投稿者アーカイブ: Jimmy Aki

Slush Pool Operator Braiins Set to Rollout Upgrades

Braiins

Braiins, a cryptocurrency mining pool operator based in Prague, is rebranding its company’s operation and bringing all of its products under a single umbrella.

Updates Are Coming

Braiins is the company behind Slush Pool, the original cryptocurrency mining pool with a hash rate of 5.32 Eh/s, per its website. After operating in the mining sector for some years, it appears to be set for a brand makeover and it’s pushing out some upgrades for its popular products — Slush Pool and Braiins OS.

According to Braiins Creative Director Luboš Buračinský, Slush Pool customers should expect upgrades on the payout processes and the inclusion of more tokens.

“For Slush Pool, we are about to release a completely reworked payout section,” he told Bitcoin Magazine. “The new features allow for much more in terms of payouts settings when it comes to frequency, destination, payout conditions, etc. Furthermore, we will add support for more coins. And of course, we continually keep adding tweaks to the product UX.”

Braiins OS, on the other hand, will include a feature that allows users to install it from a memory card onto a flash memory.

Braiins launched Braiins OS in 2008. At the time, Jan Čapek, the company’s CEO, was driven by the need to create an open-source alternative to the closed-source mining firmware being used with Slush Pool. The initial release was targeted at mining devices only, but it has evolved since then.

“Retail miners should find this especially useful, now that certain hardware manufacturers decided to permanently restrict access via [cryptographic network protocol Secure Shell],” Buračinský said.

Speaking on the rebrand, Čapek praised the company’s efforts in recent years.

“We have continuously worked to redefine the mining industry and set new standards throughout the past six years,” he said. “Slush Pool, Braiins OS, and any future products we might release require unified and smooth branding that will tell the world who built them.”

Braiins has undergone several changes since taking control of the mining pool, expanding its product portfolio significantly to meet the demands of an ever-increasing customer base.

Holding Its Own

While a number of mining companies have closed shop thanks to the recent crypto winter, Braiins has been able to weather the storm and come out stronger.

“We suppose a lean operation and generally crypto-neutral local environment makes it a little easier for us,” said Buračinský. “As for the growth, I think it’s fair to say we saw certain growth following the BTC exchange rate improvement. Not to forget, the user churn typically also reflects the decrease thereof.”

Indeed, Prague is one of the most crypto-friendly cities in the world. It currently boasts over 150 venues where bitcoin can be used as a means of payment including bars, hotels and restaurants. The Czech government is relatively liberal when it comes to cryptocurrency policies. The Czech central bank even published a document in 2017 called “Don’t Be Afraid of Bitcoin,” in which it noted that crypto doesn’t offer any threat to conventional banking.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Australian Government Publishes Update on Cryptocurrency and ICO Rules

Sydney Australia

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has published an update on how it intends to regulate crypto-related businesses and initial coin offerings (ICOs).

In this guideline, the financial regulator outlines requirements that need to be followed for cryptocurrency businesses to be compliant with the ASIC Act.

This update is noteworthy as the country continues to battle crypto scams, losing almost $4.3 million in 2018.

Going forward, companies issuing crypto assets deemed to be financial products will be required by law to procure an Australian Financial Services (AFS) license. On the flipside, for crypto assets which aren’t financial products, promoters must ensure that they don’t engage in any form of deceptive advertising.

According to the Corporations Act, an ICO could be a financial product if it’s a “managed investment scheme, security, derivative or non-cash payment (NCP) facility,” ASIC explains.

Exchanges that manage and offer trading of these assets would also be required to follow the new guidelines, including holding an Australian market license, unless covered by an exemption.

In instances where miners could be considered as a part of the clearing and settlement processes for financial products, Australian laws will apply.

In part, the release notes, “Businesses offering crypto-assets, or offering services in relation to crypto assets, need to undertake appropriate inquiries to satisfy themselves they are complying with all relevant Australian laws.”

