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Winklevoss twins expect first quarter debut of bitcoin
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Winklevoss Twins Launch a Marketplace for Blockchain
Winklevoss twins launch a marketplace for blockchain
In case you missed it: Major Crypto and Blockchain News from the week ending 12/14/2018
Developments in Financial Services
A cryptocurrency exchange-traded product (ETP) that trades on Switzerland’s Six Exchange saw record trading volumes on Thursday and Friday last week, suggesting that institutional investors may be buying the dip in cryptocurrencies. Four major cryptocurrencies underlie the HODL ETP, including Bitcoin (BTC), Ripple (XRP), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), and Bitcoin Cash (BCH). While HODL ETP’s one-month average daily trading is 20,000 shares, on Thursday, December 6th, and Friday, December 7th, 53,233 shares and 62.986 shares were traded, respectively.
A report published last week by global anti-money laundering policymaker, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), indicates that cryptocurrency exchanges in the United Kingdom pose a, “low risk,” for money laundering and terrorist financing activities. The report, however, does highlight that such activities on UK cryptocurrency exchanges are an, “emerging risk,” although there is not yet enough evidence to suggest that these activities are occurring through cryptocurrency exchanges. In its report, the FATF urged UK regulators to, “Continue to develop an understanding of emerging risks (such as virtual currencies) and intelligence gaps, and take appropriate action.”
Andreas Utermann, CEO and CIO of Allianz Global Investors, called on global financial regulators to ban cryptocurrencies while speaking at a panel discussion in London. According to a report by Reuters, Utermann said, “You should outlaw it,” while participating in a panel alongside Andrew Bailey, the head of Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority. Bailey responded by saying that Utermann’s comments were, “quite strong,” before adding that cryptocurrencies have, “no intrinsic value.”
Basis, a major US-based stablecoin project, is shutting down its operations and returning most of its funds to investors, according to a report by crypto news outlet The Block. The report by The Block cited, “multiple people with direct knowledge of the situation,” in claiming that the algorithmic stablecoin project, which generated UDS$133mm of funding through private investments in April, will return funds to investors. According to the Co-Founder and CEO of competing stablecoin project Nevin Freeman, Basis’ shutdown is due to regulatory concerns around one of its token types. Freeman explained, highlighting that algorithmic stablecoins implement a “secondary token”, known as a “bond token”, to help maintain the primary token’s peg. In many cases, regulators like the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) consider these secondary tokens to be securities.
Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by daily trading volume, announced that it has added Circle’s US dollar-pegged stablecoin, USD Coin (USDC), to its combined Stablecoin Market. Circle, a company backed by Goldman Sachs, first released its stablecoin in September of this year. Binance’s combined Stablecoin Market features other notable stablecoins, like Tether (USDT), that trade against cryptocurrencies as interchangeable base pairs.
Coinone, a South Korea-based cryptocurrency exchange, has officially launched Cross, a cross-border payments application that leverages Ripple’s xCurrent product to increase efficiencies. The application, released by Coinone’s payments subsidiary, Coinone Transfer, targets unbanked or underbanked South Koreans by enabling the transfer of funds to Thailand or the Philippines at a low cost.
Gemini, a cryptocurrency exchange heralded by the Winklevoss twins, released an official company blog post this weekend announcing that the firm will support Bitcoin Cash (BCH) custody and trading. The exchange will support only the Bitcoin Cash ABC network at this time, adding that they, “are continuing to evaluate Bitcoin SV over the coming weeks or months, and we may or may not choose to support withdrawals and/or trading of Bitcoin SV in the future.” Additionally, the company detailed that its listing of BCH is pending regulatory approval by the New York State Department of Financial Services.
Gemini, the cryptocurrency trading platform founded by the Winklevoss twins, announced the launch of a mobile crypto trading application in an official blog post today. Accompanying the launch of the crypto trading app is a new investment vehicle, dubbed, “The Cryptoverse,” that is comprised of a basket of cryptocurrencies weighted by market capitalization. While speaking to Bloomberg today, Cameron Winklevoss said that, “A lot of our decisions have perhaps given off a perception that we’re more institutional-based. The reality of the situation is that we have a diverse customer base. And the retail story is just beginning.” The Winklevoss twins went on to detail of a goal to expand reach to Asian markets by 2019’s end.
Good Money, a US neo-banking platform, has closed its Series A investment round that generated USD$30mm led by cryptocurrency-focused merchant bank Galaxy Digital and the founder of EOS (EOS) Block.one. Good Money aims to provide a variety of banking service and certain financial instruments to US account holders while exploring innovative changes to traditional banking practices. “Modern banking is a primary driver of so many issues we as a society face – from economic inequality, institutional racism, environmental destruction to political corruption,” said Good Money founder Gunnar Lovelace. Specifically, Good Money eliminates ATM fees while offering each bank user equity in the company.
