Bitcoin Futures Update: Bakkt Testing, CME Breaks Records, and a $100K Call Option

Bitcoin Futures Update: Bakkt Testing, CME Breaks Records, and a $100K Call Option

Over the last few months, the interest surrounding cryptocurrency derivatives products has been growing fast. For some time now, open interest in CME’s bitcoin futures has been breaking records. Bakkt’s futures platform began testing contracts on Monday and the company says there are participants from all around the world. Elsewhere, bitcoin derivatives provider Ledgerx is listing a huge $100K call option with a December 2020 expiry.

Also read: Honestnode Founder Discusses the First Stablecoin Built on Bitcoin Cash

Bakkt Begins Testing Its Daily and Monthly Physically-Settled Bitcoin Futures

On July 22, the Intercontinental Exchange’s (ICE) long-awaited cryptocurrency futures trading subsidiary Bakkt began testing its futures contracts. “Today kicks off user acceptance testing ICE markets for the Bakkt Bitcoin daily and monthly futures contracts. Testing is proceeding as planned with participants from around the world,” Bakkt tweeted on Monday. The parent company of the New York Stock Exchange, ICE announced the BTC futures offering about a year ago, but Bakkt’s physically-settled bitcoin futures was delayed. In order to provide the new derivatives products, Bakkt partnered with the ICE futures exchange so the service can provide clearing infrastructure for physical delivered bitcoin futures contracts to market participants. “Participants will undergo applicable AML/KYC reviews, consistent with CFTC-regulated markets and connect via ICE’s existing infrastructure,” Bakkt’s website explains.

Bitcoin Futures Update: Bakkt Testing, CME Breaks Records, and a $100K Call Option
Intercontinental Exchange chairman and CEO, Jeff Sprecher (right), with his wife and Bakkt CEO Kelly Loeffler (left).

According to Bakkt’s blog, the company is testing two different kinds of products traded at ICE Futures U.S. and cleared at ICE Clear US. Former Coinbase executive and Bakkt COO, Adam White, said the launch will usher in a new standard for accessing cryptocurrency markets. “Compared to other markets, institutional participation in crypto remains constrained due to limitations like market infrastructure and regulatory certainty — This results in lower trading volumes, liquidity, and price transparency than more established markets like ICE’s Brent Crude futures contract, which has earned global trust in setting the world’s price of crude oil,” White opined. The Bakkt executive added:

Bakkt’s efforts to help institutions launch safely into this market is the right stuff for the future.

Other firms like Erisx and Ledgerx are also planning to offer physically-settled bitcoin futures contracts. On June 25, news.Bitcoin.com reported on Ledgerx’s designated contract market (DCM) license approval by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to offer these products to institutional and retail investors.

Bitcoin Futures Update: Bakkt Testing, CME Breaks Records, and a $100K Call Option
Bakkt Bitcoin (USD) monthly futures contract. The exchange is also offering a daily contract as well.

The Centurion Contract: A $100K BTC Call Option

The U.S.-based crypto derivatives and clearing platform Ledgerx announced on July 17 that current investors can purchase a $100K call option called the “Centurion Contract” with a December 2020 expiry. Essentially this means that the price has to be $100,000 per BTC by 2020 and the market capitalization of BTC would be over 2 trillion dollars. “How much would you pay today for the right to buy one bitcoin for $100,000 in December 2020?” Ledgerx tweeted. “$100K option now available to Ledgerx customers, coming to all investors soon,” the company teased.

“Dozens and dozens of institutions got back to us saying we’d be interested in trading a contract like this,” Chief Executive Officer Paul Chou told the press. “I understand $100,000 is a large number, but a lot of us who’ve been in this space remember Bitcoin at $1, and then it hit $10 and $100 and $10,000. A $100,000 contract doesn’t even make us blink.”

Following May’s Records, CME Group’s Bitcoin Futures Touch All-Time Highs in June

During the first week of June, news.Bitcoin.com briefed our readers on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME Group) seeing a massive amount of interest for its bitcoin futures in May. For instance, the exchange posted 33,000 contracts ($1.3 billion notional value) on May 13. After that record day, CME’s open interest for its bitcoin derivatives positions saw an all-time high of approximately 5,190 contracts the following week. The rise in interest in CME’s bitcoin products had continued to grow larger in June.

“CME Bitcoin futures reached a record $1.7B in notional value traded on June 26, surpassing the previous record by more than 30% — The surge in volume also set a new open interest record of 6,069 contracts as institutional interest continues to build,” CME Group stated.

Bitcoin Futures Update: Bakkt Testing, CME Breaks Records, and a $100K Call Option
CME Group’s bitcoin futures open interest broke records in May and then again in June with 6,069 contracts.

