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JPM Coin Fails to Impress Ripple’s Brad Garlinghouse… Again

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JPM coin

JPM coin

Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse has spoken out about JPM coin once again. This time, he gave the major US bank some praise for its new venture. Garlinghouse participated in a fireside chat yesterday at the 4th annual DC Blockchain Summit in Washington D.C. where he further discussed his views of the new bank coin.

Brad Garlinghouse and JPM Coin

In the chat yesterday, Ripple’s CEO said that JPMorgan Chase’s entrance into the cryptocurrency community is a good thing. However, that was the only positive thing he said about the new JPM coin. Garlinghouse is sticking firm to his original stance on these new bank stablecoins, claiming they will ultimately cause more chaos.

JPMorgan Chase announced the news of its new stablecoin back on February 14th and Garlinghouse was one of the first major executives in the cryptocurrency space to chime in.

In the tweet above, Garlinghouse linked a post he wrote back in August of 2016 regarding his view of the potential future of bank coins. It seems his prediction is coming true. The CEO’s argument is that if banks start making their own stablecoins, like JPM coin, it will make the financial system far more dysfunctional than the current one.

Garlinghouse believes that the current financial system lacks interoperability and each bank adding its own stablecoin will not solve this problem. In the fireside chat yesterday at the DC blockchain summit, Garlinghouse described a system shifting to exactly what he predicted in his article.

>> Crypto News: Huobi Adds XRP and IBM Releases X-Force Red

He explained:

“This guy from Morgan Stanley was interviewing me last week, and I asked him, so is Morgan Stanley going to use the JPM Coin? Probably not. Will Citi use it? […] Will PNC? And the answer is no. So we’re going to have all these different coins, and we’re back to where we are: there’s a lack of interoperability.”

It’s clear that Garlinghouse firmly believes in his company and what they offer financial institutions. To an extent, he has a very valid point, but it seems these major US banks want nothing to do with XRP.

Why do you think banks aren’t adopting Ripple and XRP? Is it that XRP isn’t a ‘stablecoin’ like JPM coin is? Do you think they want their own control and power over the system? Leave your comments below!

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Bitcoin Price | Crypto Market Top Ten Green

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Bitcoin Price

Bitcoin Price

Where Bitcoin (BTC) goes, the rest of the crypto market tends to follow. And with the top ten in green, it stands to reason that Bitcoin price is also faring nicely. In fact, BTC price as of late has been giving investors food for thought.

The first three months of 2019 have seen the coin make double-digit gains and this marks its best quarterly performance since Q4 2017.

While 2018 saw the coin hit all-time-lows, 2019 has surprised somewhat.

Bitcoin Price

Today, Bitcoin price is up 1.29% and selling for $4,157.87 USD per coin. Mid last week saw the coin finally rise above the $4,000 resistance mark and it has maintained its stronghold above that mark—even hitting highs of $4,275 on Saturday.

The current price represents a 13% gain on January’s opening price of $3,693, according to Bitstamp data.

This is the first time Bitcoin has made a double-digit quarterly gain since the end of 2017 when prices rallied a 220.84%. While it is no way near those days—and Bitcoin has dropped about 80% in value since— the double-digit gain still gives bulls something to hold onto.

Binance Coin

Elsewhere on the market, other coins besides Bitcoin are also in the green, with Binance Coin (BNB) leading the pack. Currently, Binance Coin is up 4.59%, continuing a high from the news that it was the top performing crypto in the top 10 coins in Q1 2019.

BNB surged 185% during this period, jumping from $6.069 to $17.335, according to Messari. Now, BNB is trading at $18.03 USD per coin.

Stellar (XLM)

Stellar (XLM) is on the rise almost 3% at the time of writing, selling for $0.11 USD approximately. Stellar has been on a roll since the beginning of 2019. The first lift came from Coinbase announcing a $100 million USD Stellar airdrop.

>> Social Media Companies Join the Crypto World: Facebook and VKontakte

Then, news that IBM would be using the Stellar blockchain to power its latest deals with banking institutions also lifted the coin.

All-in-all, between the first week of February and the end of March, the total market capitalization of Stellar is up by more than 29.7% according to CoinMarketcap.

What coins do you have your eyes on? Were you excited by the growth in Bitcoin price?

Featured Image: DepositPhotos © stevanovicigor

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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.

Featured Image: DepositPhotos / tashatuvango

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uBUCK Debuts | Hybrid Summit 2019 Welcomes Jon Malach

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uBUCK

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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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.

Featured image: DepositPhotos © sframe

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Chicago Mayor Believes Crypto Adoption is “Inevitable”

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crypto adoption

crypto adoption

Cryptocurrency received an endorsement from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel when he stated that wide-scale crypto adoption is “inevitable” at a FinTech meeting in his city earlier this week.

