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Brookings: Venezuela’s Petro Undermines Legitimate Cryptocurrencies

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Brookings Institute analysts recently argued that Venezuela’s oil-backed cryptocurrency, the Petro (PTR), is likelier to harm legitimate cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, than it is o help Venezuelan’s escape the recession the country is currently enduring. Through an article published on its website, the think tank first noted that Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro claims the

The post Brookings: Venezuela’s Petro Undermines Legitimate Cryptocurrencies appeared first on CCN

A controversial practice tearing Wall Street apart is about to be put to the test

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Jay Clayton SEC

  • The SEC is supporting an examination of the maker taker stock trading model, where certain stock exchanges compensate market makers and other trading firms for executing stock orders on their venues.
  • NYSE, Nasdaq, and Cboe are in favor of the model, while IEX, America's newest stock exchange, is against it. 
  • A new-pilot program approved by the agency on Wednesday will test the efficacy of the maker taker model.

The Securities and Exchange Commission agreed to move forward a pilot program that will examine a controversial Wall Street practice.

The agency on Wednesday proposed the so-called access fee pilot program, which aims to address criticisms of the maker taker stock trading model. 

Some stock exchanges charge a small fee for matching buyers and sellers and then compensate market makers and other trading firms for executing stock orders on their venues. Stock market participants have been arguing over the system for more than a decade. 

Opponents of the system say it harms investors because traders end up executing trades on the exchange that gives the biggest rebate, as opposed to where that trade would be best executed. The main US stock exchanges argue that rebates result in greater competition between the exchanges, and draws trading away from dark pools which are subject to less regulation.

"The Exchanges' view is that US investors have better access to markets and information, spreads are narrower, and other trading costs for average investors are lower than they every have been before," the NYSE, Nasdaq, and Cboe said in a joint statement to the SEC about the program. 

IEX, which gained exchange status in 2016, is notably against rebates and favors the pilot.  

"We're excited that the proposed pilot will directly examine the impact of rebates on trading quality," John Ramsey, chief market policy officer at IEX, said in a statement. 

The pilot would force exchanges to decrease their fees, which they use to pay rebates, in order to analyze the degree to which the current system impacts market quality and execution quality.

Specifically, the exchanges will be required to run three test groups or "buckets." Each bucket will have fees that are lower than the current rates. There will also be a control group that will allow exchanges to charge fees at current levels. One group will not allow rebates. 

"A no-rebate bucket will provide the data needed to have a conversation about whether these conflicted payments should have a place in our markets," Ramsey said. 

The full specifics of the pilot are pending and subject to industry feedback. It's not clear exactly when the pilot would be implemented. 

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Goldman Sachs investment chief: Bitcoin is definitely a bubble, Ethereum even more so

A trading technology firm has built a Wall Street-grade platform for cryptocurrency

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

FILE PHOTO -  A monitor shows various cryptocurrencies' exchange rates against Japanese Yen including NEM coin (middle in the top) at 'nem bar', where customers can pay with NEM coins, in Tokyo, Japan January 29, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

  • Trading Technologies is launching a crypto version of its signature trading platform aimed at non-professional traders.
  • The product, which is only available to a few customers right now, offers the same automated trading tools as its main trading platform. 

Trading Technologies, which creates trading software used across Wall Street, has launched a cryptocurrency trading platform aimed at retail investors.

The new product is a spin-off of its professional trading platform TT, which provides users access to futures and options, and recently added crypto capabilities. People familiar with the matter told Business Insider the retail product is in the soft-launch phase with just a few customers using it.

The point of the new product is to deliver a Wall Street trading experience to the every-day crypto trader, the people said. It's the first product by TT to target a retail clientele. It is currently being teased on TT's website:

"GDAX access for crypto-only traders will be available through TT later in 2018. You will receive details via email when they become available."

The platform provides users with the same automated trading features that can be found on its professional platform, which costs clients $400 a month. The crypto platform will be free for a certain amount of time to kick things off. 

A number of non-crypto companies have jumped into the cryptocurrency market to capitalize on its breakneck growth.

Cboe Global Markets and CME Group launched bitcoin futures in December, which allow for the most part institutional investors to bet on the future price of the digital currency, and ICE, the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange, launched a crypto index for trading firms and hedge funds.

As for TT, this isn't the company's first move in crypto. The company recently announced it was teaming up with cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase to enable spot and bitcoin futures trading on its professional trading platform, Business Insider previously reported

SEE ALSO: 'You'd have to be nuts to run an ICO': The age of the ICO is coming to an end, giving way to a new trend in crypto

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Jim Chanos says Elon Musk just told his 'biggest whopper' about Tesla yet

Australia Warns of Fake 'Tax Collectors' Demanding Bitcoin

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

The Australian Taxation Office issued a warning Monday alerting residents not to send cryptocurrencies to scammers claiming to be tax collectors.

Bitcoin Drops to $8,030 as Cryptocurrency Market Continues to Slump

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

The price of bitcoin dropped by over 9 percent in the last 24 hours, as it declined from around $9,100 to $8,030. The valuation of the cryptocurrency market, which hovered in the $400 billion region last week, decreased to $336 billion. All Cryptocurrencies Decline Today’s correction isn’t exclusive to bitcoin. All major cryptocurrencies including Ethereum,

The post Bitcoin Drops to $8,030 as Cryptocurrency Market Continues to Slump appeared first on CCN

Washington Post Adds Support for Brave Browser, Basic Attention Token

Bitcoin Magazine, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Washington Post Adds Support for Brave Browser, Basic Attention Token

The Brave browser and its Basic Attention Token (BAT) just added another verified mainstream publisher to its list of partners.

According to original posts on Reddit, the Washington Post recently integrated with Brave to accept contributions in BAT on its website. As such, the Post’s readers can now donate BAT to the publication via the Brave platform.

Users trumpeted the news as a major adoption milestone and with good reason. Owned by Amazon, the Washington Post is one of the largest media outlets in the United States, and this is just the latest publisher to adopt Basic Attention’s model in recent months. Other mainstream publishers that Brave and BAT have on board include Vice and the Guardian (U.K.).

The Washington Post, Vice and the Guardian are all impressive bedfellows, but the Brave browser gets around with more than just media outlets. Popular YouTube channels, such as PewDiePie, Casey Neistat and Philip DeFranco started accepting BAT back in November of 2017, and, this February, the project announced that popular streaming service Twitch.tv also adopted the payment system.

Founded by Mozilla Firefox creator Brendan Eich, Brave offers a cryptocurrency payment solution for the digital advertising space. Eich created Brave to fix the problems that plague digital advertising, such as bot views, inequitable share of advertising revenue and fraud. Brave attempts to streamline the process by connecting advertisers and publishers directly, cutting out middlemen and third party partners.

As the first working iteration of BAT’s model, the Brave browser works with publishers and users to deliver a less intrusive and more equitable advertising model. With Brave, users can hide ads from any website they visit on the browser. However, they can also disable this ad-blocking feature and earn a portion of advertising revenue for every ad they interact with. Users can then spend these tokens for services, promotions and the like on participating sites, or they can donate them directly to publishers they especially appreciate if they’re feeling generous.

The platform also anonymously gauges user attention to ensure that publishers get no more or no less than their allotted share of ad revenue. Additionally, it keeps tabs on what ads consumers favor so that advertisers can know which products they should direct at which audiences. Thus, Basic Attention Tokens monetize user engagement so as to reward consumers for their attention; cut publishers a fairer piece of the advert pie; and give advertisers more reliable data on user interests.

