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Crypto Exchange Coinbase Says Institutional Platform Head Is Leaving

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Coinbase Says

Coinbase Inc., one of the largest U.S. cryptocurrency exchanges, said Adam White, head of the institutional platform group and its fifth employee, is leaving the company.

White’s exit comes at a pivotal time for the San Francisco-based startup as it seeks to lock in large clients like hedge funds and other institutional customers after becoming a leading exchange for retail investors. He was most recently the vice president and general manager of the institutional business. White declined to comment for this story.

“While we’re extremely sad to see him go, we’re also confident in that group’s ability to keep executing on the vision that he laid out to be the most trusted venue for institutional investors to trade cryptocurrencies,” a spokesman said in an email.

Yesterday, the firm announced that Jonathan Kellner, the former chief executive officer of Instinet, is joining as a managing director of its institutional business, taking over much of White’s coverage.

White joined Coinbase in 2013 when the founders were still working out of a one-bedroom apartment and Bitcoin was trading around $200. The biggest cryptocurrency peaked at almost $20,000 in December and has recently been trading around $6,500.

“Over the past five years, Adam helped us build our exchange business into the largest U.S.-based crypto-trading venue, and was integral to growing Coinbase’s global presence and scaling our culture to multiple offices,” Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong said in an email.

Prior to that, White served in the U.S. Air Force and was a consultant at Bain & Co. He has an MBA from Harvard Business School.

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Hong Kong to Tighten Cryptocurrency Rules

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Kristoffer Inton

Hong Kong is set to tighten regulations on cryptocurrencies, with plans to put exchanges, traders and other related companies under the oversight of the Securities and Futures Commission.

With less stringent rules on digital currencies than mainland China, where all crypto-related commercial activities are effectively banned, Hong Kong has become a thriving market for initial coin offerings. But growing concerns over fraud and money laundering have prompted the regulator into action.

According to the SFC’s guidelines, investment funds will be required to obtain a license if more than 10% of the assets they manage are made up of bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, and will be allowed to sell related products only to professional investors.

Under the voluntary scheme, exchanges will be able to test virtual currency products or services temporarily in a “regulatory sandbox” before deciding on whether to seek a license.

The proposed regulations, which are to be implemented in stages, will also mean that companies can only issue ICOs for tokens that fulfilled SFC’s requirements. For instance, the tokens must have existed for at least 12 months.

In February, the SFC sent warning letters to seven local exchanges after receiving complaints from investors claiming they had been unable to withdraw fiat or cryptocurrencies from their accounts. Certain exchanges were accused of misappropriating assets or manipulating the market.

In March, the commission ordered Black Cell Technology to halt its ICO and charged the company with conducting unauthorized promotional activities.

Hong Kong’s actions reflect a growing trend. The Group of 20 leading economies is considering ways to regulate virtual currency assets as part of the global fight against money laundering.

As a financial center closely linked to mainland China, Hong Kong is taking steps in the right direction with measures like requiring identity verification for transactions, said Daisuke Yasaku of the Daiwa Institute of Research.

But the “cost of regulations will be high,” he warned.

Depending on the design of its platforms, an exchange can be required to report frequently to the authority and subject to rigorous inspections and monitoring, Yasaku pointed out.

“The requirements of the SFC initiative may prove too burdensome for some operators”, said Timothy Loh, who manages a law firm in the territory. Some will decide not to join the new framework in order to maintain their current shares in the market.

Some argue that higher trading costs also risk discouraging institutional investors from entering the market, dampening hopes that their presence will help stabilize it. The counter argument is that tighter regulations may lead to greater investor confidence over the long run.

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Crypto Illegal Mining Beating Ransomware as Top Cyber Threat

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Crypto Mining

Hijacking computers to illegally mine cryptocurrencies has overtaken ransomware as the biggest cyber threat in the Middle East, Turkey and Africa, according to Kaspersky Lab.

