Facebook is reportedly talking to crypto exchanges about listing its coin | Casa is dramatically shifting its business, and it’s kicking off with two new products

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“Bitcoin for us is not stopping at buying and selling, we do believe this is a transformation technology for our industry and gives people more access to the financial system, so we are going to have a learning mindset and ensure we are learning and leading the industry from here.” — Jack Dorsey, CEO Twitter and Square

The Big Block

Casa, the cryptocurrency custody startup that aims to maximize safety and security for its crypto users, announced a “core shift” to its business. 

And it is kicking things off with the release of two new products, CEO Jeremy Welch, told The Block in an exclusive interview.

“We are ready to bring multi-sig security to everyone at every price point,” Welch said, emphasizing the heart of the new mission.

Casa wants a “key manager app in every pocket and a node in every home.” The two new offerings are as follows: a Keymaster mobile app available for iOS and Android and a four-tiered Keymaster package at different price points and security-levels.

Last year the company released its first premium product dubbed “Keymaster,” a multi-signature service for bitcoin investors. Soon after, Casa announced its plug-and-play Bitcoin Lightning node, the “Casa Node,” to much fanfare, selling out its initial batch in two hours. Casa tells The Block that it has shipped over a thousand Casa Nodes since it was released.

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itBit is trying to lure traders with rebates, and it’s already helping pump up its ether volumes

Paxos’ itBit, the tiny New York-based crypto exchange, is hoping incentives for traders will continue to drum up new business on its market, the company revealed to The Block in an exclusive interview.

Earlier this year the firm began supporting trading for Ethereum, the second largest cryptocurrency, along with bitcoin cash. In order to attract new business, the firm has started to offer so-called rebates to folks adding liquidity to the platform. “We were low single-digit market share and the customer feedback we were getting had to do with pricing,” David Wells, general manager of the exchange, told The Block. — More

Facebook is reportedly talking to crypto exchanges about listing its coin

Facebook has held talks with exchanges about listing its cryptocurrency, The New York Times reports. According to the Times' sources, the Facebook crypto project is "far enough along that the social networking giant has held conversations with cryptocurrency exchanges about selling the Facebook coin to consumers." Facebook employees are telling these exchanges that they plan to get a working product out in the first half of 2019. — More

Ethereum’s Constantinople and St. Petersburg upgrade is live — More

Japan: 2018 saw 10 times more suspected crypto laundering reports than the year before — More

Polymath trials peer-to-peer security token trades on DEX protocol, proves compliance — More

HPE, Continental launch blockchain-based platform to monetize vehicle data — More

Ex-SoFi CEO Mike Cagney’s new startup Figure gets $65 million in funding — More

Square sold more than $166M worth of bitcoin in 2018 — More

Coin Metrics raises $1.9M to bring crypto data to institutions | A former ConsenSys exec has raised for a fund that’ll squeeze more alpha out of Ether

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Crypto Mkt Cap $127B             BTC Dominance 52.30%  

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“JPMorgan Coin could be internal, could be commercial, it could one day be consumer.” — Jamie Dimon, CEO JPMorgan Chase

The Big Block

Coin Metrics, a cryptocurrency data provider, is growing up.

The firm announced Thursday that it has raised $1.9 million of venture funding. Castle Island Ventures led the financing round with participation from investors including Fidelity Investments, Highland Capital Partners and Dragonfly Capital.

Coin Metrics was founded in 2017 by Nic Carter and Aleksei Nokhrin as an open-source blockchain data and analytics projects. In their blog post introducing Coin Metrics, Carter and Nokhrin note that their original goal was to “equip serious investors with the tools to appraise cryptoassets in a rigorous, careful manner.”

For a majority of 2017 and 2018, Coin Metrics was funded entirely from donations and a few sponsorships. In November 2018, the team brought on Tim Rice, a former Thomson Reuters executive, as its co-founding CEO to lead its push into the institutional space.

