Coinbase Expands Service to 50 More Countries, Launches USDC Support in 85 Jurisdictions

Coinbase Expands Service to 50 More Countries, Launches USDC Support in 85 Jurisdictions

United States crypto exchange and wallet service Coinbase has expanded USD Coin (USDC) trading to customers in 85 countries, the firm announced in a blog post on May 14. Along with the USDC announcement, Coinbase also announced a major global expansion, adding 50 more jurisdictions to its coverage, including such countries as Brazil, South Africa and Taiwan, among others. Starting from today, Coinbase serves customers in 103 countries in total, the exchange wrote, adding that the move will help accelerate the global adoption of crypto trading. USD Coin is the first stablecoin listed for trading on Coinbase platform: the exchange first listed USDC back in October 2018 for customers in selected jurisdictions in the U.S.. By adding USDC coverage in 85 global jurisdictions, Coinbase aims to “improve the lives of people in countries where inflation is eroding wealth,” according to the blog post. The company stated that stablecoins like USDC could provide an opportunity to protect against high inflation in newly added countries like Argentina and Uzbekistan, where consumer prices are expected to inflate by 10–20% in 2020. Earlier this week, a startup backed by Coinbase, Reserve, announced that it would soon be launching a Venmo-style app in Venezuela for crypto-fiat payments, specifically targeting the country in order to help citizens get around the rising inflation. A stablecoin is a digital currency designed to have minimal price volatility due to its 1:1 peg to a certain fiat currency or cryptocurrency holding. At press time, there are 348 million USDC circulating with a daily trading volume of around $250 million, according to data from CoinMarketCap.

Coinbase Rolls Out Trading in USDC Stablecoin to 85 Countries

Coinbase Rolls Out Trading in USDC Stablecoin to 85 Countries

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase is expanding trading in the dollar-pegged stablecoin USD Coin (USDC) to 85 nations worldwide. In a blog post Tuesday, the firm said it now offers crypto-to-crypto trading for USDC in those countries on both its retail site Coinbase.com and its Coinbase Pro service. The firm touted the strengths of the token in the post, saying it offers a stable store of value and can be sent “near-instantly” around the globe. “Unlike other cryptocurrencies, each USDC is backed by $1 USD with monthly transparency audits showing 100% USD backing,” Coinbase said. USDC could also help in countries where the national fiat currency is unstable, the firm suggested. Coinbase said: “For new customers in countries like Argentina and Uzbekistan, where consumer prices are expected to inflate by 10–20% in 2020, stablecoins like USDC could provide an opportunity to protect against inflation.” It further committed to providing more fiat-to-crypto onramps to enable more people to make use of the stable asset. In the same announcement, Coinbase provided an update on the number of nations it now serves. While a year ago, 32 countries had access to its services, that number now stands at 103, with 50 announced today. USDC was launched last autumn by a group of firms including crypto finance startup Circle. The CENTRE consortium developed the coin as a means to easily transfer value on public blockchains. “Crypto assets and blockchain technology will enable us to exchange value and transact with one another … instantly, globally, securely and at low cost,” Circle said at the time. In February, Coinbase soft launched a service that uses USDC and XRP as a means to make “fast and free” international payments. And earlier today, the exchange said it was opening up XRP trading for residents in New York state. Coinbase image via Shutterstock

Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary: Bitcoin Is Garbage, a Useless Currency

Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary: Bitcoin Is Garbage, a Useless Currency

Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary said that he believes bitcoin (BTC) to be garbage during an interview with finance news outlet CNBC published on May 14. O’Leary founded SoftKey, a company that Owler estimates to have an annual revenue of $29 million. He has also appeared as a host on Shark Tank, an American business reality show on ABC, since 2009. During the interview with CNBC, O’Leary claimed that bitcoin is a useless currency, since people accepting it want to hedge against its volatility. O’Leary noted that he tried to use bitcoin in Switzerland for a real estate transaction once, which led him to his negative views on the coin. According to O’Leary, the reasoning behind his perspective is that “you can’t get in and out of it in large amounts.” He notes: “But everyone says, yes, you can. But, what happens is the receiver wants some guarantee. Let’s say you want to buy a piece of real estate for $10 million in Switzerland. […] They want a guarantee that the value comes back to you as currency at ten, you have to somehow hedge the risk of bitcoin. That means it’s not a real currency.” O’Leary stated that this “means that the receiver is not willing to take the risk of the volatility it has.” He sustains that because of this, bitcoin is worthless. As Cointelegraph reported earlier today, CME Group reported record volume for its bitcoin futures yesterday as the cryptocurrency’s surprise bull market continued. Bitcoin also just broke $8,000 for the first time since July 2018 earlier today, as top altcoins also reported gains.

