Cryptocurrency Exchange Kraken Will “Probably” Pursue SEC Registration

San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange Kraken will “probably” register with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as a broker-dealer and an alternative trading system (ATS), the company’s chief executive said on Tuesday. “We would probably get registered as a broker-dealer and then an ATS,’’ Kraken co-founder and CEO Jesse Powell told Bloomberg in an interview … Continued

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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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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. 


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Coinbase Responds to New York AG’s Crypto Exchange Inquiry

Coinbase has formally responded to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s cryptocurrency exchange inquiry, and the San Francisco-based startup elected to share a portion of that response with the public. The five-page letter, which was drafted by Mike Lempres — Coinbase’ chief legal and risk officer — is an abbreviated version of the one that

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Bitcoin in Brief Thursday: Crypto Traders in Troubled Waters

Bitcoin in Brief Thursday: Crypto Traders in Troubled Waters

In today’s Bitcoin in Brief – crypto traders are in trouble due to issues with the trading platforms they have trusted. Hacked Italian Bitgrail exchange is closed again after a brief reopening. It suspended operations on request from the court of Florence, following a petition  filed on behalf of one of its creditors. Also, beleaguered Romanian Btcxchange has shut down after multiple setbacks. A local bank recently closed its account.

Also read: Bitcoin in Brief Wednesday: Hacker Gets Trolled, Vertcoin Gets Hacked

Bitgrail Reopened, then Closed Again

Bitgrail, the Italian crypto exchange which suspended operations after losing 17 million XRB in a presumed hack this year, has briefly reopened and closed again. On May 1 the trading platform announced it will commence operations on the following day, May 2, 2018, with trading and withdrawals available for all supported coins, except Nano (XRB). Bitgrail also promised to restore the Nano market for users at a date to be announced shortly. “Our team is working hard on verifying all users who have submitted the documents in an expedited manner,” the statement read.

The reopening, however, did not last long. Yesterday, the exchange announced it was suspending operations again after receiving a notice from the court of Florence. The court  asked for the immediate closure of Bitgrail following a “precautionary suspension request” by lawyers representing one of the 3,000 users who suffered losses in the hack. Last week, the law firm Bonelli Erede  filed a petition on behalf of the creditor asking the court to declare the entities operating the exchange bankrupt. These are Webcoin Solutions di Francesco Firano and BG Services, formerly Bitgrail S.r.l.

Bitcoin in Brief Thursday: Crypto Traders in Troubled Waters

In February, Bitgrail’s owner, Francesco Firano, announced “that internal checks revealed unauthorized transactions which led to a 17 million Nano shortfall.” The market value of the lost cryptocurrency was estimated at around $170 million at the time. About a month later, Bitgrail stated in a Telegram post that it will refund users through the creation and issuance of BGS tokens and denied responsibility for the losses. 20 percent of the missing funds were to be returned in Nano, and 80 percent in the new BGS coin. The users who were willing to accept the offer had to restore their accounts and give up any legal claims. Almost 80 percent of the participants in a Twitter poll hosted by Francesco Firano himself voted to close the trading platform.

Romanian Btcxchange Closing for Good

Btcxchange, the oldest bitcoin trading platform in Romania, has closed down after multiple setbacks through the years. The platform informed its customers about the decision in an announcement published on its website. Btcxchange had already shut down some of its operations in February and crypto-fiat conversion was not available to its users. However, clients were allowed to deposit bitcoin and maintain their accounts. “Please withdraw all your balances before May 1,” the company said in a statement.

Bitcoin in Brief Thursday: Crypto Traders in Troubled Waters

The Romanian crypto exchange was launched in 2014. In December of that year, its team issued its first notice asking customers to withdraw their funds. The team claimed it had been denied access to the exchange servers by their lead programmer. Btcxchange shut down its operations again in August, 2016, after it was up for sale. Services were restored in November by the new owner. The latest episode of the drama unfolded in January this year when Idea Bank closed the platform’s account.

