Newsletter

2days ago, 18 Apr, Thursday
  • 19:10
    Bitcoin Price Indicator Turns Bullish in First Since Early 2018

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    Bitcoin’s two-week moving average convergence divergence (MACD) histogram has turned positive for the first time since early February 2018, signaling a longer-term bearish-to-bullish trend change.

    While the MACD is a lagging indicator, the historical data indicates the previous bull market began following a positive crossover on the indicator.

    In the short term, BTC’s hourly chart indicators have turned bearish, so a drop to $5,000 could be seen in the next day or two if crucial support below $5,200 is breached.

    Prices may still rise to recent highs above $5,400 if the bulls can defend the that support level and drive price upwards.

    A widely-followed bitcoin (BTC) price indicator has turned bullish for the first time in over a year, signaling a long-term bull reversal.

    The moving average convergence divergence (MACD) histogram – used to determine trend changes and trend strength – has moved above zero on the two-week chart (15-days) for the first time since February 2018.

    With the positive turn, the two-week MACD is the latest addition to the list of indicators calling a longer-run bullish reversal.

    Experienced traders, however, may point out that the MACD is a lagging indicator. After all, the technical tool is arrived at by plotting the difference between the MACD line and the signal line, which are based on the backward-looking moving averages.

    The indicator, therefore, tends to lag the price and has limited predictive abilities. Further, the longer the time frame, bigger is the lag. As a result, many would consider the bullish turn a result of the recent price rally rather than an advance warning of further gains.

    It, however, gains credibility if we take into account the historical data, which shows the last positive crossover on the MACD, seen in July 2016, was followed by a 2.5-year-long bull market.

    Two-week chart

    On the two week chart (left), the MACD histogram is printing positive for the first time for 14 months, after having charted a bullish divergence, or a higher low, in November.

    Notably, the MACD created a similar looking bullish divergence 10 months before the long-term bearish-to-bullish trend change, as represented by the falling channel breakout, witnessed in October 2015 (right).

    It’s worth noting that the indicator moved above zero four months before the bullish breakout and 12 months before the mining reward halving (which reduces the supply of new coins) that took place in July 2016. The MACD’s latest bullish turn is already accompanied by a falling channel breakout on the chart and has also turned positive 12 months before bitcoin’s third reward halving, due in May 2020.

    With history possibly looking to repeat itself, prices may continue to create bullish higher highs and higher lows in the run-up to the halving event, as seen last time around.

    In the short-run, though, BTC may have a tough time finding acceptance above the crucial 21-month exponential moving average, currently at $5,239, as discussed yesterday.

    As for the next 24-hours, the cryptocurrency may suffer a drop to $5,000 if key support just below $5,200 is breached, validating the bearish indicators on the short duration charts.

    Hourly chart

    On the hourly chart, the RSI continues to produce lower highs in favor of the bears as opposed to higher highs, while the MACD has turned negative.

    The price, however, is still holding above $5,190 – a level, which acted as strong support (see horizontal line above) yesterday.

    The bearish indicators would gain credence if the support at $5,190 is breached, leading to a deeper drop.

    Acceptance below $5,190 would boost the probability of BTC completing the right shoulder of a bearish head-and-shoulders pattern on the 4-hour chart with a drop to the neckline support, currently at $5,000.

    The bearish case would weaken if a potential bounce from the support at $5,190 ends up clearing psychological resistance at $5,300. That could be followed by a retest of the recent high of $5,466.

    As of writing, bitcoin is trading at $5,241 on Bitstamp, representing a 1 percent gain on a 24-hour basis.

  • 18:40
    Binance CFO: Surge in OTC Trades Drove Near $80 Million Q1 Profits

    A huge surge in over-the-counter (OTC) trading popularity drove major cryptocurrency exchangeBinance’s $78 million Q1 profits, crypto news outlet Decrypt Media reported on April 17.

    Speaking in an interview, CFO Wei Zhou said OTC, which is a method of wholesale cryptocurrency trading for large-scale investors, accompanied a volume uptick as bitcoin (BTC) rose almost $1,300 at the start of this month.

    “Last month we saw a lot more volume than, say, three months ago,” he told the publication, continuing:

    “This was mainly due to the increase in price of Bitcoin and altcoins over the past few months. We’ve witnessed more trading activity — and demand.”

    Binance had revealed its similarly surging profits for the first quarter of the year this week, the $78 million figure dwarfing previous performance by 66%.

    Major investor interest in crypto markets, Zhou said, is driving developers to create ever more diverse offerings to cater to their needs.

    “A lot of people who historically worked for high-frequency trading firms have made the jump from traditional equity, and have launched new trading platforms in our space,” he added.

    As Cointelegraph reported, that trend has found expression in the steadily mounting number of OTC products appearing on the market in recent months.

    In addition to Binance, exchanges such as Bittrex and Bithumb have launched dedicated OTC trading desks. As Cointelegraph noted, their emergence comes despite the year’s previously lower market prices.

    As prices increased, it further became apparent that traders in China, for whom OTC purchases of stablecoin Tether (USDT) are one of the few ways to legally enter the market, were paying premiums for coins in fiat terms.

  • 18:24
    US Gov’t Blockchain Spending Expected to Increase 1,000% Between 2017-2022: Study

    The United States federal government is expected to raise its blockchain spending to $123.5 million by 2022 — an over 1,000% increase as compared with the $10.7 million it spent in 2017. The forecast was made in a report from IDC Government Insights, published on April 18.

    IDC states that blockchain spending among state and local governments is also anticipated to grow, from $4.4 million in 2017 to $48.2 million in 2022 — similarly an almost 1,000% rise.

    Federal civilian agencies — who reportedly spent less than $20 million on the technology in 2017 — are likely to spend over $80 million by 2022, the report continues. The Defense Department — which likewise spent less than $20 million in 2017 — could almost double this figure and hit $40 million by 2022, the IDC claims.

    Government investment in blockchain technology is likely to evolve and expand to include more complex areas over time, the IDC’s research director Shawn McCarthy outlined:

    "We believe asset management, identity management, and smart contracts will be the leading blockchain solutions for government. Early spending will focus on supply chain and asset management solutions, while spending in later years will expand to include more identity management and complex financial transactions."

    IDC also notes that blockchain is likely to become a cornerstone technology for trade legislation, and is likely “to be implemented as a standard feature for some types of authorized international trade and also as a standard for many types of government procurement.”

    In terms of specific implementations of the technology, the report argues that a hybrid blockchain approach — combining aspects of private and public networks — is likely to prove the most popular among government agencies.

    As reported last month, the current Republican Minority Leader in the U.S. House of Representatives has recently argued that blockchain should be implemented to improve the transparency of the legislative process and bring more security and accountability to government.

    A separate IDC report from 2018 forecasted that worldwide blockchain spending would grow to $9.7 billion in 2021.

  • 13:48
    Crypto Wallet & Visa Card Spend.com launches Apple Pay & Google Pay on iPhone and Samsung Devices

    Spend.com announced that the Spend App is now integrated and compatible with both Apple Pay and Google Pay, available on iPhone, Samsung, and other Android devices.

    Spend is now the first company in the world to offer this service tied to 16+ supported digital currencies. The Spend team has created innovative ways to transfer, spend and send digital assets and currencies. Spend users will be able to link their Spend Visa® Card and Spend Virtual Visa® Card directly to their Apple Wallet and Google Pay Wallet.

    What does this mean? Traditionally, Apple Pay and Google Pay allow users to make secure purchases in stores, in apps and on the web, as well as send and receive money from friends and family [in Messenger]. Now, when linked to the Spend Visa® Card, users will be able to take advantage of all the supported digital and fiat currencies available within the Spend App anywhere Apple Pay and Google Pay is accepted. These features will be available on the release of Spend App v2.5.

    The Spend App

    With a quick and easy download from either the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store, theSpend App and Wallet will be the only digital wallet ever needed again. The Spend App allows users to store, withdraw, send, and spend more than 16 cryptocurrencies and 27 fiat currencies at over 40 million locations.

    Spend users also have the ability to send funds around the globe and/or exchange various currencies all from their Spend App. Whether someone needs to send money to family in Europe or buy/sell different currencies, it can all be done from the Spend App, which currently supports:

    16+ Cryptocurrencies

    US Dollar

    Canadian Dollar

    Euro

    24 Additional Fiat Currencies

    In addition to being able to send, spend, buy and sell currencies around the globe, users will have the power of detailed analytics at their fingertips to track coins and currencies. Spend’s in-app analytics gives users instant access to the most up to date charts and figures on any currency or coin users choose to track!

    App Benefits

    Currency Swap: Looking to exchange CAD to USD or XRP to LTC. Exchange any currency instantly with Spend, where applicable.

    Multiple Currency Support: Hold USD, CAD, EUR, and 24 additional fiat currencies and over 16 cryptocurrencies all within the Spend Wallet.

    Performance: 99.9% uptime with enhanced performance infrastructure in place.

    Compliance Built-In: Verify account identity instantly within the Spend App.

    Buy Crypto & Send Fiat: Users can purchase 16+ cryptocurrencies from their linked bank accounts, right from the Spend App, as well as transfer funds in over 180 countries.

    Secure Storage: Highest level of AES encryption with PCI DSS Level 1 Certification.

    Connecting the Spend Wallet To The Spend Visa® Card

    Once a user downloads the Spend App, they will be able to access and manage their funds anytime with the Spend Wallet & Spend Visa® Card. Once verified utilizing Spend’s in-app KYC system, users have the choice to immediately get issued a virtual card that can be used immediately at any merchant that accepts Visa® online. Users also have the option to order a physical card. In addition, Spend clients can earn up to 6% rewards back on all purchases. Cards are now available in the United States and Spend has secured issuers for its Visa® Card product in Canada, Europe, and Asia-Pacific regions.

    Spend offers its users three different levels of cards, each with its own unique benefits:

    Spend Simple™ – Spend’s introductory Visa® card. Spend Simple™ gives users access to the platform and all the great features offered. Upgrades are always available to Spend Preferred and Black.

    Spend Preferred™ – Spend’s most popular everyday Visa® card. Spend Preferred™ grants users a flexible spending limit for use as an everyday card with access to the Spend VIP Program and enhanced rewards.

    Spend Black™ – Our exclusive Visa® card for elite users. With an optional sleek metal design*, Spend Black™ cardholders receive access to the highest spending limits, highest rewards, and Spend VIP Elite Program.

    With all Spend Visa® Cards, users will enjoy advanced security features, an option of both a virtual or physical card, 24/7 support, as well as both card and wallet rewards, powered by Spendcoin [$SPND].

    No matter what level of card users are looking for, Spend has the perfect card to fit their needs, when tied to the Spend App.

    At no point can cardholders load cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin onto their Spend Visa® Card. All cryptocurrency will be converted to the appropriate local fiat currency first on the Spend Wallet and then that local fiat currency will be loaded on the Spend Visa® Card for use in purchase and ATM withdrawals.

  • 10:49
    Blockchain Firm Digital Asset Integrates Smart Contract Language With Hyperledger

    Blockchain software firm Digital Asset will integrate their smart contract language DAML with Hyperledger Sawtooth, a modular platform for distributed ledgers. Digital Asset announced the development in a blog post on April 16.

    In the post, Digital Asset revealed that it has begun working with Hyperledger members, Blockchain Technology Partners (BTP), in order to integrate the Digital Asset Modeling Language (DAML) runtime with Hyperledger Sawtooth, which is a modular platform for building, deploying, and running distributed ledgers like blockchains.

    The company explained that a number of the Hyperledger Sawtooth characteristics already comply with the DAML team expectations. “Hyperledger Sawtooth’s Transaction Processor has a very flexible approach towards roles and permissions, for example, and is based on a very natural DLT network topology of fully distributed peers. DAML is based on a permissioned architecture and Hyperledger Sawtooth can be configured to be permissioned without requiring special nodes,” the post details.

    DAML removes smart contracts apart from the ledger by defining an abstraction over implementation details like cryptography and data distribution, which purportedly provides a ledger model accessible through a clearly defined application programming interface (API). DAML applications can be moved from platform to platform without complex rewrites.

    Digital Asset first introduced DAML in April 2016, describing it as an expressive language designed for financial institutions to model and execute agreements through distributed ledger technology (DLT). Earlier this month, Digital Asset open sourced the DAML, making it freely available under the Apache 2.0 open source license.

    Subsequently, the firm partnered with major cloud computing company VMware to integrate the DAML on VMware’s blockchain platform. The development will purportedly “allow for broader reach and support as a combined offering.”

    Digital Asset also announced a collaboration with the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) to develop a new tool that can support the use of smart contracts for derivatives trading.

  • 10:19
    Demand for Legal Experts With Blockchain Tech Knowledge is High, Report

    Demand for legal experts with blockchain technology knowledge is high, according to Major, Lindsey & Africa managing director Brian Burlant, who recruits for law firms and in-house legal departments. The news was published by legal news and information site Law.com on April 17.

    According to Burlant, law firms are having difficulty keeping up with cryptocurrency and blockchain industry demands for lawyers because of a lack of candidates who really understand the technology. Burlant said that a lot of lawyers enter the space from regulatory practices or government, where they were engaged specifically in practices related to cryptocurrencies.

    Burlant stated that “for law students and those early in their legal careers, coupling a practical business approach with a working understanding of the technology is a good way to go.” He further advised that law students focus on blockchain, and not on cryptocurrencies, as blockchain “will be a game changer.” Mary K. Young, a partner at Zeughauser Group,said:

    “I think that the blockchain space was extremely popular for lawyers toward the end of 2017, and then the cryptocurrency crash happened, and a lot of lawyers who were working in crypto or blockchain went back quietly to whatever they were doing before, like Silicon Valley in the ’90s.”

    Young also noted that privacy law has grown substantially, with most global and national companies having added capabilities in privacy and data security sector in the course of the last five years.

    As recently published forecasts predict, global blockchain spending could account for almost $2.9 billion in 2019, which is an 88.7% increase from 2018. The financial sector will purportedly be the leading industry in terms of spending in blockchain development this year. Banking, securities, investment services and insurance services are forecasted to invest more than $1.1 billion out of the total global blockchain spending.

    Additionally, a recent survey conducted by Big Four auditing firm KPMG revealed that most taxand finance executives do not consider adopting blockchain technology. At least 60% of respondents claimed they would like to deploy blockchain in their companies to automate some repetitive tasks. Nonetheless, 67% were not using the technology at the time, while the other 27% were not sure whether their company was using it.

  • 10:13
    David Chaum, of Elixxir and DigiCash: Governments Can Break into Cryptocurrency Easily, Despite Security Protocols

    Conspiracy theorists are a dime a dozen, and the argument that “the government is watching” has been around for many years before the public found out about what the NSA is doing.

    Considering how new the cryptocurrency industry is, it should be shocking that there are already rumors about the government having their hands in it as well. However, the founder of DigiCash and inventor of Bitcoin’s precursor digital cash spoke publicly about the idea that the government has complete access to the cryptocurrencies of the masses.

    Speaking at the Paris Blockchain Week Summit, David Chaum spoke about the future that he hopes for with the crypto industry, including private payments and the technology to engage in messaging. These concepts will soon be deemed necessary, says Chaum, but the most notable part of his speech came when he claimed that governments would have no problem with getting through elliptic curve technology, which is essential to the Bitcoinnetwork’s security.

    David Chaum commented that he would personally “work in government and high stakes industrial security,” which is why he sees the elliptic curves as no barrier between the government and any given account. The government has the power to take down the market, he claims, and he added that these governments will act when they want to.

    The speech went on, as Chaum said that:

    “The growing popularity of mobile payments will result in a higher demand for privacy while online. It is clear that this demand has already started, considering the protests against Facebook for their mishandling of data of millions of users.”

    As Chaum sees it, there are two possible fates for cryptocurrency and privacy. The first option is to gain better control over personal data, while the second is to succumb to governments and businesses and let them control it.

    The latter puts this data at risk for being integrated into artificial intelligence efforts. Chaum stated:

    “This is very serious, probably the biggest question of our time.”

    The only way to at least delay or even stop these things from happening is to act quickly and act now, according to Chaum. However, this would not be the first time that the head of a project has encouraged and spread FUD in an effort to make a sale, which is especially common in the crypto world.

    Along with Chaum’s work with the original digital cash, he also founded a blockchain platform that is quantum resistant and privacy-focused called Elixxir. Based on the data of this platform, it allegedly can handle over 100,000 transactions in a single second, while Bitcoin can only handle seven transactions.

  • 08:31
    New $50 Million Blockchain VC Fund Partners With HTC

    An executive at electronics giant HTC is leading a new $50 million blockchain-focused venture capital fund, Proof of Capital, that includes a partnership with the firm, TechCrunch reports on April 17.

    The new blockchain fund is reportedly held in fiat currency and focused on “regular VC deals, as opposed to token-based investments.” The fund will reportedly mainly target early stage blockchain firms in fintech, as well as the consumer sphere of blockchain ecosystem.

    According to the firm’s LinkedIn profile, the San Francisco-based fund will have a particular focus on Asian markets and emerging economies.

    Proof of Capital fund is led by three tech and VC figures, Phil Chen, who is currently developing HTC’s Exodus blockchain smartphone as the firm’s decentralized chief officer; Edith Yeung, partner at Silicon Valley-based global VC firm 500 Startups; and Chris McCann, who served as community lead at Greylock Partners, an early investor in Facebook, Airbnb, Linkedin and others.

    According to TechCrunch, the fund includes a partnership with HTC, which will allegedly allow Proof of Capital portfolio companies to work with HTC directly to develop services or products for Exodus and potentially other HTC blockchain ventures.

    Yeung, who has invested in more than 50 tech startups, stressed that the setup of Proof of Capital is traditional, noting that the team comes from a “more traditional VC background.”

    Recently, Ripple’s investment arm project Xpring and Bain Capital Ventures invested in early-stage blockchain firm Robot Ventures.

    Previously, the New York Times reported that Facebook was seeking support from various VC firms to develop its reported stablecoin. Following the reports, venture capitalist and well-known bitcoin (BTC) bull Tim Draper confirmed to Cointelegraph that he is planning to meet with Facebook to discuss the investment.

  • 07:56
    Pakistani Prime Minister Addresses Digitization of Gov’t Administration

    The prime minister of Pakistan has conducted a meeting dedicated to the digitization of government administration, local Egnlish language news outlet The News reported on April 17.

    At the meeting, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan reportedly addressed such issues as digitization of government processes and blockchain technology’s impact on ensuring efficiency and transparency in its operations. Khan also highlighted the potential to eliminate bureaucracy and improve general service delivery in accordance with the government's vision.

    The discussion also touched on a next generation trading platform for the country that would purportedly facilitate trade efficiency with Pakistan’s trade partners. Khan stated:

    “The digitalization will also create much needed synergies among the government organizations for ensuring friction-less service delivery and improving ease of doing business in the country.”

    Earlier in April, Pakistan announced it will implement new cryptocurrency regulations in the form of a licensing scheme for electronic money institutions in an effort to improve its track record fighting financial crime. The regulations will reportedly “help combating money laundering and terrorism financing while it will also help regulation of digital currency throughout the country.”

    On April 1, Jameel Ahmad, the deputy governor of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the nation’s central bank, declared that the institution aims to issue a digital currency by 2025. According to the official, the aim is to promote financial inclusion and efficiency and combat corruption. The complete deployment of the central bank digital currency, however, is set to happen by 2030.

  • 06:35
    Cambridge Study: Lack Of Standard Terms for Crypto Hampers Global Regulatory Response

    The lack of standard global terminology for crypto assets is a major impediment for the adoptionof clear regulatory policies in the industry, according to a study by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF) released on April 16.

    According to the report, a variety of major terms in the crypto industry is often used interchangeably and without a clear definition, which hampers global regulatory response.

    Conducted with support from the Nomura Research Institute (NRI), the research provides a detailed analysis of the regulatory landscape on crypto asset activities in 23 jurisdictions. The research data was collected mainly through desktop research from November 2018 to early February 2019, the report notes.

    According to the study, the term “cryptoasset” itself lacks a specific definition and is widely used as an umbrella term to refer to digital tokens that are issued and transferred on distributed ledger technology (DLT), specifically blockchain, systems. The research argues that the terms crypto asset and token have different meanings depending on the context.

    As such, the report provides three major contexts for the definition of crypto assets. In a broad sense, the term encompasses all types of digital tokens issued and distributed on a blockchain. From an intermediate perspective, a crypto asset includes all types of digital tokens on a blockchain with open access, which do not necessarily need to perform a function. In a narrow view, crypto assets exclusively refer to digital tokens on open DLT systems that play an essential role in functioning, the report reads.

    The researchers further outlined three major challenges that are faced by global regulators of crypto. Prior to the adoption of clearly defined, standardized terminology, regulatory jurisdictions should first understand the nuances of the different terms and identify the terminology that is most suitable to their regulatory objectives.

    In addition, the CCAF research says that the 82% of analyzed jurisdictions have distinguished crypto assets that have characteristics of a security from other types of cryptos. Based on that, activities relating to crypto assets that are considered securities are automatically brought under the authority of local securities laws, the report says.

    Recently, Cointelegraph reported that the French government is planning to convince other European Union member states to adopt cryptocurrency regulations similar to its own.

  • 05:13
    Binance’s Singapore Fiat-to-Bitcoin Exchange Is Launching Next Week

    Cryptocurrency exchange giant Binance will launch its new fiat-to-crypto platform in Singapore next week, its chief financial officer said.

    CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao announced in early April that the Singapore fiat “on-ramp” would be coming sometime this month. But speaking to CoinDesk Wednesday from Paris, Binance CFO Wei Zhou gave a more precise timeframe. 

     “Next week we are going to launch the Singapore simple buy/sell on-ramp,” said Zhou, who was in town for Paris Blockchain Week. “It will actually be a new product we are launching, as a very easy buy/sell platform so users in Singapore can buy and sell bitcoin with Singapore dollars.”

