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Binance Changes Launchpad Token Sale Format to Lottery

Leading cryptocurrency exchange Binance announced radical changes to its Launchpad token sale format.

Leading cryptocurrency exchange Binance announced major changes to the format of its Launchpad token sale in a post on its blog published on March 24.

Per the announcement, the company “will use a new lottery format for the next project on Binance Launchpad.” Previously, the system functioned on a first come, first served basis, which left many users who joined high-demand sale queues without tokens.  

The post also outlines a lottery ticket system in which participants will be able to claim up to five tickets by holding Binance Coin (BNB) tokens over the 20 days leading up to the lottery, with 1 ticket per 100 BNB. The exchange will announce the number of winning tickets and the amount of funds that the owner of a winning ticket will receive.

Users will be able to choose how many tickets they want to use to participate in a given lottery in the 24 hours before the winners are chosen, with the maximum number based on their BNB holdings over the prior 20 day period.

While Binance admits that the new system may cause some fluctuations in BNB trading before and after the snapshot time, its reports that the side effects should be minimal adding:

“Other market participants may view this as an opportunity, and countertrade to even out the fluctuations.”

Binance Launchpad, as the name suggests, is the company’s token launch platform, which most recently concluded a $4 million sale of Celer Network (CELR) tokens last week. The platform reportedly conducted the Fetch.AI (FET) token sale, which raised $6 million within 22 seconds in February.

As Cointelegraph recently reported, changes made to Binance’s public Application Programming Interface seemingly reveal that the company is working on implementing margin trading.

Last Tuesday, two exchanges, LBank and Bit-Z, overtook Binance on the adjusted trade volume cryptocurrency exchange rankings on CoinMarketCap, but research published on March 18 by the Tie suggests most of their volume is fake.

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US Institutional Crypto Exchange Seed CX Expands to Asia With New Partnership

United States-based institutional cryptocurrency exchange Seed CX partnered with Singapore-based fintech company Hydra X to offer its trading service in Asia.

United States-based institutional cryptocurrency exchange Seed CX has partnered with Singapore-based fintech company Hydra X to offer its trading service in Asia. Seed CX announced the development in a press release published on March 21.

Per the announcement, Seed CX will join the list of supported digital asset trading venues available on the Sigma trading platform offered by Hydra X, which is currently in public beta. The partnership will also reportedly allow institutional Sigma users to access Seed CX’s fiat-crypto gateway.

Seed CX is a licensed digital asset exchange for both spot market and U.S. Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)-regulated derivatives. As Cointelegraph reported at the time, Seed CX closed a $15 million funding round led by alternative investment firm Bain Capital in September last year.

More recently, in January, the exchange launched an on-chain wallet solution and then also spot trading, with both solutions limited to institutional clients.

An analysis released earlier this week by crypto index fund provider Bitwise Asset Management argued that 95 percent of volume on unregulated exchanges appears to be fake or non-economic in nature.

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Riot Blockchain Plans Launch of Regulated Cryptocurrency Exchange in the US

Riot Blockchain filed with the SEC to launch a new regulated cryptocurrency exchange in the U.S. by the end of 2019

Publicly traded United States-based company Riot Blockchain has filed with the Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) to launch a new regulated cryptocurrency exchange called RiotX in the U.S. by the end of 2019. The regulator published the documents on March 14.

The company declares in the filing that its subsidiary, RiotX Holdings Inc, would operate the new exchange. Furthermore, the exchange’s banking services would be handled by an Application Programming Interface (API) created by software company SynapseFi.

The API is planned to, among other functions, serve as a security enhancement by tracking user location in order to prevent fraudulent use of the service. For instance, improper use would include the use of the exchange in U.S. member states where it is not allowed, more precisely Wyoming and Hawaii.

RiotX users would be allowed to create accounts connected to accredited banking institutions in the U.S., and transfer and hold both fiat and cryptocurrencies. Per the filing, the exchange will also be collaborating with exchange software provider Shift Markets.

As Cointelegraph reported in August last year, the SEC had intensified its investigation into crypto mining firm Blockchain Riot, which first came to the regulator’s attention in April 2018.

The SEC’s investigation and subpoena information request began after Riot Blockchain changed its name to include blockchain at the peak of industry hype, and shifted their focus from biotechnology to mining. The regulator had previously noted that firms that changed their name to include blockchain would face increased scrutiny.

