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Kik Adviser to Face Deposition From SEC This Week

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The US Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) has requested the deposition of a representative from Kik, the former messaging app that now focuses on cryptocurrency, in its longstanding wrangle, which claims that the Canadian company violated securities laws when it carried out an ICO in 2017.

On January 23, a judge in the Southern District of New York ordered Kik to divulge information detailing how its business has changed since 2018, with the company shutting down its messaging service in order to focus on cryptocurrency. Initially hoping to hear from Kik CEO, attorneys representing both parties have agreed for technical advisor Tanner Philp to respond to the SEC’s inquiries on January 29.

According to his website, Philp began working in crypto after writing a college thesis on Bitcoin in 2013, which helped him land a job “supporting the CFO of a fledging chat app called Kik,” which led to his involvement in creating the initial proof-of-concept for Kin, Kik’s native coin.

The allegations against Kik stem from its Kin ICO in 2017, which raised over US$100 million. While the SEC alleges that the token is actually a security and, therefore, the offering should have been registered with the commission, it also argues that management at the company was aware that it would run out of cash by the end of 2017, and that the offering was simply a thinly veiled attempt at keeping the company afloat.

>> Bitcoin Hits $9K on Strong Momentum: Will It Sustain?

After an initial attempt to have the case thrown out on the grounds of vagueness was dismissed by Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein, Kik has pushed for a formal definition of a trial date for the lawsuit to be set. Livingstone has expressed his desire for the case to go to trial as soon as possible, and the two parties have since agreed on a roadmap to conclude the trial in June 2020 in response to a court order issued November 26.

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Bitcoin Cash Hard Fork | Segwit Recovery & Schnorr Signatures

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Bitcoin Cash Hard Fork

Bitcoin Cash Hard Fork

A Bitcoin Cash hard fork was implemented earlier today as of block 58268. Although the network-split initially met with a hiccup, the upgrade has now successfully completed.

Bitcoin Cash Hard Fork

The hard fork sees the Bitcoin Cash network implement two new features. They are Segwit recovery and Schnorr signatures.

The Segwit recovery means network participants can now recover funds that were sent accidentally to Segwit addresses.

Before today, this was impossible due to the “enforcement of the new CLEANSTACK rule” which was implemented in the last upgrade in November.

The second new feature is the Schnorr Signatures. This is a digital signature scheme that allows for complex signing abilities.

According to news.Bitcoin.com:

“the basics of Schnorr signatures can slash roughly 4% off current transaction storage. In the future, after another Schnorr related upgrade, the scheme could provide for public signature aggregation and more complex sign-to-contract concepts”.

Segwit Recovery & Schnorr Signatures

Invented by Claus Schnorr, the signature scheme was patented for years and that patent has only recently expired. Now Bitcoin Cash developers have added the preliminary basics of it to the main chain.

The Schnorr scheme means multiple parties can transact with simple multi-party “aggregation schemes”. At 64 bytes, Schnorr signatures are smaller than the traditional ECDSA signatures which run at 70 bytes in size. The overall scalability of the network will be enhanced when further upgrades and the
“implementation of public signature aggregation” are enabled. Predictions suggest the network’s scaling abilites could be improved by reducing blockchain storage and bandwidth by 20-25%.

NewsBitcoin.com explains further:

“When Schnorr is combined with concepts like pay-to-public-key-hash (P2PKH) addresses and the recently added opcode OP_CHECKSIG, other benefits can be added to transactions like privacy and decision-based smart contracts”. 

>HTC’s Blockchain Phone Exodus | Adds In-Wallet Crypto Swaps

Bitcoin Cash 

With a market capitalization of over $6 billion USD, Bitcoin Cash is the fourth largest cryptocurrency in the world.

Are you a Bitcoin Cash holder? Are you excited by the upgrade to the network?

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The SEC Guidelines are HERE! Release of Crypto Token Guidance

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SEC Guidelines

SEC Guidelines

It’s been nearly six months in the making and now the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has finally published its regulatory guidelines for token issuers. Though many questions remain unanswered, crypto enthusiasts have finally got some clarity on the issue of “tokens as securities.”

SEC Guidelines

The SEC Guidelines focus on tokens and how and when they may be classed as a security. It includes examples of networks and tokens that fall under security laws, as well as examples of those that don’t.

It outlines a number of elements of a project that token issuers must consider to see if a token qualifies as a security. The following are some examples, (but not all):

  • an expectation of profit;
  • who within the project is responsible for what specific tasks within the network;
  • and whether a group is creating or supporting a market for a digital asset.

