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Investors voted against returning up to 77% of their initial investment.

In both of the rounds of ICO, they voted to transfer the TON network until April 30, while retaining their initial investment in the project.

What does this mean for the market?

Before the current launch date, the price of the token in the secondary market soared up to $ 3.5! And this is just the beginning - every day the price is only growing! Do not miss your chance!

How to buy a Gram? (Spoiler - no way)

You can already acquire the right to own a token today in the OTC market from investors of the first rounds!

In mid-October, https://bitrexchange.com/gram launched the sale of Gram tokens of the acclaimed and hotly anticipated TON project. Bitrex customers have a unique opportunity to buy GRAM tokens before anyone else, even before the official launch of the platform. And this means to be an opportunity to get an asset at a more attractive price.
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Lebanon Banks' Shutdown Is ‘Most Potent Case’ for Crypto: Nassim Taleb

Bitcoin (BTC) proponents are encouraging Lebanese citizens to swap fiat for crypto after it emerged the country’s banks would stay closed.

Banks to open “once normalcy restored”
In an ongoing Twitter debate which began on Oct. 24, commentators vented anger on behalf of Lebanon’s population, which has been without banking services for more than a week.

Following civil unrest, banks everywhere closed their doors. Six working days later, a senior banking executive said the status quo would continue until conditions improved.

“Once normalcy is restored, we are very confident that we can resume servicing our customers in full capacity,” Salim Sfeir, head of local lender Bank of Beirut, told Reuters on Thursday.

Previously, long queues were seen at ATMs as worried consumers attempted to access their wealth. Around 65% of Lebanon is banked, figures say, leaving two-thirds of the country cut off from personal funds.

Taleb: shutdown “most potent case for crypto”
For well-known Lebanese statistician, former trader and author of “The Black Swan,” Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the government’s policy was enough to directly endorse cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.

“The most potent case for cryptocurrencies: banks are never there when you need them,” he summarized in a tweet. Taleb continued:

“And they are trying to bully the public so they avoid accountability and profit disbursements. Bankers are legal crooks.”

The anger is reminiscent of other recent episodes of economic chaos, during which states have withheld money for their own purposes. In addition to Hong Kong this year, an infamous example is India, which in 2016 began a series of botched currency reforms which left hundreds of millions of people holding worthless notes.

India’s taste for Bitcoin soon increased dramatically, before a hardline policy saw its exchange sector all but evaporated last year.

It is worth noting that unlike banks, the decentralized Bitcoin network operates 24/7 with 99.98% uptime since its inception, according to monitoring resource Bitcoin-uptime.
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Rich Dad Poor Dad Author: Bitcoin Is Messing Into the Fed’s Territory

Robert Kiyosaki — author of the 32 million-copy bestseller Rich Dad Poor Dad — has taken a coy stance on Bitcoin’s David and Goliath-like battle with the Fed.

Kisoyaki — whose book has reportedly sold 32 million copies across 40 countries and has an estimated net worth of $80 million — made his remarks during an interview with Bloomberg on Oct. 22.

Bitcoin taking on “one of the most powerful banks ever created”
Kosayaki is no stranger to controversy: his bestseller remains one of the most well-known personal finance books ever written, yet he has also become mired in several scandals, notably over his financial education firm’s bankruptcy filing in 2012.

During the interview, Kosayaki reiterated his belief in investing in assets such as gold, oil and real estate. When asked for his perspective on new asset classes, particularly Bitcoin, he gave an arch response:

“I think it’s so interesting. they’re taking on the FED, one of the most powerful banks ever created. And they’re messing into their territory. That’s like me taking on McDonald’s. So I think they’re gonna step on them. I think it’s a very exciting time.”

Kosayaki’s perspective as an investor was resolute from a personal standpoint, yet he broadly encouraged investors to follow their personal instincts and gut:

“Personally, I’m a technosaurus rex. I can barely use a cellphone. So I’d best stay out of cryptocurrencies. So if you’re a young person and you like crypto, it might be your place. Again, everything is ‘just do what you love.’ I love businesses, I love gold ... I love using debt as money — because in 1971 the dollar became debt — and I love paying no taxes legally.”

