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.

SEC Delays VanEck-SolidX Bitcoin ETF Decision to September

SEC Delays VanEck-SolidX Bitcoin ETF Decision to September

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has delayed a decision on a proposed bitcoin ETF, pushing its final determination ahead by more than a month. In an order published on August 7, officials at the agency wrote that they were giving themselves more time to deliberate on whether to approve what would be the first exchange-traded product of its kind in the U.S. It’s also perhaps unsurprising, given that in the past, SEC officials have used the agency’s statutory powers to push back decisions on bitcoin ETFs in the past. As the agency wrote: “Accordingly, the Commission … designates September 30, 2018, as the date by which the Commission shall either approve or disapprove, orinstitute proceedings to determine whether to disapprove, the proposed rule change.” The proposed rule change from CBOE would, if approved, constitute a critical point on a path to listing a bitcoin ETF, in conjunction with money management firm VanEck and crypto startup ETF. The companies submitted their proposal back in June, setting off a busy comment period that saw the crypto community rally in support. All told, more than 100 comments were submitted through mid-July. The choice to punt forward a final decision also comes days after SEC commissioners completed a review on a proposed bitcoin ETF from investors Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, whose multi-year effort was dashed after a majority of the SEC’s commissioners backed up the agency’s original March 2017 decision. One commissioner, Hester Peirce, dissented that decision, later telling CoinDesk in an interview that the move to block a bitcoin ETF is a disservice to both investors and innovators. As of press time, the price of bitcoin has not reacted, trading at around $7,060 according to the Bitcoin Price Index (BPI). The SEC 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.

Ukraine Election Official Launches Voting Trial Using NEM’s Blockchain

Ukraine Election Official Launches Voting Trial Using NEM’s Blockchain

A member of the Ukraine Central Election Commission is investigating the use of blockchain in elections. Oleksandr Stelmakh, working for Ukraine’s Central Election Commission, commented on the ongoing trial Tuesday by way of Facebook. The trial run began back in July when Stelmakh encouraged his friends on Facebook to participate in a “test vote” that had been created in partnership with a local NEM Foundation group, using NEM’s blockchain platform. “One of the basic useful properties of the blockchain is the impossibility of making changes to the saved information …These are the properties we tried to use to save the information of the local ballot sessions,” Stelmakh wrote. He added: “It must be noted that the experiment was held in the test environment of the blockchain NEM and for the transactions used by the test coins that were kindly given the representative of the NEM Foundation in Ukraine, Anton Bosenko. The blockchain test environment has 28 nodes. ” Stelmakh also wrote that based on the results, it would cost roughly $1,227 to place a node which can be used to vote in each police station, which he said was a “small” price to pay for the technology. Stelmakh reminded readers in his post that the trial period for the blockchain experiment was still ongoing and polls using “test coins” had not yet closed. The official’s work represents the latest effort to apply the technology for tabulating votes, with the idea being that blockchain could be used to create an immutable record – or, at least, an auxiliary one – to help ease issues when tallying final counts. Blockchain has also been advanced as a tool for proxy voting, in which shareholders of a company vote on corporate matters. Editor’s note: Comments in this article have been translated from Ukrainian.  Vote 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.

Here’s the Bitcoin ETF Presentation SolidX Gave to the SEC Last Week

Here’s the Bitcoin ETF Presentation SolidX Gave to the SEC Last Week

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently published a presentation given to agency staffers by crypto startup SolidX in late July, a move that comes days ahead of an expected decision on its bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF). The public document, dated August 1, reveals that representatives from SolidX, Cboe BZX Exchange, VanEck Securities Corporation and Patomak Global Partners met with the agency on July 31. The meeting drew officials from a number of SEC offices, including the Division of Trading and Markets, the Division of Corporation Finance and the Divison of Economic and Risk Analysis, according to the memorandum. While the document itself doesn’t provide a blow-by-blow of the meeting, it does offer insight into the arguments being made in favor of the bitcoin ETF, including “significant changes in product, market structure and overall circumstances since March 2017 disapproval” – referring to the decision made last year with respect to SolidX’s prior proposal. The information is notable given that the SEC is expected to issue some kind of decision this month on SolidX and VanEck’s proposed bitcoin ETF, though a choice to punt its approval or disapproval forward could lead to the process extending for additional months. Historically, the presentation argued, the approved commodity-trust exchange-traded products (ETPs) all have been “well-established, significant, regulated markets” for trading futures on the underlying commodity such as gold and silver. The document cited the SEC’s comment at the time: “The Commission notes that bitcoin is still in the relatively early stages of its development and that, over time, regulated bitcoin-related markets of significant size may develop. Should such markets develop, the Commission could consider whether a bitcoin ETP would, based on the facts and circumstances then presented, be consistent with the requirements of the Exchange Act” With that being said, the presentation made it clear that “significant changes” in bitcoin and its market structure have been made since then, for example, multiple derivatives markets are now available for bitcoin such as CME bitcoin futures, and Cboe bitcoin futures. “All of the above are markets regulated by the CFTC (the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission) and all are cleared products,” the presentation added. See the full presentation document below: srcboebzx2018040-4152607-172036 The SEC building in Washington D.C. image via Shutterstock The leader in blockchain…

