Nasdaq CEO: We’ll ‘Certainly Consider’ Becoming a Cryptocurrency Exchange


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Nasdaq, the world’s second-largest stock exchange with a $9 trillion market cap, is open to becoming a cryptocurrency exchange in a regulated market.

In a televised interview with CNBC’s Squawk Box, Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman was asked of the position taken by Nasdaq’s board and herself on cryptocurrencies, specifically as a service provider.

“A lot of people are frustrated that even if they go into [the cryptocurrency] market, they have no liquidity [at an] exchange,” host and ‘Shark Tank’ shark Kevin O’Leary said, quipping: “Nasdaq would be a natural place for that, would it not?”

‘It’s an unregulated space today, so it’s not something that we’ve decided to go into becoming a [crypto] exchange but we are providing our technology now to other crypto exchanges,” she replied, pointing to Nasdaq’s surveillance technology that will be put to use by Gemini to monitor its cryptocurrency trading pairs in bitcoin and Ethereum.

Notably, she added:

Over time though, if we do look at it and say people are ready for a more regulated market for something that provides a fair experience for investors, certainly Nasdaq would consider becoming a crypto exchange, over time.

Asked if she was a believer in cryptocurrencies, she bullishly stated:

I would definitely say that – I believe that digital currencies will continue to persist. It’s just a matter of how long it will take for that space to mature. Once you look at it and say, ‘ do we want to provide a regulated market for this?’, certainly, Nasdaq would consider it.’


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Winklevoss Crypto Exchange Partners With NASDAQ In Industry First

Gemini, the cryptocurrency exchange with Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss at its head, announced it had partnered with NASDAQ to monitor markets April 25.

As a press release and multiple media outlets confirm, the move represents a first for exchange operator in the crypto sector, and will see Gemini use NASDAQ’s SMARTS Market Surveillance Technology.

Going forward, Gemini will be alerted to unusual trading behavior and could mitigate the effects of market manipulation – a threat which continues to form a talking point in the exchange industry.

“Our deployment of Nasdaq’s SMARTS Market Surveillance will help ensure that Gemini is a rules-based marketplace for all market participants,” Tyler Winklevoss commented on the partnership.

SMARTS “automates the detection, investigation and analysis of potentially abusive or disorderly trading,” as NASDAQ describes its technology, and is currently in use by 45 marketplaces, 17 regulators and over 140 market participants.

Earlier this month, Gemini moved into large-scale cryptocurrency volume exchange when it unveiled so-called block trading for its users.

Occurring off-book, large trades will be deliberately published with a ten-minute delay in order to avoid localized volatility.

Various over-the-counter exchanges both inside and outside the US are also attempting to hook wholesale traders.

Gemini Will Monitor its Bitcoin, Ethereum Markets Using Nasdaq Tech


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Gemini, the Winklevoss twins’ cryptocurrency exchange, has announced a partnership with Nasdaq to use the latter’s technology to monitor all trading pairs of its crypto marketplace.

With the new agreement, Gemini will deploy Nasdaq’s surveillance technology, dubbed SMARTS, for increased oversight over its recently introduced block trading feature and all trading pairs including BTC/USD, ETH/USD and BTC/ETH, Gemini said in a statement on Wednesday.

Further, the surveillance technology will also be used to oversee activity across Gemini’s auction process wherein data gathered is used by Cboe’s CFE Exchange to determine the settlement price for Bitcoin futures contracts.

The technology will enable help monitor real-time trading of bitcoin and ethereum on Gemini’s marketplace to determine and flag unusual trading patterns. SMARTS is used by some of the largest exchanges in the world, including the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE)and the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd.

Gemini president and co-founder Cameron Winklevoss added in a statement with the Wall Street Journal:

We’re doing this because we believe in the importance of creating a rules-based marketplace. We believe this is where things are headed.

Gemini sees Nasdaq’s SMARTS as ‘the most widely deployed surveillance system in the world’, stressing its implementation will further help the exchange build a ‘rules-based marketplace’ at a time when regulators and authorities, particularly in New York, increase their scrutiny into the operations of cryptocurrency exchanges.

Nasdaq, meanwhile, talked up the integration of its technology in ‘non-traditional marketplaces’ like cryptocurrency exchanges that are now held to the regulatory standards required of Wall Street companies.

“Being regulated by the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYSDFS), Gemini is held to the utmost standards in terms of capital reserve requirements,” said Nasdaq’s senior vice president Valerie Bannert-Thurner. “This is a major milestone in the application of SMARTS – and an important indicator of our commitment to expand the use of our market technology into non-traditional marketplaces, as well as new frontiers beyond the capital markets.”

