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Turning Back the Clock: Investor Pays Almost $20,000 a Bitcoin in Trading Gaffe

Turning Back The Clock: Investor Pays Almost ,000 A Bitcoin In Trading Gaff

Due to a glitch this week, a small Brazilian cryptocurrency exchange turned back the clock selling cryptocurrency at 2017 prices which finally hit USD 19,000 by the end of the day.

The problem was down to a local exchange TemBTC selling to a trader who placed a large market order, which effectively “cleaned” the platform’s thinly-traded order book. Records indicate that Bitcoin was also bought for USD 16,000, USD 13,000, and USD 10,000 before mirroring the 2017 peak rate.

TemBTC’s founder Renato Abreu said that the order was placed by “someone with little knowledge who issued a large market order.” The episode saw the trader pay a price above that of bitcoin’s all-time high on Brazilian exchanges, which was of USD 18,900 in December of 2017.

Luckily for the trader, he was buying a small amount purchasing 0.0047 BTC for 340 Brazilian reals, which at the time was worth about USD 91 rather than its value of less than USD 15 on other local exchanges. At that price, a Bitcoin would have cost the buyer over USD 19,400.

Brazil has experienced a groundswell of interest in cryptocurrency despite the country’s new president, Jair Bolsonaro, recently shutting down an indigenous cryptocurrency project. Bolsonaro’s pledge to open the “black box” of contracts and projects by state-owned economic development bank BNDES and other institutions does not augur well for the country’s indigenous population, who stood to gain from the issue of their own regional cryptocurrency as part of an innovative project to support minorities.

TemBTC, like other exchanges, has gained much encouragement from the rising levels of cryptocurrency trading in Brazil, with their daily trading volume reportedly hitting 2,000 BTC recently. Abreu indicated that the volume increase has been due to the “registration of large players” on the exchange.

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Istanbul Cryptocurrency Firm Loses $2.47 Million, Hackers In Custody

Istanbul Cryptocurrency Firm Loses .47 Million With Hackers In Custody

An undisclosed cryptocurrency exchange in Istanbul, Turkey was hacked this week of a reported USD 2.47 million.

The company was attacked by a group which has now been detained by Turkish authorities after a nationwide investigation across 8 provinces, and so far has only recovered USD 256,000 of the stolen funds.

The exchange alerted the authorities at the time, reporting that a large amount of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and XRP had been stolen. The Istanbul Cybercrime Branch Officer later clarified that two companies had been targeted in a theft which amounted to 13 million Turkish lire (USD 2.47 million). The stolen funds had been transferred from both companies’ wallets into wallets in the hackers’ possession.

It transpires that hackers had been using the ‘Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds’ (PUBG) online video game as a means of communication. It is clear that the compromised security of both companies could have been avoided if the necessary security measures had been incorporated into their trading systems, an issue which often befalls smaller exchanges, despite warnings from regulators.

Most larger exchanges have far better security, which makes the success rate of such hacks uncommon, limited to smaller exchanges without rigid security procedures. However, the recent misfortunes of QuadrigaCX prove that no measures are completely infallible after CEO Gerald Cotten died having moved funds from the company hot wallet into cold storage for security purposes, protecting his clients’ funds from potential hackers.

The now insolvent crypto exchange QuadrigaCX was left unable to access USD 190 million of funds stored in the cold storage due to the CEO having sole responsibility for the private key.

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Ripple’s Brad Garlinghouse Slates JPMorgan’s JPM Coin as Lacking Innovation

Wall Street banking giant JPMorgan’s announcement of its new stable coin JPM Coin, has Ripple’s boss Brad Garlinghouse criticizing its “closed network” lack of innovation.

JPMorgan says it sees potential in using digital coins to reduce risk and enable instant transfers, despite JPMorgan’s chief executive Jamie Dimon criticizing Bitcoin since it emerged as the industry’s flagship cryptocurrency.

The bank says it has always “believed in the potential of blockchain technology”. “We are supportive of cryptocurrencies as long as they are properly controlled and regulated,” says Umar Farooq, JPMorgan’s head of Digital Treasury Services and Blockchain. The new JPM coin will be transferable between client accounts at the bank, who will then be able to redeem them for US dollars pegged at parity with the coin.

