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Source: South American Online Marketplace Working With Facebook on Crypto Project

South American online marketplace Mercado Libre is working with Facebook on the social network’s Libra cryptocurrency project, Cointelegraph Brazil reports on June 14.

A MercadoLibre executive told Cointelegraph Brazil that the purported cryptocurrency will be integrated into the e-commerce platform as a form of payment. While the anonymous executive confirmed the partnership, further details were not forthcoming.

The executive stated that it was likely the company would operate as a node in Facebook’s purportedly forthcoming blockchain network.

Mercado Libre is one of the most popular e-commerce platforms in South America with operations in 19 countries.

According to a recent report, the testnet for Facebook’s Libra platform will be unveiled later this week. The ubiquitous social media platform has reportedly gathered support from dozens of firms including Visa, Mastercard, PayPal and Uber.  

A recent report by The Block stated that a consortium has been formed to govern the project, including such organizations as venture capital firms Andreessen Horowitz and Union Square Ventures, cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, and non-profit organizations including Mercy Corps.

Recently, RBC Capital analyst Mark Mahaney and Zachary Schwartzman stated that Facebook’s Libra stablecoin would be one of the most significant events in the company’s history, saying that it would “unlock new engagement and revenue streams.”

Coinbase Custody Holds $1.3B in Assets Under Custody, Expects to Hit $2B ‘Soon’

Coinbase Custody revealed that it holds $1.3 billion in assets under custody (AUC) and the firm expects to hit $2 billion AUC soon in a Twitter thread published on June 13.

In a series of tweets, what is evidently the official Coinbase Custody Twitter account reported that last week the company’s CEO, Sam McIngvale, and its chief information security officer, Philip Martin, visited the United Kingdom. The purpose of the visit was reportedly “to discuss the institutional cryptoeconomy with a range of prospects and clients.”

During the meeting, the firm’s representatives argued that, while many believe that there are no institutional-grade offerings in the cryptocurrency space, Coinbase Custody is in fact such an offering. The firm’s representatives stated that the company is insured, regulated and secure custodian. The thread also specifies:

“We have $1.3bn AUC and expect to hit $2bn soon. We have no intention of stopping there. […] Coinbase Custody services over 90 clients. Of those, approximately 40% are outside of the US.”

Lastly, the tweet also claims that — as cryptocurrencies mature as an asset class — financial hubs such as London are becoming centers for crypto innovation.

During an on-stage discussion at Consensus in mid-May, Brian Armstrong, CEO of Coinbase, said that its custody service had already received $1 billion in assets under management.

As Cointelegraph reported in March, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission is soliciting industry input as it potentially reconsiders existing custody rules in specific cases of digital asset trading and settlement.

In April, Hong Kong trading and asset management firm BC Group announced that it is launching an insured custody service for cryptocurrencies.

Facebook to Unveil ‘Libra Association’ and Launch Testnet Next Week: Report

Social media giant Facebook will unveil the Libra Association, which will operate its bespoke cryptocurrency Libra, on June 18, cryptocurrency news outlet The Block reported on June 14.

Per the report, Facebook and dozens of its partners will unveil the Libra Association — which will be based out of Geneva — as the entity that will oversee the company’s Libra cryptocurrency project. During the event, the company is also expected to launch the testnet of its blockchain.

The Block claims to have seen an unspecified blog post from Facebook, according to which the Libra crypto asset will be hosted on the dedicated Libra Blockchain and backed by the Libra Reserve. The Libra Reserve is reportedly a store of real assets that should supposedly grant the token “stability, low inflation, global acceptance, and fungibility.”

The Block further notes that the software underlying the network will be open-sourced under the Apache 2.0 license. The social media giant allegedly hopes that the system will help people without access to the financial system. Lastly, per the report, the company also declared that it intends to focus on regulatory compliance:

“Collaborating and innovating with the financial sector, including regulators and experts across a variety of industries, is the only way to ensure a sustainable, secure, and trusted framework underpins this new system.”

As Cointelegraph reported earlier this month, multiple sources were already expecting Facebook to launch its cryptocurrency on June 18.

More recently, news broke that Facebook has allegedly sealed backing from over a dozen firms that include Visa, Mastercard, PayPal and Uber for its soon-to-be-unveiled cryptocurrency project. Each firm reportedly contributed $10 million to the project.

United States Residents Will Lose Access to Many Altcoins Starting in September

Crypto enthusiasts living in the United States will have no trading options for a many cryptocurrencies when the major crypto exchange Binance becomes unavailable for them in September, according to a report by CryptoPotato on June 14.

