Japan Skeptical of Bitcoin ETF Approval Despite Persuasion from Local Politician

Japan Skeptical of Bitcoin ETF Approval Despite Persuasion from Local Politician

Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA) like the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has expressed reservations on the approval of a crypto-based Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF). the major reason cited by the FSA is the problem of volatility which characterizes the cryptocurrency market.

This was contained in a report released by the finance committee of the upper house of the National Diet on May 30. Despite persuasion from a local politician Takeshi Fujimaki, the committee still insists on caution as long as the cryptocurrency market is involved. Fujimaki said despite delays, the United States is likely to approve a cryptocurrency ETF.

He added that the hacks and thefts that are prevalent in the cryptocurrency industry will be taken care of if a an ETF is in place. Because the cryptocurrencies will be in safe custody, this will reduce the incidences of loss and encourage the participation of institutional investors, Fujimaki said. If the U.S and other countries will approve ETFs, he doesn’t want Japan to be left out.

The U.S SEC has delayed the approval of two Bitcoin ETFs since 2018, also citing volatility as the problem. The commission has so far delayed its decision on the VanEck and Bitwise ETF applications this year and in its last meeting postponed the decision till August 18 2019.

The Japanese FSA still expresses doubt about the approval, saying Bitcoin is without any intrinsic value despite Fujimaki’s position that an ETF will reduce volatility in the industry. As crypto-related ETF applications are being delayed, the market still seems to be doing fine, so an ETF will only be an addition to the industry.

[Author Alert] The author’s opinions above are solely based on their own self-conducted research. Assume any and all authors are using, holding, trading and/or buying cryptoassets mentioned as a portion of his or her financial portfolio. Use information at your own risk, do you own research, never invest more than you are willing to lose.

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Author: Ponvang Bulus

Mainstream Opportunity for Cryptos: Aussies Can Now Pay Bills with Cryptocurrencies via Cointree

Crypto enthusiasts in Australia now have everything to smile about after they were handed a massive opportunity to pay their bills using cryptocurrencies. Aussies can now pay bills via over 100 cryptocurrencies.

A Mainstream Opportunity

As one of the objectives of making cryptocurrency payments a daily option for folks and businesses, an intelligence bill payment solution, Gobbill, and crypto exchange platform, Cointree, has publicized a way of making bill payments through cryptocurrency.

The ‘pay any bill with any coin’ service is a fully standardized method for domestic as well as the local industries.

Currently, it’s directing a pilot to pay BPAY bills with several recognized coins including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, and XRP. The move is undoubtedly a massive mainstream opportunity for cryptos in the country in which the crypto sphere has highly welcomed.

According to Jess Renden, operations manager at Cointree, the firm had received several requests for a bill payment mechanism via crypto. After the experimental stage, ETH, BTC, and BCH can as well be used by Aussies for making bill payments. Cointree expanding the service across their crypto portfolio sees it offer the largest selection of cryptos to pay bills across the APAC region.

Furthermore, it will offer the lowest fees in the market for bill payments when compared with similar services currently charging even 4.2% for a bill payment.

Promising Use Cases

According to Jess Renden, the early use cases were promising with a plethora of individuals as well as businesses turning to the service and putting crypto assets into some practical use.

Perhaps, the service is easy as well as a safe way of using cryptocurrency given the massive utility for personal as well as business transactions. The service will significantly reduce fraud hence ensuring the security of the members.

Undoubtedly, it’s a significant step in the right direction for cryptocurrencies, and perhaps realizing mass adoption sooner than expected. Considering the recognition given to Cointree in Australia as the safest as well as trusted blockchain businesses, who knows maybe paying bills in the country may soon turn to be entirely in cryptocurrency.

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Author: Ali Q

NEO Announces New Oversize Fee Addition as Part of Its Blockchain Mainnet Upgrade On June 3

NEO Announces New Oversize Fee Addition as Part of Its Blockchain Mainnet Upgrade On June 3
  • NEO announces it will be performing a network upgrade on June 3
  • The goal is to make general improvements on the network for it to become more efficient

The Ethereum (ETH) of China, NEO, announced that it is planning to conduct a network upgrade as soon as on June 3 at 9:00 am (GMT). The information was released in an official blog post on May 29. NEO has lost several positions in the market after the bear trend that digital assets experienced in 2018.

