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Crypto Exchange Bittrex Cancels Its First ‘Initial Exchange Offering’

Crypto exchange Bittrex has cancelled its first Initial Exchange Offering, which it had been planning to host on its Malta-based counterpart, Bittrex International.

United States crypto exchange Bittrex has cancelled its first token sale, dubbed an Initial Exchange Offering (IEO), which it had been planning to host on its Malta-based counterpart, Bittrex International. The news was announced in an official statement published on March 14.

Earlier this week, Bittrex International had announced plans to host the IEO today, March 15,  allowing investors to use Bitcoin (BTC) to purchase “XRD” tokens, developed by international gaming data blockchain project, Raid.

In yesterday’s announcement, the exchange outlined that it decided to cancel the IEO “as a result of significant changes in the business status of RAID.” Specifically, it explained that:

“A few hours ago [on March 14], OP.GG terminated its strategic partnership with RAID, which was a vital part of the RAID project. When [we] became aware of this significant event, we did not feel that it was in the best interest of our customers to move forward with the IEO.”

Bittrex International states that it chose to act quickly, citing the challenges it faces as a crypto trading platform to remain “vigilant to ensure the integrity of our markets.” The statement added that:

“one of the hardest challenges we face in advancing blockchain adoption is to avoid the rampant fear, uncertainty, and doubt that is everywhere in this industry.”

As previously reported, Bittrex’s move to enter the exchange-hosted token sale space follows the precedent of major crypto exchange Binance. The exchange’s token sale platform Launchpad hosted the high-profile token sale for the Tron-based BitTorrent token (BTT) this January, followed by another public token sale for AI and smart contract project Fetch.AI in February.

Bittrex is currently ranked 49th largest crypto exchange globally by adjusted daily trade volume, seeing about $62.8 million in trades on the day to press time.

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Crypto Exchange Bittrex International to Host Its First Public ‘Initial Exchange Offering’

Crypto exchange Bittrex is hosting its first token sale —- dubbed an Initial Exchange Offering (IEO) — on its Malta-based digital asset trading platform.

Crypto exchange Bittrex is hosting its first token sale — dubbed an Initial Exchange Offering (IEO) — on Bittrex International, its Malta-based digital asset trading platform. The news was announced in an official press release published on March 11.

Bittrex International, which operates within an EU and Maltese crypto regulatory framework, will officially start the IEO on Friday, March 15, the press release announces. Bittrex users will be able to use Bitcoin (BTC) to purchase “XRD” tokens, developed by international gaming data blockchain project Raid.

According to the press release, Raid is a project that rewards gamers for sharing data,as part of a tokenized ecosystem that aims to enhance marketing and business growth and foster other improvements for gaming companies.

Bittrex CEO and co-founder  Bill Shihara has said that IEOs on the platform will allow international token investors to back new blockchain projects “with the peace of mind that comes from Bittrex International regulated in Malta.”

Bittrex has outlined the details of the IEO, which will end when a hard cap of 17 billion XRD (~$6 million) is reached.

Bittrex is currently within the top 50 largest crypto exchanges globally by adjusted daily trade volume, seeing about $73 million in trades on the day to press time.

Bittrex International’s foray into token sales follows major crypto exchange Binance’s token sale platform Launchpad, which recently hosted the high-profile — and extremely swift — token sale for the Tron-based BitTorrent token (BTT) this January. The BTT sale netted $7.1 million dollars with the sale of 50 billion tokens within 15-18 minutes.

In February, Launchpad hosted a similarly speedy public token sale for AI and smart contract project Fetch.AI.

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Bittrex Successfully Completes Substantial Upgrade to its Trading Engine

On Tuesday the 26th of February, Bittrex announced that it would carry out a substantial upgrade to its trading engine the following day. The upgrade was scheduled for 9pm (UTC) on February 27th and would update the cutting edge trading engine that powers both Bittrex and Bittrex International. The latter platform  was launched in October of last year.

Upgrade Would Allow for Trades to be 20x Faster

During the upgrade, users were able to log in and check their balances. All funds were safe but all wallet features would be unavailable for up to 24 hours. All markets and trading were also suspended during the planned maintenance. The team at Bittrex further explained that the upgrade would make trading faster and efficient for users.

Once the update is completed, Bittrex and Bittrex International users will enjoy noticeably faster orderbook updates and overall order execution, as the new engine will have the capacity to execute even more orders per second.

In fact, after the upgrade, your orders will be processed at a rate 20 times faster than before.