Kraken, a notable cryptocurrency exchange, is seeking to raise funding with a USD$4bn valuation for the company and a USD$100,000 investment minimum, according to CoinDesk. In an email to investors, Kraken CEO Jesse Powell wrote, “There is presently a limited time opportunity available to a very small select number of clients to purchase shares.” The email goes on to detail that the exchange will close its offer on December 16th.
OKEx, the second-largest cryptocurrency exchange by daily trading volume, will begin listing Bitcoin Cash ABC under the original Bitcoin Cash ticker (BCH), as per an official announcement Tuesday. Additionally, OKEx will change the Bitcoin Cash SV ticker from BCHSV to BSV. The announcement by OKEx comes after other notable cryptocurrency exchanges have made the same switch, including Coinbase and Gemini.
PayPal, an online payments portal, has launched its own internal private blockchain platform that will allow staff to trade and exchange tokens while generating ideas and participating in programs to foster innovation, as per a report by news outlet Cheddar. The private blockchain network, which was built by 25 PayPal employees in just 6 months, will allow employees to earn more for enrolling in learning and development programs. The PayPal tokens are not tradeable, or worth anything for that matter, outside PayPal’s blockchain.
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), a big four consulting firm, is partnering with Bitfury Group, a large blockchain software and mining firm, to develop a blockchain accelerator specific to Russian businesses. As per an official press release by PwC, the partnership will leverage Exonum, Bitfury’s open source framework to build blockchain applications, for educational courses and seminars. The partnership aims to meet the, “current needs,” of PwC’s enterprise clients in Russia.
Revolut, a digital banking alternative with an in-application cryptocurrency exchange, announced that it has been awarded a European banking license. Seeking to become the, “Amazon of banking,” the license will allow Revolut to offer traditional banking services alongside its current cryptocurrency offerings to European customers. Nikolay Storonsky, Founder and CEO of Revolut, said in regards to the newly acquired license that, “With the banking license now secured, commission-free stock trading progressing well, and five new international markets at final stages of launch, we are living up to our reputation as the ‘Amazon of Banking’. Our vision is simple: one ap with tens of millions of users, where you can manage every aspect of your financial life with the best value and technology.”
Shinhan Bank, the second-largest commercial bank in South Korea, is launching a new project to implement blockchain technology in its internal processes with a goal of eliminating human error. According to a report by news outlet The Korea Times, Shinhan also recently completed a training program for its staff to increase their knowledge of blockchain technology across various applications. After Shinhan implemented blockchain technology for interest rate swap transactions on November 30th, South Korea’s second-largest bank is now aiming to apply the technology in its record-keeping process to enhance overall efficiencies.
SolarisBank, Germany’s second-largest and Europe’s ninth-largest stock exchange, is partnering with Stuttgart Exchange Group, a German fintech company, to jointly develop a cryptocurrency exchange. As per a report by Cointelegraph Germany, the joint cryptocurrency exchange venture, “is scheduled to launch in the first half of 2019.” This news comes after SolarisBank announced plans to launch a zero-fee cryptocurrency trading application this past May.
The Canadian city of Calgary is becoming the first city in Canada to launch a digital version of its local currency, according to a report by the Global News. Dubbed as the Calgary Digital Dollar, the digital currency will be exclusive to Calgary and operate alongside the country’s Canadian Dollar. Calgary-based businesses will now be required by law to accept at least 10% of a payment in digital currency, although they are allowed to accept up to 100%.
The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) is launching a pilot of its Global Payment Initiative (GPI) to combat growing blockchain and fintech solutions, according to an official announcement last week. Currently, the SWIFT Network is used by global financial institutions to conduct global financial payments and cross-border transfers of fiat currency. Although the project is still in its early stages, the GPI pilot hopes to, “build the foundation of a new integrated and interactive service that will significantly improve efficiencies in the payments process and which will ultimately be made available to all 10,000 banks across the SWIFT network.”
The United Arab Emirates’(UAE) central bank is partnering with the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) to develop a cryptocurrency to facilitate cross border transactions between the two countries, according to a report by news outlet GulfNews. In a meeting pertaining to global banking standards and regulation in the Arab region, Mubarak Rashed Al Mansouri, the governor of the UAE’s central bank, said, “This is probably the first time ever that witnesses the cooperation of monetary authorities from different countries on this topic and we hope that this achievement will foster similar collaboration in our region.” The prospective digital currency will be used by both central banks and financial institutions in the countries.
TokenSoft, a security token offering (STO) startup, has acquired a 20% stake in regulated broker-dealer Marpine Securities LLC in order to launch its own regulated broker-dealer. After acquiring the 20% stake, TokenSoft will launch its new regulated broker-dealer entity, called TokenSoft Global Markets, that will be registered through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). The new regulated broker-dealer entity will allow TokenSoft to advise token issuers through every step of the Initial Coin Offering (ICO) process. Additionally, TokenSoft will now be able to legally operate in services related to insurance and management.