Currently, only the Brave Browser supports BAT, but the team has it in its sights to expand the token to other browsers in the future. If the project can onboard more browsers, BAT may become more attractive to online publishers as its proof of concept morphs into adoption.

Image attribution: By Michael Fleischhacker - Own work, Public Domain.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

UK Crypto Exchange to Launch Bitcoin Futures Contracts

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Cryptocurrency exchange CoinfloorEX announced it would offer bitcoin futures contracts as of April 2018.

The SEC isn't sending Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes to jail for fraud — here are her possible punishments

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Elizabeth Holmes



  • Elizabeth Holmes has been charged with engaging in a "massive fraud" by the Securities and Exchange Commission
  • She won't be going to jail over this
  • The Department of Justice is also investigating the matter — but that's a separate case

Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of blood testing startup Theranos, has been charged with engaging in a "massive fraud" by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC says she and the company's president raised more than $700 million using an "elaborate, years-long fraud in which they exaggerated or made false statements about the company’s technology, business, and financial performance."

No, she won't be going to jail over this. In fact, even though she faces some serious penalties over the charge — she's losing control of the company and won't profit if it is sold — she also doesn't have to admit wrongdoing as part of a settlement with regulators. 

To recap, Theranos was once a Silicon Valley favorite because of its promise that its technology could allow for a wide variety of blood tests with just a droplet of blood. That all began to fall apart when the Wall Street Journal raised serious questions about the accuracy of the tests, prompting a government agency to shut down one of its labs. 

The SEC investigation has been underway since 2016, and it's not the only one. The Department of Justice is also investigating the matter — but that's a separate case. That one, in theory, could lead to criminal charges, but the SEC reportedly wouldn't comment on the matter.

This is pretty standard practice with the SEC. The regulator explains on its website that, while it works with law enforcement agencies, it's investigations lead to civil or administrative actions. 

Here's are some of the things Holmes has agreed to do to settle with the SEC

  • She'll give up financial and voting control of the company.
  • Holmes has to pay a $500,000 fine.
  • She cannot be a director or officer of a publicly traded company for 10 years. Theranos is a privately-held company, which means she can continue to be CEO.
  • She has to return 18.9 million shares of Theranos stock.
  • She will give up her majority voting control of the company by converting her shares to Class A Common shares from Class B Common shares.
A court still has to approve the settlement with Holmes, and Theranos' former president, Sunny Balwani.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Overstock CEO and bitcoin pioneer explains his long-standing crypto play and his philosophy on life

Brazilian Officials Caught Using Bitcoin in $22 Million Scam

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Corrupt Brazilian officials have been caught allegedly using bitcoin to divert millions in public funds that were intended for prison supplies.

Op Ed: FinCEN Policy Positions Offer Murky Guidance for ICOs

Bitcoin Magazine, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Op Ed: FinCEN Policy Positions Offer Murky Guidance for ICOs

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) appears to be taking steps to eliminate some of the ambiguity surrounding the status of ICOs as money services businesses (MSBs). On March 6, 2018, FinCEN released a letter it sent in February to U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (the “Wyden Letter”). The letter stakes out a policy position that could be seen as somewhat inconsistent with prior FinCEN guidance and could foreshadow potential avenues of enforcement. ICOs would be wise to monitor FinCEN’s public statements and, if they haven’t already, should consider developing Bank Secrecy Act compliance programs to protect themselves from substantial fines and criminal liability associated with FinCEN actions.

In the Wyden Letter, FinCEN ostensibly reiterates its position that that virtual currency developers and other businesses that sell virtual currency are Money Services Businesses (specifically money transmitters) under the Bank Secrecy Act and that they “must comply with AML/CFT requirements that apply to this type of MSB.”

Ambiguities and Contradictions

While FinCEN frames the Wyden letter as a reiteration of its previous position, the application of the Bank Secrecy Act to ICO activities has been less clear than FinCEN claims in the Wyden Letter due to its own previously issued interpretive rulings.

In its 2013 Guidance (FIN-2013-G001 “Application of FinCEN’s Regulations to Persons Administering, Exchanging, or Using Virtual Currencies”), FinCEN stated that “a person that creates units of convertible virtual currency and sells those units to another person for real currency or its equivalent is engaged in transmission to another location and is a money transmitter.” However, in a later interpretive ruling, FIN-2014-R001 (referred to as the “Mining Ruling”), FinCEN appeared to partially contravene that statement from the 2013 Guidance.

In the Mining Ruling, FinCEN addressed questions regarding a virtual currency miner’s use of mined virtual currency and seemed to indicate in its analysis that a business’s use of a token was the primary factor in determining the application of the Bank Secrecy Act as opposed to the origin of the token.

The Mining Ruling suggested that so long as a token was sold for a person or business’s own uses, such as for the payment of debts or to make distributions to shareholders, the person or business would be deemed a “user” of virtual currency rather than an “exchanger” or “administrator” of virtual currency.

“Users” of virtual currency are not MSBs, but “exchangers” and “administrators” are MSBs under the 2013 Guidance. This interpretation of the Mining Ruling was somewhat undercut by the Ripple Labs enforcement action (which was settled via an agreement with Ripple), but there has been no additional formal guidance or interpretative rulings by FinCEN to limit or reject an extension of the reasoning in the Mining Ruling to ICO activities.

FinCEN does not address the discrepancies between the 2013 Guidance and the Mining Ruling in the Wyden Letter, but the letter does cite the Mining Ruling in a footnote. Confusingly, FinCEN’s footnote summary of the Mining Ruling seems inconsistent with the conclusions drawn in its full analysis. It may be that FinCEN is attempting to square the circle and is choosing to categorize developers as “administrators” of a virtual currency anytime they conduct a sale of their tokens regardless of the use of the proceeds.

Considerations for ICOs

While the Wyden Letter is not a formal interpretative ruling or formal guidance, this letter should be seen as a warning to all current ICOs and prospective ICOs that FinCEN is paying attention and expects full compliance with the Bank Secrecy Act.

If FinCEN acts according to the interpretation set forth in the Wyden Letter, ICOs that choose or have chosen not to fully comply with the substantive requirements of the Bank Secrecy Act (including registration as an MSB), could face serious consequences including criminal liability and extensive fines.

Token developers should consult with legal counsel or other consultants to develop a Bank Secrecy Act compliance plan as part of their ICO offering. Some of the requirements of a well-designed compliance plan are

(i) conducting a risk assessment;

(ii) developing an effective anti-money laundering program;

(iii) appointing a compliance officer;

(iv) engaging in know-your-customer activities;

(v) complying with recordkeeping and reporting requirements;  

(vi) registering with FinCEN as a money transmitter.

These activities represent a significant, but important, additional investment by developers to ready their tokens and applications for their prospective users.

On a final note, the Wyden Letter does not address the application of limitations or exemptions to the Bank Secrecy Act. ICOs may wish to consult with legal counsel to analyze their plans for raising capital associated with tokens to determine which options are best for them.

This is a guest post by Patrick Burnett and John Wagster of Frost Brown Todd, LLC. Views expressed are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Media or Bitcoin Magazine. This article is for information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.


This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Op Ed: FinCEN Policy Positions Offer Murky Guidance for ICOs

Bitcoin Magazine, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Op Ed: FinCEN Policy Positions Offer Murky Guidance for ICOs

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) appears to be taking steps to eliminate some of the ambiguity surrounding the status of ICOs as money services businesses (MSBs). On March 6, 2018, FinCEN released a letter it sent in February to U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (the “Wyden Letter”). The letter stakes out a policy position that could be seen as somewhat inconsistent with prior FinCEN guidance and could foreshadow potential avenues of enforcement. ICOs would be wise to monitor FinCEN’s public statements and, if they haven’t already, should consider developing Bank Secrecy Act compliance programs to protect themselves from substantial fines and criminal liability associated with FinCEN actions.