With the arrival of JPM, the volatility of Ripple’s XRP is brought into question and certainly draws obvious comparisons, to which Garlinghouse has reacted by saying there is nothing innovative about JPMorgan’s final arrival into the cryptocurrency space, arguing:

“As predicted, banks are changing their tune on crypto. But this JPM project misses the point – introducing a closed network today is like launching AOL after Netscape’s IPO.”

His comments very much echo the sentiments illustrated in an article he wrote two years ago called “The Case Against BankCoin,” in which he argued that banks should be using XRP as the obvious independent digital asset, claiming they offered “universality” which bank coins did not:

“It goes back to the fundamentals of what makes digital assets unique and special – they’re universal currencies, meaning anyone can use them as units of value anywhere in the world. That universality gives digital assets global reach and the ability to settle much faster than traditional assets.”

Clearly, Ripple’s executives would argue that users of XRP also has the added option to speculate, holding on to the currency in the hope of trading later at a higher value; compared to bank coins which will only have a fixed settlement value based on parity with the US dollar.

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13% of Online Shoppers Going Crypto With 700% Growth since 2013

A recent survey has pointed to the increase in online shoppers using cryptocurrency for electronic payments, reporting growth of 700% since 2013.

According to Kaspersky Labs, 13% of shoppers have used cryptocurrency for making payments online, their recent survey of 12,000 customers in 22 different countries has shown, and the trend is clearly upwards. Kaspersky commented:

The majority of retailers are now happy for us to use whatever payment method we prefer in order to stop us from going elsewhere. From credit card transactions and bank transfers to cryptocurrency, subscriptions, and loyalty points, we can pay for goods and services in more ways than ever before.”

However, paying in this way still has problems which need to be addressed in the future. In the past, networks were trusted for zero-confirmations, but recent attacks against some of the coins have made vendors less enthusiastic. More coins are now available other than Bitcoin for these kinds of online payments with Bitcoin Cash (BCH) allowing SMS payments, and Verge (XVG) and ReddCoin (RDD) now offering small-scale payment options. Bitcoin’s Lightning network still remains a fast way of settling purchases online.

The profusion of Bitcoin ATMs, often in the most unlikely locations around the world, continues to offer shoppers, who prefer a face to face “trawling” the store option, the opportunity to instantly trade their BTC for cash. Recently New York, one of the world’s major shopping venues has given crypto users the opportunity to purchase Bitcoin using a regular credit card at machines around the Big Apple.

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Aragon Government Invests $13 Million Into Industry 4.0 Development

Earlier this week, local news outlet La Vanguardia reported a USD 13 million fund allocation by the Government of Aragon for the development of emerging technologies, including blockchain.

The source reports that the sum was co-funded by European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and was double the amount initially intended in the original plan, hence, meeting the needs of up to 320 Argonese companies.

According to the news outlet, the specific objectives of the program dubbed Aragón Industria 4.0 under the Strategy of Economic and Industrial Promotion of Aragon 2017-2019 initiative, were designed to explore concepts and applications of emerging technologies in the industry 4.0 such as artificial intelligence, and blockchain technology as well as promote synergistic tech companies’ growth within its industrial sector.

Moreover, small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) will be given an opportunity through the program to incorporate digitalization into their processes.

Blockchain exploration in Spain has had tremendous successes, and more ambitious prospects for blockchain within the country continue to spring up. Developments had included the proposed use of blockchain in resolving corruption and fraud within its economic system., the exploration of the distributed ledger use case in the logistics industry. In finance, a clear distinction was the successful completion of a USD 150 million syndicated loan through the blockchain. More exploits have covered other areas including agriculture, and the energy industry.

Perhaps this is an opportunity for Spain to mark its territory in the blockchain industry and also in other emerging technologies as it scales up funding into research and development, and attempts an SME inclusion system for the industry.

Other governments and institutes seem not to be slacking in the pursuit of prospects within the blockchain industry. Most nations and non-government related funds have invested large sums for research purposes into the emerging technology of blockchain.

Last year, the Chinese government was reportedly involved in blockchain related funding despite their stance on cryptocurrencies. One specific event that stood out was a USD 1.6 billion investment into startups by a blockchain fund and co-sponsored by the government of Shenzhen.

As nations and tech companies continue to race to become an all-encompassing entity on the subject of blockchain and other emerging technologies, the frontier of blockchain continues to expand while adoption slowly gains traction.

