Crypto News | Elon Musk Talks Bitcoin and Binance Expands

The cryptocurrency market had quite the shakeup last week, causing a spike in most digital currencies. On Valentine’s Day, six days ago, JP Morgan announced that it would launch a test for its new JPM coin. This was the biggest crypto news to surface in quite some time. Now, digital currencies seem to have corrected, and most are trading red today.

In today’s crypto news, we’ll discuss Elon Musk’s interview and the details behind him calling Bitcoin “quite brilliant.” Also, we’ll look into Binance’s new testnet they just released.

Crypto News: February 20th, 2019

Elon Musk and Bitcoin

The crypto news that’s been receiving the most buzz this morning has to do with Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk. Musk held a podcast interview with advisory services firm ARK Invest’s and called Bitcoin’s structure “quite brilliant.”

The tech entrepreneur believes that digital currency is a far better transfer of value than paper money. In the past, Musk has been pegged as the creator of Bitcoin. With his background, it could be quite possible, but the tech entrepreneur has since shut down those rumors. Shame, considering we still don’t know who Satoshi Nakamoto really is.

In February of last year, Musk tweeted that he owned zero cryptocurrency, which was a surprise to most.

Despite the major boost Bitcoin got from one of the world’s top tech visionaries in today’s crypto news, the digital currency is still trading red.

>> Cryptocurrency Bull Run: An Improving Economy Encourages Gains

Binance Launches Testnet for Decentralized Exchange

Another big piece of crypto news comes from the world’s most used digital cryptocurrency exchange, Binance.

The new decentralized cryptocurrency exchange will be called Binance DEX. Per the press release, the exchange will be powered by Binance Chain and is already available for customers. Binance Chain is a new blockchain and peer-to-peer distributed system. Currently, customers are able to create wallets and start exchanging tokens on the new testnet.

Featured Image: DepositPhotos © kentoh

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Hardware Wallet Doesn’t Store Private Keys to Surpass Cold Storage

A payments technology company has created a hardware wallet that addresses the “flawed approach” used for cold storage — and eliminates the physical storage of private keys.

Instead of storing private keys on a device — a “potential security problem” — Bitfi says it has developed technology that does not store any data or private keys. Instead, the company’s hardware uses a deterministic algorithm to calculate the private key at the moment of a transaction. This means that the private key comes into existence for a fraction of a second and vanishes immediately afterward. This technology is meant to overcome the risk of total loss should a hardware wallet be lost, seized or stolen.  

Bitfi recommends creating a seven-word passphrase by using its Diceware method, which offers greater entropy. However, the company says that those who own its wallet have the option to memorize their passphrase. It encourages users to leave 24-word mnemonic seeds behind in favor of a seven-word alternative. Combined with no physical storage of private keys, the company argues this better protects users against attacks — as memorizing a shorter phrase eliminates the need to write down a seed, something a malicious actor could access.

The company says it eliminates the possibility of wallet funds being lost if a physical device is stolen by ensuring that no data is stored on the hardware itself, meaning that hacking the wallet is “fruitless.” This approach also offers greater protection to users in the event that their wallet is damaged or lost following natural disasters such as fires, floods or earthquakes.

Bitfi argues the practice of storing private keys on hardware wallets and connecting such devices to a computer creates an unacceptable risk of this sensitive information being obtained by hackers or malware, especially during physical attacks.

Making amends

Last year, Bitfi described its hardware wallet as the “world’s first unhackable device” — but the company has now withdrawn this claim.

The company had established a bounty hunt — initially offering a $100,000 prize, but which was then raised to $250,000 — for the first person who managed to hack its device. As reported by Cointelegraph this summer, this initiative was spearheaded by infamous investor John McAfee.

Although reports began to emerge that security experts had unearthed vulnerabilities, Bitfi claimed that these breaches did not satisfy the conditions of the six-figure bounty, which required researchers to extract funds from the device — and the company then went on to create a second bounty hunt with a smaller reward of $10,000 for “man-in-the-middle” vulnerabilities. Both bounty programs have subsequently been closed, but the company says it will soon introduce a new program with the launch of the new DMA-2 wallet.

