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Coinbase CEO: Virtual Reality and Crypto Next Big Combo

Coinbase CEO: Virtual Reality and Crypto Next Big Combo

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong has said that cryptocurrency has the potential to turn Virtual Reality into a full-time job.

Armstrong suggests that virtual spaces could create their own currencies or even make use of existing ones such as Bitcoin or Ethereum by integrating the means for users to spend crypto in the same way as they are currently using fiat.

Developers would see more time spent on such games, according to the Coinbase boss, taking it much further into the realms of Sci-fi by suggesting that players could use the virtual world to support themselves in the real world, cashing in their accrued gaming funds for “real” use, such as paying rent. He speculates:

“Perhaps we’ll see virtual bank buildings with pillars, virtual bank vaults that spin when you open them, and virtual tellers with glasses.” The exchange magnate, clearly a follower of the gaming and VR world added, “Ready Player One had a great visual of coins being collected in the game, and spilling out of characters when they were killed (leaving a big pile of loot on the ground).”

Clearly, Armstrong has seen the potential of turning VR ownership into the real thing via some of his own exchange-listed cryptocurrencies. But in reality, there’s still a long way to go – crossing the bridge from virtual into reality.

Armstrong appears to be in touch with the man on the street, if not through gaming and VR, then certainly in terms of what reality actually means for many of the world’s “have-nots” these days. This was shown by his recent personal $1 million giveaway through his charity project called GiveCrypto.

The project is a global enterprise which will give out cryptocurrency donations to worthy recipients, who will then be able to make personal choices in whether to keep their donations as cryptocurrency or exchange them for fiat. GiveCrypto wants to raise USD 10 million by the end of 2018 and grow to a fund of USD 1 billion over two years. Donations will hopefully come from wealthy donors who have amassed wealth through cryptocurrency, passing on their good fortunes to those in need of financial help. Suggested cryptocurrencies for donations are Bitcoin, Ripple, and Zcash.

Ripple’s co-founder Chris Larsen has already put in an undisclosed donation into the Armstrong charity hat. This may not be all that Ripple will be putting into Coinbase’s coffers if recent news that Coinbase plans to list XRP on its exchange becomes reality…. that’s not a virtual one by the way!

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Breaking: Coinbase One Step Closer to Listing Ripple

Breaking: Coinbase One Step Closer to Listing Ripple

It’s been a long wait with plenty of speculation but exchange giant Coinbase has finally bitten the bullet and announced on its blog today that it will add support for Ripple on its exchange after it gets final approval.

The news was revealed today along with an announcement that a package of some 30 crypto assets is likely to be added to its current discrete selection of cryptocurrencies, along with Cardano (ADA), NEO, and Tezos (XTZ).  The post is most likely a response to customers continued complaints that no support has existed for the second largest cryptocurrency after Bitcoin.

One thing that Coinbase has clarified is that not all of the names on its new hit list of favorable currencies will necessarily be listed, but it’s a positive step further for patient Ripple investors who have had to seek out other exchanges in order to carry out transactions, clearly losing Ripple significant business over time.

The following are among the Coinbase list of possible listings:

Cardano (ADA), Aeternity (AE), Aragon (ANT), Bread Wallet (BRD), Civic (CVC), Dai (DAI), district0x (DNT), EnjinCoin (ENJ), EOS (EOS), Golem Network (GNT), IOST (IOST), Kin (KIN), Kyber Network (KNC), ChainLink (LINK), Loom Network (LOOM), Loopring (LRC), Decentraland (MANA), Mainframe (MFT), Maker (MKR), NEO (NEO), OmiseGo (OMG), Po.et (POE), QuarkChain (QKC), Augur (REP), Request Network (REQ), Status (SNT), Storj (STORJ), Stellar (XLM), XRP (XRP), Tezos (XTZ), and Zilliqa (ZIL).

Coinbase’s post stated today:

“Adding new assets requires significant exploratory work from both a technical and compliance standpoint, and we cannot guarantee that all the assets we are evaluating will ultimately be listed for trading. Furthermore, our listing process may result in some of these assets being listed solely for customers to buy and sell, without the ability to send or receive using a local wallet.”

In January when its last concrete announcement regarding Ripple was made  that the then third top listed cryptocurrency wouldn’t be listed on its exchange, Ripple’s token, XRP, proceeded to lose roughly a third of its value.

It remains to see what impact a final stamp of approval will have on Ripple’s current fortunes.

