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Unofficial Report Confirms Tether’s Tokens Are Fully Backed by US Dollars

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

Tether Hired Former FBI Director’s Law Firm to Vet Finances

Tether Ltd., which issues a stable coin allegedly tied to U.S. dollar reserves, claims it has hired Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan LLP — a law firm co-founded by FBI Director Louis Freeh — to confirm its bank deposits and assure investors that its cryptocurrency is backed by USD. While the law firm did not perform an official audit, it did have access to Tether’s bank accounts and has released data regarding how much money the company holds.

According to Tether CEO Jan Ludovicus van der Velde, the amount confirmed by Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan is equal to the $2.54 billion in coins Tether claims to have in circulation. This reportedly confirms that all Tethers were sufficiently backed by USD as of June 1, 2018.

Van der Velde said, “We’re glad to have independent verification of this to answer some of the questions posed by the public. We are by no means done with our efforts to promote increased transparency at Tether. We are planning to build on this report moving forward and, despite the challenges of applying current accounting and assurance standards to cryptocurrency clients, we continue to discuss these issues with potential audit partners.”

A full audit cannot be obtained, according to Tether’s general counsel Stuart Hoegner. He states that the cryptocurrency market looks “too nascent for large accounting firms to consider taking on clients who offer digital coins” and that “the big four firms are anathema to that level of risk. We’ve gone for what we think is the next best thing.”

Tether has been the subject of mass controversy over the last week after a 66-page document was issued by University of Texas finance professor John Griffin. It alleges bitcoin’s spike to $20,000 in December 2017 was the result of price manipulation orchestrated by Tether.

Griffin claims he reached his conclusions by examining transactions that took place via cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex. He says that Tether was used to purchase bitcoin at key points when it was declining, which helped to “stabilize and manipulate” the currency’s price.

“I research things that are potentially illegal, and there are a lot of rumors surrounding potential questionable activity in cryptocurrencies,” Griffin proclaimed. “That’s why it’s useful to see what the data says — data speaks.”

Van der Velde responded to the accusations by commenting, “Tether is, nor has it ever been, engaged in any sort of market or price manipulation.”

Some questions remain unanswered regarding the cryptocurrency’s status, however. For one thing, the two banks holding the company’s accounts have not been named, primarily because “banking relationships are private,” as stated by Hoegner.

It is also understood that Eugene Sullivan — one of the law firm’s partners and a formal federal judge — is on an advisory board to one of the institutions in question, and that the investigation relied primarily on in-person and over-the-phone interviews with Tether and its bank representatives to come to its present findings.

The firm’s official report states that investigators did not perform “the above review and confirmations using generally accepted accounting principles,” and that they have not made any conclusions regarding Tether’s activity before or after the set date of June 1.

The document ends by stating the investigators have “assumed, without further inquiry, that the bank personnel providing the confirmations were duly authorized to provide such confirmations, and that the confirmations were correct.”

This is not the first time Tether has passed an unofficial audit. Last September, the company released a report conducted by U.S.-based auditor Friedman LLP which states that, at the time, Tether’s reserves matched the amount of USD in circulation. It was later pointed out that the document did not constitute a full audit, and Tether had ended its relationship with Friedman LLP before this could occur. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) later subpoenaed Tether for more information.


This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

“No Grounding In Reality”: BIS Report Tells A Strange Crypto Story

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

“No Grounding In Reality”: BIS Report Tells A Strange Crypto Story

Earlier this week, the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) in Switzerland issued a new document as part of its annual economic report that warns citizens of the dangers of digital currencies.

Since the report’s publication, many leaders in the crypto community have argued that the BIS is incorrect in much of what it seems to state as fact.

CEO and co-founder of Circle Jeremy Allaire commented that the report was “very shallow,” and added, “They haven’t done much research at all. They’re looking back at stuff that’s years old. They’re not looking at what’s going on in terms of the real R&D in this space. It’s just really poor research.”

This research appears to treat each coin as interchangeable with the next, and the findings claim that they “all [tend] to be very closely substitutable with one another.” Throughout the report, the author tacitly references the operations of Bitcoin’s blockchain and assumes that all cryptocurrencies function in a similar vein. These assumptions are fallacious in their logic and are hallmarks of the same “shallow,” narrow-scoped research that Allaire criticizes.

