Largest Brazilian Brokerage to Launch Exchange for Bitcoin and Ethereum

Largest Brazilian Brokerage to Launch Exchange for Bitcoin and Ethereum

The largest brokerage in Brazil will enter the crypto space by launching an exchange for Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) in the near future, Bloomberg reported September 21. Chief Executive Officer of Grupo XP Guilherme Benchimol told Bloomberg that the company will launch an exchange called XDEX in the coming months, with around forty employees. Grupo XP is the biggest financial group in Brazil, comprising companies with various business models. XP has reportedly set a goal to have $1 trillion reais ($245 billion) under custody by 2020, which is four times what the company expects to raise by the end of this year. In addition, XP will launch a bank in the next few months. Benchimol said that he “must confess, this is a theme I’d rather didn’t exist, but it does,” adding that “we felt obligated to start advancing in this market.” He noted that the company is being pushed into the crypto business by the popularity of cryptocurrencies among investors. 3 million Brazilians “have exposure” to Bitcoin, compared to only 600,000 that invest in the stock market. Initially, Grupo XP announced its plans to launch an over-encounter (OTC) BTC exchange in April. The move was reportedly the first for XP, which first registered an outfit called XP COIN INTERMEDIACAO in August 2017. Later that year, following a 5 million reals (about $1.5 million) capital injection, the company rebranded to become XDEX. Earlier this week, Brazil’s Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE) launched a probe into six major national banks regarding alleged monopolistic practices in the crypto space. Per a CADE report, “the main banks are imposing restrictions or even prohibiting … access to the financial system by cryptocurrency brokerages.” The banks reportedly claim that the brokers’ accounts were closed due to the absence or lack of client data.

US Congressman to Introduce Bills Supporting Blockchain Technology, Cryptocurrencies

US Congressman to Introduce Bills Supporting Blockchain Technology, Cryptocurrencies

U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN) is planning to introduce three bills to support blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, according to a press release published September 21. The three upcoming bills are entitled the “Resolution Supporting Digital Currencies and Blockchain Technology,” the “Blockchain Regulatory Certainty Act,” and the “Safe Harbor for Taxpayers with Forked Assets Act.” The legislation is focused on the support and development of blockchain technology, as well as the establishment of a safe harbor for taxpayers with “forked” digital assets. The bills would prompt the federal government to provide a “simple legal environment,” and restrict fines against individuals who report “forked” digital assets until the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) presents formal guidance on the appropriate means of reporting. According to Emmer, “taxpayers can only comply with the law when the law is clear.” The representative further commented on the initiative: “The United States should prioritize accelerating the development of blockchain technology and create an environment that enables the American private sector to lead on innovation and further growth, which is why I am introducing these bills.” Moreover, Emmer has taken up the position of co-chairman of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, a platform for the industry and government collaboration to examine the implications of blockchain and digital currencies. According to the announcement, “the Caucus believes in a hands-off regulatory approach to allow this technology to evolve the same way the Internet did; on its own.” Earlier this week, U.S. lawmakers called on the IRS to issue clarified and “comprehensive” crypto taxation guidance. The lawmakers argue that while the IRS has proactively continued to remind taxpayers of the penalties for non-compliance with its guidance, its failure to introduce a more robust taxation framework “severely hinders taxpayers’ ability” to meet their obligations. Also this week, Cointelegraph reported that the American National Standards Institute is going to discuss blockchain and Artificial Intelligence (AI) issues at its next Legal Issues and Joint Member Forum. The attendees will reportedly focus on legal and ethical concerns and explore concrete applications of blockchain technology and AI.

