Říj 17

EToro CEO: We’ll See ‘Greatest Transfer of Wealth Ever Onto the Blockchain’ [Interview]

Bitcoinist spoke with Yoni Assia, CEO of the largest social trading platform in the world eToro on their latest push to take cryptocurrency mainstream. 


Interview with eToro CEO, Yoni Assia

With over 10 million users globally, eToro has become a somewhat of a household name. It is also no secret that the company has been a big supporter of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for a few years now. Its logo is often seen alongside numerous cryptocurrencies almost everywhere in the UK and elsewhere.

etoro

Assia explained why eToro is so focused on raising cryptocurrency awareness, why regulation is important for mass adoption, and his opinion on ‘Bitcoin maximalism.’

Bitcoinist: You’ve just announced a significant cut in spreads on crypto-assets. Why did you decide to do this? User feedback or simply a way to make trading more affordable for the average person?

Yoni Assia: We cut our crypto spreads as part of our efforts to support the mass adoption of crypto.  We want to make it as easy as possible for investors to buy, hold and sell crypto and cutting spreads so clients keep more of their gain is one part of this.

Bitcoinist: What other bottlenecks to wide-scale user adoption currently exist in your opinion?

Yoni Assia: Currently, the level of understanding of crypto-assets is one of the barriers to wide-scale user adoption of, and investment in, crypto-assets. It’s a barrier that we’ve looked to address at eToro through building our community of traders and investors who can share their investment strategies and insights. From this, others are able to follow the approaches of those who have been the most successful. We also provide educational material and a virtual portfolio.

Other barriers for crypto center on the fact that this is still a very young asset class. Bitcoin, the first crypto, is still less than 10 years old. We believe that the challenges around scalability, speed, volatility etc will be solved over time.

Bitcoinist: Your platform has over 10 million users. Since the so-called bubble ‘popped’ in 2018 following the historic bull-run of late 2017, has your platform seen a drop in new user signups or the opposite?

New clients continue to join the eToro platform every day. Some come for crypto, others for the other more traditional asset classes we offer such as stocks and commodities or our CopyPortfolios. It is also interesting to note that many of the clients who were attracted to eToro by crypto have also diversified into other assets on the platform.

Bitcoinist: At current rates, can you give us an idea of how many users you expect to start trading crypto on your platform over the next few years?

Yoni Assia: While I can’t give you a number, we expect to continue to grow the number of users on the platform over the next few years. EToro is continuing to expand its global footprint, for example, we will be launching in the US later this year. Some people come to eToro for crypto, but we also offer a multitude of other asset classes.

Bitcoinist: What is the most popular cryptocurrency on eToro? Do you think this could change in the future?

Yoni Assia: The most popular crypto on eToro is XRP 00. I don’t have a crystal ball so I can’t predict the future. Our clients value diversification so we see interest in any new coins added to the platform.

Bitcoinist: Does a diversified crypto-asset portfolio still make sense given that Bitcoin has experienced the least bleeding relative to other cryptocurrencies?

Yoni Assia: Maintaining a diversified portfolio, both in terms of crypto-assets and in terms of wider assets, is a prudent way to invest regardless of market conditions or asset performance.

Bitcoinist: Etoro has signed numerous partnerships with major sports teams and pro athletes to promote cryptocurrencies. Have these efforts borne fruit so far? And what other initiatives do you have planned?

Yoni Assia: We’ve recently sponsored seven premier league clubs in the UK as well as German football team Eintracht Frankfurt. We’ve also partnered with French tennis player and eToro user Gaelle Monfils. These initiatives help us to raise awareness of crypto and we will continue to form partnerships that help us to strengthen our brand and build awareness.

Bitcoinist: Why do you believe regulation will accelerate mass adoption? Some regulations such as the BitLicense in New York state have forced companies to leave, for example. Do you favor more of a hands-off approach or clear-cut regulations just like in traditional finance?

Yoni Assia: A conducive regulatory environment is vital to protect consumers and foster growth and innovation within the investment industry. We believe that regulation will lead to greater adoption by institutions and intermediaries, which will accelerate mass adoption.