Crypto wallet and custody service providers would need the appropriate custodial and depository authorizations to operate, while crypto asset payment and service providers involved in non-cash payment facility require an AFS license.

The agency pointed out that it would be enforcing know-your-customer and anti-money laundering standards on all crypto assets. These cover assets managed within and outside of the country’s borders in tandem with the Australian Consumer Law.

ASIC Commissioner John Price said, “Australian laws will also apply even if the ICO or crypto-asset is promoted or sold to Australians from offshore. Issuers of ICOs, crypto-assets and their advisers should not assume the use of these structures means that key consumer protections under Australian laws do not apply or can be ignored.”

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Cryptopia Turns to a U.S. Court for Account Holder Data Protection

Cryptopia

In the latest development over its security breach, cryptocurrency exchange Cryptopia has filed for bankruptcy protection in the U.S.

The New Zealand-based exchange, which has been dealing with the fallout of a January 2019 hack, went into liquidation and stopped all trading earlier this month. Cryptopia’s assigned liquidator, Grant Thornton, then petitioned the Southern District of New York’s bankruptcy court to seek recognition of this liquidation and protect exchange data stored on servers by a firm in Arizona.

Per a report from Bloomberg, the unnamed firm had terminated its agreement with Cryptopia and was seeking $2 million in compensation for its services. Cryptopia’s liquidators secured the bankruptcy order from the Southern District of New York, ensuring that the firm’s data are intact through a provisional relief that will last until June 7, 2019.

“The interim order preserves the Cryptopia data, which includes a SQL database containing all account holders’ individual holdings of cryptocurrencies and the account holder contact details,” the update from Grant Thorton reads. “Without this information, reconciling individual holdings with the currencies held by Cryptopia will be impossible.”

This development closely follows news that Cryptopia’s founder has launched a new exchange.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

AT&T Now Accepts Bitcoin

AT&T News Bit

AT&T customers can now use bitcoin to settle their bills online.

According to a press release from the Dallas-based mobile carrier, customers who want to use cryptocurrency to pay their bills can do so by selecting BitPay as a payment option on the myAT&T app or when they log in to their account. BitPay is a popular crypto payment service that helps businesses accept cryptocurrencies for payments online.

“It’s exciting for BitPay to support AT&T as it moves to accept bitcoin as a payment option,” Sonny Singh, BitPays chief commercial officer, told Bitcoin Magazine. “Bitcoin lets customers pay from anywhere in the world quickly and easily.”

For AT&T’s part, adding BitPay as a payment option gives its customers more flexibility.

“We’re always looking for ways to improve and expand our services,” said Kevin McDorman, vice president of AT&T’s Communications Finance Business Operations, per the release. “We have customers who use cryptocurrency, and we are happy we can offer them a way to pay their bills with the method they prefer.”

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Coinbase CEO Teases Launch of Debit Card in the U.S.

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Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong has announced that the company is working on introducing its debit card to customers in the U.S.

Armstrong’s announcement came in a live AMA session on YouTube on May 16, 2019, during which he fielded questions and touched on various topics such as community trust ratings for altcoins and fraud prevention. While he did confirm that the debit card is coming to U.S. customers, he didn’t divulge a specific release date.

Last month, Coinbase launched the Coinbase Card, a Visa-based debit card which, according to the exchange, allows customers to make purchases online and in-store using their crypto balances.

But the Coinbase Card, along with the expense-managing Coinbase Card App, have only been released to customers in the U.K. However, according to Armstrong, its entry into the United States isn’t so far off.

Will Coinbase Add Margin Trading?

Armstrong also spoke about the inclusion of margin trading on Coinbase Pro, which he claimed is one of the most frequently requested features from customers.

He said that if Coinbase is to move into margin trading, there will be a lot of regulatory concerns to figure out.

“This is one of those products where you have to innovate not just on the technology, but also on the regulatory side,” Armstrong said.

With margin trading, traders are able to “borrow” money from exchanges to make trades, and the high-yield possibilities tend to encourage traders to make large, risky investments.

