Značka: exchange

BitMEX execs reveal EU expansion with German bank acquisition

Founded by BitMEX Group CEO Alexander Höptner and CFO Stephan Lutz, BXM Operations AG announced today its plans to acquire Bankhaus von der Heydt, one of the oldest banks in Europe, to create a regulated crypto one-stop-shop in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.Dietrich von Boetticher, the owner of the German bank, and BXM have already signed a purchase agreement. However, it still requires the approval of BaFin, the German financial services regulatory authority. The purchase is expected to be complete by mid-2022.According to the announcement, the company’s objective is to expand its operations in Europe. Following the launch of brokerage service BitMEX Link in Switzerland, the acquisition of Bankhaus von der Heydt aims to make room for more product development and reach expansion for BitMEX.BitMEX CEO Alexander Höptner says that a mixture of the digital asset expertise of Bankhaus von der Heydt and the innovation and scale of BitMEX may lead to great things. “I believe we can create a regulated crypto products powerhouse in the heart of Europe,” he said.BitMEX CFO Stephan Lutz also shared his thoughts about Germany. According to Lutz, Germany, being the largest economy in Europe, makes it a good great market for BitMEX’s Europe expansion.Related: Cathie Wood’s ARK ETF reportedly buys 6.93M shares of SPAC merging with CircleOther crypto exchanges are also announcing their entry to Europe. Mercado Bitcoin operator Brazilian 2TM Group recently announced its entry to Portugal. The exchange revealed their acquisition of a controlling stake in CriptoLoja, a crypto exchange licensed by Portugal’s central bank.Meanwhile, other firms are also making a push to expand the crypto ecosystem. Gemini exchange also recently announced that it will acquire Bitria, a San Fransisco-based start-up. The firm will integrate several features created by Bitria into its exchange.

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Kevin O’Leary-backed WonderFi to buy Bitbuy parent company for $162M

Kevin O’Leary-backed decentralized finance (DeFi) platform WonderFi Technologies is increasing its footprint in Canada by buying the first regulated crypto exchange in the country. WonderFi agreed to pay close to 206 million Canadian dollars ($162 million) to acquire First Ledger Corp., the parent company of BitBuy. WonderFi aims to become an end-to-end consumer platform for crypto and DeFi, according to the official announcement.Founded in 2016, Bitbuy became a fully-regulated crypto exchange in Canada after being licensed by the Ontario Securities Commission last November. The platform has over 375,000 users who transacted more than $3.4 billion. The announcement states that Bitbuy generated over $24 million in revenue in the twelve months ending Sept. 30, 2021.The transaction details revealed that WonderFi would fund the acquisition by issuing 70 million new shares and paying $15.7 million in upfront cash and $23 million in deferred cash via a vendor-takeback note due in 12 months. “WonderFi will retain substantially all current Bitbuy employees and enter into employment agreements with key members of the management team,” the announcement reads.Related: Binance gets the green light from Canada and BahrainHighlighting the importance of a licensed marketplace as a gateway to the digital asset economy, WonderFi CEO Ben Samaroo said:“The integration of Bitbuy’s product suite will accelerate and expand the reach and scope that WonderFi can offer to the market, and will drive long-term growth and value for the company.”[embedded content]Kevin O’Leary, a former Bitcoin (BTC) critic who turned to a crypto advocate, commented that the acquisition would enable two teams to “have the bandwidth, assets and licenses to provide an institutional-grade compliant crypto platform to investors interested in exposure to centralized and decentralized financial services.” In an exclusive interview with Cointelegraph, the Shark Tank celebrity said if stablecoin regulations become more precise, he’d b ready to increase his crypto allocations up to 20%. O’Leary is more interested in the U.S. dollar-pegged stablecoins as he sees them as an effective hedge against rising levels of inflation.

