Crypto prices drop after SEC postpones Bitcoin ETF decision

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Bitcoin is going down again.
Image: Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Image

The prices of Bitcoin, Ethereum and all other major cryptocurrencies are sharply down Wednesday following an announcement by the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) that it will postpone the decision on approving what would be the first-ever Bitcoin ETF. 

The SEC, which recently rejected a proposal by Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss to launch a Bitcoin ETF, now has to approve or disprove another similar proposal, issued by the VanEck SolidX Bitcoin Trust. But the regulator has extended the deadline in which it must reach a decision to September 30, 2018. 

A document posted by the SEC Tuesday says it has received more than 1,300 comments on this proposal; the regulator found it “appropriate to designate a longer period within which to take action on the proposed rule change so that it has sufficient time to consider the proposed rule change.”

In July, the SEC extended the deadline for deciding on Direxion’s Bitcoin ETF proposal to September 21, with similar reasoning. 

These delays aren’t overly negative for Bitcoin; in fact, given that one SEC commissioner dissented from the regulator’s decision to reject the Winklevoss brothers’ proposal for a Bitcoin ETF, the fact that the SEC needs more time to make a decision on another proposal might be a positive sign for Bitcoin proponents. 

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Image: coinmarketcap.com

However, it appears that anything resembling bad news can send the crypto market plummeting these days. Shortly following the announcement, the price of Bitcoin dropped by more than 6% and is currently trading at $6,580. Ethereum, the second largest cryptocurrency by market cap, fared even worse, having dropped by more than 8% at one point. It’s currently trading at $375, its lowest level since April. Ripple, Bitcoin Cash and EOS — the third, fourth and fifth largest coins by market cap — have all dropped more than ten percent in the past 24 hours. 

The market capitalization of the entire cryptocurrency market is also sharply down at the time of writing. At $230 billion, it’s at its lowest point since November 2017. 

Despite short periods of optimism here and there, the prices of Bitcoin, Ethereum and most other major cryptocurrencies have been on the decline since their January highs, when the total crypto market cap was over $800 billion. The launch of a Bitcoin ETF would likely be a big boost for Bitcoin and other coins, as it would open the doors to institutional investors to invest in the crypto market. 

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

Read more: https://mashable.com/2018/08/08/bitcoin-etf-postponed-bitcoin-ethereum-price/

The SEC rejects the proposal for first Bitcoin ETF again, but there’s a silver lining

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Better luck next time, guys.
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The SEC has rejected a second proposal to list and trade shares of the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust on the Bats BZX Exchange, which would essentially be the launch of the first Bitcoin ETF. Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, founders of the Gemini cryptocurrency exchange and big proponents of Bitcoin, have already been rejected in March 2017

The SEC dismissed the amended proposal on Thursday with a 3 to 1 vote, disproving BZX’s claim that Bitcoin markets are “uniquely resistant to manipulation,” and questioning whether BZX can do enough to deter fraud and manipulation on the market. 

But this time there’s a but. 

Following the SEC’s decision, which sharply drove the price of Bitcoin down from $8,287 to about $7,900, the SEC published Commissioner Hester Peirce’s dissent from the SEC’s decision. 

“Contrary to the Commission’s determination, I believe that the proposed rule change satisfies the statutory standard and that we should permit BZX to list and trade this bitcoin-based exchange-traded product (“ETP”),” Peirce wrote. 

She argues, essentially, that this is a case of catch 22: the Bitcoin market has its problems but these problems would be “mitigated by institutionalizing the market”. In other words, allowing the first Bitcoin ETF to launch would improve the Bitcoin market precisely in the way the SEC would want it to. 

“The disapproval order discourages new institutional participants from entering this market. Worse, it suggests that approval for bitcoin ETPs will come only when bitcoin spot and derivatives markets have matured substantially, yet, at the same time, contributes to further delay in their maturation, as potential institutional investors may reasonably conclude that the Commission will continue to repress market forces for the foreseeable future,” Peirce wrote. 

On broader terms, Peirce also believes that “the disapproval order demonstrates a skeptical view of innovation, which may have an adverse effect on investor protection, efficiency, competition, and capital formation well beyond this particular product.”

