Coinbase CEO Teases Launch of Debit Card in the U.S.

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Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong has announced that the company is working on introducing its debit card to customers in the U.S.

Armstrong’s announcement came in a live AMA session on YouTube on May 16, 2019, during which he fielded questions and touched on various topics such as community trust ratings for altcoins and fraud prevention. While he did confirm that the debit card is coming to U.S. customers, he didn’t divulge a specific release date.

Last month, Coinbase launched the Coinbase Card, a Visa-based debit card which, according to the exchange, allows customers to make purchases online and in-store using their crypto balances.

But the Coinbase Card, along with the expense-managing Coinbase Card App, have only been released to customers in the U.K. However, according to Armstrong, its entry into the United States isn’t so far off.

Will Coinbase Add Margin Trading?

Armstrong also spoke about the inclusion of margin trading on Coinbase Pro, which he claimed is one of the most frequently requested features from customers.

He said that if Coinbase is to move into margin trading, there will be a lot of regulatory concerns to figure out.

“This is one of those products where you have to innovate not just on the technology, but also on the regulatory side,” Armstrong said.

With margin trading, traders are able to “borrow” money from exchanges to make trades, and the high-yield possibilities tend to encourage traders to make large, risky investments.

Countries like Japan have introduced some very strict laws regarding margin trading for cryptocurrency, adding restrictions like caps on available leverage and requiring exchanges that support the feature to register with financial regulators.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Tether and Bitfinex Ask New York Attorney General for Fund Accessibility

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Attorneys for Tether and Bitfinex are hoping to get the former access to its reserves amid a legal dispute with New York Office of the Attorney General (NYOAG).

In a letter sent to the New York County Supreme Court, attorneys representing iFinex (the parent organization of Bitfinex) and Tether took issue with the restrictions that had been placed on Tether’s transactions with related parties as part of an ongoing case against them, stating that the NYOAG had no basis for disallowing tether (USDT) holders and other affiliated entities from redeeming their tokens.

The development brings yet another twist to the ongoing dispute between the parties. In April 2019, the NYOAG applied for a court order to investigate Bitfinex for “ongoing fraud” totaling $850 million, using funds from Tether to mask massive losses. As part of the case, the NYOAG had filed an injunction seeking a restriction on related parties from accessing any of their funds in Tether’s reserve for at least 90 days.

The NYOAG’s argument is simple; if Bitfinex is allowed to continue drawing funds from Tether, with no assurance of repayment, then there’s a significant possibility that these funds will never be recovered.

On the other hand, Bitfinex maintains that the NYOAG has no legal basis or authority to probe its business.

In this recent letter sent to the court, iFinex’s attorneys noted that the two sides have been unable to reach a consensus on what Tether should be allowed to do with its holdings. The respondents also expressed their concern that the injunction sought by the NYOAG could have significant effects on Tether’s operations and financial strength.

“While Tether does not anticipate that it will suddenly become unprofitable, OAG’s language would potentially require the company to cut off salary and other ordinary course payments in any given period if, for whatever reason, there was insufficient profit,” the document reads.

As a compromise, the respondents’ attorneys asked that the injunction be reduced to 45 days. They also want affiliated entities to have the ability to redeem their tokens within that period.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Grayscale Reports $3.2 Million Average Weekly Investments in Bitcoin Trust

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The first quarter of 2019 was bullish for the digital asset management firm Grayscale Investments and the company is gearing up to have another run.

According to a first quarter “Digital Asset Investment Report” from the company, published on May 13, 2019, product inflows from Grayscale Investments grew by 42 percent over Q4 2018. The company revealed that its Bitcoin Investment Trust (BIT) saw the vast majority of investments in the quarter, as the trust secured an average weekly investment of $3.2 million out of the firm’s total weekly investment count of $3.3 million — leaving non-bitcoin investment products driving less than $1 million in average weekly investments.

Grayscale’s non-bitcoin investments include trusts for cryptocurrencies such as ether, bitcoin cash, XRP and other digital assets.

