Category Archives: Bitcoin News

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Russia Adopts Law to Divorce Runet from Internet

Russia Adopts Law to Divorce Runet from Internet

The Russian segment of the internet, called Runet, is about to be cordoned off from the rest of the world, with a new law recently adopted by the State Duma to protect online Russia from external threats and transform it into a “sovereign” space.

A Bitcoin.com report says that taxpayers and end users will foot the bill for Russia’s “Great Firewall”, and that this will likely affect online businesses including crypto platforms.

The lower house of the Russian parliament has this week adopted a final reading of a draft known as the ‘Digital Economy National Program’. Although the next legislative step is approval that is still required from the upper house – the Federation Council – before proceeding to the President for his signature, Duma’s decisive support points to a strong political will for this to pass and become law.

Once it does get implemented, the system will mean that local internet traffic will have to pass through state-controlled routers to ensure they only can visit sites that are permitted. The Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media (Roskomnadzor) will also be granted absolute power, able to close down internet providers. Just recently, it had already forced VPN providers in the country to get on board with a censorship program, prompting TorGuard to close its operations in Russia.

 

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China Firm Mines Bitcoin Secretly, End up Losing $23 Million

China Firm Mines Bitcoin Secretly, End up Losing  Million

A Chinese company has sold off its subsidiary at only 10% of the original valuation after suffering losses from suspected secret cryptocurrency mining activities amounting to some USD 23 million.

Huatie HengAn, the subsidiary of listed Chinese company Huatie, was reported by local media outlet 8BTC as having been sold for USD 2 million. Just one year ago, it had been valued at USD 25 million.

Originally a construction company, in 2018, Huatie HengAn allegedly bought about 36,500 pieces of hardware equipment it listed as “servers” from hardware manufacturers Canaan and Ebang. These are both specialized Bitcoin mining hardware producers, so it was suspected that the pieces of equipment were bought solely for the purpose of mining crypto instead of construction.

Huatie’s end of year report released last December showed losses of about USD 14 million for its subsidiary firm. By February 2018, this net loss had risen to a total amount of USD 23 million.

The company can take comfort from the fact that they weren’t the only ones who suffered in the mining business. Although the first half of 2018 already saw prices of crypto falling, it wasn’t until the latter half of the year that difficulties emerged for Bitcoin miners.

Hashflare was the first big casualty, closing down its popular cloud mining services. And then when Bitmain – along with its failed support for Bitcoin Cash – posted massive losses, hash power began to drop for the first time in years.

 

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CFTC Commissioner Says Sheer Pace of Fintech Has Stalled Bakkt Type Approvals

CFTC Commissioner Says Sheer Pace of Fintech Has Stalled Bakkt Type Approvals

CFTC Commissioner Christopher Giancarlo believes that the current period of innovation makes it challenging to approve proposals like Bakkt.

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is an independent agency of the US government created in 1974, that regulates futures and options markets.

Bakkt had promised prospective clients it would request permission from the CFTC to provide the first Bitcoin futures that would be physically deliverable daily, as well as storing clients Bitcoin in a physical warehouse on their behalf. The CFTC suggested that Bakkt registers as a trust company to circumnavigate stalling compliancy issues.

With the news that the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the owners of the New York Stock Exchange, is now attempting to facilitate the launch of its delayed Bakkt platform by obtaining a New York cryptocurrency license, the complications that new crypto projects face are a sign of the times according to Giancarlo, who clarified the difficulties:

“The first is that we live in a period of exponential technological change. That is, the sheer speed of innovation has increased exponentially, both in terms of production of new models and products and their subsequent public adoption.”

Giancarlo makes it clear that the pace of change within the industry means that regulators simply can’t catch up with new innovations without what he calls “heightened technological literacy across leaders in business and government.”

However, he points out that cryptocurrency innovation could have saved the 2008 global financial crisis, commenting, “Today I want to take stock of the current state of blockchain technology and renew a focus on how it can impact – and improve – our markets,” adding:

“But imagine what a difference it would have made a decade ago on the eve of the financial crisis if regulators had access to the real-time trading ledgers of large Wall Street banks, rather than trying to assemble piecemeal data to recreate complex, individual trading portfolios.”

