Category: Bitcoin Magazine

coinbase patent

U.S.-based digital currency exchange Coinbase has filed a patent on a new Bitcoin payment system designed to make cryptocurrency payments safer. The new platform will provide an added layer of security for users’ keys and allow them to make Bitcoin payments directly from their digital wallets.

A segment of the patent filing states, “It may be a security concern for users that the private keys of their Bitcoin addresses may be stolen from their wallets. Existing systems do not provide a solution for maintaining security over private keys while still allowing the users to checkout [sic] on a merchant page and making payments using their wallets.”

If approved, the system would work by allowing customers to encrypt their passphrases into a master key to create an additional buffer against theft. The master key encrypts customers’ private keys and whatever transactions are made. Once a transaction is complete, the master key is deleted, ensuring no outside party can gain access to the information. A new master key is created for each transaction.

Another novel element of the system is its “freeze logic,” which would allow administrators to suspend the system and prevent transactions from occurring in the event of a theft or cyberattack. The patent reads, “At any point in time after the master key is loaded, the system can be frozen. The system can be unfrozen after it has been frozen using keys from the key ceremony. The checkout process can be carried out when the system is frozen and when the system is unfrozen. The payment process can only be carried out when the system is unfrozen and not when the system is frozen.”

Lastly, the application proposes API integration capabilities, which would enable various websites to run versions of the payment system. The API uses a specific pair of keys – one of which is stored on the corresponding website, the other on Coinbase – that must match for a transaction to be approved and completed.

This is not the first time Coinbase has filed for such a patent. The company had tried for something similar nine times in 2015 alone, leading critics to accuse the exchange of trying to build a monopoly on bitcoin services. CEO Brian Armstrong denied this, saying that the company’s goal was to keep blockchain technology away from “patent trolls.”

“One of the best ways to defend against patent trolls is to build your own portfolio of patents, and this is exactly what we are doing, along with just about every other tech company out there,” he wrote in a blog post. “It is an unfortunate game we all must play, but we didn’t invent the rules.”

The company also filed a patent in 2016 to potentially secure Bitcoin-based private keys.

In addition to Coinbase, several traditional financial institutions have filed for blockchain-based patents. Bank of America filed approximately 50 live patents in the blockchain space, more than any other venture. Software giant IBM also has several under its belt, including one for “node characterization in blockchain,” which would allow a distributed ledger to house a series of nodes characterized by specific functions.

Last year in June, delivery company UPS also filed a blockchain patent for what it calls the “autonomous services selection system and distributed transportation database.” Whenever something is delivered from one point to another, it must go through multiple networks and segments before it reaches its destination. This makes it difficult for logistics services to coordinate with one another. The patented system would generate sets of transportation data that is then stored securely on a blockchain and easily tracked to ensure logistics companies meet handling requirements appropriately.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Source: Bitcoin Magazine | Date: August 17, 2018

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Dutch lawsuit

In November 2016, a Dutch cryptotrader tried to buy his first 10 bitcoin, first using funds from his ING bank and later from ABN Amro. Both banks denied the transactions. He subsequently filed a complaint with Kifid (Financial Services Complaints Institute), a resource that mediates between consumers and small businesses when there are complaints about financial products or services.

According to the complaint, the banks claimed the man’s transactions were denied due to fraud prevention measures. It argued, however, that fraud prevention isn’t the reason why ING and ABN denied the transactions. Instead, the complainant accused both banks of blocking his accounts for commercial reasons that were concealed as fraud prevention measures. ING and ABN Amro denied the accusation.

The aspiring trader filed suit for €43,220 (~$50,000). He arrived at this figure by projecting the gains he would have realized if he bought bitcoin at €330 (~$385) and sold at €2,500 (~$3,000 USD).

The Kifid ruling states that it does not consider this lack of ability to trade in any way relevant. Even if the banks refuse to perform a service, it isn’t their responsibility to compensate clients. In addition, the ruling states that the complainant failed to demonstrate that the acquisition of bitcoin was rendered impossible because of the actions of the banks: He could have tried to work with another bank.

