Chile: Anti-monopoly Court Rules to Keep Crypto Exchanges’ Bank Accounts Open

Chile: Anti-monopoly Court Rules to Keep Crypto Exchanges’ Bank Accounts Open

The Chilean anti-monopoly court has again granted protection to local cryptocurrency exchanges by forcing banks to keep their accounts open, financial news outlet Diario Financiero reported Jan. 2. According to a recent statement from Buda.com — one of the crypto exchanges affected by previously upheld banking restrictions — the anit-monopoly court known as the Tribunal de Defensa de la Libre Competencia (TDLC) has held a poll, and most of its members voted in favor of the crypto firms. The next few hearings are scheduled for February, when the TDLC will hear the testimony of both parties. The hearings will be attended by Chilean top officials, including the country’s Minister of Finance, Felipe Larrain, Minister of Economy, Jose Ramon Valente, and the president of the country’s banks association, Segismundo Schulin-Zeuthen. The TDLC has responded to a previous decision taken by the Chilean Supreme Court in early December. The country’s top court then insisted that banks had legal rights not to provide services to crypto exchanges, as they are not regulated by Chilean law and might be associated with money laundering. As a consequence, Banco del Estado and Itau Corpbanca — the banks seeking to close crypto-related accounts — appealed to the anti-monopoly court, urging it to cancel protection measures. However, in its current resolution, the TDLC clarified that the Supreme Court’s ruling does not create a judicial precedent to uplift any of the previous resolutions. As Cointelegraph previously reported, last March crypto exchanges CryptoMKT, Buda.com and OrionX claimed that their bank accounts were frozen by several Chilean banks. TDLC soon granted them protection, and the country’s Minister of Finance promised to come up with relevant crypto regulation as soon as possible. Nonetheless, in December, Larrain claimed that the legal framework for crypto is still in progress.

Banking Struggle Drives Bitcoin ATM Manufacturer Lamassu to Switzerland

Banking Struggle Drives Bitcoin ATM Manufacturer Lamassu to Switzerland

Hardware While governments and banks in some countries are trying to hamper the development of cryptocurrency-related businesses, other locations are cashing in on the investments and new jobs that the industry brings. The latest example of this is the establishment of bitcoin ATM manufacturer Lamassu in Switzerland. Also Read: European Exchange to Offer Investing in Stocks With Cryptocurrencies Lamassu Industries AG Lamassu, the well-known cryptocurrency ATM manufacturer, which assembles its machines in Portugal, announced on Jan. 1 that after years of searching for a home, it is now officially Lamassu Industries AG of Lucerne, Switzerland. The reason given for choosing the Alpine country is a more welcoming environment for crypto-related businesses, in contrast to other locations where the company struggled to maintain a bank account, leaving it bankless for the past year. “We must have been rejected by 15 banks just because we manufacture terminals for bitcoin. Note that as a company we only manufacture hardware and take no part in trading or storing cryptocurrencies,” explained Lamassu co-founder Zach Harvey. “Just as we arrived in Switzerland we had a nice chat with a small bank in Canton Aargau and now we have a full account at a bank that is completely aware of our business model and happy to have us on board. In fact, you should expect to see one of our cryptomats in their headquarters early this year.” Welcome to Switzerland Despite some difficulties, Switzerland’s approach in offering “a place where rules are well defined and regulators are pro-innovation,” has been quite successful so far in attracting crypto entrepreneurs. According to a report from October 2018, the top 50 cryptocurrency and blockchain-related companies in the local version of Silicon Valley alone were worth $44 billion combined, and altogether cryptocurrency firms employ about 3,000 people in the country of just about 8.5 million people. “Crypto Valley is alive and kicking and we’re excited to be in an area so rich in crypto development and blockchain events,” stated Harvey. “Although hype often exceeds reality in cryptoland, exciting stuff is happening in Switzerland at every level.” As its first community project, the Lamassu team is starting a monthly meetup dedicated to ideas of privacy, free speech, free markets, decentralization and cryptoanarchy. Will major countries eventually acknowledge that…