 

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Coinbase Adds Latin America and Southeast Asia to Its Expanding Client Base

Coinbase Adds Latin America and Southeast Asia to Its Expanding Client Base

US cryptocurrency exchange giant Coinbase is to add 11 new markets in Latin America and Southeast Asia as part of its current global expansion programme.

This is hot on the trail of its expansion in the UK market seeing revenue growth of 20% to USD 173 million, and the recent announcement of its new Coinbase card. In 2018, the exchange recorded USD 520 million in revenue according to Reuter’s latest figures.

The Visa card, linked with the Coinbase Card app for iOS and Android, is only available to UK account holders, although there are plans to add support for other European countries in the future. The card will allow worldwide purchases where crypto payments are available online or in store.

Latin America has been in Coinbase’s sights for some time, so the access to trading services in Argentina, Mexico, Peru, Colombia, and Chile won’t come as a huge surprise to those in the region, given the company’s desire to spread its services to all corners of the globe.

Southeast Asia has a booming cryptocurrency market with Japan and South Korea leading the way, so a move towards capturing a piece of the market in the region is a sound move with India, Hong Kong, South Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines, and New Zealand customers now having access to Coinbase services.

With 53 countries now using Coinbase services including the recently added Andorra, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Lithuania, and Iceland, the San Francisco-based company has thrown down the gauntlet to other major exchanges in its bid to become the globally dominant cryptocurrency exchange.

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Study Says Lone “Committed Actor” Responsible for April Bitcoin Surge

Study Says Lone

Fresh research by crypto analytics firm CoinMetrics has added to speculation that the sudden hike in Bitcoin price in early April, that prompted the current revival of the cryptocurrency market, is all down to the actions of a single trader.

According to the company, among the many theories surrounding the event, one of the most plausible ones was that of a single entity that placed an order for about USD 100 million worth of Bitcoin across several exchanges. It said that “a single committed actor”.

It then proceeded to provide evidence to back up its theory by posting a series of Tweets on its official Twitter account, beginning with the assertion that there was no news of significant impact during the one hour of the event, a time that was also normally very low in trading volume.

On April 2, 2019, Bitcoin’s price increased from roughly $4,200 to $5,000 in a span of one hour. There was no impactful news released during this time.

— CoinMetrics.io (@coinmetrics) April 17, 2019

It observed that most of the volume happened on HitBTC exchange on the BTC/USDT market. It also, however, does not rule out HitBTC’s action could have been due to wash trading. The large trading amounts were then observed on Coinbase, followed by Bitfinex. All three are among the world’s most active exchanges for Bitcoin.

It provides several charts to support their claim:

The large price movement on April 2, 2019 occurred during the window of lowest global liquidity. It began at 04:30 UTC and lasted until 05:30 UTC. This time may have been deliberately chosen so that a committed actor could maximize price impact when trading. pic.twitter.com/vktxpGBwlQ

— CoinMetrics.io (@coinmetrics) April 17, 2019

A video showing the full history across all exchanges also shows a remarkably similar pattern happening on all three platforms:

Here’s a fuller history of those three exchanges pic.twitter.com/j3KJxtr60h

— CoinMetrics.io (@coinmetrics) April 17, 2019

CoinMetrics concluded that a bull run could very well be on the cards, but that it was too early to say if a rally was already underway.

 

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John McAfee Claims $1 Million Bitcoin Prediction Based on Math

John McAfee Claims  Million Bitcoin Prediction Based on Math

John McAfee’s explanation for his USD 1 million Bitcoin price by the end of 2020 is all down to mathematics, according to the high flying tech mogul.

A recent McAfee Tweet offering to the market suggested that it would be “mathematically impossible” that one BTC will be less than USD 1 million “by the end of 2020”.

