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Coinbase Drops Its Crypto Bundle Product Without Any Explanation

Major U.S.-based crypto exchange Coinbase has discontinued its crypto investment bundles product, the platform’s updated FAQ site reveals.

Major United States-based crypto exchange Coinbase has discontinued its Coinbase Bundle crypto investment offering, the platform’s updated FAQ site reveals.

Coinbase Bundle product is no more

Reasons for discontinuation of the product — which had only just launched in fall 2018 — have not been officially provided, with the exchange simply notifying users that:

“Coinbase Bundle purchases have been deprecated, as such all assets purchased in the Coinbase Bundle have been redistributed to their respective individual asset wallets.”

In a further comment, Coinbase says that while users will no longer see a standalone wallet for their Coinbase Bundle purchases, the amount of cryptocurrencies purchased as part of the package will not have changed and is thus “a cosmetic-only change.”

Coinbase Bundles has been designed to purportedly simplify cryptocurrency trading and draw new investors into the sector. 

Each bundle was a basket of five cryptocurrencies — Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ether (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), and Ethereum Classic (ETC) — supported on Coinbase and purchased in proportion to their market capitalization in USD. The smallest bundle was sold by the exchange for as little as $25, £25, or €25.

A changing crypto landscape

Earlier this week, Coinbase released aggregated data in the form of three trading signals designed to offer investment insights for its customers:  top holder activity, typical hold time and popularity, and price correlation. 

In June, the exchange published its key findings about awareness and adoption trends related to cryptocurrency in the U.S., revealing that 58% of Americans have heard about Bitcoin (BTC). 

Other U.S.-based crypto trading platforms have similarly launched investment vehicles designed to streamline trading, such as the Winklevoss Twins’ Gemini exchange, which offers a “Cryptoverse” product tied to a basket of cryptocurrencies weighted by market cap to be bought as a single order.

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New Jersey Accuses Blockchain Firm of Unregistered Securities Sale

The State of New Jersey has accused a blockchain-related firm of conducting an unregistered securities sale when it sold its token to investors.

The State of New Jersey alleges that a blockchain-based online rental marketplace sold over $400,000 of unregistered securities.

A complaint filed on July 17 accuses Pocketinns, Inc. and its president Sarvajnya G. Mada of offering and selling around $410,000 of unregistered securities in the form of a cryptocurrency dubbed “PINNS Tokens.” The tokens were sold through an initial token offering between Jan. 15 and Jan. 31, 2018. Neither Pockettins nor Mada have allegedly been registered with the state’s Bureau of Securities. 

The defendants purportedly sold tokens to 217 investors in violation of New Jersey’s Uniform Securities Law, wherein only 11 provided documentation proving their accredited investor status. Mada and his firm subsequently planned to exchange sold tokens for Ether (ETH), which at the time had a value of around $728.

The complaint alleges that Pockettins intended to raise as much as $46 million through the sale of 30 million PINNS Tokens. Paul Rodríguez, acting director of the Division of Consumer Affairs, stated:

“By failing to take reasonable steps to verify that purchasers were accredited investors capable of bearing the increased risks associated with unregistered securities, the defendants violated the law and exposed investors to financial losses that could have been devastating.”

The complaint seeks to preclude Pocketinns and Mada from selling securities in New Jersey and assess civil monetary penalties against the defendants for each violation of the Securities Law. It also seeks to require that they pay restitution to investors who participated in the offering.

Earlier in July, a Texas court ordered two defendants to pay $400,000 for conducting a fraudulent scheme to solicit Bitcoin (BTC) from members of the public.

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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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Overstock Subsidiary and Tokenization Firm tZERO Announces New Management

The tokenization firm tZERO has announced three new executive appointments, including a former Barclays member who will head tokenization dealings.

The blockchain-based subsidiary of retail giant Overstock,  tZERO, has appointed three new managers. The company announced the new hires in a press release on July 17.

According to the announcement, new appointees Brooke Navarro, Michael Mougias and Alexandra Sotiropoulos have been official managers since July 15. TZero states that these new executives are the firms head of issuance, head of investor relations and head of communications, respectively.

