Říj 18

Binance 125X Leverage Sparks Criticism From Community

Crypto exchange Binance announced that its recently launched futures trading platform would offer BTC/USDT contracts with up to 125:1 leverage.


Use With Caution

Starting from today, Binance Futures allows investors to trade with up to 125x margin and pick any leverage from 125:1 to 1:1 for BTC/USDT contracts. When using the highest possible leverage, a 100 USDT deposit would enable users to hold 12,500 USDT in BTC.

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ), explained:

The performance of the Binance Futures systems far outstrips many other platforms in the market, giving users a smooth trading experience. The market has been demanding a product with superior stability and performance; now we are providing one.

CZ said via his Twitter profile that the high-risk trading option is not recommended for beginners.

Binance claims that it is using a sophisticated risk engine and liquidation model for the high-leverage trades.

Despite this, most of the commentators criticized the addition, hinting that Binance has become a platform for gamblers. Indeed, given the insane volatility of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, a 125x leverage could wipe any position within seconds. For most commentators, “125x and caution are not synonymous.”

Is Binance Trying to Deprive Traders of Crypto Funds in a Nice Way?

The crypto community suspects Binance of introducing the high-risk service for its own profit at the expense of ignorant traders. Indeed, the crypto exchange has been mostly about profits. In the last three years, CZ’s platform has generated more than $1 billion in cumulative profit or more than $1.2 million in profits every single day.

Here are the profit figures by different periods:

While Binance has been playing nice so far, the astronomic leverage seems to be an excessive effort to monetize traders’ vulnerabilities.

Ironically, the maximum leverage is aimed at advanced traders, but they would be the last ones to go for such a crazy deal.

On the other side, CZ reacted by saying Binance was offering multiple features and it was the responsibility of traders to choose what they like:

Not every feature is for everyone.  Some features, while not liked by everyone, are in high demand only for small selected groups.  Please don’t use features you don’t like or need.  As a platform, we have to provide choices to stay competitive.

5 Funniest Reactions on CZ’s Tweet

To end this story on a positive note, here are the most hilarious comments on CZ’s announcement:

#1

#2

#3

#4

#5

Let us know which reaction do you like the most!


Images via Shutterstock, Twitter: @cz_binance, @APlompliano, @CryptosBatman, @cCryptula, @money_alotta, @CryptoVirgo, @CharlesSWE, @CryptoRomulus

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Říj 11

Bitcoin Miners Drove Price Volatility In 2018 Bear Market, Says New Data

Bitcoin miners are behind spikes in price volatility which saw the largest cryptocurrency hit $3100 in 2018, new data suggests.


Miner Sell-Offs Preceded BTC Price Floor

In fresh analysis uploaded to social media on October 11, on-chain intelligence resource Token Analyst revealed miners selling coins directly influenced the Bitcoin price.

Specifically, large sell-offs coincided with BTC/USD dropping to $3100 late last year. Large chunks of coins moved to exchanges in June and August, which “drove the price down even further.”

“We see miners taking advantage of volatility by sitting on their mined stash and then selling aroung (sic) large price swings,” Token Analyst summarized.

Bitcoin mining chart

Bitcoin mining chart

The data followed up on previous findings by Decentral Park senior research analyst Elias Simos, who in August tracked to which Bitcoin mining rewards went over time. Before the 2016 block reward halving, more independent miners shared the coins.

“70% of the reward went to non-mining pool affiliated entities, in the beginning. This figure is now at ~25%,” Simos found. He described the current mining period as the “professional era.”

Miners And Price Control

Token Analyst’s data adds fuel to mounting theories about the overall role miners play in dictating the Bitcoin price. 

As Bitcoinist reported, well-known commentators are also increasingly aware of the phenomenon. Chief among them is PlanB, whose stock-to-flow Bitcoin price model has demonstrated the importance of miner participation. 

Another well-known hypothesis, championed by Bitcoinist contributor Filb Filb, Cole Garner and others, revolves around miners sustaining minimum BTC prices.

