Bitfinex and Tether Ask Court to Loosen NYAG’s Restrictions

Bitfinex and Tether Ask Court to Loosen NYAG’s 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…

Up $1,200: Bitcoin Price Surges Above $8K

Up $1,200: Bitcoin Price Surges Above $8K

Bitcoin’s price has continued to extend its recent rally to a price level beyond $8,000. At 21:30 UTC today, the price world’s largest cryptocurrency rose as high as $8,195 on Coinbase, marking a 17.4 percent or $1214 increase during today’s trading session. In the past 24 hours alone, Messari data reveals more than $27 billion worth of bitcoin was traded across exchanges, whereas $2,1 billion was traded solely on the 10 exchanges Bitwise Asset Management identified as the only exchanges reporting honest volume figures. While vigorous, today’s development is not an anomaly. In fact, bitcoin’s price increases have been aggressive for much of 2019 and rose more than $1000 dollars once again just two days ago. In the past 90-days alone the cryptocurrency has increased 127 percent in price, nearly 60 percent of which was accrued in the last 30 days alone, Messari data reveals. The USD value of most cryptocurrencies are seeing notable increases as a result of bitcoin’s rebound, including the likes of Binance Coin (BNB) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) both of whom are reporting double-digit 24-hour gains. That said, bitcoin’s percent share of the capitalization of the total cryptocurrency market is now a 60 percent – its highest since Dec. 11, 2017 according to Coinmarketcap, and a sign its growth is outpacing the rest of the broader market.  History repeating? Interestingly, a very similar and parabola shaped price increase like the one bitcoin has just witnessed occurred at the end of the previous bear market in 2015. As can be seen below, bitcoin’s price trend entered a parabolic rise after reaching a low of $198 on Aug. 25, 2015 followed by a  near 150 percent increase before temporarily topping out at $499 on Nov. 4th of that year. Is #bitcoin repeating history again? The current parabolic rise looks very similar to how the previous bear market in 2014-15 ended. $BTC/USD increased roughly 150% from previous lows on both occasions. pic.twitter.com/LQa8iBnR4S — CoinDesk Markets (@CoinDeskMarkets) May 13, 2019 Indeed, history seems to be repeating itself, or at least rhyming, as bitcoin’s market has once again entered a parabolic structure having increased nearly 150 percent once again from its most recent low of $3,128 set on Dec. 15, 2018. Disclosure: The author holds several cryptocurrencies. Please…

SEC’s Crypto Czar Says Exchanges That List IEOs May Face Legal Risks

SEC’s Crypto Czar Says Exchanges That List IEOs May Face Legal Risks

Certain exchanges that facilitate initial exchange offerings (IEOs) may be breaking U.S. securities laws, a top Securities and Exchange Commission official has said. Speaking Monday at CoinDesk’s Consensus 2019 conference in New York, Valerie Szczepanik, the SEC’s senior advisor for digital assets and innovation, said cryptocurrency exchanges that facilitate token sales for a fee likely meet the legal definition of securities dealers if the issuer or any of the buyers are based in the U.S. As such, they need to follow the registration and licensing requirements for broker-dealers, alternative trading systems (ATS) or national securities exchanges. And if they’re not, they’re going to be in hot water, according to Szczepanik. “Platforms seeking to list these tokens for a listing fee or bring buyers to the table for issuers are probably engaging in broker-dealer activity,” Szczepanik said during a chat with Bloomberg reporter Matthew Leising, adding: “If they are not registered they will find themselves in trouble in the U.S., if they have a U.S. issuer or U.S. buyers, if they are operating on the U.S. market.” Szczepanik did not mention any specific exchanges. However, Binance, OKEx, Bittrex and KuCoin are among the exchanges that have facilitated IEOs, and these transactions are believed to be generating millions of dollars in fees for such platforms. The most famous platform for IEOs is Binance’s Launchpad, which in January hosted a public sale of BitTorrent tokens, raising $7.4 million for the file-sharing service owned by Tron. Szczepanik said a previous case brought by the SEC last year against TokenLot “was instructive in this regard.” “There was a platform that was assisting to bring buyers to ICOs,” she said. “In this case, there was an enforcement action, as the platform was acting as a broker-dealer and participating in the distribution with a violation of the registration provisions.” Watch CoinDesk’s IEO explainer below: Valerie Szczepanik, right, at Consensus 2019 image via Anna Baydakova for CoinDesk.

