Top Crypto News – 30/01/2018






Hong Kong Fund Acquires Chinese Mining Powerhouse BTCC


A Hong Kong Investment Fund Acquires BTCC

Hong Kong Fund Acquires Chinese Mining Powerhouse BTCCThe company BTCC formally known as BTC China was founded in 2011 by the entrepreneur Bobby Lee, and it was China’s first domestic bitcoin exchange. In 2014 the exchange held the world second largest bitcoin trade volume among all the trading platforms worldwide that year. However, at the beginning of 2017, the country’s central bank stopped mainland exchanges from trading cryptocurrencies with the national tender the renminbi. Most exchanges then re-positioned themselves internationally in other areas where the political climate is more friendly towards digital assets. Now BTCC is being acquired by an unnamed Hong Kong investment fund which intends to expand the company to all seven continents.

“Today’s acquisition is an incredible milestone for BTCC that validates all of our hard work over the past few years,” Bobby Lee, the co-founder of BTCC said in a press release sent to

I’m very excited about the resources this gives BTCC to move faster and aggressively grow our businesses in 2018 and beyond. This will give us impetus to lead every segment of the digital currency ecosystem, including the pool, payments, and exchange businesses.

Hong Kong Fund Acquires BTCC — Focuses Attention Internationally
BTCC’s mining pool captures 3.6 percent of the bitcoin core network’s hashrate at the time of the time of writing.

BTCC Will Focus On International Expansion

According to the company, the business will focus all its attention on its international markets, and its three products including the BTCC mining pool, Mobi, and its USD Exchange. The trading platform will be operated by Aaron Choi, Mark Ma, and Denver Zhao. BTCC details that Ma has a strong background with the firm Alibaba and other fintech companies, and they expect the executive to push their products globally.      

“Mobi, the global multi-currency wallet that we introduced in March 2017, now has customers from over 180+ countries,” Ma, the vice president of BTCC Mobi said in a statement.

The capital injection we received today gives us a boost towards reaching our goal to grab a dominant market share in the payments and digital currency industries of each of those countries.

The move marks the last of the top mainland exchanges in China to re-position themselves in more friendlier territories. The other leading Chinese exchanges Huobi, and Okcoin have already moved abroad. BTCC’s business also has a mining pool which captures 3.6 percent of the bitcoin core network’s hashrate at the time of publication.

“We’re humbled that we were able to acquire BTCC — the company has an unparalleled brand and reputation, and we look forward to taking it greater heights of success internationally,” Calvin Cheng, a former Singaporean parliamentarian, and World Economic Forum Young Global Leader who advises the Hong Kong blockchain investment fund, told

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AIER Researchers: Bitcoin’s Price Moves with News


AIER Dampens Price Conspiratorialists

“While the nature of the news events does not necessarily explain the magnitude of Bitcoin’s price changes or its daily volatility,” concludes Bitcoin’s Largest Price Changes Coincide With Major News Events About the Cryptocurrency, a research brief published at AIER by Senior Research Fellow Max Gulker, “it does suggest that the market is not being driven entirely by manipulation or the behavior of small numbers of traders.”

The American Institute for Economic Research is more on the ecosystem’s radar these days in large part to a recent change in management. Popular market economist Edward Stringham took a position as President, Director of Research and Education, and promptly brought over Jeffrey Tucker from the Foundation for Economic Education. Both Mr. Stringham and Mr. Tucker are well known bitcoin enthusiasts, and Mr. Tucker was widely considered to have given the most stirring talk at this year’s North American Bitcoin Conference in Miami.

AIER Researchers: Bitcoin’s Price Moves with News

The brief concedes immediately bitcoin might not yet be subject to efficient market theory. Its price in such a scenario “should reflect all publicly available information about it, and changes in price should reflect new information.” Bitcoin, though it has grown in volume and interest, is still a relatively small market, all things considered. This makes markets like it especially susceptible to manipulation by a cabals, what the paper refers to as “the idiosyncratic behavior of a few individuals.”

The paper takes into account nearly two years of bitcoin price activity: all of 2016 through November of the following year, focusing “on the largest daily changes in price.” Important caveats follow. There is movement in the price where “significant or widely discussed new information about the cryptocurrency was revealed.” Again, that doesn’t mean necessarily bitcoin’s market price is efficient nor rational, but it seems to lean in that direction. Researchers are careful to stress they cannot “establish certain causality between the events and price changes in question.”

AIER & Missouri University: Bitcoin’s Price Moves with News

Reliable News is Important

Take for example corporate tax bailout recipient and quotable blowhard Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan Chase. His comments in late September of last year seemed to have shocked weaker hands in the bitcoin market some thirty odd percent over two days (see first inset). Prior to those two day dips, the price hadn’t plunged that much since the year’s beginning. “However,” the brief suggests, “the fact that one can point to specific events coinciding with the largest changes in price suggests at least some degree of rationality in the market.”

Arguably the most compelling finding came from their examination of fifty huge price swings (see second chart). “We categorized potential news events into eight categories: BS (change in structure of Bitcoin), PO (personal opinions), GR (government regulation), OC (other currencies), NI (new investment opportunities), UI (under investigation), CS (cybersecurity), and NF (nothing found).”