Research by the Russian cyber-security firm shows crypto mining attacks have risen almost fourfold in the region, from 3.5 million in 2017 to 13 million this year. Such incidents are likely to continue given the increased use of digital currencies, Kaspersky said.

Cyber criminals can use malware to gain access to other people’s computers and start running mining operations undetected in the background, keeping any digital coins produced. Earlier this year, criminals commandeered massive processing power to unlock new Monero coins, and in the process unleashed an epidemic of malicious software.

“The META region is becoming more appealing to cyber-criminals, with financial and malicious cryptomining attacks taking center stage,” said Fabio Assolini, Kaspersky’s senior security researcher. Such crimes are increasing because “mining is silent and causes less impact that ransomware, making it less noticeable.”

Kaspersky is itself not without controversy. In 2017, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security banned use of its software by federal agencies amid concerns about the company’s links to the Russian government. Kaspersky last month failed to convince an appeals court to lift its government-wide ban.

A spokeswoman for Kaspersky said that whether or not the company decides to pursue further legal relief, it remains committed to providing services to customers in the U.S. and around the world. Kaspersky has never engaged in wrongful cyber activities, nor will it do so in the future, she said.

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New DTCC Risk Survey Reveals Growing Concerns over Brexit’s Systemic Implications

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The slower than expected negotiating progress between the United Kingdom and the European Union and the ongoing uncertainty of the outcome has positioned Brexit as a top systemic risk concern for 2019, although cybersecurity and other geopolitical risks around the globe continue to dominate the risk landscape, according to a new survey published by The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC), the premier post-trade market infrastructure for the global financial services industry.

Close to half of respondents (49%) cited concerns around the significant risks attributed to Brexit as one of the top 5 risks for industry in the coming year, as the March 2019 Brexit date quickly approaches. The Brexit ranking represents an 11% increase over last year’s survey results, making it the most significant year-over-year change in the findings.

As with previous surveys, cyber risk remained the number one threat to the financial industry, with more than a third of respondents (37%) citing it as the most significant risk and 69% ranking it within the top five risks. In addition:

Geopolitical risk, including risks in areas such as the Middle East, China and in emerging markets, maintained its position as the second most frequently cited threat to the industry, with 55% of respondents including it in their top five risks for 2019.

Excessive global debt rose in importance and was cited by 28% of respondents within their top five risks. Respondents highlighted the impact of global growth on increased debt levels as well as how changes in central bank monetary policies and quantitative easing (QE) programs could affect large debt balances. Fintech risk, along with the potential impact of economic slowdowns across all regions, also increased in importance with respondents.

“The broad perspective of these survey results shows that while economic indicators continue to appear strong, pockets of weakness are starting to appear across numerous components of the financial system as geographic flash points continue to materialize and intensify,” stated Michael Leibrock, DTCC’s Chief Systemic Risk Officer. “It is critical that firms continue to remain vigilant to anticipate and prepare for not only these emerging risks, but the potential cascading effects that may arise from an increasingly interconnected financial system.”

DTCC has conducted Systemic Risk Barometer Surveys across the global financial services industry since 2013, with the last survey published in December 2017.

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Crypto Startup Revolut Gets European Banking License in Lithuania

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Lithuania

Crypto startup Revolut is now officially a bank. While the startup initially expected to get its European banking license during the first half of 2018, the company has finally come out of the regulatory tunnel with a license in hand.

As expected, Revolut applied for a license through the Bank of Lithuania and is leveraging passporting rules to operate in other European countries. Users will see some changes over the coming months.

First, the company expects to roll out new features in the U.K., France, Germany and Poland. Right now, Revolut is more like an e-wallet that you can top up in many different ways. Users in those countries will get a true current account and a non-prepaid debit card in a few months.

After transferring your money to Revolut’s own infrastructure, funds will be covered up to €100,000 under the European Deposit Insurance Scheme. It should convince more users to switch to Revolut for their salaries and big sums of money.

