The New York State Department of Financial Services announced new guidance for virtual currency entities today.
Archives for February 7, 2018
On January 31, 2018, the Facebook advertising platform announced that it would no longer be allowing advertisements related to cryptocurrency or digital token ICOs through a blog post.
The Facebook advertising platform covers its own native social media website in addition to its other subsidiary services, including Instagram, Messenger and the Facebook Audience Network. As such, the extent and reach of Facebook’s ad platform encompasses a sizeable portion of young internet users.
Facebook getting rid of cryptocurrency related advertisements has led to many blockchain companies scrambling to find an alternative platform where they can showcase their upcoming digital token or related technologies. Even though dozens of internet advertising networks exist, it is perhaps a good time for such companies to pivot to a decentralized alternative, especially since distribution and decentralization is the bedrock of this industry.
One such example of a decentralized network is DaVinci II, a full-fledged marketing platform built upon the Lydian token. The token leverages its native protocol, The Whisper Network, to solve digital advertising problems. The company has already been offering its marketing cloud service to Fortune 1000 companies and other international brands.
Since attaining mainstream internet popularity over the past decade or so, Facebook has managed to amass a wealth of demographic data from all of its users. Based on that information, its advertising algorithms are trained to target only a small subset of users that are likely to be interested in what the advertiser is trying to offer.
In the context of the digital token market, advertisers can choose to target different types of audiences, including those that showed great interest in ICOs in the past and those with little to none. The advertising algorithms, however, are pretty limited in their function. Their scope of influence extends only as far as Facebook’s own platform and its limited number of subsidiaries. Furthermore, it fails to account for user behavior elsewhere on the internet, especially non-Facebook users.
The future of digital advertising needs to solve such limitations and will also benefit from not being reliant on a social network for its data. Despite Facebook realizing this fact to some extent, as demonstrated by its machine learning efforts, the other problems associated with the social network remain.
DaVinci II’s approach to the problem has had the incorporation of deep learning and big data from the very beginning of the platform through its Mona Lisa AI. The reach of the advertising network is not limited to a limited user base either, especially as it boasts planned integrations on multiple devices, content types and demographics. Furthermore, without a central governing authority as is the case with Facebook, advertisers are not forced to comply with strict guidelines and can attract investors to their ICO, for instance, without a long administration process.
Given how rapidly the blockchain space is growing, it makes sense for companies in the industry to seek alternative advertising channels that are not only technically sound, but also stable. A decentralized marketing platform, like the one DaVinci II is envisioning, thus has great potential to nullify Facebook’s decision to terminate cryptocurrency-related advertisements.
The post Dear Facebook, Thank You for Banning Crypto-Related Ads…We’ll Take It From Here. Sincerely, Lydian. appeared first on NewsBTC.
Concerns are growing as to whether tether (USDT), the stable token pegged to the dollar, is backed by actual U.S. dollars. And recent scrutiny by U.S. regulators is doing nothing to allay those fears.
As of this writing, the number of USDT in circulation is 2.2 billion. That means Tether should have a matching number of dollars in one or several bank accounts. But, so far, no external audit has been conducted to show the money actually exists.
Tether is owned and operated by the same individuals who run the largest Bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchange in the world. An unregulated exchange, with no official oversight, Bitfinex handles a daily trading volume of around $2 billion.
In 2015, Tether began issuing USDT at a slow pace. But after Bitfinex was cut off from all formal banking in April 2017, that issuance took on rapid, and later, almost frenzied, pace, with higher and higher volumes being printed each month. During the same period, the price of bitcoin rose from $1,000 to a peak of $20,000 in mid-December.
If regulators were to crack down on Bitfinex/Tether, it is hard to guess what impact that might have on cryptocurrency markets at large. To get a broader picture on the history of Bitfinex and Tether, the following is a timeline of events.
2012 — iFinex, the company that becomes the parent company for Bitfinex and Tether, is founded in Hong Kong.
2013 — Bitfinex incorporates in Hong Kong. Phil Potter runs the company alongside CEO Jan Ludovicus van der Velde and CFO Giancarlo Devasini.
