OKEx Korea Delists Monero, Dash, Privacy-Cryptos Over FATF Demands

OKEx Korea Delists Monero, Dash, Privacy-Cryptos Over FATF Demands

The South Korean arm of cryptocurrency exchange OKEx is removing support for five major altcoins due to new international regulations.  FATF rules halt privacy coins trading In a blog post originally published on Sept. 10, OKEx Korea confirmed it would halt trading of Monero (XMR), Dash (DASH), Zcash (ZEC), Horizen (ZEN) and Super Bitcoin (SBTC) on Oct. 10. The reason, said the exchange, is that as since they are focused on privacy, the coins fall foul of new guidelines set out by the intergovernmental body the Financial Action Task Force, or FATF. “Support for trading of 5 different cryptocurrencies, XMR, DASH, ZEC, ZEN, SBTC, will be terminated,” the blog post reads. As Cointelegraph reported, the sweeping changes to crypto transaction rules demand businesses to identify the two parties sending funds to each other if a transaction is worth more than around $1,000.  More exchanges could follow More than 200 countries should theoretically implement the rules by June 2020, despite concerns that doing so is physically impossible for many decentralized blockchains.  The five cryptocurrencies outlined by OKEx all make it all but impossible to identify the sender and recipient of a transaction by design.  An OKEx representative told Cointelegraph that the coins will be delisted only on OKEx.co.kr. But they will remain listed on the global OKEx platform.

Bitcoin Is a Hedge Against Gov’t ‘Fiscal Irresponsibility’ — Analyst

Bitcoin Is a Hedge Against Gov’t ‘Fiscal Irresponsibility’ — Analyst

Equities portfolio manager turned crypto fund executive Travis Kling has argued that Bitcoin (BTC) has come into its own as a unique hedge within the current macroeconomic climate. In an interview with CNN on Sept. 15, Kling argued that the specific properties of Bitcoin make it an exceptional insurance policy against monetary and fiscal irresponsibility from central banks and governments globally. “Crypto has been created for such a time as this” Kling — a veteran of the multi-billion-dollar hedge fund Point72 —  outlined how his interest in cryptocurrencies had evolved over the course of Bitcoin’s decade-long history and how, as he garnered more knowledge, he had come to recognize the asset as being the “most significant investment opportunity of a generation.” While developments within the crypto markets may formerly have been isolated from the traditional financial sector, Kling argued that the latest, compelling evolution in Bitcoin’s identity is its present interaction with legacy markets.  He said: “Now is an incredibly interesting time from a global macro perspective and […] it appears that crypto has been created for such a time as this. With what we have in terms of monetary and fiscal policies from central banks and governments, big tech overreach, government overreach, data privacy issues that are coming to the center of the collective consciousness.” As a “non-sovereign, hard cap supply, global, immutable, decentralized digital store of value,” he said, Bitcoin should be considered separately from other crypto assets — for these very properties are what distinguishes it as a particularly robust and timely investment. “The hardest money in human history” Kling observed that the world needs Bitcoin as an insurance policy “more today than it did yesterday” and that it’s going to need it “more tomorrow more than it does today,” in light of what central bank and government policies: “It’s apparent that central banks are all racing to devalue their currencies […] What are they devaluing against? They’re devaluing against assets that have provable scarcity […] Bitcoin has even more provable scarcity than gold, it’s the hardest money in human history.” In the throes of an uncertain world economic picture, Kling’s perspective has been broadly — if not unanimously — shared by analysts of different stripes.  In August, digital asset research firm…

HTC’s Blockchain Phone Now Supports Bitcoin Cash

HTC’s Blockchain Phone Now Supports Bitcoin Cash

Native support for bitcoin cash is coming to HTC’s blockchain phone. Today, HTC announced its partnership with Bitcoin.com to add bitcoin cash support for its Exodus 1 blockchain phone. The new function will come with Bitcoin.com’s preinstalled wallet and be rolled into the Exodus 1 software update. Bitcoin.com will also sell the Exodus 1 and all future versions. In a statement, HTC’s chief decentralization officer Phil Chen called the update a natural next step for the phone. “The Zion Vault is happy to support BCH natively in hardware so security goes hand-in-hand in the BCH blockchain as an alternative to dominant payment rails and platforms,” he said. With the partnership, Zion Vault, the phone’s key management software can now secure BCH transfers by signing off on transactions. Prior to last February, HTC only accepted major cryptocurrencies bitcoin and ethereum. As of now, the phone is priced at $699. First announced at Consenses 2018, HTC has regularly updated the Exodus 1 with new blockchain features. An update in May allowed users to directly swap cryptocurrencies within the Zion Vault wallet. Exodus 1 may soon be replaced by HTC’s second-generation blockchain phone: the newer, cheaper Exodus 1s. Chen has previously told CoinDesk that the $200-$300 phone would ship in the third quarter. HTC Exodus image courtesy HTC

