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One [Stable]coin to Rule Them All? Huobi’s New Program Lets Users Swap Between Tokens

Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange Huobi Global today introduced an all-in-one stablecoin program called HUSD, which will allow traders to convert between four USD-pegged cryptocurrency tokens.


HUSD: Huobi’s All-in-One Stablecoin Solution

According to the announcement, the HUSD solution aims to reduce the need to choose between multiple stablecoins, as well as to cut down transaction costs incurred when switching between these USD-pegged assets. It does so by automatically converting all stablecoin deposits on Huobi’s platform to its newly-launched HUSD “token,” which is native to the exchange and cannot be withdrawn. This platform token can be used for trading bitcoin, ether and any other digital asset listed on Huobi Global platform. HUSD can also be used at the time of withdrawals by converting itself back to the stablecoins, which could further be converted to fiat currencies.



Source: Huobi Global

According to Huobi, HUSD is pegged to stablecoin deposits rather than USD itself. Its supply mechanism appears to be more equivalent to regulated wallet services that people recharge with fiat debit/credit cards, and, in return, instantly receive available platform tokens to shop or pay for utility bills. Only in the case of Huobi, people pay via stablecoins to purchase HUSD as platform tokens.


Considering that the instability of any stablecoin listed on Huobi can impact HUSD functionality, the exchange has confirmed that it would evaluate each before deciding to add them to its trading platform. It promised:


“We will keep a close watch on new stablecoins that appear on the market and optimize the HUSD standards. We look forward to more stablecoins being involved in the HUSD system. Concurrently, we will evaluate the existing stablecoins in the HUSD system on a real-time basis, if the stablecoin doesn’t meet the corresponding risk control standard, we will remove it off from the HUSD system.”


Tether Not Listed among Stablecoins

Huobi has added four stablecoins, which are Paxos Standard (PAX), USD Coin(USDC), TrueUSD (TUSD), and Gemini Dollar (GUSD), to its HUSD solution portfolio. The exchange had announced on Tuesday that it was enabling the deposits of the four aforementioned dollar-pegged assets in the wake of traders’ demand for tether alternatives. Interestingly, it kept USDT out, regardless of its recovery towards dollar parity in recent days.


Other stablecoins are visibly closing in to oust tether after its volatile performance at the beginning of this week. The USDT token has long been plagued by accusations claiming that it is insolvent, and is artificially pumped with minimal dollar peg to stabilize its value. At the same time, the volumes of stablecoin alternatives are rising on virtually every exchange.

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Ethereum Token BAT Posts Major Rally as Brave’s Cryptocurrency Program Enters Beta

The cryptocurrency market posted a minor decline on Friday, with bitcoin and most other large-cap assets shedding about one to two percent of their previous-day valuations. Ethereum token BAT, however, managed to resist the market’s gravitational pull and post a major single-day rally.


Ethereum Token BAT Hits Two-Month High

BAT — short for Basic Attention Token — is the native currency of Brave, the ICO-funded web browser that seeks to use the cryptocurrency token to upend the web’s traditional advertising model.


For most of the day Thursday, BAT had traded below $0.215, and it continued to hold that line heading into Friday morning. That changed shortly before 9:30 UTC, when the token’s price leaped to $0.235, en route to an intraday peak at $0.25 — its highest point since early August.



BAT/USD (calculated) | Binance

However, since peaking at that mark, BAT has entered a steep pullback, so it’s unclear what percentage of its gains it will sustain heading into the weekend. As of the time of writing, BAT was trading at an equivalent of $0.235 on Binance, and its global average price had risen 14 percent over the previous 24 hours.


BAT’s 14 percent rally made it the top-performing asset among the 100 largest cryptocurrencies. Even more impressive, it was the only cryptocurrency to rise more than 10 percent, and its single-day climb was nearly double that of the next-best coin — Digitex Futures — which rose 7.35 percent on the day.


Brave’s Cryptocurrency Rewards Program Enters Beta

The dramatic upswing may have been connected to the announcement, made late on Thursday, that Brave Rewards — formerly known as Brave Payments — had entered beta testing in preparation for its eventual full-scale rollout.


This program, as CCN reported, allows publishers and other content creators to earn cryptocurrency payments, denominated in BAT, based on the amount of time that users spend on their websites. They can then withdraw these tokens to external ethereum wallets, or convert them to their local currency through cryptocurrency brokerage service Uphold.

Users, in turn, receive a browsing experience that is free from the obtrusive, privacy-leaking advertisements that, unfortunately, have come to dominate the vast bulk of the online publishing space. The browser blocks all ads by default, though users can opt in to receive a limited number of non-tracking ads, the revenue from which goes primarily to publishers — not third-party ad companies like Google.


Though not yet a major player in the Chrome/Safari-dominated browser space, Brave’s market share is steadily growing. The company said that it expects to hit 5 million monthly active users by the end of the year, and Popular Science has identified it as one of the top alternatives to Chrome and Safari.


As Brave continues to give BAT a larger role on its platform — while also growing the browser’s user base — the token should earn the distinction of being one of the first so-called “utility tokens” to actually have demonstrable utility.

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Lack of Transparency to Blame for Tether’s Loss of USD Peg: Novogratz

Five days since losing its U.S. dollar peg, fiat-backed cryptocurrency tether (USDT) continues to trade at a discount to its supposed $1.00 valuation.


Defenders have largely chalked up the markdown to FUD, arguing that supporters of other “stablecoins” are launching a coordinated assault on tether, which has long dominated this market niche. However, billionaire investor and cryptocurrency bull Mike Novogratz says that USDT’s woes are the fault of its issuer’s lack of transparency.



USDT/USD | Kraken | Source: TradingView

“I think Tether didn’t do a great job in terms of creating transparency,” said Novogratz on Wednesday at a conference in Frankfurt, according to a Bloomberg report. The former Fortress principal specifically called out Tether Limited, the token’s creator, for operating offshore and remaining cagey about its financial relationships, including with whom it is banking.