July 2014 — Bitcoin Foundation director and former child actor Brock Pierce announces Realcoin, a cryptocurrency backed by U.S. dollar value. Realcoin is built on Mastercoin (now called Omni), a protocol that runs on top of Bitcoin. Pierce founds the company along with software engineer Craig Sellars and entrepreneur Reeve Collins.
September 2014 — Bitfinex operators Potter and Devasini set up Tether Limited in the British Virgin Islands, but tell the public that Bitfinex and Tether are completely separate.
November 20, 2014 — Realcoin rebrands to “Tether,” stating it wants to avoid association with “altcoins.” At the same time, the company announces several partners, including Bitfinex. Some question if Bitfinex actually purchased Realcoin and simply wanted to hide the fact that an exchange was issuing dollarized tokens.
February 25, 2015 — Tether begins trading, but the amount of USDT in circulation remains relatively flat throughout 2015 and 2016.
May 22, 2015 — Bitfinex loses 1,500 bitcoin, worth $400,000 at the time, when its hot wallets, connected directly to the internet, are hacked. The amount represents 0.06 percent of the company’s total holdings. Bitfinex indicates it will absorb the losses.
June 2, 2016 — The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) fines Bitfinex $75,000 for offering illegal off-exchange financed retail commodity transactions in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, and for failing to register as a Futures Commission Merchant as required by the Commodity Exchange Act. In response, Bitfinex moves its money from an omnibus account into multisig wallets protected by BitGo.
August 2, 2016 — In the second-largest digital currency exchange heist in history at the time, Bitfinex is hacked when a thief gets away with nearly 120,000 bitcoin, worth around $75 million at the time. Bitfinex never reveals full details of the hack, but BitGo, the security company that had to sign off on the transactions, claims its servers were not breached.
August 6, 2016 — Bitfinex “socializes” its losses from the theft by announcing a 36 percent haircut for almost all of its customers. In return, customers receive BFX tokens, initially valued at $1 each. The tokens can be traded or used to buy shares in iFinex, the parent company of Bitfinex. Since no third-party audit is conducted, it is not clear if Bitfinex is solvent at this time or simply trying to stay afloat.
August 17, 2016 — Bitfinex announces it has hired Ledger Labs, a blockchain forensic firm, to investigate the theft and perform a complete financial audit of its cryptocurrency and fiat assets; only the public nevers sees the results of the investigation, and months later, Bitfinex admits it never actually hired Ledger Labs to perform an audit to begin with.
October 13, 2016 — Bitfinex allows customers to convert BFX tokens, at a value of $1, to equity shares in iFinex. To many, who had seen the value of their BFX tokens drop far below $1 (one Redditor reported the price dropping to $0.30), the deal seems too good to pass up. Roughly a third of all BFX tokens are converted 1:1 to RRT tokens.
March 31, 2017 — Wells Fargo, the last bank willing to process Bitfinex transactions, cuts off all services to Bitfinex and Tether, according to court documents in a lawsuit Bitfinex files against Wells Fargo later. Bitfinex is not a direct customer of Wells Fargo but a customer of four Taiwan-based banks that use Wells Fargo as a correspondent bank.
April 3, 2017 — Bitfinex announces it has paid off all the debt incurred from the August hack, by redeeming all of the dollarized BFX tokens it issued during the haircut. BFX trading is halted and any remaining BFX tokens are destroyed.
April 5, 2017 — Two days after announcing it had paid off its debt, Bitfinex files a lawsuit against Wells Fargo for interrupting its wire transfers. Tether is listed as a plaintiff. In addition to an injunction order, Bitfinex seeks more than $75,000 in damages.
April 6, 2017 — A pseudonymous character known as “Bitfinex’ed” debuts online. He begins tweeting, accusing Bitfinex of creating tether out of thin air to pay off debts. (In January 2017, only 1 million tether were in circulation; now there are 55 million.)
April 17, 2017 — Following an announcement about wire delays, Bitfinex announces it has been shut off by its main banks in Taiwan. At this point, Bitfinex has lost all ties with formal banking and is left to move between a series of banks in other countries.
