European Countries Step Up Response to Facebook’s Libra

European Countries Step Up Response to Facebook’s Libra

The European Central Bank (ECB) and a number of countries in the region have stepped up their efforts in response to Facebook’s Libra, which has revived a competing ECB project for instant payments. As Facebook engages Switzerland’s financial regulator, the ECB clarifies how Libra can be regulated under EU laws. Also read: India’s Popular ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’ Show Gives Crypto a Boost A Wake-Up Call and ECB’s Project Revived Facebook’s proposed Libra digital currency has given governments worldwide a run for their money. European Central Bank board member Benoit Coeure calls Libra “a wake-up call,” after discussing it at last week’s meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Helsinki. Amid concerns over a sovereign threat, 26 regulators worldwide, including the Bank of England and the U.S. Federal Reserve, reportedly met with representatives of Libra in Basel on Monday to discuss the scope and design of Libra. Coeure told the press Friday that Libra had revived efforts of an ECB-backed project for real-time payments in the eurozone, the Target Instant Payment Settlement (TIPS). The project could allow consumers to use electronic cash, directly deposited at the ECB without the need for bank accounts, financial intermediaries or clearing counterparties. Just like with Facebook’s plans, financial intermediaries will be unnecessary in this new ECB system. “TIPS offers final and irrevocable settlement of instant payments in euro, at any time of day and on any day of the year,” the ECB described. The project was launched last year and could last months or even years, Coeure revealed, adding that the technical feasibility remains to be seen and opposition from banks is likely. In addition, “We also need to step up our thinking on a central bank digital currency,” he suggested. France’s Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said last week that the European Union should create a common set of rules for cryptocurrencies to counter the risks posed by Libra. Strong Opposition by France and Germany France and Germany have reportedly agreed to block Libra due to the risks the digital currency could pose to their financial sectors, the French finance ministry said. The two countries jointly issued a statement Friday, stating: France and Germany consider that the Libra project, as set out in Facebook’s blueprint, fails to…

PR: Bitcoin.com Announces Partnership With Telecommunications Manufacturer HTC

PR: Bitcoin.com Announces Partnership With Telecommunications Manufacturer HTC

World’s leading telecom manufacturer strikes a partnership to support wallets and Bitcoin Cash on flagship products to be sold worldwide Taipei, Taiwan — September 16 2019 – Bitcoin.com, one of the world’s oldest and most established cryptocurrency innovators with over 4.5 million wallet holders worldwide, and leading telecommunications manufacturer HTC have announced the beginning of a long-term, mutually beneficial partnership to drive innovation and adoption of crypto technologies. HTC is known for pushing the boundaries of technology with cutting edge, futuristic smartphones, and they have done it again. HTC’s flagship EXODUS 1 smartphone is now the first phone that provides Bitcoin Cash (BCH) support without having to download a BCH wallet from an app store. For existing EXODUS 1 users, updating the software on their devices will provide users with a Bitcoin.com wallet app pre-loaded on their devices. Phil Chen, Decentralized Chief Officer at HTC said, “The EXODUS vision has always aligned itself towards public blockchains and its fundamental transformative nature of the future of money and the Internet. The Zion Vault is happy to support BCH natively in hardware for security to go hand in hand with the BCH blockchain as an alternative to dominant payment rails and platforms.” For Bitcoin.com and HTC, this is the first step in a long journey together. Future plans include rolling out to offer special discounts when paying for phones in BCH, to sell the EXODUS phones on store.bitcoin.com, and many more. Bitcoin.com’s CEO Stefan Rust said, “There are so many synergies between Bitcoin.com and HTC. We are very excited to be on this incredible journey together.” Bitcoin.com’s Executive Chairman Roger Ver also added, “Bitcoin.com’s partnership with HTC will enable Bitcoin Cash to be used as peer- to- peer electronic cash for all the EXODUS users around the world.”About Bitcoin.com Bitcoin.com is supercharged to change the world with Bitcoin Cash (BCH). Our suite of developer tools has been downloaded 36,000+ times from over 100 countries. Our team is the heart and soul of the Bitcoin Cash industry. We’re committed to making BCH available to all people, whatever their age, gender, nationality or financial status. For more information: visit https://www.bitcoin.com/ Contact Email Addresspress@bitcoin.com Supporting Linkhttps://www.bitcoin.com/ About HTC EXODUS & Zion Vault: HTC’s Project EXODUS is a smartphone solution that…

