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Germany’s Second Largest Stock Exchange, SolarisBank Partner to Launch Crypto Exchange

SolarisBank and Stuttgart Exchange Group are jointly developing a crypto exchange meant to be launched in the first half of next year.

SolarisBank and Stuttgart Exchange Group are jointly developing infrastructure for a cryptocurrency exchange, Cointelegraph Germany reports Dec. 12.

The Stuttgart Exchange, founded in 1860, is the second largest stock exchange in Germany and the ninth largest in Europe. SolarisBank, on the other hand, is a German fintech company established in 2015 that holds a banking license and offers a “Banking as a Platform” service.

This news goes along with the plans announced by the exchange in May to release a zero-fee cryptocurrency trading application.

The two companies’ crypto exchange, “which is scheduled to launch in the first half of 2019,” will have SolarisBank acting as the exchange’s banking platform.

Roland Folz, the CEO of SolarisBank, declared that “a reliable and efficient trading platform is an elementary contribution to [their] vision of a hybrid financial world with both fiat and cryptocurrencies.”

The press release notes that Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) will be available for trading on the exchange by both retail and institutional investors. As well, an ICO platform, which had been announced in August, is under development for the exchange. The tokens introduced on the platform will be tradeable on secondary markets as well.

This project is part of SolarisBank’s “Blockchain Factory” initiative, which offers its customers specialized accounts meant for blockchain companies.

As Cointelegraph reported in April, VPE WertpapierhandelsBank AG (VPE), a German securities trading bank, has partnered with SolarisBank as well. The partnership’s objective is to launch a cryptocurrency trading service for institutional investors.

Bitwala, a German crypto-banking startup operated by Solaris Bank, also reported today that they have opened for business with 40,000 pre-registered customers that will get access to Bitcoin and euro deposit accounts.

Using Solaris Bank’s banking license, euro funds will be protected up to an amount of 100,000 euros, and will be supervised by Germany’s two banking regulators — BaFin and Bundesbank.

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Ledger, Neufund Partner to Create Security Tokens Framework

Crypto hardware wallet Ledger to allow users to manage security tokens through Ledger’s desktop app.

Cryptocurrency hardware wallet firm Ledger has partnered with German crypto startup Neufund to let users manage security tokens via Ledger’s desktop app, according to a press release Dec. 6.

Ledger’s collaboration with blockchain-based equity and crypto fundraising platform Neufund aims to develop a framework for security tokens. Ledger Live — a recently launched desktop application for crypto asset management — is reportedly adding an ERC-20 integration “soon.” The app will let users manage security tokens issued via Neufund’s set of protocols.

Previously, Neufund teamed up with cryptocurrency exchange BitBay to let investors buy and sell equity tokens with fiat currencies. At that time, Neufund was reportedly aiming to become the first end-to-end primary issuance platform for security tokens, specializing in equity tokens.

Meanwhile, Ledger announced in late November that it is expanding to New York as part of its development of institutional custody offering Ledger Vault. Ledger Vault is a form of custody solution allowing multiple members of a corporate entity such as a hedge fund to access the same cold storage wallet.

Also in November, the Germany-based IOTA Foundation announced it will integrate IOTA tokens with Ledger’s cryptocurrency hardware wallets.

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Over One Third of German Big Business Finds Blockchain Tech as Impactful as Internet

Many big German companies see major potential in blockchain technology, according to a new survey by IT industry association Bitkom.

According to a recent survey, over one third of big businesses in Germany consider blockchain technology as revolutionary as the Internet, Cointelegraph auf Deutsch reported, Dec. 4.

In addition to artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of things (IoT), blockchain technology is one of the current three areas of development with “tremendous potential,” the survey reports.

Conducted by the German Federal Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media (Bitkom), the survey revealed that overall, 15 percent of German companies think blockchain will “change society and the economy as much as the Internet.” Larger companies, with 500 or more employees, were more than twice as likely to hold that opinion, at 36 percent.

At the same time, about 46 percent of the surveyed companies classified Germany a “latecomer” in blockchain adoption, lagging behind other nations. A large swathe of respondents, 40 percent, said they see the country not as a leader, but somewhere in the middle, in terms of blockchain development.

Bitkom has conducted extensive polls of businesses and the German public in regard to cryptocurrencies, blockchain, and how they are perceived. In late November, a Bitkom survey revealed that about 60 percent of local companies are hesitant about approaching the topic of blockchain, mainly due to a perceived lack of practical applications.

