BitGrail exchange declares bankruptcy after almost a year of announcing $195 million loss

The year of 2018 has been a very volatile year for the cryptocurrency market. The year witnessed a majority of the coins hitting its highest value in terms of price and, at the same time, slump to its lowest value. Along with this, the year also saw several altcoins rise to fame in the space. The most notable event apart from the volatility of the market is considered to be the hacks that took place throughout the year. Well-known exchanges such as Coincheck fell prey to hackers, losing millions of customers’ funds.
BitGrail, an Italian cryptocurrency exchange, was one such platform that was compromised in early 2018. The exchange lost almost $195 million worth of customers’ cryptocurrencies. The exchange rose to fame as it became one of the major platforms to trade Nano aka RailBlocks. It was the very same cryptocurrency the exchange ended up losing to the hackers, as the Founder, Francesco Firano, revealed that 17 million Nano tokens were stolen by hackers.
The announcement of the hack was soon followed with speculation that this was a premeditated act and that the exchange had been planning an exit scam for quite some time. Even the Nano team expressed their doubts on the whole situation. In an official statement, the team had stated:
“We now have sufficient reason to believe that Firano has been misleading the Nano Core Team and the community regarding the solvency of the BitGrail exchange for a significant period of time.”
On January 21, 2018, after almost a year of announcing that the exchange was compromised to an attack, the firm has now declared bankruptcy in their official telegram channel. Additionally, when asked about the bankruptcy on Twitter, the CEO, Francesco said that it is “confirmed”.
Bitgrail declaring bankruptcy | Source: Discord
PaddyThePriest, a Redditor said:
“This is good news for Nano as far as I can see. Lays the blame for the hack at Bomber’s feet. Also shuts his lying mouth once and for all.”
Darkrender7, another Redditor said:
“If nano rockets upward like bitcoin did… it very well could turn out that he’ll be able to pay everyone back in fiat and make off will millions from selling the rest of the nano at the new high market price. Thats what’s going on mark and Mt. Gox”
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Source: AMB Crypto

Mati Greenspan Exclusive: Centralization in Bitcoin [BTC] and XRP, portfolio management and more

In the last part of the AMBCrypto Exclusive with Mati Greenspan, the market analyst discussed the degree of centralization in each popular coin ecosystem, such as XRP and Bitcoin [BTC]. He also talked about the correct way to carry out an investment allocation in one’s portfolio.

According to Greenspan, decentralization is not black and white; rather, it is actually a field of gray. He also suggested than Bitcoin, by far is the most decentralized of the crypto-assets. Adding to the statement, he said that Satoshi Nakamoto is no more around, he does not have a say, he is not able to lead the project, therefore, it is the entire community who needs to agree when making a developmental change. He explained:
“Now that can be a good thing, it can also have its negative sides so as we saw with Bitcoin Cash [BCH]. Some of the BTC community wanted to take it in a different direction and increase the block size, some of them moved off to do a different thing. And that basically left Bitcoin as its decentralized organization.”
He also opined that Bitcoin Cash [BCH], being a decentralized asset has more centralization than Bitcoin as the leadership is clearer in the ecosystem.
When asked about the nature of XRP, Greenspan mentioned it as the most centralized crypto-assets among its fellow coins. This, he propagated is due to the presence of the Ripple Labs that leads the development of the asset.
“XRP is one of the most centralized and also the most decentralized as they claim. But it is the most centralized because you have Ripple Labs which is really the leader of the development of this specific asset.”
Switching the topic to the bear-market and its recovery, the market expert advised that this is a great time for the investors sitting on the sidelines. According to him, this is the time to build a portfolio and understand the risks to allocate investments correctly.
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Source: AMB Crypto

Mati Greenspan exclusive: XRP, Litecoin [LTC], Dash [DASH], portfolio diversification and more

In the second part of the AMBCrypto Exclusive, Mati Greenspan, the Senior Market Analyst at eToro answered a few questions on the state of XRP and its progress on the market front. He also discussed the possibility of the Litecoin [LTC] come back in the market if the ecosystem continues to progress and make significant developments.

When asked about XRP and if it is safe to invest in, he stated that XRP is still considered as a high-risk asset. According to him, there are several factors that are standing in the way of mass adoption. He further revealed that Ripple released a report that mentioned that the project is only 25% likely to succeed in the long-term. He also explained:
“So we need to take that into account. So yes, if it does end up becoming the standard for global payments, then certainly, it stands a lot to rise in value, even in a very short amount of time. However, when you’re thinking about an overall portfolio, you don’t want to risk too much of your equity that is only a 25% chance of coming to pass.”
Regarding Litecoin, Greenspan had conducted a comparative analysis wherein he found that the coin is currently undervalued in the cryptocurrency market, considering its daily transaction volume and usage. He stated that Litecoin actually does have a lot of adoption, strong community, network value and transaction volumes, something that a lot of other, newer crypto-assets do not have.
On being asked about his favorite altcoin and the recent Twitter poll conducted by him, he stated that he is bullish on the top coins, such as Bitcoin [BTC], XRP, Ethereum [ETH], Dash [DASH] and EOS. Furthermore, the market analyst suggested:
“I’m mostly bullish on most of the top ones: Bitcoin, XRP, Ethereum, EOS, Dash. So these are the ones I believe strongly in. Now obviously, we have to be diversified but when you have the part of high-risk assets in your portfolio, you can diversify even further.”
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Source: AMB Crypto

