CoinMarketCap Crypto Assets Now Feature Flipside Letter Grades

CoinMarketCap Crypto Assets Now Feature Flipside Letter Grades

Blockchain analytics startup Flipside Crypto is bringing crypto asset letter grades to a slew of online publishers. The Fundamental Crypto Asset Score (FCAS) metric – which evaluates factors such as developer activity and a broad set of transaction data – was recently added to CoinMarketCap, along with publishers such as MarketWatch, TheStreet and Stocktwits. The move comes ahead of the launch of CoinMarketCap’s first Android app, scheduled for April. Carylyne Chan, head of global marketing at CoinMarketCap, told CoinDesk these easy-to-use metrics will give users a more transparent view of how these assets are evolving. According to Chan, the site attracted 125 million repeat visitors in 2018 alone. She added: “If I’m a new user coming in with more tools and fundamental analysis like FCAS, the focus will be more holistic as opposed to only looking at the front page with the price.” Plus, she added this partnership is part of a broader push to add educational content to CoinMarketCap, such as explainers about blockchain technology and how different groups like developers impact the ecosystem. “It will be a good addition to the price and market data that we already have there,” Chan said. “There is a wider scope of collaboration that we’ll be working on with [Flipside Crypto].” Flipside raised a $4.5 million seed round last November and has since launched several products with different types of analysis. These include a portfolio tracker for crypto hedge funds and professional investors, the Hubble Monitor for companies and projects seeking to understand how users interact with their blockchain network, and the Coin Health Library for retail consumers looking for a deeper look at how the FCAS score is calculated and how more than 450 assets grow over time. According to Chan, the most popular asset pages from 2018 include XRP, bitcoin, Tron and ether, all of which have relatively high FCAS ratings. Flipside Crypto CEO Dave Balter told CoinDesk that, while dynamic FCAS ratings change according to live input from external exchanges and websites like GitHub, he estimates that only around 18 projects have high ratings like “Superb” or “Attractive.” (The “S” grade is actually higher than the “A” grade, differing from, say, your high-school report card.) Roughly 350 projects have the lowest rating, “F” for “Fragile.”…

Governments Exploit Christchurch Tragedy to Enforce Censorship and Thought Policing

Governments Exploit Christchurch Tragedy to Enforce Censorship and Thought Policing

No sooner had the victims of the Christchurch attack fallen than governments were clamoring to mine the tragedy for political capital. Despite the shooting having been live streamed on Facebook, antipodean officials have directed their ire against fringe websites in a desperate bid to control the narrative and criminalize curious civilians. Also read: Bitcoin Cash Developers Launch Privacy-Preserving Light Client Neutrino Politicians Can’t Let a Crisis go to Waste In the wake of the mass shooting that left 50 people dead in Christchurch, New Zealand, the usual activists have emerged to condemn their particular bête noire. Some want greater gun controls, some want a crackdown on online extremism, a few object to violent video games, while others seek greater internet surveillance, enhanced police funding and increased investigative powers. The ability to openly debate emotive issues is an integral part of the democratic process. Few would deny the right of the offended and the grief-stricken to table these topics, even if they might blanche at some of their knee-jerk solutions. While debate can be healthy, the actions taken by Australian and New Zealand officials has been anything but. Working in cahoots with ISPs, these governments have encouraged the blacklisting of websites – many of which have no connection to the Christchurch shooting. Even more disturbingly, police and prosecutors have detained individuals whose “crime” is to have watched video footage of the incident. The criminalization of individuals for accessing materials has had the reverse effect, heightening interest in the footage and fueling conspiracy theories in a classic case of the Streisand effect. Translation:If you say something we don’t like we’ll lock you in a cage and shoot you if you resist.#hypocrisy https://t.co/PgIDRt38mA — Roger Ver (@rogerkver) March 17, 2019 Blocked, Banned, Prosecuted and Detained Across New Zealand and Australia, internet users have shared stories of being barred from popular websites. These include 8chan, where the shooter first shared the link to his livestream and manifesto, 4chan, Liveleak, Zero Hedge, Kiwi Farms, free speech video site Bitchute and Gab’s Dissenter service, which enables comments on third party websites. Of these websites, only 8chan has a direct connection to the shooter, while the site that played the most pivotal role in spreading the video – Facebook – has been…

