Cambridge Associates: Cryptocurrencies ‘Worthwhile’ For Long Term Investors

bitcoin piggy bank cambridge associates

Leading institutional investment consulting firm Cambridge Associates holds that institutional investors should consider exploring cryptocurrencies for the long term or ‘hodl’ in Bitcoin lingo. 


Cryptocurrencies May ‘Upend the Digital World’

Cambridge Associates is a Boston-based institutional investment consulting company with more than $300 billion in assets under advisement. It holds that it’s high time for institutions to consider cryptocurrencies, Bloomberg reports.

The firm asserts that, despite the twists and turns, cryptocurrencies may ‘very well upend the digital world.’

Despite the challenges, we believe that it is worthwhile for investors to begin exploring this area today with an eye toward the long term. […] Though these investments entail a high degree of risk, some may very well upend the digital world.

However, the consulting firm also recommends spending a “considerable amount of time learning about the space,” exploring the different ways to invest.

Despite the tumbling prices across the entire cryptocurrency market over the past year, Cambridge Associates says that the industry is actually developing.

The dramatic declines that swept across the crypto space raised questions about the future of these assets and the blockchain technology that underpins them. […] Yet, in looking across the investment landscape, we see an industry that is developing, not faltering.

Institutions Dipping Their Toes

Some long-term focused institutions are already taking note and dipping their toes into the arena. According to the Q4 2018 report of digital currency asset manager Grayscale Investments, institutions and retirement accounts comprise the lion’s share in cryptocurrency investing.

wall street symbiont

Earlier this month, Bitcoinist reported that Fairfax County Employee’s and Fairfax County Police Pension Plans became the first US public pensions to invest in a $40 million cryptocurrency fund.

Former Wall Street hedge fund manager Mike Novogratz recently said that institutional money is going to start flowing into the cryptocurrency market within the next 6 to 12 months, following the roll-out of custody solutions by trusted institutions such as Fidelity.

Meanwhile, Fidelity’s Bitcoin custody service is set for launch in March.

What do you think of Cambridge Associates’ position on cryptocurrency? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


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Bitcoin Price Eyes $4000 As USD LocalBitcoins Trading Volume Quadruples

Bitcoin price

The US has experienced its largest jump in bitcoin volume over the past week on LocalBitcoins. Over $31.5M worth of BTC was traded on the platform as bitcoin price looks set to test the $4000 resistance level next. 


ATH USD Trading Volume on LocalBitcoins

Data from Coin Dance shows that USD trading volume on the popular over-the-counter bitcoin trading platform LocalBitcoins has reached its all-time high.

For the week ending on February 16th, LocalBitcoins saw traders exchange more than $31.5 million, nearly four times the amount exchanged the previous week ($8.4 million).

LocalBitcoins is a peer-to-peer (P2P) platform, which allows users to create and accept private sales of bitcoin for fiat currency and vice versa.

Bitcoinist reported that Indonesia has also seen a surge in Bitcoin through the platform.

Bitcoin Price Eyes $4000

Following the record values of USD volume traded on LocalBitcoins, the price of the cryptocurrency has also marked a notable increase.

At the time of writing this, Bitcoin (BTC) 00 has managed to gain over 8 percent in the past 24 hours.

As Bitcoinist reportedshould the price manage to break towards the $4,000 level, this would show an Adam and Eve bottom pattern, which may allow for a further surge of the price towards $5,000.

It’s worth noting that Bitcoin is not the only cryptocurrency performing well through the weekend. In fact, the entire market has marked a substantial increase.

Data from CoinMarketiCap shows that throughout the last couple of days, the market has managed to gain upwards of $10 billion to its capitalization, an increase of around 9 percent.

Ethereum (ETH) 00 has also made notable gains spearheading the current cryptocurrency rally. This allowed it to once again reclaim its spot as the second largest cryptocurrency in terms of market capitalization, unseating Ripple (XRP) 00.

What do you think of the surge in USD volume on LocalBitcoins? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Coin.Dance

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Novogratz: Institutional Money Coming in the Next 6-12 Months

Novogratz Bitcoin

Former Wall Street hedge fund manager and popular Bitcoin proponent Mike Novogratz thinks that institutional money will start coming into the cryptocurrency market in the next 6 to 12 months as custody solutions are rolled out. 


They Won’t “Rush In on Day One”

Speaking on Bloomberg Daybreak: Middle East, the CEO at Galaxy Digital laid out his current position on Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency market.

Novogratz acknowledged the tumultuous nature of 2018 for the cryptocurrency market, as a lot of the digital currencies have collapsed in value with more than 90 percent, while the market itself has lost upwards of $700 billion.

However, he also remains firm on his feet, holding that recovery will follow.

He said that all the “retail friends that came up and down are washed out” and that the market is in the process of “handing off ownership from retail to institutions.”

Fidelity Investments Adds Cryptocurrency Integration Through Coinbase

The expert outlines that all the architecture which institutions need to “feel comfortable” is currently being put in place.

Namely, Novogratz noted Bakkt and Fidelity as important steps in providing trusted custody solutions, saying that they are likely to come in somewhere next month.

However, he also holds that institutions won’t “rush in on day one” but they would rather take their time and see some “water run through the pipes.”

Nevertheless, Novogratz predicts that institutions will allocate a small amount of their assets into the cryptocurrency market over the next 6 to 12 months while clarifying that “a small amount of institutional assets is a lot of money.”

Bitcoin Will Be ‘Digital Gold’

Commenting on Bitcoin, Novogratz said that the cryptocurrency “is going to be digital gold.” He outlined that it will be a place where “you have sovereign money.”

It’s not US money, it’s not Chinese money, it’s sovereign. And so sovereignty, it costs a lot. It should cost a lot.

Novogratz has said that bitcoin will become “digital gold” before. In December 2018, he said:

I do believe Bitcoin is going to be digital gold. That means it’s the only one of the coins out there that gets to be a legal pyramid scheme. Just like gold is.

But he’s also not the only one to compare Bitcoin to the precious metal. In fact, some proponents like Digital Currency Group’s Barry Silbert have argued that Bitcoin is ’50 times more useful’ than gold.

The popular Bitcoin investors, owners of the Gemini cryptocurrency exchange, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, have also said that Bitcoin is better than gold.

Do you think institutional money is coming to the cryptocurrency market? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


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Binance Chain Decentralize Exchange Testnet Will Launch Next Week

binance chain

CEO of Binance, Changpeng Zhao, has revealed that the company is targeting February 20th as a release date for its decentralized exchange’s testnet.


Binance Chain Testnet Coming Next Week

Binance Chain, the decentralized exchange (DEX) of Binance, aims to launch its testnet to the public on February 20th. That’s what the company’s CEO stated in a tweet earlier today.

Finally got a date. Targeting to release Binance Chain testnet (https://twitter.com/binance_dex) for public testing on Feb 20th. This is a testnet, your feedback would be most valuable.

The company also said that Binance Chain will offer support for hardware wallets immediately after it’s launched. Prior to opening the testnet for the public, Binance released it to their partners, revealing support for Ledger wallets.

As Bitcoinist reported, the company will charge a sum ‘close’ to $100,000 for listing new coins on the DEX. Additionally, Binance will have a lot of influence over the network in the beginning, making it ‘more centralized’ compared to others.

Zhao said in a live AMA that the testnet will initially begin with 11 validator nodes and that they will be looking for “guys who can run very fast validators”, making them likely to be selected through the company’s close partners.

Binance Coin Up 60 Percent on The Month

At the same time, Binance Coin (BNB) 00, has surged over the past month, gaining around 60 percent of its value.

In fact, yesterday, on February 11th, BNB hit its absolute all-time high (ATH) value trading against BTC.

