Hodler’s Digest, Jan.7–13: Top Stories, Price Movements, Quotes and FUD of the Week

Top Stories This Week

Altcoin Ethereum Classic Reportedly Undergoes 51 Percent Attack

Earlier this week, the Ethereum Classic (ETC) reportedly underwent a 51 percent attack. In the aftermath, crypto exchange Coinbase noted that upwards of $1.1 million in crypto was double spent during the time of the deep blockchain reorganization. Coinbase and several other cryptocurrency exchanges temporarily paused deposits and withdrawals of the altcoin to prevent loss of funds. Crypto exchange Gate.io confirmed that the attack was carried out and promised refunds, stating that around 54,200 ETC in total (worth around $271,500 at the time) was transferred during the attack. However, Gate.io also reported later that $100,000 was returned to them with no explanation, prompting rumors of participation by a white hat hacker.

Coinbase, Square Cash App Reported Bans Accounts of Social Media Platform Gab Founder

This week, the social media platform Gab announced that both Coinbase and the Square Cash app had banned the personal account of Andrew Torba, the founder of Gab. As reported earlier last year, Gab.com’s business account on Coinbase had already allegedly been closed in December. The blocking of Torba’s Square Cash account occurred after the reported Coinbase block, and also after Gab sent an email to its user base promoting both the Cash App and Bitcoin. Gab is a social media platform that promotes itself as a place for free speech, becoming in effect a draw for those blocked on other platforms for hate speech concerning right wing extremism.

Addition of Monero Payment Option to Fortnite Merch Store Was Accidental

The CEO of Epic Games, Tim Sweeney, said this week that the addition of altcoin Monero (XMR) as a payment option for the Fortnite merchandise store was an accident. The store, called Retail Row, accidentally began accepting the altcoin on Jan. 5, according to tweets from developer Riccardo Spagni. Sweeney, denying the rumors, said this week that the addition of Monero was unintentional, and that staff have since removed the privacy-centered altcoin from the store’s payment option. Sweeney also denied that Epic Games had partnered with crypto payment processor GloBee.

Analysts Say BTC Whale Activity Could Move Market as Dormant BTC Wallets Revive

A number of long-dormant Bitcoin wallet have seen an uptick recently, Bloomberg reported this week, which could mean that major BTC whales might influence the crypto market. According to analysis from crypto analytics startup Flipside Crypto, several long-inactive BTC holders have begun to move their coins, meaning that wallets active over the past 30 days now hold about 60 percent of total BTC supply. Similar wallet movement preceded Bitcoin’s major historical price volatility in both 2015 and 2017 — in the latter year, the coin surged to all-time price highs of $20,000.

Winklevoss Twins Express Commitment to Bitcoin ETF During Reddit AMA

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss doubled down on their commitment to getting a Bitcoin (BTC) ETF approved during a question and answer session on Reddit’s Ask Me Anything (AMA) subreddit this week. The twins also showed support for specifically Bitcoin, referring to it as “the OG crypto” and calling it “the winner in the long term.” Tyler Winklevoss also underlined the importance of blockchain versus cryptocurrencies, noting that they need each other in order to exist.

Winners and Losers

The cryptocurrency markets are holding steady at the end of the week, with Bitcoin trading at around $3,670, Ripple at around $0.33 and Ethereum at around $126. Total market cap is around $122 billion.

The top three altcoin gainers of the week are BDT Token, CariNet and Simmitri. The top three altcoin losers of the week are SoundDAC, AgaveCoin and WhaleCoin.

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

Most Memorable Quotations

“I think we will come back a few years from now and say how could we ever have gotten into this situation where we believed this kind of a fairy-tale story,” — Ardo Hansson, governor of Estonia’s central bank and member of the Governing Council of the European Central Bank, about crypto

“We believe bitcoin is better at being gold than gold. If we’re right, then over time the market cap of Bitcoin will surpass the ~7trillion [sic] dollar market cap of gold,” — Tyler Winklevoss, co-founder of Gemini, during Reddit AMA

“Some self-proclaimed Bitcoin Maximalists are actually Bitcoin Extremists. They think all other coins are scams and will go to zero. Maximalists think Bitcoin is and will remain the dominant cryptocurrency but there is room for altcoins to exist and even do well,” — Charlie Lee, Litecoin (LTC) founder

“Bitcoin has the potential to be worth a lot and to be worth zero,” — Bill Miller, noted Wall Street investor

“Ripple took a contrarian view on a bunch of things pretty early right and that made us unpopular among the die-hard crypto community. In the face of those kind of arrows, though, I still have conviction that we’re on the right path,” — Brad Garlinghouse, Ripple CEO

“You hear all the bulls**t out there, oh, this does 10,000 transactions a second. It’s all crap. We were going to melt TRON. Literally destroy it,” — Simon Morris, former Bittorrent employee, speaking about Tron’s tokenization

Prediction of the Week

“The reality is it’ll probably trade sideways between $3,000 and $5,000 for another month or two while it’s trying to find which way to go,” — Vinny Lingham, CEO of blockchain identity platform Civic

FUD of the Week

Former BitTorrent Executive Claims Tron Won’t Be Able to Manage BitTorrent’s Token

Simon Morris, the former chief strategy officer at BitTorrent, said in an interview this week that Tron doesn’t have the capabilities to manage the transaction volume that will be needed to tokenize BitTorrent. Morris said that his team needed hundreds of transactions per second just to get started, and that Tron would only be able to manage the volume if they manage BitTorrent transactions on a central server and pretend it is Tron-based. A Tron representative told Cointelegraph that “Morris appears to have little insight into BitTorrent operational plans since his departure.”

Fourth Indian Suspect Arrested After $70 Million Cryptocurrency Scam

Police in India have arrested a member of a group that has been accused of conducting a cryptocurrency scam involving 5 billion rupees (around $71.6 million) this week. The case is ongoing, and this is the fourth arrest in connection with the alleged scam involving a token, dubbed Money Trade Coin (MTC). According to the police, the group artificially inflated the price of the token in order to prop up investments, leaving investors unable to sell the token when the price fell.

Hackers Take Over Belgian Non-Profit Twitter to Tweet Fake Coinbase Giveaways

The Federation of Enterprises in Belgium (FEB) had their Twitter account hacked this week and made to resemble an affiliate account of major United States crypto exchange Coinbase.  After the hackers tool control of the FEB’s Twitter, they proceeded to tweet scam giveaways, offering followers a large amount of crypto if they send a small amount first. In this case, the hackers offered both 3,000 BTC and 30,000 BTC in an apparent typo to their followers. The Coinbase branding has since been removed from the Twitter account.

Best Cointelegraph Features

Ethereum Classic 51% Attack — The Reality of Proof-of-Work

In the wake of the confusing and sometimes contradictory media coverage of the 51 percent attack on the Ethereum Classic network this week, Cointelegraph’s looks at the questions brought up over how security and power of proof-of-work (PoW) algorithms should and do function.

What We Know About Yellow Vests’ Bank Run and How Crypto Could Help It

As the protests in France against the government continue, a call for a run on the banks has brought up parallels between the protestors’ goal to show the vulnerability of those in traditional positions of power, and crypto’s aim to create a parallel financial structure unconnected with traditional finance.

From Bitconnect to SIM-Swap Swindling: 2018’s Biggest Scams

In the beginning of 2019, Cointelegraph takes a look back over the past year’s most memorable scams, including the fall of Bitconnect and the rising phenomenon of SIM-swapping.

Article First Published here

Hodler’s Digest, Dec. 24–30: Top Stories, Price Movements, Quotes and FUD of the Week

Top Stories This Week

Nvidia Faces Class Action Lawsuit Over Losses After Lower GPU Mining Demand

Graphics processing unit (GPU) producer Nvidia is currently facing a class action lawsuit over losses that the company reported when lower crypto prices lowered demand for GPUs by miners. The Schall law firm announced the lawsuit this week, with the complaint alleging that Nvidia made false and misleading statements to the market. Schall noted that since the GPU producer claimed that drop off in demand for GPU on miners would not negatively affect the business, the lawsuit has merit.

Altcoin Bitcoin Private Team Confirms 2 mln Additional Coins Were Secretly Premined

The development team for altcoin Bitcoin Private (BTCP) has confirmed this week that 2.04 million units of BTCP were created that were never intended to exist on the altcoin’s blockchain. Following a report in late December from a digital asset analytics website that revealed the discrepancy, the BTCP team launched an investigation that eventually found that the extra coins had been mined, but they do not yet know who created the coins and for what reason.

South Korea Rules in Favor of Bithumb After Investor Lawsuit Over $355,000 Hack

South Korean court has ruled in favor of crypto exchange Bithumb in a lawsuit in which an investor had sued the exchange for his loss of around $355,000 in an alleged hack. Ahn Park alleged that he had been the victim of a hack of his Bithumb account on Nov. 20, 2017, which resulted in the aforementioned loss, and cited Bithumb’s lack of security safeguards as befit a financial services firm. However, the court did not find Park’s claims that Bithumb’s activities were similar to that of services offered in the financial sector to be true, and ruled against him.

– Vitalik Buterin Defending the Lightning Network

New Indian Governmental Committee Supports Crypto Legalization, Media Reports

Local India media reported this week that a governmental committee has suggested that cryptocurrencies be legalized within the country. An unnamed senior official who reportedly attended the panel’s meetings on cryptocurrencies stated that there was a “general consensus that cryptocurrency cannot be dismissed as completely illegal. It needs to be legalized with strong riders.” The government reportedly set up this panel after the Reserve Bank of India’s ban on banks dealing with crypto businesses and persons in April this year.

Major US Magazine Time Column Reports on the Freeing Potential of Bitcoin

Time magazine published a column this week that praised the liberating potential of Bitcoin, mentioning Venezuela as an example of a country where the citizens can benefit from the cryptocurrency. According to the article, Bitcoin is a valuable financial tool for avoiding censorship, specifically noting that Bitcoin can help Venezuelans avoid inflation, as a government cannot simply print more Bitcoin. The currency can also be used to bypass mass surveillance in places like China.

Winners and Losers

The crypto markets are looking steady today, with Bitcoin trading around $3,874.67, Ripple around $0.37 and Ethereum at $138.85. Total market cap is around $130 billion.

The top three altcoin gainers of the week are SoundDAC, Bitspace and HondaisCoin. The top three altcoin losers of the week are RabbitCoin, Accelerator Network and CatoCoin.

Winners and Losers

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

Most Memorable Quotations

“Block-chain [sic] technology. No joke. Super powerful stuff, and the first one to figure out how to hack it, manipulate it or bring it down wins.” — Andrew Bustamante, reportedly a former CIA intelligence officer, speaking of the biggest threats to national security

Most Memorable Quotations

– Andrew Bustamante on the Future of U.S. National Security

“Once there are new issues, then Ether will rebound aggressively. When the ICO market returns, Ether will quickly test $200. The timing of the ICO rebirth is 12 to 18 months out,” — Arthur Hayes, BitMEX CEO

“Yeah no, I have my disagreements with the bitcoin roadmap, PoW, etc but they’re trying to do something that’s genuinely cool tech. BSV is a pure dumpster fire,”  — Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum (ETH) co-founder

“At some point, yes, it will drive a profound shift in how we communicate and collaborate, but we’re not there yet,”  — Lance Braunstein, E*Trade Financial Corp. CIO, speaking about “blockchain” as a buzzword

FUD of the Week

Hackers Steal Almost 1 Million in Phishing Attack on Electrum Wallet

A hack that reportedly took place this week against cryptocurrency wallet Electrum allowed a malicious party to steal almost 250 Bitcoin (BTC), commentators on social media reported. The hack was then confirmed by Electrum, which explained that it consisted of the creation of a fake version of the wallet that fooled users into providing password information. Affected users reported on social media that they failed to log onto their wallets after providing two-factor authentication code, which Electrum does not actually request during login.

WSJ: Hundreds of Crypto Projects Show Signs of Fraudulent Activity

Research published by the Wall Street Journal this week has revealed that hundreds of crypto offerings show signs of fraudulent activity, improbable returns and plagiarism. For its research, the WSJ downloaded the whitepapers of 3,291 crypto projects that had announced initial coin offerings (ICO), conducting an analysis of the documents. The research found that 16 percent — or 513 — of the aforementioned white papers showed signs of plagiarism and identity theft, and that 2,000 contained sentences with turns like “nothing to lose, guaranteed profit, return on investment, highest return, high return, funds profit, no risk and little risk.”

FUD of the Week

– Arthur Hayes on Ethereum and the Future of ICOs

Chinese Media Reports Jihan Wu and Jenke Group to Set Down as Bitmain CEOs

Unconfirmed media reports in China this week wrote that Jihan Wu and the Jenke Group will be reportedly soon retire as CEOs of leading mining ASIC producer Bitmain. According to unnamed sources, Bitmain is currently in a transition period, and employees are allegedly unhappy with the outcomes of the double-CEO system. The Chinese local media outlet also noted that their successor has the surname of Wang, without providing further information.

Japanese Giant GMO Internet to Stop BTC Miner Production After Losses in Q4

Japanese internet giant GMO Internet Group announced its intentions to leave the Bitcoin mining hardware sector. Citing major losses in Q4 of this year, GMO, which began its foray into BTC mining in 2017, has written in a public document that it will no longer develop, manufacture or sell miners, citing difficulties in the current business environment. The document also noted that GMO will relocate its mining operation “to a region that will allow us to secure cleaner and less expensive power supply.”

Best Cointelegraph Features

From Blanket Ban to Its Own Stablecoin: How Facebook’s Relationship With Crypto Changed Over 2018

Facebook often made the news this year in the FUD sense, as it banned, and then partially unbanned, advertising from cryptocurrency-related companies. In response to the rumors that the social media giant would be creating its own cryptocurrency, Cointelegraph looks at the history of how Facebook has interacted with crypto this year.

