Billionaire investor Leon Cooperman says if you don’t understand bitcoin, you’re old – and if you’re nervous about the world, gold is a better store of value

Leon Cooperman
Leon Cooperman.

  • If you don’t understand bitcoin, you’re old, 78-year-old billionaire investor Leon Cooperman told CNBC Thursday.
  • The Omega Advisors chief said gold is a better place to store value than bitcoin if you’re nervous.
  • It isn’t in US government’s interest to further a substitute to the dollar, Cooperman noted.
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Billionaire investor Leon Cooperman told CNBC that people who don’t understand bitcoin are likely to be old, and said gold is a better store of value for those looking for a stable haven for their cash.

The Omega Advisors chairman noted that while veteran investor Barry Diller sees cryptocurrencies as a “con job,” he doesn’t know whether they are. Instead, he admits that he is in the dark about the digital assets.

“I say that if you don’t understand bitcoin, it means you’re old. I’m 78. I’m old, I don’t understand it,” he said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Thursday.

But he said one thing he does know is that it isn’t in the US government’s interest to make way for a substitute to the dollar.

“My guess is, I’d be very careful in bitcoin. I don’t think it makes a great deal of sense,” he said. “And if you are nervous about the world, gold would be a better place to store value than bitcoin.”

The hedge fund manager did note that he owns very little gold, saying: “You know I’m a paper guy. I’m a perennial optimist.”

The precious metal’s price is down 9% in the past 12 months, compared with bitcoin’s 60% gain in the same period.

Bitcoin had a strong start to the week, breaking out above $50,000 on momentum ahead of El Salvador’s historic adoption of the token as legal tender. But its price tumbled as much as 17% on Tuesday to $43,050 after the country’s glitch-ridden roll-out was followed by heavy selling on derivatives platforms.

As for stocks, Cooperman said he was keeping an eye on inflation, signals from the Federal Reserve, and interest rates for future investments.

“The market structure is broken so when there’s a real fundamental reason for the market to go down, it’ll go down so quickly, you’re head’s gonna spin,” he said. “There’s no stabilizing force in the market now, it’s all run by machines.”

Cooperman predicted that there won’t be a recession in the US any time soon. He said he sees it as at least a year away, or “maybe longer.”

Read More: A trader who warned of the 2017 and 2021 bitcoin bull market tops breaks down what could send the cryptocurrency into a ‘years long’ bear market – and shares what would lead him to buy it again after he sold during Tuesday’s sell-off

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Binance is ramping up its enforcement of user verification as the crypto exchange faces regulatory pressure

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Binance CEO Zhao Chengpeng

  • Crypto exchange Binance on Friday told new and existing customers to complete an ID verification process.
  • The company, which is facing regulatory scrutiny worldwide, said the process will help combat financial crime.
  • Users must upload a selfie for facial recognition as part of the verification process.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, said Friday customers will need to provide government-issued identification and pass a facial verification process to trade on its platform, making the move as the company faces regulatory scrutiny worldwide.

In a statement, the company said effective immediately all new users must complete “Intermediate Verification” to access cryptocurrency deposits, trades and withdrawals. Existing users who haven’t completed ID verification will see their account permissions temporarily changed to limit services to withdrawals, order cancellations, closing positions, and redemptions.

“Binance is announcing these measures to help support its efforts in Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML). This will further enhance user protection and combat financial crime,” the company said.

The company walks customers through the process which includes uploading pictures of documents, with passports, ID cards, or driver’s licenses acceptable paperwork. Customers must also upload a selfie for face verification.

Binance is facing governmental scrutiny around the world, with some regulators banning the platform and others limiting its use or warning customers about risks. Binance’s business largely expanded by allowing users to trade crypto derivatives using high amounts of leverage, or borrowed money. Regulators have expressed concerns about the risks the products may pose to consumers and the broader economy.

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao this week said he spends “probably 80% or more” of his time dealing with regulatory issues, rather than day-to-day operations of the exchange itself.