TD Ameritrade Exec: Tens of Thousands of Our Clients Are Interested in Crypto

TD Ameritrade Exec: Tens of Thousands of Our Clients Are Interested in Crypto

Fluctuations in the price of bitcoin have not affected overall interest in futures tied to the cryptocurrency, a TD Ameritrade executive said on Tuesday. “We get calls, emails, 60,000 clients have traded something in this complex,” Steven Quirk, TD Ameritrade executive vice president, remarked during a panel at CoinDesk’s Consensus 2019. As Quirk said later: “As soon as you open the door, you’re going to get a lot of people” looking to participate in the market. He also noted that attendance has been “off the charts” at the bitcoin education events facilitated by the company, and that this intense interest isn’t just from millennials, but older retail investors too. Likewise, TD Ameritrade has found that investment advisors (RIAs) are equally interested in bitcoin futures as the company’s ‘pure retail’ clients. Quirk and fellow panelist Thomas Chippas, CEO of exchange ErisX (which TD Ameritrade has invested in) also commented on institutional investors, which, perhaps despite popular perception, they claimed are already investing in bitcoin. “Apologies it’s not happening faster,” Chippas said in a nod to skeptics, but “it’s happening, it’s never going to be fast enough for the people who write headlines.” Quirk also gave credence to the idea that institutional investors are waiting for an ETF to emerge before they invest in bitcoin. “We hear that quite a bit,” he confirmed. Quirk and Chippas further commented that there is demand for physically settled bitcoin futures, which, because they would be based on an underlying commodity and not be cash settled, would enable traditional risk management tools to “function better.” As for their outlook on the future of digital assets, Quirk compared the current market to the dot com bubble of the 1990s. While the bubble ultimately burst, successful companies like Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google (FAANG) emerged. “The second iteration of this could look just like the FAANG complex,” Quirk predicted. From left: ErisX’s Thomas Chippas, TD Ameritrade’s Steven Quirk and CoinDesk’s Noelle Acheson, image by Anna Baydakova for CoinDesk

BitGo Offers Institutional Clients New Off-Chain Settlement System

BitGo Offers Institutional Clients New Off-Chain Settlement System

Crypto custody provider BitGo is launching a new clearing and settlement service for its institutional clients. BitGo’s new clearing and settlement service will be provided to its regulated BitGo Trust Company clients, and will ensure that assets never leave custody when being transferred, while the actual settlement is “fast, compliant and secure,” according to a press release. During a trade, BitGo will act as the custodian on either side, which the company claims will reduce counterparty risk. In addition to counterparty risk, BitGo says its new offering will reduce security risks, prevent accidental compliance infringement and allow investors to more efficiently allocate their capital. Under its new program, a transfer between two different companies will be recorded, but the assets being traded will remain in cold storage at all times. Trades would be settled off-chain, with transactions being reconciled with the relevant blockchain upon withdrawal. Mike Belshe, BitGo’s chief executive, said in a statement that the new product is aimed at institutional investors. In addition to counterparty risk, institutional investors at present face issues with having to store assets on multiple exchanges prior to conducting trades and settling transactions outside cold storage. “Until now, in a digital asset trade, one party needed to assume all of the risk and act on the counterparty’s good faith, and this doesn’t really work for institutional investors,” Belshe said, adding: “We are bringing to market a risk-less, efficient, and compliant digital asset clearing and settlement, and what makes this service possible is BitGo Trust’s strong client base.” As such, BitGo is hoping to draw in over-the-counter trading desks, single-dealer platforms, exchanges, asset managers and broker-dealers. To take advantage of the new service, all participants in a transaction would need to custody their assets with BitGo. “As a result of using a common custodian, participants will be able to choose which partners to clear and settle with, and check their trading limits pre-trade,” the company said. Mike Belshe, CEO of BitGo, at Consensus: Invest in 2018

