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Bakkt

Bakkt Set for September Launch

Bakkt, the long-awaited crypto services platform from the Intercontinental Exchange, is finally set for launch on September 23.

Despite being officially announced in August 2018, the platform only received a trust charter from New York State Department of Financial Services this week, which clears the way for the company to begin offering its highly-anticipated physically-settled Bitcoin futures contracts. Bakkt expects to serve a digital marketplace that moves $270 billion per year.

What is Bakkt?

The Intercontinental Exchange, the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange, announced Bakkt a year ago with the intention of creating “an open and regulated, global ecosystem for digital assets.” This means that the platform aims to provide a variety of services relating to cryptocurrency, such as trading, warehousing, and physically delivered Bitcoin contracts. Essentially, Bakkt aims to be the first platform to enable the conversion of cryptocurrency to US dollars for transnational use.

Regulatory Hold-Ups

When the platform was first unveiled 12 months ago, ICE eyed a December 2018 launch date as it intended to have the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) approve its proposed contracts. However, Bakkt was subsequently faced with a series of regulatory hold-ups that forced the launch date to be pushed back to 2019. In May of this year, the company announced it had self-certified its futures contracts through the CFTC, instead of having the commission approve the platform.

User acceptance testing began in July this year, which ensured that users of the platform could communicate with its infrastructure, and this allowed Bakkt to begin the work of taking on potential customers.

>> The IRS has Words for Crypto Investors… Again: Tax Warnings

What does Bakkt Mean for Cryptocurrencies?

Bakkt has massive potential for the future of cryptocurrencies, and this was apparent as Bitcoin’s value surged nearly $600 USD on Friday to once again break the $10,000 USD mark. Due to the nature of Bakkt’s services, it is expected to increase the liquidity of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as it will make it much easier for traders to do business in crypto.

Added to this, Bakkt is tied to the traditional financial industry as a result of its close links with the NYSE. Crypto speculators will be hoping that this link generates a confident sentiment among investors.

Featured Image: DepositPhotos © sinenkiy

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Coinbase

Coinbase Strengthens Crypto Custodian Empire with XapoBusiness Acquisition

Coinbase has risen to become the largest cryptocurrency custodian, with the acquisition of Xapo’s institutional business. Immediate reports indicate that the US crypto exchange paid $55 million for the assets in question. The exchange also reportedly beat investment giant Fidelity that was also in the running for the Xapo business.

The acquisition comes at a time when Coinbase’s custodian business has grown to over $7 billion in assets under custody. Coinbase currently services over 120 clients distributed in over 14 countries. Following the acquisition, a number of Xapo’s clients have already moved their crypto assets to the crypto exchange for storage. As it stands, Coinbase stands to store as much as 514,000 in Bitcoin from Xapo customers.

“From the start, our goal has been to build a trusted foundation for institutional investment in Bitcoin (BTC) and crypto assets in general. We’re thrilled to help enable some of the tremendous demand for this emerging asset class,” the exchange said in a statement.

 Xapo-Coinbase Integration

Xapo’s business is a great addition to the Coinbase portfolio, as the firm has risen in the ranks to become a pioneer in crypto assets storage. Xapo has also made a name for itself in the creation of security techniques highly needed in ensuring client privacy.

>> Altcoins Almost Wiped Out as Crypto Market Cap Drops $30 Billion

For Coinbase, the acquisition underscores its focus in achieving growth both organically and inorganically. The company has grown on its mission to try and ensure easy and secure access to cryptocurrencies. With the acquisition of Xapo’s business, the firm strengthens its edge in becoming the gateway for millions of people looking for ways to venture into the cryptocurrency sector.

Providing clients peace of mind about crypto safe storage is Coinbase’s primary goal as it continues to affirm its competitive edge in the burgeoning sector. In addition to providing crypto custodian services, Coinbase is also focused on providing new ways of monetizing and leveraging crypto assets. The company currently allows people to borrow against their crypto portfolios as well as lend to other trusted partners.

Featured image: DepositPhotos © Piter2121

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crypto

8 Signs That Show That a Crypto Platform is Safe to Trade On

Considering the recent rise in the price value of cryptocurrency, it’s no surprise that the rate of crypto-maniacs yearning to cut their own piece of cake via trading has also increased.

