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  • CEO of UBS: Blockchain Will Transform Cost Base of Financial Services Industry
    by Aaron Wood on June 18, 2018 at 8:26 pm

    UBS CEO Sergio Ermotti said that blockchain's positive effect on the financial industry's cost base will be crucial to staying competitive in the future. The CEO of Swiss financial services provider UBS Group Sergio Ermotti said that blockchain will be essential for the financial services industry in an interview with CNBC June 18. Ermotti said that the underlying technology of cryptocurrencies will allow “[the] freeing up of resources to become more efficient,” adding that “[it] is a great way to allow us to… reduce costs.” He stated that blockchain will prove to be transformative to the industry’s cost base in five to ten years’ time, adding that prioritizing the application of blockchain technology will ensure that UBS remains competitive: "Our industry will continue to be under pressure, in terms of gross margins. It's no doubt. The only way you can stay relevant is not only by being strong in terms of capital, in terms of products, the quality of the people you have, advice you give to clients. You need also to be able to price it correctly." UBS joined a blockchain partnership called Batavia with IBM, Bank of Montreal, CaixaBank, Commerzbank, and Erste Group last fall. The project performed its first pilot transactions in April, which involved sending cars from Germany to Spain and furniture production textiles from Austria to Spain. While UBS has been exploring blockchain use cases for its business, the financial services giant remains skeptical about cryptocurrencies. UBS chairman Axel Weber said earlier this month that the bank will not offer its customers trading services in Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrencies. Weber even called for stricter controls on crypto, saying that, "[cryptocurrencies] are often not transparent and, therefore, open to being abused.&rdquo […]

  • India: Former Legislator in Bitcoin Extortion Case Declared Proclaimed Offender
    by Ana Alexandre on June 18, 2018 at 7:37 pm

    Indian court declares former Member of the Legislative Assembly “proclaimed offender” in Bitcoin extortion case. An Indian court declared former Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) Nalin Kotadiya a proclaimed offender in connection with a Bitcoin (BTC) extortion case amounting to $1.3 million, Business Standard reported June 18. Judge PG Tamakuwala declared Kotadiya a proclaimed offender or “absconder” under Section 82 of the Code of Criminal Procedure with reference to an application filed by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). Kotadiya “remained untraceable,” even after a warrant was issued for his arrest. The CID initatiated proceedings again, seeking that the court should declare him a proclaimed offender. In India, a proclaimed offender proceeding is a procedure of the court, by which the court announces the individual as a wrongdoer and compels police to apprehend the individual named in the procedure. The passport of the wrongdoer is also confiscated so that they may not flee the country. The ruling ordered Kotadiya to appear before the court within 30 days. Earlier, the complainant in the case, an Indian businessman Sailesh Bhatt, alleged that in February policemen kidnapped him and his business partner Kirit Paladia, kept him confined at a farmhouse and extorted BTC worth approximately $1.3 million owned by Paladia. Bhatt also said that Nalin Kotadiya was involved in that he pressured him to pay the ransom. The policemen were subsequently arrested in connection with the case. Kotadiya is a former MLA of the ruling BJP from Dhari in the Amreli district. He is also a leader of the Patidar caste. Earlier this month, cybersecurity company Carbon Black published a report stating that roughly $1.1 billion worth of cryptocurrency has been stolen in the first half of 2018. Estimates show that there are 12,000 marketplaces and 34,000 offerings associated with cryptotheft that hackers can take advantage of. Speaking at the Money20/20 Europe conference on June 4, former U.S. Federal Prosecutor Mary Beth Buchanan said that “a lot more” crimes have been committed with fiat currencies than crypto. Buchanan also stressed that there are now many “commercially available” tools that law enforcement can leverage to trace how currency has moved on a blockchain. […]

  • Binance Supports Malta Stock Exchange’s Startup Accelerator Program
    by Ana Alexandre on June 18, 2018 at 6:38 pm