Tom Lee, co-founder of Fundstrat Global Advisors and a notable cryptocurrency pundit, believes that the current fair value of Bitcoin (BTC) is between USD$13,800 and USD$14,800, according to a note published on Thursday. Lee arrived at this valuation by taking into account the number of active wallet addresses, usage per account, and other supply and demand metrics. Additionally, Lee forecasted that the fair value of BTC will reach USD$150,000/coin once BTC wallets account for 7% of Visa’s 4.5bn account holders.
UAE Exchange, an exchange based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is partnering with Ripple to launch a blockchain-based cross-border remittances platform by 1Q2019, as per a Reuters report on Thursday. The report details further that Finablr, a payments and foreign exchange company that owns UAE Exchange, observes a high level of remittance inflows from expatriate workers in the Middle East region. “We expect to go live with Rippel by Q1, 2019 with two other Asian banks,” said Finablr CEO Promoth Manghat, adding, “This is for remittances to start with, from across the globe into Asia.”
De Nederlandsche Bank, the Netherlands’ central bank, will soon require domestic cryptocurrency providers to obtain a license from the regulator to operate, as per a report by Dutch news outlet DeTelegraaf. The Netherlands' central bank is taking these measures in the hope that it will, “prevent such cryptocurrencies from being used to launder money obtained through crime or to fund terrorism.” In order to receive a license, cryptocurrency firms must maintain Know-Your-Customer procedures and report any suspicious activity to the Dutch central bank.
Eddie Hughes, a conservative member of the United Kingdom’s Parliament, suggested that Bitcoin (BTC) should be accepted as legal tender for tax and utility payments, according to news outlet Express.co.uk. The article discusses that Hughes, who is a self-described, “crypto enthusiast with amateur knowledge,” recently met with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, which accepts cryptocurrency donations. This news comes after the US state of Ohio announced that it would begin accepting BTC as legal tender for tax payments.
Following a case in Canadian courts that resulted in a ruling ordering mistakenly sent crypto funds to be returned to their owner, a blog post from the University of Oxford Faculty of Law is noting that there could be repercussions with the case potentially setting a precedent for lost or stolen cryptocurrency claims. The Canadian court case’s ruling will require defendant Brian Wall to return USD$370,482 worth of Ethereum (ETH) tokens to the plaintiff, Copytrack. The blog post from the University of Oxford Faculty of Law reads, ‘This precedent may have major repercussions for the enforcement of claims regarding lost or stolen cryptocurrencies,” adding that the ruling allows the plaintiff to recover tokens, “in whatsoever hands those Ether Tokens may currently be held.”
Japan’s government is considering plans to ease cryptocurrency taxes in an effort to revitalize the domestic cryptocurrency and blockchain industry. This week, Japanese Congressman Takeshi Fujimaki proposed four significant changes to taxation requirements pertaining to digital assets, which include: a reduction on the cryptocurrency gains tax from 55% to 20%; elimination of taxes on crypto-to-crypto payments; elimination of taxes on miniscule cryptocurrency payments; and an adjustment that would allow cryptocurrency investors to carry forward losses across quarters and years, effectively until cryptocurrencies are ‘cashed’ out.
Jay Clayton, Chairman for the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (US SEC), said during a speech that Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), “can be effective,” for fundraising, but that, “securities laws must be followed.” Clayton went on in his speech to comment on the US SEC’s work regarding distributed ledger technology (DLT), digital assets, and ICOs, saying that it is an, “area where the Commission and staff have spent a significant amount of time,” and, “that this trend will continue in 2019.”
Jay Clayton, the Chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), expressed his optimism for distributed ledger technology’s potential impact on traditional financial markets in a testimony before the US Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs yesterday. According to a transcript published on the SEC’s website, Clayton said, “I am optimistic that developments in distributed ledger technology can help facilitate capital formation, providing promising investment opportunities for both institutional and Main Street Investors.” Additionally, Clayton highlighted that the SEC is, “Focusing a significant amount of attention and resources on digital assets and initial coin offerings (ICOs).”
Maxim Akimov, the Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, announced that no significant changes will be made to the draft of a bill concerning cryptocurrency regulation in the country, as per news outlet Finmarket. The bill was already approved by Russia’s parliament, the State Duma, in May 2018, although the bill has generated substantial discussion since. Since approval of the bill, all cryptocurrency and token-related terminology have been removed and replaced with the term “digital rights”. At the beginning of December, Pavel Krasheninnikov, Chairman of Russia’s State Duma, said that the bill needed to be, “significantly,” changed.
Pan Gongsheng, a deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China, highlighted that Security Token Offerings (STOs) in China are illegal while speaking at a summit in Beijing. As per a report by news outlet the South China Morning Post, Gongsheng told the summit that, “illegal financing activities through STOs and ICOs were still rampant in the mainland despite a nationwide clean-up of the cryptocurrency market last year.” In citing reasoning for the continued ban on STOs, Gongsheng explained that, “Virtual money has become an accomplice to all kinds of illegal and criminal activities.”