From “Obsolete” Blockchain to Bitcoin at $1 Mln: Predictions of 2018

As the year comes to a close, Cointelegraph looks at different predictions made this year about crypto, from the very accurate to the wildly off. As Bitcoin drops below $4,000 at year’s end, who was right?

Article First Published here

Hodler’s Digest, Dec 10-16: Top Stories, Price Movements, Quotes and FUD of the week

Top Stories This Week

CEO of Defunct Mt. Gox Exchanges Faces Ten Year Jail Sentence Over Embezzlement

Mark Karpeles, the former CEO of now-defunct Japanese Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox, could be facing a ten-year jail sentence over charges of embezzlement. Karpeles, who headed the exchange during the major hack in 2014 that resulted in the loss of 850,000 BTC ($2.87 billion at press time), has denied any wrongdoing. Prosecutors in a Tokyo court this week have claimed that Karpeles had stolen around $3 million worth of funds from the exchange, in a case not connected to the hack.

Only Two ASIC Mining Rigs Remain Profitable in Current Crypto Markets

During this week’s cryptocurrency market crash, crypto mining machines are having trouble making a profit for their operators, according to data from a mining profitability site. At one point this week, ASICMinerValue.com  — which calculates real-time profitability for ASIC miners — found that only two were currently making any profit. Both of the profit-reaping miners were released in October 2018 and were making $0.58 and $0.21 in profits at the time. At press time, however, more than two miners are now in the green.

Canadian City of Calgary Launches Digital ‘Calgary Dollar’ for Intracity Transactions

The Canadian city of Calgary, located in the province of Alberta, has launched its own digital currency: the Calgary Dollar. The digital currency will allow citizens, using an app on their devices, to support small businesses and nonprofits by keeping funds within the city. The Calgary Dollar can be used at shops and restaurants that participate in the program and can be earned in various ways, such as by inviting friends to the app or posting an ad for goods and services priced in the digital currency.

US SEC Chairman Speaks Positively of Initial Coin Offerings as Capital Raising Tool

The chairman of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Jay Clayton, said this week that Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) “can be effective” instruments for raising capital. During a speech given this week, Clayton noted that there are a “number of concerns” related to ICOs, but that they can be “effective” ways to raise capital providing that securities laws are followed. Clayton also mentioned the SEC’s Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology (FinHub), which will facilitate the agency’s involvement in fintech.

Samsung Refutes Rumors of Plans to Add Crypto Cold Wallet on Galaxy S10 Smartphone

Korean-headquartered transnational tech conglomerate Samsung has refuted rumors this week that it plans to launch a crypto cold wallet on its Galaxy S10 smartphone. The rumors began after the company filed three E.U. trademarks for blockchain- and cryptocurrency-software. SamMobile confirmed to Cointelegraph that the trademarks are part of the development of a Samsung proprietary cold wallet, which “may be launched” with the Galaxy 10 smartphone.

Winners and Losers

The cryptocurrency markets are holding steady, with Bitcoin (BTC) trading at around $3,275, Ripple (XRP) at around $02.38, and Ethereum (ETH) at around $86,29. Total market cap is about $104 billion.

The top three altcoin gainers of the week are Bolenum (BLN), Vestoria (VSTR) and SURETY (SURE). The top three altcoin losers of the week are BitF (BITF), KWH Coin (KWH) and DACH Coin (DACH).

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

Most Memorable Quotations

“I believe that ICOs can be effective ways for entrepreneurs and others to raise capital. However, the novel technological nature of an ICO does not change the fundamental point that, when a security is being offered, our securities laws must be followed,” — Jay Clayton, United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chairman

“We’re totally at home in winter,” — Tyler Winklevoss, speaking about the crypto bear market

“The audience is more sober now—the drug is gone. […] But it’s not going to zero. We’re at the methadone clinic,”  — Mike Novogratz, founder of Galaxy Digital

Prediction of the Week

Tom Lee: Bitcoin’s Fair Value Price Could Reach as High as $150,000

Crypto bull and co-founder of Fundstrat Global Advisors Tom Lee said this week that Bitcoin’s (BTC) “fair value” is much higher than its current price. In a note from this week, Lee also said that the coin’s fair value is between $13,800 and $14,800, also adding that the value could reach as high as $150,000. Lee added: “In fact, working backwards, to solve for the current price of Bitcoin, this implies crypto wallets should fall to 17 million from 50 million currently.”

FUD of the Week

China: Central Bank Governor Defines STOs as ‘Illegal Financial Activity’ in the Country

The People’s Bank of China (PBoC), the country’s central bank, highlighted the illegality of Security Token Offerings (STOs) in the country in a statement this week. Pan Gongsheng reportedly told a summit in Beijing this week that both STOs and ICOs were “rampant” in the mainland, despite the “nationwide clean-up” of the crypto markets in China last year. In regards to the “STO business” in China, Gongsheng added that cryptocurrencies are still associated with crime.

Major Stablecoin Profit Basis to Shut Down and Return Funds to Investors

Major United States-based stablecoin project Basis will shut down operations and return most of its funds to investors. The algorithmic stablecoin project will return the majority of its $133 million in funding that it raised during a private placement in April, according to a report.

Bloomberg later reported that Basis’ CEO Nader Al-Naji confirmed that the impetus to close the project came from regulatory concerns over a type of token in Basis’ — as well as other algorithmic stablecoins’ — a system known as a “secondary token,” which helps keep the coin’s price stable. Al-Naji noted that there was no way to “escape” classification as a security.

Head of Largest Romanian Crypto Exchange Arrested for Fraud on US Warrant

Vlad Nistor, the CEO of Romania’s largest crypto exchange Coinflux, was reportedly arrested on a warrant from the U.S. for fraud, organized crime and money laundering. Coinflux is an online digital currency trading platform, with reportedly more than 200 million euro worth of Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), and Ripple (XRP) in transactions. Nistor was allegedly arrested in Romania at the behest of the U.S.

After this arrest, CoinFlux posted an announcement about a temporary suspension of all digital currency exchanges, noting that the investigation has also restricted its access to some parts of the platform.

Best Cointelegraph Features

Europe Takes Serious Steps Toward Blockchain Adoption

Cointelegraph explores how Europe is orienting itself towards blockchain and digital ledger technology as a whole. Looking at several initiatives, including the European Blockchain Partnership and the blockchain-based healthcare project, the analysis examines how Europe is working to become a “global leader” in DLT.

From South Korea to IBM Food Trust – How Blockchain Is Used in the Food Industry

In this analysis, Cointelegraph looks at how different companies and areas in the food industry use blockchain technology to bring transparency to their food chains, and why that the traditional use of blockchain doesn’t always work here.

Article First Published here

Hodler’s Digest, Nov. 26—Dec. 2: Satoshi Makes a New Friend, Buterin Gets Negative Over Centralized Blockchains

Coming every Sunday, the Hodler’s Digest will help you to track every single important news story that happened this week. The best (and worst) quotes, adoption and regulation highlights, leading coins, predictions, and much more — a week on Cointelegraph in one link.

Top Stories This Week

Nasdaq Notes Bitcoin Futures Could Launch in Quarter 1 2019, Bloomberg Reports

Major U.S. stock exchange Nasdaq still intends to launch Bitcoin futures, and may do so in the first quarter of 2019, according to “two people familiar with the matter.” Speaking to Bloomberg this week, the two unnamed sources note that Nasdaq has been “working to satisfy the concerns of the U.S.’s main swaps regulator, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission [CFTC], before launching the contracts.” Later in the week, it was revealed that Nasdaq had partnered with U.S. investment firm VanEck to jointly launch a set of “transparent, regulated and surveilled” digital assets products, a move that supports the unnamed sources’ claims.

Ohio Poised to Become First US State to Accept Bitcoin for Taxes

The U.S. state of Ohio is set to become the first state to accept Bitcoin (BTC) as a tax payment. According to the Wall Street Journal, the decision will at first only apply to business, but there are plans in place to extend the crypto option to individual taxpayers in the future. Beginning this week, the WSJ notes that all Ohio-based businesses will be able to register to pay their taxes in BTC, which will then be processed through crypto payments service BitPay.

Vitalik Buterin: Blockchain Tech Isn’t as Applicable in Every Industry as People Think

Ethereum (ETH) co-founder Vitalik Buterin said this week in an interview that the misapplication of blockchain technology in some industries leads to “wasted time.” Buterin noted that although there are a high number of companies that try to establish higher standards and transparency by using blockchain tech, he does not believe that blockchain can be applied usefully in every industry. Buterin specifically criticized the proprietary nature of corporate blockchain projects from tech giants like IBM, noting that crypto and cross-border payments are suitable industries for the technology’s use.

US Securities Regulator Charges Floyd Mayweather Jr., DJ Khaled for Illegal ICO Promotion

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has charged professional boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. and music producer Khaled Khaled (known as DJ Khaled) for unlawfully advertising Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). The SEC found that Mayweather did not disclose receiving payments for promoting three ICOs (including $100,000 from Centra Tech), while DJ Khaled failed to disclose a $50,000 payment from the same crypto startup. In May, Centra’s three co-founders had been formally indicted for running a fraudulent $32 million ICO in 2017.

Bitcoin Creator Satoshi Nakamoto’s P2P Account Goes Live, Posts One-Word Update

Anonymous Bitcoin (BTC) creator Satoshi Nakamoto’s P2P Foundation account became active this week, posting a one-word status and adding a Brazilian user to his friend list. The profile, which is associated with an email that had previously been hacked, has been offline since Nakamoto withdrew from online activity in late 2010. The one word post — “nour” — has no obvious meaning: a Google search finds an Urban Dictionary post for “the most loving, affectionate and caring person you’ll ever meet,” while the word also is a transliteration of the Arabic and Ancient Hebrew for “light” or “life.”

Most Memorable Quotations

Most Memorable Quotations

Vitalik Buterin

“I don’t understand this deeply, but the detail that jumped out at me is they’re saying ‘Hey, we own all the IP and this is basically our platform and you’re getting on it.’ And like, that’s… totally not the point….” — Ethereum (ETH) co-founder Vitalik Buterin, speaking out the corporate blockchain projects

Tom Lee

“If you’ve got time, it will arise. It will not happen within three months, or one year, but in two to three years, and this is the golden time to be in crypto,” — Tom Lee, major Wall Street crypto bull and co-founder of Fundstrat Global Advisors

Josh Mandel

“I do see [Bitcoin] as a legitimate form of currency,” — Ohio state Treasurer Josh Mandel, speaking about adding a BTC tax payment option

Laws and Taxes

Laws and Taxes

Liechtenstein Cryptoassets Exchange Receives “Business License” From Regulator

The Liechtenstein Ministry of Economic Affairs has reportedly given a “business license” to professional traders-focused Liechtenstein Cryptoassets Exchange (LCX). According to the business, the license is a “milestone” in developing a “fully regulated blockchain ecosystem,” targeting institutional and professional investors. The firm now plans to apply for a Financial Market Authority (FMA) license, as well as other regulators’ approvals to trade security tokens among other offerings.

US SEC Chairman Jay Clayton Reiterates Strict Stance on ICO, ETFs

Jay Clayton, the chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), implied this week how the regulator is maintaining its strict stance of Initial Coin Offering (ICO) compliance. In an interview, Clayton noted that there was still a need to conduct public token sales to U.S. customers while following SEC guidelines. Clayton refused to comment on the SEC’s  pending decision on whether to allow Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to launch, noting only “we’ve been clear on some of the issues that are of concern to us.”

Malaysia Plans to Create Crypto Regulation by Quarter 1 2019, Says Finance Minister

According to Malaysia’s finance minister, the country will develop regulations for cryptocurrency and Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) in Q1 2019. Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng stated that the country’s regulator, the Securities Commission (SC), had given him the timeframe for the regulations, which will form “part of the SC’s efforts to facilitate alternative fundraising avenues and new investment asset classes.” Also this week, the minister noted that any entity wishing to issue cryptocurrency must defer to the country’s central bank, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM).

Adoption

Adoption

Coinbase Launches Over-the-Counter Trading for Institutional Investors

Major U.S. crypto exchange and wallet provider Coinbase revealed this week that they have launched over-the-counter (OTC) trading for institutional customers. In contrast to trading through a crypto exchange itself, OTC crypto trading will allow institutional investors to conduct direct trades between each other. Head of Sales at Coinbase Christine Sandler noted that the decision to open OTC trades came at a time of increased demand for the service from institutional players, who consider leveraging both exchange and OTC business as a “huge benefit” to their customers.

CLSNet Blockchain Payment Netting Service Launches With Big Banking Clients

U.S. forex exchange (FX) settlement giant CLS’ blockchain payment netting service went live this week, with Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley as some of the initial users of the service, which was built in conjunction with IBM. The blockchain netting service, which is described as the “first global FX market enterprise application running on blockchain in production,” also has “committed” participation from six international entities including the Hong Kong branch of the state-run Bank of China.

Abu Dhabi-Based Bank Completes “First” Sukuk Transaction on Blockchain

Al Hilal Bank, based in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has announced it has completed “the world’s first sukuk transaction” with the use of blockchain technology. Sukuk is a legal instrument, also referred to as “sharia compliant” bonds, which allows investors to generate returns without infringing on Islamic law. The sukuk transaction was worth a reported $1 million, sold by Al Hilal to a private investor with the participation of Swiss-based fintech company Jibrel Network, which has offices in Dubai.

Bahrain Finance Training Institute Launches Blockchain Academy

The Bahrain Institute of Banking and Finance (BIBF) announced the launch this week of what it claims to be the country’s first “Blockchain Academy.” The BIBF established in Bahrain in 1981 by approval of the Specific Council for Vocational Training, is an unregistered non-profit semi-government entity that provides training in the financial sector. The Blockchain Academy, according to the announcement, is designed to prepare participants to earn the international qualification of Certified Blockchain Professional C|BP and was developed by both the BIBF and Dubai-based training firm MyLearning Key.

