Tezos Investors Got a Chance to Sell This Week – And They Took It


After waiting nearly a year to get their tokens, the first thing many Tezos investors did was get rid of them.

At least, that seems to be the case according to available market data, which indicates a wave of selling has taken place since the tech backing the crypto asset was released in beta.

All in all, prices fell 34 percent on Monday to $2.00, according to CoinMarketCap. From a Monday high above $4, the price dropped 74 percent to a Friday low of $1.10, before paring losses to reach roughly $1.76 as of press time.

Notably, the sell-off coincided with the first listing of Tezos tokens on an exchange, meaning investors were quick to take advantage of access to liquidity.

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Coinbase's New Index Fund for Investors Is Now Live


Coinbase has formally launched a new index fund product aimed at large investors.

Announced Wednesday in a blog post by product lead Rueben Bramanathan, the Coinbase Index Fund is now «open for investments» with a minimum required investment of $250,000.

The fund will give investors access to all of the assets currently listed on Coinbase, which at present include bitcoin, bitcoin cash, ethereum, litecoin and now ethereum classic. The assets will be weighted by their market capitalization, according to the post.

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$30 Million Crypto Startup Fund Launched By Mobile Game Maker


A maker of mobile games based in Japan has launched a $30 million investment fund focused on cryptocurrencies and blockchain.

Gumi is a maker and publisher of games, including titles such as Brave Frontier and Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius (on which it served as a collaborator along with Square-Enix and another firm, Alim).

The new fund, according to a report from VentureBeat, is being led by Gumi founder and CEO Hironao Kunimitsu as well as Miko Matsumura, the founder of the Evercoin cryptocurrency exchange. Law firm White & Case LLP advised on the fund's formation, according to a separate announcement.

«We decided to create a fund that enables us to engage more directly with early-stage blockchain and cryptocurrency startups, in order to be more effective partners and have a real impact in the market,» Kunimitsu told the publication in a statement.

And while the fund's debut is new, it's already made some investments in the space. These include stakes in Basis, the company behind one of several «stablecoins,» and – perhaps less surprisingly – Robot Cache, which is looking to build a blockchain-powered competitor to Steam, the gaming distribution platform.

Matsumura told GamesBeat that the fund would invest in both equity and tokens directly.

«We like early stage. We invest in equity or tokens. We like financial services. We like game technologies, and we believe there is a strong connection between gaming and crypto,» he was quoted as saying.

Whether that stronger confluence of gaming and blockchain comes to fruition remains to be seen, but other giants in the gaming ecosystem, including developer Ubisoft and gaming engine Unity, are eyeing the tech for potential applications.

Circle Adds 'Buy the Market' Feature to Crypto Investment App


Payments startup Circle has launched the full version of its crypto investment app.

After a soft launch back in March 2018, the company is making the app with its full suite of services available as of Tuesday. Circle first announced its investor-focused app back in November and later released it in 46 U.S. states as part of an «early access availability» phase.

One of the features going live on Tuesday is the «Buy the Market» tool, which is geared toward newer users, Circle senior product manager Rachel Mayer told CoinDesk.

"'Buy the Market' is the culmination of all we've been doing since the soft launch," she said, going on to explain:

«It's trying to solve the problem of signing up and trying to be a newbie investor and you're not sure how much to put in and where and why. 'Buy the Market' is just a very easy way to invest in the seven supported assets on Circle Invest, you choose the funds you'd like to invest in, and we do the rest. We automatically divide the investment into each specific coin market cap waiting and you can purchase the coin instantly.»
«The focus is the market,» Mayer added.

Circle Invest will mark assets up by 1 percent when users buy or sell a particular cryptocurrency, but will not charge any fixed fees on top. This differs from existing trading platforms, which she said charge both a markup and trading fees.

In recent weeks, Circle has added support for cryptocurrencies such as monero and zcash. Mayer told CoinDesk that Circle was «actively thinking about when to add new coins,» but didn't elaborate on when or which cryptocurrencies would be added to the app.

What Crypto Investors Can Learn from Billionaire George Soros


Recent news that George Soros' $26 billion family office is entering the cryptocurrency market has many investors speculating about the likely impact.

But one of the billionaire's most famous ideas might be even more important to understanding how the market functions, with or without his participation.

