The largest country in Latin America could have its central bank digital currency (CBDC) soon, as the Brazilian central bank is taking steps towards creating it. Recently, the Banco Central do Brasil (BCB) president hinted at the possibility of having news on the matter “soon.” No Decision Has Been Made on Whether the Digital Real Will Be Interest-Bearing During an online debate hosted by the Bank of Spain, cited by Reuters, Roberto Campos Neto highlighted that the central bank is “making progress” on the plans to digitalize the Brazilian real. He called central banks globally to keep discussing on CBDCs and deepen its talks to advance in further digitalizing the economy: We are making great progress on the digital currency process, and we should have news soon. However, Campos Neto didn’t specify the details on the progress made by the central bank. Still, he pointed out that some topics are still in the pipeline, such as if the “digital real” will be interest-bearing and what kind of technology will host the CBDC. Brazil Has Been Studying CBDCs Since 2020 Overall, Brazil has been witnessing a surge in the use of electronic payments across the nation, as more Brazilians keep increasingly adopting mobile solutions for such purposes. Due to the growing interest among citizens, the BCB commissioned last year a study group to research the CBDC matter to “evaluate the potential benefits and impacts of issuing the Brazilian Real in a digital format.” The central bank set the following goal: Among the study group’s objectives is the proposition of a digital currency issuance model covering risk mapping — including cyber security, data protection and regulatory compliance issues —, as well as an analysis of CBDC’s impacts on financial inclusion and stability and on the conduct of monetary and economic policies. That said, Brazil’s central bank expects to assess the feasibility to generate a proper environment for the development of a “financial citizenship” with the creation of a CBDC: In addition to cost reduction of the money cycle, a digital currency issued by BCB can support its strategic objective of ‘fostering the financial citizenship and strengthen the relationship with society and public powers’. An electronic currency can increase the safety of handling and custody of cash, in addition to creating monetary policy instruments. What do you think about the latest words from the Brazilian Central Bank’s president? Let us know in the comments section below. Tags in this story Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article. Read disclaimer
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The Federal Reserve will likely taper off its bond purchases before considering raising interest rates, Chairman Jerome Powell said.“We will reach the time at which we will taper asset purchases when we’ve made substantial further progress toward our goals from last December, when we announced that guidance,” Powell said Wednesday in a virtual event hosted by the Economic Club of Washington. “That would in all likelihood be before — well before — the time we consider raising interest rates. We haven’t voted on that order but that is the sense of the guidance.”Policy makers will wait until inflation has reached 2% sustainably and the labor-market recovery is complete before considering lifting interest rates, and the combination is unlikely to happen before 2022, he said. Their forecasts last month signaled rates being held near zero through 2023.Jerome Powell, chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, pauses while speaking during a news conference following a Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018. Bloomberg News“When the purchases go to zero, the size of the balance sheet is constant, and when bonds mature you reinvest them,” Powell said. “And then another step — and we took this late in the day in the last cycle — was to allow bonds to start to runoff. And we haven’t decided whether to do that or not.”Powell added that he doesn’t think the Fed would actually sell bonds into the market, something it also didn’t do during the recovery from the 2008 financial crisis.Powell and his colleagues have pledged to be patient and maintain aggressive monetary policy support, even as the economic recovery from the pandemic picks up speed. That dovish view has helped U.S. stocks reach fresh record highs. Recent data has also painted a brighter picture as vaccinations spread and the economy reopens, with employers adding 916,000 jobs in March.“Most members of the committee did not see raising interest rates until 2024, but that isn’t a committee forecast, it isn’t something we vote on or act on as a group — it really is just our assessment,” Powell said. “Markets focus too much on what we call the economic predictions, and I would focus more on the outcomes that we’ve described.”Fed policy makers substantially lifted their growth and employment forecasts at the central bank’s meeting last month. Their median estimate sees the economy expanding 6.5% this year and the unemployment rate declining to 4.5% by the end of 2021.Powell said the U.S. is going into a period of faster growth and job creation, and that the main risk is another spike in COVID-19 cases due to virus strains that may be more difficult to treat.The Fed chair said it would be wise to keep wearing masks and stay socially distanced “at least for a while longer.”Minutes of the central bank’s March meeting released April 7 said policy makers expect it will likely be “some time until substantial further progress” was made on employment and inflation. That refers to the tests they’ve set for scaling back bond purchases of $120 billion a month.
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Stock market investors valued Coinbase at $75.9bn in its debut on Nasdaq on Wednesday, the first listing of a major cryptocurrency exchange and a moment of validation for the digital asset class some 12 years after the creation of bitcoin. Shares opened at $381 each on Wednesday, giving Coinbase a market capitalisation that immediately surpassed that of the New York Stock Exchange’s parent company, ICE, which is worth $67bn. Coinbase would be valued at $99.6bn when including options and other kinds of stock-based awards.Coinbase holds assets for 56m retail customers and operates the largest digital coin exchange in the US — a business that has rocketed in recent months along with the price of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.“What we hope is it just brings a lot more transparency to this industry, and a lot more focus,” said Alesia Haas, chief financial officer of Coinbase. “We’ve seen that with the attention that Coinbase has received during the past few months.”The listing certifies Coinbase co-founder and chief executive Brian Armstrong as a multibillionaire, with a stake worth $15.1bn at the opening price. Coinbase’s other big investors include the venture capital groups Andreessen Horowitz and Union Square Ventures and Armstrong’s co-founder Fred Ehrsam. Coinbase immediately became one of the 120 most valuable public companies in the US, ahead of Discover Financial Services, First Republic Bank and Nasdaq, the stock exchange its shares are trading on. The company went public through a direct listing, an alternative to an initial public offering that does not raise any money.On the cryptocurrency exchange FTX, speculators had bid a Coinbase-tied futures contract above $600 a token in the lead-up to the listing, implying they viewed the company as worth more than $150bn. The contracts fell sharply as Coinbase was indicated to open trading at a much lower price.Coinbase settled on a direct listing after considering a traditional IPO and the possibility of selling equity tokens, said Barry Schuler, a partner at DFJ Growth, which first invested in the company in 2015. The choice allowed normal investors to immediately begin purchasing shares.“There’s no question that millennials and [younger people] really gravitate toward crypto,” Schuler said. “They look at the traditional financial infrastructure and they see it as rigged, and they’re right.” Brian Armstrong, Coinbase chief executive, has said he plans to run the company at break-even over time © Bloomberg Coinbase’s fate is intrinsically linked to demand for bitcoin and ethereum, with the majority of its revenue tied to trading in the two cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin, one of this year’s best-performing asset classes, hovered around $63,400 a token as Coinbase began trading, just shy of a record high earlier in the day. Ethereum traded around an all-time high near $2,400.Bitcoin’s supporters have touted it as a technology for transforming the world’s financial system, though Jay Powell, chair of the Federal Reserve, was pouring cold water on that idea in a public appearance just as Coinbase began trading.Calling cryptocurrencies “vehicles for speculation”, the central bank boss said: “No one is using them for payments, for example, like the dollar. It's a little bit like gold . . . Human beings have given gold this special value that it doesn't have from an industrial standpoint, but nonetheless for thousands of years they've done that. Bitcoin is much more like that.” Coinbase’s financial fortunes have surged with the latest bull run in cryptocurrency markets, producing a nine-fold jump in revenues to an estimated $1.8bn in the first quarter, translating to about $1.1bn in adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation.Armstrong has said he plans to run the company at break-even over time, accounting for the cycles of cryptocurrency markets. “How he’s acting, he feels like it’s just day one,” said Garry Tan, founder of Initialized Capital, Coinbase’s first investor after it exited the Y Combinator start-up programme.Coinbase was the first major direct listing for a tech company on Nasdaq, which had lost a series of large listings from companies including the gaming platform Roblox and the audio streaming service Spotify to the New York Stock Exchange.Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Allen & Co and Citigroup advised Coinbase on the listing.Additional reporting by Colby Smith
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General Atlantic is borrowing €300m from Goldman Sachs at a double-digit interest rate in order to repay a controversial loan and distance itself from collapsed group Greensill Capital, according to two people familiar with the matter. The move will allow the US private equity firm to repay a €300m loan that it took out in 2019 from Greensill, in which it also owned a stake and had a board seat, as it seeks to end a chapter of its relationship with the finance start-up. However, the deal with Goldman comes at a cost, with General Atlantic on the hook for an interest rate of about 10 per cent, the people said. The $50bn investment group had not repaid any of the loan, which was set up to last “in perpetuity” unless cancelled, when Greensill went into administration last month, one of the people said. While there was no immediate repayment deadline, General Atlantic wanted to refinance the arrangement after Greensill’s collapse in order to manage reputational risk, they added. Greensill made part of the loan through its German banking subsidiary, whose management is now under criminal investigation. The demise of Greensill, which is at the centre of a growing financial and political scandal, has shone a harsh light on the involvement of the private equity firm, which became its first major outside backer with a $250m investment in 2018. The backing of General Atlantic, which had previously built a reputation as a savvy technology investor with bets on companies such as Alibaba and Airbnb, paved the way for SoftBank’s Vision Fund to pump $1.5bn into Greensill the following year. Former British prime minister David Cameron, who has been dragged into a lobbying scandal because of his work for Greensill, cited General Atlantic’s investment in his first public statement on the affair last week, calling the private equity firm “one of the most respected international backers of tech sector companies”.General Atlantic funnelled the original Greensill loan through a series of holding companies and used it to buy a minority stake in two financial services and software businesses, Stoxx and Axioma, in a joint venture with the stock exchange operator Deutsche Börse. The loan was made against the companies’ future revenues, according to documents seen by the Financial Times. General Atlantic was due to pay interest on it “semi-annually”, the documents said, but they did not specify a rate. The new loan is from a unit of Goldman Sachs’ asset management arm that invests the bank’s own money and that of its investors. Deutsche Börse, General Atlantic, Greensill and Goldman Sachs declined to comment. The original loan was flagged as part of an internal investigation by the insurance group Tokio Marine, whose decision to pull coverage of Greensill helped trigger its collapse. It was packaged up into bond-like investments sold to clients of Credit Suisse, which is facing expected litigation over its now-suspended $10bn Greensill-backed supply chain finance funds. General Atlantic’s decision to refinance the loan may enable some funds to be returned to those investors. More than $3bn has been returned to Credit Suisse investors, but the bank has said there is “considerable uncertainty” over much of the funds’ remaining assets. The arrangement General Atlantic had was unusual both by the standards of typical private equity borrowing and by the standards of “supply-chain financing”, the corporate funding model that Greensill championed. Private equity groups are typically able to borrow money to buy majority stakes in companies at much lower rates, with yields averaging 2.5 per cent on an index of European high-yield corporate bonds, but it is more difficult and less common to borrow against target companies’ future revenues to take minority stakes.Traditional supply chain financing deals are short-term corporate funding arrangements based on invoices due for payment. Unlike those deals, the General Atlantic loan was set up to last “in perpetuity” unless cancelled, using a mechanism called “cashless rolls”. The earliest the loan could be cancelled was after three years. 
