Direct Vanqex Tue, 21 Jun 2022 15:38:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Direct Vanqex 32 32 Small Business Platform Autobooks Announces $50M Series C Led by Macquarie Capital Principal Finance Tue, 21 Jun 2022 13:11:51 +0000

Autobooks Announces $50 Million Series C

“To retain leadership, banks must leverage legacy merchant services programs to include digital payment acceptance tools that offer self-service integration. Autobooks makes this possible through our payment facilitation model (payfac) , which can be activated in days by industry-leading partners.”

Autobooks, the payments and accounting platform used by more than 800 financial institutions, today announced it has raised $50 million in a Series C funding round led by Macquarie Capital Principal Finance. The round also includes participation from new and existing investors, including: Baird Capital, Commerce Ventures, Draper Triangle, Mission OG and TD Bank (NYSE: TD). Larry Handen, senior managing director of Macquarie Capital, will join the Autobooks board.

“Our investment in Autobooks is a chance to help small businesses across the United States by supporting an exceptional team building an extraordinary product,” said Larry Handen.

Autobooks has become the leading integrated receivables platform for small businesses, enabling digital invoices, payment acceptance and automated accounting directly into online and mobile banking. The company has implemented turnkey integrations with the industry’s leading digital banking providers to deliver essential back-office services to more than one-third of the US market, with no-code deployments. Companies such as Alkami[NASDAQ : ALKT, Bottomline, CSI[OTCMKTS : CSVI, FIS[NYSE : FIS, Jack Henry[NASDAQ : JKHY, NCR[NYSE : NCR & Q2[NYSE : QTWO]have each integrated automatic books into their respective platform(s), making invoicing and accepting payments as ubiquitous as paying bills and capturing deposits remotely.[NASDAQ:ALKTBottomlineCSI[OTCMKTS:CSVIFIS[NYSE:FISJackHenry[NASDAQ:JKHYNCR[NYSE:NCR&Q2[NYSE:QTWOhaveeachembeddedAutobooksintotheirrespectiveplatform(s)makinginvoicing&paymentacceptanceasubiquitousasbillpayandremotedepositcapture[NASDAQ:ALKTBottomlineCSI[OTCMKTS:CSVIFIS[NYSE:FISJackHenry[NASDAQ:JKHYNCR[NYSE:NCR&Q2[NYSE:QTWOhaveeachembeddedAutobooksintotheirrespectiveplatform(s)makinginvoicing&paymentacceptanceasubiquitousasbillpayandremotedepositcapture

“Companies are increasingly looking for simple, bundled solutions to get paid and automate their back office. If the bank can’t deliver these services quickly, companies will go (and have gone) elsewhere,” said Steve Robert , co-founder, and CEO of Autobooks. “To maintain leadership, banks must leverage legacy merchant services programs to include digital payment acceptance tools that offer self-service integration. Autobooks makes this possible through our payment facilitation model ( payfac), which can be activated within days by industry leading partners”.

Autobooks has experienced explosive growth over the past year, with a capital-efficient acquisition strategy. Banking deployments increased by 800% to 840 installations. The increase in deployments has resulted in a 700% increase in adoption by small business customers, totaling over 60,000 businesses on the platform. The company now averages over 10,000 monthly signups and has surpassed $40 billion in transaction volume – helping customers reconcile their bank account(s) with its proprietary GL suite, in order to better manage cash flow and unlock working capital.

Cash flow is the oxygen for a small business. Autobooks helps a business send electronic invoices and provide personalized payment links/landing pages using a direct billing model to allow customers to pay online. In fact, 95% of invoices created with Autobooks are paid within 5 business days, significantly reducing the number of unpaid sales days. Incoming funds are deposited directly into their bank account for immediate use.

Autobooks also helps banks. In a cohort assessment of over 700 businesses using TD Online Accounting (powered by Autobooks) – average customer deposits increased by 65%, while product usage doubled. TD Bank used a product-driven growth strategy, bundling billing into its Simple Business verification product as a standard feature. This allowed the bank to leverage a self-service digital registration for small/micro businesses to stay ahead of the competition. Learn more about TD’s reinvention of small business checks here:


About Autobooks:

Detroit-based Autobooks is a provider of small business banking solutions that facilitate payment, cash flow management and accounting automation. Through Autobooks, financial institutions can deliver essential back-office tools to better serve small and micro businesses, directly within their existing digital banking channels.

