Category Archives: Crypto

All You Need To Know About Today’s Bitcoin Futures Contract

CBOE Global Markets Inc and CME Group Inc will launch futures contracts on bitcoin on Dec. 10 and Dec. 17 respectively. Here are some of the differences between the products to be offered by the exchange operators.

CONTRACT UNIT

  • The CBOE Bitcoin Futures Contract will use the ticker XBT and will equal one bitcoin.
  • The CME Bitcoin Futures Contract will use the ticker BTC and will equal five bitcoins.

PRICING AND SETTLEMENT

  • Both Cboe’s and CME’s bitcoin futures contracts will be settled in U.S. dollars, allowing exposure to the bitcoin without actually having to hold any of the cryptocurrency.
  • Cboe’s contract will be priced off of a single auction at 4 p.m. Eastern time (2100 GMT) on the final settlement date on the Gemini cryptocurrency exchange.
  • CME’s contract will be priced off of the CME Bitcoin Reference Rate, an index that references pricing data from cryptocurrency exchanges, currently made up of Bitstamp, GDAX, itBit and Kraken.

TRADING HOURS

  • Cboe’s XBT contract will trade on CFE, with regular trading hours of 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Eastern time on Mondays and 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m Tuesday through Friday. Extended hours will be 6 p.m. Sunday to 9:30 a.m. Monday, and 4:30 p.m. Monday through to 9:30 a.m. Friday.
  • CME’s BTC will trade on CME Globex and CME ClearPort Sunday to Friday from 6 p.m. – 5 p.m. Eastern time with a one-hour break each day beginning at 5 p.m.

MARGIN RATE AND CLEARING

  • Cboe’s contract will clear through the Options Clearing Corporation and a 44 percent margin rate will apply.
  • CME’s contract will clear through CME ClearPort and will have a 35 percent initial margin rate.

CONTRACT EXPIRATIONS

  • Cboe said it may list up to four weekly contracts, three near-term serial months, and three months on the March quarterly cycle.
  • CME said it will list monthly contracts for the nearest two months in the March quarterly cycle (March, June, Sept., Dec.) plus the nearest two serial months not in the March quarterly cycle.

PRICE LIMITS AND TRADING HALTS

  • Cboe will halt trading in its contract for 2 minutes if the best bid in the XBT futures contract closest to expiration is 10 percent or more above or below the daily settlement price of that contract on the prior business day.
  • Once trading resumes, if the best bid in the XBT futures contract closest to expiration is 20 percent or more above or below the daily settlement price of that contract on the prior business day, the futures will be halted for 5 minutes.
  • CME will apply price limits, also known as circuit breakers, to its bitcoin futures of 7 percent, 13 percent, and 20 percent to the futures fixing price. Trading will not be allowed outside of the 20 percent price limit.

Sources: ZeroHedge | Reuters, CBOE and CME

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Crypto Surge Sparks Establishment Panic: Bans, Crackdowns, & Fatwas As Bitcoin “Undermines Governments, Destabilizes Economies” (video)

The last few months have seen increasing notice being paid to Bitcoin (and the broader cryptocurrency space) by those that control the status quo.

At first it was simple ‘negative’-speak – “you’d be a fool to buy Bitcoin”-esque comments spewed forth from the truly ignorant or intentionally-ignorant (this group included bank CEOs, asset managers, payments systems, and remittance services) but to no avail, those fools saw the value of their bitcoins surge… Like the Winklevoss twins

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But this week has seen a new group of establishmentarians jump on to the offensive against anti-decentralization, de-control, pro-freedom cryptocurrencies – urging bans, crackdowns, fatwas, taxation, creating their own cryptocurrencies, demanding citizens sell, and outright confiscation (this group includes governments world wide and their mainstream media mouthpieces)

India

India’s finance minister, Arun Jaitley, has clarified that the government does not recognize bitcoin as legal tender. According to the Economic Times, when asked about the government’s plans to regulate the cryptocurrency, Jaitley told reporters, “recommendations are being worked at.” He continued:

“The government’s position is clear, we don’t recognize this as legal currency as of now.”

 Concerned over bitcoin’s anonymity and its potential illicit uses, justices issued a notice to the central bank and other agencies asking them to answer a petition on the matter, reports indicated.

Turkey

Turkey has claimed Bitcoin is in fact “not compatible” with Islam due to its government being unable to control it.

