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Hodler’s Digest, April 22–28: Top Stories, Price Movements, Quotes and FUD of the Week

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Top stories this week

Bitfinex Allegedly Covers $850 Million Loss With Tether Funds

The New York attorney general’s office alleged this week that crypto exchange Bitfinex lost $850 million and subsequently used funds from affiliated stablecoin operator Tether to secretly cover the shortfall. The attorney general’s office has obtained a court filing that alleged that Bitfinex’s operator, Tether Limited and its associated entities were in violation of New York law with activities that may have defrauded New York-based crypto investors. Bitfinex has already publicly renounced the accusations, repeating in a blog post that both its platform and Tether are financially sound and claiming the court filings are “riddled with false assertions.” Amid the allegations, Bitfinex withdrew funds worth almost $90 million from its cold wallet.

WSJ: Japanese Billionaire SoftBank Founder Lost $130 Million on Bitcoin Investment

Masayoshi Son, a Japanese billionaire and the founder of multinational conglomerate SoftBank Group, reportedly lost over $130 million with his bitcoin (BTC) investment. According to unnamed sources speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Son invested at the recommendation of Peter Briger, the co-chairman of asset management company Fortress Investment Group. However, Son allegedly invested in bitcoin when it was near its $20,000 all-time-high in late 2017 and sold during the 2018 bear market, losing $130 million. According to Bloomberg, Son’s net worth is $18.8 billion and has grown by more than 54% over the last year.

Report: Samsung Planning New Blockchain Mainnet Featuring Samsung Coin

According to unnamed sources speaking to a crypto industry publication, South Korean electronics giant Samsung is possibly developing a public-private blockchain with its own cryptocurrency, the Samsung Coin. The sources note that the alleged project would be developed by the company’s dedicated blockchain division, and that it would take the form of a blockchain mainnet based on Ethereum. The Ethereum-based offering, according to the reports, would probably incorporate elements of both public and private details, noting that he or she thinks “it will be hybrid — that is, a combination of public and private blockchains.”

Unconfirmed: Disney Considers $13.2 Billion Equity Deal With Stake in Korbit, Bitstamp

If a $13.2 billion equity deal goes through, cryptocurrency exchanges Korbit and Bitstamp could soon have Walt Disney Corp. as their owner. According to a Korean news outlet, the chairman of online gaming giant NXC Corporation, Jung-ju Kim, plans to sell his 98.6% stake in the company. Since NXC owns 47% of Nexon, South Korea’s largest game developer — which has stakes in the aforementioned cryptocurrency exchange — Disney would become a coincidental player in the cryptocurrency, pending the deal’s closure. To date, Disney’s only foray into the cryptocurrency sphere has been its Dragonchain blockchain, which has remained a fringe project despite a 2017 initial coin offering (ICO) raising around $13 million.

‘Blockchain Bandit’ Has Stolen 45,000 ETH by Guessing Weak Private Keys, Report Claims

According to a report released by Independent Security Evaluators, a so-called “blockchain bandit” has amassed almost 45,000 ethers (ETH) by successfully guessing weak private keys. Adrian Bednarek, a senior security analyst, discovered the hacker accidentally after uncovering 732 private keys through his research, using a combination of looking for faulty code and faulty random number generators rather than a brute force search. Looking at the findings, Bednarek realized that some of the wallets associated with the private keys he had found had a high volume of transactions going to a single address, with no money coming back out. At the end of ETH’s value, the total amount of ether allegedly stolen was equal to around $50 million.

Winners and losers

Bitcoin is a bit down at the end of the week, trading at around $5,300. Ether is trading at about $159, XRP at $0.29 and total market cap is at around $172 billion.

The top three altcoin gainers of the week are speedcash, commerce data connection and ACRE. The top three altcoin losers of the week are spectrum network, womencoin and icechain.

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

Most memorable quotations

“We have been investing for the last year to re-architect our entire platform to support multiple blockchains in the face of global regulation. Global regulation of the cryptocurrency industry is inevitable for this truly borderless financial system to achieve mainstream adoption.”

Jonathan Levin, Chainalysis co-founder and chief operating officer

“My entire life I’ve been tracking people who are the best in the world, and hiding their identity. Finding Satoshi was a piece of cake for me.”

