Coinbase launches OTC desk for crypto institutional investors

California-based cryptocurrency company Coinbase is looking to attract more institutional investors. According to live-streaming site Cheddar, the crypto wallet and exchange company has introduced an over-the-counter (OTC) trading desk specifically for the investment class in response to customer demand. It’s just one step in the company’s plans to be a versatile platform that is regulated by U.S. authorities.

Coinbase Director of Institutional Sales Christine Sandler explained of the new offering, “We launched our OTC business as a complement to our exchange business because we found a lot of institutions were using OTC as an on-ramp for crypto trading.” She adds that the platform will allow clients to leverage Coinbase’s exchange and OTC service and explains that the OTC desk could soon be combined with its custody platform, Coinbase Custody.

It will compete against other OTC services, including Goldman Sachs-backed Circle and the Gemini exchange. However, Sandler points out that Coinbase’s solution will be unique. She states, “Circle and a number of others have complementary products, but they also trade on a proprietary basis, so they are the counterparty to each transaction, while we, in fact, are matching client orders.”

The current market slump may have scared off some investors, but they weren’t true believers in crypto’s capabilities. Those that see the potential of digital currency are in for the long haul. Sandler adds, “From our crypto first clients, we’re hearing that nothing has changed with respect to technology, and they’re still absolutely committed to crypto … to the technology. I think that there’s one small silver lining to this volatility … [it’s] that crypto’s been front and center of the mainstream financial media for the last few weeks. I think that has driven … forced a lot of institutions to think, really, is this an opportunistic investment point for crypto at this point.”

Coinbase is hoping to be a fully regulated platform. It is working with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to become a licensed broker-dealer. It hopes to be able to introduce a range of crypto-related solutions, such as crypto securities and margin trades, as well as new data products not yet identified. Coinbase has also received authorization from the New York State Department of Financial Services to establish a regulated custody solution in the state.

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Bitstamp exchange wants to stamp out market manipulation

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has said that it wants to see cryptocurrency markets, including exchanges, take steps to protect investors from manipulation if exchange-traded funds (ETF) are to be approved. One exchange is already working toward cleaning up the space and has introduced a tool that will allow it to monitor the platform for market manipulation and suspicious activity.

The Bitstamp exchange has announced that it will begin to use the Irisium Surveillance platform to uncover questionable market activity. The platform, which is already used by a number of financial entities including the Asia Pacific Exchange (APEX), is partly owned by Cinnober, a tech developer for financial markets with which Bitstamp recently partnered.

Bitstamp’s founder and CEO, Nejc Kodric, stated of the inclusion of Irisium, “We are committed to crypto in the long term. Our desire is to guarantee a fair and orderly market which reflects genuine supply and demand. Exploring new frontiers in preventing market manipulation is essential for the industry to mature.”

Irisium, according to the company’s website, has created a number of tools that allow entities to monitor trading platforms and ensure compliance with European regulations, including the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive, the Market Abuse Regulation and the Regulation on Wholesale Energy Market Integrity and Transparency. The site further asserts, “The system makes available the tools and analytical data to enable regulators to identify, track and investigate any trading activity” and “is already utilized by European regulators.”

Irisium’s CEO, Alastair Goodwin, explained of the new partnership with Bitstamp, “Bitstamp’s pro-active adoption of Irisium and close partnership with us demonstrates their desire to increase transparency, integrity and confidence in the cryptocurrency market. … Enhanced customer protection and market integrity will help drive adoption and market liquidity.”

Bitstamp’s decision to use the Irisium platform was completely independent of the SEC’s statement on market manipulation. However, the timing is perfect and could, if it works as planned, allow for crypto exchanges to jump one of the hurdles that have keep institutional investors at bay. Moves such as this, coupled with the announcements made by Fidelity and NASDAQ that they are almost ready to get their crypto platforms going, should help 2019 to be an important year for the crypto industry.

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U.S. SEC waits for crypto industry changes before okaying ETFs

The chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said he would like to see the cryptocurrency markets adopting similar tools overseeing the trade of traditional instruments, before being “comfortable” with allowing exchange-traded funds (ETFs) based on cryptocurrency price movements.

