A Million Bank Users Ask For Their Money, is Crypto a Viable Alternative?

Almost one million customers of an Indian bank are currently without access to the money they deposited with the institution. The incident serves as yet another reminder of the shortcomings of the current banking system and the potential improvements offered by crypto.

The bank in question has been under investigation for fraud and Mumbai police have arrested several of its executives. Customers have been only allowed to withdraw a maximum of $700 from accounts and many fear losing their life savings.

Indian Bank Fraud Highlights Advantages of Crypto

As reported by the BBC, protests over the harsh withdrawal limits imposed by India’s Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative Bank have been going on for weeks now. The bank is suspected of fraud amounting to $600 million. Police arrested senior members of the institution in Mumbai, the financial heart of India, last month.

Since the arrests, restrictive withdrawal limits have been placed on bank customers. Customers have been only permitted to take out $700 of their own money. Many of those impacted say they fear losing everything they deposited at the bank.

The BBC published a video from the scene of the protests. Interviews with individuals impacted tell tales of heartbreak and injustice. One 77-year-old man told reporters that his entire life savings were in the bank. Meanwhile, another man spoke about how the fear of losing everything had impacted several more vulnerable individuals:

“Six people have lost their lives – one suicide and five people out of a heart attack. How long is our government going to really keep quiet?”

For the most part, people take banks for granted. Questions only arise about the amount of control they have over their users when something goes wrong. After all, a bank needs to grant permission to a customer for them to setup an account, deposit, transfer, or withdraw their own money. Of course, they usually do. However, in times of crisis, banks have a habit of being less forthcoming with customer funds. Crypto assets, meanwhile, do not require any such permissions.

With innovation in financial technology accelerating at a blistering pace, in part thanks to Bitcoin and crypto, such permissioned banking systems begin to look more authoritarian by the day. Whereas once it was difficult to conceive of a financial system not dependent on some trusted intermediary, cryptocurrency has opened the eyes of its still small user base to an alternative path. With incidents of banks exerting such control over users commonplace around the world, it is not hard to imagine this user base continuing to grow.

 

Related Reading: Analysts Expect Further Losses as Bitcoin Forms EMA Bear Cross

Featured Image from Shutterstock.

The post A Million Bank Users Ask For Their Money, is Crypto a Viable Alternative? appeared first on NewsBTC.

Bitcoin Fixes This: Top Bank Chief Says Monetary Policy is Failing

Representatives of the current financial system are inadvertently extolling the virtues of Bitcoin at a higher frequently than ever before. The latest is Deutsche Bank President Karl von Rohr, who states that current methods intended to stave off economic crisis are lessening in efficacy.

Von Rohr describes the current climate for the financial services industry as the most challenging time he can remember. He says that geopolitical uncertainties are already impacting the global economy as a decade of growth begins to slow.

Negative Interest Rates Don’t Work Forever and Bitcoin Doesn’t Punish Savers

In a recent “Future of Finance” conference hosted by Bloomberg in Frankfurt, the president and deputy chairman of Deutsche Bank AG Karl von Rohr joined those bankers making an inadvertent advertisement for Bitcoin. He stated that global financial stability is under increasing threat:

“At least I can hardly remember, in my 25 years in banking, a more challenging time for the financial services industry.”

Von Rohr cited instances of geopolitical tension as contributing to increased uncertainty and a  slowing of global growth. He mentioned uncertainty surrounding the US/China Trade War, the ongoing debacle that is Britain’s exit from the European Union, and civil unrest in various parts of the world.

The Deutsche Bank President says that in many areas of the world, there are clear signs of an economic slowdown, following a period of growth:

“In some major economies, the warning bells of a recession are ringing.”

With reference to Europe, Von Rohr says that the five years of negative interest rates aimed at promoting economic growth are fast becoming useless:

“With fears of a downturn mounting, we have reached a level where monetary policy is at serious risk of running out of means to cushion a real economic crisis.”

Von Rohr also mentions the impact of the “monetary experiment” of negative interest rates on savers. He states that Europeans have been losing 160 billion euros in interest payments each year thanks to the negative rates. The Deutsche Bank executive added:

“With inflation factored in, the result is a creeping erosion of our European customers’ assets.”

In a bank-created situation so hostile to those wishing to save rather than spend, it isn’t particularly difficult to see why Bitcoin might become more attractive to some. As an asset that is entirely unconnected to the current financial system and any national government, Bitcoin cannot be subject to changes to its monetary policy. In times of geopolitical uncertainty, such hard forms of money naturally become more attractive as a form of hedge.

Add negative interest rates, quantitative easing, and other measures intended to stimulate further growth, and the case for Bitcoin only gets stronger. Many commentators have pointed out Bitcoin’s utility as a way to avoid the potentially disastrous consequences of such policies.

 

Related Reading: Bitcoin Volume Profile Suggests Rally to Bring Price Past $20,000 is Near

Featured Image from Shutterstock.

The post Bitcoin Fixes This: Top Bank Chief Says Monetary Policy is Failing appeared first on NewsBTC.

BitMEX Crypto Traders Targeted by Phishing Scams: What the Attacks Look Like

BitMEX traders that had their details leaked as part of a recent privacy breach have started to receive phishing emails. The crypto exchange accidentally disclosed 23,000 of its users’ email addresses earlier this month.

A Reddit user disclosed some details about a phishing effort against them in the wake of the leak. An email apparently from Blockchain.com redirects users to a different website to download malware onto their system.

BitMEX Users: Be Extra Vigilant Regarding Emails from Crypto Companies

The BitMEX email address leak occurred as part of a platform update on November 1. A post to the company’s blog explains in detail how it happened.

BitMEX had wanted to inform all its users of an important change to its price index via email. Thanks to its policy of avoiding sending mass emails, the system had not been used since 2017. Understandably, the exchange has grown substantially in terms of its number of users since then. After hitting send, it was looking like the email would take around 10 hours to send to all accounts.

A slapdash effort to update the system to reduce this time did not go through the usual quality assurance checks and was responsible for the leak. In the “To:” field of the emails received by those impacted by the leak, a long list of other users’ emails is clearly visible. According to the blog post, BitMEX acted quickly to limit the damage done but batches of addresses were already exposed.

By November 2, lists of more than 23,000 email addresses were available.

It now looks like scammers are taking advantage of the readily available, and obviously crypto-literate, BitMEX users’ details. A Reddit user reported an example of a scam supposedly associated with the leak. The user claims to have received a message claiming to be from Blockchain.com. It asks that the potential victim follow a link to receive a payment. However, the link reportedly directs to the site blockchainain.com, and download malware.

The Reddit user included screenshots from their experience. As you can see, it looks reasonably convincing too.

bitcoin blockchain cryptp

One respondent to the Reddit post commented as such:

“So many people are going to fall for this, imagine all these people that sent 1 ETH to get back 10 ETH…”

With BitMEX users so obviously being interested in crypto assets, it is hardly surprising to see such scams emerge in the wake of a mass email disclosure. However, it still should be pretty easy to stay safe from similar efforts. The exchange itself has given clear guidance to check whether you were impacted. If you received an email on November 1 about the index change that only lists your own email in the “To:” field, your email was not leaked. If you received an email that had many email addresses in the “To:” field, your emailed was leaked.

Whether your email address is on a scammers’ list or not, you should still always follow the same general precautions when dealing with unsolicited emails that offer some unexpected perk. Firstly, if you have doubts about an email don’t open it. Check the sender. If it doesn’t look legitimate, delete it. Companies don’t send emails from dodgy looking domains. If it looks like correspondence from a large blockchain company that you have an account with, sign in to the account and query the email with support. If you don’t have an account with the company then you should treat the email with even greater suspicion.

If you do happen to open the email, make sure you don’t follow any links within it. In the above example, the red flag should be obvious – why would Blockchain be randomly sending this user some cryptocurrency? Given the nature of the victims of the original leak, crypto exchange users, it’s likely that the malware included in this scam has either key logging capabilities, crypto jacking capabilities, or wallet file cloning software.

 

Related Reading: Bakkt Opens Bitcoin Custody to All Institutions, Futures on Track for New ATH

Featured Image from Shutterestock.

The post BitMEX Crypto Traders Targeted by Phishing Scams: What the Attacks Look Like appeared first on NewsBTC.

Bakkt Opens Bitcoin Custody to All Institutions, Futures on Track for New ATH

The Bakkt platform has just announced that it will now allow any institutions to use its Bitcoin custody solution. Previously, only those trading the platform’s Bitcoin futures contracts had access to the Bakkt Warehouse.

The news comes as Bakkt futures look on track to set another all-time high. After a rather dismal start to trading on the platform, interest appears now appears to have picked up.

Bakkt to Offer All Institutional Clients Access to its Bitcoin Custody Warehouse

According to a blog post by Bakkt, the company is opening up its regulated Bitcoin custody service to all institutions. The Bakkt Warehouse actually went live prior to the launch of the platform’s futures contracts this September. However, it was previously reserved for clients wanting to trade the physically-settled Bitcoin futures.

The New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) recently granted Bakkt permission to offer custody services to global clients. Already taking advantage of the service are Pantera Capital, Galaxy Digital, and Tagomi. Bakkt says that it is in the process of onboarding additional clients for its Warehouse service.

In the post, Bakkt’s Adam White describes custody as “perhaps the critical link” needed for institutional adoption of Bitcoin. He adds:

“Safely storing digital assets demands a comprehensive approach to custody. Institutions and sophisticated investors… require proven infrastructure, robust operational controls, and independent oversight.”

White also describes some of Bakkt’s procedures to ensure clients’ digital assets remain secure. He mentions the platform’s $125 million insurance policy, its segregation of personal duties, the auditing process it undergoes, and a host of other features aimed at protecting customer funds.

Interest in Bakkt’s Futures Continues to Heat Up

Despite a highly underwhelming debut, interest in Bakkt’s Bitcoin futures is finally starting to pick up. On Friday November 8, the platform smashed its previous all-time high. The daily session saw the trading of 1,741 Bitcoin futures contracts. The total dollar figure was almost $15.5 million.