John McAfee, American entrepreneur and stalwart crypto advocate

“What is preventing the banking industry from rushing into it? I think it’s mostly culture. I think the tipping point is about having an entrepreneurial culture, a willingness to push people to keep asking why.”

Emmanuel Aidoo, head of digital market assets at Credit Suisse

FUD of the week

Research: White Paper Writers Can Earn $50K, but Say Startups Often Mislead Investors

According to a Decrypt investigation, white paper writers are earning between $1,000 and $50,000 per job. However, a number of them have accused some startups of asking them to mislead investors. As part of the investigation, freelancers that were interviewed said that they were “constantly required to fabricate and exaggerate facts,” including the addition of fake numbers and inventing entire business models for their clients. One anonymous United States-based white paper writer noted that copyright infringement often occurs, as startup executives ask writers to include details of patented technology belonging to rival companies. Notably, those interviewed said they have reported a recent uptick in demand for white paper writing.

Coinbase Files to Close Its Political Action Committee

Major U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has filed to close its political action committee (PAC) this week. According to the filing, Coinbase’s PAC received no funds nor make any disbursements, and is now seeking to terminate the PAC. According to the regulations, a PAC must file a termination report in order to cease operations once it no longer intends to make or receive contributions or expenditures. Coinbase had formed the PAC in July of last year, becoming a founding member of the Blockchain Association in September — Washington D.C.’s first lobby group to exclusively represent the interests of the blockchain industry.

Report: India Considers Complete Ban on Digital Currencies

According to an unnamed official familiar with the matter, a draft bill that would ban cryptocurrency is allegedly circulating among various departments of the Indian government. The draft bill, dubbed the “Banning of Cryptocurrencies and Regulation of Official Digital Currencies Bill 2019,” is reportedly part of inter-ministerial consultations. A committee made up of various economic and investor protection departments of the Indian government has allegedly supported the idea to completely ban the “sale, purchase and issuance of all types of cryptocurrency.” According to the source, this committee is reportedly considering an option to ban digital currency under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, as it can be used for money laundering.

Best Cointelegraph features

IMF Spring Meetings: Digital Money Is Imminent, but No Decentralization in Sight

In some small but important steps for adoption, the IMF’s Spring Meetings touched on the positive disruption that blockchain can bring, as well as the possibilities opened by a central bank digital currency.

The Burst of the Bitcoin Bubble: An Autopsy

Marcello Minnena of the quantitative analysis and financial innovation unit in Consob gives an analysis of what’s been going on with the top crypto’s behavior and where a floor may possibly be.

Mutual Owners, Mutual Funds: What We Know About the Bitfinex/Tether Scandal

After this week’s ongoing scandal involving Bitfinex, Tether and the U.S. Attorney General, Cointelegraph gives an overview of all of the events of this relatively confusing situation.

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Robinhood Zero-Fee Trading App Officially Launches in New York

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American stock brokerage Robinhood Crypto has officially launched its zero-fee crypto trading app in New York, the company announced in a blog post on May 23.

Following the acquisition of a BitLicense by the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) in January 2019, Robinhood now allows New York citizens to trade in seven major cryptos with no commission fee using its Robinhood Crypto platform.

From now, the Robinhood Crypto service is available in 39 states in the United States, including California, Washington and Florida, among others.

The Robinhood trading app allows for the trading of bitcoin (BTC), ethereum (ETH), bitcoin cash (BCH), litecoin (LTC), bitcoin SV (BSV), ethereum classic (ETC) and dogecoin (DOGE). Robinhood users can also track price alterations and updates for those cryptos and 10 additional coins, the blog post notes.

Earlier in April, Robinhood applied for a bank charter with regulators in the U.S. in order to offer traditional banking products and services.

Previously, the DFS granted a BitLicense to a institutional-grade crypto trading platform Tagomi Trading, enabling the company to offer trade routing and order execution services for non-security cryptos including bitcoin, ethereum, litecoin and bitcoin cash.

Recently, on April 18, Bloomberg reported that the ICE was considering acquiring a New York BitLicense to launch bitcoin futures, citing anonymous sources familiar with the matter.

