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Creditor Takes Crypto Startup London Block Exchange to Court

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Update (12:30 UTC, April 29, 2019): This article has been updated after new information was received from LBX CEO Benjamin Dives

A creditor has taken the London Block Exchange (LBX) to court in a bid to wind up the cryptocurrency exchange, but the startup’s CEO has denied it is going out of business.

Law firm Squire Patton Boggs (UK) LLP served the petition to LBX on March 19 in London’s High Court of Justice. A hearing on the matter is scheduled to take place Tuesday, according to London Block Exchange CEO Benjamin Dives.

Russell Hill, a partner at Squire Patton Boggs, told CoinDesk:

“We filed a winding-up petition against the company as a matter of public record for a debt we are owed. At this stage, because of ongoing litigation, it’s not appropriate for me to say anything more.”

Typically a creditor asks a solicitor to wind the debtor company up to recover debts, or to stop the company from making its debts worse. This can be done any creditor with debts over 750 British pounds (about $968) and is generally seen as a serious action to take against a firm, as it means the firm’s directors could face personal liability for the debts if they don’t act quickly.

However, Dives told CoinDesk that the debt in question is only £9,900 (around $12,787). Squire Patton Boggs drafted terms and conditions for LBX’s website and provided some other legal services, Dives said. The bill wasn’t paid for a long time, so the law firm got angry and demanded a higher fee, he claimed.

“The bill didn’t come to my attention until it was very late,” Dives said. According to him, LBX sent the money to the firm, but it somehow never reached Squire’s account. However, he said he’s sure the court will decide in LBX’s favor, adding:

“We’re getting calls from people who think we’re going out of business, but we’re not going into liquidation.”

Subsequent to that conversation, Peter McCormack, host of the popular podcast “What Bitcoin Did,” alleged on his Twitter feed that LBX was insolvent and owed creditors “millions,” and that staff had not been paid since last year. He did not identify the sources of this information.

Funding rumors

LBX had been based in the iconic Level39 tech space in London’s Canary Wharf, which had been home to a number of crypto and blockchain firms, including the CEX.IO exchange, eToro and Revolut.

However, a representative for Level39 said LBX no longer occupied a shared workspace there and had not since 2018. (The cost of a hot desk in Level39 starts at about £400 per month, with fixed office space desks starting at about £700 per month.)

Regarding the company leaving Level39, Dives said: “We found L39 to be an unsuitable location for security given the high level of intimacy hotdesking brings.”

One industry source told CoinDesk there had been rumors the firm was trying to raise capital in recent months. Data and APIs that would define LBX trading volumes had not been forthcoming, added the source.

Dives also pointed out that LBX has been raising capital since mid-2018 and has two substantial investments confirmed since then. Regarding the comments tweeted by McCormack, Dives said: “We have been advised not to comment on peters claims by our lawyers.”

The London Block Exchange (LBX) launched in November 2017 having raised 2 million pounds (about $2.6 million) from investors, according to Business Insider.

With former Credit Suisse banker Adam Bryant as executive chairman, the company had ambitious plans for a prepaid card by which users could hold and spend crypto. That turned out to be a case of bad timing, since telco services provider WaveCrest (which worked with all the U.K. firms offering crypto-linked prepaid cards) violated its terms with Visa, essentially putting an end to this business model in the U.K.

However, LBX pivoted to become a mobile-first crypto exchange on iOS and Android, courting U.K. customers looking to trade crypto for pounds sterling. Towards the end of 2018, LBX announced it was “minting” a digital pound via a partnership with another blockchain company, AlphaPoint.

In addition, Reuters reported a deal between LBX, which is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and ClearBank to provide the exchange with banking services.

The company had also planned an LBX token sale towards the end of 2018, but later canceled it, stating:  “it’s clear that the market appetite for a public token sale will not support our growth plans alone and, in fact, is likely to be detrimental to our regulatory and investment roadmap.”

London High Court of Justice image via Shutterstock.

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Ripple Offered Multimillion-Dollar XRP Bonuses to Lure Top Tech Talent

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Silicon Valley fintech startup Ripple is going out of its solution to say it didn’t create the cryptocurrency XRP. But that doesn’t imply the corporate doesn’t depend on its huge reserves of the token when relationship potential hires.

One engineer who requested to stay nameless confirmed CoinDesk a recruiting e-mail from past due 2018 that promised an XRP package deal from Ripple of price as much as $three million, along with a beneficiant wage be offering.

