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UBS Buying Wealthfront for $1.4 Billion in Next-Gen Push

January 26, 2022 by Miriam Rozen | | | | Share This Gudellaphoto – stock.adobe.com UBS agreed to purchase Wealthfront, a digital-only wealth management platform with more than $27 billion in assets under management and 470,000 U.S.-based clients, many of them younger, for an all-cash $1.4 billion price, according to the company’s Wednesday announcement. “Wealthfront […]

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Stifel CEO Targets $1 Trillion in Client Assets

January 26, 2022 Share This Ron Krusewski, Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO, Stifel Financial Corp. Stifel Financial Chief Executive Ron Kruszewski set an ambitious target on Wednesday of reaching $1 trillion in customer assets under management for his company’s wealth division.  “That’s what we’re focusing on,” Kruszewski told analysts on the company’s […]

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Valkyrie aims for ETF linked to Bitcoin mining firms on Nasdaq

Crypto asset manager Valkyrie has filed an application with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission to trade an exchange-traded fund (ETF) with exposure to Bitcoin mining firms on the Nasdaq Stock Market.In a Wednesday SEC filing, Valkyrie said its Bitcoin Miners ETF will not invest directly in Bitcoin (BTC) but at least 80% of its net assets would offer exposure to the crypto asset through the securities of companies that “derive at least 50% of their revenue or profits” from BTC mining or providing hardware or software related to mining. The filing added Valkyrie would invest up to 20% of the ETF’s net assets in companies holding “a significant portion of their net assets” in Bitcoin. Valkyrie launched a Bitcoin Strategy ETF in October 2021, which offered indirect exposure to BTC with cash-settled futures contracts following SEC approval for a similar ETF from ProShares. At the time of publication, shares of the fund traded on the Nasdaq for $14.93, having fallen more than 40% since opening on Oct. 22. In 2021, the SEC approved investment vehicles linked to BTC derivatives for the first time, but hasn’t given the green light to any Bitcoin spot exchange-traded fund in the United States. The Valkyrie Bitcoin Miners ETF resembles the Digital Asset Mining ETF proposed by asset manager VanEck in December 2021, which plans to invest 80% of its total assets in securities from crypto mining firms — the regulatory body has until Feb. 14 to reach a decision on the fund or extend the deadline.Related: Why now? SEC took eight years to authorize a Bitcoin ETF in the USWhile many crypto ETF applications are still under consideration in the United States, Canadian regulators have approved ETFs with direct exposure to crypto from Fidelity, Purpose Investments and Evolve Fund Group. At a House of Representatives committee hearing in December, former Acting Comptroller of the Currency Brian Brooks said the United States was “unquestionably” behind other countries in approving crypto ETFs.

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Arabesque Partners with ABG to Develop ESG Solutions for Real Estate Sector

ABG Real Estate Group announced a strategic partnership with ESG-focused financial technology company Arabesque Holding to jointly develop ESG solutions for the real estate sector. ABG has also acquired a minority stake in Arabesque.

The companies, along with construction company Goldbeck, which has already invested, are joining forces to expedite the key concept of ESG aspects in the construction and real estate sectors, and to establish criteria for sustainable investments. The partnership brings together ABG’s experience across all segments of the German real estate sector with Arabesque’s international ESG resources.

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SGS, Diginex Partner to Provide Assurance Services for Sustainability Reporting

Leading testing, inspection and certification (TIC) company SGS and Sustainability-focused data solutions company Diginex announced today the formation of a new strategic alliance, aimed at providing ESG data assurance services. According to the companies, the partnership will enable sustainability reports created using the Diginex platform to be assured by SGS’s Sustainability Report Assurance services.

The new partnership comes as companies and investors face increasing regulatory pressure to measure, reduce, and report on their ESG and climate-related risks, and to comply with emerging standards and reporting regimes, including the EU’s Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation, and mandatory disclosure requirements in jurisdictions including the UK and likely the U.S.

