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Bitcoin Is Less Volatile Than Stock Market Volatility Index, SEC Chair Says

Bitcoin Is Less Volatile Than Stock Market Volatility Index, SEC Chair Says | Cryptocurrency & Blockchain Insights | Scoop.it

The stock market’s wild swings are making Bitcoin’s price crashes look tame.

As the Dow Jones industrial average continued seesawing Tuesday after plunging a record 1,175 points the previous day, the heads of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and Commodity Futures Trading Commission were on Capitol Hill answering lawmakers’ questions about the risks posed by another highly volatile asset class: cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.

Bitcoin, which last year skyrocketed some 1,800% to nearly $20,000, has been in a free-fall since December, with cryptocurrencies as a whole losing hundreds of billions of dollars in value. A report last week from Citi’s private banking division referred to cryptocurrencies as “the most volatile asset class”—far more volatile than S&P 500 stocks or gold, which for months had largely been humming along, reacting surprisingly little to major news events.

But that all changed this week, SEC chairman Jay Clayton noted in Tuesday’s Senate banking committee hearing. When the Dow swooned 4.6% Monday, it spurred an even more extreme move in the so-called Wall Street fear gauge: the CBOE Volatility Index, also known as the VIX, spiked nearly 116% that day, then rose as much as another 37% Tuesday to its highest point in years—only to end the day down almost 20%. It was the widest swing in the history of the VIX, according to the Wall Street Journal’s market data group.

Given that backdrop, the regulators at the Senate hearing downplayed lawmakers’ concerns over Bitcoin’s “extreme price volatility.”

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Cryptocurrency & Blockchain Insights
Covering cryptocurrency news, markets, ICOs, bitcoin, altcoins, blockchain business use cases and digital currency trends.
Curated by Douglas G Hall
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Fidelity Investments launches crypto services for institutional investors

Fidelity Investments launches crypto services for institutional investors | Cryptocurrency & Blockchain Insights | Scoop.it

Giant Fidelity Investments, which manages $7.2 trillion in client assets, is launching a new division to manage digital assets for hedge funds, family offices, trading firms, and other institutional investors.

Called Fidelity Digital Asset Services, the firm will offer security and storage services, trade execution and customer service for digital assets, the company announced Monday.

Fidelity Optimistic About Cryptocurrency

“Our goal is to make digitally native assets, such as bitcoin, more accessible to investors,” Fidelity Investments Chairman and CEO Abigail Johnson said in a news release. “We expect to continue investing and experimenting, over the long-term, with ways to make this emerging asset class easier for our clients to understand and use.”

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Swiss Financial Association Publishes Anti-Money Laundering Standards for Digital Assets

Swiss Financial Association Publishes Anti-Money Laundering Standards for Digital Assets | Cryptocurrency & Blockchain Insights | Scoop.it

The Switzerland-based Capital Markets and Technology Association (CMTA) has published new anti-money-laundering (AML) standards for digital assets and distributed ledger technologies (DLT) Oct. 18.
CMTA is a non-profit, independent association established in Geneva earlier this year with the aim of promoting the adoption of DLT, such as blockchain, and digital assets in the financial markets.

Its creation was a joint initiative from online bank Swissquote, market software provider Temenos, and the country’s largest law firm Lenz & Staehelin.  

According to CMTA, the newly-published standards are designed to “clarify [...] measures to be taken in order to comply with the Swiss regulations against money laundering and the financing of terrorism.” As per CMTA general secretary Fedor Poskriakov, the document is intended to “pav[e] the way for a compliant tokenization of financial assets.”

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Crypto deal-makers see opportunity in bitcoin's price slump

Crypto deal-makers see opportunity in bitcoin's price slump | Cryptocurrency & Blockchain Insights | Scoop.it

Merger and acquisition activity for cryptocurrency companies has more than doubled in the past year amid a 54 percent slump in bitcoin prices, according to JMP Securities and data from PitchBook.


The value of tokens associated with start-ups remains correlated to bitcoin instead of the value of the actual company, which creates an "ideal opportunity for strategic acquirers," JMP Securities' Satya Bajpai says.


The industry is in a "land grab" for innovative technology, access to new markets, intellectual property, and talented employees through M&A.


“As soon as a company becomes interesting, they get bought — the deal size may still remain small, but the number of deals will increase because that’s the most viable and fastest way to grow in this environment,” Bajpai says.

