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

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.


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


“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,


“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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Research: Ethereum-Based Prediction Market Augur Currently Faces a Design Flaw Attack

Research: Ethereum-Based Prediction Market Augur Currently Faces a Design Flaw Attack


Ethereum-based (ETH) prediction market Augur is currently facing a design flaw attack,

according to research by cryptocurrency exchange Binance released on April 1. The aforementioned attack involves a controversial market described as betting on the price of ETH at the end of March, which expired on April 1, 2019, 1:59 AM (UTC +8), a few hours off from the actual end of March 31. Since the contract expires before that tie, it may be deemed invalid in what Binance researchers call a design flaw attack. The market has also been reportedly wash traded by a few wallets, presumably to inflate the volume.

Reddit users had already brought up this expiration issue on March 20, with Augur core developer Joey Krug noting at the time that the crypto community had exaggerated the scope of the scam, while admitting that a safeguard against such activity is currently malfunctioning and should be updated in Augur version 2. According to Binance research, the attacker also reportedly sent a limit sell order for the more realistic outcome (that the price will be between $100 and $1,000) “at a quote that is above what would be rewarded by an invalid result, but quite below that which an unsuspecting participant may consider as a good deal” in order to lure in a newcomer.

If the market is deemed invalid, then all users that contributed will see their shares valued at one-third of their initial value. The report also further notes that the market — already covered by Cointelegraph — “Which party will control the House after 2018 U.S. mid-term [sic] election?” was another instance of such an attack. This market, which reportedly exhibited a total volume of more than $2 million, featured a market settlement date was on Dec. 11, 2018, while the change in the U.S. house was effective as of Jan. 3, 2019.

In this case, users did not deem the market as invalid and settled for the Democrats’ win as the outcome. The research also suggests potential solutions to the exploitable nature of Augur’s mechanics, such as a price-based refunding mechanism, clearer references and market validators with non-trivial stakes. Per the report, prediction markets appear to be one of the best blockchain use cases, since they necessitate trustlessness and decentralization to work correctly, protecting themselves from both governmental actions and censorship.

However, according to Binance, Augur presents other substantial flaws, including low liquidity, barebones functionality, complex mechanics, an unclear approach to governance and the aforementioned ongoing attack. Prediction market regulation is particularly unclear, as a centralized prediction market can fall under the scrutiny of the regulators of multiple states. For instance, Ireland-based prediction Markets Intrade and TEN have seen the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) file a civil complaint over their violation of the off-exchange options trading ban.

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.

Russian Social Media Giant VK Eyes Launching its Own Crypto: Report

Russian Social Media Giant VK Eyes Launching its Own Crypto: Report


The most popular social media platform in Russia, VKontakte (VK),

is considering developing its own cryptocurrency, local news outlet RNS reported on March 28. Per the report, an unspecified person familiar with the company’s plans told the outlet that the project involves the creation of individual cryptocurrency accounts for all the users of the platform. Still, the article also claims that the firm has not yet made a final decision about whether or not to launch the coin.

According to the report, RNS has obtained a presentation from the VK that shows how one of the ways users would be able to obtain the firm’s tokens is in exchange for their activeness and time spent on the platform. According to the article, the coins earned this way could be accumulated, transferred between users, exchanged for goods and converted (presumably to fiat currency) via VK Pay.

According to its official website, VK Pay is a cashless money transfer service that lets VK users send money to each other in messages using a credit or debit card. According to RNS, the service was launched in June last year. Per the report, VK also plans to integrate a tipping service so that users would also be able to send the bespoke cryptocurrency to the authors of posts that they like.

Market research company eMarketer forecasted in 2017 that VK would surpass 42 million users in Russia before 2018. Along with being a top social media platform, VK is currently ranked third most popular website in Russia, according to Alexa. Meanwhile, VK’s founder is Pavel Durov, who also co-founded the privacy-centric messaging service Telegram, popular in the ranks of cryptocurrency enthusiasts.

In February, rumors spread that Telegram has to launch its own blockchain network, TON, by October this year to keep from voiding its token contracts. Previously, the company planned to hold a public initial coin offering, but reconsidered after receiving abundant funds — $1.7 billion — in its private two private token sales. Also in February, a New York Times article claimed that Facebook is “hoping to succeed where Bitcoin failed” with its highly secretive cryptocurrency project.

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.

Crypto Exchange Bithumb Reportedly Hacked of Almost 19 Mln in EOS XRP

Crypto Exchange Bithumb Reportedly Hacked of Almost $19 Mln in EOS, XRP


crypto exchange Bithumb posted on Twitter

This article has been updated to provide further details on the hack. Today, March 30, crypto exchange Bithumb posted on Twitter that their cryptocurrency withdrawals and deposits have temporarily been paused. In an explanation linked to the tweet, the exchange writes that at 10:15 (time zone unknown) on the 29th, they detected what they describe as abnormal withdrawals through their monitoring system.

The exchange notes that they have “secured all the cryptocurrency from the detection time with a cold wallet and checked them by blocking deposit and withdrawal service.” According to the translated note, the incident was an “accident involving insiders.” In its updated blog post, Bithumb points out that it was the exchange’s fault that it only focused on protection from outside attacks and did not verify its staff. The announcement promises that the incident won’t repeat itself, since the company is developing its workforce verification system.

The exchange’s EOS hot wallet started sending EOS to the attacker’s address yesterday until the company realized the attack was ongoing and started to move the funds to the cold storage wallet, which seemingly has not been compromised. More than 3 million EOS (about $12.5 million) have been transferred from the hot wallet. The company since pointed out that all the funds which have been stolen were those of the exchange, and that the users’ funds are in the cold wallet. According to cryptocurrency news outlet The Block Crypto, around 20 million Ripple (XRP) (equivalent to about $6.2 million) have also been stolen.

This is the second hack that the exchange encountered in under a year. In the investigation after the last hack, the exchange recovered $14 million of the stolen funds and the exchange stated that it expects to recover the losses this time as well. Bithumb claims to be currently conducting intensive investigations with the cyber police agency, the Korean internet & Security Agency (KISA) and cybersecurity companies. The exchange also notes out that it expects to recover the to recover the loss. Lastly,

the company notes:

“We will do our best to resume deposit and withdrawal as soon as possible to secure the service’s stability.”

An analysis of the flow of the stolen funds by a Twitter user shows that a portion of the funds is already being distributed to exchanges, while another portion has been moved to other addresses. The exchange that received the most funds (662,000 EOS) is EXMO, followed by Houbi (263,000 EOS), Changelly (192,000 EOS), ChangeNOW (140,000 EOS), KuCoin (96,000 EOS) and others. Changelly has published a post today, claiming that the instant exchange has been able to identify and freeze 243,000 XRP ($76,000) and 114,000 EOS ($479,000) believed to be proceed from the Bithumb hack. The XRP has been sent to Changelly in eight different transactions, while the EOS was sent in 52, and the associated wallet addresses have been blacklisted.

A Twitter user has also suggested that the hack may be related to the recent BitHumb’s layoffs. Last week, it was reported that BitHumb is currently cutting up to 50 percent of its workforce. Cointelegraph will update this story as it continues. As Cointelegraph also recently reported, data scientists at blockchain infrastructure firm Elementus have published details of recent transactions from crypto exchange CoinBene that they consider to be suspect, beginning with $105 million in crypto swiftly being moved out of the exchange’s hot wallet.

Article Produced By
Molly Jane Zuckerman

Molly Jane is a Russian Literature major from California with a background in writing. She joins Cointelegraph after working as a freelance journalist and blogger.