Chase Closes Erik Voorhees’ Credit Card Account

Bitcoin in Brief Thursday: Crypto Traders in Troubled WatersShapeshift CEO Erik Voorhees has announced in a tweet that Chase Bank has closed his credit card account. “Chase just closed my credit card account. No warning. No explanation of any kind. Won’t tell me why,” he said in a post on the microblogging platform.

“No wonder people hate that company,” Voorhees added, correcting himself in a further comment: “Sorry, I shouldn’t have used the word ‘company.’ Company refers to a market-based organization that has to bring a product to market and compete openly.” He also notes that the bank is “more akin to a Soviet-style state-appendage that wraps itself in regulatory cronyism than a company.”

Coinbase Applauds New York Inquiry into Crypto Exchanges

Bitcoin in Brief Thursday: Crypto Traders in Troubled WatersUS-based cryptocurrency exchange and wallet Coinbase has greeted the actions recently taken by New York Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, in regards to crypto trading platforms. “We applaud […] the action to bring further transparency to the virtual currency markets,” Coinbase chief legal officer Mike Lempres wrote in a letter. The exchange, which is licensed under New York’s Bitlicense regime, has published part of its response to Schneiderman’s office. Lempres discloses information about the assets stored on the platform, $150 billion, and the funding it has received. The letter also notes the company’s cooperation with authorities and regulators around the world.

In April, the Office of the Attorney General of New York sent letters to 13 crypto exchanges as part of an inquiry into policies and practices employed by the trading platforms. Not all of them have responded positively to the questionnaire. “When I saw this 34-point demand […] I realized that we made the right decision to get the hell out of New York,” Kraken CEO, Jesse Powell, said in a Twitter post. Mr. Powell also described acceptance of the questionnaire as “placative kowtowing.” His reaction has been praised by other representatives of the industry. Shapeshift CEO Eric Voorhees thanked Powell for “taking the ethical stance and speaking up for what’s right”.

Do you trust the trading platforms you are using? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Bitgrail, Btcxchange, Twitter.


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Japanese Regulator Confirms 8 Crypto Exchanges Want Out, 100 Want In

Japanese Regulator Confirms Eight Cryptocurrency Exchanges Out, 100 Want In

The Japanese financial regulator has confirmed that so far eight companies have expressed the intention to withdraw their applications to operate cryptocurrency exchanges. Meanwhile, about 100 more companies are seeking to enter the market.

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

FSA Confirms Eight Want Out

Japanese Regulator Confirms Eight Cryptocurrency Exchanges Out, 100 Want InThe Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA) held a study group to discuss the state of cryptocurrencies in Japan last week.

Among observers of the meeting were representatives from the Bank of Japan, the Ministry of Justice, the Consumer Affairs Agency, and the Ministry of Finance. In addition, Taizen Okuyama, President of the newly formed self-regulatory organization and of foreign exchange platform provider Money Partners Group, was also present.

The agency confirmed that eight “deemed dealers” intend to withdraw their applications to operate cryptocurrency exchanges. Under the Revised Fund Settlement law, deemed dealers are allowed to operate crypto exchanges while their applications are being reviewed by the agency. The FSA wrote:

Eight deemed virtual currency exchange companies announce the intention to withdraw registration applications…One company confirms that it does not fall under the virtual currency exchange industry as a result of grasping the actual situation in detail.

Japanese Regulator Confirms Eight Cryptocurrency Exchanges Out, 100 Want InSeven of them will completely withdraw their applications – Tokyo Gateway, Mr. Exchange, Raimu, Bitexpress, Bit Station, Campfire, and Payward Japan which operates Kraken exchange. In addition, Debit will also withdraw its application as a deemed dealer as it does not fall under this classification, the FSA revealed.

Furthermore, the agency confirmed that approximately 100 companies have declared their intention to enter the crypto space, stating that “Various companies intend to newly enter [the crypto space] (About 100 companies).”

Strict Measures

The financial watchdog also detailed the number of administrative penalties that have been issued so far. Five crypto exchanges have received business suspension orders while seven business improvement orders, excluding Coincheck. A total of 14 orders have been issued: one on January 29, seven on March 8, three on April 6, one on April 11, one on April 13, and one on April 25. Coincheck and FSHO received two orders.