While Kiyosaki is a critic of corporate debt-driven finance, he advocates for an opportunistic and deft approach to the systemic volatility it generates, as manifested in major boom and bust cycles. He told Bloomberg his predicted that the next downturn will be sparked by a crisis in the pensions sector between 2022 and 2025.

Sleepwalking into crisis
Earlier this week, former Bank of England governor Mervyn King said the world was “sleepwalking” into a financial crisis even worse than that of 2008.

As part of a newly-revitalized quantitative easing tack, the Fed has injected $210 billion into the economy since mid-September of this year. King warned that:

“By sticking to the new orthodoxy of monetary policy and pretending that we have made the banking system safe, we are sleepwalking towards that crisis.”

Gold advocates like Kiyosaki and proponents of Bitcoin’s digital scarcity alike remain staunch critics of central banks’ interventionist policies.
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New Bitcoin ETF Proposal Filed With SEC by Gold Fund Veteran

Delaware-based asset manager Kryptoin Investment Advisors applied with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to launch a Bitcoin (BTC) Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) on Oct. 15.

A Bitcoin ETF on the New York Stock Exchange

According to the filing document published by the SEC, the Kryptoin Bitcoin ETF Trust is meant to be traded on the New York Stock Exchange Arca. Notably, the ETF product is designed:

“... To provide exposure to bitcoin at a price that is reflective of the actual bitcoin market where investors can purchase and sell Bitcoin, less the expenses of the Trust’s operations.”

The company plans to hold Bitcoin and value the shares of the trust according to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Bitcoin Reference Rate. The cryptocurrency will be held at an unspecified third-party insured custodian that is also regulated under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940.

The SEC filing also details that the Trust will hold Bitcoin “in seeking to ensure that the price of the Trust’s shares is reflective of the actual bitcoin market.”

However, the Trust will not purchase or sell bitcoin directly but will acquire it via shares called “baskets.” The report continues:

“Instead, when it sells or redeems its Shares, it will do so in ‘in-kind’ transactions in blocks of 100,000 Shares called ‘Baskets’ at the Trust’s net asset value (‘NAV’). Only Authorized Purchasers may purchase or redeem Shares with the Trust, and they will do so by delivering bitcoin to the Trust in exchange for Shares when they purchase Shares.”

A notable executive
Another notable detail is that the head of exchange-traded product at Kryptoin is Jason Toussaint, former managing director at the World Gold Council and ex asset manager of SPDR Gold Shares, one of the largest Gold ETFs in the world.

Meanwhile, the race to launch the first regulated Bitcoin ETF is becoming increasingly competitive.

Earlier this month, documents revealed that the Wilshire Phoenix Fund has updated its own Bitcoin ETF proposal filed with the SEC. Also this month, asset manager Bitwise alongside NYSE Arca confirmed the intention to refile their application for a Bitcoin ETF after the latest SEC rejection.
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US House Committee Demands Zuckerberg Testify About Libra Before January

The United States House Financial Services Committee has reportedly invited Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg to testify on Oct. 29 about the company’s plans for its Libra stablecoin.

According to a report from The Information on Oct. 3, the invitation comes with a key condition: that CEO Mark Zuckerberg consent to appear before the committee before January 2020.

Sandberg would follow David Marcus’s testimony
The Committee, chaired by Rep. Maxine Waters, has recently announced its plans to prioritize scrutiny of Facebook’s proposal for Libra and corresponding digital wallet Calibra as part of its fall 2019 agenda.

According to The Information’s sources, Sandberg will be questioned about Libra as well as about Facebook’s advertising policies. The social media titan reached a $5 million settlement with civil rights groups this March over the allegations that its advertising had facilitated discriminatory practices in the housing market.

Should the testimony take place, Sandberg would be the second Facebook executive to testify before the Committee regarding Libra. In mid-July, Calibra CEO David Marcus testified about matters including anti-money laundering and other compliance measures, as well as the issue of public and government trust in the company’s surveillance and data collection measures.

A hostile response from lawmakers
As Cointelegraph reported, Rep. Maxine Waters has proved to be one of the more Libra-sceptic lawmakers in the U.S., expressing her concerns that the tech giant has “demonstrated pattern of failing to keep consumer data private on a scale similar to Equifax” and had “allowed malicious Russian state actors to purchase and target ads” to — purportedly — influence the 2016 U.S. presidential elections.