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Centralized systems are here to stay, says Binance CEO CZ

The Chinese-Canadian business executive’s standout message was that centralized exchanges like Binance would remain relevant in 2022 and beyond. Riposting to a loaded tweet about centralized finance’s dark side as well as the future of decentralized finance, CZ said, “Today, we still need the centralized systems to integrate with the traditional financial industry so that we can bring the money into and out of crypto.”He caveated the sentiment with reference to the cryptocurrency market as still being a nascent industry, prone to “hackers, Ponzi schemes and scammers.”Keen readers will remember one of 2021’s legendary rug pulls, Squid Game token (SQUID), which clocked a 45,000% gain before dumping. In early November, Binance launched an inquiry into the token to trace funds associated with the epic pump and dump. Inevitably, when prompted about favoritism towards certain blockchain projects, or even coins that, according to one Twitter user, are “totally fake,” CZ set the record straight: “Binance lists about six or seven hundred coins out of probably 6 million coins. So only one in 10,000 coins that’s ever created gets listed on Binance. That’s about 0.01%. It is a very small number.”While coin selection is a moot issue, tighter management of centralized exchanges (CEX) has been rife during 2021. No strangers to compliance themselves, Binance Turkey was recently fined 8 million lira for non-compliance against money laundering, while CEXs as a whole came under pressure in August this year.Related: Binance to finalize acquisition of Swipe, paving for CEO exitIn terms of the group’s growth, Binance now numbers over 90 million users worldwide, dwarfing its team of “a couple of thousand Binancians.” 2021 goes out with a bang, as regulatory approvals in Canada and Bahrain will bring Binance services to more crypto enthusiasts across the globe. CZ, meanwhile, will continue to hodl his two favorite coins, Binance Coin (BNB) and Bitcoin (BTC). Reaching 36 on Cointelegraph’s Top 100 Notable People in Blockchain in 2021, he wishes us all a Happy New Year while he will “continue to work on Binance users’ feedback in 2022.” In a tongue-in-cheek hot seat video to round off 2021, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, or “CZ,” responded to a series of curated Tweets from the Binance community. 

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South Korean crypto exchanges to follow Coinone in verifying private wallets

Major South Korean crypto exchanges including Upbit, Bithumb and Korbit will follow Coinone’s lead in banning transfers to non-verified wallets, industry analysts say. Yesterday Coinone announced that it would reject deposits from unverified private wallets starting Jan. 24 to reduce the risk of money laundering. All Korean exchanges, including Upbit, Bithumb, Korbit and 20 others, are expected to implement similar or identical measures as Coinone by or before March 25. The Korean government set the deadline for exchanges to track coin transactions on and off their platforms accurately.Korean blockchain industry analyst Jun Hyuk Ahn told Cointelegraph, “Korean exchanges are creating their own Travel Rule solutions in order to meet the requirements to operate post-March.”“All the Korean exchanges are going to have to use some travel rule system by March because that’s when the government has set a deadline for them. Coinone just did it first.”The rule for exchanges will also help the far eastern nation come into compliance with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) “travel rule.”According to anti-money laundering (AML) Compliance service Sygna, the travel rule stipulates that national governments must “ensure domestic exchanges share real-identity information with transmittal counterparties or face increased AML/CFT monitoring.”These compliance stipulations for exchanges are part of a long series of regulatory restrictions for crypto exchanges which started with the real-name bank account requirement for all users. Before that rule was implemented in 2018, crypto exchange accounts could be linked to a bank account owned by multiple individuals. By Sep. 2021, exchanges were required to have Internet Security Management System (ISMS) verification and a single domestic bank partner which would issue real-name accounts. All exchanges that could not meet the requirements were forced to remove KRW pairs from trading or suspend services altogether.Related: Binance Turkey fined 8M lira for non-compliance against money launderingThe country has grappled with global FATF compliance issues related to nonfungible tokens (NFT) as well. Financial regulators flip-flopped on their policy direction regarding NFTs until the latest statement from the Financial Services Commission stated on Nov. 24 that it would explore its options to regulate and tax NFTs.Globally, South Korea’s exchanges are the outliers in complying with the rule. As of now, there are no other major crypto spot exchanges that require users to verify their private wallets.