In the UK, eToro was the driving force behind the establishment of CryptoUK, the first self-regulatory trade association for the UK crypto-asset industry. Its remit is to promote higher standards of conduct and to educate politicians and regulators about the industry and its potential. We welcome the recent report from the UK’s Treasury Select Committee which reflected Crypto UK’s calls for the introduction of proportionate regulation to improve standards and encourage growth.

Bitcoinist: Why do you believe Bitcoin and crypto can offer opportunities to traditional finance? Wasn’t Bitcoin created to disrupt and disinter-mediate traditional finance, fractional-reserve banking, and fiat currencies?

Yoni Assia: We don’t’ believe that traditional finance will disappear overnight and we are already seeing many large financial institutions exploring the opportunities offered by crypto and the blockchain technology that underpins it.

We believe that crypto, and the underlying blockchain technology, will have a huge impact on global finance. Blockchain has the potential to revolutionize finance by enabling the tokenization of all assets, not just currencies. In time, we believe that we will see the greatest transfer of wealth ever onto the blockchain.

Bitcoinist: Are you personally in the “Blockchain not Bitcoin” camp or vice versa? Why?

Yoni Assia: They are two separate things and being in favor of one doesn’t have to mean you are against the other. For me the easiest way to try and explain the significance of crypto and the blockchain technology that underpins it is to compare it to the internet.

The relationship between blockchain and crypto is parallel to the internet and email. Much like email is just one use case of the internet, bitcoin is just one use case of the Blockchain. Bitcoin was the first crypto and almost ten years after the white paper was written remains the most dominant.

Whether Bitcoin will still be the most significant crypto in another ten years is not for me to say, but I do believe that blockchain will transform finance in the same way that the internet revolutionized communications.

Bitcoinist: What is your opinion on Bitcoin maximalism? Will it be winner takes all (with everything being built on the Bitcoin blockchain in the future) or will there be room for many cryptocurrencies to exist?

Yoni Assia: The crypto-asset market is still very much in its infancy, and crypto-assets are still vying to prove their respective use cases to the world. Currently, different crypto-assets seek to solve different problems and are experiencing varying levels of adoption. There absolutely could be room for a few cryptocurrencies to exist, but it’s too early to say which ones this could be at this stage.

Do you agree with Assia’s comments? Share your thoughts below! 


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter

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Říj 16

Amid Brexit Uncertainties, Coinbase Announces a New Dublin Office

Coinbase has announced the opening of a new office in Dublin. The decision to move shop to the famed Irish city may be part of a plan to hedge Brexit uncertainty by expanding the company’s presence across Europe.


San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase continues to expand its presence across Europe. October 15th the company said on are opening a new office in Dublin Ireland after considering a number of locales across the European Union.

Coinbase made the announcement through a Tweet and a blog post by Vice President of Operations and Technology, Tina Bhatnagar. According to Bhatnagar, the Dublin office will allow Coinbase to “[…] tap into the city’s diverse talent pool and long-standing support for technological innovation.”

Bhatnagar noted that the exchange is currently hiring for roles in the new office. Team members will be complimenting current Coinbase operations in London, and will also play host to new business-related functions.

As of press time, the Coinbase careers page lists a handful of open positions located in Dublin. These include opportunities as Support Analyst, Compliance Manager, and Sr. Product Manager.

Dublin

Hedging Bets In A Post-Brexit World?

Coinbase U.K. CEO Zeeshan Feroz made a point to say the expansion to Ireland was part of a strategy to “better service our customers.” Feroz told CNBC through a phone interview that the European Union was the company’s “most significant market outside the U.S.”

However, some speculate the decision by Coinbase might be part of a plan to offset the ramifications of Brexit by boosting their presence across the European continent.

According to CNBC, Feroz thought the uncertainty surrounding Brexit “played some part in the decision.”

He explained how the company believes Ireland was a good spot for expansion since it is a growing technological hub, home to a range of talent, and an English speaking nation.

