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Order Speed Analysis Reveals the Fastest Cryptocurrency Exchanges

October 18, 2018 |

Order Speed Analysis Reveals the Fastest Cryptocurrency Exchanges

When you’re trading digital assets, speed matters — particularly so if you’re engaged in high-frequency trading, when every millisecond counts. Executing orders a fraction of a second ahead of the market can mean the difference between profit and loss. New data reveals which cryptocurrency exchanges are the fastest — and which are struggling to keep up.

Also read: Cypherpunk Essentials: A Beginner’s Guide to Crypto Privacy

Speed Analysis Shows Significant
Variation Between Platforms

Data provided by Deribit shows marked differences in the speed at which six leading cryptocurrency exchanges fulfill orders. The derivatives exchange looked at three major spot exchanges: Bitfinex, Binance and Coinbase. It also examined three major crypto derivatives exchanges: Bitmex, Okex and its own platform. It should be noted, however, that Deribit has an incentive to share its analysis, as it recorded the fastest order execution in tests.

The most liquid pair on each exchange was tested to determine the time it takes to add a limit order and execute a market order. These tests were repeated every minute for a number of weeks. Most of the exchanges that were tested failed to achieve either task in under 10 milliseconds for a majority of observations, with Okex faring the worst. Some exchanges recorded a significant number of instances where a transaction took longer than one second, with Bitmex scoring worst here.

Order Speed Analysis Reveals the Fastest Cryptocurrency Exchanges
Speed analysis for Bitmex

Order speed doesn’t normally concern retail investors, who aren’t reliant on split-second execution when buying and selling assets. However, it matters a lot to professional traders, particularly on Wall Street, and increasingly in the cryptocurrency markets, too. On derivatives exchanges such as Bitmex and Deribit, where cryptocurrencies such as BTC can be traded with up to 100x leverage, timing is everything. And for trading strategies dependent on a fast response to market news, order speed can prove crucial. Many financial brokers base their entire business model around high-frequency trading, relying on algorithmic trading aided by low latency, high speeds and high order-to-trade ratios.

Order Speed Analysis Reveals the Fastest Cryptocurrency Exchanges
Logarithmic results for all six exchanges tested

Derivatives Exchanges Are Quicker Than
Their Conventional Counterparts

Deribit has invited interested parties to download its speed analysis data and methodology inspect it for themselves, to verify its findings. Describing its methodology, the platform wrote:

We measured the time from the initial request until the confirmation that the order had been placed. To compensate for network delays outside the control of the exchange, we recorded the latency for a trivial API request. The duration for these trivial requests was subtracted from the duration of the order requests and the remaining time is assumed to be the true execution
time for a request.

The exchange claimed that it conducted all of the tests on machines that were situated as close as possible to the exchanges in question. The results were as follows:

  • Binance’s average order execution delay was 37.2 milliseconds, with 0.1 percent of orders executed within 10 milliseconds and 1.1 percent taking longer than 1 second.
  • Bitfinex’s average order execution delay was 156 milliseconds, with 0 percent of orders executed within 10 milliseconds and 1.5 percent taking longer than 1 second.
  • Bitmex’s average order execution delay was 1.11 seconds, with 13.4 percent of orders executed within 10 milliseconds and 20.8 percent taking longer than 1 second.
  • Coinbase’s average order execution delay was 33.0 milliseconds, with 0.2 percent of orders executed within 10 milliseconds and 0.1 percent taking longer than 1 second.
  • Deribit’s average order execution delay was 6.1 milliseconds, with 89.6 percent of orders executed within 10 milliseconds and 0 percent taking longer than 1 second.
  • Okex’s average order execution delay was 127 milliseconds, with 0 percent of orders executed within 10 milliseconds and 0.2 percent taking longer than 1 second.
Order Speed Analysis Reveals the Fastest Cryptocurrency Exchanges
Speed analysis results for Deribit

Competition between exchanges is fierce, especially among those that offer the high risk and reward cocktail that is derivatives. While there’s a lot more to successful margin trading than speed, its significance is sure to grow as competition intensifies and traders are forced to fight for that all-important edge.

Do you think speed matters on derivatives exchanges such as Bitmex and Deribit? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Security Giant G4S Offers Protected Offline Cryptocurrency Storage

October 18, 2018 |

Security Giant G4S Offers Protected Offline Cryptocurrency Storage

G4S (LSE: GFS), a security services provider with operations in more than 90 countries, guards everything from cash transfers to nuclear power plants and prisons. The London-headquartered company has now started to offer cryptocurrency protection, according to a recent report.

