These are stories Report on Business is following Tuesday, July 2, 2013.
Introducing the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust
Remember the Winklevoss twins – collectively known as the Winklevii – of Facebook fame?
If not, here’s a quick recap: Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss accused Mark Zuckerberg of taking their idea and making it into what’s now Facebook when they were students at Harvard. Made famous in the movie The Social Network, they settled a lawsuit and walked away with tens of millions. Then they pumped millions into Bitcoin, the virtual currency, buying about $11-million (U.S.) worth, according to what they told The New York Times.
Oops, that’s about $8-million now.
Now they’ve gone a step further, and are seeking investors (friends?) for their Bitcoin venture.
After markets closed yesterday, they filed documents with U.S. regulators for an initial public offering for what amounts to an exchange-traded fund.
Their plan is to sell about $20-million to the public, with the security worth a bit of a Bitcoin, whose value surged earlier this year before sliding back.
According to the document for the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust, 1 million Winklevoss Bitcoin Shares would be offered at $20.09.
“Currently, there is relatively small use of Bitcoins in the retail and commercial marketplace in comparison to relatively large use by speculators, thus contributing to price volatility that could adversely affect an investment in the shares,” they warn in the document.
“A lack of expansion by Bitcoins into retail and commercial markets, or a contraction of such use, may result in increased volatility or a reduction in the Blended Bitcoin Price, either of which could adversely impact an investment in the shares,” they add.
Shares of Zynga Inc. climbed again today, picking up from yesterday’s gains as chief executive officer Mark Pincus steps aside to make way for a former executive of Microsoft Corp.
Shares of the maker of the FarmVille game are up by about 10 per cent.
The stock gained more than 10 per cent yesterday on word that Don Mattrick, who headed up Microsoft’s Xbox business, would become CEO next week.
Mr. Pincus, the founder of Zynga, remains chairman.
- How Xbox lost its leader: Mattrick lured away to Zynga
- Zynga CEO Mark Pincus steps down, Microsoft executive to take top post
- Zynga fires 18 per cent of its workers
U.S. banks to face Basel III
The Federal Reserve today unveiled a tougher plan for U.S. banks, which will have to meet new global capital requirements early next year.
The global requirements under what is known as the Basel III agreement mean American banks will have to hold a higher minimum ratio of capital to their risk-weighted assets.
The new rules will be phased in.
"This framework requires banking organizations to hold more and higher quality capital, which acts as a financial cushion to absorb losses, while reducing the incentive for firms to take excessive risks," Fed chairman Ben Bernanke said in a statement.
"With these revisions to our capital rules, banking organizations will be better able to withstand periods of financial stress, thus contributing to the overall health of the U.S. economy."
The Canadian dollar sank today, caught up the downdraft of commodity-linked currencies, before recovering somewhat.
The erosion of the Australian dollar, in particular, began to “leak over” to the loonie, as the dollar coin is known, said Mark Chandler of RBC Dominion Securities.
Up until recently, both the Australian and Canadian currencies had been darlings among foreign investors.
And “rightly or wrongly, mostly wrongly,” the loonie tends to get painted with the same brush as the Australian currency, he added.
The dip in the Australian dollar followed a stand-pat decision by the Reserve Bank of Australia today, while the U.S. dollar climbed.
- Kevin Carmichael in Economy Lab: Central banks take shine to Canadian dollar (but they like Australian dollar more)
Streetwise (for subscribers)