    Crypto exchange Binance is backing a Malta Stock Exchange program designed to support fintech and crypto startups. The Malta Stock Exchange (MSE) has announced that digital currency exchange Binance is backing its newly launched program to support fintech and crypto startups, Finance Magnates reported June 18. According to a tweet by the MSE’s official Twitter account, it will accept up to twelve fintech companies to utilize the facilities proposed within the newly established program: The @MaltaStockExch is pleased to announce the MSX Fintech Accelerator. Will accept up to 12 Fintech Cos. to utilize our facilities.Thank you @binance & @cz_binance for a lead mentoring Co.@JosephMuscat_JM @edward_scicluna @SilvioSchembri — Malta Stock Exchange (@MaltaStockExch) June 18, 2018 MSX FinTech Accelerator Programme aims to support and mentor fintech startups and entrepreneurs to become more competitive. Within the program, entities will be offered services such as in-house accounting and payroll, facilities including offices and conference rooms, a training center, and communication services. Thomson Reuters has also reportedly joined the program as a mentor. Commenting on the accelerator program, the MSE chairman Joseph Portelli said that the exchange will enable both local and foreign organizations to bring their products to the market faster by offering “easy access to a readymade solution.” A Binance spokesperson said: “We moved our operations to Malta precisely because it has demonstrated its progressive approach to supporting and developing the crypto and blockchain industry. Malta is creating a safe and legislated environment for the industry to become reputable, attracting companies like ours and many others. The Malta Stock Exchange reflects these values, providing the infrastructure for entrepreneurs and start-ups to flourish in what is otherwise a highly competitive industry.” Binance is one of the largest digital currency exchanges in the world, with a 24 hour trading volume of nearly $1.2 billion at press time. Currently its token Binance Coin is trading at $16.68 with a total market capitalization of $1.9 billion, according to CoinMarketCap. Binance is also working on the launch of a new Malta-based cryptocurrency trading platform which will allow crypto-fiat trading by the end of the year. Earlier this month, Binance made an undisclosed investment in Malta-based blockchain-powered esports voting platform chiliZ. Binance and chiliZ will reportedly “join forces” to provide the sports industry with a “fan-driven token ecosystem for traditional sports teams.” In April, Binance partnered with Ugandan blockchain organization Crypto Savannah in order to support economic development of the East African country. The partnership will promote “economic transformation” by generating employment as well as attracting investment to Uganda. […]

  • US: Federal Employees to Disclose Crypto Holdings Following New Guidance
    by Ana Alexandre on June 18, 2018 at 4:02 pm

    The US Office of Government Ethics has instructed federal employees to report their holdings of virtual currency. The US Office of Government Ethics (OGE) has ordered federal employees to report their holdings of virtual currency, according to new guidance issued June 18. The guidance will affect around 2 million federal executive branch employees, including the Departments of Homeland Security, the Army, Justice, Veterans Affairs, and others. According to the notice, the OGE “does not consider virtual currency a ‘real’ currency or legal tender.” The reporting and conflict principles set out in the guidance will apply equally to digital assets like “coins” and “tokens,” which were received within initial coin offerings (ICOs) or issued or distributed employing blockchain technology. It states: “Filers report their holdings in a virtual currency if the value of the virtual currency holding exceeded $1,000 at the end of the reporting period or if the income produced by the virtual currency holding exceeded $200 during the reporting period. Filers are required to identify the name of the virtual currency and, if held through an exchange or platform, the exchange or platform on which it is held.” The development of guidance was deemed essential because, “virtual currencies are experiencing a surge in use and access, and as a result, employees who hold virtual currencies are increasingly seeking guidance from their ethics officials concerning their financial disclosure reporting obligations.” Public filers are required to report transactions of certain investment assets, i.e. different forms of securities, although the notice says that the requirements will depend on whether a particular digital asset is recognized a security. If there is any uncertainty, the agency recommends “ethics officials advise the employee to report transactions of that asset on periodic transaction reports if the value of the transaction exceeds the reporting threshold.” Furthermore, the guidance states that digital currency is an “investment asset” and “it may create a conflict of interest for employees who own it,” and it is not subject to any conflict of interest exemptions. According to the document, the OGE may need to issue further guidance as “the nature of virtual currency becomes better defined.” In March, the South Korean government banned its own officials from holding and trading cryptocurrency, which is considered to be “the first time the government has formulated a virtual currency ban for all public officials.” According to the Ministry of Personnel Management, officials who are found to be involved in cryptocurrency trading are “in violation of the prohibition of forbearance obligations under the civil servants’ law” and are subject to disciplinary actions. […]

  • Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash, EOS, Litecoin, Cardano, Stellar, IOTA: Price Analysis, June 18
    by Rakesh Upadhyay on June 18, 2018 at 3:26 pm