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Speed, scaling, regulation to play key role for crypto in 2022: FTX CEO

FTX founder and CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, also known as “SBF,” rounded off 2021 on an optimistic note. SBF waxed lyrical about the crypto market’s state in 2021 while revealing the roadmap for FTX in 2022 in a Twitter flood.In his view, there are three keystones to industry progress in 2022: regulation, scaling and transaction speeds. He proposes solutions to each puzzle piece, referencing his exchange’s involvement.On regulation, SBF states stablecoins could be better reported and audited. In line with FTX stablecoin policies, he said more transparency would solve “80% of the problems while allowing stablecoins to thrive onshore.” Meanwhile, better markets oversight and an anti-fraud-based regime for token issuances could address other regulatory gaps. Secondly, while crypto users number somewhere around 200 million, “punching way above their weight,” more blockchain network effects are needed to achieve wider mainstream adoption.Fortunately, FTX is leading the charge. It doubled its user count in the fourth quarter, cementing itself as one of the top exchanges in crypto at a $25-billion valuation. SBF explained that while smart contracts have paved the way for metaverses, decentralized finance and Web 3.0 developments, video games could be the path to massive scaling: “Tapping into the existing userbase of video games could be huge–billions of users and hundreds of billions of dollars each year.”However, he went on to say, “This only makes sense if it makes the virtual worlds more engaging, not less.” Blockchain integrations in games, such as nonfungible tokens, only work if they improve an already great game or virtual experience. Related: Alameda Research leads $35M fundraise for crypto trading app StackedFinally, cryptocurrency transactions must change gears. Levels of 50,000 transactions per second are not enough to satisfy industrial-scale applications. Without high speeds, the other two issues cannot execute well. He joked:“I always laugh when a blockchain says they’re already fast. None are! […] Fast means millions of TPS. No one is there yet.”As the wealthiest person in crypto according to Forbes, SBF’s net worth of $26.5 billion puts the 29-year-old just outside of the world’s top 100 people. He’s no stranger to the limelight and being a highly regarded figure, sharing Twitter spaces with Tom Brady and reaching Cointelegraph’s third most notable person in blockchain in 2021.

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Binance gets green light from Canada and Bahrain

Binance is celebrating the new year with approvals from two different sides of the world.The crypto exchange has been granted an in-principle license by the Central Bank of Bahrain to operate as a crypto asset service provider in the Kingdom of Bahrain. According to the announcement, the in-principle approval a first for a Binance entity in the Middle East and North Africa region. In a statement, Binance CEO CZ said that approval from national regulators is “essential to build trust in crypto and blockchain and help further improve mass adoption.”When it comes to licensing, it is “a matter of formalities,'” according to Abdulkarim Haji, director for licensing at the country’s central bank. He highlighted Bahrain as the ideal location for Binance to establish its headquarters in the region.In a surprise move, Binance has also obtained a crypto financing license in Canada, incorporated as Binance Canada Capital Market. The new subsidiary of the exchange will handle digital assets, money transfers, foreign exchange and function as a Money Service Business (MSB).CZ confirmed the licensing on Twitter. He said they’re excited to expand their customer support team to include customers and other crypto exchanges.Boxing day. https://t.co/XmnyQIODLT— CZ Binance (@cz_binance) December 27, 2021On December 24th, the crypto exchange applied FINTRAC for an MSB license, approved on December 27th. The exchange’s current financial license will expire on December 31st, 2024. Bahrain, the Gulf’s smallest economy, has been a frontrunner in the digital assets sector. Rain Financial became the first licensed crypto-asset platform in the region after receiving permission from the country’s central bank to operate in 2019. In January, Bahrain’s monetary authority renewed a license for Manama-based CoinMENA.Binance’s decision reflects the firm’s increased focus on the Middle East region. The company recently became the first crypto exchange to join a new crypto hub established by Dubai World Trade Centre Authority, reported by Cointelegraph. Related: Binance introduces BNB Auto-Burn to replace quarterly burn protocolBinance’s regulatory odyssey has been nothing short of thrilling in 2021, as the cryptocurrency exchange continues to expand into new countries and obtain appropriate regulatory approval. At the same time, it has faced serious criticism, warnings and fines from several authorities.Most recently, Binance Turkey was fined $750,000 by the Financial Crimes Investigation Board (MASAK) for failing to meet financial surveillance reports requirements.

