Monthly Archives: September 2018

NFL Sunday Week 4: New York Giants vs. New Orleans Saints

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In what promises to be a high-scoring affair in Week 4, the New York Giants will play host to the New Orleans Saints. The Saints are listed as 3.5-point favorites on the road with an over/under of 52 points, which is quite high for an NFL game.

The Giants enter Week 4 1-2 after picking up their first win of the season last week against the Texans. They might have saved their season with that win, as they avoided falling to 0-3, but the Giants may be equally desperate for a win this week. After playing the Saints, New York’s next three games are against the Panthers, Eagles, and Falcons, so dropping to 1-3 with that schedule ahead of them could also doom their chances of competing for a playoff spot this year.

The Saints, meanwhile, are in a little better shape at 2-1, but it hasn’t been pretty. New Orleans lost a shootout against Tampa Bay in Week 1 before being fortunate to survive a game against the Browns in Week 2. Last week, the Saints were forced to come back late and ultimately beat the Falcons in overtime. The Saints are notorious slow starters, so they should be fortunate to be 2-1 because they’re a couple plays away from being 0-3.

Maybe Put in a Little Effort

The New Orleans defense ranks dead last in the NFL in defense. The Saints are giving up more than 34 points per game, even though they held the Browns to just 18 points a couple weeks ago. Surely, that’s something the Giants will hope to exploit this week.

Of course, one major problem the Giants have had this season is their offensive line. A weak offensive line continues to hold them back, as it has in recent seasons as well. The silver lining is that New Orleans doesn’t have a great pass rush outside of Cameron Jordan, who has four of the team’s six sacks this season. If the Giants can contain Jordan and give Eli Manning time in the pocket, the Giants are potentially explosive offensively with playmakers like Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard, and Saquon Barkley.

Can You Stop It?

While the Saints have been dreadful on defense this season, the New Orleans offense has been close to unstoppable early in the year. With Mark Ingram still suspended, the running game has been lacking, but Drew Brees has been at the top of his game. Brees is completing over 80% of his passes with eight touchdowns and no interceptions through the first three games of the season.

It’s safe to say that the Giants haven’t seen an offense this dangerous and explosive this season. Facing Houston’s defense last week may have given them a sneak peek of what it’ll be like to face the Saints. The Giants actually managed to keep the Texans under wraps until the 4th quarter, although that will be tough to replicate against the Saints.

Who Do You Trust?

As explosive as the Saints have been this season, it’s also been tough to trust their defense. Even with a weak offensive line, the Giants should be able to keep up with the New Orleans offense. With the spread greater than a field goal, bet on the Giants +3.5 to keep pace with the Saints and perhaps get a win at home.

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MLB: Regular Season Comes to a Close; Postseason Set to Begin

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Well, here we are, the last weekend of the Major League Baseball regular season. Of course, there are still a few playoff spots up for grabs and plenty of intriguing storylines to follow. Let’s get caught up on everything you need to know about the final weekend of the season.

No Place for That

Sadly, we have to begin with the news about Cubs shortstop Addison Russell, who’s currently on administrative leave because of allegations of domestic abuse. His now ex-wife Melisa published a blog article last week detailing some of the abuse she suffered while they were married. MLB actually had an ongoing investigation dating back to the summer of 2017 when a friend of Melisa’s intimated on an Instagram post that Russell had abused her. Nothing came of it because Melisa declined to participate.

However, it seems she is now ready to cooperate with MLB’s investigation. Russell’s stay on administrative leave has been extended through the end of the regular season, although it would be shocking to see the Cubs activate him for the postseason.

Seems We Have An Opening

There are two teams that created a managerial vacancy over the past week. Oddly enough, both seem somewhat amicable. First, the Rangers fired Jeff Banister after four seasons. Banister led the Rangers to AL West titles in 2015 and 2016, but things have not gone quite as well the past two seasons. The Rangers are apparently looking for a “different voice” as they move toward a rebuilding phase.

The Blue Jays will also be looking for a new manager after announcing a mutual breakup with John Gibbons, who took Toronto to the ALCS in both 2015 and 2016. Gibbons was not fired nor did he resign. Instead, both sides mutually agreed to move on from one another. The Blue Jays are also heading toward a major rebuild. However, they have one of the best farm systems in baseball, so things look quite promising for them in 2020 or 2021.

