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| December 12, 2018

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Wirex Introduces Iban for All European Crypto Card Accounts

December 10, 2018 |

Wirex Introduces Iban for All Euro Accounts

Cryptocurrency debit card provider Wirex has introduced Iban support for all EUR accounts in the past few weeks. Users in the European Economic Area (EEA) are now able to fund their accounts by bank transfer and receive euro payments. They can also have their salary deposited directly into their Wirex account.  

Also read: Australian Company Issues Loans Backed by Cryptocurrencies

Iban Added to Wirex Accounts in the EEA

Wirex Introduces Iban for All European Crypto Card AccountsThe U.K.-based fintech startup has rolled out Iban functionality across Europe after a successful pilot in four countries over the last couple of months. In September, the company launched Iban support for accounts opened in Spain and France. Later Italy and Germany were added. U.K.-registered accounts had Iban numbers even earlier. The company also raised the funding limits for account holders in the EEA to £15,000, €16,000 and $ 20,000.

Iban, or international bank account number, is a system of identifying bank accounts that allows international payments. Each Iban is unique and consists of up to 34 alphanumeric characters representing country code, domestic bank account number, branch identifier, and routing information. The Iban also has two check digits which allow the verification of the number and reduce the risk of errors.

Wirex has been a popular choice for cryptocurrency users in Europe since it became the first platform to reintroduce crypto debit cards after they were suspended by Visa last year. Its cards allow users to spend several major cryptocurrencies – bitcoin core (BTC), litecoin (LTC), ethereum (ETH), and ripple (XRP) – in stores and online, anywhere Visa is accepted. That’s possible thanks to instant conversion to three leading fiat currencies – British pound (GBP), euro (EUR) and U.S. dollar (USD). Wirex wallets support all three currencies and can be linked to the Wirex plastic and virtual cards.

Expansion in North America

Wirex Introduces Iban for All European Crypto Card AccountsThe British fintech startup has announced plans to offer its services to customers in North American markets. In August, the company was granted a Fintrac and Money Service Business registration by regulators in Canada, where users can already set up and use Wirex cryptocurrency wallets. The next step is to introduce fiat currency accounts and start issuing contactless crypto debit cards.

Wirex is also preparing to launch in the United States. The company recently posted in its blog that it’s currently looking for beta testers to trial its onboarding process in the U.S. In the announcement, Wirex detailed:

We’ll soon be testing our market-leading offering on American soil for the first time. We’d like to know your thoughts – what you like, what you don’t like and if you detect any bugs that may need our attention before the launch.

Residents of seven pilot states, Nevada, Alaska, Virginia, Tennessee, Massachusetts, Louisiana, and Montana, who have a registered Wirex account have been invited to apply. Wirex will grant approved candidates access to the testing program and they will be able to try its new features before the service is rolled out to the public in the U.S.

What do you think of Wirex adding Iban support for European accounts? Tell us in the comments section below.

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Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post Wirex Introduces Iban for All European Crypto Card Accounts appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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$1 Million BTC Options Position Set to Expire on Dec. 28

December 10, 2018 |

$  1 Million BTC Options Position Set to Expire on Dec. 28th

Former portfolio manager at the University of Chicago endowment and current CIO of Blocktower Capital, Ari Paul, was reported to have made the largest-ever speculative play using BTC options during December of 2017. The contracts, which will expire on Dec. 28, 2018, are almost guaranteed to close as a total loss.

Also Read: Report: Indian Government Panel Submits Crypto Recommendations 

Ari Paul’s Record Options Position Set to Soon Flop

$  1 Million BTC Options Position Set to Expire on Dec. 28The options were purchased for nearly $ 1 million when BTC was trading for approximately $ 16,200, 12 months ago.

The call options have a strike price of $ 50,000, meaning that BTC would have to spike by over 1,400 percent in the next two and a half weeks in order for the contracts to retain any value, as they will expire to be worthless should prices fail to sit above $ 50,000 as of Dec. 28.

The $ 50,000 calls were purchased for $ 3,600 each. Twitter-based cryptocurrency commentator Bambouclub recently posted that contracts for $ 40,000 calls are currently trading for $ 9.60 on Deribit, estimating that Paul has already eaten a more than 99.73 percent loss.

Should the tides turn in Paul’s favor, the contracts would entitle him to 275 BTC value at $ 50,000 each, equating to $ 13.8 million worth of crypto.

Apparently-Doomed Options Position the Largest Taken on Ledgerx

$  1 Million BTC Options Position Set to Expire on Dec. 28During December of 2017, Ledgerx chief executive officer, Paul Chou, confirmed the position, adding that such was the largest options trade to have been placed using the company’s platform.