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Alabama’s goal to replace the old and overcrowded state prisons at the center of a long-running legal battle will get a financial boost from an $850 million public-private partnership bond deal this week.The Public Finance Authority of Wisconsin will serve as the conduit issuer for the Alabama Department of Corrections’ project to build two prisons for male inmates. The jails will be owned by a private company and provide almost 7,000 new beds.The deal tentatively consists of about $635 million of Series 2021A tax-exempts to be sold in a public issuance in compliance with Rule 144a of the Securities Act to qualified institutional buyers and around $215 million of Series 2021B taxables that are going into the private placement market with institutional investors, in compliance with Section 4(a)(2) of the Securities Act. “The project will materially improve the quality of life for inmates," the POS says.AdobeStock Barclays Capital is lead manager on the Series 2021A senior secured taxable private-activity revenue bonds and is expected to price the deal on Thursday. KeyBank Capital Markets and Stifel are co-managers.ADOC will lease the jails and the state will provide funds to pay off the loan on the prisons, which will be owned by CoreCivic Inc., the project’s sponsor on two of the three jails to be built. Under the lease agreements with the state, ADOC is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the prisons, including security and managing the inmates and employees.The developers will buy the land and design, build, finance and maintain the correctional facilities that ADOC will lease and staff. They will also provide infrastructure maintenance and facility life-cycle replacement over the 30-year term of the leases on sites in Elmore, Escambia and Bibb counties. The construction will replace 11 facilities, most of which are over 30 years old, and ADOC is expected to refurbish up to four more existing prisons.This week’s deal will help finance the two prisons that CoreCivic will own in Elmore and Escambia counties.The third jail will be built in Bibb County with about 3,000 new beds and the state is in talks with another developer, Alabama Prison Transformation Partners, about that site. When that is completed, it will boost the total of new spaces for inmates to 10,000.ADOC operates about 15 correctional facilities across the state that hold around 20,000 inmates in seriously overcrowded conditions. These new prisons will allow for the closure of about half of those crumbling facilities and alleviate some of the problems that have been facing the system as well as provide new programs and services.“The project will materially improve the quality of life for inmates with improved mental health, physical health, education, rehabilitation programs and religious services as well as improved efficiency, resiliency and sustainability of the prison facilities,” according to the investor roadshow.The Series 2021A fixed-rate tax-exempts are tentatively structured as serial bonds running from 2025 to 2036 with term bonds in 2041 and 2054.ADOC is the lessee. Government Real Estate Solutions of Alabama Holdings LLC is the borrower, Government Real Estate Solutions of Central Alabama LLC is the Elsmore County lessor and Government Real Estate Solutions of South Alabama LLC is the Escambia County lessor. UMB Bank NA is trustee and Keybank NA is the collateral agent.The issuer’s counsel is von Briesen & Roper s.c., Ballard Spahr LLP is bond counsel. Chapman and Cutler LLP is the initial purchasers’ counsel, Maynard, Cooper & Gayle PC is counsel to ADOC, Butler Snow LLP is the borrower’s local counsel, BTY US LLC is the lenders technical advisor and Logino Public Finance LLC is the trustee’s counsel.The bonds are rated A3 by Moody's Investors Service and A-minus by S&P Global Ratings. Both agencies have stable outlooks on the credit.ADOC is a department of the state of Alabama and not a separate legal entity and its debt is an obligation of the state. ADOC’s revenues are provided by annual state appropriations. Alabama's general obligation bonds are rated Aa1 by Moody's, AA by S&P and AA-plus by Fitch Ratings. All three assign stable outlooks on the GOs. As of Sept. 30, 2019, the state had about $723 million of outstanding GOs.The state is facing two class-action lawsuits and two U.S. Department of Justice finding letters for poor conditions at the prisons, according to the preliminary official statement. Under lease agreements, ADOC is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the prisons.Bloomberg News In 2014, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program filed class-action lawsuits against the state claiming that the poor level of mental health care provided to prisoners violated the Eighth Amendment, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment.In early 2019, U.S. District Judge Myron H. Thompson ruled ADOC had indeed violated the Eighth Amendment. Later that year, the Department of Justice notified the governor that its attorneys had reason to believe that Alabama’s prisons routinely violated the rights of prisoners and said the suspected violations were exacerbated by “serious deficiencies in staffing and supervision and overcrowding.”In 2020, DOJ said there was reasonable cause to believe conditions at the state’s prisons violated the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution because male prisoners were subjected to excessive force by prison staff. DOJ then gave ADOC written notice of its allegations and the minimum remedial measures it said were needed to address them.“As evidence of the seriousness with which we have taken the DOJ’s allegations, the state is undertaking efforts to construct three new men’s facilities that we believe, and the DOJ has conceded, will have a significant positive impact on many of the areas of concern that the DOJ has identified,” Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said at the time.Moody’s said its A3 rating reflects the project's standard P3 framework and project structure. It noted, however, that the highly supportive termination plan with full debt repayment in all scenarios was much better than standard. Moody’s said the risks of political sensitivity, future consolidation of inmates away from the facilities or closure of the facilities were mitigated by the favorable termination payment regime.“The rating acknowledges the project's essentiality in the state's effort to reduce prison overcrowding comply with U.S. constitutional (Eighth Amendment) requirements and remedy violations alleged by the U.S. Department of Justice. At completion, the two prison facilities will represent about 40-50% of the state's rated bed capacity.”S&P said the A-minus rating was based on its view “the project's insolvency risk during construction is shifted from the project to the Alabama Department of Corrections through the use of a unique prepayment mechanism. It also reflects our view that the project's responsibilities to maintain the facilities are simple and consistent with other building-type social accommodation projects.” The project is also using environmental, social and governance criteria to create a safe and secure environment for the inmates, provide better health care services and improve the working conditions for the staff while improving the physical infrastructure of the facilities, according to the POS.CoreCivic, independent of the project, plans several programs at the jails to lower recidivism among the prisoners, such as substance abuse and disorder treatment, job training and education programs.
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Joe Biden will declare “it is time to end America’s longest war” as he formally orders a full withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan by September.“I am now the fourth American president to preside over an American troop presence in Afghanistan,” according to excerpts from his prepared remarks. “Two Republicans. Two Democrats. I will not pass this responsibility to a fifth.”US presidents have promised to withdraw troops from Afghanistan since George W Bush first deployed them in the wake of the September 11, 2001, attacks to take down the Taliban government that harboured Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda Islamists. More than 2,300 Americans have died, and more than 20,000 have been wounded, including 1,500 who lost limbs, in the decades-long war against Afghan and foreign militants, including the Taliban. The order marks the end of a long effort by Biden to draw a line under US deployments in the country. As vice-president under Barack Obama, he opposed a “surge” in troops backed by the Pentagon. Obama sided with his uniformed leadership at the time. Biden’s new order does not adopt previous policy pronouncements that a withdrawal is dependent on conditions on the ground, a shift that has been seized upon by critics of the decision. More than 2,300 Americans have died in the war © Manpreet Romana/AFP/ Getty ImagesBiden has characterised efforts to create the ideal conditions for US withdrawal as futile.“We cannot continue the cycle of extending or expanding our military presence in Afghanistan hoping to create the ideal conditions for our withdrawal, expecting a different result,” he is expected to say.Instead, “we have to focus on the challenges that will determine our standing and reach today and into the years to come”, he said. The number of US troops peaked above 100,000 in 2010 before falling to a tenth of that number by 2015. The US still has 2,500 troops in Afghanistan today.“We went to Afghanistan because of a horrific attack that happened 20 years ago,” Biden will say, according to the prepared remarks. “That cannot explain why we should remain there in 2021.” US forces swiftly deposed the Taliban — a domestic Islamist group that had ties with al-Qaeda — from power in Kabul, but two decades later the group still holds larges swaths of territory and stands to regain power, reversing many of the human rights gains in the intervening years. “The Taliban is likely to make gains on the battlefield and the Afghan government will struggle to hold the Taliban at bay if the coalition withdraws support,” the office of the director of national intelligence wrote in a report published this week. Prospects for a peace deal, which the US has spent more than two years trying to broker under both the Trump and Biden administrations, “will remain low during the next year”, the report added. The decision has drawn criticism from several leading Republicans as well as Democrats.Jeanne Shaheen, a Democratic senator and member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said she was “very disappointed” by Biden’s decision to walk away from Afghanistan, saying it undermined Washington’s commitment to the Afghan people and particularly Afghan women.When the Taliban were in government, women had little access to education or any public role and were required to wear extensive coverings outside the home. “Although this decision was made in co-ordination with our allies, the US has sacrificed too much to bring stability to Afghanistan to leave without verifiable assurances of a secure future,” she said in a statement. Mitch McConnell, the top Senate Republican, said withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan was “a grave mistake”. “It is retreat in the face of an enemy that has not yet been vanquished and abdication of American leadership,” he said.Biden said his administration would continue to support the government of Afghanistan and continue its diplomatic and humanitarian work. The US will also continue to train and equip the 300,000-strong Afghan national defence and security forces. Some special operations forces with a narrow counter-terrorism remit are also likely to stay on in the country, focused on the potential threats to the US from Isis as well as al-Qaeda, according to US officials. These forces are not among the 2,500 troops who are officially in the country.