Exclusive: Mati Greenspan discusses Bitcoin [BTC] bottom, market crash and more

In an exclusive interview with AMBCrypto, Mati Greenspan, the Senior Market Analyst at eToro answered a few questions on the Bitmain crisis, Bitcoin price and the bear market.

According to the market expert, digital assets are high-risk investments, wherein neither the BTC bottom nor a bull market can be precisely speculated at present. Furthermore, he stated that a lot of market progress is often based on the future adoption of digital assets.
Regarding the Bitcoin crash that occurred during the Bitcoin Cash [BCH] hash war, Greenspan explained that the hard fork could merely be a side story in the crypto-chaos. He added:
“I do believe that […] the real reason for the decline was a technical breakout. The fact that it went below $6,000, which is a very strong psychological barrier was broken, something that created a lot of fear, and on top of that you had the Bitcoin Cash hard fork and there were also several other stories at the time which were interpreted as bad news that certainly caused negative sentiment in the market.”
When asked if BTC has already hit market bottom, he stated that crypto-assets are high-risk investments and it is indeed possible that the market may go down further.
He also mentioned that the $3,000 BTC support level is being heavily tested, which if broken could certainly lead to lower support levels that can be pointed out. Moreover, Greenspan shared that many analysts have called out support level figures as low as $2,000 and $1,500.
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Source: AMB Crypto

Interview: Stephen Innes Says Crypto, Bitcoin to “Grind Higher” Over Next Decade

Just two weeks ago, “cross-asset trader” Stephen Innes, head of Pacific-Asia trading at Oanda, took to Bloomberg TV to convey his thoughts on late-2018’s crypto market tumult. After his short guest appearance on the network, he was quickly classified as a Bitcoin (BTC) bear, due to his expectation that the popular digital asset could fall below $2,500. Yet, through the medium of Twitter direct messages, Innes tells NewsBTC he has been duly misclassified, explaining that “mainstream media often latches” onto a single statement or sentiment, and paints commentators on the back of an inflammatory sole remark. The Singapore-based Oanda trader has claimed that contrary to popular belief, he actually holds a bullish outlook on BTC for the long-term.
NewsBTC: Not three weeks ago on Bloomberg TV, you called out a number of bearish catalysts, namely regulation, affecting the Bitcoin price. Keeping these factors in mind, how are you playing the crypto markets today?
“I respect the crypto space greatly, but any a cross-asset class, delta (the act of comparing price fluctuations of an asset/asset class) trader like myself is very sensitive to changes in the value of an asset. Again, it would be foolish not to respect and support crypto, yet there an opportunity to catch some downside over the short-term, due to the confluence of negative drivers that are getting discussed every day (Bitcoin Cash hard fork, growing regulatory qualms, fears of crypto-related hacks). I trade extreme-edge views, which seldom offer up a pleasant or happy narrative. Whether it’s hammering prone emerging market currencies, or tapping into crypto’s short-term vulnerabilities, for me, it’s all about playing the hand that is dealt.”
NewsBTC: What is holding back Bitcoin from global adoption today? 
“One thing that plays out very negatively in crypto is government regulation and intervention, as it takes away from that anonymous persona, which I think was at the heart of the crypto movement. But, regulation is a necessary move to bring crypto onto the Main Street (Bay Street, Wall Street, etc.), so that big investment houses will start offering crypto offerings to clients, specifically as a legitimate asset class.”
With this comment, Innes is touching on a pertinent issue, as there remain a countless number of average Joes waiting on the sidelines of the cryptocurrency stadium, solely due to the fact that they haven’t seen Wall Street hotshots make an all-in foray into Bitcoin. However, this could be slated to change, as Fidelity, Nasdaq, Intercontinental Exchange, along with a multitude of other household names are on the verge of launching crypto-related products that may likely spark some form of Main Street adoption.
NewsBTC: Can cryptocurrencies succeed without a blessing from regulatory entities (ex. approval of a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF))? 
“A regulatory blessing is one thing, but full acceptance from Wall street behemoths would be fantastic. Their lobby power for a Bitcoin ETF is extremely powerful. And such a vehicle would be a massive boost to sentiment. It only takes one, and they will all follow like sheep.”
As made apparent by the recent U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s delay on its ruling on VanEck, CBOE, and SolidX Partners’ Bitcoin ETF application, a blessing from the prominent financial regulator isn’t likely to come crypto’s way in a short timeframe. Yet, if one of America’s world-renowned banks or financial institutions were to put its name behind such a fund, the chance of a Bitcoin ETF getting a regulatory green light would improve drastically. But, as stated by Oanda’s Innes, a single crypto-friendly “behemoth” in and of itself could catalyze Wall Street’s “full acceptance” of cryptocurrencies.
NewsBTC: What gives a cryptocurrency value in your eyes? Do hashrates, network value, or (potential) use cases come into your playbook? 

