FCA Cautions Against Sketchy CFDPremium Scam to United Kingdom Investors

FCA Cautions Against Sketchy CFDPremium Scam to United Kingdom Investors

The U. K.’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), one of the most important financial regulators in the country, has decided to warn the local investors against a new company called CFDPremium, which is targeting U. K.-based investors with offshore investments, including crypto.

According to the Britain regulator, this is a part of the ongoing effort in order to warn the public about the scams which are so common in the market.

CFDPremium is not a company based in the United Kingdom. It offers mostly crypto services such as Bitcoin and Litecoin investments, and also offshore investments for users. The warning was sent out because the company was deemed as fake by the regulators. According to them, CFDPremium is not authorized to offer its business in the country or to local investors.

Therefore, the company would represent a high risk for investors that could be speculative and make them lose their investments if they decided to give it a chance.

This is not the first company to try to offer CFDs to customers without being properly regulated. This kind of investment, unlike crypto, cannot be offered by companies which are not properly regulated by the countries in which they are offering their products.

For instance, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has prohibited these companies from offering their products in all European countries without communicating with the authorities first and being completely compliant with all the local laws.

Another concern that the FCA currently has is that companies will use their overseas brands in order to sell products that can be fake or that are unregulated and will offer unexpected dangers for investors. Products like this can create several risks to the users and consumers, so they should be avoided.

In other occasions, the FCA has warned the local investors against any kind of “get rich quick” scheme such as these ones, because most of the time they are scams poorly disguised as real investments which will only take the money off the investors and vanish, which they can do because they work outside of the country and are, therefore, more likely to evade the law.

Another important problem is that most people see cryptos as shortcuts for getting quick money, which actually helps when some company uses them either as a way to escape sanctions or as a buzzword.

Finally, it was affirmed by the FCA that people should be aware that some companies affirm that they are regulated under the local law but they are not. In these cases, you should always check with the authorities before you invest.

Crypto Scams Are Most Profitable Than Most Altcoins

A new study made by Longhash showed that two popular crypto scams, Onecoin and Bitconnect, were actually more profitable than several altcoins. When comparing the market cap of these scams with tokens, both scams were featured in the top 10, using information from CoinMarketCap.

This is a certainly very worrisome scenario that shows just how important it is to stop these fake crypto offerings from reaching incautious investors.

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Author: Gabriel M

Bitcoin Blender Users Ordered to Withdraw Funds in Sudden Shut Down of Crypto Mixing Service

Bitcoin Blender Users Ordered to Withdraw Funds in Sudden Shut Down of Crypto Mixing Service
  • Bitcoin Blender voluntarily shut down its cryptocurrency mixing services.
  • Vitalik Buterin commented that he may launch a similar service for ether.

The bear market of the cryptocurrency industry has proven that no firm is safe from the lack of activity during hard times. Unfortunately, that is the fate that Bitcoin Blender recently reached. Bitcoin Blender, a cryptocurrency mixing service, chose to shut down operations this week, asking that users withdraw their funds.

This development was reported by BleepingComputer on May 30th, saying that the service posted a message on their website, which appeared on both the Tor network and on Clearnet. The message stated:

“We are a hidden service that mixes your bitcoins to remove the link between you and your transactions. This adds an essential layer of anonymity to your online activity to protect against ‘Blockchain Analysis.’”

This Monday, the shut down was announced on the BitcoinTalk Forums, and there were many users left with no ability to actually withdraw their funds, considering the short window.

One user mentioned that they were unable to succeed in accessing the website over the course of two to three hours, and that they had missed the warning from the company to withdraw their funds.

Presently, the Tor mirror cannot be accessed, but the Clearnet website is still available. Authorities in Europe had banned BestMixer, which is one of the three largest cryptocurrency tumblers, due to their connection with money laundering.

This type of criminal activity is always a major concern amongst mixers, depending on the team and which groups can access it. However, it also promotes the anonymity of the market that many consumers prefer.

Vitalik Buterin, the well-known co-founder of Ethereum, made an announcement soon after Bitcoin Blender shut down their service, saying that he may begin a mixing service for one-chain smart contract-based ether. The note by Buterin can be viewed at https://hackmd.io/s/rJj9hEJTN#We-need-a-first-step-toward-more-privacy.

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Author: Krystle M

Tim Draper Expresses Uneasiness for Ethereum’s Issuance Rate but Impressed by Smart Contracts

Tim Draper Expresses Uneasiness for Ethereum’s Issuance Rate but Impressed by Smart Contracts

During a recent interview with Ethereum Classic Labs, American Venture Capital Investor, Timothy Cook Draper expressed his uneasiness with Ethereum, while also praising the blockchain reports CCN.