This week, Garner referenced Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto in endorsing the concept. In 2010, Nakamoto had claimed the price of a commodity “tends to gravitate toward the production cost.” 

“If the price is below cost, then production slows down. If the price is above cost, profit can be made by generating and selling more,” he added.

As such, it is unlikely that miners will sell at levels below around $6400 under current conditions, leading to the conclusion the figure represents a new price floor for Bitcoin. 

For everyone, the next block size halving in May 2020 represents a key moment. As with 2016, overall momentum should start to build for new price highs after the block reward drops to 6.25 BTC per block.

What do you think about Token Analyst’s data? Let us know in the comments below!


Images via Shutterstock, chart by thetokenanalyst

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Binance Will Pay Users $220K To Test Its Bitcoin Futures Platforms

Cryptocurrency exchange Binance is planning to pay users to decide how its new Bitcoin futures trading platform should operate.


Binance: Two Platforms, 100,000 BNB

In a blog post issued on September 2, the exchange said it had created two standalone versions of a futures trading platform, and would select the final option via a user competition.

Running for five days from 3-8 September, Binance traders will vote for their preferred option, with the winners sharing a 100,000 Binance Coin 00 ($219,500) bounty and discount on trading fees. 

“Participants can vote for their favorite Futures platform after experiencing both Futures A and Futures B platforms in action,” the blog post explains. 

“Participants who vote for the eventual winning Binance Futures Platform will receive a 50% trading fee discount for a full month[.]”

Binance will incentivize testing via a simulated trading session involving 100,000 tokens of stablecoin Tether 00

Users must also meet certain other conditions, such as ending the competition period with a balance equal to or more than the original 100,000 USDT allocation. 

First prize in the competition is 1000 BNB ($21,950) .

Bitcoin Futures Trading Universe Takes Shape

Binance has been mulling its own futures offering in recent months, as multiple new operators signal entry onto the market. 

The announcement comes days before Bakkt, the institutional trading platform from New York Stock Exchange owner Intercontinental Exchange, begins accepting deposits for its futures trading product.

Commentators are keenly eyeing the impact of the new players on Bitcoin, as existing futures activity has affected the price of the cryptocurrency in the past.

Just last week, a settlement date for CME Group’s futures sparked worries of a crash, BTC/USD duly falling 8% ahead of the day of reckoning. 

Futures nonetheless remain popular, with both CME and others setting continued volume records in 2019. 

The institutional instrument meanwhile is not the only one on Binance’s radar. As Bitcoinist reported, the exchange debuted margin trading in July, while in August, it announced an analog to Facebook’s unreleased Libra digital currency protocol.

Dubbed ‘Venus,’ little concrete information is currently available on the project, which itself already has multiple competitors internationally. 

Among them is encrypted messaging app Telegram, which plans to release its Gram cryptocurrency in October. According to the latest information, the company’s protocol will be directly compatible with decentralized applications on Ethereum 00.

What do you think about Binance’s futures testing? Let us know in the comments below!


Images via Shutterstock

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Srp 29

QuadrigaCX Update: Accountants Petition to Move Case to Toronto

Court proceedings against defunct Canadian Bitcoin exchange QuadrigaCX will focus on people in Ontario, say liquidators.


EY: ‘Few Ties’ Keep Bitcoin Case In Nova Scotia

In a court document filed this week, Ernst & Young (EY), the accounting giant acting as the exchange’s bankruptcy trustee, petitioned for a relocation of their case.

Currently taking place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the saga should shift to Toronto, says EY, as the subjects of interest reside specifically in Ontario. 

“As the majority of the professionals are located in Ontario, there would be significant cost savings to transferring the proceedings to Ontario,” local news outlet the Financial Post quotes the company as saying. 

“There are very few remaining ties to Nova Scotia at this time.”

As Bitcoinist reported, QuadrigaCX abruptly imploded in December 2018 following the death of its CEO, Gerald Cotten.

