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Bitcoin Temporarily Dips Below $3,400 and Abra App Allows Investors to Invest in Stocks, Commodities, ETFs

Japanese exchanges are making strides in regaining redemption after suffering from several hacks that negatively impacted the market. A JP Morgan analyst who previously snubbed Bitcoin has been “born again” and now believes that institutions will flock to crypto. A Bitwise researcher claims that about 95 percent of cryptocurrencies will die. The founder of Twitter has earned himself a special place in the hearts of crypto enthusiasts after disclosing that he is HODLing Bitcoins. An investment firm has been dragged to court after ill-advising a crypto investor to invest in a worthless ERC-20 token.

In the markets, it was a typical day one would expect in the middle of the crypto winter. The price of Bitcoin temporarily dipped below $3,400 before recovering to its current price of $3,410. It’s a mixed day across the board but there seems to be more red than green. Binance’s native token, Binance Coin is on a roll and is now the tenth largest digital asset by market cap.

In the top 100 list, stablecoins generally had a good outing considering that huge price swings are expected from them. Teether, USD Coin, True USD, and the Gemini Dollar are all in the green.

UK financial watchdog: the public lost $255 million in investment scams in 2018

UK’s financial watchdog the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) released a press statement on Feb. 6 warning the public about the threat posed by fraudulent investment schemes.

The FCA used data from Action Fraud that shows that investors lost £197 million ($255 million) to investment scams last year. Moreover, the scammers are using sophisticated tactics to convince the public to invest in their scams.

A large percentage of the reported scams involved investments in shares and bonds, forex, and cryptocurrencies by companies that are not licensed by the FCA.

The scams in these investment classes accounted for over 85 percent of the cases reported. The FCA warned investors to be vigilant in the first quarter of 2019 as it the peak period for investments.

The investment scams are increasingly happening online as scammers are moving away from their traditional cold calling methods. Investors are targeted through email and social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.

“Last year 54% of those who did the right thing by checking the FCA Warning List had been contacted by potential fraudsters via online sources, up from 45% in 2017. The FCA Warning List is a tool that helps users to find out more about the risks associated with an investment, and search a list of firms the FCA knows are operating without its authorization,” said the FCA.

The FCA advised the public to minimize the chances of falling victims to these investments scams by rejecting investment schemes offered online, getting impartial advice before making an investment decision, and checking if the companies making investment offers are registered with the FCA.

 

Japanese crypto exchanges on a damage control mission after suffering from hacks

Japan is by far one of the most pro-crypto countries on the planet because it has managed to recover from massive hacks and still allow the young industry to flourish in the island nation known for its love for technology.

It now seems that the cryptocurrency exchanges are doing their best to regain redemption after being hit by hacks, some of them which threatened to have a bigger impact on the overall crypto market.

A year after suffering the largest hack in the history of the nascent industry, Coincheck exchange has assured the public and its clients that the $530 million-hack was a wake-up call.

Toshihiko Katsuya, who took over the presidency of the exchange after it was acquired by Monex Group in the aftermath of the hack, said that they have raised Coincheck’s security to higher levels.

“Monex has been in the securities business for 20 years. By building in our knowledge, we have been able to raise [Coincheck] to a considerably high level,” said Katsuya.

bitFlyer Holdings, a company that operates a major cryptocurrency exchange in the country replaced its founder, Yuzo Kano as CEO with Yoshio Hirako, an experienced executive in the financial industry.

It is clear that exchanges are swapping their founders with people who have extensive knowledge in management and the financial sector.

Litecoin heads to Hollywood

Good marketing strategies know no boundaries and Litecoin is leaving no stone unturned as it pushes for adoption.

The Litecoin Foundation announced that it is sponsoring the Mammoth Film Festival which will run from Feb. 7 to Feb. 11 in California. The event will be attended by big stars that include Belgian action-star Jean Claude Van Damme and Olivia Munn.

