Category Archives: Coinbase

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Ethereum Founder and Coinbase CEO See Positive Growth in Crypto

Joe Lubin, co-founder of Ethereum, has commented that the fall in recent cryptocurrency prices is no constraint to future positive market growth.

The comments were made in an interview with Bloomberg yesterday when the ConsenSys CEO indicated that the big picture was the relevant factor for investors, and not to focus on “pimples on a chart” as he put it, referring the peaks and troughs of Bitcoin prices.

He spoke of the “bubble” factor, suggesting that each of the six major events has always bought a surge of activity. He argues:

“…we build more fundamental infrastructure, we see a correction, and the potential gets even more impressive… I absolutely expect that there is a strong correlation between the rise in price and the growth of fundamental infrastructure in the ecosystem and the growth of development in the ecosystem. We are probably two orders of magnitude bigger as a developer community than we were eight or ten months ago.”

The current market trend should be expected, Lubin suggests. He argues that much of the current volatility has to be put down to investor speculation rather than flaws in the underlying technology, suggesting that cryptocurrencies were very much still on the right positive trajectory. Regarding his own case as a CEO, he said:

“So we can look at the price and make growth plans and projections, and we’re still on track, basically. So this is not unexpected.”

Lubin added that each value surge over the past years indicated that the current situation is just like the last “six big bubbles, each more epic than the previous one, and each bubble is astonishing when they’re happening”.

In other news, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong has revealed that the company signed up 50,000 new customers a day last year and on Tuesday reflected Lubin’s view that the general trend is positive, suggesting:

“This technology is going through a series of bubbles and corrections, and each time it does that, it’s at a new plateau… People’s expectations are all over the map, but real-world adoption has been going up.”

At time of press, Bitcoin is currently trading at USD 6,429, up 6.47% on 24-hr trading. Ethereum is trading at USD 285, up by 6.93% on 24-hr trade.

 

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Coinbase Upping Instant Buy and Sell Limits to $25K

Coinbase, the only major Bitcoin exchange headquartered in the United States, has announced that it is drastically increasing instant buy and sell limits to USD 25,000 per day for ACH and USD 7,500 for debit cards. This limit will be available for customers who complete the full verification process.

In the past, Coinbase had a weekly, not daily, instant buy limit of USD 1,000, even for customers who completed full verification and had a long history with Coinbase. Over the years, Coinbase has been upping the limits but this new increase is by far the most drastic limit increase for their instant buy feature. Just before this limit increase, Coinbase customers could only buy USD 25,000 per week with maximum verification, so this is a 700% limit increase.

This move is probably in response to the entrance of Huobi and OKCoin into the United States market, via HBUS and OKCoin USA. Huobio and OKEx, which is closely related to OKCoin, are the biggest crypto exchanges in the world and far bigger than Coinbase. HBUS is offering daily withdrawal limits of USD 200,000, far more than Coinbase even with this drastic limit increase. This is a good example of how competition improves the market for consumers, the move to increase instant limits to USD 25,000 is probably in order to be competitive with HBUS and OKCoin USA.

There is a major caveat to Coinbase’s limit increase though. They say crypto will instantly appear in user’s accounts after instant buying and will be available to buy and sell on the Coinbase platform. However, customers won’t be able to withdraw funds until the transaction is final with their bank. This might take a day for debit card transactions and also a day for wire transfers, which is much better than the three to five days it used to take. ACH transfers would still take from three to five days before users can withdraw funds.

 

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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 Reopens in Wyoming after 3 Years

The biggest Bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchange headquartered in the United States, Coinbase, has reopened to residents of Wyoming after a three-year hiatus, due to a change in the law that exempts virtual currency businesses from having to deposit double reserves with the state to get a money transmitter license. Coinbase once again has a money transmitter license in the state of Wyoming, and the less than 1 million people that live across the sparse plains of Wyoming can buy and sell cryptocurrency on Coinbase.

In June 2015, Coinbase closed its doors to Wyoming residents since it determined that it would be too costly and impractical to obtain a money transmitter license from state regulators. Coinbase would have been required to deposit double the value of Wyoming residents’ cryptocurrency assets with the state for reserve purposes. This law was created to protect traders and investors but ultimately, it caused every legitimate crypto exchange to abandon Wyoming. This left Wyoming residents with no options besides peer-to-peer dealing through sites like Localbitcoins, which might still be illegal because that could be considered money transmitting.

In March 2018, the Wyoming legislature changed the law to exempt virtual currency businesses. Coinbase had been actively working with Wyoming politicians to make this happen, including David Miller from the Wyoming House of Representatives, Eli Bebout who is the state senator of Wyoming, and the Wyoming Division of Banking.