Pantera Capital, a blockchain and cryptocurrency-focused investment firm and hedge fund, is warning investors that as much as a quarter of their ICO project could potentially be violating US securities laws, according to a Bloomberg report. In a newsletter to clients, Pantera Capital warned, “While we believe the vast majority of the projects in our portfolio should not be affected, approximately 25% of our fund’s capital is invested in other projects with liquid tokens that sold to US investors without using Regulation D or Regulation S”
Russia has no intention of implementing Venezuela’s state-backed digital currency, the Petro, into commercial operations, according to a report by news outlet RIA Novosti. While speaking to reporters this week, Russian Deputy Finance Minister Sergey Storchak said, “Representatives from our tax service and central bank... got acquainted with the cryptocurrency Venezuela is introducing,” adding, “But no more than that. As for payments, they’re not happening yet.”
South Korea’s representative body, the National Assembly, held its first official meeting with seven of the country’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges on Monday. The purpose of the meeting was to debate cryptocurrency regulation between stakeholders of South Korea’s cryptocurrency industry. Cryptocurrency exchanges Bithumb, CobitCoin, Coinone, Upbit, Gopax, Coinplug, and Hanbitco were among the attendees of the debate, which reportedly focused on Anti-Money Laundering (AML) customer protections and Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures.
The United Kingdom’s Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an intergovernmental financial security body, is calling on the country’s government to increase monitoring of cryptocurrency markets. According to an official report last week, the UK must overhaul its Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and combat terrorist financing (CFT) efforts in order to prevent illicit activities with cryptocurrencies. “Virtual currency exchange providers are not yet covered by AML/CFT requirements,” the report details, adding, “this is an emerging risk and there is not yet evidence to suggest that broad scale ML/TF is occurring in the UK through this relatively small sector.”
The United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is interested in learning more about the Ethereum (ETH) network, its technology, and the markets build around it. On Tuesday, the CFTC published a Request for Input (RFI) that requests the public’s feedback on different questions concerning Ethereum. The RFI explains that its goal is to inform the CFTC about Ethereum and similar emerging technology, saying, “The input from this request will advance the CFTC’s mission of ensuring the integrity of the derivatives market as well as monitoring and reducing the systematic risk by enhancing legal certainty in the markets. The RFI seeks to understand the similarities and distinctions between certain virtual currencies, including here ether and bitcoin, as well as ether-specific opportunities, challenges, and risks.”
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (US SEC) is ordering that cryptocurrency asset manager CoinAlpha Advisors LLC pay a USD$50,000 fine, alleging that the firm conducted an unregistered securities sale. After forming in October 2017, CoinAlpha raised more than USD$600,000 from investors to invest in digital assets. In an official release, the US SEC said that CoinAlpha did not file a Notice of Exempt Offering of Securities, meaning that the firm breached securities laws by soliciting securities investors. Additionally, the firm allegedly did not adhere to proper know-your-customer procedures to verify that investors were accredited.
Venezuela is reportedly beginning to convert its citizens’ monthly pension payments into Petros, Venezuela’s controversial state and oil-backed cryptocurrency, according to a report by local economics blog the Caracas Chronicles. The conversion of Venezuelan pensioners’ payments into Petros came after the country already sent pensioners their monthly payment in the form of a check for Venezuelan Bolivars -- normally, upon receiving their check, pensioners would deposit their funds into a bank account where they could then withdraw fiat from local branches. The Venezuelan government, however, converted pensioners’ fiat payments into the Petro upon their deposit into a bank. In the first few weeks of the Petro’s existence, its value has risen from 9,000 to more than 15,000.
Warren Davidson, an Ohio Congressman and notable advocate of blockchain and digital assets, is floating blockchain technology as a solution to fund US President Donald Trump’s prospective US-Mexico border wall. While interviewing with NPR, Congressman Davidson suggested, “the American people, or whomever should choose to donate,” could pay for the border wall, adding, “you could do it with sort of like a crowdfunding site or you could do a blockchain and you could have WallCoins.”
“The long-term value of Bitcoin (BTC) is more likely to be USD$100 than USD$100,000,” says Kenneth Rogoff, a former Chief Economist for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the current Harvard University Professor of Economics and Public Policy. While writing an article for major UK news outlet The Guardian, Rogoff highlighted that, because BTC’s use is limited to transactions, it makes the digital asset more vulnerable to a bubble-like collapse. Rogoff also cited that BTC’s energy-intensive verification processes is, “vastly less efficient,” than systems that leverage, “a trusted central authority like a central bank.”
A new report by PeckShield, a blockchain security company that monitors various cryptocurrency ecosystems, details that decentralized applications (DApps) on the EOS (EOS) blockchain have lost as much as USD$1mm in hacks since July 2018. The report details further that DApps on the EOS network have sustained 27 breaches since July, which are responsible for the up to 400,000 EOS that have been compromised from hacks. Guo Yonggang, a blockchain security expert cited in a report on the matter by crypto media firm Blockchain Truth, believes that the hacks can be attributed to security problems with the DApps themselves, rather than with the EOS network.