CNBC reported that SEC Chairman Jay Clayton, speaking at the Consensus Invest Conference in Manhattan, pointed to several aspects of the cryptocurrency industry he wanted improved. Among these was a monitoring of prices to ensure the absence of manipulation, similar to surveillance mechanisms for stock exchanges.

“Those kinds of safeguards do not exist currently in all of the exchange venues where digital currencies trade,” he claimed.

Last April, Nasdaq announced that the Winklevoss-owned Gemini exchange would be using the stock exchange company’s SMARTS market surveillance technology for its BTC futures contracts traded on Cboe’s futures exchange. Even this did not prevent the SEC from denying Gemini’s application for an ETF based on BTC futures, last July.

Clayton also said that custody for cryptocurrencies has not been sufficiently developed, with numerous high-profile thefts reported often. “We’ve seen some thefts around digital assets that make you scratch your head… We care that the assets underlying that ETF have good custody, and that they’re not going to disappear,” he said.

Currently, several companies offer custody services, with regulatory approval, such as BitGo. However, Clayton maintained that services “need to be improved and hardened.”

During the conference, Clayton also affirmed the SEC’s position on initial coin offerings (ICOs), whose tokens the agency classifies as securities under its control. He addressed companies holding ICOs to “start with the assumption that you’re starting with a securities offering.”

The commission regularly publicizes its issuing of cease-and-desist orders to companies that fail to register with it. It has also recently positioned itself against developers of smart contracts, on the assumption that they are providing a trading facility.

The SEC has not decided on the ETF application of VanEck Solidx, which it had said it would do by September 30. It has likewise refrained from a final ruling on other applications.

The lone dissenter to the commission’s rejecting of Gemini’s application, Commissioner Hester Peirce, has remained outspoken on the need for the SEC to step aside and allow for the innovation of financial products, subject to the same regulations as other investments. At the Crypto Valley summit in Zug, Switzerland, she delivered a video speech stating that she was “working on convincing my colleagues” to favor an approach allowing well-informed investors to choose whether or not to buy a cryptocurrency-based product.

She also noted how the Commodity Futures Trading Commission has been open to cryptocurrency derivatives, and that the SEC itself was holding various events regarding digital asset technologies, which made her “hopeful.”

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Napston to introduce fully automated crypto exchange

The Napston cryptocurrency exchange has the potential to turn the industry upside down, if it’s able to produce the results the company expects. The exchange is a fully automated platform that uses a proprietary technology, the “Distributed Artificial Neural Networks (DANN),” to make accurate market predictions. Company officials assert that the platform pools data from “thousands” of independent sources and makes trading possible for even the most inexperienced investor.

According to a press release by the company, “Napston entered the cryptocurrency space in 2013, long before it became mainstream. Over the last five years, the company has been through all the uncertainties and fluctuations of this evolving market. During this phase, Napston was serving only the larger corporate and high net worth individual customers, helping them properly structure and trade their cryptocurrency portfolios. They have spent a high percentage of profits to build the proprietary Distributed Artificial Neural Networks technology. This advanced technology has now formed the foundation of Napston’s automated crypto trading platform.”

The DANN is described as a network of nodes that are programmed to predict the market. Napston throws out a caveat, however, indicating that the accuracy with which DANN is able to offer its predictions is contingent upon the computer processing power that is available.

Napston’s platform includes “state-of-the-art security” and full transparency. The company indicates that it only takes about 30 seconds to get started and allows for instant withdrawals, which could be appealing to a large number of traders.

The exchange currently only supports Bitcoin Core (BTC) or Ethereum and offers three packages available to get started:

Starter: Minimum $100 in Bitcoin, 1% per day, for 150 days, three level referral system
Advanced: Minimum $1000 in Bitcoin, 1.25 % per day, for 150 days, 5 level referral system
Expert: Minimum $5000 in Bitcoin, 1.50 % per day, for 150 days, 10 level referral system

According to a Napston spokesperson, “Our just launched trading platform is only about helping you earn the profit on your otherwise dormant Bitcoins or Ethereum without breaking a sweat yourself. We believe there’s serious demand for that and the customers who have already joined us prove that vision.”

If the platform is able to perform as accurately as the press release indicates, it could be a revolutionary advance for crypto trading. However, let’s revisit the issue in a couple of months.

