Swiss Startup Raises $103 Million to Launch Cryptocurrency Bank

Swiss Startup Raises $103 Million to Launch Cryptocurrency Bank

Switzerland-based startup SEBA Crypto AG has raised 100 million Swiss francs ($103 million) to set up a bank offering cryptocurrency-related services, Reuters reported September 26. SEBA is reportedly headed by former UBS bankers — Guido Buehler as chief executive and Andreas Amschwand as chairman — and plans to apply for a banking and securities dealer license from Swiss financial market regulator FINMA. A license would allow the firm to conduct crypto trading and investments business for other banks and qualified investors. Buehler told Reuters that SEBA aims to become a bridge between traditional banking and the cryptocurrency industry. The startup also intends to provide corporate financing, including consultations on Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and other digital asset-related services to corporate clients. Amschwand commented on the project: “In Switzerland we have commitment from various authorities to establish a comprehensive regulatory environment for the development of blockchain technology and the sustainable, stable growth of crypto assets.” SEBA is purportedly planning to expand its operations into major financial hubs, starting with Zurich in 2019. Investors who financed SEBA include such firms as BlackRiver Asset Management and Hong Kong-based Summer Capital, along with other parties from Switzerland, Singapore, Malaysia, China and Hong Kong. Earlier this month, the Swiss Bankers Association (SBA) issued basic guidelines for banks working with blockchain startups in order to prevent a mass crypto exodus from Switzerland due to regulatory arbitrage.   Per the scheme provided by SBA, blockchain firms without Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) should be treated like other small- and medium-sized companies. Firms with ICOs must follow strict rules and fall under the purview of Swiss anti-money laundering (AML) and know-your-customer (KYC) laws. In August, the Maerki Baumann private bank began accepting crypto assets from payment received for services rendered, as well as those earned from crypto mining. Maerki Baumann noted that they are not ready to provide direct cryptocurrency investments, but will provide “experts” to clients interested in crypto investing. In June, Hypothekarbank Lenzburg became the first bank in Switzerland to provide business accounts to blockchain and crypto-related fintech companies. However, the bank is reportedly very selective in accepting new customers, and as of June had taken on only two companies from the crypto industry.

Despite Ban, 25 Google Play Apps Found to Cryptojack Users

Despite Ban, 25 Google Play Apps Found to Cryptojack Users

News Sophoslabs has published a report in which the company claims to have identified at least 25 Android apps published on the official Google Play store that contain script facilitating the ‘cryptojacking’ of users’ computing resources. Also Read: Google Bringing Back Crypto Ads in US and Japan 25 Apps Containing Mining Malware Identified on Google Play Store Sophoslabs claims to have discovered 25 apps on the official Google Play store that contain cryptojacking code within them. A report published by the company asserts that the apps in question have “been downloaded and installed more than 120,000 times.” The apps accused on containing cryptojacking code are LHDS Vendors – which is published by Taste of Life Group, Mobeleader from Abser Technologies S.L., Palkar by Palpostr.com, Dizi Fragmanları İzle from Oguzhan Kivrak, Helper for Knight Game from Evgeny Solovyov, Game Viet 2048 from Thanhtu Media, Trance Droid by Happy Appys, A Paintbox For Kids by Uwe Post, Afterlife: RPG Clicker CCG by Levius LLC, Dominoes Games from Fun Board Games, Info Guru Pendidikan by Cakrawala Pengetahuan, Lighton by Buyguard, Tapbugs and Dreamspell – both published by Riccotz, and 11 apps published by Gadgetium – all of which comprised “preparation apps for standardized tests given in the [United States].” 88% of Cryptojacking Apps Contain Coinhive Implementation 22 of the 25 apps identified by Sophoslabs were found to contain an implementation of Coinhive’s code. Lighton and Mobeleader were found to hosting mining scripts on their own servers – “presumably to thwart firewalls or parental controls/reputation services that might block Coinhive’s domain by default.” A Paintbox for Kids was found to be running Xmrig – “an open source CPU miner that can mine several cryptocurrencies in addition to XMR.” Cryptojacking Apps Discovered in Spite of Ban The discovery of the apps comes in spite of the Google Play Store’s July ban on “apps that mine cryptocurrency on devices.” The ban followed several other undertaking perceived to comprise a crackdown on crypto across Google’s platforms – including the prohibiting of cryptocurrency mining extensions from the Chrome Web Store in April, and the banning of advertising content relating to “cryptocurrencies and related content” from Google’s platforms in March. This week, Google showed the first signs of softening its stance on cryptocurrency since launching its crackdown,…

Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash, EOS, Stellar, Litecoin, Cardano, Monero, Dash: Price Analysis, September 26

Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash, EOS, Stellar, Litecoin, Cardano, Monero, Dash: Price Analysis, September 26

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision. The market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange. Though cryptocurrencies are stuck in a bear market, it hasn’t managed to scare away investors. A report by the Satis Group predicts digital currency trading volume to grow by over 50 percent in 2019. They also anticipate a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 9 percent all the way until 2028. Several nations are introducing measures to benefit from the increased adoption of the blockchain technology and crypto trading. Many top players in the crypto space urged the U.S. regulators to come up with clear crypto regulations, the alternative being to lose out to competition. Similarly, tech giants are warming up to cryptocurrencies. Google has partially reversed its ad ban for cryptocurrency exchanges advertising in the U.S. and Japan. The fundamentals of the sector are improving and investors are likely to jump on the bandwagon once a confirmed bottom is in place. Let’s identify digital currencies that have completed a bottom formation. BTC/USD Bitcoin failed to hold the support at $6,583.46 and dipped to a low of $6,341 on September 25. A break of $6,341 can result in a decline to the critical support zone of$5,900–$6,075. The BTC/USD pair is currently attempting to scale above $6,583.46 once again. If successful, a move to the downtrend line of the descending triangle is probable. A break out of this will invalidate the bearish pattern, which should invite short covering. The pair should pick up momentum above $7,413.46 and quickly rise to $8,566.4. Both moving averages are flat and the RSI is close to the midpoint, indicating that the bulls and the bears are in a state of equilibrium. A fall below $6,341 will tip the scale in favor of the bears, while a rally above the downtrend line will win it for the bulls. Traders can hold their long positions with the stops at $5,900. ETH/USD Ethereum has dipped below the 20-day EMA but is trying to hold the $200 mark. A break of this can extend the correction…

Bitmain Bids for Public Listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange

Bitmain Bids for Public Listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange

News The China-based mining manufacturer Bitmain Technologies has filed its initial public offering (IPO) prospectus in order to gain approval to be listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Also Read: Japanese Regulators Urgently Respond to Zaif’s Hack Bitmain Officially Files for IPO Status in Hong Kong The large mining firm Bitmain has officially initiated its attempt to be listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX) with its multi-billion dollar initial public offering (IPO) bid this week. The application states that Bitmain Technologies Holding Company (比特大陸科技控股公司), a limited liability firm incorporated in the Cayman Islands is applying to be listed on HKEX. According to reports and leaked documents the suggested IPO could be around $15-18 billion with the listing possibly launching in Q1 of 2019. The official IPO prospectus details the mining giant’s underwriters as well which include KPMG, Maples and Calder, Frost & Sullivan, and the China International Capital Corporation Hong Kong Securities Limited. Of course, the Bitmain IPO document says it is incomplete because most of the hard numbers have been redacted, and are also subject to change. In the prospectus overview, Bitmain explains they are “China’s second largest and among the world’s top ten fabless IC design companies in terms of revenue in 2017, according to Frost & Sullivan.” The Beijing-based bitcoin firm adds:     We focus on the design of ASIC chips specialized in cryptocurrency mining and AI applications, and we are the fourth largest global fabless ASIC chip design company in terms of revenue in 2017, according to Frost & Sullivan. The 32-year-old CEO of Bitmain Technologies Holding Company (比特大陸科技控股公司) Mr. Jihan Wu Unicorn Bitcoin Company Bitmain Experiences Exponential Growth Since Its Inception In the filing, Bitmain says they have experienced “exponential growth” since they started, and revenue increased from “US$137.3 million in 2015 to $2,517.7 million in 2017.” The prospectus notes that Bitmain pulled in a staggering $1.2 billion in profit in 2017. The firm also details that profits have continued during Q1 and Q2 of 2018 as well. “Our adjusted EBITDA increased from $101.8 million for the first six months of 2017 to $122.9 million for the first six months of 2018,” Bitmain claims. The Chinese firm also gives a few details on some of the investments Bitmain has…