In the Wyden Letter, FinCEN ostensibly reiterates its position that that virtual currency developers and other businesses that sell virtual currency are Money Services Businesses (specifically money transmitters) under the Bank Secrecy Act and that they “must comply with AML/CFT requirements that apply to this type of MSB.”

Ambiguities and Contradictions

While FinCEN frames the Wyden letter as a reiteration of its previous position, the application of the Bank Secrecy Act to ICO activities has been less clear than FinCEN claims in the Wyden Letter due to its own previously issued interpretive rulings.

In its 2013 Guidance (FIN-2013-G001 “Application of FinCEN’s Regulations to Persons Administering, Exchanging, or Using Virtual Currencies”), FinCEN stated that “a person that creates units of convertible virtual currency and sells those units to another person for real currency or its equivalent is engaged in transmission to another location and is a money transmitter.” However, in a later interpretive ruling, FIN-2014-R001 (referred to as the “Mining Ruling”), FinCEN appeared to partially contravene that statement from the 2013 Guidance.

In the Mining Ruling, FinCEN addressed questions regarding a virtual currency miner’s use of mined virtual currency and seemed to indicate in its analysis that a business’s use of a token was the primary factor in determining the application of the Bank Secrecy Act as opposed to the origin of the token.

The Mining Ruling suggested that so long as a token was sold for a person or business’s own uses, such as for the payment of debts or to make distributions to shareholders, the person or business would be deemed a “user” of virtual currency rather than an “exchanger” or “administrator” of virtual currency.

“Users” of virtual currency are not MSBs, but “exchangers” and “administrators” are MSBs under the 2013 Guidance. This interpretation of the Mining Ruling was somewhat undercut by the Ripple Labs enforcement action (which was settled via an agreement with Ripple), but there has been no additional formal guidance or interpretative rulings by FinCEN to limit or reject an extension of the reasoning in the Mining Ruling to ICO activities.

FinCEN does not address the discrepancies between the 2013 Guidance and the Mining Ruling in the Wyden Letter, but the letter does cite the Mining Ruling in a footnote. Confusingly, FinCEN’s footnote summary of the Mining Ruling seems inconsistent with the conclusions drawn in its full analysis. It may be that FinCEN is attempting to square the circle and is choosing to categorize developers as “administrators” of a virtual currency anytime they conduct a sale of their tokens regardless of the use of the proceeds.

Considerations for ICOs

While the Wyden Letter is not a formal interpretative ruling or formal guidance, this letter should be seen as a warning to all current ICOs and prospective ICOs that FinCEN is paying attention and expects full compliance with the Bank Secrecy Act.

If FinCEN acts according to the interpretation set forth in the Wyden Letter, ICOs that choose or have chosen not to fully comply with the substantive requirements of the Bank Secrecy Act (including registration as an MSB), could face serious consequences including criminal liability and extensive fines.

Token developers should consult with legal counsel or other consultants to develop a Bank Secrecy Act compliance plan as part of their ICO offering. Some of the requirements of a well-designed compliance plan are

(i) conducting a risk assessment;

(ii) developing an effective anti-money laundering program;

(iii) appointing a compliance officer;

(iv) engaging in know-your-customer activities;

(v) complying with recordkeeping and reporting requirements;  

(vi) registering with FinCEN as a money transmitter.

These activities represent a significant, but important, additional investment by developers to ready their tokens and applications for their prospective users.

On a final note, the Wyden Letter does not address the application of limitations or exemptions to the Bank Secrecy Act. ICOs may wish to consult with legal counsel to analyze their plans for raising capital associated with tokens to determine which options are best for them.

This is a guest post by Patrick Burnett and John Wagster of Frost Brown Todd, LLC. Views expressed are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Media or Bitcoin Magazine. This article is for information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.


This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Pharmacy startup Blink Health just filed a $250 million lawsuit against a company it claims is an 'unlawful copycat scheme'

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Geoff & Matt 2 (1)

  • Blink Health, a pharmacy startup that provides discounts to prescription drugs and has raised $165 million in funding, is suing a competitor it claims is an "unlawful copycat scheme." 
  • The lawsuit alleges Hippo, a new startup founded by former Blink Health executives, got ahold of Blink Health's trade secrets and unfairly uses them to compete with Blink Health. 
  • Blink Health is seeking $50 million in damages already caused, along with $200 million in punitive damages for a total of $250 million. 

Blink Health is suing a pharmacy startup it claims is an "unlawful copycat scheme."

Blink Health, a startup that helps negotiate lower drug prices, was founded by 35-year-old Geoffrey Chaiken and 32-year-old Matthew Chaiken. The company is now suing Hippo, a company founded by former Blink Health executives that operates under a similar format to deliver prescription drug discounts. 

In its complaint, Blink Health claims violations of the Defend Trade Secrets Act, alleging that Hippo got ahold of Blink Health's trade secrets and has and continues to use "stolen property for its own benefit and in unfair competition with Blink at thousands of 'pharmacies nationwide.'"

The company is seeking $50 million in damages, along with $200 million in punitive damages, for a total of $250 million. 

"No company should be allowed to cheat and steal its way into existence, as Hippo is trying to do," Blink Health’s attorney Orin Synder said in a statement sent to Business Insider.

8VC, which led Blink's Series A and B rounds, said in a statement, "We are fully supportive of Blink Health and its actions."

Hippo was not immediately available to comment.

Here's how Blink Health's prescription discounting

When it comes to lowering prescription costs, there are a number of different approaches startups are taking, from comparing the price at one pharmacy to another nearby so consumers shopping around for a lower price can get a sense of where they might go. Others have delivery components as well as discounts. 

Blink Health operates a little differently. Instead of having people go from one pharmacy to another, Blink Health negotiates to get the same price at different pharmacies for generic medications and some branded diabetes medications. Blink Health works at Rite Aid, Walmart, Kroger and K-Mart, but it doesn't currently work at Walgreens or CVS Health.

Say you need to pick up a prescription for your medication, but you have a high deductible plan that requires you to pay $3,000 out of your own pocket before your insurance starts picking up the rest of the tab. Instead of going to the pharmacy and accepting whatever price they offer (which can vary from pharmacy to pharmacy), you could download the Blink Health app, or go to the company's website. 

In the app, you can find your prescription and purchase it directly through the app. Then, when you get to the pharmacy counter, you show your phone to the pharmacist who rings it up instead.  In return, Blink gets a cut of the transaction.

Where Hippo and Blink Health have similarities

The system of having the same price at any pharmacy and presenting a virtual card is the same model Hippo is using, according to its website. 

For example, here's how Blink Health describes the process:

Screen Shot 2018 03 14 at 9.17.31 AMAnd here's how Hippo's site describes it: 

Screen Shot 2018 03 12 at 1.25.48 PM

 

Hippo was started by two former Blink Health executives: former chief financial officer Eugene Kakaulin and former general counsel Charles Jacoby. In 2016, Kakaulin sued Blink Health claiming breach of contract and violations of federal whistleblower law when Kakaulin came to the founders with information about securities violations. The case was later settled.

Blink Health’s complaint alleges that Hippo got confidential marketing plans, such as strategies and slogans, information about how Blink Health set up relationships and contracts with pharmacy benefit managers, as well as some of the back-end coding that helps fill the prescription when someone using the app/website uses their card, and that these are trade secrets belonging to Blink Health.