Facebook’s David Marcus Responds to Critics Over Libra ‘Threat’

Facebook’s David Marcus Responds to Critics Over Libra ‘Threat’

The head of Facebook’s Calibra – the entity created by Facebook to provide financial services including a digital wallet for the planned Libra cryptocurrency – has spoken out in response to claims from authorities that the project poses a threat to nations’ “monetary sovereignty.” In a Twitter thread on Monday, David Marcus, who co-created Libra, said he wanted to “debunk” that notion – one most notably promoted by France’s Economy and Finance Minister, Bruno Le Maire. Le Maire said last Thursday that, with Libra, “The monetary sovereignty of states is under states is under threat,” and further threatened to block the project’s development in the EU. Marcus said that Libra will be “backed 1:1 by a basket of strong currencies. This means that for any unit of Libra to exist, there must be the equivalent value in its reserve.” As such, Libra will not be creating new money. That function will “strictly remain the province of sovereign nations,” he said. The Calibra chief further clarified that Libra is being built to be a “better” payment network utilizing national currencies, and “delivering meaningful value to consumers all around the world.” Marcus welcomed the attention from regulators, however, saying: “We believe strong regulatory oversight preventing the Libra Association from deviating from its full 1:1 backing commitment is desirable.“ His comments come as a group of 26 central banks – including the European Central Bank, the U.S. Federal Reserve and the Bank of England – meets in Switzerland to grill the Libra Association over the scope and design of the project. In the thread, Marcus also pledged to continue working with “central banks, regulators, and lawmakers to ensure we address their concerns through Libra’s design and operations.” David Marcus image via CoinDesk archives

Harbor Tokenizes Real Estate Funds Worth $100 Million on Ethereum

Harbor Tokenizes Real Estate Funds Worth $100 Million on Ethereum

Harbor has pivoted from helping companies issue security tokens to helping them tokenize existing securities. Announced Monday, the startup has created tokens on the ethereum blockchain representing the shares of four real estate funds worth $100 million. The move is intended to make these private securities easier to trade for the 1,100 investors that hold them, along with 17 broker-dealers and 17 placement agents that work with the funds’ manager, iCap Equity. “For years, we’ve been looking for ways to create the best investment experience we can and for us that means providing liquidity for them,” said Chris Christensen, CEO of Bellevue, Washington-based iCap. The news also represents a strategic shift for Harbor, from helping clients raise funds by selling security tokens to providing an infrastructure layer for such instruments. Harbor “evolved from crowdfunding and tokens to being the Salesforce.com” of the security token industry, said Josh Stein, CEO of San Francisco-based Harbor. Initially, the company tried to build tokens backed by real-world assets. It reckoned that if investors were interested in initial coin offerings (ICOs) issued by projects with only a promise, they would “be excited” for backed tokens, Stein said. However, he added: “The overlap between investors demanding tokens and investors interested in security tokens was zero. People were buying tokens but they weren’t buying it to invest, they were buying it to speculate.” Last year, Harbor partnered with DRW Holdings’ real estate wing to facilitate the sale of nearly 1,000 tokenized shares in an apartment building. However, the deal fell apart earlier this year due to issues between the mortgage lender and issuer. Lockup period Harbor is providing a user platform for the investors, broker-dealers and advisors, which includes a private marketplace they can use to trade the securities. Christensen said the funds are “high-yield, [which] usually requires a lockup” under which investors contractually cannot sell their shares for three to five years. “We just knew if we can provide measured liquidity for them and allow us to continue our business model [but] allow them to … exit as needed, that would be cutting-edge,” he said. Typically, iCap investors buy securities and commit to the multi-year lockup. However, investors could need their money back before that period ended, Christensen explained. Under its…

