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Cryptic Labs Adds Two Nobel Prize-Winning Economists to Advisory Board

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

Cryptic Labs Adds Two Nobel Prize-Winning Economists to Advisory Board


Blockchain research institute and accelerator Cryptic Labs is adding two Nobel Laureates to its team of advisors. The additions, economists Dr. Eric S. Maskin and Sir Christopher Pissarides, are professors at Harvard University and the London School of Economics, respectively. They join Cryptic Labs’ Chief Scientist Dr. Whitfield Diffie, who won the 2015 Turing Prize for his contributions to cryptography.

Awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2007 for his seminal work in mechanism design theory, Dr. Maskin will bring extensive knowledge of this theory to puzzle out how projects can devise more effective token economics. To Dr. Maskin, unlocking the potential of blockchain technology means finding the proper incentives to drive a business model, and this means looking past the utility of the coins themselves.

“As with any technology, it will take time to parse how economic theories will adapt. I believe that the missing element in the blockchain space is an academic focus on applications of the technology beyond cryptocurrencies. This will allow experts to truly understand and demonstrate the potential for the technology to transform various industries,” he told Bitcoin Magazine.

Sir Christopher Pissarides, on the other hand, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2010, will provide insight on macroeconomic trends. With their combined expertise, these two authorities will work to fill in the industry’s gaps in economic knowledge.

“Cryptic Labs was founded to explore solutions for the issues that constrain the broad adoption of blockchain technology. Our initial focus has been the challenges of security and proper implementation of cryptographic methods. The addition of the economics Nobel laureates as advisors enables Cryptic Labs to offer blockchain companies insights and guidance on their economic and incentive models. The economics of blockchain remains an an important aspect of the industry that is not well understood,” Cryptic Labs Chief Scientist Dr. Whitfield Diffie told Bitcoin Magazine.

Acting “as a bridge between university, venture capital and industry in this global exchange of ideas practical solutions and resources,” Cryptic Labs is “a commercial accelerator focusing on security, economics, privacy and trust to advance the viability of the blockchain. To companies in our accelerator we offer collaboration on research, talent acquisition and mentorship,” the organization’s website states.

The new additions to its advisory board is the next step in the lab’s growth. Expecting the lab “to serve … both emerging blockchain companies or established enterprises seeking to subject their strategy to rigorous theoretical scrutiny,” Dr. Diffie said that Cryptic Labs will announce some “specific projects” it’s working with “in the coming weeks.”


This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Spark, a New GUI Lightning Wallet for Bitcoin, Now Available for Download

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

Spark, a New GUI Lightning Wallet for Bitcoin, Now Available for Download

Spark is a web-based GUI wallet with built-in Electrum software designed for speed, safety and simplicity that utilizes Blockstream’s Lightning implementation c-lightning as its backend. The platform allows for easy spending and receiving of bitcoins over the Lightning Network, which is renowned for its payment speeds. Users can also run their own Bitcoin-based nodes, c-lightning nodes and Spark GUIs in a completely trustless environment.

Independent developer Nadav Ivgi is the developer behind the project. Also an ambassador at the Tel Aviv Bitcoin Embassy and the founder of Bitrated, a company that seeks to bring stronger consumer protection to blockchain applications, Ivgi developed Spark through a sponsorship from blockchain development company Blockstream.

Speaking with Bitcoin Magazine, he says Spark is a “purely off-chain wallet that provides a simple way to send and receive Lightning payments on multiple platforms. Spark is free and open-source software released under the terms of the MIT license.”

Spark provides users with a simple and minimalistic interface, designed to make things easy even for those with minimal crypto experience. It also includes automatic self-signed certificates, along with LetsEncrypt integration and Tor hidden service (v3) support for broader safety and security.

According to Ivgi, Spark can be used in three different ways, the first being through web browsers from any desktop or mobile devices. “For this, users need to set up Spark as a web server alongside their c-lightning node, which they can then access from everywhere over the web,” he comments.

Spark can also be used via desktop apps for Linux, macOS and Windows. These apps can connect directly to the c-lightning node and don’t require a Spark server setup. Lastly, Spark can be used with an Android mobile app, which connects to the Spark server and acts as a “remote control” for a c-lightning node hosted at home or on the cloud. Though only compatible with Android, at present, Ivgi says iOS will soon be an option.

Once Spark is started, the platform generates and prints a random username and password that the customer can utilize to log into the wallet. They can then customize their credentials once this first step is completed and bind an address to the app, which will allow them to access Spark remotely in the future.

Ivgi says that LetsEncrypt and Tor allow remote clients to access their accounts while enjoying the highest level of privacy. “When configured to accept remote connections, Spark will automatically enable TLS encryption with a self-signed certificate,” he explains. “This improves security but causes browsers to display a security warning about the certificate not being “certificate authority” (CA) signed. To make getting a CA-signed certificate as easy as possible, Spark has a built-in integration with LetsEncrypt, a certificate authority that gives free certificates with an automated API. After enabling this, encryption will work with no warnings and with a green lock bar.”

CA-signed also means “self-signed;” that is, an identity certificate is signed by the same entity whose identity it certifies. Regarding Tor, Igvi describes it as “ideal” for setting up Spark at home, as it prevents sources from learning about your business activities and internet searches.

“Overall, I would say that my goal was to create a user-friendly wallet UI for using Lightning in day-to-day payments with the tools to make it easy for users to host their Lightning node at home under their full control and operating it remotely,” he says. “Integration of Spark into plug-and-play hardware solutions like the Casa Lightning Node would help make that even more accessible and is something I’m very interested in seeing develop.”

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

U.S. SEC Suspends Trading for Two Swedish-Based Crypto ETNs

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

U.S. SEC Suspends Trading for Two Swedish-Based Crypto ETNs

Two securities, one that tracks bitcoin and another that tracks the cryptocurrency ether, have been temporarily halted by a U.S. regulatory watchdog due to investor confusion.

Starting September 9, 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has suspended all U.S. trading of Bitcoin Tracker One (CXBTF) and Ether Tracker One (CETHF) until September 20, 2018. The exchange-traded notes (ETNs) are issued by Swedish company XBT Provider AB, a subsidiary of U.K.-based CoinShares Holdings.

Per the order, U.S. brokers are barred from trading the ETNs “for any purpose other than to facilitate sales of instruments owned by non-broker customers...” Essentially, this means that broker-dealers can only help their clients to exit these markets to liquidate their positions, while all other trading activity is prohibited until the order expires.  

With a caution to “broker-dealers, shareholders and prospective purchasers” to “carefully consider … any information subsequently issued by [XBT Provider AB],” the SEC cited investor confusion as a primary reason for restricting investor access to the products.

The confusion is over sales and marketing materials that characterized the products as the more stringently-regulated exchange-traded funds (ETFs), when in fact, they are exchange-traded notes (ETNs), according to the order.

Both types of securities are similar in that they allow investors to participate in the market without having to purchase the physical commodity. The primary difference comes down to risk. An ETF is similar to a stock in that the issuer holds the asset it tracks, whereas an ETN is more like a bond in that it is an unsecured debt. Yet, because ETNs are structured investment products issued by a major bank, as opposed to an asset pool, they come with a lower level of risk.  