According to the corporate’s LinkedIn, Ripple is having a look to rent greater than a dozen engineers and technical mavens, together with a brand new head of engineering for its xCurrent project, which goals to rival the legacy messaging community SWIFT on the heart of the present world bills infrastructure.

Salaries might range in step with seniority, however in response to conversations with two potential recruits, XRP bonuses for engineers normally vary in price from $1 million to $6 million, in step with the corporate’s personal analysis. As of press time, XRP is buying and selling at more or less $0.30 in line with token.

(Ripple declined to touch upon bonus applications, together with whether or not they’re nonetheless being introduced in 2019.)

One former Ripple worker, who requested to stick nameless for worry of prison retribution, instructed CoinDesk he by no means heard of such XRP bonus applications earlier than 2017. However, he additionally famous beneficiant fairness offers are usual in Silicon Valley.

In September 2018, one potential engineering recruit, who requested to stay nameless as a result of he works at an organization that may at some point collaborate with Ripple, instructed CoinDesk that he additionally won an e-mail from Ripple that stood out as it introduced profitable XRP applications, supposedly price $three million to $6 million. Both engineers lately paintings at top-tier tech firms in Silicon Valley, albeit the second one programmer at a crypto corporate (thus the upper be offering).

Additionally, the e-mail claimed the worldwide marketplace cap of “its [Ripple’s] coin” was once price $48 billion. According to CoinMarketCap, at the day the e-mail was once despatched XRP’s world marketplace cap was once nearer to $13.three billion. The potential engineer recruit instructed CoinDesk he discovered this discrepancy alarming.

Speaking to the peculiar bonus providing that stuck his eye, the nameless engineer stated Ripple is “a very unpopular entity in the crypto sphere among technologists,” so he believes the corporate is “forced to go above and beyond to attract engineers” all the way through the endure marketplace.

Bear recruiting

A Ripple consultant instructed CoinDesk the corporate lately employs more or less 90 engineers and generation mavens, with plans to rent “aggressively” in an effort to increase its tool as a carrier providing plus improve RippleInternet cell wallets and payout processes.

This is a part of an ongoing hiring spree. The corporate consultant stated that Ripple added 100 new staff around the corporate in 2018, including:

“We move fast to acquire the best talent out there – especially considering the highly competitive nature of other startups who want to hire similar candidates.”

Former Ripple group liaison Jon Holmquist instructed CoinDesk that developer salaries and reimbursement are ballooning throughout Silicon Valley. As such, Holmquist stated any hiring demanding situations may well be associated with the wider marketplace downturn, no longer Ripple particularly.

“No one wants to join crypto for the first time during a bear market. I think that’s more of an industry-wide problem,” Holmquist stated. “There’s always a shortage of talent.”

The nameless engineer disagreed, making an allowance for the opposite kinds of recruiting emails he automatically receives.

“This is for a devops role, which is generally harder to find, but these are really big numbers,” the nameless engineer stated, regarding each the wage and XRP bonus package deal. “It comes across a little bit desperate.”

Serial entrepreneur Dave Schukin tweeted remaining June that the corporate introduced him greater than $175,000 as a base wage, which seems in step with the opposite be offering shared with CoinDesk.

In phrases of what Ripple is searching for, the corporate consultant stated they’re recruiting tool mavens with Java or C++ language experience and an plentiful dose of teachability.

“We are not necessarily looking for blockchain experts – we can always teach domain-specific expertise,” she stated. “We also think it’s important that our engineers carry themselves with humility and are able to think creatively about how to solve hard problems.”

Ripple image by way of Shutterstock

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John McAfee Living in a Constant State of Paranoia Launches Podcast

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By CCN: Following John McAfee’s triumphant return to Twitter after a brief hiatus, the software mogul and his wife on Tuesday announced a new podcast about life on the run.

McAfee’s Life on the Run

This John McAfee gif illustrates his MBTI

The outspoken bitcoin bull’s DGAF disposition. | Source: Giphy

In their announcement, McAfee and his wife describe living on the run and hiding from the government. The software mogul also informs followers that the couple’s brief social media absence was because of an incoming raid.

Can’t Keep John McAfee Down

The outspoken presidential longshot is also a fugitive who will face arrest upon return to the U.S. But McAfee – a bitcoin perma-bull – refuses to let any government keep him down. Following the couple’s announcement today, McAfee posted characteristic crypto advice on Twitter.