SEE ALSO: The lines around healthcare are being redrawn — and all eyes are on pharmacy giant Walgreens to make the next move

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Goldman Sachs investment chief: Bitcoin is definitely a bubble, Ethereum even more so

Theranos claimed it would generate 1,000 times more revenue in 2014 than it actually did

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Elizabeth Holmes

  • Theranos, along with its CEO Elizabeth Holmes and former president Sunny Balwani have been charged by the SEC with "massive fraud."
  • The agency said Wednesday that Theranos and Holmes have agreed to resolve the charges against them.
  • The SEC alleged that Theranos had overstated its program with the US Department of Defense as well as the revenues it generated in 2014. 

Theranos, its CEO Elizabeth Holmes, and a former executive have been charged with fraud by the SEC. 

Theranos and Holmes have resolved the charges with the SEC in an agreement that involves Holmes giving up a lot of control over the blood-testing company. 

The SEC alleged that Theranos "made numerous false and misleading statements in investor presentations, product demonstrations, and media articles" about the company's blood-testing technology while raising more than $700 million. Those discrepancies first came to light back in October 2015 when The Wall Street Journal published an investigation that questioned the accuracy of its blood test. 

The SEC alleged that the company overstated the extent of its program with the Department of Defense. Through the program, the intent was to deploy Theranos' blood-testing technology in Afghanistan and on medical helicopters. In reality, the SEC found that the DOD didn't deploy Theranos's technology. 

Theranos also said the company would generate $100 million in revenue in 2014. That year, the company made about $100,000 in revenue. 

Theranos and Holmes have agreed to resolve the charges against them. As part of the resolution, Holmes agreed to give up majority voting control over the company and reduce her equity in the privately-held company.

SEE ALSO: Theranos and its founder, Elizabeth Holmes, have been charged with fraud by the SEC

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Goldman Sachs investment chief: Bitcoin is definitely a bubble, Ethereum even more so

Bitcoin Price Sheds $800 In Drop to 1-Month Low

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Bitcoin hit a one-month low on Wednesday as its price slipped below $8,300 during afternoon trading.

Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes has been forced to give up majority control of the company to resolve charges of a 'massive fraud'

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Elizabeth Holmes Theranos

  • Theranos, its CEO Elizabeth Holmes, and its former president Sunny Balwani have been charged by the SEC with fraud.
  • The agency said Wednesday that Theranos and Holmes have agreed to resolve the charges against them.
  • As part of the resolution, Holmes has to give up majority voting control over the company and reduce her equity in the privately-held company.

Theranos, its CEO Elizabeth Holmes, and former president Sunny Balwani, have been charged with "massive fraud" by the SEC.

The SEC alleged that Theranos "made numerous false and misleading statements in investor presentations, product demonstrations, and media articles" about the company's blood-testing technology while raising more than $700 million.

Theranos and Holmes have reached a resolution with the SEC, while Balwani, who left the company in 2016, will be tried in federal district court in California.  

Holmes, who founded Theranos back in 2003 when she was 19, agreed to give up financial and voting control of the company.

  • Holmes has to pay a $500,000 fine.
  • She cannot be a director or officer of a publicly traded company for 10 years. Theranos is a privately-held company, which means she can continue to be CEO. 
  • She has to return 18.9 million shares of Theranos stock.
  • She will give up her majority voting control of the company by converting her shares to Class A Common shares from Class B Common shares.

"This package of remedies exemplifies our efforts to impose tailored and meaningful sanctions that directly address the unlawful behavior charged and best remedies the harm done to shareholders," the SEC's Enforcement Division co-director Stephanie Avakian said in a release

"As part of the settlement, neither the Company nor Ms. Holmes admitted or denied any wrongdoing," Theranos said in a statement.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Goldman Sachs investment chief: Bitcoin is definitely a bubble, Ethereum even more so

$81 Billion Allianz Says Bitcoin is a Bubble, Search Engine Results Show Otherwise

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

On March 14, $81 billion investment firm Allianz stated in a report released by the firm’s global economics and strategy head Stefan Hofrichter that the cryptocurrency market, regardless of its liquidity, is a bubble. Intrinsic Value Again Hofrichter stated that cryptocurrencies like bitcoin lack intrinsic value, and that the base value of cryptocurrencies is zero.

The post $81 Billion Allianz Says Bitcoin is a Bubble, Search Engine Results Show Otherwise appeared first on CCN

What you need to know on Wall Street today

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Welcome to Finance Insider, Business Insider's summary of the top stories of the past 24 hours. Sign up here to get the best of Business Insider delivered direct to your inbox.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell as much as 306 points Wednesday, bogged down by concerns of possible Chinese retaliation against President Donald Trump's metals tariffs, disappointing retail sales, and another downward revision to the Atlanta Fed's first-quarter GDP forecast 

Here's the latest:

A former Equifax executive has been charged with insider trading for selling shares before the company's massive data breach was announced. And Theranos and its founder Elizabeth Holmes have been charged with fraud by the SEC. 

In crypto news:

Lastly, Stephen Hawking's final Reddit post was an ominous warning about the future of humanity and capitalism.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Goldman Sachs investment chief: Bitcoin is definitely a bubble, Ethereum even more so

Dow drops more than 300 points as fears of a potential trade war rise

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Dow Jones stock market today


The Dow Jones industrial average fell as much as 306 points on Wednesday, as possible Chinese retaliation against the new metals tariffs stoke fears of a potential trade war.

China's National People's Congress spokesperson Zhang Yesui on Wednesday threatened to retaliate to the US president's proposed new tariffs on steel and aluminum, according to reports. China doesn't want a trade war, the politician said, but it will respond in kind if Trump's tariffs harm it economically.

Boeing, which could be a potential target of retaliatory tariffs by China, was among the worst hit, falling more than 4% in trading. China has agreed to buy about $1 trillion worth of aircraft over the next two decades from the company.

Companies that get a high percentage of their revenue from China are also at heightened risk as the prospect of a global trade war mounts, according to UBS. The Swiss bank identified 11 stocks to avoid if a trade war does break out.

In economic data, retail sales unexpectedly fell for the third straight month, according to statistics published by the government

Cryptocurrencies were also falling Wednesday after Google followed Facebook's lead and said it would ban all advertising related to bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, or ICOs.

SEE ALSO: Walmart has hinted that it may want to make crop-pollinating robot bees

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Forget 'Make America Great Again' — Wharton professor says Trump has been terrible for America's brand

Theranos and its founder, Elizabeth Holmes, have been charged with fraud by the SEC

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Elizabeth Holmes

  • The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged the blood-testing company Theranos, along with its CEO, Elizabeth Holmes, and its former president, Sunny Balwani, with fraud.
  • The agency said Wednesday that Theranos and Holmes had agreed to resolve the charges against them.
  • Theranos, which has been under fire since 2015, had previously said it was working with the SEC regarding its investigation into the company.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged the blood-testing company Theranos, along with its CEO, Elizabeth Holmes, and its former president, Sunny Balwani, with "massive fraud."

The SEC said Wednesday that Theranos and Holmes had agreed to resolve the charges against them and that Holmes would give up majority voting control and reduce her equity in the privately held company.

The SEC says it will pursue the charges against Balwani, who left the company in May 2016, in federal district court in California.

Theranos said in a statement that "as part of the settlement, neither the Company nor Ms. Holmes admitted or denied any wrongdoing."

