NYSE Operator’s Crypto Platform Bakkt Finalizes Its First Acquisition

NYSE Operator’s Crypto Platform Bakkt Finalizes Its First Acquisition

Bakkt, the much-anticipated digital assets platform operated by the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), has closed its first acquisition, a tweet from the company revealed Feb. 8. The move marks the finalization of an acquisition of assets in futures commission merchant Rosenthal Collins Group (RCG). “With today’s closing of our transaction with Rosenthal Collins Group, we welcome great new team members to Bakkt,” the statement reads. By acquiring certain assets in the company, Bakkt said it hopes: “RCG’s remarkable heritage, culture and expertise will help us build out a trusted institutional infrastructure for digital assets.” Bakkt had announced the acquisition of assets in RCG in mid-January. As the company’s CEO, Kelly Loeffler, explained at the time, the acquisition means that the company is slowing down operations while awaiting regulatory approval by the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) for the launch of regulated trading in crypto markets. Loeffler also added that the acquisition will allegedly expand Bakkt’s risk management and treasury operations with systems and expertise, and might contribute to Bakkt’s Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and know your customer (KYC) policies. On Thursday, Feb 7, ICE — the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange and over 20 other major exchanges — had its Q4 2018 earnings call. During the hour-long call, ICE CFO Scott Hill mentioned Bakkt, saying the firm’s investment in the digital assets platform “will generate $20 million to $25 million of expense based upon the run rate in the first quarter.” Later in the call, ICE’s chairman and CEO, Jeff Sprecher, called Bakkt a “moonshot bet.” As Cointelegraph previously reported, Bakkt was first announced by ICE in August 2018. In late December, ICE reported it will update the launch of the Bakkt Bitcoin (USD) Daily Futures Contract launch timeline in early 2019, in accordance with the CFTC’s approval process. More recently, Bakkt published a list of eight evidently new vacancies at the company, all of which are based in Atlanta and New York City.

In The Daily: Cointelligence Exchange Rating, Bithumb OTC, Telegram, Ton

In The Daily: Cointelligence Exchange Rating, Bithumb OTC, Telegram, Ton

In the first edition of The Daily this weekend, we cover the details around the launch of a new cryptocurrency exchange rating system by Cointelligence. Also, South Korean exchange Bithumb has announced it’s establishing an OTC trading desk in Hong Kong, and the popular messenger service Telegram has postponed the launch of its TON network until March. Also read: Huobi Adds USD Trading Pairs, Airswap Launches Fiat-to-Crypto Exchange Cointelligence Launches Crypto Exchange Rating System A company specializing in data research and analysis for the crypto economy has recently announced it’s launching a cryptocurrency exchange rating system. Cointelligence, which develops tools for investors, already offers rating services for initial coin offerings (ICOs) and security token offerings (STOs). The new feature will help members of the crypto community find the most reliable digital asset trading platform, the creators promised in a press release. A team of experts from the crypto industry is tasked to produce impartial and accurate reviews of the examined exchanges. They will remain anonymous to prevent the possibility of corruption and harassment. According to Cointelligence, users will be able to check if an exchange is safe and reliable. The company says that only actual and factual improvement of a crypto trading platform can change its rating. Commenting on the launch of the new system, Cointelligence CEO On Yavin stated: We looked around the industry and we didn’t see anyone really doing this. Given the number of hacks and exit scams the exchange industry has seen, we felt this was an important tool to protect the community. Cryptocurrency exchanges will be rated on several main criteria. These include accessibility and usability or the ease of setting up an account; depositing and withdrawing funds and performing trades; and financial benefit which covers applicable fees, market volume, and number of supported cryptocurrencies. The crypto experts will also examine the teams of the platforms and evaluate the associated security risks. Bithumb Global Announces OTC Desk Major South Korean crypto exchange Bithumb has launched a new over-the-counter (OTC) trading platform for institutional clients. In an announcement issued by Bithumb Global, the company said the “block deal, matchmaking service” will be offered under the Ortus brand owned by its Hong Kong-based subsidiary. Institutions that want to take advantage of the…

WATCH: Inside the Museum of Bitcoin: An Interactive Tour of Crypto History

WATCH: Inside the Museum of Bitcoin: An Interactive Tour of Crypto History

We took a tour of the Museum of Bitcoin, a pop-up installation at 2019 North American Bitcoin Conference. With rooms on the Silk Road, Anonymous, Bitcoin Pizza, and more, it was definitely a trip down memory lane. Subscribe to CoinDesk on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/subscription_c… Site: https://www.coindesk.comFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/CoinDeskTwitter: https://www.twitter.com/coindeskInstagram: https://www.Instagram.com/coindeskNewsletter: https://www.coindesk.com/newsletter/Twitter (Markets): https://www.twitter.com/coindeskmarkets CoinDesk is the leading digital media, events and information services company for the crypto asset and blockchain technology community.