In mid-June, she requested that Facebook halt work on Libra, citing the firm’s “troubled past.”

This week, leaks from two July 2019 internal Q&A sessions between Zuckerberg and Facebook employees revealed the CEO’s early strategy for Libra’s launch.

During the sessions, the CEO acknowledged that the project faced “real issues. Finance is a very heavily regulated space ... preventing money laundering, preventing financing of terrorists and people who the different governments say you can’t do business with.”
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CME Exec: No Plans for Physically Settled BTC Contracts Currently

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) Group has no current plans to launch physically settled Bitcoin (BTC) contracts, a senior executive said.

Tim McCourt, global head of equity index and alternative investment products at CME Group, told MarketsMedia on Oct. 1 that all new contracts or products are driven by customer demand.

CME’s new options will be settled in BTC futures
CME has been trading BTC futures since December 2017 and recently revealed plans to launch options in the first quarter of 2020, pending regulatory review.

Its current Bitcoin futures contracts are settled in cash. McCourt said that “the number one demand from customers has been for options on our futures” since the launch of its futures product.

Since December 2017, there have been 20 successful futures expiration settlements, with more than 3,300 individual accounts trading the product. Year to date, reported 7,000 CME Bitcoin futures contracts — equivalent to roughly 35,000 BTC — were traded on average each day, breaking a new all-time high this May.

Institutional interest in Bitcoin is growing
McCourt noted that “institutional interest in bitcoin is growing but they need time to become familiar with the market and get approval to use new products.” Current participation is reportedly spread between hedge funds, commodity trading advisors and asset managers, as well as crypto-focused hedge funds and trading firms.

The planned forthcoming options will use CME Group’s existing technology, matching engine and clearing mechanisms, and the product is currently undergoing the Group’s standard testing procedures.

Bakkt launches physically settled futures to tepid market
In late September, Intercontinental Exchange launched its much-anticipated Bakkt, a regulated platform offering physically settled BTC futures contracts and custodial services approved by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Sluggish launch of the new product has in part been identified as a possible contributing factor to Bitcoin’s recent price weakness: in the days following Bakkt’s debut, BTC/USD plummeted from near $10,000 to under $8,000.

Bakkt COO Adam White earlier told reporters that the platform hoped its futures would aid price discovery long-term.
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Facebook Will Create ‘Shadow Banking’ System, Major U.S. Banks Warn

Facebook’s crypto project Libra will potentially create a “shadow banking” system, according to the banks at the Federal Advisory Council (FAC).

U.S. banks fear Libra will reduce payment volumes
After the United States Federal Reserve asked some of the nation’s largest banks about Libra, the banks expressed their negative stance towards the project, outlining the risks of potential decline in demand-deposit accounts and bank payment volumes, Bloomberg reports Sept. 30.

Libra and similar stablecoin projects, where a digital coin is pegged to an underlying value consisting of one or more fiat currencies, also pose a possible challenge to the bank business model built on privacy, the banks reportedly said during a quarterly meeting of the FAC earlier in September.

Noting that around 52% of the U.S. population, or 170 million people, were considered active Facebook users in 2018, the banks suggested that Facebook is potentially creating a digital monetary ecosystem outside of sanctioned financial markets, or a “shadow banking” system.

The banks argued:

“As consumers adopt Libra, more deposits could migrate onto the platform, effectively reducing liquidity, and that disintermediation may further expand into loan and investment services.”

Banks want to keep managing local economies

Additionally, the banks warned that Facebook’s Libra could impact the national monetary policy, citing the “potential to reduce the ability of states to monitor, manage and influence local economies.”

The FAC, which includes twelve representatives of the U.S. banking industry, consults with and advises the Fed Board on economic and financial issues within the Board's jurisdiction.

On Sept. 26, Bloomberg reported on Facebook planning to get its chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg in front of the House Financial Services Committee in October to testify on Libra and its plans to launch the stablecoin in 2020.
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South Korean Exchange Upbit Ends Orderbook Partnership With Bittrex

South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Upbit has broken its partnership with Bittrex in a reorganization of its Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH) and Tether (USDT) markets, local South Korean news outlet Decenter reported on Sept. 25.

Previously it had a shared order book arrangement, with Bittrex orders being visible in the Upbit bid windows.