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American flags in front of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. headquarters in New York, on Friday, March 5, 2021.Michael Nagle | Bloomberg | Getty ImagesCheck out the companies making headlines in midday trading.Goldman Sachs — Shares of the New York bank popped 4.4% in midday trading after the company posted first-quarter per-share earnings of $18.60—crushing the $10.22 estimate of analysts surveyed by Refinitiv—and revenue of $17.7 billion, more than doubled what it posted one year ago. As of the latest reading, Goldman shares are on pace for their best day since January.Bed Bath & Beyond – Shares of the big-box retailer tumbled nearly 9% after the company reported a double-digit decline in fiscal fourth-quarter sales. Its earnings per share came in at 40 cents adjusted, versus 31 cents expected by Refinitiv. Ongoing store closures and divestments as part of a bigger turnaround plan continued to weigh on Bed Bath & Beyond's results.Wells Fargo — The bank stock jumped more than 5% on Wednesday after Wells Fargo reported better-than-expected first quarter results and the company's management expressed optimism about a pickup in commercial loans. The bank reported $1.05 in earnings per share and $18.06 billion in revenue. Analysts surveyed by Refinitiv were looking for 70 cents per share and $17.5 billion in revenue.Moderna —Shares of the drug maker popped 5% after Moderna said its Covid-19 vaccine was more than 90% effective at protecting against the virus six months after a person's second shot. The data was based on more than 900 cases of the virus.JetBlue – The airline's share price advanced more than 2% following a bullish call from JPMorgan. The firm double upgraded the stock from an underweight rating to overweight, citing cost control measures and an attractive valuation. JPMorgan also raised its price target on the airline to $25 from $15. The new target is 20% above where shares closed on Tuesday.Harley-Davidson — Shares of the motorcycle company rose 1.1% after Bank of America initiated coverage on the stock with a buy rating and said it sees "accelerating brand momentum." The firm said it is bullish about the prospect of "adventure touring" in Harley-Davidson's future.Snap – Snap gained nearly 2% after Wedbush assumed coverage on the company with an outperform rating. The firm said Snap has an innovative platform with a young audience, and pointed to opportunity in augmented reality and social commerce. Wedbush's 12-month target price of $75 suggests a 20% rally from Tuesday's closing price.Occidental Petroleum — Shares of the the hydrocarbon exploration company rallied nearly 7% after MKM partners upgraded Occidental Petroleum to buy from neutral. The Wall Street firm said investors should take advantage of the pullback in shares.Discovery — Shares of the media company dropped more than 3% after CNBC reported that Credit Suisse is still unloading its position in the wake of Archegos Capital Management's chaos. According to people familiar with the matter, the bank was selling 19 million shares of Discovery's class A stock on Tuesday.JPMorgan – Shares of JPMorgan dipped less than 1% even after the bank reported profit and revenue that exceeded analysts' expectations on robust trading results. The strong result was also helped by a $5.2 billion benefit from releasing money it had previously set aside for loan losses that didn't develop. The bank posted first-quarter profit of $14.3 billion, or $4.50 a share including a $1.28 per share benefit from the reserve release, higher than the $3.10 per share expected by analysts surveyed by Refinitiv. The stock has risen more than 20% in 2021.Enjoyed this article?For exclusive stock picks, investment ideas and CNBC global livestreamSign up for CNBC ProStart your free trial now— with reporting from CNBC's Yun Li, Jesse Pound, Tom Franck and Pippa Stevens.
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While crypto assets have seen monumental gains this week, the popular nightclub in Florida, E11even Miami will accept bitcoin and a slew of other digital assets for merchandise, beverages, and tables. Following the pandemic, E11even Miami will be reopening on April 23 and will have crypto asset support when the nightlife establishment reconvenes services. 24-Hour Nightclub E11even Miami to Support Crypto Payments Since 2014, E11even Miami has been a popular nightclub in the Sunshine State and well known for operating 24 hours a day and seven days a week. In recent times, Miami has become a hub for cryptocurrencies as the city’s mayor Francis Suarez is bullish about the digital asset industry. Suarez wants to dedicate “efforts to make bitcoin an acceptable currency” in the city of Miami. Moreover, Samuel Bankman-Fried’s FTX Exchange has acquired a naming-rights deal for NBA’s Miami Heat arena. E11even Miami’s founder Dennis DeGori has seen the positivity toward crypto assets in Miami and detailed that when paying for tables, drinks, merchandise, “guests have the option of seamlessly paying with cryptocurrency.” The announcement details that E11even Miami will accept BTC, BCH, XRP, and DOGE for payments. “With the tremendous growth & relevancy of Cryptocurrency coupled with Mayor Francis Suarez leading the charge for Miami’s tech boom, we felt it made sense to introduce Cryptocurrency as an option to our guests to pay for their night out,” DeGori said during the announcement. The club’s founder added: E11even is dedicated to always staying ahead of the curve, and we believe cryptocurrency is here to stay.
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Belfast’s worst spate of sectarian violence in years is being stoked by criminal gangs and anonymous voices on social media, making it harder to control than the paramilitary-led clashes of Northern Ireland’s past, local leaders and security analysts told the Financial Times. The region’s capital city endured eight nights of consecutive rioting from April 2 after peaceful loyalist protests against Northern Ireland’s post-Brexit trade arrangements descended into groups of youths from loyalist and republican communities trading threats and petrol bombs and clashing with police. The protagonists were mostly teens and young adults. Their age — coupled with police claims that there was a “degree of organisation” to the activities — fuels widespread belief there are greater forces behind clashes that have garnered attention from global powers including the US some 23 years after the Good Friday Agreement brokered peace in the region. David Campbell, head of the Loyalist Communities Council, which represents the biggest loyalist paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland, said his group had actually tried to suppress the first loyalist outbreaks of trouble by sending 40 members of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) into Sandy Row in south Belfast as trouble flared on April 2. “The abuse they got,” he said, describing how the young people on the street had “no respect” for the UDA figures, “and these are hard men”. “One of them (the UDA members) said to me, the only way we could stop this is if we all had baseball bats and took into them,” Campbell added. His description of the loyalist paramilitaries’ status is at odds with general perceptions of their enduring influence, which was demonstrated again last week by the Ulster Volunteer Force’s order for Catholic families to be removed from their Carrickfergus homes.“I’d be surprised if to a large extent they couldn’t prevent it (the riots),” said Peter Sheridan, a former assistant chief constable with the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) who now heads the all-island peace-building organisation Co-Operation Ireland. He cautions, however, that a dangerous precedent would be set if loyalists used force to impose order.The Independent Reporting Commission, a body established jointly by the UK and Irish governments to monitor progress in tackling paramilitary activity, asserted in November that “paramilitarism (republican and loyalist) remains a reality of Northern Ireland life in 2020” with “thousands of signed up members” exerting control over communities. David Campbell, chair of the Loyalist Communities Council, said his group had tried to suppress the first outbreaks of trouble © Paul McErlane/FTParamilitaries on both sides of the divide have themselves long been accused of involvement in criminal activity to help fund terrorist activity, but security analysts and community activists say the gangs involved in the recent violence were outside the orbit of the traditional paramilitary structures.It is a view shared by the PSNI, which last week said it did not believe the trouble was “sanctioned and organised” by proscribed organisations. Several others also share Campbell’s views about the behind-the-scenes role of social media and criminal elements. Gerry Kelly, Sinn Féin’s policing spokesman in Northern Ireland, who was once jailed for membership of the IRA, said 40 to 50 young people from his community came on to the streets one night after false social media posts claimed loyalists were preparing to march into nationalist areas of west Belfast. Social media posts from residents’ groups have also spread rumours of potential sectarian incursions. One example seen by the FT asserted residents’ “right to defend their homes from attack” and said it “fully supports this course of defensive action”. “You can’t put it down on the nationalist side to a shadowy figure or a shadowy group,” Kelly said of the general dynamic that has driven youths on to the streets, adding that responsibility lay with “those who have agendas which are more to do with criminal elements in the area”. Stephen Andrews, a community worker with decades of experience who was hit with rocks and bottles while trying to defuse skirmishes on the mixed Springfield Road, in Belfast, last week, described how prominent former IRA prisoner Sean “Spike” Murray yelled at him to lock the area’s peace gate so that nationalist rioters could not breach a neighbouring loyalist area. A hangover from the troubles, peace gates are found in the fencing that separates republican and loyalist areas in Belfast city centre and are locked from early evening until early morning even in normal times, forcing pedestrians and vehicles alike to take circuitous routes to hospitals, their places of work and anywhere else they might be going after dark. “I heard the panic in his voice,” Andrews said of Murray’s demeanour that night, describing how senior figures from the republican community were “ignored” as they tried to disband a crowd that swelled to several hundred and ultimately led to him and community volunteers being locked down at a hotel-turned-homeless centre for several hours as it was attacked by rioters. The ad hoc and decentralised nature of the protests makes it “incredibly difficult” to police them, said James, who retired as a PSNI inspector after 30 years last summer and does not want his full name published due to his current work. Northern Ireland’s Progressive Unionist party leader Billy Hutchinson on the Shankill Road, west Belfast © Paul McErlane/FTHe described the PSNI’s efforts to sift rumour from fact in online chatter and discern the broader narrative in an environment of such fractured control, particularly on the loyalist side, where some groups such as the South East Antrim UDA have broken away from the LCC. A recent PSNI clampdown on the South East Antrim UDA is one of the other dynamics at play, and it is “no surprise” that their Newtownabbey heartland was the scene of recent rioting, he said. Tom Clonan, a former Irish Army officer and security analyst, said the issues raised by Brexit and the future constitutional status of Northern Ireland had given “legitimacy” to criminal elements on both sides who use sectarian rhetoric as a cover for everything from drug smuggling to prostitution. “Anything that disrupts normal policing is in their interests,” he said.  Declan Power, a defence analyst who lectures at the Nato school and City Colleges, said the recent splintering of loyalist elements was of particular concern. “You could have further splintering and more manifestations of irrational violence that could be very hard to predict and very hard to understand,” he said. The Brexit-related protests that triggered the recent unrest were suspended after Prince Philip’s death last Friday. Since then the violence has been largely contained.Campbell said he hoped London, Brussels and Dublin will use the “degree of calm” to fundamentally review the Northern Ireland protocol, part of the UK’s 2019 Brexit treaty, which has placed a customs border between the UK and Northern Ireland and angered some loyalists.“That would hugely defuse things and very much isolate these troublemakers and show them as troublemakers,” he said. “I don’t see any sign as yet of that happening.”
