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October 2018

Binance Shanghai HQ Shut Down After Police Raid

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Binance

Binance

Binance has reportedly closed its Shanghai office, where over 100 staff, including senior management, were employed, following a raid by Chinese law enforcement, according to sources cited by The Block.

Binance Denies Office Raid

Binance has moved to deny reports of the raid after CEO and Founder Changpeng Zhao tweeted just yesterday that offices are an outdated and antiquated concept.  However, Chinese authorities recently issued a notice to the public directing individuals to report businesses engaged in virtual asset trading to the country’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China, which is also headquartered in Shanghai. The notice read:

“Virtual currency transactions in the territory; the other is to issue ‘xx coins’ and ‘xx’ in the form of ‘blockchain application scenarios.’  Currency, fundraising or bitcoin, virtual currency such as Ethereum; third, providing services such as publicity, diversion, agency trading, etc. for registered ICO projects, virtual currency trading platforms, etc.” Binance has said that the company had not received this notice.

China’s Changing Crypto Stance

China had appeared to be embracing blockchain technology recently, following comments by President Jinping Xi. However, it appears as though the government is cracking down on crypto trading, which is outside of its jurisdiction, as it concentrates its efforts on developing its own, centralized digital asset on blockchain, going against the core purpose of the technology. Bitcoin made gains earlier this month after China announced that it would be scrapping its ban on crypto mining; however, Binance looks to be a major casualty of more stringent rules.

>> Bitcoin Extends the Fall, Now at One-Month Low Below $8K

Markets Take a Beating

The raid on the Binance office and ongoing crackdown on cryptocurrencies in China has had negative implications for the market. Bitcoin is down over 6% to $7,591 USD, while leading altcoin Ethereum (ETH) has lost over 8% in the last 24 hours. Altcoins such as Litecoin (LTC) and EOS are taking a hammering, with over 9% losses, while Binance’s own coin, Binance Coin (BNB), is down 10% at the time of writing to $16.58.

Featured Image: DepositPhotos © NadaK2

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Crypto News | SEC Rules ETH NOT Security; Binance Adds XRP

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crypto news

crypto news

The cryptocurrency market is making a comeback this week, after closing out last week in the red. Crypto news was pretty slow last week, but it has picked up a bit today. This morning, CoinCenter released news that the SEC Chairman confirmed that ETH is not ruled as a security by the regulator. In addition to this big news, Binance announced it has added XRP and credit card payment support to its Trust Wallet app.

Let’s get into it!

Jay Clayton Rules ETH a “Non-Security”

When investors began taking notice of digital currencies in mid-2017, the US Securities and Exchange Commission started researching and commenting on the industry too. The SEC’s main purpose is to protect investors, facilitate capital formation, and maintain fair, efficient, and orderly markets. Jay Claton, the SEC’s Commissioner, hasn’t been shy in voicing his view of digital currencies from the start.

The SEC was mostly concerned with Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and made definitive decisions on whether coins offered in this fundraising method were subject to SEC rules and considered an official ‘security.’ Now it seems the official consensus of the SEC regarding other digital currencies was released on March 7th, when Clayton addressed US Representative Tedd Budd in a statement.

In the official statement, Clayton confirms that ETH and cryptocurrencies like it aren’t securities under US law. This is a win for the cryptocurrency community, but this news is not completely surprising, considering Clayton has held a similar stance for years.

>> Amy Castor, Crypto Expert, Talks QuadrigaCX at MPWR Summit

Binance Wallet Adds XRP and Credit Card Purchase Support

Another piece of large crypto news released today surrounds Binance, the world’s most popular cryptocurrency exchange by 24-hour trade volume.

Trust Wallet, the official wallet of the crypto exchange, has just added support for credit card purchases and XRP. Last July, Binance acquired Trust Wallet in the company’s first public acquisition. Currently, the Trust Wallet supports BTC, ETH, LTC, XRP, and BCH. Binance’s main wallet also holds support for any ERC20, ERC223, and ERC721 tokens.