    Zhou said that for now in Singapore, “it will just be bitcoin, but we hope to add more [cryptocurrencies]. For a lot of these regulated jurisdictions, it’s easy to start with things that people know and understand and you can gradually build on that.”

    Binance began its project of building fiat-to-crypto gateways in January when it partnered with Simplex to let traders use Visa and MasterCard to buy a wide range of cryptos. Then in March, it launched Binance Lite in Australia which allows users to buy bitcoin at newsagents in over 1,300 locations across the country.

    The company’s expansion in recent months has been both rapid and eclectic, taking in Europe and the U.K. via the islands of Malta and the British Crown Dependency of Jersey. The company has also set up in Uganda citing the need to bring financial inclusion to the underbanked in that region. It is currently the No. 5 exchange by 24-hour trade volume (when excluding no-fee trades and transaction mining), according to CoinMarketCap.  

    Asked if the exchange had any designs on North America, Zhou said: 

    “We have plans for U.S. but I can’t go into these right now.”

    Clear the DEX

    Binance has also embarked on plans to start a system of decentralized exchange (DEX), which is going to be built on Binance Chain, the exchange’s home-grown ledger to transfer and trade blockchain assets.  

    In terms of the timing of that, Zhou noted that the Binance Chain testnet is up and running and “we hope to release the mainnet by the end of the month as well.”

    He said there are a couple of reasons for pursuing a DEX route. As well as providing trading functionality, exchanges, by their centralized nature right now, hold customers’ assets, making them juicy targets for hackers.

    “That is a risk that we do not want to take in the long run,” said Zhou

    Speaking philosophically, Zhou also pointed out that change is the only constant in crypto. Two years ago 90 percent of trading was fiat to crypto; today 90 percent is crypto-to-crypto, he said. Hence:

    “I think the key here is that innovation is going to happen regardless of whether it comes from us or other people – so we would rather be proactive.”

    It’s possible to disrupt your own business model and do so in a virtuous way, Zhou added. “We are almost there, very close.”

    Old money

    Regarding the expectation that large swathes of institutional investors from the traditional finance world are waiting to enter the crypto sphere at some point soon, Zhou said Binance has seen institutional trading increase some 40 percent to 50 percent over the past six months.

    According to Zhou, these institutional traders are leveraging Binance’s application programming interface (API), heralding a new type of institution entering the space. These players wield less capital than, say, a typical tech-focused hedge fund, but they operate in a way that is “highly nimble, highly algorithm-driven and highly efficient,” he said.

    This will characterize the new money entering institutional crypto trading, said Zhou, adding:

    “I think right now, all the world is focused on what they call ‘old money’ – which is great, but I think the style of a lot of these institutions just don’t move at crypto speed.”

    In the context of crypto trading, algorithmic trading strategies interact directly with the technology of an exchange. Traders can develop their own applications, using programming languages like Python, and execute trades using the API.

    “It’s basically my code fighting against your code fighting against another code – figuring out each one,” said Zhou.

  • 02:39
    Bitcoin [BTC] Lightning Network gets another boost with release of lnd v0.6-beta update

    The Bitcoin [BTC] Lightning Network has taken the entire cryptoverse by storm with a lot of the promise of faster and safer transactions. The latest update from the Lightning Network Daemon informed users of the launch of the lnd v0.6-beta, with the key focus on improving data backups.

    The blog from lightning engineering stated that:

    “Prior to v0.6-beta, cases of data corruption could result in a loss of funds, but the “static channel backups” introduced in v0.6-beta provide for much-improved safety in these cases. Another major area of improvement as we move toward the release of our Desktop and Mobile mainnet apps are a series of improvements in usability, routing, and performance that will significantly improve the Lightning experience for end users.”

    The organization stated that they have focused on areas like safety, routing, usability, compatibility and developer friendliness to make the latest update even more functional. The safety aspect of the update was contained within the Static Channel Backups, a standard way to ensure both on-chain and off-chain funds are backed up and recovered. The GitHub repository shows that for the full recovery of the lnd, a user will require two pieces of data: the 24-word cipher seed and the user’s encrypted Static Channel Backup file. The update also stated that:

    “With “static” channel backups, the backup file only needs to be updated after new channels are created, as opposed to every time funds are sent or received. This is more convenient and simpler for users than “dynamic” backups that update with every transaction, but with the downside that SCB requires that channels be closed in data loss recovery scenarios.”

    v0.6-beta also aims to make the Lightning Network more accessible to the layman with the automation of the channel creation processes through the development of a new Autopilot system. The Autopilot system will include smarter channel management techniques to pinpoint data routing nodes that are reliable. The developers behind the latest update assured users that the v0.6 has added significant features to its interface to “make things better for Lightning developers”.

  • 01:54
    Binance Responds to Notre Dame Tragedy by Launching Crypto Donation Channel

    Major global crypto exchange Binance has launched a crypto donation program to support the reconstruction of the Notre Dame cathedral, the firm tweeted on April 16.

    Binance has initiated a donation program “Rebuild Notre-Dame,” calling the crypto community to support their campaign to restore the medieval cathedral that suffered “colossal damages” from a major fire that nearly destroyed the landmark on April 15.

    In the post accompanying the new crypto-fundraising channel, Binance stated that the recent event was a “great moment of loss for culture, arts, and history shared by all humankind.”

    The exchange launched the new donation channel on its charity platform initiated by the company’s social project The Blockchain Charity Foundation (BCF).

    At press time, the campaign has amassed 28 donations in bitcoin (BTC), ethereum (ETH), and Binance’s internal token Binance coin (BNB), totally accounting to 1.46 bitcoin, which is worth about $7,577 at press time.

    Binance, the world’s third largest crypto exchange by daily trade volume to date, introduced its blockchain-powered donation platform within BCF in October 2018. The major crypto exchange has already launched a number of crypto-powered donation campaigns, including a recent campaign to support students in schools across Rwanda, Kenya and Ethiopia.

    On April 15, BlockShow, an international blockchain event powered by Cointelegraph, launchedanother campaign to raise cryptocurrency for the Notre Dame cathedral reconstruction.

  • 00:49
    Telegram’s TON Partners With Wirecard to Develop Digital Financial Services

    The development team behind encrypted messaging service Telegram’s forthcoming blockchainecosystem Telegram Open Network (TON) has partnered with German financial services provider Wirecard. The latter revealed the news in a press release on April 17.

    TON Labs, which also functions as a knowledge base for decentralized project development, will work with Wirecard to develop new digital financial products, the press release reports.

    The partnership comes a week after sources hinted that TON had moved to private beta testing mode, a watershed moment for the project since its massive private initial coin offering (ICO) last year.

    “The addition of TON Blockchain to Telegram's growing ecosystem is opening new opportunities for business and technological innovation,” Alexander Filatov, managing partner at TON Labs, commented in the press release. He added:

    “We are excited to partner with one of the world's most dynamic and innovative financial technology companies to bring synergetic new generation fintech solutions to the market.”

    Details of the offerings the two entities will work on remain unspecified, Wirecard stating that announcements will come in stages without giving a timeframe.

    “Their [TON Labs’] immense experience in highly scalable technology and decentralized solutions as well as the strong global growth of Telegram messenger will be instrumental for the success of our joint program,” Wirecard’s executive vice president of group business development, Georg von Waldenfels, added.

    Wirecard meanwhile caught the attention of the mainstream media this week after Germany’s finance regulator informed prosecutors about potential market manipulation of its shares from January.

  • 00:00
    Justin Sun: TRON Aims to Get to 2,000 Dapps by the End of 2019

    The head of the TRON Foundation, Justin Sun, has recently spoken about the cryptocurrency's ecosystem and about the development of decentralized applications (dApps) on it. Sun revealed TRON is looking to launch 2,000 dApps on its blockchain by the end of the year.

    The TRON Foundation, an organization focused on the ongoing development of TRON (TRX), one of the largest platforms for building decentralized applications, has argued that price “instability” in the crypto market “creates a lot of skepticism about the long-term prospects of the blockchain industry.”

    The organization explained in a blog post, posted on April 17, that “companies and institutional investors are sitting on the sidelines and not [using] blockchain or cryptocurrency as a form of payment because” of the extreme volatility of cryptoasset prices.

    TRON-based USDT Will Help Stabilize Crypto Market

    The Foundation’s recently published blog post revealed:

    [High volatility in cryptocurrency prices] is a big reason why we need stablecoins on the TRON network. By implementing a [TRC-20 based] USDT on [the] TRON blockchain, we’re taking a [huge] step into a world representing stability — and into the world of decentralized finance.

    The TRON Foundation’s management also noted that “users in [South] Korea will be able to quickly and efficiently transfer” USDT payments “back to relatives in Israel” or in other countries throughout the world. It added that “consumer electronics [manufacturers] will able to pay Asian suppliers and track the progress of their purchased goods every step of the way.”

    More Trading Pairs For USDT Including BTT, TRX

    Commenting on the Foundation’s decision to implement a TRC-20 based USDT stablecoin on the TRON network, Justin Sun remarked:

    I think of USDT built on [the] TRON blockchain as a win for the blockchain industry and for our community. More people will be able to trade TRX, BitTorrent (BTT), and other TRC-based tokens through the TRC20 based USDT pair, creating liquidity. In turn, liquidity helps build confidence and trust that typically results in greater stability throughout the ecosystem.

    As mentioned in the organization's blog, an “incentive plan to reward holders” of the TRON-based USDT token will be launched, “by airdropping super-attractive APRs over the first 100 days after launch.”

    The incentive plan has been introduced in order to help “accelerate the transition from the USDT-Omni product” into a “more robust TRC-20 based USDT offering,” the TRON Foundation's blog stated. Going on to confirm that the TRON Foundation does not hold any user assets, the distributed ledger technology (DLT) development organization noted the funds are “safe and sound on [blockchain-enabled] exchanges and in individual wallets.”

    Explaining why the introduction of the TRON-based USDT will help the cryptoasset ecosystem, Sun said:

    As we introduce this new stablecoin, I ... firmly believe it will accelerate our push to be the leading platform for developers of dApps. We already have nearly 300 [dApps] on TRON in just a few months, and we aim to get to 2,000 by the end of this year. More people will be able to engage with these dApps as it’s a lot easier for people to understand and use a stablecoin in a consumer-facing use case.

3days ago, 17 Apr, Wednesday
4days ago, 16 Apr, Tuesday
  • 23:09
    Startup Arca Seeks SEC Approval for US Treasury Bond-Backed Stablecoin

    Arca is seeking regulatory approval to sell a new type of stablecoin to retail investors.

    The Los Angeles-based digital asset manager filed a prospectus with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Friday for a bond fund whose shares would be tokenized on the ethereum blockchain.  Arca hopes the SEC will approve the product later this year, a spokesperson said.

    The Arca U.S. Treasury Fund would be available to the general public, but not traded on any stock exchange or alternative trading system, according to the filing.

    However, shares in the fund (referred to as “Arca UST Coins”) would be represented as ERC-20 tokens, which run on top of ethereum. And Arca is framing the product as a form of stablecoin, or cryptocurrency designed to maintain parity with a traditional asset like the U.S. dollar, although the company cautioned that it may be slightly less stable than other such products on the market.

    The minimum investment in the fund would be $1,000, with a target net asset value (NAV) of $1 per share. At least 80 percent of the fund would be invested in U.S. Treasury securities, with the rest in debt issued by various public or private entities inside and outside the U.S.

    “It is therefore anticipated that the underlying portfolio, and the NAV of Arca UST Coins, will have relatively little volatility,” the document says. “Accordingly, although holders of Arca UST Coins could experience greater NAV volatility compared to typical stablecoins, such volatility will be relatively limited.”

    Investors would receive quarterly dividends from the interest payments, according to the prospectus, although the fund’s “investment objective is to seek maximum total return consistent with preservation of capital.” In other words, stable value rather than big profits.

    To buy shares from the fund or from another investor, traders “must first establish a wallet address through the Arca application and ensure that it is whitelisted with the Transfer Agent,” according to the prospectus. “Once an investor’s wallet address is whitelisted, the investor can use the Arca application to transfer money from a linked bank account to the Fund in return for shares of the Fund.”

    It is not clear how many of these purportedly dollar-pegged tokens Arca aims to sell; the prospectus says the offering would need to raise $25 million for the fund to have viable operations.

    Arca is not to be confused with NYSE Arca, one of several firms seeking to launch a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) in the U.S.

     

  • 19:14
    This Price Hurdle May Pave Way for Bitcoin’s Next Leg Up

    View

    Bitcoin’s rally from April 2 lows below $4,200 has stalled near the three-day chart’s 100-candle moving average (MA), currently at $5,238.

    A three-day close (UTC) above that MA level could invite buying pressure, leading to a sustained move higher toward $5,500 and more.

    That bullish close, however, looks unlikely in the short-term, as the cryptocurrency has created a bearish candle on the daily chart, validating signs of bull exhaustion (doji candle) on the weekly chart.

    A UTC close below $4,948 today would add credence to yesterday’s bearish candle, opening doors for a deeper pullback toward the 30-day moving average, currently at $4,550.

    The stalled bitcoin (BTC) rally could again pick up the pace if a new resistance level above $5,200 is convincingly breached.

    The market-leading cryptocurrency picked up a strong bid at lows below $4,200 on April 2 and jumped to 4.5-month highs above $5,300 on April 8, confirming a bullish reversal.

    The rally, however, has stalled in the last few days, courtesy of overbought conditions and other factors, as discussed yesterday.

    Notably, the three-day chart’s 100-candle moving average (MA), currently at $5,238, has been proving a tough nut to crack since April 2. As a result, that lesser-known average is now the level to beat for the bulls.

    A convincing move above that MA resistance could bring in more buyers, reviving the prospects of the further rally.

    As of writing, bitcoin is trading at $5,080 on Bitstamp, representing a 1.5 percent drop on a 24-hour basis.

    3-day chart

    The 100-candle moving average has recently been put to test for the first time since May 2018. Back then, the average was trending north, indicating a bullish setup and was located just above $8,400.

    As of writing, it is sloping downwards, representing a bearish bias, and is seen at $5,238. That bearish signal, however, is of little concern to the bulls, as longer duration averages are lagging indicators.

    That said, bitcoin has repeatedly failed to secure a three-day close above that average over the last 15 days. A break higher, therefore, may embolden the bulls and allow a sustained move higher toward $5,500.

    That, however, looks unlikely in the short-run, as the repeated failure at the 100-candle MA is accompanied by early signs of bearish reversal on the shorter duration charts.

    Daily chart

    BTC created a bearish outside reversal candle Monday – a pattern that occurs when the day begins on an optimistic note, but ends with pessimism. The candlestick is widely considered a sign of potential trend reversal, especially when it appears after a notable rally, as is the case with BTC.

    Traders, however, wait for confirmation in the form of strong follow-through, preferably a close below the candle’s low.

    So, a UTC close below $4,948 (Monday’s low) would shift risk in favor of a deeper drop toward the ascending 30-day MA, currently at $4,550. It is worth noting that the 30-day MA served as strong support throughout last month.

    A bearish close below $4,948 looks likely, as the 5- and 10-day MAs have produced a bearish crossover, validating the signs of buyer exhaustion seen on the weekly chart (last week’s candle was a doji).

    That said, the longer duration outlook will remain bullish as long as prices are trading above $4,236.

  • 18:39
    Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange Appoints Kurt Looyens as CEO

    The Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange (GBX) has a new Chief Executive Officer (CEO), the company announced this Tuesday, appointing Kurt Looyens, the former Country Executive for ABN AMRO Bank Spain to the top position.

    Looyens, who has been with the exchange since July of last year, is replacing Nick Cowan as the CEO, who will now work exclusively as the CEO of the Gibraltar Stock Exchange (GSX) and the GSX Group.

    The iFX EXPO is Back in Limassol!

    When Looyens joined the blockchain exchange in July 2018, he took on the position of Head of Business Development. Now, he will transition into the role of CEO. According to the statement, his leadership experience in corporate and private banking, as well as experience in running businesses, will help him tackle the top position.

    Commenting on the appointment, Looyens said, “I am excited to take the reigns of the GBX as we embark on an exciting new phase of development. This is a very interesting period for the wider GSX Group, following last week’s announcement that the GSX Global Market (GSXGM) will now offer the listing of digital debt and digital fund securities on its multilateral trading facility (MTF).

    “My experience building up regional businesses with ABN AMRO Bank, coupled with my in-depth knowledge of financial solutions for a global audience has prepared me to drive the GBX forward as a world-leading digital asset exchange.”

    Before GBX, Looyens Spent 25 Years at ABN AMRO

    Prior to his tenure at GBX, Looyens spent an impressive 25 years with ABN AMRO Bank, originally joining the firm in 1993 in relationship management. His most recent role with the firm was Country Executive and Head of World Citizen Services Spain & France, his LinkedIn states.

    “We are pleased to have Kurt transition into the position of CEO of the GBX, following a very successful spell as Head of Business Development. His vast experience in finance, business development, and regulatory matters will provide the GBX with essential leadership to cement its position as a leading digital asset exchange,” added Cowan, the CEO of GSX.

    “Kurt shares the overarching vision for the close interaction between the GSX and the GBX, with both entities working in tandem to capture the spirit of collaboration that has fuelled Gibraltar’s pursuit of blockchain innovation,” he continued.

  • 18:27
    Coincheck Owner Mulls Addition of Crypto to Its Retail Offerings

    Online brokerage Monex Group Inc., owner of the hacked Japanese crypto exchange Coincheck, is considering adding crypto to its retail client offerings in a bid to become more competitive in the local brokerage market. The news was reported by Bloomberg on April 15.

    As previously reported, Monex acquired Coincheck in April 2018 in the wake of the exchange’s industry record breaking $532 million hack in January of that year.

    According to Bloomberg, Monex now sees its Coincheck involvement as potentially instrumental in restoring its erstwhile market dominance.

    Founded in 1999, Monex was reportedly once the country’s most popular online brokerage, but has since reportedly been eclipsed by rivals such as Rakuten, SBI Holdings and Mastui.

    Monex’s brokerage unit is thus mulling the addition of digital currencies to its offerings for retail clients in collaboration with Coincheck. Monex Securities Inc.’s new president, Yuko Seimei, conceded that a new strategy is critical to reviving the firm:

    “We’ve fallen a little behind — we can’t deny that. If we keep doing things the way we have, we may not be able to close the gap.”

    Amid increasing competition in the brokerage market, Japanese investors’ enthusiasm for cryptocurrencies could help the organization reclaim clients, Bloomberg notes. The Japanese yen currently accounts for ~46.5% of national fiat currencies traded for bitcoin (BTC), according to crypto statistics site Coinhills.  

    As reported, under the stewardship of Monex, Coincheck took a series of measures to improve its protection and trading systems, as well as reimbursing those customers affected by the hack.

    In mid-November 2018, Coincheck resumed crypto trading and was granted an operating license from Japan’s Financial Services Agency in December 2018.

    Monex Group’s financial report on Q3 for the 2019 fiscal year revealed that Coincheck had halved its losses in Q3, as compared with the preceding quarter.

    This March, Monex announced major changes to its management composition, appointing three Coincheck executive directors to Monex roles to enhance cooperation between the two firms.

    This week, Money Forward Inc., the operator of one of Japan's most popular personal budgeting apps, announced a decision to halt its plans to launch a crypto asset exchange, citing profitability concerns amid the bear market.

    Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten has meanwhile just opened registration for users of its crypto exchange Rakuten Wallet, which is set to go live in June.

  • 17:37
    Sirin Labs Lays Off 25% of Staff Amid Poor Blockchain Phone Sales

     

    Israel-based Sirin Labs, maker of the Finney blockchain phone, has laid off a quarter of its workforce.

    Speaking to local financial news source Globes, the firm said it had let go of 15 of its 60 employees – less than had been speculated in the media.

    The layoffs come amid a disappointing consumer reaction to the firm’s recently launched blockchain phone.  “Sales are not what we expected,” Sirin told Globes.

    The device started shipping in November 2018, and notably features a cold (offline) crypto wallet that is effectively a second device in the same housing as the phone. The firm told CoinDesk in November that the wallet also it has a separate processor and users will interact with it on a second LCD screen for security.

    In the Globes report, Sirin Labs also refuted media reports that it has not been paying its staff in recent months. Workers have just been been paid for March and will be be paid Tuesday for April, it said.

    The problems at the firm, run by controversial entrepreneur Moshe Hogeg, come as a number of blockchain- and crypto-focused phones are hitting the market.

    HTC launched its EXODUS 1 late last year. Initially available for purchase only with cryptocurrencies, the phone was made available for cash buyers in February.

    Samsung has also moved to tap the attraction of blockchain features with its latest flagship phone, the Galaxy S10. On sale from early March, the phone features a crypto wallet, distributed app (dapp) partners and a digital signing app.

    In January, Sirin’s Moshe Hogeg and another firm he founded, blockchain prediction market platform Stox, were reportedly being sued by a Chinese investor for over $4.6 million for allegedly misappropriating some of the crypto millions invested in the firm.

    The platform ceased its activity in Israel late last year and laid off all employees, according to Globes.

    A number of blockchain startups have been laying off employees over the last few months, with most citing as a cause the effects of the crypto bear market on company holdings and revenue.

    Most recently, Indian exchange Unocoin has reduced its employee levels to just 14 from over 100 early last year. According to The Economic Times, the firm had tried unsuccessfully to raise further funding and had to cut costs as a result.

    Unocoin intends to soldier on with minimal staff while it awaits a verdict from the country’s Supreme Court over a decision by the central bank to block banking services to cryptocurrency platforms, the piece says.

  • 16:12
    Turing Award Winner’s Blockchain Opens Test Network to Public

     

    The test network for the Algorand blockchain platform has been made publicly accessible, the company behind the project announced Tuesday.

    The proof-of-stake based Alogrand was first unveiled by MIT professor and Turing Award winner Silvio Micali in 2017. Over the course of 2018, the initiative netted some $66 million in funding, with backers including venture capital firms Union Square Ventures and Pillar, both of which funded Algorand’s $4 million seed round in February of last year.

