Jacobi Asset Management Introduces Europe’s First Premier Bitcoin ETF with a Green Initiative

Jacobi Asset Management has unveiled Europe’s inaugural spot Bitcoin ETF on Euronext Amsterdam. This ETF, named the Jacobi FT Wilshire Bitcoin ETF and trading under the ticker BCOIN, stands out as the first digital asset fund in compliance with SFDR Article 8, thanks to its decarbonisation strategy.

The ETF’s unique approach involves a verifiable Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) solution, a collaboration with digital asset platform Zumo. This solution transparently and quantifiably addresses the electricity consumption associated with Bitcoin investments, setting it apart from traditional carbon offsetting methods. The initiative ensures that institutional investors can tap into Bitcoin’s advantages while adhering to their ESG objectives.

Regulated by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission (GFSC), the ETF has garnered support from notable entities. Fidelity Digital AssetsSM is the custodian, Flow Traders act as market makers, and both Jane Street and DRW function as Authorised Participants. Furthermore, the ETF’s benchmark, the FT Wilshire Bitcoin Blended Price Index, is supplied by Wilshire Indexes.

Martin Bednall, CEO of Jacobi Asset Management, remarked on the development, stating, “Europe’s progressive stance on Bitcoin investment for institutional investors is commendable. Our ETF, distinct from European debt instruments, holds the underlying asset directly. We’re honoured to collaborate with top-tier partners in this digital asset market evolution, simultaneously introducing an eco-friendly solution for European investors.”

Wilshire Indexes’ CEO, Mark Makepeace, echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the ETF’s role as a pivotal moment for both the digital asset and global financial sectors. He expressed enthusiasm about the collaboration with Jacobi and Wilshire Indexes’ commitment to fostering the growth of the digital asset ecosystem.

The Jacobi FT Wilshire Bitcoin ETF presents an environmentally-aligned digital asset alternative. It allows potential ETF investors to contemplate Bitcoin as part of their portfolio and independently verify environmental claims. The ETF’s approach involves calculating the power consumption due to Bitcoin and procuring equivalent RECs, ensuring transparent blockchain-recorded proof of these certificates.

Kirsteen Harrison, Zumo’s Environmental Manager, highlighted the urgency of crypto decarbonisation. She shared, “The collaboration with Jacobi Asset Management has been instrumental in crafting an ESG-aligned, future-ready crypto solution. Witnessing its realization as Europe’s first Bitcoin ETF is a monumental industry achievement.”

Emanuel van Praag, a lawyer at Kennedy Van der Laan, also expressed pride in offering legal advice to Jacobi AM during the ETF’s listing process.

This development underscores the evolving landscape of digital asset investment, blending technological advancement with environmental responsibility.

Image source: Shutterstock


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European Crypto Startups See Record VC Investment in 2022

The year 2022 was a tumultuous one for the cryptocurrency industry, with an ongoing bear market and the high-profile collapses of some of its most prominent players, such as Terra and FTX. However, despite these setbacks, venture capital (VC) investors remained steadfast in their support for crypto startups, with a new study released by European investment firm RockawayX revealing that VC investment in European crypto startups reached an all-time high of $5.7 billion in 2022.

This marks a significant increase from the previous year’s investment of $2.2 billion, indicating a strong appetite for innovation and growth in the European crypto space. Notably, decentralized finance startups saw a 120% increase in investments, reaching a total of $1.2 billion in 2022.

Viktor Fischer, the CEO of RockawayX, emphasized that the crypto market is cyclical and that startup funding activity can hold steady even during a market downturn. He pointed to the 2018 winter, when “the total digital asset market cap fell by 80%, but startup funding activity held steady.” Investments made during such periods can lead to tech and usage traction alongside “bull market” price recoveries.

Europe is home to the highest number of crypto startups globally, with 3,977 startups based in the region, according to headquarters location. However, it lags behind the United States in the number of unicorns and startups with over $1 million in funding.

