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Swedish Bank Inks Deal to Offer Crypto Fund Trading

Stockholm IT Ventures AB (SITV), a blockchain startup based in Sweden, has signed a software license agreement with a local bank to deliver a crypto fund trading service.

SITV announced Wednesday that its automation subsidiary, Blocktrade Technology, had signed the agreement with Valens Bank, according to a news release. The agreement, which is also the second between the two companies, stipulates that Valens Bank use “the BTT Crypto Trading Toolbox exclusively for Crypto Fund Trading.”

The BTT Crypto Trading Toolbox allows professional traders to “actively manager their clients digital assets” through its AI trading tools, according to Blocktrade Technology’s website.

Torben Pedersen, the director at Valens Bank, said “we are confident that this software will offer great value to clients and give pro-traders the market edge all are looking for,” according to the release.

Fredrik Waijnstad, managing director at Blocktrade Technology, said in the release that the agreement is in line with his company’s goal to reach out to “institutional investors and banks.”

The two companies are currently working to integrate “the back-end mechanics” of the service, and plan to launch trading for Valen Bank’s clients by September.

Neither the bank nor the startup announced which cryptocurrencies would go into the fund.

Stockholm 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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Skrill Joins the League of Cryptocurrency Trading Services

Skrill has become the latest member of the rapidly expanding cryptocurrency trading platform market. The company recently announced that it was extending the use of its Skrill wallet to involve cryptocurrency trading services. This development, according to the company, will aid its customers to navigate their way through the maze of cryptocurrency trading.

Buy and Sell Cryptocurrency on Skrill

On Wednesday, July 25, 2018, Skrill, an online wallet, and mobile payments operator announced that it was now into crypto trading, as its customers can now get involved with buying and selling cryptocurrencies using the Skrill wallet. This includes trading in Bitcoin, Ether, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin.  The platform also supports more than 40 fiat currencies.

Before entering the virtual currency trading market, Skrill was mostly focused on the online gambling niche. The company, however, is not stopping at crypto trading, as it plans to increase the service to additional markets in the next few months. It also plans to add the crypto capabilities to its mobile app and the NETTELLER digital wallet. NETTELLER is a product of its parent company, Paysafe.

Available in Over 30 Countries

Apart from its headquarters in the United Kingdom, the company’s new cryptocurrency capability has expanded to more than 30 countries. These places include the UAE, Australia, and Canada. However, some of its key markets including Russia and the United States, are yet to be updated.

Speaking on the launch of the company’s cryptocurrency service, Skrill CEO, Lorenzo Pellegrino, said:

The world of cryptocurrency trading is exciting and dynamic, and our digital wallet service very much lends itself to this environment. I’m confident that the ability to trade in cryptocurrencies quickly and easily through Skrill will appeal to consumers both now and in the future. We know many people want to experiment with cryptocurrency trading but don’t know where to start, and we’ve made the entire process very straightforward.

According to Pellegrino’s statement, customers will be restricted to buying and selling cryptocurrencies. The platform hasn’t launched any feature to allow transfer of virtual coins between wallets as well carrying out online purchases via its payment gateway using crypto coins. However, the company promises that such upgrades are in the works.

Skrill faces stiff competition from the likes of other payment processors that offer cryptocurrency trading options. Platforms like Square, Circle, and Robinhood already control a significant share of the market.

What do you think about the news of Skrill launching its cryptocurrency trading service? Do you think it will be able to compete with industry behemoths like Square, Robinhood, and Coinbase? Keep the conversation going in the comment section below.

Image courtesy of Ethereum World News archives.

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Binance Announces A Second System Upgrade in 24 Hours and its Extension

Popular cryptocurrency exchange, Binance, has announced a second system upgrade only one day after completing one. In the announcement that was made 2 hours ago and at the moment of writing this, the new systems upgrade was scheduled to last only 30 minutes.

Fellow Binancians,

Binance will perform a scheduled system upgrade shortly after 2018/06/27 1:00 PM (UTC). The upgrade will take approximately 30 minutes. Binance will suspend withdrawals and trading during this period. We apologize for any inconvenience caused, and thank you for your patience.

Thank you for your support.

Binance Team

However, the team at Binance has since issued another announcement indicating that the ongoing upgrade will be extended. The team stated the following in the announcement:

Fellow Binancians,

Binance’s ongoing system upgrade will be extended. Our team is working hard to complete the upgrade as quickly as possible.

