UK Financial Regulator Warns Investors About ‘Clone Firm’

UK Financial Regulator Warns Investors About ‘Clone Firm’

The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has warned investors about a so-called “clone’ company of investment firm Fair Oaks Capital Ltd., in a statement published Aug. 7. Clone firms are companies that carry out business activities under the pretense that they are a firm registered by the FCA. Almost all legal entities involved in financial services in the U.K. must be authorized or registered by the FCA. In the statement, the FCA outlines a fraudulent company targeting people in the U.K. using registration data of firms authorized by the regulator. The clone, Fair Oaks Crypto, allegedly aims to hoodwink potential scam victims by claiming that they represent Fair Oaks Capital. The FCA provided the contact details of the clone firm, so that potential investors or clients would know to avoid it. The British regulatory agency also suggested that investors check the Financial Services Register before dealing with a firm in order to ensure it is legitimate and operating legally. In May, the FCA opened 24 investigations into cryptocurrency businesses over financial regulatory compliance in order to “determine whether they might be carrying on regulated activities that require FCA authorization.” Generally, the FCA has demonstrated a positive regulatory approach towards cryptocurrencies. Recently, it announced the creation of a global initiative called Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN) to improve collaboration between regulators and companies on fintech innovations like blockchain. GFIN aims to consult on various topics, including the regulation of securities and Initial Coin Offerings (ICO). In March, the FCA launched a cryptocurrency task force in collaboration with the Bank of England in order to explore ways to regulate and support expanding crypto technologies. Shortly before, the regulator introduced a global fintech regulatory sandbox, that allows for innovative fintech development without requiring a full, strict regulatory process for testing. Last month, the Big Innovation Centre, DAG Global, and Deep Knowledge Analytics released a report, that shows that the U.K. has the institutional and technological resources needed to become a leader in the crypto economic ecosystem within the next few years. While the study considers the blockchain sector to be in the early stages of development globally, it still finds support at the governmental level. U.K. housing minister Eddie Hughes called on the government to prioritize the technology’s…

US SEC Postpones Decision Regarding Bitcoin Exchange Traded Fund

US SEC Postpones Decision Regarding Bitcoin Exchange Traded Fund

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has postponed its decision on the listing and trading of a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) until September 30, according to an official document released by the SEC August 7. ETFs are securities that track a basket of assets proportionately represented in the fund’s shares. They are seen by some as a potential step forward for the mass adoption of cryptocurrencies as a regulated and passive investment instrument. The fund under consideration is powered by investment firm VanEck and financial services company SolidX, and is expected to list on the Chicago Board of Exchange (CBOE) BZX Equities Exchange. The SEC now has almost two more months to consider a proposed rule change by CBOE Global Markets Inc. that would allow the fund to list.   Today’s notice states that the SEC has received more than 1,300 comments on the proposed rule change to list and trade shares of SolidX BTC shares issued by the VanEck SolidX Bitcoin Trust. Per the document, within 45 days of a filing of a proposed rule change, or within 90 days should the Commission deem necessary, the Commission will approve, disapprove, or extend the period of consideration. The document says: “Accordingly, the Commission, pursuant to Section 19(b)(2) of the Act,6 designates September 30, 2018, as the date by which the Commission shall either approve or disapprove, or institute proceedings to determine whether to disapprove, the proposed rule change (File No. SRCboeBZX-2018-040).” VanEck and SolidX first announced the physically-backed Bitcoin ETF on June 6. As per the SEC filing, the price of each share of the VanEck SolidX Bitcoin Trust is set to $200,000. SolidX CEO Daniel H. Gallancy told CNBC, that the high price reflects the fund’s intention to focus on institutional, rather than retail investors. Last month, the SEC delayed its decision on investment firm Direxion’s application for a Bitcoin ETF until Sep. 21. The regulator also rejected an appeal by Bats BZX Exchange, Inc. (BZX) to list and trade shares of the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust, originally filed in 2016. The agency cited the largely unregulated nature of Bitcoin markets as the principal reason for refusing the application, stating, “When the spot market is unregulated — there must be significant, regulated derivatives markets…

U.K. Financial Regulator Warns Investors About ‘Clone Firm’

