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No Close Shave for Usain Bolt With ICO Launch Planned for Next Year

The shaving company Champion Shave, with 10 million razors sold, is going crypto with the help of some big sporting names.

Jamaican Usain Bolt, track and field three times world record holder, Brazilian soccer star  Ronaldinho, and basketball player Dominique Wilkins, viewed as one of the best dunkers in NBA history, all signed up in 2016 to launch Champion Shave. Now the company is taking its next step by launching an ICO.

The company’s target is “Champion Coin” ready for launch on October 29, as it seeks to streamline its supply chain service by using DLT. The company statement clarifies its aims as it embraces blockchain tech which will :

“…enable Champion Shave to track every detail of their supply chain end-to-end; greatly reducing costs and increasing efficiency by providing an open, immutable, global, online ledger for tracking freight movement”.

Champion Coin won’t be the first ICO endorsed by ex- Barcelona and Brazilian legend Ronaldinho, as earlier this year he launched his own Ronaldinho Soccer Coin (RSC) through the NEO blockchain platform project with an ambitious plan to create his own football academy. Ronaldinho clearly has no intention of standing still after his illustrious career, which has seen him endorse multinationals such as Coca-Cola (and get fired for drinking Pepsi at a news conference) followed by his work with young people through the UN’s HIV/AIDS programme.

Manny Bains, Champion Shave’s CEO said that the coin will offer “a zero franchise fee initiative for our e-commerce platform” also cutting down cross-border transaction fees. The ICO launch is set for early next year with the coin set to hit the market in the second quarter of 2019.

Usain Bolt recently hit the headlines after retiring from track and field after an illustrious career and taking up professional football with Australian A-league soccer team Central Coast. Bolt currently holds world records in the 100 metres, 200 metres and 4 × 100 metres relay. He is widely considered to be the greatest sprinter of all time

 

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The Binance Bump: Benefit or Risk?

Binance usually has daily trading volume in the USD 0.5-1 billion range, often putting it in the #1 spot relative to all other crypto exchanges in the world. Getting listed on Binance allows a crypto to be traded worldwide, and generally leads to a price rally. The price rally when a new crypto is listed on Binance is being called the Binance Bump.

The Block Crypto did an analysis of the Binance Bump. There are 165 cryptos listed on Binance, but 42 of them were removed from this analysis due to missing data, being listed around the time Binance itself launched, or being a stablecoin. This leaves 123 cryptos in the analysis. The analysis is separated into 4 statistics to reveal the short-term and long-term effects of a Binance listing, the change in price from pre-listing to the highest price on the day of the listing announcement, the 24 hour change in price from the day before the listing announcement to the day of the listing announcement, the 1 week change in price following a listing announcement, and the 30 day change in price following a listing announcement.

There is on average a 51% increase from the price before the listing announcement to the highest price on the day of the listing announcement, although the median increase is 29%, suggesting outliers are driving the average much higher. The 24-hour change from the day before the listing announcement to the day of the listing announcement saw an average price increase of 27% and a median increase of 12%. Clearly, the day a crypto is listed on Binance usually coincides with a rally, and this is the Binance Bump.

Longer term, the returns dissipate. In the 1 week after a listing announcement, the average price increase is 2% with a median price increase of -11%. Therefore, after a brief rally, the price of a crypto that is just listed on Binance tends to dump below the price it was previous to being listed. The Binance Bump could be compared to a pump and dump, where speculation drives a rapid rally, followed by a rapid price crash as the original whale speculators dump their holdings to make quick profits.

The 30-day price change after a listing on Binance is somewhat confusing, with an average increase of 37% while the median is -15%. The average would indicate that the Binance Bump is sustained long-term, but outliers like EthLend which had a 997% 30-day return after being listed on Binance, are skewing the average. The median tells the real story, which is, cryptos that are listed on Binance tend to pump for a very short amount of time and then dump, with the effects of the dump lasting for an extended period of time.