Part of the prizes to be won at the event will be paid in Litecoin, forcing the winners to come into contact with Litecoin and cryptocurrencies in general. This won’t likely be a problem because Litecoin founder Charlie Lee claims that Litecoin is a “big-star in Hollywood.”

“When we spoke to the festival’s founders, they immediately expressed the growing enthusiasm and support for Litecoin we’re seeing amongst the filmmaking community,” said Lee.

This latest development comes after Litecoin sponsored a UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) event in December last year.

Lee, a Google alumnus has sold almost all of his LTC holdings. Litecoin Foundation has seen the value of its crypto reserves (mostly BTC and LTC) dwindle as the crypto market continue to endure a protracted bear run since the beginning of last year.

Litecoin is currently the seventh largest digital asset by market capitalization.

Abra app introduces crypto investing in stocks, commodities, and ETFs

Abra, an all-in-one cryptocurrency wallet and exchange app announced on Feb. 6 via a blog post that they are providing everyone in the world with an opportunity to use the Abra app to invest in stocks, commodities, and ETFs.

The firm said it will start by rolling the service to popular U.S stocks and ETFs. They also plan to add more global assets in the future.

“We’re announcing that we are enabling everyone, everywhere in the world the opportunity to invest in traditional stocks, commodities and ETFs, all from the Abra app,” wrote Bill Barhydt, the founder of Abra.

The new service allows people to own tiny fractions of stocks, commodities, and indexes in the same way that they can own fractions of cryptocurrencies.

People simply need to download the app and fund their account using cryptocurrencies or bank account.

Founded in 2014, Abra is compatible with both Android and iOS smartphones. It enables users to buy, sell, and hold 30 digital assets – including Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin, Ripple, Zcash, Stellar, and DigiByte – as well as 50 fiat currencies.

As to why Abra launched this new service, the app claims that it wants to level the playing field for everyone.

Barhydt said in the blog post that a huge number of people in the world (billions actually) are shut out of the investment opportunities due to a number of reasons such as financial status, income level or geographical location.

The future of finance, according to Abra, is decentralized and Barhydt promises to use the Abra app for the rest of his life.

Bitwise researcher: 95 percent of cryptocurrencies will die

Data from CoinMarketCap indicates that there are about 2,080 cryptocurrencies. However, Matt Hougan, a Bitcoin researcher and the president of ETF.com said in an interview that 95 percent of cryptocurrencies will die.

“There are 2,000 cryptocurrencies out there, 95 percent of them are useless and will die a painful death,” said Hougan.

Hougan believes that there are a lot of bad apples that need to be plucked out of the market and the sooner it happens, the better. He also said that this is similar to what happened after the dot.com bubble: new tech giants such as Amazon, Google, Facebook, etc. emerged.

In sharp contrast to many analysts, Hougan is more bullish on cryptocurrencies than blockchain technology.

“If you remember the early days of the internet […] everyone was really excited about corporate intranets. […] People thought corporate intranets were the thing. The analogy between an open internet which people are like no one will trust that,” she said.

With regards to ICOs, Hougan said that the majority of the projects were scams and will land many people in jail – and they deserve to be jailed.

The majority of what Hougan believes in has been said by several analysts, however, he has taken a hardline stance on the whole situation.

JP Morgan analyst makes a U-turn, says institutional interest is returning in the crypto sector

A JP Morgan analyst who said financial institutions are losing interest in Bitcoin has backed down from his statement because the situation is temporary.

Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou wrote an article in December last year claiming that financial institutions are deserting Bitcoin and its ilk.  Speaking on CNBC’s “Futures Now” on Feb. 5, he said that the situation is only temporary and institutions will renew their interest in cryptos.

The analyst believes that financial firms will flock to the market if cryptos show stability.

“The stability that we are seeing right now in the cryptocurrency market is setting the stage for more participation by institutional investors in the future. The cryptocurrency market was a new market. It went through a bubble phase [and] the burst,” he said.

He reckons that the institutions will crawl back to the industry when the importance of blockchain technology grows. While he thinks this way, he says that this could take years to happen.

