No Blockchain Network is Remotely Close to Ethereum, Says Golem CEO

Zulian Zawistowski, the CEO of Golem, a smart contracts-based decentralized supercomputer, stated that Ethereum is the most promising blockchain platform in the global cryptocurrency sector and no other blockchain protocol comes remotely close to Ethereum’s potential and applicability. Ethereum’s Advanced and Sophisticated Platform Golem, the 47th largest cryptocurrency with a $387 million market valuation, which

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Coinbase Remains the Most Successful and Important Company in the Crypto Industry

Coinbase Remains the Most Successful and Important Company in the Crypto Industry

On its 6th birthday, Coinbase received high praise from Shapeshift’s Erik Voorhees. He Tweeted, “Coinbase remains the most successful and important company in the crypto industry.” Arguably, that is very much the case. The San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange with its barebone menu of offerings, combined with its easy user-interface and relatively smooth onboarding (almost no upfront deposit needed), provide an envious business model. That’s not to write the company is without faults, as it has many. It might not even be the future of retail crypto access, and perhaps it shouldn’t.

Also read: Zimbabwe Bans All Cryptocurrency Activity, Businesses Have 2 Month Grace Period

Coinbase is Easy, Light, Feisty

“Today is Coinbase’s sixth anniversary,” wrote COO Asiff Hirji. “We’re celebrating six incredible years working toward our mission to help create a more open financial system for the world! […] We are in the early days of our mission and there is still so much to do […] Have to know when to follow the rules, when to bend them and when to push to change them. Breaking them is neither ethical nor sustainable.”

It’s probably less of an exchange proper and more of a conservative cryptocurrency bank. It might be fair to simply label it a broker (without bids, asks, limit orders, margin trading, etc). Coinbase, founded six years ago this week, is arguably the most important company, regardless of its technical classification, within the space. It alone is responsible for introducing millions and millions of Americans to the wild phenomenon that is decentralized currency speculation.

Coinbase Remains the Most Successful and Important Company in the Crypto Industry

Offering bitcoin core (BTC), bitcoin cash (BCH), ether (ETH), and litecoin (LTC), its sparse choices work to underwhelm those new to speculating on cryptocurrency. The format is light and only requires a linked bank account. Without the bother of having to hold and maintain decentralized currency, users can simply use the Coinbase client and trade for fractions, sometimes as low as $2.00. Fees, of course, apply.

At the time of available statistics, the Northern California broker had something like 13 million users (Altana Digital Currency Fund), some days back in 2017 clocking them at 100,000 new sign ups every twenty four hours. For a little while there, Coinbase was a top ten downloaded application in the Apple Store. Its yearly revenue eclipsed venerable legacy houses such as Charles Schwab.

Embarrassment of Riches

It continues to nab top professional financial sector talent such as Asiff Hirji from TD Ameritrade; to that end, it poached Facebook Messenger’s David Marcus to join its Board, and the two are exploring ways to exploit the social media platform’s giant user base in terms of blockchain technology (probably a proprietary token is in the works, but that’s a guess). Heck, even its alumni go on to do big things: Charlie Lee of Litecoin fame was a former director of engineering.

Merchants Dell and Expedia use it as a point of sale processor. For trading professionals, its Coinbase Exchange was rebranded to Global Digital Asset Exchange (GDAX), becoming one of the earliest to offer ether to financial pros.

Coinbase Remains the Most Successful and Important Company in the Crypto Industry
Brian Armstrong

For better or worse, Coinbase is the most prominent version of mainstreaming the crypto revolution. It’s young (CEO, Brian Armstrong, is barely in his mid 30s), feisty, ambitious, cocky, and sporting for market share. Its flounders are largely an embarrassment of riches: demand so great the company’s system crashed a few times during the runups of 2017, and its customer inquiries languished at times in ten day backlogs. Mr. Armstrong fired back, “There’s so many people rushing into the space, if it’s a bit of speculation, I’m O.K. with that. But we can’t guarantee the website’s going to be up exactly when you need it. Everyone needs to take a deep breath.”

That particular hiccup hasn’t been put away altogether just yet, as in January of this year alone formal complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rocketed by more than 100%. Almost half were filed regarding “money not available when promised,” which is no small matter.

Coinbase Remains the Most Successful and Important Company in the Crypto Industry

Peril’s of Centralization

In the scaling debate, Mr. Armstrong came firmly down on the side of big blockers, and, according to various sources, holds most of his crypto wealth in ether. Under his leadership, the company embraced economic reality, choosing when to fight on principle and where to give-in. For example, it was one of the notable in its class to snag a controversial Bitlicense from New York. Howls of sell out and capitulation could be heard far and wide. But this move signaled to potential investors and the broader financial community the company was less strident and more pragmatic in the all-important ‘business sense.’

It would regain some of its punkier credibility, at least for a time, when the United States’ taxman came calling. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) evidently can read eye-popping price headlines. As market leaders such as BTC rose exponentially, so did United States citizens’ tax obligations. Yet nearly no one was complying. History will show the company did fight back, but history will also show it lost, having to hand over customer information for those who moved more than $20K in crypto (small percentage of its users).

Coinbase Remains the Most Successful and Important Company in the Crypto Industry

Then again, when New York’s top cop poked and prodded at exchanges, asking they account for this and that, Coinbase jumped as high as asked, issuing a very detailed letter. Kraken, on the other hand, went sideways at the presumption and hubris of such an invasion. The contrast could not be starker, and the more principled in the community noticed … as it did when it shut off access for Wikileaks, a seemingly purposeful separation from crypto’s anarchic roots. Such are the perils of centralization in the sense there are doors to kickdown, masters to please other than market demand. 

For the more cypherpunk among us, it is critical to acknowledge the truth. Coinbase is good people, but Coinbase is also in bed with the same folks who prompted crypto’s birth. That won’t do, and won’t do by a lot. If censorship resistance and decentralization are fundamental pillars, then we should look for exchanges in those images. Leave traditional banking schemes itching to please governments to their future: slow death.

Is Coinbase an overall positive or negative in the crypto community? Tell us in the comments below! 


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Coinbase, Twitter.


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This is an Op-ed article. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. Bitcoin.com does not endorse nor support views, opinions or conclusions drawn in this post. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the Op-ed article. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the content. Bitcoin.com 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 information in this Op-ed article.

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Ethereum Futures in US One Step Closer as CME Deal is Struck

Ethereum Futures in US One Step Closer as CME Deal is Struck

Chicago Mercantile Exchange & Chicago Board of Trade (CME Group Inc) announced a partnership with Crypto Facilities Ltd to list the price of ether in real-time dollars. Information from major cryptocurrency exchanges Bitstamp and Kraken will be used to determine the CME CF reference rate. This could be a hint of things to come for the second most popular crypto in the world, including possible US futures.   

