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Dutch Bank ABN AMRO Abandons Wallie Custodial Bitcoin Wallet Citing Risk Concerns

Dutch bank ABN AMRO abandoned its plans to launch a custodial bitcoin wallet dubbed “Wallie” because of risk concerns.

Dutch bank ABN AMRO abandoned its plans to launch a custodial bitcoin (BTC) wallet dubbed “Wallie” because of risk concerns, according to a report published on May 20 by tech news outlet The Next Web.

Per the report, the bank’s senior press officer, Jarco de Swart, said in an email to the outlet that the bank decided not to continue its plans after it “concluded that cryptocurrencies because of their unregulated nature are at the moment too risky assets for our clients to invest in.”

The rumors concerning alleged tests of the wallet first started spreading in January. Still, according to The Next Web, the bank had actually just asked 500 of its customers if it should develop the wallet and if so, how. Owler estimates the bank’s annual revenue to be $10.3 billion, and reports that the firm has 18,720 employees.

As Cointelegraph reported in November last year, major oil companies BP, Shell and Equinor have united with large banks — including ABN AMRO — and trading houses to launch a blockchain-driven platform, Vakt, for energy commodity trading.

Last week, Alexandre Kech, CEO of Onchain Custodian, predicted that collaboration between crypto and traditional custodians will grow.

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Consumer Electronics Giant HTC Announces Bitcoin Full-Node on Exodus 1S Smartphone

Consumer electronics giant HTC announced the Exodus 1S smartphone with bitcoin full node capability.

Consumer electronics giant High Tech Computer (HTC) announced the Exodus 1S smartphone with bitcoin (BTC) full node capability in a press release shared with Cointelegraph on May 11.

In the press release, the company claims that the value-oriented version of the smartphone will be released at the end of the third quarter of 2019. Building on the first generation of the company’s blockchain smartphone, Exodus 1, HTC claims that it will be the first smartphone to provide full node capability.

The release states that the phone will contain the full Bitcoin blockchain and allow for a trustless user experience since “a full node is the only way to use Bitcoin in a fully private way and full nodes are critical to securing the future of Bitcoin.” Phil Chen, decentralized chief officer at HTC, commented on the development:

“Full nodes are the most important ingredient in the resilience of the Bitcoin network and we have lowered the barrier to entry for any person to run a node, […] participating in a global bitcoin network that propagates transactions and blocks everywhere.”

The company also released a Software Development Kit of its Zion Vault hardware wallet to all developers on GitHub. Lastly, the smartphone will feature widgets of the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain explorer Etherscan, European search engine Qwant and support non-fungible Ethereum-based ERC-721 tokens.

As Cointelegraph reported at the end of February, the new Galaxy S10 series smartphones by South Korean tech giant Samsung will apparently have wallet functions for ether, bitcoin and two other tokens.

In April, blockchain smartphone startup Sirin Labs reportedly laid off a quarter of its workforce.

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Report: Bitcoin Wallet Activity Spiked Week Before Bull Run

Bitcoin Wallet Activity Price Rally 2019

Despite analysts scrambling to find the reason behind Bitcoin’s most recent price rally, during which the currency increased 25 percent in the span of days, one firm is pointing to wallet activity as a sign of increased adoption.

According to market intelligence firm Flipside Crypto, digital wallet activity for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies saw a spike in activity over the previous two weeks. The wallet activity gives some indication in an uptick of user activity and industry adoption, even before the most recent bullish turn in valuation.

Historically, around 40 to 50 percent of circulating Bitcoin has been held in wallets that are inactive for greater than a month, likely due to the bulk of investors keeping their coins on exchanges. However, Flipside Crypto reports that figure falling to only 10 percent since March 15, showing a significant increase in user activity over the last several weeks.

“If you are a crypto optimist, that’s good news,” Eric Stone, co-founder of Flipside, told Bloomberg. “There are more people warming up to the idea of buying Bitcoin.”

