Dub 08

Bitcoin Bites Back: Wells Fargo in Court After Halting Exchange Transfers

· April 8, 2017 · 7:30 am

The parent company of cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex, iFinex, is suing Wells Fargo over disruption to wire transfers.


Bitfinex: Court Move To ‘Prevent Precedence’

Court documents filed by the company, along with fellow conversion service Tether.to in San Francisco, relate to the global bank allegedly blocking outgoing wire transfers to the banks servicing them.

“Wells Fargo has suspended U.S. dollar wire transfer operations needed to remit to plaintiffs’ customers U.S. dollars that the customers deposited with plaintiffs to purchase digital currency,” the complaint reads.

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It adds that the bank’s actions were “causing imminent and irreparable harm to plaintiffs.”

In additional comments on Reddit, Bitfinex spokesman commented that the lawsuit was to “prevent precedence” and that if nothing was done, the phenomenon could repeat itself with other cryptocurrency businesses.

He said:

“We’re not going to rollover for action like this. It’s precisely why we have increased our legal department.

“The decision to initiate legal action is because we cannot allow precedence in this industry where clearing houses can disrupt businesses that are by all metrics complying with the rules in place.

“If we allow them to simply flip a switch and disrupt business, then there becomes a precedence in the Bitcoin industry beyond just Bitfinex, so we believe it is the appropriate time to take action to prevent precedence.”

Fickle Banks Meet Their Match At Last

The decision to disrupt liquidity flow for the two services could well represent the most severe instance of a bank declining service to cryptocurrency businesses.

Previous instances include Venezuelan exchange Surbitcoin’s temporary shutdown due to a banking refusal, while flagship New Zealand exchange bitNZ disappeared for good after operating for six years due to its bank’s sudden decision to cut ties.

Not just exchanges, but entities from across cryptocurrency have felt the effects of banks’ changing whims. UK news resource Coinjournal had its bank account frozen by Barclays in September last year, allegedly over connections with Bitcoin.

Regulations Bite Poloniex in Washington State

Meanwhile further up the West Coast, Washington State is to lose services from another Bitcoin exchange, this time Poloniex.

In a circular to customers, “careful consideration of the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions’ interpretation of its financial services regulations” had resulted in the suspension of service for residents “until further notice.”

Ethereum Classic

Customers affected have two weeks from April 6 to remove funds from their accounts. Before the deadline, they are also prohibited from “opening new margin positions, adding to existing ones, and lending funds.”

Bitfinex itself exited Washington State for the same reasons back at the beginning of March. Unlike Poloniex, however, the exchange hinted there would be no return, and its users had markedly less time to react.

What do you think about the Wells Fargo case? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, poloniex.com

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Bře 27

Vision of No Future? Bitcoin Unlimited Token Dives 30% in 7 Days

· March 27, 2017 · 6:00 am

Bitcoin Unlimited’s ghostly new asset BCU is already evaporating on the two exchanges hosting it, having reached an all-time low since its launch.


BCU Drops 30% in a Week

Its two trade venues, exchanges Bitfinex and HitBTC, have both recorded falls in the price of the BCU token, with Bitfinex seeing a near 30% deterioration versus USD.

BCU is currently trading at $180 per coin, or 0.177 BTC, versus $254 and 0.254 BTC respectively seven days ago.

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The underwhelming performance appears to have done little to alter the mindset of the Bitcoin scaling debate’s major parties, with Bitcoin Unlimited proponents dismissing Bitfinex’s trading pair when it launched.

With HitBTC now following suit, however, it appears the natural trend for BCU is down prior to its actual conception, which would only occur in the event of a hard fork March 31.

In a blog post over the weekend, HitBTC explained the reasoning behind adding the pair was to “provide [users] with the tools for avoiding any risk.”

The exchange has further blocked withdrawals until around 48 hours after the deadline, ostensibly to avoid exposure to replay attacks. Existing and future user balances are currently duplicated in BCU as well as BTC, effective immediately.

The move attracted criticism from Reddit commentators, along with the content of the blog post itself, which stated Bitcoin Unlimited pool support “could become the majority.”

Core nodes currently account for over 90% of the network.

Armory Signals Core Support

Bitcoin Core meanwhile has compiled a list of known companies and services which have signalled or are already preparing for Segregated Witness activation.