NEO Announces New Plans For Its Network

NEO, one of the most popular blockchain networks in the market, announced that it will be upgrading its network on June 3. According to the blog post released by the organization, one of the main features of this upgrade is related to the addition of an oversize fee that is measured in GAS, a digital currency used on the NEO blockchain. This oversize fee is going to be applied to transactions of over 1,024 bytes.

The oversize fee for transactions is going to be determined by a new formula: (transaction size) * 0.00001 GAS + 0.001 GAS. There are also some exceptions to this rule. Transactions that cost less than 0.001 GAS are going to be considered as low priority and will be capped at 1,024 bytes.

The fees that the network imposes aim at discouraging spam attacks on the network or malicious transactions. This allows users to have a better overall experience while using the network. According to the post, exchanges and individuals that are using different NEO tools should upgrade their clients to avoid transaction losses due to the new fee protocols.

The NEO 3.0 upgrade launched at the end of the last month was created in order to improve the overall network performance and its stability. Erik Zhang, the co-founder of NEO, explained that he hopes large-scale entertainment applications to start using the NEO blockchain.

Zhang mentioned that the new network provides users with the possibility to run large-scale apps on top of blockchain technology. They expect applications such as YouTube, Alipay and other giants to deploy their services on the Neo blockchain.

Currently, NEO is the 19th largest cryptocurrency in the market. It has a market capitalization of $880 million and each NEO can be purchased for $13.55, according to CoinMarketCap.

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Author: Carl T

As Cryptopia’s Bankruptcy Proceeds, Hacked Users’ Funds May Not Be Reimbursed Completely

As Cryptopia's Bankruptcy Proceeds, Hacked Users’ Funds May Not Be Reimbursed Completely
  • Cryptopia’s January hack has led the company to pursue bankruptcy proceedings.
  • Issues in the security of the exchange may point to a greater problem in the cryptocurrency industry.

Cryptopia has had a really rough year. In January, the exchange was hacked, losing millions of dollars before the exchange cut off customers from their withdrawals. The company worked hard to try and bring their platform back to consumers in March, but ultimately had to shut down when the relaunch was unsuccessful.

The proceedings for their bankruptcy case began a few weeks ago, and the liquidators are already running into trouble.

The former New Zealand exchange had made creditors hopeful that they would see their funds again as the bankruptcy commences. However, that optimism has not lasted, as the Grant Thornton auditing and liquidation firm has revealed that the entire process will end up taking “some months at least.”

Executive David Ruscoe of Grant Thornton added that the firm plans to “conduct a thorough investigation,” adding that they will be collaborating with multiple stakeholders, members of management, and shareholders for a satisfactory solution. Even in the last week alone, there has been new information discovered, which is why it is so necessary to continue with the wait for the firm to continue their research.

Even though the company has already stated which crypto wallets were responsible for holding most of the funds that were stolen, the actual hackers are difficult to figure out. Furthermore, actually figuring out which customers are owed the funds that the firm finds is becoming even more difficult. Looking at the filing on May 24th, which was processed through the Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York (SDNY), shows that the liquidators have no idea which customers should be given the funds they find.

With the filing for the emergency provisional relief, the court first needs to issue an order that would preserve an SQL database, which is presently being held in Arizona.

While the information in this database has a lot of necessary details for reconciliation, the company that hosts it publicly ended their relationship with Cryptopia during their difficulties, which is why an order from the court is crucial. In fact, Grant Thornton has already said that the reconciliation of the funds and the distribution to users simply cannot be achieved without the data.

Speaking with Cointelegraph, Pauline Shangett from ChangeNOW said that the cryptocurrency market is young, and the traditional legal system just is not set up to deal with it yet. Shangett believes that there’s two solutions that could be implemented –

“Either the space moves on to being fully decentralized and self-regulated, or it adopts the best practices of regulators. The former might lead to anarchy as cases like Cryptopia’s have a chance to happen again, which would hinder mass adoption.”

