This space heater mines bitcoin while keeping your house warm

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Image: Chesnot/getty

They’ve changed. They promise. 

To hear the San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase tell it, they’ve turned over a new leaf. Sure, SEC documents revealed scores of customer complaints against them — ranging from allegations of fraud to negligence — but those were in the (very recent) past. These days, insists the company in a series of blog posts and statements to Mashable, Coinbase is a different animal.

But over the course of 2018 its customers have deluged the Better Business Bureau with complaints. Maybe they missed the memo?

The precursor to the Better Business Bureau was founded in 1912 by a Boston ad executive. The organization’s early form was the so-called National Vigilance Committee; their goal was to curb misleading advertising. Today, you may know the Better Business Bureau as the organization that rates businesses across the US and acts as a public clearing house for consumer complaints. It’s often the last recourse for people who feel they’ve been screwed over by a company but don’t have the resources to pursue legal action.

When it comes to Coinbase, the Bureau has received quite a few of those complaints — enough to give them an “F” rating based on “the total number of positive, neutral, and negative reviews posted.”

These complaints are recent. In contrast to the documents Mashable obtained following a FOIA of the SEC, the tales of poor customer service and frozen funds are not from the time of “unprecedented growth” as described by a May 18, 2018, blog post written by VP of operations and technology Tina Bhatnagar.  

“In 2017, the cryptocurrency space experienced a profound uptick in mainstream awareness and growth,” she wrote at the time. “As part of that, consumer demand for our services increased by 40x and we experienced transaction volumes in November and December of that year that grew by 295%.”

Coinbase wouldn’t make the same mistake twice, she assured us. And yet.

Ouch.

Image: screenshot/better business bureau

Of the 1,155 Coinbase customer complaints available on the BBB site, there are a substantial amount from this year. 

“My account disabled to log in on Nov 19th,” reads one complaint from April. “I filed a case report to CoinBase but it is never resolved up to now. I have money in my CoinBase account and have been waiting for 5 weeks to refreeze it. I cannot withdraw the money and trade Cryptocurrency.”

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That complaint was far from unique. 

“I wired $14000 (USD) to coinbase over a month and a half ago to purchase Bitcoin and the money hasn’t been processed into my account or returned,” reads another one from April. “I’ve opened up a ticket within coinbase 2 weeks after wiring the money but they have not given me any idea why the funds have not posted to my account.” 

How about a few more, all from May of this year, for good measure: 

Sent wire transfer 4 months back and haven’t received it in my **** account. Have called the **** support number numerous times and am still waiting for them to email me back with an update.

Coinbase froze my account. I can not access my funds to settle pymnt. I have asked coin base to unfreeze my account so i can make payments from my accouny.

I have been attempting to withdraw my funds from Coinbase since January 3rd, 2018. I have been back and forth with the technical team since then but they abruptly stop replying. I recently have talked to the support team on the phone twice but they mention I can’t escalate or speak to anyone else…regarding this issue. My money is stuck in limbo in their system and I have received no solution or answers.

in December 2017 I placed an order of $2000 dollar on coinbase, they however double charged me for another $2000 dollar which they refuse to refund me for. It’s been over 3 months and their support still wont acknowledge this. I’ve tried to get the money back via my bank but they say coinbase is…claiming the transaction was authorized (of course they would say that), and so I’m stuck with $2000 missing.

Again, these are not claims made late-2017 while Coinbase was experiencing a surge in new customers and activity. Rather, these are from a time when the value of bitcoin is down — along with interest in cryptocurrency in general.

A quick look at Google Trends puts this downturn into perspective. 

Way, way down.

Image: screenshot/google trends

According to Forbes, Coinbase generated $1 billion in revenue last year. Some of that, if the company is to be believed, was put toward beefing up its support staff following what can only be described as a tumultuous 2017.

It clearly has a few more hires to make. But hey, Coinbase will get there eventually. It promises.

Read more: https://mashable.com/2018/07/03/coinbase-better-business-bureau-complaints/

Coinbase makes it easier for hedge funds to trade Bitcoin

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Coinbase's new trading platform for institutional investors: Coinbase Prime.
Image: Coinbase

Cryptocurrency is going legit in a big way.

Leading U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase is going after institutional investors with four new major products, all of which cater to the needs of professionals and big institutions, making it easier for them to trade cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple. 

The new products address many of the issues that big investors such as hedge funds face when trying to enter the cryptocurrency market, providing liquidity, safe storage of assets, quality support and advanced products such as OTC (over-the-counter) and margin trading.

