Category Archives: Bitcoin Cash

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UK Must Become Global Leader in Crypto Innovation

A UK expert has suggested that Britain must seize the opportunity and push cryptocurrency forward to become a global leader in digital assets. The comments were made by eToro UK managing director Iqbal V Gandham, who advised UK government backbencher Nicky Morgan on the Government’s Treasury Select Committee and its Digital Currencies inquiry.

Morgan served as Economic Secretary to the Treasury from October 2013 to April 2014 and as Financial Secretary to the Treasury from April to July 2014. In July 2017, Morgan was elected Chair of the Treasury Select Committee following the 2017 General Election. She later went on the become Secretary of State for Education.

Gandham claims that the UK must act now to get “ahead of the curve” to “foster innovation” in the cryptocurrency space and that as a global leader has the potential to have a major impact on the financial sector by pushing crypto innovation.

As the flagship cryptocurrency faces another unexpected drop in value with the Bitcoin market cap falling below USD 100 billion for first time since October 2017, the eToro boss suggests that a risk-based approach is needed to push mass adoption of the digital currency arguing, “If the UK is going to have any say in blockchain and crypto innovation and is going to lead the world, it needs to act in 2019“.

The latest drop in Bitcoin’s price can be laid firmly in the lap of the upcoming hard fork of Bitcoin Cash, according to CNBC’s Fast Money commentator Brian Kelly, which broke away from Bitcoin in August of 2017 in order to boost the number of transactions, suggesting, “When you do a software upgrade, everybody usually agrees. But in this particular case, everybody is not agreeing.”

A major sell-off in cryptocurrency markets on Wednesday has continued into this morning’s activity on Asian markets. The aggregate cryptocurrency market capitalization dropped by USD 15 billion over 24 hours Wednesday, according to CoinMarketCap.com.

 

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Sell or Hodl? Crypto Traders Seek Direction in Fluctuating Market

With uncertainty in the cryptocurrency market and a sudden drop in Bitcoin’s value overnight, investors are again posed with the sell or hold dilemma, but many experts maintain that increased demand for a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) augers well for the flagship digital currency in the long term.

Long-term forecasters say that Bitcoin has a strong likelihood of becoming a reliable store of value and a viable payment mechanism. Experts point to rising futures volumes and increased institutional participation in trading as positive outcomes going forward.

Historically, negative news hits the market with a crash, such as the SEC’s rejection of nine cryptocurrency ETFs in August, despite the US regulator stressing it “emphasizes that its disapproval does not rest on an evaluation of whether Bitcoin, or blockchain technology more generally, has utility or value as an innovation or an investment”.

Signs are that despite this latest drop in market prices, the cryptocurrency ecosystem is healthy with daily trading almost doubling its total just days ago. Crypto advisory firm Autonomy’s co-founder Ricky Lee suggests, “For our trading activities, the [upcoming Bitcoin Cash] hard fork recently has generated tremendous interest and trading volume, above 4 billion daily, among traders.”

With Bitcoin’s value shedding almost USD 1,000 in just a few hours late yesterday, Willy Woo, the founder of data analytics site Woobull suggests that overnight recovery is highly unlikely and the current market trend may continue well into 2019. CNN Bitcoin analysts suggest that USD 5,633 is looking to be the current interim resistance level, but a break below that support would have the effect of scaring off investors. Conversely, a break above this level would suggest a long position at USD 5,712.

Looking for factors as to why the drop happened, whether it be Bitcoin futures or the Bitcoin Cash fork, there are suggestions that the effect of the sell-offs in tech stocks led by Apple on Wednesday are making their mark on cryptocurrency prices, although most point to the current uncertainty around so-called altcoins Bitcoin Cash and Ethereum, both poised for fundamental and controversial changes in development and infrastructure.

 

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Coinbase Insider Trading Lawsuit Dismissed

A lawsuit accusing US-based major cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase of insider trading has been dismissed in court.

