Silvergate Bank Closes Out 2019 WIth Over 800 Crypto-Related Clients Despite Down Q4

One of the most crypto-friendly banks in the US, Silvergate, added 48 clients that use cryptocurrencies, in Q4 of 2019.

In a published report, this week on Silvergate’s earnings shows a 4% decrease in the deposits from their crypto customers, even though the La Jolla California-based bank managed to add almost fifty new crypto clients in the same period. Also, the bank’s deposits were down 1.8% in the same 4th quarter, they are currently trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol (SI).

The Silvergate Exchange Network Brought the New Clients on Board

Silvergate Bank’s CEO, Alan Lane, has explained in a press release that progress has been made, and the Silvergate Exchange Network (SEN) has brought new clients on board. (SEN) commercial investors to move US dollars between crypto exchanges instantly. The number of transactions on the exchange in Q4 was 14,400, 17% more than in Q3.

The bank has $2.1 billion in assets. It increased the cost of deposits from 0.5% to 0.84% and earned $1.4 million in fees from its crypto clients, which is 12.5% less than the $1.6 million from Q3. Besides, it added 11 crypto exchanges with some over-the-counter desks included, 16 crypto businesses like crypto application firms and mining operations, and 21 institutional investors.

Using Bitcoin for Fiat Loans Collateral

Silvergate had a decrease in the net income by about 45%, with $6.6 million in Q3 and only $3.6 million in Q4. Back in 2013, the bank decided to add to its traditional commercial banking services the cryptocurrency products, in an attempt to gain more clients that make non-interest bearing deposits.

What Silvergate does is convert deposits at other banks into interest-bearing ones, also in loans and investment securities. Just as this year started, They launched the SEN Leverage product for traders to use Bitcoin (BTC) as collateral against their fiat loans. The bank also hired Benjamin Richman, the former Blockstream exec, as the new director.

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Author: Oana Ularu

The US Twiddles Their Regulatory Thumbs As Asian Countries Are Becoming Crypto Powerhouses

2019 did not turn out to be the year of bulls as many had expected, but despite that cryptocurrencies and blockchain dominated the world news for their growing influence in various sectors around the globe. Interestingly, it’s not just world power which is seeing a gradual shift from West to East the Eastern world is also dominating the west in terms of crypto and blockchain acceptance and regulation.

Asia is currently leading the blockchain and cryptocurrency race with several countries in the continent looking to either implement friendly regulations or have already made strides. China towards the last quarter of 2019 called for accelerated crypto adoption, while Singapore has become one of the leading choices for fintech firms, as the country provides access to south Asian Markets of over 600 million people.

Singapore’s Payment Services Act which is slated to come into action by January 28th is already being seen as one of the most progressive and comprehensive regulatory frameworks covering blockchain and cryptocurrencies. The act is set to cement Singapore’s position as the hub for the fintech industry.

Central Governments Will Also Venture Into The Decentralized Space

Many central governments who were strictly against regulating crypto use in any form have come around to realize the potential of these digital assets. These governments have also realized that it is next to impossible to put a blanket ban on these cryptocurrencies and thus they are looking to regulate crypto trading.

Many central banks from Asia have also shown a great interest in launching a Central Bank Issued Digital Currency (CBDC) to offer faster cross-border remittance services while still maintaining their financial sovereignty. China is slated to become the first country of the world to launch its national digital currency whose research they started back in 2014 itself.

Many crypto analysts believe that governments around the globe understand the shortcomings in the fiat monetary system and know that it would lead to financial instability. This is the reason not just China but many other nations have started their research and development wing to study digital currencies and also develop a stablecoin pegged by the national fiat system.

While Asian countries are actively working to be at the top of the blockchain game Western nations especially the US and many developed nations of Europe are still not clear about the scope of use of cryptocurrencies in their nation.

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Author: James W

Poll Hints Majority Doesn’t See XRP Hitting $1 Ever, Is Ripple at Fault?

