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Not Many Good Grades For Cryptos

One ratings agency is applying grades to some cryptocurrencies and, for the most part, this is not a report card to be posted on your parents’ refrigerator.

Weiss Ratings, an independent ratings agency that assigns letter grades to about 55,000 institutions and investments, including nearly all of the nation’s insurance companies, banks, credit unions, stocks, ETFs and mutual funds, recently published grades on 93 digital currencies. That is a small slice of the overall alt-coin universe, which is home to more than 1,500 coins.

In its most recent report, a follow up to its initial grades released in January, Weiss Ratings upgraded bitcoin to a grade of B- from C+.

“Cryptocurrencies do not have to achieve an A grade to merit interest by investors. A ‘B’ or even ‘B-‘ also qualify as the investment rating equivalent to ‘buy.’ At the same time, investors should not be overly alarmed by a ‘C’ rating. It is a passing grade; and for investors, implies the equivalent of ‘hold,’” according to Weiss.

Inside The Grades

Just 14 of the cryptos graded by Weiss landed grades of B or B- while 54 received C ratings. Among those in the B category are EOS, ADA and DCR. Those with B- ratings include bitcoin, ethereum, IOTA, Ripple and STEEM, among others.

Among the well-known cryptos in the Weiss C category are bitcoin cash, dogecoin, litecoin and siacoin, among others.

“The new world of cryptocurrencies has delivered astonishing profits to investors and holds great promise for the future,” according to Weiss. “Millions of new investors have rushed in. Hundreds of self-declared experts have appeared to advise them. But the market suffers from lax standards, murky operators, marketing hype, and periodic market crashes. It desperately needs the clarity that only robust, impartial ratings can provide.”

The ratings agency offered a fair view of bitcoin.

“Bitcoin (rated C+) gets excellent scores for security and widespread adoption,” said Weiss. “But it is encountering major network bottlenecks, causing delays and high transactions costs. Despite intense ongoing efforts that are achieving some initial success, Bitcoin has no immediate mechanism for promptly upgrading its software code.”

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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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