Samsung Denies Connection to Samsung Coin Despite Trademark Filing

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Samsung Denies Connection to Samsung Coin Despite Trademark Filing

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Samsung claims that the recently emerged Samsung Coin cryptocurrency is not being issued by the smartphone maker, despite having a trademark issued. 

Samsung Coin

According to a report by CoinDesk on July 19, Samsung has denied any official connection to the Samsung Coin. While the company made headlines earlier in the year for itsbuilt-in crypto wallet on the Galaxy S10 smartphone, Samsung is not planning to issue its own native token. 

On Friday, news surfaced that a South Korean individual was attempting to file a trademark for Samsung Coin. According to filings with the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), a trademark application was registered and submitted on July 10 by Kim Nam-jin in both English and Korean. The application was filed under computer-related programs, including “electronic money card,” and “electronic encryption device.” 

The original assumption was that Samsung was preparing to issue a native token for its Galaxy S10 application, which integrates crypto wallet support seamlessly with the smartphone. Samsung has also previously been tied to the development of its own blockchain technology utilizing ethereum. 

However, the South Korean-based company claims to have no connection to Samsung Coin or the recently filed trademark. In a statement to CoinDesk, a spokesperson said, 

“We don’t work this way.”

Trademark Troll

It’s possible Samsung is trying to obscure the development of a native token until a more opportune time, particularly following the political firestorm created by Facebook’s digital currency. 

Instead, it appears the individual who filed the patent is attempting to capitalize on Samsung’s development into the space of blockchain and crypto. The same individual has previously submitted trademarks applications related to cryptocurrency for other major technology companies, including “ThinQ Wallet.” LG has been tied to the development of a similarly named application, which seeks to create a smartphone wallet for crypto products. 

Nonetheless, Samsung is one of the more high-profile companies in the industry of tech to support crypto. The S10 wallet marks the first flagship smartphone to offer seamless, built-in crypto support. 

While the company could still decide to issue a native token for its devices, fans of Samsung smartphones should ignore the most recent trademark filing. 

Israeli Hacker Indicted For $1.75 Million Cryptocurrency Theft

A hacker from Tel Aviv named Eliyahu Gigi was recently indicted for his alleged role in stealing roughly NIS 6.1 million (or $1.75 million) in cryptocurrencies from people in numerous different countries, including Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.

According the indictment filed this week, Gigi operated numerous scam websites that infected computers with malware that would steal cryptocurrencies that were stored on the devices.

The hacker stole nearly $2 million worth of bitcoin, ethereum, and dash, before they were arrested in June of this year. Gigi carefully covered his tracks by attempting to use remote servers and doing his best to conceal the cryptocurrencies and the wallet addresses that they were stored in.

He then transferred the currencies between different wallets, split them into different cryptocurrencies and used other tactics to obfuscate the ownership of the funds.

During the investigation, it was initially suspected that Gigi was guilty of stealing $100 million, however, once the investigation was concluded, that number was significantly scaled down to less than $2 million.

According to the Israeli publication Globes the investigation was conducted by the Israeli Police’s cyber unit, and led to the arrest of Gigi and his younger brother, a 22-year-old demobilized soldier. The news outlet adds:

At the outset of the investigation, suspicions were raised that the two brothers had stolen $100 million from digital accounts kept in bitcoin through an international fishing fraud. The indictment eventually filed was against only the older brother, and the initial suspicions that $100 million had been stolen were scaled down to NIS 6 million. [$1.75 million]

Police were initially tipped off to the crime after receiving reports the hacker was sending messages to users on cryptocurrency forums, directing them to a website that claimed to offer wallet management software.

Some of the users who received the message thought that the website looked suspicious. Worried about their security, they reported the websites and Gigi’s forum accounts to police.

Difference Between Cosmos and Polkadot, Explained By Senior Developer

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Cosmos (ATOM), a leading cryptocurrency platform focused on enhancing blockchain interoperability, has been developed so that software engineers can create scalable and customizable, high-performance applications.