A brave claim worth investigating. Assuming Bitcoin remains around it current price for the next 24 hours, a good place to start from, now sitting at USD 5,277, it needs launch on a head-spinning lift off increasing by 20,000% in order to reach McAfee’s 2020 USD 1 million target. The leap in 2017, regarded by many as highly unexpected and unrepeatable saw a 20-times leap in the value of the flagship coin before it just as rapidly crashed to earth in 2018.

It is worth noting McAfee’s last big prediction of USD 500,000 by the end of 2020 made in 2017 is still current, so he does have the advantage of a fallback position should he wish to hedge his bets as the end of next year approaches, assuming Bitcoin is flying into the stratosphere.

McAfee’s math told him that his early prediction priced Bitcoin at USD 5,000 by the end of 2017, and it to be fair it had already doubled that by December to USD 10,000. A simple annual doubling up process, however, would not have taken Bitcoin to his original USD 500,000 prediction by the end of 2020; in fact, a mathematical total based on doubling would be closer to USD 80,000, but still no mean feat, and great for those BTC holders buying in 2017. McAfee was clearly hoping for a 20-times annual leap over the span over four years to get to his mammoth target.

Wences Casares, CEO of Xapo and a director at PayPal, is going for Bitcoin reaching USD 1 million in the next 7 to 10 years, but still gives McAfee’s claims a hint of a chance. Casares uses his own equation by multiplying the total of Bitcoin Hodlers with USD 7,000 and given there are 3 billion owners globally, then the currency could be worth USD 1 million with a fixed BTC supply of 20 million units.

No stranger to controversy, McAfee’s latest media offering has suggested that he is not ready to release the identity of Bitcoin’s founder yet, but has revealed:

“It is NOT the CIA nor any agency of any world government. It IS a collection of people, but the white paper was written by one man, who currently resides in the US.”

 

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Bakkt Gets Creative with NY Crypto License

Bakkt Gets Creative with NY Crypto License

The Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), owner of the New York Stock Exchange, is attempting to facilitate the launch of its delayed Bakkt platform by obtaining a New York cryptocurrency license to seemingly bring about a more favorable outcome, according to Bloomberg’s report.

The much-lauded physically delivered Bitcoin futures platform – Bakkt – which is expected to further the adoption of Bitcoin to both institutions and retail investors, has been delayed for five months, with currently no date set for launch, as CEO Kelly Loeffler hinted:

“While we’re not yet able to provide a launch date, we’re making solid progress in bringing the first physical delivery price discovery contracts for Bitcoin to the .S, where price formation will occur in federally regulated, transparent markets.”

The delay has been for the most part due to custody concerns from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) which considered the custody infrastructure currently in place to be inadequate. Moreover, the regulator’s rules require clearinghouses to deposit customer funds at a bank or trust company – none of which Bakkt is, according to the report. Although, the CFTC had earlier suggested Bakkt register as a trust company to circumnavigate the concern.

CFTC had granted Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc (CME) and the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) self-certification based on the fact that they settled their futures contract in cash, unlike in the case of Bakkt where settlements will be in Bitcoin, which raised the initial concerns of custody given the nature of asset theft in the cryptocurrency industry. Moreover, the regulator alongside CME and CBOE agreed to significant enhancements to protect customers.

ICE hopes a New York crypto license will influence the regulator’s decision positively, given that the license grants the Bakkt platform permission from New York’s Department of Financial Services to hold tokens.

In the background, the Bakkt project continues to develop as it grows its workforce as well as acquire asset relevant to its development.

 

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Ex-Top 3 South Korea Exchange Closes Shop

Ex-Top 3 South Korea Exchange Closes Shop

Coinnest has announced that it has ceased operations in South Korea. Formerly the third largest cryptocurrency in the nation, it cited lowered demand for trading against a background of regulations and business interests, as the reason for this closure.

A notice was posted this week on its website informing its users that it was no longer in operation, asking all users to withdraw any funds stored on their platform before 1 May 2019. To assist with this procedure, the management have lowered withdrawal fees as well as the minimum threshold permissible.