Yes In Didi

The Yankees got a scare last weekend when shortstop Didi Gregorius tore some cartilage in his wrist while sliding headfirst into home plate. His status for the end of the season and the postseason was in question. However, Gregorius received a cortisone shot and was able to return to the lineup Friday night. As long as he can avoid a setback and deal with a little bit of pain, Gregorius should be fine for next week’s Wild Card Playoff against Oakland, which is a huge sigh of relief for the Yankees.

Up in the Air

The Braves are unsure if shortstop Dansby Swanson will be with them when they begin the NLDS next week. Swanson left a game earlier this week with a hand injury. He was subsequently diagnosed with a partially torn ligament in his left hand.

As of Friday night, the Braves were pleased with his progress in just a few days. However, Swanson is not yet out of the woods. He’s likely to take batting practice on Monday or Tuesday, and that will go a long way toward determining if he’s ready to play in Game 1 of the NLDS next Thursday. If Swanson can’t make it back for the postseason, utility man Charlie Culberson will continue to fill in for him as Atlanta’s shortstop.

Only Half a Player

The Angels officially announced this week that two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani will undergo Tommy John surgery next week. The surgery will likely keep Ohtani from pitching at all in 2019. However, he’s confident that his elbow rehab won’t prevent him from serving as a DH next year. After hitting .280 with 21 home runs in less than 350 plate appearances this year, Ohtani could be a difference maker as a full-time DH next season. The only caveat is that it would force Albert Pujols to spend more time playing first base since Ohtani wouldn’t be able to play the field.

Everything is Wild

Aside from the Braves clinching the NL East, nothing about the National League playoffs is set in stone just yet, making for a crazy weekend. The Cubs, Brewers, and Rockies have all clinched a playoff birth but not their division. Chicago is a game up on Milwaukee with two games to play while the Rockies lead the Dodgers by a game with two games left to play. Meanwhile, the Dodgers are two games up on the Cardinals with two games to play, so they still need another win to secure a wild-card spot.

Meanwhile, it’s possible that both the NL Central and NL West could require a one-game playoff to determine the division winner if the two teams in contention finish with the same record. The winner of such a game would claim the division while the loser would then play in the official Wild Card Game. Also, if the Cardinals force a tie with the Dodgers, those teams would require a one-game playoff to determine the second wild-card spot. Confused? Don’t worry, it’ll all get decided on the field.

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Sunday NFL Week 4: Seattle Seahawks vs. Arizona Cardinals

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The Seattle Seahawks and the Arizona Cardinals will face off on Sunday in a huge NFC West battle. With both teams struggling to open up the year, the loser in this one will be at a huge disadvantage to make the playoffs. The Cardinals have opened the year and have looked like one of the worst teams in the NFL after losing their first three games by a combined score of 74-20.

The Seahawks lost their first two games in close fashion falling to the Broncos by three and the Bears by seven. Last week they took down the Cowboys 24-13. There is definitely potential here for the Seahawks to make the playoffs but a loss could take them out of contention in a very tight NFC race. The Cardinals will all be but eliminated with a loss. The Seahawks come into this game as three-point favorites.

Carroll Looking to Fight Back

The Seahawks have underperformed to their expectations thus far this year. A win in this game would help them get back on track but a loss may spell trouble since the Cardinals are one of the worst teams in the league. Russell Wilson has led the Seahawks passing attack and hasn’t been that bad this year.

Wilson has thrown for 716 yards on 57-of-96 passing. He has found the end zone seven times and has thrown three interceptions. The leading receiver for the Seahawks has been Tyler Lockett. Lockett has caught 12 balls this year for 196 yards. He has scored three touchdowns so far this year. Chris Carson has carried the load in the running game gaining 177 yards and scoring one touchdown.

Even though the Seahawks have lost two games and only won one, they still score more points than they allow. The Seahawks defense hasn’t been that good this year though as they have allowed 365 yards a game. They aren’t very good at containing the run as they have allowed 398 yards on the ground. A big game is needed from them this weekend.

New Quarterback for Arizona

The Cardinals are going to come in to this game and view it as a must win. They have been pretty bad all year and a lot of that stems on the play of their quarterbacks. Sam Bradford was signed as a free agent in the offseason and he has already lost his starting role to rookie Josh Rosen.

