Crypto Exchange Bithumb Seeks US Listing via Reverse Merger Deal

Crypto Exchange Bithumb Seeks US Listing via Reverse Merger Deal

Bithumb, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges by trading volume, is looking to go public in the U.S. through a reverse-merger route. Blockchain Industries, an investment firm focusing on the crypto and blockchain industry and traded on the U.S over-the-counter markets, announced Tuesday that it had signed a binding letter of intent (LoI) agreement with Singapore-based BTHMB Holdings, the holding company of Bithumb, for the reverse merger deal. A reverse merger is also known as a reverse initial public offering (IPO), wherein a private company acquires a publicly-listed company to bypass the lengthy and complex process of a conventional IPO. Once the deal comes through, the combined entity would be known as Blockchain Exchange Alliance (BXA), potentially becoming the first U.S.-listed crypto exchange. Both parties aim to complete the deal by Mar. 1, according to the announcement. BTHMB Holdings has already agreed to put $1 million into an escrow account towards the agreement and it is subject to review by the parties involved. Patrick Moynihan, CEO of Blockchain Industries, said that the deal is expected to bring “liquidity, accessibility and expansion” to the blockchain sector, adding: “By merging with BTHMB/BXA, we expect to bring more advanced technology and better compliance practices into the public marketplace via a consolidated focus.” Through this deal, BTHMB Holdings plans to expand its business operations in North America, the statement states. The news comes months after Bithumb sold over 38 percent of its stake to a consortium based in Singapore owned by a plastic surgeon Byung Gun Kim, for about $350 million. Kim, in Tuesday’s statement, said: “By unifying our businesses, we benefit from the focused expertise of Blockchain Industries. As a result, … we expect quality results from this merger.” In June 2018, Bithumb was hacked for nearly $31 million in cryptocurrency. Later the same month, the exchange claimed that it had reduced the losses to $17 million after retrieving some of the funds. In a similar development last year, billionaire investor Michael Novogratz also chose a reverse takeover route by merging his crypto merchant bank Galaxy Digital with a Toronto’s TSX Venture Exchange-listed shell company Bradmer Pharmaceuticals, to get listed in Canada. Bithumb image via Shutterstock

Presidential Candidate John McAfee Flees U.S. for Alleged Tax Fraud

Presidential Candidate John McAfee Flees U.S. for Alleged Tax Fraud

News U.S. presidential candidate John McAfee announced on Tuesday that he has fled the country. According to McAfee’s recent Twitter video he’s “living in exile” on a boat because he’s been charged with felonies handed down by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Also Read: Former Mt Gox CEO Reflects on Incarceration in Japan While Facing More Prison Time Crypto Figurehead John McAfee Is on the Run The former antivirus tycoon and cryptocurrency advocate John McAfee says he’s got problems with the U.S. tax agency the IRS. McAfee recently explained in a video that he was charged for “using cryptocurrencies in criminal acts” by Tennessee court officials. McAfee also detailed that four members of his 2020 presidential campaign have also been charged with “unspecified charges of a felonious nature” and his wife as well. “I have not paid taxes for eight years and I have made no secret of it,” McAfee emphasized while sitting on a rocking boat. John McAfee says a grand jury in Tennessee is looking to charge him and his entourage with tax fraud. “They want to silence me and I will not allow that,” McAfee continued. “I am running my campaign in exile on this boat for the duration — I will not allow them to imprison me and shut my voice down, which they will do immediately — Why? I am a flight risk. Obviously, I am in flight,” McAfee remarked. Today, crypto community, we are at war, and I am on the frontlines. McAfee’s Recent Anti-Taxation Statements May Have Made Him a Target The infamous cryptocurrency proponent has been known for being brutally honest and makes statements about digital currencies nearly every day. McAfee’s video also refers to prior statements concerning taxation such as the first week of January when he told his 890,000 Twitter followers that he refuses to pay taxes to the government. The candidate also said he was a prime target for the IRS and seemingly dared the agency to come after him by saying “here I am.” McAfee further stated that taxation is illegal and he’s “paid tens of millions already and received jack shit in services.”     “I’m done making money and I live off of cash from McAfee Incorporated — My net income is negative,”…