With all of the chaos that Cryptopia has come against, there’s more of a sense of urgency for legal entities to get involved in fraud causes in the industry. CEO Kamil Gorski of Blockhunters pointed out that there is plenty of tools that exchanges could implement in a way that will prevent the hacks from happening, but “there’s no obligation to use them.”

Those tools can include ways to track the funds that have been stolen, protocols that would stop payouts if something triggers it, and even ways to track bugs. Essentially, Gorski believes that that the only lesson learned here is that “this approach can end up biting them, and more importantly their users, in the a–.”

With such a lazy attitude towards security creates a problem that just leaves investors unprotected, when it would not take much to implement. Still, by lacking protection, the fault comes back on Cryptopia when the hacks occur. No amount of avoidance can help Cryptopia to escape the fact that the money will have to come from themselves.

The majority of the funds stolen in this circumstance has come from American users, which means that the SDNY could end up getting involved in the reconciliation. However, the fact that a company from New Zealand is largely profiting from predominantly Americans is a reason to be a little concerned about how the crypto industry works.

A crypto commentator named Stephen Palley even said that the purpose of a Chapter 15 bankruptcy would be to rope in the US bankruptcy court in an effort to:

“give effect to a foreign bk/liquidation proceeding.”

It also lets the courts issue an order with the database provider in Arizona to hold on to the information that they need, which was the purpose of hiring Grant Thornton in the case.

As the drama continues to unfold, it is clear that the problems that Cryptopia faces are indicative of much bigger problems in the cryptocurrency space. The regulation in the space has been the biggest focus of the market for so long, but perhaps the necessity for clearer security requirements needs to be pushed to the forefront.

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Author: Krystle M

John McAfee Lauds Dogecoin Growth as Evidence of Cryptocurrency Independence

John McAfee Lauds Dogecoin Growth as Evidence of Cryptocurrency Independence

Controversial Bitcoin bull John McAfee has pointed to the growth of Dogecoin as evidence that the cryptocurrency market is independent of the stock market. According to McAfee, Dogecoin which started as a joke has grown to become a multimillion dollar cap cryptocurrency.

“Doge started life as joke/prank coin. The coin now has a market cap of $360 million. The crypto market is, in no way, related to the stock market. Inherent value is, ultimately, based on usage. Doge is one of the fastest growing coins based on use. Go figure.”

Dogecoin indeed seems to be gaining a lot of popularity within and outside the cryptocurrency industry alike. Elon Musk had earlier referred to it as his favourite cryptocurrency. It was even reported that Musk became the CEO of Dogecoin for a few minutes, a position he still identifies with till date.

Dogecoin was founded in December 2013 as a joke cryptocurrency. The cryptocurrency grew to have a market capitalization of $60 million within a month in January 2014. It is majorly used as a tipping coin for rewarding content creators on social media, although it has a few applications outside the cryptocurrency space. It is currently the 28th largest cryptocurrency with a 9.8% ain in the last 24 hours.

The creator of the coin Billy Markus intended for it to be a more popular coin than even Bitcoin the leading cryptocurrency as well as to be an example for other altcoins. The cryptocurrency has been used for several purposes by different individuals and organisations. Notably, it was used to sell a house and has been used to raise $55,000 to sponsor NASCAR driver, Josh Wise.

This points to the usability of Dogecoin and McAfee must be referring to the fact that even a “joke” cryptocurrency can become huge provided it is useful and does not need the stock market to grow. Dogecoin currently has a market cap of nearly $410 million and is still growing.

[Author Alert] The author’s opinions above are solely based on their own self-conducted research. Assume any and all authors are using, holding, trading and/or buying cryptoassets mentioned as a portion of his or her financial portfolio. Use information at your own risk, do you own research, never invest more than you are willing to lose.

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Author: Ponvang Bulus

Coinbase Executive Confirms Company Has No Activity Within the Decentralized Exchange Arena

Coinbase Executive Confirms Company Has No Activity Within the Decentralized Exchange Arena

As Binance, the most relevant crypto exchange in the whole world is launching its own decentralized exchange (DEX) platform, many people are currently wondering whether Coinbase, the largest crypto exchange in the U. S, is going to do the same.

