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Coinbase Announces Three Data-Based Trading Signals for Users

Coinbase has launched three trading signals its users, with the purported aim of providing more sophisticated trading metrics for investors.

American cryptocurrency exchange and wallet service Coinbase announced that it has released aggregated data in the form of three trading signals to its customers. Coinbase announced the new offerings in an official blog post on July 17.

The three trading signals that are being offered are top holder activity, typical hold time and popularity, and price correlation. The purported aim of each of these offerings is to allow investors to create more informed trading strategies, by means of insights that go beyond raw price metrics.

The typical hold time signal, for instance, tracks the median number of days that a given asset is held before it is moved via a new transaction. Asset popularity, in the same category, tracks how many users hold a given cryptocurrency. These metrics purport to allow investors to better understand user behavior, in an aggregate and anonymous form.

According to the announcement, these new insights are “the first of their kind in crypto.” Coinbase also notes that the metrics will be offered alongside traditional market data, which it has already been providing.

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, Coinbase released a report on digital currency adoption and awareness trends in the U.S. on June 28. Coinbase drew on data from a survey that collected responses from 2,000 participants this year. Of those surveyed, 58% of Americans said that they had heard of Bitcoin.

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Coinbase Deposits for UK Users Now Take 10 Days, Must Be Over £1,000

A temporary ban on Faster Payments means U.K. cryptocurrency traders must send funds via SWIFT.

United States cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has abruptly imposed a minimum deposit amount of 1,000 British Pounds ($1,240) for United Kingdom account holders, staff confirmed in private emails on July 16.

Coinbase Suspends Faster Payments Deposits in U.K.

Coinbase, which previously allowed U.K. users to deposit fiat funds via the country’s Faster Payments settlement system, has now suspended the service, they said.

Instead, users must use the standard international transfer option, sending funds via SWIFT, subject to a minimum payment amount of 1,000 GBP. 

In the emails seen by Cointelegraph, Coinbase support staff did not disclose the motivation for the sudden change, which ends an agreement in place since August last year.

“We’ve temporarily suspended Faster Payments and added support for GBP Swift payments in the interim,” part of the correspondence reads.

It claimed Faster Payments would resume “within the next few months,” but did not specify an exact timeframe.

“For your account’s security and to prevent any potential fraudulent activity, you will be unable to withdraw these funds or send the value of this deposit from Coinbase for 5 calendar days after deposit,” staff added.

Fiat Friction Remains for Crypto On-Ramps

SWIFT payments generally take up to five business days to clear, which makes a deposit from the U.K. subject to a ten-day delay.

The issue adds further complications for U.K. users seeking legitimate access to cryptocurrency markets. 

Long an outlying market, the country’s exit from the European Union would firmly end the chances of crypto investors using SEPA payments — a comparatively cheaper bank transfer system available to members of the European Union and European Free Trade Association — in the future.

Coinbase has been approached for comment but did not respond at press time.

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Wells Fargo Doesn’t Allow Cryptocurrency Transactions

Wells Fargo

The third-largest bank in the United States,
Wells Fargo, has indicated that it no longer supports cryptocurrency
transactions. The discontinuation of the service was revealed when the bank was
replying to a disgruntled customer.

The customer sensed something fishy with the
bank when trying to buy crypto on Coinbase, a crypto exchange. The customer
posted:

“Something fishy is going on with my bank, Wells Fargo,…I can’t buy crypto on cash app or Coinbase. I tried to attach my debit card, and it said ‘card not found’ and I just used it to pay my bills.”

In response, Wells Fargo wrote:

“Thanks for reaching out to use. Unfortunately, Wells Fargo does not allow transactions involving cryptocurrency.”

Wells Fargo Dictating Use of Money,
Fines

Unfortunately, the bank’s comment was not
taken lightly within the cryptocurrency circles. For example, RyanJohn00, a
Twitter user, observed that the bank was trying to “dictate how people spend
their money.”

Others chose to ditch the bank:

“Good to know! Now I can empty out my small long-time account I’ve had with you. Putting money into crypto and being my own bank. Putting restrictions on people’s hard earned money is going to make you obsolete.”

Besides from this criticism, Wells Fargo is also attracting the wrath of regulators. In December 2018, the bank was authorized to pay $575 million for scamming their customers for over 10 years.

According to investigators, the bank’s
employees opened over 3.5 million accounts using existing customers’ details
without the knowledge of the customers. Consequently, they illegally charged
the clients for services and or products they never signed up for.

