Singapore Central Bank Flags Website Promoting Bitcoin Scam

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the country’s central bank, has issued a statement warning people about a website soliciting bitcoin investments that is using comments falsely attributed to Tharman Shanmugaratnam, the MAS chairman and Deputy Prime Minister. The statements attributed to Tharman on the website are misleading and false, MAS noted, except for his … Continued

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$10 Trillion US Exchange Takes a Step Toward Crypto: Nasdaq Bids for Cinnober

$10 Trillion US Exchange Takes a Step Toward Crypto: Nasdaq Bids for Cinnober

News wires buzzed this week when the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations (Nasdaq) announced its pending purchase of Swedish crypto-friendly stock exchange Cinnober. Nasdaq made “an USD 190m all cash recommended public offer” to the exchange, which it terms a major “financial technology provider to brokers, exchanges and clearing houses worldwide.” It could also be a significant first step for the $10 trillion Nasdaq into the world of crypto. 

Also read: Robinhood Accused of Taking from Younger Investors to Benefit Wall Street Traders

Nasdaq to Acquire Crypto-Friendly Swedish Stock Exchange Cinnober

Adena Friedman, President and CEO, Nasdaq explained, “The combined intellectual capital, technology competence and capabilities of Cinnober and our Market Technology business will expand the breadth and depth of our fastest growing division at Nasdaq.”

From Stockholm, Sweden this week came a public announcement Nasdaq had made a $190 million offer to gobble up Swedish crypto-friendly stock exchange Cinnober. The acquisition “would strengthen its position as one of the world’s leading market infrastructure technology providers,” Nasdaq claimed.

$10 Trillion US Exchange Takes a Step Toward Crypto: Nasdaq Bids for Cinnober
Statement from Cinnober Board.

“Not only have the global capital markets continued to evolve rapidly,” Ms. Friedman, 49, continued, “new marketplaces in various industries are demanding market technology infrastructure that enables rapid growth and scale as well as access to tools to promote market integrity. This acquisition will enhance our ability to serve market infrastructure operators worldwide, and will accelerate our ability to expand into new growth segments.”

Based in the New York City, USA, Nasdaq is the second largest exchange in the world by market capitalization, valued at some $10 trillion. It is nearly 50 years old, and is known as the first electronic, automated stock market. Touted as what was to come in the retail brokerage industry, Nasdaq’s emphasis on digital production meant a lowering of that critical difference between the bid and ask price of a stock. It was thought to be a model of price discovery efficiency. 

$10 Trillion US Exchange Takes a Step Toward Crypto: Nasdaq Bids for Cinnober

Could be a Tentative First Step Toward More Cryptocurrency Interaction

Nils-Robert Persson, co-founder and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Cinnober, added, “Since co-founding Cinnober in 1998, Cinnober has been on an exciting journey and has become a leading supplier of financial technology providing services to exchanges and trading houses worldwide.”

For its part, according to the press release on the matter, Nasdaq “has offered to acquire all outstanding shares and warrants in Cinnober at a price of SEK 75 per share and SEK 85 per warrant. The transaction represents an offer value of approximately SEK 1,702m (appr. USD 190m). The Board of Directors of Cinnober has unanimously recommended that shareholders and warrant holders accept the offer. The acceptance period of the public tender offer is expected to close during the fourth quarter of 2018, subject to certain conditions customary in Swedish public tender offers (e.g. that Nasdaq becomes owner of more than 90% of the shares in Cinnober and review by relevant competition authorities).”

$10 Trillion US Exchange Takes a Step Toward Crypto: Nasdaq Bids for Cinnober

“I see the offer as the next step in Cinnober’s development,” Mr. Persson, 62, elaborated, “as it will enable Cinnober and its highly talented employees to be even more successful in serving customers as well as expanding its technology and offering to even more customers and segments. I really believe in the strategic logic of combining Cinnober and Nasdaq’s Market Technology business also as it reinforces the strong technology foundation in Sweden. As the largest shareholder of Cinnober, I am supportive of the offer and intend to accept the offer.”

The Swedish exchange is well known in the ecosystem for favoring digital currencies, especially as they relate to making it easier for more established investors to toe-dip. Custodial services have long been thought to be a giant concern for legacy banks when it comes to crypto, as hacks and their headlines have spooked big money. Cinnober partnered with Bitgo, for example, to attempt at mitigating custodial issues. Bitgo has a stellar reputation for custody in both worlds, with its multi-sig solution and having acquired Kingdom Trust, not to mention teaming up with Korbit, a Korean exchange – all of these factors have given Cinnober major street cred in the ecosystem.  