Like Cosmos, the proof-of-stake (PoS)-based Polkadot (DOT) platform also allows independent blockchain networks to communicate with each other. Developed by Parity Technologies, the creator of the leading Ethereum client, Polkadot uses a “relay chain” as its base chain on which several different parachains (short for parallel chains) are hosted (bonded).

Chains on Polkadot May Use Their Own Consensus Algorithms

Parachains on the Polkadot network use GRANDPA as their default consensus protocol, however other chains like Ethereum can use their own consensus algorithm – after connecting with Polkadot through the “Bridge.”

As explained by Gaurav Agrawal, the Founder of CryptoFi (a platform for creating invoices and getting paid in cryptocurrencies), all parachains on Polkadot have their own “local” state, rule, consensus mechanism, and block producers (referred to as collators).

Meanwhile, Polkadot’s Relay Chain allows the network to maintain a “global state” that is secured by the platform’s transaction validators.

Interoperability: The Main Value Proposition

Agrawal, a computer science graduate from Banaras Hindu University, notes that interoperability is the main value proposition for both the Cosmos and Polkadot platform. He explains that both networks provide a “communication mechanism” between independent permissioned (private) and public blockchains that may have different state machines and consensus protocols.

Agrawal adds that Polkadot’s Relay Chain handles inter-messaging between different networks via “arbitrary” message passing (such as calls made to smart contracts).

Polkadot Uses “Shared Security” Model

According to Agrawal, the main challenge is securing the communication process that occurs between separate chains – in the event of chain re-org and/or fork.

These issues are addressed through Polkadot’s “shared security model,” which allows the same group of validators to secure multiple blockchains connected to the interoperability platform.

Providing Security Through the Relay Chain

Large and established blockchain networks such as Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) have the greatest level of security when compared to smaller caps coins. This, as a large group of network participants, including miners, are helping to secure the BTC and ETH networks.

Polkadot introduces a unique way to secure blockchain platforms through its shared or pooled security model, which provides security to all parachains “as soon as [they] attach” to Polkadot’s Relay Chain, Agrawal explains.

Validators and Collators Help Process Blocks on Polkadot

Validators on the Polkadot network verify and add blocks to the Relay Chain, while collators group together transactions made on parachains and generate blocks for validators.

As noted by Agrawal, having “uniform security” significantly improves the security of a blockchain network. This allows a high-security blockchain like Ethereum to “trust” lower-security chains such as the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) network.

Addressing the “Data-Availability” Problem

In order to prevent malicious behavior, Polkadot validators are randomly assigned to different parachains. As Agrawal notes, this creates the “data-availability” problem, in which validators require data from parachains, before they validate blocks. He points out that effectively addressing the data-availability problem is considered a “big challenge.”

In addition to collators and validators, the Polkadot network has bounty-hunters, called Fisherman, who are tasked with checking for malicious or dishonest conduct by Polkadot validators.

Polkadot Can Be Upgraded While It’s Still “Running”

Users must lease Polkadot’s native tokens, called DOTs, in order to “get a spot” on parachains, Agrawal explains. While this may be an entry barrier, bonding DOTs allows users to take advantage of security features by default.

Notably, the Polkadot network may be upgraded while it’s still running – without requiring a pause which is needed when forking most blockchains. Agrawal mentions that this is possible because Polkadot stores WebAssembly on-chain.

This approach encourages nodes to use the latest on-chain WebAssembly version, instead of using an old version that may not be fully supported. Because WebAssembly resides on-chain, there is no need for off-chain coordination. This leads to improved security, Agrawal argues.

Polakdot’s Council Members May Change Rules Applied to Relay Chain

He also mentions that DOTs play a key role in Polkadot network’s governance. The Relay Chain has about 10-1,000 parachain slots, which may be “auctioned to the highest bidder.” The bidders must lock up DOTs for a fixed lease period in Polkadot’s proof-of-stake (PoS)-based blockchain network. After the lease period ends, the DOTs are returned back to the bidders.

As Agrawal notes, Polkadot will have a 24 member council, which includes dApps, validators, and parachain team members that will passively hold DOT tokens. The members will be appointed through “approval voting” and may be allowed to change rules that apply to using the Relay Chain.