  • XRP is the second biggest loser among the top 10 cryptocurrencies of 2019
  • The digital asset to face selling pressure from Ripple and adoption issues within the network
  • XRP never hitting $1 or as soon as next year, some extremely bullish with $589 next month

The third-largest cryptocurrency XRP is down 95% from its all-time high of $3.92. And according to the majority of the voters to the Mati Greenspan, founder of investment firm Quantum Economics’ poll, the digital asset isn’t ever going to $1.

While 39.4% of the respondents out of the total 1,831 voters, till now, sees $1 “never” happening, with 37.5% votes, a close second comes 2020. So, overall it’s more of a tie between $1 never coming or happening next year.

Some crypto enthusiasts (12.6%) also see the digital asset climbing to $1 in 2027 while a few (10.5%) are extremely bullish, seeing $589 next month.

XRP Continues to Lose

The first time, XRP hit $1 was during the 2017 bull run on December 21st. But since hitting its peak in January 2018, XRP has been crashing. It is the second biggest loser among the top 10 cryptocurrencies after Stellar Lumens of 2019.

Currently, we are trading at $0.192 and went as low as $0.186 last week, which was 27-months low.

But why is the third-largest cryptocurrency dragging on so much?

According to Greenspan, “XRP tokenomics is a bit funny that way.”

What’s Behind its Poor Performance?

The former analyst at eToro pointed out two main issues with XRP’s poor performance. The first one is Ripple holds a large portion of XRP tokens and selling them into the rallies.

The company owns 60% of all the XRP ever created. Also, Ripple has sold more than $1.2 billion growth of XRP since Q4 of 2016 and the company books its XRP sales as revenues, notes Messari. Out of the $1.5 billion Ripple raised since it was founded in 2012, $1.2 billion belongs to XRP sales.

“XRP tokenomics” is to blame.

“XRP tokenomics” is to blame.

“XRP tokenomics” is to blame.

However, recently, on this, Ripple CTO David Schwartz replied,

“Nobody buys XRP to give Ripple money to do things. We were vc/angel-funded and were going to build regardless. We started selling XRP only after there was a market price and for negligible amounts compared to our other funding.”

The second issue behind the poor price performance of Ripple’s XRP token according to Greenspan is

“Usage of the network does not necessarily require XRP tokens. Banks can use Ripplenet w/o ever touching the token.”

As Ripple announced during its SWELL 2019 event, the company has now more than 300 banks and financial institutions as partners. And currently, only about 17 of them use XRP to move funds.

The market in consolidation, People returning to the King

In the long term, however, prospects he said are “quite bullish.”

But in the short term, XRP faces selling pressure from Ripple itself and adoption issues within the network.

In a separate tweet, Greenspan explained that the market is currently in a “great consolidation” period where the entire is returning to the king, Bitcoin.

“People are realizing that many of the altcoins had exaggerated valuations beyond what the projects were worth” added Greenspan.

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Author: AnTy

China Regulators Issue ‘Serious Warning’ On CryptoCurrencies; We Support Blockchain, Not Crypto

China is once again getting worried about the expansion of cryptocurrencies. Regulators have requested authorities to prevent the use of digital currencies by individuals in the country. This is according to a recently released announcement by the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC). In this report, they talk about the risks related to cryptocurrencies and their influence in the financial market.

Chinese Authorities Worried About Crypto Expansion

In the aforementioned announcement, crypto trading activities, digital currency mortgage provision, and other services are a risk for the economy. At the same time, the expansion of crypto assets violates regulations established by the People’s Bank of China (PBoC).

Regulators in Beijing have already called local authorities to combat and fight against these activities that are expanding in the market. China has mostly been against digital assets and their different use cases. Back in 2017, China banned cryptocurrency trading activities causing the whole market to drop.

In addition to that, the Chinese government stated that individuals and institutions cannot be involved in the sale of cryptocurrencies nor invest in them. Users and companies cannot perform transactions or trade digital currencies.

Other countries such as South Korea have also decided to ban Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) as well. This has also affected the whole ecosystem at the end of 2017 when blockchain projects were expanding in the space.

Despite China’s negative stance towards digital assets and the industry, the government has shown interest in distributed ledger technology (DLT) and how it could be used to improve the economy and its efficiency. However, they stated at that time that their support to blockchain technology shouldn’t be considered an endorsement to cryptocurrencies.