    Alogorand’s technological approach aspires to create a decentralized system that affords both scalability and security, as well as the elimination of the risk of “forking” or splitting into separate networks, as Micali detailed in a blog post published earlier this month.

    According to the startup, the public release follows a private test period in which several hundred users took part. The then-invitation-only testnet first launched last July.

    Now, Algorand hopes to attract a wider population of users to “ engage with TestNet and provide feedback on the quality, function, and overall experience of the TestNet protocol,” according to a press release.

    “Opening TestNet to the public is a major milestone on our journey to the open source release of the technology, CEO Steve Kokinos said in a statement. “Today marks the latest step forward in our overall mission to enable the broader Algorand community to collaborate, innovate and contribute to the evolution of our public, permissionless blockchain platform.”

  • 14:17
    Ledger CEO: Hardware Wallets Can’t Scale for Institutional Adoption

    Despite the many shortcomings of Bitcoin and most other cryptocurrencies, the crypto ecosystem has come quite a long way since cryptocurrency was first invented ten years ago. Crypto and blockchain have been adopted for use in banks, governments, and by countless individuals; despite high price volatility, billions of dollars have managed to stay in the crypto markets for several years.

    One of the most significant factors that has allowed cryptocurrency markets to grow the way they have is access to secure storage.

    Discover Barcelona Trading Conference – A Top Tier Crypto Trading Event

    Because banks that hold cryptocurrency aren’t widely available (and aren’t necessarily desired, either), entities that own cryptocurrency are solely responsible for it. This allows these entities to be free of the costs and regulations that come with typical banking services. However, it also means that if the crypto is lost, it’s almost impossible to get back.

    Recently, Finance Magnates spoke with Eric Larchevêque, CEO of cryptocurrency hardware wallet firm Ledger, about the ways that secure crypto storage is evolving, and about how his company is working to support the cryptocurrency ecoysystem.

    Technology Is Important, But It’s Not Enough

    “The foundational technology of Ledger is based on secure hardware,” Larchevêque explained. “From the beginning, we wanted to build a professional solution that could get certified. We believe that the only way for the cryptocurrency industry to become professional (like to get more mature and really scale), we need to have standardization, we need to have certification, we need to have some kind of technological rules to build trust.”

    “So, we’ve built everything on secure chips, because it’s possible to get certification–you can audit it and make sure it does what it says it does. This is based on this possibility and this promise that we have been able also to build solutions for enterprises. That’s one of the major points that differentiates us from our competition, because we have this approach based on secure chips and third-party certification.”

    “Having the capacity to get certified and get audited is the only way to achieve maturity into the ecosystem,” he said.

    However, Larchevêque acknowledged that technology in and of itself isn’t enough to keep the cryptocurrency ecosystem secure.

    He explained that regulators play an important role in the work that his company does, especially when it comes to enterprise-grade solutions. “All these security issues can mostly be solved by technology, but to make sure that people use the right technology, you need regulation. So, it’s a combination of both.”

    “To solve the pure security aspect of the management of the keys, you need a technical solution that can be based on secure hardware, et cetera. But you also have to process–for instance, if you can put in place solutions where someone can issue a payment, and two officers need to validate, then you need to have the compliance and the regulation to make sure that the way the operators are making their decision is in accordance with the best practice for the company.

    Smartphones are the Future of Cold Storage

    “Right now, for sure, the best way to secure your cryptocurrencies is to use a hardware wallet, because it provides isolation–cold storage that you can always use.”

    However, “the most difficult thing with hardware wallets for adoption is that you need to buy a hardware wallet. So it’s not something that everyone wants to do. It can work for the first million, or the first tens of millions of users, but it cannot scale for hundreds of millions or billions of users.”

    “So, we are pretty sure that in five years–or ten years, but most probably in five years–smartphones will have the right technology to ensure the right level of security. So, hardware wallets will still be a thing–I guess for some specific applications or for some people who prefer to have a dedicated device to store their cryptocurrencies.”

    Larchevêque did say that hardware wallets won’t totally disappear. “[They] will still exist, but if we think about the real adoption of cryptocurrencies–either through decentralized cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or tokenization, stablecoins, et cetera–it will go through smartphones.”

    “Today, it’s not the case because the level of hardware security in smartphones is not yet good enough, and there is a lot of fragmentation. But, a lot of smartphone manufacturers want to offer their customers the possibility to own their data–to have their own sovereignty regarding data, and crypto assets is a very good example.”

    Therefore, this is the future that smartphone manufacturers are planning for. “So, on their roadmap…product-wise, they want to add secure chips, they want to add the right trusted execution environment to guarantee the security of crypto assets in smartphones.”

    Ledger is planning for this future as well. “So, in five years, Ledger will most probably license much more of its technology to smartphone providers rather than selling hardware wallets as a device.”

    ”…A hardware wallet can be very good for an individual, it can be used by an institution, but it doesn’t scale.”

    “When you have a hardware wallet, it’s for one individual. If you are a company or a financial institution and you want to secure hundreds of billions of dollars in crypto, you could use a Nano S or a Nano X,” he said, referring to two of Ledger’s most popular products.

    However, “then, the question is ‘to whom do you give control of the device? Who has control of the Bitcoins?’”

    “What happens if you have a hostage situation, for instance, in the company–it would be like having a hundred million dollars in cash in the safe of the company. That’s why a hardware wallet can be very good for an individual, it can be used by an institution, but it doesn’t scale.”

    “So, we have introduced the Ledger Vault [platform], the technological answer to provide institutions with governance when managing their crypto assets.”

    “So, basically, we offer all the solutions which are based on hardware security–so it can be on the server level, or it can be at the endpoint level; we offer all the solutions to be able to manage any kind of crypto assets with rules, such as someone can initiate the transaction, others can confirm it; you can have all the auditability, you can have all the trustability, you have all the connections to other kinds of back-offices.”

    “So it allows an institution to build its cryptocurrency back-office. And it’s a technological layer–it’s really a technological response to the need of an enterprise to manage their crypto assets with teams and governance.”

    Recently, Finance Magnates interviewed Alena Vranova, head of strategy at multi-signature wallet provider Casa. Although Casa also provides enterprise-grade cryptocurrency wallet and storage solutions, Larchevêque said that there were important differences between Casa and Ledger.

    “Casa is a solution to do multi-signature,” Larchevêque explained. “What Ledger is providing is indeed multi-signature, but with much more rules. Casa is much more simple in its approach. The difference is more regarding the number of cryptocurrencies and the complexity of the rules that you can implement.”

    “But Casa is using hardware wallet to make its multi-signature; some keys can be secured by a hardware wallet. With the Ledger Vault, the private keys are managed in what we call ‘hardware security modules.’ There are several sides which allow for much more flexibility–so I would say that the Ledger Vault is much more complex, and targets large financial institutions, or [any] institution that plans to manage a large amount of cryptocurrency.” Larchevêque said that Ledger Vault currently has roughly 30 customers.

    This is an excerpt. To hear Finance Magnates’ full interview with Ledger CEO Eric Larchevêque , click the Soundcloud or Youtube links.

  • 11:51
    Litecoin [LTC] halving would be more bullish for Bitcoin [BTC] than LTC, says Tone Vays

    Litecoin [LTC], the silver counterpart of Bitcoin [BTC] is considered as one of the most dominant altcoins. The coin is scheduled for a block reward halving on August 6, 2019.

    After a particular halving, the virtual asset is supposed to witness a bullish trend. However, Tone Vays believes that Litecoin [LTC] halving will be bearish for the altcoin’s future.

    At a recent meet up held in Philadelphia, Tony Vays was asked to express his views on the LTC halving. Vays stated that it would be entirely bearish for Litecoin and would be particularly bullish for Bitcoin [BTC].

    He explained his statement and said that Bitcoin [BTC] halving usually reminded miners of scarcity. The scarcity factor usually drives up the value factor of a virtual asset, which makes it more profitable for the miners to mine.

    Tony Vays stated,

    “In the case of Litecoin [LTC], the scarcity is not a major factor because Litecoin is unsecured inflation on top of Bitcoin.”

    Additionally, Tone Vays stated that Litecoin [LTC] had more competitors in the market compared to the dominant Bitcoin [BTC]. He mentioned that Litecoin halving should remind the industry that there was no value to mine Litecoin [LTC] in the current market. On the contrary, he believes that Bitcoin [BTC] halving will create opportunities for miners to find more valuable Bitcoins.

    Tony Vays said,

    “Litecoin is easily replaceable, so investing a lot of money in Litecoin mining infrastructure only to watch Litecoin disappear in the halving is a problem. Hence, halving is a major problem for Altcoins but, not necessarily for Bitcoin.”

    He added that the bullish trend after the Litecoin [LTC] halving would not drive Bitcoin’s [BTC] price valuation through any major highs, but would still play a crucial role.

  • 10:55
    ‘Satoshi’s Treasure’ Is a Global Puzzle With a $1 Million Bitcoin Prize

    A new alternate reality game called Satoshi’s Treasure has hidden the keys to $1 million worth of bitcoin across the globe, forcing players to collaborate and improvise.

    “A lot of people have joked we’re doing the bitcoin version of Ready Player One,” Primitive Ventures co-founder Eric Meltzer, the game’s co-creator, told CoinDesk. “The game is going to have a leaderboard to show which teams have the most keys.”

    Revealed exclusively to CoinDesk, the keys to this bitcoin wallet were divided into 1,000 fragments, requiring a minimum of 400 key fragments to move the funds. Players can collect and unravel clues any way they want, even selling leads if they choose. Meltzer himself donated a significant portion of the bitcoin loot, with unnamed angel investors capping it off.

    The game itself has no rules.

    “Forget about the rules, just go goddamn play,” Meltzer said, adding that so far more than 6,000 people have signed up for the game’s mailing list for key updates.

    Meltzer enlisted the help of zcash co-creator Ian Miers and 18 other contributors so that no single person knows the schedule or location of all the clues or keys. The logic puzzles are sprinkled across the internet and sometimes printed and pasted in the real world as well.

    “There are some clues that are very scavenger hunt-y, and clues where it’s purely logic puzzles or math problems,” Meltzer said, adding that the end result will numerically yield a key fragment.

    The first clue, released yesterday, seems to point users in the direction of the Blockstream satellite, which broadcasts data related to bitcoin.

    There are plans to eventually launch an app to help players keep track of clues and updates, but it will not be required to play. The app will also be a conduit for sponsorship and partnerships with external brands.

    “There is a company, basically so that we can pay people’s salaries,” Meltzer said. “Part of the meta game that I think people are going to like is trying to figure out who is behind this.”

    That being said, Meltzer is just a figurehead. There is no single person, not even a member of the tropical island–based company (which island is a secret), who knows how the game will play out.

    “When the winning team wins they do so by taking the bitcoin and we have nothing to do with this. We’re not giving the prize,” Meltzer said. “There are so many unknowns in this game that we kind of just want to see what happens.”

    Teen gamers

    One prospective player, 15-year-old German developer Malte Lauterbach, told CoinDesk games like Satoshi’s Treasure offer a teen-friendly way for his friends to learn about cryptocurrency.

    “Earning bitcoin through games is a pretty cool idea,” Lauterbach said, adding his parents don’t like the idea of him getting involved with speculative trading. “It’s pretty cool having diverse teams with players all over the world.”

    Lauterbach isn’t the only teen interested in Satoshi’s Treasure as a way to earn bitcoin without needing to own a bank account.

    “A lot of [players] are young, it skews very young so far,” Meltzer said. “I don’t think it will stay that way.”

    Lauterbach first heard about Satoshi’s Treasure through another gaming community he’s a part of. He and two teen friends from India and the U.S. are building an educational game about cryptocurrency markets on the developer tools site Repl.it, which is offering one bitcoin as the prize for the best money-themed game submission.

    Amjad Masad, CEO of the developer tools startup behind Repl.it, told CoinDesk:

    “A year ago we started noticing suspicious activity on our platform, and we found that someone built a huge mining infrastructure to mine bitcoin. We looked into it and found it was this 13-year-old kid. … There’s a huge interest in crypto from young developers.”

    As for Satoshi’s Treasure, Lauterbach loves the idea of collaborating with people around the world while learning more about bitcoin.

    Prize money merely offers an enticing twist.

    “Instead of something like World of Warcraft gold, I could use bitcoin to buy real stuff instead,” Lauterbach said.

  • 07:15
    Winklevoss Twins are Optimistic for a New Crypto Market Bull Run Wave: Gold, Fidelity and 2017 Comparison

    Recently the Winklevoss twins sat for an interview with Bloomberg Opinion columnist Barry Ritholtz. The twins, who run the Gemini Trust exchange, spoke about a variety of things including the next bull run, bitcoin replacing gold, and more.

    The twins became well-known in 2010 for their portrayal in the movie “The Social Network,” which depicted their clashes with Mark Zuckerberg over the originator of the idea for Facebook. Since then, the 37-year-old brothers have started a self-regulatory organization to help crypto exchanges self-police.

    When asked about the bull run of 2017, they replied:

    “So 2017 we felt like, OK, we’ve seen this movie before. But each time the excitement gets ahead of itself, it tends to stabilize at a better floor than it was before. So instead of looking at the 52-week highs, look at the 52-week lows, and each of them is stepping up into the right direction. Now, the way we get there is kind of a wild ride in between.”

    They think that there will another wave and it should be probably more exciting than the last one.

    They are certain of a bright future for Bitcoin. They even think that Bitcoin is going to take over the gold market.

    “Our view, at least with Bitcoin, is that it’s a digital gold. – Bitcoin’s market cap, I haven’t checked today but let’s say it’s a hundred million dollars, then gold is at seven trillion, if it’s better than gold it’s got to get that high.”

    A renewed bitcoin bull run will be fueled by a maturing crypto market that could lure investors out of physical gold and into “digital gold.” If 10 percent of the gold trade were to shift into bitcoin, it would more than triple Bitcoin’s market cap.

    Recently, Mike Novogratz had said:

    “I think of gold as a store of value. Bitcoin provides a really interesting alternative to gold. Forget the other stuff that might come out of it. Forget the layer 2 solutions and payments and everything else. Just as its core, sovereignty should be expensive.”

    The twins even commented about Fidelity moving into the crypto marketplace.

    “I think it makes a lot of sense [Fidelity getting into crypto] and it’s a smart move. – The business case may not be there today but it will be there tomorrow and as these businesses work, getting there first is an advantage for sure. I think a lot of Wall Street got really close in 2017, and were about to take the plunge – but ended up backing away.”

  • 05:14
    ConsenSys Is Seeking $200 Million in New Funding: Report

     

    ConsenSys is seeking a funding boost.

    Ethereum co-founder Joe Lubin’s Brooklyn-based venture studio is looking to raise $200 million from external investors, The Information reported Monday, at a valuation of $1 billion.

    The Information reports that ConsenSys is pitching Chinese investors with materials claiming the company aims to earn $50 million in revenue this year, primarily from contracts with enterprise and government clients. Last December, the Brazilian National Social Development Bank confirmed to CoinDesk it was in talks with ConsenSys.

    ConsenSys was previously supported by Lubin’s personal fortune and employed up to 1,200 people in 2018. When the price of ethereum plummeted after the 2017 token boom fizzled, ConsenSys laid off 13 percent of its staff. Following a late-2018 re-organization dubbed “ConsenSys 2.0,” it became clear that partnerships with traditional, external investors were a priority.

    Several former staffers told CoinDesk in January 2019 that more cuts were on the horizon.

    The Information now reports that ConsenSys brought in “just $21 million in revenue in 2018.” It’s unclear how that income relates to the various startups under the ConsenSys umbrella. Several projects are seeking to raise capital on their own as independent startups, multiple sources tell CoinDesk.

    A ConsenSys spokesperson declined to comment.

  • 04:19
    Swisscom Blockchain AG Onboards New Chief Executive Officer

    Blockchain-focused company Swisscom Blockchain AG has onboarded Ethereum (ETH) engineer Lukas Hohl as its new chief executive officer, Cointelegraph auf Deutsch reported on April 15.

    Hohl, who previously served at various IT and finance companies, including Blockchain’s parent company Swisscom, business consulting firm BearingPoint, consultancy group Sofgen, and management consulting company Synpulse, will now lead the firm’s blockchain strategy and facilitate the further development of the company.

    Roger Wüthrich-Hasenböhler, chief digital officer at Swisscom, commented on Hohl’s appointment, saying that "in the past, Lukas Hohl has built and managed companies, managed complex large-scale projects, is well networked in Switzerland and internationally and fits perfectly into the young team of Swisscom Blockchain AG."

    As Cointelegraph reported in January, Swisscom Blockchain’s former CEO Daniel Haudenschild unexpectedly left the firm. The news of Haudenschild’s sudden departure from Swisscom Blockchain came just a day before the executive accepted the position of president of the Crypto Valley Association.

    At the time, the press release read that Wüthrich-Hasenböhler was set to take over as acting CEO of the company.

    Last month, Swisscom — which is a Swiss state-owned telecoms and ICT firm — entered into a strategic partnership with global market infrastructure provider Deutsche Borse Group and Swiss and Singapore-based fintech company Sygnum to build out a compliant financial market infrastructure for digital assets.

    The initiative reportedly focuses on creating a distributed ledger technology (DLT)-based ecosystem to support the nascent tokenized economy, which, the partners contend, “has the potential to reshape global financial markets.”

  • 03:52
    President Lukashenko: New Bitcoin Mining Data Center For Crypto Proposed To Be Built In Belarus

    New Mining Center For Crypto Proposed To Be Built In Belarus, Says President Alexander Lukashenko

    Mining cryptocurrency is one of the necessary procedures for most decentralized digital assets. With the exception of a few platforms, this process validates the transactions on the blockchain, though they can end up taking up a lot of power. Still, there is plenty of profit to make from these efforts, which is likely to be the reason why the President of Belarushas proposed the creation of a center to do exactly that.

    President Alexander Lukashenko recently sat at a meeting in the High-Tech Park with multiple individuals directly involved with the IT industry. During this meeting, he proposed the creation of a large data center near a local nuclear power plant, serving as a place to mine cryptocurrency.

    In a translated statement, Lukashenk said that their intention is to build farms, mine Bitcoin, and sell the tokens. He added that “they say that if there is Bitcoin, it’s not a problem to sell it.” However, he added that Belarus plans to completely support the efforts of digital assets and the local digital economy.

    If the dates projected are accurate, then the first of the power units to be used for the NPP project will be commissioned in December this year. The second power unit will be happening in summer 2020.

    Presently, Bitcoin is trading at $5,157.40, fluctuating by under 1% in the last 24 hours.

     

5days ago, 15 Apr, Monday
  • 22:10
    LedgerX Reveals Bid to Beat Bakkt to Physical Bitcoin Futures Launch

    Cryptocurrency derivatives provider LedgerX plans to become the first U.S. firm to offer physically settled bitcoin futures contracts.

    The company announced Monday that it has filed for a designated contract market (DCM) license, which would allow LedgerX to offer physically-settled bitcoin futures products to its customers. Unlike the cash-settled bitcoin futures offered by CME Group (and previously, Cboe), customers would receive the actual bitcoin underlying a contract after it expires, rather than the U.S. dollar equivalent.

    And perhaps more notably, LedgerX can target retail investors with its new offering, said Juthica Chou, who serves as both chief risk and operating officer at LedgerX.

    “We’ll be able to service customers of any size, we won’t be restricted to [institutional clients],” Chou told CoinDesk.

    Once approved, LedgerX will offer bitcoin, bitcoin options and bitcoin futures to retail customers through a new platform, dubbed Omni.

    Omni, built on LedgerX’s existing infrastructure, will act as the provider for both custody and trading services. LedgerX’s original platform first received regulatory approval to launch in July 2017, though the platform itself only went live later that year.

    The new platform will also utilize LedgerX’s existing institutional liquidity pool to “offer retail customers a top tier experience from day one,” Chou said.

    Launching a retail platform with futures offerings has “always been our plan,” Chou said. The company first began offering physically-settled derivatives products in October 2017, trading $1 million in its first week.

    “Once the platform had proved stable and we got an operational cadence, we filed for a license with the CFTC,” Chou said, adding:

    “For us this is a philosophically important move because bitcoin is available to everyone and we … really wanted to make our derivatives products available to all investors as well.”

    Regulatory roadmap

    The company filed for a license to offer futures contracts in November 2018, and has been engaged in a “constructive dialogue” with the CFTC since, Chou said. However, she could not comment on a timeline for when the CFTC might approve LedgerX’s application, or on what sort of reception the firm is expecting from customers.

    The CFTC has already granted LedgerX two licenses, allowing the firm to act as a Swap Execution Facility (SEF), which is the company’s exchange platform, and a Derivatives Clearing Organization (DCO), which is the clearinghouse.

    LedgerX’s DCM application is therefore just an additional license on top of its existing permissions. Operationally, the company is already set up to provide futures services, according to Chou.

    She continued:

    “We’re custodying [bitcoin] in the same way that we currently do, we’ve obviously been live and operational for more than a year and a half, and we have a license from the CFTC, the DCO license, that allows us to custody bitcoin.”

    Since its launch, LedgerX has provided institutions with regulated physically-settled bitcoin swaps and options products, and claims some 200 different firms as customers.

    While CME and Cboe both began offering cash-settled bitcoin futures in December 2017, no company has launched a physically-settled equivalent to date – though that’s not for lack of trying.

    Several major firms plan to launch physically-settled bitcoin futures contracts, including Bakkt, the firm built by New York Stock Exchange parent Intercontinental Exchange; Seed CX, the crypto exchange backed by Bain Capital Ventures; and ErisX, a startup backed by brokerage TD Ameritrade.

    However, all of these firms, too, are awaiting their own regulatory approvals, giving LedgerX a shot at being the first to go live with an actual product.

    “This is a natural evolution and it stems from the fact that we’ve been operating a physically settled market for more than a year and a half so it’s been a natural [extension],” Chou said. “We’re always excited to be the first.”

  • 22:05
    Startup Raises $3.9 Million in Tokenized Equity on London Stock Exchange Platform

     

    Blockchain startup 20|30 has raised £3 million ($3.93 million) in a sale of tokenized shares on a platform operated by the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG).

