Brazil’s Largest Brokerage Firm May Be Launching an OTC Bitcoin Exchange

Portal XP

Brazil is home to half of South America’s population and wealth, and right now, the country’s largest investment broker firm may be primed to launch an over-the-counter (OTC) bitcoin exchange.

XP Investimentos has not made any official announcements on the matter, but according to reports in Portal do Bitcoin on Tuesday, April 17, 2018, the investment firm is behind a new company called XDEX with around $7.5 million in capital. Portal do Bitcoin did some research and connected the two the companies.

As the story goes, XP previously registered a new company called XP Coin Intermediacao. In November 2017, at the time cryptocurrency markets were on fire, XP Coin changed its name to XDEX and got a $1.5 million influx of cash. Later, in February 2018, it received another $6 million.

OTC Trading

While not much is known about the new cryptocurrency exchange, Portal do Bitcoin claims that a source unwilling to expose his or her identity said that XDEX was planning to do an OTC market, meaning it would focus on large fiat and Bitcoin transactions — in other words, heavyweight investors.

OTC simply means that the trade does not show up in the order books, like it does on exchanges such as GDAX or Kraken. Instead, in an OTC scenario, XP would act as a middleman connecting someone who wants to sell a large stash of bitcoin with a buyer who has a large sum of cash. The advantage of selling OTC is that traders can lock in their gains with one big trade; whereas if they were to sell through an exchange, the price could start slipping as the order was filled. For its part, XP would take a cut in brokering the deal.

In speaking with Bitcoin Magazine, Claudio Rabin, the reporter at Portal do Bitcoin who broke the story, said that an executive at one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in Brazil informed him that XP was already conducting OTC cryptocurrency trades.

XP the “Unbank”

For years, XP fancied itself as an alternative to traditional banking. In 2015, the investment firm went after new clients with an anti-banking ad campaign that included a commercial dubbed “desbancarize seus investimentos,” an expression that roughly translates to “unbank your investments.”

But that was before Brazil’s largest bank, Unibanco Holding, acquired a 49.9 percent stake in XP for $2 billion in May 2017. Since that time, XP has begun taking a keen interest in cryptocurrencies. In September 2017, the firm registered the “XP Bitcoin” brand at the National Institute of Industrial Property, an early hint that it was planning to open a future bitcoin brokerage. Soon after, in November 2017, XP hired Brazilian digital currency expert Fernando Ulrich as its chief economist of cryptocurrency, another strong signal the brokerage was inching into the space.

Brazil has been light on cryptocurrency regulation. In December 2017, Brazil’s central bank and securities regulator issued a joint warning to investors that virtual currencies had no official oversight in the country. In January 2018, Brazil’s securities regulator prohibited local investment funds from buying cryptocurrencies, saying cryptocurrencies cannot be considered financial assets. Now, with the country’s biggest financial players getting into the game, regulators may have reason to take a stronger stance.

In response to a request for comment from Bitcoin Magazine, a spokesperson for XP said in an email, “We have nothing to say about this matter.” XDEX has a website,, but it was unreachable at press time.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Institutional Demand for Bitcoin and Crypto Resurges

Institutional Demand for Bitcoin and Crypto Resurges

Reports are increasingly indicating that bitcoin’s recent drop of 70% from its December record highs of nearly $20,000 has spurred a renewed interest in the BTC and cryptocurrency markets from institutional investors.

Also Read: Markets Update: Broken Trendlines and Bullish Bounces

Reports Indicate Influx of Institutional Investment

Institutional Demand for Bitcoin and Crypto ResurgesJeffrey Van de Leemput, an analyst working for Cryptocampus, has attested to the influx of interest from institutional buyers, stating that “serious money is now entering the market for the first time”. Mr. Van de Leemput added that “a couple days ago I helped set up a 200k BTC transaction for Chinese buyers… Soros, etc., are coming in, we will now see the start of the real bubble.”

Olga Feldmeier, the chief executive officer at Smart Valor, predicted that a strong break above the $8,000 USD area is having the potential to comprise “the ignition for the next bull phase, for which a lot of investors were waiting for a long time and will be happy to support now.”

Rich Ross of investment firm Evercore recently reluctantly described bitcoin as an attractive investment, following the early-2018 crash, stating: “As much as it pains me to say this, the chart does look a lot like other highflying stocks that I am buying on this dip.”

The chief investment officer of cryptocurrency hedge fund BlockTower Capital, Ari Paul, recently described widespread institutional investment as an inevitability for cryptocurrencies, saying: “I do think it’s inevitable from a few angles. Even if they never believe in it, as an asset class, they’re smart enough to recognize the alpha opportunity.”

Bitcoin Seen as Attractive Hedge Against Mainstream Markets

Institutional Demand for Bitcoin and Crypto ResurgesCryptocurrency analyst at Saxo Bank Jacob Pouncey acknowledged that the recent advertising bans and the potential for regulatory action against cryptocurrency pose a threat of further bullish momentum. However, he also stated that “we can’t rule out the possibility of a comeback.”

Mr. Pouncey suggested that increasingly uncertain sentiment in the legacy markets may drive up demand for bitcoin and similar assets that are seen as non-correlated with the mainstream financial markets among institutional investors.

“If there is a significant pullback in the equity markets, there will be an inflow of money into uncorrelated assets, or assets that lie outside the reach of the traditional financial system in which cryptocurrencies are a potential alternative. The inflow of institutional capital to the cryptocurrency market, due to the increase in regulation and investor protection, could lead cryptocurrencies to a positive quarter.”

Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) Reports Volume Growth in Futures Trading

Institutional Demand for Bitcoin and Crypto ResurgesCME has reported an increase in the trading volume of its bitcoin futures contracts of more than 50 percent since its December launch. During March, roughly 2,500 contracts (worth 5 BTC each) were traded, up substantially from December’s volume of 1,600.

Tim McCourt, the managing director and global head of equity products and alternative investments at CME Group, recently told reporters that trading volume “is steadily increasing each month.”

Mr. McCourt also stated that greater regulation of the markets is bringing more institutional investors into the fold, stating that “more regulation will increase efficiency of the market and give investors confidence.”

Lack of Regulation Perceived as Floodgate Holding Back Widespread Institutional Investment

Institutional Demand for Bitcoin and Crypto ResurgesAdrian Lai, co-founder of Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency investment firm Orichal Partners, has described a lack of clear and effective regulations surrounding the virtual currency markets as the primary obstacle to widespread institutional exposure to the cryptocurrency markets.

“Regulators are not banning the development of cryptocurrencies, but are trying to better regulate the market, which should help the industry mature,” Mr. Lai said. “If the regulatory stance gets clearer, large funds will be more assured and willing to commit significant capital.”

Do you think that greater institutional investment in the markets will be a positive or a negative for cryptocurrency? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Bitfury: Private Blockchains Are Intermediate Step for Governments

Bitfury private blockchain

Bitfury was one of the first companies built around the process of bitcoin mining, but the startup also now works on private blockchain software. Some would assume this might have a negative impact on the bitcoin-focused aspects of their business. But, while it’s true that the development of private, permissioned ledger systems means there could be less activity on public blockchains over the short term, Bitfury views private blockchains as an intermediate step for governments and other large entities to use public blockchains like Bitcoin.

Bitfury CEO Valery Vavilov and Executive Vice Chairman George Kikvadze recently discussed their use of private blockchains for the advancement of public blockchains on an episode of Laura Shin’s Unchained podcast.

Why Should Governments Use Blockchain Technology?

During their interview with Shin, Vavilov and Kikvadze covered the reasons why it’s important for governments and other large organizations around the world to move a large portion of their activities onto the blockchain.

“You could put the government as one of the biggest service providers for the citizens because every government provides thousands of different services to its citizens,” said Vavilov.

In Bitfury’s view, these services provided by governments tend to be inefficient. Vavilov pointed to land-title systems as a specific example, where various third parties are used to prove ownership over the course of a few days or a few months (depending on the country).

“Why [are the delays and other inefficiencies] happening? Because you don’t trust the systems. You don’t trust the data in the systems. And every time you do this transaction, you need to do these checks again and again and again,” added Vavilov. “Once you place data on a blockchain, it cannot be deleted and it cannot be altered. [With] this, you don’t need to check the same operation again and again once the data is on the blockchain.”

While government services work quite well for most Western countries, there are parts of the world where this is not the case. As an example, Vavilov discussed how his parents lost everything after the collapse of the Soviet Union when he was a child.

“In the majority of the countries in this world — and in the part of the world where I am from — people can lose properties and land titles just because somebody changed the records in a database,” said Vavilov.

Over the past few years, Bitfury has been building an alternative land-titling system anchored to the Bitcoin blockchain for the Republic of Georgia.

While it’s, as of yet, unproven that blockchain technology will offer the right solution for this use case, Bitfury was definitely right about the potential profits in bitcoin mining back when the company was first founded. And, according to Kikvadze, the company would now be sitting on over $6 billion worth of bitcoin (roughly 5 percent of the total supply in circulation) had more big-money investors believed in them in the early days.

Private Blockchains Are the Intranets of Bitcoin

So what about the debate over private versus public blockchains? During the recent interview, Vavilov analogized private blockchains to intranets, which were popular among governments before the internet became more widely trusted.

“There will be no fast move of institutions and governments to public blockchains,” said Vavilov. “The same happened 20 years ago when [the] internet was created. These institutions and governments didn’t switch to [the] internet immediately. Yes, they thought the technology is okay, the technology is perfect, but we don’t know who is using this technology, we don’t know who owns this technology, we will use this technology and create our own intranets.”

For those who aren’t aware, an intranet is basically a private network of computers used only by those who are granted access to it (usually a government, business or other organization). This is in contrast to the open internet, which anyone is able to access.

Bitfury Created a Private Blockchain Framework to Promote Bitcoin

In Vavilov’s view, private blockchains are the first step toward getting governments to use public blockchains. He used the history of government adoption of the internet to make his case.

“After a lot of intranets were created, they interconnected it using [the] internet when they became more comfortable with the technology,” explained Vavilov. “The same is happening in the blockchain space. There are public blockchains, but to move to public blockchains, institutions need to become more comfortable, and to become more comfortable, they need an intermediary step. An intermediary step is the private blockchain. So that’s why, in 2015, we decided, ‘Okay. There is a need for such a solution, and this solution also will help to expand the awareness of public blockchain.’ We decided to put some money and create a framework for private blockchain.”

Having said that, Bitfury’s private blockchain software, known as Exonum, also uses the Bitcoin blockchain for added security through a process called anchoring. According to Bitfury, anchoring the state of a private blockchain to a public blockchain like Bitcoin, by way of a cryptographic hash, lowers the level of the trust required in the administrators of the private chain.

“Using Exonum, you can use it to blockchainize any government services,” said Vavilov.