Global Central Banks to Question Facebook-Led Libra Over Financial Risks

Global Central Banks to Question Facebook-Led Libra Over Financial Risks

The Facebook-led Libra project is to face questions from 26 central banks over the perceived risks to financial stability posed by the cryptocurrency project. On Monday, the Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructure – a forum for central banks under the Bank for International Settlements – will quiz the Libra Association in Basel, Switzerland, officials told the Financial Times. The attendees will reportedly include the Bank of England and the U.S. Federal Reserve. European Central Bank executive board member Benoit Coeure will chair the meeting, at which Libra is expected to answer questions on its planned scope and structure. The central banks’ findings will be included in a October report for the G7 nations in October, an official told the FT. On Friday, following a meeting of EU finance ministers in Helsinki, Finland, Coeure said cryptocurrency projects like Libra have raised “very strong concerns.” In a report from Bloomberg, Friday, he reportedly said:  “We’ve got to look very carefully at these projects, the bar for regulatory approval has been set very high.” Coeure added however, that Libra “has prompted fresh thinking on how to improve our payment systems.” Libra will likely have to make a strong case for its plans, with regulators worldwide having voiced concerns over the project which would offer digital currency-based payments to Facebook’s billions of global users. Most notably, perhaps, last Thursday, Bruno Le Maire, the French Economy and Finance Minister, threatened to block Libra in the EU saying: “I want to be absolutely clear: In these conditions, we cannot authorize the development of Libra on European soil.” The threat to national currencies from Libra has also prompted authorities to ramp up plans for central bank-based digital currencies. The People’s Bank of China is reportedly rushing to launch its digital yuan in the face of Libra, with a special team working on the project in secret offices away from the institution’s headquarters. In his Thursday comments, Le Maire also suggested that he has discussed the creation of a “public digital currency” with ECB president Mario Draghi and Christine Lagarde, who will take over his position later this year. Coeure added Friday that it was time for regulators to “step up our thinking on a central bank digital currency,” according to the FT. Benoit Coeure image via ECB/Flickr

HTC Adds Native Bitcoin Cash Support to Its Flagship Smartphone

HTC Adds Native Bitcoin Cash Support to Its Flagship Smartphone

The bitcoin cash community now has a new way to secure and transact its digital money, as HTC adds native BCH support to its Exodus 1 smartphone. A key reason the technology manufacturer has chosen to do so is that many consumers are using BCH as a payment method and HTC wants to see a future where merchants use the Exodus to receive BCH payments. Also Read: David Chaum’s Elixxir Invites Smartphone Users to Test Private Messaging HTC Exodus 1 Now Supports Bitcoin Cash Taiwanese consumer electronics manufacturer High Tech Computer Corporation or HTC (TWSE: 2498) has added native bitcoin cash support to its flagship smartphone, Exodus 1. The device’s killer feature for cryptocurrency users is the Zion Vault, a digital asset wallet with an easy-to-use software interface integrated with onboard hardware security. This secure built-in wallet is now capable of conducting bitcoin cash transactions, so users can easily buy, receive, spend and store BCH on the phone without the risk of remote hacking. HTC has announced the support for BCH as part of a new partnership with Bitcoin.com, which will include pre-loading the company’s popular wallet app on the Exodus 1. Moreover, Bitcoin.com will also offer the smartphone, as well as the upcoming lower priced device HTC Exodus 1s, for sale on its online store. The Exodus 1s will feature the same native BCH support available to Exodus 1 users right now when it launches later this year. Bitcoin.com CEO Stefan Rust commented: “There are so many synergies between Bitcoin.com and HTC. We are very excited to be on this incredible journey together.” Bitcoin.com Executive Chairman Roger Ver added: “Bitcoin.com’s partnership with HTC will enable Bitcoin Cash to be used as peer to peer electronic cash for the millions of HTC smartphone users around the world.” Bringing Users Full Control Over Their Data and Assets To understand how HTC sees the promise of cryptocurrency and why it has added bitcoin cash support now, we talked with the company’s Decentralized Chief Officer Phil Chen. Explaining the importance of the new partnership, Chen said: “Smartphones are everywhere and have proliferated across the planet. It’s very important for the adoption of crypto that it is easy to store and use, no matter which cryptocurrency is preferred by…