Staff Shakeups Continue At Coinbase

The decision by Coinbase to open up a Dublin office and seek out some new talent is another sign the company is looking to increase their clout and even shake up personnel if necessary.

In early September, Bitcoinist reported that the Coinbase had managed to double their staff while hitting their 2018 hiring target.

Earlier in the year, Coinbase opened up an office in Portland, Oregon and hired new workers after coming face to face with a flurry of criticism for not being prepared on the customer service front.

More recently, the company announced the departure of Adam White, Coinbase’s fifth employee. Around the same time, Charles Schwab Board of Directors Member Chris Dodds was introduced as the newest member of the Coinbase Board.

What do you think about Coinbase’s decision to select Dublin as the location for a new office? Let us know in the comments below!


Images and media courtesy of Bitcoinist archives, Twitter (@Coinbase).

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Říj 03

Coinbase Brings on Charles Schwab Exec to Expand Influence

Coinbase recently announced that a Charles Schwab board member would be joining the exchange’s board of directors. Coinbase is also reportedly looking to close what could be a $500 million deal with Tiger Global.


San-Francisco based digital currency exchange Coinbase, long seen as an industry leader, appears to be expanding their financial influence even more.

In an October 2nd blog post, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong said the company is adding Chris Dodds of Charles Schwab to their board of directors. Dodds currently sits on the board of directors at Charles Schwab as a senior private equity advisor.

Armstrong wrote how Dodds’ experience in the financial and accounting fields would “be an asset to the Coinbase leadership team as we focus on scaling our business.”

The CEO classified the addition of Dodds as part of an effort to,

[…] expand our financial services capabilities as we head into this next chapter for the company and the cryptocurrency industry as a whole.

Charles Schwab

Eyeing the Future

The news about Dodds is not the only reason why Coinbase has been in the headlines recently. The company is currently conducting discussions with Tiger Global and its shareholders about an investment that could total $500 million.

Speculation holds the popular digital exchange could boost their coffers by about $250 million while spending up to $250 million to buy out investors.

If the deal were to go through, estimates are Coinbase would then be valued at roughly $8 billion.

This figure would place the company towards the top of highest-valued start-ups in the United States, while would seemingly lend a big boost of credibility to the cryptocurrency industry.

The $8 billion figure is roughly the same figure the company valued itself at  in April when they pitched an equity package to Earn.com investors.

Even though Coinbase’s operations have been impacted by relatively rough market conditions in 2018, they received a valuation of about $1.5 billion last summer, just before consumer interest in virtual currencies skyrocketed as the year closed out.

The company also said in September that they had hit their 2018 hiring target after a report from Business Insider noted the number of Coinbase staff members was at around 500.

Board of Directors

Building on Recent Activity

The latest round of news from Coinbase only builds on what has been an active past few weeks for the company. At the end of September, Coinbase announced a new range of investment tools that seemed to be focused on new digital currency investors.

These new tools included Coinbase Bundle and Coinbase Learn, along with educational Informational Asset Pages. Just a few days prior, Coinbase said they had changed their listing policy to boost the number of offerings.

The new policy permits creators to send in listing applications without having to pay a fee — as opposed to simply waiting to be contacted by Coinbase. Coins are now able to be regionally listed if they are deemed compliant with applicable regulations.

What do you think about the recent activity on the Coinbase board? Let us know in the comments below!


Image courtesy of Bitcoinist archives, Shutterstock, Twitter/@coinbase.

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Zář 27

House of Cards? Trade Volume of Big Exchanges Questioned

Amid market turbulence and general cryptocurrency uncertainty, some speculate fast-growing exchanges may be manipulating — or outright lying about — their trade volumes.


Questions about inflated exchange volume have long plagued the cryptocurrency world.

Outcry is now intensifying as once-unknown exchanges are enjoying seemingly smashing success in the midst of market slowdowns and uncertainty.

Reporters from Bloomberg recently wrote about the curious case of the BitForex exchange. Once relegated to obscurity, the platform has now been busy reporting about days where transactions exceed $5 billion dollars.

