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OKEx Seeks Branding Boost with English Premier League Partnership

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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John McAfee Tweets to Sooth the Souls of Nervous Investors

Controversial investor and software guru took to Twitter this week to calm the jangling nerves of Bitcoin investors after a tumultuous week left the flagship cryptocurrency hovering above USD 4,000.

Investors may ask “why listen to John McAfee?” but they might just take a look at a recent study which revealed that the 73-year-old tech veteran was found to be the most influential figure in terms of trustworthiness when it comes to handing out trading advice. In second place, the study placed Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin, followed by Litecoin creator Charlie Lee.

In his latest tweet, McAfee makes an analogy to the bear market and winter, arguing that a “glorious spring” is around the corner, attributing the current market disruption to confusion. He points out that investors are joining the market daily, regardless of current trends and blames the current market turmoil on institutions who took “absolutely unenforceable measures to allay their fears.”

Market forces will “burn out” in time, McAfee suggests and encourages the global cryptocurrency community to stick with cryptocurrencies in the long term, echoing the views of Blockstream’s CEO Bobby Lee, who suggested that Bitcoin could still threaten USD 3,000, but long-term, feels it will overtake gold:

“This bear market might last another 18+ months, until the next block reward halving. That’s a long time for everyone except true believers. Enough time to scare away all of the weak long positions.”

Lee certainly has an ally in venture capital partner Lou Kerner from CryptoOracle who sees gold eventually being surpassed by Bitcoin. He compared the current market instability to the early 2000 dot com burst but makes an analogy to strong coins such as Bitcoin and Ethereum and companies such as Amazon who survived the bubble and emerged to become giant players in today’s tech markets. Kerner calls Bitcoin “the greatest store of value ever created.”

As to the recent drop in values, Kerner argues that “crypto has been so weak because [for] most of it there is no underlying value outside of confidence.”

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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 ( 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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Blockchain Report Goes Live with Daily News Video Targeting Millennials

Crypto Culture

a series

Part 1: Blockchain Report Goes Live

In the first installment of the Bitcoin News Crypto Culture Series, we investigate a new daily news video from What’s Trending and ICO Watchdog, Blockchain Report.

On Tuesday 2 October, the first episode of a new daily blockchain news program aired, hosted by Snapchat influencer Taylor Nikolai. Blockchain Report is a combined effort from cryptocurrency financial information service ICO Watchdog, and Emmy-nominated digital media company What’s Trending.

The short videos are looking to tap into the millennial generation’s intrigue in cryptocurrencies while providing a trusted source for information, with no underhanded selling of new tokens or products that unfortunately crop up in crypto-related media.

What’s Trending founder Shira Lazar co-heads the project and has plans to use the show to highlight women in the field of cryptocurrency. Speaking to Forbes, she described her goal of using the Blockchain Report platform to showcase both well-known women, and those under the radar who have not yet had the opportunity to make headlines.

The first episode remained shy of 100 views on YouTube at the time of press but with these big names and solid capital behind the project, it looks likely to form a large following. What’s Trending boasts 3 million cross-platform followers and over 200 million YouTube views to date, while Blockchain Report’s Twitter account already has nearly 6,500 followers.

Who’s going to enjoy it?

The fast-paced, well-produced video mimics that of its partner company What’s Trending but like its videos, they are short and do not divulge a lot of detail into the topics discussed. Creators of Blockchain Report say they are targeting the millennial generation, although well-informed millennials in the space are likely to want to do further research on the topics discussed as the self-imposed five minutes of each video leaves little time to really delve into the subject matter.

Scheduled daily Monday to Friday, Blockchain Report may well become a useful, trusted source to find out the big news headline of the day, and the production quality is certainly superior to the majority of alternative daily cryptocurrency videos. Experts or individuals who are looking for a more in-depth approach may be inclined to look elsewhere, however.

What can you expect?

The first episode covered three big stories from Tuesday: Tom Lee’s claim that Ethereum is on the verge of a major rally, web browser Opera enabling built-in Ethereum support, and corporate investment company Fidelity showing further interest in cryptocurrency and blockchain.

ICO Watchdog prides itself on providing an unbiased, informative take on the ICO market, providing investors with informative publications such as ”The Six Key Factors for Analyzing an ICO“.

Its participation in the project can assure viewers that what they are watching can be corroborated by facts, while What’s Trending has the necessary background in media production to make it entertaining and accessible enough to attract younger viewers.

Blockchain Report is one to watch to grab your quick headlines but not a sole resource to rely on.