Besides the news of the upcoming testnet of Binance Chain, the company concluded a scheduled BNB burn in mid-January, which saw 1,623,818 BNB taken out of the cryptocurrency’s supply. At the time of the burn, the dollar value of the tokens was about $9.4 million.

Earlier in February, Binance Coin crawled up in positions and is currently the 10th largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization.

What do you think of the testnet launch of Binance Chain? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, coinmarketcap.com

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Bitcoin Will Recover Without ‘Mainstream Breakout’ in 2019, Says Fundstrat

Fundstrat Global Advisors has published its 2019 outlook on the cryptocurrency market. The document suggests that positive incremental developments are incoming. 


Mainstream Adoption Not Needed for Bitcoin to Bottom

Tom Lee, Fundstrat Global Advisors’ Head Analyst, has announced the release of the company’s 2019 Outlook on the cryptocurrency market.

The document outlines the disappointing year digital currencies had in 2018, as well as the fact that expectations for cryptocurrencies are “non-existent or very low.”

Additionally, it also states that 2019 is not necessarily a ‘mainstream breakout year.’ However, that’s also not needed for cryptocurrency prices to ‘eventually bottom’ in 2019. The report outlines that the company expects prices to stage a visible recovery by the end of 2019, without providing any precise predictions regarding the future value of any digital currency.

The Outlook seems to contradict the position of Robert Sluymer, strategist at Fundstrat Global Advisors, who recently noted that Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency market, in general, are displaying signs of vulnerability.

Just a day later, however, contrary to Sluymers prognosis, the entire market gained over $10 billion, while Bitcoin surged 11 percent, hitting the $3,700 target in a matter of hours.

Factors Supporting Higher Prices in 2019

Lee also revealed the factors for which his company has come up to the above conclusion.

Apparently, there are 10 factors which will supposedly help cryptocurrencies recover in prices and only one negative.

One of the factors outlined by Fundstrat is the Lightning Network reaching critical mass and privacy.

Bitcoinist recently reported that the Lightning Network has already surpassed 6,000 nodes. At the time of this writing, the network has a capacity of 655.30 BTC or roughly around $2.38 million.

What do you think of Fundstrat’s 2019 Crypto Outlook? Do you agree that prices will recover by the end of 2019? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


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Philippines’ Central Bank Helps Launch Bitcoin ATM

One of the largest banks in the Philippines, Union Bank, has collaborated with the country’s central bank to launch a Bitcoin ATM, allowing customers to both buy and sell bitcoin for cash.


Union Bank Launches Its First Bitcoin ATM

Union Bank in the Philippines has launched its very first two-way Bitcoin ATM, according to a release.

The machine, puportedly located at the bank’s headquarters in Pasig City, allows customers to purchase and sell cryptocurrencies using fiat.

Union Bank has said that this has become possible thanks to its collaboration with the country’s central bank, Bangko Sentral Philipinas. The official release states:

In the bank’s continued quest to cater to the evolving needs and tastes of customers, including clients who use virtual currency, the ATM will provide these clients an alternative channel to convert their pesos to virtual currency and vice versa.

On January 17th, Twitter user Mike Abundo posted a picture of the machine with a note on it that it’s “coming soon.” He revealed that its located in the bank’s main branch, which, according to their official website, is in Pasig City.

This is not Union Bank’s first involvement with Bitcoin. In May last year, Bitcoinist reported that the bank ran Bitcoin miners at a local conference in order to “experiment and explore how it works.”

Cryptocurrency Regulations in the Philippines

The positions of the country’s regulators on Bitcoin has traditionally been rather favorable.

philippines

 

In 2017, the central bank of the Philippines, Bankgo Sentral, issued a circular which recognized Bitcoin has “potential to revolutionize.”

[…] recognizes that Virtual Currency (VC) systems have the potential to revolutionize delivery of financial services, particularly for payments and remittance, in view of their ability to provide faster and more economical transfer of funds, both domestic and international, and may further support financial inclusion.

The circular also requires cryptocurrency exchanges to be registered with the central bank as companies for remittance and transfer. They also have to provide the needed safeguards in order to prevent risks associated with cryptocurrencies, including money laundering, terrorist financing, technology management, and so forth.

In addition, the country also allowed 10 cryptocurrency companies to operate within its economic zone, hence taking advantage of certain tax benefits.

What do you think of the first Bitcoin ATM being launched in the Philippines? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the commnets below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock 

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Binance Chain Will Charge ‘Close’ To $100K to List New Coins

blockchain chain binance chain listing

The CEO of Binance, Changpeng Zhao, revealed that the company’s decentralized exchange (DEX), Binance Chain, will charge ‘close’ to $100,000 for listing new coins. 


$100K Listing Fee Set ‘Deliberately’

In a 45-minute live ask-me-anything (AMA), CEO of Binance, Changpeng Zhao, said that there will be a listing fee for new coins on the company’s DEX – Binance Chain.

In fact, Zhao explained that he has deliberately made the fee higher in order to “reduce the number of spam or scam projects.” He estimates the fee will be close to $100K. He also said that the number will be adjustable over time.

Previously, Zhao has also stated that Binance doesn’t list poor quality projects or ‘shitcoins.’ It remains to be seen what kind of quality control is set in place, though, as the DEX is intended to support “millions of coins.”

changpeng zhao binance

Not So Decentralized At First

Zhao said that, initially, the number of network consensus validators on the DEX will be small. For example, the testnet will start with 11 validator nodes.

He also said that as the exchange goes live, they’ll be looking for “guys who can run very fast validators” and that the nodes will be selected through their close partners.

However, the CEO also noted that Binance will have a lot of influence over the network, at least in the beginning, and thus the chain will be ‘more centralized’ compared to other networks.

His answers go in line with his previous position on the matter. Last year, Zhao said that “there is no absolute decentralization” and that decentralization “is not safer by default.”

What do you think of Binance Chain’s coin listing fees? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Bitcoin Hashrate Hits 3-Month High: Is BTC Price Next?

bitcoin miners mining hashrate

Bitcoin hashrate, the computing power of the network, has hit levels last seen in November 2018. Bitmain-operated hashrate, however, has hit its lowest point in the last 16 months. 


Bitcoin Hashpower at a 3-Month High

As of yesterday, February 7th, Bitcoin hashrate has hit over 50 quintillion hashes per second according to data from Blockchain.com.

The last time the computing power of Bitcoin’s network saw these levels was in November 2018.

The rise in hashrate translates into new miners joining the network as the mining difficulty has dropped for the first time in 2019 by about 1.5 percent at the end of January.

Bitcoinist reported at the beginning of the year that Bitcoin mining difficulty has adjusted 10% upwards for the first time in months as the hashrate started to stabilize following November’s decline.

The uptick could be a bullish sign for bitcoin price as some believe miners invest in the future spot price of bitcoin.

“Price follows hashrate and hashrate chart continues its 9 yr bull market,” says Wall Street veteran, Max Keiser.

Others, like Casa CTO, Jameson Lopp, believe that its the other way around as miners are speculating on some future price of bitcoin. Lopp explains:

Hashrate follows price. Some folks believe price follows hashrate, possibly because hashrate doesn’t simply track ~spot~ price, but rather tracks some ~speculative~ future price. Miners are speculators too!

Bitmain Losing Market Share

In the first half of 2018, Bitmain-operated hashrate through Antpool and BTC.com was peaking. According to data from BTC.com, both pools attributed to over 40 percent of the entire network’s computing power.

Their dominance, however, has been shrinking ever since. At press time, BTC.com and Antpool combined control less than 30 percent of the network’s hashrate, according to Blockchain.com.