Amazon Debuts Two New Blockchain-Related Products

E-commerce giant Amazon has announced the launch of two new blockchain-related services this week: Amazon Quantum Ledger Database (QLDB) and Amazon Managed Blockchain. QLDB is a ledger database, overseen by a central trusted authority, that will provide a transparent, immutable, and cryptographically verifiable log of transactions, while the Amazon Managed Blockchain can operate with QLDB, allowing users to adjust and manage a scalable blockchain network.

Mergers, Acquisitions, and Partnerships

Mergers, Acquisitions, and Partnerships

“Code of Conduct” Association Launched for Crypto by Ten Blockchain, Fintech Firms

Ten financial and technology firms have established an Association for Digital Asset Markets (ADAM) in order to create a “code of conduct” for the cryptocurrency sector. Among the founding members of the organization include Mike Novogratz’s crypto merchant bank Galaxy Digital, global financial services firm BTIG, fintech firm Paxos — of recently-launched stablecoin PAX — and crypto liquidity solutions provider GSR. The group plans to work with regulators to create “comprehensive standards” for digital asset market participants.

Nasdaq and VanEck Partner to Release “Regulated, Surveilled” Digital Assets Products

Nasdaq, the world’s second largest stock exchange, and the U.S. investment firm VanEck have announced a partnership to launch a set of “transparent, regulated and surveilled” digital assets products together. The partnership, announced via a tweet and then at a New York crypto conference, supposes that the new products would use Nasdaq’s SMARTS Market Surveillance system, alongside VanEck’s MVIS digital asset pricing indices.

Microsoft Japan and LayerX Partner to Increase Domestic Blockchain Use

The Japanese arm of computer giant Microsoft has partnered with nascent blockchain startup LayerX to “accelerate” uptake of the technology in Japan. LayerX was created in August as a joint project between news curation app Gunosy and advisory service AnyPay, and sees blockchain integration for enterprise, including the application of smart contracts and general consulting. Using Microsoft’s Azure Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) solution, the companies will work together to promote broader applications of blockchain.

ASUS Partners With GPU Mining Platform to Let Users Mine Crypto via Graphics Cards

Taiwan-based tech giant ASUS and GPU mining platform Quantumcloud have formed a partnership in order to allow users to mine crypto via their graphic cards. Per the terms of the partnership, owners of ASUS graphic cards will be able to mine crypto through Quantumcloud software and withdraw earnings using PayPal or Chinese app WeChat. Quantumcloud noted that it doesn’t guarantee profits, and that users need to consider usage costs on their own.

Funding Rounds

Funding Rounds

Blockchain Capital Leads Almost $13 Mln Funding Round for U.S. Securities Token Startup

Blockchain Capital has led a $12.75 million Series A funding round for American securities tokens startup Securitize this week. The platform, which enables the issuances of digital securities — or security tokens — of any asset, also had  Coinbase Ventures, Global Brain, NXTP, OK Blockchain Capital, and Xpring at Ripple participate in the funding round. Blockchain Capital’s co-founder and managing partner Brad Stephens will join Securitize’s Board of Directors.

Decentralized Exchanges Completes $15 Mln Funding Round with Huobi and OKCoin

BHEX Exchange, a decentralized crypto exchange, finished a $15 million funding round this week with support from major exchanges like Huobi and OKCoin. According to BHEX, the new funding round also included support from Genesis Capital, among others. BHEX’s investment subscription has purportedly attracted over 70 investment institutions, while Blue Helix selected 40 to participate in the first round of investment.

Winners and Losers

Winners and Losers

Winners and Losers

The crypto markets are slightly in the green at the end of the week, with Bitcoin trading at $4,128.16, Ripple at $.37, and Ethereum at $116.48. Total market cap is around $134 billion.

The top three altcoin gainers of the week are FREE Coin, Etheera, and RabbitCoin. The top three altcoin losers of the week are ZeusNetwork, Cyber Movie Chain, and TRONCLASSIC.

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

FUD of the Week

FUD of the Week

Bitmain Sued for $5 Mln For Alleged Unauthorized Mining at Clients’ Expense

Crypto mining giant Bitmain is facing a class action lawsuit of $5 million that alleges the company mined crypto for its own benefit while its customers’ devices were in the process of setting up. According to the lawsuit, Bitmain is benefitting from the the lengthy “initialization” period that its ASIC [Application-Specific Integrated Circuit] devices need for set up. The plaintiff claims that the company’s ASIC devices are “preconfigured to use its customers’ electricity to generate crypto currency for the benefit of Bitmain rather than its customers.”

US Treasury Adds Crypto Addresses of Two Iranians to Sanctions List Over BTC Ransomware

The U.S. Treasury Department has sanctioned two Iranians allegedly involved in Bitcoin (BTC) ransomware scheme SamSam, including their Bitcoin addresses in a first for putting crypto addresses on a sanctions list. The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took action against two Iranian individuals, Ali Khorashadizadeh and Mohammad Ghorbaniyan, who are accused of exchanging Bitcoin into Iranian rials (IRR) associated with the scheme. OFEC has managed to identify two crypto addresses associated with the alleged Iran-based criminals, with 7,000 transactions in Bitcoin and around 6,000 BTC moved since 2013.

Bulgarian Prosecutors Detain Three Hackers Who Reportedly Stole $5 Mln in Crypto

Bulgaria’s Gendarmerie forces and specialized prosecutors have arrested three hackers allegedly involved in stealing $5 million in crypto this week. According to the investigation, the hackers used new methods and advanced computer skills, including specialized hardware, in the scam. The investigation, which began five months ago, has ended with the police seizing cryptocurrencies worth around $3 million, as well as computers, flash drives, and a hardware portfolio for storage of crypto data.

Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital Lost $136 Mln During First Three Quarters of 2018

According to a report from Bloomberg this week, Mike Novogratz’s crypto investment bank Galaxy Digital has lost $136 million in the first three quarters of 2018. The banks realized and unrealized losses in Q3 amounted to $41 million, and the firm’s share price also dropped to a record low after tumbling 55 percent this month. Galaxy Digital explained the loss by pointing to the falling prices of Bitcoin (BTC), Ripple (XRP), and Ethereum (ETH), calling the lack of crypto trading volumes a “headwind” to success.

Zug Court Shuts Down Crypto Mining Firm Over Unregistered Initial Coin Offering

The cantonal court in Zug, Switzerland, has shut down cryptocurrency mining firm Envion AG for offering an allegedly unauthorized Initial Coin Offering (ICO). Envion, a Swiss-based off-grid mining company that touts itself as using decentralized, clean energy like hydroelectric and solar to power its mobile mining units, raised around $100 million through its mid-January ICO this year. The funding led to a conflict between the two partners at Envion, resulting in a court trial. This week, the court ruled to liquidate the firm, while noting the complete absence of any auditing function or board.

Prediction of the Week

Prediction of the Week

Civic CEO Believes Bitcoin Will Trade Range-Bound for “Three to Six Months”

According to Vinny Lingham, the CEO of identity management startup Civic, Bitcoin’s (BTC) price will remain range-bound between $3,000 and $6,000 for the next three to six months. Speaking on CNBC’s “Fast Money,” the CEO noted that it is doubtful that the coin will break down the support level of $3,000 since there is “a lot of buying in the short term around that mark.”

Best Cointelegraph Features

Best Cointelegraph Features

Ohio to Accept Tax Payments in Crypto — Setting the Standard for Future?

Ohio state is looking to become the first in the U.S. to let businesses, and possibly later individuals, to use cryptocurrencies to pay for taxes. Cointelegraph spoke to Ohio’s State Treasurer Josh Mandel, the person responsible for the initiative, about how he sees the state becoming more of a blockchain hub as well.

Trezor One Wallets Forgery Reveals New Techniques Used to Steal Crypto

Last week, Trezor, one of the leading crypto hard wallets, reported that one-for-one copies of their devices had been found, and warned customers to be careful of purchasing Trezors from unreliable sellers. The key difference between the real and fake Trezors? A holographic sticker on the box, which some critics say is too weak as a security measure.

ABC vs SV: Assessing the Consequences of the Bitcoin Cash War

The Bitcoin Cash (BCH) hard fork took place on Nov. 15, but the consequences are far reaching. Bitcoin ABC, which was backed by both BCH advocate Roger Ver and Bitmain founder Jihan Wu, ended up winning the allegiance of the majority of exchanges, but Bitcoin SV is far from being dead.

Article First Published here

Hodler’s Digest, Nov. 12–18: a Stablecoin Gets Sharia Certified, the IMF Considers Central Bank Digital Currencies

Coming every Sunday, the Hodler’s Digest will help you to track every single important news story that happened this week. The best (and worst) quotes, adoption and regulation highlights, leading coins, predictions, and much more — a week on Cointelegraph in one link.

Top Stories This Week

Swiss Crypto Firm X8 AG Receives Islamic Finance Certification for Sharia-Compliant Stablecoin

Swiss-based fintech firm X8 AG has received a certification from the Shariyah Review Bureau (SRB) for its Ethereum-based stablecoin. According to the X8 director and co-founder, the ETH-based crypto asset is backed by a basket of eight fiat currencies and gold, allowing Islamic advisors’ concerns over excessive volatility and speculation to be assuaged. The debate whether crypto can be Sharia-compliant has focused on their compatibility with the Islamic prohibition on sheer monetary speculation.

IMF’s Christine Lagarde: Central Bank Digital Currencies Could Have Legitimate “Role”

The head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde, said this week that the international community should look into endorsing central bank issued digital currencies (CBDCs). Lagarde, despite being “not entirely convinced” of the concept of crypto more generally, stated the case for countries to issue government-backed tokens or similar assets in a speech. The comments came a day after the IMF published a dedicated report on CBDCs, examining what it views as the pros and cons of the financial tool.

Aftermath of Bitcoin Cash Fork Cause Expensive “Hash War” Between Camps

This week’s Bitcoin Cash (BCH) hard fork has led to a so-called “hash war,” resulting in mining at a hefty loss on both sides. BitMEX Research tweeted that “although the ABC SV split is entertaining, we estimate that SV miners are burning $280,000 per day mining the SV chain.” On the other side, BCH ABC miners are estimated to be making even larger losses than the SV camp. BitMEX Research estimated these numbers based on SV miners using Bitmain’s Antminer S9 machines, their ability to sell SV coins at the current spot market price ($100 at the time of the tweet), and energy consumption costs of 5 cents per/kWh.

Blockchain Protocol EOS’ Decentralization Questioned After Transactions Reversed

Blockchain protocol EOS had questions raised about its decentralization again this week as evidence emerged on Reddit that appeared to show a moderator reversing transactions which had already been confirmed. According to screenshots posted on the site, a dispute over a phished EOS account was referred to an EOS “arbitrator,” who then reversed the transactions without the owner’s permission, citing the EOS constitution for the actions.

US Man Fined $1.1 Million Over Fraudulent Bitcoin, Litecoin Schemes

U.S. citizen Joseph Kim of Phoenix, Arizona has been sentenced to 15 months in jail and fined $1.1 million for the misappropriation of Bitcoin (BTC) and Litecoin (LTC) from several people. The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has found that Kim defrauded his employer of about $601,000 worth of BTC and LTC into his own accounts in 2017. After Kim was subsequently fired, he reportedly then defrauded private investors to return the funds to his employer, luring around $545,000 worth of crypto from five individuals before losing the funds in a high risk bet.

Most Memorable Quotations

“Any time there are hard forks things tend to trade weird and strange, so I think people are trying to take some risk off the table,”— Meltem Demirors, CSO of CoinShares   

“Few remember that Satoshi embedded the genesis block with a Times headline from January 2009 about U.K. banks’ bailout. In more ways than one, Bitcoin is the evil spawn of the financial crisis,”  — Benoit Coeure, executive board member of the European Central Bank (ECB)

Laws and Taxes

Judge Rules in Favor of Canadian Bank in Case With Crypto Exchange 5k

A judge has ruled in favor of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) in the court case involving a $19.6 million disputed sum between the bank and Canada’s largest crypto exchange QuadrigaCX. On Oct. 8, the exchange reported it had difficulties accessing its funds since january, when CIBC froze five accounts belonging to the exchange’s payment processor, Costodian Inc., and its owner, Jose Reyes over its purported inability to identify the funds’ owners. This recent court decision hands the disputed sum into the custody of the Ontario Superior Court so the court can identify the owner of the money.

Ripple Lawyers Suggest Moving Ongoing Securities Lawsuit to Federal Court

Lawyers representing payment startup Ripple in its current securities lawsuit are attempting to move the case to a U.S. federal court, a move that one legal commentator described as “tactical brilliance.” The court records confirm the application to move the case, which would potentially allow the outcome to prove that its XRP token is not a security under U.S. law. In the filing, litigation partner Peter Morrison noted that the case meets the requirements needed for the move to take place.

Malaysian MP Asks Gov’t to Develop Crypto Regulations Before Approving Political Funding Coin

A Malaysian Member of Parliament (MP) has asked the country’s government to develop comprehensive cryptocurrency regulations before going further with the Harapan Coin (HRP) crypto project. The project claims to be the world’s first political fundraising platform, with the aim of raising money for the opposition party in Malaysia and potentially becoming an official currency. The MP said this week that it was important to have appropriate crypto regulations before they are used to finance political campaigns and initiatives.

Ohio Congressman Plans Draft Bill to Let ICOs “Sidestep” Securities Laws

Ohio Congressman Warren Davidson made clear plans this week to introduce a bill that would allow Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) to “sidestep” U.S. securities laws. The Republican congressman for the 8th district of the state of Ohio wants to propose a bill that would categorize ICOs as products, rather than securities, at both the federal and state level. The referred-to bill would reportedly “eliminate” the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) oversight of the industry.