Bitfi has described the incident as a disagreement with the infosec community, and says that the initial model that was the subject of the bounty program is no longer being shipped, as it has been superseded by a new model with additional features.

Simple, yet secure

Bitfi says crypto wallets need to offer a blend of high security and user friendliness, as otherwise, inexperienced owners of crypto assets risk losing their funds by accident. The company says no technical skill is required to use its product, and the device itself receives new features and security updates automatically from Bitfi’s node in real time.

This helps to reduce the chance of a user downloading corrupt software — and it also means users will be able to benefit from new features, such as support for additional cryptocurrencies, instantly. Overall, the company says that this ensures its devices are “never outdated or obsolete.”

In January, Bitfi integrated an all-in-one privacy cryptocurrency known as Apollo, and a blog post written by the coin’s team says it “combines mainstream crypto features into an unregulatable platform.”

Bitfi says that worries about safe cryptocurrency storage are a major hurdle in the quest for mainstream adoption — and it hopes that its solution, combining security with a device that is as “easy to use as an ATM,” will help drive growth for Bitcoin and other important assets.

Disclaimer. Cointelegraph does not endorse any content or product on this page. While we aim at providing you all important information that we could obtain, readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company and carry full responsibility for their decisions, nor this article can be considered as an investment advice.



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A Successful Binance DEX Mainnet Could See Binance Coin (BNB) Prices Double

 

  • Binance coin up 17.1 percent in the last week
  • Testnet launch live, users free to test the DEX and Binance chain explorer
  • Transactional volumes double from Dec 2018

 

BNB is back to the top 10, and with increasing volumes and DEX and explorer test net, coin holders are likely to reap big profits. So far, Binance coin is up 17.1 percent and back to the top 10.

Binance Coin (BNB) Price Analysis

Fundamentals

Like Ethereum’s ETH, Binance Coin is a utility token in the Binance chain network. It is a tool for incentivizing use and so far, the coin is rallying. Perhaps induced by the overly successful BitTorrent’s BTT ICO, the currency is retesting key resistance levels of 2018.

Adding to the bullish impetus is news that both the Binance Coin and the Bitcoin DEX testnet is now open to the public. The new release will allow testing of the Binance Coin chain explorer as well as the Web Wallet. Binance said this about the new testnet:

“Binance Chain is a new blockchain developed and released by Binance. Binance DEX is a high performance and user-friendly platform built on top of Binance Chain, where users can create, issue and trade digital assets.”

To get started in what Binance describes as a standard for DEXs, all a user needs to do is set up a new wallet, unlock the wallet, transfer assets and place orders right away.

The eventual launch of the mainnet will be very bullish for Binance coin as users of the Binance DEX will have to pay for gas to power transactions. Gas and fees are quoted in BNB only and assuming there is an immediate shift from centralized exchanges to unhackable Binance DEX–with better liquidity and UIs, then BNB holders stand to benefit.

Candlestick Arrangements

Thus far, the coin is up 17.1 percent in the last week. Aside from favorable candlestick arrangement, the sole reason behind this week’s expansion may be because of DEX testnet. As we said, Binance is yet to announce the mainnet launch, but from the chart, the path of least resistance is upwards.

A simple Fibonacci retracement tool between the BNB’s high low show that prices are finding support off the 78.6 percent level and with increasing volumes, bulls are back. Technically and when we draw guidance from Fibonacci retracement rules, the reaction at 78.6 percent level often leads to a retest of recent highs and in that case ideal targets may be 2017 highs of $26. All the same, before BNB explode, modest targets will be at Q2 2018 highs of $18.

Technical Indicators

 

Week ending Feb 10 bull bar reversed losses of the week ending Nov 25. Accompanying these upswings are increasing average volumes–7 million to 15 million and wide trade ranges which is bullish. Although we expect prices to cool off, ideal reversal zones will be at around last week’s lows of $8.5. However, such deep corrections are unlikely. Sellers may drive prices back to the $10 level before bull trend resume.