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OKCoin launches in Latin America with fiat-to-crypto trading for the Argentine Peso

Licensed exchange now offers Argentine peso funding to trade with several major cryptocurrencies; other Latin American fiat currencies coming soon

SAN FRANCISCO & BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA — November 15, 2018 — OKCoin, one of the world’s leading digital asset exchanges offering its services over 110 countries, announced today the launch of its licensed exchange platform in Latin America by offering fiat-to-crypto trading between the Argentine peso and several major cryptocurrencies. Starting today, traders in Argentina can deposit Argentine peso (ARS) in exchange for cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Litecoin, Ripple, Cardano, Stellar, Zcash and 0x, with more being added soon. Other Latin American fiat currencies will be added in the coming months. OKCoin plans to open an office in Buenos Aires and build up a team to support its business throughout Latin America.

“OKCoin is committed to opening up new markets for digital currency consumers throughout the world, and we are very excited to bring our safe, secure and licensed trading platform to consumers in Argentina,” said Tim Byun, CEO at OKCoin USA. “This is just the beginning of our Latin American expansion, as we’re aiming to grow throughout the region by bringing institutional and retail traders there an array of trusted trading options so they can buy and sell with confidence.”

OKCoin already supports fiat trading for US dollars from users throughout the world. By adding the Argentine peso to its growing stable of fiat-based trading options, OKCoin signifies its commitment to bringing cryptocurrency trading to Latin American markets. The company plans to expand throughout Latin America and the rest of the world by supporting more local fiat currencies in the near future.

OKCoin is a licensed exchange that enables consumers to buy and sell digital assets in a regulated, secure and compliant environment. The company expanded to offer fiat trading in the US earlier this year and recently added crypto-to-crypto trading for 20 United States.

Today’s announcement comes as OKCoin prepares to participate in this week’s C20 Conference, which is billed as the world’s most important Spanish-language crypto conference, taking place November 16 – 17 in Buenos Aires. OKCoin is proud to be a main sponsor of the event and showcase its exchange platform to conference attendees at booth #17 in the expo. The company’s Latin American representative, Pablo Magro, will speak on “How to Buy Cryptocurrencies in Latin America” on November 17th at 2:10pm local time.

Argentinian consumers can get started with fiat trading by registering for an OKCoin account at www.okcoin.com and completing the individual or corporate verification form.

About OKCoin

Founded in 2013, OKCoin is one of the world’s first and largest regulated digital asset exchanges. The company provides traders and institutions with a fiat-to-token and crypto-to-crypto trading platform for digital assets including Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Litecoin, XRP, Cardano, Stellar, Zcash, 0x and others. OKCoin’s mission is to eliminate trade barriers and improve transaction efficiency while complying with the highest regulatory standards in the US and the world. As a registered Money Services Businesses (MSB) with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). The company is headquartered in San Francisco, with offices around the world to serve its growing community and customer base. For more information, visit www.okcoin.com.

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China to begin regulating airdrops

As China continues to move toward wider regulation of the cryptocurrency industry, it now has its next target in sight. The country’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), is going to start taking a harder look at airdrops, which the bank describes as being nothing more than initial coin offerings (ICO) in disguise.

The PBoC published (in pdf) its 2018 financial stability report last Friday, in which it turned to the same worn-out arguments against ICOs and crypto trading. Once again, it called out the risks of financial fraud associated with cryptocurrencies and the number of pyramid schemes found in the space. Of course, nothing like that ever happens in the fiat financial world.
An airdrop is a type of cryptocurrency distribution made for free to a large group of crypto wallets. It is used to offer rewards for a particular activity or to help promote the crypto project.

The bank asserts that airdrops are an attempt to circumvent regulations created for public token sales. It claims that they offer free assets to investors and that companies use market speculation to inflate their coin’s value to increase their profits.

Despite an attempt to thwart ICOs in the country, the PBoC says that the number of airdrops is climbing. It wants to implement an “early detection” system and is pushing for regulators from around the world to provide a significant increase in oversight.

The financial report also delves into rise of crypto firms deciding to move overseas because of the strict regulations and how they use foreign intermediaries to invest on behalf of Chinese investors. It also warns against what it sees as a prevalence of fraudulent whitepapers and crypto projects that are only disguised as “blockchain innovation,” but which are not at all blockchain companies.

As crypto opponents routinely do – and which has already been proven to be false – the bank also brought up the use of crypto for money laundering and terrorism financing. It would appear that the authors of the report based their conclusions on data that was relevant maybe a year ago.

