Posted on

Coinbase Files to Close Its Political Action Committee

U.S. crypto exchange Coibnase has filed to close down its political action committee.

Major United States-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has filed to close its political action committee (PAC) on April 3.

According to a filing with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) — the regulatory agency in charge of enforcing election laws — Coinbase’s PAC received no funds nor made any disbursements, and is seeking to terminate the PAC.

Per FEC regulations, a PAC must file a termination report in order to cease operations once it no longer intends to make or receive contributions or expenditures.  

In the U.S., PACs are independent organizations, often representing different business, labor, or policy interests, that collect and donate money to political campaigns for or against candidates, legislation, or ballot initiatives.

Following the 2010 Supreme Court case of Citizens United v. FEC, PACs became the subject of some controversy and criticism, as some see them as means for corporate or union donors to put their thumbs on the electoral scale. PACs are forbidden from coordinating directly with the campaigns they support, but in some cases, coordination has occurred.

Coinbase formed its PAC in July of last year, and in September, it became a founding member of the Blockchain Association. The Blockchain Association is purportedly the first lobby group in Washington D.C. to exclusively represent the interests of the blockchain industry. Other members of the lobby group include technology startup Protocol Labs, as well as the Digital Currency Group and Polychain Capital.

Posted on

Coinbase’s Political Action Committee Shuts Down Without Ever Raising a Cent

Coinbase is moving to shut down its political action committee (PAC) without ever raising a cent.

The San Francisco-based crypto exchange filed a Termination Report for its PAC on April 3, 2019, according to publicly available documents on the Federal Election Commission’s website (FEC). The move means that the exchange wants to shut down its PAC, though it was not immediately clear if the committee had actually been shut down.

A Coinbase spokesperson confirmed that the exchange had filed to shut down its PAC, but could not say if the FEC has granted the request yet.

PACs are typically formed to raise funds on behalf of specific candidates for public office or business and ideological interests. However, the Coinbase PAC did not raise any funds, nor did it back any candidates during its 10-month lifespan, public filings show.

Personnel change

The exchange first launched its PAC in June 2018, and it was run by former chief policy officer Mike Lempres, who left the exchange last year to join venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.

Brian Brooks, who joined Coinbase as chief legal officer in September, was the likely candidate to have taken over the PAC following Lempres’ departure.

According to the FEC’s website, a committee can file to terminate its operations if “it no longer receives (or intends to receive) contributions,” or if “it no longer makes (or intends to make) expenditures.”

That said, a committee is required to continue regularly filing disclosure reports until the FEC accepts the termination report, the site explained, adding:

“Committees shouldn’t stop filing just because they checked the ‘Termination Report’ box on their regular campaign finance disclosure form. Committees must file regularly scheduled reports until the Commission notifies them in writing that it has granted their request to terminate.”

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong at Consensus image via Coinbase/YT 

Posted on

Crypto Analytics Firm: Single Strategic Actor Responsible for Bitcoin Price Surge

The Bitcoin rally heard ‘round the world that began on April 2, 2019 painted the first higher high on Bitcoin price charts since the price of the leading cryptocurrency by market cap reached its all-time high back in December 2017. The powerful surge many believe could have signaled the end of the bear market and confirmed that a new uptrend has begun.

The over $1,000 rally may have also been the work of a single, calculated and strategic actor, who may have precisely executed a plan that drove the price up as much as possible.

CoinMetrics: Committed Actor Executed Trades At Key Times to Maximize Price Impact

The massive green candle that occurred on Bitcoin price charts on April 2 had everyone talking, from brokers, to bankers, and everyone in between. The powerfully bullish movement may have been the final blow to bears that signaled the end of the crypto winter that’s plagued the asset class throughout 2018 and 2019 thus up until now.

Related Reading | Crypto Analyst: Bitcoin Price Chart Shows Textbook Bump and Run Reversal Bottom 

The move, according to crypto research firm CoinMetrics, was orchestrated across multiple exchanges, at very specific times where liquidity is the lowest, in order to “maximize price impact while trading,” the firm said. More interesting is their theory that the entire thing was executed by one, single “committed actor.”

CoinMetrics reveals that the price movement started at approximately at 04:30 UTC time, which the firm says it the “point in the day where global liquidity is at a minimum.”

“Although this cannot be known for sure, such trades would have been designed to trigger stop losses and force a short squeeze through liquidations of margin positions and short futures positions,” they added.

The entire move lasted about one hour, ending at about 05:30 UTC. CoinMetrics further suggests that the time was “deliberately chosen” in order to create the most price movement possible in the shortest amount of time, maximizing “price impact.”

