North Dakota Issues Orders Against Bitconnect, Magma, Pension Rewards

North Dakota Issues Orders Against Bitconnect, Magma, Pension Rewards

Regulation The securities department of the US state of North Dakota has issued orders against three companies promoting initial coin offerings in the state. They are Bitconnect, Magma Foundation, and Pension Rewards. The investigations are part of Operation Cryptosweep which involves over 40 US and Canadian securities regulators. Also read: 160 Crypto Exchanges Seek to Enter Japanese Market, Regulator Reveals North Dakota’s Cease and Desist Orders North Dakota Securities Commissioner Karen Tyler issued cease and desist orders Wednesday against three companies “promoting unregistered and potentially fraudulent securities in North Dakota in the form of initial coin offerings (ICOs),” the state’s securities department announced. The department wrote: The companies that are the subject of the orders are Bitconnect and related companies Bitconnect Ltd. and Bitconnect International Plc., Magma Foundation and related companies Magma Coin and Magma, and Pension Rewards Platform, aka Pension Rewards. North Dakota Securities Commissioner Karen Tyler. The orders are the result of investigations by the department’s ICO task force set up to identify “ICOs and cryptocurrency related investments that pose a risk to North Dakota investors,” the announcement describes. “The effort is also part of Operation Cryptosweep, a coordinated multi-jurisdiction investigation and enforcement effort involving over 40 U.S. and Canadian securities regulators.” In August, the regulators revealed that more than 200 crypto-related cases are being actively investigated, as news.Bitcoin.com previously reported. The announcement explains that the three companies are not registered to offer securities in the state. However, their websites, which solicit investments for ICOs, are available to residents of the state. In addition, they contain “unsubstantiated claims,” “misrepresentations,” or “several allegedly fraudulent representations.” The Three Companies Bitconnect, Bitconnect Ltd., and Bitconnect International Plc have already been served orders by several states such as Colorado, North Carolina and Texas for “alleged unregistered activity and fraud,” the commissioner detailed, adding: Bitconnect’s website claims that holders of their BCC [token] can receive interest rates of up to 120%…Bitconnect’s claim of excessive interest rates is unsubstantiated and misleading. Magma Foundation, Magma Coin, and Magma are conducting an ICO for MGM token which is allegedly “backed by gold and/or ETFs,” the commissioner noted. The Colorado Securities Division has already issued a cease and desist order to the company. Pension Rewards Platform, aka Pension Rewards, is soliciting investors “for…

Stellar-Based Zero-Fee Decentralized Crypto Exchange StellarX Is Now Fully Launched

Stellar-Based Zero-Fee Decentralized Crypto Exchange StellarX Is Now Fully Launched

StellarX, a Stellar-based zero-fee decentralized crypto exchange has left its beta phase and was fully launched Friday, September 28. The launch was announced in a blog post by Interstellar, the company behind the platform. The exchange, originally announced in July this year, is based on Stellar’s (XLM) universal marketplace. Stellar is an open-source protocol for cryptocurrency to fiat transfers. Its own cryptocurrency XLM is currently the 6th largest, with a market cap of $4.8 billion, according to CoinMarketCap. According to the latest press release, StellarX positions itself as a “real fiat onramp,” as it allows users to deposit U.S. dollars directly from a U.S. bank account. In addition, the exchange shows digital tokens for a number of fiat currencies, such as euro, Chinese yuan, Hong Kong dollar, the British pound, and others StellarX Trading App Interface. Source: StellarX Medium In the blog post StellarX also revealed its plans to add digitized versions of other kinds of assets, such as bonds, stocks, real estate, and commodities. Comparing itself to Robinhood, a major U.S. financial services provider that started offering zero-fee crypto trading in February of this year, StellarX has stressed that using its platform costs the users “nothing.” This is due to the company’s promise to “refund [all network fees].” In early September, Robinhood itself revealed plans to conduct an initial public offering (IPO), claiming that it is undergoing audits by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), in order to ensure full regulatory compliance.