Gemini, which operates in the state of New York as a fiduciary without the mandated requirement of the state’s ‘BitLicense’, was one of 13 cryptocurrency trading platforms named in an inquiry for transparency by New York Attorney General Eric Schniederman last week.

Featured image from Flickr/TechCrunch.

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Chinese Police Seize 600 Computers Used To Mine BTC In Tianjin

Police in the northern Chinese city of Tianjin have seized 600 computers used to mine Bitcoin, after abnormal electricity usage attracted the attention of the local power grid operator, CNBC reports April 25.

CNBC cites local media outlet Xinhua, which reported details from a local police officer saying that it was “largest power theft case in recent years,” and that “eight high-power fans” had also been seized.

Xinhua has not reported when the equipment was confiscated, but five people are reportedly under investigation and another has been detained.

Due to cheap electricity and hardware manufacture, China is a stalwart crypto mining superpower. A recent report showed that mining costs in China run to $3,172 per coin, which can offer miners a significant, if fluctuating, return.

In 2017, allegedly 50 to 70 percent of BTC mining took place in China. This January, however, news broke of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC)’s intent to toughen regional regulatory oversight and potentially restrict the power use of miners in future.

Ethereum Price Leads Morning Retreat as Market Dips Below $400 Billion


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The cryptocurrency markets made an early morning retreat on Wednesday, pressing pause on its extended bull run. The Ethereum price led the retreat with a nine percent decline, and altogether nine of the 10 largest coins and tokens lost value against the dollar, while four posted double-digit declines.

ethereum priceSource: CoinMarketCap

The major price action began Wednesday morning at approximately 2:30 UTC when the cryptocurrency market cap was valued at $434 billion. Over the next two-and-a-half hours, the market shed $30 billion, and — despite a brief recovery — continued to decline throughout the morning. At present, the cryptocurrency market cap is valued at just $393 billion, representing an intraday decline of 9.4 percent.

It’s not immediately clear what caused the bulls to run out of steam, though it may be a simple matter of traders who bought at the bear market’s bottom taking profits following this week’s rapid recovery, which had seen the cryptocurrency market cap swell by more than $100 billion.

bitcoin priceSource: CoinMarketCap

Both single-day and one-hour price movements have moved into negative territory across the board, though the retreat has disproportionately affected altcoins.

Indeed, the Bitcoin price declined just one percent for the day, beating the index by more than eight percent and raising its market share back above 39 percent. Bitcoin is now trading at a global average of $9,168.

The Ethereum price declined by more than nine percent just hours after piercing $700 for the first time in more than a month, and the second-largest cryptocurrency is now valued at $621.

The Ripple and Bitcoin Cash prices fared even worse, plunging 13 percent and 16 percent, respectively, to $0.80 and $1,276.

EOS was the lone cryptocurrency among the market’s top-tier that managed to keep its head above the water for the day, though the token has plunged by nearly four percent in the past hour alone.

The remaining top 10-cryptocurrencies exhibited similar one-hour declines while also posting 24-hour retreats of between eight percent and 14 percent.

Nevertheless, investors have ample reason not to panic. Despite the single-day pullback, every top 10-cryptocurrency remains in positive territory for the week, and six have risen by at least 10 percent.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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Venture Capital Firm Sequoia Sues Binance Founder Over Funding Deal

Venture capital firm Sequoia is suing Zhao Changpeng, the CEO and founder of Binance, currently the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trade volume, for allegedly breaching an exclusivity agreement during negotiations for an investment deal which broke down last year, Bloomberg reported April 25.

Sequoia has now appealed to Hong Kong’s High Court to secure a temporary injunction to bar Zhao from negotiating with other investors, causing the dispute to go public and revealing insights into VC firms’ past valuations of the exchange.

Citing the High Court documents, Bloomberg reports that Zhao and Sequoia began negotiating terms in August 2017 for an 11% stake investment in Binance, at a proposed valuation of $80 million. The talks continued as Bitcoin’s trading price soared to $20,000 in mid-December, at which point Zhao’s negotiators broke off talks, considering that the deal undervalued the exchange.

As the Sequoia deal fell through, the alleged exclusivity agreement breach involved another VC investment firm, IDG Capital, which reportedly expressed interest in investing in Binance over two funding rounds, at significantly higher valuations of $400 mln and $1 bln respectively.

