SEC Filing Shows Fintech Investment Firm Ribbit Capital Aims to Raise $420 Million for Latest Fund

Ribbit Capital, a venture capital firm known for its investments in cryptocurrency and blockchain-based projects, is aiming to raise $420 million for its latest fund, according to a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

According to the SEC filing, which is dated September 12, 2018, the Palo Alto, California-based company is seeking to raise $420 million through a pooled investment fund offering that is expected to last no more than one year.
This fund would be the fifth such venture for Ribbit and marks a “nominal increase” from the $300 million that the company raised for its fourth fund last year.
Ribbit Capital was founded in 2012 by Venezuela-born serial entrepreneur and General Partner Meyer (Micky) Malka. Since then, the company has invested in businesses and projects in ten different countries, and many of those businesses have gone on to provide financial services to people “in nearly every major city on earth.”
Ribbit’s mantra states, in part:

Consumers everywhere are waiting expectantly – and often with mounting frustration – for financial services providers to finally bring them true efficiency, transparency, and radical simplicity. The next generation of consumers has about as much patience for Big Finance as they do for Big Anything.
Driven by this, we will help create and nurture a thriving, bustling new world in lending, personal finance, insurance, financial software, bitcoin, and more.

And driven, they have been. Ribbit’s portfolio includes several multi-billion dollar heavy hitters like the no-fee mobile crypto and stock investment platform Robinhood, cryptocurrency exchange and wallet provider Coinbase, digital banking alternative Revolut, and financial services provider Credit Karma.
Along with Andreessen Horowitz and Battery Ventures, Ribbit also invested in Cross River Bank – a financial services organization that TechCrunch describes as being the “sole link” between many US fintech companies and regulated financial institutions.
Do you think that we will see more crypto and blockchain focused investment funds in the future? What projects do you think Ribbit might invest in with this new injection of capital? Let us know in the comments below.

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South Korea Partners with Samsung SDS to Develop Blockchain Customs System

South Korea makes yet another serious move towards serious blockchain adoption as it plans to implement the distributed ledger technology to its Customs’ clearance system.  

Getting Serious About Blockchain
South Korea is among the countries which are moving quickly to adopt blockchain-based technologies. Earlier in August, the Budget Division of the country’s Research and Development Office to the Ministry of Economy and Finance issued a press release revealing plans to allocate over 1 trillion Korean won (roughly around $880 million) towards blockchain, big data, AI, and the sharing economy.
In July, LiveBitcoinNews reported that South Korea’s Financial Services Commission (FSC) is set to establish a dedicated blockchain department to govern policymaking in the field.
Furthering its foray into the nascent distributed ledger technology, the country has partnered up with Samsung SDS – the internet and communication technology arm of Samsung – to implement its blockchain platform to its customs clearance systems.
Going Institutional
The Korea Customs Service will purportedly become the first one in the world to have a blockchain-based export customs clearance systems.
In order to implement the project, the Customs Service has reportedly signed an agreement with 48 government offices and companies, including insurance and shipping firms.
In order to construct the system, Samsung SDS will be using its blockchain platform called Nexledger. It allows mobile device users to access different services in a secure manner through comprehensive encryption as well as biometric certification information.
According to the company, this brand new system will allow institutions as well as companies which are related to export to share a range of documents such as customs declarations quickly, easily, and securely.
Another important benefit is that the system supposedly prevents any type of document falsification or forgery.
Notes Kim Hyung-tae, Logistic Business Lead at Samsung SDS:
We will enhance our leadership in the logistics blockchain area by implementing the project successfully and contribute to raising the nation’s competitive edge in logistics.
What do you think of South Korea’s proactive approach towards blockchain adoption? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!