The Binance Bump is similar to the Coinbase Effect, where cryptos that get listed on Coinbase always rally, at least so far. Coinbase is the largest exchange headquartered in the United States, and getting listed on Coinbase makes a crypto easily available for U.S. traders and investors. Ethereum Classic jumped 25% after being listed on Coinbase, 0x spiked 50%, Bitcoin Cash soared 140%, Ethereum surged 30%, and Litecoin rallied 130%.

Generally, the Coinbase Effect leads to a more sustained price increase long term, while data shows that the Binance Bump has beneficial effects on a crypto’s price for only about a day.

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Security Token Offerings (STOs) Could Replace ICOs in the United States

Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) became a popular way of crowdfunding money to launch new blockchain platforms, but the ICO industry is coming to an abrupt halt in the United States due to the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) declaring that ICOs are securities and subject to security regulations. Security Token Offerings (STOs) are similar to ICOs, but more likely to be approved by regulators. It is possible that STOs could replace ICOs in the United States, and could help fuel the crypto and blockchain boom.

ICOs are simply events that occur when a new blockchain platform or company offers their native cryptocurrency in exchange for major cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum, to raise startup funds. This model worked great before regulators stepped in, with USD 5.6 billion raised by ICOs in 2017. Since then the SEC has basically stopped ICOs in the United States. ICOs must be approved by the SEC, but at this time it does not appear that any ICO has been approved by the SEC in the United States.

A problem with ICOs is that they offer a newly launched cryptocurrency, often saying it is guaranteed or expected to have a certain value after launch. However, the free market decides the price of a newly launched ICO crypto, and there have been numerous cases of ICOs pumping and dumping, or never getting listed on an exchange and therefore never gaining value. The latter scenario especially happens in fraudulent ICOs which never come through with their promises to build a blockchain platform, and essentially run away with the crowdfunded money.

STOs offer a new crypto like ICOs, except each unit of this new crypto represents a share in the company conducting the STO. This gives investors a guarantee of equity or dividends, as well as voting rights, whereas ICOs give investors a cryptocurrency that has no guarantees or rights attached to it. Polymath originally came up with the idea for STOs, and has created a platform that guides STOs through the complex legal and technological steps to successfully launch a legal STO, including know your customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) requirements.

While ICOs and STOs both fall under the SEC’s jurisdiction as securities, STOs are actual financial securities and built in a way that makes them much more likely to be given approval by the SEC, since they are a better fit for security laws framework. Essentially, STOs will give United States blockchain and crypto firms an avenue to crowdfund in a similar way to ICOs, as well as offer better protection for investors, and STOs could replace ICOs in the United States.

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Huobi Launching Universal Stablecoin HUSD

Huobi, one of the top 3 crypto exchanges in the world with hundreds of millions of USD trading volume per day has announced the launch of a universal stablecoin called HUSD. HUSD can be interchanged with the Gemini Dollar (GUSD), USD Coin (USDC) which is managed by Circle, True USD (TUSD), and Paxos Standard (PAX). The official launch date for HUSD is scheduled for 22 of October 2018.

The goal of HUSD is to eliminate the need to choose between different stablecoins and to save costs when switching between stablecoins. Further, the aggregation of 4 stablecoins into 1 stablecoin will increase liquidity in the HUSD trading pair, versus having liquidity spread out between trading pairs for the 4 stablecoins. Increased liquidity generally leads to better deals when trading.

Tether (USDT) has experienced volatility recently, dropping as low as USD 0.925 for a brief amount of time, an unideal situation for any stablecoin. Since then USDT has risen close to USD 0.985 and is getting closer to parity each passing day, as of this writing on 20 October 2018. The loss of parity with the USD, even if it is only temporary, prompted Huobi to list GUSD, USDC, PAX, and TUSD so traders would have an alternative to USDT. Deposits for these stablecoins began on 19 October.

