Coinbase Taps Amazon Web Services Vet as Engineering VP

Coinbase Taps Amazon Web Services Vet as Engineering VP

Cryptocurrency exchange startup Coinbase has hired Amazon Web Services veteran Tim Wagner as its new vice president of engineering. Wagner was with AWS for five years, serving as a general manager and overseeing its API gateway, as well as various serverless services. Prior to that, he spent six years at Microsoft as director of development for Visual Studio Ultimate. The development continues Coinbase’s 2018 hiring spree. Since the start of the year, the company has hired Tina Bhatnagar to serve as vice president of operations and technology; Emilie Choi as its vice president of corporate and business development; Eric Soto as vice president of finance; Rachael Horwitz as vice president of communications; Alesia Haas as its new chief financial officer; and Jeff Horowitz as its chief compliance officer, among others. With Wagner, Coinbase is beefing up its engineering team, which the AWS vet will help grow, according to Coinbase. “Engineering is central to our mission of creating an open financial system for the world. It is core to our strategy to deliver the most trusted and easiest to use cryptocurrency products and services. We have built an amazing engineering team at a Coinbase, one which Tim will now lead and expand,” Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong wrote in a blog post announcing the hire.  Brian Armstrong and Tim Wagner image courtesy Coinbase 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.

SEC Has No Jurisdiction to Look at Bitcoin for ETF Decision, Admits Commissioner

SEC Has No Jurisdiction to Look at Bitcoin for ETF Decision, Admits Commissioner

Regulation A commissioner of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has voiced her opinion that the agency overstepped its bounds to reject a bitcoin ETF recently based on the underlying asset, bitcoin. She believes that the role of the SEC is to consider the market for the ETF, not the underlying asset itself. Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space No Jurisdiction to Look at Underlying Assets Following the SEC’s recent decision to reject the proposed rule change for a bitcoin ETF, SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce voiced her opinion in an interview with Cnbc on Wednesday. She explained that the agency has no jurisdiction to look at the underlying asset when considering whether to approve a proposed rule change for an ETF. While Peirce voted for the approval, three other commissioners voted against. She explained that her colleagues cited “a number of reasons for that decision, and specifically what I think they did is they looked through to the underlying asset – in this case, that would be bitcoin, and they raised some concerns about the market for that underlying product.” She asserted: I think by doing that they went beyond what the statute allows us to do and we should have really focused on the market where the exchange-traded product would trade as opposed to focusing on the underlying bitcoin markets. Hester Peirce. During the interview, she was asked, “One of their [SEC’s] concerns is that there may be price manipulation in bitcoin, the underlying asset, and what you are saying is that the SEC has no jurisdiction to look at the underlying asset, is that correct?” Peirce replied, “that’s correct.” She then elaborated that, just like with other underlying assets such as gold or oil, “it’s not within our purview to go and look at how those markets are actually working. We should be focused on the market that’s trading the security which in this case would be the exchange-traded product.” Rejecting Bitcoin ETF Regarding the SEC’s recent decision to reject a bitcoin ETF, Peirce noted that her colleagues went through an analysis and concluded that the proposed rule change is not consistent with the Securities Exchange Act. However, Peirce clarified: I take the position that actually the change that…

Welcome Tim Wagner, Coinbase’s New Vice President of Engineering

Welcome Tim Wagner, Coinbase’s New Vice President of Engineering

Today we’re excited to announce that Tim Wagner is joining Coinbase as Vice President of Engineering. Engineering is central to our mission of creating an open financial system for the world. It is core to our strategy to deliver the most trusted and easiest to use cryptocurrency products and services. We have built an amazing engineering team at a Coinbase, one which Tim will now lead and expand. Through this period of rapid growth, we are more focused than ever on meeting the increasing needs of individuals, institutions and businesses while continually advancing the frontiers of cryptocurrency. At the same time, we’re creating the infrastructure that will allow us to add more assets to our platform and accelerate the adoption of crypto around the world. This is why we are so thrilled to welcome Tim to the team. He joins Coinbase from Amazon Web Services (AWS), where he most recently served as GM for of AWS Lambda, Amazon API Gateway, and AWS Serverless App Repository. Prior to AWS, Tim spent several years at Microsoft. He is a Princeton University and University of California-Berkeley graduate. Tim is passionate about the Coinbase mission, he’s aligned with our values, and he has deep experience with leading great technical organizations. These qualities, along with his engineering expertise, make him the ideal addition to our team. We couldn’t be more excited to have him on board. Welcome Tim! Interested in joining the Coinbase team? We’re hiring!

