Kvě 24

From Russia with Love: How Cryptocurrency and Blockchain are Finding Their Feet

· May 23, 2018 · 9:00 pm

In the West, crypto markets continue to battle with the regulatory uncertainty as the SEC and other regulatory bodies take their time to decide which camp they sit on. At the same time, things are not much rosier in the East either where China is yet to warm up to cryptocurrencies.


Blockchain has been around “long” enough to show the proof of concept in that by utilizing blockchain it is possible to streamline a number of processes, both on the governmental and also corporate levels. This then has prompted an exponential rise in fintech start-ups looking to challenge the status quo and disrupt the standard ways of storing, organizing, and extracting data sets. However, the actual implementation of blockchain technologies across much of Western Europe and even the US has been constrained by the regulatory uncertainty.

On the one hand, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) are yet to put a fundamental framework forward to appease concerns surrounding utility vs security token model. While in Europe, an introduction of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is perfectly suitable for blockchain applications, is being rushed through by compliance and HR departments with such haste that blockchain is far away on their radar.

In Blockchain We Trust

In Blockchain We Trust

Russia is an interesting case when it comes to the world of ICOs. On the one hand, it is a great place to source technical experts for your blockchain related ventures. The price tag might be astronomical but at least you know what you are getting for the labor and that is quality, reliability and of course security. So, with one piece of the puzzle sorted comes the tricky bit, finding a suitable business partner and this is where things go wrong… really wrong.

One of the most depressing and worrying statistics that has come out of the Russian Association of Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain (RACIB) is that around half of the ICO funds in the country that were raised in the past year – amounting to $300 million – have gone to pyramid schemes.

Economic and political uncertainty, together with numerous corruption scandals has really dented investor appetite for projects in the country. It is very much high-risk, high-reward based game when it comes to investing in Russia and when combined with the volatile nature of the currency, this perception is unlikely to change anytime soon. The regulation and oversight by the government can help alleviate some of the concerns relating to fraudulent activities but at least for now, the crypto community is yet to “sanction” Russian projects altogether.

In the meantime, the likes of Blackmoon (BMC) will remind budding entrepreneurs and investors of the success stories and there is, of course, hope that the government, which is actively looking at ways to promote and integrate digital economy, will not be overly involved in regulation aspect.

On the subject of regulation, it was reported that the Russian State Duma’s Committee for Legislative Work will support the first reading of an initiative that will add the basic norms of digital economy to the Russian Federation Civil Code. The initiative itself does not mean that digital currencies will now become a legitimate means of payment and instead, a separate law developed by other regulatory bodies, will outline conditions for using digital currencies as a payment method. The initiative will also look to treat a digital confirmation by a user in a smart contract is equal to his written consent.

What Does Russia’s Future Hold?

Over the course of 19-20 May 2018, Moscow hosted one of the largest cryptocurrency summits of 2018, with over 200 speakers and over 3000 participants taking part in the event. While the event may not carry the same weight as Consensus, which took place earlier this month, or d10e, it was an important event for the country that stands at a crossroads with the technology. The decisions that will be made by the government need to be made in the spirit of blockchain and with the aim to further technological, as well as economical, advancement as opposed to being the means to destabilize the Dollar.

The commissioning of the crypto-rouble is not far-reaching enough. Anyone looking for inspiration should turn to Dubai and their smart-city plans. According to Smart Dubai, which is conducting government and private organization workshops to identify areas that will benefit from the overhaul, the strategy could save 25.1million man hours, equivalent to $1.5 billion in savings per year for the emirate. It has been noted that the fast majority of improved efficiency will come from moving to paperless government.

What do you think of the latest developments in Russia and can it reform and lead the way in providing a sound base for crypto projects? 


Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, Shutterstock

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Kvě 18

US Securities and Exchange Commission Launches ‘HoweyCoins’ ICO

· May 17, 2018 · 8:00 pm

In a surprising turn of events, the US Securities and Exchange Commission has launched its own initial coin offering dubbed HoweyCoins.


‘A Hot Investment Opportunity’

Anyone looking for a hot new initial coin offering (ICO) should look no further than the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s brand new token sale for HoweyCoins. States the regulatory authority in an official press release:

If you’ve ever been tempted to buy into a hot investment opportunity linked with luxury travel, the Securities and Exchange Commission has a deal for you.

