Behind Coinbase Learn: An Exercise in Listening to Our Customers

Behind Coinbase Learn: An Exercise in Listening to Our Customers

Since Coinbase was founded in 2012, we’ve always prioritized listening to our customers as we’ve built our products. The earliest adopters of crypto came to us largely sold on crypto already — their primary questions tended to focus on the “what,” “which,” and “when.” But more recently, as the space has gotten more attention and moved into the mainstream, we’ve started to see people visit Coinbase to learn more about “why” crypto exists. Coinbase launched its user research department in April 2018 with its first full-time user researcher (me). Today, our team of three is dedicated to understanding our customers (and potential customers)–and we use the learnings to design and continuously improve our products. Our job is to understand customers’ needs, goals, and motivations, as well as uncover how to serve a growing audience we have come to call the “crypto-curious” — new entrants to crypto who are interested in learning about the basics. We bake all of our consumer insights into products as they’re being built by collaborating with product managers, engineers, designers, and writers. To see how this works in action, we wanted to share an end-to-end view of Coinbase Learn, an educational resource we launched in September 2018 that we created based on insights that came directly from our customers. Where we started Since I joined Coinbase, we’ve conducted more than 200 interviews to understand what will lead the way to mass adoption of cryptocurrency. We’ve talked to folks who’ve been crypto enthusiasts for years, as well as people who experimented with buying $10 of bitcoin to see what all the fuss was about. And, perhaps most importantly, we’ve talked to many people who have never purchased any crypto at all. Across all audiences, people were telling us that they wanted a better understanding of how it all works. Cryptocurrency is complicated, and there are lots of loud voices in the room, so it can be hard to know where to turn for information. Many of our research participants told us they had tried Googling for answers, but that the “beginners’ guides” they found were too complicated. We realized that if we aspire to be the most trusted place to get started with cryptocurrency, we have to do more to educate people — not only those who are potentially…

Japan: Crypto May Be Classified as ‘Crypto-Assets’ to Prevent Confusion With Legal Tender

Japan: Crypto May Be Classified as ‘Crypto-Assets’ to Prevent Confusion With Legal Tender

The Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA) is considering placing cryptocurrencies into a new legal category called “crypto-assets,” Cointelegraph Japan reported Dec. 15. By classifying cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) this way, the government reportedly “hopes that traders will no longer purchase them believing that they are legal tender recognized by the government.” On Friday, an FSA advisory panel filed a report requesting the term “virtual currency” be changed since, according to the panel, it could confuse people into believing the asset is legal tender in the country. As Cointelegraph reported recently, Japan’s FSA is set to introduce new initial coin offering (ICO) regulations to protect investors from fraud. Business operators conducting ICOs will reportedly be required to register with the FSA. This month, news broke that there has been a significant wave of reports of suspicious crypto transactions to the Japanese police. The increase reportedly came after the implementation of a law in April obliging cryptocurrency exchange operators to report suspect cryptocurrency transactions to the police.

Overstock’s Medici Acquires Digital Tokens Representing Startup Equity Shares

Overstock’s Medici Acquires Digital Tokens Representing Startup Equity Shares

Overstock.com’s investment wing, Medici Ventures, has successfully purchased digital tokens representing 3.6 million shares from Chainstone Labs, a digital securities company. The shares represents Medicis’s 29.6 percent stake in the startup, worth $3.6 million. They mark Chainstone’s first step in venturing into the security token market, which itself is in the inception phase. Medici is gearing up to launch a security token marketplace in January with its own tZERO token as a primary traded asset. Chainstone is led by Bruce Fenton, CEO at the Atlantic Financial Blockchain Labs, founder of The Satoshi Roundtable conference and a board member of Medici. “We believe that digital securities are a far superior model to old ways of moving securities. Since this is our business focus it’s a natural fit to have our own equity digitized into a securities token,” Fenton told CoinDesk through a spokesperson. According to him, the startup issued 12.4 million digital shares, named CHAINSTONE. The token was issued on the Ravencoin blockchain, which was created by Fenton, as well as Medici principal software developer Tron Black and chief technology officer Joel Weight. The network, designed to support peer-to-peer asset transactions, was launched in January. Fenton said: “For these shares Ravencoin was a perfect choice. Ravencoin was specifically designed for digital assets. It has several advantages over other platforms because it benefits from the security and salability of the Bitcoin code base.” That said, Chainstone as a company plans to support projects with ERC-20 tokens, Blockstream’s Liquid and other platforms going forward, Fenton added. Blockchain-based shares will make transactions “faster, more secure, and completely transparent will change the world,” Medici Ventures president Jonathan Johnson said in a press release. He told CoinDesk that there are no current plans to make the token tradable on tZERO, “but this is still an early stage company.” So far, the token is not open to the public, according to Medici. Medici plans to have its security token trading platform, tZERO, up and running in January. The platform has also announced that it is developing a security token for cobalt sales, commissioned by the Hong Kong-based company GSR Capital. Business miniatures image via Shutterstock