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Here’s Why Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin is undervalued at Spot Rates

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Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin are still incredibly undervalued as present valuations stand. This is on account of the potential of these coins and planned upgrades to make them better according to a crypto trader and enthusiast.

Yes, Bitcoin may have rallied back to possible bull territory. However, it is still fair to say that the coin sits below its true and projected position as a currency and security. Bitcoin came about as an alternative currency with decentralization as a catch for investors and enthusiasts alike.

Bitcoin is resilient and has shrugged off legitimacy questions from naysayers time and time again. The price volatility is just a consequence of intense speculation and uncertainty common with new inventions. Nonetheless, Bitcoin’s transcendent ability to transform the financial world remains effectively eliminating borders and regulatory overreach.

Bitcoin as Digital Gold

Bitcoin is a finite currency. Notably, every fiat currency will return to its inherent value of zero at times of hyperinflation. This is clear from the Venezuelan Bolivar which is worth less than its printing paper at the moment. In this light Bitcoin can become an alternative to collapsed currencies especially in failed states.

It’s become a trusted alternative when fiat money’s value is corrupted by politics”

-John McGinnis and Kyle Roche of Wall Street Journal.

The limited availability means Bitcoin can efficiently store value at times of financial crises. This is eerily similar to gold which is also a great commodity to store value that rises in value in hard times for fiat. This has led to some proponents calling Bitcoin digital Gold and rightfully so. As such, the value of $8,000 is momentary as the developed world economy is still doing well.

Ethereum And Litecoin As Alternatives

Ethereum is a great alternative for Bitcoin. That said, the price of $270 is still on the low because of the incredible potential given the possibilities of Smart contracts. More significant is the upcoming Serenity or Ethereum 2.0 upgrade. This upgrade will significantly improve the coin by incorporating technical improvements that improve scalability and performance. At the premier Ethereum Supermeetup, hosted at Token2049, Vitalik Buterin explained the update as follows;

“(It is) a way to bring technical improvements, like PoS and sharding, together to improve the Virtual Machine, Merkle Trees, the efficiency of the protocol, and a whole bunch of small technical things that you have never heard of.”

Ethereum is in this regard still on the downside price-wise. The upgrades are necessary and timely to keep the protocol efficient.

Litecoin, on the other hand, is essentially a better version of Bitcoin. This is because the coin, while having essentially the same possibilities as Bitcoin, is more adaptable to change such as the introduction of smart contracts.

Charlie Lee, a former Google employee, who founded Litecoin, has also given financial support to the Lightning Network.  There are also possibilities of incorporating Mimble Wimble that will inherently scale the network while introducing better security and privacy for the end user. When we add the halving mix in the equation, investors and traders are convinced that we are in the early stages of a mega bull run that will propel asset prices, valuing them fairly.

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Smart contract platform Fantom chooses Binance Chain for interoperability

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Binance Chain, the blockchain from cryptocurrency exchange company Binance, and DAG-based smart contract platform, Fantom, announced today they will be working together to create a multi-asset and cross chain ecosystem.

The Fantom team said it will be supporting a multitude of tokens including the ERC-20 standard, native Fantom token (FTM) standard, along with the BEP-2 token standard on Binance Chain.

“Our reason for choosing Binance Chain as our interoperability partner over any other blockchain is simple, we’re seeing an increasing trend of great projects moving towards Binance Chain, and we want to contribute to the Binance Chain ecosystem so that all these great projects may garner added value from our contributions. Binance and Binance Chain are in a rare position of having the strongest centralized exchange and liquidity on one end, and a very cohesive decentralized ecosystem on the other end, and we believe that there is no better partner for Fantom in its push for greater interoperability within the industry.”

The Fantom Foundation

The collaboration will offer Fantom users a chance to transact and trade FTM while being in custody of their own tokens on Binance DEX.

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Robinhood Opens Trading for 7 Cryptocurrencies in New York

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Robinhood, the popular stock and crypto investing app, has officially launched bitcoin, ethereum, and other cryptocurrency trading in New York.

Silicon Valley-based Robinhood received a BitLicense from the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) in January 2019 and on Thursday opened access to crypto trading in the Empire State.