May 5, 2017 — After declaring that it never actually engaged Ledger Labs for an audit, Bitfinex hires Friedman LLP to complete a comprehensive balance sheet audit. “A third-party audit is important to all Bitfinex stakeholders, and we’re thrilled that Friedman will be helping us achieve this goal,” the company says.
August 5, 2017 — Bitfinex’ed starts blogging. His first blog post introduces a character he calls “Spoofy.” A video shows a trader (Spoofy) putting up a large order of bitcoin on Bitfinex only to cancel the order as soon as the price of bitcoin begins to go up. Mt. Gox, an exchange that handled 70 percent of all Bitcoin transactions worldwide before going bankrupt in 2014, was also accused of manipulating markets.
November 7, 2017 — Leaked documents dubbed “Paradise Papers” reveal Bitfinex and Tether are run by the same individuals. Up until now, Tether and Bitfinex insisted the two operations were separate.
November 19, 2017 — Tether is hacked and 31 million USDT (worth an equivalent amount in U.S. dollars) are moved from the Tether treasury wallet and sent to an unauthorized Bitcoin address. Tether initiates a hard fork to prevent those funds from being spent.
December 1, 2017 — Bitfinex hires New York–based 5W as their new PR firm.
December 2, 2017 — In a quarterly report Bitfinex announces it will no longer serve U.S. customers because it costs too much too serve them. But, the move, which began in August, follows a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) crackdown on tokens generated by initial coin offerings (ICOs) that may be securities.
December 4, 2017 — Bitfinex hires law firm Steptoe & Johnson and threatens legal action against critics. Bitfinex does not specify who exactly it might sue, but the individual in question appears to be Bitfinex’ed, the blogger who continues to accuse Bitfinex of manipulating markets and printing more tether than it can redeem.
December 6, 2017 — The CFTC sends subpoenas to Bitfinex and Tether, Bloomberg reports. The actual documents are not made public.
December 21, 2017 — Without making any formal announcement, Bitfinex appears to suddenly close all new account registrations. Those trying to register for a new account are asked for a mysterious referral code, but no referral code seems to exist.
January 12, 2018 — After a month of being closed to new registrations, Bitfinex announces it is reopening its doors, but now requires new customers to deposit $10,000 in fiat or cryptocurrency before they can begin trading.
January 27, 2018 — After five months of stating an audit was forthcoming, Tether parts ways with auditor Friedman LLP. “Given the excruciatingly detailed procedures Friedman was undertaking for the relatively simple balance sheet of Tether, it became clear that an audit would be unattainable in a reasonable time frame,” Tether tells CoinDesk.
January 31, 2018 — In the first month of the year, Tether issues 850 million new tether, more than any month prior.
This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.
Speaking at the Nordic Business Forum in Sweden, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak admitted he has sold off almost all of his Bitcoin holdings — keeping some to “experiment” with. Despite this, he’s still a keen supporter, maintaining the that the cryptocurrency is superior to gold and fiat currencies.
Wozniak became interested in Bitcoin when it was priced at $70, but was originally put off by what he saw as a cumbersome process for getting and storing cryptocurrencies. Eventually, he bought into the coin when one was going for $700. Considering current price levels, it’s likely he made a nice profit on the sale. Though it’s impossible to assess exactly how much money he made on the investment, because he has not disclosed how much of the cryptocurrency he acquired.
“When it shot up high, I said, ‘I don’t want to become one of those people that watches it, watches it, and cares about the number,’” Wozniak said. “I don’t want that kind of care in my life. Part of my happiness is not to have worries, so I sold it all — just got rid of it — except just enough to still experiment with.”
Despite this choice to part with Bitcoin, Wozniak has been — and still is — a vocal supporter of cryptocurrencies and blockchain-based technologies. At the Money 20/20 last year, Wozniak said he thought Bitcoin was better than gold and fiat currencies like the U.S. dollar because it had a finite supply. According to him, gold’s finite supply could be increased if alternate methods of mining could be developed. Similarly, a government body could influence the flow of U.S. dollars.
