Crypto platform Coinbase went public: Shares in Coinbase, the first major cryptocurrency company to list its shares on a US stock exchange, jumped in their market debut on Wednesday, showing that investors are hungry to get a piece of the hot market for digital currencies. From a reference price of $250, Coinbase shares opened at $381, a change of around 52%. At its open Coinbase was valued at $99.6 billion on a fully diluted basis. As of the time of writing Coinbase has appreciated further to just over $400 per share, valuing the company at a touch more than $104 billion. Coinbase’s stock market debut, done through a direct listing where no shares are sold ahead of the opening, marks another milestone in the development of bitcoin and other digital assets. It comes amid a surge in the value of cryptocurrencies which has lured a clutch of mainstream, top-tier firms that have dived into the space.
nytimes.com, techcrunch.com, reuters.com
Bitcoin surges to new high above $64,000: The price of the world’s most popular cryptocurrency tapped fresh highs on Wednesday, as Coinbase began trading on the Nasdaq under the symbol “COIN” as a direct listing. Bitcoin took out Tuesday’s fresh record high above $63,000, reaching as high as $64,829 before easing back to $63,554. And the gains weren’t reserved only for bitcoin, as Ethereum has gained around 10% over 24 hours, reaching a fresh record at nearly $2,399 earlier Wednesday.
Digital euro could take years: The European Central Bank (ECB) is studying an electronic form of cash to complement banknotes and coins in a bid to stem competition from cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Tether and Facebook’s proposed Diem. An ECB consultation showed that privacy, a key feature of cash that some fear will get lost when switching to an electronic means of payment, was the number one priority for both private individuals and professionals. The ECB will decide in the coming months whether to launch a two-year analysis of the digital euro project. ECB board member Fabio Panetta said this would then be followed by several years of implementation before a final decision is made on whether or not to launch a digital currency. This could take five years in total, Panetta added.
Blockchain startup Immutable Insight secures millions: In 2019, Katharina Gehra, physicist Volker Winterer and data specialist Giyun Jeong took the plunge into self-employment and founded the blockchain startup Immutable Insight. Initially focused on analysis and advice, the company has since opened up to the topic of blockchain. Cooperation with medium-sized companies is particularly important to Immutable Insight, which makes the results of the latest financing round all the more gratifying: some members of German corporate families are joining the startup. Among them is Daniel Hopp, the heir of SAP founder Dietmar Hopp. „We looked for investors from family businesses in order to get more connections to German industry,“ Gehra told finance fwd. There is no news yet on what the startup will actually participate in. But one thing is clear: Immutable Insight is relying on a blockchain fund that is expected to collect up to 100 million euros in the future. „We use our algorithms to monitor and analyze the usage data of blockchain applications worldwide and in real time in order to invest our customers‘ money where real usage increases exponentially,“ said Gehra.
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43% of Europeans said privacy is the most important feature of a digital euro, according to the results of a survey by the European Central Bank (ECB).
Making the supply chain transparent with blockchain: It is often difficult for companies to keep track of the exact journey that the product they are selling has taken. Blockchain technology could make things easier. “The idea is that raw materials are marked at the beginning of the supply chain, for example with a QR code. This is linked to the blockchain,“ explains business journalist Katja Scherer. The big advantage of the blockchain: what has been entered once cannot be simply changed later on. For example, suppliers cannot forge delivery notes and companies can be clearly identified, even if no name is given.
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Linux Foundation launches blockchain-based platform for insurance: The Linux Foundation is backing a new blockchain-based project for the insurance industry. The foundation has announced the launch of the Open Insurance Data Link platform, a project that aims to reduce the cost of insurance reporting and create a standardized insurance data repository using distributed ledger technology. OpenIDL is a joint initiative of the Linux Foundation and the American Association of Insurance Services, a national insurance advisory organization in the United States. The open-source project brings together major global insurance firms like The Hanover and Selective Insurance Group, as well as technology and service providers like MOBI, Chainyard and KatRisk to participate in a common DLT platform to share data and business processes in the insurance industry.
„Regulation is a big issue indeed. In principle, it would be a good sign if it happened, since only recognized asset classes are regulated. On the other hand, there is a risk that Bitcoin will be deprived of its air to breathe.“
Financial market analyst Timo Emden believes in the future of cryptocurrencies as established investment alternatives.
Digital vaccination certificate without blockchain: Germany is planning a digital Covid vaccination certificate for the smartphone before the summer. But contrary to the concepts originally proposed, the digital certificate will work without blockchain technology. Rather, the verification of the certificates will take place via a reduced test certificate, which is displayed by the vaccination app and which the testers can access via a mobile test app.