JPMorgan considers merging blockchain unit with consensys

The blockchain world may soon be seeing a major merger with the traditional financial sector.

JPMorgan Chase, the United States’ largest bank, is reportedly considering merging its in-house blockchain unit Quorum with major Ethereum-focused firm ConsenSys.

According to a Reuters report on Feb. 11, unnamed persons familiar with the matter claim that the merger is likely to be officially announced within the next six months. The financial terms of the deal reportedly remain to be worked out.

Quorum is JPMorgan’s private blockchain platform built on the Ethereum protocol, and reportedly has roughly 25 employees deployed worldwide currently working on its development.

Quorum underlies JPMorgan’s Interbank Information Network (IIN), which has been expanded to comprise a network of 320 banks sharing global payments data over the blockchain.

It is also planned as the basis for JPMorgan’s forthcoming settlement-focused digital currency, JPM Coin, first announced in mid-February of last year.…

US Fed Is Exploring Potential for Digital Currency, Says Board Member

A member of the United States Federal Reserve’s board of governors has signalled that the institution is more open to the idea of central bank digital currency than previously.

Lael Brainard — who chairs several Fed committees — made her remarks during a speech at a symposium on the future of payments at the Stanford Graduate School of Business on Feb. 5.

In her speech, Brainhard said the Fed was “conducting research and experimentation related to distributed ledger technologies and their potential use case for digital currencies, including the potential for a CBDC (central bank digital currency).”

Brainhard cited a recent survey by the Bank for International Settlements revealing that as of January 2020, 80% of central banks worldwide are now engaged in some form of CBDC work. That figure is up 10% from the previous year.

Given the dollar’s important role in global markets, Brainhard argued that it is essential for the Fed to remain “on the frontier of research and policy development regarding CBDC.”

New digital payments, currency and settlement instruments are now proliferating, she observed, singling out Facebook’s Libra project and China’s forthcoming digital yuan as pivotal developments in the private and public sector worldwide.…

Bitcoin Network Computing Power Nears 90 Quintillion Hashes per Second

Bitcoin (BTC) has seen yet another sharp increase in its computing power after its network hash rate grew 25% in a week.

Hash rate climbs to all-time high

Data from monitoring resource Blockchain puts Bitcoin’s hash rate at 87 quintillion hashes per second (h/s) as of Sept. 3.
The figure passed 80 quintillion h/s for the first time in early August, and has set new highs on an almost daily basis in recent months.

Hash rate refers to the overall computing power involved in processing Bitcoin transactions. The greater the metric, the more power available, and hence the more secure the Bitcoin network is.
Additionally, a rising hash rate means that forward-looking miners are investing vast amounts of resources to expand their operations, i.e. betting on Bitcoin’s value to increase in the future.…

Samsung Adds Bitcoin to its Crypto Wallet, Available on Note 10 Also

The biggest smartphone maker Samsung has added Bitcoin support to its forthcoming Blockchain Keystore Software Development Kit (SDK) and confirmed that its cryptocurrency wallet is supported on its newest flagship phablet, Galaxy Note 10.

Per an update posted on the company’s site for developers, the SDK will also feature support for Kakao’s Klaytn – providing compatibility for the Bitcoin, Ethereum and Klatyn blockchain platforms. This means apps developed using the kit will be capable of handling BTC, Ethereum, ERC20 and Klaytn’s Klay tokens.

The post also gave details on the regional availability for the SDK. The kit will be restricted to the following nations: Canada, Germany, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, the United States of America and the UK.…

Bakkt Says It’s ‘Cleared to Launch’ Bitcoin Futures Next Month

Bakkt has been cleared to launch.

The Intercontinental Exchange’s young subsidiary announced Friday that it had acquired a New York state trust charter through the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS). The approval clears the way for the company to begin offering its highly-anticipated physically-settled bitcoin futures contracts. The company intends to launch its products on Sept. 23.

Bakkt, first unveiled last August, has been working on regulatory approvals to begin offering the product over the past year. It intends to offer two types of contracts: a daily and a monthly contract. Both will be settled at the Bakkt Warehouse, a part of its New York-chartered trust company.

