Trust Only These Ten Cryptocurrency Exchanges, Warns Bitwise Asset Management

Reports of cryptocurrency Exchanges faking trading volume by wash trading have become rampant in the Financial market. What was once perceived to be something based on only suspicion and allegations is now coming out with documented proof.

Bitwise: Actual volume of trading is only $273 million
Recently, TIE had released a report of its independent analysis of discrepancies found in the reported trading volume of exchanges. Furthermore, according to TIE’s research 75% of the Exchanges reported fake trading volume data. However, according to the new report by Bitwise Asset Management, the actual percentage is 90%. Both of them used a different approach but seemed to have reached a similar conclusion.
List of ‘Trusted’ Cryptocurrency Exchanges According To Bitwise
The research parameter for Bitwise Asset Management was ‘trading volume’ data with respect to the amount of Bitcoins held in the exchanges. On comparing the data from several Exchanges, the report found authentic similarities in only ten Exchanges. They also found that nine out of the ten Exchanges have procured the required regulatory licenses. Binance Exchange was the exception out of the 10.
The other nine exchanges that reported authentic trading volume as per the report are BitFinex, BitFlyer, BitStamp, Bittrex, Coinbase Pro, Gemini, itBit, Kraken, and Poloniex.

14/ Other good news when you focus in on the exchanges with real volume: 9 of the 10 are regulated by FinCEN as Money Service Businesses and 5 of the 10 by NYDFS under the BitLicense.
— Bitwise (@BitwiseInvest) March 22, 2019

 What does it Mean for the Cryptocurrency Markets?

The total volume of trading is an independent factor that does not contribute to the ‘circulating supply’ nor the price. Hence, the total market capitalization is not directly affected by the reported trading volume. However, exaggerated reports of daily volume could affect market sentiments negatively.
The technique used to exaggerate the volume data of exchanges is ‘wash trading.’ By faking their data, the Exchanges are successfully able to climb the rankings on Exchange list according to trading volume. Furthermore, the rankings earn them customers and a heavy coin listing fees as well.
The fake reported data on Exchanges is also a factor behind SEC’s reluctance to pass an ETF based on Bitcoin or altcoins. The regulatory bodies around the world will most likely crack down on the exchanges and weed out the fake data. Nevertheless, the road towards progress is steady and comparable to the current traditional asset like ‘Leveraged ETF.’

20/ We hugely appreciate the SEC being careful with their review of bitcoin ETFs & digging into the detail. Leveraged ETFs took 6 years for approval. Actively managed ETFs nearly 6 years as well. The 5+ year bitcoin journey is not atypical. It's necessary for investor protection.
— Bitwise (@BitwiseInvest) March 22, 2019

What are your views on reported fake volumes data? If it’s true, what steps must the crypto-community take? 
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Source: CoinGape