CME Group has reaped the benefits of more investors when the Chicago Board Options Exchange (Cboe) announced it was ending its bitcoin futures products back in March. Being one of the largest derivatives marketplaces worldwide, CME Group followed Cboe’s trail after the company launched its futures products in December 2017. For a while, Cboe smashed records and led the race between the two global market companies. Many spectators have assumed that the latest bullish prices have been due to professional traders and larger financial institutions who want to get in on these types of markets, even with the large price fluctuations.

Bitcoin Futures Update: Bakkt Testing, CME Breaks Records, and a $100K Call Option

Overall, people think that large institutions gearing up to offer cryptocurrency derivatives and other types of crypto products will continue to entice institutional investors who would rather use traditional investing terminals. Two weeks ago, Fidelity International launched a cryptocurrency trading simulator, and according to reports a few days ago, the company has also filed an application to be a New York Trust. Prior to launch, Bakkt will have to obtain approval from the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) as well. The company Seed CX revealed two of its subsidiaries, Seed Digital Commodities Market and Zero Hash, were granted the 20th and 21st Virtual Currency License approvals from the NYDFS. When the company announced the approvals, Seed CX disclosed it also has plans to offer a market for CFTC-regulated digital asset derivatives products.

What do you think about the recent interest in cryptocurrency derivatives products? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, CME Group, Twitter, and Bakkt.


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The post Bitcoin Futures Update: Bakkt Testing, CME Breaks Records, and a $100K Call Option appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Source: Bitcoinnews.com

Bitcoin SV Hard Fork To 2 GB Blocks Will Force Centralization, Say Critics

bitcoin sv

Bitcoin Cash spin-off, Bitcoin SV (BSV), is preparing to stage its own hard fork to allow for giant blocks of transactions weighing in at up to 2 gigabytes.


Bitcoin SV: Blockchain Reorgs ‘Original Feature’

On July 24, the altcoin known as Bitcoin Satoshi’s Vision will carry out a protocol upgrade dubbed ‘Quasar.’

According to a press release stated on July 17, among the changes resulting from the upgrade will be the realization of one of BSV’s key goals: exponentially increasing the size of blocks. 

This, proponents of the token claim, is an essential step in order to preserve the longevity of the blockchain and ensure it attracts miners. 

“For mining to remain profitable, miners need to earn more in transaction fees from each block to compensate for the lower block reward subsidy. This is only possible on BSV,” Jimmy Nguyen, founder of the pro-BSV Bitcoin Association, commented.

BSV blocks currently involve a hard cap of 128 megabytes. After Quasar, a higher 512MB optional cap is expected, which developers have called the “consensus cap.” The new hard cap will be 2GB.

As Bitcoinist reported, BSV has caused near constant controversy since it split off from Bitcoin Cash in November last year. 

Weak security credentials facilitated issues such as blockchain reorganization attacks, which undermined the effectiveness of the network, while data suggested overall usage and mining activity were suboptimal. A report last week even alleged that 96% of BSV transactions come from a weather app, of all things.

Calvin Ayre, owner of the Bitcoin SV-focused news outlet Coingeek, described the technical problems as a benefit.

“Don’t be fooled by trolls on the necessary significance of reorgs and orphan blocks….they are an original feature not a bug,” he wrote on social media this week.

Pricing Out Miners?

With even bigger blocks, critics now argue that the technical problems will only grow, as the added expense for node operators will conversely make participating in the network an option for richer miners only. The result, they say, will be more centralization – an issue which already plagues BSV.

“There are people who think this can work and it’s a good idea,” What Bitcoin Did podcast host Peter McCormack summarized on Twitter, in a tongue-in-cheek appraisal of Quasar.

BSV nonetheless staged a comeback in anticipation of its upgrade, rising as high as $336 in the past week. 

Meanwhile, the separate legal debacle involving BSV’s de facto leader and self-confessed ‘creator’ of Bitcoin itself, Craig Wright, rumbles on. Involving a steadily-increasing list of participants, Wright is attempting to prove Bitcoin is his property, suing anyone who cares to disagree with him. 

His former business partner’s estate is simultaneously suing him for $6 billion in Bitcoin which they allege he stole several years ago. 

What do you think about Bitcoin SV’s hard fork? Let us know in the comments below!


Images via Shutterstock

The post Bitcoin SV Hard Fork To 2 GB Blocks Will Force Centralization, Say Critics appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

Source: Bitcoininst

Tron (TRX) Crashes 13.5% After Buffett Lunch Postponement

Tron

The price of cryptocurrency, Tron (TRX), has fallen by over 13.5% in the past 12 hours. This followed news that CEO, Justin Sun, had postponed his charity lunch with Warren Buffett.


Buffett Put Off Lunch By Kidney Stones

The reason given for the postponement was a case of kidney stones for Tron Schill-meister-in-chief, Justin Sun. Slightly more information than was needed, but we certainly wish Sun a speedy recovery.