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Bank of America is allowing some clients to trade bitcoin futures, report says

BofA logo
Bank of America is reportedly addressing demand for bitcoin access by clients.

  • Bank of America has approved access to bitcoin futures to some clients, CoinDesk reported Friday.
  • The bank gave the green light due to the large amount of margin required to trade the futures, the report said.
  • Bitcoin is trading at less than half its all time high of near $65,000 achieved earlier this year.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Bank of America is allowing some of its clients to trade bitcoin futures, according to a CoinDesk report, a move that highlights the growing push by institutions into the cryptocurrency market.

The second-largest bank by assets in the US has been conservative in dealing with cryptos but it has approved giving some clients access to the market due to the large amount of margin required to trade the futures, CoinDesk reported Friday, citing an unnamed source. Another source told the site some of BofA’s clients are setting up to trade bitcoin futures and that one or two may have already started trading.

To address institutional interest in digital currencies, Bank of America recently launched a cryptocurrency research team, according to a memo obtained by Insider.

“Cryptocurrencies and digital assets constitute one of the fastest growing emerging technology ecosystems,” said Candace Browning, head of global research, in a July 8 memo addressed to Merrill Lynch Wealth Management employees and partners.

Goldman Sachs has expanded its presence in the bitcoin market by offering non-deliverable forwards, a derivative tied to bitcoin’s price that pays out in cash, Bloomberg reported in May.

The news of BofA’s bitcoin move comes as the market value of the global cryptocurrencies has dropped to $1.3 trillion from a high of more than $2.4 trillion in May, led largely by a selloff in bitcoin. Bitcoin traded below $32,000 on Friday and was headed toward its worst weekly performance in more than a month.

The crypto market has been struggling in part on the back of regulatory headwinds from China and the US. This week, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the US won’t need stablecoins and cryptocurrencies if the central bank were to issue its own digital currency.

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Elizabeth Warren demands answers from the SEC on crypto regulation by the end of July

senator elizabeth warren
  • In a letter addressed to the chairman of the SEC, Senator Elizabeth Warren demanded answers on crypto regulation by July 28.
  • Warren, who’s part of the Senate Banking Committee, is concerned about risks to consumers and investors from the $1.3 trillion market.
  • She said Congress may need to act to ensure the SEC has proper authority to close existing regulation gaps.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

In a Wednesday letter addressed to SEC Chairman Gary Gensler, Sen. Elizabeth Warren demanded the agency answer a series of questions related to cryptocurrency regulation – and said she expects an answer no later than July 28.

The Massachusetts Democrat – who serves as chair of the Senate Banking Committee’s Subcommittee on Economic Policy – laid out her goal of protecting investors in the expanding market for digital currencies.

“The increased use of cryptocurrency exchanges presents unique risks to consumers,” Warren said in the letter. “Although they describe themselves as cryptocurrency ‘exchanges,’ these platforms lack the same types of basic regulatory protections as traditional national securities exchanges like the New York Stock Exchange or Nasdaq.”

Warren said the information she’s requested will help Congress determine if it needs to act to ensure the SEC has the needed authority to close existing gaps in regulation. Those gaps, she said, leave investors and consumers vulnerable to dangers in what she called a highly opaque and volatile market.

Warren also said in her letter that nearly 7,000 people in the US reported losses of $80 million from cryptocurrency scams between October 2020 and March 2021.

“The harms to consumers as a result of this under-regulated market are real and continue to proliferate in the absence of effective SEC regulations,” she said.

Warren presented five questions to the SEC, beginning with:

  1. “Do you believe that cryptocurrency exchanges are currently operating in a ‘fair, orderly, and efficient’ manner? If not, what problems has the SEC identified that are associated with the use of these exchanges?”

The cryptocurrency market this year has notched a number of milestones including exceeding a valuation of $2 trillion in April as bitcoin topped a $1 trillion market value . Those moves were made alongside the trading debut of Coinbase, the largest crypto exchange in the US. Wall Street banks and other institutions have ramped up their business exposure to the market. Meanwhile, the SEC is considering the application of 13 bitcoin ETFs.