The document does acknowledge some benefits to blockchain technology. For example, sections point out that the blockchain can make cross-border payments easier and more efficient, along with the business of both importing and exporting goods.

However, the authors also claim that the blockchain will be too expensive to secure, and that it could “bring the internet to a halt,” as implementing it into digital retail transactions handled by national payment systems will overwhelm “everything from individual smartphones to servers.”

According to the text, cryptocurrencies are “not scalable” and are more likely to “suffer a breakdown in trust and efficiency” the more people use them. Most cryptocurrencies operate via decentralized platforms, which BIS says is a huge problem as they can deter users’ confidence.

“For any form of money to work across large scale networks, it requires trust in the stability of its value and in its ability to scale efficiently,” the report says. “But trust can evaporate at any time because of the fragility of the decentralized consensus through which transactions are recorded. Not only does this call into question the finality of individual payments, but it also means that cryptocurrency can simply stop functioning, resulting in a complete loss of value.”

“The report is correct about price stability and potential scaling issues,” Jeremy Gardner, CEO of Ausum Ventures, told Bitcoin Magazine. “The rest is garbage. Bitcoin's decentralized consensus is backed by the most powerful computer network to ever exist and has never been broken. The entire point of blockchain technology is the immutability of the ledger of transactions. There's no record of a major cryptocurrency like bitcoin or ether ‘simply stop functioning.’ These are arbitrary statements with no grounding in reality.”

Head of research at BIS Hyun Song Shin also believes that money has value strictly because it’s used, whereas, people are only holding crypto for speculative purposes rather than actually using it.

“Without users, it would simply be a worthless token,” he proclaims. “That’s true whether it’s a piece of paper with a face on it or a digital token.”

The Mining Trope

In addition to this perceived lack of value, researchers claim cryptocurrency mining operations are flawed due to the high amounts of energy they consume.

“Put in the simplest terms, the quest for decentralized trust has quickly become an environmental disaster,” the report states.

This is a criticism that has been refuted in the past on numerous occasions. CIO of Bitfury Alex Petrov, for example, has pointed out that traditional finance processes currently exceed the amount of energy required for bitcoin mining.

“There are 3.6 million ATMs deployed in the U.S.,” he said at a mining conference in May. “Each of them are using seven to 800 watts just in standby mode. This alone generates huge numbers of electricity usage, slightly higher than the Bitcoin network. If you add internal banking systems, CTVs, communicating with other banks and additional protection, you get higher costs than those of bitcoin.”

Scott Howard, CEO and co-founder of the Toronto-based venture ePIC Blockchain Technologies, stated at that same conference that many bitcoin mining operations will set up camp in abandoned industrial sites, thereby recycling the building’s resources and contributing less to toxic waste pollution. In addition, he pointed to large projects, like hydro dams, that produce energy regardless of whether it’s used or not, and that crypto mining simply capitalizes on this energy by consuming it when no one else will.

“Prices are low because the energy can’t find more productive use, often taking over abandoned industrial sites far away from urban centers,” he concluded.

Stability and Security

The BIS report also states that virtual currencies are too vulnerable to manipulation, fraud and outside influence to ever work as stable mediums of exchange. Again, the report fails to consider the different mechanisms that different protocols employ, painting only in broad strokes.

Furthermore, the report ignores altogether applications like the Lightning Network that have made their way into the cryptocurrency scene as a means of solving the energy and scalability issues potentially facing the Bitcoin blockchain.

As the Lightning Network is built on top of present-day digital assets, it allows for greater volumes of cryptocurrency to be processed at faster speeds without consuming mass amounts of energy, potentially allowing for millions of transactions to occur per second.

The application gets its name from its “lightning fast” payments, which are powered by blockchain smart contracts, and users don’t have to worry about block confirmation times as payments will usually occur in either seconds or milliseconds.


This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

The SEC has received nearly 200 pages of complaints about Coinbase, the $1.6 billion cryptocurrency trading platform

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

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong

  • Coinbase users allege that the company has stolen funds and not responded to their complaints, according to complaints filed with the SEC.
  • Coinbase says that it's addressing the complaints, and that it has hired more support staff to respond to user inquiries.

Coinbase has long positioned itself as a trusted trading platform among cryptocurrency enthusiasts, but a series of complaints filed with the SEC reveals that the cryptocurrency exchange is not without its troubles.