Some reports were also suggesting that miners could also be affected by a government ban. Regarding this issue, a finalized version of the list of industrial activities that the country was planning to eliminate shows that banning Bitcoin mining was not included in their plans.

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Author: Carl T

Bank of America Merrill Lynch Calls Bitcoin (BTC) The Best Asset Class In The Last 10 Years

This may not be news for anyone following cryptocurrencies in the last couple of years, but Bitcoin is now considered the best asset class in the last ten years. This is according to a list from the banking giant Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML) in which it included some of the best and worst asset classes of the decade.

Bitcoin Became One Of The Best Asset Classes In The Last Decade

According to BAML, an investor who would have paid $1 for a Bitcoin in 2010 would now have a $90,026 investment today. This is a large difference compared to an investment in U.S. equities that would have turned $1 in 2010 to $3.46 today.

At the same time, the worst investment would have been Myanmar, the Burmese Kyat, that today would be worth $0.004. This shows Bitcoin registered a massive increase in price since it was launched back in 2008 by Satoshi Nakamoto.

Nowadays, the cryptocurrency is being stagnant trading in the range of $7100 to $7,250 with a market capitalization of $131.56 billion. Although this is a massive price compared to the early days of the cryptocurrency, enthusiasts are waiting for new all-time highs. Bitcoin hit $20,000 in 2017 and quickly started to decline afterward. Experiencing one of the worst bear markets in crypto history. While the BTC price did hit just shy of $14,000 earlier this year, investors are waiting on the digital currency to reach new highs again. And that may happen in the next 6 months if the Bitcoin reward halving in May 2020 will push the price towards an all-time high.

Bitcoin can be used to make international transfers in just a few minutes and it can also be used as a speculative asset. Many investors bet that Bitcoin would skyrocket to new all-time highs in the future. Indeed, some analysts suggest Bitcoin could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for enthusiasts.

It is not possible to predict what can happen to Bitcoin in the next ten years and whether it will remain as the best performing asset class. However, larger investors such as institutions could enter the market and push its price even higher. If governments decide to adopt it, this cryptocurrency could eventually be considered the best performing asset in the next decade as well.

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Author: Carl T

Binance Supports New Fiat Onramp to Buy Crypto Assets with the Indian Rupee via WazirX

Binance can now purchase Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies through Rupee bank transfers that are powered by WazirX, the Indian digital exchange for assets.

Not banned in the country, people in India still find it difficult to trade and buy Bitcoin because banks don’t have the green light to work with crypto exchanges and companies. WazirX is one of the very few exchanges that’s still operating on the Indian market, having over 200,000 users and a monthly trading volume of $30 million. This trading volume is quite low when compared with the rest of the country’s market.

Binance CEO Doesn’t Worry About the Potential Indian Crypto Ban

Changpeng Zhao, the CEO of Binance has stated that he doesn’t worry about India’s regulations on the Bitcoin. He says, it’s a “proposed” bill, not [a] passed bill.” He also added that Binance is now helping 1.3 billion more people to get use of the crypto world.

WazirX Acquired by Binance

The Ruppe integration arrives a week after WarizX has been acquired by Binance for a sum between $5 to $10 million, as reports are saying. This is what Nischal Shetty, the CEO of WazirX had to say about the acquisition:

“[The] Binance acquisition helps us get all the help and support we need to achieve rapid growth. Binance believes in the scope of Crypto in India.”

6 Supported Fiat Currencies on Binance

At the moment, Binance’s trading platform supports 6 fiat currencies, including the already mentioned Indian Rupee (INR), the Russian Ruble (RUB), the Nigerian Naira (NGN), the Euro (EUR), the Kazakhstani Tenge (KZT) and the Ukrainian Hryvnia (UAH). Bitcoin can be purchased with Rupees, but Binance doesn’t offer trading against this fiat currency at the moment.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Livepeer Wants to Make GPU Mining Profitable Again, Plans Release of New Methods to Earn Crypto

GPU miners, often forgotten by most companies, could find a new way to earn cryptocurrencies soon. Livepeer, a prominent decentralized video streaming platform, is ready to debut its newest product, which is said to be called Streamflow, this week.