Bitcoin Mining Giant Bitmain Just Officially Filed for an IPO

Bitcoin Mining Giant Bitmain Just Officially Filed for an IPO

Bitmain, the Beijing-based cryptocurrency mining giant, has officially filed an application to go public on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX). Published on Wednesday, Bitmain’s long-awaited initial public offering (IPO) prospectus follows various news reports that the mining giant has been mulling a Hong Kong listing for a multi-billion dollar public fundraising. The process has not been without its share of controversy, with major firms denying their role in a pre-IPO funding phase in a development that cast doubt on the company. As the application is still in draft form and pending further listing hearings from the HKEX, it remains unclear how much the firm will be valued at eventually. As shown in the posted application, a number of details remain redacted, including the number of shares that will be offered and the timetable for the public offering. Still, the prospectus gives insight into Bitmain’s financial standing as well as the company’s structure and inner workings. According to the filing, the firm made a total of $2,517,719,000 in revenue in 2017, a major increase from the $277,612,000 in revenue it generated over the course of 2016. As of June 30 this year, Bitmain has made $2,845,467,000 in revenue. Of that revenue, Bitmain grossed profits of $1,212,750,000 last year and $1,030,151,000 for the first half of 2018, up from $151,351,000 over 2016. Before taxes, the numbers were $137,750,000 in 2016, $897,376,000 in 2017 and $907,792,000 for the first half of 2018. CoinDesk previously reported Bitmain’s profits have surged significantly year-on-year, which jumped from $100 million in 2016 to $1.1 billion in 2017 and $1.1 billion in Q1 2018, based on documents obtained by CoinDesk. The prospectus states that, after adjusting for costs and expenses, Bitmain’s net profits were $48.6 million in 2015, $113.5 million in 2016, $952.5 million in 2017 and $952.1 million in Q2 2018. Bitmain also reported an $886.9 million balance of cryptocurrencies denominated in bitcoin, bitcoin cash, ether, litecoin and dash as of June 30 after factoring in a net loss of $102.7 million over the last 6 months, more than 10 times the net losses on previous years of holdings. This accounted for 28 percent of its total assets so far this year, the document stated without breaking down a coin-by-coin allocation. Cryptocurrency holdings were previously valued at…

