Crypto Exchange ErisX Raises $27.5 Million From Fidelity, Nasdaq Ventures and Others

Crypto Exchange ErisX Raises $27.5 Million From Fidelity, Nasdaq Ventures and Others

Crypto exchange ErisX has raised $27.5 million from Fidelity Investments and Nasdaq Ventures, among other investors, Reuters reports Tuesday, Dec. 4. Nasdaq is the world’s second-largest stock exchange, while United States investment firm Fidelity administers over $7.2 trillion in client assets. According to Reuters, ErisX will offer both spot trading in Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH) and Litecoin (LTC), as well as futures markets in the following year, pending regulatory approval. Nasdaq confirmed their participation to Reuters without specifying the amount of their contribution, while Fidelity has not responded to Reuters’ requests for comments by press time. According to Thomas Chippas, ErisX CEO, the investment’s purpose is to hire staff and “build out our infrastructure and secure the appropriate steps are taken to develop a regulated market for digital assets.” In October of this year, retail brokerage firm TD Ameritrade had also invested in ErisX, with participation from investing company DRW Holdings and high-speed trader Virtu Financial. Reuters writes that private equity firm Valor Equity Partners and CBOE Global Markets Inc. also participated in the fall investment. Bloomberg had noted this fall that ErisX would also offer Bitcoin Cash (BCH) support, but the altcoin was not mentioned by Reuters in today’s article.

Stablecoin Issuer Promises Full Audits of Euro-Backed Crypto Token

Stablecoin Issuer Promises Full Audits of Euro-Backed Crypto Token

Stasis, a Malta-based issuer of stablecoins, has hired accounting firm BDO Malta to conduct quarterly and annual audits of its financials, including the euro reserves backing the startup’s EURS token. The engagement aims to dispel any doubts that EURS stablecoins are backed one-to-one by euros. Many cryptocurrency investors and traders will be wary of any such claim by a stablecoin issuer, due to nagging questions around the dominant issuer, Tether. Tether’s USDT tokens lost their parity with the U.S. dollar in a dramatic fashion in October, due to widespread doubts that the company held one U.S. dollar in bank deposits for every token in circulation. More than a year ago, Tether reiterated its promise of regular audits to prove it held sufficient fiat collateral, but so far it has still not delivered. Rather it severed ties with the auditing firm Friedman LLP in January and instead produced documents prepared by a law firm in June and its bank in November, which vouch for the existence of sufficient deposits. Apparently alluding to the controversy surrounding Tether, Stasis CFO Vyacheslav Kim said in a statement last week: “The recent conversation around stablecoins has hinged on two things: compliance and transparency. By providing verification by a top accounting firm, in addition to EURS’ existing regulatory compliance under Maltese law, we’ve established EURS as a standout option for European investors.” In addition to the audits, BDO Malta – a member of the BDO International network of accounting firms, which operates out of more than 160 countries according to its website – will “provide weekly cash reserve verification” of the fiat collateral behind EURS, Stasis said. The first such report was published Thursday. It makes clear that the document does not constitute an audit. Stablecoin issuance is an increasingly crowded and competitive corner of the cryptocurrency sector, and a number of providers are aiming to reassure a skeptical market by publicizing their relationships with prominent accounting firms. Within the past month Circle, which provides the dollar-linked USDC, has published an attestation of its dollar collateral prepared by Grant Thornton LLP; Gemini, which issues the USD-pegged Gemini Dollar, has done the same with an attestation from BPM; and Paxos, issuer of the dollar-linked Paxos Standard, has published an attestation from Withum. Audits > attestations Yet Stasis stands…

