3rd-Biggest Thai Bank Teases Tantalizing News for Ripple (XRP) Bulls

By CCN: Siam Commercial Bank, Thailand’s third-largest financial institution, quietly teased some tantalizing news that should kick the Ripple (XRP) rumor mill into high gear.

SCB Thailand Taps Ripple for Blockchain Payments

Already, SCB Thailand launched a blockchain platform that uses the Ripple company’s xCurrent system to facilitate cheaper cross-border money transfers.

Now, the Thai financial institution also hinted that there would be a further announcement about SCB using XRP directly via the xRapid payment system.

Major Thai Bank Could Integrate Ripple Cryptocurrency

Last week, a sharp-sighted Twitter user spotted an update to the bank’s SCB Easy app in the App Store stating that users are now able to send funds abroad “at the cheapest rates via Ripple.”

On May 22, the bank confirmed that they are using blockchain technology for payment transactions via Ripple, but not with the XRP cryptocurrency – yet.

This information suggests that the SCB is currently using Ripple’s xCurrent payment system that facilitates quick, low-cost cross-border transactions for its users.

The xCurrent product serves as an alternative to SWIFT where money transfers are conducted in fiat. On the other hand, xRapid uses XRP crypto tokens to offer on-demand liquidity to make transactions cheaper for enterprise users.

If the SCB does dive headfirst into cryptocurrency transfers, it would be a major bull signal for Ripple (XRP) investors.

SCB Uses Ripple’s ‘Multi-Hop’ Blockchain Feature

While the hint that it will dive headfirst into cryptocurrency is new, SCB has partnered with Ripple for nearly a year as it builds out its blockchain payment system.

According to a Sept. 2018 blog post, SCB was the first bank to use RippleNet’s “multi-hop” feature that allows the Thai bank to “settle frictionless payments on behalf of other financial institutions on the network.”

The multi-hop feature’s main benefit is that financial institutions must no longer maintain a bilateral relationship (a direct one-to-one connection) with each other to settle a payment.

The post explained further:

“Using multi-hop, SCB will be able to receive and forward on a payment without a bilateral relationship between the originator and beneficiary institutions.”

According to Ripple, the multi-hop feature results in cheaper and easier payments.

Banks: The Key to Crypto Adoption?

siam commercial bank, ripple, xrp cryptosiam commercial bank, ripple, xrp crypto

Are institutions like Siam Commercial Bank the key to crypto adoption? | Source: Shutterstock

Ripple continues to onboard financial institutions and payment processors, having recently inked its 200th enterprise client.

Earlier this month, Ripple announced a partnership with Ria Money Transfer, the world’s second largest service provider in the remittance industry with a yearly volume of $40 billion. About that same time, the San Francisco-based blockchain startup scored another partnership with the Saudi British Bank (SABB).

Despite the company’s recent achievements, many in the crypto community dislike Ripple, arguing that its network is centralized and the company stands athwart what Satoshi Nakamoto envisioned when he launched Bitcoin to give control to the users instead of banks.

JPMorgan Forecasts Dismal 1% GDP Growth, Signals Possible Rate Cut

By CCN: The other shoe could be about to drop in the economy. JPMorgan economists in a report predict the second quarter will witness slowed economic growth. They’re expecting U.S. GDP to expand by a measly 1%, lower than their original predictions of 2.25%. During Q1, the economy expanded at a rate of 3.2%.

The economists also analyze the Federal Reserve, marking an equal chance for interest rate hikes as there is for cuts. Originally, JPMorgan economists believed a rate hike would be the next move. Trump has been pushing for an interest rate cut. He recently tweeted:

Should the Fed decide to slash interests, it will be a sign of a weakening economy, according to Morgan Creek Capital Management CEO Mark Yusko in a recent CNBC interview.

3 Biggest Risks Plaguing the U.S. Economy as per JPMorgan

So what was behind JPMorgan’s weak economic growth forecast? Their reasoning was three-pronged, including:

  • Uncertainty stemming from the trade tensions between the U.S. and China
  • “Business sentiment”
  • “Global economic” slowdown

It seems the president’s China tariffs has got everybody down. Most retailers and industries – specifically apparel and footwear – export major items from China, with footwear companies receiving more than 70% of their supplies from the country. The tariffs are shutting the doors to many of these companies’ “old ways” and forcing them to think about American-made products – something that probably hasn’t been on their minds for a while.