The last time Bitmain’s share was so low was at the beginning of October 2017 – 17 months ago.

Indeed, the second half of last year has turned out to be rather challenging for the company as rumors of massive losses in the third quarter cast serious doubts over its financial condition.

Bitcoinist reported in late 2018 that Bitmain’s monopoly was collapsing as it put its mega mining facility project on ice in Rockdale, Texas. The company was laid off its entire Bitcoin Cash development team.

In any case, as Bitmain loosens its grip on Bitcoin mining, Bitcoin mining seems to be getting more decentralized, which increases security and eliminates the possibility of a 51 percent attack.

Is hashrate icreasing a good sign for price? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, blockchain.com

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Swiss Stock Exchange to Launch Its Own Security Token This Year

SIX swiss exchange HODL Bitcoin ETP

Switzerland’s Stock Exchange (SIX) wants to have its own security token offering in the second half of 2019 alongside the launch of its SIX Digital Exchange (SDX) platform for trading digital assets. 


SIX To Launch Its Own STO

The Switzerland Stock Exchange (SIX) wants to launch its own security token offering (STO), according to the institution’s Chairman Romeo Lacher, sometime in H2, 2019 alongside its Digital currency Exchange platform SDX.

“We want to start with our own Security Token Offering,” confirmed Lacher to Reuters at the Swiss Finance Institute Conference.

Switzerland Fights to Keep its Crypto Companies

SDX is likely to begin by offering trading in selected stocks, followed by other stocks, bonds, and potentially exchange-traded funds.

Previously, the exchange has stated that SDX will enable tokenization of existing securities and other non-bankable assets, saying:

With the new service we will provide a safe environment for issuing and trading digital assets, and enable the tokenisation of existing securities and non-bankable assets to make previously untradeable assets tradeable.

SDX Coming in H2 2019

The Switzerland Stock Exchange will launch its digital exchange in the second half of 2019. Lacher explained that the institution is currently clarifying regulatory and legal issues with the country’s financial market watchdog FINMA.

“The supervisory board will probably decide (on the project) in late summer,” said Lacher at the Swiss Finance Institute conference.

Bitcoinist reported last summer of SIX’s intentions to launch SDX. The platform is intended to provide fully-integrated asset infrastructure for trading, settlement, and custody of digital currencies based on Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT).

The latest data shows SIX seeing a daily turnover of about 5.19 billion CHF or roughly $5.18 billion USD.

What do you think of SIX launching its own STO? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Cryptocurrency Market ‘Vulnerable’ to Lower Lows, Says Fundstrat Strategist

ice breaking vulnerable bitcoin price cryptocurrency market

Fundstrat Global Advisors strategist Robert Sluymer has warned that Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency market as a whole are displaying signs of vulnerability. 


‘Price Structure Remains Weak’

Robert Sluymer from Fundstrat Global Advisors has said in a note Wednesday, February 6th, that Bitcoin 00 and most of the cryptocurrencies display signs of vulnerability, Bloomberg reports.

The expert’s take is that digital currencies appear vulnerable to breaking to new lows despite already shedding well over 80 percent since the peak in the beginning of 2018.

The price structure for most cryptocurrencies remains weak and appears vulnerable to a pending breakdown to lower lows.

The entire cryptocurrency market has dropped slightly by $1 billion so far this week with the total market cap currently sitting just above $111 billion.

The $100 billion mark indeed appears to be a strong psychological level of support as proved in mid-December. In fact, the last time the total cryptocurrency market cap saw double digits was in August 2017.

$3,100 – Key Level to Watch for Bitcoin

The analyst also outlined that a key level to watch for Bitcoin is the $3,100 mark.

“A break below the fourth-quarter lows at $3,100 would imply a decline to $2,270, while a move above $4,200 is needed to signal Bitcoin is beginning to improve,” he said.

Bitcoinist reported this week that Bitcoin is in for volatile days ahead. Additionally, it appears that institutional interest comes into play on breaks of key support levels. Hence, a failure to defend support at $3,000 could mean a sharp decline to the downside.

Sluymer refrained from giving any predictions regarding Bitcoin’s price in the future.

Most recently, in December 2018, the Head of Research at Fundstrat Global Advisors, Tom Lee, said that Bitcoin’s fair value is between $13,800 and $14,800. He based his merits on the number of active wallet addresses, usage per account, as well as factors “influencing supply.”

Lee also refrained from predicting the price of Bitcoin, after his end-of-2018 $25,000 BTC price prediction was missed by a long shot.

What do you think of Fundstrat’s current position on Bitcoin? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter

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Bitcoin Price Slides as Bulls vs. Bears Eye Key Battle at $3,000

Bitcoin price (BTC) experienced another leg down in the past 24 hours, dropping almost 2 percent on the day. The cryptocurrency is currently sitting at its lowest point since mid-December 2018. 


Lowest Bitcoin Price Since Mid-December

Earlier this week Bitcoinist reported that Bitcoin 00 is in for volatile days ahead. As outlined, the key levels to keep an eye for during the week will be BTC/USD trading over $3,500 and what happens if there’s a move towards $3,000.

The last 24 hours saw the cryptocurrency lose another 2 percent of its value, bringing it to its lowest point since mid-December 2018.

Some traders like DonAlt (@CryptoDonAlt) have expressed their concerns about failing to maintain support at $3,500 as well.

Closed below support, not looking too pretty. BTC needs to reclaim supports quickly otherwise I expect it to go for the previous lows. If those don’t hold I’m looking at 2900~

It’s also worth noting that institutional interest appears to come into play on breaks of key support levels. Therefore, a failure to defend $3,000 could see a sharp decline to the downside.

Closer to the Bottom?

At the same time, Bitcoin transaction metrics are beginning to reflect similar historic bottom-pattern-forming lows.

There appears to be more demand than supply at $3,000, though it remains to be seen if this key psychological support will hold to form a double-bottom pattern, to the hope of the bulls.

At the same time, USD exchange volume is also at its lowest point since May 2017. This was the point which marked a massive buildup to Bitcoin’s all-time high of about $20,000 in December 2018.

To some reprieve for the bulls, block reward halving from 12.5 to 7.25 BTC, Bitcoin ‘halvening’ may soon come into play with the event now 15 months away. Speaking on the matter, research head at Blockchain, Garrick Hileman said:

Cryptocurrency markets are often very event-driven, and as we get closer to the next halving bitcoin’s price will receive a boost from those anticipating the forthcoming reduction in new supply. In the months leading up to the last two halving events, we saw bitcoin’s price steadily trend upward, and then power higher following the reward halving.

What do you think of the current Bitcoin price? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of TradingView

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Cryptopia Hackers Liquidated $3.2M in Cryptocurrency Across These Exchanges

launder AML cryptopia

$3.2 million worth of cryptocurrencies stolen during the hack of New Zealand’s Cryptopia has already been liquidated, according to a report from Elementus. 


$3.2 Million in the Wind

According to blockchain data company Elementus, $3.2 million worth of cryptocurrencies stolen during the Cryptopia hack has already been liquidated through various exchanges.

Cryptopia update As of this morning, the hackers have liquidated $3.2m in tokens, with the bulk of that going to Etherdelta.

Bitcoinist reported on January 15th, that Cryptopia’s security was breached, resulting in ‘significant’ losses.

About two weeks after that, Elementus revealed that the attack on the cryptocurrency exchange continued. Another 17,000 Cryptopia wallets were drained out of 1,675ETH. Interestingly enough, the reports indicated that some of the hacked wallets continued to receive funds, despite being compromised.

The blockchain data firm concluded that users kept on depositing funds into their Ethereum wallets on the exchange after Cryptopia no longer had control over them, while the hacker did.

