Items filtered by date: Saturday, 02 December 2017

Two U.S. exchanges, including the parent of the venerable Chicago Mercantile Exchange, are racing to embrace bitcoin, dragging federal regulators into a realm skeptics call a fad and fraud.

The development shows how some big financial players are moving to co-opt the volatile cryptocurrency and lure more mainstream investors into the market, even before regulators have agreed on just what bitcoin is.

CME Group Inc.’s contracts will debut Dec. 18. Cboe Global Markets Inc. didn’t announce a start date. Both got the green light Friday after going through a process called self-certification -- a pledge to the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission that the products don’t run afoul of the law. The news pushed bitcoin’s price higher.

The moves are a watershed for Wall Street professionals -- including institutional investors and high-speed traders -- who’ve been eager to bet on cryptocurrencies and their wild swings, but worried about doing so on mostly unregulated markets. The new products are subject to CFTC oversight. CME, Cboe and Cantor Fitzgerald LP’s Cantor Exchange -- which is creating another kind of bitcoin derivative, binary options -- promised to help the agency surveil the underlying bitcoin market.

“Bitcoin, a virtual currency, is a commodity unlike any the commission has dealt with in the past,” CFTC Chairman Chris Giancarlo said in a statement Friday. “We expect that the futures exchanges, through information sharing agreements, will be monitoring the trading activity on the relevant cash platforms.”

Trading in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is largely unregulated, and that’s the point. Bitcoin was introduced in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis as a way of avoiding governments and central banks. Now with its meteoric rise and the proliferation of cryptocurrencies, banks, brokers and mainstream investors want in. And they want regulation, something they’ll get plenty of in a market like CME or Cboe’s.

“The launch of the futures will actually make the market healthier,” Cboe President Chris Concannon said in an interview after the news broke Friday. “It will create pricing equilibrium in the market. Clients who are holding bitcoin now have no way to hedge their risk. These products allow them to hedge, and to take opposing views. More importantly, it brings a wave of regulatory oversight.”

Regulators’ Struggle

U.S. financial regulators have struggled for years to agree on what, exactly, bitcoin is and what risks it might pose. That’s left its enthusiasts and financial professionals unsure which government agencies might try to police the rapidly growing market. In addition to the CFTC, there’s the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury Department’s FinCEN, which tracks illicit payments.

The CFTC declared in 2015 that it would treat bitcoin as a commodity. “But the IRS says it’s property, the SEC said now some digital currency is a security, and FinCEN says digital currency is a ‘money-like instrument,’” said Adam White, general manager of GDAX, a cryptocurrency exchange owned by Coinbase. His company is trying to work with all of them, he said, while offering his own definition: “It’s a new asset class.”

After Friday’s announcement, exchanges and the CFTC will have to keep tabs on that underlying market, according to Jeff Bandman, who until June advised Chairman Giancarlo on financial technology issues.

“It’s well understood that bad actors can take actions in the spot market for a commodity where the reward or payoff is the derivatives market and vice versa,” Bandman, who now runs Bandman Advisors, said in an interview before Friday’s announcement. “This would represent a new opportunity for mischief.”

Are ETFs Next?

There are other ways the new futures could spur more vigorous oversight of the cryptocurrency. The contracts, for example, could make it easier to create an exchange-traded fund tied to bitcoin -- even after a previous attempt was knocked down.

That could enlist the SEC. In March, the agency rejected a bitcoin ETF proposed by Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss -- the co-creators of the Gemini exchange -- saying necessary surveillance-sharing agreements were too difficult given that “significant markets for bitcoin are unregulated.” Cboe is basing its futures on prices from Gemini.

On Thursday, a top SEC official weighed in. David Shillman, associate director in the agency’s division of trading and markets, said a strong bitcoin futures market could make the regulator more comfortable approving bitcoin ETFs.

 

Source: Bloomberg

Published in Bank & Finance

Three senior managers in Uber Technologies Inc's security unit resigned on Friday, an Uber spokesperson said, days after the company's new chief executive officer disclosed a massive data breach and criticized past security practices.

