Coinbase launches in 11 countries with crypto-to-crypto conversions only

Coinbase has been available in 42 countries around the world before today — mostly in North America, Europe, Australia and Singapore. Today, the company is aggressively expanding by opening 11 countries at once in Latin America and South East Asia. But there’s a trick — there’s no crypto-to-fiat conversions.

Coinbase competitor Binance has taken the crypto world by storm by focusing on crypto-to-crypto conversions. You can only fund and withdraw cryptocurrencies from your Binance account. And if you want to buy some crypto assets, you need to convert crypto assets you already own. For instance, if you want to buy Litecoin, you need to convert Ethereum into Litecoin.

That strategy has paid off as it is much easier to start accepting customers in new countries if you don’t need to connect the exchange with the traditional banking infrastructure.

So Coinbase is doing the same thing and opening crypto-to-crypto conversions and trading in Argentina, Mexico, Peru, Colombia, Chile, [...]  read more

Proof of Capital is a new $50M blockchain fund that’s backed by HTC

It’s often said that the dramatic fall of crypto prices last year ushered in a new era for technology-focused startups in the blockchain space, and the same argument can be made for the venture capitalists who fund them. Proof of Capital is the latest fund to emerge after it officially announced a maiden $50 million fund today.

The fund is led by trio Phil Chen, who created HTC’s Vive VR headset and is currently developing its Exodus blockchain phone (he spent time as a VC with Horizons Ventures in between), Edith Yeung, who previously headed up mobile for 500 Startups, and Chris McCann, a Thiel Fellow whose last role was head of community for U.S. VC firm Greylock Partners.

The firm — and you have to give them credit for the name — has an LP base that is anchored by HTC — no big surprise there given the connections [...]  read more

Crypto exchange Liquid says it is now valued at over $1 billion following new investment

Crypto has a new unicorn after exchange Liquid announced today it has raised capital from investors at a valuation of more than $1 billion as it goes after expansion opportunities.

The company said the capital will be put to work expanding into new markets and offering new services, including — potentially — a platform for security tokens.

Liquid isn’t commenting in much detail about this new financing, but here’s what we do know: it’s Series C round that remains ongoing albeit with an undisclosed amount so far. The company named two investors that are already in, they are IDG Capital — which includes exchange KuCoin, wallet Imtoken and Coinbase among its crypto portfolio — and Bitmain, the Bitcoin mining giant that recently put off a potential IPO in Hong Kong.

Liquid CEO Mike Kayamori told TechCrunch that the plan is to add more investors.

“This round will be purely strategic,” he said in an interview. “We want to get traditional, mainstream [investors] on board.”

Kayamori [...]  read more

Vectordash’s cloud gaming service brings crypto-miners a new revenue stream

PC gaming has grown to be a pretty wide niche of people with some far-flung similarities and differences, one thing they all share are souped-up rigs that rely on beefy GPUs. This is fine for those with dedicated machines but PC gaming isn’t too friendly to those trying to pull double-duty on their everyday machine.

Vectordash, launching out of the latest Y Combinator batch, wants to turn your Macbook Air or other underpowered rig into a formidable machine through their cloud gaming service.

The service is charging customers $28 per month to render their games on a cloud machine so that they can be run on non-gaming laptops. The idea of running Fortnite on any machine seems to be a somewhat central idea for the service, though you’ll just as easily be able to log-in to Steam and play through titles that you own.

Launching a cloud-gaming service seems like an expensive proposition, you need a bunch of server centers to host streamers and that’s a lot of upfront cost for an upstart, [...]  read more

US arrests cryptocurrency exec over ‘multibillion-dollar’ fraud

OneCoin is still running, and has apparently been very lucrative. The firm made about €2.2 billion ($2.5 billion) in profit just between 2014 and 2016, according to the US Justice Department. A third defendant already charged in the scheme, Mark Scott, was said to have laundered over $400 million through banks in places like the Cayman Islands and Ireland.

All of the culprits could face significant penalties if they’re found guilty. Ignatov’s lone charge could lead up to 20 years in prison, while Ignatova faces four charges with 20-year maximum sentences and one with five. Scott also faces up to 20 years behind bars.