Xavier Bacerra, an Attorney General in
California, said:

“Wells Fargo customers entrusted their bank with their livelihoods, their dreams, and their savings for the future. Instead of safeguarding its customers, Wells Fargo exploited them, signing them up for products – from banks accounts to insurance – that they never wanted. This is an incredible breach of trust that threatens not only the customers who depended on Wells Fargo, but confidence in our banking system. As our investigation found, Wells Fargo’s conduct was unlawful and disgraceful.”

Notably, Wells Fargo is following in the footsteps of other leading banks in the United States. For instance, Citi, JP Morgan, and Bank of America are among top financial firms in the US that have openly announced they won’t be facilitating Bitcoin purchases using their credit cards.

A Wells Fargo spokesperson told Fortune that the decision to halt crypto
purchases through their credit cards is “in line with the overall industry.”

Does Donald Trump Have Anything To
Do With This?

In the recent past, top financial and government officials have been on a push to discredit the power of Bitcoin among other cryptocurrency projects. However, the criticism seems to have reached a climax when the United States president, Donald Trump, tweeted about why he dislikes Bitcoin.

According to Trump’s tweet, Bitcoin is “highly volatile and based on thin air.” Additionally, the US president noted that virtual currencies have the potential of being used by criminals to conduct unlawful activities such as money laundering and terrorism financing. Unfortunately, criminal activities are heavily facilitated by traditional systems such as fiat, cars, and airlines.

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During $1,500 Bitcoin Dump, Coinbase Whales Were Buying BTC

Coinbase Whales Bought the Bitcoin Dump

Bitcoin hasn’t had the best week. After rallying past $13,000 for the first time in over a year, the cryptocurrency stumbled. Hard. After flirting with the $13,000 price point for all of some six hours, Bitcoin fell, tanking by $2,000 in the following day. In fact, as of the time of writing this, BTC sits at $11,800, basically flat on the day, but wayyyy down on the week.

It isn’t too clear what triggered the sell-off. Some have looked to comments from both the Federal Reserve chairman, Jerome Powell; and U.S. President Donald Trump.

Speaking to a group of regulators, Powell did give Bitcoin the classification of a gold-like store of value, but he went on to worry the United States about the potential implications of a system in which the systems of Libra or other cryptocurrencies were in control of the economy or certain parts of society.

And Trump just flat out bashed Bitcoin and its ilk, accusing cryptocurrencies of being backed by nothing but “thin air” and facilitating potentially criminal behavior.

Others have claimed that the collapse was catalyzed by a simple case of buyers failing step in, resulting in a rapid depreciation of Bitcoin as swing investors looked to secure profits.

Anyhow, there are reasons to suggest that the dump may soon end. As spotted by a Reddit user on the official Bitcoin subreddit, a majority of the top 10% of Bitcoin investors (by account size) on Coinbase were buying BTC, presumably while the bottom 90% were selling. In fact, on July 11th, 77% increased their net Bitcoin position and 23% decreased.

It is unclear whether or not the data set includes users of Coinbase Pro or only Coinbase.com.

Why It’s OK to be Optimistic

So, why are Coinbase’s resident whales seemingly scooping up BTC as fast as possible?

Well, Fundstrat’s Tom Lee seemingly has a bit of a theory. As he explained in a recent tweet, which can be found below, the cryptocurrency is still decidedly in a bull market, as made apparent by the fact that the nearly-$2,000 dump is effectively “invisible on the weekly time frame”.

From a longer-term technical standpoint, bulls are still in control, giving the asset the potential to reverse into new year-to-date highs in the coming weeks and months.

Indeed, there are many models currently pointing towards the fact that BTC will finish the year on a high note. Per previous reports from Ethereum World News previously, analyst CryptoThies recently laid out the fact that should history repeat, Bitcoin could surge by over 100% in the last quarter of 2019, implying an end-of-year price of $20,000.

Photo by André François McKenzie on Unsplash

The post During $1,500 Bitcoin Dump, Coinbase Whales Were Buying BTC appeared first on Ethereum World News.

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Crypto Payment Platforms Offer Working Examples — Competition Heats Up

A new deposit functionality has been rolled out following news of a Bakkt payment app and Coinbase Card’s expansion into six European nations…

Once seen by the mainstream zeitgeist as a fringe technology destined to languish on the outskirts of society, cryptocurrency today is alluring many leaders of the fintech sector by offering companies the prospect of being at the forefront of the largest financial revolution of the past century.