Although these figures are still insignificant when compared with other cryptocurrency exchange trading volume, considering that month following Bakkt’s launch saw only figures between $200,000 and $1.9 million trade each day, the current volumes are a sizeable increase.

Today, Bakkt again looks on track to set a new all-time high. Traders had already exchanged 1,018 Bitcoin futures contracts at just a third of the way through the current session. The Bakkt monitoring Twitter account Bakkt Volume Bot (@BakktBot) projects a total daily volume for today of 2,031 contracts. This would be equivalent to more than $17.75 million.

 

Related Reading: Why Bitcoin Needs to Flip $9,700 Into Support to Support Bull Case

Featured Image from Shutterstock.

The post Bakkt Opens Bitcoin Custody to All Institutions, Futures on Track for New ATH appeared first on NewsBTC.

Bitcoin Dumps as Bakkt Volume Pumps, Coincidence?

The Bakkt platform is having another good day of trading. The much-hyped Bitcoin futures contracts that disappointed many on first launch has hit another all-time high in daily trading volume, well before its close.

Bakkt trading volume is surging whilst Bitcoin has made a considerable move down in price. The price of the number one digital asset has lost almost 4.3 percent over the last 24 hours.

Institutional Interest in Bitcoin Booming, or do Traders Just Love Volatility?

After a dismal start, trading volumes of Bakkt’s physically-settled daily Bitcoin futures have been picking up of late. Already today, with a lot more trading remaining in the session, the platform has set another all-time high in volume.

With around only half of the daily session completed, 1,282 Bitcoin futures contracts, representing $11,220,705, have been traded so far. The previous all-time high saw $10.3 million traded on October 25. November 5 saw another bumper trading day at the ICE backed platform, with around $10 million volume reported.

Of course, given the expectations of many and the daily trading volumes of established cryptocurrency exchanges, these figures are still relatively low. However, when the platform launched, there wasn’t a single daily session on which more than $2 million worth of contracts were traded. The figures reported recently have been consistently higher.

Many people had expected Bakkt’s launch to be more dramatic than it was. Tales of growing institutional demand, fuelled by successive delays to its actual launch, created such hype that anything short of multi-billion-dollar opening day and an immediate doubling of the Bitcoin price would still likely have disappointed the most optimistic. When it finally went live, neither of these things happened, of course.

Interestingly, what is already Bakkt’s most successful trading session occurred on a day that saw Bitcoin’s price move dramatically downwards. Another large trading day for back, October 25, occurred after a large move to the upside. The spikes in interest on these days seem unlikely to be coincidental.

Given that Bakkt is still so new and many of the accredited investors it allows to trade its futures contracts are still averse to trading Bitcoin for one reason or another, it figures that those that do trade there will be, for lack of a better phrase, action junkies.

The kinds of traders Bakkt welcomes have no shortage of options when it comes to splashing their cash around in traditional markets. Yet, they decided to enter the most volatile market on the planet. Why? Because the kind of volatility that sees an asset lose 4.3 percent as Bitcoin has today, or 20 percent, as it has on previous days, excites them. It, therefore, seems likely that Bakkt volume will continue to surge during the more volatile days for the Bitcoin market.

 

Related Reading: Bakkt Launching New Bitcoin Options for its Futures Contracts in “Industry First”

Featured Image from Shutterstock.

The post Bitcoin Dumps as Bakkt Volume Pumps, Coincidence? appeared first on NewsBTC.

‘Discount Bitcoin Bandit’ Could Face 10 Years for Cryptocurrency Armed Robberies

A woman from East Hollywood, California, has been convicted of robbery relating to peer-to-peer Bitcoin trades. Precious Lanay Fitzgerald was one of two involved in the incidents that awarded the pair the moniker ‘Discount Bitcoin Bandits’.

The 29-year-old may face a prison sentence of up to 10 years for the cryptocurrency robbery. Exacerbating the maximum possible sentence is the fact that Fitzgerald sometimes used a firearm when carrying out the offences.

Second Discount Bitcoin Bandit Pleads No Contest

Under a negotiated arrangement, Precious Lanay Fitzgerald, one half of the pair dubbed the ‘Discount Bitcoin Bandits’, yesterday submitted a plea of no contest to the charges relating to five 2017-18 Bitcoin robberies. According to a report in local news publication KTLA, Fitzgerald and an accomplice, 23-year-old Lawillie Joshua Hall, had arranged to meet prospective Bitcoin buyers at the height of the 2017 bull market.

The pair then robbed victims, sometimes at gunpoint, and, of course, never handed over any Bitcoin. Hall also entered a plea of no contest at an earlier hearing in April for his involvement in two of the robberies.

District attorney’s office spokesman Paul Eakins commented on the case:

“From October 2017 through February 2018, Fitzgerald stole money from five people by using online notices and communications advertising the sale of discount bitcoins, according to court testimony.. She met the victims in person and forcefully took the cash they had brought to purchase the cryptocurrency.”

Although originally charged with numerous other offences, the court allowed both defendants to enter a plea of no contest against a single count of second-degree robbery. The court dropped two additional charges of robbery against Fitzgerald and two counts of grand theft, as well as three counts of child abuse as part of the negotiation. The latter charge relates to Fitzgerald reportedly bringing a child along on some of the robberies.

Hall is expected to receive four years for his involvement. Meanwhile, Fitzgerald is looking at 10. Both expected sentences have been increased since the defendants also pleaded no contest to using a handgun during the robberies. Had all changes stood against the pair, Hall would be looking at up to 19 years, and Fitzgerald could have faced 30 years. As is stands, Hall will be sentenced on December 17 and is expected to receive four years and be ordered to pay $30,000 in restitution. Meanwhile, Fitzgerald is looking at 10 years and $85,000 in restitution payments. She will be sentenced on November 22.

NewsBTC has reported on similar incidents before. Although buying Bitcoin peer-to-peer from someone has many benefits over Bitcoin bought at exchange platforms, traders on both sides of the deal put themselves in potential danger.

If you’re thinking about trading peer-to-peer like this, use common sense. Meet the person in a well-lit busy place. Never let them take you out of the sight of others and don’t let an amazing price force you to act against your better judgement.

 

Related Reading: Bitcoin Traders Beware: Group of Robbers Gruesomely Torture Netherlands-Based Crypto Trader

Featured Image from Shutterstock.

The post ‘Discount Bitcoin Bandit’ Could Face 10 Years for Cryptocurrency Armed Robberies appeared first on NewsBTC.

Binance’s “Blitzscaling” Makes BNB Highly Undervalued, Claims Report

A new report claims that the crypto exchange giant Binance’s seemingly constant expansion is a calculated effort to position itself as the biggest player in an emerging market. The author borrows the term “blitzscaling” to describe the business plan.

Although its newest efforts might not be yielding massive results yet, the authors say Binance’s expansion into just about every corner of crypto may eventually make the exchange a cornerstone of an entirely new financial system. For this reason, those penning the report say that Binance Coin (BNB) is highly undervalued.

Could Binance Become a “Neo-Bank of the Future”

A new report published by Multicoin Capital argues that Binance, one of the largest and easily the most diverse cryptocurrency exchange on the planet, is positioning itself to become the centre of an entirely new financial system. Author of an accompanying article to the report itself, Tushar Jain, states that although the company’s aggressive expansion might not be yielding massive results yet, the company is setting itself up to be what he describes as a “neo-bank of the future”.

Jain borrows a term from LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman. In a previous paper about retail giant Amazon’s own rise to prominence, Hoffman uses a term he coined himself in an earlier work, “blitzscaling”:

“When a market is up for grabs, the risk isn’t inefficiency—the risk is playing it too safe. If you win, efficiency isn’t that important; if you lose, efficiency is completely irrelevant. Over the years, many have criticized Amazon for its risky strategy of consuming capital without delivering consistent profits.”

Of course, the two examples are somewhat different. Binance’s $15 million ICO in 2017 gave it ample room to manoeuvre in its early days. However, rather than simply enjoy the rewards for creating a hugely popular cryptocurrency exchange, the company has continued to expand, offering new products despite the 2018 market decline and current uncertainty surrounding prices.

The report mentions 12 major new Binance products or initiatives launched in quick succession as examples of its seemingly reckless expansion. These include futures, margin, lending, and options, as well as innovations like being able to use balances held at the exchange for collateral requirements and on-platform staking.

Jain comments:

“Binance is not just blitzscaling into the crypto exchanges market, but rather the entire global neo-banking market.”

For this reason the Multicoin Capital researchers believe that the Binance Coin (BNB) is undervalued. The report mentions various recent improvements to the perceived value proposition of BNB. These include airdrops for holders, BNB being the native token of the Binance Chain, and the Binance team burning its own holdings of the coin. The researchers write:

“Given the current state of the exchange token landscape, Binance’s market leading position, their willingness to copy competitive products, and their history of tweaking the token economics of BNB to provide more value for token holders, we believe that BNB is sharply undervalued at current prices.”

Understandably, given the generally growing appraisal of Binance, Changpeng Zhao, the CEO of the exchange, proudly tweeted his approval of its content.

Valuable Data or Pump and Dump?

Unfortunately, the report does smell of an effort to pump up interest in Binance Coin. As the authors themselves have admitted, Multicoin Capital holds BNB as part of its own portfolio. Whilst analysis of Binance’s business strategy mirroring those of other successful companies is interesting, the overt links to the performance of BNB made by an interested party does not make for them most convincing of reads.

Evidently, some of those interested in the cryptocurrency market felt this way about the recent Binance report too:

 

Related Reading: Bitcoin is Transforming Geopolitics like Gunpowder Did, Says Crypto Commentator

Featured Image from Shutterstock.

The post Binance’s “Blitzscaling” Makes BNB Highly Undervalued, Claims Report appeared first on NewsBTC.

