SoftBank Invests $200 Million In Brazil’s Largest Crypto Exchange

Brazil’s leading cryptocurrency exchange, Mercado Bitcoin raised $200 million from the SoftBank Latin America Fund, Mercado’s parent company 2TM Group announced today. The investment values 2TM Group at $2.1 billion and is SoftBank’s largest capital injection in a Latin America crypto company.

Following closely on the tails of SoftBank’s investment in the $250 million round raised by Mexican cryptocurrency exchange Bitso in May, the deal shows a growing interest in bringing bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to Latin America.

“This series B round will afford us to continue investing in our infrastructure, enabling us to scale up and meet the soaring demand for the blockchain-based financial market,“ says Roberto Dagnoni, executive chairman and CEO of 2TM Group. “We want to be the main solution provider for corporate players.”

The São Paulo-based exchange aims to increase the number of listed assets (the exchange currently lists approximately 50 tokens) and grow its 500-member team to 700 by year’s end. Further plans involve regional expansion with focuses on Mexico, Argentina, Chile and Colombia and growth acceleration across 2TM Group’s portfolio, which also include digital wallet provider MeuBank and digital custodian Bitrust (both are subject to regulatory approval).

Founded by brothers Gustavo and Mauricio Chamati in 2013, Mercado Bitcoin has become the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the country. In January, it scored its first financing round co-led by G2D/GP Investments and Parallax Ventures with participation from an array of other investors.

Like many of its counterparts, Mercado Bitcoin has seen significant growth over the past year, with its client base reaching 2.8 million in 2021 – more than 70% of the total number of individual investors on Brazil’s stock exchange B3. Approximately 700,000 clients signed up just between January and May.

Over the same period, trade volume on the exchange had increased to $5 billion, surpassing the total for its first seven years combined. “Every single month [of this year], we are trading the full volume of 2020,” says Dagnoni.

“Mercado Bitcoin is a regional leader in the crypto space and the leading crypto exchange in Brazil. They are tapping into a huge local and regional addressable market measured by potential use cases for crypto,” says Paulo Passoni, managing partner at SoftBank’s SBLA Advisers Corp. (which manages the SoftBank Latin America Fund).

“At SoftBank we look to invest in entrepreneurs who are challenging the status quo through tech-focused or tech-enabled business models that are disrupting an industry – Mercado Bitcoin is doing just that.”

Despite the rapid growth of the local crypto market, Brazilian regulators have been lagging behind. In 2018, Brazilian antitrust watchdog, the Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE), opened an investigation into the country’s largest banks for allegedly abusing their power by closing accounts of crypto brokerages. The probe was ongoing as of last year.

In April 2020, Senator Soraya Thronicke proposed an extended set of rules for Brazil’s “virtual asset” businesses, custodians and issuers, consumer protection, crypto taxation and criminal enforcement, however no apparent action has been taken on the bill so far. Nonetheless, Dagnoni says the nation’s regulatory environment is favorable, and the company is closely working with regulators “to build a consistent framework for alternative digital investments in Brazil, in line with its vision of a convergence of the traditional and blockchain-based financial markets.”

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I report on cryptocurrencies and emerging use cases of blockchain. Born and raised in Russia, I graduated from NYU Abu Dhabi with a degree in economics and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where I focused on data and business reporting.

Source: SoftBank Invests $200 Million In Brazil’s Largest Crypto Exchange

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Critics:

SoftBank Group Corp. is a Japanese multinational conglomerate holding company headquartered in Minato, Tokyo. The Group primarily invests in companies operating in the technology, energy, and financial sectors. It also runs the Vision Fund, the world’s largest technology-focused venture capital fund, with over $100 billion in capital, backed by sovereign wealth funds from countries in the Middle East.

The company is known for the leadership by its founder and largest shareholder Masayoshi Son. It operates in broadband, fixed-line telecommunications, e-commerce, information technology, finance, media and marketing, and other areas.

SoftBank was ranked in the Forbes Global 2000 list as the 36th largest public company in the world, and the second largest publicly traded company in Japan after Toyota.