Nym Technologies Raises $2.5 Million to Anonymize Crypto Apps

Nym Technologies Raises $2.5 Million to Anonymize Crypto Apps

A privacy-centric startup has turned to a private token sale to raise $2.5 million. The seed round in Nym Technologies involved NEO Global Capital, Lemniscap, Edenblock and others. Binance Labs, where Nym completed a 10-week incubation program late last year, is also an investor. “Token sales are not dead,” Lemniscap managing partner Roderik van der Graaf told CoinDesk. “We still believe there are such things as properly designed crypto networks with tokens.” Nym Technologies CEO Harry Halpin told CoinDesk the company plans to launch a testnet by 2020. He declined to specify which blockchain the startup’s native token is based on in the meantime. “The primary thesis is that we can incentivize privacy-enhancing features,” Halpin said of his startup’s token-centric approach. “If I run a VPN [today] I can get paid but then I have to hold all the financial data of my users.” Nym wants to “anonymize the world,” Halpin has said, with software that can be applied to crypto wallets and other mobile apps to mask IP addresses and user data from the network itself. Bitcoin veteran Amir Taaki is already working on integrating this capability with his Dark Wallet project. “We’re building the protocols and other people will provision the infrastructure,” Halpin said. “We believe our system should allow users to pay as they want, using fair prices for whatever services people want to provide.” The token economics of the platform are still under development, however, according to Nym investor Lasse Clausen of 1kx. “On a basic level there will be a staking token,” Clausen told CoinDesk. Halpin told CoinDesk the token will mainly be used for fees, to reward node operators and staking for service providers. “In my opinion, the tokens will of course have value,” he said. “That value will come from its utility and its ability to help other tokens improve their privacy.” So far, according to Edenblock partner Lior Messika, NYM tokens are basically vouchers for future use of privacy-enhanced services, such as sending a certain number of messages within a messaging service or using a certain capacity of data through a VPN service. Web3 Foundation director Ryan Zurrer told CoinDesk that the broader industry sorely needs authentication software that isn’t controlled by centralized entities. Nym’s infrastructure solutions…

Satoshi Nakamoto Could Be Criminal Mastermind Paul Le Roux

Satoshi Nakamoto Could Be Criminal Mastermind Paul Le Roux

One of the most enduring mysteries of modern times has produced another enthralling twist. Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin’s pseudonymous and enigmatic creator, has not been seen online in more than eight years. Evidence has now surfaced that points to a new Satoshi candidate, whose known life has a number of parallels with that of Bitcoin’s inventor. His name is Paul Le Roux and, if proven to be Satoshi, there is a good reason why his 1 million BTC hasn’t moved – the Rhodesian has been in jail since 2012. Also read: Blockchain Researchers Mock Craig Wright’s Unsealed Bitcoin Address List Craig Wright, Paul Le Roux, and the Badly Redacted Document The Kleiman v. Wright lawsuit unfolding in the Florida courts has been filled with misdirection, red herrings, mistruths, forgeries, and bizarre theories, often floated by the defendant Craig Wright. Document 187, “Dr. Craig Wright’s Motion For Protective Order,” was recently filed with heavy redaction because Wright supposedly “has a well-founded fear that these criminals and their associates would seek retribution if they learned of his involvement in their apprehension and incarceration.” The unredacted footnote from document 187Someone forgot to redact one of the corresponding footnotes, however, enabling a sharp-eyed sleuth to identify the master criminal in question: Paul Le Roux. The 46-year-old cartel boss is a character as flamboyant as Wright himself, but cut from a very different cloth. Readers may already be familiar with Le Roux’s life story, which surfaced in a seven-part series on Atavist and subsequent book titled “The Mastermind.” As the blurb summarizes: He was a brilliant programmer and a vicious cartel boss, who became a prized U.S. government asset. It has now been suggested that Paul Le Roux may be Satoshi Nakamoto – and that Craig Wright is in possession of encrypted hard drives containing Le Roux’s multi-billion-dollar stash of bitcoins. It’s a crazy theory, and yet, on closer inspection, there is a prima facie case for Bitcoin’s mastermind being criminal mastermind Le Roux. A young Le Roux.Paul Le Roux Built a Criminal Empire – But Did He Also Build Bitcoin? As his Wikipedia page – the very same page which escaped redaction in the Kleiman v. Wright case – notes, “Paul Calder Le Roux is a former programmer, former criminal…

