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Insurance giant, MassMutual buys $100 million worth of Bitcoin

Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. bought about $100 million in Bitcoin for its investment purposes.

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A household name in the world’s insurance business, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co., has of late gone into the crypto-verse.

  • Just recently, it bought about $100 million in Bitcoin for investment purposes.
  • Also, in a report credited to WSJ, the insurance giant acquired a $5 million minority equity stake in NYDIG, a subsidiary of Stone Ridge, that offers crypto services to institutional investors.
  • NYDIG presently has about $2.3 billion in crypto assets under management, which would also help in facilitating custody services for MassMutual’s Bitcoins.
  • The investment in Bitcoin will represent 0.04% of the general investment account of nearly $235 billion as of September 30, MassMutual said.

“We see this initial investment as a first step, and like any investment, may explore future opportunities,”Spokeswoman, Chelsea Haraty, said in an email.

What this means

Although, the recent crypto investments made by the insurance giant is regarded as little when compared to its total investment holdings, such a move adds MassMutual to the list of elite financial firms buying bitcoins.

What you should know

  • MassMutual has been in the business of insuring as far back as the 18th century. It is also known as the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company.
  • MassMutual founded in 1851, serves over 5 million customers.
  • With its headquarters in Massachusetts, the company provides financial products such as life insurance, long term care insurance, disability income insurance, retirement/401(k) plan services, and annuities.
  • Bitcoin peaked in late November at $19,835, hitting its 2017 high, and currently trades slightly below $18k with a return of more than 150% YTD.
  • At the time of writing this report, Bitcoin was trading at around $17,980 with a daily trading volume of $28 Billion. It has been down 2.32% in the last 24 hours. It now has a market capitalization of $334 Billion, with a circulating supply of 18,567,806 BTC coins and a maximum supply of 21,000,000 BTC coins.
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CRYPTOCURRENCY

Square to build Bitcoin hardware wallet

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Last month, Square CEO, Jack Dorsey hinted in a tweet that the company was considering creating a non-custodial hardware wallet for Bitcoin. Yesterday, he confirmed the rumours by tweeting “We’re doing it,” in a reply to Jesse Dorogusker, Square Inc.’s hardware Lead, who was announcing that the company had decided to build a hardware wallet.

Square, Inc. is an American fintech financial services and digital payments company based in San Francisco, California. The company was founded by Jack Dorsey who is also the CEO of Twitter.

Jesse Dorogusker also tweeted that the company has started assembling a team to handle the project, emphasizing the product is very much in the drawing-board stage. Nevertheless, he said Square will seek to bring a mobile-friendly, “assisted-self-custody” wallet to a global audience.

“We have decided to build a hardware wallet and service to make Bitcoin custody more mainstream. We will continue to ask and answer questions in the open. This community’s response to our thread about this project has been awesome, encouraging, generous, collaborative and inspiring,” he stated.

Square’s status as a mainstream fintech would likely inject new attention into Bitcoin custody. It has much wider name recognition than even the best-known hardware builders in the cryptocurrency industry. It has also carved out a niche in making Bitcoin accessible through its flagship product, Cash App.

What this means

With the increase in cryptocurrency-related thefts and scams, many companies have emerged to serve a growing need to protect their crypto assets. A hardware wallet provides a unique opportunity to safeguard cryptocurrency assets offline, safe from the clutches of online scammers. Hardware wallets provide a non-custodial service in such a way that you have sole control of your private keys, which in turn control your cryptocurrency and prove the funds are yours.

This innovation will help stem the increase in cryptocurrency-related theft and will help make Bitcoin custody more mainstream.

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CRYPTOCURRENCY

Standard Chartered Bank plans European crypto exchange

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Standard Chartered Bank, United Kingdom’s multinational banking and financial services company, plans to launch a cryptocurrency exchange. To achieve this, the bank has partnered with Hong Kong exchange owner, BC Technology Group, to launch a platform for the U.K. and European institutional market.

The bank has long expressed interest in the cryptocurrency market and this is their way of breaking into the space. The project will be handled by Standard Chartered Ventures, the innovation arm of the bank, but no timeline has been given for the launch.

What they are saying

Alex Manson, Head of SC Ventures, in an interview with Reuters, stated, “We have a strong conviction that digital assets are here to stay and will be adopted by the institutional market as a highly relevant asset class.”

Raphael Polansky, the managing director at Boerse Stuttgart Digital Ventures GmbH, mentioned last week that demand for cryptocurrencies from traditional banks will increase over time but in the short run, they may be more reluctant and sceptical especially now that the market has been getting a lot of backlashes from regulatory authorities in various countries.

He stated, “We foresee a lot of strategic moves in the market where traditional banks will invest in crypto custodians instead of building up their own solutions.”

Standard Chartered is now one of the latest mainstream financial players to show interest in cryptocurrency trading. The bank’s longtime rival, HSBC, publicly announced that it had no interest in entering the cryptocurrency market, even as competitors seek to meet institutional and client demand for cryptocurrency-based investments.

What this means

With more traditional banks getting involved in cryptocurrencies, the notion that cryptocurrencies are speculative assets is being dispelled and the value of the crypto market is becoming clearer to investors, especially and with the global inflation rate which is expected to increase.

Standard Chartered share price is trading £505, currently up 0.52%.

 

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Chinese government set to launch Digital Yuan lottery as part of digital currency trial

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The Chinese government is set to launch another digital Yuan lottery to help its ongoing digital currency trials, happening in the capital of Beijing. The Beijing Local Financial Supervision and Administration announced yesterday that the government will distribute 40 million digital yuan ($6.2 million) to Beijing residents as part of a test run for the new digital currency.

Starting in June, the program will feature red envelopes, a traditional way of gifting money. Each envelope will have a free wallet containing 200 digital yuan ($31). The red envelopes are intended to be distributed to 200,000 lottery winners. Winners must download an application to use their prizes. The digital yuan can be used at nearly 2,000 designated merchants in the city. To register, consumers can use two banking apps: China’s Mobile Banking App and ICBC Mobile Banking app.

According to the announcement, Beijing residents must apply to participate in the lottery before midnight of June 7, and the winners will be able to spend their prizes by June 20. Users will have the ability to top up their wallets if they want to spend some extra money.

This is not the first giveaway the government has carried out. Multiple digital yuan giveaways were done in other cities such as Shenzhen. The lotteries are intended to help the People’s Bank of China test the country’s digital currency after the central bank launched the first digital Yuan trials in April 2020.

China has reportedly given away as much as 150 million digital Yuan ($23.5 million) to promote digital currency use as part of the trials as of late March. In fact, China’s central bank is looking to allow foreign athletes and visitors to use the digital yuan during the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022.

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