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JPMorgan Introduces Its Own Digital Coin With Institutions in Mind

JPMorgan Introduces Its Own Digital Coin with Institutions in Mind

Major US-based multinational investment bank JPMorgan announced yesterday that it has launched a digital coin that will be backed by the US dollar.

A major breakthrough for cryptocurrencies which had for a long time been blighted in some circles as being untrustworthy, or so would some think. As a matter of fact, JPMorgan was among those in 2017 who ridiculed cryptocurrency and specifically called Bitcoin a fraud. Although its perspective on the subject of blockchain industry as well as properly controlled and regulated cryptocurrencies was that it held promise. Now, it stands as the first major US bank creating a digital coin and one among others in the traditional banking industry to create a real-world application of blockchain technology.

Consequently, this development has aroused some controversial sentiments within the crypto community. According to MarketWatch, Jerry Brito – executive director at Coin Center told the news outlet that the JPM coin isn’t a cryptocurrency but an in-house-built payment system. The bank did clarify on the differences between its digital coin and cryptocurrencies, however, it is a popular sentiment that any product built on the blockchain is assumed to come with the tag ‘cryptocurrency’.

As explained on the bank’s website, it appears that the JPM coin isn’t a legal tender, but a digital coin backed by the US dollar – not a stablecoin either – stored in designated accounts of JPMorgan Chase. The bank said that when one client sends money to another over the blockchain, JPM Coins are transferred and instantaneously redeemed for the equivalent amount of US dollars, reducing the typical settlement time.

The JPM coin will only be used between its institutional clients as the core purpose of the coin is to save time for inter-bank/institution settlements, leveraging the robustness of the blockchain as opposed to legacy systems of money transfers. Accordingly, the coin will not be available to individuals, however, the bank says that the rippling effect in the efficiency of money transfer will confer certain benefits to individuals.

The bank may not stop at the digital coin alone, it said in its news release that with respect to its other businesses like custody or clearing and settlement, “it’s still too early to assess the ultimate impact of blockchain,” and it intends to further explore areas of applicability as it works with clients around the world. Perhaps, it may join the list of financial institutions proposing to offer custody solutions in an attempt to cater to institutional investors willing to join the crypto derivative market once the system is well regulated.

Blockchain-related trends in the banking industry have been growing of late with expanding use cases specific to interfacing with the technology to facilitate money transfers between financial institutions. As reported in December last year, Signature Bank’s Signet may have been the first regulator-approved blockchain-based payment system developed by a bank. It was designed to eliminate third parties and process payments faster between the bank’s clients.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE have been discussing plans on developing a blockchain-based cross-border payment system for inter-bank relations.

Moreover, the subject of a state-backed central bank digital currency (CBDC) has been frequently discussed in many banking circles. However, the views on such development have been rather polarized. Perhaps, this step made by JPMorgan will further facilitate the adoption of different blockchain use cases for other banks as they race for inclusion into the emerging market.

 

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Blockchain Framework Bill Passed by Luxembourg Parliament

Bill 7363 has been passed into law by lawmakers in Luxembourg. The said bill will facilitate the utilization of blockchain technology in financial services, according to the office of the parliament in a report published on 14 February 2019.

In regard to the circulation of securities using blockchain technology, more legal certainty and transparency will be provided to financial market participants, notes the bill. Moreover, by reducing the number of intermediaries, more efficient transfer of securities will be possible after the implementation of the new bill.

The same level of protection and legal status will now be given to the transactions done via blockchain as is given to the ones done via traditional means. Reportedly, only 2 of the 60 parliamentarians voted against the bill.

Recently, Luxembourg has shown a positive attitude towards blockchain technology. In order to improve the security level of digital assets, trading platform VNX Exchange (based in Luxembourg) joined hands with the University of Luxembourg in November 2019. In the said project, VNX will be helped by the University of Luxembourg to come up with digital assets having high levels of network security.

In March 2018, the Luxembourg Financial Regulator CSSF issued a warning against investments in initial coin offerings and cryptocurrencies, citing the “incomprehensible” business models governing the crypto sector. It also stated that digital assets were not supported by any central bank and warned potential investors against the volatile nature of cryptocurrencies.

In June, research company Ipsos reported that Luxembourg has the lowest rate of masses when it comes to owning digital currencies. The study was conducted on the request of Netherland’s ING Bank. The said study might have influenced Luxembourg’s government to come up with regulations.

 

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