“Network hashrates continue to increase, in spite of the steady decline in cryptocurrency prices. But, the computing (mining) end isn’t my forte… But, from a trader’s perspective, just because it might cost you $150 to dig a rabbit out of a hole, doesn’t necessarily mean the rabbit is worth $150. This is very much an old-school view. But dinosaurs, such as myself, are creatures of habit.”

Innes is presumably commenting on and rebutting the controversial theory that Bitcoin, classified as a commodity as many, is dictated by the break-even cost of mining/minting/creation. While Ari Paul, the managing partner of BlockTower Capital, recently estimated that the break-even cost of mining (not taking ASIC degradation into account) ranges from $2,500 to $4,500, which intriguingly lines up with BTC’s current valuation, Innes made it clear that he isn’t a subscriber to this method of asset valuation.

NewsBTC: And of course, I would be remiss not to ask the million-dollar question. So, where do you see Bitcoin in five to ten years? Do you see it as a global store of value, a digital currency used on a day-to-day basis, or something else entirely?
“I think cryptocurrencies will grind higher over the next ten years, and it’s not because of the buy orders from the nerdy libertarian cult, it will be because blockchain technology will be embraced. Eventually, investors will want to invest in the stock of companies associated with blockchain, and this will provide a solid footing for cryptocurrencies. While we expect BTC to appreciate, potentially posting explosive returns, given the emotional nature of retail investors, no one is all too sure. But I remain guardedly optimistic that BTC could trade above $10,000 some time in the the next five years.”
Stephen Innes’ comments given to NewsBTC have been slightly edited for clarity and readability. 
Featured Image From Shutterstock
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Source: New

VJ Angelo, CEO of Cryptoindex Talks About Their Mission

Cryptoindex is making waves by creating a platform that is on par, or even better than the standard indices that are currently available for conventional financial assets. We asked VJ Angelo, the company’s CEO to get a clear picture of their vision and what they are attempting to achieve by attaining that vision.
Q: Cryptoindex seems to be on a mission to create an index similar to S&P100, Dow Jones, NASDAQ Composite and more, but in the cryptocurrency industry. How is it going to benefit the market and how do you compare it with the mainstream market indices?
A: It is very important for any product that wants to be a part of a financial services solution to provide familiar tools that can be used to evaluate the market. Indices are a key factor in that toolbox.
We aren’t necessarily trying to replicate those indices. However, we are looking to provide a similar service relevant to our market sector. It’s important for Crypto to be independent of the old world yet use the lessons learned there.
Q: Apart from Cryptoindex, other players are also trying to create their own versions of the crypto-market indices. Is there really a need for it?
A: Yes. The market needs to become more professional and more easily understood. Indices are an invaluable source of reference information for people looking to trade or enter the Crypto market in any form. Information and analysis on multiple coins are costly and time-consuming, and Index dramatically reduces both.
In the event there is some form of product created to trade that references the index, it further reduces the cost of both trading and analysis, also reducing the risk by diversifying it for the participant.
Q: How is Cryptoindex different from other similar products?
A: We have a number of differences including the number of coins. By creating an index of 100 coins we have both diversified the risk and added an opportunity for greater profits.
Crypto has changed dramatically from an investment into a blockchain based project for a Cryptocurrency and much more into a Fintech crowdfunding opportunity. With so many varied projects available, it is important to include as many as possible that could suddenly become both successful and profitable.
Q: You are not new to the financial system.  Can you tell us more about yourself, and your work in the past?
A: I have spent 34 years in the financial markets usually working on new and innovative ideas and products. 6 Years ago I left the trading floor to start a regulated exchange, launching Index based futures in a new format. That project resulted in partnerships with Deutsche Boerse Eurex, Societe Generale and a number of other major financial institutions.
I have now applied the knowledge and lessons learned through that project onto Cryptoindex.
Q: What made you create Cryptoindex and where do you think the global financial system is heading, and from where?
A: The global financial system is showing all the signs of entering some very difficult times, possibly challenging the turmoil of the financial crisis. While Crypto is going through a difficult period right now, a big shock to the financial system putting the major financial institutions into trouble again could see Crypto as a good store of finances for individuals.
Should a major payments provider adopt the ability to pay for goods and services via a card or number of cards, the attraction will become greater.
The reasons for creating Cryptoindex were the same as those described in the above questions
Q: Tell us more about the Zorax Algorithm which is supposed to be the brain of the Cryptoindex system.
A: Zorax is a very sophisticated algorithm that can scrape and process vast amounts of data continuously and learn how to interpret the information. Given the parameters it is working on, it can then make well-informed decisions, which in the past, only a human would be able to make. The decisions will eventually become the full process of the index criteria. In the early days as it learns there will be some oversight.
Q: Who else is working with you on this project?
A: We have a large team of professionals in each of our fields. All of which have a lot of experience in their chosen professions. We have traders from the financial markets, coders and mathematicians with experience in building trading programmes for the FX markets, Quants, and ex-traders from the Fixed Income markets and people with knowledge and experience of creating and deploying financial market indices.
Q:  The company has started a token sale process with CIX 100 as the nest coin. What will be the role of CIX 100 in all this?
A: The CIX 100 is a utility token and our tool to help ICO participants to transition into the more regulated world that is coming fast. The utility of the token is its use to purchase data and services from our platform, some of which are very valuable to observers and participants in the crypto market.
We are adding three key factors to the token that are part of the transition. First, when the ICO participant purchases services from the platform, we will value the token at the current market index price. Second, the token will be free to trade on a number of exchanges we are currently in discussions with. We will encourage the token to be relevant to the Index price. Finally, we are partnered with a fund that will, as part of its strategy, offer a purchase facility of the token again at the then current index price.
So the CIX100 while still a utility token, we have spent a lot of time and money on getting the right approach and legal opinions on this matter also remains a useful tool to track the index price.
Q: How much are you intending to raise with the token sale, and what will the funds be used for?
A: We have a soft cap of $3m USD and a hard cap of $$37m USD. The funds will be used for operational expenses however as the platform is already built and nearly ready to launch the majority will be used in reserves to underpin the value of the token to the index through the fund.
Q: A project of this scale needs some partners. Have you entered into any partnerships so far and what are its benefits?
A: We are in discussions with a number of partners and will make announcements soon, one of the early stage partners is London Derivatives Exchange Limited (LDX).
Q: Can you give us a peek into what’s happening behind the scenes, in terms of technical and business development and future roadmap?
A: We are exploring a number of aspects including additional indices and adding derivatives based on the various indices. We will continue to develop the various aspects of the business.
Q: Anything else you want our readers to know?
A: This project is unique in its approach to the development of the ICO/Crypto markets. It will play a vital part in the changing landscape of the way crypto is used and developed in the coming months and years. As the market is brought into the more traditional financial services style of regulation and trading, tools like this will be a key part of helping the wider adoption of cryptocurrencies as an everyday form of finance both retail and professional.
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Source: New