Developer Paul Sztorc Launches the First Version of Drivechain

Developer Paul Sztorc Launches the First Version of Drivechain

Technology & Security On September 24, the director of research at Tierion and the bitcoin developer Paul Sztorc announced the launch of the first Drivechain release. The Drivechain protocol is an alternative to the sidechain concept because it enables multiple blockchain compatibility but the system utilizes the same 21 million bitcoins. Also read: Speculators and Investors Hodl, Venezuelans Send Crypto With SMS Testdrive: The First Drivenet Test Release Paul Sztorc This week Paul Sztorc has unveiled the first release of his open source project Drivechain, a protocol that allows a variety of alternative blockchains to work in unison with the BTC network. A Drivechain is similar to the sidechain concept initiated in 2014, but Drivechain works with other blockchain networks so they all agree with Nakamoto consensus and share the same 21 million bitcoin ruleset. Satoshi also vaguely discussed the idea of sidechains and multi-blockchain connectivity on June 17, 2010. Sztorc’s Drivechain system claims to allow permissionless innovation without diluting the value of the main cryptocurrency. Because a Drivechain is aligned with Nakamoto consensus it offers the security of the network but with an expanded set of services like smart contracts. Sztorc has been working on the Drivechain project for quite some time now, and last December we reported on the two Drivechain BIP proposals Sztorc submitted for review and feedback. This week Sztorc explains he is pleased to announce the first Drivechain version called Testdrive and notes that the release is in two parts.     “Testdrive is our first drivenet test release — It certainly isn’t perfect — We are still working on it,” Sztorc writes in the Drivechain release announcement. The developer continues by emphasizing: Nonetheless, it’s good to be able to show people what exactly Drivechain does: it allows Bitcoin to travel among different pieces of software. Expanding on Top of the Mono-Chain Without Controversy and in a Permissionless Fashion Sztorc further details that if the “multi-network coin” concept is practical it could change a lot of things within the cryptocurrency ecosystem. It could theoretically squash consensus upgrade feature infighting and political discourse by allowing permissionless innovation. “Bitcoin would be able to copy, without controversy, any technology, including: larger blocks, Turing-completeness, and ring signatures,” Sztorc details in the Drivechain announcement. In some…

A Major Regulatory Effort Is Brewing to Revive the US ICO Market

A Major Regulatory Effort Is Brewing to Revive the US ICO Market

Some 80 representatives from the cryptocurrency and traditional finance industries trekked to Washington, D.C. on Tuesday with a singular message for U.S. lawmakers: we need regulatory clarity on cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs). That message was fully on display during the “Legislating Certainty for Cryptocurrencies” event held this week at the Library of Congress. Over the course of the morning and early afternoon, stakeholders outlined the difficulties they face when launching projects and products in the U.S. The culprit behind their woes: uncertainty as to when cryptocurrencies are treated as securities and how startups should approach compliance more broadly. Members of Congress, it would seem, are receptive to their complaints. Congressman Warren Davidson, who hosted the event, positioned the forum as a round-table discussion to solicit input from the industry on these very points. A spokesperson for the lawmaker told CoinDesk that Warren intends to introduce “light touch” legislation sometime within the next three weeks. “Your input is critical to helping us preempt a heavy-handed regulatory approach that could stall innovation and kill the U.S. ICO market,” Davidson told attendees during his prepared remarks. He added: “With a thoughtful, bipartisan approach that protects consumers, advances free market solutions and defines safe-harbors for the early stage innovators, Congress can send a powerful message around the world that the U.S. is the best destination for ICO markets.” The issues at hand At the heart of these debates is a desire to advance cryptocurrency adoption within the U.S. However, as CoinList general counsel Georgia Quinn noted on Tuesday, there is a dearth of clarity guiding these developers. The issues range from how cryptocurrency gains are taxed to whether someone crypto startups qualify as money transmitters. What’s more, there’s a question as to the U.S. government itself can take advantage of the nascent technology. Blockchain president and chief legal officer Marco Santori explained the backstory behind treating token sales as securities offerings, in particular highlighting the development of the Simple Agreement for Future Tokens (SAFT) framework. The SAFT framework, he said, was an attempt at finding a way to conduct token sales without running afoul of securities laws. He went on to explain: “The SAFT project was launched around this time last year. We did not invent it by any…