BitForex Vice President Garret Jin said the trading surge was just due to its transaction mining system, a practice some say is just a set up to inflationary wash trading activity.

Overall trading volume across the industry is expected to grow by 50% in 2019, but some are starting to wave a red flag while scrutinizing the alleged astronomical growth of once-small exchanges.

Scattered discourse on this topic has swelled in the past few months as more people in the industry believe exchanges are dramatically overstating their trading volume. This is done by offering incentives to inflate, or by simply turning a blind eye to blatant abuse on exchange platforms.

Allegations Everywhere

Allegations about fake trading volume are certainly not new. Just a few days ago, the popular exchange Coinbase fired back at New York Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood regarding its trade volume.

Bitcoinist reported that Attorney General Underwood alleged Coinbase “[…] disclosed that almost twenty percent of executed volume on its platform was attributable to its own trading.” Coinbase Chief Policy Officer Mike Lempres wrote:

Coinbase does not trade for the benefit of the company on a proprietary basis

In a March Medium post, trader and investor Sylvian Ribes noted his belief that the volume of fabricated cryptoassets was more than $3 billion dollars.

Ribes specifically called out OKEx, claiming 94% of its volume was nonexistent after allegedly reviewing publicly available data.

Others like EverMarkets Exchange CEO Jim Bai, see the problem of fraudulent volumes as just an ecosystem immaturity issue, asserting how legitimate exchanges will eventually pop up that

Provide enough real, beneficial structural incentives so that people won’t be misled into trading on questionable venues.

A Secret Brought To Light?

In August, the Blockchain Transparency Institute released a sweeping report alleging that 70% of the top 100 exchanges on sites like CoinMarketCap are “likely engaging in wash trading by at least 3x their stated volume.”

There are people who see these types of shady trading practices an instance of “everyone’s doing it, so I’m doing it,” according to Neil Woodfine of Clavestone.

According to Woodfine and Eterna Capital’s Asim Ahmad, inflated volumes from exchanges are likely due to automatic high-frequency trading strategies — a practice that has been regarded as concerning by the New York Attorney General.

How big of an issue do you think exaggerated or fraudulent exchange trade volumes are? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Bitcoinist archives, Shutterstock.

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Zář 21

Brazil Investment CEO On Bitcoin Exchange Launch: ‘I’d Rather Crypto Didn’t Exist’

XP Group, owner of the largest investment firm in Brazil, XP Investimentos, confirmed it would launch a cryptocurrency exchange this week – despite its CEO saying he wished it “didn’t exist.”


Benchimol: ‘We Felt Obligated’

As Bloomberg reports quoting Guilherme Benchimol at an event in Sao Paulo, XP will finally give in to investor demand and begin a Bitcoin and Ethereum trading operation after six months of rumors.

“I must confess, this is a theme I’d rather didn’t exist, but it does,” the publication reports him as saying.

We felt obligated to start advancing in this market.

Like many South American markets, Brazil has seen a palpable uptick in Bitcoin 00 trading activity. While its figures do not match those of markets such as Chile, Argentina and Venezuela, weekly volumes for P2P platform Localbitcoins alone regularly top 1.5 million reals ($367,000).

XP Investimentos had been planning its entry into the market since at least April, insiders telling the press at the time a crypto trading platform was incoming. The company registered an entity called XP COIN INTERMEDIACAO in August last year.

The final product will go by the name of XDEX – perhaps a nod to the decentralized exchange phenomenon – and involve a team of around 40, Bloomberg adds.

Bitcoiners Bite Back Against Banks

Brazil’s extant exchange and wider cryptocurrency business sector is meanwhile struggling with an increasingly hostile landscape involving banks.

Similar to complaints in Poland in recent months, a government agency is now investigating claims that those businesses are subject to account shutdowns by institutions which would rather not deal in crypto-related transactions.