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Goldman Sachs more than doubled its revenue in the first quarter versus a year earlier and posted its highest return on equity since 2009, as its traditional trading and investment banking businesses delivered bumper returns. The Wall Street bank posted net earnings of $6.84bn in the quarter, a 464 per cent increase on the $1.2bn it made in the first three months of 2020 when pandemic-induced loan loss provisions and investment losses took a chunk out of profits. Earnings per share in the first quarter were $18.60, far higher than the $10.22 predicted by analysts, while revenues of $17.7bn also smashed the $12.83bn analysts had pencilled in. Return on equity for the quarter was 31 per cent, which is more than twice the 14 per cent medium-term target Goldman laid out a year ago when it vowed to lift returns to the level enjoyed by rivals. Shares rose 3.5 per cent to $339.30 on the results, which were described as “quite stunning” by analysts at Oppenheimer and a “blow out” by their peers at Evercore ISI. David Solomon, Goldman’s chair and chief executive, told analysts the bank enjoyed its best quarter in global markets in a decade and was making strides on its strategic priorities. Still, he cautioned that while the economic backdrop improved in the first quarter, Goldman remained “vigilant to risks across markets”, including the “challenged” rollout of the Covid-19 vaccines in some economies and “the prospect of new variants”, which could raise “concerns about the trajectory of the economic recovery”.Solomon also cited “elevated valuation levels across certain assets classes” as a potential risk, and said the collapse of Archegos Capital had raised “reasonable questions around market practice and transparency [that] are worthy of debate”. Stephen Scherr, Goldman’s finance chief, said the bank had not sustained losses. Analysts expected higher fees across almost all of Goldman’s key business lines, especially in trading and investment banking, but not to the extent the company reported. Goldman’s investment banking fees were up 73 per cent year on year to $3.77bn, beating the 57 per cent rise reported by JPMorgan Chase earlier in the day. Trading revenues at Goldman were up 47 per cent to $7.58bn versus JPMorgan’s 25 per cent increase. Goldman’s asset management division swung to a $4.6bn profit versus a $96m loss in the first quarter of 2020 on big gains in the bank’s private equity portfolio and some other assets. “The main question is sustainability,” said Mike Mayo, an analyst, noting that the big gains on Goldman’s equity portfolio “probably won’t be recurring”. Still, he added that Wells Fargo’s view was that “Goldman is in the sweet spot for a booming IB/advisory business as each company in each industry globally has a rethink of its business strategy post-pandemic”. Profits in consumer and wealth management were up 16 per cent to $1.74bn. Within that, consumer banking profits were up 32 per cent to $371m, as Goldman increased credit card lending and deposits. That division was boosted by the release of $70m from loan loss reserves in the first quarter of 2021, compared with a provisions charge of $937m in the first quarter last year.
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In this articleGSDavid Solomon, CEO, Goldman Sachs, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Jan. 23, 2020.Adam Galacia | CNBCGoldman Sachs on Wednesday blew past analysts' expectations with record first-quarter net profits and revenues on strong performance from the firm's investment banking and trading businesses.The bank posted per-share earnings of $18.60, crushing the $10.22 estimate of analysts surveyed by Refinitiv. The results represented growth of 498% from a year earlier. Revenue of $17.7 billion easily topped expectations of $12.6 billion.Shares of the New York-based bank rose 4.5% following the release, which showed that Goldman's first-quarter revenues more than doubled on a year-over-year basis."We have been working hard alongside our clients in preparation for a world beyond the pandemic and a more stable economic environment," CEO David Solomon said in the earnings release. "Our businesses remain very well positioned to help our clients reposition for the recovery, and that strength is reflected in the record revenues and earnings achieved this quarter."Expectations were high for Goldman as the economic recovery and record first-quarter issuance of blank-check special purpose acquisition companies were expected to lift investment banking revenues. Earlier on Wednesday, JPMorgan Chase posted robust trading results for the first quarter and a $5.2 billion tailwind from releasing funds it had set aside for loan losses that did not materialize.Here are Goldman's numbers:Earnings: $18.60 per share vs. $10.22 per share expected by analysts polled by Refinitiv.Revenue: $17.7 billion vs. $12.6 billion expected.Trading Revenue: Fixed Income: $3.89 billion, Equities: $3.69 billionInvestment Banking: $3.77 billionAt Goldman, the deluge of SPACs helped push investing banking net revenues to a record $3.77 billion for the quarter, including record equity underwriting. The headline investment banking revenue number exceeded the $2.9 billion estimate and represented a 73% surge from a year earlier.Financial advisory revenues totaled $1.12 billion."The increase in Underwriting net revenues was due to significantly higher net revenues in both Equity underwriting, primarily driven by strong initial public offerings activity," the bank said in its release. "The increase in Financial advisory net revenues reflected a significant increase in completed mergers and acquisitions transactions."Asset management generated record quarterly net revenues of $4.61 billion, reflecting record net revenues from equity investments."Goldman is converting mind share to market share probably better than any player" quarter over quarter and year over year, wrote Wells Fargo analyst Mike Mayo. "The main question is sustainability, but our view is that Goldman is in the sweet spot for a booming [investment banking]/advisory business as each company in each industry globally has a rethink of its business strategy post-pandemic."In its Global Markets unit, traders produced a 47% bump in revenue from a year earlier to $7.58 billion. That sum was split between $3.89 billion in fixed-income trading and $3.69 billion in equities, which reflected year-over-year growth of 31% and 68%, respectively.The bank said the strong growth in fixed-income trading was thanks in part to "significantly higher" net sales in mortgages and interest rate products.Of the six biggest U.S. banks, Goldman gets the largest share of its revenue from Wall Street activities including trading and investment banking. For the past few years that has been a detriment to the firm, as retail banking fueled by cheap consumer deposits had driven the industry's record profits.That dynamic reversed during the coronavirus pandemic, when firms with sizable consumer operations had to set aside tens of billions of dollars for anticipated loan losses, causing banks like Wells Fargo to post their first quarterly loss since the financial crisis.Goldman shares have climbed 24% this year, roughly matching the gain of the KBW Bank Index.— CNBC's Michael Bloom contributed reporting.Enjoyed this article?For exclusive stock picks, investment ideas and CNBC global livestreamSign up for CNBC ProStart your free trial now
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A Falcon 9 rocket launches the company's 14th Starlink mission on Oct. 18, 2020.SpaceXElon Musk's SpaceX added more money to its most recent equity raise, according to a securities filing on Wednesday.SpaceX held a second close of about $314 million, adding to the $850 million that CNBC reported the company raised in February. The amendment brings the round's new total equity raised to $1.16 billion, which the company raised at a valuation of about $74 billion.Strong demand for the company's shares centers around its ambitious Starship and Starlink projects.Starship is the next-generation rocket that Musk's company is developing, designed to be more powerful than even the Saturn V rockets that carried astronauts to the moon. Starlink is a global satellite network, which SpaceX is beginning to use to bring high-speed internet to customers.
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The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board is expected to discuss making changes to an investor and municipal advisor client education and protection rule in an effort to bring about more clarity during its board meeting next week.The MSRB announced that and other agenda items Wednesday morning ahead of the April 21-22 virtual quarterly meeting.The agenda includes discussion of possible changes to MSRB Rule G-10, on investor and municipal advisory client education and protection. The rule requires dealers and MAs to provide certain notices to customers and clients within certain time frames. Potential changes would be aimed to help reduce unnecessary compliance burdens through additional clarity as to which customers would benefit from annual disclosure, the MSRB said. MSRB CEO Mark Kim will lead next week's quarterly board meeting. This is part of the MSRB’s ongoing retrospective rule review. In February, the MSRB retired decades-old guidance as part of that review.The board will also continue to discuss input from its request for comment on strategic priorities and plans to adopt a strategic plan this fiscal year. That plan will guide their efforts starting in FY 2022 and for the next three to five years. The MSRB’s last strategic plan was created in 2017.In January comment letters, stakeholders told the MSRB to focus more on its role as a regulator such as concentrating on rulebook modernization and emerging pandemic trends such as remote work.Some said the MSRB too often engages in activities that go beyond its congressional mandate. The MSRB has the authority under federal law to develop rules for broker-dealers and municipal advisors, disseminate market data, and conduct education and outreach.Next week the board will also consider “housekeeping amendments” to its rulemaking procedures under Rule A-8. It will also continue discussing Environmental, Social and Governance, particularly climate risk. The MSRB plans to discuss recent initiatives of market participants and financial regulators to promote transparency around ESG.In March, the Government Finance Officers Association released its first-ever ESG best practice. ESG has gained regulatory attention over the last few months. Last month, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced the creation of a climate and ESG task force in its environment division to find ESG-related misconduct. In February, acting SEC Chair Allison Herren Lee directed the SEC Division of Corporate Finance to increase its focus on climate-related disclosure.The MSRB will also receive an update on a Government Accounting Standards Board project to rename the acronym for Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. GASB announced in December that it was working on a project to eliminate the use of the acronym, which when spoken aloud resembles a word deeply offensive to Black South Africans.In March, GFOA said it was dropping the acronym immediately for the same reason.The board will then discuss next steps for updating EMMA and other MSRB references to conform to the new name that GASB adopts.
