Posts by MinerAlex

    Leaders of South Korean Crypto Exchange Komid Jailed for Faking Volume: Local Media


    Two leaders of the South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Komid were reportedly sentenced to serve jail time for faking exchange volumes, Korean crypto media outlet blockinpress reports on Jan. 18.

    The exchange’s CEO, surnamed Choi, received a three-year sentence, while another company leader with an unspecified role was purportedly sentenced to two years imprisonment for fraud, embezzlement and misconduct, the article notes.

    The charges reportedly outline a scheme where the exchange faked 5 million transactions in order to inflate the volume, which reportedly earned them $45 million. It is also suspected that the company used a bot to automatically create large orders and attract new users. The article quotes the judge saying:

    “Choi has committed fraud for a countless number of victims for a long period of time…. Futhermore [sic], he holds the financial authorities responsible for failing to keep track of the industry better.”

    As Cointelegraph reported in December of last year, South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchange Upbit denied accusations it had manipulated its order book after regulators indicted three of its staff.

    Citing reports from the Seoul District Prosecutors Office, The Korea Times said at the time that two senior executives from Upbit’s developer Dunamu and one Upbit employee have been indicted, but not detained, as part of an investigation into the proceedings.

    Earlier in the same month, South Korea-based cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb also denied allegations of faking trade volume.


    Bitcoin Nears $3,750 as Top Cryptos See Moderate Gains


    Saturday, Jan. 19 — all the top 20 cryptocurrencies are seeing slight to moderate gains in the 24 hours to press time. Bitcoin’s (BTC) price is nearing $3,750 again, according to Coin360 data.


    Market visualization from Coin360

    At press time, Bitcoin is up about 2 percent on the day, trading at around $3,730. Looking at its weekly chart, the current price is higher than $3,663, the price at which Bitcoin started the week.


    Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

    Ripple (XRP) is up just over 1.6 percent on the day, trading at around $0.331 at press time. On the weekly chart, the current price is higher than $0.329, the price at which XRP started the week — and notably lower than $0.337, the midweek high reported on Jan. 14.


    Ripple 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

    Ethereum (ETH) has seen its value increase by nearly 3 percent over the last 24 hours. At press time, ETH is trading at almost $125, having started the day around $121. On the weekly chart, Ethereum’s current value is near identical to $126, the price at which the coin started the week.


    Ethereum 7-day chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

    Among the top 20 cryptocurrencies, the ones experiencing the most notable growth on the day are NEO, which is up over 5 percent, and Maker (MKR) and Litecoin (LTC), both up about 4 percent.

    The combined market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies — currently equivalent to about $124.5 billion — is higher than $121.8 billion, the value it reported one week ago.

    Total Market Capitalisation

    Total crypto market cap 7-day chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

    As Cointelegraph recently reported, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has stated that global regulators should work together to facilitate the development of initial coin offerings (ICOs).

    Also, crypto entrepreneur and regular contributor to CNBC, Brian Kelly, claimed that there is no chance for a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) approval in 2019. Kelly made his remarks in an interview with Cointelegraph at the Crypto Finance Conference this week.


    Overstock's Patrick Byrne Says tZERO Will Launch Next Week

    Byrne-crop.jpg’s long-awaited tZERO security token trading platform will go live by the end of next week, CEO Patrick Byrne said Friday.

    Byrne told CoinDesk the company is “ready to hit the button and go live today,” but was waiting a few more days to process user signups.

    “But by the end of the next week we will be turning the trading system live,” Byrne told CoinDesk, adding:

    “It’s a big moment for us — four years in the making.”

    The announcement means tZERO will meet the timetable given last month by Jonathan Johnson, president of Medici Ventures, Overstock’s venture fund and tZERO’s direct parent company. Speaking to CoinDesk in December, he said the company would go live in January.

    The company has already notified investors in tZERO’s token sale – which concluded last August – that they can gain access to their tokens.