Also Read: Majority of Crypto Assets Are Highly Centralized, Research Finds

Secure Vault Storage

Security Giant G4S Offers Protected Offline Cryptocurrency StorageThe company, which has more than 560,000 employees throughout the world, announced on Wednesday that it has developed a new service providing high-security offline cryptocurrency storage, to help to protect assets from criminals and hackers. And the company is already providing the service to an unnamed European exchange, according to the Financial Times. It charges clients based on the number of different offline storage devices they want to use to store their private keys, and reportedly uses its own existing vaults for the service, rather than newly built facilities.

The company’s press statement confirmed that cryptocurrency exchanges are already turning to them for help. Dominic MacIver, senior risk analyst at G4S Risk Consulting, commented: “Our clients approach us to discuss solutions to their requirements because of G4S Cash Solutions’ experience in protecting high-value items and G4S Risk Consulting’s experience in developing bespoke solutions to complex challenges. Working with our clients, we are continuously applying their expert knowledge of crypto-assets and our best practice in physical security to a sector at the cutting edge of financial technology.”

Heavily Restricted Access

Security Giant G4S Offers Protected Offline Cryptocurrency StorageThe service is said to be more secure then other methods because G4S takes the keys offline, breaks them up and stores them in high-security vaults. Moreover, access to the sites in which they are held is said to be heavily restricted, with multiple layers of security. Clients can only gain access when all of the pieces are combined with specific technology.

“Offline storage has become a more established and secure way of storing crypto-assets,” MacIver said. “At the same time, violent robberies and kidnappings in recent years have shown that the sector is still exposed to conventional criminal threats. In collaboration with our client, our security solution is built on a foundation of ‘vault storage.’ We not only take the assets offline, but break them up into fragments that are independently without value and store them securely in our high security vaults, out of reach of cyber criminals and armed robbers alike.”

What level of security should investors demand from exchanges? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of G4S, Ed Robinson/OneRedEye, Tom Parker/OneRedEye.


Verify and track bitcoin cash transactions on our BCH Block Explorer, the best of its kind anywhere in the world. Also, keep up with your holdings, BCH and other coins, on our market charts at Satoshi’s Pulse, another original and free service from Bitcoin.com.

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Former CFTC Chair Advocates ‘Technology Neutral’ Cryptocurrency Regulations

October 18, 2018 |

Former CFTC Chair Advocates "Technology Neutral" Regulations

The former chairman of the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), Gary Gensler, recently expressed his views on the regulation of cryptocurrency markets. Gensler emphasized his belief in the need for robust consumer protections, and also argued that the majority of initial coin offerings essentially comprise initial public offerings (IPOs).

Also Read: Two US States Issue Cease and Desist Orders Against Five ICO Issuers

Gensler: Regulators Must Promote Innovation

Gensler has spoken of the need for regulators to adopt a “technology neutral” stance in order to “promote innovation” across the cryptocurrency and distributed ledger technology industries.

The former CFTC chair stated: “We should … not regulate the blockchain technology, but just ensure that its application, like cryptocurrency, [ensures] investors are still protected. What does that mean? That we make sure there’s not fraud, manipulation, to the extent we can, in the bitcoin markets.”

Balancing Regulatory Governance and Innovation 

Former CFTC Chair Advocates “Technology Neutral” RegulationsWhen asked of the risk of stifling innovation through heavy-handed regulation of the new and rapidly evolving cryptocurrency industries, Gensler stated: “If [crypto] gets broad adoption, if we really think the crypto world is going [to] be part of the future, it needs to come inside a public policy envelope, that means we need to guard against illicit activity, and yes, we need to protect investors. The crypto exchanges, big exchanges like Coinbase, need to really come within either SEC or CFTC … inside of something to protect investors.”

“I would say you want some form of regulation – you want traffic lights and speed limits, because then the public is confident to drive on the roads – in this case the crypto roads. And so I think the two can co-exist, but I think it will take a number of years to … get the balance right,” he added.

Diverse International Regulatory Climate

Former CFTC Chair Advocates “Technology Neutral” RegulationsThe former CFTC chairman stressed the challenges of practically implementing a regulatory apparatus governing cryptocurrency activities, stating: “So you see around the globe a lot of countries saying ‘We have to guard against illicit activity, we have to ensure our tax base stays strong’. The reality is, it’s really hard to implement.”

“The investor protection side, I’d say it’s all over the lot,” Gensler continued. “There’s small population countries like Malta that want to attract … the jobs, they want the CEOs to land there, and then some countries like China and India are very hesitant, and officially they’ve banned initial coin offerings, but underneath … there’s a lot of people trading bitcoin.”

“I think to the extent that the international regulators can assure for more confidence, that the viewers of this program can say ‘alright I’m comfortable, I can do this’, and big asset managers can invest, you’ll see more potential adoption,” he stated.

With regards to ICO tokens, Gensler continued: “I think those crypto assets called initial coin offerings, it’s like the old duck test: if it quacks like a duck and waddles like a duck, it’s a duck – these things are like initial public offerings.”

