Coinbase CEO Names Three Things Crypto Needs for Mass Adoption

Coinbase CEO Names Three Things Crypto Needs for Mass Adoption

           

Brian Armstrong, CEO of major United States cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase,

believes that crypto mass adoption mostly depends on volatility, scalability and usability. Armstrong made his claim during a live ask-me-anything (AMA) session on April 2. Armstrong ran the 45-minute AMA on Tuesday, answering selected questions submitted by the crypto community. Addressing the first question, on the potential for mass crypto adoption, Coinbase’s CEO said that a cryptocurrency can achieve mass adoption by improving scalability and usability, while reducing volatility. As per volatility, if the crypto markets keep swinging dramatically, it will be hard to get more traditional investors involved, Armstrong said. Thus the industry needs more stable prices, achieved, for example, via stablecoins, and more use cases to attract people, he concluded.

Armstrong further added that there are currently up to ten teams working on scalability solutions, such as the Lightning Network, to improve the speed of crypto transactions. Thanks to the development of these solutions, cryptocurrencies might reach 500 to 5000 transactions per second and start working at Visa and PayPal volumes. Usability also needs to be improved, Armstrong continued. He argued that currently there are too many steps a user needs to make in order to invest in cryptocurrencies. Armstrong suggested crypto investment for retail investors should work much easily, using popular Chinese app WeChat as an example of usability.

Armstrong also commented on recent skepticism towards Coinbase in the community, evidently referring to the most recent #DeleteCoinbase movement as an example. The campaign was launched in early March as a response to Coinbase’s acquisition of a firm run by former spyware developers. Answering another question, the entrepreneur said he loves Bitcoin (BTC) and wants it to succeed. However, he regrets being too involved in promoting BTC at some point in 2013-2014, thinking that the coin could become a scalable payment network for everyone. “I totally underestimated how controversial this idea might become in BTC community,” he confessed.

As some accused him of adding the value to the coin, Armstrong finally changed his mind to being agnostic to all of the coins and crypto protocols and support them all. Coinbase decided to support everyone instead of picking the winners, he said. As Cointelegraph previously reported, Armstrong has repeatedly acknowledged his affection towards BTC. For instance, in a series of tweets commemorating on the coin’s 10th birthday this year, Armstrong wrote that BTC was his “first love.”

Article Produced By
Ana Berman

Moved by her interest to discover the world of decentralized technologies, Ana joined Cointelegraph in June 2018. Shortly after joining the team as a news writer, she focused on the major crypto stories from Latin America

https://cointelegraph.com/news/coinbase-ceo-names-three-things-crypto-needs-for-mass-adoption

Coinbase Makes LinkedIn’s Top Companies 2019′ List as Lone Crypto Firm

Coinbase Makes LinkedIn’s ‘Top Companies 2019’ List as Lone Crypto Firm

           

United States cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase

has become the only cryptocurrency business to make it into LinkedIn’s list of the most popular companies for 2019, results confirmed on April 3. The yearly rundown, which ranks company popularity among employees, placed Coinbase at 35 out of a total of 50 shortlisted.

LinkedIn ranks contenders according to interest in the company, employee engagement by executives, demand for available jobs and employee retention rate. Different lists are issued for different countries, with Coinbase correspondingly appearing in the U.S. edition. The exchange has previously made it onto LinkedIn lists, such as in September last year, when it appeared in a rundown of the top 50 startups to work for, alongside payment network Ripple and fellow trading platform Gemini, the product of Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss. The latest data contains some surprises — Coinbase beat out famously crypto-skeptical JPMorgan Chase, which only attained 44th position.

Twitter and Intel also failed to top Coinbase. The former has recently shown an increasingly pro-crypto stance and the latter has engaged in mining hardware activities as of last year. For its part, JPMorgan CHas has also begun experimenting with cryptocurrency technology, Cointelegraph reporting last month on the unexpected release of its controversial in-house token, JPM Coin. Earlier this week, Coinbase revealed it had insurance against its hot wallet cryptocurrency holdings valued at $225 million. The company also recently launched its latest service, focused on staking for institutional investors, via its Coinbase Custody spin-off.

