Category Archives: Binance

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Forbes 30 Under 30 List Shows Blockchain “Here To Stay”

The latest Forbes “30 under 30” annual list which describes itself as selecting the “brashest entrepreneurs across the United States and Canada” has been published, and blockchain entrepreneurs display a notable presence in the 2018 edition.

600 names are featured on its pages, from across a diverse range of sectors. This year, the finance sector features the co-founder of Lightning Labs, Olaoluwa Osuntokun, whose company is attempting to make Bitcoin more effective for smaller transactions, as well as reduce its cost.

With stablecoins making headlines, Intangible Labs boss, Nader Al-Naji, joined Osuntokun in the finance section of the list. New Yorker Al-Naji’s firm raised USD 133 million to create Basis, an algorithmically-controlled stablecoin. The project itself was founded by three Princeton graduates. The founding team included Naji, Lawrence Diao (co-founder) and Josh Chen (co-founder). Other listed members of the executive team include Brian Freyburger (CTO).

The Finance 30 featured another New Yorker, JB Rubinovitz, for Bail Bloc which helps people in difficult circumstances to post their bail through spare-cycles crypto-mining. Users can volunteer their “computers spare power to get people out of jail”.

Nikhil Srinivasan and Alex Kern, the Coinbase acquisition Distributed Systems co-founders, also received a mention for creating an automated identity verification platform with the potential to ingrate into its wallet along with other innovative applications

Earlier this year, Bitcoin News published the Forbes 400 list including cryptocurrency entrepreneurs who received mentions with the rather uncomplimentary title of  “Freaks, Geeks And Visionaries” which featured Chris Larsen, co-founder of Ripple, as the first person from the cryptocurrency space to be on the prestigious list of America’s richest. That issue featured Binance chief Changpen Zhao on its cover. The list including blockchain movers and shakers also included crypto-billionaires the Winklevoss twins.

Forbes editor Randall Lane was happy to admit that “a blockchain-enabled financial system of some kind is here to stay” but conceded there would always be casualties, citing the burst dot-com bubble of 1999.

 

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Bitmain Sues Unknown Hacker Who Stole 617 Bitcoins via MANA Market Manipulation

Bitmain is suing ‘John Doe’, an unknown hacker who gained access to Bitmain’s Binance account on 22 April 2018. Ultimately 617 bitcoins worth USD 5.5 million were stolen from Bitmain, the largest cryptocurrency mining firm on the planet.

The scheme the hacker used to steal the bitcoins was unique. Instead of directly withdrawing cryptocurrency from Bitmain’s account, likely impossible due to some sort of 2FA requirement, the hacker manipulated the MANA market to steal Bitmain’s bitcoins. MANA is the native cryptocurrency of decentraland, and its trading volume of only USD 10 million per day on average makes it an easy target for market manipulation.

After the hacker gained access to Bitmain’s bitcoins and ether, they placed large buy orders for MANA. This caused a rally in daily trading volume from USD 10 million to over USD 100 million. Part of this price rise can be explained by other traders thinking this was a legitimate MANA rally and jumping in. Globally, MANA’s average price jumped from USD 0.12 to USD 0.23 during the hack, an impressive 90% rise. On Binance, the price rise was even more drastic, with a peak price of USD 0.34, a 180% increase.

The hacker likely had a large amount of MANA on hand before the hack, and they filled Bitmain’s overpriced MANA buy orders. Then the hacker placed orders to buy Mana at prices far below the market value and used the Bitmain wallet to match these orders. The combination of these mechanisms drained USD 5.5 million of bitcoin from Bitmain’s wallet in a single day, without directly withdrawing cryptocurrency from Bitmain’s wallet.

After the bitcoins were siphoned into the hackers wallet, the hacker proceeded to trade for other cryptocurrencies and withdraw funds. Some of these funds were withdrawn to Bittrex and other unnamed cryptocurrency exchanges. Essentially, the hacker mixed the coins to obfuscate the trail.

