The CFTC tapped Heath Tarbert as incoming chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), replacing current chairman and “Crypto Dad” J. Christopher Giancarlo. The announcement was made yesterday during a Senate confirmation hearing.
The CFTC is tasked with regulating derivatives, digital assets, and over-the-counter trades. The regulatory authority has taken a light-handed approach towards the cryptocurrency industry under outgoing chair Giancarlo.
“During my time of service, it has been a priority to transform the CFTC into a 21st Century regulator for today’s digital markets. With Dr. Tarbert’s confirmation, I know the agency is in safe hands to continue this transition,” said Giancarlo in a statement regarding the succession.
Prior to this designation, Tarbert served a short stint as Acting Under Secretary for International Affairs, beginning April 16, 2019. Before that Tarbert served as Assistant Secretary for International Markets for two years, to which he was confirmed by a vote of 87-8, showing a high degree of bipartisan support.
Politico previously reported Tarbert would likely succeed Giancarlo as chief derivatives regulator.
Tarbert is a member of the Financial Stability Board, the international body established after the financial crisis to monitor global markets, and serves on its steering committee, according to his Treasury Department biography.
Giancarlo has committed to stay on as chairman until July 15, 2019, as Tarbert completes his current Treasury obligations.
J. Christopher Giancarlo image via CoinDesk archives
A bar in Japan is teaming up with a locally-based lightning startup to let customers pay for sparkling wine and soft drinks using the experimental payments network.
For the month of June, the Japan-based lightning startup Nayuta will be partnering with Awabar Fukouka to trial the payment system in what they’re calling a “field test.”
The Lightning Network is seen by its supporters as the best way to scale bitcoin so that more people can use the payment system at once, but the technology is still rather experimental and even risky to use. To that end, Nayuta sees this project as an way to further analyze how the technology works in the real world and to find out what still needs to be done to make it easier to use.
Though Awabar said their role is “small,” as the bar did not design the technology (Nayuta did), they’re “delighted” to participate, offering a place for the experimental technology to be tested in a brick-and-mortar context.
The company said in a statement:
“We hope it helps familiarize the community with the lightning network payment system.”
The following video shows how the point of sale app (created by Nayuta and run on the open source payment processor BTCPay) will look for customers purchasing their drinks:
Nayuta is known for helping to draw up specifications for the lightning network and recently launched its own implementation of the budding payment layer geared specifically for connected devices or the Internet of Things (IoT).
The idea is that as the tech components grow less expensive, more devices such as refrigerators and TVs will connect to the internet for data collection.
Source: Pivot – Blockchain Community
In 2018 alone more than $1 Billion of crypto was stolen. Most people’s funds were stolen in hacks and scams. Others could not reach their crypto, because they lost their private keys or recovery phrases.
One thing all the cases have in common is poor private key management.
What are private keys and recovery phrases? And how should you protect yourself from losing your funds? Bear with us while we try to explain it in a simple way.
What Is a Private Key?
A private key is the most important information in crypto. Without your private key, you cannot access your crypto. You can compare it with the PIN of your debit card.
If you have forgotten your PIN or if you have lost your bank card, you can call your bank. Then they will send you a new PIN or a new bank card, and you will regain access to your money.
The big difference in the crypto world is that there is no bank or other central organization that can help you recover your funds.
So if you lose your private key, there is no one that can help you to regain access to your funds. If you lose your private key, you cannot call anyone for help, and you will lose your coins forever.
What Is a Recovery Phrase or Recovery Seed?
A recovery phrase is used by crypto wallets like Ledger Nano and Trezor. These phrases or seeds usually contain between 12-24 words.
Compared to a private key a recovery phrase is easier to read for humans. But more importantly, is that the use of recovery phrases enables crypto wallets to store multiple private keys with one recovery phrase.
For example, you have a Ledger Wallet with Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash and Ethereum on it. Each coin has its own private key. You do not have to save all those private keys because by making a backup of your Ledger Wallet, you make a backup of all private keys on the Ledger Wallet.
Ways to store your crypto:
This is the riskiest way to store your crypto because your funds are in the hands of a third party. The exchange or custodian is holding your crypto in their wallets. So they control your private keys or recovery phrases of these wallets.
There are countless stories about exchanges being hacked and losing funds of their clients. It is ok to have some of your funds on an exchange for trading purposes. Longtime holdings should never be stored on an exchange because you are not the owner of your keys.
These wallets like Jaxx, Electrum, and Exodus can be downloaded for free. They enable their users to receive, send and store different types of cryptocurrencies.
Software wallets generate private keys. And you can easily make a backup of a software wallet by saving the recovery phrase offline. This means that with a software wallet you are the owner of your (private) keys.
A software wallet does have the risk that malware or viruses can cause your software wallet to be hacked.
The risks associated with software wallets are solved by hardware wallets like the Trezor and Ledger. The big advantage is that these wallets are secure stand-alone devices that are not connected to the internet.
Recovery phrases are used to back up the private keys stored on the devices. Owning a hardware wallet is a great step in securing your crypto because you are storing your private keys offline. The big risk here is the loss of the recovery phase.