The Latest Bitcoin Bug Was So Bad, Developers Kept Its Full Details a Secret

The Latest Bitcoin Bug Was So Bad, Developers Kept Its Full Details a Secret

This week’s major bitcoin bug was even worse than developers initially let on. The bug originally rocked the bitcoin world when it was reported the vulnerability could be used to shut down a chunk of the network. While this sounded bad enough for many, it turns out developers for Bitcoin Core kept a second, bigger part of the bug a secret. As disclosed through an official Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) report, an attacker could have actually used it to create new bitcoin – above the 21 million hard-cap of coin creation – thereby inflating the supply and devaluing current bitcoins. Such a perversion of the rules would, at worst, according to many, make users not trust the cryptocurrency anymore. Because of the disastrous implications of the bug, developers decided to keep it a secret, buying themselves time to fix the exploit and urge miners and users to upgrade their software. The CVE report written by Bitcoin Core developers explains: “In order to encourage rapid upgrades, the decision was made to immediately patch and disclose the less serious denial of service vulnerability, concurrently with reaching out to miners, businesses and other affected systems, while delaying publication of the full issue to give time for systems to upgrade.” And for now, the plan seems to have worked. Over half of bitcoin’s mining hash rate has upgraded to the patched software version, meaning the attack can no longer be used, and developers are “unaware of any attempts to exploit this vulnerability,” the report states. Who found it? Finding such a serious bug was a stressful position for developers to be in. According to the report, an anonymous user originally filed a report about the denial-of-service bug to top developers of Bitcoin Core and Bitcoin ABC, the main software implementation of bitcoin cash. About two hours later, Chaincode engineer and Bitcoin Core developer Matt Corallo realized the bug could have been exploited to print unlimited bitcoin. Based on the seriousness of the vulnerability, the developers decided to keep those details secret at first. Instead, beginning with Slush Pool, they started pushing miners to upgrade. And for bitcoin users running a full node, the call to action is the same. “You should not run any version of Bitcoin Core other…

Of Moonshots and Mushrooms: Let’s Get Beyond Technocratic Thinking

Of Moonshots and Mushrooms: Let’s Get Beyond Technocratic Thinking

Op-Ed The following opinion piece on Moonshots and Mushrooms was written by Max Borders, director of Social Evolution and author of The Social Singularity.  When John F. Kennedy was president, he planted a stark and powerful, technocratic image in the minds of Americans…I believe this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish. Also Read: Ex-Liberia Central Bank Chief Under Probe for Missing $104M, State Seeks FBI Help Nations don’t make commitments, of course. People do. And Kennedy was essentially making a commitment on behalf of 190 million people with 190 million different plans and projects. Still, most people don’t question the grand designs of soothing orators or national father figures, because, well, democracy. And a man… on the moon! But this type thinking is not just a holdover from the 1960s. And we should be fair to the spirit in which the term moonshot is used in certain contexts, namely an ambitious project that has a reduced likelihood of success. And we don’t want to dismiss this connotation out of hand. Still, even the most pro-market, pro-business enthusiasts fall under the spell of the moonshot Mentality (defined more as big projects requiring big plans and big money). Maybe it’s because they like space or because they think Elon Musk is cool. As software developer Andrew Stover keenly observes: Proponents of moonshots as a method of innovation such as Peter Diamandis, founder of XPrize, are constantly suggesting that what’s really needed to push humanity forward is “10x” thinking, or imagining a solution or outcome that’s ten times as big as what you might normally imagine. I recently watched a lesson Diamandis gave on “exponential thinking” and he used Elon Musk as an example. [Diamandis] described Musk’s vision and mindset. Diamandis then suggested that young people should follow in Elon’s footsteps, eschewing economic activities that don’t ignite their “passion” and to focus on solving problems that will have a massive impact. Young people certainly have gone…

Crypto-Community Debates Bitcoin Core Bug and a ‘Forced Upgrade’

Crypto-Community Debates Bitcoin Core Bug and a ‘Forced Upgrade’

Technology & Security This week the cryptocurrency community has been discussing and dealing with the critical vulnerability that was found in the Bitcoin Core (BTC) reference client. Many observers are calling the bug one of the worst issues BTC has had in years, comparing the exploit to the March 2013 mandatory hard fork. In fact, in the eyes of many, the network is still vulnerable to massive inflation from an attack that costs a mere 12.5 BTC ($83,000). Also read: Critical Bug Found in Bitcoin Core Invokes the Multiple Client Argument Peter Todd: ‘The Most Dangerous Time Is Not *Prior* to It Being Patched, but Rather *While* It Is Being Patched’ The Bitcoin Core (BTC) community has been dealing with a critical vulnerability over the past few days. News.Bitcoin.com reported on the bug two days ago and some BTC supporters said because the exploit was patched now, “it wasn’t a big deal” anymore. However, if one was to observe social media and forums they would find that CVE-2018-17144 was a very big deal, and still to this day the bug poses a threat to the BTC network because not everyone has upgraded. Throughout yesterday and today, there are many subjective valuations from crypto-devs and well-known community members. For instance, the software developer Peter Todd explains the network can be the most vulnerable while the community is in the process of upgrading the recent patch.   “The recent DoS vulnerability in Bitcoin, the most dangerous time is not *prior* to it being patched, but rather *while* it is being patched,” explains Todd. “Why? Because we have multiple implementations with different behavior, and thus potential chain splits — A 100% DoS crash is safer.” So take the time this weekend to upgrade your nodes if you haven’t already, to get us back to ~%100 of the nodes running essentially the same implementation, and (hopefully!) the same protocol. Theymos: ‘Updating to 0.16.3 is REQUIRED, and Anything Less Than 200 Confirmations Has a Low Probability of Being Reversed’ Rather than being just a DoS issue the Bitcoin Core bug really could have caused a massive inflation issue. On the Reddit forum r/bitcoin, Theymos explains that new information on the Core bug has escalated the importance of upgrading. “Updating to 0.16.3…