Bitcoin is Transforming Geopolitics like Gunpowder Did, Says Crypto Commentator

For many of its earliest proponents, Bitcoin represents much more than an investment vehicle. For its most ardent supporters, the cryptocurrency has the potential to entirely dress the global balance of power.

One of its most vocal proponents over the years has been RT’s Max Keiser. The presenter believes that Bitcoin is now starting to be recognised as a potential threat to the planet’s existing power structure by some of those at the very top of the system.

Max Keiser: Brad Sherman Teaching the World “How to Destroy the Dollar” with Bitcoin

On the latest edition of the RT segment Keiser Report, the presenter, along with co-host Stacy Herbert, discussed the growing “de-dollarisation” trend around the globe. NewsBTC has reported previously on efforts by Russia, China, and Europe to reduce their dependence on the US national currency for world trade.

Keiser believes that countries are starting to realise the control that the US can exert on other nations simply its own currency being that favoured for final settlement. He details how the US profits off the dollar being used for international trade, also highlighting that the dollar’s global dominance allows for the US to exert control over the policies of other nations through economic sanctions.

The presenter considers using dollar dominance to punish nations an act of aggression:

“Weaponisation of the dollar. So, it’s the dollar as a weapon and sanctions are an act of war.”

He adds that nations are tired of the dominance the US exerts over them and are rapidly trying to move away from the dollar. One of the alternatives, according to him, is Bitcoin. Similar to gold only easier to use, the presenter believes that the cryptocurrency will allow nations to skirt “around America’s empire of debt.”

Keiser argues that political leaders are beginning to take note of the threat posed by cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin to the current balance of power around the world. The US has been quite explicit about its desire to maintain dollar dominance for the perks it comes with. At a recent Congressional hearing about Facebook’s Libra, Congressman Brad Sherman said:

“Cryptocurrency either doesn’t work, in which case investors lose a lot of money, or it does achieve its objectives perhaps and displaces the US dollar or interferes with the US dollar being virtually the sole reserve currency in the world.”

With reference to the above quotation, Keiser remarks that at least Brad Sherman is smart enough to understand that Bitcoin threatens the hegemony of the US dollar and by extension the United States’s privileged global position. The presenter jokingly adds:

“Someone should tell Brad to quiet down. He’s giving the recipe book to foreign powers, how to destroy the dollar.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Keiser describes how well Bitcoin is suited for final settlement of transaction. Rather rely on institutions. typically in the US, to oversee final settlement of gold, oil, or fiat currency, Bitcoin is unique in that it’s “self-settling”. Likening the invention of Bitcoin to that of gunpowder, Keiser states that the cryptocurrency will change entrenced geopolitical power structures in the same way that firearms did:

“You can’t ‘uninvent’ gunpowder. Bitcoin has changed the whole notion of what money is and you can’t uninvent it.”

 

Related Reading: Bloomberg Analyst Explains Why Bitcoin Price is “Caged” by $8,000 to $12,000 Range

Featured Image from Shutterstock.

The post Bitcoin is Transforming Geopolitics like Gunpowder Did, Says Crypto Commentator appeared first on NewsBTC.

Bitcoin Mining Bandits Arrested in Malaysia

Malaysian authorities have arrested five individuals in connection with the robbery of 85 Bitcoin mining units. The machines were taken from a shop in the town of Seremban on October 29.

The units themselves were valued at around $10,000. Those behind the robbery are thought to have stolen the machines to deploy them themselves.

Five Arrested in Bitcoin Mining Robbery Raids

According to a report in local news publication Bernama, police have arrested five individuals suspected of staging a Bitcoin mining hardware robbery. Those arrested included four men and a woman aged between 25 and 46 years. Two of the individuals are reportedly from Indonesia. None of the five have had any previous criminal convictions.

Mining units have been the target of thieves on numerous previous occasions.

The superintendent of the Seremban police force, Mohd Said, confirmed that authorities made the arrests during separate raids between the hours of midnight and 4:30 am local time. Along with the arrests, police seized two vehicles and drilling equipment believed to have been used during the robbery.

Those arrested are believed to have rented a premises next to a shop in which the Bitcoin mining equipment was being used. They reportedly drilled through the wall to gain access and make off with the computing hardware inside.

Said spoke to the press at a conference regarding the arrests earlier today. He said that a shopkeeper reported the 85 mining units stolen on October 29. He added:

“The purpose of the rent was to monitor the movement of the machines, and their motive for stealing was believed to handle the machines themselves.”

This isn’t the first time that NewsBTC has reported on thieves targeting Bitcoin miners. In 2018, Icelandic authorities arrested eleven individuals in connection with 600 missing Bitcoin mining rigs. Local police described the organised robbery as the largest ever in the history of the nation. Similarly, eighteen Antminer S9 units were stolen in Derbyshire, UK in the same year.

Mining rigs are much easier targets for the average criminal than cryptocurrencies themselves. Hacking exchanges or individual’s wallets requires considerable technological expertise. Meanwhile, computer systems can be stolen with good old fashioned brute force. Mining rigs also make a worthy target since there is no need to resell them for criminals to profit from the theft. Instead, they can deploy them on the Bitcoin network, allowing them to mine without the considerable overhead of the cost of the equipment itself.

 

Related Reading: Bitcoin Momentum Points To Continued Downtrend Short Term, Medium Term Trending Up

Featured Image from Shutterstock.

The post Bitcoin Mining Bandits Arrested in Malaysia appeared first on NewsBTC.

High Leverage Crypto Futures Products Unlikely to Receive Go Ahead from Hong Kong Regulator

The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) of Hong Kong has just issued a warning about high leverage crypto futures contracts. The regulator considers such products to be too high risk for the average investor and, as such, says it is unlikely to ever licence a business offering them.

The news follows piecemeal new regulatory measures detailed by the CEO of the SFC, Ashley Alder. Crypto asset exchanges offering at least one product deemed a futures contract or an asset considered a security will now be forced to apply to the regulator’s approval.

SFC Warns Hong Kong Investors Against Unregulated Crypto Futures Contracts

The SFC published its warning against high leverage futures contracts to its website earlier today. It followed a speech given by the regulator’s CEO Ashley Alder about digital assets at Hong Kong FinTech Week 2019.

The warning states that futures contracts on virtual assets are to be considered as even higher risk than the underlying cryptocurrencies. The regulator has previously warned investors of the high risk nature of the digital asset market on several occasions.

The document places special emphasis on high leverage futures contracts:

“Investors are exposed to amplified risks due to the highly leveraged nature of virtual asset futures contracts.”

The regulator adds that the average investor is likely poorly equipped to truly understand these products.

Adding to the risk posed by the very nature of the products and their underlying assets is the fact that exchange platforms offering such products are often entirely unregulated. This leaves them susceptible to market manipulation and even dubious practices from those operating the venues themselves. The warning cites exchanges halting trades or changing the rules to contracts during their lifespan, amongst other dangers.

The document reminds investors that virtual asset trading platforms may be operating illegally in Hong Kong. If crypto  futures contracts meet the SFC’s definition of a futures contract, they must be licensed.

The regulator writes:

“The SFC has not licensed or authorised any person in Hong Kong to offer or trade virtual asset futures contracts. Given the current risks associated with these contracts and in order to protect the investing public, the SFC would be unlikely to grant a licence or authorisation to carry on a business in such contracts.”

The new warning coincides with new regulatory proposals for cryptocurrency trading venues operating in Hong Kong. Those virtual currency exchanges offering either futures contracts or tokens it deems securities must now obtain a licence.

The new scheme comes after consultation with various exchange operators and the SFC. It is designed to allow exchanges to “opt-out” of regulation if they do not offer trading in securities. Also during the speech, CEO of the SFC Ashley Alder said that the regulator did not consider Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as securities. This means many digital asset trading platforms will continue to operate outside of the regulator’s jurisdiction.

However, Alder did say that there was an urgent need for a united effort to regulate crypto assets. This would involve cooperation between agencies at both the national and international level.

 

Related Reading: Bitcoin Solves This: Govt Money Printers Will Destroy Global Reserve Currencies

Featured Image from Shutterstock.

The post High Leverage Crypto Futures Products Unlikely to Receive Go Ahead from Hong Kong Regulator appeared first on NewsBTC.

OneCoin Lawyer Stands Trial for Role in Multi-Billion Dollar Crypto Scam

A lawyer who is believed to have laundered money associated with the OneCoin crypto scam is currently standing trial in New York. Mark Scott allegedly used offshore investment vehicles to take as much as $400 million out of the US on behalf of the company.

OneCoin is one of the largest examples of a cryptocurrency scam to date. Estimates put the total figure stolen from investors at more than $3 billion.

Suspected Crypto Scam Launderer Stands Trail in New York

According to a report by BBC News, Mark Scott was arrested a little over a year ago for his involvement with OneCoin. The former partner at the law firm Locke Lord faces charges of conspiracy to commit money laundering and bank fraud for his apparent role in the OneCoin crypto scam. The defendant pleaded not guilty.

Scott is believed to have used corporate accounts at the Bank of Ireland and investment funds, as well using money to buy a yacht, three homes, and a high-end super car in an effort to clean money on behalf of those behind OneCoin. The prosecutors highlight one investor who sent thousands of dollars to the fraudulent crypto asset company. This money was sent on to one of Scott’s offshore investment vehicles, known as the “Fenero Funds”.

Scott’s legal team reportedly highlighted the fact that the defendant had previously attempted to discover if OneCoin was a scam or not. A colleague assigned to researching the company concluded it was legitimate.

The defendant’s legal experts surmised the case from their point of view:

“The central issue at trial will be whether or not Mr Scott knew OneCoin was operating a criminal scheme.”

The OneCoin scam is thought to have generated in excess of $3 billion. Those behind it sold plagiarised educational packages about crypto trading and gave away shares that would allow members to generate OneCoin mined by the firm. New York state attorneys described the nature of the company in one of the court filings:

“OneCoin used the success story of Bitcoin to induce victims to invest under the guise that they, too, could get rich through their investments.”