For more information, ask your technology provider about Autobooks or visit

About Macquarie Capital:

Macquarie Capital is the principal advisory, capital markets and investment arm of the Macquarie Group. It encompasses corporate advisory, a full range of capital solutions, including capital-raising services from equity, debt and private capital markets and major investments from Macquarie’s balance sheet. Macquarie Capital has deep sector expertise in aerospace, energy, defense and government services, consumer, gaming and leisure, financial institutions, healthcare, industrials , infrastructure, resources, software and services, technology, telecommunications and media. Macquarie Capital Principal Finance, the principal finance and investment arm of Macquarie Capital makes investments from Macquarie’s balance sheet and provides flexible primary finance and secondary market investment solutions for corporate and commercial real estate businesses in North America, Europe and Australasia.

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Deutsche Bank is pushing to speed up $1bn money transfer from 1MDB as PM Najib would issue a press release, ex-banker told court Tue, 21 Jun 2022 07:34:20 +0000

KUALA LUMPUR, June 21 – Finance Ministry-owned 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) quoted then-Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak when urging Deutsche Bank to help the company quickly transfer 1 billion US dollars to two overseas accounts in September 2009, and had even given a specific time for it to be done before 4pm that day, the High Court heard today.

Jacqueline Ho, former Managing Director (Head of Global Markets Corporate Sales) of Deutsche Bank (M) Berhad, said this during her testimony as the 30th prosecution witness in Najib’s trial for the embezzlement of over of RM2 billion of 1MDB funds.

She said that 1MDB on September 29, 2009 provided Deutsche Bank with two documents, including Bank Negara Malaysia’s written approval on September 29 to 1MDB to transfer US$1 billion of the company’s funds to 1MDB’s BSI bank account. -PetroSaudi to acquire a 40 percent purported joint venture of 1MDB PetroSaudi Limited in the British Virgin Islands.

The other document was minutes of the September 26, 2009 1MDB board meeting where the directors approved Casey Tang, then executive director of 1MDB, as the authorized official to approve and execute the 1MDB transaction. billion US dollars.

However, on the morning of September 30, 1MDB officials notified Deutsche Bank to transfer 1MDB’s US$1 billion in funds to two bank accounts instead.

Ho spoke today about the multiple efforts and actions taken by Deutsche Bank to verify the sudden change in instructions for the US$1 billion before making the transfers, including obtaining confirmation that Bank Negara Malaysia had approved this change.

Ho said Tang had asked Deutsche Bank to complete the $1 billion transfer as soon as possible because it was allegedly a government-to-government transaction.

“Later, Casey Tang kept insisting DBMB again, that DBMB should speed up the money transfer process, because then Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak wanted to make a statement to the press about the proposed 1MDB joint venture with PetroSaudi International.Ltd As such, we have been asked to expedite the process of disbursing US$1 billion to these two accounts,” she said today.

Najib’s lawyer, Wan Aizuddin Wan Mohammed, objected to this part of Ho’s testimony on Najib’s press release as allegedly hearsay, but then asked how it happened.

Ho said Tang came to the Deutsche Bank office – which is in the same building as 1MDB’s office – and asked to complete the transaction quickly.

“He said can you all process this transaction quickly, we’ll sit here and wait and give us the confirmation, can you do it before four o’clock, because the Prime Minister’s press release, he’s going to announce it , we need a transaction to be done before that,” she said.

Aizuddin: This alleged representation by Casey motivated you to undertake this transaction as soon as you can?

Ho: I don’t think so – I guess yes and no. In the sense that we would have done it that day anyway, it would go through a queue, for US dollar transactions we would probably finish it around five or six in the evening, but because it wanted it done before four o’clock, I had instructed my operations to prioritize the handover before other customers.

Aizuddin asked if Deutsche Bank would have delayed the billion-dollar transaction until the next date or if its conduct would have been different from the normal process had Tang not mentioned that the prime minister wanted to make the statement to the hurry.

Ho then said that Deutsche Bank would definitely not have postponed it until the next day, because the client 1MDB through his agent Tang had “given very strict instructions to send it on September 30” and there was no way that the bank would have delayed it. .