More recently, a dedicated analysis by Cointelegraph provides details about another similar instance: Long Blockchain Corp., previously known as Long Island Iced Tea, a publicly traded company that shifted from its beverage production business to mining. As of the beginning of March, Long Blockchain Corp. sold their beverage business, more than a year after their name change.

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Breaking: MtGox CEO Faces Court Verdict in 3 Days. Is This The End of the Story?

The Mt. Gox case could be close to concluding one of the most significant stages of a 5-year odyssey. According to Channel News Asia, the Japanese court in charge of the trial is expected to issue a verdict on Karpeles’ innocence or guilt this Friday.

Karpeles faces up to 10 years on charges of faking digital data and embezzling millions of dollars. In case of being found guilty, it is very probable that this Friday we all learn about the penalty that awaits him. The Court should subtract the five years him has already served in a Japanese prison while awaiting sentencing from his sentence.

During the entire trial Mark Karpeles, 33, has pleaded not guilty. Statements collected by the media during the trial portray a Karpeles convinced of his innocence but aware of the difficulty of proving it.

“I swear to God that I am innocent … Most people will not believe what I say. The only solution I have is to actually find the real culprits.”

MtGox and The Bitcoin (BTC) Tragedy: From “Hack” to “Embezzlement”

Mark Karpeles was CEO of MtGox, the most important crypto exchange during 2014, handling over 70% of the total Bitcoin trading volume by the time. In February 2014 the firm lost 850000 Bitcoin (BTC) in strange circumstances.

Shortly after, Karpeles published a post on the Exchange website saying he “found” 200000 Bitcoin (BTC) in an “old-format” cold wallet.

In 2015, an investigation by the Japanese cybersecurity firm WizSec concluded that “most or all of the missing bitcoins were stolen straight out of the Mt. Gox hot wallet over time, beginning in late 2011.

The evolution of the events led the authorities to accuse Karpeles of playing a direct part in the loss of the Bitcoins. In statements for Asian media, Satoshi Mihira, chief attorney at Mizuho Chuo law firm explained that a hack directs investigations to find the perpetrator of the crime while embezzlement directs investigations towards Karpeles as the main suspect.

“If it was an outside hacker who stole the currency, it’s a problem. But if he stole even part of the money, it would be embezzlement …

His defense counsel needs a high level of evidence to win an innocent verdict,”

The situation is quite complex for Karpeles: Not only was it virtually impossible for him to present the evidence necessary to clean his image of any doubt, but there is also a “tradition” in the Japanese courts of having a high conviction rate (some speak of a 99% chance of being found guilty).

This being the most likely scenario, the defense is expected to appeal the verdict.

The post Breaking: MtGox CEO Faces Court Verdict in 3 Days. Is This The End of the Story? appeared first on Ethereum World News.

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Report: Coinbase Hires Amazon Web Services Veteran to Develop Staking Solutions

Major United States crypto exchange Coinbase has reportedly hired a veteran of Amazon Web Services to develop staking and governance solutions for its crypto custodial services.

Major United States crypto exchange and wallet service provider Coinbase has reportedly hired a veteran of Amazon Web Services to develop staking and governance solutions for its crypto custodial services. The news was reported by The Block on March 4.

Citing an alleged internal memo, the report claims that Luke Youngblood — formerly a principal solutions architect at AWS — has been hired to develop new staking and governance products, which will reportedly “provide Coinbase Custody clients with the ability to interact seamlessly with crypto-networks while maintaining the utmost security of their assets in Custody.”

As of press time, Youngblood’s LinkedIn profile has not been updated to reflect the new reported appointment.

Again omitted from his LinkedIn, Youngblood is also reportedly the founder and chief technical officer (CTO) of crypto firm Blockscale, as well as being apparently involved in Tezos meetups and the Tezos Stack Exchange, a Q&A forum for the Tezos blockchain project.

There, a user registered as Luke Youngblood responded to questions related to Tezos’ “baking” system, which allows token holders to delegate their staked funds to a “baker” to generate block rewards.

As previously reported, staking solutions more broadly refer to mechanisms whereby proof-of-stake (PoS) investors have the potential to earn a form of “interest” on their holdings.

This works by investors depositing tokens as collateral (“staking) in a digital wallet, which functions as a node that engages in a competition to validate blocks on the network. Unlike proof-of-work (PoW), which uses mining, some have argued that such PoS systems can thus provide participants with an alternative source of revenue amid the crypto market slump.