U.K. Financial Regulator Warns Investors About ‘Clone Firm’

The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has warned investors about a so-called “clone’ company of investment firm Fair Oaks Capital Ltd., in a statement published Aug. 7. Clone firms are companies that carry out business activities under the pretense that they are a firm registered by the FCA. Almost all legal entities involved in financial services in the U.K. must be authorized or registered by the FCA. In the statement, the FCA outlines a fraudulent company targeting people in the U.K. using registration data of firms authorized by the regulator. The clone, Fair Oaks Crypto, allegedly aims to hoodwink potential scam victims by claiming that they represent Fair Oaks Capital. The FCA provided the contact details of the clone firm, so that potential investors or clients would know to avoid it. The British regulatory agency also suggested that investors check the Financial Services Register before dealing with a firm in order to ensure it is legitimate and operating legally. In May, the FCA opened 24 investigations into cryptocurrency businesses over financial regulatory compliance in order to “determine whether they might be carrying on regulated activities that require FCA authorization.” Generally, the FCA has demonstrated a positive regulatory approach towards cryptocurrencies. Recently, it announced the creation of a global initiative called Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN) to improve collaboration between regulators and companies on fintech innovations like blockchain. GFIN aims to consult on various topics, including the regulation of securities and Initial Coin Offerings (ICO). In March, the FCA launched a cryptocurrency task force in collaboration with the Bank of England in order to explore ways to regulate and support expanding crypto technologies. Shortly before, the regulator introduced a global fintech regulatory sandbox, that allows for innovative fintech development without requiring a full, strict regulatory process for testing. Last month, the Big Innovation Centre, DAG Global, and Deep Knowledge Analytics released a report, that shows that the U.K. has the institutional and technological resources needed to become a leader in the crypto economic ecosystem within the next few years. While the study considers the blockchain sector to be in the early stages of development globally, it still finds support at the governmental level. U.K. housing minister Eddie Hughes called on the government to prioritize the technology’s…

U.S. SEC Postpones Decision Regarding Bitcoin Exchange Traded Fund

U.S. SEC Postpones Decision Regarding Bitcoin Exchange Traded Fund

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has postponed its decision on the listing and trading of a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) until September 30, according to an official document released by the SEC August 7. ETFs are securities that track a basket of assets proportionately represented in the fund’s shares. They are seen by some as a potential step forward for the mass adoption of cryptocurrencies as a regulated and passive investment instrument. The fund under consideration is powered by investment firm VanEck and financial services company SolidX, and is expected to list on the Chicago Board of Exchange (CBOE) BZX Equities Exchange. The SEC now has almost two more months to consider a proposed rule change by CBOE Global Markets Inc. that would allow the fund to list.   Today’s notice states that the SEC has received more than 1,300 comments on the proposed rule change to list and trade shares of SolidX BTC shares issued by the VanEck SolidX Bitcoin Trust. Per the document, within 45 days of a filing of a proposed rule change, or within 90 days should the Commission deem necessary, the Commission will approve, disapprove, or extend the period of consideration. The document says: “Accordingly, the Commission, pursuant to Section 19(b)(2) of the Act,6 designates September 30, 2018, as the date by which the Commission shall either approve or disapprove, or institute proceedings to determine whether to disapprove, the proposed rule change (File No. SRCboeBZX-2018-040).” VanEck and SolidX first announced the physically-backed Bitcoin ETF on June 6. As per the SEC filing, the price of each share of the VanEck SolidX Bitcoin Trust is set to $200,000. SolidX CEO Daniel H. Gallancy told CNBC, that the high price reflects the fund’s intention to focus on institutional, rather than retail investors. Last month, the SEC delayed its decision on investment firm Direxion’s application for a Bitcoin ETF until Sep. 21. The regulator also rejected an appeal by Bats BZX Exchange, Inc. (BZX) to list and trade shares of the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust, originally filed in 2016. The agency cited the largely unregulated nature of Bitcoin markets as the principal reason for refusing the application, stating, “When the spot market is unregulated — there must be significant, regulated derivatives markets…