The Daily: Cointelligence’s Exchange Rating System, Bithumb Launches OTC Desk

The Daily: Cointelligence’s Exchange Rating System, Bithumb Launches OTC Desk

In the first edition of The Daily this weekend, we cover the details around the launch of a new cryptocurrency exchange rating system by Cointelligence. Also, South Korean exchange Bithumb has announced it’s establishing an OTC trading desk in Hong Kong, and the popular messenger service Telegram has postponed the launch of its TON network until March. Also read: Huobi Adds USD Trading Pairs, Airswap Launches Fiat-to-Crypto Exchange Cointelligence Launches Crypto Exchange Rating System A company specializing in data research and analysis for the crypto economy has recently announced it’s launching a cryptocurrency exchange rating system. Cointelligence, which develops tools for investors, already offers rating services for initial coin offerings (ICOs) and security token offerings (STOs). The new feature will help members of the crypto community find the most reliable digital asset trading platform, the creators promised in a press release. A team of experts from the crypto industry is tasked to produce impartial and accurate reviews of the examined exchanges. They will remain anonymous to prevent the possibility of corruption and harassment. According to Cointelligence, users will be able to check if an exchange is safe and reliable. The company says that only actual and factual improvement of a crypto trading platform can change its rating. Commenting on the launch of the new system, Cointelligence CEO On Yavin stated: We looked around the industry and we didn’t see anyone really doing this. Given the number of hacks and exit scams the exchange industry has seen, we felt this was an important tool to protect the community. Cryptocurrency exchanges will be rated on several main criteria. These include accessibility and usability or the ease of setting up an account; depositing and withdrawing funds and performing trades; and financial benefit which covers applicable fees, market volume, and number of supported cryptocurrencies. The crypto experts will also examine the teams of the platforms and evaluate the associated security risks. Bithumb Global Announces OTC Desk Major South Korean crypto exchange Bithumb has launched a new over-the-counter (OTC) trading platform for institutional clients. In an announcement issued by Bithumb Global, the company said the “block deal, matchmaking service” will be offered under the Ortus brand owned by its Hong Kong-based subsidiary. Institutions that want to take advantage of the…

Argentina’s State Public Transport Card SUBE Accepts Bitcoin

Argentina’s State Public Transport Card SUBE Accepts Bitcoin

Argentinian state public transport card SUBE (Sistema Único de Boleto Electrónico) can now be topped up using Bitcoin (BTC), Cointelegraph in Spanish reported Friday, Feb. 8. Alto Viaje, a platform for adding money to SUBE cards, has partnered with Bitex, which provides blockchain-driven financial services to businesses. As a result of the partnership, the SUBE card can now be funded using BTC, via Alto Viaje’s website. Cointelegraph spoke to Manuel Beaudroit, CMO at Bitex, who said that SUBE — that can be used to travel by train, bus and subway — is used by over seven million people in 37 locations in Argentina. He explained that Alto Viaje has previously  worked with PayPal and Rapipago, an Argentinian digital payments system. Beaudroit further explained that the main goal of the partnership is to give people wider access to “such a revolutionary technology, as Bitcoin.” The technology provider behind SUBE is Argentina’s Nacion Servicios S.A., a subsidiary of Banco de la Nación Argentina, the country’s national bank. As Cointelegraph reported previously, major U.K. public transport provider Go-Ahead Group Plc. has recently partnered with a blockchain startup DOVU to introduce a tokenized rewards system for rail customers. Following the agreement, DOVU will launch a platform, which uses a native  ERC-20 token, DOV, to reward members for sharing their travel data.