Also read: Zimbabwe Bans All Cryptocurrency Activity, Businesses Have 2 Month Grace Period

CME Strikes Deal for Ether-Dollar Reference Rate

“CME Group’s experience and knowledge in bringing the Bitcoin Reference Rate and Real-Time Index to market,” Chicago Merc’s website pithily stated, “has enabled us to launch an Ether-Dollar Reference Rate and Real-Time Index […] and the CME CF Ether-Dollar rates will provide a standardized reference rate and spot price index to bring confidence to any trading strategy. Major cryptocurrency exchanges Bitstamp and Kraken provide the pricing data to bring our dependable rate to the market.”

Ethereum Futures in US One Step Closer as CME Deal is Struck

In the final quarter of last year, to much fanfare and hype, CME, along with crosstown rival Cboe, created a first of its kind: crypto futures. The experiment in running bitcoin core (BTC) in more mainstream financial contexts has been decidedly mixed. Some analysts even believe futures were a significant drag on digital asset prices due to allowing speculators to short BTC.

CME’s Tim McCourt explained, “The Ether Reference Rate and Real Time Index are designed to meet the evolving needs of this marketplace. Providing price transparency and a credible price reference source is a key development for users of Ethereum.”

Aiming for Institutional Investors

CME is among the most trusted derivatives market makers in the world, as is a well-known player. Crypto Facilities Ltd is a crypto trading platform. The two have teamed to offer the CME CF Ether-Dollar Reference Rate (Ether Reference Rate) and Ether Real Time Index. Crypto Facilities will rely upon Kraken and Bitstamp order books as principal references. It hopes to add something like a daily benchmark in US fiat, real-time. Rollout is expected by CME Group and Crypto Facilities’ respective websites May 14, but formal CME market data platform distribution won’t begin until June 4th of this year.

London-based Crypto Facilities’ Timo Schlaefer noted, “Ether, the second largest cryptocurrency, experienced incredible adoption and growth in 2017, evolving into the leading blockchain for smart contracts. We are excited to be contributing to the strong community that has developed around the Ethereum network by providing a reliable reference rate and real-time Ether-Dollar price.”

Ethereum Futures in US One Step Closer as CME Deal is Struck

Earlier this week, Crypto Facilities detailed its other partnership with Chicago-based Akuna Capital and London-based market maker B2C2 in an effort to make ethereum futures contracts. The triumvirate hopes it can bring liquidity to ethereum futures. Aimed at institutional investors, such futures would allow long and short positions without dirtying hands (having to hold the actual coin).

Akuna’s Toby Allen insisted his company is “looking forward to seeing this much-needed product fill a gap in the market. The addition of a futures product enables crypto traders to take both long and short positions in ETH and is another giant leap in the development of the crypto asset class.”

Is having ether futures a good overall move for the crypto community? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments below.


Images via Shutterstock, Pixabay, Ethereum, CME Group Inc. 


Do you agree with us that Bitcoin is the best invention since sliced bread? Thought so. That’s why we are building this online universe revolving around anything and everything Bitcoin. We have a store. And a forum. And a casino, a pool and real-time price statistics.

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New Crypto Exchanges Open in Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines

New Crypto Exchanges Open in Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines

The number of new cryptocurrency exchanges is rapidly growing worldwide. This new crypto exchange roundup features four platforms located in South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

South Korea’s Coinbit

New Crypto Exchanges Open in Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, and the PhilippinesSouth Korean game developer Axia Soft Co. Ltd. has recently launched a crypto exchange called Coinbit. For its grand opening, the exchange is offering zero commission trades until the end of May.

Coinbit says 50 cryptocurrencies will be listed initially and more than 100 coins will be listed by the end of the year. Among supported cryptocurrencies are bitcoin, ether, ripple, bitcoin cash, ethereum classic, litecoin, waves, stox, eos, vechain, omisego, qtum, and neo.

New Crypto Exchanges Open in Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines

Thailand’s Jibex

New Crypto Exchanges Open in Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, and the PhilippinesCryptocurrency exchange Jibex has recently opened its doors in Thailand. The exchange is backed by IT company J.I.B. Computer Group Co. Ltd, a distributor and seller of computer hardware and IT trading products with 150 stores nationwide.

Initially, only five cryptocurrencies will be supported: bitcoin, bitcoin cash, ether, litecoin, and ripple. More will be added in the future, according to Jibex CEO Thuntee Sukchotrat. The exchange also offers a wallet supporting those five cryptocurrencies.

For the grand opening, Jibex is waiving its commission of 0.24%. No trading fee will be charged for 45 days ending on June 26.

Jibex Chairman Dr. Thantharaksuk Chotirat commented:

The partnership with J.I.B. Computer Group (JIB) will give users peace of mind and confidence in their investment. The service is good, fast and attentive to all customer needs.

New Crypto Exchanges Open in Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines

Vietnam’s Kenninex

New Crypto Exchanges Open in Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, and the PhilippinesKenninex crypto exchange has recently launched in Vietnam, headquartered in Ho Chi Minh City.

The exchange claims to be “the first live cryptocurrency exchange in Vietnam…[and] the first e-money trading platform in Vietnam to have a trading office where investors can experience our services as well as receive effective investment advice,” according to its website.

Customers can currently convert bitcoin and ether into VND and vice versa. The transaction fee is usually 0.4% but has been reduced to 0.2% for the first month of launch, according to local media.

The Philippines’ Coinvil

New Crypto Exchanges Open in Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, and the PhilippinesWhile Coinbit, Jibex, and Kenninex have already launched, this next exchange has not. South Korean blockchain technology and services company Glosfer and Coinvil have agreed to collaborate to build and launch a cryptocurrency exchange in the Philippines. Glosfer will build the platform while Coinvil will operate the exchange. Coinvil CEO Park Rae-hyun commented:

The Philippines will become the largest cryptocurrency trading market that connects Europe and Asia.

Do you think the number of new cryptocurrency exchanges will keep growing? Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: None of the information on news.Bitcoin.com is intended as investment advice, an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship of any products or companies. Bitcoin.com 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 this article.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Coinbit, Coinmarket Calendar, Kenninex, Glosfer, Bangkok Post, and Jibex.


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Novogratz Launches Benchmark Index of 10 Cryptocurrencies

Novogratz Launches Benchmark Index of 10 Cryptocurrencies

Well-known hedge fund manager Michael Novogratz has launched a cryptocurrency benchmark index in partnership with Bloomberg. The index, designed to track the performance of the largest, most liquid coins, consists of 10 cryptocurrencies at its inception.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

New Crypto Index

Novogratz Launches Benchmark Index of 10 Cryptocurrencies
Michael Novogratz.