Reevaluation

The SEC guidelines also look at tokens that have already sold. It gives an evaluation guideline for investors to see if these tokens should have been registered as securities, as well as whether “a digital asset previously sold as a security should be reevaluated.”

Examples of reevaluation criteria include checking if:

  • The blockchain network and tokens are fully developed and useable straight away;
  • The token has a focus or use and isn’t speculative;
  • There is a limitation for the “Prospects for appreciation” in the token’s value; and
  • It says it is a currency that the token actually works as a store of value.

>> Bitcoin Price: BTC Extends Rally on Strong Momentum, Now What?

A Longtime Coming

As stated, the SEC guidelines have been in the works for almost six months. SEC Director of Corporation Finance, William Hinman, first revealed plans for the guidelines last November. At the time he said the SEC guidelines would help token issuers easily determine whether or not their cryptocurrency would qualify as a security offering.

However, investors and issuers should note that while it provides some legal clarity, the SEC guidelines is not a legally binding document. Back in February, the SEC released its ICO guide.

You can read the latest SEC guidelines in full here.

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Elliptic, A Crypto Forensic Startup, Raises $23 Million USD

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Elliptic

Elliptic, a British startup firm aimed at tracing suspicious crypto activity, has raised $23 million USD in a funding round led by SBI Holdings.

Elliptic to Expand into Asian Markets

The Series B funding round was led by Japanese financial institution SBI Holdings and will enable Elliptic to continue expansion into Asian markets where it has recently opened an office in Singapore and will open another in Japan this week. Elliptic CEO and founder James Smith cited Asia as a highly attractive market for the company due to its prominent crypto community and the fact that Asian regulators tend to be more technologically advanced than elsewhere in the world.

“The Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Japanese Financial Services Agency are very well-versed in crypto. Japan has its own licensing scheme for exchanges; I think all that is really key to the growth of crypto because once you set the ground rules, then businesses can engage and innovate,” Smith told CoinDesk.

SBI to Incorporate Elliptic’s Technology into VC Trade

Elliptic has developed artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies that are capable of tracing and locating suspicious transactions on blockchains. The company was founded in 2013 in London and had previously raised $12 million USD in five funding rounds. SBI was keen to get involved with the company as it has a number of crypto assets under its portfolio, including an exchange called VC Trade, which will incorporate Elliptic’s technology.

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Elliptic is also looking beyond expansion into Asia with this investment, as it also has plans to develop a monitoring service for Facebook’s under-fire Libra network. Libra has received heavy criticism and scrutiny from regulators who question how they are meant to trust Facebook given the social media giant’s recent history of data misuse. Elliptic hopes to give somewhat of a helping hand to Libra by providing added transparency and security to the network.

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Bitcoin Price | Brian Kelly Tells CNBC Watch for Rising Price

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Bitcoin enthusiast and crypto fund manager Brian Kelly has told CNBC that Bitcoin price could rise further in the coming months.

His prediction isn’t unfounded; there is an impending supply cut on the horizon and this should help to push prices higher.

Brian Kelly Predicts Bitcoin Price will Rise

In an interview on CNBC’s Fast Money program yesterday, May 21st, Kelly explained that “the halvening,” which is due to take place in 2020, will cut mining rewards in half.

As such, he expects miners to begin hoarding BTC if they aren’t already doing so. This increased demand should see Bitcoin price rise as the supply becomes lessened.

Further, the coin is being spurred on by increased industrial adoption and use in retail.

Kelly described the four-year cycle that leads up to “the halvening,” saying:

“You generally have a rally a year into it, and a year out of it. And so we’re just at the beginning of that stage […] a supply cut is generally bullish.”

The fund manager goes on to say that investors should dedicate between 1% to 5% of their portfolio to cryptocurrency while prices remain stagnated around the current levels of $7,900.

Brian Kelly Predictions

Kelly has been a guest on Fast Money several times where he has made predictions for the future of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency.

Recently, the crypto-analyst stated that an approval for a Bitcoin Exchange-traded fund (ETF) was most likely to come in February 2019. We are still waiting on that one, however.

Other analysts believe there are several reasons for BTC’s recent surge. One idea suggests the United States and China trade war could be a reason. Another impetus could be the increased adoption of the mainstream. For example, Ebay recently caused a stir when photos of its banners at the Consensus conference in New York, leaked onto the web.

Saying: “Virtual Currency. it’s happening on Ebay”, the banners made many believe that the e-retailing giant is about to enter the cryptocurrency space. Ebay has yet to confirm anything, however.

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Polkadot Targets Onboarding Ethereum Ecosystem with Chainlink Oracles

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Polkadot

Polkadot is readying itself for its expected network launch after it announced its integration with Chainlink oracles on February 25. The progress made with the integrations is an indication of a systematic approach that will allow porting with Ethereum infrastructure.