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Bitcoin Will Rise This Year’s End But Don’t Expect A Bullish Run

Alright, let’s get realistic here, cryptocurrency growth this year has been very disappointing. I mean, after what we saw in December and early January -Bitcoin nearing $ 20, 000 and Ethereum hitting $1,000 – what we are seeing now is just pathetic. Bitcoin is still struggling to cross $ 6,500. Then there’s Ethereum which is also struggling to cross a mere $250, a feat it did with ease some 10 months ago. This year was expected to be the year of the “bull” for the crypto market, but of unfortunately it’s been nothing short of bearish.
This month itself too has been very bad for bitcoin in particular. After Goldman Sachs announced they were going to hold on for a while to plans of their own crypto trading desk. The news apparently hurt the feelings of many wannabe crypto traders who were banking on the financial giant’s trust in cryptocurrency.
We have definitely seen the crypto market experience severe volatility; however, this stretch seems pretty much like a dead end at least for this year. That doesn’t rule out the fact that Goldman Sachs had a hand in this plummet for bitcoin. The bright side of the seemingly gloomy narrative is that with most companies gravitating towards blockchain technology, a mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies would be an equal and corresponding action. This is largely due to blockchain and cryptocurrency’s almost inseparable bond.
The market has seen Bitcoin gain about $36 in the past 24 hours going into the weekend, and we expect to see it continue climbing over the period. The great and saddening pessimistic view of the market by most analysts suggests that the market may not experience the crazy growth we saw last year’s end. Some even say we shouldn’t expect Bitcoin to cross $9,000 till the year ends.

How Do Bitcoin Prices Rise Or Drop?
Not to get all geeky on this, Bitcoin’s value works on the basic economic principles of demand and supply. The more active users and their transactions, the more demand rises. Moreover, since the cap on bitcoin is nearly reaching its limit (80% of bitcoins have been mined) many people aren’t really looking towards the supply sector anymore.
For a larger section of the past, Bitcoin values rose by some news headlines. What do we mean by this? The moment people hear that some major upgrade is coming to the cryptocurrency community, everyone rushes in there to make an investment. Supposing the SEC approves a Bitcoin ETF today, we will see a spike in bitcoin price values. In the same vein, when there is a form of bad news like China bans bitcoin trading we should expect to see the value of Bitcoin head towards the south of the graph.
More proof of this can be seen from the last quarter of this past year when all the media was talking about Bitcoin and cryptocurrency at large. During that period, we saw the most substantial increment in crypto value like never before. This could happen in this year anyway but judging by how the media has been reacting to crypto lately there is great and justifiable doubt that cryptos may not be able to see that massive increase in the latter part of this year. Not that cryptos cannot increase again this year – charts of the last three years prove exponential increase is very likely – it’s just that crypto may not fly as much as they did last year.
What the market needs now is a lot of education for upcoming crypto enthusiasts who are ready to invest long-term and not short-term, because these short-term investors kill the life in crypto much more than any other thing.
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CFTC Chairman Advocates ‘Do No Harm’ Approach to Regulating Cryptocurrencies

The chairman of the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) believes that the government shouldn’t stunt innovation when developing regulations for the crypto industry.

Regulators can sometimes have it tough. Some crypto enthusiasts perceive them as the bad guys while others want them to be working harder to push regulations.

Walking the Line
Outgoing US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Chairman, J. Christopher Giancarlo, is aware of the fine line that these authorities have to tow when it comes to the cryptocurrency – developing regulations that keep users safe while not impacting on the growth and innovation of the industry.
According to CNBC, Giancarlo suggested that the US government use a “do not harm” approach, similar to when the Internet was starting out:
And I’m advocating the same approach to cryptocurrencies and all things having to do with this new digital revolution of markets, and of currencies, and of asset classes.
Giancarlo did make his concerns known about market fraud and manipulation, adding:
When it comes to fraud and manipulation, we need to be strong. When it comes to policy making, I think we need to be slow and deliberate and well informed.

CFTC Believe the US is on Track with Regulation Development
Some companies in the cryptocurrency industry have voiced their concern about the speed, or lack thereof, at which authorities are developing and implementing regulations. Well-known platforms, including Coinbase, have banded together to introduce the Blockchain Association, a group dedicated to educating policymakers about the industry which would hopefully result in clear and fair regulations.
However, Giancarlo doesn’t believe that authorities are dragging their heels and used Bitcoin futures as an example:
Some would say we’re too slow, others have said we’ve been too fast. So, we at the CFTC, saw the very first regulated offerings of bitcoins futures. No other regime in the world has allowed this to go forward.
Based on his comments, Giancarlo, who retires in April next year, seems to be aware of the intricacies involved in creating suitable regulations for the industry. His remarks also perhaps show that he is banking on a crypto future. This is good news for the industry and comes after US President Trump appointed a new pro-crypto SEC commissioner.
They say that good things come in threes so maybe we’ll see a positive outcome for SolidX on the 30th of September.
Do you think Giancarlo’s comments will impact the SEC’s result for SolidX’s Bitcoin ETF bid? Let us know in the comments below!