According to 164 pages of complaints obtained by Mashable, multiple Coinbase users say that they've had issues with the platform. Among the most egregious allegations are the claims that Coinbase "stole" cryptocurrency holdings from its users, repeatedly ignored customer complaints regarding missing funds, and systematically defrauded its customers.

Here's are a few of the complaints filed with the SEC against the company:

  • "I have lost...5000$ [sic] of my investment because they never tried to solve my issue."
  • "Coinbase has not credited [$21,000 wired to my account], and has not responded to my multiple attempts to contact them to get this issue resolved. I now believe that they are acting criminally."
  • "Coinbase suddenly and erroneously froze...my account [containing more than $100,000 of bitcoin] without explanation more than one month ago...Coinbase does not get back to you...Coinbase effectively cuts off consumers from their rightful property and forces risk of loss and lost profits."
  • "Coinbase accepts money from users under the pretense of being able to return gains, but systematically disallows that ability once tested...and then cuts [off] all contact with its customers."

That Coinbase is experiencing issues handling its users' funds isn't all that surprising: Cryptocurrency trading platforms are notoriously difficult to scale, and Coinbase has acknowledged that it's been slow to respond to customer inquiries in the past. 

In an email, a representative for Coinbase told Business Insider that the company was proactively tackling any issues with customer complaints. In the past few months, Coinbase has hired more people for its support team, decreased its average time to respond to inquiries, and addressed a backlog of complaints, the representative said. Now, the company estimates that it responds to users in less than ten hours. 

Read the full story over at Mashable here.

SEE ALSO: The top 30 companies where Ivy League graduates who studied computer science say they most want to work

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mBitCasino Adds Altcoin Support for Live Table Game Enthusiasts

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

This is a paid-for submitted press release. CCN does not endorse, nor is responsible for any material included below and isn’t responsible for any damages or losses connected with any products or services mentioned in the press release. CCN urges readers to conduct their own research with due diligence into the company, product or service mentioned

The post mBitCasino Adds Altcoin Support for Live Table Game Enthusiasts appeared first on CCN

South Korean Bithumb Exchange Loses $30M in Latest Cryptocurrency Hack

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

South Korean Bithumb Exchange Loses $30M in Latest Cryptocurrency Hack

Hackers have reportedly made away with cryptocurrencies worth $30 million from Bithumb, South Korea's leading exchange, according to reports from a blog update. The exchange states that due to the hack, deposits and withdrawals will be temporarily suspended until further notice.

Bithumb’s blog post reads "Due to security issues; we are changing our system regarding deposits of cryptocurrency. All of our customers should stop depositing cryptocurrency until we notified that it is safe to deposit cryptocurrency."

The Hack

In its announcement, Bithumb didn’t disclose the exact details of the coins that were affected in the hack and in what quantities. We also don’t know the exact cause of the breach, but a local news outlet is reporting that investigators from South Korea's National Police Agency have begun a formal investigation into the case.

In an update shared on Twitter, Bithumb had stated that it would compensate affected users. Though the original tweet from Bithumb has since been deleted, the information was also sent to users via email in a move to clear doubts and uncertainty.

Twitter user RedDragon___ posted an email screenshot which reads, “We noticed that between last night and today early morning, about 35,000,000,000 KRW worth cryptocurrencies have been stolen. However, this loss will be compensated by Bithumb’s own reservoir, and all assets of our customers are securely saved in Bithumb's cold wallet, hence all asset is completely safe and secured."

Bithumb also reported that assets are being transferred to a cold wallet while they “build up the security system and upgrade DB. Starting from 15:00 pm(KST), we will restart our services.”

Mitigating the Damage

Bithumb had managed to preempt what it interpreted as an imminent attack on its server by moving a large number of cryptocurrencies to its cold wallet after noticing the "number of unusual access attempts" had increased, which led it to "strengthening security."

It announced a server check that was expected to "build up the security system," but the maintenance time scheduled from 5:20 a.m. KST to 9:00 a.m. KST took more time than it should have.

The recent hack is Bithumb's second attack this year and the third attack on a South Korean cryptocurrency exchange. As reported by Bitcoin Magazine earlier this month, South Korean Conrail lost around $40 million to hackers where lesser known tokens such as PundiX were stolen.