When asked if she knew how Najib fit into the whole 1MDB deal, Ho said, “At that time we were told it was a G2G transaction. (government-to-government) size, the bank felt that 1MDB would be like Khazanah Nasional in that it would be a government investment vehicle.

“So from that point on, obviously since he belongs to the Ministry of Finance and Datuk Seri Najib was also finance minister, so it’s only natural that he wants to make a statement to the press on a major investment,” he said. she declared.

Former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak arrives at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur on June 21, 2022 — Photo by Devan Manuel

After the billion-dollar transaction was completed and the funds sent to both bank accounts around 3 p.m. that day, Ho said she checked and found that the press release was indeed made around 4 p.m. the same day based on an online version. of a press article.

She said she forwarded the news article to Deutsche Bank’s compliance department in a thread as part of the documentation for client 1MDB’s statement that they had a joint venture and investment and that the public announcement about it.

Looking back, Ho said she now knew the billion-dollar transaction was for fraudulent purposes.

When asked if she now knew if the status of the $1 billion investment was a real investment, as well as based on what she had read in 1MDB information and what the authorities hinted or said to her during the 1MDB investigation, Ho said, “I guess what was hinted or implied was basically fraud, yeah. She agreed that the billion of US dollars that was to be sent to the so-called 1MDB-PetroSaudi joint venture went elsewhere instead.

It was only days after sending the billion US dollars that Deutsche Bank discovered that one of the accounts – which had received US$700 million – was actually Good Star Limited, instead of PetroSaudi International , as 1MDB initially claimed on the day of trades. At that time, Deutsche Bank asked 1MDB, but 1MDB claimed that Good Star was a subsidiary of 1MDB’s alleged joint venture partner, PetroSaudi International Limited.

Aizuddin: Now coming back to this hindsight story, so you now know for sure that 700 million US dollars was wrongly sent and that Good Star is an entity owned by Low Taek Jho?

Ho: Yes correct.

In that lawsuit, a lawyer appeared today to hold a surveillance warrant for Deutsche Bank.

On the first day of the trial, the prosecution said they would show that $24.5 million of the $700 million at Good Star ended up with a ‘Prince Faisal’, who then allegedly transferred $20 million (equivalent to RM60, 629,839.43) into Najib’s personal bank account in two transactions of $10 million each in February 2011 and June 2011.


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What you need to know about lithium and which ASX stocks are profiting from it Sun, 19 Jun 2022 22:30:00 +0000

Image source: Getty Images

Several dozen ASX stocks are looking for lithium. A handful more are in the pre-production phase.

But only three ASX stocks are currently producing the metal.

We take a look at those below.

But first…

What is lithium?

Lithium is a light and malleable alkali metal, silver in color.

Historically, it has been used to increase the heat resistance of glass and ceramics. Lithium salts are also used as antidepressants.

But it’s lithium’s high level of thermal and electrical conductivity that has seen demand soar alongside the rapidly growing market for lithium-ion batteries. Batteries that power most electric vehicles (EVs) on the road.

Lithium’s crucial role in the transition to renewable energy has seen the Australian government classify the metal as a critical mineral.

The metal is mainly mined from ore and brines, with Australia, Chile, China and Argentina having the largest deposits.

The government reports that Australia has high geological potential for lithium, with a demonstrated economic resource in 2020 of 6.17 million tonnes. In 2020, Australia produced 40,000 tons of lithium out of a total world production of 82,000 tons.

So what are the three ASX stocks that produce lithium?

Three ASX stocks cash in on lithium

Taking them in alphabetical order, we start with Allkem AG (ASX: AKE), formerly known as Orocobre.

Allkem has a market cap of just under $6.6 billion. Based in Brisbane, its projects are mainly in Argentina. The company supplies lithium carbonate to a variety of industrial and technical sectors, supplying approximately 10% of the global lithium market.

Allkem claims to be one of the cheapest lithium producers in the world. The company intends to increase production to three times its current levels by 2026.

Allkem’s share price has risen 72% over the past 12 months.

The second ASX stock already producing lithium is Limited mineral resources (ASX: MIN), with a market capitalization of $10.1 billion.

While you might think of Mineral Resources as a mining services company, which it is, the company also has a large footprint in the lithium space. Its operations in Western Australia are Mt Marion, located in the Goldfields; and Wodgina, in the Pilbara region.

