Crypto Moves — Bitcoin, Ether slightly up; Virtual assets shed $800bn market value in a month; KuCoin valued at $10bn

Crypto Moves — Bitcoin, Ether slightly up; Virtual assets shed $800bn market value in a month; KuCoin valued at $10bn
Bitcoin has nearly halved from the record high hit in November last year. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 11 May 2022

Crypto Moves — Bitcoin, Ether slightly up; Virtual assets shed $800bn market value in a month; KuCoin valued at $10bn

Crypto Moves — Bitcoin, Ether slightly up; Virtual assets shed $800bn market value in a month; KuCoin valued at $10bn
  • Crypto assets bled nearly $800 billion in market value over the past month, touching a low of $1.4 trillion on Tuesday

RIYADH: Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency internationally, traded higher on Wednesday, up 1.34 percent to $31,755 as of 08:20 a.m. Riyadh time.

Ether, the second most traded cryptocurrency, was priced at $2,397, up 1.48 percent, according to data from Coindesk.

Coinbase CEO says new disclosure does not mean firm faces bankruptcy risk

Brian Armstrong, the CEO of Coinbase said a disclosure in its latest quarterly filing did not indicate the crypto exchange operator faced a bankruptcy risk and it had been made to meet a US Securities and Exchange Commission, known as SEC, requirement.

Armstrong made his comments after Coinbase said on Tuesday that, in the event of bankruptcy, crypto assets held by the exchange could be considered property of the bankruptcy proceedings, and customers could be treated as general unsecured creditors.

The unsecured creditor will be one of the last to be paid in any bankruptcy and last in line for claims.

Coinbase, whose shares plunged 15 percent in extended trade on Tuesday, also missed estimates for first-quarter revenue and posted a loss as turmoil in global markets curbed investor appetite for higher risk assets including cryptocurrencies.

Coinbase reported a 35 percent slump in total revenue to $1.17 billion for the three months ended March 31. Analysts had expected revenue of $1.48 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Coinbase said its disclosure might lead customers to believe that keeping their coins on the platform would be considered more risky, which would in turn materially impact its financial position.

“We have no risk of bankruptcy,” Armstrong tweeted after the disclosure, which he said was made to meet SEC requirements.

“We should have updated our retail terms sooner, and we didn't communicate proactively when this risk disclosure was added, my deepest apologies,” Armstrong said. 

Bitcoin slumps

Among its mix of crypto assets, Bitcoin accounted for 24 percent of trading volume, up 16 percent from the prior quarter but down 39 percent from a year earlier.

The cryptocurrency market has been roiled by extreme volatility due to economic and geopolitical uncertainties, such as fears of rising inflation and the impact of the Ukraine war, leading to a sharp drop in their prices.

Bitcoin has nearly halved from the record high hit in November last year, as the world’s largest digital asset becomes a major target of governments and regulators looking to crack down on privately operated currencies.

SEC’s Gensler says crypto exchanges trading against clients

Gary Gensler is increasing his criticism of the digital asset exchange, arguing that some platforms are evading rules and may be betting against their customers, Bloomberg reported. 

The chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission reiterated on Tuesday that most digital assets fall under his agency's purview and venues trading them should register with the regulator.

The SEC is also ramping up its enforcement efforts, Gensler added. 

“Crypto’s got a lot of those challenges, of platforms trading ahead of their customers,” Gensler said. “In fact, they’re trading against their customers often because they’re market-marking against them,” Gensler told Bloomberg News in an interview. 

Crypto assets shed $800 billion in market value in a month

Crypto assets bled nearly $800 billion in market value over the past month, touching a low of $1.4 trillion on Tuesday, according to data site CoinMarketCap, as the end of easy monetary policy diminishes appetite for risk assets.

Bitcoin, which makes up for nearly 40 percent of the crypto market, hit a 10-month low earlier on Tuesday, before rebounding to $31,450, just six days after touching $40,000. It was more than 54 percent below its Nov. 10 all-time high of $69,000.

Digital asset prices have slumped, mirroring a plunge in equities on fears of aggressive interest rate hikes across the globe to stave off decades-high inflation. The tech-heavy Nasdaq was down 28 percent from its November 2021 record high.

The total crypto market value was at $2.2 trillion on April 2, well off of its all-time peak of $2.9 trillion last November, as per CoinMarketCap.

“Bitcoin remains highly correlated to the broader economic conditions, which suggests the road ahead may unfortunately be a rocky one, at least for the time being,” blockchain data provider Glassnode said in a note.

Signs of weakness in stablecoins, typically a safer crypto currency, further spooked investors. TerraUSD, the world’s fourth-largest stablecoin, lost a third of its value on Tuesday, as it lost its peg to the dollar.

Despite bitcoin’s price slump, funds and products linked to it posted inflows of $45 million last week as investors took advantage of price weakness, according to digital asset manager Coinshares in a report released on Monday.

