Alex Mashinsky (Celsius) returns – Unbank Yourself again!

Alex Mashinsky is the CEO and founder of Celsius, the platform that lets you earn interest on your crypto and use it as collateral to get fiat loans. Celsius offers a platform of curated services that have been abandoned by big banks – fair interest, zero fees, and fast transactions. Their goal is to disrupt the financial industry, one user at a time, and introduce financial freedom through crypto.


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Biden’s Rumored OCC Pick Is a Bitcoin Skeptic

In brief

  • The initial frontrunner to run the OCC, Michael Barr, appears to have had his nomination sunk.
  • The new favorite Mehra Baradaran has expressed skepticism about cryptocurrency.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) is one of the less glamorous federal agencies.

But the office, which oversees the country’s biggest banks, has gained new prominence in recent years due to questions over how to integrate fintech and cryptocurrency firms into the banking system. Now there’s a quiet fight over who should lead it.

Until a week ago, it looked like Michael Barr, an Obama-era Treasury official, was a lock to be named as the Biden Administration’s pick to head the OCC.

Such a move was hailed by many in the cryptocurrency industry, who believed his background—including a stint advising crypto payments firm Ripple—would mean Barr would continue the crypto-friendly policies of former OCC head, Brian Brooks. Others, though, complained that Barr appeared to be too cozy with the fintech industry:

Now, hopes for Barr’s confirmation have been dashed.

In the last week, Bloombergreported that the Biden White House has “all but ruled out” naming Barr. Meanwhile, American Bankersuggested Barr’s appointment had been torpedoed by Biden’s progressives allies who have been frustrated with the President’s failure to name one of their own to a top Cabinet slot. The publication added that the new favorite to lead the OCC is Mehrsa Baradaran, an academic “outsider” who has made her name publishing books and articles about racial injustice in the US banking system.

The appointment of Baradaran, who would be the first woman of color to lead the OCC, would be a victory for progressives. But it could also trigger anxiety and uncertainty in the crypto sector.

According to one Washington insider, who spoke to Decrypt on condition of anonymity, Baradaran would be an unpopular choice in crypto circles, in part because she has spoken skeptically about Bitcoin in the past.

In testimony to Congress in mid-2019, for instance, Baradaran likened Bitcoin to tulips, South Sea stocks, and other bubble-prone assets. She also observed that many Bitcoin boosters are philosophically opposed to regulation, citing an academic paper that described the politics of Bitcoin as “right-wing extremism.”

“While I share many of the cryptocurrency industry’s concerns with respect to failures of the banking industry, I do not believe cryptocurrency is the best solution to the problems of financial inclusion and equity in banking,” said Baradaran before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Community Affairs.

Baradaran did not respond to a request for comment about those remarks, including whether her view on crypto is the same as the one she shared nearly two years ago.

The Fintech Trade Association (FTA), a newly formed industry group, declined to comment specifically on the Baradaran rumors, but did say it will work with the OCC in hopes of finding a balance between consumer protection and innovation.

“With millions underbanked or underserved, we look forward to engaging with OCC leadership to take a proactive approach, and develop a coherent, forward-looking framework that ensures consumer protections, while driving innovations that will ultimately deliver access to safe, inclusive, low-cost, and equitable products and services,” said Milan Dalal, Senior Government Relations Advisor for the FTA.

If Baradaran is indeed picked to lead the OCC, the appointment would not necessarily be bad for crypto. Her first priorities would likely involve expanding access to the financial system, and guarding against systemic racism in banking and lending services—priorities that would likely lead her to focus on traditional banks rather than the crypto sector.

Meanwhile, the OCC’s prominent initiatives during Brooks’ tenure—which some lawmakers criticized as too focused on crypto—included issuing interpretive letters, including one clearing the way for banks to use stablecoins in their operations. Under Brooks, the OCC also granted a first-of-its-kind conditional trust charter to the crypto custody service, Anchorage—effectively blessing it as a federal back. While Baradaran may be unlikely to embrace similar initiatives, the Washington source predicted she would be unlikely to roll back Brooks’ initiatives.

The source also expressed hope that the Biden Administration would select a different dark horse to lead the OCC in the form of California state regulator, Manny Alvarez—a a name also floated as a possible pick in the American Banker piece.

