Billionaire banker Ken Moelis says the bitcoin craze is like the gold rush of 1848 – and the meme stock frenzy is down to its entertainment value

Ken Moelis
CEO of Moelis & Co, Ken Moelis.

  • Billionaire banker Ken Moelis compared the cryptocurrency obsession to the gold rush of 1848.
  • His investment bank is focused on having crypto expertise before diving into the space, he said.
  • Most of the meme-stock frenzy is just for fun, and those ending up with losses will accept it, he said.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

Investment banker Ken Moelis likened the bitcoin craze to the California gold rush at a Bloomberg summit this week, and said he’s eyeing the cryptocurrency space for business opportunities, just as Levi Strauss did for miners in 1848.

Moelis, who founded the boutique investment bank Moelis & Co, said he was personally open to investing in crypto, but his firm is more focused on having expertise before diving into it. “It’s a big market, there’s a lot of capital in there, there’s a lot of projects,” he said, adding that he remains cautious of taking his firm into the space.

More-traditional banks have until recently taken a watchful stance toward bitcoin and other mainstream cryptocurrencies. But an explosion of adoption by major banks such as Goldman Sachs and of new deals in the area has solidified the establishment of a whole new asset class in the financial world.

“It’s like the gold rush of 1848. A lot of people didn’t know if there was gold in the ground, but Levi’s made a business selling jeans and Wells Fargo made a banking business,” Moelis said at the summit. “I believe our business is selling the picks and the shovels, so we have to know what people want – what picks and what shovels they need, what tools they need to be successful.”

In 1848, the discovery of gold flakes in a California stream unleashed the largest migration in the US by would-be miners attracted by the prospect of massive wealth. Likewise, the huge gains logged by bitcoin since its inception has attracted an ever-growing legion of fans to cryptocurrencies, with some previous major detractors like Howard Marks changing their outlook. In March, online brokerage Etoro reported it had added over 5 million new bitcoin-focused users in 2020, and as of 4 January, it had 61% more bitcoin holders on its platform year-on-year.

Moelis also shared what he thinks about the meme-stock frenzy, which has seen retail investors band together on social platforms to buy and hold targeted stocks such as GameStop, often with the aim of pitting themselves against Wall Street. He said his own children are actively involved in the trend, and that they regularly update him on certain stocks.

“They’re just having fun – I think 70 to 80% of this is fun,” he said. “When you go to a casino, the most boisterous, loudest craps table is always the one where everyone runs over because someone has made their point, they’ve predicted something.”

But he said there will be some who bet beyond what they can afford. “At every craps table, 70 to 80% of the people, they know they’re having fun, and know they’re going to lose their money, and accept it. There is somebody who’s going to lose their mortgage.”

Read More: A veteran options trader breaks down 3 potential drivers of AMC’s 2,500% surge this year – and shares how long the retail-fueled rally might last

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Palestinian militant group Hamas has seen a spike in crypto donations to fund its operations since its renewed armed conflict with Israel, report says

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Hamas staged an anti-Israel rally in the northern Gaza Strip, a parade with weapons in the streets of Gaza city more than a week after a ceasefire between Israel and Palestine.

Hamas said it has seen a rise in cryptocurrency donations since violent clashes with Israel broke out in May, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, citing a senior official of the militant group.

The escalation in armed conflict began on May 7, when Israeli police stormed the Islamic holy site al-Aqsa Mosque during the period of Ramadan and injured over 200 people. Palestine’s Islamist group retaliated by firing rockets into Israel from Gaza, after which Israel struck back with its own airstrikes at Gaza.

Both sides eventually agreed to a ceasefire on May 20, after 11 days of the bloodiest fighting seen in the region in seven years.

The conflict drew widespread international attention, not just to the chaos of the situation, but also to websites run by the group’s armed wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, WSJ said. Heightened interest led to increased donations that are facilitating its operations.

“There was definitely a spike” in bitcoin donations, the Hamas official told the Journal. “Some of the money gets used for military purposes to defend the basic rights of the Palestinians.”