Crypto Exchange Bithumb to Reduce Staff By Up to 50%

Crypto Exchange Bithumb to Reduce Staff By Up to 50%

Bithumb, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in South Korea, plans to cut its staffing levels by up to 50 percent, according to a CoinDesk Korea report issued Monday, a move that would reduce its number of employees from 310 at the start of March to around 150. When reached, an official at the company confirmed the 50 percent figure, adding that it expects those departing will mostly be employees who already want to leave the company. “Voluntary retirement is part of our support program for former employees and is intended to provide assistance and training for job placement,” said the Bithumb official. “Apart from that, [Bithumb’s] trading volume has decreased compared to the previous year, [so] we are trying to provide internal measures. We will continue to add necessary personnel for various new businesses.” The move comes on the heels of similar decisions by other cryptocurrency companies that have been forced to respond to the ongoing decline in the value of the market in recent months. The company behind cryptocurrency project Dash said earlier this month that it’s also reducing its staffing levels in a cost-cutting effort brought on by the “crypto winter.” Similarly, since the start of the year, smart contract auditing firm Hosho has said it’s laying off 80 percent of staff, and blockchain project Nebulas has cut numbers by 60 percent. Ethereum studio Consensys announced that projects under its umbrella would have to find financing or also face cut-backs late last year. Editor’s note: Statements in this report have been translated from Korean. Bithumb image via Coindesk

Stellar Lumens (XLM) now available on Coinbase

Stellar Lumens (XLM) now available on Coinbase

Starting today, Coinbase supports Stellar Lumens (XLM) at Coinbase.com and in the Coinbase Android and iOS apps. Coinbase customers can now buy, sell, convert, send, receive, or store XLM. Please note that inbound transfers and many sends require the specification of an XLM destination tag. XLM will be available for customers in most jurisdictions, but will not initially be available for residents of the United Kingdom or the state of New York. Stellar’s cryptocurrency, the Stellar Lumen (XLM), powers the Stellar payment network. Stellar aims to connect banks, payment systems and individuals quickly and reliably. Since its launch in 2014, its vision has been to unite the world’s financial infrastructure so that money can flow quickly and cheaply between banks, businesses, and people. The Internet connected the world’s computers so that information could be shared globally. Stellar aims to do the same for money. One of the most common requests we receive from customers is to be able to trade more assets on our platform. With the recent announcement of our new listing process, we anticipate listing more assets over time that meet our standards. We are also investing in new tools to help people understand and explore cryptocurrencies. We launched informational asset pages (see XLM here), as well as a new section of the Coinbase website to answer common questions about crypto. You can sign up for a Coinbase account here to buy, sell or convert XLM today.

Unconfirmed: South Korean Internet Giant Kakao to Integrate Crypto Wallet in Messaging App

Unconfirmed: South Korean Internet Giant Kakao to Integrate Crypto Wallet in Messaging App

South Korea’s biggest internet corporation Kakao will reportedly integrate its crypto wallet in its messaging app KakaoTalk, local financial news agency Fnnews reported on March 18. According to the report, more than 44 million South Korean KakaoTalk users will be able send peer-to-peer transactions using Kakao’s crypto-powered wallet. The South Korean messaging giant will reportedly integrate the wallet in KakaoTalk after the launch of blockchain platform Klaytn’s commercial service, a spin-off of Kakao’s subsidiary Ground X. Recently, Bloomberg reported that the company will conduct another $90 million-capped initial coin offering (ICO) after already raising $90 million. According to Fnnews, Klaytn is scheduled for a commercial launch at the end of June 2019. Previously, Cointelegraph had reported that Kakao spent more than $57 million on new technologies, including blockchain and artificial intelligence. At the end of February, a Samsung official reportedly stated that the South Korean tech conglomerate’s new smartphone, the Galaxy S10, would have wallet functions for Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin (BTC) and two other tokens. The company had officially announced earlier that the phone would have storage for private cryptocurrency keys in an alleged Blockchain Keystore. Recently, the New York Times had also reported that Facebook is working on a cryptocurrency project that is set to be incorporated into Facebook’s three fully-owned apps — WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Instagram. According to the NYT’s assessments, Facebook’s alleged fiat-pegged stablecoin will have a combined exposure of 2.7 billion users.