Stone also reports that the wallet activity and price movement for the most recent rally has been less attributable to the activity of whales. Instead, the sharp increase in wallet activity from accounts that have typically been dormant indicates a broad-based “waking up” of many smaller investors. Cryptocurrency investors, likely those who have remained inactive or price-stricken during 2018’s ongoing bear market, are now taking greater interest in market price movement.

While the previous 12 months may be referred to as a “crypto winter” for the marketplace, this week’s exponential price rally and data surrounding wallet activity contributes to a more holistically driven valuation, as opposed to the action of whales. Stone points out that the plummeting price of BTC in November 2018, when Bitcoin fell 40 percent, was the result of a few whale investors shifting positions. More price movement has given a much different indication, with Flipside Chief Executive Officer Dave Balter telling Bloomberg,

“We see this move much more valid than a few whale moves in October. This probably signifies a change in perception or confidence in this asset class.”

Some analysts have pointed to a massive BTC buy spread across several exchanges as being the primary catalyst for Bitcoin’s price movement. Community members have interpreted this as indication of institutional investors at long last entering the market of cryptocurrency, likely ahead of increased mainstream adoption building throughout 2019.

With the possibility of a Facebook Coin looming over the industry’s head, it is clear that cryptocurrency has turned a corner in terms of developing real world interest. While crypto, overall, may still represent a niche digital asset class, the boom that could follow major developments such as Facebook are too enticing for large capital investors to pass up.

Brian Kelly, speaking yesterday with CNBC, called for Bitcoin to continue to $6000 off the most recent price rally, and predicted that the market as a whole had found its bottom as coin prices have continued to rise throughout most of 2019.

The post Report: Bitcoin Wallet Activity Spiked Week Before Bull Run appeared first on Ethereum World News.

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Binance’s Official Crypto Wallet Adds Support for XRP and Credit Card Purchases

Trust Wallet, the official wallet of leading crypto exchange Binance, has added support for credit card purchases and crypto asset Ripple.

The official wallet of leading cryptocurrency exchange Binance, Trust Wallet, has added support for credit card purchases and Ripple’s XRP token. The company announced the new features in a press release shared with Cointelegraph on March 12.

Trust Wallet was acquired by Binance in July of last year in the exchange’s first public acquisition.

According to the press release, users can now send, receive, store and exchange XRP via Trust Wallet. According to the wallet’s official website, Trust Wallet also supports Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH), among others, and as well as any ERC20, ERC223 and ERC721 tokens.

Following a partnership with payment processing firm Simplex, the wallet also now supports credit and debit card purchases of XRP, BTC, BCH, LTC and ETH.

Per the release, the recent launch of the company’s open-source, cross-platform software library Trust Wallet Core also enables developers to build further native decentralized apps and wallets.

Furthermore, Viktor Radchenko, the founder of Trust Wallet, pointed out that the library enables independent developers to integrate new blockchains with the wallet.

At the end of January, Binance itself — currently the world’s largest crypto exchange by adjusted daily trade volume — added support for credit and debit card purchases via Simplex.

As Cointelegraph reported in February, Binance’s Trust Wallet will also be integrated with Binance DEX, along with the Ledger Nano S. Binance DEX is a peer-to-peer decentralized exchange powered by the Binance Chain, the test network of which Binance launched last month.

At the end of November last year, news broke that another decentralized exchange, Bhex, had concluded a $15 million funding round with support from major exchanges such as Huobi and OKCoin.

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EU Parliament Study: Central Bank Digital Currencies ‘Will Reshape Competition’ in Crypto Market

A study on issues of competition in fintech, commissioned by the European Parliament Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON), was published July 20. It found that central bank-issued digital currencies could be a “remedy” for a lack of competition policy in the crypto sector:

“The arrival of permissioned cryptocurrencies promoted by banks, even by central banks, will reshape the current competition level in the cryptocurrency market, broadening the number of competitors.”

The study mentions cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) as “technological and operational paradigms that are a source of disruption for the entire sector, including monetary policy and financial stability.” Other “disruptive and innovative applications” of new technologies include “AI, cloud computing, biometrics, digital identity, blockchain, cybersecurity, RegTech, internet of things (IoT), augmented reality.”