    While a trial effort looking at using tokenized equity to modernize the financial markets, the share offering involved real cash and was issued on the LSEG’s Turquoise equity trading platform.

    20|30 sets out to tokenize equity and other securities using distributed ledger technology. The firm was notably part of the fourth cohort of the UK Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) regulatory sandbox, announced last July.

    As CoinDesk reported, LSEG and the FCA previously said they were working with 20|30 and distributed ledger technology startup Nivaura toward demonstrating for the first time that equity in a U.K. company can be tokenized and issued within a fully compliant custody, clearing and settlement system. With today’s news, the first stage of that plan looks to have been successfully carried out.

    The project set out to explore “tools to help companies raise capital in a more efficient and streamlined way,” said the LSEG.

    After the primary issuance of an equity token based on ethereum, “the next step will be to offer secondary transfers. Then we can work our way up the ‘capital stack’ to reinvent private equity and, public markets,” Tomer Sofinzon, co-founder of 20|30, told the Financial Times at the time.

    Speaking to CoinDesk about the project in July, Dr. Avtar Sehra, CEO and chief product architect at Nivaura, said: “Someone can use our technology to do all the legal documentation, tokenize these assets and execute them. LSEG has then been forward-thinking enough to help get these orders out to the existing market.”

  • 21:27
    Ripple (XRP) Reddit Subscribers Reach the Milestone of 200,000 Members

    The Reddit subscribers of the 3rd largest cryptocurrency have now reached a milestone of 200,000 members.

    Ripple is described as the company that connects banks, payment providers, and digital asset exchanges via RippleNet to send money globally and provide a frictionless experience while the digital asset XRP, the “fastest and most scalable digital asset today” can be used by these payment providers to further gain access to new markets and reduce costs.

    According to the stats provided by subredditstats.com for the Ripple subreddit, the subscribers’ number started showing some growth in mid-June 2017. The late 2017 period was the one when the subreddit saw the highest growth when it went from around 35k subscribers to 175k. Since then, it has slowed down and took more than a year to reach 195k subscribers.

    While Ripple’s Subreddit growth wasn't much far behind Ethereum’s subreddit growth which has over 435k subscribers. But in comparison to Bitcoin, it is way behind as Bitcoin’s Reddit members are at 1 million.

    In Ripple Subreddit, the top submission of the year is This guy, a car with number plate hodl XRP, is a believer. Other top submissions are XRP/USD trading pair on Binance, Ripple CEO saying expect dozens of banks to use our cryptocurrency next year, Binance to add XRP as a base pair, and XRP making it to the 2nd spot on Coinmarketcap.

    In this subreddit, there have been 7 posts per day. The comments per day, in the meantime, has been going down since November 2018 hitting after 786. Now, it has come below 100.

    The comments per/day rank that is the lower the better has been constantly going up since November 2018 as well. While at the end of last year it has been around 520, in March it reached 3899, taking a serious drop in April when prices took a hike at 1588 but are yet again on the ascent to around 2600.

    As for the top keywords, XRP is at the top spot followed by Ripple, coinbase, hodl, cryptos, contributors, remittance, liquidity, escrow, links, high-profile, partnerships, binance, adopters, capitalization, currencies, lambo, bearish, ripples, 000%, and stakeholders.

    Top posters of this subreddit are u/Panosmek (20714), u/Hodor7777 (17746) and u/dinotango (5936) while top posters by frequency are u/Hodor7777 (84),

    u/Panosmek (73), and u/AutoModerator (30).

    Meanwhile, XRP price is at $0.3278 with 24-hours gains of 0.53 percent, as per Coinmarketcap data.

     

  • 20:13
    Nestlé, Carrefour Work With IBM to Track Mashed Potato Brand With Blockchain

    Switzerland-based food giant Nestlé, French supermarket chain Carrefour and IBM have partnered to use the latter’s blockchain technology to track a famous French convenience food, the companies announced in a press release on April 15.

    Nestlé and Carrefour, both of which are members of IBM’s Food Trust blockchain platform, will use the technology from today to track the supply chain of Mousline, a well-known brand of instant mashed potatoes.

    Once it rolls out, shoppers will be able to scan a QR code with their smartphones to know exactly where the potatoes in a specific packet came from, as well as their journey to the specific Carrefour store.

    “Using the QR code on the product’s packaging, each consumer will be able to use a secure platform on their smartphone to access information on the production supply chain, including the varieties of potato used, the dates and places of manufacture, information on quality control, and places and dates of storage before the product reaches the shelves,” the press release confirms.

    The announcement comes just days after United States supermarket chain Albertsons said it was using Food Trust to track one of its products — iceberg lettuce — with the potential for more to follow.

    Worldwide, around five million different food items already employ blockchain in their supply chain in some form as the industry niche grows.

    “This partnership is based on the shared values of each company to bring consumers greater transparency in the food sector,” Carrefour continued in the press release. The firm added:

    “By simply scanning a product using a smartphone, consumers will receive reliable and unfalsifiable information on the supply chain and production.”

    As Cointelegraph reported, Carrefour has itself stepped up blockchain integration in recent months by applying the technology for tracking milk.

  • 19:51
    Three Reasons Why Bitcoin Price Rally Has Stalled

     

    View

    Extremely overbought conditions and other factors seem to have stalled bitcoin’s promising price rally.

    Acceptance below $4,912 would validate signs of indecision on the weekly chart (doji candle) and open the doors for a deeper drop to $4,527 (200-day moving average).

    A break above last week’s high of $5,347 would invalidate the weekly chart doji candle, although an immediate rally to $6,000 looks unlikely with the daily RSI still flashing overbought conditions.

    Bitcoin’s recent price rally has stalled and signs of indecision are evident in the market just a week after a big bullish breakout.

    The leading cryptocurrency closed at $5,190 on April 7, confirming an upside break of a bearish channel – the same pattern that paved the way for a bull market in 2015.

    So far, however, the follow through to that bearish-to-bullish trend change has been anything but bullish.

    The cryptocurrency witnessed two-way business last week, clocking a high and low of $5,347 and $4,912 before closing almost flat at $5,162.

    So, the rally looks to have stalled due to the following three factors:

    Overbought conditions

    Bitcoin’s 14-day relative strength index (RSI), a widely followed technical indicator, jumped above 70.00 on April 2, signaling overbought conditions as the price jumped over 18 percent to highs above $5,000.

    With the price climbing further to a 4.5-month high of $5,345, the RSI rose to near 90 levels, the highest since December 2017.

    An extreme overbought reading is considered a sign the rally is overdone and is usually followed by a reaction – a price pullback or a consolidation, as is the case currently with bitcoin.

    Prices then made numerous failed attempts to convincingly scale $5,300 in the eight days before a drop to $4,912 on April 12.

    Bearish volume divergence

    Bitcoin’s 24-hour trading volume across all cryptocurrency exchanges, as calculated by CoinMarketCap, doubled to $21 billion on April 2, validating the bearish-to-bullish trend change signaled by the break above the key resistance of $4,236 and the rally to $5,000.

    As the cryptocurrency extended gains further to a fresh 4.5-month high of $5,347 on April 8, though, trading volumes tapered off to $17 billion, reinforcing the overstretched conditions reported by the 14-day RSI.

    Hence, the pullback to $4,912 (Friday’s low) was not surprising. Prices have recovered by more than $200 over the weekend, but volumes are down further, to $10 billion. So, the recovery could be short-lived.

    Forcing out weak hands before building breakout

    The financial markets often test buyers’ resolve by revisiting former resistance-turned-support before building on a major bullish breakout. And that seems to be the case here.

    For instance, BTC cleared the 100-day moving average (MA) hurdle on Feb. 19. The newfound support, however, was put to test multiple times in the 10 days to March 4 before a sustained move higher.

    On similar lines, prices fell back below the psychological support of $5,000 last Friday and may drop even further to the 200-day MA, currently at $4,527, as the average is widely considered a barometer of a bullish/bearish trend.

    The case for BTC shaking out weak holders with a drop to the 200-day MA looks stronger if support a $4,912 is breached.

    View

    Weekly chart

    On the weekly chart, BTC created a doji candle on Sunday, which is widely considered a sign of indecisive market.  Interestingly, the doji appeared following a high-volume falling channel breakout. So, it could be considered a sign of bullish exhaustion.

    Acceptance below $4,912 – the low of the doji – would confirm buyer exhaustion, opening the doors for a deeper pullback to $4,527 (200-day MA).

    4-hour chart

    On the 4-hour chart, BTC could be creating the right shoulder of a head-and-shoulders bearish reversal pattern.

    A break below the neckline support at $4,988 would create room for a drop to $4,629 (target as per the measured move method).  

    As of writing, BTC is changing hands at $5,142 on Bitstamp, representing a 2 percent gain on a 24-hour basis. 

  • 12:46
    Mayer Multiple Passing 1.0 Signals That Bitcoin (BTC) Bear Market Might Be Over

    The Mayer Multiple, a measure conceptualized by diehard Bitcoin investor and evangelist Trace Mayer, seems to be signaling that BTC might have bottomed. As explained by analyst Crypto Kea, the multiple, which weighs the price and 200-day moving average (key support/resistance), recently passed 1.0 after falling to 0.51 on December 14th.

    The @TraceMayer Mayer Multiple and its move back above 1.0 might have just indicated the bottom of this bear market, just as it successfully indicated the two prior bear market bottoms.#BTC #Bitcoin#Crypto

    Thread @woonomic @krugermacro @APomplianopic.twitter.com/qhZKJql05V

    — CryptoKea (@CryptoKea) April 13, 2019

    Kea claims that this simple fact “might have just indicated the bottom of this bear market.” The analyst looks to the fact that in previous market cycles, whenever the Mayer Multiple surpassed 1.0 after a capitulation event, “the bottom was in.” Following the Multiple’s moves past 1.0 came months of chop and range trading, which we saw this cycle during the price action seen from January to March. Thus, if history plays out in full, Bitcoin may begin to rally henceforth, and is most likely not going to see a lower low in this cycle.

    If Bears Are Done, Where’s BTC heading?

    recent MarketWatch report, which cited a comment from the Bitcoin permabull, Tom Lee, among other industry pundits, would confirm that BTC isn’t looking all too shabby. And here’s Lee to explain where the cryptocurrency could head.

    Lee, who heads Fundstrat as its research chief, claimed that the “risk appetite” for Bitcoin is currently positive, not negative as some cynics have suggested. He adds that with there being a growing number of investors looking to apply risk to there portfolios, the value of each BTC could easily top $10,000 during 2019. On Twitter, he confirmed that $14,000 was possible.

    1/ Risk markets globally have rallied YTD big time and this is a tailwind for #bitcoin $BTC. As noted previously, S&P 500 YTD is 2.5 std dev = ~ $14,000 for BTC

    It’s curious that Bitcoin correlation is now negative to equities (next tweet)

    From @fundstrat_ken latest piece https://t.co/mgolqFqTbv

    — Thomas Lee (@fundstrat) April 12, 2019

    Lee’s other reasons for this semi-forecast include the fact that commodities often trade at 2.5 times their production costs, and the fact that there is evidence that whales, most likely institutional, are starting to flood into the crypto space once again.

    Even if $14,000 doesn’t come to fruition, the consensus seems to be that as a result of macroeconomic factors, BTC and other decentralized digital assets will head higher by some amount in the coming years. Speaking to MarketWatch, Naeem Aslam, the chief analyst at Think Markets, claimed that the Federal Reserve’s pivot to new policies after 2008’s recession has made monetary policy a “joke.” He claims that quantitative easing, the purchasing of assets to ease an economy and promote growth, just “fueled buybacks and inflated asset prices,” meaning that “people will turn to digital assets.”

    This isn’t a baseless theory. As Travis Scher, the head of investments at industry conglomerate Digital Currency Group, explains:

    The most stark example is Venezuela. This is the first real example of adoption and unfortunately, when you look at bad central bank policy reaction, history tells us this won’t be the last.”

    Bitcoiners call this shift from fiat to digital assets “hyperbitcoinization,” and is what many argue will catapult BTC to new heights with time. But no one is all too sure when global hyperbitcoinization will come to life.

  • 12:21
    North Korea could target Southeast Asia’s vulnerable crypto sector, says defense think tank

    North Korea’s cyber capabilities and financial networks pose a threat to Southeast Asia’s growing, yet vulnerable, cryptocurrency sector, according to British defense and security think tank Royal United Services Institute.

    North Korea has been heavily sanctioned for years by the United Nations, the United States and other countries over its nuclear and missile ambitions. The reclusive state has also been accused of using cyberattacks to gain financial resources needed to keep its nuclear programs going.

    The lifting of sanctions is vitally important to North Korea. It was in part due to disagreement over sanctions that saw the collapse of a second summit meetingbetween its leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump in Hanoi, Vietnam in February.

    ‘Sustained’ security challenge

    In a report Monday, London-based RUSI said that as sanctions bite, the country has shown an increasing interest in virtual assets. It cited the alleged hijacking of crypto exchanges in South Korea as well as 2017′s “WannaCry ” global ransomware attack.

    “North Korea has gone to extremes to raise funds and evade international sanctions, recently expanding these efforts to include the exploitation of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin,” David Carlisle, a former official at the U.S. Treasury department’s office of terrorism and financial intelligence, and Kayla Izenman, a financial crime and terrorist finance expert, wrote in the report.

    “As a determined and sophisticated cyber actor in need of financial resources, North Korea is likely to continue to find ways of obtaining and exploiting cryptocurrencies,” they said in their report, “Closing the Gap: Guidance for Countering North Korean Cryptocurrency Activity in Southeast Asia.”

    The WannaCry attack “signaled North Korea’s interest in, and ability to exploit, cryptocurrencies,” they said. And its cyber skills, coupled with the constant need for funds amid the squeeze of sanctions, point to the risk of a “sustained security challenge,” they added.

    CNBC could not reach North Korea’s foreign ministry for comment on Monday but the country has in the past vehemently denied allegations of cybercrime.

    In September, for example, the official Korean Central News Agency carried comments by a foreign ministry official denying involvement in the WannaCry attack, instead calling the United States the “chief culprit responsible for posing security threats in cyberspace.”

    Southeast Asia is vulnerable

    Southeast Asia’s growing virtual asset sector and lack of coordinated regulation present what Carlisle and Izenman called a “systemic risk” vulnerable to exploitation by North Korea, which they stressed has long used its countries to mitigate sanctions.

    “North Korean networks have engaged in fundraising and have evaded trade and financial restrictions through the use of front companies, agents and deceptive financial techniques at banks across the region,” they wrote.

    “Because Southeast Asia is also host to a growing number of cryptocurrency businesses and users, countries in the region could prove vulnerable to North Korea’s cryptocurrency-related activity as well,” the report said.

    North Korea, for example, could seek to convert illicitly gained digital assets into fiat currencies such as the U.S. dollareuroyen and yuan, the authors said.

    “North Korea could cash out its cryptocurrency profits by relying on its extensive overseas financial networks to open and operate accounts at cryptocurrency exchanges in the region,” they said.

    The report said Singapore is seen as leading the way in crypto-asset regulation in Southeast Asia, while Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand are working to regulate cryptocurrency exchanges in line with guidance from the intergovernmental Financial Action Task Force, which sets global standards for fighting money laundering and terrorist financing.

    But the report’s authors stressed that Southeast Asian countries need to take a series of measures, including assessing their risks and weaknesses in relation to North Korea, coordinating a regional regulatory response and beefing up law enforcement training to reduce their vulnerability — some of which they noted are already under way.

    “If carried out with the appropriate urgency and in line with global … standards, countries in the region can succeed in making themselves less vulnerable to the risks of North Korean cryptocurrency activity,” they said.

6days ago, 14 Apr, Sunday
1week ago, 13 Apr, Saturday
1week ago, 11 Apr, Thursday
  • 22:18
    Digital Asset Scores Partnership With Cloud Computing Giant VMware

    Enterprise-focused distributed ledger tech startup Digital Asset (DA) has landed another high-profile partner.

    Announced Thursday, software virtualization giant VMware is integrating DA’s smart contract language into its own blockchain platform.

    Further, VMware, a publicly traded company majority-owned by Dell Computer with more than 24,000 employees, will distribute the Digital Asset Modeling Language (DAML) with its VMware Blockchain platform directly to customers and through partners.

    “DAML has been proven to be one of the few smart contract languages capable of modeling truly complex workflows at scale,” said Michael DiPetrillo, senior director of Blockchain at VMware, in a press release.

    According to the companies, VMware Blockchain “is deployed in enterprises worldwide,” although further details weren’t provided.

    Palo Alto, California-based VMware first revealed last August that it had developed an open-source blockchain designed to be both scalable and energy-efficient, known as Project Concord. In 2017, the firm sought a patent for a system that would use blockchain as part of a wider effort to boost the speed of data transfers. Its main business is providing cloud computing and platform virtualization services to companies.

    The team-up is the latest in a string of announcements by New York-based Digital Asset, which is best known for its former CEO, JPMorgan alum Blythe Masters, and its multi-year contract to rebuild the Australian Securities Exchange’s aging CHESS system using DLT.

    The startup recently open-sourced DAML and began working with the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) to aid the Wall Street trade group’s effort to standardize data in complex financial contracts.

    These developments followed a series of high-level departures, starting with Masters herself in December. (Co-founder Yuval Rooz succeeded her as CEO.)

  • 21:47
    Bitcoin Futures Exchange Bakkt Hires PayPal, Google Vet as Product Chief

    Bitcoin futures exchange Bakkt has hired a PayPal and Google veteran as its new chief product officer.

    The firm announced Thursday that it had hired Mike Blandina, who at various points in his career served as head of payments and credit engineering at PayPal and director of engineering for Google Wallet. Most recently, Blandina was chief technology officer and head of product and engineering at OneMarket, Bakkt CEO Kelly Loeffler wrote in a blog post.

    “As our CPO, Mike will lead our efforts to converge a trusted ecosystem for digital assets with payments use cases, two elements of Bakkt that help bring real world applications to bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies,” she wrote.

    As to the firm itself, Loeffler acknowledged that Bakkt is currently in a state of limbo as it awaits regulatory approval to launch, but likened the firm’s development to a marathon.

    “As a former marathoner, this point in time recalls the stage in the training regimen when you’re putting in long runs with your training team,” she wrote.

    Bakkt still has no official launch date after multiple delays, though Loeffler hinted that the exchange might provide more clarity soon, writing “race day is approaching.”

    “There is more work to be done,” she said. “I’m proud to be going the distance with this growing team and of the culture we are building, while bringing digital assets into the mainstream economy.”

    The firm is currently waiting on approval from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to list its bitcoin futures contract. Bakkt’s proposal would have it warehouse its own bitcoin, which may be a factor in this delayed approval.

    That being said, Loeffler seemed undaunted, writing:

    “We are mindful that the infrastructure we are building has the potential to create more opportunities for digital assets to grow in relevance and trust — by being more secure, investible and useful.”

  • 21:42
    South Korean Universities Partner to Create Blockchain Campus With In-House Crypto

    Two South Korean universities will develop an entire Blockchain Campus with its own cryptocurrency, local English-language daily news outlet Business Korea reported on April 3.

    Yonsei University, which already has an active blockchain community, will partner with Pohang University of Science and Technology (Postech) for the initiative, which should launch in the second half of 2019.

    A dedicated research center, entrepreneurial program outreach and other plans are already in the pipeline, while a student-centered project aims to increase day-to-day cryptocurrency usage.

    Postech is developing a blockchain-based knowledge sharing system called Engram, which will feature a rewards system using a bespoke altcoin called Neuron. Neuron tokens will be exchangeable for goods in the university cafeteria, Business Korea reports.

    In addition, a blockchain voting system will appear, with the technology used to ensure that no falsification of results can occur.

    “Blockchain technology has innovative and destructive power to create a new concept industry,” Business Korea quoted Postech president Kim Doh-yeon as saying. The president added:

    “It is meaningful that POSTECH and Yonsei University jointly design the future of core technology and establish educational and research foundations for future talent to prepare for the technology.”

    The partnership is not the first for Yonsei, which late last year signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the local branch of the Tezos Foundation.

    As Cointelegraph reported, training in areas such as smart contracts formed the major impetus behind the decision.

  • 21:18
    World’s Second-Largest Grocer Joins IBM Food Trust Blockchain

    Albertsons Companies, the world’s second-largest supermarket company by sales, has joined IBM’s Food Trust blockchain, a digital system for tracking and tracing food between retailers and suppliers.

    Announced Thursday, Albertsons will begin with a pilot involving suppliers of romaine lettuce – a product which was last year linked to a widespread outbreak of E-coli resulting in recalls on a grand scale, 96 people being hospitalized and, tragically, five deaths. 

    Based in Boise, Idaho, Albertsons operates nearly 2,300 stores across the U.S., including the Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s, and Acme chains. With $57 billion in sales in 2017, it was second only to Kroger among supermarket companies, according to The Balance Small Business. Albertsons’ addition brings the total number of brands involved in Food Trust to over 80. 

    Arguably the jewel in the IBM Blockchain Platform crown, Food Trust, which went into live production in October of last year, tackles a critical problem in the commercial food chain: the ability to rapidly pinpoint a dodgy batch of produce and surgically remove those tainted goods from circulation so that retailers don’t have to empty their shelves of every item in the affected category, be that lettuce, spinach, beef, etc.

    It appears to be a compelling proposition. Most recently Food Trust signed up European supermarket giant Carrefour, to join other food business giants such as Walmart, Nestle, Dole Food, Tyson Foods, Kroger and Unilever. According to Big Blue, more than 500,000 traces have been conducted on the platform to date (each trace represents a single lot, although the number of items per lot varies from company to company).

    Rucha Nanavati, group vice president for IT at Albertsons, told CoinDesk:

    “I truly believe there’s power in numbers. Now all those big companies can come together and ask suppliers to come on the platform. We always had technology in supply chain but now with all the data you can gather the potential is there to take it a step further.”

