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Bitfinex Opens Trading of USD-Pegged Tether Against USD

Cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex has announced it will support trading of USD denominated stablecoin Tether (USDT) against fiat USD from Friday.

Bitfinex Hedging A Hedge

The curious decision, which the exchange revealed in a blog post just hours before the pair went live, appears to be the first of its kind in the cryptocurrency industry.

Each unit of USDT is notionally backed by 1 USD, and the stablecoin is designed to be used as a cryptographic hedge against volatile assets without the need to convert into fiat.

The exchange rate of USDT 00, in reality, tends to fluctuate slightly around $1. For example, this year saw Tether price drop to as low as $0.85 during a period of high volatility.

Bitfinex’s tacit admission that USDT is insufficient as a stable alternative to USD is made all the more unusual by the fact that the platform and Tether share the same CEO.

“Today, adding margin trading on USDT/USD pair will not only allow for more efficient price discovery, but in an important move for risk management, unlock the ability to hedge the exposure taken on stablecoins,” officials wrote in the blog post.

Along with a dedicated lending market, USDT will be available as collateral for margin positions.

Tether-Bitfinex Media Rumors

The move comes days after an investigation by Bloomberg allegedly put to rest rumors that Tether did not hold full USD reserves for its token supply.

Such rumors had abounded during 2018 since both Tether and Bitfinex received subpoenas from US regulators late last year and had grown to include accusations the latter was insolvent.

Last month, Tether succeeded in switching banking partners to Bahamas-based Deltec, capping separate scrutiny of the financial buoyancy of its original banking partner Noble Bank.

A wealth of both USD and other stablecoins has come to market in recent months, with exchanges adding multiple assets in a bid to provide users with options against rapidly declining major crypto tokens.

What do you think about Bitfinex launching trading of Tether against USD? Let us know in the comments below!

Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Crypto Firms Merge to Build Software for Institutional Investors

Two crypto firms are merging in a bid to make crypto-asset management easier for institutional players.

CoinVantage, formerly a subsidiary of accounting firm MG Stover, is joining with Picks & Shovels, a provider of tools for crypto investors, to become a new entity known as Interchange. The new, eight-person company features software products that will initially service over 100 clients, including fund administrators, hedge funds and digital exchanges.

Front- and back-office systems for managing crypto assets are an unsexy, yet potentially lucrative corner of the blockchain industry as more financial institutions march into the space. That’s where Interchange says it will have a stronger software product relative to its competitors.

“We’ve been working very diligently, and now we have these partners that are going to catapult our knowledge and lend expertise that is very rare,” Picks & Shovels co-founder and CEO Matt Galligan told CoinDesk.

CoinVantage was a subsidiary of MG Stover up until Friday’s announced merger. MG Stover is an early entrant into cryptocurrency management, being among the first firms to provide services to digital asset funds as early as 2014. CoinVantage was launched as an MG Stover subsidiary in November 2017.

“The merger with Picks & Shovels is going to allow the firms to combine systems to create a superior product,” MG Stover founder and CEO Matt Stover told CoinDesk. “We’re really excited about Interchange being one of the leaders in the tech space for digital assets.”

Picks & Shovels was founded by Galligan, Dan Held and Clark Moody. While Galligan had previously launched tech startups in the media (Circa) and social (Socialthing) arenas, Held and Moody are longtime cryptocurrency veterans. Held, who recently penned a four-part series on the history of bitcoin for CoinDesk, co-founded ZeroBlock (which was acquired by Blockchain in 2013). Moody was the founder of RTBTC, which itself was acquired by ZeroBlock/Blockchain in 2014.

As for the momentum behind institutional crypto, Galligan says moves like Friday’s merger could represent a trend heading into 2019.

“I think there will be a general theme around making participation in this asset class easier for institutions,” he said. “Portfolio accounting and reporting is a necessary function no matter the state of the market.”

Galligan declined to share the financial terms of the deal. Stover will remain as CEO of MG Stover and join the board of directors of the new company. Interchange will become the software platform of choice for MG Stover, according to a company statement.

Galligan says Interchange – which is fully distributed but with offices in San Francisco, New York and Denver – is actively hiring for engineers.

Interchange image via Shutterstock

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New Format of Traders Fair & Gala Night, Malaysia Includes Crypto Expo Conference

New Format of Traders Fair & Gala Night, Malaysia Includes Crypto Expo Conference

Traders Fair & Gala Night, Malaysia brings together tremendous financial topics. We are waiting for traders, investors and crypto enthusiasts to take part in our event in Malaysia on the 27th of April 2019 (InterContinental Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia). The best trading experts, cryptocompanies, money brokers and banks from all over the world are going to share out their experience and to find out new up-to-date information about cryptocurrency, forex, stocks, futures and options markets. Also Traders Fair & Gala night is going to be full of educational programs and entertainment.

Crypto Conference Hall will be included in the agenda. It’ll be a separate seminar room dedicated to the world of crypto during Traders Fair & Gala night, Malaysia. The seminars are going to be not just about building network between crypto companies and gurus from all over the world but more so about getting to know what crypto world is actually about. We invite the best crypto experts and professionals from worldwide companies working with ICO, blockchain and cryptocurrency to provide you with the most important and up-to-date information. From 10 AM till 4.40 PM they will try to clarify the complex knowledge and share some secrets of trading strategy.

Traders Fair & Gala night, Malaysia is organized by FINEXPO which is the largest company organizing financial and trading events, fairs, expos and shows worldwide since 2002. Over 30000 traders, investors and financial advisors and more than 3 000 financial companies and brokers from Forex, stock, option, bond crypto money and forward markets from all around the world have been connected by FINEXPO.