Others behind the OneCoin scam were also arrested earlier this year. These include one of its main instigators, Konstantin Ignatov. However, despite charges against many key members, the Bulgaria-based company still operates and says it has done nothing wrong. In a recent statement to the BBC, the company wrote:

“OneCoin verifiably fulfils all criteria of the definition of a cryptocurrency… Our partners, our customers and our lawyers are fighting successfully proceedings against OneCoin. We are sure that the vision of a new system on the basis of a financial revolution will be established.”

 

Related Reading: Facebook’s Crypto Effort Will Take Decades to Spread but Libra Will Be Worth It, Says Exec

Featured Image from Shutterstock.

The post OneCoin Lawyer Stands Trial for Role in Multi-Billion Dollar Crypto Scam appeared first on NewsBTC.

Facebook’s Crypto Effort Will Take Decades to Spread but Libra Will Be Worth It, Says Exec

An executive at Facebook has said that Libra will not spread in the same way that the company’s social network did. Kevin Weil believes that the social media giant’s foray into the crypto asset space will take decades to fully roll out.

Weil is also not perturbed by the intense regulatory scrutiny into the planned digital currency. He claims that Libra will be worth the hassle in the long run.

Will Facebook’s Crypto-Like Offering Will Take Decades Rather than Years?

According to a report in CNBC, Kevin Weil, the vice president of product at Facebook’s digital wallet unit Calibra, gave his thoughts about the planned “crypto” during the Web Summit technology conference held at the Altice Arena and Lisbon Exhibition & Congress Centre in Lisbon, Portugal, this week.

Weil told the conference’s audience:

“This is not going to be a thing that spreads like a social network. This is going to be the work not of years but of decades, and it’s worth making.”

Already, Libra’s planned launch date of June 2020, detailed earlier this year, has been brought into question. The project has grabbed the attention of global regulators who are uneasy about various aspects of the planned crypto-like currency.

Some have raised objections about the potential for Libra to be used as a means of terrorist financing. Others have argued that it represents a threat to the sovereignty of nation states. In a recent Congressional hearing attended by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, various members of the US legislative body attacked the proposal.

In fact, pressure from regulators is believed to be behind several key members of the original Libra Association withdrawing their support just hours prior to the conglomerate’s first meeting last month. Mastercard, Visa, and other big names have all decided against being involved in the project that has so far attracted little  but criticism from lawmakers around the world.

Despite the objections, Weil said he is still optimistic about the project’s future. He raised the fact that there are still 21 organisations comprising the Libra Association. He added that the “crypto” project had already come along way in the last 18 months and he was expecting the number of Libra Association members to continue to grow.

Like Zuckerberg during the Congressional hearing, Weil reiterated that the primary use case for Libra would be remittance payments. The executive believes that a system like Libra would allow those sending money overseas to make substantial savings over more traditional money transfer services. However, Weil, like Zuckerberg, did not really give a solid reasoning as to why there needed to be an entirely new digital currency to facilitate fast global payments.

Finally, Weil also acknowledged that some people might not like the idea of using a currency built by Facebook. After stating that it was “OK” for people to feel like that, he said:

“You don’t have to use a Facebook product ever to get the greater value of the accessibility and lower cost brought by the libra ecosystem.”

 

Related Reading: Bitcoin Price Leaning Overbought After Run to $9,500, Pullback Possible

Featured Image from Shutterstock.

The post Facebook’s Crypto Effort Will Take Decades to Spread but Libra Will Be Worth It, Says Exec appeared first on NewsBTC.

Major Crypto Exchange Announces Deposit Support for Bitcoin Scaling Update SegWit

Bitfinex has just announced a new update that will help support the Bitcoin network. The crypto exchange platform will allow users to deposit using bech32 (SegWit) addresses.

SegWit is a method to effectively increase the capacity of the Bitcoin blockchain. It was introduced to the network via a soft fork in August 2017.

SegWit Support Still Not Universal Across Bitcoin Exchanges!

Despite being some of the biggest transactors of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, exchange platforms have been remarkably slow at supporting the SegWit upgrade. However, as per an announcement posted to its blog, Bitfinex has just introduced bech32 address generation.

This means that users will be able to make deposits in the SegWit format and, therefore, their transactions will not place unnecessary burden on the blockchain.

SegWit transactions do not need to store as much data to the blockchain and widespread use of the update effectively raises the size of each block, without having to actually increase their capacity. Some developers argue that increasing the block size itself, as those who support Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin SV are in favour of doing, poses greater risk of miner centralisation and that Bitcoin’s security model is more important than its utility as a means of making small payments.

The Bitfinex announcement follows another recent upgrade at the exchange. At the end of last month, it added support for withdrawals to bech32 addresses. Now, with the addition of deposits, users of the Bitfinex platform will be able to benefit from the SegWit upgrade when both sending to and receiving from Bitfinex.

Even though Bitfinex and many other leading exchanges now support SegWit deposits and withdrawals, the same cannot be said about every trading venue. Despite the update being well over two years old at this point, the likes of Binance are still dragging its feet.

This prompted developer and Bitcoin proponent Udi Wertheimer to offer Changpeng Zhao, the CEO of Binance, a rather unusual deal last month. He said that if Binance introduces full SegWit support, he would change his profile picture to one advertising Zhao’s exchange. The Binance executive responded and after some back-and-forth, the two came to an agreement. Binance says that it too will introduce SegWit support before the end of 2019 and when it does, Wertheimer will advertise the Binance brand via his personal Twitter account for the rest of the year. The developer also offered to help Zhao with the implementation if necessary.

 

Related Reading: Fractal: Bitcoin Price to Surge Back Above $10,000 in Coming Weeks

Featured Image from Shutterstock.

The post Major Crypto Exchange Announces Deposit Support for Bitcoin Scaling Update SegWit appeared first on NewsBTC.

Bitcoin All-Time High Organic, Not Single Whale Manipulation, Says Vaneck Analyst

Researchers behind an earlier study claiming that US Dollar Tether (USDT) was the cause of the 2017 Bitcoin bull market peak now claim that a single large holder drove the price upwards. However, an analyst at VanEck believes this to be nonsense.

Instead, Gabor Gurbacs claims that the rise was caused by “organic bitcoin and crypto demand”. Tether, the company behind USDT has also called the research “foundationally flawed” and that it was likely published to support a “parasitic lawsuit”.

Did Bitcoin Nearly Hit $20,000 Organically, or Was it Helped up by a Lone Whale?

According to a report in Bloomberg, University of Texas Professor John Griffin and Amin Shams from Ohio State University have updated their 2018 paper relating to the massive Bitcoin price rise in 2017. The two academics now claim that the manipulation was the work of a single large holder of Bitcoin, popularly known as a “whale”.

Griffin commented:

“Our results suggest instead of thousands of investors moving the price of Bitcoin, it’s just one large one.”

The researchers still claim that USDT was used in the manipulation. They observed that Bitcoin purchases increased on the Bitfinex exchange platform whenever the price fell by certain amounts. They have not speculated as to the identity of the whale they believe to be behind the price manipulation. The paper reads:

“This pattern is only present in periods following printing of Tether, driven by a single large account holder, and not observed by other exchanges.”

They added that such patterns are unlikely to be the result of chance and that one massive trader had “an extremely large price impact on Bitcoin”.

However, Gabor Gurbacs, an analyst at fund management firm VanEck, refutes the study. He alleges that those behind it do not understand the Bitcoin market structure. Instead, he believes that no such manipulation took place and the epic price run that took Bitcoin just short of $20,000 was “organic”.

Similarly, General Counsel at Tether, Stuart Hoegner, says that the study has no merit. He claims that the updated study still lacks “academic rigor”. Agreeing with Gurbacs, he told the publication that the large increase in Bitcoin prices were the result of growing interest in Bitcoin, which in turn drove demand for USDT. He also added:

“This is a transparent attempt to use the semblance of academia for a mercenary money grab.”

Tether and Bitfinex have been no stranger to such controversy over the years. In an ongoing case, New York Attorney General Letitia James alleges that the companies’ executives attempted to cover up $850 million of missing funds. However, Bitfinex say that the case is full of errors. Hoegner believes that the latest study has been produced to support the case against the firms.

 

Related Reading: Bitcoin Signal That Preceded 42% Price Jump to $10,500 Flashes Again

Featured Image from Shutterstock.

The post Bitcoin All-Time High Organic, Not Single Whale Manipulation, Says Vaneck Analyst appeared first on NewsBTC.

Bullish for Bitcoin? Analyst Warns of Growing Motives for Global De-Dollarisation

A group of “very powerful nations” is increasingly making moves to reduce their dependence on the US dollar according to a global security analyst. Traditionally a planetary store of value, will Bitcoin benefit from such a global exodus from the dollar?

Anne Korin of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security identifies strong motives inspiring China, Russia, and Europe to ditch the dollar as the asset favoured for global trade. She describes the situation as “unsustainable”.

Could Nations Turning Away from the Dollar Benefit Bitcoin?

Korin, the co-director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, appeared on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” segment yesterday to discuss what she described as “major movers” away from the dollar. For the analyst, one of the main motives driving countries to de-dollarise is potential censorship by Washington.

Korin argues that dollar dependence leaves nations wishing to do trade with those sanctioned by the US at risk of punishment by Washington. She mentioned the current US sanctions against Iran prohibiting big European companies from trading with the nation.

Through sheer convenience, most global trade is conducted in US dollars. However, dollar payments are cleared through US banks and are subject to the censorship of that bank (which is in turn behest to the Federal government). This means that transactions between entities that might have nothing to do with America are subject to US jurisdiction.

Of course, Bitcoin use is free from the kind of financial censorship that is seen in examples like Argentina’s recent dollar buying restrictions, payment networks terminating services to certain political groups around the world over the years, and the examples mentioned by Korin to CNBC. However, it still a huge leap to think that Bitcoin would suddenly be favoured by the planet’s most powerful nations.