    She explained that the food industry has always had a firm focus on safety but said doing recalls efficiently is difficult, first involving the internal supply chain and then looking into the external supply chain. “What we had before wasn’t this efficient, that’s for sure,” she said.

    As early as 2016, IBM and Walmart began testing blockchain to reduce the time to track goods. A proof of concept done with the Tsinghua University of Beijing focused on China’s massive pork market, reduced the time taken from days to minutes.

    This can now be done in seconds flat, said Suzanne Livingston, offering director for IBM Food Trust. Whereas typically “these investigations can take months in some cases to get to a root source, some investigations don’t get to a root source so the companies are left to get all products off the shelf,” she said.

    Nanavati said Albertsons is already thinking about the next categories of products to add, but that for now, the focus is on ensuring the romaine pilot succeeds, which will take “weeks” rather than the typical “months and months.” 

    The Walmart mandate

    Having been a key platform partner to IBM Food Trust, Walmart last year issued a mandate to all its suppliers of leafy greens stating that they had to get on to the blockchain by a deadline of the end of September 2019.

    Asked whether Albertsons will follow Walmart in mandating that its suppliers use Food Trust, Nanavati said:

    “I think we are in a position to do so. It is going to benefit the customers in general. Are we there yet? I don’t believe so. I think mandate or not, we would recommend it.”

    It’s not uncommon for large retailers to demand quite exacting quality assurances from suppliers down the line. Nanavati said that Albertsons has seen some of its suppliers coming forward and asking to be involved in Food Trust.

    As far as Walmart’s mandate goes, IBM’s Livingston said that while “it does work hands down if you make it a requirement,” she acknowledged some retailers are against this approach and don’t want to send a message entailing further requirements to their suppliers.  

    “I see it being good and also having some drawbacks. I think it’s beneficial [to participate] for all parties whether you are mandated to do it or not because it’s in your best interests,” said Livingston.

    Nanavati added that Albertsons has been working with IBM to make sure getting data on the blockchain is easy for suppliers large and small.

    “I have this vision that I want some farmer who only has these two fields but we care deeply about them, that they be able to just use their smartphone and do something quick for tracing,” she said.

    Looking beyond food safety, Albertsons is also exploring how blockchain can assure consumers of the provenance of its extensive “Own Brands” portfolio, worth about $11bn per annum. Carrefour also mentioned this use of the tech, in conjunction with an app which easily lets customers trace the life cycle of its organic chickens.

    “The joke is consumers now want to know where their chicken’s parents were from,” said Nanavati.

    Trusting competitors

    It’s notable that IBM seems to have had a relatively smooth ride getting competing firms to join the Food Trust blockchain.

    Livingston attributed this to careful consideration on the technical side of things regarding data privacy.

    “We knew we would have competitors on this so we asked what they wanted,” she said. “They told us they wanted it to be permissioned and they wanted fine-grain access control on the data, to be able to stipulate who has access for every transaction and for everyone who comes into the system. If they want, they can make it completely private.”

    She also said the establishment of a Food Trust Governance Committee has helped reassure players of a level playing field.

    Looking at blockchain consortia in other industries, banks, for example, remain skittish about sharing data, even when encrypted. Meanwhile, ocean carriers don’t appear to trust each other enough to get on a distributed ledger together.

    So is the food production and supply chain industry more convivial?  

    Nanavati said a better word would be “responsible” since disasters in food supply chain can really impact people’s lives, concluding:

    “This is not the place to compete in my opinion. This is one place where it’s about serving the interests of our customers. Food safety is paramount. It’s table stakes.”

  • 20:51
    Paxful Incorporates AI Biometrics Verification to Fulfill KYC and AML Requirements

    Popular peer-to-peer Bitcoin trading platform Paxful has joined forces with biometrics firm Jumio to develop an artificial intelligence (AI) verification system. The partnership is in-line with Paxful’s commitments to further develop security on its site to meet the requirements of both customers and regulatory bodies.

    Jumio’s Revolutionary Verification System

    Jumio is an “end-to-end” identity verification solution designed to ensure compliance and fight fraud using biometric authentication. It’s AI-powered “Identity-as-a-Service” system matches facial recognition scans with ID document photographs in order to verify identity seamlessly and in real-time.

    The service can easily connect with any product, application or platform to provide instant Anti-money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) compliance procedures. The technology serves as an upgrade to improve existing knowledge-based authentication (KBA) and two-factor authentication (2FA) system.

    The system represents one of the most advanced applications of augmented intelligence and machine learning within the identity verification sector, offering businesses a revolutionary form of regulatory compliance.

    Enhanced Security

    Paxful’s adoption of Jumio into its growing list of services will provide customers with a faster, more effective and more secure method of verification. The system is easier for customers to use than its existing email and phone verification, speeding up account registration and reduces potential fraud. It is supported on both mobile phones and via computer webcams, making it more widely available to a large customer base and as such a more attractive option for the company.

    Fraud Accusations

    Paxful was in the news recently when a group of Nigerian cryptocurrency traders accused the American company of robbery and fraud. The accusations followed a decision by Paxful to close the traders account based on potential fraudulent activity. The traders claimed the move resulted in them losing “tens of millions of dollars.”

    Paxful responded with a statement ensuring customers that the firm would only shut down accounts that violated its terms of service. “All accounts that have been shut down have a reason for it. We will not shut down any account unless they violate our TOS (Terms of Service),” the statement read.

    A group of Nigerian traders has filed a petition with Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in an attempt to get compensation from the cryptocurrency exchange.

  • 20:10
    Formula 1 goes into Blockchain

    A rapidly expanding blockchain gaming startup Amiloca Brands has announced the reaching of a deal with Formula 1 to create and distribute F1 Delta Time-a blockchain game based on the popular racing series.

    Formula 1 has always been one of the biggest heavyweights in the global sports industries which promised significant profits to any startup that get a sponsorship deal with the league of fast and furious.

    Naturally, it was only a question of time before blockchain projects began establishing cooperation with the organizers of this elite auto racing. Animoca Brands, an expanding developer of mobile games on blockchain headquartered in Hong Kong, announced that they have entered in an agreement with Formula 1 which stipulates the development and promotion of a new blockchain-based game F1: Delta Time.

    The game will have a non-fungible token named NFT which will be used for intra-game purchases and allocation of bonuses. F1: Delta Time will provide players with an opportunity to exchange or sell skins, items, and other components using the token. This game will be released in a month and a week from now.

    However, the history of relationships between Formula 1 and blockchain startups haven’t begun with this deal. Earlier this year, one of the widely recognized racing teams, namely Aston Martin Red Bull Racing, signed a sponsorship deal with FuturoCoin, a Polish developer of cryptocurrency that has a lot of similarities with Dash, in terms of code and functional features.

    This is the multi-year contract that involves the placement of FuturoCoin brand logo on the overalls of all team members as well as the bullet-fast RB15 race car.

    Formula 1 is undoubtedly a very spectacular sport that delivers a shot of adrenaline even if one watches it on TV. This is a global phenomenon which attracts lucrative deals from companies of different scale.

    However, don’t forget that Formula 1 is, first and foremost, a sport which, like many other kinds of sport, could bring substantial profits to a devoted punter.

    Since recently, the cryptocurrencies became a popular mean of placing bets on the outcome of sporting events. 1xBit, a leading crypto bookmaker, grants a range of betting on Formula 1 as well as 50 other kinds of sport.The avid bettors and racing addicts will certainly appreciate the Formula 1 promotion which offers a guaranteed bonus of one free spin for every 2 mBTC that you spend without getting any winnings in return.

  • 19:08
    This Bitcoin Price Pattern Suggests $5,800 Potential Ahead

    View

    Bitcoin has cemented a higher low and retained its bullish market structure on the daily chart after a hotly contested close on April 9.

    The hourly chart shows bitcoin is trending inside an ascending triangle (typically bullish by nature) with a potential measured move to $5,885.

    An exaggerated bullish divergence has formed on the hourly chart, providing additional weight to the likelihood of an imminent bullish breakout.

    Bitcoin has managed to fend off any further attacks from the bears during April 9’s tug-of-war trading session.

    The cryptocurrency is now trading in a $100 range between $5,187 and $5,287 placing its price firmly above the prior April 4 low and cementing a higher low on the daily chart.

    The hourly chart is also looking more favorable on the new daily trading period (April 10), with bullish momentum having maintained a hold above $5,200 support over the last 24-hours despite multiple dips in its price.

    Bitcoin now looks set to continue its climb within the previously discussed ascending triangle – typically bullish indicators – with a measured target set at $5,885 should BTC break above the upper trendline at $5,320–$5,350.

    Hourly chart

    So how do we arrive at the $5,885 target? We can roughly calculate the potential move by measuring the height between A and B (the upper resistance line and the lowest drawdown in price within the pattern). That figure is then added to the upper resistance line above point C at the point of breakout, producing a new figure as a price target.

    As can be seen, an exaggerated bullish divergence has also taken shape on the RSI, recorded from April 8–April 9, meaning a continuation in price is being supported additionally by the indicator on the hourly chart.

    Daily chart

    The daily chart shows the bulls maintained a higher low above April 4’s red candle. That kept intact the bullish market structure above the key 100-period and 200-period moving averages yesterday, which are slowly beginning to converge for a bull cross.

    Should those two lines cross bullish, then greater buying pressure would become the norm with a new bull run on the cards.

    The RSI shows a divergence from price, printing lower lows while price continues to print higher lows, signaling greater bullish conditions ahead for the world’s top crypto by market value.

  • 17:56
    Clear Majority in Fifth MakerDAO Vote Looks Set to Pass Another Increase in DAI Stability Fee

    Users of Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) MakerDAO (MKR) look set to raise the stability fee for Maker’s DAI (DAIstablecoin by a further 4%, in the fifth such vote this year.

    An ongoing governance poll, due to close within 8 hours today, April 11 (5 PM UTC), indicates that 50,579.23 MKR have been staked in favor of raising the stability fee by 4%, bringing it to 11.5% per year.

    Other options on the poll included votes in favor of an increase of 1, 2 and 3% — or else not to raise the current fee at all. The second-largest majority, with 1,165.47 MKR staked to press time, has chosen a 2% increase — while the least popular option is for a 1% raise, with just 1.00 MKR staked so far.

    278.52 MKR have been staked to press time in favor of not raising the fee and keeping it at its current 7.5% per year level.

    A statement accompanying the governance poll — which opened on April 8 at 5 PM UTC — outlines that the need to increase the stability fee is driven by the fact that the DAI stablecoin is persistently failing to keep its 1:1 USD peg.

    As previously reported, DAI is an ERC-20-based stablecoin ostensibly designed to maintain a 1:1 USD peg via the issuance of Maker-administered collateralized debt positions.

    The two other factors proposed in the statement are identical to the rationale that was given in the preceding (fourth) stability fee increase governance poll: high inventory levels among market makers and prop desks, and insufficient impact from the preceding fee increase. As the statement outlines:

    “In February, the Stability Fee was increased twice, each time by 0.5%. In March, the Fee was raised by an additional 2%, and then by 4% two weeks later. The impact of these combined increases was negligible, indicating that neither the target Stability Fee nor the incremental changes were appropriate.”

    During a MakerDAO community call on April 9, head of community development Richard Brown said he was reasonably sure such increase votes would repeat until the DAI recovers its peg:

    “Tensions are high and this is an important subject. Arguably [...] literally the most important thing we do at MakerDAO is the stability of the peg. Everything else flows from that.”

    As reported yesterday, blockchain-powered event betting platform Augur has just launched a token denominated in DAI as part of a major upgrade to its platform, saying it will make trading less volatile as compared with Ethereum (ETH).

    The MakerDAO token MKR, which grants voting rights, is currently ranked the 19th largest cryptocurrency on CoinMarketCap and is down 4.5% on the day to press time.

  • 14:20
    Ripple Xpring, Bain Capital Invest in Early-Stage Blockchain VC Firm Robot Ventures

    Ripple’s developer ecosystem project Xpring and Bain Capital Ventures have invested in early-stage blockchain venture capital (VC) firm Robot Ventures, head of the fund Robert Leshner wrotein a blog post on April 10.

    Leshner, who also founded Ethereum-based financial open-source protocol Compound, has already completed two investments within its new venture capital initiative.

    Targeting fintech and product strategy disruptors, Robot Ventures invested in crypto mining firm Coinmine and Point, a startup developing new debit card solutions. As Leshner told Cointelegraph, both investments were completed in Q1 2019.

    Leshner declined to reveal any additional information regarding the financial details of the investment by Ripple Xpring and Bain Capital.

    Leshner introduced the Compound protocol in January 2018, which is an algorithmic tool for setting interest rates in money markets. Backed by Andreessen Horowitz and Coinbase Ventures, Compound aims to allow users and decentralized applications (DApps) to earn interest on Ethereum (ETH) and tokens, as well as borrow ETH and tokens to invest, use or short-sell.

    Xpring is Ripple’s initiative to create a community of developers, entrepreneurs and companies engaged in blockchain technology. Recently, Ripple Xpring established a $100 million game developer fund along with blockchain platform Forte.

    Bain Capital Ventures is a major American VC firm with around $3.6 billion of assets under management. Having supported companies such as LinkedIn and Jet.com, Bain Capital participated in a $133 million funding round of stablecoin project Basis previously in 2019.

  • 14:10
    JPMorgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon Testifies on Capital Hill Regarding Blockchain and Cryptocurrency

    Investors in both cryptocurrency and traditional finance know who Jamie Dimon is. Dimon, the chairman, and CEO of JPMorgan Chase has been a longtime opponent of the cryptocurrency industry, refusing to be involved. He made waves in the crypto community this year when he announced that the Big Four bank would be adding the JPM Coin, which many investors and crypto loyalists have refused to even call a cryptocurrency.

    Most recently, Dimon was part of a group of CEOs that testified in Washington, DC. The group was collected to speak on the way that the cryptocurrency adventure has changed the financial sector over the last decade after the financial crisis.

    The hearing started by introducing the technology, saying that the United States is behind the rest of the world in their own blockchain development. The lack of regulatory certainty received most of the blame, though a group of representatives submitted a bill yesterday that could potentially erase the doubt.

    The hearing started with speaking to David Solomon, the CEO of Goldman Sachs. He clarified that their company, so far, is not planning to launch a cryptocurrency desk. He said that cryptocurrency has yet to be classified as a currency, which appears to be part of the reason that they have abstained.

    The attention was shifted to Dimon, as the representative at Capitol Hill pointed out that his former stance on cryptocurrency was that it was “not a real thing” in 2017. When questioned why Dimon had the change of heart, Dimon explained that his company believes that blockchain “will work over time,” considering all of the trials and testing it has undergone and continues to go through.

    He continued, saying that his suggestion that cryptocurrency isn’t real is based on the fact that these assets are “not supported by anything,” saying that the value is entirely based on how much the next person is willing to shell out for it. With the JPM Coin, Dimon explains that the token is

    “supported by a deposit at JPMorgan.”

    Dimon focused on the speed and ease of use with the tokens, though the ultimate payments would be fulfilled with the user’s funds at the bank. The blockchain was highly praised for its data collection, allowing any participant on the ledger to see the same information as another person in real time.

    Protection of consumers was another crucial concern since there are no regulations that discuss limitations on being a custodian. Speaking on the hurdles in this area, Charles Scarf of the Bank of New York Mellon said that anti-money laundering has been the greatest concern, which has been a similar problem for jurisdictions around the world as well.

    Dimon has been the CEO for JPMorgan Chase since the end of 2006 and has been praised as ”one of the smartest bankers we’ve got” by former president Barack Obama.

  • 13:43
    Bitcoin Interest (BCI) Launches Food Charity Drive in Venezuela

    The ongoing financial crisis in Venezuela has significantly tainted the country’s reputation. Inflation is too high that people are throwing away money on the streets of Caracas, the nation's capital. Mow, a little-known cryptocurrency association called Bitcoin Interest(BCI) has initiated a drive to help Venezuelans.

    Story of 27550 lbs (12500 kg) of food and Venezuela https://t.co/1XF8JOMadN and https://t.co/rTXLTJwMYw #bitfinex #HitBTC #HODL #btcinterest

    — Bitcoin Interest (OFFICIAL) (@btcinterest) April 10, 2019

     

    The economy of Venezuela is nearly collapsing because of the massive hyperinflation in the country. Residents have lost faith in the local currency and the quality of is life is declining. Similarly, the government opted to introduce their own cryptocurrency instead of solving the issues facing the bolivar. The coin, known as Petro, was introduced by President Nicolas Maduro in February 2018 as a solution to the already plummeting economy.

    A year after the launch of Petro, the economic situation in Venezuela has only worsened. The monumental failure is attributed to many reasons, with the main one being the absence of the 60 million barrels on which the value of the cryptocurrency was to be pegged. This is because of the widespread corruption both in the government and in the body that oversees petroleum production.

    Amidst this doom and gloom, there appears to be a glimmer of hope – BCI is using Bitcointo provide support to Venezuelans affected by the economic crisis. The organization has started a social media campaign under the hashtag #FoodNotLambos, which encourages crypto investors to use their profits to buy food for the impoverished instead of buying posh Lamborghinis.

    The philanthropic initiative by BCI is conducted by sending Bitcoin to an official living in Venezuela. This money is then converted into fiat by ‘Carlos,’ who then buys food and water. BCI has also made arrangements with local merchants who sell the foodstuff to Carlos at discounted prices.

    In addition, Carlos has rallied like-minded individuals who offered resources for the transportation of the relief food. BCI confirmed that the food was delivered by 9 April. However, the delivery was interrupted by Venezuelan officials who wanted to know if the US was involved in the project. Given that the Trump administration has issues with Venezuela, any input by the American government would have jeopardized the efforts put in by BCI.

    The BCI charity drive has received widespread support on various social media. BCI came into existence after a grad fork on the Bitcoin blockchain early last year. It is listed on the Bitfinex trading platform. Nevertheless, the cryptocurrency has struggled to attract investors, with some calling it a scam after it plummeted from a record $23.04 to a paltry $0.131.

  • 08:03
    Bitcoin [BTC] phishing attack lands 37-year old man in prison for 12 months

    On 9 April 2019, the United States Attorney’s District of Connecticut office released an official statement about a man imprisoned for stealing Bitcoins in “dark web phishing scheme.” The man in question was identified to be Micheal Richo, from New Haven and formerly Wallingford.

    The announcement made by John H. Durham, US Attorney for the District of Connecticut, stated that the 37-year old man was sentenced to 12 months and one-day confinement by U.S District Judge, Vanessa L. Bryant. Along with the imprisonment, Richo will serve three years of special parole for charges related to fraud and money laundering schemes “in connection with a scheme to steal bitcoins in an online phishing scheme.”

    The statement further read,

    “Judge Bryant also ordered Richo to pay a $10,000 fine and to forfeit various computers and electronic devices, an assortment of precious coins and metals that he bought with the proceeds of his offense, and $352,500 in cash.”

    According to the announcement, Richo was involved in an online phishing scheme with the intention of stealing Bitcoin from users on the dark web. This was done by posting fake links of various online marketplaces on various dark net platforms. These links would then redirect to a log in page that would resemble the real online marketplace log in page, thereby, gaining access to the usernames and passwords of those users who attempted to log in on the fake website.

    This was followed by Richo withdrawing Bitcoins from those users, once they deposited currencies with the real marketplace, and depositing them in his own wallet. By doing so, the convict gained access to over 10,000 usernames and passwords and Bitcoins worth $365,000.

    A statement from the Justice Department stated,

    “[…] sold the stolen bitcoins to others in exchange for U.S. currency, which was deposited into bank accounts that he controlled or was provided to him through Green Dot Cards, Western Union transfers, and MoneyGram transfers.”

1week ago, 10 Apr, Wednesday
2weeks ago, 9 Apr, Tuesday
  • 23:39
    BitGo Provides Custody and Wallets to Digital Asset Trading Platform LGO Markets

    Blockchain security firm and wallet service BitGo has provided a newly launched digital asset trading platform, LGO Markets, with its custody and multi-signature wallets, according to a press release published Tuesday, April 9.

    LGO Markets, which is focused on institutional investors, will offer BitGo services for hedge funds, family offices and asset managers that are working with BitGo.

    Moreover, the clients of LGO Markets will be able to store their digital assets in BitGo Trust Company, regulated by the Division of Banking in the United States state of South Dakota.

    As per the announcement, BitGo will also support the company’s Ethereum (ETH)-based native token LGO Exchange (LGO), which surged 18 percent in price in the recent hours, according to CoinMarketCap.

    Mike Belshe, CEO of BitGo, believes that the new partnership will contribute to creating a more decentralized market, where exchanges do not act as their own custodians. Moreover, he thinks that the solution will allow investors to trade more securely.

    As Cointelegraph reported earlier today, a new report from weekly crypto outlet Diar shows that the trading of institutional Bitcoin (BTC) investment products has seen growth for the fourth month running.

    These findings coincide with an earlier document by digital asset management fund Grayscale Investments, showing that institutional investors provide around 66% of capital inflow in the crypto industry.

    In other custody news, in late March, French hardware wallet producer Ledger partnered with Hong Kong trust company Legacy Trust to offer cryptocurrency custody services to its institutional clients. The new offering will be based on Ledger Vault, Ledger’s institutional wallet manager.

  • 18:56
    Bitcoin’s ‘Super Guppy’ Price Indicator Flips Bullish in First Since 2018

    View

    Bitcoin’s “super guppy” indicator has turned green for the first time since January 2018 in a signal confirmation of bull bias on the daily chart.

    The long-term 26-period EMA on the monthly chart has been crossed from below, signalling that the move above $5,200 has placed bitcoin in an official bullish upswing.

    The monthly RSI has climbed over 50 in another indication that momentum currently favors the bulls on long-term timeframes.

    Bulls need to keep prices above the 26 EMA (currently at $5,064) and the recent dip low of $5,133 to maintain momentum.

    Several bitcoin price indicators are turning positive on the charts, hinting at growing bullish momentum as the bitcoin block reward halving in 2020 edges closer.