Anecdotally, Chris Rupkey, an MUFG Union Bank chief financial economist, suggests to CNBC that CFOs believe the chances of a recession are increasing, which ultimately inspired them to cancel several orders in both March and April. In all, total orders among manufacturers decreased by 2.1% in April.

Sell in May, Go Away

Meanwhile, the economic slowdown that JPMorgan explains is spilling over into the stock market. May is shaping up to be the worst month of the year so far for stocks. The S&P 500 is hovering at approximately 2,800, having revisited January 2018 levels. It is in jeopardy of slipping to the 2,700 level or worse, giving stock market bulls the opportunity to buy the dip if they choose to.

S&P 500 chart S&P 500 chart

The S&P 500 is on track for its most dismal month of the year. | Source: Yahoo Finance

 

Patrick Palfrey, a senior U.S. equities strategist at Credit Suisse, is cited in CNBC as saying  Trump is “looking to make sure his constituents get the best deal possible… He wants to make sure he can deliver it.”

Palfrey also says that while swings may occur as negotiations continue, any drops will probably be viewed as “buying opportunities” rather than pushes to sell. Additional stock purchases can only move the markets higher. China stocks stand to drop as much as U.S. stocks, and Chinese officials will be more eager to make a deal, speeding up the process. This will allow the markets to not only settle quickly but come back bigger, thanks to allegedly higher investor interest.

All three major indexes – the Dow, NASDAQ and S&P 500 – finished the day modestly higher but remain lower for the sixth-straight week.

Regardless of JPMorgan’s diagnosis of gloom and doom, Fundstrat Co-Founder Thomas Lee believes that many S&P 500 companies are insulated from the U.S.-China trade war. As a result, he predicts the S&P 500 will finish the year higher by a double-digit percentage.

Dow Rebounds But Fails to Snap Streak of Brutal Weekly Losses

By CCN: The Dow and broader U.S. stock market rallied on Friday, as investors shrugged off dismal factory data amid hopes that the Trump administration would ease restrictions on Huawei, China’s largest telecommunications company.

Dow Clings to Friday Recovery

All of Wall Street’s major indexes headed for gains in the final session of the week, bouncing back from a brutal Thursday session that saw the Dow drop as much as 448 points. On Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 98.80 points, or 0.4%, to reach 25,589.26. The index opened sharply higher, which reflected a fairly strong pre-session for Dow futures.

Dow Jones Industrial AverageDow Jones Industrial Average

Dow Jones Industrial Average rebounds sharply on Friday but still heads for a fifth straight weekly loss. | Source: Yahoo Finance.

The broad S&P 500 Index of large-cap stocks gained 0.2% to 2,828.50. Nine of 11 primary sectors contributed to the rally, with financials leading the way higher.

Meanwhile, the technology-focused Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.2% to 7,646.52.

Stock Market’s Weekly Losses Mount as Economy Cools

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U.S. durable goods orders declined more than expected in April, with a key gauge of business investment also falling. | Source: Shutterstock

The Dow’s recovery on Friday failed to halt another weekly decline for the benchmark average. The Dow has registered losses in each of the last five weeks and has reversed nearly 1,100 points from its yearly high. An escalating U.S.-China trade war and mixed economic data have undermined the market’s bullish revival in recent weeks.

On Friday, the Department of Commerce said U.S. durable goods orders declined more than expected last month, raising concerns about a broad cooldown in the economy at the start of the second quarter.

Orders for manufactured goods meant to last three years or more plunged 2.1% in April following a downwardly revised gain of 1.7% in March.

Orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft, a key proxy for business spending plans, fell 0.9%, official data showed.

Weak manufacturing data join a slew of other indicators that show the U.S. economy slowing down in the second quarter. Last week, government data showed a small drop in retail sales, an indicator that has slumped in three of the past five months. Housing activity has also cooled, as evidenced by the recent fall in existing and new home sales.

Click here for a real-time Dow Jones Industrial Average price chart.