    According to a letter to investors, the three-month lockup period for the tokens had ended, and investors could either create a brokerage account with broker-dealer and tZERO partner Dinosaur Financial Group or put the tokens in a personal wallet.

    “Some people said, ‘Ok, they let people open wallets, but who knows when they turn the trading system on’ — I wouldn’t do that if I wasn’t sure that the technology was ready to go live,” Byrne told CoinDesk Friday after speaking at the North American Bitcoin Conference in Miami.

    New leadership, new listings

    tZERO will be led by Steven Hopkins, until recently the chief operating officer and general counsel at Medici. Hopkins will serve as tZERO’s president, and the startup is now looking to fill two other executive positions: head of issuance and head of an in-house broker-dealer that will serve tZERO’s retail clients.

    The platform will allow trading of its native tZERO token at launch, but is also talking to about 60 different companies. Elio Motors, a company producing light three-wheeled cars, will probably issue the next token traded on the platform, Byrne told CoinDesk.

    tZERO is a key asset in Medici Ventures’ portfolio and an ambitious effort to disrupt established security trading practices on Wall Street that Byrne has been famously challenging for more than a decade, such as his fight against naked short selling.

    Though tZERO will not go live for a few more days, the company has already been busy laying other groundwork for the nascent security token market.

    In December, tZERO was hired by Hong Kong-based GSR Capital to create a token for trading cobalt, with GSR also buying $30 million in tZERO security tokens from Overstock. However, the partnership was delayed after GSR asked for additional time to on-board a third partner and close the deal. The deal has yet to be completed, Byrne said Friday.

    Also in December, tZERO acquired another company in Medici’s portfolio, crypto wallet startup Bitsy.

    Byrne first revealed his plans for a security token trading system in 2014, but technological and compliance efforts took some time.

    Overstock’s initial Alternative Trading System (ATS), a sort of precursor to tZERO, has been open for two years. But it has listed only tokens representing preferred shares in Overstock, and saw little activity (all of 10 trades over a 15-month period) due to technical hurdles, a public filing by Overstock said last spring. tZERO, however, will

    Patrick Byrne image via CoinDesk archives


    Crypto Prices See Calm as ZB.Com Bypasses Binance to Become Top Exchange


    Friday, Jan. 18 — crypto markets continue to see calm, with all top ten coins seeing mixed 24-hour price changes capped within a 3 percent range, as Coin360 data shows.

    Market visualization from Coin360

    Market visualization from Coin360

    On CoinMarketCap (CMC)’s crypto exchange rankings by adjusted daily traded volumes, however, some major upheavals are underway. Today, Chinese exchange saw an 80 percent surge in 24-hour trade volume to hit ~$606.7 million, and displacing Binance as top exchange on CMC. is currently ranked the largest exchange globally; however, during the time of writing, a separate China-based exchange, LBank, has flickered in and out of the top spot, at several points posting over 150 percent increase in trades on the day to hit volumes of ~$800-900 million. Up to press time, the exchanges volumes had fleetingly reduced to ~$380 million, thus dropping back to fourth place.

    First three top crypto exchanges by adjusted daily trade volume

    First three top crypto exchanges by adjusted daily trade volume. Source: CoinMarketCap

    Around 47 percent of the trade volume on is accounted for by Qtum-Tether (QTUM/USDT) trading, according to CoinMarketCap data.

    Trade volumes of formerly top platform Binance have meanwhile dropped 14 percent on the day, seeing ~$550 million in trades.

    Commentators on crypto twitter have remarked on the conspicuous uptick, with Twitter persona TheFist claiming:

    “Looks like a ton of market manipulation by tanking most digital assets and trying to pump tron. The Chinese are dump and pumping last night[.]”