“The fact that most exchanges allow their users to create incredibly weak passwords should serve as a wake-up call to the entire industry,” says Emmanuel Schalit, CEO at Dashlane, a password manager app.

Creator of Litecoin, Charlie Lee, warned users once again to "only keep on exchange coins that you are actively trading."

At press time, Bithumb is currently trading over $364 million in 24-hour trading volume, according to data from Coinmarketcap.


This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

South Korean Bithumb Exchange Loses $30M in Latest Cryptocurrency Hack

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

South Korean Bithumb Exchange Loses $30M in Latest Cryptocurrency Hack

Hackers have reportedly made away with cryptocurrencies worth $30 million from Bithumb, South Korea's leading exchange, according to reports from a blog update. The exchange states that due to the hack, deposits and withdrawals will be temporarily suspended until further notice.

Bithumb’s blog post reads "Due to security issues; we are changing our system regarding deposits of cryptocurrency. All of our customers should stop depositing cryptocurrency until we notified that it is safe to deposit cryptocurrency."

The Hack

In its announcement, Bithumb didn’t disclose the exact details of the coins that were affected in the hack and in what quantities. We also don’t know the exact cause of the breach, but a local news outlet is reporting that investigators from South Korea's National Police Agency have begun a formal investigation into the case.

In an update shared on Twitter, Bithumb had stated that it would compensate affected users. Though the original tweet from Bithumb has since been deleted, the information was also sent to users via email in a move to clear doubts and uncertainty.

Twitter user RedDragon___ posted an email screenshot which reads, “We noticed that between last night and today early morning, about 35,000,000,000 KRW worth cryptocurrencies have been stolen. However, this loss will be compensated by Bithumb’s own reservoir, and all assets of our customers are securely saved in Bithumb's cold wallet, hence all asset is completely safe and secured."

Bithumb also reported that assets are being transferred to a cold wallet while they “build up the security system and upgrade DB. Starting from 15:00 pm(KST), we will restart our services.”

Mitigating the Damage

Bithumb had managed to preempt what it interpreted as an imminent attack on its server by moving a large number of cryptocurrencies to its cold wallet after noticing the "number of unusual access attempts" had increased, which led it to "strengthening security."

It announced a server check that was expected to "build up the security system," but the maintenance time scheduled from 5:20 a.m. KST to 9:00 a.m. KST took more time than it should have.

The recent hack is Bithumb's second attack this year and the third attack on a South Korean cryptocurrency exchange. As reported by Bitcoin Magazine earlier this month, South Korean Conrail lost around $40 million to hackers where lesser known tokens such as PundiX were stolen.

“The fact that most exchanges allow their users to create incredibly weak passwords should serve as a wake-up call to the entire industry,” says Emmanuel Schalit, CEO at Dashlane, a password manager app.

Creator of Litecoin, Charlie Lee, warned users once again to "only keep on exchange coins that you are actively trading."

At press time, Bithumb is currently trading over $364 million in 24-hour trading volume, according to data from Coinmarketcap.


This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

‘Evolve & Adapt’: Goldman Sachs May Trade Cryptocurrencies, Not Just Futures

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

Investment banking giant Goldman Sachs is getting more serious about launching a full-scale cryptocurrency trading operation. Speaking with Bloomberg, Goldman Sachs COO David Solomon said that the firm is holding internal discussions about offering more cryptocurrency trading services in response to client demand. “We are clearing some futures around Bitcoin, talking about doing some other

The post ‘Evolve & Adapt’: Goldman Sachs May Trade Cryptocurrencies, Not Just Futures appeared first on CCN

CRYPTO INSIDER: There's a big shakeup happening in the ICO market

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

Chris Concannon

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.

Chris Concannon, the president of Cboe Global Markets, is one of Wall Street's biggest crypto advocates. But the trading veteran thinks investors should lay awake at night worrying about the uncertainty hanging over the market for initial coin offerings, the popular crypto crowdfunding method. Here's what you need to know.

Here are the current crypto prices:

Crypto prices today

In the news:

New to Crypto Insider? Business Insider has a ton of articles to get you caught up to speed, including:

What other questions do you have about crypto? Ask them in Business Insider's Crypto Insider Facebook group today to discuss with readers from all over the world, as well as BI editorial staff.