112 names from throughout cryptocurrency, including Coinbase and Armory in addition to Bitfinex, are currently registered.

Of the total, 57 are described as “Segwit ready,” 30 as being in a state of “work in progress” and the remaining 25 “planned.”

Armory

Armory itself released a dedicated announcement on its Core adherence, stating it “does not support any controversial hard forks such as Bitcoin Unlimited and will continue to support Segregated Witness and Bitcoin Core.”

In the event BU becomes a bonafide chain, however, developer Andrew Chow said the service would be compatible.

“…The Armory wallet software does not perform any consensus checks as it relies on its connection to a local Bitcoin node. This node is typically Bitcoin Core, but anything based upon that will work as well; this includes Bitcoin Unlimited,” he said.

“Thus should a hard fork occur, […] Armory will be compatible with the hard fork and will allow users to continue to transact on the forked network.”

Chances of a hard fork actually occurring are at the same time themselves decreasing. Wang Chun, head of major mining pool F2pool, tweeted Monday that he – and therefore his pool – would not countenance such a change.

What do you think about BCU’s performance? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Twitter, Armory, cryptocoincharts. Shutterstock

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Bře 04

Dash Price Surge Brings New Exchange Partnerships & Trading Options

· March 4, 2017 · 8:00 am

1,840 views

When you’re hot, you’re hot. Many people have been asking me over the last couple of days “Where can I buy Dash?” The digital currency industry’s newest rock star is ‘in play’ and consumers’ prayers have been answered. Altcoin Dash has been added to new exchanges and new purchase pairings on Friday.


Bitfinex & BTC-e Extend Support for Dash

Dash price has skyrocketed over the last week, rising from $25 USD to as high as $58 before leveling out at just under $50 today. The ability to purchase Dash has not been ubiquitous amongst all exchanges, but it has been available on Poloniex and some others.

With demand and market cap growing daily, other exchanges are responding, including the largest digital currency exchange for the USD market, Bitfinex.

Europe’s BTC-e has also raised their Dash investment game, looking to capitalize on its recent success by adding more currency pairings:

“The partnership is recognition of the way the market has been responding to Dash’s vision and roadmap,” said Dash VP of Business Development, Daniel Diaz. “I am a firm believer that the free market will always recognize true value when growth and performance (are) sustained over long periods of time.”

Partnering with Bitfinex is a very important step for Dash as we look to provide good, regulated on and off ramps to the network that really make user applications easier.

Checkered Past

Dash has had an off-and-on relationship with Bitfinex, mostly due to demand, as it has been struggling with demand ever since it burst onto the scene in 2012 as XCoin, then made a splash as Darkcoin, before rebranding to Dash in 2015.

Dash has seen positive press throughout Q1, including its partnership with Wall of Coins It is now the third highest valued digital currency in the world, by market capitalization, behind Bitcoin and Ethereum.

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“Bitfinex is extremely excited to be adding Dash to our exchange,” said Bitfinex Chief Strategy Officer Phil Potter. “Dash is currently experiencing its breakout moment right now and we want to be able to provide our growing customer base with seamless access to one of the rising stars in our space. Bitfinex prides itself on being the world’s largest digital asset exchange by USD. We expect an incredibly strong market for Dash and we look forward to a tremendous partnership with their team.”

Will additional support by global exchanges help Dash maintain its current momentum?


Image courtesy of Bitfinex, Shutterstock

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Říj 30

Bitcoin Price Hits $700 for the Second Time This Year

Source: bitcoin

happy trader bitcoin price

The bitcoin price has increased by an additional $20 since our last  report and is now hovering at the $700 mark. This makes it official: bitcoin has reached the point projected, and crypto-fans are breaking out the champagne.

Also read: Bitcoin Price Keeps Booming, Another $30 Rise in the Books

One source explains the action:

“Well, there we go. . .As we said this morning, it’s been a great week for our breakout strategy. When tings move like they have done this week, it’s difficult not to profit from the volatility. All we needed to do was set up our key levels and wait. That’s all we ever really do.”

Bitcoin Price Rallies as China’s Monetary Problems Worsen

Activity in China is still believed to be the cause of bitcoin’s subsequent jumps. The yuan just hit a six-year low, and investors are rushing like crazy to purchase bitcoins and “circumvent capital controls.”

Chief strategy officer at OKCoin Jack Liu explains:

“There is a premium in bitcoin pricing in China as a hedge against the yuan… Strength is likely to carry into year-end.”