In February 2018, another Bitkom survey found that 64 percent of Germans were aware of Bitcoin (BTC). Per the report, awareness had doubled since 2016. 4 percent of respondents actually held Bitcoin coin, while 19 percent they have an idea of how to purchase the seminal cryptocurrency and 72 percent stated that they had no interest in digital currency.

Regarding the economic significance of cryptocurrencies and Blockchain, Bitkom CEO Bernhard Rohleder said:

“Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are a good example of how the digital age is able to change the financial world. This is not so much about the individual currency itself as it is about the underlying blockchain technology. It will have an impact on the whole economy.”

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German Financial Watchdog Warns Public About Unauthorized Crypto Offering

BaFin, the German financial watchdog, has warned the public about a crypto offering that was allegedly operating without permission or oversight from regulatory authorities.

The German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) issued a warning Nov. 29 that a firm called Platin Genesis DCC is not authorized or approved by the proper authorities.

In the warning, BaFin states that Platin Genesis was advertising a “Platinum Coin Crypto Fund” on social media, which it claimed was “approved and released by BaFin.” The watchdog clarifies in its statement that this is not true.

Per BaFin, the firm does not have permission under section 34 of the German Banking Act to conduct banking activities or offer financial services. The firm is not under BaFin’s supervision.

The firm’s token “Platincoin” is listed on CoinMarketCap, and is trading at $4.48, down 1.11 percent on its daily chart at press time.

Earlier this month, BaFin ordered a partial cessation of activities of U.K.-based crypto-related firm Finatex Ltd. The firm was ordered to “immediately” put a halt to cross-border proprietary trading on its trading platform, Crypto-Capitals.

Finatex purportedly offered “options, contracts for difference (CFDs) on shares, indices, currencies and commodities,” without authorization by the German Banking Act.  

BaFin has maintained a hawkish stance toward ICOs, and has called for international regulations in the sector. Last month, BaFin chairman Felix Hufeld said that “the number (of ICOs) and the volume (of money) per ICO are both getting higher. Investors have mostly minimal rights.”

Referencing ICOs, Hufeld recommend private investors to “keep away from such things” adding that discussions on ICO regulations were underway in “multiple international forums.”

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German Private Equity Fund Targets Bitcoin Mining аs Clients Demand ‘Regulated Product’

Xolaris Service KVAG, a German alternative investment fund manager, has launched a private equity fund dedicated to Bitcoin mining.

German alternative investment fund manager Xolaris Service KVAG has launched a private equity fund dedicated to Bitcoin mining, the company confirmed in a press release Nov. 29.

Xolaris, which has undertaken various expansion measures including the opening of a Hong Kong office in July, says client demand to access the sector continues despite the downturn in Bitcoin (BTC) prices.

The fund will feature a minimum investment entry of €250,000 ($285,000), with a planned issue volume of between €30 million and €50 million ($34 million – $57 million).

“We’ve constantly received requests from professional investors to release a regulated product for the cryptocurrency sphere,” head of portfolio management Stefan Klaile said in the release.

The fund will come as a joint project with Marc Stehr, owner of an extant mining farm in Sweden, with the fund’s capital first going towards the farm’s expansion.

The decision was made due to Stehr “already having access to operational mining infrastructure,” which “demonstrably successfully produces Bitcoin.”

“This eliminates a number of risks,” Klaile added.

As Cointelegraph reported, the drop in Bitcoin prices to around $3,500 had appeared to put pay to many miners’ profitability, with China seeing mass dumping of hardware due to the crisis. Last week, U.S.-based operation Giga Watt filed for bankruptcy.

The picture remains far from one-sided meanwhile, with the government of Paraguay at the same time announcing it would endorse and support “Golden Goose,” a project to build the world’s largest Bitcoin mining farm.

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Bentley, Bugatti & Rolls-Royce Retailer Announces It’s Now Accepting Bitcoin

Luxury auto retailer Post Oak Motor Cars integrates BitPay to support payments for cars in Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash.

Luxury automobile retailer Post Oak Motor Cars is reportedly the first Rolls-Royce, Bentley and Bugatti dealership in the U.S. to accept Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) as payment, according to an official press release published September 5.

The luxury auto retailer, owned by American businessman Tilman Fertitta, has integrated crypto payment service provider BitPay to let clients purchase cars with crypto. According to the press release, the Texas-based firm will accept purchases in crypto from customers worldwide.

Fertitta commented that the company decided to provide the new payment option in order to offer their customers “the very best buying experience,” as well as enable “anyon around the world” to buy their vehicles “faster and easier.”

