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No Money Left, QuadrigaCX Tells Creditors At Supreme Court Hearing

No Money Left, QuadrigaCX Tells Creditors At Supreme Court Hearing

The Nova Scotia Supreme Court hearing has heard QuadrigaCX creditors pleas for reimbursement of funds following the death of the exchange’s founder, but the coffers are reportedly empty.

The Halifax courtroom was told that the USD 70 million in cash and USD 190 million in Bitcoins and other digital assets could not be repaid to the 115,000 cryptocurrency traders owed funds at this stage as there were no funds available.

QuadrigaCX’s misfortune began when the founder and CEO 30-year-old Gerald Cotten died in early December 2018, but the exchange waited until early January to announce his passing. Funds locked in cold storage amounted to 26,488.59834 Bitcoins; 11,378.79082 Bitcoin Cash, 11,149.74262 Bitcoin Cash SV, 35,230.42779 Bitcoin Gold; 199,888.408 Litecoins; and 429,922.0131 Ether at the time of Cotten’s death.

As a result, USD 190 million in missing cryptocurrency is locked in offline digital wallets, but because Cotten was the only person with access to the encrypted passcodes, the funds are inaccessible. With the suggestion that the creditor lawyers’ fees should be capped at USD 100,000, payable by QuadrigaCX, the company’s lawyer was forced to admit, “As of today, we don’t have anything.”

He later claimed the money was to be made available by Cotten’s widow, Jennifer Robertson.

Three teams of lawyers from separate law firms based in Nova Scotia and Toronto have been selected to represent the creditors. Bennett Jones of Toronto and Halifax-based McInnes Cooper have already signed up 181 users who are owed about USD 22 million. McInnes Cooper lawyer Benjamin Durnford said one of the key roles of counsel will be communicating with affected users scattered around the world. Avoiding innuendo on Reddit, where anonymous participants often trade in rumor, would be an issue, he argued.

Meanwhile, Toronto-based Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt and Halifax-based Patterson Law representing 134 affected users owed about USD 19 million told the judge that one of its lawyers was luckily a cryptocurrency expert: “We don’t need to familiarize ourselves with cryptocurrency… We already have that.”

 

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Cryptopia Gets Green Light to Reopen After Hacking

Cryptopia Gets Green Light to Reopen After Hacking

New Zealand cryptocurrency exchange Cryptopia, which was hacked almost exactly a month ago, has been given the green light to reopen as local police wind up their inquiries.

Cryptopia has over 2 million global users and offers trading for one of the world’s largest range of cryptocurrencies. January’s hacking resulted in the loss of some $USD 6 million worth of cryptocurrency which warranted the company notifying its users that it had “suffered a security breach which resulted in significant losses”.

The body investigating the breach, New Zealand’s High Tech Crime Group, have indicated that although the exchange if free to open, some of its team will be remaining on site to complete their investigations. The police have not expressed any indication of laying any charges at this stage.

Experts from data company Elementus believe the stolen cryptocurrency could amount to USD 23 million dollars which comprise Ether and ERC20 tokens, and reports indicate that the attack could have even continued even after the investigators arrived on the scene in January.

Cryptopia surprised New Zealand’s crypto and banking community at the end of last year when it announced that it had plans to relaunch the New Zealand dollar stablecoin (NZDT) in Q1 2019. The NZDT was originally launched in 2017, with daily trading volume rallying to NZD 1 million per day. This spooked ASB, the bank that Cryptopia was working with, since proper know your customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) laws were not in place. Fortunately, the orderly termination of the NZDT stablecoin gave customers a month to convert their tokens back to NZD.

Despite the green light, Cryptopia founders Adam Clark and Rob Dawson have not indicated exactly when they plan to resume services for its huge customer base.

 

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Chinese Billionaire Claims Bitcoin Patience Will Reap Rewards

Chinese Billionaire Claims Bitcoin Patience Will Reap Rewards

As the much-discussed intuitional investment, hailed as cryptocurrencies jumpstart to a new crypto era, still awaits, a Chinese Bitcoin billionaire calls for patience.