Arizona resident and plaintiff in the case, Jeffrey Berk, filed a class action lawsuit in March accusing Coinbase of ”tipping off its own employees” of an upcoming Bitcoin Cash (BCH) support on the platform a month before it was launched to customers. He claims that this meant that all those who had been informed ”immediately swamped Coinbase and the GDAX with buy and sell orders, thinning the liquidity but obtaining BCH at fair price” as soon as it went live on 19 December 2017.

Court documents released this week show, however, the judge overseeing the case did not think Berk had sufficient evidence to back up his claims. US District Judge Vince Chhabria from the Northern District Court of California said that he ”fails to describe the scope or content of Coinbase’s duty in anything more than broad generalities. A reader of the Complaint is thus left wondering what Coinbase should have done differently, or why the rollout of Bitcoin Cash would have gone more smoothly had Coinbase done whatever Berk thinks is appropriate.”

Berk and his legal representation have 21 days to appeal the ruling by filing an amended complaint if they wish to further pursue his claim that Coinbase ”unfairly dr[o]ve up the price of BCH for non-insider traders once BCH came online on the Coinbase exchange.”

In another closed crypto case this week, a New York judge dismissed anguished investor Alex Brola’s case against the developers of Nano (XRB), in which Brola claimed the core development team both breached US securities laws and failed to accurately represent the reliability of Italy-based crypto exchange BitGrail. Brola claimed that its negligence contributed to the theft of USD 187 million in XRB in February.

 

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Bitcoin Influencers’ Payment Ideas Get Twitter Buzzing

Bitcoin influencers Jimmy Song and Tony Vays opened up a can of worms recently when chatting on Twitter about Bitcoin payment methods, provoking an all-in scenario for followers.

Jimmy Song, an instructor at Programming Blockchain LLC and Bitcoin educator/developer was sharing his opinion about using Bitcoin as a payment method with Bitcoin and Blockchain Researcher Tone Vays, on Twitter. The argument was posed by Song that one could spend money using a credit card whilst staying in credit and then pay the monthly bill with Bitcoin. His tweet suggested:

“If you want to use Bitcoin as a method of payment, this strategy is more rational and convenient than doing lots of on-chain tx’s:

  1. Spend with your credit card with no debt on it.
  2. When your credit card bill comes, sell just enough bitcoin to pay the bill.”

This provoked the response by Jackson Palmer, Founder of Dogecoin, who joined the thread to tweet that there was a missing third step to the Song scenario to avoid incurring credit card debt. He suggested that one could calculate the capital gain/loss tax on the sale of Bitcoin to USD to pay off the credit card.

Bitcoin Cash follower, Elliot, suggested, “That’s right folks. BTC supporters tell you to sell your Bitcoin back to fiat. BCH supporters say you must use bitcoin as CASH. It is peer to peer electronic cash. 1 bit @tipprbot” to which blockchain enthusiast Jan Klosowski responded.

“People will use Bitcoin because it’s profitable. Not for ideological reasons.”

Tone Vays worked on Wall Street for almost 10 years starting as a Risk Analyst at Bear Stearns and later becoming a VP at JP Morgan Chase in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. His feeling was that Song’s idea was feasible from a consumer standpoint and suggested that in 2014 he had spoken about how misusing Bitcoin could affect the entire ecosystem quite negatively.

When asked why Vays, a prolific trader as well as an educator, diversified his trading to incorporate traditional markets, he responded:

“Because all of my videos are on my love of Bitcoin, my explanations of blockchain, and covering blockchain news. I do all of this because you can’t monetize that content. So, coming to conferences and speaking is so that I can spread the knowledge of Bitcoin, but I make money from what I do best, which is trading.”

He suggested that traditional markets offered a better return on his investments.

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Goodlatte First Member of US Congress to Disclose Crypto Holdings

US Congressman Bob Goodlatte has declared his private Cryptocurrency holdings, becoming the first member of Congress to do so.

Goodlatte, who currently serves as the chair of the House Committee on the Judiciary, has reported that he currently holds a number of cryptocurrencies, namely Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Ethereum (ETH).

Clearly, holding cryptocurrencies in itself is not at all unusual but perhaps a rarer disclosure when made by influential politicians, given the current state of regulation in the US surrounding cryptocurrencies.

