Category: Bitcoin Exchanges

Global Investments Into Indian Crypto Sector Surge After Supreme Court Lifts Ban

Global Investments Into Indian Crypto Sector Surge After Supreme Court Lifts BanIndia has become increasingly attractive to new crypto businesses and investors from all over the world now that the supreme court has lifted the banking ban. Some companies are expanding operations into the Indian market while others are investing in the country’s crypto ecosystem. Also read: Bitcoin Legal in India — Exchanges Resume INR Banking […]

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How to Buy Bitcoin in the Philippines

How to Buy Bitcoin in the PhilippinesThe Philippines has many places you can buy bitcoin from. Not only has the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas licensed some cryptocurrency exchanges, but there are also peer-to-peer marketplaces, bitcoin ATMs, and other services to help you. This guide will show you where and how to buy bitcoin in the Philippines using these avenues. Also read: […]

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Check Out the New Featured Tokens on’s Markets Page

Check Out the New Featured Tokens on's Markets has just launched a Featured Tokens page, allowing coin creators with unique tokens to apply for a listing through a simple review process. Each token listed on’s upcoming exchange, launching Sep. 2, will also be listed at, providing great exposure and detailed data for projects making a splash in the BCH community […]

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Switzerland to Relax Laws to Accommodate Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Startups

The Swiss government has announced a new legislative approach to blockchain regulation in an official report. The document recognizes the technology as one of the most important recent developments for the financial sector in stimulating the country’s economy. Also read: How Bitcoin Companies can Legally Operate in Switzerland A Swiss Innovation Paradise According to the […]

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Bancor Urges Industry Players to Collaborate After $23.5 Million Hack

On July 9, decentralized crypto platform Bancor was compromised

On July 9, the decentralized crypto platform Bancor was compromised. The hackers managed to drain over $23 million worth of crypto, part of which has allegedly already been converted into fiat via the instant exchange service Changelly. While the Bancor team is collaborating with other industry players to track the stolen funds, the recent security breach shows how decentralized platforms deal with security breaches, even though some community members have started to question whether Bancor can be considered a decentralized service at all.

What is Bancor?

Bancor was launched in June 2017 after one of the most successful Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) in history: It gathered around $153 million in Ethereum (ETH) in just three hours during the crowdfunding stage backed by renown investor Tim Draper, among others. Named after a supranational currency conceptualized by economists John Maynard Keynes and E. F. Schumacher aimed to be used for international trade after World War II, the Tel Aviv-based Bancor is a decentralized cryptocurrency platform that essentially allows users to launch their own tokens.

In more detail, the Bancor protocol enables users to issue so-called “smart tokens,” which can hold one or more tokens in reserve and convert them into other tokens with no counterparty. Bancor integrates its own self-titled token (BNT), which can be traded for any of the other tokens supported by the network, and vice versa.

Thus, the smart token contract is its own market maker. As a result, it automatically provides price discovery and liquidity to other coins. In other words, Bancor is an outlet for selling any digital tokens it lists, even if there is no available buyer for them. It is a decentralized system, and, therefore, does not require KYC procedures and — unlike centralized crypto-trading platforms that recently attracted the harsh criticism of ETH creator Vitalik Buterin, who went as far as to wish them to “burn in hell forever” — does not store all user funds in one place, which potentially might attract hackers.

How did it get hacked?

Nevertheless, on July 9, it became subject to a heist, during which the hackers managed to steal roughly $23.5 million worth of crypto — 3,200,000 BNT (worth $10 million), 24,984 ETH (worth approximately $12.5 million) and 229,356,645 NPXS (worth roughly $1 million). The Bancor team confirmed the theft on its Twitter and swiftly froze the stolen BNT tokens, as such an ability was built into the Bancor protocol “to be used in an extreme situation to recover from a security breach,” limiting the total damage to approximately $13.5 million.

As to what caused the attack to be so successful, Bancor team reported the morning of July 9 that “a wallet used to upgrade some smart contracts was compromised.” All operations were halted, and the platform went offline — Bancor representatives assured Cointelegraph that the service will be up within 24 hours, around 10 hours ago. The platform has also reassured that “no user wallets have been compromised in the attack.”

The heist provoked some community members to question if the platform can be seen as decentralized at all. For instance, Charlie Lee, the creator of Litecoin, wrote on his Twitter:

“A Bancor wallet got hacked and that wallet has the ability to steal coins out of their own smart contracts. An exchange is not decentralized if it can lose customer funds OR if it can freeze customer funds. Bancor can do BOTH. It’s a false sense of decentralization.”

Community collaboration as the key to dealing with hacks

Now, Bancor hopes to track the stolen funds, part of which have been exchanged via the instant conversion service Changelly, as CEO Konstantin Gladych told Cointelegraph in an elaborating statement:

“Afterward, the tokens were frozen by the Bancor Foundation in our contract. Now we are helping track the stolen funds.”

Moreover, Bancor’s head of communications, Nate Hindman, informed Cointelegraph that the service is coordinating with a number of industry players to come up with tools and technology that would help the industry cooperate more effectively when hacks occur:

“These mechanisms include a real-time blacklist that tracks offending addresses and stolen assets, as well as an emergency fund that compensates projects when thefts occur. There is plenty more to do here and we look forward to working with our peers across the industry to make everyone stronger and smarter as we move forward together. Collaboration is not just a concept, it’s a practice — and we are grateful for the support and assistance.”