That said, what Korin’s interview does highlight is that financial censorship isn’t just a matter for those living under authoritarian regimes or times of immense economic strife. Some of the most powerful nations on the planet are starting to kick back at Washington’s control over global finance.

One of the symptoms of this urge to de-dollarise is China’s own efforts to internationalise the yuan. The analyst cited the nation’s launch of yuan-denominated crude oil futures as evidence of this. Whilst admitting that 90 percent of oil trade is still done in dollars, Korin said:

“If you have a sort of a beginning to crumble away [at] the dominance of the dollar over oil trade, that’s a nudge in the direction of de-dollarisation.”

In terms of the future, Korin said that she didn’t know how the situation would play out and could only say that it was “unsustainable.”

 

Related Reading: Will a Surprise $7K Bitcoin Pump on Halloween Fulfill the Prophecy of Asuka?

Featured Image from Shutterstock.

The post Bullish for Bitcoin? Analyst Warns of Growing Motives for Global De-Dollarisation appeared first on NewsBTC.

Bitcoin Mining Firm Study Shows How Clueless People are About Money

A study by Bitcoin mining firm Genesis Mining has shown that a startling number of US citizens have no idea about how their financial system works. A whopping 29 percent of respondents said they thought the US dollar is still backed entirely by gold.

The study’s findings highlight just how little is really known by the general public about the nature of modern banking. If education about finance proliferates, the value of Bitcoin as these hardest form of money in history might become apparent to more individuals.

Is Lack of Knowledge About Modern Banking Holding back Bitcoin Adoption?

The study, conducted by Genesis Mining, is titled “Perceptions of Money and Banking in the United States 2019.” It sought to discover just how much the general public knows about the way the Federal Reserve and wider banking system operates. The 1,000 respondents were asked a series of 23 questions about US banking on September 19 this year.

Knowledge of key details of the operation of central banks is sorely missing.

The study, detailed in a press release published earlier today, states that a massive 29 percent of individuals believe that the US dollar is still backed by gold reserves as it was in the early 20th century. This is not the only huge misconception many of those asked held about the US financial system though.

More than half (54 percent) said that they believed that Federal Reserve Banks were owned exclusively by the US government, 26 percent said that they thought that banks held 100 percent of customer funds deposited with them as reserves, and 24 percent said that it was the Fed’s job to secure gold reserves.

As well as how well the respondents understand the system itself, the study asked about their spending habits. It found that more than two-thirds preferred some form of electronic payment (debit or credit cards mostly) over cash payments. However, somewhat conversely, a massive 76 percent said that they were against the idea of the US government replacing paper money with a purely digital currency.

Evidently, knowledge about how central banks in the US and beyond operate is lacking, at least in the US. With scant understanding of how the system really works, it is hardly surprising that many are yet to see the value in Bitcoin.

Bitcoin relies on no potentially misunderstood central entities for its issuance or overall monetary policy. This is the complete opposite of modern banking. Meanwhile, banks like the Federal Reserve are not public resources, as many people think, but private businesses. Rather than their customers’ interests, they are primarily drive by profits. If the public was aware of just how easily modern financial systems can crash or even collapse, perhaps a more decentralised, free system, such as Bitcoin, would become more appealing to the masses a lot quicker.

 

Related Reading: Gold, Not Bitcoin, is Making Most Out of Ongoing Economic Crisis

Feature Image from Shutterstock.

The post Bitcoin Mining Firm Study Shows How Clueless People are About Money appeared first on NewsBTC.

Regulated Bitcoin Fund Coming to Canada Following Battle with Securities Commission

Retail investors in Canada will soon be able to get exposure to Bitcoin through a fully-regulated, closed-end fund. The world first, as it is being described, is the result of a battle between fund manager 3iQ and the Ontario Securities Commission.

The imaginatively-titled “The Bitcoin Fund” should be available to Canadian retail investors later this year. It is expected to be listed for trading on a major Canadian stock exchange.

“History in the Making”: Tyler Winklevoss Celebrates The Bitcoin Fund

According to a press release from 3iQ, the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) approved the new fund earlier today. Having been rejected by the regulator in February, the company launched an appeal. It claimed that it would be following current regulatory guidelines for custody, pricing of the asset (BTC) itself, and the auditing process.

As part of today’s hearing on the matter, OSC Commissioner Lawrence P. Haber stated that the regulatory body had not sufficiently proved that such a fund built around Bitcoin could not be compliant with existing regulations. He also refuted the notion that retail investors were not sophisticated enough to perceive the possible risks of investing in digital currencies such as Bitcoin.

Chairman of 3iQ, Howard Atkinson, commented on the victory, described by the firm’s social media department as “landmark”:

“We look forward to offering retail investors exposure to this exciting new asset class within registered and traditional investment accounts.”

Meanwhile, Tyler Winklevoss, the co-founder of the Gemini crypto asset trading venue, called the ruling “history in the making”, adding he was proud that 3iQ would be using his firm’s Bitcoin custody solution to protect users’ investments.

Tyler’s twin brother, Cameron, added:

“3iQ has carefully selected a team of professional partners with expertise in the digital asset industry to construct a safe and secure fund product for the Canadian market, and we are excited to be selected as their custodian.”

These partners not only include Gemini but also VanEck, one of the firms behind repeated efforts to bring the first Bitcoin ETF to the US market.

Fred Pye, President & CEO of 3iQ, also provided comment about the ongoing work the firm has undertaken with the OSC:

“Over the past three years, we have worked actively with the OSC’s Investment Funds and Structured Products Branch to create an investment fund that we hope will allow retail investors the benefits of investing in bitcoin through a regulated, listed fund.”

It remains to be seen if The Bitcoin Fund will prove popular amongst investors. However, the ruling is a pretty big step towards greater regulatory acceptance of the asset class, with most regulated Bitcoin platforms around the world being reserved for accredited investors only.

 

Related Reading: Bitcoin Trades at Large Premium in Argentina as Dollar Purchase Restrictions Set In

Featured Image from Shutterstock.

The post Regulated Bitcoin Fund Coming to Canada Following Battle with Securities Commission appeared first on NewsBTC.

Bitcoin Trades at Large Premium in Argentina as Dollar Purchase Restrictions Set In

Bitcoin is trading at a large premium on cryptocurrency exchanges in Argentina. Demand remains high after the nation’s central bank announced a further tightening of a limit on the number of dollars an individual can purchase from it each month.

The policy essentially forces the people of Argentina to either sink of swim in an economy with a less than perfect track record. Well, it would, were it not for Bitcoin.

Price Premium Shows Bitcoin Demand Healthy in Argentina

According to data taken from local cryptocurrency exchange Ripio, Bitcoin is trading at a large premium in Argentina. Whereas Coinmarketcap has the price of the leading digital asset at around $9,150 at the time of writing, Bitcoin is currently selling at the South American trading venue for ARS$633,862 ($10,578).

The nation has been in the grips of successive economic crises which have seen the value of the peso plummet. In an attempt to stabilise the currency, the central bank first limited the amount of dollars an individual could purchase each month to $10,000 in September. Just days ago, it drastically increased this restriction to just $100 in physical bank notes per month.

Bitcoin was already trading at around a 12 percent premium in the nation before the recent tightening of restrictions. Journalist Camila Russo highlighted this via Twitter in September. In fact, even the dollar-pegged stable coin DAI even traded at a steep premium.

Other digital currency trading platforms serving the nation offer Bitcoin with an even more extreme price premium. At peer-to-peer marketplace LocalBitcoins, the cheapest offer to sell Bitcoin is above $10,000 at the time of writing. The next cheapest is for $10,805 – an increase of more than 18 percent on global average prices.

Meanwhile, Paxful, another peer-t0-peer marketplace with an Argentina-facing department has few offers to sell Bitcoin. The only one listed at present is for the local currency equivalent of more than $11,150.

Along with the price premiums, there is evidence that volume is increasing at Argentina’s Bitcoin exchanges too. UsefulTulips.org shows both the percentage from the average global BTC price and the US dollar equivalent in trading volume at Argentina’s LocalBitcoins. The week starting October 20 saw more than $170,800 worth of Bitcoin change hands. By contrast, in the first four days of this week, starting October 27, more than $200,000 worth of Bitcoin trading occurred.

With its attack against those wishing to protect wealth in US dollars, the Argentine central bank may well be further influencing the adoption of Bitcoin in the nation. Being a peer-to-peer financial network at its heart, Bitcoin transactions are much more difficult to censor than those involving centralised institutions. Given the harsh central bank restrictions, which force citizens to essentially “sink with the ship”, it seems likely that Bitcoin will become even more attractive to those living in increasingly dire economic circumstances.

 

Related Reading: As Bitcoin Price Drops To $9K, Here Are the Targets Traders Are Watching

Featured Image from Shutterstock.

The post Bitcoin Trades at Large Premium in Argentina as Dollar Purchase Restrictions Set In appeared first on NewsBTC.

Russian Official Plans to Rival Bitcoin Mining Mega-Farms of Texas

A massive new Bitcoin mining facility looks to be coming to Russia. The vast new data centre is being constructed by Russian Mining Company – a firm owned by the nation’s internet ombudsman.

The planned mining operation looks set to be one of the largest on the planet. The news follows announcements by Bitmain and Layer 1 detailing plans to open vast new facilities in the US state of Texas.

Russian Firm Steps Up with Massive Bitcoin Mining Ambitions

According to a report in a local financial news publication RBC, the Russian Mining Company plans to open its new facility in the province of Karelia. The facility will reportedly command about a fifth of the total current Bitcoin hashrate.

Dmitry Marinichev, the CEO of Russian Mining Company and the nation’s internet ombudsman, told the publication that the company plans to build the new mega mining facility in a disused metal working plant. The new facility will presumably be financed by the funds raised in the Russian Miner Coin ICO held in 2017. The token sale raised more than $43 million, making it the largest ICO held in Russia at the time.

Marinichev stated the following of the metal working plant’s re-purposing:

“Now the plant is unprofitable for [its former owner], the electricity supplied to it is barely utilised, and people living in the single-industry town near the plant have nowhere to work.”