Learn How to Create BCH Apps With Bitcoin.com’s Developer Platform

Learn How to Create BCH Apps With Bitcoin.com’s Developer Platform

Are you a professional or a hobbyist programmer and want to create cryptocurrency enabled applications? Bitcoin.com’s Developer Platform offers resources for you to learn how to develop software based on the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) network. Also Read: Crypto Meets Techno and Binance Security Breach in the Weekly Update From Bitcoin.com Learn to Code With Bitcoin Cash If you want to start creating BCH-powered projects, Bitcoin.com’s Developer Platform has everything you need to get going. The portal’s educational section offer tutorials with real world examples and step by step instructions on how to build Bitcoin Cash applications from scratch, as well as insights from developers who have already implemented their visions into code. The platform also features the full Mastering Bitcoin Cash guide, based on the Creative Commons licensed book “Mastering Bitcoin” written by Andreas Antonopoulos. It covers fundamental subjects such as what bitcoin cash is, how it works, and the various public and private keys, addresses, and wallets related to the system. Additionally, readers will learn about the network and blockchain, transactions, mining and consensus, and bitcoin cash security. Once you are ready to start creating real projects, the Developer Platform offers a variety of tools for you to use. These include a fully featured javascript framework for address conversions, transactions and more called Bitbox, as well as Badger which lets you integrate your app with with the BCH blockchain in the easiest way possible. Additionally, the Simple Ledger Protocol (SLP) empowers you to issue tokens based on the network. The tool set on the platform will soon expand beyond those currently available. Cloud will be offering blockchain-as-a-service infrastructure to deploy apps with an ecosystem of add-ons, and Market will feature paid downloads, streaming media, in-app purchases, tokens and other ways to monetize projects. What do you think about the developer platform? 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…

Research: ICO Market Down Almost 100% From a Year Ago, Raised $40 Million in Q1 2019

Research: ICO Market Down Almost 100% From a Year Ago, Raised $40 Million in Q1 2019

The initial coin offerings (ICO) market is down 97% on a year-on-year basis making $40 million so far in 2019, according to research by cryptocurrency exchange BitMEX released on May 13. In the first quarter (Q1) of 2019, the ICO market has reportedly dropped by 97% based on the amount of attracted capital. The slump followed the 2017–2018 cryptocurrency boom, with low investment returns among ICOs through most of 2018. Per the report, the top 10 ICO projects in terms of capital raised in 2018 were EOS, Telegram, blockchain-based cloud computing project Dfinity, blockchain-based digital bank Bankera, t0, Basis, blockchain infrastructure-as-a-service Orbs, cryptocurrency billing infrastructure PumaPay, decentralized mobile engagement network Jet8, and Unikoin Gold. Of the aforementioned projects, Orbs, PumaPay, Jet8, and Unikoin Gold are seeing negative returns on the average ICO price of 64%–99%.    BitMEX suggested in the report that some projects have rebranded by “changing the ‘C’ into an ‘E’” as enthusiasm for ICOs has waned. The number of IEOs (initial exchange offerings) has reportedly increased in recent months as the model has proven successful, with investors having earned strong positive returns based on the IEO price. Per the report, IEOs conducted in 2019 were priced at a level which implies a total market capitalisation of $907.7 million, based on the disclosed total token supply. According to a recent report from rating site ICObench, in Q1 of 2019 there were almost 350 ICO projects, which is fewer than in Q4 2018. The total volume of funds raised in Q1 reportedly amounted to nearly $1 billion, however the number is lower by roughly $0.5 billion compared to that of Q4 2018. A survey of institutional investors published in February revealed that 19% believe that digital assets will be regularly invested in and traded by 2021. Per the survey, 41% believe that institutional investors will only enter the ICO sector in the next five years, while 23% said that they do not see investment potential within the ICO market.

