LATEST ARTICLES

CEO of OKEx Leaves For Rival in Midst of Troubles

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It has been a rocky few weeks for crypto. After the market seemingly came out of an extended bear run, prices fell sharply this week reversing about two months of market progress. Then, of course, there is the drama that extends beyond the market.

The former CEO of OKEx, Chris Lee, is leaving the world’s largest exchange by volume to lead rival exchange, the third highest ranked, Huboi.

Perhaps recent trouble at OKEx might have something to do with it. Although this hasn’t been proven as the reason for Lee’s departure, a string of questions regarding the legitimacy of OKEx’s businesses practices have surfaced. If you look at recent news from OKEx over the past few months, you can imagine how the exchange’s developing negative reputation may have added to Lee’s choice to leave.

Earlier in May 2018, the government mouthpiece China National Radio (CNR) has raised doubts about the legality of services offered by the OKEx. Even further, CNR said the OKEx had not only survived after the ban, but it violated the national law by offering Bitcoin contracts to mainland China investors after it had claimed to move its business overseas.

Other problems facing OKEx is their major liquidity issue. Although they are not the only exchange facing this problem, OKEx scored terribly on what is known as the Slipage test. This test is pretty simple: Buy $50,000 (USD) on an exchange and measure the rate of decline for whatever crypto you purchased. The original researcher found that OKEx had a much higher slippage rate than other major exchanges. You can read more about the results of this test here.

This research conducted by Sylvain Ribes has been largely accepted and widely viewed. The 18K Clap response on Medium shows the tremendous amount of community support behind these findings. If the researcher is correct, he has determined that OKEx and other major cryptocurrency-only exchanges are fabricated and inflated.

Other reports said the inflation numbers are as high as 90% for OKEx.

Other investors and enthusiasts have accepted the reality of over-inflated markets and questioned what the general consequences of it are, good or bad.

It’s still a wild west out there in the crypto universe where rules go out the window. This is the arena where glory and wealth awaits the person who knows how to game the system. Everyone knows that exchanges play a dirty game of market making, well, because they can. Chris wouldn’t be the first nor the last, but perhaps OKex might open the floodgates to regulatory bodies coming in to nanny us helpless crypto investors. On one hand I dislike being played, but on the other hand, I dislike regulations even more.

So before you crucify Chris Lee for his life choices, I leave you with these words of wisdom from five times WCW World Heavyweight Champion, Booker T:

Don’t hate the player, hate the game.


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HelloGold’s GOLDX is the world’s first Shariah-certified cryptocurrency

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GOLDX Shariah Compliant

Malaysian HelloGold has become the first to launch a certified Shariah-compliant cryptocurrency. Shariah compliance demands, among other things, that there be an underlying asset behind an investment. The GOLDX token is backed by gold held in a vault based in Singapore, and each GOLDX token represents one gram of gold.

The token technology is built on Ethereum’s ERC20 standard, and GOLDX can currently be purchased directly from HelloGold with Bitcoin and Ethereum, and will be available for purchase on exchanges in the near future.

The Shariah-compliant certification from the Shariah Supervisory Board of Amanie Advisors gives HelloGold access to the US$1.9 trillion Islamic finance industry. Robin Lee, CEO and Co-founder of HelloGold, said, “HelloGold has opened the door to over a billion Muslims to access a new financial product as the international Islamic financial market continues to grow and draw interest from non-Muslim countries.”

Robin Lee – CEO of HelloGold

The GOLDX token is separate from HelloGold Foundation’s HDT token, which funds the operations of the foundation and is traded on several crypto exchanges. HelloGold has been offering the gold-backed crypto through its website and mobile app, which allows users to buy gold-back assets for amounts as small as RM1 (US$0.26).

 


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Images courtesy of HelloGold

Bleeding Sakae looking for a Bitecoin comeback?

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Sakae sushi

Embattled restaurant operator Sakae Holdings Ltd and payment gateway MC Payment announced the development of a new cryptocurrency token, Bitecoin, aimed at the food and beverage (F&B) industry. The companies signed an MOU on 8 Feb to launch what they called a “Token Generation Event”, which is essentially an ICO.

Sakae will market the coin while MC Payment will do the tech development. The companies have not yet decided on how many tokens they will issue, or how much they hope to raise from their initial offer. A white paper is still in development and it is not clear yet what the roadmap will be, although the press release said that the company will use a “digital wallet… [to] amass data, which allow merchants to gain a deeper understanding of their consumer demographics and feedback, as well as implement targeted marketing tools”.

An MC Payment spokesperson told CryptoCentral.net that the initial plan for Bitecoin was at the retail-to-consumer level, although the companies will also look at applications down the value chain.

Will consumers bite? That depends on what the company is willing to give in return for fishing their data through the token/wallet. Hopefully there will be generous discounts and offers for users who are willing to give their data in this way.