“We are evolving from an open-source community-based project,” Rice tells The Block. “We view the next iteration for Coin Metrics is building and advancing our data for institutions.

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A former ConsenSys exec has raised for a fund that’ll squeeze more alpha out of Ether

Ether has fallen 90 percent from its all-time highs, but that’s not stopping a former ConsenSys executive from starting a new fund dedicated to the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization.

DARMA Capital, an investment firm led by James Slazas, formerly head of capital markets at ConsenSys, announced the launch of its new ether fund, the so-called DARMA Optimized Long-ETH Fund (DOL-ETH). — More

Samsung reveals Galaxy S10 blockchain partners

Samsung has revealed four of its blockchain partners—bitcoin, ethereum, enjin, and cosmee—for the new Galaxy S10 mobile phone, CoinDesk reports. Partners’ logos have been featured in the Samsung Mobile Business Summit session at MWC Barcelona 2019 on Feb. 25.

The exact nature of the partnership remains unknown and will most likely be revealed after the launch. It is speculated, however, the tokens will all be supported by Galaxy S10’s crypto wallet. — More

Coinomi user claims ‘critical vulnerability’ in wallet exposes private keys; company releases official response — More

Coinhive will shut down its cryptomining service in March — More

Steve Wozniak remains optimistic about Bitcoin’s potential — More

Pangea Blockchain Fund raises $22M, plans to invest in ‘market-defining blockchain technologies’ — More

MonetaGo switches to R3’s Corda to avoid scaling issues — More

Bitcoin retail investor holdings of up to 10 BTC are still going strong despite crypto winter — More

Blockchain startup Nivaura gets funding from London Stock Exchange Group — More

CME reports S&P 500 and U.S. Treasuries futures markets outage — More

Coinbase responds to its controversial acquisition of blockchain intelligence platform Neutrino | MyEtherWallet COO: We won’t just be a wallet in the future

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Crypto Mkt Cap $130B             BTC Dominance 52.00%  

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“Our target audience wants to see what the price of cryptocurrency is, and to buy it. They have a desire to do that and in many cases they already are." —Anthony Noto, CEO SoFi

The Big Block

Coinbase, one of the largest crypto firms, is speaking out about the fiery debate it ignited over a recent acquisition.

The firm earlier this month snapped up Neutrino, an Italy-based company founded in 2016 led by Giancarlo Russo, Marco Valleri, and Alberto Ornaghi

Prior to founding Neutrino, CRO Marco Valleri and CTO Alberto Ornaghi were executives of Hacking Team, an intelligence firm which sold spyware tools to government agencies worldwide. Giancarlo Russo, Neutrino’s CEO, was Hacking Team’s COO. Herein lies the controversy. As details about Neutrino’s history flooded Twitter, market participants criticized the exchange, including The Block analyst Matteo Leibowitz, who questioned whether Hacking Team’s history of consistently facilitating human rights abuses taint Coinbase’s claims of democratization and democratizing cryptocurrency. Now, Coinbase has addressed those questions.

In a statement sent to The Block, Coinbase states that it is “aware that Neutrino’s co-founders previously worked at Hacking Team, which we reviewed as part of our security, technical, and hiring diligence,” adding that “Coinbase does not condone nor will it defend the actions of Hacking Team,” but “it was important for Coinbase to bring this function in-house to fully control and protect our customers’ data and Neutrino’s technology was the best we encountered in the space to achieve this goal.”

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MyEtherWallet COO: We won’t just be a wallet in the future

The digital wallet space has received considerable press in the last month as the likes of Samsung revealed plans for a new phone complete with private key storage. The landscape is diversifying, and competition from non-crypto specific firms is on the horizon.

In response, MyEtherWallet, one of the most widely used Ethereum-based wallets, has told The Block that it will need to stretch beyond its namesake and diversify its business model.