    For one, the “super guppy” – a combination of exponential moving averages designed to signal when price action flips from bearish to bullish and vice versa – has flipped green on the daily chart for the first time since Jan. 14, 2018.

    Further, the 26-period exponential moving average (EMA) on the monthly chart has once more turned bullish, having been crossed to the downside in November 2018. The level was hard fought for and won over by the bulls early this month when the price of bitcoin (BTC) shot to $5,000 and then $5,200, crossing above the key EMA then bullishly planting its flag above it.

    The shift is a welcome development for the bulls, who’ve managed to steer prices away from the recent monthly low of $3,194, last seen four months ago in December 2018, all the while slowly mounting pressure against the bears.

    At press time, BTC is trading down 1.4 percent for the session at $5,159, according to CoinDesk’s Bitcoin Price Index.

    Daily chart

    As mentioned, bitcoin’s super guppy has flipped green on the daily chart after a year and more in the red.

    The shift is a telling sign that the bulls have solidly regained control of the markets and will continue to do so as long as they keep prices above the psychological level of $5,000.

    Monthly chart

    Besides November 2018, the last time bitcoin fell below the 26-period EMA was way back in December 2014, when prices dropped below that line for almost a year before finally crossing back above – a move that flagged a new bull run.

    Supporting the trend change on the monthly chart is a shift away from bearish conditions above the neutral 50 line on the RSI, showing momentum is now back with the bulls after a decline since the market peak in late 2017.

    If prices manage to sustain those two key indicators, it would go a long way to restoring full market confidence and potentially attracting larger pools of investors.

    Total volume will also be important in the coming weeks as longer-term traders would like to see a steady increase in growing (bullish volume) on the next leg up.

  • 17:08
    Russian Analyst: Bitcoin Price Based in Fiat is Meaningless, It’s the Alpha and Omega of Asset Valuations

    The famous Russian analyst Vladislav Ginko has talked about Bitcoin once more. If you know something about him, you know that anytime that he decides to talk about BTC, it is something very controversial, so nobody is surprised with his latest claims.

    Before now, he has already affirmed that the Russian government bought several billion of USD worth of BTC and that the private sector has done it as well. Now, he claims that there is no point in pricing BTC with fiat currency.

    According to Vladislav Ginko, which works at the Presidential Putin Academy, standard market capitalization models make no sense in the crypto world. His argument is that basically everything that is priced in fiat currency gets corrupted in some way. Fiat, he says, is a “biased and unjust value”, so Bitcoin simply does not need that, he said, affirming that the crypto asset was the “alpha and omega” of valuation.

    Ginko believes in something that is often called hyperbitcoinization, a future in which Bitcoin is officially recognized as the official reserve currency of the world and we start pricing stuff in Bitcoin instead of pricing it in fiat.

    He affirmed that Bitcoin will eventually be more powerful than all fiat-based currencies and some governments would end up “succumbing” to Bitcoin.

    Therefore, the whole idea here is that 1 BTC should equal 1 BTC, not a USD value. This is, he believes, the most valuable asset in the world, the new digital gold.

    He also added that Bitcoin was like Noah’s ark and that it is governed by an “invisible hand”, as it has no central authority, unlike fiat currencies. He pointed out that no single country in the world can have control over BTC, not even the United States, and this is what makes it so powerful.

    Bitcoin, he argued, is better than gold because it is so decentralized and useful. He gave several reasons why BTC is so good, like having almost zero transaction costs, safe storage, being resistant to censorship, being more liquid than gold and letting you become your own bank, one of its most powerful characteristics.

    He also affirmed that gold has been losing some of its value recently and that Bitcoin never had such a long losing streak (despite having some very rough times in which the prices plunge a lot, but they generally go back up later).

    The Problems That Bitcoin Will Face

    Sure, hyperbitcoinization seems like a great future. However, you should notice that it is not going to be completely easy. Bitcoin has all the potential to do it, but you have to solve some relevant issues before actually being able to affirm that we the process of hyperbitcoinization will happen as people want to.

    For instance, mining rewards will drop a lot in around 20 to 30 years. Because of this, miners will live off transaction fees, which will need to be higher in order to support the network. The technology would also need to be highly scaled in order to be used by everybody, which can prove to be a difficult challenge, as we have seen at the beginning of 2018.

    For BTC to be able to be the base price of the world, we will still have to wait a long time, since it will take adoption going up first. Because of this, we have to make an enormous progress before Ginko’s idea can be a reality.

  • 17:02
    California Sentences Bitcoin Trader to 2 Years in Prison Over AML Compliance Failures

    LocalBitcoins trader who sold Bitcoin (BTC) to more than 1,000 people in the United States will serve two years in federal jail, a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of California confirmed on April 8.

    Jacob Burrell Campos, a Mexican citizen, amassed more than $820,000 from Bitcoin sales on the P2P platform between 2015 and 2018.

    Through a combination of cash meetups, ATM transfers and MoneyGram, Burrell served traders on the site without performing anti-money laundering (AML) checks and due diligence on the source of the incoming USD funds, prosecutors said.

    In custody since August last year, Burrell pleaded guilty to the charges in October, acknowledging he and unnamed others took thousands of dollars across the U.S.-Mexico border daily and performed exchange transactions with Joseph Castillo, a San Diego-based precious metals dealer.

    In addition to the sentence, Burrell will also forfeit his entire haul of $823,357 that he gained from the business.

    The case forms the latest in an increasing number of similar stories involving U.S. informal traders, which authorities have pursued amid fears they contribute to the destabilization of the economy.

    As Cointelegraph reported, Burrell originally faced up to five years behind bars.

    “Today’s sentencing of Burrell is a reminder to those illegal and unlicensed money transmitters that the laws and rules apply to crypto currency dealings just as they do to other types of financial transactions,” David Shaw, Special Agent in Charge for Homeland Security Investigations in San Diego, commented in the press release.

    Last week, a Canadian judge ordered the seizure of $1.4 million in BTC holdings from an online drug dealer, the country’s largest ever such forfeiture.

  • 16:14
    Advocate for Mt Gox Creditors Quits, Saying Bitcoin Payouts Could Take Years

    The head of the largest organized creditor group representing the former users of failed bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox is stepping down amid what he described as a protracted legal quagmire that could take years to resolve completely.

    Andy Pag, the founder and coordinator of Mt. Gox Legal, told CoinDesk in an exclusive interview this week that he now believes ongoing legal issues – in particular, a single massive claim by startup incubator and former Mt. Gox partner Coinlab – may hold up the crypto exchange’s civil rehabilitation process for up to two more years.

    Pag, who started Mt. Gox Legal roughly 18 months ago with the intent to advocate for the reimbursement of creditors, first revealed his opinion of the expected timeline in a private forum post last week, obtained by CoinDesk, which told creditors he would be stepping down from his role as coordinator at the end of the month.

    The viewpoint put forth in the letter (attached in full below) conflicts with more optimistic assessments that creditors may be paid before the end of 2019.

    Mt. Gox, at one point the world’s largest crypto exchange, went into bankruptcy in 2014 shortly after its operators discovered that some 850,000 bitcoins had been stolen from its wallets. While some of these funds were later recovered, the exchange never did.

    However, partly due to the massive increase in price between 2014 and 2017, Mt Gox went from a bankruptcy proceeding to a civil rehabilitation process that remains ongoing.

    That this occurred is significant: under bankruptcy proceedings, the exchange’s customers would receive the fiat equivalent to their holdings at the time Mt Gox entered bankruptcy. Under civil rehabilitation, the customers will actually receive the amount they lost in bitcoin instead.

    When the Tokyo District Court, which is overseeing the case, first announced that Mt Gox would enter civil rehabilitation last June, claimants expected that they may receive their missing bitcoin as soon as this year. The claim by Coinlab, however, has since putting this timeline in jeopardy.

    Now it appears to be impacting other efforts by creditors to self-organize to achieve reimbursement.

    Legal slugfest

    Coinlab, which has been backed by Tim Draper, Barry Silbert and Roger Ver (among others), entered into a partnership with Mt. Gox in 2012 to essentially act as the exchange’s U.S. branch. However, Coinlab sued Mt Gox in 2013 alleging that the exchange had failed to honor the agreement and asking for $75 million.

    Mt. Gox then counter-sued, claiming it was Coinlab who breached their agreement. Neither case was resolved prior to Mt. Gox’s bankruptcy filing, though Coinlab did stake a claim against the exchange at the time of the filing.

    “Coinlab originally put in a bankruptcy claim originally of $75 million which people thought was excessive … When we went to civil rehabilitation, everyone refiled the same claim, but Coinlab filed $16 billion,” Pag explained.

    Edgar Sargent, a U.S. based attorney for Coinlab, told CoinDesk that he could not speak to the amount filed in Japan, and was not familiar enough with Japanese law or court proceedings to discuss the matter. Coinlab’s Japanese attorneys could not be reached for comment. Coinlab founder Peter Vessenes did not respond to a request for comment.

    The first problem stems from the fact that the Mt Gox trustee, Nobuaki Kobayashi, normally attributes voting rights to creditors based on the size of their stake. This cannot happen with Coinlab until the claim is assessed.

    Pag explained:

    “Because it’s pending and it’s still disputed, the trustee can’t attribute fair voting rights if it’s accepted or zero voting rights if it’s rejected but … until it’s [resolved] the trustee can’t give them voting rights … It looks like it’s stalled.”

    It could take the bankruptcy judge anywhere from several months to a year just to assess the claim. If Coinlab’s claim is rejected, the company can then litigate it in court, which would take another year. If the court rejects Coinlab’s claim, the company can then appeal, which would also take some time.

    All told, Pag estimates that resolving whether or not Coinlab has a credible claim can take between 18 and 24 months.

    Once that is resolved, only then can the creditors vote on a civil rehabilitation plan (and there is always a chance that there may be competing plans). Depending on the outcome, the potential payout to creditors will be dramatically different as well.

    “We’ve started that process but it’s not finished and it’s not confirmed, it’s not confirmed that we’re in civil rehabilitation until the creditors vote on a civil rehabilitation plan,” Pag said.

    Coinlab’s claim

    Speaking generally, Sargent told CoinDesk that Coinlab’s suit comes from “a good claim,” adding that “it’s not just something that we made up.”

    He confirmed to CoinDesk that he participated in a brief AMA on Reddit a few weeks ago, where he noted that Mt. Gox did not obtain a dismissal when Coinlab first sued the exchange, which it could have done “if the case were frivolous.”

    In an email, however, former Mt Gox CEO Mark Karpeles told CoinDesk that Coinlab performed “close to zero” work for the exchange.

    “Courts are likely to consider CoinLab’s case with some matter of urgency today and will likely try to get things handled quickly, but CoinLab has likely no interest of bringing a losing battle to its conclusion, and will likely try to extend the process as much as possible,” he said.

    Coinlab is in a position of strength right now, “as they hold hostage the whole of Mt Gox’s distribution process,” though the company could end the situation quickly by signing a settlement. If a settlement is signed quickly, bitcoin distribution can begin by the end of 2019.

    This might be the plan too – according to Pag, “a lot of creditors feel like it’s a very conscious strategy to try and force a settlement from the trustee. Most creditors don’t want them to receive a penny.”

    While both Pag and his attorney have tried to reach out to the Wada Law Firm, which is representing Coinlab in Japan, neither has received any response.

    Hibernation

    Mt. Gox Legal is, in Pag’s words, the largest creditor group for Mt Gox. There are currently more than 1,000 members claiming more than 150,000 bitcoin, good for roughly 15 percent of the total value owed to creditors.

    The group was founded in fall 2017 to advocate for Mt Gox’s shift from bankruptcy to civil rehabilitation.

    “It started around 18 months ago when it became clear that the price of bitcoin was rising and the assets of the Mt Gox trustee was going to be more than the liabilities,” Pag explained. “Top Japanese lawyers are very expensive so [we pooled together].”

    Mt. Gox Legal filed for the shift, possibly setting a number of legal precedents in Japan along the way. Pag explained that under such a transition, a company does not normally move from bankruptcy to civil rehabilitation, adding:

    “It’s rekindling the legal entity enough that you can distribute assets but not restart it as a business.”

    Pag is currently the coordinator for the group, with his activities overseen by a board of governors. Over the last 18 months, he’s flown to Japan a number of times to communicate with Kobayashi and gather updates for the members of the group.

    “We’re quite a considerable creditor body and we’ve spent some time building up a relationship with all the players, the trustee, other creditor groups [and] law firms,” he said.

    At the end of April, he’ll be stepping down.

    “The more bitcoin’s price goes up, the more vultures are circling around. My personal worry is that we’re just going to be bogged down in litigation,” he said. “For me personally, and it’s a personal decision, it makes more sense to sell my claim.”

    Mt. Gox Legal’s board has already begun the process to replace him, opening up nominations to bring in a new coordinator. While a new coordinator has not yet been confirmed, Pag expects that the group will likely shift into a hibernation state, as there will not be a lot that can happen until the legal claims have been sorted out.

    Moving on

    Rather than wait for the court system to sort out whether Coinlab has a legitimate claim, Pag said he intends to sell his claim, step down from Mt. Gox Legal and move on with his life.

    “I’ve put my career on hold for 18 months and … It’s just a big regret that we’ve kind of been outplayed by other parties,” he said:

    “In 2014 I had this money sitting there and it was this great big windfall and it was amazing and I had all these plans that I was going to put into place with it. It’s not losing the money that stung, it’s losing those plans and not being able to doing those things I wanted to do, and there’s a bit of a repeat here.”

    A New York-based investment firm will purchase Pag’s claim for $600 per bitcoin. While he declined to name the firm, Pag said if other creditors reached out, he’d be happy to put them in touch.

    “This isn’t the windfall that I was hoping for but it’s still a windfall and it’s a windfall today,” he said.

    Pag said he has seen some backlash for this decision, which he understands. However, “this is a really personal decision that everyone needs to make for themselves,” he added.

    He is not making a recommendation for other creditors to sell or not sell, Pag said, noting that many creditors have a shared identity born out of the fight to recoup their missing coins.

    That being said:

    “I had to ask myself how far do I stand on principle? When do I say enough is enough. Do I want to be right, or do I want to be happy? I’ve decided I’d rather be happy and get on with my life.”

  • 15:13
    Opera Releases New Browser With Built-In Crypto Wallet and Web 3.0 Explorer

    Major web browser Opera is releasing a new browser with a built-in cryptocurrency wallet. The development was announced in a press release shared with Cointelegraph on April 9.

    Opera’s new browser Opera 60 (codenamed Reborn 3) features a native cryptocurrency dubbed Opera Wallet and a Web 3 explorer, which enables users to conduct transactions and interact with the blockchain-based internet, also known as Web 3. The browser also provides a virtual private network (VPN) feature in a bid to enhance users’ privacy and security.

    The Opera Wallet purportedly synchronizes with the cryptocurrency wallet in the Opera browser for smartphones, so that wallet keys never leave the users’ smartphones. The release further explains:

    “In practice, whenever they need to identify themselves to a Web 3 website or sign a transaction on the blockchain, users get a notification on their smartphone. They can confirm it in the same way they unlock their system, using, for example, facial recognition or their fingerprint.”

    With VPN service integration, the company aims to ensure users’ security and privacy by establishing an encrypted tunnel which “protects users’ data from third parties and secures their geographical location.” Opera executive vice president Krystian Kolondra said:

    “Blockchain technologies bring the power and control back to the people. They can securely sign transactions and identify themselves to websites, without unnecessarily oversharing their data.”

    Opera first announced the addition of a built-in cryptocurrency wallet to its Android browser back in July 2018. Product manager Charles Hame said then that “our hope is that this will accelerate the transition of cryptocurrencies from speculation and investment to being used for actual payments and transactions in our users’ daily lives.”

    Last month, Opera announced the upcoming launch of Opera Touch for iOS,  a Web 3 browser with an integrated crypto wallet and support for Ethereum (ETH) and interactions with decentralized applications (DApps). Prior to that, Opera added a new service that allowed users in SwedenNorway and Denmark to purchase Ethereum through the Android version of the browser.

    Earlier this year, blockchain-based browser Brave, an open-source, pay-to-surf browser based on Chromium that blocks ads and website trackers, partnered with news website Cheddar to offer its users limited time free access to premium content. Brave is also the default browser on Exodus, HTC’s native blockchain phone.

  • 10:42
    The Next Bitcoin Pizza Debacle? House Sold For 457 BTC ($2.4M) In Australia

    On Sunday, Changpeng Zhao of Binance posted pictures of a modern, mostly white house on his Twitter. What was that all about? Well, according to Brave New Coin, the abode in question, located in Australia, was being auctioned off for cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin (Bitcoin) and Binance Coin (BNB). And it may be a brutal bear market, but the auction for the who’s who in crypto (attendees from Australia, the U.S., Dubai, and some Asian nations were claimed to have attended) purportedly went really well.

    Highest bid on the house is in #BNB. auction is live. #UseBNB  pic.twitter.com/Pfu9oBOgb9

    — CZ Binance (@cz_binance) April 8, 2019

    The event, put on by local real estate agency LJ Hooker and Trigon Trading, a local cryptocurrency firm, saw dozens attend the lavish house, as the auction was held beside a beautiful lagoon-blue lap pool. The house entranced the attendees so much that they actually managed to place down heavy bids on the house, all while the Bitcoin price jumped up and down from minute-to-minute.

    Following many minutes of intense bidding, with people clutching their devices wondering if they really needed this glamorous home, especially when they could be HODLing crypto instead, the auctioneer closed up shop. In the end, the house sold for a jaw-dropping 457 BTC, which amounts to $2.4 million at Bitcoin’s current valuation. To put 457 BTC into perspective, here’s some numbers:‘

    457 is the number of BTC mined in 36.5 blocks, which take approximately six hours to process. 457 is approximately 0.002176% of the entire supply of Bitcoin that will ever be mined. Long story short, 457 BTC is quite a hefty sum, that’s for sure.

    The Bitcoin Pizza Imbroglio

    That led me, personally, to the following question: Could the new owner of this house become the next Laszlo, a BitcoinTalk user who purchased two purportedly Papa John’s pizzas for 10,000 BTC (now dozens of millions of dollars) in this community’s earliest days? In other words, could this 457 purchase turn out to be a bad deal over time, as a result of hyperbitcoinization and overall growth in the cryptocurrency market?

    The answer: no, likely not. But the purchaser of this property might be missing out on a large amount of upside, especially if Bitcoin fills the need for a digital gold or store of value.

    As reported by Ethereum World News previously, Mike Novogratz, a long-time cryptocurrency bull, sat down with Anthony Pompliano to express his thoughts on the Bitcoin market. In the extensive interview, Novogratz explained that while BTC is currently valued at 1% of the total value of all gold on the Earth’s surface ($7 billion to $8 billion), the digital asset could make a move on the precious metal eventually.

    He argued that this is a journey that could occur over a 20-year period, rather than a one or two year period. Although such a time frame may turn off those with low time preference, the former Goldman Sachs partner noted that this could “easily happen.” Funnily enough, EOS’ Brendan Blumer also drew attention to this specific period too, explaining in a recent tweet that Bitcoin will make a move on gold’s de-facto go-to store of value status within the next two decades.

    If this somewhat quixotic dream comes to fruition, the house purchaser would have missed out on $220 million in gains. Ouch? Maybe, maybe not. We will have to see.

  • 09:56
    Next Bitcoin Core Release to Finally Connect Hardware Wallets to Full Nodes

    It’s a moment true bitcoin nerds have been waiting for.

    In the coming release of Bitcoin Core, the 18th major version of the cryptocurrency’s most widely used software, the code will finally, natively allow users to connect bitcoin full nodes to hardware wallets.

    It sounds technical, but it’s a big step for the security for users. Bitcoin full nodes allow users to verify that transactions actually took place, meanwhile, hardware wallets are considered one of the most secure ways to store bitcoin. Thus, making it easier to join the two together is a big win for users who want full control of their bitcoin – and don’t want to lose it.

    Bitcoin Core lead maintainer Wladimir van der Laan, who is in charge of coordinating the coming upgrade, told CoinDesk it’s one of the features he’s been most excited about for quite some time.

    Still, the change is part of a much broader effort to make bitcoin full nodes easier to use for people other than just tech geeks. Casa, for example, has launched a node that works without much setup necessary, while developers of the bitcoin protocol are constantly trying to reduce how much data users need to store to run one (as users need to store every transaction ever sent on the blockchain, it’s pretty weighty).

    As Bitcoin Core contributor Andrew Chow, one of the lead developers on the project, put it on Twitter:

    “With this [pull request] merged, the upcoming Bitcoin Core 0.18 release will be finally usable with hardware wallets by using [Hardware Wallet Interface (HWI)].”

    He admits it’s “still command line only and manual,” but argued “it’s a big step forward” because the functionality is finally there, even if in a somewhat clunky form. Developers will continue to make it easier to use down the line.

    Eating your cake

    So first off, why use a bitcoin full node in the first place?

    In order to send a transaction on the bitcoin network, users need to connect to a bitcoin node. Full nodes now require a couple of hundred gigabytes of data, which is a lot, enough to fill a small laptop.

    But it does serve a purpose, as rather than trust that someone else is feeding you the correct financial information, such as whether you really received a transaction or not, you’re able to validate this information yourself.

    As the value proposition of bitcoin is to not trust others, some developers go as far as to argue that using bitcoin in a way that removes the full node defeats the purpose of bitcoin.

    Bitcoin Core contributor Sjors Provoost, for example, has argued that running a full node is helpful for “knowing your bitcoin is real,” offering the example of Segwit2x, a proposed bitcoin fork from 2017 in which some companies, miners, and users proposed upgrading bitcoin to a larger block size.

    There was concern that in the case Segwit2x broke bitcoin into two, mobile wallets relying on Simplified Payment Verification (SPV) technology would be susceptible to trickery from miners.

    “That server can in theory also lie about your balance. In a scenario like SegWit2x, it could decide which side of the fork it wants to show you. With a full node you don’t have to worry about that,” Provoost told CoinDesk.

    Then there’s the issue of privacy.