Online registration is available here. Get the access to the incredible flagship event in ASIA!

New Format of Traders Fair & Gala Night, Malaysia Includes Crypto Expo Conference

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What 460 Million Bitcoin Addresses Tell us About the State of Cryptocurrencies

Amid the constant price fluctuations, project updates and news about regulations, it’s hard to tell exactly how well the process of bitcoin adoption is going. A recent report published on revealed data about the activity of bitcoin wallet users.

The first interesting data point shows that only 37% of the 460m addresses (172m) are ‘economically relevant’, which means they are controlled by people or services who hold BTC. Of these 172 economically relevant addresses, 86% (or 147m) belong to a named service (Binance, Tezos wallet, etc.) or darknet market. None Economically relevant addresses seem only to have single use cases like holding bitcoin for a short period to facilitate a transaction between 2 people (similar to an escrow).

Addresses division:

In the second the part of the report there is being an attempt to predict how many of the value of the transaction in the network is having a real economic value, that is that is happening between economic addresses. The report suggests that only 20% of the transactions are being done between economically relevant addresses.

“Between August and October 2018, some $41 billion of transactions were executed — and only $9 billion had real economic value.”

What this data reveals is that we still have a long way to go until true adoption of bitcoin occurs. Outside factors, such as high volatility and lack of implemented scalability solutions have had the most significant impact on Bitcoins inability to achieve more substantial adoption as a form of payment:

  • Bitcoins price has dropped by more than 80% in the past year, discouraging many people who would have been happy to use it as a form of payment to shy away due to the fear of losing their funds in the bear market.
  • Lightening network is progressing at a slow but steady pace. The throughput of its 11,000 nodes just recently surpassed $2 million in transaction capacity, a significant step for Bitcoins premier scalability solution.
  • The number of merchants willing to accept bitcoin seems to have declined at almost the same rate as the price. Data from Chain analysis showed that Bitcoin usage across merchants and payment providers has dwindled by as much as 80%, despite the innovations with Lightning network and growth in public awareness of the technology.

Ultimately, if these three key factors can be improved (volatility, scalability and merchant adoption), then we will be sure to see not only more bitcoin addresses but also a more significant percentage of bitcoin addresses being economically relevant.

The post What 460 Million Bitcoin Addresses Tell us About the State of Cryptocurrencies appeared first on CryptoPotato.

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Coinbase Announces Rollout in Six New European Markets

Coinbase Announces Rollout in Six New European Markets

Zeeshan Feroz, Coinbase’s U.K. CEO, said the firm looks for markets that are “close to or within jurisdictions that we operate in today” when it decides on new expansions. The company recently opened a new office in Dublin, as part of a contingency plan to continue to have access to the bloc post-Brexit.

Some of the markets Coinbase is expanding into are becoming increasingly popular destinations for cryptocurrency and blockchain-related start-ups. The company was able to participate in a total of 33 countries and help people to buy and sell crypto assets in these countries. Now, Coinbase has added six European markets in the following regions: Andorra, Gibraltar, Iceland, Lithuania, Isle of Man and Guernsey.

Gibraltar is, for example pretty interesting because it has a domestic licensing process for such firms to become registered blockchain technology providers. Iceland, however, has become a popular hub for so-called cryptocurrency mining due to an abundance of renewable energy.

Feroz said:

“I think you can expect a more aggressive approach to us adding more countries in the coming months. Much of what we’re doing here is driven by customer needs and what we’re seeing in the market.”

Bitcoin has fallen nearly 80 percent since its record high in December last year. The world’s most valuable virtual currency was trading above $4,000 on Thursday for the first time in two weeks.

Feroz added:

“I think if you look at last year, a lot of the focus was on people who bought crypto from an investment point of view and a lot of projects raised a ludicrous amount of money as a result of that.”

In Coinbase they confirmed that the new customers in these markets will be able to make full use of and their iOS and Android apps, allowing them to buy and sell cryptocurrencies on the Coinbase platform for the very first time. They said they are hoping to make Coinbase Pro and Prime available in these regions over time.

Coinbase Believe That Crypto is “Without Borders”

Just this week, Coinbase was able to put new assets on the exchange. These were mostly ERC20 Ethereum-based tokens and they were not added to all the jurisdictions of the company until now. These new assets include Golem (GNT), Maker (MKR), DAI and Zilliqa (ZIL).

Before that, they launched 0x (ZRX), Basic Attention Token (BAT), and their stablecoin, USD Coin (USDC) across all Coinbase platforms, they also added Civic (CVC), district0x (DNT), Loom Network (LOOM) and Decentraland (MANA) to Coinbase Pro.

The exchange then said:

“Our decision to add ERC20 tokens first is based on the relative ease of integrating the standard with our existing infrastructure, particularly from a security standpoint.”

They also announced that next year they will continue expanding rapidly into new regions and adding assets to the Coinbase platform to meet customer demand.

Two weeks ago they said they are continuing to explore the addition of new assets. This work also includes close cooperation with regulators and banks in order to make these new cryptocurrencies available for Coinbase customers in as many jurisdictions as possible.

The company has also published the list of 31 potential new additions which includes among others the above-mentioned XRP, EOS, Cardano (ADA), NEO and Tezos (XTZ).

Nevertheless, the company warns that there is no any guarantee that all the cryptocurrencies included into this list will be added to the platform. Such a situation is explained by the fact that some restrictions could be imposed on concrete coins or they could be not listed due to the results of their evaluation. Some cryptocurrencies may become available only in particular jurisdictions.

Coinbase Announces Rollout in Six New European Markets