KuCoin valued at $10 billion in latest funding round

Cryptocurrency exchange KuCoin raised $150 million in a series B funding round led by Jump Crypto, the company said on Tuesday, giving it a valuation of $10 billion.

KuCoin, the fifth largest crypto exchange according to data firm CoinMarketCap, has 10 million users in 207 countries. It plans to use the money to expand its presence in Web3, a utopian version of the world wide web that is decentralized and based on blockchain technology.

The Seychelles-based company offers trading services and plans to use the funds to expand to crypto wallets, digital finance, NFTs as well as to build its online community of crypto users.

The latest funding round includes investment from Circle Ventures, IDG Capital and Matric Partners.

Private investments in crypto firms have exploded in 2022 despite a slump in Bitcoin and other assets this year.

Venture capital investment in such projects totaled $10 billion globally in the first quarter of 2022, the largest quarterly sum ever, and more than double the level seen in the same period a year ago, according to data from Pitchbook.

(With input from Reuters) 


China plans $75bn infrastructure fund to revive economy — sources

China plans $75bn infrastructure fund to revive economy — sources
(Shutterstock)
Updated 11 sec ago

China plans $75bn infrastructure fund to revive economy — sources

China plans $75bn infrastructure fund to revive economy — sources

BEIJING: China will set up a state infrastructure investment fund worth 500 billion yuan ($74.69 billion) to spur infrastructure spending and revive a flagging economy, two people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Tuesday.

China’s economy has started a slow recovery from the supply shocks caused by extensive lockdowns since the second quarter, although headwinds to growth persist, including from a still subdued property market, soft consumer spending and fear of any recurring waves of infections.

The fund is expected to be set up in the third quarter, the sources said.

China has unveiled a raft of economic support measures in recent weeks, although analysts say the official gross domestic product target of around 5.5 percent for this year will be hard to achieve without doing away with its strict zero-COVID strategy.

Much of the economic support has come from fiscal stimulus to counter the impact from COVID-19 this year, with the central bank steadily easing liquidity conditions to lower financing costs.

Authorities are doubling down on an infrastructure push, dusting off an old playbook to revive the economy, pledging 800 billion yuan in new credit quota and 300 billion yuan in financial bonds for policy banks to support big projects.

Sources told Reuters that China will issue 2023 advance quota for local government special bonds in the fourth quarter, with the new quota likely bigger than 1.46 trillion yuan for 2022.

The Ministry of Finance and the National Development and Reform Commission did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment.

The cabinet has told local governments to ensure 3.45 trillion yuan in special bond issuance for infrastructure — part of the 2022 special bond quota of 3.65 trillion yuan — is completed by the end of June.

 


Oil rises as tight supply trumps recession fears

Oil rises as tight supply trumps recession fears
Updated 04 July 2022

Oil rises as tight supply trumps recession fears

Oil rises as tight supply trumps recession fears
  • OPEC misses target to boost output in June: Survey

LONDON: Oil rose on Monday as supply concerns driven by lower OPEC output, unrest in Libya and sanctions against Russia outweighed fears of a demand-sapping global recession.
Eurozone inflation hit yet another record high in June, strengthening the case for rapid European Central Bank rate increases, while US consumer sentiment hit a record low.
Brent crude rose $2.26, or 2 percent, to $113.89 a barrel by 12:47 p.m. ET (1648 GMT) after falling more than $1 in early trade. US West Texas Intermediate crude rose $2.20, or 2 percent, to $110.63, in thin volume during the US Independence Day holiday.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries missed a target to boost output in June, a Reuters survey found.
In OPEC member Libya, authorities declared force majeure at Es Sidr and Ras Lanuf ports as well as the El Feel oilfield on Thursday, saying oil output was down by 865,000 barrels per day.
Meanwhile, Ecuador’s production has been hit by more than two weeks of unrest that has caused the country to lose nearly 2 million barrels of output, said state-run oil company Petroecuador.
Adding to potential supply woes, a strike this week in Norway could cut supply from Western Europe’s largest oil producer and reduce overall petroleum output by about 8 percent.
“This backdrop of mounting supply outages is colliding with a possible shortage in spare production capacity among Middle Eastern oil producers,” said Stephen Brennock of oil broker PVM, referring to the limited ability of producers to pump more oil.
“And without new oil production hitting markets soon, prices will be forced higher.”

British PM
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday called on the OPEC+ producer group to produce more oil to tackle a cost-of-living crisis.
Brent crude has come close this year to topping the 2008 record high of $147 a barrel after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine added to supply concerns.
Soaring energy prices on the back of bans on Russian oil and reduced gas supply have driven inflation to multi-decade highs in some countries and stoked recession fears.