The Company mines and produces both drop-ship lithium ore and spodumene concentrate.

Mineral Resources’ share price is up 8% since the same period last year.

Moving on to our third ASX share in the lithium production phase, we have Pilbara Minerals Ltd (ASX:PLS), which has a market capitalization of $6.3 billion.

Pilbara’s flagship Pilgangoora Lithium-Tantalum project is also located in the Pilbara region of WA.

The Pilgangoora project is one of the largest hard rock lithium-tantalum deposits in the world. Pilbara Minerals has big expansion plans for the project. It expects spodumene concentrate capacity at Pilgangoora to increase to 560,000 to 580,000 dry metric tons (dmt) this year.

The Pilbara share price is up 57% over the past 12 months.

Greg Norman Defends LIV and Saudi-Backed Money – OutKick Sun, 19 Jun 2022 14:30:00 +0000

Greg Norman appeared on Fox News Nation with Brian Kilmeade yesterday and tried to make the case for LIV and the golf tour he’s trying to legitimize. It comes on the same day the Scottish Open reportedly announced that LIV golfers would not be welcome in their tournament, a warm-up for the 150th Open Championship to be held at the Old Course in St. Andrews.

ST ALBANS, ENGLAND – JUNE 11: Charl Schwartzel of South Africa holds the winners trophy and poses for a photo with Greg Norman, CEO of LIV Golf, after day three of the LIV Golf Invitational at Centurion Club on June 11, 2022 in St Albans, England. (Photo by Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images)

Greg Norman sees a world of golf where players can play wherever they want: “I saw the value in what the product was really about, for the players, serving the fans, growing the game globally, that which, by the way, to be a global player as a professional golfer. So from there I said, yeah, it’s a great platform and it’s a business operation. We’re there for a reason, to play golf and grow, golf at a successful level and on behalf of the players, they are independent contractors, give them the opportunity to be able to expand their wealth as they see fit.

OK, Greg did a tour for the players, by the players, where the players play by their rules. Keep in mind that the signing bonuses all of these players have received require them to participate in all 9 LIV Tour events spread across the globe. But Greg insists their program is better for golfers: “Maybe our platform is a bit better because it gives them more time with their families, like there was Charles Schwartzel with his wife and kids. children.” (After winning the first LIV event in London) “Their platform gives them the opportunity and it’s a choice. This is not an escape tour. It’s a choice. Players have the choice to play with us and continue playing with the PGA Tour or the DP World Tour, or the Japan Tour or any other tour.

ST ALBANS, ENGLAND – JUNE 11: A general view is seen as Stinger GC’s Charl Schwartzel (2nd L) holds his trophy alongside Saudi Golf Federation CEO Majed Al Sorour (L), His Excellency Yasir Al Rumayyan ( 2nd R) and Greg Norman (R), CEO and Commissioner of LIV Golf, during day three of the LIV Golf Invitational – London at Centurion Club on June 11, 2022 in St Albans, England. (Photo by John Phillips/LIV Golf/Getty Images)

That’s not entirely true though. The PGA Tour has indefinitely suspended all golfers who have signed with LIV. The DP World Tour (European Tour) partners with the PGA Tour and is still in the process of defining its policy. They allow LIV players to participate in the BMW event in Germany this week. The Scottish Open seems to tend not to allow them. No word on the Open Championship, and that’s the next big announcement in this saga.

Brian Kilmeade asked about the Saudi money that funds the LIV, asking Greg Norman if he was hesitant to do business with them: “Not at all, because golf is a force for good. And to be honest with you, what I saw in Saudi Arabia, the European PGA Tour since 2019 had a golf tournament, the Saudi International which still exists since 2019. And during this Saudi International, there were players from the PGA Tour who received rights and waivers to play there.

We know the money that supports LIV isn’t going anywhere. We can be pretty sure that PGA Tours’ stance on players leaving to play LIV won’t change any time soon. What remains to be seen is whether golfers who go to play 54-hole tournaments in very short courses will keep players sharp enough to compete if and when they return to play against the best players in the world.

One final thought, after we stop talking about how much money all these players took, will we care enough to watch them compete?

RPF man saves woman from being run over by train Sun, 19 Jun 2022 05:02:23 +0000

The heroic act of a member of the Railway Police (RPF) on Saturday saved an elderly woman, who was trying to cross railway tracks, from being run over by a train at Lalitpur in Uttar Pradesh.