Bitcoin ETF In ‘Wait and Watch’ Mode As SEC Receives Rife Criticism Against It

While the crypto-community is eagerly waiting for ETF approval, many orthodox Commodity and Exchange Fund traders have expressed their disapproval for the ETF.
On February 13, 2019, the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) invited comments from the traders on the proposal. While some traders reaffirmed their belief in the digital asset, the majority was still apprehensive of its utility and ‘intrinsic value.’
Dina, a US citizen expressed in her letter of intent that: “It is volatile, manipulated by the very few and has no real use case. I can see a lot of people getting hurt both financially and in other ways by you accepting this proposal. It is in my humble opinion that this proposal be rejected.”
Bitcoin’s Intrinsic Value Debate
Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer payment system that built on distributed consensus mechanism based on the Blockchain. Moreover, the value of the ‘token’ associated with it is presumably linked to its network and its capability as a store of value.
In a series of arguments against its ‘intrinsic value,’ Sam Ahn from Hana Trading USA Inc. noted that since Bitcoin hash value is only valuable when implemented on the Blockchain, the ‘hash’ value intrinsically does not hold any value. Therefore, as Bitcoin value is held by a combination of ‘hash value’ on a particular network, it is not a financial asset.
Gold’s price might not justify its luster in the future, nevertheless, it will continue to exist in the same manner. The Bitcoin ‘public ledger’ is also immutable. However, to transfer value validation from miners is quintessential.
Moreover, according to some traders that alone does not define the intrinsic value and the network capacity can change over time and that should not alter the characteristic features of the asset in question.
Sarah thourgh a public letter to the SEC, “I would like the committee to disapprove the proposed ETP. It has no value as a financial product let alone as a currency.”
The volatility debate on Bitcoin has diminished with time. However, the clouds of manipulation and FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) surround it eternally. The primary reason for associating with Bitcoin is currently based on its returns and not its transaction capabilities.
The optimism and belief around its success are also opposed by pessimism and arguments against its real-world adoption.
Avinash Shenoy cited the instances of evident manipulation in Bitcoin prices due to its non-regulatory structure and susceptible to manipulation due to comparatively low market capitalization.
Amongst many manipulation techniques applied to Bitcoins one of them includes:
Pump and Dump schemes organised through messaging apps such as Telegram are
ubiquitous and make the global manipulation of cryptocurrencies using both the
coordinated use of Bots and the speed at which news spreads on social media
Positive Letters of Intent 
While criticism was the theme of the letters, there were positive letters of intent too in favor of the ETF approval.
One such letter noted that:
“Regarding the argument of the SEC that has not yet approved an ETF because of manipulation and mainly appreciates the protection of investors is contradictory, because without an investment fund the investor is susceptible to buy bitcoins in deregulated exchanges and lose their investments (bitcoins), VanEck already offers insurance to cover possible losses and as such, the investor will show interest in investing in an ETF fund.”
The Big Question: Bitcoin ETF when?
The ETF approval seems to be stuck eternally. A piece of new news regarding the sentiments around ETF is released every day. However, a definitive decision from the SEC is pending forever.
The SEC will surely review these letters and take them into account in their decision. Moreover, the rising popularity and institutional support to Bitcoin also warrant some action from the regulator of the largest economy in the world.
The ‘wait and watch’ approach from the SEC on ETF approval can also be extended to the ‘securitization’ of cryptocurrency.
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Source: CoinGape

US SEC’s Valerie Szczepanik: Some stablecoins could raise issues under securities law

The legal status of stablecoins has been disputed for quite some time now. However, in what could be a new episode in the issue, the Securities and Exchange Commission [SEC]’s advisor for Digital Assets, Valerie Szczepanik, informed crypto enthusiasts that some types of stablecoins “could raise issues under securities laws,” reported Decrypt media. The SEC has been dealing with regulations relating to cryptocurrencies and the addition of more stablecoin projects will put the SEC in a difficult position.
Speaking at the SXSW Conference in Austin, Szczepanik divided stablecoins into three categories: stablecoins “tied to some real asset, like real estate or gold and oil, coins linked to a fiat currency held in reserve, and a third category that could cause problems under the law. She said,
“I’ve seen stablecoins that purport to control price through some kind of pricing mechanism, whether it’s tied to the issuance, creation or redemption of another type of digital asset tied to it, or whether it is controlled through supply and demand in some way to keep the price within a certain band.”
She further explained that projects, where one central party could control the price fluctuation over time, might be stepping in the area of security. According to the report, the advisor said that the Commission will have to look into the facts and circumstances of each project. She further added that it will all come down to the expectations that stablecoin issuers impart on their buyers.
Szczepanik said,
“You’re talking about folks who are buying into that ecosystem or are buying this coin with the expectation that somebody else is going to be holding a profit or guaranteeing a profit or holding the price at a certain level. Again, that could raise issues under securities laws.”
Even though stablecoins have a conflicted legal status, “algorithmic stablecoins” are the troubling issue as they are not backed by any collateral whatsoever. The advisor said that it did not matter what label a blockchain business put on their token, stablecoin or otherwise, it will be subjected to the same inspection. She added,
“Folks like to put labels on things, but we’ll always look behind the label to see exactly what’s happening. So you can call it a utility coin, call it a stablecoin, call it a consumptive coin or some other coin. We’re going to look at the characteristics. What’s the economic reality? What’s happening with the transactions involving the coin? And we’ll give it the label that it deserves under the law.”
Szczepanik advised crypto startups to ask for permission, and not forgiveness from the SEC.
The post US SEC’s Valerie Szczepanik: Some stablecoins could raise issues under securities law appeared first on AMBCrypto.
Source: AMB Crypto