Bitcoin Tracker One started trading on the Nasdaq Stockholm Exchange in 2015, and Ether Tracker One launched in October 2017.

Bitcoin Tracker One was listed in U.S. dollars for the first time in August 2018, making it easier for brokerages to offer the securities to American investors. Previous to that, investors could only buy into the Swedish ETN product using euros or Swedish kora.

The trading suspension is the latest in the SEC’s increasingly busy engagement with the cryptocurrency industry. In July 2018, the SEC rejected a second attempted ETF filing by the Winklevosses. The following month, it denied nine bitcoin ETF filings at the staff level, but then the Commission decided to review that rejection and re-evaluate the proposals, a move that gave the industry a glint of optimism in a hitherto fruitless effort to secure the institutional-grade product for U.S. markets.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Ripple's Former Legal Chief Joins Crypto Payments Startup

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

Just days after leaving her role as Ripple's top legal officer, Brynly Llyr is taking on the role of general counsel at crypto payments startup Celo.

Beware one huge mistake investors often make when the economy is at a crossroads, says Charles Schwab’s investment chief

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

  • Charles Schwab chief investment strategist Liz Ann Sonders says we are moving into the third phase of the economy where growth decelerates but you still have accelerating inflation. 
  • Sonders says "when it comes to the relationship between economic fundamentals and the stock market, better or worse matters more than good or bad. So understanding that it's rate of change, it's the market's ability to sniff out an inflection point."
  • She says historically economic data is almost always fantastic at the market top and terrible at the bottom. 

Following is a transcript of the video.

Sara Silverstein: What's the current state of the US economy and where is it headed?

Liz Ann Sonders: So we have had a view since we put out our 2018 outlook that we are late cycle and — but I think it requires a bit of a qualifier. I think it's later in time terms, maybe not so late in temperature terms or — you know, later in calendar but not character. Whatever, you know, fun way you want to describe it.

That said, I think we are now starting to see even some of the character of the economic cycle suggests that we are late, not just a function of how long this one has gone on. I think we are, maybe not yet in, but moving into, the third out of four phases of the economy.

When you first come out of a recession you have accelerating growth but still decelerating inflation and that allows monetary policy to stay really loose and then you move into the phase where both growth and inflation are accelerating, but the Fed tends to be earlier in their cycle, so it doesn't choke off the recovery.

I think we have to be mindful of a move into the third phase which is when growth decelerates but you still have accelerating inflation, and it puts the Fed in a little bit of a trickier spot because they may have to continue to tighten into the inflation problem potentially, all the while growth is slowing. And that tends to cause a shift in market behavior too, where you start to see more defensives lead and a little bit more of a value focus by investors. So I just think we should be on the lookout for that possible transition.

Silverstein: And what do you think for the market lookout? Where are stock valuations and how much of it has to do with the economy?

Sonders: Overall, valuations are not excessive. Some of the longer term measures, things like the Buffett model, market cap to GNP, certainly things like Shiller's CAPE. I question the value of that as a short term market indicator, but I think it tells you that long-term returns are unlikely to match what they've been, say in this cycle so far.

But we're not in an environment that allows for valuation expansion. In fact, much has been said about the huge surge in earnings that we've seen this year, which is probably not over, but valuations have actually compressed this year and it's not just because the market hasn't rallied as much as profits have increased. I just think the overall background conditions are not supportive of an environment of valuation expansion, which in turn means you need to continue to see decent earnings growth to support the market, because you're not going to get it by the background that suggests valuation expansion can happen on its own. And earnings still look great.

I think we have to be mindful of a peak in the earnings growth rate, not a peak in earnings but a peak in earnings growth rate, and a worry that maybe the expectations bar has gotten set a little bit too high and/or extrapolated too far into the future.

Silverstein: And what is the relationship between economic growth and the stock market?

Sonders: This — I must say, this represents, in my mind, one of the biggest mistakes that investors often make at inflection points in both the economy and the market. So we're all taught about the market as a leading indicator and it tends to move in advance of big shifts in the economy. Bear markets tend to occur in conjunction with recession but they tend to start before recession.

By nature of the fact that the market is a discounting mechanism, almost always at a market top, the economic data is fantastic. Which is why I — one of my kind of catchphrases for years, decades, has been: when it comes to the relationship between economic fundamentals and the stock market, better or worse matters more than good or bad. So understanding that it's rate of change, it's the market's ability to sniff out an inflection point.

An inflection point from really great growth to weakening growth, by definition, is the top of the V and when you're there, the data looks fantastic. Same exact thing happens at market bottoms. March of '09, look at the economic data, it was absolutely atrocious, but we know in hindsight that the market was saying, "Yes, it's atrocious, but from here it gets better."

And I think too often investors focus on the level of economic data without understanding that it's rate of change, when you start to see a rolling over, keeping an eye on the leading indicators and what they're telling you, and that's what I think investors miss, is they say, "Well, how could we possibly have trouble in the market? GDP is strong, unemployment rate is low, retail sales are strong." But look at any major market top and look at the economic data and it's always great.

Charles Schwab Chart

Silverstein: And we're — and you think that we might be at in an inflection point for economic growth and for earnings?

Sonders: Some measures of economic growth, I think we could be at an inflection point and some of it is a function of what's happening in the world of trade. So we had been in a healthy acceleration in the capex cycle, in part due to just the length and strength of the economy, there was a need basis for it, given that our stuff is really, really old, and then we got the kicker from tax reform on both the corporate side and the consumer side. So that set in sort of the next elevation in the capex cycle, but unfortunately, some of the leading indicators of that, survey based but also hard data based, suggest that there is a little bit of a pause happening right now, not across the board, but by many companies who say, "We're just going to wait and see what unfolds here in the trade and tariff situation before we continue to commit to these long-term capital investments."

So I think that's a component of it that is not just based on where we are in the cycle, but this added wrinkle of what's going on with trade.

Housing is another one. We've started to see some faltering in housing and although it only represents about 5% and change of GDP, the ripple effects into the economy are important. I think we have to be mindful of that.

We've seen this huge surge in consumer confidence. That's great but consumer confidence peaks — and I don't know that this is a peak — tend to correspond with stock market peaks too. So this is not run for the hills. I've not moved from being bullish on the market to bearish on the market, I just think we have to be extremely cognizant of where we are in the cycle and have kind of a checklist of things to look out for.

Silverstein: And so what are you telling investors? What should investors be doing?

Sonders: So from a tactical perspective, we — late last year we did, what I would call, neutralize our equity recommendations. So we make broad recommendations for our clients that would like to hear our tactical views in the context of a strategic portfolio, a long-term portfolio. What neutralizing equity exposure means the three asset classes — equity asset classes on which we have a recommendation — are US equities, developed international equities, and emerging markets equities. And we neutralized those, basically all three at neutral, which is not a bearish position, but just tells investors don't take undue risk beyond what your normal allocation would be to those asset classes.