The entire incident was captured by a CCTV camera on the platform.

The video of the incident was shared by the Ministry of Railways while praising RPF personnel for their quick response.

“The woman’s life was saved thanks to the speed of the RPF personnel. An elderly woman crossing the track at Lalitpur Railway Station of Jhansi Division was rescued by railway security personnel stationed there,” the ministry said in a tweet.

Through the tweet, the ministry urged passengers to use the foot on deck to step onto platforms.

The video shared by the ministry has garnered over 80,400 views since it was posted yesterday.

One user wrote, “Can we have a long term solution to this problem. We are losing precious lives as I understand there are limits to the costs you can spend, but can we brainstorm solutions.

WATCH the video below:

Taiwan could see inflationary pressure ease in second half of 2022: NDC Sat, 18 Jun 2022 13:02:00 +0000

Taipei, June 18 (CNA) Inflationary pressure in Taiwan is expected to ease with lower international crude oil prices in the second half of this year, according to Kung Ming-hsin (龔明鑫), head of the National Development Council (NDC). .

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a carbon neutrality forum in Taipei on Friday, Kung said the recent surge in Taiwan’s consumer price index (CPI) was largely the result of rising soaring crude prices amid growing geopolitical tensions surrounding the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

However, Kung said he was bullish on lower crude oil prices in the second half of the year, helping Taiwan offset some of the headwinds caused by mounting inflationary pressure.

In May, Taiwan’s CPI rose 3.39% from a year earlier – the strongest growth in nearly 10 years and the third consecutive monthly increase of more than 3% – and growth in the CPI remains well above the 2% alert level set by the central bank. .

In May, fuel prices in Taiwan soared 12.62 percent from the same month a year earlier.

In addition to the rapid growth in fuel prices, the General Directorate of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said the growth in the CPI in May was also due to the increase in food prices, which increased 7.40% year-on-year.

In the first five months of this year, local CPI growth averaged 3.04% year-on-year, with core CPI up 2.33%, according to DGBAS .

Central Bank raises interest rates twice in 2022

Due to the CPI surge in May, the central bank raised its key interest rates by 12.5 basis points, effective Friday, after concluding a quarterly policymaking meeting on Thursday.

It was the second rate hike by the central bank in 2022, following a 25 basis point hike in March, and comes at a time when many central banks around the world are preparing to fight inflation.

After the last rate hike, the benchmark Bank Rate, which rose from a historic low of 1.125% to 1.375% in March, now stands at 1.5%.

A day before Taiwan’s central bank announced its rate hike, the US Federal Reserve announced that it would raise its key rates by 75 basis points.

Although Fed Chairman Jerome Powell admitted that such a rate hike was “unusually large,” the Fed hinted that it would raise interest rates an additional 175 basis points during 2022. .

Since the Fed began a rate hike cycle in March, it has added 150 basis points to its key rates, while Taiwan’s central bank recently raised interest rates by 37.5 basis points.

Widening interest rate differential between Taiwan and the United States

Compared to a hawkish Fed, many market analysts suspect that a milder rate hike cycle will be launched by Taiwan’s central bank, which will widen the interest rate differential between Taiwan and the United States. .

Analysts said this could prompt foreign investors to shift their funds out of Taiwan into U.S. dollar-denominated assets, putting the Taiwanese dollar under depreciating pressure and creating volatility in the local currency market.

However, Kung didn’t seem overly concerned about the widening interest rate differential between Taiwan and the United States.

Kung said that prior to the Fed’s launch of a rate hike cycle in March, US federal funds rates ranged between 0 and 0.25%, while Taiwan’s key interest rates remained higher. to 1% ahead of a local rate hike cycle, which also started in March.

In addition, Kung said the inflationary pressure Taiwan faced was not as strong as in the United States, making aggressive central bank action similar to that of the Fed less warranted.

In May, the CPI jumped 8.6% from a year earlier in the United States, the fastest growth in four decades.

Other tightening measures

In addition to the 12.5 basis point rate hike, Kung said the local central bank had also decided to raise the reserve requirement ratio – the proportion of deposits that regulators require a bank to hold in reserves. and not on loan – by 25 basis points. points, starting July 1.