With mainstream society increasingly accepting Bitcoin (BTC) as a means of payment, financial firms are increasingly seeking to offer a frictionless and convenient means for consumers to make payments using crypto.  

Square introduces BTC deposits

On June 26, San Francisco-based mobile payments provider Square announced that users of the company’s Cash App can now receive bitcoin from external wallets. However, Cash App users are restricted from receiving more than $10,000 worth of BTC deposits within a seven day period.

While most Cash App users have been able to purchase or sell Bitcoin since February 2018, a functionality facilitating payments between friends and family has been notably absent, given that such has long-comprised a major value proposition underpinning the app’s fiat utility.

News of the deposit functionality was a poorly kept secret, with crypto Twitter pundit Dennis Parker announcing that Cash App had enabled BTC deposits on June 25, a week following a similar tweet from Marty Bent that also claimed the function was live. Thus, the competition for the crypto payments sector is beginning to heat up.

Platforms compete to corner crypto payments

The integration of deposit functionality reasserts Square as a major contender among the companies seeking to lead the burgeoning crypto payments sector. Revolut, a United Kingdom-based fintech startup, is offering a platform featuring payment processing services, commission-free stock brokerage and foreign currency exchange — and it announced that it had introduced cryptocurrency exchange services to its platform in December 2017. However, users are only able to transfer cryptocurrencies within the Revolut network and cannot receive deposits from external wallets.

On June 20, The Block reported that Bakkt had hired a former Google payments product strategist, Christ Petersen, to assist the company in rolling out an upcoming mobile digital asset wallet application. The app, dubbed Bakkt Pay by anonymous sources, is expected to launch by the end of 2019.

On June 11, a Singapore-based cryptocurrency payments firm, TenX, celebrated its fourth birthday by announcing it had become the first company funded through an initial coin offering (ICO) to receive an e-money license. The license was issued by the Liechtenstein Financial Market Authority, allowing the company to provide “electronic money institution” services across the European Economic Area (EEA). TenX plans to launch its prepaid Visa cards across the EEA during the fourth quarter of 2019.

Square seeks to expand presence in crypto sector

Square first announced that it was “exploring” allowing Cash App users to purchase or sell BTC  during November 2017 in response to customer demand. The announcement followed a trial of the functionality among select users, with a spokesperson stating:

“We’re always listening to our customers and we’ve found that they are interested in using the Cash App to buy Bitcoin. We’re exploring how Square can make this experience faster and easier, and have rolled out this feature to a small number of Cash App customers.”

During March of this year, Jack Dorsey, the founder of Square and Twitter, revealed that Square was seeking to hire several full-time cryptocurrency engineers and a single designer to work on open-source contributions to the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency as part of an initiative called Square Crypto. Recruits would report directly under Dorsey, with the option to receive remuneration in the form of BTC also available.

In an interview with The Next Web published on June 14, Dorsey discussed the progress of the Square Crypto venture, indicating that regulatory challenges were forcing the company to move slowly in its endeavors pertaining to cryptocurrency.

“An Internet company can launch something and it’s available around the world. Whereas with payments, you have to go to each market and pay attention to regulators. You need a partnership with a local bank. This is a very slow process in any new market.” 

Coinbase expands payment operations

On June 11, Coinbase announced that its Visa debit card had been made available to citizens from in Spain, Germany, France, Italy, Ireland and the Netherlands. The announcement also indicated that the company expects to make the Coinbase Card available to more jurisdictions in the coming months.

The Coinbase Card was launched in the U.K. during April 2019. The card’s app makes payments from the balance of a user’s Coinbase account, with Coinbase instantly converting the chosen cryptocurrency into fiat currency upon execution of the payment. Transactions incur a fee of 2.49% within European countries, however, using the card outside of Europe currently draws a 5.49% fee. U.K.-based payment processor PaySafe is the issuer of Coinbase’s cards.

According to unverifiable reports from May, Coinbase had entered into “advanced talks” to purchase pioneering cryptocurrency custody provider Xapo for approximately $50 million plus an earn-out. Xapo is estimated to hold more than $5.5 billion in assets under custody, with the company also offering an app that allows users to send BTC and fiat currencies to other Xapo users without incurring fees as well as facilitates payments to banks accounts in more than 30 countries. The report noted that Fidelity Digital Assets had also shown strong interest in purchasing Xapo.