The update is paving the way for a collection of exciting features that will be rolled out on Bittrex and Bittrex International throughout 2019.

Successful Restoration of All Wallet Functions 

The exchange had also notified all users via social media that Wallet functions might be unavailable beyond the set 24 hour window. They updated the Bittrex community of certain technical difficulties through the following tweet posted on the 28th of February.

They also explained that Wallets will become available with time and starting with BTC. The exchange has since updated its loyal users that the exchange is back to full functionality. Wallets can now accept deposits as well as withdrawals.

New Features in the Upgrade

Some of the features that users might notice in the new and improved Bittrex trading engine are as follows.

  • Maker-Taker and other features for liquidity providers and high-volume traders
  • New ways to add fiat to your accounts
  • Account management improvements
  • New order types and options, including Market Orders
  • More Flexible Conditional Orders which will eliminate the need for reserve funds when making conditional orders, allowing traders more flexibility without tying up money in conditional trades
  • Improved API functionality. More information on the changes made to v1.1 API can be found here. The v3 API will remain in Alpha testing and invite-only with this release

[Feature image courtesy of Unsplash.com]

The post Bittrex Successfully Completes Substantial Upgrade to its Trading Engine appeared first on Ethereum World News.

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International Crypto Standards: Will They Come From the Community or Governments?

International standards for crypto are coming, but at what cost to innovation?

There are over 2,000 different coins in existence right now, each with their own unique characteristics, uses and communities, while there are masses of different blockchains, platforms and exchanges — all of which answer to competing needs and values. On the one hand, this profusion is one of the key driving forces behind innovation in the crypto sphere. But on the other, it arguably acts as a block against widespread adoption, as the lack of unified standards means that some morally questionable endeavors give the rest a bad name.

The past year has seen an intensifying push toward producing international standards for the cryptocurrency industry. Groups such as Global Digital Finance have risen with the aim of fostering universal standards on how crypto platforms are run, just as groups like the Blockchain Association and CryptoUK are now focused mostly on standards at a national level. Such organizations count the likes of Coinbase, Bitstamp, Circle and others as members, despite often being less than a year old.

However, while holding the promise that crypto will avoid stringent government regulation by learning how to regulate itself, there’s also a concern that global standards might hamper innovation, and that crypto — almost by nature — is not meant to be standardized.

Global Digital Finance

As Teana Baker-Taylor, the executive director of Global Digital Finance (GDF), told Cointelegraph, the London-based association aims “to demonstrate that self-governance and driving best practice is critical for the industry’s consumers and their confidence in crypto assets, as the sector continues to mature, and in concert with developments in regulation.”

In other words, GDF is seeking to develop voluntary guidelines and codes of conduct for exchanges, token sales, wallet providers, cryptocurrencies and ratings websites, and while it was launched only in March, it already has a strong roster of members.

At the end of October, payments company Circle (and owner of Poloniex) joined it as a founder member, adding itself to a list that includes Coinbase, R3, ConsenSys and Diginex. Meanwhile, Baker-Taylor affirms that the association has also begun having dialog with lawmakers and public institutions.

“With over 250 individuals and firms, global regulators and policy makers have paid attention to the GDF Code and the commitment of the community, and this is an important start. Understandably, the signal from many regulators has been mixed, but most we are engaging with are supportive of maintaining an open dialogue to ensure they do not stifle this important innovation.”

Yet, GDF isn’t only working on codes of conduct for token sales and crypto-exchanges. They’re also busy devising a taxonomy of cryptocurrencies, which seeks to divide coins into three broad types: payment tokens, financial asset tokens and consumer tokens.

Given that there is plenty of confusion and conflict among the world’s governments on how to define crypto, this attempt to produce a clear taxonomy of cryptocurrencies is much needed. However, seeing as how such organizations remain largely averse to classifying cryptocurrencies as money and/or assets, there will remain the worry that GDF’s taxonomy (and codes) may simply be disregarded by governments and regulators.

Governments

Despite possible opposition or resistance from governments, the groups like the GDF could have emerged precisely because of increasing government interest in crypto regulation. Anyway, their emergence at such a time presents the crypto world with a golden opportunity to get involved in the shaping of government policy.

In October, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) — an intergovernmental group established by the G7 to combat money laundering — adopted a variety of changes to its standards concerning the regulation of virtual assets. And encouragingly for the crypto industry, these new recommendations were focused specifically on preventing money laundering and the financing of terrorism, leaving plenty of freedom for exchanges, token issuers and crypto-services to operate in accordance with the needs of their users and own logic. It said in its recommendations from October:

“The FATF Recommendations require monitoring or supervision only for the purposes of AML/CFT [Anti-Money Laundering/Countering Financing of Terrorism], and do not imply that virtual asset service providers are (or should be) subject to stability or consumer/investor protection safeguards, nor do they imply any consumer or investor protection safeguards.”