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A Falcon 9 rockets launches a Starlink mission on January 20, 2021.SpaceXPrivate investment in space companies hit $1.9 billion in the first quarter, according to a report on Wednesday by New York-based firm Space Capital."The trend towards larger late-stage deals continued in Q1, with the top 10 rounds accounting for 77% of total investment," Space Capital managing partner Chad Anderson wrote in the report. "At the early-stage, we're seeing larger deal sizes at higher valuations and looser terms as VCs push to deploy the historical amounts of capital they raised in 2020," he noted.The quarterly Space Capital report divides investment in the industry into three technology categories.The first, infrastructure, includes what many would consider space companies, such as firms that build rockets and satellites.The other two categories are application and distribution. The former includes space-dependent services, like ride hailing or navigation, while the latter represents terrestrial-based technologies that connect to space-based networks.In total, Space Capital tracks 1,480 companies with $186.7 billion in cumulative global equity investment since 2012 across its three categories.The broad analysis of the space economy reflects Anderson's underlying thesis, and a phrase—increasingly repeated in the industry—he coined to represent it: "In the same way that every company today is a technology company, every company of tomorrow will be a space company."Space infrastructure 'very likely' to break above $10 billion this yearSpace CapitalThe bulk of the investment in the space infrastructure segment went to rocket builders and satellite companies, with $1.1 billion and $900 million, respectively.SpaceX's $850 million raise and OneWeb's $400 million financing were two "mega-rounds" leading the segment, Space Capital highlighted, followed by the raises of unicorns ABL Space and Axiom Space.Anderson thinks it's "very likely" that space infrastructure investment exceeds $10 billion this year, which would top 2020's record $8.9 billion. The satellite broadband communications efforts of OneWeb, Amazon, and Telesat are expected to raise additional capital "throughout the rest of this year," Anderson said. He noted that Jeff Bezos hasn't yet "put any new cash into Blue Origin so far," and Elon Musk's "SpaceX is going to meet additional capital as they continue to push on their big initiatives, Starlink and Starship."Anderson also said that investments in satellite companies, which make up about half of the deal activity in space infrastructure since 2012, directly affect the applications layer of companies that Space Capital tracks."It's all of the data that's coming off the satellites driving that $150 billion [total equity investment since 2012] in applications," Anderson said.More space SPACs expectedThe 16th Electron launch in November 2020, when the company recovered the rocket after splashdown for the first time.Rocket LabSpace Capital is tracking eight space deals with SPACs, or special purpose acquisition companies, that are expected to close and "more exits are on the way," the report said. Seven of these companies are in the space infrastructure segment and, in all, the close of the SPACs will add nearly $3 billion in cash to company balance sheets.A SPAC or special purpose acquisition company is a shell company that raises money from investors via an initial public offering and then uses the capital to buy a private company and take it public, usually within two years."We welcome the access to additional capital that SPACs offer for infrastructure companies, but are cautious that valuations and growth targets may be out of reach for companies that don't have a defensible data angle," Space Capital said.A defensible data angle means a company is offering a service beyond launching rockets to orbit, Anderson said. He gave Rocket Lab, which is merging with SPAC Vector Acquisition, as an example. Last year, the company expanded its business into spacecraft system services."We've seen SpaceX again leading in this way. They're a launch business first, but the main driver of their valuation is their satellite communications services business [called Starlink], and so many other things that they're doing," Anderson said.The PIPEs, or private investments in public equity, of these SPACs are going to also boost the second quarter's investment totals, which Anderson says "is going to be massive." He believes there are three companies "that are highly likely" to announce SPAC mergers in the coming months, and expects about a dozen space SPAC deals in total for the year.Enjoyed this article?For exclusive stock picks, investment ideas and CNBC global livestreamSign up for CNBC ProStart your free trial now
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In this articleJPMJPMorgan Chase on Wednesday reported profit and revenue that exceeded analysts' expectations on robust trading results and a $5.2 billion benefit from releasing money it had previously set aside for loan losses that didn't develop.The bank posted first-quarter profit of $14.3 billion, or $4.50 a share including a $1.28 per share benefit from the reserve release, higher than the $3.10 per share expected by analysts surveyed by Refinitiv. Excluding the impact of a $550 million charitable contribution, which lowered earnings by 9 cents, the bank earned an adjusted figure of $4.59, exceeding the $3.10 estimate.Companywide revenue of $33.12 billion exceeded the $30.52 billion estimate, driven by the firm's trading operations, which produced about $1.8 billion more revenue than expected.JPMorgan's release of $5.2 billion in reserves is the biggest sign yet that the U.S. banking industry is now expecting to have fewer loan losses than it did last year, when it set aside tens of billions for defaults anticipated from the coronavirus pandemic. A year ago, the firm had added $6.8 billion to credit reserves."Overall, this was a great quarter for JPMorgan," said Octavio Marenzi, CEO of consultancy Opimas. "It is now increasingly clear that the bank over-reserved, and that money is now flowing back into its earnings, concealing some of the weakness in consumer banking."JPMorgan shares dipped less than 1%.Fixed income trading produced $5.8 billion in revenue, a 15% increase that exceeded analysts' estimates by more than $800 million, on activity in securitized products and credit markets. Equities trading revenue surged 47% to $3.3 billion, a full $1 billion more than estimates, on "strong performance across products."JPMorgan, with the world's biggest Wall Street bank by total revenue, was expected to benefit from robust investment banking fees driven by record issuance of special purpose acquisition companies, which saw more activity in the first quarter than all of 2020, itself a record year.That came to pass: The firm said first-quarter investment banking revenue surged 222%, or a full $2 billion, to $2.9 billion, exceeding the estimate of $2.65 billion.Most of the quarter's reserve release came from the bank's retail division: The firm said $3.5 billion was tied to the bank's credit card borrowers, and another $625 million from home loan borrowers.While that meant that the firm's consumer and community banking division saw profit surge by $6.5 billion from a year earlier, to $6.73 billion, the bank said that card and mortgage revenue was impacted by lower balances as flush consumers pay down their debts.In the release, CEO Jamie Dimon called loan demand "challenged," but during a call with reporters Wednesday, Dimon added that the dynamic would ultimately be good for loan demand because consumers were in good shape.Dimon struck an optimistic tone for the near-term economic future in the U.S., similar to comments he made this month in his annual shareholder letter."With all of the stimulus spending, potential infrastructure spending, continued quantitative easing, strong consumer and business balance sheets and euphoria around the potential end of the pandemic, we believe that the economy has the potential to have extremely robust, multi-year growth," Dimon said in the release.Analysts will also be curious about the pace of share repurchases the bank is expected to make. Last month, the Federal Reserve said banks that pass the industry's 2021 stress test at mid-year will be allowed to resume higher levels of dividend payouts and buybacks starting June 30.Shares of JPMorgan rose 21% so far this year, compared to the 25% advance of the KBW Bank Index.After JPMorgan's earnings statement, Goldman Sachs also released first-quarter results that crushed forecasts with record first-quarter net profits and sales due to strong performance in trading and investment banking.Here are the JPMorgan numbers:Earnings: $4.59 per share vs. $3.10 per share expected by analysts polled by Refinitiv.Revenue: $33.12 billion vs. $30.52 billion expected.Enjoyed this article?For exclusive stock picks, investment ideas and CNBC global livestreamSign up for CNBC ProStart your free trial nowCorrection: JPMorgan's EPS figure comparable to estimates has been adjusted 9 cents higher to account for a one-time charitable contribution.
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Bernard Madoff leaves federal court in New York on Tuesday, March 10, 2009.Jin Lee | Bloomberg | Getty ImagesBernard Madoff, mastermind of the biggest investment fraud in U.S. history, ripping off tens of thousands of clients of as much as $65 billion, has died, The Associated Press reported Wednesday. He was 82.The AP, citing unidentified sources, said it is believed he died of natural causes. He would have turned 83 on April 29.Madoff was serving a 150-year sentence at the federal prison care center in Butner, North Carolina, where he was being treated for what his attorney called terminal kidney disease.He pleaded guilty in 2009 to a scheme that investigators said started in the early 1970s and defrauded as many as 37,000 people in 136 countries over four decades by the time Madoff was busted on Dec. 11, 2008 — after his two sons turned him in. Victims included the famous — director Steven Spielberg, actor Kevin Bacon, former New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon, Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Weisel — and ordinary investors, like Burt Ross, who lost $5 million in the scheme. Madoff insisted the fraud did not begin until the early 1990s, when, he said, "the market stalled due to the onset of the recession and the Gulf War."In a 2013 email to CNBC from prison, Madoff claimed the break in the market that started the Great Recession led to his scam."I thought this would be only a short-term trade which could be made up once the market became receptive," he wrote. "The rest is my tragic history of never being able to recover."In fact, investigators said, Madoff did not execute a single trade for his advisory clients for years. Rather than employing a so-called split-strike conversion strategy as he claimed, he simply deposited investors' funds in a Chase bank account, paying off new customers with funds from earlier customers — a classic pyramid scheme — and providing his clients with falsified account statement. The investment "returns" shown on those statements — some $50 billion in all — were pure fiction.The scandal at Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities shattered investor confidence, which was already damaged by the financial crisis. And it led to sweeping changes at the Securities and Exchange Commission, which missed the fraud for years despite repeated warnings, including from independent investigator Harry Markopolos, who set out to analyze Madoff's improbable returns and pronounced them fraudulent as early as 2000.A subsequent investigation by the agency's inspector general, H. David Kotz, found that rather than following up on clear evidence of fraud, SEC enforcement staffers decided to take Madoff's word that his operation was legitimate."When Madoff provided evasive or contradictory answers to important questions in testimony, they simply accepted as plausible his explanations," Kotz wrote.Last June, a judge denied a request for compassionate release, saying Madoff committed "one of the most egregious financial crimes of all time," and that "many people are still suffering." Bernard Lawrence Madoff was born in Queens, New York, on April 29, 1938, the son of Sylvia and Ralph Madoff, a plumber who became a stockbroker. For more than 50 years, Bernie Madoff was renowned on Wall Street, a big money manager who founded his own firm at age 22 and became nonexecutive chairman of the Nasdaq in 1990. He was credited with helping develop some of the systems and market structures that moved the stock market beyond the trading floor and gave rise to modern, electronic trading.But Madoff's life came crashing down in 2008, during the depths of the financial crisis.Bernie Madoff walks out of Manhattan federal court in New York, U.S., on Monday, Jan. 5, 2009.Jin Lee | Bloomberg | Getty ImagesFlooded with redemption requests from his clients, Madoff could not keep the scam going any longer. On Dec. 10, 2008, he confessed to his sons, Mark and Andrew, that the investment advisory business was all a lie. Madoff had hoped to buy some time to distribute hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses to employees, then wind down the firm. But Mark and Andrew, who were senior managers in the firm's trading operation — which operated separately from the fraudulent advisory business — would have none of it, and alerted authorities on the spot.A day later, on Dec. 11, 2008, the FBI raided his offices in the Lipstick Building on Midtown Manhattan's Third Avenue. On March 12, 2009, Madoff pleaded guilty to 11 federal crimes and admitted to operating the largest private Ponzi scheme in history. He was sentenced three months later to the maximum sentence: 150 years in prison with restitution of $170 billion.In court, he insisted that it was all his idea — that his family knew nothing — even though his wife, Ruth, had once kept the books, his sons were senior officers, and his younger brother, Peter, was chief compliance officer.Andrew Madoff sits between his girlfriend, Catherine Hooper, and his mother, Ruth Madoff, while appearing on NBC's "TODAY" show in 2011.Peter Kramer | NBC NewsWire | Getty ImagesBut a trustee appointed to track down funds for investors did not buy it. Irving H. Picard sued dozens of people and entities, including Madoff's family members, alleging they either knew about the fraud or turned a blind eye, while reaping millions of dollars in benefits.For older son Mark, the suspicion was too much. In 2010, two years to the day of his father's arrest, he became the third suicide linked to the fraud. He was 46. Four years later, Andrew died of lymphoma at age 48.Picard eventually reached settlements with the sons' estates, and with Ruth Madoff, who has continued to deny any knowledge of the fraud, and is reportedly living modestly in Connecticut.In the end, in addition to Madoff, more than a dozen individuals, including Peter Madoff, were convicted of federal crimes, but none of the others was accused of knowing about the fraud. JPMorgan Chase, Madoff's primary bank, paid $2.6 billion to the U.S. government and Madoff victims in 2014 to settle allegations that it did not maintain adequate controls. After Chase instituted some unspecified reforms, prosecutors dropped charges against the bank.Medical examiners remove the body of Mark Madoff from his New York apartment on Dec. 11, 2010.Emmanuel Dunnand | AFP | Getty ImagesAs of mid-2020, Picard had recovered more than $14 billion for Madoff's customers, or roughly 75 cents for every dollar in principal they invested, a figure normally unheard of in a Ponzi scheme. From prison, Madoff repeatedly tried to take credit for the recoveries, claiming he pressured his biggest investors to return some of their money."Those parties were well aware of the incriminating evidence I possessed about their complicit activity, and wisely came forward with settlements," he wrote in 2013.But Picard and federal investigators said Madoff never provided them any meaningful help. The remorse he claimed in every message was suspect as well. At his 2009 sentencing, Madoff turned to his victims. "I'm sorry," he said. "I know that doesn't help you."It didn't.Cheers erupted as federal Judge Denny Chin ordered the maximum sentence for "extraordinarily evil" crimes.Ross, a former mayor of Fort Lee, New Jersey, who testified at the hearing, told Chin: "Commit Madoff to prison for the rest of his life. May Satan grow a fourth mouth where Madoff can spend the rest of eternity."