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Bitcoin Mining Uses a Lot of Energy, But Gold Mining Uses 20x More

The production of Bitcoin through mining is an energy-intensive process – a fact which many critics are quick to point out. Compared to mining gold, however, which consumes more than twenty times the energy, mining Bitcoin isn’t quite the environment killer that critics make it out to be.

The Intricacies of Gold Mining
Pulling raw precious metals out of the ground is a very intensive process in terms of the time, labor, resources, and money required. Heavy machinery is required to dig up soil, wash the rocks and mud, and filter out the gold. In the end, the consumption of energy in gold mining is very high. So steep that it costs $87.3 billion per year to mine the world’s annual gold production. This figure is based on a 2017 report which does not provide a transparent overview of the total energy consumption.
Assuming those numbers hold up, it paints a worrisome picture. Diesel fuel plays an integral role in the mining of gold worldwide. Nearly 100 million barrels of crude oil power this industry every single year, according to analysts. Of course, mining Bitcoins uses oil as well, insomuch as most power plants around the world are still powered by fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and oil).
It is estimated that the total electricity consumption for the entire Bitcoin network this year will reach just over 73 TWh. At the current conversion rate of 1 TWh = 588,440.75 barrels of crude oil, that works out to a total of just over 42 million barrels of crude oil. Even assuming that all of the energy needed is oil-generated – which it isn’t – Bitcoin mining still consumes less than half of the amount of crude oil than gold mining.
This does not mean that the gold mining industry needs to reduce its energy consumption. In fact, it seems impossible to do so under current circumstances. The scarce precious metal will only become more difficult to find and dig up. As such, its total energy consumption and associated costs will continue to rise over time. This is not unlike Bitcoin, which is also becoming more scarce over time.
The Bitcoin Mining Conundrum
Recent reports pertaining to Bitcoin mining show its energy consumption is very high. In fact, it is nearly equal to 70% of Ecuador’s total electricity output. Comparing one industry to nations always presents a rather skewed picture, but even so, Bitcoin mining consumes 0.07% of the global electricity capacity. This adds up to a total annual cost of $4.3 billion – less than 1/20 (one-twentieth) than that of mining gold.
Gold mining, on the other hand, consumes 0.27% of global oil production. Considering how oil is a fossil fuel and harmful to climate, mining gold seems to have more troublesome side effects. However, it is hardly ever mentioned in such a context these days. A lot of people seem focused on the downsides of Bitcoin mining as of right now.
In the end, mining Bitcoin is more efficient compared to gold mining. How long this correlation will favor cryptocurrencies, is difficult to predict. The interest in Bitcoin continues to rise. New mining operations are created in regions with plenty of access to renewable energy. As such, the total electricity consumption will rise accordingly. Scarcity pushes energy consumption to new levels, both for gold and Bitcoin alike.
What do you think about the comparison between Bitcoin and gold mining’s energy consumption? Will it matter to environment-focused Bitcoin critics? Let us know in the comments below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock
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Bitcoin Criminal Alexander Vinnik Avoids US Extradition

Alleged former BTC-e owner Alexander Vinnik will not be extradited to the United States. A request made by US officials has been rejected by the Greek Supreme Court. Instead, Vinnik will be transported to Russia, where he will stand trial for distributing ransomware and laundering criminal proceeds.