Avoid These 3 High-Risk Cannabis Stocks Like the Plague

By CCN: Cannabis stocks are all the rage following last year’s explosion in the sector. With legalization gaining steam in both the U.S. and Canada, investors are piling into these companies as if they are going to be the next great money-making scheme.

The problem is most of these stocks aren’t worth real green. They are only worth what the market says they are worth, and that value is going to decline for almost all of them. Only a few may be worth looking at.

These three cannabis stocks, in particular, are sucker’s bets.

Intec Pharma: Cannabis Drug Delivery Fails

Intec Pharma Ltd. (NTEC) is a clinical-stage biotech firm with Accordion Pill Platform Technology. The tech allegedly boosts the effectiveness of drugs by better controlling how they are retained and released in the stomach.

It has two Phase III trials in development, one for Parkinson’s disease symptoms and another for insomnia.

In regards to cannabis, Intec says the Accordion Pill is aimed to deliver:

“…either or both of the primary cannabinoids contained in Cannabis sativa, cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) for various indications including low back pain, neuropathic pain and fibromyalgia.”

The delivery system failed its study, however.

The reason to stay far away from NTEC stock is that its success is entirely tied to the Phase III trials of its non-cannabis drugs.

About 90% of all drug trials fail at some point in the process, and its cannabis development program just tanked.

This means NTEC stock is not supported by either revenue or earnings. So a savvy investor will ask whether Intec will even be able to stay in operation until finishing trials.

Even if it does, but the drugs fail, the NTEC stock goes to zero. Plus, what happens if there are government policy changes?

This cannabis stock is valued at $171 million, so be mindful that NTEC is purely speculative.

GBLX Stock: A Penny Stock Worth Pennies

GB Sciences (GBLX) is a penny stock that cultivates and dispenses medical and recreational cannabis in Nevada.

GBLX also derives extracts and oils from cannabis plants and distributes cannabis-infused coffees and teas.

GBLX stock actually does have revenue — $3.6 million over the past 12 months. Yet GBLX is undone by expenses, which has resulted in a $28 million net loss over the same period. GBLX stock is thus valued at an outrageous price of 10 times revenue.

The major reason to stay away from this cannabis stock, though, is that it doesn’t do anything special. It is not the only game in town as far as selling cannabis products. With ongoing legalization in both the US and Canada, more and more companies will be vying for the market.

That means cannabis products will become the bane of all markets: commodities.

GB Sciences GB Sciences

Shares are down 1.5% today. | Source: Yahoo Finance

SPRWF: Stay Away from This Cannabis Stock

Supreme Cannabis Company (SPRWF) is a Canadian play that distributes “consumer-centric proprietary Cannabis plant products.”

SPRWF stock is prone to the same problem that GBLX stock is: commoditization. It sells consumer products directly to middlemen. There will be no winners in this market, just non-losers.

Amazingly, SPRWF stock is supported by real revenue, to the tune of about $24 million over the past 12 months.  However, SPRWF generated a $14 million net loss over the same period, and the market still values SPRWF stock at $384 million, or 16 times revenue.

If one thinks GBLX is outrageously priced at 10 times revenue, SPRWF stock is even more foolishly overpriced.

Supreme Cannabis stockSupreme Cannabis stock

Shares are up 2% today. | Source: Yahoo Finance

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not represent those of, nor should they be attributed to, CCN.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not represent those of, nor should they be attributed to, CCN.

Bitcoin Bernie: Mike Novogratz Calls for Radical Weath Redistribution

By CCN: These days, billionaire hedge fund titan Mike Novogratz is known more for his rabid Bitcoin pumping than his Wall Street wizardry. However, in a new CNBC interview, he channeled his inner Bernie Sanders to champion another of his passions: wealth redistribution.

Novogratz, Bernie, & AOC Find Surprising Common Ground

During an appearance on Squawk Box today, Novogratz commented on America’s income equality gap and declared that we need a “redistribution of wealth.”

The Galaxy Digital chief believes that one way to do that is to levy taxes on Wall Street. He echoes sentiments not commonly heard these days among the money-centric investment culture, but rather from leftists like Alexandria Occasio-Cortez, Andrew Yang, and yes, Bernie Sanders.

