Reuters: France to Push EU Member States to Adopt Its Cryptocurrency Regulations

Reuters: France to Push EU Member States to Adopt Its Cryptocurrency Regulations

France is reportedly going to try to convince other European Union member states to adopt cryptocurrency regulations similar to its own.

France is reportedly going to try to convince other European Union member states to adopt cryptocurrency regulations similar to its own, Reuters reported on April 15.

Bruno Le Maire, French Minister of the Economy and Finance, reportedly stated that France will encourage other EU countries to adopt cryptocurrency regulations similar to those France approved last week. The news rules reportedly aim to attract cryptocurrency issuers and traders to France by providing them some official recognition, while taxing their profits in return.

Per the newly adopted regulation, cryptocurrency operators will have to apply for a certification that would purportedly enable authorities to verify who stands behind a new coin’s issuance or a trading platform, also supervising businesses’ plans and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) safeguards.

Le Maire reportedly said that he will “propose to my European partners that we set up a single regulatory framework on crypto-assets inspired by the French experience. Our model is the right one.”

Also last week, the National Assembly of France adopted a bill that is designed to stimulate local business development, including redirecting savings from individuals to businesses. Known as the “Plan d’action pour la croissance et la transformation des entreprises,” (Pacte) the act reportedly allows insurance providers in France to invest in cryptocurrencies with no limit on the amount of investment.

Last month, the legislative body of the Swiss government, the Federal Assembly, approved a motion to instruct the Federal Council to adapt existing legislation for cryptocurrency regulation. The move aims to close perceived gaps in protecting cryptocurrency users from illicit activities like extortion and money laundering.

In January, the European Banking Authority (EBA) recommended further research into cryptocurrency and will perform “a number of actions” relating to the sector in 2019. The EBA said that it intends to issue paperwork to help authorities in member countries report financial activities in a more uniformed way. The organization also highlighted the need for transparency and suitable public warnings about the risks involved with cryptocurrency.

Swisscom Blockchain AG Onboards New Chief Executive Officer

Swisscom Blockchain AG Onboards New Chief Executive Officer

Blockchain-focused company Swisscom Blockchain AG has onboarded Ethereum engineer Lukas Hohl as its new CEO.

Blockchain-focused company Swisscom Blockchain AG has onboarded Ethereum (ETH) engineer Lukas Hohl as its new chief executive officer, Cointelegraph auf Deutsch reported on April 15.

Hohl, who previously served at various IT and finance companies, including Blockchain’s parent company Swisscom, business consulting firm BearingPoint, consultancy group Sofgen, and management consulting company Synpulse, will now lead the firm’s blockchain strategy and facilitate the further development of the company.

Roger Wüthrich-Hasenböhler, chief digital officer at Swisscom, commented on Hohl’s appointment, saying that “in the past, Lukas Hohl has built and managed companies, managed complex large-scale projects, is well networked in Switzerland and internationally and fits perfectly into the young team of Swisscom Blockchain AG.”

As Cointelegraph reported in January, Swisscom Blockchain’s former CEO Daniel Haudenschild unexpectedly left the firm. The news of Haudenschild’s sudden departure from Swisscom Blockchain came just a day before the executive accepted the position of president of the Crypto Valley Association.

At the time, the press release read that Wüthrich-Hasenböhler was set to take over as acting CEO of the company.

Last month, Swisscom — which is a Swiss state-owned telecoms and ICT firm — entered into a strategic partnership with global market infrastructure provider Deutsche Borse Group and Swiss and Singapore-based fintech company Sygnum to build out a compliant financial market infrastructure for digital assets.

The initiative reportedly focuses on creating a distributed ledger technology (DLT)-based ecosystem to support the nascent tokenized economy, which, the partners contend, “has the potential to reshape global financial markets.”

London-Based Blockchain Startup Raises $3.9M with Equity Tokens on LSE’s Turquoise

London-Based Blockchain Startup Raises $3.9M with Equity Tokens on LSE’s Turquoise

A British blockchain startup secured 3 million pounds by selling tokenized shares on LSE’s equity trading platform Turquoise.

United Kingdom-based blockchain startup 2030.io has raised $3.9 million through a platform owned by the London Stock Exchange (LSE), fintech news Finextra reported on April 15.

Known as Twenty Thirty or 20|30, the startup has reportedly secured 3 million British pounds (GBP) by selling tokenized shares on LSE-owned equity trading platform Turquoise.

In July 2018, 20|30 became one of 29 firms that were approved by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to start testing within its fourth cohort of a regulatory sandbox. With FCA approval, 20|30 became authorized to issue equity tokens on the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain, with the firm announcing that LSE’s Turquoise will be the first platform to pilot the sales of its tokenized shares.

According to the recent report, the trial has been carried out successfully, using “real cash money.” Tomer Sofinzon, Twenty Thirty’s co-founder and chief risk officer, said that the company further plans to offer secondary transfers, and “work our way up the ‘capital stack’ to reinvent private equity and public markets.”