In a blog post Friday, Bakkt CEO Kelly Loefler wrote, “Our contracts have already received the green light from the CFTC through the self-certification process and user acceptance testing has begun.”

“With approval by the New York State Department of Financial Services to create Bakkt Trust Company, a qualified custodian, the Bakkt Warehouse will custody bitcoin for physically delivered futures,” she said. “This offers customers unprecedented regulatory clarity and security alongside a regulated, globally accessible exchange in a market underserved by institutional-grade infrastructure.”
www.coindesk.com

Iranian gov’t authorized cryptocurrency mining as industrial activity

A report from IIDO-owned Mehr News Agency on July 29 revealed that the decision was taken this weekend, during a Sunday cabinet session chaired by Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani.

First step towards legalizing crypto?

Now that mining has been officially authorized, entities engaged in the activity will be required to seek a license from Iran’s Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade, the report notes.…

Bitcoin Network Now 8 Times More Powerful Than It Was at $20K Price

Bitcoin (BTC) now has more computing power behind its security than ever before, passing another milestone as hash rate reaches an all-time high.

Data from monitoring resource Blockchain confirmed that the Bitcoin network’s total hash rate reached a peak of 79 tera hashes per second (TH/s) on July 20.

Broadly accepted as a measure of how robust Bitcoin’s transaction security has become, hash rate has broken multiple records in recent weeks and months. More recent all-time highs had come around June 21 (65 trillion TH/s) and July 1 (70 trillion TH/s). …

Physical Bitcoin For Sale on eBay for $99,000

A physical bitcoin (BTC) is selling on eBay for $99,000, a listing on July 1 shows.

The seller claims the “collector’s must have” is a Casascius brass token that was created in 2011.

According to the listing, the physical coin is loaded with one BTC that has not been redeemed, and all of the seals remain intact.

Payment can be made in crypto or cash, and the seller says they will also consider trading it for real estate. However, the listing adds that “Cars and boats = no.”

The seller says they made the purchase back in 2012 and have kept it in their safe since then, adding: “Only a few hundred remains in the ENTIRE world.”

Casascius bitcoins were invested by a crypto enthusiast in the early 2010s as a collectible that contained real cryptocurrency. The man behind the concept stopped selling them in November 2013.…

Bitcoin Mining is Now More Competitive Than Ever

Bitcoin’s (BTC) mining difficulty has reached an all-time high, demonstrating the increasing competition for block rewards between miners, data from Blockchain.com revealed on June 27.

Mining difficulty, which adjusts to the network hash rate every 2016 blocks, hit 7.86 trillion, a new record, surpassing the previous peak in October 2018.

Hash rate itself, which set new records on an almost daily basis throughout recent weeks, has meanwhile come down slightly to linger around 56 quintillion hashes per second.

In other words, competition among miners for new blocks as well as overall bitcoin network security has never been higher. …

Bitcoin Price Stabilizes Around $10,700, But Analysts Believe a Surge Towards $11,500 is Imminent

Following a massively volatile past few days for Bitcoin and the aggregated crypto markets, BTC has now been able to slow down and find some stability around $10,700 and is forming $10,500 as a level of support.

Analysts have long noted that the mid-$11,000 level would be an important region of resistance for Bitcoin to break above, as a decisive move above this region could lead the crypto to skyrocket back towards its previously established all-time-highs.…

Bitcoin Price Tops $10K for First Time Since 2018

Bitcoin’s price soared above $10,000 on cryptocurrency exchanges for the first time in 15 months. The price hopped the $10K barrier at 7:35pm Eastern Time.

At press time, the top cryptocurrency by market capitalization is trading at $$10,080.49 – the highest level since March 8, 2018 – representing month-to-date gains in excess of 13 percent, according to CoinDesk’s Bitcoin Price Index. On a 24-hour basis, BTC is outshining most top 10 cryptocurrencies with 7 percent gains.