According to a recent interview published by The Block Crypto, it seems that Coinbase is not following Binance’s move. Emilie Choi, the company’s vice president for Business, Data and International, was interviewed by the crypto media outlet and affirmed that there are no current plans to invest in this area.

During the interview, she affirmed that the company may have bought the P2P trading platform Paradex last year but that decentralized trading was simply not one of the biggest priorities that the company had at the moment.

She did confirm that the company has eyes on this specific field, but more to watch out what is currently unfolding there than to actually be able to work on it and create something right now like Binance is currently doing.

The decision is not completely surprising as Coinbase is currently targetting more high-volume investors at the moment, especially the institutional investors and the more mainstream areas of crypto trading. Binance had a completely different strategy that is more focused on retail investors, as well as decentralization.

It should be remembered, for instance, that Binance is only focused on trading crypto assets while Coinbase has plenty of fiat options and it is a far more regulated company, too. They just cater to different types of investors, in general.

Choi affirmed that Coinbase can be considered a fiat to the crypto bridge and that the rules that they use in order to keep the company working are fairly different than the ones used by the other companies at this moment. They want to be a trusted safe space for this new economy.

According to Choi, Coinbase is far more careful with what they are doing because the company is so focused on being compliant and securing the funds of the investors at all times. This clearly makes them more averse of taking risks in currently uncharted waters, but the company is eagerly looking at the scenario in order to determine where the future is.

While Binance is often at the top of the world when it comes to trading volumes, Choi affirmed that it would be a mistake to consider that Coinbase and Binance operate at basically the same sectors of the crypto world.

Why? Because they are so different. Coinbase is focused on being a fiat to crypto bridge (especially for wealthy investors) while Binance is focused on offering numerous crypto options for people who want to play in this world. These are two very different offerings.

In related news, Coinbase is currently talking with Facebook about the mysterious GlobalCoin (known as Facebook Coin and Project Libra before). At the moment, nobody is sure about the relationship of the companies.

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Author: Gabriel M

China Investigates Illegal Bitcoin Mining Farms at Hydropwer Stations In Sichuan Province

China Investigates Illegal Bitcoin Mining Farms at Hydropwer Stations In Sichuan Province
  • The Chinese government is investigating crypto miners in the Sichuan province
  • Sichuan is one of the most important crypto mining regions in the world

Authorities in China are investigating allegedly illegal Bitcoin (BTC) mining farms that have apparently been built without the required permissions in Sichuan province. This is according to the local media agency Sina in a report on May 30.

Illegal Bitcoin Miners Investigated in China

According to a recent report released by Sina, there have been reportedly constructed 30,000 Bitcoin mining machines without approval from the government. The companies behind the constructions of these farms are currently being investigated.

In general, the alleged mining farms have been installed close to the Dadu river, which hosts the world’s biggest embankment dam. Although this dam is under construction, the region has one of the cheapest electricity prices for mining the most popular digital asset.

China and the Sichuan province specifically have been receiving large companies and investors that wanted to mine virtual currencies. Sina claims that 70% of the world’s Bitcoin are mined in China and 70% of the Chinese mining activities are focused in Sichuan province due to the electricity capabilities related to the Dady River.

There were some reports in the last months in which China’s National Development and Reform Commission, a local agency in charge of macro policies, revealed that authorities are considering banning crypto mining activities in the country.

Crypto miners need to have cheap electricity that would allow them to reduce the costs of powering energy-consuming miners and cold temperatures for miners to run more efficiently. Bitcoin mining activities tend to be profitable, but there are periods of time in which some miners have to leave the market due to an adverse market.

Bitcoin’s hash rate is currently close to its all-time high registered in September 2018 when it was over 60 million TH/s. Which is going to be the effect of this investigation on Bitcoin’s hash rate and its network is yet to be seen.

[Author Alert] The author’s opinions above are solely based on their own self-conducted research. Assume any and all authors are using, holding, trading and/or buying cryptoassets mentioned as a portion of his or her financial portfolio. Use information at your own risk, do you own research, never invest more than you are willing to lose.

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Author: Carl T

XRP Whale Alert: Ripple Exchange Wallet Trades Over 9 Billion Tokens

XRP Whale Alert: Ripple Exchange Wallet Trades Over 9 Billion Tokens

The crypto market is so mesmerized by rise in the price of Bitcoin (BTC) that some people are not paying attention in some other important factors which can also be very important for the market. For instance, today several large transactions were made using Ripple’s XRP.