Bitmain is suing the hacker for unauthorized access, computer trespass in the 2nd degree, electronic data theft, the USD 5.5 million of stolen cryptocurrency, and attorney fees. A key part of this lawsuit will involve subpoenas to obtain information from Binance and Bittrex, in order to gain enough information to identify the hacker and proceed with the criminal case.

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Binance Off To Flying Start In Uganda With 40,000 Users In First Week

Binance has stepped into Uganda with a flourish as 40,000 new users signed up to the exchange in the hope of bypassing the Ugandan Shilling (UGX).

Many citizens of African countries are unbanked, either by choice or due to complicated prohibitive rules which make it hard to open an account. Uganda is no different, with a recorded 3/4 of the population without any form of conventional banking.

This is Binance’s first fiat-crypto exchange with UGX, the primary fiat currency and comes less than a month after the company acquired an EUR bank account in Malta, with more exchanges to come, according to CEO Changpeng Zhao. Binance’s enigmatic boss clearly realises the potential of Africa as a new investment hub due to the unbanked nature of much of its population:

“Uganda is a really interesting situation, only 11% of the population has bank accounts. It’s both a challenge and an opportunity. So it may be easier to adopt cryptocurrency as a form of currency instead of trying to push for bank adoption”.

Africans have been clever in dealing with financial barriers, and using cryptocurrency is increasingly becoming a go-to way in order to sidestep banking restrictions or weak state currencies. Corruption is also another factor never far from the surface in some African economies often necessitating the need for a clever approach by locals in order to conduct their everyday business.

Recently, neigbouring Kenyan Distributed Ledgers and Artificial Intelligence task force chairman Bitange Ndemo said that that government should consider tokenizing the economy to deal with “increasing” rates of corruption and uncertainties-such is Africa’s increasing faith in crypto ahead of local fiat currencies.

Wei Zhou, Binance’s chief financial officer, suggested that one reason for the exchange’s surge of clientele in the first week is the fact that it is so easy for Uganda’s unbanked to access the system, commenting, “They [users] just have to have money within the mobile payment system. They don’t have to have bank accounts.”

The country’s president, Yoweri Museveni, said recently that he welcomed and embraced blockchain technology in Uganda since it provides full transparency, and added that he was aware how businesses were being negatively impacted by what he called “secrets and deceit.”

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Blockchain Charity Takes Center Stage at World Investment Forum 2018

The World Investment Forum 2018 which is staged annually by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) was dominated by blockchain this year.

This year’s main event was entitled “Blockchains for Sustainable Development” and attracted keynote speakers who discussed the future of the technology. This year’s main speakers included Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, TRON Founder Justin Sun, European Parliament member Eva Kaili, Bancor co-founder Galia Benartzi and UNICEF Ventures Lead Chris Fabian.

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao announced that the company was focusing on delivering a more transparent approach to charitable donations, an area which dogged the industry for many years and had driven donors away. He spoke on UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs) suggesting that blockchain can be the main driver towards changing entrenched practices of charitable companies:

“For the 17 SDGs, there is one underlying problem we’re trying to solve: transparency. Blockchain has many benefits but ‘transparency’ is the one word I want people to remember today. With increased transparency, charity will improve 100 times: 100x more efficient, 100x more donations and 100x more impact!”

Today at #WIF2018, @Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao @cz_binance launched a new platform that uses #blockchain technology to track donations, allowing people to see where their money goes and who benefits. “With better transparency we can achieve 100 times more results,” he said. pic.twitter.com/c3LQPWLDng

— UNCTAD (@UNCTAD) October 24, 2018

CZ, as he is affectionately referred to, has said elsewhere that blockchain predictions, similar to those about cryptocurrency, should be taken with a pinch of salt. He believes specialized ledgers will change the face of crypto space, taking over from large blockchains such as Ethereum.

Zhao argued platforms such as this using DLT is what people want to see in the future; places where donors’ money can be tracked by all parties. The new Binance platform will initially support BTC, BNB and ETH. Tron founder Justin Sun kickstarted Binance’s Charity foundation with a generous donation of USD 3 million, wanting “to donate money for good cause”. The CEO commented:

All of us here have made the decision to be leaders in shaping blockchain technology for social good. Binance Charity Foundation is taking substantial steps in that direction by increasing the transparency of donations so we can see where the goodwill of the donors is going and what impact it has.”