Private digital currencies are defined separately from central bank-issued digital currencies (CBDC), noting that the CBDCs differ by being based on a “conventional bilateral settlement with a trusted central party.”

According to the study, since closed cryptocurrency systems require a supervisory authority, central banks could be considering using “permissioned cryptocurrency systems” to “complement or substitute” the currencies already used.

The study claims that CBDCs “will reshape the current competition level in the inter-cryptocurrency market” by adding to the pool of competitors:

“A potential inadequacy of traditional competition policy to address competition issues in the cryptocurrency markets can be found, suggesting direct public participation through a central-bank digital currency as a remedy.”

The competition issues, the ECON study notes, can be divided into “inter-cryptocurrency market” competition between cryptos, and “intra-cryptocurrency” market competition between service providers like wallets and exchanges.

In terms of “inter-crypto market” competition, the study reports that the “presence of network effects” and a high number of users of a cryptocurrency could provide a barrier to entry for other cryptos attempting to join the market. The study hypothesizes that this competition “may lead to potential collusive agreements between members of hypothetical cartels.”

For “intra-crypto market” competition, wallets, exchanges, and payment providers could create practices that would keep others out of the market, such as receiving inducements from miners that favor one cryptocurrency over another.

In mid-July, a new EU directive came into force that set stricter transparency rules for digital currencies to protect against money laundering and terrorist financing.

Also in July, virtual currencies were discussed for the first time at ECON’s “Monetary Dialogue” session, with five different briefing reports discussed on topics ranging from crypto and central banks to crypto and the “Eurosystem.”

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Crypto Wallets, Explained

What is a crypto wallet?

A crypto wallet is a piece of software that enables you to send and receive cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin.

They can be used to store multiple tokens and coins at once – however, most wallets will only support a limited number of cryptocurrencies.

Wallets are used to store something known as private keys: long hexadecimal codes known only to you and your wallet. They must match with a public key so you can spend your money.

Wallets come in many forms. They can be stored on hardware which is occasionally connected to the web to perform transactions (some people keep them in bank vaults the rest of the time) – you can even write the keys down on a piece of paper, which is one method of “cold storage.”

Hosted wallets are akin to traditional banking apps. You can access your balance on multiple devices, and your funds aren’t gone forever if you lose your phone or forget your password.

So what are the steps involved with creating a wallet?

Firstly, have a think about how you want to access your wallet.

Are you going to be using your mobile phone? A desktop computer? Do you want to log into a website, or use hardware which stores your keys offline? Some wallets do not work across all platforms, so this is important to bear in mind.

Next, determine whether the wallet you’re planning to use supports the cryptocurrencies that you invest in – and make sure that it’s reputable and trustworthy.

Most wallet providers offer a step-by-step guide for using their app, and the process isn’t too dissimilar from setting up an email address. It’s worth creating a back-up of your password private key and storing it safely.

Could I get in trouble for having a crypto wallet in my country?

A handful of countries have imposed laws against cryptocurrency – with others warning that regulation will be coming soon.

Bitcoin is banned in Pakistan, Nepal, Algeria, Cambodia and Bolivia – and it is illegal to pay in Bitcoin in Macedonia, Vietnam and Bangladesh.

Ecuador has also banned cryptocurrencies but plans to launch its own in the future.

If the company knows my private keys, can they steal my crypto?

Third-party wallets can be a great way to store cryptocurrency, but you need to do your due diligence first.

In theory, a company could use the private keys you have entrusted in them to steal your funds. There have also been cases where users have been unable to withdraw funds from their wallets, with those providers subsequently collapsing.

Look for established wallets which offer cutting-edge technology to protect what’s in your wallet. Given there are loads of options around, read reviews and explore the pros and cons of each provider – that way, you’ll make an informed decision.

What can I do to keep my crypto safe?

Try to use cold storage options wherever possible, especially if you are saving cryptocurrency for a rainy day. Hot storage is ideal when you are trying to create a “checking” account where funds can easily be accessed for transactions.