Both ING and ABN claimed that once the block had been lifted on his account, he could have purchased the bitcoins. They both claim that the unblocking of the account was delayed for security reasons and the fact that the customer had set their account preferences to deny telephone contact.

Ultimately, the ruling determined that the potential bitcoin trader had no one to blame but himself for not securing the 10 bitcoin and realizing any potential profits.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Source: Bitcoin Magazine | Date: August 17, 2018

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Equity Trust Thumb

Asset diversification has long been touted as a
critical strategy for wealth building. This method of portfolio management,
which traditionally involves a mix of stocks, fixed assets and commodities
allows for maximum return at the least amount of risk — an important element
for retirement savings.

One company with a strong foothold in this
investment space is Equity
Trust
, a financial services company that allows
individual investors to diversify their retirement investment portfolios
through asset class options like private equity, precious metals, tax liens and
real estate among others. With over $25 billion in assets under custody and
administration as of the end of 2017, Equity Trust’s self-directed retirement
accounts have become a viable option for entrepreneurial investors seeking
control over their wealth building activities.

Merging the Worlds of IRAs and Crypto

Equity Trust recently launched a new digital
asset platform that allows individual retirement
accounts (IRAs) to invest in cryptocurrencies. It can be simple to open an account
online through myEQUITY (its online account system), or investors can call and
open an account through a senior account executive.   

The minimum investment required is $10,000 in
addition to a $500 nonrefundable fee for use of the digital asset platform.

Through this platform, investors can purchase and
sell bitcoin, bitcoin cash, ether, ethereum classic, litecoin and XRP using a
trade-date-plus-one formula (i.e., next-day cash availability for sale
transactions). The industry-leading cycle starts when purchase/sell orders are
immediately filed by liquidity providers to lock in the price and exchange of
fiat and digital currency takes place the following morning.

Because Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidelines
treat crypto in a manner similar to real estate, an IRA offers some potential
tax advantages. If IRS guidelines are followed, taxes are deferred, meaning
that there are no immediate tax implications. By way of example, the major spike
in bitcoin prices in 2017 led to some major financial returns for investors in
this space, but it also resulted in a significant tax impact. If these
investments had been made through an IRA, taxes could have possibly been
deferred through retirement. 

This move on the part of Equity Trust to create a
digital currency platform signals demand on the part of clients and other
investors for tax-favorable investment vehicles like IRAs.

This pioneering platform brings ease of use to
the digital currency investment process through a simple online interface.
Here, both individual investors as well as institutional professionals who
represent clients are able to rapidly place digital currency orders using funds
from IRAs. 

The emergence of the digital asset platform reflects
the most recent in a series of technology investments made by Equity Trust.
Dave Allen, Equity Trust’s COO, said “it demonstrates the company’s aim to
invest in technologies that align with a broader strategic approach of
delivering innovative, world-class products and services that maximize client
value while accelerating client access to alternative investments.” 

Equity Trust’s target market includes current
cryptocurrency investors desiring a long-term investment approach, where there
is the potential for wealth to be built over a number of years. Equity Trust’s platform
is also ideal for investors seeking a more diversified retirement portfolio who
may not have explored cryptocurrency in the past. 

One of the prized features of the platform is the
ability to connect a client’s Equity Trust account with a “cold storage”
facility, allowing for a secure long-term storage approach for digital
currency. This feature significantly mitigates the customer risks often
associated with the investor holding their own cryptocurrency keys.

Allen indicated that a main factor that led the
company to pursue the intersection between IRAs and cryptocurrency was the
stated demand of Equity Trust’s existing clients.

“Equity Trust has specialized expertise in
providing responsible access to alternative asset classes, ” he said. “And with
cryptocurrency emerging as an asset that’s experiencing increased demand,
investors are desiring tax-advantaged retirement options to invest in
cryptocurrency. It made sense for Equity Trust to apply its expertise in this
area and deliver a solution.”