Adoption

Major Swiss SIX Stock Exchange Lists World’s First Multi-Crypto ETP

Switzerland’s main stock exchange, the SIX Swiss Exchange, announced this weekend that it would list the world’s first multi-crypto-based exchange-traded product (ETP) next week. The ETP will be backed by Swiss startup Amun AG, will be listed under index HODL, and will track the five major cryptos: BTC, XRP, ETH, BCH, and LTC. The Amun AG index will be managed by the German index unit of investment management firm VanEck. Each crypto will have a certain market share within the upcoming ETP, with Bitcoin accounting for around half of the ETP’s assets.

Microsoft Introduces Cloud-Based Azure Blockchain Development Kit

U.S. software corporation Microsoft has announced the release of a serverless blockchain-powered Azure development kit, dubbed the “Azure Blockchain Development Kit.” The kit reportedly improves the capabilities of Microsoft Azure’s Blockchain Workbench, with features like off-chain identity and data, monitoring, and messaging application programming interfaces (API) in a format that can be used to develop blockchain-based apps. The announcement also notes that the release will focus on core objectives like “connecting interfaces, integrating data and systems, and deploying smart contracts and blockchain networks.”

Bank of America Receives Patent for Storing Clients’ Crypto in Enterprise Accounts

Major U.S. bank, Bank of America, has won a patent for a system that allow enterprises to store customers’ crypto deposits. The filing outlines several different interactions between clients’ crypto holdings and an enterprise account, with one setup allowing the enterprise account to conduct transactions on the customers’ behalf, debiting and crediting the account as appropriate. The document also touches on fiat-crypto conversions, outlining a system for determining optimal exchange rates for an “essentially simultaneous” conversion.

Chinese Insurance Giant Ping An, Sanya City Gov’t Build “Smart City” With Blockchain

One of the world’s largest insurance corporations, China’s Ping An Insurance Group, has signed an agreement with the Sanya municipal government to build a “Smart City” backed by blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), big data, and cloud computing. The cooperation on financial investment and “Smart City” construction will play a role in the major strategic urban development in China.

Mergers, Acquisitions, and Partnerships

South Korean Messaging App Kakao, Stablecoin Tether Partner for Blockchain Payment System

Major South Korean Internet conglomerate and service provider Kakao Corp (which own messaging app KakaoTalk) and new stablecoin Tether have partnered to develop the latter’s blockchain-based payment system. The new agreement will apply the former’s blockchain platform tech Klatyn, of Kakao subsidiary Ground X, to a blockchain-based payment system. The cooperation plans to work on enhancing “core requirements for payment services, such as speed, stability and reliability.”

ETH-Payment Platform OmiseGo, Singapore Ride Hailing App Partner for Blockchain Tech

Ethereum-based payment platform OmiseGo and blockchain protocol Mass Vehicle Ledger (MVL) have announced that they will work together to research blockchain technology. The two companies will develop a Proof-of-Concept (PoC) to test whether the decentralized OMG Network could work for MVL’s data record-keeping system, recording data collected from TADA on the OmiseGo platform. OmiseGo and MVL will also collaborate on further technical and research cooperation on possible blockchain applications in TADA’s services.

Electronics Firm Bosch Partners With IOTA for New IoT Data Device

Engineering and electronics manufacturing giant Bosch has partnered with IOTA, with plans to integrate its new data collection Internet of Things (IoT) device with the decentralized IOTA Data Marketplace. The new connectivity device, Bosch XDK (Cross Domain Development Kit), is “a programmable sensor device and Internet of Things prototyping platform” that also works as a sensor node solution. The device will combine sensor, data storage, and network technologies to allow users of all programming level to collect real-time data and sell it on the IOTA marketplace.

Major Spanish Telecoms Operator and IBM Partner to Manage International Call With Blockchain

Spanish telecommunications firm Telefónica has partnered with IBM in order to apply blockchain tech to managing international mobile phone call traffic. Telefónica, the seventh largest telecom company in the world by market cap, is valued at $51 billion according to Forbes. The partnership is aimed at streamlining certain Telefónica business processes, including the reliability and transparency of information registered from various network when routing international calls. The telecoms company will use the IBM Blockchain Platform to track each international call and data such as origin, destination, and duration.

German Holding Company Bitcoin Group SE Acquires 100% of Investment Bank Tremmel

Bitcoin Group SE, a German holding company, has acquired a 100 percent stake in investment bank Tremmel Wertpapierhandelsbank GmbH. Bitcoin SE operates what is reportedly the county’s only regulated crypto exchange, Bitcoin Deutschland AG (Bitcoin.de). With the acquisition, the crypto holding will now obtain the use of Tremmel’s banking license, allowing the company to “significantly expand” its crypto-related offerings and operate ATMs for cryptocurrencies in Germany.

Funding Rounds

Hong Kong Crypto Exchange KuCoin Raises $20 Million in Funding Round

Hong Kong-based international crypto exchange KuCoin closed a Series A funding round this week worth $20 million. The round was led by IDG Capital, Matrix Partners, and Neo Global Capital, and the exchange noted that the funds will go towards the release of KuCoin’s 2.0 platform as well as expansion into new markets.

Winners and Losers

The crypto markets have taken a hit this week, with total market cap around $185 billion, Bitcoin trading around $5,599, Ripple at $0.52, and Ethereum at $176 by press time.

The top three altcoin gainers of the week are ZeusCrowdfunding, GoHelpFund, and Coupecoin. The top three altcoin losers of the week are Etheera, Vivid Coin, and Olive.

Top three altcoin losers of the week:

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

FUD of the Week

“Crypto Hangover”: Nvidia’s Q3 Results Show Lack of Demand for GPU Crypto Units

American GPU manufacturer Nvidia released its third quarter earnings this week, showing a lack of demand for Nvidia’s GPU’s among crypto miners. The crypto frenzy late last year brought the prices for Nvidia gaming cards up, but with the bear market, the prices have not decreased quickly enough to attract customers waiting for more affordable cards, according to the Nvidia founder and CEO Jensen Huang. Huan told Reuters that the “crypto hangover lasted longer than we expected.”

Analysis: Bear Market, Declining Hashrates Makes Mining ETH Not Profitable

A report from U.S.-based global trading and tech firm Susquehanna has found that mining Ethereum (ETH) using a graphics processing unit (GPU) is no longer profitable. The analysis shows that profit per month for ETH miners using GPU rigs is now $0 as of Nov. 1, as opposed to the $150 per month in July 2017. Susquehanna notes reasons for the decline in profit include Ethereum’s falling price, but adds that in July 2017, miners profit was $147 even as ETH traded roughly around its current price.

Official Google G Suite Twitter Account Reportedly Compromised to Promote BTC Scam

The official Twitter account of Google’s G Suite appeared to tweet a Bitcoin (BTC) giveaway scam this week to its more than 800,000 followers. The tweet in question asked its followers to participate in a fraudulent 10,000 BTC giveaway, also announcing that Google’s G Suite now accepted crypto as a means of payment. Tech news outlet The Next Web later reported that the account was compromised through a third party marketing app that was authorized to post content on G Suite’s behalf. The scam also targeted major U.S. department retailer Target.

WSJ Report: SEC Opened Probe Into Erik Voorhees, Crypto Loans Firm Salt Over Token Sale

The Wall Street Journal reported this week that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had opened a probe in February against crypto loans company Salt Lending Holdings, which was once associated with crypto industry stalwart Erik Voorhees. The probe involves whether Salt’s 2017 $50 million token sale constituted a noncompliant securities offering and Voorhees’ potential involvement, which could break laws as he has effectively been prohibited from raising money in private markets after a SEC settlement in 2014.

US SEC Imposes “First” Civil Penalties Against Two ICOs for “Unregistered” Securities

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has levied civil penalties on two Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) this week over their failure to register their token sales. CarrierEQ Inc. (Airfox) and Paragon Coin Inc. both reached settlements with the SEC, agreeing to “return funds to harmed investors, register the[ir] tokens as securities, file periodic reports with the Commission, and pay penalties” of $250,000 each. Both of the firms conducted token sales last year following the SEC’s warning that ICOs could be considered as securities offerings.

Prediction of Tthe Week

Bloomberg Analysts Predict BTC Price Fall As Low As $1,500

Bloomberg Intelligence analysts have predicted this week that Bitcoin “has further to fall,” noting that the coin is “no longer boring.” Hedge fund founder Travis Kling told Bloomberg that he “didn’t sleep well” in response to the recent Bitcoin Cash hard fork, adding that it could affect the entire crypto market.

Best Cointelegraph Features

Why Did Crypto Market Experience a $27 Billion Wipeout? Experts Discuss Factors

After the market saw several cryptocurrencies hitting new year-to-date lows, Cointelegraph looks at some of the reasons behind the $27 billion “wipeout.”

Opposing Bitcoin ABC and Bitcoin SV Factions’ Debates Grow Heated as the Bitcoin Cash Hard Fork Draws Closer

This week saw a volatile market amidst the Nov. 15 Bitcoin Cash hard fork, which divided the community into two “warring” factions: Roger Ver’s Bitcoin ABC and Craig Wright’s Bitcoin SV (Satoshi’s Vision).

Skirting the Great Wall, Part Three: The Paradox of Cryptocurrencies in China

In the third part of Cointelegraph’s series on Chinese cryptocurrency regulations (read part one – here, and part two – here), the article looks at the People Bank of China (PBoC)’s crypto regulatory interventions, as well as the role of China’s judiciary in cases involving crypto.

Article First Published here

Hodler’s Digest, November 5-11: Star Trek’s Captain Kirk Defends ETH Decentralization, While Fake Elon Musks Overrun Twitter

Coming every Sunday, the Hodler’s Digest will help you to track every single important news story that happened this week. The best (and worst) quotes, adoption and regulation highlights, leading coins, predictions, and much more — a week on Cointelegraph in one link.

Top Stories This Week

Elon Musk Impersonators Flood Twitter With Fake Crypto Giveaways

Although impersonators on Twitter pretending to be famous celebrities offering crypto giveaways are many, this week saw an influx of these crypto pretenders posing as Tesla CEO Elon Musk. After compromising verified accounts with the blue check mark, scammers would change the name and picture to appear to be Musk, asking in comment threads for people to send them small amounts of crypto in exchange for more crypto sent back in a fake “giveaway.” According to news reports, one fake Musk account received around $170,000.

China’s Central Bank Scrutinizes Crypto Airdrops, Questions Their Legality

The People’s Bank of China (PBoC), the country’s central bank, has begun to scrutinize crypto airdrops, which is refers to as “disguised” Initial Coin Offerings (ICO). This week’s report from the bank notes that the entity is strictly anti-ICO and crypto trading, noting the high risks of financial fraud and pyramid schemes. The report notes that “airdrops” are potentially evading the regulation concerning the public token sale model, adding that they capitalize on speculation in the market to drive their own profits.

Star Trek’s William Shatner Tweets Thumbs up in Support of Vitalik Buterin

William Shatner, the former Captain Kirk on popular American television show Star Trek, tweeted a thumbs up at Ethereum (ETH) co-founder Vitalik Buterin this week. The celebrity’s tweet led to backlash from crypto Twitter trolls that criticized the Ethereum network’s supposed centralization, leading Shatner to quote ERC standards in response. The 87-year-old Shatner then received kudos from other crypto Twitter participants for his seemingly in-depth knowledge of the network.

Apple Apparently Briefly Removes Crypto Podcast Reportedly Ranked #4 in Investing

The podcast “Off the Chain,” hosted by Morgan Creek Digital partner and crypto analyst Anthony “Pomp” Pompliano has apparently been removed from the U.S. iTunes store this week. According to a tweet from Pompliano, the podcast was ranked 4th in the “investing” category before it was “mysteriously” taken down. The episode, which contained an interview with “Bitcoin Maximalist” Murad Mahmudov about the current worldwide monetary system, is available by press time.

Joseph Lubin Thinks Blockchain Will Take “A Little Longer” to Develop Than the Internet

In an interview this week, Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin said that blockchain will “probably take a little longer” to develop than the Internet, because it is “much more complicated. Lubin, who is also the creator of ConsenSys, noted that blockchain is developing similar to the web, due to its exponential growth and the “hundred of projects” to date. Lubin also said that DLT will be able to “permeate society more than the Internet” and make way for Web3.0.

Most Memorable Quotations

“His viewpoints don’t take into account the fact that the code has to be audited by an auditing firm and approved by consortium or it doesn’t get accepted. He thinks it exists in a bubble.

That’s why we have ERC-20, ERC-721… ERC-1701”— William Shatner (Captain Kirk), defending the Ethereum network’s decentralization

“We are NOT tolerant. We will not capitulate. We will not surrender. We will not negotiate. We will not end,” — Craig Wright, speaking about his own Bitcoin Cash (BCH) faction before the upcoming hard fork

Laws and Taxes

Thai Revenue Department Plans to Use Blockchain to Track Tax Payments

Thailand’s Revenue Department is planning to track payments using blockchain and machine learning, utilizing the tech to verify the validity of taxes paid as well as increasing the speed of the tax refund process. The machine learning use will help to expose tax fraud and support more transparency, as a digital tax collection system based on modern technologies is a stated goal of Thailand’s government.

French Parliament Finance Committee Adopts Amendments to Crypto Tax Bill

The Finance Committee of the lower house of France’s parliament has adopted regulations this week that would ease taxes on cryptocurrency sales. The Finance Committee of the National Assembly has submitted a draft of the government finance bill for 2019, specifying that the tax on crypto sales will be equal to capital income tax. If the amendments to the budget are accepted in the hearings scheduled for next week, the rate will be reduced from 36.2 percent to 30 percent starting Jan. 1, 2019.