Article Produced By
William Suberg

William Suberg got into Bitcoin while completing his Masters degree and hasn't looked back since, writing about anything crypto-related which makes him sit up and pay attention. He started working with Cointelegraph in October 2013.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/coinbase-makes-linkedins-top-companies-2019-list-as-lone-crypto-firm

 

Montana County Adopts Regulation Requiring Crypto Miners to Use Renewable Energy

Montana County Adopts Regulation Requiring Crypto Miners to Use Renewable Energy

            

The United States county of Missoula, in the state of Montana,

has adopted regulation for cryptocurrency mining, local media outlet the Missoulian reports on April 5. Per the report, the Missoula County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to impose new rules for local cryptocurrency mining operations. As Cointelegraph reported last month, when the regulation was first proposed, the draft of the rules stated that they aim “to protect the public health, safety, morals, and general welfare of county residents.” The focus of the new law is seemingly on the possible effects of cryptocurrency mining on global warming and electronic waste. Also, from now on, crypto miners in the county will be able to establish their operations only in light industrial and heavy industrial districts and only after they have been reviewed and approved as a conditional use.

Miners will also need to provide certification that all electronic waste generated will be handled by a Department of Environmental Quality-licensed recycling firm. Another new rule established in the county requires miners to use exclusively renewable energy. Lastly, preexisting mining operations that aren’t compliant will be allowed to continue but won’t be authorized for expansion if they don’t conform with the new regulations. The draft specified that the rules will be effective as of April 4, 2019 and until April 3, 2020.

The Missoulian notes that the county’s staff claim mining company Hyperblock currently uses as much electricity as one-third of all homes in the county and plans to triple its power usage. Hyperblock reportedly purchases hydroelectric power to fuel its endeavors, but the commissioners reportedly argued that it displaces other potential renewable energy buyers. County commissioner Dave Strohmaier purportedly

commented:

“Near as I can tell cryptocurrency is using exponentially more energy; it’s a grotesque amount of energy and we’ve got to take steps to address it. […] We’ve got to utilize new renewables if we’re going to address climate change.”

Hyperblock manager Dan Stivers defends the company by stating that it has always used only renewable energy and that it could have used electricity obtained by burning coal since it was cheaper. Stivers also claims that Hyperblock uses a licensed recycler to deal with its electronic waste,

adding:

“Somehow none of that’s enough. It is a viable business model and if we had not moved in as anchor tenants, there would be no Bonner mill as we see it today.”

According to the Missoulian, a lawyer for the company hinted that it may file a lawsuit over the regulation in the future. As Cointelegraph reported earlier today, the secretary of Hong Kong’s Financial Services and the Treasury has stated that crypto mining operations are regulated by local trading law.

Article Produced By
Adrian Zmudzinski

Adrian is a newswriter based out of Pisa, Italy. He's passionate about cryptocurrency, digital rights, IT, tech and futurology and likes to think about the future in a positive way.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/montana-county-adopts-regulation-requiring-crypto-miners-to-use-renewable-energy

Blockchain Software Firm Digital Asset Open Sources its DAML Language

Blockchain Software Firm Digital Asset Open Sources its DAML Language

             

Blockchain software firm Digital Asset has open sourced

its Digital Asset Modeling Language (DAML), the company announced on Twitter on April 4. Introduced in April 2016, DAML is an expressive language designed for financial institutions to model and execute agreements through distributed ledger technology (DLT). According to Digital Asset’s blog, DAML is similar to a smart contract language in many ways, but it is optimized for usage in a private execution environment rather than in an open execution environment.

Staring now, the source code for the DAML language is freely available under the Apache 2.0 open source license, the company wrote in an announcement, adding that third parties are able to modify DAML and integrate it with other platforms. Shaul Kfir, co-founder and CTO at Digital Asset, said that DAML is capable of abstracting the underlying complexities of blockchains, which allows developers to rapidly write secure distributed applications regardless of the platform.

