Cointelegraph.com News Cointelegraph covers fintech, blockchain and Bitcoin bringing you the latest news and analyses on the future of money.

  • Reality Shares Will Join Increasingly Crowded Bitcoin Hedge Fund Arena, Says Source
    by William Suberg on August 15, 2018 at 2:35 pm

    An anonymous source says blockchain ETF operator Reality Shares wants to launch a Bitcoin hedge fund. California-based asset manager Reality Shares has become the latest competitor in the Bitcoin hedge fund space, an anonymous source told Business Insider August 15. Reality Shares, which became known in the cryptocurrency space this year after launching the first Chinese blockchain ETF in June, has reportedly already attracted $25 million for the fund. Capped at $100 million, the multi-strategy fund would “be a mix of arbitrage, venture, and directional strategies,” the unnamed person “familiar with the firm’s plan” told the publication. The 2018 bear market in cryptocurrencies has made life difficult for hedge fund operators, which number over 360 as of August. As Cointelegraph reported previously, industry commentators have raised concerns that continued market suppression would lead to the closure of over 10 percent of said hedge funds by next year. “People are able to leverage good returns last year to try to raise money this year, but this year is going to be different,” fund investor Rick Marini told Bloomberg about the downturn in April. Venture capitalist Spencer Bogart meanwhile told CNBC in late June that hedge fund activity could in fact “artificially” lower Bitcoin prices. Should Reality Shares raise the full $100 million amount, its fund would rival the only 28 that have passed the figure. […]

  • Japan’s Messaging Giant LINE Sets Up $10 Million Hong Kong Blockchain Venture Fund
    by William Suberg on August 15, 2018 at 1:50 pm

    Major Japanese messaging app LINE has announced its move into blockchain startup funding with a Hong Kong-based venture fund run through a subsidiary. Japanese social messaging app LINE announced the creation of a $10 million blockchain venture fund Wednesday, August 15, as part of its expansion into the cryptocurrency market. Launched via Hong Kong-based subsidiary unblock corp., the fund contains funds from fellow LINE sister outfit LVC Corporation. “Additionally, unblock ventures’ token fund is expected to expand in the future, according to the growth of the blockchain market,” the company commented in a press release, adding: “By launching this new corporate token fund, LINE is aiming to boost the development and adoption of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.” The move, it claims, makes LINE “one of the first publicly traded corporations to formalize token investments through a corporate fund.” The Japanese giant has pressed ahead with cryptocurrency integration in 2018. Launching unblock in April, the platform’s cryptocurrency exchange BITBOX subsequently debuted in mid-July. At the same time as announcing the venture fund meanwhile, BITBOX confirmed that TRON would be the next cryptocurrency to begin trading on its books. TRON’s acquisition of P2P platform operator BitTorrent Inc. in July, a LINE official hinted, had been a major impetus behind the decision. As Cointelegraph reported prior to the launch, users in the U.S., as well as the company’s home jurisdiction of Japan, are nonetheless barred from using the exchange due to regulatory difficulties. […]

  • Venezuela to Use Petro as Unit of Account for Salaries, Goods and Services
    by Ana Alexandre on August 15, 2018 at 3:37 am

    Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has announced that the Petro will be used as a unit of account in the country. Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has announced that the national oil-backed cryptocurrency, the Petro, will be used as a unit of account within the country, news outlet ABC International reported August 14. Nicolás Maduro reportedly announced in a television address, that the state oil company PDVSA will use the Petro as a unit of account. Additionally, the government will introduce a new salary system and a pricing system for goods and services that are anchored to the Petro. ABC quotes Maduro: “As of next Monday, Venezuela will have a second accounting unit based on the price, the value of the Petro. It will be a second accounting unit of the Republic and will begin operations as a mandatory accounting unit of our PDVSA oil industry.” According Maduro, the implementation of a new Petro-based salary and pricing system “will mean a substantial improvement in the income of the workers" and will help "the maximum retail price to reappear." Starting August 20, Venezuela will have two government currencies, the Petro and sovereign bolivar, the latter of which will be indexed to the former. The sovereign bolivar will take five zeros away from the current national currency, the bolivar fuerte, in an eventual monetary reconversion. The Central Bank (BCV) will reportedly “begin to publish the official figures of the value of the sovereign bolivar according to the Petro and the value of the petro according to international currencies." Maduro also said that the BCV and private banks in the country have already received the new banknotes. The Venezuelan government launched the pre-sale of the Petro in February, with 82.4 million of the world’s first national oil-backed cryptocurrency available at that time. The country introduced the currency in an attempt to attract foreign investors and skirt U.S. and E.U. sanctions, as well as overcome catastrophic hyperinflation which is projected to hit 1,000,000 percent in 2018. According to the Petro whitepaper, the cryptocurrency fully complies with Venezuelan legislation, though the opposition in the National Assembly publicly claimed that issuing Petro was illegal. While some parts of the document lack fine details and others are not backed by any sufficient arguments, there are some clear economic use cases. Paying taxes and other settlements with state bodies would be at least 10 percent cheaper with the Petro, which is planned to be expanded into other payment markets in the future. The whitepaper says that the Petro can be be easily converted into U.S. dollars and other currencies, which will help Venezuela in export trade. Still, there’s a possibility that it could be purchased with funds that were received illegally at crypto exchanges or privately, and then exchanged to oil that can be ‘laundered’ and documented to eventually be sold through above-board business practices in various jurisdictions. […]