Recently, Thailand’s National Legislative Assembly officially allowed the issuance of tokenized securities on a blockchain, with the government planning to amend the Securities and Exchange Act with relevant laws in 2019.

Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, EOS, Binance Coin, Stellar, Cardano, TRON: Price Analysis April 15

Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, EOS, Binance Coin, Stellar, Cardano, TRON: Price Analysis April 15

New data from Binance suggests that crypto markets have bottomed out and that the recent rally could make real headway.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

Market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange.

The research arm of Binance believes that cryptocurrency markets have bottomed out, after studying data from 2014–2019. They also found that the total institutional holding in the crypto market was about 7% of total supply.

Endowments are making the most of the bear market in cryptocurrencies. In 2018, 94% of endowments allocated money to crypto related investments. Another positive is that they expect to retain and increase their investments in the future.

On the derivatives front, data from CME shows that institutional involvement in Bitcoin futures has decreased this past week. As of April 9, the total long positions held by institutional investors and asset managers declined by 11% and short positions by 30% over the previous week. Overall, the total number of open short positions were 4,177 and the open long positions were 3,267. The total short positions have increased between April 2 and 9, which shows that the aggressive bears are entering short positions at higher levels.

Co-founder and CEO of BitMEX Arthur Hayes wants to launch a cryptocurrency options platform to give the traders more tools to play with.   

BTC/USD

Bitcoin (BTC) has bounced off the support at $4,914.11 but lacks momentum. It has been grinding up for the past two days, which shows a lack of urgency among the bulls to push prices higher. However, both the moving averages are sloping up and the RSI is close to the overbought zone. This shows that the path of least resistance is to the upside.

BTC/USD

If the slow northward march continues, the level to keep in mind is $5,404.82. If this level is scaled, the BTC/USD pair can rise to $5,900.

Our bullish view will be invalidated if the pair turns down from the current levels and plunges below the 20-day EMA. This will attract profit booking by the longs and initiation of short positions by the bears. Below the 20-day EMA, the fall can extend to the 50-day SMA. Therefore, traders can raise the stop loss on the remaining long positions to $4,700. Let’s play it safe.

ETH/USD

Ethereum (ETH) is once again trying to break out of the overhead resistance at $167.32. If successful, it will complete the ascending triangle pattern, which has a target objective of $251.64 and higher. The rise might face a minor resistance at $187.98 but if the bulls clear this level, the up move is likely to pick up momentum.

ETH/USD

On the other hand, if the ETH/USD pair fails to sustain above $167.32, it might face selling pressure. A breakdown of the 20-day EMA can sink the price to the 50-day SMA. The moving averages are flattening out and the RSI is also gradually correcting toward the midpoint. This points to a consolidation in the short-term. We should see a decisive move within the next few days. Until then, traders can protect their remaining long positions with the stop at $150.

XRP/USD

Ripple (XRP) has held the support at 50-day SMA but is facing resistance at the 20-day EMA. The resistance line of the descending channel is also just above the 20-day EMA. If the bulls scale this resistance, the digital currency can move up to $0.37835. If the price sustains above the channel, it will indicate a likely change in trend.

XRP/USD

However, if the XRP/USD pair turns down and breaks below the 50-day SMA, it can drop to $0.27795. Both the moving averages are flat and the RSI is just below the 50 level. This suggests a consolidation in the near term. As the pair has not participated in the current pullback, we shall wait for a confirmation of a change in trend before recommending a position in it.

BCH/USD

Bitcoin Cash (BCH) has recovered sharply from the fall on April 11. It has again risen close to the top of the $272.41–$332.58 range. We expect it to face a stiff hurdle in the zone of $332.58 to $363.30. But if this overhead resistance zone is crossed, the rally can extend to $451.32. With both the moving averages trending up and the RSI in the positive zone, the bears have the upper hand.

BCH/USD

The BCH/USD pair will lose strength if it turns around from the overhead resistance and dives below the 20-day EMA.  $239 is the major support on the downside, below which, the pair will turn negative. We shall wait for a reliable buy setup to form before suggesting a long position in it.

LTC/USD

Litecoin (LTC) held the 20-day EMA for the past three days, which is a bullish sign. However, the rebound from this support is facing selling at higher levels. If the bulls fail to push the price above the overhead resistance of $91 within the next few days, the bears will again try to sink it below the 20-day EMA.

LTC/USD

If the LTC/USD pair breaks down of the 20-day EMA, it can decline to $62.450. The 50-day SMA is also located at this level, hence, we expect this to hold. But if the 20-day EMA holds and the pair breaks out of $91–$100 resistance zone, it will complete a rounding bottom pattern that has a target objective of $159 and above it $180.

EOS/USD

EOS is trying to resume the recovery. On the upside, the bulls will face resistance at $6.0726 and above it at the resistance line. If both these levels are crossed, the rally can extend to $6.8299, which is likely to act as a major barrier. Presently, both the moving averages are sloping up and the RSI in positive territory. This shows that the bulls have the upper hand.