Ethereum [ETH] is a powerful platform if it figures out global synchronization, says ex-Google CEO

Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google and Executive Chairman at Alphabet, one of the most influential technology executives in the world, recently spoke at a live event hosted by Village Global, an early-stage venture capital. At the event, Schmidt gave his insights on blockchain and expressed his views on whether it was overrated or underrated and said:
“In the public format it [Blockchain] is overrated but in its technical use it is underrated.”
Blockchain, as a concept, is highly overrated in the public format because some speculators relate it to the boom of Bitcoin in 2017, which gave blockchain the spotlight. Blockchain is underrated because it has a lot of use-cases that are not being implemented yet.
The former CEO said that blockchain is a great platform for Bitcoin and other currencies as it’s being used for private banking transactions where people don’t trust each other. He explained that the use-cases for Blockchain that we are developing are the tip of the iceberg. He said:
“The most obvious example being the capability of Ethereum. And if Ethereum can manage to figure out a way to do global synchronization of that activity, that’s a pretty powerful platform. That’s a really new invention.”
Recently, Metamask announced, in a tweet, the launch of Ethereum private browser, Metamask 5.0. The main feature of the browser is that it allows users to interact between all Ethereum-based websites. Metamask also mentioned that this new feature would not be ideal in terms of users’ privacy as it would expose the Ethereum address of the user to the public.
Ethereum, also known for its smart contracts and wide adoption, recently lost its second spot and slumped to the third rank as XRP overtook it during its recent rally on November 6. Although XRP enjoyed its position briefly, Ethereum regained its position a few minutes later.
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Source: AMB Crypto

Bitcoin [BTC] will gain mass adoption after it solves scalability and privacy challenges, says Litecoin [LTC]’s Charlie Lee