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Palestinians dance as they wave green Hamas and their national flags while celebrating the cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas in Gaza City.

It isn’t clear when Hamas began receiving crypto donations. But its designation as a terrorist group by Israel, the United States, the European Union and Britain means that it had to turn away from the global financial system to rely on other complex networks for funding.

The group has especially benefited from the anonymity of crypto transactions, WSJ said. Last year, US federal authorities seized $1 million in cryptocurrencies tied to the group’s armed wing. A previous investigation by the Journal found al-Qassam converted most of its bitcoin into cash, or gift cards, aided by two Turkish intermediaries.

The Hamas official didn’t mention the amount of cryptocurrency it had received, but said overall revenue has been rising. It has also been collecting other forms of donations from supporters.

In one instance, a branch of the Iranian armed forces sent more than $200 million to the group between 2015 and 2019, the WSJ said, citing data from the US Treasury. Iran does not recognize the legitimacy of Israel as a state. Its supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, called the predominantly-Jewish state “not a country, but a terrorist base” last month.

For the Palestinian organization, cryptocurrencies offer an easier method of making sure transactions go undetected as they are untraceable.

“Our fundraising strategies keep on evolving as more restrictions are being placed on us,” the Hamas representative said.

Read More: Financial researcher Nik Bhatia explains why asset managers with a growth focus could be violating their fiduciary duty if they don’t consider bitcoin – and compares the crypto to Amazon’s stock 20 years ago

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Billionaire Mark Cuban says he holds 3,250 dogecoins he bought with his son – and earns added inflows from Dallas Mavericks sales

Mark Cuban
Mark Cuban.

Mark Cuban owns 3,250 dogecoins he bought with his 11-year-old son, the tech billionaire said in a tweet on Saturday.

On top of that, he said, he receives inflows of dogecoin from ticket and merchandise sales for the Dallas Mavericks, the NBA team he owns. In March, Cuban said his NBA team was the largest dogecoin merchant in the world.

The “Shark Tank” host said that since dogecoin is mined on a fixed schedule it could become a feasible payment mechanism.

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“Doge has ‘deterministic inflation’ meaning the amount of inflation is defined,” Cuban said in a tweet on Saturday. “There is no uncertainty as to the amount of created and it’s inflation percentage. Which could allow it to grow as a valid payment mechanism. The unknown is whether enough people will use it this way.”

Read more: ‘Wolf of All Streets’ crypto trader Scott Melker breaks down his strategy for making money using ‘HODLing’ and 100-times trade opportunities – and shares 5 under-the-radar tokens he thinks could explode

Cuban, known for investing in unique businesses without relying too much on the stock market, has predicted that stocks will someday be traded via blockchain.

He acknowledged on Saturday that while dogecoin may not find support over the long term, users could take it in a new direction from its original intention.

“Like all generational technologies, it takes a generation to grow up,” he said. “Crypto is in the phase where users need to be educated and products and services need to be sold and deliver on their initial promises. Then, Crypto can mature to the point we wondered how we ever lived with out.”

Dogecoin was trading 5% lower on Monday, at $0.50, but it is up more than 10,000% this year. Cuban’s dogecoin holdings aside from the NBA team revenue would be worth about $1,690 as of Monday.

The meme-inspired digital asset has been under pressure over a series of events linked to the billionaire Tesla CEO Elon Musk. He recently suggested dogecoin could replace bitcoin payments for Tesla vehicles.

Dogecoin is one of the least stable cryptos on the market, according to Anthony Denier, the CEO of the trading platform Webull. “Since many people tie Doge to [Musk], any comments he makes about cryptos in general is going to affect Doge,” he said. “Also, bitcoin leads the crypto market, so for most cryptos, whichever way bitcoin moves, they follow.”

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Billionaire Mark Cuban says he holds 3,250 dogecoin that he bought with his son – and earns added inflows from Dallas Mavericks sales

Mark Cuban
Mark Cuban.

Mark Cuban owns 3,250 dogecoin that he bought with his 11-year-old son, the tech billionaire said in a tweet on Saturday.