Parachains May Not Be Removed From Polkadot Until Their Lease Period Ends

Modifications to the Relay Chain may include altering the block time, block reward, or the amount of DOT tokens needed to host a Parachain, Agrawal explains. He adds that Parachain may not be removed from Polkadot until its lease period ends.

Because Polkadot may not be considered a “live” platform, as it’s a PoS system that hosts multiple parachains, it will require greater transaction “capabilities”, Agrawal notes.

Using Horizontal and Vertical Scaling

He explains that multichain systems must scale in two main ways: horizontal scaling (hosting additional blockchain networks), and vertical scaling (allowing blockchains with various scalability features such as reduced transaction settlement times).

According to Agrawal, Polkadot’s vision is to have multiple Relay Chains, with each hosting hundreds of different parachains. These may be attached to a “single root Relay Chain” that forms a “tree structure” and supports “1,000x-10,000x transaction speed” – when compared to current systems. However, the existing Polkadot network has not yet achieved this milestone.

Polkadot Developed Using Substrate

Developed using Substrate, a blockchain-building tool, the Polkadot platform may be used to launch new distributed ledger technology (DLT) networks that are not hosted on Polkadot itself.

As Agrawal mentions, Substrate supports any programming language that can compile to WASM (Web Assembly). These languages may include C, C++, Rust, among others – thus allowing greater flexibility and more options for developers.

Polkadot’s mainnet is scheduled to launch at some point during Q3 2019, and the platform’s testnet is currently available. As Agrawal notes, the developers of the Polkadot project have introduced a “pre-production” Kusama network, which lets developers beta-test the platform’s technology – in order to locate software bugs prior to mainnet release.

At present, there are several software teams that are creating multi-chain identity and data storage solutions for Polkadot. The Polkadot team has also launched PolkaDao, a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) to help fund developers to create solutions on the Polkadot network.

Cosmos, the “Internet of Blockchains”

As Agrawal states, the Cosmos project aims to create an “Internet of blockchains” by taking a modular approach towards creating DLT networks. Cosmos offers the basic or foundational tools (modules) needed to develop new blockchains.

According to Agrawal, there are three main “building blocks” to creating a blockchain platform. These include the application layer, the consensus protocol, and peer-to-peer (P2P) networking capabilities.

Cosmos Based on “Hubs and Spokes” Model

As Agrawal mentions, the Cosmos project is separated into two different parts including Tendermint Core, which consists of the Consensus protocol (Tendermint PoS) and the Gossip protocol for P2P networking functionality. The second part of Cosmos includes the Cosmos software development kit (SDK) for developing building blocks for the application layer.

The Cosmos architecture is based on the “Hubs and Spokes” model. Spokes on the cryptocurrency platform, considered to be “sovereign” blockchains, are referred to as “Zones”. Meanwhile, a hub on Cosmos handles inter-blockchain communication. Cosmos’ architecture allows for multiple hubs, with each hub potentially having several zones.

Application Layer Implemented Differently on Hubs and Zones

As explained by Agrawal, Tendermint Core serves as a consensus engine that is used by all hubs and zones on the Cosmos network. Hubs are also independent blockchain networks, and the Cosmos Hub, a hub controlled by Cosmos’ developers, is the main Cosmos blockchain itself.

Only the application layer is implemented differently on hubs and zones. According to Agrawal, the app layer may be a UTXO dataset (in the case of Bitcoin) or a State Machine (like on the Ethereum network), or a permissioned blockchain.

Cosmos Uses a Modular Architecture

As Agrawal explains, Tendermint features an interface known as ABCI, which serves as an implementation of the Tendermint socket protocol. ABCI is supported by multiple programming languages, which gives developers the option to build applications in almost any language – while being able to connect to Tendermint’s consensus engine.

Cosmos’ modular architecture lets developers launch permissioned networks (not allowed on Polkadot) and still have the option of connecting the private chain with Hubs – in order to send and receive crypto tokens from other blockchains.

Peg Zones Used to Connect to Live Blockchains

To connect to live blockchains such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, Cosmos uses Peg Zones, which are somewhat similar to how Bridges work on the Polkadot network. Notably, Cosmos was used to develop Ethermint, an Ethereum State Machine that resides on Tendermint.

