Indonesia’s First Unicorn Go-Jek Buys Bitcoin Startup

indonesia go-jek

Indonesian multi-platform behemoth, Go-Jek, recently acquired Philippine-based Cryptocurrency payment company, Coins.ph. Reports indicate the move allows Go-Jek to expand its cashless service delivery across its plethora of service delivery platforms.


Go-Jek Buys Majority Stakes in Coins.ph

According to TechCrunch, Go-Jek acquired majority stakes in Coins.ph in a deal worth north of $70 million. Announcing the move, Go-Jek CEO, Nadiem Makarim, said:

Today’s announcement marks the start of our long-term commitment in the Philippines and the continuation of our mission to use technology to improve everyday life and create positive social impacts.

Go-Jek, currently valued at more than $10 billion is the first company in Indonesia to achieve Unicorn status. In 2o17, Fortune included Go-Jek in the Forbes list of 50 companies that changed the world. The company already has a major presence in Southeast Asia and intends to enter the Filippino and Malaysian markets.

It is this international expansion drive that sees the company acquiring Coins.ph, one of the leading cryptocurrency and mobile payments platforms in the Philippines. In less than five years, Coins.ph has built a customer base of more than 5 million users. Back in December 2018, the company reported that it was processing over $6 million worth of transactions per month.

For Ron Hose, the Coins.ph founder, the move signals the extent of the company’s growth in the Southeast Asian theater. Starting in the Philippines, the company now has operations in Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam offering cryptocurrency and mobile payment services.

Indonesia

Speaking to TechCrunch, Hose revealed that the company was in the midst of securing additional funding when the Go-Jek deal emerged. Commenting on the matter, Hose said:

We had to make a decision on how we want to continue growing our business, and we felt like ultimately together with Go-Jek we could build something that is overall bigger and better for our customers.

Go-Jek’s Foray into Cryptocurrency Payments

The Go-Jek multi-platform ecosystem comprises of several businesses in diverse business segments including ride-sharing, logistics, and digital payments, to mention a few.

Through Go-Pay, Go-Jek already executes over 50 percent of the transactions in its ecosystem via cashless payment avenues. The Coins.ph acquisition will enable the Tencent-backed Go-Jek to introduce cryptocurrency payments to its customers across all these platforms.

In many places across Southeast Asia, the majority of the population remains unbanked. More than 77 percent of Filipinos are unbanked, but a greater majority of people have access to mobile phones.

Go-Pay CEO, Aldi Haryopratomo believes that there is a vast opportunity for the company to bring financial services to people historically disenfranchised in the global payment arena.

Commenting on the deal, Haryopratomo, said:

We are excited to work with Coins.ph, a company that shares our ethos of empowering communities by bringing more people into the digital economy. Consumer transaction behavior in Indonesia and Philippine share many similarities, and together with Coins.ph, we hope to have similar success in accelerating cashless payments in the Philippines.

Meanwhile, cryptocurrency adoption appears to be making headway in the Philippines as well as other places in Southeast Asia. Back in September 2018, financial regulators in the Philippines began considering creating a legal framework for exchange platforms.

Do you think this deal will bring payment service delivery closer to unbanked people in the Philippines? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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Wyoming Looks Determined to Legalize Bitcoin as Money

Wyoming is introducing a bill that will put cryptocurrency like Bitcoin on the same legal footing as money. The bill will also provide a precise classification of digital assets, especially for custody administration.


Cryptocurrency to Have the Same Legal Status as Money

Sponsored by Sen. Tara Nethercott (R-WY) along with five other state Senators and Representatives, the proposed bill titled “Digital assets-existing law,” calls for the proper classification of virtual assets. The bill also seeks to create a legal framework for virtual asset custody via banks instead of other financial institutions.

According to the bill, virtual assets fall under three categories: securities, assets, and currency. The bill sponsors believe that cryptocurrencies like bitcoin fall under the currency category giving them the same legal status as money.

With Bitcoin classified as money, BTC transactions can become interest-free according to Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC). This classification also extends property rights to cryptocurrency owners removing the need for intermediaries in peer-to-peer transactions.

Wyoming

Concerning Cryptocurrency Custody

Concerning custody, the bill seeks to create a framework for banks to act as qualified custodians of digital assets. Based on this framework, banks will offer digital asset custodial services akin to the type provided to mainstream securities.

Thus, banks offering such services will do so according to the SEC’s Custody of Funds or Securities by Investment Advisers. This means that such banks can offer cryptocurrency custodial services nationwide, which will be a step towards solving one of the nagging issues in the digital asset industry.

Speaking to Forbes about the benefits of the bill, Sen. Nethercott said:

The time is now to provide the pathway for blockchain and cryptocurrencies, and Wyoming has the nimbleness and responsiveness to the needs of these industries to respond accordingly to the growing and adapting landscapes of cryptocurrency.

Blockchain-Related Legislation in Wyoming

Apart from the Digital assets-existing law bill, the Wyoming State Legislature is also considering other blockchain-related pieces of legislation. Rep. Jared Olsen (R-WY) and Sen. Chris Rothfuss (D-WY) along with a group of other lawmakers recently introduced the “Corporate stock-certificate tokens” bill. If passed, it will allow companies to issue blockchain-based share certificates.

Back in December 2018, Wyoming reinforced its reputation as a blockchain-friendly when it passed the blockchain bank bill. Companies like Cardano have even announced plans to move to the state.

Do you think cryptocurrencies should have the same legal status as money? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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Bakkt Raises $182.5M From Microsoft And Other Big-Name Investors

Bakkt on Monday announced the completion of its first funding round, to the tune of $182.5 million. The platform which aims to offer the first-ever Bitcoin-settled futures contracts in the coming year says it is going ahead with its plans irrespective of the current market conditions.


$182.5 Million in Funding From High Profile Investors

In a Medium post published on Monday (Dec. 31, 2018) by the Bakkt CEO, Kelly Loeffler, the company announced that it had successfully carried out its first funding round. According to the announcement, 12 investors participated in the capital raising exercise.

The CEO notes the investors including some big names, namely:

The partners and investors in the first round include Boston Consulting Group, CMT Digital, Eagle Seven, Galaxy Digital, Goldfinch Partners, Alan Howard, Horizons Ventures, Intercontinental Exchange, Microsoft’s venture capital arm, M12, Pantera Capital, PayU, the fintech arm of Naspers, and Protocol Ventures.

Bakkt Moving Ahead Despite Bear Market

For Loeffler, the status quo remains unchanged despite the prolonged bear market that characterized the cryptocurrency space in 2018. The company intends to continue its drive for proper onboarding of clients, as well as, collaborating with relevant business partners.

New York Stock Exchange Owner to Launch Bitcoin Data Service

Reinstating Bakkt’s commitment and resolve to the process, Loeffler, said:

We have worked to build new markets and products many times before. Those of us building Bakkt have earned our stripes by helping advance markets in once-nascent asset classes, from energy to credit derivatives and, now, bitcoin. The path to developing new markets is rarely linear: progress tends to modulate between innovation, dismissal, reinvention, and, finally, acceptance.

According to Loeffler, focusing on the BTC price 00 action is a distraction from the groundbreaking developments happening with Bitcoin as a whole. The Bakkt CEO also noted that paradigm-shifting technological breakthroughs have a long incubation time and price isn’t always the best metric for gauging growth.

Notably, 2018 was the most active year for crypto in its brief ten-year history. This was evidenced by rising investment in distributed ledger technology and digital assets, as well as by blockchain network metrics such as daily bitcoin transaction value and active addresses. Yet, these milestones tend to be overshadowed by the more narrow focus on bitcoin’s price…

Bakkt Postponed From January to ‘Early 2019’

Bakkt and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) continue to work out modalities for the launch of the BTC-settled futures contracts. However, the current government shutdown in the United States looks like it has pushed back the January 2019 launch to “early 2019.”

The official statement published on December 31, reads:

Following consultation with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, ICE Futures U.S., Inc. expects to provide an updated launch timeline in early 2019, for the trading, clearing and warehousing of the Bakkt Bitcoin (USD) Daily Futures Contract. The launch had previously been set for January 24, 2019, but will be amended pursuant to the CFTC’s process and timeline.

While awaiting CFTC approval, the platform says it will continue to onboard customers while firming up its institutional-grade infrastructure.

Do you think the signs are good for Bakkt following this successful fundraising round? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below.


Image courtesy of Twitter (@Bakkt), Shutterstock

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Electrum Wallet Phishing Attack Nets Hackers $900K in Bitcoin

Electrum wallet phishing attack

Hackers managed to steal close to $900,000 worth of Bitcoin from Electrum wallet users via a phishing attack. While the attacks seem to have come to a halt, Electrum Devs say the hackers can launch new exploits since the issue hasn’t been permanently fixed.


Fake Electrum Wallet ‘Update’ Phishing Attack

The news of the attack first appeared on GitHub via one of Electrum’s developers code-named SomberNight. Starting on Friday (Dec. 21, 2018), hackers began tricking Electrum wallet users into downloading an update, which turned out to be from a malicious source.

The hackers uploaded a bunch of malicious serves to the main network of the Electrum wallet. Once a user initiates a BTC transaction that reaches one of these servers, an error message pops up. This error message tries to trick them into downloading a fake Electrum wallet app.

If the user falls victim and downloads the malicious wallet, a message asking for two-factor authentication (2FA) shows up. This occurrence is unusual given that 2FA only comes into play when transferring BTC not when starting up the wallet. Once the user gives up their 2FA code, the hackers can siphon all the Bitcoin in the wallet.