While protecting the identity of the trader who placed the position, Chou described the trade as being indicative of increased institutional demand for cryptocurrency, stating: “Without a doubt, there are institutions out there that are looking at these types of trades or have done these types of trades,” adding that the trader behind the position was “not an individual.”

On Dec. 22, 2017, Business Insider reported that “people familiar with the matter” had revealed that the seven-figure position had been made by Blocktower Capital. The report also cited a tweet posted by Blocktower co-founder Ari Paul, stating “I wonder who bought these?” that was accompanied by a winking smiley and a link to Wall Street Journal’s coverage of the trade.

Options Position Taken to Manage Risk

$  1 Million BTC Options Position Set to Expire on Dec. 28In an interview with CNBC that was published on Dec. 26, 2017, Paul confirmed that he had made the trade, stating: “I think it’s not quite as interesting as people make it out to be.”

Paul stated that the position had been taken in the interest of managing the risk of his fund’s portfolio, adding that he “wouldn’t recommend for most people to buy these options.”

“I manage a cryptocurrency portfolio and I’m trying to give investors access to the upside, but I’m also very focused on risk management,” Paul continued. “So these calls are a way for me to capture upside exposure, while actually owning less bitcoin [and] reducing my downside risk.”

What is your response to the apparently impending wipe-out of Blocktower’s record sized options position? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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At there’s a bunch of free helpful services. For instance, have you seen our Tools page? You can even lookup the exchange rate for a transaction in the past. Or calculate the value of your current holdings. Or create a paper wallet. And much more.

The post $ 1 Million BTC Options Position Set to Expire on Dec. 28 appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Chatter Report: Sirer Says Crypto Too ‘Volatile’, Zhao Ponders Next Bull ‘Trigger’

December 10, 2018 |

Sirer Says Crypto Too 'Volatile', Zhao Ponders Next Bull Market ‘Trigger’

In today’s chatter report, Emin Gun Sirer debates with Diego Gutierrez-Zaldivar on cryptocurrencies being a good store of value and Changepeng Zhao crowdsources Twitter for ways to trigger the next crypto bull run. Some, like Richard Heart, believe that bull runs are determined by technical indicators while others argue that fundamental changes need to be made to the cryptocurrency ecosystem. 

Also read: Simple Ledger Developers Publish Monthly Puzzle With Bitcoin Cash Treasure  

Are Cryptocurrencies a Good Store of Value?

When the director of research at Pension Partners Charlie Bilello pointed out that most cryptocurrencies had fallen by over 90% from their all time highs, Cornell Professor Emin Gun Sirer responded that cryptocurrencies were a poor store of value.

Every cryptocurrency listed by Bilello had fallen by over 90 percent from their all time highs, except for BTC, which had fallen by 83 percent. Despite having a bad financial performance in 2018, cryptocurrencies has performed greatly since Bitcoin’s inception. As one twitter commentator pointed out, BTC is a good store of value because its price had appreciated from 10 cents to $ 3000 since its creation.

Sirer strongly disagreed, arguing that the quality of a good store of value is not price appreciation, but having little variance in price movement. CEO of RSK Diego Gutierrez-Zaldivar jumped into the conversation and pointed out that the time frame of measurement is what determines a good store of value.

Zaldivar points out that fiat money like the USD is a tremendous store of value in the short term, but has lost over 90% of it’s value since it’s inception. On the other hand, assets with a fixed supply like gold and bitcoin are a good store of value in the long term with a price volatility tradeoff.

When Bull Market?

With cryptocurrency prices near their 2018 lows, founder of Binance exchange Changpeng Zhao took to twitter to brainstorm what it would take to “trigger” a new crypto bull market.

The responses were a dichotomy of searching for technical indicators in prices and calling for fundamental changes to be made to the cryptocurrency ecosystem. Cryptocurrency pundit Richard Heart belonges to the former category, explaining that the prices of cryptocurrencies have to break and hold over the 200-day moving average.

A similar argument was also put forward by prominent bitcoin commentator Vortex, who argued that crypto prices had to break and hold over the 30-day moving average and expected this to happen between June and August of 2019.

Fundamental Changes to the Cryptocurrency Ecosystem

While Zhao didn’t comment on the technical arguments put forward, he had a lot to discuss with those who wanted to change the way the cryptocurrency ecosystem worked. One such commentator was Lawrence Digital who claimed that 3 fundamental changes to the cryptocurrency ecosystem would usher in the next bull market.

Lawrence Digital argued a combination is needed for an increased adoption of BTC, producing decentralized application products that are used daily, and purging out the scam projects that are so entrenched within the cryptocurrency ecosystem.