The Cosmos network uses the IBC protocol (Inter-Blockchain Communication protocol) to establish communication channels and enable token transfer between different chains. Developers of Cosmos are currently working on allowing “arbitrary message passing”, as the network is presently only optimized for exchanging tokens.

The IBC protocol works alongside Tendermint consensus and has been developed as a Basecoin plugin, Agrawal notes. He adds that the IBC protocol works by allowing a blockchain to function as a “light client” for other blockchains.

Cosmos Network Focuses on Sovereignty

The Cosmos network focuses on sovereignty, as each Hub and Zone on the network must manage its own security. Unlike Polkadot’s shared security model, all Hubs and Zones on Cosmos must have their own validators. Users may connect to the Cosmos hub without having to make deposits in ATOM tokens.

Currently, the IBC protocol is still in its developmental stages. However, Agrawal points out that users need not ask for permission before connecting with the Cosmos Hub. Because Cosmos doesn’t implement a shared security model, network participants have to trust other zones. When IBC has been fully developed, these issues will be addressed, Agrawal wrote.

Tendermint’s PoS Is Optimal Byzantine Fault Tolerance

Only two hubs, the Cosmos Hub and the Iris Hub, are currently live. Since Tendermint’s PoS is optimal Byzantine Fault Tolerance, “with accountability,” any network participants “controlling 1/3rd of the nodes” may halt the Cosmos network.

Also, control over 2/3rd nodes is needed to “fork or control” the Cosmos network, Agrawal wrote. Unlike the Polkadot network, Cosmos tends to place more importance on ensuring safety than the liveness of its network.

Users May Submit Proposals In Text Messages

Unlike Polkadot, all blockchains on the Cosmos network are sovereign as they have their own governance model. As Agrawal mentions, when discussing matters related to Cosmos’ governance, we are actually referring to the governance of the Cosmos Hub, the platform’s main chain.

The Cosmos network allows users to submit text proposals (requiring small amount of ATOMs), after which there’s a two-week voting period. During the voting phase, validators or delegators may cast the following types of votes: “Yes”, “No”, “No with Veto”, “Abstain.”.

Once the two-week voting period ends, the votes are all tallied, in order to determine whether the proposal will be implemented or discarded.

Focused on Creating Stable Tendermint Implementation

As Agrawal mentions, Tendermint PoS has “instant finality,” as its block times may be around 1 second. This allows Tendermint’s PoS to process thousands of transactions per second (TPS).

Agrawal notes that Cosmos’ developers are presently focused on building a stable Tendermint implementation, and that addressing scalability issues is not a high-level priority for the project at the moment.

Binance Chain Building Solutions on Top of Cosmos

Unlike Polkadot, Cosmos’ mainnet is live and many crypto projects including Binance Chain are building solutions on top of it. However, Cosmos’ SDK is only available for the Go language (at the time of writing).

Developers must use Go in order to launch new blockchains on Cosmo. If a blockchain has already been coded in another programming language, then a respective ABCI implementation may be used, which may be run using Tendermint.

Venezuelans File $30M Lawsuit Against “Diamond Backed” Crypto Ponzi Scheme

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A new lawsuit filed this month has revealed further details about what took place behind the scenes at the troubled cryptocurrency “Argyle Coin.”

According to the lawsuit, the entire cryptocurrency project was nothing more than a desperate attempt to keep a pre-existing Ponzi scheme alive and repay investors who were anxiously awaiting their dividends.

The group of Venezuelans behind the lawsuit say that they are among 300 amateur investors who got caught up in the Ponzi scheme, according to Law360.

The alleged masterminds of the scam, Jose Angel Aman, Harold Seigel, and his son Jonathan Seigel, ran two diamond trading firms Natural Diamonds and Eagle Financial. The two companies were connected with Argyle Coin, a cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme which was said to be backed by diamonds.

Natural Diamonds predated Argyle Coin and seems to be where the scam originated. The firm reportedly lured investors to pour money into their operations by overstating their expertise in the diamond industry.