Check out the SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy’s mock initial coin offering (ICO) website that touts an all too good to be true investment opportunity. But please don’t expect the SEC to fly you anywhere exotic—because the offer isn’t real.

Unsurprisingly, the SEC isn’t actually launching its own token sale. Rather, the independent agency of the United States federal government has set up a mock website in order to educate investors about the perils of investing in fraudulent ICOs.

Clicking “Buy Coins Now” on HoweyCoins.com — a tongue-in-cheek reference to a landmark US Supreme Court decision in 1946 — will not actually sell you coins, but rather offer tools and advice from the SEC and other financial regulators.

The website has reportedly been set up to protect regular investors, and “features several of the enticements that are common to fraudulent offerings, including a white paper with a complex yet vague explanation of the investment opportunity, promises of guaranteed returns, and a countdown clock that shows time is quickly running out on the deal of a lifetime.”

The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy’s Chief Counsel, Owen Donley — aka HoweyCoins’ Josh Hinze — explains:

Fraudsters can quickly build an attractive website and load it up with convoluted jargon to lure investors into phony deals. But fraudulent sites also often have red flags that can be dead giveaways if you know what to look for.

Likewise, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton states:

The rapid growth of the ‘ICO’ market, and its widespread promotion as a new investment opportunity, has provided fertile ground for bad actors to take advantage of our Main Street investors. We embrace new technologies, but we also want investors to see what fraud looks like, so we built this educational site with many of the classic warning signs of fraud. Distributed ledger technology can add efficiency to the capital raising process, but promoters and issuers need to make sure they follow the securities laws. I encourage investors to do their diligence and ask questions.

HoweyCoins.com does indeed look a lot like the vast majority of websites offering ICOs and may be interpreted as a clever and funny way to educate investors against fraudulent schemes — as opposed to simply providing bullet points on a government website.

What do you think of the SEC’s new mock ICO? Do you think this is a positive move in the education of investors against fraudulent ICOs and bad actors in the cryptocurrency space? Be sure to let us know in the comments below! 


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Bře 04

SEC Subpoenas TechCrunch Founder’s Crypto Fund — And Everyone Else, Too

· March 4, 2018 · 12:30 pm

While the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission dishes out subpoenas to cryptocurrency projects like a generous house doles out candy on Halloween, TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington’s $100 million cryptofund has also come under investigation.


‘They Just Have to Figure out What They Want.’

TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington’s $100 million cryptofund has been subpoenaed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission — which is no skin off Arrington’s back. He told CNBC on Thursday:

We received a subpoena. Every [crypto]fund I’ve talked to has received one. That’s fine. They just have to figure out what they want. They need to set up rules so we can all follow them, and the market is begging them for that.

SEC

Too Much Confusion

Indeed, the SEC apparently has no idea exactly what it wants, having already indicated that regulations in regards to securities laws do not apply to digital coins. The confusion created by the SEC has even caused many cryptocurrency firms to ban U.S. investors from getting involved in the projects.

Meanwhile, the SEC’s New York, Boston, and San Francisco offices have been issuing subpoenas like it’s their job, in an attempt to learn as much as possible about the burgeoning billion-dollar industry. Said Jason Gottlieb, partner at Morrison Cohen, who is defending PlexCorps against charges of fraud:

Clearly it’s a coordinated, grand investigation. I would expect it’s going to continue throughout this year.

Goodbye, USA

According to Arrington, the negativity and confusion created by the SEC is driving innovation away from the United States. He told CNBC:

That’s a shame, The U.S. has just frozen itself. The stuff coming out of Asia is uniformly high quality.

US flag

The US is not the only country struggling with regulation, of course. South Korea has ping-ponged back and forth while China has outright banned Initial Coin Offerings. Japan has somewhat successfully implemented a licensing system for cryptocurrency exchanges, while European financial authorities in Germany and France are calling for a global crackdown.

Still, the US remains in the spotlight and risks driving out innovation while the SEC dithers. Says William Mougayar, author of The Business Blockchain:

I hope they don’t go [down] the slippery slope of trying to classify tokens because it’s a grey zone throughout. Rather, focus on requiring disclosures that are well-defined, while not being too restrictive yet.

For now, we’ll just have to wait and see.

What do you think about the SEC’s subpoena-issuing spree? Do you think effective, innovation-supporting regulation will come from its investigation? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Reuters, Wikipedia Commons, Flickr.