While bitcoin is the only crypto asset mined by Bitfury right now, they’re also looking into supporting other public blockchains such as Monero, Ethereum and Zcash.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Most Britons Won’t Support a Crypto Issued by the Bank of England Says Poll

Most Britons Won’t Support a Crypto Issued by the Bank of England, Poll

Almost two thirds of British people would not support a cryptocurrency issued by their central bank, according to a survey. Pollsters also found that the majority of Britons have already heard of bitcoin, however, a third of the respondents admitted they would be more likely to invest in cryptocurrencies if they were regulated.

Also read: Bank of Japan Turns Back on State-Issued Cryptocurrency

Brits Want Regulated Cryptos, Not Centralized Coins

The survey has indicated a rising awareness about cryptocurrencies in the United Kingdom. The majority of Brits – 93 percent – now say they have heard of bitcoin, compared to 91 percent in January of this year, and 80 percent in November 2017.

Most Britons Won’t Support a Crypto Issued by the Bank of England, PollThe online poll, conducted by D-CYFOR, also found that Britons wouldn’t trust a government-backed crypto, as reported by the Daily Express reported. 60 percent of the interviewed said they would not support the Bank of England in introducing its own digital coin.

British people remain cautious and generally pessimistic about the future of cryptocurrencies. More than 60 percent of those surveyed expect a decrease, or even a collapse in the value of bitcoin over the next six months.

The results come in contrast to those from another survey conducted earlier this year. It found that more than half of financial professionals in the UK, who have invested in cryptocurrencies, intend to buy more digital coins this year.

The pollsters also asked participants if they would consider investing in other cryptocurrencies, besides bitcoin. Fourteen percent said they would put money into Bitcoin Cash (BCH), 20 percent would invest in Ethereum, followed by Ripple with 6 percent, and Litecoin at 5 percent.

About a third of the respondents said they would be “more likely” to invest in cryptocurrency if the government in London regulated the crypto sector.

Central Bank Digital Money – A Dying Prospect

The attitude of the British public towards the idea of issuing a state-backed cryptocurrency is not an isolated sentiment. Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England, has recently spoken against the prospect of releasing a central bank digital coin. Carney is also a critic of bitcoin, claiming that the leading decentralized crypto has failed on the traditional aspects of money – store of value and medium of exchange.

Most Britons Won’t Support a Crypto Issued by the Bank of England, PollOther central bankers have voiced concerns with regards to centralized, government-backed cryptocurrencies. This week, the Bank of Japan’s Deputy Governor, Masayoshi Amamiya, said that digital currencies issued by central banks may have a large impact on the traditional financial “two-tier” system – in which the central bank allows direct access to its accounts only to a limited number of entities, such as private banks. A centralized crypto would affect their “financial intermediation” role by granting households and businesses direct access to central bank accounts, he warned. Mr. Amamiya’s remarks indicated that the Bank of Japan has no immediate plans to issue its own crypto.

Earlier this month, a high-ranking official from the Swiss National Bank expressed similar concerns. According to the member of the SNB’s governing board Andrea Maechler, state-issued digital money would make it easier for account holders to withdraw their funds, if they felt a bank was in difficulties. A government-backed crypto would deliver scarcely any advantages and is not necessary to ensure efficient cashless payments, she noted. Maechler thinks that cryptocurrencies are less risky than any version issued by a central bank.

What do you think about centralized, state-controlled cryptocurrencies? Would you invest in a government-issued digital coin? Tell us in the comments section below.  

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Brookings.

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Open Mineral plans to disrupt commodities trading with blockchain

Commodity trading is a very old industry which focuses on raw materials, like lead or copper, that are worth hundreds of billions. These materials are constantly moving from producers to consumers in a global market worth about $80bn, but it often lacks efficiency and transparency. Meanwhile, intermediaries make a lot of money just by acting as the middlemen. That’s where blockchain could, in theory, be applied, but introducing great transparency.

Open Mineral, a physical commodities trading platform, has now closed an investment round ($2.25 million) to do just that.

The idea is to increase the efficiency of the market for base and precious metal raw materials using blockchain. Its digital platform, Open Mineral Exchange, will bring together sellers and buyers, mining and metals companies, allowing them to transact directly and securely, without intermediaries. It will also digitize and streamline the complicated and paper-heavy process.

These newer trading platforms for physical commodities have been appearing in the last couple of years. Tradecloud, for example, addresses the refined metal market, while Metalshub focuses on ferroalloys. None of the current platforms use blockchain.
The Open Mineral model will rely on a success-based fee which will depend on the value/chemical composition of the material and the volume transacted. The platform currently focuses on zinc, lead, copper, gold and silver concentrate markets, but could expand into other concentrates in the future.
Open Mineral became the first startup to join Thomson Reuters Incubator based in Zug, which is famously spinning out blockchain startups. Investors include Goldcorp, Canadian gold mining company, and Xploration Capital.
The company is founded by Boris Eykher and Ilya Chernilovskiy. Before co-founding Open Mineral, Eykher and Chernilovskiy both worked at Glencore, the largest commodity trading house in the world. The company is headquartered in Baar, Switzerland with operations in Beijing, Lima, and Moscow.

PR: AI – Based Bibox Digital Asset Exchange Platform Hits 50,000 Active Users per Day in Five Months

AI - Based Bibox Digital Asset Exchange Platform Hits 50,000 Active Users per Day

This is a paid press release, which contains forward looking statements, and should be treated as advertising or promotional material. does not endorse nor support this product/service. is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the press release.

Tallinn, Estonia, April 19, 2018 – Having attracted half a million traders in just five months with an average of 50,000 active users per day, AI-based digital asset exchange platform Bibox today announced average per day trades of US$100 million.