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Dogecoin Founder Develops Script to Combat ETH Giveaway Scams

Dogecoin founder Jackson Palmer has developed a script which helps combat the ETH giveaway scams plaguing Twitter users. Palmer delivered this script directly to Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX and Tesla, one of many famous Twitter users been targeted by scammers.

The Twitter Ether giveaway scam is done by creating an account with the same profile picture and name as a Twitter user with a large following. The scammer uses the fake account to reply to tweets of the real Twitter account, with an offer of something like ETH 1-3 for every ETH 0.01 sent to a certain address.

The only difference visible between a scammer’s account and the authentic Twitter account is difference in the actual username. Most users spot this difference and don’t fall for the scam. However, many others do fall for the scam, since they don’t see the difference in the username, mistake it for the actual popular Twitter user. The result has been over ETH 8,000 worth more than USD 4 million scammed from Twitter users as of June 2018, and these numbers have probably grown since then.

This scam damages the reputation of Twitter itself, the celebrities that are being targeted, and financially hurts users that fall for it. The Twitter team itself has done little to stop the Ether giveaway scam, and Elon Musk is one of many who is constantly seeing this scam in replies to his tweets, so he reached out to Palmer to fix the problem.

@ummjackson if you can help get rid of the annoying scam spammers, that would be much appreciated

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 17, 2018

ok, *now* I can finally call it a night.

— Jackson Palmer (@ummjackson) September 17, 2018

In less than a day, Palmer did what Twitter could not, and developed a real way to combat Twitter giveaway scammers. He created a script that identifies any users replying to a Tweet that have the same profile picture as the Twitter celebrity being targeted, instantly blocking the fake accounts run by scammers.

This should help curtail Twitter crypto giveaway scammers and perhaps lead to new ideas to stop the scammers that are even more effective. Perhaps a Twitter crypto giveaway scammer could slightly alter the profile picture so the script doesn’t detect them but that already makes the scam way harder and less effective, and the algorithm can be improved to detect the typical wording used for Ether giveaway scams to make it bulletproof.


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Nasdaq to Trial Prediction Tool for 500 Cryptocurrencies

Nasdaq, second-largest exchange in the world by market capitalization, is planning to add a tool to the exchange which will aid investors to predict crypto price movement, according to unconfirmed reports.

A person familiar with the company’s plans has indicated that it will shortly be adding crypto assets to its new Analysist Hub. The Hub, launched in 2017, computes traditional asset market fluctuations drawing on social media and other sources.

Wall Street has shown interest in the cryptosphere over past months, with major banks making statements of intent, although Brian Kelly’s prediction that the addition of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and Goldman Sachs to the crypto status quo would cause the market to surge, has yet to happen.

Bill Dague, Nasdaq’s head of alternative data, is guarded in his response to the suggestion that the exchange giant is about to take the same steps as some of Wall’s Streets other major financial institutions, and commented, “…given the abundance of interest, we are exploring cryptocurrency related datasets… Whether or not we launch a crypto-related product remains to be seen.”

On the other hand, Nasdaq’s source had a less guarded response, suggesting that the service would provide information on the movement of 500 crypto datasets using resources such as Twitter, and possibly StockTwits and Reddit.

Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman had hinted earlier this year that Nasdaq had been looking into crypto-related products when she remarked:

“Certainly, Nasdaq would consider becoming a crypto exchange over time… I believe that digital currencies will continue to persist it’s just a matter of how long it will take for that space to mature.”

An article published in May on the Nasdaq website even cited three coins that the exchange felt might be able to withstand future market turmoil if it transpired: Bitcoin (BTC), Litecoin (LTC) and Stellar (XLM).

Nasdaq will need to move fast with its any crypto additions to its Analyst Hub, as news services Reuters and Bloomberg are already lining up with similar plans to launch a crypto analytic tool.


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Crypto Related Twitter Account Being Sold for Millions of USD?

A crypto related Twitter account with 82,000 followers, @Crypto_Bitlord, says they were approached to sell their account for 672 Bitcoins which is roughly USD 4.7 million. The account owner states that they are now the 5th crypto Twitter that has agreed to sell their account for large amounts of Bitcoin.

Got an offer to sell this account for 657 $BTC and I just couldn’t refuse, not in this bear market.

The person seems to be coming after big accounts. I’m the 5th to sell up now.