Microsoft Builds Decentralized Identity Network Atop Bitcoin Blockchain

Microsoft Builds Decentralized Identity Network Atop Bitcoin Blockchain

Microsoft is building a decentralized identity (DID) network atop of the bitcoin blockchain, the tech giant announced on May 13. In a blog post, the company said the infrastructure, known as the Identity Overlay Network (ION,) is based on an evolving set of open standards developed in conjunction with the Decentralized Identity Foundation. Microsoft claims its approach addresses throughput issues that mean “the most robust, decentralized, public blockchains operate at just tens of transactions per second, nowhere near the volume a world full of DIDs would demand.” By contrast, the company says its approach means tens of thousands of operations can be achieved per second. In explaining the rationale behind ION, the blog post added: “We believe every person needs a decentralized, digital identity they own and control, backed by self-owned identifiers that enable secure, privacy preserving interactions. This self-owned identity must seamlessly integrate into their lives and put them at the center of everything they do in the digital world.” Daniel Buchner, a program manager for the Microsoft Identity team, said the goal of decentralized networks is to remove the control that apps, services and organizations have over digital identifiers such as email addresses and usernames. Microsoft aims to create an ecosystem where “billions of people and countless devices can securely interact over an interoperable system built on standards and open-source components.” Microsoft added that it plans to collaborate with open-source contributors so ION can publicly launch on the bitcoin mainnet in the coming months. Technology that gives users greater control over their digital identities is gaining traction, with PayPal investing in such a startup last month. ION is far from Microsoft’s first blockchain initiative. Earlier this month, it released a new Azure Blockchain Development Kit for the Ethereum blockchain, with Starbucks implementing this service to track coffee production.

Grayscale Reports Vast Majority of Investments in Q1 2019 Were in Bitcoin Trust

Grayscale Reports Vast Majority of Investments in Q1 2019 Were in Bitcoin Trust

American digital asset manager Grayscale Investments reported a 42% growth in its product inflows in Q1 2019 over the previous quarter, the firm announced in a new financial report on May 13. Grayscale was specifically bullish on major cryptocurrency bitcoin (BTC), reporting that the vast majority of investments in Q1 2019 were in its Bitcoin Investment Trust (BIT). According to the report, Grayscale Bitcoin Trust secured $3.2 million in average weekly investment out of total average weekly investment of $3.3 million. As such, non-bitcoin investment products amounted to less than $0.1 million, the firm wrote. Non-bitcoin investments include such products as the Grayscale Ethereum Trust, Grayscale XRP Trust, Bitcoin Cash Trust, and others, the firm explained. Total investment into Grayscale Products increased from $30.1 million in Q4 2018 to $42.7 million in Q1 2019, with 73% of investors represented by institutional investors. The company also wrote that hedge funds increased their investments significantly from less than $1 million in Q4 2018 to around $24 million in Q1 2019. Founded in 2013 by major crypto venture capital firm Digital Currency Group, Grayscale’s investment products include the publicly quoted Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (OTCQX: GBTC), Grayscale Ethereum Classic Trust (OTCQX: ETCG), and a diversified product called the Grayscale Digital Large Cap Fund. On May 1, Grayscale debuted its provocative bitcoin commercial “Drop Gold,” urging investors to invest in Grayscale’s BIT instead of holding to gold, which the firm characterized as an old-fashioned asset that weighs down investors’ portfolio.

Kadena to Go Live In October with $3 Billion Asset Manager Onboard

Kadena to Go Live In October with $3 Billion Asset Manager Onboard

Brooklyn-based startup Kadena will launch a public blockchain this October, the company announced Monday at CoinDesk’s Consensus 2019 conference in New York. Founded in 2016, Kadena raised over $14 million last year to develop a new proof-of-work (PoW) blockchain network called Chainweb that would seek to offer users high transaction volumes without slowing down network speed and ramping up network cost for users. Speaking to CoinDesk, CEO of Kadena Will Martino, said: “Chainweb is built to align the incentives of everyone involved in the network. For the first time, miners, users and businesses can all agree on what network success means and how to get there from launch.” Chainweb’s protocol, the company said, links multiple blockchain networks to run concurrently and split up large computation loads. As previously reported, these different chains share information through Merkle roots to achieve cross-chain consensus. Chainweb design. Courtesy of Kadena. The envisioned goal of Chainweb is to produce roughly 1,000 different blockchains and reach networks speed of up to 10,000 transactions per second. According to Kadena CEO Will Martino, Chainweb has been running on a test network since March. Later this summer in May, the test network will be opened up to preliminary users. “We have a mining queue that we will slowly begin on-boarding to test the user experience and the process of hooking up to the network,” said Martino to CoinDesk. Martino stressed that miners would not be earning tokens ahead of their market release by engaging in the preliminary test network. Today’s press release notes that miners will strictly “get to learn how Chainweb works and collaborate with our team to scale the network.” Along with today’s announcement, the team at Kadena further revealed a partnership with commodities and alternative investment products provider USCF Investments, a manager of approximately $3 billion in assets. John Love, president and CEO of USCF, told CoinDesk: “One of the things that attracted us to Kadena was their expertise beyond just blockchain and fintech including…regulatory understanding. To our business, this [partnership] wasn’t something coming from left field. This collaboration makes a lot of sense to tie our respective areas of expertise together.” As Martino put, the two will be working together to build “the next generation of fintech” by leveraging Kadena…