A Guide to Building Your Own Crypto Mining Rig

A Guide to Building Your Own Crypto Mining Rig

Mining Cryptocurrency mining has in many respects become an industrialized business. But despite the concentration of hashing power, the increasing difficulty and diminishing returns, in some cases it can still be profitable to mint coins as an amateur miner, probably the most honest way to earn some digital cash. Here’s a guide on how to build a mining rig.   Also read: Iran to Allow Mining Hardware Imports, Cyprus Creates Fintech Hub Is It Late to Get Started With Crypto Mining? The reduced market capitalization of digital assets, in comparison to last year’s all-time highs, has inevitably affected the profitability of cryptocurrency mining. That’s a fact of life but still there’s a number of other factors that can influence the outcome of mining – electricity rates, regulations, hardware prices, and even climate, to name a few. Their weight in the equation may vary significantly in different locations, from one jurisdiction to another. In times when major producers of highly specialized equipment like Bitmain and Bitfury are building ASIC chips and rigs for mining bitcoin with ever-increasing productivity and efficiency, some say crypto mining in homes, basements and garages is a dying hobby. Add to that reports about GPU manufacturers like Nvidia losing interest in the crypto segment of the market, miners in Iceland exploring better opportunities in other sectors and the future of amateur mining starts to look bleak. But that’s not necessarily the case. There are a number of altcoins whose developers continue the struggle to maintain ASIC-resistance. There are many countries where the costs of mining are relatively low – in some parts of Russia, for example, electricity rates are below $0.04 USD per kilowatt. For many enthusiasts around the world at-home mining is not a lost cause, not yet. Many of them can still support the family budget without huge expectations for revenue and profit. Setting up a Home Mining Rig With GPUs Catering to the crypto community, Decenter, a popular Russian platform supported by experts, developers, and investors, has answered many questions asked by crypto enthusiasts. Recently, the information portal published a guide to building mining rigs that encompasses the basic steps to becoming an amateur miner. The outlet has done its best to protect wannabe miners from unnecessary expenses and…

Amateur Cryptojackers and Apple Macs Emerge as Two Mining Malware Trends for 2018

Amateur Cryptojackers and Apple Macs Emerge as Two Mining Malware Trends for 2018

2017 was a big year for cryptojacking. It increased by 8,500 percent, according to figures published by Symantec in March. And it would seem that 2018 has so far been an even bigger year for mining malware, as the Cyber Threat Alliance September report revealed that, beginning on Jan. 1, cryptojacking still had room to increase by a further 500 percent. However, beneath this simple outline of growth, there is a bigger, more complicated picture. Despite reports from some quarters showing that mining malware detections increased in the first two quarters of 2018, other reports suggest that they have in fact decreased. And while the overall growth in mining malware since last year has been attributed to the volatility of cryptocurrency prices and the existence of software bugs, other factors have played a significant role, such as the involvement of amateur cryptojackers and the cost of mining legitimately. Amateur cryptojackers If there’s one dominant trend this year in the underworld of cryptojacking, it’s that most mining malware focuses on Monero. Indeed, Palo Alto Networks revealed in July that Monero accounts for 84.5 percent of all detected malware, compared to 8 percent for Bitcoin and 7 percent for other coins. The reason for this is simple: Monero (XMR) is not only a privacy coin, but also the most valuable privacy coin by market cap — and 10th overall. Using the Cryptonight proof-of-work (PoW) algorithm, it mixes the user’s inputs with those of other users, and it also uses “ring confidential transactions” that obscure the amount of XMR being transferred. It’s therefore ideal for cybercriminals. Monero was already the most popular coin for cryptojackers in 2017, but a number of new developments have emerged in 2018 to distinguish this year from its predecessor. Most notably, cryptojacking is increasingly becoming the province of amateur ‘hackers,’ who are lured into the illicit activity by the cheap availability of mining malware and by obvious financial rewards. According to Russian cybersecurity firm Group-IB, the dark web is “flooded with cheap mining software,” which can often be purchased for as little as $0.50. Such software has become abundant this year: In 2017, Group-IB encountered 99 announcements regarding for-sale cryptojacking software on underground forums, while in 2018 it counted 477, signalling an increase of 381.8…