 

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Binance Adds Sub-Account Features to Attract Institutional Investors

Binance Adds Sub-Accounts Features for Institutional Investors

Top cryptocurrency market shareholder by daily trading volume Binance announced today through its blog post that it is creating a sub-account support feature to help with accommodating institutional investors.

It’s widely acknowledged that there’s a growing interest from the institutional sectors in cryptocurrency and some believe that the next phase of cryptocurrency development will be facilitated by these entities.

Binance seems to be preparing itself for this expectation by adding features to improve its services. “Binance is thrilled to announce the launch of our long-anticipated sub-account feature, which brings improved managerial control and asset audit tools to institutional account holders”, the blog post reads. It further touts this development as “one step closer to a comprehensive, full-stack offering for institutional clients”.

Binance further explains that “the new sub-account feature is available to corporate users and individuals with VIP 3 tier (or higher) accounts”. That is based on the already established institutional account system.

These sub-accounts are designed to allow institutions to have flexible handling and access control to multiple trading accounts for different firms. Different account levels will be provided to these institutions and they’ll have control over each sub-accounts of the firms. According to the exchange, “the original/main account has sole control over the movement of assets… different access levels for up to 200 sub accounts”.

The blog also infers that sub-accounts are properly compartmentalized with enhanced with security features to minimize risks of tampering. More so, the accounts have unique APIs with different access privileges.

The perceived coming influx of institutional investments has prompted similar service providers to adjust their operations to accommodate these significant changes when they happen. About a week ago, Coinbase launched over-the-counter (OTC) trading for institutional clientsIn Israel, an investment house plans to launch the first dedicated digital coin investment platform for institutional and accredited investors.

 

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New York State Approves Signature Bank Blockchain Payment Platform

New York State Approves Signature Bank Blockchain Payment Platform

A New York bank has received approval from local regulators for a digital blockchain payments platform.

The Department of Financial Services of New York (NYDFS) granted its approval to Signature Bank on 4 December. According to a press release, Signature Bank has the go-ahead to launch its platform called Signet in the state, which offers clients a 24/7, free-of-charge payment option.

It is essentially a peer-to-peer blockchain payment system for use between the bank’s clients, claiming to ”[eliminate] any dependence on a third party”.

NYDFS had several concerns about the platform prior to its investigation but is now reportedly satisfied Signet can comply with its rigorous regulatory expectations. This includes many of the standard know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) policies that all banks are subject to, as well as extensive consumer protection guidelines.

NYDFS superintendent Maria Vullo said the regulators were ”pleased to strengthen and foster regulated innovation” in the city while emphasizing that Signature bank would be operating ”through sound state regulation”.

New York’s financial regulators are not the only officials putting their support behind the platform. Signet benefits from coverage by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), a major US bank deposit insurance scheme managed by the government.

Signature Bank is relatively small, handling just 30 private clients and assets of around USD 45.87 billion.

The approval of Signet bodes well for other blockchain companies in the finance sector looking to operate from New York, which seems to looking to make its mark as an innovation-friendly city.

In mid-October this year, California-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase received approval for its digital asset custody solution in the state. Last month Ledger joined them, opening its own office with intentions of launching an institutional custody solution.

 

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Coinbase Launches OTC Trading for Institutional Clients

Media outlet Cheddar has reported that major US-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has launched an over-the-counter (OTC) cryptocurrency trading desk.

This move has been described as “opportunistic” since they were “reacting to client demand” geared towards broadening its customer base to include more institutional clients. Nevertheless, plans had been in motion since June and had only been waiting for a regulatory license, which Coinbase President and COO Asiff Hirji clarified that it would help the firm offer future services that include OTC trading.

OTC trading attracts large investors mostly classed as institutional investors, such as investment banks. These transaction types take place between two traders directly without the presence of a third-party order matching-system like regular cryptocurrency exchanges.

The service is currently available to Coinbase Prime customers, a service which was also launched to lure institutional investors such as cryptocurrency hedge funds that control large amounts of funds. Prime has sophisticated trading tools and was initially designed to also include OTC trading.

Coinbase’s head of sales Christine Sandler pointed out in the interview that the service was launched as a complementary service to its exchange business, noting that institutions were using OTC as an “on-ramp for cryptocurrency trading”. This she said is an opportunity for their clients to benefit by leveraging both the exchange and the OTC business.

In comparison, Sandler described Coinbase’s OTC agency as a platform that matches client orders directly, as opposed to Circle’s and other similar OTC services where such platforms trade on a “propriety basis” and are “counterparties to each transaction”.