If institutional investors take the bait — and judging by announcements from banking giants such as Goldman Sachs, they will — Coinbase’s new tools will clear the path for an even larger outpouring of money into cryptocurrencies.

Coinbase Custody, launched in partnership with “an SEC-regulated broker-dealer,” provides safe storage of cryptoassets, paired with third-party auditing. Coinbase claims it’ll draw on its experience of storing more than $20 billion in cryptocurrency to make this the “most secure crypto storage solution available.”

Coinbase Prime is a platform with all the bells and whistles institutional investors are used to, and by the end of the year it should have advanced tools such as margin trading, algorithmic orders and multi-user permissions. Note that individual investors should use Coinbase’s trading platform GDAX; Prime is for institutions and professionals only.

Coinbase Markets is a centralized liquidity pool for all Coinbase products, which, besides Coinbase’s digital wallet and exchange, include trading platform GDAX and now Prime. This product will be headquartered in Coinbase’s new office in Chicago. 

Coinbase claims that more than 100 hedge funds announced plans to trade/invest in cryptocurrency in the last few months alone. 

Finally, the Coinbase Institutional Coverage Group will work from Coinbase’s New York City office to provide support to clients including research and market operations.

This is a major upgrade to Coinbase’s product lineup, which has so far been mostly oriented toward individual investors. “There is clear demand from institutional clients and financial services professionals for more specific solutions with regard to cryptocurrencies that address their sophisticated needs,” Adam White, Vice President and General Manager of Coinbase Institutional, said in a statement. Coinbase claims that more than 100 hedge funds announced plans to trade/invest in cryptocurrency in the last few months alone. 

Coinbase was reportedly adding more than 100,000 users per day in late 2017, when the cryptocurrency craze — and Bitcoin price levels — was going off the charts. The company reportedly had more than $1 billion in revenue in 2017, and valued itself at $8 billion in April 2018. 

Disclosure: The author of this text owns, or has recently owned, a number of cryptocurrencies, including BTC and ETH. 

Read more: https://mashable.com/2018/05/15/coinbase-institutional-investors/

VISA and Mastercard make it harder to buy Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies

Sometime in the last week Bitcoin investors started noticing additional fees on their bank statements. It turns out that VISA and Mastercard both decided (how convenient!) to reclassify the way Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency purchases are processed on their networks. Incidents like this pose several challenges for the cryptocurrency industry short-term, but also show just how scared the incumbents really are.

Currently, if you want to buy bitcoin, ethereum or any other alt-coin instantly, the only option is to use your debit or credit card. Transferring funds from your bank has lower fees, but takes several days. Coinbase has long accepted debit and credit cards for instant buys, however, passing on to the buyer the standard 4 percent credit card transaction fee.

Now, it seems VISA and Mastercard have quietly reclassified the way Coinbase credit card purchases are processed on their networks. Coinbase transactions (and presumably all other exchanges, as well) are now being labeled as a “cash advance” rather than a “purchase.” Fees will vary by institution, but what this means is that using a credit card will result in an additional 5 percent fee tacked on by your credit card merchant, in addition to the 4 percent credit card transaction fee already passed on by Coinbase.

Even worse is that cash advances do not fall under the standard interest-free grace period that consumers expect for other credit card purchases. The moment the Coinbase purchase goes through, the transaction accrues and compounds daily. If that isn’t bad enough, the interest rate is also higher for cash advances  —  an astonishing 25.99 percent in one case. Lastly, but equally as important for some consumers, these purchases will no longer qualify for earning credit card points.

For example, a $5,000 instant bitcoin purchase made on Coinbase using a VISA or Mastercard credit card will now result in roughly $500 in fees + interest too. For most people, losing 10 percent of your investment in fees means that the practice of using a credit card to buy cryptocurrency is effectively over. It will become more difficult for investors to purchase bitcoin and other cryptocurrency on their terms. Transferring funds via ACH takes three to five business days. In a world where cryptocurrency prices can swing wildly in either direction, a week feels like a nail-biting eternity.

In an email to all customers last night Coinbase confirmed the change, claiming “the MCC code for digital currency purchases was changed by a number of the major credit card networks” and will now allow banks and card issuers to charge “additional cash advance fees.” When asked for comment a spokesperson for Mastercard had this to say: “Over the past few weeks, we have clarified to acquirers — or the merchant’s bank — the right transaction or merchant category code to use for these type of transactions (cryptocurrency purchases). This provides a consistent view of such purchases for both merchants and issuers.”

If anything, this change makes things more complicated in the short term. Authorities are already divided on what bitcoin “is”: the IRS has already said bitcoin is not “currency” and treats it as taxable property, however, credit card companies are now telling us that buying bitcoin is the same thing as pulling cash out of an ATM.

