Srp 16

Coinbase Custody Acquires Xapo’s Institutional Business

Coinbase Custody today announced that it has acquired Xapo’s institutional business, making it the largest crypto-custodian in the world. The acquisition brings Assets Under Custody (AUC) to over $7 billion, servicing over 120 clients in 14 countries.


Innovation In Cryptocurrency Custody

Xapo is a long-respected name in the world of cryptocurrency custody solutions. It has led the industry in developing security techniques to meet the rigours of institutional clients.

In 2017 it hit the headlines for storing customers’ bitcoin in a fortified ex-military bunker in the Swiss Alps. By May 2018 it was holding around $10 billion in bitcoin for customers across five continents.

CEO, Wences Casares, has long been a champion of Bitcoin, and Xapo’s mission is to make Bitcoin secure and accessible. Casares believes that any investor who doesn’t have at least a one percent position in Bitcoin is being irresponsible.

Coinbase’s Move Into Crypto-Custody

Coinbase Custody started trading a year ago, with a remit to provide secure cryptocurrency storage for institutional investors. According to marketing it combined the ‘battle tested’ cold-storage solutions employed by the Coinbase exchange, with an institutional-grade broker/dealer.

It quickly added a raft of additional crypto-assets to its original four of BTC, ETH, BCH, and LTC. However, there were questions as to whether institutions would immediately trust the offering. Certainly, while the bear market was in full swing, growth in AUC was slow.

It wasn’t until the bulls really started taking control again in May this year, that AUC crossed the $1 billion mark. But since then, growth has been steadier, and with this latest acquisition of Xapo’s institutional business, Coinbase Custody are claiming over $7 billion in held assets.

The Final Hurdle To Institutional Adoption?

There are many who think that crypto-custody is the final hurdle to institutional adoption of bitcoin and cryptocurrency. This area is certainly where a lot of resources are currently being deployed.

Bakkt is still waiting on approval from the New York authorities for its custody solution, before it can start offering its physically backed bitcoin futures products. Fidelity’s move into crypto-custodianship was supposed to remove one of the final barriers to institutional adoption back in March.

Even the South Koreans are getting in on the act, although technically, the legality of cryptocurrency in the country is still in question.

We are still waiting for the expected flood of institutional investors, but steps are certainly being made. Whether their eventual arrival will be a positive thing is another question entirely.

What do you make of this latest Coinbase acquisition? Add your thoughts below!


Images via Shutterstock

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Čvc 25

Bitcoin Price Analysis: Bulls Win Another Breakout

Bitcoin bulls have won yet another descending channel breakout, causing short-term price action to bounce off a key support around $9,500 and push price levels back to 5 digits. 


Bitcoin Monthly Chart
XBT1M

On the monthly XBT/USD, we can see a doji forming on the latest candle as the head sits in the middle of two large wicks. Typically, a Doji can go in any direction and is heavily dependant on the overall trend of the coin. In this case, BTC is still very much bullish so we are assuming an upside continuation will ensue over this time frame. Volume right now are still sustaining levels way above that seen throughout the bull run in 2017 and 2018.

POC (Point of Control) has yet to move up from $6,430 meaning the highest amount of volume or trades exchanged throughout this bullish phase on BTC still remains quite low. This will be a very bullish sign as it shows us high volume is exchanging hands at this level and represents a new critical support level. More information on this key support level can be found in my previous analysis.

Bitcoin Hourly Chart

XBT1H

On the 1 hour XBT/USD chart, we can see the second descending channel break clearly with price action now attempting to create a small bull flag just below the 200EMA. The volume appears to steady with no real jumps during this breakout. This suggests that Bitcoin bears are really struggling to build up momentum inside this time frame.

Maxx Momentum has crossed to the upside painting green in conjunction with this breakout after displaying red throughout the descending channel. POC still remains back at the top of the channel at $10,500 as mentioned in my previous analysis, which will likely as act as a magnet for price action thus making a sensible profit target on this move upwards.

The previous range local high was $9,400 before BTC went on to reach just shy of $14,000 meaning the previous breakout point has already been re-tested for BTC. When a breakout occurs many traders will wait for a pull-back and re-test of the breakout point before entering. BTC has already re-tested the previous breakout point and bounced quite significantly back up to $11,000. From this, we know that support around $9,400 is very strong and will require a lot of selling pressure to break.