Along with the announcement, Digital Asset also released the open availability of the DAML software development kit (SDK) Developer Preview, allowing any developer to start using DAML today. According to the press release, the DAML SDK was previously available as part of a private beta developer program that provided early access to developers at a number of major global financial firms such as Accenture, the Australian Securities Exchange, BNP Paribas, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing, Singapore Exchange, Nomura Research Institute and others.

The Australian Securities Exchange had announced in September of last year that it was delaying its switch to blockchain for equity transactions by six months. Recently, Cointelegraph reported that Ethereum (ETH) has the most developers working on its base protocol of all cryptocurrencies, without counting community project developers. The company reportedly fingerprinted over 20,000 code repositories and 16 million commits to obtain data, which reveals that on average 216 developers contribute code to ETH repositories every month.

Article Produced By
Helen Partz

Helen is passionate about learning languages, cultures and the Internet. She has years of experience working at international online advertising projects. Growing interested in Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in late 2017, she joined Cointelegraph as a writer.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/blockchain-software-firm-digital-asset-open-sources-its-daml-language

 

A Brief History of the SEC’s Reviews of Bitcoin ETF Proposals

A Brief History of the SEC’s Reviews of Bitcoin ETF Proposals

           

It may span only a couple of years, but the history of Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs)

and the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is already a long one. Back in March 2017, the SEC rejected the application for a Bitcoin ETF put forward by the Winklevoss twins, claiming that the underlying Bitcoin market was still too manipulable, volatile and resistant to surveillance. Fast forward to March 2019 and the SEC has still yet to approve a single Bitcoin ETF, with the comments to its latest public consultation remaining largely negative.

Such an absence of major progress may seem fatally discouraging to casual observers hoping for an ETF to provide crypto with added legitimacy. Nonetheless, the intervening period between March 2017 and the present day has witnessed a softening of the SEC's stance, with members of the commission even going so far as declaring that they expect a Bitcoin ETF to be approved sooner or later. There is, then, plenty of reason to draw hope from the SEC's recent dealings with Bitcoin ETF applicants, even if the longer-term history shows that the commission hasn't always adopted a favorable stance toward crypto.

2017: SEC claims manipulability, volatility and absence of surveillance

On June 30, 2016, the Bats BZX Exchange filed a proposed rule change with the SEC, which would have permitted it to list and trade shares of the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust. If approved, the Winklevoss' ETF would have been the first Bitcoin exchange-traded fund licensed to appear on a fully regulated stock exchange, thereby making it possible for the layperson to gain exposure to Bitcoin without having to actually own the cryptocurrency or wrestle with crypto exchanges or wallets. No doubt this would have represented a big step toward the mainstream for crypto, yet after a long period of deliberation and consultation, the SEC rejected the proposed rule change. On March 10, 2017, it released a statement explaining the reasoning behind its decision, with the difficulty of preventing manipulation and fraud being at the

top of its list.

"Based on the record before it, the Commission believes that the significant markets for bitcoin are unregulated. Therefore, as the Exchange has not entered into, and would currently be unable to enter into, the type of surveillance-sharing agreement that has been in place with respect to all previously approved commodity-trust ETPs agreements that help address concerns about the potential for fraudulent or manipulative acts and practices in this market — the Commission does not find the proposed rule change to be consistent with the Exchange Act."

Barely two weeks after this judgment had been published, the SEC denied a similar proposal submitted by NYSE Arca, which is owned by the Intercontinental Exchange and which wanted to list the SolidX Bitcoin Trust ETF. Reusing many of the same phrases and declarations, the commission wrote on March 28 that "it does not find the proposal to be consistent with Section 6(b)(5) of the Exchange Act, which requires, among other things, that the rules of a national securities exchange be designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices."

As the two episodes above imply, 2017 wasn't a particularly great year for Bitcoin ETFs or for the notion that the SEC might be inclined to license one of them — because, aside from SolidX and Winklevoss, an ETF from Barry Silbert's Grayscale Investments was registered with the the SEC in January 2017, and it fared no better than its rivals. It was subject to a delay on March 22, after it had received three comments — all negative — from members of the public, and then in September of the same year, it withdrew its application, citing a lack of "regulatory developments" in the crypto market as the main reason for this action.