The Alexander Vinnik Story Continues
Cryptocurrency enthusiasts are familiar with the name Alexander Vinnik. He is the alleged former owner of the BTC-e cryptocurrency trading platform. This exchange has been named in connection with laundering criminal proceeds through Bitcoin and altcoins. Most of those proceeds were derived from ransomware distribution attacks around the globe. A legal battle regarding his extradition has been going on for some time now.
The United States and France both demand Vinnik’s extradition. The Supreme Court of Greece rejected both requests earlier this week. Instead, they rule Vinnik will be extradited to Russia, which is also his native country. Since his arrest in Greece in July of 2017, the extradition tug-of-war has been going on behind the scenes. This final verdict puts all of these debates to an end once and for all.
It appears Alexander Vinnik is of keen interest to all parties requesting extradition. US officials claim Vinnik is tied to 21 charges of money laundering and running an unlicensed money exchange. In Russia, he is suspected in an investigation pertaining to fraud. France is convinced he needs to stand trial for cybercrime and money laundering, among other charges. Greece officials were the ones to make the arrest in question, yet they have no active investigation taking place right now.
A Colorful History of Illicit Activity
Most people know the name Alexander Vinnik because of the BTC-e exchange. However, some evidence shows his criminal activity dates back to many years ago. Laundering ransomware earnings is just one of the feathers in his cap, by the look of things. Unfortunately for Vinnik, that trend was also the final nail in the coffin of his less than clandestine operations.
Other illicit activity linked to Vinnik dates back to prominent exchange hacks. He is suspected of being involved in incidents affecting Mt. Gox, Bitcoinica, Bitfloor, and others. All of these exchanges are integral parts of Bitcoin’s history to date. They are also some of the biggest hacks recorded in the cryptocurrency industry to date. Most of the funds stolen from these exchanges have never been recovered successfully.
There is still a chance Alexander Vinnik will not be extradited to Russia. The final decision rests with the Greek Finance Minister. Overruling the justice system is not all that common in Greece, but it is a possibility to take into account. Additionally, one has to wonder if US and French officials will file a complaint to have a decision rendered in their favor.
Do you think that Vinnik should be extradited to his home country of Russia? Why or Why not? Let us know in the comments below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock
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First World-class Blockchain + AI Summit

Silicon Valley Business Institute (SVBI) is going to hold Global Disruptive Innovation Summit (GDIS) on October 1st at Santa Clara Convention Center. We assembled experts from different vertical fields; from information sharing and experiences exchange, to form heated discussions on the most controversial topic at present.
This event will focus on particular tasks/projects in blockchain investment, blockchain + artificial intelligence, and blockchain developers. In this session, we will gather 3000+ attendees, 1000+ companies, 500+ partners, 200+ media, as well as specific experts delivering significant insight and overseas investment opportunities.
We have gathered leading cryptocurrency experts to share blockchain experiences and investment sagacity in the main event area. The whole day event is composed of keynote lectures, panel discussions, honor award section, and project launch section.
Also, a large exhibition area was set to provide everyone opportunities to get involved in the industries, seek business cooperation, and join on-site recruiting etc. Moreover, we will provide VIP networking lunch with global investors, entrepreneurs, and top-tier technology leaders.
For more incoming speaker info, please visit: http://www.gdi-summit.com/.
For all sponsorship/partnership/business cooperation, please contact: [email protected]
Our previous GDIS event highlights: Watch our Youtube Channel
Organizer
Global Disruptive Innovation Summit (GDIS) aims to bring the state-of-the-art innovations to global investors, entrepreneurs, researchers and everyone all over the world. With brilliant and inventive scholars, scientists, and industrial leaders from China, America, and worldwide; We gather experts from different vertical fields, through information sharing and experiences exchange, to form a heated discussion on the most controversial topic at present.
Silicon Valley Business Institute (SVBI) is founded in Silicon Valley since 2015, the beating heart of disruptive innovation in the US. SVBI is committed to an open-mind, by knowledge and experience sharing, as well as integrating of eastern and western resources, to promote enterprises with a global vision and wisdom.
SVBI has a wealth of innovation and entrepreneurship resources, and strong relationships with leading companies, incubators and business schools in Silicon Valley.
With a wealth of experience in overseas study service, powerful capabilities of resource coordination and integration and product development, SVBI provides enterprises a global platform which docks the world’s leading companies, business schools and high-end forums, and helps in learning advanced enterprise management mode and forefront industry information, strengthening international cooperation, and promoting business innovation and revolution.
SVBI focuses on providing innovation and entrepreneurship education for global high-end executive, entrepreneurs & investors. What SVBI provide is a worldwide powerful networking.
Co-host
DeepBrain Chain, Co-host of the Global Disruptive Innovation Summit, will fully display its “Artificial Intelligence (AI) + Blockchain” ecosystem. Combined with the network official website of AI training and DeepToken AI, telling us how to use blockchain technology to accelerate the arrival of the AI era.
DeepBrain Chain, the world’s first artificial intelligence (AI) computing platform in Blockchain. Its vision is to become a “cloud computing platform for AI”, create AWS in the AI world, provide high-performance computing power and data privacy protection for AI enterprises, and become the world’s largest distributed AI cloud computing platform.
The DeepBrain Chain Foundation is committed to the layout of the AI ecosystem and has invested in couple AI + Blockchain projects, most notable, OneGame and EtainPower.
Special Discount this Week!
Register with $180 off code GDIS180 for all types
Click now: GDIS180
Or click the following link: https://gdis.eventbrite.com/?discount=GDIS180
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IBM Joins A Yellow Page Equivalent Blockchain Project

