Litecoin trading on Gemini’s platform goes live tomorrow

Last week Gemini announced that it would be supporting Litecoin as a token on its platform. This week, the altcoin will be available officially for trading.

In case you missed the news last week, cryptocurrency trade exchange Gemini is going to be offering for Litecoin.

The trading of the Bitcoin hardfork will commence tomorrow 16th October at 09h30 EDT.

Further detailed in a post by the VP of engineering at Gemini Eric Winer, users could start depositing Litecion into their Gemini accounts over the weekend. Winer explained:

“Litecoin (LTC) is the fourth digital asset available on the Gemini platform, joining Bitcoin, Ether, and Zcash. As a result, we will be offering the following new trading pairs and services”

With regards to other tokens, Winer also stated that the team had planned to announce Bitcoin Cash support at the same time as the Litecoin announcement. He explained that the controversial Bitcoin Cash has been receiving a great deal of uncertainty within the altcoin’s community:

There has been much uncertainty lately within the Bitcoin Cash community about one or more possible hard forks arriving in mid-November. Some of those forks lack the replay protection feature that would be required for Gemini to safely support Bitcoin Cash. Because of this situation, we are delaying our launch of Bitcoin Cash deposits, withdrawals, and trading until late November, after the forks have passed and we can evaluate the health of the Bitcoin Cash ecosystem.”

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CNBC’s Ran Neuner sums up the reasons why Bitcoin is “about to explode”

In a recent flurry of confident tweets, CBNC’s Cryptotrader Ran Neuner has summarised why investors should be “accumulating” cryptocurrencies as soon as possible.

In a tweet from last week, CNBC’s Cryptotrader Ran Neuner summarised the more positive news that the cryptocurrency industry had seen.

He followed the summary with an optimistic claim that investors should be accumulating cryptocurrency before the prices spike.

Included in his tweet was the report that Ivy League University Yale had invested in a multi-million dollar cryptocurrency fund. The news is remarkable as the financial strategies are headed up by David Swensen, a notable groundbreaker in institutional investment. Neuner also made note of the Winklevoss twins’ cryptocurrency trade exchange Gemini gaining insurance coverage. When the news broke, the Cryptotrader remarked at the time that it was “huge news”.

Also included in Neuner’s optimistic tweet is the news that retail brokerage firm TD Ameritrade started backing a cryptocurrency exchange in a “strategic investment“. Finally, Neuner added that the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had filed for a rule change for the Bitcoin Exchange-Traded fund decisions (ETF).

With these factors, Neuner has expressed that it is “too obvious” that the cryptocurrency markets are going to swell and he advocates to buy into cryptocurrencies sooner rather than later.

Other cryptocurrency figures have expressed similar optimism, such as Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong, who thinks that the markets are going to see exponential growth.

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A Top-20 Crypto Exchange Is Replacing Tether With a Rival Stablecoin

A top-20 exchange is phasing out an embattled cryptocurrency.

Digifinex has decided to replace tether (USDT), perhaps the best-known “stablecoin” designed to maintain a steady exchange rate with the U.S. dollar, with a rival, TrustToken’s TrueUSD. Based in Singapore, Digifinex handled $131 million in trading volume over the past 24 hours, according to CoinMarketCap, making it the 16th-largest exchange by that measure.

Kiana Shek, Digifinex’s co-founder, told CoinDesk she’d been “looking for ways to get rid of USDT” for months, adding, “I simply don’t believe in tether but I had no choice” but to list it.

Speaking of the decision to adopt TrueUSD, Shek said, “through my research, due diligence, and my communications with the TrustToken team, I have come to appreciate their commitment to industry-leading best practices.”

She mentioned the team’s compliance with the U.S. Financial Crime Enforcement Network’s (FinCEN) regulations and independent verification by an outside auditing firm.
Tether, the company behind USDT, did not give a comment by press time. The firm has been the subject of much negative attention for over a year now, as it has struggled to convince observers that it holds enough dollar reserves to fully back all the USDT in circulation.