Uber's CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, who was installed in the top job in August, disclosed the data breach last month shortly after learning of it himself, saying that "none of this should have happened." Uber's security practices are also under scrutiny in a high-stakes legal battle with self-driving car company Waymo, an Alphabet Inc subsidiary.

Uber last week said it fired its chief security officer, Joe Sullivan, over his role in the 2016 data breach, which compromised data belonging to 57 million customers and about 600,000 drivers. The resignations Friday came amid mounting frustration within Uber's security team over Sullivan's dismissal and the company's handling of the public disclosure of the breach.

The three managers who resigned were Pooja Ashok, chief of staff for Sullivan; Prithvi Rai, a senior security engineer and the number two manager in the department; and Jeff Jones, who handled physical security, the Uber spokesperson said. Ashok and Jones will remain at the company until January to assist in transition, the spokesperson said.

A fourth individual, Uber's head of Global Threat Operations, Mat Henley, began a three-month medical leave, said a separate source familiar with the situation. The departures include most of Sullivan's direct reports.

None of the four immediately responded to requests for comment. Emails in connection with the departures, described by the separate source, complained of emotional and physical strain from the past year.

Sullivan in August told Reuters that his security team totaled around 500 employees.

Leadership in the unit has been in turmoil since the termination last week of Sullivan and a deputy, as well as Uber's admission that it paid $100,000 to hackers to delete stolen data from the October 2016 breach and keep it secret, while failing to report the incident to regulators or warn customers that their phone numbers and other data had been exposed.

In the Waymo case, testimony at a pretrial hearing this week focused on claims by former employee Richard Jacobs that Uber had a special unit within its security team that tried to obtain programming code and other trade secrets from rivals.

Uber launched an investigation in response to Jacobs' claims, which were outlined in a 37-page letter sent to Uber's in-house attorney and the U.S. Department of Justice. Board members received a report before Thanksgiving on the findings of that investigation, run by law firm WilmerHale. The report has not been shared publicly.

Henley, who was among the Uber security managers named in Jacobs' letter, said in court Wednesday that the unit at Uber that Jacobs had accused of acquiring rivals' trade secrets no longer exists.

In addition to having a technical team dedicated to obtaining data from competitors, Uber also had a "human intelligence" team to spy on people and record their conversations without them knowing, according to testimony in the Waymo case. In one instance, a security vendor hired by Uber recorded a conversation between executives of rival ride-hailing firms Didi and Grab, Nicholas Gicinto, a security manager at Uber, testified in court Wednesday.

Uber's general counsel, Tony West, on Wednesday sent a note to employees, which was seen by Reuters, saying that human surveillance of individuals would no longer be tolerated. West said he did not believe the activity was illegal, "but, to be crystal clear, to the extent anyone is working on any kind of competitive intelligence project that involves the surveillance of individuals, stop it now."

 

 

Published in World

In the modern game (at any level) soccer training and conditioning is essential. Few sports are played on as large a playing field, lasting as long and without regular rest periods.

Players cover 8-12km during a match, consisting of 24% walking, 36% jogging, 20% coursing, 11% sprinting, 7% moving backwards and 2% moving whilst in possession of the ball (1).

Soccer players posses excellent endurance with VO2max reported to range between 55 and 70 ml/kg/min in elite performers (2,3). The game is played at an average intensity close to the lactate threshold – approximately 80-90% of maximum heart rate (4,5).

How important is the correct type of endurance training in soccer?

The greater a player’s aerobic capacity, the more ground they cover during a typical game (5,6). Additionally, improved endurance also increases the number of sprints completed in a game (7). By improving the VO2max of youth soccer players by 11% over an 8 week period, a 20% increase in total distance covered during competitive match play was manifested, along with a 23% increase in involvements with the ball and a 100% increase in the number of sprints performed by each player (5).

What about other forms of conditioning?