As at press time, the hackers seem to have consolidated their loot into one BTC address which holds about 243 BTC (over $890,000).

Similar Attacks Will Likely Continue

CasaHodl CTO Jameson Lopp, a veteran software developer, explained that users who connect to their Electrum server were unaffected in the hack.

“A sybil + malware attack is ongoing against Electrum Wallet users,” he cautioned on Twitter.

If you see a message asking you to upgrade, don’t click on it! Users who only connect to their own personal Electrum server are unaffected.

Several comments on Reddit also back up Lopp’s statements saying that those running full nodes have no reason to worry.

Update ONLY From the Offical Electrum Website

Meanwhile, the Electrum Devs are urging users not to download any update from a source apart from the official website. Responding to the attacks, the project team updated the wallet app with a new upgrade that prevents the rendering of rich HTML text.

Commenting on this effort, SomberNight said:

We did not publicly disclose this until now, as around the time of the 3.3.2 release, the attacker stopped; however, they now started the attack again.

A more permanent solution would be to eliminate the ability to send customized error messages. This would prevent hackers from being able to send error codes that the wallet can decode into a message advising a specific action.

Without taking such steps, the hackers can continue the phishing attack. With a new download link, they can continue the attacks seeing as the project team says there are about 50 malicious servers.

Phishing attacks are one of the many means used by cybercriminals to steal cryptocurrency. In September, Bitcoinst reported on the use of fake websites in Singapore to steal credit card information.

Do you think the Electrum Devs will be able to find a lasting solution to this new phishing hack? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below.


Image courtesy of GitHub and Twitter (@lopp).

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Bitcoin Not Correlated With Stock Market, Fund Manager Says

stock market bitcoin

Anthony Pompliano maintains that Bitcoin shares no correlation with the traditional stock market. For the Morgan Creek Digital Assets chief, there is only at best a minor psychological relationship between both asset classes brought on by traders with diversified portfolios containing stocks and cryptos.


Bitcoin has Proven to be Non-Correlated

Speaking to CNBC on Wednesday (Dec. 26, 2018), Pompliano maintained that Bitcoin is a non-correlated asset. According to the founder of Morgan Creek Digital Assets:

If you look at the correlation between digital assets and the S&P 500 over the last 180 days, it’s at zero. If you look at it compared to the dollar index, it’s near zero. It has proven to be non-correlated, and I expect that to continue.

The counter-argument would be that both markets are down. However, for Pompliano, this has more to do with psychological factors that anything relating to credible data. In the past, many stakeholders have argued whether Bitcoin shares any correlation with the traditional market.

A Yale study published earlier in the year showed that Bitcoin’s price action had little to do with events in the mainstream market. The timing of the downturn in both markets could likely be coincidental.

Not Yet Bottomed Out

When pressed about an inflection point for Bitcoin, Pompliano responded that he expected a downward price action for the market in the short term. The top-ranked cryptocurrency fell to $3,200 in mid-December 2018 marking its lowest price level for the year.

The last time Bitcoin traded at that level was in 2017 before the massive price surge that took it to nearly reaching $20,000. In the days leading up to Christmas, BTC did experience significant price gains. For seven consecutive days, BTC kept on going higher leading some to call a “Santa Claus rally.”

BTC reached as high as $4,200 but failed to break beyond that point. According to Pompliano, BTC’s bottom could lie below $3,000, but that would only be in the short-term.

Despite the year-long bear market, the Morgan Creek Digital Assets chief still believes in the asset class. He notes that Bitcoin’s fundamentals, which are driven purely by mathematics and code, were far better than those of the traditional market landscape.

Do you agree with Anthony Pompliano that Bitcoin isn’t correlated with the traditional stock market? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Twitter (@CNBC) and Coinmarketcap.com, Shutterstock

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Ex Mt. Gox CEO Says He’s Not Guilty of Stealing Customers’ Bitcoin

Gox Mark Karpeles

Mark Karpelès, the former CEO of defunct Bitcoin exchange platform, Mt. Gox says he is innocent of the charges against him. Meanwhile, prosecutors say the 33-year old of French descent should face ten years imprisonment for his alleged crimes.


Karpelès Maintains Innocence

Quoting local media sources in Japan, the South China Morning Post say Karpelès apologized for the collapse of Mt. Gox. He, however, maintained his innocence of any wrongdoing in the matter.

Karpelès spoke on Thursday (Dec. 27, 2018) during the closing arguments of the case. The former Mt. Gox CEO stands accused of fraud to the tune of ¥340 million (about $3 million), as well as violations of corporate law.

The trial began in mid-2017 and reports indicate that the court will reach a verdict on March 15, 2019.

Mt. Gox Where is Our Money

Prosecutors Call for 10-Year Jail-term

If found guilty, Karpelès could face up to ten years in prison. Earlier in the month, prosecutors on the case called for such a sentence given the “extremely vicious” nature of the acts.

According to the prosecutors, the embattled Karpelès embezzled funds in the last quarter of 2013, using the misappropriated money for acquisitions and rent payments. In their closing arguments at the time, the prosecutors said:

There was no documentation of loans, and there was no intention of paying back.

This statement came as a result of Karpelès’s counterclaim that the funds were supposed to be a temporary loan. The prosecutors rejected his argument calling his actions a betrayal of his clients and a breach of their trust.

Indictment Unrelated to Bitcoin Loss

This indictment isn’t related to the Mt. Gox Bitcoin hack that led to the loss of 850,000 BTC valued at just under $500 million at the time. The heist, one of the biggest in Bitcoin history caused the platform to go bankrupt. Before then, Mt. Gox was the largest BTC exchange service, handling more than 70 percent of all BTC trades worldwide.

Mt. Gox is currently undergoing civil rehabilitation as creditors look to recoup their stolen funds. Earlier in the year, Bitcoinist reported Karpelès saying that he’d refuse to collect a share of the 160,000 BTC windfall that would go to company shareholders.

Do you think Mark Karpelès is innocent of the charges against him? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below.


Image courtesy of Shutterstock, Bitcoinist archives

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Japan’s Internet Giant GMO Quits Mining Hardware Bussiness

GMO Internet mining quit

GMO Internet says it will no longer develop, manufacture, and sell Bitcoin mining hardware following significant losses incurred in Q4 2018. The Japanese IT company will instead focus on its in-house mining activities following a comprehensive revenue review.


GMO Internet Downsizing Bitcoin Mining Operations

In a statement Dec. 25, 2018, the IT behemoth announced the shuttering of its cryptocurrency mining hardware business. The decision follows the enormous losses suffered by GMO Internet in Q4 2018 as BTC 00 hit the lowest price in over a year.


After taking into consideration changes in the current business environment, [GMO] expects that it is difficult to recover the carrying amounts of the in-house-mining-related business assets, and therefore, it has been decided to record an extraordinary loss.

Data from the company’s statement show consolidated and non-consolidated losses for Q4 2018 at ¥ 35.5 billion ($321 million) and ¥ 38 billion ($344 million), respectively.

However, despite shuttering its mining hardware sales department, GMO, which generated a total of ¥154 billion ($1.3 billion USD) in revenue in 2017, expects to continue its in-house mining operations.

Presently, the company admits that a decrease in the profitability of its in-house mining venture. This trend is mostly tied to the falling cryptocurrency prices throughout 2018.

GMO began developing, manufacturing, and selling mining hardware in September of 2017. Back in August, GMO shut down its Bitcoin Cash mining activities to focus solely on mining bitcoin.

Bitcoin Mining Firms Feel the Pinch

For most of the year, as prices fell, Bitcoin hash rate still continued to increase. This translated to increased operational costs for reduced rewards. It was thus only a matter of time before miners began to feel the pinch.

After the mid-November price crash that took BTC down to $3,200, as many as 800,000 (unprofitable) miners reportedly pulled out. However, the Bitcoin mining difficulty has adjusted a since, stabilizing the falling hash rate.

However, cryptocurrencies market woes may not be the core reason for GMO pulling out. According to BitMex Research, the company may not have been competitive to begin with and was thus unable to cope with falling prices.

Recently, Bitcoinist reported on massive downsizing going on at Bitmain. The mining behemoth closed down operations in Israel as well as its entire Bitcoin Cash development team.

Recent reports surfacing online even suggest that the staff layoffs might be as high as 85 percent of the company’s workforce.

Will Bitmain and GMO survive the bear market? Share your thoughts below.


Images courtesy of GMO and Twitter (@Excellion).

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Japanese Yen Set to Surpass US Dollar in Bitcoin Trading

japanese yen bitcoin

The U.S. Dollar (USD) and the Japanese Yen (JPY) are the two most dominant national currencies used in Bitcoin/fiat trading. But while the USD has always dominated the market, it appears BTC/JPY may now be on the verge of overtaking the dollar.


Most Bitcoin/Fiat Trades Denominated in USD or JPY

The USD is in many ways the de facto global currency for business and trade. It is the most popular currency in the forex market, and as such, it is no surprise to find that BTC/USD 00 is one of the most commonly used trading pairs.

According to the cryptocurrency market indexing platform Coinhills, BTC/USD accounted for more than 48 percent of all Bitcoin/fiat trades over the last 24 hours. JPY comes as a close second with more than 47.23 percent of all such transactions within the same time frame.

