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German Financial Group to Launch Crypto Index Funds for Institutional and Retail Investors

Iconiq Funds, the asset management arm of Germany-based Iconiq Holding — the team behind the ICO and token sale accelerator program Iconiq Lab — is launching a series of digital asset index funds beginning in Q4 2018, the company announced on Aug. 17, 2018. Investment into crypto assets will become available through traditional and regulated financial vehicles, such as exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and exchange-traded notes (ETNs).

The first digital asset index fund is planned to be launched under Maltese jurisdiction as a Professional Investor Fund (PIF). It is currently under review by Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA).

The company claims the “diversified exposure to the digital assets market” as a key selling point for this new series of instruments. An investment fund essentially hides the intricacies of crypto assets from its participant, offering participation in a selected group of tokens. An investor expects that, even if some tokens of the group won’t perform well, the growth of others will compensate for it.

Iconiq Funds says the company will offer its financial products under the supervision of a governmental watchdog — such as MFSA for Malta. The team explains that, for many conservative investors, the lack of regulatory oversight was a key reason to avoid exposure to crypto assets.  

Maximilian Lautenschläger, Iconiq Holding’s managing partner, believes that such investment vehicles could help bring new capital to the crypto industry from the traditional financial markets. “Iconiq’s aim is to make ICOs and crypto investments accessible to institutional investors, family offices and retail investors. Only through such regulated vehicles can we open the doors for the trillions of capital from institutional markets to enter crypto.” Lautenschläger said, according to the announcement.

Later, Iconiq Funds also plans to offer other financial products suited for traditional investors’ demands, such as crypto index exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and notes (ETNs) in 2019.

Digital asset management token

The company says that Iconiq Funds is not merely a traditional asset management firm that started trading in crypto. It is, rather, a part of a larger, community-driven ecosystem that Iconiq Holding has built around its own token, ICNQ — initially released by Iconiq Lab. The ICNQ token functions as a “decentralized VC club membership instrument.” According to Iconiq Funds, its holders receive access to presales of companies graduating Iconiq Lab’s token sale accelerator program. It can also be used as a voucher instrument for payments within the asset management ecosystem created by Iconiq.

“We have successfully positioned the ICNQ token as the token for digital asset management,” said Iconiq Holdings CEO Patrick Lowry. “ICNQ tokens can now be redeemed in our ecosystem for products and services provided by Iconiq Holding companies, including by our digital asset index funds to pay asset management fees to the fund manager, Iconiq Funds. We are excited to add this new value-driver to the ICNQ economy, with many more to come for the benefit of our community.”

According to the internal memo Cointelegraph had access to, Iconiq Holding will be selling up to 10 million remaining ICNQ tokens, with a public token sale taking place on the Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange Grid in October 2018. The ICNQ token will then be traded on Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange after the sale, with more exchanges to come.

Iconiq says it plans to capitalize on opening the crypto marketplace to a completely different, and much more powerful class of investors, which may bring “a tectonic change” to the crypto market. Also, it hopes the ICNQ token itself will have the potential to become a kind of derivative instrument that would reflect the influx of the virtually unlimited capital from the outside world of traditional finance into the much smaller crypto ecosystem.

Disclaimer. Cointelegraph does not endorse any content or product on this page. While we aim at providing you all important information that we could obtain, readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company and carry full responsibility for their decisions, nor this article can be considered as an investment advice.

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Binance Backs Malta Stock Exchange's Startup Accelerator

The Malta Stock Exchange announced today that Binance, one of the world’s leading cryptocurrency exchanges, is backing its newly launched program to support fintech startups and entrepreneurs.

Known as a tiny archipelago between Sicily and the North African coast, Malta, along with several other microstates including Bermuda, Liechtenstein, Gibraltar and San Marino, have joined the race in the recent years to attract blockchain and crypto businesses.

The MSX Fintech Accelerator is aimed at creating an ecosystem to nurture and support crypto startups and entrepreneurs, according to the Malta Stock Exchange’s announcement. The accelerator offers professional business services like in-house accounting, payroll, and office space. Besides Binance, the stock exchange has added Thomson Reuters to its list of mentor organizations.

Joseph Portelli, the chairman of the Malta Stock Exchange, said that the program has guaranteed “easy access” for both domestic and foreign businesses.