    “The wallet software that normally comes with hardware wallets reveals your addresses to a third-party server,” Provoost continued. The full node would replace this wallet software, giving users privacy again.

    “At the end of the day, it comes down to the trade-off between convenience and trust,” Bitcoin Core wallet maintainer Samuel Dobson told CoinDesk.

    These problems are what’s fueling the idea that maybe one day “everyone” should run this full node software, so they don’t have to trust anyone else to send them accurate financial information.

    “Yes, I believe that everybody will eventually run a full node. I wish a future where not having a full node will severely limit your user experience and the realm of things you can do with bitcoin,” as BTCPay creator Nicolas Dorier wrote in a recent blog post.

    Secure, offline bitcoin

    The other piece is hardware wallets are considered the most secure way to store bitcoin. That’s especially true when compared to storing them on internet-connected computers, which are often totally exposed to hackers.

    “PCs are a much larger attack surface than a small dedicated device to store your keys, designed specifically with security in mind. They’re also less prone to random crashes or corruption which could cause you to lose un-backed-up keys on your computer,” Dobson told CoinDesk.

    With this new tech in place in the Bitcoin Core software, users can store their bitcoin on an offline hardware wallet, then use their full node to verify the data they’re getting fed, such as transaction data, is correct.

    The technology has been a long-time coming. Connecting hardware to a full node is also one of the key goals of Electrum Personal Server, pioneered by developer Chris Belcher. “Hopefully this software can be part of the plan to get full node wallets into the hands of as many people as possible,” he said in the project announcement post last year.

    There are pros and cons to each project, though, Provoost admitted.

    “The HWI project should reduce the number of separate software components needed, though at the moment I think it’s still less user-friendly [than Electrum Personal Server],” he said.

    And there’s still a ways to go to get the graphical interface totally working. “Maybe one day in the future we’ll have this graphical picture that I showed you – and after that we’ll have unicorns,” Provoost said in his presentation on the topic.

    Further features

    While hardware wallet support in 0.18 has generated much excitement, As usual, the release is filled with other contributions from the pool of global Bitcoin Core contributors.

    Dobson told CoinDesk about a few features he finds “exciting,” including refinements to a new “language” that the groundwork was laid for in an earlier version of Bitcoin Core. New commands will allow developers to use this language to “import descriptors.”

    “You can provide such a descriptor to Core […] and it will parse it and import the keys, scripts, etc. into your wallet for you,” Dobson said, explaining further:

    “This is the first step in a longer term goal to rework the wallet and support these descriptors natively within it, which will clean things up immensely and provide a much more natural behaviours, in line with how you would expect things to behave (and which don’t exactly behave that way currently).”

    Dobson also pointed to a new “multiwallet” command, which will allow users to pair with multiple wallets within their bitcoin core full node. While the ability to use multiple wallets at once has existed in the code previously, 0.18.0 plugs the feature in the graphical user interface for the first time, so people no longer have to be full-blown developers using the command line to take advantage of the feature.

    “Version 0.18 adds support to the GUI to do that, as well as a few improvements in how it works too,” Dobson said.

    As of now, version 0.18 is in the “release candidate” stage of the software development cycle, meaning passionate bitcoin developers and companies are still testing it, picking away at the code in an effort to eradicate any bugs, before it’s released to the larger public to download.

    According to project developers, it will be available for users to download in the coming weeks.

  • 09:44
    Roger Ver calls Ross Ulbricht a genius; urges people to sign petition for his release

    Bitcoin hard fork proponent, Roger Ver, called Ross Ulbricht a genius entrepreneur and a hero during a recent YouTube session. Ulbricht, who was the founder of Silk Road, was charged with money laundering, computer hacking, and conspiracy to traffic narcotics. He further emphasized that Ulbricht was condemned to die in prison unless he got a pardon from the President of the United States.

    The CEO of Bitcoin.com stressed that Ulbricht had already served around six years in jail and urged people to sign a petition for his release. At press time, over 156,300 individuals had signed the petition.

    The BCH advocate also revealed that the team was planning to organize a benefit concert for the ‘Free Ross’ campaign in Los Angeles this year.

    Ver and many crypto-luminaries had previously criticized the prosecution, terming it too harsh a sentence for creating a mere e-commerce website.

    Litecoin’s [LTC] Charlie Lee had also tweeted in support of Ulbricht,

    “Whatever you think of Silk Road, Ross Ulbricht, creator of Silk Road, does not deserve a life sentence without the possibility of parole.”

    Ulbricht, a first-time offender, is currently serving two life sentences without parole, and an additional 40 years for all non-violent charges associated with the creation of Silk Road. Ulbricht intended Silk Road to be a free market experiment with the underlined idea – to maintain user anonymity, using Tor and Bitcoin. According to Ulbricht, individuals should have the right to trade anything, as long as they don’t hurt anyone. Tor was useful towards this purpose as it helped in maintaining user anonymity by concealing IP addresses.

  • 08:36
    British Royal, US Ambassador Say Tech, Blockchain Can Help Fight Human Trafficking

    Princess Eugenie of the United Kingdom and United States anti-human trafficking Ambassador John Richmond recently spoke in favor of using new technology like phone apps and blockchainto address human trafficking, Reuters reports on April 8.

    At a conference in Vienna, Austria hosted by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), experts noted that increased internet usage has expanded the ability of traffickers to exploit potential targets.

    However, Princess Eugenie — the granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth — reportedly noted that technology could also help fight trafficking. Eugenie, who founded the Anti-Slavery Collective in Britain in 2017, said:

    “I have learned about how blockchain is having a huge impact on supply chain management, and how an app in Britain can help the public report modern slavery at car washes.”

    Eugenie was referring to an initiative by Coca Cola and the U.S. Department of State, and the Safe Car Wash App. The former began in March 2018, and aims to use blockchain technology to create a secure worker registry. The partnership aims to address the problem of forced labor by using blockchain’s validation and digital notary capabilities to create a secure registry for workers and their contracts.

    The Safe Car Wash App recently found nearly 1,000 cases of slave labor at car washes in the U.K. The app was launched by the Church of England  and the Catholic Church in England and Wales last June, and allows users to enter their location and enter various indicators of the presence of slave labor, such as whether the establishment only accepts cash, or workers seem fearful.

    Citing the Global Slavery Index by human rights group Walk Free Foundation, Reuters reports that there are 136,000 slave laborers in the U.K., which is 10 times higher than in 2013.

    Anti-human trafficking Ambassador Richmond noted that technology itself cannot stop human trafficking, saying, “There is not an algorithm or app that is going to stop human trafficking.” Richmond did note however:

    “But there are tech tools that can help people to do their job better. This is the slow, grinding, day-in, day-out work that can help make a difference.”

    Earlier this year, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would form a commission to study how cryptocurrencies and online marketplaces can be used to facilitate sex and drug trafficking.

  • 07:05
    Crypto Lender Dharma Officially Launches on Ethereum Blockchain

    Opportunities to earn interest on your crypto are increasing, and Dharma is the latest to enter the fray.

    Announced Monday, lending startup Dharma is now open to everyone. Lenders and borrowers are matched peer-to-peer to set up crypto lending terms in a non-custodial fashion, governed by Dharma’s smart contracts.

    Dharma will differentiate itself from others in the market by offering depositors a fixed rate of return on the crypto they make available to lend.

    There’s a catch, though: Deposits will only earn interest when the assets are put to use by a borrower.

    “We are doing fixed-term loans with fixed rates,” Nadav Hollander, Dharma CEO explained to CoinDesk, adding that the company has also worked hard to improve the user experience for all parties.

    He said:

    “There are a handful ways to earn interst on your crypto in a non-custodial manner, pretty much all of those require a high degree of technical knowledge.”

    Originally announced as an open protocol, Dharma will pivot with this news, from a protocol to a company that’s facilitating the marketplace it created.

    “We made a decision strategically as a company to go user-first rather than developer-first,” Hollander said. “With all that being said, the underlying smart contract is still primarily open source.”

    Dharma has been facilitating loans already under a pilot that reached 2,500 users, Hollander said. According to a third-party explorer called Dharmalytics created by ConsenSys alum Matt Tyndall, $1.16 million in principal has been borrowed so far across 1,575 loans (as of Friday).

    These users have come in under Dharma Lever, but as the startup pivots away from the protocol approach it’s retiring that name. The whole product is now just Dharma.

    Brendan Forster, co-founder and COO of Dharma, said in a press release:

    “We see the broader shift to blockchain-based financial services as the beginning of a much more efficient, programmable, and equitable financial system.”

    How it works

    It’s a lot like LendingClub, in that one person lends to another, only in this case it is all crypto.

    Dharma has changed a lot since its white paper, which described a platform where outside parties would set themselves up to underwrite loans and facilitate identifying borrowers.

    The firm – backed by Green Visor, Coinbase Ventures, Polychain and others – has now re-oriented itself to serve as the sole underwriter.

    From a user perspective, this should not change much.

    Like the other collateralized crypto lending products out there, Dharma asks that borrowers put up 150 percent of the value of their loan as collateral. Because there is much more demand to lend crypto than to borrow it, borrowers should be matched with a lender fairly quickly. Once they do, they can borrow ETH or DAI on 28-day terms with a fixed interest rate.

    It’s at this moment that decentralized finance really stands out, Max Bronstein, the company’s marketing manager, told CoinDesk, because “borrowers get their principal in less than 30 seconds.”

    If the value of collateral drops below 125 percent of the principal, the smart contract begins liquidating the borrower’s collateral.

    In fact, that’s one of the two key risks that users face, what Hollander calls “volatility risk.” If the price moves badly against a borrower, they could be liquidated or suffer a painful margin call.

    The other risk is technical: that Dharma might have made a mistake in writing its smart contracts. Here users are somewhat protected by audits and also the “wisdom of the crowd” brought to bear on open-source smart contracts.

    “Those risks are all transparently understood,” Hollander said.

    Sourcing supply

    Currently, more borrowers are needed to make it all work.

    To supply demand on the borrow side, the company is putting in a lot more business development work. Hedge funds that have partnered with Dharma early on to source borrow demand include Passport Capital, Formosa Capital, Spartan Capital and Wyre Capital.

    “Although there is a lot of demand for market trading, we think that by making a much more useable interface we will be able to find more use cases,” Bronstein said.

    Bronstein argues there will be demand from well-funded ICO startups with large ETH supplies and staff willing to accept DAI in lieu of dollars.

    Either way, “There is much more interest in lending cryptocurrencies than there is in borrowing them,” Hollander said.

    For now, Dharma is subsidizing lenders somewhat, as rates paid for borrowing are lower than the return lenders receive. Borrowers only pay 2 percent while a lender earns 4 percent on ETH and 5.5 percent on DAI, when their capital is in a loan.

    This state of affairs is not unusual in this category right now, however.

    “Dharma is far from the only project in the space currently subsidizing the market,” Anil Lulla, a principal at crypto data firm Delphi Digital, told CoinDesk in an email, adding:

    “Even centralized options like BlockFi are offering a 6.2 percent return for anything underneath 25 BTC and 500 ETH. These projects are all competing for people’s crypto holdings and need to subsidize temporarily to attract new depositors and quickly gain market share.”

    Bronstein struck a similar note.

    “We think the winner of that battle will be on identity and brand,” he said. “Prices will converge.”

    The DeFi stack

    Borrowing and lending sound simple, but in finance, small tweaks make for completely different product lines.

    With Unchained Capital and BlockFi, users put up crypto and get back fiat. With Compound, users lend and borrow in crypto, but all the rates float continuously based on real-time demand. With MakerDAO, there’s no loan term at all and an effective balloon payment whenever the user wants.

    Dharma probably looks the most like the sort of financing most people are familiar with, but it’s still not quite like personal banking, Hollander emphasizes – except that it’s built to be easy for all participants to understand.

    “Our approach is to build a non-custodial DeFi product … that can be used from any crypto wallet, including Coinbase,” he said.

    Right now the length of all loans is 28 days. “We are working hard to allow more optionality,” Bronstein said, adding that the startup plans to add three- and six-month loan terms soon.

    A few other aspects will change over time. Right now, Dharma subsidizes all of the user’s gas fees, but that may not continue forever. It also plans to eventually charge an origination fee, which will probably be the most notable illustration of its pivot from a protocol to a company.

    Said Bronstein:

    “We will be a very standard revenue-generating business. A normal company, making revenue off of good software.”

  • 04:25
    QuadrigaCX Officially Enters Bankruptcy With Millions Still Missing

    Canadian crypto exchange QuadrigaCX should transition into bankruptcy in the coming days, a judge ruled Monday.

    The ruling by Nova Source Supreme Court Judge Michael Wood means that QuadrigaCX, which has been operating under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) since the end of January, will file for bankruptcy by next week, entering what is likely to be the final chapter in the exchange’s history.

    To recap, the exchange first filed for creditor protection under the CCAA on Jan. 31, saying at the time that it could not access roughly $136 million in cryptocurrencies and needed assistance reclaiming another $53 million in fiat held by third-party payment processors.

    While EY reported making some progress in recovering assets from third-party processors and another crypto exchange, it is unclear just how much is still in limbo.

    However, as Wood, who is overseeing the case, pointed out during a previous hearing, the exchange does not appear likely to recover. Last week, Ernst and Young (EY), the court-appointed monitor for the exchange, essentially agreed, saying that “the possibility that Quadriga will restructure and emerge from CCAA protection appears remote.”

    The transition to bankruptcy will give EY, which will become the exchange’s trustee, greater investigative powers over the company’s missing funds, as well as allow it to begin selling off assets such as its trading platform, which could generate some revenue to make its customers whole.

    Despite the decision to place Quadriga in bankruptcy, the stay of proceedings protecting the exchange and its directors from lawsuits will remain in effect a short while longer. Another hearing to discuss extending this stay was previously scheduled for April 18.

    Widow’s assets frozen

    Wood also ruled to approve an asset preservation order against the estate of Gerald Cotten, the exchange’s deceased founder, and his widow Jennifer Robertson.

    Last week, EY explained that Quadriga’s funds “may have been used to acquire assets held outside the corporate entity,” suggesting misuse.

    Robertson will retain the ability to send or receive funds through two accounts with the Bank of Nova Scotia, which include a personal account and a corporate account. However, EY will oversee any such activity.

    All of Robertson’s other assets, including those held by her firms Robertson Nova Consulting Inc., Robertson Nova Property Management Inc. and the Seaglass Trust, will be frozen.

    In addition to ruling on Robertson’s assets, participants during the hearing addressed third-party payment processors which may still possess funds belonging to Quadriga.

    Billerfy, Costodian and 1009926 B.C. have until April 18 to work out how they want to share information with EY. Alto Bureau de Change and Black Banx (formerly WB21) are being compelled to return any assets they hold. Another processor, VoPay, said it will turn over all funds without asking for a service fee. EY has also been granted access to the systems of another processor, POSConnect.

    A number of questions remain unanswered, including whether Quadriga actually holds the funds it claims to, how many creditors there are and whether EY has had any luck in accessing the exchange’s databases. A fifth progress report from EY is expected to be published by April 18.

  • 00:37
    World Economic Forum Releases Report About Blockchain Cybersecurity

    he World Economic Forum (WEF) released a report about blockchain cybersecurity on April 5.

    The report points out that most data breaches do not result from the level of skill of the hackers, but instead happen because appropriate security measures often are not implemented. The WEF further claims that while attackers do compromise blockchains themselves, they much more often try to exploit or compromise their deployment.

    The WEF references the data breach of retail giant Target, which lead to both the CEO and chief information officer being fired, also mentioning that the director of the United StatesGovernment Office of Personnel Management and the co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment were forced to resign after a different data breach.

    With the above in mind, the WEF notes that leadership plays a role in the security of a blockchain.

    The report states that cybersecurity should be recognized as a core leadership discipline, and cites a related study by security journalist Brian Krebs. According to the aforementioned study, only 5% of the top 100 companies have a dedicated cybersecurity leader.

    The WEF recommends that blockchain-related company heads establish a cybersecurity leadership position in their organization and ensure that the position is empowered enough to take the necessary actions.

    As Cointelegraph reported in March, Israeli fintech companies that work with forex and crypto trading have been targeted by malware, according to a blog post from threat research department Unit 42 of cybersecurity company Palo Alto Networks.

    Also in March, Cointelegraph wrote that the number of hacked Internet of Things (IoT) devices and cryptocurrency networks in Japan nearly doubled in 2018 when compared to the previous year.

  • 00:11
    US Startup Raises $3.5 Mln From Pantera, Others to Launch Decentralized Exchange on LN

    The United States-based startup Sparkswap has completed a successful seed funding round to create a decentralized exchange based on the Bitcoin (BTCLightning Network. A blog post revealed the development on Monday, April 8.

    According to Sparkswap’s founder Trey Griffith, the company raised $3.5 million from investors including Initialized Capital, Pantera Capital, Foundation Capital and Y Combinator.

    The startup intends to create a decentralized exchange that will be protected from hacks, while still processing transactions on blockchain.

    Sparkswap started testing its mainnet on Jan. 2, 2019, which is driven by Bitcoin’s Lightning Network. Its core technology, Atomic Swap, allows users to trade across blockchains and settle the transactions instantly.

    Following the seed round, the company is going to open trading to the public. In the beta stage, the transactions will be limited to the BTC/LTC trading pair while Sparkswap is testing its software.

    However, Griffith told crypto media The Block that the company is considering enabling trading for other assets, namely ZCash (ZEC) and Ethereum (ETH).

    Earlier this month, Radar, the startup behind decentralized exchange Radar Relay that raised $10 million last year, announced that it will soon release new Lightning Network developer tools. The solutions aim to bring new users to the crypto scalability solution, which was developed to provide nearly free and instantaneous transactions.

    As Cointelegraph previously reported, blockchain development company Lightning Labs announced the initial release of the Lightning Network offramp Lightning Loop in March.

2weeks ago, 8 Apr, Monday
2weeks ago, 7 Apr, Sunday
  • 14:38
    Justin Sun Courts Ethereum’s Vitalik Buterin, Reveals Launch Date for New USDT Tron-Based Stablecoin

    In a new episode of the Crypto Chick Podcast, Justin Sun, founder of Tron and CEO of BitTorrent, provides details on the recent USDT Tron stablecoin announcement, dishes on his Twitter battle with Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin and hints at upcoming partnerships and collaborations.

    Speaking with host Rachel Wolfson, Sun says the importance of stablecoins is that they’re tied to fiat and are not exposed to the fluctuations of the crypto markets, allowing innovators and developers in the cryptosphere to more easily penetrate the payments industry, which requires a stable medium of exchange. Stablecoins also appeal to traders who want to be able to store the value of their cryptocurrencies without constant exposure to major price fluctuations.

    Last month Tron (TRX) partnered with Tether to issue a new USDT coin on Tron’s network. Sun says it’s slated to launch on April 9th. The new TRC20-based USDT will support Tron’s growing network of decentralized applications including its popular gaming and gambling DApps.

    “The stablecoin is the most important thing when we come to the infrastructure and the whole industry.”

    “I think this partnership means to the industry that in the future the USDT will be more reliable, faster and cheaper.”

    According to Sun, when the price of Bitcoin (BTC) spiked by 20% on April 1, the network struggled to meet customer demands for USDT transactions. Whenever there are big BTC price spikes or declines, Sun says the network fails to deliver peak efficiency. So the goal is to move USDT from its Bitcoin-based protocol called Omni to a better network: Tron. Sun says the move will benefit not only Tron but its competitors, Bitcoin and Ethereum.

    “It’s impossible to use the USDT on-chain, and all of these problems will be solved after we launch the USDT Tron, and we migrate the majority of the USDT-Omni to USDT-Tron.”

    “I think it will benefit the whole industry. Most of the congestion and the bad experience of the stablecoin comes from the Omni blockchain because this is an obsolete solution with extremely expensive, slow and also unreliable infrastructure for the stablecoin.”

    Sun makes a pitch to big investors by establishing a fully functional stablecoin that he says will make payments and trades much more seamless and stable. Based on the TRC20 protocol, the smart stablecoin will support smart contracts and will introduce a privacy option as well.

    “We’re getting lots of interest from these institutional investors. I think we’ll do everything to fulfill their requests because when the institutional investor gets into this industry they have lots of requests.”

    “Lots of institutions don’t want people to know they’re buying cryptocurrencies. They don’t want people to know their accounts. They don’t want people to know how much money is in their accounts.”

    After addressing the needs of crypto traders, Sun’s strategy for the stablecoin involves a second phase: cross-border payments for consumers. Sun is eying use cases that will allow Tron to compete with Stripe and Square which serve mobile users and e-commerce payments for merchants and shoppers.

    “We definitely already have some enterprise partners onboard right now – so everybody can stay tuned for our announcement.”

    Sun also addressed the Twitter account of Vitalik Buterin, co-creator of Ethereum, Tron’s primary competitor.

    Toward a brighter tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/7FAWC7TS8z

    — Vitalik Non-giver of Ether (@VitalikButerin) April 1, 2019

     

    Sun, who has dished out his fair share of Twitter trolling, goofy jabs and snappy comebacks – largely involving avocados – seems to welcome the competition with open arms.

    “We all know that Tron and Ethereum are competing in the DApp obsession, for sure, but I think that definitely produces a better product. So I think the competition between the Ethereum and the Tron benefits the whole industry, benefits all the DApp developers, benefits the DApp users as well. So definitely, I think this is a good sign. And also, in terms of the comments recently he made and the picture – first of all, I think by now I’m an advocator of the true love and the love and the brotherhood of the industry. I think in the future we will even collaborate with lots of the Ethereum developers.”

    Sun highlighted a recent collaboration with Ethereum developers of the Loom Network, a second-layer Ethereum scaling solution.

    “I think even within this year, we will see Tron even collaborate – officially collaborate – with Ethereum doing something good for the industry.”

    Sun says Tron will launch its layer-2 scalability solution in Q2.

    “This means 100x scalability. So right now Tron transactions are around 3-4 million every day, and this means that after the layer-2 solution being introduced to the Tron network, this is going to be at least a 100x-plus transactions in the future. And also the fee will be decreased dramatically. So I think this is huge news for all the Tron developers and also the users.”