Upcoming reorganization of markets
In a notice to customers, Upbit announced its intention to introduce changes into its BTC, ETH and USDT markets. These changes include the introduction of market orders, limit orders, and stop-limit features, although no further details of this are given.

The notice did, however, include particular mention of the order book sharing with Bittrex being discontinued. This was later edited to remove specific reference to Bittrex.

Bittrex edited out of notice
The original wording, under the heading, “Discontinued order book sharing with Bittrex,” was as follows:

“As a result of the changes, you will no longer be able to see orders placed at Bittrex in the Upbit BTC, ETH and USDT markets.”

However, the updated notice has the heading, “Only Upbit member's orders are displayed on the order book,” and reads, “After changes are applied, only orders place by Upbit users are displayed on BTC, ETH and USDT markets.”

Upbit recently emerged as one of the leading exchanges in the latest Blockchain Transparency Institute report. It has also delisted privacy coins over concerns about money-laundering.
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Kim Dotcom to Sell His ‘Built on Bitcoin’ Token Next Month on Bitfinex

Cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex has announced the relaunch of its Initial Exchange Offering (IEO) platform Tokinex as Bitfinex Token Sales and will offer the token of P2P digital content and monetization blockchain K.IM on October 22.

The news was revealed in a press release shared with Cointelegraph on Sept. 24.

A Bitcoin-integrated token
Per the release, K.IM has raised $2.5 million in funding from BnkToTheFuture, Bitcoin Capital and Max Keiser. According to the project’s roadmap, the platform is expected to go live in Q3 2020 alongside a formal listing on Bitfinex.

Entrepreneur, digital rights activist and founder of now-defunct file-sharing website Megaupload, Kim Dotcom, commented on the development:

“Combining the internet with Bitcoin gives us a real chance of achieving the original promise of the internet; freedom of speech, commerce and finance. ... I founded K.im to allow artists, content creators and digital businesses to cut out all the middlemen and sell content and digital goods without censorship and outside of monopolies.”

According to Dotcom, the Bitcoin blockchain has been able to scale so far and can now support a slew of new possibilities.

“We can finally create our KIM token on top of Bitcoin thanks to recent technical breakthroughs like Lightning and Liquid. Bitfinex is the perfect partner to help us distribute KIM tokens, built on Bitcoin, to those who want to access the freedoms that our products provide,” Dotcom explained.

Bitfinex courts LEO holders
Bitfinex meanwhile notes that the renewed IEO platform will have “direct integrations with the Bitfinex exchange itself.” The company’s chief technology officer Paolo Ardoino commented on the current IEO landscape:

“Most IEO’s are marketing campaigns that focus on achieving a short-term result, but that’s not how real businesses are built. Successful businesses are built through long-term, sustainable growth.”

Bitfinex also announced that its native utility token, Unus Sed Leo (LEO), will be part of all future token sales and its holders will have access to higher allocations than those participating with other digital assets.

As Cointelegraph recently reported, United States-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has also indicated it is considering the launch of an IEO platform.
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Ripple Avoids XRP Question as It Moves to Dismiss Securities Lawsuit

Blockchain network Ripple has filed a controversial motion to dismiss a lawsuit over it allegedly selling unregistered securities.

Ripple: Securities ruling beyond scope of the court
In a court filing uploaded by Fortune on Sept. 20, lawyers representing the company against investor Bradley Sostack dismissed the claims against it.

Part of an ongoing legal battle, Sostack says Ripple’s sales of altcoin XRP in 2013 constituted an unlawful securities offering.

Ripple denies this, but the case has thrown up wider concerns over the legality of Ripple’s operations regarding XRP. As Cointelegraph reported, executives have refused to acknowledge the company’s relationship to the token, despite their huge personal holdings and sell-offs of it, which continue.

“Court need not resolve whether XRP is a security”
Now, fresh suspicions are already swirling after lawyers’ motion to dismiss failed to address the securities aspect of XRP at all.

“Because of the multiple, independent grounds for dismissing this action, the Court need not resolve whether XRP is a security or currency for purposes of this Motion, which assumes Plaintiff’s allegation that XRP is a security,” a section reads.

The substance of the filing attracted attention from crypto-focused lawyer Jake Chervinsky, who adopted a realistic stance on the proceedings.