The CEO of tZERO, Saum Noursalehi, remarked on the intended role for these new hires, saying:

“On the issuance front, Brooke will drive strategic development of our security token ecosystem by focusing on the supply-side of the equation — working with issuers to bring more quality assets to the PRO Securities ATS. Mike and Alex will spearhead our efforts to continue to develop strategic market positioning for tZERO and engage with current and prospective investors, analysts, media and other tZERO stakeholders.”

Brooke Navarro will coordinate with regulated broker-dealer affiliates and partners to seek out companies interested in a token offering or otherwise tokenizing existing capital tables. Navarro is also going to be in charge of pursuing strategic partnerships in order to drive adoption of tZERO’s technology.

Navarro was formerly a managing director in investment banking at Barclays as a leader in the company’s technology, media and telecom equity capital markets team. Navarro reportedly acted as an advisor to Barclays clients for initial public offerings, follow-ons, convertibles and private placements.

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, tZERO partnered with the producers of a gaming biopic in development — “Atari: Fistful of Quarters” — to tokenize the film. The token is called “Bushnell” and token owners will become shareholders of the project, and receive a portion of the movie’s profits as such. Token holders will also apparently be able to vote on the movie trailer and have influence over which actors are hired.

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Reddit Co-Founders’s Fund Leads $3.75M Round for Blockchain Gaming Studio

Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian’s venture fund led a $3.75 million seed round to support blockchain video game studio Horizon Blockchain Games.

Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian’s venture fund led a $3.75 million seed round for blockchain-powered video game studio Horizon Blockchain Games.

According to a press release on July 17, Ohanian’s venture fund Initialized Capital led the new seed round alongside other major blockchain investors such as Polychain Capital and Digital Currency Group. Other investors included popular American crypto exchange and wallet service Coinbase, Golden Ventures and Inovia Capital.

The secured funds will support Horizon’s goal of further integrating blockchain tech in the gaming industry. The company has created a blockchain video game network named Arcadeum, which provides players with secure wallets to store their assets from blockchain games. 

Based on the Ethereum blockchain, Arcadeum also serves as an application browser, providing an opportunity for game developers to release and market their games, the press release notes.

Horizon has already built its online card game SkyWeaver, which is expected to launch in open beta in the fall of 2019.

In mid-June, French video gaming giant Ubisoft was reported to be exploring potential blockchain applications in gaming as a part of its strategy to increase their competitiveness in the industry.

Previously, Galaxy Digital’s fund led a $1.8 million seed funding round for Azure’s blockchain-based gaming rewards platform.

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Money Managers are Paying Big Bucks to Interpret Your Bitcoin Tweets

Algorithms that can decode social media market sentiment are making waves in the institutional crypto landscape.

Algorithms that can decode market sentiment are making waves in the institutional crypto landscape, a July 17 report from Reuters claims. 

An Arms Race for Algorithms

With the resounding return of Bitcoin’s (BTC) volatility amid an ever-hotter crypto market, hedge funds and asset managers are increasingly turning to software developers to help them interpret and harness sentiment signals to their advantage.

Bin Ren — CEO of Alan Howard-owned Elwood Asset Management — told Reuters that the soaring interest in developing algorithms capable of identifying price clues from the tumultuous social media landscape has become akin to “an arms race for money managers.”

While A.I. and other software-driven sentiment analysis has long been an accepted tool in traditional financial markets, Reuters argues that crypto’s nativity to the internet makes the asset class potentially an ideal fit for such algorithmic parsing tools.

Moreover, the crypto sector isn’t served by centralized sources of information — such as central banks — that can traditionally provide economic indicators and financial statements for investors to interpret.

The price of so-dubbed sentiment analysis algos is undeniably steep. As Andrea Leccese, president of New York-based investment firm Bluesky Capital told Reuters, even a robot that can parse just anglophone Twitter can cost between $500,000-$1 million a pop, largely in developer fees. 

‘Similar to Modeling the Spreading of a Virus’

This fragmentation and vibrancy of the social media landscape — extending beyond Twitter to Reddit, Russian-developed Telegram, Japan’s Line, Korea’s Kakao and China’s WeChat, and many others — presents significant complexity for the Sherlocks of sentiment analysis.  

According to data from BitInfoCharts, Bitcoin-centric Tweets clock in at 22,784 daily as of press time and subscribers to Reddit’s main Bitcoin forum are at almost 1.1 million.