At press time, neither Coinbase nor Tezos have responded to Cointelegraph’s request for comment.

Last month, Coinbase CEO and co-founder Brian Armstrong outlined what he he believes to be four common misconceptions about crypto custody solutions, particularly in regard to (PoS)-based cryptocurrencies such as Tezos, as well as hot and cold wallet storage systems.

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Japanese Online Retail Giant Buys Bitcoin Exchange

Despite the current bear dominated cryptocurrency market big buyouts in the industry are still occurring. Japan’s leading e-commerce giant Rakuten has announced plans to buy out a Tokyo crypto exchange.

The exchange, Everybody’s Bitcoin, was established in December 2016 and launched in Japan in March the following year. It is currently not one of the approved licensed exchanges that Japan’s Financial Services Agency permits to operate and itself was subject to a FSA probe following Coincheck’s hack in January.

The official announcement came a couple of days ago stating “The acquisition is based on a stock purchase agreement between Rakuten Card Co., Ltd. and Traders Investment, Inc. which is the parent company of Everybody’s Bitcoin.”

The acquisition will be effective on October 1 and is worth around $2.4 million, 265 million Yen, which will include all of the firm’s 5,100 shares. The Rakuten Group, which consists of 70 businesses, operates Rakuten Ichiba, the largest e-commerce site in Japan in addition to operating the country’s biggest internet bank and third-largest credit card company by transaction value. Services extend to travel and leisure, digital content, insurance and communications and financial technology. In 2016 the group also established the Rakuten Blockchain Lab, based in Belfast.

The company has cited a growing demand for crypto services from existing foreign exchange customers as a catalyst for the acquisition;

“In addition, a growing number of customers, in particular foreign exchange customers, of Rakuten Securities, the securities company of the Rakuten Group, have been calling for the provision of a cryptocurrency exchange service, which is also part of the background of the Rakuten Group considering entry into the cryptocurrency exchange industry.”

The company has acquired the exchange to register it with Japanese regulators early and develop cryptocurrency services for its customers by combining the knowledge and experience of the two organizations.

Rakuten already accepts Bitcoin payments and has been doing so since 2015 when it integrated its U.S. online portal with Bitnet, a leading Bitcoin payment processing firm. It also launched its own loyalty based cryptocurrency, Rakuten Coin, earlier this year.

This buyout is the latest in a long line of Rakuten acquisitions stretching back over a decade which includes a $100 million investment in Pinterest in 2012, Viber Media (messaging app) in 2014, and Bitcoin wallet startup Bitnet in 2016.

Crypto in Japan just keeps moving forward regardless of bearish activity on the markets this year.

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Canadian Crypto Exchange Coinsquare Prepares For European Expansion

Despite current market woes and prices lulling at a yearly low crypto exchanges and trading platforms are expanding at an unprecedented rate.

Canada’s premier crypto trading service, Coinsquare, has announced plans to expand into Europe in the fourth quarter of this year. According to the press release European customers will gain access to all of the major digital assets including Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash and Dash backed up with a secure and reliable service from the firm.

Chief Digital and Growth Officer of Coinsquare, Thomas Jankowski, said;

“Cryptocurrency investors globally want a platform they can trust. Coinsquare is a regulated, fully-compliant trading platform and we’re thrilled to offer the European market the same secure and intuitive interface that we offer to Canadians.”

Coinsquare, founded in 2014, has become one of Canada’s largest and most trusted cryptocurrency exchanges. Like Coinbase across the border in the US, it allows fiat to crypto trading for a number of different digital currencies. The move will be the first international expansion under the Coinsquare brand but not the first time the company has ventured overseas.

Last month the firm entered into a partnership in Japan with DLTa21, a global cryptocurrency investment bank. The collaboration allowed Coinsquare to open a cryptocurrency exchange for the Japanese market. Chief Executive of Coinsquare, Cole Diamond, added;

“Entering on a massive market like the EU is an exciting step closer to Coinsquare’s vision of becoming a global 21st century financial institution. Already the premier cryptocurrency exchange in Canada, we are careful in how we expand internationally to ensure we can offer the same high quality, secure service in every country we operate.”

However it was not specified which European country or countries the company would be operating in. If it follows the leads of Binance and Huobi it could choose crypto friendly Malta, Switzerland or Gibraltar which top the list of countries open to blockchain business.

