Wall Street is working to solve one of Bitcoin’s biggest problems: market volatility. And that could pave the way for the digital currency to become “people’s currency.”
Ie, gain broad acceptance among merchants as a medium of exchange.
Bitcoin has several advantages over traditional currencies. But it has one big problem, too. It’s price is highly volatile, making it unsuitable for day to day transactions.
That could explain why the digital currency has failed to reach the “tipping point,” reaching the market of massive users.
Wall Street is working to ease Bitcoin’s volatility by introducing Bitcoin derivative products. Like the Bakkt Regulated Bitcoin Futures introduced this week. As is the case with derivative products for other asset classes, these products allow Bitcoin holders to lock in Bitcoin prices, shifting the risk to of market fluctuation to other parties.
Wayne Chen, the CEO of Interlapse Technologies, believes that this is a positive development for Bitcoin. “The launch of a Bitcoin futures contract through ICE is a significant advancement for Bitcoin futures trading,” he says. “Bitcoin is deemed as a commodity by regulators and adding it into a futures contract is the right move.”
Bitcoin futures aren’t new to Wall Street. “Bitcoin Futures trading has already seen the spotlight in December 2017 through CME. Although trading was settled in cash rather than physical Bitcoins at the time, it provided an essence of legitimacy for taking Bitcoin mainstream. Ultimately, providing more comfort and assurance to investors,” Chen adds.
Still, the road to Bitcoin’s broad adoption may not be smooth. In fact, Wall Street’s Bitcoin derivative products may inject some instability into the Bitcoin market, before they bring stability.
That’s according to Ryan Uhr, CEO and co-founder of Coinplug Inc.
“A new opening of a BTC derivative market may have a negative effect on the BTC price in the short term because it gives traders more chances to bet on a price decline,” he says. “With no markets to provide short-selling opportunities (or something similar), only BTC holders can sell BTC, thereby negatively affecting the market price. Whereas, if people can sell BTC futures, they may get benefits when the price moves downward even without holding the underlying BTC.”
Simply put, the new products could turn into speculative devices. “It is going to be even easier to profit from BTC holders’ misfortune if a highly leveraged trading is available so that financing is less of a problem, Uhr says. “As there are more people with negative views or with enough BTC to distort the underlying market and try to exploit this opportunity, the BTC market will be more exposed to unexpected sells and its price will be less inflated on average.”
Nonetheless, he’s optimistic over the long-term. He thinks that the addition of Bakkt futures to CMM BTC futures, as well as offshore markets like Bitmex and Binance will bring confidence to the Bitcoin market.
“With the belief that the market will price BTC more accurately when more derivatives are available, and that there will be more windows through which firms and institutions can trade BTC officially, traders may grow to trust the market more, leading the market to grow faster with a stable pool of investors,” he says.
And that is definitely a huge plus for the BTC price in the long term.
Venture Insurance Programs launches online platform for small business insurance
National insurance program administrator Venture Insurance Programs is introducing a new platform that will allow agents and brokers to better serve their small business clients.
The new Venture Small Business platform allows insurance professionals to quote and bind policies for over 150 classes of business within the same day. The platform will also provide several post-bind services such as direct billing, issuing ACORD certificates of insurance, policy document requests, and claims reporting/servicing.
Venture Small Business can quote and bind general and professional liability coverage for small businesses within the following industries:
Architecture and engineering
Marketing and public relations
Creative and design
Health, beauty & fitness
“Venture is pleased to offer this small business platform alongside our industry-specific products and services for agents and brokers,” said Venture Insurance Programs founder and president Phillip J. Harvey.
Harvey added that the dedicated online portal will assist producers in receiving quotes for their small business clients quickly and accurately, as well as in binding coverage.
E-cigarette-maker Juul agrees to avoid targeting minors amid wave of vaping illnesses BY ANDREW SHEELER
E-cigarette manufacturer Juul Labs must restrict its marketing and promotion to avoid targeting minors under a new legal settlement agreement with the Oakland-based watchdog Center for Environmental Health.
The settlement in Alameda County Superior Court exposes Juul, which is co-owned by Atria, the parent company of tobacco giant Phillip Morris, to legal liability if it violates the agreement.
The agreement includes prohibitions on advertising in media with an audience 15 percent or more younger than age 21, advertising on social media outside of Juul’s age-restricted YouTube account and using models younger than 28.