“They make twelve separate arguments for dismissal of the plaintiff's claims. Not a single one squarely addresses whether XRP is an unregistered security,” he summarized on Twitter on Friday.

The latest developments appeared to have little impact on XRP markets, the token continuing to trade flat over the past 24 hours at just under $0.30.
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Nasdaq Launches Decentralized Finance Index for Digital Assets

Major United States stock exchange Nasdaq has unveiled a blockchain decentralized finance (DeFi) index Defix (DEFX). According to a Defix press release published on Sept. 9, brokerage firm Exante streamlined the launch of the Defix index.

A disparate group of crypto assets
The index includes crypto assets of projects such as the one of Proof-of-Work blockchain Amoveo (VEO), decentralized exchange protocol 0x (ZRX), prediction market Augur (REP). Also the governance token of the decentralized autonomous organization behind the DAI stablecoin and MakerDAO (MKR).

Amoveo main developer Zack Hess commented on the development:

“I am glad to see increased awareness being brought to decentralized finance projects.”

A broker specialized in crypto funds
Exante launched its Bitcoin (BTC) fund in 2012. Notably, the fund reportedly totaled an overall return of investment of 70,000% since its inception.

Furthermore, the firm also released the XAI fund, composed of six major altcoins Ether (ETH), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Monero (XMR), XRP and Zcash (ZEC).

As Cointelegraph reported at the end of August, Elwood Asset Management — owned by British billionaire and Brevan Howard founder Alan Howard — is planning a $1 billion venture into the crypto hedge fund space.
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Someone Just Moved $1B in Bitcoin for $700 Fee, Overpaying 20 Times

A $1 billion Bitcoin (BTC) transaction has become conspicuous not because of its size but because its sender spent far too much on fees.

Someone could have sent 94K BTC for $35
Social media users were guessing at the origin and destination of the funds on Sept. 6, which involved 94,504 BTC ($1.018 billion).

According to Twitter-based monitoring resource Whale Alert, the transaction did not involve known wallets or those belonging to a specific cryptocurrency-related organization, such as an exchange.

One theory suggested the funds may be tied to institutional trading platform Bakkt, which begins accepting client deposits today.

“Institutions building inventory for their market-making needs going forward,” commented Max Keiser on the giant transaction. He added:

“This = effective ‘put’ on the BTC price at $9,000 (as I’ve been reporting for several yrs now). Ie, institutions are net-buyers of any BTC that shows up at $9k. Risk/reward now for buyers is excellent.”

Its sender, who may have been sending funds to themselves, nonetheless selected a very high fee rate.

At 480 satoshis per byte, the fee totalled around $700.

Bitcoin fees can vary depending on how quickly a sender wishes a transaction to be processed by miners. Many wallets allow manual fee-setting; the more money paid, the fewer blocks a user must wait for a transaction confirmation.

Under current conditions, getting a transaction included in the next block — maximum ten minutes — is just 23 satoshis per byte, meaning the $1 billion sender overpaid 20 times. The funds could have settled in around 10 minutes paying a fee of just $35.

Bitcoin’s low fees era continues
Bitcoin fees have remained low in 2019 despite the cryptocurrency’s rapid rise in price.

As Cointelegraph reported, the situation marks a stark contrast to 2017, when Bitcoin circled all-time highs and fees grew in step. At the time, developers of projects such as the controversial Bitcoin Cash (BCH) aimed to take users away with the promise of lower fees.

The total hash rate of Bitcoin — the amount of computing power involved in the mining process — continues to reach new highs, and is now more than 1000% larger than in September 2017.
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Bitcoin Dominance Hits 70% as Keiser Warns Altcoins ‘Not Coming Back’

Bitcoin (BTC) now has the highest share of the overall cryptocurrency market since before its record-breaking $20,000 bull run in 2017.

According to data from major monitoring resource CoinMarketCap, Bitcoin now accounts for 70.5% of the total cryptocurrency market cap as of Sept. 3.

Bitcoin market cap hits pre-$20K high
That figure has not been seen since March 2017, and comes as BTC/USD makes gains at altcoins’ expense.

As Cointelegraph reported, continued underperformance in cryptocurrencies other than Bitcoin has triggered warnings from traders and analysts alike.

Among them are Peter Brandt and RT host Max Keiser, the latter again claiming this week that altcoins would never recover from this downturn.