Peirce’s dissent is interesting, as it shows how the SEC might be swayed to change its decision on cases like this in the future. Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss’ bid was rejected, but there’s another active application for a Bitcoin ETF, coming from the VanEcx SolidX Bitcoin Trust. The SEC did not comment on that application at this time, and it still has until August 16 to do so according to CNBC

Read more: https://mashable.com/2018/07/27/bitcoin-etf-rejected/

Congressman proposes banning bitcoin at House hearing

Burn the coins!
Image: D-Keine/getty

Look, cryptocurrency is complicated. We get it. What with all the different coins, tokens, ICOs, exchanges, scams, protocols, and DApps, it’s borderline impossible for the casual observer to keep it all straight. 

And so, with that in mind, let us now turn to approximately three combined hours of our elected officials rambling on about the blockchain and our decentralized future.

The fun started early Wednesday, when members of the House Committee on Agriculture held a hearing to discuss the future of the crypto-verse. 

“We should prohibit US persons from buying or mining cryptocurrencies.”

“This hearing will shed light on the promise of digital assets and the regulatory challenges facing this new asset class,” committee chairman Rep. K. Michael Conaway of Texas (R-Texas) explained. “Our committee has a deep interest in promoting strong markets for commodities of all types, including those emerging through new technology.”

But that wasn’t the only fun to be had today. Later in the afternoon, the House Financial Services Committee met to “examine the extent to which the United States government should consider cryptocurrencies as money and the potential domestic and global uses for cryptocurrencies.”

And what did we learn from this esteemed group? Well, for starters, that bitcoin’s got to go. 

“We should prohibit U.S. persons from buying or mining cryptocurrencies,” Rep. Brad Sherman of (D-Calif.) blasted from the podium. “Mining alone uses electricity which takes away from other needs and-or adds to the carbon footprint. As a store, as a medium of exchange, cryptocurrency accomplishes nothing except facilitating narcotics trafficking, terrorism, and tax evasion.”

Good ol’ Sherman.

Image: screenshot/house financial services committee 

Did you catch that? Mining uses electricity, and therefore should be banned. 

But not everyone agreed with Sherman. Conaway, in his closing statements, seemed to argue in favor of bitcoin — at least as opposed to more privacy-focused cryptocurrency like Monero or Zcash. 

“As long as the stupid criminals keep using bitcoin, we’ll be great,” he observed when commenting on the pseudonymous nature of bitcoin. 

Hear that, stupid criminals? Stick to bitcoin

Other fun gems include Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) admitting that “there’s a lot of things here that don’t make much sense to me.” And yet, Peterson actually seemed to have some relevant statistics at hand, like the fact that “over 80 percent of the initial coin offerings are scams.” 

Good on you, Peterson. 

Over all, the two hearings painted a picture of our elected officials attempting to wrap their heads around this brave new cryptoworld. And hey, that’s a good thing. Everyone has to start somewhere. 

After all, we can’t all be self-assured teen crypto millionaires

Read more: https://mashable.com/2018/07/18/congressional-cryptocurrency-hearing-ban-bitcoin/

Bitcoin just passed $7 thousand so BRING ON THE MEMES

$1,000,000 here we come!
Image: PESHKOVA/GETTY

Oh hell yeah. Bitcoin’s back, baby.

After languishing in the depressing realm of the six thousands for what seemed like forever, the price of bitcoin has skyrocketed straight to the moon! 

Well, skyrocketed past $7,000, anyway.

Yes, friends, it’s time to join the hordes of true believers on Twitter and Reddit in celebration. And while you’re at it, you definitely want to ignore the fact that last December, bitcoin briefly hit $19,000, which means that the current price is less than half of that. But you’re not going to let a little thing like context get in the way of your fun, right? 

Right. Let’s start things off with r/Bitcoin, which celebrated the destruction of the so-called “7k wall.” 

TFW you miss these memes.

Image: screenshot/reddit

And there’s definitely nothing remotely ironic about this roller coaster that only goes up. 

Always up.

Image: screenshot/reddit

Also, it isn’t a party without bitcoin choking out Warren Buffett!

Invest in memes.

Image: screenshot/reddit

Twitter also dropped some of the old-time favorites.