Note: Trading and investing
in digital assets is speculative and can be high risk. Based on the shifting
business and regulatory environment of such a new industry, this content should
not be considered investment or legal advice.

This promoted article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Source: Bitcoin Magazine | Date: August 17, 2018

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Regulators Greenlight Bitcoin Futures

U.K.-based cryptocurrency futures exchange Crypto Facilities, which is regulated by the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority, is adding a bitcoin cash product to its offerings, a press release shared on the exchange’s website reveals. Trading for the bitcoin cash-dollar (BCH/USD) futures began today, August 17, 2018, at 4:00 p.m. GMT +1 (11:00 a.m. EST).

The addition of the new contract will enable investors to take long or short positions in bitcoin cash, allowing them to “broaden [their] investment opportunities” and hedge investment risks. The contracts join a list of derivatives currently offered by Crypto Facilities, which includes Bitcoin, Ripple XRP, Ether and Litecoin futures.

At launch of the litecoin futures, CEO of Crypto Facilities, Timo Schlaefer, said there was “strong client demand” for the product and he believes the “LTC-Dollar futures contracts will increase price transparency, liquidity and efficiency in the cryptocurrency markets.”

Now, in rolling out BCH futures, Schlaefer claims that the new offering will bring even more liquidity and exposure to the maturing market.

“We are pleased to be expanding our cryptocurrency derivatives offering with the launch of BitcoinCash [sic] futures. BCH is a top five coin with a market capitalization of around $10 billion and we expect our new contracts to spur the evolution of the crypto markets by bringing greater liquidity and transparency to the digital asset class,” Schlaefer commented.

Crypto Facilities rose to prominence in 2017 when it partnered with CME Group to launch the first bitcoin futures contract. Currently, Crypto Facilities powers the CME CF Bitcoin Reference Rate Index and the CME CF Bitcoin Real-Time Index.

The addition of the BCH futures comes on the heels of a Bitmain IPO, the crypto mining giant that allegedly holds more than 1 million Bitcoin Cash, worth nearly $550 million at the present exchange rate, according to Bitmain’s investor deck.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Source: Bitcoin Magazine | Date: August 17, 2018

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U.S. Crypto Investment Firm Attracts $22M in Series A, Looks to Expand Services

Los Angeles-based cryptocurrency investment firm SFOX has raked in roughly $22.7 million in its Series A funding. The round was headed by venture platforms Social Capital and Tribe Capital and earned the participation of other firms like DCG, SV Angel, Blockchain Capital and Y Combinator.

SFOX caters specifically to professional traders, high net-worth individuals and institutions. As a prime dealer for cryptocurrency markets, the company provides access to global sources of trading and liquidity, real-time trading APIs, OTC desks and U2F hardware for private key management. The company’s transaction volume exceeds $9 billion, and its client base has grown 12-fold since January.

In an interview with Bitcoin Magazine, CEO and co-founder Akbar Thobhani said that the addition of institutional investors to the crypto space could bring legitimacy and boost mass adoption. He also suggested that more institutional investors wish to get involved in the cryptocurrency space but are reluctant to do so because of regulatory uncertainty and volatility in the market.

“Traditional institutions, including funds, banks, pensions and endowments require an infrastructure they’re accustomed to for properly managing operational and monetary risk,” he said.

“As infrastructure is built, institutions require trading products to properly hedge themselves during volatile markets. In the financial markets, there is a suite of products that help participants navigate: options, futures, repos, etc. We’re still in the early stages, but the progress in trading products is a positive sign. Options and futures have been available since 2017, and there’s a strong push for bitcoin and Ethereum ETFs.”

Thobhani says the company plans to use its newly acquired funds to expand its services. The company is building a full crypto asset-management platform, and it plans to hire more engineers and operations managers, expand to new geographical markets and add more trading pairs.

“SFOX’s goal is to provide a premier crypto asset management platform,” he said. “This will involve the delivery of a family of products that bring additional durability to crypto asset management, including advanced security and risk management products, additional infrastructure and support, and licenses to access new markets. SFOX believes these offerings will create new untapped opportunities for institutional investors.”