The exchange remains silent on the matter, as the last update was published a few days prior to Elementus’ latest findings.

EtherDelta Receives the Most  of The Stolen Funds

Per the report, the bulk of the cryptocurrency, which has already been liquidated, has gone through EtherDelta.

Interestingly enough, EtherDelta has experienced a similar situation not so long ago. Towards the end of 2018, the cryptocurrency exchange went through a security breach, as an imposter had managed to spoof its domain.

Its problems didn’t end there, though. The SEC recently pressed formal charges against the founder of EtherDelta – Zachary Coburn, for failing to register the exchange as a national securities exchange.

Following EtherDelta in terms of received stolen funds is Binance – the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange.

Bitcoinist reported that Binance has recently frozen ‘some of the funds’ which were stolen in the Cryptopia hack.

What do you think of the fact that $3.2M worth of stolen crypto has already been liquidated? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy fo Elementus.io

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Facebook Moves Closer to ‘FaceCoin’ Acquiring Its First Blockchain Startup

mark zuckerberg facebook

Social media mogul Facebook has made an advance in its blockchain effort by hiring a blockchain startup specializing in smart contracts and facilitating payments. 


Facebook ‘Acqui-Hires’ Chainspace

According to financial media Cheddar, Facebook has hired a small blockchain company called Chainspace.

In Silicon Valley, this move is referred to as an “acqui-hire” and according to the report, four of the five researchers behind the academic white paper of Chainspace are joining the social media giant.

Sources familiar with the matter have told Cheddar that the startup will be shutting down as Facebook has hired most of its current employees.

A spokesperson from Facebook has also reportedly confirmed the move, referring to a previous statement of the company:

Like many other companies, Facebook is exploring ways to leverage the power of blockchain technology. This new small team is exploring many different applications. We don’t have anything further to share.

A Step Closer to ‘Facecoin’?

In May last year, Bitcoinist reported that the company is purportedly ‘very serious’ about creating its own cryptocurrency in order to allow its billions of users to make electronic payments.

Crypto Malware Targets Facebook Messenger

In late December 2018, anonymous sources familiar to the company’s dealings revealed that Facebook is working on a stablecoin pegged to the US dollar in order to allow WhatsApp users to transfer money.

Chainspace has specialized in building decentralized smart contracts systems, which could facilitate payments, as well as other services using blockchain-based technology.

According to an entry published by some of the startup’s researchers and co-founders, including Alberto Sonnino, Mustafa Al-Bassam, and George Denezis, “Chianspace is a decentralized infrastructure, known as a distributed ledger, that supports user defined smart contracts and executes user-supplied transactions on their object.”

What do you think of the acquisition? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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First Cinema in Brazil to Accept Bitcoin for Tickets

A cinema in the city of Florianopolis has reportedly become the very first one in the country to allow its customers to buy movie tickets using Bitcoin. 


Going to The Movies With Bitcoin

In 2018, Bitcoinist reported that Major Cineplex Group – the largest movie theater chain in Thailand, was set to start accepting cryptocurrencies as a means of payment for a broad range of services such as the purchase of movie tickets and even popcorn.

Now, Brazil has also seen its first cinema to begin accepting Bitcoin for movie tickets.

cine multi brazil

It’s called Cine Multi and it’s located in the city of Florianopolis. This is the capital and the second largest city in the state of Santa Catarina.

The move is made possible through a partnership between the cinema venue and the Bancryp App, which will facilitate the Bitcoin payments.

Speaking on the matter, the owner of Cine Multi, Fernando Costa, said:

For Cine Multi, which already follows the path of culture, pioneering an innovative market is a huge step forward. Now all the customers besides being in a pleasant environment, will also be pioneers to pay a cinema with Bitcoins.

Brazil’s Interest in Bitcoin and Blockchain

In 2018, one of the presidential candidates – João Amoêdo, expressed his thoughts on Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, in general.

Noted Amoêdo:

As a means of payment, I see no doubts that bitcoin can be understood as a legal payment method. If both parties want to exchange a product via bitcoin, I do not see any legal barriers to doing so.

Additionally, in January 2018, Bitcoinist reported that Brazil turned to Ethereum’s blockchain to monitor and keep track of political expression and a hotel chain has been accepting BTC since January 2017.

What do you think of Brazil’s first cinema to allow users to buy movie tickets with cryptocurrencies? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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New Hampshire Closer to Accept Bitcoin for Taxes as Subcommittee Votes Yes

new hampshire

The state of New Hampshire has moved one step closer to accepting Bitcoin for tax payments. The state’s House Subcommittee has unanimously approved Bill 470-FN filed January 5th, 2019.


New Hampshire House Bill Uninmously Approved

Earlier in January, Bitcoinist reported that House bill 470-FN has been filed, seeking the acceptance of cryptocurrencies as payment for taxes, as well as fees by state agencies.

The bill was unanimously approved by the House Subcommittee. While the bill must still go through Senate and House of Representatives and then to the Governor’s desk, the move marks the positive momentum in this direction.

New Hampshire License Plate

Should Bill 470-FN become law, the state treasurer of New Hampshire will have to develop a plan for the state to start accepting cryptocurrencies as payments for fees and taxes by July 1st, 2020.

Another state working in the same direction is Indiana where legislators are also working to amend the current taxation Code of the state to approve the usage of cryptocurrencies for payments for taxes, interests, costs, and other liabilities.

Following in the Footsteps of Ohio

According to the proposed bill, the plan proposed by the treasurer of New Hampshire would also have to identify an appropriate third party payment processor to facilitate the transactions at no cost to the state.

This mimics legislation in Ohio, where companies are able to make Bitcoin tax payments at the online portal OhioCrypto.com where they are facilitated by BitPay.

In fact, Overstock has already announced that it will become the very first major US-based company, which will pay some of its state business tax in Ohio using Bitcoin.

Acceptable Form of Payment

In the discussion prior to the approval of the bill, Representative Jaci Grote made the point that not only are they approving cryptocurrencies as a means of paying taxes, but they are also essentially recognizing them as an “acceptable form of payment in New Hampshire.”

“If I vote “Yes” on this, I’m saying that not only the state of New Hampshire accepts them (cryptocurrencies), but this is an acceptable form of payment in New Hampshire.”

What do you think about paying taxes with bitcoin? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


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NY Regulators Issue BitLicense to Company With 88 Bitcoin ATMs

new york bitlicense Bitcoin ATM

The New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) has granted yet another Virtual Currency License (BitLicense) to one more NY-based bitcoin ATM company.


Cottonwood Vending Gets the Green Light

In a tweet on the official page of the NYDFS, the regulator announced that it has granted a BitLicense to Cottonwood Vending LLC, a Bitcoin ATM company in New York.

Earlier this month, Bitcoinist reported that the NYDFS issued a BitLicense to LibertyX, which became the first regulated company to allow New Yorkers to buy bitcoin from traditional ATMs.

This marks the third BitLicense issued to a bitcoin ATM company. Before LibertyX and Cottonwood Vending, the NYDFS issued the regulatory permit to Coinsource back in 2017, following a lengthy three year application period.

88 More Bitcoin ATM Locations

Following the latest BitLicense, New Yorkers now have 88 more Bitcoin ATM locations where they can purchase the cryptocurrency using cash.

nyc

According to the official website of Cottonwood Vending, the 88 locations are concentrated mainly in the the five boroughs but also a few locations in Long Island. Several locations also support both buying and selling (2-way) bitcoin.

BTM tracking website, Coinatmradar suggests that there are now 2577 locations in the US alone, with the overall number surpassing 4270.

