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Dow Defies Trade Drama as Booming Jobs Data Spellbinds Wall Street

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By CCN: The Dow and broader U.S. market raced deeper into recovery mode on Thursday after a pair of blue-chip companies reported better than expected quarterly earnings and fewer Americans applied for jobless benefits last week.

Dow Extends Blockbuster Rally; S&P 500, Nasdaq Follow

All of Wall Street’s benchmark indexes reported significant growth on Thursday, mirroring a strong pre-market session for Dow futures. The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 272 points, or 1.1%, to 25,820.11.

Dow Jones Industrial Average price chart

The Dow Jones Industrial Average extends its recovery on Thursday on stronger than expected corporate earnings. | Chart via Yahoo Finance.

Dow blue-chips Walmart Inc. (WMT) and Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) rose sharply after the companies reported better than expected quarterly earnings.

The broad S&P 500 Index of large-cap stocks gained 1.2% to 2,885.90. All 11 primary sectors recorded gains. Financials and materials were the largest percentage gainers on Thursday.

Strong performances in communication services and information technology propelled the Nasdaq Composite Index higher. The tech-driven average rose 1.3% to 7,921.89.

U.S. Labor Market Tightens

jobless claims fell amid a tightening labor market

The U.S. labor market is on firm footing as jobless claims decline in the week ended May 11. | Source: Shutterstock

The U.S. labor market tightened much more than expected last week, further validating the Trump administration’s economic recovery.

Economists at the Labor Department said the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits dropped by 16,000 to a seasonally adjusted 212,000 in the week ended May 11. Analysts were calling for a drop to 220,000.

A strong labor market provides a source of optimism for investors concerned that the global economic slowdown will soon hit American shores. Recessionary headwinds are being kept under control despite ongoing trade tensions with China and signs of a manufacturing downturn at home.

The U.S. housing market has been bogged down in a multi-year slowdown due to rising interest rates and higher home prices. Housing starts and building permits picked up last month, which may offer the struggling market a temporary reprieve.

Starts rose 5.7% in April to a seasonally adjusted 1.235 million units, the Department of Commerce reported Thursday. Building permits, which are a proxy for future construction plans, edged up 0.6% to a 1.296 million-unit pace.

Click here for a real-time Dow Jones Industrial Average price chart.

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Grayscale Widens Net for Ethereum Investors with Trust’s FINRA Approval

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By CCN: Digital asset investment firm Grayscale Investments, which boasts $1.2 billion in AUM, has received regulatory approval for another cryptocurrency product to be traded in the secondary market. FINRA, which is a self-regulatory organization, has given its stamp of approval to the Grayscale Ethereum Trust for the over-the-counter (OTC) markets under the trading symbol ETHE.

While this investment vehicle launched back in 2017 during the last bull run, it was limited to institutional and accredited investors in private transactions requiring a minimum investment of a whopping $25,000. The FINRA approval creates the opportunity for individual investors to now capture the opportunity as well.  Grayscale Managing Director Michael Sonnenshein told Bloomberg:

“The secondary market really opens up the opportunity for any and all investors.”

FINRA Approval Expands the Net for Retail Investor Adoption

Rayhaneh Sharif-Askary, Grayscale’s Head of Sales and Business Development, told CCN:

“We are very excited about receiving FINRA approval for Grayscale Ethereum Trust. As the largest digital currency asset manager, Grayscale continues to bring new opportunities for investors to gain exposure to digital currencies.”

It’s a boon for an industry that is increasingly gaining the right kind of attention from regulators that has the potential to unlock sidelined capital into the space. Not only that, but it’s also a win for Ethereum, the second-biggest cryptocurrency by market cap. It means that retail investors can now gain exposure to ETH in their retirement and brokerage accounts, as Bloomberg points out. It’s a sign that cryptocurrencies are increasingly making their way into the mainstream even if it’s happening at a snail’s pace.

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ETHE Gets Its Value from the Ethereum Price

The value of the Grayscale Ethereum Trust is based on the Ethereum price, the latter of which has seen its value expand by some 80% year-to-date. It will give investors the opportunity to capture some of the gains that ETH has been achieving in 2019 “without the challenges of buying, storing, and safekeeping Ethereum,” according to the announcement, which goes on to state:

“As of April 30, 2019, each Share of ETHE represents ownership of 0.09662399 Ethereum. “

Ethereum price chart

Ethereum’s value has expanded by more than 75% year-to-date. | Source: CoinMarketCap

In addition to the Ethereum trust, Grayscale’s bitcoin and Ethereum Classic trust products are also open to institutional and retail investors. Investors can expect to begin buying and selling ETHE via their “investment accounts in the same manner as they would other unregistered OTC securities” in approximately two weeks.

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Robinhood Zero-Fee Trading App Officially Launches in New York

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American stock brokerage Robinhood Crypto has officially launched its zero-fee crypto trading app in New York, the company announced in a blog post on May 23.

Following the acquisition of a BitLicense by the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) in January 2019, Robinhood now allows New York citizens to trade in seven major cryptos with no commission fee using its Robinhood Crypto platform.

From now, the Robinhood Crypto service is available in 39 states in the United States, including California, Washington and Florida, among others.

The Robinhood trading app allows for the trading of bitcoin (BTC), ethereum (ETH), bitcoin cash (BCH), litecoin (LTC), bitcoin SV (BSV), ethereum classic (ETC) and dogecoin (DOGE). Robinhood users can also track price alterations and updates for those cryptos and 10 additional coins, the blog post notes.

Earlier in April, Robinhood applied for a bank charter with regulators in the U.S. in order to offer traditional banking products and services.