In fact, Sun had initially announced the cancellation of the lunch himself in a post on Chinese micro-blogging site, Weibo. After explaining the reason for the cancellation, and that he was stable and recovering, Sun asked for forgiveness that he couldn’t attend.

Sun then confirmed that his $4.6 million donation to the Glide Foundation had been completed and is still valid. Which of course, is the honourable thing to do, but it must have stung worse than the kidney stones.

However, it seems Buffett wouldn’t let himself be out-honourabled by Sun, as the next announcement was from the Tron foundation, stating that ‘Parties [have] agreed to reschedule at a later date’.

Sun Had Almost Filled All The Seats

A week ago, it seemed like time was running out for Sun to find his guests as only Litecoin creator, Charlie Lee, had confirmed. Part of the deal when Sun won the charity auction, was that he got an extra seven seats at the table. Seats that he promised to fill with ‘all the blockchain leaders‘. Six were still going empty.

Then, in a flurry of activity up to and throughout the weekend, Sun confirmed: Circle CEO, Jeremy Allaire; Head of Binance Charity Foundation, Helen Hai; and eToro CEO, Yoni Assia – although Assia did have to ask if he could join before Sun invited him.

In fact, just hours before Tron foundation confirmed the postponement of the lunch, Sun had also invited Huobi CFO, Chris Lee. But it still feels like two empty seats to a lunch date in just three days is cutting it a bit fine.

Many had called for Sun to invite cryptocurrency heavyweights like Anthony Pompliano and Vitalik Buterin. However, it is not known whether they haven’t been invited, or have received invites but cannot attend. Binance CEO, CZ had already politely declined Sun’s offer.

Tron, which had been trading at around $0.0285, dropped over 13.5%, to around $0.0245, following news of the postponement.

Just In: Justin Rumoured To Be Subject To Travel Ban

An unconfirmed report suggests that Justin’s stones may not be of the kidney variety after all. Allegedly, he has been issued an exit ban by China’s Ministry of State Security. Tron’s Beijing office was raided by police a fortnight ago, over a suspected Ponzi scheme, so this is not inconceivable.

Although one Twitter commenter cruelly suggested that this could have been instigated by Buffett simply to get out of the lunch.

Whatever the truth of the matter, Thursday won’t see the meeting of giants that we’ve all been looking forward to. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait too long.

What do you think, does Justin Sun really have kidney stones or is this all just a cover up for something much worse? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!


Images via Shutterstock, Twitter @pandaofbinance, @tronfoundation

The post Tron (TRX) Crashes 13.5% After Buffett Lunch Postponement appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

Source: Bitcoininst

Crypto Price Analysis & Overview: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, BNB, Huobi Token

Bitcoin

BTCUSD-minq1

The pater we saw when Bitcoin jumped from $5,000 to $9,000 is currently repeated with greate volatility and a more significant correction. The support at $10,000 is fragile and it’s being tested in the past week. If this line of support breaks, the next one will be at $9,400. The resistance is currently at $11,000.

Ethereum

Against the USD, we’ve tested the support at around $200. The resistance in this range is at $230. Technically, the resistance before the last wave of gains was at $180 and as long as the support holds above it, this means that the trend is still here.

ETHUSD-minq1

Against Bitcoin, ETH stabilized around the support at 0.02BTC which is a critical area. The resistance in this range is at 0.024BTC. Despite the steady week, there are still concerns that the declines will continue.

ETHBTC-minq1

Ripple

Against the USD, XRP suffered in 2018 as most of the market did. However, 2019 seems to be relatively stable with a bottom at 29 cents which is also the support. Resistance in this range is at 34 cents. If we ignore the attempts to breach $0.50 and the sharp correction that followed, technically speaking, the action is considered stable.

XRPUSD-minq1

Against BTC, the support in this range is at around 2900SAT while the resistance is at 330SAT. It’s not clear whether the downtrend has reached its bottom, but with the correction in Bitcoin, the price appears to be stabilizing for now.

XRPBTC-minq1

BNB

Against the USD, we saw a correction of the trend and the price pulled back to the support at $28 range. Resistance in this range is around the 50MA at $32.

BNBUSD-minq1

A correction of up to 0.0024BTC is pending against BTC. Traders don’t seem to be pressured and the funds which are raised on Binance Launchpad continue to flow as usual. Resistance in this range is at 0.003BTC. If it breaks, the next resistance is at 0.0032BTC.

BNBBTC-minq1

Huobi Token

Against the dollar, we saw a successful year so far which went through a notable increase, a correction, and a comeback. The price went to $6, fell back to $0.90 and then surged again to resistance levels at $5. The support is now at $4.40. It’s also important to consider that a sharp correction is still in play.

HTUSD-minq1

Against BTC we saw a double trend which completed correction and another breakout attempt after the resistance broke out at $0.0004BTC and became support. The next resistance is at $0.00047BTC.