Zhao agreed with the need for adoption and also pointed out that the bear market was currently killing off most of the scams in the cryptocurrency ecosystem.

Are cryptocurrencies a good store of value? Or is the USD a better store of value? Let us know in the comments below!

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The post Chatter Report: Sirer Says Crypto Too ‘Volatile’, Zhao Ponders Next Bull ‘Trigger’ appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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Report: Indian Government Panel Submits Crypto Recommendations

December 10, 2018 |

Report: Indian Government Panel Submits Cryptocurrency Recommendations

The Indian government panel appointed to recommend cryptocurrency measures has reportedly submitted its report to the country’s finance minister, suggesting a new legal framework for cryptocurrencies. The actual content of the report has yet to be announced publicly. Industry participants weigh in on speculation about the report’s content.

Also read: Indian Supreme Court Moves Crypto Hearing, Community Calls for Positive Regulations

Panel Report Submitted

The panel appointed by the Indian government to draft a set of standards for cryptocurrencies has submitted its report to the finance minister, Cnbc Tv18 reported on Friday. Quoting anonymous sources, the news outlet wrote:

Ending the speculation on virtual currencies such as cryptocurrencies and bitcoins, a government panel has suggested that the government should consider framing a new law for regulating that space.

Report: Indian Government Panel Submits Cryptocurrency Recommendations
Subhash Chandra Garg.

This panel is headed by Subhash Chandra Garg, the country’s Economic Affairs Secretary. In November, Quartz India reported that the government’s counter-affidavit filed with the country’s supreme court stated that this panel would “deliberate the draft report and the provisions of the draft bill on virtual currencies” in December.

The sources also said that the panel suggested “a new sovereign backed virtual or cryptocurrency may be proposed considering global circumstances; probably at a later stage,” Cnbc Tv18 wrote.

Content of the Report in Question

The report by Garg’s panel has not been made public and no official announcement has been made about its content so there is only speculation at this point.

Report: Indian Government Panel Submits Cryptocurrency RecommendationsCnbc Tv18 did not offer any concrete information about the content of the report either. The news outlet was only able to quote anonymous sources as saying, “The panel has suggested that a new legal framework within the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) guidelines should be brought in to ban cryptocurrencies and the law should clearly specify that any kind of dealing in such currencies should be treated as illegal.”

Commenting on Cnbc Tv18’s reporting, Nischal Shetty, the CEO of Indian crypto exchange Wazirx, told

Several times we’ve heard such stuff in the news before. Until we get to see the report I would not suggest anyone to jump to conclusions.

Shetty has been running a Twitter campaign to urge the government to introduce positive regulation for the crypto industry in India.

Report: Indian Government Panel Submits Cryptocurrency RecommendationsThe word “ban” has been used in Indian crypto-regulatory references before but its meaning has so far been open to interpretation. Quartz India reported in October on a government meeting which discussed “an appropriate legal framework to ban use of private cryptocurrencies in India.” Crypto Kanoon, a platform engaged in crypto regulatory analysis, pointed out to the news outlet that “the word ‘use’ may imply that buying, selling, transacting, or its conversion into rupees may be banned but not possession itself.”

Furthermore, several announcements by the Indian government have been mistaken by some as cryptocurrencies being banned or made illegal. For example, in his February budget speech, the finance minister said that the Indian government does not consider cryptocurrencies legal tender. Some media outlets subsequently misinterpreted his words as meaning cryptocurrency are illegal.

The CEO of Indian crypto exchange Unocoin, Sathvik Vishwanath, told

The finance minister was clear: cryptocurrencies are not legal tender in India. He did not say that they are not legal in India. There’s a huge difference.

The RBI crypto banking ban has also been mistaken by some as a general ban on crypto.

Challenges of Banning Crypto

Report: Indian Government Panel Submits Cryptocurrency RecommendationsNaimish Sanghvi, founder of Coin Crunch India publication, shared with that “Recommendations [such as from Garg’s panel] don’t always immediately convert to law.” While expressing his doubt about the Cnbc Tv18 news report, he explained some challenges the government would face in implementing such measures. “If they ban it, they have to change the coinage act which currently defines only INR coins and currency as official legal tender,” adding that any change to the existing law to account for cryptocurrency “has to go to parliamentary approval as a law.”

Vishwanath additionally told that, at the most recent supreme court hearing of the petitions against the RBI crypto banking ban, “our lawyers have asked for a date where significant time is given to us to hear on the matter and move towards an order,” noting:

I foresee a significant chance that the supreme court will provide an interim relief. In India, regulation takes a long route – so there may be some drafts by December but not the regulation itself.