    Meanwhile, according to a tweet from Jan. 16, crypto ranking website CoinGecko has released its own exchange rankings for Q4 2018, which places as the second largest by median reported volume:

    CoinGecko’s crypto exchange rankings for Q1 2018

    CoinGecko’s crypto exchange rankings for Q1 2018. Source: Twitter

    Considerably less volatile, top cryptocurrency Bitcoin (BTC) has seen negligible price change over the past 24 hours, down 0.45 percent on the day to trade at $3,645. After an intraweek low of ~$3,550 Jan. 13, Bitcoin has recovered to trade just 1.6 percent down on its 7 day chart. On the month, the coin is up by 3 percent.

    Bitcoin 7-day price chart

    Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

    Ripple (XRP) — which has regained its spot as largest altcoin by market cap — has also seen mild price change on the day, losing 1.2 percent to trade ~$0.32 at press time. With a market cap of $13.3 billion to press time, Ripple is only just ahead of Ethereum (ETH), which has a market cap of around $12.6 billion to press time, according to CoinMarketCap data.

    Ripple is now down around 3.5 percent on the week, and down 2.4 percent on the month.

    Ripple’s 7-day price chart

    Ripple’s 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

    Ethereum has seen a similarly mild 1.6 percent loss to trade at ~$121. The altcoin is down close to 6 percent on its 7-day chart; on the month, growth remains at a bullish 27 percent.

    Ethereum 7-day price chart

    Ethereum 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

    Among the remaining top ten coins on CoinMarketCap, all are in the red, seeing losses capped below 3 percent. EOS (EOS) is seeing the heaviest losses on the day among the top ten coins, down 2.7 percent to press time.

    Among the top twenty, losses are also capped near 3 percent — with Ethereum Classic (ETC) losing the most, down 3.2 percent on the day to trade at $4.33. Binance Coin (BNB) and IOTA (MIOTA) are the only coins in the green, with the former up a solid 3.9 percent and the latter up just a fraction of a percent to press time.

    Total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies is at around $121.2 billion as of press time — down around 1.6 percent on the week.

    7-day chart of total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies

    7-day chart of total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies. Source: CoinMarketCap

    Speaking against the tide in a tweet posted today, Morgan Creek investment analyst Chris King stated:

    “I used to pound the table on tokenized securities. As new information on the market was presented I’ve completely changed my view. Not much value will be captured by “tokenizing” traditional securities. -no liquidity or liquidity premium -no demand -no value creation.”

    Tokenized securities have been gaining significant traction with industry leaders, as exemplified by the words of Bitcoin bull and co-founder of Gemini exchange, Cameron Winklevoss, who recently remarked:

    “I think the next wave will see the real innovation, and the really interesting assets that become tokenized — like real estate, like buildings that are currently not traded in a really liquid fashion. So that’s exciting.”


    US: Bitcoin ATM Firm Coinme to Sell Bitcoin at Coinstar Coin Counting Machines


    United States Bitcoin ATM (‘BTM’) operator Coinme has entered a partnership to sell Bitcoin (BTC) at coin counting kiosks owned by Coinstar, the company confirmed in a press release Jan. 17.

    Coinme, which was the first BTM operator to receive a license in the U.S. in 2014, will reportedly add thousands of locations via the move, which has already seen integrations go live.

    CEO and cofounder Neil Bergquist commented in the press release:

    “Bitcoin is now accessible at your local grocery store via Coinstar kiosks, and this offering will make it even easier for consumers to participate in this dynamic new economy.”

    Coinstar offers coin-to-cash conversion kiosks in various countries throughout the world. It remains unknown whether the Bitcoin feature will expand beyond the U.S., while the company did not provide figures on how many machines will offer it.

    “Coinstar is always looking for new ways to offer value to our consumers when they visit our kiosks,” Coinstar CEO Jim Gaherity added.

    According to industry monitoring resource CoinATMRadar, there were 4187 known BTMs worldwide as of Friday, of which 2516 (about 60 percent) were in the U.S.

    The market has grown considerably in recent years, with various operators vying for control of what they believe will become a highly popular on-ramp for cryptocurrency usage.

    A report published in September last year indicated that BTMs would grow to constitute a $144.5 million industry by 2023.

