Grayscale Says It Raised a Record $500M in First Quarter

The New York-based firm raised something like $600 million across the whole of 2019. With Thursday’s report showing the company raising more than $500 million in Q1, it’s likely 2020 inflows will exceed the year before.

In a record first quarter, Grayscale reports that many institutional investors took advantage of market turbulence to increase their exposure to cryptocurrencies.

The crypto-focused investment firm raised a total of $503.7 million in Q1 2020, nearly double the previous quarterly high of $254.8 million reached in Q3 2019. While bitcoin-weighted trusts continue to be the company’s most popular product, the report noted that ether trusts also received record inflows in the same quarter as investors added multiple Grayscale products to their portfolios.

Grayscale also reported that inflows surpassed $1 billion over a 12-month period, the company’s first billion-dollar year. This takes the total value of Grayscale’s assets under management (AUM) to $2.2 billion.

The lion’s share of demand came from institutional investors, who made up 88 percent of total investments in the quarter. Digging deeper into the weeds, Grayscale said the overwhelming majority of these institutional clients were hedge funds.

Grayscale said clients had seized the opportunity of increased volatility over the quarter to increase their exposure to its products, particularly when crypto prices have sharply declined. The evidence suggests that even in a risk-off climate, investors “are increasing their digital asset exposure at current levels,” the report reads.

Colorado Startups Have Raised $50M in Venture Capital

DENVER – Colorado Gov. Jared Polis sat down with CoinDesk at ETHDenver, the third edition of the ethereum hackathon in the Mile High City.

A digital native noted for launching multiple internet enterprises, Polis led the charge for bitcoin and other digital assets in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2009 to 2019.

“Colorado is the center of the blockchain economy. We’ve attracted over $50 million in venture capital for blockchain startups,” he said.

He’s excited to back in the driver’s seat on a regional level. Working in the federal government, he said, was frustrating.

“Advocating at the national level, you can do a lot and a lot can only be done there, but it moves like molasses. You can spend years working on one thing and maybe eight years later it gets done,” he said. “As Governor, we can move fast, but we can only do what we are allowed to do.”

Now, as Colorado’s 43rd governor, Polis has signed into law the Digital Tokens Act last fall which defined the taxonomy around utility tokens, clearing initial coin offerings from scrutiny by the state’s securities and exchange commission.

Speaking with CoinDesk, Polis said Colorado has established itself as a hub for digital innovation through its legislation. The Blockchain Council and Governor’s Office of Information Technology even rolled out a blockchain-based ID system last October.

Moving from federal-level politics back to the state level, Polis said his office remains available for providing information and opinions for federal regulators. The buck, however, stops at the federal level though, he said.

Google Profits off Impersonations of Banned Cryptocurrency Celebs and Companies

Cryptocurrency companies are banned on Google but the platform is allowing phishing sites to impersonate them. London-based bitcoin exchange Coin Corner showed that a fraudulent site mimicking it is allowed on Google’s advertising platform though its own evidence-backed appeals of legitimacy to Google Ads have been constantly ignored.

Coin Corner marketing manager Molly Spiers says the policy is exposing customers to fraud. “So @GoogleAds won’t allow @CoinCorner – a long-standing, legitimate business – on their platform, but will allow phishing companies? Pay attention @Google!” she tweeted on April 30.

Spiers shared a screenshot showing a Google advert that promotes www.coincornerr.com, an apparent phishing site that impersonates the Coin Corner website. The acceptance of the scam site by Google Ads enables it to come up higher on Google Search. She points out:

With Google’s stance on #Bitcoin and #cryptocurrency advertising, any adverts that contain crypto-related keywords are going to be automatically disapproved, so it looks like they have copied our text but removed all references to bitcoin in order to get around Google’s algorithms.

In 2018, Google banned cryptocurrency ads supposedly to protect users from scams but partially lifted the ban to allow regulated exchanges in the U.S and Japan to advertise. The continuing embargo on crypto companies outside the exempted territories, however, is not serving its purpose as phishing sites are allowed while appeals from regulated companies are disregarded.

Coin Corner has been in business for six years and is registered with the British authority, the exchange’s CEO, Danny Scott, commented in Spiers’ thread. The company has contacted Google a number of times to ask for exemption in the UK to no avail.

Scott said Coin Corner reported the scam site to Google but it has not been removed from search results. Google has previously continued to run adverts from phishing sites even after they are exposed.

In a related episode of policy inconsistency, Google’s sister platform, Youtube, recently took down Ripple CTO David Schwartz’s videos, claiming that they are impersonations. You Tube is currently facing a Ripple lawsuit for not doing enough to protect users from giveaway scams.

The Alphabet-owned platforms need to update their policies and technologies to stop promoting fraudulent initiatives while censoring legitimate businesses and exposing consumers to scams.

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