US Regulators Asked Not to Classify Ethereum as a Security: NYT Report

A trade group representing venture capital firms that invest in cryptocurrencies has requested that US securities regulators provide formal assurance that ether, the native currency of the Ethereum platform, is not a security. As CCN reported, the “Venture Capital Working Group” — comprised primarily of lawyers and representatives from Silicon Valley venture firms Andreessen Horowitz

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Savedroid Fakes $50 Million ICO Exit Scam, Community Outraged

It’s been reported earlier this week that Yassin Hankir, CEO of German-based startup Savedroid, took off with the $50 million raised in its initial coin offering. The following day, Hankir posted a Youtube video to explain that it was a ‘drastic campaign’ to prove how easy it is to fool investors within the cryptocurrency space and what Savedroid can do to change that.

$50 Million ICO Scam Turns Out to Be Publicity Stunt

It was recently reported that the founder of Savedroid, Yassin Hankir, took the $50 million raised in its ICO and headed for the beach. The company has even cleared its Frankfurt office and shut down its website and Telegram channel.

It didn’t take long for investors to react online. From “Hey @savedroidAG is this some kind of late April fools?”, by an irritated user on Twitter, tension then escalated to the media, including coverage by Bloomberg. Rage soon followed, with very explicit death threats made on Twitter and claims that the founder of Savedroid was being tracked.

Hankir then explained in a Youtube video that it was not meant to be a prank nor to make fun of anyone.

“We did that to convey a very important and serious message which we believe the whole ICO and crypto industry are concerned with for the future. If we look at this market, and that’s what we have experienced in the last four months, we saw there’s so much scam happening. Scam from the beginning to the very end of an ICO. Exit scams all over the place. I believe what we have seen so far is just the tip of the iceberg”, Hankir said on a Youtube video, which obtained 951 dislikes against 351 likes.

The publicity stunt was meant to show that the ICO market needs to be a sustainable refinancing option for successful and innovative startups, which is being endangered by the successive scams. “If you don’t go for better regulation, we believe that this could bring the whole market down”, Hankir said, adding that the startup is launching a professional ICO advisory service in order to help establish high-quality ICO standards.

The backlash soon followed. The company’s Twitter following called it out for its bad taste. “Trust is Lost. Savedroid should leave Crypto. Only shit-talking after an ICO”, said user Horse Seeman. “Even non-investors hate your brand now”, said another user. “I think you really planned to disappear and then got afraid because they found you!”, said user onimahoni.

In a potential attempt to calm down its furious investors, Savedroid AG announced a 3,000 ETH giveaway to the community.

Image from Shutterstock.

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Bitcoin Set For First Biweekly Gain This Year, Buying Strongest Since March 2017

Bloomberg reports that Bitcoin is set for its first back-to-back weekly gain of 2018, bringing it up almost 29% over the two-week period.

Spring’s chorus of bullish predictions for Bitcoin appears to be having some corroboration from recent markets, as Bloomberg reports on Bitcoin’s 4 percent gain today, April 20, putting the coin on track for its first back-to-back week of gains this year.

Bloomberg notes the recent upswing has brought BTC’s gains over the two-week period to almost 29 percent, with an upward trend for other major altcoins as well: Ripple up as much as 19 percent, Ethereum up 7.5 percent and Litecoin, 4 percent.

As an indication of market mood, buy/sell signals for Bitcoin are now showing 90 percent of traders buying Bitcoin, and only ten percent selling, for the first time since March 2017.

To quote Bloomberg, this mini-recovery somewhat “eases the pain” of BTC’s almost 50 percent loss in the first quarter of 2018, that followed hard upon late 2017’s $20, 000 high water mark.

Now that U.S. tax day (April 17) is over, some are seeing the markets’ mini rally as a vindication of their view that recent momentum to sell off crypto before federal income tax returns were due was causing much of 2018’s price misery.

April has also seen several traditional Wall Street players edge into the crypto space, suggesting that anticipation of more institutional money and talent is positively affecting recent markets, and that significant institutional investment capital could flow into the crypto market as it matures.

Yesterday Dan Morehead, CEO of Blockchain-focused hedge fund Pantera Capital, remarked that even the SEC busting high-profile ICO scams such as as that backed by Floyd Mayweather resulted in markets going up, not down, suggesting that “we’ve seen the brunt of the market’s negative reaction” to regulation.

Bloomberg’s insights echo those of more predictably bullish Bitcoin analysts such as Tom Lee, who most recently forecast that Bitcoin is likely to hit $25,000 by the year’s end, and venture capitalist and Bitcoin bull Tim Draper’s who said last week: “I’m thinking $250,000 by 2022.”