Do you agree with Gensler’s prescription of “technology neutral” cryptocurrency regulations? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Wikipedia


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African Cryptocurrency Exchanges Forced to Step up Security

October 18, 2018 |

African Digital Currency Exchanges Step up Security to Safeguard Investor Funds

Cryptocurrency exchanges in some of Africa’s biggest bitcoin markets have been forced to rethink their security to thwart persistent attacks from hackers, a trend that has troubled trading platforms all around the world.

Also read: Cointext Launches Bitcoin Cash SMS Wallet in Argentina and Turkey

The Worst Yet to Come for African Exchanges

African Digital Currency Exchanges Step up Security to Safeguard Investor FundsExchanges in the African continent have been relatively unscathed, suffering scant losses amidst the $ 930 million that’s been stolen from global exchanges so far this year, according to data by U.S. cyber security firm Ciphertrace.

The most notable assault on investor funds in the continent of 1.2 billion people happened around March in South Africa. It wasn’t a cyber attack on an exchange, but rather a scam. Fraudsters at BTC Global, a supposed cryptocurrency investment firm, made off with about one billion rand ($ 80 million) after 28,000 South Africans succumbed to the false promise of incredibly high, quick returns on their investment, police said.

As thefts have stoked exchanges worldwide, some African platforms have woken up to the need to strengthen their security to safeguard investor funds. This is particularly crucial in a continent where cryptocurrency markets are populated by people who trade with a certain degree of ignorance in many cases, lured by the promise of quick riches. Incidents of fraud or stolen money can smear a market struggling to build confidence in the absence of regulatory oversight.

“We have noticed a number of attempts to breach our system but we have managed to maintain our defenses and we keep on learning,” Suleiman Murunga, chief executive officer at Ugandan exchange Coinpesa, told news.Bitcoin.com.

African Digital Currency Exchanges Step up Security to Safeguard Investor Funds
Suleiman Murunga

“We (now) use suspicious activity monitoring tools to track user behavior in order to spot bad actors,” he said, adding that the company, one of the biggest in the East African country, also uses two-factor authentication.

Murunga stated that only a small portion of investor funds held on the exchange are kept in a hot wallet, of the kind targeted by hackers. The bulk of the funds are held offline, in cold storage.

Don’t Blame the Trading Platform – Blame the User

When breaches occur, exchanges are not always to blame. Sometimes investors simply aren’t careful. There have been instances where attackers gained access to individual accounts on the Zimbabwean exchange Golix before its forced shutdown in May, taking advantage of email password vulnerabilities to facilitate transactions.

Although no money was stolen, the 23 affected users noticed some changes to their accounts such as the conversion of their cryptocurrencies and the acquisition of additional coins through U.S. dollar balances they held in their accounts. This is according to Golix, which now has a presence in seven African countries. Back then, the exchange didn’t ask investors for 2FA upon signing up.

In Nigeria, Africa’s biggest bitcoin market, where trades reached $ 260 million on just one exchange this year, the threat of cyber attacks is real. In 2016, the Ibadan-based Naira4dollar firm didn’t receive the $ 15,000 worth of BTC it had bought to replenish its wallets after an attacker hacked into the trading platform’s system.

African Digital Currency Exchanges Step up Security to Safeguard Investor Funds
Lagos, Nigeria

Investors in Nigeria and Ghana also fell victim to a $ 50 million hack of the Blockchain.info wallet, allegedly by Ukrainian hacker group Coinhoarder earlier this year. In the streets of Lagos, scammers take on false identities, infiltrating exchanges and various social media platforms promising outrageously high returns.

David Ayala, chief executive officer of Nairaex, which has more than 100,000 customers on its books, said all digital coins on the Nigerian exchange are stored “securely offline with Bitgo industry standards of multi-sig wallet.”

“Our platform is developed using best practices from the financial sector to maintain users’ security. We have maintained a secured network architecture since launch and we run scheduled tests and checks on the system for reliability,” he detailed, in emailed responses.

Is a Foolproof Security System Possible?

Often, hackers and scammers are a step ahead of their targeted victims, increasing the risk of persistent attacks. But will African exchanges ever implement foolproof security systems, or something approaching that ideal? William Chui, a Zimbabwean cryptocurrency enthusiast and former VP at Golix, proposed “A ‘walk-in’ model, where users [enter a physical premises] to buy [cryptocurrency] and are served while they wait.” It’s a model that’s proven popular in other countries such as South Korea.

He conceded, however, “This is not scalable nor feasible with the internet and will prove to be too slow. I doubt we can get a foolproof, secure system, but the [aim] will be to minimize losses as much as possible.”

Chui recommends that exchanges “invest in a technical development department that will continually penetrate the website, and offer bounties for external developers to do the same … Store a larger percentage of clients’ funds in cold wallets.”