As for whether the Indian government would be able to ban crypto, Shetty told Quartz India in November that “even if the government decides to ban possession [of cryptocurrencies], it will be just impossible to implement it.” He elaborated that even if “The government can successfully ban the known, big exchanges; but then small, hyperlocal exchanges will possibly come up and it will be extremely difficult to keep track of, and block them.”

What do you think the Indian government will do about crypto regulation? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Twitter.

Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post Report: Indian Government Panel Submits Crypto Recommendations appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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Federal Agents Told This Silk Road Moderator to Fake His Own Death

December 9, 2018 |

Federal Agents Told This Silk Road Moderator to Fake His Own Death

A former administrator from the now-defunct Silk Road marketplace is recounting his story in a tell-all book and movie deal. After being arrested in 2013, darknet moderator Curtis Green was involved in a bizarre conspiracy with corrupt Silk Road investigators and was later told to fake his own death.

Also read: Tales From A Dead Man: Curtis Green on Silk Road, Ulbricht

A Kilo of Cocaine and Half a Million Dollars of BTC

Federal Agents Told This Silk Road Moderator to Fake His Own Death
Curtis Green.

The Silk Road marketplace, launched in Feb. 2011, was the first darknet market (DNM) that allowed the buying and selling of illicit narcotics. On Friday, a Salt Lake City media publication interviewed former Silk Road administrator Curtis Green about his involvement with the first DNM. Green says he can publicly discuss the subject now after selling his movie rights and publishing his book called The Silk Road Takedown. According to reports, Green’s memories and the Silk Road backstory has been turned into a Coen Brothers screenplay.

Green was involved in a shady conspiracy that complicated the Silk Road (SR) investigation because law enforcement faked his torture and had Green pretend he was dead for a year. Before his arrest, Green worked as a salaried administrator making thousands of bitcoins in revenue by issuing accounts and passwords to SR users. When U.S. bureaucrats started talking about the darknet in Congress, several three-letter agencies began to search for the creator of the Silk Road, an anonymous figure called the Dread Pirate Roberts (DPR). According to Green, when law enforcement officials acquired his Utah address, someone sent a kilogram of cocaine to his house.

Federal Agents Told This Silk Road Moderator to Fake His Own Death

The former SR moderator said he didn’t know the cocaine was being delivered and unknowingly took the narcotics into his home. Not long after opening the package of powder, Green was arrested and told the police everything he knew about the darknet marketplace. Moreover, Green gave the investigators vendor passwords and credentials to major dealers selling wares on the market. A couple of days later, about $ 500,000 worth of BTC was stolen from SR vendors and staff due to Green’s leaked information handed to police.

“I feel terrible,” Green told KSL Broadcasting during his interview in Salt Lake City. “There’s terrible guilt — I really wish I hadn’t gone to the Silk Road.”

Federal Agents Told This Silk Road Moderator to Fake His Own Death

Fake Torture and a Phony Death Plot

Following the cocaine bust and stolen bitcoins, Green explained that U.S. law enforcement officials told him that DPR wanted the administrator “beat up.” So they decided to fake-torture Green and used a phony waterboarding technique to make it look like he was bruised and beaten. Green then claims the agents told him DPR wanted him dead and asked him and his wife to perform a fake death. Under instructions from federal agents, the former SR administrator and his wife created a bogus death photo using a can of red soup. Green says he pretended he was dead for close to a year and never left his house in Utah.

Federal Agents Told This Silk Road Moderator to Fake His Own Death

Green: ‘Bad Agents Were My Get-Out-of-Jail Card’

It was only after Ross Ulbricht was arrested in San Francisco that Green and the public found out about the two rogue special agents who stole BTC from the investigation. Federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent Carl Force and U.S. Secret Service veteran Shaun Bridges were convicted of stealing thousands of bitcoins from the case and are now in prison. According to testimony in court, back in April of 2013, the father of Carl Force passed away and Force decided to create an SR account called “Death from Above.” Following the new profile creation, the agent used the account to attempt to extort DPR. Force’s legal representation, criminal defense lawyer Ivan Bates, explained that during this time Force was drinking a lot and had significant mental health problems. Later Green plead guilty for the cocaine delivery, but was let off the hook by federal prosecutors because he helped law enforcement officials and because of the part he played in the Bridges and Force scandal.     

“Two people that are deceitful criminals and here they were part of the government,” Green opined during his interview. The former SR administrator continued:   

The bad agents were my get-out-of-jail card, to be honest — They put me through a year’s worth of — ‘hell’ is not even a term befitting what they did.