HTBTC-minq1

The post Crypto Price Analysis & Overview: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, BNB, Huobi Token appeared first on CryptoPotato.

Source: Crypto Potato

How Bitcoin Is Subverting The System In China

bitcoin booming in china

For a lot of people in China, bitcoin is more than just a trading or investment vehicle. With the oppressive Beijing regime constantly clamping down on the lives of its people, many are turning to BTC to subvert the system.


Chinese Government Cannot Shut Bitcoin Down

It is plainly obvious that they would like to, but the ruling party in the People’s Republic of China simply cannot shut down the Bitcoin network. What the state can do is impose strict controls and monitoring of all financial transactions within the country, whether suspicious or not.

This blanket surveillance is Orwellian, to say the least, and the Chinese people are looking towards digital assets as a method of circumvention. At the Oslo Freedom Forum, China Uncensored producer Matt Gnaizda sat down with the President of the Bitcoin Association of Hong Kong Leo Wheese.

The first question posed was one of BTC legality in China to which Wheese responded ‘yes’ … but there is no clear definition of what is ‘legal’. He added that any change will happen on the ground first with authorities reacting to crypto organizations and traders before the law changes.

As we already know, bitcoin exchanges are already banned and crypto mining operations have been suppressed in China. It was also revealed that the microprocessors for bitcoin mining machines are not manufactured in China. Previously, BTC mining boomed in China due to the prevalence of low-cost power, mostly located in the mountains where hydroelectric power is abundant.

Wheese added that bitcoin mining operations still consume around half a percent of the total power consumption but local governments do not appear to be concerned. The central government is more afraid of the hypothetical threat that people can completely circumvent capital controls by using bitcoin.

Current Payments Platforms Monitored

China already has WeChat Pay and AliPay but the government can and do monitor all transactions so BTC becomes a viable alternative for those wanting to transact overseas. Wheese continued to state that bitcoin has also grown in popularity with dissidents or corrupt officials seeking to move money without big brother prying.

People in China have been deprived of the opportunity to invest their savings, property markets are deflated, the stock market is seen as a scam, and banks offer few investment tools. The ICO boom was very popular in China where people found a new avenue of investment and bitcoin was used to fuel them. Fearing a loss of control and investor funds, and resultant unrest, the government reacted quickly to ban ICOs.

Wheese added that trading crypto in China was still highly active as many see it as a form of gambling. People have been using peer to peer platforms to trade bitcoin since existing platforms can be tracked. There are also capital controls in place to prevent larger sums of money leaving China, the limit is $50,000 per year. BTC helps people that want to move smaller amounts doing so without government snooping. Larger amounts can be sent using bitcoin, an example was payment for overseas education which ordinarily would not be feasible with the state restrictions.

Without a central authority, bitcoin cannot be shut down. The government must pursue the individuals instead which is costly and impractical. China is not inclined to ban bitcoin outright for fear of legitimizing it further and attracting more attention, he added.

Finally, the anchor asked about the future of bitcoin and whether to invest. There is a growing fear that China will be cut off from the international monetary system so if the yuan is not accepted elsewhere, bitcoin could become the de facto currency. This would benefit individuals and small businesses that can transact globally without the totalitarian regime constantly clamping down on them. This would, of course, increase the demand for BTC in China and across the globe.

Will China trigger the next bitcoin bull run? Add your thoughts below


Image via Shutterstock

The post How Bitcoin Is Subverting The System In China appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

Source: Bitcoininst

Indian Government Unveils Draft Crypto Bill Ahead of Supreme Court Hearing

Indian Government Unveils Draft Crypto Bill Ahead of Supreme Court Hearing

The Indian government has officially released the report by the interministerial committee tasked with proposing crypto measures. The announcement came one day before the country’s supreme court was scheduled to hear the writ petitions against the crypto banking restriction. The report contains the draft bill which proposes a ban on cryptocurrency.

Also read: G20 Leaders Issue Declaration on Crypto Assets – A Look at Their Commitments

Draft Bill Now Public, Supreme Court Hearing Delayed

The Indian supreme court was scheduled to hear the crypto case on July 23. It was expected to address the banking restriction by the central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). However, the case was not heard by the court on Tuesday.

On Monday, the Ministry of Finance published the long-awaited crypto regulatory report by the interministerial committee under the chairmanship of Secretary of Economic Affairs Subhash Chandra Garg, who is also the country’s finance secretary. The ministry confirmed that the “Report of the committee to propose specific actions to be taken in relation to virtual currencies” has been submitted to the government. It contains the draft “Banning of Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2019.”

Indian Government Unveils Draft Crypto Bill Ahead of Supreme Court Hearing

The Ministry of Finance’s announcement reads:

This report and draft bill will now be examined in consultation with all the concerned departments and regulatory authorities before the government takes a final decision.