African Digital Currency Exchanges Step up Security to Safeguard Investor Funds

Pesamill Africa in Kenya has gone as far as adopting Australian cryptocurrency industry regulations as part of efforts to align with global best practice. “We have built an exchange that fosters both peer-to-peer and centralized transactions in a safe and secure manner,” Brian Ngugi, Pesamill chief executive, told news.Bitcoin.com.

Whatever the case, African exchanges are at a stage in their development that holds a lot of promise for the growth of cryptocurrency use on the continent. Regulators will eventually step in, as is happening elsewhere worldwide. This will occur, not only to regulate and claim tax, but to make the cryptocurrency space stronger and sustainable.

What do you think about the level of security at African digital currency exchanges? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Verify and track bitcoin cash transactions on our BCH Block Explorer, the best of its kind anywhere in the world. Also, keep up with your holdings, BCH and other coins, on our market charts at Satoshi Pulse, another original and free service from Bitcoin.com

The post African Cryptocurrency Exchanges Forced to Step up Security appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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Blockchain Surveillance Firm Partners With Cryptocurrency Exchange Binance

October 17, 2018 |

Blockchain Surveillance Firm Partners With Cryptocurrency Exchange Binance

On Oct. 17, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume, Binance, announced a partnership with blockchain surveillance company Chainalysis. According to the exchange, Chainalysis has implemented a compliance solution that meets regulatory guidelines worldwide.

Also read: Bizarro World: Federated Sidechain Technology Promoted Over Nakamoto Consensus

Binance Is Using Chainalysis for Compliance   

According to a press release published on Oct. 17, Binance and Chainalysis have joined forces to create a compliance solution for trading operations. The collaboration will further ensure that Binance exchanges comply with Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) laws. The co-founder of Chainalysis, Jonathan Levin, explained during the announcement that all cryptocurrency businesses face the challenge of “earning the trust of regulators, financial institutions and users.”

“We expect many to follow Binance’s lead to build world-class AML compliance programs to satisfy regulators globally and build trust with major financial institutions,” Levin detailed. “Chainalysis’ compliance software, Chainalysis KYT (Know Your Transaction), is the only real-time transaction monitoring solution for cryptocurrencies.”

Blockchain Surveillance Firm Partners With Cryptocurrency Exchange Binance

To Some, Regulatory Compliance and Permissionless Innovation Mix Like Oil and Water

Levin says that the Chainalysis software uses methods like proprietary algorithms and pattern recognition that can raise alerts when suspicious transactions happen. Binance will be able to leverage the KYT software and other services Chainalysis offers. Wei Zhou, CFO at Binance, says the collaboration helps the exchange build a “foundational compliance program.”

“Our vision is to provide the infrastructure for a blockchain ecosystem and increase the freedom of money globally, while adhering to regulatory mandates in the countries we serve,” Zhou stated.

Blockchain Surveillance Firm Partners With Cryptocurrency Exchange Binance

Overall, both companies believe the compliance solution will enhance the cryptocurrency environment. Moreover, Chainalysis thinks exchanges working with them will make it easier for cryptocurrency firms to open bank accounts and establish relationships with legacy financial providers. However, on forums and social media, many digital asset proponents voiced their displeasure at the announcement. Most cryptocurrency users wholeheartedly believe in privacy, and are concerned by a growing trend for blockchain surveillance.

What do you think about Binance teaming up with the blockchain surveillance firm Chainalysis? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Images via Shutterstock, Binance and Chainalysis


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BTCC Launching Cryptocurrency Exchange in South Korea

October 17, 2018 |

BTCC Launching Cryptocurrency Exchange in South Korea

Hong Kong-headquartered cryptocurrency exchange BTCC is reportedly launching services in South Korea this month. In addition to a cryptocurrency exchange, the company will offer a wallet service, a mining pool, and a consumer payments service, according to its Korean website.

Also read: 160 Crypto Exchanges Seek to Enter Japanese Market, Regulator Reveals

BTCC Expanding Into South Korea

BTCC, formerly known as BTC China, is launching services in South Korea on Oct. 31, according to the Investor. The beta service will start this month and the exchange “will make its official debut in November,” the publication added.

BTCC Launching Cryptocurrency Exchange in South Korea“The world’s first cryptocurrency exchange BTCC is preparing to open in Korea,” the company wrote on its Korean website’s homepage. Four services are listed: an exchange, a wallet service, a mining pool, and a service to facilitate consumer payments. “BTCC is establishing an on / offline payment system using cryptocurrency,” its website states, adding that it “is expanding services for real-life use.”

The news outlet elaborated:

BTCC said it will expand its footprint through strategic tie-ups with local and global firms.