“…It does not seem reasonable for banks to apply restrictive measures a priori on a straight-line basis to all cryptocurrency companies, without examining the level of compliance and anti-fraud measures adopted by individual brokerage firm,” the agency told Reuters when the news surfaced this week.

What do you think about XP Group’s exchange announcement? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Srp 25

Over $6 Billion in Daily Trading Volume Faked Across Top 100 Exchanges

A new report found that over 70% of the top 100 exchanges on CoinMarketCap are engaging in excessive wash trading from three to thousands of times their stated volume.

[Note: This is a guest article submitted by researcher Marco Paez] 


Two-Thirds of 24 Hour Trade Volume May Be Fake

It’s been a month since CoinMarketCap (CMC) made changes to the way they post exchange volume stats after being called out by multiple sources for supporting bloated volume numbers. An adjusted volume metric was added to the site which changed up the rankings substantially, however, the new adjusted rankings still seemed to be suspect by many in the industry.

Released this week, research compiled by the Blockchain Transparency Institute (BTI) gives clearer insight into how massively overstated the daily volume numbers actually are. Tallying up the volume numbers of the top 130 exchanges, the report found that over $6 billion in daily trade volume is being faked, comprising over two-thirds of the total 24-hour trade volume.

Released this week, research compiled by the Blockchain Transparency Institute (BTI) gives clearer insight into how massively overstated the daily volume numbers actually are.

The largest offenders in the top 10 include Bibox, which appears to be wash trading their volume over 85x, Bit-Z to over 469x, ZB over 391x, LBank 4400x. The worst of the bunch is BCEX at over 22,000x.  All of these exchanges trail Binance in the daily unique visitor’s statistic between 50 and 600x.

The top exchange in the USA is Coinbase, which climbs the ranks up to #3. Another big mover into the top 10 is Bithumb at #4 which overtakes Upbit as the largest exchange in South Korea. Upbit is currently under investigation for fraud, money laundering, and wash trading which correlates with data showing an over-reporting of their volume by 11x.

Binance sits at the top of the chart at #1 with a massive amount of unique daily visitors to back them up.  Bitfinex slides into the number 2 spot behind their high dollar clientele and $10,000 minimum deposit for entry.

KuCoin, Cryptopia See Big Gains

A large chunk of the top 25 exchanges have dropped all the way out of the top 100. According to the data, these exchanges typically have less than 1,000 site visitors per day. The majority of these exchanges also seem to be mass produced, as they all appear to be using the same UI and trading engine.

Coinex, which was left out of CMC’s adjusted volume rankings due to transaction mining, finds itself inside the top 25 using this data. Other transaction mining exchanges such as Coinbene and Bit-Z dropped well outside of the top 25 exchanges from their previous rankings.

Kucoin and Cryptopia are the biggest movers-up the charts landing in at #19 and #24, and moving up from #58 and #90 respectively, after watching all the fake volume ahead of them disappear. Both of these sites have unique daily visitor counts in the top 10 of all exchanges. The BTI report notes that many of their customers are trading on low volume and low market cap coins, which keep them outside of the top 10.

The research team states they used data obtained from SimilarWeb on website traffic coupled with order book research conducted by Sylvain Ribes. His report detailed excessive slippage rates of top 15 exchanges including Okex, Huobi, Lbank, and Bit-Z. The combination of these data sets was plugged into a new formula which produced a vastly different top 25 than what is being reported. A rundown of their methodology for the rankings can be found here.

Data collected from SimilarWeb also reports many of these offender exchanges getting up to 90% of their referral volume from rankings pages, overwhelmingly from CMC. This naturally incentivizes wash trading by any exchange looking to move up the ranks.

When compared, the slippage data of the known respected exchanges and monthly traffic data appears to be in correlation. Binance, Coinbase, Bittrex, Bitfinex, Kraken, Poloniex, and Kucoin all have monthly visitor counts well above the rest of the top 100 exchanges as well as very low slippage when their order books were checked.

The report notes that although their data is reported with an accuracy of 1:1 this does not mean there is no wash trading going on, just that none could be proven using their current model.