Japanese Regulator Confirms Eight Cryptocurrency Exchanges Out, 100 Want InAmong the 100 companies wanting to enter the space was Cyberagent which operates the Internet TV station “Abema TV” and the Internet advertisement business, which boasts the largest market share in Japan.

Japanese Regulator Confirms Eight Cryptocurrency Exchanges Out, 100 Want InLast year, the company established a subsidiary called Cyberagent Bitcoin and planned to open a crypto exchange in the spring. However, president and CEO Susumu Fujita said last week that in light of the Coincheck hack, “There are risks that we should not undertake when compared with other projects,” Itmedia quoted him. He elaborated:

Entry [into the crypto space] is slow in the first place. The examination by the Financial Services Agency is becoming severe.

The CEO added that the company will develop its own system to reduce risks so its entry into the crypto space will be delayed. According to the news outlet, Cyberagent is, however, considering issuing its own cryptocurrency.

What do you think of the turnover of crypto exchanges in Japan? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Nikkei, and Cyberagent.


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Bitcoin in Brief Thursday: Big Money Wears Big Horns, Claws Are In the Closet

Bitcoin in Brief Thursday: Big Money Wears Big Horns, Claws Are In the Closet

In today’s Bitcoin in Brief we’re talking about big money and big expectations. While the ratio between bulls and bears is constantly changing in the crypto market arena, experts working with venture capital investments and large crypto trades report positive trends and share optimistic sentiments. On that backdrop, “Why is our digital society still using a yellow metal to store value?” is a good question.  

Bitcoin to Reach $90k in Two Years, Potentially $700k

Bitcoin in Brief Thursday: Big Money Wears Big Horns, Claws Are In the ClosetThe future of Bitcoin was one of the hot topics at this year’s Sohn Investment Conference. The leading cryptocurrency is the first viable candidate to replace gold according to John Pfeffer, hedge fund manager at Pfeffer Capital. Bitcoin could rise to no less than $90,000 in the next couple of years, and potentially as high as $700,000, Pfeffer predicted during the annual event.

“We should think of crypto assets as a venture capital investment. They can go to 0, but there is a chance that they could be worth much more. In the case of bitcoin, it would be worth $90,000 if it became equal to private gold bullion holdings, about $1.6 trillion of total value compared to $150 billion or thereabouts today. It’s a bet, it’s a risk that I’ll be willing to take”, the investor told CNBC.

Using a Yellow Metal in a Spacefaring Society

“On the higher end – you could get to higher values, if bitcoin becomes a major reserve currency, i.e. if countries begin to take bitcoin in their reserves. In that case, it can reach several hundred thousand dollars,” John Pfeffer added. In order for that to happen, bitcoin will have to replace about 25% of foreign reserves. Currently they are at $12.7 trillion in total, 11% of which is gold, and about 60% of the rest is the US dollar. Other currencies, like the euro, the British pound, the Swiss franc, and the yen make up the rest.

Bitcoin in Brief Thursday: Big Money Wears Big Horns, Claws Are In the Closet

“When I think about the displacement argument, I start with gold. It’s kind of silly – we are a spacefaring, digital society and we’re still using a yellow metal as our non-sovereign store of value. At some point we’re going to come up with a better technology for that and bitcoin is the first candidate. We’ll see if it works,” Pfeffer said. In his opinion, there are some advantages to having a non-fiat-based reserve currency for many countries that would see other countries as strategic rivals.

Circle Doubles Minimum Bitcoin Trade Size

Bitcoin in Brief Thursday: Big Money Wears Big Horns, Claws Are In the ClosetOne of the largest liquidity providers of digital assets and cryptocurrency has reported a rising activity, despite the decline in crypto trading volumes across retail exchanges. Circle Trade, the trading operation of Goldman Sachs-backed Circle, has increased its minimum ticket size on bitcoin trades.

Jeremy Allaire, Circle’s chief executive, told Business Insider that the size of block trades made by Circle Trade has grown significantly since the start of this year. He also said that the company has doubled the size of its minimum crypto trades from $250,000 to $500,000 USD.