2019 Will Be a Big Year for Stablecoins

2019 Will Be a Big Year for Stablecoins

Philippe Bekhazi is the CEO of XBTO Group, a cryptocurrency trading firm. — The current wave of stablecoin issuances is a result of the current bear market in underlying crypto assets, leading to upwards of 50 stablecoins on offer today. Given an increasing media focus and heightened industry attention, it’s important to take both a step back and share our views on how things are likely to evolve over the next few years – arguably with the greatest velocity of change and boundless opportunities than any time since 2014. Most importantly, we’ll shine a light on what’s truly at stake as Stablecoins come of age and emerge as a crypto instrument in their own right. The state of play A stablecoin is quite simply a representation of a stable collateralized asset blockchain largely used to hedge against the decline and volatility across general crypto collateral prices, which are certainly at an amplified state. As such, they should be and generally are backed by real assets, such as a bank account backed one-for-one by U.S. dollars, euros, other fiat currencies, or even gold. They have no appreciation value and only reflect the performance of the underlying asset. They can also be used as a mechanism to move value around in stable terms, and technically even for payments, although the speed of the underlying blockchain may be a limiting factor for time-sensitive transactions, for the time being. While it may seem counterintuitive, it’s important to understand that stablecoins are crypto only by design to satisfy the tokenization process and ensure no double spend or on-chain rehypothecation takes place. Furthermore, most stablecoins, while sitting on a decentralized public blockchain, are centralized. Some simply are centralized assets representing a currency or commodity in a custodian account, while others are backed by crypto collateral or rely on algorithmic central bank style logic to create stability. Taking the baton One of the reasons for the recent expansion in stablecoin offerings is a lack of trust in the existing, long-term incumbent, Tether. As the first stablecoin to be created, Tether enjoyed first-mover advantage but also bore the brunt of the growing pains associated with this new endeavor. As such, it sits on the slowest blockchain and has made a few miscalculations, specifically…

8 Teams Are Sprinting to Build the Next Generation of Ethereum

8 Teams Are Sprinting to Build the Next Generation of Ethereum

“We don’t want to reinvent the wheel when building [ethereum] 2.0.” Speaking to the complementary efforts of developers working on two separate upgrades to the ethereum blockchain – one dubbed ethereum 2.0 and the other dubbed ethereum 1x – Raul Jordan insists upgrades to be included in ethereum 1x on a shorter time horizon would have benefits to ongoing research for ethereum 2.0. Jordan is the co-lead for one of eight different developer teams currently building software clients for ethereum 2.0. (As background, clients are software implementations usually written in differing programming languages that users deploy to connect to and participate in the ethereum network.) Maintaining that the “incremental enhancements” being proposed within ethereum 1x don’t affect the blockchain’s long-term roadmap, Jordan told CoinDesk: “I think both groups are fairly orthogonal but we must at least be aware of what each is implementing.” Presently, the technical guidelines also called specifications for both upgrades are still very much in the works. Having been discussed in earnest among ethereum developers only in the last couple of weeks, ethereum 1x is intended to be an intermediary upgrade that focuses on enhancements to the current ethereum network. Ethereum 2.0, on the other hand, features a more ambitious agenda that dates back to 2014 and consists of fundamental changes to the blockchain platform. Known in its early days under project name “Serenity,” the current specifications for ethereum 2.0 can be summarized as a combination of three main components: A switch to PoS from the current energy-intensive consensus protocol known as proof-of-work (PoW) Implementation of a network-wide scaling solution called sharding A revamping of the ethereum virtual machine (EVM) – the engine responsible for deploying decentralized applications (dapps) on the blockchain – to run on new programming code known as WebAssembly (WASM). And while one of these components – namely ethereum’s implementation of WASM – has the potential of being tested in the earlier roadmap for ethereum 1x, the majority of the work to build out ethereum 2.0 is still ongoing as a separate project. And that work is being carried out by eight different teams spread out across the globe. 1. ChainSafe Systems Based in Toronto, ChainSafe Systems is a blockchain research and development startup offering consulting services to a…