Despite allegations that the Tether’s owners and management – which overlaps with that of the cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex – are printing money, though, USDT’s value remains pegged to $1.00, and many exchanges list multiple trading pairs in USDT terms.
These listings appeal to traders because USDT can be more easily shifted between exchanges than fiat currency. And at the time of writing, tether is the eighth-most valuable cryptocurrency by market capitalization.

It is notable, therefore, that a large exchange has decided to move away from offering tether trading pairs and adopt a rival stablecoin instead. Given the high number of stablecoins that have recently launched or are set to launch soon, the competition Tether faces is likely to increase.

“The risk from tether and the need for a new USD stablecoin is so great,” TrustToken co-founder and COO Stephen Kade told CoinDesk, “that exchanges have started trying to create their own.” An example of this trend is the Gemini exchange’s recent announcement of a dollar-pegged cryptocurrency.

Kade argued that TrueUSD had an advantage over these rivals, however: “TrueUSD is live and exchange-agnostic,” he said.

TrustToken launched TrueUSD in March, the company’s head of marketing and communications Tony Pham told CoinDesk, and plans to launch products linked to the yen, euro and other fiat currencies in the future. And if the goal of wide adoption by exchanges sounds ambitious, TrustToken’s broader push – to tokenize practically any form of asset – is even more so.

TrueUSD trading will become available on Monday at 15:00, Singapore time. Initially, Digifinex will offer TrueUSD trading pairs with bitcoin, ethereum and tether.
Both tether and TrueUSD trading will remain available for a while, said Pham, before tether is dropped from the exchange.

Author: David Floyd
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Gemini Can Freeze its USD-Pegged Cryptocurrency at Any Time: Researcher

Much has been made in recent days about how Gemini dollar (GUSD), a USD-pegged stablecoin created by the Winklevoss-founded Gemini cryptocurrency exchange, can help regularize cryptocurrency as a mainstream asset class. However, decentralization hardliners may be dismayed by the details of this grand bargain.

GUSD Smart Contract Gives Gemini Broad Control

Writing on tech publication Good Audience, blockchain researcher Alex Lebed performs a code review of the Gemini dollar smart contract, finding that, contrary to the ethos and technical specifications of decentralized cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, GUSD includes a provision that allows its “custodian” — namely Gemini — to freeze any account.

Lebed — who, in full disclosure, is also attached to a separate stablecoin project — further notes that GUSD uses an ERC20Proxy contract that gives Gemini, as the custodian, the ability to upgrade the contract once every 48 hours, giving it among a myriad of other things the power to simultaneously render all tokens non-transferable.

It’s not entirely surprising that Gemini included a mechanism to allow it to freeze funds, given that Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss repeatedly touted GUSD as the first “trusted and regulated digital representation of the U.S. dollar,” both in the official announcement and in subsequent media appearances.

More than just an apparent slight at Tether, the controversial, fully-collateralized stablecoin issuer whose assets are reportedly stored in Puerto Rico, this statement is confirmation that Gemini wants its token to exist alongside and within mainstream finance, not outside of it.

The Gemini dollar whitepaper argues that, because issuing a cryptocurrency whose value is tied to physical assets stored in a centralized location involves some element of trust, that token must have oversight.

“Desirable outcomes in a system that relies (at least in part) on trust requires oversight. In the context of a stablecoin, we submit that the issuer must be licensed and subject to regulatory supervision. From this, transparency and examination become requirements of the system, ensuring its integrity and engendering market confidence…. Gemini operates under the direct supervision and regulatory authority of the New York State Department of Financial Services and is subject to the New York Banking Law and other applicable U.S. laws and regulations.”

That supervision, as detailed above, comes from the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS), creator of the controversial BitLicense regulatory framework. Gemini, along with fellow New York-based company Paxos, who also released a stablecoin this week, holds an NYDFS charter and must submit to the agency’s stringent regulations governing cryptocurrency companies.

In addition to ensuring that GUSD and the Paxos Standard (PAX) to remain fully backed by physical dollars at all times, the NYDFS said in a statement that it requires the firms to “prevent and respond to any potential or actual wrongful use of stablecoin, including but not limited to its use in illegal activity, market manipulation, or other similar misconduct.”