Since 2014, Aman was promising investors a 24% return on their investment within two years through his company Natural Diamonds, having no clue how he was going to fulfill his promises. By 2015, Aman was working with his two accomplices, selling fraudulent investment contracts through Eagle Financial, and using those funds to pay back previous investors.

According to court documents:

“[Eagle Financial] and its principals overstated their experience in the diamond and jewelry businesses to lure investors into trusting [Eagle Financial] and its principals with their investment.”

The lawsuit suggests that the fraudsters used all of the investments that they received paying back previous clients, and never actually did anything with the money that would earn a return. Still, the defendants in the case continued to lie to investors and promise unrealistic returns to their investors.

Then, things became even worse when the men behind the scheme decided to develop a cryptocurrency project to raise funds.

They made very similar promises with Argyle Coin, reportedly telling investors that putting their money into their diamond-backed cryptocurrency was a “risk-free” venture, while once again using that money to back other investors.

Sadly, the investors were left out in the cold when the project never materialized, and the Ponzi scheme came crashing down. This is just the latest in over a dozen lawsuits against the failed crypto project.

Report: Bitcoin Top Performing Crypto for Q2 2019

Bitcoin was the top-performing cryptocurrency in Q2 2019, despite the rocky price volatility hitting the market. 

Bitcoin Dominance

According to a new report published by CoinGecko, bitcoin outperformed all other digital currencies during the second fiscal quarter of the year.

BTC posted a net gain of 165%, compared to the second-highest performing currency of bitcoin cash at +137%. Ethereum placed third at +107%, with litecoin and XRP rounding out the top five at +103% and +28%  net gains, respectively. 

The average return for the top five currencies in Q2 2019 was +108%, showing an overall robust turn in the marketplace for crypto-assets compared to last year. 

top 5 cryptocurrencies coingeckoTop 5 performing cryptocurrencies during Q2 2019 | Source: CoinGecko

In addition to leading the pack in terms of gains, bitcoin also consolidated its market dominance, while EOS and XRP experienced a retraction. 

According to the report,

 

“Bitcoin’s market dominance increased significantly in Q2 2019, from 54.6% to 65.0% (+10.4%). XRP and EOS lost nearly half of its market dominance. XRP decreased from 9.8% to 5.7% (-4.1%) while EOS decreased from 3.3% to 2.0% (-1.3%).”

 

While bitcoin’s gain in dominance was impressive, the entire top five separated itself from the general pack of altcoins during the last fiscal quarter. 

The report continues, 

 

“Almost all other coins lost market dominance in Q2. By end Q2 2019, the top-5 coins comprised approximately 86% of the overall market capitalization.”

 

Overall Crypto Growth

However, the entire market of crypto increased during that time. CoinGecko called the most recent quarter a “crypto summer,” with total market capitalization for crypto-assets gaining over $200 billion and obliterating previous expectations.

Trading volume also rose steadily, nearly doubling by the end of Q2. 

cryptocurrency market cap trading volume coingeckoTotal market cap and trading volume rose throughout Q2 2019 | Source: CoinGecko

Despite the introduction of Facebook’s libra in June, the price of bitcoin continued to climb on a meteoric rise from $4,000 to above $10,000. CoinGecko reported bullish sentiment growing throughout the quarter, with the original cryptocurrency gaining in positive mentions through social media. 

Bitcoin also eclipsed “stocks” in overall search volume on Google for the first time since Q4 2017, when the price of btc hit its last all-time high. 

Japan Developing Cryptocurrency Network to Compete with SWIFT–Source

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Japan Developing Cryptocurrency Network to Compete with SWIFT–Source

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A source has revealed that Japan is spearheading the development of a cryptocurrency network that will compete with the industry-standard SWIFT—and Ripple by extension. 

Japan Launching Cryptocurrency Network

According to a report published by Reuters on July 18, an anonymous source has claimed that Japan is in the process of building a cryptocurrency-based network for payments. While the project has yet to be announced and details remain scarce, the network is supposed to go live in the next several years. 