A new study published by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance on Wednesday finds that the number of unique ID-verified cryptocurrency users nearly doubled in in the first 3 quarters of 2018. The study details that total ID-verified users increased to 35mm in the first three quarters of 2018 from 18mm at the end of 2017, representing an increase of 94%. As per an analysis of the study by Bloomberg, the growth of crypto’s userbase despite the market decline, “could signal that an eventual recovery could be coming.”
Amid the continued cryptocurrency sell-off, only two cryptocurrency mining machines remain profitable, according to real-time data from ASICMinerValue.com. ASICMInerValue.com, which calculates the profitability of Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) miners, indicates that only indicates that only the Ebank Ebit E11++ and ASICminer 8 Nano 44Th mining models are profitable for mining cryptocurrencies based on the SHA-256 hash function -- notable cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) use this has function.
Bitmain, a large Chinese cryptocurrency mining firm, announced that it is closing its development center in Israel, citing current cryptocurrency market conditions. In closing Bitmaintech Israel, the crypto mining giant was forced to fire all 23 employees. Among the employees let go is Gadi Glikberg, head of Bitmain’s Israeli branch and Vice President of International Sales, who said on the recent market turmoil, “The crypto market has undergone a shake-up in the past few months, which has forced Bitmain to examine its various activities around the globe and to refocus its business in accordance with the current situation.”
Busan, a major South Korean city, will be the beneficiary of the South Korean government’s plan to spend 4bn Korean won (USD$3.5mm) to establish a blockchain-enabled virtual power plant (VPP). As per a report by South Korean news outlet Yonhap News Agency, the project will be angled as a national competition in 2019, hosted by South Korea’s largest electric utility, Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO). The VPP will integrate the idle capacities of multiple energy resources through a cloud-based distributed ledger in order to optimize power generation and decrease costs.
Church’s Chicken, a large international fast food franchise, is partnering with Dash Venezuela to accept cryptocurrencies in its Venezuelan locations. According to an official press release, 13 Church’s Chicken establishments will begin accepting Dash (DASH) as payment following, “extensive and rigorous days of training,” staff to understand cryptocurrencies. With the addition of Church’s Chicken, more than 2,200 establishments in Venezuela accept DASH as payment.
Crypto.com, a Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency payments platform, announced the appointment of former PayPal executive Tyson Hackwood to serve as the firm’s Vice President and Head of Global Merchant Acquisition in an official press release today. Crypto.com aims to increase cryptocurrency adoption by both merchants and consumers through their point-of-sale (PoS) transaction terminals. Crypto.com CEO Kris Marszalek believes that Hackwood will be integral in furthering this goal, saying, “As we develop the Crypto.com Chain to fulfill the current industry need to pay and be paid in crypto, Tyson will play an important role in expanding the number and quality of merchants that are part of our network.”
Hyperledger, a notable blockchain consortium, is continuing its robust expansion after announcing the addition of 16 new members at the Hyperledger Global Forum in Basel, Switzerland. Among the notables to join the consortium are, Alibaba Cloud, Citigroup’s Citi Ventures arm, and Deutsche Telekom. The latest addition of 16 members brings the total membership of Hyperledger to more than 260 different companies. In a public statement, Hyperledger Executive Director Brian Behlendorf said that, “The growing Hyperledger community reflects the increasing importance of open source efforts to build enterprise blockchain technologies across industries and markets. The latest members showcase the widening interest in and impact of DLT and Hyperledger."
Jeremy Henrickson, the former Chief Product Officer at Coinbase, has departed the US-based cryptocurrency exchange after serving since July 2016. “Jeremy’s contributions to Coinbase over the past two years were invaluable,” said a Coinbase spokesperson, adding that, “he helped to build our scrappy startup team into a high-functioning product and engineering organization -- overseeing a 5x+ growth of the team.” Henrickson’s departure comes after long-term Coinbase executives Adam White and Hunter Merghart left the US-based cryptocurrency exchange in recent months.
LinkedIn’s, “2018 U.S. Emerging Jobs,” report released on Thursday ranks the role of blockchain developer as the fastest growing job in the United States. The report by LinkedIn indicates that blockchain developer jobs have increased 33-fold in the past 12 months alone. San Francisco, New York City, and Atlanta are among the cities with the highest demand for blockchain developer jobs.
Orbs, a unique hybrid blockchain platform, raised more than USD$15mm in cryptocurrencies to fund its development of a public blockchain, according to a company blog post. South Korean application provider Kakao lead the fundraising efforts with a representative telling CoinDesk that the company, “always seeks to invest and support innovative startups, and Orbs is a good example.” In total, Orbs raised 139,000 Ether (ETH) and 892 Bitcoin (BTC), amounting to roughly USD$15.4mm. Orbs aims to build a public blockchain with this funding that is, “universal,” and, “scalable,” for decentralized applications (DApps) with the, “liquidity of a base layer.”