Egypt In-Focus — Suez Canal’s revenues rise 20.7%; efforts on to develop sustainable transport sector

Egypt In-Focus — Suez Canal’s revenues rise 20.7%; efforts on to develop sustainable transport sector
Updated 04 July 2022

Egypt In-Focus — Suez Canal’s revenues rise 20.7%; efforts on to develop sustainable transport sector

Egypt In-Focus — Suez Canal’s revenues rise 20.7%; efforts on to develop sustainable transport sector

CAIRO: Egypt’s Suez Canal’s revenues increased 20.7 percent during the fiscal year 2021/22. The Ministry of International Cooperation has received $2.4 billion from bilateral and multilateral partners over the past two years for the development of sustainable transport sector.

Suez Canal

Suez Canal’s revenues increased by 20.7 percent during the fiscal year 2021/22, compared to the year earlier, to reach $7 billion, Asharq Al-Awsat reported citing Suez Canal Authority Chairman Osama Rabea.

Egypt’s fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30.

Sustainable transport sector 

Egypt is working to provide development funds and technical support from multilateral and bilateral development partners in a bid to develop the transport sector, Asharq Al-Awsat reported citing the minister of international cooperation.

Rania Al-Mashat was quoted as saying that over the past two years, the ministry has received around $2.4 billion for the sustainable transport sector from the European Investment Bank, the French Development Agency, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, China, and the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development.

BNPL service

Amazon Egypt has launched its buy now, pay later fintech platform valU, as part of its commitment to enhance shopping experience in the north African country and offer customers affordable and flexible payment options. 

 


Boubyan Bank and Visa celebrate launch of World Cup Qatar 2022 Prepaid Card

Boubyan Bank and Visa celebrate launch of World Cup Qatar 2022 Prepaid Card
Updated 04 July 2022

Boubyan Bank and Visa celebrate launch of World Cup Qatar 2022 Prepaid Card

Boubyan Bank and Visa celebrate launch of World Cup Qatar 2022 Prepaid Card
  • The card includes many events, exclusive discounts and offers for Visa cardholders

KUWAIT: Boubyan Bank and Visa announced the launch of Boubyan’s Visa FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Prepaid Card on Friday.

The launch event was attended by partners, media professionals, social media influencers, and bank customers.

“It is no secret that Kuwait, the region and the whole world are passionate about football,” Abdullah Al-Mejhem, Chief Private Banking and Consumer Banking, said.  “The fact it will be held in a GCC country makes us at Boubyan Bank proud of how far we have come as a region and our partnership with Visa.”

He continued: “We take pride in our collaboration with Visa in this special launch of Boubyan Visa Prepaid Card along with its various benefits. I would like to seize this opportunity to reiterate the importance of our special partnership with Visa that dates back to many years, and which, thank Almighty Allah, introduced outstanding services to better serve our customers of all segments.

“Boubyan Bank is keen on changing traditional concepts about banking products and services out of its endeavors to become a “Way of Life” and to be always closer to customers. This can be clearly seen through our constant tracking of sports’ activities, especially popular sports such as football.”

At the event, customers enjoyed the activities and many benefits such as being issued the card with no fees.

“We are proud to join our longstanding partner Boubyan Bank in offering football fans in Kuwait access to the digital economy through secure and rewarding digital payment solutions. These FIFA-themed Visa prepaid cards are contactless enabled for quick and easy payments in store and backed by Visa’s security technology so cardholders can pay with confidence. For travelers, they also promise the peace of mind of worldwide acceptance at our 100 million merchant partner locations” Shashank Singh, Visa’s General Manager for Kuwait and Qatar, said.

“There is no doubt that the FIFA World Cup ™ is an international event that draws the attention of people around the world for more than one month. This time, the event enjoys a special importance since it will be held very near to us, an hour away, which gives it more focus and attention.” Yousef Al-Majed, the bank's Executive Manager, stated.

According to Al-Majed, the card's design includes many events, exclusive discounts and offers for Visa cardholders, as well as the ability to use it with all modern payment Apps and smart wearables.

“The card is easily available for all Boubyan Bank’s customers. It is a limited edition, which gives it more glamour and importance. Customers can get the card through Msa3ed, our digital assistant on Boubyan App, or through any of Boubyan Bank’s branches, where they can apply for the card and choose whether the card be delivered to their homes within 5 business days, or to receive the card from any branch within 3 business days.” he pointed out.

“This ceremony comes as a part of the campaign organized by the bank for this card, which started months ago, including the organization of Boubyan Football Cup during the Holy Month of Ramadan. The coming period will witness many events to be announced in due time through our social medial platforms as a part of the marketing campaign for the card,” Al-Majed concluded.


OPEC+ must produce more oil, says British premier

OPEC+ must produce more oil, says British premier
Updated 04 July 2022

OPEC+ must produce more oil, says British premier

OPEC+ must produce more oil, says British premier

LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday OPEC+ must produce more oil to try to tackle a growing cost-of-living crisis and bring down prices.

“There is no doubt that we are going to need a lot more OPEC+ oil,” he told parliament, referring to a group that includes Saudi Arabia, Russia and other major oil producers.

“The UK has ... strong and productive relations with Saudi Arabia. We need to make sure the whole of the West does as well,” Johnson said, adding that Saudi Arabia needed to produce more oil.