Cointelegraph recently published an analysis of Bitcoin price predictions — running the gamut from $100 to $100,000 — from major investors and economists.

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Startup Jobs Site AngelList Reports Doubling Of Crypto Jobs Since New Year

Crypto-related job posting on AngelList has gone up since January despite the markets going down, data shows.

AngelList, a website for startups offering vacancies to job seekers and investment opportunities for angel investors, reported that the number of crypto job openings has doubled in the past three months, according to their weekly newsletter published Thursday, April 19.

According to data from AngelList’s newsletter – this week titled “Bitcoin is (not) dead” – the number of new jobs related to cryptocurrency listed in December 2017, when Bitcoin (BTC) reached a peak of $20,000, was around 500. After BTC crashed below below $7000 in February of this year, the number of new crypto job postings was more than 1000, for, as Angellist jokes, “[s]tartups aren’t watching the markets.”

Chart

AngelList had earlier predicted in an as-of-yet un-updated post entitled, “How to Get a Job in Crypto,” that by 2017 there would be over 1200 crypto job postings, a number set to be broken this year.

The newsletter also mentions that Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) were very popular in March, and cryptocurrency hedge funds are taking the place of venture capital investors in this new investment model.

CoinList, a spin-off of AngelList comprised of a platform for token-based financial services with an emphasis on complying with regulation, raised $9.2 mln during its initial fundraising round in early April.

In their newsletter, AngelList lists three companies hiring in the field of “Decentralized Finance,” three in “Security Hardware,” and three in “Decentralized Internet.” Last December, Cointelegraph wrote about the various new kinds of job opportunities in crypto in 2018, including in development, law, and design.

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MEPs Vote In Favor Of Tighter AML Regulations For Crypto Trading

MEPS have voted in favour of EU anti-money laundering reforms, which propose tighter regulations for cryptocurrency trading.

Members of the European Parliament have voted in favour of EU anti-money laundering reforms, which will include closer regulation for cryptocurrencies, by 574 votes to 13 votes, with 60 abstentions, according to an EUP press release April 19.

The agreement, known colloquially as “5AMLD,” is the fifth update to the EU’s anti-money laundering directive. It comes in the wake of the terrorist attacks of 2015 and 2016 in Paris and Brussels, as well as the Panama Papers leaks, the press release noted.

The new reforms strengthen transparency rules to prevent the large-scale concealment of funds, with specific stipulations to address risks associated with cryptocurrencies. 5AMLD requires crypto exchanges and custodian wallet providers to apply customer due diligence controls, to be registered, and also puts pressure on trusts and trading companies to reveal holders of virtual currency.

The press release underscores that the reforms are a bid to stamp out anonymity in the crypto trading sphere. MEP Krišjānis Kariņš commented:

“Criminals use anonymity to launder their illicit proceeds or finance terrorism. This legislation helps address the threats to our citizens and the financial sector by allowing greater access to the information about the people behind firms and by tightening rules regulating virtual currencies.”

More broadly, the reforms grant the right of access to data on beneficial owners of firms, trusts, and similar arrangements to anyone who can demonstrate a “legitimate interest,” including citizens, investigative journalists and NGOs. Alongside data transparency laws, 5AMLD proposes toughened measures against tax evasion.

EU member states will now have 18 months to transpose the updated directive into national law.

In January, Cointelegraph ran an expert take, evaluating the EU’s ongoing revisions of AML legislation for crypto trading within an international context.

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Global Chip Manufacturer Expects Lower Profit Due To Uncertain Crypto Mining Demand

Global chip manufacturing giant TSMC attributes lower 2H18 revenue forecast partly to uncertainty in cryptocurrency mining demand.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), a global chip manufacturing giant, has lowered its 2018 revenue forecast to 10 percent growth, down from its previous estimate of 10 to 15 percent, based in part on uncertainty in cryptocurrency mining demand, CNBC reported April 19.

Morgan Stanley estimates that about 10 percent of TSMC’s revenue depends on crypto mining demand. Charlie Chan, equity analyst at Morgan Stanley Taiwan, said that in their analysis, “Bitcoin mining hardware demand and price will decline further and affect TSMC’s wafer demand.”