XRP Sentiment Manipulated by Thousands of Bots, Analyst Claims

XRP Sentiment Manipulated by Thousands of Bots, Analyst Claims

In January, news.Bitcoin.com reported on the so-called ‘XRP army’ harassing Ryan Selkis, the cofounder of cryptocurrency data startup Messari. A recent data analysis has now alleged that the XRP army of shills is compromised of thousands of bots trying to sway market sentiment across social media channels like Twitter. Also read: Jeff Garzik Subpoenaed in Kleiman Bitcoin Lawsuit Against Craig Wright Thousands of XRP Bots and Fake Ripple Shills Have Infested Twitter, Researcher Claims When people discuss Ripple Labs and the XRP digital currency, the conversation can sometimes turn ugly and controversial. Cryptocurrency enthusiasts have noticed on platforms such as Twitter that if someone says something negative about Ripple or XRP, they are swarmed by Ripple supporters. The cofounder of Messari, Ryan Selkis, otherwise known as @twobitidiot, recently detailed how he was harassed by XRP supporters who called his home phone number. Now, a few reports from independent researchers have concluded that there are thousands of phony accounts or bots on social media being used to manipulate XRP sentiment. In fact, Geoff Golberg has spent a lot of time studying XRP-related bots and phony accounts on Twitter and first revealed his findings last year. Independent researcher Geoff Golberg’s data sets showing a large number of fake accounts and bots tied to popular accounts like ‘Giantgox’ and ‘Xrptrump.’“Astroturfing = the deceptive tactic of simulating grassroots support for a product, cause, etc., undertaken by people or organizations with an interest in shaping public opinion,” explained Golberg after sharing his data. “There are various types of graphs I use and analyses I conduct — It’s quite manual and requires lots of time.” One particular Twitter account called ‘@Giantgox’ raised Golberg’s curiosity as many bots showed signs of being tethered to the Twitter account. Golberg’s analysis continued: Every dot/node is a Twitter account which is following and/or being followed by Giantgox. Golberg Continues to Share His Data Despite Threats Last year, Golberg wrote about his investigation in great detail, which uncovered around 8,000 suspected phony XRP accounts on Twitter. The researcher also claims he made a bet with Ripple’s CTO, David Schwartz. In the post called “Dissecting a key (Twitter) account from the XRP Army,” Golberg says that Schwartz told him that if “there’s a real problem” the CTO…

Overstock Delays E-Commerce Business Sale, Deferring Cash for Crypto Ventures

Overstock Delays E-Commerce Business Sale, Deferring Cash for Crypto Ventures

Overstock has put off plans to sell its flagship retail business, delaying a large cash infusion that it was hoping to get for its portfolio of blockchain ventures. The company had originally aimed to sell the e-commerce business by the end of February, but on a conference call to discuss fourth-quarter results Monday, CEO Patrick Byrne indicated it no longer had a firm timeline, telling shareholders: “It’s like preparing a souffle, and a souffle is ready when it’s ready.” Indeed, Byrne talked as if Overstock was expecting to hold on to its original business for a while, saying he expected “a year of explosive growth” for the retail unit, which will “spit out cash” while the company continues to build the blockchain ventures. Byrne had previously hinted at this change in priorities in an interview last month with CoinDesk, when he said he was managing the retail business “as if I’m going to own it forever.” Keeping the unit, for now, means Overstock will not become a pure-play blockchain company as soon as it previously envisioned. Jonathan Johnson, the president of Medici Ventures, the company’s blockchain investment arm, said last year that the sale of the retail business would leave Overstock with Medici, its assets and a “bag of cash.” But in the risk factors section of its annual report with the Securities and Exchange Commission, released Monday in conjunction with quarterly results, Overstock warned that if it did sell the retail business at this stage, its revenues would shrink “to an insignificant amount,” adding: “Our retail business is a relatively mature and predictable business compared to our Medici initiatives, which have a short history, minimal revenues, significant expenses, significant losses and significant uncertainties, and conduct business in a new and rapidly changing industry.” Further, such a sale would make Overstock “a much smaller company,” the filing said. Both tZERO and the retail business of Overstock posted pre-tax losses in Q4: $12.6 million and $27.7 million, respectively — and both net loss numbers were significantly higher than a year earlier. Crypto trading at tZERO Overstock also said Monday that tZERO, its security token trading platform, would add cryptocurrency trading in June, though it did not provide further details. An executive on the conference call reiterated that Overstock is expecting tZERO to see a…

New Zealand: Hacked Exchange Cryptopia Expects to Resume Trading by End of March 2019

New Zealand: Hacked Exchange Cryptopia Expects to Resume Trading by End of March 2019

Cryptopia, the recently hacked New Zealand crypto exchange, has posted an update on March 17 concerning its plan to resume trading on its platform, which is expected by the end of March. In the post, Cryptopia’s co-founder Rob (Hex) Dawson stated that the company is entirely committed to reopening the exchange. Hex provided Cryptopia customers with data about the ongoing rebate process, as well as general recommendations for interacting with their accounts. Cryptopia relaunched its website in read-only form on March 5, with the platform showing the balances as they were at Jan. 14, 2019, the date of the $16 million hack. The exchange explained that the website can be used to reset passwords and two-factor authentication credentials, which is also a top priority issue in terms of client support at the current stage, Hex wrote. In the new announcement, Cryptopia provided details about the rebate process for customers who lost funds as a result of the hack, adding that the exchange is working to ensure that the process is compliant with local laws. Hex specified that users who lost their cryptocurrencies will start to see a section dubbed “Withdraws on your account for those coins.” He explained that transaction IDs (TXIDs) for the withdraw orders will not exist on the network; however, they will include details on how the coin was impacted in the event. For each withdraw order, users will also see a subsequent deposit of a Cryptopia Loss Marker (CLM) — a TXID that will stand for the lost coins — which will also not be represented on the network, the post says. Hex noted that CLM is not a coin, but represents the amount lost of each coin for each user in New Zealand dollars (NZD) at the time of the event, adding that it cannot be traded to date. In the announcement, Cryptopia’s founder also said that users are now able to cancel their standing orders through the website, while the API is still disabled. The exchange strongly warned its users to refrain from depositing funds into old Cryptopia addresses. In the aftermath of the Cryptopia hack, the exchange had noted that they would not resume trading until they were sure that user balances were secure.

