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European Blockchain Startup Launches Trading in Tokenized Securities

Belarus-based blockchain startup Currency.com has launched a trading platform for tokenized securities.

The firm announced Tuesday that the platform would allow investors to directly trade and invest in financial instruments using the cryptocurrencies bitcoin or ethereum, without first converting to fiat.

The platform will initially host over 150 tokenized securities, tracking the underlying market price of financial instruments such as equity and commodities, it said, while over 10,000 similar offerings could be available in the future.

Currency.com explained that the service lets investors buy a token that would reflect the performance of, say, an Apple share on the Nasdaq stock exchange, at the “same economic costs and benefits of an Apple share.”

“To offer these capabilities, Currency.com leverages the technology of Capital.com, its sister platform regulated by the FCA [U.K. Financial Conduct Authority] and CySEC [Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission], to offer users access to a tokenized version of a contract for exchange of a specific equity, commodity or index,” the firm said.

Currency.com said it’s “fully compliant” with “Decree No. 8 On Development of Digital Economy” of the President of the Republic of Belarus, which legalizes blockchain businesses, adding it follows anti-money laundering (AML) and know-your-customer (KYC) rules, as well as General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).

The mobile trading apps of the platform, both iOS and Android, are expected to be available as beta versions from February.

This is not the first platform to enable trading of tokenized securities. Earlier this month, Estonia-based crypto startup DX.Exchange launched a trading platform allowing clients to purchase crypto tokens representing shares in different tech firms listed on Nasdaq. DX.Exchange’s customers will be able to use select cryptocurrencies, as well as fiat currencies to purchase the tokens.

Trading screen image via Shutterstock 

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Report: Critical Vulnerabilities Leaking User Data Found on DX.Exchange, Patched Later

Estonia-based cryptocurrency and tokenized stock exchange DX.Exchange has reportedly patched a critical vulnerability that leaked sensitive user data.

Estonia-based cryptocurrency and tokenized stock exchange DX.Exchange has reportedly fixed a critical vulnerability that leaked sensitive user data.

Technology news website Ars Technica reported on the security leak Jan. 9, citing an anonymous trader who conducted a security analysis of DX.Exchange.

According to Ars Technica’s article, a trader, who wished to remain anonymous due to legal concerns, noticed that the exchange was sending sensitive data of other users to their browser. After examining the data, the trader has reportedly found that the data included other users’ authentication tokens and password reset links:

“I have about 100 collected [authentication] tokens over 30 minutes, […] if you wanted to criminalize this, it would be super easy.”

The authentication tokens were reportedly formatted in the JSON Web token standard and could be easily decoded with the use of online tools, obtaining full names and email addresses of the exchange’s users.

According to Ars Technica, the trader has explained that the tokens could grant access to their associated accounts, as long as the user hasn’t manually logged out after the token was leaked.

The trader has also reportedly found a way to permanently backdoor an account by using the platform’s programming interface, which would grant them access even after a user has logged out.

Furthermore, Ars Technica reported that some of the login data leaked by the platform belongs to the employees of the site. The article explains the severity of the issue:

“In the event that such a token gave unauthorized access to an account with administrative privileges, the hacker might be able to download entire databases, seed the site with malware, and possibly even transfer funds out of user accounts.”

Ars Technica itself has reportedly checked and confirmed the presence of the vulnerabilities discovered by the trader, obtaining what it described as a large number of authentication tokens through the publicly available programming interface.

Ars Technica contacted the DX.Exchange, and according to the article, the leak has now been fixed. However, the company declined to comment on its intentions to warn the users about the now-patched vulnerability:

“Ars sent a response asking if DX.Exchange planned to reset all user tokens or passwords and to notify users that a leak exposed their names and email addresses. So far, the officials have yet to respond.”

As Cointelegraph reported Jan. 3, DX.Exchange leverages Nasdaq’s Financial Information Exchange (FIX) protocol and allows its users to trade tokenized stocks of major companies, including Google, Facebook and Amazon.

As of press time, DX.Exchange has not responded to Cointelegraph’s request for commentary.

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4 Key Bitcoin Dates to Watch For in 2019

With 2018 finally over, the focus now is on what lies ahead for Bitcoin in 2019 after a year-long bear market. Mark your calendars and keep a watch for these events that could have a massive impact on Bitcoin price this year. 


2019: The Year Wall Street Embraces Bitcoin?

Throughout 2018, the fall in Bitcoin (and other cryptocurrencies) prices dominated the news circuit. However, despite the nearly 80 percent peak-to-trough slide for BTC, some positive developments emerged in the industry.

When the CME and CBOE BTC futures came online in late 2017, a lot of the expectation for 2018 centered on the institutionalization of the market. While the process seemed slow, there was some progress in that regard.

Concerning 2019, there are projects expected to take off, as well as other events that should shape the course of the market going forward. Here are some of the important Bitcoin dates for at least, the first quarter of the new year.

Bakkt Physical-Delivery BTC Futures: ‘Early 2019’

By the end of Q1 2019, the CME and CBOE BTC futures won’t be the only ones in the market. Bakkt, founded by Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), operators of the New York Stock Exchange, has revised its expected launch date from January 24 to “early 2019”.

The platform plans to be the first to offer BTC-settled Bitcoin futures contract. Recently, Bitcoinist reported that Bakkt raised $182.5 million from Microsoft and other big-name investors in its first funding round.