TSMC stated that first quarter demand from cryptocurrency mining was strong and could continue in the second quarter, but the company anticipated potentially weaker demand in the 28-nanometer product line used for crypto mining hardware. Morgan Stanley gave a broader picture of the changing crypto mining landscape:

“We estimate the break-even point for big mining pools should be [Bitcoin trading at] $8,600, even if we assume a very low electricity cost ($0.03 kW/h) […] the injection of new mining capacity will further increase the mining difficulty in 2H18. Even if the Bitcoin price stays the same…we believe mining profits would drop rapidly, according to our simulation.”

Morgan Stanley noted that companies selling specialized ASIC cryptocurrency mining chips, on the other hand, could have more latitude, and continue to break even in two years time if Bitcoin stays above $5,000.

CNBC further reported that Bernstein analysts have estimated that the majority of demand for TSMC chips currently comes from Chinese mining hardware giant Bitmain.

Bitcoin is currently trading around $8,529 at press time, up 3.56 percent on the day.

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Inflation at 8900% Turns Venezuelans to Bitcoin In Record Volumes

Venezuela, the most hardline socialist country in the American continent, is in a steep crisis in recent years ever since oil prices fell below the $100 area in 2014 down to a third of the price in early 2016. The people are turning to Bitcoin as spiraling inflation destroys the economy.

Bitcoin Adoption Hits Record Highs In Venezuela As Inflation Looms

The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is home to one of the worst hyperinflation crisis in the world ever. President Nicolas Maduro blames external factors and U.S. sabotage for the chaos Venezuelans live in. Inflation has skyrocketed to 8900% in March 2018, according to tradingeconomics.com. As the value of the Venezuelan Bolívar plunges in the streets of Caracas, which lowers the purchasing power of the official minimum wage, the government keeps issuing more currency as it raises the nominal minimum wage.

Bitcoin is buoying an increasing number of Venezuelans that want out of the spiraling madness. Erik Voorhees, founder and CEO of cryptocurrency exchange ShapeShift.io, commented recent data provided by Coin.dance, which pointed to an exponential adoption of Bitcoin, switching from VEF (Venezuelan Bolívar Fuerte).

“Volume of person-to-person Bitcoin trading in hits record high last week… sadly as much a measure of BTC adoption as it is of debasement”, wrote Erik Voorhees.

Shortly after the tweet, a Venezuelan Twitter follower explained the importance of cryptocurrency in the midst of such never-ending crisis.

“Thanks to crypto and trading I can live here in Venezuela without suffering what the most of people suffer everyday. But is heart breaking see people eating direct from garbage can (entire families) and see so much poverty”, he said.

“You say sadly, but isn’t this exactly what Bitcoin’s promise is? To provide sound money, that works, to those who no longer have it? You ought not be sad each time the next state money fails; as more and more currencies fail sound money finds its chance to prevail”, said another Twitter follower, before granting that it is sad that people are suffering.

The weekly LocalBitcoins volume for the week of 14 April 2018 was of 2,789,991,957,138 Venezuelan Bolívares. The previous week held a figure below two trillion VEF, at 1,744,669,576,098 Venezuelan Bolívares. Volumes were mostly below 1 trillion VEF before that.

As Erik Voorhees mentioned, most of this volume in Venezuelan Bolívares is a result of the hyperinflation taking over the country. Weekly trading volumes in Bitcoin show a different picture. The last two weeks saw 663 and 652 bitcoins exchanging hands. The all-time high was 805 Bitcoins in the week of 08 April 2017, a year ago. Bitcoin trading steadily decreased to as low as 157 coins in the week of 06 January 2018 before the newfound adoption.

 

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Litecoin Price Analysis: LTC/USD Primed for Gains

Litecoin Price Analysis LTC

Litecoin price gained traction and tested the $150 resistance against the US Dollar. LTC/USD remains in a solid uptrend and it could trade past $150.

Key Talking Points

  • Litecoin price made a nice upside move and traded to a new monthly high at $150.64 (Data feed of Kraken) against the US Dollar.
  • This week’s highlighted crucial bullish trend line with support at $145 is still in place on the hourly chart of the LTC/USD pair.
  • The pair is currently correcting lower, but it remains supported on the downside near $140-145.

Litecoin Price Forecast

Yesterday, we discussed about more gains above $140 in litecoin price against the US dollar. The LTC/USD pair remained in a bullish zone and broke the $140 and $145 resistance level.

It tested the $150 resistance level and formed a new monthly high at $150.64. Later, there was a downside correction and the price traded below the 23.6% Fib retracement level of the last wave from the $133.90 low to $150.64 high.

Litecoin Price Analysis LTC

However, the decline was protected by the $144-145 support zone. More importantly, this highlighted crucial bullish trend line with support at $145 is still in place on the hourly chart of the LTC/USD pair.