The disclosure was filed in on 10 May that congressman Goodlatte owns between USD 15,001 and USD 50,000 worth of BTC, while also holding positions in BCH and ETH valued at between USD 1,001 and USD 15,000 each.

The reason for the disclosure is a result of a Congressional Blockchain Caucus legal advisory that request that all employees of the United States executive branch reveal any crypto holdings within 45 days. The advisory was not simply limited to crypto but all holdings.

Crypto clearly runs through the congressman’s family as his son Bobby Goodlatte Jr has Coinbase investments. Also, Congressman Goodlatte is a member of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus itself. The founder of the group is Jared Polis who requested guidance early this year on crypto disclosure. Analysts are expecting him to be the next politician to disclose crypto assets.

Polis argued in February that, because crypto assets are regarded as commodities by some agencies, Congress should treat them as traditional assets for disclosure purposes. He argued:

“Members of Congress and covered employees are already required to report certain asset holdings over certain amounts, including reporting any commodities holding over USD 1,000, a Member or covered employee should report any virtual currency holding as they would report any other commodity, such as gold.”

Polis is notably pro-crypto, once suggesting that the US dollar be banned and replaced with Bitcoin, and is also one of the first US politicians to accept Bitcoin campaign donations.

 

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Coinbase Move Towards Primary Banking with New Support for Sterling

Coinbase has made another change to its platform making it easier for UK users to deposit and withdraw UK pounds.

The current system has caused frustrations for users particularly those that have UK bank linked to their account and wish to deposit the proceeds of a transaction changing Bitcoin, Ethereum or Litecoin into sterling.

The current process requires users to transfer their cryptocurrency into sterling, then pay into a euro account on the Coinbase platform and only then transfer the funds in Euros to a UK account, incurring SEPA transfer fees and losing money on the exchange as the euros then get changed back into pounds sterling.

The new system was introduced due to numerous complaints regarding Coinbase’s lack of a user-friendly system. Users complained about the difficulties in withdrawing as opposed to depositing. The exchange clearly prefers clients to either buy cryptocurrency with money on the exchange or deposit their funds rather than leave it on the platform which is always a risk due to potential hackers but needs to speed up its process.

The new system, which apparently will not be available to all users immediately, was described by Coinbase UK’s chief executive Zeeshan Feroz as being “progress towards becoming a primary bank account”.

It is suggested that sterling support will mean Coinbase users get access to the UK’s Faster Payments system offering same day deposits and immediate transfers. Coinbase had previously partnered with UK bank Barclays and currently allows most banks to transfer funds into UK accounts.

Last week, the San Francisco Exchange introduced a digital gift card program aimed at revamping old business models, offering European clients other ways of accessing cash for crypto. Many potential clients are dissuaded from signing up to platforms such as Coinbase due to lengthy verification processes, sometimes waiting many weeks before a user’s bank can be verified and linked for payments.

 

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Another Blockchain Party, This Time at Sea with 2,500 Cryptolites

A third floating blockchain conference is planned for September of this year with an entire ship reserved for a potential 2,500 cryptocurrency enthusiasts sailing the Mediterranean Sea.

The cruise is organized by cryptocurrency exchange CoinsBank taking in Barcelona, Monte Carlo and Ibiza as 100 speakers deliver presentations on current developments in the industry.

Those at sea will include a mixed bag of pioneers and experts from the industry including John McAfee, founder of McAfee security and Bobby Lee, the founder of BTCC and a crypto expert. Others on board will include venture capitalist and philanthropist Brock Pierce and CEO of Bitcoin.com, Roger Ver. Apart from speeches, the main speakers plan to also run workshops and one-on-one consultations.

Lectures and workshops covered will cover managing crypto investments, understanding regulations and all things blockchain. Other aspects within this main framework will be cybersecurity, trading and scalability issues.

Blockchain and crypto-conferences are becoming fashionable in the new digital world, dressed for fun but with business lurking in the background ready to pounce. It’s not surprising then that CoinsBank has dressed up three conferences to date as parties, given recent history.

