Microsoft Buying GitHub?

Microsoft may announce this week they are purchasing GitHub for $2 billion. This seems like a good deal for Microsoft. The financial problems for GitHub are related to expense control, but their service is becoming increasingly indispensable for developers. I think Microsoft could also find revenue synergies as well.

Toronto Short Term Rentals Airbnb New Rules

Residents and property owners are renting out rooms or entire units for short periods (less than 28 days) in growing numbers across the city, facilitated by the rise of online platforms such as AirBnB, VRBO, etc. Currently, short-term rentals are not permitted in Toronto.

On December 7, 2017, and January 31, 2018, City Council approved the regulation of short-term rentals in Toronto. The new rules, which require short-term rental companies to obtain a licence and short-term rental operators to register with the City and pay a Municipal Accommodation Tax of 4% were set to come into effect on June 1, 2018.

However, the City’s zoning bylaw amendments to permit short-term rentals as a use have been appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). They are therefore not in force. The OMB has scheduled a two-day hearing on August 30 and 31, 2018.  The City does not expect to receive a decision from the OMB for at least eight weeks after the hearing.

Therefore, the regulations for short-term rentals will not come into force on June 1, 2018.

If the City receives a positive decision at the OMB, the short-term rental regulations will come into effect. Individuals will be given a period of time to submit applications for a licence or registration and the 4% tax will be implemented. More information on what is required to collect and remit the tax will be available at that time.

If you would like to receive updates about the short-term rental registry and licensing program, contact mlsfeedback@toronto.ca to be added the mailing list.

For more information, see the decisions made by City Council to adopt a new zoning bylaw permitting short-term rentals and a registration and licensing program for short-term rentals.

CME Ethereum Price Index

CME Group and Crypto Facilities (CF) have reteamed to bring enhanced pricing information to one of the top five global cryptocurrencies.

Introducing CME CF Ether-Dollar Reference Rate and CME CF Ether-Dollar Real-Time Index, both available on the CME Group website.

The new pricing indicators are designed to: 

  • Offer price transparency, real-time replicability and reliable benchmark sources for price discovery
  • Accelerate the professionalization of Ether trading
  • Complement our Bitcoin Reference Rate (BRR) and Bitcoin Real-Time Index (BRTI)
  • Draw on our experience developing global pricing benchmarks

Three Ways to Access Streaming and Historical Data: 

  • CME Group website
  • CME DataMine
  • Market Data Platform (MDP)

Deribit vs Bitmex UP contracts

Deribit users received an e-mail outlining the difference between their options contracts and the Bitmex UP contracts recently released. Here is the text of their e-mail:

Last week, Bitmex introduced a new contract named UP (Upside Profit) Contract. This contract is basically an option on BTC, exactly like the options traded on Deribit.

 

The prices of Deribit options are established by buyers and sellers in the market. Anybody can participate at any time in the bidding process, provided enough margin in the user account.

 

The Bitmex UP contracts can only be bought. There is only one party that can short the contract, which is only one market maker designated by Bitmex. This market maker seems to be doing quite well, as the price at which the contracts have been issued are around 10 times higher than the contracts with the same specifications on Deribit (the only difference being that Deribit options expire a couple of hours earlier than the UP contracts on Bitmex).

 

The buyers of the UP contracts on Bitmex must have been unaware of the fact that they could have gotten an almost 10 times better deal on Deribit. We will explain this below with an example.

 

Looking at the Bitmex UP contract with expiry date 4 May 2018 and strike price of 10250, the current ask price for this contract is 0.0033 BTC. This contract would give a payout of the difference between the settlement price and the strike price whenever the price of BTC is higher than 10250 on the 4th of May. The contract size is 0.1 BTC, meaning that a trader would have to buy 10 of the contracts to get the full difference between strike price and settlement price (if settlement price is higher than 10250).

 

Looking at the 4 May 2018 contract on Deribit with strike price 10250, the current ask price is 0.0039 BTC. At first sight, the market on Deribit and Bitmex seem somewhat in line, but the contracts on Deribit are options on 1 BTC, while the contracts on Bitmex are options on 0.1 BTC.

 

This means that a trader on Bitmex would have to spend 0.0033*10=0.033 BTC to get the same exposure as buying on Deribit a single 4 May 2018 contract for 0.0039 BTC. Thus, in this case, a buyer is 8 times better off on Deribit than on Bitmex. In other words, traders could have saved almost 90% of their investments in Bitmex UP contracts by buying similar contracts on Deribit.

 

We hope the huge discrepancy between options prices on Deribit and Bitmex cannot only be explained by the fact that there is a single party who is allowed to short sell those contracts. We believe a mistake has been made as for the issuing price of the contracts. Let’s see if the UP contracts will get more reasonable prices in the coming weeks.

Toronto Rent Control Restricting Supply

As a Toronto property owner, I guess its good for me when my competitors won’t add to the supply of residential rental apartments (“smart”/current landlords are getting rich(er)), but as a Torontonian, I think rent control is hurting our city (and extending our commute times) since limiting the rent residential landlords can charge decreases the incentives for developers to add supply, thereby just making it more expensive for tenants in the long run. But if few Torontonians understand the dynamics of supply and demand, will rent control still sound appealing to voters? Probably 🙁 Rent control is making it harder for young people to own property, so keep investing in Toronto based REITs.

Allied Eyes 10-Year Bond to Fund Office Push for Toronto Tech

Allied Properties Real Estate Investment Trust is planning to spend about C$1 billion ($790 million) over the next five years to meet the frenzied demand for offices by tech workers in Canada’s biggest city.

Las Vegas Resort Fees Update March 2018

Room rates in Las Vegas are at all time highs, even though tourists can still get great value at many properties. Check out my updated post on Las Vegas Resort Fees.

Las Vegas Sands properties raise daily resort fees to $45

Las Vegas Sands Corp. has joined other Strip hotel-casino operators in raising resort fees. “As of March 6, The Venetian and The Palazzo increased our resort fee to $45,” Sands spokeswoman Alyssa Anderson said in an email.