In recent SEC filings, a Southern California-based bank known for catering to clients focused on cryptocurrency and related assets, including several leading cryptocurrency exchanges, reported a 122 percent increase in such clients and an 11.4 percent increase in deposits from crypto-focused customers in 2018. Already operating its own proprietary exchange network, the bank is eyeing further growth opportunities in the arena of stablecoins, including working with several stablecoin developers to hold their deposit collateral. This week, cryptocurrency data provider CoinMarketCap's cryptocurrency benchmark indices launched on several leading financial data feeds in the U.S. and Germany, with the goal of promoting greater accessibility to cryptocurrency data. Last week, the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) reiterated its pledge to collaborate with all stakeholders as it works to roll out a new digital asset platform by 2020 – part of a larger three-year strategic plan (2019-2021) aimed at opening new investment opportunities and improving the convenience and speed of the investment experience. Despite cryptocurrency market instability and the lack of FDIC guarantees, customers are reportedly racing to deposit bitcoin and ether into new interest-bearing accounts, offering up to a 6.2 percent annualized return, provided by BlockFi.

With the 74 percent decline in bitcoin value in 2018, the first mainstream exchange to allow people to trade in bitcoin futures announced that it will no longer list bitcoin futures contracts and is reviewing its approach to cryptocurrency derivatives. Seeming to confirm long-standing accusations, a new report released this week by trading analytics platform The Tie estimates that 87 percent of 97 exchanges surveyed reported potentially suspicious trading volume, with 75 percent of those exchanges reporting double their expected trading volume. The Tie estimated expected trading volume of the 100 largest exchanges to equal $2.1 billion, well below the $15.9 billion currently being reported. Japan continues to lead the way in cryptocurrency trading regulations with new rules aimed at the 8.42 trillion-yen ($75.6 billion) margin trading industry. The rules would cap leverage in virtual currency margin trading at two to four times initial deposits and require new government registration for exchanges that handle margin trading.

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