Japan Needs to Have Stricter Exchange Regulations According to Monex

Together, both account for 95.87 percent making them by far the most popular fiat currencies used in BTC trading. The popularity of the BTC/USD pair isn’t exactly surprising given that Tether (USDT), the most popular stablecoin in the market is pegged to the USD.

Based on Coinhills’ data, JPY is becoming a firm favorite for Bitcoin traders. Back in November, Bitcoinst reported on a study by Cryptocompare that showed a 50 percent dominance for USD in the BTC/fiat market. At the time, JPY accounted for only 21 percent. Though it is important to note that Coinhills’ data covers only 24 hours. The research by CryptoCompare was for the whole of November 2018.

Meanwhile, Bitcoinist reported last week that Asian markets tend to have a bigger impact on BTC price than the US and Europe, according to cryptocurrency research firm Mosaic. If the trend holds, Japan, in particular, could give the USD a run for its money when it comes to fiat trading pairs. The land of the rising sun is known for its crypto-friendly laws and embracing BTC commerce with major retailers accepting bitcoin both at brick and mortar stores and online.

BTC/KRW Surprisingly at Two Percent

Leading the rest of the minor currencies is the Korean Won (KRW), which accounts for two percent. Data from the CryptoCompare study put the BTC/KRW trading pair at 16 percent of the Bitcoin/fiat market.

The figures from Coinhills might indicate a cooling off of trading activity in the Korean market. Between October and November 2018, BTC trading to KRW dominated the fiat spot trading for the top-ranked cryptocurrency. Sometimes, the BTC/KRW pair accounted for about half of all daily Bitcoin fiat spot trading.

Other lesser traded fiats include the Euro (EUR), the Polish Złoty (PLN) and the Russian Ruble (RUB). These account for 1.35 percent, 0.15 percent, and 0.11 percent, respectively. Outside of the Americas, Europe, and Asia, the most popular BTC/fiat pairs are the South African Rand (ZAR – 0.03 percent) and the Australian Dollar (AUD – 0.03 percent).

Do you think the Japanese Yen can upstage the U.S. Dollar as the dominant BTC/fiat trading pair? Share below! 


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and CryptoCompare

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Bitmain Fires Entire Bitcoin Cash Development Team: Report

Bitmain layoffs fire

Things appear to be far from well with Bitcoin Mining firm Bitmain as several reports indicate another round of employee layoffs at the firm. This news follows reports that the company’s IPO is also dead in the water after rumors of Q3 losses running into over $700 million.


Bitmain on Firing Spree

According to Blockstream CSO, Samson Mow, there are rumors swirling that the mining giant laid off its entire Copernicus team. Mow cited posts from Chinese LinkedIn published by company employees. The Copernicus team was responsible for developing the Bitcoin Cash GO client for Bitmain.

In another report, other messages indicate a far more extensive labor cutback, which could target up to half of Bitmain’s entire workforce. Earlier in the month, Bitcoinist reported that the company closed down its research division in Israel. More than 20 employees lost their jobs after the move.

BCH Blues

Bitmain bet on Bitcoin Cash 00, a move that now appears to have backfired leading to severe losses for the company. Rumors of massive Q3 2018 losses are also casting huge doubts over the company financials and will likely stonewall its IPO plans.

The second half of 2018 has turned out to be a challenging one for the company. From the massive fall in BCH prices to the Bitcoin Cash hash wars, Bitmain’s bitcoin mining industry monopoly could be in jeopardy.

Recently, US IT firm UnitedCorp sued Bitmain along with Kraken, Bitcoin.com, and Roger Ver for allegedly manipulating the BCH network.

Tis the Season of Layoffs

Bitmain is only the latest in a series of mass layoffs in the cryptocurrency and blockchain technology industry. Earlier this month, Consensys fired 100 of its employees (about 10 percent of its entire staff strength) as Ethereum price 00 plummeted from an all-time high of $1,400 in January to as low as $83 in early December. Reports even indicate that the company isn’t through with its downsizing.

Others like Steemit and Ethereum mobile dApp maker Status have also significantly reduced their workforce in the past months. For many of these startups, the reason for their downsizing is directly tied to the dramatic fall in cryptocurrency prices with many experiencing drop of over 90 percent.

Oddly enough, despite the increasing layoffs, the latest figures show that talent is still very much in demand in the space. A recent Glassdoor survey found that job openings in the cryptocurrency industry are at an 18-month high.

What do you think the situation at Bitmain reveals about the state of similar companies in the cryptocurrency scene at the moment? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below.


Image courtesy of Twitter (@DoveyWan and @Excellion), Shutterstock

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US Congressmen Introduce Bill To Exempt Crypto From Securities Law

SEC EtherDelta securities

A couple of Congressmen in the United States are trying to get an exemption for cryptocurrencies from securities law. If successful, it could signal a paradigm shift in the US regulatory climate as far as virtual currencies are concerned.


Crypto May Be Exempt From Securities Law

Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Ohio) and Rep. Darren Soto (D-Florida) introduced a bill on Thursday (December 20, 2018) called the “Token Taxonomy Act.” The bill seeks to exempt cryptocurrencies from being classified as securities. If passed, US securities law will no longer apply to virtual currency tokens once their projects become fully functioning networks.

The current securities law framework applied by the SEC to virtual assets comes from the Securities Act of 1933. A US Supreme Court ruling from 1946 introduced the “Howey Test” as a baseline set of rules to determine whether an asset is a security.

Based on the Howey Test, transactions that can be classified as investment contracts are securities. Based on this definition, many ICO tokens, according to the SEC are securities. This is because individuals invest in these ICOs (common enterprises) in the expectation of profit from the efforts of the project team or third party.

However, the sponsors of the new bill argue that the 70-year old Securities Act is inadequate to regulate a market as nuanced as cryptocurrencies. This position is one shared by many stakeholders in the industry. Expressing similar sentiments, Kristin Smith, the Blockchain Association chief said:

These decentralized networks don’t fit neatly within the existing regulatory structure. This is a step forward in finding the right way to regulate them.

Cryptocurrency-Specific Regulations

For the sponsors of the bill, their efforts are reminiscent of the steps taken during the early days of the internet. Commenting on this, Rep. Davidson, said:

In the early days of the internet, Congress passed legislation that provided certainty and resisted the temptation to over-regulate the market. Our intent is to achieve a similar win for America’s economy and for American leadership in this innovative space.

For people like internet security expert and cryptocurrency enthusiast, John McAfee, the SEC has no right to regulate cryptocurrencies in the first place. McAfee hasn’t hidden his disdain for the Commission’s “encroachment” into the market with many strongly-worded posts on Twitter.

The current efforts by the lawmakers if successful might initiate the emergence of cryptocurrency-specific regulations in the US. Agencies like the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) or Federal Trade Commission might now have oversight over the industry.

Will the token taxonomy act help the US in catching up with the developments in the Asian cryptocurrency market? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below.


Image courtesy of Twitter (@MatiGreenspan and @officialmcafee).

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Bakkt Bitcoin-Settled Futures Set To Be Approved in Early 2019

bakkt earnings season Wall Street's Old Guard Has A Double Standard When It Comes To Bitcoin

Bakkt, a platform for the first-ever Bitcoin-settled futures contract, is expected to be approved by the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), according to the Wall Street Journal.


CFTC Approval Imminent

According to the Wall Street Journal, Bakkt will soon receive a regulatory green light from the CFTC for its Bitcoin futures contract. The WSJ notes:

The first futures contract that will pay out in cryptocurrency rather than cash is expected to soon get regulatory approval.

Bakkt, owned by Intercontinental Exchange Inc., will be the first to offer a BTC-settled futures product.

The Chairman Of The CFTC Might Just Have Brought The Bitcoin Crash To An End

Both Bakkt and the CFTC have been working together to iron out crucial issues relating to the futures contract. CFTC is also reportedly examining Bakkt’s business plan to determine whether they comply with its regulations.

Another major point of concern has to do with cybersecurity infrastructure. Cryptocurrencies are a target of hackers and other cybercriminals. The CFTC is looking at Bakkt’s security framework and the modalities in place to recover from a possible cyberattack.

Previously, Bakkt had to postpone the launch of BTC futures contracts to 2019 to give more room for proper customer onboarding and warehousing for the product.

In a press released issued by ICE back in November, the company announced that Bakkt would begin trading BTC futures on January 24, 2019. According to available reports, the CFTC will likely vote on the matter in early 2019.

Focus on Price Discovery

For Bakkt, the mechanism of price discovery is a critical issue given that its contract will be BTC-settled and not cash-settled like the ones offered by the CME and the CBOE.

Back in 2017, the appeal of the futures contract provided by the latter two gave traders the ability to place leveraged bets on BTC price 00 movement without having to buy the cryptocurrency itself.

However, the dynamics of price discovery could improve with Bakkt contracts being settled in actual bitcoin to gauge real demand as opposed to placing USD cash bets on BTC price movement. In August 2018, Bakkt CEO, Kelly Loeffler, said:

A critical element to price discovery is physical delivery. Specifically, with our solution, the buying and selling of Bitcoin is fully collateralized or pre-funded. As such, our new daily Bitcoin contract will not be traded on margin, use leverage, or serve to create a paper claim on a real asset.

Apart from Bakkt, Nasdaq has also confirmed that it wants to launch its Bitcoin futures product in 2019 and possibly other altcoins like Ethereum thereafter.

Will Bakkt Bitcoin futures get approved and make Bitcoin price discovery more accurate? Share your thoughts below!