Zhao Dong, one of the world’s largest over-the-counter traders of Bitcoin, made the plea to the industry suggesting that it could be well into the year before the market gets the boost it needs. The entrepreneur was talking on a WeChat group called “The Public Chain Alliance Crossing The Bulls And Bears Elite Team”, when he made the call for patience.

Zhao, another advocate of a USD 50,000 Bitcoin by 2021 not so long ago, said the “only thing you need is patience”, referring to a large investor surge into the market. He said that those who believed in the future of Bitcoin should hold “as much as possible when nobody cares”. He said also:

“In the bull market, I don’t persuade people to buy bitcoin, because it seems easy to make quick money but in fact, it is not. Now [in the bear market], I start to talk people into buying bitcoin.”

Zhao certainly is not alone, with other high flyers in the industry talking up the flagship cryptocurrency this year, with just Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey recently predicting that Bitcoin was to become the internet’s first “native currency”.

As Bitcoin investors and traders wait for the highly-anticipated Bakkt bitcoin platform and a US Bitcoin exchange-traded fund to boost the price, Mike Novogratz predicts Bitcoin is on the recovery after a bubble burst and that it is in a period of “handing off ownership from the people’s revolution“.

 

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HSBC Whistleblower Is Developing His Own Cryptocurrency

Hervé Falciani, the French-Italian whistleblower who helped track down tax evaders with 130,00 Swiss bank accounts in the 2008 Valencia Polytechnic University crash, is to launch a new cryptocurrency.

Falciani became renowned as the HSBC ex-employee turned whistleblower who provided several European countries classified information on thousands of Swiss bank clients who were evading taxes, most of which were managed by a subsidiary of his employers at the time, HSBC Private Bank.

He created what became known as the “Lagarde list” of HSBC account holders who allegedly used the financial institution’s services for money laundering and tax evasion, leaking the list to the current International Monetary Fund (IMF) head, Christine Lagarde, who was French finance minister at the time.

Continuing his anti-banking crusade, Falciani has now fallen back on crypto to clean up the financial space, by creating his own cryptocurrency – Tabu, which has been developed by ‘Tactical Whistleblowers’, a non-profit organization founded by Falciani.

To date, the Tabu token project has raised €1.3 million (appr. $1.47 million), however, an additional €2 million of capital is required in order to ensure adequate funding for the project’s ongoing development. Falciani’s mission is to cut corruption caused by what he sees as inefficiencies of the traditional banking documentation system, by also developing a blockchain powered registration system.

Tactical Whistleblowers, with its HQ in Valencia, is comprised of several academics with a strong background in Mathematics from the Valencia Polytechnic University.

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12.7% of Amazon Customers Call For Crypto Products or Services

amazon, cryptocurrency, bitcoin

A recent survey shows that 12.7% of Amazon customers would like to see the marketplace selling cryptocurrency products or services.

The report conducted by Global financial portal Investing.com had surveyed over 1000 of the multinational e-commerce company’s clients in an attempt to analyze Amazon’s consumption rate, with a view of expanding its services to offer more products.

The results revealed that most respondents, being allowed to choose multiple products, voted mostly in favor of an Amazon-backed computer offering (72.9%), followed by local coupons and deals (51.7%), prescription drugs (36.7%), home security (31%) and even medical marijuana (29.5).

13.7% of Amazon clients unsurprisingly voted for listing cryptocurrency products, especially given calls from the industry to drive cryptocurrency adoption through the huge e-commerce market. Although Amazon has been somewhat reticent, there were indications in November 2017 when Bitcoin was at its hiatus and looked to be stratosphere bound, that internet e-commerce giant had likely acquired digital currency-related domain names.

As for using crypto online for purchasing goods and services, exchange giant Binance’s CEO Changpeng Zhao has said in the past that he sees Amazon eventually accepting cryptocurrencies, suggesting that they are ideally suited for use on the platform. He commented:

“For any internet (non-physical) based business, I don’t understand why anyone would not accept crypto for payments. It is easier, faster and cheaper to integration than traditional payment gateways. Less paperwork. And reaches more diverse demographic and geography.”