While the cryptocurrency was ultimately a front, the arrest illustrates the ongoing challenges of policing virtual money. The technology is still young, and officials still aren’t sure how to regulate it — crooks might thrive simply [...]  read more

HTC’s blockchain phone can now be purchased with fiat currency

Until now, the Exodus 1 has, fittingly, only been available for purchase with cryptocurrency. Starting today, however, interested parties will be able to pick HTC’s blockchain phone up through more traditional means, including USD, which prices the handset at a not unreasonable $699.

One assumes, of course, if you’ve got enough of an interested in purchasing a blockchain phone that they’ve already got a bit of Bitcoin, Ether or Litecoin lying about. This move, however, is very clearly about helping growing the product beyond its initial soft launch. When the device was released last year, HTC was pretty clearly expecting to sell it in limited quantities to users who could essentially help beta test the product in the wild.

HTC Decentralized Chief Officer Phil Chen calls the product the company’s 1.0 solution. In fact, it’s planning to create a formal bounty program to discover and patch potential exploits.

But HTC has long held that a device like [...]  read more

Japanese internet giant Recruit has a new $25M blockchain fund

Crypto market prices may be down significantly, but new investors continue to enter the blockchain space. The latest is Recruit Holdings, the $45 billion Japanese internet giant that owns Glassdoor among other things, which quietly launched a $25 million fund.

The fund is based out of Singapore and it closed in November 2018, but its existence was only made public this week following the announcement of its maiden deal, an undisclosed investment in Beam. Recruit has been very vocal about its intention to offer a crypto fund — I interviewed SVP Youngrok Kim at a Coindesk event in Singapore last year — while it has made equity investments in blockchain companies through its central corporate fund, Recruit Strategic Partners (RSP). The current RSP fund is $100 million and it is the company’s sixth.

 [...]  read more

Security token offerings aren’t looking much better in 2019

An analysis of a year of liquidity and trading data

Galen Moore

Pressed to explain who is using them, and why, 99 percent of cryptocurrencies let out all their air, go flying around the room making a raspberry sound, hit the wall and fall behind the couch forever.

The party is over. A few, however, can present a credible use case. “Tokenized securities” could be one of them: a more open and efficient way to transact shares and notes as well as distribute cash flows.

Proponents of “security token offerings” (STOs) have been telling that story now for a little more than a year. This data report canvases the market, finds few are buying it, interviews market participants for perspective and reveals gaps in the use case at the ground level that explain its failure to thrive.

In October 2017, the market for “initial coin offerings,” or ICOs, reached a peak, with more than 100 capital raises closing through the sale of crypto tokens, according to market data provider Token Data[...]  read more

Coinbase buys blockchain intelligence startup to boost security and new asset discovery

Coinbase, the world’s most valuable crypto company, is gearing up to add more cryptocurrencies to its exchange thanks to its latest acquisition.

We already know the firm wants to a glut of new crypto assets, but today it announced it has snapped up blockchain intelligence startup Neutrino in an undisclosed deal that seemed destined to help further that goal.

Based in Italy, Neutrino helps map blockchain networks, and in particular crypto token transactions, to pull in information and insight. With the rise of thefts, that includes a major focus on services for law enforcement agencies to track stolen digital assets while it also includes tracking ransomware and analyzing ‘darknets.’ Other solutions include tracking services for investment and finance companies to help find rising tokens and assets, an area Coinbase could clearly capitalize on as it goes after security token offerings.

The company and its eight staff will relocate to Coinbase’s London office from where they will [...]  read more

The plot to revive Mt. Gox and repay victims’ Bitcoin

It was the Lehman Brothers of blockchain. 850,000 Bitcoin disappeared when cryptocurrency exchange Mt. Gox imploded in 2014 after a series of hacks. The incident cemented the industry’s reputation as frighteningly insecure. Now a controversial crypto celebrity named Brock Pierce is trying to get the Mt. Gox flameout’s 24,000 victims their money back and build a new company from the ashes.

Pierce spoke to TechCrunch for the first interview about Gox Rising — his plan to reboot the Mt. Gox brand and challenge Coinbase and Binance for the title of top cryptocurrency exchange. He claims there’s around $630 million and 150,000 Bitcoin are waiting in the Mt. Gox bankruptcy trust, and Pierce wants to solve the legal and technical barriers to getting those assets distributed back to their rightful owners.

The consensus from several blockchain startup CEOs I spoke with was that the plot is “crazy”, but that it also has the potential to right one of the biggest wrongs marring [...]  read more