On top of that, he said he receives an added inflow of dogecoin from Dallas Mavericks sales of tickets and merchandise. In March, Cuban said his NBA team is the “largest dogecoin merchant in the world.”

The “Shark Tank” host said since dogecoin is mined on a fixed schedule, it could grow to become a feasible payment mechanism.

Screenshot 2021 05 17 at 10.32.41

Read More: ‘Wolf of All Streets’ crypto trader Scott Melker breaks down his strategy for making money using ‘HODLing’ and 100-times trade opportunities – and shares 5 under-the-radar tokens he thinks could explode

Cuban, known for investing in unique businesses without relying too much on the stock market, has previously predicted stocks would someday be traded via blockchain.

He admitted dogecoin may not find support over the long-term, but there is potential for users to take it to a new direction from its original intention.

“Like all generational technologies, it takes a generation to grow up,” he said. “Crypto is in the phase where users need to be educated and products and services need to be sold and deliver on their initial promises. Then, crypto can mature to the point we wondered how we ever lived without.”

Dogecoin was last trading 5% lower on the day at 50 cents, but it is up more than 10,000% so far this year. Cuban’s dogecoin holdings, aside from the NBA team revenue, would be worth about $1,690 as of Monday.

The meme-inspired digital asset has been under pressure over a series of events linked to billionaire Elon Musk. But the Tesla boss has suggested it could be a replacement for bitcoin payments made to his electric vehicle-maker.

Dogecoin is one of the least stable cryptos on the market, according to Anthony Denier, CEO of trading platform Webull. “Since many people tie Doge to (Musk), any comments he makes about cryptos in general is going to affect Doge,” he said. “Also, bitcoin leads the crypto market, so for most cryptos, whichever way bitcoin moves, they follow.”

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Dogecoin scammers pocketed millions by exploiting Elon Musk’s SNL appearance through giveaway schemes on YouTube

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Elon Musk with his mother Maye during the SNL monologue on Saturday, May 8.

  • Con artists netted dogecoin worth $5 million through fake giveaways during Elon Musk’s SNL hosting.
  • Victims were tricked into believing they would receive twice the amount of dogecoin sent to fake addresses.
  • The misleading YouTube videos were taken down on Sunday in an attempt to conceal activity.
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Dogecoin investors eagerly awaited Elon Musk’s Saturday Night Live skit last week, expecting his remarks to send the meme-coin to new highs.

Quite the opposite happened. Not only did the cryptocurrency tank 30% over the weekend, but the Dogecoin community was led on by con artists attempting to trick them out of their holdings.

A report published by blockchain intelligence provider TRM Labs detailed how the fraudsters manipulated Musk’s promotion of the digital currency, pocketing dogecoin worth $5 million at the time of the scam.

Here’s how the scam worked:

During the SNL telecast, viewers who searched for “Elon Musk SNL” on YouTube could see multiple livestreams that seemed to be hosted by the NBC show. They were actually being run by scammers.

The livestreams publicized links to unique websites that viewers could visit to receive dogecoin.

A message carried on the broadcasts read: “Elon Musk has devoted 500,000,000 DOGE to be distributed to all DOGE holders. Anybody can get some, just visit the website.”

This was perhaps somewhat believable as his followers expected the billionaire’s SNL hosting would pump the digital asset.

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Users were asked to transfer dogecoin to a specified blockchain address with the assurance that they would receive double the amount sent.

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As of May 9, the report showed scammer addresses received about 9.7 million dogecoin worth $5 million at the time. Initial findings noted most inflows were sent to the wallets by the owners themselves, falsely creating the illusion that they were legitimate accounts.

Most of these videos were taken down on Sunday in an attempt to cover any tracks.

One victim that fell for the scam warned others on the Dogecoin subreddit, saying: “Don’t fall for it like I did. The website won’t send you back twice the amount of coins you send them. I just went from having savings for this first time in my life to 60 bucks left in my pocket.”