These transactions were spotted by the ever attentious Whale Alert profile. According to the Twitter profile, 14 XRP transfers were made from the official Ripple wallet to several unknown wallets, which shows how active Ripple is right now.

Out of the 14 transactions, only two of them were sent out to other Ripple wallets and 12 of them were sent to unknown wallets. The profile also highlighted that some of the addresses were the same that the company sent some funds before.

A total of over 9 billion XRP tokens (almost 4 billion USD) was sent out in these transactions, which clearly shows that the amount of tokens being moved around is currentyl far from negligible. This amount of money includes the fees which were paid. Some of them were over 1,000 XRP tokens, meaning that these were, in fact, very high fees, normal with such large transactions.

Some wallets that received the tokens were reported to be activated just some time before they received the funds from the other wallets, meaning that some of them were actually new wallets which seemed to be created with the specific purpose of receiving these funds.

What Does This Mean For Ripple?

As soon as the movement was spotted, many people started to ask what was going on. These are consderably large numbers, so it picked the interest of many investors using social media during the day of the transactions.

Some people have considered that Ripple may be dumping these funds. This theory is based on the fact that the prices of XRP tokens have not been raised a lot during the month, as they are somewhat stagnated while the price of other assets such as Bitcoin has gone up with time.

Other people have complained that it is “stupid” to say that Ripple is dumping tokens because it is a big organization and it is expected that they will eventually sent out tokens to investors who are interested in them.

The truth is that nobody is sure, so we have to wait for the next moves made by the company in order to actually be able to determine what is going to happen in the future.

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Author: Gabriel M

Wilshire Phoenix Proposes Exchange Traded Product (ETP) to the SEC to Hedge Bitcoin with US T-bills

Wilshire Phoenix Proposes Exchange Traded Product (ETP) to the SEC to Hedge Bitcoin with US T-bills

The SEC has received multiple applications for Exchange Traded Product (ETF) to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). However, it has been delaying these decisions since at least the middle of last year for many of the companies that have tried to gain the listings.

This is despite the Commissioner of the SEC coming out in support of cryptocurrency and Bitcoin in particular during a recent keynote address at the Consensus Summit 2019. This has lead to many asset managers trying to find new and innovative ways to bring cryptocurrency to retail investors via physical exchanges such as the NYSE.

Upstart looking to T-Bill hedging as a solution

This is where Whilshire-Phoenix comes in. A small, some would say upstart, asset management firm thinks it has found the secret to getting SEC approval and it revolves around minimizing risk by bundling Bitcoin with various other instruments.

These are notably Treasury Bills and the product uses a proprietary formula to be able to entice larger investors who are looking to dip their toes into the Bitcoin craze. However, these same investors do not want to deal with the inherent instability that permeates the crypto market.

The fund, whose full name is The Wilshire Phoenix United States Bitcoin and Treasury Investment Trust, filed an S-1 with the SEC in January already. An amended proposal as submitted on the 21st of May and it proposed this new ETP model. The new model would group Treasury bills (T-bills) with Bitcoin. Coincidentally, NYSE Arca filed with the SEC to appeal for a rule change that would allow them to list ETPs on their exchange.

IT is a sign of the times that various companies have started looking into releasing Bitcoin-related products such as ETPs and ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds).

VanEck and Bitwise have both applied with little success, as their proposals have been stalled time and time again. The reasons given for the stalling tactics was for the SEC to garner public comment on both the stability and volatility concerns regarding investing into Bitcoin.

Finer details emerge

The ETP would be backed by Coinbase’s Custody program that is insured up to 200 million dollars. It would combine this with short term treasuries and cash equivalents that would be held by the UMB Financial Corporation.

The success or failure of the application hinges on the hedging of Bitcoin (high volatility) versus T-bills (low volatility). The fund’s formulas dictate how much is invested at any given period.

During periods of high volatility, a smaller portion of the fund would be invested into Bitcoin, whereas a much larger portion would be added in periods of low volatility. The beginning of each month would see a reallocation of funds based on the data gathered the previous month – thus allowing for some stability in a market where it has not been seen… ever.