BTCC Launching Cryptocurrency Exchange in South KoreaFounded in 2011, BTCC was one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world by trading volume before the Chinese government cracked down on cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs) in September last year. The government’s action caused all major cryptocurrency exchanges to exit China and move their operations overseas.

Following the crackdown, BTCC shut down its operations in China and re-launched its services in Hong Kong. The company is now headquartered in Hong Kong but serves a global customer base. The new BTCC exchange offers the trading of five cryptocurrencies against the USD — BTC, BCH, ETH, LTC, and DASH. In addition, the latter four cryptocurrencies can be traded against BTC. The BTCC Korea exchange, however, has not announced which coins will be supported.

BTCC Launching Cryptocurrency Exchange in South Korea
Cryptocurrencies supported on the main BTCC website.

Korean Cryptocurrency Ecosystem

BTCC Launching Cryptocurrency Exchange in South KoreaThe South Korean cryptocurrency market is dominated by four exchanges: Upbit, Bithumb, Coinone, and Korbit. Bithumb is the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the country by trading volume while Upbit is the largest by the number of coins listed. Upbit, which offers the trading of 164 coins in 276 markets, is a partner of U.S.-based exchange Bittrex and is backed by Kakao Corp., the operator of the country’s most popular chat app, Kakao Talk.

On Oct. 12, Bithumb confirmed that it was sold to a consortium led by a well-known plastic surgeon, as news.Bitcoin.com previously reported.

Another major cryptocurrency exchange that exited China and entered the South Korean market following the Chinese government’s crackdown is Huobi. The exchange launched its Korean operations in March, offering the trading of over 100 coins in over 200 markets, according to its website.

What do you think of BTCC expanding into South Korea? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and BTCC.


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The Fall of Tether and What It Means for the Cryptocurrency Markets

October 15, 2018 |

The Fall of Tether and What It Means for the Cryptocurrency Markets

The demise of Tether has been a car crash in slow motion. An unswervable event that has played out over the course of months, it has reached a crescendo in the past 24 hours, with tether slipping significantly from its dollar peg. It is possible, perhaps even probable, that it will regain parity with the U.S. dollar. But by then, the damage may have already been done.

Also read: The Daily: Tether Sheds Its Peg

The Beginning of the End
or the Start of a New Dawn?

The Fall of Tether and What It Means for the Cryptocurrency MarketsA cryptocurrency losing 10 percent of its value in a week would not normally be news. But when that cryptocurrency is a supposedly “stable” coin — and one whose very stability is relied on by a huge tranche of the market — its slippage is big news. One small slip for tether can result in a giant leap for other cryptocurrencies; it is no coincidence that BTC’s climb to $ 7,500 in the past 12 hours, as well as its subsequent decline, was triggered by tether’s instability.

A precis of the events that led to this state of affairs goes as follows:

  • Tether’s trading volume has built up over time, leading to it becoming the second most traded crypto after BTC (USDT 24-hour volume currently stands at $ 4.8B)
  • Bitfinex’s failure to publish an audit has led to fears that tether could be backed by nothing, or at least not enough to cover the 2.5 billion tethers in circulation
  • Bitfinex’s struggle to obtain a banking partner has exacerbated the problem
  • Rumors of Tether/Bitfinex being subpoenaed and potentially shut down have swirled for months
  • Last week Bitfinex lost its latest bank, HSBC, forcing it to suspend fiat deposits
  • A steady stream of criticism has poisoned the Tether brand, leaving confidence in the stablecoin at an all-time low
  • Wary of being trapped in an asset that’s a prime target for FUD (both real and false), traders have exchanged USDT for BTC or other stablecoins
  • This has caused the price of tether to slip and other stablecoins to trade at a premium

Which leads us to where we are today, which is a cryptocurrency market that doesn’t know what’s going on. Tether bears are loving the collapse of USDT, other stablecoins are relishing their time to shine, memers are meming, arbers arbing, and BTC is leading the market on a merry dance from the low $ 6000s to the high sevens.

 

The Fall of Tether and What It Means for the Cryptocurrency Markets
Tether’s drop-off has occurred sharply, as can be seen when viewed over a three-month window.

On cryptocurrency forums, traders shared apocalyptic predictions of what tether’s demise might do for the ecosystem, and whether it would presage Mt Gox 2.0. Hyperbole reigned supreme. “It took almost four years for people to regain some kind of confidence after Gox,” wrote one. “This is far worse than Gox, and will hurt crypto immensely in the eyes of even the bagholders and basic bitches.” They continued:

Without dumb money entering the system, you can’t offload your shitcoins, thus you’ll all be sitting on bags, and the market will become inert. It’s gonna be a bad, bad turn, regardless of what happens.