RIF Launches ‘Layer 3’ Network to Scale Bitcoin-Based Smart Contracts, Tokens

RIF Launches ‘Layer 3’ Network to Scale Bitcoin-Based Smart Contracts, Tokens

RIF Labs, which developed the RSK Network for ethereum-like tokens and smart contracts on top of bitcoin’s blockchain, has launched a “third-layer solution” to help scale this technology. After more than a year in the works, the Lumino project is now officially live, RIF said Tuesday. The Gibraltar-based firm, parent of the startup RSK Labs, claims Lumino can handle up to 5,000 transactions per second (tps). While that may pale in comparison to the 65,000 tps the Visa network is capable of processing (according to the payments giant’s latest annual report), it’s still an improvement over bitcoin’s transaction throughput, which rarely cracks two digits. Conceptually, Lumino is similar to bitcoin’s lightning network, in that it allows parties to transact off-chain, in so-called state channels, until one party decides to record their balance on the blockchain for final settlement. However, in addition to bitcoin, Lumino can also scale transaction volume for the tokens running on the RSK Network, RIF said. There are about a dozen such tokens currently, according to the RSK block explorer. That network, launched in early 2018, is itself a so-called sidechain, or ledger that runs in parallel to the main bitcoin blockchain. An asset can be locked up on the main chain and then traded on the sidechain, and vice versa. This allows for complex things like smart-contract creation and token issuance to occur on the sidechain without burdening the bitcoin network. Off-chain scaling RSK Labs said in May 2018 that the sidechain, also known as Rootstock, could process 100 transactions per second, but even then recognized that this was not sufficient for mass adoption. Hence its work, already underway at the time, on Lumino. “While the RSK Network added smart contract capabilities and on-chain scaling improvements on top of the bitcoin network, it is not enough to achieve transaction processing levels on par with those offered by major payment processors around the world,” RIF said in a press release Tuesday. Trying to scale purely on-chain will create problems down the line, the company added, “as every record saved on the blockchain needs to be saved forever. It is going to become increasingly difficult to maintain and validate multi-terabyte blockchains in the coming years.” (As of this writing, the bitcoin blockchain is over 216,000…

Floyd Mayweather, DJ Khaled Escape Lawsuit Brought By ICO Investors

Floyd Mayweather, DJ Khaled Escape Lawsuit Brought By ICO Investors

Boxer Floyd Mayweather, music producer DJ Khaled and two employees of an ICO project have been dismissed from an investor lawsuit by a federal judge. According to a new court document, an omnibus order on motions to dismiss by Mayweather, Khaled, Steven Sykes and Steven Stanley, all of whom promoted or participated in the Centra Tech initial coin offering, was filed by federal Judge Robert Scola, of the Southern District of Florida. Scola said the plaintiffs failed to prove that they had bought Centra’s CTR tokens as a result of the defendants’ actions. Mayweather and Khaled both notably promoted Centra Tech’s offering, encouraging their respective fanbases to participate in what was later deemed to be an unregistered securities sale. They, along with Sykes and Stanley, were sued by investors in the offering, who alleged that the defendants violated securities law. In Monday’s order, Scola said that one count, filed against Mayweather and Khaled, alleged they violated securities laws, but, in one analysis the plaintiffs failed “to establish that Mayweather reached out to the Plaintiffs and successfully solicited Plaintiffs to purchase CTR Tokens.” The judge further said that there was no evidence that the plaintiffs even saw Mayweather’s promotional materials, let alone bought Centra Tech’s tokens as a result. The same analysis applied to Khaled. As for the allegations against Sykes, the judge wrote: “The allegations against Sykes are based on his involvement with the website. The Complaint, however, is devoid of any specificity with regard to the content of the website, when the website was launched, the alleged misstatements on the website, who determined the content on the website, and if the Plaintiffs ever even visited the website.” Again, a similar analysis supported Stanley’s motion to dismiss, the judge wrote. The lawsuit also includes allegations against Centra’s founders, Raymond Trapani, Sohrab Sharma and Robert Farkas. The order to dismiss did not touch these counts, and that aspect of the lawsuit will continue. The three founders have also been sued by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and accused of fraud by the Department of Justice. Mayweather and Khaled previously settled charges with the SEC, who said the two failed to disclose they were paid for promoting the ICO. Floyd Mayweather image via Shutterstock

Samsung to Roll Out Crypto Features on Budget Galaxy Phones

Samsung to Roll Out Crypto Features on Budget Galaxy Phones

South Korean electronics giant Samsung is planning to bring cryptocurrency and blockchain features to more phones across its Galaxy range. Citing a press release from Samsung, Business Korea reported Tuesday that the firm would make its digital wallet app available even on lower-cost models and will further expand the crypto features to more jurisdictions. Chae Won-cheol, senior managing director of the product strategy team at Samsung Electronics’ wireless business division, said: “We will lower barriers to new experiences by gradually expanding the number of Galaxy models that support blockchain functions. We will also expand our service target countries after Korea, the United States and Canada.” The Samsung Blockchain Wallet is currently only available on Samsung’s recently launched flagship phone range, the Galaxy S10. The S10 additionally comes with blockchain features such as digital signing and decentralized apps (dapps), which the report appears to suggest may also be added across the Galaxy range. Business Korea said that Samsung is also in talks with telecom firms such as SK Telecom and KT Corporation (formerly Korea Telecom) about possibly of working together on blockchain-based digital identity verification tools and other initiatives. Samsung has been wading deeper into the blockchain waters in recent months. Following the reveal of the blockchain and crypto focus for the Galaxy S10 phones, it notably said it is developing its own blockchain network based on ethereum and may also issue a “Samsung Coin” token in the future. Samsung is also planning to add blockchain technology to its enterprise IT solution packages. The tech giant also recently invested around $3 million in cryptocurrency wallet startup Ledger. Samsung Galaxy phones image via Shutterstock