With a super-secure trading platform that applies the latest in big data analytics and AI technology to detect trading anomalies that pose risks in real-time, Bibox has seen a user growth rate of more than 300% per month. Bibox provides functions for professional traders that include Planned, Conditional, Iceberg, TWAP, Stop Loss/Gain orders.

Underpinned by blockchain and proprietary algorithms, Bibox’s supports more than 35 tokens and 112 trading pairs, including Bitcoin, Ethereum and Tether, with AI selecting listings for new tokens on Bibox Digital Exchange Platform based on merit. Bibox adopts and end-to-end approach to AI-based security that includes monitoring functions and alerts for suspicious activity.

Given its transparency and security credentials, CEO Jeffrey Lei wants to extend secure trading beyond crypto geeks, and develop a platform that is accessible to everyone, “Eventually users with different risk tolerance capabilities will have different access to trading services and fees according to their identity.”

At present, Bibox can handle more than 10 million users at the same time and 1 million transactions per second.

For more information please visit official website Bibox, subscribe to Bibox official accounts in Twitter; Reddit; and Medium.

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This is a paid press release. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the promoted company or any of its affiliates or services. is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in the press release.

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Majority of US States Have Taken a Stance on Bitcoin and Blockchain

Majority of US States with Stance on Bitcoin and Blockchain

Most US states have adopted some regulatory stance in regards to cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and the blockchain technologies behind them, according to a report by the Brookings Institution. The study classifies jurisdictions according to their attitude towards digital currencies and the levels of engagement with the underlying technology.

Also read: Several States Spearhead Bitcoin Adoption in the U.S.

Two Waves of Regulations in Four Years

State governments are at various stages of implementation of crypto and blockchain technologies. Some of them have not yet introduced regulatory regimes to take full advantage of them. Most, however, have shown interest in leveraging these technologies to stimulate local economies and improve public services. The authors have identified two waves of new crypto-related regulations in the last several years.

The first wave started in 2014, with more than 20 states adopting relevant legislation. At that first stage, authorities in at least 10 states, like California and New Mexico, issued warnings about investing in cryptocurrencies. The second one came in the last two years when a large group of states started exploring the potential implementation of blockchain technologies in the public and the private sector.

Majority of US States with Stance on Bitcoin and BlockchainOne of these states is Colorado, where a cautionary approach has led to the adoption of a bipartisan bill promoting the use of blockchain for government record keeping. Wyoming has been mentioned as a state seeking broader impact on the state economy. Recently, its legislature passed a bill exempting cryptocurrencies from property taxation, as reported. The state has been praised for becoming the most crypto-friendly jurisdiction in the country.

Two other states have taken steps to legalize bitcoin as a payment option for taxation purposes. Arizona has promised to become the first US state to start accepting taxes in cryptocurrency. Several bills recognizing cryptos as currencies have been making their way in the state legislature. Two of them regulate income tax payments with cryptos. Georgia may also provide its residents with the option to pay taxes in bitcoin. A draft that allows digital currency payments for tax obligations and licensure fees has been filed in the senate.

Many state legislatures have introduced regulations mostly clarifying matters related to the exchange of cryptocurrencies and the application of existing money transmission laws. Nevertheless, the majority of US states have taken at least some form of regulatory stance concerning cryptocurrencies and the blockchain technology, as the researchers point out.

From “Unaware” to “Recognizing Innovation”

The report, titled “Blockchain and US State Governments: An Initial Assessment”, classifies US jurisdictions according to their attitude towards cryptocurrencies and the levels of engagement with the blockchain technology. The authors have divided states into several groups – Unaware, Reactionary, Appreciative, Organized, Actively Engaged, and Recognizing Innovation Potential.

The first group consists of states which have not taken any actions to adopt relevant regulations, such as Arkansas and South Dakota. The document notes, however, that in some of these “unaware” states there are substantial crypto-related activities within the private sector and the academia. States that have taken a negative stand against cryptocurrencies or have flagged them as potentially risky are considered “reactionary”. These include Indiana, Iowa, and Texas.

Majority of US States with Stance on Bitcoin and Blockchain

North Dakota is among the “appreciative” states, as its government has already initiated a legislative process but has not adopted any new bills yet. “Organized” states like Washington and New Hampshire have already passed new laws concerning the crypto ecosphere.

Seven states are included in a group called “Active Engagement”. According to the Brookings Institution, they have gone beyond cryptocurrencies and examined the governmental use of blockchain. The authors are talking about both isolated applications and integration across different government functions. A good example is Vermont where blockchain-stored data is recognized and accepted by the court system.

Several other states “envision a broader role for blockchain in their economies”. These are states like Delaware, hosting many Fortune 500 companies and numerous startups, and Illinois, which aims to utilize distributed ledger technologies to “redefine the relationship between government and citizens”. Arizona, where signatures, transactions, and contracts on a blockchain are legally valid, also falls in the category of states “recognizing the innovation potential” of crypto technology.

Do you agree that most US states will probably accept and regulate cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies before they are legalized on a federal level? Tells us in the comments section below.   

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Brookings.

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Telegram’s Pavel Durov Is Using Bitcoin to Bypass Russian Sanctions

Telegram’s Pavel Durov Is Using Bitcoin to Bypass Russian Sanctions

Telegram CEO Pavel Durov is battling against Russian security forces, after they implemented a block on Monday, April 16, 2018, on the messaging app when it refused a court order to “grant state security services access to its users’ encrypted messages,” according to Reuters.