Japan’s government seeks to lead the push for global cryptocurrency usage and the creation of an international network based upon digital payments. While SWIFT is the currency industry-standard for global banking transactions, the service has come under fire for its high costs and inefficiency in comparison to crypto. 

If Japan succeeds in establishing a global crypto network, it will make existing remittance and cross-border platforms such as SWIFT obsolete. In addition, the country’s digital currency network could compete with other transaction-focused services, such as Ripple’s payment platform and the XRP cryptocurrency. 

SWIFT Competitor

The source claimed that the project was being developed to combat money laundering globally, and to provide banks with a more secure and efficient means for transactions. Japan is also planning to work with other countries on the project, and to impose regulatory oversight. 

According to the Reuters report, 

“A team related to the inter-governmental Financial Action Task Force (FATF) will monitor its development and Japan will cooperate with other countries, the source said.”

The report continues, 

“FATF in June approved the plan for establishing the new network, which was proposed by Japan’s Ministry of Finance and the Financial Services Agency (FSA) regulator, according to the person.”

The source did not give details on how the network would operate, but its primary focus will be on providing international payments between banks. Neither the FSA or the Japanese Ministry of Finance would comment on the new development. 

Japan has been scrutinizing cryptocurrency exchanges in recent years and proactive in initiating regulation, in part due to the massive attention created over being host to Mt. Gox’s collapse. In addition, the country has launched a working group to evaluate regulatory approaches on Facebook’s libra. 

Fundstrat: Bakkt’s Launch Expected by Late Q3, Could Be ‘Huge Accelerator for Market Growth’

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Fundstrat: Bakkt’s Launch Expected by Late Q3, Could Be ‘Huge Accelerator for Market Growth’

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Sam Doctor, a Managing Director and Quantamental Strategist at Independent research boutique Fundstrat Global Advisors, released on Friday (July 19) a report on Bakkt Institutional Digital Asset Summit (July 18); one of the many interesting takeaways was that the full launch of the Bakkt platform is expected is to take place later this quarter.

A Bit of Background on Bakkt

On 3 August 2018, Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), a leading operator of global exchanges, clearing houses, data and listings services, announced that it planned to form a new subsidiary named Bakkt that would be creating “an integrated platform that enables consumers and institutions to buy, sell, store and spend digital assets on a seamless global network.” 

Mopre specifically, ICE said that “as an initial component of the Bakkt offering,” ICE’s “U.S.-based futures exchange and clearing house plan to launch a 1-day physically delivered Bitcoin contract along with physical warehousing in November 2018, subject to CFTC review and approval.” 

Until the Bakkt Institutional Digital Asset Summit on July 18, what we knew (according to a blog post by Bakkt COO Adam White) was that on July 22, Bakkt planned to start user acceptance testing (UAT) for its Bitcoin futures products. 

We also knew from Bakkt’s Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) guide that:

  • The first two contracts to be listed by ICE Futures U.S. are “Bakkt Bitcoin (USD) Daily Futures” and “Bitcoin (USD) Monthly Futures”.
  • In order to provide “regulated custody in the Bakkt Warehouse, Bakkt has filed with the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) for approval to form a limited-purpose trust company that would serve as a qualified custodian of bitcoin under applicable law.”
  • Bakkt expected to launch its platform in H2 2019 following the completion of UAT and “receipt of regulatory approval from NYDFS.”

Fundstrat’s Key Takeaways From Bakkt’s July 18th Summit

Here were the tidbits from the key takeaways of Fundstrat’s “Bakkt Institutional Digital Asset Summit takeaways” report that we found most interesting:

  • There were over 150 “investors and institutional service providers” at the event.
  • Bakkt CEO Kelly Loeffler, ICE Executive Vice Chairman Betty Liu, and Bakkt COO Adam White had conversations with Dawn DeBerry Stump, a Commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), Ari Paul, CIO of BlockTower Capital, and Dan Morehead, CEO of Panteral Capital Management.
  • The full launch of the Bakkt platform is expected “late in the current quarter.”
  • The CFTC is “seeing growing demand and interest for Bitcoin futures from the public.”
  • The CFTC “expects more tokens and contracts beyond cash-settled Bitcoin products (currently exploring ETH products).”
  • It seems that there is “a critical mass of adopters” (such as brokers, market makers, proprietary trading desks, and liquidity providers) who are ready to participate from the first day of the launch of the Bakkt platform.
  • Fundstrat’s Quantamental Strategist Sam Doctor believes that the Bakkt launch “could be a huge accelerator for market growth,” and Funstrat’s Head of Research Thomas Lee shares this sentiment, tweeting that this launch could be “HUGE for institutional adoption of Bitcoin.” 