HUSD will be completely interchangeable with GUSD, USDC, PAX, and TUSD, meaning when a customer decides to withdraw HUSD they can withdraw any of these 4 stablecoins. Therefore, it will cost nothing to trade between the 4 stablecoins that comprise HUSD. A USDT/HUSD trading pair will be launched on 22 October, allowing customers to move coins back and forth between Tether and the other 4 stablecoins. However, the withdrawal service for HUSD won’t be available for 1-2 weeks, and likewise, the BTC/HUSD and ETH/HUSD trading pairs will be launched later at an unspecified time.

Huobi says they are looking forward to adding more stablecoins in the future, but for now, will test HUSD with these 4 stablecoins to determine the stability of the new system. If any stablecoin does not meet risk control standards it will be removed.

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Zebpay, India’s Biggest Crypto Exchange Moves To Malta

Zebpay was the biggest crypto exchange in India before the banking ban, where the Indian government outlawed crypto exchanges from using banks. Peer to peer trading platforms have since proliferated in India, but Zebpay determined that meaningful business could not be done without bank accounts closed down on 28 September 2018. This caused Zebpay to lose 3 million investors, which is actually half of the total investors in India. Now Zebpay has moved to Malta, which has the nickname blockchain island, and will be serving 20 European countries. Zebpay is now incorporated under the name Awlencan Innovations Malta Limited.

India is notably absent from the list of 20 countries which Zebpay is available in. Exchanging crypto in India is impossible from a distance due to the continued banking ban. The European countries Zebpay now serves include Malta, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, and Sweden.

Zebpay’s abandonment of India and proliferation into the global market is reminiscent of the major Chinese exchanges after the 2017 fiat to crypto ban in China. Huobi, OKCoin, and Binance were the biggest exchanges in China, and after some temporary turbulence they have re-established themselves overseas in many different countries and are stronger than ever. Indeed, Binance and OKEx, which is intimately linked to OKCoin, have also established businesses in Malta, which is part of the reason it has been nicknamed blockchain island.

It seems Malta is the place to go when a crypto exchange has to flee a hostile nation. The Prime Minister of Malta, Joseph Muscat, considers crypto to be the inevitable future of money and warmly welcomes any blockchain or crypto firm.

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100,000 Regular ATMs in the Us Can Easily Become Bitcoin ATMs as Genmega and LibertyX Team Up

ATM manufacturer Genmega and LibertyX have partnered to offer Bitcoin buying functionality on regular ATMs. 100,000 regular ATMs can now become Bitcoin ATMs with a simple upgrade. It is likely that large amounts of Genmega ATM owners will do this upgrade since it provides extra revenue and extra attention without any upfront cost or new hardware.

The Bitcoin and crypto ATM industry has been proliferating. There are 3,894 Bitcoin ATMs worldwide as of this writing on 18 October 2018, up from 2,086 at the beginning of 2018 and 949 at the beginning of 2017. This near-exponential growth of the number of Bitcoin ATMs is building critical infrastructure that turns Bitcoin into a currency that can be used in everyday life, especially in the case of 2-way Bitcoin ATMs that facilitate both buying and selling of the popular cryptocurrency. It helps people paid with Bitcoin, get the cash they need for food and rent. In general, even ATMs that only offer Bitcoin buying are still increasing global demand for the digital currency by providing upward pressure on Bitcoin’s price.

If all 100,000 Genmega ATMs are upgraded, then the number of Bitcoin ATMs will skyrocket by more than an order of magnitude. This could drastically increase Bitcoin adoption, since people that go to regular ATMs will see that Bitcoin is available, and if they did not know about Bitcoin already, they would probably research it and possibly buy it. It will be easier than ever before to buy Bitcoin across the United States if even a fraction of Genmega ATMs upgrade. The combination of Genmega Bitcoin ATMs and classic Bitcoin ATMs will make instant Bitcoin buying available in practically every town across the country.