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Úno 28

So Why Did Goldman Sachs-Backed Circle Really Buy Poloniex?

· February 28, 2018 · 10:00 am

Goldman Sachs-backed startup Circle made waves earlier this week when it acquired cryptocurrency exchange Poloniex. A couple of experts share their thoughts on the implications for the soon-to-be first compliant US crypto exchange and its customers.


Most Crypto Exchanges ‘Over-Regulate Themselves’

As the dust settles on Circle’s acquisition of Poloniex, U.S. regulators are keeping a close eye on KYC/AML compliance of cryptocurrency exchanges.

Joseph Weinberg

Joseph Weinberg, OECD Think Tank Special Advisor and Chairman of Shyft, a blockchain protocol that will create a new standard for the KYC/AML mandates, shared his comments with Bitcoinist. He states:

Most crypto exchanges that are processing fiat to crypto transactions are very compliant and, in some cases, even more so than banks. It all really depends on jurisdictions and the compliance policies given by countries to crypto exchanges.

He continued:

For crypto exchanges, the challenge lies in how little formal guidelines there are from regulators. As a result, most of the industry has been doing self-compliance in absence of clear procedures. To err on the safe side, crypto exchanges over-regulate themselves. For example, most exchanges ask for passport verification in order to confirm users’ identities, whereas most banks only require government-issued IDs, such as drivers licenses.

Interestingly, Circle acquired the crypto exchange over a year after announcing it was shifting focus from Bitcoin to blockchain-based services. At the time, the company informed its Bitcoin customers that they can can cash out or transfer their balances to Coinbase, if they wished to continue to use the cryptocurrency.

So why did Circle decide to jump back into the crypto game?

It appears that Poloniex was struggling to keep up with the unexpected surge in new users as prices skyrocketed in the second half of 2017. Additionally, being based in the United States, the company also had to keep up with rising compliance costs as it rolled out its new KYC policies late last year.

Weinberg explains:

In the past, Poloniex had a lot of issues with onboarding new users and properly building out its KYC process, mainly due to the large amounts of time it takes to verify users. Given the level of KYC that exchanges force themselves to go through, scaling compliance is almost a separate product that the exchange has to build out.

According to him, this is where Circle comes in with their KYC/AML expertise. He says:

Through this acquisition, Circle will deploy more people to help handle compliance—more employees to build and process KYC due diligence faster. This is the same type of issue traditional banks have when it comes to scaling. Compliance costs keep multiplying, and yet, they aren’t always found to be effective.

The SEC Is Watching

Meanwhile, another takeaway has been put forth by Nathaniel Popper, author of Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaires Trying to Reinvent Money.

Popper noted on Twitter that the SEC informally suggested to Circle that no enforcement action will occur if the Boston-based startup “cleans up Poloniex and turns it into a regulated exchange.” He adds:

The SEC seems to be saying here that it’s okay if you broke the rules, as long as you get acquired by a legitimate player before we crack down on you.

The question now seems to be whether the SEC will apply this same thinking to other virtual currency exchanges if they are acquired by large players.

In addition to facilitating compliance, Circle also announced that it will add fiat bridges and expand operation to other markets. Namely, the company promised to explore “USD, EUR, and GBP connectivity that Circle already brings to its compliant Pay, Trade, and Invest products.”

This would imply that the exchange must also become compliant and answer to regulators from across the pond, who are currently scratching their heads on how to approach cryptocurrencies without stifling innovation in the process.

Therefore, regulators in the U.S. and abroad could be playing the carrot and stick strategy by providing an incentive for crypto exchanges to get acquired by the large players, such as Goldman Sachs, before a potential crackdown. Admittedly, this could also be a clever way for traditional finance to not only appear innovative through association but also assimilate would-be future competitors.

If true, the strategy may be futile and usher in the Streisand effect to boot. As technology advances, so do new methods of exchanging cryptocurrency. Therefore, assimilating centralized exchanges like Poloniex could force users to migrate en masse to decentralized exchanges and further bolster their development.

Why do you believe Circle acquired Poloniex? Share your comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter/@nathanielpopper.

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Zář 12

UK Issues a Warning on ICOs But Some Are Already Immune

· September 12, 2017 · 8:00 am

Less than a year after the industry began, running a Blockchain business using a digital token has suddenly become a lot more complicated.


