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Hodler’s Digest, March 4–10: Top Stories, Price Movements, Quotes and FUD of the Week

In major news this week, university students seem to be making a profit mining crypto, and Jack Dorsey buys $10,000 of BTC a week.

Top Stories This Week

Research: ‘Free’ Electricity for Students Makes College Campuses Major Crypto Miners

According to research from tech conglomerate Cisco, college campuses are the second-largest crypto miners across industry verticals. The researchers investigated crypto mining activities across a variety of industries, finding that university campuses are ranked the second-biggest miners of digital currency at 22 percent, with the energy and utilities sector in first at around 34 percent. According to the research, the increasing mining difficulty for many cryptocurrency means that a higher amount electricity is needed, making it profitable for students to mine since the university pays their electricity costs.

‘Coffee for Bakkt’? Starbucks Equity Deal Will See Crypto-Based Payments, Source Claims

An unconfirmed report about Starbucks’ partnership with United States digital asset platform Bakkt this week has revealed that the coffee giant will allegedly accept Bitcoin-based payments after an equity deal. Starbucks had become a founding partners in Bakkt when it was revealed in August 2018, but had shut down rumors that it would be accepting BTC for coffees. Now, an unnamed source has said that the chain will accept Bitcoin through Bakkt’s software, but it will instantly convert the crypto into fiat, so that Starbucks will never actually hold any cryptocurrency.

Crypto Lending Company BlockFi Launches Crypto Accounts With Bitcoin and Ethereum Support

BlockFi, a crypto wealth management and lending firm, has launched new cryptocurrency accounts supporting both Ethereum (ETH) and Bitcoin (BTC), with 6 percent annual interest paid monthly in crypto. According to this week’s announcement, the interest earned in the BlockFi accounts compounds monthly, with results in an annual percentage yield of 6.2 percent. As well, the accounts are not entirely newly created, as they have been in private beta since the beginning of 2019 and reportedly already hold more than $10 billion in assets. The accounts are custodied at the Gemini Trust Company (Gemini  – the custodian of the crypto exchange lead by the Winklevoss Twins), which is regulated by the New York State Department of Financial Services.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Alludes to Spending $10,000 a Week on Bitcoin

Jack Dorsey, the CEO of both Twitter and Square, hinted in a podcast interview this week that he has been spending $10,000 per week on Bitcoin. When talking about the idea of “Stacking Sat Saturday” —  a trend where users buy $25 in BTC every week to both promote and show crypto adoption — Dorsey noted that “[he] saw that [Stacking Sat Saturday] on Twitter […]”. “I would have participated but I have already exceeded my limit on CashApp. I can’t purchase anymore,” – he said. Since the maximum weekly buy limit on Square’s CashApp is $10,000, Dorsey’s statement implies that he spent $10,000 on cryptocurrency, probably Bitcoin, in one week. Dorsey further noted that he will be able to join the Stacking Sat Saturday next week.

Coinbase CEO: Ex-Hacking Team Neutrino Members Will Transition out of Company Roles

This week, co-founder and CEO of major United States crypto exchange and wallet Coinbase Brian Armstrong said that all staff at Neutrino with prior connections to controversial software firm Hacking Team will transition out of their new roles at Coinbase. The major crypto exchange had experienced backlash after announcing the acquisition after it came to light that several Neutrino members had worked with Hacking Team, which has been accused of selling tracking software to authoritarian regimes. Armstrong acknowledged in his statement that Coinbase did not properly evaluate the team from the perspective of their mission.

Winners and Losers

The crypto markets have seen a relatively stable week, with Bitcoin trading at $3,932, Ethereum at $136 and Ripple at $0.31. Total market cap is around $133 billion.

The top three altcoin gainers of the week are Indorse Token, ICE ROCK MINING and 4NEW. The top three altcoin losers of the week are dietbitcoin, Freicoin and ILCoin.

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

Most Memorable Quotations

“If that functionality Create2 had existed at the time, there wouldn’t have been a vulnerability, basically.”

Jutta Steiner, Parity CEO, speaking about the Parity multisig freeze

“The Morgan Creek Digital team will fly to meet them [Kroger team] and get them hooked up with the Lightning Network nationwide.”