    With increased presence comes increased risk, however, researchers last year also warning about the appearance of dedicated malware for the machines.


    Founder of Ethereum and ConsenSys Joe Lubin Joins Board of Directors of Crypto Startup ErisX


    Founder of blockchain tech company ConsenSys Joseph Lubin has been appointed to the board of directors of cryptocurrency startup ErisX. The news was revealed in an official press release published Jan. 17.

    Cryptocurrency exchange ErisX is a reboot of a futures market Eris Exchange, originally established in 2010. In December 2018, ErisX raised $27.5 million from Fidelity Investments and Nasdaq Ventures. In 2019, ErisX is expected to being offering both spot trading in Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH) and Litecoin (LTC), and futures markets.

    According to today’s announcement, Lubin has joined ErisX’s board of directors along with fintech entrepreneur Cris Conde.

    The company highlighted Lubin’s expertise and “extensive background working in the digital asset space.” ConsenSys’ CEO further projected that “2019 is likely to be a breakthrough year for digital assets.”

    Cris Conde, prior to joining ErisX, was a co-founder of software company Devon Systems, which in 1987 was acquired by SunGard, a provider of software for the financial industry. Under the leadership of Conde, SunGard reportedly became one of the few software and services firms to make the Fortune 500 list.

    Last month, ErisX announced the appointment of veteran exchange founder Matt Trudeau as its chief strategy officer (CSO). In his new role, Trudeau will reportedly be tasked with exploring new avenues for revenue growth and driving the firm’s market structure efforts.

    In October, retail brokerage firm TD Ameritrade, along with investing company DRW Holdings and high-speed trader Virtu Financial announced their backing of ErisX. The parties reportedly agreed to become market makers for ErisX, which is expected to ensure a deep order book for the exchange.


    Crypto Exchange Coinbase Acquires San Francisco-Based Tech Startup Blockspring


    Major cryptocurrency exchange and wallet provider Coinbase has acquired Andreessen Horowitz-backed tech startup Blockspring. The purchase was revealed in a blog post published Jan. 14.

    San Francisco-based Blockspring produces tools that enable developers to automatically gather and process information from application programming interfaces (APIs).

    In 2015, the company raised $3.4 million in a round led by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz and seed-stage investment firm SV Angel, while also having support from venture fund Y Combinator.

    Following the acquisition, Blockspring will reportedly continue operating as an independent entity, while any changes to its business will not be binding on the company’s current and new customers.

    Last month, Cointelegraph reported that a new application filed by Coinbase with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) revealed that the exchange is seeking to trademark the crypto-industry term “BUIDL.”

    The application revealed that Coinbase’s “BUIDL” software as a service (SaaS) solutions would include “software for managing, buying, selling, storing, transacting, exchanging, sending and receiving virtual currency.” Later in December, it was reported that Coinbase decided to drop its application.

    In August, Coinbase acquired San Francisco-based startup Distributed Systems Inc., which works on decentralized identity solutions. With the new acquisition, Coinbase will purportedly work toward a decentralized identity system that will “let you prove that you own an identity, or that you have a relationship with the Social Security Administration, without making a copy of that identity.”

    According to CoinMarketCap data, Coinbase is ranked 39th largest exchange in the world, with nearly $68 million in daily trade volume as of press time.


    South African Gov't Reveals It Has No Plans to Ban Crypto in Recent Consultation Paper


    The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) has issued a consultation paper assessing the benefits and risks of cryptocurrencies. The paper, developed jointly with a number of the country’s government agencies, was announced in an official statement published Jan. 16.

    In the document, titled “Consultation Paper on Policy Proposals for Crypto Assets,” South Africa’s government clarifies that it does not intend to ban either cryptocurrency trading, or crypto payments at the moment.

    The consultation paper further proposes that all crypto asset trading platforms, as well as custodial services, payment service providers, and crypto ATMs, should be required to register with the the Intergovernmental FinTech Working Group (IFWG). IFWG was recently established by the South African government with the goal of fostering fintech innovation while maintaining uninterrupted functioning of the financial markets.