But the cryptocurrency market’s valuation has since fallen to roughly $1.4 trillion because of a sell-off in bitcoin, ether, and other digital currencies.

Read more: A crypto evangelist shares 5 altcoins that could explode in value, including one with 100-times potential – and breaks down his 3-part strategy for betting on speculative but potentially rewarding tokens

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Nearly 90% of cryptocurrency investors surveyed say they weren’t scared away by May’s brutal selloff and are planning to buy more

A woman standing in an office is holding a bitcoin in her hand.
  • 87% of respondents in a survey by cryptocurrency-asset broker Voyager Digital plan to buy more digital currencies in upcoming months.
  • Voyager said the survey indicates crypto buyers will take advantage of the recent market selloff led by bitcoin.
  • Crypto buyers are also bullish on cardano and optimistic about a bitcoin ETF this year in the US.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The recent selloff that wiped out more than 20% of the cryptocurrency market’s valuation appears to have emboldened buyers to invest even more in digital currencies, according to a survey conducted by cryptocurrency-asset broker Voyager Digital.

87% of respondents in the company’s second-quarter retail investor sentiment survey said they plan to increase their crypto holdings over the next quarter. The survey captured responses from 3,671 participants at the end of May, during which bitcoin led a plunge in prices throughout the market.

The survey also showed an average of 7 out of 10 investors holding bullish sentiment for bitcoin price over the next three months.

Threats of bitcoin mining and trading crackdowns in China, taxation efforts on cryptocurrency transactions in the US and Tesla’s decision to stop taking bitcoin as payment for its electric vehicles stoked a 47% slide in bitcoin’s price during May, driving it to a low of $30,681.50 from $57,750.18 at the start of the month.

“It’s encouraging that investors remain bullish following the recent market correction,” said Steve Ehrlich, Voyager’s CEO, in a statement. “The fact that the vast majority of our large sample size of investors are more confident in the future of cryptocurrency shows how people see May’s volatility in many crypto-assets as a buying opportunity.”

Bitcoin’s market capitalization has dropped almost 30% to $766.6 billion since the start of May through mid-Monday, losing grip of the $1 trillion market-cap level.

The cryptocurrency’s market capitalization has been dragged down by roughly 21% from the start of May through midday Monday, standing at $1.74 trillion from $2.21 trillion. But the market cap has recovered somewhat after falling to $1.3 trillion in late May, aided by bitcoin’s price rising back above $40,000.

The survey showed 39% of respondents predict bitcoin’s price will move up to between $56,000 to $70,000 by the end of the third quarter, while 28% foresee the price between $41,000 to $55,000.

Bitcoin jumped above $40,000 on Monday after Elon Musk tweeted that Tesla would accept bitcoin payments again once mining can be done using cleaner energy.

Looking at so-called altcoins, Voyager said investors are most bullish on cardano, at 55%, followed by dogecoin at 11%. Meanwhile, more than nine of 10 investors expect the Securities and Exchange Commission to approve the US’s first bitcoin ETF this year.

Voyager said its results were based on a sample set of more than 1.6 million verified users in an anonymous online survey. Respondents were chosen based on a “highly active trader status” on the platform, with those users executing between 50 to 100 trades over a 30-day period.

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Coinbase stumbles to its lowest price since going public as the crypto market sells off

coinbase direct listing
  • Coinbase shares on Monday hit their lowest level since making their public trading debut in April.
  • The stock fell as much as 8% on Monday as a sell-off in bitcoin led to weakness across assorted cryptocurrencies.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Coinbase shares on Monday fell to their lowest price since the cryptocurrency exchange began trading last month, under pressure as bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies heavily sold off.

Risk aversion appeared to hit the crypto market broadly as bitcoin slumped to a February low and other stocks exposed to bitcoin lost ground. Losses for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies pulled the valuation of the global cryptocurrencies market down by much as $50 billion during Monday’s session, according to CoinMarketCap.