MEP Kaili saw hidden banking fees an area where blockchain can make some meaningful changes, arguing, “USD 130 billion of hidden fees are now the reality for the banking sector and any transaction you do. The potential to reduce that is huge. And blockchain could be one of the solutions.”

 

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Binance Receives Indirect Singapore Government Investment to Aid Launch

Popular cryptocurrency exchange Binance has received an investment from government-owned holding company Temasek Holdings, with the hopes it will enable the launch of a cryptocurrency-to-fiat exchange desk in Singapore.

Vertex Ventures, the venture capital arm of Temasek Holdings, says the joint investment between Vertex Ventures China and Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia & India will also be used to support other similar fiat-to-crypto operations in Southeast Asia, reports Bloomberg.

The total amount of capital that was invested has not been disclosed.

Binance’s CEO Changpeng Zhao, or CZ, addressed this on Twitter, using the defense “more important than how much you raise, is who you raise it from.”

More important than how much you raise, is who you raise it from. Finding a strategic investor who genuinely wants to help you is key. Many thanks to @vertexventures for all the help! https://t.co/qqKrBLblYH

— CZ Binance (@cz_binance) October 23, 2018

Zhao also used Twitter last month to share the first announcement of the company’s beta testing programme in Singapore.

A mixed bag

After launching just over one year ago, Binance has already racked up a number of controversies during its rapid expansion, having faced problems with authorities in Japan, Hong Kong and most recently New York.

The exchange also faced criticism over a lack of transparency regarding the costs of getting tokens listed on the platform. One CEO of a cryptocurrency project claimed that Binance had quoted him BTC 400 to get his token listed. Zhao denied that Binance would ever quote fees to a potential client in an email.

This triggered a change in policy for Binance, which now shares the costs of getting listed and donates this amount to charity.

In an effort to tap into the market in Africa, Binance recently began offering Bitcoin to fiat trading pairs in Uganda, saying it will be investing heavily in crypto infrastructure across the continent that is struggling with an inflation crisis.

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The Binance Bump: Benefit or Risk?

Binance usually has daily trading volume in the USD 0.5-1 billion range, often putting it in the #1 spot relative to all other crypto exchanges in the world. Getting listed on Binance allows a crypto to be traded worldwide, and generally leads to a price rally. The price rally when a new crypto is listed on Binance is being called the Binance Bump.

The Block Crypto did an analysis of the Binance Bump. There are 165 cryptos listed on Binance, but 42 of them were removed from this analysis due to missing data, being listed around the time Binance itself launched, or being a stablecoin. This leaves 123 cryptos in the analysis. The analysis is separated into 4 statistics to reveal the short-term and long-term effects of a Binance listing, the change in price from pre-listing to the highest price on the day of the listing announcement, the 24 hour change in price from the day before the listing announcement to the day of the listing announcement, the 1 week change in price following a listing announcement, and the 30 day change in price following a listing announcement.

There is on average a 51% increase from the price before the listing announcement to the highest price on the day of the listing announcement, although the median increase is 29%, suggesting outliers are driving the average much higher. The 24-hour change from the day before the listing announcement to the day of the listing announcement saw an average price increase of 27% and a median increase of 12%. Clearly, the day a crypto is listed on Binance usually coincides with a rally, and this is the Binance Bump.

Longer term, the returns dissipate. In the 1 week after a listing announcement, the average price increase is 2% with a median price increase of -11%. Therefore, after a brief rally, the price of a crypto that is just listed on Binance tends to dump below the price it was previous to being listed. The Binance Bump could be compared to a pump and dump, where speculation drives a rapid rally, followed by a rapid price crash as the original whale speculators dump their holdings to make quick profits.