Between March and September, the public sent the SEC additional comments as part of the consultation, and while they ended up numbering only 21 in total, a portion of them provide insight into why Grayscale Investments wasn't likely to gain approval for its ETF at that time.

For example, a seven-page letter from Mark T. Williams, a finance professor at Boston University, details a long list of reasons as to why a Bitcoin ETF — particularly from Grayscale Investments — wasn't appropriate. These include Bitcoin market flaws, such as "poor price discovery, irregular trade execution, shallow trade volume, hoarding, relatively low liquidity, hyperprice volatility, a global web of unregulated bucket-shop exchanges, high bankruptcy risk and oversized exposure to trading and price discovery in countries outside the jurisdiction of the SEC." Yet, Williams also noted that Digital Currency Group — which owns Grayscale Investments and Coindesk (among other ventures) — "is fraught with inherent conflicts of interest."

But while this would suggest that there was some strong opposition to this particular ETF, other researchers outside the cryptocurrency industry were more positive. "Moving bitcoin trading activity to regulated US exchanges will improve price discovery and reduce the potential for manipulation and money laundering," argued James J. Angel, an associate professor of finance at Georgetown University.

Likewise, professor Campbell R. Harvey of Duke University (and colleagues) wrote that "allowing the Bitcoin Investment Trust to list its shares on the NYSE Arca as a bona fide Exchange-Traded Product (‘ETP’) would demonstrate the Commission’s utmost commitment to achieving" its aims of protecting investors, maintaining efficient markets and aiding capital formation. Given that six other economists from six other American universities signed this statement, it revealed that there was actually considerable support for the idea of a Bitcoin ETF, even if the SEC couldn't be disabused of its view that the cryptocurrency market was still too anarchic for it to approve such a fund.

2018: Growing support from the wider industry

As 2017 came to close, there was then a very real sense that the SEC viewed the Bitcoin market with suspicion, and that its sceptical views on the market were reinforced by a significant chunk of the comments it had received from people outside of the crypto industry. However, this unfavorable situation began to change gradually over the course of 2018, because, even though the SEC continued to reject Bitcoin ETFs, dissenting voices from within the commission began emerging.

This was most in evidence in July, when the SEC rejected — for a second time — the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust proposed for listing by the Bats BZX Exchange. Once again, it judged that Bats' proposal failed to demonstrate that it was consistent with rules "designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices." However, it took the unusual step of adding a disclaimer to this rejection, writing, "Although the Commission is disapproving this proposed rule change, the Commission emphasizes that its disapproval does not rest on an evaluation of whether bitcoin, or blockchain technology more generally, has utility or value as an innovation or an investment." Even more significantly, Hester Peirce (now dubbed “Bitcoin Mom” by the community) dissented from this decision, despite being a commissioner at the SEC. On July 27,

she wrote:

"The disapproval order focuses on the characteristics of the spot market for bitcoin, rather than on the ability of BZX — pursuant to its own rules — to surveil trading of and to deter manipulation in the ETP shares listed and traded on BZX."

This open dissent from an SEC commissioner indicated a subtle turning of the tide in favor of Bitcoin ETFs. And while one of the comments submitted during the brief SEC consultation in May was trenchantly hostile to the Winklevoss ETF, most were supportive. More importantly, the supportive letters and comments didn't always come from people working directly within the crypto industry, with four companies operating within the global exchange-traded products market providing key testimony in favor.

For example, C&C Trading concluded in its comment that it "supports listing the COIN ETF and believes it will be an innovative product for investors and market professionals to trade," with the ETF market-making specialist also adding that many existing ETFs "are based on opaque and illiquid underlying instruments." Still, despite the fact that wider industry and public opinion was in general warming to the idea of Bitcoin ETFs, 2018 unsurprisingly set the record for the number of proposals dismissed by the SEC. On Aug. 22 alone, the commission rejected nine applications, with the likes of Direxion, ProShares and GraniteShares having their applications turned down (and in some cases, more than one application). And once again, the SEC explained these rejections mostly in terms of a failure to prove that the applicants' rules were "designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices."