Hollywood Actor Kevin Connolly Directs New Television Pilot ‘Cryptos’

Hollywood Actor Kevin Connolly Directs New Television Pilot ‘Cryptos’

News The North American Bitcoin Conference in Miami had a surprise visit last Thursday when Kevin Connolly, the actor from the HBO series “Entourage,” announced a new television show called “Cryptos” is under development. Connolly hopes the new show will help the public better understand the innovative cryptocurrency ecosystem. Also Read: Peer-to-Peer Trading Platform Bitquick Implements Bitcoin Cash Support Entourage Actor and Blockchain Advocates Begin Pre Production of Cryptos Digital currency fans will be intrigued to hear about a new television show called Cryptos, a series that’s currently being directed by the Hollywood actor Kevin Connolly. The story follows a young startup trying to launch a cryptocurrency-fueled entertainment platform. The series will also feature Kevin Connolly, who is known for his role as Eric E Murphy in Entourage. Connolly has also agreed to direct the cryptocurrency-focused show’s episodes. The cofounders of the Academy School of Blockchain, Jason King and Erik Sords, are also co-producing the series. King is well known for helping start the Florida-based homeless shelter Sean’s Outpost in Pensacola, an initiative that’s been powered by cryptocurrency donations. News.Bitcoin.com spoke with King about the show and he explained how he got involved. “The series is being produced by American Cinema International and we’re currently in pre-production at the moment,” King told news.Bitcoin.com. “I came on board about six months ago after reading the pilot and I helped develop the story architecture for the first season — We hope to start filming in May.” Kevin Connolly is an actor and director known for the HBO series Entourage (2004), Entourage (2015), and the movie The Notebook (2004).Producers Hope to Bring Cryptocurrencies to the Mainstream While Providing a Robust Storyline of Relationships and Friendships Meanwhile, in real life Erik Sords is in the midst of developing a “decentralized global studio” called Dionysia in L.A. The “Cryptos” show reflects how hard it is to finance movies, forcing the group of friends to fund a project using digital currencies in order to create a peer-to-peer film studio, much like the Dionysia concept. In a recent interview, the show’s actor and director Connolly thinks people are scared to conceptualize cryptocurrencies because of “a lack of understanding.” “People like myself are still learning, but the curiosity is there,” Connolly added. The Entourage series actor continued:…

Hong Kong Hardware Manufacturer Releases Mining GPU for New Privacy-Oriented Coin

Hong Kong Hardware Manufacturer Releases Mining GPU for New Privacy-Oriented Coin

Hong Kong-based computer hardware manufacturer Sapphire has announced a new graphics card for mining the recently-launched GRIN Coin, according to an official press release published on Jan. 22. The SAPPHIRE RX 570 16GB HDMI Blockchain Graphics Card is one of the first of a “new family” that will support mining of the new GRIN Coin. GRIN, which was released earlier this month, is a privacy-oriented token that is touted as a fully decentralized and democratized digital asset. The token is based on mimblewimble technology, which in theory grants users in the network with solid anonymity, by encrypting the value of a transaction using “blinding factors.” The new graphics processing unit (GPU) from Sapphire will purportedly be able to solve the Cuckoo Cycle algorithm which forms the basis of Grin’s proof-of-work (PoW). According to Sapphire, the RX 570 is “one of the few solutions that can efficiently mine Cuckatoo 31+, as a result there will be fewer users on the network leading to higher rewards for early miners.” Sapphire’s Global Vice-President of Marketing Adrian Thompson said, “Future products will include new 16GB Graphics additions’ to SAPPHIRE’s line of INCA and MGI Series of dedicated blockchain systems.” According to the press release, the GPU is not currently available for sale, but will eventually be released on the company’s website. Earlier this week, research published by the Bank for International Settlement (BIS) stated that Bitcoin’s (BTC) problems are only solvable by departing from a PoW system. According to the BIS when Bitcoin’s block rewards fall to zero in the future — as only a limited number of new bitcoins will be created — only transaction fees can sustain mining expenses. BIS’s argument implies that the Bitcoin network would become so slow that it would be unusable. The report states: “Simple calculations suggest that once block rewards are zero, it could take months before a Bitcoin payment is final, unless new technologies are deployed to speed up payment finality.”