The 30-day price change after a listing on Binance is somewhat confusing, with an average increase of 37% while the median is -15%. The average would indicate that the Binance Bump is sustained long-term, but outliers like EthLend which had a 997% 30-day return after being listed on Binance, are skewing the average. The median tells the real story, which is, cryptos that are listed on Binance tend to pump for a very short amount of time and then dump, with the effects of the dump lasting for an extended period of time.

The Binance Bump is similar to the Coinbase Effect, where cryptos that get listed on Coinbase always rally, at least so far. Coinbase is the largest exchange headquartered in the United States, and getting listed on Coinbase makes a crypto easily available for U.S. traders and investors. Ethereum Classic jumped 25% after being listed on Coinbase, 0x spiked 50%, Bitcoin Cash soared 140%, Ethereum surged 30%, and Litecoin rallied 130%.

Generally, the Coinbase Effect leads to a more sustained price increase long term, while data shows that the Binance Bump has beneficial effects on a crypto’s price for only about a day.

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Press Red and Its All Systems Go: Man Invents Fail-Safe Bitcoin Sell-Off System

A cryptocurrency enthusiast is preparing for the day when he might need to shift his portfolio in a hurry, but he has chosen an entirely unique way of doing it, by using a red button.

In 1950s America, nuclear fallout shelters were constructed to protect against an escalation of the Cold War. Cypriot Ilker Dagli has constructed his own defence against another potential Armageddon; the total collapse of Bitcoin.

Dagli, clearly a prolific hodler of the benchmark cryptocurrency Bitcoin, is preparing for the day, hoping it may never happen when all those Bitcoin need to go, in an instant. In order to effectuate the quickest sale possible, the employee from Near East University in Cyprus has built his own version of the presidential red button.

No rockets launched at a press of this one, but all his cryptocurrency orders will be instantly cancelled and sold.  He is clearly happy to promote his invention; an innocuous looking small box boasting a large red button, as he has posted a video on YouTube with details of how his Bitcoin failsafe, called the “emergency stop loss button” will actually handle the emergency it was built for.

Although he used Binance for dumping his positions, in this video he suggests that his ESLB will handle most major exchanges. Dagli, clearly at home inventing useful products for the fourth industrial revolution, has also constructed an internet kill-switch in case the world wide web became just too impinging.

Rather than writing code, he decided to take the physical route and use a physical valve which could be used to adjust bandwidth.

The cryptocurrency space has its weird moments and altcoins can certainly raise a smile. Try Unobtainium, all 250,000 of them, clearly making them difficult to, well, obtain. However, at the height of crypto activity at the end of 2017, they had achieved a market cap of over $75 million.

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Crypto on the Rock: Gibraltar Gets Its First Regulated Exchange

The tiny British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar located at the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula is to get its first fully licensed exchange, Coinfloor.

Coinfloor, the UK’s oldest crypto exchange is the first to be fully accredited as a “distributed ledger technology (DLT) provider” under the legislation which requires the government to satisfy itself that 9 operating principles of good practice are being adhered to.

Obi Nwosu, the CEO of Coinfloor, commented that these were all met by his company, including those which guarantee adequate AML and KYC safeguards and security against the risk of cyber attack. He said:

“What impressed us was that this [legislation] was in the works for a long time… It’s been well thought out, well considered. They are focusing in on quality over quantity.”

Gibraltar, known affectionately as “The Rock” among residents and visitors, and home to the only Barbary macaques living in Europe, has begun attracting new and existing fintech companies to its shores. It is attempting to follow in the footsteps of other European countries such as Malta and Switzerland, both of which have seen the arrival of major cryptocurrency players like Binance and Bitmain in 2018. It now holds regular events such as the Gibraltar International Fintech Forum, demonstrating the country’s serious intent when it comes to encouraging fintech companies to do business there.

Coinfloor’s CEO said that he was glad to be able to fulfil the requirements of the new legislation, thereby securing a position in Gibraltar’s blockchain and cryptocurrency ecosystem, particularly as the UK exchange had recently been forced to lay off employees due to weakening demand in the UK through Bitcoin’s fall from its 2017 highs. He argued:

“It’s never desirable to make these changes, but it’s a natural part of the market cycle… The market has contracted and you should make appropriate changes to your team . . . It’s happening across this space.”