SEC Announces a Public Forum to Discuss Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain Technology

The Securities Exchange Commission of the US will host a ‘public forum’ to discuss digital assets like Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, and the underlying Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT).
SEC Press Release
The announcement was made through a press release on 15th March 2019. The public forum will be administered by the agency’s Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology (FinHub).
The FinHub public forum will be hosted at the SEC Washington DC’s Headquarters on May 31, 2019; the event will be streamed live on the SEC’s official website.
Topics of Discussion
The forum will host major FinTech leaders and people for academia. The goal of the forum is to foster greater communication and understanding around issues involving DLT and digital assets like Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
The Press Release included:
Panelists will explore such topics as initial coin offerings, digital asset platforms, DLT innovations, and how these technologies impact investors and the markets.
SEC has already cleared its stance considerably and put a hold to illegal and unregulated Initial Coin Offerings. In a recent letter addressed to the legislative body, the SEC chairman outlined the updates on the regulatory improvements applied to cryptocurrencies and their approach in the future.
The Bitcoin ETF proposal also rests with the SEC. Hence, their take on DLT and digital assets especially Bitcoin is paramount to the success of DLT and cryptocurrencies. An Exchange Traded Fund licensed by the SEC would open doors for a plethora of derivates contracts and open the floodgates for financial institutions.
Since the US is the largest economy of the world, SEC’s approval or disapproval sets an example for other countries as well, especially the weaker economies.
What other outcomes do you expect from the forum? Please share your views with us. 
The post SEC Announces a Public Forum to Discuss Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain Technology appeared first on Coingape.
Source: CoinGape

CBOE Will No Longer List New Bitcoin Futures This March

CBOE Will No Longer List New Bitcoin Futures This March
The Chicago Board Options Exchange will stop listing new Bitcoin futures on its platform this month as it needs to review its approaches in this sphere.
CBOE Will No Longer List New Bitcoin Futures This March

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Source: CoinSpeaker

PwC’s Strategy& Report: A Whooping $20B was Collected via Over 1132 ICOs and STOs in 2018

PwC’s Strategy& Report: A Whooping $20B was Collected via Over 1132 ICOs and STOs in 2018
Experts of PwC’s Strategy& and Swiss-based CVA have explained why there is no fundamental difference between ICOs and STOs.
PwC’s Strategy& Report: A Whooping $20B was Collected via Over 1132 ICOs and STOs in 2018

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Source: CoinSpeaker

The SEC Could Approve the First Bitcoin ETF in 2019

The SEC Could Approve the First Bitcoin ETF in 2019
Professional crypto trader and writer Bill Adams takes a look the biggest developments in the Bitcoin ETF saga, unveiling the chances for eventual ETFs approval in 2019.
The SEC Could Approve the First Bitcoin ETF in 2019

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Source: CoinSpeaker

After SEC’s Endorsement, Ethereum (ETH) Likely to Rise than Tank

Ethereum (ETH) prices stable
Constantinople and recent SEC’s head comments bullish for ETH
Participation low but likely to rise as projects demand the coin