Study Provides an Interesting Look at Changing Bitcoin Narratives

Study Provides an Interesting Look at Changing Bitcoin Narratives

News Last week Nic Carter, the partner at Castle Island Ventures and co-founder of Coinmetrics.io, published an interesting study that looks at the ever-changing narratives tied to Bitcoin technology. Carter and his fellow researcher Hasufly scraped up a lot of data stemming from Bitcointalk.org posts over the years that highlight some of the community-derived visions of what Bitcoin should be and how these visions have changed over time. Also read: Need Cold Storage? Check Out Bitcoin.com’s Revamped Paper Wallet Generator The Ever-Changing Bitcoin Narratives If you’ve been into cryptocurrencies for a long time you might have noticed the community narratives and visions for Bitcoin have changed over the years. For instance, back in the early days, Bitcoin technology was supposed to eradicate the current banking cartels and remove money from the state’s power as well. At least that’s what the early bitcoiners and cypherpunks said at the time. However, Bitcoin narratives have evolved and lots of Bitcoin proponents now want the central bank’s acceptance and think governments regulating the use of cryptocurrencies will make them a ‘legitimate’ form of tender. Moreover, some people believe Bitcoin should be a store of value much like gold, while others believe Bitcoin was meant to be a fast and cheap peer-to-peer cash system. After researching this topic, Nic Carter published a well-documented study of the ever-changing narratives stemming from individuals and groups who like to tether their own visions to the Bitcoin protocol. Carter and his partner Hasufly used data derived from conversations taking place on the forum Bitcointalk.org over the last decade. “Perhaps the most enduring source of conflict within the Bitcoin community derives from incompatible visions of what Bitcoin is and should become,” explains Carter’s study. In the absence of a recognized sole leader, Bitcoiners refer to founding documents and early forum posts to attempt to decipher what Satoshi truly wanted for the currency. This is not unlike US Supreme Court justices poring over the Constitution and applying its ancient wisdom to contemporary cases. Isolated and Incompatible Visions Carter and Hasufly’s research breaks Bitcoin narratives down to seven sections which includes: “The e-cash proof of concept (the first major narrative), cheap p2p payments network, censorship-resistant digital gold, private and anonymous darknet currency, reserve currency for the cryptocurrency industry,…

Omniex Appoints Former SEC and FDIC Execs to Board of Advisors

Omniex Appoints Former SEC and FDIC Execs to Board of Advisors

Institution-oriented crypto trading platform Omniex has expanded its staff with high profile experts, including former execs of major U.S. financial regulators, according to a press release Aug. 7. Omniex has appointed former U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chairman Arthur Levitt and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp (FDIC) chair Sheila Bair as members of the board of advisors. The cryptocurrency trading firm also announced that Maartje Bus, former head of capital markets at Thomson Reuters, has joined Omniex as director of strategic partnerships, while Tom Eidt, former head of KCG’s regulatory affairs was appointed as chief compliance officer and general counsel. Levitt, who was the twenty-fifth and longest-serving chairman of the SEC from 1993 to 2001, claimed that institutional investors need “purpose-built technology to solve the challenges they face today and equipped to handle the hidden obstacles they’ll encounter tomorrow in this new asset class.” Levitt currently serves as advisor to a number of companies such as Mirror, BitPay, Blockchain, PeerIQ and Sofi, previously working as senior advisor to Goldman Sachs and The Carlyle Group. Former FDIC exec Sheila Bair emphasized that the crypto industry is a “revolutionary, global asset class” that is currently in its infancy. She also said that the world is now “on the cusp of regulatory thinking on how to approach and regulate crypto assets.” “Technology like Omniex is designed to address regulators’ concerns about a lack of robust market infrastructure, and will enable institutional investors to manage risk across a wide range of jurisdictions, liquidity sources and crypto-assets,” Blair stated. Having served as chair of the U.S. banking regulator from 2006 to 2011, Bair played a prominent role in the government’s response to the financial crisis of 2008. Earlier in June, Bair claimed that, while cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) can be a way to improve еxisting monetary tools, she still argued that Bitcoin “has failed miserably as a method of payment.” The former FDIC chair further stated that the Federal Reserve needs to “seriously” consider the relative benefits of issuing its own digital currency. Omniex is an office investment and trading platform for institutional investors. Founded in 2017, the company has raised $10 million in seed funding from investors such as Digital Currency Group, Sierra Ventures, and British hedge fund billionaire…

