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Alpaca nabs $6M for stocks API so anyone can build a Robinhood

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Stock trading app Robinhood is valued at $7.6 billion, but it only operates in the U.S. Freshly funded fintech startup Alpaca does the dirty work so developers worldwide can launch their own competitors to that investing unicorn. Like the Stripe of stocks, Alpaca’s API handles the banking, security and regulatory complexity, allowing other startups to quickly build brokerage apps on top for free. It has already crossed $1 billion in transactions within a year of launch.

The potential to power the backend of a new generation of fintech apps has attracted a $6 million Series A round for Alpaca led by Spark Capital . Instead of charging developers, Alpaca earns its money through payment for order flow, interest on cash deposits and margin lending, much like Robinhood.

“I want to make sure that people even outside the U.S. have access” to a way of building wealth that’s historically only “available to rich people” Alpaca co-founder and CEO Yoshi Yokokawa tells me.

Alpaca co-founder and CEO Yoshi Yokokawa

Hailing from Japan, Yokokawa followed his friends into the investment banking industry, where he worked at Lehman Brothers until its collapse. After his grandmother got sick, he moved into day-trading for three years and realized “all the broker dealer business tools were pretty bad.” But when he heard of Robinhood in 2013 and saw it actually catering to users’ needs, he thought, “I need to be involved in this new transformation” of fintech.

Yokokawa ended up first building a business selling deep learning AI to banks and trading firms in the foreign exchange market. Watching clients struggle to quickly integrate new technology revealed the lack of available developer tools. By 2017, he was pivoting the business and applying for FINRA approval. Alpaca launched in late 2018, letting developers paste in code to let their users buy and sell securities.

Now international developers and small hedge funds are building atop the Alpaca API so they don’t have to reinvent the underlying infrastructure themselves right away. Alpaca works with clearing broker NTC, and then marks up margin trading while earning interest and payment for order flow. It also offers products like AlpacaForecast, with short-term predictions of stock prices, AlpacaRadar for detecting price swings and its MarketStore financial database server.

AlpacaForecast

The $6 million from Spark Capital, Social Leverage, Portag3, Fathom Capital and Zillionize adds to $5.8 million in previous funding from investors, including Y Combinator. The startup plans to spend the cash on hiring to handle partnerships with bigger businesses, supporting its developer community and ensuring compliance.

One major question is whether fintech businesses that start to grow atop Alpaca and drive its revenues will try to declare independence and later invest in their own technology stack. There’s the additional risk of a security breach that might scare away clients.

Alpaca’s top competitor, Interactive Brokers, offers trading APIs, but other services as well that distract it from fostering a robust developer community, Yokokawa tells me. Alpaca focuses on providing great documentation, open-source contribution and SDKs in different languages that make it more developer-friendly. It will also have to watch out for other fintech services startups like DriveWealth and well-funded Galileo.

There’s a big opportunity to capitalize on the race to integrate stock trading into other finance apps to drive stickiness because it’s a consistent, voluntary behavior rather than a chore or something only done a few times a year. Lender SoFi and point-of-sale system Square both recently became broker dealers as well, and Yokokawa predicts more and more apps will push into the space.

Why would we need so many stock trading apps? “Every single person is involved with money, so the market is huge. Instead of one-player takes all, there will be different players that can all do well,” Yokokawa tells me. “Like banks and investment banks co-exist, it will never be that Bank of America takes 80% of the pie. I think differentiation will be on customer acquisition, and operations management efficiency.”

The co-founder’s biggest concern is keeping up with all the new opportunities in financial services, from cash management and cryptocurrency that Robinhood already deals in, to security token offerings and fractional investing. Yokokawa says, “I need to make sure I’m on top of everything and that we’re executing with the right timing so we don’t lose.”

The CEO hopes that Alpaca will one day power broader access to the U.S. stock market back in Japan, noting that if a modern nation still lags behind in fintech, the rest of the world surely fares even worse. “I want to connect this asset class to as many people as possible on the earth.”

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2019/11/08/alpaca-stock-trading-api/

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Coinbase Custody selected by 21Shares for Bitcoin ETP

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Coinbase

Today we’re proud to announce that 21Shares AG has chosen Coinbase Custody to store its digital assets for its Bitcoin ETP. 21Shares AG is listing its 21Shares Bitcoin ETP (ISIN: CH0454664001 — WKN A2T64E) on the Deutsche Börse’s Xetra electronic venue on Thursday July 2nd 2020. Coinbase Custody will serve as custodian for the underlying assets of their Bitcoin ETP.