Image courtesy of Twitter (@Bakkt), Shutterstock

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Study: Asia Has More Impact on Bitcoin Price Than America and Europe

asia shanghai bitcoin price

With events like SEC approval for Bitcoin ETFs and the introduction of cryptocurrency derivatives, it is easy to imagine the market being driven by news out of the United States. However, new research suggests that Asia, and not the West, is the dominant driver of Bitcoin price and cryptocurrency markets.


Western Focus Might be Misleading

Jay Clayton, the Chairman of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) commented back in June 2018 as part of his comments about the Commission’s stance on whether cryptocurrencies where securities or not, saying:

We’ve (the SEC) been doing this for a long time, and we’ve built a $19 trillion economy, a securities market that is the envy of the world, following these rules.

While it is true that the Western hemisphere exerts a lot of dominance over the mainstream asset market, the same doesn’t necessarily apply to Bitcoin and the altcoin market. However, it isn’t unusual to see US-based “trading experts” to argue that things like the CME and CBOE BTC futures are driving Bitcoin price 00.

According to Mosaic, a cryptocurrency data and research firm, developments in Asia exert a significantly greater effect on the virtual currency market than the ones from the Western part of the globe.

The research firm says there have been 11 major news developments from Asia concerning cryptocurrencies. These headlines impacted the market by an average of 18.61 percent.

The most significant of these developments came at the beginning of the year when CoinMarketCap removed data from South Korean exchanges. According to Mosaic, this singular event crashed the market by more than 57 percent.

Back in mid-2018 when BTC price rallied from $6,200 to $8,000, many commentators pointed to news coming out of Asia. At the time, wealthy Chinese citizens turned to Bitcoin as a haven as the government accelerated the devaluation of its currency.

Asia Dominates Mining and Cryptocurrency Exchange

To start with, Asia dominates both the mining and exchange landscape. Even with the crackdown by China, other places like Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, and South Korea are hotspots for numerous cryptocurrency exchange platforms and related businesses.

Why is this information relevant? Well, apart from the apparent trading volume conclusion, there is also the language component. These Asian exchanges make sure their services are offered in their local languages, bringing trading closer to the local population. With relatively cheaper electricity, the region (especially China), is still a dominant player in the bitcoin mining industry.

Hong Kong cryptocurrency

Earlier this year, Arthur Hayes, CEO of Hong Kong-based BitMex platform, said that crypto trading in Asia is more developed than in the West.

“Asia dominates cryptos because they’re very used to digital trading assets. South Korea has been trading digital goods related to gaming for two decades. When you move to a purely money based digital currency, they understand that culturally, so they get on board quickly,” he said. Therefore, it stands to reason that news out of that region would have a much greater sway on the market than in the US and Europe.

The researchers conclude that due to the “pivotal role” Asia plays in cryptocurrency, “investors seeking a better idea of what drives crypto prices would do well to look East.”

Will an influx of US-based institutional investors shift the tide of dominance towards the Western hemisphere? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below.


Image courtesy of Mosaic.io., Shutterstock

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Bitcoin Fundamentals Unchanged For Institutionalization, Says Spencer Bogart

Bitcoin fundamentals

Spencer Bogart of Blockchain Capital believes that all of the promises and potentials associated with Bitcoin remain unchanged despite plummeting by more than 80 percent from its mid-December 2017 all-time high.


Bright Future for Bitcoin

Speaking recently to CNBC, the Blockchain Capital partner noted that 2018 was in many ways a transition period for the top-ranked cryptocurrency. According to Bogart, this year marked the beginnings of the institutionalization of Bitcoin.

Since the asset class has been dominated by retail speculation, the Blockchain Capital Partner says it isn’t surprising to see wild price swings. Commenting on the issue, Bogart said:

Bitcoin has been a market that is almost entirely driven by retail which is very unique. In bull markets, we go a little bit too high, and in bear markets, we go too low. That’s where we are right now [and] the reality is that the [Bitcoin] fundamentals have not changed.

These comments echo those given by Bogart back in November during the height of the price crash when he said gigantic opportunities still abound in BTC. The top-ranked cryptocurrency is down by over 80 percent since mid-December 2017.

For Bogart, the future is bright for Bitcoin, noting the influx of institutional interest. Both Nasdaq and Bakkt plan to launch their BTC futures in 2019. Other mainstream players like Yale and Fidelity also announced significant moves into the space.

On the present situation, Bogart commented that now is perhaps a perfect buying opportunity for BTC 00. However, the Blockchain Capital partner highlighted the possibility that Bitcoin price was yet to bottom out, suggesting it could fall to as low as between $1,000 to $2,000.

Early Stages of Price Discovery

In a similar vein, Mati Greenspan of eToro said that BTC is still in the formative stages of price discovery. Speaking to CNBC, the eToro Senior Market Analyst said:

As a relatively new concept, cryptoassets are still finding their feet in terms of value. It’s important to remember that all assets, in every market, experience a process of price discovery and that cryptos are no different.

Greenspan also noted that BTC has survived similar price crashes before and has always managed to recover, setting new all-time highs. For Greenspan, it is only a matter of time before the number cryptocurrency finds its “natural center of gravity.”

What is your position on the prospects of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, in general, come 2019 and beyond? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below.


Image courtesy of Twitter (@CNBCFastMoney) and Coinmarketcap.com, Shutterstock

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What’s Next for Bitcoin Miners in 2019 Amid Lower Price?

Bitcoin mining bitcoin miners

The year-long bear market finally forced many Bitcoin miners to capitulate by either scaling down or shuttering their operations. However, with the decrease in difficulty, some of these smaller establishments might want to get back into the business seeing as it is now easier to mine the top-ranked cryptocurrency.


Bitcoin Miners Adapt to Lower BTC Price

Back in 2017, the cryptocurrency market was on a high. Almost everything from ICOs to miners was riding high on the back of steadily increasing virtual currency prices. Things even when several notches higher in Q4 as prices increased massively leading to all-time highs for many coins.

However, winter came for the market, and a prolonged winter at that. While many aspects of the industry faced the brunt of the bear market, miners appeared to be holding for most of it. Granted, there were instances of capitulation especially from providers of cloud mining contracts like HashFlare.

The price crash that accelerated in mid-November took the BTC price 00 to its lowest point in more than a year. Many miners were forced out of business. Reports suggest that as many 800,000 have shut down their operations.

Commenting on the development, Sean Walsh, the CEO of HyperBlock, one of the largest Bitcoin mining firms in North America, said:

The prolonged downturn in crypto pricing is putting many crypto miners out of business, which is why we tend to be a little cautious and protective when it comes to talking about our business.

The Bitcoin price hasn’t recovered much since, however. But as unprofitable miners started shutting down, the Bitcoin network mining difficulty started to adjust and seek equilibrium with new market conditions, dispelling the ‘death spiral’ myth.

Hope for the Little Guy?

So what does this mean for the smaller mining firms?

In a recent op-ed for the International Business Times, the CEO of cryptocurrency trading platform, Atlas Quantum said that smallscale miners might be tempted to get back into the business since BTC mining difficulty is relatively lower. However, without any improvement in Bitcoin’s price action, such a move would represent a short-term trend.

The miners will still face the same problems that were present before, mainly their inability to achieve internal economies of scale. If the smaller miners don’t return, then the remaining players have an opportunity to consolidate their positions in the BTC mining sphere.

Cryptocurrency Mining

In the end, Bitcoin mining becomes a price driven endeavor, a simplification best described by the “survival of the fittest” model. Only miners capable of withstanding the cryptocurrency winter will be able to remain in business.

With the current market conditions, necessity is indeed the mother of invention as far as BTC miners are concerned. To survive, mining firms will have to look at process optimization (cheaper electricity and operational costs).

For the bigger players like HyperBlock Inc., nothing has changed. Jason Vaughn, site manager of the company’s Bonner facility, said that it was business as usual. Echoing Vaughn’s comments, Walsh also said:

We built HyperBlock to weather the volatility and pressures of the crypto market because we believe in the long-term promise of the technology.

Will smaller mining establishments be able to re-enter the market in 2019? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


Image courtesy of Blockchain.com, Shutterstock

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Crypto Millionaire Literally ‘Airdrops’ $100 Bills From Rooftop in Hong Kong

airdrop

A Bitcoin millionaire and cryptocurrency loud mouth was arrested in Hong Kong over the weekend for causing mass hysteria after an airdrop of several HK $100 bills from an apartment rooftop.


Hong Kong Style ‘Air Drop’

On Saturday (December 15, 2018), Wong Ching-kit; a cryptocurrency promoter caused a stir when he tossed several HK$100 from an apartment rooftop in Hong Kong. According to local media, a viral video of the incident has the man dubbed as “Mr Coin” saying:

Today, December 15, is FCC’s big day in announcing the trading race. I hope everyone here will pay attention to this important event. I don’t know whether any of you will believe money can fall from the sky.

Wong isn’t a stranger to such over-the-top cryptocurrency promotional gimmicks. Via his online moniker “Coin Young Master” and Facebook page – Epoch Cryptocurrency, he regularly promotes an assortment of virtual currency “investment” schemes.