Anthony Pompliano, Morgan Creek Digital founder, tweeting to Kroger after one of its retail chains stopped accepting Visa

 

“Cryptocurrencies are a great idea, but the world is not ready for them yet.”

Eugene Kaspersky, the CEO of cybersecurity giant Kaspersky

 

“Let’s think about this. [JPM] announced the JPM Coin for institutional customers. If you give them a dollar as deposit, they’ll give you a JPM Coin, that you then can move in the JPM ledger. Wait a minute, just use the dollar! I really don’t understand […] what problem that solves.”

Brad Garlinghouse, Ripple (XRP) CEO, talking about the JPM Coin

 

“I don’t think this will turn out to be a complete delusion.”

Niall Ferguson, British economic and financial historian, talking about crypto

 

“Cryptocurrency as a technology has absolutely no basis for success, and the mother of all bubbles is now bust.”

Nouriel Roubini, economist and cryptocurrency critic

FUD of the Week

Bloomberg: Crypto Companies Still Run Into Trouble Opening Bank Accounts

A Bloomberg report this week found the companies in the cryptocurrency industry are still having trouble opening bank accounts. According to various companies cited, banks are reluctant to grant accounts to those working in the crypto industry because “it’s a massive compliance headache that they don’t want to put the resources in to solve.’’ Giving some examples, Bloomberg referred to crypto payment processor BitPay specifically having trouble opening accounts. Bloomberg also quoted Silvergate Bank’s November 2019 IPO filing that noted that crypto businesses have as much as $40 billion to deposit.

NEM Foundation Releases Restructuring Plan Amid Financial Difficulties

The NEM Foundation released a financial and organizational plan for restructuring this week, in the wake of previous news that the foundation was running low on its native XEM tokens. According to the announcement, the foundation intends to set up a transformation task force in order to work on short term goals, like the development of weekly and monthly reporting structures, as well as scorecards for grading employee performance. The foundation also noted that they have hired SDK developers in order to fund the expansion of its current SDKs to include Python, PHP and Unity in addition to the current Javascript and Java.

US District Attorney Charges OneCoin Founders With ‘Billions’ in Alleged Fraud

The founders of an international cryptocurrency pyramid scheme have been charged with fraud by the U.S. Attorney Office of the Southern District of New York. The two leaders of OneCoin, Konstantin Ignatov and his sister Ruja Ignatova, were arrested this week in Los Angeles under the charges of wire and securities fraud, as well as money laundering, as part of their business that reportedly lured investors into spending billions of dollars on a fraudulent cryptocurrency. The U.S. investigation reportedly found that OneCoin generated almost $4 billion in sale revenue in the fourth quarter of 2014 and the third quarter of 2016, with profits of around $2.5 billion.

Best Cointelegraph Features

Unpacking Schnorr Signatures: Blockstream’s MuSig to Improve Bitcoin Transactions?

As any major changes to Bitcoin’s protocol are always met with controversy and discussion in the crypto community, Cointelegraph examines in this analysis the potential benefits of Blockstream’s new Schnorr-based multisignature scheme on the Bitcoin blockchain.

The SEC’s Guidelines and Statements Show That It’s Slowly Learning to Accept ICOs

United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has had a varied approach to cryptocurrencies, with much debate about their classifications as securities. However, there are signs that the securities regulator is becoming more accepting of ICOs. In this analysis, Cointelegraph looks at how the SEC’s position on ICOs has changed.

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‘Coffee for Bakkt’? Starbucks Equity Deal Will See Crypto-Based Payments, Source Claims

An unknown number of shares has allegedly changed hands between Bakkt and Starbucks in return for payments support.

New details about Starbucks’ partnership with United States cryptocurrency platform Bakkt suggest the coffee giant will accept Bitcoin (BTC)-based payments after an equity deal, cryptocurrency industry news outlet The Block reported on Mar. 4.

Starbucks, which became known as a founding partner in Bakkt upon its unveiling in August last year, will reportedly support its software to allow U.S. customers to pay for products.

As The Block reported, no actual cryptocurrency will end up processed by the chain, as the crypto will be instantly transferred into fiat.