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Cryptocurrency markets have been surging during the last 24 hours, as billions of dollars have flooded into the crypto-economy. Bitcoin’s value touched an all-time high (ATH) once again on Wednesday morning (EST), reaching $64,895 per unit. The latest price rise is leading up to the upcoming Coinbase direct listing on Nasdaq. Crypto-Economy Surpasses $2.2 Trillion in Value Digital currency fans are quite pleased on Wednesday morning, as a slew of new gains has been recorded across the entire crypto-economy. The entire crypto-economy is currently valued at $2.2 trillion and is up over 4% today. Bitcoin (BTC) touched a high of $64,895 per unit and is currently trading for $64,229. BTC is up over 2.6% today and up 15.5% during the last seven days. Despite the new ATH, bitcoin (BTC) dominance among the 9,215 cryptocurrencies in existence is only 53% today. BTC/USD on April 14, 2021. Ethereum (ETH) has captured some of that dominance as the crypto asset ether is swapping for $2,380 per unit. This means that ETH now has 12.3% of the entire market capitalization. ETH is up 7% today and 21% for the week. Behind ETH is binance coin (BNB), which is trading for $572 per coin. BNB has jumped 1.9% today and a whopping 52% during the last week. XRP has managed to push tether (USDT) out of the fourth position as it currently trades for $1.82 per unit. Dogecoin (DOGE) prices have jumped considerably during the last 24 hours. Cardano (ADA) is trading for $1.46 per coin, polkadot (DOT) is swapping for $42, and litecoin (LTC) is hovering around $272 per coin. Uniswap (UNI) is currently trading for $35 per unit and is up 1.3% today. The tenth-largest market position is held by dogecoin (DOGE) trading for $0.141 and is up a significant 86% on Wednesday. DOGE has been the forerunner as far as 24-hour gains are concerned among the top ten leading crypto assets. #Bitcoin is now the 6th largest currency in the world, and has overtaken the British pound sterling in monetary base size pic.twitter.com/rlX9JWhMn6 — Documenting Bitcoin 📄 (@DocumentingBTC) April 14, 2021 ‘Bitcoin Is Expanding its Range’ Just before the Coinbase direct listing and as BTC has touched a new ATH, a great number of investors and crypto executives are very positive. “Bitcoin has been continuously moving out of its niche, that’s no secret,” Eric Demuth, Co-CEO and founder of Bitpanda explained to Bitcoin.com News. “Whether it is its greater coverage in mainstream media, or the adoption of Bitcoin trading infrastructures by major banks such as JPM or Goldman Sachs. The decisive step was probably the first investments made by S&P 500 companies.” Demuth further added: Today, Bitcoin is expanding its range of private customers and is becoming increasingly important as an investment object for companies and pension funds. It’s record-smashing rally seen in recent weeks was partly driven by the entry of institutional money to the market. And yet, it seems as if opinions have become polarized leaving only two extreme positions on the subject: those who see this cryptocurrency as the holy grail and those who still refer to it as a purely speculative object and try to devalue Bitcoin with outdated and false myths. Pantera Capital Predicted Bitcoin’s Current Price Range Last Year Additionally, many others are quite optimistic about the market movements and BTC’s latest ATH. Dan Morehead, the CEO of Pantera Capital explained that his firm predicted these prices. Pantera Capital’s predictions last year in the company’s April 2020 Investor Letter. “This is getting ridiculous. A year ago we predicted Bitcoin hitting $62,968 this week. It just did. This Bitcoin rally is EXACTLY like previous halvings. Likely to reach $115k by August,” Morehead tweeted. The company also published the firm’s April 2020 Investor Letter which shows the firm’s prediction. Want to see all the crypto market action in real-time? Check out markets.Bitcoin.com today! What do you think about bitcoin tapping a fresh new all-time high ahead of the Coinbase listing? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below. Tags in this story BCH, Bitcoin, Bitcoin markets, Bitpanda co-CEO, Coinbase IPO, Coinbase Listing, Crypto markets, Dan Morehead, Doge, dogecoin, Eric Demuth, ETH, Ethereum, Gains, Market Update, markets and prices, Pantera Capital Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons, Pantera Capital, Bitcoinwisdom.io, Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article. Read disclaimer
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press release PRESS RELEASE. AscendEX, formerly BitMax, an industry-leading digital asset trading platform built by Wall Street quant trading veterans, has announced the listing of the ZigCoin (ZIG) under the pair USDT/ZIG on Apr 15 at 1:00 p.m. UTC. Zignaly is a social, digital asset trading platform. They aim to simplify the world of digital asset trading, making it easy for everyone to include digital assets in their investment portfolio. The current bull run has helped immensely in growing Zignaly, and it has seen more than 10X growth in volume over the past 12 months. Zignaly launched its unique & disruptive profit sharing module late last year, and the traction is impressive, validating their multi-stream revenue model. While business is now mainly focusing on scaling this innovation to enhance the sense of security for investors, Zignaly is also launching the first-ever digital asset trading insurance protocol for its platform. NFTs will power the protocol, and ZigCoin will be the native token of the platform. The introduction of ZigCoin will give traction to the existing business. In addition, the new innovative use case will bring fresh investors into the digital asset sphere. Zignaly aims to solve three major problems as a platform. These problems revolve around trading platforms, investors, and expert traders. The first problem is that trading platforms fight against each other in fierce competition, attracting traders who don’t have the experience or knowledge to engage in digital asset trading. They focus their product on this goal, offering advanced trading functionalities, yet they lack the beginner trading user experiences that new investors seek. The solution Zignaly provides to trading platforms is to plug into the Zignaly ecosystem via API and begin offering their liquidity to new and informed investors willing to put their capital to work on a platform with an uncomplicated user experience. For investors, the problem is that there aren’t many easy-to-use alternative vehicles for diversifying one’s investment portfolio. Current digital asset investors face hurdles, like minimum investment amounts, clunky user experiences, and fund management fees, when seeking professional services for investing in digital assets. Digital asset trading is high risk, and the lack of knowledge and training makes it difficult for first-time investors to get started. The solution here is that Zignaly offers investors a way to navigate an extensive marketplace of expert traders to work with and provides services governed by the system’s transparency and the community’s feedback enabling users to gain knowledge and insight when investing. The issue with expert traders is that they possess inherently valuable trading skills, yet there is no mechanism for these traders to monetize and leverage their skillset. Zignaly offers a solution by providing a marketplace that allows traders to monetize their skills, create a reputation, gain the community’s trust, share their results, and communicate with their audience. In solving these issues, Zignaly has created an environment where trading platforms, users, and expert traders can benefit from one anothers input while contributing to a comprehensive ecosystem. About AscendEX Originally founded in 2018 as BitMax.io, AscendEx is a leading digital asset and digital asset financial platform catering to both professional and retail traders. Our venue offers spot, futures, margin trading and staking products and incorporates key elements from the DeFi space to foster a unique market structure for users. AscendEx is led by a team of Wall Street veterans who have applied traditional markets’ rigor to create a robust, secure, and reliable experience for all participants; and a consistent source of liquidity for primary offerings. For more information and updates, please visit: Website: https://ascendex.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/AscendEX_Global Telegram: https://t.me/AscendEXEnglish Medium: https://medium.com/ascendex About Zignaly Zignaly is a social digital asset trading platform, aiming to simplify the world of digital asset trading making it easy for everyone to include digital assets in their investment portfolios. Zignaly brings together a motivated team of top talent that trusts in blockchain and transparency to bring value to the Zignaly ecosystem. For more information and updates, please visit: Website: www.zignaly.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/zignaly Telegram: https://t.me/joinchat/S9dMUoMZJRm6YxG8 Discord: https://discord.gg/r5qRXDJ This is a press release. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the promoted company or any of its affiliates or services. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in the press release. Tags in this story Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons
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In yet another sign of the white-hot residential market in Florida, Guggenheim Partners chief investment officer Scott Minerd bought a pair of penthouses in Miami for $12.5 million, sources familiar with the transaction tell Forbes. The purchases comprise an entire floor of the 51-story Biscayne Beach tower, in what appears to form the largest penthouse in South Florida. Combined, the two units boast 22,547 square feet and feature 11 bedrooms, two swimming pools, 12 parking spaces and more than 4,000 square feet of terraces. Both penthouses include a wine room, sauna, library, and private elevator access. Biscayne Beach, a 399-unit luxury building, is located about 20 minutes west of South Beach.  Bill Hernandez and Bryan Sereny of Douglas Elliman, who represented the buyer and seller, declined to comment. A representative for Guggenheim Investments did not respond to a request for comment.   Minerd is a founding managing partner at Guggenheim, an investment colossus with over $300 billion of assets under management that traces its roots to Meyer Guggenheim, the mining magnate who emigrated to the U.S. from Switzerland in 1847. Minerd joined Guggenheim in 1998—a year before it launched—according to his LinkedIn page, after stints at Credit Suisse First Boston and Morgan Stanley’s European operation, and currently helps oversee investment strategy.  He follows some heavy hitters who have bought into the Miami boom recently. Last week, the billionaire Larry Ellison acquired an $80 million megamansion in North Palm Beach (though he reportedly plans to tear it down). In February, a partner at Tiger Global Management set a record for Palm Beach, shelling out over $120 million for a beachfront estate. Shutterstock founder Jon Oringer, Keith Rabois of Founders Fund and Playboy mansion owner Daren Metropoulos have also struck deals of late. Not to mention Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, who bought a $32.2 million lot on the “Billionaire’s Bunker,” Indian Creek, in December. “Prices have just gone higher than anyone ever could have imagined,” billionaire real estate investor Jeff Greene told Forbes last week. While flagging the likelihood of a correction once vaccines proliferate and more wealthy Americans head back to New York, Los Angeles and other major cities, he said there is still strong appeal in the region’s luxury market: “I'm a long-term believer in this area.”