The move was initiated by Alexander Zharov, head of the Russian watchdog organization Roskomnadzor, who has blocked 18 sub-networks and various IP addresses belonging to both Amazon and Google in the process.

“We have currently informed both companies that a significant number of IP addresses located in the clouds of these two services have fallen under the block due to the court ruling,” Zharov commented. He further stated that Telegram has potentially been used by terrorists to “coordinate attacks” on both Russia and its neighbors.

But as the skies darken and defense seems like a lost cause, Durov is refusing to give up, as Telegram customers received the following notification early this morning:

“For the last 24 hours Telegram has been under a ban by internet providers in Russia. The reason is our refusal to provide encryption keys to Russian security agencies. For us, this was an easy decision. We promised our users 100% privacy and would rather cease to exist than violate this promise.”

Durov has since taken to his account on VK — a Russian social network — to explain that he is offering bitcoin grants to both companies and individuals alike that run proxy servers and virtual private networks (VPNs). He says he’s “happy to donate millions of dollars” from his personal stash to illustrate and assist this cause, noting that both VPNs and proxy servers work against the hindrances set in place by Russian authorities.

Proxy servers operate by acting as connective tissue between clients and other servers. Normally, these clients seek information or resources from outside servers and thus link to a proxy server, which decides the best way to simplify and control the complexity of their incoming data. In addition, proxy servers offer anonymity to their users, and can be utilized to bypass blocks on certain IP addresses.

A VPN extends a private network across a public one and allows users to send and receive information without disclosing their identities. According to Durov, both systems require third-party funding, and he’s urging players with money to get in on the game alongside him.

As the last 24 hours have shown, in their ongoing war on progress, Russia’s supervisory authorities are willing to block millions of IP addresses of cloud hosting without regard for losses of extraneous projects.

While Russia only accounts for 7 percent of Telegram’s users, Durov called the recent ban “unconstitutional” and commented that threats to privacy and principles are more important than the numbers.

“Even if we lose the entire [Russian market], Telegram’s organic growth in other regions will compensate for this loss within a couple months,” Durov mentioned. “However, it is important for me personally to make sure we do everything we can for our Russian users.”

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Dow Jones Group Teams Up with Brave Software to Test Basic Attention Token

Dow Jones Group Teams Up with Brave Software to Test Basic Attention Token

In a collaborative effort to test the Brave platform and its digital advertising token, the Basic Attention Token (BAT), the Dow Jones Media Group has joined up with the Brave Software team.

On April 18, 2018, the two organizations announced that they will experiment with blockchain technology in the realm of digital advertising and media publication. This entails testing the Brave browser’s digital advertising platform and its native currency, BAT, across the Dow Jones Media Group’s brands, which includes Barron’s, the Wall Street Journal and MarketWatch.

Created by JavaScript inventor and Mozilla co-founder Brendan Eich, the Brave browser and Basic Attention Token work in sync to offer an alternative revenue model for digital publishers and advertisers alike. Both BAT and Brave are meant to reduce fraud from bot-generated advertising views, generate more equitable revenue for publishers and give consumers the chance to monetize their attention by being paid per ad view in BAT.

With the partnership, the Dow Jones Media Group is indicating that Brave’s overall mission, to deliver innovative, efficient advertising, resonates with the financial powerhouse.

“Our partnership with Brave is an exciting and innovative step for Dow Jones Media Group,” Daniel Bernard, Senior Vice President of Barron’s, said. “As global digital publishers, we believe it is important to continually explore new and emerging technologies that can be used to build quality customer experiences.”

Per the partnership, Brave browser users will have access to premium content on and from the MarketWatch newsletter “on a first-come, first-serve basis,” according to the press release. In addition, both Barron’s and MarketWatch will join the likes of the Washington Post, the Guardian and Vice to become verified publishers on the Basic Attention Platform.

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with Dow Jones Media Group to provide Brave users with premium content via Brave and the Basic Attention Token,” said Eich in a statement. “Our new model reconnects users and publishers without compromising privacy. We look forward to our users enjoying Barron’s and MarketWatch premium newsletters.”

The partnership is another notch in the project’s belt. In mid-March, the Washington Post announced that it would begin accepting BAT as a certified publisher.  

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Markets Update: Broken Trendlines and Bullish Bounces

Markets Update: Broken Trendlines and Bullish Bounces

The cryptocurrency markets have shown early signs of a bullish momentum shift following several months of heavy selling pressure. After losing upwards of 75% to 85% and forming ‘adam-and-eve’ style double bottoms, many leading cryptocurrency markets have produced significant bounces over the course of the last fortnight. The markets now appear poised in ‘open air’ – with either a retest of recently broken descending trendlines or further bullish momentum toward 23.6% retracement areas comprising the likely next moves for price of leading cryptocurrencies.

Also Read: Tanzanian, Venezuelan, and Peru’s P2P Bitcoin Markets Witness Record Volume

BTC Markets Recover by 25% From Support

The bitcoin (BTC) markets led the charge for the recent crypto bounce, forming an adam-and-eve styled double bottom after testing $6,000 USD area for the second time in 2018. The bounce saw BTC make a fourth point of contact with a long-term ascending trendline from July 2017. The recent low of roughly $6,400 comprised a 62.5% loss in value from this year’s highs of approximately $17,000.