The price rise is backed by a 12 percent jump in trading volumes. As per data source CoinMarketCap, $21 billion worth of bitcoins have traded across cryptocurrency exchanges in the last 24 hours. Messari, however, is reporting the “Real 10” volume at $1.4 billion.…

If History Rhymes, Bitcoin May Be Trading Around $12,000 By the End of July

Bitcoin (BTC) and the general crypto markets have been on the up-and-up over the past several months, incurring significant buying pressure that has allowed them to surge significantly from their 2018 lows that were mostly established in December of last year.

Now, analysts are noting that Bitcoin may soon surge higher based on a historical analysis, which means that BTC could be trading around $12,000 by the end of July.

Bitcoin Surges to $8,800 as Bulls Flex Their Strength
At the time of writing, Bitcoin is trading up nearly 5% at its current price of just below $8,800, up significantly from its daily lows of $8,380.…

Bitcoin Surpasses 1 Million Daily Active Addresses

Bitcoin just passed an interesting milestone today, one we haven’t seen since November 27, 2017. According to CoinMetrics.io, there are now over a million daily active addresses, a number that is defined as the number of unique “from” or “to” addresses used per day.

While DAA doesn’t mean much in practice, it’s an important metric in that it shows actual, unique transfers separate from the various direct transfers to and from bigger exchanges. The fact that there are over a million unique addresses transacting on the blockchain is, as they say, good for bitcoin.…

$6 Million in Stolen Binance Bitcoin Is On the Move Again

Hackers are now accessing wallets containing cryptocurrency stolen from Binance in May. Coinfirm, the company that tracked the original few moves in early May has spotted a massive outflow from the original hoard of wallets created on May 7, 2019.

Coinfirm’s CEO, Grant Blaisdell, wrote:

The attack was conducted using diversified techniques including viruses and phishing. According to Binance, stolen funds constituted approximately 2 percent of total BTC holdings of the exchange. In order to prevent user’s funds from being affected and guarantee stable work of the platform, Binance used its SAFU fund to cover the loses. The Secure Asset Fund for Users was established on July 14, 2018 and consists of 10 percent of all trading fees.…

South Korea’s Bitcoin Trading Volumes on LocalBitcoins Reach New Record Levels

Bitcoin (BTC) trading volumes in South Korea have recently reached new levels on peer-to-peer (P2P) exchange LocalBitcoins, according to charts on BTC statistics service Coin Dance.

According to the data, bitcoin weekly trading volumes have surged over the past two weeks, with the latest week recording a new high of around 219 million South-Korean won ($185,000).

Founded in Finland in 2012, LocalBitcoins offers over-the-counter trading of local currency for bitcoin and operates as a P2P trading platform. The Finnish crypto trading platform is especially popular in Latin America, with Venezuela and Colombia having reportedly accounted for 85% of LocalBitcoins’s trading volumes by February 2019.…

AT&T now accepts BitPay

AT&T’s Death Star logo may have really been a moon after all, with the telecom giant announcing Thursday that it will accept bill payments in the form of crypto by way of BitPay.

As it stands, the crypto option isn’t being extended to other AT&T services, such as buying phones or other devices, and as of yet BitPay won’t work in AT&T’s storefronts. That said, the company noted in a statement that its customers use cryptocurrency and that the new offering is intended to give them their preferable option.

“We’re always looking for ways to improve and expand our services,” said Kevin McDorman, vice president at AT&T. “We have customers who use cryptocurrency, and we are happy we can offer them a way to pay their bills with the method they prefer.”…

Facebook Registers Secretive ‘Libra’ Cryptocurrency Firm in Switzerland

According to a Reuters report, Facebook registered a new company, Libra Networks, in Geneva on May 2. This coincides with the slow roll-out of their internal cryptocurrency that will define the company’s first foray into blockchain technology.

Facebook Global Holdings is a stockholder in the new company and it will, according to Reuters, “provide financial and technology services and develop related hardware and software, plans submitted on the Swiss register reveal.”

Facebook’s march towards crypto has been slow and steady. The company’s latest move, the hiring of two Coinbase compliance managers, happened on May 14.