US Judge Ends Freeze on Charlie Shrem’s Assets Amidst Winklevoss Lawsuit

A U.S. judge has ruled this week to end the freeze on Charlie Shrem’s assets in a lawsuit brought against him by the Winklevoss twins. The twins alleged in their lawsuit that Shrem took part of their $250,000 investment in his now-defunct exchange BitInstant to buy 5,000 Bitcoins (BTC). Shrem’s lawyer has said that his client is innocent, and that the claims have “no basis in fact or law.” According to the Winklevoss’ lawyers, the freeze should continue as Shrem possess $12 million in crypto, real estate holdings, and other assets. However, at present time only $10 in assets have been identified.

Thailand’s Securities Regulator Promises to Certify One ICO Portal in November

The general secretary of the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said this week that “at least one” ICO “portal” will be able to operate legally in the country in November. Rapee Sucharitakul said that they “might” starting approving ICO offerings in December, noting that five such “operators” are currently under consideration by the Finance Ministry. Thailand’s legislation requires that the Thai SEC vet crypto entities like ICOs, exchanges, and “digital asset operators” who wish to operate in Thailand.

Adoption

Wallet Provider Blockchain.Com to Airdrop $125 Mln in XLM After Adding Stellar Support

Crypto wallet provider Blockchain.com will now support altcoin Stellar (XLM), accompanied by an airdrop of $125 in XLM to its user base. The provider noted that the large airdrop is a “great way to drive decentralization and adoption for new networks,” noting that crypto airdrops allow consumers to “test, trade, and transact” newer crypto assets without need to mine or invest in them first. The choice to add support for Stellar was driven by the scalability of the token’s network, as well as its ability to create custom tokens that represent “real-world or virtual goods and services.”

Decentralized Network Bancor Partners With EOS for Cross-Blockchain Trading With ETH

Decentralized liquidity network Bancor said this week that it had partnered with EOS in order to allow for cross-blockchain swaps between Ethereum and EOS-based tokens. Bancor has now expanded to the EOS blockchain, using its DApp BancorX for the conversation. Bancor noted that the cross-blockchain DApp was built in collaboration with LiquidEOS, Bancor’s EOS “Block Producer.” According to the press release, this conversion DApp paves the way for “vastly more blockchain” to be included in cross-blockchain trading.

Trading Platform eToro Releases Crypto Wallet Supporting Bitcoin, Three Altcoins

Global crypto and fiat trading platform eToro has released its own cryptocurrency wallet this week with support for Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin. The platform noted that they plan to add a “whole host of additional functionality” including additional crypto and fiat tokens, crypto-to-crypto conversion, and fiat deposits. eToro currently supports 14 total cryptocurrencies on its platform and has more than 10 million registered users.

Major Crypto Wallet Coinbase Launches Support for Basic Attention Token

Crypto exchange and wallet Coinbase announced this week that it would add support for a rollout of full trading of the Basic Attention Token (BAT) for its Android and iOS apps. As per the announcement, Coinbase customers can now buy, sell, send, receive, and store BAT on the platform, except for initially those residents of New York. Last week, Coinbase had noted the addition of inbound transfers of BAT to Coinbase Pro, specifying that the token would undergo four listing stages until it reached full access.

Mergers, Acquisitions, and Partnerships

Port of Valencia Integrates Maersk and IBM’s Blockchain Shipping Platform

The Port Authority of Valencia, Spain, has joined IBM and Maersk’s blockchain ecosystem, the TradeLens platform, which aims to apply blockchain tech to global supply chains. According to the announcement, the port has integrated into the platform as “Early Adopters,” meaning that the port will be a part of the platform’s early development. There are currently more than 20 participants in the TradeLens ecosystem, which has already reportedly processed 154 million “data-sending events.”

Deloitte Partners With Identity Management Startup for Digital ID System

“Big Four” accounting firm Deloitte has partnered with identity management firm Attest Inc. in order to create a blockchain-based digital identity system. The Chicago-based Attest offers a shared identity platform that allows its clients to conduct transactions, including its governmental customers, which can provide identity services to citizens. The partnership plans to develop a digital identity offering for government-compliant identifiers to be used for existing products, including a cryptographically secured identity storage wallet.

South Korea’s Bithumb Partners With E-Commerce Giant Qoo10 for Crypto Payments

South Korea’s leading virtual currency exchange Bithumb announced a partnership this week with Asian e-commerce fim Qoo10 to create a cryptocurrency payment service. Qoo10, which covers Asian markets including Singapore, Hong Kong, China, and Indonesia, will work with the Bithumb Cache system to purchase products through Qoo10. The two companies will use both the Qoo10 settlement service and the cache system, which is a password settlement service that allows Bithumb customers to convert their funds for use in payments with their password.

Nine Major Shipper Operators Launch Blockchain-Based Global Business Network

Nine major terminal operators and shipping companies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop an open digital platform based on DLT. The MoU is aimed at forming a consortium of shipping operators to develop the Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN), noting that the software solution will be provided by Hong Kong-based shipping and logistics firm CargotSmart. The new alliance includes such shipping giants as PSA International, a Singapore-based company and one of the world’s largest port operators, and Shanghai International Port Group, leading operator of ports in China.

Funding Rounds

Major Mining Provider Bitfury Raises $80 Million in Closed Funding Round

Bitcoin mining infrastructure provider Bitfury raised $80 million this week in a closed funding round led by European venture capital fund Korelya Capital. Other participants in the funding round included South Korean Internet giant Naver Group, Asian institutions Macquarie Capital and Dentsu Japan, and Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital. The funding round comes several weeks after rumors circled that Bitfury was considering an IPO.

Winners and Losers

The crypto markets are seeing mixed signals, with Bitcoin trading for around $6,404.13 and Ethereum at $211 by press time. Total market cap is around $212 billion.

The top three altcoin gainers of the week are Traco, Pedit, and the Internet of Things. The top three altcoin losers of the week are Simmitri, empowr coin, and OBXcoin.

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

FUD of the Week

Turkish Police Arrest 11 in Reported Hack of Crypto Wallet Accounts

The Cybercrime Department of the Turkish National Police arrested 11 suspects this week while investing the alleged hack of crypto accounts, with victims reporting more than $80,000 in losses. 14 individuals so far have reported crypto wallet hacks to local prosecution authorities, noting that their Bitcoin had been transferred to other wallets. Police have since seized two fake identity cards, as well as a number of devices allegedly used in the hacks such as 18 mobile phones and SIM cards, 22 memory sticks, from the hackers. The investigation notes that it found the suspects by tracking new SIM cards registered to exchanges by the hackers.

Texas Regulator Issues Emergency Cease and Desist to Australian Cloud Mining Company

The Texas State Securities Board has issued an emergency cease and desist order this week to Australian cloud mining firm AWS Mining PTY LTD for selling unregistered securities. AWS Mining, along with many of its employees, are charged with violating the Texas Securities Acts by convincing Texas residents to purchase AWS’ unregistered cloud mining power contracts promising a “200 percent passive return on every investment.” The cease and desist notes that AWS did not follow through on its promised profits to investors, as well as failed to register as a securities broker-dealer.

Swiss Financial Regulator Recommends Banks to Set Crypto Risk Coverage at 800%

The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) said in a report this week that banks and other financial institutions could calculate risk coverage for cryptocurrencies at 800 percent of their current market value. The confidential letter, seen by a local Swiss news outlet, noted that the recommendation for a flat risk weight at 800 percent are to “to cover market and credit risks, regardless of whether the positions are held in the banking or trading book.” The news outlet reports that 800 percent is at the upper end of the range, meaning that FINMA sees crypto as a volatile asset.

US SEC Charges EtherDelta Founder With Operating Unregistered Securities Exchange

Zachary Coburn, the founder of crypto token trading platform EtherDelta, has been charged by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with operating an unregistered securities exchange. EtherDelta has operated as a secondary marketplace for trading ERC20 tokens, letting users buy and sell digital assets using an order book and smart contracts on the ETH blockchain and placing a total of more than 3.6 million orders (some involving those considered securities) over an 18-month operating period. Coburn neither denied nor admitted the findings, but agreed to pay $300,00 in unlawful profits, as well as $13,000 in prejudgement interest and a $75,000 penalty.

Chinese Mining Giant Bitmain Sues Unknown Hacker for $5.5 Million Crypto Theft

China-based BTC mining firm Bitmain has sued an anonymous hacker for the reported theft of crypto work about $5.5 million from Bitmain’s account on Binance this April. As stated in the U.S. court documents, the “John Doe” hacker used stored Bitcoin after taking over Bitmain’s Binance account to manipulate the price of altcoin Decentraland (MANA) and then abscond with the profits. Bitmain notes that the hacker was able to steal $5.5 million in digital assets, including about 617 BTC. The documents also note that the hacker carried out transactions between BTC and MANA from Bitmain’s wallet and their own, completing the theft by transferring BTC from their Bitmain account into a digital wallet on Bittrex.

Prediction of the Week

Tim Draper Maintains Bitcoin Prediction of $250,000 by 2020

Venture capital investor Tim Draper said this week that he still believes that Bitcoin will experience 40 times returns and reach $250,000 by 2022. Although his initial prediction was for the coin to hit this price point in April of this year, Draper said that the industry merely needs to make it so that “Bitcoin could be used to buy Starbucks coffee” and the world will “open up.” Draper also added that he didn’t trust “political currencies” that are “determined by some weird political party,” adding that he sees a future with blockchain and smart contracts taking on a more prevalent role in states.

Best Cointelegraph Features

Morgan Stanley Report Shows Strong Institutional Investment for Bitcoin

At the end of October, multinational investment bank and financial services firm Morgan Stanley released a report on how Bitcoin has been a new “institutional investment class” since 2018. The report, which shows a relatively bullish outlook for 2018, brings attention to the stablecoin phenomenon, noting that not all stablecoins active currently will survive.

The SEC Stops Accepting Public Comments on Bitcoin ETFs, Takes Time to Make Decision

Last week, the cryptoverse buzzed with misinformation that the U.S. SEC was finally going to make a decision about Bitcoin ETFs. However, last week’s deadline concerned a close to the acceptance of public comments, leaving the SEC to now make their decision on the nine BTC ETFs on their own. Cointelegraph delves into the possibilities for the SEC’s decision, as well as looks into the root of where this deadline confusion came from.

Blockchain Advocates Storm Governors’ Mansions and Retain House Seats in US Midterm Elections

The U.S. saw midterm elections that week that led to the Democratic Party taking back the House, leaving the Republicans still in control of the Senate. Amidst the party lines, the governorships in both California and Colorado were won by crypto- and blockchain-friendly candidates Gavin Newsom and Jared Polis respectively. Beyond his strong blockchain policy push in his state, Polis (also the first openly gay elected governor), co-founded and co-chaired the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, a bipartisan group of Members of Congress. Electorally, the Caucus has done exceptionally well in the midterms: both of the co-chairs and 10 out of 12 regular members who stood for reelection retained their seats.

Article First Published here

Hodler’s Digest, Oct. 29 – Nov. 4: Rapper T.I., Charlie Shrem Sued Over Alleged Pump-and-Dump, BTC Theft Respectively

 

Coming every Sunday, the Hodler’s Digest will help you to track every single important news story that happened this week. The best (and worst) quotes, adoption and regulation highlights, leading coins, predictions, and much more — a week on Cointelegraph in one link.

Top Stories This Week

US Rapper T.I. Sued for $5 Million After Alleged Failure of FLik Token

U.S. rapper T.I. is being sued for $5 million by a group of 25 persons who have alleged that the rapper’s promotion of FLiK tokens led to a loss of around a $1.3 million investment. The plaintiffs allege that T.I. and his business partner Ryan Felton promoted the “now worthless securities” on social media, creating a false impression of a “valuable liquid investment.” The lawsuit writes that T.I. and Felton defrauded them by driving the token’s price up with money from the investment, and then dumping the token when the price dropped.

The Winklevii Sue Charlie Shrem for Alleged Theft of 5,000 BTC in 2012

Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss have claimed in a new lawsuit that Bitcoin Foundation founder Charlie Shrem has “stolen” 5,000 Bitcoin (now $31.7 million) from them in 2012. According to a recently unsealed lawsuit, the Winklevii allege that Shrem failed to repay the twins as part of their investment in his extant project BitInstant. Shrem’s lawyer has called the claims “erroneous,” noting that his client will “quickly clear his name.” The judge overseeing the case has “agreed to freeze” some of Shrem’s assets in response to the case.

BTC Wallet Xapo Founder Says Bitcoin’s Current Stage Compares to 1992 Internet

Bitcoin “Patient Zero” Wences Casares, the founder of BTC wallet startup Xapo, said that Bitcoin may take years to become successful. In an interview this week with Bloomberg, Casares said that Bitcoin “may work, it might not work,” noting that the currency is in the early stages of its development, similar to that of the Internet in 1992. Casares gave a rough seven-year timeline for determining whether Bitcoin is successful, noting that if it is, it will become a non-political global standard of value and settlement.

Crypto Exchange and Wallet Coinbase Raises $300 Million in New Funding Round

Major U.S. crypto exchange and wallet Coinbase has raised $3 million in its latest funding round, bringing its post-money valuation to about $8 billion. Tiger Global Management reportedly led this recent Series E equity financing round, with participation from Y Combinator Continuity, Wellington Management, Andreessen Horowitz, and Polychain, among others. Coinbase noted that the funds will be used for the purpose of “accelerating” crypto adoption, noting plans to support regulated fiat-crypto trading worldwide, and laying the foundation for supporting “thousands” of cryptos in the future.

Climate Change Report Finds Bitcoin Usage Could Raise Global Temperature by 2 C

A new reported published by climate change scientists has raised warnings about the effects of Bitcoin’s carbon footprint on global environment. According to their research, which is based on the existing data for BTC’s electricity consumption in conjunction with different projections for the crypto’s future adoption, the cumulative emissions of BTC usages would “cross the 2 C threshold within 22 years.” Even if Bitcoin follows a faster adoption path, it could cross that threshold in just ”11 years.” The report notes that while more efficient hardware could reduce BTC’s carbon footprint, one can’t relay on “yet-to-be-developed hardware.”

