Crypto Critic Elizabeth Warren Officially Exploring Presidential Run

Senator Elizabeth Warren has joined the 2020 United States presidential race, after announcing on Monday that she will be developing an exploratory committee, according to a report on the Wall Street Journal. With the exploratory committee, Warren will be able to formally raise funds and make key staff appointments before she officially kicks off her

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Bitcoin Could Revolutionize Governance, Says Cypherpunk Jameson Lopp

According to Jameson Lopp, Bitcoin is an experiment that, if successful, could make the transition to an anarcho-capitalist society possible.

Jameson Lopp — a crypto industry figure and self-proclaimed professional cypherpunk — described Bitcoin (BTC) as the first step in a broader transition to an anarcho-capitalist society. Lopp’s comments were made in an interview on the Stephan Livera Podcast, published Dec. 29.

According to Lopp, Bitcoin is an experiment that — if successful — could make the transition to an anarcho-capitalist society possible:

“I believe that Bitcoin is a very interesting experiment that if is successful in the long run could not only revolutionize money, but revolutionize how we think about governance.”

Lopp explains further that a “more self-sovereign, anarcho-capitalist society” could be developed if services currently provided by centralized third parties — such as governments — were provided by “software agents that can start to replace pieces of government functionality,” continuing:

“The first step I think is Bitcoin, and if that’s successful enough, then we can start talking about the next step.”

The recently deceased cypherpunk co-founder Timothy May described in his “Crypto Anarchist Manifesto” how the use of cryptography will allow for the creation of a system in which people will be able to interact directly, free from the influence of governments.

As Cointelegraph reported earlier this month, May had criticized the contemporary crypto industry as recently as October, saying that “attempts to be ‘regulatory-friendly’ will likely kill the main uses for cryptocurrencies, which are NOT just ‘another form of PayPal or Visa.’”

During this week’s interview, Lopp also declared that “one thing that people don’t seem to be investing in as much as they should is education.” He encouraged investors to “do your own research” and also argued that developers “need to bake user education into the actual software and hardware,” such as crypto wallets.

Major Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase recently launched a program that aims to educate users about cryptocurrency while earning crypto, dubbed “Coinbase Earn.” At launch, the program is invite-only and focused on the Ethereum-based token 0x (ZRX).

India Stalls Cryptocurrency Regulations, Uncertainty Continues

India’s government has continued its “undecided” stance on regulation around the cryptocurrency ecosystem. No timeline was promised by Pon Radhakrishnan, the Minister of State Finance, for enacting legislation, even in the December 28, 2018 meeting.

December Passed: Still In a Limbo

The Indian Government and the domestic cryptocurrency exchanges had always been at odds with each other regarding the regulation of cryptocurrency in India.

But even after two years, the Government is yet to clarify its stance on the regulatory policies of cryptocurrency. Not only that, the government doesn’t even have any concrete plans regarding a timeline for finalizing the rules.

According to Quartz, as a reply to a fellow parliamentarian, the minister of state for finance, Pon Radhakrishnan is reported to have said on the Lok Sabha, the lower house:

“In absence of a globally acceptable solution and the need to devise a technically feasible solution, the department is pursuing the matter with due caution. It is difficult to state a specific timeline to come up with clear recommendations.”

This announcement comes as no shock for Indian crypto traders as they have already faced a roller coaster of rules and regulations within this span of time. Unfortunately, the uncertainty around regulation will continue to thwart cryptocurrency-related business in an economy of well over a billion people.

Bans, Unmet Promises, the Fight Continues

The Indian crypto exchanges were blindsided by the crackdown by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in April 2018. The RBI directive practically prohibited banks from dealing with virtual currency exchanges and traders. This was a crippling move.

India Restricts Cryptocurrency in Favor of Own State-Backed Crypto
Related Story: India Restricts Cryptocurrency in Favor of Own State-Backed Crypto

The virtual money exchanges retorted by filing a case against RBI’s stance in the apex court. This case is still ongoing.

Meanwhile, the Supreme court had ordered the government to submit a report on the findings of the government’s virtual currency panel that was formed in December 2017.

But with this latest announcement from Pon Radhakrishnan, it is clear that India’s Narendra Modi’s Government is in no rush to dictate the crypto rules, or even give a ballpark figure on when the deadline would be set.

For now, it does seem as though this impasse is set to continue even into 2019.

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Ethereum, Tron Rare Haven for Investors as Crypto Market Faces Bleak December

After mounting several unsuccessful attempts at breaking out of a yearlong slump, the bitcoin price and wider crypto market appear poised to end the month of December firmly in the red. However, a handful of cryptocurrencies, including ethereum, tron, and IOTA managed to resist the gravitational pull present elsewhere in the market and post strong

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Bitcoin Price Watch: A Final Look Back at 2018

At press time, bitcoin is trading for just over $3,700. While the currency has managed to keep up a small bit of momentum in the past seven days to stay above $3,600, the currency has failed to meet the expectations of most die-hard investors and enthusiasts.

