SEC’s Jay Clayton Talks Crypto: What Future Awaits for the World of Digital Assets?

The chairman of SEC Jay Clayton made his appearance at Consensus, the event organized by CoinDesk. Together with his colleagues and fellow experts, Clayton spoke about the future development of cryptocurrencies in the US, details of its regulation and plans of the Commission.

Here are the most important points of his speech:

1. Regulation of crypto exchanges.

SEC firmly believes that the infrastructure of the current cryptocurrency exchanges is not powerful enough to guarantee the safety of customers’ funds. Thus, the regulation of crypto trading platform might become way stricter in the future.

2. ICOs will not escape from SEC

Clayton and the other chairmen emphasized the fact of their close attention to the startups that go on token sales. The number of scam projects uncovered by the Commission is pretty big now and it will only keep growing.

We remind you:

More Than a Dozen Fraud ICOs Were Shut Down by the SEC in 2018

3. Bitcoin ETF is a no-no

There has been a lot of speculation recently regarding the infamous topic of Bitcoin exchange traded funds. Despite all the rumours, it seems unlikely that ETFs will ever be approved.

I know there are a lot of folks who would love to have the ETF approved but I don’t think that’s very likely,” one of the chairmen stated.

Thus, we can definitely see that the Securities and Exchange Commission is not playing games, and the crypto industry will feel its influence quite soon.

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Japanese Giant GMO Internet Lost ¥1.3 Billion in 2018: Report

One of the biggest Internet companies in the world, Japan-based GMO Internet Inc., posted a report on its financial performance. An operating loss accounts for ¥1.3 billion (~$11.75 million) in 2018.

GMO’s mining business

According to the report, mining business fared very poorly in 2018 which resulted in great losses. The company explained that the business did not increase as expected due to the collapse of cryptocurrency market in Q4. The report provides  the table where we can see the real revenue and real loss of the company. The data provided below does not include “extraordinary losses” of approximately $319.2 million.

Source: GMO Fiscal Report 2018

Alongside, Internet giant announced that it would implement a policy change regarding to their mining business model. The company will sell its bitcoin mining assets at cheaper rates to compensate for a portion of its annual losses.

Moreover, GMO plans to relocate mining centers to the regions where power supply is cheaper. The centers allegedly will be somewhere in Northern Europe.

GMO’s Bitcoin exchange

Source: GMO Fiscal Report 2018

According to the report, the company’s quarter-revenue has fallen by 66.7%, even though the company annually posts about its 7% profit from its crypto exchange GMOCoin.

In 2018, GMOCoin recorded a net sales of ¥4.02 billion (~$36.33 million). In Q1, crypto exchange has lost about ¥76 million, yet, high sales of next quarters compensated them. The fall of cryptocurrency market has also played a significant role in GMO’s revenues. Each phase ended on a lower note than a previous one in terms of sales, while the profits remained marginal.

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Changpeng Zhao: Binance Chain Testnet Will Go Live on February 20

The CEO of Binance, Changpeng Zhao, has recently hold a livestream session on Periscope where he expressed his particular interest in several developments surrounding the exchange and its projects, namely the Binance Chain network. During the session, he stated that Binance Chain is about to be launched, so let us deep into details:

The most important things to know about Binance Chain

Binance Chain will go live on February 20, according to the official tweet posted by Changpeng Zhao.

The chain is built on the Tendermint protocol developed by the Cosmos Network project. Zhao thinks that it is the most suitable architecture for trading platform. Moreover, Binance Chain will be operated on Delegated Proof of Stake, DPoS and Byzantine Fault Tolerant, BFT.

Binance Chain does not have any smart contracts and many other functions irrelevant to their project.

“In the Binance Chain, there is no smart contracts. We just have an interface for you to issue a token then you can trade it. Binance Chain is a very simple chain in terms of application but it can handle very large loads. It is our opinion that the load is more important than features…,” Changpeng Zhao commented.

The platform users will be able to issue tokens based on Binance Chain and launch ICOs to raise funds in BNB tokens.

Increase in BNB Price

Since the beginning of the month, the price of Binance coin has been increasing significantly. According to the CoinMarketCap, the price at the time of writing is $9.41. You may see the upward tendency of the BNB price below.

Source: CoinMarketCap

One of the reasons why BNB coin is doing so well is the launch of Fetch.AI on the Binance Launchpad. It is a project which aims to bring together machine learning, AI and blockchain to create an economic internet. The launch is scheduled for Feb 25th which is 2 weeks away.