Additionally, the NY regulator appears to be determined to continue advancing innovation in New York. Following the approval of LibertyX last month, Superintendent Vullo said:

DFS continues to lead the way in responsibly supervising and advancing innovation in New York’s flourishing financial technology sector through a strong state-based regulatory regime.

What do you think of the quick advance of Bitcoin ATMs? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


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Cboe Refiles Bitcoin ETF Proposal: Latest Deadline in Early October

Bitcoin ETF CBOE Announces Increased Bitcoin Futures Margins Amid Market Manipulation Worries

Just a few days after its withdrawal, Cboe has resubmitted the VanEck/SolidX Bitcoin ETF proposal for approval by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The latest possible deadline for approval is now likely sometime in early October. 


No Time Wasted

Gabor Gurbacs, Director of Digital Assets Strategy at VanEck, revealed that Cboe has resubmitted the VanEck/SolidX Bitcoin ETF proposal for approval by the SEC.

If approved, the proposed rule change would allow the Cboe BZX Exchange to list SolidX Bitcoin Shares issued by the VanEck SolidX Bitcoin Trust.

Cboe withdrew its application on January 22nd. At the time, VanEck Associates’ Jan Van Eck explained that discussions with the SEC about Bitcoin-related issues had to stop because of the Government’s shutdown. He explained:

…Instead of just trying to slip through, we had the application pulled, and we will refile and reengage in the discussions when the SEC gets going again.

Prior to that, the application was supposed to receive a final ruling on February 27th.

SEC

Get Ready to Wait…Again

Legal expert and popular Bitcoin commentator Jake Chervinsky explained that the new timeline for the decision of the Commission won’t be set until the proposal is officially published in the Federal Register.

He estimates that the final deadline will be sometime in October 2019, saying:

CBOE, VanEck & SolidX didn’t waste any time filing a new & improved bitcoin ETF Proposal.

The timeline for the SEC’s decision won’t be set until the proposal is published in the Federal Register, but assuming that happens soon, we’re looking at a final deadline in early October.

Bitcoinist reported last year after the filing of the first VanEck/SolidX Bitcoin ETF application that technically, the SEC can take up to 240 days to make its mind on the matter.

It’s entirely possible that the SEC rules on the application before the 240 days are up. But if history is any indicator, get ready to wait until Q4, 2019.

What do you think about Cboe resubmitting the VanEck/SolidX Bitcoin ETF? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


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Decentralized Exchange Trading Volume Hits All-Time Low

tumbleweed DEX Decentralized exchange

Despite the interest of major cryptocurrency exchanges in pursuing the DEX model, decentralized exchanges have hit an all-time low in terms of USD traded value.


Trading Volume at All-Time Low

According to a new research by Diar, decentralized exchanges (DEX) have now hit their all-time low in terms of USD traded value.

The report outlines that since June 2017 – when DEX started to appear, their total trading volume is $8.9 billion.

During the month of January this year, however, decentralized exchanges have seen a combined trading volume of $49 million.

To put things into perspective, that’s about 10 percent of the monthly trading volume of Binance alone.

Diar also reveals that the declining trend is observed in the number of unique users.

In October 2018, Bitcoinist reported that decentralized Bitcoin exchange Bisq marked a record month in terms of trading volumes, transacting over $3 million. According to data from Coin.Dance, however, its volumes have been decreasing ever since reflecting the BTC price decrease over the period.

Build It But Will They Come?

Most recently, Binance revealed its ‘pre-alpha’ demo version of its decentralized exchange dubbed Binance Chain, while also making it clear that it will support hardware wallets from the beginning.

Industry proponents such as John McAfee have gone so far as to say that decentralized exchanges will trigger the “largest economic boom in history.”

Meanwhile, in late 2018, the SEC filed charges in the first case involving a decentralized Ethereum-based exchange EtherDelta.

Commenting on the matter was Robert Cohen, Chief of the SEC Division of Enforcement Cyber Unit, who said:

The focus is on the function, and what the platform is doing. Whether it’s decentralized or not, whether it’s on a smart contract or not, what matters is it’s an exchange.

In any case, it appears that at the current time, users are just not drawn to the idea of trading cryptocurrencies on a decentralized exchange. This is likely due to DEX’s kludgy user-experience, lack of liquidity and features in general compared to centralized exchanges.

What do you think about decentralized exchanges? Have you ever used one? Don’t hesitate to share your experience in the comments below!


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XRP Price Pumps As SWIFT Partners With Ripple Rival R3

swift

The CEO of SWIFT revealed today that the institution is working on a proof-of-concept for integrating blockchain start-up’s R3 trade finance platform with SWIFT’s GPI framework. 


Proof-of-Concept Blockchain Integration

The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) is a global banking payments network. It works with over 11,000 institutions and moves an estimated $200 billion every day.

Today, speaking at the Paris Fintech Forum, the company’s CEO, Gottfried Leibbrandt, revealed that they are working on a proof-of-concept for integrating R3’s blockchain-based trade finance platform with SWIFT’s Global Payments Innovation (GPI) framework. Leibbrandt said:

We are announcing later today a proof-of-concept with the R3 blockchain on trade where you can initiate a payment on the trade platform and then it goes into GPI. We’re exploring interconnectivity with a lot of things and banks have always been a part of that interconnectivity.

The GPI initiative was introduced by SWIFT back in 2017 and it’s intended to speed up payment-processing times, lower the costs and increase transparency. However, it relies predominantly on currently existing infrastructure and as such, it can be rather slow and expensive.

Shots Fired

Leibbrandt was speaking on stage right next to Ripple’s CEO Brad Garlinghouse. The latter has previously criticized SWIFT for its high published error rate, saying:

SWIFT’s published error rate is six percent. Imagine if six percent of your emails didn’t go through without additional human intervention.

Garlinghouse didn’t miss the chance to highlight the benefits of decentralization, while also outlining some of SWIFT’s weak points:

Swift today is a one-way messaging framework, it isn’t a liquidity provider. When we think about an internet of value, it’s a mixture of two-way messaging frameworks — moving to a real-time chatting protocol if you will — coupled with real-time liquidity.

On the other hand, Leibbrandt said that his company’s historic reluctance about blockchain has been fueled additionally by volatile swings and sharp declines in the price of cryptocurrency.

He also outlined that a large part of Ripple’s value proposition is XRP – the cryptocurrency and that banks are reluctant to convert because of the volatility.

While none of them hinted at a potential near-term partnership, Garlinghouse said that they are open to “ways we could work with SWIFT.”

It’s worth noting, however, that last year R3 launched an application aimed to enhance global cryptocurrency payments, Corda Settler, the first settlement mechanism that it decided to use was XRP.

And while R3 and Ripple are technically competitors, following SWIFT’s announcement the price of XRP 00 marks 8.8% increase at the time of this writing.

What do you think of SWIFT’s announcement? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


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Japanese Yen Overtakes the US Dollar in Bitcoin Trading

japan yen japanese JPY

The Japanese Yen (JPY) has surpassed the USD in terms of worldwide bitcoin trading in the past 24 hours. 


Japanese Yen Tops Dollar

According to data from Coinhills, the JPY has officially overtaken the USD in terms of bitcoin trading throughout the world. A total of 490,925.45 BTC were traded against the JPY over the last 24 hours.

Data shows that 49.10 percent of the entire Bitcoin 00 trading volume for the last 24 hours has been exchanged against the JPY, while the USD accounts for 45.80 percent.

Together, both currencies account for as much as 94.9 percent of all fiat currencies in BTC trading. The Korean Won, the Euro, and the British pound round off the top five Bitcoin fiat trading pairs in terms of volume. Though these are dwarfed by JPY and USD, comprising less than 2 percent of the total volume each.