  • Jamaica Stock Exchange to Introduce Crypto and Tokens Trading via Canadian Fintech Firm
    by Ana Alexandre on August 15, 2018 at 2:45 am

    The Jamaica Stock Exchange has chosen a Canadian fintech company to launch trading and other related services for cryptocurrencies and tokens. The Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) has selected Canadian fintech company Blockstation to facilitate the trading of digital currencies and tokens on the JSE, according to an August 14 press release. Upon implementation of the project, JSE will provide trading, quotes, execution, and settlement services for cryptocurrencies and tokens. Kirk Brown, Head Trader for a broker member of the JSE, underlined the importance for investors “to be able to invest in digital assets through their traditional financial institutions.” Marlene Street Forrest, Managing Director of the JSE said: “We are very comfortable moving forward based on the training and support provided by Blockstation, and because their trading platform incorporates familiar compliance rules to ensure a fair marketplace.” Prior to the deal, five broker members participated in a live workshop with representatives from local regulators, while Blockstation completed beta testing in Jamaica with the participating institutions. The JSE also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Blockstation, agreeing that the two organizations would collaborate in the future. Incorporated in 1968, the JSE Main Market capitalization rose to over $1.19 trillion following the successful Initial Public Offering (IPO) of Mayberry Jamaican Equities at the end of July this year. The total number of companies listed on the exchange reached 74 this year, while the total number of securities is 107. In the beginning of August, Germany’s second largest stock exchange, the Stuttgart Börse, revealed plans to develop a new platform for Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) as well as a multilateral crypto trading venue. Alexander Höptner, CEO at Börse Stuttgart, said the exchange developed the platform in response to “demand from both retail and institutional investors for a regulated and reliable environment for trading with cryptocurrencies.” Last month, the Malta Stock Exchange (MSE) announced its collaboration with digital asset exchange OKEx to build a new institutional grade security-tokens trading platform. The joint project is entitled OKMSX and aims to become a platform for digital asset exchanges with security expertise and client due diligence. […]

  • Playboy Sues Canadian Blockchain Firm for Fraud and Breach of Contract
    by Ana Alexandre on August 15, 2018 at 12:32 am

    Playboy Enterprises is suing Canadian company Global Blockchain Technologies, claiming that it failed to integrate the Vice Industry Token on Playboy’s sites. Beverly Hills-based Playboy Enterprises is suing Canadian firm Global Blockchain Technologies (GBT), claiming that it failed to integrate blockchain technology into Playboy’s online media channels, the Los Angeles Times reported August 14. Playboy Enterprises reportedly filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court, accusing the Canadian company of fraud and breaching a contract, which the two companies drew in March. Per the terms of the agreement, GBT would integrate the Vice Industry Token (VIT) on Playboy’s media sites. Playboy said that the blockchain firm not only failed to fulfill the requirements, but also omitted a payment of $4 million it promised in the agreement. Now, Playboy is seeking compensation, the amount of which has not been disclosed. GBT dismissed the lawsuit as a “normal dispute” between two businesses, saying that the charge of fraud is “frivolous.” The company told the Los Angeles Times: “Global believes it has a strong defense to the action and will be vigorously defending same.” In March, Playboy first announced its plans to develop an online wallet that would enable customers to use crypto to pay for the company’s online media and support the Vice Industry Token. Later in May, GBT announced it was working on the Playboy wallet, including an interface to various platforms. VIT raised $22 million in Ethereum in the first 24 hours of its Initial Coin Offering (ICO). The blockchain-powered platform for the adult industry rewards viewers on sites with VIT for watching content. The adult entertainment industry has been gradually adopting digital currencies. In April, streaming site Pornhub partnered with cryptocurrency Verge (XVG) to accept the coin as a payment option for Pornhub purchases. Pornhub Vice President Corey Price said in a press release: “History has proven that the adult entertainment industry plays a critical role in adoption for innovative technology. We saw that with VHS, Beta Max, credit card payment icons and, most recently, VR goggles. We expect to see widespread adoption of crypto and blockchain in short order." […]