There was more of the same in cryptocurrency markets today.
Ethereum’s price continued its upward trajectory even as bitcoin moved sideways. At 13:54 UTC, the price of an ether token was $1,358.67, up 13.18% from its price 24 hours ago. The total market capitalization for ethereum was $131.6 billion, up from $117 billion around the same time yesterday. Bitcoin was trading at $14,202, down by 3.51% from its price 24 hours ago.
Other currencies shed gains. Ripple, which had skyrocketed by more than 1,000 percent since January 1, continued its downward slide and was trading for $1.95 per pop, down 13.5% from its price a day ago. At $75 billion, its valuation has roughly halved from a week ago. Cardano, another coin which reached a high of $1.31 last week, was down by 13.35% and trading at $0.7 per coin.
Apart from ethereum, bitcoin cash was the only other cryptocurrency within the top 10 most-traded to rise within the last 24 hours. As of this writing, it was trading at $2,527.72, an increase of 6% from its price 24 hours ago.
Mike Novogratz Announces Merchant Bank for Cryptocurrencies
Michael Novogratz, perhaps the most well-known Wall Street investor in cryptocurrencies, announced yesterday that he is starting a merchant bank exclusively devoted to the asset class. A complex set of transactions, which includes a direct takeover of a financial firm and a reverse takeover of a pharma company in Canada, will culminate in the new merchant bank being traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
Novogratz had earlier announced plans for a $500 million hedge fund but gave up the idea late last year because “market conditions” weren’t “right.” (See also: New $500 Million Hedge Fund Will Focus On Cryptocurrencies.) He said he was also concerned about the prospect of buying bitcoin or ether for clients while trading in them from his personal account at the same time. Personal equity in the form of a stake in the bank helps him overcome that problem.
Novogratz’s move is important within the context of bringing institutional money into bitcoin. In addition to being another avenue for bitcoin investment, the bank could also help remove bottlenecks, such as the charging of high margins for investment in bitcoin products, from the nascent ecosystem for institutional investing in the cryptocurrency.
Just yesterday, two firms canceled plans to launch bitcoin ETFs after SEC officials “expressed concerns regarding liquidity and valuation” of futures contracts. Across the pond, the Ontario Securities Commission has a relatively friendlier stance towards cryptocurrencies, having approved its first ICO last November. On an overall basis, removal of bottlenecks could help bring more liquidity into bitcoin markets.