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Echoing GameStop saga, retail traders fuel Robinhood stock price hike

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After making unwanted headlines with its disappointing initial public offering (IPO) debut on Nasdaq last week, shares in stock and cryptocurrency trading app Robinhood have seen wild volatility in recent days. In an ironic twist that saw the price of HOOD stocks soar by as much as 82% in one day, the app that has so often been the beneficiary of frenzied meme stock trading itself began to resemble the latest online craze.

Since its debut on Nasdaq on July 29, HOOD is up 102% and is trading at $70.39 at the time of writing, down just slightly from its peak on Wednesday at $85. In response to such wild volatility and an exponential surge in retail trading volume, Nasdaq dealt the company a dose of its own medicine by halting trading multiple times.

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Antony Pompliano’s quip refers to Robinhood’s notoriety among retail and crypto investors for its decision to suspend trading in GameStop (GME) and other stocks amid unprecedented retail-driven price volatility earlier this year. It drew further ire for temporarily disabling instant deposits for crypto purchases as Dogecoin (DOGE) surged by 900%. This unpopularity elicited a degree of relish from online traders at the app’s first floundering debut for its public offering. 

Analysts have proposed that a midweek decision by Ark Invest’s Cathie Wood to increase her position in Robinhood — adding 89,622 shares of HOOD in Ark Fintech Innovation exchange-traded fund to the 3.15 million Wood had already bought up — may have been the spark for the subsequent price turnaround. HOOD’s rapid, meme stock-like price surges have since largely been fueled by the buzz among retail traders online.

According to Swaggy Stocks, which tracks the top trending stocks mentioned on the popular subreddit r/Wallstreetbets, HOOD was by far the most mentioned stock on the forum over the past 24 hours, with 2,770 mentions against 265 for Tesla (TSLA), 1,960 for the SPDR S&P 500 trust (SPY) and 488 for Moderna (MRNA). 

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Retail investor sentiment tracker Breakout Point has also confirmed that its aggregate retail popularity framework, which “aggregates across dozens of retail chatter/sentiment sources,” has HOOD as the most popular ticker of recent days. Breakout Point founder Ivan Ćosović has attributed HOOD’s metamorphosis from “a very hated IPO in the retail world” to meme-like stock to three factors: the influence of Wood’s bullish position, some retail “investors on the sidelines [who] decided to give it a try,” and the subsequent, familiar online FOMO.

As previously reported, a series of major system outages on Robinhood this spring preventing users from accessing their accounts have also galvanized traders to rally behind multiple class-action lawsuits against the company in the United States.

The company has paid $57 million in fines to the U.S. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, as well as providing roughly $12.6 million in restitution to certain customers, after the regulator alleged that the trading platform caused “widespread and significant harm” to thousands of users and had “systemic supervisory failures” since as early as September 2016. The platform has also been under scrutiny from federal and state-level U.S. securities regulators and congress members over its handling of the Gametop affair.

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Central Bank of Spain requires cryptocurrency companies to register in the country

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The Bank of Spain (BDE) made available on Thursday (21) an electronic form for registering individuals and companies wishing to initiate or formalize operations with cryptocurrencies. The call comes a week after the agency formally sent a notice on the subject to the country’s financial institutions.

According to the BDE, registration is mandatory for companies operating in the cryptocurrency sector, regardless of whether they already have registration with the country’s central financial agency, that is, even banks. Such a requirement could confuse financial entities already licensed in Spain, as they are already directly supervised, Coindesk commented.

“The obligation to register in this form applies to all individuals or legal entities that provide exchange services between virtual and fiduciary currency and custody, regardless of whether they are also registered in other administrative records at the Bank of Spain or other competent authorities”, says a short excerpt from the BDE instructions.

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Another point is what clarifies the BDE about the registration of individuals who work in the exchange service in Spain, such as P2Ps. Something that the central bank makes clear is that these actors must register “regardless of the location of the service recipients”. However, both individuals and corporations will have to adapt or revise their money laundering policy.

Entities now have one week to start the registration process and deliver documentation. The BDE advises that “it is advisable to submit all documents complete from the start to avoid delays in processing the order”.

Cryptocurrencies in Spain

About four months ago, the BDE said it would provide instructions and the necessary forms to apply for registration. But the instructions have only just arrived, with just 7 days to go before the registration deadline.

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Another point of action by the BDE is the lack of clarity, since the entity works as the country’s central bank, but under the supervision of the European Central Bank (ECB).

The Spanish bank BBVA, for example, already has a bitcoin trading and custody service in Switzerland. CaixaBank, the third largest Spanish bank, is also preparing to explore the cryptocurrency sector with startup Onyze.