12月15號係FCC既大日子因為意味着fcc交易比賽公佈頭獎得主有機會贏取2000萬港幣現金一至50名都會有獎獎品總值超過4000萬簡單可能玩$100蚊都有機會贏取頭獎今次係fcc係全港第一條公鏈亦係我哋香港人可以賺盡中國市場錢的唯一機會想賺首期買樓 過更好既生活一定要買fcc 因為簡直係中國人送錢比香港人洗賺到錢對的感謝返我哋偉大嘅祖國今日既主題係劫富濟貧我自細就有一個夢想 希望做一個正義使者 超級英雄 可能好多人會因為年紀逐漸長大被工作不停磨滅 所以失去左這個心我亦非常能夠體會 因為我都曾經辛苦過 只係幣圈世界太過夢幻 短短幾年時間就可以令到我重拾童真唔知大家有冇想像過會有一日錢可以從天而降我幣少爺 今日企係度話俾你地知 只要你有夢想 就所有事情都係有機會發生錢就係從天而降。

Posted by 幣少爺-新世代礦業 on Friday, December 14, 2018

The cryptocurrency attention-seeker appears to be among those who made a fortune during the bull-run that occurred in late 2017. Wong also fancies himself as a bit of a “Robin Hood” type figure. He even alludes to the claim during the money drop stunt saying that he was “robbing the rich to help the poor.”

After the rooftop display, Wong proceeded to a local restaurant in Sham Shui Po to hand out meal coupons. Unfortunately, the police were waiting at the scene to arrest him.

Ponzi Schemes and Disturbing the Peace

In a press conference on Sunday, Kevin Chong Kiu-wai, the police chief inspector, provided reasons for the arrest. According to the police chief, Wong was arrested for disorderly conduct in a public place.

Commenting further on the matter, Chong said:

Any person who had found or picked up property or banknotes that not belong to themselves, they should turn it to the police. Otherwise, they may have committed offenses of theft.

With this pronouncement, the police are saying anyone who picked up cash from the scene and failed to report it ran the risk of arrest. Good luck with that Hong Kong police. Although reports indicate that Wong threw out close to HK$100,000, police say they only recovered HK$6,000.

Wong may not be the rogue knight he claims to be, as pointed out by Leonhard Weese, president of the Hong Kong Bitcoin Association. According to Weese, Wong has a history of promoting Ponzi schemes within and outside the cryptocurrency sphere.

Do you think gimmicks like these help or hurt the credibility of the emerging cryptocurrency narrative? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below.


Image courtesy of Facebook (Epoch Cryptocurrency), Shutterstock

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Cambridge Study: ID-Verified Crypto Users More Than Doubled in 2018

Cambridge study verified cryptocurrency users

The University of Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance says the number of verified cryptocurrency users has increased in 2018 despite the year-long bear market that has seen prices tumble more than 80 percent.


Retail Cryptocurrency Adoption is on the Rise

According to a study by the Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance, the number of verified cryptocurrency users has more than doubled in the first three-quarters of the year from 2017 figures. The study shows that there were 35 million authenticated cryptocurrency users as at the end of September 2018.

Cambridge University

This increase comes despite the bear market conditions that have characterized much of the year. According to Bloomberg, the study found that the majority of users are individuals and not business clients meaning that institutional adoption is still playing catch up.

Meanwhile, in places experiencing economic turmoil like Venezuela, citizens have been forced to switch to cryptocurrencies. For many of these people, borderless virtual currencies like Bitcoin can provide access to international payments and the global economy. The study notes:

Individuals can be hobbyists, retail investors, consumers, or users seeking a better investment or payment alternative.

The research also found a significant increase in the total number of cryptocurrency user accounts. However, it is important to note that a single user can control multiple addresses (i.e. digital wallets).

 Less than $100 in Bitcoin

In another report by Delphi, a Digital asset research company, only a few BTC wallets hold any significant amount of the digital currency, which supports the idea that retail investors are stocking up on small amounts – buying fractions of a bitcoin.

Of the 22.9 million addresses that contain BTC, 90 percent own less than a tenth of a bitcoin (~$340). The study also showed that 80 percent of those accounts contain less than $100 in BTC. At the same time, accounts with between 10 and 100 BTC own about 25 percent of the total bitcoins in circulation.

The growing number of verified users and number of active addresses, particularly with relatively small amounts, indicate the growing adoption of cryptocurrencies among the general population. Nevertheless, it’s not surprising that early adopters will reap the biggest rewards as Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies now seem to be going mainstream.

Do you think the increase in verified cryptocurrency users signals public confidence? Let us know your thoughts!


Image courtesy of Bloomberg, Shutterstock, Pymnts.com

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CFTC Wants to Know More About Ethereum: Are ETH Futures on the Horizon?

The Chairman Of The CFTC Might Just Have Brought The Bitcoin Crash To An End

The United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) wants to know more about other cryptocurrencies apart from Bitcoin, starting with Ethereum. The Commission has issued an official Request for Input (RFI) on the matter.


Request for Input: Ethereum

In a press release published on Tuesday (December 11, 2018), the Commission expressed its desire to become better informed about cryptocurrencies other than Bitcoin. According to the press release, the CFTC wants to know more about Ether tokens and the Ethereum network.

A portion of the press release reads:

All comments must be received within 60 days of publication in the Federal Register. The RFI also seeks to understand similarities and distinctions between Ether and Bitcoin, as well as Ether-specific opportunities, challenges, and risks.

As part of the RFI, the CFTC will release questions aimed at understanding the use cases, mechanics, opportunities, risks, as well as, the underlying technology of Ethereum. The Commission also said that the information gathered will be of benefit to the CFTC’s fintech arm – LabCFTC. Members of the public will have 60 days to respond to the RFI.

ETH Futures on the Horizon?

The RFI lists a total of 25 questions about both Ether and Ethereum. The questions fall under different categories such as custody, governance, technology, etc. Across the various categories, the CFTC appears interested in knowing the similarities and differences between Ethereum and Bitcoin.

Under the “Markets, Oversight, and Regulation” section, the bulk of the questions (17 to 21) covered matters relating to Ether futures. The CFTC appears interested in knowing how the emergence of ETH derivatives would affect the network’s proof-of-work (PoW) consensus model, as well as the risks involved in trading ETH futures.

While this is conjecture, the question could signify that the Commission is looking at approving ETH futures. For the most of 2018, rumors about possible Ether futures have made the rounds within the industry. These rumors became even more intense when the SEC singled out BTC and ETH as not being securities.

‘Do No Harm’ Approach

The RFI is in keeping with the CFTC’s approach to the cryptocurrency industry. Commission Chair – J. Christopher Giancarlo has in the past, expressed positive sentiments towards virtual currencies. Back in September, the CFTC even called for a ‘do no harm’ approach to regulating cryptocurrencies.

While being tolerant, the CFTC hasn’t shied away from prosecuting cases of fraud or malpractice in the market. Recently, the Commission declared its commitment to patrolling the cryptocurrency scene.

What do you think about the CFTC’s drive to expand its understanding of the emerging cryptocurrency landscape? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.


Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Crypto Accounting Firm Predicts Massive Loss Claims in IRS Tax Filings for 2019

Bitcoin tax IRS

With more people rushing into the cryptocurrency market since late 2017 and the subsequent year-long bear market in 2018, one accounting envisages a barrage of loss claims in cryptocurrency and Bitcoin tax filings next year.


Record Loss Claims in Cryptocurrency Tax Filings

In a press release by NODE40 – a cryptocurrency accounting firm, the company forecasts that the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will receive a record number of cryptocurrency tax filings. Commenting on this point, co-founder of the firm, Perry Woodin said:

It is clear that, with the huge falls in cryptocurrency markets during 2018, many people will be weighing up whether this is a good opportunity to reveal the losses they have suffered. In doing so, they will be looking to take advantage of these losses in order to offset other tax liabilities.

However, Woodin declared that such a strategy would mean revealing cryptocurrency holdings hitherto kept from the IRS. Such individuals will now have to report on virtual currency investments in subsequent tax filings.

2018 Bear Market

Cryptocurrency prices experienced a massive surge in late 2017 with many of them attaining all-time highs. However, since the turn of the year, the opposite has become the case with the market shrinking by more than $600 billion.

During the height of the cryptocurrency bull-run, many investors undoubtedly acquired significant stakes in the market. For that, it isn’t beyond the realms of possibility to imagine cryptocurrency portfolios down by upwards of 80 percent.

Navigating Burden of Proof

For Sean Ryan, a co-founder of NODE40, the matter isn’t as easy as reporting losses to the IRS. Highlighting some of the intricacies involved, Ryan said:

There is a lot for individuals to consider when it comes to crypto accounting and their tax returns. For example, ‘hodlers’ will have a completely different set of circumstances to traders, while those receiving crypto from forks and then selling will also have a unique situation to deal with.

With the burden of proof for tax filings squarely on the individual, Ryan says those looking to submit crypto-related tax filings should do their proper due diligence. This includes historical trading data, proper cost basis, an up-to-date audit trail, etc. Failure to do this might lead to penalties of between 20 to 40 percent.

Do you think the 2019 cryptocurrency tax season will be chaotic? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.


Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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New Data Shows Grayscale Fund Quietly Buying Bitcoin – Now Controls 1% of Supply

Bitcoin whale accumulation grayscale

Grayscale investors and a few Ethereum whales have reportedly been accumulating more Bitcoin and Ethereum as the price is at yearly lows.


Grayscale Has 1%  of Bitcoin Circulating Supply

While 2018 continues to be a challenging year for cryptocurrencies, some big-money players are taking advantage of lower prices to increase their virtual currency holdings.

According to Diar, Grayscale Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC) now holds over 200,000 BTC for its institutional investor clientele. With 17.4 million BTC currently in circulation, this means that Grayscale’s Bitcoin investors now own about one percent of the circulating supply. The figure also puts Grayscale at the top of the institutional BTC investment arena.

