U.K.-Based Crypto Facilities Adds Bitcoin Cash Futures to Its Offerings

17.08.2018 bitcoinbabeau 0

Regulators Greenlight Bitcoin Futures

U.K.-based cryptocurrency futures exchange Crypto Facilities, which is regulated by the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority, is adding a bitcoin cash product to its offerings, a press release shared on the exchange’s website reveals. Trading for the bitcoin cash-dollar (BCH/USD) futures began today, August 17, 2018, at 4:00 p.m. GMT +1 (11:00 a.m. EST).

The addition of the new contract will enable investors to take long or short positions in bitcoin cash, allowing them to “broaden [their] investment opportunities” and hedge investment risks. The contracts join a list of derivatives currently offered by Crypto Facilities, which includes Bitcoin, Ripple XRP, Ether and Litecoin futures.

At launch of the litecoin futures, CEO of Crypto Facilities, Timo Schlaefer, said there was “strong client demand” for the product and he believes the “LTC-Dollar futures contracts will increase price transparency, liquidity and efficiency in the cryptocurrency markets.”

Now, in rolling out BCH futures, Schlaefer claims that the new offering will bring even more liquidity and exposure to the maturing market.

“We are pleased to be expanding our cryptocurrency derivatives offering with the launch of BitcoinCash [sic] futures. BCH is a top five coin with a market capitalization of around $10 billion and we expect our new contracts to spur the evolution of the crypto markets by bringing greater liquidity and transparency to the digital asset class,” Schlaefer commented.

Crypto Facilities rose to prominence in 2017 when it partnered with CME Group to launch the first bitcoin futures contract. Currently, Crypto Facilities powers the CME CF Bitcoin Reference Rate Index and the CME CF Bitcoin Real-Time Index.

The addition of the BCH futures comes on the heels of a Bitmain IPO, the crypto mining giant that allegedly holds more than 1 million Bitcoin Cash, worth nearly $550 million at the present exchange rate, according to Bitmain’s investor deck.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Mt. Gox Creditors Release Update of Civil Rehabilitation Plan

04.08.2018 bitcoinbabeau 0

Mt. Gox Creditors Release Update of Civil Rehabilitation Plan

Creditors of Mt. Gox, the defunct bitcoin exchange, have announced an update to the civil rehabilitation plan agreed upon with the platform, according to a statement published on the group’s website.  

The updated terms are said to be in line with the latest court position in the ongoing legal proceedings, including a confirmation that compensation must be paid to victims in bitcoin and bitcoin cash.

Background

Between 2011 and 2014, Mt. Gox is estimated to have lost over 850,000 BTC, worth approximately $460 million at 2014 prices. Based in the upmarket Tokyo district of Shibuya, Mt. Gox was once the undisputed king of cryptocurrency exchanges, at one point controlling as much as 70 percent of the global bitcoin exchange market. By the middle of 2013, however, the platform had run into trouble, and, despite all assurances to the contrary, the company closed abruptly in February 2014, ceasing all trading and exchange operations, closing down its website and filing for bankruptcy protection under Japanese law.

Former CEO Mark Karpelès was arrested, and a civil rehabilitation plan was agreed to serve as a framework for ensuring creditors get their money back.

New Conditions

A few notable changes to the initial terms have been made, mostly concerning method and priority of payments to creditors. According to the updated terms, Mt. Gox shareholders are ranked behind its creditors regarding payment priority.

The statement reads:

“No distribution will be made to shareholders. Mt. Gox is not capable of returning all BTC deposited by creditors. Accordingly, we consider that all assets of Mt. Gox should be distributed to creditors and not to shareholders.”

Furthermore, disbursements will be made in bitcoin and bitcoin cash for ease of payment and to avoid the acceptance issues faced on many exchanges by several altcoins.

The update also stipulates that payments would be made after the approval and confirmation of the rehabilitation plan.

“Creditors have been waiting for payment to be made for as long as four years since Mt. Gox was bankrupted. Payment to creditors should be made as soon as possible. We are of the opinion that most of the assets, including approximately 166,000 BTC and 168,000 of BCH and other derivatives currently held by Mt. Gox, should be paid to creditors at the time of the first payment.”

Finally, the update states that Mt. Gox will find a way to give creditors access to their trading records, which it describes as “indispensable for the approval or disapproval of the civil rehabilitation plan.”