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Just 1.3 million Bitcoin left circulating on crypto exchanges

In glad tidings for an orange Christmas, Bitcoin (BTC) supply is drying up to lows not seen for years. In a recent tweet by CryptoRank, just 6.3% of the total Bitcoin supply, or 1.3 million BTC, is held on cryptocurrency exchanges. The decreasing supply is nothing new, trending down since the Bitcoin halving in 2020 when the BTC block reward was cut in two. BTC availability on exchanges followed suit, slowly trending down over the past year. Exchange wallets accounted for 9.5% of the BTC supply in October 2020, just before the 2020 Christmas all-time highs, and 7.3% in July this year. The 6.3% December figure is the lowest recorded in 2021.Interestingly, Coinbase’s BTC wallet dominance is also slipping. The American exchange used to custody more BTC than all other exchanges combined. Its dominance has slipped from 50.52% to 40.65% over the past year. The news follows a swathe of positive price metrics that dovetail the upward price action of Bitcoin. Firstly, the illiquid BTC supply has iced over for the winter as the BTC supply going from a “liquid” to an “illiquid” state is now 100,000 BTC per month. In essence, more BTC is locked away into cold storage than the amount being mined. Glassnode, the on-chain analytics company, shared further bullish news regarding exchange behavior. The seven-day moving average for BTC’s exchange inflow volume just reached a 5-month low of 978.452 BTC and has been trending down week on week. The exchange supply shortage may continue with less and less BTC sent to exchanges. Furthermore, it’s important to note that many retail investors and some companies store their BTC on exchanges, indicating that the ‘illiquid’ BTC may be even lower. Some BTC hodlers would leave the custody of their keys to exchanges instead of taking their BTC offline into cold storage.Related: Bitcoin needs to clear $51K to reduce the chance of new sell-off from BTC whalesUnsurprisingly, Binance CEO and co-founder Changpeng Zhao has encouraged the hot wallet practice, despite the best efforts of Bitcoiners like Andreas Antonopolous ensuring ‘not your keys, not your Bitcoin’ is part of everyday BTC mantra. As a result, while 1.3 million BTC rests on exchanges, they may not be ‘circulating’, and may in fact contribute to the illiquid supply. Nonetheless, despite calls for a “Santa Rally” off the back of bullish analytics, the bears are not yet out of the woods. A tweet by BullRun Invest using Glassnode data shows that 24.6% of all BTC supply is sitting above the price of $47,000. It suggests that roughly a quarter of the BTC bought at those price levels are currently underwater. If BTC fails to make progress into the 50s, there may be fewer presents under the tree tomorrow.

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Binance introduces BNB Auto-Burn to replace quarterly burn protocol

Binance officially announced the implementation of a new BNB Auto-Burn protocol to replace their current quarterly burn mechanism. In response to the requests of the BNB community, Binance changed its quarterly burning protocol for BNB tokens. According to Binance, this will provide more “transparency and predictability” to its community. With this, BNB will be burned automatically based on a formula consisting of on-chain data of total blocks generated and the average price of BNB. At the moment, there are two burning mechanisms for BNB. One is the real-time burning of a percentage of gas fees on the Binance Smart Chain. The second is the quarterly burn based on Binance’s Accelerated Burn Program, which the BNB Auto-Burn mechanism would replace.Since the launch of BNB, Binance has committed to burning 100 million BNB which is half of the original total supply. When the total circulating supply of BNB goes below 100 million, the Auto-Burn will be discontinued. In the last quarterly burn, the company took 1,335,888 BNB, approximately $639,462,868 at the time, out of circulation. Earlier this year, the team destroyed $400 million worth of BNB tokens in the 16th quarterly burn event. At the time of writing, BNB trades down less than 10% on the month at $528. It’s down 23.65% from its all-time high of $690.93 back on May 10, 2021, but is still up by 1295% since the start of 2021. Related: Binance VC arm leads $60M round in cross-chain protocol MultichainMeanwhile, Binance became one of the first to join the crypto hub established by the United Arab Emirates government in Dubai. The news came a day after the Dubai government announced the launch of its crypto hub.