And then more recently, just a couple of weeks ago, we effectively did the same thing within the US equity allocation. We neutralized the sector recommendations, where we had had three outperformed ratings, three underperformed ratings. We kind of wiped two of those out by moving to neutral. In the case of the outperform, it had been health care, technology, and financials. We moved financials and technology down to neutral and we just have healthcare as an outperform.

So that was reflecting a need to not take undue risk at this point in the cycle. Without that overall de-risking that we would do by lowering overall equity allocation or doing it more defensively in the sector recommendations.

Silverstein: And what do you like about healthcare and what's the concern about tech?

Sonders: The concern about tech was — had very little to do with sort of company fundamentals and more to do with valuation and momentum characteristics and a little bit of a concern that given some bit of narrowness in where the leadership was, that we just wanted to reflect that in the sector recommendations. And we've had a long and very successful outperform rating on technology, so just felt that the idea toward rebalancing can be reinforced by recommendations that we might make at the sector level and that's the other thing that we've been telling our investors, that you can talk about the short-term tactical shifts all you want but ultimately, there's no free lunch in this business. And the key factors that anybody should focus on, regardless of environment, are the tried and true disciplines around things like, have a plan, be diversified, rebalance around it. It's kind of a boring thing to talk about if you're doing a three-minute hit in financial media, they don't want you to talk about rebalancing. The beauty of rebalancing is it forces you to do what we know we're supposed to do and we've been taught to do, which is buy low, sell high. When left to our own devices, we tend to do the complete opposite. And it means you don't have to worry about which pundit going to have the right market call, whether it's yourself or somebody else you're listening to or reading. Your portfolio tells you when it's time to do something. So it was more about reinforcing: don't let your winners just run to a much, much higher weight in your portfolio because at the point it shifts, and it will and we will hit an inflection point, you don't want to be kind of left holding a bigger bag.

Silverstein: And what's good about healthcare right now?

Sonders: So we actually moved our rating to outperform in healthcare during the initial uncertainty in the current administration with regard to the Affordable Care Act and felt that the sector was the ultimate baby thrown out with the bathwater. There was just so much uncertainty that I think analysts and investors stopped doing company-to-company, industry-to-industry work within that sector. So to some degree, it became a bit of a value story at the point we raised it from neutral to outperform. Right now, we think it represents a number of interesting factors. It represents a bit of defense and we started to see, over several periods this summer that shift away from those, you know, high growth leaders toward more defensive. You saw utilities kind of pick up in outperformance. You saw it in real estate investment trusts. And health care just represents, it represents a bit of a value play but it still has a growth story, it's got a restructuring story broadly, and it's got that kind of defense without just hugging the bond proxies, which are also not likely to provide the kind of upside.

Silverstein: And what's the single biggest risk, do you think, to the market that could force a correction faster than expected?

Sonders: I think if — to the extent you don't believe we're already in a trade war — which I think it's hard to argue we're in a full on trade war — and we're seeing appropriate steps being taken within NAFTA with Mexico and Canada and the EU, but clearly things are still quite tense with regard to China. I think if we were to continue to head down a slippery slope toward a trade war, I think that represents — of the things we know right now, i.e., there's always the exogenous shock, black swan, I think that's a big risk. Kind of second to that, we're seeing some fractures within the emerging markets. We've seen it in Turkey, more recently Italy. I do think that this environment is somewhat reminiscent of the late 1990s. I don't think we imminently have a long-term capital management type blow up but to the extent that this starts to fester, what's been concentrated in just a couple of countries and becomes a broader crisis, I think that will infect all high risk markets as well. So those would be the two things in the near term that I think could sort of rock the ship a little bit.

Join the conversation about this story »

Bitcoin Price Intraday Analysis: BTCUSD Rebounding Weakly

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

The bitcoin price on Monday appreciated versus the US Dollar, boosted by passable buying sentiment near $6,121, July 13 low. The BTC/USD today rose as much as 3.67 percent since establishing its intraday low at 6149-fiat. The pair started the trading session attempting a weak rebound from yesterday’s 100-dollar fall. The Asian morning saw BTC/USD

The post Bitcoin Price Intraday Analysis: BTCUSD Rebounding Weakly appeared first on CCN

SEC Halts U.S. Trading of Swedish ‘Bitcoin ETF’, Bitcoin Markets Not Impacted

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

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has halted trading of two foreign cryptocurrency investment products, including one that investors commonly referred to as the “Swedish bitcoin ETF.” SEC Leashes Bitcoin & Ethereum Investment Products The SEC announced the temporary trading suspension on Sunday, while U.S. markets were closed for the weekend, claiming that “there

The post SEC Halts U.S. Trading of Swedish ‘Bitcoin ETF’, Bitcoin Markets Not Impacted appeared first on CCN

Bitcoin Magazine’s Week in Review: Lightning, Launches and Broken Promises

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

Week in Review

A handful of projects brought their tech to life this week, introducing new payment systems and coins to the industry’s offerings. Meanwhile, Bitcoin’s Lightning Network makes headway for the dev community, and one of crypto’s older and more respected exchanges (arguably) takes a step against the space’s principles.

Finally, in a spurious game of he-said-she-said, a report from Business Insider, which was in turn picked up by various outlets, gets blasted by Goldman Sachs as fake news.

Stay on top of the best stories in the bitcoin, blockchain and cryptocurrency industry. Subscribe to our newsletter here.

Projects Get off the Ground

IBM Introduces “World Wire” Payment System on Stellar Network

A Newly Launched Stablecoin You’ve Never Heard of Is Coming to Stellar

IBM launched its much-anticipated payment network on Stellar’s blockchain this week. Like Ripple, the protocol intends to give financial institutions a fiat-to-crypto bridge to streamline cross-border payments.

“IBM’s implementation of the Stellar protocol has the potential to change the way money is moved around the world, helping to drastically improve international transactions and advancing financial inclusion in developing nations,” Stellar Co-founder Jed McCaleb told Bitcoin Magazine.

In its own corner of influence, the little-known stablecoin project Kowala launched the alpha version of its mainnet this week. While not as famous as its fiat-backed competitors Tether and TrueUSD, Kowala by no means takes a back seat to everyone. Popular hardware wallet provider Ledger, for example, is integrating Kowala’s kUSD into its models, making Kowala the first stablecoin to find support from a hardware wallet.

Lightning Strikes Devcon Apps, Point of Sale

Lightning Is Made at the #LightningHackday Series in Berlin

Aaron van Wirdum traveled to Berlin last week to cover the third installment in the Lightning Hackdays series. The gathering was reminiscent of those early Bitcoin conferences and Meetups: makeshift, structureless, but by no means lacking in energy and ingenuity. Among enthusiastic talks and plenty of brainstorming, a slew of intuitive projects were showcased, including a Lightning-powered candy dispenser and a Lightning-rendered 16-bit video game.