While this idea of ‘crypto trading’ looks lucrative and profitable, keep in mind that there are dozens of scammers masquerading their identity as “trusted crypto trading platforms.”

The “real” question is this: can you confidently identify the right trading platform to invest in? If you’re not completely certain, don’t panic.

Here are 8 signs that show that a crypto platform is safe to trade on.

Top-Notch Security

Having top-notch security simply shows that the exchange has its clients’ and customers’ interest and safety in mind. In other words, the exchange interested in making sure that their customers’ money isn’t easily accessible to hackers.

If you’re a newbie or an expert in crypto trading, I’d advise you don’t skimp on this part. The safety of your entire investment on a crypto platform depends on its security.

Do you know that just a little weakness in security can lead to some serious hacks?

To mention a few, back in 2014, Mt. Gox lost about 850,000 BTC to hackers. However, it was later reported that the majority of them were later retrieved.

In 2016, Bitfinex lost $75 million in funds when hackers got their hands on users’ segregated wallets. Thankfully, Bitfinex has now reinforced its security. In fact, it is rated as one of the biggest exchanges in terms of volume today.

There are many more incidents like these, which is why you have to be very smart in making your choice of platform to trade on.

Meanwhile, here are important security elements a safe trading platform must have:

  • It must offer two-factor authentication.
  • It must provide proof of coins in cold storage.
  • It must make sure users verify their identity and location before depositing.
  • Operators must be willing to provide a swift response to all questions from customers.
  • There shouldn’t be any large difference in cryptocurrency quotes when compared with other leading exchanges.
  • Also, there shouldn’t be a long and persistent backlog of cryptocurrency withdrawal from the exchange.

Advisably, it is important you consider the listed safety guide above before putting in your money.

A Large Number of Users Using the Platform

Another practical way to verify the safety of a platform is by the volume of users using it. A larger volume of actual traders can indicate that the platform might be safer to trade on, while a smaller volume may indicate that the platform is either new or not completely safe for users.

As a matter of fact, don’t subscribe to a platform just because you saw its persistent ad or because some sweet-mouthed marketers asked you to. Research the platform and see the number of users currently trading with it; if the number of users is encouraging, then the platform may be worth a try (but it should be an amount you can afford to lose). On the other hand, if the numbers aren’t encouraging, it might be wise to pass on the exchange.

Rock-Solid Online Reputation

Any crypto trading platform with an unshakable reputation shows a great sign of safety.

So, how can one verify if a trading platform has a rock-solid reputation? Well, it’s not too difficult once you know what you’re doing.

You can verify platforms through online reviews—specifically, what different users wrote about them. Bitcointalk and Reddit are great sites to visit for review. It’s best to opt for a trading platform with rock-solid reviews and testimonies.

24/7 Good Customer Service

Trading platforms that provide swift and helpful responses to their customers’ queries are usually worth signing up with.

On the other hand, a platform with customer service that takes days to reply to customer queries is not worth your hard-earned money.

Easy to Use Platform

Yes, a user-friendly crypto trading platform is another positive sign of safety.

Scammers often make their sites confusing for target customers.

In fact, it’s one of the tactics they use to make customers contact them fast.

So, as a newbie with no trading experience, it is advisable to flee from such a platform once you find it difficult to understand the process. Safe trading platforms understand their customers’ wants and make sure the website designs are easy to use.

In choosing trading platforms, one is advised to do the following:

  • Avoid sites where you have to look at support before you understand a thing—it is very frustrating.
  • Avoid platforms with withdrawal processes that aren’t automatic.
  • Also, flee from a platform that experiences multiple breakdowns. It doesn’t seem right, especially when users aren’t updated about it.

Range of Payment Options, Both In and Out

Payment options are another sign of safety. While this might look funny, be aware that crypto trading platforms designed for malicious intentions often provide users with just one payment option. Therefore, be meticulous in making your decision, because there are also some good trading platforms that only offer one option.

Meanwhile, for safety reasons, it’s preferable to go for sites with more than one payment option. The options are typically as follows: credit card, bank transfer, PayPal, and even cash. Still, do your homework before making your choice.