Despite Bitcoin’s price leaving investors guessing the cryptocurrency’s next move in recent weeks, the Bitcoin mining industry is clearly optimistic for the future. Aside from the recently announced Russian facility, there are two other massive mining operations currently in the works in Texas.

Earlier this month the Chinese mining hardware giant Bitmain unveiled a vast new facility in the southern US state. The Bitmain operation currently has a maximum capacity of 50 MW. However, the company is working on its expansion to an enormous 300 MW.

Similarly, the blockchain startup Layer 1 also recently announced plans to bring Bitcoin mining to Texas. The firm has reportedly raised $50 million from a group of private investors that includes Peter Thiel. The Layer 1 plans, as NewsBTC reported at the time, will see the company take care of almost all aspects of Bitcoin mining in-house. This includes running a power substation and developing its own hardware.

Even without these vast new mega mining operations, the Bitcoin network’s hash rate has been rising throughout 2019. Having recently set a new all-time high, the measure of computing power securing the cryptocurrency has since dropped down to 91.2 million TH/s. To put that into perspective, at the time of the previous Bitcoin price all-time high, the network’s combined hashrate was just 14.5 TH/s.

 

BTC hash rate has gradually risen through 2019.

 

Related Reading: Chinese Interest in Bitcoin Remains High Post Crypto Rally According to Data

Featured Image from Shutterstock.

The post Russian Official Plans to Rival Bitcoin Mining Mega-Farms of Texas appeared first on NewsBTC.

A Chinese Blockchain Day? October 24 Proposed as Day to Celebrate Tech Behind Bitcoin

Following China’s recent endorsement of blockchain technology, members of the nation’s Communications Industry Association have proposed a national day of celebration for the innovation. The date suggested is October 24 – the day that Chinese president Xi Jinping first announced the nation’s full embrace of the technology behind Bitcoin.

Many in the cryptocurrency community have interpreted China’s interest in blockchain technology as wildly bullish for Bitcoin and other digital currencies. However, others disagree, arguing that decentralised, anarchic systems are by default at odds with highly centralised, authoritarian governments.

Could October 24 be Forever Known as Chinese Blockchain Day?

According to a report in the South China Morning Post, China’s Communications Industry Association has declared president Xi’s recent endorsement of blockchain technology a milestone for the industry. The association stated:

“[President Xi] blew the horn of progress for the future. It is our full aspiration that we will start our businesses with the [Communist] Party, speak out for the technology, and applaud its applications.”

As such, the association is calling for October 24 to be recognised as a day for the celebration of the technology.

Last week’s news coincided with a massive upwards move in the prices of many leading digital assets. Cryptocurrency investors appear to have received the blockchain endorsement as bullish for crypto in general.

However, an editorial published yesterday in state publication People’s Daily has once again warned the public of the risks associated with speculating in cryptocurrencies. It read:

“Blockchain is still in the early stages of development, and needs to be improved in terms of safety, standards, regulation and so on. The major direction is not wrong, but we must avoid a rush.”

Elsewhere, other commentators have argued that China is highly unlikely to have Bitcoin and other decentralised digital assets in mind when considering its implementation of the technology.

In fact, the blockchain endorsement could in fact be a negative for Bitcoin and other digital assets. With the nation known to be accelerating its own digital currency (DCEP) development, it may decide to come down hard upon other cryptocurrencies perceived as competition. Given that the Chinese government already exercises immense control over the internet and numerous other aspects of its citizens’ lives, it seems much more likely that the DCEP will be used to monitor the spending of its users and will be subject to the censorship of authorities.

Naturally, this is a far cry from the anarchic, liberating ideals that attracted many to Bitcoin and cryptocurrency to begin with. Ultimately, as NewsBTC reported recently, the nation’s embrace of blockchain technology could actually be damaging to the cryptocurrency industry – particularly for those projects based in China.

 

Related Reading: Bulls Jumping the Gun, Bitcoin Price Not Bullish Yet at $9,400: Analyst

Featured Image from Shutterstock.

The post A Chinese Blockchain Day? October 24 Proposed as Day to Celebrate Tech Behind Bitcoin appeared first on NewsBTC.

Prominent Bitcoin Naysayer Refutes China Being Behind Recent BTC Rally

Peter Schiff has refuted the notion that the Chinese government endorsement of blockchain is behind Bitcoin’s recent price rally. The price of the leading digital asset surged on Friday to a high above $10,000 on some exchanges before returning to around $9,400 at the time of writing.

Schiff instead claims that so-called whales (large holders of the digital asset) are manipulating the market to make it more favourable for them to sell their own Bitcoin to new investors.

Schiff: Market Manipulation, Not Chinese Enthusiasm Behind Bitcoin Price Pump

On Friday, Chinese media revealed that president Xi Jinping called for the adoption of blockchain technology in the nation during a meeting of the Political Bureau of the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee. Also on Friday, the price of Bitcoin suddenly shot up.

From trading at around $7,400, the leading digital asset surged, reaching more than $10,000 on some exchanges. In the days that followed, NewsBTC reported on further developments around the story. These included the nation’s state-controlled media broadcasting a segment referencing Bitcoin as the first example of a blockchain application, along with evidence that a new blockchain exam by the Chinese government opens with a class all about Bitcoin.

Although many commentators in the cryptocurrency industry have interpreted the development as wildly bullish for all of crypto, the news has not impressed everyone. Plenty of naysayers were on hand to remind those elated that a government with a strong preference for centralised power is unlikely to have the anarchic, decentralised Bitcoin in mind when considering its apparent rapid implementation of blockchain technology.

Unsurprisingly, Peter Schiff is amongst those that don’t believe the hype. He tweeted as much earlier today:

Schiff, who has never had a good thing to say about Bitcoin, believes that the recent price rise was a product of manipulation rather than more organic investment. The proponent of gold states that the “weak market” of Bitcoin does not support large holders of the cryptocurrency dumping their investments. Therefore, in order to do so, these so-called whales must ramp up interest in digital currency so that buyers can absorb the increased selling pressure.

Although not explicit, Schiff suggests that the recent Chinese blockchain endorsement was a cue for these large Bitcoin holders to boost the price up, thus encouraging what he calls “momentum buyers” to enter the market. The extra buying pressure making the “weak market” temporarily strong enough for the whales to dump their holdings on investors genuinely buying on the sudden hype around the announcement.

 

Related Reading: Chinese Bank Invests in Bitcoin Wallet After President Xi’s Remarks: Report

Featured Image from Shutterstock.

The post Prominent Bitcoin Naysayer Refutes China Being Behind Recent BTC Rally appeared first on NewsBTC.

Coffee for Crypto? ICE to Launch Bitcoin Consumer App with Starbucks

The Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) is eyeing the first half of 2020 to begin testing of its consumer-facing Bitcoin payment application. The company will be working with its partner Starbucks to bring the app to life.

The financial markets company’s first foray into the world of digital assets was the recently launched Bakkt platform, which offers physically-settled Bitcoin futures. When ICE first announced Bakkt in August 2018, it also announced that it would be working with Starbucks and Microsoft on products aimed at promoting adoption – much to the excitement of many Bitcoin proponents.

ICE Looking to Push Bitcoin Adoption with New Consumer Application

According to a report in Bloomberg, the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) is preparing to start the testing phase of a Bitcoin consumer payments application it has been working on. Helping the company with the testing of the new platform will be its partner Starbucks.

The ICE, which also owns the New York Stock Exchange, is hoping to begin testing of the application in early 2020. Mike Blandina, the chief product officer at the ICE-owned Bakkt, wrote in a blog post that the firm is committed to “unlocking the value of digital assets”. It aims to do this through consumer payments, first facilitated by its new application. He continued:

“Our vision is to provide a consumer platform for managing a digital asset portfolio, whether they wish to store, transact, trade or transfer their assets.”

Blandina added that ICE has put together of strong team with expertise in payments. It is now close to completing what the executive describes as its “core payments and compliance platform” and is focusing on developing a merchant portal and consumer application.

Bakkt excited many when it was first announced last year. A massive name like the ICE moving into the Bitcoin industry was widely interpreted as incredibly bullish. However, the platform’s performance following its launch late last month was a great disappointment for a lot of Bitcoin proponents. Interest in the platform’s physically-settled Bitcoin futures appeared far lower than most people had hoped.

The platform has had a very slow start, but interest now seems to be picking up. A total of 1,183 of the contracts, representing around $10.3 million were traded on Friday. Although this is absolutely minuscule when compared with the trading volumes reported at many crypto asset exchanges, the average volume of the 23 days preceding Friday’s all-time high was less than $1.05 million. This includes well above average performances on October 23 and 24 too.

Along with the consumer-facing application, due to start testing in early 2020, Bakkt will also be launching new trading products on its regulated platform at the end of 2019. Users will be able to trade options on the futures contracts from December 9, as NewsBTC reported last week.

 

Related Reading: Was Boring Bakkt Launch Institutional Investors Waiting To Buy the Dip in Bitcoin?

Featured Image from Shutterstock.

The post Coffee for Crypto? ICE to Launch Bitcoin Consumer App with Starbucks appeared first on NewsBTC.

Big Crypto Exchanges Join Kakao’s Blockchain Division

Malta-based crypto asset exchange OKEx is the latest name to join the blockchain project of the Korean social messaging giant Kakao. OKEx said in a press release that it hopes its involvement with Klaytn, as the public network is called, will help encourage blockchain adoption around the world.

The public blockchain aimed at enterprise users has been on something of a recruiting drive of late. OKEx joins fellow crypto exchange Binance as a partner of Klaytn but in a different capacity.

Crypto Exchanges Join Kakao’s Blockchain Department

OKEx, one of the planet’s largest crypto asset exchange platforms, has just announced a major new partnership. The company has joined Klaytn, the public blockchain project by Korean messaging company Kakao. The crypto trading company has become  one of the project’s Ecosystem Partners.