Bringing the report to a close, the authors bragged about the bank’s actions against the crypto space over the past couple of years. It referred to a PBoC report from 2013, Notice on Precautions Against the Risks of Bitcoin, and its complete ban on ICOs from September of last year.

As much as the bank would like to try to convince the public, crypto is not illegal in China. A recent case in Shenzhen that was sent to arbitration found that crypto is a property and, as such, is legal. Arbitrators in the case asserted, “There is no law or regulation that explicitly prohibits parties from holding bitcoin or private transactions in bitcoin, [only warnings to] the public about the investment risks. The contract in this case stipulates the obligation to return the bitcoin between two natural persons, and does not belong to the [Sept. 2017 ban].”

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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CMC Markets adds Bitcoin BCH support

A financial derivatives brokerage firm out of London, CMC Markets, has allowed traders to take positions against Bitcoin Core (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) since this past July. The firm has now announced that it is giving its 60,000 customers more options and will provide support for both Bitcoin BCH, Ripple (XRP) and Litecoin (LTC), all of which can be paired against the U.S. dollar.

The firm’s group commercial director, David Fineberg, stated in a release about the offerings, “Since the successful launch of our cryptocurrency offering in March, and subsequent extension to retail clients in July, our clients have expressed interest in extending their trading options beyond bitcoin and Ethereum. We are pleased to offer them the chance to take a position on bitcoin cash, litecoin and ripple, three altcoins which continue to generate much speculation among traders.”

More brokerages have been looking for ways to increase crypto-based products as day traders move away from foreign exchange (Forex), contracts for difference (CFD) and spread betting in traditional exchanges. Offering the same types of products for the cryptocurrency markets has been seen as the possible solution, but derivatives have come under fire in the UK, with regulators contemplating a complete ban on the products. However, CMC doesn’t view this as a deterrent in a market that continues to look for more investment options in the crypto space.

Fineberg added, “Spread bets and CFDs offer a way to trade on cryptocurrencies as clients can take a position on market movements without owning the asset. By trading with an established provider, funds can be deposited and withdrawn with ease, avoiding the risks of purchasing cryptocurrencies directly through an exchange. However, like all other financial instruments we offer, we always recommend clients understand the risks and conduct thorough research before trading.”

The brokerage was a little slow to enter the cryptocurrency space. It only did so after several other brokerages, notably Admiral Markets, IG Group Holdings Plc,. Gain Capital’s City Index and Plus500 Ltd., had entered the market. However, the continued adoption of cryptocurrencies by traditional financial institutions shows how digital currency is grabbing hold and becoming a legitimate alternative to fiat options.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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Coincheck begins to accept new customers, relaunches deposit, withdrawal support

The Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck is back in business—sort of. According to a statement (in pdf) by the exchange’s parent company, Monex Group, the platform has now relaunched new account registrations. It has also begun to offer deposit and withdrawal support for a limited number of cryptocurrencies.

As of Tuesday, users can now make deposits in either Bitcoin BCH, Bitcoin Core (BTC), Litecoin (LTC) or Ethereum Classic (ETC). Since Monex took over the exchange following a hack this past January, only BTC purchases were still allowed. The move is the latest in the company’s plan to put the exchange back on its feet and operate normally.

Monex indicated that it could eventually support other coins, such as Ethereum (ETH), Lisk (LSK), Ripple (XRP), NEM (XEM) and Factom (FCT) “if the services are confirmed safe and become ready to be offered.”

The company added, “Please be reminded that if the remittance has been directed to the old deposit address or to the deposit address of other cryptocurrencies, we will not be able to reflect on the balance or to return back that particular cryptocurrency.” Existing customers will need to generate a new deposit address when they return to the platform.

In order to receive regulatory approval by Japan’s Financial Services Authority (FSA), all new users will now have to submit to a Know Your Customer process in order to identify the individual. This is one of many requirements the FSA has implemented after it began investigating the company following the January hack.

Deposits will be allowed through area convenience stores and quick deposits in Japanese Yen. They can also be made through Coincheck Payment and Coincheck DENKI services. However, Monex cautions that it will periodically review all deposit methods and could suspend any that it feels is not acting in accordance with regulations.