Put simply, the FATF sees no reason to do anything about the volatility or decentralization of cryptocurrency, which implies that it wants to leave the much of decentralized nature of crypto intact. That said, other governmental groups want to do more than simply prevent crypto from being used for crime or terrorism.

For example, Felix Hufeld — the chairman of the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) — affirmed his view in October that the global community needs to produce international standards governing the handling of ICOs:

“The number (of ICOs) and the volume (of money) per ICO are both getting higher. Investors have mostly minimal rights.”

Still, while this could foreshadow a push for intergovernmental standards that dictate what ICOs can and can’t do, such moves remain at a very preliminary stage. And because governments have been slow to act here, this provides an empty space which groups like GDF – or the newly formed Blockchain for Europe association (which includes Ripple and the NEM Foundation as members) – could advantageously fill to the benefit of the wider crypto industry.

National beginnings, international endings

And while the world’s governments and governmental bodies slowly wake up to the idea of regulating cryptocurrencies at a global level, the crypto industry is increasingly producing new trade institutions that are beating them to punch when it comes to developing standards.

In March, CryptoUK was established, with the aim of producing self-regulatory standards for the United Kingdom’s cryptocurrency industry. But its chairman, Iqbal V. Gandham, tells Cointelegraph, there’s also an appetite at CryptoUK for international coordination.

“CryptoUK’s focus since our launch earlier this year has been on the U.K. — securing proportionate regulation here is our priority, but we support collaboration on regulatory approaches internationally, in particular learning the lessons — both good and bad — from other jurisdictions.”

Given that most other self-regulatory trade bodies — such as the Blockchain Association, the Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association and the Blockchain Foundation of India — are working primarily at the national level, global collaboration on regulatory approaches will be vital if the crypto industry is to enjoy uniform international standards.

And to an increasing extent, there does appear to be a growing willingness among crypto-related companies to work with each other on developing (international) standards. In August, the Gemini, Bitstamp, Bittrex and bitFlyer exchanges announced the formation of the Virtual Commodity Association Working Group. And like Global Digital Finance, its aim is to devise global industry standards on how crypto-exchanges are run and cryptocurrencies are traded.

Standards equals less innovation?

There is, then, every reason to believe that the crypto industry will, sooner or later, develop international standards and adopt them at large scale. But the question remains: Will such standards simply give the public greater confidence in crypto, or will they also have the unfortunate side effect of constraining innovation?

“In many industries, regulation and standards are seen as stifling innovation. However, in the crypto-assets market, regulatory and legal ambiguity poses challenges for growth.  Clarity around the ‘rules of the road’ will better enable innovators to access new ways of accessing global capital and support emerging nascent business models with greater confidence.”

– Teana Baker-Taylor, executive director of Global Digital Finance

Similarly, there’s a risk that standards could put compliant companies at a disadvantage compared to those corporations or cryptocurrencies that simply (and perhaps illegally) flout them. Given that the decentralized nature of cryptocurrency provides people and groups with greater scope to disregard centralized authority, this is a real danger.

However, once international standards are in place and recognized, it becomes much likelier that the companies that do observe them will have a much better chance of working with and influencing regulators — something which will ultimately put them at a competitive advantage. And as Teana Baker-Taylor concludes, there’s a very strong appetite among crypto-related firms to foster and follow strong universal standards.

“GDF’s community is made up of hundreds of individuals and businesses from around the world who share a vision of growing a mature, stable, transparent and fair crypto-asset industry. The desire and commitment of the community to instil and drive sound business practices is enormously compelling and in our experience, is far more prevalent than those who do not ascribe to this mindset.”

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Bittrex to Delist Bitcoin Gold by Mid-September, Following $18 Million Hack of BTG in May

Crypto exchange Bittrex will delist Bitcoin Gold (BTG), a hard fork of Bitcoin (BTC), by September 14 following an $18 million hack of the BTG network in May, The Next Web reported September 3.

Founded in 2007, the hard fork cryptocurrency Bitcoin Gold has suffered a “double-spending” hacking attack that reportedly allowed the unknown hijackers to take control of more than 51 percent of the BTG hashrate. The attack, which reportedly started on May 18, 2018, has managed to amass more than $18 million in Bitcoin Gold from various exchanges, including Bittrex.