So you did all the right things. You went online, did your research, ordered a hardware wallet, and you are ready to set it up. After a while, you are done, and you are left with a surprise.
You realize that the device itself is not the most important thing. No! The most important thing right now is the piece of paper with your recovery phrase written on it.
All this effort and eventually your early retirement is dependent on a piece of paper? No way!
CRYPTOTAG closes the last line of defense with its premium backup system that enables people around the world to truly be their own bank by immortalizing their recovery phrases in titanium.
The CRYPTOTAG handles extreme circumstances like no other. Temperatures up to 3050 °F / 1.668 °C, corrosion and extreme pressure are no problem. Extreme tests have been carried out on the product, and the 6mm thick Titanium is literally bulletproof.
The Amsterdam based team has been testing different engraving methods and have developed a full backup system. During the development, they have been influenced by goldsmiths, metal workers, the aviation industry and old engraving techniques.
These influences are visible in the components included such as the hammer, punching letters, anvil and the use of titanium.
Turns out 88-year-old Warren Buffett isn’t warming up to crypto after all. Speaking at what’s been dubbed the “Woodstock of Capitalism”, the billionaire investor told shareholders in Berkshire Hathaway how he really feels about bitcoin. His company’s annual shareholder event is being held in Omaha today, and he just couldn’t resist lamenting the digital currency that he just doesn’t understand. Buffett reportedly stated:
David Ramsden, the Deputy Governor of Markets and Banking at the Bank of England (BoE), has argued that cryptocurrencies are “too volatile” to be considered a reliable store-of-value (SoV).
In a brief interview with CNBC on April 30th, 2019, Ramsden said that BoE’s officials have been keeping track of the “emerging developments and then thinking about what they mean” or how they’re relevant to our current economic system.
The Deputy Governor noted that “just over a year ago, the financial policy committee looked at cryptoassets in some detail” – as “supported by” and within the context of the latest developments in FinTech and modern banking services. He confirmed that England’s central bank still believes blockchain-based digital assets are highly volatile, based on their recent price movements.
Cryptoassets Not An Effective SoV Or MoE
Cryptoassets are also not a reliable medium-of-exchange (MoE) because the “cost of transactions” remains quite high, Ramsden claims. Because of these issues, the BoE’s management thinks cryptocurrencies don’t satisfy the basic “principles of being a currency.”
Ramsden also pointed out that “this is why” the BoE considers them to be cryptoassets, and not cryptocurrencies. Ramsden further noted that cryptoassets “did not pose a risk” to the overall stability of the much larger traditional financial system. This, as the current market capitalization of the crypto market, which presently stands at over $174 billion, is relatively small compared to the multi-trillion dollar global financial market.
BoE Continues To Monitor Crypto Markets
Despite not being able to negatively affect the traditional financial system, Ramsden said that the BoE continues to monitor cryptoassets. He revealed that the UK’s Treasury Department, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and the Cryptoassets Task Force carefully examined the crypto industry.
According to the regulators, cryptoassets that “fall within” the current regulatory framework must comply with the European nation’s existing financial policies. However, Ramsden said that UK’s financial regulators “also had to be very mindful of [digital] assets and exchanges that [may be operating] in or outside” the UK’s regulatory guidelines.
“Very Positive” About DLT
Ramsden added that the BoE and other regulatory bodies in the UK “remained very vigilant about cryptoassets.” He continued to note that the BoE is “very positive” about the distributed ledger technology (DLT) that “underlies” cryptoassets. He also noted that part of his role “in embracing FinTech across the BoE” involves looking closely at the potential benefits of blockchain tech.
He also mentioned:
We are looking at the potential of DLT … for example, in the payments space, we’re making sure that our real-time gross settlement system can interface and be interoperable with blockchain/DLT technology.
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
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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
A banking startup is about to launch a debit card which crypto enthusiasts will be able to use to pay for goods with crypto. the banking startup 2gether promises that its new prepaid Visa card will allow the firm’s customers to use either fiat currency or seven crypto coins to pay for things: BTC, XRP, EOS, XLM and a few others. The card helps people by changing digital assets into fiat (EUR) and will be accepted in almost 20 EU countries. Businesses can take advantage of the service to pay employee salaries and income taxes. Other commercial or corporate expenses can be covered as well with digital coins converted and sent to fiat-based accounts. Aave Pay has been announced as both a web-based and a mobile application. While the online platform is live at the moment, there is little information on how to download, install and use the mobile app and its features…….
On March 16, 2019, the price of IOTA (IOTA) reached a high of nearly $0.32. It has been on a gradual downtrend since. Here is the price outlook for the period of Mar 16 through Mar 18:
Our analysis of IOTA on Mar 13 predicted that price would increase and result in a breakout above resistance. Our prediction was validated the following day. According to today’s analysis, we predict that IOTA will likely continue trading within a downward facing channel. This means gradual losses for the foreseeable future. Highs within the channel may still be experienced; however, they are expected to grow successively lower over time. In the case of a breakout or breakdown, we assess that a breakout is more likely—which means the possibility of a reversal and rapid price increases.