“The minimum ticket size has moved up to $500,000 with an average of $1 million dollars,” Allaire said noting that some transactions are even larger than $100 million. “That watermark will continue to rise,” he predicted.

Circle, which has recently expanded its operations in Asia, according to Bloomberg, trades more than $2 billion in cryptocurrency a month. It also intends to bring its business to other new markets. Circle has acquired the crypto exchange Poloniex and is also planning to add a number of coins and enable fiat-to-crypto transactions.

OTC Trading Helping Growth

Platforms like Circle provide high-net-worth crypto-holders and institutions with an opportunity to make large transactions. They are an alternative to crypto exchanges like GDAX and Kraken, boasting better liquidity to support such trades. OTC (over-the-counter) trading has helped the growth of many trading platforms without impacting the broader market.

The average trade size of another cryptocurrency trading shop, Genesis, has also increased – to about $300,000 dollars, Business Insider reported, quoting an unnamed source familiar with its operations. Genesis trades $1billion-2 billion USD a month. DRW’s Cumberland and Kraken are also operating similar trading desks.

CBOE Lowers Bitcoin Futures Prices

Aiming to achieve a positive impact on the XBT futures market, the Chicago Board Options Exchange wants to lower the minimum increment on its futures contracts – from 10 points to 5 points, where 1 point is worth 1 US dollar. In a letter to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the managing director of CBOE Future Exchange, Matthew McFarland, wrote about an amendment that would allow the change.

Bitcoin in Brief Thursday: Big Money Wears Big Horns, Claws Are In the Closet

McFarland believes that this would be beneficial to the public and market participants in general. The amendment would affect only transactions involving one contract, and not spread trades which have a minimum increment of 0.01 points, or $0.01. The executive also said the decision to make the change, likely to come into effect in May, was supported by data collected since the launch of CBOE bitcoin futures contracts in December.

Do you think the expectations of serious investors are indicative of a positive future for bitcoin? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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Show ‘Basic Respect’: Kraken CEO Double Downs on ‘Insulting’ New York Crypto Exchange Inquiry

Kraken CEO and co-founder Jesse made headlines recently for his strongly-worded response to the New York Attorney General’s request for information on the Kraken exchange, the largest bitcoin exchange based on euro volume in the world. The NYAG sent out a statement insisting that exchanges be more transparent, and issued 13 exchanges a 34 point … Continued

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Bitcoin in Brief Wednesday: Crypto Leakers, Hackers and Rappers

Bitcoin in Brief Wednesday: Crypto Leakers, Hackers and Rappers

Today’s collection of Bitcoin in Brief stories from across the cryptosphere showcases how bitcoin is an unstoppable force. Even if one centralized avenue can be pressured by some governments, others will soon pop up to replace it in the decentralized global ecosystem.  

Also Read: 20% of Financial Institutions Examining Starting Cryptocurrency Trading Soon

Wikileaks vs Coinbase

Bitcoin in Brief Wednesday: Crypto Leakers, Hackers and RappersA couple of days after Wikileaks called for a global blockade of Coinbase because the cryptocurrency exchange and payment processor blocked its official swag shop without notice or explanation, the organization has switched to a competing solution. Wikileaks announced that the shop has moved to using Canada’s Coinpayments and that its publishing arm has expanded its own bitcoin and privacy system.

The organization then called out its former service provider again, explaining that: “Coinbase has become an unreliable and even dangerous service, subject to arbitrary, non-transparent actions as it merged with the US banking sector and started to provide information on its customers to the US government. It has become everything that Bitcoin was designed to stop.”

Tellingly, while the US-based Coinbase remained silent on the matter, its competitor Kraken commented and explained the problem with relying on centralized services. The company tweeted: “Thank you all for suggesting Kraken as an alternative for @wikileaks, however, Kraken is also a centralized choke point. Those who require uncensored financial autonomy should control their own private keys and rely only on the blockchain for processing.”