Do you think BTC will hit POC at $10,500 over the coming days as a result of this most recent breakout? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below!


Images via Shutterstock, Tradingview

None of the information/ opinions in this article should be construed as financial advice.

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Dub 13

Uber IPO: Cryptocurrency Will Be a ‘Huge Beneficiary’

Uber Technologies Inc. expects a valuation of about USD 100 billion when listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Large IPOs such as Uber’s and others could bring spectacular benefits to the crypto industry. At the same time, business solutions allowing Uber users to pay with Bitcoin are now moving to center stage.


Uber IPO: Bigger Than Bitcoin’s Market Cap

On April 11, 2019, Uber filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to offer shares of its common stock. In its recently released prospectus, Uber does not mention the magnitude of the IPO, which could be one of the biggest ever.

However, according to The Financial Times,

The company is aiming to raise $10bn from its IPO and recently told some of its investors that it could be valued at $90bn to $100bn, according to people familiar with the matter. The company was last valued at $76bn in a private fundraising in August.

Thus, the estimated valuation would surpass today’s Bitcoin market capitalization of about $89 billion.

The transportation company bases its projections on its leading technology, expertise, and massive network, which comprises millions of drivers, users, shippers, and other participants around the globe.

Moreover, Uber details in its prospectus financial data as follows:

  • Revenue derived from our Ridesharing products grew from $3.5 billion in 2016 to $9.2 billion in 2018.
  • Gross Bookings derived from our Ridesharing products grew from $18.8 billion in 2016 to $41.5 billion in 2018.
  • Consumers traveled approximately 26 billion miles on our platform in 2018.

Uber has become omnipresent. Its global ridesharing footprint covers 63 countries, encompassing a population of over 4 billion people, as shown in the graph below:

Digital Currency Group CEO, Barry Silbert adds that billions of dollars in private company stock will be unleashed from IPOs this year.

“The crypto asset class is going to be a huge beneficiary,” he says

You Can Already Use Bitcoin

Uber’s direct acceptance of payments in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies may still be a long way off, however.

In the meantime though, some Uber drivers around the world are unofficially accepting BTC instead of their local fiat currency.

Some users in Argentina, for example, have expressed interest in paying for Uber with bitcoin while some drivers wouldn’t mind receiving some bits instead of the depreciating peso.

For instance, an Uber driver, under the Reddit username bjandrus, wrote that he was already accepting bitcoin off the books for rides. However, he complains, the process is problematic because the Uber app does not support BTC payments.

It remains to be seen which ride-sharing company will officially begin accepting bitcoin first.

However, paying for Uber in bitcoin indirectly is already possible. For example, there’s the gift card option from Bitrefill and others, including the Coinbase e-gift card supported in select EU countries and Australia.

There are also third-party services as well as cryptocurrency debit cards that allow you to pay for anything, including Uber, Lyft etc. using bitcoin.

https://twitter.com/VenditExchange/status/1088929593577357313

How do you think IPOs such the one expected from Uber could benefit the crypto industry? Let us know what you think in the comments below.


Images via Uber Technologies Inc., Shutterstock

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Úno 27

Did Ripple Pay Coinbase to Break Its Own Policy and List XRP?

As XRP trading went fully live on Coinbase Pro, a new report outlines that the cryptocurrency exchange has violated its very own listing framework. 


Coinbase Breaching Its Own Rules

XRP trading went live on Coinbase Pro on February 25th. Formerly known as GDAX, the platform provides traders with more advanced features compared to the regular one known as just Coinbase.

Naturally, the price of XRP 00 surged following the announcement, gaining over 10 percent on the news.

A new report by Diar, however, points out that Coinbase Pro has breached its very own listing policies in order to include XRP in its trading portfolio.

According to GDAX’s Digital Asset Framework, one of the considerations Coinbase evaluates prior to listing a new cryptocurrency is team ownership. More specifically, the document reads:

The ownership stake retained by the team is a minority stake.

Diar, on the other hand, argues that Ripple “holds nearly 60% of the supply in escrow with a release schedule.”