Meanwhile, Ross Ulbricht is serving a double life sentence for his involvement with the darknet market and his family continues to fight for his freedom. The blatant corruption involved with the Silk Road investigation gives the Ulbricht family reason to believe the whole case was rife with manipulation.

Federal Agents Told This Silk Road Moderator to Fake His Own Death

The Ulbrichts have also created a petition to U.S. president Donald Trump asking for Ross to receive clemency. So far the document has garnered over 100,000 signatures. Green says his life will go on and emphasized to the Salt Lake City media publication that he “can’t go back and change it.” The former darknet administrator added: “All I can do is apologize, make sure I don’t make the same mistakes twice and move forward.”

What do you think about Curtis Green’s tale regarding U.S. investigators asking him to fake his own death? Let us know what you think about this story in the comments section below.

Images via Shutterstock, Twitter, and Pixabay.

Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post Federal Agents Told This Silk Road Moderator to Fake His Own Death appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Report: Swiss City of Zug Named Fastest Growing Tech Hub in Europe

December 9, 2018 |

Report: Switzerland's City of Zug Fastest Growing Tech-Hub in Europe

The city of Zug, home of the Swiss Crypto Valley, has been named the fastest growing technology community in Europe. Zug ranked atop the “State of European Tech” report by London-based global investment firm Atomico last week, on the strength of its year-on-year growth of attendees to tech-related meetup events.

Also read: Malaysian Financial Regulators to Intensify Scrutiny of ICOs, Cryptocurrencies

Zug Tech Ecosystem Grows

According to the report, Zug recorded a 177 percent increase in the number of tech meetups in 2018, compared to last year. The city’s crypto activity has been warmly supported by the Swiss government, which is fine-tuning its legislation and policies to improve financial innovation, with particular emphasis on virtual currencies.

“There is a huge geographic diversity among the top 20 fastest-growing tech hubs in Europe, as measured by the annual growth in attendees to tech-related meetup events in those cities. Zug in Switzerland, home to a growing crypto community, ranked number one as the fastest-growing community overall,” the report said.

Report: Swiss City of Zug Named Fastest Growing Tech Hub in Europe

Novosibirsk in Russia follows Zug with 173 percent increase in tech meetups, while Ghent (Belgium), The Hague (Netherlands) and Katowice (Poland) complete the top 5 of the fastest-growing tech communities.

Novosibirsk has reported startup activity in its science and technology hub, Akademgorodok, also known as the Siberian Silicon Valley. Success stories out of the suburb include nanotechnology firm Ocsial, precision laser manufacturer Tekhnoscan and banking software company CFT.

The Atomico report emphasized community-building, measured by the meetups of technological talent, as necessary for attracting investment to cities. This year, the density of meetups in Europe equated around 200 events per day throughout the year.

 Progressive Switzerland

Switzerland has taken a progressive stance towards cryptocurrency, legalizing its use and formalizing crypto transactions in a range of contexts. The country sees virtual money and blockchain technology as strategic innovations in global finance and is intent on maintaining the growth of the industry, while expanding the number of jobs it has to offer in the field.

Report: Swiss City of Zug Named Fastest Growing Tech Hub in Europe

The city of Zug has led this growth. According to a report by CV Venture Capital in October, the top 50 cryptocurrency and blockchain-related companies in Switzerland’s version of the Silicon Valley are now worth $ 44 billion combined, underscoring the steady growth of the Swiss crypto industry.

The report shows that the number of companies working either with digital coins or blockchain technologies in Zug has almost doubled to 600 in the past year. About 350 entities were featured in the directory when the CV Maps database was first launched in April of 2017.

Of the top 50 companies listed, five are unicorns that are either based in the Crypto Valley or originated from the area. They include the world’s biggest bitcoin miner, Bitmain, as well as other leading cryptocurrency organizations such as Cardano, Dfinity, Ethereum and Xapo, CV said. Bitmain’s revenue soared 1,700 percent to $ 2.5 billion in 2017, from just $ 137 million two years earlier. Its full-year net profit rocketed to $ 1.2 billion.

Lagging Behind

According to the Atomico study, Switzerland’s Zürcher Kantonalbank is the second most active corporate investor in Europe, after being involved in 20 financing rounds in the last 12 months. In terms of tech destinations, however, the country fell behind its European counterparts at the tenth position, while the U.K., Germany and France led the pack. Switzerland also failed to make the list of 12 destinations for U.S. software engineers looking for jobs in Europe.