  • 09:07
    ‘Free’ Money: How Students Mine Cryptocurrency in Their Dorm Rooms

    Last month, reports surfaced on crypto mining research conducted by tech conglomerate Cisco with the following headline: “College kids are using campus electricity to mine crypto.”

    Indeed, many students don’t have to worry about paying power bills, as per their university housing contracts, which tend to cover electricity expenses. That “free” power allows them to host cost-efficient mining rigs, where the only expense is the actual hardware. It almost seems too good to be true: Mining students receive a passive income, which can potentially cover the purchase of a few textbooks — or even pay for the whole semester and more.

    However, there’s a catch: No electricity is actually free, and someone ultimately has to pay the price.

    How popular is mining among students?

    Cisco’s security researchers investigated cryptocurrency mining activity across various industry verticals. The research was carried out with the company’s cloud security platform Umbrella, which monitors clients’ network connections to screen malicious activity, allegedly revealing incidents of crypto mining.

    According to the findings, university campuses are the second-biggest miners of virtual currency across industry verticals at 22 percent, second only to the energy and utilities sector, with about 34 percent.

    As Cointelegraph reported, miner revenues began to wane in 2018 (the last full year for statistics), thanks to the crypto winter and its attendant price drop. That made mining less profitable. But hash rates have continued to increase, indicating that the global mining pool continues to grow, even as individual miners come and go.

    Cisco threat researcher Austin McBride explained the trend to PCMag, saying that "you leave [the mining rig] running in your dorm room for four years, you walk out of college with a big chunk of change."

    While running mining rigs in dorm rooms, students purportedly avoid electricity costs associated with cryptocurrency mining profitability, said McBride, adding:

    "Mining difficulty for a lot of coins is very high right now — which means it costs more for electricity and internet than the profit you can produce from mining those coins. If you don't have to pay for those costs, then you are in a really good spot for making money on the university's dime."

    Cointelegraph reached out to Cisco and Cisco Umbrella to clarify which campuses were monitored, but has yet to receive a response.  

    A similar report was conducted earlier in March 2018, when cyber attack monitoring firm Vectra found out that both intentional cryptocurrency mining and cryptojacking was becoming more prevalent on college campuses than in any other industry.

    As per Vectra, universities are not able to monitor their networks as closely as large corporations with high-budget IT departments, “at best [advising] students on how to protect themselves and the university by installing operating system patches and creating awareness of phishing emails, suspicious websites and web ads.”

    Students who take advantage of this “free power,” in turn, are “simply being opportunistic as the value of cryptocurrencies surged over the past year,” Vectra’s blog post stated. Matt Walmsley, Europe, Middle East and Africa director at Vectra, told Cointelegraph that, while the scope of their research was international, he cannot disclose which universities participated in the study:

    “The data was provided by from education establishments around the world on the understanding that any identifying information would remain anonymous.”

    Therefore, while it is difficult to pinpoint the hot spots for college virtual currency mining on the map, the phenomenon seems to be quite popular overall. According to the 2019 Vectra report issued earlier this year, “cryptocurrency mining has surged in popularity with students and criminals, particularly among universities with large student populations.”

    Is it really that simple?

    One of the main things about mining in university housing conditions is that it has to be discreet — otherwise, the wardens might hear the noise and start investigating. Mark D’Aria, founder and CEO of Bitpro, a New York-based installation and mining operation management firm, told Cointelegraph:

    “I suspect the vast majority of mining from college campuses isn't from what you would think of as mining ‘rigs’ — those giant machines with multiple GPUs [graphics processing units], purpose built for mining. ASICs [application-specific integrated circuits] are also certainly going to be extremely rare simply because they're so loud and hot that no one is going to tolerate them in their dorm room for very long. The student is going to need to explain that, and he's not going to get away with it for long.”

    Instead, most of the mining seems to be coming from students' old-fashioned PCs, the Bitpro CEO suggested. Notably, casual machines could provide their owners with a moderate income even during the current, bearish market. Given that additional electricity-related expenses are covered by a third-party, of course. According to D’Aria:

    “A gaming rig with a single high end GPU could produce maybe $1/day. But even a run of the mill laptop could produce a few cents as well. The important thing to recognize is that even though $1/day is small — if you don't have to pay for electricity, there's no reason for someone with a gaming rig or reasonably powerful laptop *not* to mine. It's literally free money.”

    Moreover, generating cryptocurrency with a computer does not necessarily require substantial technical skills and knowledge. “It's extremely easy to do with services such as NiceHash [a crypto cloud mining marketplace], which can be set to automatically mine when you're not using your PC like a screen saver,” D’Aria added.

    Indeed, Tom (a pseudonym to maintain confidentiality), a University of Mississippi pharmaceutical sciences student, told Cointelegraph that he used NiceHash with his gaming PC to mine Bitcoin for about two months, but soon decided to abandon the idea because of the continuously high workload and rising GPU prices:

    “I was able to make about $120 USD if the price of bitcoin had stayed at $15,000. With bitcoin currently around $4,000 USD it may be profitable, considering I was getting free electricity. However, because of the strain on the system, plus the overinflated prices of GPUs, I wouldn’t do it anymore.”

    Tom specified that, being a resident advisor in the dormitory, he was able to make inroads with the local maintenance assistant. That allowed him to make sure that his floor had sufficient air conditioning to host a miner:

    “It would be impossible to tell if I had my PC on all the time, especially since it was a huge, 11- story building.”

    Tom’s room felt chilly during the winter months, so additional heat was actually useful. He said, “I just used my computer instead of a space heater.”

    However, sometimes, mining students get exposed. Ken (a pseudonym to maintain confidentiality), an Arizona State University undergraduate who studies applied physics, showed Cointelegraph a screenshot of an alleged email from a university staff member. In it, Ken was being informed that the security team “has detected a coin miner program” on two of his devices.

    “We would like you to either uninstall the programs, or run a virus scan in the event that you were unaware of these programs, as this is indicative of malware on your devices,” it stated.

    Ken indeed was using NiceHash at the time, as he confirmed to Cointelegraph. After consulting with fellow miners on the r/BitcoinMining subreddit, he decided to use a virtual private network (VPN) whenever he was mining, saying: “I already had one, and I made sure that it turned on startup and the internet kill switch was active so they couldn’t track me.”

    However, once Ken had managed to mine “a couple of hundred dollars,” NiceHash was hacked, and the student lost a large percentage of his funds, as he hadn’t yet moved them to a private wallet.

    Chris Partridge is a computing security graduate from the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), who also mined cryptocurrency during his time in college, starting in 2015 and continuing until mid-2016. “I was curious about Bitcoin and that seemed like a good way to learn,” he told Cointelegraph. His setup was a bit more advanced compared with Tom and Ken, as he used “a couple” of Antminers, a BFL Monarch and a Prospero X1. Consequently, the amount of heat produced by his equipment was significantly higher:

    “None of them [the mining rigs] were remotely current-gen even at the time, and all of them were heavily underclocked/undervolted/modded to be cooler and quieter. Living up in Rochester [New York), where it was freezing all the time, we had our window open 24/7 (even during blizzards!) and the miners pointed out into it, or else it became too hot in our living areas very quickly. It was a bit of a strain for my roommate and I, but he was a good sport about things.”

    Partridge said that he was never caught in the act, despite a couple of room checks that occurred due to unrelated reasons. “Nobody seemed to care,” he said. “Especially since it was a very small operation — I suppose I came off as a bit eccentric, but no further investigation was prompted.”

    Even though it wasn’t a profit-focused endeavor for the former RIT student, he walked away with around 0.4 BTC, which he then sold for a hefty sum of $6,000. The earnings came at just the right time: Partridge needed cash that would carry him through to an internship. After spending the money on general living expenses for a few months, he even had some left over for nonessential shopping:

    “I also bought a Roomba, because if there's anything I'm going to spend profits from magic internet money on, it's a Roomba.”

    There are even larger success stories: Marco Streng, co-founder and CEO of Genesis Mining, a large cloud mining company whose farms are located across several countries, claims that he essentially started his business out of a dorm room back in 2013. He declined to specify which university he went to, however, saying that it’s “the same anywhere in the world.”

    “There was this kind of sauna atmosphere in my 10-13 square meter room, and the noise was really loud,” he told Cointelegraph. “We tried to mitigate it by putting some pillows over the miner and put it closer to the window to cool it down.”

    Streng said that, while the uproar was attracting attention, his neighbors didn’t seem disturbed. “I mean, I found it annoying, but it was a trade-off for me,” he added. “I was excited, passionate, and there was an economical aspect — it created some money.”

    Around 2014, Streng realized that the local student community had started to actively set up their own mining rigs across campus. “The rumour was spreading, so it [mining] got some traction,” he recalled. “The electricity bill of the student dorm went up quite significantly.”

    When crypto market began growing and Streng’s activity became increasingly profitable, he realized that he could run “a few thousand of those machines,” establishing a mining operation on an industrial scale.

    “That lead to the creation of Genesis Mining, one of the largest mining companies,” Streng told Cointelegraph. “I’m really happy that I did that in my dorm and found that opportunity. Otherwise, it would never have come this far.”

    How legal and ethical is that?

    While no university seems to have a specific policy in regard to cryptocurrency mining on its premises, in January of 2018, Stanford University issued a public warning against crypto mining on campus, arguing that school resources “must not be used for personal financial gain.” The warning also cited the university’s chief information security officer:

    “Cryptocurrency mining is most lucrative when computing costs are minimized, which unfortunately has led to compromised systems, misused university computing equipment, and personally owned mining devices using campus power.”

    Indeed, many universities seem to prohibit the use of their resources for personal financial gain — including the ones observed in this article. RIT’s code of conduct for computer use, for instance, states the following:

    “No member of the RIT community may use an RIT computing account or any communications equipment that is owned or maintained by RIT to run a business or commercial service or to advertise for a commercial organization or endeavor. [...] Consistent with other specific policies, members of the RIT community should not waste university resources or use them for personal benefit or for the benefit of a non-university entity.”

    However, not having specific rulesets for cryptocurrency mining might actually induce tax problems for educational institutions who (unwillingly or not) host such activity on their premises. As Selva Ozelli, international tax attorney and CPA, told Cointelegraph:

    “Given that electricity is usually included in a student's tuition or rent, Universities would need to set policy as to whether they will allow cryptocurrency mining on campus premises or not or whether students should be charged extra for electrical expenses relating to cryptocurrency mining. If Universities do not set proper policy in this regard, they could subject themselves to tax problems. Because section 4, Q&A-8 of Notice 2014-21 states that cryptocurrency mining which is treated as a service activity should be treated as ordinary income in the year it is mined, and the expenses of mining — including electrical charges — deducted as incurred based on the matching of income and expenses."  

    From an ethical point of view, the situation is also quite complex, and opinions vary even among those who benefited from mining on campus.

    “I pay to have the room and since no explicit details in my contract punished overuse of electricity I figured I was fine, especially since I would have had to use a space heater anyway because students couldn’t control the temperatures in their own rooms,” said Tom from the University of Mississippi, denying that he was in the wrong for setting up a mining rig in his room.

    Rochester Institute of Technology’s Partridge was more critical. “I don't believe it's ethical to mine at scale on college campuses,” he told Cointelegraph. “The electricity being ‘free’ to me isn't the same as the electricity being free, unfortunately.” The former RIT student recalled that he burned around $200 while mining in his dormarty, “assuming they get pretty solid commercial electrical rates.” He continued:

    “Most people who claim that mining on campuses is ethical don't take into account an important second variable: this is not without risk. Student housing isn't designed to accommodate large quantities of electronic equipment, and couldn't suppress or otherwise contain electrical fires - that could easily lead to massive property damage and loss of life.”

    Streng, the Genesis Mining CEO, believes that, while students can contribute to the decentralized network via mining, they shouldn’t exploit the resources of their universities and inform the local administration, if possible. “I think it’s great if a student wants to do it [mine in his/her room] and is excited about it,” he said. “But of course they have to pay their bills.” He continued:

    “The new side-effect of the whole cryptocurrency idea is that someone living in a small room can turn electricity to money. There are many institutional setups — not only in education — when someone is paying for the electricity of a specific area, while residents have to pay a flat contribution no matter how much electricity they consume. I think those providers should be aware of these possibilities now and that people can make use of them. They should respect that and draft it into their agreements.”

    Therefore, if universities continue to largely overlook mining on their premises, the phenomenon is likely to stay, allowing students to at least earn some beer money.

    “I can't imagine any college student is going to turn down $30/month or even $5/month,” said D’Aria of Bitpro. “Even though they're dealing with small amounts on an individual basis, dorm room mining is introducing cryptocurrencies to a whole generation of young adults. It doesn't take them long to figure out how easy and useful it is to use something like Ethereum to split the cost of a 12 pack of natty ice — particularly when there's no credit card statement their parents can keep an eye on.”

  • 08:55
    Binance’s research over Bitcoin revisiting ‘2017 glory’ rejected by crypto-enthusiasts over scalability, network saturation issues

    Bitcoin’s [BTC] surge over $5,000 gave many crypto fans a ray of hope as it signalled the possibility of a continued bull-run. Binance’s research on Bitcoin’s performance dealt with the question ‘can Bitcoin return to its 2017 glory?’ and indicated that we could be getting close to the 2017 glory.

    However, this research did not go down well with some crypto enthusiasts. Twitter user @galgitron complained about the network saturation and called it a ‘catastrophe’. He tweeted,

    “I’m so confused.. how can approaching network saturation and increasing unconfirmed transactions be a good thing? Do we not understand that translates into long delays and high network fees? Unless of course by ‘glory’, you mean ‘catastrophe'”

    @galgitron’s opinion was voiced by many as they complained about the unconfirmed transactions and speculations about what was going on in the Bitcoin ecosystem. Twitter user @Dave_Jonez_02 said:

    ” “Are things starting to look up for #Bitcoin?”
    And then you point to close to all-time-high network congestion, unconfirmed transactions, long waiting times and high fees? Really?
    Aren’t you people realizing BTC is HOLDING BACK #crypto adoption this way?”

    However, there were people who believed that the trend reversal could take place for Bitcoin soon, once the scalability issue was resolved. Another Twitter user @hckerBhat speculated a bracket for Bitcoin to shoot, depending on the actions of the crypto whales. The user stated,

    “Yes but not so early, all whales are trading for short now. When BTC will touch $2000-2500 range then they will long BTC , It may even touch $30K.”

    At press time, Bitcoin has crossed $5k mark yet again and was valued at $5,013.50, with a market cap of $88.39 billion. It noted a 24-hour trading volume of $15.72 billion as it spiked by 21.79% over the past week. Bitcoin noted a minimal rise in its price by 0.19% over the past day and continued to note a growth of 0.17% within the past hour, at press time.

     

  • 06:22
    Gibraltar Stock Exchange Subsidiary Partners With Tokenization Platform

    Hashstac, a subsidiary of the Gibraltar Stock Exchange Group (GSX Group), has partnered with Singapore-based technology company STO Global-X to facilitate the issuance of tokens. The development was announced by the Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange (GBX) on April 5.

    GSX Group’s subsidiary Hashtacs Inc. and STO Global-X will jointly launch an integrated Tokenized Securities Exchange product that will purportedly allow stock exchanges and other qualified financial institutions to tokenize assets and boost trading, clearing and settling of digital securities.

    “The collaboration aims to integrate STO Global-X’s tokenization platform and exchange technology with Hashstacs’ Securities Asset Trading Classification Settlement (STACS) Network. The solution will include an institutional-grade security token exchange and trading platform complete with multi-factor authentication and military-grade encryption,” the release further explains.

    Last December, the GBX — which is another subsidiary of the GSX — announced that it is offering insurance on all of the assets listed on its platform through the partnership with local firm Callaghan Insurance Brokers. The police stated that “all assets in the custody of the GBX are fully insured, including both hot and cold wallets,” and it also “covers all forms of professional indemnity.”

    GBX was launched in July of last year and raised a total of $27 million in funding. Over the past 24 hours, the exchange registered about $1.5 million in trades, currently placing it in 126th place on CoinMarketCap’s exchange rankings by adjusted trade volume.

  • 01:29
    How Asian Crypto Funds Outperformed their US Peers by Staggering 20x

    Asia-based crypto funds have returned more profits than their US counterparts, claimed Jason Chui.

    The researcher at Hong Kong-based financial service firm, Spartan Capital, said the Asian crypto funds performed 20-times better than their “high signaling US peers.” He stressed that their performance in the first quarter of 2019 went up despite low social media coverages, adding those funds were rising on better fundamentals, mainly governance, token design, and crypto theses.

    There are more than a handful of crypto funds in Asia that don’t care about your Medium posts, Twitter threads, tokenomics, crypto narratives, defi and censorship resistance.

    Some of these funds outperformed their high signaling US peers by ~20x in the past quarter 

    — Jason Choi (@mrjasonchoi) April 6, 2019

     

    Least Followed Crypto Funds Doing Well

    Choi did not exclusively mention those Asian crypto funds nor did he provide statistics that could measure their success against the US crypto funds. He nevertheless gave a list containing funds that were playing a vital role in bridging the gap between the mainstream finance and cryptocurrencies. NewsBTC found that almost all of them had fewer Twitter followers.

    Singapore-based Block Crafters Capital, for instance, had a one-year-old Twitter account with only 65 followers to its credit. Apparently, the fund was one of the major contributors to Aergo’s $30 million-fundraiser, a project that reportedly raised funding from Samsung and POSCO.

     

    The blockchain project’s market valuation has been increasing since it went live across limited cryptocurrency exchanges. In December 2018, Aergo was worth $2.2 million in December 2018. But as of April, it was worth $14.56 million – a 561.818 percent jump.

    Block Crafter Invested in Aergo Blockchain Startup, Whose Valuation Surged Impressively in Q1 | Source: CMC

    Another one of Choi’s favorite crypto funds, Dragonfly Capital Partners, secured a $100 million worth of assets under management at launch. The fund has already deployed $20 million out of its pool to invest in diversified crypto projects. They include price-stable currency Basis and blockchain protocols developed by Spacemesh and Oasis Labs. Crypto exchange Binance is also one of the associate partners with the Oasis.

    NewsBTC could not locate Dragonfly on Twitter.

    In comparison, San Francisco-based Polychain Capital, one of the most successful crypto funds with a $1.04 billion AUM, had 10.2k followers on Twitter. In its neighborhood was Pantera Capital, another crypto fund, which had more than 44k followers on Twitter, and $810 million worth of AUM.

    The Asian Crypto Sector Boom

    Whether or not the Asian crypto funds outperformed their US peers is a topic worth exploring. Despite the outcomes, one cannot ignore the progress of cryptocurrency sector in the region. Jolyon Ellwood Russell, a Hong Kong-based finance partner at law firm Simmons & Simmons, toldFundsGlobalAsia.com that they were receiving new inquiries from local money managers about setting up new crypto funds.

    “The asset managers’ appetite for setting up crypto funds has been robust in Hong Kong over the past four or five months,” said Russell, adding that crypto funds in Asia were growing and exploring various strategies beyond bitcoins.

     

    Asian funds have shown an intense craving for new age cryptocurrencies and a whole new industry built around it. With more capital flowing into this space, alongside favorable sandbox regulatory environments (read South Korea), the sector is opening new investment opportunities for family offices, private banks, and high-net-worth individuals.

  • 01:21
    VanEck Director: Bitcoin (BTC) could be a solution For US Inflation Issue

    Inflation has been one of the primary factors that have crumbled economies over the past decades, with the recent situation in Venezuela and Mozambique shedding light on its effects. Countries suffering from hyperinflation have seen their citizens turn to cryptocurrencies to hedge against inflation, and the Director of VanEck believes Bitcoin could be the solution if the same thing happens in the US.

    Bitcoin Could Solve Inflation Problems

    The Director of VanEck, one of the companies looking to launch a Bitcoin ETF, Gabor Gurbacs, is of the view that when inflation comes to the United States, Bitcoin could be one of the solutions to it. Through a tweet, the director says “I learned not ever to underestimate the United States. The U.S. is where some of the most ingenious, down to earth and hardworking people live, invent and build their futures. When inflation becomes a major issue, the U.S. will find a way out. And it might be related to Bitcoin.

    In a tweet referring to the limited amount of BTC, the VanEck exec stated that scarcity is the means and abundance is the end, implying that the scarce nature of Bitcoin could lead to wealth and ultimately curb any inflation effects on an economy.

    Gurbacs has been impressed by the resilience of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies despite the challenges they face from regulators and financial bodies all over the world. He notes that “Bitcoin and many crypto projects continue to live despite heavy regulatory, financial, corporate and media pressures. We don’t have it easy, but nothing easy is worth having. The builders, innovators and hustlers will be remembered. Stay hungry and “don’t settle.

    Crypto Is Suitable For Hedging Inflation

    Gurbacs is not the only with this view. The general feeling around the cryptocurrency space is that Bitcoin was designed to counter, hence the reason why Satoshi created only 21 million coins.

    The fact that Bitcoin is not tied to any national currency means that it cannot be affected when any fiat currency becomes inflated. When a user purchases or receives crypto for a certain amount, they can cash them in for their local fiat currency, and this would effectively override devaluation of their currency.

    The economic woes in Venezuela, Zimbabwe, and Greece have all seen people use cryptocurrency as a store of value so that they don’t lose their wealth due to inflation. According to some cryptocurrency experts, Bitcoin could also be used to hedge against a cashless society. In a post by Hasu, the rise of cashless society will most likely lead to people becoming more vulnerable to surveillance, financial control, and authoritarianism.

    New article with @zhusu where we argue that the elimination of cash, even if most payments are already digital, will make society more vulnerable to surveillance, financial control, and authoritarianism.https://t.co/kRVwaJM7Cr

    — Hasu (@hasufl) February 12, 2019

    Hasu strongly believes that Bitcoin could help stop all that since it has features that make it impossible for government bodies to control the people’s finances and have authority over them.