While conflicting reports across the web from various experts have suggested the move originated across three exchanges, Coinbase, Kraken, and Bitstamp, CoinMetrics instead claims the move began at HitBTC where roughly 500,000 Tether were traded for Bitcoin, then was followed by simultaneous buy orders executing on Coinbase and Bitfinex.

Related Reading | Bitcoin and Ethereum Trading Volume Reaches Crypto Bull Run Peak Levels

Other theories crypto analysts have offered have pointed to mistaken programmatic buying following an elaborate April fools prank. Bots did appear to influence the move, but only because the initial actor planned it that way, and took out stop loss orders that further caused a cascading effect, sending the price higher and higher. As the whale had planned, the trades had a significant impact – enough to potentially end the bear market and ignite a new crypto bull run.

Featured image from Shutterstock

Posted on

Coinbase Expands Crypto-to-Crypto Trading to 11 More Countries

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase is expanding crypto-to-crypto conversions and trading services to 11 more countries.

The San Francisco-based firm announced the news in a blog post on Wednesday, saying that customers in Argentina, Mexico, Peru, Colombia, Chile, India, Hong Kong, South Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines and New Zealand can now access crypto-to-crypto exchanging services.

The company said that it is offering the services via both Coinbase.com as well as Coinbase Pro, its professional trading platform.

The expansion means Coinbase now has a presence in a total of 53 countries across four continents, from earlier 32 countries in two continents, according to the announcement.

Relatedly, the exchange detailed that direct trading between cryptocurrencies on its platform has overtaken traditional fiat-to-crypto trading across the globe last year.

According to Coinbase’s “verified” trading volume figures, crypto-to-crypto trades formed 51 percent of the total in February 2019 as compared to 41 percent in August 2018:

Coinbase added crypto-to-crypto trading support for retail customers last December, enabling them to access the service through Coinbase.com as well as the Android and iOS apps. Earlier, the support was available only to professional customers.

Coinbase image via Shutterstock; Chart courtesy of Coinbase 

Posted on

Hodler’s Digest, April 8–14: Top Stories, Price Movements, Quotes and FUD of the Week

Bloomberg calls Bitcoin a bubble yet again, and Facebook is seemingly looking for $1 billion from VC firms for its stablecoin.

Top Stories This Week

NYT Reporter: Facebook Seeking $1 Billion in Venture Capital for Crypto Project

According to a tweet by New York Times (NYT) tech reporter Nathaniel Popper, Facebook is reportedly looking to various venture capital firms to develop its digital token that has been previously reported on. Popper, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter, said that Facebook is seeking $1 billion to develop its cryptocurrency project, which itself has not been publicly confirmed by the company. The Times reporter also noted that the project involves a stablecoin that would be pegged to a basket of foreign currencies held in bank accounts.

Chinese Traders Pay Extra for Bitcoin Through OTC Desks Amid Crypto Market Surge

Local Chinese social media sources said that Bitcoin’s (BTC) price surge last week has led Chinese traders to pay a premium in order to trade the cryptocurrency. According to an analysis of price spreads from cryptocurrency exchanges Huobi and OKEx, cnLedger highlighted how Chinese traders are paying more in order to acquire Bitcoin. Since China formally banned crypto trading in the country in 2017, investors have had to resort to creative methods in order to deal in Bitcoin. In the analysis, cnLedger notes that a principal way to avoid the ban is to buy stablecoins such as Tether (USDT) via over-the-counter (OTC) services and convert them into other cryptocurrencies

Top Stories This Week

Top-Subscribed YouTuber PewDiePie Partners With Blockchain

PewDiePie, the personality behind the most subscribed channel on YouTube, announced this week that he will start streaming on blockchain video platform DLive as of April 14. Dlive is a blockchain-powered broadcasting app with a rewards system for content creators and will become the exclusive platform for livestreaming the famous Swedish YouTuber, Felix Kjellberg — aka PewDiePie. The platform currently has 3 million monthly users and 35,000 active streamers, while PewDiePie on YouTube has over 93 million subscribers and 21 billion video views, as of April 2019. PewDiePie’s move to Dlive comes as the Swede faced backlash over his alleged ties to white supremacism, as his channel was mentioned by the Christchurch gunman prior to his attack on two New Zealand mosques.

Bitcoin at Most Overbought Level Since Record Bull Run: Bloomberg Analyst

Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Mike McGlone claimed this week that Bitcoin is at its most overbought level since its record highs in December 2017, citing BTC’s GTI Global Strength Indicator. Bloomberg writes that similar buy patterns in the past have resulted in multi-week downturns, citing McGlone as referring to Bitcoin as a bubble. McGlone states that the recent market growth came about due to a long-term price compression and low volatility, causing the price to be “released from the cage.” Bloomberg also cites David Tawil, president of crypto hedge fund ProChain Capital, who reportedly expects the market to continue its downward trend.

