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TD Ameritrade Put An Actual Ad on the Bitcoin Blockchain

TD Ameritrade planted an ASCII flag – that is to say, imprinted an advertisement – on bitcoin’s blockchain earlier this month.

The online broker announced that it sent 68 bitcoin transactions to create a digital flag with its logo on the bitcoin blockchain, in a post published this past weekend.

The company used the OP_Return feature in bitcoin’s protocol to insert the characters, creating 68 invalid transactions as a result. Due to the nature of the blockchain, this flag is now forever preserved on the cryptocurrency’s ledger.

“We love finding new ways to use emerging technology. So we decided to have a little fun and plant our flag. Okay – technically, we embedded it,” the broker said, adding:

“With a part of the blockchain called OP_Return, which functions like the memo space on a check, simple messages and characters can be placed within transactions on the blockchain. By linking 68 individual transactions, with 80 characters per transaction, we were able to create the larger image.”

No bitcoins were actually transferred through these transactions, according to data from Blockchain.info.

OP_Return was first introduced in 2013 as a way for users to include some messages in the blockchain. However, the Bitcoin Core 0.9 release notably stated that developers were not endorsing data storage in the blockchain, saying that “storing arbitrary data in the blockchain is still a bad idea; it is less costly and far more efficient to store non-currency data elsewhere.”

The official bitcoin wiki page notes that OP_Return can be used to convey information.

“We’re proud to be part of it. Forever,” the broker wrote.

TD Ameritrade image via Jonathan Weiss / 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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TD Ameritrade Cites Blockchain Stock Interest in Q1 Results

TD Ameritrade said on Monday that the first quarter of the fiscal year 2018 was a strong one, buoyed in part by interested in stocks related to blockchain.

In announcing the results, the investment services firm said that added $26.5 billion in new client assets, with net revenues of $1.3 billion during the period (driven primarily by assets, according to the post).

In statements, TD Ameritrade CEO Tim Hockey said that the company saw significant trading volumes during the quarter – an average of 726,000 per day – and that this state of affairs was driven in part by interest among investors in stocks tied to the nascent blockchain and cannabis services industries.

“Trading was at record levels, and investor engagement has continued across all client segments as the market reached new highs. Enhanced consumer interest in blockchain and cannabis-related securities drove a further surge in engagement in the final weeks of the quarter, particularly among first-time investors,” Hockey said.

The past few months have seen a range of companies purportedly shift their focus to blockchain – a move that has more often than not been followed by a rise in their public stock prices.

Yet whether this trend will continue remains to be seen. On Monday, the head of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Jay Clayton, revealed that the agency would look into whether companies announcing such moves are adhering to investor disclosure standards.

“The SEC is looking closely at the disclosures of public companies that shift their business models to capitalize on the perceived promise of distributed ledger technology and whether the disclosures comply with the securities laws, particularly in the case of an offering,” Clayton said during an event in Washington, D.C. yesterday.

Image Credit: Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock.com

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is an independent media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. Have breaking news or a story tip to send to our journalists? Contact us at news@coindesk.com.

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Coinbase Taps Former TD Ameritrade Exec for COO Role

Cryptocurrency startup Coinbase has hired a former executive for TD Ameritrade to serve as its new president and chief operating officer (COO).

Asiff Hirji, the startup announced today, is taking a leadership role at Coinbase after helping advise portfolio companies for Andreessen Horowitz, one of its existing investors. The firm led Coinbase’s $25 million funding round back in 2013, with the startup raising more than $200 million in venture capital to date.

Hirji is a notable hire for Coinbase, given the growing profile of its regulated cryptocurrency exchange and a boom in the price of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. He previously held several leadership roles for TD Ameritrade, including chief information officer, working for the brokerage giant in the early 2000s. Per LinkedIn, Hirji has also served in senior roles at TPG Capital and Bain Capital, as well as Saxo Bank and Hewlett-Packard.

“I’m very excited to be a part of the company and look forward to helping realize its full potential,” Hirji said in a statement.

In comments to Fortune, Hirji noted the rise in activity around trading at the startup’s GDAX digital asset exchange, highlighting how the action is being driven by buyers from “the Wall Street crowd.”

“This is no longer a fringe thing just for fan boys,” he told the publication. “The Wall Street crowd and traditional old guard in the financial world are jumping in as well.”

Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which has an ownership stake in Coinbase.

Image Credit: Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock.com

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is an independent media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. Have breaking news or a story tip to send to our journalists? Contact us at news@coindesk.com.