Despite the year-long bear market, it appears that the firm established by Digital Currency Group (DCG) in 2013 continues to add to its BTC position on a monthly basis. GBTC earns a two percent annual fee on investor holdings, so it makes sense to see the company helping investors double down on their BTC holdings.

Another aspect to increased BTC stakes might come from the fact that GBTC trades at a premium. According to the company’s website, it charges a 22 percent premium on Bitcoin over the cryptocurrency’s market BTC price 00.

While Grayscale’s BTC ownership rises, the opposite is the case for the value of the Trust’s asset under management (AUM). The firm’s AUM now stands at about $826 million, its lowest point in 2018.

Apart from Grayscale, other institutional investors also seem to be expanding their BTC stakes. Back in mid-November when the first wave of price drops occurred, Mati Greenspan reported that eToro clients marginally increased their holdings.

Ethereum Whales Are Buying to Hodl

The accumulation of major cryptocurrencies isn’t only limited to Bitcoin, however. According to Diar also, Ethereum whales, i.e. big money investors with low-time preference, have acquired more Ether in 2018 than any other year in the cryptocurrency’s history.

Like in the case of GBTC, these investors own a significant portion of the total circulating supply of Ether, about 20 million ETH  or 20 percent of the total ETH in circulation.

This figure represents a 300 percent increase in ETH whale holdings since the start of 2017. The prevailing consensus at the moment is the start of a period of accumulation and big-money players exiting from altcoin/ETH trading pairs.

Why do you think big-money investors are acquiring more Bitcoin during a bear market? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.


Image courtesy of Diar and Twitter (@MatiGreenspan), Shutterstock, Bitcoinist archives

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It’s Now Easier (And More Profitable) to Mine Bitcoin After Difficulty Drop

Former Alcoa Smelting Factory Turns To Crypto Mining In Upstate NY

As Bitcoin mining hash rate has decreased amid lower prices, the mining difficulty has adjusted by design, making it easier to mine bitcoin. 


Bitcoin mining difficulty adjusts to lower price

For most of 2018, while the bear market persisted, mining hash rate and difficulty for Bitcoin continued to increase. Now it appears that the mining arena just like most of the ecosystem is beginning to feel the pinch.

Data from Blockchain.com shows a 15 percent decline in both difficulty and hash rate for the Bitcoin network. Hash rate refers to the total computing power of a blockchain network while difficulty references the ease with which miners can discover the solution for a new block.

XDEX Chief Analyst, Fernando Ulrich, commented on the historic drop, the second biggest in Bitcoin history. The biggest drop ever of 18 percent occurred in 2011.

Miners Shutting Down

The reason for this trend? Miners are shutting down. As miners go offline, there isn’t sufficient hash power to solve the complex algorithm required to discover (mine) a new transaction block. Therefore, the difficulty level is designed to adjust every 2016 block to accommodate the reduced hash rate of the network.

Therefore, the miners who aren’t running profitable operations at the current Bitcoin price 00 are expectedly shutting down. However, after the current drop in difficulty, it has now become a lot more profitable to mine Bitcoin compared to rivals Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin Cash SV.

Bitcoin difficulty

While 2018 has been predominantly bearish, since mid-November, BTC prices took an even larger tumble, falling 38 percent – which is apparently now squeezing out the less-profitable miners.

In a recent interview, Mao Shixing of F2pool, the fourth largest BTC mining pool revealed that more than 800,000 miners have shut down their operations since the start of the mid-November price decline.

Bitcoinentrprenuer, Alistair Milne, also weighed in on the current trend, sarcastically noting that this is the most ‘insecure’ the Bitcoin network has in five months based on hash rate.

He added that Bitmain would be one of the most vulnerable miners at low price levels considering their hoarding of Bitcoin Cash, which is currently sitting at historic lows.

But while the present trend of decreasing hash power is further fodder for the BTC bashing brigade, Arianna Simpson of Autonomous Partners, says the difficulty adjustment is a ‘feature and not a bug’ as the Bitcoin network adjusts to recent price volatility.

At lower difficulty, it will now become easier for new miners to re-enter and receive their bitcoin reward.

What are your theories for the decline in Bitcoin mining difficulty and hashrate? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.


Image courtesy of Blockchain.com and Twitter (@fernandoulrich, @alistairmilne, and @AriannaSimpson), coin.dance, shutterstock

The post It’s Now Easier (And More Profitable) to Mine Bitcoin After Difficulty Drop appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

Bitcoin Trading Volume Exceeds $2 Trillion in 2018 Despite Year-Long Bear Market

Poke. Countries are Cracking Down on Bitcoin

With a few weeks still left in 2018, the total Bitcoin trading volume for the year has already crossed $2 trillion. Many countries have also seen record BTC trading volume at different points of the year with more everyday people seemingly adopting the popular cryptocurrency.


Bitcoin Trading up 61 Percent Since 2017

This volume of trade is especially profound given the tirade of criticism from vocal naysayers who continue to engage in Bitcoin bashing. According to Satoshi Capital Research, the notional value of BTC traded so far in 2018 stands at $2.2 trillion.

The figures posted so far represent a 61 percent increase from last years total volume of $870 billion. However, the growth recorded in 2017 – 96 percent still dwarfs that recorded in 2018 and will remain so unless a massive spike in BTC trading occurs between now and the end of the year.

To put things in perspective, Mastercard recently published its Q3 2018 financials which showed a total transaction volume of $4.4 trillion for the year. The world’s second largest payment card company also settles about $12 billion worth of transactions per day.

From these figures, Bitcoin 00 is already at half the transaction settling capacity of Mastercard despite losing close to 70 percent of its value during the year. BTC’s daily volume which is at $8 billion, isn’t a million miles away from Mastercard’s.

Why do the Nocoiners Rage?

Some might argue that the analysis above is akin to comparing apples and oranges. This is because Mastercard’s figures only cover payments made to retail merchants on both online and offline platforms. The figures for Bitcoin come from merchants, futures trading, exchanges, and even international payments.

However, the fact that a cryptocurrency with a sub-$100 billion market cap is posting figures in the same ballpark as Mastercard is a glowing endorsement of BTC’s uptake. This assertion is especially true given the negative rhetoric espoused by critics such as Paul Donovan of UBS who recently said that the world’s most popular cryptocurrency Bitcoin is on the verge of falling apart.

Things may even get better for cryptocurrency trading as a whole. Earlier in the year, Bitcoinist reported that digital currency trading might grow by 50 percent in 2019 based on a study by Satis Group.

Do you think the 2018 Bitcoin trading volume negates the “Bitcoin is dead” argument espoused by vocal nocoiners? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.


Image courtesy of Twitter (@chartingbitcoin), Bitcoinist archives

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HBUS Launches First Ever Cryptocurrency Billboard Campaign in the US

The Bridge Over Troubled Water

HBUS has launched a cryptocurrency-themed billboard campaign to sensitize people about the emerging virtual asset class. The company which is the exclusive U.S. partner of cryptocurrency exchange giant, Huobi, says it is the first caqmpaign of its kind in the United States.


“Evolved Crypto Trading” Billboard Campaign

Titled “Evolved Crypto Trading,” the billboards are located in downtown San Francisco, on 3rd Street outside Coinbase headquarters, between Mission Street and Market Street. The campaign is the first of its kind by any digital currency exchange in the country.

Commenting on the message of the campaign was USBS Head of Communication, Kevin Leu:

The inspiration for this campaign comes from Wall Street starting it all, but they move slowly, have barriers to entry, and don’t offer digital assets. We wanted to show that there’s a true digital asset revolution – and evolution – that gives people more options to access the ever-expanding ecosystem of digital currencies and the products and services that accept digital currencies.

Removal of Trading Fees

As part of the campaign, HBUS is also removing trading fees as a way of incentivizing users on the platform. Commenting on this decision was HBUS CEO Frank Fu, said:

There’s no question that digital assets have taken its share of hits this year. We wanted to give crypto traders a break when it comes to the high fees they regularly have to pay when trading on other exchanges. It’s time American traders are given freedom and more options when it comes to what they want to buy when it comes to digital assets.

Rapid Expansion Drive

In an email to Bitcoinist, Leu stated that the company was moving forward with its rapid expansion plans. According to Leu, HBUS has successfully attracted top talents from organizations like Intuit and Google.

The platform already lists 12 cryptocurrencies, as well as 35 trading pairs, for users to choose from. There are also plans to add more tokens to the platform’s catalog. In October, Bitcoinist reported the platform listing PAI coin.

For HBUS, the business focus is a reflection of the platform’s motto “More digital assets options. More Rewards.” The company operates a 24/7 service and strives to comply with the highest ethical standards as mandated by financial regulatory laws in the US.

What do you think about the message in the HBUS cryptocurrency billboard campaign? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.


Images courtesy of HBUS, Shutterstock.

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Huobi Debuts Cryptocurrency Derivatives Market Platform

Huobi DM

Huobi just announced the launch of its cryptocurrency derivatives trading service – Huobi Derivative Market (Huobi DM). The Singapore-based exchange says the platform will initially handle USD-denominated Bitcoin Contracts.


Huobi Cryptocurrency Derivatives Market

The cryptocurrency exchange platform announced the launch of Huobi DM at the Cryptofrontiers conference in New York on Wednesday (November 28, 2018).

According to the company, Huobi DM represents the next big thing in virtual currency trading combining cryptocurrency derivatives and a plethora of digital asset trading services.