Circle’s version of the OTC desk, referred to as Circle Trade, has a minimum ticket size of USD 250,000 for both individual and institutional investors.

Moving forward, Sandler said plans are in motion to expand the OTC service to include delayed settlement and possibly integrating with its Custody Solution as well. Launched in July, Custody Solution is Coinbase’s platform for hedge funds, exchanges and ICO teams.

On the subject of volatility, Sandler said that the stablecoin launch for all their clients about a month ago is one of the things they are “really excited about”, noting that USDC is “one of the most liquid stablecoins” trading right now and that stablecoins help mitigate against volatility.

 

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Tether’s Rivals Continue to Gain Stablecoin Ground

The emergence of stablecoins continues to provide a glimpse of hope to cryptocurrency investors despite the market’s steep decline since its all-time high in 2017.

However, not too long ago, this confidence began to shift away from Tether (USDT) – the largest stablecoin by capitalization, to others such as Huobi (HUSD), USD Coin (USDC), True USD (TUSD), Paxos Standard Token (PAX), and Gemini Dollar (GUSD). Many of those in the list have seen rising premiums against USDT in recent months.

In a recent stablecoin conference organized by BECON, which was held in New York on Monday, General Counsel of Huobi’s Global Institutional Joshua Goodbody discussed the important roles stablecoins play in the crypto-market affairs. In his opinion, they serve as bridges between the fiat world and the world of cryptocurrencies.

Since its launch, one of Tether’s rivals, HUSD, has proven to be popular among users, says Goodbody.

Stablecoins are perceived to mimic the qualities of real-world fiat properties. Therefore, they establish a baseline of trust for investors, and traders of cryptocurrencies to hedge. This was the objective in mind when Huobi proposed its stablecoin in late October as a complementary solution to help make investment decisions among multiple stablecoins and save costs when trading stablecoins.

Goodbody during the conference made it clear that they “believe the recent developments of stablecoins are positive for the industry and Huobi decided to support these developments proactively by launching HUSD”. The Stablecoin HUSD integrates the properties of four other major stablecoins to include PAX, TUSD, USDC, and GUSD.

As an aggregator of stablecoins, the HUSD interfaces between any of the four supported stablecoins and gives traders the flexibility of switching to any of them on a 1:1 ration at any point in time. Goodbody said that they “provide the ability to deposit any of the four supported coins as HUSD and receive a 1:1 balance of HUSD”. Further, these stablecoins can also be traded with six other cryptocurrency pairs on the Huobi exchange. These include BTC, USDT, ETH, and EOS.

HUSD is not a particular token or coin on the blockchain, but a mere service being offered by Huobi Global. The way the product works is that, when any stable coin is deposited into a user’s account with the exchange, they are registered as HUSD balances. This gives a pseudo-interoperability between the four stable coins currently being supported. As described by the exchange when the balance on a stablecoin type is low, users can simply withdraw with another with sufficient balance.

In other news, Coinbase decided to launch an over-the-counter (OTC) trading desk earlier this month for institutional investors and in an interview, USDC is described as “one of the most liquid stablecoins” on the market to help stem volatility.

To a large extent, stablecoins play an important role in stabilizing the market. So far, the stablecoin markets have provided a safety net-like effect for investors and traders whose portfolios are being devalued by the current market crash, thereby acting as a soothing balm to the hysteria in the cryptocurrency ecosystem.

 

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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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College Student Faces $400K IRS Debt After Crypto Bull Run

A student took to Reddit recently asking for advice on how to handle an IRS tax debt of $400K after his crypto investments had bumped and dived.

The young Californian, preferring to remain anonymous, profited like many from investments made towards the end of 2017 when his $5K stake in altcoins brought him a massive return of $880K.

His laptop gamble with Coinbase certainly paid off, but then came the payback after his portfolio sunk to a $125k in the new year. “They really never do teach this stuff” he posted on Reddit when asked if he’d set something by for tax.

The student claimed he’d been trading crypto-to-crypto and that Coinbase didn’t, “ever cash out to fiat and transfer any USD into my bank accounts from these tradings.” Nonetheless, he appears to have convinced himself the IRS is coming calling after receiving a standard Coinbase 1099K form (https://i.imgur.com/1TZuh2B.jpg) warning him that the information regarding his transactions would be forwarded to the Inland Revenue.

It appears he received little sympathy from Reddit users from comments such as, get “a tax professional and stop wasting time trying to get free advice,” to, somewhat philosophical, advice from one user who suggested that his problem “not be a high point in your life, but you will get through it.”