Researchers Reveal Network of 15K Crypto-Related Scam Bots on Twitter

Researchers Reveal Network of 15K Crypto-Related Scam Bots on Twitter

New research published today, Aug. 6, has shed light on the infamous phenomenon of cryptocurrency-related Twitter accounts advertising fake “giveaways,” revealing a network of at least 15,000 scam bots. The analysis of Twitter bots, which continue to aggravate and even fool unsuspecting users, came from cybersecurity company Duo Security. The project involved a huge tranche of 88 million Twitter accounts, with researchers using machine learning techniques to train a bot classifier. Using just the latest 200 tweets from each account, the classifier unearthed a mesh of 15,000 bots at work spreading fake competitions and impersonating some of the cryptocurrency industry’s best-known figures and businesses. “Users are likely to trust a tweet more or less depending on how many times it’s been retweeted or liked. Those behind this particular botnet know this, and have designed it to exploit this very tendency,” Duo data scientist Olabode Anise said in an accompanying press release. Those who have fallen victim to the scams’ attempts at identity theft have long changed their Twitter handles to warn others they were not giving away coins or tokens –– such as Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin’s Twitter, Vitalik Non-giver of Ether. For those actively on “crypto Twitter,” the bots have become almost part of the scene, due to the ubiquity of their fake promotions. Despite their huge numbers, Duo found, the bots are also actively engaged in avoiding being shut down. “The bots’ attempts to thwart detection demonstrate the importance of analyzing an account holistically, including the metadata around the content,” Anise continued: “For example, bot accounts will typically tweet in short bursts, causing the average time between tweets to be very low. Documenting these patterns of behavior can also be used to identify other malicious and spam botnets.” Anise and fellow researcher, principal R&D engineer Jordan Wright, will present their findings at the 2018 Black Hat USA security conference in Las Vegas this Wednesday, August 8. Responding to the research, Twitter said it was “aware” of the problem, telling Duo “[s]pam and certain forms of automation are against Twitter’s rules. In many cases, spammy content is hidden on Twitter on the basis of automated detections,” adding in defense “[l]ess than 5% of Twitter accounts are spam-related.”

Japanese Crypto Exchanges File to Form Self-Regulatory Organization

Japanese Crypto Exchanges File to Form Self-Regulatory Organization

A group of Japanese cryptocurrency exchanges have formally submitted a detailed proposal to form a self-regulatory organization to the nation’s Financial Services Agency (FSA). The Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA), which was formed by 16 exchanges in March and registered with the FSA in April, has applied to become a “certified fund settlement business association,” the Asia Times reported Monday. This would effectively allow the JVCEA to impose self-regulatory rules on the cryptocurrency trading market as part of an effort to create stricter industry standards. A working draft of the proposed rules in the nearly 100-page document would require cryptocurrency exchanges to regularly conduct audits, as well as prohibit certain anonymous cryptocurrencies from being traded such as monero or dash, Nikkei Asia reported last month. Even more recently, the JVCEA said it also wished to limit the amount of borrowing when it came to margin trading, that is trading with borrowed money, to be at a maximum of four times an investor’s original deposit, as previously reported by CoinDesk. These are suggestions by the association aim to prevent repeats of troubling incidents such as the Coincheck hack in which an estimated $533 million was taken from the exchange’s digital wallets. It also follows from trends by Japan’s Financial Services Agency themselves to crackdown on the cryptocurrency industry by more closely inspecting the activity of licensed cryptocurrency exchange operations, issuing “business improvement orders” aimed at enhancing internal-auditing and user-protection systems. Documents 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.