Additionally, Gemini and Paxos must:

“Implement, monitor and update effective risk-based controls and appropriate BSA/AML and OFAC controls to prevent the Gemini Dollar or Paxos Standard Token from being used in connection with money laundering or terrorist financing.”

Stablecoins: A Corrupt Bargain?

Tether, the largest stablecoin, serves as a proxy for USD on dozens of cryptocurrency exchanges.

Nor is this element of control unique to Gemini’s stable cryptocurrency. Rather, it stems from the inherent centralization of this stablecoin model, regardless of how closely-regulated a particular issuer is. While fully-collateralized stablecoins ensure price stability, their issuers must also submit to regulatory guidelines and other external pressures. (Other stablecoin models, including those that use an algorithmic process to maintain a synthetic peg to the dollar, carry their own risks.)

When Tether’s treasury address was hacked last year, the company released what was effectively an emergency fork to blacklist the more than $30 million in stolen funds and prevent the attackers from spending them. While node operators could technically have refused to follow the fork, the fact that USDT’s underlying assets can only be redeemed from Tether means that the company could have refused to honor tokens on the original chain.

Similarly, GUSD can only be redeemed for physical USD at Gemini, ensuring that, even absent the ability to lock accounts and freeze funds, Gemini has absolute censorship authority over the underlying assets that give the token value. This way, though, Gemini can more effectively halt the flow of funds if they become involved in money laundering or other illicit activities.

Regardless of the justification, many cryptocurrency diehards may find this arrangement a corrupt bargain, but, frankly, GUSD probably wasn’t built with these users in mind anyway.

And, on the other hand, some users may find comfort in the fact that, just as federal and state regulations require Gemini to include functionality that enables them to stop the token from being used for illicit purposes, those regulations also include provisions that should prevent Gemini from arbitrarily freezing funds indefinitely or stealing tokens outright. Holding the token, like storing your funds in a bank, comes with its trade-offs, and users must determine for themselves whether those trade-offs are tenable.

Author: Josiah Wilmoth 
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Exchanges and Their Customer Service Challenges

  • One of the most common complaints is prolonged response time.
  • Exchanges are unable to keep up with the sheer numbers of customers.

    The cryptocurrency industry, like the traditional financial sector, is served by a list of companies who play an integral part in the effective functioning of the space. One of the most important players within the crypto market are exchanges.

    For individuals who are new to the crypto market, exchanges provide an easy way to buy their preferred tokens with fiat currency. For token creators, being listed on a trading platform has a direct impact on the growth and value of their project. The greater the number of listings a token has on different trading platforms, the greater the likelihood that its value will grow as more potential investors have access to it.

    Moreover, a listing on reputable exchanges lends a level of credibility to the project.
    Cryptocurrency exchanges are a provably essential part of the crypto ecosystem. This is true for both individuals and developers, however, they are not without issues. A cursory glance at any social media page discussing cryptocurrency is likely to reveal a long list of complaints against trading platforms. While these complaints usually cover a wide range of issues, they are generally compounded by unsatisfactory customer service.

    Key Customer Service Issues
    One of the most common complaints witnessed across the board is prolonged response time. Users have detailed their experiences where they have waited for a number of days. Some customers have waited for weeks to get a response from a customer service agent. As this is true right from the onboarding process to the actual trades, this is not a desirable state of affairs for customers.

    Moreover, long response time is made worse by unsatisfactory responses. Questions and concerns raised by users generally receive a pre-drafted answer that is designed to placate the customer but does not necessarily help. This can prevent trades and sometimes even lock out users of their accounts. A user, Calaber24p, detailed their experience with two different exchanges in a blog post: “Coinbase shut my account down because one of their systems confused my bank login ID as my actual name and flagged the account.”

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    The user added:
    “It took two weeks to get a response and the response was generic and obviously had not been read in depth by a person who understood English. Right now, I am going through a similar problem with Bittrex where I admittedly made a mistake but I can’t even get a response from someone.”