EOS/USD

Contrary to our assumption, if the EOS/USD pair turns down from the current level and plunges below the 20-day EMA, it can drop to $4.4930–$3.8723 support zone. We expect this level to hold. If that happens, the pair might remain range bound between $4.4930 to $6.8299 for a few days. But if the support zone fails to hold, the digital currency might fall toward the lows.

BNB/USD

Binance Coin (BNB) has risen above the downtrend line and is on its way to the overhead resistance of $22. The pullback from the April 11 low indicates strength. We expect the bulls to push the price above $22 and retest the lifetime highs at $26.4732350. A breakout to new lifetime highs will be a huge sentiment booster to the whole sector as it will prove that the January 2018 highs can be scaled.

BNB/USD

Both the moving averages are sloping up and the RSI is in the positive territory. This indicates that the path of least resistance is to the upside. Though we are bullish, we do not find a trade that has an attractive risk to reward ratio. We shall wait for a reliable buy setup to form before proposing a trade in it. Our bullish view will be negated if the BNB/USD pair turns around from one of the overhead resistances and slips below $15.50.

XLM/USD

Stellar (XLM) is facing resistance at the 20-day EMA for the past three days. The 20-day EMA has flattened out and the RSI has dipped to 50. This points to a consolidation in the short term.

XLM/USD

However, if the bulls push the price above the 20-day EMA, the XLM/USD pair can move up to the downtrend line. The pair will signal a trend change if the price sustains above the overhead resistance at $0.14861760.

On the contrary, if the bears reverse direction from the current levels, the digital currency can slide to the 50-day SMA. It will turn negative on a breakdown of the uptrend line. We will wait for a reliable buy setup to form before recommending any long positions in it.

ADA/USD

Cardano (ADA) has held the 20-day EMA for the past three days. This shows buying at the support but the bulls have failed to carry the price higher. A breakout above the downtrend line will be the first sign of strength.

ADA/USD

Until then, the bears are likely to attempt to break down below the 20-day EMA once again. The zone between the 20-day EMA and $0.075920 is a critical support. If this support fails, the ADA/USD pair can plummet to the 50-day SMA.

However, both the moving averages are sloping up and the RSI is still in the positive zone. This shows that the bulls are likely to defend the support zone. The pair will pick up momentum on a close (UTC time frame) above $0.094256. Currently, we remain neutral on the digital currency.

TRX/USD

Tron (TRX) is attempting a bounce from the 50-day SMA. It is currently at the overhead resistance of $0.02815521. If the bulls can scale above this level, it will be a bullish sign. Repeated piercing of the overhead resistance weakens it.

TRX/USD

Above $0.02815521, the TRX/USD pair might face some resistance at $0.03278079 and again at $0.03575668, but we expect both these levels to the scaled. The first target objective on the upside is $0.040 and if that is crossed $0.0480.

Our bullish view will be invalidated if the pair reverses direction from $0.02815521. The 50-day SMA is the critical support on the downside, below which a fall to $0.02094452 is probable. We recommend traders keep a stop loss of $0.0240 on the long positions.

Market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange. Charts for analysis are provided by TradingView.

ING Bank Releases Blockchain Privacy Tool Bulletproofs

ING Bank Releases Blockchain Privacy Tool Bulletproofs

ING bank introduced its new DLT privacy tool Bulletproofs as an extended technology for previous zero-knowledge proof developments.

Dutch global banking and financial services corporation ING introduced its new cryptographic blockchain development called Bulletproofs, according to an announcement on Feb. 7

Bulletproofs represents an extended technology for ING’s previous blockchain privacy-focused developments such as zero-knowledge range proof (ZKRP) and zero-knowledge set membership (ZKSM).

ING bank first launched ZKRP in November 2017, enabling market participants to maintain anonymity in a transaction while still confirming its accuracy. For instance, the tool allowed a mortgage applicant to prove their salary within a certain range without revealing the exact figure.

As an improved version of ZKRP, ZKSM was released in October 2018, purportedly providing a more powerful code to validate certain alphanumeric data without revealing contextual details in order to protect the overall security of data. As such, ING bank cited an example when banks can validate that a client lives in a country that belongs to the European Union, without revealing the exact country.

Bulletproofs is purportedly faster than previous zero-knowledge proofs. Since Bulletproofs does not rely on a trusted setup, parameters can be generated without a secret value, which purportedly provides a higher degree of trust for all the users on the blockchain.

Developed by researchers from Stanford University and University College London in partnership with blockchain startup Blockstream, Bulletproofs’ code is open-source on GitHub.

Earlier this year, ING signed a five-year contract with enterprise blockchain consortium R3 to access R3’s commercial blockchain platform Corda. According to the report, ING planned to implement Corda’s decentralized applications (CorDapps) across its global business infrastructure.