US Sanctions Three Alleged Crypto Hacking Groups from North Korea

US Sanctions Three Alleged Crypto Hacking Groups from North Korea

The U.S. has sanctioned three North Korean entities for cyber crimes, mentioning cryptocurrency thefts as one of the reasons for the action. In a Sept. 13 announcement, the U.S. Department of the Treasury identified the Lazarus Group, Bluenoroff and Andariel as entities now on its the sanctions list, who are believed to be responsible for the theft of $571 million worth of cryptos from five exchanges in Asia in 2017 and 2018. The announcement comes just days after the North said that it would be holdings its second cryptocurrency-related conference, inviting the community to share information and do deals next February in Pyongyang. The Treasury department said the stolen funds, including coins from cryptocurrency exchanges, are believed to have been used in the development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. As a result of the designation, all assets owned or controlled by any of the three entities are now blocked and must be reported to Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). The announcement said that “U.S. persons,” which broadly includes citizens, residents and companies incorporated in the U.S., are generally prohibited from dealing with the blocked entities. Anyone violating the sanctions could themselves be subject to designation by the Treasury. Further, any financial institution in any country that deals with the blocked entities could lose their correspondent banking relationships with U.S. financial institutions, essentially locking them out of the dollar market. Lazarus, which is the parent of the other two groups and also known as Apple Worm and Guardians of Peace, was involved in the WannaCry 2.0 ransomware attacks of 2017, the announcement added. Bluenoroff, which came to the attention of security companies in 2014 and is sometimes known as APT38 or Stardust Chollima, has stolen funds from financial institutions, including $80 million from the Central Bank of Bangladesh, and has targeted cryptocurrency exchanges. Andariel was first noticed by the internet security community in 2015 and is also attempting to engage in theft and sow confusion. It was said to be responsible for a 2016 hack into the personal computer of the South Korean Defense Minister. All three groups are controlled by North Korea and related to the Reconnaissance General Bureau (RGB), according to the announcement. A recent U.N. report alleges that the North has stolen $2…

Report: OKEx Delisting Monero, Dash, Privacy-Cryptos Over FATF Demands

Report: OKEx Delisting Monero, Dash, Privacy-Cryptos Over FATF Demands

The South Korean arm of cryptocurrency exchange OKEx is removing support for five major altcoins due to new international regulations.  FATF rules halt privacy coins trading According to crypto news outlet The Block on Sept. 16, OKEx’s Korea unit will halt trading of Monero (XMR), Dash (DASH), Zcash (ZEC), Horizen (ZEN) and Super Bitcoin (SBTC) on Oct. 10. The reason, says the exchange, is that as since they are focused on privacy, the coins fall foul of new guidelines set out by the intergovernmental body the Financial Action Task Force, or FATF. As Cointelegraph reported, the sweeping changes to crypto transaction rules demand businesses to identify the two parties sending funds to each other if a transaction is worth more than around $1,000.  More exchanges could follow More than 200 countries should theoretically implement the rules by June 2020, despite concerns that doing so is physically impossible for many decentralized blockchains.  The five cryptocurrencies outlined by OKEx all make it all but impossible to identify the sender and recipient of a transaction by design.  It remains unclear whether the exchange will apply the restrictions globally. Cointelegraph has reached out to OKEx for comment but did not receive a reply by press time.