Current Crypto Bear Market Set to Become the Longest Ever

Current Crypto Bear Market Set to Become the Longest Ever

Markets and Prices The market downturn that has prevailed since early 2018 is now within weeks of becoming the longest winter in the history of the cryptocurrency markets. Despite being on course to become the longest downtrend in BTC’s annals, the current market has produced the weakest drawdown of the three major bear trends experienced by BTC so far. Also Read: How to Buy Bitcoin Anonymously Cryptocurrency Markets Within One Month of Comprising Longest Downtrend Ever On Jan. 16, 2019, CNBC’s Ran Neuner tweeted that the 2018/2019 bear trend had entered its 390th day – just 30 fewer days than the entirety of the 2014/2015 bear trend, which he estimates lasted 420 days. While the exact length of a bear trend is hard to precisely quantify, the tweet highlights the length and intensity of the prevailing cryptocurrency downtrend. When counting from BTC’s all-time high of approximately $19,700 on Dec. 17, 2017, it has been 401 days since the start of the current downtrend. As of the recent low of roughly $3,100, the current bear market has resulted in a drawdown of up to to 84 percent on the price of BTC. 2014 Bear Market Comprises Longest and Bloodiest to Date When counting from record highs preceding 2017 until the low of the following trend, the 2014/2015 bear market appears to have lasted 410 days. On Nov. 30, 2013, prices peaked at a record high of roughly $1,180, precipitated by a lengthy downtrend that finally capitulated on Jan. 14, 2015 when prices crashed to post a local low of $155 – a drawdown of 87 percent. The first significant bear trend in BTC’s history lasted from 162 days from Jun. 9, 2011 until Nov. 18, 2011. After starting the year trading for just $0.30, BTC rallied to post a then-record high of $29.58 during early June. The markets would then lose nearly 93 percent over the course of little more than five months, with the bear trend easing after hitting $2.14 on Nov. 18, 2011. Do you think the current trend will become the longest in cryptocurrency history? Share your thoughts in the comments section below! Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Tradingview, 99bitcoins At Bitcoin.com there’s a bunch of free helpful services. For instance, have you seen our…

50 Cut as $60 Million Blockchain Project Nebulas Lays Off 60% of Staff

50 Cut as $60 Million Blockchain Project Nebulas Lays Off 60% of Staff

The company behind the Nebulas blockchain project has gone from a team of 80 people to just 30, CoinDesk has learned. After gaining attention in August for its decision to delay its token distribution, including holding onto founder tokens for a period of 10 years, the company has undergone a series of layoffs that have seen peripheral elements of its roadmap shelved, at least pending a recovery in the market for Nebulas’ NAS token. “One of the reasons was the market price kept going down,” Becky Lu, a spokesperson for the company, told CoinDesk. NAS, meant to power a protocol that is itself seeking to measure and score other blockchains, debuted at $2, but is currently selling for a little more than a quarter of that price now, according to CoinMarketCap. Once a top-100 cryptocurrency, the market cap of the NAS token is currently $25.7 million. Lu said the layoffs at the company began last summer, impacting its largely Beijing-based team. The company, she said, also wanted to tighten its strategic focus: “Another reason we decided to cut off the unimportant projects like third-party wallets [was that they are] not core to the main tech visions mentioned in the [Nebulas] white paper. So the dev team of that project was first impacted.” The news is the latest that hints at the extent to which a downturn in the broader cryptocurrency market is hurting companies in the blockchain industry – following layoffs at ConsenSys, Bitmain, ShapeShift and BlockEx. That said, the cutbacks at Nebulas, with more than 60 percent of staff being shown the door, have been some of the most dramatic reported yet. Two years’ runway Lu would not say whether treasury management had been an issue, though it’s notable the cuts came just seven months after the team raised $60 million in its token sale. Nebulas has continued to make progress despite setbacks, issuing various incentive programs for community members and developers. At the end of 2018, the company launched its NOVA testnet, which measures the quality of data on blockchains. More detail can be seen in CEO Hitters Xu’s 2018 year in review post on Medium. Lu now estimates the team to have enough runaway for two years, suggesting the project will have time to make additional…