As CCN reported, Tether is said to be currently banking at the Nassau-based Deltec Bank, where it opened an account after severing ties with the now-floundering Puerto Rican institution Noble Bank. Neither of these relationships has been confirmed publicly.

Concerned about the firm’s opacity, Novogratz said that he prefers some of the newer stablecoin options, particularly the Gemini Dollar (GUSD), which is issued by the cryptocurrency exchange founded by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss. Unlike Tether, Gemini’s assets are housed in a U.S. correspondent bank, the Boston-based State Street. The stablecoin issuer, which received approval from the New York Department of Financial Services (NYFDS) to release the token, has also contracted with accounting firm BPM LLP to evaluate Gemini’s monthly attestation reports detailing that the token is always fully-backed by USD.



Tether’s outstanding supply has shrunk by nearly $700 million in October. | Source: CoinMarketCap

“The concept of stablecoins make sense,” Novogratz said, explaining that they are ideal for transactional exchanges, unlike bitcoin, which he has referred to as “digital gold.”


However, competition within the stablecoin  market is growing increasingly stiff. GUSD, along with “regulated” stablecoins Paxos Standard (PAX), TrueUSD (TUSD), and USD Coin (USDC), has been listed on a number of major exchanges in recent weeks. All of these tokens have consistently traded at a premium  to tether, suggesting that, at least right now, the market trusts them more than USDT. Moreover, two of them — GUSD and USDC — have been added as settlement options on BitPay, which processed more than $1 billion worth of cryptocurrency payments last year.

In follow-up comments posted on Twitter, Novogratz stressed that he believed USDT is fully-backed by physical dollars and did not want to sow rumors about the token.


“Id like to put context to these quotes as the last thing I want to do is spread FUD. I said I thought tether has a dollar for every tether and that we actively traded it. The fact that almost $700mm has been redeemed in an orderly fashion is important.”


Nevertheless, he said that Tether must work harder to earn back lost trust and prove that its token should trade at its full $1.00 valuation.

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Biggest Bank in Nordic Region Bans Bitcoin, Gets Caught for Money Laundering

Nordea Bank, the largest financial group in the Nordic countries, which banned Bitcoin in January, has been caught in a major money laundering scandal for allegedly receiving dirty money from two banks in the Baltics.


Yle, a state-owned publication in Finland with over 3,500 employees, reported that finance authorities in Sweden received a report with evidence to support money laundering allegations against Nordea Bank.

“We are aware of the report, and at Nordea we work closely with the relevant authorities in the countries in which we operate, including the Nordic Financial Intelligence Units,” Nordea said.



Nine months ago, Nordea Bank strictly prohibited its employees from buying and trading cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin due to its unregulated nature.


Afroditi Kellberg, a spokeswoman for Nordea Bank AB, said:


“It is widespread practice across the banking industry to restrict the personal account dealing of staff to prevent them taking positions in speculative investments, or which might expose them to a risk of financial loss and therefore impact their financial standing. Nordea therefore, like all banks, has the right to set out policies in this area that apply to its staff.”


By referencing the lack of regulations in the space of cryptocurrency, Kellberg and Nordea Bank expressed concerns regarding the possibility of utilizing digital assets to launder money and the impact that could have on the investors of the asset class.




Doubling down on its decision to impose a blanket ban on crypto, Nordea spokesperson Raymond Frenken stated that it would cooperate with central banks and the European Banking Federation to establish an industry standard regulatory framework in regards to cryptocurrencies.


“If banks like Nordea are going to have a very specific policy on this — and we’re hearing regulators are taking a look at this, including the ECB and central banks — probably it will be that it’s changing. With developments like this, it’s more likely that it will have to be discussed in the context of the European Banking Federation,” Frenken stated.

At the time, as CCN reported, the controversial decision of Nordea Bank AB was met with criticism from both the cryptocurrency sector and the rest of the traditional finance industry.


Djøf chief consultant Niels Mosegaard publicly criticized the ban, reaffirming that the legal basis of the prohibition remains unclear.


“It is clear that employees should not speculate on something that is criminal. But that’s not the case for bitcoin, as it seems at this time. We think that a ban is being made without a legal basis.”


Money Laundering

According to SLE and reports from mainstream media outlets of Sweden including the country’s public broadcaster SVT, more than 365 individual Nordea accounts received payments of over 150 million euros, equivalent to $171 million, from shell companies alleged to have run illegitimate operations.


In the weeks to come, the Finnish authorities are expected to cooperate with the Swedish authorities to launch a full investigation into Nordea Bank.

Danske Bank, Denmark’s biggest financial institution, which was also penalized for laundering $243 billion, previously told clients and employees to stay away from Bitcoin due to money laundering implications.

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Trump’s Tariffs are Putting the Pinch on Bitcoin Mining Giant Bitmain

Increasing tensions in China-US trade relations may portend tougher times ahead for Chinese bitcoin mining hardware maker Bitmain, with shipments to one of its major overseas markets facing new tariffs since August 23. The  South China Morning Post reports that Bitmain is seen by analysts as the cryptocurrency mining hardware firm with the most potential exposure to US trade barriers.


Bitmain’s flagship Antminer S9 was in June reclassified by the United States Trade Representative as “electrical machinery apparatus,” subjecting this device to a 2.6 percent tariff. It was formerly categorized as “data processing machine.” More significantly, the reclassification brought it under the category of Chinese goods subject to an additional 25 percent tariff, bringing total tariff for Chinese crypto mining rig makers to 27.6 percent from zero on their US shipments.

CCN earlier reported that Beijing-based Bitmain filed for an IPO in Hong Kong last month, seeking to raise a reported $3 billion. Canaan and Ebang International have also filed also filed to be listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange.


Both companies are also affected by the new tariff regime, with Canaan reportedly earning 8.5 of its 2017 revenue from overseas sales and Ebang’s overseas sales figures accounting for 3.8 percent of its 2017 revenue. Nevertheless, they have not invested nearly as much in overseas expansion as Bitmain has in recent months.




In August, CCN covered a research report by Sanford C. Bernstein revealing that Bitmain’s Antminer S9, which was launched in 2016, accounted for more than half of the company’s earnings of $2.5 billion in 2017.