A scandal then erupted, with users claiming they lost funds worth in excess of $190 million in both cryptocurrency and fiat currency. 

Questions over funds management by Cotten combined with suspicions the exchange was in trouble long before his death formed the basis of the ongoing legal proceedings. 

This week marks the final deadline those affected can submit claims for compensation. 

QuadrigaCX Users Await News Of Lost Money

In June, EY alleged Cotten had misappropriated funds for his own use. At the same time, the accountant said it could not locate the full tranche of missing Bitcoin, leading to anger from consumers. 

Further controversy centers on assets which Cotten allegedly purchased with company funds. Some of these have been sold in cooperation with the CEO’s widow, Jennifer Robertson, EY says.

According to the Financial Post citing a report, “those assets include properties in Nova Scotia and British Columbia, a small aircraft, ‘luxury vehicles,’ a sailboat, investments, cash and gold and silver coins.”

The debacle is not the only one meanwhile facing the Canadian Bitcoin scene. Last month, it emerged that US regulators were investigating social messaging app Kik over its 2017 initial coin offering (ICO).

As per allegations from Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Kik flouted the law by selling tokens as unregistered securities.

The ensuing court proceedings have dropped multiple bombshells due to the minute details supplied by both sides. 

Separately, fellow US organization the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is eyeing derivatives giant BitMEX. Despite not being operation in the US, the regulator claims the company failed to uphold a ban on US residents using its services.

The results of the investigation are pending, while news of its existence in late July sparked a mass funds exodus.

What do you think about the QuadrigaCX investigation? Let us know in the comments below!


Images via Shutterstock

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Srp 26

BitMEX Owns 0.15% Of Bitcoin Supply As Insurance Fund hits $324M

Cryptocurrency derivatives giant BitMEX now controls 0.15% of all the bitcoins in circulation, new data from the company reveals. 


BitMEX Expands Fund By 50% Since January

Compiled by industry media outlet The Block, a chart of BitMEX’s Insurance Fund shows its stock has reached 31,300 BTC as of August 25.

That figure is the largest on record for the fund, which BitMEX uses to reimburse winning traders on behalf of those who do not have funds to cover losses.

The Fund has become well known due to its rapid increase in size since 2018 in particular. Compared to January 1 this year, its balance has increased by over 50%. 

Twelve months ago, the Fund held just 10,000 BTC, at the time valued at $77.5 million. 

As BitMEX explains in a dedicated blog post, the Fund acts as a safeguard for users who incorrectly guess the trajectory of the market and avoid accruing negative balances on their account. 

The Fund has held a positive balance since March In 2017 when a sudden market crash caused by US regulators’ rejection of the first Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) saw its entire reserves used up. 

Since then, the company has mushroomed into one of the most formidable exchange platforms in the cryptocurrency world. As Bitcoin grew in 2019, so too did BitMEX’s notoriety for liquidating huge numbers of traders in times of volatility. 

As Bitcoinist reported, its success has attracted the attention of US regulators, who in July revealed they were investigating reports of US traders circumventing security protocols to trade on the platform secretly. 

The impact became obvious for BitMEX, which registered huge capital outflows after the news broke. 

Arthur Hayes, the company’s traditionally vocal CEO, then announced he was retiring until September, allegedly choosing to live in the wilderness and shunning media appearances.

Margin Trading Implicated In Bitcoin Price Spikes

This week, meanwhile, a fresh theory emerged supporting the idea that margin trading like that offered by BitMEX directly induces volatility on Bitcoin markets.

Recent weeks have seen sudden moves of up to $1000 in each direction for Bitcoin, in between periods of almost zero price movement. 

Uploading a combined volume chart, the Twitter trader known as CryptoSqueeze directly attributed the phenomenon to actors like BitMEX.

“The effect of cascading margin calls and stop-loss triggers causing $300 slippage between XBT perpetual swaps on Bitmex vs Spot BTC,” the account noted.