Bloomberg reports that IDG has responded to the news outlet’s questions, stating that it has not invested in Binance and has no relationship with the exchange. Sequoia and Zhao, meanwhile, reportedly intend to settle their dispute in arbitration.

In previous interviews with Bloomberg, Zhao has claimed his personal fortune is worth as much as $2 bln, but declined requests to provide proof of his wealth and grant access to the Binance’s financial statements. He has also reportedly said that Binance does not need investment from VC investment firms, and is only interested in partnerships if doing so would help the exchange to secure operating licenses from regulators.

It remains to be seen whether Binance’s multi-country presence can insulate it from the traditional financial system and secure room for manoeuvre from regulatory requirements.

When Japan’s Financial Services Authority (FSA) recently ordered Hong Kong-based Binance to halt its operations in Japan for its failure to register the exchange, Zhao announced the company would open an office in Malta. Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission has also issued warnings to crypto exchanges, including Binance, this year.

VC Giant Sequoia Sues Crypto Exchange Binance Over Failed Financing Deal

Binance Sequoia

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Venture capital firm Sequoia Capital is suing the founder of Binance, the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange, for allegedly violating an exclusivity agreement.

Binance founder and chief executive Zhao Changpeng has been sued by Californian venture capital firm Sequoia Capital in Hong Kong’s high court in relation to a financing deal that broke down between the two, last year.

Citing court documents filed on Tuesday and March 26, a Bloomberg report points to Zhao negotiating terms with Sequoia about an investment in Binance at the time of its launch in August last year.

Details from the court filings reportedly reveal terms of a deal that would’ve seen Sequoia inject a little over $8 million for an 11 percent stake in Binance in talks that valued the cryptocurrency at $80 million at the time.

Talks progressed over the following months before eventually breaking down in mid-December, when bitcoin approached its record all-time high near $20,000. The report reveals that Zhao’s team informed Sequoia that the proposed $80 million was seen as an undervaluation by Binance’s shareholders.

As the deal failed to materialize, Binance’s Zhao reportedly received a separate offer from another venture capital firm IDG Capital. The terms of the significantly higher valuation saw two proposed rounds of funding of $400 million and $ 1 billion respectively.

Sequoia is alleging that Zhao violated his exclusivity agreement with the firm after engaging in discussions with IDG Capital. While Sequoia and Zhao are still planning on settling the dispute in arbitration, Bloomberg adds that the VC firm moved to secure a temporary injunction from Hong Kong’s high court to keep Zhao from negotiating with other potential investors.

The world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange with just under $4 billion in trading activity over the past 24 hours (Coinmarketcap figures), Binance recently announced plans to move to the European island nation of Malta following regulatory scrutiny in nations like Japan.

Binance did not immediately respond to a request for comment at the time of press.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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Ethereum Proposal To “Resurrect” Disabled $360 Mln Parity Contract Shut Down

A week-long vote on a proposal in regards to the Parity hack wallet reversal, which proposed to restore a disabled contract to unfreeze 587 wallets holding 513,774.16 Ethereum (ETH), equal to around $360 mln at today’s prices, has ended with a majority “no” vote today, April 24.


In November of last year, a Parity user “accidentally killed” the Parity multisig library by activating a vulnerability to become the owner of the library, and then self-destructing it. Prior to that, the library had been “fixed and re-deployed” with the vulnerability after Parity was hacked of around 150,000 ETH in July 2017.

In response to the accidental freezure of the ETH funds, Parity wrote in a blog post that they are working on Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIP) that could propose ways to unblock the funds.

EIP-999 presented on April 4 and written in regards to the frozen ETH “suggests restoring the WalletLibrary by a patched version to allow the owners of the dependent multi-signature wallets regain access to their assets.” EIP-999 received 330 “no” votes, 300 “yes” votes, and 9 “don’t care.”

Voting was a “coin vote,” which in this case allowed those with the dead, affected wallets to be able to vote with the ETH in those wallets just by signing the message, according to a Reddit post by user x_ETHeREAL_x. Before the vote was over, x_ETHeREAL_x posted that “the reason “yes” is winning has nothing to do with community sentiment”

“It is Parity, the original ethereum foundation members now part of parity, and even their own self-destructed wallet voting. Do not be fooled — this has nothing to do with “community” sentiment!”

The debate over whether to return lost or stolen funds to users versus maintaining the immutability of the Blockchain has been around since the DAO hack of around $60 mln in June of 2016.

The subsequent fork to restore users’ money led to a split off of Ethereum Classic – which kept the money with the hackers – by crypto enthusiasts that believed a return of the funds via a fork shouldn’t be used in any case.