The chief of staff for former US President Barack Obama said that while he is no expert in crypto technology, he believes digital assets could help financially unstable countries with their economic recovery.

The politician thinks that “an alternative way of currency dealing with the debt markets is going to happen” at some point in the future.

“One day, somebody’s going to figure out—whether that’s Argentina, ten years from now, five years from now—how to use cryptocurrencies to stay alive when their [sic] facing a financial crisis, and then you’re going to find out that this moment has arrived,” Emanuel said of crypto adoption.

Countries like Venezuela have already turned to cryptocurrency in an attempt to circumvent US-led sanctions, attract investment and bring the country back from the brink of full-blown default.

Crypto Adoption: Cryptocurrency Here to Stay

Despite crypto being a highly volatile market, the Chicago mayor isn’t the only one that believes the currency is here to stay. In fact, some believe cryptocurrency could replace fiat currency as early as 2030.

Former IBM engineer Thomas Frey said at a recent event that “cryptocurrencies are going to displace roughly 25% of national currencies by 2030. They’re just much more efficient, the way they run.”

According to a recent survey led by researchers at the Neustar International Security Council, 80% of businesses are interested in using cryptocurrency for transactions. What’s more, 48% of the survey respondents said that the use of cryptocurrency could be a way for their businesses to generate income by delivering increased value.

Crypto Adoption: Big Companies Moving into the Space

A number of major companies have already begun creating their own cryptocurrencies, including Starbucks, Samsung, Square, Facebook, and IBM.

The most recent company to join the cryptocurrency movement is US multinational financial services giant Visa, which is on the lookout for project managers with blockchain and cryptocurrency knowledge to join their team.

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RAID Project | Bittrex Cancels RAID IEO Hours Before Launch

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RAID project

RAID project

Cryptocurrency exchange Bittrex has reportedly canceled an IEO (initial exchange offering) hours before its launch. The RAID project was expected to make $6 million USD by selling its XRD token to customers on the Bittrex exchange.

Canceled RAID Project

Bittrex reportedly called off the token sale after it learned that the RAID project had suddenly terminated its partnership with e-gaming data analytics company OP.GG.

According to Bittrex, the partnership “was a vital part of the RAID project,” Bittrex said in a statement“When Bittrex International became aware of this significant event, we did not feel that it was in the best interest of our customers to move forward with the IEO.

However, OP.GG has claimed that the alliance with RAID was never a sure thing to begin with, stating:

OP.GG has stopped all potential business discussions related to RAID project and there will be no economic and technical cooperation with RAID coin. In addition, OP.GG has no intention of developing any blockchain related business utilizing RIOT GAMES data. OP.GG will take all possible legal measures against individuals or organizations disseminating false facts related to this.”

>> Thai Stock Exchange to Launch Cryptocurrency Platform Next Year

RAID

RAID has claimed that it, not Bittrex, pulled the IEO, saying “it would not be right to proceed as scheduled […] after a discussion with Bittrex, RAID Team came to a final decision to not proceed with IEO.”

Customers who participated in a previous token sale will be issued refunds through Cobak.

The XRD token was created as a means to “give data ownership back to users using blockchain technology” using a game data ecosystem. The token would also be used to develop game-related business, according to the project.

What we know is that the IEO has unraveled along with the relationship between the RAID project and Bittrex. Much remains unclear, however, over the true nature of RAID’s relationship with OP.GG.

Featured Image: DepositPhotos © Piter2121

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SIX Stock Exchange Adds XRP to Latest ETP Project

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SIX Stock Exchange

SIX Stock Exchange

The largest stock exchange in Switzerland, the SIX stock exchange, is planning on launching an XRP crypto exchange-traded product (ETP). Amun AG was the first crypto startup to launch ETPs on SIX. Hany Rashwan, CEO of Amun AG, told CoinDesk that this new product will have the ticker AXRP.

SIX Stock Exchange Adds XRP ETP

The SIX Stock Exchange has not released any formal news yet on this matter and the ETA of AXRP is unknown at this time. In addition to the XRP ETP, Rashwan told CoinDesk that SIX has approved ETPs for four more altcoins. According to the CEO, Bitcoin Cash (BCH), EOS, Stellar (XLM), and Litecoin (LTC) will be the next altcoins to get their own ETP products on the SIX Stock Exchange.

Amun AG has yet to provide thorough details regarding the new ETP listings. In November of 2018, SIX launched its first ETP that tracks a basket of top-weighted cryptocurrencies. This new product was issued by Amun AG under the HODL ticker. Since November, this total monthly trade volume for HODL has taken over an ETP that tracks crude oil. According to research by CoinDesk journalists, HODL became a top traded ETP on SIX in both December and January, prompting further digital currency ETP products.