This will be our final price piece of 2018, so rather than spend time examining the currency’s present price and what could be keeping it here, let’s look at some of the biggest cryptocurrency news bits of the past 12 months.

BTCUSD: 3121 : BTCUSD: last update in 2018,targeting 2k 2 k

Chart by FUNTRADER-Vera

We can’t write up this piece accurately without talking about Coincheck, the mother of all crypto hacks. The event took place in January and beatthe record set by Mt. Gox as the world’s largest cryptocurrency theft. Over $500 million in crypto funds (specifically NEM funds) disappeared overnight, and Coincheck’s operations remained relatively non-existent until just two months ago following an extended audit by Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA). The hack ultimately got the agency to become more involved in crypto operations in the first place.

Next, the year was marred by news that many of the internet’s biggest players – from Google to Facebook and Twitter – were banning ads pertaining to crypto and initial coin offerings (ICOs). Since then, entities like Facebook have been contemplating a change in their protocols, saying that they may allow certain kinds of ads in the future. Facebook is even looking into creating its own digital currency.

It’s been discovered that nearly $1 billion in investor funds have been stolen by cyberthieves this year, though much of that can been attributed to the Coincheck hack. However, roughly $500 million has also been stolen by fraudulent ICO ventures.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has seemingly become more involved in cryptocurrency regulations, enforcing new registration laws that crypto companies must abide by if they’re to keep their businesses going. Most of the time, these companies are required to register their ICOs as securities, and those that don’t – such as AirFox and Paragon Coin – are forced to pay fees and incur penalties. It’s not a pretty sight, but it’s a surefire way to prevent malicious activity and bring a level of legitimacy to the industry.

Bitcoin has continued to drop violently in the year’s final weeks, falling from roughly $6,000 to under $4,000 at the time of writing. Many analysts attribute this to the bitcoin cash hard fork that occurred prior to Thanksgiving. It was a controversial move that pitted many industry leaders against each other, and Tom Lee – who has consistently predicted that bitcoin would end 2018 in the five-figure range – has announced he will no longer predict prices after several of his “educated guesses” failed to come true.

While it’s hard to know exactly what lies in store for us in the new year, all we can do is hope that bitcoin and its altcoins cousins don’t repeat the behavior they’ve exhibited over the past 12 months, and that the bulls return our favorite cryptocurrencies to glory.

Until then, happy new year, and happy trading!

Bitcoin Charts by TradingView

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Stellar Co-founder Brands 90% of Crypto Projects ‘B.S.’

In a frank interview with mainstream media, Stellar CTO Jed McCaleb appeared skeptical of any cryptocurrency beyond Bitcoin, Ethereum or Stellar.

Most financial institutions will not use Bitcoin (BTC), payment network Stellar’s co-founder and CTO Jed McCaleb stated in an interview with Yahoo Finance Dec. 31.

Speaking to the online news outlet, McCaleb — who is also known as one of the founding fathers of defunct Japanese Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox, as well as the co-founder of Ripple — made an argument in favor of the use of permissionless, open blockchains in finance. He told reporters bluntly:

“It doesn’t need to be the bitcoin blockchain, but if it’s not a public chain, then you’re missing the point.”

McCaleb also levelled criticism at cryptocurrency projects that were not Bitcoin, Ethereum or his own Stellar.

“Ninety percent of these projects are B.S. I’m looking forward to that changing,” he said when asked about the outlook for the cryptocurrency industry in 2019, continuing:

“Things like Tron, it’s just garbage. But people dump tons of money into it, these things that just do not technically work.”

Billed as an alternative token development platform to Ethereum, TRON (TRX) has upped its publicity efforts this year, with CEO Justin Sun regularly lambasting the Ethereum network over its alleged shortcomings.

Celebrations of TRON accruing its one millionth user account this month were likewise met with skepticism.

For McCaleb, however, no single cryptocurrency network or associated token forms an all-encompassing solution — including Stellar and its in-house coin, Lumens (XLM).

“There are some things bitcoin is good at, some things Ethereum is good at, and some things Stellar is good at,” he said, adding:

“And none of them can do all the things well. That’s just not how software works.”

Going forward, McCaleb was bullish, rejecting the idea that 2018 represented a bear market in crypto and instead describing it as “calming down.”

Stellar partnered with cryptocurrency wallet provider last month to expand the circulation and uptake of XLM with a massive $125 million airdrop to users.