Bitfinex and Tether Ask Court to Loosen NYAG’s Fund Restrictions

Bitfinex and Tether Ask Court to Loosen NYAG’s Fund Restrictions

Tether has asked a judge for more leeway to use its cash amid the New York Attorney General’s investigation of the stablecoin issuer and affiliated crypto exchange Bitfinex. According to new court documents filed Monday, the attorneys for each side failed to come to a consensus on what, precisely, Tether should be allowed to do with its holdings. The NYAG’s office wants to prevent “any affiliated entity” from touching funds in Tether’s reserve and a 90-day injunction. On the other hand, attorneys for Tether and iFinex, the parent firm of Bitfinex, want a 45-day injunction and for affiliated entities that want to fairly redeem tether to be able to do so. The case began last month, when the NYAG secured a preliminary injunction, alleging Bitfinex covered up the loss of $850 million by borrowing from Tether’s reserve. (The companies have overlapping management and owners.) A New York State Supreme Court judge ordered the two parties to clarify the order last week. In a letter to the court Monday, iFinex’s attorneys wrote that, without waiving their previous motion to vacate NYAG’s Ex Parte order entirely, they would agree to certain changes to the preliminary injunction. The key point, for the crypto exchange, appears to be that it wants to be able to use its stablecoin reserve funds, including for investment purposes. “If [Tether] simply held the proceeds in cash, the company would not earn the money required to fund its operations,” Bitfinex’s attorneys said. Earning interest However, in its own letter to the court, attorneys from the NYAG’s office said that “bona fide holders of tether should be able to redeem those tokens for cash, as Tether has long represented to the market,” adding: “Further, the OAG’ s proposed modifications do not restrain Tether from placing the reserves in legitimate interest-bearing or similar cash equivalent accounts, as the OAG understands Tether to have previously done.” Tether argues that NYAG has no basis for cutting off the ability of tether holders “who happen to be affiliated with Respondents” – including Tether employees – to redeem USDT, and that as a result, the NYAG’s argument presents a “gross overreach,” particularly given that it is not actually a regulator. NYAG’s attorneys say that they aren’t opposed to Tether’s employees being…

How to Send Bitcoin Cash via Text Messages to Anyone With a Mobile Phone

How to Send Bitcoin Cash via Text Messages to Anyone With a Mobile Phone

Cointext allows you to send bitcoin cash (BCH) to anyone with a mobile phone in the regions supported by the service even if you don’t have access to the internet. On a global scale, the availability of cheap devices can help many more people use cryptocurrency for payments via SMS text messages. Also Read: Learn How to Create BCH Apps With Bitcoin.com’s Developer Platform The Cointext SMS Bitcoin Cash Wallet Cointext is a platform that enables users to transfer cryptocurrency using simple text messages. The mobile wallet service allows anyone with a basic mobile device to send funds via SMS to other phone numbers or bitcoin cash (BCH) addresses. On the receiving side, people don’t need to download a wallet, install an app, set up an account or even have access to the internet. Users can set up new accounts just by sending ‘START’ to the Cointext access number in their region, with other actions similarly ordered by simply texting commands. The Cointext service is growing in coverage areas around the world and is already supported in over 40 markets. These include Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jersey, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, UK, Ukraine, and the USA. Check out the website for details and access numbers in your area. Earlier this year Cointext has also added support for the BIP70 payment protocol, this means that users can now pay Bitpay invoices using the text messaging service. What do you think about the ability to send BCH via text messages? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. Images courtesy of Shutterstock. Verify and track bitcoin cash transactions on our BCH Block Explorer, the best of its kind anywhere in the world. Also, keep up with your holdings, BCH, and other coins, on our market charts at Bitcoin.com Markets, another original and free service from Bitcoin.com. Avi Mizrahi Avi Mizrahi is an economist and entrepreneur who has been covering Bitcoin as a journalist since 2013. He has spoken about the promise of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology at numerous financial conferences around the…