In a statement from a meeting of the state Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet), lawmakers said that Bitcoin’s “speculative” nature meant that buying and selling it was inappropriate for Muslims.

“Buying and selling virtual currencies is not compatible with religion at this time because of the fact that their valuation is open to speculation. They can be easily used in illegal activities like money laundering, and they are not under the state’s audit and surveillance,” Euronews translates the statement republished by local news outlet Enson Haber.

Diyanet added that the same principles of “unsuitability” in particular applied to Ethereum.

South Korea

Kim Dong-yeon, South Korea’s deputy prime minister and the minister of strategy and finance, revealed earlier this week that the government is investigating various methods to better regulate the local Bitcoin market and tax Bitcoin users accordingly.

While the South Korean government and its local financial authorities are actively discussing the possibility of enforcing a policy on Bitcoin taxation, at a press conference, Deputy Prime Minister Kim stated that the government does not intend to include any Bitcoin taxation policy in 2018’s amendment of the tax law.

Holland

A Dutch news paper urges its citizens to sell their bitcoins patriotically because cryptocurrencies can undermine government and destabilize the economy.

A bitcoin world can destabilize the real economy, a euro is also solidified trust.

First, the bitcoin undermines the government because a lot of transactions are about money laundering and tax avoidance. Another problem is that the profits of new bitcoins that come with it do not benefit the government (as with normal money creation), but are absorbed in heavily environmentally harmful computer power.

Central banks also have less influence on keeping the economy stable. In times of crisis, central banks can, through their influence on ordinary banks, ease credit conditions and encourage people to consume. The bank has no control over the bitcoin economy and an economic crisis can become deeper.

The investor has air in his hands when the bitcoin crashes, but also when the company turns out to produce baked air.

France

Putting money in an empty type of asset is “very, very worrying,” Robert Ophele, chairman of France’s market regulator. Bitcoin has no link to the real economy, Ophele says in a panel discussion at the Paris Europlace Financial Forum, warning that cryptocurrencies are a way to commit cybercrimes, allowing access to illicit goods and services.

If bitcoin was a currency, “it would be a bad one,” Ophel exclaimed, as it poses major challenge for central banks and regulators.

UK

The Telegraph reported just around the time of the big drop, UK “ministers are launching a crackdown on the virtual currency Bitcoin amid growing concern it is being used to launder money and dodge tax.”

Taking a page out of the Chinese playbook, the UK Treasury has announced plans to regulate the Bitcoin that will force traders in so-called crypto-currencies to disclose their identities and report suspicious activity. 

According to the Telegraph, while “until now, anybody buying and selling Bitcoins and other  digital currencies have been able to do so anonymously, making it attractive to criminals and tax avoiders. But the Treasury has now said it intends to begin regulating the virtual currency, which has a total value of £145 billion, to bring it in line with rules on anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financial legislation.

John Mann, a member of the Treasury select committee, said he expected to hold an inquiry into the need for better regulation of Bitcoin and other alternative currencies in the new year.

He said: “These new forms of exchange are expanding rapidly and we’ve got to make sure we don’t get left behind – that’s particularly important in terms of money-laundering, terrorism or pure theft.

“I’m not convinced that the regulatory authorities are keeping up to speed. I would be surprised if the committee doesn’t have an inquiry next year. “It would be timely to have a proper look at what this means. It may be that we want speed up our use of these kinds of thing in this country, but that makes it all the more important that we don’t have a regulatory lag.”

The proposed changes come amid increasing fears that Bitcoin is being used by gangs to launder the proceeds of crime while also attracting currency speculators – with the value of the coin soaring in the past 12 months.

In other words, the same reason why the IRS is cracking down on Coinbase clients in the US is also why UK and European regulators are joining China in cracking down on capital flight.

United States

The US Senate Judiciary Committee is currently tackling bill S.1241 that aims to criminalize the intentional concealment of ownership or control of a financial account. The bill also would amend the definition of ‘financial account’ and ‘financial institution’ to include digital currencies and digital exchanges, respectively. According to ranking committee member Senator Dianne Feinstein, the proposed bill is needed to modernize existing AML laws.

The bill would amend the definition of ‘financial institution,’ in Section 53412(a) of title 31, United States Code, to include:

“An issuer, redeemer, or cashier of prepaid access devices, digital currency, or any digital exchanger or tumbler of digital currency.”

If passed, the bill would likely have far-reaching effects for users of digital currencies both in the US and abroad.