It’s also worth noting in January, cryptocurrency data company Messari issued a report suggesting that Ripple may be overstating the digital token’s real market cap by as much as 47 percent.

Was the Listing Paid For?

Meanwhile, investor and entrepreneur as well as popular Bitcoin proponent, Alistair Milne, revealed a conversation between him and Elliot Suthers, Director of Communications at Coinbase.

Milne asked the high ranked official about the amount of XRP Ripple paid to Coinbase in return for the listing, what are the selling restrictions on that amount, and whether Coinbase has consulted with the SEC/CFTC whether it’s “OK to sell a security.”

What followed was an ambiguous lack of confirmation or denial:

“Happy to discuss this off the record, but we’re not discussing publicly,” said Suthers.

Do you think Ripple has paid Coinbase for its XRP listing? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Pro 16

Gab Says Bitcoin is The Clear Solution as ‘Free Speech Money’

Censorship-free social media platform, Gab, took to Twitter to proclaim the gospel according to Bitcoin. Describing the grandaddy of cryptocurrency as “free speech money,” it pledged to educate its near million-strong community.


The Next Evolution Of Online Payments

In recent tweets, Gab calls for the next evolution of online payments, in the form of un-censorable money. This must take payment processing online out of the hands of a small number of gatekeepers. Touting Bitcoin as “the clear solution,” Gab cites Silicon Valley’s inability to de-platform it from using the cryptocurrency.

Gab sees its role now as being to make Bitcoin easy to purchase and use. Something it says it can (and will) achieve with enough education and time. Gab:

We aren’t doing it because it’s hip or cool or the latest technology fad. We are doing it out of necessity.

All well and good, but Gab is hardly the first to the ‘championing of Bitcoin’ table. What does it think it can bring with it which is different?

A Community Of Almost A Million People (And Growing)

Taking a clear swipe at what it calls “vaporware crypto startups,” Gab mocks their relative lack of interest from users. Despite raising tens of millions of dollars, these startups cannot match Gab’s highly engaged community, according to the tweets.

Gab claims its users have been “put through the ringer for years,” for standing by its mission of delivering free speech. It adds:

Bitcoin is inherently pro-liberty and pro-freedom. It is free speech money. Gab has the distribution to introduce it to a huge and growing community.

A million people doesn’t sound all that impressive though, next to over 35 million authenticated users, already using cryptocurrency. And it’s rather telling that Gab chose Twitter to spread its message, rather than its own platform.

No Room At The Inn

Gab’s championing of Bitcoin comes on the back of its recent banning from PayPal. Despite this, Gab starts the tweet-storm praising PayPal’s achievements in initially breaking down barriers to online payments.

Ironically, Gab has repeatedly found itself de-platformed, often as a result of its refusal to de-platform those who have been barred from other major platforms. This has led to a reputation as a haven for hate speech.

Despite this latest missive, Gab has not always had the smoothest of paths regarding Bitcoin. Earlier this year, it had its Coinbase account closed without warning. This led it to describe centralized exchanges as “cancer,” and “contradictory to everything crypto stands for.”

The social media platform has since switched to the self-hosted BTCPay Server solution, reducing its dependence on third-party payment processors such as Coinbase and BitPay.

Gab now claims it “…has the power and community to reverse the current bear market. That’s not an understatement.”

Holding your breath while waiting for that to happen is not, however, recommended.

Will Bitcoin be increasingly used by de-platformed entities? Share your thoughts below! 


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Lis 10

Cryptocurrencies to Target for the Next Bull-Run (OAX, XLM, HOT)

Cryptocurrencies OAX, HOT, and XLM are worth looking into if you’re looking for coins with the best chance to outperform Bitcoin price in Q4 2018. 


Small Cap Vs. Low Price Cryptos (A Trader’s Mindset)

The mindset of a cryptocurrency trader in a bull vs. a bear market is vastly different. During the last bull-run, two types of cryptocurrencies had a tendency to ‘pump.’ Ones with very low market caps on big exchanges and those with very low prices.

The coins with low market caps, dedicated teams, with the network to get listed on top exchanges should be acquisition targets heading into the next bull-run vs. the alternative of buying low priced coins.