ICOs Float Between A Rock And A Hard Place

The free-for-all of the first six months of 2017 when Blockchain startups and ‘projects’ created and sold tokens at will, often for hundreds of millions of dollars, has changed thanks to snap regulatory decisions.

The context of regulator reactions continues to dictate digital token or ICO market performance.

SEC Issues Warning for ICO Organizers and Investors

In more liberal settings such as the US, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has sought to create a wary environment among Blockchain businesses looking to issue a token. According to its exact functions and technical make-up, a token may or may not conform to the legacy description of a ‘security,’ and issuers must act accordingly to stay above the law.

The UK has become the latest major economy to publish official guidance on the phenomenon. Literature released Tuesday, September 12 by the country’s Financial Conduct Authority closely tracks the SEC.

“Whether an ICO falls within the FCA’s regulatory boundaries or not can only be decided case by case,” it states.

Most recently, however, a considerably harder route to ICO market control has come from China. Together with the US, it constitutes the largest participant in the industry, accounting for $398 million of its total $1.7 billion value.

As of September 2017, digital token sales are banned in China, a decision even affecting completed sales retroactively, compelling some businesses to refund sale proceeds.

First Movers Dictate The Golden Rules

The situation poses obvious problems for China-based projects, who are now considering how to continue operating in a market where even fiat-to-crypto exchange could soon become illegal for the second time.

Not a lot of countries have any type of regulation in place,” Blackmoon Crypto CEO Oleg Seydak told Bitcoinist about the current status quo.

Token issues will pay major attention to jurisdictions which have a position on the matter like USA, Singapore, China and comply with that regulation or avoid interactions with their citizens. Blackmoon Crypto is a Blockchain-based platform for tokenized investments, also preparing to launch an ICO. Like international platforms such as LakeBanker, the project faces a regulatory headache launching in such an uncertain global environment.

Tezos and Other Exciting New ICOs

When asked what industry participants should do to bulletproof themselves against unpleasant regulatory challenges, Seydak’s immediate reaction is to create as strong an offering as possible.

“The best solution is to be cross-blockchain startup. But it’s hard from a technical point of view,” he said. “At the same time, it becomes more and more easy with each day.”

Shutting The Door For How Long?

Imbued against regulatory shuffling by technical design are ICO projects which have been years in the making, such as Vinny Lingham’s Civic.

A steadfast delivery and plan for token use has come on the back of a highly controlled yet innovative token sale that ensured few doubts remained about developer integrity.

But so far, the interim method of choice for ICO-implicated businesses has simply been to deny participation to US and Chinese citizens.

The consequences of being lax about adherence are plain to see. This week, China’s regulators ordered even completed ICO campaigns to refund investors, while the scenario of a re-worked regulated ICO industry appearing in the country remain pure speculation.

ICO

Ahead of its planned ICO campaign, LakeBanker is therefore reviewing its options for both the short and long term. One thing is for certain: few cues will come from Civic, the platform having labelled Lingham’s sale “North Korean” in an article in August.

“At the beginning we will focus our resources on countries other than the US and China,” Lakebanker CSO Andrew McCarthy explained to Bitcoinist.

Our choices of the locations are based on two criteria: where our services are needed most and where legal overheads are not beyond reasonable. There are many countries that meet these two criteria better than the US or China.

The company has already converted to a de facto non-Chinese operation, having previously had only little involvement with the market. Chinese investors will also face initial exclusion.

In future, however, things could readily change, and such eventualities are already implanted into the platform’s roadmap.

“For the US and China some preparation work of the markets can be done in parallel, which include compliance/licensing, recruitment, and technology,” McCarthy added.

We will definitely shift our focus to the two biggest economies in the world in a year or two, when we have more streamlined processes, experienced operational teams, and good track records from other markets.

LakeBanker’s ICO is due to commence September 15 as a fixed-price sale, followed by a phase 2 Dutch auction in October.

Do you agree with the tactics of the ICO’s mentioned? Does the industry need more regulations? Let us know below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock 

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Srp 01

ICO Haven Sent Packing; Singapore follows SEC Lead to Regulate Securities-type Token Sales

· August 1, 2017 · 5:15 pm

Exactly one week ago, the SEC issued a report concluding that certain token sales could be considered securities, and hence were subject to regulation. Today, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) issued a similar statement, clarifying that, in some cases, Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) were essentially equivalent to securities, and should fall under the same regulatory procedures.


