Category Archives: Cryptocurrency

Coinbase Announces Launch of Coinbase Pro, Paradex Acquisition

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Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has announced the newest version of its GDAX trading platform, Coinbase Pro.

Coinbase has announced Coinbase Pro, the new version of its trading platform GDAX, in a blog post Wednesday. The announcement comes on the same day as Coinbase’s acquisition of relay platform Paradex.

According to the Coinbase blog post, Coinbase Pro is an evolution of GDAX, which is specifically designed for individual crypto traders. Coinbase says that the new product was made specifically to suit the needs of individual traders, in addition to making the platform “easier and more intuitive.” Coinbase Pro will offer new features such as simplified deposit and withdrawal processes, in addition to letting customers take advantage of services like staking and protocol voting.

Coinbase will integrate the Paradex relay platform into Coinbase Pro which, according their blog post, will let customers trade “hundreds of tokens directly from their wallets.” This would markedly expand expand the types of cryptocurrencies to which customers will have access through Coinbase. The blog post states that the new service will be made available to customers outside the US before eventually being offered to American clients.

Paradex, which has 10 employees according to Reuters, is considered a decentralized exchange, because it does not hold custody of tokens on behalf of users, rather clients trade ERC20 tokens directly from their wallets. The financial details of the acquisition were not mentioned in the blog post.

GDAX and Coinbase Pro will operate in tandem until June 29, 2018, after which “all customers will be seamlessly rolled over” to the new platform.

In March, Coinbase announced the creation of both the Coinbase Index Fund and Coinbase Index. The Coinbase Index Fund is a “basket of digital assets” including all of GDAX’s four coins: Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), and Bitcoin Cash (BCH). The fund requires a minimum investment of $10,000 with a 2 percent annual management fee. GDAX is currently the seventh largest exchange in terms of 24 hour trade volume, which was $365.95 mln at press time.

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Bloomberg Bitcoin Reporters The Latest Tools Of Crypto Scammers — But Not The Last

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Ether and Bitcoin replica cryptocurrency coins are seen in this photo illustration on November 8, 2017. (Photo by Jaap Arriens/Sipa USA) (Photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Two Bloomberg reporters who cover Bitcoin, technology, and business for the wire service have become the latest, unwitting tools of cryptocurrency scammers.

But as tech sites continue their war on legitimate cryptocurrency ads, these reporters will not be the last.

The Twitter accounts of Lily Katz (@LilyKatz) — who according to her Twitter bio covers “crypto and fintech and real estate” — and Olga Kharif (@olgakharif) — a technology writer for Bloomberg and Businessweek — both had their accounts spoofed by scammers who then asked people to send them small amounts of cryptocurrency.

The scammers created false accounts — with the Twitter handles @LilyKatz5, @subidetu4692, and @o1gakharif — using the same names and photos as the pair they were impersonating. 


The fake Twitter account for Olga Kharif replaces the L in her first name with a 1

How the scammers do it…

In an attempt to avoid detection the scammers blocked the reporters’ true Twitter accounts and then spam their followers with crypto-related offers they said would be transferred in return for small amounts of Ethereum Ether.

Despite the accounts of both Katz and Kharif being verified by Twitter (verified accounts have small blue tick next to their name indicating they are who their account says they are), the pair said once the fake accounts were reported to the micro-blogging site, Twitter took a week to suspend Katz’s fake account while @o1gakharif remains active. 

These two are far from the most high profile Twitter users to be used by scammers in this way, however.

Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin has added “Not giving away ETH” to his Twitter name to warn people that might be contacted by scammers pretending to be him.

Twitter / @VitalikButerin

Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin added a warning to his Twitter name

Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk has also been impersonated to trick people into parting with their cryptocurrency.

In Musk’s case, scammers replied to the SpaceX Twitter account saying he was going to “give away” 3,000 Ether, worth at the time around $2 million.

What Twitter is doing about it…

Twitter has been long criticised for failing to tackle the huge number of bots that plague its platform. Some think it is unwilling to do so because deleting them will mean a hefty fall in the number monthly active users on the site as well as a sharp reduction in many of its users’ follower counts.

World leaders from US President and prolific tweeter Donald Trump, to India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pope Francis all have been found to have many millions of bots among their followers.