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SEC Charges ICO With Selling Unregistered Securities After Startup Self-Reports

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has charged crypto firm Gladius Network with selling unregistered securities after the company self-reported to the commission, an SEC press release reveals on Feb. 20.

Gladius reportedly raised approximately $12.7 million in cryptocurrency during its initial coin offering (ICO) in late 2017, after the SEC had warned that tokens offered in such sales can be classified as securities under U.S. law. The commission specifies that the startup did not register its tokens with the agency and its “ICO did not qualify for an exemption from registration requirements.”

According to the press release, however, Gladius self-reported to the securities regulator in the summer of last year. The report also specifies:

“The SEC did not impose a penalty because the company self-reported the conduct, agreed to compensate investors, and will register the tokens as a class of securities.”

The company will reportedly return funds to investors who request it and register its token as a security, in accordance with the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Robert A. Cohen, Chief of the SEC’s Cyber Unit, commented in the press release that the case “shows the benefit of self-reporting and taking proactive steps to remediate unregistered offerings.”

As Cointelegraph reported in November of last year, SEC then imposed civil penalties against two ICOs over their failure to register their token sales in a self-described first.

Moreover, in January, the agency released an official statement saying that cryptocurrencies are one of the commission’s top examination priorities this year. In the same month, news broke that 2018 witnessed a significant uptick in the number of ICOs authorized by the SEC to sell unregistered securities to large-scale investors, in what it refers to as an exemption.



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Japanese Bank Head Endorse Ripple (XRP) says Bitcoin (BTC) Has no Value

 

  • Ripple price trajectory is up
  • Yoshitaka Kitao endorses Ripple (XRP)
  • Transactional volumes on the rise

 

SBI Holdings and Yoshitaka Kitao are Ripple (XRP) proponents and believe the coin will somehow revolutionize cryptocurrency. Anyhow, with the launch of SBIVC expected in weeks, our previous XRP/USD trade plans will be validated.

Ripple (XRP) Price Analysis

Fundamentals

Sometimes, the head of SBI Holdings Yoshitaka Kitao may appear over-optimistic about Ripple and XRP abilities to revolutionize crypto. SBI Holdings anchors and is the nucleus of Ripple activities in Asia. As the majority holder of SBI-Ripple Asia alliance, they have been promoting adoption in the crypto-active region.

March is when the SBIVC exchange will launch and with XRP paired against the Japanese Yen, we expect an immediate effect on price. However, the real impact is projected to be in August when adoption will be center stage, and there will be regulatory clarity on the status of XRP as a token.

Add this to SBI Holdings plans of supporting Ripple Inc and aid in their ambition of driving the coin to new heights. Bullish signals are flashing. Here is what Yoshitaka Kitao said:

“Under these circumstances, we will promote efforts to expand the practical use of virtual currency like XRP more and more. Also, on the other side, we will provide investment instruments incorporating virtual currency into institutional investors.”

He continues, adding that BTC is expensive and XRP is designed for global cross border payments because it is cheap and settlement is almost instantaneous:

“There is basically no value for Bitcoin. The current price of Bitcoin makes it harder and harder to use in practical ways. So I think that XRP will probably become the number one crypto asset. We are aiming to make that happen.”

Candlestick Arrangements

The path to a possible BTC–XRP flip is long if not next to impossible. At current valuations, XRP is more than 4.5 times more valuable than BTC, and if Kitao comments are valid, then XRP is grossly undervalued.

The third most valuable coin is now changing hands at 33 cents and up 7.1 percent in the last week. While BTC and ETH are posting huge gains from last week’s close, XRP is struggling against bears and consolidating in lower time frames.

Because of this, our XRP/USD trade conditions are not yet true and risk-off traders ought to hold off from executing longs despite high-volume bull bars trending below 34 cents. It is only after a full bar close above 34 cents is when traders can load up on dips with first targets at 40 cents and later 60 cents.