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Dala Adds Stellar Blockchain to Ecosystem, Reveals Multi-Chain Strategy

20.07.2018 bitcoinbabeau 0

Dala

Dala has officially announced a new multi-chain strategy that will include Stellar, the technology behind the seventh largest cryptocurrency (lumens) by market cap. Dala is looking to create the most decentralized financial system available by bring together top blockchains and protocols. It hopes to reach developing markets by establishing a decentralized system that allows users to borrow, earn, save and transact funds.

Dala says it will be using Stellar for payments, along with Ethereum for its smart contract capabilities. Stellar promises speedy and low-cost transactions for customers, and Dala executives believe its blockchain will lead to steady user growth.

Dala is a new cryptocurrency issued by the Dala Foundation. As a general purpose ERC-20 token, Dala’s ecosystem consists of several partnerships across the globe, making it a borderless financial system. Dala also powers blockchain-backed Wala, a zero-fee monetary platform built for mobile devices.

Tricia Martinez is the founder and CEO of Wala, and the director of the Dala Foundation. Speaking with Bitcoin Magazine, she explained why the team was adamant about working with Stellar over something larger and more established like Bitcoin.

“Stellar has been designed as a payment network to integrate disparate currencies, payment systems and entities to move value quickly and reliably at almost no cost,” she states. “Stellar scales exceptionally well — transactions are generally confirmed in three to five seconds, and transaction throughput of up to 10,000 transactions per second has been reported. Furthermore, transactions on Stellar are extremely cheap in the region of 100,000 transactions for $0.01. This aligns with the core need identified when Dala was created: emerging market consumers need the ability to transact micropayments instantly at no cost.”

Lisa Nestor, Director of Partnerships at the Stellar Development Foundation, also provided her commentary as to why the Stellar blockchain was the best and only choice. She says that the reason Stellar moves so quickly is because it does not use proof-of-work (PoW), relying instead on the Stellar Consensus Protocol.

“With Stellar, it’s easier to move between local currencies and digital currencies, which makes it ideal for cash-heavy, emerging economies,” she says. “Stellar’s architecture makes it an ideal, open-source tool for digitizing and trading any type of asset, from currency to mobile money.”

Concluding our interview, Martinez says Dala is the first cryptocurrency in existence to be completely “blockchain agnostic,” and that it can run on virtually any blockchain depending on the use case. “Dala will take advantage of the best blockchains to drive financial inclusion and bring a decentralized system to the masses,” she explains. “It gives us great pleasure to announce that we will be using Stellar for payments.”

Integration is currently underway, and the partnership between Dala and Stellar will go live in the fourth quarter of 2018.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Augur Launches Decentralized Prediction Marketplace

10.07.2018 bitcoinbabeau 0

Augur Launches Decentralized Prediction Marketplace

Augur, a blockchain-based predictions platform, has opened to the general public. The platform becomes the “world’s first” decentralized prediction-market platform.

Augur was created by the Forecast Foundation, a not-for-profit corporation whose goal is to build “open-source, public forecasting tools.”

Prediction markets — which are a general type of financial market — have long been dominated by the likes of Paddy Power and DraftKings, which are centrally owned, operated and regulated.  

This centralization causes all kinds of problems, such as restrictions for users in certain regions, higher associated costs to use and limitations on the types of markets that users could create.

A key differentiator for Augur is its global and decentralized nature.

With the launch of the platform, anyone, anywhere, can launch their own events and bet on them. This also allows the platform to create a higher level of liquidity and volume, as well as a diversity of topics not typically covered by traditional prediction markets.

Beyond trading, Augur also solves a key problem by moving “real world information” onto Ethereum’s blockchain in a secure manner where results can’t be altered.

Vitalik Buterin, founder of Ethereum and advisor to the Forecast Foundation, while commenting on the launch of Augur’s decentralized platform said, “I have been excited about the possibility of prediction markets on Ethereum for a long time, and I’m pleased to see Augur being a leader in releasing such a sophisticated system into the wild.”

Furthermore, the platform ensures that events in the markets are accurately reported on. It does this by incentivizing users to report and correct “markets that have been incorrectly reported on” in exchange for “fees from the market” and a chance to earn more Reputation (REP) tokens — which is the cryptocurrency associated with Augur.

Tom Kysar, head of operations at the Forecast Foundation, said, “Today’s launch of Augur represents three years of relentless work to realize the goal of creating the first — and best — decentralized oracle and prediction-market platform.”

Augur raised about $5 million in its initial coin offering (ICO), and its REP token, which launched in October of 2016, now has a $384.1 million market capitalization.