Galaxy Digital Capital Management and Bloomberg announced on Wednesday the launch of a cryptocurrency benchmark index called Bloomberg Galaxy Crypto Index (BGCI). Galaxy Digital Capital Management LP is an asset management firm dedicated to the digital currency and blockchain sectors founded by Michael Novogratz, a former Principal and Chief Investment Officer of the Fortress Macro Funds and a former Partner at Goldman Sachs.

Citing that “the BGCI offers the first institutional grade benchmark for the cryptocurrency market,” the announcement details:

The index is designed to track the performance of the largest, most liquid portion of the cryptocurrency market. The BGCI is market capitalization-weighted and measures the performance of ten USD-traded cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, ethereum, monero, ripple, and zcash.

“The index constituents are diversified across different categories of digital assets, including stores of value, mediums of exchange, smart contract protocols, and privacy assets,” the companies explained. “The index is owned and administered by Bloomberg Index Services Limited and is co-branded with Galaxy Digital Capital Management.”

About the Index

At its inception, the BGCI contains 30% bitcoin and ether, 14.13% ripple, 10.63% bitcoin cash, 6.11% EOS, 3.77% litecoin, 1.67% dash, 1.66% monero, and 1% ethereum classic and zcash.

Novogratz Launches Benchmark Index of 10 Cryptocurrencies

Novogratz set out to launch a crypto hedge fund originally but he halted this plan in December and unveiled Galaxy Digital instead.

He said on Markets Now that “we are hoping that this index becomes the bellwether and benchmark for the whole crypto space that hedge funds are compared to it… and that is seen as a watershed moment where crypto starts to become an indigestible asset class from an institutional perspective.” He also asserted:

The Bloomberg Galaxy Crypto Index brings unprecedented transparency to the crypto markets.

Novogratz Launches Benchmark Index of 10 Cryptocurrencies

“It’s almost essential for every investor to have at least 1% to 2% of their portfolio” in crypto, he emphasized.

In November last year, Novogratz said on CNBC’s Fast Money that “Bitcoin could be at $40,000 at the end of 2018. It easily could,” adding that “Ethereum, which I think just touched $500 or is getting close, could be triple where it is as well.”

What do you think of Novogratz’s crypto index? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Galaxy Digital Capital Management, and CNBC.


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Ripple Sued for Alleged Violations of US Securities Laws

Ripple Sued for Alleged Violations of US Securities Laws

A class action lawsuit has been filed against Ripple Labs, its CEO, and subsidiary. The plaintiff alleges that the defendants have violated the state and federal securities laws, engaging in schemes to raise hundreds of millions of dollars through the sale of unregistered ripple tokens (XRP).

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

Class Action Lawsuit

Ripple Sued for Alleged Violations of US Securities LawsSan Diego resident Ryan Coffey has filed a “securities class action” lawsuit against Ripple Labs Inc, its CEO Bradley Garlinghouse, its wholly owned subsidiary XRP II LLC, and ten related persons. Attorney James Taylor-Copeland representing Coffey filed the lawsuit with the Superior Court of the State of California, seeking damages on behalf of Coffey and all others similarly situated.

According to the court document dated May 3, Coffey purchased 650 XRP at $2.60 per token around January 6 and sold them at approximately $1.70 per token around January 18. Coffey described:

[The lawsuit] arises out of a scheme by defendants to raise hundreds of millions of dollars through the unregistered sale of XRP to retail investors in violation of the registration provisions of state and federal securities laws.

‘XRP Genesis and the Never-Ending ICO’

Ripple Sued for Alleged Violations of US Securities LawsCoffey detailed in his filing, “unlike cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and ethereum…all 100 billion of the XRP in existence were created out of thin air by Ripple Labs at its inception in 2013.”

Citing that 20 billion tokens were given to Ripple Labs’ founders and 80 billion to the company itself, he alleges that the defendants “earned massive profits by quietly selling off this XRP to the general public,” adding:

From 2013 to the present, [the] defendants have been engaged in an ongoing scheme to sell XRP to the general public in a never ending ICO…Defendants’ sales of XRP to the public accelerated rapidly in 2017 and early 2018.

He also claims that “these ICOs have become a magnet for unscrupulous practices and fraud.”

Coffey alleges that the “defendants market XRP to drive demand and increase [its] price,” including “blur[ring] differences between Ripple Labs’ Enterprise Solutions and XRP.” Other tactics include offering a bribe to Coinbase and Gemini exchanges to list XRP and promising R3, an enterprise software firm with a network of banks and financial institutions, a 5 billion XRP option, Coffey added.

At the time of this writing, XRP is trading at $0.91 on Bitfinex, a 73% drop from its high of $3.30 in January.

Ripple Sued for Alleged Violations of US Securities Laws

Violations of Securities Laws

Citing that the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has made it clear that digital tokens including XRP often constitute “securities and may not be lawfully sold without registration with the SEC or pursuant to an exemption from registration,” Coffey elaborated:

The XRP offered and sold by [the] defendants have all the traditional hallmarks of a security…However, [the] defendants did not register XRP with the SEC, and many of the representations [the] defendants made regarding XRP were designed to drive demand of XRP, allowing defendants to obtain greater returns on their XRP sales.

Last month, the SEC stated that both XRP and ether could be classified as securities. However, Ripple’s chief market strategist, Cory Johnson, told CNBC in early April:

We absolutely are not a security. We don’t meet the standards for what a security is based on the history of court law.

Do you think this securities class action lawsuit against Ripple has any legs? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Trading View, and Ripple Labs.


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PR: Eth888 Launches Fair Lottery Games on the ETH Blockchain

Eth888 Launches Fair Lottery Games on the ETH Blockchain

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

The crypto startup ETH888 has created the most feasible and provably fair lottery games on the Ethereum blockchain where participants can play Status browser or Ethereum wallet enabled environment, with instant result generation.

At similar blockchain-based online casinos, it takes one block time – or even up to several minutes – to generate a random result. It is not only time-consuming for the players but it costs them more since the process requires significant gas consumption. The ETH888 team invested their time to research and to develop a breakthrough off-chain technology for instant random result generation that takes no more than 3 seconds, about 1/8 block time, and also saves at least 50 percent gas consumption. Beta game versions are already live in Ropsten testnet.