Another announcement will be made once the upgrade is complete. Users will be given approximately 30 minutes to cancel existing orders, deposit, withdraw and use other account functions before trading resumes. Please stay tuned for further information.

We apologize for any inconvenience caused, and thank you for your patience.

Thank you for your support.

Binance Team

The team at Binance has promised to to give a 30 minute window for traders to cancel existing orders before complete restoration of trading, deposits and withdrawals on the platform. Yesterdays scheduled 4 hour upgrade would eventually last a total of 10 hours due to similar extensions with withdrawals resuming only 1 or 2 hours later.

The exchange has since updated traders that trading will resume at 2:45 PM, UTC through the most recent announcement that stated the following:

Fellow Binancians,

Binance has completed its system upgrade and we will resume all trading activity at 2:45 PM (UTC).

From now until the commencement of trading, users will be able to cancel orders, process deposits, withdrawals, and use all other account related functions.

Thanks for your support!

Binance Team

This means that traders can now cancel orders at the moment of writing this, as well as prepare for a resumption of regular trading on the platform in the next 15 minutes or so.

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Coinbase Acquires Keystone Capital – Poised to Become a U.S.-Regulated Broker-Dealer

Cryptocurrency exchange platform behemoth, Coinbase, has acquired Keystone Capital – a financial services firm based in California. This move is the latest in a series of rapid expansion activities by the San Francisco-based Coinbase. The company announced the acquisition deal in a blog post on June 6. By this latest move, Coinbase is in line to become a regulated broker-dealer platform.

Coinbase Broker-Dealer License Aspirations

Announcing the Keystone Capital acquisition, Asiff Hirji, the President and COO of Coinbase said it was an important move in the platform’s aspiration to become a regulated broker-dealing. Commenting on the deal, Hirji said:

We’re announcing that Coinbase is on track to operate a regulated broker-dealer, pending approval by federal authorities. If approved, Coinbase will soon be capable of offering blockchain-based securities, under the oversight of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

By acquiring Keystone Capital, Coinbase is in line to receive a raft of government licenses. These licenses are the broker-dealer (B-D), an alternative trading system (ATS), and a registered investment advisor (RIA).

Coinbase has always erred on the side of caution concerning the digital assets that it offers to its customers. Despite the plethora of cryptocurrencies in the market, the platform only offers four – BTC, ETH, BCH, and LTC. Coinbase has so far not listed ICO tokens or even XRP for that matter due to unclear regulatory provisions. By obtaining these licenses, the platform will finally be able to increase the scope of its offerings to its over 20 million users.

Expanding to Non-Cryptocurrency Markets

With other cryptocurrency exchange giants like Binance, OKEx, and Huobi pursuing their service expansion agenda, Coinbase is taking significant steps to ensure that it isn’t left behind. The company recently announced the launching of four new products targeted at institutional investors.

Following our recent announcement of the Coinbase suite of institutional products, we believe this is an important moment for the crypto ecosystem and yet another indication of the maturation of the crypto economy. If approved, these licenses will set Coinbase on a path to offer future services that include crypto securities trading, margin and over-the-counter (OTC) trading, and new market data products.

If the deal sails through, Coinbase can transcend the cryptocurrency market into the mainstream financial world. Coinbase says it is optimistic about working with regulators, investors, and other stakeholders to tokenize traditional asset classes. The platform envisages a future where distributed ledger technology (DLT) becomes an essential part of the financial market. Coinbase is confident that blockchain offers some useful solutions such as non-stop trading, instant transaction settlements, as well as secure asset custody framework.

Coinbase recently announced that it was opening a new office in Japan. The platform remains the largest cryptocurrency exchange service in the United States.

Do you think other cryptocurrency exchange platforms will emulate Coinbase in acquiring broker-dealer licenses? Keep the conversation going in the comment section below.

Images courtesy of Ethereum World News archives and Everipedia (https://everipedia.org/wiki/asiff-hirji/).

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Are You Addicted to Crypto (BTC, ETH, XRP) Trading? Scotland Has A Solution

It is no secret that we are aware of the dangers of getting too involved in the world of crypto-trading. The regular crypto trader checks his phone several times in an hour and can be found waking up at night to check if Bitcoin (BTC) has recovered or if his stop loss order has been executed.