Like its rivals Coinsquare continues to expand despite the bearish market of 2018. A new investment fund and portfolio manager offering a suite of products focused on emerging technologies including blockchain and cryptocurrencies was recently announced. Additionally a licensing division enabling the company to tap into regulated markets in the EU and Asia was also launched. More notably Coinsquare added XRP fiat trading to its listings a few weeks ago as part of its ‘global expansion’.

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Top Crypto Exchanges Join Hands To Tackle Regulatory Issues

Just weeks ago, the Winklevoss Twins’ Bitcoin ETF proposal was sadly denied by the SEC, with the US regulatory body citing concerns of manipulation and security as primary reasons why such an ETF would not be successful. Following the disappointing turnout for the final verdict, the twins took to Bloomberg to declare that they were not deterred by the SEC’s decision and would continue to trudge forward.

And it seems with a recent announcement that the twins are back, and are seemingly ready to tackle regulatory worries in the crypto community. In late-July, Ethereum World News reported that representatives from Gemini met with the Nasdaq, along with a variety of other firms, to tackle the regulatory development of the crypto industry.

With the arrival of a recent announcement, it seems that Gemini has kept with the theme of pro-regulation in the cryptosphere. As per a press release issued by the so-called “Virtual Commodity Association (VCA) Working Group” will work towards becoming a prominent self-regulatory body for “virtual commodity marketplaces (exchanges).”

The VCA will be initially composed of Bitstamp, BitFlyer, Bittrex, and Gemini, which all are home to a substantially sized American audience.

Representatives from the aforementioned four firms are scheduled to exchange formalities for the first time in September, where they will also flesh out the idea and aspirations of the newly-established VCA.

According to a somewhat pre-established meeting plan, the VCA will first highlight the guidelines for membership of the association. Secondly, exchange representatives will begin to create an outline for industry “best practices” and rules, that will only help to propagate “transparency, liquidity, risk management, and fairness.” Thirdly, member bodies will draw out a series of guidelines to address “member conflicts of interest, client communications, client disclosures, and record keeping.” And last but not least, the VCA members will do its best to establish a strong, dedicated and non-bias team of individuals to run this consortium.

Although this move is somewhat of a jab at governmental-operated bodies, the CFTC expressed its excitement for the VCA. CFTC commissioner Brian Quintez stated:

Given the absence of federal oversight jurisdiction in the crypto market, in February and again in March of this year I called on the crypto platform community to come together and develop a self-regulatory organization-like entity that could develop and enforce rules. Today’s announcement is a positive step towards that realization.

For the time being, this group will be headed by Maria Filipakis, who previously worked for the New York Department of Financial Services, where she was an integral part of the NYDFS’ move to establish the coveted “BitLicense.”

It is widely speculated that the introduction of a self-regulating conglomerate, like the VCA, will hail in another round of institutional interest, as traditional firms may realize that the crypto industry isn’t as rife with anti-regulatory madness as they may think.

Photo by Hunters Race on Unsplash

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Coinbase Creates Its Own Political Action Committee (PAC)

The U.S cryptocurrency exchange known as Coinbase has created its own Political Action Committee (PAC). This is according to details made public on the Federal Election Commission (FEC) website only today, July 21st.

Political Action Committees are organizations in the United States that pool campaign contributions from members with similar ideals, policies and political goals in a bid to donate them to the political campaigns of their preferred candidates, legislation or ballot initiatives.The funds can also be used against the campaigns that do not align themselves with the members of the PAC. The PACs are mandated to register with the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

But Political Action Committees are not without controversy. Many American citizens see them as a means for corporations and other private entities to contribute vast amounts of money to political campaigns in a bid to sway the final outcome of what should rather be a democratic process. The PACs are used by corporations and other private entities to circumvent the requirement that they cannot directly contribute to federal candidate campaigns.

With respect to Coinbase, the exchange has yet to raise any funds through the PAC.

Other Coinbase News

The recently launched Coinbase Custody service that stores digital assets for institutional investors and high net individuals, has been reported to have attracted a hedge fund that is worth close to $20 Billion. The name of the hedge fund has not been disclosed but there is news of the team at Coinbase planning on securing more hedge funds during the year to join the Custody service. There are also reports of the exchange planning to offer margin finance as early as by the end of the year.

All the progress being made by Coinbase is good news for not only the exchange, but for the general cryptocurrency ecosystem. The more institutional investors recognize cryptocurrencies as a viable form of investment, the more likely it is for mainstream adoption of crypto.

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