“Gold gets mined and mined and mined,” he said. “Maybe there’s a finite amount of gold in the world, but Bitcoin is even more mathematical and regulated and nobody can change mathematics.” The coin’s supply is mathematically constrained to 21 million total, with about 80% of those currently in circulation.
Wozniak also assessed Bitcoin as a store of value, comparing it to owning a house. “Your house has value. And it is a house today, 40 years from now, it still is a house in value,” he said. As for the future, Wozniak expects Bitcoin to develop and become a more effective medium of transaction for day-to-day use: “It’s not that easy to do yet, but it’s getting there.”
The post Wozniak Sells Most Of His Bitcoin Holdings, But Remains Keen Supporter of the Cryptocurrency appeared first on NewsBTC.
APEX, the platform bringing next generation of consumer-brand interactions has recently concluded its token airdrop campaign, which was followed by the token distribution to all the eligible participants. The campaign was a result of the company’s decision to not opt for the token sale campaign that was otherwise scheduled to go live from February 26, 2018. Apex is NEO-based, decentralized data exchange platform that provides companies and businesses verifiable and quality data, while benefiting the consumers for sharing their data.
One of the biggest challenges we face today is data collection. With regulations governing data collection and handling getting stricter and more complicated, the levels of transparency are steadily declining throughout the process. Companies that especially need and use data are not sure of the data quality that they are gaining access to. In addition, data sharing entities and individuals are also unaware of who is using the data and for what purpose.
How APEX Addresses This Challenge?
Apex gives users control over their data, allowing them to decide how the data companies are accessing, collecting and utilizing it for different purposes. In addition, every time the data is used, the users get Apex Coin (CPX) as a reward. A user is notified before the data is used by the company, along with other relevant links and marketing tools. Using those links, users get an opportunity to earn more rewards, while companies get a chance to indulge in target marketing.
The Apex Design
The platform is to be integrated with existing products’ network, from Chinapex. This includes Nexus that lets companies evaluate, manage and use collected data using given tools. Blended with the IQ products of Chinapex, the data can be used for machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) models.
The Apex Tokens
The Apex token (CPX), is to be used for the platform’s transactions, as well as paying for existing products from Chinapex, for instance, Nexus services and analytics. Purchases made using CPX will be 80% less than the fiat payments. The company will sell CPX via Apex’s reward wallet, integrated with daily amount limit and a priority system. Users who buy CPX during Apex crowdsale will be given the highest priority. Besides IQ and Nexus, Apex also has PRISM, a real-time data collection system, already having big companies as customers, including BMW and Maserati.
About the Token Sale
Following the airdrop, the company has 25% of the total number of tokens reserved for platform’s growth and development, 15% for the team and company’s advisors and the last 10% is to be kept as company reserves. In the earlier private pre-sale, Apex raised $6 million, where investors got a 50% bonus, while the 50% of the total tokens purchased by each investor is locked for up to 4 months.
To know more about the platform please visit https://apex.chinapex.com/
The post Apex Concludes Successful Token Airdrop, Prepares to Offer Decentralized Data Management Solution appeared first on NewsBTC.
The post CFTC’s Quintenz: ‘Bitcoin and Blockchain Are Transformative’ appeared first on CCN
The CFTC doesn’t want to interfere with bitcoin or the blockchain. In fact, Brian Quintenz, Commissioner of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), envisions a future not only with bitcoin and blockchain in it but also with them having a transformative effect, saying the regulator has no intentions of standing in the way of innovation. Piggybacking on
The post CFTC’s Quintenz: ‘Bitcoin and Blockchain Are Transformative’ appeared first on CCN
Why the NEO Cryptocurrency’s Price Has Skyrocketed
Prices of top cryptocurrencies are rebounding, and investors are rejoicing. There’s green flashing everywhere. The cryptocurrency markets have finally broken the bad spell and are now in recovery mode. The great crypto market crash of 2018 is officially over.
As I scroll down the list of top 10 cryptocurrencies, there’s one name that catches my eyes. This cryptocurrency saw its price skyrocket more than 50% during the market recovery.
I’m referring to NEO, which has turned out to be.