Bakkt Makes Initial Hiring Push for Bitcoin Futures Exchange

Bakkt Makes Initial Hiring Push for Bitcoin Futures Exchange

Ahead of its hotly anticipated launch, bitcoin futures exchange Bakkt has launched a hiring campaign. Eight new job posting were published Tuesday on the company’s website. Bakkt is looking for several experienced software developers, including mobile and blockchain developers; an institutional sales manager with experience in North America or Asia; and three higher-level positions including a director of finance, director of security engineering and director for blockchain engineering. An institutional-grade regulated exchange for crypto derivatives founded by the Intercontinental Exchange (the New York Stock Exchange’s parent company), Bakkt was expected to go live on December 12 last year, but the launch was postponed twice. It was initially delayed to until January 24, with the company citing a need for “additional time for customer and clearing member onboarding.” It is now delayed indefinitely while the exchange waits for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to grant an exemption for Bakkt’s plan to custody bitcoin on behalf of its clients. The ongoing government shutdown has contributed to the delay. The CFTC needs at least 30 days for a public comment period, plus however much time may be needed to review the comments and make a decision once this period concludes. It is unclear when this comment period may begin. However, Bakkt’s team hasn’t been sitting idly by waiting for the green light: it closed a $182.5-million funding round and acquired “certain assets” belonging to Rosenthal Collins Group (RCG), an independent futures commission merchant, earlier this month. The deal, involving RCG’s staff and technology, was supposed to help Bakkt improve its risk management, anti-money-laundering (AML), know-your-customer (KYC) and treasury operations, Bakkt CEO Kelly Loeffler said in announcing the acquisition. Her most prominent hire to date has been Adam White, one of the longest-serving employees at industry unicorn Coinbase, who joined Bakkt as chief operating officer last year. From left: CoinDesk advisory board chairman Michael Casey, Bakkt CEO Kelly Loeffler and Intercontinental Exchange CEO Jeff Sprecher at Consensus: Invest 2018. Image via CoinDesk archives

Former Mt Gox CEO Reflects on Incarceration in Japan While Facing More Prison Time

Former Mt Gox CEO Reflects on Incarceration in Japan While Facing More Prison Time

News The infamous Mark Karpeles, former CEO of the now defunct bitcoin exchange Mt Gox, appeared in an exposé interview on Monday and publicly discussed how he tolerated Japanese jail. Karpeles explained how he’s been accused of financial misconduct in a land that has a 99 percent conviction rate and he wouldn’t wish his experience on anyone. Also Read: Peer-to-Peer Trading Platform Bitquick Implements Bitcoin Cash Support Mark Karpeles Speaks of Japan’s “Hostage Justice” in Latest Interview This week, Mark Karpeles spoke in an interview about his experience in a Japanese jail after being charged by the Tokyo court system for embezzlement tethered to the Mt Gox operations. When Karpeles was the chief executive of the Tokyo exchange Mt Gox, the trading platform lost approximately 850,000 bitcoins that belonged to customers. At the time, the loss represented nearly 6 percent of the bitcoins in circulation. Roughly 200,000 coins were eventually “found” and Karpeles and the company filed for bankruptcy on Feb. 28, 2014. Mark Karpeles tells CNN he is a victim of Japan’s “hostage justice” system. A year later, Karpeles was arrested for allegedly changing important data within the Mt Gox computer system and was later arrested again and charged with embezzling $3 million from the company. Karpeles has maintained his innocence the entire time, but did time in jail and was released on bail as long as he doesn’t leave the country. Speaking in his recent interview, the former exchange operator gives his account of some of the injustice he allegedly faced during his jail time and interrogation. Karpeles says he wouldn’t wish the experience on his worst enemy and even “humanity’s worst enemy.” Karpeles must not leave Japan and he faces a verdict this March. “There’s a very big feeling of powerlessness — Whatever you do, there’s nothing you can do,” says Karpeles during his CNN interview. Karpeles took detailed notes of his 12 months in Japanese jail and explained that Japanese police interrogated him for 50 days straight, up to 8 hours a day without his lawyer. Soon Karpeles expects to hear a verdict on his charges in a country where the conviction rate is 99 percent. Karpeles adds: The more you try and deny being guilty the harsher it gets. Karpeles says he has…