Indian Exchange Zebpay Enables Trueusd (TUSD) Stablecoin Trading

Indian Exchange Zebpay Enables Trueusd (TUSD) Stablecoin Trading

Exchanges One of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in India, Zebpay, has enabled Trueusd (TUSD) trading, deposits and withdrawals. The dollar-pegged stablecoin is offered as an alternative to fiat trading which is problematic under the Indian central bank’s ban. Also Read: The Daily: New Education Centers, Vietnamese Ask for Fraudster’s Extradition Zebpay Enables Trueusd Mumbai-headquartered cryptocurrency exchange Zebpay has announced the addition of Trueusd (TUSD) trading, deposits and withdrawals going live, starting today, August 6, 2018. Trueusd is part of the recent torrent of so-called stablecoins to have hit the market as fears around the performance of Tether (USDT) refuse to die down. According to its promoters, each TUSD can be redeemed 1-for-1 for US dollars. Trust Token is said to partner with registered banks and fiduciaries to securely hold the funds backing the tokens. And for increased security, the banks and fiduciaries handle all funds directly. Moreover, the Trueusd system supposedly does not handle or even have access to the escrowed funds. Any institution or individual with a verified True Coin account that passes a KYC/AML check can redeem TUSD for USD. INR-Crypto Trading Alternative Indian exchanges have been looking for creative ways to stay in business ever since the country’s central bank, The Reserve Bank of India, enforced a ban on all financial institutions under its control from providing services to companies dealing in cryptocurrencies. They have been doing this mainly by stopping fiat support and ramping up peer-to-peer and crypto-to-crypto trading. Zebpay itself launched crypto-to-crypto trading pairs back in April. Explaining the situation to their clients, the team stated: “We are amidst the phase where our industry in India is facing an unprecedented situation. The recent events led to pausing the INR transactions. Traders across India are curious to find an alternative to INR-crypto trading. At Zebpay, we are working to resolve any trading limitations. As one of the best possible solution, we welcome TUSD as an INR alternative on Zebpay exchange. Being a stable coin, Trueusd is secure to invest and trade in the cryptocurrency market.” Are stablecoins a suitable replacement for fiat trading, deposits and withdrawals? 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…

WSJ: Organized Crypto ‘Trading Groups’ Manipulated Markets to Make $825 Million in 2018

WSJ: Organized Crypto ‘Trading Groups’ Manipulated Markets to Make $825 Million in 2018

Cryptocurrency price manipulation is largely conducted by organized “trading groups” using services such as Telegram, the Wall Street Journal claimed in a study released August 5. Unveiling the results of research into cryptocurrency markets, the WSJ suggested that coordinated “pump and dump” schemes have seen traders inflate and crash the prices of various cryptocurrencies this year. As a result, it says, such groups are generating hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for themselves, while others get stung by losses once the groups sell off a particular asset en masse. In the first six months of 2018 alone, trading groups generated revenues of $825 million. The WSJ looked at 175 schemes trading 121 different coins, stating “[m]any more such groups exist, potentially adding millions or tens of millions more in activity,” adding that these “operate in private chat rooms, accessible only by invitation, generally overseen by a anonymous moderator.” As an example of trading group behavior, the WSJ takes Cloakcoin, an older altcoin that experienced several price pumps this year. A sudden growth spurt July 1 on major crypto exchange Binance was the result of a trading group called Big Pump Signal, the WSJ claims. “The price of cloakcoin skyrocketed on […] Binance shortly after Big Pump Signal sent a message on Telegram to followers telling them to buy,” the research describes: “Prices of Binance’s ten most-traded bitcoin pairs barely moved during the Cloakcoin pump.” The findings add a further dimension to market manipulation theories which have surrounded cryptocurrency markets in recent months. For Bitcoin, various sources have claimed factors such as Mt. Gox liquidation sell-offs and major bagholders have caused artificial price fluctuations since December 2017’s all-time highs, while others have claimed no such activities had influenced markets.

Goldman Sachs Is Reportedly Weighing a Crypto Custody Service

Goldman Sachs Is Reportedly Weighing a Crypto Custody Service

Having launched bitcoin futures trading in May, Goldman Sachs is now pondering the launch of a cryptocurrency custody service, according to Bloomberg. In a report published Monday, the news service cites anonymous sources as saying that the investment bank is mulling the creation of a secure storage service aimed at crypto funds to help protect them against the risk of hacking. So far, though, it seems the possibility is still being discussed and a launch date is not certain. The banking group told Bloomberg that, while it is investigating “various digital products,” it hasn’t yet made a decision on any product offering. However, the sources indicated the service could eventually help Goldman Sachs open up other crypto-focused services, such as a brokerage. The news comes just a month after major cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase launched its own custody service, aiming to serve institutions prepared to deposit over $10 million worth of digital assets. Other startups in the crypto space also offer to keep your assets safe for a fee, including BitGo which revealed it was courting Wall Street firms in May. While previously Goldman Sachs has been largely skeptical about cryptos, warning investors in January that they were “in a bubble,” the company said in May it would start trading bitcoin futures launched by Cboe and CME late last year. At the time it said it would use its own money to trade bitcoin futures on behalf of its clients. Bank deposit boxes 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.

