieve recent selling pressure on GBTC shares and will re-energize demand from bitcoin investors who are willing to contribute to the GBTC trust again.

“We think this is a very positive move for Grayscale to maintain its position as a leader as the largest listed Bitcoin product and this announcement should help close the negative premium gap,” Grider said in an email.

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US stocks dip as yields rise on Biden’s spending plan and pace of economic recovery

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US stocks were slightly lower at the open on Tuesday and bond yields rose as investors awaited President Joe Biden’s spending plan and continued to assess the fallout from the Archegos Capital Management implosion.

The 10-year Treasury yield continued its march higher, rising by 5 basis points, to 1.77%, its highest in 14 months, since the start of the pandemic just over a year ago.

“We believe the recent rise in nominal government bond yields, led by real yields, is justified and reflects markets awakening to positive developments on the faster-than-expected activity restart combined with historically large fiscal stimulus – all helped by a ramp-up in vaccinations in the U.S.,” a team of strategists from the BlackRock Investment Institute said.

Biden is expected to deliver a speech on infrastructure spending on Wednesday. The plan could include as much as $4 trillion in new outgoings and more than $3 trillion in tax hikes, sources told The Washington Post.

Here’s where US indexes stood after the 9:30 a.m. ET open on Tuesday:

Bitcoin rose above $59,000 as PayPal announced it would allow US consumers to use their cryptocurrency holdings to pay at millions of its online merchants. Bitcoin has added nearly $8,000 to its price in the past week.

West Texas Intermediate crude fell by 1.6%, to $60.55 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, was down 1.35% to $64.11 per barrel.

Gold dropped 1.5%, to $1,687.40 per ounce.

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A luxury US hotel chain will accept bitcoin, dogecoin, and other cryptocurrencies as payment

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The bitcoin price broke past the vaunted $50,000 mark for the first time on Tuesday


Cryptocurrency users will now be able to pay for their hotel rooms with bitcoin, dogecoin, and ether when they stay at a Kessler Collection hotel.

The luxury hotel group, which owns hotels in Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina, announced on Tuesday that it will accept cryptocurrencies including the meme-token dogecoin as forms of payment.

“This move will make it easier for guests traveling globally, both in time saved from going to a local currency exchange and in money saved with a lower exchange rate,” said Kessler Chief Financial Officer, Fravy Collazo.

The announcement comes as more institutions like Tesla and the Dallas Mavericks pledge to adopt cryptocurrencies as payment.

While Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has stated that dogecoin has no intrinsic value and is simply a “fun” asset, his NBA team is now the largest dogecoin merchant in the world. Last week he announced that the team has completed more than 200,000 transactions with the token.

Customers at Kessler Collection hotels will be able to pay in bitcoin, bitcoin cash, ether, dogecoin, as well as stablecoins USDC, Binance USD, Gemini Dollar, and PAX.

However, with many bitcoin investors preaching the message of “HODL,” which means holding the cryptocurrency in the long-term and avoiding selling, it’s hard to imagine the hotel chain will see a huge surge of bitcoin payments following this announcement.

“If you are optimizing for growing your investments, a better question is ‘why would you go on vacation if you can invest those funds in crypto?’,” Thomas Perfumo, Head of Business Operations and Strategy at Kraken told Insider. “An investor could otherwise simply purchase and transfer additional crypto without reducing their holdings, all within minutes or hours.”

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78% of institutional investors are not planning on investing in cryptocurrencies, though a majority say crypto is ‘here to stay,’ JPMorgan survey finds

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  • A JPMorgan survey of 3,400 institutional investors shows a majority do not plan to invest in or trade cryptocurrencies. 
  • However, 58% of investors surveyed said cryptocurrencies are “here to stay.”
  • The survey is the latest look into institutional sentiment on cryptos as more firms enter into the space.
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An overwhelming majority of institutional investors surveyed by JPMorgan said they do not plan to start investing or trading cryptocurrencies, though 58% said crypto is “here to stay.”

In a survey of roughly 3,400 investors representing 1,500 institutions around the work, 11% of investors said their firm either trades or invests in crypto, while 89% said their firm doesn’t.

Out of the investors who answered “no,” 78% of investors said it’s “not likely” their firm will trade or invest in crypto, while 22% answered “likely.”