Ripple Seeking Street Cred

If you’ve always considered Ripple to be a boring banking technology corporation riding the coattails of the cryptocurrency revolution, think again because they just got Snoop Dogg to perform at an upcoming event. The 46-year-old rapper, who has been a part of mainstream culture for a couple of decades now, will join a “VIP gathering” in New York next month. While Ripple will limit admission to only those on their invite list and tickets can’t even be purchased, they will offer ten members of the community a chance to enter by wining a trivia and a “Make the Meme” contests. The latter is not an original meme making competition but rather one in which the company will share two images and ask people to add captions for them.

Hackers Shake Down Governments for Bitcoin

Bitcoin in Brief Wednesday: Crypto Leakers, Hackers and RappersWhether ransomware hackers are getting more brazen or just shooting aimlessly in every direction to see what they can hit, they are becoming a nuisance to more government bodies around the world. The latest example comes from the Ukraine where the energy ministry’s website has been blocked with a ransom request for just 0.1 bitcoin. Ukrainian cyber-police spokeswoman Yulia Kvitko reassured the public that: “This case is not large-scale. If necessary, we are ready to react and help. Our specialists are working right now. We do not know how long it will take to resolve the issue.”

While paying off a modest 0.1 bitcoin ransom should not be too difficult for Ukraine, governments aren’t exactly known for efficiency. It was recently revealed in the US that Atlanta’s city government spent about $2.7 million to recover from a ransom demand of just $50k. In fact, city officials paid that sum for communications crisis management alone.

New Crypto VC Fund

Andreessen Horowitz, the Silicon Valley venture capital firm that previously invested in Coinbase, Earn.com and Cryptokitties, is apparently looking to spin-off a separate crypto-focused fund. While the company hasn’t announce anything publicly yet, it has published wanted ads for a “Finance and Operations Manager, Crypto Assets” and a “Legal Counsel, Crypto Assets” detailing it is planning “a separately managed fund focusing on crypto assets,” spotted by Recode.

Majority Votes Against Restoring Parity’s Lost Ethers

All the votes are in and the motion to restore Parity’s lost ethers has failed. 55% voted against implementing EIP 999 which was meant to patch the contract which was accidentally self-destructed costing users more than half a million ether, worth over $230 million at the time. Now it only remains to be seen if everyone will respect this decision and move on or if another ethereum fork is inevitable.

San Marino Wants Part of Blockchain Action

Bitcoin in Brief Wednesday: Crypto Leakers, Hackers and RappersThe tiny nation of San Marino joins other small locations in the European periphery, like Malta and Switzerland’s Zug, which see themselves potentially benefiting from the recent hype around blockchain.

“We are the world’s oldest Republic and we are proud to begin a transformation lead by technology. We believe this partnership will have an significant impact on the economy, growing the innovation sector which is at the core of our development strategy” explained Andrea Zafferani, Secretary of State for Economic Development. “The Republic will also acquire a state of art set of regulations to become a world-leading blockchain hub.”

“San Marino is ideally placed to become an innovator with this type of technology,” added Sergio Mottola, Executive Chairman of San Marino Innovation. “We are not interested in short term or opportunistic policies to take advantage of the speculation surrounding today’s cryptocurrency world. Rather, we are intrigued by the revolution implicit in the underlying technology: the “blockchain”, which we expect to bring an impact on the global economy greater than what the Internet has”.

What other developments in the cryptoshpere caught your attention today? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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Kraken CEO Condemns “Hostile” Questionnaire Issued by New York AG

Jessie Powell, the CEO of U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange Kraken, has publicly stated his refusal to answer a questionnaire issued by the New York Attorney General’s office. Mr. Powell has described the questionnaire – which was sent to thirteen virtual currency exchanges operating in the United States – as hostile to both cryptocurrencies and the virtual currency sector generally.

Also Read: Institutional Demand for Bitcoin and Crypto Resurges

Kraken CEO Rejects Questionnaire From New York Regulators

Kraken CEO Condemns "Hostile" Questionnaire Issued by New York AGThe chief executive officer of major cryptocurrency exchange Kraken, has criticized a questionnaire sent to thirteen cryptocurrency exchanges operating in the United States by the office of the New York Attorney General.