Earlier reports also indicate that the White House is actively monitoring cryptocurrencies which could only mean more attempts to regulate the world’s first successful decentralized monetary system. With the growing involvement of Wall Street and the ever escalating media attention, it is not surprising that governments are stepping up their attempts to regulate digital currency.

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But as usual, any regulation-related-headline that the machines instantly sell, is bid back up, since it seems the algorithms have not figured out that there is no real way to ‘stop’ Bitcoin… which is exactly why the world’s elite are so desperate.

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Several industry commentators have issued their opinions on the various proposed laws. Tone Vays claimed that he expects a confrontation between the Bitcoin team, including the holders and users, and the US government.

“It’s bad… I think it’s gonna end in a very confrontational way between Bitcoin – even Bitcoin holders and users – and the US Government.”

Source: ZeroHedge

Bitcoin Tops $11,000 Again – Becomes World’s 6th Largest Currency In Circulation

 

Bitcoin is the fastest growing bank in the world yet has no employees or branches

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After ‘crashing’ earlier in the week, Bitcoin soared in the last 24 hours following confirmation from the CFTC that it has approved regulated futures (and options) trading on CME, CBOE, and Cantor. This sent the price back above $11,000 and shifted the cryptocurrency to become the sixth most-circulated currency in the world.

Bitcoin had, by all accounts, a remarkably volatile week, losing $3 bln in market cap in just 90 minutes as the price slid from $11,400 to close to $9,000 (on some exchanges it flash-crashed to the low $8,000s). Nevertheless, within 36 hours, the cryptocurrency has rebounded to over $11,000.

As CoinTelegraph reports, the CFTC news quickly rippled out across the industry and media, with a stream of delighted bullish statements gracing Twitter and other platforms.

“It’s an orgy” is how one strategist described the breaking news that US regulators have approved Bitcoin futures to start this month.

Digital Currency Group CEO Barry Silbert said on CNBC: “I think it is going to enable finally the approval of Bitcoin ETFs, and other digital currency ETFs, which is game-changing,” he added.

And Bitcoin prices jumped…

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At a value of Bitcoin at around $11,000 each, the total value of all Bitcoins in circulation is around $180 billion, which as CoinTelegraph details means Bitcoin is now the sixth most circulated currency in the world, behind five super powers, and outranking the Pound, the Ruble, and the Wonaccording to the Bank for International Settlements.

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Source

While the number is substantial, should Bitcoin rise to $15,000, it will overtake the next highest circulating currency, the Rupee. The other four currencies outranking Bitcoin are the Yen, Yuan, Euro, and Dollar, all of which have dramatically greater levels of currency in circulation (the Dollar, for example, stands at $1.4 tln).

These numbers are, of course, somewhat skewed, because the value of notes in circulation is not reflective of the total value of a currency. Nevertheless, the numbers reveal the substantial power of Bitcoin in terms of currency interactions.

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New Definition Of A Billionaire: Someone who positively impacts the lives of billions of people.

Source: ZeroHedge

 

As Bitcoin Nears $10,000 “Central Banks Kept Up At Night”


The price of the largest cryptocurrency soared 16% over the weekend, bursting through $8,000 and $9,000 at a record pace and nearing the Maginot Line so many predicted at $10,000.

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$0000 – $1000: 1789 days
$1000- $2000: 1271 days
$2000- $3000: 23 days
$3000- $4000: 62 days
$4000- $5000: 61 days
$5000- $6000: 8 days
$6000- $7000: 13 days
$7000- $8000: 14 days
$8000- $9000: 9 days

Bitcoin highs over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend at $9,721…

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The 16% surge is, however, only the 4th biggest jump this year as Bitcoin is up 950% year-to-date.

As the price has soared, more and more mainstream interest has grown with one major exchange – Coinbase – now having more client accounts that Charles Schwab

“The Coinbase data is evidence that adoption is not slowing down,” Alistair Milne, the Monaco-based manager of the Altana Digital Currency Fund, told Reuters.

Furthermore, “promises of bitcoin futures opening the door to institutional money are supercharging the price,” said Charles Hayter, founder of cryptocurrency data analysis website Cryptocompare.

Notably, as Bitcoin tops $160 billion, the market cap of all cryptocurrencies topped $300 billion for the first time – making their estimated market value greater than that of Wal-Mart.

However, as Reuters reports , the staggering price increases seen in the crypto-market have led to multiple warnings from central bankers, investment bankers and other investors that it has reached bubble territory.