Bradford started the first three games and was 50-of-80 throwing the ball. He passed for 400 yards and threw two touchdowns but also threw four interceptions. Rosen came in and relieved him late in the last game and finished throwing the ball for 36 yards and one interception. The struggles for the Cardinals stray over into the running game as well as David Johnson has only run for 116 yards and a score.

The defense also hasn’t been doing the team any favors allowing 1177 yards this year which is eighth worst in the NFL. The offense is dead last in every main category including total yardage, passing yards, rushing yards, and scoring.

Seattle Wins over Arizona

This is a must win for the Seahawks if they want to have a shot at the playoffs. In an NFC race that is going to be really close down the stretch, every game matters. The Seahawks should be able to go on the road and take down a struggling Cardinals team. They will put pressure on the rookie quarterback and force him to make throws down the field which is something that Rosen hasn’t shown that he is able to do yet. We would take the Seahawks to win and cover.

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Saturday Day Baseball: St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs

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With only two days left in the regular season, the National League has so many moving parts as to how the postseason will officially take shape. The Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers are in the playoffs, but as a division winner or as a wild card team?

The Rockies are also in, but could be facing the same question while the Dodgers currently hold the second wild card spot, but could inevitably end up as a division winner, a wild card spot or out of the playoffs all together. The Cardinals are currently on the outside looking in, but could ultimately make it in if the next two days play out the right way.

With so much variance, it will make for a very exciting couple days. That excitement finds its way to Chicago on Saturday when the Cardinals (87-73) travel to Wrigley Field to take on the Cubs (94-66). With every game being crucial, the Cardinals will look to Miles Mikolas (17-4, 2.94 ERA) to take the mound against the Cubs’ Cole Hamels (9-11, 3.87 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 pm ET.

The moneyline for Saturday’s game is set at the St. Louis Cardinals +130 and the Chicago Cubs -150.

Cardinals Hope To Keep Playoff Chances Alive

The Cardinals have lost four games in a row and, as a result, have gone from a wild card team to being out of the playoffs (if the season ended today). Hoping to keep their chances alive, the Cards will look to Miles Mikolas. The righty is 17-4 with a 2.94 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and opponents are hitting .247 against him this season. In 192.2 innings, he has 140 strikeouts, 29 walks and has allowed 16 home runs. He has actually won four games in a row, including a 9-2 win over the Giants in his last game, one where he went 7 innings, giving up 1 earned run and striking out 8.

Offensively, the Cardinals will look to Marcell Ozuna to hopefully stay hot. In his last 30 days, he is hitting .309/.359/.564 with a .923 OPS. In that stretch he has 7 home runs, 19 runs batted in and has scored 17 runs. Also good news for Ozuna, he has had success against Cole Hamels in his career. In 29 at bats, the outfielder is hitting .276 with 3 home runs and 5 runs batted in.

Cubs Want To Put Division Away

The Milwaukee Brewers just won’t go away, and with the Brew Crew playing the Detroit Tigers this weekend, the Cubs know they may need to win out in order to secure the division title. To try to take care of Saturday’s game, they will turn to southpaw Cole Hamels.

With the Cubs this season, Hamels is 4-2 with a 2.47 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and opponents are hitting .235 against him. In 69.1 innings with the Cubs, he has 66 strikeouts, 21 walks and has allowed 6 home runs. Both of his losses in a Cubs uniform have come over the last two outings. In those outings, he went a combined 12 innings, giving up 9 runs and striking out 11. The Cubs are hoping he can break his slight skid against the Cardinals on Saturday.

On the offensive side, the Cubs have gotten an MVP-type season out of Javier Baez. On the season, he is hitting .291/.326/.559 with a .885 OPS. He has 34 home runs, 111 runs batted in, scored 98 runs and has 21 stolen bases. If it weren’t for a Milwaukee outfielder named Christian Yelich, he might be the hands-down favorite. For the Cubs, it also helps that Baez has had some success against Mikolas. In 8 at bats Baez is hitting .375 with a home run and 2 runs batted in.

Cardinals Steal One At Wrigley

The Cardinals might not end up making the postseason, but I don’t think they are going to go quietly. Hamels looked amazing in his first several starts for the Cubs, but has shown some kinks in the armor over his last two starts. I think that continues on Saturday and the Cardinals are able to steal one, setting up what would be an amazing day of baseball on Sunday. Especially as the underdog, I am taking the Cardinals in this one at +130.