“Giveaway scams are not new,” TRM Labs said. “According to the FBI, Mass Marketing Fraud schemes – like crypto giveaway scams – ‘victimize millions of Americans each year and generate losses in the hundreds of millions of dollars.'”

Dogecoin rebounds after Musk hints Tesla could accept it as payment

The digital asset recouped some losses by climbing as much as 20% to 55 cents on Tuesday. Musk ran a poll asking his followers whether they wanted his electric-vehicle maker to accept dogecoin as payment.

Most respondents said “Yes,” while about 20% didn’t think it was a good idea.

“As much of the value in Doge is speculative or perception driven, Elon seems to have anointed Doge as the de facto cryptocurrency with what seems to be a half-humorous, half-financial decision,” EdoziĆ© Izegbu, founder and managing director of digital-art for crypto platform Chimera, said. “The real question to be wary of is how long can this joke last.”

The meme-inspired cryptocurrency is up more than 11,000% so far this year, while bitcoin is up 90%.

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More companies, including PayPal and Xbox, are accepting bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as payment. Others are weighing up their options.

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Retailers are recognizing bitcoin’s growing popularity.

  • Bitcoin is becoming an increasingly popular payment option among many companies.
  • Fast-food chains, big tech firms, and even auction houses are embracing cryptocurrencies.
  • Other companies are still considering their potential.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Rarely does a news cycle go by without some mention of bitcoin’s growing popularity, from fans and skeptics alike.

Its prices on trading exchanges tumbled around Thanksgiving last year – only to roar back and set an all-time high of $19,857 on November 30: a 177% year-to-date increase that put the S&P 500’s 14% rise to shame, as Insider previously reported.

Then, in March, the cryptocurrency hit an all-time high, with prices surging to $60,000. One quirk of the increase meant that two pizzas bought by crypto legend Laszlo Hanyecz would have effectively been worth $613 million, at the time of the surge.

Bitcoin’s volatility is well-publicized and has led many investors, including Warren Buffet, to criticize it and other cryptocurrencies as “risky” and “worthless.” Such warnings have not dissuaded more companies from accepting the currency as an official payment option, however.

In February, Elon Musk announced that Tesla would accept bitcoin as a form of payment for all models of its cars in the US. In addition, Twitter’s CEO and founder, Jack Dorsey, teamed up with Jay-Z for a bitcoin endowment. The pair will invest 500 bitcoins to develop the currency in India and Africa.

Although Tesla stole the headlines, there are also hundreds of other notable companies that accept the cryptocurrency as a valid form of payment, across various industries.

Fast food

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Burger King Venezuela accepts cryptocurrencies as payment.

Restaurant Brands International is one of the world’s largest fast-food holding companies. It is the parent company of Burger King, Tim Hortons, and Popeyes.

Last year, Burger King Venezuela announced it would begin accepting bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. It collaborated with Cryptobuyer, a platform that generates conversion of cryptocurrencies to normal currency, Yahoo Finance reported.

Yum Brands, which operates KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and The Habit Burger Grill, is also accepting cryptocurrencies.

The corporation permitted bitcoin as a valid payment method at Pizza Hut Venezuela last year. Yum Brands also partnered with CryptoBuyer to initiate the launch of crypto payment methods, according to Nasdaq.

For a short period of time, KFC Canada accepted the cryptocurrency as payment for products such as the Bitcoin Bucket, via a partnership with BitPay, per Yahoo Finance.

Big tech

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PayPal announced in October 2020 that users can buy, sell, and hold selective cryptocurrencies through their Cash or Cash Plus accounts starting in 2021.

After provisionally pausing from accepting the cryptocurrency as a valid payment method due to its volatility, Xbox is accepting bitcoin payments for Xbox store credits.

Meanwhile, PayPal announced in October 2020 that users can buy, sell, and hold selective cryptocurrencies through their Cash or Cash Plus accounts, starting in 2021, Yahoo Finance reports.

Users will also have the ability to learn and track crypto within their PayPal app.