From the press release:

Currently, you can invest in seven cryptocurrencies on Robinhood Crypto: Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin SV, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Litecoin, and Dogecoin. You can also track price movements and news for those and 10 additional cryptocurrencies.

New York is unique and problematic for crypto traders because all purveyors must apply for a BitLicense, most notably for companies that are “storing, holding, or maintaining custody or control of virtual currency on behalf of others,” according to NYDFS.

Many crypto startups have avoided the requirements entirely by becoming BitLicense refugees and refusing to do business in the state.

“Here we are two miles from the Statue of Liberty and you cannot sell CryptoKitties in the state without that license. That’s the absurdity of what’s happened here,” ShapeShift CEO Erik Voorhees complained in 2018 when asked about the controversial license at CoinDesk’s Consensus conference in New York.

Image courtesy of Robinhood

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Generation Bitcoin: 90% of Millennials Prefer Crypto to Gold: ETF Expert

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By CCN: The US investing industry stands on the precipice of a dramatic upheaval that could see bitcoin and other cryptocurrency assets replace gold in investor portfolios.

That’s according to Nate Geraci, president of the ETF Store, an independent investment advisor. He revealed in a Bloomberg TV interview that his millennial clients are clamoring to hold bitcoin in their portfolios – if only the SEC would let them.

Crypto in a Landslide: ETF Expert Says Millennials Plan to Kick Gold to the Curb

Responding to a question from Bloomberg analyst Eric Balchunas about whether he would ever invest client funds in a bitcoin ETF, Geraci stunned his fellow panel members when he said that millennial investors overwhelmingly desire to hold bitcoin instead of traditional hedge assets like gold.

How overwhelming? Ninety percent.

“When we talk to our younger clients – we have a core gold allocation in our portfolios, and they’ll ask about that and say, ‘What about crypto?’ And if you talk to, primarily millennials, and ask them which they prefer, bitcoin or gold, it’s a landslide. It’s not even close, it’s like 90% prefer bitcoin.”

Geraci’s bold claim was more anecdotal than scientific, but there’s plenty of hard data that demonstrates that younger investors are vastly more comfortable with holding cryptocurrency in their portfolios than investors who grew up in the pre-digital era.

In April, a Harris Poll survey found that 18 to 34-year-olds are “very” or “somewhat” likely to purchase bitcoin within the next five years. That might not seem overwhelming, but consider that only 37% of Americans in that demographic currently own stocks.

Similarly, a February eToro survey found that 43% of millennials trust crypto exchanges more than stock exchanges, even though crypto trading platform hacks dominate the mainstream news cycle.

ETF Would Reduce Crypto Investing Risks

bitcoin etf vaneck bitcoin price

ETF Store President Nate Geraci said that there is rabid demand for a bitcoin ETF, especially among millennials. | Source: Shutterstock

Nate Geraci further pointed to the success of the $1.5 billion Bitcoin Investment Trust (OTC: GBTC) as proof that there is sufficient market demand for a crypto ETF.

He noted that the over-the-counter product regularly trades at a staggering premium to the underlying value of its BTC assets. That’s because GBTC shares fluctuate based on supply and demand, not just the price of bitcoin. An ETF, he said, would flatten that premium and thus reduce investor risk.

“It seems a bit incongruent to me that we have that product out there trading, where investors really could get hurt if they don’t understand that premium, but we don’t have a bitcoin ETF.”

“The demand is there,” he concluded.

SEC Kicks the Bitcoin ETF Can Down the Road

Unfortunately for crypto bulls, millennials aren’t the ones manipulating the levers of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which holds unilateral authority to approve or deny bitcoin ETF applications.

The SEC, as CCN reported, continues to punt on the issue. Last week, the regulatory agency extended its long trend of delaying ruling on cryptocurrency products when it postponed its decision on the VanEck/SolidX Bitcoin ETF to August 19. Most industry insiders expect the SEC to delay the VanEck/SolidX product again, pushing its final ruling until October 18.

Dave Nadig, the managing director of ETF.com, said that he believes the SEC is still in “information gathering mode” but that there is a “reasonable chance” regulators approve the first bitcoin ETF before the end of 2019.

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