Top Crypto News – 01/06/2018

Bittrex Launches USD Fiat Trading


More Fiat, Less Tether

Bittrex, along with exchanges such as Binance and Upbit, has been gradually weaning itself away from tether, which for a long time was the only dollar-based hedge available. It has been speculated that the desire to list other stablecoins, and to eventually pivot to USD, was partially born out of a desire to be less reliant on the notoriously opaque tether. Whatever the reasoning, Bittrex has now secured the banking facilities necessary to enable fiat-crypto trading, and in Malta Binance is believed to be following suit.

Initially, the Seattle-based exchange will offer the USD paired against BTC, tether (USDT), and TrueUSD. This means that traders can swap between dollar-pegged tokens, which could be useful in the event of needing to send dollars to another exchange, or in the event of a stablecoin slipping from its dollar peg, as previously happened to TrueUSD upon news of its Binance listing.

Bittrex Launches USD Fiat Trading

Bittrex Signs with Signature

Bloomberg reports that Bittrex has inked a deal with New York’s Signature Bank. This will allow corporate clients in certain US states to make fiat deposits. While retail investors will be unable to benefit from this facility initially, Bittrex hopes to eventually roll the service out to all users who reside in states where it is licensed. As of today, May 31, corporate traders in Washington, California, New York, and Montana can make fiat deposits. Due to the restrictions in place, which will prevent the majority of Bittrex’ three million users from being able to participate, USD trading volume is likely to be low to begin with.

Bittrex Launches USD Fiat Trading“It’s been a long path [towards securing a banking agreement],” Bittrex Chief Executive Officer Bill Shihara told Bloomberg. “It’s not just about banks being able to trust Bittrex. It’s about banks being able to trust crypto in general. And I think it’s really showing that crypto is turning the corner in terms of mainstream acceptance.”

“They really do look and pore through the entire business,” Shihara said. “They want to make sure that we’ve got robust AML/KYC processes, that we’ve got the right controls on our finances. They do background checks and everything. They really look at our business soup to nuts.”

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Review: Ledger Nano S Put to the Test


The Ledger Nano S Reviewed and Rated

When it comes to judging hardware wallets, there’s no such thing as “best”: everyone has their preferences, and provided the wallet they’ve chosen does the job with the minimum of fuss, it’s likely to become a favorite. Despite the fact that most hardware wallets are little more than glorified USB sticks, cryptocurrency users reserve unusual affection for them. In a digital space, they’re one of the few physical manifestations of the assets we own.

Review: Ledger Nano S Put to the Test

After covering the new limited edition Nano S while writing about Pizza Dayrecently, I FOMO’d into buying one. The “Laszlo’s Pizza” edition is just a regular Nano S in a prettier box, but symbolically it serves as a reminder of how far bitcoin’s come, and of the early adopters who gave BTC the utility that led us to where we are today. Just 1,337 units of the device were released, and I took delivery of mine on Wednesday. Like all Nanos, it comes bearing Ledger’s faux wax tamper-proof seal, reminiscent of the sort of seal that once adorned the king’s letters. As skeuomorphisms go, this one’s pretty neat.

What’s in the Box?

Inside the fetching pizza box, the device itself comes tucked into the “sachet” of red chilli pepper oil, and is finished in a fitting pizza base red. In every other respect, this is just a regular Nano S. last reviewed one of the devices in 2016, and a lot has changed under the hood since then. Two years ago, BTC, ETH, and ETC were the main currencies it stored; today that list has grown to over 30 cryptos including BCH, ZEC, and ZEN. It also takes ERC20 tokens, which can be managed with the aid of Myetherwallet.

Review: Ledger Nano S Put to the Test
Patience is something you’ll need a lot of while setting up the Nano S

Initializing the device is as simple as plugging in the USB cable (to a thunderbolt port adapter in the case of my Macbook Pro) and then pressing the two buttons to begin. Despite the tiny OLED screen, the text prompts are very easy to read. Ledger’s Get Started page guides users through the setup process. There’s the option to set a PIN code of up to eight digits, but you can settle for less if you’d prefer. Next, you’ll be prompted to write down your recovery phrase.

The 24 Most Precious Words in the World

Most wallet recovery phrases are 12 words long; Ledger’s is 24, displayed one word at a time on the tiny screen. I jot down the miniature essay and am then prompted to confirm it, one word at a time, by selecting from the various words displayed on screen. Each word in the sequence comes with a dozen possibilities to cycle through, so the whole process takes forever to complete. From a security perspective, this is understandable. From a user perspective, it’s a little frustrating, the equivalent of web forms that prompt you to enter your email address twice because they don’t trust you to type it correctly the first time.

Once done, I head over to Ledger’s Apps page and select the Chrome app titled “Bitcoin & Altcoins”. There are separate ones for ethereum and ripple. I install the Chrome app and that’s where I draw a blank. In theory I should just connect and unlock the device to open the wallet management software on my laptop. Nothing happens though, and it’s the same when  I try the Ledger Ethereum Chrome app. There’s nothing in Ledger’s instructions to explain what should happen next, but after playing around for a while I work out that I need to first install the Ledger Manager app. It’d be helpful if Ledger added this step to their setup guide.