Based on 2017 stats, the online gambling industry’s value is standing near 51 billion USD. The team behind ETH888 strives to develop the most responsive decentralized lottery house with the highest possible transparency and reasonable House Edge. The house will be using VAN tokens for currency within the platform. 40 percent of the house profits will be distributed to the Vanil pool where VAN token holders can share a portion of the profits determined by the amount of tokens owned. The first game in the mainnet will be ready by the Q3 of 2018.

ETH888 is holding a VAN tokensale started on April 28, 2018 with a hardcap of 1,085,180 VAN tokens lasting for 4 weeks, with 4 offers against weeks, 400 / 300 / 200 / 100 VANs per Ether. Currently, 400 VANs / Ether offer will end on May 5 2018. According to ETH888, the token sale is essential to raise ETH capital for the team for backing game payouts.

Contact Email Address
info@eth888.io
Supporting Link
https://www.eth888.io/ico/

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. Bitcoin.com 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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Major Cryptocurrencies Record Strong Gains, Ethereum Price up 7%, Bitcoin at $9,300

The cryptocurrency market has recorded strong gains once again over the past 24 hours, as the valuation of the market broke the $440 billion, moving one step closer to the $0.5 trillion region. Bitcoin, Ethereum, Cardano, Bitcoin Cash, and other major cryptocurrencies demonstrated large short-term gains. Ethereum Leads Market The price of Ether, the native … Continued

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Interest in Cryptocurrency Derivatives Drives CFD Marketplace’s Revenues up 284%

Interest in Cryptocurrency Derivatives Drives CFD Marketplace’s Revenues up 284%

Derivatives trading platform provider Plus500 posted a 284% increase in revenues in the first quarter of this year compared to the previous year, largely due to high levels of interest in its cryptocurrency CFDs offerings.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

Triple Digit Rise

Interest in Cryptocurrency Derivatives Drives CFD Marketplace’s Revenues up 284%On Tuesday, contracts for difference (CFDs) market provider Plus500 released its quarterly earnings for the three months ended March 31. “Q1 2018 revenues were $297.3m, an increase of 284% compared to the same period last year,” the company revealed, adding:

The very strong start to the year…resulted from a period of relatively volatile markets and high levels of interest in the company’s cryptocurrency CFDs offering, and in turn encouraged high levels of new customer sign ups and record trading in Q1 2018.

Interest in Cryptocurrency Derivatives Drives CFD Marketplace’s Revenues up 284%Furthermore, earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization were up by 418% to $237.3 million.

Plus500 operates an online trading platform for individual customers to trade CFDs. Customers can trade them in over 50 countries, with more than 2,200 different underlying global financial instruments comprising equities, indices, commodities, options, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), cryptocurrencies, and foreign exchange.

Incorporated in Israel with subsidiaries in the UK, Cyprus, Australia, and Singapore, the company is additionally licensed in New Zealand and South Africa. It offers cryptocurrency trading of up to 1:20 leverage. “You can start with as little as $100.00 to gain the effect of $2,000 capital,” Plus500 advertises on its website. With 0% commission, the company “is mainly compensated for its services through the bid/ask spread.”

Hype Dying Down

While seeing strong growth in January, Plus500 revealed:

We have since seen market conditions return to more normal levels in the last two months. As such we do not expect such an exceptional performance to be repeated in the remainder of the year.

Other companies offering cryptocurrency CFDs include IG, IQ Option, Intertrader, Pepperstone, Cityindex, Gkfx, and Xtb. IG, which claims to be the number one provider of CFDs and spread betting worldwide, offers bitcoin, bitcoin cash, bitcoin gold, ether, ripple, and litecoin CDFs.

In November the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) issued a warning about CFDs for retail investors. CFDs, “including financial spread bets, with cryptocurrencies as the underlying investment, are increasingly being marketed to consumers. These products are extremely high-risk, speculative products,” the authority warned.

What do you think of the popularity of cryptocurrency CFDs? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, IG, and Plus500.


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Microsociety Fort Galt in Chile Uses Bitcoin to Build Anew

Cryptocurrencies Might be Key to Future Free Societies

Cryptocurrencies function in a myriad of ways, from stores of value to mediums of exchange, embedded payment systems, vehicles for smart contracts. A use case perhaps underappreciated is the potential for digital assets to facilitate freer societies. Micro-societies, breakaway camps, isles of autonomy are in various states of construction around the world. One of the furthest along is Fort Galt Chile. News.Bitcoin.com caught up with one of its founders, Gabriel Scheare, to find out more about an intriguing project.

Also read: Germany Gets Its First Crypto Exchange for Whales

Cryptocurrencies Facilitate Rise of Breakaway Societies

Cryptocurrencies Might be Key to Future Free Societies

As this interview was conducted, at least three other micro-societies are being planned or attempting to function: Liberland, Seasteading, and the aptly named Free Society. Each has its particular charm and focus, but one factor increasingly important in their ultimate calculations is cryptocurrency. The present focus, Fort Galt, is based in Chile, a country wormed along South America’s southwest. The country recently has gone back and forth on crypto, but maintains a unique place among Latin American countries as being very open to freer economies and markets. It just might give birth to the first viable project of this kind.

News.Bitcoin.com: Take us through how you came upon the idea to start a breakaway society or microsociety.

Gabriel Scheare: My partners and I were originally lured to Chile by another such project that was already underway near Santiago, Galt’s Gulch Chile. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a scam so we decided that, if we really wanted to realize our dream, we’d have to go somewhere else and build it ourselves. The underlying motivation is really just the longing for a community of people that share our fundamental principles so that we can live more freely without having to walk on eggshells around incompatible neighbors.  

The whole Gulch debacle sure looked bad. Was it a total loss or did you at least learn something useful from it?

Definitely. I was there working as a volunteer for three months and in that time, I took a lot of note. I had no previous experience in real estate so it was all new to me but nevertheless, it was easy enough to sort everything into the two categories of “what works” and “what doesn’t”. Above all else, I got to see that there was indeed a market for this sort of thing. The Gulch tested the waters and so I suppose you could say that we have a “second mover advantage” in that regard. They essentially did our market research for us just before collapsing. Some other obvious lessons would be things relating to the nature of the scam itself. Things like “don’t sell parcels of land that haven’t actually been subdivided as you’re showing them” and “don’t try to build a new town on environmentally protected land that’s close to a city of six million people, where water rights are in high demand.”     

Cryptocurrencies Might be Key to Future Free Societies
Gabriel Scheare

Didn’t all of that tarnish the Galt name? Why didn’t you pick a completely new one to distance yourself from the scam?

From a marketing perspective, ditching the name would’ve been the smart thing to do. Frankly though, we were just pissed off that a couple of unscrupulous hucksters could so easily drag such a great name through the mud, and we really wanted to redeem it with our own success. Maybe it’s just stubbornness but we refuse to let such a great name be trashed so easily. It should be attached to a shining example of what a self-reliant community can be, and by the time we’re finished it’ll be all that and more.