According to Sanford C. Bernstein senior analyst Mark Li, the new tariff is likely to make Chinese mining hardware less competitive in relation to those of rivals in other countries. Data from an October report reveals that sales of mining hardware dropped by over 50 percent to $850 million from $1.8 billion reported in the first quarter.

Sanford C. Bernstein also reports that Bitmain’s revenue dropped to $950 million in the second quarter from $1.9 billion recorded in the first quarter. To put that statistic in perspective, mining hardware sales account for about 94 percent of the company’s total revenue.


GMO and Canaan are also said to be rolling out more advanced mining hardware with greater efficiency than the Antminer S9. Li believes this growing competition in technology is likely to preoccupy the company’s management than the US tariff.


Ben Gagnon, co-founder at Lutech, a bitcoin mining developer  observed that the past 18 months had seen a rise in investment and mining activities in the US.


In his words:


“All manufacturers of mining rigs based in China will likely be affected by the tariff code change and, and in turn, captured by the US trade tariff.”


Bitmain earlier reported in its prospectus that its financials could be affected by tax rate changes “due to economic and political conditions.”

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Apple’s Chipmaker Braces For Dampening Crypto Mining Demand

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), the world’s largest independent semiconductor foundry, predicted that its fourth-quarter revenue would increase by only a couple percentage points, forecasting revenues of 9.35 billion to 9.45 billion. Its 2017 fourth-quarter revenue was 9.2 billion.


Weakening Crypto Demand

TSMC, based in Hsinchu, Taiwan, is not only the world’s largest semiconductor foundry, but it was the world’s first, founded in 1987 by Morris Chang, widely credited as the “godfather” of the semiconductor industry. The company boasts high-profile clients such as Apple, which accounts for 17% of its revenue. It is widely considered Taiwan’s most influential tech company, with a valuation of around 200 billion dollars.


The company – listed on both the Taiwan Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange – pointed out the fact that while there is still solid demand from the smartphone sector, that cryptocurrency demand has decreased dramatically. As a result, the high-performance computers associated with cryptocurrency mining has been affected. TSMC even pointed out the fact that the mid-tier smartphone appeared to stagnate, but the solid demand for high-end smartphones worldwide – the sector that TSMC is most in demand for – remained robust.  


Competing Outlooks

Nvidia was even harsher with its cryptocurrency outlook.  Earlier this year, the company had experienced a tremendous boost in sales of graphic chips to Ethereum miners. In the first quarter, the company revealed that it had generated $289 million in revenue in the first quarter, just from the cryptocurrency mining sector.  


Jensen Huang, Nvidia’s CEO, acknowledged that “crypto miners bought a lot of our GPUs and it drove our prices up”. Nvidia acknowledged that the next quarter should see a significant drop of around 66%. It would appear that even this dramatic prediction was too high, considering that Nvidia only generated $18 million from the cryptocurrency sector – a stark difference from the expected $100 million. The company stated “the revenue is likely to disappear going forward”.  Nvidia is a company that still maintains a solidified presence in the gaming and data center sectors, and its revenue is on course to be double that of 2016.

Nvidia’s main rival in the GPU market, Advanced Micro Devices, also experienced the benefits of the “crypto gold rush” of early 2018, as 10% of its revenue in Q1 2018 derived from cryptocurrency mining. The company’s CEO, Lisa Su, was more optimistic than others, claiming that she believed “they’re not necessarily buying just for mining”, and pointing out the fact that she believed the “blockchain infrastructure is here to stay”.

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Ghana and Africa Cryptocurrency technology company, Cofred has introduced a new digital exchange platform that will allow users to buy and sell bitcoin (BTC), litcoin (LTC), dogcoin, Paxexcoin, Paypal, and Perfect money (PM).

CofredExchange idea is to hit much larger projects in the future with its crypto exchange acting as a gateway. At cofredexchange we want to provide Ghanaians with access to the new decentralised internet.

CofredExchange is the Easiest Way to buy and Sell Digital Currencies, such as Perfect Money (PM), Paxexcoin, Bitcoin, PayPal, Dogcoin and Litcoin. There’s a reason why over 2000+ people trust CofredExchange: it’s easy and secure with benefits; added

An exchange is a marketplace in which securities, commodities, warrants and other financial instruments are traded. The core function of an exchange is to ensure fair and orderly trading and the efficient dissemination of price information for any securities trading on that exchange.

On the cofredexchange, we provide a platform to buy and sell paxexcoin, bitcoin, litcoin, paypal, dogcoin and perfect money, as well as a place to find out about the blockchain projects we are excited about. At cofredexchange, users are allowed to buy their products with their visa card, master card and even their mobile money account.

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Chinese Crypto Wallet Cobo Raises $13 Million, Eyes Global Expansion

Plans for worldwide growth are on track for cryptocurrency wallet startup Cobo after it managed to raise US$13 million in a Series A round.


The cryptocurrency wallet startup, which is based in Beijing, China, has set its sights on expanding in the United States as well as in Southeast Asia particularly Indonesia and Vietnam. The Series A round was led by Chinese family office Wu Capital and DHVC. This brings the total amount that Cobo has raised in Series A to approximately US$20 million since it was founded in 2017, according to a press release.

Currently, the Chinese crypto startup possesses two flagship products – a cryptocurrency hardware wallet known as Cobo Vault and a multi-asset cryptocurrency software wallet named Cobo Wallet. Since Cobo Wallet was unveiled earlier this year, it has amassed over half a million users.


Passive Income Opportunities

The Cobo Wallet applies a Proof of Stake mining rewards system allowing users to grow their digital assets and supports PoS cryptocurrencies such as VeChain, Tron, Zcoin, Dash, LiteBitcoin, Decred and Ontology.


“Cobo’s unique approach redefines the concept of crypto asset management and creates new opportunities for investors. The team leverages their extensive blockchain experience to help safeguard users’ assets while also generating returns for their benefit. We believe Cobo will lead an entirely new user experience for PoS coin holders,” DHVC’s Managing Director, Judy Yan, said.