Meanwhile, presidential candidate John “I’ll eat my own dick on TV if Bitcoin doesn’t hit $1,000,000 by 2020″ McAfee has been surprisingly quiet about this rally, but we should expect celebratory comments from him any time now. 

Of course, those meddlesome nocoiners are trying to rain all over this cryptocurrency parade. 

But don’t let them yuck your yum! This price spike is totally organic, has nothing to do with fraud, and can only continue going up forever!

So bask in that sweet, sweet $7,000 feeling — it’s not like it could all come crumbling down in the blink of an eye. Again.

Read more: https://mashable.com/2018/07/17/bitcoin-passes-7-thousand/

SEC comments about a proposed bitcoin ETF are as dumb as youd expect

Lit, dude. Just totally lit.
Image: Jag_cz/getty

Nothing quite captures the excitement of bitcoin like a proposed exchange-traded fund.

I mean, just say it out loud. Bitcoin ETF. It’s sexy, right? And if public comments submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission in favor of the latest would-be fund are any indication, it’s also goddamn lit. 

But before this party pops off, some background: As Coindesk reported in late June, the SEC is considering allowing the creation of a bitcoin ETF. The fund, the brainchild of investment firm VanEck and blockchain startup SolidX, would allow futures exchange Cboe BZX Exchange, Inc. to list and trade SolidX Bitcoin Shares. 

According to the Cboe filing statement, “the Trust will invest in bitcoin only.” One share will be roughly equivalent to 25 bitcoin, notes CryptoSlate, and only accredited investors will get to play with this particular bag. 

The SEC, which has shut down previous attempts to create bitcoin ETFs, decided to open this proposal up for public comment. And the comments, well, they’re pretty great. 

Take this one, from someone who listed their name as Laosy Guesses.

Pure fire.

Image: Sec/screenshot

Yes, ETFs are so lit, my dude. 

Or how about this comment from Alex Hales, which suggests he’s hoping the SEC’s approval will pump up the price of bitcoin. Pump and dump for the win. 

Pump pump pump.

Image: sec/screenshot

And then there’s this guy, who seems to think that our long, national nightmare is soooo close to being over — assuming the SEC approves bitcoin ETFs. 

Save us, SEC.

Image: sec/screenshot

We shouldn’t overlook the simple and often effective appeal to ego. Our man Rahsaan has that covered. “You’ll be regarded as financial visionaries,” he tells the SEC. “Please,” he begs, “take us under your wing.”

Holding our hands.

Image: sec/screenshot

Yes, spread out those wings, dear SEC — but not for any fans of Bitcoin Cash. This party is for institutional bitcoin investors only. 

Of course, if flattery doesn’t work, there’s always the opposite approach: Let the SEC know you think it’s garbage. 

Quit your messing.

Image: sec/screenshot

Unfortunately for our commenting friends, we don’t yet know whether or not the SEC will approve a bitcoin ETF this time around. But we do know one thing for sure: Whatever the SEC decides, it’s going to be liiiiiiiiiit.

Read more: https://mashable.com/2018/07/10/sec-public-comments-bitcoin-etf/

This space heater mines bitcoin while keeping your house warm

Problems.
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.”

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/

SEC says bitcoin and ether aren’t securities

Clarity is good.
Image: ULRICH BAUMGARTEN/GETTY

The world of cryptocurrency just got some much needed good news. 

With the prices of bitcoin and ether on a steady downward trend, the Securities and Exchange Commission today provided hodlers with a flash of hope: Neither of the cryptocurrencies are considered securities. 

So reports CNBC, which notes that the SEC’s head of the Division of Corporate Finance, William Hinman, delivered the news at the San Francisco Yahoo All Markets Summit: Crypto conference. If the SEC had decided differently, then exchanges and markets would likely have faced some serious regulation. 

And, well, no one in cryptoland likes regulation.  

The announcement was celebrated by big names in both the Ethereum and Bitcoin space. 

Oh, also, it had quite the effect on price. Coindesk shows both ether and bitcoin spiking on the news. 

But all this doesn’t mean the SEC is washing its hands of the entire emerging industry. According to Hinman, many ICOs are in fact securities and will be on the receiving end of SEC regulatory action. 