It isn’t impossible to finding method in the madness of this proliferation, Elwood’s Ren told Reuters, given that the “information propagates not randomly, but through a very well-defined structure […] like a tree.” He added: “It’s very similar to modeling the spreading of a virus.”

As Cointelegraph has reported, a Q1 2019 survey from Big Four auditor PwC found that quantitative funds — who avail themselves of both sentiment analysis and other tools — managed to secure higher overall returns than their rivals. 

This June, Fidelity-backed crypto analytics firm Coin Metrics partnered with Social Market Analytics to develop on a feed of real-time sentiment towards crypto based on Twitter data.

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Retail Investors Can Now Bet on Bitcoin Hitting $100,000 by 2020

U.S.-based regulated crypto derivatives and clearing platform LedgerX is giving retail investors the chance to bet on Bitcoin hitting $100,000 by 2020.

United States.-based regulated crypto derivatives and clearing platform LedgerX is giving retail investors the chance to bet on Bitcoin (BTC) hitting $100,000 by 2020.

New Possibilities for the Retail Crypto Trader

As Bloomberg reported on July 17, the $100,000 call option implies that Bitcoin’s current valuation could increase over ten-fold and hit a $2 trillion market capitalization.

This bullish bet on Bitcoin is the first crypto derivatives product open to mom and pop investors since LedgerX sealed approval from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to serve as a designated contract market for clients of any size, as Cointelegraph reported in June. 

Institutional investors have been able to trade derivatives via the platform for two years. LedgerX CEO, Paul Chou, has revealed to Bloomberg that such clients — who each hold assets worth between $10 million and $1 billion — have already expressed interest in the new product. He said: 

“Dozens and dozens of these institutions got back to us saying we’d be interested in trading a contract like this. I understand $100,000 is a large number, but a lot of us who’ve been in this space remember Bitcoin at $1, and then it hit $10 and $100 and $10,000. A $100,000 contract doesn’t even make us blink.”

More Bitcoin Investment Options Coming Amid Rising Volume

As reported in June, BitMEX — the world’s single biggest bitcoin derivatives provider — posted record volumes across its operations as Bitcoin (BTC) hit $13,000. The platform reported $1 billion of open interest in the market, with trading topping $13 billion and above $16 billion across the BitMEX’s full product range.

Just this week, digital asset management fund Grayscale Investments recorded an all-time high volume of assets under management at $2.7 billion — representing a near tripling of its AUM since the preceding quarter. Institutional clients have represented the highest percentage of total demand for Grayscale products, constituting 84%, since July 2018. The fund’s Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) was up almost 300% on the year as of July 9. 

The institutional market is also poised for the roll-out of physically-delivered bitcoin futures by institutional cryptocurrency platform Bakkt on July 22. 

Anthony Pompliano — the co-founder of Morgan Creek Digital Assets — has recently predicted that Bitcoin will hit $100,000 just a year later than LedgerX’s call option, eyeing 2021.

To press time, Bitcoin is trading just north of $9,500 — down almost 24% on the day and almost 11% on the week, according to Cointelegraph’s Bitcoin Price Index.

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Grayscale Investments Report Assets Under Management of $2.7B

Grayscale reports new jump in assets under management to $2.7 billion.

Digital asset management fund Grayscale Investments has recorded an all-time high volume of assets under management of $2.7 billion.

Per a Digital Asset Investment Report on Q2 2019 that Grayscale shared with Cointelegraph on July 16, the firm counted over $2.7 billion in assets under management as of July 15, 2019. The figure thus marks a near tripling of assets under management by the company since the preceding quarter.

Grayscale’s overall performance in Q2

Grayscale stated in the report that total investments into its single-asset and diversified investment products in Q2 2019 amounted to $84.8 million, which is nearly twice the amount the company saw in the previous quarter. The company notes that new investments were among major drivers of the recent surge of cryptocurrencies’ prices.

Of investors, institutional ones represented the highest percentage of total demand for Grayscale products, constituting 84%, since July 2018. Alternative investment also registered a sharp increase, wherein alternative currencies accounted for 24% of inflows in Q2 against 1% in Q1.