The first tip is to be on your guard for malicious software which can compromise security on your laptop or phone.

Second, if you are using a hosted wallet provider, always be vigilant if you receive emails which claim to be from them. A genuine message will usually contain information only they would know. “Phishing” emails from fraudsters often imitate the logos and language used by official companies to lure you into a false sense of security. Looking closely at their address can uncover clues such as small typos or a different domain, turning noreply@coineth.com to no_reply@coinneth1.io.

I’ve been sent crypto but my wallet is empty! How long does it take?

This depends on how quickly confirmations are completed on the blockchain.

It can vary between transactions, and also between cryptocurrencies.

The standard for Bitcoin is six confirmations before a transfer is complete, and this process can take about an hour depending on how much network activity there is.

Other cryptocurrencies may require a greater number of confirmations, but this doesn’t necessarily mean the transaction will be slower. For example, although 24 confirmations are required on Ether, a deposit can be completed within minutes.

I had funds in my account but now I’m on zero. Where did my money go?

This may be because your coins have been transferred to cold storage.

Some hosted wallet providers move funds out of a pay-in address and into cold storage to keep their users’ keys and personal assets safe.

When these users want to make a payment, their assets are then transferred from cold storage to their desired pay-out address.

Will I get new coins in the event of a blockchain fork?

Forks can be used to launch new coins on hosted wallets. It can take a while for them to be supported, and sometimes, crypto wallets will not support forks at all.

Usually, developers behind hosted wallets will analyze these forks, and where possible, will check a new chain for pre-mining or other suspicious behavior. If there is no evidence of this, it is likely that the hosted wallet will support the fork – and customers who already hold coins will be credited with the new asset.

This process isn’t always slow. For example, Freewallet released a Bitcoin Cash wallet two days after the Bitcoin fork and provided new coins for users. The hosted wallet became the first provider to support the fork.

 

Disclaimer. Cointelegraph does not endorse any content or product on this page. While we aim at providing you all important information that we could obtain, readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company and carry full responsibility for their decisions, nor this article can be considered as an investment advice.

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Luxury Car Dealer Teams with BitFlyer for Big Bitcoin Payments

L’Operaio, a Japanese car dealership that imports and sells high-end vehicles, is adding bitcoin as a payment option with technological support from the country’s largest exchange, bitFlyer.

Notably, while most of the exchange’s existing retail partnerships have a limited settlement cap for each purchase, ranging from $900 to $2,760, bitFlyer says the new partnership will allow customers to make purchases as high as 100 million yen ($1 million) in bitcoin via its digital wallet.

Announced by bitFlyer on Tuesday, the initial phase of the partnership will see bitcoin payments being made available at the dealer’s stores at Nerima, Setagaya, and Aoyama in Tokyo, with plans being to expand the option to all stores in the future.

As reported before, bitFlyer has already integrated its cryptocurrency wallet with major electronics retailers in Japan, such as all stores at Bic Camera and selected branches of Yamada Denki.

Last year, department store operator Marui also rolled out a trial of bitcoin payments in conjunction with bitFlyer at one of its locations in Shinjuku, Tokyo.

Sports car image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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Canadian Financial Regulator Warns Of Potential Scam, Unregistered “Cryptobank” ICO

New Brunswick, Canada’s financial watchdog warned cryptocurrency investors of a potential scam website Bitcoin-bank.io that claims to be a “cryptobank” in an investor alert published Monday, Feb. 5.

According to the statement, the Financial and Consumer Services Commission (FCNB) started investigating the company profile after Bitcoin-bank.io appeared in ads on a Canadian online classified website. FCNB found that the company is neither registered  for trading in New Brunswick, nor for advising on securities or derivatives, despite the fact that it claims to provide these services in the province.

On its website, Bitcoin-bank.io offers “Cryptobanking at its Best” services, such as payment card and cryptocurrency wallet solutions. The website also promote its own ongoing Initial Coin Offering (ICO), with one BTCB coin ‘starting’ at 0.000975 Bitcoin (BTC).