The survey sheds a light on the state of institutional investor interest in cryptocurrencies. While bitcoin’s parabolic rise has garnered the attention of institutional and retail investors alike, the institutional community remains somewhat divided on the future of crypto. 

When asked: “What is your opinion on Crypto?” 14% answered “probably rat position squared (something to avoid,)” while 7% said it “will become one of the most important assets.” 58% of investors said it’s “here to stay,” and 21% answered that crypto is just a “temporary fad.” 

Almost all investors (98%) said they believe fraud in the crypto world is “somewhat” or “very much prevalent.” 

Multiple well-known Wall Street behemoths are taking in interest in cryptocurrencies and bitcoin. Most recently, a unit of Morgan Stanley said it’s exploring whether to invest in cryptocurrencies, according to Bloomberg. Morgan Stanley also has a 10.9% stake in MicroStrategy, which gives the bank indirect exposure to 7,681 bitcoin. 

BlackRock has authorized two of its funds to invest in bitcoin futures, while JPMorgan strategists have a theoretical price target of $146,000 for bitcoin.

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Tech stocks slide as inflation fears mount amid strong labor-market data

FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., March 19, 2020. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

US stocks opened lower on Thursday morning, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq sliding as investors mulled how better-than-expected jobless data would impact inflation. The 10-year Treasury yield rose to 1.45%, around the highest level in a year. 

730,000 Americans filed for unemployment in the week that ended Saturday. That’s lower than the 825,000 initial jobless claims economists surveyed by Bloomberg were expecting. 

“The sharp drop in jobless claims likely is due to people in states hit hardest by last week’s huge storm, especially Texas, having better things to do than make jobless claims,” said Ian Shepherdson, Pantheon Macroeconomics chief economist. “We expect a rebound next week. The trend seems to be about flat, but we remain of the view that claims will soon start to trend down, slowly at first but then more quickly as the reopening of the economy accelerates in April and May.” 

Continuing claims, which track Americans currently receiving unemployment benefits, dropped to 4.4 million for the week that ended February 13. Economists projected continuing claims to decline slightly to 4.5 million.

US durable goods orders rose 3.4% in January, beating analyst estimates of 1.1%.

Here’s where US indexes stood after the 9:30 a.m. ET open on Thursday:

Stocks popular among Reddit traders rallied in premarket trading Thursday. GameStop surged another 67% in early trading on Thursday after the stock more than doubled the previous day. The stock rose to $152.70 per share as of 8 a.m. ET, after closing 104% higher at $91.71 on Wednesday. AMC Entertainment rose 15%, Express Inc climbed 14%, and Koss gained 98%.

Coinbase is seeking a direct listing on the Nasdaq, according to paperwork the company filed with the SEC on Thursday. The largest cryptocurrency exchange in the US said revenue surpassed $1 billion in 2020. 

Analysts at investment giant Pimco said in a Wednesday note the US economy could grow by 7.5% in 2021 – a rate not seen since the 1950s – as a result of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package.

Berkshire Hathaway vice chairman Charlie Munger blasted Robinhood, slammed SPACs and dismissed bitcoin at the Daily Journal annual meeting Wednesday afternoon. Here are the highlights.

Bitcoin climbed above $51,000 Thursday morning.

Oil prices were lower. West Texas Intermediate crude fell 0.62%, to $62.83 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, fell by 0.61%, to $66.61 per barrel.

Gold fell around 1%, to $1,780.10 per ounce. 

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Americans are becoming increasingly bullish on cryptocurrency as bitcoin soars to new records

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Bitcoin miners are seeing gold despite the cryptocurrency’s recent fall.

  •  A new study of 30,000 Americans reveals 50% view cryptocurrencies as safe investments.
  • The survey also revealed 57% of investors think companies should accept crypto as payment.
  • Though crypto enthusiasts have mixed opinions on whether bitcoin will ultimately serve as a medium of exchange or simply a store of value.
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Bitcoin’s record-breaking rally to a $1 trillion market capitalization on Friday has increased the buzz around cryptocurrencies. Debates on whether these are worthy investments have flourished among investors, analysts, and the public. 

Despite critics arguing against the legitimacy of these assets, a new study reveals that cryptocurrencies are viewed as safe investments by 50% of Americans. Additionally, 41% of those surveyed said investing in the stock market and cryptocurrencies are equally risky investments. 