Markets Update: Broken Trendlines and Bullish Bounces

On the 12th of April, BTC produced a dramatic upward spike and broke out of the descending triangle pattern in which it has consolidated during preceding months. With prices testing resistance at the $8,100 area as of this writing, the BTC markets have produced a gain of approximately 26.5% from the local low of roughly $6,400. Presently, as with many other cryptocurrency markets, it looks as though the next move for BTC will likely be either more bullish momentum towards the 23.6% retracement area, or a drop back down to retest the descending trendline that BTC recently broke above.

BCH Makes Bullish Gains of Almost 37%

Bitcoin Cash (BCH) found a local floor of approximately $610 towards the end of the first week of April, establishing support at the break-out area from November 2017 that also formed a third point of contact with a major long-term ascending trendline dating back to the BCH’s all-time low during the earliest weeks of Bitcoin Cash’s existence.

The recent sustained bearish action comprised a loss of approximately 79% from 2018’s highs of approximately $2,900. When measuring from BCH’s all-time high of roughly $4,000 from late December, Bitcoin Cash has experienced a retracement of over 85%.

Markets Update: Broken Trendlines and Bullish Bounces

Since then, Bitcoin Cash has rallied by approximately 37%, with the prices hovering at the $835 area as of this writing. BCH appears to be showing early signs of a bullish momentum change after breaking out of multiple significant descending trendlines and producing many days worth of sideways consolidatory price-action. As of this writing, BCH has the fourth largest market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies with a total capitalization of $14.2 billion.

Altcoin Markets Break Out of Descending Trendlines After Retesting Breakout Zones of Late 2017

The Ethereum (ETH) markets have also produced an adam-and-eve styled double bottom after fully retracing to retest the November 2017 breakout area of approximately $380. The local bottom also formed an additional point of contact with a long-term ascending trendline that has so far held for over 12 months.

Markets Update: Broken Trendlines and Bullish Bounces

ETH has since broken out of a major descending trendline, and produced gains of 35.5%. The price of ETH is approximately $515 as of this writing. Ethereum has continued to retain its position as the second largest cryptocurrency market by total capitalization, currently boasting a market cap of approximately $51 billion according to Coinmarketcap.

Ripple (XRP) is the third largest market by capitalization with $26.75 billion. In recent week, XRP established a local floor of approximately $0.46, after losing over 85% from the record highs of roughly $3.25 seen during early January. Since then, Ripple has bounced by over 68%, and is currently testing resistance at the $0.686 area.

Markets Update: Broken Trendlines and Bullish Bounces

Litecoin (LTC) is currently the position of the fifth largest cryptocurrency market with a total capitalization of $7.7 billion. After establishing resistance at $100 and making a third point of contact with an ascending trendline from September 2017, LTC has made gains of 27.5%, with prices currently sitting at almost $137.

Markets Update: Broken Trendlines and Bullish Bounces

Do you think that the immediate bear trend is over? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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Bitcoin Price Watch – BTC/USD Returns Above $8,000, Shows Strength

Bitcoin Price Watch

Earlier this morning, Bitcoin price returned above $8,000 following a slight dip below that price level on Tuesday evening. BTC/USD has been holding steady this week as investors await the next potential breakout. For the past two weeks, Bitcoin gained close to 20%.

BTC/USD Showing Strength

Despite falling below $8,000, Bitcoin price bounced back quickly on Wednesday morning. The slight price dip was likely a result of a “whale dumping” of over $50 million worth of cryptocurrency in one transaction on the Bitfinex exchange. The fact that New York’s attorney general may take a closer look ...

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Blockchain-Friendly Malta Attracts Another Blockchain Company

Blockchain-Friendly Malta Attracts Another Blockchain Company

Blockchain-based, equity fundraising platform Neufund, whose technology allows tokenization of shares and fundraising on the blockchain, is announcing that it will establish a strong presence in Malta and support Malta’s rapidly expanding blockchain ecosystem.

Neufund, a startup headquartered in Berlin, is the latest of many blockchain companies that have established a presence in the Mediterranean island nation, attracted by the promise of crypto-friendly regulations. Last week, cryptocurrency exchange OKEx announced that it is expanding its operations to Malta. In late March, Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, also announced plans to move operations to the cryptocurrency-friendly EU member state.

“[Virtual currencies] will form the base of a new economy in the future,” said Joseph Muscat, Prime Minister of Malta, in a recent speech.

“There is huge interest in the blockchain industry from all across the globe and it has the potential to be even more beneficial to the Maltese economy than igaming,” said digital economy parliamentary secretary Silvio Schembri.

An authority called the Malta Digital Innovation Authority (MDIA) will be created to regulate companies that operate on blockchains and to promote Malta as a destination for these companies.

Malta is not the first European nation to promote itself as a blockchain haven and try to attract capital and talent with crypto-friendly regulations, but the fact that Malta is a member of the EU could make it more appealing than, for example, Switzerland’s “Crypto Valley.”

“Looking at Malta’s vision and progress in creating a complete blockchain ecosystem, we have decided to engage our know-how and offer support in building the blockchain future of this progressive thinking EU member state,” says Zoe Adamovicz, CEO and co-founder of Neufund. “Together with Malta’s Government, we want to kick-start the creation of crypto-friendly laws with Malta’s DLT [Distributed Ledger Technology] framework initiative already serving as a great foundation.”

“We are impressed by the deep understanding and openness shown by Malta’s Government that serves as a great example to regulators all over the world being a live example that actions and official statements speak louder than words,” added Adamovicz.