In a recent podcast interview, Charlie Lee, the founder of Litecoin, addressed Bitcoin’s scalability problems while talking about the mass adoption of cryptocurrencies.
Charlie Lee said that Bitcoin succeeded because it brought in the notion of decentralization to life through Distributed Ledger Technology and that is why every other form of digital currency failed. DLT would allow the user to have full control of the money without the interference of the authorities.
Lee felt that Bitcoin was revolutionizing when he was introduced to it and he thought it was worth more and believed that it would revolutionize money. Although Bitcoin [BTC]’s price had increased exponentially last year, Lee believes that Bitcoin has a long road ahead of it before it becomes real money. There is still a lot of problems with Bitcoin; it needs more scaling and privacy and that there is “definitely a lot of work ahead of us”.
Although Bitcoin’s price had shot up to $20k and down to $6.5k, it has not received much adoption from institutional investors until very recently. Lee said that more people need to be exposed to Bitcoin, adding that it is happening with institutional players like ‘Fidelity, the Bakkt exchange’ stepping into the cryptocurrency market and that it gives more access to buy into the asset class.
Speaking more about Bitcoin’s adoption Lee says:
“Moving forward when LN becomes more flushed out and the UI gets better and easier for people to get on to the lightning Network, we will see more usage as the fees go down and the transaction becomes instnat.”
Bitcoin is unlike other forms of money that allows people to transfer money to any part of the world as it is not censored. Lee said that it was hard to move money before Bitcoin. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies allow users to control their money, unlike fiat money.
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Source: AMB Crypto

Bitcoin [BTC] and Ethereum [ETH] blockchains are too young to predict the future, says Apple co-founder

Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple, gave his insight about Bitcoin [BTC] and its underlying technology, blockchain technology, and how it could affect our lives in the coming future, at Crypto Invest Summit.

Wozniak said that Bitcoin drew people’s attention because of the blockchain technology. This is due to blockchain’s key focus being decentralization and immutability. According to him, the technology has become disruptive in the current space.
He further added that the main idea behind blockchain was to have no central authority controlling over it. Moreover, Wozniak added that his fantasies included traveling to a different part of the world with just Bitcoin.
The co-founder of the trillion-dollar industry referred to blockchain as a new technology that is changing the facade of financing and the views of people. Steve continued to say, blockchain is still in the nascent space and the “new things are exciting and what drive us and push us.”
With widespread acknowledgment and adaptation, blockchain finally drew the attention of governments around the world and is now being acknowledged and regulated. Blockchain, he says, is starting to branch out to various industry sectors and people are starting to develop new applications that are changing the way people think and apply it, from the ground up, which the internet did in the 90s.
Wozniak agreed to the fact that decentralized apps or dApps are disrupting incumbent leaders and are moving forward in the blockchain space, which is causing a shift in culture. He said, “I love to see the culture change, but culture resists change,” and then proceeded to compare it to the initial days of the internet when it had no controlling body. So he fears this could happen with the blockchain as well.

Here, Wozniak compares Ethereum [ETH] to Apple’s App Store, which is in a sense a platform. Ethereum has similar functionalities like that of the App Store as people can build use-case applications on its blockchain.
Steve concluded saying it is hard to predict what Bitcoin or blockchain will or will not become in the future as it is still in the nascent phases.
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Source: AMB Crypto

Litecoin [LTC] founder Charlie Lee says privacy improvements in Monero [XMR], ZCash [ZEC] are toppling blockchain ecosystem

Charlie Lee, the developer of Litecoin, spoke at the Money 2020 conference on Tuesday about how he developed Litecoin after being inspired by Bitcoin in 2011. He explains how cryptocurrencies, in general, are one of the better forms of money ever developed in the history of mankind.
During the conference, Lee explains how fungibility is one of the key reasons why privacy is needed in our present world. Lee takes his point forward by saying that money is meant to be spent, however, the user chooses to spend it and not and this is what makes it valuable.
In a comparison between Monero and Bitcoin, Bitcoin is not fungible as it can always be traced back to where it came from, he said. Hence, the Bitcoins received are not ‘fresh’ and if these Bitcoins were involved in shady transactions, the address for those Bitcoins can be blacklisted for avoiding future transactions.
However, in the case of Monero, the blockchain is opaque, as in, the transaction history of the coins can’t be looked up.
He further explains saying fungibility is the one good things that is missing from Bitcoin. Charlie Lee explains fungibility as two $200 bills are essentially one and the same. He then compares it to Bitcoin, which, when transferred to a person, allows the person to see the amount of Bitcoins the user has. He says that it is not a good thing when it comes to privacy and one shouldn’t be able to know how much money a person makes.
“Right now, there are some altcoins that are doing a lot of privacy-related improvements like, Monero [XMR] with RingCT, Zcash [ZEC] & Tezos [XZT],” said Charlie Lee. “New innovative technology is turning blockchain upside down.”
Speaking of the bad side of privacy, Lee takes Monero’s Bulletproof update, which makes transaction size 90% smaller, but still larger than Bitcoin’s transaction size, concluding by saying that “it doesn’t scale as well as Bitcoin”.
Charlie Lee says that he is really optimistic about the future of privacy in terms of cryptocurrencies and that there will always be a tug of war between privacy and regulations.
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Source: AMB Crypto

Coinbase Confident of Receiving FSA Approval, Intends to Set Security Standards in Japan