Theranos has been under fire since October 2015 when The Wall Street Journal published an investigation that called into question the accuracy of its blood test. Eventually, one of the company's lab-testing locations was shut down, and Holmes was barred for two years from running a clinical lab.

The company settled last year with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the government agency responsible for regulating blood-testing labs, by agreeing to not own or operate a clinical lab within the next two years. Theranos said in a letter to investors in December that it was continuing to cooperate with the SEC and the Justice Department in the agencies' respective investigations.

Catch up on the tumultuos year Theranos had in 2015-16. Since then, Theranos has settled a number of lawsuits and raised $100 million to get the company through 2018.

The SEC alleged that:

  • Theranos "made numerous false and misleading statements in investor presentations, product demonstrations, and media articles" about its blood-testing technology while raising more than $700 million.
  • That included claims that the Department of Defense was using Theranos' technology and that Theranos would bring in more than $100 million in revenue in 2014. The SEC said that in reality, the department never used the technology and the company made about $100,000 in revenue that year.

"Investors are entitled to nothing less than complete truth and candor from companies and their executives," Steven Peikin, a director of the SEC's Enforcement Division, said in a release. "The charges against Theranos, Holmes, and Balwani make clear that there is no exemption from the anti-fraud provisions of the federal securities laws simply because a company is non-public, development-stage, or the subject of exuberant media attention."

As part of the resolution, Holmes will pay a $500,000 fine and return 18.9 million shares of Theranos, and she cannot be a director or officer of a publicly traded company for 10 years, the SEC said.

Here's Theranos' full statement:

"Theranos, Inc. announced today that the Company and its CEO, Elizabeth Holmes, have resolved a previously disclosed investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) into the offer and sale of Theranos securities from 2013 to 2015.

"The Company and Ms. Holmes fully cooperated with the SEC throughout its investigation. As part of the settlement, the Company and Ms. Holmes agreed to comply with applicable federal securities laws. Ms. Holmes will pay a $500,000 fine and will not be eligible to serve as a director or officer of a publicly traded company for a period of 10 years. She will also return approximately 18.9 million shares of stock and relinquish her super-voting equity rights. As part of the settlement, neither the Company nor Ms. Holmes admitted or denied any wrongdoing.

"Theranos' independent directors said in a statement, 'The Company is pleased to be bringing this matter to a close and looks forward to advancing its technology.'"

SEE ALSO: Theranos is gearing up for a rebound with $100 million to get it through 2018

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NOW WATCH: Overstock CEO and bitcoin pioneer explains his long-standing crypto play and his philosophy on life

Overstock.com Moves Forward With Its Token Sale

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Overstock.com, the e-commerce leader that has embraced bitcoin and became the first company to solicit qualified institutional buyers in a digital corporate bond, has announced the subsequent sale period for its tZERO preferred equity tokens. The offering has been extended until 5 p.m. EDT on May 14, 2018. Overstock.com has begun the subsequent sale period for its

The post Overstock.com Moves Forward With Its Token Sale appeared first on CCN

Promoted: Unibright Unlocks New Possibilities for Blockchain Integration

Bitcoin Magazine, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Unibright Thumb

The exponential growth of blockchain technology worldwide has been well documented. 

According to the data-gathering site Statistica, the global market for blockchain technology is expected to continue its growth, expanding to an estimated $2.3 billion by 2021.

On the heels of this rapid growth trajectory come concerns of a massive blockchain expertise shortage. Blockchain developers, amid this uptick in activity, are already rapidly becoming a rare and expensive breed, a trend that could have a chilling effect on overall industry progress.

Other major considerations in terms of the evolution of this space include the following: 

  • Smart contracts are complex, and any bug can have an adverse impact on the advancement of a project. 
  • It is difficult to update and deploy smart contracts to different blockchains.
  • There is a lack of understanding on the part of companies in how to translate data from a blockchain into something useful for employees and customers.

Solving the Issues

Unibright is a German-based company that has shown promise in bringing targeted solutions to the resources planning space. As system integration specialists, Unibright’s staff brings a compelling value proposition to all genres of business that need to connect different systems, data formats and other elements of blockchain solutions. Through Unibright, blockchain technology can become the solution to a myriad of pain points felt by a range of companies.

Unibright has built a framework enabling business process specialists to integrate blockchain technology workflows into the current IT landscape without the need for blockchain domain specialists.

"We want to make business integration faster, more reliable and future-proof by bringing our expertise into the blockchain world,” said Marten Jung, CEO, founder and head of blockchain development. “Our goal is to be the most reliable provider for a complete and unified framework for blockchain-based business integration, a safe harbor for our clients in disruptive times.”

Launched in 2017 from SPO consulting, Unibright is taking its more than 15 years of business integration, enterprise resource planning consultancy and software development experience to the blockchain domain. It has created a unified framework for blockchain-based business integration where business workflows can be presented visually and smart contracts can be generated automatically.

Unibright’s team of developers possess over 20-plus years of experience in business integration. Recognizing that many enterprises have a strong interest in blockchain technology but are uncertain in how to effectively employ it, Unibright wants to help.

The advancements taking place through Unibright highlight the enormous utility of blockchain technology, especially for B2B use cases. Companies generally prefer not to have to employ technical specialists for every different blockchain that exists. These enterprises recognize that their time, energy and attention should be focused on strategic business demands and not on technical details.

Unibright makes it easy to integrate blockchain technology into an existing business. Users can select a template for their specific case and visually customize the business integration workflow. Unibright will then automatically generate all of the elements needed for full blockchain-based business integration involving smart contracts, smart adapters and smart queries.

Championing Blockchain’s Enormous Utility

With the predicted advancements in blockchain technology and the new possibilities it promises, the most disruptive use cases for it are yet to come. Unibright believes that this nascent technology can be used in various fields including fintech, healthcare and supply chain management, just to name a few. Below are a few Unibright-driven use cases to date: 

  • A design company establishing its own approval process for each newly designed piece of jewelry 
  • A worldwide nongovernmental operation raising private funding with an integration solution allowing all funds raised to be digitally captured in its central IT system
  • A batch-tracing system for a beer manufacturer in which all raw materials, production stages and the sale to supermarkets can now be traced and integrated into the central system

Future Development

The Unibright Token (UBT) is an ERC20-compatible utility token that will fuel the Unibright platform.

“Our objective is to accelerate the development of our framework and our road to total product readiness,” said Jung. “We need to add support for more blockchains and off-chain systems by creating the needed adapter for the platform. In addition, we wish to audit more templates that empower blockchain usage in business processes. Raising funds with the token launch helps us to ensure that we are the first and fastest mover in the field of blockchain-based business integration and are keeping pace with the growing markets.”

Note: Trading and investing in digital assets is speculative and can be high-risk. Based on the shifting business and regulatory environment of such a new industry, this content should not be considered investment or legal advice.

This promoted article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

CRYPTO INSIDER: The golden age of ICOs is over

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Members of Japan's idol group

Welcome to Crypto Insider, Business Insider’s roundup of all the bitcoin and cryptocurrency news you need to know today. Sign up here to get this email delivered direct to your inbox.

Cryptocurrency fundraising is off to a record-breaking start this year, according to new data from crypto-watcher Autonomous NEXT.

But the rest of 2018 could see the market for ICOs fizzle out, according to a number of cryptocurrency experts who spoke with Business Insider on Tuesday at "Battle of the Cryptos," an industry conference in New York.