Interestingly, Yahoo News reports Hinman as explaining that simply calling something a coin or a token makes no difference in the eyes of his agency. More important is the extent of decentralization involved in the network in question. 

“Over time,” CNBC quotes him as saying, “there may be other sufficiently decentralized networks and systems where regulating the tokens or coins that function on them as securities may not be required.”

So, you know, better hype up your blockchain project’s decentralized attributes now. It may save you from the SEC’s wrath later. 

Read more: https://mashable.com/2018/06/14/bitcoin-ether-not-security-sec/

Bitcoin bleeds following yet another exchange hack

We're going down again.
Image: traviswolfe/gettyimages

The prices of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and all other major cryptocurrencies have experienced big drops in the last 24 hours, following the news that South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Coinrail has been hacked. 

In a statement on its website Monday, Coinrail said that hackers stole up to 30% of the coins from its storage. 

According to Coinrail, the hackers struck on June 10 and made away with a number of different cryptocoins, including the recently launched Pundi X (NPXS), which makes roughly two thirds of Coinrail’s trading volume. Korea’s Yonhap estimated that a total of 40 billion won ($37.2 million) of coins went missing. 

Coinrail is a fairly small exchange with roughly $2.5 million in daily volume according to CoinMarketCap. “(Coinrail) is a minor player in the market and I can see how such small exchanges with lower standards on security level can be exposed to more risks,” Reuters quoted Kim Jin-Hwa, a representative at Korea Blockchain Industry Association, as saying. Coinrail said it is cooperating with the police investigating the hack and said it will release an announcement with more details as soon as possible. 

The cryptocurrency markets tumbled sharply following the news, with Bitcoin dropping from $7,240 to $6,752 in less than two hours, with the current price being $6,794. The second largest cryptocurrency by market cap, Ethereum, dropped from $570 to $511 before recovering slightly to $533. 

Other major cryptocurrencies experienced a similar drop. EOS, the fifth largest currency by market cap, had it worst of all: It plummeted 15% in the last 24 hours, and is currently trading at $11.2. EOS’s price drop is notable as this cryptocurrency is currently in the process of launching its main blockchain network (also known as mainnet) after having raised a reported $4 billion in a year-long initial coin offering (ICO), dwarfing all similar crowdfunding efforts. 

The Coinrail theft is the fourth major cryptocurrency exchange hack this year. In January, $400 million worth of cryptocurrency was stolen from Japanese exchange Coincheck, and in February, $200 million worth of cryptocurrency went missing from Italian cryptocurrency exchange Bitgrail. In April, cryptocurrency exchange Coinsecure said some $3.3 million worth of Bitcoin were stolen from its wallet. 

The total market cap of all cryptocurrencies has descended below $300 billion for the first time since early April; it currently stands at $297 billion. 

Read more: https://mashable.com/2018/06/11/coinrail-exchange-hack/

Hot damn, this Bitcoin cat just might convince me to HODL

Yesssssssss.
Image:  iridi/getty

Bitcoin true believers have long promised a blockchain-based revolution, but the only true thing of value to come out of Satoshi’s white paper is this chill-ass cryptocat.  

Sure, the scams and ransomware and general buffoonery in the blockchain space have all been pretty great, but none of that comes close to this Bitcoin maximalist tabby. 

I mean, just check the dude out. 

He’s an absolute unit, with bad-boy appeal. 

Get it.

Image: iridi/getty

And! He’s knows how to accessorize. 

Oh *hell* yeah.

Image: iridi/getty

Let’s not overlook the fact that he believes in saving for retirement. 

Investing in a feline future.

Image: iridi/getty

But he’s not stingy, either. Check this party vibe. 

Crypto rich!

Image: iridi/getty

Also, hell yeah to these shades. My man’s got style. 

Fresh.

Image: iridi/getty

Not only that, he makes a coherent argument about the relative value of cryptocurrency versus fiat. (The tie means he’s legit.)

Farewell to fiat.

Image: iridi/getty

So while the market may be volatile, and the entire blockchain industry is basically a solution in search of a problem, at least it gave us this cat. 🙌 

Read more: https://mashable.com/2018/06/01/bitcoin-cat/

Coinbase makes it easier for hedge funds to trade Bitcoin

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/