At this time Genmega ATMs will only be offering Bitcoin purchase option, since LibertyX, which is the exchange they partnered with, only offers Bitcoin buying. LibertyX is a top method in the United States for buying Bitcoin with cash. Users of LibertyX bring cash to a LibertyX location, which can be any store that chooses to offer LibertyX. They exchange cash for a voucher that can be instantly redeemed for Bitcoin. LibertyX is something like a mix between a Bitcoin exchange and a Bitcoin dealer, and they actually launched the first Bitcoin ATMs in the United States back in 2014.

As of 2014, there were 420,000 regular fiat ATMs in the United States, 100X more than all the Bitcoin ATMs in the world as of 2018, and the number of regular fiat ATMs has probably grown since 2014. Worldwide there are an estimated 3.5 million ATMs. If these regular ATMs can become Bitcoin ATMs with a simple software upgrade like that offered by Genmega and LibertyX, then the number of Bitcoin ATMs will grow at unprecedented speeds, and Bitcoin’s price will likely go up from increased demand.

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The Coinbase Effect: 0x Jumps Nearly 50% After Being Listed On Coinbase

0x (ZRX) has become the 6th cryptocurrency to be listed on Coinbase, the biggest exchange headquartered in the United States. Since ZRX went live for trading on Coinbase its price has surged from USD 0.70 to USD 0.95 as of this writing on 17 October 2018, and briefly as high as USD 1.04, a nearly 50% price increase. ZRX has climbed up the ranks on CoinMarketCap to #22 with a USD 511 million market cap. This can be called the Coinbase Effect, and was observed in the past when Ethereum, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Ethereum Classic were added to Coinbase.

Other examples of the Coinbase Effect include Ethereum Classic, which jumped 25% on 11 June 2018, generating a USD 300 million increase of Ethereum Classic’s market cap. In the 2 months following its listing on Coinbase, Ethereum Classic’s market cap surged a total of USD 800 million. The ultimate example of the Coinbase Effect, so far, is when Bitcoin Cash was listed on 19 December 2017 and rallied 140% within a day, generating an increase in market cap of USD 42 billion. When Ethereum was added to Coinbase on 21 July 2016 it surged 30%, and when Litecoin was added to Coinbase on 3 May 2017 it rallied 130% in about a week, and 220% total during the first 1.5 months after being listed.

Buying and selling of ZRX officially started on Coinbase on 16 October 2018, 5 days after ZRX launched on Coinbase Pro. Now ZRX is available on Coinbase’s website, as well as its Android and iPhone apps, making it easy to buy across the United States. This has led to a direct increase in demand for ZRX, with daily trading volume spiking from USD 10 million on 16 October just prior to the Coinbase listing, to USD 143 million currently.

While some of the ZRX price increase can be attributed to speculation that ZRX’s price would rise due to being listed on Coinbase, users on Coinbase have a true thirst for diversifying their portfolios beyond the 5 major cryptos previously listed on Coinbase, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Ethereum Classic. ZRX is the first ERC-20 token to be listed on Coinbase, so its users can finally add an ERC-20 token to their portfolio.

Several other top cryptos are ERC-20 tokens, and these will likely be added to Coinbase in the coming months. It will be easy for Coinbase to add other ERC-20 tokens since they use the same backbone technology as ZRX. Further, Coinbase announced in September 2018 that they will be adding all possible cryptos that are popular and legal, setting the precedent for adding numerous other cryptos, to compete with exchanges like Huobi and Binance which have hundreds of cryptos.

As seen with the ZRX listing, the Coinbase Effect can cause a drastic increase in a crypto’s price and market cap. As Coinbase progressively adds more cryptos, the Coinbase effect could lead to an overall increase in the crypto market cap. The ZRX listing alone has so far led to a USD 100+ million market cap increase.

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Gemini Dollar, TrueUSD, USDC, and PAX Surge Above Parity With USD as USDT Struggles

Tether (USDT), the #1 stablecoin with a market cap in excess of USD 2 billion, has been struggling recently due to banking problems at Bitfinex, and its price has dropped below parity with the USD. Simultaneously other stablecoins including the Gemini Dollar (USDG), True USD (TUSD), USD//Coin (USDC), and Paxos Standard Token (PAX) have surged above parity with the USD, indicating that people are exchanging their USDT for other stablecoins.