Following the hack, the Bitcoin Gold team explained that the attacker was deploying the combination of a 51 percent and double-spend attack in order to defraud crypto exchanges. They noted that the hacker was targeting exchanges since they “accept large deposits automatically, allow the user to trade into a different coin quickly, and then withdraw automatically.”

Specifically, the attacker was making large BTG deposits on exchanges, at the same time sending the same funds to his own crypto wallet. By the time the exchanges realized that the transaction was invalid, the hacker had already withdrawn funds from the exchange and doubled his original funds.

According to the recent report, Bittrex has not specified the amounts of losses the cryptocurrency exchange has suffered as a result of the BTG attack. However, the major crypto exchange has reportedly requested more than 12,000 BTG (worth around $255,000) as a compensation from Bitcoin Gold.

While Bittrex has blamed BTG’s Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus as a factor that led to the double-spending attack, Bitcoin Gold claimed that their team “is not responsible for security policy within private entities like Bittrex,” adding that the exchanges “must manage the related risks and are ultimately responsible for their own security. With that, BTG developers acknowledged the risks taken by their own blockchain, subsequently posting an upcoming hard fork upgrade plan.

The $18 million hack is not the first successful attack associated with the Bitcoin Gold cryptocurrency. In late 2017, a fake BTG wallet stole private keys worth $3.3 million in crypto.

At press time, Bitcoin Gold’s market share amounts to $373 million, and the coin is trading at around $21.70 and ranked 30th by market cap, according to CoinMarketCap data.

As for Bittrex, the crypto exchange has recently become one of the entrants to the “Virtual Commodity Association Working Group” — the self-regulatory association for digital commodities like cryptocurrencies. The organization is planning to develop industry standards and to “be a precursor to the formation” of self-regulatory activity for cryptocurrencies.

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Bittrex Waves Goodbye To Bitcoin Gold (BTG) After $18M Hack

The entirety of the cryptocurrency industry has indisputably had a dismal year, with prices collapsing by upwards of 70% across the board. But Bitcoin Gold (BTG) may take the cake when it comes to a cryptocurrency that has suffered the most in 2018.

From day 1, Bitcoin Gold’s ethos was to be ASIC resistant, with the team behind the project widely touting this Bitcoin fork as a “cryptocurrency that you can mine with a graphics card (GPU).” But in May, the fImage result for bitcoin goldork’s blockchain fell under a 51% attack, with malicious actors renting out thousands of dollars of ASICs to take control of the network for personal gain.

While in control of the network, the hackers reportedly sent over 388,000 BTG ($18 million at the time of the hack) worth of double-spent transactions to a variety of exchanges, which allowed the attackers to swindle the same amount (388,000 BTG) from an exchange-owned wallet.

It is unclear how many exchanges were hit in this attack, as a good majority of the foremost platforms (Binance, Bittrex, Bitfenix, HitBTC, OKEx etc.) offer support for BTG trading. However, following the attack, Bittrex, a Seattle-based exchange, requested for the Bitcoin Gold team to pay a compensation of over 12,000 BTG ($265,000) for apparent negligence to the rising threat of ASICs.

It is important to note that this is more than a request, as Bittrex is essentially threatening to delist all BTG trading pairs if the sum of 12,000 BTG is not paid by September 14th. In response to the threat, the team behind the project issued a statement in a bid to bring clarity to the situation. They wrote:

Bittrex informed us that they make this decision because the BTG team would not “take responsibility for our chain,” and that taking responsibility meant paying Bittrex 12,372 BTG to cover the loss they incurred. They later informed us they would cover part of the loss from their own BTG reserves and requested we pay the remaining ~6,000 BTG, and that if we did not, we would be delisted.

The team also added that it was not their fault that the Bitcoin Gold network fell under attack by ASICs, as “the Bitcoin Gold team is not responsible for the security policy of Bittrex; those who earn revenue running a private business must manage the related risks and are ultimately responsible for their own security.”

As occurrences like the aforementioned are rare, it is still unclear how exactly this situation should be addressed, but some fear that the “long-term survivability” of Bitcoin Gold could be hampered by Bittrex’s likely delisting. Some beg to differ, however, as Bittrex only accounts for ~$350,000 of BTG’s $10 million trade volume.

Since the hack, Bitcoin Gold team has since sought to restore its ASIC resistance as reported by Ethereum World News in early-July.