Kung said the decision to raise the reserve requirement ratio should help the central bank tighten monetary policy by withdrawing more funds from the market.

According to Kung, a silver lining is that the higher reserve requirement ratio will not impose a direct cost on individuals who have borrowed or will borrow from banks, thus having a limited impact on consumption.

The 12.5 basis point rise in interest rates and the 25 basis point rise in the reserve requirement ratio are expected to remove about NT$120 billion ($4.04 billion) from the banking sector, according to the central bank of taiwan.

Regarding rising inflationary pressures, the central bank expects Taiwan’s CPI to rise 2.83%, up from its previous estimate of 2.37%, while the bank has also raised its forecast for core CPI growth, which excludes fruits, vegetables and energy, from 1.93. percent to 2.42 percent.

Related News

June 18: Major lenders follow suit after central bank raises rates

June 16: the central bank raises interest rates by 12.5 basis points

June 16: Central bank lowers Taiwan’s GDP growth forecast for 2022 to 3.75%

HDFC Bank raises interest rates on fixed deposits twice a week; Check the new HDFC Bank FD rates Sat, 18 Jun 2022 05:21:00 +0000

HDFC bank raises fixed deposit interest rates: India’s largest private sector lender, HDFC Bank, raised interest rates on fixed deposits again, a week after doing the same. The HDFC Bank FD rate hike is applicable to deposits below Rs 2 crore. HDFC Bank’s new fixed deposit interest rates have already come into effect, according to the lender’s website. This was implemented through different tenors. Seniors will benefit from additional interest on HDFC Bank fixed deposits.

HDFC Bank FD interest rates came into effect from June 17, Friday. This is a direct result of the RBI raising its repo rates by 50 basis points. After the lender’s latest hike, HDFC Bank FD rates rose from 2.50% to 2.75% for terms of 7 to 29 days, an increase of 25 basis points. The lender raised the interest rate on term deposits maturing between 30 and 90 days by 25 basis points, from 3% to 3.25% now. For deposits maturing between 91 days and 6 months, an increase of 25 basis points took interest rates from 3.25% to 3.75%. Deposits maturing in other mandates also saw an increase of 10 to 25 basis points, HDFC Bank said on its website.

“Only senior/retired staff (60+) who are Indian residents are eligible. The special rates only apply to residents’ deposits,” the HDFC bank said on its website. HDFC Bank FD’s interest rate hike only applies to National/NRO/NRE accounts, the bank said further on its website.

Here are the revised interest rates on time deposits below Rs 2 crore at HDFC Bank from 17 June 2022:

7 days to 14 days: For the general public – 2.75%; For seniors – 3.25%

15 days to 29 days: For the general public – 2.75%; For seniors – 3.25%

30 days to 45 days: For the general public – 3.25%; For seniors – 3.75%

46 days to 60 days: For the general public – 3.25%; For seniors – 3.75%

61 days to 90 days: For the general public – 3.25%; For seniors – 3.75%

91 days to 120 days: For the general public – 3.75%; For seniors – 4.25%

6 months 1 day to 9 months: For the general public – 4.65%; For seniors – 5.15%

9 months 1 day to less than a year: For the general public – 4.65%; For seniors – 5.15%

1 year: For the general public – 5.35%; For seniors – 5.85%

1 year 1 day to 2 years: For the general public – 5.35%; For seniors – 5.85%

2 years 1 day to 3 years: For the general public – 5.50%; For the elderly – 6.00 percent

3 years 1 day to 5 years: For the general public – 5.70%; For seniors – 6.20%

5 years 1 day to 10 years: For the general public – 5.75%; For seniors – 6.50%

Read all the latest news, breaking news, watch the best videos and live TV here.

Cryptocurrency Price Crashes Due To Inflation As Investors Lose Savings Fri, 17 Jun 2022 18:30:00 +0000

In five years of aerial and aerial mining work in Far North Queensland, Joel had saved almost enough for a first home deposit.

Then, about six months ago, the price of bitcoin began a long decline.

Now he’s lost most of his savings – and this week his luck got even worse.

The company that manages its cryptocurrency in exchange for rewards has frozen withdrawals for all of its customers, meaning Joel can’t even access his money.

“Before the prices went down, it was starting to look like a house,” the 24-year-old electrician said.

Joel is one of many Australians whose financial fate will be decided over the next few days, after the price of bitcoin plunged around 30% in the past week, shaking confidence and raising fears of further declines.

