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Encouraging Signs For a Bitcoin ETF

It is several years in the making, but the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust could be, emphasis on “could,” getting closer to becoming a reality.

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss were ahead of the bitcoin exchange traded fund (ETF) curve, ranking as the first group to initiate plans for bitcoin-based ETF. As has been the case with all subsequent filings for related products, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has, to date, not approved any filings for ETFs related to bitcoin or any other digital currency for that matter. However, there is some good news for investors waiting on the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust.

“Records show that Winklevoss IP applied for a patent on December 19, 2017, to facilitate a system for operating exchange-traded products holding digital currencies,” reports BTCManager.com. “The product explained in the patent application as ETP is similar to an ETF. An Exchange Traded Fund is a tradable security that tracks the price movement of a particular index or industry. ETFs are commonly used by investors to reduce risk and improve probable returns. The ETP as described by the patent will track the price movements of constituent cryptocurrencies.”

Regulatory Hurdles

Many ETF issuers expected the launch of bitcoin futures, which debuted on two U.S. exchanges in December, would help facilitate the debut of ETFs related to the cryptocurrency. Following the launch of bitcoin futures on Cboe and CME, a slew of ETF sponsors reapplied to launch bitcoin funds, but were still rebuffed by the SEC.

The Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust, which would trade under the ticker “COIN,” is designed to follow a basket of shares tied to bitcoin, the largest digital currency.

“Shares based on digital math-based assets may be redeemed using one or more computers by determining share price information based upon quantities of digital math-based assets held by a trust, electronically receiving a request from an authorized participant user device to redeem a quantity of shares, electronically transmitting a quantity of digital math-based assets from one or more origin digital asset accounts to one or more destination digital asset accounts associated with the authorized participant, and canceling the quantity of shares from the authorized participant,” according to the patent application.

In March 2017, the SEC rejected what was at the time the most recent application for the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust. At the time, the SEC questioned the trust’s ability to adequately value bitcoin while also raising concerns about the lack of regulation surrounding the digital currency market.

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Bitcoin

Coinbase Will Reward You For Holding Your Crypto

Coinbase is for the first time allowing general users to earn rewards by simply holding cryptocurrency, starting with the Tezos (XTZ) token.

In a company blog Wednesday, Coinbase said U.S. customers (barring residents of Hawaii and New York) can now stake the smart-contract platform’s crypto with an estimated 5 percent annual return.

Tezos uses an alternative consensus mechanism to proof-of-work mining – the system built into the largest cryptocurrency by market cap, bitcoin. Called proof-of-stake, the alternative mechanism rewards network users for holding onto its coins and thereby helping protect the network.

Coinbase’s 5 percent estimate is based on Tezos’ last 90 days of staking returns. The firm also notes that there’s an initial holding period of 35–40 days, after which stakers will start to see rewards appear in their accounts every three days.

The exchange has also added Tezos to Coinbase Earn, a program aimed at educating the public about crypto, and will give out XTZ to participants completing educational videos.

Coinbase soft-launched staking for both Tezos and decentralized finance token Maker (MKR) this March on Coinbase Custody.

As Coinbase wrote at the time, Coinbase Custody primarily serves institutional clients holding large amounts of crypto. This latest initiative brings staking to even the smallest of Tezos holdings, however.

Coinbase also recently rolled out 1.25 percent interest on users’ holdings of the dollar-pegged stablecoin USDC.

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Bitcoin

$19 million worth of Bitcoin (BTC) seized in dark web drug probe

The U.S. government has seized $19 million worth of BTC from a drug trafficker, who allegedly laundered funds through the cryptocurrency on the original dark web marketplace known as “Silk Road.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York announced the news on Thursday, saying that the trafficker, Hugh Brian Haney, 60, was arrested near Columbus, Ohio. In 2017 and 2018, Haney allegedly transferred bitcoins representing drug proceeds he had earned through Silk Road to an account held at a company involved in the exchange of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. He claimed falsely that the source of these bitcoins was from mining.

Haney is charged with one count of concealment money laundering and one count of engaging in a financial transaction in a criminally derived property. The former count carries a maximum jail term of 20 years, while the latter a maximum term of 10 years.

Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agent-in-charge Angel M. Melendez said:

“HSI special agents employed blockchain analytics to uncover and seize bitcoins valued at $19 million and usher Haney out of the dark web shadows to face justice in the Southern District of New York.”

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Bitcoin

“Cryptocurrency is a great idea” – Ron Paul

During a recent “Squawk Alley” interview, Former Republican congressman and presidential candidate, Ron Paul- discusses how he is in favor of cryptocurrencies as well as block change technology. Apparently, he enjoys competing currencies and believes they are a good idea. 

He also believes that the governments only have the right to step in to prevent fraud from taking place. In the interview, Paul states that, “the government has a role. And if somebody has a case that there is fraud, I think it should be investigated.” Paul then goes on to state that what he wants to do “is legalize the freedom of choice, absent blatant fraud.” Agreeably so, this is exactly the type of perspective that the crypto world needs.

Throughout the interview, Paul compares crypto to gold in many ways. He points out how both assets are competing with traditional fiat money. He discusses how our government has never been “very tolerant of competition, and they’re not even tolerant with using the Constitution to compete with the fiat dollar. Because gold and silver, you can’t use it.” 

This isn’t the first time that Ron Paul has discussed his views on crypto. Back in 2014, the Former Republican Congressman displayed his concerns about the foundation of crypto and Bitcoin. However, he acquired a bearish pro-crypto outlook on the future of fiat money. Paul believes that the dollar won’t last long as “they all self-destruct.” According to Paul, the only competition for the dollar is the euro and yen- which “isn’t any good.”

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