Polkadot Announces Integrations of Chainlink Oracles

The integration of Chainlink oracles is vital in the creation of Polkadot’s decentralized finance and other smart contracts. Chainlink has finalized the preliminary integration on Kusama, which is a Polkadot canary network synonymous with a testnet.

Following the move, Polkadot developers will now be able to get access to external data through Chainlink oracles. This is important, and it will enable most of the more advanced features connected with smart contracts. The nature of the operation of oracles is through the transmission of real-world information to a blockchain in a form that a smart contact will understand and thus act on that data.

Currently, the most prominent use of oracles is for price feeds of crypto and other digital assets. For instance, MakerDo depends on the ETH/USD price feed to create a DAU stablecoin despite being a different and exclusive oracle.

Chainlink will integrate on Polkadot with a committed parachain, which refers to a blockchain chip that has personalized features. The other parachains on the interoperable network will access data from Chainlink chips to power dApps. The heterogeneous sharding approach will help solve most of the common blockchain problems, such as scalability, interoperability, and governance, as well as network security.

>> The Libra Associated Gets a New Member in Shopify

Parity Seeks to Onboard Ethereum Ecosystem Developers

Parity Technologies was the lead developer behind Polkadot because of its unique structure. Gavin Wood, the co-founder of Parity, was also among the co-founders of Ethereum. The Parity Ethereum client is one of the company’s products used in connecting with peers and processing the blockchain.

In December last year, Parity indicated that it will stop the development of its client and spin-off to a decentralized autonomous organization. Parity and the Web3 foundation have been making moves to onboard Ethereum ecosystem developers to their network. The addition of Chainlink indicates that there is a way of porting over Ethereum infrastructure.

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uBUCK Debuts | Hybrid Summit 2019 Welcomes Jon Malach

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uBUCK

uBUCK Advisor Jon Malach lights up the stage at Hybrid Summit 2019.

Hong Kong Blockchain Week is underway and on March 7th, Hybrid Summit 2019 made its debut at HKBW. The blockchain-centered educational event held speakers from all over the world, including IOHK Founder and CEO Charles Hoskinson. Among the many presentations made, the uBUCK presentation, in particular, has gained buzz from the event – according to speaker Jon Malach, uBUCK is offering a new and convenient approach to crypto Mastercards and stablecoin wallets.

The Hybrid Summit is an annual event that has been running since 2017. Macau hosted in 2017, Thailand in 2018, and Hong Kong this year. The event is a networking and educational opportunity for investors, enthusiasts, and influencers in fintech and blockchain. Hybrid Summit is a one day event that has a focus on education.

uBUCK at Hybrid Summit 2019

Mr. Malach’s presentation yesterday was centered around stablecoins and the convenience and efficiency of transferring funds to others using digital currency rather than going through the traditional banking system.

uBUCK
uBUCK Advisory Board Member Jon Malach presented at the conference (March 7, 2019).

During his presentation, Malach explained that uBUCK is a cryptocurrency wallet that has fiat capabilities. Users are able to buy uBUCKs using either Bitcoin (BTC) or Ethereum (ETH), effectively converting and “storing” their cryptocurrency in a stable coin that is tied to the US dollar. Other digital currencies ebb and flow in price fluctuations, but by switching your funds to a stablecoin, a user can mitigate risk much more effectively.

How Does uBUCK Work?

uBUCK users buy a prepaid voucher from the uBUCK mobile app. Not only are ETH and BTC accepted, but regular debit and credit purchases are also accepted in the app. Once a voucher is purchased, users can then load the uBUCK Debit MasterCard with their voucher credit. From there, sending or receiving money is as easy as using PayPal.

The physical uBUCK black elite MasterCard can be used anywhere MasterCard is accepted, and cash can even be taken out from the card at any ATM.

Aside from those banked that want to spend their digital currency, Malach highlighted that the 1.7 billion adults around the world could use the uBUCK Mastercard and digital currency wallet. Two-thirds of the global unbanked population have access to mobile phones, opening the door to mobile banking services for them. uBUCK could aid this population of people by allowing them to send money to friends or family anywhere in the world with pure convenience.

Interested in finding out more about uBUCK? Click here.

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Cryptocurrency Bear Market Wanes | Going through Accumulation

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In recent weeks various industry observers have indicated that the cryptocurrency market is experiencing a bullish run.  The notion has received more support with a fresh report implying that the bear market is actually waning and it is in the accumulation phase.