Conducted by Piplsay, a global consumer research platform, the study surveyed over 30,000 people in February on their views on digital currencies.

“The crypto bull run has seized the attention of millions of people who previously had never considered digital currencies like Bitcoin to be an alternative asset,” said Pavel Matveev, CEO of Wirex, a digital payments platform. “Bitcoin and other currencies are intended to have several uses, not least ease of exchange, purchase, and liquidity.” 

The survey also revealed that 57% of Americans think major companies should start accepting cryptocurrencies as payments. In a separate survey of 1,050 Americans conducted by DealAid, 50% of investors said they would be willing to pay for products using bitcoin. 

Some companies this year have already taken steps towards accepting cryptocurrency as a means of payment. PayPal in October 2020 said it will start allowing people to use cryptocurrencies starting this year, while Tesla announced in January it plans to start accepting bitcoin as payment. Investment banks JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley have both also expressed interest in considering cryptocurrency as payment.

Critics however are quick to argue that the volatility of cryptocurrencies makes them poor medium of exchange.

“If you bought a $50,000 Tesla with four bitcoins on October 1st, that purchase now has an opportunity cost of $212,000, because bitcoin’s dollar price has risen from $10,000 to $53,000 in those four and a half months,” said Robert Minter, Director of Investment Strategy, Aberdeen Standard Investments. “That type of volatility is unsuitable for transacting in an economy.” 

Bitcoin has skyrocketed in recent days, surging 60% this month alone. Ethereum, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market value, also soared to record highs Thursday. Even dogecoin, a cryptocurrency that began as a joke, has been gaining traction in recent weeks

“Bitcoin’s market cap hitting $1 trillion demonstrates the mainstreaming of cryptocurrency as a store of value,” said Adam Liposky, Ecosystem Operations Lead at Pocket Network, a blockchain data ecosystem for Web3 applications. “We expect that Bitcoin is only the first of many $1TR market caps that we’ll see in the blockchain economy.”

Enthusiasts argue bitcoin may exist solely as a form of value akin to “digital gold,” while other forms of digital currencies will emerge as forms of payment. 

Mike Venuto told Insider he doubts “we will ever buy coffee with bitcoin.” 

“This excitement obscures the reality of the original bitcoin thesis of decentralization, replacing the trusted third party and banking the unbanked,” Venuto, who manages an approximately $1 billion ETF, said. “The focus now seems to be the store of value argument from the limited supply.”

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Wedbush says Tesla’s bitcoin investment will spark further corporate adoption – and highlights 4 stocks already poised to gain from the crypto boom

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  • Tesla has paved the way for more corporations to head down the path to owning and accepting bitcoin, according to Wedbush. 
  • The firm says current bitcoin mania is not a “fad,” but the start of a new era of digital currency. 
  • PayPal, Square, Mastercard, and Visa could benefit from the crypto boom, Wedbush said.
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Tesla’s bitcoin bet could be a “game changer” for the digital currency and the broader adoption of blockchain technology over the coming years, according to Wedbush.

Given the still nascent and volatile nature around bitcoin, less than 5% of public companies will likely invest in bitcoin over the next twelve to eighteen months, but that could move “markedly higher” as more regulation and acceptance of the cryptocurrency takes hold in the future, a team of analysts said in a Monday note. 

Bitcoin reached a new high above $50,000 Tuesday morning, bringing its year-to-date gains to 74% in a sign of the growing acceptance of the digital currency.

According to Wedbush, the bitcoin mania is not simply a “fad,” but a sign of the broader digital currency and blockchain space growing.

Read more: GOLDMAN SACHS: These 40 heavily shorted stocks could be the next GameStop if retail traders target them – and the group has already nearly doubled over the past 3 months

“…We believe the trend of transactions, bitcoin investments, and blockchain driven initiatives could surge over the coming years as this bitcoin mania is not a fad in our opinion, but rather the start of a new age on the digital currency front,” said Wedbush. 

Also, Tesla’s announcement to begin accepting bitcoin as a form of payment could be a “paradigm changing move for the use of bitcoin from a transaction perspective.” 

This will bode well for payments companies PayPal and Square, said Wedbush. Both of those companies allow consumers to buy, hold, and sell cryptocurrencies which is resulting in higher frequency usage of their consumer-facing ecosystems. 

