CFTC Official Argues Against SEC’s Grounds for Disapproving Bitcoin ETFs

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Brian Quintenz, a Commissioner at the U.S. CFTC, has argued against the notion that potential price manipulation should be a barrier to the SEC’s approval of a Bitcoin ETF.

Brian Quintenz, a Commissioner at the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), has argued against the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) grounds for not approving a Bitcoin (BTC) exchange traded fund (ETF). Quintenz made his remarks during a panel at the BiPartisan Policy Center in Washington D.C. on Feb. 12.  

Quintenz specifically argued that potential price manipulation should not be a barrier to the SEC approving a Bitcoin ETF. The CFTC Commissioner participated in the panel alongside SEC Commissioner Heister Peirce. Peirce has notably earned the moniker of “crypto mom” due to her vocal dissent against the SEC’s move to twice reject a BTC ETF proposal from the Winklevoss twins.

As reported, the SEC has reiterated its qualms over inadequate “resistance to price manipulation” multiple times in its rulings or reviews of BTC-based ETFs. Quintenz drew a parallel between the SEC’s stance and that of his own agency, noting that the CFTC’s “jurisdiction over […] [Bitcoin futures] contracts requires that they not be readily susceptible to manipulation.”

He went on, however, to underscore that the qualification of “readily susceptible” is an important nuance, given that any product — with sufficient resources — can be manipulated. Certain mechanisms, he proposed — such as basing a product on an index, rather than a commodity —  can in fact be used to make prospective manipulation significantly less likely:

“There are mathematical ways through a settlement index to design a contract where even if there isn’t a lot of liquidity on one exchange referenced, the index itself is not readily susceptible to manipulation.”

Quintenz gave the example of one of the BTC futures contracts that the CFTC has approved for market, which is designed to be settled to “multiple volume weighted average prices in five minute increments over the course of an hour across multiple exchanges.” This, he noted, means that for any actor intending to manipulate the settlement index:

“[…] they would have to have the majority of volume on multiple exchanges in multiple five minute periods. Could they do it? Maybe. Would we know about it? Immediately.”

Commissioner Peirce contributed to the discussion of her agency’s approach to reviewing proposed crypto-based products, noting that:

“At the SEC we have been unwilling to sign off on a Bitcoin ETF thus far. My concern is that it looks a bit like a merit based approach, judging the underlying Bitcoin market and saying we don’t think these are regulated enough. You know, there’s lots of markets that aren’t regulated, but we nevertheless build products on top of them.”

As previously reported, Peirce’s dissent from the SEC’s negative ruling on the Winklevoss BTC ETF application derived from her view that the agency had overstepped “its limited role.” According to the Commissioner, the SEC was focusing upon the characteristics of the underlying Bitcoin spot market, rather than the derivative the applicants had sought to list, in making its decision.

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Most Digital Tokens ‘Will Go to Zero’ Says Digital Currency Group CEO

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CEO and founder of Digital Currency Group and Grayscale Investments, Barry Silbert, said that he is “not a believer in the vast majority of digital tokens…”

Barry Silbert, CEO and founder of Digital Currency Group and Grayscale Investments, said that the majority of digital tokens will not have value in the long run, CNBC reports on Feb. 13.

In a purported phone interview with CNBC, Silbert said “I’m not a believer in the vast majority of digital tokens and I believe most will go to zero.” He added that, “Almost every [initial coin offering] ICO was just an attempt to raise money but there was no use for the underlying token.”

ICOs experienced a boom in late 2017– early 2018, which was followed by a bust as prices dropped and state and federal regulators cracked down on projects that were running afoul of securities laws.

Earlier today, Cointelegraph reported that data from CoinSchedules shows that ICO valuations are down to levels just above those seen in January 2017. The data shows that last month, $291.6 million was raised through ICOs, which is around 19 times less than the $5.8 billion raised in March last year.

Despite his bearish views on ICO tokens, Silbert still remains optimistic about Bitcoin (BTC), in which he was reportedly an early investor. While Bitcoin has “a really ugly technical chart” in Silbert’s opinion, it has “won the race to be digital gold.