Here are the current crypto prices:

Crypto prices today

SEE ALSO: Google is banning all bitcoin, ICO, and cryptocurrency ads starting in June

Join the conversation about this story »

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Florida State Employee Arrested for Allegedly Mining Crypto at Work

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

A state employee at Florida's Department of Citrus has been arrested for allegedly using official computers to mine bitcoin and litecoin.

Florida State Employee Arrested for Allegedly Mining Crypto at Work

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

A state employee at Florida's Department of Citrus has been arrested for allegedly using official computers to mine bitcoin and litecoin.

RBC: Nvidia's crypto boost is facing a 'notable slowdown' — but its stock could still surge (NVDA)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

jensen huang drive nvidia ces

  • Nvidia’s crypto boost is likely to face a "notable slowdown" in 2018, says RBC Capital Markets.
  • Still, the bank is raising its price target for the chipmaker citing tax reform and video games.

Nvidia got a major boost from the explosion of interest around cryptocurrencies in 2017, but that's facing a "notable slowdown," RBC Capital Markets has warned.

"With crypto currencies acting as a boost in FY18E, we take a conservative approach and assume that a notable slowdown occurs in FY19E," analyst Mitch Steves said in a note to clients Wednesday. "Higher end chips typically lead to better mining capabilities and the lower end products will unlikely sell out consistently."

At the height of the crypto boom in December, when the price of bitcoin was near $20,000 a coin, Nvidia’s chips were regularly selling out at stores across the country. Once popular almost exclusively among PC gamers, the chips had found a new market that was insatiable in the demand for mining equipment.

Still, other solid signs under the surface led RBC to upgrade its price target for the stock by another $5 a share, to $285, a 15% premium to the stock’s price of $249 early Wednesday.

"We are raising our price target on Nvidia to reflect 1) new upside case scenario of $12+ in FY21E EPS, 2) confidence in Data Center spending given positive results across major data center players and continued strong demand for memory, 3) solid gaming results driven by pent up demand and new video games requiring a doubling in size and 4) higher long-term gross margin expectations for Pro Visualization and Gaming," Steves wrote.

Gaming, specifically, is a major highlight for RBC, which says “VR units could become more material in 2019 if content is created over the next 12-18 months,” something other Wall Street analysts have also predicted.

Earlier this week, Jefferies said both Nvidia and AMD could see a boost from Steven Spielberg's "Ready Player One," which features an entire virtual reality universe inside the futuristic movie.

Shares of Nvidia are up 23.4% this year, even as the price of bitcoin has fallen 25%.

SEE ALSO: JEFFERIES: AMD and Nvidia are set to benefit from the futuristic headsets in Steven Spielberg's 'Ready Player One'

Join the conversation about this story »

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RBC: Nvidia's crypto boost is facing a 'notable slowdown' — but its stock could still surge (NVDA)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

jensen huang drive nvidia ces

  • Nvidia’s crypto boost is likely to face a "notable slowdown" in 2018, says RBC Capital Markets.
  • Still, the bank is raising its price target for the chipmaker citing tax reform and video games.

Nvidia got a major boost from the explosion of interest around cryptocurrencies in 2017, but that's facing a "notable slowdown," RBC Capital Markets has warned.

"With crypto currencies acting as a boost in FY18E, we take a conservative approach and assume that a notable slowdown occurs in FY19E," analyst Mitch Steves said in a note to clients Wednesday. "Higher end chips typically lead to better mining capabilities and the lower end products will unlikely sell out consistently."

At the height of the crypto boom in December, when the price of bitcoin was near $20,000 a coin, Nvidia’s chips were regularly selling out at stores across the country. Once popular almost exclusively among PC gamers, the chips had found a new market that was insatiable in the demand for mining equipment.

Still, other solid signs under the surface led RBC to upgrade its price target for the stock by another $5 a share, to $285, a 15% premium to the stock’s price of $249 early Wednesday.

"We are raising our price target on Nvidia to reflect 1) new upside case scenario of $12+ in FY21E EPS, 2) confidence in Data Center spending given positive results across major data center players and continued strong demand for memory, 3) solid gaming results driven by pent up demand and new video games requiring a doubling in size and 4) higher long-term gross margin expectations for Pro Visualization and Gaming," Steves wrote.

Gaming, specifically, is a major highlight for RBC, which says “VR units could become more material in 2019 if content is created over the next 12-18 months,” something other Wall Street analysts have also predicted.

Earlier this week, Jefferies said both Nvidia and AMD could see a boost from Steven Spielberg's "Ready Player One," which features an entire virtual reality universe inside the futuristic movie.

Shares of Nvidia are up 23.4% this year, even as the price of bitcoin has fallen 25%.

SEE ALSO: JEFFERIES: AMD and Nvidia are set to benefit from the futuristic headsets in Steven Spielberg's 'Ready Player One'

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Forget 'Make America Great Again' — Wharton professor says Trump has been terrible for America's brand

'You'd have to be nuts to run an ICO': The age of the ICO is coming to an end, giving way to a new trend in crypto

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Members of Japan's idol group

  • The market for ICOs is off to a red-hot start this year, but that may soon change. 
  • The crypto industry is shifting to so-called security token offerings as regulators crackdown on ICOs, industry experts say. 

Cryptocurrency fundraising is off to a record-breaking start this year, according to new data from crypto-watcher Autonomous NEXT

But the rest of 2018 could see the market for ICOs fizzle out, according to a number of cryptocurrency experts who spoke with Business Insider on Tuesday at "Battle of the Cryptos," an industry conference in New York. 

DYLu1rnXkAE0LvrAutonomous NEXT found that $2.6 billion was raised via initial coin offerings from the beginning of 2018 up until the end of February. 

In an initial coin offering, a company issues its own digital currency to raise money to build out a new business or product. The market, which is known for its big dreams and fair share of fraud, has come under intense regulatory scrutiny in 2018. Still, fundraising appeared to continue unabated. 

"Funding continues to accrue to new projects, as well as ongoing ICOs, faster than this time last year, but the increased regulatory attention to the space as well as the choppiness in the price of the large cap crypto coins has delivered a February that is slower than January," Lex Sokolin, a partner at Autonomous NEXT, said in an email. 

The Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this month issued a number of subpoenas to companies and individuals involved with initial coin offerings, Business Insider previously reported.

In some cases, companies have raised millions of dollars from ICOs. Overstock, the company best known for its ecommerce platform, for instance, has raised more than $100 million from its ICO, which was only open to accredited investors, chief executive Patrick Byrne told Business Insider.

The general consensus at "Battle of the Cryptos," however, was that the Wild West days of ICOs are over. 

"I'm surprised by those numbers," Byrne told Business Insider after a panel, referring to the data provided by Autonomous NEXT. 

"Last year there was an explosion in the space, but the SEC's actions - diving into everything - it's pumping the brakes," he added. "You'd have to be nuts to run an ICO now, unless you're as pure as the new-fallen snow."

Byrne said the industry is moving towards so-called "STOs," or security token offerings. An STO represents actual ownership in a business or asset, providing investors access to dividends and governance rights, in certain cases. With an ICO, an investor is only guaranteed the future value of a token they purchased (which of course can go to zero). 

"The writing is on the wall for a lot of these guys," Trevor Koverko, the chief executive of Polymath, a company building out a platform to help companies launch STOs, told Business Insider. "They know that if they run an ICO and open it up to US investors, they're going to get shut down."

A number of companies including the Barbados Stock Exchange are preparing to launch an STO on Polymath, Koverko said. 

Investors are also losing interest in initial coin offerings, according to Joe DiPasquale, the founder of crypto fund of funds BitBull Capital. He told Business Insider that cryptocurrency hedge funds, of which there are more than 200, are opting for other strategies in crypto outside the ICO market.