A New Model That Makes the Existing Model Obsolete

John Galt was the hero in Ayn Rand’s novel, Atlas Shrugged. How much of her philosophy influenced your project?

Yeah, I admit I’m not a big fan of her writing style but the essential message of the book resonates strongly with us. It’s about a guy that gets fed up with the government and goes off to start a secret community in Colorado where he and others like him live in peace without having to contribute to a system they are philosophically opposed to. It struck me as being very much in line with Gandhi’s advice, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” I think way too many people waste their time and energy fighting the powers-that-be when they could be focusing on removing themselves from the situation and building something new for themselves. Buckminster Fuller summed it up nicely when he said “you never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” I really dig that attitude because it’s optimistic and constructive rather than confrontational.

How viable is the current project? It seems to be moving along wonderfully.

A lot had to be done to get us from zero to one, so to speak, but things are taking shape now and we’re all pretty excited. As we speak, cement mixing trucks are pouring concrete at the construction site of our residential community center. We’ve also been selling plots of land to people that will be starting work on their own houses soon. A little later in the year, our schoolhouse will be built as well and several spin-off projects are already coming together around us now too.

Cryptocurrencies Might be Key to Future Free SocietiesHow did you find cryptocurrencies?

I guess I first started hearing rumblings about it in 2011 so I went to a meet-up in Vancouver to learn more about it. That was before any wallet apps existed so I didn’t think it was user-friendly enough to really catch on yet. I kept an eye on it though and when the blockchain.info wallet was launched a couple years later, I decided it was time to jump in. I started mining bitcoin and selling miners in my free time. That was in 2013 and by the end of the year, the value had shot up 10x and the excitement was off the charts. I moved to Chile early the following year.

How much of a role do cryptocurrencies play in Fort Galt?

We do still accept bank wires but almost all of our members, so far, have paid with cryptocurrencies instead. We’ve accepted bitcoin, dash, and ether and they’ve all proven to be faster, easier, and cheaper to use than any other payment system available today. For me, it brings to mind the gold coins of Atlas Shrugged because I think of bitcoin as being a sort of digital gold. To use it instead of the government’s currency is something simple and practical that we can all do in our daily lives to fan the fires of freedom without breaking a sweat.

What do you think about startup societies? Let us know in the comments below.


Images via Pixabay, Fort Galt. 


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Japan’s SBI Unveils New Plans to Start an Exchange for Major Cryptocurrencies

Japan's SBI Unveils New Plans to Start Exchange For Major Cryptocurrencies

Japan’s SBI Holdings has reportedly unveiled new plans for its cryptocurrency exchange. The company has set a target launch date and is preparing to list major cryptocurrencies. The group’s CEO expects the new exchange to “be number one in the blink of an eye.”

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

Revised Launch Date

Japan's SBI Unveils New Plans to Start Exchange For Major CryptocurrenciesSBI Holdings has updated its plans to fully launch a cryptocurrency exchange. The company had planned for SBI Virtual Currencies to launch “in the autumn of 2017 and at the latest the beginning of 2018,” Minkabu publication recalled.

However, the plan was postponed following Coincheck’s hack and the trouble with its capital and business alliance agreement with China’s Huobi Group. These circumstances led the company to refrain from fully launching the exchange even though it had already received a license from the Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA) in September of last year.

Japan's SBI Unveils New Plans to Start Exchange For Major Cryptocurrencies
Yoshitaka Kitao.

President and CEO Yoshitaka Kitao said at a press conference this week that the company is planning to officially start the crypto exchange business in the summer, the news outlet conveyed, adding that the exchange “is not a white label of other exchanges but a self-developed” one. SBI Virtual Currencies has, however, been offering a limited service to a few customers since January 30, according to Business Insider Japan.

As for which cryptocurrencies will be supported when the full launch comes, Kitao said that “it is assumed to be major virtual currencies, [including] bitcoin (BTC), bitcoin cash (BCH), ethereum (ETH), [and] ripple (XRP),” the news outlet detailed.

Expecting to Rise to the Top

The company has been carefully considering the timing of its exchange’s full launch based on the hack of Coincheck and the subsequent change in the business environment. The publication quoted Kitao exclaiming:

When we do it, it will be number one in the blink of an eye so quickly, so even if a tremendous number of customers come, we can build a system that can bear [the workload].

One factor that will differentiate SBI’s exchange from others is that “We set the spread to the industry minimum,” he described. The CEO is confident that this will propel his exchange to be the industry leader. “Given that the SBIFX trading spread of the group’s FX company is at the industry’s narrowest level, this is to be expected,” Minkabu commented.

Japan's SBI Unveils New Plans to Start Exchange For Major Cryptocurrencies

SBI already owns one of the largest security brokerages in Japan. “There are a total of 8.5 million accounts of financial affiliates such as SBI Securities Co. Ltd.,” the publication pointed out.

Kitao also emphasized the importance of building trust in the crypto community. To that effect, he recently assumed office as a director of the new self-regulating organization, the Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association, which was recently established by 16 fully-licensed exchanges.

Do you think SBI’s crypto exchange will quickly become the number one exchange in Japan? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and SBI Holdings.


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Indian Exchange Launches 23 Crypto-to-Crypto Trading Pairs with Zero Fees

Indian Exchange Launches 23 Crypto-to-Crypto Trading Pairs With Zero Fees

Another Indian cryptocurrency exchange has launched crypto-to-crypto trading. Koinex is offering 23 crypto-to-crypto trading pairs with zero fees. Earlier this week, leading Indian exchange Zebpay also launched crypto-to-crypto trading but with only one trading pair.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

Koinex’s Crypto-to-Crypto Trading

Indian Exchange Launches 23 Crypto-to-Crypto Trading Pairs With Zero FeesIndian exchange Koinex announced last week, “We are delighted to announce the commencement of crypto-to-crypto trading on our platform,” elaborating:

We are going live with not just one or two crypto-crypto pairs; we are launching a total of 15 token pairs, all at the same time!…This is the largest crypto-crypto pair offering by any Indian exchange and to add to this, the trading fees will be zero.

Indian Exchange Launches 23 Crypto-to-Crypto Trading Pairs With Zero FeesThe exchange then announced on Saturday the addition of 8 more crypto-to-crypto trading pairs, set to go live on Saturday night.

In addition, the “seller fee has been revised to 0.15% for the INR market. Buyer fee is now fixed at a flat rate of 0.15%,” Koinex detailed.