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Global AML Watchdog to Release Crypto Regulations By Next June

Global AML Watchdog to Release Crypto Regulations By Next June | Cryptocurrency & Blockchain Insights | Scoop.it

A global money-laundering watchdog has said it will begin publishing rules for international cryptocurrency regulation by next summer.

According to a Reuters report Friday, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) – the France-based intergovernmental body founded in 1989 to develop policies for tackling money laundering – said that global jurisdictions will have to bring into force licensing schemes or regulations for crypto exchanges and possibly digital wallet providers under the new rules. Companies offering financial services for initial coin offerings will also be included, the report states.

The news comes after the FATF plenary meeting this week with officials from 204 global jurisdictions to discuss crypto regulations and other matters.

Reuters also reports that FATF's president, Marshall Billingslea, designated June as the month in which the group will begin publishing its guidelines and enforcement expectations.

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Slain Bitcoin Investor Was Cashing out to Buy an Apartment

Slain Bitcoin Investor Was Cashing out to Buy an Apartment | Cryptocurrency & Blockchain Insights | Scoop.it

The Norwegian cryptocurrency investor who earlier this week was brutally murdered following a cash-for-bitcoin exchange was reportedly liquidating his holdings so that he could buy his own apartment.

CCN reported yesterday that the 24-year-old investor had been stabbed to death in his apartment on Monday morning, sometime between 7:50 am and 12:10 pm, when one of his roommates returned home to discover the grisly crime scene.

Citing sources within the Oslo police department, local media outlets reported that, shortly before the murder, the victim had exchanged a large sum of bitcoin for cash, which he kept in his room in the shared apartment.

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SEC.gov | SEC Launches New Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology

SEC.gov | SEC Launches New Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology | Cryptocurrency & Blockchain Insights | Scoop.it

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission today announced the launch of the agency's Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology (FinHub).

The FinHub will serve as a resource for public engagement on the SEC's FinTech-related issues and initiatives, such as distributed ledger technology (including digital assets), automated investment advice, digital marketplace financing, and artificial intelligence/machine learning. The FinHub also replaces and builds on the work of several internal working groups at the SEC that have focused on similar issues. 

The FinHub will: 

- Provide a portal for industry and the public to engage directly with SEC staff on innovative ideas and technological developments; 
- Publicize information regarding the SEC's activities and initiatives involving FinTech on the FinHub page; 
- Engage with the public through publications and events, including a FinTech Forum focusing on distributed ledger technology and digital assets planned for 2019;
- Act as a platform and clearinghouse for SEC staff to acquire and disseminate information and FinTech-related knowledge within the agency; and
- Serve as a liaison to other domestic and international regulators regarding emerging technologies in financial, regulatory, and supervisory systems. 

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Bitcoin Hedge Fund and CEO Slapped With $2.5 Million Penalty for Ponzi Scheme

Bitcoin Hedge Fund and CEO Slapped With $2.5 Million Penalty for Ponzi Scheme | Cryptocurrency & Blockchain Insights | Scoop.it

A New York federal court has ordered cryptocurrency hedge fund Gelfman Blueprint, Inc. (GBI) and its CEO Nicholas Gelfman to pay over $2.5 million for operating a fraudulent Ponzi scheme, according to an official announcement published Oct. 18.

GBI is a New York-based corporation and denominated Bitcoin (BTC) hedge fund incorporated in 2014. As stated on the company’s website, by 2015 it had 85 customers and 2,367 BTC under management.

The order is the continuation of the initial anti-fraud enforcement action filed by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) against GBI in September 2017. The CFTC charged GBI for allegedly running a Ponzi scheme from 2014 to 2016, telling investors that it had developed a computer algorithm called “Jigsaw” which allowed for substantial returns through a commodity fund. In reality, the entire scheme was a fraud.

Per the announcement, GBI and Gelfman fraudulently solicited over $600,000 from at least 80 customers. Moreover, Gelfman set up a fake computer “hack” to conceal the scheme’s trading losses. It eventually resulted in the loss of almost all customer funds.

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Chilean Bitcoin Exchange Buda Adds Lightning Network Support

Chilean Bitcoin Exchange Buda Adds Lightning Network Support | Cryptocurrency & Blockchain Insights | Scoop.it

Blockchain unicorn Circle has made a series of strategic moves that all have one theme: to become a dominant force in the world of cryptocurrency. The startup is backed by some of the most influential companies in the sector, and the CEO believes that tokenization is truly the future.