“I think you need redistribution of wealth, there are a lot of different ways you can do that. I think a Wall Street tax is an interesting one.”

Bernie Sanders, for his part, introduced a bill that would tax stock, bond, and derivatives trades at 0.005% to 0.5%.

Wealthy people are increasingly concerned about the potential powder keg posed by the colossal divide between the rich and the poor. The situation has regressed from a perceived “golden age” in the 1950s and 60s, when upward mobility and middle-class wages were abundant, to an absurd reality where many CEOs earn in a day what their janitors will make in several months.

According to Novogratz, many people who cite conservative economist Milton Friedman forget that he wrote at a time when the wealthy paid far more taxes than they do today.

Under Frank Delano Roosevelt, for example, the top tax bracket was as high as 95%. Until the 1970s, absurdly high taxes were the norm. The Reagan era brought about a reduction in top-tier taxes that has continued through today. It’s no secret that most of our systems are broken, but is “wealth redistribution” an ideal solution?

According to Mike Novogratz, the answer is yes. Just call him the “Bitcoin Bernie.”

Novogratz: Don’t Bet Against Uber or Tesla

elon musk tesla uber dara khosrowshahielon musk tesla uber dara khosrowshahi

Tesla and Uber have each encountered a rough patch, but Novogratz warns investors not to bet against them. | Source: REUTERS / Brendan McDermid (i), Shutterstock (ii). Image Edited by CCN.

Novogratz typically gives his views on a wide range of topics.

In the same appearance, Novogratz said “I wouldn’t short Uber,” and went on to explain that while he’s not currently “excited” by the company, he feels that it has staying power. Like Tesla.

Speaking of Tesla, he discouraged people from betting against the company and its embattled CEO.

“It’s hard to short Elon Musk. Look what he did just last night with SpaceX. […] Tesla, the hard thing is on the financing side, they’re running on that negative. It’s hard to short Elon Musk.”

Tesla has been leading the market in shedding value as investors have shied away from the antics of the wunderkind Musk. Novogratz feels that ultimately, the innovation of projects like SpaceX and Tesla will outweigh the negatives associated with Musk as an individual. Other companies have done well despite the antics of their executives, such as Uber.

He also once again reiterated the “store of value” proposition for Bitcoin, saying that it’s “not going to be a payment currency.”

“Bitcoin is not going to be a payment currency — it’s going to be just like gold. It won that lane.”

Novogratz founded Galaxy Digital, a crypto bank, shortly before the last major bubble burst in Bitcoin.

Bitcoin Data Giant CoinMarketCap Sponsors Major Israeli Football Club

By CCN: Crypto price-tracking website CoinMarketCap is sponsoring the Beitar Jerusalem Football Club, an Israeli soccer team. And Israel’s most famous footballer, Yossi Benayoun, is a bitcoin investor. Benayoun retired from Beitar Jerusalem last month.

Beitar Jerusalem Scores CoinMarketCap Sponsorship

Luke Wagman, the CEO of CoinMarketCap, proudly touted the news on Twitter. A giddy Wagman even suggested that CoinMarketCap’s sporty new uniforms brought Beitar Jerusalem some good luck in a friendly match against Madrid.

“Thrilled to be featured on the Beitar Jerusalem Football Club’s uniforms yesterday in their match versus Atlético Madrid. They won 2-1! It is exciting to see crypto getting more mainstream attention.”

bitcoin giant coinmarketcap sponsors israeli football teambitcoin giant coinmarketcap sponsors israeli football team

Crypto price tracking platform CoinMarketCap is sponsoring the Beitar Jerusalem Football Club. | Source: Luke Wagman/Twitter

Blockchain executive Alexandre Dreyfus congratulated Wagman, saying this is the just the beginning.

Dreyfus tweeted: “Football and crypto 😉 Getting there.”

Soccer Clubs Are Embracing Crypto

The CoinMarketCap sponsorship is the latest example of the incremental merging of the crypto world with sports and pop culture. According to BlockTV, cryptocurrencies are slowly starting to “take over football” (video below).