The crypto-boom could also be a “neutral to slight positive” for Visa and Mastercard, said Wedbush. Those two networks are gradually planning to accept central bank digital currencies and asset-backed currencies in payments transactions. Mastercard will start supporting certain cryptocurrencies directly on the network in 2021, which could open merchants up to new customers, the analysts added.

Also, Visa plans to launch a pilot crypto software program to help banks roll out bitcoin and cryptocurrency buying and trading services. 

Read more: UBS says bitcoin is a bubble and too volatile to diversify a portfolio, unlike gold – here’s why the bank says it could end up ‘worthless’

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Dow, S&P 500 hit record highs as Biden administration continues push for $1.9 trillion stimulus

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  • All three major US stock indexes climbed to intraday record highs Monday as investors remained optimistic for a large stimulus.
  • Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen pushed for Congress to pass a package of $1.9 trillion, citing the rocky labor market.
  • Bitcoin soared to a record high after Tesla said it bought $1.5 billion of the cryptocurrency.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

All three major US stock indexes hit intraday record highs on Monday as investors remained hopeful the Biden administration will pass a large stimulus package to support the economic recovery. 

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen pushed for Congress to pass a $1.9 trillion stimulus package in a Sunday interview. “If we don’t provide additional support, the unemployment rate is going to stay elevated for years to come,” she told CNN. Her comments follow last week’s disappointing payrolls report; The US added 49,000 jobs in January, missing the estimate of 105,000 additions.

“Reasons for the surge include the end of the short-interest induced frenzy, a gradual slowdown in the number of new Covid-19 cases in the U.S., an improvement in global GDP growth estimates, and the likelihood that most of the Biden $1.9 trillion stimulus package will be approved by congress,” said CFRA’s Sam Stovall on Monday.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq closed at records last week to finish the first five trading days of February.

Here’s where US indexes as of 12:45 p.m. ET on Monday:

Read more: Credit Suisse says to buy these 16 ‘highest-conviction’ stock picks that are set to outperform despite the market’s contrarian view

Bitcoin soared as much as 16% to all-time-highs of $44,795.20 Monday morning after documents filed with the SEC revealed that Tesla invested $1.5 billion in the popular cryptocurrency. The electric vehicle maker also said it plans to accept the cryptocurrency as payment.

The latest investor dipping into the SPAC space is US hedge fund Elliott Management, known for its activist leaning. The Wall Street Journal reported Elliott has been meeting with bankers to raise more than $1 billion to create a special-purpose acquisition company.

Dating app Bumble increased its IPO size to $1.8 billion on Monday, according to a regulatory filing. The company will now offer 45 million shares priced at between $37 to $39 per share.

Oil prices rose. West Texas Intermediate crude jumped as much as 1.44%, to $57.66 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, gained 1.37%, to $60.16 per barrel, at intraday highs.

Gold rose 1.2%, to $1,834.50 per ounce.

Read more: GOLDMAN SACHS: Buy these 13 stocks poised to benefit from surging commodity costs – including 2 set to soar by more than 40%

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Dow, Nasdaq on pace for record highs as Biden administration pushes for $1.9 trillion stimulus

happy trader
  • US stocks are set to hit new record highs Monday as investors remain optimistic for a large stimulus.
  • Treasury secretary Yellen pushed for Congress to pass a package of $1.9 trillion, citing the rocky labor market.
  • Bitcoin soared to a record high after Tesla said it bought $1.5 billion of the cryptocurrency.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

US stocks neared record-highs Monday morning as investors remain hopeful the Biden administration will pass a large stimulus package to support the economic recovery. 

US Treasury secretary Janet Yellen pushed for Congress to pass a $1.9 trillion stimulus package in a Sunday interview. “If we don’t provide additional support, the unemployment rate is going to stay elevated for years to come,” she told CNN. Her comments follow last week’s disappointing payrolls report; The US added 49,000 jobs in January, missing the estimate of 105,000 additions.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq closed at records last week to finish the first five trading days of February.

“Reasons for the surge include the end of the short-interest induced frenzy, a gradual slowdown in the number of new Covid-19 cases in the U.S., an improvement in global GDP growth estimates, and the likelihood that most of the Biden $1.9 trillion stimulus package will be approved by congress,” said CFRA’s Sam Stovall on Monday.