"A lot of LPs are interested in market neutral strategies such as quantitative and arbitrage," he said. 

"Market directional strategies such as ICO investments are falling out of favor." 

Still, crypto markets are unpredictable by nature. Sokolin tells Business Insider it is too early for the market to say ICOs have reached their peak. 

"But the direction of March will be an important indicator."

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Goldman Sachs investment chief: Bitcoin is definitely a bubble, Ethereum even more so

Binance Coin, NEM Prices Continue to Surge Despite Market Retrace

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

The Binance Coin and NEM prices continued to surge against the US dollar on Wednesday, even as other cryptocurrencies posted a near-universal retreat. Bitcoin, Ethereum Lead Widespread Cryptocurrency Retreat It was a dismal day for cryptocurrency traders. The Bitcoin price retraced another four percent to $8,812, while Ethereum dipped five percent to $667. On the

The post Binance Coin, NEM Prices Continue to Surge Despite Market Retrace appeared first on CCN

Cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex is going to use special tools to crack down on market manipulation

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Photo illustration of Bitfinex cryptocurrency exchange website taken September 27, 2017. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

  • Cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex strikes deal with market surveillance software provider Irisium.
  • The deal comes after Business Insider highlighted the prevalence of market manipulation and scams in crypto secondary markets.

LONDON — Global cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex has partnered with a market surveillance company to try and stamp out market manipulation on its platform.

Market surveillance software provider Irisium announced on Wednesday that it is now working with Bitfinex to "identify and investigate manipulative behaviours and suspicious trading practices on its exchange."

Business Insider reported last year on the prevalence of Wolf of Wall Street-style "pump and dump" scams, where traders artificially inflate the price of cryptocurrencies for their own gain.

While cryptocurrency markets are unregulated, US regulators the CFTC, the SEC, and FinRA have all warned investors to be wary of these scams. The SEC cited BI's investigation into "pump and dumps" as part of its paper setting out concerns about potential bitcoin ETFs.

Bitfinex CTO Paolo Ardoino said in a statement on Wednesday: "To meet the complex needs of an evolving digital asset class and to protect our sophisticated participants, Bitfinex requires an agile surveillance system built on the latest technology.

"Together with our experienced team, the Irisium platform will provide the surveillance needed to protect our participants and our venue from trading abuses."

Bitfinex, which is headquartered in Hong Kong, is the world's fourth-biggest cryptocurrency by volume as of Wednesday. The exchange had a 24-hour trading volume of $790 million, according to market data provider CoinMarketCap.com.

Irisium CEO Alastair Goodwin said: "We are at a tipping point in the development of the digital currency marketplace. As professional traders and sophisticated investors enter the market, exchanges need to deploy modern surveillance tools that can detect abusive trading practices and protect their customers."

The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission reportedly issued subpoenas to Bitfinex in December and Tether, the company behind a digital coin that claims to track the US dollar and was cofounded by the same people at Bitfinex.

SEE ALSO: 'Market manipulation 101': 'Wolf of Wall Street'-style 'pump and dump' scams plague cryptocurrency markets

DON'T MISS: Anger and confusion as crypto traders lose thousands in 'flash crash' on $54 billion exchange

NEXT UP: Meet the crypto trader who says he bought a Tesla with 'pump and dump' profits but claims the scams aren't bad: 'It's a game'

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Goldman Sachs investment chief: Bitcoin is definitely a bubble, Ethereum even more so

Bitcoin Adopters Could Soon Overtake Stock Traders in Indonesia

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Indonesia’s biggest exchange platform for cryptocurrencies including bitcoin could soon outrank the national stock exchange by sheer numbers of participants. A single cryptocurrency exchange in Indonesia could soon have more registered users than the country’s 106-year old stock exchange. If the value of bitcoin and the wider cryptocurrency market is in a rut, Indonesians have

The post Bitcoin Adopters Could Soon Overtake Stock Traders in Indonesia appeared first on CCN

Cryptocurrencies are falling after Google's advertising ban

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

bitcoin



LONDON — Bitcoin has fallen below $9,000 on Wednesday morning after Google dealt a blow to the global cryptocurrency market.

Google announced in a blog post on Wednesday morning that it is joining Facebook in banning all cryptocurrency related adverts from its platforms.

The news has dented sentiment and cryptocurrencies are falling as a result. Bitcoin is down 4.1% against the dollar to $8,775.39 at 10.55 a.m. GMT (6.55 a.m. ET), Ethereum is down 3.3% to $666.77, Ripple is down 3.8% to $0.74, and Bitcoin Cash is down 3.2% to $1,018.25.

Mati Greenspan, an analyst with trading platform eToro, said in an email on Wednesday morning: "Google joined Facebook in the all-out crypto advertisement ban. So no more ads for ICOs, or crypto, or bitcoin in search results for the time being.

"Bitcoin is having a bad morning on the back of the announcement and has just broken below $9,000. As we've been discussing for a few months already, the long-term support remains just below $8,000 a coin so we're still holding that level just fine."

SEE ALSO: Google is banning all bitcoin, ICO, and cryptocurrency ads from June

DON'T MISS: Facebook is banning all ads for bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, and ICOs

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Jim Chanos explains the most important asset class in the world

Cryptocurrencies are falling after Google's advertising ban

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

bitcoin



LONDON — Bitcoin has fallen below $9,000 on Wednesday morning after Google dealt a blow to the global cryptocurrency market.

Google announced in a blog post on Wednesday morning that it is joining Facebook in banning all cryptocurrency related adverts from its platforms.

The news has dented sentiment and cryptocurrencies are falling as a result. Bitcoin is down 4.1% against the dollar to $8,775.39 at 10.55 a.m. GMT (6.55 a.m. ET), Ethereum is down 3.3% to $666.77, Ripple is down 3.8% to $0.74, and Bitcoin Cash is down 3.2% to $1,018.25.

Mati Greenspan, an analyst with trading platform eToro, said in an email on Wednesday morning: "Google joined Facebook in the all-out crypto advertisement ban. So no more ads for ICOs, or crypto, or bitcoin in search results for the time being.

"Bitcoin is having a bad morning on the back of the announcement and has just broken below $9,000. As we've been discussing for a few months already, the long-term support remains just below $8,000 a coin so we're still holding that level just fine."

SEE ALSO: Google is banning all bitcoin, ICO, and cryptocurrency ads from June

DON'T MISS: Facebook is banning all ads for bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, and ICOs

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Jim Chanos explains the most important asset class in the world

Bitcoin Sinks Toward $8K and Faces Further Sell-Off

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

The bulls' failure to capitalize on bitcoin's recent price recovery has left the doors open for a sharp sell-off to February lows.

Google is banning all bitcoin, ICO, and cryptocurrency ads from June

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

The Google logo is seen at the

  • Google is banning ads for cryptocurrencies and binary options from June.
  • The search giant is also cracking down on adverts for other financial products such as CFDs, spread bets, and foreign exchange products.
  • Facebook has also banned cryptocurrency adverts.
  • Google's crackdown comes amid sustained pressure on the tech giant over its advertising and content policing.


LONDON — Google plans to ban all cryptocurrencies and binary options adverts, and is cracking down on ads for other speculative financial instruments.

Scott Spencer, Google's Director of Sustainable Ads, said in a blog post on Wednesday that the company has "updated several policies to address ads in unregulated or speculative financial products like binary options, cryptocurrency, foreign exchange markets and contracts for difference (or CFDs)."