Besides PoS digital assets, Cobo Wallet also supports a couple of Proof of Work and Delegated Proof of State coins as well as about 500 tokens.


The successful fundraising exercise by a Chinese cryptocurrency startup is just the latest proof that despite last year’s ban on cryptocurrency trading in the world’s second-largest economy, domestic crypto and crypto-related firms either headquartered or founded in mainland China are thriving.


Crypto Mining Dominance

For instance, Beijing-headquartered Bitmain Technologies is now the biggest Application Specific Integrated Circuit-cryptocurrency mining hardware firm in the world, as it noted in a filing for its upcoming IPO. The firm whose revenues have been growing at an average annual rate of 328.2% currently commands nearly three-quarters of the market.


“According to Frost & Sullivan, we are the largest global ASIC-based cryptocurrency mining hardware company in terms of sales revenue in 2017, accounting for a market share of 74.5%. We offer a variety of mining hardware equipped with proprietary ASIC chips under our Antminer brand,” Bitmain wrote in the filing recently.

In another indication that the sector is thriving in the world’s most populous country in spite of the regulatory climate, the Hurun Report, which features Chinese individuals whose net worth has exceeded 2 billion yuan, featured 13 entrepreneurs in the cryptocurrency field in this year’s list.

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Gates Foundation Partners Ripple and Coil in Financial Inclusion Initiative

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is teaming up with San Francisco, California-based blockchain firm Coil with a view of enhancing financial access for the unbanked and underprivileged communities.


Initially announced by the principal technologist and a deputy director at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Miller Abel, the development was later confirmed by the blockchain startup which was founded by a former chief technology officer of Ripple, Stefan Thomas.



Other than implementing Ripple’s Interledger Protocol, ways of using open source payments software MojaLoop to enable disbursement systems geared towards the poor will be explored. Gates Foundation provided the funding which financed the development of MojaLoop (which borrows the Swahili word Moja, meaning one). Besides Ripple other firms which were involved in developing the pro-poor payment system included Crosslake Technologies, Software Group, ModusBox and Dwolla.


The Interoperability Problem

At the time of its release a year ago, the MojaLoop open source software was hailed as being the answer to increasing financial inclusion since it solved the problem of interoperability which had been identified as a major obstacle with regards to widening access to basic financial services:


“Interoperability of digital payments has been the toughest hurdle for the financial services industry to overcome. With Mojaloop, our technology partners have finally achieved a solution that can apply to any service, and we invite banks and the payments industry to explore and test this tool.”

At the time, Gates Foundation, using statistics obtained from the World Bank, noted that close to two billion people in developing countries lacked access to bank accounts and were thus unable to enjoy the security and benefits offered by basic financial services.


Here for Good

Besides this collaborative effort with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Ripple has also announced a couple of philanthropic initiatives of its own in the recent past. Late last month, for instance, the fintech firm launched a social impact program known as ‘Ripple for Good’ which by then had already received donor commitments exceeding US$100 million.


Just like with the work it has done with the Gates Foundation, the Ripple for Good program will focus on the unbanked communities and will consequently mostly fund educational projects geared towards increasing financial inclusion across the globe. As CCN reported at the time, Ripple’s executive chairman and co-founder, Chris Larsen, stressed the importance of developing products which have real-world use cases:

“We have to stop being self-righteous disruptors and instead focus on building things that solve real-world problems. If we focus the blockchain movement on that, over two billion underbanked people can become full economic citizens.”

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Bitcoin Volume Approaches Yearly Low Again as Market Deletes $6 Billion

Over the past 48 hours, the volume of Bitcoin (BTC) has fell substantially from over $5 billion to $3.8 billion, and is quickly moving to its yearly low.


On, ShapeShift’s official cryptocurrency market data provider, the volume of Bitcoin remains at around $2.54 billion. If the volume of BTC drops by around 15 percent in the days to come, then a new yearly low could be reached.




The low volume of Bitcoin is a concerning indicator for the short-term trend of the market because since early August, BTC has shown a high level of stability supported with low daily trading activity.


Bitcoin Needs to Begin Showing Strength

As cryptocurrency investor Roy Blackstone recently explained, Bitcoin has to begin showing strength in terms of volume, price trend, momentum, and daily trading activity in order for the rest of the market to remain afloat, above key support levels.


“It’s not alt season until:  ‘long term investors’ sell at breakeven, media hype machine starts, your best friend is getting rich off crypto, alt pumps across the board on exchanges like polo, bitcoin starts to show real strength.”

With Bitcoin demonstrating yearly low volumes on a regular basis, the cryptocurrency exchange market is not in a viable position to see a sudden increase in demand from speculators and retail traders.


Many traders, especially in the cryptocurrency exchange market, often attempt to purchase digital assets that are significantly down from their all-time highs to catch a large upside break. However, it only works if an asset breaks a long-term descending trendline with strong volume and a promising short-term rally.


While BTC had briefly broke out of a descending trendline dating back to January last week, the breakout was short-lived and from its monthly high of $6,700, BTC declined back to $6,400.




The lack of momentum in Bitcoin has led tokens and small market cap cryptocurrencies to struggle. Rchain, GXChain, MOAC, WanChain, Nano, Loopring, ICON, 0x, Tezos, and several other tokens demonstrated a 5 to 10 percent decline in value against both the US dollar and BTC.


Several analysts offered contrasting opinions, including a technical analyst known as CryptoYoda, who emphasized that the dominance index of BTC suggests an influx of capital into tokens is imminent.

“BTC Dominance indicating top might have been reached. In previous cases, similar structures led to strong selloffs, meaning capital flowing out of btc into alts. Both context and altitude in favor of a move down. Close below 50% would confirm altseason.”


Where Market Goes Next

Since achieving $6,700 earlier this week, the crypto market has been stagnant. The volume of Bitcoin has consistently declined, momentum of tokens has faded, and trading activity in the cryptocurrency exchange market dropped.


Generally, the sentiment around the mid-term growth of the cryptocurrency sector is still positive due to the progress made by major financial institutions such as Goldman Sachs to strengthen the infrastructure of the market.