Countries like Japan have introduced some very strict laws regarding margin trading for cryptocurrency, adding restrictions like caps on available leverage and requiring exchanges that support the feature to register with financial regulators.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Tether and Bitfinex Ask New York Attorney General for Fund Accessibility

Gavel

Attorneys for Tether and Bitfinex are hoping to get the former access to its reserves amid a legal dispute with New York Office of the Attorney General (NYOAG).

In a letter sent to the New York County Supreme Court, attorneys representing iFinex (the parent organization of Bitfinex) and Tether took issue with the restrictions that had been placed on Tether’s transactions with related parties as part of an ongoing case against them, stating that the NYOAG had no basis for disallowing tether (USDT) holders and other affiliated entities from redeeming their tokens.

The development brings yet another twist to the ongoing dispute between the parties. In April 2019, the NYOAG applied for a court order to investigate Bitfinex for “ongoing fraud” totaling $850 million, using funds from Tether to mask massive losses. As part of the case, the NYOAG had filed an injunction seeking a restriction on related parties from accessing any of their funds in Tether’s reserve for at least 90 days.

The NYOAG’s argument is simple; if Bitfinex is allowed to continue drawing funds from Tether, with no assurance of repayment, then there’s a significant possibility that these funds will never be recovered.

On the other hand, Bitfinex maintains that the NYOAG has no legal basis or authority to probe its business.

In this recent letter sent to the court, iFinex’s attorneys noted that the two sides have been unable to reach a consensus on what Tether should be allowed to do with its holdings. The respondents also expressed their concern that the injunction sought by the NYOAG could have significant effects on Tether’s operations and financial strength.

“While Tether does not anticipate that it will suddenly become unprofitable, OAG’s language would potentially require the company to cut off salary and other ordinary course payments in any given period if, for whatever reason, there was insufficient profit,” the document reads.

As a compromise, the respondents’ attorneys asked that the injunction be reduced to 45 days. They also want affiliated entities to have the ability to redeem their tokens within that period.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Grayscale Reports $3.2 Million Average Weekly Investments in Bitcoin Trust

Grayscale

The first quarter of 2019 was bullish for the digital asset management firm Grayscale Investments and the company is gearing up to have another run.

According to a first quarter “Digital Asset Investment Report” from the company, published on May 13, 2019, product inflows from Grayscale Investments grew by 42 percent over Q4 2018. The company revealed that its Bitcoin Investment Trust (BIT) saw the vast majority of investments in the quarter, as the trust secured an average weekly investment of $3.2 million out of the firm’s total weekly investment count of $3.3 million — leaving non-bitcoin investment products driving less than $1 million in average weekly investments.

Grayscale’s non-bitcoin investments include trusts for cryptocurrencies such as ether, bitcoin cash, XRP and other digital assets.

Grayscale also reported that its products saw total investment from hedge funds amounting to less than $1 million in Q4 2018 (It should be noted that these products included the BIT). However, during Q1 2019, inflows from hedge funds surged to a staggering $24 million — an increase of over 2,400 percent. Per the report, hedge fund inflows made up 56 percent of all investment inflows into Grayscale for the quarter, helping to propel a 42 percent increase from $30.1 million in Q4 2018 to $42.7 million.

The report also categorized Grayscale’s investors, indicating that 73 percent of them were representatives of financial institutions, much more than 56 percent that was reported in the first half of 2018.

Given the details in the report, it may be that Grayscale’s provocative ad initiative for bitcoin is paying off. Earlier this month, the American asset management firm launched its #DropGold ad campaign which urged investors to ditch gold and invest in bitcoin instead.

Grayscale’s attack on gold didn’t go unanswered. On May 2, 2019, Adam Perlaky, manager of investment research at the World Gold Council, published a rebuttal to the #DropGold campaign, explaining that his organization believes “cryptocurrencies are no replacement for gold.”

In his post, Perlaky also explained that while there is a lot of promise in the concept of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, they don’t “represent a substitute for gold either in theory or in practice.”