JPY/BTC has grown in popularity substantially over the last two months of 2018. In November, it accounted for only 21 percent of the BTC trading, compared to a solid 50 percent for the USD. But whether it will remain in at the top remains to be seen as Bitcoin price struggles to hold above $3,000.

What Changed?

In December, Bitcoinist reported on a study which claimed that Asia has more impact on Bitcoin price than America and Europe. The study cited major developments from Asia concerning cryptocurrencies, which had impacted the market by an average of 18.61 percent.

Thing are indeed moving fast in the East. Just a couple of weeks ago, one of Japan’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, Coincheck, was registered with the Financial Services Agency.

Additionally, a new partnership was formed between Blockstream, Digital Garage, and Tokyo Tanshi, which will serve the Japanese Bitcoin market by launching a JPY-pegged stablecoin.

Furthermore, in October last year, the country gave formal approval for the cryptocurrency industry to regulate itself, substantially increasing the capabilities of the Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA), which is now authorized to punish operators which fail to conform to the stringent safety regulations put by the local authorities.

What do you think about the Japanese Yen overtaking the Dollar in Bitcoin trading? Share your thoughts below!


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BitTorrent ICO Raises $7.1M in 15 Minutes

airdrop bittorent btt

The initial coin offering of the popular torrent client BitTorrent has been completed successfully in less than 15 minutes on Binance Launchpad. However, some users complain about not being able to participate. 


$7.1M In Less Than 15 Minutes

BitTorrent, which was acquired by TRON platform founder Justin Sun last summer, had its initial coin offering (ICO) held exclusively on Binance Launchpad. Users from various jurisdictions were restricted from participation such as those from the US and the UK.

According to the official release, the sale went live in two separate sessions which ran in parallel yesterday, January 28th.

bittorent btt tron

The price per 1 BitTorrent token (BTT) was set to $0.00012. Users could purchase BTT with Binance Coin (BNB) and Tron (TRX).

The first session allowed users to purchase BTT tokens using BNB at a pegged price of 0.00001824 BNB. In other words, 1 BNB was equal to 54,824.56 BTT. This session sold out a total of 23.76 billion BTT and it was completed in 13 minutes and 25 seconds.

In the second session, users were able to buy BTT with TRX (1 TRX = 223.58 BTT). During this session, there was a minimum buying requirement of 100,000 BTT and a maximum one of 166,666,666. The session was completed in 14 minutes and 41 seconds, selling all availabl 35.64 billion BTT.

In total, the ICO sold 59.4 billion BTT which is equal to $7,128,000.

According to the project’s official website, BTT tokens can be bid in exchange for quicker downloads on BitTorrent. Think FastPass at Disney World. Though why this feature requires its own token instead of simply using bitcoin or Tron isn’t clear.

Concerns Regarding Participation

Concerns emerged from users who attempted but failed to participate in the ICO. Apparently, because of the large demand, not all users saw their orders executed.

This was confirmed by Changpeng Zhao, CEO at Binance, who explained the issues in a tweet.

Shortly afterward, TRON decided to have a small airdrop for everyone who tried to participate in the BTT ICO but couldn’t. The details and the numbers for the airdrop are to be published soon, according to Zhao.

Today, Justin Sun revealed that the BTT airdrop for TRX token owners is going to be available on Coinsuper.

What do you think of BTT’s ICO? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


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Iran May Unveil State-Backed Cryptocurrency This Week

iran irancoin cryptocurrency

Iran is reportedly expected to announce its state-backed digital currency at the annual Electronic Banking and Payment Systems Conference which starts on January 29th. The move is an attempt to bypass US-imposed economic sanctions. 


Iran-Backed Cryptocurrency

Iran first announced its intentions to launch a state-backed digital currency in the summer of 2018.

The move was occasioned by the fact that the country was set to undergo renewed economic sanctions from the US.

Since then. the country was also kicked out of the Society for Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), which has highlighted the need for an alternative way of moving money even more.

According to a new report by Al Jazeera, the country may be announcing the state-backed cryptocurrency on January 29 at the annual Electronic Banking and Payment Systems conference, which this year has a  “blockchain revolution” theme.

The cryptocurrency is expected to roll out in two different phases. The first phase will reportedly involve the issuance of a rial-backed digital token, which shall facilitate payments between local banks and other actively participating institutions.

The other phase will include the launch if an instrument that will enable retail use, i.e. currency.

Alternative to SWIFT?

While it’s currently unclear whether ‘IranCoin’ will be used to facilitate payments between Iran and other countries, it could be positioned by the Iran government as an alternative to SWIFT as Bitcoinist reported last year that Iran and Russia may use cryptocurrencies to bypass US sanctions.

It also wouldn’t be the first time countries are cooperating on creating a joint cryptocurrency. Recently, the UAE and Saudi Arabia announced a joint effort in this regard.

However, it’s questionable whether a state-backed cryptocurrency will provide regular Iranians with access to the global monetary system.

Additionally, the report notes that because ‘IranCoin’ will be nothing like Bitcoin and entirely centralized, it will likely fall short of circumventing any sanctions. This is because the US will guarantee it has no place in any credible international exchange just like the rial.

Speaking on the matter, blockchain and cryptocurrency developer, Yashar Rashedi explained:

They certainly can’t replace the likes of bitcoin due to their centralized nature, but their existence is harmless. […] Even as CBCCs may never find widespread everyday use among the general public, they may be able to offer some new features to startups and developers that had to work with centralized bank APIs before them.

Do you think a state-backed cryptocurrency will help Iran combat US-imposed sanctions? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


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Biggest Bank in Belarus May Launch a Cryptocurrency Exchange

Belarusbank belarus bank

The biggest bank in Belarus is reportedly looking into launching a cryptocurrency exchange platform. 


Belarusbank Studying Crypto Exchange Business

The Chairman of the Board at Belarusbank, the country’s largest bank, has said that they are studying the opportunity of creating a cryptocurrency exchange platform.

Speaking to the local TV channel, Belarus 1, he said:

The possibility of creating an exchange platform for trading operations with cryptocurrencies is being studied. We are currently addressing the issue.

Supposedly, this is just a part of the bank’s plans to transition to using digital technologies.

Besides launching a cryptocurrency trading platform, the bank is also looking to expand its list of services provided in cooperation with mobile operators in 2018.

Ananich also said that there is a defined trend of transitioning to new formats of both retail and corporate clients and that digitalization will be one of the main directions for the banking sector.

Belarusbank is the largest bank in the country when it comes to equity, assets, loans, and deposits. In 2018 the bank’s asset volume was BYN 27 billion (roughly around $13 billion).

In 2017, Belarusbank reported around $86 million in profits, marking 11 percent increase over the previous year.

Belarus’ March Into Cryptocurrencies

Belarusbank is not the first local bank to foray into the field of blockchain-based technology.

In mid-2017, Bitcoinist reported that the National Bank of Belarus has deployed an information network based on blockchain technology. It’s intended to be used as a register for bank guarantees and their issuance.

Belarus: Cryptocurrencies and ICOs Now Legal, Tax-Free for Five Years

Earlier this month, a Belarus-based startup launched a trading platform for tokenized securities, enabling investors to enter traditional markets with bitcoin and ethereum.

The country’s involvement in the field of blockchain accelerated after the president signed a decree in December 2017, which spearheaded developments in this regard. Back then, President Lukashenko said:

Belarus will become the first government in the world that opens wide opportunities for the use of blockchain technology. We have every chance of becoming a regional center in this area.