Bitcoin soared 13% to all-time-highs of $43,725.51 Monday morning after documents filed with the SEC revealed that Tesla invested $1.5 billion in the popular cryptocurrency. The electric vehicle maker also said it plans to accept the cryptocurrency as payment. Bitcoin’s previous record high was $41,946.74 on January 8.

Here’s where US indexes stood after the 9:30 a.m. ET open on Monday:

Read more: Bank of America says investors might start selling stocks and buying bonds sooner than expected. Here’s when it could happen, and what to own for maximum income if yields keep rising.

The latest investor dipping into the SPAC space is US hedge fund Elliott Management, known for its activist leaning. The Wall Street Journal reported Elliott has been meeting with bankers to raise more than $1 billion to create a special-purpose acquisition company.

Dating app Bumble increased its IPO size to $1.8 billion on Monday, according to a regulatory filing. The company will now offer 45 million shares priced at between $37 to $39 per share.

Oil prices rose. West Texas Intermediate crude jumped as much as 1.44%, to $57.66 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, gained 1.37%, to $60.16 per barrel, at intraday highs.

Gold rose 1.2%, to $1,834.50 per ounce.

Read more: GOLDMAN SACHS: Buy these 13 stocks poised to benefit from surging commodity costs – including 2 set to soar by more than 40%

 

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S&P 500 falls for the first time this week as US stocks edge lower

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Shares of GameStop have staged a gravity-defying rally in recent weeks.

  • US equities fell on Friday after closing at record highs and the S&P 500 fell for the first time this week.
  • GameStop finished a chaotic week in the market after retail investors thwarted short sellers and volatility prompted a trading halt.
  • Watch major indexes update live here.

US equities fell on Friday after closing at record highs as investors weighed the outlook for President Joe Biden’s nearly $2 trillion stimulus bill and grew concerned amid reports that the new coronavirus variant may be deadlier. The S&P 500 fell for the first time this week. 

There is some evidence the new variant of the coronavirus first identified in the UK may be up to 30% more deadly than previous variants, the UK government has said.

A key gauge of US business activity swung higher this month as strong demand lifted manufacturers and service businesses alike. IHS Markit’s composite output index climbed to 58 from 55.3 in an early January reading, hitting its highest level in two months.

Credit- and debit-card spending accelerated through the first two weeks of January as stimulus passed by President Donald Trump bolstered households’ balance sheets. Card spending climbed 6% from the year-ago period over the week that ended January 16, Bank of America said in a Thursday note, citing aggregated card data.

Here’s where US indexes stood at the 4 p.m. ET close on Friday:

Read more: GOLDMAN SACHS: Buy these 26 renewable-energy stocks best-positioned to benefit from increased spending as governments aim for net-zero emissions

GameStop surged as much as 78% on Friday as investors looking to thwart short sellers piled further into the stock and triggered a trading halt.

Shares of GameStop have staged a gravity-defying rally in recent weeks, with shares up as much as 307% year to date based on Friday’s intraday high.

The short seller Andrew Left of Citron Research tweeted that he was ending his bearish commentary on GameStop after he said an “angry mob” of investors harassed him and his family over the past 48 hours.

Canada’s Horizons ETF Management announced Friday that it filed its final prospectus to launch the Horizons Psychedelic Stock Index ETF (PSYK). It will be the first psychedelics ETF and begins trading on the Canadian NEO exchange on Wednesday.

Bitcoin recovered to $33,817 Friday afternoon after tumbling to about $28,000 in the early-morning hours. Comments from Janet Yellen, Biden’s Treasury secretary nominee, and a report of a “double spend” gave bitcoin investors a tumultuous week

Gold fell 0.61% to $1,854.60 per ounce. The dollar weakened against a basket of Group of 20 currencies, and Treasury yields fell slightly.

Oil prices fell but remained above the $50 support level. West Texas Intermediate crude dropped as much as 1.86% to $52.14 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international standard, declined 1.52% to $55.25 per barrel.

Now read more markets coverage from Markets Insider and Business Insider:

From stimulus checks to larger food stamps, here’s everything that’s in Biden’s 3rd wave of executive actions

Microsoft’s president defends its controversial PAC to employees in a leaked recording

Elon Musk says he’ll throw $100 million into carbon capture tech. VCs including Vinod Khosla told us these 4 startups are leading the way.

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