Featured Image Credit: Photo via Pexels.com

Zcash Friendly Ycash Fork Goes Smoothly After Delay

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Zcash Friendly Ycash Fork Goes Smoothly After Delay

zcash-friendly-fork-into-ycash-goes-smoothly-after-delay

A new cryptocurrency was born on Friday: Ycash was spawned in a so-called “friendly-fork” of Zcash and aspires to “empower local communities to take control over the money they earn, spend and save”.

The fork was originally scheduled to happen on Thursday, June 18 at block 570,000, but was slightly delayed and eventually occurred at 7:36:51pm Pacific Time (02:36.51am UTC) on Friday.

Development

First announced in April, the fork was led by Howard Loo – an attorney and software developer and long-time supporter of Zcash. 

He said on Medium the foundation of Ycash was to uphold a promise that the cap on Zcash’s Founder’s Reward – a 20% tariff on block rewards that goes to developer funding – would be forever capped at 2.1 million coins.

He added on the Medium blog post:

We believe that both mining on commodity hardware and maintaining the promised cap on the Founders Reward are essential to a fair distribution of coins. In turn, we believe that a fair distribution of coins is essential to ultimately achieving widespread adoption.

The initial block on the Ycash blockchain was mined by the Luxor Mining Pool. It said on its Twitter feed: “The Ycash fork has gone smoothly, and yours truly found the first block.”

The fork was supported by SafePay, Bitpie Wallet, Guarda Wallet, Atomic Wallet and Cobo Wallet and those Zcash holders who used these wallets would – at the time of the fork – have received a corresponding amount of the new Ycash coins.

Loo explained:

In order to access Ycash coins, you need to have your Zcash coins at the time of the fork in a wallet that allows you to export your private keys.

So What’s the Difference?

At launch, Ycash will differ from Zcash in three important ways:

  • A tweaked version of the Equihash mining algorithm currently used on the Zcash network will prohibit specialized mining hardware called ASICs from mining on the Ycash network. The long-term goal to prevent ASICs from adapting to the tweaks will be to replace Equihash entirely.
  • Ycash will reduce the Founder’s Reward rate from the 20% on the Zcash network, to just 5% on Ycash which will provide funds a non-profit organization called the Ycash Foundation.
  • Cosmetic changes to address formats to make it impossible to accidentally send Zcash to a Ycash address or vice versa.

Coinbase Quietly Pulls the Plug on Its Cryptocurrency Bundle Product

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Coinbase Quietly Pulls the Plug on Its Cryptocurrency Bundle Product

coinbase-quietly-pulls-the-plug-on-its-cryptocurrency-bundle-product

The San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has quietly pulled the plug on its Bundle product, which allowed users to buy a basket of cryptocurrencies with fiat.

According to an update on its FAQ page, the cryptocurrency exchange “deprecated” the Coinbase Bundle product, and all assets in it have been “redistributed to their respective individual asset wallets.”

The move, first spotted by Crypto Briefing, is believed to have been made because the product wasn’t a profitable one. Coinbase Bundle was launched back in September of last year to make it easier for investors to gain exposure to the cryptocurrency ecosystem, through a weighted basket of the cryptocurrencies the company then offered.

This means users could use a small amount of fiat to buy bitcoin, litecoin, ethereum, bitcoin cash, and ethereum classic at once. Per the exchange itself, the bundle’s purpose was to “make buying more convenient and less overwhelming.”

At the time, the exchange also launched other features: Coinbase Learn and new asset pages.