GMO Internet Sees Huge Leap in BCH Mining for October

GMO Internet Sees Huge Leap in BCH Mining for October

Mining Japanese cryptocurrency mining company GMO Internet Group released its monthly update for October on Nov. 5. The report shows a huge increase in the amount of bitcoin cash extracted – 875 coins, from zero in September. Altogether, the company earned about $3.85 million from mining BTC and BCH during the period under review. Also Read: Pan-African Organisation Launches Framework to Encourage Cryptocurrency Trade New Mining Hardware Drives Output In its monthly update, the Tokyo-based GMO Internet Group said its hashrate has grown since the end of September after establishing more mining facilities while continuing to operate miners from other manufacturers. “We will continue to introduce the mining machine from other manufacturers to the in-house mining. Our plan is to see our hashrate surpass 800 ph/s by the end of December,” it said. GMO Internet has tended to focus on BTC as opposed BCH since it began its mining operations late last year. The $1.7 billion-valued company mined a total 4,070 bitcoin core and 1,323 bitcoin cash during the first 10 months of this year, earning about $33 million in rewards. The latest surge of interest in BCH has been viewed in some quarters as position-taking ahead of the impending Nov. 15 fork. GMO also appears keen on breaking China’s monopoly in the industry, as evidenced by its quest to boost mining capacity. But it’s not been all smooth sailing. The company detailed: Regarding our mining machines, there has been a delay for part of the electronic components due to the tight global supply-demand balance, which led to the postponement of shipment. Competition among miners has increased on account of numerous Chinese companies entering the industry. Miners from the Asian country are now thought to control about two-thirds of the computational power working on the BTC blockchain. GMO Sees Improved Hashrate In terms of mining power, GMO Internet recorded hashrates of 674 petahash per second in October – a 50 percent increase from the previous month. While the company has seen a significant increase in its computing power, its hashrate is still significantly below that employed by major mining pools. At the top of pile at the moment is BTC.com, which handles over 9,000 ph/s. GMO Internet stated that it aims to eventually reach 3,000 ph/s, with…

Elon Musk Impostors Score $176K (And Counting) in New Twitter Scams

Elon Musk Impostors Score $176K (And Counting) in New Twitter Scams

A number of verified Twitter accounts were compromised Monday – including those owned by a U.S. lawmaker, a film company, and a book publisher – all to impersonate SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk. Each of the compromised accounts engaged in a well-known crypto giveaway scam by promising to send large amounts of bitcoin to any users who sent them small amounts first. To further reinforce the impression that the compromised accounts were genuinely owned by Musk, the hackers copied over the Tesla founder’s profile picture and retweeted some of his tweets. Some accounts also pinned the bitcoin giveaway tweet. The tweets stated that participants should verify themselves by sending 0.1 – 3 BTC to a particular wallet address and on receipt, they would get anywhere between 1 and 20 BTC. Several users familiar with the scam attempted to alert the community about these fakes. At first glance the Elon Musk account is convincing because it has the ‘verified’ blue tick. But look closely and you’ll see the Twitter handle is @pantheonbooks. pic.twitter.com/eke7E25LzC — Arieh Kovler (@ariehkovler) November 5, 2018 One of the most prominent victims was perhaps the Democratic state representative for New Jersey’s sixth district, Frank Pallone Jr. Around mid-day, Pallone’s campaign handle, “@pallonefornj,” was taken over. Notably, his account comes with an election label specifying that he is a U.S. House candidate for New Jersey, though his other verified handle, “@FrankPallone,” remained untouched. Daily Beast reporter Lachlan Markay reported that sources familiar with the campaign had confirmed the account was compromised and Twitter was investigating. The tweet about the bitcoin giveaway was identical to the one posted on the Pathe Film account, once again promising 1-20 BTC in exchange for the small verification fee of 0.1-3 BTC. This was once again caught by people in crypto-industry. Wow. Verified, Promoted, Congressional Candidate: Elon Musk?Try harder, @Twitter pic.twitter.com/GeIFFEiSTW — Jonathan Vaage (@JonathanVaage) November 5, 2018 By press time, the promotional tweet (which are paid for in an effort to reach a wider audience) had been removed, along with the profile image and name on the @pallonefornj account. Some retweets from the real Elon Musk account were still on the page. Similarly, the official account of English discount clothing and homeware chain Matalan was hacked…