In its Whitepaper, the Bitcoin-bank.io team notes that the platform is geared towards newcomers in the cryptocurrency space, and does not require any previous trading skills to use:

“It is a perfect platform for those who wants [sic] to have a passive income on daily basis without having to learn the related crypto or trading skills or the time to watch the markets all day long.”

FCNB also reported that the company is not registered at the California address listed on its website. Moreover, according to the report, the list of the company employees consists of fake names with attached photographs taken from other websites and copied content.

Last month, Canadian securities regulators approved the launch of the country’s first Blockchain-based Exchange Traded Fund (ETF), Harvest Blockchain Technologies Index (HBLK).

In December 2017, researchers at the Bank of Canada released a report examining the feasibility of launching a state-issued Blockchain-based digital currency, the “central bank digital currency” (CBDC).

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Visa, Worldpay Take Blame For Duplicate Charges On Coinbase, Reverse Transactions

Visa and payment processing company Worldpay issued a joint statement on the Coinbase blog today, Feb. 17, taking responsibility for charging Coinbase customers multiple times for the same transaction.

Before admitting fault in the statement published by Coinbase today, Visa had at first shifted the blame back to Coinbase, telling the Financial Times on Feb. 16 that it had “not made any systems changes that would result in the duplicate transactions cardholders are reporting.”

However, the latest statement from Visa and Worldpay on the Coinbase blog clarifies:

“Over the last two days, some customers who used a credit or debit card at Coinbase may have seen duplicate transactions posted to their cardholder accounts. This issue was not caused by Coinbase.

Coinbase has stated the error initiated from a change of the merchant category code (MCC) for crypto purchases earlier this month, which meant that crypto payments by card would be processed as “cash advances”. Coinbase reported Feb. 15 that the extra charges were a result of Visa reversing and recharging transactions due to the MCC code change.

Visa and Worldpay write that all of the reversal transactions should have been issued, and will be reflected in the customers’ account balances within a few days. Their statement concludes:

“If you continue to have problems with your credit or debit card account after this reversal period, including issues relating to card fees or charges, we encourage you to contact your card issuing bank. We deeply regret any inconvenience this may have caused customers.”

Brian Armstrong, CEO and co-founder of Coinbase, tweeted that he was “glad to see the record set straight on this”, attaching Visa and Worldpay’s joint statement:

The credit and debit card issues on Coinbase come after a slew of major banks around the world banned credit card purchases of cryptocurrencies, and in some cases debit card purchases, starting earlier this month.

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Accidental Charges Lead To Coinbase Users Losing Thousands Of Dollars, Refunds Promised

Crypto wallet and exchange Coinbase has admitted that some customers were erroneously overcharged for credit and debit purchases of crypto, and promises to reimburse all affected customers in full, the Coinbase blog reports Thursday, Feb. 15.

According to Coinbase, the problem was initiated when banks and card issuers changed the merchant category code (MCC) for crypto purchases earlier this month. This meant that crypto payments would now be processed as “cash advances,” meaning that banks and credit card issuers could begin charging customers “cash advance” fees for crypto purchases.

Coinbase wrote on their Reddit page at 6:00pm PST that the extra charges were a result of Visa reversing and recharging transactions due to the MCC code change. Their Reddit update adds that Coinbase is working with Visa and other major credit card network to create a new MCC for crypto purchases, and that they “hope that this will not have additional ‘cash advance’ fees” for customers.

Comments on Coinbase’s blog reflect the frustration of customers affected in a larger way when the multiple charges made to their Coinbase account led to overdrafts of their bank accounts. Medium user Sam Yoo writes,

“Are you going to refund the overdraft fees that were incurred from this fiasco?”

Reddit user Ipzi posted on Coinbase’s Reddit page that he was charged with 50 duplicate charges for a total of $67,000.

The Coinbase blog writes that any customers who purchased crypto on their exchange between Jan. 22 and Feb. 11 could have been affected. Any Coinbase customer that has been affected by extra charges is asked to report to Coinbase in order to help them track down what exactly occured.