Kraken described the questionnaire for “Virtual Markets Integrity Initiative” as comprising a “tone-deaf response” to the emerging cryptocurrency on the part of New York’s regulators. The company claims to be “happy to help government understand our business” under “ordinary” circumstances, however, describes the questionnaire as being overtly “hostile to crypto,” and indicative of hostility toward the industry on the part of the state of New York generally.

On his private Twitter account, Mr. Powell also described acceptance of the questionnaire as comprising “placative kowtowing.”

Eric Voorhees, the chief executive officer of Shapeshift, thanked Mr. Powell for his comments on Twitter, stating “thank you for taking the ethical stance and speaking up for what’s right. Crypto has brought more transparency to finance and protection to consumers than the last 100 years of bureaucratic nonsense that has spilled from the sewers of New York.”

Office of New York Attorney General Issued Questionnaire to Thirteen Cryptocurrency Exchanges

Kraken CEO Condemns "Hostile" Questionnaire Issued by New York AGThe so-called questionnaire comprises a 34-point survey requesting that exchanges provide information including that pertaining to their ownership structure, basic operations, know-your-customer (KYC) policies, and anti-money laundering procedures by May 1st.

The questionnaire has been issued to Coinbase, Inc., Gemini Trust Company, Bitflyer USA, Inc., iFinex Inc (Bitfinex), Bitstamp USA Inc., Payward, Inc. (Kraken), Bittrex, Inc., Circle Internet Financial Limited (Poloniex), Binance Limited, Elite Way Development LLC (Tidex), Gate Technology Inc, Itbit Trust Company, and Huobi Global Limited.

New York Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, claimed that “With cryptocurrency on the rise, consumers in New York and across the country have a right to transparency and accountability when they invest their money. Yet too often, consumers don’t have the basic facts they need to assess the fairness, integrity, and security of these trading platforms” in a press release issued on April 17th. “Our Virtual Markets Integrity Initiative sets out to change that, promoting the accountability and transparency in the virtual currency marketplace that investors and consumers deserve,” Mr. Schneiderman added.

Following Mr. Powell’s rejection of the questionnaire, Amy Spitalnick, a spokeswoman for Eric Schneiderman, described the questionnaire as having requested “very basic information that any credible platform should have on hand and be willing to share with their investors […] Legitimate entities generally like to demonstrate to their investors that their money will be protected.”

How do you feel about the questionnaire issued to cryptocurrency exchanges by the office of the New York Attorney General? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Times of Israel


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Bitcoin in Brief Friday: Truths, T-Shirts, Things That Matter

Bitcoin in Brief Friday: Truths, T-Shirts, Things That Matter

In today’s Bitcoin in Brief we are focusing on some truths that have been uttered recently in regards to the latest attempt by authorities in New York to cross borders, when it comes to crypto controls and regulations. Also, crypto T-shirts, inspired by digital aesthetics, have been put on sale. Do you want to know why their design is a bit old-fashioned? Crypto markets are to blame…

Also read: Bitcoin in Brief Thursday: ICO Scares Investors with Ghost Prank

Speaking from Crypto Perspective

Bitcoin in Brief Friday: Truths, T-Shirts, Things That MatterKraken CEO, Jesse Powell, has been praised for saying what many in the crypto community have been thinking about the latest actions by authorities in New York. The state’s Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, has sent letters to 13 crypto exchanges as part of his inquiry into policies and practices employed by the trading platforms. “Consumers have the right to transparency and accountability when they invest,” Schneiderman said, adding that many cryptocurrency traders do not have access to the “basic facts” needed to assess the integrity and security of these platforms.

Bitcoin in Brief Friday: Truths, T-Shirts, Things That Matter
Eric Schneiderman

Not complying with Schneiderman’s probe, Jesse Powell has refused to send complete the questionnaire, opt instead to respond with strong-worded language. “Kraken’s BitLicense prompted exit from New York in 2015 pays another dividend today. When I saw this 34-point demand, I immediately thought ‘The audacity of these guys – the entitlement, the disrespect for our business, our time! […] I realized that we made the right decision to get the hell out of New York,” he said in a Twitter post. Kraken’s chief executive was referring to the controversial licensing regime for crypto companies in the state.