Proof of Keys Event Aims to Challenge Perceived Centralization of Cryptocurrencies

Proof of Keys Event Aims to Challenge Perceived Centralization of Cryptocurrencies

The “Proof of Keys” event aimed against centralized exchanges is happening today, Jan. 3, spearheaded by Bitcoin (BTC) investor Trace Mayer. The Proof of Keys event is essentially a bank run on centralized exchanges, wherein activists are called to withdraw all their cryptocurrency funds from centralized trading platforms and store them in their own wallets. The idea behind this is to reassert holder control over their crypto assets and to make sure that exchanges are actually in possession of as much funds as they claim. In a YouTube video giving insight into the Proof of Keys event, Mayer states that cryptocurrency holders should decide whether to reclaim their “monetary sovereignty” or continue waiting “14 days to get [their] coins.” Mayer further says: “What if some of these exchanges have been dipping into customer assets because [it is easier] to make payroll […] than it is to fire people?” On Jan. 1, Mayer accused cryptocurrency exchange HitBTC in freezing account withdrawals on the threshold of the Proof of Keys event. He was subsequently joined by others in his suspicion, including John McAfee, wallet manufacturer Bitfi and entrepreneur Tuur Demeester. HitBTC has subsequently rejected the allegations. In a comment to Cointelegraph, a representative from the exchange’s marketing team denied any link between account freezes and the ongoing event. He wrote in an email: “These temporary, safety-related withdrawal freezings are a direct consequence of our international KYC [Know Your Customer] and AML [Anti-Money Laundering] measures… These rules exist and apply to us and everybody, 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. Therefore, we do not turn off any security tools or checks, ever. Not on regular days, and not on special days; including events and flashmobs such as Proof of Key Day.” Bitcoins evangelists and crypto critics alike have criticized the space for becoming too centralized, which many perceive to be antithetical to its founding principles. American Economist Nouriel Roubini, who told United States senators that crypto is “the mother or father of all scams and bubbles,” has stated that crypto is also more centralized than North Korea. Roubini said that crypto decentralization is a “myth,” adding: “…miners are centralized, exchanges are centralized, developers are centralized dictators (Buterin is “dictator for life” ) & the Gini…

Major Exchange OKEx Adds 7 New Pairs to Crypto Derivative Product

Major Exchange OKEx Adds 7 New Pairs to Crypto Derivative Product

Major cryptocurrency exchange OKEx has added multiple new crypto derivative pairs to its platform, according to a press release shared with Cointelegraph Jan. 3. As Cointelegraph reported in late December, the exchange first launched a derivative product called a “perpetual swap” that supports BTC/USD,with up to 100x leverage. As Cointelegraph reported at the time, the product is a margin trading instrument that lets users speculate on the future value of a given cryptocurrency against USD, according to OKEx’s index. Today, the exchange announced it will add perpetual swaps contracts for seven additional major cryptos — Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Bitcoin SV (BSV), EOS (EOS), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), and Ripple (XRP).  The newly added contracts will only support up to 40x leverage, according to the press release. Meanwhile, news recently broke that the launch timeline for the Bakkt Bitcoin (USD) Daily Futures will be established by the Intercontinental Exchange in in early 2019. The news came the same day the Bakkt platform announced a massive funding round totalling $182.5 million. Michael Novogratz reportedly cited Bakkt’s launch as one of the industry developments that could help end the bear market in crypto. In late November, crypto exchange Huobi launched a platform dedicated to crypto derivatives, dubbed the Huobi Derivative Market, which allows customers to take both long and short positions. OKEx is currently the world’s second-largest crypto exchange by adjusted daily trade volumes, seeing about $564 million in trades on the day to press time.