Exchanges Rush to Introduce New Stablecoins

The Fall of Tether and What It Means for the Cryptocurrency MarketsWith tether’s card marked, so to speak, cryptocurrency exchanges have sought to expedite the introduction of alternative stablecoins. Today (Oct. 16), Okex went stablecoin crazy, adding TUSD, USDC, GUDC, and PAX. On Binance, meanwhile, TUSD is trading at $ 1.12 against tether, having reached a high of $ 1.24 at one stage. At the time of publication, tether was averaging $ 0.93 across exchanges, but with some marked disparities between platforms. On Binance and Bittrex, for example, where there is a greater choice of stablecoins, tether has fared worse. On Kraken and Bitfinex, on the other hand, traders have little option but to trust in tether.

Should Bitfinex succeed in restoring its banking arrangements this week, as the exchange has promised, it is conceivable that the move could restore faith in tether, which may regain the $ 1 peg it has adhered to so faithfully until this week. Whether tether is backed or unbacked, audited or unaudited, its status — from a technical perspective — has not changed in the past seven days. Psychologically, though, everything has changed. Like a cheating spouse, a stablecoin that’s been caught out once will always be suspected of straying again. While the markets will weather this period of uncertainty, for tether there may be no way back. Where tether and Bitfinex go from here is anyone’s guess.

Do you think this is the end for tether, or will the stablecoin recover? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, 4chan and Twitter.


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Report: Barclays Drops Plan for Cryptocurrency Trading Desk

October 15, 2018 |

Barclays Reportedly Stops Its Cryptocurrency Trading Desk Initiative

Barclays (LSE: BARC) has reportedly scrapped its plan to launch a cryptocurrency trading desk. However, it remain unclear whether the U.K. banking giant is acting under pressure from regulators or for other reasons, such as insufficient demand for crypto-related services from hedge funds.

Also Read: Research: Corporations Fail to Deliver on Blockchain Hype, Scalability a Top Concern

Crypto Plan ‘On Ice’

Barclays Reportedly Stops Its Cryptocurrency Trading Desk InitiativeA group of senior Barclays executives have stopped working on the initiative, according to a report by Financial News London, citing two people familiar with the situation. Chris Tyrer, the man who headed the bank’s “digital assets project,” is said to have parted ways with Barclays in September, following a decision to put the initiative “on ice.”

The group of four executives, assembled earlier this year, was reportedly trying to assess the long-term viability of cryptocurrencies as an asset class. They were also looking at demand for cryptocurrencies among the bank’s clients and the kind of IT infrastructure that would be needed to support trading. It is unclear if the executives had reached any firm conclusions about the project at the time the bank decided to drop the plan.

Preliminary Assessments

Barclays Reportedly Stops Its Cryptocurrency Trading Desk InitiativeSources close to Barclays first revealed that the bank was considering launching a cryptocurrency trading desk back in April. It was reportedly trying to gauge potential demand among its clients, which include hedge funds and other large investors. Although the bank denied that it had any specific plans to launch a cryptocurrency trading desk at the time, sources revealed it had already conducted preliminary demand and feasibility assessments.

In May, Barclays CEO Jes Staley denied that the bank would be opening a cryptocurrency trading desk in a speech at the bank’s annual general meeting.

“Cryptocurrency is a real challenge for us because, on the one hand, there is the innovative side of it and wanting to stay in the forefront of technology’s improvement in finance,” Staley told shareholders. “On the other side of it, there is the possibility of cryptocurrencies being used for activities that the bank wants to have no part of.”

However, despite Staley’s denial, Barclays filed two cryptocurrency-related patents with the United States Patent and Trademark Office in July.

Will Barclays be too late to return to the crypto market once prices pick up? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Verify and track bitcoin cash transactions on our BCH Block Explorer, the best of its kind anywhere in the world. Also, keep up with your holdings, BCH and other coins, on our market charts at Satoshi’s Pulse, another original and free service from Bitcoin.com.

The post Report: Barclays Drops Plan for Cryptocurrency Trading Desk appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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Church Mining Cryptocurrency Told to Pay Higher Electricity Rates

October 14, 2018 |

Church Mining Cryptocurrency Told to Pay Higher Electricity Rates

The outcome of a court case in Russia may affect the popular practice of cryptocurrency mining in basements and garages. According to a recent ruling, a church in Irkutsk must pay higher electricity rates for installing and running mining hardware on its premises. ‘Grace’, the religious organization of the local evangelical community, has been taking advantage of lower prices offered to private consumers to mint digital coins. However, the region’s utility company says it should pay more because of the excessive energy consumption.   

Also read: Despite Setbacks Crypto Wages Still an Option for Russians, Poll Finds

Church Mines Cryptos, Wants Cheaper Electricity

Home crypto mining, still popular in parts of Eastern Europe where private consumers and some organizations enjoy preferential, subsidized electricity rates, may take a hit following a court ruling in Russia, a country with vast energy resources which often remain unutilized. A protestant church in Irkutsk Oblast, a region in the Siberian Federal District, has been accused of mining cryptocurrency and asked to pay its electricity bills at higher rates, those applicable to corporate entities and industrial enterprises, because of what has been deemed an excessive power consumption.