The Bakkt launch might hit a snag though, given the current U.S. government shutdown. ICE plans to provide an updated timeline for the Bakkt launch in 2019.

Nasdaq BTC Futures: Q1 2019

Nasdaq also plans to launch its BTC futures listing after intense speculation on the matter throughout 2018. There are, however, not many details about the proposed launch. What is known is that the company plans to launch the product before the end of Q1 2019.

Both Bakkt and Nasdaq are awaiting approval from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Bakkt has repeatedly declared that it is working in tandem with the CFTC to obtain the green light for its BTC futures contract.

VanEck/SolidX BTC ETF: Late February-Early March

Whenever there was any talk of institutional adoption of BTC in 2018, the mention of an SEC-approved ETF was never far away. Despite the clamor, the Commission ended 2018 without approving any of the BTC ETF filings.

The VanEck/SolidX submission of a BTC-backed ETF was the only one from 2018 not given a definitive verdict by the SEC. Back in December, the SEC delayed its decision to approve or reject the filing to February 27, 2019.

The Commission has no more room any further delays and must decide on the commodity-backed VanEck/SolidX BTC ETF proposal. For the entities involved, they say that their submission satisfies many of the concerns held by the SEC against Bitcoin ETFs.

Mt. Gox Coins Redistribution: 

Away from Bitcoin futures and ETFs, there is also the matter of the Mt. Gox coin distribution event. Approval for the civil rehabilitation plan will come in February 2019. After that, the first round of payments to creditors is planned to process “as soon as possible” though this may actually start sometime between May and June 2019.

Mt. Gox still holds about 166,000 BTC and 168,000 BCH, currently valued at $665.5 million.

Will 2019 be the year when the institutionalization of Bitcoin becomes firmly established? Please share your thoughts below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Confirmed: Nasdaq’s Bitcoin Futures Will Launch in ‘First Half’ of 2019

The world’s second largest stock exchange Nasdaq has confirmed it plans to launch Bitcoin futures in the first half of 2019.

The world’s second largest stock exchange Nasdaq has confirmed it plans to launch Bitcoin futures in the first half of 2019, U.K. daily tabloid the Express reported Monday, Dec. 3.

As reported, two insider sources had already leaked the plans to Bloomberg in late November.

Yesterday’s confirmation from Joseph Christinat, vice president of Nasdaq’s media team, clarified the launch remains subject to approval from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), although reportedly “there’s been enough work put into this to make [the question of regulatory approval] academic […] we’re doing this, and it’s happening.”

Christinat told the Express that the stock market giant has been eyeing the crypto space “for years” and has been working on its Bitcoin (BTC) futures product for “most” of 2018. He added:

“We’ve put a hell of a lot of money and energy into delivering the ability to do this and we’ve been all over it for a long time — way before the market went into turmoil, and that will not affect the timing of this in any way. No. Period. We’re doing this no matter what.”

Chrisinat’s interview did not confirm whether Nasdaq’s Bitcoin futures contract will be cash-backed, or physically settled (i.e. with returns paid out in BTC rather than fiat currency).

While cash-settled Bitcoin futures contracts came to market on CBOE and CME Group as early as December 2017, the first physically-delivered Bitcoin futures are targeted for launch in January 2019 on Bakkt, the digital assets platform created by New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) operator, the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE).

In November 2017, Nasdaq had first indicated it would be launching BTC futures by mid-2018, but soon said it would be deferring rollout in order to create a “unique enough” offering.

As reported, Nasdaq’s planned futures contract will purportedly be the first of a set of “transparent, regulated and surveilled” digital assets products to be jointly launched as part of its recently-announced partnership with U.S. investment firm VanEck.

VanEck is also currently awaiting a final decision from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on its joint proposal for a physically-backed Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) together with blockchain software and financial services firm SolidX.

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Nasdaq’s Bitcoin Futures Could Launch in Q1 2019, Says Bloomberg

Nasdaq has repeated it wants to launch Bitcoin futures, sources saying these could appear by Q1 next year.

Major U.S. stock exchange Nasdaq still intends to launch Bitcoin futures and could do so as soon as Q1 2019, Bloomberg reported Nov. 27.

Quoting “two people familiar with the matter,” the publication said momentum was building towards a potential launch early next year.

The move comes despite the downturn in Bitcoin (BTC) prices to 13-month lows, marking the tail end of a testing year for existing Bitcoin futures products.

According to the two unnamed sources, Nasdaq “has been working to satisfy the concerns of the U.S.’s main swaps regulator, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission [CFTC], before launching the contracts.”

Just over a year ago, the exchange first suggested it would launch futures by mid-2018, making the announcement shortly after CBOE and CME Group set the launch date for the industry’s first such futures at the end of November 2017.

The plans did not go ahead, and Nasdaq’s offering will likely now come to market later than multiple major competitors in traditional finance, including the Intercontinental Exchange’s Bakkt, which should launch physical Bitcoin futures Jan. 24.

Regulatory and other preparations had forced executives to delay the rollout by around six weeks.

The enthusiasm from Nasdaq suggests the recent volatility in Bitcoin prices does not concern Wall Street, with CME in October likewise reporting interest in them had markedly increased quarter on quarter this year.

Nasdaq, the sources added to Bloomberg today, is “betting on sustained interest” going forward.