What’s particularly impressive about bitcoin this time around is that it could not only reach $700 in such a short period but that it could accomplish such a feat twice within the same year. Many of you might remember that bitcoin wandered into $700 territory over the summer before the Bitfinex hack.

The unexpected jumps caused many to up their respective purchasing and further add to their growing portfolios, but once disaster struck in Hong Kong, people began speculating on the legitimacy of the expansion. Was it possible executives had been tampering with the markets and the price like what allegedly occurred before Mt. Gox?

This became the subject of much debate, but now it’s probably safe to say that bitcoin’s rise isn’t necessarily a fluke. Yes, Asian influence is again being witnessed, but bitcoin has managed to reach the same territory within four months, and investors feel comfortable that the stagnant market of 2015 did indeed run its course and disappear for good. Last year brought virtually little to no change to bitcoin over a span of ten months, and enthusiasts would like to avoid that same route as best they can.

To make matters better, analysts are predicting that bitcoin will remain steady, and reach potentially stronger points before 2016 ceases:

“The long-term bullish trend continues to develop… An immense volume breakout has not affected the price. This is considered bullish divergence. If sellers become exhausted in the coming weeks, the price should make new highs for the year… The long-term Bitcoin chart is extremely bullish, with solid support for the current bull market in the form of extreme volume.”

How much further will bitcoin go before 2017 begins? Post your comments below!


Image courtesy of Bitcoinist.

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Srp 16

Bitcoin Price Sluggish, But Technical Indicators Still Bullish

Source: bitcoin

Bitcoin Price Sluggish, But Technical Indicators Still Bullish

Since our last price piece, Bitcoin was finding itself creeping along a downwards trajectory, dipping down to $560. However, having stabilized, the price seems to have stalled out around the $570 mark at press time.

Also read: Bet on MMA with Bitcoin: UFC 202, McGregor vs. Diaz

Capital On the Move

 

Bitcoin capital is on the move, as the price of some top altcoins have been given a boost in the wake of Bitcoin’s price slump. Increased altcoin capitalization coinciding with a Bitcoin price decline may not be a coincidence, with cash potentially flowing out of the BTC economy straight into other cryptos.

As evidence of this, the so-called “3.0 cryptocurrency,” DASH, has seen the biggest price jump of the month. The currency began the month of August trading at $9 and rallied to $15 before downward price pressure brought it back down to $13.

Meanwhile, the distributed-computing MaidSafeCoin was also given some momentum as it climbed to a high of $0.15, which was double what it was in the beginning of the month. However, it too has taken a bit of a tumble since then, with the price now back down to $0.10.

 

Trader Confidence Still Low

 

As the crowd continues to sell, the bearish price activity has continued with the Bitfinex hack still fresh on the minds of most traders. Although the event is already a few weeks old, mainstream media outlets took the story and ran — providing fuel to the fire as it continued to negatively impress public opinion about the cryptocurrency.

Unfortunately, not helping matters was the decision by the Bitfinex team to socialize the losses caused by the hack. The decision was an unpopular move among the community and will involve everyone on the exchange, thus evenly distributing the loss of 119,756 BTC among its clientele — even tapping into non-bitcoin account balances to help cover the losses.  

Long-Term Projections Sing a Different Tune

Although current prices are slumping, technical indicators are still looking bullish. This suggests that the current slump will only be a short-term phenomenon caused by unexpected changes in fundamentals. In other words, the slump is simply a technical correction that will soon lead to a price reversal on its way to a more bullish future.

What do you think will happen to Bitcoin’s price? Let us know in the comments below!


 

Images Courtesy of Bitcoinist.net, 2ndskiesforex.com

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Srp 15

Industry Report: Big Bounty May Help Bitfinex Get its Money Back

Source: bitcoin

Industry Report: Big Bounty May Help Bitfinex Get its Money Back

A Bitfinex bounty, Russia changes its stance on bitcoin, and a rough fate lies ahead for an alleged Silk Road forum operator. Want to catch up on your latest digital currency news? Take a look below.

Also read: Industry Report: Bitfinex Forces Customers to Pay for Hack Losses

BITFINEX

Hong Kong exchange Bitfinex has announced a $3.5 million bounty reserved for anyone who can help in their investigation to uncover the $72 million stolen from customer wallets last week. Explaining the terms, Director of Community and Product Development Zane Tackett states:

“5% of recovery and for information leading to recovery (but no bounty if no recovery); if multiple persons lead to recovery, share pro rata.”