The pair tested the 38.2% Fib retracement level of the last wave from the $133.90 low to $150.64 high. The $144-145 support area played well, and as a result, the price resumed its upside.

At the moment, the price is trading near the $147 level, with an immediate resistance near the $150 level. Once there is a successful hourly close above the stated $150 resistance, LTC price will most likely accelerate higher towards the $155 level.

Above the mentioned $155 level, the $158-160 zone is likely to act as a sell area in the near term. On the flip side, the $145 support region is a very crucial for the current uptrend.

If there is a downside break and close below the $145 and $144 support levels, the price could test the $140 pivot level.

Trade safe traders and do not overtrade!

*The market data is provided by TradingView.

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PayPal Policy Change Forces Consumers to Take Cryptocurrency More Seriously

Making payments online can be done through many different ways. Cryptocurrencies play a growing role of importance in this regard. Taking the crown from the likes of PayPal will not happen overnight. Even so, the latter company is making some policy changes which will not be to everyone’s liking.

The PayPal Policy Changes

Online payment processors need to keep a close eye on their competitors. This also includes making policy changes which may offend a fair few people. For PayPal, their new direction is pretty straightforward. The variable rate pricing for sending money outside of the US is being removed. Instead, recipients of funds will be “discriminated” based on their country of residence. A flat fee is to be introduced, which can ramp up to $4.99 per transaction.

To make matters worse, there is an extra “rule” for credit and debit card users. This same flat fee will apply, plus a fixed fee based on the currency, and a surcharge of 2.9% of the transaction amount. In the best case, sending $100 to a country with a $2.99 flat fee would net the recipient $92 or less. This new scheme will not be to the liking of people who regularly transfer money through the PayPal infrastructure.

It is important to note this does not apply to purchases made through the service. This only pertains to people who send money to friends and family members. Anything labeled as a non-purchase will be subject to this new policy. This makes PayPal a far less favorable option for sending money between friends and family members. Instead, it may push people to alternative solutions.

A Boost for Cryptocurrency?

Up until now, PayPal had made somewhat of an impact in the money transfer industry. Especially where remittances are concerned, the service offers an adequate alternative. These new changes will force people to look for alternatives in this regard. Especially with unverified users being unable to send money and make payments, things are not heading in the right direction.

Other forms of remittance will undoubtedly benefit from these policy changes. The likes of TransferWise are a lot cheaper than PayPal, but still somewhat expensive. Cryptocurrencies can make a positive impact in this regard. Unlike traditional solutions, Bitcoin and consorts are borderless and can be a lot cheaper to send money abroad.

More importantly, cryptocurrency use doesn’t necessarily require a lot of personal information. Setting up a wallet address is a matter of installing the right software. Converting cryptocurrency to fiat currency may involve a KYC procedure, but exchanges are getting better at processing those requests quickly. PayPal may effectively pave the way for broader cryptocurrency adoption in the coming years.

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Verge (XVG) Dominates the Market Together with Ripple as USD Pairs about to be Listed on Binance

Crypto Trading

Continuing the same winning streak, similar to the center-stage-taking announcement that World Famous Pornhub will accept Verge for Subscriptions, Verge is leading the market with a double digit gain against the US Dollar at 14.75% in the last 24 hours, together with Ripple which is standing at 17.29% and is going for the big $1.00.

Trading Crypto

Source: coinmarketcap

The pair XVG/USD did clear the daily declining trend and gained momentum at the $0.0720 but is struggling to sustain the gain as sellers are stepping in. If bulls have their saying now and close above successfully, there will be opened gates for more gain as confidence will be raised on these hyped-days of Verge.

The very welcoming morning for Verge enthusiasts could be coming as the result of a very well built attraction for the coin by its team for the community as on April 17, on a Medium post while shared by Vergecurrency on twitter, announced that a new partnership will be known later on.

Verge did run a crowd sale to secure this new partnership by raising funds, but most of the 75 million tokens were donated by TokenPay.

On a day devoid of any major news on crypto, Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume, has announced plans to add USD to crypto assets in the near future. The pairs XRP/USD and XVG/USD are to be the first on offer, further opening up visibility for the two coins. It is a kind of sweet victory for XVG and XRP two assets that have tried get listed on Coinbase countless times without success.

For more information: Verge [XVG] is a cryptocurrency that aims to become the better version of the original Bitcoin blockchain and do what bitcoin’s initial purpose was by providing solutions/services to individuals and businesses with a fast, efficient and decentralized way of making direct transactions while maintaining their privacy.

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