Israeli Investment Firm Launches Crypto Funds

Silver Castle, a digital currency investment house based in Israel, has launched two cryptocurrency-based funds this month.

Firm Offers Asset and Portfolio Management Services

The Middle Eastern nation’s first dedicated crypto investment firm, Silver Castle Ltd., has launched two funds this month. The funds will be offered to institutional and accredited investors.

Despite a bad year for cryptocurrencies, the firm expects to have around $50 million under management by the end of 2018.

According to Bloomberg, there are currently over 370 crypto funds managing around $10 billion in assets.

Eli Mizroch, CEO at Silver Castle, says:

We spent close to a year building robust infrastructure for managing other people’s money at the level of institutional grade with very, very high security.

The firm has some highly credible names from Israel’s financial services industry as part of its team, including Zvi Ziv, former CEO of Bank Hapoalim Ltd., Israel’s largest bank by assets, and Gabriella Ravid, founder and former CEO of Psagot Ofek Investment House, the country’s largest investment fund.


The Country’s Growing Blockchain Eco-System

Silver Castle’s launch was termed “a landmark event for the entire Israeli market” by Gadi Isaev, founding partner of the Israeli Blockchain Association. Isaev also spoke highly of the management team, calling them leaders and pioneers of the Israeli financial industry.

According to Mizroch, the country’s blockchain ecosystem played an essential part in the decision to build the investment business. Blockchain firms in Israel have grown to 129 from a mere 42 back in 2015.

Israel has hosted over 40 initial coin offerings (ICOs) in the last few years, and three of those are among the 20 largest in the world.

Fund Details

The first fund from the firm is both long- and short-momentum driven based on an algorithmic trading system that trades the five largest cryptocurrencies by market capitalization.

Cryptocurrency funds

It is reported that the company first tested the platform in-house and experienced high double-digit returns in dollar terms despite the bear market. The second fund offers a basket of the top 10 assets weighted according to an algorithm that is fully invested and automated. A third token-based fund that invests in ICOs is expected to be launched by the end of the year.

Zvi Ziv notes:

There is a lot of potential in using blockchain, and everything is going to try and move there. I believe herein lies the biggest potential in the financial world.

Israel is making its presence felt in the blockchain space. The country is keeping up its reputation as a start-up nation with a growing number of cryptocurrency firms. This mainly is due to the effective regulations that are in place.

What are your thoughts on the new funds being launched by the Israeli firm? Let us know in the comments below.

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Blockchain Technology to Cut Corruption in the Construction Industry, CEO Says

According to the chief executive of a global design software giant, blockchain-based technology can bring an opportunity to substantially reduce the corruption in the construction industry, while also decreasing the lack of trust between different players.

 ‘Corruption in the Construction Industry is Not Uncommon’

Speaking to journalists at the Autodesk University event held in Las Vegas, Andrew Anagnost, CEO of Autodesk, shared his thoughts on blockchain-based technology and how it could improve the current state of the construction industry. The company is behind one of the most widely used architecture, engineering, and construction software suites.

According to the high-ranked official, the company has already considered the implementation of the technology but it just hasn’t stated it publicly yet.

The CEO also notes that corruption within the industry is fairly common. He holds that the lack of traceability, as well as accountability, is one of the largest causes for said corruption as industry participants just don’t want to be tracked. He notes:

They don’t actually want a clear record of who did what, when and how. It’s going to take a lot of us enforcing this and making it not optional to trace who did what and when. […] I’ve been on construction sites and I’ve been with quality checkers. […] They’re taking pictures and I notice sometimes they log the issue and sometimes they don’t. So I ask them – why didn’t you log that one? ‘Oh, because I know that guy, I’ll go tell him about it.’ So the subcontractor he knows doesn’t get their issues logged, but the subcontractor he doesn’t know gets logged.

Blockchain technology

Hit the Sweet Spot

When it comes to blockchain technology, Anagnost holds that the technology can quickly put an end to all of the above.

While his explanation might have been rather simplified, he outlines:

What is blockchain good at? It’s a distributed, trusted ledger that cannot be altered and allows traceability and accountability. […] A technology like that in an environment like construction where various people involved in the process don’t trust each other is going to find some kind of application.

The construction industry, however, is far from being the only one which can seriously benefit from the implementation of blockchain-based technology.

According to a recent market research, its application in the energy industry is going to grow by 65 percent between 2019 and 2023.

What do you think of blockchain being transformative for the construction industry? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!

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Mining Giant Bitmain Expands to the U.S. State of Washington

The state of Washington in the U.S. appears to be one divided. Some counties have voiced their concern at crypto miners operating in some cities, while one county has welcomed one of the biggest industry names, Bitmain, with open arms.

The lack of clarity regarding industry regulations in the U.S. has resulted in major exchanges like Bitmora and Binance seeking warmer shores to expand their platforms. In addition, authorities in certain regions in the country have publicized their concerns when it comes to cryptocurrency miners moving to their areas, citing an increase in noise pollution and power consumption as reasons for their displeasure.

In fact, Live Bitcoin News recently reported on how certain counties in the state of Washington have put moratoriums in place and have also proposed structures that would require mining operators to pay higher electricity rates. This is why it may come as a bit of a surprise that one location in the state has welcomed a major mining player to set up shop in their county.

One Washington county rolls out the welcome mat for Bitmain.

Washington Welcomes Major Mining Company

According to the NW News Network, a company that is arguably synonymous with crypto mining, Bitmain, has expanded to North America and opened a six-building data center in Douglas County in Washington state. The new center comes in the wake of a slump in interest in the mining industry, something that Bitmain isn’t overly concerned about. Its Director of Operations for North America, Jeff Stearns, explained why:

We’re really focused on the long-term I would say in this bear market situation, and I would call it that at this point in time, that really represents [an] opportunity for a company such as ourselves.

Bitmain team members aren’t the only ones excited about their expansion. Lisa Parks, who is the Port of Douglas County Executive Director, touched on the impact that this new venture could have on the county, saying:

Anytime there is a new industry, it is going to be something that makes people uncomfortable. It is an industry that consumes a lot of power. From our perspective though, we were looking at it as a way in which we can complement and advance our other industries in our community.

Bitmain's Jihan Wu Demoted

Bitmain Keeping Busy

It seems as if Bitmain sees the state of Washington playing a big part in its future plans. The company signed a lease for 10 acres of land in Walla Walla County for the proposed development of another data center. However, the company may let this lease lapse due to the cost of building the center.

Some residents of the county were also against the idea with one referring to crypto mining as “legalized gambling.” In addition, Bitmain purchased a property in Chelan County, which is being used as an electronics repair facility.

The company is also making moves closer to home and is currently in the application process of having its shares listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

What do you think of Bitmain’s expansion to the United States? Let us know in the comments below!

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