Tackett is also refusing to draw up a contract offering explicit details until he can consult with the rest of the team.

In a related story, a bitcoin miner at Hashocean seems to have disappeared with millions of dollars in investors’ money. The website is down, reporting an error message when visited, and the miner has left no trace. Users are working hard to find the truth and earn their funds back.

RUSSIA

After years of saying, “We hate bitcoin,” Russia is reversing its stance on the digital currency and potentially revoking its plan to penalize users. In the past, Russian authorities have sworn to enforce fines and even hand out prison time for those who indulge in the art of cryptocurrency, but now the country seems to be having a change of heart. Rather, financial experts have suggested taxing bitcoin over penalizing it. Sources explain:

“Resident natural persons are obliged to provide reports to tax authorities located at the place of their registration as to account moves through banks beyond the Russian Federation pursuant to the procedures established by the Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation No. 1365 dated 12.12.2015.”

While nothing has been set in stone, the idea is that if tax-hounds get their way, criminalizing bitcoin will have to be put on hold or discarded fully. Obviously, authorities can’t have it both ways.

GARY DAVIS

28-year-old Irishman Gary Davis is set to be extradited and sent back to the U.S. for questioning regarding his alleged role with Silk Road. He has been charged with conspiracy to distribute illicit drugs, computer espionage, and money laundering.

According to the FBI, Davis worked as a Silk Road forum operator under the name “Libertas,” and had a personal relationship with Ross Ulbricht. David denies all allegations and is looking to appeal his case to the High Court. He explains:

“The prospect of being torn from my support network here in Ireland, which is essential for my mental well-being, flown halfway across the world, and being dumped into an American Gulag to rot while facing outrageous charges is gut-wrenching in the extreme. The conditions in the Metropolitan Correctional Center, New York, where I would be held post-extradition and pre-trial, are deplorable.”

Know of any stories that belong in our regular industry report pieces? Post your comments below!


Images courtesy of Bitcoinist.net, IrishTimes.

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Srp 02

Bitfinex Hacked, Bitcoin Confirmed Stolen

Source: bitcoin

bitfinex

On August 2, 2016, it has been reported that the major cryptocurrency exchange, Bitfinex, was hacked with some customers losing Bitcoin as a result. Additionally, BitGo has commented on the event.

Also read: Indacoin: Buying Bitcoin, Litecoin with a Credit Card

The Breach of Bitfinex

Bitfinex itself confirmed the hack in a press release earlier today, saying they have halted all trading on the platform. Additionally, all deposits to and withdrawals from Bitfinex have been temporarily stopped.

The exchange does not have much information about the hack, but the press release confirmed that customers of the exchange have lost Bitcoin following the breach.

Now, Bitfinex has launched an investigation into the matter and will “secure the environment,” as the bitfinex.com domain will be taken down with the maintenance page left up. They will also be conducting a review to determine who has actually been affected by the hack.

Furthermore, Bitfinex has also reported the theft to law enforcement and is now working with them to presumably help with the investigation.

According to the press release, Bitfnex says they will have to settle open margin positions in the wake of the hack as they attempt to account for individualized customer losses. Also, it has also been stated that all settlements will be at market prices as of 18:00 UTC. This action has been taken with the intention of normalizing account balances and resuming operations.

The blockchain security company, BitGo, recently released a statement regarding the hack at Bitfinex, saying:

Dear BitGo customer:

You may have read that Bitfinex announced a security breach today. We are working with Bitfinex to determine what happened.
To date, our investigation has found no evidence of any compromise of BitGo servers or services.  We believe the compromise is isolated to Bitfinex.
The security of your transactions is our highest priority.  We will keep you up to date as the situation evolves.
BitGo Team
The Bitfinex team will be posting status updates on the event when appropriate at their status page, bitfinex.statuspage.io.

What do you think of Bitfinex’s confirmed hack? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Bitfinex, BitGo

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Čvc 12

Bitfinex Outages Raise Questions of Reliability and Regulation

Source: bitcoin

Bitfinex

On June 20, the Bitcoin world came to a halt for some traders — twice in 24 hours, in fact — when popular Hong Kong exchange Bitfinex, owned and operated by iFinex Inc. (Bvi), unexpectedly went offline, preventing trading at the exchange for several hours.