A staff member from Coinnest told CoinDesk Korea:

“It is a natural result of a decrease in trading volume. Both regulatory issues and business decisions have served as a background for this decision.”

However, users will remember a rocky road leading to this untimely end for Coinnest, when an employee was arrested in 2018 on suspicion of fraud. The executive was later convicted and fined KRW 3 billion (USD 2.5 million), along with a jail sentence.

More recently in January, Coinnest bumbled an airdrop, sending customers almost USD 5 million in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, instead of We Game Tokens (WGT) as it had intended.

South Korean exchanges are also a purported target of North Korea-backed hackers, and hacks of exchanges in the country have made news headlines over the past two years.

 

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Binance to Launch Fiat-to-Crypto Exchange Platform

Binance to Launch Fiat-to-Crypto Exchange Platform

The Chief Financial Officer of Binance has announced that the cryptocurrency exchange giant is going to launch its new fiat-to-crypto exchange platform next week in Singapore. This will allow people in Singapore to buy or sell cryptocurrencies using Singaporean dollars. However, the platform is currently going to support buying and selling of Bitcoin only with a hint of possible addition of other cryptocurrencies in the near future.

Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhau  told CoinDesk,

“Next week we are going to launch the Singapore simple buy/sell on-ramp. It will actually be a new product we are launching, as a very easy buy/sell platform so users in Singapore can buy and sell bitcoin with Singapore dollars… It will just be bitcoin, but we hope to add more [cryptocurrencies]. For a lot of these regulated jurisdictions, it’s easy to start with things that people know and understand and you can gradually build on that.”

Binance started its project of building this fiat-to-crypto platform in January when it collaborated with Simplex to allow traders to buy a wide range of cryptocurrencies using Visa and MasterCards. It also added Binance Lite in March which allowed the newsagents to buy cryptocurrencies from more than 1,300 locations across Australia. As mentioned in an article earlier, Binance was to launch DEX with Binance chain as its backbone.

The Binance CFO also hinted that they were planning to expand in the United States of America as well but did not furnish any further details regarding the same. It has extended to Uganda to provide financial support to the less fortunate. Their rapid expansion is also evident by the fact that they have moved into the United Kingdom via Malta.

 

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2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang Hits Out at BitLicense

2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang Hits Out at BitLicense

Pro-Bitcoin Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang is calling for more clarity in regulating cryptocurrencies slamming BitLicence as “onerous”.

BitLicence, the business license of virtual currency activities issued by the New York State Department of Financial Services, has again come under fire in the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate’s latest comments.

Yang is an American entrepreneur, philanthropist and the founder of Venture for America. He worked in startups and early-stage growth companies as a founder or executive from 2000 to 2009. He is one of the few presidential candidates in history to accept crypto donations.

One of the concerning factors of BitLicence that many exchanges cite is its dictatorial approach to regulating the market, even to the extent of instructing exchanges exactly which cryptocurrencies they are permitted to trade. When the BitLicense was first enacted at least ten major cryptocurrency companies shuttered their doors to New York customers, and some people have called this the Great Bitcoin Exodus. Ripple gained their license in 2016 and Coinbase in 2017.

Yang is pushing for much clearer regulation, a well-trodden path by many industry players, arguing that has the US will fall behind due to conflicting regulation measures and such introductions as the Token Taxonomy Act, pointing to Wyoming as a beacon of sensible legislation regarding cryptocurrency. He said:

“It’s time for the federal government to create clear guidelines as to how cryptocurrencies/digital asset markets will be treated and regulated so that investment can proceed with all relevant information.”

Wyoming continues to build legislative bridges between the cryptocurrency system, its underlying blockchain technology, and legacy financial laws of the state. Efforts so far have been channeled towards innovation and improved economic activities of digital assets. Its most recent bill aims to identify and classify digital assets into three categories: digital consumer assets, digital securities, and virtual currency.

The bill mentioned that virtual currency is “intangible personal property and shall be considered money”.

 

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