On the surface, this might sound trivial. However, the implications are unmistakable: The increasing integration of crypto into mainstream culture is a sign that virtual currencies like bitcoin aren’t going away.

As CCN reported in July 2018, Gibraltar United became the first football team to pay its players in cryptocurrency. Getting paid in bitcoin is useful for foreign players who struggle to open bank accounts in Gibraltar. It also helps them avoid taxes and fees.

One of the Richest Football Clubs Hops on Bitcoin Bandwagon

Other football teams in Europe have also embraced crypto. In September 2018, French soccer powerhouse Paris Saint-Germain announced plans to launch its own cryptocurrency under a partnership with Malta-based blockchain company Socios.

Paris Saint-Germain is one of the richest football clubs in the world. In 2017, the club paid a record $263 million to recruit Brazilian football star Neymar from Barcelona. That is the most expensive transfer fee in European football history.

Alex Dreyfus, the CEO of Socios and Chiliz, told CCN that he’s bringing other top soccer clubs into the crypto-sphere.

“We are focusing on on-boarding the biggest clubs in Europe. Outside of France, our priority is clubs in the UK, Italy, Spain and Germany.”

Bitcoin Is Gaining Mainstream Traction

In August 2018, Brazilian superstar Ronaldo de Assis Moreira (a.k.a. – Ronaldinho) launched an ambitious crypto project that aims to develop a betting platform and create virtual-reality stadiums that will include a blockchain database of fantasy football teams.

Then, four months later — in December 2018 — Brazilian football club Atletico Mineiro hopped on the crypto bandwagon when it announced plans to create a token for fans called “Galo Coins.”

Obviously, not all of these projects will succeed. But the fact that marquee stars in soccer — the most popular sport in the world, with 4 billion fans — are taking notice is a bullish sign for the industry.

And last week, the crypto community scored a major PR victory when it won mainstream media attention on the hit CBS News show “60 Minutes.” Being spotlighted on the popular news magazine program was a watershed moment for the budding ecosystem.

For reference, viewership for the May 12 episode of “60 Minutes” totaled 7.9 million.

By comparison, the May 19 bitcoin-focused episode scored 8.2 million total viewers. That’s a 14.29% ratings spike, courtesy of the “crypto bump.”

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The bitcoin-centric episode of “60 Minutes” that aired May 19, 2019, notched 8.2 million viewers. | Source: Nielsen Ratings

Tesla Slashes Toilet Paper Usage as Stock Swirls in Crapper

By CCN: Tesla’s extreme cost-cutting measures have hit Tesla employees where the sun don’t shine. To keep costs low the electric vehicle company is holding back on purchases of new office supplies, including toilet paper for employee bathrooms. Elon Musk did mention this week that the budget cuts would be “quite hardcore.”

Tesla Employees Bring Their Own Toilet Paper to Cut Costs

Tesla CEO Elon Musk Smoking PotTesla CEO Elon Musk Smoking Pot

Elon Musk did warn employees to be prepared for some “hardcore” cost-cutting measures. | Source: Joe Rogan Experience / YouTube

Elon Musk wasn’t joking. Sources told Electrek that several facilities have drastically cut back toilet paper purchases, leading some employees to start bringing their own to the office:

“Sources familiar with the matter told Electrek that teams at several Tesla facilities are going to some extremes in attempts to cut costs, including skipping on ordering office supplies – even toilet paper.”

“A source even said that some employees are bringing toilet paper from home to the office in an attempt to reduce their overhead.”

Such cost-cutting measures follow Musk’s May 16 letter emphasizing the urgency of a drastic pullback on spending. He said in the letter that two people — he and Tesla’s new Chief Financial Officer, Zach Kirkhorn — must sign off on every penny the automaker spends to control costs.

Musk said:

“As mentioned at the company talk, it is extremely important that we examine every expenditure at Tesla no matter how small, and be sure that it is critical.”

“When making hundreds of thousands of cars, battery packs and solar systems, even a ten cent savings could be worth over $50,000 a year.”

Sorry Elaine, But Elon Musk Can’t Spare a Square

The bizarre lengths to which some Tesla employees appear to be going to cut cost brings to mind a hilarious Seinfeld episode.

