May 2018

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Source: News | Date: May 31, 2018

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Bittrex Gets Bank Agreement to Help Customers Buy Bitcoin With Dollars

Seattle-based cryptocurrency exchange Bittrex Inc. has established a formal agreement with Signature Bank in New York to allow corporate clients in specific states to purchase virtual tokens using USD. The move is designed to increase the amount of institutional capital making its way through the crypto space.

Chief executive officer of Bittrex Bill Shihara says the exchange has been working on this partnership for months. “It’s been a long path,” he commented. “It’s not just about banks being able to trust Bittrex; it’s about banks being able to trust crypto in general, and I think it’s really showing that crypto is turning the corner in terms of mainstream acceptance.”

Due to regulatory uncertainty surrounding virtual currencies, many established financial institutions continue to associate them with money laundering and related criminal activity, and have chosen to avoid them altogether. Last February, for example, customers who tried to purchase digital currency through Citigroup were treated to serious delays and cancelled transactions after the investment firm made the decision to bar users from buying crypto using their debit cards or checking accounts.

This decision was later replicated by establishments like Chase and Bank of America, both of which implemented bans preventing customers from purchasing cryptocurrencies on major exchanges. Thus, many virtual currency marketplaces still only allow customers to trade between digital assets, rather than dollar for crypto or vice versa.

However, some banks are beginning to show signs of change in both attitude and business protocol, and have become more welcoming of cryptocurrencies. Popular digital currency exchange Coinbase has recently developed partnerships with Cross River Bank, Metropolitan Bank and Silvergate Bank in the United States. The company has even garnered a Barclays PLC bank account in the United Kingdom.

Noble Bank International in San Juan, Puerto Rico, also took over banking duties for Bitfinex in 2017 after the exchange’s relationship with Wells Fargo came to a sudden end.

Discussing the needs of traditional banks, Shihara went on to say, “They really do look and pour through the entire business. They want to make sure we’ve got robust AML/KYC processes and that we’ve got the right controls on our finances. They do background checks and everything. They really look at our business soup to nuts.”

Bittrex, which boasts roughly 3 million customers around the world, allows users to trade up to 200 different digital coins. Fiat trading capabilities will also be launched May 31, 2018, for bitcoin, Tether and TrueUSD. At press time, the service is only available to corporate clients in New York, California, Washington and Montana, though executives say they are working to expand this capability to retail investors once regulations are more defined.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Source: Bitcoin Magazine | Date: May 31, 2018

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Crypto Exchange Huobi Quietly Opens Office in Brazil and Starts Hiring

Huobi, the third largest crypto exchange by 24-hour trading volume, is reportedly setting up an office in Brazil. According to reports in Portal du Bitcoin, representatives of Huobi were seen distributing business cards during Bitconf, a major cryptocurrency conference held in São Paulo, Brazil, on May 5-6, 2018.

The Singapore-based exchange has yet to make an an official statement on the matter, but according to Portal du Bitcoin, which broke the news on Tuesday, May 29, 2018, Huobi has already opened an office in the coworking space WeWork in São Paulo. The company also has ads on LinkedIn looking for a Digital Marketing Manager and a Chief Compliance Officer to work out of São Paulo.

Originally founded in Beijing in 2013, Huobi was, at one time, one of the largest bitcoin exchanges in China before the country placed an all-out ban on cryptocurrency trading in September 2017. Rather than shutter its business completely, Huobi began a major expansion effort, setting up offices in Singapore, South Korea and elsewhere.

Only weeks ago, Huobi announced plans to open its first Canadian office in Toronto, and earlier this year, despite regulatory uncertainty in the U.S., Huobi also revealed that it was opening a branch in San Francisco to offer crypto-to-crypto trading in the U.S. market.

The firm also attempted to make inroads into Japan. In December 2017, Huobi revealed it intended to launch a trading platform in Japan with Japan-based investment group SBI Holdings. But the deal was scrapped in March 2018 at a time when Japan’s regulators were stepping up oversight on cryptocurrency exchanges in the country.

Now the exchange is headed to Brazil, as Huobi confirmed with CoinDesk. With a population of 210 million, Brazil is home to half the population of South America, representing a huge potential market for Huobi. Meanwhile, competition in the country is sparse. Currently, the biggest crypto exchanges in Brazil include Foxbit, BitcoinTrade and Mercado Bitcoin, which all trade in relatively small volumes compared to Huobi.