“Being just a [online] wallet isn’t going to be enough”, MEW COO Brian Norton said in an interview earlier this month following its V5 platform-redesign. — More

Bitcoin trader tortured by a group of robbers

Three assailants attacked a bitcoin trader Tjeerd H. at his home in the Netherlands, Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf reports. The attack took place late in the evening, on Feb. 10. A group of robbers posing as the police—wearing balaclavas and police-issued bulletproof vests—entered the trader’s home and threatened H. with a gun; when that proved futile, they tortured him with a drill and fled the scene an hour later. — More

Lending fintech SoFi partners with Coinbase to launch crypto trading — More

Survey says nearly half of alternative investors perceive cryptocurrencies as an asset bubble; most prioritise investing in innovation — More

Swiss bank Julius Baer to enter a partnership with SEBA; plans to offer digital assets — More

Accenture announces a blockchain app which lets consumers track and tip sustainably sourced products — More

SoftBank and TBCASoft team up to work on a blockchain-based identification solution — More

OKEx increases leverage to 5x — More

India’s Supreme Court gives the government 4 weeks to come up with crypto policy — More

XRP set to trade on Coinbase | Suspected wash trading rife at major exchanges, per study

Bitcoin $3,892                   Ethereum $139.33 
Crypto Mkt Cap $132B             BTC Dominance 52.00%  

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“It’s ingenious and blockchain is important but bitcoin has no unique value at all. It doesn’t produce anything, you can stare at it all day and no little bitcoins come out or anything like that.” — Warren Buffett, CEO Berkshire Hathaway

The Big Block

It is a day that’s been long awaited by one vocal corner of the cryptocurrency world. 

XRP, the cryptocurrency associated with payments firm Ripple, will soon trade on Coinbase, one of the largest crypto exchange operators in the United States, the company announced Monday.

“After 10am PT on February 25, 2019, we will begin accepting inbound transfers of XRP to Coinbase Pro,” the firm said in a press release. “We will accept deposits for a minimum of 12 hours prior to enabling full trading. Please note that inbound transfers require the specification of an XRP destination tag.”

To start, XRP is not available on Coinbase.com or via its mobile apps, the press release noted. There will be four stages for XRP’s listing on Coinbase, according to a blog. 

  1. “Transfer-only. Starting at 10am PT on Feb. 25, customers will be able to transfer XRP into their Coinbase Pro account. Customers will not yet be able to place orders and no orders will be filled on these order books. Order books will be in transfer-only mode for at least 12 hours.”

  2. “Post-only. In the second stage, customers can post limit orders but there will be no matches (completed orders). Order books will be in post-only mode for a minimum of one minute.”

  3. “Limit-only. In the third stage, limit orders will start matching but customers are unable to submit market orders. Order books will be in limit-only mode for a minimum of ten minutes.”

  4. “Full trading. In the final stage, full trading services will be available, including limit, market, and stop orders.”

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Suspected wash trading rife at major exchanges, per study

CoVenture Crypto, a business line of CoVenture, released a study that analyzes the “true liquidity” of crypto exchanges by exploring where (exchanges) and what people trade (liquidity pairs). Key findings from the report include: 1) Reaching similar conclusions from the Blockchain Transparency Institute report that found 2 of the top 5 reported liquidity pairs have less than 1 percent of their reported volume and 2) true liquidity is in bitcoin pairs on exchanges that have been operating since 2015 (Coinbase Pro and Bitfinex) and have low API driven trades. — More

Going private: STO marketplace picks Symbiont over public blockchains

A startup token sale platform is taking what seems to be a more conservative approach to the nascent new market. Templum announced Monday a partnership with blockchain firm Symbiont to leverage the company’s private Blockchain tech for its sales.