The report notes that although their data is reported with an accuracy of 1:1 this does not mean there is no wash trading going on, just that none could be proven using their current model.

Lending credibility to these top exchanges, it was recently reported that Coinbase is building a new system to monitor suspicious trading activity known as the Coinbase Trade Surveillance Program. The system in place is one of the ways Coinbase says it is using to prepare for the $10 billion of institutional money waiting to move into the space.

Gemini also started a similar program in April when it partnered with Nasdaq to monitor its marketplace. Nasdaq’s SMARTS Market Surveillance technology is currently monitoring activity across all of Gemini’s trading pairs. Gemini moved up from #26 to #14 in the BTI rankings.

These types of initiatives continue to be implemented as the space matures in preparing the market for institutional investors. With more important ETF decisions looming this year, these exchanges seek to prove to the SEC that they’re doing due diligence in securing their platforms from manipulation.

BTI’s full rankings list of the top 130 exchanges can be found here.

What are your thoughts on misrepresented and overstated value among major exchanges? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Srp 06

South Korea’s Biggest Exchange UPbit 100% Solvent, New Report Finds

A new report from a Korean accounting firm has found the South Korean crypto exchange giant to be 100% solvent in light of recent worries about misconduct. A May raid on the company’s headquarters worried investors, who are now letting out sighs of relief as audits reinforce the company’s integrity.


A Knock at the Door

The Seoul-based company UPbit was able to prove its integrity to investors, Forbes reported on Sunday evening. The audit comes amidst a May 10th and 11th raid on the company’s Gangnam branch by Korean authorities. Forbes reports that:

As part of the raid South Korea’s financial watchdog, the Financial Services Commission (FSC), along with the Korea Financial Intelligence Unit (KFIU), seized hardware and documents from UPbit to evaluate claims from unknown sources that the exchange was insolvent.

South Korea’s Financial Services Commission Announces Creation of Crypto Division

On May 11th, Bloomberg noted the already-skeptical attitude that emerged in some circles prior to the raid, saying:

Before the clampdown, South Korea was something of a ground zero for the global crypto-mania. Volume on local exchanges soared at the end of last year, with Bitcoin and other tokens fetching large premiums in the country relative to international markets. The boom alarmed officials including Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon, who said that cryptocurrencies might corrupt the nation’s youth.

Subsequently, the UPbit raid served to reinforce the views of crypto-skeptics like Lee Nak-yon.

A Sigh of Relief

Bitcoinist reported that subsequent to the raid, Bitcoin 00 dipped below the $9,000 mark amid investor panic. These fears “had a knock-on effect on altcoins, with Ether (ETH) dropping 8.4% to lose $700 support while Ripple (XRP) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) both fell around 15%.”

The storm surrounding UPbit has seemed to clear, however. South Korean accounting firm Yoojin was tasked with overseeing the audits.

Still, many remained uneasy absent an official statement from the Korean government on the matter. Korean firm Dunamoo, however, has unveiled a report showing the results of the audit, which surely bode well for worried investors. Lee Seok-woo, president of Dunamoo, said:

UPbit currently has the exact amount of money held by the platform’s investors along with additional funds, more than enough to compensate every investor. Hence, UPbit is able to process withdrawals for customers upon the request of its customers and the exchange will continue to release audit reports on a regular basis to prove its solvency.

Investors will surely be able to take a deep breath as the company has assured its stakeholders that all is well. Despite proving solvency, the UPbit scare will surely leave many skeptics resigned to their positions. For the time being, however, investors are able to catch some sleep at night.

What are your thoughts on UPbit emerging unscathed from their audit? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Srp 05

Square Cash Quietly Reveals It’s Avoiding Public Cryptocurrency Exchanges

In its recently published quarterly report, Square revealed it’s channeling Bitcoin trades from its Square Cash application to private brokers instead of public exchanges.


Jack Dorsey’s Square Cash application enabled Bitcoin purchases and sales for most users early in 2018, adding to its consumer payments suite. Though overall, Square’s profits are substantial, it’s not making a fortune on Bitcoin trades just yet. Square reported just $400,000 profit on $37 million worth of revenue from Bitcoin for quarter two, 2018.