A Bit of Backtracking

ShapeShift Will Now Require “Basic Personal Details” for New Membership Program

Goldman Sachs Puts Plans for a Crypto Trading Desk on Backburner (Updated)

ShapeShift is rolling out a new membership program, one that will require know-your-customer (KYC). ShapeShift Membership, as it’s called, will require users to submit “basic personal details” in return for higher trading limits and lower fees. Optional for now, the program will reportedly be mandatory later this year. Andreas Antonopoulos expressed his “disappointment” in the news, tweeting that it “[shows] that any centralized entity will be pushed in that direction.”

Media outlets also jumped on a story this week that reported the untimely fate of Goldman Sachs’s crypto trading desk. Quoting anonymous sources, Business Insider broke the false report, claiming that Goldman Sachs was nixing plans to establish the trading desk. The next day, September 6, 2018, CFO Martin Chavez decried the report as “fake news” at TechCrunch’s Disrupt conference.

A Note on Privacy

Bitcoin as a Privacycoin: This Tech Is Making Bitcoin More Private

Many people in the mainstream community often regard Bitcoin as an anonymous currency, and while privacy was one of Satoshi Nakamoto’s goals when he invented the coin, the feature hasn’t held up. With the right know-how, the wrong user (we call them “spies”) can decode a user’s IP address from their wallet’s public address. Luckily, there are half a dozen or so promising projects that are dedicating their time to enhancing privacy and frustrating attempts to deanonymize network users. In this month’s cover story, we take a look at these projects, one by one, to see how they stack up and to measure their contribution to the ecosystem.


This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Bitcoin Magazine’s Week in Review: Lightning, Launches and Broken Promises

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

Week in Review

A handful of projects brought their tech to life this week, introducing new payment systems and coins to the industry’s offerings. Meanwhile, Bitcoin’s Lightning Network makes headway for the dev community, and one of crypto’s older and more respected exchanges (arguably) takes a step against the space’s principles.

Finally, in a spurious game of he-said-she-said, a report from Business Insider, which was in turn picked up by various outlets, gets blasted by Goldman Sachs as fake news.

Stay on top of the best stories in the bitcoin, blockchain and cryptocurrency industry. Subscribe to our newsletter here.

Projects Get off the Ground

IBM Introduces “World Wire” Payment System on Stellar Network

A Newly Launched Stablecoin You’ve Never Heard of Is Coming to Stellar

IBM launched its much-anticipated payment network on Stellar’s blockchain this week. Like Ripple, the protocol intends to give financial institutions a fiat-to-crypto bridge to streamline cross-border payments.

“IBM’s implementation of the Stellar protocol has the potential to change the way money is moved around the world, helping to drastically improve international transactions and advancing financial inclusion in developing nations,” Stellar Co-founder Jed McCaleb told Bitcoin Magazine.

In its own corner of influence, the little-known stablecoin project Kowala launched the alpha version of its mainnet this week. While not as famous as its fiat-backed competitors Tether and TrueUSD, Kowala by no means takes a back seat to everyone. Popular hardware wallet provider Ledger, for example, is integrating Kowala’s kUSD into its models, making Kowala the first stablecoin to find support from a hardware wallet.

Lightning Strikes Devcon Apps, Point of Sale

Lightning Is Made at the #LightningHackday Series in Berlin

Aaron van Wirdum traveled to Berlin last week to cover the third installment in the Lightning Hackdays series. The gathering was reminiscent of those early Bitcoin conferences and Meetups: makeshift, structureless, but by no means lacking in energy and ingenuity. Among enthusiastic talks and plenty of brainstorming, a slew of intuitive projects were showcased, including a Lightning-powered candy dispenser and a Lightning-rendered 16-bit video game.

A Bit of Backtracking

ShapeShift Will Now Require “Basic Personal Details” for New Membership Program

Goldman Sachs Puts Plans for a Crypto Trading Desk on Backburner (Updated)

ShapeShift is rolling out a new membership program, one that will require know-your-customer (KYC). ShapeShift Membership, as it’s called, will require users to submit “basic personal details” in return for higher trading limits and lower fees. Optional for now, the program will reportedly be mandatory later this year. Andreas Antonopoulos expressed his “disappointment” in the news, tweeting that it “[shows] that any centralized entity will be pushed in that direction.”

Media outlets also jumped on a story this week that reported the untimely fate of Goldman Sachs’s crypto trading desk. Quoting anonymous sources, Business Insider broke the false report, claiming that Goldman Sachs was nixing plans to establish the trading desk. The next day, September 6, 2018, CFO Martin Chavez decried the report as “fake news” at TechCrunch’s Disrupt conference.

A Note on Privacy

Bitcoin as a Privacycoin: This Tech Is Making Bitcoin More Private

Many people in the mainstream community often regard Bitcoin as an anonymous currency, and while privacy was one of Satoshi Nakamoto’s goals when he invented the coin, the feature hasn’t held up. With the right know-how, the wrong user (we call them “spies”) can decode a user’s IP address from their wallet’s public address. Luckily, there are half a dozen or so promising projects that are dedicating their time to enhancing privacy and frustrating attempts to deanonymize network users. In this month’s cover story, we take a look at these projects, one by one, to see how they stack up and to measure their contribution to the ecosystem.


This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Back Below $200 Billion: Crypto Market Cap Sinks to 10-Month Low

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

The sell-off in bitcoin and the resulting risk aversion pushed the cryptomarket to the lowest level since November 2.

[promoted] Equity Trust Builds New Frontier of Crypto-Based Retirement Accounts

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

Equity Trust Thumb

Index funds have more than proven their worth as a preferred option for those with an eye on retirement. But now there is conversation about the value of adding bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to this investment mix.

Given crypto’s volatile nature to date, risk tolerance is obviously a factor to consider for any financial portfolio. Juxtapose that with those investors who are in position to risk a potential loss, and Bitcoin’s value proposition as a key of any retirement portfolio looks a more bit promising.

Much of this talk comes as individual retirement accounts (IRAs), which allow participants to tuck away funds for retirement in a tax-advantage vehicle, are garnering increased attention.

With increasing numbers of sophisticated IRA investors seeking to diversify their retirement account holdings into nontraditional assets, it should be no surprise that cryptocurrencies are now part of the conversation.

With an eye on these emerging trends, the Westlake, Ohio-based Equity Trust Company, a financial services firm with $25 billion in assets under its custody (as of December 2017), recently launched a digital asset platform which allows the firm’s retail and institutional clients to invest in cryptocurrencies.

Charting the Advantages

Equity Trust clients have shown a long commitment to retirement portfolio diversification through the use of alternative assets, including real estate, tax liens, private equity and precious metals. Through the use of self-directed retirement options, investors are afforded even greater freedom over their financial future.

The Equity Trust Digital Asset Platform is the most recent in a series of tech advancements made by the company, allowing individual investors to add cryptocurrencies to their investment mix. Replete with a user-friendly interface for both individual investors as well as advisors representing clients, users are able to initiate orders for cryptocurrency utilizing tax-advantaged IRA funds.

The platform allows investors to sell and purchase bitcoin, ether, bitcoin cash, ether classic, XRP and litecoin in a way that allows next-day cash availability for sale transactions. All cryptocurrency sale/buy orders are facilitated by a cryptocurrency exchange. Long-term storage of cryptocurrency takes place by way of “cold storage” facilities, known as an effective mechanism for mitigating consumer risk associated with holding their own digital keys.