Templum’s business aims to unlock global access to prior illiquid and complex product structures, while facilitating the creation of new instruments entirely, like programmable shares. The new partnerships means the sales Templum already has conducted — including the token for St. Regis Aspen’s sale — will trade on Symbiont’s private blockchain rather than Ethereum. — More

A group of major Central Securities Depositories to research crypto asset custody — More

Bahrain’s central bank moves towards regulating crypto assets; issues rulebook — More

Fetch.AI ICO sells out in ‘about 10 seconds’ — More

U.S. government returns a portion of Bitfinex’s stolen bitcoins — More

51% attacks, bugs, and hacks! Oh my! Here are the problems facing blockchains — More

South Korea crypto exchange files for bankruptcy after employee embezzlement, $26M in losses — More

Japanese financial giant Mizuho set to launch its crypto next month — More

One of Latin America’s largest investment banks is doing an STO — More

New Russian blockchain rules, oil-backed cryptocurrency are reportedly in “final stages” — More

Pantera CEO: This crypto winter is different than any we've seen before | CasperLabs confirms Vlad Zamfir as lead architect

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Crypto Mkt Cap $135B             BTC Dominance 51.80%  

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“The best thing that happened to crypto was the bear market. A lot of hedge funds will go under, should go under.” — Cathie Wood, CEO ARK Invest

The Big Block

Ara, a peer-to-peer content distribution platform, announced that it has added Simon Morris, the former BitTorrent CSO and BitTorrent token designer as an advisor.

Regular followers of the crypto industry may know Morris from his Breakermag interview, in which he questioned the viability of BitTorrent’s token running on Tron’s blockchain. In the interview, Morris stated there was “no way” Tron’s blockchain could handle the transaction volume on BitTorrent.

Morris is now taking his deep knowledge of peer-to-peer content distribution networks to Ara.

Tony Mugavero, CEO of Ara, tells The Block that Morris joined the company because he wanted content creators to join in the success of distributed content sharing platforms, like BitTorrent. BitTorrent, Mugavero explains, “doesn’t incentivize people to be fans of the network.”

In a press release shared with The Block, Morris states that “the BitTorrent ecosystem evolved into a consumer-dominated insurgency which cut out not just middle-men but creators too,” adding that “Ara is aiming to leverage the power of blockchain and p2p technologies to build a more sustainable and equitable digital content ecosystem for everyone.”

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Pantera CEO: This crypto winter is different than any we've seen before

In a recent "Unconfirmed" podcast episode with Forbes' journalist Laura Shin, Dan Morehead, CEO at Pantera Capital, said that the ongoing crypto bear market has proven less worrisome than previous price plunges. 

"I would admit that in the previous crypto winter [of 2014-2015], I had more of a worry in the pit of my stomach. Was blockchain really going to work? Would it succumb to some of the real obvious regulatory risks that existed at that time? Today, the underlying fundamentals are much, much stronger."

The investment firm recently announced that it had already raised $125 million for its third crypto fund, hoping to close at $175 million. — More

CasperLabs confirms Vlad Zamfir as lead architect

R&D start-up CasperLabs has finalised its contract with Vlad Zamfir, who will support the protocol developer in building a new decentralized Proof of Stake blockchain, the firm announced Friday - confirming last month's report by The Block.

Zamfir is well known as Ethereum’s star researcher, but said in a statement this week that he was “not sure if the Bitcoin and Ethereum blockchain communities are going to be able to upgrade their protocols,” leading him to accept the role of Lead Consensus Protocol Architect at CasperLabs – aptly-named after the protocol itself. He added that he would continue his governance work with Ethereum. — More

Mapping out Pantera Capital’s Portfolio — More

University of Michigan endowment plans to continue investing in Andreessen Horowitz cryptocurrency fund — More

Malta-based exchange OKEx lists XRP and Bitcoin Cash on its fiat-to-cryptocurrency platform; delists three other currencies — More

Zcash Company rebrands to Electric Coin Company — More

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong addresses major misconceptions surrounding cold storage — More

Ohio introduces cryptocurrency tax option; only two companies opt to use bitcoin to pay — More

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