The report draws this conclusion based on the following table, which shows which cryptocurrencies will still available for U.S.-based traders after Binance discontinues its U.S. service:

Former Binance options in the U.S. on other crypto exchanges

Former Binance options in the U.S. on other crypto exchanges. Source: Goomba’s Twitter

The foregoing exchanges listed are Coinbase, Bittrex, Poloniex, Kraken, HuobiUS, and eToro.

The report also highlights that, in addition to the cryptocurrencies with no trading outlet in the U.S.—the all-white rows—there are also a number of tokens listed on only one exchange after Binance drops off, including ARK, BTT, IOTA, PIVX, and ZIL.

These “endangered” exchange tokens, as well as the (temporarily) extinct tokens, will likely witness a large drop in volume, according to the report.

However, veteran cryptocurrencies such as XRP, DASH, XLM, ETC, ZRX, and ZEN should survive Binance’s departure with little issue, since they are listed on four or more of the aforementioned exchanges.

As recently reported by Cointelegraph, Binance updated its terms of use on June 14 to exclude trading on the platform in the U.S., which comes shortly after its announcement of a U.S.-exclusive fiat-to-crypto exchange.

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ) remarked on the recent changes, implying that the restructuring will be useful in the long run:

“Some short term pains may be necessary for long term gains. And we always work hard to turn every short term pain into a long term gain.”

Bitcoin Worth Over $8,400 as Most Top Altcoins See Losses

Friday, June 14 — most of the top 20 cryptocurrencies are reporting moderate losses on the day by press time, as bitcoin (BTC) crossed the $8,400 mark again after breaching it earlier today.

Market visualization courtesy of Coin360

Market visualization courtesy of Coin360

Bitcoin is currently up over 2.8% on the day, trading around $8,420 at press time, according to Coin360. Looking at its weekly chart, the coin is up about 7.35%.

Bitcoin 7-day price chart

Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360

American digital asset manager Grayscale claimed in recently published research that bitcoin vastly outperformed traditional wealth preservation assets during the United StatesChina trade war.

Ether (ETH) is holding onto its position as the largest altcoin by market cap, which currently stands at just under $27.3 billion. The second-largest altcoin, Ripple’s XRP, has a market cap of $16.7 billion at press time.

Coin360 data shows that ETH has seen its value decrease by about 1.2% over the last 24 hours. At press time, ETH is trading around $257. On the week, the coin has also gained over 3.5% of value.

Ether 7-day price chart

Ether 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360

XRP is down by just over 1% over the last 24 hours and is currently trading at around $0.396. On the week, the coin is down about 4.19%.

XRP 7-day price chart

XRP 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360

Among the top 20 cryptocurrencies, the one reporting the most notable losses is binance coin (BNB), which is down over 11%.

At press time, the total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies is $266 billion, about 3.87% lower than the value it reported a week ago.

As Cointelegraph reported earlier today, major crypto exchange Binance announced that it has updated its terms of use, which notably includes a restriction of services to United States-based individual and corporate traders.

In traditional markets, the United States stock market is seeing slight losses so far today, with the S&P 500 down 0.33% and the Nasdaq down 0.61% at press time. The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), on the other hand, has gained 0.44% on the day at press time.

Major oil futures and indexes are seeing discreet gains today, with WTI Crude up 0.96%, Brent Crude up 1.37% and Mars US up 2.03% at press time. The OPEC Basket is up 0.82% and the Canadian Crude Index has seen its value increase by 0.7% in the 24 hours by press time, according to OilPrice.

Binance to Stop Serving US Traders Following Announcement of US-Dedicated Platform

Major crypto exchange Binance announced today, June 14, that it has updated its terms of use, which notably includes a restriction of services to United States-based individual and corporate traders. The restriction follows yesterday’s news that the company is launching a separate, fully regulated fiat-to-crypto platform for the U.S. market.

Today’s announcement provides a timeline for the new terms to come into effect, specifying that:

“After 90 days, effective on 2019/09/12 [12th September 2019], users who are not in accordance with Binance’s Terms of Use will continue to have access to their wallets and funds, but will no longer be able to trade or deposit on Binance.com.”

While the use of a virtual private network could ostensibly allow U.S. users to circumvent the new restrictions, withdrawals for non-verified users remain capped at up to 2 bitcoin (BTC) per 24 hours— worth $16,482 to press time. Sums above this threshold would require users to provide evidence that they are complying with the platform’s Terms of Use.

In a tweet published yesterday, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ) said of the new exchange’s evolving global structure:

“Some short term pains may be necessary for long term gains. And we always work hard to turn every short term pain into a long term gain.”

Earlier this month, it was reported that the decentralized exchange (DEX) developed by Binance will use geo-blocking to restrict website access to users in 29 countries, including the U.S.