Robinhood Adds Ethereum Classic to Crypto Trading App

Robinhood Adds Ethereum Classic to Crypto Trading App

Robinhood announced Monday that its customers can now invest in ethereum classic (ETC), just a day before Coinbase adds the option too. The company said in a blog post that the option went live today on its Robinhood Crypto app, adding that only those in the 19 U.S. states with access to the service can trade ETC at this time. Users can also trade in bitcoin, ethereum, bitcoin cash, litecoin and dogecoin, “as well as track market data for 10 other cryptocurrencies,” the post states. As mentioned, crypto exchange Coinbase is also expected to launch support for ETC tomorrow. The company announced last week that it had begun “final testing” for the cryptocurrency, and would begin accepting transfers in ETC on August 7. However, the new option will be opened up initially to users of Coinbase Pro and Coinbase Prime, and no customers will be able to trade in ETC immediately. “We intend to allow 24–48 hours of transfers through Pro/Prime before opening the markets. In accordance with our Trading Rules, all ETC books will open in post-only for a minimum of 10 mins. Once sufficient liquidity is established, trading will then be enabled on Pro and Prime,” the company explained. Coinbase’s consumer service will add the asset “only after they are listed on Coinbase Pro and Prime,” the post added, continuing: “We plan to add support for ETC on Coinbase Consumer when sufficient liquidity is established. We expect this to occur approximately 1–2 weeks after trading begins on Pro and Prime.” Moreover, while Coinbase Prime and Coinbase Pro customers who held ethereum prior to the 2016 fork will receive a credit for ethereum classic, retail customers will not, as ethereum was not supported until after the fork, the exchange said. Coinbase first announced it was adding ethereum classic in June, saying the selection was consistent with its Digital Asset Framework. At the time, the listing announcement caused the token’s price to jump 25 percent in 30 minutes to just over $16. At press time, the token was trading at $17.72, according to the CoinDesk Market Center. Trading chart 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…

Many Swiss Bankers and Financial Regulators Quit to Join the Crypto Space

Many Swiss Bankers and Financial Regulators Quit to Join the Crypto Space

News A lot of people in Switzerland have left the traditional financial sector to work in the crypto space, in which the banking nation is now developing a niche market. The Swiss banks don’t show enthusiasm officially, but they massively have interests in dealing with Bitcoin, insiders say. Also read: Switzerland’s Main Stock Exchange Dives Deep Into Crypto From Crypto Valley to Crypto Nation At this year’s G20 finance ministers’ meeting in Buenos Aires, the Swiss Federal Councillor and Finance Minister underlined Switzerland’s position on cryptocurrencies, saying that digital assets offer a great potential for financial services. The latest Credit Suisse crypto mover is Andrew Peel, efinancialcareers reported, Peel has left Credit Suisse to become head of digital asset markets at Morgan Stanley. He’s not the only one. At least eleven other people at Credit Suisse’s Zurich office have also succumbed to joining the crypto world in the past year, the financial news outlet highlighted, Peel was reportedly the latest to go with that flow. Switzerland has seen a wave of crypto startup companies rushing into Zurich, Switzerland’s financial capital, and Zug, a Swiss town now commonly known as Crypto Valley, in the past two years. Many Swiss crypto companies are trying to operate like banks but they avoid deploying too much marketing noise, they just deliver, “Swiss style.” Crypto Finance Group, a company which has an office in Zug and most of its manpower working in a luxury villa in Zurich dubbed “Crypto Villa,” is far from looking like a Silicon Valley garage. The atmosphere in the villa, which news.Bitcoin.com visited, is very much of a Swiss private bank’s. The board of Directors of the Fintech company founded in June 2017, includes Raymond J. Baer, a relative of the Swiss private bank Julius Baer, and Jan Brzezek, formerly Business Manager for the President of UBS Asset Management. Crypto Villa, Zurich “We [almost] all have a background in finance. Basically what we did is what is standard in the traditional market like equities or FX, with older management systems,” Jan Brzezek, the CEO and founder of Crypto Finance told news.Bitcoin.com in an interview in Zurich. “Our strength lies in the fact that we have tech guys as well as guys who come from the Swiss financial…