He addressed the bitcoin price, suggesting that people who ask him when bitcoin is trading at $7,900 whether they should wait to buy it sound more ridiculous than he looks while getting his hair processed.

“If you like bitcoin, buy it. Who cares whether it’s at $15 or $1,500 or $10,000. If it’s a good deal, f***ing buy it. End of story.”

He then promised to show everyone his hair after it’s done.

Although McAfee and his wife describe their podcast as a chronicle of the couple’s unconventional lives, one major theme is sure to touch on the benefits of decentralized money. If McAfee holds bitcoin, no matter where he goes, he can always use it. Governments may be able to seize the couple’s house, boat, and bank accounts, but they can’t stop bitcoin. At least not without shutting down the internet. Incidentally, McAfee recently expressed an interest in Dogecoin.

Craig Wright vs. McAfee

McAfee is reasonably popular among crypto proponents. But still, some argue that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies were not designed to help people circumvent taxes or laws.  Among them is controversial figure Craig Wright.

Wright, who registered a copyright on the Bitcoin white paper this morning, is one of McAfee’s most vocal opponents. Wright will undoubtedly argue that McAfee’s podcast will slow mass adoption and increase the public perception that bitcoin’s primary use is for tax evasion and other nefarious purposes.

McAfee Doesn’t Give a F**k!

For those who might disparage McAfee’s unconventional methods of bitcoin evangelism, the presidential candidate has a message:

“As if I give a flying f**k what you think!”

Controversial, outspoken, and intelligent, John McAfee’s podcast is sure to attract a broad audience. But will the McAfee podcast “highlight” the advantages of a decentralized economy and fuel mass adoption or the opposite? Only time will tell.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not represent those of, nor should they be attributed to, CCN.

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Binance’s BNB Token Hits All-Time High in Bitcoin Value

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Binance Coin (BNB), the token issued via the arena’s greatest cryptocurrency trade via industry quantity Binance, has prolonged its contemporary positive aspects to set a brand new all-time prime in bitcoin-denominated price.

At press time, BNB is buying and selling at 0.002619 BTC ($9.60) however in the past reached 0.002688 at 10:00 UTC Monday – the cryptocurrency’s easiest worth in its complete one and part 12 months historical past, in keeping with information from Binance. 

Binance first indexed BNB for buying and selling on July 14, 2017, and the token has accomplished a just about 9,600 % go back on funding from its December 2017 initial coin offering (ICO) worth of $0.10.

At the similar time, BNB nonetheless has a long way to move earlier than drawing near it’s all-time prime in USD price. Current figures constitute a decline of 58 % from BNB’s USD prime of $22.48 accomplished on Jan. 12, 2018, information from OnchainFX additional finds.

BNB’s BTC-tied prime got here after a duration of sturdy efficiency that performed out during the last a number of weeks.

As may also be observed within the desk under, BNB has considerably outperformed the marketplace chief and international’s greatest cryptocurrency bitcoin during the last 90-days, together with a 35 % building up previously seven days by myself when bitcoin rose simply five %.

BNB’s contemporary enlargement has catapulted it to transform the arena’s 10th greatest cryptocurrency via marketplace capitalization, which now registers $1.33 billion, in keeping with information from Coinmarketcap.com.

While BNB could also be the one well known cryptocurrency to hit a brand new report of types, it has no longer been the most efficient performer.

Data from OnchainFX finds 3 cryptocurrencies have outshined BNB previously seven days together with ARK, Dentacoin, and Theta Token who’ve published positive aspects of 35 %, 43 % and 43 %, respectively, towards the United States greenback.

Disclosure: The writer holds BTC, AST, REQ, OMG, FUEL, ZIL, 1st and AMP on the time of writing.

Binance phone symbol by means of Shutterstock

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New Proposed ETF Would Mix Bitcoin Futures With Sovereign Debt

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A brand new proposed exchange-traded fund (ETF) would spend money on bitcoin futures – even though handiest as a part of a bigger set of extra conservative investments.

Reality Shares ETF Trust, a department of Blockforce Capital, which already introduced one ETF with blockchain products, filed a Form N1-A with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Monday in partnership with NYSE Arca, taking a look to release the Reality Shares Blockforce Global Currency Strategy ETF.