As Cointelegraph has previously reported, CZ revealed in September 2018 that the company intends to launch five to ten fiat-to-crypto exchanges — two per continent — within one year, without specifying the exact locations.

The firm has to date launched fiat-crypto platforms in Uganda, Singapore and Jersey, with support for a limited range of cryptocurrencies.

As reported yesterday, Binance is establishing its U.S. platform in partnership with BAM Trading Services, which is approved by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).

In June, Binance revealed that it would be issuing its own stablecoins pegged to different fiat currencies, but with the exception of the U.S. dollar.

In the wider crypto sector, the Huobi Group — operator of the flagship Huobi Global crypto exchange — launched a U.S.-based strategic partner trading platform last year, initially dubbed HBUS, but later rebranded to Huobi.com.

Fundstrat Global Advisors Technical Analysis Points to Further Rally

In its new technical analysis, market research company Fundstrat Global Advisors says that cryptocurrencies are poised to make further gains, Bloomberg reported on June 13.

Per the analysis, most digital currencies are trending upwards as relative-strength-index momentum has begun to turn upward from neutral. The tendency purportedly indicates strength in the markets.

Rob Sluymer, a technical strategist at Fundstrat, told Bloomberg that he is recommending investors demonstrate patience in the wake of the crypto markets’ surge in May, but stressed that there are early signs of potential new gains. Sluymer said:

“Another upside attempt appears to be developing for most cryptocurrencies. Increase exposure. We expect bitcoin to stage another rally from current levels toward next resistance between $8,800–$9,000.”

In late May, Fundstrat co-founder Tom Lee claimed that the crypto winter is over. Lee’s timeline of events documenting the turnaround dates back to November 2018, when a bitcoin cash (BCH) hard fork battle exhausted the bitcoin supply held by two rival mining pools. Other significant milestones listed by Lee include Jan. 23 of this year, when on-chain transactions turned positive year-on-year for the first time in 12 months.

Bitcoin price analyst Oliver Isaacs recently said that he thinks the coin will hit $25,000 around the end of 2019. “There are multiple drivers behind the recent resurgence. There are geopolitical, technological and regulatory drivers. The net effect of the trade war between the U.S. and China has led to the sudden interest in bitcoin as a hedge on investments,” Isaacs stated.

GateHub Releases PSA on Phishing Scam Targeting Its Ripple Wallet Users

Ripple (XRP) wallet and gateway-as-a-service provider GateHub has warned that there is a phishing scam campaign targeting its cryptocurrency wallet users, as per an announcement on June 13.

According to the announcement, GateHub’s wallet users are being sent malicious emails from addresses that look like they are from GateHub: “@gatehub.com” and “@gatehub.net.”

The emails instruct the users to transfer their funds to a “secure” wallet, which is owned by the attacker, because their private keys are allegedly compromised due to insufficient security precautions.

GateHub notes that, in addition to the attack being an unaffiliated phishing attempt, the service provider never issues private keys via email. GateHub also published a timeline of its correspondences to customers, so that they can verify whether emails received from GateHub are genuine.

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, GateHub is estimated to have lost almost $10 million from its XRP wallets via an attack discovered at the beginning of June. The attack reportedly affected around 100 wallet holders with about 23.2 million XRP combined.

According to a report by a community member who investigated the attack, Thomas Silkjær, the aforementioned theft does not appear to be the result of phishing attempts. While Silkjær was not able to reach a definitive conclusion on what mechanism enabled the multimillion dollar theft, incremental nonces and old database leaks are mentioned as possibilities.

GateHub has since initiated an investigation regarding the possible cause of the hack and has advised several security measures users should take in order to secure their assets.

Binance to Open US-Based Division With FinCEN Approved Partner

Major cryptocurrency exchange Binance is establishing a United States-based division with a  Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) approved partner, according to a press release shared with Cointelegrpah on June 13.

Binance is reportedly forming a new trading platform targeting U.S.-based clients dubbed Binance US, with a company called BAM Trading Services. BAM will be the operator of Binance US, using Binance’s wallet and matching engine products.

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao reportedly said, “We are excited to finally launch Binance US and bring the security, speed, and liquidity of Binance.com to North America. Binance US will be led by our local partner BAM and will serve the U.S. market in full regulatory compliance.”

A representative from BAM Trading Services stated, “it is an honor to partner with Binance, leveraging its tier-one security and technology in tandem. We are committed to providing a secure and compliant platform, and beginning the start of a fruitful alliance with Binance.”