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Carbon Markets Startup ClimateTrade Raising €20 Million to Fund International Expansion

Spanish-based climate marketplace startup ClimateTrade announced today it has raised €7 million in a Pre-Series A financing, with plans for a further €13 million of funding from a US-focused round, with the financings aimed at enabling the company to fund its international expansion plans.

Founded in 2017, ClimateTrade is a blockchain-enabled marketplace that helps companies achieve their carbonization goals by financing certified carbon offsetting and climate generative projects worldwide.

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Law Firm Latham & Watkins Grows ESG Practice with New Partner Hires

Law firm Latham & Watkins announced two new partner hires for its global ESG advisory practice. The firm has appointed Sarah Fortt and Betty Moy Huber as Partners in Austin/Washington, D.C and New York, respectively, and as global Co-Chairs of the firm’s ESG practice alongside London partner Paul Davies.

Fortt and Huber will both be members of Lathan and Watkins’ Capital Markets & Public Company Representation Practice Group within the Corporate Department and will advise public and private companies, financial institutions, investment funds, and their boards.

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Turkish president orders ruling party to organize metaverse forum

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and ruling Ak Party officials met earlier this week to discuss the metaverse, with the president calling for comprehensive research on the subject.Erdoğan has reportedly urged the Ak Party to study the metaverse, cryptocurrencies, and how transactions are made using them, according to a Daily Sabah report.At a meeting on Jan. 25, party leaders were instructed to research the phenomenon with significant ramifications for the future. The economic aspects of the metaverse, cryptocurrencies, and social media are anticipated to be addressed at a forum that will be subsequently be organized by the ruling party. In Turkey, the metaverse is gaining interest. According to some reports, thousands of virtual territories in Turkey, most of which are located in the historic former capital of Istanbul, have already been purchased in game-based metaverse platforms.Ak Parti olarak #Metaverse üzerinden ilk toplantımızı gerçekleştirdik. pic.twitter.com/19Xfd6sIWR— AK Parti Bilgi İletişim Teknolojileri (@AKbilgitek) January 17, 2022As Cointelegraph reported, the Turkish government recently met in the metaverse to discuss cryptocurrency legislation. Grand National Assembly of Turkey chairman Mustafa Elitaş then said, “I believe that metaverse-based meetings would be improved expeditiously and become an essential part of our lives.”Related: Crypto and NFTs meet regulation as Turkey takes on the digital futureWhile the Turkish government is open to blockchain technology, metaverse and a state-issued digital currency, President Erdoğan is notorious for his harsh opposition to cryptocurrencies. Last year, during a public Q&A session, he “declared war” on cryptocurrencies, implying the country had no interest in adopting them.

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Ripple announces $200M share buyback and expresses optimism for 2022

Blockchain payments firm Ripple has announced a $200-million Series C share buyback, a decision that will take the San Francisco-based tech firm to a record-high valuation of $15 billion.Back in December 2019, Ripple raised $200 million in a Series C funding round with Tetragon Financial Group, a United Kingdom-based investment firm, acting as the lead investor alongside SBI Holdings and Route 66 Ventures.However, in December 2020, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission issued a $1.3-billion financial lawsuit against Ripple Labs, as well as co-founder Chris Larsen and CEO Brad Garlinghouse, accusing the parties of using the native XRP token as an unlicensed digital asset security.Intent on disassociating themselves with Ripple amid their high-profile and openly public lawsuit, Tetragon sued Ripple in early January 2021 in the Delaware Chancery Court, seeking to enact its contractual obligation of a buyback clause to the value of its undisclosed investment sum.However, just three months later in April, the court ruled in favor of Ripple and against the plaintiff, Tetragon, putting an end to the financial dispute.In choosing to willingly purchase the shares from Tetragon, SBI Holdings and Route 66 Ventures, it implies that Ripple is seeking to enhance its financial strength, a sentiment that Garlinghouse eluded to in a recent tweet thread.“Even with 2021’s headwinds, it was our best year on record,” he stated, revealing that the company’s $1-billion bank balance makes it the “strongest we’ve ever been.”RippleX – full speed ahead on establishing a multitude of capabilities to the XRP Ledger – NFTs, CBDCs, interoperability bridges, sidechains and so much more – working hand in hand with devs and partners around the world. It’s a multichain world after all 4/4— Brad Garlinghouse (@bgarlinghouse) January 26, 2022Alongside the news of buyback and valuation, Garlinghouse also shared optimism for the future of RippleNet and Ripple X, the latter of which is posed to enhance the utility of the XRP Ledger in an array of emerging sectors, including nonfungible tokens, central bank digital currencies, as well as interoperable, multichain functionalities, among others.Upon reaching out to Ripple for greater clarity around their ambitions, a representative spokesperson stated that the purchasing decision was made due to their “extremely strong position in the market”, citing that the company is “cash flow positive” and has a “strong balance sheet.”Alongside this, they noted that Ripple experienced its “best hiring year in 2021” and that it is now seeking to onboard “hundreds of global employees this year” to support the already existing 500-employee workforce.