126 Banks-Strong Brazilian Association Febraban Reveals Blockchain Tests


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Febraban, the Brazilian Federation of Banks with over 120 associated banks, is actively exploring and researching blockchain technology.

The Federation has published tests that have been carried out on different platforms such as Corda, developed by the global banking consortium R3. Recently, it has announced the addition of another event, the CIAB Febraban, whose talks to start in June 2018 will be on Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Blockchain, IOT and how these changes can quickly create or destroy a business.

Since 2016, the Federation has explored the potential of the blockchain, creating the Blockchain Working Group the same year. The group composes of members of the Technology and Banking Automation Executive Committee – Banco do Brasil, Bancoob, Banrisul, Bradesco, BTG Pactual, Caixa, Citibank, Itaú Unibanco, JP Morgan, Safra, Santander as well as the Brazilian Central Bank, CIP and B3, a new company resulting from the merger of BM & FBOVESPA and Cetip. Last year, Febraban also organized its first-ever blockchain event focused on the use of technology. It announced that blockchain tech allied with Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the focus of the institution.

According to a survey conducted by the federation last year, 65% of industry executives in Brazil said that their companies study blockchain implementation and 29% already evaluate analytics and cognitive computing or AI experiences.


According to the Federation, the first proof of concept, called Fingerprint, used the Corda platform and involved Brazilian banks Itaú, Bradesco and B3. The test, developed in R3’s cloud lab, created a database with fictitious information such as name, Brazilian official documents of identification (CPF and RG), age, address and telephone with document storage. The result has proven the ability of banks to operate collaboratively, with the guarantee of immutability of shared data, preservation of privacy and traceability of information.

The second proof of concept (DNA) was developed using the Hyperledger Fabric, backed by IBM, this time with the participation of all the institutions of the FEBRABAN Working Group. The tests allowed to evaluate the current capacity of the platforms, the differences between them and aspects related to the development. The next step is to carry out a pilot scheme, which is in the process of being set up and will be started soon after the conclusion of the DNA.

Besides these, according to Febraban, Bradesco bank evaluates platforms in back office processes and solutions for startups of the program InovaBRA. One of the proofs-of-concept is related to guarantees in financial operations, such as the creation of an application to communicate with all members of the chain – for example, other particular banks.

Febraban revealed that the Central Bank of Brazil is using the Ethereum platform to support the Reserve Transfer System (STR), one of the components of the Brazilian Payment System (SPB). The solution will be implemented in the event of any failures of existing platforms, the association added. “The regional ones could work through an alternative transfer system using DLT technology,” explained Aristides Cavalcante, deputy chief of the Information Technology Department of the Brazilian Central Bank.

Febraban also revealed that it has been working with startups, among them e-Wally, a digital portfolio that has been testing Blockchain in the community of Paraisópolis, one of the smallest low-income regions in São Paulo. The solution enables non-cost operations such as deposit, transfer and payment of bills, and allows any user to take ATM paper, earning per transaction fee, according to the startup site. All bank transactions are blockchain encrypted and allow distributed platform handling and auditing.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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Bill Allowing Residents To Pay Taxes In Crypto Passes Arizona House Committee

The Rules Committee of the Arizona House of Representatives has passed SB 1091, a bill that would allow state residents to pay their taxes with cryptocurrencies, public records indicate April 23.

Arizona law requires bills to pass three readings. The House Ways and Means Committee gave its approval to SB 1901 last month after the bill passed the Arizona State Senate on Feb. 8. It now will proceed to the House floor for a vote.

The bill has been subject to revision, notably expanding the number of altcoins that could be used for tax payments to include “LiteCoin or any other [recognized] cryptocurrency.” SB 1901 also specifies that the state government must convert crypto payments to US dollars “at the prevailing rate” after receipt.

The Arizona government has already passed some laws pertaining to Blockchain adoption in the state. Last April, HB 2417 legally recognized Blockchain signatures and the enforceability of smart contracts. HB 2603, which allows corporations to hold and share data on a distributed ledger, was signed into state law on April 3.

Liberal cryptocurrency and Blockchain legislation is making inroads into other US states. Illinois is currently considering a House Bill similar to Arizona’s that would accept payment for taxes in cryptocurrency.

In March, Wyoming passed a series of legislation that absolves virtual currencies from state property taxation, and frees certain Blockchain tokens from securities regulations.

Just last week, the California state legislature advanced legislation that would allow corporations to record stock ownership and transfers on “one or more distributed networks.”