What troubles the investor who is popularly known for his $250,000 prediction for the crypto giant, Bitcoin [BTC], is Ethereum’s issuance rate of two to four percent yearly.

In particular, he feels like everything is in Founder, Vitalik Buterin’s hand, stressing that he seems to have all the decision-making power. Here’s as per his quote:

“[Buterin] can just arbitrarily say, ‘hey, we’re just going to print 10% of this sh*t […]’ He may not but whoever follows him might. That’s the part I don’t like […] The whole point is to be decentralized.”

These comments come from the fact that Ethereum is moving from Proof-of-Work to Proof-of-Stake, ultimately leading to a reduced token issuance rate.

All this being said, Draper has always been a big supporter of smart contracts, which Ethereum is more or less known for. While he is aware of its likes on Bitcoin’s blockchain, he stressed the fact that it couldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for Ethereum, who initially paved the path.

Draper is expecting blockchain technology’s impact to expand over time. Industries such as banking and finance have already witnessed the efficiency that arises from the integration of blockchain technology. However, the investor wants to see more, mentioning the likes of the real estate, health and insurance sectors’ use of blockchain.

Towards the end of the interview, Draper shared his viewpoint on Bitcoin, where he proposed the best time for making investments. He believes that any time beats not investing at all. More specifically:

“People say, ‘Oh I wish I’d gotten in before.’ I think that’s wrong-headed. They’re going to look back as say either I did, or I could have gotten in on that ground floor when it was $8K.”

Draper also noted that before Bitcoin can reach new heights, investors can expect to see its value fluctuate or even drop, as the rise in Bitcoin puts banks in danger – hence investors should predict some manipulation from the latter’s end.

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Author: Nirmala Velupillai

Coinbase Reveals Chief Operating Officer is Departing as CEO Brian Armstrong Shares Kind Words

Coinbase Reveals Chief Operating Officer is Departing as CEO Brian Armstrong Shares Kind Words

Asif Hirji is leaving Coinbase. Known as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the company, Hirji has decided to leave the company.

He worked on Andreessen Horowitz and TD Ameritrade Holdings Corp. before Coinbase and joined the San Francisco-based crypto company on December 2017, when cryptos were at their highest point so far.

When Hirji entered the company, cryptos were peaking and the roller coaster started soon after he started his role. Under his guidance, Coinbase made a bigger push into international markets and started to also be nearer institutional investors at this time. Also during his time in the position, Emilie Choi was defined as the vice president of the company.

Brian Armstrong, the CEO and founder of Coinbase, the experience of Hirji was very important for the company, as he helped to guide it through a very important chapter of the company’s story. He said that the executive entered the company at a very important time and that he was critical in order to help with growth.

“His experience and mentorship helped guide Coinbase through an important chapter in its history,” Brian Armstrong, Coinbase co-founder and chief executive officer, said in the statement. “He joined at a critical time when both the company and crypto space were going through rapid growth, bringing his extensive experience to bear when it was most necessary.”

The official announcement of the departure happened today, May 31, and it seems that the last day in which Hirji was still in the company was yesterday.

Hirji also talked about leaving the company on his social media profile. He affirmed that the “tour of duty” was over as he helped to scale the company to the value of $1 billion USD in value, launched several new assets and helped the company to achieve the valuation of $8 billion USD.

Others Are Leaving Coinbase As Well

Coinbase seems to be during a renovation time. Not only Hirji left recently, but also other important executives in the company. The former Chief Technology Officer Balaji Srinivasan, for instance, was a big leader that left the company recently. Others include Adam White, Dan Romero and Christine Sandler.

While Coinbase argues that its business is continuing to grow fast, there are already some concerns about the future of the company, especially considering that many key executives are currently leaving it.

However, do not panic if you are interested in seeing Coinbase survive. Choi was one of the first people hired by Hirji and she seems to be doing a good job, looking closely at new partnerships together with the CEO, so the legacy started by Hirji may continue to be present in the company even after him and other people left.

Emilie Choi started her Silicon Valley career at Yahoo! and then she worked on both Flickr, LinkedIn and Aliababa before going to Coinbase, where she is now.

Some changes which are happening in the company right now are that it has undergone a process of de-emphasizing the focus on institutional investors and also has axed a project that was focused on high-frequency traders as well.

The areas in which the company grew the most were Coinbase Custody and over the counter (OTC) trading, according to reports from the CEO Brian Armstrong. The OTC desk, for instance, grew 100% in a single quarter.

At the time of this report, Coinbase employs a total of 800 people.

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Author: Gabriel M

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