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BTC price hits $38K as Bitcoin analysts focus on weekly close

Bitcoin (BTC) staged new retests of $38,000 resistance on Jan. 26 as optimism increased over a potential recovery to $40,000 and higher.BTC/USD 1-hour candle chart (Bitstamp). Source: TradingViewNext stop a $40,000 retest?Data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView followed BTC/USD as it continued the rebound that began on Monday.At the time of writing, two breakthroughs of $38,000 had occurred, with the pair lingering just below that level amid further direction cues.For Cointelegraph contributor Michaël van de Poppe, the signs were encouraging, with the stage being set for a potential exit from the $30,000–$40,000 corridor.“Bitcoin held $36K and tested $38K already. If that one tests again, we are likely to get a breakout and potentially test $40.7K,” he told Twitter followers.Almost as bullish on short timeframes was trader, analyst and podcast host Scott Melker, known as the “Wolf Of All Streets.”“Target is $39,600, which as you know is ‘coincidentally’ the key resistance on higher time frames,” he said as part of his latest Twitter update, identifying a cup and handle pattern on the hourly chart. Even if the overall trend demands that Bitcoin continue to fall, he added, $39,600 remained important as a zone to challenge.Here is $39,600 on the weekly. This is where bullish market structure broke down with a lower low.This is the initial target of my current longs. It “should” theoretically be retested as resistance, even if we are going down further.Never guaranteed. pic.twitter.com/4AUZRsFuF5— The Wolf Of All Streets (@scottmelker) January 26, 2022Dogecoin gains outshine major cryptosAltcoins continued to see relief, meanwhile, with Ether (ETH) gaining another 4.3% in the past 24 hours to return above $2,500.ETH/USD 1-hour candle chart (Bitstamp). Source: TradingViewRelated: Eth2 is no more after Ethereum Foundation ditches name in rebrandThe largest altcoin by market capitalization was nonetheless outperformed by several peers, including Solana (SOL) and XRP.The top 10 cryptocurrencies by market cap, however, were led by Dogecoin (DOGE), which put in around 10% gains over the same period.The move accompanied fresh publicity from Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who pledged to eat one of McDonald’s Happy Meals on television should the fast-food giant opt to accept DOGE for payments.I will eat a happy meal on tv if @McDonalds accepts Dogecoin— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 25, 2022

DOGE/USD traded at $0.15 at the time of writing, still around 9% below its position a week ago.

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TNFD Adds Partners Including CDP, SASB, as it Works to Launch Nature-Related Risk Disclosure Framework

The recently launched Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) announced a series of organizations that are participating as knowledge partners supporting its initiative to develop an integrated risk management and disclosure framework for nature-related risks.

