4 big firms making crypto moves

4 big firms making crypto moves

Google, Mastercard, BlackRock, and BNY Mellon are among the institutional players making crypto moves during the downturn. [Image via Pawel Czerwinski]

There’s never a dull moment on the blockchain. Here’s what you need to know this week:

Google partnered with Coinbase to expand into crypto and web3 services. Mastercard, BlackRock, and BNY Mellon have also doubled down on crypto.

Cryptoverse quotes. Terra’s Do Kwon offered new insights on the downfall of his algorithmic stablecoin, and key sound bites from the week.

Noteworthy numbers. The price of a house sold on an NFT marketplace, the amount of money lost to hacks in October, and other numbers to know.

WHALE WATCH

From Google to BNY Mellon, iconic firms double down on crypto, defying the bear market cycle

If you recall the halcyon days of crypto’s historic 2021 bull run, you’ll remember that one of the market’s biggest catalysts was institutional investment — famous Wall Street firms like Guggeheim Partners and publicly traded companies like Tesla and MicroStrategy all added BTC to their balance sheets, pushing prices higher. And even though we’re currently five months into a potentially lengthy crypto winter, the pace of adoption is anything but frozen, laying the foundation for the next bull run. From Blackrock and Mastercard to tech giant Google, let's take a look at some of the big names leading the charge right now.

Investing behemoths BlackRock and BNY Mellon, which boast a combined $10 trillion in managed assets, have both expanded their crypto offerings.

  • BNY Mellon, the world’s largest financial custodian and America’s oldest bank, added BTC and ETH to its custodial capabilities, which include managing clients’ private keys and providing “the same bookkeeping services on those digital currencies that it offers to fund managers for … stocks, bonds, commodities, and other assets,” per The Wall Street Journal.

  • In the firm’s Q3 earnings call, BNY CEO Robin Vince noted that 75% of clients are either investing, or actively considering investing, in digital assets: “What we've heard from our clients is they want institutional grade solutions in the space.”

  • BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, recently introduced a metaverse ETF that includes companies investing in and building the emerging, but beleaguered, virtual industry. This follows August initiatives that included a partnership with Coinbase and the launch of  a “spot bitcoin private trust,” which lets institutional clients indirectly invest in BTC’s performance (not to be confused with a spot BTC ETF, which the SEC has yet to approve in the U.S.)

Mastercard is launching a program to help financial institutions offer crypto trading.

  • On Monday, the payments giant announced Crypto Source, a pilot program that will give banks access to “buy, hold, and sell services for select crypto assets, augmented with … advisory services.”

  • Per a CNBC report, Mastercard will act as a “bridge” between crypto trading platform Paxos and banks, offering regulatory compliance and security services. 

  • Mastercard has been steadily adding crypto capabilities since 2021 with efforts including a startup accelerator and credit card integrations with web3 platforms including Coinbase NFT.

Google announced a partnership with Coinbase, which includes several new crypto initiatives and investments. 

  • Google Cloud customers will be able to pay for cloud services with select cryptocurrencies including BTC and ETH. These crypto payments will initially roll out to those “in the web3 ecosystem.” Web3 developers will also have access to Google Cloud’s blockchain data, enabling things like business intelligence analysis without expensive tech infrastructure.

  • Google will begin using Coinbase Prime for institutional crypto services including asset custodianship and reporting. 

  • One Oppenheimer analyst called the partnership “validation” for the crypto industry.

Why it matters…The term “institutional investors” likely evokes Wall Street skyscrapers or Silicon Valley VC funds, but finance giants and their tech counterparts aren’t the only institutions betting big on the crypto-powered economy of the future. Speaking at this week’s Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit, Walmart’s chief technology officer, Suresh Kumar, detailed digital asset plans for the world’s largest retailer. “Crypto will become an important part of how customers transact, “ said Kumar. “I think a lot of the disruption is going to start happening in terms of different payment methods.”

TAKES

Terra’s Do Kwon gives an in-depth interview, and other key sound bites from the cryptoverse

Kwon on Kwon… In an interview this week with crypto journalist Laura Shin, Do Kwon, the now-infamous founder of the failed Terra Luna ecosystem, offered his thoughts about the collapse of his algorithmic stablecoin and the charges that South Korean prosecutors have levied against him. “The scale of the financial and emotional and economic damage that happened here is not easy to live with … I am sorry,” Kwon said. Regarding his South Korean arrest warrant, Kwon was cagey about his whereabouts, calling charges against him “politically motivated.”

Virtual reality check… Joe Lubin, a founder of Ethereum and CEO of blockchain company ConsenSys, recently said that accessing today’s metaverse is “a little bit like logging on to the internet in 1994,” and noted that the version many are working toward is still years away. Metaverse users would likely say the same – Meta’s big bet on metaverse experiences has been a source of frustration among employees. 

Royal pain… This week, popular Solana NFT marketplace Magic Eden announced that they’ll no longer enforce creator royalties on NFT sales. The move — which comes as Magic Eden loses market share to other Solana platforms that don’t require creator royalties — is an about-face from Magic Eden’s previous policy. Many creators were angered by Magic Eden’s move. Betty, who is the pseudonymous founder of Deadfellaz, a popular NFT collection, said the decision will “disempower smaller creators from self-starting without the massive advantages those who are funded and well connected already have.”

NUMBERS TO KNOW

$718 million

The estimated amount of crypto that has been lost to security-related crimes so far in October, according to Chainalysis, marking the worst month ever for hacks. Kimberly Grauer, director of research at the company, said that “bridges,” which allow users to move funds from one blockchain to another, are one of the biggest security challenges facing the industry. (Now is a great time to brush up on security tips.)

$165 million 

The amount that Uniswap Labs raised in its Series B funding round, valuing the DeFi company at $1.7 billion. The company said that it was one of the largest funding rounds raised by a crypto firm since the market downturn this year.

$175,000

The amount, in USDC, that a three-bedroom home in South Carolina was sold for on Roofstock onChain, an NFT marketplace by the real estate company Roofstock. The buyer said that he was able to purchase the home easily, and Geoff Thompson, the company’s chief blockchain officer, called it a “major milestone” in simplifying the home buying process.

66.7 ETH

The amount that web3 artist Diana Sinclair netted in sales from the inaugural Christies 3.0 auction, the first-ever on-chain sales for the storied art auction house. Sinclair’s collection featured nine pieces including photos, videos, and physical artworks. The most expensive piece sold for 21 ETH, or approximately $28,000.

7 minutes

The time it took for British actor Anthony Hopkins’ NFT collection to sell out on OpenSea. The collection, which features 1,000 pieces, was the 84-year-old Oscar winner’s latest foray into web3 – he minted his ENS domain (AHopkins.eth) back in May.

TOKEN TRIVIA

What is a dollar cost averaging?

A

A gradual investment strategy that does not rely on “timing the market”

B

A method to automate crypto purchases on Coinbase

C

A way to invest any amount of money at regular intervals of tim

D

All of the above

Find the answer below.

Trivia Answer

D

All of the above