Deutsche Bank Joins JPMorgan’s Crypto Payments Network

Deutsche Bank Joins JPMorgan’s Crypto Payments Network

JPMorgan’s blockchain-based payments initiative has added Deutsche Bank as its latest member. The addition brings the total number of banks signed up for the Interbank Information Network (IIN) to 320, according to a report from the Financial Times on Sunday. Announced in October 2017, IIN is built on Quorum, the ethereum-based blockchain network developed by the banking giant, and employs a stablecoin dubbed JPM Coin. JPMorgan said at the time that the platform would slash the time and costs required when resolving interbank payments delays. IIN saw the start of remittance trials with JPMorgan’s client banks in June. As per the FT report, the bulk of the member banks use JPMorgan to process USD payments. Deutsche Bank, though, ranks number one globally for clearing of euro-denominated payments. Takis Georgakopoulos, managing director of treasury services at JPMorgan, told the newspaper that, since IIN would have “very big natural limitations” if IIN members were only drawn from the bank’s client pool, the addition of Deutsche Bank “is going to help us drive towards ubiquity.” IIN brings efficiencies by writing all the data on payments a shared ledger, thus allowing problematic payments to be resolved more quickly and with less manual processes, said Deutsche Bank’s global head of cash management, Ole Matthiessen. With his bank having recently cut back its investment banking business and now relying more on transaction banking, he said joining IIN is “an important step” that would reduce Deutsche’s costs and also allow it to offer better services to clients. Matthiessen added that IIN’s plan to have 400 members by the end of 2019 is on track, and that other major banking members are likely to be announced very soon. Deutsche Bank image via Shutterstock

Bitcoin Price Drops $200 in Minutes as $10.2K Support Shows Cracks

Bitcoin Price Drops $200 in Minutes as $10.2K Support Shows Cracks

Bitcoin (BTC) price suddenly dropped by roughly $200 in minutes on Sept. 16 as commentators nevertheless revealed broad belief that upwards growth is imminent.  Market visualization. Source: Coin360 Bitcoin price should eye $10,700 to spark uptrend Data from Coin360 revealed a rare period of almost level trading for Bitcoin overnight, having spent the weekend trading in a narrow corridor between $10,175 and $10,435.  Press time levels of $10,160 nonetheless showed a lack of support for $10,300, which had characterized the largest cryptocurrency since Sept. 13. Previously, a more volatile week saw highs of $10,900 and lows of $9,950. Bitcoin seven-day price chart. Source: Coin360 Now, however, analysts believe the status quo is due for another shake-up. As oil prices grew on Monday in the wake of tensions in Saudi Arabia, Skew Markets noted Bitcoin was unusually less volatile than the black gold.  This style of behavior, DTAP Capital founder Dan Tapeiro argued, was unlikely to last much longer.  “Bitcoin chart is very close to upside breakup. Strong close over 10,700 trendline should really accelerate,” he wrote in a Twitter update on Monday.  Fellow trader and Bitcoin.Live contributor Chronis cited current volatility chart readings as historically sparking significant Bitcoin price moves. Cointelegraph contributor Filb Filb likewise saw the potential for rougher conditions, arguing on his Telegram channel that BTC/USD must close above $10,200 to guarantee support for a rebound.  On fiat markets meanwhile, analyst Holger Zschaepitz noted, it was oil-producing nations’ currencies that gained from the Saudi worries, while those of consumer states dropped as oil prices increased and output fell 5%.  Altcoins fall flat against sudden Ether pump Altcoins produced a mixed bag for investors at the start of the week. Against Bitcoin’s flat moves, many of the top twenty cryptocurrencies saw light losses of up to 1.5%. Bucking the trend was the largest altcoin Ether (ETH), which put in daily gains of 2.4% to hit $194. Having previously languished at $170, Monday’s rate was its strongest since mid-August. Ether seven-day price chart. Source: Coin360 The overall cryptocurrency market cap stood at $267 billion, with Bitcoin making up 69.5% of the total. Keep track of top crypto markets in real time here