While Politico reported last Monday that the Administration was “close” to naming Baradaran, the precise timeline for an OCC appointment is unclear, meaning it may be weeks before a formal announcement. The OCC role is less high profile than the heads of other agencies, which has typically made it a lower priority for incoming Presidents.


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Wall Street Tightens Crypto Embrace To Meet Rising Demand – eToro Crypto Roundup

Wall Street players are scrambling to meet rising demand by offering institutional clients exposure to cryptoassets.

Goldman Sachs’ president and chief operating officer John Waldron told Reuters last week that “client demand is rising,“ and rival investment bank JPMorgan has already gained approval to offer a “cryptocurrency exposure basket.”

This will give clients access to the booming crypto economy through positions in related companies, including MicroStrategy, Square, Riot Blockchain and chipmaker NVIDIA.

Elsewhere, the chairman and CEO of America’s largest mutual life insurer, New York Life, Ted Mathas, has joined the board at NYDIG (New York Digital Investment Group), which could indicate that we will soon see Bitcoin insurance products.

What’s Next After Bitcoin’s Big Correction

Traders are looking towards Bitcoin’s next move after its big correction on Monday.

Stimulus check recipients are widely expected to plough their funds into the stock market. Yet we could also see stimulus funds move into crypto.

When the first $1,200 checks were rolled out last April, big exchanges reported dramatic rises in the number of $1,200 transactions.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, US central bank officials are expected to meet to clarify their latest thinking on monetary policy. This could set the tone for Bitcoin trading for the rest of the week.

This post originally appeared on the eToro blog.

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Altcoins spike to new highs while Bitcoin bulls aim to recapture $57K

Bitcoin (BTC) price continues to recover from its sub-$55,000 correction and at the time of writing, traders are attempting to recapture the $57,000 level as a support. 

Data from Cointelegraph Markets and TradingView shows that a wave of early morning selling pushed Bitcoin price to a daily low of $53,167 and while dip buyers did manage to step in, the lack of purchasing volume is keeping BTC pinned in what appears to be a tightening range.

BTC/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

While Bitcoin price could continue to meet overhead resistance in the $56,000 to $58,000 range, a strong bullish case still exists as a potential $6.1 billion worth of Bitcoin options are set to expire on March 26. According to Cointelegraph contributor Marcel Pechman, derivatives data indicates that the upcoming expiry is more advantageous for the bulls as long as BTC remains above $52,000.

Ether (ETH) has also traded in a consolidation pattern since setting a new all-time high at $1,950 on March 13 and professional traders view the $1,750 level as strong support following multiple bearish retests over the past week.

Altcoins press ahead while Bitcoin price recovers

Several altcoins saw their prices breakout on Tuesday as partnership announcements and exchange listings have proven to be effective price movers.

The biggest announcement of the day came from Coinbase Pro, which revealed that it has begun accepting inbound transfers of Cardano (ADA) and will support trading services “on or after 9 AM PT on Thursday, March 18, if liquidity conditions are met.”

Terra (LUNA) has also put on another double-digit gain overnight, spiking more than 40% from a low of $14.60 on March 15 to a new all-time high of $20.60 on $1.4 billion in trading volume.

LUNA/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

Basic Attention Token (BAT) has also seen its price surge to a new record high at $1.18 as the blockchain-based web browser continues to reap the benefits of multiple announcements, including the acquisition of a search engine provider and plans to integrate NFT functionality and a DEX aggregator.

Traditional markets take a tumble as Treasuries rise

The global financial markets fell under pressure on Tuesday as weaker than expected retail sales and a rising 10-year Treasury yield, which closed the day up 0.87% at 1.621.

Following record highs set on March 16, the S&P 500 and Dow faced dropped throughout the day and closed down 0.16% and 0.39% respectively. The NASDAQ was able to start a late-day rally that helped its price close up 0.09%.

Analysts predict accelerated growth in the crypto market

Daily cryptocurrency market performance. Source: Coin360

Despite the drawdown in both Bitcoin and Ether price, the overall outlook for the cryptocurrency market is bullish as signs of steady mainstream adoption emerge on a daily basis.

Data shows that long-term cryptocurrency holders have been accumulating BTC in recent months, while short-term traders are confident that high leverage speculative trading will pay off. The steady increase in BTC accumulation suggests that the current bull market has ample room to run higher.

The overall cryptocurrency market cap now stands at $1.723 trillion and Bitcoin’s dominance rate is 60.8%.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.