On April 12, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank jointly launched a private blockchain and a new asset Learning Coin. The new coin has reportedly no money value and is not a real cryptocurrency.

Binance to Delist Bitcoin SV as It ‘No Longer Meets’ the Exchange’s Standards

Binance to Delist Bitcoin SV as It ‘No Longer Meets’ the Exchange’s Standards

After Binance CEO CZ tweeted that he was considering delisting BSV last week, the exchange has officially announced it will delist the coin.

Major cryptocurrency exchange Binace has officially announced that it will delist Bitcoin SV (BSV) starting next week. The news was revealed in an official announcement from the firm today, April 15.

The exchange stated that as of April 22, it will delist and cease trading on all trading pairs for BSV — on the exchange under the ticker BCHSV. In the post, Binance explained that it regularly reviews assets listed on its platform “to ensure that it [an asset] continues to meet the high level of standard we expect.” The firm went on to explain that it only delists a coin after another in-depth review, noting “[w]e believe this best protects all of our users.”

The exchange listed responsiveness to its due diligence requests, level and quality of the coin’s development and “evidence of unethical / fraudulent conduct” among the factors that it takes into account before delisting a cryptocurrency.

The exchange also noted that it will support withdrawals of the coin until 10:00 a.m. UTC on April 22.

The move comes just a few days after Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao — better known in the industry as CZ — tweeted a warning that the exchange could delist BSV in response to its creator’s behavior:

“Craig Wright is not Satoshi. Anymore of this sh!t, we delist!”

The tweet is presumably a reaction to BSV founder Craig Wright’s — infamous in the industry for making multiple claims to be Bitcoin (BTC) creator Satoshi Nakamoto — recent action against Hodlnaut, the Twitter user behind the Lightning Torch initiative.

As previously reported, Wright had set a $5,000 bounty in BSV for information regarding the identity of Hodlnaut. The cryptocurrency community reacted on Twitter by creating #WeAreAllHodlonaut hashtag, to show support for the now deleted twitter user. The community also reacted to CZ’s warning by asking various exchanges to delist BSV and creating a #DelistBSV hashtag.

Wright was purportedly motivated by the anonymous Twitter user calling him a fraud and accusing him of falsely claiming to be Nakamoto.

Binance is currently the world’s fourth largest crypto exchange by adjusted daily trade volume, seeing about $900 million in trades over the 24-hours to press time.

BSV is currently trading around $65, down clost to 7% on the day to press time.

Speak Out: Does Crypto Needs Banks?

Speak Out: Does Crypto Needs Banks?

Are banks needed in the world of cryptocurrency? Reply in the comments!

Nowadays, we can see that banks are cooperating with cryptocurrencies much more than they did in the past years. Banks from all over the world have integrated blockchain technology into their systems. This could help crypto become more mainstream, but it also has brought a lot of controversy. Today, we invite you to discuss the need for banks in the world of crypto. Reply in the comments below!

5 Cryptocurrency Tax Questions to Ask on April 15th

5 Cryptocurrency Tax Questions to Ask on April 15th

Today is the deadline for U.S. citizens to pay their taxes. What should they know about crypto taxation?

Depending on what country you live in, your cryptocurrency will be subject to different tax rules. The questions below address implications within the United States, but similar issues arise around the world. As always, check with a local tax professional to assess your own particular tax situation.

1. Do I need to report my cryptocurrency trades to the IRS?

You need to report your cryptocurrency activity if you incurred a taxable event during the year. A taxable event is a specific scenario that triggers a tax liability. The below are a list of the taxable events as specified by the IRS 2014 guidance:

  • Trading cryptocurrency to fiat currency like the U.S. dollar is a taxable event.
  • Trading cryptocurrency to cryptocurrency is a taxable event (you have to calculate the fair market value in USD at the time of the trade).
  • Using cryptocurrency for goods and services is a taxable event (again, you have to calculate the fair market value in USD at the time of the trade; you may also end up owing sales tax).

The most common tax event from the above is trading one cryptocurrency for another — for example, trading your Bitcoin (BTC) for Ethereum (ETH).

On the other hand, there are other actions that cryptocurrency enthusiasts also commonly take that are not taxable events and do not trigger a tax reporting requirement. Listed below are scenarios in which traders do not trigger a tax event:

  • Giving cryptocurrency as a gift is not a taxable event (the recipient inherits the cost basis; the gift tax still applies, if you exceed the gift tax exemption amount).
  • A wallet-to-wallet transfer is not a taxable event (you can transfer between exchanges or wallets without realizing capital gains and losses, so make sure to check your records against the records of your exchanges, because they may count transfers as taxable events, like they are a safe harbor).
  • Buying cryptocurrency with USD is not a taxable event. You don’t realize gains until you trade, use or sell your crypto. If you hold longer than a year, you can realize long-term capital gains (which are about half the rate of short-term). If you hold less than a year, you realize short-term capital gains and losses.