Handing over the keys to new owner next week and will announce fresh handle 👍

— ฿ITLORD🍭 (@Crypto_Bitlord) August 30, 2018

It seems improbable that someone would pay so much money for a Twitter account. If this was true, perhaps the person buying the accounts intends to use them to promote initial coin offerings (ICOs) and other crypto investments. It is well-known that some Twitter users, like John McAfee, are being paid to promote ICOs. John McAfee says he is paid USD 100,000 to tweet about ICOs to his 800,000+ followers. Considering that though, it doesn’t really make sense that someone would pay USD 4.7 million for an account with 82,000 followers for promotional purposes, instead of just paying USD 100,000 to reach 800,000+ followers.

In a worst case scenario, perhaps the person buying these accounts intends to scam the followers by leveraging the reputations of these well-developed Twitter accounts. That seems unlikely though since it would take some incredibly prolific scamming to make up for the USD cost of the Twitter accounts, and well before that, the account would probably be considered dangerous.

One user, @WhalePanda, says they sold their Twitter account for 1,000 bitcoins, but has already made another account @ProfFaustus to troll Bitcoin Cash enthusiasts. This is obviously a joke since @ProfFaustus is Craig Wright, one of the biggest advocates of Bitcoin Cash.

Same here. Sold mine for 1000 BTC. I like round numbers.
I’ve already been preparing my new account for a while now. It’s @ProfFaustus and it’ll be mostly a satire account to troll BCashers.

— WhalePanda (@WhalePanda) August 30, 2018

Although this is a joke, some people are taking it seriously and illustrates how the initial post from @Crypto_Bitlord could also be untrue even if some people think it’s the truth. Time will tell, @Crypto_Bitlord says they are handing over the account next week and will announce their new account name at that time.

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Max Keiser: Bitcoin Price Rise to Follow Increasing Hashrate

Journalist and former Wall Street trader Max Keiser has expressed his views that with the Bitcoin hash rate reaching another all-time high and 15% spike this month, an increase in the value of Bitcoin will be triggered.

Sharing a post on Twitter illustrating the growing hashrate in a graph, Keiser wrote: ”My mantra since $3. Price follows hashrate. If you don’t understand this then you don’t understand Bitcoin.”

My mantra since $3. Price follows hashrate. If you don’t understand this then you don’t understand #Bitcoin. Sorry, but dem the facts, Bro

— Max Keiser (@maxkeiser) June 19, 2018

The Bitcoin hashrate saw a 15% gain through June before reaching the highest levels to date, despite a decline in transaction volumes and Bitcoin’s price valuation. This growth strongly indicates more parties are choosing to invest in the cryptocurrency despite the rocky market.

Hashrate refers to the aggregate computing power of the Bitcoin network, reflecting the number of tries a unit can make when attempting to solve one of Bitcoin’s computational puzzles required in the mining process.

Reaching the Bitcoin bottom

Keiser is not the only prominent industry figure to anticipate Bitcoin is ready to rebound.

Speaking to CNBC this week, president of commodities brokerage and trading firm Blue Line Futures Bill Baruch noted that Bitcoin’s recent price plummet was a sign of selling becoming exhausted. Now the price and volatility are stable, Baruch believes the bottoming process can begin.

He also advised investors not to sell Bitcoin below the price of USD 10,000, as he sees it as likely to have enormous payoffs for those willing to hold in the long run.

CEO of the Blackmore Group and Wealthchain Group, Phillip Nunn also reaffirmed his Bitcoin prediction this week, standing by his belief that the cryptocurrency would reach USD 60,000 by the end of the year.

Nunn had also expressed a belief that Bitcoin would drop to USD 6,000 in the first half of the year, which has already been met. Nunn, however, believes it is predominantly blockchain technology that will lead to the boom of cryptocurrencies.


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Crypto Community Critiques Bitcoin-Tether Manipulation Study

A study published earlier this week by economics professor John M Griffin concluding that the value of Bitcoin has been manipulated via Tether (USDT) has been rejected by portions of the cryptocurrency community, with the criticism that it had clearly not been peer-reviewed.

Findings of the study

Griffin claims in his research that Bitcoin has been routinely manipulated by supposedly USD-backed cryptocurrency USDT, while also implicating prominent trading platform Bitfinex. Much of the Bitfiniex management team overlaps with that of Tether, and the exchange site is the main conduit for USDT. In a statement given to Bloomberg, Bitfinex CEO JL van der Velde rejected any accusation of the company’s involvement.

A more detailed look into the findings of the original study was covered by Bitcoin News yesterday.

