Block.one, a blockchain software company backed by billionaire investor and PayPal (PYPL) co-founder Peter Thiel, said it plans to introduce a new cryptocurrency exchange this year — a move that would follow the Coinbase (COIN) IPO and pit it against other large crypto exchanges. Coinbase stock and the price of Bitcoin rose Tuesday.
Also up was the price of Dogecoin, the meme-based cryptocurrency started as a joke that has attracted the interest of one of PayPal’s other founders, Elon Musk.
Block.one will launch the exchange, called Bullish, via a newly formed subsidiary named Bullish Global. The software company said in a news release that Bullish Global has more than $10 billion in cash and digital assets.
That amount is a combination of an infusion from Block.one consisting of $100 million, 164,000 Bitcoins and 20 million EOS, a cryptocurrency made by Block.one. The amount also included a $300 million investment round led by Thiel’s Thiel Capital and Founders Fund, as well as hedge fund managers Alan Howard and Louis Bacon.
Other investors include Hong Kong businessman Richard Li, Galaxy Digital, the investment bank Nomura and Christian Angermayer. Angermayer is the founder of Atai Life Sciences, a company that backs psychedelic drug developers. Atai is backed by Thiel as well.
The launch of the new exchange comes as interest in digital remains strong, following last year’s boom, and spills over into other assets like NFTs (non-fungible tokens), created with varying degrees of irony.
However, in the run-up to Coinbase’s IPO, that crypto exchange — the U.S.’ largest — warned of “inherent unpredictability” in business trends, given cryptocurrencies’ volatility.
Block.one said that Bullish would offer automated market-making, lending and portfolio management tools. The exchange will also use EOSIO, an open-source blockchain platform, and the EOS public blockchain to “produce a cryptographically validated, provable, and immutable audit trail of all transactions processed on the Bullish platform.”
Bloomberg said the launch of Bullish could be an effort to recharge EOSIO. The news outlet, citing a report from Electric Capital, said that developer interest in EOS had waned. Block.one in January announced the departure of CTO Daniel Larimer.
The SEC in 2019 also ordered Block.one to pay $24 million over what the agency alleged was an unregistered initial coin offering that raised “the equivalent of several billion dollars over approximately one year.” The company did not admit or deny the agency’s findings.
Coinbase Stock, Price of Bitcoin
Meanwhile, the price of Bitcoin reverse higher to climb 1% to $56,834. The Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) rose 1.5%. Among other Bitcoin-related stocks, Marathon Digital (MARA) fell 6.7%, Riot Blockchain (RIOT) dipped 0.2%, and Microstrategy (MSTR) gained 1.3%.
The price of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies exploded last year after major corporations expressed more interest. The pressure that coronavirus-related stimulus put on traditional currencies, and the wider adoption of other digital technologies, also spurred greater enthusiasm.
Dogecoin — a cryptocurrency based on the “doge” meme that was created as a joke — rallied 12% to 52 cents. The digital asset plunged over the weekend after it came up a handful of times during an episode of Saturday Night Live hosted by Tesla (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk who has tweeted about the cryptocurrency.
During one bit on SNL’s Weekend Update segment, co-anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che repeatedly asked Musk, playing a financial expert, “What is Dogecoin?” During the open monologue, Musk also joked that he was giving his mother Dogecoin for Mother’s Day.
Tesla already holds more than $1 billion in Bitcoin and accepts it as a payment. In a Tweet on Monday, Musk asked: “Do you want Tesla to accept Doge?”
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