Church Mining Cryptocurrency Told to Pay Higher Electricity RatesThe ‘Grace’ evangelical community claims it was not using the servers found on its premises for crypto mining. The religious organization has already paid the higher bills for the period between May and August 2017 but has since turned to court to request a refund for the surcharge of 1.1 million rubles ($ 16,600). The Irkutsk Regional Arbitration Court has recently turned down its claim against the local utility company, Irkutskenergo, and ruled that ‘Grace’ owed the money after all.

The church has most probably used the discovered hardware to mine cryptocurrency. Irkutskenergo says its electricity consumption suddenly spiked in May, last year and reached 2 million kWh in the months through August, RT reported. The church trustees said they needed the energy for heating and to power printing equipment used to copy religious materials. However, the judges noted that the period in question was in the summer and quoted data reflecting the consumption of much larger temples and printing houses in the region for comparison.

Church Mining Cryptocurrency Told to Pay Higher Electricity RatesWhen Irkutskenergo inspectors visited ‘Grace’ they found a server room on the second floor of the building occupied by the evangelical community and determined that it was designed for cryptocurrency mining. They claimed the excessive consumption was endangering the power supply for the whole neighborhood. The Irkutsk Arbitration Court agreed with their conclusion and ruled that the charged amount for the electricity was reasonable. It stated that “the claimant carried out activities related to ‘bitcoin mining’, which obviously did not pertain to religious activities.”

Illegal Mining Farm Found in Avtovaz Plant

The mining church, just like many digital asset enthusiasts, has been benefiting from subsidized electricity rates. In Russia and other countries in the region, energy is cheaper for private individuals and other categories of consumers like NGOs, including religious organizations. According to Irkutskenergo’s website, these customers pay 1.22 rubles per kWh during daytime and 0.70 rubles at nights ($ 0.018 and $ 0.010).

The court ruling does seem a bit arbitrary as even if the church consumed more than usual, it should still be entitled to a preferential rate. The case could potentially have negative repercussions for home crypto mining in Russia, in general. Many ordinary Russians are taking advantage of the lower electricity prices for their households to make a digital buck or two with GPU rigs installed in their houses, basements, and garages. Raising the rates would actually stimulate illegal mining.

Church Mining Cryptocurrency Told to Pay Higher Electricity RatesThere have been a number of cases of much larger mining facilities powered by stolen electricity. An illegal bitcoin mining farm was discovered this spring in an abandoned factory in Orenburg. More recently, mining equipment was found in the control room of one of the assembly workshops of Avtovaz, the largest Russian car manufacturer. An employee had plugged the specialized hardware into the plant’s grid. The hardware was in operation since last November burning at least 600,000 rubles ($ 9,085) worth of electrical power to mint coins at an estimated value of 1.2 million rubles ($ 18,170). More cases like these are to be expected if Russian authorities clamp down on home mining.

Do you think amateur crypto miners should pay higher electricity rates? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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An In-Depth Look at the Keepkey Cryptocurrency Hardware Wallet

October 13, 2018 |

Keeping cryptocurrencies safe is a fundamental part of participating in the digital economy, and hardware wallets have become popular security solutions. These days there is a slew of devices on the market, each with its own options and features. One of these is the Keepkey wallet, a product that’s been well received by digital currency investors over the last three years.

Also read: A Review of the Swiss-Made Digital Bitbox Hardware Wallet

The Keepkey Hardware Wallet

Testing and Comparing the Multi-Cryptocurrency Hardware Wallet KeepkeyEarlier this week I took a look at the Keepkey hardware wallet, a device that allows users to store multiple cryptocurrencies in a secure fashion. Keepkey is sold for US$ 129 per device, which is more expensive than the Ledger Nano, Coolwallet S, and Trezor One. Nevertheless, the small rectangular device is more pleasing to hold and the screen looks very nice when the Keepkey is operating. The case the Keepkey comes in is packaged well and resembles an unopened Apple product. Keepkey, Coolwallet, and the Ledger all have well-packaged boxes compared to the Trezor One packaging.

Testing and Comparing the Multi-Cryptocurrency Hardware Wallet Keepkey
Keepkey’s PIN system is identical to the Trezor entry method. Numbers are displayed on the device and the user has to submit the order on the Keepkey client’s on-screen pin-pad. 