Heavy Accumulation

According to a recently published report by Adamant Capital, Bitcoin is already experiencing heavy accumulation, and the phase will bring its price to between $3,000 and $6,500, at least until the bullish run gains momentum. Bitcoin whales are already accumulating the major cryptocurrency synonymous to the 2014-2015 bear market, indicating that the cryptocurrency is preparing for a price increase in the future.

The report indicates that retail traders are leaving the cryptocurrency market as long-term and agnostic investors become dominant. This is reportedly consistent with Bitcoin’s volatility analysis, which fell below 5% in the 60-day volatility range, which is lower since 2016.

The report goes on: “During the accumulation phase, the market will trade in a range: the weak hands, who are trying to get out of the market, take profit during rallies and thus create the resistance, and the strong hands, looking to accumulate, buy at the bottom of the range which eventually creates a floor in the piece.”

>> Coinbase Crypto Services Expand to 11 New Countries: Why it’s Important

Millennial Generation Holds Key

The key drivers of the cryptocurrency market growth are millennials, who are said to not trust banks. Millennials are also reported to be the majority of Bitcoin buyers. Researchers have indicated that in the next few years, Bitcoin will experience massive adoption.

In a previous report by Clovr, millennials were the majority of the investors in cryptocurrency, earning between $75,000 and $99,999 per year. The report indicated that the millennial generation is twice as likely to invest in Bitcoin than any other generation, with 23% of women and 43% of men investing in cryptocurrency.

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Harvard University Purchases Blockstack’s Crypto Tokens

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Crypto Tokens

Crypto Tokens

In the news making headlines in the cryptocurrency industry, Harvard University Endowment has made an investment in the crypto token sale of Blockstack.

Blockstack Offering 95.83 million Crypto Tokens

A filing made with the US Securities Exchange Commission listed designees affiliated to the Havard Management Company including Charlie Saravia, Rodolfo Gonzalez, and Zavain Dar who have been participating in the purchase of 95.8 million Blockstack tokens, worth $11.5 million. Although it’s not clear how much the Harvard University Endowment has purchased, it is, however, the first time a major endowment has invested in cryptocurrency.

In a tweet, Anthony Pompliano of Morgan Creek Digital indicated that Havard Endowment had directly invested $5 million to $10 million in the Blockstack token sale.

This investment from a leading university is going viral, and it’s a move that will hopefully encourage other institutional investors to invest in crypto tokens as well. The attitude is building up, and this will encourage investors to try small crypto tokens such as TCAT tokens.

Institutional Investors Seeking Regulated Custodians

Institutional investors have been hesitant about getting involved in the crypto market and with major assets such as Bitcoin, the reason being crypto’s lack of regulations. Even when Bitcoin was on a bullish run in 2017, achieving a price of $20,000, there were no regulated investment channels or custodial solutions that could encourage the institution to invest in crypto. In 2018, however, the trend began to change, and institutional investors have slowly started dripping their toes in the crypto waters.

>> Bakkt Hires PayPal and Google Veteran as Chief Product Officer

Pantera Capital CEO, Dan Morehead, indicated that the crypto industry has been empowered with the necessary infrastructure and it can now handle large money from institutions. He added that institutions are concerned about having a well-regulated custodian, something that the crypto industry has yet to attain.

Blockstack CEO, Muneed Ali, stated that once the offering gets approved, it will be the first-ever SEC-qualified crypto token of its kind. He adds that proceeds from the offering will be put in the development of their decentralized app ecosystem.

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BitGo Introduces Institutional Crypto Lending Service

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BitGo

BitGo

The world of crypto has developed at a breakneck pace over the past few years, and in a new development, cryptocurrency firm BitGo has announced the launch of its own crypto lending service. In recent times, the crypto lending industry has grown at a decent pace, but there is still room for a lot of growth.

Key Expansion

The announcement from BitGo is an important one and could usher in a new era in this niche space in the crypto sphere. The company claims to handles 20% of all transactions that are conducted through Bitcoin, and the service is going to be launched today.

The company conducted a beta test spanning over a period of several months, and it seems, it is now good to go. BitGo is aiming to create a crypto lending service that is similar to services that are available in traditional markets, according to the head of financial services at BitGo, Nick Carmi. The lending service is going to offer loans that are fully collateralized, and in addition to that, there is going to be detailed reporting for each client.

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Carmi also stated that the business that has been created by the company is not going to be a run-of-the-mill business interested in small margins and high volumes. He added, “We are building deep relationships with our clients to drive value for them and to create a long term, sustainable business.”

However, the most important thing to note about this product is the fact that it is only going to be open to institutional traders, and the company has no plans to make it available to non-institutional traders. Carmi is a veteran of Wall Street and stated that a service of this kind is a first for BitGo as well.

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