The CFTC has filed charges against two individuals for allegedly impersonating the regulator in an effort to defraud bitcoin investors.
“Alaska, thanks for bearing with us,” popular smartphone trading app Robinhood tweeted. “Trade Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, commission free.” Mere days after, it announced the same for Oklahoma. Residents of the two states can now trade bitcoin cash, dogecoin, ethereum, ethereum classic, and litecoin on its platform.
Robinhood Brings Free Crypto Trading App to Alaska and Oklahoma
This week Robinhood, the booming smartphone stock and crypto commission-free trading app, announced it had extended its services to the US states of Alaska and Oklahoma. Effectively, the company is gaining on being available in nearly half of the United States.
Including Alaska and Oklahoma, the 19 other states where users can try the app are Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
The app features half a dozen cryptocurrencies, but users are also privy to legacy and institutional stock markets, charts, options, as well as up-to-the-minute data from altcoins such as Bitcoin Gold, Dash, Lisk, Monero, NEO, Omisego, Qtum, Ripple, Stellar, and Zcash.
A Year of Growing Into Crypto
The company began 2018 with a blockbuster announcement, suggesting they were moving into crypto. “Trading functionality for BTC and ETH will be released gradually in waves,” they blogged, “to Robinhood residents in California, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, and New Hampshire. Robinhood Crypto will be available in more states soon.”
By February, users could begin trading bitcoin core (BTC) and ether. Not too long after, the company began to inch their way into California, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, and New Hampshire. It has seemed all downhill from then on for the app, as it continued to gain clusters of states.
It also wasn’t too much long ago the company was valued at over $5 billion following over a quarter billion dollars in venture capital funding. Some analysts insisted at least part of that eye-popping valuation was due to Robinhood embracing cryptocurrency.
Do you think Robinhood will eventually expand into all 50 US states? Let us know in the comments below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
At Bitcoin.com there’s a bunch of free helpful services. For instance, have you seen our Tools page? You can even look up the exchange rate for a transaction in the past. Or calculate the value of your current holdings. Or create a paper wallet. And much more.
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The Samourai Wallet is dropping fiat values from its platform, and will only display bitcoin balances in BTC or satoshis going forward.
The Wall Street Journal claimed Friday that 46 crypto exchanges were used to launder nearly $90 million – with $9 million going through ShapeShift.
Security lead for the Ethereum Foundation said today that he supports swift action to remove ASIC mining hardware from the ethereum platform.
A U.S. federal judge has ruled that My Big Coin is a virtual currency meeting the definition of a commodity, which falls within the jurisdiction of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). This allows the regulator to pursue fraud charges involving the cryptocurrency.
Judge Rules My Big Coin Is a Commodity
In a lawsuit against My Big Coin Pay Inc. and its founder, the CFTC’s authority has been challenged by the defendants. The case could not move forward until the derivatives watchdog’s jurisdiction has been established.
On Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Rya Zobel in Boston sided with the CFTC and ruled that My Big Coin (MBC) is a commodity. Reuters reported that, according to the judge:
Virtual currencies meet the definition of a commodity and fall within the jurisdiction of the U.S. derivatives regulator, allowing the agency to pursue fraud allegations against My Big Coin Pay Inc.
In the case’s Memorandum of Decision filed on Wednesday, Zobel explained that the Commodity Exchange Act “defines ‘commodity’ generally and categorically, ‘not by type, grade, quality, brand, producer, manufacturer, or form’,” elaborating:
The amended complaint [by the CFTC] alleges that My Big Coin is a virtual currency and it is undisputed that there is futures trading in virtual currencies (specifically involving bitcoin). That is sufficient, especially at the pleading stage, for plaintiff to allege that My Big Coin is a ‘commodity’ under the Act.
The document also references three other cases involving cryptocurrencies. In the case of CFTC v. Mcdonnell, “Virtual currencies can be regulated by CFTC as a commodity.” Virtual currencies are also “properly defined as commodities” in the Bfxna Inc. d/b/a Bitfinex case and the Coinflip case.
My Big Coin Case Continues
The CFTC filed charges against Randall Crater, Mark Gillespie, and My Big Coin Pay Inc. in January. The regulator alleged that “the defendants misappropriated $6 million from 28 customers they lured by naming their virtual currency [MBC] to sound like bitcoin and further claiming it was backed by gold,” Reuters detailed.
However, its jurisdiction over cryptocurrencies was challenged in June, as news.Bitcoin.com previously reported. Crater’s lawyer Katherine Cooper argued that MBC “does not have future contracts or other derivatives trading on it, it is not a commodity.” She moved to dismiss the case, claiming that the CFTC had no authority because MBC is neither a tangible good nor a service on which future contracts are being traded.
However, Zobel denied the motion on Wednesday, thereby allowing the CFTC to pursue fraud allegations against the defendants.
In response to the ruling, Cooper wrote in an email to Reuters:
We are disappointed in the result…Now that we are moving past the motion to dismiss phase of the case, we look forward to challenging the CFTC’s ability to prove many of the factual allegations in the complaint. Among those factual allegations are those which speak to the relatedness of bitcoin and My Big Coin and therefore the CFTC’s jurisdiction.
What do you think of the judge ruling that MBC is a commodity and the CFTC can now pursue fraud charges? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock and CFTC.
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On Thursday, September 27, Eminent.ly developers announced the launch of an application programming interface (API) called Chopsticks.cash. The Chopsticks API is for application developers or advanced users that are worried about the possibility of a contentious fork this November.