Tim Draper Invests $1.25 Million in Bitcoin Payments Processor OpenNode

Tim Draper Invests $1.25 Million in Bitcoin Payments Processor OpenNode

U.S.-based venture capitalist Tim Draper has invested $1.25 million in OpenNode, a bitcoin-only payments processing startup. Announcing the seed round on Tuesday, OpenNode told CoinDesk that the raised funds will be used to expand its team and beef up its legal and compliance efforts. The firm claims to process “instant” and “risk-free” bitcoin payments for businesses, generating revenue by charging a 1 percent for transactions. OpenNode taps the lightning Lightning network – effectively a transacting layer on top of bitcoin – which is being developed in an effort to enable faster and cheaper transactions that can net-settle to the bitcoin blockchain. OpenNode said in a statement that since the start of its platform, the capacity of the lightning network has grown over 15,000 percent to 456 bitcoin or BTC. “We’ll continue to tackle new emerging markets where the lightning network can cut costs, promote creative payment models, and refine the current user experience with payments,” an OpenNode spokesperson told CoinDesk. Draper, the founding partner of Draper Associates and Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ) Venture Capital, is an early blockchain investor and has backed several startups in the space. Back in 2016, he led a $4.2 million series A funding round in Texas-based company Factom, aimed at building a number of new products for its blockchain data network. Draper also participated in a total $760,000 investment round of bitcoin payroll startup Bitwage in 2015, and a smart contract trading platform called Mirror’s $8.8 million Series A financing in the same year. Lightning bolt image via Shutterstock

Irish Court Finds Silk Road Dealer’s ETH to Be Proceed of Crime

Featured The High Court of Ireland has ruled that 25,000 euros (approximately $28,400) worth of ethereum held by Neil Mannion, a 37-year-old man currently serving out a prison sentence for drug offenses, comprise proceeds of crime. Also Read: Google AI Briefly Describes Bitcoin as ‘Collapsed Economic Bubble’ Irish High Court Rules Crypto Comprises Proceed of Crime In what has been described by Irish media as a case that has “broke[n] new ground,” the High Court of Ireland has found cryptocurrency to comprise a “crime proceed.” The judge presiding over the case, Ms. Justice Carmel Stewart, granted orders pertaining to Neil Mannion’s 2,000 ETH that were sought by Ireland’s Criminal Assets Bureau. The Criminal Assets Bureau also sought proceedings asserting that the funds contained in various bank accounts owned by Mannion were derived from criminal activities. Mannion Unsuccessfully Opposes Criminal Asset Bureau’s Orders Mannion attempted to oppose the orders, claiming that his personal rights had been breached through the investigations into his cryptocurrency holdings. While Justice Stewart noted that the arguments had merit, Stewart dismissed Mannion’s opposition, stating that the investigation had in fact been hindered by the intricate details of the data privacy rights pertaining to cryptocurrency exchanges. Stewart also noted the likelihood that future cases may result in individual rights being breached in investigations into cryptocurrency holdings believed to be associated with crime, advocating that Ireland’s juridical apparatus be prudent in preparing for challenges pertaining to individual rights and cryptocurrency investigations. ‘The Hulkster’ Arrested in 2014 Mannion is currently serving a six-and-a-half year sentence in Wheatfield Prison, a medium security institution in Dublin. He was arrested following a raid conducted by the police service of the Republic of Ireland in November 2014 at premises in Dublin and was jailed during the following year. Mannion confessed to using the property as a distribution center for his narcotics sales in addition to trafficking his products via Silk Road and Agora using the pseudonym ‘The Hulkster’ and was charged for the possession of amphetamine, LSD, and cannabis resin with intent to sell or supply. Proceedings were closed in February 2016. The Criminal Assets Bureau again sought for the ETH to be ruled as comprising proceeds of crime during July 2016 following a review of the case. What is…