“The big obstacle is regulators right now,” he said, before adding that regulators take long to come to the party.

 

Twitter founder Jack Dorsey only HODLes Bitcoin

Over the last few days, Jack Dorsey the billionaire founder of social media giant Twitter and Square has been the darling of the crypto community.

In his latest tweet on Feb. 5, Dorsey says that he only holds Bitcoin. “I only have bitcoin,” he told his followers on Twitter.

Dorsey did not specify the amount of Bitcoin he holds or how long he has been HODLing. Bitcoin has lost more than 70 percent of its value since reaching a record high of nearly $20,000 in December 2017.

Despite this, he recently claimed that Bitcoin will one day become a global currency. He added that cryptocurrency will be the currency of the internet.

He also participated in the “lightning torch” game in which users add funds to a Bitcoin payment and pass on the torch to the next person so that they can do the same. The purpose of the game is to promote Bitcoin and push for its adoption.

The under-fire cryptocurrency market needs all the support it can get now, especially if it comes from influential people like Dorsey.

 

Binance Coin enters the top 10 list by market cap

Binance Coin, the native token of the cryptocurrency exchange Binance has overtaken Cardano (ADA) and Bitcoin SV to anchor the top 10 list of digital assets by market cap.

Binance Coin is up more than 8 percent in the last 24 hours and its market cap stands at $1.1 billion.

The cryptocurrency exchange has been on a roll over the last couple of months and recently, the exchange availed new services that allows its users to buy crypto with credit cards.

The exchange’s platform for launching new tokens, the Binance Launchpad received a major boost after the BitTorrent ICO was sold out in less than 20 minutes.

Binance, through its various programs, is taking the lead in driving the cryptocurrency market and it is no surprise that the efforts are reflected in the price appreciation of its token.

 

Crypto investor takes investment firm to court over worthless ERC-20 token

A cryptocurrency investor has taken his investment firm to court for giving him advice that led to the loss of all his investments.

Lijun Sun, a crypto investor of Chinese descent based in California was advised to make a $2 million investment in MCash digital asset by Blue Ocean Capital Group, a New York-based firm.

MCash is an ERC-20 token that has not seen practical development. The token is not listed on any notable or recognizable exchange and data from EtherScan shows that MCash is worth nothing.

According to the filing, Sun was making his entrance into the crypto market and sought advice from the firm that pointed him in the direction of MCash.

“Not only was the MCash Token not properly registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, but more importantly, in connection with selling the MCash Token, Defendants made numerous misrepresentations and omissions that induced Plaintiff to invest $2 million,” reads the filing.

Sun wants his $2 million returned plus an additional $6 million in damages.

Dubai Royal Dips into Crypto, Coinbase Offers PayPal Withdrawal Services to Clients in the EU

Bitcoin is once again struggling to remain in the green over the last 24 hours after posting losses of 0.1 percent. The top 4 digital assets are all down less than 1 percent in a day that has seen more red than green. Litecoin is the only digital asset in the top 10 list in the green. Binance Coin, which now claims the eleventh position, is up 8 percent.

Coinbase extends its PayPal withdrawal service to EU and European Free Trade Association

U.S-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase announced on Feb. 5 via a blog post that it is extending its PayPal withdrawal service to the European Union (EU) and the European Free Trade Association countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland).

This latest development comes after Coinbase added this similar type of support to clients in the United States and promised to roll out the service to other regions of the world. The exchange also claims that it is working on bringing the service to other geographical areas.

“We strive to make Coinbase the safest and easiest place to use cryptocurrency — offering convenient withdrawal options like PayPal is another big step towards that goal,” reads part of the blog post.

SEPA and UK Faster Payments were the only two options that the exchange’s European customers had before the addition of PayPal, one of the largest and most popular digital online payments systems.

Users who wish to use the service need to sign into their Coinbase account and link their PayPal account to their Coinbase account.