Most Memorable Quotations

Most Memorable Quotations

Ella Pamfilova

“The word ‘block’ is immediately associated with something closed. In Russia, where a third of the population was held behind bars… Next you have ‘chain’. ‘Block’ and ‘chain’ — it works on a subconscious level,”  — Ella Pamfilova, the head of the Russian Election Commission

Jamie Dimon

“I never changed what I said, I just regret having said it. I didn’t want to be the spokesman against Bitcoin. I don’t really give a sh*t, that’s the point. Blockchain is real, it’s technology, but Bitcoin is not the same as a fiat currency,” — Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan CEO

John McAfee

“[Crypto is] all I’m going to talk about. See, I don’t want to be president. I couldn’t be… no one’s going to elect me president, please God. However, I’ve got the right to run,” — John McAfee, crypto enthusiast

Laws and Taxes

Laws and Taxes

Ukraine Development, Trade Ministry Creates State Policy for Legalizing Crypto

Ukraine’s Economic Development and Trade Ministry announced this week that it has initiated a “state policy” for the classification and legalization of crypto-related activities. According to the ministry’s press release, the purpose of the policy is to “create understandable conditions for conducting activities in the field of virtual assets and virtual currencies,” and to usher in “adoption of the concept of a state policy” for crypto. The policy specifically suggests creating legal definitions for key terms like “virtual currency” (“cryptocurrency”), “virtual assets,” Initial Coin (or Token) Offerings (ICOs or ITOs), cryptocurrency mining, “smart contracts,” and “tokens.”

Brazil’s Tax Regulatory Creates Draft Regulation for Crypto Taxes

The Department of Federal Revenue of Brazil (RFB) wants to receive monthly reports on crypto assets operations, according to recently released draft legislation. In the draft bill, the RFB would require Brazil-based crypto exchanges to send them detailed reports on all crypto-related operations on a monthly basis. The bill also notes that legal entities and individuals living in Brazil would be required to report all transactions with foreign crypto exchanges if they are over than R$10,000 (about $2,700) per month.

Adoption

Adoption

Crypto Investment Firm Greyscale Reaches $330 Million in Revenue

Crypto asset management firm Grayscale Investments Inc. has reported around $330 million in revenue in 2018, according to its third quarter investment report, despite the currently prevailing bear market. In the recently released report, Grayscale notes that they have raised $81.1 million over the last three months, representing an increase of almost 1,200 percent from the same period in 2017. Grayscale writes that this is the strongest calendar year the firm has experienced since the beginning of its activity.

New York Regulator Grants BitLicense to Bitcoin ATM Operator Coinsource

The New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) has granted a virtual currency license, the BitLicense, to Bitcoin ATM operator Coinsource. The regulatory approval means that New Yorkers can use cash to buy or sell Bitcoin using Coinsource’s “Bitcoin Teller Machines (BTMs),” of which there are 40 machines currently deployed across the state in three counties. This is the first BTM operator to receive the BitLicense, and the regulator notes that its decision came following a comprehensive review of Coinsource’s application and requirements for AML and CFT measures.

Morgan Stanley Report Classifies Cryptocurrency as New Institutional Investment Class

A new report from investment bank and financial services firm Morgan Stanley notes that Bitcoin and altcoin have been a “new institutional investment class” since 2017. According to the document, the “surprises” to be seen in crypto in 2018 are a “strong” formation of new funds targeting the nascent sectors, as well as the “growth” of crypto-tied futures. The report also touches on decentralized technology, noting that it makes the world “better.”

Crypto Exchange and Wallet Coinbase Executive Reveals Plans to Add up to 300 Coins

Major U.S. crypto exchange and wallet Coinbase may offer as many as 300 more coins in the future, according to an interview with the company’s president and COO. Speaking to Bloomberg, Asiff Hirji said that Coinbase planned on avoiding complex U.S. regulations on crypto tokens by offering more assets to non-residents, noting that the number could jump from its current seven to “200-300” over the next year. Moreover, Hirji noted that the company will not perform an IPO “any time soon.”

Mergers, Acquisitions, and Partnerships

Mergers, Acquisitions, and Partnerships

Chinese Retail Giant JD.Com Partners With Tech Institutes for Blockchain Research Lab

Chinese e-commerce firm JD.com will launch a research lab for blockchain in partnership with two technology institutes: the Ying Wu College of Computing at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and the Institute of Software at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (ISCAS). According to the release, the lab aims to develop solutions for efficiency problems and examine new applications and uses cases of blockchain tech, as well as specifically researching consensus protocols, privacy protection, and security in DApps.

Nasdaq to Integrate Microsoft’s Azure Blockchain Tech Following Partnership

American software firm Microsoft will integrate its Azure blockchain technology into stock exchange Nasdaq Inc.’s Financial Framework (NFF). According to this week’s announcement, Microsoft will collaborate with Nasdaq to develop a “ledger agnostic blockchain capability” that will allow for operability across multiple ledgers. The release also notes that the new product can facilitate easier buyer and seller matching, management of delivery, and payment and settlement of transactions, as well as allow NFF customers to deploy various blockchain through one common interface.

Belgian-Based Investment Firm Acquires Crypto Exchange Bitstamp

Crypto exchange Bitstamp has been acquired by Belgian-based investment firm NXMH in an “all cash deal” this week. The CEO of Bitstamp told Reuters that the exchange was valued at $60 million in 2016, up from $39 million in 2014. NXMH is a subsidiary of South Korean-based media giant NXC Corp., which bought a 65.19 percent stake in South Korean exchange Korbit last year. NXMH now has an 80 percent stake in Bitstamp, with the CEO retaining his 10 percent ownership interest and staying on as CEO. The exchange noted that it is looking towards “global expansion” with the new deal.

Report: Bithumb Signs Deal With US Fintech Firm to Launch Securities Token Exchange

South Korean crypto exchange Bithumb has reportedly signed a deal with American crowdfunding platform SeriesOne in order to open a securities token exchange. A South Korean news outlet was told by its sources about the partnership, with at Bithumb official reportedly adding that the exchange plans to increase its efforts to develop into a worldwide financial firm. The sources also told the news agency that the exchange will be established by SeriesOne in the U.S. during the first half of 2019, with Bithumb to provide investment and the technical support for the exchange’s operations.

Controversial Stablecoin Tether Releases Letter Confirming New Banking Partner

The issuer of cryptographic stablecoin Tether has released a statement this week, confirming that it will now be banking with Bahamas-based Deltec Bank & Trust. Tether had previously been the subject of rumors about its ability to back up its tokens 1:1 with fiat after it parted ways with previous financial institution Noble Bank. This week’s statement, purportedly from Deltec Bank, reads that the USDT in the market are “fully backed by US dollars that are safely deposited in our bank accounts.”

Funding Rounds

Funding Rounds

Berkshire Hathaway Invests $600 Million in Two Fintech Payment Firms

Multinational holding conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway, whose CEO and chairman is crypto critic Warren Buffett, has invested about $600 million in two fintech payment firms that focus on emerging markets. The investments are reportedly headed by Todd Combs, one of Berkshire’s two portfolio managers, and go outside the purview of investments normally made by the company. The first is a roughly $300 million stake in the parent company of India’s largest mobile-payments service Paytm, and the second is a purchase of shares in an IPO for Brazilian payments processor StoneCo.

Sequoia USA Participates in $30 Million Funding Round for Israeli Blockchain Startup

Israeli blockchain startup StarkWare Industries has ended a $30 million funding round with participation from Intel Capital and Sequoia USA. The funding round, which was led by crypto hedge fund Paradigm — founded by Coinbase co-founder Fred Ehrsam — also included Atomico, DCVC, Wing, Consensys, Coinbase Ventures, Multicoin Capital, Collaborative Fund, Scalar Capital and Semantic Ventures. StarkWare Industries develops software and hardware, with applications including transparent privacy in blockchain, increased transaction throughput, as well as off chain computation.

Winners and Losers

Winners and Losers

Winners and Losers

The week has seen continued relative market stability, with Bitcoin at around $6,371 and Ethereum at about $200. Total market cap is at around $208 billion.

The top three altcoin gainers of the week are Etheera, Mero, and Mindexcoin. The top three altcoin losers of the week are YENTEN, empowr coin, RusGas.

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

FUD of the Week

FUD of the Week

CryptoTrader Host Ran NeuNer Rescinds Claim That BTC Will Hit $50K in 2018

Ran NeuNer, the host of CNBC’s CryptoTrader, has retracted his earlier prediction that Bitcoin will reach $50,000 by the end of 2018. Speaking privately to Cointelegraph, NeuNer stated that he changed his prediction due to the recent state of the market, noting that the bear market status and the lack of “good news” moving the market made him lower his expectations. NeuNer had originally tweeted in February of this year that Bitcoin will finish 2018 at $50,000, and has updated it with a new pinned tweet that Bitcoin “will not” finish 2018 at $50,000.

Former US Federal Reserve Chair: Bitcoin Is “Anything But” a Useful Store of Value

Former U.S. Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen said this week that Bitcoin is “anything but” a useful store of value. Speaking during an interview at the 2018 Canada FinTech Forum in Montreal, Yellen noted that Bitcoin’s failure to be a stable source of value means that it is not a useful currency, adding that it’s “very slow” at payments and has difficulty “because of its very decentralized nature.” Yellen is known in the Bitcoin community due to an incident when a Bitcoin fan held up a handwritten “Buy Bitcoin” during her televised speech on interest rates and reserve policies last July.

“Godfather of ETFs” Says Bitcoin Exchange-Traded Funds Will Not Be Approved Soon

Reggie Brown, the so-called “godfather of ETFs,” said this week that Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) will be certified “no time soon.” Browne, who is a senior managing director and head of ETF trading at financial services firm Cantor Fitzgerald, noted during a speech that BTC ETFs will only be approved after the development of a robust regulatory framework in the industry. Browne noted that it is “very difficult” for the SEC to “wrap their heads around a positive approval” due to a lack of data.

Report Finds Lack of Diversity in Ethereum Smart Contracts Could Pose Risks

A report from a group of analysts at Northeastern University and the University of Maryland said this week that a lack of diversity in Ethereum (ETH) smart contracts poses a risk to the ETH blockchain ecosystem. According to the researchers, since they found that most Ethereum smart contracts are “direct- or near-copies of other contracts,” the risk arises if copied smart contract contains a vulnerable or buggy code. The study, which was partially supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation, analyzed Ethereum smart contracts’ bytecodes during its first 5 million blocks over an almost three-year timeframe from the cryptocurrency’s inception in 2015.

American Faces 5 Years in Prison for Operating Unlicensed Business via LocalBitcoins

A U.S. citizen has pled guilty this week in federal court for operating an “unlicensed money transmitting business” through LocalBitcoins.com. Jacob Burrell Campos allegedly admitted selling “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in BTC to more than 1,000 customers from January 2015 to April 2017, meaning that he operated an unregistered “Bitcoin exchange.” According to the court, it is illegal in that Burrell did not register his business operation with the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) of the U.S. Department of Treasury, and failed to apply AML regulations on the sources of his clients’ funds.

Prediction of the Week

Prediction of the Week

Crypto Winter Could Last 12 to 18 Months, Says CEO of Top Derivatives Platform BitMEX

Arthur Hayes, the CEO of major crypto derivatives platform BitMEX, said this week that “based on previous experience,” the low volatility and volume trading climate could continue for “another 12 to 18 months.” Hayes noted that he has been in the Bitcoin space since 2013, and based his current predictions on his experience in the 2013-2015 “nuclear bear market.”

Best Cointelegraph Features

Best Cointelegraph Features

Bitcoin White Paper — 10 Years Since Satoshi’s Vision Was Brought to Life

Cointelegraph celebrates the 10 year anniversary of Satoshi Nakamoto’s release of the Bitcoin white paper with an overview of the white paper’s influence, a brief history of the cryptocurrency, and an interactive quiz to find out how “expert” our readers’ knowledge of Bitcoin is.

Trend of Global Crypto Mining: Despite the US-China Trade War, Activity Surges as Samsung and GMO Enter

As the crypto markets see the fourth worst correction in their nine-year history, the hash power of the Bitcoin network continues to increase. Cointelegraph contributor Joseph Young delves into how crypto mining manufacturing giant Bitmain will compete with the emergence of products from Samsung and GMO into the market, as well as the effects on mining due to the ongoing U.S.-China trade war.

Skirting the Great Wall: The Chequered Saga of Crypto in China, 2018

Part two of Cointelegraph’s series on China and cryptocurrency gives an in-depth analysis of what exactly is going on in China in the aftermath of the country’s ICO ban, and why regulators continue to attempt to curb the rise of crypto trades.

Article First Published here

Hodler’s Digest, October 1-8: WSJ Gets In and Out of Crypto, While BofA Sees a $7 Billion Future for Blockchain

Coming every Sunday, the Hodler’s Digest will help you to track every single important news story that happened this week. The best (and worst) quotes, adoption and regulation highlights, leading coins, predictions, and much more — a week on Cointelegraph in one link.

Top Stories This Week

Crypto Exchange ShapeShift Rebuts WSJ Report of Money Laundering

Cryptocurrency exchange ShapeShift has issued a denial in response to a Wall Street Journal article that the exchange had laundered around $9 million in ill-received funds. The article, which calculated a total of $88.6 million funneled through 46 exchanges, pinpointed $9 million as going through ShapeShift. In a blog post, Erik Voorhees, CEO and founder of ShapeShift, wrote that the information that the exchange gave the WSJ was misrepresented, and that the exchange has its own AML program that “deploys “blockchain forensics that are far more advanced than asking someone for their ‘name and address’.”