The Libra project has ruffled some feathers in Congress, as well. US lawmakers sent an open letter to the company seeking clarification on the currency’s purpose and implications.…

As Bitcoin Nudges $8,000, Survey Reveals The ‘Rapid’ Pace Of Crypto Adoption

Bitcoin, rising again today to almost $8,000 following a raft of positive announcements coming out of the first day of Blockchain Week NYC and CoinDesk’s Consensus 2019 event, as well as embattled cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex soothing the market with news it’s raised $1 billion in fresh investment, is looking its strongest so far this year.

The bitcoin price hit year-to-date highs of $7,878 per bitcoin on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange earlier today after starting the year at under $4,000 and rising a staggering 55% in the last 30 days alone. Bitcoin rocketed over the weekend, rising more than $1,000 per bitcoin in a matter of days.…

HTC Says Its Next Smartphone Will Run a Full Bitcoin Node

Mobile phone manufacturer HTC wants to let its smartphone customers plug into the bitcoin blockchain.

Speaking on Saturday at the Magical Crypto Conference in New York, HTC’s Phil Chen revealed a new low-cost version of its blockchain phone, the EXODUS 1s, announcing that the device will be capable of acting as a full node for the bitcoin network, meaning customers will store the entire blockchain’s data on their devices.

The company will also provide a software development kit (SDK) available for its Zion Vault, HTC’s crypto wallet app, and eventually plans to open-source the code behind its social key recovery mechanism.

Phil Chen, HTC’s decentralized chief officer, told CoinDesk that the company is targeting a release by the end of Q3.

“[The 1s is] going to be a lot cheaper, it will be a lot more accessible,” he said. The device will retail for between $250 and $300.

Bitcoin Price Hits 8-Month High Close to $7K

There seems to be no stopping the bitcoin (BTC) freight train.

The leading cryptocurrency by market value jumped to $6,964 at 06:00 UTC today on Bitstamp, the highest level since Sept. 5, 2018, having found acceptance above the crucial 200-week moving average at $6,500 in early Asian trading hours.

Prices have set a new multi-month high for the fourth straight day and have rallied in excess of over 70 percent in the last 5.5-weeks.

Notably, with the sharp rally, the 100-day MA of bitcoin’s price has moved above the 200-day MA. That is the first bullish crossover between the two averages since July 2015.

The development further confirms the long-term bearish-to-bullish trend change signaled by several technical indicators, including a golden crossover, over the last few weeks.…

Analysts at Canaccord Genuity expect to see a little bit of history repeating

In a research note sent to the investment bank’s clients Thursday, analyst Michael Graham and associates Matthew Volpe and Alexander Frankiewicz predicted a return to bitcoin’s stratospheric late-2017 high over the next 24 months.

They wrote:

Now four months into 2019, we note for the third time the striking similarity in bitcoin’s price action between 2011-2015 and 2015-2019. While this simple pattern recognition has little fundamental basis, we note that bitcoin does operate on a four-year cycle of sorts, as the halving of bitcoin’s mining reward occurs approximately every four years. Bitcoin has started to form the spring 2019 bottom we began mentioning last year, although a close look at the chart suggests the recovery may be slightly ahead of itself. Looking ahead, if bitcoin were to continue following the same trend, the implication is a slow climb back toward its all-time high of ~$20,000, theoretically reaching that level in March 2021.…

A New Crypto ETF Has Just Been Filed With the U.S. SEC

A prospectus for a new cryptocurrency-based exchange-traded fund (ETF) has just been filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The proposed ETF, posted by the SEC on May 9, was created by Crescent Crypto Index Services LLC, a subsidiary of Crescent Crypto Asset Management LLC, to track the performance of a market capitalization-weighted portfolio of bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH).

Dubbed the USCF Crescent Crypto Index Fund (ticker symbol “XBET”), the ETF is sponsored by United States Commodity Funds LLC (USCF), which will invest XBET’s assets in the two portfolio cryptocurrencies.…