“Alts never coming back… Sorry,” he tweeted on Sept. 3, also referencing market cap statistics. Brandt reiterated similar warnings.

“When will altcoin junkies understand that $BTC is the crypto with real and lasting value,” wrote Brandt, who added:

“Altcoins are to Bitcoin what lead is to Gold.”

Some sources had reported Bitcoin hitting the 70% mark as early as last week.

Market cap readings set highs across the board
Bitcoin itself delivered a sudden return to form late on Monday, having previously dropped to just $9,350. At press time Tuesday, BTC/USD was circling $10,360, bringing 24-hour gains to 6.2%.

Altcoins in the top twenty, however, mostly failed to achieve more than 4%, meaning they, in fact, lost value in Bitcoin terms.

Some commentators voiced caution about placing faith in Bitcoin’s strength. Market cap, they argued, is a poor measure of performance, as it includes many altcoins which do not even have any trading volume.

Earlier, Cointelegraph reported on the phenomenon of Realized Market Cap, a metric designed to solve those inconsistencies which has also set new records in recent weeks.
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Billionaire Alan Howard Eyes $1 Billion Crypto Fund Management Venture

Elwood Asset Management — owned by British billionaire and Brevan Howard founder Alan Howard — is planning a $1 billion venture into the crypto hedge fund space.

The Financial Times (FT) reported on Aug. 30 that the asset manager is developing a platform that would tailor portfolios of cryptocurrency funds for institutional investors.

Weeding out the crypto hedge fund space
Elwood Asset Management CEO Bin Ren told the FT that the venture will aim to steer investors towards a selection of vetted crypto funds that have passed robust due diligence so that market participants can avoid the risks associated with the emerging sector.

Ren — who formerly served as chief investment officer at Brevan Howard’s Systematic Investment Group — said that screening of the sector had resulted in Elwood identifying up to 50 crypto hedge funds as “probably satisfy our due diligence.”

While details of the product remain to be finalized, the new fund could enable investors to determine input factors such as the level of risk they are willing to court, their expectations of returns, as well as liquidity terms. It will also measure the potential correlation of the tailored crypto hedge fund portfolio with the rest of their existing assets.

As the FT notes, Elwood’s bid to navigate institutional clients through the new investment landscape is informed by a recognition that many crypto investment vehicles still lack the traditional features of the traditional hedge fund industry.

Product could eventually have $1bn AUM
The report cites research jointly conducted by Elwood and Big Four auditor PwC this year that revealed that crypto hedge funds charge an average management fee of 1.72% plus a performance fee of 23.5% — well above the 1.41% 16.6% respective averages for the traditional hedge fund industry.

For its services, Elwood will apply its own fee on top of the fees that investors pay to access the underlying funds.

“I see this as a very big growth opportunity,” he told the FT, noting he expects the product could eventually manage over $1 billion in assets.

This March, Elwood had indicated it was planning to increase its cryptocurrency offerings as it announced the launch of a blockchain exchange-traded fund in partnership with Invesco.

Howard himself has a host of crypto investments under his belt, including in EOS developer Block.one and the ICE-owned digital assets platform Bakkt.
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Binance: Funds ‘SAFU’ After Amazon Web Services Error Stops Withdrawals

Cryptocurrency exchange Binance has confirmed user funds are not at risk after a reported technical problem began affecting withdrawals.

According to CEO Changpeng Zhao, also known as CZ, the situation was being resolved on Aug. 23, while funds security was not compromised.

“Funds are #safu,” he wrote on Twitter, employing a now well-known catchphrase he had previously inadvertently created while confirming there was no danger to cryptocurrency holdings.

“Funds are SAFU” after AWS error busts withdrawals
The issue, he explained, centered on Amazon Web Services (AWS). Problems with caching were producing error messages for a portion of Binance traders, with withdrawals also impacted.

“AWS is having an issue, mostly with caching services, affecting some users globally. We are working with them and monitoring the situation closely,” CZ wrote, adding:

“It's causing some 500 error messages on APIs and affecting some withdrawal processing.”

Binance shrugs off alleged KYC data leak
Binance had just recovered from a publicity scare which involved a self-proclaimed hacker alleging he had access to users’ Know Your Customer, or KYC, data.