Israel: Financial Services Firm GMT Joins RippleNet

Israel: Financial Services Firm GMT Joins RippleNet

Israel-based financial services firm GMT has joined Ripple’s bank and payment provider network, the company confirmed in a recent press release. The result of a “long and precise process,” the move reportedly will help the company remain “at the forefront” of the local finance industry. Ripple, which operates blockchain-based financial products using its XRP token, has partnered with multiple financial institutions and banks to expand its international reach in recent years. “After a long and precise process GMT was chosen to be Ripple’s representative in Israel, by so joining Ripple, and its partners, in creating a global financial system, with high-end technology and values such as; [sic] transparency and affordable costs,” GMT’s statement reads. In a private statement to Cointelegraph, a Ripple representative said that they can “confirm that [GMT is] a Ripple customer, similar to the 100+ customers on RippleNet.” Ripple’s partners currently include MoneyGram, American Express and Japan’s SBI Group, among others. Remittances have formed a central area of interest for new partners. This month, the United Arab Emirates’ UAE Exchange partnered with the blockchain firm to set up a payments corridor to Asia. Earlier this month, enterprise blockchain consortium R3 chose XRP as the first cryptocurrency in its new universal payments decentralized application (DApp). Ripple has meanwhile faced mixed publicity over its corporate structure, with criticism coming from the conflicting accounts about its relationship with XRP. XRP is currently up almost 3 percent on the day to press time, trading at $0.33.

Belgium’s Financial Watchdog Updates Crypto Scam Blacklist to Total 113 Sites

Belgium’s Financial Watchdog Updates Crypto Scam Blacklist to Total 113 Sites

Belgium’s Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) has updated its crypto-related fraud blacklist to include a new total of 113 sites, in a fresh alert posted Dec. 18. The authority states that “despite” its prior warnings, it continues to receive complaints from defrauded investors. The newly added platforms are all allegedly run by “fraudsters […] who are using cryptocurrencies to swindle consumers,” with the FSMA starkly reiterating: “The principle remains the same: they offer you an investment they claim is secure, easy and very lucrative […] They claim to have specialists who will manage your investments for you. You are told that your funds can be withdrawn at any time […] In the end, the result is always the same: the victims find themselves unable to recover their money!” The agency notes that the updated list is not comprehensive, and has been assembled in particular based upon victims’ reports. The warning appeals to the public to come forth with any doubts about other possibly suspect crypto-related entities operating unlawfully in Belgium. The FSMA further advises readers to consult its prior warnings dated February 22, 2018 and October 26, 2018 to better understand the nature of such frauds. As previously reported, the FSMA included a new swathe of 28 apparently fraudulent sites this September. Belgium’s FSMA joins global regulators and government agencies in trying to protect investors through education. This May, a Chinese government-led study detected 421 fake cryptocurrencies, isolating three key features of fraudulent digital currency profiles. Also this spring, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) created a website for a fake initial coin offering (ICO) that lured visitors with a “too good to be true investment opportunity.” The mock website implemented the main “red flags” the agency claimed to have identified in the majority of fraudulent ICOs — and redirected anyone who attempted to purchase the ersatz tokens to an educationally-oriented page on the SEC’s own site.

A Year After $20K, Blockchain Capital Exec Says Investors Will Regret Not Buying in Now

A Year After $20K, Blockchain Capital Exec Says Investors Will Regret Not Buying in Now

One year after Bitcoin (BTC) broke crypto industry records to hit $20,000, a partner at venture capital firm Blockchain Capital says that today’s bearish market represents “a fantastic buying opportunity.” Spencer Bogart made his remarks during an interview on CNBC’s Fast Money show Dec. 17. Bitcoin is now trading around $3,550, up 2 percent and capping gains of around $260 in 24 hours before press time. The coin, however, is over 82 percent down from its price point this time last year. Emphasizing that Blockchain Capital is a “long-term venture investor,” Bogart told CNBC: “Could Bitcoin go to $50,000? Absolutely. It doesn’t have the same kind of price-to-earnings, enterprise value to revenue that normally puts a kind of upper bound or a ceiling on a typical early-stage technology company […] How long will it take? I’m not sure.” After CNBC host Melissa Lee criticized the belief that the historic 2017 bull run “could only go higher,” Bogart said “there is absolutely nothing wrong with the [bull] thesis,” but noted that up until recently, the Bitcoin market has been “almost entirely driven by retail [investors].” This, he suggested, still results in bull market runs “going a little too high,” and conversely, bearish dips “too low.” Bogart stressed that notwithstanding short-term price weakness, the “fundamentals” of the technology and concept are still there. In particular, the VC exec stated that 2018 has seen major advancements in scaling, with the Lightning Network helping to “transact extremely cheaply, and extremely quickly.” He further pointed to increased institutionalization of the asset class, with this year’s endowments from United States Ivy League universities such as Yale and Harvard, forthcoming Bitcoin derivatives and the global digital assets trading platform from the Intercontinental Exchange’s (ICE) “Bakkt,” and the establishment of more qualified custodians for crypto assets. Bogart’s last bullish remarks highlighted the outstanding “quality of talent” entering the crypto space, suggesting that the “best and brightest” are coming in to “work on Bitcoin.” With one last consideration of price volatility, Bogart said that Bitcoin today could also “absolutely” go lower — “anywhere between here and $2,000 or even $1,000” — but that all of these price points represent “a great buying opportunity,” adding: “When we look back 24 or even 12 months from…