WATCH: Inside the Museum of Bitcoin: An Interactive Tour of Crypto’s History

WATCH: Inside the Museum of Bitcoin: An Interactive Tour of Crypto’s History

We took a tour of the Museum of Bitcoin, a pop-up installation at 2019 North American Bitcoin Conference. With rooms on the Silk Road, Anonymous, Bitcoin Pizza, and more, it was definitely a trip down memory lane. Subscribe to CoinDesk on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/subscription_c… Site: https://www.coindesk.comFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/CoinDeskTwitter: https://www.twitter.com/coindeskInstagram: https://www.Instagram.com/coindeskNewsletter: https://www.coindesk.com/newsletter/Twitter (Markets): https://www.twitter.com/coindeskmarkets CoinDesk is the leading digital media, events and information services company for the crypto asset and blockchain technology community.

Funds Were Moving On QuadrigaCX Right Before Its Collapse

Funds Were Moving On QuadrigaCX Right Before Its Collapse

Nearly $1 million worth of ether (ETH) left QuadrigaCX and went to other cryptocurrency exchanges in December, the same month its CEO died, a CoinDesk review of public blockchain data shows. In a series of transactions sent from QuadrigaCX’s hot wallet (meaning one connected to the internet), more than 9,000 ETH moved from the embattled Canadian exchange to accounts at Binance, Bitfinex, Kraken and Poloniex (owned by Circle). The lion’s share – 5,000 ETH – was transferred from Dec. 2 to Dec. 8 – the day before the recorded death in India of QuadrigaCX founder and CEO Gerald Cotten. Most of the ether sent that week (4,550) ended up at Binance. It is unclear whether it was the exchange itself that initiated these transactions, its customers, or some combination. But the flows of funds have come under scrutiny in the crypto community because of the company’s growing troubles. Last week, QuadrigaCX went offline and subsequently filed for creditor protection in the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, saying it owes customers $190 million but cannot find its late founder’s private keys to retrieve crypto held in cold storage. That followed months of customer complaints about withdrawal delays, both for fiat and crypto. But looking at the ethereum blockchain, it is clear that someone was able to move significant amounts of QuadrigaCX as recently as December. (The company did not respond to a request for comment by press time.) Besides ether, QuadrigaCX also held several other currencies on behalf of customers and users have been trying to identify its wallets on the bitcoin and litecoin blockchains. But ethereum is perhaps the easiest blockchain to follow the money in this case. That’s because there is an obvious starting point: address 0x027BEEFcBaD782faF69FAD12DeE97Ed894c68549, labeled as QuadrigaCX’s on the block explorer site Etherscan. (It identifies wallets as belonging to specific companies when they request it, subject to verification.) The money trail The trail starts in June 2017, the last time the publicly identified QuadrigaCX wallet was used. It was emptied into two other addresses. One of the two wallets received 3,000 ETH (around $825,000 at that time) on June 2, 2017. According to Taylor Monahan, founder and CEO of the wallet startup MyCrypto, this wallet is probably a certain user’s deposit…

High School Team Places Third in Barclays Blockchain Challenge Event

High School Team Places Third in Barclays Blockchain Challenge Event

If understanding how distributed ledger tech works inside banks is complex, finding ways to make different varieties of enterprise blockchains talk to each other is a doozy of a challenge. And yet, that’s exactly what a team of high school students – soon to sit their A-Level exams in computer science – has done. The team, from Bedford School in the U.K., won third place in a blockchain interoperability hackathon hosted by London-based blockchain startup Clearmatics at the Barclays Rise fintech hub in London. The challenge set by Clearmatics, which is behind projects such as the Utility Settlement Coin banking consortium, was to use the company’s Ion interoperability protocol to get two blockchains (such as Hyperledger Fabric and ethereum) to exchange data, verify transactions etc. The team of computer science students were up against teams of blockchain experts from banks like Santander and Barclays as well as seasoned startups such as Web3j and Adhara. In a way, the win underscored the diverse level of interest in the technology as well as the generational evolution taking place with new entrants in the ecosystem, so to speak.  Dr. David Wild, head of computer science at Bedford School, said the team knew nothing about enterprise blockchain technology just two days before the event. Drawing on his past experience working with educational software, the teacher suggested a smart contract design to share exam results between schools, exam boards and university admissions bodies, which would do so in a less fragmented and interoperable manner. The students agreed on the pitch and between them created a working solution using the Ion framework. Wild said coming to the blockchain interoperability challenge with a naive point of view turned out to be refreshing and useful, adding, “If you are writing a piece of software say, you want somebody who is naive to use it because they tend to use it in the ways that you wouldn’t imagine.” Accepting the prize, one of the students said the team managed some of the steep learning curve coming to and from the two-day event. “We learned quite a lot about Solidity and smart contracts on the train,” they told CoinDesk. 

