Top Crypto News – 31/01/2018

Coincheck to Repay Hack Victims’ XEM Balances at 81 U.S. Cents Each


Coincheck Announces Reparations Policy

Coincheck to Repay Hack Victims' XEM Balances at 81 U.S. Cents EachOn the 26th of January, a total of 523,000,000 XEM was “illicitly transfer[ed]” following a hack sustained by Coincheck. The exchange has announced that the approximately 260,000 affected users “will be repaid in JPY via Coincheck Wallet” at a rate of “88.549 JPY” for each coin held (approximately 81 US cents each).

The price has been calculated “using the weighted average of turnover […] during the period beginning with the suspension of [the] sale of NEM on the Coincheck platform and ending with the release of this notice” (01/26/2018 12:09 JST – 01/27/2018 23:00 JST) using Zaif’s XEM/JPY pairing. Based upon the current price listed on Coinmarketcap of approximately 89 U.S. cents, the reimbursement will comprise a loss of 9% for affected users. The exact date for the distribution of the reparations has not yet been decided.

FSA Expresses Concerns Regarding Coincheck’s Ability to Repay Stolen XEM Balances with JPY

Coincheck to Repay Hack Victims' XEM Balances at 81 U.S. Cents EachCoincheck has stated that it “will do [its] utmost to enact meaningful changes to [its] platform” following the company receiving “an order to improve business operations from the [FSA].”

The FSA has demanded that Coincheck conduct an “investigation of the facts and causes surrounding the [hack], a “strengthening of current measures to manage system risk,” in addition to providing “proper support of [its] customers.” The FSA has requested a written report addressing the aforementioned concerns before Tuesday, February 13, 2018. The FSA has also recently expressed uncertainty as to whether or not Coincheck possesses the funds required to conduct its planned reparations.

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Europol and Interpol to Increase Measures Against BTC Laundering


Financial Investigators Discuss Cryptocurrency Regulations

The recent workshop was hosted by the Basel Institute on Governance and organized in partnership with Europol and Interpol. The event saw attendance from more than sixty “financial investigators from money laundering, cybercrime and financial intelligence units from 32 different countries”, in addition to “relevant private sector representatives.”

The workshop has produced agreements between attending institutions designed to reduce the “misuse of cryptocurrencies by criminals and terrorist financiers to launder money and support other criminal activities.” Specifically, the agreed measures include:

  • An increase in “information sharing in the field of money laundering and digital currencies through the use of channels such as Europol, Interpol, the Egmont Group and”
  • The regulation of “digital currency exchangers and wallet providers under current anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing legislation “
  • Agreements regarding “clear definition[s] of concepts such as cryptocurrencies, digital currency exchanger, wallet provider and mixer for them to be included in the EU legal framework.”
  • “Tak[ing] action against digital currency mixers/tumblers, designed to anonymize transactions, which burdens the work of law enforcement agencies to detect and trace suspicious transactions.”

Europol Claims Cryptocurrencies Increasingly Used to “Finance Criminal Activities Including Terrorism”

In the statement issued following the event, Europol has claimed that the adoption of cryptocurrencies for criminal purposes, including terrorist financing, is rising. In order to combat the allegedly growing threat, Europol announced that it will “continue to coordinate across EU Member States and beyond in an endeavor to effectively respond to this rising threat.”

Europol’s claims comes just weeks after a bill was introduced to Congress by Republican House Representative Ted Budd of North Carolina on January 10th proposing the creation of a new task force assigned with researching and developing policy to combat the financing of terrorism through the use of cryptocurrencies.

Terrorist Concerns Overblown

The increased concerns relating to the use of virtual currencies by terrorist groups appears to have been sparked by the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies’ recent reportthat claims the to have identified four instances in which groups associated with terrorists have solicited donations in the form of bitcoin – which have occurred more than a year after the last instance of such identified by the think-tank.

The author of the report, Yaya Fanusie, has attributed the terrorist groups soliciting donations in cryptocurrency to the recent increased “attention [given] to bitcoin” in the media, arguing that such “has probably led to certain groups taking a look at the technology,” Mr. Fanusie added, “In general it appears these campaigns have not been very successful, for the most part.”