Prior to that, a hack saw funds worth $41 million leave the platform due to a security issue — something which sparked a weeklong maintenance shutdown and payouts to affected users.

This week, Binance announced it was working on a new cryptocurrency project, Venus, as an answer to Facebook’s controversial Libra digital currency.
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New York Court Rules That State Attorney Has Jurisdiction Over Bitfinex

The New York State Supreme Court has ruled that the New York Office of the Attorney General (NYAG) has jurisdiction over cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex.

According to a court filing on Aug. 19, this will allow the NYAG to continue its investigation of the exchange over allegations of fraud and misleading investors.

In the filing, Judge Joel Coehn dismissed a motion by Bitfinex to terminate an action by the NYAG that would prosecute Bitinex under a New York law — the Martin Act. The NYAG originally alleged that Bitfinex and associated stablecoin firm Tether covered up an $850 million loss and in doing so, misled investors in the state of New York.

The allegations have resulted in a protracted legal battle between Bitfinex and state prosecutors, with the exchange claiming that it spent $500,000 and hired over 60 lawyers in order to comply with documentation requests by the NYAG.

The issue of jurisdiction has recently become a primary issue of contention in the case. Legal representatives for both Bitfinex and Tether have previously submitted documents to the court, stating that neither firm served customers in New York — which has a uniquely stringent regulatory regime for cryptocurrencies.

The lawyers claimed that, even should the state be able to prove that they had served New York clients, it could not establish whether those customers were harmed by the exchange or stablecoin issuer’s alleged actions.

Today’s ruling by Justice Cohen denies Bitfinex and Tether’s motion to terminate the NYAG’s action on the grounds that it was extra-jurisdictional in addition to dissolving a temporary stay of the state’s investigation.

Bitfinex’s claims that it did not serve New York-based customers is further complicated by reports that United States-based users are still able to access the platform by simply lying on a pop-up query about their geographical location.
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‘Time for Plan ₿,’ Says VanEck Exec as Negative Yield Bonds Hit $15 Trillion

According to Deutsche Bank, 27% of global bonds traded are now negative yield, so expected to pay out less than their initial cost.

Negative yield bonds dwarf Bitcoin market cap
This represents $15 trillion worth of debt. Or as VanEck digital asset director, Gabor Gurbacs, commented Aug. 14, this is 75 times the total Bitcoin market cap.

“It’s time for Plan ₿!” he adds.

Whilst currently this phenomenon is limited to certain European countries and Japan, all eyes are on the U.S. Federal Reserve to see if it follows the trend.

Meanwhile, ex-chairman of the Fed, Alan Greenspan, told Bloomberg on Tuesday that there is no barrier to Treasury yields falling below zero. This prompted Bitcoin perma-bull, Max Keiser to tweet that “Bitcoin has no top because fiat has no bottom.”

Lend the government $100 and get $90 back
Global economic uncertainty around unchecked quantitative easing, trade wars, deflationary technology and political instability has driven more and more investors towards negative yielding bonds.

The total value of such bonds has risen to $15 trillion dollars, almost tripling since Oct. 2018. Countries such as Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, France, the Netherlands and Japan, are all issuing bonds with negative interest rates.

Whereas historically, the government would pay you interest for lending them the money instead of spending it, people are now paying for these safe-havens for their wealth.

Faced with negative yield from government bonds as one safe haven investment, investors must surely look to alternatives such as gold and increasingly Bitcoin as the technology is now over a decade old.

As Cointelegraph reported earlier this month, former Goldman Sachs executive Raoul Pal makes thinks the world is fast approaching a currency crisis and that Bitcoin will thrive in the next financial crisis due to its borderless, deflationary and apolitical properties.
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Bitcoin Network Hash Rate Hits 80 Quintillion for the First Time

Bitcoin (BTC) has passed another network performance milestone this week as the largest cryptocurrency’s hash rate hit a new record high.

Bitcoin secured by 80 quintillion hashes per second

Data from monitoring resource Bitinfocharts confirmed Bitcoin’s hash rate exceeded 80 quintillion SHA256 hashes per second Aug. 8, the first time such a level has been reached.

Hash rate refers to the amount of computing power used to validate Bitcoin transactions. The more power, the costlier it becomes for malicious actors to attack the network.