Sakae is still hurting from the closure of more than half its outlets over the last two years, and its pre-tax losses have mounted from $4.9 million in FY2015 to $13million in FY2016. Its website lists only 13 outlets, down from 32 in Sep 2015. The website also lists 31 outlets in Malaysia (an Apr 2016 snapshot of the page shows 33 outlets), and two in China.

Blockchain tech is already being adopted by industrial giants for logistics, with projects in development by Maersk, UPS, and IBM, among others. When contacted, Sakae was unable to clarify exactly how it is planning to implement blockchain technology for the rest of the F&B chain, other than noting its usefulness in logistics.

 


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Image from Flickr by Yoji Shidara (CC BY-SA 2.0)

 

Tharman: no ban on cryptocurrency trading for now

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Singapore won’t ban cryptocurrency trading, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said in Parliament on Tuesday (6 Feb). At the same time, he emphasised the need for continued vigilance for anti-money laundering checks and countering the financing of terrorism, and will subject intermediaries, such as exchanges, to these basic regulatory checks.

While this signals a relatively open playing field for cryptocurrency traders, organisations hoping to launch ICOs, and companies developing blockchain technology, Mr Shanmugaratnam sounded some notes of caution:

  • Cryptocurrency trading and investment is extremely risky, with high risks for loss
  • Blockchain technology, which cryptocurrencies use, have “potentially useful applications in facilitating payments and trade settlements” and the Government is encouraging the development of blockchain projects
  • There is a greater risk of fraud when dealing with entities located outside Singapore
  • Law enforcement is monitoring the cryptocurrency space for illegal activity, and everyone is required under the law to report suspicious transactions

Already, the Singapore Government has started Project Ubin, a collaborative project to explore the use of Distributed Ledger Technology for clearing and settlement of payments and securities.


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Featured image via Pixabay

 

 

Tether is cut off from its auditor, breaking its transparency promise

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Tether Limited, the company behind the fiat-backed cryptocurrency Tether (USDt, EURt, etc.) no longer has an auditor. This is problematic for the company, and for Tether holders, which made its claim of 1:1 fiat-to-Tether value on the back of “full transparency” and “frequent professional audits”.

There have been no audits in the nearly three years since the cryptocurrency hit the market in May 2015, and now there isn’t even an auditor. Friedman LLP has also removed all mentions of its engagement (in May 2017) to audit Hong King-based exchange Bitfinex from its website. Bitfinex is the primary Tether-linked exchange that new Tether grants flow to.

Earlier this month, the website tetherreport.com (commissioned by the 1000xGroup) published research linking Tether grants to the Bitfinex wallet. The report author, who goes by the hash “32E3690D50B3B477DF7841212D4BB938DC9CDB50307618328E7F8B53F37CC1E2”, like other critics like Bitfinex’d, was of the opinion that Tether was minting Tethers in response to market conditions, without actual fiat backing. The author also claimed that Tether injections were responsible for 48.8 per cent of Bitcoin’s price rise in the last 10 months.

While issuing or minting a cryptocurrency on a fiat basis is not inherently a problem in itself, such an action would go against Tether’s claim of real asset backing, and therefore provide no assurance to holders of USDt that they could claim equivalent amounts of fiat USD for their Tethers.

Is in unclear who decided to sever the tether between Tether and Friedman, but a Tether spokesman said that the state of the working relationship meant that “an audit would be unattainable in a reasonable time frame.”


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Featured image from Pixabay.

ACCESS goes “distributed”, eyes regional outreach after AGM

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ACCESS, the Singapore Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Industry Association, is looking further afield after three years of building up the industry in Singapore. At its AGM on 26 January, the association refreshed its board and revealed its intention to form a new sub-committee for International Relations.

“It’s been a great year for us, and we hope to use the momentum to go regional, help build up the industry across the region, and become more, well, distributed,” Zeall told CryptoCentral.net.

The mandate for the new sub-committee will be to forge stronger bonds, improve relations, and encourage collaborations with key players in the region. ACCESS has already expanded into Malaysia with an association that was launched in May 2017.

Other key changes are the appointment of Jedtrade CEO Daphne Ng as Secretary General, lawyer Chiew Yu Sarn as Head of Memberships, and Yojee CTO Andras Kristof as Director of Industrial Relations. Ng is the second woman on the five-person board, after Treasurer and Bitcoin Exchange CEO Zann Kwan. Anson Zeall remains as Chairman.

The association’s growth has tracked the rising popularity of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. It crossed the 150-member mark in 2017, and has helped host events like Blockshow Asia, and the Inclusive Blockchain Conference, and has inked a memorandum of understanding with the Singapore University of Social Sciences.

 


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Featured image from Pixabay.