Indian Crypto Exchange in 45 Countries Sees Strong Demand in Venezuela

Indian Crypto Exchange in 45 Countries Sees Strong Demand in Venezuela

Exchanges An Indian cryptocurrency exchange, which is now live in 45 countries, reports that it is “seeing immense enthusiasm and buyer activity in Venezuela,” a spokesperson for the exchange told news.Bitcoin.com. Compared to other countries, “Venezuelans are looking more at the longer-term yield of bitcoin.” Also read: Indian Supreme Court Moves Crypto Hearing, Community Calls for Positive Regulations Live in 45 Countries Indian cryptocurrency exchange Instashift is now live in 45 countries. After launching in India and Canada in February, the exchange began to roll out service in a slew of countries in November, offering support for 45 fiat currencies. A spokesperson for the exchange told news.Bitcoin.com on Thursday: Presently, in the 45 countries we have launched [in], we are seeing immense enthusiasm and buyer activity in Venezuela … Venezuelan users were on a buying spree. “We partnered with [a] few good local sellers,” the spokesperson said, confirming that his exchange plans to add “another 45 countries by April 2019.” Other than Venezuela, “We see demand from Panama, Thailand, Nigeria, Romania, Cameroon, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, and Ukraine,” he detailed. The 45 countries that Instashift is live in are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Ghana, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Nigeria, Panama, Peru, Republic of Congo, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanzania, Thailand, UAE, Uganda, Ukraine, the U.K., the U.S., Venezuela, and Vietnam. Citing similarity to Localbitcoins, the spokesperson claims, “As we are [a] pure peer-to-peer exchange with an instant coin conversion feature, there is no specific licensing for it at the moment.” Strong Demand in Venezuela The spokesperson shared with news.Bitcoin.com that, compared to other countries, “Venezuelans are looking more at the longer-term yield of bitcoin.” He elaborated, “Venezuelans, in general, are of the thought that cryptocurrency is a safe haven to keep their store of value rather than keeping it in their own currency where inflation is peaking at the top.” Furthermore, he described that “awareness amongst the crypto-communities” in many of the 45 countries “is quite low” compared to Venezuela. Venezuelans can buy and sell over 120 coins on the Instashift platform. In addition to purchasing cryptocurrencies with the sovereign…

Bitcoin’s Proof of Keys Day Begins With Industry-Wide Support

Technology In addition to being Bitcoin’s 10th birthday, Jan. 3, 2019 will go down in history as being the crypto world’s inaugural Proof of Keys day. The initiative, conceived by Trace Meyer just weeks ago, has drawn broad support from cryptocurrency influencers and businesses. Over the past 24 hours, crypto companies have tweeted their encouragement for users to withdraw their funds from exchanges and other custodial wallets. Also read: European Exchange to Offer Investing in Stocks With Cryptocurrencies Proof of Keys Day Draws Strong Support From Crypto Companies If Trace Meyer’s scheme is the success he hopes it to be, onchain activity will record a significant spike in the number of bitcoin transactions for Jan. 3, 2019, and on this day in each subsequent year too. While it is too soon to assess the efficacy of the grassroots movement to return ownership of crypto assets to users, there are signs that Proof of Keys has already been successful in raising awareness of the importance of self-custody. If you don’t own your keys, you don’t own your crypto. [Take control of your keys] Jan/3 🔑] #ProofOfKeys #BlockchainWallet #bitcoin #crypto — Blockchain (@blockchain) January 2, 2019 Under the hashtag #notyourkeysnotyourbitcoin, Twitter users have been sharing their own experiences of reclaiming their crypto from third-party custodians, and encouraging others to do the same. While it was the cryptocurrency community who initiated the Proof of Keys proposal, crypto companies have now joined the chorus of support. Not surprisingly, projects whose business entails non-custodial storage solutions have been leading the choir, Blockchain and Keepkey among them. Exchange Customers Hit by Delayed Withdrawals The need for self-sovereignty of crypto assets was demonstrated this week by the reticence of Hitbtc to facilitate withdrawals. A number of customers of the controversial exchange have reported lengthy delays in accessing their funds, leaving them unable to participate in Proof of Keys on the day itself. Several Hitbtc users were greeted by a message informing them that “Withdrawals are temporarily disabled on your account.” Other exchanges have been more supportive Proof of Keys, including Swiss-based Lykke, which made the campaign the topic of its weekly discussion, as well as Ethfinex. If bitcoin is to enable millions of people to reclaim their financial sovereignty, it will require those…