Bitmain Hits $15 Billion Valuation With Recent Backing From Uber’s Largest Shareholder

Bitmain Hits $15 Billion Valuation With Recent Backing From Uber’s Largest Shareholder

Bitcoin (BTC) mining behemoth Bitmain is now valued at $15 billion after closing a pre-Initial Public Offering (IPO) funding round with backing from high-profile investors, QQ News reported August 4. The fresh financing deal, which is said to have closed on Saturday, notably includes investments from Chinese tech conglomerate Tencent and Japan’s Softbank, another tech giant whose 15 percent stake in Uber makes it the drive-hailing app’s largest shareholder. Tencent, meanwhile, is the developer of China’s dominant social media platform WeChat, which has over 1 billion global users and outstripped Facebook’s market cap by $72 billion in March of this year. According to QQ, Bitmain is planning to launch its IPO on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange  this September at an estimated valuation of $30 billion. As Cointelegraph previously reported, Bitmain’s CEO Jihan Wu hinted at plans for the IPO in early June. In February 2018, Bitmain reportedly held 70-80 percent of the global market for Bitcoin mining hardware, and posted between $3 and $4 billion in operating profits in 2017 — higher than American graphics processing unit (GPU) manufacturer Nvidia. At the end of July, Fortune reported that Bitmain earned around $1 billion in net profit for the first quarter of 2018, the same month it closed a $300-400 million Series B funding round which inched its valuation upward to $12 billion. Meanwhile, another Chinese crypto mining giant, Canaan Creative, is planning to launch its own IPO — also on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Just yesterday, Bitmain revealed it will construct a $500 million blockchain data center and mining facility in Texas as part of its expansion into the U.S. market, hoping to initiate the center’s operations by early 2019.

Innosilicon’s T2-Turbo Bitcoin Miner is Powerful, But GMO’s B3 is Still the Champ

Innosilicon’s T2-Turbo Bitcoin Miner is Powerful, But GMO’s B3 is Still the Champ

Mining Bitcoin mining is a very competitive industry. It has grown exponentially over the last few years. During the last nine months, there’s been a bunch of new entrants joining the mining rig manufacturing business like GMO Group, Halong Mining, and Ebang. Now there’s a new firm that has partnered with Samsung’s semiconductor foundry called, Innosilicon, which has launched the Terminator 2-Turbo that claims to boost the machine’s hashrate speeds up to 24 trillion hashes per second (TH/s). Also read: Bitmain Launches Key Crypto Mining Facility in Texas      24 Trillion Hashes Per Second — The Hong Kong Firm Innosilicon Launches the Terminator 2 Turbo   Mining rig manufacturing is becoming super competitive lately, and there’s been a slew of new machines launched with much faster semiconductors. For instance, the firm Ebang and its Ebit E10 miner mines the SHA-256 algorithm, and it introduced independently made 10nm chips last year. The machine’s specs claim to produce a low power consumption of 1650W and churns out a maximum hashrate of 18Th/s. However, the machine is unavailable through Ebang as the product is sold out and the E10 can only be purchased through secondary markets. Then there was the firm Halong Mining which produced the Dragonmint T1 a SHA-256 miner that generated 16 trillion hashes per second. Halong also uses a Samsung designed 10nm chip but the Halong miner sold out and has been unavailable for months. Innosilicon’s T2-Turbo Bitcoin Miner is Powerful, But GMO’s B3 is Still the Champ Now the Hong Kong-based firm Innosilicon has created a faster SHA-256 ASIC miner that produces 24TH/s by utilizing the Samsung Foundry’s low-power Finfet semiconductor technology. News.Bitcoin.com initially reported on Innosilicon’s new miner when it was discovered that four containers of the original Terminator 2 model were shipped to the US and sent to the company known as Blockstream.     “The current Innosilicon Bitcoin mining ASIC has already been used in the most power efficient miner, known as Terminator 2 Miner with 17.2TH at 1430W+10%,” explains the Hong Kong firm. The newly updated T2-Turbo miner offers enhanced 24TH/s performance per a small tube in normal mode and its power consumption can go as low as 75W/TH at the wall in low-power mode, easily 30% better than the closest competing products…