Each token that is launched on the Binance platform accepts $BNB by default. That is why it increases demand for Binance Coin which in turn increases the price.

One of the Twitter users @walter_wyckoff posted an interesting information regarding to the correlation between the increase in volume and increase in price for $BNB.

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How to Choose Suitable ICO and Top ICO Trackers in 2019

Recently, the interest of potential investors to new ICOs projects has faded away a little.  It is explained by the fact that the cryptocurrency market has been in the downtrend for more than a year. But despite this, a huge number of new cryptocurrency projects constantly appear on the market. In order to have a convenient opportunity to look at the list of all current ICOs in one place, there have been created special aggregator sites, they are called ICO trackers. In this article, we will talk more about these services, learn about their advantages, disadvantages, and also provide you with a list of the most authoritative sites.

1. What are ICO trackers

So, as it was mentioned above, ICO trackers are specialized services that publish the necessary information about large ICO projects. It is possible to see lists of upcoming, existing or already completed projects on such resources. The main goal is to provide basic information to potential investors. On some of these sites, you can find not only the roadmap of a specific ICO but also its detailed analysis.

The staff of such services is doing a great job, which is aimed at studying the strengths and weaknesses of the blockchain ICO projects. As it is known, a huge number of scammers are concentrated in this area, for this reason, ICO trackers help potential investors navigate this dangerous market.

To understand the principles of such services, let’s take a closer look at the criteria by which projects are evaluated:

  • Risk. In order to compile an estimate for this parameter, the following data is studied: publicity of the development team, White Paper, availability of a test work product, the reputation of consultants and partners, etc.
  • HYPE. This criterion is counted by calculating the number of subscribers on the project pages in social networks, the frequency of its mentioning in the media, search results, etc.
  • Basic report. To evaluate this criterion, the following aspects are closely studied: the innovativeness of used technologies, the presence of its own blockchain, advantages and disadvantages, prospects and possible development options.
  • Investment Rating. According to the analysis, an expert forecast of the future of the project is provided.

All these factors help investors to get comprehensive information about a particular ICO and decide whether to invest their money in it or not.

2. Strengths and weaknesses of ICO trackers

ICO trackers are not perfect and they also have their own advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages

  • Providing basic information about the latest ICO.
  • Compilation and provision of project analysis, which significantly saves time for potential investors.
  • Listing scam projects.

Disadvantages

  • Not all services consist complete information about a specific project.
  • The information provided on the ICO tracker cannot be trusted 100% since such services cooperate with many projects as advertisements. This may mean that published information about a specific ICO may not be objective. For this reason, before starting the ICO funding, it is better to study it yourself.

3. Who needs ICO trackers?

Such services are actively used by investors, people who themselves conduct crowd sales, as well as all other users who are simply interested in this industry. A huge number of fraudsters are concentrated at this market. But despite this, there are really worthwhile projects that can give real profit to their investors, even in such a market. For a non-professional investor, it is quite a difficult task to find such an ICO. Therefore, investors use similar services to obtain key information about recent ICOs.

It should be noted that startups themselves are very willing to use ICO trackers because, such services are an excellent marketing tool for them.

4. List of popular ICO trackers in 2019

Recently, a sufficient number of ICO-trackers have appeared on the market. Each service has its own approach and its own criteria for evaluating new ICO coins. It is possible to find detailed information about ICO projects on larger sites, and some services simply publish WP with a link to the official project resource.

Here is a short list of popular and current ICO trackers in 2019 (according to the rating for 2018).

5. Conclusion

There are many scammers on the ICO market, lists of which can be found on specialized services – ICO trackers. Such sites allow investors to obtain key information about ICO projects.

These are certainly very useful services, but it is important to remember that ICO trackers are not the last resort, so before investing money in a certain project, it is better to search for information about it on the network.

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Bitcoin Price Analysis: The Representatives of JP Morgan and Fundstrat Share Their Opinions About Bitcoin’s Future

Another week has passed, yet Bitcoin still shows quite plain dynamics on the graphics. In fact, its price has not changed significantly since January 10th. Bitcoin price is $3459 at the time of writing.

Source: CoinMarketCap

Since Bitcoin’s price has recently stabilized, many institutional players began changing their attitudes towards cryptocurrency, let us see what the representatives of global companies think.