The fact that the commission remained fixed to this point of view shouldn't be surprising, not least because this decision followed soon after the publication of fairly damning research into crypto-market manipulation. In June, University of Texas researchers released a paper concluding that Tether and Bitfinex manipulation was responsible for around 50 percent of Bitcoin's price rises in 2017. Barely a month before, the U.S. Department of Justice had opened a criminal investigation into Bitcoin price manipulation, while, at the beginning of August, the Wall Street Journal published a study that found that price manipulation was mostly being perpetrated by “trading groups” using Telegram and other messaging services.

2019: Increased hope despite decreased momentum

In light of all this negative publicity, it's unsurprising that the SEC continues to refuse the approval of a Bitcoin ETF. And while nothing has essentially changed in 2019 (and no ETF has so far been approved), there is once again increased cause for hope. In February, Robert J. Jackson Jr. – a commissioner with the SEC – went on record as saying that he expects the commission to license a Bitcoin ETF

sooner or later.

“Eventually, do I think someone will satisfy the standards we’ve laid out there? I hope so, yes, and I think so.”

That same month, a commissioner with the Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) criticized the SEC for having rejected previous ETFs on the grounds of potential price manipulation. Speaking at the BiPartisan Policy Center in Washington D.C.,

Brian Quintenz said:

"There are mathematical ways through a settlement index to design a contract where even if there isn’t a lot of liquidity on one exchange referenced, the index itself is not readily susceptible to manipulation."

Added to Hester Peirce's continued support for the crypto industry, such remarks indicate a climate in which the SEC is becoming incrementally more receptive to the idea of a Bitcoin ETF, despite Peirce’s warning in December 2018 that an approval could take longer than some people would hope. Indeed, an approval could take some time, since the prognoses for the ETFs currently under review don't look especially encouraging. In February, Reality Shares withdrew its own ETF trust after the SEC had encouraged it to do so, largely because the ETF took the unusual step of combining Bitcoin futures, sovereign debt instruments and money market mutual funds into a single derivative. And while there has been some hope in the Chicago Board Options Exchange's (CBOE) reapplication for a Bitcoin ETF, this has been dampened by the public's largely negative response to the application.

Of the 18 comments submitted to date (between Feb. 13 and March 31), only three were in favor of the ETF. However, it would be extremely rash to conclude on the basis of 15 disapproving comments that the general public or the wider financial industry are growing increasingly weary of the idea of a Bitcoin ETF. That's because some of these comments lack any real credibility, being either extremely minimal at best or downright incoherent at worst. As for the other, even though they generally argue their points with more depth and rigor, they're all from repeat commentators. The two contributions of a one “Sam Ahn” are his eighth and ninth, for instance, while "investment professional" Jonathan Harris has sent at least two very similar letters containing general Bitcoin-scepticism, as well as one from April 2017.

This reappearance of entrenched critics undermines any suspicion that opposition to a Bitcoin ETF somehow might be growing. However, by much the same token, it's discouraging to note that there aren't really any significant contributions to the consultation on CBOE's latest application. While it's hard to conclude anything on the basis of a single proposal, this might indicate that the push for an ETF is losing some momentum — or, at least, publicity. At the very least, interest from the wider public and from industries outside of crypto may be waning, even though the cryptocurrency industry remains firmly behind the idea.

And even if interest is waning, this is likely due to a recognition that it isn't letters from the public that will now sway the SEC, but actual evolution in the maturation and regulation of the cryptocurrency industry. And because there have been multiple developments on this front — from the United States to Russia and Japan — it's likely only a matter of time before the SEC approves its first Bitcoin ETF.