UK Regulators Probe 18 Crypto Firms for Fraud and Illegal Operations

Over a dozen firms in the cryptocurrency sector are under investigation by UK’s financial regulator, reports the Financial Times. According to the business publication, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) disclosed on Sunday that 18 companies were being investigated over their involvement in selling cryptocurrencies. Additionally, alerts and warnings had been sent to another dozen or

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Launch Timeline for Bakkt’s Bitcoin Futures to Be Clarified Early 2019: ICE

The operator of the New York Stock Exchange posted an update for the launch of Bakkt’s physically settled daily Bitcoin futures contract.


The Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) announced an update on the launch of the Bakkt Bitcoin (USD) Daily Futures Contract in an official notice Dec. 31.

The document from ICE — the operator of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and creator of digital assets platform Bakkt — states that “[f]ollowing consultation with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission [CFTC], ICE Futures U.S., Inc. expects to provide an updated launch timeline in early 2019 for the trading, clearing and warehousing” of Bakkt’s Bitcoin (BTC) futures contract.

The document reiterated that previously the firm had been targeting Jan. 24, 2019 as a launch date, but that the date “will be amended pursuant to the CFTC’s process and timeline.”

The statement also outlines the particular nature of Bakkt’s futures contracts, stating:

“The Bakkt Bitcoin (USD) Daily Futures Contract is a physically-settled daily futures contract for bitcoin held in Bakkt Warehouse, and will be cleared by ICE Clear US, Inc. Each futures contract calls for delivery of one bitcoin held in Bakkt Warehouse, and will trade in U.S. dollar terms.”

As Cointelegraph also reported today, Bakkt has completed its first funding round, raising $182.5 million from 12 partners and investors.

ICE initially announced the intention to create an “open and regulated, global ecosystem for digital assets” powered by the Microsoft cloud infrastructure this past August.

The founder of Galaxy Digital — a crypto investment firm that invested in Bakkt — cited Bakkt’s pending launch as one of the industry developments that could help turn around the downward trend in crypto markets this year.

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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Indian Gov’t to Approach Crypto Regulation ‘With Due Caution’

Previous suggestions of a lasting stance on crypto from India’s government appear to have been overturned by fresh comments.

The Indian government is approaching cryptocurrency regulation with caution, tech magazine Quartz reported Dec. 31, quoting Pon Radhakrishnan, the Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Shipping.

The latest episode in India’s increasingly drawn-out path to formalizing its domestic cryptocurrency economy, Radhakrishnan said that the lack of a “globally acceptable solution” meant lawmakers were unlikely to issue formal statues in the short term.

Addressing the lower house of parliament, the Lok Sabha, on Dec. 28, he said:

“In absence of a globally acceptable solution and the need to devise technically feasible solution, the department is pursuing the matter with due caution. It is difficult to state a specific timeline to come up with clear recommendations.”

India currently enforces a ban on banks servicing cryptocurrency-related operations. Enacted in July, the Reserve Bank of India’s rule has led to the exit of several local businesses and a Supreme Court challenge.

Thus far, neither the central bank nor the government has been moved by the consumer backlash, a governmental panel source earlier this month suggesting making cryptocurrency partially illegal was still on the cards.

Nonetheless, this week saw the same panel reportedly signal it would be in favor of regulation over criminalization of the sector.

At present, it remains legal to own cryptocurrency in India, but some parties have publicly stated as of October that they consider such ownership illegal.

Bitcoin to End 2018 With 80% Drop, What Investors Should Expect in 2019

Following one of its biggest bull rallies in history to $19,500, Bitcoin (BTC) is set to end 2018 with an 80 percent drop from its all-time high. As Bitcoin enters 2019 with a bear market status having suffered a steep sell-off in December, what can investors expect in the first two quarters of 2019? Several

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NYSE Operator’s Crypto Platform Bakkt Completes $182.5 Million Funding Round

The digital assets platform Bakkt — created by the NYSE’s operator — announces the completion of their first funding round.

Digital assets platform Bakkt — created by the operator of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) — has announced the completion of its first funding round in a blog post today, Dec. 31.

The institutional investor-focused cryptocurrency platform from the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) has officially raised $182.5 million from 12 partners and investors, according to the post.

The partners and investors reportedly include major names in both traditional finance and crypto-oriented investing, including ICE, Boston Consulting Group, Galaxy Digital, Goldfinch Partners, Alan Howard, Horizons Ventures, Microsoft’s venture capital arm and Pantera Capital.

Bakkt also noted in the announcement that the company is working with United States regulators — namely the  Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) — to obtain “regulatory approval for physically delivered and warehoused bitcoin,” adding:

“We have filed our applications and the timing for approval is now based on the regulatory review process.”