Still in the final pre-release stages, Bakkt aims to become a major on-ramp for investors looking to gain exposure to cryptocurrencies. Among its plans are the issuance of physically-delivered Bitcoin futures contracts, scheduled for later this year depending on regulatory approval.

Starbucks had originally denied any idea that its input would result in “coffee for Bitcoin.” Now, it appears that the company has secured considerable equity in Bakkt, and in return will accept crypto payment indirectly.

“There’s high value from having a brand at this level,” the publication quoted an unnamed expert close to the deal as commenting. The Block notes that only U.S. customers will have access to Bakkt’s BTC-USD services at first.

As Cointelegraph previously noted, Bakkt has faced ongoing delays to its initial launch as executives stressed the need for full regulatory compliance. The Block, citing an unnamed source, notes that Starbucks will wait to activate the crypto-fiat coffee purchase abilities until after Bakkt’s platform has launched and shown a capacity for holding and storing crypto.

The Block’s source reportedly said:

“In many ways, there are limits to what Starbucks can do with partnerships because there are limits to what customers can expect,”

Grappling with the patchwork U.S. regulatory landscape, some commentators have been buoyant about the platform’s ability to increase the public profile of Bitcoin in particular, opening up cryptocurrency as a trustworthy mainstream asset.

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Bakkt Launch Postponed Again and an Update To Be Provided in Early 2019

A week ago, Ethereum World News had notified the crypto community that the launch of Bakkt might be postponed for a second time due to delays getting the necessary approvals to launch by the 24th of January. In the report, we had explored how the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) might need extra time to process Bakkt’s application for an exemption to its custody solution for Bitcoin.

CFTC regulations require that customer funds be held by a bank, trust company or futures commission merchant (FCM). In the case of Bakkt, they will be storing BTC in their own warehouse on behalf of their clients.

Confirmation from ICE that the Launch Will Be Postponed

Earlier today, ICE (the parent company of Bakkt) published a notice on its website explaining that the earlier mentioned January 24th launch date of Bakkt will have to be amended. The publication went on to add that they will provide an updated launch timeline in early 2019.

Following consultation with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, ICE Futures U.S., Inc. expects to provide
an updated launch timeline in early 2019, for the trading, clearing and warehousing of the Bakkt Bitcoin (USD) Daily Futures Contract.
The launch had previously been set for January 24, 2019, but will be amended pursuant to the CFTC’s process and timeline.

Other Possible Factors Contributing to the Delay

The United States government is currently going through what is known as ‘a government shutdown’ due to the 2019 budget impasse brought about by President Trump demanding funding for the border wall with Mexico. President Trump has demanded $5 Billion to be allocated to the Department of Homeland Security that will proceed in building the wall. The ongoing shutdown has resulted in key government functions being halted as well as federal employees going for a significant amount of time without pay.

The CFTC – being a government agency – has also been affected.

Bakkt Secures $182.5 million from 12 Partners and Investors

Bakkt’s CEO, Kelly Loeffler, announced via a Medium post that they had completed their first round of funding that raised $182.5 million from 12 partners and investors who believe in the future of digital assets.

The partners and investors include Boston Consulting Group, CMT Digital, Eagle Seven, Galaxy Digital, Goldfinch Partners, Alan Howard, Horizons Ventures, Intercontinental Exchange, Microsoft’s venture capital arm, M12, Pantera Capital, PayU, the fintech arm of Naspers, and Protocol Ventures.

Ms. Loeffler also explained their ongoing cooperation with the CFTC to get the necessary approvals.

Our team has been working closely with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission for the better part of 2018.

At an industry level, regulatory approval for physically delivered and warehoused bitcoin will establish and amplify the voice of U.S. authorities as the digital asset market evolves globally.

We have filed our applications and the timing for approval is now based on the regulatory review process.

What are your thoughts on the launch of Bakkt being postponed a second time? Please let us know in the comment section below. 

Disclaimer: This article is not meant to give financial advice. Any additional opinion herein is purely the author’s and does not represent the opinion of Ethereum World News or any of its other writers. Please carry out your own research before investing in any of the numerous cryptocurrencies available. Thank you.

The post Bakkt Launch Postponed Again and an Update To Be Provided in Early 2019 appeared first on Ethereum World News.