As for deposits, the exchange clarified, “INR deposits via UPI and Netbanking are now live with payment gateway 2. Deposit fee is 1.18% for UPI and 2% for Netbanking.” However, Koinex reiterated that “all other payment methods are discontinued…All INR withdrawals are temporarily halted.”

23 New Trading Pairs

Koinex currently has 19 coins listed for trading against the Indian rupee. Its 24-hour trading volume for all cryptocurrencies is approximately $5.5 million, according to Coinmarketcap.

Indian Exchange Launches 23 Crypto-to-Crypto Trading Pairs With Zero FeesFor crypto-to-crypto trading, there are nine bitcoin trading pairs, six ether, and eight ripple –a total of 23. Bitcoin and ether trading pairs are already live and ripple pairs are set to go live on Saturday night, the exchange clarified. “For the first time in the crypto world, Koinex proudly presents XRP-based trading market with 8 XRP pairs going live tonight.”

“The tokens available in the bitcoin market will be ethereum (ETH/BTC), litecoin (LTC/BTC), TRON (TRX/BTC), ripple (XRP/BTC), omisego (OMG/BTC), bitcoin cash (BCH/BTC), EOS (EOS/BTC), nucleus vision (NCASH/BTC), and request (REQ/BTC),” Koinex wrote.

Indian Exchange Launches 23 Crypto-to-Crypto Trading Pairs With Zero FeesFor the ether market, in addition to BTC, the exchange is offering trading pairs for BCH, TRX, XRP, OMG, EOS, and NCASH.

For the ripple market, customers can trade BTC as well as LTC, TRX, EOS, OMG, REQ, NCASH, AE (aeternity), and GNT (golem).

Indian Exchange Launches 23 Crypto-to-Crypto Trading Pairs With Zero Fees

Bypassing RBI’s Order

Indian Exchange Launches 23 Crypto-to-Crypto Trading Pairs With Zero FeesOne of India’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, Zebpay, also launched crypto-to-crypto trading last week with one trading pair – ETH/BTC.

Both Zebpay and Koinex launched their crypto-to-crypto trading services after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued an order banning banks and financial institutions under its control from dealing “in virtual currencies or provide services for facilitating any person or entity in dealing with or settling virtual currencies,” Koinex described, adding that:

Such services include maintaining accounts, registering, trading, settling, clearing, giving loans against virtual tokens, accepting them as collateral, opening accounts of exchanges dealing with them and transfer / receipt of money in accounts relating to purchase/ sale of virtual currencies.

The exchange warned that RBI’s order could cause “a disruption in [its] banking services” which “may affect our capacity to service withdrawals and deposits seamlessly.”

The RBI has since been taken to court by Kali Digital Eco-Systems. The Delhi High Court has accepted the company’s petition and issued a notice to the central bank. Other exchange operators are also planning to challenge the regulator as a consortium.

What do you think of Koinex launching crypto-to-crypto trading with 23 trading pairs? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Koinex.


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Exchanges Suspend ERC20 Token Deposits After Discovery of Smart Contract Bug

Okex Suspends ERC20 Token Deposits After Discovery of Smart Contract Bug

Ethereum’s smart contract bugs just keep on coming. Exchanges including Okex, Poloniex, Coinone, and Hitbtc today suspended deposits of ERC20 tokens following the discovery of a batch overflow bug written into the smart contracts governing numerous coins. The news comes in the same week that the ethereum community voted against restoring the lost ether that was locked up in the Parity smart contract bug last year.

Also read: Report Claims 34,000 Ethereum Smart Contracts Are Vulnerable to Bugs

Ethereum Tokens Battle a Nasty Bug

Creating an ethereum token that is free from exploitable bugs is a lot harder than it sounds. Earlier this year researchers claimed to have found 34,000 ethereum smart contracts that are vulnerable to bugs and a blog post authored this week has zeroed in on one in particular: a batch overflow bug that affects ERC20 smart contracts. Its discovery is serious enough to have prompted Okex to announce the suspension of ERC20 token deposits, writing:

We are suspending the deposits of all ERC-20 tokens due to the discovery of a new smart contract bug – “Batchoverflow”. By exploiting the bug, attackers can generate an extremely large amount of tokens, and deposit them into a normal address. This makes many of the ERC-20 tokens vulnerable to price manipulations of the attackers.

Okex added: “To protect public interest, we have decided to suspend the deposits of all ERC-20 tokens until the bug is fixed. Also, we have contacted the affected token teams to conduct investigation and take necessary measures to prevent the attack.” Numerous other exchanges have followed suit.

Okex Suspends ERC20 Token Deposits After Discovery of Smart Contract Bug
The SMT smart contract shows clear signs of exploitation

Squishing Bugs Is a Never-Ending Battle

The possibility of attackers being able to steal, freeze, or duplicate ERC20 tokens is a nightmare scenario for any projects building on the ethereum protocol, as well as for existing tokens, whose teams will now be closely scrutinizing their code for vulnerabilities. One of the tokens affected is Smartmesh (SMT), an ERC20 that is tradeable on Huobi, Gate.io, Hitbtc, and Okex. Its smart contract currently shows signs of blatant exploitation, with a token balance and token value that run to over 30 figures. Hundreds of billions of SMT have been transferred from the Smartmesh smart contract in the past 24 hours.

Okex Suspends ERC20 Token Deposits After Discovery of Smart Contract Bug

The batch overflow blog post published on April 22 also identifies the Beautychain (BEC) token as having fallen prey to the same exploit. Its author writes: “We further run our system to scan and analyze other contracts. Our results show that more than a dozen of ERC20 contracts are also vulnerable to batchoverflow. To demonstrate, we have successfully transacted with one vulnerable contract (that is not tradable in any exchange) as our proof-of-concept exploit.”

While the ERC20 tokens that have been affected by this exploit appear to comprise lesser known coins, the risk the bug presents is not limited to these projects alone. If attackers can create tokens out of thin air, they can then trade these on exchanges for ethereum or bitcoin, which has the potential to affect the price of these assets and to affect confidence in the ethereum ecosystem in particular. With the war for next generation blockchains heating up as competitors such as EOS prepare to launch, smart contract bugs are a burden that ethereum could do without.

Do you think ERC20 bugs can be eradicated altogether, or is there likely to be more vulnerabilities still undiscovered? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Myetherwallet Servers Are Hijacked in DNS Attack

Myetherwallet Servers Are Hijacked in DNS Attack

Myetherwallet (MEW), the web’s most popular client-side ethereum wallet, has been compromised by a DNS attack. Numerous users are reporting missing funds and Mycrypto, a sister site which spun off from MEW earlier this year, has confirmed as much. The incident highlights the dangers of relying on a centralized interface, even when the funds are held by the individual, and exposes the inherent weaknesses of the Domain Name System.