Review: Ledger Nano S Put to the Test
Finding the web apps page in the Chrome browser is a lot harder than you’d think

The Spinning Wheel of Death

Via the Ledger Manager, I click to install the BCH app, but it fails to load and I’m met with the spinning wheel of death. Then the software stops even recognizing the wallet altogether. As with Keepkey, the Ledger S is proving a hassle to set up, exacerbated by the difficulty of finding apps you’ve installed in Chrome. That’s due to the poor design of Chrome, which hides apps and extensions away beneath submenus so that retrieving them takes ages. In the end, the only way I can retrieve the Ledger Manager app is by clicking back onto the Ledger site, following the link to the Chrome webstore and then searching for and clicking to launch Ledger Manager app. It shouldn’t have to be this way.

Review: Ledger Nano S Put to the Test
The BCH setup process with the Nano S is extremely confusing

When I finally succeed in launching the Ledger Manager app, it still won’t recognize my Nano S as being connected. I disconnect and reconnect it but still nothing. For the purposes of brevity, I’ll skip the next hour of my life. Suffice to say it involves switching between laptops, Chrome apps, Ledger webpages and various other pop-up windows in a quest to get the wallet working. I eventually manage to install the BCH wallet and send over $10 from my wallet. It arrives almost instantly, but then the Nano S stops connecting again and I lose interest.

Review: Ledger Nano S Put to the Test
This happened a lot

I know I’m meant to advocate that everyone should store their crypto in a wallet they hold the keys to and keep the bulk of their portfolio off centralized exchanges. And I know that the setup experience for most Ledger users was probably a lot smoother than mine. If I’m to be honest though, I intend to lob the Nano S in a drawer and never use it again. It simply wasn’t worth the hassle.

At €140, my limited edition Nano S might just be the most expensive pizza box bought with BTC since Laszlo Hanyecz.

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Philippine Bitcoin Wallet App Reaches 5 Million Customers, a mobile payment app that offers a cryptocurrency wallet in the Philippines, now has more than 5 million customers, the company announced on its website.

Founded four years ago, operates a variety of financial services, including a cryptocurrency exchange. Ron Hose, founder and CEO, credited the company’s rapid growth to its focus on creating financial inclusion to Filipinos.

Customers use’s apps to access financial services such as cross-border remittances, purchasing digital currencies, topping up their beep stored value card, paying bills and buying “load” (mobile promotional networks) – all without requiring a bank account.

The wallet also announced it is now supporting Ethereum in addition to bitcoin in the interest of offering smart contract based financial services, and next month it will support Bitcoin Cash in order to support lower costing blockchain based payments.

Diverse Financial Services

The company noted that its blockchain based ecosystems allow customers to access a wide range of financial services.

A “Scan & Pay” QR code allows users to earn a 5% rebate up to Php25 at participating merchants that display the QR code. The website lists a number of participating merchants. For merchants, there is no fee for participating.

Customers can cash out using their mobile wallets at 450 participating ATMs nationwide. The service is facilitated by a third party, Security Bank.

The company also offers exclusive promotions on its website, as well as Steam game credits.

Cryptocurrency Exchange

Coinsph’s cryptocurrency exchange, called CX, offers trades for bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin and Ripple. Customers can buy cryptocurrency with Philippine peso, for as low as five basis points (0.05%) in fees per trade based on volume. There are no restrictions on trading volumes.

The exchange’s goal is to reduce the cost of buying and selling digital currency in the Philippines. secured a certificate of registration from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the Philippines central bank, in 2017 to operate as a cryptocurrency exchange, according to the website.

Featured image from Shutterstock.
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IOTA Partners With Norway’s Biggest Financial Group, Causing Price to Surge


Another major partnership has been announced by the IOTA Foundation. After successfully partnering with other major names, a new development is on the horizon. Norway’s DNB has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the IOTA Foundation. The main objective is to explore new use cases involving IOTA’s Tangle technology.

DNB ASA Explores Blockchain

Strategic partnerships are the key to taking blockchain and cryptocurrency mainstream. In the case of the IOTA Foundation, promotion of the native Tangle technology is one of the main points of focus. This technology has attracted the attention of DNB ASA in Norway. They are the largest financial services group in the country and a key player in the Nordic financial ecosystem.

Over the past few months, DNB ASA has looked into blockchain technology through the R3 consortium. Keeping all options on the table is important in any industry. As such, a MoU with the IOTA Foundation can lead to more innovation and new use cases. DNB Will join the Data marketplace initiative and will actively participate in open innovation activities. DNB’s Head of DLT Lasse Meholm explains this MoU as follows:

“As Internet of Things (IoT) and Machine to Machine (M2M) communication and payment for microservices seem to escalate in the future, we think engaging in a Distributed Ledger based technology like IOTA gives us valuable experience and know-how on future revenue streams and business models. We are looking forward to dive into the IOTA space”

A Big Week for the IOTA Foundation

This latest partnership comes at an interesting time. Earlier this week, the blockchain project partnered with the United Nations and Richard Soley. All of this seemingly confirms there is a great interest in the native Tangle technology. There’s also the mysterious “Q” project, which is expected to be unveiled later this week.

So far, the community seems to be over the moon with this news. It is a major deal for the IOTA Foundation, assuming any proper use cases will be discovered. Additionally, applications and interfaces will need to be developed as well. Even so, forging strategic partnerships can be a major breakthrough for Tangle as a technology.

As one would expect, most people hope this will impact the IOTA price in a positive manner. So far, that has not happened yet, which is only normal. A partnership announcement does not automatically result in new products based on Tangle. Until those projects come to life, the news has a minimal effect on either venture.

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