The timing was off, however, as the product was launched during the bear market that saw the price of most cryptocurrencies drop well over 80%. Images shared on social media in December of 2018, when bitcoin hit its $3,200 low, showed investing $100 on Coinbase would’ve led to significant losses only a few months later.

As covered, Coinbase recently launched a service offering its users four free exclusive “trading signals,” in a bid to help its customers “independently create and manage their own crypto strategy.”

It’s worth noting Abra, a digital asset exchange and wallet provider,  launched a product packaging various cryptocurrencies into one at about the same time Coinbase launched its Bundle product. Abra’s product is its BIT10 token.

BitMEX Slammed as Roubini Raises the Stakes in War Against Crypto

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Every new concept has its critics and there’s none so vehemently opposed to cryptocurrencies as New York University academic Nouriel Roubini, who has just taken his most vicious swipe yet at the emerging asset class.

In an essay entitled “The Great Crypto Heist“, published this week on the website Project Syndicate, the NYU Stern Business School professor accuses financial regulators of “being asleep at the wheel” while an army of unregulated exchanges, propagandists and scammers commit “rampant fraud and abuse”.

He singles out crypto-derivatives exchange BitMEX as being a particular threat to retail investors. Roubini clashed earlier this month with Arthur Hayes, the chief executive of BitMEX.

Regulation

But first, the professor explains why the sector needs to be more closely monitored. The broader financial sector came under increased regulatory scrutiny following the 2008 financial crisis, to protect investors and society. 

The regulatory regime does not capture cryptocurrencies, however, which are launched and traded outside the domain of official financial oversight, he says.

The result is that crypto land has become an unregulated casino, where unchecked criminality runs riot.

BitMEX

He rounds on BitMEX, registered in the Seychelles, which offers highly-leveraged bets on the rises and falls of cryptoassets: products more broadly known as derivatives.

These investment products have come under the microscope of regulators in many countries. The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority would like to ban the sale of cryptoasset derivatives and exchange-traded notes to retail customers, saying they are too difficult to value and are prone to extreme price movements due to the volatile moves of the underlying cryptoassets.

Other global regulators have made moves to reduce the amount of leverage offered by crypto-derivatives exchanges. Roubini points out that with a 100-1 leverage, even a 1% price move in the underlying assets could trigger a margin call that wipes out the investor’s entire account and leave them owing the exchange.

Hayes, boasted openly that the BitMEX business model involves peddling to ‘degenerate gamblers’ (meaning clueless retail investors) crypto derivatives with 100-to-one leverage.

BitMEX aslo runs a proprietary trading desk – an internal, for-profit desk that trades cryptocurrencies with its own money – that has been accused of front-running its own clients, Roubini asserts. He adds:

Hayes has denied this, but because BitMEX is totally unregulated, there are no independent audits of its accounts, and thus no way of knowing what happens behind the scenes.

Perhaps his most grand accusation in the essay, however, is that exchange is being used for criminal activity:

BitMEX insiders revealed to me that this exchange is also used daily for money laundering on a massive scale by terrorists and other criminals from Russia, Iran, and elsewhere; the exchange does nothing to stop this, as it profits from these transactions.

Tiff in Taipei

Roubini accused Hayes this month of holding back the broadcast of a video recorded of their clash at conference in Taipei – to which Hayes had secured exclusive right to.

In the essay, he continues this accusation, saying:

I suppose this is par for the course among crypto scammers, but it is ironic that someone who claims to represent the ‘resistance’ against censorship has become the father of all censors now that his con has been exposed.

Crypto Cancer Metastasized

In his final dig at the industry, Roubini says crypto trading has created a multi-billion dollar industry that does not just include the exchanges, but also “propagandists posing as journalists, opportunists talking up their own books and lobbyists seeking regulatory exemptions.

It is time global regulatory bodies stepped in, he concludes:

So far, regulators have been asleep at the wheel as the crypto cancer has metastasized. At a minimum, Hayes and all the others overseeing similar rackets from offshore safe havens should be investigated, before millions more retail investors get scammed into financial ruin.

So far, Hayes appears to have remained silent following the article’s publication. No activity on his Twitter account. But the ball is now firmly in his court as the war of words heats up.