Wall Street Journal Creates, Then Destroys, Its Own Cryptocurrency

Major U.S. publication the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) has created and then halted the issuance of its own cryptocurrency in the pursuit of learning more about the industry. WSJ journalist Steven Russolillo created the “WSJ Coin,” in order to both shed light on the crypto economy as well as provide a use case for the journalism industry. However, after the two issued units were spent on two beers, the WSJ ethics head shut the project down, citing “ethical questions.”

Bank of America Estimates Blockchain Could Be $7 Billion Market

Bank of America (BofA) analysts said this week that blockchain has the potential to become a $7 billion market, providing a boost to corporations like Microsoft and Amazon. Although no timeline was offered, the BofA analysts used the figure that two percent of corporate servers could run blockchain at an annual cost of $5,500. However, the bank noted that the full capacity of blockchain has not yet been “built out.”

US SEC Gives November 5 Deadline For Bitcoin ETF Review

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has given a time frame for reviewing the rule changes proposed in a series of application to list and trade Bitcoin exchange-traded funds. The SEC’s review period until Nov. 5 will affect nine different ETFs that were proposed by three different applicants: ProShares, Direxion, and GraniteShares. The SEC has solicited  “any party or other person” to file a statement in support or rejection of the proposed BTC ETFs in the review period.

Venezuelan President Maduro Claims Petro Launch Set For November 5

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro said this week that the public sale of the national, oil-backed cryptocurrency Petro is set for November 5. According to Maduro, the official site of the Petro and the coin’s wallet are already live. The president also noted that the Petro is available on six major exchanges, without naming them, and that all oil purchases in and out of the country must be paid in Petro. Petro’s new whitepaper notes that the cryptocurrency is backed 50 percent by oil, 20 percent by gold, 20 percent by iron, and 10 percent by diamond assets.

Most Memorable Quotations

Most Memorable Quotations

Bill Clinton

“This whole blockchain deal has the potential it does only because it is applicable across national borders [and] income groups. The permutations and possibilities are staggeringly great,” — former U.S. President Bill Clinton

Joseph Muscat

“Blockchain makes cryptocurrencies the inevitable future of money, more transparent since it helps filter good businesses from bad businesses,” — Prime Minister of Malta, Joseph Muscat

Laws And Taxes

Laws And Taxes

US Legislators Propose Blockchain Promotional Bill

Two U.S. representative, Doris Matsui and Brett Guthrie, proposed this week a bill, the “Blockchain Promotional Act 2018,” in the House of Representatives. The bill notes that the definition of blockchain differs across different bills, and suggest that the U.S. Department of Commerce create a working group in order to form a common definition of blockchain, as well as come up with suggestions for government tech and communications bodies to research the potential impact of blockchain tech across the policy spectrum.

Chilean Deputies Present Blockchain Adoption Resolution To Parliament

Two Chilean deputies, Miguel Angel Calisto and Giorgio Jackson presented a text to the lower house of Chile’s parliament this week for a blockchain resolution project. In the proposal, the legislators suggest that Chilean president Sebastian Pinera adopts blockchain in all public areas of the country. The resolution also offers to carry out studies on the advantages of blockchain-based security and energy solutions.

Adoption

Adoption

Ripple Launches xRapid Payment Solution, Signs On Three Companies

Ripple’s real-time settlement platform xRapid became commercially available this week, after the pilot phase had already been launched in May. The platform, designed with the intention of speeding up international payments, reportedly sources liquidity from the digital currency XRP on exchange globally. Three firms — Cuallix, MercuryFX and Catalyst Corporate Federal Credit Union — have thus far been signed up as clients.

Retail Brokerage Firm TD Ameritrade Backs New Crypto Exchange ErisX

US retail brokerage firm TD Ameritrade — which currently supports 11 million clients with investment services — is backing new cryptocurrency exchange ErisX. The details of the deal have not been made public, but Bloomberg reports that  investing company DRW Holdings and high-speed trader Virtu Financial are also participating with investments. According to the Wall Street Journal, ErisX will support both direct cryptocurrency sales as well as launch futures contracts in early 2019.

Ripple-powered Payments App MoneyTap Goes Live In Japan

MoneyTap, a consumer-focused service co-developed by Ripple and Japanese financial services firm SBI Holdings, was launched this week. According to MoneyTap’s website, the app will use blockchain solution xCurrent to permit domestic bank-to-bank transfers in “real time.” Account holders at three participating Japanese banks   SBI Sumishin Net Bank, Suruga Bank and Resona Bank   can send funds using the mobile app, which is compatible with both iOS and Android devices.

Institutional Investors Become Largest Crypto Buyers, Report Shows

Institutional investors are now bigger buyers of cryptocurrency transactions worth more than $100,000 as opposed to high net-worth individuals, Bloomberg reported this week. The publication’s research found that traditional investors like hedge funds are becoming more involved in the cryptocurrency market through private transaction, noting that miners have begun scheduling regular coins sales rather than holding or selling during market rallies.

Russia’s Nuclear Corporation To Use Blockchain For Increasing Efficiency

Rosatom, the Russian state nuclear energy corporation, will develop “4.0 technologies” including blockchain, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things in order to increase the efficiency of their manufacturing process. The corporation is also seeking new talent in the three new technological fields.

Mergers, Acquisitions, And Partnerships

Mergers, Acquisitions, And Partnerships

Enterprise Ethereum Alliance And Hyperledger Join Each Other’s Organizations

The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) and Hyperledger reported this week that they would each join the other’s organization as “Associate Members” in order to foment enterprise blockchain adoption. Brian Behlendorf, Executive Director of Hyperledger at the Linux Foundation and Ron Resnick, Executive Director of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, wrote about their decision to join together, nothing that collaboration will “enable more active and mutual cross-community collaboration through event participation, connecting with other members, and finding ways for our respective efforts to be complementary and compatible”

Funding Rounds

Funding Rounds

ConsenSys Invests $6.5 Million In Blockchain Startup Founded By Former R3 Execs

Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin has invested $6.5 million in DLT startup DrumG Technologies through blockchain ecosystem ConsenSys. DrumG, notably headed by senior level executives at rival blockchain consortium R3, will now include Lubin as an outside member of its board of directors, with Drum3 now having a “significant presence” in ConsenSys’s ecosystem. DrumG plans to address the problems in the blockchain space with acception of multiple interconnected distributed ledgers in the corporate world.

Yale University Participates In $400 Million Funding For Crypto-Focused Fund

Yale University, an Ivy League institution in the U.S., is reportedly one of of the investors in a $400 million investment into crypto-focused fund Paradigm. The fund was reportedly created by Coinbase co-founder Fred Ehrsam, former Sequoia Capital partner Matt Huang, and Charles Noyes, formerly of crypto fund Pantera Capital. Bloomberg notes that the fund reportedly plans to invest in “early-stage” crypto-focused projects, new blockchains and digital asset exchanges.

Binance Labs Invests “Millions” In Decentralized Digital Content Startup

Binance Labs, founded by major crypto exchange Binance, has reportedly invested millions of dollars in decentralized digital content ecosystem Contentos. The exact amount of Binance Lab’s “multi-million” investment was not disclosed. Contentos noted in their press release that they plan to develop a decentralized ecosystem that will allow for more transparency and the monetization of content.

South Korean VC Firm Invests For First Time In Blockchain Startup

Korean Investment Partners (KIP), South Korea’s largest venture capital firm, has invested in TEMCO, the first time the company has invested in a blockchain startup. KIP, known for investments in firms like Korean search engine Naver and Japanese messaging app LINE, has invested an undisclosed sum in TEMCO, which aims to develop supply chain management solutions on blockchain for enterprises.

Winners And Losers

Winners And Losers

Winners And Losers

Crypto markets have had a calm week, with Bitcoin trading at around $6,525 and Ethereum at around $223. Total market cap is around $216 billion.

The top three altcoin gainers of the week are RabbitCoin, Rupee, and Royalties. The top three altcoin losers of the week are Carebit, ConnectJob, and Oxycoin.

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

FUD Of The Week

FUD Of The Week

Expert From Blockchain Capital Believes Bitcoin Has Nearly Hit Bottom

Spencer Bogart, an expert in crypto and blockchain from Blockchain Capital, said this week that Bitcoin has almost found its bottom. According to Bogart, the markets are down around 70 percent from their high, so he thinks that “Bitcoin is close to bottoming and so is the rest of the market.” Bogart also noted that media coverage of the crypto markets is “a piece of kindling that we are going to throw onto a future crypto bonfire when we have the next bull market.”

Cryptojackers Have Compromised Over 30,000 Routers In India, Report Shows

Security company Banbreach’s recent report has found that the number of routers compromised by cryptojacking software in India has doubled in the past month, now numbering over 30,000. The report, which was compiled by tracking Internet traffic on devices with public IP address, grouped areas of India together from the most to the least dense. According to Banbreach, 45 percent of the compromised routers are located in the less-populated areas.

German ICO Investors Have Lost 90 Percent Of Their Capital, Report Finds

According to research, investors in German ICOs have lost as much as 90 percent of their capital. German business magazine WirtschaftsWoche looked at the token issue prices of ICOs in Germany in early September 2018, finding that German startup coins lost even more in value than Bitcoin and Ethereum so far this year. The magazine noted that only eight startups with a head office in Germany so far have completed an ICO.

Audit, Consulting Firm Deloitte Describe Five Obstacles To Blockchain Adoption

Deloitte has outlined five basic areas that need development in order for blockchain technology to achieve widespread adoption. According to the firm’s report, blockchain must first overcome five issues —  the possibility of time-consuming operations, lack of standardization, high costs and complexity blockchain applications, regulatory uncertainty, and the absence of collaboration between blockchain-related firms — before in can be more widely accepted.

WSJ Report Shows Automated Trading Bots Manipulate Crypto Market Prices

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, automated trading programs (bots) are manipulating cryptocurrency prices. The WSJ writes that the lack of regulation in the crypto markets has allowed the bots to execute their abusive strategies on an industrial level. The article specifically references a $80 million digital currency hedge fund and its battle with “enemy bots” in the crypto markets.

Prediction Of The Week

Prediction Of The Week

Mike Novogratz: Bitcoin Won’t Break $9,000 In 2018

CEO of crypto investment firm Galaxy Digital Capital has corrected his BTC price forecast — having said in November 2017 that BTC could hit $45,000 in a year — now stating that Bitcoin won’t actually break $9,000 in 2018. Novogratz also suggested that the falling prices in the crypto market are a result of companies currently selling crypto “just to fund the burn rate of the industry.”

Best Features

Best Features

The Future Of Cryptocurrency Legislation

Brookings looks at where exactly cryptocurrency regulation is going in the future, noting key concerns such as the defining of crypto and tokens as securities, the multiple class-action suits against ICOs, and diverging international views on regulation.

Rapper Soulja Boy Extols Bitcoin Gains In New Song

Learn how American rapper Soulja Boy “got on a computer and bought a Bitcoin” in his new album. The rapper further explains in verse: “This cryptocurrency man, it’s crazy. I got Bitcoin, and I got Litecoin. I’m going digital. Yah. Soulja.”

Article First Published here

Hodler’s Digest, September 16-23: Elon Musk Wants Advice on Twitter Crypto Scammers, the US SEC Wants Comments on BTC ETFs

Coming every Sunday, the Hodler’s Digest will help you to track every single important news story that happened this week. The best (and worst) quotes, adoption and regulation highlights, leading coins, predictions, and much more — a week on Cointelegraph in one link.

Top Stories This Week

Japanese Cryptocurrency Exchange Zaif Hacked Of Reported 5,966 Bitcoins

As a result of a security breach on September 14, hackers have managed to steal 4.5 billion yen from Japan’s Zaif cryptocurrency exchange, as well as 2.2 billion yen from the assets of the company, with total losses amounting to 6.7 billion yen or around $59.7 million. Tech Bureau Inc, which operated Zaif, stated this week that the exchange detected a server error on September 17, after which Zaif suspended deposits and withdrawals. On September 18, the exchange realized that the error was a hack, and reported the incident to Japan’s financial regulator, reporting losses of 5,966 bitcoins (BTC) in addition to some Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and MonaCoin (MONA).

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk Turns To Dogecoin Creator To Stop Crypto Scammers

Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Elon Musk asked Jackson Palmer, the creator of Dogecoin (DOGE), to help him combat “annoying” cryptocurrency scammers on Twitter this week. Musk, directing his tweet at Palmer, asked for help getting rid of scam spammers, to which Palmer replied by sending Musk a short script in direct messages to try to fix the problem.

US SEC Postpones VanEck Bitcoin Exchange Traded Fund, Asks For Further Comments

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has requested further comments regarding its decision on the listing and trading of VanEck and SolidX’s Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund (ETF), which is expected to list on the CBOE BZX Equities Exchange (BZX). In a notice, the SEC asks for additional comments from interested parties addressing the sufficiency of the BZX’s statement in support of the proposal. In particular, the SEC is seeking comments on eighteen key issues, among which are commenters’ views on BZX’s assertions that BTC “is arguably less susceptible to manipulation than other commodities that underlie exchange-traded products (ETPs).”

New York Attorney General Report: Crypto Exchanges Vulnerable To Manipulation

A new report published by the New York Attorney General’s office states that cryptocurrency exchanges are vulnerable to manipulation, conflicts of interest, and other consumer risks. The findings, part of the “Virtual Markets Integrity Initiative” that consisted in surveying 13 cryptocurrency exchanges, found that an absence of standard methods for auditing virtual assets results in the lack of a consistent and transparent approach to independently auditing digital currency traded on exchanges.