I can’t help but feel slightly responsible. After all, just five days before the SEC report was published, I wrote an article describing many of the recent ICOs as tantamount to “buying shares in a stranger’s start-up.”

Oops!

SEC Issues Warning for ICO Organizers and Investors

Say What Now?

Sure, the SEC report was a direct response to the hack on the Ethereum side project, the DAO hub, almost a year ago… So I guess that can’t be my fault, but the timing is more than a little suspicious, wouldn’t you say?

Okay, the SEC focussed more on the risks to investors, and (quite rightly IMHO) ascertained this. If the token issued is promising to give investors a return (i.e. dividend), then it should fall under the realm of the SEC, and be subject to regulation. These rules are there to protect investors, so really it would be churlish of us to complain.

They also decided that they wouldn’t press charges at this point, but that future ICOs should be wary of where the often hazy line is drawn. Many token sales already prohibit U.S. citizens from participating for just this reason, so it’s not something we weren’t already aware of.

But Singapore? They Were Like… Totally Chill Man!

Well, yes and no. Singapore’s recent experiments with the tokenization of its currency were seen as an implicit embracing of all things crypto, with local authorities stating that they don’t consider digital tokens as securities. However, this is also the place where you can be fined $100,000 dollars and spend two years in jail for chewing gum.

The report is very clear and states:

The function of digital tokens has evolved beyond just being a virtual currency. […] Where digital tokens fall within the definition of securities in the SFA, issuers of such tokens would be required to lodge and register a prospectus with MAS prior to the offer of such tokens

So the Party’s Over?

No. Not by a long shot. Both the SEC and MAS reports specifically stop short of claiming that all cryptocurrency tokens and ICOs will fall within their remit. The MAS explicitly states that their “position of not regulating virtual currencies is similar to that of most jurisdictions.”

As would be expected, no specific definition is provided as far as what will or will not count as a security. But implicit in these reports is the assertion that this isn’t going to affect your Bitcoin, or your Ether, or your Just-doing-this-for-a-joke-Coin, whatever.

If a coin functions as a coin, then it should be fine. If a coin functions as a token for the purchase of service or product within an eventual eco-system, then that should also be fine.

If a coin is promising dividends based on a company’s profitability, then… yeah. If it sounds like a share in a stranger’s start-up…

But… but… but…

Let me repeat once again that these regulations are here to protect us, the investors.

Yes, our eyes may spin like a cartoon character’s until the pupils resemble dollar signs at the mere thought of that near-mythical level of profit that a friend of a friend down the pub told us about but we would all be sick to our stomachs to find out that the ICO we just plowed our hard-won life-savings into was just an elaborate Ponzi scheme after all.

To ignore the risk of one for the sake of the other would make us not investors. It would simply make us gamblers.

What do you think of the SEC and MAS’ recent reports? Will it have an impact on which ICOs you choose to invest in? Have you found yourself frozen out of an ICO because of where you live? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, Fotolia

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Dub 26

Take Two: SEC to Review Its Bitcoin ETF Decision

· April 26, 2017 · 9:00 am

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has announced that it will review its decision regarding the Winklevoss twins’ Bitcoin ETF.


SEC to Review Its Bitcoin ETF Decision

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will review its decision regarding the rejection of the Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) proposed by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss.

statement issued by the SEC in response to a petition for review of the Disapproval Order by the Bats BZX Exchange reads:

[…] it is hereby: ORDERED that the petition of BZX for review of the Division’s action to disapprove the proposed rule change by delegated authority be GRANTED; and It is further ORDERED that any party or other person may file a statement in support of or in opposition to the action made pursuant to delegated authority on or before May 15, 2017.

The SEC first rejected the Bitcoin ETF (COIN) proposed by the Winklevoss twins last month, citing risk of fraud and a lack of regulation in the Bitcoin markets. The statement in which the SEC rejected the COIN EFT reads:

As discussed further below, the Commission is disapproving this proposed rule change because it does not find the proposal to be consistent with Section 6(b)(5) of the Exchange Act, which requires, among other things, that the rules of a national securities exchange be designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices and to protect investors and the public interest.