Don’t miss the Fireside Chat at Distributed 2018 in San Francisco on Friday, July 20, when Augur co-founders Joey Krug and Jeremy Gardner will discuss Augur’s journey, as well as the importance of prediction markets. Register here.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Blockchain Hype Overstates Reality, Says Steve Wozniak

29.06.2018 bitcoinbabeau 0

Blockchain Hype Overstates Reality, Says Steve Wozniak

Technologist and Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Wozniak played contrarian at the NEX technology conference in late June, comparing the hype around blockchain to the fervor he witnessed just before the implosion of the dot-com bubble. Still, Wozniak stood by his unflinching loyalty for Bitcoin, even in the midst of the market’s 2018 downturn.

To be sure, Wozniak believes blockchain technology will serve as a cornerstone for business and industry in the future, calling it “decentralized and totally trustworthy.”

Nonetheless, early adopters “can burn themselves out by not being prepared to be stable in the long run,” Wozniak said. Comparing the growth of the blockchain industry to the dot-com mania of yesteryear, he said, “It was a bubble, and I feel that way about blockchain.”

It’s Wozniak’s guess that the same pattern will repeat today. “If you look now you say all that internet stuff happened, we got it, it just took a while,” he told the tech conference audience.

Ultimately, Wozniak forecasts that blockchain technology will disrupt the social media sector. Facebook, which holds somewhat of a social media monopoly, is ripe for competition, and a blockchain-based platform could emerge as a key rival to challenge the status quo.

Wozniak also sees long-term potential in Ethereum and its currency, ether. In particular, Wozniak cited programmers’ ability to build out their own Ethereum-based projects, as well as development efforts from companies like Microsoft Corp. and J.P. Morgan to unearth the DApp platform’s full potential.

While Wozniak is putting blockchain on ice for now, saying it isn’t yet ready to live up to the hype with mainstream adoption, he held his ground on Bitcoin, something he once referred to as “digital gold.” Although the cryptocurrency lost more than half its value so far this year, he still referred to it as “just amazing.”

Wozniak purchased bitcoin at around the $700 mark and sold most of his holdings at the peak near $20,000.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Blockchain-Based Community Currencies to Be Launched in Kenya

19.06.2018 bitcoinbabeau 0

Blockchain-Based Community Currencies to Be Launched in Kenya

Bancor has announced today it will launch a network of blockchain-based community currencies in Kenya. The new project is expected to combat poverty through the stimulation of local and regional commerce and peer-to-peer collaboration.

By using the Bancor Network, disadvantaged communities in Kenya will be able to create digital currencies that can hold one or more balances in a connected way such that integrated currencies can be swapped for one another without needing a counterparty.

Bancor will launch the new currencies by contributing capital from the proceeds of its $153 million token sales in 2017.

In correspondence with Bitcoin Magazine, Galia Benartzi, Bancor’s co-founder, said, “Bancor will serve as one of several donors in the program providing initial capital to fund the token balances contained within each of the community currencies. In addition, Bancor will provide in-kind operational support, including technical and integrations work, marketing and hardware to get the currencies distributed and operational.”

The company will partner with Kenyan nonprofit foundation Grassroots Economics, who has experience developing community currency programs in Africa.

Grassroots Economics founder Will Ruddick, who is also the newly appointed director of community currencies at Bancor, will oversee the launch of the community currencies from Nairobi. The team will use Bancor Protocol to expand the current paper currency system used by local businesses to reduce poverty and create stable markets.

Ruddick believes that when “communities have the same right as nations to create and manage currencies, they will unlock their full potential.”

Kawangware and Kibera are the focal points for the pilot launch. These communities, which happen to be the largest slums in Kenya, will be used to circulate the currency by incentivizing customers to use it.

Bancor expects that as more people in the community buy and hold the local currency, its market cap can increase, which will create more wealth and a higher purchasing power for the holders.

Community members and supporters of the initiative will have the option to buy and sell the local currencies via the open-source Bancor Protocol using any of the popular cryptocurrencies or a major credit card.

Before its partnership with Grassroots Economics, Bancor had launched a similar program in Israel. The pilot program, aimed at mothers, was processing over 1,000 daily transactions before activities peaked due to the difficulty of transferring wealth outside of the community.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Vote Threshold Is Met: EOS Can Finally Launch Its Platform

15.06.2018 bitcoinbabeau 0

Fifth-Largest Cryptocurrency Finally Launches Its Blockchain

According to data from EOS Authority, EOS has finally acquired the minimum votes required for its network to go live.