The logo of SoftBank is based on the flag of the Kaientai, a naval trading company that was founded in 1865, near the end of the Tokugawa shogunate, by Sakamoto Ryōma.

Although SoftBank does not affiliate itself to any traditional keiretsu, it has close ties with Mizuho Financial Group, its main lender.

See also

 

Google Advertising Policy Opens Doors To Wider Bitcoin Community

The Google logo seen at the entrance to Google Cloud campus...

Google GOOG +1.5% is revising its advertising policy to let cryptocurrency wallets advertise with them, along with exchanges, starting August 3rd provided that they are either registered with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) or a federal or state chartered bank entity. The new policy will apply globally to Google search and its third-party sites, including YouTube, Gmail, or Blogger..

The expanded policy comes three years after Google banned all crypto-related advertising in March 2018. However, Google walked-back the policy five months later, allowing regulated cryptocurrency exchanges such as Coinbase to advertise in the United States and Japan in September 2018. While expanded to allow cryptocurrency exchanges and wallets to advertise, ads for initial coin offerings (ICOs), decentralized finance (DeFi) trading protocols, or promotions of specific cryptocurrencies are not permitted under the new policy.

It remains to be seen how this reversal in the policy will lead to a further loosening on other major advertising platforms that have placed restrictions on crypto firms. In 2018, Facebook banned all ads promoting cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin and initial coin offerings.

A few months later, Facebook edited the policy to introduce an eligibility review process for those looking to advertise certain cryptocurrency products or services; applicants should submit any licenses, listings on public stock exchanges, or other relevant public background.

Twitter, similarly to Facebook and Google, prohibits the advertisement of initial coin offerings or crypto token sales but allows exchanges or wallet services provided by a publicly traded crypto company to advertise with them provided as long as they comply with local laws.

BY: Emily Mason

Source: Google Advertising Policy Opens Doors To Wider Bitcoin Community

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Alphabet Inc.’s Google, the world’s largest digital advertising seller, will let companies offering cryptocurrency wallets run ads beginning in August.

In 2018, Google barred ads for cryptocurrencies and related products, following a similar move from Facebook Inc. But Google soon peeled back that restriction for digital currency exchanges. Starting in August, Google will let wallets run ads on search, YouTube and other properties as long as they go through the company’s certification process.

Google is making the change “in order to better match existing FinCEN regulations and requirements,” a spokesperson said Wednesday in a statement.

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What’s The Deal With Bitcoin ATM and How Does A Bitcoin ATM Work?

What is a Bitcoin ATM, and does it actually function as an ATM? The short answer is yes.

Technically, these aren’t traditional ATM’s (Automatic Teller Machines) as they do not allow physical withdrawals of BTC from an account you own. Instead, these machines will enable you to purchase Bitcoin, depending on the specific machine. There are a number of machine types around from various companies, the top 3 being: General Bytes, Genesis Coin, and Lamassu.

  1. You verify your identity through an one-time-password sent to your mobile or email. Again, this varies from machine to machine.
  2. You decide if you want to buy or sell BTC (if you have the option).
  3. To buy, you must choose the amount you want to in terms of BTC or your target fiat currency.
  4. You then deposit the fiat currency into the machine.
  5. Several things may happen depending on the machine:
  • A QR code may appear on the screen for you to scan
  • A QR code may be printed off corresponding to your new BTC wallet.
  • The machine will ask and scan the QR code of your pre-existing wallet.
  • You input your email address to have a QR code sent to you.

To sell, you must send the appropriate amount of BTC to the address displayed on the screen. Once the transaction is confirmed, you will receive the agreed fiat sum. How long this takes depends on the machine.

Bitcoin ATM’s v.s Crypto Exchanges

Bitcoin ATM’s are connected to exchanges. When using one, you are essentially buying or selling your chosen coin on an exchange. However, you’re interacting with a physical machine in a specific location rather than online. The price difference between using an online exchange and an ATM is generally around 5-10%. This means that ATMs cost 5-10% more to buy, and selling means you receive 5-10%.

Despite the premium that must be paid, many are attracted by these machines’ convenience and ease. They allow for a more visual and straightforward financial transaction that most are already familiar with. In addition, machines do not require any confusing registration processes or the need to learn about online trading interfaces.