Back in December when the markets were peaking and intense, many individuals were pulling 24 to 48 hour trading sessions due to the excitement involved.

There was a recent news report of one individual who prefers to live in his car, rather than coughing up $800 in rent every month. He claims that this rent money would rather be spent buying his favorite crypto to boost his crypto portfolio. The gentlemen was quoted as having squeezed a mattress in his car that he parks in his friend’s garage for a meager $40 per month. One can be tempted to label his habits as being extremely frugal and somewhat completely addicted to the world of crypto.

Car Battle station. Source, news.bitcoin.com

Perhaps he is right and his crypto portfolio will be key to an early retirement. He might have a brilliant plan.

But there exists a good number of traders who cannot live without the excitement of trading on a daily basis.

This is where a hospital in Scotland has created a course of residential treatment for ‘crypto addicts’ to deal with the issues that cause this addiction, and introduce them to a life without it. Castle Craig Hospital in Peeblesshire, Scotland, offers help in correcting the behavioral addiction in crypto trading that is similar to online gambling.

Chris Burn, who is a gambling therapist, at the hospital had this to say about the similarities of crypto trading and online gambling:

The high risk, fluctuating cryptocurrency market appeals to the problem gambler.

It provides excitement and an escape from reality. Bitcoin, for example, has been heavily traded and huge gains and losses were made. It’s a classic bubble situation.

Another therapist at the hospital, Tony Marini, knows all to well how gambling and drug addiction works. He has been through it personally and has first hand experience along with the additional empathy needed to help others. He said the following about the required treatment of crypto trading addiction:

I see cryptocurrency trading as a way for people to escape from themselves, into another world, because they don’t like the world they’re in.

The first stage of treatment is to join other addicts in group therapy and share their life stories. This helps them identify with each other and realize that they’re not alone

Addiction in any form is indeed dangerous to the individual and the ones closest to him or her. Therefore, the Castle Craig Hospital in Scotland can be lauded as identifying the disease in the crypto industry and offering help to those in need. As crypto trading becomes popular with the increment of online exchanges, it is highly probably that there will be more centers open to help the crypto trading addict.

[Photo source, steemit.com]

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South Korea Confirms Plans to Ease Crypto Trading

Over the past six months or so South Korean lawmakers have been sending mixed messages over cryptocurrency regulations. One day we read about a Bitcoin crackdown, the next day trading goes on as normal. What happens in South Korea impacts the entire market since such a high percentage of trade volume occurs on exchanges in the country.

This week the news has been positive despite the current market correction. According to local media the newly appointed Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) Governor, Yoon Suk-heun, has said the country’s top financial regulator will consider relaxing cryptocurrency regulations. Following appointment to the government agency, which was submitted by the Financial Services Commission (FSC), Yoon told reporters; “Regarding cryptocurrencies, there are some positive aspects,”

This suggests that more focus will go towards the implementation of more practical regulations to cultivate a stable crypto trading environment which in turn will benefit the economy over all. Yoon is known as an activist and reformist so subtle changes towards regulating the crypto industry are likely to be positive ones.

He went on to state that his department, the FSS, would collaborate with the FSC to inspect existing financial market regulations and current policies for cryptocurrency trading. Previously retail traders were prohibited from using anonymous accounts and had to supply real name and bank account information for greater transparency and to prevent money laundering and criminal activity.

An official from Bithumb, South Korea’s second most popular crypto exchange, said;

“Markets expected the introduction of the real-name registration system would have been helpful to revive trading, but these efforts failed as local banks were reluctant to invite more crypto traders. The daily transactions of cryptocurrencies plummeted to around 400 billion won from 4 trillion won before the financial regulators implement the new regulation,”

Officials from Upbit, the largest exchange in the country with over $1 billion in daily volume, added.

“We don’t oppose regulations. But you can’t entirely kill the markets by simply imposing regulations. What the new FSS chief should think about is how the regulators should provide remedies to help crypto trading and blockchain technology get better,”

A group of lawmakers are currently working towards a bill that will eventually rescind the existing blockade of initial coin offerings and permit ones that meet certain criteria and conditions set out in the regulatory framework. Mood in South Korea is very positive at the moment as the country is set to join Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong as an Asian crypto powerhouse.