SEE ALSO: Bitcoin futures could be hurting bitcoin's price

Join the conversation about this story »

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CRYPTO INSIDER: There's a big shakeup happening in the ICO market

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

Chris Concannon

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.

Chris Concannon, the president of Cboe Global Markets, is one of Wall Street's biggest crypto advocates. But the trading veteran thinks investors should lay awake at night worrying about the uncertainty hanging over the market for initial coin offerings, the popular crypto crowdfunding method. Here's what you need to know.

Here are the current crypto prices:

Crypto prices today

In the news:

New to Crypto Insider? Business Insider has a ton of articles to get you caught up to speed, including:

What other questions do you have about crypto? Ask them in Business Insider's Crypto Insider Facebook group today to discuss with readers from all over the world, as well as BI editorial staff.

SEE ALSO: Bitcoin futures could be hurting bitcoin's price

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: What humans will look like on Mars

CRYPTO INSIDER: There's a big shakeup happening in the ICO market

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

Chris Concannon

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.

Chris Concannon, the president of Cboe Global Markets, is one of Wall Street's biggest crypto advocates. But the trading veteran thinks investors should lay awake at night worrying about the uncertainty hanging over the market for initial coin offerings, the popular crypto crowdfunding method. Here's what you need to know.

Here are the current crypto prices:

Crypto prices today

In the news:

New to Crypto Insider? Business Insider has a ton of articles to get you caught up to speed, including:

What other questions do you have about crypto? Ask them in Business Insider's Crypto Insider Facebook group today to discuss with readers from all over the world, as well as BI editorial staff.

SEE ALSO: Bitcoin futures could be hurting bitcoin's price

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: How to survive a snake bite

CRYPTO INSIDER: There's a big shakeup happening in the ICO market

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

Chris Concannon

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.

Chris Concannon, the president of Cboe Global Markets, is one of Wall Street's biggest crypto advocates. But the trading veteran thinks investors should lay awake at night worrying about the uncertainty hanging over the market for initial coin offerings, the popular crypto crowdfunding method. Here's what you need to know.

Here are the current crypto prices:

Crypto prices today

In the news:

New to Crypto Insider? Business Insider has a ton of articles to get you caught up to speed, including:

What other questions do you have about crypto? Ask them in Business Insider's Crypto Insider Facebook group today to discuss with readers from all over the world, as well as BI editorial staff.

SEE ALSO: Bitcoin futures could be hurting bitcoin's price

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: How to survive a snake bite

US businesses and consumers could be the 'prisoners' of Trump's trade fight with China

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

donald trump hat

  • A trade war has been brewing between the US and China.
  • The White House has said the US would have an edge over China in a trade war.
  • But economists think China has more room to negotiate. 

The White House has asserted the US has the whip hand in a tariff fight between the world's largest economies — with a senior economic adviser saying "it's clear China has much more to lose" and the president himself declaring  that "trade wars are easy to win" — but economists widely disagree.

The Trump administration vowed last week to slap a 25% tariff on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods, prompting a tit-for-tat response from Beijing. Trump went on to threaten additional rounds of tariffs that could affect $400 billion worth of products, an amount approaching the $505 billion of goods that Chinese ships to the US.

And it's unlikely major American consumer products could be shielded at that level of tariffs, according to a team of Deutsche Bank economists led by Brett Ryan, who wrote in a note that "US businesses and consumers will be the prisoners of the latest dilemma."

Economists say targeting almost all Chinese imports would likely deliver a blow to the affordability of products near-and-dear to American consumers. Cell phones are the largest category of Chinese exports to the US by dollar value, followed by tablets and laptops. The two sectors combined represent more than $80 billion worth of imports. 

"It is likely that sourcing these products from other countries is not a near-term option for large US companies such as Apple," Ryan said. "Therefore, these firms will then have to choose between absorbing the higher tariff costs via lower profit margins versus passing them onto consumers."

Company-level effects would ripple through the economy, experts say, driving up prices and stalling growth.

Imports to the US currently account for about 13% of core personal consumption expenditures, a widely-used measure of inflation, according to analysis by the San Francisco Federal Reserve. Under just a portion of Trump's proposed tariffs, those on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods, Deutsche Bank estimates that core PCE would rise about 15 basis points.