Report: Swiss City of Zug Named Fastest Growing Tech Hub in Europe

Swiss state enterprises are making power moves as far as cryptocurrency is concerned. The country’s postal service, Swiss Post, and telecom provider Swisscom, both state-run, recently announced that they are collaborating on a “100 percent Swiss” blockchain infrastructure, with a view of meeting the security requirements of banks and retaining all data within Switzerland. The country was named the most “blockchain-friendly” European country earlier this year.

Apart from Switzerland, major economies, most recently the U.S., higher learning institutions and legacy financial institutions have been taking a second look at their look books and policy frameworks to keep up with crypto disruption. Areas of concern have included security and issues of access.

What do you think about the Atomico rankings? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

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Text-Enabled BCH Payments Now Available in 35 Countries With Cointext

December 9, 2018 |

Text-Enabled BCH Payments Now Available in 35 Countries With Cointext

Cointext has announced that its bitcoin cash wallet service has just launched in the Ukraine and Italy. Cointext is now connected to 35 countries worldwide and the wallet works on any smartphone as well as basic feature phones.

Also read: Simple Ledger Developers Publish Monthly Puzzle With Bitcoin Cash Treasure

Cointext Connects to the Ukraine and Italy

Text-Enabled BCH Payments Now Available in 35 Countries With Cointext is a cryptocurrency wallet that provides users with the means to send bitcoin cash (BCH) through SMS technology (text messages). The wallet gives any text-enabled mobile phone the ability to send and receive BCH without an internet connection. The company has been adding supported countries to its list over the past few months, and on Monday Cointext added service to the Ukraine and Italy. The two new regions bring the total number of countries that are Cointext connected to 35.

Because the application doesn’t require registration and all it takes to use the app is a valid text command, anyone from the supported 35 territories can send bitcoin cash via SMS. After the Ukrainian and Italian services were activated, Cointext founder and CTO Vin Armani shared some notable pictures of people in Ukraine sending BCH through text on basic feature (Nokia-style) phones.

“Cointext allows anyone with a cellular signal to access cryptocurrency — This includes all brands of smartphones and about two billion people with basic feature phones,” Armani explained.

The Cointext founder continued:

Ukraine is experiencing political instability and Italy is facing a sovereign debt crisis. Cryptocurrency provides residents with a way to opt out, and Cointext provides them with the easiest tool to begin using cryptocurrency.

Text-Enabled BCH Payments Now Available in 35 Countries With Cointext

1.7 Billion Unbanked and 2 Billion Basic Feature Phones

By referencing the Cointext website, users in the Ukraine, Italy, Argentina, France, Hong Kong, Ireland, United States, Netherlands, Sweden, Puerto Rico, and other countries can locate their access number to use the service. In order to get a wallet, users simply text the word “receive” to the access number to get a fresh BCH address. Cointext uses a variety of other text commands to send funds to another address, and another command to read the wallet’s balance as well.

BCH proponents like applications that give people the means to interact with bitcoin cash using any text-enabled phone. This is because concepts like Cointext could bring cryptocurrency accessibility to the 1.7 billion unbanked individuals worldwide. African telecom companies have been experimenting with services like Mpesa for years, giving citizens in the region the ability to leverage text-based payments. Because the Cointext service allows individuals to send and receive BCH onchain via SMS, it operates in the same manner as Mpesa. In the African continent, however, the Cointext service only supports South Africa right now. Cointext has the most presence in regions throughout Europe, the U.S., and South America.

What do you think about the Cointext application? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.

Images via Shutterstock, Cointext, and Twitter.

Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post Text-Enabled BCH Payments Now Available in 35 Countries With Cointext appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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New Report Updates Cryptocurrency Exchange Ratings

December 9, 2018 |

New Report Updates Cryptocurrency Exchange Ratings

A quarterly ratings report has upgraded the score previously given to seven cryptocurrency exchanges, while downgrading four. It has also added seven new exchanges, rating them on such metrics as trading volume, security, and compliance. In related news, Crypto Exchange Ranks (CER) has begun tracking the hot and cold wallets of exchanges as part of a drive to champion greater transparency.

Also read: Simple Ledger Developers Publish Monthly Puzzle With Bitcoin Cash Treasure

Okex Downgraded, Bithumb Upgraded

Cryptocurrency exchange ratings, much like cryptocurrency ratings, are highly subjective. Any attempt at rating and ranking the constituents of a particular set using specific benchmarks is bound to cause controversy. Nevertheless, quarterly ratings reports continue to grow in popularity and in number while shining the spotlight on various verticals within the cryptocurrency ecosystem. Tokeninsight’s latest report tracks the progress of crypto exchanges over the past three months, amid difficult market conditions.