China’s Oldest Science and Tech Publication Accepts BTC for Subscriptions

China’s Oldest Science and Tech Publication Accepts BTC for Subscriptions

News On Sunday China’s oldest tech media publication, Beijing Sci-Tech Report (BSTR) also known as ‘Technology life,’ has announced the business is accepting bitcoin core (BTC) for the magazine’s 2019 subscriptions. Also read: Launching a Website on the Bitcoin Cash Network Is Now a Reality  The Publication Beijing Sci-Tech Report Now Accepts BTC for 2019 Subscriptions   The Beijing Sci-Tech Report (BSTR) is one of the oldest science and technology publications in China. The media organization prints editorials stemming from its ‘Technology Life‘ team of authors, and it also publishes approved content from the well known US science journal Popular Science. This weekend the magazine has announced that it will be accepting BTC for subscriptions towards its 2019 publications. The cost to subscribe to BSTR will be 0.01 BTC (about 450 yuan or $65 USD). @Cnledger reveals the news on Twitter.  The Beijing based publication has written reports on cryptocurrencies in the past and the use cases of blockchain technology. According to the press release, the announcement to accept BTC was brought about by the magazine’s desire to promote blockchain technology in a real-world setting for “practical actions.” “For a long time, blockchain technology has also been the object of in-depth tracking reports offered by Beijing Science and Technology Report and Technology Life,” the magazine’s press release details. The Beijing Sci-Tech Report (BSTR) Embracing the Payment Technology in Order to Cultivate New Readers One interesting fact about BSTR accepting bitcoin, the firm says, is that if the price of BTC grows significantly by 2020, they will also offer some refunds to those who have subscribed using the digital currency. A translated BSTR statement explains the publication hopes to “cultivate new readers” by embracing the payment technology. Beijing Sci-Tech Report is not the only publication that has tried to entice readers by accepting cryptocurrencies. Back in 2014 Time Incorporated announced accepting BTC through Coinbase for subscriptions to Fortune, Good Health, Travel and Leisure, and This Old House. In April of the same year, the Chicago Sun-Times also revealed it would accept BTC for payments. However, both publishing companies have since removed the BTC payment option. Beijing Sci-Tech Report being a technology-oriented magazine may have better luck than its periodical predecessors. What do you think about Beijing Sci-Tech Report…

A Review of the New Stellarx Decentralized Exchange

A Review of the New Stellarx Decentralized Exchange

Exchanges This week, Stellar launched its long-awaited decentralized exchange. Stellarx offers trading of a range of assets including cryptocurrencies from multiple blockchains, using stellar lumens (XLM) as the base currency. The exchange differs significantly from existing decentralized offerings, which are limited to tokens pertaining to a single blockchain – usually Ethereum. With Stellarx, however, users can trade BCH, BTC, USD, ETH and much more, but there’s a catch: non-native assets are represented as ‘tethers’. Also read: Launching a Website on the Bitcoin Cash Network Is Now a Reality Does Stellar’s New DEX Have the X Factor? On the face of it, Stellar is an odd cryptocurrency project to be championing decentralization. Founded by Jed McCaleb as a fork of his former project, Ripple, Stellar is in many respects as centralized as the coin its codebase derives from. Are We Decentralized Yet? scores Stellar’s XLM cryptocurrency low on various decentralization metrics, noting that the top 100 accounts hold 95% of the total supply, there is just one client codebase controlling nodes, and a mere 111 public nodes are operational. By any reckoning, that makes XLM a heavily centralized cryptocurrency, and yet in Stellarx, we have a candidate for one of the most innovative and user-friendly decentralized exchanges seen yet. To all intents and purposes, Stellarx operates as a true DEX should: users retain sole custody of their funds, trades are executed against other users, and Stellarx has no access to funds. Throw in the ability to trade non-native crypto assets such as BTC and BCH, plus the option of making fiat currency deposits, and Stellarx starts to sound more like a centralized exchange than a bare bones DEX on a par with IDEX or Forkdelta. There are some caveats that come with trading non-native Stellar assets, which we’ll get to shortly, but straight off the bat, Stellarx is more feature-rich than any of its counterparts. Trade Anything, Anywhere “Any asset that is created on the Stellar network may theoretically be displayed, no matter whether it would be considered a currency, commodity, security, utility token, or other type of asset under your local applicable laws and regulations,” notes Stellarx in its Ts & Cs. “You are responsible for determining the legality of your transactions.” With each trade, the…