Thanks for the Ethical Stance!

In his post, Powell also said that his company would be happy to help government understand the business, but “this is not the way to go about it.” “When is it going to be enough for New York? We did all this once already, and then you gave us the BitLicense […] This ‘questionnaire’ we received today proves that New York is not only hostile to crypto, it is hostile to business,” he stated. “Somebody has to say what everybody’s actually thinking about the NYAG’s inquiry. The placative kowtowing toward this kind of abuse sends the message that it’s ok. It’s not ok. It’s insulting,” Kraken CEO tweeted.

Bitcoin in Brief Friday: Truths, T-Shirts, Things That MatterPowell’s comments received support from colleagues and members of the whole community. “Jesse – thank you for taking the ethical stance and speaking up for what’s right”, Shapeshift CEO Erik Voorhees wrote on Twitter. “Crypto has brought more transparency to finance and protection to consumers than the last 100 years of bureaucratic nonsense that has spilled from the sewers of New York,” he said.

From Crypto Truths to Crypto T-shirts

A “Crypto T-shirt” is now available from The Hundreds. As they say, it’s “inspired by digital aesthetics and iconography, featuring graphic flips on cryptocurrency logos, services, and sites”. The T-shirts can be ordered online. They take cryptos for the limited edition. You can buy yours with any of the following digital coins: Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, and Ethereum. However, keep in mind that it’s available for purchase only through a Coinbase account.

Bitcoin in Brief Friday: Truths, T-Shirts, Things That MatterAccording to the product’s description, the back print is a Bitcoin flip, rendered in wire frame, and with the RGB color spectrum used in the representation of images in electronic systems. The graphs refer to the rise and fall of the mentioned cryptocurrencies. The currently available designs on the T-shirt, however, depict a drastic drop. The message is a bit outdated, as it doesn’t represent what we are currently witnessing in the markets. Bitcoin is now trading well over $8,000 USD, while Bitcoin Cash just crossed the $1,000 dollar mark.

Exciting Things Happening With  Brave Browser

Privacy web browser Brave Software and Dow Jones Media Group have just announced a partnership through which the companies aim to test blockchain technology in digital publishing, among other exciting plans. Under the agreement, Brave will provide access to premium content from Dow Jones to a limited number of users who download the Brave browser. The available content set features full access to Barrons.com or a premium MarketWatch newsletter.

Bitcoin in Brief Friday: Truths, T-Shirts, Things That MatterThe companies intend to experiment with blockchain-based technologies in media and advertising. A number of innovative solutions in the news and information space will be tested. Content will be delivered via Brave’s blockchain-based digital advertising and services platform. Under the agreement, Barron’s and MarketWatch, both Dow Jones Media brands, will become verified publishers on the Basic Attention Token (BAT) platform, developed by Brave.

Do you think Kraken CEO Jesse Powell did the right thing refusing to comply with NYAG’s inquiry? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Brookings.


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‘Insulting’: Kraken CEO Refuses to Comply with New York’s Crypto Exchange Probe

Kraken CEO Jesse Powell had strong words for New York regulators who sought to compel the San Francisco-based exchange to participate in its new Virtual Market Integrity Initiative, which demands that trading platforms be more transparent. Earlier this week, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman began an inquiry into the operations of popular cryptocurrency exchanges.

The post ‘Insulting’: Kraken CEO Refuses to Comply with New York’s Crypto Exchange Probe appeared first on CCN

Crypto Exchange Kraken Closes Doors to Japan

crypto exchange Kraken

The crypto exchange Kraken will be closing its doors to Japan. Investors in Japan will no longer be able to use San Fransisco-based Kraken’s cryptocurrency services.

Kraken released a statement earlier today announcing that the exchange “will be suspending all exchange services for residents of Japan.”

The statement continues to say that the crypto exchange Kraken doesn’t yet have the exact dates for when the service to Japanese residents will be discontinued, however, the approximate dates are as follows:

Last day of deposit: around mid-May 2018

Last day of trading: ...

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