A key value proposition for considering adding crypto to an IRA is that if Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidelines are adhered to, taxes are deferred. In other words, there are no immediate tax implications.

By way of example, bitcoin set aside into an IRA account during the 2017 financial boom would have experienced no taxes on those holdings. Rather, those taxes would have been deferred until retirement — when a client is presumably in a lower income bracket.

Dave Allen, Equity Trust’s chief operating officer, explained the main factors leading to the company’s pursuit of the intersection between IRAs and cryptocurrency.

“It was tied to the demand from our existing clients, institutional partners and prospective clients who were investing in cryptocurrency,” Allen said. “Equity Trust wanted to simplify access to this emerging asset for investors interested in using their IRAs.” 

Many investors do not realize that it’s possible to use a retirement account to invest in cryptocurrency assets. The same potential tax advantages that IRAs provide for stocks/mutual funds apply to any asset held in the IRA as long as an account holder follows IRS guidelines. 

Allen said that Equity Trust hopes to bring greater awareness to cryptocurrency investors around the possibilities of using IRA/retirement funds to invest in cryptocurrencies. 

“We’re investing in technologies that align with our broader strategy of delivering innovations and industry-leading capabilities to speed up and simplify the process of investing in a wide range of assets with retirement accounts,” he said. “Our goal is to continue to be leaders in the alternative asset custody space — whether the asset is cryptocurrency, real property or private equity.”

Equity Trust Company is a passive custodian and does not provide tax, legal or investment advice. Any information communicated by Equity Trust Company is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as tax, legal or investment advice.

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.

[promoted] Equity Trust Builds New Frontier of Crypto-Based Retirement Accounts

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

Equity Trust Thumb

Index funds have more than proven their worth as a preferred option for those with an eye on retirement. But now there is conversation about the value of adding bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to this investment mix.

Given crypto’s volatile nature to date, risk tolerance is obviously a factor to consider for any financial portfolio. Juxtapose that with those investors who are in position to risk a potential loss, and Bitcoin’s value proposition as a key of any retirement portfolio looks a more bit promising.

Much of this talk comes as individual retirement accounts (IRAs), which allow participants to tuck away funds for retirement in a tax-advantage vehicle, are garnering increased attention.

With increasing numbers of sophisticated IRA investors seeking to diversify their retirement account holdings into nontraditional assets, it should be no surprise that cryptocurrencies are now part of the conversation.

With an eye on these emerging trends, the Westlake, Ohio-based Equity Trust Company, a financial services firm with $25 billion in assets under its custody (as of December 2017), recently launched a digital asset platform which allows the firm’s retail and institutional clients to invest in cryptocurrencies.

Charting the Advantages

Equity Trust clients have shown a long commitment to retirement portfolio diversification through the use of alternative assets, including real estate, tax liens, private equity and precious metals. Through the use of self-directed retirement options, investors are afforded even greater freedom over their financial future.

The Equity Trust Digital Asset Platform is the most recent in a series of tech advancements made by the company, allowing individual investors to add cryptocurrencies to their investment mix. Replete with a user-friendly interface for both individual investors as well as advisors representing clients, users are able to initiate orders for cryptocurrency utilizing tax-advantaged IRA funds.

The platform allows investors to sell and purchase bitcoin, ether, bitcoin cash, ether classic, XRP and litecoin in a way that allows next-day cash availability for sale transactions. All cryptocurrency sale/buy orders are facilitated by a cryptocurrency exchange. Long-term storage of cryptocurrency takes place by way of “cold storage” facilities, known as an effective mechanism for mitigating consumer risk associated with holding their own digital keys.

A key value proposition for considering adding crypto to an IRA is that if Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidelines are adhered to, taxes are deferred. In other words, there are no immediate tax implications.

By way of example, bitcoin set aside into an IRA account during the 2017 financial boom would have experienced no taxes on those holdings. Rather, those taxes would have been deferred until retirement — when a client is presumably in a lower income bracket.

Dave Allen, Equity Trust’s chief operating officer, explained the main factors leading to the company’s pursuit of the intersection between IRAs and cryptocurrency.

“It was tied to the demand from our existing clients, institutional partners and prospective clients who were investing in cryptocurrency,” Allen said. “Equity Trust wanted to simplify access to this emerging asset for investors interested in using their IRAs.” 

Many investors do not realize that it’s possible to use a retirement account to invest in cryptocurrency assets. The same potential tax advantages that IRAs provide for stocks/mutual funds apply to any asset held in the IRA as long as an account holder follows IRS guidelines. 

Allen said that Equity Trust hopes to bring greater awareness to cryptocurrency investors around the possibilities of using IRA/retirement funds to invest in cryptocurrencies. 

“We’re investing in technologies that align with our broader strategy of delivering innovations and industry-leading capabilities to speed up and simplify the process of investing in a wide range of assets with retirement accounts,” he said. “Our goal is to continue to be leaders in the alternative asset custody space — whether the asset is cryptocurrency, real property or private equity.”

Equity Trust Company is a passive custodian and does not provide tax, legal or investment advice. Any information communicated by Equity Trust Company is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as tax, legal or investment advice.

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.

[promoted] Equity Trust Builds New Frontier of Crypto-Based Retirement Accounts

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

Equity Trust Thumb

Index funds have more than proven their worth as a preferred option for those with an eye on retirement. But now there is conversation about the value of adding bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to this investment mix.

Given crypto’s volatile nature to date, risk tolerance is obviously a factor to consider for any financial portfolio. Juxtapose that with those investors who are in position to risk a potential loss, and Bitcoin’s value proposition as a key of any retirement portfolio looks a more bit promising.

Much of this talk comes as individual retirement accounts (IRAs), which allow participants to tuck away funds for retirement in a tax-advantage vehicle, are garnering increased attention.

With increasing numbers of sophisticated IRA investors seeking to diversify their retirement account holdings into nontraditional assets, it should be no surprise that cryptocurrencies are now part of the conversation.

With an eye on these emerging trends, the Westlake, Ohio-based Equity Trust Company, a financial services firm with $25 billion in assets under its custody (as of December 2017), recently launched a digital asset platform which allows the firm’s retail and institutional clients to invest in cryptocurrencies.

Charting the Advantages

Equity Trust clients have shown a long commitment to retirement portfolio diversification through the use of alternative assets, including real estate, tax liens, private equity and precious metals. Through the use of self-directed retirement options, investors are afforded even greater freedom over their financial future.

The Equity Trust Digital Asset Platform is the most recent in a series of tech advancements made by the company, allowing individual investors to add cryptocurrencies to their investment mix. Replete with a user-friendly interface for both individual investors as well as advisors representing clients, users are able to initiate orders for cryptocurrency utilizing tax-advantaged IRA funds.

The platform allows investors to sell and purchase bitcoin, ether, bitcoin cash, ether classic, XRP and litecoin in a way that allows next-day cash availability for sale transactions. All cryptocurrency sale/buy orders are facilitated by a cryptocurrency exchange. Long-term storage of cryptocurrency takes place by way of “cold storage” facilities, known as an effective mechanism for mitigating consumer risk associated with holding their own digital keys.