Top global investors in European startups include Animoca Brands, Coinbase, Blockchain Capital, and the Digital Currency Group. In Europe, investment in startups that provide financial services made up more than half (52%) of all investments, with infrastructure and Web3 making up 32% and 16%, respectively.

Compared to 2021, investment in financial service-based startups declined by 19%, while investment in infrastructure grew by 24%. This shift in investment focus reflects a growing interest in the underlying technology and infrastructure of the crypto industry.

Europe’s rising prominence as a crypto-friendly region comes as lawmakers in the European Union (EU) finalize the Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) regulations. These regulations have been delayed twice due to translation issues, as laws passed in the EU must be translated into all 24 official languages of the member states.

If passed, MiCA will provide a regulatory framework for crypto-assets, including stablecoins, and establish requirements for issuers and service providers. The final vote on the regulations is set for April 2023, and their adoption is expected to provide greater clarity and stability for the European crypto industry.

In conclusion, despite the challenges faced by the crypto industry in 2022, European crypto startups continued to attract significant VC investment. As the industry continues to evolve and mature, investment focus is shifting towards infrastructure and Web3, reflecting a growing interest in the underlying technology of the crypto ecosystem. 


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Coinbase warns of losing crypto industry leadership

Coinbase, a prominent U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange, has been issued a Wells notice by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over possible securities law violations regarding some of its asset listings, staking services, and Coinbase Wallet. The notice came on March 22, and Coinbase is expected to face legal enforcement action soon. As a result, Coinbase has warned that the U.S. government’s hawkish approach to crypto regulation has created an uncertain and unstable environment for the crypto industry, leading other countries to fill the vacuum.

Daniel Seifert, Coinbase’s vice president and regional managing director in Europe, highlighted the regulatory approach of the U.S. in his March 23 blog post titled, “Europe is winning. Will the US catch up?” According to Seifert, the U.S. has regulated crypto by enforcement, despite industry-wide calls for “comprehensive crypto regulation,” which has resulted in uncertainty and instability in the crypto industry. Seifert also argued that France, the U.K., and the European Union are now building friendlier ecosystems for crypto regulation, causing the U.S. to lose its status as the leading hub of the crypto sector.

Seifert emphasized the significance of Paris Blockchain Week, which was hosted at the Louvre this month, and the European Union’s Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) regulation, expected to come into effect in 2024. MiCA aims to establish a harmonized set of rules for crypto-assets and related activities and services, offering clear rules and guidelines for the European cryptocurrency ecosystem. The MiCA legislation has been in development for two years and is expected to be a positive move for the sector.

Seifert also highlighted the U.K.’s recent push to become a crypto hub, as well as Hong Kong’s efforts to become a digital asset hub, the National Australia Bank’s work with non-U.S. dollar-pegged stablecoins, and the Canadian Securities Administration’s imposition of “enhanced investor protection commitments” on domestic crypto exchanges. Seifert and the Crypto Council for Innovation emphasized that crypto is global, and nobody is waiting for the U.S. to lead the charge.

Seifert’s blog post and the Crypto Council for Innovation’s Twitter thread have brought attention to the need for a comprehensive regulatory framework that will provide clarity and stability for businesses operating in the space. The U.S. government’s regulatory approach may cause it to lose its position as the leading hub of the crypto sector, with other countries offering friendlier crypto regulation ecosystems, such as France, the U.K., and the European Union. The crypto industry is global, and other countries are eager to fill the regulatory vacuum left by the U.S.


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Binance Launches In-Store Crypto Payment Solution with Ingenico

Adoption of cryptocurrencies and services based on cryptocurrencies is continuing to gain traction, with an increasing number of businesses bridging the gap between conventional financial (TradFi) solutions and decentralized financial (DeFi) solutions.

Binance, a cryptocurrency exchange, and Ingenico, a provider of credit card processing services, jointly announced on February 22 the start of a new pilot program that enables in-store cryptocurrency payments to be made using Binance Pay. At present time, the beta version of this service is only accessible via the Ingenico Axium payment terminals that are located in France.