Schembri added that stable and integrated markets require the long-term vision of sustainable and inclusive growth, and Neufund shares Malta’s view on how to create an ideal ecosystem for investments. “We are pleased to be accompanied by companies such as Neufund in becoming the [blockchain island],” he said.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Bank of Japan Turns Back on State-Issued Cryptocurrency

Bank of Japan Turns Back on State-Issued Cryptocurrency

The Bank of Japan has become the latest government financial institution to recognize the risks of state-issued cryptocurrencies. According to its Deputy Governor Masayoshi Amamiya, a national digital coin may jeopardize the traditional financial system established in developed countries. The Japanese central bank has no plans to issue its own crypto, he said.

Also read: “Private Digital Money” Better than State-Issued, Swiss Central Banker Says

Centralized Coin to Hit Financial Stability

Digital currencies issued by central banks may have a large impact on the current financial system, the Deputy Governor of Japan’s central bank Masayoshi Amamiya said during a fintech conference. He told attendees, including representatives of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Japanese Financial Services Authority (FSA), that the Bank of Japan had no immediate plans to mint its own crypto.

Bank of Japan Turns Back on State-Issued Cryptocurrency
Masayoshi Amamiya

Amamiya noted that central banks were established to overcome “the turmoil caused by multiple payment instruments.” That’s why they were assigned the exclusive role to issue “central bank money,” he explained. In the two-tiered modern financial system, private banks provide payment services to the general public and allocate financial resources to the economy through loans and credits. According to the Bank of Japan’s executive, this structure “reflects the wisdom of human beings in history to achieve both efficiency and stability.”

Masayoshi Amamiya shared his concerns that the issuance of central bank digital currencies will grant households and businesses direct access to central bank accounts. “This may have a large impact on the two-tiered currency system and private banks’ financial intermediation”, BOJ’s representative warned. Currently, the central bank allows direct access to its accounts only to a limited number of entities such as private banks, he remarked.

At the same time, Amamiya believes that central banks should always pay attention to ongoing innovation and follow technological advances in order to provide societies with the best financial infrastructure. BOJ fully acknowledges the importance of understanding innovative technologies not only for maintaining stability, but also for seeking their application in the future, the Deputy Governor said.

State Cryptos Rested on the Back Burner

Masayoshi Amamiya’s comments come at a time when a growing number of central banks and financial authorities are turning their backs on centralized, state-sponsored cryptocurrencies. Proposals to issue such digital coins, with or without blockchain, have been made in several countries over the past few months. They have been seen as alternatives to decentralized cryptocurrencies, like bitcoin, that would allow governments to use the technology without losing control over the financial system.

Bank of Japan Turns Back on State-Issued Cryptocurrency
Swiss National Bank

This month a high-ranking representative of the Swiss National Bank expressed concerns similar to those shared by BOJ’s Deputy Governor. Private-sector digital currencies are better and less risky than any version that might be offered by a central bank, according to Andrea Maechler, a member of the SNB’s governing board. “Digital central bank money is not necessary to ensure efficient cashless payments,” she said.

In Maechler’s words, a government-backed cryptocurrency would make it easier for people to withdraw their money, if they felt a bank was in difficulties. “It would deliver scarcely any advantages, but would give rise to incalculable risks,” she warned. Just like her Japanese colleague, Andrea Maechler saw a threat to the “tried and tested” two-tier system.

Initially enthusiastic about the idea of a state-backed cryptocurrency, the Central Bank of Russia has gradually changed its position, too. Plans to introduce a so-called “cryptoruble” have been postponed. Centrobank revealed intentions to study the possibility of issuing a “virtual national currency” last summer. Later, however, its Deputy President Olga Skorobogatova said “the introduction of a national digital currency seems unjustified”. Russia may instead seek consultations with its partners from EAEU and BRICS on creating a common digital coin for international transactions.

Bank of Japan Turns Back on State-Issued CryptocurrencyThe Russian Finance Ministry, which has led efforts to regulate cryptocurrencies, has also indicated a negative stance on the “cryptoruble”. In a letter to President Putin, Minister Anton Siluanov said that a centralized digital coin isn’t possible due to certain features of cryptocurrencies, including the decentralized nature of distributed ledgers. Russia is now heading in a different direction, with 27 digital economy draft laws to be reviewed by the State Duma this year. Two of them aim to legalize initial coin offerings, mining, and possibly regulate digital currency payments.

Do you think centralized cryptocurrencies have any future? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.  

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The post Bank of Japan Turns Back on State-Issued Cryptocurrency appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Op Ed: Cryptocurrency Advertising Continues to Face Scrutiny

Op Ed: Cryptocurrency Advertising Continues to Face Scrutiny

Public interest in cryptocurrency has led to a rush of recent advertising, mostly on social media and the internet. Much of that advertising has focused on driving consumer interest in contributing money to an Initial Coin Offering or ICO. Unlike other forms of private investment, which are off limits to all but wealthy, accredited investors, interest in cryptocurrency extends beyond Wall Street to Main Street investors and this has regulators worried. Where some see opportunity, regulators see potential fraud and abuse.

The ads that seem to have regulators most concerned are celebrity endorsements. Within the last year, DJ Khaled, Floyd Mayweather, Evander Holyfield, Paris Hilton and Jamie Foxx have all endorsed a particular ICO or cryptocurrency on social media, often in ways suggesting the potential for wealth and riches. And not all of those ICOs have gone on to success. In fact, as discussed below, the one pitched by Holyfield was shut down by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The risks to Main Street investors has prompted regulators to rush onto the scene and begin closely monitoring efforts to market cryptocurrencies to consumers. Below are some of the more significant developments over the past several months, as well as thoughts about what may lie ahead.