The black Keepkey box is sealed in plastic wrapping and when removed there’s also a piece of tamper-resistant tape holding the box closed. After inspecting the tape and making sure the box has not been opened previously, a knife is needed to cut the tape’s seal. Inside the box is a Keepkey, a 12-word seed card, a USB cord, and some warranty information. The Keepkey has a plastic anti-scratch film laid over the device’s screen and is encased in black foam. Keepkey’s large OLED screen is pleasing to look at and is probably one of the device’s best features. After opening the Keepkey, I headed over to the company’s Getting Started page and downloaded the Keepkey application for Google Chrome. Keepkey only works with Chrome, but it’s the same with most hardware wallets now.

Connecting to Chrome and Initializing the Seed

After installing the application to Chrome, the platform asks you to plug your Keepkey in to get started. Immediately after initiating the Keepkey it required a firmware update and would not start the process of initiating a seed until the firmware was downloaded into the device. Removing the USB cable from my Keepkey was an uncomfortable feeling and it took a bit of force to insert and remove the cord compared to other devices. Ledger Nano is probably the best as far as connecting the cord, with the Trezor One following behind because my Trezor device has always had a weird connection feeling as well. However, after using the USB connection a few times with the Keepkey, connecting was easier and got much more comfortable to insert over time.

Testing and Comparing the Multi-Cryptocurrency Hardware Wallet Keepkey
Overall the Keepkey user interface is fairly intuitive and easy to navigate.

Moving on, the Keepkey begins by initiating a new device name, seed and PIN. The program makes you double check the PIN twice and then asks you to write down the seed phrase, which is located on the device itself. Unlike other hardware wallets, the Keepkey does not require you to double check the 12-word phrase. After this process, you are granted access to the first account which is dedicated to BTC. In order to add other cryptocurrencies, there is a dropdown menu that allows users to add BCH, DOGE, LTC, ETH, plus a range of ERC20 tokens.

Transactions, Shapeshift, and Comparisons to Other Models

Unlike other hardware wallets, Keepkey needs to be plugged in to view accounts and they can’t be seen when the device is disconnected. After the initial seed had been set up, I created a bitcoin cash (BCH) wallet to send myself some funds. Anytime I test a new wallet I always send a small fraction of crypto just to make sure the application is working properly. The wallet immediately saw the transaction; you can view confirmed and unconfirmed transactions in a separate window that’s tethered to a block explorer.

Testing and Comparing the Multi-Cryptocurrency Hardware Wallet Keepkey
Keepkey transactions can be viewed in a separate window and searched with the platform’s tethered block explorer.

The Keepkey’s interface is fairly intuitive, and you can change things like the PIN or use the wallet’s in-client Shapeshift option within the settings section. Sending and receiving is simple and the actual device itself is used for signing verification, while also showing sending/receiving addresses on the screen as well.

Testing and Comparing the Multi-Cryptocurrency Hardware Wallet Keepkey
Keepkey shows account addresses on the device’s screen.

Following the transaction, I decided to look at the client’s Shapeshift integration. Keepkey is owned by the firm Shapeshift AG and was one of the first hardware wallets to offer trading abilities within the wallet. Recently, however, Shapeshift has changed the platform’s business model to a membership exchange and all Keepkey users have to register using the client.

Testing and Comparing the Multi-Cryptocurrency Hardware Wallet Keepkey
Keepkey users can use Shapeshift in-wallet but have to register for the company’s membership program and verify their identity in order to trade.

The required items needed to use Shapeshift include a verified email and the user must submit a photo ID to trade. All of these tasks can be done through the Keepkey client and a quick email verification. After the account is processed you can trade on the Shapeshift exchange in-wallet using the “quick” or “precise” trading options.

Overall, the Keepkey operates fairly smoothly and I didn’t really have any problems throughout the setup and funding the device. The Keepkey’s user interface is more comfortable to move around and use than the Ledger Nano, and Keepkey operates similarly to the Trezor One. Unlike the Trezor or Ledger, the Keepkey uses one button navigation but still works fluidly with the wallet’s tasks like sending and receiving. The device doesn’t have support for too many cryptocurrencies right now, and other products offer a greater selection. But as far as the coins it does hold, the Keepkey offers an easy to use operating system and is just as secure as its competitors by using similar opsec techniques.

What do you think about the Keepkey hardware wallet? Let us know what you think about this device in the comment section below.

Disclaimer: This editorial should be considered Review or Op-ed material. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. Bitcoin.com does not endorse nor support views, opinions or conclusions drawn in this post. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the Op-ed article. Review editorials are intended for informational purposes only. There are multiple security risks and methods that are ultimately made by the decisions of the user. There are various steps mentioned in reviews and guides and some of them are considered optional. Neither Bitcoin.com nor the author is responsible for any losses, mistakes, skipped steps or security measures not taken, as the ultimate decision-making process to do any of these things is solely the reader’s responsibility. For good measure always cross-reference guides with other walkthroughs found online.


Images via Jamie Redman, Keepkey, Shapeshift, and Pixabay. 


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