With Streamflow, both crypto miners and developers can use the idle chips of their GPUs to make money. The founder of the company, Doug Petkanics, affirms that there are millions of GPUS sitting out there without doing anything and that they could be generating money for their owners if they were used.

“The millions of GPUs out there that are mining cryptocurrency, ethereum, zcash, grin, monero, they have video encoding on those chips that can’t hash cryptocurrency,”

Doug Petkanics, Livepeer’s founder explained, “They are sitting there doing absolutely nothing.”

Basically, the idea is that people can continue to mine whatever it is that they are mining using their GPUs, but they will also be able to use an idle part of the GPU structure to earn ETH in fees and Livepeer’s LPT tokens as rewards for participating in the network.

Petkanics believes that this can be seen as additional revenue for miners without basically any new costs at all. This way, they can simply make their life more profitable than before without any problems.

Right now, however, Livepeer is still in Alpha testing stage. The mining is not based on GPUs yet, only CPUs, meaning that miners could not simultaneously use their equipment to mine tokens for major networks and for Livepeer at the same time as of yet. The changes will officially happen as soon as the company launches upgrades to the system, which will use the Merkle mining system.

Recently, Livepeer had an $8 million USD seed equity round, in which the company received the funds for most of its operation moving forward.

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Author: Hank Klinger

Thailand Sees The Launch Of Its First Legal ICO Platform via Seamico Securities

Thailand has come a long way in accepting the crypto market. After the initial idea to ban cryptocurrencies back in 2013, the country has now seen the launch of the first legal Initial Coin Offering (ICO) platform.

The announcement was made by Seamico Securities, which affirmed that its subsidiary SE Digital had opened the first ICO portal in the country. The company was able to get permission to launch the first legal ICO ever in the country. SE Digital’s goal is to raise around $66 to $100 million USD with the upcoming token sale.

SE Digital’s CEO Jesadavat Priebjrivat has affirmed that this will open a new page in the history of the country and that Thailand will become one of the first nations in the region to offer digital tokens in a fully legal way, something very important for the international consolidation of the country as a technology hub.

According to Stephen Ng, the Chief Marketing Officer of the company, this market is set to make Thailand much more competitive than it already is in the capital markets. This could create an influx of international capital go to the country, which is why it is so important to innovate.

The company is set to offer several important services related to ICOs, such as advisory, access to secondary markets such as OTC desks, Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures and help with the launch.

Educational programs are also going to be done. Their goal is to make partners and regulators understand as much as possible from the field. ICOs are still new in the country, so not everybody is very exposed to them. This means that this is an important step to achieve better results down the road.

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Author: Gabriel Machado

Premier of Bermuda: Crypto Assets Balance Out the Powers of ‘Big Tech’ and Government

Edward David Burt, the Premier of Bermuda, has recently affirmed that cryptocurrencies can work as a great equalizer against “big tech”. He affirmed this during a recent interview with Forbes. According to him, cryptos are important to ensure that citizens are not at the mercy of big corporations and the government.

The Premier has a background as a programmer and entrepreneur, so he is pretty excited about the prospects of Bitcoin. He affirmed that crypto can be used to make a society that is more equal and that micropayments will completely change how the technology landscape is today. His direct quote was;

“Facebook and Google make money because they have your data, but they don’t pay for access to your data. However, when you talk about the ability to have infinitesimally-sized pieces of value so someone can pay you […] for using your data … […] the promise of cryptocurrency is to actually take power away from those large companies.”

Today, he affirmed, large companies such as Facebook and Google are able to make a lot of money by selling the data of the customers. Cryptocurrencies can be used to take that power away from them, as they would, for the first time, have to ask permission to be able to sell the data, and pay something back to the people.

Despite not trusting Facebook, he did affirm that most regulators were too afraid of the Libra and that they should be focused on innovation instead of pushing it back. According to him, you simply can’t stop the future and trying is a futile effort.