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This Is What Jack Dorsey’s Cryptic ‘705742’ Tweet Might Mean

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A simple but cryptic tweet from Jack Dorsey, Founder and CEO of Twitter and payments firm Square, has sparked a debate about the meaning of the post, and whether the well-known Bitcoin (BTC) advocate has any BTC-related plans that have yet to be announced.

As pointed out by many users replying to the thread, the tweet, saying just “705742,” likely refers to a block number on the Bitcoin blockchain. A block with that number was indeed mined on Tuesday at 20:14 UTC, but it is still unknown what else is special about the particular block.

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Twitter users were quick to pull up the bitcoin block explorer to see if there was anything unusual about block 705742, which at that point had yet to be mined. However, little out of the ordinary could be found.

Others, meanwhile, joked that the number could be Dorsey’s “[end of year] price target for bitcoin,” or that it could be somehow related to “Moscow time,” – bitcoin slang for the value of 1 USD in satoshis.

Speculating further, one user on Reddit suggested that the block number could be the first block to be mined by a new mining system that Dorsey has proposed.

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“Maybe the first block that Square mined as part of their [research & development] for a potential public mining platform,” the user wrote, before adding that it looks like the wallet that received the block reward already has both in and outbound transactions worth almost USD 2bn. “Seems like a plausible volume for Square/Cashapp,” the user added.

However, according to various Bitcoin blockchain explorers, the block in question included 2,787 transactions and was actually mined by the BTC.com pool. Moreover, the block was mined almost an hour after the tweet was published.

In either case, as reported, the latest tweet from the Twitter CEO followed another thread from last Friday, where Dorsey said that Square is considering building “a bitcoin mining system based on custom silicon and open source.” 

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“Mining needs to be more distributed” and it “should be as easy as plugging a rig into a power source,” Dorsey wrote, asking his followers what the biggest barriers are for people who want to run miners.

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Facebook Finally Launches Digital Currency Wallet Novi but Senators Want to Close This Project

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Amid the Facebook Novi launch, some federal legislators want the social media giant to discontinue the project.

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB) has launched the pilot phase of its digital currency wallet Novi in the US and Guatemala using stablecoin Paxos. Facebook finally launches Novi and is going with Paxos’ USDP after its own native crypto Diem failed to secure regulatory approval. Furthermore, the social media giant heralded the pilot launch in a blog post on Tuesday.

Novi’s pilot launch is more than two years after it was first announced. The wallet will facilitate fast, secure, and free fund transfers between users via mobile smartphone apps. However, all users must register with government-issued identification.

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For now, Paxos’ stablecoin will serve as Novi’s transactional currency, while powerhouse exchange Coinbase will provide custodial services. According to David Marcus, head of Facebook’s Novi wallet, this pilot phase will, “test core feature functions, and operational capabilities in customer care and compliance.” Furthermore, it will test the viability of stablecoins as a valid and sustainable form of payment.

Facebook Launches Novi to the Disapproval of US Congress

Amid the Facebook Novi launch, some federal legislators are calling for the social media giant to discontinue the project. Senate Democrats addressed a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday questioning the company’s credibility with crypto. In their own words, Facebook “cannot be trusted to manage cryptocurrency”. The senators base this conviction on the social media company’s past inadequacies in handling cyber risks and keeping consumers protected. Signed by Senators Brian Schatz, Sherrod Brown, Elizabeth Warren, and others, the letter read:

“Facebook is once again pursuing digital currency plans on an aggressive timeline and has already launched a pilot for a payments infrastructure network, even though these plans are incompatible with the actual financial regulatory landscape — not only for Diem specifically, but also for stablecoins in general.”

Part of the Congress letter to Facebook further states:

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“We urge you to immediately discontinue your Novi pilot and to commit that you will not bring Diem to market.”

Facebook responded to the Senators’ query through a spokesperson for Novi, suggesting that the company would address the issues raised therein.

Facebook Has a Long-Running History with Federal Lawmakers over Its Operational Practices

In recent times, Zuckerberg and Facebook have locked horns more frequently with Congress. Back in 2019, Congress summoned the Facebook CEO to provide testimony on the Diem project (then called Libra). Zuckerberg’s summoning was the culmination of weeks of tussling, between Facebook and the federal lawmakers, who were skeptical of the project. In addition, the Zuckerberg hearing came just a year after Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal. This may have been another reason federal legislators were agitated against the company.

Another recent red flag raised against Facebook was earlier this month from whistleblower Frances Haugen. Haugen appeared before the Senate Commerce Committee to testify on the threat Facebook posed to users. Some of these include the usage of Facebook itself and other affiliated services, such as photo and video-sharing behemoth Instagram.

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