US Retail Giant Overstock to Use Bitcoin to Pay Its Taxes in Ohio

US Retail Giant Overstock to Use Bitcoin to Pay Its Taxes in Ohio

United States retailer Overstock.com has announced it will pay part of its business taxes in the state of Ohio using Bitcoin (BTC), according to an announcement on its website Jan. 3. Overstock will cover commercial activity taxes (CAT) with Bitcoin starting February, using the recently launched cryptocurrency taxpayer platform, OhioCrypto.com. The company’s CEO and founder Patrick Byrne — a longtime crypto enthusiast — said in the announcement that governmental adoption of cryptocurrencies and other emerging technologies, accompanied by friendly legislation, is “the best way to ensure the U.S. does not lose our place at the forefront of the ever-advancing global economy.” As Cointelegraph previously reported, Ohio became the first U.S. state to accept Bitcoin as a payment method for taxes in November. The service is currently available only for businesses, with reported plans to extend the option to individual filers in future. Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel told Cointelegraph that the state could go beyond Bitcoin and start accepting other cryptocurrencies in an interview following the news. In a recent interview with business magazine Fortune, Mandel reiterated this stance, also revealing that Ohio plans to introduce crypto payments for all taxpayers by 2020. Back in 2014, Overstock became the first major company to accept Bitcoin following a partnership with crypto exchange Coinbase. Most recently, Byrne announced he would sell the retail arm of Overstock to focus on blockchain by February 2019. Prior to that, the entrepreneur had already sold 10 percent of his shares — totalling more than $20 million — to invest them in Overstock’s blockchain-focused subsidiary, Medici Ventures.

On Bitcoin’s 10th Birthday, Crypto Markets See Corrections Across the Board

On Bitcoin’s 10th Birthday, Crypto Markets See Corrections Across the Board

Thursday, Jan. 3 — after some positive inklings of growth earlier this week, crypto markets have today dipped back into the red, with most of the top twenty cryptocurrencies by market cap seeing losses capped below 6 percent, as data from CoinMarketCap shows. TRON (TRX) is one of the only outliers among the top coins and the strongest top twenty performer on the day, up just 1 percent. The market is evidently responding positively to news that stalwart peer-to-peer torrent client BitTorrent has launched a TRON-based native token for its users — the company’s first major move to tokenize its content sharing ecosystem, roughly six months after it was acquired by TRON in July 2018. As of press time, TRX is ranked 10th largest cryptocurrency by market cap, and is trading at around $0.02, according to CoinMarketCap data. Ten years after its “genesis block” was mined, Bitcoin (BTC) has seen a mild loss of just below 2 percent over the 24 hours to press time, and is currently trading at $3,830. The past week has been a volatile one, with Bitcoin making several attempts to break back above the $4,000 price point, but sustaining losses multiple times — having seen a low of close to $3,600 near the start of its 7-day chart. Nonetheless, jagged trading patterns have brought Bitcoin up on the week — the top coin has seen 3.5 percent growth since Dec. 27. On the month, Bitcoin has seen even less change, down about 1.5 percent. Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: Cointelegraph’s Bitcoin Price Index Ethereum (ETH) — which this week reclaimed its former ranking as largest altcoin by market cap — is down close to 3 percent on the day and is trading at $148 to press time. With a market cap of $15.4 billion, the asset is widening its margin ahead of second-largest altcoin by market cap Ripple (XRP), which has a market cap of $14.6 billion to press time, according to CoinMarketCap data. Despite today’s losses, Ethereum remains a bullish 23 percent in the green on its weekly chart — and has seen even higher over 37 percent growth on the month. Ethereum 7-day price chart. Source: Cointelegraph’s Ethereum Price Index Ripple (XRP)’s losses have been slightly heavier, with…