When selling through an online exchange like Phemex, the platform’s spot markets offer more control over the price you are transacting with. You can also take advantage of limit orders and stop orders if you are not happy with current market prices.

Bitcoin ATM Map

There are many services and locations apart from bitcoin ATMs which provide exchange of bitcoins for cash and vice versa.You can send cash-to-cash payments to your relatives or friends in other countries by using two bitcoin ATMs. Find where to buy or sell bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies through ATMs for cash here…

By:

Source: Bitcoin ATM’s: How Does A Bitcoin ATM Work? – Phemex Blog

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References

“FINTRAC Advisory regarding Money Services Businesses dealing in virtual currency”. Fintrac-canafe.gc.ca. Retrieved 2016-11-22.

Phemex Is Empowering Everyone To Trade Simply and Manage Risk Efficiently

Led by 8 former Morgan Stanley Executives, Phemex’s goal is to build the worlds most trustworthy cryptocurrency derivatives trading platform. Its leverage a “User-Oriented” approach to develop far more powerful features than any existing exchange.

Above all, they place customers first. All of the features and tools are designed with this philosophy in mind. This is why their development team is directly available and constantly gathering feedback, comments, and requests from our community on social media.

Back in 2017, as experienced professional Wall Street traders and investors, Jack Tao and other founding members of Phemex identified a lack of professionalism, trustworthiness, and customer support within the crypto industry. In the following two years, the number of users engaging in cryptocurrency trading increased significantly.

Nevertheless, existing exchanges showed little to no improvement. Realizing the seriousness of the problem, the team left Wall Street and founded Phemex in the summer of 2019. They then dedicated themselves to building a simple, efficient, but most importantly, a trusted cryptocurrency trading platform. Then, on November 25th, 2019, the Phemex platform officially went live.

Pheme (Fama) is the personification of fame and of the public’s voice in Greek mythology. While MEX stands for mercantile exchange. This name was chosen to highlight our vision and their dedication to stand as the most trustworthy trading platform.

From day one, their mission was and will always continue to be the empowerment of individuals. They want everyone in this world to have access to the right set of tools that will allow them to manage risk efficiently and trade simply. They sincerely believe this to be a fundamental right that all traders should enjoy.

For its crypto derivatives products, Phemex allows you to trade with leverage. This means that you can receive a higher exposure towards a certain crypto’s price increase or decrease, without actually holding the necessary amount of assets. You do this by “leveraging” your trade. In simple terms, this means that you borrow from the exchange to bet more. You can get as much as 100x leverage on this platform.

Leveraged trades are risky though. For instance, let’s say that you have 100 USD in your trading account and you bet this amount on BTC going long (i.e., going up in value). If BTC then increases in value with 10%, you would have earned 10 USD. If you had used 100x leverage, your initial 100 USD position becomes a 10,000 USD position so you instead earn an extra 1,000 USD (990 USD more than if you had not leveraged your deal).

As we mentioned above, in terms of Spot Trading, Phemex has adopted a zero trading fee model. Instead they just charge for monthly Premium Memberships (prices are $9.99 for 30 Days, $19.99 for 90 Days and $69.99 USDT for 365 Days). Becoming a premium member will also allow you to set conditional spot orders, you will enjoy hourly withdrawals with no limits, and will be able to gift trial premium memberships to friends.

With respect to contract trading, Phemex separates between “takers” and “makers”. Let’s describe these terms real quick. Every trade occurs between two parties: the maker, whose order exists on the order book prior to the trade, and the taker, who places the order that matches (or “takes”) the maker’s order. We call makers for “makers” as their orders make the liquidity in a market. Takers are the ones who “take” this liquidity by matching makers’ orders with their own..

Phemex previously didn’t accept any other deposit method than cryptos, so new investors were restricted from trading here. Starting 18 June 2020, however, they partnered with a company called Banxa which is a payment gateway that accepts credit and debit card purchases of crypto.

Since then, Phemex has also partnered with Koinal, Coinify, MoonPay, and Mercuryo. You have a variety of payment options (ranging from bank transfers to Apple Pay) and rates to fit your needs.

