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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.

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BMW, Intel Partner With Government-Backed Blockchain Accelerator

BMW Group Asia, Intel and Nielsen are now corporate partners of the Singapore government-supported blockchain accelerator Tribe.

Tribe Accelerator announced the news Friday, saying that the three firms will share their knowledge and subject expertise in their respective fields with Tribe’s startups in order to help build an “inclusive” ecosystem “ready for industry 4.0.”

BMW Group Asia, for instance, will provide “masterclasses” and mentoring sessions on how blockchain solutions can be implemented in a mass market situation.

“We hope we can help each of these startups develop their proof-of-concepts and reach the next stage of their development,” said Carsten Sapia, vice president – group IT and head of the Asia Pacific region, BMW Group Asia.

Intel Corporation, on the other hand, will offer business and technical mentorship to startups.

“Intel technologies like Intel Xeon Scalable processors and Intel SGX can help improve privacy, security, and scalability of blockchain solutions,” said Intel’s blockchain program director Michael Reed.

Meanwhile, Nielsen will provide “a sandbox with the objective of providing participants with a safe, controlled environment to test new technologies and accelerate the adoption of their solutions.”

Tribe Accelerator managing partner Ryan Chew said:

“To move forward as a society, we need to encourage experimentation, and once the benefits of blockchain technology become evident, mainstream adoption will undoubtedly follow.”

Last month, Tribe also partnered with ethereum development studio ConsenSys to further the blockchain ecosystem in Singapore.

Tribe Accelerator was launched last December as part of venture capital firm TRIVE Ventures, in partnership with South Korea’s ICON Foundation and PwC Singapore’s Venture Hub. Enterprise Singapore, a government agency set up to develop the startup ecosystem, is supporting the accelerator.

BMW image via Shutterstock

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NYSE Operator’s Long-Awaited Crypto Platform Bakkt Announces New Key Vacancies

Bakkt, the cryptocurrency platform owned by the Intercontinental Exchange, announced that they are hiring.

Bakkt, the cryptocurrency platform created by the operator of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), announced that they are hiring for a number of high-up positions in a tweet Jan. 22.

The Intercontinental Exchange’s (ICE) much-awaited crypto platform published a list of eight evidently new vacancies at the company, all of which are based in Atlanta and New York City. Some of the positions also have Hong Kong, Tokyo, San Francisco, London, Tel Aviv and Singapore listed as available locations.

The page specifies that the company is mostly trying to hire a number of developers, mostly at director and senior levels.

In particular, Bakkt is looking to hire a director of blockchain engineering, a blockchain developer, a director of security engineering, a senior full stack engineer, a mobile developer and a software development engineer in test. Also, the company is looking for a director of finance and at least one institutional sales member.

As Cointelegraph reported on the last day of December 2018, the ICE announced that it “expects to provide an updated launch timeline in early 2019 for the trading, clearing and warehousing” of its Bakkt Bitcoin (USD) Daily Futures Contracts.

On the same day, news broke that the platform had completed its first funding round, raising $182.5 million from 12 partners and investors.

In November, ex-Goldman Sachs partner and founder of crypto investment firm Galaxy Digital, Mike Novogratz, cited Bakkt’s pending launch as a possible catalyst for the crypto market’s next major price action.

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Former Huobi and NYSE Executive is Launching a New Crypto Exchange

The former CTO of Singapore based Huobi is about to launch his own crypto trading platform before the end of the year.

BHEX to Offer Crypto, Fiat and OTC Trading

According to Businesswire BHEX raised $15 million in its equity from top-tier institutions including Huobi and OKEx. It is scheduled to launch at the end of this week and has attracted more than 70 token funds and 40 institutions to participate in the token round. The bear market and recent rout does not appear to be deterring crypto entrepreneurs such as James Ju (Ju Jianhua) who founded the platform.

Ju is a senior blockchain technology expert who led the team to upgrade and reconstruct Huobi’s cryptocurrency trading system, propelling it to one of the world’s top exchanges by trade volume. Upon leaving Huobi he joined NYSE listed X Financial as Vice President of Technology and in early 2018 founded Blue Helix which aimed to create a brand new digital assets custody and clearing trading system.

Global Managing Director of BHEX, Tyler Wu, was also part of the Huobi team where he served as managing director in Singapore. According to the press release;

“BHEX core founding members come from first-tier technology and financial companies including Google, Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu, Barclays Capital, and Société Générale with talents in finance, blockchain and technology industry.”

BHEX touts itself as the next generation digital asset trading platform, powered by Blue Helix’s decentralized asset custody and clearing technology. The exchange will offer crypto-to-crypto trading in addition to fiat pairs and OTC options. Looking at the existing site it appears that trading in Yuan (CNY) is already enabled which would be a great advantage to Chinese traders banned from doing so within their own borders.

James added that; “Bluehelix technology will be an open source project after it has been completely developed. With Bluehelix technology, BHEX is able to construct an independent asset custody and clearing platform that is completely managed by the community. SaaS open platform product, BHOP, is also developed to utilize its own core trading technology.”

Its ‘Super Guild’ community offers a learning ecosystem where members can gain loyalty bonuses similar to that setup by Binance.

Huobi has joined the ever growing list of crypto exchanges eyeing Singapore’s industry friendly shores. Following the recent Fintech Festival, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has completed a new regulatory framework for payment services on the island nation. According to reports the bill will also regulate the buying or selling of cryptocurrencies.

Image from Shutterstock

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Singapore’s Stock Exchange Clarifies Rules for Listed Firms Issuing ICOs

Singapore Exchange (SGX) has clarified the rules for publicly listed companies planning to conduct initial coin offerings (ICOs).

In a column published Thursday, Tan Boon Gin, CEO of the stock exchange’s regulatory subsidiary, SGX RegCo, stressed that any tokens launched in an ICO are not listed on the SGX and that these rules are applicable only for the companies themselves.

As per the guidelines, any listed company planning to hold an ICO is required to consult with SGX RegCo in advance, as well as provide a legal opinion on the nature of tokens and an auditor’s opinion on how the ICO should be treated for accounting – both from “reputable” firms.

Companies are also required to make certain disclosures, including the rationale behind the ICO, the risks involved, how the raised funds would be used, planned know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) checks, and any impact on existing shareholders’ rights.

They also need to ensure that ICOs are “properly” accounted for in their financial statements and that associated risks have been addressed.

Further, if the tokens are considered securities under the country’s Securities and Futures Act (SFA), issuers are required to complete prospectus registration and licensing procedures. Firms may also be required to form a subsidiary to carry out the ICO.

Finally, SGX RegCo expects listed issuers of ICOs to “safeguard” their own interests and that of shareholders. “The issuer’s board is ultimately responsible for maintaining a robust system of risk management and internal controls,” Gin said.

Back in August, Y Ventures Group became Singapore’s first public firm to hold an ICO, which aimed to raise $50 million for creating a blockchain-based e-commerce system.

To date, however, no token considered a security has been approved in the country by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), as Damien Pang, head of the MAS technology infrastructure office for fintech and innovation, told CoinDesk at a Consensus conference in September.

SGX image via Shutterstock