Late last year, billionaire mogul Fertitta had told reporters that most people are “never going to buy [Bitcoin],” since “it’s not insured by the FDIC [Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation].”

Earlier this year, major American car manufacturer Ford filed a patent for a system for vehicle-to-vehicle communication methods that involve the exchange of crypto tokens to facilitate traffic flow.

In early March 2018, Germany-based car manufacturing giant Daimler AG,  known for its Mercedes-Benz and Smart brands, introduced its own digital currency MobiCoin in order to reward drivers for eco-friendly driving practices, such as low speed driving.

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Market-Wide Losses Intensify in Second Day of Major Crypto Price Plummet

Thursday, September 6: crypto markets are blisteringly red, with virtually all of the top 100 coins posting hefty losses on the 24-hour charts, as Coin360 data shows.

Coin360

Market visualizat​ion from Coin360

Bitcoin (BTC) is trading at around $6,492 at press time, down almost 6.32 percent on the day, according to Cointelegraph’s Bitcoin Price Index.

Having broken through the $7,000 threshold August 31, Bitcoin saw a solid uptrend until its sudden plummet yesterday, September 5. The top coin is now around 8 percent down on its weekly chart. On the month, however, Bitcoin remains up by around the same figure of 8 percent.

Cointelegraph's Bitcoin Price Index

Bitcoin’s 7-day price chart. Source: Cointelegraph’s Bitcoin Price Index

Ethereum (ETH) is trading around $225 at press time, losing 8 percent on the day. Following upon an intra-week high to scrape $300 September 1, Ethereum traded sideways around $290 until yesterday’s sudden descent.

On its weekly chart, Ethereum is down a hefty 21.8 percent, with monthly losses burgeoning to 44.8 percent.

Cointelegraph's Ethereum Price Index

Ethereum’s 7-day price chart. Source: Cointelegraph’s Ethereum Price Index

Many of the top ten coins listed on CoinMarketCap are seeing significant losses, with Litecoin (LTC) down 7 percent to trade at $55.92, having traded as high as $69 September 4.

Ripple (XRP) is a significant outlier, surviving the day’s dump relatively unscathed, up 2.15 percent on the day to trade around $0.30. Having plummeted in correlation with other major cryptos, the asset has seen a strong bounce upwards in the hours before press time.

CoinMarketCap

Ripples 7-day price chart from CoinMarketCap

Among the top twenty coins, most losses are at five percent or higher, with IOTA (MIOTA), down 6.41 percent on the day to press time. VeChain (VET) has also lost almost 8 percent on the day to trade at $0.015.

Many other smaller market cap alts are seeing double digit losses, showing strong correlation with larger crypto assets.

In an interview with Cointelegraph this week, Brian Kelly, founder and CEO of digital currency investment firm BKCM LLC, who is also a regular contributor to CNBC as a crypto analyst, said he considers that in today’s Initial Coin Offering (ICO) market, “the days of a whitepaper and a dream and $30 million are probably over.”

Crypto industry commentator Joseph Young has today given his perspective on Twitter, tempering the grim market picture with the suggestion that:

“Previous corrections 2014, 2016 were much more brutal than the 2018 crypto correction. On average two-year corrections were suffered, with no positive development for investors to track. In 2018: 1. crypto jobs up 50% in Asia 2. Bakkt 3. Better crypto custody for institutions.”

Total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies is just under $205 billion at press time, down over $35 billion from its intraweek high of just under $240 billion.

CoinMarketCap

7-day chart of the total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies from CoinMarketCap

Eschewing news-correlated market analyses, eToro’s Mati Greenspan today tweeted a four-word bottom line to one disgruntled crypto community member’s question, “what was the reason behind the dip today?”:

“More sellers than buyers.”

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Report: Crypto ATM Market Expected to Grow to $144.5 Million by 2023

The crypto automated trading machine (ATM) market will grow to $114.5 million by 2023, according a report published Sept. 4 on ResearchandMarkets.com.

Researchers expect the cryptocurrency ATM market to grow from $16.3 million in 2018 to $144.5 million by 2023, citing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 54.7 percent from 2018 to 2023.

According to the study, significant growth during the forecast period will be from two-way ATMs, which let customers change digital currency into fiat and vise-versa using a single machine. The study says that the machines’ functionality is the key driver of two-way crypto ATMs’ popularity among users.