An example

Let’s say you buy 2 BTC from Coinbase. You just hold this crypto for the year. In this case, you have no reporting requirement, as you have not triggered a taxable event. Even if you send this to an offline wallet, you still do not need to report this, as merely sending crypto from one place to another is not a taxable event.

Now let’s say you send this 2 BTC to Binance and start trading it for other altcoins. Now you have incurred a taxable event (trading one cryptocurrency for another) and you will need to report this transaction on your taxes and file it with your 2018 tax return, even if you lost money on the trade.

Keep in mind that mining cryptocurrency is also taxable and is treated as income.

2. How do I file my crypto taxes?

If you are simply buying, selling and trading cryptocurrencies you will report these trades on the IRS Form 8949, as pictured below.

As seen in the above example, you have sold 0.5 Bitcoin. You acquired the Bitcoin on July 16, 2017, and you sold it on December 17, 2017. You sold the Bitcoin for a total proceed of $9,848.00, and your cost basis was $970.00. This led to your gain of $8,873.00 (reported in column h).

You will report each crypto-to-crypto trade and each taxable event from the calendar year on this form.

You can use crypto tax software to automatically build this report for you, if you don’t have your own records of the historical prices, dates and fair market values of your trades.

Once you have your net gain or loss calculated from Form 8949, the total will simply flow into your 1040 Schedule D. You should include these forms with your entire tax return upon filing.

Foreign account holdings

If you traded on foreign exchanges like Binance, you may additionally need to report these holdings. You do not pay any tax on these holdings, but it is important that you file the following reports if either situation applies to you.

FBAR: A taxpayer with a financial interest in or signatory authority over a foreign financial account must file a Foreign Bank Account Report (FBAR) FinCEN Form 114 if the aggregate value of the foreign financial account exceeds $10,000 at any time during the calendar year. Noncompliance with FBAR would subject a taxpayer to steep civil and criminal penalties. Each nonwillful failure-to-file violation can carry a civil penalty of $10,000. Penalties for each willful violation could be the greater of $100,000 or 50% of the amount in the account.

FATCA: A taxpayer with foreign financial assets of $50,000 or more must report it under Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) requirements on Form 8938. It is recommended that cryptocurrency-invested hedge fund accounts and cryptocurrency-denominated exchange accounts be reported in the summary information in Part I of Form 8938. Specific information should be given in Part V. Noncompliance with FATCA could subject a taxpayer to taxes, severe penalties in excess of the unreported foreign assets, and exclusion from access to U.S. markets, which could include a regulated cryptocurrency derivatives clearing market.

3. What will happen if I don’t report my crypto activity?

The reality is that no one knows for sure. However, it is not advised.

The IRS publicly stated on July 2, 2018 that one of their core campaigns and focuses for the year is the taxation of virtual currencies. Unfortunately, lack of reporting will be treated as tax fraud.

4. Can I reduce my tax bill by filing my crypto capital losses?

Yes.

When you realize a capital gain — if you sold your crypto for more than you purchased it for — you owe a tax on the dollar amount of the gain. However, when you sell (or trade) your crypto for less than you purchased it for, you incur a capital loss, and you can use this loss to offset gains from other trades or even a gain from the sale of other property — like stocks in your portfolio.  

Whenever your total capital gains and losses for the year add up to a negative number, you incur a net capital loss. If the net capital loss is less than or equal to $3,000 ($1,500 if you are married and filing a separate tax return), then that entire capital loss can be used to offset other types of income — like the income from your job.

If your losses exceed $3,000, then the amount over $3,000 will be rolled forward to the next tax year.

The bright spot in the 2018 bear market is that your losses can reduce your tax bill.

5. Why can’t I get my tax documents from the exchanges that I use?

Cryptocurrency exchanges are unable to provide their users with accurate tax documentation. This is a big problem in the industry.

By the nature of the blockchain technology that exchanges operate on, users are able to send Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to wallet addresses outside of their own network. An example of this would look like you buying Bitcoin through Coinbase and then sending it to a Binance wallet address in order to acquire new coins and assets on Binance that Coinbase does not offer.

Because you can send cryptocurrencies from other platforms onto exchanges like Coinbase at any time, Coinbase has no possible way of knowing how, when, where or at what cost you acquired that cryptocurrency that you sent in. Coinbase only sees that it showed up in your Coinbase wallet.

This means that anytime you move crypto assets off of Coinbase or into Coinbase from another location, Coinbase completely loses the ability to provide you with accurate tax information. This is because it has no way of identifying what your cost basis is in that certain cryptocurrency, which is an essential piece to figure out your capital gain or loss. This is also true of all other major cryptocurrency exchanges.

The solution to this problem is to leverage crypto tax aggregating tools to collect your data from all platforms to build your holistic tax reports.

David Kemmerer is the co-founder of CryptoTrader.Tax, cryptocurrency-focused tax software for automating your tax reporting.