Earlier in June, news broke that Binance will reportedly issue its own stablecoins pegged to different currencies, with the exception of the U.S. dollar. Explaining the company’s decision, Binance’s Chief Financial Officer, Wei Zhou said that “from the users’ perspective, only certain portions of the world use the dollar. Other users use other currencies, and we feel it should be reflected in stablecoins as well.”

Also this month, it was reported that the website of the decentralized exchange (DEX) developed by Binance will block website access to users in 29 countries, including the U.S. The site also warned about how trading and accessing the wallet interface through the website will be blocked for users with IP addresses from those countries, regardless of their actual location.

McAfee Trading Platform Suffers DOS Attack Upon Launch

Cryptocurrency enthusiast John McAfee’s crypto trading platform was immediately targeted by hackers with a denial of service (DOS) attack following its launch, according to an official Twitter post from McAfee on June 12.

According to the post, the web servers for the “McAfeeMagic” trading platform, were hit with a cloaked High Orbit Ion Cannon (HOIC) DOS attack. Cybersecurity website Imperva describes an HOIC DOS attack as stressing a network by “flooding target systems with junk HTTP GET and POST requests.”

However, McAffee tweeted the same day that the website was operational again. According to the same post, the McAfeeMagic trading platform allows users to trade on 8 crypto exchanges, shadow trade professional crypto traders, and make fiat-to-crypto conversions with an over-the-counter (OTC) desk.

John McAffee also intends to roll out his own “McAfee Freedom Coin” token this fall. McAfee describes his design for the coin as a scheme to make it only intrinsically valuable, with no value derived from any other asset:

“… It is not based on any commodity nor is it connected to the value or behavior of any external item or entity. The value of the coin will always be zero in relation to any other currency yet it’s natural market value is free, completely, to grow.”

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, the Ethereum network experienced serious issues due to DOS attacks back in 2016. Malicious users overloaded the network with transactions, causing the Ethereum network to introduce a hard fork in its blockchain to continue operating.

Circle to Close Its Payment App, Focus on New Financial Products

Peer-to-peer payments technology firm Circle is closing its payment app Circle Pay in order to develop new crypto financial services, according to an announcement published on June 13.

Per the blog post, Circle will start terminating the operation of Circle Pay, a fiat money sending service with a social messaging component, from July 8, 2019, and will fully close support for the app on Sep. 30. Specifically, on July 8 the app’s users will no longer be able to add or send money to anyone through their Circle Pay account.

Circle further hinted that it is delving into new blockchain-based financial products such as launching new wallet services and facilitating digital currency adoption through cryptocurrency exchange Poloniex.

In late May, Circle laid off 30% of its staff due to an “increasingly restrictive regulatory climate in the United States.” Announcing the firings, Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire noted that “Circle remains strong and healthy, and we will continue to drive new product innovation and growth globally, working with jurisdictions that offer forward-looking policies regulating digital asset businesses, while we press for more balanced crypto policy in the U.S.”

It was also reported that Circle had purportedly lowered its March fundraising goal of $250 million by 40%, seeking thus to raise $150 million.

Allair had previously outlined that the cryptocurrency space needs regulatory certainty and the current definition of cryptocurrency is too broad. Allaire argued that existing laws cannot address the cryptocurrency issue:

“We urge lawmakers to recognize the unparalleled economic power that permissionless innovation has unleashed and to act to let crypto and blockchain technologies flourish. We know lawmakers want to support economic growth and want them to seize the opportunity to lead the charge.”

Report: Number of Blockchain Patent Filings Outstrips Other Technologies

The number of global blockchain patent filings significantly outstrips the patent filings for other technologies, according to research by the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (IPI) and London-based law firm Withers & Rogers. British media outlet Compelo reported the results on June 5.

According to the report, the amount of blockchain patents in the world is far outpacing that of quantum computing, as the number of blockchain patent families has already exceeded that of quantum computing.

The report says that the number of blockchain-related patent filings has grown tremendously since 2014, with the largest amount of those having been filed in 2016 and 2017. As such, over the two-year period of 2016 and 2017, more than 2,600 blockchain patent families were reportedly filed worldwide, which is about 60% of total existing blockchain patent families.

With that, the amount of blockchain patents is expected to grow further, while blockchain will continue to be the top technology for global tech patents for the next few years, Withers & Rogers’ patent attorney Philip Horler predicted.

From a geographical standpoint, the United States is the leading country in terms of number of blockchain patent applications with around 1,680 filings. China follows the U.S. with 1,590 filings, while the United Kingdom is ranked third with 270 applications.

Blockchain Patent Landscape report. Source: Compelo

Blockchain Patent Landscape report. Source: Compelo

Recently, Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com was reported to have applied more than 200 blockchain patents, following its major competitor Alibaba that applied for 262 blockchain patents.