The statement states that the application is compatible with more than fifty different cryptocurrencies. In the beginning, payments to merchants will be made using a cryptocurrency. However, in the second quarter of 2023, a crypto-to-fiat solution that will enable businesses to accept payments in fiat currency is scheduled to pilot.

Le Carlie and Miss Opéra, two merchants operating in the hotel and retail industries respectively, are coming online as part of the France trial.

The following nations on the agenda for service expansion are going to be more European countries where Binance is a licensed cryptocurrency operator. Binance has been granted authorization to do business in the countries of France, Italy, Lithuania, Spain, Cyprus, Poland, and Sweden.

To begin using cryptocurrencies, in-store devices will often need some type of integration before they can be used. On the other hand, the new solution claims that it is a “all-in-one” gadget, which simplifies the onboarding process for both retailers and customers.

Binance Pay and Binance Card’s Head Jonathan Lim referred to the all-in-one gadget as a “new method to approach the market” and said that it would “accelerate access to customers.”

Binance has been working on a variety of global payment options over the course of the last year. It just just formed a partnership with Mastercard to provide a prepaid crypto card in Brazil, after a successful launch of the product in Argentina in August of 2022.

There have also been efforts made by other businesses to bridge the gap between the Web2 and Web3 payment systems. The announcement of the cooperation between Bit2Me and Mastercard to introduce a debit card that delivers bitcoin rewards was made on February 10th.


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Bitzlato crypto firm taken down

As part of the enforcement measures taken against the cryptocurrency company Bitzlato, the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation, often known as Europol, has stated that authorities have taken custody of bitcoin wallets holding more than $19 million worth of cryptocurrencies.

Europol said on January 23 that around 46% of the assets that were transferred via Bitzlato were connected to illegal activity. At the time of publishing, this equated to 1 billion euros, which is equivalent to $1.09 billion USD.

According to the findings of the investigation conducted by the government agency, Bitzlato was in possession of more than 2.1 billion euro worth of cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin (BTC), Dash (DASH), and Dogecoin (DOGE), the majority of which were changed into Russian rubles.

According to Europol, despite the fact that converting crypto assets into fiat currency is not against the law, investigations into the cybercriminal operators suggested that huge amounts of illicit assets were passing via the site. “The bulk of suspect transactions are tied to companies that have been sanctioned by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). Other questionable transactions are linked to cyber scams, money laundering, malware, and content that depicts child abuse.”

The United States authorities reported on January 18 that they had detained Anatoly Legkodymov, the creator of Bitzlato, in the state of Florida as part of their efforts by a cryptocurrency-focused enforcement team.

Europol added that the operation, which involved support from agencies in Belgium, Cyprus, Portugal, Spain, and the Netherlands, resulted in the arrest of four other individuals linked to the cryptocurrency exchange. One of these individuals was arrested in Cyprus, and the other three were arrested in Spain.

In addition to the arrests, Europol claimed that investigators had confiscated wallets worth around 18 million euros, which is equivalent to approximately $19.5 million, and blocked more than 100 accounts at other cryptocurrency exchanges, which controlled a total of 50 million euros.

The servers of Bitzlato were supposedly a “major money laundering concern” that was tied to Russian criminal financing, and the authorities in the United States of America were engaged in the attempts to confiscate them.

Following his arrest on January 18, Legkodymov was allegedly brought before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida to have his arraignment.

There is a lack of clarity on the potential charges, if any, that his partners at Bitzlato may face in Europe.


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Bitpanda is Germany’s first “European retail” crypto platform.

The news that Bitpanda has secured a cryptocurrency custody license from the German financial organization known as BaFin was published in a post on the company’s official blog, where the announcement was made.

Following the acquisition of this license, the cryptocurrency exchange that maintains its headquarters in Austria is now legally authorized to market its services to individuals who are located in Germany.

In addition to this, Bitpanda said that they were the first retail bitcoin exchange to be founded in Europe to achieve this particular distinction.

As a direct consequence of the collapse of the FTX cryptocurrency exchange, people are paying more attention to cryptocurrency exchanges that do not have any rules and operate outside of a country’s jurisdiction.