Monex is hoping to reverse a trend that has seen the exchange lose money since the hack. Not only did thieves get away with over $520 million in cryptocurrencies, the company has been sliding downhill since. Monex recently released its financial report for the most recent quarter, indicating that it had dropped around $5 million in revenue. This was a 66% decline in revenue from the previous quarter.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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Crypto exchange offers stock market trading with crypto as collateral

Cryptocurrency holders can now put their assets to good use, instead of waiting for the next big bull run. The Panxora cryptocurrency exchange has introduced a new feature that will allow its users to invest in traditional stock markets using crypto. However, instead of having to sell the assets, Panxora will allow them to be used strictly as collateral. This is an important distinction, since users won’t be forced to give up their holdings.

According to an announcement on the company’s website, users can trade in live stocks, fiat currencies, exchange-traded funds and other asset classes. It indicates that it will provide trading opportunities for more than 500 stocks, including Apple, Adidas, EasyJet, Deutsche Borse and Lenovo, that are available in the U.S., the UK, Germany and Hong Kong.

Trading is possible through more than 12 cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin BCH, Bitcoin Core (BTC), Ether (ETH), Ether Classic (ETH) or Litecoin (LTC). All earnings are paid directly into the user’s account through BTC. The exchange will allow users to leverage up to five times the amount of their holdings to invest in the stock market. Additionally, crypto assets can be traded at a rate of one-to-one.

The concept was created to help crypto holders earn profits on their assets. Says the company, “[Panxora] gives crypto owners a better option than simply sitting on their assets. As with any other capital, investors should have the opportunity to use their cryptocurrency to try to generate a return. Panxora delivers on that promise, giving cryptocurrency owners direct access to currency, stock and a variety of other asset classes through ETF trading without having to trade out of cryptocurrency first.”

The company’s CEO, Gavin Smith, added, “Right now, Panxora is an exchange that gives cryptocurrency holders direct access to various currency and stock markets. But that’s just the first step in our ultimate goal to dissolve the distinction between fiat and cryptocurrencies when it comes to financial opportunities. Looking ahead, we will continue to bring ever more choice within reach of crypto asset owners. Everything we do, in every field, is aimed at that goal.”

Panxora was previously known as First Global Credit. It only changed its name this month and has been in the cryptocurrency industry for over four years. It has offices in London and Hong Kong and has previously offered futures trading on the London Stock Exchange, as well as other products that were designed to help close the gap between fiat and crypto.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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The beginning of the consolidation? OKEx delists 42 trading pairs

There are constant whispers – and sometimes outright shouts – that the cryptocurrency industry will eventually be limited to only a small handful of options. This will be based on those coins that have showed more usefulness to the entire financial ecosystem and will eventually lead to the removal of the majority of the more than 1000 digital currencies that are now available. This is going to be the next step in crypto’s maturity as it continues to evolve into an acceptable currency and could already be on its way.

Hong Kong’s OKEx exchange has announced that it will delist 42 trading pairs as of October 31. It explained that the decision to remove the coins was based on the fact that they have poor liquidity and/or low trading volumes. The company’s Head of Operations, Andy Cheung, stated, “Being listed is not the final step, keeping up high productivity and efficiency plays a major role to success. Housekeeping is important, our main responsibility should be to maintain a robust environment in the market to expand and provide the most suitable trading experience to our users.”

OKEx users who have holdings in the target coins are recommended to cancel any pending orders. If they’re not, the exchange said that it will cancel the orders and credit the asset(s) to the user’s trading account.

The company further indicated that only the trading pairs that have low trading volumes and/or weak liquidity will be delisted, but the underlying tokens will remain. Cheung added, “We have to admit that there are projects and projects in the blockchain space, and some are underperforming against our expectations. That’s why we had to take some action to deal with this problem.”

Although the exchange points out that it isn’t delisting the coins themselves, it shows that the crypto space is closely watching activity and is willing to take the necessary measures to reduce access to those coins that do not perform per certain standards. This will, eventually, lead to them dropping off the radar completely.

OKEx is the second-largest crypto exchange by trade volume, according to CoinMarketCap. It has a 24-hour volume of $507.94 million and a seven-day volume of $2.62 billion. It falls behind Binance, which has a 24-hour volume of $750.48 million and a seven-day volume of $3.63 billion.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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