Eventually, the startup expects to be able to offer overdrafts and loans. All fintech startups end up offering credit at some point as it’s a good way to generate revenue.

There are currently 8,000 to 10,000 people opening a Revolut account per day. Users generate $4 billion in monthly transaction volume.

It’s going to be interesting to see if current accounts will affect growth. It’s currently quite easy to open a Revolut account as users don’t need to go through a lot of KYC processes. This is going to change once the startup starts opening current accounts.

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Finablr’s UAE Exchange, Ripple to Begin Blockchain Payments by First Quarter

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United Arab Emirates-based UAE Exchange and U.S. startup Ripple plan to launch cross-border remittances to Asia via blockchain by the first quarter of 2019, UAE Exchange’s group CEO said in an interview.

Asia was one of the biggest recipients of the roughly $613 billion in remittances sent globally last year, with a large swathe coming from expatriate workers in the Middle East, where UAE Exchange, part of payments and foreign exchange company Finablr, is one of the main players.

Most funds are currently sent through foreign exchange branches but a growing chunk is being transferred via websites and apps, with the use of blockchain technology expected to ramp up in the next few years — a transition that UAE Exchange and San Francisco-based Ripple are aiming to capture.

“Blockchain holds tremendous promise for the industry but there is progress to be made before we see it go fully mainstream,” said Promoth Manghat, also executive director and chief executive at Finablr.

“We expect to go live with Ripple by Q1, 2019 with one or two Asian banks. This is for remittances to start with, from across the globe into Asia.”

In February, UAE Exchange and Ripple announced a partnership to process cross-border payments, making the UAE-based company the largest payments firm in the Middle East to use Ripple’s blockchain technology for processing payments.

RippleNet, which includes more than 100 member banks and financial institutions, enables messaging, clearing and settlement of transactions.

Middle East lenders National Bank of Ras Al Khaimah (RAKBANK) RAKB.AD and Kuwait Finance House (KFH.KW) have also joined RippleNet, alongside global banks such as Standard Chartered (STAN.L).

“We are also looking at how Ripple can enhance our business-to-business solutions at Finablr,” Manghat said.

Finablr, which houses Travelex Holdings, Xpress Money and other businesses, has hired JPMorgan and Barclays as global coordinators for its listing in the first half of 2019 on the London Stock Exchange, Reuters reported last month.

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Kepler Technologies Crypto Trading Terminal Kattana Simplifies Trading with an Access to Multiple Crypto Exchanges and Covering All Crypto Traders’ Flow in One App

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Cryptocurrency Exchanges

Kepler Technologies GmbH, a software product company launched by the founders of TaaS fund, announces the beta version of Kattana, the first desktop-based trading terminal allowing users to trade blockchain assets through one app on multiple exchanges and offers a complete range of tools for professional trading, from market analysis to measuring trading performance. Unlike existing solutions, Kattana has a fully customizable interface and offers tools that cover the whole workflow of a trader.

Currently, cryptocurrency markets are highly fragmented in terms of trading volumes and pairs availability. On the other hand, crypto traders rely on the broad range of tools for analyzing charts, executing trades and measuring their trading performance. This means inefficiency in terms of time and money spent by traders. Kattana aims to solve this problem by allowing traders to focus on actual trading and making profits instead of hassling around various exchanges and tools.

Trading

As of this writing, Kattana supports 3 major crypto exchanges: Binance, Bittrex and HitBTC.

Kattana offers some distinctive features that allow crypto-traders to:

Tailor workspace layouts to their individual trading workflow and goals for an efficient trading experience.

Evaluate their asset positions in realtime to gain better understanding of the results each of their trades yields.

Perform multiple time frame analysis easily inside market scanner to get the grasp of a broader market perspective.

Assess what results their trades bring as compared to a benchmark index (alpha) and make wiser trading decisions in the future.