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Here are some of the companies making headlines in premarket trading:Goldman Sachs (GS) — Goldman shares rose more than 1% in premarket trading after the company's first-quarter results handily topped Wall Street's expectations. The bank earned $18.60 per share, compared to the $10.22 per share expected by analysts surveyed by Refinitiv. Revenue came in at $17.7 billion, which was ahead of the expected $12.6 billion. JPMorgan Chase (JPM) also beat top- and bottom-line estimates for the first quarter.Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) — Shares of the retailer tumbled 7% in the premarket after the company said net sales during the fourth quarter fell about 16%. During the period the company earned an adjusted 40 cents per share on $2.62 billion in revenue. Analysts surveyed by Refinitiv were expecting 31 cents per share and revenue of $2.63 billion.JetBlue Airways (JBLU) — JetBlue stock rose 3% after JPMorgan upgraded the stock to "overweight" from "underweight." The firm expects the airline to continue to focus on cost controls in the wake of the pandemic, and noted that the current valuation is attractive. JPMorgan also upgraded Spirit Airlines (SAVE) to "overweight" from "underweight," while lifting its rating on Southwest (LUV) to "neutral."Moderna (MRNA) — Shares of Moderna jumped more than 3% in premarket action after the company said new data show its Covid vaccine is more than 90% effective six months after the second shot. The data was based on more than 900 cases of the virus.Occidental (OXY) — Shares of the energy company gained more than 2% in the premarket after MKM Partners upgraded the stock to a "buy" rating. "OXY has depreciated over 20% since early March (vs. XOP down 15%-20%) and reflects approximately 30% equity value upside, thus meriting an upgrade from Neutral to Buy," the firm said in a note to clients.Discovery (DISCA) — Class A shares of the media company slid more than 4% after CNBC reported that Credit Suisse is still unloading its position in the wake of Archegos Capital Management's blowup. According to people familiar with the matter, the bank was selling 19 million shares of Discovery's class A stock on Tuesday.Harley-Davidson (HOG) — Shares of the motorcycle company rose more than 2% in premarket trading after Bank of America initiated coverage on the stock with a "buy" rating. The firm said the company's new strategy is "elevating an iconic global brand."Snap (SNAP) — The social media company's stock was up more than 2% after Wedbush assumed coverage of the stock with an "outperform" rating. The firm said in a note that Snap is "uniquely positioned" as a video-centric platform, and sees opportunities around the company's augmented reality and social commerce divisions.Enjoyed this article?For exclusive stock picks, investment ideas and CNBC global livestreamSign up for CNBC ProStart your free trial now
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Gary Gensler, then-chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).Simon Dawson | Bloomberg | Getty ImagesThe Senate is likely to confirm Gary Gensler as the new chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission either Wednesday or later this week, and crypto assets — including bitcoin — are likely high on his agenda.With Democrats in control of all three major branches of government, and the SEC commissioners now with a 3-2 Democratic majority, Gensler is likely to face calls from progressives to act on several fronts, including ESG, the Gamestop fallout, the Archegos fiasco, payment for order flow, fiduciary obligations, and especially regulations around securities in the crypto space, including a bitcoin ETF.What's likely on the top of the list?Environmental, Social and GovernancePresident Biden has pledged swift action to tackle what he calls a "climate emergency." Acting Commissioner Allison Herren Lee has already indicated that the commission will focus on greater transparency and how corporate actions may be affecting the climate.Climate change, Herren Lee has argued, fits squarely in the SEC's mandate of providing data for investor protection.That mandate can be fairly broad: In a recent speech, she argued that even political spending disclosure can be linked to ESG issues.Gamestop falloutThe Gamestop situation has led to numerous calls for investigations around gamification of trading, market manipulation, and whether it is feasible to move from the current two-day settlement period for stocks (T + 2) to a one-day settlement period.In a recent call with reporters, Christopher Gilkerson, Charles Schwab's senior vice president and general counsel, said any reform initiated by Gensler "would focus on rapidly moving to T+1 settlement, better surveillance on potential market manipulation through social media and better disclosure for short sellers. And probably a focus on gamification of investing."Pat Healy of Issuer Network, who advises companies on going public, believes that more transparency around short sales is a clear priority."The SEC should create a minimal level of short sale disclosure," he told me. "That would alert the market that a big fish is taking a position, which is the parallel disclosure that is done when investors take long positions. This is the only part of the market that has no disclosure requirements."Archegos ramificationsThe recent Archegos fiasco, where a trader was able to attain massive positions in several stocks using swaps, will also likely attract Gensler's attention, particularly since he was previously chairman of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, where he was involved in implementing rules governing the swaps market following the Great Financial Crisis in 2008-2009.The Archegos debacle caused significant losses to investors in many large companies and fits squarely in the SEC's historic mission.During his March 2 appearance before the Senate Banking Committee, Gensler noted the SEC's historic role in protecting investors, and he promised to continue the SEC's goals of "strengthening transparency and accountability in our markets, so people can invest with confidence, and be protected from fraud and manipulation."One delicate issue: Archegos was a family office that was exempt from registration with the SEC. "This guy was trading his own money," Amy Lynch, a former SEC compliance official now with Frontline Compliance, told me."They are likely to take a look at the whole family office structure," she said. Not having to register "makes sense for the average family office, but in the case of Archegos there was a lack of transparency — Credit Suisse didn't know what Morgan Stanley was doing with the transactions."Lynch says they are likely to look at more reporting requirements around family offices, and perhaps even consider registration.Payment for order flowMany financial service firms charge nothing for commissions, but receive payment from broker-dealers to route orders to them, a process known as "payment for order flow." Some claim receiving payment for order flow comes at the expense of best execution, but that is hotly disputed.Healy says that Gensler "will likely pay lip service to looking at payment for order flow but is unlikely to do anything about it."The reason is that it is well-known that "the average retail investor is able to execute trades at a lower cost and with better pricing than several decades ago. The one thing that may be needed more is disclosure."Standards of care for broker-dealersThe SEC put in place Regulation Best Interest (Reg BI) last year, which established new standards of conduct for broker-dealers and requires them to recommend products that are in their customer's best interest.The SEC is unlikely to make substantive changes in the rule, but they are likely to seek vigorous enforcement of the rule."They will have to do more examinations to determine their actual practices are matching their disclosures," Lynch told me.Bitcoin ETFBitcoin is a commodity that is regulated by the CFTC, but a bitcoin ETF would be a security regulated by the SEC. The SEC has consistently denied requests to create a bitcoin ETF for the last eight years, citing concerns over fraud, custody, and excessive volatility.Gensler is likely to continue to focus on the safety of those assets. Indeed, the SEC's Examination Priorities cited digital assets and the "safety of client funds and assets" as a top priority.Still, crypto investors are optimistic about Gensler, noting that he taught blockchain and digital currencies while a professor at MIT.They also are hopeful that many of the concerns cited by the SEC are being addressed."A few years ago there was no regulated futures market, now there is, and the volumes are much bigger," Matt Hougan, chief investment officer of Bitwise Asset Management, told me. "There were also no regulated custodians with insurance, now there is. We have made a huge amount of progress, whether we have made it over the goal line is not clear, but we are getting close."Digital securities and assetsGiven the Coinbase direct listing and the explosion of crypto assets, many believe that Gensler's biggest area of focus will be in the cryptoasset space."I think digital assets will be his legacy," said Michelle Bond, a former senior counsel at the SEC who is now CEO of the Association for Digital Asset Markets, an association of firms in the digital marketplace."This is a global phenomenon. He is going to focus on registration of exchanges, regulation, retail protection, and he will be looking to root out fraud and manipulation," Bond said. "This is a man who created a regulatory framework for swaps, and he has all the expertise to create a firmer regulatory framework for digital assets."The only constraint is that the SEC's mandate is digital asset securities.Subscribe to CNBC PRO for exclusive insights and analysis, and live business day programming from around the world.