Although Amazon does not directly permit bitcoin as a valid payment method, you can buy Amazon vouchers and gift cards through Bitrefill. This is a crypto-only company that authorizes users to top up subscription-based services, and then spend them on Amazon.

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As well as considering crypto payments, eBay said it was also looking at a “number of ways” to get into the NFT space.

In recent days, eBay Inc announced that it is considering the possibility of accepting cryptocurrency as a valid form of payment in the future.

“We are always looking at the most relevant forms of payment and will continue to assess that going forward. We have no immediate plans, but it (cryptocurrency) is something we are keeping an eye on,” eBay said in a statement to Reuters.

Drinks companies

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Coca-Cola Amatil announced their partnership with an online assets platform, Centrapay, to permit bitcoin as an official payment method last year.

Coca-Cola Amatil is one of the world’s biggest bottlers and distributors of non-alcoholic and ready-to-drink beverages in the Asia Pacific region.

Last year, the company announced in a press release their partnership with an online assets platform, Centrapay. This enabled it to accept bitcoin as an official payment method. There are about 2,000 vending machines in Australia and New Zealand that now accept cryptocurrency, according to a CoinDesk report.

Elsewhere, Starbucks began testing bitcoin payments last year through the app, Bakkt, Nasdaq reported.

The digital asset marketplace app recently launched their digital-wallet application, in which users can convert bitcoin into USD to reload their Starbucks Card.

Art

The logo of Sotheby's auction house is seen at a branch office in Zurich, Switzerland October 25, 2016.   REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann
Sotheby’s said they will start accepting bitcoin or ether as a payment option.

Last week, world-famous auction house Sotheby’s said it will start accepting bitcoin or ether as a payment option when it presents Banksy’s artwork, “Love Is In The Air”, at its contemporary art sale next week in New York.

This will be the first time a major auction house accepts cryptocurrencies for physical artwork, as Insider previously reported.

The move to push crypto and art closer together comes as collectors look for more seamless methods of payment when doing business with Sotheby’s, said Stefan Pepe, Sotheby’s chief technology officer.

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Ethereum shoots past $3,000 in a major milestone, outperforming bitcoin’s year-to-date gains

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  • Ether hit a new record above $3,000 for the first time on Monday.
  • Investors are betting interest in decentralized finance applications will propel Ethereum’s growth.
  • Transactions on the Ethereum blockchain hit an all-time high of 41.7 million in April.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Cryptocurrency ether, native to the Ethereum blockchain, hit a new all-time high above $3,000 on Monday in a standout performance that has outpaced rival currency bitcoin’s gains so far this year.

The token rose 6% to trade around $3,142 as of 04:00 a.m. ET. That takes its year-to-date gains to more than 300%, far exceeding bitcoin’s 95% rise in 2021.

The digital asset’s popularity is embedded in its position as the blockchain of choice for many products and services that use DeFi – or decentralized finance – applications. Transactions on the Ethereum blockchain hit a record high of 41.7 million in April.

DeFi refers to a class of new applications that aim to replace traditional financial products – like lending and borrowing, trading, saving, derivatives, and options – through the use of decentralized tech, rather than relying on a company or bank. These are typically built on the Ethereum blockchain.

Investors are betting that DeFi’s rise will spur Ethereum’s growth for two reasons, according to Sergey Nazarov, the cofounder of blockchain platform Chainlink.

“Thousands of developers are building applications that recreate traditional financial products in decentralized ways on top of Ethereum, and as more and more users pour in to interact with these apps, they require ETH to conduct any transaction,” he said in a note to Insider.

“Second, there seems to be growing institutional interest in the public Ethereum blockchain, as stakeholders play around with ways to leverage the public network. For instance, just in the past week, the European Investment Bank announced it will launch a digital bond sale on Ethereum and JPMorgan issued a report examining ETH’s historical performance.”

JPMorgan predicted last week that ether’s outperformance against bitcoin could continue. Bitcoin is more of a crypto commodity than a currency, while ether functions more as a medium of exchange, the bank said.

Billionaire investor Mark Cuban has also previously said he thinks ether’s use will spark the development of apps that will “dwarf” bitcoin.