Through early October 2018, USDT maintained parity with the USD, and there were roughly 2.8 billion USDT in circulation. Then the USDT gradually declined to about USD 0.99, before 320 million USDT were redeemed and taken out of circulation. This perhaps caused a run on Tether Limited, possibly making redemption temporarily impossible and removing the backing of USD cash reserves, which is the primary mechanism that keeps USDT at parity with the USD.

The price of USDT crashed on 15 October 2018 to USD 0.925, and temporarily went as low as USD 0.87 on at least one exchange. The drastic price movement serves as strong evidence that there was no USD backing USDT at that time due to banking troubles. In general, people should be able to redeem USDT at parity for USD through Tether Limited, and would not sell USDT for less than 1 USD unless Tether Limited’s redemption process stopped working. The price of USDT recovered to USD 0.98 within a day of this crash, but then another 250 million USDT were redeemed and taken out of circulation, and now as of this writing on 17 October USDT’s price is slowly declining and approaching USD 0.97. Since the Tether crisis began, the USDT market cap has declined USD 600 million from USD 2.8 billion to USD 2.2 billion.

Traders and investors have clearly been shifting their holdings from USDT to several other major stablecoins that are available. The USDG which is run by the Gemini exchange briefly surged to a high of USD 1.19 on 16 October, TUSD spiked to USD 1.08, USDC run by Circle hit USD 1.11, and PAX reached USD 1.08. Since then these stablecoins have declined to a consensus of USD 1.02 to USD 1.03 as of 17 October. It is interesting to note that as of this writing these stablecoins are 2-3 cents above parity with the USD, while Tether is 2-3 cents below parity with the USD.

While people who were holding TUSD, USDC, PAX, and USDG before the stablecoin rally began might have made some profits, it is probably not a good thing that these stablecoins are not at parity with the USD, and is just as bad as USDT being below parity with the USD but for different reasons. First off, stablecoins are backed by cash reserves stored with the company that runs them, so any excess above parity with USD is not redeemable for cash. Therefore, if someone buys a stablecoin that is above parity with the USD, long term they will lose that excess above parity as the stablecoin heads back to parity. For this reason, traders and investors would be cautious to invest in a stablecoin for any price above USD 1, since they know they would end up losing some money long term once the stablecoin market stabilizes.

For the time being, as USDT continues to struggle and decline further from parity, traders and investors will be shifting money from USDT to other stablecoins in rapid fashion, lifting those stablecoins above parity with USD. Traders are probably directly trading their USDT for other stablecoins, and there is far more USDT in circulation than the supply of all the other stablecoins combined. Long-term, stablecoins will go back to being at parity with the USD, whether that comes from Tether regaining its footing and going back to parity or completely unwinding to zero remains to be seen.

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Bitfinex Launches Distributed Banking Solution for Fiat Deposits

Bitfinex, the largest USD to Bitcoin exchange in the world, has been making headlines recently with their banking troubles. Fiat deposits on Bitfinex were officially halted for about a week, while simultaneously the Bitfinex subreddit is filled with complaints that fiat withdrawals are not functioning correctly, even though Bitfinex says fiat withdrawals never stopped working. Bitfinex launched a new distributed banking solution on 16 October 2018 and has restarted fiat deposits for USD, GBP, JPY, and EUR.

With the new system, users initiate a request to deposit fiat, specifying the exact amount of fiat they wish to deposit. The user’s account is then reviewed, and then they receive a deposit notification telling them where to deposit the fiat. The user then deposits the fiat, which is processed in 6-10 days. The minimum deposit is USD 10,000, and there is a deposit fee of 0.1%.