Thobhani added that SFOX’s goal is to provide a single point of entry for institutional investors to access liquidity through a network of global cryptocurrency trading venues, bypassing the time they would spend opening accounts on top exchanges.

He also stated that the company aims to provide many of the same tools institutions are accustomed to seeing when they work with Wall Street while not compromising the unique, security-intensive needs of the industry.  

“We’ve been entrenched in this space for years,” Thobani said. “We officially started SFOX in 2014, and our platform launched in 2015. We understand the needs of institutional investors — the standards they expect, the features that are the most useful to them, and their pain points. That’s why we provide access to global liquidity: to make the high-volume transactions they need possible without negatively impacting markets.”

Lacking traditional investment instruments like the ever-elusive bitcoin ETF, accredited individuals and institutions have few avenues through which to enter the market. The recent opening of a bitcoin ETN to U.S. investors is the closest the industry’s American investors have gotten to an institutional grade crypto offering. Brokerage and prime dealer services like SFOX and others like Coinbase Custody provide institutional investors with a next-best option for entering the market, though such services are still intrinsic to the crypto industry and aren’t linked to traditional markets.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Source: Bitcoin Magazine | Date: August 16, 2018

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pantera capital

Blockchain investment firm Pantera Capital recently launched its third cryptocurrency fund. Known as Venture Fund III, the company completed all necessary filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last Wednesday, and the event is already making impressive headway in the cryptocurrency space. So far, the fund has garnered over $71 million from roughly 90 different investors.

But this capital is just a small fraction of what the fund’s executives feel it can accrue. Firm partner Paul Veradittakit explains that the company expects to bring in approximately $175 million in funding, which would be the highest monetary allocation in Pantera Capital’s history. Veradittakit explains that the target amount is a “function of how fast the space is moving, the talent coming in, the opportunities, and the sizing of rounds.”

“With more interesting later-stage investments [on our radar] too, we want to be flexible and able to move with the market,” he continued.

Pantera representatives say they’re planning to use the money to invest in Bakkt, a new platform from the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE). Set to launch this November, Bakkt’s primary goal is to assist retailers in buying, trading and selling digital currencies. Pantera’s work with Bakkt would make it a founding investor.

Pantera Capital has developed an impressive reputation in the cryptocurrency space. During its five year lifespan, the company has recorded over 10,000 percent returns. Some of the venture’s most successful and popular investments include Ripple, Circle, Korbit and Bitstamp.

CEO Dan Morehead recently commented that bitcoin investors were “overreacting” to the news that the SEC had pushed its decision regarding the VanEck SolidX bitcoin ETF to September 30, and that platforms like Bakkt deserved everyone’s focus and attention, as they would have greater, more positive impacts on the market.

“I still think it will be quite a long time until an ETF is approved,” he says. “The last asset class to be approved for ETF certification was copper, and copper has been on Earth for 10,000 years. The main thing to remember is that bitcoin is a very early-stage venture, but it has real-time price feed, and that’s a unique thing. People get excited about the price and overreact … The ETF rejection is the same story we’ve had for five years. The SEC has been very cautious with an ETF,” the CEO expressed.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Source: Bitcoin Magazine | Date: August 16, 2018

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South Korean Bithumb Exchange Loses $30M in Latest Cryptocurrency Hack

South Korea is planning to invest nearly $900 million next year to accelerate the development of blockchain, artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies.

In an August 14, 2018, press release from the 5th Ministerial Meeting entitled Growth through Innovation, Deputy Prime Minister Kim Dong Yeon is summarized as saying “The government has decided to work on a platform economy, whose impact is powerful and far-reaching.”

“There have been discussions among ministries and private sector experts on how to develop a platform economy, and we have come up with the four projects in which we will continue to invest with a long-term perspective,” the statement continued.