And that could weigh on GDP, which Deutsche Bank sees slowing as much as 0.3% under the proposed tariffs. Former economic adviser Gary Cohn, who left the White House as Trump continued ramping up protectionist policies, recently told the Washington Post that a trade fight could wipe out any economic gains from the Republican tax law passed last year. 

“If you end up with a tariff battle, you will end up with price inflation, and you could end up with consumer debt,” Cohn said. “Those are all historic ingredients for an economic slowdown.”

Scott Buchta, head of fixed income strategy at Brean Capital, said an extended period of uncertainty for US businesses could stall expected increases in capital spending from tax cuts out by about a year. And that would potentially increase near-term deficits and hurt net Treasury supply and interest rates, he said. 

Pressure from this year's midterms could also put the US at a disadvantage with China in the event of a trade war. Backlash would be "substantial" if tariff effects hit consumer goods, according to Pantheon Macroeconomics chief economist Ian Sheperdson.

"China can play the longer game, waiting for pressure from U.S. corporate lobbying and, potentially, consumers, to force the U.S. to back down," Sheperdson said.

SEE ALSO: There's confusion over whether the Trump administration secretly promised Apple that iPhones wouldn't be caught in the cross fire of a trade war with China

Join the conversation about this story »

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US businesses and consumers could be the 'prisoners' of Trump's trade fight with China

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

donald trump hat

  • A trade war has been brewing between the US and China.
  • The White House has said the US would have an edge over China in a trade war.
  • But economists think China has more room to negotiate. 

The White House has asserted the US has the whip hand in a tariff fight between the world's largest economies — with a senior economic adviser saying "it's clear China has much more to lose" and the president himself declaring  that "trade wars are easy to win" — but economists widely disagree.

The Trump administration vowed last week to slap a 25% tariff on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods, prompting a tit-for-tat response from Beijing. Trump went on to threaten additional rounds of tariffs that could affect $400 billion worth of products, an amount approaching the $505 billion of goods that Chinese ships to the US.

And it's unlikely major American consumer products could be shielded at that level of tariffs, according to a team of Deutsche Bank economists led by Brett Ryan, who wrote in a note that "US businesses and consumers will be the prisoners of the latest dilemma."

Economists say targeting almost all Chinese imports would likely deliver a blow to the affordability of products near-and-dear to American consumers. Cell phones are the largest category of Chinese exports to the US by dollar value, followed by tablets and laptops. The two sectors combined represent more than $80 billion worth of imports. 

"It is likely that sourcing these products from other countries is not a near-term option for large US companies such as Apple," Ryan said. "Therefore, these firms will then have to choose between absorbing the higher tariff costs via lower profit margins versus passing them onto consumers."

Company-level effects would ripple through the economy, economists say, driving up prices and stalling growth.

Imports to the US currently account for about 13% of core personal consumption expenditures, a widely-used measure of inflation, according to analysis by the San Francisco Federal Reserve. Under just a portion of Trump's proposed tariffs, those on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods, Deutsche Bank estimates that core PCE would rise about 15 basis points.

And that could weigh on GDP, which Deutsche Bank sees slowing as much as 0.3% under the proposed tariffs. Former economic adviser Gary Cohn, who left the White House as Trump continued ramping up protectionist policies, recently told the Washington Post that a trade fight could wipe out any economic gains from the Republican tax law passed last year. 

“If you end up with a tariff battle, you will end up with price inflation, and you could end up with consumer debt,” Cohn said. “Those are all historic ingredients for an economic slowdown.”

Scott Buchta, head of fixed income strategy at Brean Capital, said an extended period of uncertainty for US businesses could stall expected increases in capital spending from tax cuts out by about a year. And that would potentially increase near-term deficits and have an adverse impact on net Treasury supply and interest rate, he said. 

Pressure from this year's midterms could also put the US at a disadvantage with China in the event of a trade war. Backlash would be "substantial" if tariff effects hit consumer goods, according to Pantheon Macroeconomics chief economist Ian Sheperdson.

"China can play the longer game, waiting for pressure from U.S. corporate lobbying and, potentially, consumers, to force the U.S. to back down," Sheperdson said.