    Additionally, many exchanges seem unable to stay online during the times when there are significant market moves. There are a large number of entries on Reddit discussing the suspicious nature of exchange going offline when the market is crashing, leaving them unable to capitalize on the low prices.

    Furthermore, arbitrary account irregularities such as lost funds or blocked accounts are prevalent. When problems arise with the funding transfer process, exchanges may need to refund customers. However, this sometimes leads to lost funds. For instance, a user details his experience with GDAX where he has yet to be refunded USD 30,000. To continue, another user has been unable to withdraw his tokens and is unable to get a satisfactory reason for this. Lastly, some users have had their accounts completely shut down, sometimes with no communication except an email informing them of the closure without a clear explanation.

    Why Are Exchanges Struggling with Customer Service?
    In the past 18 month, the cryptocurrency space has been experiencing growth at unprecedented rates. The surge in the value of the crypto market attracted many new clients looking to trade. However, exchanges are unable to keep up with the sheer numbers of customers.

    Dan Romero, General Manager at Coinbase, attempted to explain how a surge in customers affected response times saying in a blog post:
    “But transaction volumes in November and December grew by 295%. This led to many customers experiencing long wait times from hearing back from our customer support team. The team was left feeling like we were bailing out a sinking ship with pots and pans .”

    Additionally, the continued growth of the sector means that exchanges are likely unable to hire enough customer support staff to keep up with the demand. While they may have enough employees for a certain point in time, they may be unable to find people to fill the positions as customers increase.

    Furthermore, customer service staff are unlikely to be well-versed with the issues that customers are experiencing. The space utilizes technology that is relatively new. As a result, exchanges will prepare generic responses that staff are supposed to use to reply to any concerns. This leads to unsatisfied customers as problems vary from user to user and these responses do not provide adequate illumination.

    Lastly, exchanges try to keep up with the regulations relevant to their jurisdiction as well as best practices for security and safety. This means that their systems are often undergoing overhauls and these changes may affect the state of users accounts. Indeed, a number of exchanges have alluded to bugs arising from actions intended to keep their systems in tip-top shape as the reason for the blocking or closing of users’ accounts.

    How Can Customer Service Be Improved?
    It is unlikely that the numbers of people looking to trade crypto will decrease. This means that exchanges must find ways to keep up with the demand. One of the ways they can meet the needs of their customers is by hiring customer support staff who are well versed in the technicalities of crypto trading.

    For instance, trading platform Binance has been on the receiving end of positive reviews as its customer support staff are knowledgeable and are able to effectively address customers concerns. While response times can be relatively slow, users are pleased with the responses they receive. This shows that slow response rates can be tolerated if the support actually helps to fix the problem.

    Additionally, exchanges should consider slowing down new registrations when they realize their system is unable to keep up with the numbers. This may help reduce the complaint from the crypto community.

    Here at Dollar Destruction, we endeavour to bring to you the latest, most important news from around the globe. We scan the web looking for the most valuable content and dish it right up for you! The content of this article was provided by the source referenced. Dollar Destruction does not endorse and is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy, quality, advertising, products or other materials on this page. As always, we encourage you to perform your own research!

    Author: Alex Lielacher
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Winklevoss Brothers Score Another Crypto Investment Patent

Crypto exchange Gemini founders Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss have long sought the creation of a bitcoin exchange-traded fund.

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And while that process remains in flux, a company tied to the brothers has won another U.S. patent related to the creation of exchange-traded products tied to cryptocurrencies and digital assets.

The patent was awarded to a firm called Winklevoss IP LLP, and both Winklevoss brothers are included as the inventors along with Evan Louis Greebel, Kathleen Hill Moriarty and Gregory Elias Xethalis.

The patent, awarded on June 19, details a method “for providing an exchange-traded product holding digital math-based assets” as well as the issuance of shares tied to that ETP. It adds to the body of intellectual property the Winklevosses have sought to obtain, though it’s not entirely clear when or how the concepts will be applied to real-world products.

An ETP, such as an exchange-traded fund (ETFs), is a type of security, the price of which is derived from other investment instruments – in this case, cryptocurrencies.