If authorized, the fund would spend money on a portfolio which incorporates “high-quality, short-term sovereign debt instruments listed for trading on U.S. exchanges and denominated in U.S. dollar, euro, British pounds sterling, Japanese yen and Swiss francs,” in addition to bitcoin futures, cash marketplace mutual price range and/or different coins equivalents, in step with the submitting.

The fund would spend money on cash-settled bitcoin futures contracts, moderately than bodily settled. In different phrases, when the contract expires, the investor would obtain the money an identical of its worth, moderately than precise bitcoins. According to the submitting, “the fund will not invest directly in bitcoin.”

The proposal explains:

“The Adviser initially constructs the Fund’s portfolio by investing approximately (i) an equal-weight of 15 [percent] of the Fund’s net assets in Fixed Income Securities denominated in each Fiat Significant Global Currency; (ii) 15 [percent] of the Fund’s net assets representing notional exposure in Bitcoin Futures and (iii) 10 [percent] of the Fund’s net assets in Money Market Instruments for margin and/or cash management purposes, each as measured at the time of purchase (the ‘Target Portfolio’).”

Reality Shares’ submitting is going on so as to add that “the Adviser seeks to reallocate the Fund’s assets approximately to the Target Portfolio on the business day following the date that one or more of the Significant Global Currencies moves by more than 20 [percent] up or down from its original 15 [percent] portfolio equal-weight, calculated as a percentage of the Fund’s net assets.”

Initially, Reality Shares plans to spend money on the bitcoin futures presented via the main Chicago futures exchanges, Cboe and CME, even though it could search for different bitcoin futures merchandise sooner or later.

Bitcoin ETFs

Reality Shares’ proposal comes at the heels of 2 bitcoin-specific ETF filings made via Bitwise Asset Management and VanEck/SolidX last month. While Bitwise’s proposal used to be additionally filed via NYSE Arca, VanEck and SolidX are running with Cboe BZX Exchange.

The VanEck/SolidX proposal is famously just like an previous proposal that many was hoping will be the first bitcoin ETF authorized. However, the firms pulled the previous version after the extended U.S. government shutdown, pronouncing on the time that they had been not able to continue discussions about the proposal with the SEC.

Both of those bitcoin ETFs range from Monday’s submitting in that they don’t come with sovereign debt tools.

The SEC has now not but revealed Reality Shares’ rule trade proposal on its web page, indicating that it has now not but begun inspecting the product. Once the proposal is revealed within the Federal Register, the SEC could have at maximum 240 days to resolve whether or not to approve or reject the rule of thumb trade proposal.

T-bill image by the use of JHerbstman / Wikimedia Commons

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Central Bank of Laos Issues Warning Against Using Cryptocurrency

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The central bank of Laos has warned the public against the use, purchase or sale of digital currencies, local news outlet Vientiane Times reported on May 21.

The Bank of the Lao PDR has issued a warning to financial market participants and the public against cryptocurrency transactions as they are considered illegal in the country. The bank previously banned financial institutions from conducting any operations with cryptocurrencies, as well as making investments in such an asset.

The bank is purportedly concerned about the anonymity of the sender and receiver in a cryptocurrency transaction, which it worries increases the risk of digital assets’ use in money laundering. A source familiar with the matter told Vientiane Times that authorities do not have a relevant security system to protect cryptocurrency owners.

While some countries like, Canada, Malta and Switzerland have embraced the new asset class to varying degrees, officials around the globe are still expressing skepticism toward crypto, while some hardliners call for outright bans.

In the United States, where the legal status of crypto can vary state-to-state, California Congressman Brad Sherman recently called for a full ban on cryptocurrencies. Sherman claimed that crypto presents a threat to the power of the U.S. dollar to affect world economic developments.

In April, Cointelegraph reported that the Indian government was considering a complete ban of cryptocurrencies under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act since it could purportedly be used for money laundering. The Ministry of Corporate Affairs reportedly stated that cryptocurrencies are used in fraudulent schemes to “defraud gullible investors”.

That same month, news broke that Pakistan — which banned cryptocurrency trading last April — is implementing new cryptocurrency regulations in an effort to improve its track record in fighting financial crime. The move was reportedly in part a reaction to demands from international monitoring body the Finance Action Task Force, which has repeatedly voiced concerns about cryptocurrencies’ role in terrorist financing.

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