And, as far as cryptocurrency regulation goes, Brazil is still a “Wild West.” In December 2017, the country’s central bank and securities regulator went so far as to issue a joint warning to investors that virtual currencies had no official oversight in the country.

Cryptocurrency trading is a lucrative market, and Huobi is not the only major exchange on the move after the Chinese crackdown. In the past few months, Binance and OKEx separately announced plans to expand to the crypto-friendly island nation of Malta. Early this year, Bitfinex said it was planning to set up operations in Switzerland.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Source: Bitcoin Magazine | Date: May 31, 2018

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Social trading platform eToro has had a great start to the year, and as it gets ready to launch a cryptocurrency offering in the U.S., set to take place in the second half of 2018, and its eToro wallet, the platform has revealed that it will be launching its own exchange later this year. Yoni […]

The post Yoni Assia Discusses The Future of eToro and Cryptocurrency appeared first on Coinjournal.

Source: Coinjournal | Date: May 31, 2018

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A patent application from Mastercard suggests that the payments giant is eyeing blockchain as part of a way to verify the authenticity of coupons.

Source: CoinDesk | Date: May 31, 2018

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An IMF official believes central banks need to offer “better” fiat currencies in order to fend off potential competition from cryptocurrencies.

Source: CoinDesk | Date: May 31, 2018

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Bitcoin Price Analysis

After days of sudden, strong selling, bitcoin has managed to find a local bottom in the low $7000s where it has been drifting around aimlessly. As many traders on Twitter have noted, we have formed a large consolidation pattern called a symmetrical triangle (outlined in red):

fig1Figure 1: BTC USD, 1-Day Candles, Macro Symmetrical Triangle

Symmetrical triangles are consolidation patterns that are typically agnostic regarding their breakout direction. However, one important thing to note about this consolidation pattern is it embodies some of the hallmarks of a reaccumulation trading range (TR) — most notable is the volume profile:

fig 2Figure 2: BTC-USD, 12-Hour Candles, Volume Trend

Overall, the entire volume profile of the symmetrical triangle is sloping downward — this is indicating consolidation in the market. If we look closer at the consolidating volume trend, we can see a few details that are worth noting:

  1. The red arrows are pointing out the decrease in volume off the peaks of the rallies. Typically decreasing volume off rally reactions indicates a diminishing pool of supply.
  2. Vice versa, the green arrows are pointing out the increasing volume on the rallies. Increasing volume on rallies shows us there is still a steady amount of demand in the market.
  3. Points 1 and 2 together also reveal something about the lows made at the lower boundary of the symmetrical triangle: as the market pushes and establishes its lows, we see climactic volume. Climactic volume leading into support is a great sign of supply absorption and hints toward further demand in the market.

There is a really strong case for the current symmetrical triangle being a reaccumulation TR that, in the grand scheme of things, is nothing more than a pitstop in an otherwise upward-trending market. A breakout to the top of the symmetrical triangle would have a price target in the $15,000s. However, as I mentioned at the beginning of this article, symmetrical triangles are directionally agnostic and can also break to the downside. If the triangle breaks down, the measured move for the breakout would have us testing the $2000–$3000 price range.

For now, the volume is content with continuing to consolidate, but the market is poised for a very strong move that will likely shape the landscape of the market for the next several months. It’s impossible to determine when a market will breakout, so all we can do is hedge our bets and wait.

Summary:

  1. The market has been consolidating for months in the form of a symmetrical triangle and is tightly wound for a strong, sustained move.
  2. There is strong evidence of supply absorption in the market which would likely lead to an upward breakout.
  3. Symmetrical triangles are directionally agnostic and can oftentimes break to the downside.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Source: Bitcoin Magazine | Date: May 31, 2018

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Bitcoin Nonprofit BitGive Announces New Project and Research Collaboration

BitGive — the globe’s first bitcoin-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit — has joined hands with the University of Edinburgh to research and examine the effects of digital currencies on both national and international charities. Both organizations are seeking to develop a stronger, more organized system for allowing charities to accept virtual currency donations.

BitGive previously made headlines in October 2017 when it launched its new GiveTrack platform, which uses blockchain technology to clarify and record digital asset donations to global charities. Individuals can trace their funds in real time, and see how their money is spent once an organization receives it. They are also informed of the charity’s project results, creating direct engagement between the donor and the receiver.