Within those categories, “we found that news about changes in the structure of Bitcoin (such as scaling and potential forks) had the largest effect on the price,” they explain. Whatever the case, perhaps the import of this preliminary study is to monitor bitcoin news carefully, and to choose reliable sources of that information.

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UK Crypto Trader Forced to Hand Over Bitcoin at Gunpoint


A British man who runs a cryptocurrency trading firm was yesterday forced at gunpoint to hand over an unknown quantity of bitcoin.

The incident, which reportedly took place in the village of Moulsford in South Oxfordshire, is said to be the first bitcoin heist in the country. It was reported to the local police on Monday morning, a Telegraph report states.

According to a police spokesperson:

“Thames Valley Police is investigating an aggravated burglary which occurred at a property in Moulsford on Monday. No one was seriously injured during the incident. … No arrests have been made at this stage.”

The report describes how four robbers forcefully entered the residence and tied up a woman, while demanding that the trader, named as Danny Aston, transfer bitcoin at gunpoint.

Aston’s cryptocurrency trading firm was established in June 2017, as Aston Digital Currencies Ltd.

This is not the first case of armed robbery involving bitcoin.

A similar incident was reported in Ottawa, Canada, on 23rd Jan. In that crime, three armed men gained control over employees of a bitcoin financial institution before fleeing empty-handed, as previously reported by CoinDesk.

One suspect has been charged by the local police following bitcoin heist and two more of the accused robbers are being sought. The charges include robbery with a firearm and forcible confinement.

Written by CoinDesk


A Little Lightning Project Has Two Big Implications


How will the Lightning Network change bitcoin?

Although it might be too soon to know, it’s a question everyone’s seemingly asking following tests that take the long-anticipated tech closer to launch. The network’s garnered its fair share of excitement over the past few months, so much so that individuals and businesses are looking to take advantage of its cheap, fast payments.

Out of this comes a small Japanese startup called Nayuta, which has been experimenting with adding Lightning payments to the Internet of Things, where everything from door locks to BMWs are connected to the internet to increase efficiency.

With this experimentation, Nayuta is exploring a couple of implications of the tech.

First, the startup believes Lightning could bring value to the Internet of Things in a way that old payment systems and bitcoin couldn’t because they’re both simply too slow.

Second, it’s one of the first earnest businesses working on a product built on Lightning, showing that the off-chain network might actually have a business proposition, even this early on.

Lightning + IoT

Nayuta started off in 2015 by adding normal bitcoin transactions to the Internet of Things in a range of prototypes.

But, like others using bitcoin, they were disappointed by its limitations. They found instant “zero-confirmation” transactions weren’t secure enough and that 10 minutes was too long to wait for a transaction to be secure.

Then Lightning came along, the idea being it’s possible to actually make more secure instant payments (though there are still some caveats). Since it’s faster than traditional payments, Nayuta decided it was the “only” solution to Internet of Thing’s desire for payments that are as fast as the internet connections that fuel them.

One recently popular Internet of Things product is the so-called “SmartLock.” Rather than requiring the metal keys we’re all used to (just one more thing to remember), the rightful owner can use their smartphone to unlock it.

Showing the company’s switch in gears toward Lightning, they released a proof of concept of such a lock that opens only once it’s sent a Lightning payment.

Neither of these things are particularly useful, at least in the current form (why would anyone want to require a payment to unlock something?). But, as Nayuta sees it, these proof-of-concepts demonstrate how real-time payments can for Internet of Things more broadly, one of millions examples being a sensor gathering data about an ocean, and a researcher directly paying the sensor a small fee over the Internet to get that information.

The test payment was made between Nayuta’s homegrown Lightning software implementation, dubbed “Thunderbird”, and c-Lightning, an software implementation by bitcoin infrastructure startup Blockstream.

In that way, not only does Nayuta “open the door” to interesting Lightning use cases, it also diversifies the number of Lightning software implementations there are, which the company thinks is important, because, it believes, some features are missing from current Lightning implementations.

“We do not think Lightning is ready,” Nayuta CEO Kenichi Kurimoto told CoinDesk.

Lighting businesses emerge

All this feeds into the second interesting thing Nayuta is doing: It’s one of the first companies to build a business around Lightning, showing that perhaps Lightning has a business proposition.

The handful of Lightning startups out there so far, such as Lightning Labs and Paris-based ACINQ are focused on the low-level technology, not building a product that their company around a particular application of Lightning.

Though, Kurimoto admitted they’re not really being sure what to make out of all the prototypes they’ve launched over the last few years.

“We did not decide the product future. Currently we’re concentrating on development of the [Lightning Network] software,” Kurimoto said, adding that one company that they can’t disclose due to NDAA using their software so far.

Even so, Nayuta sees business promise in this area. Internet of Things payments have been floated for a long time, with even the likes giant payment processor Visa launching payment solutions in this area.

But, to Kurimoto, the current financial infrastructure is behind the times.

If refrigerators want to pay grocery stores and users want to use micropayments to pay for video and so forth, payments often need to be really small and fast. The current financial infrastructure wouldn’t be able to handle it.

Kurimoto said:

“The Lightning Network is the only solution for real-time transactions.”

Matchheads via Shutterstock
Written by CoinDesk

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