Crypto Markets See Mix of Red and Green, With Half of Top 100 Coins Slightly Up

Crypto Markets See Mix of Red and Green, With Half of Top 100 Coins Slightly Up

Sunday, September 30: crypto markets are seeing a mix of red and green today. A little more than half of the top 100 cryptocurrencies have grown in the 24 hours to press time. The daily trade volume has declined, seeing a relatively sharp drop from around $15 billion yesterday to $13.8 billion at press time. Market visualization from Coin360 Bitcoin (BTC) has been hovering around $6,600 for most of the day, with an intraday low of $6,561 and a high of $6,640. At press time, Bitcoin is trading at $6,632, up around 0.7 percent on the day. Bitcoin’s dominance share on the market is currently at 51.2 percent. Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Bitcoin Price Index Ethereum (ETH), currently the second largest cryptocurrency by market cap, continues to hover around $230, after suffering a drop to as low as $215 yesterday. The altcoin’s price has seen an increase of 1.6 percent in the 24 hours to press time. Ethereum 7-day price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Ethereum Price Index Ripple (XRP) is also seeing growth, sitting at the largest daily gains among the 20 top coins. The coin is up 4 percent today to trade at $0.584 at press time. Earlier this week, Ripple was reported to lead a group of crypto and blockchain startups that are going to lobby the U.S. lawmakers and financial regulators to support innovation for the industry. Ripple 7-day price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Ripple Price Index Total market cap has increased slightly, currently at $223 billion and up about $2 billion since the same time yesterday. Total 24-hours market capitalization chart. Source: CoinMarketCap NEM (XEM), currently the 17th largest cryptocurrency, is up 1.7 percent over the past 24 hours to trade at $0.097. As crypto prices remain fairly volatile and without a clear trend, a group of lawmakers from the U.S. Congress has recently addressed the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), asking it to provide more regulatory clarity for the crypto industry. Specifically, more than a dozen congressmen have asked SEC Chairman Jay Clayton to provide criteria for identifying digital tokens as securities. Anthony Pompliano, founder and partner at Morgan Creek Digital Assets, has summarized the main crypto industry events of the week in his tweet September 30. The industry expert…

Hodler’s Digest, September 23-30: Walmart Embraces Blockchain, Google Does 180 On Crypto-Ad Ban

Hodler’s Digest, September 23-30: Walmart Embraces Blockchain, Google Does 180 On Crypto-Ad Ban

Coming every Sunday, the Hodler’s Digest will help you to track every single important news story that happened this week. The best (and worst) quotes, adoption and regulation highlights, leading coins, predictions, and much more — a week on Cointelegraph in one link. Top Stories This Week Google Reverses Crypto Ad Ban, Allows Crypto Exchanges In Japan, US To Advertise The U.S. tech giant Google is set to update its ad policy in October, re-allowing registered cryptocurrency exchanges located in the U.S. and Japan to advertise. According to the official announcement, starting in October, Google will allow registered cryptocurrency exchanges to advertise on its Google Adwords platform, targeting the U.S. and Japanese audiences. The announcement notes that advertisers will need to be certified with Google in the country where the ads will be launched. Walmart Announces Mandatory Blockchain Use For Leafy Greens Suppliers U.S. retail giant Walmart and its division Sam’s Club, a membership-only retail warehouse club, will require suppliers of leafy greens to implement a farm-to-store tracking system based on blockchain tech. Walmart, which is set to introduce a similar traceability system “for other fresh fruit and vegetable providers within the next year,” notes that over 100 companies will be required to implement IBM’s blockchain service. “Tokyo Whale” Mt. Gox Trustee Publishes Final Crypto Selloff Equal To $230 Mln Nobuaki Kobayashi, the trustee of defunct cryptocurrency exchange Mt.Gox, released a new statement this week that recorded the liquidation of almost 26 billion yen ($230 million) in Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash in around four months.Kobayashi, who is known as the “Tokyo Whale” due to the multiple rounds of cryptocurrency sell-offs he has undertaken on behalf of Mt.Gox since Q3 2017, stated he had sold 24,658 BTC and 25,331 BCH “during the period from the 10th creditors’ meeting in the Bankruptcy Proceedings (i.e., from March 7, 2018) to the commencement of Civil Rehabilitation Proceedings.” Bakkt Announces First Offering Set To Be Physical Bitcoin Futures The Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) has confirmed its Bakkt cryptocurrency platform’s first offering will take the form of physical Bitcoin futures. ICE, which also operates the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), has said that Bakkt — a “regulated ecosystem” for institutional investors aiming to get exposure to cryptocurrency — will offer futures against…