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Today’s Santa Anita Picks: Awesome Again Stakes Race 11, September 29

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On this first day of the Santa Anita racing season, a interesting matchup faces off in this Awesome Again Grade 1 stakes race. As this is a fresh racetrack that they will be running on today, we need to be open minded regarding a possible track bias, but Santa Anita is the quintessential California track in that it usually pays off to be in the lead.

Interestingly enough, the favorite is always staying a bit behind and his main contender might be able to take advantage of that.

That being said, we are talking about a pretty classic distance and a short field competing for a guaranteed place at the Breeder’s Cup so we can expect a pretty tight bunch throughout.

This Awesome Again stakes pits two dominating racehorses who will face off for the first time but one of the two comes in fresh from a so far disappointing 2018. Can he rebound at interesting odds?

Analysis and picks for the 11th race at Santa Anita on September 29 2018:

Number 1, SHADES OF VICTORY is not picking an easy day to make a bold step up in class. In any graded stakes race, it would be tough to back a horse who ran in a cheap claimer less than 6 months ago but against the two beasts in the outside gates, it just feels impossible. SHADES OF VICTORY might try to spoil the pace, but I doubt he can even do that.

Number 2 ISOTHERM is also taking a step up but at least he has some history in the Graded Stakes class from last year. ISOTHERM manages to win and place in Grade 2 races on the turf but never did so well on dirt and so far in 2018, he has not managed to win at any class level. A couple of strong workouts are good signs, but it looks like ISOTHERM is not hot enough for this race.

Number 3, PRIME ATTRACTION is facing the favorite for the 5th time and he has never finished ahead of him in each of these races. PRIME ATTRACTION is a good horse but just completely outmatched by Accelerate and maybe his owners should find a way outside of these confrontations… PRIME ATTRACTION has a bit of early speed and there is not a ton of pace opposition so maybe he could try to go all the way but considering the past 5th attempts, I don’t think that PRIME ATTRACTION can finish on top today.

Number 4, THE LIEUTENANT is another horse who has been soundly beaten at the class level by today’s favourites, and others. In his last race, he finished 21 lengths behind the winner of that Grade 1, but THE LIEUTENANT managed to get on the podium of multiple lower graded stakes earlier in the year. His come from behind style is not likely to help win this affair but THE LIEUTENANT is more likely to grab a place than other longshots in my view.

Number 5 WEST COAST will be the main hurdle on the way to a win for the favorite. WEST COAST comes back to the American shores after an attempt at the Dubai World Cup where he disappointed with little excuses. You actually have to go back one year to find a winning race for WEST COAST but he did face some of the best since so maybe he can rebound.  His trainer and Jockey are both in tremendous form and WEST COAST has been training well so those are all very good signs. WEST COAST has some early speed and if it happens that the Santa Anita track is speed favoring today he can take them all the way. If the offs are high enough, that might warrant a bet.

Number 6, ACCELERATE has been winning at this class level pretty steadily this year but his record shows that he is not unbeatable, especially not at Santa Anita where he has had more trouble than elsewhere for some reason. Still, ACCELERATE appears to be in tremendous form and comes off a romp of his opposition in his last couple of races. The weather is turning colder though and ACCELERATE has been doing his best running in the sun so that might be another element going against him today, his form cycle might be on the way down. ACCELERATE likes to sit behind the pace and there is not a ton of that today, so he will have to face some pretty fresh horses in the stretch too. Obviously, ACCELERATE is a massive threat but he will go out at tiny odds and I think that there are enough doubts to take a gamble against him.

CONCLUSION:

The likely favorite is likely to win it, but I don’t think that the odds will be in line with the probabilities…

His main opponent, WEST COAST is running fresh, which he likes to do, and his last race was not too bad. He is reunited with his favorite jockey and the trainer is doing very well recently so WEST COAST is probably at his best and can do well at pretty interesting odds.

SEPTEMBER 29 SANTA ANITA RACE 11 BETTING PICKS:

WIN BET at 3-2 or more on Number 5 WEST COAST

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Sports Streaming Service Could Be On The Block After Company Splits

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The decision from Perform Group to split its consumer-facing DAZN streaming business from its largely betting-related content and data supply business could signal the latter unit is up for sale, according to industry sources.

Perform announced the split last week, saying it was forming “two distinct brands” out of its existing lines of business.

