Seagate, Western Union links to Ripple in focus as cryptocurrency tumbles
As top three cryptocurrencies Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple all tumble, Seagate Technology (STX) and Western Union (WU) are in focus due to their links to Ripple Labs. SEAGATE'S RIPPLE HOLDINGS: Seagate invested in both the 2015 $28M Series A and 2016 $55M Series B fundraising rounds conducted by Ripple Labs, developer of digital asset and cryptocurrency XRP, Seeking Alpha contributor Value Street Research reported Monday. Based on some assumptions and data from tech sites, the Seeking Alpha contributor hypothesizes that Seagate may own over 4% of Ripple, worth about $7.8B. SUSQUEHANNA "SELLERS" OF STRENGTH: Following the report of Seagate's investment, Susquehanna analyst Mehdi Hosseini said he would be a seller on strength that was driven by reports related to Ripple. While the investment in Ripple Labs is "intriguing," Hosseini pointed out that it is an equity investment and not token ownership, meaning the holding is not a source of liquid cash for Seagate. The value of the investment in Ripple Labs is likely to "fluctuate wildly," added the analyst, who keeps a Neutral rating on Seagate shares. COWEN URGES CONSERVATISM: Following the Seeking Alpha report, Cowen analyst Karl Ackerman said he does not think that the company's investment is worth even half of the $8B the article speculates. He thinks it could be worth as much as $2B on paper, but also tells investors that "a high degree of conservatism should be warranted" given the high volatility of cryptocurrencies and the lack of clarity regarding Seagate's investment objectives. Ackerman keeps a Market Perform rating on Seagate shares. WESTERN UNION UPGRADE: Susquehanna analyst James Friedman upgraded Western Union to Neutral from Negative. He believes the company may be working with Ripple Labs to potentially implement blockchain applications in remittance and sees that as a possible accelerator, especially with business-to-business. Friedman raised his price target to $21 from $17 on Western Union shares. CRYPTOS SLIDE AS S. KOREA INSPECTS BANKS: South Korea's Financial Services Commission said it is conducting onsite inspections at six of the country's largest financial institutions to track their compliance with anti-money-laundering obligations related to cryptocurrency trading, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. The inspections come ten days after the country prohibited the use of unidentified virtual accounts for trading digital currencies. "We're reviewing all possibilities under the current law to take action," Choi Jong-ku, head of the commission said, adding the regulator has drafted a policy on cryptocurrency trading that is currently under discussion. PRICE ACTION: According to Coindesk, Bitcoin fell 8.1% to $14,870.94 in U.S. dollars, Ethereum dropped 2.9% to $1,115.24 and Ripple fell 25.7% to $2.52 in early afternoon trading. Meanwhile, Seagate was up 6.6% to 45.77 and Western Union rose 4.9% to $21.61.