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Coinbase adds 'ETH2' despite tomorrow's Ethereum upgrade postponing difficulty bomb

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has added a mirrored version of the Ethereum blockchain’s native token Ether (ETH) to its crypto price index, just ahead of a key network upgrade on Dec. 10.Dubbed “ETH2,” the symbol appeared to have been tracking the original Ether market data synchronously. For instance, the cost to purchase ETH2 came out to be the same as that for ETH. Meanwhile, their market capitalization, volume, circulating supply, and price changes were also identical.Coinbase is already promoting eth2 as a new coin? pic.twitter.com/C67UxooLU0— Nuno (@nvcoelho) December 6, 2021Nonetheless, unlike the original, the ETH2 token had no Trading Activity, Popularity Score, or Typical Hold Time, underscoring that its role — for now — is to merely track the ETH market data at least until mid-2022.ETH vs ETH2.0 market data. Source: CoinbaseThat is probably as ETH2 seems to have been posing as the native token of Ethereum’s ongoing upgrade, dubbed Ethereum 2.0, which expects to go live fully by June 2022. But the Coinbase’s index listing appears closer to “Arrow Glacier,” a fork that would give developers more time to prepare for Ethereum 2.0.Before Ethereum 2.0The Arrow Glacier update aims to delay a so-called “difficulty bomb,” an incentive hardcoded inside the Ethereum blockchain since its launch in 2015, which would make it difficult for people to mine Ether. In doing so, the BOMB, if triggered, would slow down the Ethereum network, for as long as it remains proof-of-work.Tim Beiko, one of the core developers working on the Ethereum upgrade, noted that Arrow Glacier might be the last upgrade before Ethereum 2.0 goes live next year. Meanwhile, Coinbase appears to have been treating the Arrow Glacier fork as a confirmation that they would exist a new token called ETH2 after the Ethereum 2.0 upgrade.In detail, Ethereum 2.0, also known as “Serenity,” would enable significant changes to its design, including a full-scale transition from energy-intensive Proof-of-Work (PoW) — also used by Bitcoin (BTC) — to Proof-of-Stake (PoS).In the current version, nodes must validate every transaction to maintain Ethereum’s public ledger. But the Ethereum 2.0 upgrade would launch “sharding,” which would divide the network into various segments (called shards) and would randomly assign nodes to each shard. Beacon Chain and Sharding. Source: Vitalik.caThat would remove the need for each node to scan the entire chain, theoretically improving the speed and costs required to maintain the network. Meanwhile, individual shards would share the transaction details with a so-called Beacon Chain, which serves as the backbone of Ethereum 2.0.ETH2 is not a new cryptoBeacon Chain, which went live in December 2020, would validate the transactions on each shard, thus assisting the entire Ethereum 2.0 network reach consensus. It would also detect dishonest validators and initiate penalties by removing a portion of the validator’s stake from circulation.Related: Vitalik Buterin outlines ‘endgame’ roadmap for ETH 2.0At the core of Ethereum 2.0’s PoS design would be ETH (or ETH2), which primarily serves as a staking token for validators to participate in the network consensus and, in turn, to receive block rewards for it. Beacon Chain’s deposit contract has received over 8.42 million ETH tokens from 55,300 unique depositors (validators) since its launch in December 2020.The balance of the Ethereum 2.0 deposit contract divided by the total ETH supply. Source: CryptoQuantThat being said, ETH2 is not a new coin and would not change the ETH amount one holds. Instead, as Coinbase’s index listing suggests, ETH2 may end up becoming a rebranded version of the original Ether, without needing holders to swap one version for another.The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

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Australian women owning crypto has doubled in 2021: Survey