Samsung has reportedly filed patent applications for three different blockchain-related trademark requests that all pertain directly to smartphones, according to news outlet Galaxy Club. Specifically, the patents named “Blockchain KeyStore”, “Blockchain Key Box”, and “Blockchain Core” all pertain to cryptocurrency custody capabilities on smartphones. This news comes amid the release of HTC’s Exodus 1 and Sirin Labs’ FINNEY, both of which are being marketed as blockchain smartphones with cryptocurrency custody capabilities.
Cryptocurrencies plunge for the week with Bitcoin still below USD$6,550, forecasters project 54% per annum growth in the Cryptocurrency ATM industry over 5 years and Coinbase explores launching a Bitcoin ETF with BlackRock
Developments in Financial Services
Apex Clearing, a digital financial clearing and execution company, announced Wednesday of plans to launch a new cryptocurrency brokerage subsidiary. As a result, Apex’s clients, who are primarily wealth management and financial advisory firms, will have access to investment opportunities in cryptocurrencies. Initially in its brokerage service, Apex will include Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, and Ethereum before expanding to other coins.
The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) has announced a six-month delay in the rollout of a specialized blockchain to facilitate equity transactions. ASX has been working to implement the blockchain since December 2017 and had plans to launch in late 2020. However, with the six-month setback, ASX will not launch the blockchain until March or April of 2021. ASX cited plans to devote more time to user development and testing in explaining its decision to delay the blockchain’s launch.
Abra, the cryptocurrency wallet startup, is now permitting deposits to come from European bank accounts. Users in Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) can now transfer Euros (or other national currencies) directly into Abra.
The ASX is delaying the roll-out of a blockchain settlement system until 2021. After receiving 41 written submissions form various stakeholders in the process (clearing & settlement, payment providers, market operators, etc), ASX management decided it makes sense to delay implementation and extend the development testing period.
Bittrex announced it is partnering with Cryptrofacil to launch a cryptocurrency trading exchange for Latin America. The new exchange will be based out of Uruguay.
Coinbase announced Thursday of plans to roll out new crypto trading pairs for the British pound. David Farmer, general manager of Coinbase Pro, said in a blog that Coinbase Pro will begin offering trading services for the pound against Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum Classic, and Litecoin. Coinbase Pro already offers trading services for the pound against bitcoin.
Crypto.com is launching its first cryptocurrency debit card in Singapore. The company raised USD$25mm this past June in its an ICO. Crypto.com will be partnering with payment provider Visa to deliver its debit card.
Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, the largest bank in China, has announced it will focus on investing in “intelligent banking” and the deployment of new financial technologies. The goal of the bank is to introduce “smart banking” to the financial ecosystem in China.
ResearchandMarkets.com forecasts that the crypto ATM industry will grow to USD$114.5mm by CY2023 and implies a per annum growth rate of ~54.7%. The company suggests the majority of the growth will come from two-way ATMs which let customer change digital currency into fiat and vice-versa. Furthermore, the reported by ResearchandMarkets.com posits that that the majority of the crypto ATMs will be based in North America. At the moment, crypto ATM industry is forecasted to be ~USD$16.3mm.
Robinhood, the mobile zero-fee investment app, revealed Thursday that the firm is actively looking for a CFO while citing ‘definite’ plans for the firm to go public. Robinhood CEO Baiju Bhatt expanded, saying, “it’s definitely on the horizon, not in the immediate term, but that’s something we are thinking about.”
After making a controversial move to hold themselves to know-your-customer (KYC) regulations, ShapeShift exchange is facing criticism from users across the crypto industry. In explaining their decision, CEO Erik Voorhees explained that the idea of requiring customers to hand over private information is something the exchange has struggled with for a long time, but they believe this is the best decision to help the firm navigate the regulatory environment.
Breugel, a Belgium-based think tank, argues that the EU should create a single standard for regulating cryptocurrencies for the Euro-bloc. The group believes there should be common regulations for crypto exchanges and ICOs.
Global crypto wallet Abra will begin enabling the direct purchase and sale of cryptocurrencies with European bank accounts, the company announced Tuesday in a press release. Users will now be able to transfer euros and other national currencies into their wallet, which can then be used to purchase any of 28 cryptocurrencies offered by the crypto wallet.
The Iranian government has accepted the mining of cryptocurrencies as a formal industry. The Supreme Cyberspace Council is now focusing on developing a framework for regulation of the crypto mining industry.
Members of the European Parliament met Tuesday to review a proposal of regulatory framework that would surround initial coin offerings (ICO). If passed, the proposal would cap token sales of an ICO at EUR 8 million and hold offerings to know-your-customeanti-money-laundering regulations. The framework would allow projects to raise funds in any of the 28 EU member nations.
The Philippines Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said Tuesday that it plans to release trading rules for cryptocurrency exchanges to follow, according to local news outlets. The Philippines has been an early mover in crypto regulation, having already published regulatory framework for initial coin offerings and requiring actual registration of crypto exchanges.