Ethereum Classic (ETC) is launching on Coinbase Pro

Ethereum Classic (ETC) is launching on Coinbase Pro

Transfer ETC immediately to your exchange account, and start trading within the next few days We announced final testing for Ethereum Classic (ETC) last Friday, with a goal of accepting ETC transfers for exchange users by Tuesday August 7th. Our testing has gone according to plan and we will be launching ETC support first on our exchanges, and then at Coinbase.com. Our launch will proceed in four stages: transfer-only, post-only, limit-only, and full-trading mode. Ethereum Classic launches first on Coinbase Pro We are beginning the launch of ETC on our exchange at Coinbase Pro. We plan to add support for ETC at Coinbase.com when sufficient liquidity is established. We expect this to occur approximately 1–2 weeks after trading begins on Coinbase Pro. As background, we recently split GDAX into Coinbase Pro and Prime. Coinbase Pro is our exchange for individual traders, and Coinbase Prime is our exchange for institutions. Institutional customers will be contacted directly from the Coinbase Prime team. Unless you have received an email from our institutional team, if you traded on GDAX you are a Coinbase Pro user. The Stages of the Ethereum Classic Launch There will be four stages to the launch as outlined below. We will follow each of these stages independently for each new order book: ETC–USD, ETC–BTC and ETC–EUR. If at any point one of the new order books does not meet our assessment for a healthy and orderly market, we may keep the book in one state for a longer period of time, or suspend trading as per our Trading Rules. Transfer-only. Customers will be able to transfer Ethereum Classic beginning at 10am PT on Tuesday August 7th. Traders cannot place orders and no orders will be filled on these order books. Order books will be in transfer-only mode for 24–48 hours. Post-only. In the second stage, customers can post limit orders but there will be no matches (completed orders). Order books will be in post-only mode for a minimum of 10 minutes. Limit-only. In the third stage, limit orders will start matching but customers are unable to submit market orders. Order books will be in limit-only mode for a minimum of 10 minutes. Full trading. In the final stage, full trading services will be available, including limit, market, and…

KB Financial Group Report Finds Only 2% of South Koreans Interested in Crypto Investing

KB Financial Group Report Finds Only 2% of South Koreans Interested in Crypto Investing

South Korean financial holding company KB Financial Group Inc. has released an Aug. 6  report on crypto investments in 2018, finding the majority of domestic respondents revealed no intention to invest in crypto. KB Financial Group Inc. is headquartered in Seoul, South Korea and focuses on a range of banking and related financial services. Their survey involved 600 households that had financial assets of more than KRW 500 million (around $447,000) from April to May, as well as 400 respondents with over KRW 1 billion in financial assets (around $894,000). According to their latest publication, 74.8 percent of domestic respondents revealed no intentions to invest in cryptocurrencies, 23 percent said that investments depended on the situation, and only around 2 percent intended to invest in cryptocurrencies in the future. Meanwhile, the global situation showed more positive dynamics, local Korean news outlet Token Post writes. The KB Financial Group report notes that 29 percent of global asset holders and 52 percent of Asian asset holders — excluding those in Japan — are interested in cryptocurrency investments. South Korea’s relationship to cryptocurrency has oscillated with the crypto craze, as the country has both banned anonymous trading and forbidden minor and government official from trading, as well as legalized Bitcoin (BTC) as a remittance method and lifted the ban on Initial Coin Offerings (ICO). Earlier in July, the Bank of Korea had released a report noting that crypto does not pose any threat to the local financial market, underling that “the amount of crypto-asset investment is not really big.”