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

eBay Teases Crypto Expansion

eBay News Bit

Popular e-commerce provider eBay has released promotional materials suggesting that its is ready to accept “virtual currencies” and offer “digital collectibles.”

The ads have appeared at Consensus 2019, a cryptocurrency and blockchain summit taking place this week in New York. In addition to hinting that eBay will soon offer support for cryptocurrencies, they feature claims about the company’s online reach and user count.

Because the initial ads didn’t mention any cryptocurrencies in particular, it’s unclear if the online marketplace plans to focus on Bitcoin or other tokens. At the time of this writing, the e-commerce company hasn’t released any public information about an expansion into crypto beyond the ads. It’s likely that eBay will offer more information before the conclusion of Consensus.

However, the marketplace has been contemplating bitcoin as a method of payment for some time. Scott Cutler, senior vice president of eBay, told Yahoo Finance in 2017 that the company was seriously considering accepting bitcoin for payments on its platform.

Either way, this prospect will serve as good news for crypto enthusiasts. As one of the largest e-commerce platforms in the world, with a $31 billion market capitalization, eBay’s potential adoption of digital assets would certainly serve as a boost for the global crypto industry.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Liquid Network Expands With New Memberships and Integrations

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Blockstream’s Liquid Network has expanded to include 14 new members. With these additions, Liquid’s client base now boasts 35 institutions.

The company also announced that Liquid is now available on Bitfinex and RenrenBit, a crypto finance app. Essentially, it means that users of these platforms can now access Liquid Bitcoin withdrawals and deposits.

In addition, the news heralds some of the network’s future projects, including the launch of Tether (USDT) and Stably (USDS), two dollar-backed stablecoins on the network.

In a statement, Bitfinex Chief Technical Officer Paolo Ardoino claimed that the expansion “makes a lot of sense” so that institutions can issue digital assets under a single blockchain platform.

He added, “It reduces the integration burden for an exchange like ourselves, and traders can manage all their assets from a single wallet application. We’re excited to be finally active on the Liquid Network and looking forward to seeing how it develops.”

Samson Mow, Blockstream’s chief strategy officer, also commented on the move, adding that Liquid’s features, including quick settlements, will help speed up asset transfers for both safekeeping and trading purposes.

He added, “Transaction details on Liquid are hidden by default thanks to Liquid’s privacy technology, so traders no longer have to worry about front-running on large trades either.”

Developed by Blockstream, the Liquid Network is a federated sidechain on Bitcoin’s blockchain which functions as a settlement and payment processing network for investors and institutions across the global crypto market.

The network, which was launched in 2018, allows its users to transfer funds to various destination without having to establish channels ahead of time.

Liquid is Blockstream’s answer to the Lightning Network. However, while Lightning works for micropayments, Liquid is described by its creators as a tool for facilitating “fast and reliable high-value transfers.” The platform promises quick and secure asset transfers to members within the network, as well as the prospect of conducting transactions over a system that doesn’t fail.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Bitfinex Releases White Paper for LEO Token Sale

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Bitfinex is forging forward despite its ongoing row with the authorities, and it’s looking for investors to support its efforts.

Today, May 8, 2019, iFinex, the operator and parent company of the popular cryptocurrency exchange, released a private token sale white paper, putting to rest rumors of its Initial Exchange Offering (IEO). Bitfinex is launching the token sale in a bid to compensate clients whose funds disappeared as part of the $850 million loss the exchange incurred at the hand of its payment processor Crypto Capital. Funds raised will also go toward refunding users affected by an August 2016 hack of 119,756 bitcoin.

In addition, “[p]roceeds may be used for working capital and general business purposes, including capital expenditures, operating expenses,” as well as “repayment of indebtedness and other recapitalization activities.”

According to the white paper, iFinex will issue up to 1 billion LEO tokens, with each token pegged to controversial stablecoin tether (USDT), a currency which shares personnel and ownership structures with iFinex.