US Lawyers: Crypto Regulations Are ‘Tough Waters to Navigate’

US Lawyers: Crypto Regulations Are ‘Tough Waters to Navigate’

In a recent interview, Matt Kohen and Justin Wales, two senior counsels working for Carlton Fields’ virtual currency and distributed ledger technology group, highlighted the challenges that legal practitioners and regulators face in interpreting United States regulations pertaining to cryptocurrency. Also Read: Quadrigacx Saga: Founder’s Widow Owns $5.6m Properties, Hospital Confirms Cotten’s Death Cryptocurrency Lawyers Emphasize Challenges of Current US Regulatory Apparatus Kohen and Wales are currently working on a more than three-year case pertaining to a Florida-based Localbitcoins trader, Michell Espinoza, who is facing felony charges for running an illegal money service business and money laundering violations. All charges were initially dropped against him when Judge Teresa Mary Pooler of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida ruled that Espinoza could not be charged with illegal money transmission offenses because bitcoin was not considered legal tender in 2016. Pooler’s ruling was recently overturned, however, highlighting the challenges associated with juridical apparatus pertaining to cryptocurrencies in the United States. Regulators Need to Take ‘Holistic View’ of Legislative Classifications Describing the current regulatory apparatus as a “patchwork,” Kohen emphasized the contradictions that regularly emerge between state and federal legislation. Kohen asserted that virtual currencies appear to comprise “something different to every agency,” adding that the “IRS can look at it as property like a gold bar. SEC gets to say we have a different view. Then you have state regulators who think a digital asset is a commodity or currency. It is tough waters to navigate.” Wales added: “One of the potential issues is we have securities regulators viewing through a lifetime of experience looking at securities. CFTC is doing the same thing. State and money transmission officers doing the same thing. Tax regulators who do not know what to think of it, look at is as property because it does not look like money. Regulators need to spend more time with a holistic view of what these are.” International Regulators ‘Struggling’ To Find Solution to Legislative Challenges With regard to alternative regulatory frameworks developed by international regulators, Wales stated: “Every regulatory agency in every country is struggling to come up with a solution.” Wales also observed that certain countries are viewing cryptocurrency as “an opportunity” and are implementing “relaxed guidelines,” in contrast with the often contradictory stance…

Bitfinex Resumes Trading After Unexpected 2-Hour Outage as Crypto Markets Surge

Bitfinex Resumes Trading After Unexpected 2-Hour Outage as Crypto Markets Surge

Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex notified users in a tweet Saturday, Feb. 9, that it had temporarily gone offline for all users, as crypto markets saw major gains. Initially, the company wrote that the platform was unavailable only “to some users” and apologized for the inconvenience, without specifying a cause for the outage. However, about thirty minutes later, Bitfinex clarified that it had gone offline for all of its users, citing a “poor […] choice of wording” as the reason for the misinformation. The full statement reads: “We apologise for our previous tweet. In the rush to make users aware of our issue promptly, we were poor in the choice of wording. We can confirm Bitfinex is offline to all users. Please be assured that funds are safe. We will communicate here with further updates.” After remaining inaccessible to users for a little over two hours, the exchange announced it is back up and running with full functionality. In the most recent tweet from the exchange, the firm cited issues with “connectivity” as the reason behind the temporary shutdown, stating: “The issue that caused this downtime was attributed to connectivity. […] Your safety is our top priority and we can confirm that all funds were safe during this period.” Bitfinex is currently the world’s 18th largest crypto exchange by adjusted daily trade volumes, according to CoinMarketCap. Almost all top 100 coins on CoinMarketCap are seeing major growth on the day to press time, with top ten coins up as much as 20 percent. As Cointelegraph previously reported, the recent Exchange Security Report from independent analysts at ICORating has given 16 percent of the world’s biggest crypto trading platforms an A rating, and none of them an A+. According to the study that reviewed 135 crypto exchanges, Bitfinex ranked 5th for most secure exchanges globally, with an A- rating. More recently, Canadian crypto exchange QuadrigaCX has become embroiled in controversy following the sudden death of its CEO. According to the exchange, the firm has lost access to users’ funds — allegedly stored on cold wallets — because its CEO was the only person with access to them.