The report discusses distributed ledger technologies (DLTs), virtual currencies, initial coin offerings, a digital rupee (central bank digital currency), the potential uses of DLT for financial services, and recommendations for both DLTs and cryptocurrency. “The mandate of the committee has been to study various issues pertaining to virtual currencies and to propose specific actions that may be taken in relation thereto,” the report describes.

Full Ban Proposal

The draft entitled “Banning of Cryptocurrency & Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill 2019,” included in the report submitted by the Garg committee, is an updated version of the one previously leaked, as news.Bitcoin.com reported. However, much of the crypto-related prohibitions and offenses are unchanged.

Following the release of his committee’s report, Garg tweeted on July 22 that “Private cryptocurrencies are of no real value. Rightly banned.”

Indian Government Unveils Draft Crypto Bill Ahead of Supreme Court Hearing

Noting “extreme fluctuations” in their prices, the committee proposes that “private cryptocurrencies should not be allowed,” stating:

The committee has recommended a law banning the cryptocurrencies in India and criminalizing carrying on of any activities connected with cryptocurrencies in India.

The committee believes that private cryptocurrencies have “no underlying intrinsic value” and “lack all the attributes of a currency.” The report adds that “There is no fixed nominal value of these private cryptocurrencies i.e. neither act as any store of value nor they are a medium of exchange.”

Proposed Prohibitions

According to the bill, “No person shall mine, generate, hold, sell, deal in, issue, transfer, dispose of or use cryptocurrency in the territory of India.” In addition to disallowing cryptocurrency for use as “legal tender or currency at any place in India,” the bill proposes that “No person shall directly or indirectly use cryptocurrency in any manner, including as (a) a medium of exchange; and/or (b) a store of value; and/or (c) a unit of account.”

As previously reported, the bill also states that “Whoever directly or indirectly mines, generates, holds, sells, deals in, transfers, disposes of or issues cryptocurrency … shall be punishable with fine or with imprisonment which shall not be less than one year but which may extend up to ten years, or both.” Moreover, “Whoever directly or indirectly promotes, issues any advertisement, solicits, abets or induces any participation in any activity involving the use of cryptocurrency … shall be punishable with fine or imprisonment which may extend up to seven years or both.”

Indian Government Unveils Draft Crypto Bill Ahead of Supreme Court Hearing

Regarding the RBI ban, the report reveals that the committee “endorses the stand taken by the RBI to eliminate the interface of institutions regulated by the RBI from cryptocurrencies … The committee also recommends that all exchanges, people, traders and other financial system participants should be prohibited from dealing with cryptocurrencies.”

Sandeep Goenka, co-founder of Zebpay, formerly one of the largest crypto exchanges in India, pointed out:

The recommendation report is dated 28th Feb 2019, hopefully, they review again and are asked to submit another recommendation report. A lot has happened globally since then.

Another recommendation the committee made is for the government to establish “a standing committee to take into account the technological developments globally and within the country and also the views of global standard-setting bodies to revisit the issues addressed in the report as and when required.”

Last-Minute Change

The Indian government was initially in favor of regulating cryptocurrency rather than imposing a blanket ban on it, Business Standard reported July 23, noting that Garg pressed for “accepting virtual currencies as an economic phenomenon,” arguing that “regulating it will likely lead to better results.”

The committee first met in November 2017 and broadly agreed that banning would be difficult to implement, opting to focus on determining whether cryptocurrency should be classified as a commodity or a financial asset. They also recognized that a ban may “drive some operators underground, which may encourage [the] use of such ‘currencies’ for illegitimate purposes,” the news outlet cited the minutes of the meeting.

Indian Government Unveils Draft Crypto Bill Ahead of Supreme Court Hearing

The second meeting took place on Feb. 22 last year, shortly after former Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said during his budget speech that cryptocurrency was not legal tender and steps would be taken to eliminate its use. During this meeting, the regulators were in favor of imposing a complete ban on cryptocurrency. Central Board of Direct Taxes Chairman Sushil Chandra said that it creates “a chain of black money,” the publication conveyed.

However, Garg noted that cryptocurrency would be discussed at the G20 meetings and a fresh look might be warranted. He suggested that using crypto in payment systems should not be fully banned, considering the nature of the technology. Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology Secretary Ajay Prakash Sawhney concurred. The committee decided to form two sets of papers ⁠— one for banning and the other for regulating cryptocurrency. According to the news outlet, during the next meeting held on Jan. 9 ⁠— almost a year later ⁠— the committee agreed upon the draft bill to ban cryptocurrency.

Do you think that India will adopt this version of the bill and fully ban cryptocurrencies? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Twitter.


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The post Indian Government Unveils Draft Crypto Bill Ahead of Supreme Court Hearing appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Source: Bitcoinnews.com

Bakkt Begins Bitcoin Futures User Testing ‘On Schedule’

bakkt

Bakkt yesterday announced the start of user acceptance testing for its Bitcoin daily and monthly futures contracts. “Testing is proceeding as planned with participants from around the world,” it tweeted.