In this year’s Dubai Futurama summit, the conference to surpass all others in terms of razzmatazz, the actual blockchain discussions were basically molded around networking events and basically, having fun. However, these events don’t come cheap, with admission prices running into the thousands of dollars; many happy to pay these after striking up a rewarding business relationship or tapping into yet another good idea. A cruise would be no cheaper.

As has been said elsewhere, possibly at Brock Pierce’s highly-publicized recent desert conference, information is great but having a good time in the process of acquiring it makes it even better. Of course, what he actually said was “…the most likely way to get me to attend your conference is to throw really good parties”.

 

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Brazil Accepts Crypto Payments For Cross-Country Transportation

Two Brazilian public transportation companies Viação Garcia and Brasil Sul have become the first of their kind in the country to offer a cryptocurrency payment option. Both bus companies are owned by GSB Group.

Currently, just Bitcoin is accepted, although the buisnesses are looking to expand into offering Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin payment options by July.

How it works

To choose the cryptocurrency payment method, customers must use the online pre-pay service. They are required to open their person online wallets and scan a code that appears on the screen. Viação Garcia or Brasil Sul will then email a voucher to the customer as payment confirmation.

The bus services offer trips between major metropolitan regions for both urban, and semi-urban areas. Additional options offered include sightseeing trips for clubs, schools, companies, unions, religious groups, as well as general private hire events.

Speaking on the crypto-payment adoption, GSB Group Vice President Estefano Boiko Jr. noted: “Many of the economic and commercial operations are migrating to the digital world, and in the road passenger transport segment it’s no different.”

Mass-adoption milestone

The move is being praised as a significant step in the goal of bringing cryptocurrencies into the mainstream. Brazil’s last population census accounted for nearly 208 million people, a hugely significant market should cryptocurrency payment options be adopted by alternative public transport service providers.

In 2017, Brazilian cryptocurrency exchanges accounted for USD 2.5 billion in Bitcoin, particularly notable considering an estimated 60 million people in Brazil do not have access to a ‘traditional’ bank account.

The adoption of cryptocurrency method by GSB Group is also indicative of a larger, global trend in modernising public transport services. Brisk Pass, a German initiative, offers an international blockchain-based system for recording public transport transactions.

Smart contracts allow members of the wallet to use public transportation located all over the world without purchasing tickets with fiat currencies, as they purchase the native BriskCoin token to make their purchases on the platform.

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Coinbase Looks to Acquire Banking Licenses

Coinbase is currently looking into the processes involved in acquiring banking licenses. The Wall Street Journal reports that an undisclosed source revealed that the exchange engaged in conversations with members of the US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in earlier this year:

“Coinbase Inc and another cryptocurrency firm talked to US regulators about the possibility of obtaining banking licenses, a move that would allow the startups to broaden the types of products they offer.”

Additional Coinbase services

Coinbase has been expanding its services this year to become more than just an exchange. Its commerce API or its “PayPal-like service”, was released in February. Merchants could quickly implement cryptocurrencies as a payment method supporting BitcoinBitcoin CashEthereum, and Litecoin. The platform adds a “PayPal-like” button to e-commerce sites allowing streamlined payments straight to the vendor’s wallet.

Coinbase isn’t the only company to offer these types of services, with BitPay also letting customers pay in Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash. With the volatility within the cryptocurrency market this year it may take more to encourage merchants to adopt this additional payment method.

Coinbase announced this month that it would be releasing its Coinbase Custody platform. The new product could entice institutional investors, it went on to explain: “The cryptocurrency market is maturing rapidly as more sophisticated institutional participants enter the space. In fact, in the past few months over 100 hedge funds were created that exclusively invest in and trade cryptocurrency. Some of the world’s largest financial institutions have also recently announced their plans to begin trading cryptocurrency.”

Coinbase Custody is a storage service for a minimum of USD 10 million in crypto. Financial institutions will be expected to pay USD 100,000 as a set-up fee and an additional monthly premium dependant on holdings. Coinbase claimed: “We have leveraged our experience safely storing more than $20 billion of cryptocurrency to create Coinbase Custody, the most secure crypto storage solution available.”