Bitcoin Price Makes Second Straight Monthly Loss in September

Bitcoin Price Makes Second Straight Monthly Loss in September

Bitcoin (BTC) is reporting losses for a second straight month, but there are hints of a bullish breakout ahead in the fourth quarter. At press time, the leading cryptocurrency is trading at $6,570 – down 6.30 percent from September’s opening price of $7,014. BTC also registered a 10-percent decline in August, according to CoinDesk’s Bitcoin Price Index (BPI). However, despite the back-to-back monthly losses, the cryptocurrency is flashing a 2 percent gain for the third quarter. Further, the quarterly gain could have been much bigger had the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) not rejected a notable application for a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF). July: BTC trapped bulls on the wrong side of the market Bitcoin jumped to a two-month high of $8,507 on July 25, confirming an upside break of the four-month-long falling channel. However, the long-term bearish-to-bullish trend change was short-lived as prices fell back below $8,000 on July 27, courtesy of the SEC’s second rejection of the Winklevoss brothers’ application for a bitcoin ETF. Nevertheless, the leading cryptocurrency posted a 21 percent gain in July, snapping the longest losing streak in nearly two years. August: Sellers dominated the first half BTC was down for the first two weeks the ETF rejection in late July. The cryptocurrency fell to a low of $5,859 on Bitfinex on Aug. 14 before rising back to $7,000 by the month’s end. Signaling a rotation of money out of high-risk alternative cryptocurrencies and into bitcoin, and possibly into fiat currencies, the BTC dominance rate also rose above 50 percent for the first time since Dec. 19, 2017. It is worth noting that the SEC disapproved several other ETF proposals in the second half of August month. Yet, BTC remained well bid, possibly because the investor community had priced in the widely expected bad news. That resilience triggered speculation that better times lie ahead for the cryptocurrency and overshadowed the 10 percent monthly decline in prices. September: BTC carved out another lower high BTC’s rise to highs above $7,500 in the first half of the month was supplemented by the bullish turn in the weekly MACD. As a result, the cryptocurrency was looking likely to rise further toward July highs above $8,500. Instead, prices fell sharply on Sept. 5, leaving…

Japan: Self-Regulatory Group of Crypto Exchanges Set to Tighten Rules on Online Digital Asset Storage

Japan: Self-Regulatory Group of Crypto Exchanges Set to Tighten Rules on Online Digital Asset Storage

The self-regulatory Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA) plans to stricten its customer asset management measures. The Japan Times outlet reported this news Sunday, September 30, citing “informed sources.” JVCEA is a self-regulatory group of some of the largest licensed exchange operators in Japan, established in April of this year. Now, the organization is reportedly planning to tighten its rules by establishing a limit on the amount of digital currencies that can be managed online by any exchange. According to The Japan Times’ sources, the limit will likely be set at around 10 to 20 percent of customer deposits. JVCEA is reportedly in the process of revising its rules, originally formulated in July, after which they will be presented for certification to Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA). Crypto exchanges normally store most of their customers’ crypto assets offline on cold storage wallets. However, a certain amount of cryptocurrency is usually stored on a hot wallet that is connected to the Internet, making it vulnerable to potential hacker attacks. JVCEA’s new rules will limit the share of digital assets that can be stored this way by the organization’s member exchanges. The push for stricter self-regulation comes after the recent hack of a Japanese crypto exchange Zaif that has lost 6.7 billion yen ($59.7 million) worth of crypto assets belonging to both the company and its customers. Zaif’s hack took place after an even larger case earlier this year, when hackers attacked a Japanese crypto exchange Coincheck, managing to get away with $523 million worth of NEM coins. The stolen crypto assets were also reportedly stored on “low security” hot wallets. The FSA has launched an investigation shortly after the hack of Zaif, intending to verify whether the company will be able to cover customers’ losses.