The post Why the NEO Cryptocurrency Price Jumped More Than 50% appeared first on Profit Confidential.
The Twitter account of “Bitfinex’ed,” the pseudonymous online critic of the world’s largest Bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchange, was suspended today. The blogger says his tweets were being reported and his account was being spammed with hundreds of thousands of fake followers, and he thinks Bitfinex is behind it. (Bitfinex nor its public relations firm, 5W, immediately responded to a request for comment.)
An unregulated exchange, Bitfinex handles around $2 billion in bitcoin and cryptocurrency trades per day. The company is closely tied with Tether, a sister company that produces tether (USDT), a stable token that is pegged to the U.S. dollar.
But according to Bitfinex’ed, all of the information he shares is publicly accessible to anyone. “All recordings are public interviews or otherwise were available for anyone to record at the knowledge of the individuals in the conversation,” he said.
The Legal Defense Fund
Following the account suspension, WhalePool, a Twitter account representing Bitfinex traders as well as shareholders, tweeted, “It is criminal that @bitfinexed made up a fake lawsuit to steal $50,000 from the public. Very shameful. Glad to see Twitter taking action against the true scammers.”
The tweet appears to reference a legal defense fund taken up by Bitfinex’ed in December 2017 and is misleading, Bitfinex’ed says.
In early December 2017, Bitfinex announced it had hired heavy-hitting law firm Steptoe & Johnson to end what its public relations firm called “a campaign of mistruth” against the exchange. Although Bitfinex did not spell out exactly whom it was threatening to take legal action against, the announcement came at a time when Bitfinex’ed had been persistently accusing the exchange of manipulating the market to drive up the price of bitcoin and issuing more USDT than it could redeem.
In response to the perceived threat, Bitfinex’ed began taking donations to prepare for possible legal action against him. He ultimately raised 2.5 bitcoin, which he claims to have liquidated immediately for around $24,000. He says he’s put all of the money into a trust overseen by a well-recognized lawyer in the space with instructions to donate the funds to ij.org, “a libertarian leaning charity,” in the event those funds are not needed.
Bitfinex’ed has since stopped accepting any more donations and, as of yet, has heard nothing from Steptoe.
When It Started
According to Bitfinex’ed, the harassment began when Bitfinex initially hired 5W, a public relations firm headed by Ronn Torossian, long known for his brash and aggressive tactics.
Bitfinex’ed claims that his Twitter account became inundated with fake followers, immediately after he exposed that 5W misrepresented a memo by Friedman LLP, the firm that Bitfinex hired to conduct an external audit of its banking information.
On November 30, 2017, Torossian sent an email to reporters claiming the memo, put out by Friedman on September 28, 2017, clearly showed that Tether had actual dollars backing the USTD it issued at that time.
In fact, Bitfinex has never conducted an external audit of its accounts. Tether parted ways with Friedman in January 2018.
“Given the excruciatingly detailed procedures Friedman was undertaking for the relatively simple balance sheet of Tether, it became clear that an audit would be unattainable in a reasonable time frame,” Tether told CoinDesk in January.
Bitfinex’ed posted his first tweet in April 2016 and, soon after, began blogging. He claims he has no holding in bitcoin or other cryptocurrency. He liquidated all his assets when he began to suspect markets were being manipulated.
“I liquidated my position when I realized the consequences of the fraud that Bitfinex is engaging in. Once I fully understood it around April 20th, I figured they can pump it as much and as high as they wanted. I even said, ‘2,000 will be cheap.’”
Bitfinex’ed is still hoping his Twitter account will be restored, but for now, whether or not that will happen is an unknown. “Truth is, I can always make another account and people will follow it. I’d rather not though,” he said.
Bitfinex’ed has not provided any direct evidence of Bitfinex’s involvement in getting his Twitter account suspended, nor has Bitcoin Magazine been able to confirm that the exchange has anything to do with the account suspension.
This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.
The SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations plans to prioritize the examination of cryptocurrencies and ICOs in 2018.
Panelists at Yahoo Finance’s crypto event on Wednesday had a message for would-be investors: do your research.