Point72 Exec Leaves the Firm to Launch Crypto Hedge Fund in October

Point72 Exec Leaves the Firm to Launch Crypto Hedge Fund in October

Former equities portfolio manager Travis Kling has left billionaire Steven Cohen’s Point72 Asset Management to launch his own digital assets fund, Bloomberg reported September 21. Point72 is an asset management firm founded in 2014 as the successor of investment company SAC Capital Advisors. The latter pleaded guilty to federal insider trading charges and paid a $1.8 billion fine. Point 72 has offices in New York City, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Singapore, London, Paris, and Palo Alto, while its staff is marked with former IBM executive Timothy Shaughnessy as chief operating officer. The new Los Angeles-based fund called Ikigai will reportedly start on October 1 with partners’ capital, with plans to raise $15 million of outside capital on November 1. By mid-2019, Kling plans to increase Ikigai’s tokens portfolio to $100 million and its venture fund to $33 million. At the time of launch, most of the funds will be in cash. The fund has a fee of two percent in addition to custody costs, while a minimum investment for accredited investors is $250,000. Kling expressed confidence in cryptocurrencies, despite the current slump in markets, as interest in the space continues to grow. Kling said that “[cryptocurrency] will be a multi-trillion-dollar asset class,” adding: “It will be part of our everyday lives. It’s still very early, but the development and growth of this technology will be exponential.” In July, Cohen backed Arianna Simpson’s crypto and blockchain-focused hedge fund Autonomous Partners through his private equity firm Cohen Private Ventures. Simpson then said that her fund has held off from investing in Ripple (XRP) pending clarification from U.S. regulators as to whether XRP would be classified as a security. In April, it was reported that 10 percent of crypto hedge funds could face closure in the subsequent eight months due to both market health and regulatory uncertainty. Kyle Samani, co-founder of U.S.-based fund Multicoin Capital, said that “new capital has slowed, even for a higher-profile fund like ours.”

Lambos, Bling and Mansions — What Purchases Do Crypto Millionaires Make

Lambos, Bling and Mansions — What Purchases Do Crypto Millionaires Make

One of the most hotly debated topics around cryptocurrencies is what people can actually purchase with Bitcoin and its altcoin brethren. With Bitcoin’s 10th birthday just around the corner, it’s worth taking a look at some of the most outrageous and expensive things people have been able to purchase with BTC. We have certainly come a long way since the infamous Bitcoin pizza incident, where Laszlo Hanyecz ordered two pizzas from Papa John’s for 10,000 BTC back in 2010. It goes to show how much progress has been made in eight years — especially when you take a look at how much you’d pay for those same two pizzas with Bitcoin today. Given the gradual rise in value of Bitcoin over the years, early adopters who got their hands on substantial sums of the cryptocurrency found themselves with an incredible amount of wealth in the last two years. Some may have sold their Bitcoin, while others have adopted the ‘hodl’ mantra. Nevertheless, as the popularity of cryptocurrencies has increased, people have been open to selling real-world assets — from cars to islands — for a slice of the proverbial crypto pie. Let’s explore the wide variety of worldly possessions people can buy with their hoards of cryptocurrency. When Lambo? Any crypto enthusiast is familiar with the phrase ‘When Lambo,’ as the luxury vehicle has become somewhat of a cult icon for crypto-made billionaires, who have bought the sports cars with their crypto-wealth. While a Lamborghini may be the goal, people have been able to purchase a wide variety of vehicles, from affordable hatchbacks to luxury sports cars, with cryptocurrency for some time now. A luxury car dealership in Japan now accepts Bitcoin as a payment method through renowned cryptocurrency exchange BitFlyer. According to the company, customers can easily pay for their next prospective vehicle in a matter of minutes — which certainly beats conventional means of buying vehicles, like obtaining finance through a bank. While this dealership is driving forward a new payment model, it’s not the first time people have been able to buy cars with crypto. In December last year, a Manchester car owner listed a gold-colored Rolls Royce on Autotrader, which could only be purchased with Bitcoin. BlockShow Asia 2017 also provided…