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Leaked SEC Comments Reveal ETF Optimism

Leaked SEC Comments Reveal ETF Optimism

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is in the cryptocurrency headlines again, and this time it’s another one of the regulator’s operatives that has the industry guessing.

It is exchange-traded funds once more becoming the point of focus not least because of the SEC’s announcement a few days ago that it was looking for a tool to improve cryptocurrency verification methods. Last November, SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce gave the industry a little hope regarding the acceptance of Bitcoin ETFs when she announced that she saw “significant intellectual capital” being invested by both institutional investors and exchanges towards the development of a Bitcoin ETF.

Now it’s the turn of another commissioner, Robert J Jackson Jr, whose comments to the Congressional Quarterly (CQ) were due to be published on 11 February 2019, but have since been leaked. Comments in which he agrees with his colleague’s sentiments have been shared across Twitter, in which he says that he also sees investment by both institutional investors and exchanges leading towards the development of a Bitcoin ETF. Although he doesn’t let slip which ETF applications have the best chance of acceptance, he also commented:

“A fund based on Bitcoin will eventually pass muster at the Securities and Exchange Commission despite that agency’s actions to deny all previous efforts.”

It is worth noting that Pierce’s comments in November of 2018 were her own, as she made clear in her podcast at the time; views not necessarily representative of the SEC as a whole. Commissioner Jackson’s comments to CQ were not necessarily intended for publication.

Clearly, the crypto space is hotting again up after the government shutdown and once more cryptocurrency business is ending up on someone’s desk at the SEC. The financial regulator’s new announcement that it was now considering a verification tool has raised some eyebrows in the industry, suggesting that there may be some more legislation on the way. The announcement was as follows:

“The SEC is seeking information for potential sources to support the goal of acquiring data for the most widely-used blockchain ledgers, including the universe of available information and transaction details.”

 

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Bitcoin Transaction Performance Climbing Past January 2018 Levels

Bitcoin Transaction Performance Climbing Past January 2018 Levels

Bitcoin’s transaction volume is on its way to new levels, now touching rates unseen since the period following Bitcoin price’s all-time high at the end of 2017.

According to Jameson Lopp, chief technology officer at Bitcoin personal key security system firm Casa, “the system is improving and growing”. Data from transactionfee.info verifies that the Bitcoin is now reaching the highest volume levels since January 2018. Lopp has just published his own analysis of Bitcoin’s recent performance in which he writes:

A variety of improvements in block propagation have been implemented by Bitcoin Core over the past couple years and as nodes are upgrading, they appear to be having an effect. There’s also a new highly performant miner relay network.”

Lopp sees the combination of lower transaction demand, coupled with improved fee algorithms, along with adoption of segregated witness (SegWit), and transaction batching, resulting in far more efficient use of block space. In 2018, the percentage of BTC transactions spending SegWit inputs increased from 10% to 40% according to Lopp, who added that “the average BTC transaction size found its peak at 750 bytes in February before falling to 450 in the fourth quarter of 2018”.

Casa’s tech officer points out that this year, the market dominance of BTC returned to over 50%, after falling to 32.5%, concluding:

“The number of reachable nodes didn’t fall much in comparison to the exchange rate — my suspicion is that people who run these nodes are highly dedicated to Bitcoin and/or using them for economic purposes, thus they are unlikely to turn off the node due to exchange rate volatility.”

 

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Crypto Concierge Reports Bumper 2018 with $250 Million Transaction Scoop

Crypto Concierge Reports Bumper 2018 with 0 Million Transaction Scoop

It appears that luxury goods purchased with cryptocurrency have not suffered from the current bear market if the 2018 receipts of firms such as The White Company are anything to go by.