Fellow Ecosystem Partners include Samsung Blockchain, IDG Capital, and Shinhan Bank. Klaytn defines the role of ecosystem partners on its website:

“Ecosystem Partners are the leading business partners whose great networks and portfolios allow many different service providers to join Klaytn platform and contribute to increasing Klaytn’s market share.”

Andy Cheung, the Head of Operations at OKEx, said that the crypto exchange was excited to be part of the Klaytn blockchain project. He added:

“Exchanges and projects itself should work together to define and adopt standards that will promote digital asset adoption globally.”

As mentioned, OKEx is not the only big name from the crypto asset exchange industry that has recently partnered with Klaytn. Earlier this week, IBS Intelligence reported on Binance joining the project.

Unlike OKEx, Binance has joined Klaytn on its Governance Council. According to the project’s site:

“Klaytn Governance Council is an alliance of multinational businesses and organizations, responsible for operating the consensus node network and driving the ecosystem growth.”

Binance joins LG Electronics, Union Bank, and 22 other companies on the Council. CEO of Ground X, the company heading the development of the Klaytn platform, Jason Han, commented:

“We are excited to welcome the world’s leading exchange Binance to our Governance Council.”

He went on to say that new members would be added to the Governance Council in the future. Meanwhile, the CFO at Binance called the other companies it would be working with the most innovative in Asia and said that Klaytn would help promote the adoption of blockchain technology around the world.

Kakao is the company behind KakaoTalk, an instant messaging application popular in South Korea. In fact, the app is thought to be on as many as 93 percent of the smartphones in the nation.

 

Related Reading: Bitcoin Pumps by $800 in 20 Minutes: $150 Million in BitMEX Shorts Liquidated

Featured Image from Shutterstock.

The post Big Crypto Exchanges Join Kakao’s Blockchain Division appeared first on NewsBTC.

Twitter will Never be a Part of Facebook’s Libra “Crypto”, Says CEO

Jack Dorsey has said “hell no” to the thought of Twitter joining the Libra Association. He also said that he didn’t understand why the project needed its only crypto asset-like currency to deliver on its stated goals.

Dorsey said he much preferred decentralised crypto assets. He added that he thought Bitcoin was well on its way to becoming the currency of the internet.

Dorsey Says “Hell No” to Libra but Still a Fan of Crypto

The CEO gave his opinions on the Libra project at a Twitter media event in New York City. According to The Verge, Dorsey responded with a strong “hell no” to the suggestion of his company joining the Libra Association, first detailed by Facebook this June.

He described the creation of the crypto-like asset Libra as entirely unnecessary for the project’s stated goals. When Facebook first announced Libra earlier this year, and in subsequent hearings with regulators, representatives of the project have said that advancing financial services to those currently lacking them around the world was one of its primary goals.

Dorsey questioned how exactly the Libra currency will better position the Libra Association to deliver on those goals. He stated:

“I don’t know if it’s a gimmick… but a cryptocurrency wasn’t necessary to make that work”

He added that without the project being an “internet open standard” and being “born out of a company’s intention”, he would never want Twitter to work with the association.

Whilst the Twitter CEO is clearly less than impressed with the Libra proposals, he is still fond of open, decentralised crypto assets, like Bitcoin. Also at the media event, he went as far as to reiterate an earlier idea of his – that Bitcoin will one day become the internet’s native currency:

“I think the internet is somewhat of an emerging nation-state in almost every way. It almost has a currency now in the form of cryptocurrency and Bitcoin.”

The Libra project has encountered all kinds of setbacks in the few months since Facebook announced it. Regulators from around the world have expressed concern about the firm’s financial ambitions, the project’s eventual use as a means of financing illicit activity, and the potential for Libra to usurp the sovereignty of nations.

This pressure is believed to have prompted major US companies like MasterCard and Visa to pull out of the Libra Association just hours before its first official meeting.

Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, appeared in a six hour congressional hearing about Libra on Wednesday. Members of Congress used the session to once again reiterate their concerns to Zuckerberg.

Particularly damning was the dressing down the CEO received from Rep. Brad Sherman. Like Dorsey, he questioned the project’s aims, stating that rather than helping the worst off around the world, Facebook’s “crypto” would only benefit criminals:

 

Related Reading: Pressure on Libra From U.S. Intensifies as Congressman Suggests Bitcoin Instead

Featured Image from Shutterstock.

The post Twitter will Never be a Part of Facebook’s Libra “Crypto”, Says CEO appeared first on NewsBTC.

Bakkt Launching New Bitcoin Options for its Futures Contracts in “Industry First”

The Bakkt platform is getting set to launch new Bitcoin trading derivatives. As of December, users of the regulated platform will be able to trade the Bakkt Bitcoin Options contract.

Although off to a very slow start, yesterday saw volume on Bakkt increase dramatically. Additional products coming to the company may prompt the continued growth of the platform.

Bakkt to Add Bitcoin Options Trading this December

According to a blog post by Bakkt CEO Kelly Loeffler, the platform will launch the new derivative product on December 9. The post reads:

“We’re committed to bringing trust and utility to digital assets and the options contract is an example of the many products we’re developing for regulated markets.”

Loeffler also described the launch as “an industry first”. Bakkt will beat the CME Group in offering options on futures contracts by a matter of weeks it seems. The global markets firm recently announced that it would launch a similar product in early 2020.

For those unaware, options on futures contracts allow the trader to set a price at which they want to buy or sell a futures contract at when it expires. They can be used to hedge against different trades and exposure to the underlying asset, Bitcoin.

Loeffler claims that the contracts were inspired by customer feedback. She describes the platform’s launch of the new derivative as:

“… another important step in developing this asset class for institutional investors, their customers and investors.”

Bakkt first launched its physically-settled futures contracts in September of this year. For many interested in the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency space, the much-hyped event was a letdown. Early trading volumes have been much lower than people were hoping for, perhaps suggesting that potential investors were not interested in Bitcoin.

Great portions of the cryptocurrency community hoped that the Bakkt launch would prompt some sort of institutional buying frenzy that would drive prices to new all-time highs. Quite the contrary, volumes have been low and Bitcoin prices have been largely heading down since it went live.

However, in recent days trading volume of Bakkt’s physically-settled futures has been steadily increasing. On October 23, volume hit an all time high around $4.81 million. This represents a substantial increase on previous days.

At $4.8 million worth of trading, the volume is still nothing on that reported in the wider cryptocurrency market. However, when volume has typically been between $200,000 and $1.9 million, there has clearly been a strong uptake in interest in trading the contracts offered by Bakkt. New products and investors becoming more accustomed to the platform might well encourage even greater interest in Bakkt in coming weeks and months.

 

Related Reading: Was Boring Bakkt Launch Institutional Investors Waiting To Buy the Dip in Bitcoin?

Featured Image from Shutterstock. 

The post Bakkt Launching New Bitcoin Options for its Futures Contracts in “Industry First” appeared first on NewsBTC.

Crypto Exchange Binance Adds First Fiat Trading Pair, CEO Hints More Will Follow

Binance has added its first fiat currency trading pair. Nigerian users of the platform will now be able to deposit using their local currency, the naira, at the popular crypto trading venue.

Previously, users of the platform have only been able to trade cryptocurrency for other cryptocurrency. However, that looks set to change with today’s announncement and the fact that Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao has hinted that the exchange is also close to being able to add more fiat currencies.

Binance Supporting Growing Crypto Market in Nigeria

Previously, NewsBTC has reported on the growing interest in crypto assets observed in parts of Africa. LocalBitcoins volume data, provided by UsefulTulips, shows that Nigeria is one of the nations with the biggest appetite for trading digital currencies on the continent.

With an announcement made by Binance earlier today, the crypto asset traders of Nigeria have become the first in the world to be able to deposit their own national currency to the exchange platform.

According to a post to the company’s support section, the Nigerian naira (ticker: NGN) deposits will be facilitated by the online payment’s company Flutterwave. Initially, trading in the Nigerian national currency will be limited to Bitcoin (BTC), Binance Coin (BNB), and the crypto exchange’s own stablecoin BUSD.

The exchange also announced a promotion to mark its first listing of a fiat currency:

“To celebrate the first fiat currency listing on Binance, all newly registered users who deposit NGN to Binance through Flutterwave will enjoy zero fees for deposits up to 36,000 NGN starting October 24, 2019.”

The CEO of Binance, Changpeng Zhao, promoted the announcement via his own Twitter account earlier today. Accompanying the exchange’s initial post was the message:

“You know what it happens next, right? First leads to more…”

Given the sheer number of obscure digital assets listed at Binance, the company has so far been unable to offer anything but crypto-to-crypto trading. Meanwhile, those exchanges providing deposits in other fiat currencies, such as Coinbase, Kraken, or Bitstamp, only support trading of a small number of the most established cryptocurrencies. Regulatory uncertainty makes pushing to add fiat currencies, in the case of Binance, or to add additional cryptocurrencies, in the case of fiat-to-crypto exchanges, a challenge. In fact, earlier this year, US regulators took issue with Binance. This forced the exchange to shut up operations and rush to launch a US division with a vastly reduced set of crypto assets for users to trade.

 

Related Reading: Is Largely Unbanked Africa Primed for Bitcoin Adoption?

Featured Image from Shutterstock.

The post Crypto Exchange Binance Adds First Fiat Trading Pair, CEO Hints More Will Follow appeared first on NewsBTC.

Germany Fingers Anonymous Cryptos as Bigger Threat than Bitcoin

The German finance ministry has stated that criminal use of Monero (XMR) and Zcash (ZEC) is rising. In a  recent report, it argued that use of anonymous crypto assets might one day replace that of Bitcoin on the dark web.

The report is careful to highlight differences between different crypto assets. Whereas blockchain forensics firms can often link an individual to a Bitcoin wallet, anonymity-preserving protocols limit their efficacy.

Criminals Still Prefer Cash to Pseudonymous Crypto!

The money laundering and terrorist financing-focused report is titled the First National Risk Analysus. Germany’s Federal Ministry of Finance published it on October 11.