The business-to-consumer business, now called DAZN Group, will be led by original Perform founder Simon Denyer and will comprise the on-demand sports streaming business as well as consumer-facing websites Goal.com, SportingNews and Spox.com. These sites will now be more clearly focused on driving traffic to and acquiring subscribers for DAZN.

The remaining business-to-business activity, including sports betting data provider RunningBall and the Watch&Bet streaming arm, will continue under the moniker Perform Content with Ross MacEacharn continuing as chief executive of that business.

Brands will report to the same master

The group said the two brands will be run by separate governance structures but will report to one central board headed by long-term Perform chairman John Skipper.

The entire group is owned by Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries, which also owns Warner Music.

DAZN has to date been launched in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. as well as Japan and Canada. It offers unlimited access to sports coverage for a small monthly fee similar to Netflix and Spotify.

A hint at the main driver for the split came from the public comments of Denyer, who suggested DAZN had displayed “exceptional growth and execution” and that he wished to “focus our efforts around our primary growth engine.”

According to accounts for the year to December 2017 registered with Companies House in the UK, DAZN saw revenues hit £90.8m ($119.4m) while website media revenues fell 7 percent to £58.9m. However, costs associated with DAZN also soared to £114.7m helping to push up operating losses for the group as a whole to £214m from £50.8m.

What elements make up Perform Content?

  • Watch&Bet
  • Watch&Trade
  • RunningBall
  • Opta
  • OmniSport
  • Scout7

The content business, which also includes the Opta sports statistics operation, saw revenues climb 41 percent to £278m ($366m) for the past 12 months.

“It’s an interesting move and very typical,” said Simon French, analyst with Bixteth Partners in the UK. “They have these two parts of the pie and when they were integrated, they were coming out as less than the sum of the parts.”

One industry source added it was “clear that (DAZN) is the major strategic focus now.”

“I would say it’s more likely about growth than value, although the two are linked of course,” the source added. “Clearly, they are seeing this as the growth opportunity.”

Said French: “On DAZN, what’s not to like. It’s a direct-to-consumer, cord-cutting sports-led media play that sounds exciting. Without saying the m-word, it appeals to that elusive, high-disposable income audience. It will generate a lot of interest on the public markets.”

How does this affect Perform Content and DAZN?

What this means for the Perform Content business is less clear, however, with the source suggesting that “one possibility” would be that the unit was now effectively up for sale.

There would certainly likely be a lot of interest in Perform Content given recent corporate activity in the sports data supply sector.

Both Sportradar and Genius Sports were the subject of private equity investment in the summer.

In early July, Sportradar saw the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) and Silicon Valley-based growth equity firm TCV buy stakes in the business which valued the firm at €2.1bn ($2.5bn). Meanwhile, Genius Sports was bought by specialist buyout firm Apax Partners for an undisclosed sum later that month.

Another industry source confirmed the possibility of a sale of Perform Content. “I wouldn’t be surprised if they sell Perform,” they said. “All the money is in the DAZN side of the (business).”

However, whether any of Perform’s rivals would get involved in any deal is more uncertain. Depending on the identity of the buyer, competition concerns would likely be raised in multiple jurisdictions.

French suggested there would be competition concerns if the likes of Sportradar bid for the business. “But the likeliest buyer would be private equity,” he added. “They could back the current management team and plump it up for a float, maybe in the US, in a few years once sports betting has bedded down.”

A fight for rights?

Speaking at the Betting on Sports conference in London last week, Nathan Rothschild, co-founder and partner at the sports data supply business iSport Genius (which recently signed a deal with DraftKings for the supply of a consumer-facing sports data platform), said he could see the appeal of the split.

“There is so much interest in sports data right now, on both sides whether it is B2B or B2C,” he said. “The opening in the US will only fuel both, though right now it is in the supply of data products to US sportsbooks where we see the most interest.”

One big question if Perform Content were to be sold relates to the data and AV rights the combined company has amassed. One way of looking at DAZN is that it is a product of the cast-offs rights from Watch&Bet, consisting of rights to non-domestic leagues and other international rights for the like of the Women’s Tennis Association, NFL and Federation of International Basketball (FIBA).

The company said in its statement that DAZN would “remain the main rights holding company” for the entire group.

The post Sports Streaming Service Could Be On The Block After Company Splits appeared first on Legal Sports Report.