BitGive’s founder Connie Gallippi explained in a statement:

“It’s been incredibly rewarding to see our GiveTrack platform gain unabating momentum. Throughout this process, we’ve discovered numerous opportunities, as well as challenges and barriers, that have helped shape the development of our platform and define crypto-philanthropy. Using this knowledge, in tandem with the bright minds at the University of Edinburgh, BitGive will be delving into how to overcome the roadblocks to effective crypto-philanthropy and establish how cryptocurrency can best be used to uplift and revolutionize the charitable sector.”

BitGive and the University of Edinburgh are seeking to uncover the challenges of using and converting cryptocurrencies in third-world countries. To do this, BitGive will analyze data collected from GiveTrack’s implementations in nations like Indonesia, Kenya and India to better understand these regions’ levels of cryptocurrency acceptance and feasibility.

In addition, both organizations are also hoping collected data will shed light on merchant adoption, regulation, and the effects of cryptocurrencies on local governments and cultures in each country.

Research partner at the University of Edinburgh Dr. Claudia Pagliari says:

“Through their experience of planning and delivering projects using the GiveTrack platform, Connie and her team have gained important insights into how cryptocurrency can be effectively used to support humanitarian efforts in developing countries, as well as some of the challenges involved. Through our research collaboration with BitGive, and meeting key stakeholders, we aim to learn as much as we can about the technical and contextual factors that can ultimately influence the success of these approaches so that this knowledge can be used to inform future programs worldwide.”

Open Mind Africa

This week, BitGive also launched its latest charitable project partnership with Open Mind Africa, aiming to raise funds to support a Summer Camp and Educator Summit in Ghana, where students will have “fantastic opportunities to develop essential social-emotional skills, multiple intelligences, build friendships and make memories that will last a lifetime.” Now in its second year, the camp is also inviting educators and facilitators from the U.S. and Australia, as well as Ghana.

Open Mind Africa was founded on a firm belief that there is a better future for Africa if we promote a quality education rooted in essential skills needed to succeed in school, career and life.

Past projects that BitGive has successfully funded and supported in the past include the Maternal & Neonatal India Program, the Chandolo Primary School Water Project and the Shisango Girls School.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Source: Bitcoin Magazine | Date: May 31, 2018

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Op Ed: Five Things Blockchain Firms Need to Know About the GDPR

This guest post by Laura E. Jehl was co-written by Robert A. Musiala Jr. and Stephanie Malaska of BakerHostetler. Views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of BakerHostetler or its clients .

This year, we’re witnessing the convergence, and perhaps the collision, of two powerful new forces in data privacy: the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the emergence of blockchain-based privacy solutions. As blockchain technology firms continue to build new solutions, here are five key takeaways they should keep in mind about the GDPR.

Personal Data

The GDPR applies to “personal data,” which is defined as “any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person (‘data subject’).” A “data subject” is a “natural person … who can be identified … by reference to an identifier … specific to the … cultural or social identity of that natural person.” Moreover, personal data explicitly includes “online identifier[s],” including IP addresses.

Takeaway #1: Essentially, almost any piece of data that can assist in learning something about someone is likely to be considered personal data.

Under the GDPR, personal data even includes data that has undergone “pseudonymization,” meaning that the data has been processed such that it “can no longer be attributed to a specific data subject without the use of additional information.” Encryption is considered to be a highly effective means of pseudonymization, and “public keys” on a blockchain which are associated with off-chain personal data are also likely to be considered “pseudonymized.” While the GDPR prefers encrypting data to achieve pseudonymization, that encryption alone does not remove the underlying data from the definition of personal data and, therefore, does not serve to avoid GDPR requirements.

Takeaway #2: If personal data stored off-chain can easily be connected to a public key used in a blockchain solution, the public key is very likely to be considered data that has achieved a state of pseudonymization but is still regulated as personal data subject to the GDPR.

Where personal data has been pseudonymized and the additional information needed to attribute the data to a natural person is “not available,” the GDPR indicates that the data may be considered “anonymous information” or “rendered anonymous.” Because the GDPR only regulates personal data, anything considered anonymous is thus exempt from the GDPR, which “does not … concern the processing of such anonymous information ….”