Technical Indicators

Encouragingly, transactional volumes are increasing, and XRP is expanding as a result. In the last few days, averages have risen from 15 million of Jan 29 to 22 million posted yesterday. However, as aforementioned, we need strong market participation driving prices above 34 cents with volumes above 52 million or 83 million of those of Jan 10.

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Galaxy Digital Joins $15 Million Investment Round in Crypto Security Firm CipherTrace

Mike Novogratz’s crypto investment bank Galaxy Digital has invested in blockchain security company CipherTrace, according to an official press release published on Feb. 19.

CipherTrace has reportedly raised $15 million in venture capital in a new funding round led by major Silicon Valley venture capital firm Aspect Ventures, whose partner, Mark Kraynak, will join the firm’s board of directors. The round also saw investments from Neotribe Ventures and WestWave Capital.

California-based CipherTrace will use the secured funds in order to improve tools for cryptocurrency intelligence, anti-money laundering (AML) solutions, blockchain analytics and forensics and compliance.

CipherTrace’s reported mission is to de-anonymize and trace flows on blockchain that involve criminal and fraudulent activity by applying machine learning. The firm’s security solutions are reportedly used by government, regulators, law enforcement investigators and auditors to reduce crime, as well as crypto exchanges in order to comply with AML policies.

Founded in 2015, CipherTrace began tracking criminal activity on Bitcoin’s (BTC) blockchain in 2011, the press release reports.

Galaxy Digital executive Greg Wasserman said that appropriate AML technology is critical for the mainstream adoption of digital assets. He also stated that institutional investors are increasingly reliant on companies like CipherTrace “to monitor the integrity of transactions with their counterparties.”

Previously, CipherTrace reported that around $1.7 billion in cryptocurrency was obtained through illicit activity in 2018, with over $950 million stolen from crypto exchanges and at least $725 million lost to scam schemes.

Earlier today, Solidus Labs, a security firm founded by former Goldman Sachs fintech engineers, raised $3 million to combat crypto market manipulation.



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Bullish Bitcoin (BTC) Inch Close to $4,500 as Tech Leader Says it is Better than Paper Money

 

  • Bitcoin prices are trending higher, up 8.1 percent in the last week
  • Elon Musk says Bitcoin and crypto is brilliant for value transfer
  • Transactional volumes high, behind recent higher highs

 

Adoption is on the rise, and it is at this juncture that Elon Musk has reasons to believe that Bitcoin is brilliant and a better tool for value transfer. As an influencer, this is bullish, and as long as prices are on the rise, we expect momentum to build up.

Bitcoin (BTC) Price Analysis

Fundamentals

Interesting days ahead. There is a full adoption wave, and that is what the community needs. While Bitcoin is fashioned to be an alternative to government-issued paper money, most corporations are reluctant to take the lead and accept it as a form of settlement for customers willing to use the global coin. Tesla is a public listed company, but the founder Elon Musk has on numerous occasions aired his two cents on Bitcoin and cryptocurrency. He continues to make comments, but the company is yet to make it clear whether they will be accepting BTC for their new, fuel-free Tesla. Considering Tesla’s objective of championing green, sustainable energy which is everything against the mechanics powering the network–energy demanding chip-sets, it is unlikely that they will quickly jump in and join other companies like Trading View for example which is accepting BTC in its purest form.

Nonetheless, the question of sustainable energy and blanket conclusions made by critics of the tech that Bitcoin is not at all power efficient continues to draw debate and is quite sticky especially if we factor in the nomadic nature of miners and their propensity to set rigs in a zone with cheap, surplus power. All the same, Elon Musk being an innovator and entrepreneur has some bullish insights on Bitcoin. He calls the rare coin brilliant and a better conduit for the transfer of value.

Candlestick Arrangement

Prices are correcting, but the path of least resistance is up. At spot rates, BTC is up 8.1 percent in the last week and trading above $4,000 according to data streams from BitFinex. Because our trade conditions are live and traders can fine-tune their entries in lower time frames with the first target at $4,500, fitting stops should be around $3,500–$3,800 zone. Like in our previous emphasis, once prices edge past $4,500 or Dec 2018 highs, it is likely that BTC prices will expand towards $5,800–$6,000 at the back of strong volumes.