    Latest technical analysis of top 9 cryptocurrencies from an expert trader. The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision. The market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange. Every bear market tests the patience of the investors. The ones who stick around reap the maximum benefits when the new bull market starts. Most retail investors are easily influenced by the wild forecasts and end up buying near the peaks and selling close to the bottoms. Some people that tend to predict the end of the world during a bear phase. Similarly, we can find many forecasting the end of cryptocurrencies. But, the astute investor knows that Bitcoin and the altcoins are a resilient bunch with many possible uses, so it is better to buy and stick with them when the prices are low rather than chase when the prices are skyrocketing. The crypto hedge funds returns have tumbled in 2018. However, they are willing to accept the short-term pain in favor of long-term gains that will accrue from the entry of the institutional investors. A bear market is a good time to shift money from non-performing and dubious digital currencies to the more stable ones. Investors who held on to their Apple or Amazon during the dotcom bubble reaped huge benefits while the others holding shady companies ended up broke.   Yoni Assia, the CEO of eToro shared with Business Insider that if one has a long-term approach then “selling crypto now is like selling Apple in 2001.” While the fundamentals suggest ‘hodling,’ let’s see what the charts forecast.     BTC/USD For the past three days, Bitcoin had been trading inside the intraday range of June 14. Today, the price is attempting to break out of the tight range. If the BTC/USD pair sustains above $6,715, it can pull back to the 20-day EMA. Though both the moving averages are sloping down and the RSI is in the negative territory, our view is of the formation of a range in the leading digital currency. Hence, a breakout and close (UTC) above the downtrend line is a good place to enter long positions with the stops below the $6,000 levels. On the upside, the first resistance is at the $7,700 levels, above which the rally can extend to the resistance line of the symmetrical triangle, close to $8,500 levels. This is a high-risk trade, hence, please keep the position size less than 40 percent of usual size. Our assumption of a range bound trade will be invalidated if the price breaks below the $6,000 levels. ETH/USD Unlike other digital currencies, Ethereum is trading well above its June 13 lows of $450.1. This shows short-term outperformance. The first sign of strength will be when it breaks out of the descending channel. However, this will not turn it positive because it had broken out of the channel on June 6 but could not break out of the 20-day EMA. Hence, we suggest waiting until the ETH/USD pair breaks out of the downtrend line. This will confirm a likely change in trend. The first target objective will be a rally to $628.99, which is the intraday high of June 3. The 50-day SMA is also close to this level. Once these two resistances are crossed, a rally to $700 can be expected. As the overall sentiment is negative, any long position should be attempted with less than 40 percent of the usual position size. XRP/USD Ripple is trying to find support close to the $0.5 levels. Below this, the final support is at $0.45351. We believe that the bulls will aggressively defend the support zone between $0.5-$0.45351 because if this zone breaks, the next support is way lower at $0.24. Any pullback will face selling at the $0.56270 levels and above that at the 20-day EMA. The XRP/USD pair will be out of danger once it breaks out of the downtrend line one. We shall wait for the price to sustain above the downtrend line one before recommending any trade. On the upside, the rally will face resistance at $0.7 and again at the downtrend line of the descending triangle. BCH/USD Bitcoin Cash has found support close to the intraday lows of June 13. Any pullback will face resistance at the downtrend line. Periodically, the BCH/USD pair enters small trading ranges before breaking out or breaking down from it. A break out of the 20-day EMA will be the first indication of a change in trend. Traders can initiate long positions if the price sustains the $1,000 mark with a target objective of $1,200 and $1,500. The stops can be placed below the $800 levels. A breakdown of the $817.8709 levels can extend the down move to the next support zone of $777.5304-$736.0137. This is a risky trade, hence, please keep the allocation size 40 percent of usual size. EOS/USD EOS is trying to stay above the $10.3384 levels. A breakdown of this level will result in a retest of the June 13 lows of $9.0887, below which a fall to $8 levels is likely.   Unlike the other digital currencies, the EOS/USD pair is still way above its April levels, which shows its relative outperformance in the medium term. If the bulls scale above the 20-day EMA and the 50-day SMA, it will indicate strength. We shall wait for the prices to sustain above the 50-day SMA before recommending a trade on it. LTC/USD Litecoin continues to trade below the breakdown levels of $107.102. This shows a lack of urgency among the buyers. After a breakdown from a bearish pattern, the path of least resistance is on the downside. So, a decline to $84.708 and $75.131 levels is probable.   However, if the LTC/USD pair doesn’t move lower, it will indicate that the sellers don’t want to part with their holdings at these levels. The bulls will face stiff resistance at the 20-day EMA, which is close to the $107.102 mark. If the cryptocurrency breaks out and sustains above the $107.102 levels, it will invalidate the bearish development and will offer the traders an opportunity to go long. Until then, it is best to remain on the sidelines. ADA/USD Cardano is trading near the critical support of $0.13 for the past few days. The last time prices had declined to the $0.13 levels in mid-March to early-April of this year, they had stayed there for approximately three weeks. The gradually sloping moving averages point to the similar consolidation this time. In April, the ADA/USD pair started an up move after it broke out of the 20-day EMA with force. The rally carried the digital currency from the bottom of the range to the top of the range. This time too, we shall wait for prices to break out and sustain above the 20-day EMA before suggesting any long positions. Any breakdown of the $0.13 levels on a closing (UTC) basis will be a negative development and will invalidate our assumption of a range formation in the digital currency. XLM/USD Stellar has held the $0.184 levels since mid-December of last year. Hence, we believe that the bulls will again aggressively defend the critical level. A strong bounce will offer us an opportunity to recommend long positions because the next up move should carry the XLM/USD pair to $0.31, $0.385 and finally to the top of the range at $0.47766719. As both moving averages are sloping down and the RSI is in negative territory, we shall wait for the price to break out and close (UTC) above the downtrend line before proposing any trade. IOTA/USD After trading in a small range for the past two days, IOTA resumed its fall towards the critical support at $0.9150. However, buying at the lows has resulted in a turnaround and has increased the possibility of a pullback to the $1.33 levels. The IOTA/USD pair will gain strength after it breaks out of the 20-day EMA and the downtrend line. The resistances on the upside are at $1.755 and $2.03. We shall wait for a new buy setup to form before suggesting any long positions in it. The market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange. The charts for the analysis are provided by TradingView. […]


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