Flaws in LocalBitcoins Data Call Into Question Regional Adoption Claims

When bitcoin advocates claim adoption is surging in developing countries, particularly during periods of political unrest or economic turmoil, their go-to source for evidence is often LocalBitcoins. The peer-to-peer exchange, which matches buyers and sellers of the largest cryptocurrency in nearly 250 countries, publishes weekly volume data for each nation and region where it has users. This constant stream of fresh data makes LocalBitcoins a unique window into the global market. But a closer look at the way this data is collected shows substantial noise mixed in with the signals,…

Binance CEO: Russian Ruble to Be First Fiat-Crypto Trading Option

Cryptocurrency exchange Binance is soon to launch its first fiat-to-cryptocurrency trading pairs. Speaking at the Open Innovations 2019 conference in Moscow on Monday, CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao confirmed that fiat options are on the way, kicking off with the Russian ruble: “We’re adding support for fiat trading. In about two weeks or so, we should have support for Russian ruble trading, direct.” Until now, the company’s primary service, binance.com, has only supported crypto-to-crypto trading. However, it has launched local fiat gateways in Uganda, Singapore, Jersey and, most recently, the U.S. Binance had said in September that fiat…

Binance Hikes Leverage to 125x for Launch of Bitcoin-Tether Futures

Binance’s futures exchange is raising leverage to 125x with the launch of bitcoin (BTC)/tether (USDT) contracts today. The cryptocurrency exchange first announced its futures platform in early July, at the time hinting it would allow 20x leverage. Now, futures traders can now choose leveraged positions between 1x and 125x, it said Friday. “We have seen an increase in institutional participation in trading … And they are flocking to Binance Futures,” said Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao in a statement. “The market has been demanding a product with superior stability and performance; now…

CME Says Bitcoin Futures Gaining Interest From Big Investors

CME Group, the Chicago-based exchange operator, said its bitcoin futures contracts grew in popularity last quarter, with the number of open contracts up 61 percent from a year earlier because of growing demand from institutional investors. Open interest, or the number of outstanding positions, rose to 4,629 contracts, up from 2,873 in the third quarter of 2018, CME said Monday in a statement. And despite the quarter’s 25 percent drop in bitcoin price, according to CoinDesk, the open interest in the CME’s contracts was down just 1 percent from second-quarter…

Coinbase Eyes European Growth After Winning Irish E-Money License

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has been granted an e-money license by the Central Bank of Ireland. Writing in a company blog Saturday, Coinbase UK CEO Zeeshan Feroz said the exchange is one of the very first firms to receive the license from the central bank, following a Dublin office opening a year ago. The license will also help open up EU and European Economic Area (EEA) markets for Coinbase customers, Feroz said. Speaking on the announcement, state-sponsored business development agency IDA Ireland – which was set up to attract foreign investment to…

Bitfinex Doesn’t Have to Compile Documents During Appeal, Judge Says

A New York judge has rejected a New York Attorney General’s office request to have Bitfinex and Tether collect all documents pertaining to an alleged $850 million cover-up and $900 million line of credit. The NYAG’s office asked New York Supreme Court Justice Joel Cohen to order Bitfinex, Tether, and a number of other affiliated entities to compile all documentation about the loan earlier this month during an ongoing appeals process. Bitfinex opposed this request in another letter sent to the judge earlier this week. On Thursday, the judge ruled…

OKEx Korea Reviewing Decision to Delist Privacy Coins Zcash and Dash

The South Korean arm of cryptocurrency exchange OKEX has halted, for now at least, the delisting of two privacy coins due to regulatory pressure from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). According to a notice from the exchange on Thursday, the planned suspension of both zcash (ZEC) and dash (DASH) support has been put under review. OKEX first announced its intentions to delist five privacy coins – also including monero (XMR), horizen (ZEN) and super bitcoin (SBTC) – in September citing FATF’s controversial “travel rule” for crypto asset service providers,…

Vanguard Developing Blockchain Platform for $6 Trillion Forex Market

Mutual fund giant Vanguard has partnered with Nasdaq Ventures-backed blockchain startup Symbiont to develop a trading platform for the $6 trillion currency market, the companies said. With the new platform, Vanguard, which manages $5.2 trillion, aims to lower transaction costs for the trillions of dollars worth of currencies it trades annually by boosting peer-to-peer trading for investors, connecting them directly via blockchain technology. Symbiont CEO Mark Smith told CoinDesk the company teamed up with Vanguard to build the currency platform, confirming a Bloomberg report that cited an anonymous source. The platform…

QuadrigaCX Founder’s Widow Will Cough Up $9 Million to Repay Users

Jennifer Robertson, the widow of QuadrigaCX founder Gerald Cotten, is transferring nearly $9 million ($12 million CAD) in assets to EY Canada, the bankruptcy trustee for the now-defunct crypto exchange. Robertson announced the move in a statement on Monday, saying since her husband’s death late last year, she had “made every effort” to assist in the recovery of QuadrigaCX’s assets.  The exchange folded earlier this year, after Robertson and other Quadriga-affiliated entities realized they did not have access to the company’s cold wallets, and therefore could not access any of…

Crypto Traders’ Lawsuit Claims Bitfinex, Tether Cost Market Over $1 Trillion

A new lawsuit claims crypto exchange Bitfinex and its sister company Tether manipulated the crypto market, harming traders and benefiting themselves. Bitfinex and a number of affiliated entities engaged in deceptive, anti-competitive and market-manipulating practices, resulting in economic damages for the plaintiffs, according to a lawsuit filed Sunday in New York. Notably, the plaintiffs, who seek class-action status, claim that the total damages add up to more than $1 trillion, writing: “Calculating damages at this stage is premature, but there is little doubt that the scale of harm wrought by…