Sorry Elaine, but Elon Musk can’t spare a square.

Even with a massive capital infusion of $2.35 billion for Tesla stock and junk bonds this month, Tesla has less than a year before it runs out of cash.

But cutting out toilet paper might be a bit on the melodramatic side. It does show the company is taking its debts and its cash flow situation seriously.

Still, the no toilet paper policy, however widespread, might be a more of a show for investors than a serious approach to tackling Tesla’s financial woes.

Tesla’s Flushing Investor Cash into R&D, Not T.P.

Tesla stock price chartTesla stock price chart

Toilet paper regulation makes sense, given that Tesla stock is sitting in the crapper. On the other hand, the cutbacks allow the company to flush investor cash into R&D. | Source: Yahoo Finance

It’s not toilet paper that Tesla’s burning through, it’s dollars for research and development into the transportation and electrical technologies of the future.

As well as servicing the interest payments and playing catch up with the massive amount debt Tesla has already stacked.

This is where all that investor cash is going:

“Tesla currently makes three vehicles: the Model S sedan, the Model X SUV, and the Model 3 sedan. In the next year or so, it wants to start building the Model Y, a compact SUV. It also has a pickup truck, a new Roadster sports car, and a semi truck on the drawing board. The pickup could cost a billion to develop. The Roadster might be cheaper, so call it half a billion. The semi could be a billion or more.”

Elon Musk’s grand strategy is to keep raising and spending on research and development to remain the market leader on product offerings and innovative technologies in its industry.

But if the electric automaker can’t even spare its employees some basic creature comforts, maybe Tesla needs to slow down and consolidate.

This FANG Stock Could Benefit from Teslas Pain in Autonomous Car Wars

By CCN: Now that the battery on Tesla’s stock is running on empty, investors might want to consider other options. Alphabet (GOOGL), which is the parent company of Google, could get a boost from Waymo, the search giant’s autonomous vehicle subsidiary. On CNBC’s Fast Money, Guy Adami gave the bullish case for Alphabet’s stock, saying:

“Tesla’s woes, Waymo’s gains. Tesla’s in the autonomous industry. You know what? Maybe they’re not as close as we think.”

To audible laughter in the studio background, Adami punned:

“Maybe Waymo is way-mo–closer than everyone else. I think people are underestimating the value of Waymo. Don’t sleep on Waymo.”

He went on to predict that GOOGL stock could trade as high as $1,300 and higher compared to its current level of $1,146. This is considering that “Google gets its act together” in the next quarterly earnings report, which Adami fully expects it will.

Waymo Doesn’t Mind Being Boring

Autonomous vehicles represent a technology that’s vitally important to human safety.

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Tesla vs Waymo compared on real miles logged by their respective autonomous vehicles. | Source: ARK Invest

Waymo expects a more measured approach vs. competitors will create better products and inspire more consumer confidence. Uber is charging forward with its development, and Tesla’s Elon Musk has characteristically set incredibly high timeframe expectations to roll out self-driving cars to consumers.

Last month, Musk claimed Tesla will bring a fully autonomous vehicle into mass production within two years. Other experts in the industry balked at the claim.

Brad Templeton, an early advisor to Google’s self-driving car division, told Forbes:

“Tesla Autopilot is not yet even close to where Waymo was six years ago, and while Waymo has launched a simple ride-hailing network, it still has safety drivers along for the ride most of the time. For Tesla to reach that level in such a short time would be a remarkable achievement.”

By contrast to the flashier, more boastful approach of its peers, Waymo doesn’t mind being boring.

Alphabet’s Stock Price Is At Key Support

After this month’s 50% adjustment to Alphabet’s 2019 gains (a 10% drop in the price since April 29th), the price is at a key level of support. | Source: TradingView

Adami isn’t just excited about Waymo’s prospects in the self-driving car business. He also sees a bargain buy in Alphabet’s stock, saying on CNBC to buy the dip. Alphabet’s absolute war chest of cash on hand is one reason for his bullish take:

“They have a huge cash hoard. Depending on the metrics you use, might even be better than Apple’s. I think they have $168 billion in cash. I think that comes out to about $160 a share. That is significant. Now they have been penalized for it because they haven’t put it to use. But guess what, it’s going to be a positive for them.”