The projects that he outlined included:

  • building a digital platform for big data and AI, along with promoting blockchain technology to secure data transactions and the sharing economy;

  • setting up a hydrogen fuel cell supply chain; and

  • developing an education program to meet the demand for a qualified workforce for these industries in the future.

While the release did not specify how the funds will be allocated, a total of five trillion won (approximately $4.5 billion) will be spent in 2019 on eight pilot projects for the digital platform economy, an increase of over two trillion won ($1.75 billion) from 2018. Over the next five years, Yeon anticipates that a total of nearly 10 trillion won ($9 billion) will be spent on the projects.

The news follows an announcement in June of this year from The Ministry of Science and ICT which revealed a blockchain technology development strategy aimed at securing a global competitive edge in the emerging technology. The ministry will invest in six pilot projects across an array of industries to kick start the process. The government also announced its intentions to establish a blockchain technical support center to help improve the technological competitiveness of private companies and to provide facilities where companies can test their blockchain platforms and services.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Source: Bitcoin Magazine | Date: August 16, 2018

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etn

American investors can now invest in bitcoin Exchange Traded Funds (ETF) through an Exchange-Traded Note (ETN) called Bitcoin Tracker One on the Nasdaq Stockholm Exchange in Sweden, per a Bloomberg report.

The product, which started trading in 2015, is currently available to American investors despite being listed and regulated under Swedish law after being listed in U.S. Dollars for the first time on Wednesday, August 15, 2018.

Crypto ETF Through the Back Door?

For several months, investors have eagerly awaited approval from the SEC and CFTC to trade ETF products proposed by CBOE Global Markets, the Winklevoss Twins, SolidX Partners and VanEck Associates, among others. Each of these proposals has either been refused out of hand or delayed to a future date for a concrete decision.

Crypto ETFs potentially allow investors to trade crypto without holding crypto assets because they are cash settled. For potential crypto investors who do not want to actually buy crypto assets, the regulatory delay in the U.S. has effectively prevented them from getting into the market.

Until now, investors could only buy into the Swedish ETN product using Euros or Swedish Kora, but, with the listing of Bitcoin Tracker One in U.S. Dollars, a substantial upsurge of interest in the product is expected to take place as American investment jostles to get a seat at the table.

ETN as an ETF Alternative

An exchange-traded note differs from an exchange-traded fund in that unlike the latter, it is backed by its issuer, which is usually a bank, instead of an asset pool. Its market strategies are also substantially different from those of a fund. In practice, what this means to American investors is that, regardless of their government’s regulatory position, they now have access to a foreign-listed crypto market asset denominated in USD.

Investors are now able to buy F shares, meaning that U.S. dollars are used to execute trades, while settling, clearance and custody takes place in Sweden.

Ryan Radloff, CEO of CoinShares Holdings Ltd., the parent of XBTProvider, the company offering the ETN, told Bloomberg that the development “is a big win for Bitcoin.”

“Everyone that’s investing in dollars can now get exposure to these products, whereas before they were only available in euros or Swedish krona,” he added.

Bitcoin Tracker One is down 51 percent in 2018 amidst a general crypto market slump, but it is expected to welcome an inflow of cash from American institutional investors. This latest development could also create a more compelling case for U.S. regulators to approve a crypto ETF by establishing a positive example of regulated crypto trading.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Source: Bitcoin Magazine | Date: August 16, 2018

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cash app

Mobile payment company Square is expanding its bitcoin trading support to all 50 states through its Cash App. This means that residents in all corners of the U.S. can utilize the platform to purchase and sell the digital currency.

The company was co-founded in 2009 by tech entrepreneur Jack Dorsey, who also heads Twitter. Last March, Dorsey was quoted as saying that bitcoin will likely serve as the world’s “single currency” in roughly 10 years.

Square’s announcement is particularly intriguing in that most bitcoin- or crypto-trading apps do not offer their services in every state. Robinhood, for example, only offers bitcoin and ether trading in 19 states including Arizona, California, Florida, Utah, Mississippi and Indiana, while other apps, such as Coinmama and CEX.io, are available in 23 and 24 states respectively. Entities like itBit — which also holds a New York–issued BitLicense — operate in every state except Texas.