Elizabeth White’s company, which caters very much for those that have, and indeed want to spend large sums of cryptocurrency on luxury items, returned USD 250 million in transactions last year, according to latest figures released in January.

However, the proprietor claims you don’t need to be rich to sign up. “Luxury is not just for the wealthy, and our customers from a variety of ages, incomes, occupations,” said White in a recent Forbes interview, although the company is clearly aimed at Bitcoin millionaires. She admits that many of her clients need help in purchasing luxury goods such as “Ferraris, Lamborghinis, rare art and jewelry” to clients all over the world paying in crypto.

The White Company’s concierge service may be increasingly becoming a niche market but judging by last years figures, there are still plenty of potential clients out looking to spend cryptocurrency. And now that exchanges have more exacting regulations on large cash withdrawals, White’s site is often a go-to alternative when it comes to buying goods requiring fiat payment. She sees the bear market as no hurdle to progress in the industry:

“The speculative bubble in cryptocurrency is over, which is a good thing, as it allows the community to focus for more serious, long term projects, such as the solutions that [the] White Company is building.”

Another market which has profited from the current status quo is the lending sector with companies such as Celsius, SALT Lending and ETHLend recording higher profits than in previous bull periods.

 

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New York Sees First Sim Swapping Indictment as DA Says Keep Out

New York Sees First Sim Swapping Indictment As DA Says Keep Out

The activity known as “SIM swapping” has been put on notice in New York, following the latest announcement made in an official press release by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

SIM swapping is a type of identity theft in which a victim’s cellular information is rerouted to the perpetrator’s SIM card by convincing wireless service providers to carry out the procedure.

The latest perpetrator of SIM swapping, and the first in New York to be indicted for such an offence, Dawson Bakies, is accused of stealing the identities of over 50 victims in the United States, while stealing USD 10,000 in cryptocurrency from three of the victims and attempting to extort one of the victims by asking for a BTC payment.

Bakies managed to redirect the traffic of his victims to multiple iPhones, thereby accessing 18 Google and crypto accounts, then changing the owners account passwords so they couldn’t be accessed and protected. Manhattan DA Cyrus R. Vance Jr. has thrown out a strong warning to would be SIM swappers who might be thinking of casting their net in New York, commenting that his office is:

“…putting the small handful of sophisticated ‘SIM Swappers’ out there on notice,” adding, “we know what you’re doing, we know how to find you, and we will hold you criminally accountable, no matter where you are.”

DA Vance also warned service providers to show more vigilance and take action to ensure such a practice does not become commonplace:

“..wake up to the new reality that by quickly porting SIMs – in order to ease new activations and provide speedy customer service – you are exposing unwitting, law-abiding customers to massive identity theft and fraud.”

 

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Brit Rail Passengers Earning Crypto Whilst They Travel With New DOVU Project

DOVU, train, UK, crypto, rewards

DOVU, a London-based startup aiming to become the “the global marketplace for transport data,” is to incorporate cryptocurrency earning as part of its latest project.

The company has always had strong support since its launch two years ago backed by seed funding from InMotion Ventures, Jaguar Land Rover’s investment arm, and Creative England — a fund backed by the government. DOVU is a blockchain powered reward platform that lets users earn tokens for sharing data or changing the way they travel, then spend them on mobility-related products or services.

Irfon Watkins, company founder wants to incorporate blockchain solutions and data tokenization within its marketplace for transport data, alongside working with other companies such as vehicle hire, insurance companies, and ridesharing operations in order to create a network of pooled data.

As part of the new project, DOVU plans to work with the London FTSE 250 listed rail service provider Go-Ahead. The company currently provides bus and rail services to more than a billion passengers a year within the UK.

The startup will now begin work with the rail company to improve the experience for their rail customers. Go-Ahead will benefit from DOVU’s blockchain-powered reward platform by gaining more knowledge about passenger behaviour. The first arena for the new project will be Go-Ahead’s Thameslink and Southern Rail services.

Now participating travellers will be able to earn crypto as they travel by sharing such data with the company as a type of loyalty reward for using the service.

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