This follows another victory in 2017 after Coinbase obtained the New York BitLicense allowing them to resume services for New York residents. Coinbase left New York and Wyoming around the same time in 2015 amid a frenzy of new crypto regulations across the United States caused by money laundering concerns.

 

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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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Coinbase to Acquire Licensed Broker-Dealers to Offer Securities

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has given Coinbase approval to buy three companies, including Keystone Capital Corp, Digital Wealth LLC, and Venovate Marketplace Inc. Keystone Capital and Venovate Marketplace are officially registered as broker-dealers with the SEC and FINRA. Once the acquisition is complete and these companies merge with Coinbase, it will have the ability to offer securities trading. This makes Coinbase the first crypto exchange that will be able to offer crypto securities trading to US citizens.

This move is crucial, since the SEC recently declared that almost all cryptocurrencies besides Bitcoin and Ethereum would be regulated as securities. Essentially, any cryptocurrency which has a central organization that is making profits, combined with an expectation of future profits from investors who buy the coin, will be considered securities. Practically all crypto which launched via initial coin offerings (ICOs) fit this definition, and many major crypto with market caps in excess of USD 1 billion were launched with an ICO.

Recently, Coinbase announced that it would be adding five new cryptocurrencies including 0x, Zcash, Stellar, Cardano, and Basic Attention Token, and this move to become an SEC-regulated broker-dealer is essential to facilitate the listing since some of these cryptocurrencies can be considered securities. In general, becoming a broker-dealer will allow Coinbase to add a full spectrum of ERC-20 tokens in the future.

Although nothing has been announced regarding this yet, becoming a broker-dealer will allow Coinbase to actively participate in ICOs. Perhaps Coinbase will offer services to make ICOs legitimate, a move that would fit SEC’s requirement for regulatory oversight in ICOs. The ICO market is huge, having raised USD 12 billion in 2018 so far.

Circle, Coinbase’s competitor, is also seeking registration as a broker-dealer with the SEC. This is essential for Circle, since it recently acquired Poloniex and was forced to delist most of the coins since those coins could be considered securities. In general, any cryptocurrency exchange in the US will miss out on a significant amount of trading activity without being able to offer securities, and firms like Coinbase that can offer securities will have an advantage.

It will take some time before Coinbase starts offering crypto securities. It has to integrate its technology into the companies it is acquiring, and make sure all employees obtain proper licensing to participate in securities trading.

 

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Bulgaria to Monitor Crypto Market with Focus on Regulatory Steps

Bulgaria has announced that it is to begin monitoring cryptocurrency and ICO activities in the country through its government watchdog, according to Cryptovest. The focus of Bulgaria’s Financial Supervision Commission (FSC) will be securing a safeguard against illegal activity such as money laundering and fraud connected with cryptocurrency.

As reported in Bitcoin News over the past few days, Bulgaria seized a massive BTC 213,519 in May currently worth around USD 1.4 billion, making the country a substantial holder of the currency. The total would reportedly be enough to pay off a quarter of Bulgaria’s national debt.

The commission sees eliminating such crime as crucial to the regulation of the industry. Four main areas have been targeted of which one is aimed at criminal activity. The others are largely designed to encourage cryptocurrency regulation.

The areas fall mainly into setting clear licensing and registration conditions for products and services, coming up with a regulatory process for outsourcing services, creating innovation hubs and finally dealing with cybersecurity concerns. The FSC ‘Financial Technology Monitoring Strategy in The Non-Banking Financial Sector’ document confirms and summarizes these four main areas of attention in the following statement:

“The challenge for the non-banking financial sector is to balance the benefits of the introduction of cutting-edge technology and preserve financial stability and safety for consumers and investors in the sector.”

Bulgaria has a had a history of banks blacklisting the IBANs of major exchanges such as Coinbase and Kraken. The new moves could at least add some clarification to the space and may go some way to appeasing the banks, perhaps softening their stance on dealing with exchanges, if current AML laws are addressed.

If, as suggested, the giant haul of Bitcoins seized by the authorities was the result of tax fraud, it appears that new cryptocurrency tax legislation would be fairly high on Bulgaria’s regulatory agenda moving forward.

 

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Possible Addition of 6 Cryptos, New Coinbase Blog Post Reveals

Coinbase recently published a new blog post stating the possible addition of several new cryptocurrencies to their platform.

The assets in consideration are Cardano (ADA), Basic Attention Token (BAT), Stellar Lumens (XLM), Zcash (ZEC), and 0x (ZRX).  The announcement was made at the same time within Coinbase and publicly to remain transparent, and perhaps to avoid a similar situation when Bitcoin Cash was added.