Remember the then popular massive yellow books which were used by everyone? Well, someone has made a blockchain equivalent of the same, and IBM just joined the project. The project is primarily aimed to form a catalog-like platform for blockchain based businesses. It will also effectively form a platform for different platforms to transact and interact together regardless of their specific protocols.
According to the announcement, the decentralized cross -blockchain initiative ‘Unbounded Registry’ will be steered by HACERA blockchain development firm.
About The Initiative
Yellow pages played a crucial role in businesses as customers would simply use the yellow pages map to locate a company. Merchants who wanted to be recognized internationally would include their businesses there, and they would become visible.
In the same concept, The HACERA’s list will have a list out new applications, as well as blockchain companies and platforms that use the distributed ledger technology. Since the blockchain technology has been progressively growing, the companies need to be recognized easily, and thus the decentralized ledger project will help in that. The Unbounded Registry will have a decentralized method of registration and transaction across many blockchain platforms. It will gather all relevant information about each blockchain based platform and verify their existence.
The Registry will cover different blockchain niches, all categorized in an orderly manner. As a result, it will be easy to find related details on the same page. The initiative aims to inter-operate with the main distributed ledger technologies like Hyperledger Sawtooth, Stellar Network, Linux Foundation Hyperledger, and much moiré.
Jerry Cuomo, the Vice President of Blockchain in IBM, says;
Since the number of blockchain networks and consortiums has increased, we need to unleash the blockchain power by adding them in a list. This will be a type of yellow pages used in the blockchain industry,
Cuomo further said that since most private networks are currently unlisted, the unbounded registry will make them publicly visible.
HACERA and IBM have worked in the Distributed Ledger Technology industry for a long time, and that’s why they have introduced an easy and secure way for companies and consumers to discover each other. However, the two companies have not yet specified the criteria they will use in the registry. If HACERA is truly determined to deal with the interoperability issues, then there should be little or no restrictions to hinder blockchain platforms from joining.

Other than this blockchain based initiative, IBM is also targeting other projects. In conjunction with the Stellar Lumens (XLM), the company is also working on a cross-border payment solution.  The project will help the company to gain access in the banking and finance sector, thus increase its market while still creating blockchain awareness.
Moreover, the firm is also working with Maersk to develop a blockchain based platform, which will be tracking its supply chain. Eventually, it will branch the supply chain to other companies who would be interested in it.
It seems that IBM is serious about the cryptocurrency industry. It is embracing many ventures to develop more blockchain based solutions. If it will indeed execute these solutions and introduce them into the market, then the company will certainly get an edge over all companies in the blockchain field.
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France Introduces ICO Regulatory Framework

France has moved to introduce its own set of regulations regarding Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) despite the calls for unified legislation in the European Union.