This provision suggests a path to conform blockchain solutions with the GDPR: If the blockchain architecture is designed such that public keys fit within the definition of anonymous information — by ensuring that any off-chain personal data is securely encrypted, and decryption is not available to permit re-association with the public key — processing of public keys may be exempt from the GDPR’s requirements, including the right of erasure.

Takeaway #3: Preserving the ability to have public keys deemed anonymous under the GDPR is arguably the most critical issue of concern for any company leveraging blockchain technology and dealing with personal data.

Controller vs. Processor

Entities subject to the GDPR have different obligations based on whether they are deemed a “Controller” or a “Processor” of personal data. In general, a Controller “determines the purposes and means of the processing of personal data,” while a Processor “processes personal data on behalf of the controller.”

The determination of whether an entity acts as a Controller or a Processor is activity-specific, not entity-specific. This means that, in different contexts, the same entity may be deemed a Controller, a Processor, or both a Controller and Processor. Controllers, as the entities determining the means and purposes of the processing, have significantly more obligations under the GDPR than do Processors. Most importantly, Controllers have the responsibility for implementing requests from individuals who want their personal data deleted, amended or transferred.

Takeaway #4: Companies leveraging blockchain technology should design their systems so that they avoid determining how and why data is processed, and thus avoid being deemed a data Controller.

The Rights of Data Subjects and the Lawful Basis of Processing Data

The GDPR gives data subjects various rights with respect to Controllers of their data. Chief among these are the rights to data portability (i.e., the right to take your data with you), rectification (i.e., the right to amend any incorrect data) and erasure (i.e., the right to be forgotten). In general, these rights can be exercised at the request of the data subject, although there are exceptions to some rights in certain cases, such as when the data is being processed or retained pursuant to a legal obligation.

The obligations of data Controllers to facilitate data subjects’ rights vary based on the lawful basis under which the data is processed. The processing of EU personal data must be supported by one of six legal bases, according to the purpose of the processing. These bases are:

  1. Consent. Consent by the data subject to one or more specific purposes.
  2. Contract. Necessary for the performance of a contract.
  3. Legal Obligation. Necessary for compliance with a legal obligation to which the data Controller is subject.
  4. Public Interest. Necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest.
  5. Vital Interests. Necessary for the protection of the vital interests of the data subject.
  6. Legitimate Interests. Necessary for the legitimate interests of the Controller or a third party, unless overridden by the fundamental rights and freedoms of the data subject.

Because consent may be withdrawn at any time, requiring deletion of any personal data collected on the basis of that consent, it is not an advisable or reliable basis for processing personal data that will be entered onto a blockchain. Similarly, while personal data may be collected and processed pursuant to the performance of a contract, if that contract is terminated or expires, the lawful basis for processing ends and the data must be deleted. On the other hand, data collected to comply with a legal obligation is likely exempt from the right of erasure.

Takeaway #5: Understanding the applicable lawful basis or bases for processing data — especially any applicable limitations or exceptions to data subject rights under that basis — and designing your system accordingly are critical to building GDPR-compliant blockchain solutions.

Avoiding a Collision

Ultimately, whether these two forces are on a collision course has yet to be determined. Avoiding a collision will require some favorable interpretations by EU regulators to ensure that the GDPR does not deprive the EU and EU data subjects of the benefits offered by blockchain technology.

A decision by EU officials that public keys used in appropriately designed blockchain solutions do not themselves constitute personal data would go a long way toward reconciling blockchain technology with the GDPR.

Even if such a determination is made, users of blockchain solutions should monitor whether technological developments, specifically in data storage or encryption, would affect or change such a determination. At this critical moment, it is imperative that blockchain firms understand the GDPR’s framework and take a proactive stance, developing technologies and legal positions that carefully account for the GDPR’s requirements.

As these two powerful forces continue to emerge and take effect, EU regulators and blockchain technologists alike would do well to remember that the GDPR and blockchain-based solutions share many fundamental goals, such as the right of individuals to control their own data and the minimization of data sharing. To demonstrate the compatibility of blockchains and the GDPR, these principles should be leveraged to the greatest extent possible in blockchain solution architectures.

The Final Word: With the right technical architecture and legal analysis, companies can harness the benefits of a blockchain while ensuring that data stored on a blockchain is compliant with GDPR requirements.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and not necessarily those of BTC Inc. or Bitcoin Magazine.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Source: Bitcoin Magazine | Date: May 31, 2018

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