On October 18, Goldman Sachs invested in cryptocurrency custody provider BitGo, reaffirming its interest in serving the digital asset market and institutional investors within it.

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Tether Has Yanked $610 Million out of Circulation this Month

Tether Limited, issuer of the dollar-pegged cryptocurrency tether (USDT), has yanked nearly a quarter of the controversial stablecoin’s market cap out of circulation since the beginning of October.


On Wednesday, cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex sent another 50 million USDT to the Tether Treasury, marking the sixth time this month that the company — which shares a management team with Tether — pulled USDT out of circulation by depositing them into the treasury address. Tether has not issued any new tokens in October, and the last time that new tokens entered circulation was on Sept. 21, when the treasury sent 50 million USDT to Bitfinex.



Source: Omni Explorer

With that transaction on Sept. 21, tether’s circulating market cap rose above $2.8 billion, reaching a new all-time high. In the month that followed, USDT’s circulating supply has plunged by 610 million units, reducing the number of outstanding tether tokens by a full 22 percent to just over 2.2 billion.


Tether’s market cap, however, currently stands somewhat lower, at $2.16 billion, owing to the fact that the token has consistently traded below its supposed $1.00 price point since Oct. 15.




Notably, the bulk of the outflows occurred either after or directly before USDT lost its USD peg, sending the token’s global average price as low as $0.92. Transactions on Oct. 3 and Oct. 9 removed a collectively $110 million from circulation, but the other $500 million was yanked from the market over a period of just three days, from Oct. 14 to Oct. 17, representing a 72-hour supply decrease of 19 percent.


As CCN reported, there are a variety of potential explanations for this rapid increase in outflows. One is that large-scale USDT holders are beginning to swap their tokens out for the recently-launched “regulated” stablecoins from Paxos, Gemini, and Circle, either directly — on exchanges — or by redeeming them while concurrently depositing funds with the alternative token issuers. This would have been particularly attractive over the past several days, as all of these stablecoins have traded at a premium to both USDT and the physical greenback itself. However, while these tokens have experienced rapid market cap growth, their present valuations could only account for a portion of tether’s outflows.

Consequently, it’s likely is that cryptocurrency traders who are confident in their ability to complete fiat withdrawals from Bitfinex — which treats tether as USD but has also experienced high-profile banking woes — are taking advantage of the tether token’s discounted value to engage in arbitrage.


As of the time of writing, the tether price stood at $0.98, according to CoinMarketCap, though on individual exchanges such as Kraken the token continued to trade as low as $0.96 against physical USD.

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Slain Bitcoin Investor Was Cashing out to Buy an Apartment

The Norwegian cryptocurrency investor who earlier this week was brutally murdered following a cash-for-bitcoin exchange was reportedly liquidating his holdings so that he could buy his own apartment.


CCN reported yesterday that the 24-year-old investor had been stabbed to death in his apartment on Monday morning, sometime between 7:50 am and 12:10 pm, when one of his roommates returned home to discover the grisly crime scene.

Citing sources within the Oslo police department, local media outlets reported that, shortly before the murder, the victim had exchanged a large sum of bitcoin for cash, which he kept in his room in the shared apartment.


“We are familiar with a tip about Bitcoin, but at this time we will not provide more information about the investigation,” said the head of the department’s intelligence and investigations unit, according to a rough translation.


According to Norwegian media publication Verdens Gang, he had made more than 1 million NOK (~$120,000) from his bitcoin investment. Friends said that others in his social circle were aware of his cryptocurrency dealings and that he had discussed using his profits to purchase his own apartment.


Per the report, police believe that, aware the victim was holding a large amount of cash, the perpetrator may have attempted to sneak into the victim’s apartment through a window. Upon meeting resistance, a struggle ensued, and the thief stabbed the victim more than 20 times.

As of the time of writing, no arrests had been made in connection with the case, and the police had not yet named any suspects.

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Cryptocurrency Fever is Starting to Fade: Russian Central Bank

Elvira Nabiullina, the head of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, claimed that investors’ excitement toward cryptocurrency has begun to cool. Her remarks came at the FINOPOLIS innovative financial technology forum.


Cryptocurrency Fever ‘Beginning to Disappear’

The famed Russian economist and former economic advisor to the Russian President Vladimir Putin represented businesses’ point of view to the bearish crypto market. She hinted that the failure of a majority of blockchain projects and their ICOs has made investors more practical and sober than ever.


“We are holding the FINOPOLIS forum for the fourth time. Earlier, this event used to witness a cryptocurrency fever everywhere. But now, it is visibly beginning to disappear,” said Nabiullina according to a rough translation. “Back in old times, technologies like blockchain caused a great deal of enthusiasm, but, in our opinion, now a more sober attitude towards such technologies has begun.”

The statement from Russia’s central banking chief surfaced in the wake of growing crypto and blockchain adoption inside the country. President Putin in his earlier comments has confirmed that they would create a regulatory framework for blockchain economy as the pressure of U.S.-imposed sanctions grows on the land. But the legislative walk to recognize bitcoin and similar digital assets so far has proven to be slow.




Nevertheless, investors in Russia are already long on the outcomes of blockchain and crypto over an extended time horizon, as can be seen in their dominant presence in crypto community forums and blockchain project teams. Nabiullina herself offered an optimistic view towards the technology, acknowledging that aftermath of 2018’s bearish action would allow businesses to improve blockchain by picking practical projects over sensational ones.


“Business is trying to improve such technologies, looking for cases for the practical application of them,” she explained.


ICOs an Excellent Method to Raise Funds

Nabiullina acknowledged the initial coin offering (ICO) model as an efficient way to raise funds, in contrast to many of her global peers who maintain a negative stance towards it. The central bank chief nevertheless reminded that the first major wave of ICOs included plenty of frauds, as evidenced by the failure or scammy nature of more than 90 percent of projects launched in the last two years.


The comments helped to showcase the Russian central bank’s attitude towards ICOs  in particular but also appeared in contrast to Nabiullina’s historical attitude towards crypto assets.