As Cointelegraph reported, hash rate has set multiple new all-time highs throughout recent months, reversing a downward trend which characterized the second half of the 2018 Bitcoin bear market.

The metric is one of many to set personal bests this year; difficulty and volume, among others, have also done so.

Greater security boosts investor confidence
Network strength in turn contributes to the overall bullish sentiment among Bitcoin proponents, who note that during the cryptocurrency’s all-time price high in December 2017, the same metrics were markedly lower.

As such, the argue, Bitcoin is better equipped for growth now than then, or at any point in its history.

When that growth will kick in remains uncertain, with opinions nonetheless coalescing around next May’s block size reward halving. Prior to that, miners will ensure that markets keep above the lows seen in the past year, with one analyst putting the floor at around $6,500.
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North Korea Stole $2 Billion in Cryptocurrency From Exchanges, Says UN

North Korea has netted around $2 billion by hacking banks and cryptocurrency exchanges, according to the United Nations.

UN: Hacked crypto funds weapons of mass destruction

In a confidential report acquired by mainstream media outlets including Reuters on Aug. 5, the U.N. Security Council North Korea sanctions committee said that hackers formed an essential part of government funding.

“Democratic People’s Republic of Korea cyber actors, many operating under the direction of the Reconnaissance General Bureau, raise money for its WMD (weapons of mass destruction) programs, with total proceeds to date estimated at up to two billion US dollars,” Reuters quoted the report as stating.

As Cointelegraph previously reported, Pyongyang regularly forms the main suspect in investigations over attacks on exchanges in nearby Asian countries.

In particular, the entity known as the Lazarus Group has become notorious for its malign activities, which have affected countries across the world.

No end to sanctions in sight
South Korea appears to be a specific target, however, the most recent event involving a phishing email scam in which hackers masqueraded as major trading platform UpBit.

At the same time, the FBI reiterated the U.N. view that North Korea was deliberately stealing money in order to counter the effects of international sanctions, which the report now said were likely to remain due to a lack of progress in talks.

“We call upon all responsible states to take action to counter North Korea’s ability to conduct malicious cyber activity, which generates revenue that supports its unlawful WMD and ballistic missile programs,” it added.
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Walmart is Trying to Patent Its Own ‘Libra’ Like Digital Currency

A new patent filing suggests that United States retail giant Walmart may be developing its own U.S. dollar-backed digital currency similar to Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency.

Walmart filed patent for “Digital Currency via Blockchain”
Patent filing number 20190236564, “System and Method for Digital Currency via Blockchain,” was published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on Aug. 1. The document outlines a method for:

“Generating one digital currency unit by tying the one digital currency unit to a regular currency; storing information of the one digital currency unit into a block of a blockchain; buying or paying the one digital currency unit.”

Walmart continues to outline that the proposed digital currency project can provide a zero- or low-fee place for users to store wealth; one that can easily be redeemed and converted to store cash at selected retailers or partners. Such accounts could even be interest-bearing, the filing adds.

The digital currency could alternatively be developed so that it can be spent anywhere, the filing states, with prospective USD backing ensuring greater ease of deposits and withdrawals. It could, in another scenario, be tied to other digital currencies, rather than fiat ones.

Corporations becoming alternative banks
Early on in the filing, Walmart proposes that the launch of its digital currency could provide low-income households, for whom banking is costly, with “an alternative way to handle wealth at an institution that can supply the majority of their day-to-day financial and product needs.”

The “blockchain-protected digital currency” — as Walmart dubs it — could further challenge incumbent banks by removing the need for credit and debit cards:

“The digital currency may act as a pre-approved biometric [...] credit. A person is the ‘credit card’ to their own digital value bank.”


The retailer further imagines that the scope of its digital currency could extend to form part of wider, blockchain-powered service ecosystem, envisioning the creation of an “open-platform value exchange for purchases and for crowdsource work.”

This would allow customers to buy products or services for themselves and for others — using the platform to hire a technician for repairs, an associate or a designated shopper for a given amount of time.

While it currently faces a robust regulatory pushback, Facebook’s Libra stablecoin project has a similar ambition to provide low-cost, borderless value transfer and build out a digital currency-powered network.

For Walmart, its blockchain-related projects have to date focused on using the technology in areas such as supply chain management, customer marketplaces and smart appliances.
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