What We Learned in 100 Crypto Talks With Institutional Investors

What We Learned in 100 Crypto Talks With Institutional Investors

Jeff Dorman, partner at crypto asset management firm Arca Funds, spent 18 years on Wall Street and in fintech before turning his focus to developing crypto asset strategies and products.  This article originally appeared in ‘Institutional Crypto,’ a weekly CoinDesk newsletter focused on the nexus of Wall Street and crypto assets. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own.  —————— Through meetings with over 100 institutional investors over the past four months from California to New York, one thing has stood out most − an overwhelmingly positive response. These endowments, family offices, pensions and other institutions are enthusiastic about crypto assets despite an overall pullback in crypto valuations upwards of 75 percent from their all-time highs. This is remarkable. Though the majority of these investors want to dip their toes in the crypto pool, they come from varying backgrounds and have different levels of knowledge: Those just beginning their crypto educational journey Those that didn’t have a “crypto specific mandate,” but are evaluating crypto managers in the same way they evaluate all emerging fund managers Those that are well versed in crypto, and considering an immediate allocation. Not surprisingly, each category of investors had different questions and goals. The ‘Beginning’ Investors Learning a new industry can be daunting. The typical learning curve looks something like this: Phase I: The first time you hear about blockchain or crypto –> Skepticism Phase II: You spend the next six months researching and learning –> Optimistic but confused Phase III: You spend the next 12 months going deeper down the rabbit hole until you want to dedicate the next 20 years to this new technology –> Passion and full adoption Most investors considering digital assets are somewhere between “Phase I” and “Phase II” and, even if they weren’t thinking of allocating, it was not uncommon to hear some variation of “crypto is hard to ignore right now.” Two points resonate universally with this group: You’re 100% long the financial system right now! Even if you moved to 100 percent cash across all of your investments, you are still 100 percent long the financial system (via the banking system). As we saw in the 2008 banking crisis, 2011 European sovereign crisis and the 2018 emerging market currency crisis,…

Xapo Transfers Key Operations to Switzerland

Xapo Transfers Key Operations to Switzerland

News Global crypto services provider Xapo is moving major operations from its base in Hong Kong to its office in Switzerland. The company is incorporated in the Asian financial hub but that may also change soon due to the friendlier business environment in the Alpine nation. Also read: Russian Institutions Back Proposal to Let Companies Use Cryptocurrency Wallet Customer Services to Be Based in Zug Xapo is a major player in the cryptocurrency industry offering wallet and cold storage services for digital assets as well as a virtual bitcoin debit card. It’s currently headquartered in Hong Kong but it has maintained a presence in Switzerland since 2015, when the company opened an office in the Canton of Zug. Zug, SwitzerlandIn a move driven by Switzerland’s crypto-friendly regulatory climate, Xapo is now transferring a major portion of its operations to the Swiss Crypto Valley. The decision concerns its non-U.S. bitcoin wallet customer services, while traditional cash accounts will continue to be managed from London. “It was once thought that Hong Kong was the holy grail of crypto regulations. But it has become more opaque,” Xapo president Ted Rogers told Swissinfo during the World Web Forum in Zurich. The executive further elaborated: It’s a reality of this industry that you have to be agile and react to regulatory changes all the time. Swiss regulators are smart, interested and sophisticated in dealing with the financial markets … Nothing has changed my belief that Switzerland is the right place for a blockchain or crypto project. Xapo is incorporated in Hong Kong but Rogers revealed its status is now “an open question.” He did not go into details about what the restructuring would bring to Switzerland but at the moment his company has around 250 employees around the world, while less than 10 are working in its Zug office. According to a report from last May, Xapo held over 6.25 percent of all BTC in circulation. At the time, when bitcoin core was trading at over $9,000 per coin, the digital cash was worth over $10 billion. It’s believed the cryptocurrency is stored in a former military bunker in the Swiss Alps. Xapo to Offer New Crypto Debit Cards Switzerland has gradually become a leading European destination for crypto and…