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Daily Sports Tips – NRL Grand Final Day

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Sydney Roosters vs Melbourne Storm
7.20pm AEST

Storm 1-12 @ $2.75

The Roosters have won 10 of their last 14 games at home, however the loss of Cooper Cronk poses a few challenges. On the other side, Billy Slater has been cleared to play, keeping this experienced Storm roster together for one last hurrah. Melbourne have won eight of their 12 games on the road this season, and with the chance to win back-to-back premierships for the first time since the ’93 Broncos, this is the chance for the Storm to etch their name in the record books.

Sydney Roosters vs Melbourne Storm
7.20pm AEST

First Try Scorer: Josh Addo-Carr @ $8.00

Josh Addo-Carr was phenomenal against the Roosters back in Round 16, running for a total of 154-meters. The speedster has been a little quiet in recent weeks though, which means he’s probably due for a big impact on the score-sheet today.

Sydney Roosters vs Melbourne Storm
7.20pm AEST

Clive Churchill: Cameron Smith @ $5.00

Smith was great in front of the posts last week, nailing all five of his set shots in the win over the Sharks. He also nailed 42-tackles, the most of the game. The Storm captain is also set to break Darren Lockyer’s finals record of 35-games played, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see him claim the Churchill Medal on such a big occasion.

The post Daily Sports Tips – NRL Grand Final Day appeared first on Ladbrokes Blog.

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Daily Racing Tips – Underwood Stakes Day Special

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Caulfield – Race 1 1.00pm AEST

No. 3 Holbien

Holbien has recorded four wins from his eight race starts, but he is still an underrated galloper. He has not produced a poor performance during his career to date and he has been very well-placed by trainer Steve Richards. This is another very winnable race for him and the $4.80 currently on offer is over the odds.

Bet Now: Caulfield Race 1

Caulfield – Race 5 3:00pm AEST

No. 2 Booker

Booker won the Thousand Guineas Prelude on this day 12 months ago and she can make a winning return to the races in the Testa Rossa Stakes. She was not disgraced in tough races like the Oakleigh Plate and the Newmarket Handicap during the Autumn and she is a mare that has a strong first-up record.

Bet Now: Caulfield Race 5

Caulfield – Race 6 3.30pm AEST

No. 3 Native Soldier

I am happy to forgive Native Solider for his run in the Danehill Stakes as he really didn’t look to handle the Flemington straight. His performance before that in the McNeil Stakes was nothing short of outstanding and a return to Caulfield should suit. The wide barrier draw isn’t ideal, but he does have early speed and he is still well and truly over the odds.

Bet Now: Caulfield Race 6

Caulfield – Race 7 4.00pm AEST

No. 3 Smart Melody

Smart Melody has done nothing wrong during her racing career to date and there is no reason that she can’t record her fifth win on the trot. Her win in the Cap D’antibes Stakes at Flemington was excellent and the way that she savaged the line in the final stages was particularly impressive. The step-up to 1400 metres shouldn’t be an issue.

Bet Now: Caulfield Race 7

The post Daily Racing Tips – Underwood Stakes Day Special appeared first on Ladbrokes Blog.

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Fidelity Expressing Further Interest in the Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Industry

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Fidelity Investments is a 72-year company with more than $7 trillion in investor’s funds under management, and despite their well-established position within the traditional retail markets, they are incredibly open to nascent technologies, like cryptocurrency and blockchain.

Fidelity’s openness to blossoming new technologies is setting themselves into a unique niche. In certain ways, it is making itself as much of a technology company as they are a finance company, positioning themselves to compete with Silicon Valley giants like Google and Nvidia.

Fidelity Has a Long History of Interest in Revolutionary Technologies

Fidelity’s founder, Edward C. Johnson, ran the company with a simple mantra, frequently quoted telling employees that it is better to “take intelligent risks rather than follow the crowd.”

Fidelity was one of the first financial institutions to purchase and use a super computer in the 1960s and was the first companies to sell investment products through toll-free phone lines in the 1970s.

They also built infrastructure that heavily relied upon early versions of artificial intelligence, using voice-activated computers to run their Fidelity Money Line answering system in the 1980s.

In the 1990s, Fidelity developed a group devoted to testing and researching budding technologies, called the Fidelity Center for Applied Technology (FCAT). This group is essentially a sandbox environment for the company’s employees to test new products without fear of failure or wasting funds.