JPMorgan

The Global Market Strategist at JPMorgan, Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou, reckons that due to Bitcoin’s stagnation many big players will return to the industry. The volatility has “calmed down” and it means that investors can give Bitcoin second chance. He also said:

“The stability that we are seeing right now in the cryptocurrency market is setting the stage for more participation by institutional investors in the future. The cryptocurrency market was a new market. It went through a bubble phase [and] the burst.”

In his interview to CNBC, he stated that the cryptocurrency could not grow, because it was not regulated, but now the situation can differ.

Fundstrat

Wall Street research firm, Fundstrat Global Advisors, is sure that the cryptocurrency may see  new lows soon.

“The price structure for most cryptocurrencies remains weak and appears vulnerable to a pending breakdown to lower lows,” Robert Sluymer, the spokesman of Fundstrat, said.

In addition, Sluymer stated that the price can vary from $4200 to $3100 or ever lower. If it suddenly hits more than $4000, it would mark a 25% increase over today’s prevailing prices. However, Robert emphasized that the technical fundamentals of Bitcoin remain weak, so the price can have downward tendency to the price mark of $3100 or even lower – $2700. The representatives of Fundstrat have also suggested that 250 small-cap coins are at risk, as they all are vulnerable to market jumps.

There are some reasons why Bitcoin price may fall down:

  1. Lunar New Year. During this period, Asian traders have relatively weak activity which may bring consequences to Bitcoin’s rate. The unofficial holidays will last till February 19.
  2. Uncertainty with the US budget. The Congress and the President of the US cannot reach an agreement, this will have influence on financial markets.
  3. Trade war between US and China.

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Huobi Launches New Fiat-To-Crypto Exchange: Full Analysis Of Forthcoming Platform

Huobi decided to expand its market in the Western Hemisphere, therefore, US-based subsidiary Huobi.com launches a new fiat-to crypto exchange, which will operate in the USA.

Preconditions for launching the exchange

Creating a new platform sounds quite weird especially against the background of drastic downfall of cryptocurrency prices, which led to decrease in exchange volumes. Yet, Huobi, being in top three crypto exchange by 24-hour trading volume, seems not to care about it at all.

The company has recently announced a large-scale rebranding of his US strategic partner HBUS. Later, the company adopted Huobi brand and renamed itself into Huobi.com. Now Huobi.com is opened for American customers, and it also has started a partnership with Prime Trust not long ago. The latter is a Nevada-based trust company that provides services of withdrawal and deposits for the users.

With this partnership and the fact that other crypto exchanges are rolling out support for international fiat currencies, Huobi.com made a decision to grow up  and go beyond crypto-crypto transactions.

What do you need to know about the platform?

Firstly, the company plans to add three major coins to the platform, these are Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH) and Tether (USDT), they will be tied to US dollar. The listing of other pairs will depend on customer response.

Secondly, the exchange set minimum deposit and withdrawal limit, which is $100. Though the users are bound to register with Prime Trust in order to deposit USD to the exchange. The custodial account requires the completion of Know-Your-Customer (KYC) identity verification checks.

We want to remind you that Huobi plans to launch its own stablecoin in the first half of 2019. Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange has already a substitute for stablecoin, namely HUSD; it supports four US-regulated stablecoins: Paxos Standard (PAX), True USD (TUSD), USD Coin (USDC), and Gemini Dollar (GUSD). Unfortunately, the report did not specify which currency the stablecoin will be pegged to.

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A Detailed Review of the Local Bitcoins Exchange

The first cryptocurrency exchanges appeared relatively recently, 8 years ago. Since then, the digital currency industry has changed a lot. Today, a large number of exchanges, both large (daily trading volumes are estimated at hundreds of millions and even billions of dollars) and smaller regional platforms, are operating successfully. All of them are probably similar, but in this article we will look at Local Bitcoins exchange (from which you can even trade in cash) from different perspectives. In the end of the article we will conclude whether you should pay your attention to it or pass it by.

1. General Information about the Local Bitcoins exchange

The Local Bitcoins site has a fairly solid age (as for the cryptocurrency industry), it began its work back in 2012. The company was registered in Finland.

The main goal of the project developers is to provide the possibility of acquiring cryptocurrencies in those countries where this cannot be done using traditional banking systems. Exchange users have guarantees that their financial assets are outside state control. The platform interface is translated into the following languages:

  • English;
  • Russian;
  • Italian;
  • Chinese;
  • Portuguese;
  • Spanish.