SEE ALSO: There's confusion over whether the Trump administration secretly promised Apple that iPhones wouldn't be caught in the cross fire of a trade war with China

Join the conversation about this story »

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Robinhood CEO: It's 'Very Foolish' to Rule Out Bitcoin

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

More than a million people signed up to trade cryptocurrencies after Robinhood first announced the feature, co-CEO Vlad Tenev said Wednesday.

There's a controversy over whether the Trump administration secretly promised Apple that iPhones wouldn't be caught in the crossfire of a trade war with China (AAPL)

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

Tim Cook Trump

  • Apple could be one of the biggest losers in a trade war between the United States and China.
  • Apple CEO Tim Cook was told by the Trump administration that it would not place tariffs on iPhones, according to The New York Times.
  • But a senior White House advisor said he didn't have any knowledge of such a exception. 

There are few companies with as much to lose in the looming trade war between the United States and China as Apple.

The world's most valuable public traded company does nearly all of its manufacturing and assembly in China, the culmination of a long and complicated electronics supply chain that stretches around the world and ends with the Chinese-made iPhone you may be reading this story on. 

So it's no surprise that the massive tariffs that President Donald Trump has threatened and China's response could cripple the iPhone company, and Apple CEO Tim Cook has been working behind the scenes with both governments to make sure it stays out of the crossfire.

Cook was even told by the Trump administration that it would not place any tariffs on iPhones, according to The New York Times as part of a closer look at how Apple has navigated the impending trade war. 

But a senior White House advisor denied knowledge of any iPhone trade exemption in a conference call with reporters on Wednesday, according to Bloomberg.  “With respect to Tim Cook and exceptions, I have no knowledge or comment about that,” Peter Navarro reportedly said

Navarro is one trade official that Cook tries to avoid, according to The New York Times. So it's possible he hasn't been told of an Apple-related trade decision behind closed doors. Cook has had better luck speaking to National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow, Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin, and commerce secretary Wilbur Ross. 

Cook maintains an open line of communication with Trump, and he visited the White House last month. Apple announced earlier this year it plans to spend $350 billion in the United States over the next 5 years, which the Trump administration used as an example of its economic policy working. 

"But I felt that tariffs were not the right approach there, and I showed [Trump] some more analytical kinds of things to demonstrate why,” Cook said in an interview with financier David Rubenstein published earlier this month. 

There hasn't been a public announcement about Apple being exempt from any tariffs, and China could always decide to place tariffs on materials that are used to make the iPhone or make life difficult for Apple in other ways, such as using bureaucracy to slow down shipments. 

Apple and the White House didn't respond to emails. So it remains an open question whether Apple's charm offensive on the White House got the iPhone company special treatment from the Trump administration.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, left, with Apple CEO Tim Cook

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Goldman Sachs’ Blankfein Explains Why He Hasn’t Closed the Door On Crypto

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

Goldman Sachs’ CEO Lloyd Blankfein continues to swagger back and forth about cryptocurrency. Blankfein, who is expected to step down from his CEO position at Goldman Sachs in December, wore his “pro” bitcoin mettle Tuesday in an interview with Bloomberg Editor-In-Chief John Micklethwait at the Economic Club of New York. His latest statements are in

The post Goldman Sachs’ Blankfein Explains Why He Hasn’t Closed the Door On Crypto appeared first on CCN

Bitcoin Retains Short-Term Bull Bias Despite Exchange Hack

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

Bitcoin remains on the hunt for $7,000 despite news that the a South Korean crypto exchange has been hacked.

A UK Exchange Is Launching Litecoin Futures Trading

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

A month after listing ethereum-based futures for trading, U.K exchange Crypto Facilities is now launching a derivative product for litecoin.

Australia’s Tax Office is Using a ‘100-Point’ Check System to Chase Crypto Traders

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

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has cast a wide net to investigate crypto investors after classifying cryptocurrencies like bitcoin as ‘assets’ liable for capital gains taxes. Earlier this year, the ATO published its guidance on the tax treatment of cryptocurrencies. Highlighting bitcoin as an example, the authority said it viewed cryptocurrencies as neither money nor

The post Australia’s Tax Office is Using a ‘100-Point’ Check System to Chase Crypto Traders appeared first on CCN

Bithumb Hack Prevents Corrective Cryptocurrency Rally, Market Drops

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

South Korea’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb experienced a hacking attack that led to a $30 million loss on June 20, leading the cryptocurrency market to drop by $6 billion within hours. Major cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, and Bitcoin Cash, which successfully picked up some momentum throughout June 17 to 19, ended their corrective