”Coordinated FUD”

Much of the backlash from the community online rejects it as a coordinated FUD attack, dismissing the analysis as ungrounded pessimism. Twitter user Whalepool, maintaining some 36,700 followers and describing itself as a “community of daytraders focused mainly on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies”, condemned the study as “a coordinated FUD attack against all of crypto”.

As reported by Finance Magnets, a Reddit user using the pseudonym Priest_of_Satoshi critiqued the study by noting that all it really proves is “people minting Tether are exceedingly good at ‘buying the dip’ and they probably bought about 50% of the dips”. Just like the stock exchange, those trading cryptocurrencies for maximum profits are required to note trends in order to buy and sell appropriately.

Another Twitter user pointed to Griffin’s work at a consulting firm specializing in fraud cases, as well as the fact that the SSRN library where the paper was posted does not require any form of peer-review before publication.

Tether’s actions ”exactly what should happen”

Matt Odell, who is described in his Twitter profile as working in “Bitcoin & distributed systems” with around 13,700 followers, said that the study neither proves price manipulation, nor lack of reserves. The falling price of Bitcoin sees people sell their holdings for USDT, initiating a USDT price rise which prompts Tether to issue more tokens so it again correlates with the price of one USD.

Odell describes Tether’s supply increase during market decline as “exactly what should happen”. He did note in November 2017, however, that the relationship between Bitfinex and Tether had “always been sketchy”, calling Tether “a centralized stop-gap solution until connections to fiat are unnecessary”.

I’ve said this countless times before, the fact that Tether supply increased during market declines doesn’t prove manipulation. That’s exactly what should happen if Tether is working as designed.

— Matt Odell (@matt_odell) June 13, 2018

Tether reserves

While Tether may be holding reserve supplies of its tokens in the same way responsible banks are required to, it cannot reveal where its money is held else it would face potential business closure. As some call for Tether to be more transparent in their processes, it is unable to categorically prove such reserves do or do not exist.


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Crypto Marketing Gets Creative Amid Ad Bans and Tighter Regulatory Scrutiny

A new Wired report finds that US companies are experimenting with new marketing channels within the crypto space, especially after recent high-profile bans on crypto-related advertising on social media channels and with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) starting to take a closer look at unregulated token sales late last year.

This has also created new opportunities for those willing to take on the challenging task of differentiating genuine startups from fraudulent ones.

An example is Sally, an executive assistant living in British Columbia, who created a 34-page beginner’s guide to crypto investing and shared it online, very quickly gaining 18,000 subscribers on YouTube and 14,000 followers on Twitter. Within a few months, she was making a living from her new-found life and eventually quit her job. She commented:

“I’m like a nobody in traditional marketing terms, but because this space is so new and it’s so crazy right now, there aren’t a lot of crypto influencers yet, and especially female ones.”

Although she has clearly made a success from the crypto space, now receiving up to ten requests a week to promote ICOs and post coin reviews, such opportunities need to be weeded out among the numerous similar sounding projects, many of them far less reputable.

A recent Wall Street Journal investigation has highlighted this problem of how to choose a bona fide opportunity amongst the numerous scam traps waiting for its next victim. The investigation found that nearly 20% of 1,450 projects were obvious frauds and increased scrutiny from the SEC has dampened entrepreneurial enthusiasm.

This requires that projects need to be far more innovative, particularly in the light of recent advertising bans by Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Bing. Startup fundraising was largely superseded by ICOs as an effective way of raising funds, but now ICOs are looking far less secure among the confusing mix of promoters, scammers, spammers, and regulators.

“Scams and pump-and-dump schemes have turned off many potential investors. Meanwhile, a sustained drop in the prices of major cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ether has left crypto investors with less capital to risk on new tokens. Making matters worse,” writes Wired.

The market is becoming expensive as it becomes primed for growth hackers, PR agencies, telegram managers and bounty hunters. Jonas Karlberg, CEO of AmaZix, a Denmark-based firm that manages Telegram communities, explains that bounty programs give products a voice and are also time-friendly, but they have a downside. He warns that numerous mindless social media shares create little value for the project. “These bounty hunters are only doing this to get their hands on some quick reward,” he says.

A Google company spokesman has said that its ban is not operational yet. Until it does, writes Wired, crypto companies will take advantage of the lag. Searches for terms like “buy ico”, “token sale” and “invest crypto” will turn up numerous ads for cryptocurrency projects, white papers, and ICOs.

Sally’s 34-page guide may be even more useful to the uninitiated about to step into this vibrant and complex space; it may possibly help them to avoid a misguided next move and make a productive, financially rewarding decision.


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