Joe Lubin: Only Conceptions of Bitcoin and Ethereum Were ‘Immaculate’

Joe Lubin: Only Conceptions of Bitcoin and Ethereum Were ‘Immaculate’

Ethereum (ETH) co-founder and ConsenSys CEO Joe Lubin has characterized both Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum’s conceptions as being “immaculate.”  Lubin made his remark during a panel with Vitalik Buterin and Yoni Assia at the Ethereal Summit Tel Aviv on Sept. 15, according to live reporting from eToro analyst Mati Greenspan on Twitter. Twin titans To a seasoned ear, Lubin’s comment pointedly reproduces a phrase previously used by staunch Bitcoin maximalists in reference to the conceptual and technological elegance of Satoshi’s invention and to the equally shrewd choice of timing for the publication of its white paper.  His sleight of hand in extending this characterization to Ethereum’s founding could rattle the Bitcoiners’ cage, with Lubin’s tacit point preempted and contextualized by his co-panelists Assia and Buterin, the first of whom remembered how: “Back then [in 2013], the Bitcoin community was very maximalist and said that things like tokenization were impossible.” To which Buterin added:  “That was very disheartening because I thought we were all on the same team. In a lot of ways though it was fine because it gave us some breathing room. Because there’s already Bitcoin as a store of value but for Ethereum it gave us a more clear use case because we didn’t have to try to be hard money.” All three panelists are reported to have positioned themselves non-tribally as “decentralized protocol maximalists.” Ether’s annunciation  Bitcoin maximalism is, especially in the current cryptocurrency market climate, alive and well — with many analysts isolating the top coin from other cryptocurrencies and focusing instead on its interaction with the traditional financial sector at a time of significant macroeconomic upheaval. Against this somewhat fashionable signalling of the death knell for altcoins, a summer 2019 report from institutional crypto exchange San Francisco Open Exchange proposed that Ether is arguably no longer an altcoin as it “is coming into its own as a blockchain that is publicly recognized as an asset on its own terms, much like Bitcoin.” Many cryptocurrency traders remain more skeptical, as Ether continues to hover below the $200 mark. Earlier today, technical analyst and trader Michaël van de Poppe quipped on Ethereum finally showing bullish signs: “So, does anybody know how the flippening is going?  Not even close, right?  Good old days…

$250K Bitcoin Price Prediction Is Now ‘Conservative,’ Says Tim Draper

$250K Bitcoin Price Prediction Is Now ‘Conservative,’ Says Tim Draper

Major Bitcoin (BTC) bull Tim Draper now thinks that his own prediction that BTC price will hit $250,000 by 2022 may be understating the power of Bitcoin. BTC price to grow with adoption In an interview with crypto news network Blocktv on Sept. 13, the famous American venture capital investor has once again expressed his bullish stance to Bitcoin, forecasting the soon-to-come mass global adoption that will push the price of Bitcoin higher and higher. Draper stated in the interview: “$250,000 means that Bitcoin would then have about a 5% market share of the currency world and I think that maybe understating the power of Bitcoin.” Bitcoin still too complex  According to Draper, people are still preferring fiat money over Bitcoin so far because fiat money seems to be an easier option to pay for services. The VC billionaire argued that Bitcoin’s lack of ease of use is the main impediment of the cryptocurrency to the mass adoption to date, claiming that “engineers have not made it that easy enough for everyone to use Bitcoin.” However, in the longer term, people will have Bitcoin as the currency of choice because fiat currencies are subject to political influence due to its centralized nature and they will depreciate in value due to a natural inflation rate, Draper said.  He also reiterated his stance that Argentina will be a great market for Bitcoin as a number of local entrepreneurs tend to lose their fortune in local fiat currency due to currency manipulation and devaluation. Still, even in countries such as the United States, people will generally want a currency that is trusted and decentralized over a currency controlled by entities like the Federal Reserve, which can be very political, Draper concluded. Draper’s new claims follow his recent forecast that there might be a slight delay in Bitcoin’s path to a $250,000 price.  On Aug. 9, the investor predicted that Bitcoin price will hit the threshold by Q1 2023. On Sept. 9, Draper joined the board of directors of EOS-based decentralized application (DApp) firm MakeSense Labs.