The authors of the report highlight rapidly expanding capabilities in developed countries like the U.S., Germany, and Japan, and the increasing rate of crypto adoption as prime growth factors in the crypto ATM market.

The North American crypto ATM market will purportedly hold the largest share of the crypto market by 2023. The presence of a large number of crypto ATM hardware and software providers, as well as a favorable investment environment will facilitate the dominant position of the U.S. in the market.

At the same time, the study also identifies regulatory uncertainty, in addition to lack of awareness and technical understanding of cryptocurrencies as factors that can limit the growth of the crypto ATM market.  

Targeting mainstream adoption, Ontario-based Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH)  ATM manufacturer LocalCoinATM installed a batch of ETH ATMs in three different locations in Canada, including Toronto, Brampton and Etobicoke in 2017. That year South Korean ATM manufacturer Hyosung officially integrated BTC into its international ATM models.

While the crypto ATM market is projected to grow over the next five years, traditional ATM manufacturers consider digital currencies a threat to their business. In March, the world’s largest ATM operator Cardtronics pinpointed cryptocurrencies among the major risks to their business in an annual report. Consumer behavior analysis reportedly showed a significant shift in preferred payment methods, with more customers now choosing electronic forms of payment over traditional physical banknotes, leading to a decline in the use of ATMs.

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Bitcoin Seals Further Gains in a Mostly Green Market as Ethereum Fails to Break $300

Tuesday, September 4: crypto markets are largely green today, with Bitcoin (BTC) inching upwards yet further, and several large-market-cap alts seeing solid gains, as Coin360 data shows.

Market visualization from Coin360

Market visualization from Coin360

Bitcoin (BTC) is trading at around $7,374 at press time, up over 1 percent on the day as it continues boost its newly won gains, according to Cointelegraph’s Bitcoin Price Index.

Having reclaimed the $7,000 price point August 31, Bitcoin has seen a solid upwards trend and is now pushing $7,400. The top coin is trading an impressive $550 higher than its low on its weekly chart, with its 7-day rolling gains at almost 7 percent. On the month, Bitcoin is up a fraction of a percent.

Bitcoin’s 7-day price chart

Bitcoin’s 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Ethereum (ETH) is trading around $288 at press time, seeing seeing virtually no value percentage change on the day. Following upon an intra-week high of about $298, Ethereum has failed to sustain upwards momentum, remaining range bound around $290.

On its weekly chart, Ethereum is more or less even at a fractional 0.1 percent gain, with monthly losses remaining around 31 percent.

Ethereum’s 7-day price chart

Ethereum’s 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

The top ten coins listed on CoinMarketCap are mostly seeing modest gains of within a 1-2 percent range. A notable exception is Litecoin (LTC), up around 5.7 percent on the day to trade around $69. Litecoin saw a strong push upwards at the start of September, followed by a couple of days trading sideways before today’s second flush of strong green.

Litecoin’s 7-day price chart

Litecoin’s 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Another strong top ten performer is Monero (XMR), up almost 5 percent to trade around $139 at press time. Monero is now trading at around $40 above its value of $97 on August 30.  

Stellar (XLM) has seemingly not yet absorbed any positive momentum from news that IBM has brought its Blockchain World Wire (BWW) payment network out of beta this week, aiming to ultimately facilitate international settlements between banks in “near real-time.” The asset is up around 2.8 percent on the day to trade around $0.23, a slight push upwards after a couple of days of lackluster momentum.

Stellar’s 7-day price chart

Stellar’s 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Among the top twenty coins, gains are stronger on average: NEM (XEM) and Vechain (VET) are both up almost 8 percent on the day, with IOTA (MIOTA), Zcash (ZEC) and Dash seeing 3-4 percent growth on their 24-hour charts. NEO has today soared 8.8 percent and is trading at $25 at press time, capping a week of strong, if jagged, growth.

Total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies is around $240 billion at press time, up almost $12 billion on its weekly chart.

7-day chart of the total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies
7-day chart of the total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies from CoinMarketCap

Today has seen bullish news for the blockchain space, with South Korea’s Internet and Security Agency (KISA) — a sub-organization of the country’s Ministry of Science and ICT — announcing plans to more than double its budget for public blockchain pilot projects this coming year.

Germany’s joint stock company Deutsche Boerse has also announced the formation of a dedicated unit for blockchain and crypto assets, aiming to harness the technology’s potential to disrupt the capital markets infrastructure.

And in China, the country’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), has officially launched the testing phase of a major blockchain trade finance platform ahead of schedule.