Some say that this could prompt regulators in the West to crack down on the market in a similar fashion to China, where bitcoin exchanges were shut down earlier this year.

“Regulators know the rewards of cryptocurrency and blockchain could be huge but (they) have more than one eye on the catastrophic ramifications if good governance, stability and control are not preserved,” said David Futter, a fintech partner at law firm Ashurst, in London.

“If the carrot of self-regulation proves insufficient, the regulators will not hesitate to use their stick.”

Most critically though it is the central bankers that matter and they appear confused by crytpocurrencies’ surge – some unable to sleep due to the disruptive change looming and others dismissive of the ‘bubble’. As Reuters reports, it keeps them awake at night because these private currencies threaten their control of the banking system and money supply, which could undermine the monetary policies they use to manage inflation.

“The problem with bitcoin is that it could easily blow up and central banks could then be accused of not doing anything,” European Central Bank policymaker Ewald Nowotny told Reuters.

“So we’re trying to understand whether bank activity in relation to cryptocurrency trading needs to be better regulated.

“Bitcoin is a sort of tulip,” ECB Vice President Vitor Constancio said in September, comparing it to the Dutch 17th century trading bubble.

“It’s an instrument of speculation.”

China and South Korea, where cryptocurrency speculation is popular, banned fundraising through token launches, whereby a newly cryptocurrency is sold to finance a product development.

Russia’s central bank said it would block websites selling bitcoin and its rivals while the ECB told European Union lawmakers last year:

“they should not seek… to promote the use of virtual currencies” because these could “in principle affect the central banks’ control over the supply of money” and inflation.

But St. Louis Fed President James Bullard admitted to Reuters in a recent interview what the real concern was:

“(We could) wake up one day and most of the big banks have been eviscerated and most of that activity has moved elsewhere.”

Yet Japan in April recognized bitcoin as legal tender and approved several companies as operators of cryptocurrency exchanges but required them register with the government.

Finally, in an effort to counter the private decentralized cryptocurrencies, some central banks such as Sweden’s Riksbank and the Bank of England are also looking at the merits of introducing their own digital currency.

But not everyone is concerned…

While US exchanges anxiously await the $10,000 as some sell-the-news event, Korean exchanges are already trading above $10,000 and holding it…

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Considerations: Bitcoin is not a Ponzi scheme because it doesn’t owe money to anyone, right? Bitcoin is not in a bubble because there has never been such thing as a tech adoption bubble. What we have here is a classic case of demand exceeding a finite supply.

Source: ZeroHedge

South Korea’s 2nd Largest Commercial Bank is Testing a Bitcoin Vault and Wallet For Customers

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Shinhan, the second largest commercial bank in South Korea by market valuation and consumer base, has initiated the testing phase of its bitcoin vault and wallet services.

Why a Major South Korean Bank Decided to Launch a Bitcoin Vault and Wallet Platform

A representative of Shinhan Bank told Naver News, a media outlet operated by South Korea’s most widely used search engine, that the bank has come to a corporate decision to launch a bitcoin vault and wallet platform as a response to the recent hacking attacks of leading South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges including Bithumb.

In June, South Korea’s Bithumb, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, suffered a security breach that affected 30,000 users. As a consequence, the bank refunded $1 million in funds and provided an extra $1 million to the 30,000 users as a compensation for the hacking attack they had experienced.

In an official statement provided to Naver, a Shinhan representative said:

“Shinhan is testing a virtual bitcoin vault platform wherein the private keys of bitcoin addresses and wallets are managed and issued by the bank. The bank intends to provide the vault service for free and charge a fee for withdrawals.”

Given that Shinhan serves millions of active users and tens of thousands of corporations in South Korea, the integration of a bitcoin vault and wallet platform into the existing infrastructure of the Shinhan banking system would immediately introduce bitcoin to the general consumers within the region. Such exposure of bitcoin to the mainstream within South Korea, a leading bitcoin market, would significantly increase in the rate of adoption of bitcoin in the country.

Shinhan to Become First Commercial Bank to Introduce Bitcoin Vault and Wallet Service

If Shinhan launches its bitcoin vault and wallet platform by mid-2018 as planned, the company will become the first regulated and large-scale commercial bank to provide bitcoin vault and wallet service.

At this stage, whether Shinhan will offer bitcoin brokerage and trading services to enable their existing clients and customers to purchase or sell bitcoin remains unclear. It is likely that Shinhan will partner with cryptocurrency exchanges within South Korea such as Bithumb, Coinone, and Korbit to provide liquidity to Shinhan’s client base.