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Here’s what 9 experts said about why Dogecoin is the new star of the crypto market – and it’s not just the Musk effect

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An accumulation of interest in the new crypto favorite Dogecoin has taken the cryptocurrency by storm with its 8,000% rally so far this year.

The meme-based token rose more than 200% last week, fueled by Elon Musk’s “Doge Barking at the Moon” tweet. A day before the billionaire’s tweet, only several hundred Twitter users engaged with the hashtag “$Doge.” But engagement soared over 16,000% just a day later, with over 55,000 Twitter users joining in, according to data from online social analysis platform Cyabra.

In the Dogecoin community’s latest attempt to beat the coin’s all-time-high, investors are now eyeing a target of $0.42 to make its 4/20 mark on April 20, or “Doge Day.”

After Dogecoin peaked at a record $0.41 this week, online trading platform Robinhood began to experience major crypto trading outages due to unprecedented demand. That meant many investors were unable to join in on Dogecoin’s rally when it was at its peak. This is similar to the GameStop situation in January when traders were unable to get in on the booming stock because activity in the shares was restricted following high demand.

Here’s why the currency that was started as a joke is now seeing surging popularity, according to nine experts.

Disruption to the financial elite

“Dogecoin is a lighthearted and authentic community built upon a serious cryptocurrency infrastructure. It fills a niche that BTC and ETH do not. Its lightheartedness also makes it perfect for sending a message to the current financial establishment, which is anything but lighthearted. The more that the financial establishment is dismayed, the better.” – Investing and risk expert, Dr. Richard Smith

“The overarching narrative behind the coin’s 30x run this year is a protest against systemic inequities in the traditional financial industry – Dogecoin is, after all, the original “meme asset.” This is an extension of the value that cryptocurrencies derive from vibrant and growing communities that give rise to network effects.” – Thomas Perfumo, head of business operations and strategy at Kraken Digital Asset Exchange

“Many people view Doge as the ‘people’s cryptocurrency’ because it was created as a joke. Major players and corporations are unlikely to buy in and manipulate the market or understand that it could be a viable currency. Elon has echoed this sentiment. These factors have created a perfect storm for Doge, pumping the price to where it is today.” – Ben Weiss, CEO at bitcoin ATM operator CoinFlip

Read more: A 29-year-old self-made billionaire breaks down how he achieved daily returns of 10% on million-dollar crypto trades, and shares how to find the best opportunities

Joining the crypto frenzy

“While the Coinbase listing brought attention to crypto as a whole, for DOGE, it was a combination of Elon Musk’s tweets, as well as WallStreetBet’s recent interest in crypto that really kicked off this rally.” – Jason Lau, COO at San Francisco-based exchange OKCoin

Dogecoin is gaining traction because it is “still relatively cheap and people who may feel like they missed out on the upside of Bitcoin are thinking that perhaps this is their shot.”

“The sentiment seems to be: Bitcoin is for the wealthy, Ethereum for the middle class, and Dogecoin is for the people.” – Eric Berman, senior legal editor of US Finance at Thomson Reuters Practical Law

Emotional reactions to mainstream adoption

“I am quite confident that there is no real background to the current phase of Dogecoin’s growth. The rate is currently related to the general mood of investors on the crypto market and is a kind of indicator of the emotional state of market participants, reflecting their expectations.” – Maria Stankevich, chief business development officer at crypto exchange EXMO UK

“It’s a testament to how far narratives, memetic themes, and flows drive markets rather than fundamentals. In the old paradigm fundamental value would provide a magnet for prices to gravitate towards. In the new paradigm, it is all about flows – the order book, the buyers and the sellers.” – Roshun Patel, vice president at digital currency prime broker Genesis

Read more: The growth lead at crypto exchange Kraken breaks down how Bitcoin’s price might hit $1 million by the end of the year – and how Gen Z and millennials are driving Dogecoin’s explosive rally

Investors looking for a ‘fun bet’