Research recently published by Elliptic has also indicated a more than forty percent reduction in the percentage of all bitcoin transactions associated with criminal activities since 2013 – estimating that transfers tied to illicit activities comprise just 0.61% of all transactions. In October 2017, a report commission by the UK government similarly concluded that virtual currencies posed a “low” terrorism financing risk which is “unlikely” to increase during the coming five years.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock


Over 1 Million People in Line for Robinhood’s Bitcoin Trading App


Robinhood Hits the Bullsey.

Over 1 Million People in Line for Robinhood's Bitcoin Trading AppOver a million people are already waiting in line to get early access to bitcoin and cryptocurrencies trading service by Robinhood Markets, according to its launch website. The Palo Alto-headquartered US stocks brokerage app has just announced the upcoming service a few days ago.

To put things in perspective, Robinhood has an estimated user base of only about 3 million people, which means it could grow by as much as 33% by adding cryptocurrency trading or that a third of its clientele will switch to bitcoin. Of course this will not happen immediately as the company will only start rolling out the service in February to a limited number of American states.

The service will initially begin with commission-free BTC and ETH trading in California, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, and New Hampshire. It already offers market data on 16 cryptocurrencies in the form of bitcoin, ethereum, bitcoin cash, litecoin, ripple, ethereum classic, zcash, monero, dash, stellar, qtum, bitcoin gold, omisego, neo, lisk and dogecoin.

Stealing Users from the Rich

Over 1 Million People in Line for Robinhood's Bitcoin Trading AppWhen it was launched in 2013 with financial backing from Google Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz and other, many analysts saw Robinhood as an early attack by Silicon Valley against Wall Street. It was speculated to be a precursor of a larger assault by tech giants against the entrenched stock brokerages, which largely didn’t materialize. Now it could be bringing disruption to a whole new industry – cryptocurency exchanges.

The major trading venues in the bitcoin world have been suffering from an inability to handle the influx of new customers throughout the 2017 rally, leading to withdrawal delays, degenerated services and a lot of frustrated clients. At the same time the exchanges kept raking in incredible profits, with Coinbase alone reportedly making a billion dollars in revenue during the period. It would be fair to say the market is set for disruption, but it remains to be seen whether Robinhood, a company which isn’t famed for great customer service, is the one to achieve this.

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Samsung Enters the Bitcoin Mining ASIC Manufacturing Business



Samsung Bitcoin Chips

Samsung Enters the Bitcoin Mining ASIC Manufacturing BusinessSamsung Electronics (KRX: 005930), the flagship company of the Korea-based multinational conglomerate Samsung Group, has entered the bitcoin mining business according to reports from the country. It has earlier signed a contract with a Chinese bitcoin mining hardware maker to supply it with chips, and already started mass production in January.

According to the reports Samsung Electronics completed the process for the development of semiconductor ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) for bitcoin mining last year. A Samsung Electronics spokesperson told Korea’s The Bell that, “We are in the middle of a foundry business that is being supplied to a virtual money mining company in China”.

The market for ASIC miners has been booming along with the massive 2017 price rally, and hardware manufacturers such as Bitmain used their strong profits to sway the semiconductor foundries to produce chips for them over traditional clients. It was recently revealed that the world’s largest dedicated semiconductor foundry, TSMC, expects that the bitcoin mining sector will continue to grow this year, possibly offsetting for weak iPhone X sales for Apple’s primary chip supplier.

GPU Mining

Samsung Enters the Bitcoin Mining ASIC Manufacturing BusinessSamsung is set to profit not just from the bitcoin ASIC mining boom, but also from the huge parallel demand for GPU-based cryptocurrency mining. The company has started the mass production of a new type of DRAM for graphics cards, which is said to be more suitable for cryptocurrency mining. The 10-nanometer 16Gb GDDR6 DRAM is twice as fast as conventional GDDR5 DRAM and improves power efficiency by more than 35%, resulting in greater profitability for GPU for cryptocurrency mining.

This shows that chip manufacturers like Samsung are well aware of the prevalent use of their GPUs for cryptocurrency mining by end users, and might be even focusing it with new designs. Only recently it was revealed that GPU manufacturer Nvidia has taken measures to try and ensure its products get into the hands of gamers, not miners.

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