San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase aims to set a new security standard in Japan, and is more confident than ever that it will receive approval from Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) to operate an exchange in the region.
Coinbase Optimistic About Expansion into Japanese Market
On June 4, the most valuable cryptocurrency exchange in the U.S., Coinbase, announced its plans to expand its offerings and services into the lucrative Japanese market. However, before Coinbase can operate in the region, it must first have its registration approved by Japan’s FSA.
In an interview published by Japanese financial newspaper Nikkei Asian Review, Mike Lempres, Coinbase’s chief policy officer, provided an update on the firm’s progress in dealing with the FSA, claiming that the discussions are “going well” and believes that the company will “certainly” receive approval “in 2019.”
Coinbase Welcomes Increased Scrutiny Under Japan’s Chief Regulator
“The Japanese government is more focused on security,” Lempres said, in reference to how the FSA has responded to a string of hacks that battered cryptocurrency exchanges in the region throughout 2018, leaving investors scores and the FSA scrambling to implement better security measures across the board.
The FSA increased its scrutiny over cryptocurrency exchanges operating in the country after Coincheck was hacked for nearly $500 million in cryptocurrency tokens. Since then, the FSA has issued a number of business improvement orders to exchanges, suspended others, and implemented a more stringent licensing process.
As of September, Reuters was reporting that over 160 registration applications were in the FSA’s review queue, forcing the country’s chief regulator to hire an additional 12 people for fiscal year 2019, in order to keep up with the growing demand.
Lempres said that the FSA’s greater focus on security is “good” for Coinbase and affords them an edge compared to their competition. He also expects Japan to bounce back from the recent hacks plaguing exchanges and investors.

“Japan has been an active large market from the very beginning, and has proved resilient as it bounces back from several bad experiences,” Lempres explained.

Coinbase to Set Security Standards in the Region
Coinbase hopes to become the pillar of security and safety in Japan. As part of Coinbase’s discussions with the FSA, the firm boasts of its security standards put in place to protect investors.
Lempres claims that Coinbase has “dozens” of employees dedicated to security, and that only 1% of assets are stored in fully insured hot wallets, the remaining 99% of funds are stored offline using a unique and complicated process.
Lempress believes there is a “great demand” for trusted service providers in Japan, and hopes that Coinbase will satiate that need after the FSA approves its application.
Featured image from Shutterstock.
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Source: New

The First SMS Wallet Service Launches Enabling Dash Remittance Payments

A Venezuela-based company has introduced the first SMS wallet service exclusively for Dash transactions, enabling payments to be sent and received in the country without a smart phone or internet connection.
Venezuela Turns to Dash
Last month, Ryan Taylor, CEO of Dash Core Group, said that it was “seeing tens of thousands of wallet downloads from the country each month.” Hyperinflation and economic instability within Venezuela is forcing many citizens to turn to currency alternatives.
As a peer-to-peer digital currency for payments, with over 1,000 per cent year-over-year growth in both value and trading volume since 2015, Dash is providing an inexpensive and fast alternative to Venezuela’s bolívar. Yet, while Dash is becoming a popular choice not everyone is able to take advantage of it.
Figures from Newzoo, a global market intelligence company, found that as of September Venezuela only has a near 41 per cent smartphone penetration rate. This means that a significant number of people aren’t able to access Dash even if they wanted to.
In order to solve this Dash Text was launched. The platform was created by Alejandro Echeverría and Lorenzo Rey, who is also the company’s CTO. By sending the organisation a text message, even from a non-smartphone, it creates a wallet for the phone user straightaway. This is controlled by a phone number and doesn’t require internet access to set up.
Speaking to NewsBTC, Rey said that the response so far has been “extremely good.”
“This service is a real necessity because millions of people do not have good smartphones or internet connectivity,” he added. “We want to expand to other countries and that is something that is in our roadmap, but for now we want to focus on the users in Venezuela.”
Once set up a user can send and receive Dash with simple user commands and actions performed. This is particularly handy when it comes to remittances. According to reports, it’s estimated that Venezuelans who have left the country send at least $1 billion to friends and family back home. Even so, a change in remittance rules is seeing many struggling to receive the money they need.
“At Dash we understand that cross-border transactions are expensive and take long, and in Latin America, there is a clear possibility to help millions of people that need to send money home in any one of the remittance corridors,” said Ernesto Contreras, Dash’s business development manager for Latin America.
For the secure savvy, though, the use of a text message to send and receive Dash payments may not seem very secure. Rey, however, stated that Dash Text is as secure as any messaging app found on a phone, which, in most cases, people share a lot of private information.
“By keeping your phone locked with pin or password even if someone steals your phone they won’t be able to access your funds,” he added. “However, if you are not careful with your phone’s security someone could steal your funds just like they could steal your private pictures or messages.”
He goes on to state that they don’t advertise these SMS wallets to be used as a primary storage. Instead, they should be used for convenience and utility with small amounts.
“Similar to how you shouldn’t carry your life savings in your physical wallet, you shouldn’t carry your life savings in Dash Text either,” Rey said.
The company is hoping that with the adoption of Dash Text it will be a perfect solution to monetary barriers currently seen in Venezuela.
Featured image from Dash Text.
The post The First SMS Wallet Service Launches Enabling Dash Remittance Payments appeared first on NewsBTC.
Source: New