The post Bithumb Hack Prevents Corrective Cryptocurrency Rally, Market Drops appeared first on CCN

Bithumb Hack Prevents Corrective Cryptocurrency Rally, Market Drops

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

South Korea’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb experienced a hacking attack that led to a $30 million loss on June 20, leading the cryptocurrency market to drop by $6 billion within hours. Major cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, and Bitcoin Cash, which successfully picked up some momentum throughout June 17 to 19, ended their corrective

The post Bithumb Hack Prevents Corrective Cryptocurrency Rally, Market Drops appeared first on CCN

Freedom of the Press Foundation Now Accepts Cryptocurrency Donations

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

Cryptocurrencies are already used to pay college and university tuition fees, buy Lamborghinis, and pay for space travel. Now you can also assist in protecting journalists and whistleblowers by donating to the Freedom of the Press Foundation (FPF) using bitcoin, ethereum, bitcoin cash, litecoin, and zcash. The donations will support current projects of the free

The post Freedom of the Press Foundation Now Accepts Cryptocurrency Donations appeared first on CCN

Freedom of the Press Foundation Now Accepts Cryptocurrency Donations

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

Cryptocurrencies are already used to pay college and university tuition fees, buy Lamborghinis, and pay for space travel. Now you can also assist in protecting journalists and whistleblowers by donating to the Freedom of the Press Foundation (FPF) using bitcoin, ethereum, bitcoin cash, litecoin, and zcash. The donations will support current projects of the free

The post Freedom of the Press Foundation Now Accepts Cryptocurrency Donations appeared first on CCN

Here's the pep talk the CEO of bitcoin exchange Coinbase gave to new hires about the price dip: 'People are irrationally pessimistic'

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

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong

  • $1.6 billion cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase became a prominent name as the price of bitcoin surged toward $20,000. But now that bitcoin is valued around $6,700, some people are freaking out. 
  • Brian Armstrong, CEO and cofounder of Coinbase, says he's used to these wild swings.
  • In a message to employees, which he later shared on Twitter, Armstrong told his team that price fluctuations are totally normal in the world of cryptocurrency.
  • He sees downturns as the perfect time to make progress as a company "while everyone else gets distracted."

DgFepaNU8AAGj0SJust six months after bitcoin mania sent prices soaring up toward $20,000, the popular cryptocurrency is now worth about $6,700 — just a third of its all time high.

But the CEO of Coinbase, a cryptocurrency exchange valued at $1.6 billion last August, has a message for newer employees: Don't panic.

In a Twitter thread Tuesday, CEO Brian Armstrong shared the motivational message that he sent to his employees earlier in the day to reassure them to stay strong during the cryptocurrency down cycle.

"It can be scary the first time you see it, but to us who have been in the industry for many years, it feels like old news," Armstrong said.

"When there is hype, people are irrationally exuberant. When there is despair, people are irrationally pessimistic. Neither is true," he continued. "Reality is always somewhere in the middle, more correlated with real usage (transactions per day) than the price."

Founded in 2012, Coinbase became a household name in the second half of 2017, as an upturn in the price of bitcoin sent new traders to the easy-to-use exchange.

Longtime bitcoin investors, including the Winklevoss twins, became overnight billionaires thanks to early investments in the once valueless digital currency. The hype grew on the promise that anyone could earn their own Lamborghini with the right investments. 

bitcoinprice

Coinbase grew its userbase and revenue as interest grew from the general public. 

The company put in action a plan to double its headcount from around 250 to 500 people. So there are a lot of new people at Coinbase, many of whom left careers at big-name tech companies to join the wild west of crypto. 

But it also suffered under the strain of its newfound popularity, particularly in terms of customer service and system outages.

It's for that reason that Armstrong told employees that he's "come to enjoy the down cycles in crypto prices more."
 
"It gets rid of the people who are in it for the wrong reasons, and it gives us an opportunity to keep making progress while everyone else gets distracted," he said. 

Read Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong's full Twitter thread here

SEE ALSO: A controversial Florida politician just made his county the first in the US to let residents pay taxes with bitcoin

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: This $530 Android phone is half the price of an iPhone X and just as good

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