Disclaimer: This article was provided by the Vanbex Group. Bitcoinist is not affiliated with the firms represented by the Vanbex Group and is not responsible for their products and/or services.

Bitfinex Outages Raise Important Questions

Industry-related media reported because of news regarding the outage rippling throughout the trading community, it sparked a temporary sell-off that ultimately contributed to bitcoin’s fall from the US $740 range to $685 at its lowest point.

When Bitfinex went offline the first time, which was during the afternoon, the exchange took to Twitter, stating: “Trading has been paused while we investigate an infrastructure issue,” assuring followers that “The issue does not involve funds or system security.”

Bitfinex eventually cited server migration issues and server instability as reasons for the outage of the U.S. dollar (USD) side of the exchange to eventually come back online later that night.

“The longer you are down the more people worry their coins are gone,” one Twitter user, @CamsHouseLive, responded.

His sentiment is not unfounded. Bitcoin exchanges have a history of security breaches, fraud and technical glitches with Mt. Gox setting that stage in 2014, when, as the world’s leading exchange at the time, was forced to shut down after a reported theft of 850,000 bitcoins.

Creditors are still working with bitcoin exchange Kraken in hopes of getting back money lost at Gox.

The event eventually led to the arrest of Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpelès in 2015, with no significant developments in the case since he was charged with embezzlement.

Other well-known exchanges such as ShapeShift, Bitstamp and Cryptsy have also been victims of hacking, trading outages or stolen funds, reinforcing the notion that cryptocurrency exchanges are inherently unsafe and unstable.

However, exchanges have worked tirelessly to improve technology and security standards.

“Nobody steps away from a computer now without locking their screen,” ShapeShift CEO Erik Voorhees said in an interview with Bitcoin.com, following the highly-publicized hacks that took place in April.

“Keys and access are being much more compartmentalized, and 2-factor [authentication] is being integrated in every possible manner, among other things.”

Other exchanges have established their own precautions to protect against outside threats.

Crix.io CEO, Dmitry Koval, says that exchanges have to focus on several key aspects to make sure their customers’ funds are safe. Some of these essential areas include:

  • Web application security
  • Private key storage
  • Security audit procedures

Crix works to provide the best security possible, implementing “the most reliable architecture by using best-in-class technical components,” said Koval.

In addition to 10 mostly-redundant virtual servers handling different software aspects of the exchange, Crix has all of its virtual infrastructure installed at HP servers and Netapp storage.

“The equipment is resided in [a] tier 3 datacenter,” Koval explains. “Overall, the architecture is designed to withstand high loads.”

But government and regulatory oversight are also factors.

Kevin Batteh, partner at Delta Strategy Group, a full-service government affairs firm based in Washington, D.C., said he couldn’t imagine a scenario where an exchange, Bitfinex or otherwise, would self-inflict such damage.

“When running an exchange the most important thing is volume — that’s how you get paid,” said Batteh. “An exchange going down is not a good way to keep customers.”

Trust is a key part, he added. Without it, a trader is less likely to place an investment. Regulation plays a further role in this as well, as a regulated exchange affords a level of comfort to the trader.

“As a regulated institute, required systems and safeguards would be in place,” said Batteh, who referenced the Nasdaq outage in 2013.

During that particular outage, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission immediately inquired as to what occurred, and demanded a “blow-by-blow account of the trading disruption” from the exchanges involved and moved to determine if the failure had to do with technological standards, as was then reported by Reuters.

Of course the framework would be different for cryptocurrency exchanges and the like, said Batteh.

Koval said there is some role for government, but warns that the bitcoin exchange industry may not be able to handle the stress placed upon it by mainstream regulatory standards.

“Too heavy [a] regulatory burden can make it impossible to operate,” Koval says.

One option, though, is ensuring that exchanges are solvent, so at the very least traders can be sure that they can get their money out if their exchange goes under.

“From a regulatory perspective,” notes Koval, “monitoring the exchange’s solvency is of higher priority than setting the responsibility for technical outages at this stage.”

Koval further stressed that the market is the strongest protector of traders’ coins at the moment.

There is a market-driven balance. “If one exchange is not able to provide continuous service, traders will go to another one.”

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Bitfinex Outages Raise Questions of Reliability and Regulation

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