Because of this, a significant number of exchangers are working toward obtaining licenses in various nations so that they can provide evidence that they are a trustworthy business.

Bitpanda is now legally regulated in the country of Sweden, joining the ranks of other countries like as Austria, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Czech Republic, and Spain. The number of nations in which Bitpanda is legally regulated has increased with the acquisition of this new license.

In the bitcoin sector, there were already four other businesses that have the license before Coinbase, Kapilendo, Tangany, and Upvest were able to secure it for themselves.

Bitpanda claims that it is the first “European” retail bitcoin platform to acquire the license since its headquarters are located in Austria. This is because Austria is considered to be part of Europe.

Since the collapse of FTX, the subject of how to give licenses to and otherwise govern cryptocurrency exchanges has been at the forefront of public conversation. Specifically, the question is whether or not cryptocurrency exchanges should be licensed at all.

According to Jon Cunliffe, who is the deputy governor of the Bank of England, the BoE plans to set up a “regulatory sandbox” in order to establish how to successfully supervise exchanges in order to discover how to properly oversee exchanges. In addition, the Senate of the United States has started conducting hearings to study efficient methods to regulate cryptocurrency exchanges. These hearings are being held as part of an ongoing investigation.


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Seoul Prosecutors Reveal Terra’s Do Kwon is Hiding in Europe

The exact location of Do Kwon, the founder, and CEO of the failed stablecoin company Terraform Labs, currently remains a mystery. However, South Korean prosecutors have identified that the wanted crypto fugitive may be in Europe, according to Bloomberg’s report on Friday.

The prosecutor’s office said Do Kwon is currently residing in Europe as his location has been partially discovered. The law enforcement agents said Kwon recently moved to a third country located in Europe—via Dubai.

After the mess regarding the infamous TerraUSD’s collapse, Kwon fled South Korea and moved to Singapore in September. On September 17, South Korean prosecutors unearthed more details about Kwon’s movement, saying that the crypto developer had left Singapore and flown to Dubai likely as a stopover to destinations unknown. Now they are more certain that Kwon’s current residence is in Europe, as law enforcement continues digging for his precise location.

Besides efforts to trace Kwon’s location, the South Korean prosecutor’s office on Friday said they have obtained evidence indicating that Kwon had once ordered an employee to manipulate the price of Luna Classic (LUNC).

Price Manipulation Evidence

The prosecution office said they have obtained a “conversation history” in which “CEO Kwon specifically ordered price manipulation.”

During the last bull market, the price action of Terra’s LUNC, formerly Terra (LUNA), was undoubtedly one of the cryptocurrencies with the best performance.

According to data from crypto price and information data platform CoinGecko, LUNA surged in value by over 2,800% from $4.18 in late May 2021 to its all-time high of $119.18 on April 5 2022, before its dramatic collapse on April 30.

In early September, the Seoul Southern District Prosecutors’ Office issued an arrest warrant for Kwon and five others on charges of violating the country’s financial laws. The prosecutors issued various charges against Kwon and others including fraud and tax evasion. Kwon was believed to be in Singapore at that time as police said he was no longer in South Korea.

Later that month, Interpol issued a “red notice” for the search and arrest of Kwon. The move came after South Korean authorities had requested assistance from the global police agency to trace Kwon’s whereabouts earlier that month.

Kwon and his firm faced investigations by South Korea’s government after the value of his cryptocurrencies, Luna and TerraUSD, plummeted and contributed to a $300 billion crash across the crypto economy in May. The plunge caused massive losses among investors and led to calls for an inquiry into Kwon and his firm after allegations of fraud and tax evasion.

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Italian Government to Provide €45m in Grants for Blockchain Industry

Italy’s Ministry of Economic Development is planning to provide up to $46 million in subsidies for developing projects across artificial intelligence, blockchain and Internet of Things technologies, starting in mid-to-late September.

The new policy is expected to strengthen research and innovation capabilities for industries. Minister of Economic Development Giancarlo Giorgetti said “the challenge of competitiveness requires constant innovation.”