What are you thoughts about Nasdaq getting into crypto, albeit sideways? Let us know in the comments below. 


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Nasdaq, Cinnober.


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Not Guilty: Accused Silk Road Lieutenant Gary Davis Pleads Innocence

Gary Davis, charged with assisting Ross Ulbricht in running a drug trade worth more than $200 million on the Silk Road drug marketplace, has pleaded not guilty in a New York court to charges of conspiracy to distribute narcotics, computer hacking, and money laundering, according to The Times. Davis, who was extradited from Ireland stand trial in

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Denmark’s Largest Bank Took Two Years to Close Accounts of Blacklisted Russian Clients

Denmark’s Largest Bank Took Two Years to Close Accounts of Blacklisted Russian Clients

Denmark’s largest bank, Danske Bank, reportedly knew that some of its Estonian branch’s clients were on the Russian government’s blacklist but did not close their accounts for two years. The bank is currently being probed by three countries over $150 billion money laundering allegations.

Also read: 160 Crypto Exchanges Seek to Enter Japanese Market, Regulator Reveals

Danske ‘Ok’ With Blacklisted Clients

Denmark’s Largest Bank Took Two Years to Close Accounts of Blacklisted Russian ClientsDanske Bank is currently under investigation by authorities in three countries: the US, Denmark, and Estonia. Its officials reportedly “knew earlier than previously indicated about problems at its tiny Estonia branch, including that it held accounts for blacklisted Russian clients,” The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday, citing correspondence it has seen. The publication elaborated:

Officials at Danske Bank were aware almost two years before it started shutting questionable accounts that the small but highly profitable branch was involved in potentially illicit money flows.

Denmark’s Largest Bank Took Two Years to Close Accounts of Blacklisted Russian ClientsThe Estonian branch was one of the bank’s profit drivers, generating a net profit of €63 million (~US$73.5 million) in 2012, the most lucrative year. The whole bank reported €636.6 million (~$742.6 million) in net profit that year, the publication noted.

The largest bank in Denmark has been at the center of one of Europe’s largest money laundering cases. Between 2007 and 2015, an estimated $150 billion was suspected to have flowed through the branch to accounts belonging to non-Estonian customers including Russian clients. However, the bank has not confirmed how much of that figure comes from suspicious transactions. It has launched an internal investigation and is expected to announce the results on Wednesday, Sept. 19.

Discriminating Email

Denmark’s Largest Bank Took Two Years to Close Accounts of Blacklisted Russian ClientsAccording to the Wall Street Journal, an April 2013 email reveals that the bank’s anti-money laundering (AML) chief based in Denmark had asked colleagues in the Estonian branch “about client accounts whose owners appeared on a blacklist generated by Russia’s central bank.” The Bank of Russia keeps a database of individuals and companies suspected of financial wrongdoing which it shares across borders. The list currently has about 500,000 names.

The Estonian Financial Supervision Authority (FSA) said on Tuesday that “it repeatedly complained to Danish counterparts about the branch’s blacklisted customers,” the news outlet conveyed, adding that in a 2013 email, Niels Thos Mikkelsen, the bank’s then-compliance executive, wrote:

They have the impression that we do not take the issue seriously.

Denmark’s Largest Bank Took Two Years to Close Accounts of Blacklisted Russian Clients
Thomas Borgen.

Furthermore, the news outlet added that a spokesman for the Danish FSA pointed out that a reprimand ruling against Danske Bank in May states that the authority received “misleading” information from the bank between 2012 and 2014. Danske claims the information came from the branch.

While the Financial Times recently reported that Thomas Borgen, the bank’s CEO, was notified in October 2013 about suspicious transactions at the Estonian branch, Borgen insists that “he was not informed in detail at the time about the problems,” Reuters described on Tuesday, elaborating:

The Danske Bank case has led to speculation in Denmark that its chief executive Thomas Borgen, who was in charge of its international operations, including Estonia, between 2009 and 2012, will step down.

Why do you think the regulators are after crypto when they let Danske Bank service blacklisted clients for two years? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Danske Bank.


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