Mike Novogratz, a former Goldman Sachs partner and founder of crypto merchant bank Galaxy Digital, said today that Bitcoin is unique among cryptocurrencies. In regard to Bitcoin’s use as a potential store of value, Novogratz said:

“There’s 118 elements on the periodic table, and only one gold […] Bitcoin is going to be digital gold, a place where you have sovereign money, it’s not U.S. money, it’s not Chinese money, it’s sovereign. Sovereignty costs a lot, it should.”

Silbert’s Digital Currency Group is one of several companies that formed the Blockchain Association, the purported first lobbying group representing the blockchain industry in Washington D.C. Other founding members of the organization include cryptocurrency exchange and wallet service Coinbase and technology startup Protocol Labs.

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Venezuela’s BTC Trading Volumes Hit Record Highs as Crypto Regulations Commence

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Venezuela’s BTC Trading Volumes Hit Record Highs as Crypto Regulations Commence

As Venezuela begins regulating cryptocurrency, BTC trading volumes in the country hit record highs on several exchanges. Amid fast-growing crypto adoption, peer-to-peer trading platforms such as Localbitcoins and Paxful have reported significant increases in the number of BTC traded in Venezuela.

Also read: Indian Supreme Court Moves Crypto Hearing, Community Calls for Positive Regulations

Record BTC Trading Volumes

Peer-to-peer (P2P) markets that trade cryptocurrencies in Venezuela have recently been showing record volumes. On Localbitcoins, BTC to bolivar trading volume has been growing steadily, with 2,485 coins traded in the week ending Feb. 9, up from 2,004 coins the previous week.

Venezuela’s BTC Trading Volumes Hit Record Highs as Crypto Regulations Commence

Another P2P platform, Paxful, is reporting similar growth. The company told on Tuesday that BTC trading volume for Venezuela on its platform increased by 74.66 percent in 2018 compared to the previous year, taking into account only successful trades. In addition, the number of trades increased by 118 percent in the same time period, averaging 61,534 transactions monthly.

The platform has 40,309 users in Latin America, 8,817 of which are in Venezuela. There are currently 1,123 active users in the country, with most of them located in the capital city of Caracas, the company revealed. Additionally, Venezuela now accounts for more traffic to Paxful’s website than any other country, at 36.99 percent.

Venezuela’s BTC Trading Volumes Hit Record Highs as Crypto Regulations Commence

Crypto Adoption Accelerating

“Adoption is [growing] really fast” in Venezuela, Indian crypto exchange Instashift with a presence in Venezuela told on Tuesday. The exchange reported seeing strong demand for BTC in Venezuela earlier this year, ahead of the other 44 countries it also operates in. Marketing officer Jacob Mani elaborated that “People know about cryptocurrency and are very much aware about the developments in the crypto space. Moreover, Venezuelans are very courteous and welcoming about new ideas and possibilities that they have got.” He also noted that “Big stores like Traki are accepting bitcoin.”

Venezuela’s BTC Trading Volumes Hit Record Highs as Crypto Regulations Commence

Crypto Regulations Enter Into Force

The government of Nicolas Maduro recently began regulating the cryptocurrency industry. The decree enacting the country’s crypto regulations containing 63 articles was published in Official Gazette 41.575 at the end of January.

It establishes a comprehensive set of rules for all crypto-related activities in the country and installs the National Superintendency of Crypto Assets and Related Activities (Sunacrip) as the main regulator of the crypto space. The powers given to Sunacrip include the ability to audit all crypto businesses, to set the prices of cryptocurrencies in bolivars, and to legally confiscate mining equipment. In addition, the regulator is building a database of all crypto service providers in the country.

On Feb. 8, Sunacrip further announced that it is now regulating remittances made using cryptocurrencies. The regulator has set a monthly limit and will be collecting commissions of up to 15 percent of the transaction amount.

What do you think of BTC trading volumes hitting record highs in Venezuela? Let us know in the comments section below.

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The post Venezuela’s BTC Trading Volumes Hit Record Highs as Crypto Regulations Commence appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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General Motors Financial Subsidiary Eyes Blockchain to Prevent Fraud

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General Motors Financial Company (GM Financial), the financial services arm of the largest American automotive manufacturer, is exploring the use of blockchain technology to improve data management standards and help address critical auto finance industry issues like identity verification and synthetic identity fraud. GM Financial has joined Spring Labs’ Spring Founding Industry Partners (SFIP) program […]

The post General Motors Financial Subsidiary Eyes Blockchain to Prevent Fraud appeared first on Coinjournal.