Technical Indicators

In the secondary volumes charts, participation is on the rise. Since recent higher highs are at the back of strong volumes–37k, it is clear that bulls are in charge unless of course there are counter moves with equally high liquidation volumes.

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4 Reasons Bitcoin is the World’s ‘Most Compelling Asset’

Now is the perfect time to buy bitcoin, according to Spencer Bogart, a partner at Blockchain Capital.

Speaking to Bloomberg, Bogart was evangelical about bitcoin, calling it “the most compelling asset in the world right now.” Bogart is notoriously bullish, maintaining a $50,000 price target on bitcoin.

Why is he so optimistic during the depths of this crypto winter?

He pointed a string of possible catalysts for another bitcoin boom, including global tensions, rising national debt, and the increasing interest from institutions. Let’s go through them one at a time.

1. Pension Fund and Institutional Interest

Asked what he thinks will be the catalyst for the next price run, Bogart highlighted the interest of pension funds. As CCN reported, Fairfax County, Virginia has allocated part of its pension fund to Morgan Creek’s blockchain opportunities fund.

An insurance company, a university endowment and a private foundation also followed suit.

Bogart also pointed to the news that a major wealth manager for pensions threw its weight behind bitcoin this week. As more pension money flows into the space, it will trigger a domino effect.

2. Global Tensions and Rising National Debt

Bogart also took a broader view of bitcoin’s place in the world. He pointed to political tensions between globalism and populism, suggesting bitcoin could fill a void when economies falter.

Bogart also warned about the rising mountain of national debt, which hit $22 trillion in the US alone this month. Bitcoin offers an alternative economic system.

3. Entrepreneurial Activity in the Crypto Space

Despite the decline in price, Bogart maintains that entrepreneurial activity is still thriving. 

“We see more and more companies coming in every day. And higher quality entrepreneurs as well.”

In other words, the fundamentals at the heart of blockchain development are strong. Dedicated pioneers are still building phenomenal products. And new, talented players are entering the space every day.

4. Bitcoin Grows Stronger over Time

Bogart claims bitcoin is strengthened every day simply by the passage of time.

“Every day that bitcoin is still alive it goes from scary and unknown to trusted and proven.”

Bitcoin has gone through bigger crashes than this and survived. Each time it comes back stronger. Bitcoin now has more resolve and trust than ever before, proven by pension fund adoption and institutional activity.

Has Bitcoin Bottomed?

Despite his optimism, Bogart was wary of predicting the end of the bear market.

“Is this the bottom? I’m not sure,” he said.

Still, he maintained that now is a good time to buy for the long-term, even if all-time highs aren’t coming just yet. During the same discussion, Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Mike McGlone struck a more bearish tone.

McGlone has long said that bitcoin has more room to fall:

However, McGlone still believes “institutions might look at bitcoin as a proxy for digital gold.”

As for which cryptocurrencies to focus on, Bogart urged people to focus on bitcoin and ethereum. He’s less convinced about the mountain of altcoins out there. 

And what about Ripple? “Maybe down the line.”

Featured Image from Shutterstock. Price Charts from TradingView.



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Crypto Markets Trade Sideways After Recent Gains, Stock Market Sees Green

Wednesday, Feb. 20: following the recent wave of green, crypto markets are trading sideways today, with top 20 coins by market cap seeing mixed signals, according to CoinMarketCap.

Market visualization from Coin360

After briefly touching the $4,000 threshold twice over the past 24 hours, Bitcoin (BTC) is slightly down at press time. Trading at $3,971, the largest cryptocurrency has lost just 0.44 percent over the day, but still is 9.3 percent up over the past 7 days, according to CoinMarketCap.