Earlier this month, Choe Heung-sik, chief of the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS), stated that the South Korean government will not impose strict regulations on cryptocurrency exchanges in the foreseeable future.

“Though we are monitoring the practice of cryptocurrency trading, we don’t have plans right now to directly supervise exchanges. Supervision will come only after the legal recognition of digital tokens as a legitimate currency,” said Choe.

The integration and adoption of bitcoin by the country’s second largest bank would mean that bitcoin has already become a legitimate currency. As such, upon the integration of bitcoin by Shinhan, it is also likely that the South Korean government will regulate bitcoin, like Japan has done in March.

By Joseph Young | Crypto Coin News

Realtors In Miami And Manhattan Are Embracing Bitcoin

Back in September, we reported on a major milestone in bitcoin’s evolution into a respectable medium of exchange for large purchases: A Dallas real estate agent had negotiated the first all-bitcoin purchase of a US home on record. Few details about the home or the identity of the buyers were released. However, given bitcoin’s blistering rise since then – the value of a single coin has more than doubled – it’s reasonable to assume that, whoever they are, they probably regret pulling the trigger on their dream home, seeing as, if they had just waited two more months, they could’ve bought two. Indeed, the unknown seller of the home reportedly earned $1.3 million from the bitcoin they accepted as payment in the transaction.

At the time, we predicted that it wouldn’t be long before settling real-estate transactions in bitcoin would be commonplace, something we imagine could help further inflate real-estate prices in trendy markets like San Francisco, while also potentially attracting real-estate speculators to also dabble in bitcoin.

As if according to some preordained plan, Cryptocoins News reported this weekend that real-estate agents in both Miami and New York City are warming to bitcoin, and some have even convinced their clients to accept payment in the digital currency.

Eric Fernandez, owner of Sol/Mar Real Estate, recently listed a $3.5 million penthouse condo at the Blue Diamond in Miami Beach, Fla. saying the owners would accept payment in bitcoin or Ethereum, according to the Miami New Times.

Fernandez believes it is only a matter of time before bitcoin acceptance for real estate purchases gains popularity.

Fernandez is not the only real estate agent who expects more homes to be bought with digital currency. Bitcoin is achieving cult status for international buyers. Some believe Miami will lead this trend.

Another Miami realtor, Stephan Burke, who listed a Coral Gables mansion for sale in August, said the seller would accept bitcoin. Burke pointed out that Miami is an ideal market for bitcoin since it offers investors from South America, Canada, Asia and Russia a way to quickly purchase property.

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Manhattan realtors are also jumping on the bitcoin bandwagon, according to Ben Shaoul, of Magnum Real Estate Group.

We were approached by a buyer who has been collecting bitcoin for many years and was interested in using it to buy property.

Since then there have been a further two to three customers who have approached the developer to see if they can purchase luxury condos with the cryptocurrency. Prices for these properties range in price from $700,000 to $1.5 million.

The United Kingdom has also recorded a few examples of sellers accepting payment in bitcoin for their homes, with at least one case of a seller accepting payment only in bitcoin.

Last month, a Notting Hill mansion in London was put up for sale with the asking price of $17 million, believed to be a first for the metropolitan city. In this case, though, the seller is only accepting bitcoin. In the last week it has been reported that a 49-year-old man has put his £80,000 house up for sale, with the option of accepting the digital currency.

Meawhile, a UK co-living company has announced that it will begin accepting down payments made in bitcoin, making it that much easier for traders hooked on effortless, outstanding returns to speculate in another bubble-prone market: UK housing.

Of course, bitcoin’s sometimes-extreme volatility presents risks. But the NYC realtors say they’re not worried.

“Would you stop investing in stock markets? No, you wouldn’t. Each person is going to have a risk assessed judgement on whether or not they want to invest in bitcoin,” one realtor said.

And now that traders can easily purchase futures contracts allowing them to profit off of declines in the bitcoin price, sellers can purchase protection to offset some of the risk.

Source: ZeroHedge

Japan Made Bitcoin A Legal Currency – Now It’s More Popular Than Ever

 

Bitcoin trade in Japan accounts for about half of the global trade volume. That number has surged since the government passed a new law earlier this year, recognizing bitcoin as a legal form of currency. CNBC’s Akiko Fujita reports.