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Coinbase’s IPO via a direct listing on Nasdaq is today. Nasdaq has set a reference price of $250 for the stock which will trade under the ticker symbol COIN. Investors are describing Coinbase’s public debut as a “watershed” moment for the crypto industry. Coinbase’s Reference Price Set at $250 by Nasdaq Investors are eagerly waiting for Coinbase’s initial public offering (IPO). The company has chosen to go public via a direct listing on Nasdaq, which is different from a traditional IPO. “The Class A common stock of Coinbase Global Inc. is expected to list on Nasdaq through a Direct Listing using the ticker COIN,” according to a notice issued by Nasdaq on Tuesday. It details: As a Direct Listing, COIN will be in a regulatory halt until Nasdaq opens trading pursuant to the procedures described in Rules 4120(c)(8) and (9) and 4753. Nasdaq explained that it has given the Coinbase shares a reference price of $250 “Because COIN has not had recent sustained trading in a private placement market.” This price would value Coinbase around $65.3 billion on a fully diluted basis, according to reports. Meanwhile, Coinbase’s implied valuation on the FTX exchange was almost $150 billion on Tuesday. The reference price is not an offering price, Nasdaq further explained, adding that “nobody has purchased or sold shares at that price.” It added: The opening public price will be determined based on buy and sell orders in the opening auction on Nasdaq. This is Nasdaq’s first major direct listing, CNBC detailed, noting that the reference price reflects recent private market trades and input from investment bankers. The publication noted that in the five significant direct listings that took place on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) — Spotify, Slack, Palantir, Asana and Roblox — the opening price was on average about 37% above the reference price. Coinbase released its preliminary first-quarter earnings results last week showing a ninefold revenue increase to $1.8 billion while net income jumped to between $730 million and $800 million from $32 million the previous year. Many investors see the Coinbase public listing as a “watershed” moment for the cryptocurrency industry. Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives, for example, commented that Coinbase’s public market debut is “potentially a watershed event for the crypto industry and will be something the Street will be laser-focused on to gauge investor appetite.” The CEO of London-based crypto platform Luno, Marcus Swanepoel, described: For one, it’s going to show just how big the industry is and how much it’s growing. Will you be buying Coinbase’s shares? Let us know in the comments section below. Tags in this story Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article. Read disclaimer
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People wait to visit a house for sale in Garden City, Nassau County, New York, on Sept. 6, 2020.Xinhua News Agency | Getty ImagesIt was a mixed week for rates, which started high and then fell slightly, but the damage was done early. Total mortgage application volume decreased 3.7% for the week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association's seasonally adjusted index.The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($548,250 or less) decreased to 3.27% from 3.36%, with points decreasing to 0.33 from 0.43 (including the origination fee) for loans with a 20% down payment."Purchase and refinance applications declined, with most of the pullback coming earlier in the week when rates were higher, said Joel Kan, MBA's associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting. "Refinance activity has now decreased for nine of the past 10 weeks, as rates have gone from 2.92% to 3.27% over the same period."For the week, applications to refinance a home loan fell 5%. Demand was 31% lower than a year ago. Most borrowers have already refinanced to lower rates or are unable to qualify for a refinance at today's rate. The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 59.2% of total applications from 60.3% the previous week.Mortgage applications to purchase a home fell 1% for the week but were 51% higher than a year ago, although annual comparisons will be an outlier for the next month as the housing market ground to a halt at the start of the pandemic and then rebounded dramatically. Purchase demand is lower than the same week of 2019."The third straight week of declining purchase activity is a sign that rising home prices and tight supply are constraining home sales — especially in the lower price tiers," added Kan.
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Corey Burr is Senior VP of TTR Sotheby’s International Realty. Selling your home is often an emotional experience, especially if you’ve lived in it for an extended period of time. For a variety of reasons, sellers are often deeply attached to the place they’ve called home for years. That is wonderful, but it’s critically important that you don’t let your emotions completely take over your thought process when pricing the home for sale. Here are some steps that will greatly improve your chances of making a quick sale. Make sure the price is right. In a highly competitive market with very low housing inventory, pricing your home fairly can pay big dividends. It can generate high buyer interest and potentially attract multiple offers. The ensuing bidding war can often drive the final offer well above the listing price. So how do you determine the appropriate price? You can start by stepping back in order to objectively and thoroughly assess the current state of the market. This involves research and some number-crunching. To get an accurate comp, you must focus on properties with similar characteristics to your home. If your house is showing a little wear and tear, comparing it with a newly built home around the corner serves little or no purpose. Don’t fall into the trap of overpricing your home. We are definitely in a seller’s market. A recent Redfin Housing Report found that 36% of homes for sale sold above the list price, and the number of homes on the market was down nearly 50% year over year. In this environment, it may be tempting to price high, but this can work against you if your home doesn’t sell quickly. If a property sits on the market for more than a month, there’s a good chance that it won’t sell at its current price. Don’t wait too long to reduce the price or you may be in for an expensive and painful ordeal. Don’t sell your house short. Pricing a home too low can also cost you in the end. Every seller’s life situation is different. Someone who has already bought another house and is reluctant to carry two mortgages will undoubtedly want to close the deal as quickly as possible by setting a low price. This approach can be risky. Some prospective buyers will assume that this falls into the “too good to be true” category, especially in a hot market. It can raise doubts in their minds. They might think to themselves, “There must be something wrong with the house.” For sellers, discipline and patience will usually pay off. Impatience and desperation on such a large transaction rarely do. Rely on an expert. Reputable and experienced agents with intimate knowledge of the area are invaluable when you are trying to determine the right price for your home. They can help you objectively evaluate the market and prevent you from overpricing or underpricing your house. You want someone who is going to offer honest opinions and steer you in the right direction. It’s important to take the time to find an agent who you feel you can trust completely. Do your due diligence and interview several agents before making a decision. Ask friends and family members for their recommendations. If you prepare and then follow a well-thought-out strategy before putting your home on the market, you will greatly increase the likelihood of achieving a successful outcome. Your positive memories of the house won’t be marred by a long and costly sales process. Forbes Real Estate Council is an invitation-only community for executives in the real estate industry. Do I qualify?
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There’s thinking outside the box, and then there’s building outside the box. A one-of-a-kind ski-in/ski-out home built from salvaged shipping containers has hit the market in the Tahoe-Truckee area for $3.295 million. Set among tall pines in the Mountainside at Northstar community, the steel-clad mountain retreat, with its corrugated metal frame, was built for its current owners using a series of repurposed containers. The connected containers form a sleek shell for the custom home, which sits close by to some of the most popular ski slopes in the area. Cedar panels and crisp white walls soften the interior footprint, which includes a gleaming chef’s kitchen, a private office, three bedrooms and three bathrooms. A massive steel I-beam extends across the expansive media room, creating visual interest above, while expanses of glass bring beautiful mountain settings inside. Anchored atop concrete and steel beams, the container home’s cantilevered design creates more than 2,400 square feet of outdoor living space. A 1,340-square-foot deck extends from the rear and is accessible from the kitchen and common areas. Carved out below the house is a cedar-clad lounge complete with a covered dining patio, gas firepit and a Hotsprings Grandee hot tub. Architect Dave Spear of Mountain Concepts gave the container house depth beyond its linear form. Tahoe Mountain Realty Lifestyle dictates location in Tahoe-Truckee Listing agent Michael Montalbano of Tahoe Mountain Realty said that when it came to finding the perfect spot to build the container house, he asked the owners a simple question: Would you rather drive to play golf in the summer or drive to skiing in the winter? “It was like the ‘aha!’ moment for them, where they realized they didn’t want to drive to skiing and deal with walking in ski boots,” Montalbano said. Inside, the container house has a contemporary vibe with a gleaming chef's kitchen and cedar-lined ... [+] ceilings. Tahoe Mountain Realty The question also helped the luxury real estate specialist narrow down the options for finding the perfect lot to build on. Unlike resort ski communities such as Vail in Colorado and Big Sky in Montana, the presence of ski-in/ski-out communities around Tahoe is limited to just a handful.  “Part of it is the geography and how the land is owned, part of it is limited to what can be developed,” he explained. “In Tahoe, it’s very unique to be able to start the day with your skis pointing downhill.” Cedar-paneled ceilings and white walls soften the home's industrial nature. Tahoe Mountain Realty The owners ultimately settled on a pair of side-by-side lots in Mountainside at Northstar’s M25 enclave. The M25 neighborhood consists of 25 coveted ski-in/ski-out custom lots ranging from half an acre to 1.5 acres. “For single-family homes in Northstar, there are only 25 opportunities to build a true ski-in/ski-out property,” Montalbano said. Building hurdles yield a rise in modularity Whereas other parts of California see construction year-round, new development projects in Tahoe are limited to a small window due to the weather. According to Montalbano, it’s because of the restraints that the area is seeing an increase in modular, prefabricated developments—homes assembled in sections off-site and later configured on location—similar to the container house. Walls of floor-to-ceiling windows take in views of tall pines and the surrounding slopes. Tahoe Mountain Realty “The whole idea behind modular prefabs is saving time,” Montalbano said. “In an area like Tahoe, where you’re constrained during the building season by weather, time is everything.” With the container house, architect Dave Spear of Tahoe-based Mountain Concepts was enlisted to give the project depth and styling beyond the linear box-like look, Montalbano said. The repurposed shipping containers were retrofitted off-site and delivered in segments to the mid-mountain site by truck. From there, the segments were pieced together by crane atop a pad of board-formed concrete. A giant steel I-beam tops the media room. Tahoe Mountain Realty “With the crane, the home is kind of Lego’d together and then they finished the onsite components to it,” he said. Because of the time-saving benefits, in addition to improvements in quality and concept, modular projects have increased in recent years. The Palisades at Squaw Valley and Village Walk Skyline in Tahoe are two examples of where the modular concept has been utilized to great success. Other one-off modular projects are underway in Tahoe’s Martis Camp area. Exterior decking on the second level creates covered patio space on the ground floor. Tahoe Mountain Realty Montalbano expects the trend to continue. “We’re seeing more and more modular development, without a doubt,” he said. “There was a preconception of modular being an inferior, cheap quality, and now the quality is quite good. We’re definitely seeing a shift towards prefab projects.” Tahoe’s red-hot housing market shows no signs of slowing down To say the Tahoe-Truckee housing market is hot right now would be an understatement—in fact, it’s scorching.  The area just capped off its most prolific year in terms of residential sales volume with a record $2.7 billion in total dollar volume in 2020 (up 70% from the previous year), while total residential transactions (2,350) increased 33% from the last high set in 2017. And already in 2021, the pace has been as intense if not greater, according to Montalbano. The hot tub takes in a view of neighboring homesites in M25, an exclusive community within ... [+] Mountainside at Northstar. Tahoe Mountain Realty “We have not seen any regression, and we just wrapped up the most prolific first quarter in Tahoe history,” he said. Montalbano estimates Tahoe-Truckee’s total volume in Q1 2021 at about $606 million, which is about four times the production in a normal market. “The average price is way up—a roughly 77% uptick from the same period—and the total number of sales was up 37% when compared with the same period,” he added. Because of its location mid-mountain, the container house is one of the true ski-in/ski-out homes in ... [+] the Tahoe-Truckee area. Tahoe Mountain Realty The biggest constraint in the market continues to be the inventory side, Montalbano said. However, the real estate agent is cautiously optimistic that there will be enough properties to sell to maintain the market’s current record-setting pace. “If no new properties come, then you’re not going to set records for transaction volume and properties trading,” he said. “ But enough of a trickle of new properties are coming to support the robust metrics.” Tahoe Mountain Realty is an exclusive member of Forbes Global Properties, a consumer marketplace and membership network of elite brokerages selling the world’s most luxurious homes.
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