Coinbase shares fell as much as 8%, to $238.25, marking the first time they had dropped below the reference price of $250 set before the stock’s public-market debut in April. Actual trading opened at $381 on April 14.

Coinbase’s stock has largely pulled back since they surged to $429.54 in their first day of trading. Their arrival marked the first cryptocurrency exchange to go public. Bitcoin was also in the spotlight on that day as it hit a record above $64,000.

But bitcoin on Monday sank below $43,000 after Tesla CEO Elon Musk suggested the electric car maker might – or had sold – its holdings in the cryptocurrency. Bitcoin pared its loss after Musk clarified that Tesla still held its bitcoin stake. However, bitcoin’s price still suffered as did those of other cryptocurrencies including a 6% decline in Ether, the token of the Ethereum blockchain, lost 5%, Cardano-ADA fell 10%, and Dogecoin shed about 4%.

The value of the global cryptocurrency market lost as much as 23% over the past five days since reaching its most recent market-cap high of $2.56 trillion.

Coinbase last week reported first-quarter adjusted earnings of $3.05 per on revenue of $1.8 billion that met expectations. Coinbase did say it planned to start offering dogecoin for trading in six to eight weeks.

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The crypto market has lost 23% of its value in just the last 5 days

BTC vs. ETH 4
  • The market capitalization of global cryptocurrencies has dropped by 23% in just the last five days, according to data on CoinMarketCap.
  • The Bitcoin has fallen roughly 35% since hitting all-time high in mid-April as comments.
  • Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been responsible for recent swings in the cryptocurrency as he laments the amount of energy used to mine.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The value of the cryptocurrency market has slid by 23% in just the last five days. It’s been pulled lower by a sell-off in bitcoin most recently catalyzed by comments made by Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

The market cap for global digital currencies came in at $1.97 trillion on Monday, down from a recent peak of $2.56 trillion on May 12, according to data from CoinMarketCap.com.

“The crypto world is in the danger zone … as no one has a handle over short-term momentum because of uncertainty on where Elon Musk stands on bitcoin,” Edward Moya, a senior market analyst at Oanda, wrote in a note to Insider on Monday.

Bitcoin on Monday fell below $43,000 to its lowest point since February while other crypto prices suffered as well. Ether, the token of the Ethereum blockchain, was down nearly 8%, Cardano-ADA sank 10%, and Binance Coin fell about 9%. Dogecoin gave up 7%.

Solana was the only one of the 20 largest cryptocurrencies by market cap to gain ground Monday, up about 0.2%, according to CoinGecko.

Bitcoin dropped Monday after Musk on Twitter suggested Tesla might – or had sold – its holdings in the cryptocurrency. It slightly rebounded after Musk clarified that the electric vehicle maker still held its bitcoin stake. Bitcoin’s recent selloff was sparked after Musk last week said Tesla would stop taking bitcoin as payment because of the “insane” amount of energy needed to create new coins and secure the network.

“It seems unlikely that a massive financial institution will make a big bet on crypto in this current market as environmental concerns come to the surface,” said Moya.

Musk later suggested that Dogecoin may be a payment option for Tesla as he’s working with Dogecoin developers to improve system transaction efficiency.

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

“Everyone has been watching BTC fall, crashing 35% from all-time highs, just within a month,” said Justin Chuh, senior trader manager Wave Financial, a regulated digital asset investment firm, in a note. “Remember gravity and volatility? They exist. Some of the new crypto market entrants are about to have their first taste of risk

He continued: “A pullback was bound to happen. But we have to accept that those voices chirping around on social media aren’t helping and can actually make moves. This is healthy, but I think we all wish this didn’t happen.”

Broad risk aversion that hit US stocks on Monday didn’t aid the cryptocurrency market, said Moya, and “retail traders on social media platforms TikTok and Twitter are losing confidence and are getting closer to hitting the panic button.”

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