Users can now use their credit card on the Trust Wallet app to buy digital currencies. Adding this feature now makes it easier for investors to purchase and use digital currencies.

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Bakkt Hires PayPal and Google Veteran as Chief Product Officer

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Bakkt

Bakkt

Bitcoin futures exchange Bakkt has a new chief product officer. Announced via Medium earlier today, the exchange has added Mike Blandina to its team.

Bakkt Hires New CPO

In previous years, Blandina has worked at PayPal where he served as head of payments and credit engineering. He has also been director of engineering for Google Wallet.

In most recent years, Blandina was chief technology officer and product and engineering at OneMarket. CEO of Bakkt Kelly Loeffler wrote in the blog post:

“As our CPO, Mike will lead our efforts to converge a trusted ecosystem for digital assets with payments use cases, two elements of Bakkt that help bring real-world applications to bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.”

Development

Bakkt is still awaiting regulatory approval in order to launch. It has faced multiple delays already with the initial launch expected back in November. However, in Loeffler’s posting, she said that “race day is approaching.” This comment has led some to wonder if the team has more clarity on its regulatory situation that it has yet to disclose.

She wrote further:

“As a former marathoner, this point in time recalls the stage in the training regimen when you’re putting in long runs with your training team […] there is more work to be done […] I’m proud to be going the distance with this growing team and of the culture we are building, while bringing digital assets into the mainstream economy.”

What is Bakkt?

Bakkt wants to offer a federally regulated market for Bitcoin, transforming Bitcoin into a trusted global currency with broad usage.

>> Coinbase Card: Now You Can Spend Your Crypto Instantly

Its main goal is to make Bitcoin a secure offering for the biggest global financial institutions that currently shun it. Bakkt is looking to create a path for these major money managers to offer Bitcoin pension funds, mutual funds, and ETFs as highly regulated, mainstream investments.

Approval

As stated, Bakkt is still waiting on approval from the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to list its Bitcoin futures contract. One major consideration for the CFTC is that Bakkt’s proposal would see it warehousing its own Bitcoin. This may be one cause for delay.

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Coinbase Executive Leaves | 3 Major Departures in 6 Months

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Coinbase executive

Coinbase executive

According to reports, Coinbase executive Dan Romero is stepping away from his role as vice president of international business. His departure will bring the number of executives to leave the company in the last six months to three.

Another Coinbase Executive Leaves

Romero announced in a Medium post earlier today that he will be leaving the crypto exchange at the end of April. He joined Coinbase in April 2014.

The Coinbase executive didn’t give a specific reason for his departure but simply said he was “planning to take some time to figure out what’s next.” And further:

“Staying true to a mission often requires doing hard (or even unpopular) things. But I’ve been lucky to learn first-hand that it’s those hard things that often generate the most value.”

In the five years he has been with Coinbase, Romero has seen the staff grow to over 700, from its earlier-days headcount of only 20.

What’s Going On?

Coinbase is one of the world’s largest and most popular cryptocurrency exchanges. It raised over $300 million in 2018 and has a current valuation of $8 billion. Despite its rockstar status, there have been an unusual amount of departures in recent times—as stated, Romero is the third Coinbase executive to leave in six months.

Its director of institutional sales, Christine Sandler, left the firm two weeks ago. She opted for a role with Fidelity Investments, one of the world’s largest financial services providers. Then, in earlier 2019, Soups Ranjan, director of data science and risk, left, as did senior compliance manager Vaishali Mehta.

Further, it’s estimated that around nine other senior or mid-level employees have left since its October fundraiser.

>> Harvard University Purchases Blockstack’s Crypto Tokens

Best Places to Work?

The news is somewhat ironic considering Coinbase recently made LinkedIn’s top 50 US places to work list. Hitting the list at number 35, the firm beat out financial players such as JP Morgan. It was also the only cryptocurrency relative company to feature on the list.

Do you think there’s an issue that caused this Coinbase executive to leave? Or is it a simple case of bad timing?

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