70% of investments accounted for investors converting tokens they already held into shares of Grayscale products. In general, Q2 ostensibly marked the first positive quarterly performance for all 10 of Grayscale’s investment vehicles.

As previously reported, Grayscale Investments’ Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) was up almost 300% on the year as of July 9. At the time, the trust was yielding a 296% year-to-date appreciation — a stratospheric increase as compared to mainstream investments reflected in the S&P 500 (18.7%) and Global Dow (12.9%) over the same time period.

Also this month, Grayscale Investments resumed private placement of GBTC shares, which is now offered periodically to accredited investors — as defined in Rule 501(a) of Regulation D under the Securities Act — for daily subscription.

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Venezuelan Investors File Lawsuit With US Court in Connection With $30M Crypto Fraud

Seven Venezuelans claim to have been lured into a $30 million Ponzi scheme with a cryptocurrency pegged to diamonds

A group of Venezuelans has filed a lawsuit with a Florida Federal Court in connection with a Ponzi scheme involving $30 million in cryptocurrency promoted by Canadian investment radio host Harold Seigel.

Payment and commerce news outlet reported today, July 16, that seven Venezuelans claim to have been lured into a $30 million worth digital currency Ponzi scheme conducted by companies such as Eagle Financial Diamond Group Inc. and Argyle Coin. The cryptocurrency involved into the fraud was reportedly pegged to diamonds.

The frauds allegedly used raised funds to pay back earlier investors

The plaintiffs accuse Canadian financial commentator Harold Seigel, his son Jonathan Seigel and his partner Jose Angel Aman — the principal behind Argyle Coin — of misleading with promises of huge returns on the investments.

The plaintiffs have reportedly never seen documentation indicating allocation of the invested funds, nor have they had access to their crypto wallets holding claimed Argyle Coins. The fraudulent investment scheme operators allegedly used the raised funds to pay back earlier investors. The complaint reportedly reads:

“The plaintiffs bring this lawsuit to get back not only their initial investment money, but also their owed interest on their invested funds, as per their contracts, and their owed attorneys’ fees and costs incurred in bringing forth this action.”

The U.S. SEC’s crackdown on the confirmed cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme

In late May, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) halted the aforementioned crypto Ponzi scheme after it had taken funds worth $30 million, with Aman becoming subject to legal action in connection with the fraud. Eric I. Bustillo, director of the SEC’s Miami Regional Office, said at the time:

“As alleged, Aman operated a complicated web of fraudulent companies in an effort to continually loot retail investors and perpetuate the Ponzi schemes as well as divert money to himself.”

That same month, the SEC initiated court proceedings against California resident Daniel Pacheco for allegedly operating a multimillion-dollar crypto pyramid scheme. The SEC accused Pacheco of conducting a fraudulent, unregistered offering of securities through two California-based companies, IPro Solutions LLC and IPro Network LLC, from January 2017 through March 2018.

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R3 to Support a Startup-Focused Stock Exchange in Brazil

Enterprise blockchain tech firm R3 partnered with Brazilian digital bank Banco Maré to launch a stock exchange listing shares of startups.

Blockchain consortium R3 has partnered with Brazilian fintech company Banco Maré to launch a stock exchange for investing in technology firms.

Banco Maré, a blockchain-powered digital bank focused on financial inclusion, intends to build a tokenized stock exchange offering investments in technology companies with “social impact,” Cointelegraph Brazil reports July 16.

The new R3 technology-backed platform, provisionally named BVM12, will purportedly open a new funding source for technology startups, as well as enable individual investors to generate dividends from investments in new technologies, the report notes.

Rio de Janeiro-based Banco Maré has reportedly conducted its first informal consultations with the Brazilian Securities and Exchange Commission, and is reportedly planning to make an official request to the agency in August 2019.

Banco Maré CEO Alexander Albuquerque claimed that the new venture aims to democratize risky investment and bring the low-income public to the stock market.

Earlier in June, Cointelegraph reported that the Brazilian government was considering a bill requiring all units of local public administrations to promote new technologies such as blockchain. Recently, the Brazilian diplomatic academy, the Rio Branco Institute, was reported to start requiring candidates to have knowledge of cryptocurrencies and blockchain.

On July 12, the Brazilian state of Bahia launched a blockchain-based app to track the process of public bidding on government contracts.