XRP Shot Up 75% During Friday’s Bullish Trading Session

XRP Shot Up 75% During Friday’s Bullish Trading Session

The price of XRP spiked as high as 75 percent above its opening price at one point during Friday’s trading session amidst a broader market bull parade. At roughly 14:45 UTC, the price of XRP rose to a peak of $0.77 – representing a 75 percent increase from its opening price of $0.45, according to CoinDesk’s XRP Price Index (XPI). For several hours, the surge in investor interest was enough for the cryptocurrency to briefly dethrone ether (ETH) as the world’s second largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization. At the time, XRP’s market capitalization was north of $23 billion,  its highest level since June 10th. At press time, XRP has since cooled off to the price of roughly $0.54 and has returned to its former position as the world third largest cryptocurrency, per CoinMarketCap’s rankings. During the trading frenzy, XRP surpassed multiple milestones not seen since the famous bull run of 2017. For one, XRP/USD has already posted its most daily trading volume since January 14th on the cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex. At the time of writing, three hours still remain in the trading day, so it’s likely the cryptocurrency will surpass that mark and record its most trading volume ever on Bitfinex, which has offered XRP trading since May of 2017. Further, today’s price high of XRP marked a 192 percent rise since Sept 18, its best-performing, four-day stretch since December of last year. The price surged allowed XRP to reach its highest price point since May 10th. Current XRP prices still represent an 84 percent depreciation from its all-time high of $3.48 set in January, but technical charts indicate that the price could be beginning to chart its way back to those heights. XRP bulls were not the only ones on a parade today as the entire market picked up the bid in an illustrious way. All of the top 10 cryptocurrencies are flashing green as of the time of writing and currently posting an average 24-hour gain of 17.67 percent, excluding Tether (USDT). After XRP, standout performers include ether (ETH), bitcoin cash (BCH), stellar (XLM) and cardano (ADA). Consequently, the total capitalization of the cryptocurrency market has seen a notable uptick of more than $20 billion over the past 24-hours. Its current value stands just…

Brazil’s Largest Independent Broker Is Launching a Crypto Exchange

Brazil’s Largest Independent Broker Is Launching a Crypto Exchange

The parent company of Brazil’s largest independent broker is setting up a cryptocurrency exchange, Bloomberg reported Thursday. Grupo XP, which owns brokerage firm XP Investimentos, plans to launch the platform in the “coming months,” the news source said, adding it will support trading in bitcoin and ethereum. However, despite the notable move, the firm seems a little reluctant to dip their toe in the crypto waters. Speaking at an event in Sao Paulo, the firm’s executive officer, Guilherme Benchimol, said: “I must confess, this is a theme I’d rather didn’t exist, but it does. We felt obligated to start advancing in this market.” Benchimol was quoted as saying that the firm made the decision to launch the exchange – dubbed XDEX – because 3 million or so Brazilians already own some bitcoin, while far fewer, around 600,000, have holdings in stocks. The move by Grupo XP comes as the environment for crypto exchanges in the country may be about to ease. Brazil’s antitrust watchdog said this week that it is investigating whether major banks in the country worked together to halt services to cryptocurrency-focused firms. As reported by CoinDesk, the Administrative Council for Economic Defense said it was investigating the Banco do Brasil, Banco Santander Brasil, Banco Inter and others for shutting down crypto platforms’ accounts. Sao Paulo 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.

Japanese Financial Watchdog Launches Investigation Following $60 Million Exchange Hack

Japanese Financial Watchdog Launches Investigation Following $60 Million Exchange Hack

The Financial Services Agency (FSA) of Japan has launched an investigation after $60 million worth of cryptocurrencies were allegedly stolen from local crypto exchange Zaif, Cointelegraph Japan reports Friday, September 21. According to the report, the FSA has sent its staff to Tech Bureau — Zaif’s parent company based in Osaka — to verify whether the company will be able to cover customer losses. As Cointelegraph Japan has learnеd, the Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA) has urged all local crypto exchanges to conduct an immediate inspection of their security protocols. Following the notice, exchanges BitFlyer and Quoine reported they had not detected any data breach during the check. As Cointelegraph has previously reported, Zaif experienced a security breach on September 14, but the server error was only detected on September 17. Hackers reportedly stole cryptocurrencies amounting to 4.5 billion yen from users’ wallets along with 2.2 billion yen from the assets of the company itself, with total losses totalling $59.7 million. According to Cointelegraph Japan, Zaif previously received two administrative warnings from the FSA in March and June. The first mentioned instances of “system failure” and “fraudulent withdrawals.” Despite Zaif failing the check, the exchanged was not closed. The Japanese National Police Agency recently published a report stating that crypto thefts have tripled in 2018. During the first six months of this year 60.503 billion yen ($540 million) worth of crypto was stolen from different wallets. The biggest hack of this year took place in January 2018, when 58 billion yen ($520 million) worth of NEM coin were stolen from Coincheck crypto exchange.