The multi-disciplinary knowledge partner group encompasses a broad range of leading international sustainability-focused standard-setting, corporate reporting, and sustainable finance organizations, including: Agence Française de Développement (AFD), CDP, Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS), the SASB Standards Research Team, the Science Based Targets Network (SBTN), The Capitals Coalition, UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), UNSD, The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), and WWF.

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PepsiCo Europe targets 100% Renewable or Recyclable Plastic in Chips Packaging in Circular Economy Push

PepsiCo Europe announced today a new commitment to eliminate virgin fossil-based plastic in all its crisp and chip bags by 2030, supporting the company’s circular economy and sustainability goals. By using 100% recycled or renewable plastic in all packets, the company estimates it can achieve a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions per ton of packaging.

The new ambition will apply to brands including Walkers, Doritos, and Lay’s, with consumer trials starting in European markets in 2022. The recycled content will be derived from previously used plastic, and the renewable content will come from by-products of plants, including used cooking oil or waste from paper pulp. 

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Can DeFi and CeFi coexist? Three takeaways from experts panel

As price action bewilders market makers and traders, experts in the crypto industry reached an agreement on several important points last week. Notably, centralized finance (CeFi) and decentralized finance (DeFi), can coexist, and a “blend” of financial products and services will be available to users in the future. On Jan. 21, Cointelegraph moderated the panel discussion, “Can CeFi and DeFi Coexist?” for the Global Blockchain Business Council. In the video, panelists hash out questions related to adoption, banking the unbanked, and whether innovation means disruption of traditional financial services.[embedded content]Salient points included the need for greater education and transparency in the cryptocurrency space, while financial inclusion could be reached thanks to smooth onboarding techniques and clear-cut regulation. Popular blockchains like Solana and the Bitcoin Lightning Network cropped up as well as DeFi protocols including Uniswap.In terms of education, Mary Beth Buchanan, president, Americas and chief legal officer at crypto risk and intellegence fMerkle Science, commented:“A lot of people are not being served in traditional finance. The winner in the disruption race will be the project that has the ability to reach those in the community who are not currently accessing DeFi, and there has to be education.”Ambre Soubiran, CEO of digital asset data provider Kaiko, agreed that the solution to broadening DeFi’s reach is through “education, onboarding, and knowing the risks. People want the easy ability to reset a password as opposed to remembering 24 words.”Daniel Peled, founder and president of public blockchain Orbs, is passionate about bringing financial inclusion to “the two billion people around the world,” but “the industry is early.” He echoed Soubiran’s point that “many people don’t have access to DeFi applications; the products are complicated and tech-heavy. People still don’t know how to secure their funds securely.”However, for Peled, it is more than just educating people, it’s about providing a level-playing field on which everyone follows the same rules: “There is huge quantitive easing and 70% of all the money in the world has been printed in the past two years. The young don’t hold existing scarce assets such as real estate, equity, or gold; and they are not accredited investors who can get in on opportunities at the early stage. They (the young) are the ones adopting DeFi because they see the opportunities compared to other alternatives.”Ultimately, the creation of Bitcoin (BTC) sought to remedy such issues. As the first successful separation of money from the state, it possesses a clear issuance rate that renders the monetary network more transparent and equal for participants. Michael Moro, CEO of digital currency broker Genesis Global, shared Peled’s view on demographics: “The folks in the west are the most engaged into various DeFi protocols. The user interface and experience isn’t great as you have to be fairly tech savvy to be able to engage directly with Defi today. It generally needs to become a lot easier for folks to engage.”Ultimately, the panel eventually agreed that a combination of education and onboarding will pave the way for greater financial inclusion. Related: DeFi vs. CeFi: Comparing decentralized to centralized financeRegulation is high on the agenda in 2022. But it should ignite more growth in the space, because “as long as the on ramps and off ramps are regulated, then there will be a lot more freedom,” Moro continued.”Soubiran shared a similar view regarding onramps: “There is an opportunity for the existing institutions to leverage blockchain technology and the underlying infrastructure in order to provide the same services they are providing today.” As for the future of the DeFi and CeFi space, Nicolas Bertrand, former head of derivatives markets and commodities at Borsa Italiana had the last word. When asked whether the level of innovation could disrupt traditional cefi services, he replied, “Definitely.” He went on to say, “what happened to the telegraph after the advent of computers?”