Swiss Finance Watchdog Tells Banks to Treat Crypto Trading As High Risk

Swiss Finance Watchdog Tells Banks to Treat Crypto Trading As High Risk

Switzerland’s Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) is giving tough guidance to banks wanting to trade in crypto assets. According to a report from Swissinfo.ch, FINMA has issued a confidential letter – seen by the news agency – to accountancy organization EXPERTsuisse, stating its stance on how financial institutions should weight crypto assets when calculating loss-absorbing capital buffers. FINMA said it advises banks and securities dealers to assign a “flat risk weight of 800% to cover market and credit risks” against crypto assets. That means, for instance, if the current price of bitcoin is $6,000, institutions would have to value each coin on their books at $48,000 when deciding on an adequate level of buffer. The guidance is on the high end of the range and on the level of hedge funds, according to the report, meaning FINMA considers crypto assets to be volatile. Swissinfo.ch reports that FINMA has also set a crypto-trading cap at 4 percent of a bank’s total capital, and said they must report to the authority if they reach that upper limit. While the letter offers insight into the regulator’s stance and outreach on this issue, it hasn’t yet released official rules for how Swiss banks should deal with cryptocurrencies under the Basel III international banking regulations, according to the report. Back in February, FINMA did issue official guidance for initial coin offerings (ICOS) after receiving a large number of enquiries on the issue. The regulator said at the time that it would determine the applicability of regulation to crypto tokens on a case-by-case basis, taking a similar stance to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in its guidance, released last July. In particular, the agency said it regards “asset tokens” as securities, which means that there are securities and civil law requirements for trading such tokens.  “Payment tokens” and “utility tokens” were unlikely to sit in the securities category, FINMA said. Swiss flags image via Shutterstock  The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

PR: Ethershift Launches Token Sale with Rockstar Advisors Mate Tokay and John McAfee

PR: Ethershift Launches Token Sale with Rockstar Advisors Mate Tokay and John McAfee

This is a paid press release, which contains forward looking statements, and should be treated as advertising or promotional material. Bitcoin.com does not endorse nor support this product/service. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the press release. Ethershift.co is an ERC20 crypto currency exchange that provides the near instant conversion of 70+ crypto assets. Ethershift has no accounts and let’s customers trade without collecting any personal information. After launching the exchange in May, the team at Ethershift has been hard at work in preparation for their token sale, which begins November 5th, as well as adding a long list of renowned advisors. The Ethershift token (ESH) is an ERC20 that represents 50% of all fees collected by Ethershift. Each quarter that 50% is airdropped to ESH holders. Ethershift added 5 new advisors to their team this month including: John McAfee – Digital security pioneer who founded the global computer security software McAfee Antivirus. Renowned blockchain advocate and tech advisor. Mate Tokay – Cofounder and COO of the highest visited crypto sites, successful entrepreneur, and blockchain project advisor. Simon Cocking – Senior Editor at Irish Tech News, Editor in Chief at CryptoCoinNews, and #1 rated advisor on ICObench. Daniel Abela – Co-founder of ClearPoll and Clearify blockchain projects, and creator of CryptoRater. Edward Mandel – CEO of BQT, as well as an Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist, Blockchain Enthusiast and visionary behind many successful organizations. Ethershifts ICO main sale begins November 5th. You can find out more information on Ethershift and their advisors at: Supporting Linkico.ethershift.co Contact Email Addresscontact@ethershift.co This is a paid press release. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the promoted company or any of its affiliates or services. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in the press release.