Article Produced By
Simon Chandler

Simon Chandler is a journalist based in Hove, UK. He writes mostly about technology, with his specialties including cryptocurrencies, AI, VR, and social media. He also occasionally writes about politics, culture and music, and has contributed to the likes of Wired, the Daily Dot, the Verge, Computer Weekly, Techcrunch, Bandcamp Daily, the New Internationalist, the Kenyon Review, and Tiny Mix Tapes

https://cointelegraph.com/news/a-brief-history-of-the-secs-reviews-of-bitcoin-etf-proposals

Princeton Expertise-Backed Startup Raises 37 Mln to Develop Smart Contract Scalability

Princeton Expertise-Backed Startup Raises $3.7 Mln to Develop Smart Contract Scalability

         

Offchain Labs, a blockchain startup co-founded by a professor at Princeton University,

has raised $3.7 million in a seed round led by crypto hedge fund Pantera Capital, TechCrunch reports on April 3. The new funding round was also supported by Compound VC, Raphael Ouzan of Blocknation, Jake Seid, managing director at Stone Bridge Ventures and others. With the investment, Offchain aims to solve major problems associated with enterprise blockchain implementations by bringing more scalability and privacy.

By deploying its own protocol, Arbitrum, Offchain developers intend to bring make smart contracts more scalable. Offchain co-founder Ed Felten said that the firm is working on a platform that allows for the scaling of smart contracts in a way that is currently hard to do. Felten, who is both a computer science professor at Princeton and a former deputy CTO to the White House under former President Obama, explained that the platform represents a combination of scalability with a special method of writing data on smart contracts.

He elaborated:

“We’re working to build a platform for smart contract development that provides what we think developers want, a combination of scalability so that you can scale to more transactions per second, more users, and to contracts that have more code and still have more data in them.”

In addition to scalability, Offchain also wants to make smart contracts more private by moving a part of data about the contracts off of a public blockchain. In other recent funding news, blockchain startup Bison Trails received an investment of $5.25 million in a seed round backed by Mike Novogratz’s crypto merchant bank Galaxy Digital. Earlier in February, Zurich-based blockchain startup B3i Service AG raised $16 million to develop a blockchain trading platform for a value-added chain of the entire insurance industry.

Article Produced By
Helen Partz

Helen is passionate about learning languages, cultures and the Internet. She has years of experience working at international online advertising projects. Growing interested in Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in late 2017, she joined Cointelegraph as a writer.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/princeton-expertise-backed-startup-raises-37-mln-to-develop-smart-contract-scalability

Nimiq Acquires 99 Stake in Germany’s WEG AG to Become Bank’s Third Crypto Firm Owner

Nimiq Acquires 9.9% Stake in Germany's WEG AG to Become Bank's Third Crypto Firm Owner

            

Browser-based blockchain payments system Nimiq has acquired

a 9.9 percent stake in Germany’s WEG Bank AG, according to an official announcement published on April 3. The stake acquisition comes as part of Nimiq’s new strategic partnership with WEG Bank AG and Swiss-Maltese decentralized cryptocurrency exchange (DEX) Agora.Trade. The three partners are working to create a crypto-to-fiat bridge that would allow for the seamless exchange of value between crypto and traditional banking systems, the announcement states. As today’s post notes, their approach — using a decentralized exchange such as Agora.Trade as a vital component — focuses on crypto-fiat value transfers that do not rely on a single, centralized intermediary (such as a centralized crypto exchange or payment processor), and eliminate the need to entrust crypto asset owners’ private keys to a third party.

The evolving project, dubbed Nimiq Oasis, will aim to connect different cryptocurrency markets via the non-custodial exchange Agora.Trade to WEG’s system, which notably has access to the Europe-wide SEPA Instant Banking Network. SEPA support could prospectively enable the project to roll out its crypto-fiat services with access to a network of over 2,000 banks across 20 European countries, Nimiq notes, proposing a targeted rollout time of before the end of 2019. The partners’ aim to enable the exchange of value between the crypto and fiat systems includes a focus on making fiat deposits at WEG blockchain compatible. While today’s announcement only alludes to this in principle, an earlier post from Nimiq clarified that the project

aims to:

“Establish the Euro itself as the programmable counterparty to a non-custodial cross-chain transaction. In simple terms, it means that in a transaction to buy or sell Crypto, the counterparty could now be a Euro account holder.”