Both things can’t be true. By reclassifying Coinbase (and presumably all other exchanges, as well), VISA and Mastercard are doing their best to make it harder, slower and more expensive for people to invest in cryptocurrency. Credit card companies believe it’s in their best interest to turn away millions in additional revenue in exchange for slowing the rush of investment into bitcoin. In many ways, that’s true. The rise of bitcoin and future cryptocurrency is tied to the eventual fall of financial middlemen like VISA and Mastercard. Maybe they just woke up to it.

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2018/02/05/visa-and-mastercard-make-it-harder-to-buy-bitcoin-and-other-cryptocurrencies/

As Bitcoin plummets Coinbase temporarily halts trading

Image: AFP/Getty Images

Coinbase — the largest Bitcoin market in the U.S. — has disabled all buying and selling as the digital currency Bitcoin dramatically loses value. 

At 11:11 a.m. EST, Coinbase posted that it had temporarally disabled trading:

All buys and sells have been temporarily disabled. We are working on a fix and apologize for any inconvenience. 

About 25 minutes later, at 11:35 a.m. EST, the company said it’s still monitoring the problem:

Due to today’s high traffic, buys and sells may be temporarily offline. We’re working on restoring full availability as soon as possible. 

This “high traffic” is largely in reference to activity in the Bitcoin market. Bitcoin is the world’s highest-valued currency, as one Bitcoin hit nearly $20,000 this December.

But it’s lost about a quarter of its value in the last 24 hours and the fickle currency is now trading at around $12,874 — and some exchanges around $11,000.

Other cryptocurrencies have followed the pattern: Ethereum, Litecoin, and Bitcoin cash have all lost a quarter of their value over the last day. 

All of this frenetic activity likely overburdened Coinbase’s services — something it might better account for going forward: New currencies are inherently unstable, and the today’s cryptocurrencies will be swinging up and down for quite some time.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/12/22/coinbase-halts-trading-as-bitcoin-falls/

Bitcoin breaks $3,000 to reach new all-time high

Bitcoin has actually reached a record high assessment of $3,000 per coin to finish a rollercoaster week that start with the long-awaited split of the cryptocurrency.

A variety of exchanges, consisting of popular locations Coinbase and Kraken , valued a single bitcoin at over $3,000, an all-time high that is up $485 on the assessment one month back. Previously this year, Bitcoin rose to go beyond $2,000 for the very first time in May going on to practically reach $3,000 in June just for the appraisal to crash .

Over the last twelve hours, bitcoins worth has actually leapt by over 10 percent as forked currency bitcoin money has actually seen its evaluation crash by 30 percent.Some exchanges consisting of Chinas OkCoin even put the worth of one bitcoin above $3,200 today.

Finally, the rise implies that the overall market cap of bitcoin is more than $50 billion $51,737,289,581 at the time of composing inning accordance with Coinmarketcap.com .

A Coinbase chart reveals bitcoins appraisal has actually passed$3,000 per coin

One chief issue around the currency was unpredictability around the capacity of a split. Some factions of the bitcoin

neighborhood advised for modification to counter the slowing down processing rates of bitcoin. The outcome was a fork called bitcoin money (called BCH)which originated on August 1.

BCH replicated the initial bitcoin blockchain, suggesting that anybody holding BTC was entitled to BCH, too. Not all exchanges consisting of Coinbase supported the forked currency from day one. That resulted in droves of clients obviously taking their coins from Coinbase, as well as risks of legal action, which eventually triggered Coinbase to alter its mind and promise to support BCH withdrawals from clients by January 1. It hasn’t dedicated to trading at this point.

BCH has actually sustained a relatively unpredictable very first week, even for bitcoin requirements.

The currency began life valued around$555, prior to peaking at$ 727 on Wednesday. It later on crashed to its existing rate of around$220 as bitcoin, on the other hand, skyrocketed to cross that$3,000 mark.

The very first week of trading for bitcoin money, viaCoinmarketcap.com

Experts are doubtful of BCHs long-lasting future since, at this moment, beyond the unsteady assessment, there isn’t really in fact anything that can be maded with it. That might

alter in the future if the task draws in sufficient business and designers, however the challenging that it requires to mine BCH versus bitcoin isn’t really warranted to numerous miners. That might adjust modification in the future, as a Coindesk story just recently recommended , however bitcoin stays the more profitable choice since today.

Note: Story upgraded to alter bitcoin money abbreviation to BCH.

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2017/08/04/bitcoin-3000/