A key value proposition for considering adding crypto to an IRA is that if Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidelines are adhered to, taxes are deferred. In other words, there are no immediate tax implications.

By way of example, bitcoin set aside into an IRA account during the 2017 financial boom would have experienced no taxes on those holdings. Rather, those taxes would have been deferred until retirement — when a client is presumably in a lower income bracket.

Dave Allen, Equity Trust’s chief operating officer, explained the main factors leading to the company’s pursuit of the intersection between IRAs and cryptocurrency.

“It was tied to the demand from our existing clients, institutional partners and prospective clients who were investing in cryptocurrency,” Allen said. “Equity Trust wanted to simplify access to this emerging asset for investors interested in using their IRAs.” 

Many investors do not realize that it’s possible to use a retirement account to invest in cryptocurrency assets. The same potential tax advantages that IRAs provide for stocks/mutual funds apply to any asset held in the IRA as long as an account holder follows IRS guidelines. 

Allen said that Equity Trust hopes to bring greater awareness to cryptocurrency investors around the possibilities of using IRA/retirement funds to invest in cryptocurrencies. 

“We’re investing in technologies that align with our broader strategy of delivering innovations and industry-leading capabilities to speed up and simplify the process of investing in a wide range of assets with retirement accounts,” he said. “Our goal is to continue to be leaders in the alternative asset custody space — whether the asset is cryptocurrency, real property or private equity.”

Equity Trust Company is a passive custodian and does not provide tax, legal or investment advice. Any information communicated by Equity Trust Company is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as tax, legal or investment advice.

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.

The pound took off after the EU's chief Brexit negotiator said a deal could be just weeks away

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

Michel Barnier

LONDON — The pound surged higher on Monday afternoon after conciliatory comments from the EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.

Speaking at a conference in Slovenia on Monday afternoon, Barnier said that a Brexit deal could be between six and eight weeks, calling such an outcome both "realistic" and "possible."

Barnier's words were welcomed by investors in the pound, which jumped to a gain of just over 1% against the dollar to hit a peak of $1.3052. A few minutes after the initial increase, the pound has pared some of its gains and is trading 0.87% higher at $1.3032 as of 2.25 p.m. BST (9.25 a.m. ET).

Screen Shot 2018 09 10 at 14.22.53

In recent weeks, the pound has been extremely sensitive to positive developments surrounding Brexit. Last Wednesday, the pound jumped sharply against the dollar after a report suggested Germany had agreed to a significant compromise with the UK during Brexit talks.

On that occasion, the pound climbed close to 1% when Bloomberg reported that German officials were prepared to "accept a less detailed agreement on the UK's future economic and trade ties with the EU in a bid to get a Brexit deal done." It soon dropped after an official statement from the German government saying its position had not changed.

SEE ALSO: A 10% fall in the pound, a surging FTSE 100, and a drastic move from the Bank of England: here's how markets will react to a no-deal Brexit

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: An early bitcoin investor explains what most people get wrong about the cryptocurrency

Breaking: Winklevoss’ Gemini Launches U.S. Dollar-Pegged Cryptocurrency

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

Gemini, the cryptocurrency exchange founded by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, has announced the creation of a USD-pegged Ethereum token that looks to supplant tether (USDT) as the stablecoin of choice among bitcoin traders. Announced on Monday, the Gemini dollar (GUSD) aims to become what the controversial tether token has not, a “trusted and regulated digital

The post Breaking: Winklevoss’ Gemini Launches U.S. Dollar-Pegged Cryptocurrency appeared first on CCN

'This is something we have to do to push the ecosystem forward': Tyler Winklevoss explains why Gemini's launching a crypto coin pegged to the US dollar

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

winklevoss

  • Gemini, the cryptocurrency exchange, is launching its own stable-coin pegged to the US dollar, the company announced Monday. 
  • The firm hopes the crypto will become a digital cash, bringing together the best of fiat and blockchain assets.
  • Gemini says the crypto's design, which includes oversight by US financial regulators and monthly audits, will make it a more attractive alternative to other stable-coins, including Tether. 
  • Gemini will store the US dollars backing its coins at State Street. 
  • Business Insider spoke with Tyler Winklevoss, the co-CEO of Gemini, about the project. 

Gemini, the bitcoin exchange founded by the Winklevoss twins, is gatecrashing a red-hot corner of the cryptocurrency market with a new stable coin, the company announced Monday. 

The so-called Gemini dollar would be pegged to the US dollar, with each token backed by a US dollar in a reserve of cash held by State Street, the Wall Street custody bank. The firm is hoping the new coin, which is based on Ethereum's network, will serve as a new type of digital cash that can be used at stores by customers. 

The project, which is over a year in the making, addresses "a trust problem" common among other stable-coins, according to its white paper.

Gemini says oversight from financial regulators, specifically the New York Department of Financial Services, will lend its crypto more credibility than its competitors. The crypto is also subject to New York Banking Law, according to the exchange operator. 

Already, it was assessed by information security company Trail of Bits over the course of eight weeks. Gemini, according to documents reviewed by Business Insider, fixed all the issues discovered by the audit.

Entrepeneurs Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss arrive at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala (Met Gala) to celebrate the opening of The Gemini dollar would go head-to-head with Tether, the controversial firm behind their USDT stable-coin that has dominated the market for stable coins. Skeptics have questioned whether Tether actually has the dollars it says to back its crypto.

And some market participants have linked the crypto to market manipulation. For instance, academics at the University of Texas published a paper alleging that Tether was used last year to manipulate the price of bitcoin, propping up its run to $20,000 in December.

Still, since the beginning of 2018 trades between USDT and bitcoin have become more common, Morgan Stanley found. The bank, which compiled data from over 350 exchanges, estimates 14.2% of bitcoin trades are paired against USDT, up from less than 1% in October.

Across the crypto space, projects are attempting to step on Tether's turf, including TrueUSD and MakerDAO.

The Gemini dollar will launch next week and will ultimately trade on numerous exchanges, according to a spokeswoman. 

Business Insider spoke with Gemini cofounder and co-CEO Tyler Winklevoss about the project and related topics in the cryptocurrency space. 

Business Insider: Walk me through the evolution of this project. What's the idea behind it and how did it come to fruition?

Tyler Winklevoss: We have been thinking about the stable coin idea for over a year now. The thing that is attractive about the concept is that is does something different than any other digital asset. When we think about the first ever digital asset, bitcoin, which is a virtual commodity, it took years for the market to sort out the broad understanding of what bitcoin is. The legal precedent and the use-case is definitely coming down as virtual commodity. And ether is the same. Those are very cool use cases. Ether as a digital oil. And bitcoin as a digital gold. The idea of a digital commodity is there and well understood. 

And then we had the intro of securities on the blockchain, normally referred to as ICOs, representing a share in a company or project. Being in this space over the years it has been really cool to see the development of both virtual securities and virtual commodities. 