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Launch Timeline for Bakkt’s Bitcoin Futures to Be Clarified Early 2019: ICE

The operator of the New York Stock Exchange posted an update for the launch of Bakkt’s physically settled daily Bitcoin futures contract.

 

The Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) announced an update on the launch of the Bakkt Bitcoin (USD) Daily Futures Contract in an official notice Dec. 31.

The document from ICE — the operator of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and creator of digital assets platform Bakkt — states that “[f]ollowing consultation with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission [CFTC], ICE Futures U.S., Inc. expects to provide an updated launch timeline in early 2019 for the trading, clearing and warehousing” of Bakkt’s Bitcoin (BTC) futures contract.

The document reiterated that previously the firm had been targeting Jan. 24, 2019 as a launch date, but that the date “will be amended pursuant to the CFTC’s process and timeline.”

The statement also outlines the particular nature of Bakkt’s futures contracts, stating:

“The Bakkt Bitcoin (USD) Daily Futures Contract is a physically-settled daily futures contract for bitcoin held in Bakkt Warehouse, and will be cleared by ICE Clear US, Inc. Each futures contract calls for delivery of one bitcoin held in Bakkt Warehouse, and will trade in U.S. dollar terms.”

As Cointelegraph also reported today, Bakkt has completed its first funding round, raising $182.5 million from 12 partners and investors.

ICE initially announced the intention to create an “open and regulated, global ecosystem for digital assets” powered by the Microsoft cloud infrastructure this past August.

The founder of Galaxy Digital — a crypto investment firm that invested in Bakkt — cited Bakkt’s pending launch as one of the industry developments that could help turn around the downward trend in crypto markets this year.

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NYSE Operator’s Crypto Platform Bakkt Completes $182.5 Million Funding Round

The digital assets platform Bakkt — created by the NYSE’s operator — announces the completion of their first funding round.

Digital assets platform Bakkt — created by the operator of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) — has announced the completion of its first funding round in a blog post today, Dec. 31.

The institutional investor-focused cryptocurrency platform from the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) has officially raised $182.5 million from 12 partners and investors, according to the post.

The partners and investors reportedly include major names in both traditional finance and crypto-oriented investing, including ICE, Boston Consulting Group, Galaxy Digital, Goldfinch Partners, Alan Howard, Horizons Ventures, Microsoft’s venture capital arm and Pantera Capital.

Bakkt also noted in the announcement that the company is working with United States regulators — namely the  Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) — to obtain “regulatory approval for physically delivered and warehoused bitcoin,” adding:

“We have filed our applications and the timing for approval is now based on the regulatory review process.”

Also today, ICE separately announced in a notice that the firm “expects to provide an updated launch timeline in early 2019, for the trading, clearing and warehousing of the Bakkt Bitcoin (USD) Daily Futures Contract.” In late November, the long-awaited digital assets platform stated that it was targeting Jan. 24, 2019 as a launch date, pending CFTC approval.

ICE first announced plans to create a Microsoft cloud-powered “open and regulated, global ecosystem for digital assets” in August, as Cointelegraph reported at the time.

Multiple experts and commentators in the crypto and blockchain industry have pointed to Bakkt’s coming launch as a major factor that will help crypto markets rebound from this year’s ongoing bear market.

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Launch of Bakkt Might be Postponed due to Regulatory Delays and current US Government Shutdown

News reaching Ethereum World News indicate that the launch of Bakkt might be postponed for a second time. According to Coindesk, the parent company of both the New York Stock Exchange and Bakkt – Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) – is yet to receive the necessary approvals from the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). The report by Coinbase went on to cite that the speed at which the CFTC is processing the necessary approvals might not be fast enough for the anticipated January 24th launch date of Bakkt. Initially, Bakkt was meant to go live on the 12th of December but had to be pushed to the January date.

The Delay Might Just Be For a Few Days

However, according to sources privy of the matter, this does not mean the CFTC will not green-light Bakkt. What it means is that the launch of the new market might be pushed a few days forward due to the following two reasons.

  • Bakkts custody solution for Bitcoin is a first for the CFTC
  • Current US Government shutdown due to funding for the US-Mexico border wall

Bakkt’s Custody Solution for BTC Will Need an Exemption from the CFTC

The report by Coinbase went on to explain that the CFTC might have to give an exemption to ICE for their custody solution of Bitcoin.