By all means, Constantinople is a demonstration of intention and Ethereum as a platform stands to benefit. Meanwhile, we are bullish on prices expecting that platform demand would see ETH prices rise above $170 in days ahead.
Ethereum Price Analysis
We must acknowledge that cryptocurrency as a whole is just different. We are in the early stages of adoption, and before these global products break to the mainstream, developers must strike a delicate balance that fronts usability while simultaneously protecting users.
The real task is, therefore, striking that balance. It has been a hindrance thus far, and in a network whose native currency expands on what money stands with clarification from the US SEC, a lot must be done to improve the user experience.
With the realization that control brings with it added baggage of being in charge of security and the hassling part of being the risk manager, many are hesitant to jump into the bandwagon. All the same, the network developers are working on the base and despite a rudimentary UX, speed, cost, interoperability, and scalability is a top priority.
Candlestick Arrangements

At the time of writing, ETH is stable but bullish. It is easy to see why. First, note that prices are still oscillating within Mar 5 high low. In an effort versus result perspective that is bullish. Add this to the failure of bears to drive prices below $135, very low—like in previous ETH/USD price analysis is, therefore, a loading opportunity.
Moving on, we expect prices to firm up within this $5 trade range as demand builds up in the lower time frame. Like before, aggressive traders can find entries on dips and with tight stops, a realistic first target is $170. The level is previous support and marks the breakout level of Nov 2018 meltdown.
As a result, it is critical that prices close above this level as such surges invalidate the bear breakout pattern and possible trend resumption.
Technical Indicators
Aside from Feb 18 and Feb 24 high volume bull bars, our anchor bar is Mar 5. At the back of ETH resurgence printing, a double bar bull reversal pattern is high volumes—302k. These volumes are above recent averages of 189k and reaffirm of bullish position. For buyers to be in control, prices must rally above $140 with high participation levels preferably above $310k driving prices.
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Source: New

Thai SEC Approved First ICO Portal but Remains Unnamed

Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reportedly said yes to country’s first initial coin offering (ICO) portal. The portal would oversee the issuance blockchain based tokens.
SEC’s Approval for Unnamed ICO Portal
However, it is delayed but SEC Thailand has finally approved the dedicated ICO portal which was announced in late last year. It’s worth to note that this dedicated ICO portal is yet to be named.
The ICO portal with Thai SEC’s approval is on forwarding step – nevertheless, the approval from other central agencies such as Commerce Ministry is still pending. As for now, the status of ICO portal is almost ready but one step away – as the other agencies are yet to approve it. However, Archari Suppiroj, director of the fintech department at the SEC confirm that other bodies are also reviewing to offer green signal. Nevertheless, the time-frame of ICO project from this portal is not specifically determined, but the director hints as near future. Suppiroj Said;
“The first ICO deal will be available for [a] public offering in the near future under the digital asset royal decree…
Per the announcement, the portal will be held responsible to review ICOs, prove smart contract source codes, conduct due diligence, and also screen know-your-customer process (KYC). Concerning the trends of ICO and the concept it carries, she said;
ICO market has started to graduate from project-based and intangible ideas to ICOs backed by physical assets such as real estate.
Also Read: Thai SEC Revealed Eligible Cryptocurrencies for ICO Investment, Banned 3 Major Coins
Guidelines on STO is on Way
While Thailand SEC’s approval is only concerning the ICO, the concept of tokenization will not be served under this – since the law for securities is different. In particular, companies with STO will have to register under the Securities and Exchange Act in Thailand.
However, more likely, the regulators will soon issue separate guidelines for Securities token offering (STO) as well. As confirmed by Archari Suppiroj;
In the future, the SEC will issue a criterion that allows companies to apply tokenization to securities and other assets. This will help bridge the digital asset royal decree and securities law.”
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Source: CoinGape