21Shares selected Coinbase Custody after reviewing our institutional-grade offline storage solution, which includes world-class security, regulatory compliance and insurance coverage. Coinbase is committed to serving a wide spectrum of institutional clients and we are excited to be the chosen custodian for the 21Shares Bitcoin ETP, Europe’s first physically-backed bitcoin ETP.

Hany Rashwan, CEO at 21Shares AG, says, “21Shares is delighted to bring this historic product to Europe. We are honored to give investors access to the best performing asset class of the last decade and we believe the next ten years as well, through our simple, transparent, and regulated crypto ETP product suite.”

Coinbase Custody is the world’s largest and most trusted crypto custodian. To learn more about Coinbase Custody click here.

Source: https://blog.coinbase.com/coinbase-custody-selected-by-21shares-for-bitcoin-etp-a1b5dd380694?source=rss—-c114225aeaf7—4

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Compound (COMP) is now available on Coinbase Earn

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Coinbase

Earn COMP while learning how to borrow crypto and earn interest with Compound

Coinbase’s mission is to create an open financial system, where anyone in the world can participate on equal terms from their computer or smartphone. To bring this vision to life, we’ll need to make blockchain technology more accessible, both in the sense of making cryptocurrencies easier to obtain and easier to understand.

Coinbase Earn is a trusted source where customers all around the world can educate themselves about new developments in crypto and earn assets as rewards. Starting today, Coinbase customers can start earning Compound (COMP) by watching lessons and completing quizzes about the Compound protocol and its governance token COMP.

Compound (COMP) is an Ethereum token that governs the autonomous Compound protocol. The protocol allows anyone to borrow and lend Ethereum tokens through a decentralized market. Lenders earn interest on the crypto they supply to the protocol and borrowers pay interest to borrow it.

The ability to earn crypto assets has become an increasingly important function in the crypto ecosystem — alongside buying, staking, voting, and mining — especially when paired with education.

Since the launch of Coinbase Earn in 2018, we’ve announced nine different assets, including 0x, Basic Attention Token, Zcash, Stellar Lumens, EOS, Dai, Tezos, Orchid and now Compound. In less than a year, asset issuers offered over $100M in crypto to distribute to our customers, and we have launched Earn internationally. As we expand globally, millions of people are gaining access to a trusted, secure, and legal bridge to the crypto economy — even if they don’t have a credit card or bank account with which to buy crypto.

Check out all Coinbase Earn campaigns through our homepage or access them directly through the Coinbase mobile app.

You can sign up for a Coinbase account here and download the iOS or Android app to start earning crypto today.

Coinbase receives a servicing fee from the participating asset issuer. Consideration for Coinbase Earn is wholly independent of our digital asset framework for new listings. Click here for our Earn FAQ and terms.

Source: https://blog.coinbase.com/compound-comp-is-now-available-on-coinbase-earn-74cb88acbf78?source=rss—-c114225aeaf7—4

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Compound (COMP) is now available on Coinbase

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Coinbase

Starting today, Coinbase supports Compound (COMP) at Coinbase.com and in the Coinbase Android and iOS apps. Coinbase customers can now buy, sell, convert, send, receive, or store COMP. COMP will be available for customers in all Coinbase-supported regions, with the exception of New York state.

Compound (COMP)
Compound (COMP) is an Ethereum token that governs the Compound protocol. The protocol allows anyone to supply or borrow Ethereum tokens through a decentralized market. Suppliers earn interest on the crypto they supply to the protocol and borrowers pay interest to borrow it.

One of the most common requests we hear from customers is to be able to buy and sell more cryptocurrencies on Coinbase. We published a process for listing assets, designed in part to accelerate the addition of more cryptocurrencies. We are also investing in new tools to help people understand and explore cryptocurrencies. We launched informational asset pages (see COMP here), as well as a new section of the Coinbase website to answer common questions about crypto.

You can sign up for a Coinbase account here to buy, sell, convert, send, receive, or store COMP today.

Coinbase owns COMP tokens as a result of a 2018 investment in Compound. Coinbase intends to maintain its investment in Compound for the foreseeable future and maintains internal policies that address the timing of permissible disposition of its digital assets, including COMP tokens.

Source: https://blog.coinbase.com/compound-comp-is-now-available-on-coinbase-de42a317790c?source=rss—-c114225aeaf7—4

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