New Report Updates Cryptocurrency Exchange Ratings
Tokeninsights’ exchange rating criteria

Unique visitors have dropped across the board during the last quarter, with the sole exception of Bithumb, whose traffic and aggregated score has risen. Okex, by way of comparison, has seen its weighted score fall, exacerbated by the fact that it “has repeatedly unilaterally changed its trading rules during our rating period, including data rollbacks and modifying its contract delivery rules.” The report continued:

In the case of the BCH hard fork, Okex delivered the last transaction price of BCH contract ahead of schedule at 16:05 p.m. on November 14, 2018 (GMT+8), and issued an announcement only one hour in advance, causing unnecessary losses to a large number of investors.

Hitbtc, Kraken, and Kucoin all saw their ratings upgraded by Tokeninsight, while Poloniex and Gemini were among the exchanges given ratings for the first time.

Trans-Fee Mining Exchanges Score Poorly

Transaction fee mining exchanges, often linked with wash trading and fake volume, have scored poorly in Tokeninsight’s report. Hong Kong’s Fcoin exchange is one such casualty, its score lowered, with the report noting how “Transaction mining trends once brought a large amount of traffic to the platform, due to the notion that the vast majority of transactions of transaction fees or dividends were free, and transaction volume has dropped significantly in the past three months. In terms of compliance, Fcoin has lagged behind in development and has not obtained any license of relevant regulatory agencies.”

New Report Updates Cryptocurrency Exchange Ratings
The CER dashboard, showing hot and cold wallet balances for Bittrex.

Exchange analytics service Crypto Exchange Ranks has been instrumental in uncovering fake volume on Asian platforms such as Fcoin, Coinbit, and GDAC. Its latest initiative involves launching a crowdsourced framework for crypto exchange transparency. CER is seeking the help of “transparency hackers” to help it identify and then track the hot and cold wallets of all leading cryptocurrency exchanges.

The CER dashboard is already populated with wallet balances for several major exchanges. Results can be filtered according to the size of the exchange wallet, and clicking on the wallet balance will reveal the distribution between hot and cold wallets, where such information is available. Eventually, CER hopes to add this data for every exchange, and in doing so to bring greater transparency to the sector through a combination of self-reporting and public diligence.

Do you think ratings reports incentivize exchanges to provide greater transparency and to act ethically? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Tokeninsight, and CER.

Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post New Report Updates Cryptocurrency Exchange Ratings appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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The Daily: Trustology Raises $8 million, SEC Fines Crypto Fund Coinalpha

December 9, 2018 |

The Daily: Trustology Raises $  8 million, SEC Fines Crypto Fund Coinalpha

U.K.-based startup Trustology, which develops storage solutions for digital assets, has raised $ 8 million in funding and we’ve got the news in this edition of The Daily. We also look at the SEC’s decision to fine another crypto company for breaching U.S. securities laws and HTC’s decision to have Brave as the default web browser on its Exodus 1 smartphone.  

Also read: Binance Offers Multiple Accounts, Huobi Plans Institutional Exchange

Crypto Security Startup Raises $ 8 million

The Daily: Trustology Raises $  8 million, SEC Fines Crypto Fund CoinalphaLondon-headquartered crypto startup Trustology has received $ 8 million in seed funding in a round led by Two Sigma Ventures, Reuters reported. The company develops a technology that helps investors enhance the security of their digital assets. According to CEO Alex Batlin, Trustology plans to use the capital to expand globally and provide support for more cryptocurrencies.

The product offered by the British company is designed to secure crypto assets. It provides investors with a simple solution to safeguard the private keys that give them access to their cryptocurrencies – hardware security modules. These are specialized processors that store passwords and digital keys.

Alex Batlin noted that Trustology’s product had been initially designed for banks but the startup is currently focusing more on crypto hedge funds and individual investors. He commented:

The original thinking was we would build the tech and sell to the banks. They are not moving as quickly as we are and we have quite a lot of demand from individuals, as well as crypto funds.

According to Matt Jacobus, a venture partner at Two Sigma, similar solutions are needed to develop a larger trading ecosystem around digital assets for institutional investors. Blockchain technology developer Consensys also participated in the funding round.

SEC Fines Cryptocurrency Fund Coinalpha

The Daily: Trustology Raises $  8 million, SEC Fines Crypto Fund CoinalphaThe U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has gone after another crypto company that, according to the regulator, sells securities without registration. The SEC, which has determined that Coinalpha does not qualify for an exemption, has fined the cryptocurrency fund manager and issued a cease and desist order on Dec. 7, 2018.

The California-based Coinalpha Advisors, registered as a Delaware limited liability company, had been operating two digital asset funds – Coinalpha Falcon and Coinalpha Index, Finance Magnates reported. According to an announcement by the commission, the owners of the company have agreed to pay a civil money penalty of $ 50,000.