Boston-based Circle is not interested in just one aspect of cryptocurrency. This is evident when one considers the acquisitions that the company, which recently raised $110 million at a $3 billion valuation, has recently made. The company recently acquired the cryptocurrency exchange Poloniex, which many believe is part of a long-term plan to challenge Binance as the top cryptocurrency exchange in the world.

As the stablecoin sector heated up, Circle decided to throw their hat in the ring, launching the USDC stablecoin, pegged to the U.S. dollar. The project is structured as an ERC-20 token on the ethereum blockchain and launched with 30 partners, many of whom are respected and globally-known cryptocurrency companies, such as payment processing company BitPay.dELIA cOX SUCKER

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Introducing The Liquid Network: Blockstream Is Running A Revolutionary Bitcoin Sidechain – Exchanges Want It Badly

Introducing The Liquid Network: Blockstream Is Running A Revolutionary Bitcoin Sidechain – Exchanges Want It Badly | Cryptocurrency & Blockchain Insights | Scoop.it

As reported by Ethereum World News in March, Coinbase, one of the leading startups in the cryptosphere, revealed plans to launch an index fund, which would allow institutional and accredited investors to buy all assets supported on Coinbase’s Pro platform (GDAX at the time).

Following the initial announcement, it took the San Francisco-based fintech firm the new offering. However, many believed it was worth the wait, as it was widely expected that this vehicle, which supported Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Litecoin (LTC) and Ethereum Classic (ETC), would garner support from investors all across the globe.

However, as divulged by those familiar with the matter, Coinbase is making moves to shutter its index fund after a short three months in operation. Per an exclusive The Block report, the insiders claimed that the index offering failed to attract enough clients and monetary volume to warrant the startup to continue its support. Although some expected for this closure to occur, as the bear market catalyzed a widespread disappearance of interest and volume, at the time of the launch, Coinbase claimed that it was “seeing strong demand from institutional and high-net-worth individuals.”

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World Bank President: Distributed Ledger Technology Has ‘Huge Potential’

World Bank President: Distributed Ledger Technology Has ‘Huge Potential’ | Cryptocurrency & Blockchain Insights | Scoop.it

The president of the World Bank Group Jim Yong Kim has stated that distributed ledger technology (DLT) has “huge potential” and that the bank should keep pace with innovative technologies. Kim spoke at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Banks’ Annual Meeting in Bali, Indonesia Oct. 11.

Kim addressed the importance of fighting poverty while boosting prosperity, pointing out that “there are innovations in the technological world that can help us leapfrog generations of bad practice, generations that would take forever in terms of reducing corruption.” Kim said:

“We talked about cryptocurrencies, but we think distributed ledger has huge potential and we issued the first blockchain bond in August, where we created, allocated, transferred and managed the entire bond through blockchain technology.”

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Deloitte: 5 keys to accelerate blockchain development and adoption

Deloitte: 5 keys to accelerate blockchain development and adoption | Cryptocurrency & Blockchain Insights | Scoop.it

A new report from Deloitte identifies five key areas for blockchain to develop before it’s ready for adoption in the business mainstream.

The report, “Blockchain and the five vectors of progress,” examines ways to enhance the technological capacity of blockchain, and opportunities to expand blockchain implementation in a broader array of industries.

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Report: SEC Expands Crackdown on ICOs, Regulatory Ambiguity Remains

Report: SEC Expands Crackdown on ICOs, Regulatory Ambiguity Remains | Cryptocurrency & Blockchain Insights | Scoop.it

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has expanded its crackdown on Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), putting “hundreds” of projects at risk, according to a recent joint investigation by Yahoo Finance and Decrypt Media published, Oct. 10.

The authors of the report stressed that hundreds of crypto and blockchain startups that conducted token sales have eventually found that they had violated securities laws despite their endeavors to comply with regulations. In response to SEC pressure, dozens of firms have reportedly “quietly agreed” to refund investors’ money and pay fines, rather than attempt to reach a legal compliance.

According to Yahoo and Decrypt’s conversations with more than 15 industry sources, many startups that were subpoenaed by the SEC did not know how to satisfy the commission’s demands, and were unable to consult with other firms on how to handle the matter.

The sources — who are represented by employees of subpoenaed companies or their attorneys — preferred to stay anonymous due to an SEC restriction from disclosing the issue.