U.S. SEC Chairperson Jay Clayton Clarifies that Ethereum is Not a Security

U.S. SEC Chairperson Jay Clayton Clarifies that Ethereum is Not a Security
In his answer letter, Jay Clayton opens up on defining ICO tokens as securities saying that there cannot be a static approach to deal with different crypto assets. Meanwhile, according to the agency’s laws, Ethereum is not the case.
U.S. SEC Chairperson Jay Clayton Clarifies that Ethereum is Not a Security

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Source: CoinSpeaker

‘Ethereum is Not a Security’, Said the Pied Piper of Hamelin

SEC Chairman, Jay Clayton had sent an official letter to the United States Representative, Ted Budd regarding the ‘application of federal securities to digital assets.’ The uncertainty over cryptocurrencies being classified as investment security has kept the minds at SEC occupied from a long time.
For SEC, Investor’s Security Comes First
Meanwhile, Clayton noted that the SEC has successfully curbed down on the illegal and immoral ICOs that was prevalent during 2016-2017.
The Divisions of Corporation Finance, Investment Management, and Trading and Markets had issued a statement in November 2018
The Commission has brought a number of actions involving offerings of digital asset securities. To date, these actions have principally focused on two important questions.
First, when is a digital asset a “security” for purposes of the federal securities laws? Second, if a digital asset is a security, what Commission registration requirements apply.
Jay Clayton reaffirmed in the letter that thorough analysis of a digital currency or asset will be made by the Departments at the SEC.
—regardless of the terminology used to identify the digital asset—will depend on the facts and circumstances, including the economic realities of the transaction.
Conditions To Not Being Classified As a Security
The necessary and sufficient condition for any digital asset to ‘not’ be classified as ‘security’ is its autonomy and decentralization. The hopes of the token holder must reside with the efforts of the entire community and not with a particular set of people.
Clayton mentioned that digital currency’s definition as a particular asset class could change with time. Therefore, a cryptocurrency released as ‘security’ can later be exempted from the Securities Exchange Act after it achieves autonomy.
In the letter he said,
I agree with Director Hinman’s explanation of how a digital asset transaction may no longer represent an investment contract if, for example, purchasers would no longer reasonably expect a person or group to carry out the essential managerial or entrepreneurial efforts. Under those circumstances, the digital asset may not represent an investment contract under the Howey framework.
Hence, when the conditions are applied on Ethereum, the following can be proposed:
Ethereum has achieved a high level of decentralization through a fair and open distribution of Ether (ETH) tokens. However, the hopes of the Ether (ETH) holder currently reside with the Ethereum Foundation’s successful implementation of the Serenity Update. The expectations of the token holders rest with Vitalik Buterin and the Ethereum Foundation. Therefore, Ethereum might still be classified under ‘security.’
The cryptocurrency media publications have announced that ‘Ethereum is not a security.‘ However, a clarification came from the Executive Director of CoinCenter who clarified that the headline was not appropriate. The publication has confirmed on changing their title.

Some folks interpreted the headline on my post earlier today to mean Clayton said explicitly that ether is not a security. Not what we meant and have changed headline accordingly. He agrees with Hinman’s method of applying Howey (which concluded ether today is not a security).
— Jerry Brito (@jerrybrito) March 12, 2019

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Source: CoinGape

Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin and Ethereum Classic Lose Support From the Thai SEC: Expert Opinion