IBM Signs 6 Banks to Issue Stablecoins and Use Stellar’s XLM Cryptocurrency

IBM Signs 6 Banks to Issue Stablecoins and Use Stellar’s XLM Cryptocurrency

IBM is taking its banking clients a step closer to cryptocurrency. Announced Monday, six international banks have signed letters of intent to issue stablecoins, or tokens backed by fiat currency, on World Wire, an IBM payment network that uses the Stellar public blockchain. The network promises to let regulated institutions move value across borders – remittances or foreign exchange – more quickly and cheaply than the legacy correspondent banking system. So far three of the banks have been identified – Philippines-based RCBC, Brazil’s Banco Bradesco, and Bank Busan of South Korea – the rest, which are soon to be named, will offer digital versions of euros and Indonesian rupiah, “pending regulatory approvals and other reviews,” IBM said. The network went live Monday, although while the banks await their regulators’ blessings, the one stablecoin running on World Wire at the moment is a previously announced U.S. dollar-backed token created by Stronghold, a startup based in San Francisco. “We say ‘limited production,’” said Jesse Lund, IBM’s head of blockchain for financial services, of the project’s status. Indeed, while Stronghold’s USD-backed coin currently serves as an on-ramp for greenbacks, there are as yet no pay-in/pay-out locations in the U.S.  In this regard, IBM has received “a favorable verbal response” from U.S. regulators, said Lund. “So we are starting with markets that are outside of the U.S., but it won’t be long before we add U.S. as an operating endpoint. It will be sometime this year; we will get to it, third quarter, fourth quarter something like that,” he said. Still, the World Wire platform has payment locations in 72 countries, with 48 currencies and 46 “banking endpoints” (which include banks and money transmitters) where people can send or receive cash, said IBM. Aside from issuing their own tokens, the arrangement opens up the possibility of banks using lumens, the native token of the Stellar blockchain, which can be used as a “bridge currency” when it is hard to trade one type of fiat for another. Also, World Wire “could support other cryptos” but is only supporting lumens for the moment because financial institutions are put off by the volatility of cryptocurrencies, Lund said. However, as far as growing a bank-backed stablecoin universe is concerned, Lund has a grand vision. He told CoinDesk, “As more…

A Lightning API for Bitcoin Futures Data Has Launched

A Lightning API for Bitcoin Futures Data Has Launched

An experimental service that allows users to pay for futures data from exchanges Kraken and BitMEX with bitcoin’s in-development lightning network is now live. Launched by Suredbits Monday, the application programming interface (API) allows developers access to information about available futures contracts, specifically, according to CEO Chris Stewart: “You will be able to subscribe to market data from those two exchanges with a payment over the lightning network.” This data from popular exchanges Kraken and BitMEX is normally free. In this way, the new service is not necessarily intended to be used. Rather it’s a proof-of-concept for how lightning network micropayments can be used to procure data. Suredbits thinks lightning will play a big role in the future of developer APIs because the payment network allows for smaller payments (often called “micropayments”), making it easier for developers to buy small amounts of data – maybe even less than a cent’s worth at a time. Stewart went as far as to call traditional market data and API models “broken,” adding: “We are using [the new APIs] to showcase that lightning allows [exchanges] to monetize things that are monetized at traditional exchanges. We are pushing the idea that lightning has a multitude of benefits when integrated into an exchange’s infrastructure that isn’t just related to withdrawals and deposits.” Lightning is still considered risky to use, with lingering bugs leading some users to lose money. But developers are still building on top of the network, since it’s widely seen as the future of bitcoin payments. Suredbits, a little startup from Iowa, is one of a few companies focused mostly on lightning projects. Yet, it’s part of a growing number of bitcoin startups tying the lightning network into their business. As another showcase, Suredbits (which launched on mainnet earlier this month) recently revealed a “playground” developers can use to test its service for retrieving NFL, NBA, and cryptocurrency market data  – all using lightning. Electricity image via Shutterstock