Don’t believe the rumour about Alibaba’s crypto mining launch

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It’s all over the Internet and it’s false. After rumours began circulating off a QQ.com microblog post (with no discernible byline) linked in a Tweet with the word “unverified”, that CoinTelegraph somehow picked up and published, now every online crypto news outlet is touting that Alibaba’s P2P Nodes is Jack Ma’s (curiously hypocritical) foray into cryptocurrencies, which the Chinese government frowns upon.

That’s how unreliable “news” is in the cryptocurrency space. Reports persisted even after Alibaba officially announced after the rumour broke on 16 Jan that P2P Nodes has nothing to do with cryptocurrencies or mining.

Alibaba clarified that P2P Nodes is a peer-to-peer (P2P) Content Delivery Network (CDN) service that lets users share their unused bandwidth and improve network speeds, and users validate data on the network in exchange for “points”: an action akin to “mining” for some cryptocurrencies. The “points” are not cryptocurrency-based, are not a currency, and can only be exchanged for items in the platform’s own gift shop.

So what do we learn from this fiasco?

  1. Don’t trust everything you read at first
  2. Alibaba isn’t going to buck the China government stand on crypto
  3. The difference between a cryptocurrency and Alibaba’s system is significant but minute
    P2P Nodes Cryptocurrencies
    Blockchain ledger Apparently not Yes
    Allows resource trading by creating an intermediary record of value Yes, via points Yes, via tokens/coins
    Centralised Yes Sometimes (Ripple, Tether)
    Data verification (proof of work) Yes Yes
    Proof of work “creates” more points/tokens No Yes

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Featured image: Alibaba logo.

Indian banks freeze the accounts of crypto exchanges

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There are reports circulating that India’s major banks have frozen some of the accounts of crypto exchanges in the subcontinent on allegations of dubious transactions, and are said to have asked for 100 per cent collateral for loans for those promoting such exchanges. Accounts that have not been frozen have been subjected to withdrawal caps.

All the reports online seem to have originated from The Economic Times’ (an established English daily) report here. It seems the actions taken by the banks were not directed by the Reserve Bank of India, although Indian authorities had previously called cryptocurrencies “Ponzi schemes”, and sent warning notices to almost 500,000 high-net-worth crypto investors. However, cryptocurrency trading remains completely legal in India.

It wouldn’t be the first time this has happened. Bulgarian banks shut down the accounts of exchanges in December 2017, and the same thing happened with Hong Kong banks and exchanges in November 2017. Indian exchanges have had banking trouble since late last year.

What’s most likely to happen is that exchanges will just move their money to other banks, including foreign and smaller local banks. Let’s hope their anti-money laundering (AML) and know-your-customer (KYC) checks are all in place.

 


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Crypto markets see red, not dead

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It’s been a bit of a down day in the world of crypto, with nearly all of CoinMarketCap’s top 100 cryptocurrencies taking a beating over the last 24 hours, with the downtrend starting at about 7:30am on 16 Jan. We say “a bit” because even with the volatility, the fact is that most of these coins are still way above their valuations from a month ago.

Take Ethereum, for example. Last month it hovered around USD700. After today’s ‘bloodbath’ and a 15 percent loss over the last 24 hours the price is… USD1,089. Cryptocurrency trading is that kind of a roller coaster.

via GIPHY

More gutsy investors saw the selloff as an opportunity to up their stake in the market, and charts recorded small rebounds across the board before stabilising (or what passes for it) at around 12 noon GMT on 16 Jan.

What sparked the selloff? Perhaps it’s because China’s been clamping down on mining farms over the last week, and the authorities announced that it might block local internet users from accessing international bitcoin exchanges. Chinese exchanges and ICOs were banned last year.

Or maybe it’s the rumour of Korea taking steps to severely restrict cryptocurrencies? Take that news with a pinch of salt – Seoul clarified that it isn’t actually going to ban crypto like China did, and any legislation would take months or years to get through the works anyway. So calm your bits, hodl, and read some less-sensationalist crypto news.

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MAS chief says cryptos will eventually crash

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Monetary Authority of Singapore logo, from MAS website www.mas.gov.sg

“I do hope that when that fever has gone away, when the crash has happened, it will not undermine the much deeper and more meaningful technologies associated with digital currencies and blockchains.”

“Under-mine”, get it? Heh heh.

Mr Ravi Menon, managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore hopes that the technology underlying cryptocurrencies will endure. We hope so too. Technology is technology. And a crash – it’s part of a cycle, no? Stock markets crash too, don’t they?

Unless, of course he means that as companies fall from a crash, their tech IP gets destroyed? Possible, but it sounds unlikely.

As to whether Singapore’s central bank would issue a cryptocurrency, he didn’t think it would be a good idea “because that completely disintermediates the banks.” Here’s to some crypto-genius coming up with a solution that doesn’t disintermediate the banks, then! Go apply those talents.