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SEC uses emergency order to halt Blockvest ICO scam

SEC uses emergency order to halt Blockvest ICO scam | Cryptocurrency & Blockchain Insights | Scoop.it

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) used an emergency court order to halt a planned initial coin offering (ICO) by Blockvest LLC and its founder, Reginald Buddy Ringgold, III.

The SEC said Blockvest falsely claimed it was approved by the SEC, was using the SEC seal without permission, a violation of federal law, and falsely claiming its cryptocurrency fund was “licensed and regulated.”

“We allege that this ICO is using both the SEC seal and a made-up crypto regulatory authority to trick investors into believing the ICO was approved by regulators,” said Robert A. Cohen, Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Cyber Unit. “The SEC does not endorse investment products and investors should be highly skeptical of any claims suggesting otherwise.”

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Media Coverage of Bitcoin Is Still a Total Disaster

Media Coverage of Bitcoin Is Still a Total Disaster | Cryptocurrency & Blockchain Insights | Scoop.it

I'm fed up with journalists who are either ignorant or unwilling to learn about cryptocurrency holding forth on its perceived weaknesses. Recently, the Washington Post published a piece entitled “Bitcoin is still a disaster” by economic affairs reporter Matt O’Brien, which I feel relies on mistaken assumptions to paint a misleading picture of the world. Today, I’d like to engage with some of the claims made in the piece, and show how O’Brien — among many others — get it wrong.

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Why Bitcoin and Crypto Have No Future – Think Outside the Blox –

Why Bitcoin and Crypto Have No Future – Think Outside the Blox – | Cryptocurrency & Blockchain Insights | Scoop.it

Why do Bitcoin and cryptoassets have no future…

when the NYSE is creating the cryptocurrency trading platform Bakkt in collaboration with Microsoft and Starbucks with physically backed Bitcoin futures contracts.

when Fidelity is offering it to its clients and has been mining it since 2015.

when Steve Wozniak is co-founding a cryptoasset investment firm.

when Katy Perry IG’d this!

when Brendan Eich, creator of JavaScript and Mozilla, started Brave Browser with a built-in ad-blocker and Basic Attention Token (BAT) to reward content creators.

when Amazon Web Services partnered with QTUM.

Douglas G Hall's insight:

him

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The SEC Introduced a New Form Feature on its Website for ICO Investors to Make Enquiry

The SEC Introduced a New Form Feature on its Website for ICO Investors to Make Enquiry | Cryptocurrency & Blockchain Insights | Scoop.it

The SEC, in its effort to provide adequate information pertaining to the digital currency and ICO markets has made available an online form

which can be used by potential crypto investors to get all the information they need. The online form is also aimed at helping new companies and startups have access to the right information which will, in turn, keep them in-line with the SEC’s guidelines.

 
FinHub is Responsible for the Form

The SEC strategic hub for innovation and financial technology, FinHub has been identified as the entity responsible for the development of the form.

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Bitcoin's White Paper Gave Us Liberty – Let's Not Give It Back

Bitcoin's White Paper Gave Us Liberty – Let's Not Give It Back | Cryptocurrency & Blockchain Insights | Scoop.it

For me, this is the most important aspect of bitcoin and cryptocurrency: its role in propagating power to the greatest number of people possible. What Satoshi did when he democratized money was hand every individual alive – and generations to come – vast personal liberty.

This shift in power from the few to the many equals events in history like the advent of democracy itself, the invention of the printing press and the Renaissance. But it's important to remember that nothing is free. What we gained in liberty with bitcoin, we lost in the security of knowing someone else was responsible for protecting our money.

But which would you rather have? Would you rather be able to spend your money exactly how you see fit and know that it is safe from the whims of political leaders with no skin in the game? Or would you rather have the comfort of knowing that if you fail to be vigilant, someone will make you financially whole again?

This is why I'm an ardent student of history. It's a shortcut to understanding human nature, and it tells me I'd rather take my chances being the one making decisions about my life.

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SEC.gov | Finhub

SEC.gov | Finhub | Cryptocurrency & Blockchain Insights | Scoop.it

Welcome to the SEC’s Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology (FinHub). As financial technologies, methods of capital formation, market structures, and investor interfaces continue to evolve, FinHub will play an important role in facilitating the SEC’s active engagement with innovators, developers, and entrepreneurs. In addition to being a resource for information about the SEC’s views and actions in the FinTech space, FinHub is also a forum for engaging with SEC staff by clicking the “ENGAGE WITH FINHUB” button below.