What do you think of Belarusbank launching a cryptocurrency trading platform? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Wikipedia.org

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Indiana, New Hampshire May Be Next to Accept Cryptocurrencies for Taxes

A house bill for amending the currently existing taxation Code of Indiana has been filed January 24 seeking acceptance of cryptocurrencies for paying taxes. Another bill requiring the state treasurer of New Hampshire to develop an implementation plan for accepting cryptocurrencies for tax payments has also been filed. 


Pay Taxes With Cryptocurrencies in Indiana

House bill number 1683 filed January 24th, asks the General Assembly of the State of Indiana to amend the current taxation Code of Indiana.

Be it enacted, the bill may approve the usage of one or more virtual currencies to pay taxes, penalties, interests, costs, special assessments, or any other liabilities which are imposed under the bill.

According to the document, a county treasurer

shall determine the value of the payment in United States dollars at the time the payment is made by using the applicable exchange rate.

If the bill is approved by the General Assembly of Indiana, it will be in effect from July 1st, 2019.

New Hampshire on a Similar Path

In the state of New Hampshire, House bill number 470-FN, filed January 5th, 2019, seeks the acceptance of cryptocurrencies as payment for taxes and fees by state agencies.

New Hampshire License Plate

If the bill is enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court, it will require the state treasurer, in consultation with other state officials, to develop an implementation plan for the state to begin accepting cryptocurrencies as payments for fees and taxes starting July 1st, 2020.

The plan is also supposed to identify an appropriate third party payment processor. As per the documents, the payment processor should facilitate transactions at no cost to the state.

The plan should be submitted by the state treasurer on or before November 1st.

The bill will allow the state agencies to accept cryptocurrency payments but it doesn’t obligate them to do so, inferring that approval might be necessary.

Florida’s Seminole County became the first US locality to accept Bitcoin for taxes in May 2018. Later in November, Ohia also began accepting Bitcoin for taxes.

What do you think of paying taxes with cryptocurrencies? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


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LocalBitcoins Hacked By an ‘Unauthorized Source,’ Forum Suspended

DADI ICO Investors Under Attack by Phishing Scams

The popular peer-to-peer (P2P) bitcoin trading platform LocalBitcoins has been accessed by “an unauthorized source,” the platform confirmed, which was caused by a third-party feature vulnerability. 


LocalBitcoins Forum Disabled

According to a thread which appeared on Reddit earlier today, popular P2P bitcoin trading platform LocalBitcoins has been subjected to a phishing attack.

LocalBitcoins has posted the following announcement:

We would like to inform that today 26.01.2019 at approximately 10:00:00 UTC, LocalBitcoins has detected a security vulnerability – an unauthorised source was able to access and send transactions from a number of affected accounts. Outgoing transactions were temporarily disabled while we investigated the case.

We were able to identify the problem, which was related to a feature powered by a third party software, and stop the attack. At the moment, we are determining the correct number of users affected – so far six cases have been confirmed. For security reasons, the forum feature has been disabled until further notice.

Outgoing transactions have already been re-enabled and we have taken a number of measures to address this issue and secure the limited number of accounts that might have been at risk.

Your LocalBitcoins accounts are currently safe to log in and use – we encourage you to enable Two-factor authentication, if you have not yet.

We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience this might have caused.

Kind Regards, LocalBitcoins

Bitcoinist_South Africa Economic Turmoil LocalBitcoins

User (u/bitcoinbabeau) shared that when users visit the platform’s forum URL, they are prompted to log into their account as if they have been logged out.

Apparently, this only happens if the user is already logged in. According to the user, the URL represents a phishing site which has the 2FA codes sent to the hacker, enabling him to empty their accounts.

According to the thread, withdrawals on the platform have been disabled. Additionally, the platform’s forum is also currently disabled.

At the time of this writing, LocalBitcoins hasn’t come up with an official statement on the matter.

$28,000 Purportedly Gone Already

Commenting on the abovementioned thread, one of the users shares that he’s probably the first to fall victim to the hacker. He revealed that 0.14 BTC have been cleaned from his account, posting the details of the transaction.

The receiving address is already up to 7.95 BTC at press time. Given the current rate of BTC (coin_price), this is roughly around $28,000.

It remains unclear whether this is this is the actual (or the only) address of the hacker.

Last year, the P2P trading platform disabled multiple accounts because of new EU privacy laws.

Have you experienced anything odd using LocalBitcoins in the last few hours? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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New Yorkers Can Now Use The Robinhood App; Buy Bitcoin With a Debit Card

nyc

The New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) has granted the BitLicense to cryptocurrency trading app Robinhood as well as LibertyX, which allows users to buy bitcoin with debit cards at regular ATMs. 


Robinhood Comes to New York

The New York’s DFS has officially approved a virtual currency license (BitLicense) and a money transmitter license to popular stock and cryptocurrency trading app Robinhood.

Per the license, Robinhood is now permitted to provide services involving seven different cryptocurrencies in the state of New York, which include Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), and Bitcoin Cash (BCH).

“We’re delighted that Robinhood Crypto has been granted a virtual currency license and a money transmitter license in New York. This will complement the larger suite of investment services that New Yorkers already have access to on the Robinhood platform…”said Vlad Tenev, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Robinhood Markets, Inc.

Robinhood is a popular stock market trading app, which introduced cryptocurrency trading in February 2018. The company is currently worth $5.6 billion with over 6 million users.

In September 2018, Bitcoinist reported that Robinhood has marketed itself as a low-cost alternative to similar apps while making millions selling users’ data to financial companies on the side.

‘First Debit Card Bitcoin Purchasing Options’

The other BitLicense was approved for LibertyX, which becomes the very first regulated company to let New Yorkers buy bitcoin from traditional ATMs.

Last year, the company announced a partnership with Genmega. There are over 100,00 Genmega ATMs throughout the US, where users can buy BTC with their debit cards.

Speaking on the matter, Chris Yim, co-founder & CEO at LibertyX said:

After an extensive review process, we are delighted to receive the blessing of the NYDFS (BitLicense) and offer the first debit card Bitcoin purchasing options to New York State residents.

The DFS has so far approved sixteen BitLicense applications, including Robinhood and LibertyX.

What do you think of the DFS granting BitLicense to both Robinhood and LibertyX? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Ripple’s XRP Market Cap May Be 47% Lower Than Advertised

xrp Ripple

Ripple, the company behind XRP, may be overstating the digital token’s real market cap by as much as 47 percent, according to cryptocurrency data company Messari. 


A Hole in the Plot

According to a new Messari report, the total circulating supply of XRP 00 is 21.8 billion. This differs significantly from data provided to third-party crypto data services such as CoinMarketCap, where the displayed circulating supply is around 41 billion XRP at the time of writing this.

The same is true for the cryptocurrency’s total market capitalization. The report suggests that the real market value of XRP is $6.9 billion against the widely reported $13 billion, based on the current USD-XRP exchange rate.

The report outlines that Ripple hasn’t shared any methodology or reference exchange data it uses in order to calculate the trading volume of XRP.

Additionally, more than 99% of the trading volume is apparently coming from overseas exchanges, where many of them have been suspected of wash trading.

Where Does the Difference Come From?

The reports states that 19.2 of the 41.0 billion XRP currently quoted as ‘in circulation’ may either be illiquid or subjected to ‘”significant selling restrictions.”

These include 6.7 billion XRP locked up on selling restrictions on co-founder Jed McCaleb.

An additional 5.9 billion XRP has been publicly committed but not donated to RippleWorks by the co-founder Chris Larsen.

The report also estimates 2.5 billion XRP held under selling restrictions on the wallet addresses of RippleWorks.

Lastly, the 4.1 billion XRP, which are sold through the company’s money services business called XRP II since 2016, could also be subject to re-selling restrictions.

What is more, the report also says that these estimates may be “conservative.”