    According to the paper, crypto-related businesses will have to comply with Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter-Terrorism Financing (CFT) requirements of the Financial Intelligence Centre Act.

    The consultation paper has been jointly developed by several major state agencies, such as the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC), Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA), National Treasury (NT), South African Revenue Service (SARS), and the SARB, the central bank of South Africa.

    According to the agencies’ joint statement announcing the paper, the document will be open to public feedback until Feb. 15, 2019.

    In early January, Cointelegraph reported that South African government has launched a regulatory working group dedicated to cryptocurrencies and blockchain. The group is set to release a final research paper on the industry over the course of 2019, according to the country’s Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni.

    In June 2018, the SARB revealed that it has successfully tested its Proof-of-Concept (PoC) for an interbank payment system that tokenizes fiat using Quorum, an Ethereum-based (ETH) private blockchain.


    BitTorrent's Tron-Based BTT Token Integration Will Launch by Summer


    BitTorrent’s system dubbed BitTorrent Speed, which will integrate the Tron-based BTT token into the popular µTorrent Windows client, will launch by summer. The company has confirmed this in a press release shared with Cointelegraph on Jan. 19.

    BitTorrent Speed will issue cryptocurrency token rewards to users that serve content to others via the µTorrent network. The client’s users — which number more than 100 million, according to BitTorrent — will also be able to pay for faster downloads with the same tokens.

    The company also announced that to all accounts that are not based in the United States, the token will only be available for purchase on the Binance Launchpad platform.

    BitTorrent is a peer-to-peer (P2P) communication protocol for online file sharing, and the eponymous company that maintains it. The BitTorrent network is similar to Bitcoin in structure, as they both support decentralized sharing of information and lack a single point of authority.

    Earlier this month, Cointelegraph reported on the launch of the BTT token. The project is reportedly part of BitTorrent’s broader ambition to create a decentralized content distribution platform using cryptocurrency.

    Former chief strategy officer at BitTorrent, Simon Morris, claimed in a recent interview that Tron will not be able to manage the transaction volume needed to tokenize BitTorrent.

    In response to Morris’ claims, a Tron spokesperson told Cointelegraph in private comments:

    "Morris appears to have little insight into BitTorrent operational plans since his departure. Actions and execution will prove louder than the words of a disgruntled former employee."


    Crypto Payments Service BitPay Reports It Saw Over $1 Billion in Transactions in 2018


    Major cryptocurrency payment service provider BitPay has reported $1 billion in transactions this past year, according to a press release Jan. 16.

    According to the report, the company also set a new record for itself in terms of transaction fee revenue. Among major new customers this past year, BitPay named Dish Networks, HackerOne, and the State of Ohio.

    BitPay also reported that its B2B business has grown by almost 255 percent from 2017.

    Despite a massive crypto decline in 2018, BitPay’s CEO and co-founder Stephen Pair argued that the firm saw growth over the year because its product is “cheaper and quicker than a bank wire from most regions of the world.”

    While BitPay is reportedly still focuses on Bitcoin (BTC), the service reports that it has also added settlement support for other cryptocurrencies, namely as Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and stablecoins USD Coin (USDC), the Gemini dollar (GUSD) and Paxos Standard (PAX).

    In April, BitPay secured $40 million in a Series B funding round that included major crypto and IT industry players such as Tencent co-founder Alvin Liu and Christopher Klauss Family Office, Founder of Internet Security Systems (ISS), a firm acquired by IBM in 2006.

    In late 2018, BitPay’s CEO claimed that he expects mass Bitcoin adoption to come in three to five years. In November, BitPay’s chief commercial officer, Sonny Singh, predicted that Bitcoin’s price will soar to between $15,000 to $20,000 by the end of 2019.

    Also in November, Cointelegraph reported on research from blockchain data firm Chainalysis stating that the use of Bitcoin for commercial payments has fallen significantly in 2018.