Bakkt Bitcoin Futures Are Finally Present

Bakkt had previously announced that user acceptance testing would start on 22 July. So yesterday’s confirmation of this would seem like quite a coup… if this date hadn’t already been postponed multiple times.

New York Stock Exchange owner Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) announced its intention to launch Bakkt in August 2018. At the time, the intended launch date (not user acceptance testing date) was to be November 2018. Rumours of the impending announcement went back as far as May 2018.

Towards the end of October 2018, Ice announced that Bakkt would launch one month late, on December 12 2018. The reason for the delay, was that the product was still pending approval from the regulators. A month later, the launch had been pushed back to January 24 2019.

Towards the end of December, approval by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) was said to be happening in early 2019.

By May, the CFTC’s continued lack of action forced Bakkt to consider a different approach. By self-certifying, the product would be clear to proceed, as long as the CFTC did not raise any objections within ten days. Given the lack of any significant action by the CFTC over the preceding year, it would seem a pretty safe bet that they would be unable to raise a coherent objection in just ten days.

User Acceptance Testing would begin in July, it announced. By mid-June, that was pinned down to July 22.

They’ve Only Gone And Done It! Haven’t They?

Well, if you mean that ICE and Bakkt have finally got round to starting the user acceptance testing, then yes. They’ve done that.

We still don’t have a date for the launch or even a timescale for the testing. And that’s in part down to one major stumbling block.

Having fallen foul to missing announced launch dates before, Bakkt doesn’t want to go down that path again. Whilst self-certifying may have achieved CFTC approval (by default), there is still a regulatory hurdle to cross.

As Bitcoinist pointed out at the time, even a lack of objection by the CFTC didn’t solve the puzzle. A vital part of the Bakkt product is the custodianship, and becoming a qualified custodian requires a permit from the New York State Department of Financial Services.

This permit is thus far not forthcoming, and no expected date has been stated. All Bakkt says in its latest blog post is:

Subject to regulatory approval, Bakkt’s limited purpose trust company will serve as a qualified custodian for bitcoin.

So until this permit is gained we will not be promised any more ‘launch’ dates. Whilst it is great that Bakkt have started UAT on (its latest amended) schedule, Bakkt Futures, and the influx of institutional investors they are hoped to bring, may still be some time off yet.

Will we see Bakkt finally launch this year? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!


Images via Shutterstock

The post Bakkt Begins Bitcoin Futures User Testing ‘On Schedule’ appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

Source: Bitcoininst

Bitfinex Challenges NYAG Claims of Servicing US Customers

bitfinex

Bitcoin exchange platform Bitfinex has issued a court filing refuting claims by the New York Attorney General (NYAG) of servicing US customers in 2018.


Bitfinex Says Alleged US Customers are Foreign Entities

Earlier in July, the NYAG submitted evidence alleging that Bitfinex provided services to customers based in New York till December 2018, in violation of state law.

In response, Monday’s (July 22, 2019) court filing sees Bitfinex accusing the NYAG of misrepresenting the alleged connections to US customers.

According to the filing, Stuart Hoegner, general counsel for Tether, revealed that the customers in question were foreign eligible contract participants (ECPs).

An excerpt from the filing reads:

OAG (Office of the Attorney General) tries to confuse matters by referring to isolated instances where Respondents’ foreign customers have shareholders or other personnel in New York. But in those circumstances, Respondents’ counterparties — the ones with which Respondents actually transacted business — are the foreign entities.

Hoegner also argued that the NYAG is attempting to pierce the corporate veil so as to present the ECPs as resident bitcoin traders in the U.S.

As reported by Bitcoinist, the NYAG is accusing Bitfinex of covering about $850 million in customer losses.

No Jurisdictional Leg to Stand On

Bitfinex is also challenging the broader jurisdictional authority of the NYAG in the case beyond the matter of servicing U.S. customers. The company’s lawyers say the court lacks both personal and subject matter jurisdiction over the case.

On the latter jurisdictional leg, Bitfinex has issued another filing claiming that Tether (USDT) doesn’t qualify as a security or commodity. Thus, it cannot be included in financial fraud litigation under the Martin Act.

As such, Bitfinex says the NYAG is attempting to have it both ways — requesting substantive relief while failing to justify the jurisdictional basis for obtaining such relief. The following excerpt from the filing summarizes Bitfinex’s position:

OAG wants judicial relief today in the form of discovery and injunction, but cannot be bothered to show that there is a statutory basis for that relief. The Court should reject OAG’s flawed arguments.

These new court filings are part of the company’s efforts to have the NYAG’s suit against it thrown out. Back in May, Bitfinex secured a temporary stay of documents in its legal tussle with the NYAG.

Hearing on the matter will resume on the matter at the end of July.