Even though moves have been made to restore the ethos of the Bitcoin Gold network, BTG has had a tough year in terms of prices, with the asset falling by over 96% in the span of 8 months. It is still unclear whether the asset will ever recover to its previous all-time highs, as the sentiment surrounding this currency took quite a hit after the hack, but there are some optimists still holding on to fleeting glimmers of hope.

Chart Courtesy of TradingView.com

Photo by Andre Benz on Unsplash
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Crypto Exchange Bittrex Invests 10 Percent Stake in Malta-Based Blockchain Firm Palladium

Bittrex, one of the top cryptocurrency exchanges worldwide, has recently invested in Malta-based blockchain company Palladium, local news outlet Times of Malta reports September 2.

The U.S.-based Bittrex, now the 18th top crypto exchange by total average trade volume, has bought a 10 percent share in Palladium. In July, Palladium had announced plans to distribute $150 million in tokens in the world’s “first” Initial Convertible Coin Offering (ICCO) in partnership with Bittrex and Unikrn eSports bookmaker, scheduled to begin on July 25.

Current shareholders of Palladium include Investar Holding and Unikrn, which own 85 and 15 percent of the company respectively, the Times of Malta reports.

Palladium is reportedly planning to become the “first regulated unified platform” for fiat money, banking, and crypto exchanges, enabling clients to manage crypto purchases and bill payments, as well as swapping crypto assets via one single platform, the company’s July Medium announcement noted.

The ICCO is approved by the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA), and the project is regulated under European Union rules, Bittrex’s July announcement stated.

The difference between an ICCO and Initial Coin Offering (ICO) is that investors will be able to convert tokens into company shares on a specific later date. In case of Palladium, the investors will be able to convert the tokens in the company’s shares three years after the issue date, Cointelegraph reported.

Palladium’s founder and chairman Paolo Catalfamo commented that Bittrex’s recent investment is a proof of Malta’s focus to become the “forefront of regulating blockchain technology,” the Times of Malta writes.

The Bittrex crypto exchange recently became one of the participants of “Virtual Commodity Association Working Group” — the self-regulatory association for digital commodities like cryptocurrencies. The organization is planning to develop industry standards and to “be a precursor to the formation” of self-regulatory activity for cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH).

Earlier in August, Bittrex had also partnered with Ripple in order to provide a “healthy” ecosystem of digital asset exchanges, along with crypto exchanges Bitso and Coins.Ph.

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Bittrex to Open CryptoFiat Pairs for Cardano (ADA) and Zcash (ZEC)

Bittrex, one of the top 50 cryptocurrency exchanges by trade volume around the world, announced a few hours ago its decision to enable crypto/fiat trading pairs for Cardano and Zcash. Its official account tweeted this and later confirmed via an email sent to its subscribers.

Bittrex is excited to open two new US Dollar (USD) markets, Cardano (ADA) and Zcash (ZEC), on September 5, 2018! …

The approval process is fast and once approved you can trade all USD markets Bittrex offers today and in the future. When approved for USD deposits and withdrawals we will reply with wire transfer instructions and you will enjoy industry-leading same or next-US-business-day deposits and withdrawals. Follow us on Twitter for new USD market announcements and the latest updates.

The approval of a crypto-fiat pair is of great importance as it demonstrates the proven trustworthiness of a cryptocurrency as well as its legality and legitimacy.

Cardano is a blockchain that promises to solve the problem of scalability and interoperability by using a configuration that its team classifies as that of a third-generation blockchain. Zcash is a blockchain that has been in charge of perfecting a protocol that they qualify as zero-knowledge proofs.

The community has well received the announcement. In a few hours, the official tweet accumulated more than 1.4k likes and near 500 retweets, with positive comments from traders and enthusiasts around the world.

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Bittrex: Crypto/Fiat Isn’t For Everyone… (Yet)

It is important to note that due to legal reasons, only some states are eligible for the Crypto/fiat markets. According to Bittrex the most suitable option for those who are not eligible is to trade crypto/crypto using the USDT (Tether) market, a stable coin that is created to maintain a constant value of 1 USD.

On its official website, Bittrex explains who can trade in USD fiat-to-crypto pairs:

“To be eligible for the USD markets you must be living or operating:

  • Outside the United States, or
  • Inside the United States in California, Washington State, New York State, Montana, or Arizona
  • Corporate customers operating in Pennsylvania are also eligible

To apply, it is important to fill out the form available in this link

At the time of writing Cardano (ADA) has a price of $0.10 for a market cap of 2.69Bn USD occupying the 9th place in the global market cap. Zcash (ZEC) is worth $149 for a market cap of $400.54Mn

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