A very low market cap coin with major unknown quarter four events: OAX, should perform exceptionally well in the short term. 

The market sentiment has continued to shift from the summer of 2018 through the beginning of quarter four. With crypto personalities and technical analysis pointing to a December bull-run, the question becomes fairly obvious: How does one take advantage of the shifting of market sentiment and the possible impending moonshot?

Amusement park ride

The last bull run which concluded 2017 had two main types of cryptocurrencies that saw significant pumps. These two types included very low cost per coin cryptocurrencies regardless of their market capitalization. The other type were coins that had a very low market cap. Coins with a low market cap are the coins which should be targeted vs. the ones that the price seems “cheap” on.

Most individuals who are not accustomed to cryptocurrencies do not realize the importance of market capitalization vs. actual price.

For example: consider 2 cryptocurrencies, one is trading at $0.50 the other at $2.00, the first has a market cap of $100 million, the second has a market cap of $5 million.

Which is the better investment if both are about to have $1 million in demand of the cryptocurrency generated by an announcement?

The answer is the second, with a $5 million market cap and $2.00 price. The reason for this is if $1 million of demand is generated for a cryptocurrency with a $5 million market cap the total market cap will increase to $6 million. This 20% increase in market cap will be reflected by the price increasing by 20%, from $2.00 to $2.40.

The first coin with a market cap of $100 million would now have a market cap of $101 million and the $.50 crypto would have increased to $0.505. If you purchased the cryptocurrency with the lower market cap you would make 20% compared to 2% for the coin with the higher market cap.

With all else equal it is always a better idea to target a lower market cap cryptocurrency vs. one with a ‘lower price.’

OAX has one of the smallest market caps on Binance and is my #1 acquisition target for this reason, along with many others. For those wanting a lower price coin with a significantly higher market cap HOT and XLM are fantastic options.

OAX

OAX 00 is one of the lesser known and discussed cryptocurrencies, which is a great reason to begin targeting it before the Twitter personalities and “whales” begin their accumulation. OAX is also listed on the highest volume exchange, Binance, which is notorious for solely listing tier 1 projects.

So what is OAX’s project that impressed Binance enough to list?

I had the pleasure of discussing with the OAX team many aspects about their project during a recent interview. According to Wayland Chan who is the Technology Lead of the OAX Foundation, by the end of 2018 OAX will “deliver a stand-alone DEX using the work done building a scalable layer 2 solution.” This very significant event is not listed on cryptocurrency calendar websites nor is it commonly known in the space.

What is most impressive about OAX’s decentralized exchange (“DEX”) is that they plan to have an “off-chain order book, off chain order execution, as well as no custody of user assets.” OAX could be the scalable solution that DEX’s have sought for years. The OAX project is very ambitious but having secured a Binance listing their legitimacy should not be challenged.

The first prototype of the DEX was delivered in June and since the developer have been finalizing the layer 2 solution using off-chain solutions to solve the performance problems of blockchains.

According to OAX’s Technology Lead,

We’ve made huge strides…and expect to soon announce some big news that will definitely rock the boat.

As much as I pressed I was unable to get an inside glance at what this ‘breakthrough’ was.

This year, OAX was trading as high as $2.28, having dropped to under $0.35 since. With their platform becoming a reality, now is the perfect time to acquire a position. The future of OAX looks very bright. OAX plans to have a layer 2 working prototype by the end of 2018. Their DEX has the potential to revolutionize the exchange community and the scaling difficulties they face.

ICOs were all the craze at the end of 2017, DEXs are becoming the next craze with looming regulations and government crackdowns already underway. With decentralized exchanges becoming the new ‘hot thing’ and the bear market coming to an end, OAX clearly is an acquire and HODL for traders and investors alike.

OAX is one of the few cryptocurrencies that could re-approach their all-time high, once the crypto community awakens to the significance of their project.

HOT

How does HOT (Holochain) 00 compete against other cryptocurrencies in the space?

HOT has a lower “price per coin” than OAX but their market cap is almost 20x higher than OAX’s. This means if both HOT and OAX received the same amount of publicity the price of HOT would move 5% while the price of OAX would move 100%.

This is the main reason targeting smaller cap cryptos with platforms on the cusp of development makes for better “moonshot” investments than targeting a crypto with a $100 million-plus market cap.