Commenting in the launch, General Counsel of the company’s Global Institutional team, Joshua Goodbody, said:

Cryptocurrency is a rapidly expanding and maturing market. As part of that maturation, we see more and more sophisticated investors and traders from more established financial markets looking to gain exposure, including institutional players. At the same time, we think many experienced, successful cryptocurrency traders are looking for a broader range of investment tools than has traditionally been available. Huobi DM is tailor-made to address these sorts of needs.

Huobi DM will offer weekly, bi-weekly, as well as quarterly contracts. Settlement for the weekly and bi-weekly contracts will occur on Fridays, while that for the quarterly contracts comes up on the last Friday at the end of each quarter – March, June, September, and December.

Unique Advantages of the Platform

While Huobi recognizes that it isn’t the only player in the virtual currency derivates market, the company remains confident of the uniqueness of its offering. According to Huobi, its crypto derivatives platform has some advantages over similar services in the market.

For one, Huobi DM offers flexible leverage options (1X, 5X, 10X, and 20X), as well as robust risk management protocols. The platform also offers zero trading fees for market makers and investor protection which includes a 20,000 BTC insurance fund against all forms of losses.

According to a statement on the company’s website, BTC contract will be the first to be launched on Huobi DM. The BTC contract will be USD-denominated with the cryptocurrency itself serving as the means of settlement for trading profit/loss.

The statement also revealed that each BTC contract has a face value of $100 with the minimum change in order book price set at $0.01. Huobi DM is already in Beta testing but is not available to the following countries.

The United States of America, Singapore, Israel, Iraq, Hong Kong (China), Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Malaysia, Syria, Samoa Eastern, Puerto Rico, Guam, Bangladesh, Ecuador, and Kyrgyzstan.

Do you think Huobi DM will be able to fare favorably with the other cryptocurrency derivatives platforms in the market? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.


Image courtesy of Twitter (@HuobiGlobal), Shutterstock

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Bitcoin 51% Attack is Unrealistic, New Study Concludes

Bitcoin 51% attack secure

A Bitcoin 51% attack would be futile for attackers as it would require “significant expenditure” and “little financial returns,” according to a new study, which concluded that Bitcoin is secure.


Bitcoin 51% Attack Requires ‘Significant Expenditure’

Professor Saravanan Vijayakumaran, an Associate Professor of the Department of Electrical Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay has published a new research paper titled The Security of the Bitcoin Protocol.

The study, sponsored by Zebpay, examined the security framework of the Bitcoin network under three main points of inquiry:

  • Stealing Bitcoin.
  • Tampering with confirmed and unconfirmed transactions.
  • The ease of disrupting the normal operations of the network protocol.

The main thrust of the study was to evaluate the vulnerability of the Bitcoin network to a 51 percent attack.

By definition, a 51 percent attack is:

The ability of someone controlling a majority of network hash rate to revise transaction history and prevent new transactions from confirming.

In 2018, some cryptocurrency blockchains fell victims to 51 percent and double-spend attacks.

Professor Vijayakumaran’s research concluded that such an intrusion would not only require a massive amount of computing potential but would also result in minimal financial gains. The study also stated that an attacker would only be able to insert or remove transactions but not alter transactions or steal Bitcoin.

Despite declaring the network virtually immune to such attacks, the study did mention that a hostile nation could, in theory, launch such an attack successfully. He explained:

While launching a 51% attack requires significant expenditure with little financial returns, it is not out of reach of a hostile nation-state. Until an adversary of that stature emerges, the Bitcoin protocol can be considered secure.

Bitcoin is Secure

For Zebpay CEO, Ajeet Khurana, the study certainly boosts confidence in Bitcoin (BTC) 00. In addition, the study also comes at a notable time for Bitcoin, which just turned 10 years old.

bitcoin cash

Commenting on the study, Khurana said:

This paper underlines the security of this revolutionary protocol at a time of wider cryptocurrency adoption. Zebpay is proud to have enabled this in-depth research that is a source of empowerment and education for the entire ecosystem including blockchain developers, governments, think tanks, academics, regulators, law enforcement, researchers, students and finance professionals.

Zebpay is one of the fastest growing cryptocurrency exchanges in the industry. Based out of Singapore, the platform recently established its presence in Malta, expanding the reach of its service delivery to 21 EU member nations.

Could nations launch a successful 51 percent attack on Bitcoin? Let us know your thoughts below!


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Bitcoin Fundamentals Haven’t Changed, Says Anthony Pompliano

Bitcoin fundamentals

Bitcoin isn’t dead, says Anthony Pompliano, despite the current massive cryptocurrency price plummet. The Morgan Creek Digital Partner believes emphasis should be on fundamentals (which haven’t changed), rather than price.


Market Fundamentals Trump Price Action

Speaking to CNN on Friday (November 23, 2018), Pompliano declared that Bitcoin’s current price 00 didn’t significantly alter the historical outlook. Beginning on Wednesday (November 14, 2018), the top-ranked cryptocurrency and indeed the market as a whole has been experiencing a massive price decline.

For Pompliano, the current situation is hardly anything more than BTC’s usual bear cycle which has occurred multiple times in the past. The Multicoin Capital co-founder, however, noted that the current trend could see the top-ranked cryptocurrency slip to $3,500 or even $3,000.

In a Sunday tweet, Mati Greenspan of eToro, also echoed Pompliano’s statement, identifying $3,500 and $3,000 as the next critical support levels for the cryptocurrency.

Proper Way to Value Bitcoin

From a value perspective, Pompliano also touted the importance of Bitcoin given its transaction volume, which is beginning to mirror that of Mastercard. According to Coinmarketcap, BTC’s 24-hour transaction volume stands at almost $6 billion on a $66 billion market capitalization.

What is perhaps even more profound is the fact that a large percentage of these figures stem from retail trading with minimal institutional presence. Pompliano identifies this same trend stating that is another indication that upon the influx of institutional investors, BTC has the right fundamental outlook to stage another massive positive price breakout.

For Pompliano, BTC’s value proposition also includes its ability to act as a hedge against traditional assets. Recently, Bitcoinist reported on Spencer Bogart of Blockchain Capital saying that “gigantic opportunities” still abound in BTC.

Bitcoin Sinks to 14-Month Low

While bullish sentiments remain among many a commentator in the industry, the market slide continues. On Saturday (November 24, 2018), BTC fell below $4,000 to reach its lowest price since September 2017.

Bitcoin is now down by more than 80 percent from its December 2017 all-time high. The question remains how low can BTC go before bottoming out. Elsewhere in the market, the story isn’t different with other cryptocurrencies experiencing massive price dips.

The total market capitalization now stands at $123 billion which means an 85 percent decline since the start of the year.

Do you agree with Pompliano’s position that Bitcoin isn’t dead yet? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.


Image courtesy of Twitter (@APompliano) and Coinmarketcap, Shutterstock

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Bitcoin Will Be the Amazon of Cryptocurrency, Says VC Advisor

Amazon May Soon Accept Bitcoin (And Sell the Data to Law Enforcement)

If the present cryptocurrency price drop is akin to the dot-com crash of 2000, then Lou Kerner believes Bitcoin will be the Amazon of the cryptocurrency era. The top-ranked virtual currency is currently down 77 percent from its mid-December all-time high.


‘Hodlers’ Gain Rewards Every Couple of Years

Speaking recently to CNBC, the CryptoOracle partner said that long-term Bitcoin holders reaped massive gains every couple of years. Kerner’s comments come at a time when BTC and other cryptocurrency prices have taken a significant nosedive.

Dot Com Bubble

Kerner drew parallels between the current state of the virtual currency market and the situation with tech stocks during the internet bubble and subsequent dot-com crash. According to Kerner, Amazon, one of the largest global conglomerates today saw its share price plummet massively after the crash.

Commenting on the volatile nature of the market, Kerner said:

There was a day in 2013 when we were down 70 percent overnight. Nobody likes being down like this. But this is what investing in crypto is all about.

Seemingly echoing Kerner’s sentiments, Mati Greenspan, Senior Market Analyst at eToro published a tweet showing the percentage decline of some tech stock during the 2000 dot-com crash. Despite losing almost 99 percent of its share price after the crash, Amazon went on to become the second U.S. company to achieve unicorn status – market valuation of $1 million.

Comparing cryptocurrency to the internet bubble of the 90s is a well-worn analogy used by both enthusiasts and critics alike. The latter group usually bring up the argument to back up their bubble claims while the former uses it an indication of that cryptocurrencies are the next big thing.

Bitcoin is the Greatest Store of Value

For Kerner, the current price drop is because cryptocurrency is yet to generate utility with the bulk of the trading activity being a mere speculative investment. However, the CryptoOracle partner singled out Bitcoin as having the potential to replace Gold.

According to Kerner, the top-ranked cryptocurrency is “the greatest store of value ever created.” Meanwhile, permabulls like John McAfee say the current price rout is nothing out of the ordinary. Even Fundstrat co-founder, Tom Lee recently stood by his $15,000 end-of-year forecast despite the current price decline.

What do you think about Kerner’s analogy between Amazon and Bitcoin? Let us know your thoughts below!


Image courtesy of Steemit, Shutterstock, Bitcoinist archives

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Bakkt: ‘Bitcoin’s Profile Creates a Liquid Product on Which to Build’

HOLD!! Blockchain Platform Brings Dutch Auctions to Construction Industry

Bakkt says Bitcoin’s status as a commodity, as well as its high customer demand, are the primary reasons for choosing to begin its cryptocurrency futures trading with Bitcoin. Meanwhile, the platform recently postponed the launch of its BTC futures contract to January 2019.