These assets were considered based on the criteria Coinbase has laid out in their Digital Asset Framework. The blog post goes into further details, discussing specific reasons why each asset stood out to the Coinbase team.

The platform says adding any or all of the above tokens will require “additional exploratory work” and places no promises on listing any of them for trading. This is unlike the Ethereum Classic support that is currently being worked on, due to its technical similarity to Ethereum.

Other caveats are discussed in the blog post as well, such as the possibility of some of the new assets only being available for purchase and sell, with no send/receive functionality enabled. This would give some coins purely investing characteristics, like what Circle is doing with their Circle Invest app.

The last two restrictions the post discusses is the way users maybe able to interact with certain assets: for example, Coinbase may only support deposits and withdrawals from transparent Zcash addresses. This is a likely scenario, in order to be in compliance with any financial regulations that may apply.

Coinbase may also stagnate the launch of these assets in certain regions, most likely testing them in other markets before they are available to the US customers.

No promises have been made on timeline for adding support to these tokens, as they have only discussed the possibility of them being on the platform. But if selected, Coinbase will be making their first expansion into smaller capitalization cryptocurrencies.

With many of Coinbase users being intuitional traders as well, this offers them an exposure to the segment of the crypto-market that was previously untapped.

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Coinbase Maintains Optimism Despite Recent Popularity Slide

Crypto exchange giant Coinbase is reported to have recorded a decline in popularity over the past month, according to Ethereum World News.

The downturn in business correlates to a decline in app downloads since the recent fall in the global cryptocurrency market, where prices have suffered a 70% drop over the past six months.

The result is that short-term speculators are looking elsewhere for business and app downloaders have bypassed the Coinbase app, which at its peak was a go-to item in Apple and Google Play apps stores. According to Quartz, Coinbase app downloads have reached their lowest level in the US since last April when Bitcoin was selling at USD 1,250. At one point last year, Coinbase was one of Apple’s most downloaded apps.

Other statistics indicate that the Coinbase online platform has experienced a similar downturn with monthly visits to the site dropping from 126 million in January to 28 million in June with its other platform GDAX losing a further 5% than the parent company.

Despite Coinbase’s recent declining fortunes, the company is continuing its expansion, bringing new products to the market and recently opening an office in Portland, Oregon which has plans to hire over 100 employees.

Coinbase is an “open financial system that is not controlled by a central power”, maintains Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong who clearly remains upbeat and optimistic. His recent Tweet explained that he sees such slides as simply part of the overall crypto landscape:

“The crypto industry is like no other I’ve seen – lots of up and down cycles (reaching a new plateau each time). There have been 3 or 4 of these now. It can be scary the first time you see it, but to us who have been in the industry for many years, it feels like old news.”

However, another exchange giant, Binance, has seen its fortunes turn out to be quite a different story, with its user base going from strength to strength, experiencing a massive five times expansion since the beginning of the year, and is predicted to bring in USD 1 billion by December.

 

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Switzerland’s Stock Exchange SIX Launches Crypto Platform

Cryptocurrency-friendly Switzerland has taken another step along that road with the country’s stock exchange, SIX,  announcing that it will open its doors to digital currencies, according to the Financial Times.

The new platform which is being built by SIX will offer integrated post-transaction services such as deal settlement and asset custody through DLT. SIX, regulated by Finma and the Swiss central bank, says that it plans to roll out its cryptocurrency service in the first half of 2019.

SIX’s chief executive, Jos Dijsselhof, commented on the new plans for the stock exchange, explaining:

“For us, it is abundantly clear that much of what is going on in the digital space is here to stay and will define the future of our industry. The financial industry now needs to bridge the gap between traditional financial services and digital communities.”

The move will not be surprising to crypto watchers in the country given Switzerland’s stance on cryptocurrencies. This the year the Swiss government said that it was considering the establishment of a national digital currency called the e-franc; an idea which is still under consideration.

Banks, however, have been less open to digital currencies. Andréa Maechle, Board Member of the Swiss National Bank, earlier this year expressed his view on nationally-issued digital currencies, citing them as inferior to their private sector counterparts.

However, Swiss politicians are trying to bridge the gap between cryptocurrency investors and the banking system so that banks can offer crypto services alongside their conventional business. Finma, the Swiss financial supervisor, has already set out guidelines to help local ICOs to facilitate cryptocurrency finding a place in Switzerland’s financial space.

As institutional investors begin to take more of an interest in the digital currency market, more exchanges are beginning to bring in tighter controls and safeguards, not just in Switzerland but globally. The rise in the new wave of institutional investors has encouraged cryptocurrency exchanges such as Coinbase and Huobi to integrate such features as custodial services and default funds into their businesses to offer users increased protection.

 

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