“The latest uptick in Dogecoin’s price isn’t indicative of any meaningful value the cryptocurrency offers, it’s just a surge in interest from people looking to get rich quick. That can make for a fun bet, but it’s not good investing. And if you’re the one left holding on to the coins when the market tanks, you may regret taking a punt in the first place.” – David Kimberley, analyst at UK investing app Freetrade

“It’s moved by headlines, tweets, celebrity, or corporate endorsements and while that’s likely belittled by ‘traditional’ investors, it’s what brings the masses to cryptocurrencies. The masses understand headlines, tweets, and endorsements and the masses will likely mature as crypto enthusiasts and begin to appreciate the movement for its more technical nuances.” – Michael Kamerman, CEO of Scandinavian-owned brokerage Skilling

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Dogecoin extends two-day gain to 94%, bringing market cap to $18 billion

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The #98 Dogecoin / Reddit.com Ford, driven by Josh Wise, is seen in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 2, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama.


A broad rally in cryptocurrencies on Wednesday helped extend Dogecoin’s two-day gains to as much as 94%, according to pricing data from Coinbase.

The surge higher helped push the dog-meme-cryptocurrency’s total market value to as much as $18 billion, based on its current outstanding circulating supply of 129.2 billion dogecoin.

Besides being created as a joke, Dogecoin is unique from other cryptocurrencies in that an unlimited amount of the coin can be mined, meaning the is limitless supply of dogecoin. Alternatively, bitcoin has a fixed supply of 21 million coins, of which nearly 19 million bitcoin have already been mined.

But some are buying into the dog-meme joke, including celebrities like Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Guy Fieri of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, who have both tweeted support for the Shiba-Inu inspired cryptocurrency.

“Rollin’ out to the MOON [rocket emoji] #Dogecoin,” Fieri tweeted on Tuesday, accompanied with a picture of Fieri in an astronaut suit holding a space-suited up Dogecoin mascot.

Dogecoin isn’t the only cryptocurrency that has surged to record highs this week. Amid growing anticipation of Coinbase’s direct listing later today, bitcoin surged to record highs above the $64,000 level. Ethereum also touched record highs on Wednesday, while litecoin, and XRP touched multi-year highs.

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Coinbase rival Kraken could go public next year after a surge in bitcoin trading volumes

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Kraken co-founder and CEO, Jesse Powell.


Kraken is considering a stock market listing next year after the crypto exchange saw record bitcoin trading volume in the first quarter of 2021, CNBC reported on Thursday.

“We’re looking at being able to go public sometime next year,” Kraken CEO Jesse Powell told CNBC. “It would probably be a direct listing, similar to Coinbase.”

Kraken saw a massive boost from bitcoin hitting an all-time high of $61,725 in mid-March, Powell said, as a number of institutional investors piled into the space. He said any volatility is good for the company, but is even better when prices are going upwards.

Four times as many users signed up to Kraken in the first quarter than did in the second half of 2020, according to CNBC. Spot transaction volumes hit a record $160 billion in the same timeframe, or about 1.5 times higher than last year.

“The first quarter just completely blew away the entirety of last year,” Powell said, adding that the company beat last year’s numbers by the end of February and the whole market “really just exploded.” The total value of the cryptocurrency market exceeded $2 trillion this week after doubling in just two months.

Kraken is currently in talks with investors about another round of fundraising that could give it a valuation of $20 billion. The CEO said this is being delayed in order to evaluate how Coinbase’s IPO performs. But they aren’t in a rush to raise capital.

US rival Coinbase is set to go public on the Nasdaq next week at an expected valuation of $100 billion. The exchange reported preliminary revenues of about $1.8 billion for the first quarter and said it has 56 million verified users.

Companies that choose to go public via direct listings, like Spotify did in 2018, avoid paying hefty fees to investment banks that otherwise act as underwriters in a traditional IPO.

Instead, employees and investors convert their shares into stock that gets listed on a stock exchange. These can then be publicly purchased. Investors can then cash out without having to consider the lock-up period – the length of time after a traditional IPO during which shares cannot be sold by insiders.

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