Bitcoin is King

In a tweet published on Wednesday (November 21, 2018), Bakkt provided answers to why it chose to begin with Bitcoin futures trading. According to the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE)-owned Bakkt, BTC’s status as a commodity and its lion share of the total cryptocurrency market makes it an obvious choice.

Earlier in the year, the SEC said that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, which could be used in lieu of fiat currencies weren’t securities. Thus, BTC is a commodity, making its derivatives fall under the purview of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

BTC also has the largest market capitalization in the market. At present, the top-ranked cryptocurrency controls 53.1 percent of the total cryptocurrency market share. For Bakkt, this means adequate enough liquidity with which to build a robust futures contract.

Bakkt Futures Trading Postponed

Despite the above-mentioned merits of a BTC futures contract, Bakkt isn’t ready to launch its product. In a statement released on this week, ICE announced that it was pushing the launch of the Bakkt BTC futures trading to January 24, 2019. Bakkt was previously scheduled to go live in mid-December 2018.

A portion of the announcement reads:

The new listing timeframe will provide additional time for customer and clearing member onboarding prior to the start of trading and warehousing of the new contract.

In a separate statement, Kelly Loeffler, the Bakkt CEO said the postponement was to give the platform time to work out all the kinks so as to ensure a seamless launch process. The January 2019 launch is still subject to regulatory approval.

No 2018 Santa Claus Rally?

Before the onset of the current price crash that began last week, there was talk of an imminent ‘Santa Claus rally’. Technical indicators like the Moving Average Convergence Divergence (MACD) and the Directional Movement Index (DMI) showed signs of a BTC price revival before the end of 2018.

However, the postponement casts some doubt on the possibility of any late bull run in 2018. As at press time, BTC price 00 is still trading below $4,500, 77 percent down from its mid-December 2017 all-time high.

Do you with the decision to start with Bitcoin for futures trading? Share below! 


Image courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter, Bitcoinist archives

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Gigantic Opportunities Abound in Bitcoin, Says Spencer Bogart of Blockchain Capital

Even with the current price plummet in the cryptocurrency market, Spencer Bogart believes enormous opportunities abound in Bitcoin. Bogart, who is a partner at Blockchain Capital also predicts a time of greater correlation between virtual currency assets and traditional tech stocks.


Bitcoin Will Remain Number One

Speaking to Bloomberg on Tuesday, Bogart declared that, notwithstanding the present bear market conditions, the opportunities Bitcoin (BTC) 00 presents are still gigantic. Bogart also went to say that Bitcoin’s operational premise — programmable money — constituted a multi-trillion dollar idea.

For Bogart, there is a time coming when Bitcoin’s utility will break through the roof. Commenting on this inevitability, Bogart said:

Right now, some people it [Bitcoin] because they have to and I think over time, more people will use it because they have. Because it can do things that they can’t do otherwise.

Going further, Bogart highlighted Bitcoin’s continued dominance over the rest of the cryptocurrency market. According to him, instead of searching for the “next Bitcoin,” the smart money should be on BTC and its significantly larger network effect.

Bogart bases his argument on the notion that money is a “network effect type ecosystem.” Thus, with Bitcoin having the most substantial established network effect (higher than the rest of the market combined), the current top-ranked cryptocurrency will continue to remain there.

Regarding Correlation and Coupling

On the subject of Bitcoin’s correlation to traditional assets like tech stocks and its behavior vis-à-vis the general crypto market, Bogart opined that BTC held little relationship with the traditional asset market. However, the Blockchain Capital Partner did predict a change would occur in future once more institutional money comes into the industry.

With the current selloffs in the mainstream market, questions over non-correlation and inverse correlation continue to elicit opinions from some stakeholders. For Bloomberg’s Joe Weisenthal, the current price plunge in cryptocurrencies shows that they may not be a haven asset as otherwise imagined.

Presently, cryptocurrency prices continue to fall with almost all top 100 coins declining by double-digit percentages over the last 24 hours. Back in October, Bogart did predict that Bitcoin was close to bottoming out.

Since last Wednesday’s initial drop, BTC has fallen below the $6,000 and $5,000 price mark. XRP did recover from the initial Wednesday drop during Sunday’s trading day but has since joined the rest of the market to fall significantly.

Do you think the biggest opportunities in the cryptocurrency space exists in the Bitcoin ecosystem? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.


Image courtesy of CoinMarketCap, Shutterstock.

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Cryptocurrency Exchange KuCoin Secures $20 Million in Series A Funding

KuCoin funding

KuCoin has secured $20 million in Series A funding as part of the company’s drive for rapid expansion across the globe. The cryptocurrency exchange platform has plans to establish its presence in places in Europe and Latin America.


IDG Capital Leads Funding Round

In a statement published by KuCoin on Thursday (November 15, 2018), the Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange announced the close of its $20 million series A funding round.

IDG Capital, as well as NEO Global Capital (NGC), and Matrix Partners participated in the funding round. Earlier in the year, IDG Capital also participated invested in COBINHOOD’s DEXON decentralized cryptocurrency trading platform.

All three investors and KuCoin plan to leverage their respective strengths to make the partnership achieve its goals. Speaking to Digital News Asia, Michael Gan, the CEO of KuCoin, said:

This is truly a dynamic and significant partnership. The combined forces of IDG Capital, Matrix Partners, and Neo Global Capital will help KuCoin grow substantially, expand understanding and adoption of cryptocurrency for millions of potential users, and help these users more efficiently find the best products available in the crypto-world no matter where on the planet they may exist.

KuCoin Expansion Plans

KuCoin’s immediate plans revolve around expansion both in staff strength and operating locations. According to Gan, the investment will give the company the opportunity to expand its team to discover more opportunities in the evolving cryptocurrency ecosystem.

Since beginning operations in September 2017, the cryptocurrency exchange has established offices in Philippines, Hong Kong, and Singapore. There are plans to expand the company’s presence to Russia, Vietnam, Italy, Turkey, as well as a few places in Latin America.

Presently, the platform is ranked 54th in the world based on 24-hour trading volume which currently stands at $16.8 million.

Apart from expanding into other countries, KuCoin is also set to launch the KuCoin Platform 2.0. This upgrade reportedly includes features like improved API and stop orders. KuCoin Platform 2.0 will go live in the first quarter of 2019. Recently, the platform has also listed many cryptocurrency tokens on its platform.

Regulatory Compliance

With its aggressive expansion plans come the need for regulatory compliance. Presently, no global standard exists for regulating the emerging asset class leading to regulatory arbitrage. In the Asia-Pacific theater, for example, countries like South Korea, Thailand, and Japan have followed different paths in their quest to regulate the industry.

In South Korea, the countries regulatory watchdog has its Cryptocurrency Division. Japan recently approved self-regulation for the industry while Thailand has a comprehensive cryptocurrency business legal framework. To navigate the varied regulatory landscape, the company wants to work in tandem with governments and their respective financial regulators.

What do you think about KuCoin’s plans for aggressive expansion given the current state of the cryptocurrency market? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.


Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Bitcoin Miner ‘Canaan Creative’ IPO Will Not Happen in 2018

IPO canaan hong kong Bitcoin

Bitcoin mining equipment maker, Canaan Creative, on Thursday (November 15, 2018) allowed its Initial Public Offering (IPO) filing to elapse. Reports suggest that the company will shelve its IPO plans at least for the remainder of the year.


Canaan Allows $400 Million IPO Application to Lapse

According to Reuters, Canaan Creative allowed its $400 million IPO listing to expire. This expiration comes six months after the company submitted its filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX).

Inside sources revealed that regulators from the HKEX had multiple issues with the company’s business model. Unless the Hangzhou-based Canaan refiles its IPO application along with updated financial information, the IPO might not happen again in 2018.

At the outset, Canaan’s projections for the public sale stood at $1 billion. However, the company revised its target, lowering it considerably to $400 million. This news comes amidst Wednesday’s drop that saw cryptocurrency prices fall by an average of 12 percent.

Canaan isn’t the only Bitcoin mining hardware maker planning a public sale. Both Ebang and industry behemoth, Bitmain also have pending IPO filing applications with the HKEX. An inside source told Reuters that Ebang’s IPO was unlikely to happen in 2018.

For Bitmain, the company continues to respond to questions from both the HKEX and Hong Kong’s financial regulator – the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC).

In August, Bitcoinist reported that Bitfury, another Bitcoin mining company also planned to pursue an IPO.

Hong Kong Pursuing Cryptocurrency Regulations

Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, recent reports suggest that financial regulators plan to pursue a more robust regulatory landscape for the local cryptocurrency industry. In October, former SFC chief, Carlson Tong Ka-shing said the SFC’s commitment was to adequately regulate the industry without harming the progress of cryptocurrency companies.

For Tong, investor protection ranked highest among the list of priorities for the SFC when it came to cryptocurrency regulation. Echoing Tong’s sentiments, Ashley Alder also recently noted that the SFC wanted to offer complete protection for virtual currency investors in Hong Kong.

Presently, the SFC is trying to expand its regulatory oversight to cover cryptocurrency businesses whether they deal in securities or not. Also, the SFC is mulling the creation of licensing requirements for cryptocurrency exchange platforms operating in Hong Kong.

Do you think any of these Bitcoin Mining firms will be able to conduct an IPO anytime soon? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.


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