This distributed banking solution for fiat deposits sounds similar to the method used by Bitcoin dealers on LocalBitcoins for many years. Large Bitcoin dealers generally have accounts with multiple banks, often under many different names, and they tell their clients where to deposit fiat on a case by case basis. This sort of system is done to distribute deposits between banks so that the load on each bank account is minimized. If a Bitcoin dealer uses the same bank account for every deposit they usually have their accounts shut down since a huge volume of deposits from many different people is suspicious to the bank.

Bitfinex is the largest USD exchange in the world, so even if they distribute fiat deposits between numerous different banks, the volumes in each bank will likely be high enough to raise suspicions. This system might work for a temporary period at each bank, but there is a large risk of Bitfinex’s bank accounts getting closed sporadically. It seems Bitfinex is removing risk for themselves by putting a 6-10 day wait period to approve a fiat deposit, but that certainly does not remove the risk for their customers who could end up getting deposits stuck in limbo if the bank they deposit to freezes the bank account.

Bitfinex seems to welcome the challenges that will come from dealing with banks like this, saying “We believe this system to be significantly more durable in the face of sustained attacks by our competition and their supporters. Ongoing campaigns against us will only result in our company becoming stronger and better”. This is the same sort of attitude that Bitcoin dealers have when dealing with banks. Generally, as Bitcoin dealers lose bank accounts, they simply add more bank accounts under different names, generating a prolific underground network to send and receive fiat. It seems Bitfinex is on track to doing something like that.

This distributed banking solution launched by Bitfinex is certainly not ideal. It is better for a crypto exchange to have a solid banking relationship with a single bank, rather than trying to circumvent the system with many banks. Coinbase processes fiat deposits and withdrawals relatively quickly when compared to Bitfinex since it is compliant and follows all regulations. This makes the customer experience much less stressful and more efficient on Coinbase versus Bitfinex. Generally, the longest a fiat deposit or withdrawal should take is 3-5 days with ACH, and Bitfinex’s deposit system is much slower than that.

The price of Bitcoin on Bitfinex continues to be more than USD 300 higher than on Coinbase and Bitstamp as of 17 October 2018, suggesting that arbitrage mechanisms are not working. This indicates that fiat functionality on Bitfinex continues to be inefficient, since if it was efficient then arbitrage traders would bring Bitfinex’s Bitcoin price down to the global market price.

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Coinbase Secures Ireland Office as Brexit Safety Net

On Monday, major cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase announced the opening of a new office in Ireland’s capital of Dublin. The move is said to prevent any risks to the company associated with the UK leaving the European Union (EU).

With the UK scheduled to break off from the EU and possibly its entire regulatory framework, Coinbase has been forced to relocate its European hub from its London offices, although the London branches will remain in place to service the UK. According to Coinbase, the EU was its fasted growing market in 2017 and Ireland was most well equipped to provide the expertise needed to take this on.

Ireland’s Minister for Financial Services and Insurance, Michael D’Arcy T.D, praised the cryptocurrency exchange’s decision, saying it is a reflection of the country’s growing competitiveness in the financial services industry.

Speaking to UK-based news outlet the Guardian, Coinbase’s UK CEO Zeeshan Feroz said that in the case of a so-called hard Brexit that sees the UK leaving the European Customs Union, the exchange cannot risk not being able to provide the same level of service to customers located in Europe.

Feroz added that in addition to providing a Brexit contingency plan, the Dublin office will be well-placed to benefit the burgeoning Irish cryptocurrency economy and provide a number of skilled tech jobs, alongside growing the national technology sector.

While the Dublin branch assuming the role as EU leader may come as a blow to the UK, Feroz believes that there is a way the government can make Brexit work in its favor for the cryptocurrency industry.

”I am of the view today that there is an opportunity for Britain post-Brexit to perhaps take the lead in offering “balanced regulation” for the sector,” he told the Guardian, adding “In general, and outside of Brexit, I think crypto should be regulated as a service. There are businesses out there like ours that handle billions of dollars or pounds every day.”

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