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Coinbase Wallet Users Can Back Up Encrypted Keys on Google Drive and iCloud

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Coinbase Wallet users will now be able to store encrypted copies of their recovery keys on select cloud services.

Users of Coinbase Wallet can now back up their private keys on Google Drive or iCloud, according to an official announcement on Feb. 12.

In the statement, Coinbase states that allowing users to upload their keys to a cloud provides a safeguard against lost keys, will will help them avoid losing funds should the keys be misplaced. The announcement notes:

“The private keys generated and stored on your mobile device are the only way to access your funds on the blockchain. Owners of ‘user-controlled wallets’ like Coinbase Wallet sometimes lose their devices or fail to backup their 12 word recovery phrase in a safe place, thus losing their funds forever.”

Now, users of Coinbase Wallet can store an encrypted copy of the recovery phrase on their cloud accounts. Coinbase notes that neither they nor the cloud services will have access to user funds, as recovery phrase key is unlocked by a password known only to the user. The backup is purportedly encrypted with AES-256-GCM encryption, which is only accessible through the Wallet mobile app.

Coinbase notes that, in addition to Google Drive and iCloud, they will expand support to other clouds in the future. The feature is an opt-in service that does not replace or supersede the original recovery option.

Earlier this month, Canadian cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX filed for creditor protection following the death of its founder Gerald Cotten. Cotten was reportedly the sole executive responsible for the exchange’s keys and cold wallets, and following his death, the exchange has been unable to access $145 million in digital assets it purportedly needs to remain solvent.

Today, it was revealed in an Ernst & Young report that the ‘Big Four’ audit firm — which was named an observer to Quadriga’s creditor protection proceedings — has recovered several electronic devices used by Cotten, including encrypted USB keys.

In January, Coinbase added resources for customers in the United States to claim crypto trades on their taxes. The cryptocurrency exchange and wallet service added an educational guide on crypto and taxes, in addition to integrating with popular tax software TurboTax.

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Switzerland and Liechtenstein’s Crypto Valley Sees Thriving Blockchain Ecosystem

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With 750 companies as of the end of December 2018, Switzerland and Liechtenstein’s Crypto Valley has grown significantly in the past year with 121 new companies being established or a growth of 20% in the number of crypto companies, according to The Crypto Valley’s Top 50 Q1 2019 report released in January. The study, produced […]

The post Switzerland and Liechtenstein’s Crypto Valley Sees Thriving Blockchain Ecosystem appeared first on Coinjournal.

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The 12 Every 12 – Today’s Cryptocurrency Videos – – 2/12/2019 6:01:25 PM – UTC

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CryptoLove and Richard Heart talk Cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, Ethereum, BitcoinHEX and scams

Binance Chain is COMING – Dash XRP TRX Updates [Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency News]

BitcoinHEX, Cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, Ethereum Fun stuff with Keith Wareing

HOLO Going To A Penny HoloChain(Hot) Bullrun Plus Cryptocurrency Analysis

Bitcoin BULL FLAG PATTERN ON BTC Right Now?! – Crypto Market Trading Analysis & Cryptocurrency News

Apollo Currency – The All In One CryptoCurrency? Apollo Cryptocurrency Review

Monday Night Cryptocurrency & Bitcoin Market Analyisis

Bitcoin : Consolidating. ATVI, TTWO Down Apex Up. Episode 340 – Cryptocurrency Technical Analysis

Bart Simpson Pattern Detected? – Tron Airdrop – LTC Dips [Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency News]

A Huge Problem With The Crypto Community…

Ethereum Has Shot Past Ripple’s XRP In The Cryptocurrency Rankings — Here’s Why

Is This a Plan to Own $200 Million of Worth Cryptocurrency by Quadrigacx

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The post The 12 Every 12 – Today’s Cryptocurrency Videos – – 2/12/2019 6:01:25 PM – UTC appeared first on Crypto.Press.

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