For those unfamiliar with this powerful palindrome: In the world of economics and finance, Soros is feared and known as «the man who broke the Bank of England» when he made $1 billion in one day, September 16th, 1992 (known as Black Wednesday). This is one institutional player with the ability to go large and make or break a currency… even a digital one.

Soros has attributed his success in part to his understanding of what he calls reflexivity. In simple terms, this theory states that investors base their decisions not on reality but on their «perception» of reality.

According to reflexivity theory, there are two realities: the objective and subjective. Soros explains that the subjective aspect covers what takes place in the mind and the objective aspect is what takes place in external reality.

Reflexivity connects any two or more aspects of reality, setting up two-way feedback loops between them. In this way, actions resulting from each reality, the objective and the subjective, will affect investors' perceptions, and therefore prices. Soros has cited the global financial crisis of 2008 as an illustration of the theory.

Markets, he reckons, are in a constant state of divergence from reality and far from accurately reflecting all the available knowledge, instead representing almost a distorted view of reality.

«The degree of distortion may vary from time to time,» Soros once wrote, adding:

«Sometimes it's quite insignificant, at other times it is quite pronounced. Every bubble has two components: an underlying trend that prevails in reality and a misconception relating to that trend.»

He goes onto explain that when positive feedback develops between the trend and the misconception, «a boom-bust process is set in motion.» This is tested by negative feedback along the way, and if it is strong enough to survive these tests, both the trend and the misconception will be reinforced.

'Near-religious'

So, how does his theory apply to the crypto market? For starters, we do see these feedback loops.

The more people form a positive view on bitcoin, the more the price will soar, and vice versa. This is what happened late last year: when the price of bitcoin jumped, it attracted more users, which further juiced the price, which brought in more people.

Crypto markets are just as prone to the phenomena of irrational exuberance, bias or opinionated actors as any other market, said Omri Ross, assistant professor at the University of Copenhagen and CEO of Firmo Network, a smart-contract startup.

Further, the community's famous cultishness amplifies these effects, he said.

«The reflexivity of economic actors is confirmed by the proliferation of subcultures and fan groups emerging around various projects,» Ross said. «In the young and volatile crypto markets, near-religious beliefs about price appreciation with references to various intrinsic valuation models can be observed daily.»

Another area where reflexivity applied, for a time, is in the initial coin offering (ICO) sector, where momentum drove up prices, said Shane Brett, co-founder and CEO of GECKO Governance, a regtech startup. But it lasted only so long.

«Recently, however, discussions around compliance, not to mention fraudulent ICOs, have caused some investors to retreat,» Brett said. «Conversely, institutional investors are keen to invest in the market, but in the absence of compliance, are remaining on the sidelines, contradicting this theory.»

Nobody really knows what the long-term effect will be of Soros' entry into the crypto markets, only months after he joined other elites at Davos in calling bitcoin a bubble. Things are about to get more interesting.

But we can learn from his insights about the circular relationship between cause and effect, and the role of cognitive function in a new, developing and volatile market.

Survey: Younger Koreans More Likely to Invest in Crypto


Nearly a quarter of South Koreans in their twenties want to invest in cryptocurrencies, according to a new poll conducted by Bank of Korea.

Yonhap News reported Tuesday that the bank's survey examined cryptocurrency awareness among 2,511 Korean residents, with the age of the respondents ranging from people in their twenties to their seventies.

Notably, the survey found that roughly 30% of people in their twenties and 40% of those in their thirties are familiar with cryptocurrencies, while only 21.6% of the overall group was aware of the tech.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the numbers were not as high among the older generations: only the older generations, 5.7% of people in their sixties and 2.2% of people in their seventies had any knowledge of cryptocurrencies.

Younger survey participants also displayed a greater appetite for investing in cryptocurrencies. Some 24.2% of those in their twenties said they were «eager to invest in cryptocurrencies,» according to Yonhap, compared to 20.1% for those in the thirties age-group.

Yonhap noted that an estimated 2 million people currently own cryptocurrencies in South Korea, or about 4% of the country's roughly 52 million residents, which is perhaps reflective of the fast-growing market for trading there.

And while Korean officials have reportedly raided three different exchanges as part of a larger embezzlement probe — signaling that regulators have no plans to stop policing the space — other firms are entering the market to capitalize on the interest.

The company behind Kakao Talk, the country's most popular messaging app, confirmed this week that it is launching a blockchain-focused subsidiary. At the same, it rejected rumors that it is preparing to launch a cryptocurrency and associated token sale.