The situation as it stands currently is that the SEC has 45 days to give an answer to Wilshire-Phoenix. An approval from the SEC would see the retail shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange Arca, giving a much wider (and richer) audience to cryptocurrency.

The fine print is interesting as well. The SEC has never approved a 19(b)-4 crypto mutual fund and that is in part due to the lack of control over the NAV (Native Asset Value) of cryptocurrency based funds. However, when looking at combined holdings, particularly when it comes to being grouped with T-bills.

The company believes that the stumbling block in the past has been the ever-present volatility factor and the company likewise believes that it has managed to solve that problem.

Many in the financial and crypto world think that the SEC would be loath to give any cryptocurrency product an approval, no matter how small of a percentage it would be. Wilshire-Phoenix spokespeople couldn’t comment on this as they are not allowed to speculate at this point of the proceedings but they do assure that they are in constant contact with the SEC.

The method they are using, however, isn’t just applicable to crypto. The reorganization of assets on a monthly basis and the formulas used to calculate the reorganization are currently waiting on a patent. This method allows a much greater control over the NAV of the product, as well as shifting the cost of rebalancing value from the customers to the fund itself.

This is done by using the interest gathered by the T-bills to pay for a portion of the rebalancing. If successful with Bitcoin, the fund will be looking to apply this method to other asset classes very soon.

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Author: Ali Raza

Susquehanna’s Bart Smith Discusses Bitcoin Price Rally, Defending Its Volatility and Its Inherent Risk

Susquehanna's Bart Smith Discusses Bitcoin Price Rally, Defending Its Volatility and Its Inherent Risk

Bart Smith, a crypto analyst and the Head of Digital Assets at financial services firm, Susquehanna, has said that even though there are quite a few factors that contributed to the recent Bitcoin price rally, the asset is still significantly speculative.

Speaking during an interview on CNBC’s Squawk Box, Smith discussed a few issues surrounding the world’s largest cryptocurrency.

On Why Bitcoin Surged

According to Smith, there are a few reasons why Bitcoin was able to shoot as high as it did and these reasons are considerably interconnected.

A factor which has been corroborated quite a few times by some leading industry analysts is the ongoing trade war currently being fought between the United States and China. It is said that people began predicting that the Yuan will be negatively affected and decided to shift base to Bitcoin. This shift, among other things, caused Bitcoin to rise.

Smith also believes that the recently held Consensus conference might also be a factor to be considered with Bitcoin’s surge. According to him, all the publicity, promotion and advertising done in anticipation of the conference did a lot to keep Bitcoin and crypto in general, on the lips of many people. This, unsurprisingly, may also have helped the coin to shoot up as press was quite favourable.

There is also the news that Fidelity Investment, a key asset management firm, is also making serious plans to begin Bitcoin trading very soon. Reports have it that when it begins, the firm will allow financial institutions exclusively and will not allow individual clients just yet.

The decision made by Fidelity could be a direct action from a recently concluded survey where the firm found that about half of all institutions view cryptocurrency as a viable financial invention to be used sometime in the future.

On Bitcoin’s Volatility

It has been said times without number, that the fact that Bitcoin is very unstable and volatile would affect its future as a widely accepted form of payment. This opinion has been supported by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) as well Richard Fisher, a contributor for CNBC.

Smith however defended the asset without completely dismissing its volatility, arguing that the market still has a lot of room to develop and possibly grow out of it high volatility. According to him:

“People who are bearish on that would say it’s too volatile. I would argue that it’s kind of in a nascent phase and if a broader adoption occurred, the volatility would damper.”

Smith also believes that the recent Bitcoin surge and its generally impressive trajectory that has been upheld so far this year, will definitely help its chances as the atmosphere is generally a bullish one. Smith explained this by pointing out that

“there is a lot of optimism from people within the Bitcoin community over the things that happened in recent months. And I think that is reflective in the price.”

Bitcoin, according to most analysts and experts is still expected to rise and do better numbers. Many people are looking forward to the Bitcoin halving that is expected to happen in May next year, as a major push for a price surge.

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Author: Tolu