Bitcoin 24-hour price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Bitcoin 24-hour price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Ethereum (ETH), the second cryptocurrency by market cap, is down 1 percent and trading at $146.85 at press time. However, the top altcoin is still seeing some of the largest gains over the past week, growing around 20 percent.

Ethereum 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Ethereum 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Ripple (XRP), the third top cryptocurrency by market cap, has tumbled 2.6 percent today, seeing the biggest losses over the day among top 20 coins. XRP is trading at $0.328, but is still up around 8 percent over the past 7 days.

Ripple 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Ripple 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Amidst the Binance’s launch of the testnet of its new decentralized exchange, Binance DEX, today, Binance Coin (BNB) has seen a significant growth, reaching $11.3 per coin. Binance Coin is seeing the largest growth among top 20 coins by market cap today, having jumped around 6 percent, rising into the ranks of the top ten coins. According to Binance’s CEO, Binance DEX is expected to help users regain control of their private keys, as Cointelegraph reported.

Binance Coin 24-hour price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Binance Coin 24-hour price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

The fourth top cryptocurrency Eos (EOS) is seeing the most weekly growth among top 20 coins, up around 33 percent over the 7-day period, according to CoinMarketCap.

Total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies reached $136 billion today before and falling back down to $134 billion at press time. Daily trade volumes have dropped to around $30 billion from yesterday’s high of $36 billion.

Total market capitalization 7-day chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Total market capitalization 7-day chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Recently, United States regulator the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced it will shortly start the countdown period to approve or disapprove a rule change request for the VanEck/SolidX Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF).

A new report published today analyzed 40 crypto and stablecoin projects and found that the asset type will play a key role in the mainstream adoption of crypto technologies.

In traditional markets, United States stocks are slightly in the green on Wednesday, with market participants monitoring the latest round of trade negotiations between the U.S. and China. According to CNBC, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 37 points at the open, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq are also seeing modest growth today.

Meanwhile, chemical element palladium has today briefly surpassed its all time high of $1,500 due to tight supplies. At the same time, gold hit a top 10-month peak on anticipation of a U.S.-China truce, as investors hope to see clarity on the U.S. monetary policy.

In contrast, oil prices fell on Wednesday as the U.S. government claimed that shale output would rise to a record next month. At press time, Brent Crude is down just 0.15 percent, while WTI Crude and Canadian Crude Index are also both recovering, up under half a percent, according to oilprice.com.



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US State of Wyoming Passes Two Blockchain-Related Bills

Two blockchain-related bills — on tokenization and issues with compliance — have been passed in the United States state of Wyoming on Feb. 19, according to the official website of the state legislature.

As Cointelegraph reported, the bill on tokenization, House Bill 185, was introduced on Jan. 16. The bill lays the groundwork for storing so-called certificate tokens representing stocks on a blockchain “or other secure, auditable database,” and permits the digital transfer of them. The bill is sponsored by Representatives Olsen, Brown, Hunt, Lindholm, Western and Zwonitzer and Senators Driskill and Rothfuss and is set to become effective on July 1 of this year.

The blockchain compliance-related bill, House Bill 74, was introduced on Jan. 8. The president of the Wyoming Blockchain Coalition, Caitlin Long, explained in a post on her website that the legislation will “create special purpose depository institutions to serve businesses.” The bill contains findings that blockchain businesses are often unable to secure FDIC-insured banking services because of their actual or suspected dealings with cryptocurrency.

Moreover, according to Long’s post, the bill also “provides that a special purpose depository institution would be prohibited from making loans, would be required to maintain 100% of its deposits in reserve, would provide services only to businesses, and must comply with all applicable federal laws.” This act is scheduled to become effective on Oct. 1, 2019.

As Cointelegraph reported, America’s least populous state has seen a slew of blockchain and crypto-related legislation in the past few months.

At the end of January, Wyoming Senate also passed a bill — which was then passed by the House on Feb. 14 — that will allow for cryptocurrencies to be recognized as money. The bill is set to go into effect on March 1 and will place crypto assets into three categories: digital consumer assets, digital securities and virtual currencies.



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