The petition filed by the Bats BZX Exchange will see the SEC’s action to disapprove the Bitcoin ETF reviewed and possibly amended. If so, COIN ETF shares would be traded on a public stock exchange, providing an easy way for investors to capitalize on the price of BTC without the need to deal with Bitcoin exchanges, wallets, private keys, and so forth.

Winklevoss Chose Bats Exchange For a Reason

As noted by Blockchain researcher and host of the Crypto Scam podcast, Tone Vays, ‎in a 2016 interview, it is very likely that the Winklevoss twins chose to work with the Bats BZX Exchange on the COIN ETF for this very reason. 

Vays

“My guess is the reason that they changed is that Bats is the new kid on the block, so they push the issues a bit,” Vays explained. 

Not only does it make sense for the Winklevoss twins to identify with the Bats BZX Exchange due to the “experimental” nature of the COIN ETF, but it is also a great strategic move that ensured the exchange they partnered with would help them fight to see the Bitcoin ETF approved.

Vays continued:

Nasdaq might not have been helping the Winklevoss fight against the SEC to get this approved and maybe Batz said ‘you know what, we’ll throw your lawyers at it’.

The Saga So Far

The Winklevoss’ bid to see a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund on public stock exchanges is a saga that has been going on for roughly three years. It started with the filling of an S-1 form for the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust in May 2014.

Twins

The Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust was based on the twins’ substantial Bitcoin holdings (roughly 1% of the total supply at the time) and had Math-Based Asset Services LLC as the sponsor of the Trust. Later that year, a follow-up filling was made in order list the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust as an ETF on the NASDAQ OMX exchange with the name “COIN.”

Two years later, in June 2016, the twins filed a document that would see the ETF listed on the Bats exchanged instead of Nasdaq. The same filing also saw the ETF offering increase from $20 to $65 million.

Last month, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) denied the Winklevoss Twins’ Bitcoin ETF, which lead to the petition by the Batz BZX Exchange.

Do you think that the Winklevoss Bitcoin ETF will be approved after the SEC’s revision? If so, let us know why in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Bře 11

Bitcoin ETF Rejected; Price Dips Below $1,000

· March 11, 2017 · 12:20 am

The Bitcoin ETF proposal (COIN) has been rejected by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, which immediately sent the price plunging down to a $958.5 low.


Bitcoin ETF Rejected

The much anticipated Bitcoin ETF filed by the Winklevoss Brothers in mid-2013 has been officially rejected. The document outlining the decision states the reasons for the rejection:

Based on the record before it, the Commission believes that the significant markets for bitcoin are unregulated. Therefore, as the Exchange has not entered into, and would currently be unable to enter into, the type of surveillance-sharing agreement that has been in place with respect to all previously approved commodity-trust ETPs—agreements that help address concerns about the potential for fraudulent or manipulative acts and practices in this market—the Commission does not find the proposed rule change to be consistent with the Exchange Act.

This decision caused widespread community outrage since many believed that there was a fair chance that the ETF would be approved.

Twins

Many users, including Andreas Antonopoulos, a prominent member of the Bitcoin community, took to social media to voice their disagreement:

Immediate Price Crash

Almost right after the decision was published, the price of Bitcoin saw a crash down to around $958 USD, translating to a decrease of almost 25% in a matter of minutes.

Bitcoin Price After ETF Decision

The price slowly recovered and had been fluctuating around $1,100 USD at the time of writing. Prior to the announcement, the price hit a volatile peak of $1,350 USD amid speculation that the ETF would be likely approved.

These large swings in price also caused increased trading volumes on Western exchanges, with Bitfinex and Bitstamp seeing a combined volume of almost 80,000 BTC.

Will Bitcoin price recover after this crash? Share your thoughts below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter 

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Úno 21

New SEC Agreement Pushes Bitcoin Price Higher to $1,100

· February 21, 2017 · 5:00 am

2,454 views

BTC price rose higher after positive news regarding the SEC and its new regulations that are expected to boost small Bitcoin businesses.


Building on ‘Productive Relationship’

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), signed Friday, will see the two bodies share information related to ensure new crowdfunding regulations are effective for small businesses.

mou-sign-2

The new rules will make it easier for entry-level businesses to raise funds via exceptions to restrictions governing intrastate crowdfunding.