The Local Bitcoins exchange was often discussed in media. People who live in more than 100 different countries around the world have a physical ability to interact with Local Bitcoins. The site supports a huge number of national fiat currencies.

2. The basic principles of the platform

The mechanism of interaction between users is extremely simple. Some users place orders (for sale or purchase), independently indicate the desired exchange rate, payment method, as well as the maximum and minimum value of the transaction deal. Other users have an opportunity to choose the most profitable application and confirm transaction just in one click.

3. Details about registering on Local Bitcoins

The procedure for registering on the Local Bitcoins site is quite simple, absolutely anyone who has ever registered on any simple portal, can handle it. In order to create an account on the Local Bitcoins exchange, you need to have a working email address, and you also have to come up with a more or less complicated password. After filling out application, a confirmation letter will come to your e-mail. And after account is confirmed, a user immediately receives its own Bitcoin wallet, but without a private key.

To increase security, developers recommend to install two-step authentication.

4. How to buy and sell BTC on Local Bitcoins?

Let’s analyze the procedure for buying and selling coins on this platform in details. Let’s divide these processes into 4 stages for conveniece.

How to buy BTC?

  1. You need to log into account and go to the main page. Then it`s necessary to enter the desired amount of BTC, country of residence, method of payment and payment service in the special field. Then the platform will display a list of suitable options, taking into account the specified filters.
  2. Choose the most suitable option from the list. When making a choice, it is very important to consider not only a financial point of view, but also reputation, reviews and number of seller`s transactions.
  3. Before confirming this or that transaction, you need to examine details carefully. If all the conditions are clear, and the seller’s reputation is good, then it’s time to enter desired amount of coins and confirm the request. Then the exchange will freeze the number of coins that are necessary for transaction, and will give time to pay.
  4. After payment occurred, click “I paid”. This will give trader a signal to check the payment, and if everything is ok, then the corresponding amount of BTC will appear on buyer’s wallet after a while. At this point transaction can be considered as completed.

How to sell BTC?

The sale process is almost identical, so it is pointless to describe it in details step by step. It is very important not to transfer BTC to a buyer until he or she has paid for the transaction by fiat. The fact is that after coins are credited, the buyer may suddenly reject the transaction, and since the transactions in the blockchain are irreversible, the seller risks to remain without coins and without fiat.

5. Exchange Commission

It is worth mentioning that the exchange does not handle transactions that occur in fiat. The process of transferring national currencies occurs without participation of the exchange, that is, directly between users. For this reason, no additional fees are charged by Local Bitcoins for such transactions. Local Bitcoins takes a commission only from the sellers, it is only 1% of each transaction.

6. Security and support

Work safety is achieved by a successfully implemented rating system. That is, new users cannot place orders for large sums. To expand your limit on Local Bitcoins, you should first conduct several successful transactions. After each transaction, the parties can exchange assessments and leave mutual feedback about each other. These assessments will continue to serve as an indicator of user`s integrity.

The exchange creators recommend to choose traders who have special green indicators, which tells about the following:

  • presence of a sufficient number of positive reviews;
  • long-term cooperation with the service;
  • possibility of payment using a variety of payment services;
  • availability of constant sufficient trading volume.

To increase the level of security, developers have implemented two-step authentication and captcha confirmation.

As for the support, it does not work perfectly. Sometimes it takes 3 days to get an answer on some questions. But it should be noted that the support service responds to absolutely all requests.

7. Main advantages and disadvantages

Advantages:

  • The possibility of buying and selling cryptocurrency for cash. This feature favorably distinguishes Local Bitcoins among other exchanges. Of course, cash trades are more developed in million-persons cities, but similar offers can be found also in smaller towns since recently.
  • The ability to pay by variety of payment services. For those users, who prefer to trade online, there is a big choice of various services.
  • Impressive trading volumes.
  • Generous referral program, according to which you can earn 20% of income from each user brought over.
  • The ability to interact with the service through VPN. This can be useful for residents of those countries where Local Bitcoins is officially blocked, as, for example, in the Russian Federation.

Disadvantages

  • No mobile apps. Working through a smartphone browser is not the most convenient way to interact with the service.
  • The lack of support for altcoins, that is why cryptocurrency exchange is not possible yet.

8. Conclusion

Local Bitcoins is a unique service which allows people from different countries to acquire BTC, bypassing government regulation. The exchange has been successfully operating during six years, and has reached an impressive trading volume. The Local Bitcoins interface is pretty simple and clear. The service can definitely be used not only by beginners, but also by experienced traders.

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