In 2017, the Russian economist compared cryptocurrency craze with gold fever, while later she expressed her disinterest towards regulating cryptocurrencies or even putting them in the same category of foreign currency.

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Ticketmaster Acquires Blockchain Startup in Bid to Combat Ticket Fraud

Major global ticket sales and distribution company Ticketmaster has acquired Upgraded, a blockchain startup using DLT and “smart tickets” to combat fraud within the industry.


Share of Controversy

Ticketmaster — which  merged with Live Nation in 2010 to form Live Nation Entertainment — is a live music behemoth that either leases, operates, or has equity interest in many entertainment venues throughout the United States. The company promotes over 30,000 concerts and sells hundreds of millions of tickets annually.


Live Nation Entertainment also boasts over $10 billion in revenue. It is, therefore, safe to say that Upgraded, and the potential of its technology have been more than validated as a result of the acquisition. In fact, the company has become so dominant in the sector that its main competitor, AEG, has accused the Live Nation of unethical practices, which caused the Department of Justice to start investigating the claims earlier this year.

The acquisition is also timely, considering that Ticketmaster and Live Nation were recently hit with a class-action lawsuit for allegedly operating its own ticket-scalping program. The company also previously announced  free tickets and discount codes as part of a 2016 settlement regarding overcharging fees, as well. Time will tell whether the Upgraded acquisition will help the company reinvent itself as a more transparent company.


A Strategic Partnership

Sandy Khaund, founder of Upgraded, praised Ticketmaster as “the unquestioned leader in live event ticketing” and noted that the partnership would “bring the unique promise of blockchain to millions of fans.”


The chief product officer at Ticketmaster, Justin Burleigh, pointed out in a press release that the company is “constantly exploring emerging technologies” and specifically praised blockchain technology.

Khaund, who founded Upgraded in 2016, has hinted at many more applications of the technology in a Forbes interview. He pointed out that not only is his company useful in terms of preventing fraud but could also enable the tickets themselves to serve as high-tech marketing tools. He elaborated on the potential of the technology, stating that “you can set price restrictions…we can also hide the bar code until two hours before the event…and we could make it so that you have to be within one kilometer of the venue for the barcode to appear.”

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Bitfinex Struggles with Banks, Why Are Other Major Bitcoin Exchanges Just Fine?

On October 6, major bitcoin exchange Bitfinex obtained banking services from HSBC with a private account held by a Hong Kong corporation.


Less than two weeks after establishing HSBC as its primary bank to handle deposits and withdrawals, Bitfinex has moved to Bank of Communications, the fifth-largest bank in mainland China and Hong Kong, according to sources of The Block.

Through a corporate alias “PROSPERITY REVENUE MERCHANDISING LIMITED,” Bitfinex has secured a temporary channel to process deposits to its exchange. But, based on historical evidence, the relationship between the exchange and Bank of Communications is expected to be short-lived.


Bitfinex’s Banking Problem Isn’t Shared by Other Exchanges

The problem with Bitfinex is that its solution to its serious banking issue is only temporary. It is moving bank to bank by creating shell companies and private bank accounts with different financial institutions so that when existing accounts are shut down, they can always move to the next bank.


The statement released by Bitfinex on its site is concerning for traders and investors because it asked users to keep the banking information of the company private. Bitfinex told its users that bank information is “commercially sensitive and confidential” and that it is only being provided “for purposes of contributing to good faith funding.”

For a company that is supposedly valued at billions of dollars and clear hundreds of millions of dollars worth of trades on a daily basis, it remains unclear why the exchange is still not able to obtain stable banking services.


As eToro CEO Yoni Assia noted, it is possible that the lack of transparency in the operations of Bitfinex and the failure to establish its exchange in a specific jurisdiction has led to unsolvable banking issues for Bitfinex.


“All the ones you mentioned are doing full KYC, and are (semi) regulated, and have banks in their own jurisdiction where they are based.”


South Korea’s Bithumb for instance, the country’s largest crypto exchange, opened public discussions with Nonghyup, a major commercial bank in the country, to process bank deposits and withdrawals on its exchange.


In mid-2017, Nonghyun denied banking services to Bithumb due to the two consecutive hacking attacks and security breaches the platform experienced in July. However, by August, Bithumb finalized its partnership with Nonghyup and reopened deposits.

Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by daily trading volume, recently launched a fiat exchange in Singapore with stable banking services with the support of local authorities and cryptocurrency sector.


Lack of Transparency and Communication

The method in which Bitfinex is acquiring banking services from different financial institutions through the establishment of shell companies is causing the struggle of the exchange to form a trusted relationship with large banks.


It is possible, given the history of the exchange and various unclarified operations of the exchange, that banks are not willing to engage in a strategic partnership with the exchange.


The general sentiment regarding the situation surrounding Bitfinex is that eventually, if Bitfinex fails to find a permanent solution to its banking issues, the instability of its services could hinder its loyal user base.

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Monero Forks: Bulletproofs Integration Kicks off New Era of Privacy, Speed

Monero (XMR) forked successfully earlier today, and the network has seen no major hiccups so far. This release is unlike the usual ones that try to keep up with deterring ASIC miners. The release, called “Monero 0.13.0 “Beryllium Bullet,” includes a significant overhaul of the network’s protocol through the introduction of bulletproofs.


Bulletproofs Explained

The improved protocol allows for stronger privacy, cheaper and faster transactions, and greater ASIC miner resistance.


Bulletproofs is a unique feature among digital assets, at least among large-cap networks. It gives users more privacy by hiding the number of coins that they send in transactions. The technology implements new logarithmic math in order to verify transactions (if you’re into heavy math, take a look at the academic paper  that was the guidepost for the tech).

The upgraded protocol also brings much cheaper transactions fees and quicker transactions. As the team’s blog update states:


“With our current range proofs, the transaction is around 13.2 kB in size. If I used single-output bulletproofs, the transaction reduces in size to only around 2.5 kB! This is, approximately, an 80% reduction in transaction size, which then translates to an 80% reduction in fees as well. The space savings are even better with multiple-output proofs. This represents a significant decrease in transaction sizes. Further, our initial testing shows that the time to verify a bulletproof is lower than for the existing range proofs, meaning speedier blockchain validation.”