Coinalpha also agreed to halt its offerings and pay back the fees it had collected from customers. The digital asset fund has already raised more than $ 600,000 from 22 investors in five states. The company has also promised to conduct a review of its online platform and marketing materials.

Although the regulatory status of cryptocurrencies in the United States is still unclear, the SEC has already fined and issued cease and desist orders to a number of crypto businesses after concluding that securities laws apply to the tokens they were issuing.

Brave Is the Default Browser on HTC Exodus 1

Privacy-oriented web browser Brave, which supports opt-in ads and cryptocurrency payments between users, has been announced as the default browser on the new HTC Exodus 1 phone, according to posts on crypto forums and social media. The application supports a crypto tipping system which relies on Brave’s basic attention token (BAT) and enjoys growing popularity in the crypto community.

The Daily: Trustology Raises $  8 million, SEC Fines Crypto Fund Coinalpha

HTC has made its new smartphone available for buyers willing to pay in cryptocurrency. The device, which has been advertised as a blockchain-powered phone, can be purchased with three major digital coins. It has been offered at fixed prices in bitcoin core, ethereum and litecoin – 0.15 BTC, 4.78 ETH, and 19.84 LTC (around $ 500 at the time of writing). However, a message on HTC’s website reads “This product is currently out of stock.”

The news comes days after the launch of another blockchain smartphone called Finney, which has been developed by Sirin Labs. The device has an integrated cold storage cryptocurrency wallet and can be purchased on the company’s website for $ 999.

What are your thoughts on today’s news tidbits? Tell us in the comments section.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Trustology, HTC.

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Bithumb Launches Voting Platform to Screen New Cryptocurrencies

December 9, 2018 |

Bithumb Launches Voting Platform to Screen New Cryptocurrencies

Major South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb has beta launched a public voting system for screening new coins to be listed on its exchange. The platform, Pickthumb, aims to boost transparency and fairness in Bithumb’s listing process. Five coins are currently being evaluated with the current voting round ending in nine days.

Also read: Indian Supreme Court Moves Crypto Hearing, Community Calls for Positive Regulations

Bithumb’s Voting Platform

Bithumb Launches Voting Platform to Screen New Cryptocurrencies Before ListingOne of South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, Bithumb, announced on Thursday the beta launch of Pickthumb, its public voting platform for coins vying to list on the exchange. The aim of this new platform is to strengthen the “transparency and fairness” of Bithumb’s cryptocurrency evaluation and listing process, the exchange detailed. According to its website:

Pickthumb is a platform for screening excellent coins based on your fair evaluation … users can directly evaluate, validate and vote on cryptocurrency projects that will be listed on global cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb.

Bithumb Launches Voting Platform to Screen New Cryptocurrencies Before ListingBithumb explained that any registered users can participate, adding that members can actively give their opinions and “exert more influence” on coins to be listed on the exchange. Going forward, Bithumb says it “will try to promote a healthy cryptocurrency ecosystem that investors can believe in.”

Bithumb Launches Voting Platform to Screen New Cryptocurrencies

Five Projects, Over 40,000 Voters so Far

Pickthumb’s website currently lists five crypto projects in its first round which has nine days left. Each round lasts two weeks. At the time of this writing, there have been 41,778 voters and a total of 94,983 votes.

Bithumb Launches Voting Platform to Screen New CryptocurrenciesThe five projects are Rom, Amo Blockchain, Ttcprotocol, Olivecoinole, and Contentos.

Users can vote for or against projects in each round. Coins attracting a large number of downvotes can be disqualified from listing consideration. After each voting round has ended, Bithumb will conduct an internal review of the winning project. According to the announcement, members who vote for the winning project will receive an airdrop of the winning coin.

Penalties for Vote Manipulation

On Friday, Pickthumb published a notice about how it will handle vote manipulation. The notice reads:

Pickthumb is constantly monitoring the voting situation 24 hours a day for fair voting.

Bithumb Launches Voting Platform to Screen New CryptocurrenciesIn the event of unfair voting, the cryptocurrency project identified with fraudulent activity shall be immediately excluded from the voting round, the notice details.

Furthermore, activities designed to manipulate votes can result in user accounts being permanently suspended. They include impersonating others to vote, buying votes, selling votes, and motivating or recommending others to vote in favor of a project.

Pickthumb’s website states:

Any act that requires money (or coins) for the benefit of a candidate listed for voting is a fraud.

What do you think of Bithumb’s voting platform? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Pickthumb, and Bithumb.

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