Will Bitfinex be able to get the Court to dismiss the case? Let us know in the comments below.


Images via Twitter @alistairmilne and @gaborgrubacs. Shutterstock

The post Bitfinex Challenges NYAG Claims of Servicing US Customers appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

Source: Bitcoininst

Iran Gives Nod to Cryptocurrency Mining

bitcoin iran

Iran’s government has given the green light to a cryptocurrency mining mechanism, thus recognizing the Bitcoin and crypto industry, local media portal TehranTimes reported on Monday, citing news agency Mehr.


Crypto Mining Has Legal Grounds in Iran

It’s official – the Iranian governments’ economic committee on Sunday said yes to a cryptocurrency mining mechanism. The decision is a natural result of Iran’s plans to frame the rapidly expanding mining farms into its legal system.

Abdolnaser Hemmati, Governor of Central Bank of Iran (CBI), stated:

The government’s economic committee has approved a mechanism for mining digital coins and it will later be put to discussion at a cabinet meeting.

Besides approving a crypto mining approach, the economic committee officially recognized the crypto industry. The committee’s head Elyas Hazrati commented:

We do believe that cryptocurrency industry should be recognized as an official industry in Iran to let the country take advantage of its tax and customs revenues.

Iran Elaborates Electricity Pricing Scheme for Miners

The crypto mining industry has been surrounded by uncertainties for months, as the government couldn’t decide whether to approve the industry or not. Due to the low-priced electricity in the country, many crypto mining farms have expanded at a fast pace.

On Sunday, the government established an electricity pricing scheme for Bitcoin and cryptocurrency miners, though we don’t know the exact prices as stipulated in the scheme. Also, the cabinet will have the last word on the pricing plan.

Deputy Minister of Energy Homayun Haeri said:

A plan to apply the exported electricity rate for mining farms was approved by the government’s economic committee and will soon be discussed and voted on by the cabinet.

Meanwhile, Elyas Hazrati explained the benefits of endorsing crypto miners. He said that the gained income might be used for buying foreign currencies under US sanctions and minimize their negative consequences.

Step-by-step, Iran’s stance on cryptocurrencies makes a u-turn. At the beginning of the year, the country lifted the ban on Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.

A Good Example for India

Iran’s approach might be a good example for other countries that cannot decide on how to regulate the crypto industry. For instance, India is currently working on a regulatory scheme related to Bitcoin and its brethren. However, it seems that the final decision might be a total ban on Bitcoin and crypto trading.

If India follows in the footsteps of China by cracking down on Bitcoin operations, it might lose many great benefits. Regulating the industry might be a win-win for both the government and the market participants.

Do you think India will ban Bitcoin operations indeed? Share your thoughts in the comments section!


Images via Shutterstock

The post Iran Gives Nod to Cryptocurrency Mining appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

Source: Bitcoininst

Sorry, I Don’t Want to Pay for More Bombs: Bitcoin as a Hedge Against Funding War

Sorry, I Don't Want to Pay for More Bombs: Bitcoin as a Hedge Against Funding War

After nearly two decades of U.S.-led coalition bombs falling on the Middle East, peace in the region still has not been achieved. Now the United States is once again bolstering military forces, this time in Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, taxpayers in multiple countries are being forced to pay for these ill-fated and unethical campaigns, with little to no say in the matter. Bitcoin and cryptocurrency provide a means, however, to store and move value in peaceful ways, in lieu of donating to the murder of strangers overseas.

Also Read: Privacy Is a Human Right Worth Fighting For

Sorry, I Don't Want to Pay for More Bombs: Bitcoin as a Hedge Against Funding War

War Is Funded By Force

Abandoned by US forces back in 2003, Saudi Arabia’s Prince Sultan Air Base will now be home to at least 500 more American troops, aircraft, and air defense missiles, according to statements last week by DoD officials. A large percentage of the bill for this move will be footed by American taxpayers, who have no real choice in the matter.

While the move is understood to be about preparations for defense against a potentially dangerous Iran, some have their doubts about the legitimacy of these claims. Controversial news stories about who attacked who, seemingly open to more than one interpretation, have those hard-working individuals involuntarily funding the U.S. military machine hesitant. With banks and employers tracking and taxing their U.S. fiat, however, the hesitation is irrelevant. They must pay, or else.

Sorry, I Don't Want to Pay for More Bombs: Bitcoin as a Hedge Against Funding War
Satellite image of recent taxpayer-funded developments at the Prince Sultan Air Base. (Planet Labs Inc.)

Violence in the Name of Peace

So what do individuals in coalition countries pay for when the tax bill comes? Afghanistan is in the midst of a famine and displacement crisis. In Iraq, depleted uranium from U.S. weaponry continues to wreak havoc on infants, children and young adults in the country, as the silent birth defect epidemic rages on. Syria and Yemen are in shreds with hospitals and school buses being some of the shocking targets of U.S. drones. If this is the “peace” individuals have been paying so much of their income for under threat of violence, it doesn’t seem to be working. In fact, in 2018 the average American taxpayer worked 63 days just to fund the military. If one doesn’t work to this end, they are fined or arrested.