Keep track of their market exposure by asset and trading venue in realtime to improve the execution of their risk management strategy.

To start trading through Kattana, a user must have an account on at least one of the abovementioned exchanges with the sufficient balance available there. In addition, a user needs to generate API keys with the permission for trading.

As regards to security, all API keys are encrypted and stored on your device only. The application does not have the access to even a part of your key and does not store it on a server. The user can permanently revoke exchange connection from Kattana at any time by just deleting their keys in the profile section.

As Bohdan Kit, a Product Lead of Kattana team has said: “Having access to one of the most successful trading teams on the market at TaaS Fund, we were able to combine the best trading practices and apply them in the process of product development. So, Kattana is made by traders for traders. Our ultimate mission is to help crypto-traders stay profitable in the long-run and improve their performance. Kattana is built to provide tools you need to achieve this”.

In the nearest future, the team plans on connecting all major cryptocurrency exchanges to Kattana and improve functionality of the existing product features.

To try Kattana’s beta go to Kattana website and download it

About Kattana:

Kattana is a professional trading terminal for blockchain assets, powered by Kepler Technologies, a software company specializing in building solutions for cryptocurrency traders and investors. Our mission is to bridge the gap between users and digital currency markets by providing state-of-the-art technologies for the financial system of tomorrow.

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3DCoin is now listed on the p2pb2b exchange

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Coin3d

With the exceptional achievement of reaching the worlds top 5 in terms of masternode count even before the market started, the highest crypto-growth rate in history. 3DCoin now joined the European exchange p2pb2b.io on 14 December 2018.

P2pb2b.io is a very professionally ran exchange, it was a great choice for its low fees, excellent support service, and an interesting referral program that leads to even further savings on fees.

Belonging to the Districts Project ecosystem, 3DCoin represents, according to its founder, Zain, “the greatest leap forward in the adoption of the blockchain technology”, this is due to its original proof of service consensus protocol that immunizes it against most of attacks without the energy or staking requirements of older ones, and its advanced scripting that allows the 3DCoin blockchain to be the support of entire decentralized applications accessed both on the Districts 3D world or any other platform, while making all transactions instantaneous and programmable.

3DCoin

Initiated by the Blockchain Technology LLC, located in Dubai, mid 2016, the Districts Project swiftly gathered around itself many enthusiastic investors then successfully entered the ICO phase leading to the creation of 62 million 3DCoin, for a maximum supply of 85 million, the main net was launched in April 2018, followed by many updates in the track of the development roadmap.

It is the official currency of the Districts 3D VR world, which is meant to be a free space for business, education, and entertainment; contents existing as a decentralized application hosted and ran by a set of specialized nodes (Pulse, Prime), all made by the users.

Statistics show that the 3DCoin network is backed-up by more than 3100 masternodes demonstrating the solidity of the project and the trust that the community puts on the development team. Masternodes are central to the consensus protocol and will permanently replace miners in block creation.

3DCoin, and the Districts Project in general, aims at democratizing online entrepreneurship opening the opportunity for the largest numbers to create and run their DApp businesses, by offering intuitive tools that simplify the creation DApp and smart contracts.

To learn more, please visit: https://3dcoin.io/

Telegram channel: https://t.me/Project_Districts

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Alberta Finance Minister to Unveil Calgary Digital Dollars as Part of New Effort to Promote Small Businesses

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Calgary

Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci unveiled Calgary Digital Dollars Friday afternoon as Calgary becomes the first city in the country to have its own digital currency.

Ceci made the first transaction, buying a round of coffee and showcasing how the app can be used for everyday purchases.

Calgary Dollars is part of a new effort meant to help promote and build better relationships with small business and non-profits within the city.

“I don’t mind seeing things happen locally and people making money,” Ceci said. “It’s a lot of fun to meet people and barter and exchange.”

“[The Alberta government] supports the work of Calgary Dollars in every way,” he added.