But when something is a store of value, you generally don't want to spend it. We use the word digital currency as an umbrella term in this space, and early on this term was used, but not many of these digital assets behave like currencies. And it makes sense. You don't buy things with your gold or with your shares of Apple. Similarly it doesn't make sense to do that with an ICO or bitcoin. A stable coin is different and necessary for the ecosystem as that medium of exchange.

BI: What problems does Gemini dollar try to tackle?

Winklevoss: We saw two problems we wanted to address when we thought about how we could build a viable stable coin. The first was the technical implementation. A computer science problem. Making sure you have the smart contracts, picking the right network. Ether was a good network obviously because of the human capital around it, the level of adoption, its track record. And building the engineering of a viable stable coin. That's where Gemini's strong team comes in. 

Then there's trust. Whether we print too many or too much, we need to make sure it corresponds with the fiat dollars in a bank account. As a trust company, we are regulated by the state of New York, but the trust problem doesn't start or stop there. It is about building a network of trust among all participants in the ecosystem. Multiple eyes are looking over it.

Getting on an auditor is not a trivial task. They have to be comfortable with you as a business. That was another interesting, but good challenge. And getting ready for approval takes a long time.  

[Editor's note: Gemini's US dollar balance held at State Street will be audited by an independent accounting firm on a monthly basis, according to a news release.]

trading desk

BI: Stable-coins such as Tether have been a darling among trading shops that can use them to quickly transfer their coins out of the volatile markets of bitcoin and other cryptos without having to engage with the slow fiat off-ramps. Have you been speaking with those market participants about Gemini dollar, and what is their impression?

Winklevoss: We obviously talk to all of our clients, retail, prop shops, market making firms, trading firms, sometimes one firm can do all of those things and more. There is a lot of demand there. We thought a stable coin was important for the ecosystem. But we also have seen a lot of demand from those clients. And so basically bringing USD onto the blockchain is key here. Linking the traditional financial network with the world of crypto in the way that includes all the good utilities of money, giving them all the positives things of crypto. The obvious use case for a trader is arbitrage or being able to move capital around in an efficient matter. 

It is not just demand coming from traders. I think that dollars on the blockchain is a really important and crucial component. We do think that a good stable coin is a really important catalyst to adoption. Because there is a reason why fiat lives side-by-side with stocks, bonds, and precious metals. They don't cannibalize each other because they fulfill different use-cases. 

There is a use case of being able to accept dollars for decentralized applications. They can accept bitcoin and ether. But if you are creating a decentralized Uber, people aren't going to want to pay with an asset that most of us believe could go up 10 or 20 times in the future. 

BI: Across the market, I've noticed bitcoin exchanges entering businesses outside of trading, including custody or venture and now in your case, the stable-coin business. Do you view the role of exchanges in crypto as being more than just facilitating trading in order to help shepherd the market to the next level?

Winklevoss: I think that a lot of us, and especially the good actors, are definitely proactively doing things we don't have to do. Or aren't required to do. But it is a longterm approach. This is something we have to do to push the ecosystem forward. And we want to see the market continue to mature. Wall Street is aware of digital assets it isn't really in cryptocurrencies today the way it can be in the future. 

If we want compliance departments at banks to get comfortable then we have to speak their language. Whether that means the right internal controls, or a SOC2 designation, than that is what it means. 

The big point is market surveillance. The Virtual Commodity Association we are obviously going to be a member in pushes the ball forward. All of those things are going to help mature the market. And it's also just time as well. You can't build markets and trust over night. it is so young and so early. But also a lot has changed in a short amount of time. A couple years ago the conversations were so different. And even a year ago, there's been tremendous change. 

BI: In order to get Gemini dollars to become digital cash, one would think big merchants would have to come on board. Is Gemini talking with merchants like Starbucks to accept the stable-coin at their stores?

Winklevoss: That's a great point. There was a time in this world when people didn't know if bitcoin would kill fiat or the financial system or both. And some people tried to live off bitcoin for a month. As it turns out people generally don't believe bitcoin will be used to buy Starbucks or a Happy Meal. The question is actually does it disrupt gold or exist side-by-side precious metals in a portfolio? The beauty of a stable coin is you don't need to worry about spending it. And groups don't need our permission to use it. Starbucks could accept it if they wanted to. And we will be open to those conversations. 

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: How a Wall Street chief strategist's Costco shopping experience explains the biggest misconception about global trade

Bitcoin Retains Bear Bias Despite Recovery From 25-Day Low

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

Bitcoin's recovery from 25-day lows near $6,100 is likely a "dead cat bounce" rather than a bullish reversal, charts suggest.

Singporean Crypto Exchange Invests $3 Million in Bitcoin Australia for International Expansion

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

Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange KuCoin has marked its foray into Australia with a multi-million investment in a regulated domestic exchange, part of a new joint venture. The Australian Financial Review is reporting that KuCoin has invested the AUD $3 million investment in Bitcoin Australia, a domestic exchange that enables bitcoin trading and ethereum buying, enabling the

The post Singporean Crypto Exchange Invests $3 Million in Bitcoin Australia for International Expansion appeared first on CCN

Investors betting against JD.com made $153 million after the company's CEO was accused of sexual misconduct (JD)

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

Richard Liu JD.COM

  • JD.com plunged after its CEO was detained in the US over a sexual-misconduct allegation.
  • Short sellers made $153 million in profits from the stock decline, which saw shares fall 14% last week.
  • Watch JD.com trade in real-time here.

JD.com short sellers — or investors betting on the company's stock to fall — made millions last week after CEO Liu Qiangdong was detained in the US over a sexual-misconduct allegation.

Following the news that Liu was arrested over a rape allegation in Minneapolis over Labor Day weekend, JD.com's stock dropped 14% last week. That generated mark-to-market profits of $153 million for short sellers, according to data from financial analytics firm S3 Partners.

"Short sellers have been selling into JD.com’s price weakness since mid-July with 7 million new shares shorted since July 15, up 23%," Ihor Dusaniwsky, managing director of predictive analytics at S3, said in an email.

Overall, short sellers have made $392 million in mark-to-market profits since January, most of which occurred during the second half of the year, Dusaniwsky added. S3 data shows JD.com is now the seventh-largest short in the Hong Kong/China region, with $1.03 billion of short interest.

Last month, JD.com, the second-largest Chinese e-commerce company after Alibaba, posted a loss of $0.23 per share on revenue of $18.5 billion. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg were expecting a $0.12 per share gain on revenue of $19.31 billion.

Shares of JD.com are down 38% this year.

Now read:

JD.com

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NOW WATCH: An early bitcoin investor explains what most people get wrong about the cryptocurrency

SEC Suspends Trading in Bitcoin and Ethereum Investment Products

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

The regulator pointed to “a lack of current, consistent and accurate information” in the two crypto investment vehicles issued by Swedish firm XBT Provider AB following their entry into the US market last month. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Sunday issued an order to halt the trading in Bitcoin Tracker One (CXBTF)

The post SEC Suspends Trading in Bitcoin and Ethereum Investment Products appeared first on CCN

Brexit stockpiling could make a mini recession next year 'almost inevitable' for the UK

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

Protesters demonstrate against the possible stockpiling of medecines and food in the event of a no-deal Brexit in London, Britain. Aug 22, 2018.