To our understanding, Phemex does not charge any fees of their own when you withdraw crypto from your account at the platform. Accordingly, the only fee you have to think about when withdrawing are the network fees. The network fees are fees paid to the miners of the relevant crypto/blockchain, and not fees paid to the exchange itself. Network fees vary from day to day depending on the network pressure.

Generally speaking, to only have to pay the network fees should be considered as below global industry average when it comes to fee levels for crypto withdrawals.

Source: https://phemex.com

BlockFi Mistakenly Deposits Outsized Bitcoin Payments

In this photo illustration the cryptocurrency exchange...

BlockFi, the crypto lending and trading business, mistakenly deposited large amounts of crypto to user accounts. The payments were associated with a promotion they were running, in which users would receive bonuses in USD stablecoins.

The promotion was intended to be “paid out in one lump sum in GUSD” according to their website. Instead, some accounts were paid the amount denominated in Bitcoin, with some receiving over 700 BTC (worth >$28,000,000 at current prices).

A screenshot from one affected user who withdrew the funds shows threat of possible legal action should they not be returned, and a pay-out of $500 should they return them by a set time.

BlockFi clearly has their hands full dealing with the mistakenly deposited bonus payments, and users have reported experiencing additional issues with the company’s services. The BlockFi subreddit is full of posts with individuals receiving the mistaken funds, having difficulty withdrawing, and being unable to trade. One user claims to have been falsely accused of withdrawing mistaken funds after withdrawing USDC which he or she had been deposited a month earlier.

A statement by BlockFi, noted that “fewer than 100 clients were incorrectly credited,” and “BlockFi has contacted these clients and is working with them to rectify the issue.”

There are risks with using centralized services like lending platforms and exchanges—these are especially well known by early Bitcoiner’s who have witnesses a great number of hacks, exit-scams, and insolvencies wipe out customer funds held by large custodians.

BlockFi claims that “client funds are not impacted and are safeguarded.” After raising a recent $350 million funding round, the company likely has large pools of capital to pull from should they be unable to recoup any of the mis-credited funds from users who withdrew to personal wallets.

BlockFi’s previous promotion was, indeed, a friend referral promotion which offered (albeit small) BTC rewards.

I am the Director of Research and Development at Inca Digital, a data and intelligence provider in the digital asset space. I use Inca’s proprietary data system, NTerminal, to aggregate and analyze structured and unstructured data.

Before Inca, I helped start up a pharmacogenetics laboratory and worked in neurodegenerative research. My scientific background influences the way that I think about complex systems such as blockchain networks, and the models used to understand them.

Source: BlockFi Mistakenly Deposits Outsized Bitcoin Payments

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Reversing the excess bitcoin rewards

One user who reached out to CoinDesk said they received a large sum of BTC in their account which they thought was a reward for referring their friends – so they sent it to their cold storage wallet. BlockFi’s previous promotion was, indeed, a friend referral promotion which offered (albeit small) BTC rewards.

The user said after looking at the transaction in more detail, they realized it was an error, so they requested a cancellation of the withdrawal. The cancelation request was confirmed via email and their account shows the BTC transaction was reversed, with a note specifying they had reversed the bonus transaction. Nevertheless, the user said the bitcoin reward ended up in their cold storage wallet. They shared these documents with CoinDesk, and the blockchain shows that the funds were indeed transferred to their wallet address.

The next day, they received a phone call and an email (which CoinDesk has reviewed) from BlockFi threatening legal action if they didn’t return the funds, but also offering $1,000 worth of the stablecoin GUSD for any trouble this may have caused.

Other users on Reddit posted images of BlockFi’s “generous” giveaway, with one deposit amounting to over 700 BTC. That transaction, according to the user, was reversed. Another said their friend received 5 BTC and was, in fact, able to move it off the platform.

Yet another user said they received both BTC and GUSD, only to have the BTC reversed. The GUSD remained, but a couple of days later when they tried to withdraw some USDC (+0.09%), a different stablecoin they had deposited a month earlier, BlockFi sent an email accusing them of withdrawing funds that weren’t theirs.

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