Will SEC Approve Bitcoin ETF? Interview with Mati Greenspan, Senior Analyst eToro

Bitcoin ETF? Coingape was the first one to point to the potential of a possible Bitcoin ETF approval. It has given rise to speculations resulting in the current ongoing bull run. In an effort to bring more clarity on the bitcoin ETF debate we today have with us Mati Greenspan who is a senior analyst at eToro.
He shared his insights on an ongoing debate about CBOEs application for Bitcoin ETF. The major point raised during the interview were:

3 reasons why SEC might approve Bitcoin ETF this time.
Why the sudden hike in the institutional investors’ interest in bitcoin?
The future of bitcoin and entire cryptocurrency market in case bitcoin ETF is accepted by SEC and if not.

Here we go:
Ques: Hi Mati, can you please tell our audience a bit about yourself?
Mati: I am the Senior market analyst in eToro. I have been here since 2012. My job is to help people understand financial markets, why the movement, what opportunities are and of course how to build a proper portfolio. We were founded in 2007 with the vision to open the financial markets to everyone to make things easy for people to trade in stock, currencies and commodity prices.
Ques: Do you think SEC will approve the Bitcoin ETF application this time?
Mati: I certainly hope. During the previous bitcoin ETF, there was one in March that was proposed by the Winklevoss twins. And at the time the SEC rejected the ETF because there was not enough clarity regarding bitcoin and the market wasn’t really fully developed.
This ETF is structured a bit different than the previous one. First of all, it has a CBOE as a sponsor and VanEck is a traditional finance player that is making the proposition. I have read through the proposal which is about 50 pages. It includes one of the best explanations I’ve ever seen about what a bitcoin is, what mining is, what is cold storage and the market in general.
First, the contract size is going to be twenty-five bitcoins which are clearly aimed for institutional players, they are not coming here to pitch this to the average retirement portfolio.
That’s going to be one thing that could help persuade the SEC. The other is the market is much more well-defined now and much more developed. So the SEC has already clarified the status of Bitcoin at that point saying it’s certainly not a security or anything like that.
And the OTC market is also more developed now. So we have telephone transactions between the counterparties that are larger. Coinbase has recently opened OTC desks. We at eToro have opened an OTC desk so it’s going to be a lot easier for them to get the liquidity that they need.
Ques: So, what are your views on the involvement of Wall Street investors and why are they interested in Bitcoin suddenly?
Mati: There are a lot of reasons that an asset manager would be interested in cryptocurrency. Lately, I’ve been giving an analogy of cinnamon. Cinnamon is considered a volatile ingredient. That’s because it’s very complex on the molecular level and it can have different interactions based on the different ingredients that you use it with.
Now, cryptocurrencies, of course, are incredibly volatile. Adding very small amounts of cryptocurrency to your portfolio, you can really add an extra spice and increase the profit potential of the portfolio. Of course, you don’t want to use too much because if you use too much you know can ruin the entire recipe.
Ques: So you mentioned institutional investors. What do you think would be their consequences in the market? Will it be just good? People are talking about the good part of it. Will there be any bad consequences?
Mati: In what way would there be bad consequences. It’s simply a new structured product that’s being built In order to allow people to invest more freely in cryptocurrency specifically institutional investors. I don’t see how there could be any negative consequences of that.
Ques: Ok so talking about 2018. How do you analyze the whole seven months that have passed? What do you think of the current market?
Mati: 2018 largely began with retracement from the top when we’ve seen a massive surge in all cryptocurrencies in the entire industry over 2017. Bitcoin is pretty much since an exception that has been following this kind of pattern, where it goes through a massive surge. Usually, quadruple-digit percentage points a thousand percent. In the past that been even larger. In 2011 when $11,500 in the span of a few months.
But every time it does that there needs to be a retracement from high and that retracement can be quite significant, sometimes 80 or 90 percent retracement even in the past. This retracement so far if we get as low as 5000 will represent a 75 percent retracement from the top. Yesterday’s action which was encouraging, we might have seen bottom already. But nothing is impossible.
Basically, this is how the cycle works. Generally, after the retracement, we’ll either see another major surge or a period of prolonged relaxation for cycles like those because we’ve seen worse.
In my humble opinion period of relaxation would be incredibly good for the market it’s a healthy thing and allows people to increase infrastructure, build apps and make new connections that help the market. If we do see another surge then we’d have to be very prepared to get into that type of volume again.
Also, read: If CBOE’s Bitcoin ETF gets Rejected, Will it Upend the Raging Bulls?
Ques: Talking about the predictions, people are making huge predictions and talking about millions of dollars. So what do you think about that?
Mati: I mean if you look at it in percentage terms those services that we talked about some of them have been quite sizable in percentage terms. Even in 2017 the surge wasn’t particularly large nor was the true retracement. It’s simply that we’ve come to a point where it’s a much larger market and the larger the market gets the more those surges should relax. So the more people that are using and holding bitcoin, the less the volatility at the end of the day.
Now for Bitcoin to become you know more or less stable cryptocurrency, I think that we would need to see a much larger market cap that could really take years to effect. We have noticed that with every cycle the volatility is reducing.
We definitely have a price much larger than it is today. So I don’t know. I suppose it’s possible on a long enough timeline given that it continues to be the dominant cryptocurrency in the space and I don’t see any reason for that to change.
Ques: So talking about the predictions that people are making what is your prediction?
Mati: I don’t have a number. The future is wide open. Bitcoin is incredibly risky and blockchain technology is still under development and experimental in many ways. So, it’s possible to see Bitcoin as low as a thousand dollars at the end of the year as high and as high as a million dollars. I really have no way of saying you can be anywhere in between.
Bitcoin ETFs are the talk of the market as SEC gathers overwhelming response from the public. As explained by Mati, Bitcoin ETFs certainly have better chances of getting approved this time. With Bitcoin already registering substantial gains since last week and having crossed $8k, Bitcoin ETF approval can skyrocket the Bitcoin prices in no time.
The post Will SEC Approve Bitcoin ETF? Interview with Mati Greenspan, Senior Analyst eToro appeared first on Coingape.
Source: CoinGape