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American Express Integrates Blockchain To Its Membership Rewards Program

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Financial services corporation American Express (AmEx) has announced a blockchain application to its Membership Rewards program in partnership with online merchant Boxed, Associated Press reported May 23.

AmEx announced that it is integrating blockchain technology developed by Hyperledger, an open source blockchain project under the Linux Foundation, to let merchants design customized offers for AmEx cardholders in order to increase customer engagement.

AmEx has started with Boxed, allowing the company to reward its clients for purchasing specific items, but AmEx reportedly expects to make the program available to almost all their merchants in the coming months.

Apart from promoting specific items, implementing the new program will reportedly let AmEx and its merchant clients target campaigns to very specific customers. Merchants will be able to make “product-targeted offers” while maintaining their own inventory systems. Chris Cracchiolo, the head of the Membership Rewards program for AmEx, explained:

“They can create programs based on a time of day, day of the week, by incentivizing a customer to download their app. The number of ways merchants can reward customers with Membership Reward points will be exponentially increased.”

In October last year, American Express Travel Related Services Co., Inc., the travel and merchant unit of AmEx, filed a patent for a personalized customer reward system using blockchain technology. The objective of the system is to offer customer-specific types of rewards that include points, a digital currency, or specific items linked to a product.

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Bitcoin Price Has Hypothetical Value of $1800: Federal Reserve Report

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The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco released a report on May 18 discussing the volatility of the bitcoin price and its impact on the ways bitcoin should be classified, whether as a currency, security, or commodity.

Joost van der Burgt, author of the publication and fintech policy advisor at the Federal Reserve’s San Francisco branch, confirms what many have already said: that bitcoin straddles the properties of all three asset classes. However, he draws interesting points over properties that make bitcoin fit into one category better over others.

Burgt also shows historical evidence that suggests bitcoin is in a bubble, without saying firmly whether it is or not.

bitcoin priceBitcoin Price Chart

Though the price volatility would be an obvious reason why bitcoin struggles as a real-world currency, Burgt looks more closely at the ways it is currently used in the market place alongside central banking structures.

His conclusion comes as no surprise: bitcoin is not traded for goods much at all. In additional to increasingly unfavorable global regulations, he says that bitcoin lacks a corresponding real value, which is a key part in exchange for goods.

He writes:

“…the exchange rate between two currencies can be regarded as a broad measure of the prices of one country’s goods and services relative to another country. When looking at the Bitcoin ‘exchange rate,’ this category of determinants seems to be inapplicable – there is no current native Bitcoin economy with native Bitcoin prices for goods and services.”

As a security, bitcoin fares better in the current framework, though not great. Securities are either purchases of debt or stakes in a company. Bitcoin doesn’t fit into either of these categories since it does not generate interest, dividends or capital gains.

As a commodity and an oft-mentioned “store of value“, however, bitcoin behaves much like entrenched commodities like gold and oil, at least according to Burgt. Though he argues that bitcoin lacks intrinsic value, he points to mining as the key form of placing value on the asset — a value, he says, that approximates to roughly $1,800 per coin.

He writes:

“Although Bitcoins do not possess any real intrinsic value, from a commodity valuation perspective, we can estimate a hypothetical value based on its production costs. Recent estimates regarding the energy involved in mining a single Bitcoin by professional energy-efficient mining rigs put it at about $1,800 when mined in China (where 80% of the currently mined Bitcoins originate).

The hypothetical value of $1,800 is far lower than bitcoin’s current price. Burgt only strikes the bubble fear home with a look at the stages of bitcoin’s FOMO and euphoria cycles that pattern previous bubbles in the market place (such as the 2007 financial crisis). In a unique development, however, Burgt mentions John McAfee’s $1 million bitcoin price target as a counterpoint.

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Banking app Revolut extends cryptocurrency push with Ripple and Bitcoin Cash investments

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British banking app Revolut is is extending a push into cryptocurrencies, despite the Bitcoin boom subsiding and traditional lenders distancing themselves from the market.

The company, which last year became the first banking app to let customers invest in Bitcoin, said it would add both Ripple and Bitcoin Cash, which are the third and fourth-most popular cryptocurrencies by market value.

It says “hundreds of thousands” of its 1.8m customers have chosen to invest in virtual currencies since December, when it launched the service.

The price of Bitcoin has slumped by 60pc since its high in December, with other virtual coins such as Ethereum and Litecoin also dropping significantly.

Banks including…

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