Binance CEO: Bitcoin Futures Platform ‘SAFU’ After Attack False Alarm

Binance CEO: Bitcoin Futures Platform ‘SAFU’ After Attack False Alarm

The CEO of cryptocurrency exchange Binance has dispelled fears a bad actor had attacked its newly-launched Bitcoin futures platform. Technical error crashed Bitcoin price In a series of tweets on Sept. 16, Changpeng Zhao, also known as CZ, initially warned that the exchange’s futures were under attack from one of its own market makers.  The perpetrator allegedly crashed the BTC/USD order book from $10,324 to $10,024, in what Zhao said was the second such attempt at an attack.  Binance launched its futures platform in invite-only mode following a user testing period earlier this month. Two platforms were originally available, with users voting for their preferred choice.  As Cointelegraph reported, despite criticism of both options’ technical characteristics, uptake was brisk, with open interest reaching $150 million last week.  CZ: Only “attacker” lost money In the event, the attack turned out to be a false alarm, originating from a technical error on the market marker side.  The entity remains unknown, Zhao only revealing it was also an operator of Bitcoin futures. Due to Binance’s own settings, meanwhile, the $300 dip did not liquidate other traders’ positions; only the accidental attacker lost funds. “NO ONE was liquidated, as we use the index price (not futures prices) for liquidations (our innovation). Only the attacker lost a bunch of money, and that was that,” he confirmed. Binance forms one of two major Bitcoin futures offerings to hit the market this month. The other, due on Sept. 23, comes from institutional trading platform Bakkt. 

Neufund Gets Nod from Liechtenstein Regulator for Token Offerings

Neufund Gets Nod from Liechtenstein Regulator for Token Offerings

Fintech startup Neufund has begun launching public offerings on its tokenized equity platform after receiving clearance from a financial regulator in Liechtenstein. On Monday, the startup announced retail-grade public offerings of tokenized equity. With minimum ticket sizes as low as 10 euro, co-founder and CEO of Neufund Zoe Adamovicz said Neufund remarked that the firm “delivers on its promise to democratize access to funding for entrepreneurs globally” following clearing from the Financial Monetary Authority of Lichtenstein. “It’s a big day – not just for Neufund, but business and finance,” Adamovicz said in a statement. U.S. based investors must be accredited to partake. Unlike other tokenized financial products such as initial coin offerings, Neufund’s product is legally binding equity in a firm. The first retail public offering being launched is for Greyp, an electric mobility platform. Neufund said $16 million in capital has been deployed on the platform to date. Nefund’s protocol is based on the ethereum blockchain with custom smart contracts built in-house on the ERC-20 token standard. One of the most active participants on the ethereum network, Nefund has been developing the codebase since 2016. Neufund is based in Berlin. Gumball machine image via Shutterstock

Bitcoin Mining Power Hits New High as Half a Million New ASICs Go Online

Bitcoin Mining Power Hits New High as Half a Million New ASICs Go Online

The computing power dedicated to mining bitcoin has hit yet another new high, suggesting that more than 600,000 powerful new machines may have come online in the last three months. According to data from crypto mining pool BTC.com, bitcoin’s two-week average hash rate has crossed another major threshold, reaching 85 exahashes per second (EH/s) around 19:00 UTC last Friday. Meanwhile, mining difficulty also adjusted to a new record of nearly 12 trillion. Notably, both figures have jumped 60 percent since June 14, the data shows. Bitcoin’s mining difficulty – a measure of how hard it is to create a block of transactions – adjusts after 2,016 blocks, or roughly every two weeks. This is to ensure the time to produce a block remains around 10 minutes, even as the amount of hashing power, deployed by machines around the globe competing to win freshly minted bitcoins, fluctuates. Several new models of application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) miners hit the market over the summer, with an average hashing power around 55 tera hashes per second (TH/s). Assuming all of the 35 EH/s of new hashing power added since mid-June came from these top-of-the-line models, a back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that more than half a million such machines have connected to the bitcoin network. (1 EH/s =1 million TH/s) Billion-dollar business? These powerful ASIC miners, made by major manufacturers such as Bitmain, Canaan, InnoSilicon and MicroBT, are priced from $1,500 to $2,500 each. So if more than half a million of them were delivered, as estimated above, the leading miner makers could have made $1 billion in revenue over the past three months. Bitcoin’s spiking hash rate and difficulty are in line with the soaring price since earlier this year, which led to increasing demand for mining equipment that has significantly outstripped supply. It’s also in part thanks to the rainy summer season in southwestern China which resulted in cheap, abundant hydroelectric power. Further, there has also been a growing interest in Russia’s Eastern Siberia region, where the Brastsk hydropower station built in the Cold War era has been utilized to power mining farms that are estimated to account for almost 10 percent of the total computing power on the bitcoin network. Miners in China estimated earlier this year that bitcoin’s…