Circle to sunset payment platform

On June 13, Circle announced that it will start winding down support for the company’s payment app during July, after five years of operations. At the time of the announcement, Circle Pay supported fee-free payments denominated in U.S. dollars, British pounds and euros, and was available to customers from the U.S., the U.K. and 27 other European countries.

The company attributed the decision to sunset the app to the emergence of stablecoins such as Circle’s USD Coin (USDC), describing fiat tokens as superior means of frictionlessly transferring fiat value between entities. By contrast, the company stated that Circle Pay “largely relied on interfacing with the traditional financial system and untokenized fiat currencies.” 

The announcement was published one month after Circle laid off 30 staff members, who then comprised 10% of its entire workforce. Circle’s CEO, Jeremy Allaire, attributed the downsizing to a response to market conditions and regulatory hurdles in the U.S.

Paxful partners with BitMart

In February 2019, peer-to-peer (P2P) Bitcoin marketplace Paxful announced a joint venture that saw Paxful integrated as a means of facilitating BTC payments on the global digital asset trading platform BitMart. 

The partnership will see BitMart users able to make payments using Paxful without being charged listing fees, while Paxful users will be provided the option to convert BTC into alternative cryptocurrencies using BitMart’s exchange. Both companies expect that the agreement will bolster liquidity on their respective exchange platforms.

At the time, Ray Youssef, the CEO and co-founder of Paxful, stated: “We’re excited to integrate with BitMart in efforts to bring more trading options to emerging markets. It has always been our mission to provide financial freedom worldwide and we see this as the next big step in the financial revolution.”

The founder and CEO of BitMart, Sheldon Xia, emphasized that the partnership will significantly expand the number of ways by which the exchange’s users can purchase BTC, stating: 

“With this partnership, investors will now have direct access to multiple payment approaches including bank transfers, gift cards, debit/credit cards, and cash deposits, lowering the barriers to entry for new adopters of digital currency investment.”

BitMart currently has a user base of more than 600,000 and a reported 24-hour volume of approximately $1.18 billion, while Paxful has hosted approximately $20 million worth of bitcoin trades on a weekly basis for the last 12 months.

Centralization vs. adoption

While the proliferation of cryptocurrency payment platforms is undoubtedly pushing the ecosystem toward mainstream adoption, popular payment apps could prove to be a centralizing force upon the crypto community as a handful of major companies compete for consumer loyalty.

However, the increasing presence of large financial corporations within the cryptocurrency economy may create pressure on lawmakers to provide clear guidelines pertaining to crypto, with the prevalence of an unclear or exclusionary regulatory apparatus comprising the primary barrier to a rapid and global expansion of the cryptocurrency payments industry.

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Blockchain Firm Near Raises $12M From Coinbase Ventures, Xpring and Others

American blockchain firm Near has raised over $12 million in its Series A round from a range of high-profile investors.

American blockchain firm Near has raised over $12 million in its Series A round from a range of high-profile investors, including Coinbase Ventures and Pantera, the Block reported on July 10.

Near — a startup that develops a public, proof-of-stake (PoS) blockchain focused on usability and scalability — has secured $12.1 million from industry players such as Coinbase Ventures, the investment arm of crypto exchange Coinbase, investment firm Pantera Capital, crypto hedge fund Multicoin, and Ripple’s developer ecosystem project Xpring, among others.

Unlike an initial coin offering-like approach, Near decided to secure funds in exchange for native tokens. Near is reportedly planning to allocate the raised funds “to recruit more developers, to accelerate the development of additional tooling and to launch the Naer Protocol mainnet.”

In April, Coinbase Ventures along with major technology investors such as Accomplice, Paradigm, and General Catalyst, made an investment into blockchain scalability project Coda. Coda aims to address blockchain’s scalability problem by compressing blocks and providing zero-knowledge proofs rather than most crypto-related firms.

In February, San Francisco-based blockchain lending firm Dharma Labs raised $7 million from big investors including Coinbase Ventures. Dharma Labs planned to use the raised capital mostly for its Lever product, a platform providing instant margin loans for cryptocurrency traders and high-volume investors.

Earlier today, Cointelegraph reported that global payment giant Visa recorded its second investment in a cryptocurrency project by leading a $40 million funding round of crypto custody service Anchorage startup.

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Coinbase Looks to Launch a Captive Insurance Company With Aon: Report

Major United States-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase is reportedly looking to launch a captive insurance company.

United States’ biggest cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase, is reportedly looking to launch a captive insurance company, industry news outlet Coindesk reports on July 10.