Dubai royal ventures partners with crypto investment firm Invao

Dubai’s royal Sheikh Saeed bin Ahmed Al Maktoum is partnering with crypto investment firm Invao. The crypto firm wants to lure more investors from the United Arab Emirates.

The royalty’s office will help work with Invao as it tries to secure funding from Gulf State investors. The office, which is known as the Private Office, makes its own investments in different sectors such as healthcare, technology, hospitality, real estate, etc. and it also sources deals for others.

Invao, a blockchain asset pool, was set up last year and has invested in excess of $1 million. In an interview, the co-founder of Invao Frank Wagner said that the firm has managed to make a profit despite the bear market that has rocked the crypto space since the beginning of last year.

“Even in our worst month we still made 8 percent profit on our investments,” he said.

Hisham Al Gurg, the CEO of Seed Group who also works with the Private Office said the partnership is part of the UAE’s drive to become a blockchain hub.

“We have selected Invao as our international partner for blockchain investments as we believe that it will increase the transformation drive for the digital asset landscape in the UAE whilst offering an enhanced standard and improved market access for investors in the region,” said Gurg.

Crypto lending platform Dharma Labs raises $7 million from Coinbase, Green Visor Capital

Capital continues to flow in the crypto industry despite the market down and a number of challenges facing the industry.

Dharma Labs, self-described as a “universal protocol for credit on blockchains” secured $7 million in a funding round led by Green Visor Capital with the participation of Coinbase Ventures, the venture arm of cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase.

Dharma Labs is planning to use the funds to expand its margin loans for Bitcoin and crypto traders. With margin loans, investors can borrow money against shares or managed funds and this can help the investors to enjoy high returns, but it also opens the window for magnified losses.

“Digital currencies will one day power financial services that are as competitive, user-friendly, and globally accessible as the best internet products we enjoy today,” said Nadav Hollander, the founder and CEO of the lending platform.

Hollander compared his firm to Uber, saying that Dharma Labs has the potential to make margin lending as easily accessible as Uber has made it easy for anyone to order a taxi.

In a press statement, the company said that smart contracts have an important role to play in the financial industry because “they remove the ability for a single entity to deny user’s service based on their economic status or where they live.”

New twists to the crypto exchange QuadrigaCX and the missing $150 million saga

The crypto world was shaken when the founder of QuadrigaCX Gerald Cotton passed away in December last year, and the exchange could not locate the private keys to $150 million in crypto assets.

Cotton’s widow, Jennifer Robert claims that the laptop used by her late husband for work for carrying out company business is encrypted.

“Despite repeated and diligent searches, I have not been able to find them written down anywhere,” she said in an affidavit.

However, some new revelations have emerged that may suggest that this could be an elaborate exit scam.

Bloomberg reported that Cotton legally changed his will a few days before his death. There are also rumors that the exchange’s co-founder Michael Patryn might be a convicted scammer known as Omar Dhanani – who previously pleaded guilty to several accounts of identity theft in 2005, according to CCN.

There is still on whether the alleged missing $150 million in crypto didn’t actually exist. This is another wake-up call to the crypto community about who they chose to store their crypto holdings.

Huobi.com launches fiat-to-crypto trading services

Huobi.com, the U.S partner of Huobi Global based in Singapore announced on Feb. 5 that it is launching fiat-to-crypto trading services. The new service allows users to buy or sell digital assets with USD and trade against three select assets – Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and Tether (USDT).

To celebrate the new service, the exchange is giving away 20 USDT to the first 500 registered users who open a new wallet via the platform’s ‘Balances’ page.

Huobi’s ambition to extend beyond crypto-to-crypto trading services comes at a time when the majority of crypto companies are diversifying their business models. Binance cryptocurrency exchange launched a fiat-to-crypto service in Uganda in which users can buy crypto using Ugandan Shillings.

Huobi Global recently launched support for four stablecoins and has revealed plans to launch its own stablecoin in 2019.

Many crypto firms are downsizing and laying off employees due to the bear market but Huobi Group is pushing ahead with plans to expand overseas.

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