Major Japanese Fintech Firm Halts Plans to Launch Crypto Exchange, Citing Bear Market

Major Japanese Fintech Firm Halts Plans to Launch Crypto Exchange, Citing Bear Market

Money Forward Inc., the operator of one of Japan’s most popular personal budgeting apps, has resolved to halt its plans to launch a crypto asset exchange.

Money Forward Inc., the operator of one of Japan’s most popular personal budgeting apps, has resolved to halt its plans to launch a crypto asset exchange. The development was reported by Cointelegraph Japan today, April 15.

As previously reported, Money Forward had established a dedicated subsidiary in May 2018 for its crypto exchange project. It had intended to launch a crypto media platform, followed by a crypto exchange and the construction of a digital assets remittance and settlement system.

Today’s announcement reveals that the company’s board of directors has opted to cancel the procedure of applying for official registration for the exchange and to postpone development of its planned crypto exchange business.

Cointelegraph Japan cites the board’s announcement, which contextualized the decision to halt the project within the context of the company’s first quarter consolidated losses for the fiscal year ending November 2019. The board stated that:

“The virtual currency market has cooled rapidly and the downside risk of profitability has been increased by continuing the business.”

In addition, the announcement cited the growing international debate surrounding virtual currency platform hacks and the risks of money laundering. The board further stated that the costs of establishing a robust system for consumer protection, as well as ensuring convenience for traders, have risen considerably amid the changing business environment.

Aside from halting planned crypto exchange development, the board also ruled that the service provisions of Money Forward’s crypto media platform Onbit will end on May 31. Meanwhile, the announcement affirmed that blockchain technology development and research will continue.

Cointelegraph Japan further reports that Money Forward’s subsidiary had secured second tier membership within the Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA) earlier this year. The membership tier is designed for businesses who are seeking to apply for an official crypto exchange operating license from the country’s Financial Services Association (FSA).

As previously reported, the JVCEA is a self-regulatory crypto exchange association that formed in March 2018 in order to help establish industry-wide investor protection standards. The organization was granted formal self-regulatory status by the FSA in October 2018.

Earlier today, Cointelegraph reported that another JVCEA Tier 2 member, crypto startup FXCoin, has secured investment from Japanese financial services giant SBI Holdings. FXCoin, which is run by a Deutsche Bank veteran, reportedly aims to launch a licensed crypto exchange.

Crypto Markets See Green, US Stock Futures Solid Ahead of Goldman, Citi Earnings

Crypto Markets See Green, US Stock Futures Solid Ahead of Goldman, Citi Earnings

After yesterday’s mixed movements, all of the top twenty cryptocurrencies are seeing solid green on the day to press time, with Bitcoin approaching $5,200.

Monday, April 15 — after yesterday’s mixed movements, all of the top twenty cryptocurrencies are seeing solid green on the day to press time, seeing growth of between one and 10%, as Coin350 data shows. 

Market visualization courtesy of Coin360

Market visualization courtesy of Coin360

Bitcoin (BTC) is up around 1.5% on the day and is trading just under $5,200 by press time, according to CoinMarketCap. After hitting a multi-month price high of over $5,420 on April 10, the price of Bitcoin has subsequently corrected downwards — briefly dipping back below the $5,000 mark on April 12.

The top coin has since seen mild renewed growth in recent days, mostly trading sideways since mid-week. Today’s price point has brought Bitcoin’s weekly losses to a little over 1%.

Bitcoin 7-day price chart

Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

The largest altcoin by market cap, Ethereum (ETH), is also up about 1.5% on the day to trade near $167. The alt saw a peak on its weekly chart on April 8, breaking through $180, before faltering downward to as low as $161 on April 11-12.

Despite today’s mild growth, on the week Ethereum remains down by 6.75%.

Ethereum 7-day price chart

Ethereum 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Ripple (XRP) has reported mild growth of less than one percent on the day, and is currently trading at around $0.327. Correlating with Ethereum’s price movements, the altcoin saw bullish price points April 8-11, before seeing a subsequent correction. On its weekly chart, XRP is now down over 8%.

Ripple 7-day price chart

Ripple 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Among the uniformly green top 10 cryptocurrencies, XRP’s growth is the mildest, with Bitcoin Cash (BCH) seeing the largest uptick, rising about 7% on the day to trade at $298 by press time. Litecoin (LTC) and Binance Coin (BNB) are both reporting the second highest gains among the top 10, both up around 3.5% by press time.

Widening out to the top twenty, the highest gainer is Tezos (XTZ), which has surged close to 10% to hit $1.13 by press time. Aside from Maker (MKR) — ranked 20th and up a strong 5.2% — most other top 20 coins are seeing gentle gains between one and two percent.

The total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies is currently around to $175.3 billion, down over 1.6% on the week.

Total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies

Total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies. Source: CoinMarketCap

In crypto and blockchain news, the parent company of major South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb has today revealed $200 million in funding from Japan’s ST Blockchain Fund. The funding will reportedly be used to expand Bithumb’s international outreach.