Per the report, industry sources told the outlet that Coinbase is looking to launch its captive insurance company in partnership with insurance brokerage firm Aon. 

According to accountancy news outlet CPAJournal, “a captive insurance company is a subsidiary formed by a private company to finance its retained losses in a formal structure under the guidance of an appropriate state insurance department.”

Such a solution allows the company to keep the money that would be normally spent on the insurance premium, reportedly nearly all Fortune 500 firms maintain captive insurance companies. CoinDesk reports that Coinbase and Aon see the insurance subsidiary as a potential solution to the alleged shortage of insurance available to cryptocurrency exchanges.

Per the report, crypto exchanges often set aside some crypto assets to cover any asset losses in the event of a hack. Still, this approach lacks a formal structure and allows the firm to access the funds also for any other reason, decreasing the coverage. With a captive insurance firm, on the other hand, the funds are regulated, audited, and segregated.

While neither Aon or Coinbase have allegedly answered to the outlet’s inquiry concerning their collaboration, the insurance giant reportedly revealed that it established the industry’s first insurance captive this year, for an unnamed client. Managing director and the financial institutions practice leader at Aon, Jacqueline Quintal, noted that cryptocurrency exchanges are increasingly considering this solution. Quintal said: 

“There is a lack of capacity and some are uncomfortable with what is available in the marketplace and are looking to alternative solutions. […] I think the path for most will be to buy some amount of traditional insurance first and then to explore alternative structures, potentially including a captive — and we are having more and more of these conversations.”

Previously, in April, it has been reported that Coinbase revealed details of its insurance coverage for its hot wallet crypto holdings, reportedly covering a $255 million limit via a Lloyd’s of London-registered broker.

As Cointelegraph reported last month, Aon will reportedly provide crypto custody solutions provider Metaco with crime insurance coverage via a panel of London insurers.

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Crypto Apps Stagnate Despite Bitcoin (BTC) Rally Past $10,000

Crypto Not on the Rise on Google or Apple’s App Store

As Bitcoin (BTC) and other crypto assets started to rally in April and May, users started to suggest that search interest for “Coinbase” and “Blockchain” on the Apple iOS App Store was on the rise. Indeed, many reports corroborated the fact that if you were to look for apps that were “trending” last month, cryptocurrency wallets would have graced your screen.

The thing is, data published via Bloomberg suggests a very different story than the aforementioned points. Per a recent article from the outlet, which cites data from App Annie (an analytics provider that looks at apps downloaded from the iOS Store and Google Play Store), the download count for crypto-related applications is nearly the same for H1 2019 and H1 2018, at 67 million and 65.8 million respectively. This comes despite that Bitcoin has rallied over 200% since the bottom, which is stellar compared to BTC’s dismal performance in the first six months of 2018.

Similarly, Google Trends states that search interest for the “Bitcoin” and “crypto” terms remains less than 20% of what was seen at 2017’s peak, meaning that the mainstream has yet to pick up on this space in spite of BTC’s recent growth.

crypto

These data points could imply that investors that left the space are entering once again, or that institutions, most of which presumably don’t use mobile applications to store and track crypto, are finally starting to foray into the industry. Whatever the exact specifics, the App Annie and Google Trends data points aren’t bearish per se.

China, A Different Story

Interestingly, it’s an entirely different story in China. Instead of institutions driving crypto interest, it seems to be a primarily retail audience. Chinese source cnLedger recently pointed out that according to a number of “online data service providers”, a crypto asset-related app is trending on China’s iOS App Store.

Exchange giant Huobi’s mobile application is now, according to the sources, the seventh most searched for keyword in the aforementioned marketplace. Considering that Apple sells some 40 million handhelds each year, this is quite the statistic. This implies that tens of thousands, maybe more, were (and are continuing to) searching for the crypto app.

Simultaneously, WeChat keyword analytics have accentuated a massive uptick in the volume of “Bitcoin”. More specifically, as Twitter user Louis Aboud-Hogben notes, the past ninety days have seen keyword volume for the Chinese term for “Bitcoin” skyrocket by five times.

It is unclear why this has been occurring, but there are a few theories: Firstly, comments from Chinese technology legends about Libra have presumably increased interest in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Secondly, as the US-China trade war has raged on, investors have begun to seek a safe haven in Bitcoin, especially after safe haven media lauded it. And thirdly, the simple bullish price action led to increased interest.

Photo by Yura Fresh on Unsplash

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