Calgary Dollars runs through a smartphone app and lists shops and restaurants that participate in the program.

Businesses can set how much they want to accept in Calgary Dollars, anywhere between 10 and 100 percent of the cost.

Solita Work, owner of Reworks, said there are many benefits for small businesses to use Calgary Dollars, even though it means less money in the till at the end of the day.

“It’s like money in the bank but a Calgary Dollars bank,” Work said. “One really great benefit is that we can use the Calgary dollars to pay up to half of our business license with the city of Calgary.”

Work has also been educating customers about the program, hoping that shoppers buy into the currency.

“Every dollar spent locally goes a lot farther in our community than spending it at businesses, sending it outside,” said Work

The app can also be used as an alternative to classified sites. Users can sell items for Calgary Dollars then use the proceeds to buy from local businesses.

Gerald Wheatley with Calgary Dollars, said limited-time promotions make it beneficial for sellers.

“You get five Calgary dollars for the first five ads,” Wheatley said. “It’s a lot better than other classified systems, you actually get paid to post on it.”

Calgary Dollars are also accepted as donations for the non-profit groups including the Calgary Housing Company, the Sharp Foundation, Norfolk Housing, Inn from the Cold and CUPS. They can also buy Calgary Transit tickets.

The Victoria Park Business Improvement Area is also using the dollars as reward program for customers, offering a 10 percent bonus when shoppers pay with Calgary Dollars.

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Kraken Preparing a Private Listing at $4B Valuation

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Bitcoin-Hating

One of the most prominent crypto exchanges in the US, Kraken, is mulling over a private offering. The company sent an email out to its most prominent clients, which informs them about the investment opportunity.

According to the contents of the email, the customers of the crypto exchange are invited to fill out an online survey before they get additional information. Kraken underlines that it is not in need of financing, but given the crypto bear market and the company’s “significant reserves,” it sees opportunities for acquisitions.

The valuation at which Kraken is listing shares for sale is $4 billion, and the minimum investment size is $100,000, the company said in the email.
“The transaction process will be done by a 3rd party service, who will run accredited investor checks, facilitate the execution of transaction documents, and the funding of your investment,” the emails states.

Kraken is going to be evaluating each prospective investor for eligibility to be a part of the share offering. The customers who received the email have until December 16 to respond to the survey. More details are to be provided in the near future, as the company probes its prospects for the additional fundraising effort.

With the ICO market essentially dead, Kraken’s effort seems targeted at hardcore crypto enthusiasts with substantial funds. The company has been notably cheaper when compared to many of its competitors, but its service was also mired in tech glitches as the crypto market ran hot last December.

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10 yrs Sought for Bitcoin Exchange MtGox’s ex-CEO over Embezzlement

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Prosecutors sought on Wednesday a 10-year jail term for the former CEO of MtGox Co., once the world’s largest bitcoin digital currency exchange, for embezzlement. The prosecutors claimed at the Tokyo District Court that Mark Karpeles, 33, “diverted company funds to such uses as investing in a software development business for personal interest” and “played a great role in totally destroying the confidence of bitcoin users.”

Karpeles, who was born in France, pleaded innocent in the first hearing of his trial in July 2017, saying, “I swear to God I am not guilty,” in reading out a prepared statement in Japanese.

According to the indictment, Karpeles embezzled a total of 341 million yen ($3 million) of customers’ money kept in a MtGox bank account by transferring it to his own account between September and December of 2013. Karpeles also allegedly manipulated data on his company’s trading system to pad the balance.

In February 2014, MtGox suddenly shut down all transactions, causing a panic among its customers around the world. It then announced that it had gone bankrupt after having lost about 850,000 bitcoins, worth about 48 billion yen at the time.

MtGox said the bitcoins were likely stolen through hacking.

In June this year, the Tokyo court issued an order to commence civil rehabilitation proceedings for MtGox, halting its bankruptcy proceedings.

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