However, HOT does get a unique award for being the least expensive coin on Binance (even though it has a huge market cap). During a bull run new ‘dumb’ money enters the market and they flock to both the cheapest coin and the ones with the lowest market caps (once they get a bit smarter). HOT qualifies as the “cheapest cryptocurrency on Binance,” and therefore money will likely flow into it the minute the markets start moving North.

Understanding market caps makes those looking to choose between HOT and OAX, pick OAX very easily. However, when choosing an investment, it is important to look beyond the market cap. How is the team? What is the product or platform?

Holochain is distributed hosting, owned and run by the users. The goal of HOT is to facilitate businesses and communities to build the next internet paradigm. Their goals seem to be extravagant but the team is continuously pushing forward with their roadmap.

For those wanting to capitalize on new ‘dumb’ money rushing into the crypto space in the next few months, HOT is not a bad option. OAX will likely to provide much higher returns than the larger market cap coins like HOT, however, diversification should not be overlooked for short-term profits.

XLM 

XLM (Stellar Lumens) 00 has been all over the news this week with their announcement of the Blockchain wallet giving away $125 million XLM.

This coupled with their likely imminent addition to Coinbase makes them a short-term speculatively play receiving a lot of attention. With a market cap in the Top 10 cryptocurrencies and a coin value of under $1.00, XLM could post impressive gains.

Stellar: Headed Towards $1?

However, that “moon” that everyone is searching for is unlikely to come from a cryptocurrency with a $1 billion-plus market cap. One can expect reasonable gains following a Coinbase listing but that is truly what all are HODLing for at this point.

Even though XLM is unlikely to post gains associated with coins that have less than a $10 million market cap, they still have plenty of exciting developments occurring.

XLM has partnered with IBM to allow them to use their Stellar network to bring more transparency into their payment structure. Analysts have predicted this partnership could actually replace the current SWIFT/IBAN structure as the global standard. If this partnership results in anything relevant XLM will have moon potential even as a $1 billion-plus market cap cryptocurrency.

Another one of XLM’s unique partnerships is with Veridium and IBM to tokenize carbon credits globally. This is one of many partnerships that will make XLM relevant for the short and long term.

The projects for XLM continue with Stellar X. This is Stellar’s version of a DEX. Also:

  • Open Garden is a project that allows users to turn their phone into a hotspot while earning a reward in XLM for data used.
  • TillBilly is Stellar’s version of a point of sale system, easing the burden of a paper receipt.
  • SmartLands looks to tokenize agricultural lands on the Stellar Network.
  • Sure Remit is one of the leading remittance networks in Africa that allows the transfer of funds. They have partnered with Stellar and have branches in Kenya, Rwanda, and many other African countries.

The list of partnerships and use cases for XLM go on and on. XLM is a great long-term HODL when compared to other cryptocurrencies in the Top 10. However, for significant short-term gains, lower market cap cryptocurrencies with major under the radar events are better options.

Cryptocurrencies Ranked By Risk

As new money rushes into the crypto space it will likely end up in 1 of 2 places: very low-cost coins, or very low market cap coins. Regarding percentage return, it is always better to target low market cap coins, not just ‘low cost’ coins.

This is why OAX is a favorite this week with their DEX on the horizon, a 1 on 1 interview, and a Binance listing; this project is well positioned being one of the smallest market cap coins on Binance. With little public awareness regarding their underlying news, OAX could be one of the most significant gainers of quarter four. If OAX ends quarter four with a market cap of $28 million, it will have returned over 200% for those reading this article.

HOT will likely be a target of ‘dumb’ money searching for a cheap coin on the biggest exchanges. Once they learn what a market cap is they will likely switch their position. The HOT project is a great one, but regarding undervalued cryptocurrencies, there are better options.

XLM may be a Top 10 cryptocurrency but with a Coinbase listing seeming imminent and partnerships that compete with Ripple they will likely post positive returns in the short-term. This is important as they are positioned for long-term success as well. Their short-term gains will likely be inferior to those with micro-caps but their guaranteed success long term reduces a great amount of investor risk.