Bitcoin’s Record Hash Rate May Hint at Price Gains to Come

Bitcoin’s Record Hash Rate May Hint at Price Gains to Come

View With the hash rate or miner’s confidence hitting record highs, bitcoin’s three-day narrowing price range looks set to end with a bullish breakout. A range breakout would open the doors to $10,956 – the bearish lower high created on Aug. 20. A break below Friday’s low of $10,154 would confirm a range breakdown and could yield a sell-off to $9,855 (Sept. 11 low). Bitcoin’s latest bout of consolidation may end up with bullish breakout, as a key metric of miner confidence has hit all-time highs. The top cryptocurrency by market value has clocked lower daily highs and higher daily lows over the last three days and is currently trading at $10,300 on Bitstamp, little changed on a 24-hour basis. The cryptocurrency has charted the narrowing price range amid a surge in non-price metrics including a rise in the network’s hash rate – a measure of the computing power dedicated to mining bitcoin. Notably, the two-week average hash rate reached a record high of 85 exahashes per second (EH/s) around 19:00 UTC on Friday. Further, mining difficulty – a measure of how hard it is to create a block of transactions – also jumped to a new all-time high of nearly 12 trillion. Hash rate can be considered a barometer of miners’ confidence in the bitcoin price rally. After all, they are more likely to dedicate more resources to the computer intensive process that secures the network and processes transactions if they are bullish on price. Miners would likely scale back operations if a price slide is expected. Hence, many observers, including the likes of Changpeng Zhao, CEO of Binance, and former Wall Street trader and journalist Max Keiser believe prices follow hash rate. Zhao tweeted on Friday that, a rising hash rate means “more miners are investing in BTC,” while few other observers stated that sellers should think twice before betting against the most secure blockchain (the higher the hash rate of a cryptocurrency network, the more expensive it is to attack). It is worth noting, though, that the market is divided on the relationship between price and hash rate. Some observers believe the hash rate follows price and the metric’s stellar performance represents overtly exuberant miners. That said, the price is likely to…

OKEX Korea Drops 5 Privacy Coins Citing FATF Rules

OKEX Korea Drops 5 Privacy Coins Citing FATF Rules

Regulatory pressure on cryptocurrency exchanges to stop providing users with access to so-called privacy coins is growing. The South Korean arm of the Malta-based OKEX exchange announced early on Monday that it is to delist five cryptocurrencies that provide extra privacy features for users. From Oct. 10, the exchange will no longer support trading in Monero (XMR), dash, zcash (ZEC), horizen (ZEN) and super bitcoin (SBTC). In its notice, OKEX Korea said it will delist cryptocurrencies that “violate laws or regulations [and] policies of government agencies and major agencies.” Specifically, in this case, it cited the “travel rule” recommendation to national regulators from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) as the reason for pulling the five coins. The exchange said that as per FATF’s rule, “it is recommended that exchanges be able to collect relevant information such as the name and address of the sender and recipient of the virtual asset.” As such, it had decided to delist the cryptocurrencies that did not allow that data to be obtained. The U.K. arm of Coinbase also dropped support for zcash in August, likely due to the need to identify users when required by authorities. This summer, FATF finalized its recommendations to its 37 member nations, including a controversial requirement that “virtual asset service providers” (VASPs), including cryptocurrency exchanges, pass information about their customers to one another when transferring funds between firms. The so-called travel rule has been a requirement for international banks when sending each other money on customers’ behalf for some time, but has been described as onerous for blockchain firms and harmful to user privacy. The global anti-money laundering body gave members 12 months to implement the new recommendations that, while not mandatory, could see nations not complying put on a finance blacklist. Since June, compliance solutions providers in the crypto space have been moving to launch systems aimed to help exchanges pass each other the required data. OKEX Korea said that customers have until Dec. 10 to withdraw any of the five delisted coins from the platform. Monero image via Shutterstock