As CoinDesk previously reported, the Winklevoss brothers won a patent last month for a system that settles transactions for ETPs tied to cryptocurrencies. Like the other patent, this week’s award names a variety of cryptocurrencies, from major ones like bitcoin and monero to more obscure ones like BBQcoin.

Publicly available data shows that this week’s patent is the seventh crypto-related patent the Winklevoss brothers have received, with the first being awarded in December of last year.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) once denied a bid proposed by the Winklevoss brothers in March 2017 to list a bitcoin-tied exchange-traded fund (ETF), citing “the rules of a national securities exchange be designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices and to protect investors and the public interest.”

Here at Dollar Destruction, we endeavour to bring to you the latest, most important news from around the globe. We scan the web looking for the most valuable content and dish it right up for you! The content of this article was provided by the source referenced. Dollar Destruction does not endorse and is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy, quality, advertising, products or other materials on this page. As always, we encourage you to perform your own research!

Author: Muyao Shen
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A Merger That Would Have Made Crypto Investing Easier Fails

In January, BitGo, a Silicon Valley bitcoin wallet startup, announced plans to acquire Kingdom Trust, a Kentucky company that has quietly become a leading player in a thriving market serving cryptocurrency funds.

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The move would have positioned BitGo to compete with a small but growing pool of players offering custodial service—in essence, storage of crypto assets—to high-net-worth individuals, institutions, and funds. It was designed to merge BitGo’s tech products, which offer a secure way for individuals to store bitcoin and crypto assets, with Kingdom’s custody services, which serve institutions. Having a trust charter, as Kingdom Trust does, would have given the combined entity a leg up on competition from Coinbase, Gemini (an exchange run by the Winklevoss twins), Ledger, ItBit, and Nomura, the Japanese bank which in May announced plans to offer crypto custody.

But the charter wasn’t enough to make the merger of a risk-averse financial trust in Kentucky with a venture-backed startup in Silicon Valley work. Kingdom gained regulatory approval for the change of control in April, but a month later, the companies dissolved their merger plans.

According to Kingdom CEO Matt Jennings, the deal fell through in final negotiations. “As with all mergers, there were many details that had to be negotiated and worked through. We simply could not work through the final details,” Jennings said. Jennings said disagreements were not specific to crypto, but “the typical final negotiations between two companies in these sorts of deals.”

BitGo CEO Mike Belshe did not elaborate on the reasons for the merger ending beyond a blog post announcing that the company has applied for a trust charter to build its own custodial solution.

As a result of the splut, BitGo and Kingdom find themselves in competition with each other, as BitGo builds its custody offering. “We have worked closely with customers to understand their custodial needs and have realized that to offer the best custodial solution, we needed to build our own qualified custodial offering,” BitGo product marketing executive Robin Verderosa wrote.

Kingdom continues to offer its custodial services from Murray, Kentucky. Jennings says the split changes nothing about Kingdom’s plans to expand and upgrade its products. “We were the leader in digital asset custody long before any merger was contemplated and plan to keep pressing forward as the leader in the market,” he says.

Meanwhile, Coinbase, the largest and best-known digital currency exchange and wallet in the US, has launched its much-anticipated custody option, and Nomura’s announcement shows that some traditional banks also want a piece of the crypto action.

Institutional custody is a small but important part of the movement to legitimize crypto investing. Crypto hedge funds have proliferated over the last 18 months, with an estimated 100 new ones launching in 2017. A late-2017 surge in the price of bitcoin and other crypto assets meant lots of small funds found themselves suddenly managing large portfolios of crypto assets. Hedge funds with more than $150 million in assets are required to store their assets with a qualified custodian. In a February interview, Belshe estimated that two dozen hedge funds crossed that threshold last year, but were not complying with the rule. This year’s slump in crypto prices may have solved the problem for many.

Here at Dollar Destruction, we endeavor to bring to you the latest, most important news from around the globe. We scan the web looking for the most valuable content and dish it right up for you! The content of this article was provided by the source referenced. Dollar Destruction does not endorse and is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy, quality, advertising, products or other materials on this page. As always, we encourage you to perform your own research!
Author: Erin Griffith
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