The value of bitcoin (AUD) is at an 18-month low.(Provided: Google)

On popular Australian cryptocurrency Facebook groups, moderators have posted links to helplines.

“There are a lot of people in great distress,” said Luke Torsello, moderator of the Facebook group Crypto Australia, which has 99,000 members.

“Everyone is in damage control right now.”

What causes the fall?

Inflation, said Chris Berg, co-director of RMIT’s Blockchain Innovation Hub.

Central banks around the world have raised interest rates to fight inflation, leading investors to withdraw from what are known as “risky assets”, i.e. assets with a high degree of private volatility.

“Crypto is the ultimate risk asset, so it’s the first to go down,” Dr. Berg said.

This surprised some. Cryptocurrencies had been promoted in some quarters as an “inflation hedge,” meaning they would hold or increase in value as inflation rose.

It didn’t work that way.

“Bitcoin is not an inflation hedge,” Dr. Berg said.

The combined market value of all cryptocurrencies is now believed to be less than US$1 trillion ($1.43 trillion), about a third of its November value.

So that’s roughly US$2 trillion ($2.86 billion) cleared from cryptocurrency in just over six months.

As the price drops, investors get nervous.

Last month, Terra, which was one of the most valuable and stable digital currencies in the world, crashed, losing 95% of its value in 48 hours and triggering a widespread loss of confidence.

A month later, this created problems for Joel’s crypto-lender Celsius.

Why is Celsius in trouble?

About six months ago, Joel deposited the crypto he had accumulated over the past five years into a crypto savings account operated by US-based Celsius, which was founded around 2017.

Celsius was set up to be a bit like a bank, but promised much higher interest rates of up to 18% per annum.

He said he was able to afford such high rates by lending long terms and earning even higher returns.

It may sound too good to be true, but many people have jumped at the chance. As of May this year, Celsius had 1.7 million users and nearly $12 billion ($17.17 billion) in assets under management.

Celsius CEO Alex Mashinsky in November 2021
Celsius CEO Alex Mashinsky in November 2021 when bitcoin was on the rise.(Getty: Piaras O Midheach)

The business model worked well while the market was strong.

But when Terra crashed spectacularly last month, rumors spread that Celsius was facing a liquidity crunch, meaning it wouldn’t have the cash for customers to perform. their withdrawals.

An old-fashioned bank rush ensues: customers rush to withdraw their money.

At the time, Celsius CEO Alex Mashinsky called the collapse in trust “FUD,” or fear, uncertainty and doubt.


But the very next day, Monday in Australia, Celsius abruptly announced that it was “pausing all withdrawals”.

Joel was caught off guard.

“It’s most of my net worth,” he said.

Theo, a 32-year-old Sydney working in logistics and freight forwarding, has most of his savings locked away at Celsius.

“I feel like my money is being held hostage,” he said.

He was also saving for a first house deposit, as well as an engagement ring.

What happens now?

It’s unclear what will happen to Celsius, what the company’s plan is to remedy the situation, or if customers will get their money back.

The company’s CEO, Alex Mashinsky, broke a three-day silence on Thursday.


What happens next depends in part on several unknowns, including where Celsius has invested its clients’ money and how much money it had previously set aside to be available for client withdrawals.

We don’t know these things because, although it’s like a bank, Celsius is not regulated like a bank, which must have a certain capitalization (i.e. money set aside for customer withdrawals).

“We don’t know Celsius’ position,” Dr. Berg said.

“We don’t know if he’s gone bankrupt and maybe he hasn’t – there are all sorts of rumors going around.”

Now the regulators are closing in. The security councils of four US states have reportedly launched probes into Celsius.

Pushed To Crypto By Inflation And Unaffordable Housing

On a page like Crypto Australia, a common refrain on Celsius news has been “Not your keys, not your coins”, meaning those who apparently lost money shouldn’t have stored their coins with an exchange. centralized or a company that can be hacked, or otherwise go under.

In 2014, hackers stole more than $660 million ($945 million) of user funds from the world’s largest exchange, Mt Gox.

“I come from the days of Mt Gox, so I learned my lesson: ‘Not your keys, not your crypto,’” said Luke Torsello of Crypto Australia.

New members were learning about it for the first time, Torsello said.