Fidelity is Expressing Huge Interest in Blockchain and Cryptocurrency

Several years ago, Fidelity placed themselves in a leading position for financial companies in the cryptocurrency industry, taking small, albeit major, steps to understand Bitcoin and the blockchain.

Fidelity’s CEO, Abby Johnson, spoke about the company’s interest in the technology, saying:

“A few plus years ago, myself and a few other senior executives here were just curious about what was going on, particularly with Bitcoin. We started getting together to say, ‘we’ve got to understand this.’”

In order to dip their toe into the water, Fidelity launched a small Bitcoin mining operation, acquiring the cryptocurrency at a rate of $180 per Bitcoin.

Johnson spoke about the results of this test, saying “behold — the price goes up and all the sudden we’re making money, which was never the intent.”

Fidelity’s independent charity arm also saw huge success in accepting Bitcoin for donations, raising over $69 million in Bitcoin donations in 2017, mainly due to the tremendous amount of newfound wealth.

“It worked out because there were so many people, newly incredibly wealthy through Bitcoin, who were looking to become philanthropists. We made it really easy for them,” Johnson explained.

Fidelity Releasing Cryptocurrency Product Possibly “By the End of the Year.”

At a recent event at the company’s Boston headquarters, Johnson teased the release of an upcoming cryptocurrency product, noting that it would likely be released by the end of the year.

Although details surrounding this product are still foggy, Johnson gave the industry a little insight into the mysterious product, saying:

“We’ve got a few things underway, a few things that are partially done but also kind of on the shelf because it’s not really the right time. We hope to have some things to announce by the end of the year.”

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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The Stable Coin Frenzy Continues, Met with Criticism from Experts

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One of the most popular cryptocurrency products being released in 2018 are stable coins, which widely market themselves as having all the benefits of cryptocurrencies, minus the volatility. Despite seeming like a practical product, some critics claim that they pose too many problems to ever be widely adopted.

Controversy Surrounding Tether Sparks Frenzy

The stable coin frenzy first began when investors lost confidence in the ethics and practices surrounding the most widely used stable coin: Tether. In January of this year, reports surfaced claiming that Tether (USDT), was a sham, being used to prop up Bitcoin’s price.

The stable coin, which is supposedly backed 1:1 by U.S. dollars, is a commonly used refuge for cryptocurrency investors looking to escape the constant volatility associated with many cryptocurrencies. It is used as a trading pair on many massive exchanges and allows them to have a dollar substitute without having to subject themselves to the scrutiny and regulations associated with engaging in banking relationships required in order to allow a fiat onramp.

The controversy surrounding this cryptocurrency stems from claims that USDT was being “printed” in order to prop up the cryptocurrency markets, and that there is not an equal amount of USD as there is Tethers.

These fears were perpetuated earlier this year, when the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) sent subpoenas to Tether, causing pervasive fear in the crypto markets, reported CNBC in February. Despite this, there has been no major news since this time regarding Tether, and fears about how they may have manipulated the markets have largely subsided.

Stable Coin Offerings Skyrocket

In response to the tremendous media storm that followed everything happening to Tether, many companies rushed to create alternatives to Tether, and even alternatives to Bitcoin, that provide the benefits of digital currency without the volatility.

Stable coins are in the works from some major companies, including IBM, Circle, Gemini, and more, all with slightly different features that set themselves apart from the rest.

Although the majority of the stable coins are backed by, or denominated in, USD, a U.K. startup recently announced the release of a “crypto pound” that will track the value of the Sterling Pound, reports Business Insider. Much like Tether, the new product will be backed by reserves of U.K. sterling in an auditable bank account.

Another type of stable coin increasing in popularity are ones backed by metals. A Swiss-based asset management firm recently announced that they are releasing a cryptocurrency token – called Tiberius Coin – that is backed by a basket of multiple metals, including Copper, Gold, and Platinum, among others.

This type of stable coin may prove to be more popular to investors over fiat backed ones, mainly because it combines the technology of cryptocurrencies with the backing of physical commodities.

Investors in Tiberius Coin will be able to exchange their tokens for physical commodities, with a minimum exchange rate of $10,000 due to the commodities being held by the ton rather than by grams.

Because many of these stable coins have not yet been released on the markets, it is unclear whether or not exchanges and investors will utilize them, or if they will stick to Tether, who currently dominates the markets.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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