“One word for overleveraged traders: Brutal.”


What do you think about BitMEX’s insurance fund and Bitcoin price impact? Let us know in the comments below!


Images via Shutterstock, Twitter: @cryptoSqueeze

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Srp 17

Mid-Week Bitcoin Dump Not Caused By Chinese Ponzi: Researcher

Wednesday’s Bitcoin flash crash was not due to a sell-off from Chinese ponzi scam, PlusToken, a researcher has claimed. Sid Shekhar, the co-founder of London-based, TokenAnalyst, said the disputed coins were moved earlier on the blockchain.


We Can All Relax, It’s A False Alarm

As Bitcoinist reported on Thursday, cryptocurrency influencer, Dovey Wan, brought the $3 billion scam to the attention of the international crypto-community on Twitter. Analysis from Peckshield suggested that about 1000BTC from PlusToken had flowed into Huobi and Bittrex since July.

The reporting of this just after the crash which saw bitcoin price dip back into four figures led many to correlate the two.

However, the TokenAnalyst review shows that very few PlusToken-associated addresses held any significant number of bitcoin and moved them recently. According to Shekhar:

It doesn’t look like any of these addresses are exchange owned. So that was enlightening. We’ll keep an eye on this to see if they do move the 100s of millions into exchanges at some point.

But Can We Really?

The reason that very few Bitcoin addresses associated with the scam contained much in the way of coins, was because they had already moved. TokenAnalyst did find thousands of bitcoin on the ledger belonging to the PlusToken team. But much of this money filtered into Bitcoin mixing services about a month ago.

This correlates with Peckshield’s data that the coins started moving nearly-July. Its findings were only that about 1000BTC flowed into exchanges. The rest, according to the new research by TokenAnalyst, flowed into mixers.

Something caused the market to crash on Wednesday. Wan tweeted of unconfirmed reports by Chinese traders that someone was continually dumping 100BTC batches onto Binance. It is not inconceivable that the freshly mixed coins from the PlusToken scam were being pushed onto exchanges for conversion into fiat.

But of course, we always want a nice simple explanation for any market movement. Something that we can point to, and sagely say… “ah, yes. this was the reason.” because there isn’t a lot of comfort in “just because…”

What’s your theory for the recent bitcoin price dump? Let us know below! 


Image via Bitcoinist Image Library

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Srp 15

Chinese Ponzi Scam Floods Exchanges And Hits Bitcoin Price

According to Primitive founder, Dovey Wan, the latest Bitcoin sell-off is down to a major Chinese ponzi scheme. Little known outside of China, PlusToken scammed over 200k BTC and 800k ETH, which are now hitting exchanges in batches.


Not Another Bitcoin Ponzi Scam

Started mid-2018, PlusToken was a classic Ponzi scheme offering high-yield investment return. There were four layers of membership structure, offering increasing dividends. By early 2019, it had a claimed 10 million members.

The core team were apprehended by police two months ago and will be in jail for decades, according to Wan. However, the reported $3 billion of cryptocurrency they scammed out of members has not been recovered.

Many of the Bitcoin wallet addresses used are believed to be multi-sig, leading to speculation that some key holders remain at large.

The Bitcoin Sell-Off Began In Early July

Security audit firm, Peckshield, has been monitoring money-flow from the PlusToken wallets, and found that since early-july about 1000 BTC has gone into Huobi and Bittrex exchanges. Funds have been moving in small batches of 50-100 bitcoins per batch.

Unconfirmed reports from Chinese traders suggest that someone has also been consistently dumping 100BTC batches onto Binance. This is also believed to be related to PlusToken.

Not News Until Now

One of the big questions around all this is ‘Why are we only hearing about it now?’.

Again, according to Wan, there are three main reasons that exchanges have not paid attention. The main one being that the scam has not been known outside of China, with the possible exception of South Korea.

Added to this, Chinese exchanges didn’t act because the case has officially been ‘closed’ by Chinese police. Finally, police didn’t work with the exchanges, because cryptocurrency exchanges are officially banned in China.