A high-ranking official of Ukraine's Finance Ministry, Sergey Verlanov, explained in an interview that Ukrainians are expected to pay the regular 19.5% income tax on profits from crypto related activities. Verlanov went on to add that while cryptocurrencies have no official legal status in Ukraine, they are common items deemed intangible assets.
An order issued by Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoev on Sunday states that Uzbekistan will no longer charge tax on cryptocurrency related income and that licensed cryptocurrency exchanges will not be held to the country’s securities and exchanges regulations. This announcement comes as Uzbekistan is attempting to attract cryptocurrency related businesses to the country.
Andreas Antonopoulos, Bitcoin evangelist, believes Bitcoin ETFs will be negative for Bitcoin long-term as it will let investor speculate about its price more easily. Antonopoulos believes a Bitcoin ETF will permit market makers to manipulate Bitcoin markets and that individual investors would move away from playing an important part in the decision-making process of the cryptocurrency ecosystem (since they would inevitably shy away from the responsibilities of owning Bitcoin key).
Bill Barhydt, CEIO of cryptocurrency payment startup Abra, during an interview on CNBC’s Coin Rush, suggests the SEC is rejecting Bitcoin ETFs because the applicants don’t “fit the mold of who the SEC is used to approving.” Barhydty suggests a trusted financial organization has better probability of getting a Bitcoin ETF approved than a startup.
Bitcoin Depot has launched 20 crypto ATMS in California to bring its total global installed base to 160. The company expects to reach 200 installed ATMs globally by year-end. With an install rate of 7 ATM/months, Bitcoin Depot may not reach its management goal of 1,000 installed Bitcoin ATMs by CY2020.
Bitcoin’s market capitalization is back to 55% of total digital currency market capitalization, the highest level since December 2017.
Bitmain’s AntPool has activated AsicBoost, a controversial method of mining Bitcoin more efficiently. AsicBoost exploits a previously known weakness in Bitcoin’s proof-of-work algorithm that allows for faster mining. Bitmain notably holds a patent in China for a system that exploits the Bitcoin network’s weakness in order to increase mining productivity.
Bitfi, previously advertised as an unhackable Bitcoin wallet, has withdrawn its claim that it is not hackable after cybersecurity researchers were able to discover serious security flaws in Bitfi’s technology.
Bittrex has decided to delist Bitcoin Gold following failure by the cryptocurrency to pay Bittrex the monthly listing fee of USD$262,907.
Blockchain identity startup Civic has decided to use 333 million of its 1 billion supply of CVC token (~USD$43mm) to pay for the costs of identity checks of users on its platform as well as stress-testing the protocol.
Blockstream VP Warren Togami warned investors on Tuesday of a possible ‘51 percent’ attack on Bitcoin Cash’s blockchain. With a hashrate below 8% of Bitcoin’s , Togami warned that a ‘51 percent attack’ could render the cryptocurrency useless. In his rantings on Twitter, Togami cited Bitcoin Cash’s similarity to Feathercoin, a cryptocurrency who’s ‘51 percent’ attack left the coin obsolete.
Cannabis publication, High Times, reported Wednesday that they would be accepting cryptocurrency for its ongoing initial public offering (IPO). High Times initially announced that it would accept bitcoin and Ethereum in the beginning of August; however, it rolled back on its announcement citing regulation issues. Despite the rollback, it appears that bitcoin has remained a payment option in the publication’s IPO.
Cryptocurrencies underwent a harsh selloff Wednesday morning with the top 100 coins losing $12 billion of market cap in just one hour. Most notably, Bitcoin’s price dipped below the $7,000 level and Ethereum lost more than 11% in the last 24 hours. CNBC crypto analyst Ran NeuNer cited that a possible reasoning for this price move could be a large sell-off of digital assets from a crypto wallet that may be associated with the infamous Silk Road.
Google is rolling out an update to its Big Data service that will help investors “visualize” the Ethereum blockchain. The platform, BigQuery, will permit users to visualize behavior and clustering on the Ethereum blockchain.
IBM announced today of a partnership with Hu-manity.co to develop a ‘health data application that utilizes blockchain technology. This is not the first time the tech giant has partnered on a blockchain related projects, announcing partnerships earlier in the year with SecureKey and Sovrin.
According to iPR Daily, Alibaba and IBM have filed the largest number of blockchain-related patents to date. Alibaba has filed for 90 different blockchain-related patents while IBM has filed 89. Mastercard is 3rd on the list at 80.
Japanese city Tsukuba has officially become the first Japanese city to test a voting system that leverages blockchain technology. The blockchain voting system allows citizens to vote on different social contribution project proposals, such as the construction of a cheap sporting facility and the creation of a new cancer diagnostics center.
A malware that targets Bitcoin ATMs is on sale in underground markets for approximately US$25,000 according to Trend Micro. The malware exploits a service vulnerability and utilizes Near-Field Communication or pre-written cards that are provided to the buyers of the malware.