After EOS failed to launch its platform on its projected launch date of June 2, a live-stream vote was called, where users voted “Go” to launch the blockchain network. But while the network got the green light, it couldn’t go live until it was activated with the EOS tokens held by investors.

Things didn’t go as planned as token owners became reluctant to weigh in with the minimum vote required to activate the blockchain. For the EOS blockchain to go live, 15 percent of the total EOS tokens in supply had to be used to elect the network’s 21 EOS block producers.

Votes

Also known as supernodes, block producers operate as part of EOS’s delegated proof of stake (DPoS), where they serve a function similar to Bitcoin miners who secure proof-of-work systems. The candidates for the supernodes include local crypto enthusiasts such as EOS Canada, who is currently leading with just over 42,000,00  token votes at press time, followed by EOS Authority, the entity that started up EOS, in second place with about 39,400,000 votes. Blockchain heavyweight Bitfinex is currently eighth with a bit under 32,000,000 EOS votes, and EOS HuobiPool is in the eleventh spot with just over 30 million token votes.

To vote for the supernodes, token owners have to go through a process of proving ownership, which requires using their private keys.

The most noteworthy voting software is CLEOS, a command-line tool created by Block.one, the creators of EOS. This software requires a lot of programming knowledge, which left non-technical voters with crowdfunded projects like EOS Portal and other desktop tools.

As much as users were eager to activate the mainnet, they were equally nervous that the process might jeopardize their holdings.

EOS’s inability to get the required number of tokens staked led to the mainnet launch being stalled for days. There were also some reports that a general, widespread distrust in third-party software available to owners, coupled with the complexity of the voting process, led to voter apathy.

Vulnerabilities

Despite the success of its ICO, the EOS team has not been able to find a lasting solution to the vulnerabilities that have riddled it from the start. Some weeks back, Chinese internet research firm Qihoo 360 discovered a vulnerability that could be used by hackers to remotely manage codes on nodes and attack any cryptocurrency built on the network.

EOS launched a bug bounty program that rewards developers for discovering security vulnerabilities, with the most significant reward going to Dutch ethical hacker Guido Vranken, who was paid a hefty $120,000 for discovering 11 new vulnerabilities. EOS’s HackerOne profile shows that vulnerabilities are still being discovered.

EOS is currently up by 14.4 percent, trading at $11.32.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Coinbase Takes Another Step Toward Trading ICO Tokens by Acquiring Paradex

24.05.2018 bitcoinbabeau 0

Coinbase Takes Another Step Toward Trading ICO Tokens by Acquiring Paradex

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has taken another step toward trading ERC20 tokens by acquiring decentralized relayer Paradex. ERC20 is the Ethereum technical standard that the majority of initial coin offering (ICO) tokens are based on.

Paradex announced the news on its website today, May 23, 2018, adding that its site will be down temporarily while it works to make the integrations with Coinbase.   

Paradex bills itself as a decentralized exchange (DEX), meaning no third party is involved in holding the funds. Instead, users can use the platform to trade ERC20 tokens directly wallet to wallet. Paradex is built on top of the 0x (pronounced “zero x”) protocol.  

Right now, Coinbase trades four coins: bitcoin (BTC), bitcoin cash (BCH), ether (ETH) and litecoin (LTC). Adding ERC20 tokens could significantly boost the number of digital assets it carries. Due to the ICO boom that has taken place over the last few years, thousands of different ICO tokens are now available.  

But because U.S. regulators are in the midst of clarifying their stance on virtual currencies, many exchanges are holding back from listing ICO tokens. In March 2018, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a clear warning to virtual currency exchanges that some ICO tokens may qualify as noncompliant securities, and any exchange that lists security tokens needs to either register as a national securities exchange or operate under an exemption and set itself up as an alternative trading system (ATS).

To that end, in April 2018, Coinbase reportedly entered into talks with the SEC to take steps to become an ATS. In a possible lead-up to those plans, in late March 2018, Coinbase announced it was adding support for ERC20 into all its trading platforms.

In a blog post, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong stated that Coinbase is initially planning to offer Paradex to customers outside of the U.S. and eventually to its U.S. customers.

Coinbase offers two types of trading platforms: Coinbase for novice traders and GDAX for the more experienced traders. According to Reuters, Coinbase is revamping GDAX and rolling it over to a new service dubbed “Coinbase Pro” next month.  

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

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