Square hasn’t announced that it has moved to over-the-counter (OTC) trading services for its Bitcoin transactions. The published quarterly report instead quietly revealed that Square “purchases bitcoin from private broker-dealers,” to facilitate Bitcoin trades for users of the application.

Why Over-the-Counter?

There could be a number of reasons behind Square’s choice, firstly it could protect Square from some of the Bitcoin price volatility seen on public exchanges. Sudden large sellouts from weighty Bitcoin owners and market “whales,” move Bitcoin’s price far quicker than on OTC desks. Meltem Demirors, chief strategy officer at CoinShares told CNBC:

Working with a broker likely gets Square better pricing and better execution services than floating orders on the open market, as well as more confidentiality.

Secondly, the company could be looking to avoid some of the security issues and hacks associated with public cryptocurrency exchanges. Private brokers and OTC services may also be providing Square with faster Bitcoin transactions while at the same time hiding Square’s market activity from competitors.  

Square Cash App

Potentially, the move also gives Square more visible compliance from its use of institutional style trading facilities. Square has yet to comment on the matter.

OTC Bitcoin Trading Increasing

A recent study by TABB Group, if accurate, shows that OTC trading of Bitcoin may have overtaken daily Bitcoin trading volumes on public exchanges. Certainly larger trades of Bitcoin by millionaire investors and institutional investors moving over, along with Bitcoin associated enterprises, may be fuelling OTC service demand.

TABB Group puts OTC trading of Bitcoin at $12 billion dollars worth per day, but the study has been refuted by some. According to statistics from coinmarketcap.com daily trading of Bitcoin via public exchanges is around $4.3 billion.

What do you think an increase in OTC Bitcoin transactions means for cryptocurrency markets?


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Bitcoinist archives

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Čvc 01

New Coinbase Pro Platform Off to a Rocky Start Amid Flurry of Criticism

Digital currency exchange Coinbase shuttered GDAX on June 29th and transitioned to Coinbase Pro. The new interface is marketed as an upgrade but has received a lot of initial criticism.  


Coinbase has been very busy over the last few days. Responding to criticism about failures with their customer service, the exchange said on Thursday how they are planning to open a new office in Portland Oregon.

An official announcement from the company says the new location will be hiring for roles based on “customer support, finance, compliance, IT, and HR.” The news comes a few weeks after the exchange officially opened an office in Japan to help “accelerate the global adoption of cryptocurrency.”

Yesterday, Coinbase officially said goodbye to GDAX and invited people to start using the new Coinbase Pro. A company blog post said gdax.com would not be accessible after June 29th, but part of it still apparently lives on, as the design team has emulated GDAX’s interface in one of Coinbase Pro’s color themes.

Hello Coinbase Pro

Coinbase Pro General Manager David Farmer wrote in a blog post how the new interface was built on top of the GDAX trading engine. After June 29th, all GDAX balances and trading history are now automatically seen on Coinbase Pro.

Farmer said GDAX’s API would be functioning until December 31st, 2018 and encouraged those on Coinbase Pro to migrate their API usage away from GDAX.

Coinbase has been advertising the purported upgrades and advantages of Coinbase Pro over the last couple months. A company blog post from May said the platform is “completely dedicated” to the needs of the cryptocurrency trader.

Along with the automatic migration of transactions and balances, Coinbase Pro features a new design that is intended to make “the trading experience easier and more intuitive.” The company says it also has a simplified deposit and withdraw process, better charts for users trying to find historical data, and a new portfolio “that lets customers easily see an overview of their account orders and balances.”

Coinbase Pro touts a variety of benefits on their homepage, including an “industry-leading API”, FDIC insurance protection for USD balances up to $250,000 per customer, and 0% maker fees.

The company said their vision is to give users the ability to “interact with digital assets in new and unique ways,” including through services like staking and protocol voting.