Also read: 16 Regulated Crypto Exchanges Unveil Plans to Restore Public Trust in Japan

Myetherwallet Users Report Missing Funds

Myetherwallet Servers Are Hijacked in DNS AttackOn April 24, scores of Myetherwallet users began to report suspicious activity when trying to access the web-based ethereum interface. As the web’s most popular client-side ethereum wallet, MEW is widely used for sending money to crowdsales, buying Cryptokitties, and conducting many more day-to-day transactions that involve sending ether or ERC20 tokens. The platform does not hold user funds, but like all websites it is still at risk of being hacked by having its DNS servers taken over, exposing the data of anyone who interacts with the service. Shortly after rumors began to circulate, MEW issued a tweet to confirm their veracity:

Myetherwallet Servers Are Hijacked in DNS Attack

The first signs that something was wrong emanated from the Myetherwallet Reddit, where a user posted a thread entitled “Think I got scammed/phished/hacked”. They had twigged that something was amiss after seeing the following notice when visiting the site:

Myetherwallet Servers Are Hijacked in DNS Attack

They explained: “Even though every part of my body told me not to try and log in, I did. As soon as I logged in, there was a countdown for about 10 seconds and A tx was made sending the available money I had on the wallet to another wallet.” The address the funds have been sent to currently displays on Etherscan with a warning noting that it may have been involved in a MEW scam. It has conducted 180 transactions, and claimed a total of 215 ETH. It’s been reported that the server MEW users were redirected to is based in Russia.

Mycrypto Reveals More

Earlier this year, rival site Mycrypto launched as a direct competitor after the Myetherwallet founders went through an acrimonious split. While the Mycrypto team would not wish misfortune on any members of the ethereum community, there may have been a touch of schadenfreude evident in their willingness to frankly disclose the nature of the predicament MEW has found itself in, writing:

Myetherwallet Servers Are Hijacked in DNS Attack

My crypto also wrote: “Lots of anti-phishing folks in the community and on our team are attempting to collect information about what happened to MEW, as well as attempting to get in touch with their team to assist in any way we can. Moral of the story: use a hardware wallet or run offline.” Services such as Myetherwallet and Mycrypto can be used on desktop by downloading the software, which eliminates the risk of DNS attack.

Myetherwallet Servers Are Hijacked in DNS Attack

DNS attacks are becoming more prevalent. In December, another ethereum-based platform, Etherdelta, was hit by a similar attack to the one that has affected MEW, with users also reporting stolen funds. Myetherwallet is not the only crypto site to have had DNS issues today either. Earlier, Binance tweeted to say that Google’s DNS were down, preventing some users from accessing the exchange. Incidents such as today’s MEW attack demonstrate that for all the precautions a user may take, websites still present a single, centralized point of failure.

What do you think can be done to prevent DNS attacks from occurring? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Ether & Ripple Doomed As Securities According to Regulation Expert

Ether & Ripple Doomed As Securities According to Regulation Expert

Former Obama administration financial regulator Gary Gensler believes cryptocurrencies such as ether and ripple appear as unregistered securities, and in current violation of the law. His comments carry considerable weight in the broader financial community. They also come after venture capitalists and lawyers invested in ether projects met secretly with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to head off such regulation. Spokespeople for both coins insist they’re not securities.  

Also read: Telegram Urges Paper Airplane Protest, Pussy Riot Activist Arrested

Ether and Ripple Might Be Securities

Former Obama CFTC head Gary Gensler told The New York Times, “I would be surprised if 10 years from now this isn’t somewhere in the financial system in a meaningful way. But so much of the stuff that is being promoted now will not be around.” The ‘this’ he’s speaking of is cryptocurrencies, and as part of his appointment to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Mr. Gensler is weighing in on the phenomenon’s future with regard to regulation.

In particular, he’s focusing upon two of the most popular cryptos, ether and ripple, as potentially very susceptible to future designation as securities. Should that happen, many experts believe it would herald the decline of both. Securities regulation imposes a host of legal burdens upon registrants, and costs to comply are often prohibitive and burdensome.

Ether & Ripple Doomed As Securities According to Regulation Expert

“There is a strong case for both of them — but particularly Ripple — that they are noncompliant securities,” he told Nathaniel Popper. Bitcoin and others like it are decentralized to such an extent as to not trigger regulation, he believes. That’s not so clear in the cases of ether and ripple, both of which Mr. Gensler insists are in violation of securities law.

“2018 is going to be a very interesting time. Over 1,000 previously issued initial coin offerings, and over 100 exchanges that offer I.C.O.s, are going to need to sort out how to come into compliance with U.S. securities law,” the Times quotes him as saying. Indeed, representatives with heavy financial interests in ether-related projects recently were discovered to have secretly pled their case to the SEC in hopes of heading off what some say is certain regulation. That’s a potential problem for tens of billions of dollars in coins respectively when ether and ripple are combined.

Impact Not Good

Ether & Ripple Doomed As Securities According to Regulation Expert
Gary Gensler

Should such a designation be handed down, one of crypto’s largest markets, the United States, would essentially be cut off, made against the law for trading ETH and XRP on exchanges. It’s not too extreme to figure such a move would impact both coins’ prices, and probably not in a good way. 

Mr. Gensler, 60, was tapped by MIT’s Media Lab and its Digital Currency Initiative, along with being a lecturer at its Sloan School of Management (with a blockchain emphasis) for his expertise in the financial sector. His views on the future of regulation carry heft simply because of his past experience in the Obama administration, and previous connections to Goldman Sachs as well as helping to finance the ill-fated Hillary Clinton run of 2016. 

Asked for comment about Mr. Gensler’s claims, the Ethereum Foundation answered how it “neither controls the supply of nor has the ability to issue Ether, and the quantity of Ether that the foundation holds (under 1 percent of all Ether) is already lower than that held by many other ecosystem participants,” according to the Times. A Ripple spokesperson responded by insisting, “XRP does not give its owners an interest or stake in Ripple, and they are not paid dividends. XRP exists independent of Ripple, was created before the company and will exist after it.”

Do you think ether and ripple should be regulated? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Do you agree with us that Bitcoin is the best invention since sliced bread? Thought so. That’s why we are building this online universe revolving around anything and everything Bitcoin. We have a store. And a forum. And a casino, a pool and real-time price statistics.

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Ether Capital Shares Commence Trading on Canadian Stock Exchange

Ether Capital Shares Commence Trading on Canadian Stock Exchange

The stock of cryptocurrency investment firm, Ether Capital, has commenced trading on Toronto-based NEO Exchange. The listing comes days after the company completed its previously announced “reverse takeover transaction” that saw the company rebrand from Ethereum Capital.