 [The] CFTC must grant an exemption for Bakkt’s plan to custody bitcoin on behalf of its clients in its own “warehouse,” according to sources familiar with regulatory discussions of the plan. CFTC regulations normally require that customer funds be held by a bank, trust company or futures commission merchant (FCM).

Bakkt’s exemption request has already been reviewed by staff at the CFTC. It has since been forwarded to the commission. The commission will have to vote to decide whether to put the proposal out for public comment. The latter process usually takes 30 days after which the commission takes some time to read the comments and then vote on the proposal for exemption.

U.S Government Shutdown Might Delay it Further

At the time of writing this, the United States government has partially shut down as President Trump attempts to negotiate funding for the wall on the US-Mexico border. As a result of this impasse, over 50% of 15 federal departments, including State, Homeland Security, Transportation, Agriculture and Justice are now partially shut down. The shutdown will most likely affect the functions of the CFTC further delaying any decision on the Bakkt exemption request.

What are your thoughts on Bakkt being postponed for a second time? Do you think this might prolong the bear market? Please let us know in the comment section below. 

Disclaimer: This article is not meant to give financial advice. Any additional opinion herein is purely the author’s and does not represent the opinion of Ethereum World News or any of its other writers. Please carry out your own research before investing in any of the numerous cryptocurrencies available. Thank you.

The post Launch of Bakkt Might be Postponed due to Regulatory Delays and current US Government Shutdown appeared first on Ethereum World News.

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Bitcoin (BTC) Has Died 328 Times to Date and Counting

Ever since the Bitcoin (BTC) Ledger was launched in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoti, the cryptocurrency has been declared dead a shocking 328 times. This is according to an ‘Orbituary Tracker’ on 99bitcoins.com.

The most recent eulogy was by Paul Donovan from UBS who stated that his chief goal was to bury Bitcoin and not to praise it. Paul Donovan made the comments to CNBC’s Fast Money. His exact words were as follows:

These things were never going to be currencies. They’re not going to be currencies at any point in the future. They’re fatally flawed.

Right from the start of the hike in late last year, it was fairly obvious that this was going to end badly, unfortunately, for some of the people who weren’t protected by any kind of regulation and got sucked into the process.

Bitcoin Has Crashed 3 Times Before And Will Recover

Going back in time and observing the times BTC has crashed, we find that the 2017 – 2018 bear market is the 4th time the King of Crypto has lost over 80% of its value after an impressive Bull Run. The first time BTC crashed was in 2011; the second was in 2013; and the third was a stretch of time from late 2013 to mid 2015. This explains why Bitcoin has had over 300 obituaries accompanied by never-ending predictions of its doom.

The following infographic gives a clearer picture of the past market crashes of BTC.

Binance CEO Shares His 2015 Experience With BTC Crashing

On the 20th of November, the CEO of Binance, Changpeng Zhao, shared his experience with BTC crashing back in 2015. Mr. Zhao had just sold his house during during the third major BTC crash. He had used the funds to buy in on Bitcoin. His exact words and full tweet can be found below.

I wish I could tell you my lame story from 2015, when the $btc price “crashed” to below $200, and I just sold my house and bought in at $600 a few months earlier… Well, I am still here.

Bitcoin Is Not Dead and Will Recover

It is with the past market crashes of Bitcoin that we can conclude that the current bear market will also end. BTC will once again WOW us in the markets but the exact timing of the next Bull Run cannot be narrowed down given the current market conditions and institutional investors showing reluctance to invest in crypto before Bakkt and an ETF. But the bottom line is, Bitcoin is not dead. It will recover once again.

What are your thoughts on the 328 obituaries of Bitcoin? Do you think they are accurate? Please let us know in the comment section below. 

[Image courtesy of AltcoinToday.com]

Disclaimer: This article is not meant to give financial advice. Any additional opinion herein is purely the author’s and does not represent the opinion of Ethereum World News or any of its other writers. Please carry out your own research before investing in any of the numerous cryptocurrencies available. Thank you.

The post Bitcoin (BTC) Has Died 328 Times to Date and Counting appeared first on Ethereum World News.