So What Should We Do?

Both Peckshield and Chainalysis are monitoring the coins involved in the scam, but exchanges must also get involved. There is potentially little that can be done about tokens which have already been cashed out. However, exchanges are able to freeze incoming tokens relating to known scams.

The important thing is to ensure that the relevant parties are aware of the situation. Because, 200,000 BTC flooding the market is bad news for everyone. Unless you missed out on buying sub-$10k Bitcoin last time?

Do you think this scam is the cause of the latest crypto market flash crash? Add your thoughts below.


Images via Shutterstock

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Srp 07

Binance Issues Statement on ‘False KYC Leak’; CEO Comments

Binance has formally denied that it has lost control of some of its user data as rumors continue to swirl around a possible hack.


Hacker ‘Extorting’ Binance

In a statement issued August 6, the major cryptocurrency exchange said it was investigating the claims, which revolve around a hacker demanding 300 BTC in return for withholding traders’ personal data, including passports. 

The threats, which Binance now acknowledge are genuine, came via a Telegram group which has amassed over 10,000 members. 

In the statement, Binance explained that the alleged data set showed “inconsistencies” compared to genuine user information, such as a lack of an internal watermark. It thus remains unknown as to whether any of the documents are genuine or related to Binance.

“We are still investigating this case for legitimacy and relevancy. After refusing to cooperate and continuing with his extortion, this individual has begun distributing the data to the public and to media outlets,” the statement warns.

“…At the present time, no evidence has been supplied that indicates any KYC images have been obtained from Binance, as these images do not contain the digital watermark imprinted by our system. With that said, our security team is hard at work pursuing all possible leads in an attempt to identify the source of these images.”

CZ Reprimands Users Accidentally Aiding Attacker

On social media, CEO Changpeng Zhao (known as ‘CZ’) requested users not share the address of the Telegram group or spread misinformation based on nonofficial sources.

“Don’t fall into the ‘KYC leak’ FUD. We are investigating, will update shortly,” he tweeted earlier Wednesday. 

Some sources, including CZ, state that the data involved stems from a previous scare in 2018 which involved both Binance and fellow exchange Kraken and the current hype is merely a regurgitation of old news. 

The statement further suggested this was the most likely explanation, noting that at the time, the would-be hacker refused to demonstrate the authenticity of the haul. 

“On initial review of the images made public, they all appear to be dated from February of 2018, at which time Binance had contracted a third-party vendor for KYC verification in order to handle the high volume of requests at that time,” it reads.

“Currently, we are investigating with the third-party vendor for more information.”

Binance has remained broadly free of serious security compromises in its brief history. An exception came earlier this year when a hacker managed to steal user funds worth $41 million. Binance subsequently refunded users from its own pocket.


What do you think about the alleged Binance user data? Let us know in the comments below!


Images via Bitcoinist Image Library, Twitter: @cz_binance

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Čvc 11

Binance Debuts Margin Trading As Bitcoin Volatility Hits Markets

Malta-based cryptocurrency exchange giant Binance has formally launched margin trading for most of its users following months of speculation. 


Long-Awaited Bitcoin Trading Feature Goes Live

In a blog post July 11, executives released the platform’s latest product, along with a dedicated guide on how it works. 

Margin trading, while available on several major exchanges to date, incurs a significant risk of funds loss if the trader controlling them is not aware of their technical characteristics.

“Margin trading is the latest development in Binance’s effort to push the industry forward and toward the freedom of money, expanding its trading offerings,” the blog post reads. 

“Margin trading allows traders to borrow funds to increase leverage, providing higher profit potential than traditional trading. However, this also comes with a greater risk, given the current volatility of the cryptocurrency market.”

The unveiling ends a period of several months during which Binance slowly dropped hints it was working on margin trading, followed by evidence of testing.