A new survey shared with Cointelegraph has found that the proportion of Australian women who own crypto assets has doubled in the last year. The 2021 Independent Reserve’s Cryptocurrency Index (IRCI) of 2000 Australians found that the number of women who currently or have previously invested in crypto rose from 10.3% in 2020 to 20% in 2021. The percentage of female Bitcoin owners also rose from 8.3% to 14.8% according to the survey.Independent Reserve is an Australian-based cryptocurrency exchange that was founded in 2013, it has more than 200,000 users. Karen Cohen, Deputy Chair for the Board of Blockchain Australia, said that more women have entered the crypto market this year as the asset class has continued to become a mainstream investment. Speaking to Cointelegraph, she said: “I think that it tells you that investing in crypto is less risky and is just one of many different ways you can invest. I think it’s sort of giving the signal that if a bank thinks it’s okay, then you know it’s a safer place to invest.” Cohen cited examples such as the CBA adding crypto trading options to its app in early November. Co-founder of Independent Reserve Adrian Przelozny added that “over time, as cryptocurrency investments become more acceptable and mainstream, the perceived risk also reduces.”He added: “I think that as that happens, you’ll see more and more women enter the market.” Research by Grayscale from 2019 showed that women tend to be more risk-averse investors, which is often attributed as a reason for the gender gap between female and male crypto investors. The ICRI also found that women were more likely to listen to family and friends about crypto. 56.7% of the women surveyed said that they would enter the crypto market based on advice from family and friends, as opposed to 42.2% of the men surveyed. Cohen said, “A lot of women are getting referrals from their friends and family, so they’re getting a feeling a bit safer to get involved.”On the other hand, 45.9% of men said they would consider entering the crypto market due to interest sparked by media coverage, compare to 41.8% of women surveyed. Closing the gender gapCohen said that moving forward, she expects that total gender parity among crypto investors is still “a while away,” because it’s so entangled with gendered stereotypes and the way that women are brought up to understand risk and investment. Przelozny agreed, saying that he couldn’t possibly speculate as to when the investment gap will close. He said: “As to when it becomes 50/50, I don’t know. But I think it’s definitely trending in the right direction.”Cohen also said that as the Metaverse and blockchain gaming begins to dominate the crypto market, users can expect “the landscape to completely change again.”“Is gaming more of a boy’s club than crypto?” she asked, concluding that “nobody really knows.” Related: How women are changing the face of enterprise blockchain, literally!In last year’s IRCI report, Cohen urged decision-makers in the crypto industry to include women in events and panel discussions, saying “we are what we see”.The IRCI is an annual cross-sectional survey of over 2,000 Australians conducted by PureProfile. Independent Reserve says its sample was reflective of the country’s gender, age, and geographic distribution.

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Singapore suspends Bitget exchange license over K-Pop coin promotion

Singapore-headquartered digital asset platform, Bitget, has reportedly been suspended by the Monetary Authority of Singapore after getting into a dispute with an agency for the popular K-Pop boy band BTS.As reported by the Financial Times on Dec. 5, Bitget lost the Singapore license following the controversial listing of a new K-Pop-related cryptocurrency called Army Coin. However, the crypto exchange still claims to have licenses in other jurisdictions such as Australia, Canada, and the United States.The issue arose on Oct. 25, when the Bitget exchange shared a tweet promoting Army Coin, which is named after the South Korean boyband’s followers.It allegedly used misleading information such as, “This coin exists for the benefit of BTS” and “ARMY coin aims to take care of BTS members for life”.The exchange reportedly violated the band agency’s portrait rights by showcasing the new cryptocurrency on their website using the “ARMY” ticker and BTS’s name and images without permission. Once the agency, Hybe, received information that the cryptocurrency had been listed on the Singapore-based exchange, they announced: “We are currently looking into the legal violations in this case, including the cryptocurrency’s infringement on our artists’ portrait rights without permission from or discussion with the agency. We will take legal action against all infringements and violations.”It added that the coin had “no affiliation” with BTS and urged those that had lost money on it to contact the police. Bitget responded to the statement according to reports, by clarifying that as a trading platform, they did not create the coin itself and will take no responsibility for it. However, the ARMY token was delisted by the exchange on Dec. 3. The FT reported that the coin was available for trading in other jurisdictions on Bitget, including in South Korea.Founded in Singapore in 2018, Bitget claims to have over 1.5 million registered users worldwide, and after their most recent Series B funding is valued at US$1 Billion.Related: Singaporean crypto exchange enters India amid regulatory uncertaintyBitget was cast into the industry spotlight after securing a sponsorship deal with Italian soccer giants Juventus in September and becoming an official partner of PGL Major Stockholm 2021 in October. In June, Bitget also inked a partnership with stablecoin issuer Circle to become one of the first exchanges to list USD Coin (USDC) as collateral for trading crypto derivatives.

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