Top Stories This Week

Coinbase Crypto Exchange Debuts Visa Card for U.K. Customers

Major United States cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has launched Coinbase Card, which will enable its United Kingdom-based customers to pay both in-store and online with cryptocurrency. The card itself is a Visa debit card that is powered by users’ Coinbase account crypto balances, allowing purchases to be made globally by instantly converting customers’ crypto funds into fiat. The Coinbase Card has also been released for iOS and Android, linking Coinbase accounts with the app and allowing users to select which wallet will fund their card, as well as allowing access for receipts, transaction summaries and spending categories. The card is issued by authorized and regulated electronic money institution Paysafe Financial Services Limited.

Winners and Losers

The crypto markets are holding slightly down by the end of the week, with Bitcoin around $5,099, Ethereum at $165 and XRP about $0.33. Total market cap is around $172 billion.

The top three altcoin gainers of the week are BunnyCoin, WomenCoin and Block-Chain.com. The top three altcoin losers of the week are dietbitcoin, Cryptrust and ContractNet.

Winners and Losers

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

Most Memorable Quotations

“This is a stark contrast to the development you see with things like EOS or with Ethereum with Casper, where they kind of adopt this lone samurai viewpoint.”

Charles Hoskinson, the co-founder of Ethereum (ETH) and IOHK, the company behind Cardano (ADA), speaking on the idea of development with open protocols

“I have learned about how blockchain is having a huge impact on supply chain management, and how an app in Britain can help the public report modern slavery at car washes.”

Princess Eugenie, the granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth, who founded the Anti-Slavery Collective in Britain in 2017

Most Memorable Quotations

“Blockchain is like a spreadsheet on steroids that can automate certain tasks, build greater transparency, speed and reliability, and provide a single source of transactional information.”

David R. Jarczyk, innovation principal and tax leader for blockchain at KPMG

“Now it’s a question of duration and I suspect when you have such a massive bubble, you’ll always have an overhang of people who need to sell.”

Mike McGlone, Bloomberg Intelligence analyst

FUD of the Week

Singapore Police Secure First Convictions Against OneCoin MLM Scheme Agents

Authorities in Singapore have charged two men for promoting crypto multi-level marketing (MLM) scheme OneCoin in what is touted as the first case of its kind for the city-state. The two unnamed men reportedly engaged in activities that incorporated a subsidiary in order to promote OneCoin, in addition to signing up new members and accepting investments in return for education courses and OneCoin tokens. Singapore’s central bank had previously added OneCoin to its Investor Alert List, and various governments around the world have also issued warnings against the MLM scam, advising consumers not to interact or invest in OneCoin. While one founder was recently arrested in the U.S., the other remains at large following the indictment.

Canadian Crypto Exchange QuadrigaCX Officially Declared Bankrupt

QuadrigaCX, the embattled Canadian crypto exchange, has officially been declared bankrupt. The exchange’s bankruptcy was reportedly approved by the Nova Scotia Supreme Court following the court monitor’s earlier recommendation to do so. At the time, Ernst & Young’s legal team had put forward the argument that the restructuring process should instead be shifted to bankruptcy proceedings, meaning that the monitor will now have enhanced investigative powers. QuadrigaCX had previously filed for creditor protection when it apparently lost access to its cold wallet funds following the unexpected death of its founder in December 2018.

Electrum Faces Another Fake Wallet Attack, Users Reported to Lose Millions of Dollars

Bitcoin wallet service Electrum faced another Denial-of-Service (DoS) attack on its servers this week. According to media outlets, this most recent attack has resulted in the loss of millions of dollars (the exact sum unconfirmed) with a single user allegedly losing about $140,000. The attack works by referring users to fake versions of Electrum software by employing a malicious botnet of more than 140,000 machines. The company has recommended that its users upgrade their software versions older than 3.3 and not download software from any source besides the official site. Last December, Electrum faced a similar attack that led to a loss of about $937,000 worth of Bitcoin.

Best Cointelegraph Feature

Will China Ban Crypto Mining?

After this week’s relatively unexpected publication by a Chinese government agency about a possible ban on crypto mining, Cointelegraph takes a look into how serious the idea is, and who and what will be affected in what is unarguably the largest crypto mining sector in the world.

Facebook, Twitter and Telegram: A New Crypto Paradigm or a Glorified Voucher Program?

As more unconfirmed news surrounding Facebook’s secretive crypto project surfaced this week, Cointelegraph analyzes what it would mean for one of the biggest, and possibly most untrusted, institutions in the world to issue their own cryptocurrency.