Another side-effect is occurring as well: XMR miners are reporting that mining difficulty has dropped steeply since the fork. The blockchain’s ledger will now also require much less hard disk space. Overall, the version is a massive upgrade that helps Monero remain a top privacy coin.


Monero developers strongly recommend that everyone upgrade their wallets and nodes if they haven’t done so already, as running the old version could lose transactions.


ASIC Resistance: The War Continues

As CCN reported, the team behind Monero publicly declared war against ASIC mining equipment. This came after Bitmain released specialist equipment that would have crowded out CPU and GPU miners had the cryptocurrency not “bricked” Bitmain’s ASICs by altering its mining algorithm.


Monero’s long-held goal is for all users to mine the coin, not only manufacturers or mining farms that have the resources to throw around immense hashing power, as has happened on the Bitcoin network. This way, average users can stay profitable with GPU and CPU chips. Monero developers agreed on semi-annual network upgrades and tweaks to the Proof-of-Work (PoW) function in order to stay one step ahead of ASIC manufacturers. Today’s fork continues that warfare.

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Cryptocurrency Lender Sees ‘Meaningful Increase’ in Institutional Borrowing

As institutional investors wade increasingly further into the cryptocurrency ecosystem, they are contributing to a significant bump in demand for cryptocurrency lending services.


Institutional Crypto Lending Tops $550 Million

That’s according to the Q3 Digital Asset Lending Snapshot from Genesis Capital, who in March launched the cryptocurrency industry’s first institutional lending business. Since the service’s launch seven months ago, the firm says that it has originated more than $550 million in loans, $130 million of which are currently outstanding.



Source: Genesis

Unlike other cryptocurrency loan providers, Genesis Capital — which is an affiliate of over-the-counter (OTC) trading firm Genesis Global Trading and a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Digital Currency Group — exclusively serves institutions such as hedge funds, professional trading firms, and industry companies that use cryptocurrency as working capital for their ordinary business operations.


Notably, the particular assets that firms are borrowing shifted significantly during Q3. In July, a quarter of all loans were denominated in ether (ETH), as a number of hedge fund clients were shorting the ethereum price. As of the end of September, ETH accounted for just 3.7 percent of all loans, ranking it behind not only bitcoin but also XRP (17.8 percent), ethereum classic (4.2 percent), and litecoin (3.9 percent).



Source: Genesis

Bitcoin’s share of the lending market, meanwhile, peaked in August at more than two-thirds of all Genesis loans and stood at 62.6 percent at the end of the quarter. The share of bitcoin on loan fluctuated less than other assets, which Genesis attributed to the fact that it is “the most widely used asset for non-speculative reasons, like working capital in remittance and arbitrage trading across exchanges.”


Bitcoin ATMs Contributing to Growth

Speaking with  MarketWatch, Genesis Global Trading CEO Michael Moro said that the firm’s lending services are often utilized by bitcoin ATM operators, who require access to a steady supply of cryptocurrency but also need to minimize their exposure to price volatility.


“They need to have bitcoin in a hot wallet, but they don’t want the price risk associated with holding it so when a customer buys at an ATM they will immediately re-buy it from Genesis,” he said.

Genesis said that, toward the end of the quarter, hedge fund activity ramped up in both the short and long sides of the market.


“In September…hedge funds became more active on the short-side and added to their speculative long-term positions. Trading firms also saw increased opportunities for arbitrage and market-making as derivative liquidity increased across markets,” the firm said in the report. “These firms generally borrow digital assets to trade against derivatives like futures and swaps. We believe this kind of activity will continue to pick up as derivative markets mature.”


Those markets as CCN reported, appear to be maturing at a steady pace. Just yesterday, U.S. bitcoin futures exchange CME said that in Q3 its BTC markets experienced a 41 percent quarter-over-quarter increase in trading volume.

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Goldman Sachs Headlines $59 Million Funding Round in Cryptocurrency Custodian BitGo

Wall Street banking giant Goldman Sachs has put another stake in the ground of the burgeoning cryptocurrency industry, headlining a $58.5 million Series B funding round in digital asset custodian BitGo.


Goldman, Novogratz Invest $15 Million in BitGo

Announced on Thursday, the Series B round raises the Silicon Valley-based bitcoin startup’s total fundraising to approximately $70 million. Also participating in the funding round was Galaxy Digital Ventures, a cryptocurrency fund founded by billionaire bitcoin bull and former Goldman partner Mike Novogratz. The news was first reported by Bloomberg, who said that Goldman Sachs and Galaxy Digital together contributed about $15 million to the funding round.


“If you were investing in any other asset class, you’re probably not worried about the asset just disappearing — but this one, people still have that fear,” Mike Belshe, BitGo’s co-founder and chief executive officer, told Bloomberg in an interview, “we’ve got to conquer that.”

Founded in 2013, BitGo now holds about $2 billion in customer assets, which are denominated across 95 different cryptocurrencies.


Recently, BitGo received regulatory approval from the South Dakota Division of Banking to offer qualified cryptocurrency custody services, making it the only regulated custodian developed exclusively for cryptoassets.


However, it’s one thing to receive the green light from regulators, but it’s quite another for BitGo to persuade cautious institutions to entrust them with their assets. Receiving financial backing from a firm like Goldman Sachs should go a long way toward helping the upstart firm build that trust.


“Greater institutional participation in the digital asset markets requires secure and regulated custody solutions,” said Rana Yared, a managing director of Goldman Sachs’ Principal Strategic Investments group. “We are impressed by BitGo’s product, unique services, and the management team. We view our investment in BitGo as an exciting opportunity to contribute to the evolution of this critical market infrastructure.”


A Growing Market for Crypto Custody

Meanwhile, BitGo must also stave off competition from legacy financial players who are beginning to build out blockchain products for their crypto-curious clients.