The settlement comes as dozens of people across the nation have sicked from a mysterious vaping-related illness, one that has led to at least 26 deaths, according to the Associated Press.
In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order in September calling on his tax collectors to step up enforcement of the e-cigarette industry.
The Juul settlement, announced on Thursday, contains other prohibitions, including no advertising within 1,000 feet of a school or playground, no sponsoring sporting events or concerts that allow people under 21 and no paying or permitting company employees or contractors to appear at school or youth-oriented events.
The company also must replace the terms “adults only” and “not for use by minors” with “the sale of tobacco products to minors is prohibited by law” in order to avoid enticing minors.
The agreement limits bulk sales of Juul products both online and at brick and mortar stores and requires Juul to continue it’s “secret shopper” program, which seeks to catch retailers selling Juul products without asking for ID.
“This settlement will reduce the number of children getting addicted to a neurotoxin like nicotine, and help protect them from other toxic chemicals present in Juul products,” said CEH’s CEO Michael Green in prepared remarks. “CEH intends to monitor the company closely and if Juul violates our agreement by one inch, we will sue them again.”
A spokesman for Juul said that the settlement affirms practices that the company already had in place.
“We have never marketed to youth and do not want any non-nicotine users to try our products, since our products exist solely to help adult smokers find an alternative to combustible cigarettes,” the spokesman said.
BY ANDREW SHEELER
Drug Giants Close In on a $50 Billion Settlement of Opioid Cases
CLEVELAND — As a critical trial deadline bears down, lawyers for states and the three largest drug distributors in the country, along with two manufacturers, have agreed on a framework for a deal to resolve thousands of opioid cases with a settlement worth nearly $50 billion in cash and addiction treatments.
Three people familiar with the negotiations said that cities and counties across the country are tentatively supporting the broad parameters of the deal but are negotiating over its total value as well as attorneys’ fees. They warned that details could change and the deal could still fall apart before Monday, when opening statements are to begin in the first federal trial to determine responsibility for the opioid epidemic.
The agreement would release AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson, which together distribute about 90 percent of the country’s medicines, along with Johnson & Johnson and Teva, the Israeli-based manufacturer of generic medicines, from a rapidly growing list of more than 2,300 lawsuits that they face in federal and state courts.
All of the companies either didn’t return requests for comment or declined to do so.
Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas are leading the talks for the states, along with lawyers for thousands of cities and counties whose cases are in federal court.
Since the late 1990s, more than 400,000 people in the United States have died from overdoses of prescription painkillers and illegal opioids, including heroin and fentanyl. The epidemic is considered one of the greatest public health crises in the country’s history.
The three drug distributors and Teva are defendants in the first trial, brought by two Ohio counties. With thousands of somewhat similar governmental lawsuits on the national runway, the Ohio suit is considered an important showcase that will test the strength of both sides’ witnesses and legal arguments before 12 jurors.
Even as discussions continue, so does the selection of a jury, in anticipation of the start of the trial should talks collapse.
Johnson & Johnson recently settled with the two Ohio counties for about $20.4 million, but the company is named in many of other suits, as well.
Many drug manufacturers and pharmacy chains also have been named as defendants in federal and state opioids cases, but they are apparently not involved in these negotiations.
The maker of OxyContin, Purdue Pharma — which is currently in bankruptcy court — has a tentative and much-disputed agreement with lawyers for thousands of municipal suits in federal court and nearly two dozen states that, if finalized, would remove the company from most opioids cases as well.
According to people familiar with the talks, the combined value of the current deal breaks down as follows: $20 to $25 billion in cash to be divided among the states and localities to help pay for health care, law enforcement and other costs associated with the epidemic; and another $25 to $30 billion in addiction-treatment drugs, supplies and delivery services.
People familiar with the negotiations said many details are still being debated, including the timetable for when the money would be paid.
Whether the amount will be considered sufficient by all the plaintiffs remains to be seen. A new report by the Society of Actuaries projects the costs related to the opioid epidemic at $188 billion in 2019 alone, including health care, child and family assistance programs, criminal justice activities and lost wages.
People familiar with the talks said that a sticking point in negotiation is how much money will go toward attorneys’ fees for the private lawyers who represent governments in the overwhelming majority of cases and work on contingency.
Those lawyers filed the first opioid lawsuits in 2014 and have since conducted hundreds of depositions and compiled many millions of documents.
Source : nonperele
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