Bounty Hunt Gone Wrong: ‘Unhackable’ Wallet Bitfi Denies It Has Been Hacked

Bounty Hunt Gone Wrong: ‘Unhackable’ Wallet Bitfi Denies It Has Been Hacked

In July, cryptocurrency hardware wallet manufacturer Bitfi’s executive chairman, John McAfee, claimed that Bitfi was “the world’s first unhackable device,” urging security experts to breach its security for a $100,000 bounty. Since then, a number of reports emerged that suggested Bitfi is not, in fact, “unhackable,” only to be dismissed by the wallet service as well as McAfee himself, steadily making the bounty hunt seem like a tasteless PR stunt. What is Bitfi? Essentially, Bitfi is a physical device — or a ‘hardware’ wallet — supporting “an unlimited amount of cryptocurrencies” that costs $120, as per its website. Although no actual contact details (apart from email addresses) are listed there, the company is registered in London, according to Companies House data. Bitfi’s CEO is 38-year-old American entrepreneur Daniel Khesin. The project first surfaced in July, when the infamous investor John McAfee — who once promised to “eat [his] own dick on national television” if Bitcoin’s price doesn’t reach $500,000 by 2020 — premiered the crypto wallet on his Twitter. He called Bitfi “a Colt 45 of the crypto world” and “the world’s first unhackable device.” To prove his point, McAfee announced a bounty hunt: $100,000 would go to the first person to hack the new device. “Money talks, bullshit walks,” he taunted the skeptics and later raised the bet up to $250,000. Notably, unlike the majority of other hardware wallets, Bitfi doesn’t put such a strong emphasis on private keys, according to its website: “The Bitfi hardware wallet solves this security problem once and for all in the most elegant way possible — the private keys are simply not stored anywhere, ever. This is another layer of security that goes beyond keeping the private key outside the computer environment or from devices with internet access. So even if your Bitfi hardware wallet is seized or stolen, there is nothing that anyone can do to extract the private keys because they are not on the device in the first place.” Instead, its security system revolves around a user-generated secret phrase — that can supposedly be memorized — instead of a conventional 24-word mnemonic seed that has to be written down, which allegedly contributes to the safety of the stored assets. That way, the Bitfi team argues,…

Barclays Denies Crypto Trading Desk Plans as Staff Removes ‘Digital Asset Project’ LinkedIn Info

Barclays Denies Crypto Trading Desk Plans as Staff Removes ‘Digital Asset Project’ LinkedIn Info

UK-based bank Barclays has denied it is working on opening a crypto trading desk. The statement was made after two employees removed LinkedIn evidence they were working on a digital assets project at the bank, Business Insider reports August 6. According to Business Insider, Matthieu Jobbe Duval and Chris Tyrer, whom Barclays confirmed worked for the bank, had listed cryptocurrency-related duties on their LinkedIn profiles. Duval had written he was involved in a “digital asset project” and was “hired to produce a business plan for integrating a digital assets trading desk into Barclays’ markets business: revenue opportunity, competitive landscape, budgeting and planning for delivery, I.T. buildout, capital & balance sheet impact.” After Business Insider approached Barclays for comment, however, Duval removed the information while nonetheless confirming it was “accurate.” Tyrer, whose LinkedIn had described him as the head of the digital assets project, declined to comment. Barclays told Cointelegraph that they have “no plans for a crypto trading desk.” As of press time, Duval and Tyrer’s LinkedIn profiles still show positions at Barclays working with “digital assets,” but all information detailing the specifics of the jobs is not listed. Barclays, as well as Duval and Tyrer, have not responded to Cointelegraph’s request for comment by press time. The curious events continue what has become a growing trend among banks of denying cryptocurrency interest at a senior level while appearing to actively develop an approach to the phenomenon elsewhere. This week, Goldman Sachs insiders said the bank planned to offer “crypto custody” services despite a spokesman telling Bloomberg it had “not reached a conclusion” on digital assets. A similar story emerged from BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, whose CEO Larry Fink last month claimed none of its clients had an interest in cryptocurrency exposure while at the same time the company formed a working group to assess Bitcoin involvement. In March, Barclays began serving U.S. cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase in a partnership which allowed considerably faster funding options for UK traders.