Previously, the DFS granted a BitLicense to a institutional-grade crypto trading platform Tagomi Trading, enabling the company to offer trade routing and order execution services for non-security cryptos including bitcoin, ethereum, litecoin and bitcoin cash.

Recently, on April 18, Bloomberg reported that the ICE was considering acquiring a New York BitLicense to launch bitcoin futures, citing anonymous sources familiar with the matter.

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Here’s Why Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin is undervalued at Spot Rates

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Heres-Why-Bitcoin-Ethereum-and-Litecoin-is-undervalued-at-Spot-Rates

Heres-Why-Bitcoin-Ethereum-and-Litecoin-is-undervalued-at-Spot-Rates

Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin are still incredibly undervalued as present valuations stand. This is on account of the potential of these coins and planned upgrades to make them better according to a crypto trader and enthusiast.

Yes, Bitcoin may have rallied back to possible bull territory. However, it is still fair to say that the coin sits below its true and projected position as a currency and security. Bitcoin came about as an alternative currency with decentralization as a catch for investors and enthusiasts alike.

Bitcoin is resilient and has shrugged off legitimacy questions from naysayers time and time again. The price volatility is just a consequence of intense speculation and uncertainty common with new inventions. Nonetheless, Bitcoin’s transcendent ability to transform the financial world remains effectively eliminating borders and regulatory overreach.

Bitcoin as Digital Gold

Bitcoin is a finite currency. Notably, every fiat currency will return to its inherent value of zero at times of hyperinflation. This is clear from the Venezuelan Bolivar which is worth less than its printing paper at the moment. In this light Bitcoin can become an alternative to collapsed currencies especially in failed states.

It’s become a trusted alternative when fiat money’s value is corrupted by politics”

-John McGinnis and Kyle Roche of Wall Street Journal.

The limited availability means Bitcoin can efficiently store value at times of financial crises. This is eerily similar to gold which is also a great commodity to store value that rises in value in hard times for fiat. This has led to some proponents calling Bitcoin digital Gold and rightfully so. As such, the value of $8,000 is momentary as the developed world economy is still doing well.

Ethereum And Litecoin As Alternatives

Ethereum is a great alternative for Bitcoin. That said, the price of $270 is still on the low because of the incredible potential given the possibilities of Smart contracts. More significant is the upcoming Serenity or Ethereum 2.0 upgrade. This upgrade will significantly improve the coin by incorporating technical improvements that improve scalability and performance. At the premier Ethereum Supermeetup, hosted at Token2049, Vitalik Buterin explained the update as follows;

“(It is) a way to bring technical improvements, like PoS and sharding, together to improve the Virtual Machine, Merkle Trees, the efficiency of the protocol, and a whole bunch of small technical things that you have never heard of.”

Ethereum is in this regard still on the downside price-wise. The upgrades are necessary and timely to keep the protocol efficient.

Litecoin, on the other hand, is essentially a better version of Bitcoin. This is because the coin, while having essentially the same possibilities as Bitcoin, is more adaptable to change such as the introduction of smart contracts.

Charlie Lee, a former Google employee, who founded Litecoin, has also given financial support to the Lightning Network.  There are also possibilities of incorporating Mimble Wimble that will inherently scale the network while introducing better security and privacy for the end user. When we add the halving mix in the equation, investors and traders are convinced that we are in the early stages of a mega bull run that will propel asset prices, valuing them fairly.

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Smart contract platform Fantom chooses Binance Chain for interoperability

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Binance Chain, the blockchain from cryptocurrency exchange company Binance, and DAG-based smart contract platform, Fantom, announced today they will be working together to create a multi-asset and cross chain ecosystem.

The Fantom team said it will be supporting a multitude of tokens including the ERC-20 standard, native Fantom token (FTM) standard, along with the BEP-2 token standard on Binance Chain.

“Our reason for choosing Binance Chain as our interoperability partner over any other blockchain is simple, we’re seeing an increasing trend of great projects moving towards Binance Chain, and we want to contribute to the Binance Chain ecosystem so that all these great projects may garner added value from our contributions. Binance and Binance Chain are in a rare position of having the strongest centralized exchange and liquidity on one end, and a very cohesive decentralized ecosystem on the other end, and we believe that there is no better partner for Fantom in its push for greater interoperability within the industry.”

The Fantom Foundation

The collaboration will offer Fantom users a chance to transact and trade FTM while being in custody of their own tokens on Binance DEX.

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Robinhood Opens Trading for 7 Cryptocurrencies in New York

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Robinhood, the popular stock and crypto investing app, has officially launched bitcoin, ethereum, and other cryptocurrency trading in New York.

Silicon Valley-based Robinhood received a BitLicense from the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) in January 2019 and on Thursday opened access to crypto trading in the Empire State.

From the press release:

Currently, you can invest in seven cryptocurrencies on Robinhood Crypto: Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin SV, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Litecoin, and Dogecoin. You can also track price movements and news for those and 10 additional cryptocurrencies.

New York is unique and problematic for crypto traders because all purveyors must apply for a BitLicense, most notably for companies that are “storing, holding, or maintaining custody or control of virtual currency on behalf of others,” according to NYDFS.

Many crypto startups have avoided the requirements entirely by becoming BitLicense refugees and refusing to do business in the state.

“Here we are two miles from the Statue of Liberty and you cannot sell CryptoKitties in the state without that license. That’s the absurdity of what’s happened here,” ShapeShift CEO Erik Voorhees complained in 2018 when asked about the controversial license at CoinDesk’s Consensus conference in New York.

Image courtesy of Robinhood

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