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Bermuda Government Approves First ICO Under New Regulatory Regime

Bermuda Government Approves First ICO Under New Regulatory Regime | Cryptocurrency & Blockchain Insights | Scoop.it

The government of Bermuda has awarded the first certification for an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) under the island nation’s new regulatory regime for crypto and blockchain business, the country’s only daily newspaper, the Royal Gazette reports Oct. 18.

According to the Royal Gazette, the Minister of National Security Wayne Gaines — whose office oversees ICT policy and innovation — announced that fintech company Uulala was awarded certification by the Bermudan government today at the Bermuda Executive Forum in Miami.

In July, the Premier and Minister of Finance of Bermuda David Burt introduced new regulations on ICOs to the lower house of the country’s Parliament, the House of Assembly. The new guidelines require ICO issuers to provide detailed information about “all persons involved with the ICO.”

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Hong Kong wrestles with cryptocurrency exchange regulations

Hong Kong wrestles with cryptocurrency exchange regulations | Cryptocurrency & Blockchain Insights | Scoop.it

Like every jurisdiction, Hong Kong regulators are trying to chart a course for the cryptocurrency industry and exchanges that encourage growth but protect investors.

In a South China Morning Post (SCMP) interview, Carlson Tong Ka-shing, the outgoing chairman of the Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) said his organization is legally bound to regulate securities and the status of cryptocurrency remains unclear.

“We do not think imposing a total ban on these platforms is necessarily the right approach, and it will not work in today’s internet world when trading can cross national boundaries,” said Tong.

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South Korea’s Largest Crypto Exchange Sold to Singapore-Based Consortium

South Korea’s Largest Crypto Exchange Sold to Singapore-Based Consortium | Cryptocurrency & Blockchain Insights | Scoop.it

The largest cryptocurrency exchange in South Korea by trading volume, Bithumb, has reportedly been sold to a Singapore-based consortium for approximately 400 billion won or $354 million. Bk Global Consortium, led by plastic surgeon Kim Byung-gun, will acquire the controlling stake and become the largest shareholder of Bithumb.

Bithumb Sold
A spokesman for Bithumb confirmed Friday that the exchange “was sold for about $354 million to a consortium led by a plastic surgeon,” Reuters reported

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US Regulator Issues Cease and Desist Orders Against Three Crypto Promoters

US Regulator Issues Cease and Desist Orders Against Three Crypto Promoters | Cryptocurrency & Blockchain Insights | Scoop.it

North Dakota Securities Commissioner Karen Tyler has issued cease and desist orders against three firms for allegedly offering unregistered and fraudulent securities in the form of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), according to an announcement published Oct. 11.

The companies at the center of the orders are Crystal Token, Advertiza Holdings (Pty) Ltd., and Life Cross Coin a/k/a LifecrosscoinGmbH. Per the statement, Crystal Token (CYL) is an “evolutionary multi-utility” ERC-20 token, that promises earnings up to two percent per day. The token’s website allegedly contains fraudulent claims of “excessive unsubstantiated” rates of return on investment. CYL is not authorized to sell securities in North Dakota.

Advertiza Holdings offers cryptocurrency called “Tizacoin,” or “TIZA,” and claims that holders “can expect to make a profit from the appreciation of the value of TIZA tokens.” That, according to the regulator, indicates that the token’s description as a utility token is incorrect, and is instead a security.

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South Korean Financial Regulator Reaffirms Negative Stance on ICOs and Crypto

South Korean Financial Regulator Reaffirms Negative Stance on ICOs and Crypto | Cryptocurrency & Blockchain Insights | Scoop.it

The chairman of Korea’s Financial Services Commission Choi Jong-koo has reaffirmed his negative position on digital currencies and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), Business Korea reported Oct. 11. Choi spoke at a parliamentary audit session of the commission held at the National Assembly.

South Korea prohibited ICOs in September last year, stating that such a type of fundraising is “almost a gamble.” This August, Korean lawmakers, including participants from government ministries, returned to the cryptocurrency issue, focusing on repealing the country's ICO ban. Lawmakers agreed on the need to develop a related policy before carrying a resolution on ICO reallowance.

At the recent session, Choi reportedly said that “the government does not deny the potential of the blockchain industry," while noting that it “should not equate the cryptocurrency trading business with the blockchain industry.”

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