The current initial budget is 45 million euros ($46 million). Italian government said that both companies and public or private research centers can jointly apply for relevant subsidies as long as relevant conditions are met.

According to the decree, companies involved in industry and manufacturing, education, agriculture, health, environment and infrastructure, cultural tourism, logistics, information security, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence or blockchain in aerospace are eligible to apply for the subsidy.

They will receive relevant grants of not less than 500,000 euros and not more than 2 million euros.

The European Central Bank issued a warning to national authorities in the euro area about individuals dealing with the crypto ecosystem. A trilogy of European Commission, Parliament, and Council has agreed on a comprehensive cryptocurrency framework, the Market for Crypto Assets (MiCA),

Italy, as a member of the EU, will also establish a unified EU-wide regime for crypto-asset issuers and service providers, providing investors with security and support sustainability, reducing fragmentation and Increasing legal transparency.

Britain’s apex bank, the Bank of England, through the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), is looking to raise as much as 321 million pounds ($419 million) from the commercial institutions it is regulating as it is planning to shore up its regulatory efforts in the digital currency ecosystem.

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Britain Eyes Becoming a Crypto Hub, Upgrading the Market by Adopting DLT

In pursuit of becoming a global crypto hub, the United Kingdom seeks to revamp the traditional financial market using distributed ledger technology (DLT), according to the finance ministry, as reported by Reuters. 

By live testing crypto blockchain technology in activities like settlement and trading of bonds and stocks, the UK intends to make the financial market more efficient and innovative for users. 

Per the report:

“In financial markets, the trading of stocks, bonds, and other assets traditionally involves three distinct activities of trading, clearing, and settlement. Using DLT could change this and allow financial assets such as bonds or stocks to be issued in hours rather than days or weeks.”

DLT projects will be tested using a financial market infrastructure dubbed “sandbox” from next year, according to the ministry’s director-general for financial services, Gwyneth Nurse. “A sandbox will allow testing new regulatory best practices and making permanent changes to ensure market users benefit,” Nurse added.

Nurse also pointed out that the Bank of England and the finance ministry were delving deeper into the digital pound as a public consultation was expected later this year. 

The sandbox is expected to be rolled out simultaneously with the stablecoin regulation.

It seems a race against time for global governments to put up guardrails in the stablecoin arena following the shocking collapse of the algorithmic TerraUSD (UST) stablecoin, which triggered the loss of approximately $60 billion.

Meanwhile, In Asia, Japan recently passed a law stipulating that stablecoins would only be issued by licensed banks, trust companies, and registered money transfer agents to protect investors. 

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Russia’s Central Bank Makes U Turn about Crypto Usage in International Payments

As a change of tune, Russia’s central bank is relieving its previous tough stance about cryptocurrencies by allowing their usage in international payments, as reported by Reuters.

The First Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Russia (CBR), Ksenia Yudaeva, noted:

“In principle, we do not object to the use of cryptocurrency in international transactions.”

Despite Yudaeva reiterating that the central bank still saw the wider usage of crypto in the nation as a financial threat, the latest revelation shows restrictions are being eased. 

He pointed out:

“We still believe that the active use of cryptocurrency within the country, especially within Russia’s financial infrastructure, creates great risks for citizens and users. We believe that in our country, those risks could be reasonably large.”

This announcement comes days after the nation’s finance ministry hinted that permitting cryptocurrency in international payments would assist the nation in countering Western sanctions based on its invasion of Ukraine. 

“The idea of using digital currencies in transactions for international settlements is being actively discussed,” Ivan Chebeskov, the head of the finance ministry’s financial policy department said.

The nation’s central bank had previously indicated that crypto transactions were unwelcome on Russian soil because it deemed them criminal. 

Earlier this year, the CBR went on the offensive by calling for a blanket ban on crypto-related activities, despite objections from various entities like the finance ministry. The ministry had argued that the blanket ban would violate the interest of citizens and consumers of crypto services. 

Therefore, the back and forth witnessed suggests that Russian officials are delving deeper into how to regulate the nation’s crypto market and digital currency usage. 

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