“It is clear that Malta is becoming a fintech and blockchain center of excellence,” Portelli added, following the announcement of the partnership.

The exchange’s official Twitter account tweeted this morning that it will be accepting up to 12 Fintech startups to utilize the facilities in the newly-established program.

“We moved our operations to Malta precisely because it has demonstrated its progressive approach to supporting and developing the crypto and blockchain industry. Malta is creating a safe and legislated environment for the industry to become reputable, attracting companies like ours and many others,” Binance said in a statement.

Image via Shutterstock

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Judge Backs FTC Asset Freeze in Crypto Fraud Case

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is seeking to permanently freeze the assets of four men accused of running cryptocurrency referral scams.

The U.S. regulator also asked a federal court in Florida to order the defendants to stop working together or creating new business entities. Further, they would have to provide a list of their assets to the FTC if the proposed injunction is enforced.

As previously reported, the FTC sued the four individuals in the Florida court earlier this month, accusing them of promoting fraudulent referral investment schemes. At the time, the agency said that “this case shows that scammers always find new ways to market old schemes.”

U.S. Magistrate Judge Lurana Snow recommended that the court grant FTC’s motion for a preliminary injunction in a court report dated March 23.

“Based on the argument of the plaintiff’s counsel and evidence presented, the Court is persuaded that Plaintiff is likely to succeed on the merits and that injunctive relief is in the public interest,” Snow wrote. The motion still has to be approved by District Judge K. Michael Moore, however.

The motion followed a temporary restraining order, which Snow also supported, that provisionally froze the assets of My7Network and the Bitcoin Funding Team, as well as Thomas Dluca, Louis Gatto, Eric Pinkston and Scott Chandler.

According to the filing, Snow’s report and recommendation followed a public hearing that the defendants did not attend.

The proposed injunction accuses the defendants of acting deceptively, stating:

“Based upon the [evidence] submitted by the FTC, there is good cause to believe that Defendants Dluca, Gatto, Pinkston, and Chandler have engaged in and are likely to engage in acts or practices that violate Section 5(a) of the FTC Act.”

According to the filing, if Judge Moore grants the motion, the defendants will have two weeks from Snow’s report to object. If they do not, they will be unable to appeal the ruling “except upon grounds of plain error if necessary in the interest of justice.”

Because the temporary restraining order would expire before this two-week period ends, it has been extended until April 9 by Judge Moore, court filings show.

The original TRO was granted near the end of February, but its enforcement was not revealed until mid-March.

The full report and recommendation can be found below:

Dluca Et Al Report and Recommendation by CoinDesk on Scribd

Court image via Felix Lipov / Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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US Trade Regulator Shuts Down Crypto Investment Scheme Promoters

A U.S. district court in Florida has issued a temporary restraining order against four individuals accused of operating a string of cryptocurrency investment schemes following a request from the Federal Trade Commission.

The agency announced Friday that three of the four defendants – Thomas Dluca, Louis Gatto, and Eric Pinkston – were involved in two referral schemes, Bitcoin Funding Team and My7Network. A complaint dated February 20 and unsealed today alleged that they promised would-be investors major returns if they made initial payments in cryptocurrency, mentioning bitcoin and litecoin specifically.

“The defendants claimed that Bitcoin Funding Team could turn a payment of the equivalent of just over $100 into $80,000 in monthly income. The FTC alleges, however, that the structure of the schemes ensured that few would benefit. In fact, the majority of participants would fail to recoup their initial investments,” the agency said.

A fourth named defendant, Scott Chandler, was accused of promoting Bitcoin Funding Team as well as another alleged scam called Jetcoin. Like the others, Jetcoin was pitched as a money-making enterprise to investors but failed to yield the promised results prior to its collapse.

According to the FTC, the assets of the four defendants have been frozen pending a formal trial.

“This case shows that scammers always find new ways to market old schemes, which is why the FTC will remain vigilant regardless of the platform – or currency used. The schemes the defendants promoted were designed to enrich those at the top at the expense of everyone else,” Tom Pahl, acting director of the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement.

The full complaint can be found below:

Dluca – Bitcoint Funding Team Complaint by CoinDesk on Scribd

FTC seal image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.