Also today, ICE separately announced in a notice that the firm “expects to provide an updated launch timeline in early 2019, for the trading, clearing and warehousing of the Bakkt Bitcoin (USD) Daily Futures Contract.” In late November, the long-awaited digital assets platform stated that it was targeting Jan. 24, 2019 as a launch date, pending CFTC approval.

ICE first announced plans to create a Microsoft cloud-powered “open and regulated, global ecosystem for digital assets” in August, as Cointelegraph reported at the time.

Multiple experts and commentators in the crypto and blockchain industry have pointed to Bakkt’s coming launch as a major factor that will help crypto markets rebound from this year’s ongoing bear market.

2018 Sees Bitcoin’s Lowest Average Daily Price Change: Report

This year’s Bitcoin average daily price change is the lowest value reported in the last nine years.

This year Bitcoin’s (BTC) average daily price change was the lowest value reported in the past nine years, self-proclaimed professional cypherpunk Jameson Lopp tweeted Dec. 30.

This year, the average daily value change for Bitcoin was -0.33 percent, according to Lopp’s tweet. In second place for lowest average daily price change was 2014 at -0.25 percent.

The year with the highest average daily change was 2010, when Bitcoin saw an average 0.82 percent price change daily — followed by 2017, with an average 0.78 percent daily price growth.

As Cointelegraph recently reported, Morgan Creek Digital Assets founder Anthony Pompliano told CNBC that Bitcoin’s price will fall lower, bottoming below $3,000. His declaration comes just a month after he similarly predicted that Bitcoin would fall to around $3,000, a point that it approached on Dec. 15, hitting $3,192.

Cryptocurrency trader Tone Vays warned in a market update Dec. 16 that a collapse to at least $1,300 could be imminent. Specifically, a close below the long-term 50-month moving average price for BTC/USD would trigger an extended downward trend. He told his viewers:

“Until we close below it, my probability of $1,300 remains a little bit lower. The moment we can [...] have a full candle below the moving average, it’s all over; we’re going to $1,300 and hopefully not lower.”

Breaking: Bakkt Raises $182 Million, What it Means for the State of Bitcoin Industry

Bakkt, a cryptocurrency exchange and liquidity provider created by the New York Stock Exchange’s parent company ICE has raised $182.5 million from a group of high profile investors and venture capital firms. On December 31, on New Year’s Eve, Bakkt CEO Kelly Loeffler announced that Boston Consulting Group, CMT Digital, Eagle Seven, Galaxy Digital, Goldfinch

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A Global Digital Currency Is Just a Dream, Will Never Happen: Payoneer CEO

TheMerkle_Global Economy

Most of us in the crypto community foresee a future in which the world will predominantly use digital peer-to-peer currency. However, this is a dream that will never come to pass according to Scott Gallit. Gallit, the CEO of digital payment services company Payoneer, believes that noble as the idea is, the powers that be would never let it come to pass. And don’t let recent attempts by some governments fool you, he stated referring to Ohio’s crypto tax payments.

Indeed, the journey to a unified currency is uphill. For one, even the crypto community currently is unable to settle on what the best currency for this venture would be. Bitcoin has the upper hand as it has a 54 percent dominance. However, some altcoins offer enhanced features such as XRP’s speed, Monero’s privacy and EOS’ scalability.

Dream On

One digital currency to rule the world is a noble idea. It would get rid of many problems including value manipulation, foreign exchange fees and more. However, the probability of this happening is next to nil according to the Payoneer executive. Payoneer is a New York-based fintech startup that processes payments for major companies including Google, Upwork, Amazon and Airbnb. It’s valued at $1 billion, making it one of the many fintech unicorns.

Speaking to CNBC’s Make It, he stated:

Despite the interests of lots of people out there in the Internet world who love the idea of frictionless commerce and frictionless money and avoiding fiat currencies, I don’t see it

Gallit laid out two fundamental reasons why a global digital currency would never work. The first is taxes, he explained.

And so, if there’s a single global currency, how do you get from here to there in a way that actually enables that government, in whatever country that is, to really tax and collect revenues. Now you can have a debate on whether taxes are fair or unfair, but they are a reality. There are going to be taxes because governments need revenues. Countries actually need tax revenue in order to fund services for their residents.

The second barrier is the central banks. These institutions are put in place to regulate the economy, and managing the currency plays a very big part. Once a central bank loses its hold over the currency, it loses its most effective monetary policy tool. These banks are therefore never going to let the dream of a single global currency become a reality.

Come Down From Utopia

Gallit acknowledged that the dream has its merits. However, most of us approach the challenge from a utopian point of view. We want to give everyone equal opportunity regardless of where they come from and let them become masters of their own fates. However, we must come down from utopia into the real world for us to come up with a tangible solution, he stated.

But practically, there are going to be limitations and constraints that are going to be very hard for folks to overcome. And so as Payoneer, we work within that as opposed to moving outside that




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