Chopsticks API Allows Application Developers to Submit Raw Signed Transactions to All Post-November-15-Fork BCH Chains
Everyone knows a Bitcoin Cash hard fork is scheduled for November 15th of this year and at the moment there is a controversial disagreement in regards to the upgrade changes. Yesterday the Eminent.ly development team launched a protocol that allows application developers and advanced users to avoid any forking disruptions. Essentially they have created in Chopsticks.cash an advanced API that allows people to submit their raw signed transactions to all post-November-15-fork Bitcoin Cash chains. Right now there is the possibility of codebase changes stemming from Bitcoin ABC, Bitcoin SV, and Bitcoin Naybc developed by the lead XT programmer Tom Harding.
“Sadly, the probability that the BitcoinCash (BCH/XBC) community will have to deal with a contentious fork on November 15th, 2018 is pretty high at this point,” explains the developers of Eminent.ly (a business-social network that records proofs of referral and interest on-chain). “No one knows how things will go during this contentious forking period, and which Bitcoin Cash forks are going to survive and to be supported by the community.”
The Chopsticks creators add:
Early adopters of Bitcoin Cash and application developers like us at eminent.ly cannot take the risk of losing any of their transactions during this period, and absolutely need to continue operating during the contentious fork — The solution we propose here with Chopsticks.cash is to provide an API that is recording transactions on each Bitcoin Cash post-fork chains (XBC, XBS, XBN, etc).
Advanced Users, Merchants, and BCH Application Developers Will Be Able to Operate Their Businesses Normally During a Conflicting Period
In a post written on the social media network Yours.org, the founder of Eminent.ly Romain Pellerin says that the process of using Chopsticks if the chain splits will duplicate the funds owned on each chain. Pellerin details it will not cost a user any more money to record it in this fashion. “And finally, we will see how things will go and which chain(s) the market will decide to support, and which one to continue operating on,” Pellerin adds.
Chopsticks is currently live and the Eminent.ly development team is hoping more programmers will contribute to the platform’s Github repository. Currently, the API uses a golang written implementation and an SH script, but the developers are looking to provide more clients.
“Bitcoin Cash application developers will not be taken hostage in the conflicts opposing miners and/or protocol developers, and will be able to follow each chain incurring no additional costs — BCH application developers will be able to operate their business normally during the conflicting period,” the Chopsticks creators conclude.
What do you think about the Chopsticks platform? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.
Images via Shutterstock, Pixabay, and the Chopsticks.cash logo
Need to calculate your holdings? Check our tools section.
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BitTorrent users will soon be able to receive Tron’s tokens as rewards for maintaining files online for extended periods of time.
Members of the U.S. House of Representatives are asking SEC chair Jay Clayton to provide clarity on when token sales are classified as securities.
German digital currency exchange Bitcoin Group SE reported on Friday a first-half net profit increase of more than 300% to €3.32 million (~$3.85 million USD). The company added 86,000 new accounts of people buying and selling cryptocurrency like bitcoin and bitcoin cash in the first six months of 2018.
Bitcoin Group SE Profits Rise 300% on Increased Customer Traffic
Bitcoin Group SE today reported its net profit soared 306% to $3.85 million in the first half of the year as more people bought and sold cryptocurrency through the German exchange. A year earlier, profit was at $0.95 million.
For the first six months of 2018, Bitcoin Group SE said sales revenues tripled to $6.57 million from $2.1 million in the comparable period a year ago. Operating profit climbed 368% to $5.64 million.
German’s only regulated digital currency exchange said about $707.6 million worth of bitcoin was traded on the platform at the end of last year, when the price of BTC peaked at $20,000.
But volume “flattened out…due to profit taking”, the company said, and also because of the free-fall in the price of bitcoin during the review period. Bitcoin plummeted about 52% during the first half of this year, falling from $12,968 on January 1 to $6,251 by the end of June.
Rapid Customer Growth
Bitcoin’s astronomical rise at the end of 2017, coupled with increased mainstream media headlines, have brought public attention to a currency that’s predominantly transacted on smartphones, laptops or desktop computers.
Bitcoin Group SE said it added 14,300 new users on its platform every month, bringing a total of 86,000 new accounts for the half-year. Around 753,000 investors are now actively using the exchange to buy and sell crypto, it said.
“Despite a stronger correction of the exchange rates, it is evident that many customers find confidence in cryptocurrencies and perceive them as an equivalent alternative to paper currencies,” said Marco Bodewein, managing director at Bitcoin Group SE.
Exchanges Seek Expansion
Digital currency exchanges are looking for growth in new areas or to consolidate existing positions to help boost revenue and minimize risk from an uncertain regulatory environment in their home economies.
Coinbase is to relax its listing requirements, as part of efforts to have more digital coins listed and traded on the US exchange. Binance is on an expansion spree, opening up new trading platforms in Uganda, and a fiat-capable exchange in Singapore.
Bitcoin Group SE, which has $40.24 million in current assets, expressed doubt of meeting its one million customer-base target by year-end on account of the existing bearish trading in the crypto markets.
In January, the German exchange bought a 50% stake in financial investment broker Sineus Financial Services Gmbh, to diversify risk, subject to regulatory approval.
“In the future, this will enable the group to offer additional financial services in the cryptocurrency sector,” Bitcoin Group SE said.
What do you think about the earnings performance of cryptocurrency-related companies? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Bitcoin Group SE
Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.
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