>> Emaar Community Token: Owners of Burj Khalifa Plan ICO

Rashwan told CoinDesk that most of the buyers of these products are based in Switzerland. Over the past few weeks, Amun AG has issued Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) ETPs on the SIX Stock Exchange.

What is an ETP?

ETPs are passive investment instruments with no active trading strategies involved. ETPs are priced so the value is derived from other investment instruments such as a currency. SIX has its own rules for these traded products and states they are not treated as “collective investment schemes;” therefore, ETPs are not supervised by Switzerland’s market regulator. Amun AG backs each ETP by an identical amount of crypto assets, which is checked on a continuous basis. Rashwan told CoinDesk it stores its collateral with Kingdom Trust.

Featured Image: Pixabay

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Fidelity Digital Assets | Taking Its Time Evaluating Ethereum Support

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Fidelity Digital Assets

Fidelity Digital Assets

Earlier in the year, Fidelity Investments launched its arm dedicated to cryptocurrencies. Called Fidelity Digital Assets (FDAS), the branch trades in and takes custody of digital assets. Now, according to FDAS President Tom Jessop, the platform will take its time adding support for Ethereum.

Fidelity Digital Assets

The platform currently has support for Bitcoin and is still evaluating what cryptocurrencies may be added in the future.

Where Ethereum is concerned, the executive has expressed that the company is biding time:

“We’d love to have support [for] ether but you know you have a hard fork coming up and some upgrades, so I think we’re trying to see how those things work out before we make a decision to put them on the platform.”

It’s interesting that Fidelity Digital Assets isn’t leaping to support the second largest coin by market cap. Ethereum is also, arguably, the number one protocol for dApps. It’s more usual to simply follow popularity and market caps.

But Jessop iterated that they are not making support decisions lightly:

“We will probably go in market cap order, that’s where the demand is but it doesn’t mean that we will list every coin […] There may be reasons why we [won’t list] a coin that has nothing to do with quite frankly client [demand].”

>> uBUCK Makes its Debut at Hybrid Summit 2019

Fidelity Digital Assets Evaluation

The digital asset body developed an internal framework aimed at evaluating cryptocurrencies. This framework considers how decentralized a coin is, how much demand there is for the coin and whether there are any “peculiarities” associated with the coin’s protocol. Depending on these metrics, the FDAS may or may not support a coin on its platform.

So while in the past the Fidelity Digital Assets has hinted at adding Ether, it seems the process of doing so won’t be so straight-forward. We will have to wait longer for Fidelity Digital Assets to support Ethereum.

According to CoinMarketCap, Ethereum is selling for $138.66 USD, up 0.19% at the time of writing.

Featured Image: DepositPhotos © Chubakaster

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Crypto Blacklist | Belgium Updates List of Crypto Fraud Websites

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crypto blacklist

crypto blacklist

Belgium’s Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) has updated its crypto blacklist.

According to an official statement made today, the government body has added seven crypto trading platforms to it.

Crypto Blacklist

The crypto blacklist is comprised of websites and/or platforms associated with fraud or that show signs of fraudulent behavior. Effectively, these websites are known to scam investors or seem suspicious.

The previous crypto blacklist was released in December 2018 and listed a total of 113 websites. Now, that list has grown to 120.

Vigilance

Despite the availability of the list and the continued efforts to warn investors against fraudulent sites, the financial authority said that it continues to receive complaints from traders who invested cryptocurrencies on fraudulent sites.

Further, the authority warned that the crypto blacklist is comprised of websites that it is aware of or that have been reported. It does not contain every possible scam out there as, most likely, many more are yet to be uncovered. As such, investors should reference the list but always remain vigilant.

“The regulator warned that the blacklist does not include all the companies that might be operating illegally in Belgium in the crypto industry.”

Risks of Crypto Investing

According to the Belgian financial authority FPS Economy, a study showed that in 2017, Belgian investors lost approximately $2.5 million USD to crypto scams. This equates to 4% of the total amount lost to crypto fraud cases with estimations nearing $152 million USD. Figures such as this highlight the importance of careful trading.

>> Blockchain and Its Impact on Communications and Beyond

To help combat the issue, the European Union launched the International Association of Trusted Blockchain Applications (INATBA) in Brussels, Belgium. With more than 100 member companies signing the charter, INATBA aims to bring together all areas of industry, from startups to big enterprises, to regulators, to bring blockchain and distributed ledger technology into the mainstream.

The group places an emphasis on trusting each other in business. European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, Mariya Gabriel, said the following:

“In today’s economy, there is less and less time to build trust in the way it happened in the past. To fight cancer, to balance renewable energy, to trace the authenticity of goods, actors must be able to trust one another without meeting face-to-face. And how can we achieve this? Of course, with the help of blockchain.”

Be careful trading out there. There is a crypto blacklist, and it’s been made for a reason!

Featured Image: DepositPhotos © 8vfanDP

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