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Goldman Sachs-Backed LRQA Acquires Supply Chain Sustainability Solutions Provider ELEVATE

Digitally-enabled assurance services provider LRQA announced today the acquisition of Hong Kong-based supply chain sustainability and risk management services solutions provider ELEVATE from private equity investor EQT. According to the companies, the business combination aims to meet the fast-growing need for transparency and assurance around ESG standards.

Paul Butcher, Chief Executive of LRQA, said:

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Eth2 is no more after Ethereum Foundation ditches name in rebrand

The Ethereum Foundation has removed all references to Eth1 and Eth2 in favor of calling the original blockchain the “execution layer” and the upgraded Proof of Stake chain the “consensus layer.”Ethereum’s long-awaited transition from a Proof-of-work mining model to a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus mechanism is expected to go live around in the second or third quarter of this year.Announcing the change the foundation cited a number of rationales including a “broken mental model for new users,” scam prevention, inclusivity and staking clarity. In a Jan.24 blog post, the Ethereum Foundation noted that the branding of Eth2 failed to concisely capture what was happening to the network via its series of upgrades: “One major problem with the Eth2 branding is that it creates a broken mental model for new users of Ethereum. They intuitively think that Eth1 comes first and Eth2 comes after. Or that Eth1 ceases to exist once Eth2 exists.”“Neither of these is true. By removing Eth2 terminology, we save all future users from navigating this confusing mental model,” the blog post added. Under the new terminology, the combination of the execution layer (Eth1) and the consensus layer (Eth2) will be labeled as Ethereum, while individual features such as the beacon chain, merge and shared chains are now referred to as “upgrades.”Eth2 rebrand: The Ethereum FoundationThe foundation also stated that its re-branding of Eth2 would help “bring clarity to eliminate” scams in which malicious actors dupe victims — unaware that their Ether (ETH) will automatically switch to Eth2 following the merge — into swapping Ether (ETH) for fake ETH2 tokens. “Unfortunately, malicious actors have attempted to use the Eth2 misnomer to scam users by telling them to swap their ETH for ‘ETH2’ tokens or that they must somehow migrate their ETH before the Eth2 upgrade,” the post read. The news saw a relatively apathetic response in the r/Ethereum subreddit, with most users joking about the change, or complaining about the length of time the merge was taking. “Don’t care what you call it, just fucking ship it soon plsss” said Redditor ghfsgiwaa.User Kristkind stated that the attempted rebrand has come “too late”, noting that the term Eth2 has already been widely adopted by the media and users: “Everybody in the media, even the crypto-related one, runs with the term 2.0 or simply Eth2. And honestly, I think it is better that way, because [it’s] way easier to get for the (semi-)layperson, than ‘consensus layer’, which needs you to understand the architecture of the network.” Relat Ethereum white paper predicted DeFi but missed NFTs: Vitalik ButerinFollowing the merge and transition to PoS scheduled for later this year — for real this time — the remaining milestone of Ethereum’s current roadmap is the shard chains upgrade that is set to into effect in late 2022/early 2023. The introduction of shard chains will see Ethereum’s network load spread across 64 new chains in order to enhance its scalability and capacity. Despite 2022 gearing up to be a bullish year for Ethereum fundamentally, the price of Ether has taken a hefty hit amid the current downturn across stock and crypto markets, dropping 40% over the past 30 days to sit at around $2,437 at the time of writing. This isn’t 2018. In 2018 we didn’t have: Layer 2, eth2, DeFi, NFTs, core dev funding and so much more. Markets will market but I’m comfy af.— eric.eth (@econoar) January 24, 2022

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