Little or Zero Commissions and Fees

While exchanges have different commission and fees, make sure you opt for the cheapest one. Some of them are very transparent—they reveal how much to pay for deposits, buy, sell, and so on, but others are also discreet about such information.

For safety reasons, flee from platforms that overly charge or add some cunning charges that look like this:

  • Unnecessary monthly “wallet fee,” just for keeping cryptocurrency on the exchange.
  • Ridiculous fees like identity verification, etc.

Engagement in Community Interaction, Educating Both Potential and Existing Customers

This is another sure sign that reveals the true intention of a trading platform. A reliable trading platform should often engage in interacting with crypto communities. The platform will be willing to participate and solve some existing queries in the community. It must be willing to freely educate its customers and contribute positively to things such as crypto events.

In Conclusion

When choosing a crypto trading platform, it is important to keep the above tips in mind. Don’t jump into the trading world just because of FOMO. Make sure you’re equipped with the necessary knowledge so that you’ll have a better chance of succeeding.

The cryptocurrency market is growing at a fast rate, and scammers are also out to use different means to get people’s money.

This article was curated through CryptoCurrencyNews’ Contributor Program. If you would like to write for us, send us your submission!

Featured image: DepositPhotos © artjazz

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Coinbase

Barclays Ends Partnership with Coinbase

Once hailed as the most prestigious banking relationship in crypto, Barclays (NYSE:BCS) has today decided that it is no longer working with Coinbase.

The relationship between the London-based banking giant and the crypto exchange began in March last year as Coinbase sought to expand into Europe. The aim of the deal was to make it easier for businesses in the UK that handle cryptocurrency to gain access to banking services. Currently, three-quarters of UK businesses that deal with cryptocurrency are forced to look overseas for banking options as the majority of major banks in the UK tend to stay clear of anything crypto-related.

Earlier this week, news emerged that Coinbase had dropped support for Zcash (ZEC).

Why has Barclays Walked Away?

While last year’s news that Coinbase had obtained a bank account with Barclays was greeted with some degree of fanfare, the bank’s appetite for risk has been sated of late. “It is my understanding that Barclays’ risk appetite has contracted a little – I’m not sure exactly why or what’s been driving that, maybe there has been some activity they are not happy with. But it’s about Barclays’ comfort level with crypto as a whole,” said one UK-based crypto CEO.

What Next for Coinbase?

It’s not all bad news for Coinbase, however, as the exchange was immediately picked up by ClearBank, one of the many “challenger banks” that has launched recently to compete with the market leaders. This partnership will allow Coinbase to restore its Faster Payments Scheme (FPS), which allows users to instantly withdraw and deposit pound sterling at the exchange. This will ensure minimal disruption for UK customers who used Coinbase via Barclays.

>> South Korea’s Shinhan Bank is Building a Blockchain Security System

What Does This Mean for the Crypto Market?

This news comes during a week that has seen faith in the security of cryptocurrencies vastly diminished. Following news that crypto criminals had defrauded over $4 billion in 2019, and another fraud scandal emerging from Veritaseum, Barclays decision to end its partnership with Coinbase is another blow of confidence in the security of cryptocurrencies.

Big banks are clearly keeping cryptocurrency at an arm’s length, but that hasn’t stopped large companies and venture capital funds from pouring money in, with company’s such as Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Walmart (NYSE:WMT) recently announcing their own cryptocurrencies.

Featured image: DepositPhotos © dennizn

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Zcash

Coinbase UK Drops Support for Zcash

It has yet to be disclosed as to why, but the UK arm of Coinbase is dropping support for Zcash (ZEC) cryptocurrency.

The move has, understandably, rattled Zcash investors.

Coinbase Drops Support for Zcash

According to customers of Coinbase UK, the exchange is sending out letters telling traders to convert their ZEC holdings by August 26. Alternatively, traders are encouraged to export their coins to an external wallet. If they fail to do so, their ZEC balance will automatically convert to British pound sterling in their user accounts.

As stated, the crypto platform gave no reason for dropping the coin, but as a privacy-focused cryptocurrency, Zcash could be a preferable choice for criminals. This is simply one of many theories already posed by head-scratching traders.

The coin’s developer, The Electric Coin Company, confirmed the news on Friday. It said the following in a tweet:

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