The ministry started to assess the existing and future risks that could contribute to the proliferation of such financial crimes in December 2017. Joining the ministry in its research are 35 other federal and state authorities.

The analysis identifies the use of crypto assets as a potential risk factor for the future. However, it makes a clear distinction between pseudo-anonymous cryptos, such as Bitcoin, and privacy-focused currencies, such as Monero and Zcash.

The German Ministry of Finance claims that the risk posed by anonymous cryptocurrencies is greater than that of the likes of Bitcoin. Their anonymous nature makes policing criminal acts associated with their use much tougher and, therefore, criminals may start to use them more frequently.

The ministry observed that although use on the dark web or as a method of financing terrorism remains low, popularity for the anonymous cryptos is growing.

The report also states that there is not much evidence of any cryptocurrency being used in connection with terrorist financing in Germany. However, the ministry claims to have identified its use in relation to occasional groups of religious extremists and the far-right.

It says that current cryptocurrency volatility limits its use as a means of payment. However, those behind the report identify stablecoins as being a potential option for fast international payments beteween criminal networks.

Interestingly, it also states that the ultimately traceable nature of most crypto assets that have not had anonymity features built in makes them a poor choice when compared to a much more established and familiar means of payment – cash:

“The use of cash, in contrast to the use of pseudonymous crypto assets, leaves no traceable footprint and is easy to handle, so it can be assumed that, for example, the transfer of funds in the field of ​​terrorism financing alongside hawala and money transfer service providers currently continues mainly via cash couriers.”

 

Related Reading: Bitcoin Price Volatility Approaches as Bulls Try to Outclass Bears

Featured Image from Shutterstock.

The post Germany Fingers Anonymous Cryptos as Bigger Threat than Bitcoin appeared first on NewsBTC.

Germany Fingers Anonymous Cryptos as Bigger Threat than Bitcoin

The German finance ministry has stated that criminal use of Monero (XMR) and Zcash (ZEC) is rising. In a  recent report, it argued that use of anonymous crypto assets might one day replace that of Bitcoin on the dark web.

The report is careful to highlight differences between different crypto assets. Whereas blockchain forensics firms can often link an individual to a Bitcoin wallet, anonymity-preserving protocols limit their efficacy.

Criminals Still Prefer Cash to Pseudonymous Crypto!

The money laundering and terrorist financing-focused report is titled the First National Risk Analysus. Germany’s Federal Ministry of Finance published it on October 11.

The ministry started to assess the existing and future risks that could contribute to the proliferation of such financial crimes in December 2017. Joining the ministry in its research are 35 other federal and state authorities.

The analysis identifies the use of crypto assets as a potential risk factor for the future. However, it makes a clear distinction between pseudo-anonymous cryptos, such as Bitcoin, and privacy-focused currencies, such as Monero and Zcash.

The German Ministry of Finance claims that the risk posed by anonymous cryptocurrencies is greater than that of the likes of Bitcoin. Their anonymous nature makes policing criminal acts associated with their use much tougher and, therefore, criminals may start to use them more frequently.

The ministry observed that although use on the dark web or as a method of financing terrorism remains low, popularity for the anonymous cryptos is growing.

The report also states that there is not much evidence of any cryptocurrency being used in connection with terrorist financing in Germany. However, the ministry claims to have identified its use in relation to occasional groups of religious extremists and the far-right.

It says that current cryptocurrency volatility limits its use as a means of payment. However, those behind the report identify stablecoins as being a potential option for fast international payments beteween criminal networks.

Interestingly, it also states that the ultimately traceable nature of most crypto assets that have not had anonymity features built in makes them a poor choice when compared to a much more established and familiar means of payment – cash:

“The use of cash, in contrast to the use of pseudonymous crypto assets, leaves no traceable footprint and is easy to handle, so it can be assumed that, for example, the transfer of funds in the field of ​​terrorism financing alongside hawala and money transfer service providers currently continues mainly via cash couriers.”

 

Related Reading: Bitcoin Price Volatility Approaches as Bulls Try to Outclass Bears

Featured Image from Shutterstock.

The post Germany Fingers Anonymous Cryptos as Bigger Threat than Bitcoin appeared first on NewsBTC.

Ripple Makes Sets Up Shop in United States Capital

The San Francisco-based company behind the XRP cryptocurrency has opened offices in the United States capital. This makes Ripple Labs the first company focused on blockchain technology to have a regulatory team in Washington, DC.

In addition to the announcement, Ripple will be joining the lobbying group, the Blockchain Association. The firm has also made added former member of the US Treasury Department, Craig Philips, as an independent director.

Ripple Makes Big Moves in Washington

According to a report in Forbes, the blockchain company Ripple Labs has just opened new offices. Brad Garlinghouse, the firm’s CEO, described the move as an important step towards negotiating for favourable regulation of the industry.

The company’s Global Head of Government Relations, Michelle Bond, will lead the new DC offices. Ripple looks to be creating a regulatory team of as high qualification as possible in the capital. Legal specialist Ron Hammond and Sue Friedman, formerly of the US Treasury Department, will be part of the Ripple DC team.

In response to a question about Ripple being the first company to boast such Washington representation, Garlinghouse stated:

“I can’t speak to what other companies are doing, but Ripple has welcomed conversations with regulators and governments from the beginning – we sat on the Federal Reserve Faster Payments Task Force, are part of the IMF’s Fintech Advisory Board, hosted a summit for central banks to learn about blockchain and we continue to engage with 50+ governments worldwide – and establishing an office here is a natural extension of that work.”

In addition to the new offices Ripple announced that it will be joining the Blockchain Association. The DC-based group has welcomed Bond to its executive board.

As mentioned, Craig Phillips will also be part of Ripple’s Washington DC operation. The former Counselor to the Secretary at the US Treasury Department will reportedly provide guidance to the company’s leadership with regards to strategic regulatory opportunities. Phillips stated:

“It feels like a natural fit to share my experience in both the private and public sector with Ripple at a time when all eyes are on the blockchain and crypto industry. Ripple has made it a priority to work with regulatory bodies to develop a safe and predictable compliance environment, and I look forward to the opportunity to contribute to that effort.”

The XRP market has barely reflected Ripple’s Washington announcements today. The number three digital asset by market capitalisation saw its price rise by 1.14 percent over the last 24 hours. Although Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) saw neither gains or losses over the same period, other top ten altcoins such as Bitcoin SV (BSV) and EOS rose by greater percentages.

 

Related Reading: Crypto Tidbits: Fidelity Expands Bitcoin Ops, Ripple’s XRP Sales Fall, Grayscale Sees Growing Altcoin Demand

Featured Image from Shutterstock.

The post Ripple Makes Sets Up Shop in United States Capital appeared first on NewsBTC.

Bitcoin Mining Moves to Texas, Bitmain Announces Partner for Massive New Facility

The Bitcoin mining giant Bitmain has just announced that it will work with a Canadian startup to help create a facility with potentially 300MW of power in Texas. DMG Blockchain Solutions Inc. will be providing the Chinese firm with project management services.

The news comes less than a week after a different startup announced its intentions to also bring Bitcoin mining to Texas. Layer 1 aims to create an all-in-house mining facility and has received funding of $50 million to help it achieve this.

Another Massive Mining Operation for Texas

According to a press release, Bitmain has partnered with a Canadian startup to help it create a massive mining facility in Texas. The Chinese hardware manufacturer will be working with DMG Blockchain Solutions Inc. – a self-described “diversified blockchain and technology company.” DMG states that it was chosen following an extensive selection process.

Bitmain initially started construction of a 25MW mining farm on a 33,000 acre site in Rockdale, Texas, last year. The firm has now announced that it will be at least doubling its size with the help of DMG. The site will be powered with electricity sourced from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT).

The CEO of DMG, Dan Reitzik, stated the following of the deal between the two companies:

“Being chosen by the world’s leading bitcoin mining company is a great testament to the capabilities of DMG’s mining team. Over the past several months, Bitmain visited many large facilities throughout North America including DMG’s flagship facility in British Columbia, Canada.”

The release says that there is currently 50MW of power available for the planned Texas site. There is also the potential to increase this to 300MW. This would make it one of the largest Bitcoin mining facilities on the planet.

DMG says that it will be handling management of the new facility but will not be adding to the funding of the project. Sheldon Bennett, COO of DMG, commented on the firm’s suitability for its new management position:

“Having led large projects in Alberta and recently completing DMG’s 60MW facility, this 300MW facility is an exciting opportunity for DMG to truly demonstrate economies of scale. While the task of managing what we believe will be the world’s largest bitcoin data centre is daunting, we are confident that together with Bitmain, we will complete on time and on budget.”

Don’t Bitcoin Miners Like the Cold?

The news follows the recent announcement by another Bitcoin-focused startup. Layer 1, launched in 2018, originally positioned itself as an “activist fund for cryptocurrencies.” However, last week the firm announced that it had just completed a $50 million funding round. Amongst those backing the venture is US entrepreneur Peter Thiel.

Layer 1’s plan is to perform almost all tasks relevant to the operation of a Bitcoin mining facility itself. This not only means manufacturing the chips but also creating a power substation and developing advanced cooling methods to deal with the intense Texas heat.

Typically, Bitcoin miners have preferred cooler climates for their operations. This allows them to save money on systems systems needed to cool hundreds if not thousands of powerful computer systems working day and night in the same space.

Bitmain’s Rockdale Lead Project Manager, Clinton Brown, explained why firms were starting to turn to Texas for Bitcoin mining:

“We are excited to launch this facility, which is significant to Bitmain’s global expansion plans. The stable and efficient energy resources in Texas are fundamental to the inevitable scale of growth for the cryptocurrency mining industry.”

 

Related Reading: Russian Scientists Fined for Mining Bitcoin on Hijacked Supercomputer

Featured Image from Shutterstock.

The post Bitcoin Mining Moves to Texas, Bitmain Announces Partner for Massive New Facility appeared first on NewsBTC.