Industry issues

Coinbase believes its recent progress will accelerate the world’s adoption of cryptocurrency by bringing new capital and greater awareness to the industry.

The volatility of Bitcoin still stands to be an issue and has led to merchants withdrawing the payment option. This was one of the main reasons for Steam halting Bitcoin payments at the end of 2017. The rise of crypto-related crime is enough to deter investors in the interim.

As much as 30,000 people who have fallen victim to Ethereum-related theft, suffering an average loss of USD 7,500 each, according to Chainalysis. Exchanges have been targeted in large-scale hacks with Coincheck losing USD 550 million worth of NEM cryptocurrency (XEM) in January and Coinsecure losing USD 3.5 million in Bitcoin (BTC). With legislation and regulation becoming a hot topic among unions and governments, 2018 is set to be an interesting year for cryptocurrencies.

Coinbases profitability values the company at around USD 8 billion. The growth and reinvestment into new ventures such as the banking industry shows Coinbase’s faith in the future of cryptocurrencies.

However, not everyone believes that the company is heading in the right direction. Reddit user Bitcoin Yoda explains how Coinbase Commerce is moving in a different direction to Satoshi’s vision: “A purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution. Any intermediary between your BTC payment and the merchant is violating the definition of Bitcoin and your privacy.”

Is Coinbase’s pursuit of becoming a bank turning its back on the ideologies behind crypto?

 

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Bitcoin Cash Undergoes Hard Fork, 16% of Its Network Splits Off

Bitcoin Cash updated its protocol and executed a hard fork at block 530,350 one week ago, but 16% of Bitcoin Cash nodes did not switch to the new protocol. This amounts to roughly 350 nodes out of a total 2200 nodes on the Bitcoin Cash network.

Bitcoin Cash itself was created by forking Bitcoin’s protocol amid much controversy in August 2017 near block 477,000. Now Bitcoin Cash is the 4th most valuable cryptocurrency behind Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple with a market cap of $20 billion.

The most significant protocol change that Bitcoin Cash introduced was to increase the maximum block size to 8 MB, which allows more transactions per block. This reduces transaction fees and makes it easier to use Bitcoin Cash as an everyday currency versus Bitcoin where transaction fees have been high enough at times in the past to make small transactions like buying a cup of coffee unfeasible. Hence the word cash in its name.

When the Bitcoin Cash fork occurred one week ago, any nodes that did not update their protocol became incompatible with nodes that did change their protocol. It can result in risky situations, leading to a loss of money. For example, if someone sends Bitcoin Cash from a wallet they didn’t update to an exchange that is updated they would lose their money. This issue is one of the most dangerous things about cryptocurrency forks.

Essentially, the 16% of Bitcoin Cash nodes that did not update are running on their own distinct blockchain and could be considered a new cryptocurrency. It is unknown whether this 16 % of nodes simply forgot to update or if keeping the old protocol was intentional and organized. If it was indeed intentional this new cryptocurrency may soon get a name, like Bitcoin Cash Legacy for example.

The protocol changes introduced on the hard fork include another block size increase from 8 MB to 32 MB and smart contracts. Introducing smart contracts to Bitcoin Cash makes it competitive with Ethereum, the 2nd most popular cryptocurrency, and is a major improvement. Smart contract functionality will allow users to develop decentralized applications that integrate the Bitcoin Cash blockchain.

The block size increase from 8 MB to 32 MB is more controversial as the 8 MB size is already eight times more than Bitcoin’s 1 MB, and is quite enough space for the foreseeable future to keep transaction fees low. In fact, Bitcoin Cash block sizes are often less than 100 KB and almost always less than 1 MB, so changing the block size limit to 8 MB like the original protocol does actually makes no difference versus Bitcoin. Upping the block size limit to 32 MB seems senseless.

Bitcoin Cash developers have received some criticism from the Bitcoin community about leaving nearly 1/5th of their network behind.

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