Researchers Explain How Gemini Dollar Transactions Can Be Changed Or Paused

The implementation of the recently launched Gemini dollar (GUSD) stablecoin can be completely changed by a Gemini custodian every 48 hours, according to a study authored by blockchain researcher Alex Lebed and crypto consultant Alexey Akhunov. In the study, the authors review the code of the GUSD’s smart contract in order to demonstrate that the implementation of the Gemini USD can become non-transferrable or frozen at any moment, which is noted in the Gemini dollar’s white paper.

Most Memorable Quotations

“The data age is major opportunity for manufacturers to reform the industry. But blockchain and IoT will be meaningless tech unless they can promote the transformation of the manufacturing industry, and the evolution of the society towards a greener and more inclusive direction,” — Jack Ma, founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba

“Cryptocurrencies are perfect, but are used for bad purposes today, so [one has to be] careful. Blockchain and distributed ledger technologies are also perfect, they are big, big tools,” — Francisco Gonzalez Rodriguez, executive chairman of multinational Spanish banking group Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA)

“As the government and regulators decide whether the current Wild West situation is allowed to continue, or whether they are going to introduce regulation, consumers remain unprotected,” — UK Treasury Committee on cryptocurrency regulation

Laws And Taxes

Ukrainian Parliament Seeks To Tax Cryptocurrency Assets With New Bill

Ukraine’s parliament has proposed a bill that would tax operations with crypto assets with a five percent tax on individuals and legal entities operating with virtual currency assets, such as cryptocurrencies and tokens. Starting Jan. 1, 2024 crypto-related profits by businesses would be taxed at 18 percent, which is a basic rate for corporate and personal income tax in Ukraine. According to the lawmakers, the introduction of this tax would make it possible to “draw 1.27 billion hryvnia ($43 million) to the budget annually from 2019-2024.”

US Lawmakers Send Open Letter To IRS Asking For Crypto Taxation Clarity

U.S. lawmakers have called on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to issue clarified and “comprehensive” crypto taxation guidance in an open letter this week. The representatives deem that the IRS has had “more than adequate time” to work through complexities after its preliminary rules were issued four years ago, arguing that while the IRS has proactively continued to remind taxpayers of the penalties for non-compliance with its guidance, its failure to introduce a more robust taxation framework “severely hinders taxpayers’ ability” to meet their obligations.

Financial Task Force Says International AML Standards For Crypto Coming Soon

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) said it is getting closer to the establishment of a global set of anti-money laundering (AML) standards for cryptocurrencies. The agency’s president Marshall Billingslea reportedly said that he expects the coordination of a series of standards that will close “gaps” in global AML standards at an FATF plenary in October. At that time, the FATF will purportedly discuss which existing standards should be adapted to digital currencies, as well as revise the assessment methods of how countries implement those standards.

Adoption

Binance To Soon Begin Private Beta Testing Of Crypto-Fiat Singapore Exchange

Binance, the largest global crypto exchange, will soon start private beta testing a crypto-fiat exchange in Singapore, as Binance co-founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ) tweeted this week. According to CZ, the testing will be launched on September 18, and while no further details have been specified, the crypto-fiat Singapore-based exchange will presumably support the local Singapore dollar.

US PNC Bank To Use RippleNet For Customers’ International Payments

PNC, which is ranked among the top ten U.S. banks with 8 million customers and retail branches in 19 states, will use RippleNet to process international payments for its customers. A particular PNC unit — Treasury Management — will use Ripple’s blockchain solution xCurrent to speed up overseas transactions held by U.S. commercial clients. Ripple emphasises that xCurrent will allow PNC business clients to receive payments against their invoices instantly, changing their approach to managing both accounts and their working capital.

Ripple Executive Hints Of xRapid Launch Coming Soon

Head of regulatory relations for Asia-Pacific and the Middle East at Ripple Sagar Sarbhai told CNBC this week that Ripple has been making strides toward the launch of its product xRapid, noting that a commercial version of its payment platform could launch “in the next month or so.” The xRapid product is a real-time settlement platform designed to speed up international payments that addresses the issues of minimizing liquidity costs and making cross-border payment transactions faster.

Canadian Coinsquare’s Investment Subsidiary Launches Two Tech-Based ETFs

Coinsquare’s subsidiary — Coin Capital Investment Management — has reportedly become the 30th ETF operator in Canada, with the launch of the Coincapital STOXX Blockchain Patents Innovation Index Fund (LDGR) and the Coincapital STOXX B.R.AI.N. Index Fund (THNK) on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX). LDGR is a research-focused ETF that intends to provide investors with global equity securities of firms that invest in the development of blockchain technologies, while THNK, aims to provide investments in global equity securities concentrated around four “megatrends” in technology — biotechnology, robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), and nanotechnology.

Brazil’s Largest Brokerage To Launch Bitcoin, Ethereum Exchange

The largest brokerage in Brazil, Grupo XP, will enter the crypto space by launching an exchange for Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) in the near future called XDEX with around forty employees. Grupo XP is the biggest financial group in Brazil, comprising companies with various business models. XP has reportedly set a goal to have $1 trillion reais ($245 billion) under custody by 2020, which is four times what the company expects to raise by the end of this year. In addition, XP will launch a bank in the next few months.

Mergers, Acquisitions, And Partnerships

Crypto Exchange Huobi Joins Russian Bank Innovation Fund

Cryptocurrency exchange Huobi has joined Russia’s VEB Innovation Fund to share notes on crypto regulation. Russia’s cryptocurrency regulation draft law, which passed in a first reading in May, are tentatively set to be passed in October. One of the main goals of the partnership with Huobi and the VEB Innovation Fund is to draw on the crypto regulation experience gained by Huobi and to apply it in Russia, especially for adjusting the legal framework on digital assets.

Switzerland And Israel Agree To Share Blockchain Regulation Experience

Switzerland and Israel have agreed to share their experience on regulating the blockchain industry.Switzerland’s Minister of Finance Ueli Maurer and State Secretary for International Financial Matters Joerg Gasser have recently visited Israel to officially request access to the local markets for Swiss banks.As Gasser told Reuters, by the end of 2018 he plans to prepare a report on blockchain regulation for the Israeli officials that would outline general recommendations.

R3, Dutch Digital Security Company Partner For Blockchain-Based IDs

Blockchain consortium R3 has deployed a digital ID application developed by Dutch digital security company Gemalto on the latest version of the Corda Platform. The parties now expect to conduct several pilots of the application — called the Trust ID Network —  that will reportedly be launched later this year. The application enables digital service providers to operate “fully verified and secured” user personal data by creating a Digital ID, allowing consumers to register within various banking, e-commerce, and e-government services while avoiding repeated due diligence procedures.

Poland’s Largest Bank Partners With Coinfirm To Launch Blockchain Solution

Poland’s largest bank , PKO Bank Polski, will launch a blockchain solution for its customer documents via a partnership with UK-based Coinfirm “in the coming days,” the parties confirmed this week. As part of a drive to enhance security of customer data, PKO Bank Polski will use Coinfirm’s Trudatum to provide blockchain-issued paperwork to its some five million account holders.

Funding Rounds

Chinese Blockchain Fund To Raise Almost $13 Million For Japanese Stablecoin

Yao Yongjie, whose $1.5 billion Grandshores Blockchain Fund has the backing of well-known Chinese Bitcoin investor Li Xiaolai and the local government of the city of Hangzhou, is seeking to create up to three new stable cryptocurrencies (stablecoins) pegged to various fiat currencies. The first reported stablecoin project would involve the Japanese yen, and a second company Yao chairs, Hong Kong-based Grandshores Technology, aims to raise HK$100 million ($12.7 million) in financing for the cryptocurrency.

Winners And Losers

The crypto markets have experienced a comeback this week, with Bitcoin trading for around $6,756 and Ethereum at $245. Total market cap is now around $228 billion.

The top three altcoin gainers of the week are Carebit, Bob’s Repair, and the Ultimate Secure Cash. The top three altcoin losers of the week are Protean, Abulaba, and Bitmark.

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

FUD Of The Week

Bitcoin Core Updates Fixes Vulnerability That Could “Take Down The Network”

Bitcoin Core has released an update following the recent detection of a vulnerability in the software: Bitcoin Core 0.16.3 was released with a fix for a denial-of-service (DoS) vulnerability.The vulnerability could reportedly cause a crash of older versions of Bitcoin Core if they attempted processing a block transaction that tries to spend the same amount twice. According to Casaba Security co-founder Jason Glassberg, the recent vulnerability found on Bitcoin Core software could “take down the network.” He explained that the network crash “does not appear” to target users’ wallets, but would rather “affect transactions in the sense that they cannot be completed.”

China’s Central Bank Warns Public Of Risks With ICOs, Crypto Trading

The People’s Bank of China has issued a new public notice this week “reminding” investors of the risks associated with Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and crypto trading. Today’s notice ,released from the bank’s headquarters in Shanghai, censures the “unauthorized” and “illegal” ICO financing model for posing a “serious disruption” to the “economic, financial and social order.”

German Finance Minister Doubts Whether Crypto Could Ever Replace Fiat

Germany’s Finance Minister Olaf Scholz doubted publicly this week that cryptocurrencies can currently replace traditional fiat currencies. Scholz compared cryptocurrencies to the tulip fever bubble in the Netherlands in the 17th century saying, “and the danger is great that there will be such a tulip inflation,” noting that cryptocurrencies should also be closely observed by regulators, as they could be used for terrorist financing, money laundering or other criminal activities.

Reuters: Brazilians Antitrust Regulator To Inspect Six Major Banks Over Crypto Trade

Brazil’s antitrust regulator, the Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE), is reportedly inspecting six major national banks for alleged monopolistic practices in the crypto space, according to Reuters. The probe, which was initiated n the request of the Brazilian Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Association (ABCB) following several complaints, will determine whether the country’s largest banks closed the accounts of brokerages trading in Bitcoin.

Malware Reportedly Stolen From NSA Contributes To Skyrocketing Cryptojacking

Leaked code targeting Microsoft Systems which hackers allegedly stole from the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) sparked a fivefold increase in cryptocurrency mining malware infections, according to a report from the Cyber Threat Alliance. Eternal Blue, which was reportedly stolen and then used for the infamous cyberattacks WannaCry and NotPetya, has been used by hackers to gain access to computers in order to covertly mine for cryptocurrency, with detections up 459 percent this year.

Prediction Of The Week

Bitcoin To See 30 Percent Rally By End Of 2018, Says Mike Novogratz

Billionaire investor Mike Novogratz predicted this week on Twitter that Bitcoin will see a 30 percent rally by the end of 2018. Stating that the $8,800 to $10,000 threshold would be the the defining moment for institutional investors to enter the space, Novogratz claimed that it is impossible for BTC to not reach the $8,800 to $10,000 price points by the end of the year.

Best Features

Bitcoin Miners Flock To New York’s Remote Corners, But Get Chilly Reception

The New York Times visits Massena — a region formerly filled with American corporations offering unions jobs — that now has one of the state’s highest unemployment rates. However, as the Time notes, the “abundant, cheap electricity flowing from a dam in the St. Lawrence River,” has brought in the cryptocurrency mining companies, bringing mixed reactions from the area’s residents.

No One Knows What to Call the Hottest Cryptocurrency

After Ripple (XRP) saw an unprecedented amount of growth this week, the question arose: what is it really called — Ripple or XRP? While Ripple Labs Inc. notes that the tokens are different than its open-source network, the token did used to be referred to as “ripples (XRP).”

Article First Published here

Hodler’s Digest, August 26–September 2: Both Eminem and Yahoo Finance Embrace Bitcoin in Wins for Crypto Adoption

Top Stories This Week

Yahoo Finance Integrates Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin on iOS App

Yahoo Finance has integrated BTC, ETH, and LTC on its iOS app this week, with a version briefly appearing and disappearing on its desktop version despite Yahoo noting that the desktop, mobile web, and Android version won’t be available for several weeks. A Yahoo Finance press release notes that users that wish to trade crypto on Yahoo Finance will have to link a broker account via integrated third party service TradeIt.

“Operation Cryptosweep” Produces More Than 200 Crypto-Related Investigations

The North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) announced this week that their “Operation Cryptosweep,” which is a probe into potentially fraudulent crypto investment programs that was introduced in may, has resulted in over 200 investigations of ICOs and crypto-related investment products. The NASAA noted that investors should perform their own due diligence before investing in crypto-related projects, and stated that any project qualified as a security should be registered with the appropriate regulatory agencies or apply for an exemption from registration.

Report: North Korea Attempted to Mine BTC, While Local Firm Develops BTC Exchange

According to a report from South Korea’s state-run Korea Development Bank (KDB), North Korea (DPRK) has attempted to mine Bitcoin (BTC). According to a local news outlet, the mining attempt – which was reportedly conducted on a “on a small scale” between May and July 2017 – seems to have been unsuccessful. KDB’s research team also reported that North Korean tech firm Chosun Expo is allegedly now in the process of developing a BTC crypto exchange, without any further details provided.

JPMorgan CIO Thinks Blockchain Will “Replace Existing Technology” in Short Time

Lori Beer, the chief information officer at JPMorgan, believes that blockchain tech will eventually replace the current technology in the span of a few years. According to an Argentinian media source, Beer noted that JPMorgan uses blockchain technology to “simplify the payment process and to store customers’ information related to KYC (Know Your Customer) policy.” Beer also added that the bank currently only supports what is regulated in terms of cryptocurrencies, and has specialists who are “evaluating what is happening.”

Bitcoin Mentioned on Eminem’s New Album “Kamikaze”

U.S. rapper Ryan Daniel Montgomery, better known as Royce Da 5’9’, mentioned major cryptocurrency Bitcoin on rapper Eminem’s new album, “Kamikaze.” In “Not Alike,” the ninth track on the new album, co-star Royce Da 5’9” sings:

“Remember everybody used to bite Nickel, now everybody doing Bitcoin.” Forbes describes the line as an important sign of Bitcoin’s presence in mass culture and the realization that the cryptocurrency has a range of use cases beyond criminal.