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Pension provider partners with Coinbase to offer 5% exposure to crypto

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Pension funds are looking to crypto investments despite the recent market sell-off.

United States-based retirement plan provider ForUsAll is joining forces with Coinbase to allow clients to invest up to 5% of their portfolio assets in cryptocurrencies.

The pension provider, which primarily serves small to medium-sized businesses, is working to offer exposure to more than 50 cryptocurrencies in a product called Alt 401(k).

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The firm’s co-founder and chief investment officer, David Ramirez, acknowledged concerns regarding offering crypto products in pension portfolios due to their volatility but argued that U.S. citizens will be at a “disadvantage” if they are not given the option of accessing crypto assets in their retirement plans:

“The average American may be at a structural disadvantage relative to large institutions and high net worth individuals, and we just don’t think that’s right.”

ForUsAll handles $1.7 billion in retirement plan assets, which accounts for a small portion of the $22-trillion retirement account markets.

In the United States, a 401 plan is an employer-sponsored defined-contribution pension account defined in subsection 401 of the Internal Revenue Code.

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Larger institutional investment firms such as Fidelity Investments and Charles Schwab do not allow customers to directly buy or sell cryptocurrency in taxable accounts or individual retirement accounts. However, they can purchase shares in trusts that do invest in crypto assets from companies such as Grayscale Investments.

Related: Fidelity’s Tom Jessop says crypto has hit a ‘tipping point’

One firm that does allow the direct purchase of crypto assets and gold for retirement plans is Bitcoin IRA, which was founded in 2016. Commenting on ForUsAll’s collaboration with Coinbase, Chris Kline, co-founder and chief operating officer at Bitcoin IRA, stated:

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“ForUsAll and Coinbase wouldn’t be doing this if there wasn’t a market. There are people that want this with these types of funds. And they want to have access to new and exciting things with their 401(k)s.”

MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor responded to ForUsAll’s move to embrace crypto.

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In April, Cointelegraph reported that pension funds and insurance firms have been increasingly dedicating part of their asset bases to Bitcoin (BTC) and crypto assets as concerns over inflation escalated amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In May 2020, Kingdom Trust, a regulated custodian managing over $13 billion in assets, launched a retirement account supporting both Bitcoin and legacy assets.

The firm noted that when the Internal Revenue Service decided to tax Bitcoin, it directly enabled the asset to be held by qualified custodians and in retirement accounts.

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Grayscale’s Top Executive Joins Robinhood as New Chief Compliance Officer

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Robinhood hires a new CCO, the chief compliance officer of Grayscale

Robinhood brokerage app has welcomed Benjamin Melnicki as a new Chief Compliance Officer, who is also the holder of the same position at Grayscale Investments. He joined Grayscale in early January this year.

At the moment, Robinhood’s cryptocurrency arm is facing scrutiny from financial regulators. Last year, Robinhood was a target of an investigation connected to anti money laundering and certain cybersecurity problems experiences by its crypto division.

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As reported by U.Today previously, later this year, the brokerage firm plans to roll out cryptocurrency wallets for its users. The trials of wallets will kick off in October and will allow customers to deposit and withdraw cryptocurrencies to addresses beyond Robinhood seamlessly.

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Average Aussie crypto portfolio grew 258% in FY 20-21, survey reveals

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The average portfolio size on Australian cryptocurrency exchange BTC Markets has grown from $577.65 (795.5 Australian dollars) to $2,069.16 (2849.5 AUD) in the financial year 2021, signaling a 258.2% increase in portfolio holdings, according to exchange data compiled by Statista on a recent BTC Markets survey.

Data on the survey shows that the average portfolio size of female and male investors in fiscal 20-21 on BTC Markets was $1,924.30 (2,650 AUD) and $2,214.03 (3,049 AUD), respectively. However, in 2020, the average portfolio size of female Aussie investors exceeded male investors slightly. 

Transaction data on the exchange also showed a pattern of growing investment demand with aging. Considering the data provided by BTC Market on Australia’s average initial investment, investors above 65 years old have invested roughly $3,158.03, the highest ofall demographics.

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Following an incremental reduction across the various age groups, the youngest cryptocurrency traders, ranging from 18 to 24 years, tend to make comparatively small investments, standing at $792.96 on average. While older Australian crypto investors outweigh the new generation in initial investment, the younger crowd shows comparatively more activity in terms of daily trades.

Resonating the findings above, a September report from financial comparison website Finder shows that one in six Australians own cryptocurrencies, amounting to $8 billion in total investment. The report suggests that, like many other users in advanced industrialized countries, Australians were increasingly viewing cryptocurrencies as a new asset class. 

According to Cointelegraph’s report on the matter, Bitcoin (BTC) is the most popular cryptocurrency for the Australian crypto market held by 9% of investors. Other popular investments include Ether (ETH), Dogecoin (DOGE) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH). The report showed that, despite the growth in crypto investments, a significant barrier to entry for Australians is the difficulty in understanding crypto and the risks related to volatility.

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Switzerland to Impose Anti-Money Laundering Rules on Crypto Providers: Report

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FINMA requires all cryptocurrency providers to step up their game and monitor whether criminals use digital assets in illicit transactions.

The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority – FINMA – would reportedly require local digital asset providers to take additional steps in preventing criminals from employing cryptocurrencies. The watchdog would also turn its sight towards bitcoin ATMs as it believes that drug dealers often use these machines.

FINMA Targets Criminals Operating with Crypto

According to a Finews report, Switzerland’s financial regulator – the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority or simply FINMA – would closely supervise local crypto providers as an attempt to clamp down on money-laundering transactions.

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Swiss platforms and brokers dealing with digital assets would have to enhance their monitoring efforts and observe if bad actors employ cryptocurrencies. The Bern-based watchdog believes the initiative is “urgently necessary,” stressing that criminals use the asset class even to fund terrorism acts.

FINMA also turned its attention towards bitcoin automated teller machines. According to the regulator, drug dealers frequently use such ATMs as payment systems. It is worth noting that Switzerland is a relatively small nation, but its 130 Bitcoin automated teller machines place it in the sixth position among the countries with the most stations.

FINMA also passed an anti-money laundering provision according to which it lowered the threshold for unidentified crypto purchases from 5,000 Swiss Francs (CHF) to 1,000 CHF (around $1,080). Or, in other words, all financial providers dealing with digital assets have to collect data on anyone initiating transactions that exceed this amount.

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UBS: Crypto Regulations Could Spell Trouble

One of the leading banks in Switzerland – UBS – recently shared its views on the hot topic of digital asset regulations as it indicated that implementing certain rules might negatively impact the market.

Furthermore, the bank warned its customers that regulatory crackdowns can pop the “bubble-like” crypto markets. The Swiss bank also labeled the asset class as “speculative” alerting that it could be dangerous for professional investors:

“While we can’t rule out future price gains in cryptos, we see this as a speculative market that poses significant risks to professional investors.”

On another note, though, when the cryptocurrency market was booming at the beginning of May, UBS demonstrated a different attitude. Back then, it intended to enable its wealthy customers to receive digital asset exposure later in 2021 through third-party vehicles.

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