Also today, Cointelegraph reported that Japanese financial services giant SBI Holdings has become a shareholder in crypto startup FXCoin, which hopes to become a licensed local cryptocurrency exchange.

In traditional markets, United States stock index futures opened slightly higher, ahead of anticipated earnings reports today from Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, CNBC reports. Dow futures have this morning indicated a positive open, while futures for the S&P and Nasdaq were mixed.

Nestlé, Carrefour Work With IBM to Track Mashed Potato Brand With Blockchain

Nestlé, Carrefour Work With IBM to Track Mashed Potato Brand With Blockchain

A partnership aims to begin using the technology to track Mousline convenience foods from Monday.

Switzerland-based food giant Nestlé, French supermarket chain Carrefour and IBM have partnered to use the latter’s blockchain technology to track a famous French convenience food, the companies announced in a press release on April 15.

Nestlé and Carrefour, both of which are members of IBM’s Food Trust blockchain platform, will use the technology from today to track the supply chain of Mousline, a well-known brand of instant mashed potatoes.

Once it rolls out, shoppers will be able to scan a QR code with their smartphones to know exactly where the potatoes in a specific packet came from, as well as their journey to the specific Carrefour store.

“Using the QR code on the product’s packaging, each consumer will be able to use a secure platform on their smartphone to access information on the production supply chain, including the varieties of potato used, the dates and places of manufacture, information on quality control, and places and dates of storage before the product reaches the shelves,” the press release confirms.

The announcement comes just days after United States supermarket chain Albertsons said it was using Food Trust to track one of its products — iceberg lettuce — with the potential for more to follow.

Worldwide, around five million different food items already employ blockchain in their supply chain in some form as the industry niche grows.

“This partnership is based on the shared values of each company to bring consumers greater transparency in the food sector,” Carrefour continued in the press release. The firm added:

“By simply scanning a product using a smartphone, consumers will receive reliable and unfalsifiable information on the supply chain and production.”

As Cointelegraph reported, Carrefour has itself stepped up blockchain integration in recent months by applying the technology for tracking milk.

94% of Surveyed Endowment Funds are Allocating to Crypto Investments: Study

94% of Surveyed Endowment Funds are Allocating to Crypto Investments: Study

94% of endowments have been allocating to crypto-related investments throughout 2018, a new survey reveals.

94% of endowments have been allocating to crypto-related investments throughout 2018, a new survey published on April 12 reveals. The study was conducted in Q4 2018 by trade publications Global Custodian and The Trade Crypto, in partnership with blockchain security firm BitGo.

Out of 150 surveyed endowments, 89% of the respondents were reportedly based in the United States, with the rest either in the United Kingdom or Canada.

The survey indicated that despite widely-reported concerns around regulation, custody and liquidity, endowments will continue to allocate investments to the new asset class — with only 7% of respondents saying they anticipated any decrease in their allocations over the next year.

Jonathan Watkins, managing editor at Global Custodian and The Trade, remarked on the results of the survey, stating that:

“All the talk over the past 18 months has been around when institutional investors will begin participating in cryptocurrency investments, but it turns out they had already arrived, in the form of endowment funds.”

The survey reportedly revealed that 54% of respondents were directly investing in crypto assets, with 46% investing via various kinds of funds.

Over the next 12 months, 50% revealed they expect to increase their crypto investments, with 45% anticipating their allocations will remain at their current levels.

According to the survey, the top three characteristics that endowments are seeking when they select crypto funds are that they comply with robust regulation, have sufficient capital flow and liquidity and offer account security.

The Trade suggests cautious optimism is an apt overall summary of endowment sentiment in regard to the nascent asset class, citing one respondent’s belief that crypto “is the future of investing,” and others’ characterizations of the process as “a very wild ride” and “hair-raising.”

As reported, this February, the University of Michigan’s $12 billion endowment unveiled plans to bolster its investment in a crypto fund managed by U.S. venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.

Details of reported crypto fund investments from Ivy League titans Yale and Harvard surfaced in fall 2018 — the latter of whose ~$39.2 billion endowment for the 2018 fiscal year was the largest of any university endowment globally. Crypto investment claims have also been made for Stanford University, Dartmouth College, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of North Carolina.

As reported this month, Harvard’s endowment is set to become a direct investor in a planned $50 million token sale from decentralized computing network Blockstack. If approved, the sale would be the industry’s first Securities and Exchanges Commission-qualified offering.

Coincheck Exchange Adds Ethereum And Ripple to Its New Over-the-Counter Trading Desk

Coincheck Exchange Adds Ethereum And Ripple to Its New Over-the-Counter Trading Desk

The desk’s first two altcoins could be a taste of more to come, the company suggests.

Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck has added its first two altcoins to its recently launched over-the-counter (OTC) trading desk, Cointelegraph Japan reported on April 15.

Coincheck, which began operating its OTC service with Bitcoin (BTC) at the start of the month, now also offers Ethereum (ETH) and Ripple (XRP), the second and third largest cryptocurrencies by market cap respectively.