The new policies, which come into force in June, ban adverts for binary options and "cryptocurrencies and related content (including but not limited to initial coin offerings, cryptocurrency exchanges, cryptocurrency wallets, and cryptocurrency trading advice)."

Google follows Facebook in banning cryptocurrency related advertising on its platform. Spencer said in his blog post that the crackdown is part of Google's efforts to protect consumers from "online scams."

Cryptocurrencies have exploded in popularity over the last year thanks to a surge in the price of bitcoin at the end of 2017. This coincided with a boom in so-called initial coin offerings (ICOs), where startups issue their own cryptocurrency in exchange for money to build their business.

But the entire space is unregulated in most markets and has attracted scammers looking to make quick money. Business Insider reported last year on the proliferation of "pump and dump" scams in the market, while sham ICO projects have become commonplace.

CFD crackdown

Google is also cracking down on ads for contracts for difference (CFD), spread betting, and foreign exchange products on its platform.

CFDs and spread bets are financial instruments that allow people to bet on the price movement of assets without actually owning them. Traders can gain exposure to stocks or metals, without incurring the higher fees associated with actually buying them. Providers typically offer leverage — borrowed money to invest with — of up to 50:1.

The products are high risk and the entire industry has come under increasing regulatory scrutiny across Europe over the past year. The UK's Financial Conduct Authority warned in November that cryptocurrency CFDs "are extremely high-risk, speculative products" that "place you at risk of suffering significant losses." The FCA found that 82% of people who use the products lose money, suggesting CFDs are more akin to gambling than investing.

Google said it is banning ads from affiliates and aggregators who serve this market. These websites earn a fee for referring new customers to these products but are lightly regulated. Google is also banning adverts for binary options, the most controversial and high-risk product in this corner of the market.

The search giant will require CFD, spread bet, and foreign exchange providers to register with it if they want to advertise on its platform and all providers must be licensed in the country they are targeting.

'Improving the ads will continue to be a top priority'

Google's financial advertising crackdown comes amid sustained pressure on the search giant, which also owns YouTube, over the way it runs its advertising operation. The company has been criticised by the press and politicians for allowing everything from radicalisation to profiting from addicts on its platform through lax policing of content and advertising.

Spencer said in his blog post that Google removed 3.2 billion "bad" ads last year and said: "Improving the ads experience across the web, whether that's removing harmful ads or intrusive ads, will continue to be a top priority for us."

SEE ALSO: 'Market manipulation 101': 'Wolf of Wall Street'-style 'pump and dump' scams plague cryptocurrency markets

DON'T MISS: 'Your algorithms are doing the grooming and radicalising': MPs tore into Google, Facebook, and Twitter

NEXT UP: Facebook is banning all ads for bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, and ICOs

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‘Shouldn’t Be Allowed at All’: Former Indian Finance Ministry Official Skeptical of Bitcoin Regulation

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Shaktikanta Das, a key member in the Indian finance ministry, has come out against cryptocurrencies, stating that it will be extremely difficult to bring them under regulation. Instead, he proposes, the government should seek a blanket ban on digital currencies in their entirety. In an interview with Quartz on March 7, 2018, he said “You

The post ‘Shouldn’t Be Allowed at All’: Former Indian Finance Ministry Official Skeptical of Bitcoin Regulation appeared first on CCN

Circle Rolls Out Crypto Investment App in 46 US States

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Circle made its Invest app widely available Tuesday. It offers commission-free trading of bitcoin, ethereum, and several other tokens.

Barclays strikes payment deal with cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase in the UK

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

puppies in the Coinbase office

  • Barclays agrees to offer cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase access to UK's Faster Payments Scheme.
  • The deal comes after Coinbase gained approval from the UK's financial regulator.
  • The UK is Coinbase's biggest market in the EU and is growing fast.
  • Coinbase plans to increase staff numbers in London by eight times to meet demand.

LONDON — Barclays has agreed to provide US cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase with access to the UK's Faster Payments Scheme in a first for the bank and for an exchange in the UK.

Coinbase is gaining access to the Faster Payment Scheme, the core payment infrastructure used by consumers to move money in the UK. Coinbase's UK head Zeeshan Feroz confirmed to Business Insider that the company was partnering with Barclays on the deal.

"There is no other exchange today that has access to domestic banking," he said. "UK consumers today have to jump through all sorts of hoops around sending money to European accounts using euros in order to get money in and out."

Faster Payments will allow Coinbase's UK customers "to see a vastly improved deposit and withdrawal experience," Feroz said.

The deal represents the first major partnerships between a UK bank and a cryptocurrency exchange. Many traditional lenders are reluctant to work with cryptocurrencies due to their anonymity and potential for use in laundering money.

Feroz said Barclays "approached it with the right mindset" and closely scrutinized Coinbase's compliance processes. An e-money license from the UK's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), also announced on Tuesday, helped get the deal done.

FILE PHOTO: The Barclays headquarters building is seen in the Canary Wharf business district of east London February 6, 2013.  REUTERS/Neil Hall/File Photo "It's an approval of the compliance and the KYC processes we have today," Feroz said of the FCA license. "There's an element of trust here in a business that is regulated by the FCA."

The license doesn't cover Coinbase's cryptocurrency activities and Feroz said: "The way to think about it is that's all the fiat money that we handle: money in, money out."

The UK is Coinbase's biggest market in Europe and is twice as large as the next biggest, Feroz said. He declined to name the second largest country.

Europe grew twice as fast as any other market globally last year and the UK "was driving a lot of that," Feroz said. Bitcoin rose over 1,500% against the dollar in 2017 and its incredible rise helped spark a wave of interest in cryptocurrencies globally.

'The UK is a huge market for us, Brexit or no Brexit'

Coinbase will initially trial its Faster Payments services with institutional clients before rolling out to consumers. Feroz said the majority of clients in the UK are retail but described institutional volume as "significant."

"We've got some institutions that use the platform. These could be funds, these could be other regulated businesses that are offering exposure to cryptocurrencies to their customers. We provide liquidity to them. It's actually a very mixed bag with a range of businesses."

UK Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed recently that Britain will not have passporting rights post-Brexit, meaning Coinbase is unlikely to be able to use its newly acquired FCA license to cover activities across Europe.

Feroz said Coinbase would have to open a new office in the EU if a post-Brexit service deal is not reached. He said: "We haven't quite decided where, there's a bunch of factors that factor into that, such as the regulator, access to talent."

Coinbase remains committed to the UK no matter what, Feroz said, with plans to boost staffing here by eight times into the "low hundreds."

"The UK is a huge market for us, Brexit or no Brexit," he said. "We've got access to a type of talent pool you can't really get anywhere else besides the UK in Europe. We certainly intend to invest significantly in the UK office and the headquarters here. The roles we're hiring from range from engineering to compliance and everything in between."

Disclosure: The author is a customer of Coinbase in the UK.

SEE ALSO: Crypto exchanges are charging up to $1 million per ICO to list tokens: 'It's pure capitalism'

DON'T MISS: Coinbase just made a big move to tap Wall Street's appetite for cryptocurrency

NEXT UP: Visa takes the blame for a glitch that hit Coinbase cryptocurrency investors with thousands of dollars in 'ghost' charges

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Overstock CEO and bitcoin pioneer explains his long-standing crypto play and his philosophy on life

Unicorn Visions: Bitcoin's Startups Aren't Startups Anymore

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Coinbase and Bitmain, each valued over $1 billion, are showing grander ambitions than many people in the cryptocurrency space might have expected.

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