During his interview, he also talked about how fintech innovation is important for the national strategies of countries. According to him, the industry is growing in Bermuda and seeking talent abroad, as the government understands how important it is for the economy to invest in this nascent industry. Adding;

“Whether it’s Libra, when we talk about ICOs and different things, the fact is that it’s no different from when stocks and bonds were startup financial services.” […] “It’s going to happen. The Internet can’t be shut off.”

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Author: Saad U

Coin Wallet Interview: Team Reveals Largest Growth in Users are from India, Thailand, Vietnam

There are now more than 2,000 cryptocurrencies and hundreds of digital wallet service providers.

While most online wallets work in similar ways, we recently asked the developer of Coin Wallet about the different features that their wallet offers and how it is able to support a large number of digital tokens.

Bitcoin Exchange Guide: You’ve mentioned on your official website that more than 20 million Coin Bitcoin Wallets have been created and $120 billion in cryptocurrency transactions have been processed through your company’s wallet. Please tell us which particular features in your wallet app are the most popular and other possible reasons why your wallet is being used so frequently

Coin Wallet Team: “We see the largest growth in underdeveloped countries like India, Vietnam and Thailand. We believe the popularity of Coin Bitcoin Wallet in these parts of the world are due to the large number of unbanked people and the availability of fast mobile networks.

We expect the uses to be a mix of peer-to-peer (P2P) payments and money transmittance between family members working in countries like Dubai. We also see many new users in countries where bitcoin usage is already more established like the US and Germany.”

BitcoinExchangeGuide: You’ve noted on your website that Coin Wallet works with ERC20 and ERC223 compliant tokens. It also supports major cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Litecoin, Dogecoin, Bitcoin Cash, EOS, Ripple, Stellar and Ethereum. Over 20,000 digital tokens are accessible through the Coin Wallet app.

Is it safe and secure for users to hold and transact in such a large number of cryptocurrencies through your wallet? Please explain what makes your wallet reliable.

Coin Wallet Team: “This comes down to a question of trust, we have been in the Crypto wallet space since 2015. We have never had a breach or any type of loss of user funds. We take the security of our systems very seriously and use state of the art security tools. We also designed Coin Wallet to be used on a day to day basis just like you use a traditional fiat wallet.

Transacting quickly and simply with vendors or stores who take Bitcoin or crypto as payments. That being said, our users do not have large amounts stored in wallets like you would in a cold wallet. These are smaller amounts used to transact day to day.”

BitcoinExchangeGuide: What measures has your company taken to ensure the security of your company wallet and user funds?

Coin Wallet Team: “For obvious reasons we do not discuss the particular software products we have deployed but we use the industry’s leading web application protection software on all of our web apps and APIs. We also do quarterly security reviews and audits across all systems. Our DevOps teams work closely with our Security team to ensure what gets put into production is always focused on securing users’ funds.”

BitcoinExchangeGuide: Hardware wallets are quite technical for many users that may not be very tech-savvy. Is it safe to store crypto assets in hot wallets? What are some basic things we can do to ensure that our funds stay safe?

Coin Wallet Team: “There are basically two very different use cases for these two types of wallets. Hardware wallets are harder to use but not accessed on a frequent basis. Hot wallets and CoinSpace specifically are very safe to use every day from your mobile device or web browser.

Also, we do not hold any user funds and our users are interacting directly with the blockchain. In this architecture, the only possible compromise is losing your private keys. Users only get this private key pair or passphrase at signup and it’s never shown or stored by CoinSpace. This makes for a system that’s non-custodial. Even CoinSpace employees do not have access to customers’ private keys.”

BitcoinExchangeGuide: Please share some tips on how to avoid phishing attacks and tell us how we can prevent malware programs from affecting our computer systems.

Coin Wallet Team: “Phishing is the simplest of the two issues to address as we do not require any registration, you will never get any emails from CoinSpace. We do not even collect customer emails. Privacy is one of the most important things to us after security.

It’s still very important to always check that you are using the Coin.Space URL at all times. Since we are a Web Wallet on PCs and native Android or iOS App on Apple devices, these ecosystems provide adequate protection for malware. But it can’t hurt to also run additional endpoint protection your computer systems.”

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Author: Omar Faridi