France Takes the Lead
Brussels-based think tank Bruegel recently called for unified EU regulations for the cryptocurrency market, placing special emphasis on ICOS and digital currency exchanges.
However, the proposition didn’t seem to faze countries that much, as France moved to pass on its own set of regulations shortly after.
The country’s Minister of Economy and Finance, Bruno Le Maire, tweeted September 12,  that France has approved a legislative framework governing ICOs.

Article 26 adopté en commission #PACTE !
Un cadre juridique des #ICO est créé. L’@AMF_actu pourra délivrer un visa aux acteurs respectant des critères de protection des épargnantsCe cadre juridique va attirer les innovateurs du monde entier #blockchain #DirectAN
— Bruno Le Maire (@BrunoLeMaire) September 12, 2018

Reportedly, the new laws are intended to provide protection and guarantees for investors. According to the accepted regulations, the financial authorities of the country – Authorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF), would have to approve and issue permits to the companies which have chosen to raise funds through an ICO.
Additionally, those projects would also have to submit detailed information regarding the specifications of their offerings to the AMF.
As such, potential investors will have the chance to conduct careful and fully-fledged due diligence on information which is officially on the record.
The Need for Legislation
According to the former White House Chief Strategist for acting US President Donald Trump, 90 percent of the ICOs have been a “disaster.” He reiterated the fact that they’ve blown far too many investors due to the lack of due diligence.
Earlier in May, an official with the US SEC said that ICOs are managing to raise a lot of money but also that investors do need protection. Valerie Szczepanik, the SEC’s very first Crypto ‘Czar’, said:
They’re raising a lot of money, but they’re not complying with the rules that are in place to protect investors.
In August, LiveBitcoinNews reported that nearly $100 million has been lost to ICO exit scams and that a wide range of the projects have lost the majority of their value since they have been first brought to market.
All of the above goes on to show that careful and effective legislation is necessary to ensure that ICOs fall within a well-thought regulatory framework which keeps the investor’s best interest in mind.
What do you think of France’s move to introduce ICO regulations? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!

Images courtesy of Shutterstock 
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First Bitcoin Mutual Fund Approved in Canada

High net worth investors in Canada are now able to hold units of Bitcoin in their Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSP), and in their Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSA), as the first Bitcoin mutual fund gets approved.

Big News for Bitcoin
Canadian cryptocurrency investment company, First Block Capital, announced on September 10 that its flagship product, the FBC Bitcoin Trust, has gained the status of a mutual fund trust. This allows accredited investors to put their units into registered accounts such as RRSP or TFSA.
The product is available for purchase on the distribution platform NEO Connect and it goes under the ticker FBCBT. It also allows investors to receive exposure to Bitcoin without the necessity of acquiring, storing, or managing it.
Speaking on the matter, the Co-Founder and Chief Investment Officer at First Block Capital, Marc van der Chijs, says:
With this accomplishment, we continue to push Canada forward as a world leader in regulated blockchain and cryptocurrency investment vehicles. […] Our goal is to make investments in the digital currency asset class more accessible and we are one step closer to achieving this goal by allowing unit holders to place units in government sponsored tax efficient vehicles, and by providing daily liquidity through NEO Connect, a fund distribution platform with a rapidly growing dealer network.
The US Falls Behind
While First Block anticipates the majority of FBCBT investors to begin moving their units within the first month, the US SEC has yet to rule on the application of the SolidX/VanEck bitcoin ETF.
Earlier in August, the Commission rejected 9 bitcoin ETF applications filed by ProShares, GrainteShares, and Direxion.
However, LiveBitcoinNews reported September 7 that President Trump has appointed a new SEC commissioner Elad Roisman. He is pro-crypto oriented and this may shift the voting power when it comes to the commodity-backed ETF application.
Speaking at a hearing before the Senate Banking Committee in July, Roisman said:
…the SEC must examine and re-examine its rules, regulations and guidelines to ensure that they are still working as intended to accomplish the SEC’s mission. This is most recently manifested in areas such as data protection and cybersecurity, as well as the emergence of new investments and technologies such as initial coin offerings and blockchain.
What do you think of Canada’s first approved Bitcoin mutual fund? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!

Image courtesy of ShutterStock
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