Square originally launched bitcoin-trading capabilities on its app in November 2017 to only a handful of users. In January of this year, the company expanded the app’s trading services to virtually every state except Wyoming, Georgia, Hawaii and New York due to restrictions that placed limits on cryptocurrency transactions. In June, the company acquired a BitLicense to operate in the Big Apple and later announced that it had more than doubled its crypto-based income between quarters one and two from $34 million to $70 million.

“We are thrilled to now provide New Yorkers with Cash App’s quick and simple way to buy and sell bitcoin. Square and the New York State DFS share a vision of empowering people with greater access to the financial system and today’s news is an important step in realizing that goal,” stated Brian Grassadonia, head of Square’s Cash App, yesterday regarding the venture’s new relationship with New York.

Cash App downloads have grown three times faster than its competitors and later surpassed the company’s figures for the first time. The app now boasts an impressive 33.5 million users — about 3 million more than Venmo. It is also expected to top $100 million in sales by the year 2020.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Source: Bitcoin Magazine | Date: August 15, 2018

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Venezuela Launches “Petros” Cryptocurrency Amid Growing Skepticism

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro recently revealed that the nation’s oil-backed cryptocurrency, the petro, will be used as a unit of account by the state oil company PDVSA. The government is also developing a new salary system that will allow employees to receive their wages in petro funds over fiat.

“As of next Monday, Venezuela will have a second accounting unit based on the price and value of the petro. It will be a second accounting unit of the republic and will begin operations as a mandatory accounting unit of our PDVSA oil industry,” Maduro announced.

The petro was introduced through a pre-sale back in February of 2018 as a means to attract foreign capital to boost the Venezuelan economy and circumvent both EU and U.S. sanctions. It was designed to shore up an economy in shambles, as the bolivar has been struck with rampant hyperinflation over the past year.

From the very beginning, the currency aroused controversy both in and out of Venezuela. Many in the National Assembly publicly claimed that the currency was potentially illegal and that its white paper lacked sufficient details or offered unscrupulous arguments for its creation. Concerns further arose in the U.S., which led to President Trump’s subsequent petro-trading ban in March of 2018.

Some arguments in favor of the cryptocurrency state that the petro makes paying taxes and settlements with state bodies less expensive and that the currency can be easily — and quickly — converted into USD.

Regardless, cryptocurrency is often viewed as an economically liberating tool in the everyday Venezuelan’s struggle to survive. Bitcoin Magazine recently chronicled the struggles of a Venezuelan resident under the alias Hector, who received a donation of roughly 0.5 nano. Though worth less than $2 in USD, the funds were the beginning of what would become a growing account for Hector, who later garnered approximately $950 worth of the cryptocurrency. He is now able to provide his family with food and other supplies once thought unobtainable on a regular basis.

“My dad gave me a huge hug because it was a relief for all of us,” he states. “We are five in our house; four of us are adults, and we work in different areas. Every month, when we get paid, our salaries weren’t enough to buy basic supplies or even food. We were almost running out of food some days ago. It was common for that to happen every six or seven days after getting paid.”

Venezuela’s national currency, the bolivar, ranks high on the “worthless” meter as of late. Maduro believes the new salary system will stabilize wages and offer consumers stronger buying power, which could bear positive repercussions on the country’s ailing economy.

“By 2020, the nation will be able to recover economic and social stability and prosperity,” he announces. “We are building a new revolutionary and humanist economic thought with a new strategic economy for a new economic model. On August 20, a new era will begin. In real time, Venezuelans will know the price of the sovereign bolivar and the petro, made public by the central bank. Also, detailed explanations of the salary system and the prices based on the petro will be forthcoming on August 20. Speculation has ended!” he stated in a speech announcing the cryptocurrency.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Source: Bitcoin Magazine | Date: August 15, 2018

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