More useful advice suggested that he stay clear of “questionable accounting methods” and get an accountant to work out a suitable tax repayment method -although re-payments to the IRS to the tune of $400k may just impact on his $12/h part-time-job whilst getting through college.

A recent Twitter poll which quizzed US cryptocurrency investors about their tax scenarios revealed that 9% of the 9,339 respondents claimed that they had “already filed and paid,” with 53% far more adventurous claiming, “they’ll never catch me.”

It looks like more clarification is needed regarding paying these kinds of taxes in the US. The IRS Advisory Committee has just requested help in dealing with cryptocurrency taxation in a bid to ease its current $25 billion tax liability. The request for more clarity has come after the IRS published its findings from a report which  highlights the current confusion surrounding how to address taxation on cryptocurrency assets in the United States

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Coinbase Listings Continue to Accelerate, Basic Attention Token (BAT) About to Go Live

Coinbase, the largest cryptocurrency exchange headquartered in the United States with a valuation of USD 8 billion, continues to list new cryptocurrencies at an increasing pace. Deposits for Basic Attention Token (BAT) began on 2 November 2018 on Coinbase Pro, and once sufficient liquidity is achieved trading will go live. In general, once a cryptocurrency is listed on Coinbase Pro it soon becomes available on regular Coinbase, since Coinbase and Coinbase Pro have the same cryptocurrencies listed.

BAT is the official cryptocurrency of the blockchain-based Brave browser and is used to fuel a built-in advertising platform. Advertisers on the Brave browser give publishers BAT based on the performance of ads, and users receive a share of BAT too. Users can then choose to donate BAT to publishers or use the tokens to buy things on the Brave browser. The Brave advertising platform is designed to be transparent, reduce fraud, and cut out the middle-men.

Previously, only 5 cryptocurrencies were available on Coinbase: Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and Ethereum Classic. Coinbase is the most prominent exchange in the United States, and there is a thirst among Coinbase traders and investors for more options. This caused Coinbase to launch a new listing process, with the goal of adding all legal and popular cryptocurrencies.

In the past month, Coinbase has listed the popular Ethereum ERC-20 token 0x, as well as USD Coin, which is an ERC-20 stablecoin that is managed by Circle and Coinbase. All ERC-20 tokens use the same backbone wallet technology, so it is straightforward for Coinbase to add any other ERC-20 tokens. Therefore, it is no surprise that Coinbase is adding the BAT, a popular ERC-20 token. BAT has a market cap near USD 300 million, placing it at #30 on CoinMarketCap.

Whenever a cryptocurrency is added to Coinbase it experiences a rally in price, and this is called the Coinbase Effect. BAT has already rallied 15% since the Coinbase listing was announced, and it is likely this rally will accelerate once trading goes live. Generally, the Coinbase Effect is sustained long-term, unlike the Binance Bump which is a short term pump and dump on average.

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“Institutional Investment Class” Morgan Stanley’s New Catchall for Crypto

A new report published by American multinational investment bank Morgan Stanley has redefined cryptocurrency as an “institutional investment class”.

The report was initiated after research revealed that current trading trends are flowing towards institutional investors who are increasingly wanting to invest in cryptocurrencies, so much so that Morgan Stanley have had its eyes firmly set on institutional investor potential for some months.

This led to rumors recently that the bank was intending following in the footsteps of some other Wall Street financial institutions offering crypto-related services by dealing in contracts that gave investors “synthetic exposure to the performance of Bitcoin”.

Still unconfirmed but if the rumors turn out to have substance, then investors will be given the option to go long or short using what is described as a “price return swap”, with Morgan Stanley adding its own charge to each transaction that it facilitates, according to a source close to the investment bank.

It is of little surprise then, that the New York financial giant has chosen this time to re-examine the way it looks at cryptocurrency. The new report, titled ‘Bitcoin Decrypted: A Brief Teach-In and Implications’, updated the classification of digital assets based on statistics from the last six months.

The report also examines problems reported by customers in relation to crypto as an investment class, such as regulatory uncertainty and a lack of regulations. These are areas that Morgan Stanley would like to address if it is seriously deciding on targeting institutional cryptocurrency investors, with a view to offering clients the chance to trade in Bitcoin derivative, as it has hinted in the past.

On a positive note for the bank, if this is to be their direction moving forward, is the reports mention of Fidelity’s new crypto services division, Coinbase’s fundraising round and positive regulatory developments. The report also notes that institutional investor confidence is rising at the expense of retail investment which has all but come to a standstill. The report states that institutional investors have gained “full confidence” in the market over the past six months.

 

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