Grayscale also reported that its products saw total investment from hedge funds amounting to less than $1 million in Q4 2018 (It should be noted that these products included the BIT). However, during Q1 2019, inflows from hedge funds surged to a staggering $24 million — an increase of over 2,400 percent. Per the report, hedge fund inflows made up 56 percent of all investment inflows into Grayscale for the quarter, helping to propel a 42 percent increase from $30.1 million in Q4 2018 to $42.7 million.

The report also categorized Grayscale’s investors, indicating that 73 percent of them were representatives of financial institutions, much more than 56 percent that was reported in the first half of 2018.

Given the details in the report, it may be that Grayscale’s provocative ad initiative for bitcoin is paying off. Earlier this month, the American asset management firm launched its #DropGold ad campaign which urged investors to ditch gold and invest in bitcoin instead.

Grayscale’s attack on gold didn’t go unanswered. On May 2, 2019, Adam Perlaky, manager of investment research at the World Gold Council, published a rebuttal to the #DropGold campaign, explaining that his organization believes “cryptocurrencies are no replacement for gold.”

In his post, Perlaky also explained that while there is a lot of promise in the concept of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, they don’t “represent a substitute for gold either in theory or in practice.”

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

eBay Teases Crypto Expansion

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Popular e-commerce provider eBay has released promotional materials suggesting that its is ready to accept “virtual currencies” and offer “digital collectibles.”

The ads have appeared at Consensus 2019, a cryptocurrency and blockchain summit taking place this week in New York. In addition to hinting that eBay will soon offer support for cryptocurrencies, they feature claims about the company’s online reach and user count.

Because the initial ads didn’t mention any cryptocurrencies in particular, it’s unclear if the online marketplace plans to focus on Bitcoin or other tokens. At the time of this writing, the e-commerce company hasn’t released any public information about an expansion into crypto beyond the ads. It’s likely that eBay will offer more information before the conclusion of Consensus.

However, the marketplace has been contemplating bitcoin as a method of payment for some time. Scott Cutler, senior vice president of eBay, told Yahoo Finance in 2017 that the company was seriously considering accepting bitcoin for payments on its platform.

Either way, this prospect will serve as good news for crypto enthusiasts. As one of the largest e-commerce platforms in the world, with a $31 billion market capitalization, eBay’s potential adoption of digital assets would certainly serve as a boost for the global crypto industry.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Liquid Network Expands With New Memberships and Integrations

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Blockstream’s Liquid Network has expanded to include 14 new members. With these additions, Liquid’s client base now boasts 35 institutions.

The company also announced that Liquid is now available on Bitfinex and RenrenBit, a crypto finance app. Essentially, it means that users of these platforms can now access Liquid Bitcoin withdrawals and deposits.

In addition, the news heralds some of the network’s future projects, including the launch of Tether (USDT) and Stably (USDS), two dollar-backed stablecoins on the network.

In a statement, Bitfinex Chief Technical Officer Paolo Ardoino claimed that the expansion “makes a lot of sense” so that institutions can issue digital assets under a single blockchain platform.

He added, “It reduces the integration burden for an exchange like ourselves, and traders can manage all their assets from a single wallet application. We’re excited to be finally active on the Liquid Network and looking forward to seeing how it develops.”

Samson Mow, Blockstream’s chief strategy officer, also commented on the move, adding that Liquid’s features, including quick settlements, will help speed up asset transfers for both safekeeping and trading purposes.

He added, “Transaction details on Liquid are hidden by default thanks to Liquid’s privacy technology, so traders no longer have to worry about front-running on large trades either.”

Developed by Blockstream, the Liquid Network is a federated sidechain on Bitcoin’s blockchain which functions as a settlement and payment processing network for investors and institutions across the global crypto market.

The network, which was launched in 2018, allows its users to transfer funds to various destination without having to establish channels ahead of time.

Liquid is Blockstream’s answer to the Lightning Network. However, while Lightning works for micropayments, Liquid is described by its creators as a tool for facilitating “fast and reliable high-value transfers.” The platform promises quick and secure asset transfers to members within the network, as well as the prospect of conducting transactions over a system that doesn’t fail.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.