Despite some companies looking to Gibraltar as a possible home, it is more likely that Malta, with its vibrant crypto community and favourable blockchain legislation, will be become a favourite with established exchanges and startups, particularly given the ongoing concerns regarding a no deal Brexit.

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Bithumb Acquired for $354 Million by Singapore Medical Group

South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb has sold majority control for USD 354 million to a Singapore-based medical group, according to the latest Reuters update.

Bk Global Consortium has acquired the 51 per cent share in the exchange necessary to give it overall control. The deal was signed by BK International Consortium, a blockchain investment company formed by BK International, a plastic surgical procedures clinical team in Singapore.

The deal means that Bithumb, South Korea’s largest crypto exchange by volume, passes over its controlling stake from BTC Holdings, who had previously held 76% of the company’s equity, to the new stakeholders.

Bithumb, with daily trading volume near USD 400 million, is the sixth-largest in the world behind Binance, OKEx, Huobi, Bitfinex, and Upbit. A total of 37 different cryptocurrencies are traded on the exchange.

The new premier stakeholder in Bithumb is plastic surgeon Kim Byung Gun, a South Korean cryptocurrency investor who had already launched his own ICO consulting firm and platform last August. The deal with BK global priced the major South Korean exchange at over KRW 1 trillion won (USD 880 million). News Asia observed:

“Kim, who demonstrated his multinational management ability in the field of medical care, has invested in fintech [and] blockchain… companies in Singapore.”

Although beset by a major hacking in June of this year resulting in the loss of KRW 35 billion (USD 40 million), the exchange has still made significant gains through the first half of 2018 estimated to be around USD 35 million. The suspension of withdrawals and the opening of new accounts, however, led to a significant drop in volume at the time.

The new major stakeholder is setting his targets high, with plans to create a new platform similar that that of Binance and San Francisco exchange giant Coinbase. Kim also wants to create a blockchain e-commerce system in partnership with Singapore’s e-marketplace Q2 along with talk of a fiat-backed stablecoin being developed in the future.

 

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China’s Wealthiest List Boasts 13 Crypto Entrepreneurs, Asia’s Richest Woman

The 20th annual list of China’s wealthiest individuals has been released, showing the rising popularity of cryptocurrency, with 13 crypto entrepreneurs included in this year’s catalogue of riches.

The Hurun China Rich List catalogs anyone in the country with a net worth of more than CNY 2 billion (USD 209 million) and ranks the top 100 richest in China. This edition claims that Jack Ma of multinational conglomerate Alibaba to be China’s wealthiest man, with a net worth of USD 39 billion.

An encouraging statistic for the blockchain industry is the news that Blockchain is officially the fastest growing industry in China. The list cites 14 new players including Zhan Ketuan and Wu Jihan of crypto mining company Bitmain.

Zhan, co-founder of computer chip manufacturer of and software firm Bitmain Technologies was found to top the crypto list and sat in the top 100 with an estimated wealth of CNY 29.5 billion (USD 2.4 billion). Second in wealth to him was Wu with a personal worth of CNY 16.5 billion (USD 2.3 billion).

Other names from the world of cryptocurrency included Binance founder and CEO, ranking 230 on the list with an estimated wealth of CNY 15 billion (USD 2.1 billion), OKCoin exchange founder Star Xu and Zhang Nangeng, founder of hardware manufacturer Canaan Creative.

Hu Dong, founder of BTC mining machine Ebang International Holdings, and Li Xiaolai also made the list, the latter claiming recently he is moving on from blockchain investment.

One interesting development in the breakdown of wealth in the country is the report that women made up 28.7% of those appearing in it; a figure unsurpassed in over 20 years. Yang Huiyan, at the age of 37, became China’s wealthiest woman. Property developer Yang is also the wealthiest woman in Asia with a worth of an estimated USD 26 billion. She once added USD 6 billion to her portfolio in seven days of trading.

The rate at which some of these entrepreneurs are expanding their portfolios at such a rapid rate means that the status as the “country’s richest” is always being challenged.

 

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