The exchange will kick off with a private token sale, while a public sale might come after, if it fails to sell off the total amount of available tokens. These tokens will give holders discounts and rebates on trading, deposit and withdrawal fees and other benefits based on the portion of LEO owned; for example, Bitfinex will permit anyone holding greater than 50 million LEO to withdraw $2 million without any added fees.

iFinex will purchase and burn LEO from holders each month at a minimum rate of 27 percent of its gross revenue (consisting most notably of Bitfinex and Tether, this includes revenue from all of iFinex’s subsidiaries excluding Ethfinex).

“iFinex and its subsidiaries will use an amount equal to 95% of the recovered net funds from Crypto Capital (described above) to redeem and burn a corresponding amount of outstanding LEO tokens. Net recoveries will be calculated by iFinex in good faith and will be net of legal costs, operational and recovery costs, governmental charges, and reserves for contingent costs,” the white paper states.

The exchange also revealed that it is working toward the launch of a derivatives trading in the coming months, and it will be using tether as collateral as well.

“From its expected June 2019 launch, qualified Bitfinex account holders will be able to trade a new hedging product through a derivatives wallet. The product will have USDT-based collateral (unavailable in the rest of the market), up to 100x leverage and isolated margin for individualized risk level,” the document confirms.

Bitfinex is in the middle of a legal battle, after it was accused of fraud by the New York Attorney General for tapping into Tether’s reserves to cover up $850 million in losses in customer funds to its primary payment processor Crypto Capital. The New York Attorney General has requested that the Supreme Court of New York freeze the $900 million line of revolving credit Bitfinex established with Tether to cover the lost funds, while Bitfinex continues to rebut the legal action and move for the court to dismiss the attorney general’s requests.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Fidelity’s Bitcoin Trading Is Only Weeks Away

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Fidelity’s cryptocurrency subsidiary Fidelity Digital Assets will reportedly launch bitcoin trading for its clients “within a few weeks,” according to Bloomberg.

According to the report, which cites an anonymous source, the new services will be open only to institutional investors.

Speaking with the publication, Arlene Roberts, a spokeswoman for the investment company, said, “We currently have a select set of clients we’re supporting on our platform. We will continue to roll out our services over the coming weeks and months based on our clients’ needs, jurisdictions, and other factors. Currently, our service offering is focused on Bitcoin.”

Fidelity will join the likes of Robinhood and E-Trade, in a short but expanding list of traditional investing platforms who have entered or are looking to enter the crypto space. Last month, it was reported that securities brokerage firm E-Trade was finalizing plans to offer bitcoin and ether trading to its customers, and TD Ameritrade even piloted bitcoin and litecoin paper trades through Nasdaq last April.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Indictments Issued for Two Individuals for Running “Shadow Banking” Operation

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U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York has charged two individuals for providing “shadow banking” services to crypto exchanges.

According to a statement by Geoffrey S. Berman, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, published on April 30, 2019, “Reginald Fowler and Ravid Yosef allegedly ran a shadow bank that processed hundreds of millions of dollars of unregulated transactions on behalf of numerous cryptocurrency exchanges.”

The D.A. also claimed that both individuals ran an organization that managed to evade the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) laws that govern the operations of licensed financial institutions.

The Department of Justice also released court documents, claiming that the two worked for various companies that provided currency banking services to crypto exchanges and then went on to establish and operate an unlicensed money service between February and October 2018. Prosecutors believe that during that period, the two of them created and used several bank accounts with different financial institutions.

To get the banks to open these accounts, Fowler and Yousef were said to have made several misleading statements to the banks, claiming that their accounts would be used to conduct “real estate transactions,” while actually using them to transmit funds for a cryptocurrency-related money transmitting agency.

To cover up the nature of their business, they allegedly went on to falsify electronic wire payment instructions as well.

An investigation into the business, which was conducted by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the FBI, discovered that the suspects operated two bank accounts under the company name Global Trading Solutions LLC with HSBC Bank USA and HSBC Securities USA/Pershing LLC.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.