Sorry, I Don't Want to Pay for More Bombs: Bitcoin as a Hedge Against Funding War

Getting Into Bitcoin for Change

There’s no shortage of bitcoiners who became so solely in the interest of making a few bucks, or landing their first “moon Lambo,” but that’s hardly the only reason for interest in the cryptocurrency. From the beginning, the movement has been highly philosophical. Satoshi Nakamoto himself famously embedded a newspaper headline into the first transaction on the genesis block: “The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks.” It’s arguably always been a subversive money, aimed at non-violence, sound financial policy, order, and peace.

Bloodstained Fiat Currency

It is no secret that trust-based financial systems of the state are backed by force. This is why even if one stands opposed to financing the havoc and carnage perpetrated via warfare, there’s not a whole lot of choice when it comes to safely opting out. There’s always the risk of being caged or assaulted by federal agents and police should one resist. This resistance to these immoral funding methods is euphemized as criminal “tax evasion.”

Due to the decentralized nature of cryptocurrencies, however, instead of having funds funneled through a centralized institution such as a major bank, it is now possible to hold a virtually unlimited number of private addresses and wallets, giving users much more control over their money. Instead of waiting in line to “withdraw” what is already theirs from a state-sponsored lending institution or bank — dealing in debt-based currencies and credit traps — market actors can enjoy instant transfers for minuscule fees. They can also divvy up the funds and distribute them to myriad locations easily. When it comes time to “voluntarily” pay for weapons meant to kill other human beings, they can simply remain silent and choose not to.

Sorry, I Don't Want to Pay for More Bombs: Bitcoin as a Hedge Against Funding War

The Doors of Choice Are Open

Strange that refusing to pay for violence is viewed by so many as a crime. Not wishing to finance the drone bombings of school buses, hospitals, or strangers is viewed by governments as “anti-social” behavior. Up is down and down is up. As such, each individual who wishes to act ethically and starve this dysfunctional paradigm must assess their own risk and act accordingly. What cannot be contested, though, is that now the doors are open to keeping one’s value from serving these abominable ends, at least to some extent. Cryptocurrency, if used properly, is means by which to do this.

Shuffling, Storing, and Saving

Coin shuffling (a process by which owners of crypto such as BCH can mix their holdings to make them very difficult to trace), and other secure, anonymizing protocols make it safer and easier to exercise financial autonomy. Paper wallets (and other cold storage technology) can be used to leave an offline, virtually unextortable inheritance to loved ones. In this sense, crypto provides a way to opt out of paying one’s wealth to spill blood into the sand on the other side of the world.

This is much harder to do when your employer pays fiat, taxes everything automatically, and banks are tracking each and every deposit. Of course as mentioned earlier, there’s always a risk, but that’s for each individual value holder to decide, and no one else. On top of all this, crypto can also be used to send much needed humanitarian assistance to those suffering in ravaged or economically unstable countries.

Sorry, I Don't Want to Pay for More Bombs: Bitcoin as a Hedge Against Funding War

Iran Implements Its Own Crypto

What will become of the current tensions with the U.S. and Iranian governments, or the reactivated air base in Saudi Arabia, remains to be seen. Now creating their own gold-backed state crypto, and having sanctioned mining for the same currency, Iran’s government seems to have chosen its road, and it’s not the path of the almighty U.S. dollar.

On July 21 Abdolnaser Hemmati, governor of the Central Bank of Iran, stated:

A mechanism to mine digital coins was approved by the government’s economic commission and will later be put to discussion at a cabinet meeting.

This is big news, especially since the official digital currency will be a non-USD compliant token, politically speaking, backed by stable gold reserves. Iran’s Deputy Minister of Energy noted that energy provisions for mining farms would soon be discussed as well.

While Iraq, Libya, and others have met with grave U.S. military violence for attempting to leave the dollar in recent years, Iran has upped the ante and jumped not only on the USD abandonment train, but also on the warily-eyed-by-the-state tsunami trend of incoming crypto adoption. Talk of Facebook’s Libra, Bitcoin, and others understandably have governments worldwide concerned. More violence in the Middle East, though, won’t bring anything more than blood, and the ability to opt out of this violence has become a little simpler, mercifully, thanks to Bitcoin.

Do you think crypto is a peaceful way to opt out of funding war? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Op-ed disclaimer: This is an Op-ed article. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the Op-ed article. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the content. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any information in this Op-ed article.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Fair Use.


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The post Sorry, I Don’t Want to Pay for More Bombs: Bitcoin as a Hedge Against Funding War appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Source: Bitcoinnews.com