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Coinfloor to Launch Derivative Crypto Futures Amid Tough Market

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Top UK cryptocurrency exchange Coinfloor has told Bloomberg, that it is venturing into the derivatives market despite the seemingly poor market outlook and fierce competition in the futures market, with physically-delivered Bitcoin futures the new emerging derivatives for the asset class.

The CoinfloorEX spinoff of the Coinfloor cryptocurrency exchange will be offering the new physical Bitcoin futures services to sophisticated Asian traders. Meanwhile, it has been renamed to Coin Futures and Lending Exchange (CoinFLEX) for this purpose.

According to the CEO of CoinFLEX Mark Lamb, who is also a co-founder of Coinfloor, “bear cycles in crypto can go on a long time, but ultimately it’s an asset class which is one of the most fascinating, volatile, which is great for traders”. Lamb also downplayed the current market condition, confident that crypto will someday become globally accepted, saying that “it has the potential to be one of the major currencies in the world”.

CoinFLEX will have its base in Hong Kong. The proposed derivatives will include physical futures for Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Ethereum with leveraging of up to 20 times. Comparatively, top cryptocurrency exchange BitMex, also having a sizeable market in Hong Kong, will be a competitor as it also offers leverage of up to 100 times on some of its contracts. However, CoinFLEX has the advantage of physical delivery as against cash settlements that are prone to manipulation.

Prominent crypto movers have been named as members of a consortium owning the project, including Roger Ver, Mike Komaransky and Trading Technologies International Inc. Meanwhile, Coinfloor is also reported to be retaining an equity stake in the new venture.

It would seem that the market for institutional investors is constantly being expanded with multiple derivative options. “Crypto derivatives could become an order of magnitude larger than spot markets and the main thing that’s holding back that growth is the lack of physical delivery,” said Lamb.

Last year, talks about the proposed Bakkt platform – an Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) project – constantly drove up the expectations of cryptocurrency holders and investors. Its recent announcement included a successful seed round funding of over USD 182 million, and a scheduled launch early this year, however, the date “will be amended pursuant to the CFTC’s process and timeline”.

Another derivative platform, ErisX, recently reeled in USD 27.5 million from Fidelity Investments, Nasdaq Ventures, and other investors during a seed funding round. It is also waiting for approval from financial regulators before launching this year.

Recently, the Japanese financial regulator hinted on the possibility of the launch of exchange-traded funds (ETF) that will be based on the new asset class.

 

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Ethereum Set for January Spike, to Start Year on Positive Note With Constantinople

Ethereum Set for January Spike to Start Year On Positive Note with Constantinople

Ethereum has been earmarked by many cryptocurrency experts as heading for a massive spike in value early in 2019 as its Constantinople hard fork approaches.

Ethereum which recently lost its spot as number 1 altcoin by market cap to Ripple has developers hoping that its hard fork scheduled for January will make the transition from Proof of Work (PoW) to Proof of Stake (PoS) more effective and boost ETH’s market value moving into the new year.

In terms of development, Ethereum is lagging, while other competitors such as Ethereum Classic (ETC), Cardano (ADA), Lisk (LSK) and Quantum (QTUM) are progressing with far more intent. Despite “the sky falling” as some commentators have maintained, Joe Lubin, Ethereum co-founder, asserts that Ethereum protocol development is accelerating. He suggests that this will result in “the continued maturation of the token economy, which will see many exciting consumer utility tokens and tokenized security launched in the new year.”

The common view is that ETH is now well positioned for a price boost prior to the release of Constantinople, not only regaining its position as the leading altcoin platform. Clearly, though the Ethereum team is hoping for a more successful outcome than the last hard fork, Bitcoin Cash, leading to heavy market losses and a hash rate war.

Constantinople is scheduled for the middle of January 2019 and designed to increase the speed and efficiency of the Ethereum network, as well as making it more economically viable than the current status quo. Ethereum Classic (ETC) will still remain in play after the fork.

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OKEx Seeks Branding Boost with English Premier League Partnership

Malta-based leading global Bitcoin exchange OKEx has partnered with England’s prestigious football showcase, the Premier League, in order to raise its profile among football supporters.

Prominent trading data outlets cite OKEx as one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world. In August 2018, both Live Coin Watch and the CoinMarketCap listed it as the world’s second largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume and markets served.

As a result of the partnership, OKEx will now be able to advertise at major games between high-quality teams. This is seen as a major boon for the company as matches in the Premier League frequently return gates of over 40,000 attendees. Liverpool, for example, has a stadium capacity of 54,000 and is sold out on most games.

Digital banners have become the latest way to advertise at football grounds of teams in the top flight. The exchange will begin with advertising during football matches until 10 December, including those of Arsenal, Chelsea, and Liverpool. OKEx Head of Operations Andy Cheung commented on the new partnership:

“We are very thrilled to see that digital technology is getting more accepted and adopted in the sports industry and we are proud to be part of it… Through the games, we want to connect to the audience, getting them to know more about the applications of digital technology, and we look forward to exploring a longer-term partnership to support the sport.”

To boost its advertising campaign, attendees at the games are encouraged to take photographs of the digital banners and place on OKEx’s Twitter page. Three winners will then be picked to win USD 50 in December.

The exchange has been in hot water recently, having had to cancel a number of transactions resulting in losses for affected customers. It appears that through Bitcoin Cash futures, OKEx has mounted a rapid recovery with recent trades of USD 135 million helping the exchange to bounce back.

Cheung described how sport and cryptocurrency have been finding a common platform, particularly with a number of recent endorsements by clubs and individuals, particularly in the world of football:

“We speak a universal language in the world of football. It is entertaining enough to connect people and unites them, regardless of tribe, race, color or tongue… It is agreeable to say that blockchain technology has similar standards and ethics. It is very amazing to see that digital technology is getting wide acceptance and even used within the sports industry. So, we are very delighted and honored to be part of this feat.”

 

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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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