Notably, both the Litecoin (LTC) Foundation and crypto-fiat payments firm TokenPay each own a 9.9 percent stake in WEG AG Bank — a fact that Nimiq today notes could open up the possibility of further collaborations between the bank and the crypto firms. All three stakeholders’ shares are capped at 9.9 percent, as under German banking law, no entity can own more than 9.9% of a bank without additional regulatory approval. Securing fiat liquidity for non-custodial, decentralized exchanges has to date been slower than for their centralized counterparts. Major American centralized crypto exchange Coinbase has gone a step further by pursuing its own federal banking charter since spring of last year.

Article Produced By
Marie Huillet

Marie Huillet is an independent filmmaker, with a background in journalism and publishing. Nomadic by nature, she’s lived in five different countries this decade. She’s fascinated by Blockchain technologies’ potential to reshape all aspects of our lives.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/nimiq-acquires-99-stake-in-germanys-weg-ag-to-become-banks-third-crypto-firm-owner

Puerto Rico Sees New Crypto Bank Accept First Client Deposit

Puerto Rico Sees New Crypto Bank Accept First Client Deposit

           

Puerto Rico-based cryptocurrency trading platform San Juan Mercantile Exchange (SJMX)

has launched banking operations via a new subsidiary, the company announced in a press release on April 2. SJMX, which exists as a membership-based exchange for digital asset traders, is seeking to expand the scope of its operations for institutional investors.

The new venture, dubbed San Juan Mercantile Bank & Trust International (SJMBT), received a banking license from Puerto Rican regulators last month. With the receipt of its first deposit, the bank is now officially open for business, offering institutional clients more of an all-round package of services for their trading needs. “Commencing SJMBT banking operations is a significant milestone,” SJMBT president and chief operating officer, Nick Varelakis, commented in the press release.

He added:

“Institutional market participants in the digital asset space now have access to a licensed, fully regulated and operational banking partner that provides a secure environment for the matching and settlement of digital asset trades.”

The news comes on the back of rapid expansion of institutional services worldwide. As Cointelegraph reported earlier Tuesday, Hong Kong-based BC Group has also launched Asia’s first insured crypto custody solution. Market sentiment over institutional investor entry remains mixed as United States regulators continue to mull long-delayed offerings, such as trading platform Bakkt. Originally slated for November, the project has seen multiple setbacks, while authorities say they are addressing the application, and others like it, as a matter of urgency.

Article Produced By
William Suberg

William Suberg got into Bitcoin while completing his Masters degree and hasn't looked back since, writing about anything crypto-related which makes him sit up and pay attention. He started working with Cointelegraph in October 2013.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/puerto-rico-sees-new-crypto-bank-accept-first-client-deposit

BTC Hits 4800 for the First Time in 2019 Top Crypto Markets See Double Digit Growth

BTC Hits $4,800 for the First Time in 2019, Top Crypto Markets See Double Digit Growth

           

Bitcoin (BTC) has pushed over $4,500 for the first time this year

Tuesday, April 2 — Bitcoin (BTC) has pushed over $4,500 for the first time this year, while top crypto markets are solidly in the green for the second day in a row, some seeing major 24-hour growth. The price of BTC skyrocketed, gaining more than 14 percent in the space of one hour early Tuesday. Hovering around $4,650 at press time, the coin peaked at $4,849 early on April 2, according to CoinMarketCap stats, before dropping slightly and trading sideways to press time.

In comparison to yesterday’s charts, when BTC’s price was hovering around $4,100, the market capitalization of the world’s top coin has gained almost $10 billion, totalling $82 billion by press time. BTC is currently up about 13 percent over the past 24-hours. Ethereum (ETH), the second-ranked cryptocurrency by market cap, is also solidly in the green, seeing about 6 percent in gains on the day. The coin is now trading at $150 in comparison to yesterday’s $140, while its market cap is over $15.8 billion at press time.