SEC Targets Celebrity Endorsements

One of the earliest shots across the bow came from the SEC. While the SEC isn’t exactly known for targeting celebrity endorsements on social media (the FTC usually does that), it issued a statement on November 1, 2017, urging consumers to be skeptical of celebrity-endorsed ICOs and warning endorsers that they “must disclose the nature, scope, and amount of compensation received in exchange for the promotion.” Failure to do so, said the SEC, would violate the anti-touting provisions of the federal securities laws.

Traditionally, the SEC’s tool of choice for targeting so-called “pump-and-dump” schemes, anti-touting laws, curtail the ability of paid promoters to influence the price of a security through endorsements. Case in point: the anti-touting provision of the Securities Act of 1933 makes it unlawful to “give publicity to … any … advertisement … or communication which … describes [a] security for a consideration received or to be received … without fully disclosing the receipt … of such consideration and the amount thereof.”

This is similar to the FTC’s “material connection” rule: “when there exists a connection between the endorser and seller of the advertised product that might materially affect the weight or credibility of the endorsement (i.e., the connection is not reasonably expected by the audience), such connection must be fully disclosed.” But notice that the SEC version goes a step further and requires disclosure of the amount of compensation received by the endorser.

SEC Obtains Court Order Stopping ICO

Two months after the SEC’s statement, Evander Holyfield endorsed an ICO for AriseBank on Twitter.

Weeks later, the SEC obtained an injunction to stop the ICO from going forward. According to the SEC’s complaint, AriseBank and its co-founders falsely told potential investors that AriseBank was FDIC insured and also concealed information about the criminal backgrounds of key executives. In announcing the injunction, the SEC called AriseBank “an outright scam.”

So far, the SEC has not pursued any enforcement action against Holyfield himself. It will be interesting to see if that holds true. If Holyfield received any “consideration,” or payment, for his endorsement, including any AriseCoin, he could face potential exposure under federal anti-touting laws.

Facebook, Google and Twitter Restrict Cryptocurrency Ads

On January 30, 2018, the same day that the SEC announced the AriseBank injunction, Facebook announced a new policy on cryptocurrency ads: “Ad must not promote financial products and services that are frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices, such as … coin offerings, or cryptocurrency.”

Google followed suit, announcing in mid-March that it would phase out all cryptocurrency and ICO ads by June 2018, and, shortly after Google’s announcement, Twitter confirmed that it too would begin prohibiting most types of cryptocurrency advertising. Based on reporting by Reuters, Twitter’s policy will prohibit advertising of ICOs and token sales, and will also prohibit ads by cryptocurrency exchanges and wallet services not listed on a major stock exchange.

With Facebook, Google and Twitter effectively shutting the door on cryptocurrency advertising, the opportunity to reach Main Street investors has diminished, but it certainly has not disappeared. Private networks, targeted electronic and print ads, and word-of-mouth are still powerful means for reaching consumers, and government regulators like the SEC are likely to shift their focus to these areas in the near future.

FTC Shuts Down Cryptocurrency Chain Referral Scheme and Creates Blockchain Working Group

More recently, the FTC has gotten in on the action, shutting down an operation that recruited participants in a so-called “Bitcoin Funding Team.” The concept of a funding team sounds a bit like an ICO but, according to the FTC, it was nothing more than a chain referral scheme. A recruit would make a cryptocurrency donation, which would then be paid to “upline” team members, and the recruit would make money as additional recruits joined the team.

Bitcoin Funding chart

Despite the obvious differences between the alleged scheme and a legitimate ICO, this case is nevertheless noteworthy because it shows that the FTC is likely to become a key regulatory player in this space. The SEC and FTC will almost certainly share jurisdiction over cryptocurrency advertising going forward. Typically, the FTC focuses on advertising claims and practices (including endorsements) that could be deemed false, misleading or deceptive. But where the product being endorsed is a security (as the SEC alleges cryptocurrency is), the SEC has jurisdiction to investigate and pursue a claim under the anti-touting laws.

When it announced the Bitcoin Funding Team case, the FTC also announced that it had formed an internal Blockchain Working Group aimed at preventing fraudsters from capitalizing on the excitement and confusion surrounding cryptocurrencies to bilk consumers. This is significant because it foreshadows potential specific guidance for cryptocurrency advertisers.

Looking Ahead

Notwithstanding the significant curtailment of cryptocurrency advertising, two things are very clear. First, consumers remain extremely interested in cryptocurrency, and advertisers will find a way to reach them. Second, regulators will not view recent advertising bans on Facebook, Twitter and Google as victory; to the contrary, they will almost certainly redouble their efforts to smoke out and pursue those who are using consumer interest to perpetrate fraudulent schemes.

As the industry matures, however, expect to see continued focus on advertising practices. This will inevitably focus on endorsements and whether any material connection between the endorser and the product was properly disclosed, but it will also touch on issues like claim substantiation (are the specific claims in the ad true and by evidence?), deception (has material information been omitted?), and disclosure (does the ad clearly and conspicuously disclose any material terms or limitations?).

Until specific guidance is published, if ever, advertisers should proceed cautiously and should absolutely avoid: (i) paid endorsements that fail to disclose the amount of the payment, (ii) claims that that a currency or product will be a good investment or low-risk, (iii) imagery or depictions suggesting wealth, and (iv) any other element that could be deemed misleading or deceptive.

This is a guest post by Neil Austin, Co-Chair, Advertising & Marketing Practice at Foley Hoag LLP. Views expressed are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Media or Bitcoin Magazine.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.