Ex-Fed. Prosecutor Turned Crypto VC Katie Haun: Crypto Is in the ‘Dial-up Days’

Ex-Fed. Prosecutor Turned Crypto VC Katie Haun: Crypto Is in the ‘Dial-up Days’

Former U.S. federal prosecutor and current cryptocurrency VC executive Kathryn Haun recently took part in a debate on crypto with Nobel-prize winning economist Paul Krugman, posted on YouTube by crypto venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) Nov. 2. The debate, hosted by Mexican tech company KIO Networks and moderated by local business journalist Rodrigo Pacheco, was reportedly held in Mexico in September 2018. A former federal prosecutor for the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) and current general partner at a16z, Haun was representing the optimistic approach towards crypto-related technologies. Krugman, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 2008, held his previous negative position on the topic, debating with Haun as a crypto skeptic. In her preliminary speech that preceded the debate, Haun, who is also a board member at major crypto exchange and wallet service Coinbase, compared the current stage of cryptocurrency evolution to the early years of Internet: “We’re in the dial-up days [of crypto], and the critics out there confuse the current state of innovation with the end state of it.” Krugman opposed that point of view, reminding the audience that Bitcoin (BTC) had been on the stage for ten years already, and arguing that the prospects of using it as a payment method were still unclear. The Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY) Professor of Economics noted that at the initial stage of web there clearly were things one could not do without the internet, such as storing newspapers online. However, Krugman opined, crypto hasn’t shown such advantages so far: “There is very little sign that BTC is becoming any kind of widespread means of payment, and that’s ten years on, so when is it going to happen?” Haun for her part stressed that BTC reached a mass audience quite a bit later than when Satoshi Nakamoto released the Bitcoin whitepaper — pointing to the years 2012-2013 as when digital currencies became somewhat more broadly know. Haun also reminded the audience that many people still tended to believe in myths about crypto and crime, which have slowed down mass adoption of the technology. During the debate, Krugman cast doubt on the very nature of cryptocurrencies, calling the fact that there is no authority to prove…

Deltec Chairman Says Tether Letter on Bank Relationship Is ‘Authentic’

Deltec Chairman Says Tether Letter on Bank Relationship Is ‘Authentic’

The chairman of Deltec Bank & Trust says a widely scrutinized letter about stablecoin issuer Tether’s  account at the Bahamas-based institution is “authentic.” The letter, which Tether published Nov. 1, stated – albeit with a prominent disclaimer – that the company held an account at the bank, and that the account’s balance as of Oct. 31 was over $1.8 billion, enough to back all the USDT tokens in circulation 1-for-1. However, as CoinDesk and Bloomberg reported, Deltec would not initially confirm the relationship with Tether. As she had in previous conversations with CoinDesk, the bank’s spokeswoman Melanie Hutcheson said that she could not share information on client relationships due to legal restrictions and the bank’s own policies. (The Bahamas’ banks and trust companies regulation contains language preventing bank employees and others from disclosing customer information “without the express or implied consent of the customer concerned.”) The squiggle of signature on the letter, and the absence of an individual employee’s name, also made it seemed dubious to some. Yet in a subsequent conversation on Nov. 1, Deltec chairman Jean Chalopin shared a link to the letter with CoinDesk, saying “Tether came public with an announcement and I wanted to make sure you saw it.” While that message appeared to confirm the letter’s authenticity, Chalopin did not say so directly – until Saturday, when he sent CoinDesk a subsequent message, writing: “The letter published by Tether is authentic.” Chalopin’s confirmation means that for the first time in months, Tether’s banking relationship is public knowledge and has been confirmed by the banking partner in question. In early 2017 Tether and Bitfinex – a cryptocurrency exchange with shareholders and executives in common with Tether – lost access to Taiwanese banks after Wells Fargo cut off correspondent banking services for the Taiwanese banks, due to their relationship with Tether. A relationship with the Puerto Rico-based Noble Bank reportedly followed, though neither Tether nor Noble (nor Bitfinex) ever publicly confirmed the relationship. After that fell through in late September or early October, a period of uncertainty followed, during which Bitfinex announced that the firm was “not insolvent” and urged customers on its platform to “keep this [banking] information to yourself” to avoid damage “not just to yourself and Bitfinex, but the…