Goldman Denies Cryptocurrency Exit

September 10, 2018 — 11:50 AM EDT

Business Insider reported last week that The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (GS) would ditch efforts to build a bitcoin trading platform, but Chief Financial Officer Martin Chavez denied the report, calling it "fake news." Goldman ended months of rumors earlier this year when the firm hired Justin Schmidt, former senior vice president at Seven Eight Capital, as vice president and head of digital asset markets. However, the press release raised doubts about Goldman's long-term commitment, advising, "at this point, we have not reached a conclusion on the scope of our digital asset offering."

It was reported soon after the announcement that Managing Director Rana Yared would lead a team of executives building a platform offering a variety of financial instruments linked to bitcoin's price. Yared noted at that time, "it resonates with us when a client says I want to hold bitcoin or bitcoin futures because I think it is an alternate store of value." The current status of the build-out isn't clear, and Goldman has offered no release date.

Plus500 Management Sells Shares

U.K.-based and publicly traded Plus500 Ltd. (PLUS.L) shares fell more than 7% after founders sold nearly 8% of outstanding shares and major stakeholder Playtech completed the sale of its entire 9.99% ownership. The company reported strong first half revenues underpinned by a volatile cryptocurrency market but warned that it would be hard to build on growth in coming quarters, with new European Securities and Markets Authority
(ESMA) regulations set to lower profitability all across the forex brokerage landscape.

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SEC Halts Popular Cryptocurrency Funds

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has halted U.S. trading in Bitcoin Tracker One and Ether Tracker One, two Swedish financial instruments offered "over the counter" to American clients by Interactive Brokers and other financial operations. The regulatory body, which has taken a strong stand against crypto exchange-traded funds (ETFs), advised, "there is a lack of current, consistent and accurate information," adding that "application materials submitted to enable the offer and sale of these financial products in the United States, as well as certain trading websites, characterize them as ETFs."

iForex Now Offers Two Robust Trading Platforms

Cyprus-based iForex now offers both mobile and web-based trading platforms with dozens of useful features. Both can access more than 200 tradable instruments that include currency pairs, stocks and commodities while allowing account holders to easily place trades and monitor positions in real time. The mobile platform also features new execution gesture functionality, letting traders close out positions with a single swipe.

IG Group Reduces Spread Bet Minimums

London's IG Group has lowered minimum spread bet sizes on EUR/USD, EUR/GBP and four other major currency pairs. The action follows the broker's efforts to reduce risk on retail accounts, in line with ESMA regulations that went into effect on Aug. 1. However, the company still objects to aspects of the new rules, recently stating, "the leverage restrictions are disproportionate and go beyond what is needed to protect consumers from poor outcomes associated with excessive leverage."

Saxo Bank Updates Morning Call

Saxo Bank has moved the SaxoStrats Morning Call to Facebook, where traders can listen to live broadcasts by a team of experts in the company's Copenhagen headquarters discussing world markets and trading opportunities. The 9:15 a.m. CET (4:15 a.m. EDT) daily webcast will feature a variety of discussions on subjects that include charting analysis, central banks, cross-asset correlations and long-term trends. An archived version will be made available shortly after each live stream.