Also Read: Mt Gox CEO Mark Karpeles Lands New Job — CTO for Cryptocurrency Firm

Ether Capital Shares Commence Trading on Canadian Stock Exchange

Ether Capital Shares Commence Trading on Canadian Stock ExchangeEther Capital’s stock began trading on Toronto’s NEO Exchange on Thursday. As of this writing, the company’s ETHC shares are currently trading at approximately $2.45 USD.

The company’s chief information officer, Ben Roberts, has told reports that the company raised $45 million CAD – falling 10 percent short of the company’s expectations. Ether Capital had originally sought to issue 20 million shares priced at $2.50 each, however, was only able to sell 18 million shares. The private offer was co-directed by CIBC Capital Markets and Canaccord Genuity Corp.

Stock Listing Comprises “Critical Step” for Ether Capital

Ether Capital Shares Commence Trading on Canadian Stock ExchangeMr. Roberts indicated that Ether Capital plans to convert approximately 90 percent of the raised funds into ETH tokens. Mr. Roberts did not disclose how many tokens had already been purchased with the newly raised capital. According to a January press release, Ether Capital indicated that it also plans on using a portion of the funds to obtain “controlling stakes in Ethereum-based businesses.”

Som Seif, the executive chairman and co-chief investment officer of the company, has stated that “The completion of this transaction and commencement of public trading represents a critical step in Ether Capital’s mission.” Mr. Seif added that the company is “excited to provide investors with the opportunity to invest in the first publicly listed company focused solely on the Ethereum ecosystem and to help drive industry-shifting disruptive technologies.”

Ether Capital Not Obstructed by Regulatory Hurdles During Formation

Ether Capital Shares Commence Trading on Canadian Stock ExchangeIn contrast with the challenges encountered by many firms seeking to operate in the cryptocurrency industry, Mr. Roberts describes the process involved in setting up Ether Capital as having been relatively simple, stating “the first step was talking to the Ontario Securities Commission and getting their blessing, then talking to banks and getting them comfortable and setting up a custody solution to house the asset safely.”

Mr. Roberts indicated his expectation that it will ”take the market some time to really understand the value proposition” of Ether Capital. “The utility of that is two-fold, yes it gives people exposure in the marketplace and more importantly creating that pool of assets gives us space in the community and the ethereum platform. As we kind of scale that out we can have an opportunity to become something like ConsenSys, which is a large organized stakeholder in ethereum which can then use its platform to create value,” Mr. Roberts stated.

Do you think that the shares of other cryptocurrency investment firms that focus on markets other than BTC will also be traded on mainstream stock exchanges? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Ether Capital


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Big Money Meets Secretly with Regulators to Protect Ethereum

Big Money Meets Secretly with Regulators to Protect Ethereum

Big money venture capitalists and law firms met in secret, roughly a month ago, with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), according to two major media outlets. The SEC has been particularly active this year, causing those with interest in pet coins and projects to lobby the agency for special protection. Top of the list was a push to provide “safe harbor” for Ethereum.    

Also read: Telegram Uses Bitcoin in Effort to Thwart Russian Authorities

Big Money Lobbies for Ethereum in Secret

Andreessen Horowitz,  Union Square Ventures, along with powerhouse law firms Cooley, Perkins Coie, and McDermott Will & Emery, formed an ad hoc association, the Venture Capital Working Group. It appears to exist in an effort to influence what some see as inevitable, regulation. Almost weekly, the SEC has made noise about cryptocurrencies in one form or another, and the broader ecosystem continues to debate whether to go further underground or embrace government intervention.

Online political journal Politico broke the story, insisting a “group of venture capital firms with investments in digital currency-related companies has asked the SEC for a safe harbor from securities laws for certain projects.” Perkins evidently led the effort, flooding the SEC with a nearly 50 page note. The note “argues that while certain digital tokens sold to select investors before wider availability may qualify as securities, they should be granted protection from regulations once they are used for a non-investment purpose.”

Big Money Meets Secretly with Regulators to Protect Ethereum

It has been long thought if the SEC were to overtly designate a cryptocurrency coin or token a “security,” the weight of legal implications alone would probably kill it. Compliance would necessarily mean hoards of expensive lawyers, etc. The working group, therefore, wished to get ahead of that possible future by proposing safe harbor for some coins they feel are objectively not securities, hoping to secure what Politico refers to as “no action letters.”

Chief among the working group’s concern, evidently, is the second most popular cryptocurrency by market capitalization, Ethereum. Ether, the group’s plea to the SEC reads, “is a good example of this type of protocol token that has become so decentralized it should not be deemed a Security.” Saddling ether with the “security” tag, again, might sideline a great many future projects built on top of its network. Presumably, these are present and future companies the working group has heavily invested in.

Regulations for Thee, Not for Me

“Though many digital currencies run off code related to the Ethereum network that uses ether,” Politico was keen to point out, “the working group does not believe the safe harbor would necessarily apply to those tokens.” The key, then, just might be in what the term “decentralization” means, going forward. The document insists, “To remedy the uncertainty and confusion in this space, we are proposing a non-exclusive safe harbor to help provide guidance to the industry on what constitutes an ‘investment contract’ and how the investment contract law and guidance should apply to utility tokens.”

Ethereum has been credited/blamed for the boom in crowdfunding popularized with initial coin offerings, ICOs. The easy onboarding of ICOs has fueled a boom throughout most of 2017, and there appears to be little let up going into the second financial quarter. The SEC is on record as stating ICOs, to a project, are all securities, and so fall under the agency’s jurisdiction.

Big Money Meets Secretly with Regulators to Protect Ethereum

“Under the terms of the safe harbor,” Politico continues, “digital currencies would not be subject to securities law, including the so-called Howey test, once they achieve certain benchmarks centered on blockchain software functions. Pre-sales of tokens would continue to fall under securities law.”

The group, comprised of the two biggest venture capital funds within the ecosystem, “met with the S.E.C. in Washington on March 28 to present their idea for a safe harbor that would allow some tokens to be categorized as ‘utility tokens’ rather than securities,” according to the New York Times, who picked up the story a day later. Whereas coins such as bitcoin cash (BCH) did not arise from an ICO and have no central organizing body, they appear to be safe and sufficiently “decentralized.” Ethereum, however, is another matter altogether. It did sell ether initially through a primitive form of an early ICO. As of this writing, there is no word as to whether the SEC accepted the group’s definitions and requests.

Do you think it’s time for the ecosystem to embrace regulation? Let us know in the comments section below.


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