‘This Does Not Look Good’

Coinbase Pro said in a June 29th tweet how a number of customer feedback suggestions from the previous two weeks were live on the platform. This included layout optimizations, more theme options, and a bigger market selector.

But many of the early reactions to the new Coinbase Pro have been negative, and a growing number of people seem to be taking to the internet to try and problem-solve through issues.

Criticism started to emerge on Coinbase Pro’s official Twitter announcement. One user commented and said the new platform is “not a step for the better” and questioned if the team’s “UI or UX designers quit?”

Another said the platform’s GUI was slowing down their computer, pointing out how their utilization was above 25% “the moment the switch to pro occurred.”

Reddit community /r/coinbase experienced a flurry of activity after launch, and a lot of the commentary was not positive.

One user posting on June 30th called for a “Coinbase Pro boycott” after noting they had not seen a “single positive response to Coinbase Pro.” They said they would consider trying to get used to the new platform since Coinbase offered “relative safety” with holding funds, but said it was otherwise “complete garbage.”

Some users said the ability to zoom and scroll back on charts was a positive, but others mentioned how some features were not really usable on mobile devices. One user asked how they can get the GDAX page layout back and questioned if the new platform was even tested before being rolled out. Another simply said the new design was “two steps backwards.”

A couple of people seemed to take things into their own hands and posted ideas and suggestions in response to criticisms about Coinbase Pro.

One user recommended people make their own dashboard with the API in order to customize the platform to avoid issues. Another posted a “fix” for Coinbase Pro’s apparent lagging for high volume traders, which included minimizing browser width to “make the site usable again.”

Since Coinbase Pro is so new, team members are assuredly working on smoothing out any issues and figuring out what needs to be changed. But only time will tell about how many the initial complaints and criticisms will be addressed in future updates.

What are your thoughts on the new Coinbase Pro? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter 

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Čvn 29

Indian Exchange Says Women More Bullish on Cryptocurrency Than Men

Women in India are making larger individual investments in cryptocurrencies compared to men, according to one local exchange. However, men are leading the charge when it comes to sheer numbers.


Women are Bigger Spenders

Women have turned out to be the bigger spenders in India when it comes to cryptocurrency investments, according to a recent survey conducted by BuyUcoin – a local cryptocurrency exchange. The average female trader invests more than RS 1.4 lakh (roughly around $2,000) in virtual currencies, double the amount their male counterparts invest.

The exchange surveyed more than 60,000 respondents between March and June of this year. According to the BuyUcoin CEO Shivam Thakral, the increased amount of money women invest is tied to their average age:

Usually, woman investors who are buying or trading are over 40 years of age. Therefore, typically these mature investors are able to put in more money. […] On the other hand, more men start investing at an early age with the average age for this investor group being 30.

Nevertheless, in terms of pure numbers, men are leading the charts, with over 90% of the investors being male across the entire country.

The Local Cryptocurrency Environment

In April the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) officially ordered regulated financial entities to refrain from providing their services to all businesses involved in cryptocurrency-related dealings. This move prompted an uproar within the community which resulted in swift counteractions from numerous companies involved in the field.

In May the country’s Supreme Court declined an interim injunction against the ban, responding to a coalition of petitioners comprised of startup companies and four cryptocurrency exchanges. At the time, RBI stated that the Supreme Court cannot interfere with the economic policies of the country.

Nevertheless, those affected by the cryptocurrency ban will challenge RBI’s decision on July 20. The bank has continued to receive mounting criticism over its anti-crypto stance. Local lawyer Varun Sethi, however, laid down the bank’s justification on the matter:

The RBI also responded that no committee was ever formed for analyzing the concept of blockchain before the decision.

This gives confidence to local lawyers currently representing the industry. Rashmi Deshpande, associate partner at Khaitan & Co said of Sethi’s information that the justification of the bank cements the arguments which the cryptocurrency industry is making on the matter:

The grounds on which our writ petition has been filed is that the RBI has not done enough research to ban a business completely.

What do you think of the cryptocurrency situation in India? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, The Atlas

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