While the crypto markets are slowly maturing and becoming recognized across the globe, there are still vast differences in the way that each country handles them. Some are taking a more supportive stance and some are unfortunately not. Amongst all, the Thai regulator Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has removed BCH, LTC, and ETC from the list of accepted cryptocurrencies
Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP, and Stellar Lumens have been reaffirmed
While the report has come to a shocker for the three coins that have lost support- BCH, LTC, and ETC- the report has reaffirmed support for Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP, and Stellar Lumens. More specifically, the SEC has made it clear to specify that this support is referring to issuing tokens on top of those respective blockchains (ICOs) and using these cryptos as a base pair for trading at exchanges. Meaning, that it is now illegal to issue an ICO on the Litecoin blockchain and exchanges are banned from allowing pairs like ETC/XXX.
Although the ban has come in it is less likely to have a real-time impact as of the three cryptos that have seen support removed, none of them are currently being used for ICOs nor are they being used by exchanges as a base currency. Overall, Thailand has been a fairly small market for cryptos so in any case, the impact of this announcement of the coin prices would be really negligible.
But what’s interesting here is that even after being a small market the, Thai regulator has actually doe their homework and getting into specific cryptos almost like an investor might.
Only time will tell if this strategy will pay off but what is clear is that they may be creating more work for themselves as they may need to update the status of individual coins based on market forces. Should any single crypto asset gain or lose ground in the market, they could be forced to update their policy. Also, they’ve only weighed in on 7 cryptos, leaving the rest with a big question mark.
Will other countries all go the Thai way of individual coin regulation? Do let us know your views on the same.
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Source: CoinGape

Thai SEC Revealed Eligible Cryptocurrencies for ICO Investment, Banned 3 Major Coins

The Thai SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) has yesterday (i.e Feb 28, 2019) published a new report concerning the eligible and banned cryptocurrencies for ICO investments and trading pairs.
Although the trading volume on Coinmarketcap lists Bitcoin as the first largest cryptocurrency followed by ETH, XRP, EOS, LTC, BCH, USDT, XLM, TRON, BNB and etc..respectively – but the route for SEC Thailand is quite different.
Eligible Cryptocurrencies for ICO Investment
Per the official announcement, entitled ‘SEC updates list of cryptocurrencies eligible for investments in ICOs and base trading pairs’, it has highlighted that the eligible cryptocurrencies of initial coin offering (ICO) investments are finalized as four crypto assets – these including – Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Ripple (XRP), and Stellar (XLM). Beside ICO investments, these cryptocurrencies are also made eligible as base trading pairs for value comparison on ‘digital asset exchange;.
With this notice, the announcement notes that;
In any case, it should be noted that the announcement of such a cryptocurrency list is not a certification of their legal tender status.
Banned Cryptocurrencies for ICO Investment
The eligible cryptocurrency list will be periodically updated – the blog reads. Additionally, while SEC finalized the eligible assets, it had also shared the ones that have been presently banned to be considered for ICO investment. Consequent to the reports, Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Litecoin (LTC) has been removed from the list means that these will not be used to invest in ICO projects.
As an assurance to the users, SEC had also informed;
In any case, the list update has no impact on investors or digital asset businesses because so far no ICO has been launched and the operating digital asset exchanges have never used BCH, ETC or LTC as base trading pairs.
On top of all, the Thai SEC also publicized that these eligible currencies shouldn’t be considered as the certification of their legal tender status. Conclusively, it added;
It should be noted that the announcement of the cryptocurrencies for base trading pairs is not a certification of their legal tender status or other legal statuses, nor is it a certification of any kind related to such cryptocurrencies.
So readers, what’s your stake on Thai SEC’s decision regarding the eligible and banned cryprocurrencies for ICO investments? Let us know your thoughts 
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Source: CoinGape

Tesla (TSLA) Stock Plunges as SEC Declares War Against Elon Musk


Tesla (TSLA) Stock Plunges as SEC Declares War Against Elon Musk

The renewed feud between Elon Musk and the U.S. financial authorities negatively affects Tesla stock that saw a 5% decrease at market trading.

Tesla (TSLA) Stock Plunges as SEC Declares War Against Elon Musk

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Source: CoinSpeaker

World’s Biggest Tech Corporation Microsoft Ventures Into ICO


World’s Biggest Tech Corporation Microsoft Ventures Into ICO

The new ICO solution has been jointly developed by Microsoft Azure and Stratis – an ICO platform that offers KYC solutions, custom branding and support for different currencies.

World’s Biggest Tech Corporation Microsoft Ventures Into ICO

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Source: CoinSpeaker