Persistent Sell-Side Pressure

The “illiquid” XRP, as quoted by Messari, combined with the 59 billion XRP that’s held on Ripple’s own balance sheets, could create ‘persistent sell-side pressure’ on the market, according to the researchers, depending on the structure of the above selling restrictions.

Additionally, Messari is not the first to draw attention to Ripple’s valuation. Earlier this month, Bitcoinist reported that hedge fund chairman, Bill Miller, expressed concerns over Ripple, calling its XRP token “way overdone.” He explained:

The XRP thing doesn’t have to be used on the Ripple network; you can use other things… If you look on Coinmarketcap.com it says there are 38 billion of them but there’s actually around 100 billion because the company has retained 61 billion on their own balance sheet.

In the meantime, talking to CNBC’s Arjun Kharpal at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Ripple’s CEO, Brad Garlinghouse, argued that XRP is more scalable and faster than Bitcoin. Nevertheless, he admitted to still owning bitcoin as it’s likely not going to zero.

The reason? He thinks it may become a store of value.

What do you think of Ripple’s potentially inflated market cap and circulating supply? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Messari, Shutterstock

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Report: Huobi Overtakes Binance and OKEx in Commission Earnings

huobi

Cryptocurrency exchange Huobi has reportedly raked in a total of $483 million in commissions throughout 2018, more that the top two exchange by volume Binance and OKEx. 


Half a Billion in Trading Fees

According to a recent report by Korean media Sporbiz, China-based cryptocurrency exchange Huobi has raked in a total of $483 million USD in commissions throughout 2018.

The report suggests that this is more than the commissions earned by Binance – the leading exchange by trading volume, which raked in $462 million. It’s also more than the second largest exchange – OKEx at $292 million.

Huobi has an average daily traded volume of about $300 million and it’s currently the 7th largest cryptocurrency exchange according to CoinMarketCap.

Nevertheless, Bitcoinist reported January 22nd that the exchange is particularly careful about the way it spends its money despite being profitable. Speaking on the matter, Livio Weng Xiaoqi, CEO at Huobi Global, said:

We do not know how long the bear market will last, so it is still possible that we will struggle to survive […] We have to plan in advance and spend money carefully.

Marketing and Investments Paying Off

In late November 2018, the company launched its cryptocurrency derivatives trading service Huobi Derivative Market (Huobi DM).

Back then, the company’s General Counsel of the Global Institutional Team, Joshua Goodbody, said that the new platform will be the next big thing in cryptocurrency trading because it combines a lot of different digital asset trading services, as well as derivatives.

It appears that Huobi truly is on the right track because Huobi DM has recently hit $20 billion in trading volume in a little less than two months of existing.

Commenting on the milestone, Weng said:

This reinforces our belief that Huobi DM truly caters to our user’s needs. We’ve been getting positive feedback from our clients on our lack of clawbacks as well as Huobi DM’s capacity to help sophisticated traders manage the risk of spot market fluctuations.

In addition, Huobi’s exclusive US partner – HBUS, recently launched a one-of-a-kind billboard advertising campaign in line with the company’s rapid expansion plans.

It’s worth noting, however, that according to the Blockchain Transparency Institute, the majority of Huobi’s top 25 trading pairs were engaged in wash trading. The report also states that only 26 percent of the exchange’s trading volume isn’t faked.

What do you think of the latest commission earnings report? Let us know below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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McAfee Hunted by the IRS But Will Still Run For President ‘In Exile’

John McAfee

Controversial cryptocurrency proponent John McAfee revealed that the IRS has convened a grand jury to charge him, his wife, and four of his campaign workers, with ‘unspecified’ crimes of felonious nature. McAfee, who’s campaigning for the 2020 US Presidency will continue to do so ‘in exile’.


McAfee Hunted by the IRS

In a new video released on his official Twitter profile, John McAfee shared that the IRS has convened a Grand Jury in the state of Tennessee on January 22nd.

According to him, the authorities seek to put him on charges for ‘unspecified’ crimes of felonious nature.

In the video, McAfee also reaffirmed that he hasn’t been paying taxes for the last eight years and that he hasn’t filed any tax returns either.

McAfee, who’s a popular cryptocurrency proponent, has more than once made the case that governments fear decentralized digital currencies because they can’t tax them.

He’s also clashed with the SEC’s chairman over defining initial coin offerings (ICOs)  tokens as securities.

Running For President ‘In Exile’

Now, McAfee, who currently appears to be in the Venezuela on a self-proclaimed “Freedom Boat,” says he’ll continue campaigning ‘in exile’.

As odd as it may sound, McAfee intends to run his presidential campaign remotely… from a boat.

In another video, posted shortly after the first one, he details that his campaign already has ‘thousands’ of volunteers who will be wearing masks with a picture of his face on them.

These people will appear on various locations through the US, including conferences, debates, restaurants, and street corners, carrying portable loudspeakers through which McAfee will be voicing his merits.

Apparently, however, the cryptocurrency advocate doesn’t really want to become a president – he just wants the stage.

Interestingly enough, his latest Twitter blast caught the attention of Vladislav Ginko, the Russian economist who recently said that Russia is looking to invest $10 billion in Bitcoin.

Commenting on the matter of McAfee’s exile, Ginko tweeted:

You will never feel safe anywhere in the world from US enforcement until you will land to Russia. You’re welcome!

What do you think of McAfee’s plans to run his campaign remotely from a boat? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


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The post McAfee Hunted by the IRS But Will Still Run For President ‘In Exile’ appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

UK’s Financial Watchdog May Soon Ban Sale of Crypto Derivatives

FCA Urges UK Banks to Adopt Robust Security Measures Against 'Risky' Cryptocurrency Business

UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is consulting today on a cryptoassets guidance. The financial watchdog will decide later this year whether to outlaw certain cryptocurrency derivatives.


The Matter of Cryptocurrency Derivatives

According to an official press release, the FCA is consulting on a cryptoasset guidance today. The framework, once finished, will define the activities which will fall under the organization’s jurisdiction.

One of the points in the FCA’s guidance addresses the high risks of leveraged derivatives such as Contracts for Differences (CFDs). According to the Guidance, their risk is associated with “the volatility of crypotassets and the impact of product fees such as financing costs and spreads.”

Additionally, the document outlines that there are difficulties when it comes to pinpointing their exact value because of “lack of transparency” in price formation of the underlying digital asset.

The FCA is committed to consulting on potentially banning the sale of certain cryptocurrency derivatives to retail consumers and transferable securities, which are linked to certain digital assets.

The matter was addressed before by the financial watchdog. In April, the FCA announced that they will “likely” require authorization.

According to the latest release, the talks of whether or not to ban certain crypto derivatives will be held later this year.

‘Do No Harm Approach’ Intended

As per the guidance, the FCA doesn’t intend to impose additional barriers to entry but merely to increase investor’s protection and regulatory clarity.

We have tried to make sure that our Guidance is as clear and complete as possible so we don’t create inappropriate barriers to entry, or conflicts with our aims and objectives.

Furthermore, the FCA will also consider stakeholders’ feedback.

Speaking on the matter, Christopher Woolard, the executive director of Strategy and Competition at the FCA, said that while the market is still relatively small, it’s vital for consumers to be aware of the protections they’ll be able to benefit from.

Earlier in 2018, the UK set up a task force to further investigate the challenges the industry is facing. Now, in line with the same task force, the FCA has categorized cryptoassets into exchange tokens, security tokens, and utility tokens and other intended purposes.

While the FCA is trying to come up with a regulatory framework for cryptoassets, Bitcoinist reported that Huw van Steenis, Senior Advisor for Bank of England, does consider them to be a threat.

What do you think of the FCA’s aim to regulate cryptocurrencies? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


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