  • CEBR think tank: Businesses will stockpile £38 billion worth of goods in the run up to Brexit.
  • This will cause a short-term boost to UK GDP growth, but that will be reversed after Brexit as businesses rundown their inventories.
  • "This makes a post-Brexit mini-recession almost inevitable," CEBR head said.


LONDON — Stockpiling by businesses ahead of Brexit will make a mini-recession in the UK "almost inevitable" next year, according to the head of a UK think tank.

The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) estimated in a briefing note on Monday that UK businesses will stockpile goods worth £38 billion ahead of the March 2019 Brexit deadline.

Stockpiling is expected as businesses look to guard against the possibility of a no deal Brexit, which would see the UK crash out of the EU without a deal on future trade agreements.

CEBR estimates that this stockpiling in the three quarters to March 2019 will boost UK GDP by 0.5%. But GDP growth should slump by the same amount in the immediate aftermath of Brexit as businesses look to run-down the inventories they have built up.

Douglas McWilliams, the founder of the CEBR, said in the note: "This makes a post-Brexit mini-recession almost inevitable."

The prospect of a no deal Brexit has come into increasing focus over the last few months as the government has admitted it is a growing possibility and set out plans to deal with it.

Britain's International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said in an interview last month that the chance of a no deal Brexit had risen to 60%. The government subsequently published a set of papers outlining how a no deal Brexit would affect various sectors.

"The government papers on the impact of a ‘No deal Brexit’ have highlighted the potential disruption – difficulties in obtaining medicines, sandwich ingredients and various other products," McWilliams wrote.

"But the single largest cause of disruption will undoubtedly be raw materials and semi-manufactures. Of the £260 billion of goods imported from the EU last year about £100 billion fall into these two categories."

McWilliams added that the CEBR's estimates on stockpiling are based on "anecdotal evidence, surveys and intuition," as "it is hard to find an equivalent episode to Brexit that can be used to check on past experience."

Separately on Monday, accountancy firm BDO said that its monthly business optimism tracker fell to a 15-month low in August. The firm blamed the slump on "the lack of progress on what our future trading relationships will look like" post-Brexit.

SEE ALSO: A no-deal Brexit could have 'catastrophic consequences' for nearly a million UK patients

DON'T MISS: Dominic Raab dismisses no deal Brexit reports as 'hair-raising scare stories'

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NOW WATCH: An early bitcoin investor explains what most people get wrong about the cryptocurrency

Trump's trade war has forced one of Europe's most famous automakers to delay a $30 billion IPO

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

Volvo

  • The parent company of Swedish automaker Volvo has postponed its planned initial public offering.
  • Chinese car giant Geely is worried that President Trump's trade war could impact Volvo's valuation.
  • Volvo's IPO would have been the largest in Sweden in 17 years.

Volvo, the Swedish automaker, has reportedly had its initial public offering (IPO) plans delayed by its parent company as a result of uncertainty surrounding US President Donald Trump's trade war.

The Financial Times reports on Monday that Geely, the Chinese auto giant which owns Volvo, has paused plans for an IPO that valued Volvo at $30 billion because Geely is worried US President Donald Trump's trade war could hurt its valuation.

"Conditions right now are not optimal to give certain upside for the investors," Hakan Samuelsson, Volvo's chief executive, told the FT. He added that the listing requires "stable market conditions."

"It’s important to know that we have headroom, so we can look the investors in the eye a year after the IPO," Samuelsson added. "It is still an option, a very realistic option, but will not happen immediately."

The FT reports that though Geely believed it had secured the backing of investors, it worried that Volvo's stock could slip in the immediate aftermath of the flotation, angering Swedish pension funds. The IPO would have been the largest in Sweden since telecoms firm Telia listed in 2001.

Geely, which also owns British sports car maker Lotus and the company which manufactures London Black Cabs, sold more than 1.2 million cars in 2017.

The delay to Volvo's IPO comes as Trump's trade war with China threatens to escalate. Late last week, the US consultation period on the introduction of fresh tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods ended, with no decision so far on whether tariffs will be imposed.

Trump elevated trade-war rhetoric with China to a fever pitch on Friday, threatening tariffs on another $267 billion worth of Chinese goods.

Speaking with reporters on Air Force One, Trump said long-threatened tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods would "take place very soon", with more on the way.

"I hate to do this, but behind that there is another $267 billion ready to go on short notice if I want," Trump said.

If Trump follows through with both threats, tariffs would be imposed on $517 billion of Chinese goods coming into the US — virtually every import. Last year, the US imported $505 billion worth of goods from China.

SEE ALSO: It looks like Trump has found the next big target in his trade war — Japan

DON'T MISS: Sweden is starting to talk about leaving the EU — here's what a 'Swexit' might look like

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NOW WATCH: An early bitcoin investor explains what most people get wrong about the cryptocurrency

Can Bitcoin Save Argentina?

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

A proposal to place a sliver of Argentina's central bank reserves in bitcoin is worth taking seriously, given the country's current dire straits.

Bitcoin Price Stable at $6,300 But Crypto Market en Route to 2018 Low

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

On September 10, Bitcoin experienced an unforeseen spike in its price, rising from $6,190 to $6,450. Yet, the rest of the market has struggled to recover, demonstrating slow movements. On August 15, the cryptocurrency market reached its lowest point in the year at $191 billion. Over the past 24 hours, the valuation of the market

The post Bitcoin Price Stable at $6,300 But Crypto Market en Route to 2018 Low appeared first on CCN

Former Indian Politician Arrested in $1.3 Million Bitcoin Extortion Case

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

Former BJP MLA Nalin Kotadiya has been arrested for an alleged involvement with the kidnapping syndicate of Shailesh Bhatt. The Accusation Kotadiya, who was fingered as an accomplice during the interrogation of Kirit Paladiya in May this year had evaded arrest until Sunday, September 09. His arrest by the Ahmedabad Crime Branch police from Maharashtra’s

The post Former Indian Politician Arrested in $1.3 Million Bitcoin Extortion Case appeared first on CCN

(+) Did a Whale Sink Bitcoin?

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

The post (+) Did a Whale Sink Bitcoin? appeared first on CCN

SEC Hires, Exchange Rumors, and Bitcoin Price Woes: This Week in Crypto

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

Make sure you check out our previous edition here, now let’s go over what happened in crypto this week. Also, make sure you subscribe for this week’s edition of The CCN Podcast on iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Google Play Music, Spotify, Soundcloud, YouTube or wherever you get your podcasts. Price Watch: Bitcoin is down 11% this

The post SEC Hires, Exchange Rumors, and Bitcoin Price Woes: This Week in Crypto appeared first on CCN

SEC Suspends Exchange-Traded Bitcoin and Ether Investment Vehicles

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

A highly touted investment instrument that sought to appeal to U.S. investors looking for cryptocurrency exposure has just seen a setback.

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