Strength training now plays a major role in soccer. However, simply lifting weights with the traditional “3 sets of 10 repetitions” approach is not an efficient way to spend training time. Soccer requires a balance of explosive power and muscular endurance. Some players may benefit from increasing their lean mass but even they should focus on converting much of their strength into soccer-specific power.

Strength training for soccer also helps to correct muscle imbalances. Soccer players in particular are prone to developing overly strong quadriceps in relation to their hamstrings and a well-formed strength plan can address this and prevent future injury (8).

The articles below cover all the important forms of soccer training and conditioning. Strength and endurance training is covered in-depth as well as sample speed and agility sessions, flexibility training and warming up and cooling down.


Soccer Training Programs & Articles

The 12-Month Soccer Training Program
Soccer players have to be the “total athlete”. But it’s never a good idea to cram every type of training into just a few sessions. Here’s the big picture and how all the different types of training fit together…

How to Develop Peak Strength for Soccer
Strength training for soccer must consist of more than just lifting weights. In fact strength training, done incorrectly, can actually hinder your performance…

Sample Soccer Weight Training Program
Here’s a sample late pre-seaon/in-season weights program to get you started…

How to Develop Blazing Speed for Soccer
Speed is more important in today’s game than ever. Every player can become quicker with the right approach…

Five Soccer Speed Drills
Use these speed drills to increase your speed over short distances and off the mark…

Six Soccer Agility Drills
Use these agility drills to improve your foot speed and co-ordination…

Using Soccer Plyometrics to Increase Your Speed and Explosive Power
Plyometrics is a powerful form of training but you MUST get it right…

Endurance Soccer Training – Build Your Aerobic Power
Good aerobic power forms the foundation on which the rest of your fitness is built…

Four More Soccer Conditioning Drills
Here are some drills that improve your skill and touch as well as your fitness…

Off Season Soccer Training
Doing nothing during the closed season is the worst thing you can do – here’s what you should focus on instead…

Basic Soccer Conditioning Program
Strapped for training time? Just want a basic routine to get you through thee season. Try this one…

Soccer Warm Up Drills
“Fail to prepare and you prepare to fail” as they say. Here are some good warm up drills you can use before sessions…

Soccer Stretching Exercises
Flexibility is so important in ANY sport – yet it often gets forgotten. Did you know that increased flexibility can increase your agility and ability to perform fine skills?

How to Measure Your Level of Soccer Fitness
How important is soccer fitness? Here are some very interesting facts about how fit you have to be…

Soccer player running

For Soccer Players & Coaches of All Ages: Significantly improve your own (or your team’s) performance and consistency on the pitch. My complete guide to professional-level soccer conditioning will show you how to beat the competition at any level.

See my complete guide to soccer conditioning >>

References

1) Reilly T (ed) (1996) Science and Soccer. Chapman & Hall, London, 2564

2) Bangsbo J. The physiology of soccer with special reference to intense intermittent exercise. Acta Physiol Scand 1994;150:615

3) Bangsbo J, Nrregaard L, Thorse F. Activity profile of competition soccer. Can J Sport Sci 1991;16:1106

4) Reilly T . Physiological profile of the player. In: Ekblom B, ed. Football (soccer). London: Blackwell, 1994:7895.

5) Helgerud J, Engen LC, Wisloff U, et al. Aerobic endurance training improves soccer performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2001;11:192531.

6) Reilly T, Thomas V. A motion analysis of work-rate in different positional roles in professional football match-play. J Hum Mov Stud 1976;2:8797. 7) Smaros G . Energy usage during a football match. In: Vecciet L, ed. Proceedings of the 1st International Congress on Sports Medicine Applied to Football. Rome: D Guanillo, 1980:795801.

8) Gioftsidou A, Beneka A, Malliou P, Pafis G, Godolias G. Soccer players’ muscular imbalances: restoration with an isokinetic strength training program. Percept Mot Skills. 2006 Aug;103(1):151-9.

Published in Opinion & Analysis

  1. Opinions and Analysis

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