Proof of Keys Explained: Bitcoin’s First Planned ‘Bank Run’ Is Today

Proof of Keys Explained: Bitcoin’s First Planned ‘Bank Run’ Is Today

Do your bitcoins really exist? The answer might seem like an obvious “yes,” but the brewing “Proof of Keys” movement, launching today, argues the answer is not so clear. How in control a person is of their coins depends on where and how the bitcoin is stored. So participants will be taking their money out of third-party bitcoin services, moving it to accounts only they themselves control. “We’re going to withdraw all our bitcoin from any third party services just to prove that they’re there,” said Trace Mayer, Proof of Keys leader and bitcoin podcast host, in a video announcing the project, adding: ”It’s on the blockchain or it didn’t happen.” As described by Mayer, the motivation is simple. Many bitcoiners leave their bitcoins on exchanges. This is risky, as millions (er, billions) of dollars have been stolen from exchanges by way of hacks over the years. Not to mention, it means users don’t really have full control over their money — a fact many might not realize. The movement debuts on the 10th anniversary of bitcoin’s first-ever block, the day bitcoin’s anonymous creator turned his or her theory into a living, breathing digital currency. Proof of Keys has been compared to a “bank run,” where a flood of people withdraw their money from a bank, worried that the institution is going under. But unlike old-fashioned runs, this one is pre-planned and deliberate. If enough people pull their money off exchanges, advocates argue, it’ll expose, and perhaps topple, the ones that are operating like fractional-reserve banks (i.e. keeping only a sliver of depositors’ cash on hand and available for withdrawal). Big names such as former Symbiont president Caitlin Long, smart contract pioneer Nick Szabo, Coinbase CTO Balaji S. Srinivasan, and CoinKite CEO Rodolfo Novak have all etched the Proof of Keys symbol prominently in their Twitter profiles. Even bitcoin companies like Shapeshift and Casa have thrown their support behind the effort. Taking control So, what do participants have to do? Not much or a lot, depending on the user’s point of view. The first task is for users to take control of their private keys. While bitcoin is “trustless,” most users hand their bitcoin to a third party who takes care of it for them.…

10 Years Ago Bitcoin’s Genesis Block Changed the Course of History

10 Years Ago Bitcoin’s Genesis Block Changed the Course of History

Blockchain Over the last 12 hours, cryptocurrency supporters across the globe have been celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the Bitcoin genesis block which was mined at approximately 18:15:05 UTC. Die-hard crypto enthusiasts believe the software released by the anonymous creator Satoshi Nakamoto has forever changed the way people look at money, and that the technology’s effect on the global economy will transform the course of history. Also read: 2018’s Top Cryptocurrencies Ranked by Github Activity 10 Years of Dust Sent to the Genesis Block’s Wishing Well On Halloween 2008, an anonymous developer named Satoshi Nakamoto announced a paper called Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System. Two months later, on Jan. 3, 2009, the network officially launched when Nakamoto mined block 0, bringing the Bitcoin blockchain into life. The genesis block is special for a few reasons as it has characteristics that the thousands of subsequent mined blocks do not. For instance, the genesis block is hardcoded into a great majority of software clients that use the chain for reference and for infrastructure. Furthermore, at the time of creation, block rewards gave miners 50 BTC, but the genesis block is an unspendable sum that will forever contain those 50 coins. To this day nobody knows whether Satoshi made these coins unspendable for any specific reason. Over the years, many fans have also sent funds to the genesis address, and at the time of publication, there’s a total of 66.9 BTC sitting there. Scrolling through the list of dust transactions sent to the genesis address, one can find messages to Satoshi asking the creator for coins, as many of the senders hoped the creator would send additional funds back to them. The original cover from The Times on Jan. 3, 2009.Like the Beatles, Satoshi Left a Backward Message in Block 0 Another interesting fact about the genesis block is that many historians believe it was mined with a Windows-powered PC. Bitcoin version 0.1, the first original implementation, is written in the coding language C++ and was a Windows GUI application at first. This means the first block Satoshi mined was processed solely with a PC’s CPU. People mined BTC this way for two years after block 0 was created. Satoshi’s message located in block 0. The genesis block’s…