Risky Bitcoin Business

In June 2019, demand for leveraged financial tools tied to Bitcoin 00 and other cryptocurrencies is higher than ever, as markets return to levels not seen since before the 2018 bear market. 

Huge amounts of capital come and go at the hands of margin traders daily, social media users often noting how sudden movements in the Bitcoin price trigger giant liquidations in a matter of minutes. 

This week, a Bitcoin uptick saw $44 million worth of liquidations on derivatives giant BitMEX in just a single morning.

Margin trading essentially involves borrowing funds to use as collateral while betting on a token’s price moving in a certain direction. Should the bet go wrong, the trader faces liquidation.

Bitcoin Sheds 11 Percent

Binance’s product is now available to everyone with an eligible account; this means that those residing in the US, Syria, Iran, North Korea, Crimea, Canada, Japan, South Korea, and Cuba are currently unable to join in. 

The situation remained the same as Binance rolled out previous new tools such as its expanded decentralized exchange (DEX), while executives admitted that it would be impossible to prevent anyone from using a decentralized structure. 

News of the margin trading meanwhile went some way to stemming losses of Binance’s in-house Binance Coin 00 token, which delivered 24-hour losses of 6 percent.

Following a downturn in the Bitcoin price, altcoin markets have broadly slumped, shedding up to 20 percent overnight as BTC/USD fell by around $1500.

Last month, BNB had reached new all-time highs of close to $40 per coin.


What do you think about Binance’s margin trading launch for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter: @binance

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This IEO Crypto Token is Up 800% After Binance DEX Launch

Crypto figures were urging caution June 1 after the first token to trade on both Binance and Binance DEX saw suspiciously high trade volume.


Harmony Outperforms BNB Crypto Token

Harmony (ONE), which constitutes Binance’s latest initial exchange offering (IEO), saw over $600 million in volume in the 24 hours to press time, according to data from CoinMarketCap.

The token is the first to debut on both Binance’s regular platform and its newly-launched decentralized exchange, Binance DEX.

Executives had generated considerable buzz around the move through a concerted publicity campaign prior to the launch, which included a giveaway to promote ONE among prospective investors.

Analyzing the trade figures, however, veteran crypto social media voices appeared less than impressed.

“It’s up by 800%+ from (the) IEO. Wouldn’t recommend chasing this,” the Twitter account known as Squeeze summarized, noting ONE/USD trading at $0.025.

“I’ve been eyeing this for a while. This has very huge hype. But not gonna buy at this price. Will wait for dips in the coming weeks. If it moons hard, I don’t mind missing this. Plenty of other choices.”

Binance DEX Whirlwind

Harmony was little known before its Binance hook-up, with the launch of the DEX having already sparked major excitement among traders.

As CoinMarketCap confirms, Binance’s decentralized platform saw larger volumes in five hours than its biggest competitor, IDEX, achieved in 24.

“By tomorrow it will have done more volume than all DEX’s combined,” trader and journalist Dan Clarke forecast Saturday.

As Bitcoinist reported, Binance itself has seen a broad turnaround in its recent fortunes since recovering from a $41 million hack at the start of May.

Following a week of downtime, full functionality resumed May 15, with the platform’s in-house token, Binance Coin 00, forming the basis of a separate giveaway to reward users who stayed loyal during the platform’s difficulties.

BNB subsequently outperformed, reaching new all-time highs against the US dollar this week as it passed $35 for the first time.

The token, which can also be used against discounted trading fees on Binance, is now the seventh-largest cryptocurrency by market cap. 24-hour volume at press time was $560 million – still just short of ONE.

Separately, the exchange’s own research this week announced a changing trend in the crypto industry more broadly. After over a year of low appeal, non-crypto lay consumers were finally beginning to pay attention to Bitcoin 00 and altcoins again.

In addition, institutional investor interest was developing much more quickly, analysts said, a phenomenon which itself was contributing to the base of new Binance traders.

What do you think about Binance DEX and Harmony? Let us know in the comments below!


Images via Shutterstock, Tradingview.com

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