As CCN reported, Fidelity Investments — the fifth-largest asset manager in the world with 27 million clients and $7.2 trillion in assets under management and administration — just this week announced that it was launching a separate company called Fidelity Digital Asset Services to provide cryptocurrency custody and trade execution services for institutional investors. The firm has already signed up  Galaxy Digital as its first custody client.

Moreover, Goldman Sachs itself is said to be working on a custody product for cryptocurrency assets, though it’s not clear when that product would launch. Previously, Goldman announced that it was launching a bitcoin trading desk, though it later shelved those plans to focus on cryptocurrency custody.

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Did Tron Mislead Investors by Claiming Partnership with Baidu? Experts Weigh in

On October 15, a trusted cryptocurrency source in China reported that the partnership Tron secured with Baidu was not really a partnership.


CnLedger reported that according to local publications, Tron acquired the services of Baidu to launch, build, operate, and debug blockchain-based products on Baidu Cloud.


“The ‘partnership’ between Baidu and Tron is basically about Tron buying cloud computing resources from Baidu. ‘The two parties have made no contact at the blockchain business level.’ According to the ODaily, recently, Baidu Cloud and Tron have reached cooperation in the field of basic cloud business. Tron will build, operate and debug blockchain products based on Baidu Cloud in order to ensure compatibility and optimize development experience.”


Experts Comment

Tron is a client of Baidu Cloud that compensates the China-based Internet conglomerate to utilize its cloud computing infrastructure. Hence, it is not appropriate for Tron to claim that it has secured a formal partnership with Baidu.


For instance, ICON, South Korea’s most valuable blockchain project, signed an MoU with LINE, the biggest messaging app in Japan, to develop blockchain apps and integrate decentralized systems for the Japanese conglomerate. Such a relationship is considered a partnership because both parties benefit from it.

Ari Paul, the co-founder of Blocktower and a prominent cryptocurrency investor, wrote:


“Assuming the below is accurate, this deserves to be called out as misleading marketing. If I buy a computer with Microsoft Windows installed, I should not claim to have partnered with Microsoft without clarifying the limited nature of the ‘partnership.’”



Tron’s “partnership” with Baidu isn’t quite what it initially seemed.

Last month, the government of Australia and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation launched the “Red Belly Blockchain” on the Amazon cloud computing network.


“AWS Cloud provides innovative organisations of all kinds with a global network of compute power, allowing organisations like Red Belly Blockchain to quickly conduct large-scale experiments that break new ground,” Simon Elisha, Head of Solutions Architecture, Amazon Web Services Public Sector, Australia and New Zealand, said.

The CSIRO and the government of Australia directly collaborated with AWS Australia and New Zealand to test the Red Belly Blockchain and still, the Red Belly development team did not claim it had partnered with AWS as it merely obtained the services of Amazon.


Cryptocurrency analyst Boxmining further emphasized that Baidu operates its own blockchain network called Xuperchain and as such, it does not have strong motivation to rely on the blockchain protocol of external projects.


“Tron partnership is equivalent to buying cloud services and not ‘blockchain business level.’ What do expect when Baidu has their own chain ‘Xuperchain?’ Thanks to CnLedger for getting this to light.”


Which Part Was Misleading?

The Tron Foundation did not formally announce its “partnership” with Baidu. But, Justin Sun, the founder and CEO of Tron, wrote to the investors of Tron that for the first time in the company’s history, it partnered with an industry giant.


“Finally, First time to partner with tens of billions USD valuation industry giant. Guess the name.”


For transparency, it is important for blockchain projects to explicitly describe the intricacies of the partnerships they engage in, as misleading investors to purchase cryptocurrencies could be considered as a dishonest activity that could hinder the reputation of projects.

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Accenture Launches Commercial R3 Blockchain Solution in Thailand

Global consulting giant Accenture and Digital Ventures, a fintech subsidiary of Thai financial services conglomerate Slam Commercial Bank (SCB) have announced the launch of a jointly developed blockchain solution that makes commercial operations in Thailand more efficient by using R3‘s open-source Corda blockchain protocol to revamp the process of making and receiving payments and accessing finance.


Operating Framework

According to the announcement, the new platform is the world’s first fully integrated procure-to-pay solution, operating on R3’s Corda open-source platform. Accenture developed the platform in partnership with SCG using “design thinking, agile methodology and DevOps principles, along with microservices and cloud technologies.”


At present, the solution has already been deployed practically, handling transactions with a number of SCG suppliers.


An excerpt from the announcement reads:


“The solution — the world’s first fully integrated procure-to-pay solution on the Corda open-source platform from enterprise blockchain software firm R3 — leverages Accenture’s expertise in distributed ledger technology and its capabilities in technical architecture to create large gains in efficiency for all parties involved”.


Divyesh Vithlani, Head of Accenture’s Financial Services in the ASEAN group, explained that the impact of the new blockchain solution on operations of its users will be substantial and immediate. According to him, stakeholders are going to experience greater levels of convenience and a reduction in cost, which is a key consideration in a market where speed and efficiency is key.


Value Offered to Users

Speaking further, Vithlani revealed that there is a range of useful features and functionality awaiting consumers who choose to engage with the new blockchain solution. He said that the new platform has improved the efficiency and transparency for all stakeholders across the procurement supply chain process.


It has also helped to severely reduce the potential for human errors and created a seamless integration of purchase orders and invoices between organizations, beyond the need for reconciliations and adjustments.

Thirdly, the platform greatly prevents fraud and minimizes invoice financing time which allows the interested party longer credit terms. This could also mean a reduction in the need for physical billing thereby kicking out several invoices per annum and make the SCG’s circle of suppliers readily integrate itself with Thailand’s e-tax invoice program.


Giving his thoughts on the blockchain solution, Orapong Thien-Ngern, Digital Ventures’ Chief Executive Officer said:


“[…] This is a breakthrough technology that offers a lot of value. Given that most supply chains involve a large number of suppliers, the complexity of integrating and reconciling all the different systems from each of the companies can be a costly, daunting and time-consuming task. Blockchain enables parties to securely share all the information without the need for extensive integration between their various technology systems.”

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