The cash situation is a stark contrast to the heavily leveraged Tesla.

Border Patrol Agent Accused Of Sexually Assaulting Multiple Women Over 7 Years

An Arizona Border Patrol agent is accused of sexually assaulting at least three women during his seven-year tenure with the government’s Customs and Border Protection agency. 

Steven Charles Holmes, 33, was arrested on Tuesday after a woman reported that the Border Patrol agent sexually assaulted her after the two met on an online dating app and went on a date. The Tucson Police Department told HuffPost that the investigation into Holmes “uncovered multiple victims with similar reports occurring from January 2012 to January 2019.”

Holmes was arrested on Tuesday and charged with three counts of sexual assault and three counts of aggravated assault. He was booked into Pima County Jail and is being held on $25,000 cash bond. 

Steven Charles Holmes' mug shot after being arrested on Tuesday.



Steven Charles Holmes’ mug shot after being arrested on Tuesday.

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesperson told HuffPost that Holmes has been with Border Patrol for seven years. 

“The U.S. Border Patrol stresses honor and integrity in every aspect of its mission,” the spokesperson said. “We do not tolerate misconduct on, or off duty, and will fully cooperate with all investigations of alleged misconduct by our personnel.”

Holmes has been placed on administrative duties pending the outcome of the Tucson Police Department’s investigation.

Binance, in One-Two Punch to Rival Exchanges, Readies Margin Trading

By CCN: Cryptocurrency exchange Binance has given followers a peek into its margin trading screen, and its native cryptocurrency BNB surged as much as 10% in response. Speculation about Binance’s expansion into margin trading has been swirling for a while.

True to the company’s style, they took to Twitter to reveal a screenshot of the upcoming margin trading user interface, posing the question to followers: “Dark mode or Light mode?” According to a report in TechCrunch, the new feature will be rolled out “soon.” With the screenshot comes a warning that while margin trading can deliver “higher profits,” there are also “greater risks.”

Investors Celebrate Binance Coin (BNB)

That’s the beauty of being a decentralized company. You can tease major announcements like this without any regulatory backlash because BNB is a utility token and not a security.

Binance Coin (BNB) soared roughly 10% on the heels of the development while the broader crypto market also trades in the green. The seventh-biggest cryptocurrency by market cap has shown resilience to the exchange’s $40 million bitcoin hack and is trading at a fresh high of more than $30.

BNB chart BNB chart

BNB is trading at a fresh high in 2019. | Source: CoinMarketCap

Until now, Arthur Hayes’ BitMEX has been ruling the roost on bitcoin margin trading. Earlier this month, Hayes tweeted that the exchange set a record with trading volume of $10.03 billion over a 24-hour period, thanking both volatility and “wonderful traders.” Not to be outdone, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao is looking to capture some of that market share.

Meanwhile, popular U.S.-based crypto exchange Coinbase is also exploring the possibility of adding margin trading to the platform for individual investors. Coinbase reportedly already supports margin trading for institutional investors for up to three-times leverage. Nothing could put a fire under the feet of CEO Brian Armstrong to expand to this feature individual investors like one of his company’s chief rivals, Binance, doing it first.

While the details of Binance’s margin trading business are scant, it has the potential to usher in more sophisticated traders to the crypto trading space – possibly to more jurisdictions. According to BitMEX’s website:

“Persons that are located in or a resident of the United States of America or Québec (Canada) are prohibited from holding positions or entering into contracts at BitMEX.”

Given the slow pace that a crypto regulatory framework is unfolding in the U.S., it’s unclear if Binance plans to support margin trading here.

Binance Presses On

The remarkable thing about Binance making a margin trading push is that it is so soon on the heels of the recent bitcoin hack. Granted, the 7,000 bitcoins or so lost were only a small percentage of the company’s BTC holdings. Nonetheless, it was a major blow that could have ended in one of two ways – crippling the exchange and CZ or propelling them further. Binance is nothing if not an example of how to press forward in the midst of adversity.

Disclaimer: CCN reached out to Binance via email but did not receive a response in time for publication. This story will be updated when we do.