Ripple (XRP), currently the world’s third largest cryptocurrency, is also up 6 percent today, trading around $0.33 by press time. The coin’s market cap has gained about $900 million within a day, reaching $13.8 billion at the peak earlier today.
The total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies has significantly increased during the sudden market surge today. While yesterday’s highest point was at $146 billion, today’s peak was at $163 billion, declining to $159.4 billion at press time. As for other altcoins, all top 20 currencies except Tezos (XTZ), ranked 19th and down 4.4 percent, are currently in the green, with many seeing double digit growth on the day. Litecoin (LTC), Cardano (ADA), Tron (TRX) and Monero (XMR) have seen the most significant gains today, all growing over 10 percent, while other altcoins are up 5 to 10 percent to press time.

At the same time, Tether (USDT), the fiat-pegged stablecoin with the highest trade volume, has recently hit an all-time high by the number of daily transactions, according to blockchain data provider Coin Metrics. As BTC’s price surged this morning, the industry is discussing a prediction made by crypto trader and investor Josh Rager of TokenBacon. In a tweet from Rager on March 31, he stated that the next BTC cycle should peak at $150,000 by 2023. Some are sceptical about the optimistic forecast, while others recall even more optimistic outlooks on BTC hitting $200,000 and more in the future.

In other crypto industry news, major American cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has recently expanded into cross-border payments. Its customers can now transfer funds to any user with a Coinbase account around the world using XRP and the exchange’s stablecoin, USDCoin (USDC), with no fee. Meanwhile, a recent report published by SwissBanking claims that the fintech sector in Switzerland, including distributed ledger technology firms and crypto-related businesses,  continues to grow, while traditional financial institutions are stagnating.

Article Produced By
Ana Berman

https://cointelegraph.com/news/btc-hits-4-800-for-the-first-time-in-2019-top-crypto-markets-see-double-digit-growth

Report: ICOs Raised 118 Million in Q1 2019 Over 58 Times Less Than in Q1 2018

Report: ICOs Raised $118 Million in Q1 2019, Over 58 Times Less Than in Q1 2018

            

About $118 million has been raised via initial coin offerings (ICOs)

in Q1 of 2019, over 58 times less than $6.9 billion, the amount raised during the same period in 2018, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports on March 31. The report cites data provided by ICO analytics website TokenData. The WSJ argues that investors have been scared off by regulators’ actions against non-compliant ICOs, as well as by the general bear market over the past year. One of the latest cases happened in February, when the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged crypto firm Gladius Network with selling unregistered securities after the company self-reported to the commission.

Last month, founding partner of Future Perfect Ventures, Jalak Jobanputra, claimed that venture capital valuations have also been deeply affected by the cryptocurrency bear market. The recent report also reveals that of the 2,500 projects that TokenData tracked since 2017, purportedly only 45 percent successfully raised money. Furthermore, WSJ also cites TokenData as saying that only 15 percent of tokens issued in successful ICOs are trading at or above their original price. The article cited attorney and consultant Joshua Ashley Klayman as stating that ICOs themselves may disappear, but the market for digital securities won’t. Recently, so-called security token offerings (STOs) have received increased attention from both the private sector and government regulators globally.

In the U.S. context, investors are faced with a patchwork regulatory landscape when it comes to tokens sales. In February, the state of Wyoming passed a blockchain tokenization-related bill, while a similar law was passed in Delaware in September 2017. This week, Cointelegraph reported that the owner of a startup that ended up canceling its ICO was trying to sell the company on eBay for $60,000. The startup, named “Sponsy,” is described as a blockchain project that is fully prepared to launch both an ICO and an STO.

Article Produced By
Adrian Zmudzinski

Adrian is a newswriter based out of Pisa, Italy. He's passionate about cryptocurrency, digital rights, IT, tech and futurology and likes to think about the future in a positive way.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/report-icos-raised-118-million-in-q1-2019-over-58-times-less-than-in-q1-2018