“The agreement not only builds on an already productive relationship between the SEC and state regulators, it also offers additional insights and protections as we help companies grow and create jobs while providing new opportunities to investors,” SEC Acting Chairman Michael S. Piwowar commented in an accompanying press release.

Bitcoin Reacts with Relief

The move is generally seen as a beneficial step for cryptocurrency and Blockchain startups, with hurdles being removed for the US ecosystem to become more innovative and competitive.

Enthusiasm was reflected in continued Bitcoin support, the digital currency’s price crossing the $1,100 barrier once again.

chart

“This agreement will strengthen collaboration among state and federal securities regulators to help expand small-business investment opportunities while also protecting investors,” continued Mike Rothman, Minnesota Commissioner of Commerce and President of NASAA.

Ongoing dialogue is essential to carry out our responsibilities going forward. With this MOU in place, we have an opportunity to share information that will bolster our efforts to support small business capital formation and prevent fraud.

All Eyes on March

The press release meanwhile outlines the new options available for the fintech startups themselves.

“Companies now can also raise up to $5 million per year through other amended rules, which could facilitate the development of regional offering exemptions at the state level to permit companies to raise from investors in a specific region,” it confirms, the limit having previously been $1 million.

Bitcoinist_Bitcoin Devleopment Funding

In addition, companies:

will have more flexibility to engage in intrastate offers through websites and social media without having to register their offering with the federal government.

The move comes at a crucial time for the SEC in particular as it prepares to deliver its final verdict on allowing the Winklevoss Bitcoin ETF. The hotly-awaited decision is expected March 11th, with many predicting highly favorable consequences for Bitcoin’s propagation and value in the event of a positive outcome.

What do you think about the SEC move? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, coinmarketcap.com

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Říj 25

Overstock Announces Publicly-Traded Shares on t0 Blockchain

Source: bitcoin

Patrick Byrne Overstock

On Tuesday morning at the Money 20/20 Conference in Las Vegas, Patrick Byrne, CEO of Overstock and t0, announced the historic arrival of trading publicly offered Overstock shares on the t0 blockchain.

Also read: Money 20/20 Recap: Ethereum, Consumer Protection, Investment

Overstock Moving Forward With t0

Starting on December 15th, individuals who purchased Overstock shares by the November 7th record date will qualify to purchase shares of its preferred stock, including preferred shares to be issued and traded exclusively on the t0 platform.

As such, Overstock will become the first company to legally trade a publicly listed security on a blockchain solution.

Overstock intends to offer up to one million shares of its preferred stock, and will give stockholders the opportunity to subscribe for shares of its Blockchain Series A Preferred, which will trade exclusively on t0. Through this, the t0 platform will be demonstrated as a functioning, live proof-of-concept for potential further expansion of equities trading on the platform.

Spurring American Blockchain Innovation

Regulators understand that innovation is coming, and don’t want America to be left behind.

Acknowledging this, Byrne remarked, “We wanted to do something that met the standards of American regulators.”

Through forming partnerships in with key industry players and remaining transparent with regulators, Overstock was able to overcome the technical and policy challenges to arrive as the pilot child for this initiative.

Detailing the history of hosting crypto-bonds on a blockchain, Byrne explained that such an offering is the culmination of years of collaboration and diligent work.

Two years ago, Overstock created Medici Ventures to explore possibilities around blockchain. By April 2015, Overstock had developed an order matching-engine linked to a blockchain. In June of last year, they issued a $500,000 crypto-bond on the t0 platform, followed by a $5 million bond being the first privately purchased blockchain security in August 2015.

Upon receiving an S3 Declarative from the SEC in April of 2016, Overstock and t0 were able to proceed with the announcement.

Being the first large player to market in the crypto-equities space will enable for other organizations to learn from the process through which a company must take to publicly trade shares on a blockchain solution, as well as the advantages and challenges to using the t0 platform.

“My allegiance is not to Bitcoin per say, it’s to the blockchain,” Byrne said. “I’m one of the few who was here for the early stages of the internet and the early stages of the blockchain. . .and I think that the blockchain will be more disruptive than the internet.”

What do you think of Overstock’s announcement to issue publicly traded securities on the t0 blockchain? Will other organizations follow suit? Share your thoughts in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Ryan Strauss.

The post Overstock Announces Publicly-Traded Shares on t0 Blockchain appeared first on Bitcoinist.net.

Overstock Announces Publicly-Traded Shares on t0 Blockchain

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