The Mega Chrome extension for the Chrome internet browser has been compromised. Hackers can now steal a user’s Monero as well as sensitive information according to chatrooms on Reddit and posts on Twitter.
The People’s Bank of China announced Tuesday that it has officially launched the testing phase of its blockchain trade finance platform, according to the Shanghai Securities News. The new blockchain aims to provide an “open financial and trade ecosystem based on the Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macau Bay are.” The new blockchain should help banks conduct business authenticity audits, slash business costs, and improve efficiencies while helping regulators monitor various financial activities and improve interdepartmental information sharing.
Ripio, an Argentinian startup that ICO’d last year, has launched its full service, offering microloans to some 200,000 bitcoin wallet users in Argentina. Ripio’s blockchain connects lenders with borrowers from across the globe by leveraging Ethereum smart contracts. Ripio said its microloans can be issued for as much as US$730 and its average loan size is around $146.
Rising RAM costs are making the costs of EOS dapps cost prohibitive for developers. RAM, according to analysis by CoinDesk.com, has to be bought at market prices using EOS, with trades taking place on the Bancor algorithm. Each EOS dapp user takes 4 kilobytes of RAM to onboard for developers. According to the current RAM price, that's around $3.12 per user.
The South Korean government continues to make a push to invest and trial blockchain technologies in the public sector. According to CoinDesk.com, The Korea Internet & Security Agency (KISA) is looking to increasing the number of blockchain starter projects in the public sector from 6 to 12 by CY2019.
Southeast Asia’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Coins, reported that it tripled its user count over the last fiscal year, going from 1.5 million users to over 5 million users. Coins is located in the Philippines and has grown by aggressively targeting foreign markets, specifically Malaysia and Thailand.
A survey by YouGov Omnibus finds that half of American Millennials are interested in using cryptocurrencies. The survey covered 1,202 persons and according to the results, 79% of the respondents knew of at least one cryptocurrency and 71% knew of Bitcoin.
Wal-Mart plans to begin testing the effectiveness of automated delivery drones based on blockchain protocol. The blockchain technology is meant to replace the elements of the delivery process that is dependent on “trust”.
While testifying in front of a US Congressional committee Wednesday, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said the social media giant believes blockchain may be a potential solution to the lack of trust between social media companies and their users. Dorsey cited that a decentralized blockchain would help to establish digital trust between the company and users, and that a blockchain may help to solve problems introduced in social media within the last two years.
The Winklevoss twins have won a patent for a cold storage method of protecting crypto keys that involves air-gapped computers, geographically remote vaults, plastic cards, and papyrus. The patent, awarded on Tuesday, was awarded to the brothers’ firm, Winklevoss IP, LLC by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Wyre, a crypto payments startup, has acquired Hedgy, a venture capitalist backed bitcoin smart contract development firm. Wyre hopes to leverage the acquisition of Hedgy in order to wider their crypt financial ecosystem, specifically by offering more financial instruments, such as forwards, swaps, and more.
The Winklevoss Twins are of the belief that the existence of regulated exchanges will calm some of the fears institutional investors have when it comes to speculation on the Bitcoin price. Winklevoss’s Gemini will now keep your ‘unstoppable’ web domains safe. The custody service of Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss’s crypto empire now supports Unstoppable Domains “.crypto” web domains. Published. 17 hours ago. on. July 23, 2020. By. Republished by Plato. What might 1 BTC be worth after mass adoption? This is something that Mattie will look into. He will also talk about the Winklevoss Twins making a serious wall street bitcoin warning. In addition, Mimblewimble is something that Mattie will dig into and tell you everything you need to know. HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (Reuters) - Winklevoss Capital, the firm run by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, expects to get regulatory approval to launch a U.S. exchange for investors to buy and sell the virtual currency bitcoin in the first quarter, the twins told Reuters on Monday. For the Winklevoss twins, who have been two of the earliest supporters of cryptocurrency, the marketplace is a way to tap into an emerging and potentially lucrative market for digital art.
Movie to Tell The Winklevoss Brothers Bitcoin Story
The Winklevoss twins are bringing Bitcoin Billionaires to the silver screen along with former Warner Bros. president Greg Silverman. SPONSORED BY SWAN BITC... Twitter Founder Jack Dorsey interview: Bitcoin BTC Event & Twitter updates [May 1, 2020] Twitter 3,844 watching Live now Ethereum (ETH) 2.0 Update 2020 Ethereum 5,176 watching #Bitcoin (BTC) Is Fresh and It Will Pay to Get in Early says #Crypto Titan Cameron Winklevoss 👌If you like this content, please consider subscribing to our channel: https://www.youtube.com ... Gemini Co-Founders Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss on the launch of their Gemini bitcoin exchange. Watch Liz Claman talk about Currencies and Starting Business on Closing Bell and Exclusives. The Winklevoss twins explain the future of Bitcoin including how it compares to gold and how there is still so much more potential for growth.