Transnistria Welcomes Crypto Miners, Plans to Expand the Industry

Transnistria Welcomes Crypto Miners, Plans to Expand the Industry

Economy & Regulation The government of Transnistria has recognized the importance of cryptocurrency mining for the territory’s economy and budget. The unrecognized republic in Eastern Moldova now plans to expand the industry by attracting more miners with a crypto-friendly business climate and favorable regulations.    Also read: CEO of Romanian Exchange Coinflux Arrested on US Warrant Tiraspol Plans for 100 MW of Mining Capacity Earlier this year, the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (PMR) adopted legislation that legalized crypto mining and provided incentives for foreign investors to set up mining farms within its borders. Under its provisions, a free economic zone was established for these companies and authorities promised to provide the necessary infrastructure, including unrestricted access to the Transnistrian electrical grid. The new law “On the development of information blockchain-technologies in the PMR” also allowed tariff-free imports of mining equipment and exempted mining incomes from taxation. As a result, facilities with a total consumption of between 5 and 7 MW of electricity are now operating in the country. But the government in Tiraspol doesn’t want to stop there. According to its prime minister, Transnistria plans to increase that number to 100 MW and has already managed to secure the needed investments. In an interview recently broadcasted by two local TV channels, Aleksandr Martynov stated: We adopted a fairly liberal law that stimulates mining activities in Transnistria. We also isolated them from our tax system. The head of the executive power further emphasized that Pridnestrovian authorities do not exercise any control over the revenues from the production of cryptocurrencies and don’t claim any portion of the income generated by entities that operate mining facilities. He added that the main goal set by the government is to sell more electricity to the bitcoin farms, and Transnistria can offer a lot of it at a low price. Miners Utilize Excess Generating Capacity The largest producer of electricity in the region is the Russian-owned Moldavskaya GRES, a thermal power station built on the shores of Lake Kuchurgan on the Ukrainian border. It has an installed capacity of 2,520 MW. The station burns mainly Russian natural gas which the self-proclaimed republic does not even pay. The fuel is billed to Moldova which claims sovereignty over the separatist territory in a frozen…

Blockchain Network With Dynamic Fees Says It Triples TPS, Overpassing Ethereum and Bitcoin

Blockchain Network With Dynamic Fees Says It Triples TPS, Overpassing Ethereum and Bitcoin

Blockchain network ARK has released Core V2, the second version of its core system. “ARK was forked seamlessly in the background and the code is now fresh,” the startup says. The company emphasizes that ARK has become “the first and the only” delegated proof-of-stake-based (DPoS) service with dynamic fees. The users decide how much they want to pay for transactions using the ARK wallet. Mainnet as a milestone The company calls the migration to Core V2 — which has already been successfully completed on its mainnet — the beginning of a new era for ARK. The team now hopes that their updated ecosystem will empower developers to build new modular features and customizations. The startup promises that at block 6.6 million (6,600,000), the transaction cap of the network will be raised from 50 to 150 transactions per block. ARK announced that they have already reached 150 transactions per block at a rate of 19 transactions per second (TPS) — in comparison, Ethereum currently has 15 TPS and Bitcoin has 7 TPS. Recently, ARK also partnered with Bugcrowd, a crowdsourced security testing platform, which will protect the renewed ARK ecosystem. That means that ARK will gain access to a global community of over 100,000 expert researchers. Using different techniques, they monitor and identify critical issues quickly and effectively. Bugcrowd is also famous for its customers, such as Netflix, Tesla, Pinterest, Motorola, Western Union, etc. ARK will use all of Bugcrowd’s services, including its private and public programs. At the same time, the community-based development team, called Ark Labs, has successfully integrated smart contract abilities into the ARK blockchain using HyperLedger Fabric technology. Its SmartBridge functionality allows for creating, launching and managing smart contracts between two different blockchains. HyperLedger provides support to ARK for smart contracts written in Javascript, Go and Solidity. Changes for the users ARK users can get Core V2 by downloading the new Wallet V2. This completely rewritten service allows for the utilization of the new dynamic fees system. Now, the users can set how much they want to pay for each transaction they send. This system will be set up as a “fee marketplace,” where the delegates can set their fees and the users can choose the offer they like the most. The…