OTC desks offer specialized services for large-volume traders, allowing them to save on fees and skirt what would otherwise be considerable hurdles purchasing or selling major crypto investments via standard methods.

The feature has become popular among major exchanges worldwide, Cointelegraph previously reporting on their continued emergence despite the ongoing crypto bear market.

According to a blog post from Coincheck today, the company will also consider adding further altcoins to its OTC desk in due course, but did not hint as to which it would prioritize.

Coincheck has gone from strength to strength following its takeover by online broker Monex Group last April.

After redressing issues resulting from its giant half-billion-dollar hack in January 2018, Monex succeeded in gaining a Japanese regulatory license for Coincheck to continue serving customers in December 2018.

In Q3, according to a financial report released at the end of January, Coincheck had already halved its losses compared to the previous quarter.

Japan continues to become a hotbed of crypto trading business activity, with investment outfit ST Blockchain Fund today announcing that it had pumped $200 million into the parent company of Bithumb, one of South Korea’s largest exchange platforms.

Japan’s SBI Holdings Invests in Local Crypto Exchange Applicant FXCoin

Japan’s SBI Holdings Invests in Local Crypto Exchange Applicant FXCoin

Japanese crypto startup FXCoin revealed it has completed a third-party allotment of shares with SBI Holdings, as part of its aim to launch a licensed crypto exchange.

Japanese crypto startup FXCoin revealed it has completed a third-party allotment of shares with financial services giant SBI Holdings. The development, which contributes to FXCoin’s aim of launching a crypto exchange business in the country, was reported by Cointelegraph Japan on April 15.

FXCoin, which currently focuses on providing market information for investors, was founded in December 2017 by Tomoo Onishi — the former head of foreign exchange sales at Deutsche Bank. Alongside Onishi, who now serves as FXCoin’s CEO, the startup also reportedly counts Nomura, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial and HSBC veterans in its workforce.

As Cointelegraph Japan further reports, FXCoin sealed second tier membership within the Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA) this February. The membership tier is designed for businesses who are seeking to apply for an official crypto exchange operating license from the country’s financial watchdog, the Financial Services Association.

As previously reported, JVCEA is a self-regulatory crypto exchange association that formed in March 2018 in a bid to establish industry-wide investor safety standards. The organization was formally granted self-regulatory status by the FSA in October 2018.

An operating license has been mandatory for all crypto exchanges operating within Japan since the amendment of the country’s Payment Services Act back in April 2017. However, the FSA toughened requirements for applicants throughout 2018, in the wake of last January’s industry-record-breaking $532 million hack of crypto exchange Coincheck.

As previously reported, the past couple of years have seen SBI pursue multiple ventures in the crypto sector, including its own exchange — Vctrade — alongside a series of investments in businesses developing crypto infrastructure and services.

In October 2018, SBI and Ripple’s XRP-powered payments app, MoneyTap, went live for account holders at selected Japanese banks. The app has the eventual ambition of including a consortium of 61 institutions, representing over 80 percent of all of Japan’s banking assets, in its service. Thirteen local banks joined as shareholders in the project in late March.

BitMEX CEO Arthur Hayes Reveals Plans to Open Crypto Options Platform

BitMEX CEO Arthur Hayes Reveals Plans to Open Crypto Options Platform

Arthur Hayes, co-founder and CEO of major crypto derivatives exchange BitMEX, has revealed that the company is hoping to open an options platform within 12-18 months.

Arthur Hayes, co-founder and CEO of major crypto derivatives exchange BitMEX, has revealed that the firm is hoping to open a cryptocurrency options platform in the medium term. Hayes made his remarks during an interview on the Venture Coinist podcast on April 12.

Hayes — a former equities trader for Citigroup — indicated a rough timeline for the prospective launch, stating that:

“We hope to possibly have our own options platform in maybe 12 to 18 months.”

Hayes hinted at aspirations to innovate options listing, saying “we have somebody working with some university professors on a complicated new way of doing this.”

Options are a type of financial derivative that give a buyer the right — but not the obligation — to buy or sell an asset at an agreed price in future. They are designed to serve as strategies for hedging, protection or speculation in different market conditions.

BitMEX was founded in 2014 and currently sees close to $1.1 billion in daily traded volume, making it one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges by reported volume. As a derivatives-only platform it is, however, not included in CoinMarketCap’s price and volume averages for Bitcoin (BTC).

As previously reported, Hayes has recently predicted that Bitcoin will get back to the $10,000 price point this year, anticipating the market recovery will begin in early Q4 2019.

Alongside its trading platform, BitMEX also conducts research into the crypto industry, in January releasing a report on the impact of the 2018 bear market on ICO projects’ token holding valuations.

That same month, the exchange refuted media reports that had alleged it was closing United States and Québec residents’ accounts due to a regulatory crackdown, claiming they were inaccurate and sensationalist.