Ethereum [ETH]’s Vitalik Buterin speaks: Cryptoeconomics, blockchain and their future

On 18th July, Vitalik Buterin got together on a podcast with Tyler Cowen. The podcast “Conversations with Tyler” is a learning channel on Apple Music. Buterin spoke about the sheer effectiveness of cryptocurrency, its economics and about the future of blockchain and its applications.

According to Buterin, cryptocurrency “by itself” is basically costless. He said that the only expense that occurs is the production process of the cryptocurrency which gets evened out when people who trust the cryptocurrency participate in transactions. This ‘club’ of people ensures that a constant cycle of token production takes place which balances the value thereby preventing hyperinflation of any single cryptocurrency.

He stated:

 “It is possible to join the club, but joining the club requires that you undertake some kind of costly signaling expenditure — in some ways burn capital, burn resources, or consume something unique — which is just difficult enough that it prevents people from doing it willy-nilly to the point where all the cryptocurrency hyperinflates.”

Buterin went on to comment about ‘cryptoeconomics’, a term coined by him to describe the economics that happens in the cryptocurrency sphere. According to him, cryptocurrency follows the same set of rules that are set by economic standards in the society.

He states that whatever transactions that occur on a blockchain have to follow the protocols set by, not a judge or a judicial body, but by the computer programmer responsible for developing the blockchain. He has remarked that there are some protocols that do not work in the field of ‘cryptoeconomics’ and these are the hard and fast rules set by the societal economics.

He was quoted as saying:

“For example, you can’t say in cryptoeconomics, “It’s illegal to bribe people,” because there’s really no simple way to define what a bribe is. If someone really wants to bribe someone else, he can just go and do that outside of the protocol, and the protocol would have no way to tell.”

He went on to comment about the anonymity of the users in the field of cryptocurrency. This anonymity according to him ensures that the person is not penalized for any wrongdoings because he or she can just change their virtual addresses and move on with another identity. He states that this is in stark contrast with what happens in the real world, thereby setting them apart on opposite poles.

Buterin believes that all cryptocurrency users are trying to figure out how the economics of transactions works by learning from the individual properties of each and every cryptocurrency attribute.

Cowen went on to ask Buterin about the concept of blockchain and how it can easily be explained to someone. Buterin replied comparing blockchain to a “world computer”, an analogy he draws from his comic book fandom. He stated:

“The idea, basically, is that a blockchain, as a whole, functions like a computer. It has a hard drive, and on that hard drive, it stores what all the accounts are. It stores what the code of all the smart contracts is, what the memory of all these smart contracts is.”

He reiterated the reason as to why blockchain should be preferred over traditional means of transfer as he stood firm on the fact that once blockchain is implemented on a large scale, no industry will crash because of illegal activities conducted by others or because of a large-scale hack.

Buterin also commented on what should be done starting now to ensure blockchain technology is a prevalent industry. He touched up on the issue of scalability of blockchain capacity and stated a specific example.

He said:

“Ethereum blockchain’s capacity right now is about 15 transactions per second. If you even consider something like putting all of the Uber rides on the blockchain, that’s 12 transactions per second already . If you talk about moving PayPal over, that gets into the hundreds, and then anything more complex starts moving into the many thousands.”

The post Ethereum [ETH]’s Vitalik Buterin speaks: Cryptoeconomics, blockchain and their future appeared first on AMBCrypto.

Source: AMB Crypto