Circle Enters the Stablecoin Races With USDC

Circle Enters the Stablecoin Races With USDC

Exchanges Stablecoin mania is showing no signs of abating. Within a week of Gemini launching its US dollar-pegged coin, Circle has followed suit. Named “USD Coin” (USDC), the ERC20 token has made its debut on Poloniex, the US exchange Circle purchased earlier this year. Also read: A Complete A-Z of Stablecoins Circle’s Stablecoin Is Good to Go In hyperbolic terms, US financial giant Circle announced the launch of its stablecoin today as “a milestone for the entire crypto industry”. While the significance of USDC has been significantly overstated by its creators, Circle and Centre, it is nevertheless a noteworthy addition to the growing roster of stablecoins. Like Gemini’s recent stablecoin, USDC is fiat-backed, and thus represents a simple tokenization of dollar assets that customers have deposited. “In addition to immediate usage on Circle Poloniex and Circle Trade, more than 20 companies are also announcing or launching support for USDC today,” wrote Circle. Lending platform Blockfi is one of them. “Other wallets, exchanges, and software applications can add support for the USDC token through the open ERC-20 standard.” USD Coin was created with the aid of Centre, an open source consortium that aims to define standards and policies for fiat stablecoins, primarily USDC. Shutting the Stablecoin Door After the Horse Has Bolted Circle’s stablecoin had been expected for some time, with details first revealed back in May, following a $110 million raise from investors that included Bitmain. In many respects, Circle is late to the races, delivering its native stablecoin long after the likes of Trueusd, Gemini, and Makerdao have all gained traction for their own offerings. Earlier today, news.Bitcoin.com reported on BCEX exchange listing the Gemini and Paxos Standard stablecoins. Stablecoins occupy an odd space in the cryptoconomy. With many of the most recent coins, such as the Gemini dollar, largely constrained to a parent platform, they are not always in direct competition with one another. Moreover, with most traders seemingly unfussy which stablecoin they use so long as it retains its dollar peg, there’s little to distinguish many of the players in what’s become an extremely crowded space. While Circle’s launch of USDC is less than seismic, it will at least take another chip out of Tether’s market share, making the cryptosphere less susceptible to collapse, should…

Ukrainian National Bank Considering Launching State Digital Currency Tied to Local Fiat

Ukrainian National Bank Considering Launching State Digital Currency Tied to Local Fiat

The National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) is considering launching a state-owned digital currency based on blockchain, local news outlet Vesti Ukraine reported Tuesday, September 25. NBU says that the blockchain-based hryvnia, or e-hryvnia, has to be centralized and remain under government control, Vesti Ukraine writes. The state-backed coin is expected to increase the rate of non-cash payments, along with reducing their cost. Ukraine has brought up the “digital coin” idea several times already within the framework of project called the “Cashless Economy”. For instance, NBU had revealed plans in January to launch an e-hryvnia that would not be based on blockchain technology. According to bank officials, this version of a Ukrainian state-backed coin would have to be tied to the national fiat currency at a rate of 1:1. According to the NBU, this would prevent the growth of the inflation rate. However, issuing an e-hryvnia based on blockchain still remains in the planning stages, with the bank noting: “The decision on the appropriateness of the introduction of electronic hryvnia in full will be taken only after a detailed analysis.” According to Vesti Ukraine, advisor to the head of Ukrainian Bank Association Alexey Kustch thinks that digital currency like e-hryvnia cannot be compared to cryptocurrencies, since crypto is anonymous and decentralized by definition, unlike a state-backed coin. Kutsch also noted that a state-backed digital currency based on blockchain is “quite a promising direction,” adding: “On the one hand, it will protect human rights in terms of property, and on the other —  significantly reduce the costs and time of transactions, as well as accelerate the turnover of money in the country.” Russia has also discussed the possibility of of launching state-owned cryptocurrency, the CryptoRuble, in January of this year. Recently, Ukraine’s parliament had proposed a tax bill for crypto assets, suggesting a five percent tax on individuals and legal entities operating with crypto, and an 18 percent tax for crypto-related profits. And in July, the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers on the Financial Stability Board held a meeting to determine the legal status of cryptocurrencies, supporting the concept of crypto regulation.