Those seeking the highest risk, highest reward crypto should target OAX. Those wanting a safer play that is likely to still post positive gains, XLM is the choice. For those wanting to chase dumb money entering the market HOT is an okay choice, but OAX will likely still post better returns based on their market cap being 1/20th of the size.

To read the Crypto King’s prior articles or to get in contact directly with him, you can on Twitter (@JbtheCryptoKing) or Reddit. The King is the founder of ANON and actively trades cryptocurrencies.

[Disclaimer: This views expressed in this article belong solely to the author and do not reflect the views of Bitcoinist. They are intended as opinion for educational purposes and should not be taken as financial advice.]


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Říj 16

Amid Brexit Uncertainties, Coinbase Announces a New Dublin Office

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


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

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

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

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

Dublin

Hedging Bets In A Post-Brexit World?

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

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

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

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

Staff Shakeups Continue At Coinbase

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

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

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

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

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


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

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Říj 03

Coinbase Brings on Charles Schwab Exec to Expand Influence

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


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

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

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

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

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

Charles Schwab

Eyeing the Future

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Board of Directors

Building on Recent Activity

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

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

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

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


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

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Zář 27

House of Cards? Trade Volume of Big Exchanges Questioned

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Allegations Everywhere

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Secret Brought To Light?

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

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

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

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


Images courtesy of Bitcoinist archives, Shutterstock.

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Zář 26

Lamassu Unveils New Line of Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency ATMs

On September 24th, Lamassu announced the introduction of their new line of cryptocurrency ATMs to the public. Lamassu calls its new line of ATMs, “Sintra.” The ATMs herald a new line of ATMs as another crucial step in crypto’s march towards widespread consumer use and accessibility. 


Growing Industry

According to CoinATMrader.com, there are currently roughly 3,750 crypto ATMs installed worldwide. Lamassu has been producing cryptocurrency ATMs since 2013 when they produced their first, which was called the Bitcoin Machine.

While that number sounds impressive, and the number of the crypto ATMs installed continues to grow steadily, it is important to put that number in context. Information from Data.gov, for example, indicates that there are over 5,500 bank-owned ATMs in New York State alone. Crucially, this ATM count does not include independently managed ATMs at convenience stores and other retail locations.

Cost

Pricing for the new crypto ATM’s ranges from 5,200 EU for the cheapest Duoro II model, to 8,900 EU for the highest price Sintra Forte model. The mid-priced Sintra model costs 7,500 EU. The Duoro II model is the newest model of Lamassu’s original Crypto ATM, and features one-way fiat to crypto conversion, while both the Sintra and Sintra Forte feature two-way conversion.

The new models offer a bevy of features, designed to make buying and selling crypto through the machines as painless as possible. The machines feature a sleek, futuristic look, and are all crafted in Portugal. The body of the machines is crafted out of 2.5mm steel for extra durability.

Owners of these machines can configure their ATM’s to take almost any major currency, and support conversions from fiat to Bitcoin, Zcash, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, and Dash.

While Lamassu does not directly facilitate transactions on the ATM, it does offer a backend exchange trading engine that can steer conversions to liquidity providers. Lamassu’s engine is currently connected to BitPay, Bitstamp, Kraken, and Coinbase.

Fees and Regulatory Issues

ATM operators have control over the fee structure charged by their machines and can profit by either charging direct fees or adjusting the spread charged by their liquidity provider.

On Lamassu’s website, the estimates indicate that a machine needs roughly $800-$1,000 worth of daily transactions to break-even. Lamassu estimates that the average monthly turnover on their machines is roughly $20,000 and rising.

The Sintra line of ATMs features numerous compliance features, but investors interested in purchasing and managing a machine need to do their due diligence regarding the legality of operating an ATM in their jurisdiction.

Prospective ATM operators in the United States must ensure they are following both federal and state laws. Bitcoin ATMs would currently fall under the criteria of “Exchangers,” according to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. In turn, they must register as “Money Service Businesses.” If you are interested in purchasing a machine in the United States, this primer is a handy starting point.

As interest in Crypto continues to grow among the retail investing community, ATMs will likely be a key “on-ramp” for investors into the crypto industry.

What do you think of Lamassu’s New ATMs? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Bitcoinist archives, Shutterstock, Lamassu.is

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