When asked whether it is possible to completely prevent these kinds of security breaches, Hindman argued that hacker attacks are becoming more sophisticated — along with the industry, however. Hindman also stressed that crypto platforms can outmaneuver hackers through collaborative effort:

“Together we stand in our efforts to create better tools that prevent thieves from committing crimes and utilizing stolen funds, and better processes for analyzing situations and informing users and relevant parties when they occur.”

Meanwhile, the BNT token is down 15 percent, trading for $2.43, according to

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South Korea’s Regulatory Evolution: Important Steps for Crypto Exchanges, ICOs and Blockchain

South Korea has taken big steps in legitimising crypto exchanges and blockchain making a better environment for the users through more regulation.

South Korea’s relationship with the cryptocurrency industry has ebbed and flowed over the years. There has been a blanket ban on ICOs, set in September 2017, as well as strong rumours in January — that were eventually dismissed — that cryptocurrencies in their entirety would be banned.

However, things have warmed up in the Asian country with talk emerging that South Korea is now looking to lead the way in the fourth industrial revolution. South Korea’s government seems to have realized how much potential there is in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space — catching up with its citizens, who contribute a large portion of the global cryptocurrency trading market; it was reported that South Korea processed over 14 percent of global Bitcoin trades in July of last year.

The change in attitude from the government, however, has come with heavy regulations and rules in the use of cryptocurrencies.

Some notably harsh regulations that they have put upon the crypto space in the past include:

However, they have also acted positively by:

Latest developments — classification of crypto exchanges

The latest move from South Korea has seen them essentially reclassify cryptocurrency exchanges as legal entities. The new draft, which adds a lot of legitimacy to the blockchain space in the country, now classifies exchanges as “crypto asset exchange and brokerage.”

This is an important redefinition because it “recognizes crypto exchanges as regulated financial institutions,” as opposed to their previous classification as “communication vendors.”

Of course, looking at cryptocurrency exchanges as legal entities sounds extremely positive for the space in the country, as they are now viewed by the government as legitimate legal entities that are afforded many protections and assurance. But, they are also becoming subject to many more legal rules and regulations.

This would appear to be a positive step for the everyday customer of exchanges, as they have had to suffer with a number of issues that come with an ecosystem that has been plagued with problems — including hacks and fraud allegations. But, looking at the way in which the government has moved through the blockchain space, it is unsurprising that they have made this latest regulation in regards to exchanges.

Andrew Lim, the president of South Korea Blockchain, a blockchain marketing and PR company, told Cointelegraph that it was more a case of when, not if.

“Classifying all things blockchain was to be expected, especially when it comes to the exchanges and the critical need for regulations. It wasn’t too long ago when you could open a cryptocurrency exchange with a “mail order distributor” license in Korea. There were hardly any regulations in place and the platforms they built the exchanges on were unbelievably insecure.”

A necessary change

A look back at how things were before in Korea also sheds a lot of insight into why things are heading the direction they are now with the latest regulations.

Lim goes on to explain just how rouge things were before the government began stepping in to try and secure the exchanges in South Korea:

“Recently, I sent out a warning to investors about leaving their crypto assets in exchanges and a few hours later, Bithumb was hacked! I still remember a seminar at a law office involved in policy making, and the speaker saying that the exchanges were not liable if hacked or their data was breached.”

“It was absolutely insane that people were leaving hundreds of millions of KRW (South Korean won, which is equal to hundreds of thousands of dollars – nrd) in these exchanges. It truly was the wild, wild east — ripe for hackings and fraud. Classifying them as legal entities and having them under stricter supervision was inevitable, and it couldn’t have come any sooner.”

South Korea’s move to legitimizing cryptocurrencies

Moves such as legalizing remittance in Bitcoin and allowing fintech companies to process up to $20,000 worth of South Korean won in Bitcoin for users were unprecedented at the time and seen as quite forward thinking.

But the trade-off for this was that the regulators had a way in when it came to getting the exchanges to play by the rules. By allowing remittance, the exchanges in South Korea were now tied to the Financial Services Commission (FSC). They required capital of at least $436,000 to be retained, plus data processing facilities for Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) in order to get the watchdog’s approval.

With the government now getting itself entrenched in the cryptocurrency market of South Korea, it learned along the way which aspects required a hardline approach and which needed support for the innovation to grow.

A blanket ban, in the same style as China, was imposed on ICOs in order to try to stop the scams that were becoming obviously prevalent in this space. It also focused in on the anonymous nature of digital currencies by banning anonymous trading.

These big hits on the cryptocurrency market in South Korea had many wondering if there was not a full and total ban on cryptocurrencies in the works. In fact, the rumors got so big that 200,000 people petitioned against it in January. This led to the Blue House — the location of the head of government in the country — having to come out and dismiss the rumours.

Building the fourth industrial revolution

It has become clear that the South Korean attitude toward cryptocurrencies in terms of their government has changed substantially. It is not simply that they have gone from hating it to loving it, it’s that they have decided to get their hands dirty and mold it into a workable space in the country that can help them be at the forefront of the fourth industrial revolution.

The change in attitude is most obvious when one looks at how they have reversed the ICO ban recently, with Hong Eui-rak of the ruling party of Korea saying of the legislation that put ICOs back on the market in early May:

“The primary goal of the legislation is helping remove uncertainties facing blockchain-related businesses.”

The South Korean special committee tasked with moving forward the fourth industrial revolution also gave some insight into what the goal is with the cryptocurrency regulation on May 29.

“We need to form a task force including private experts in order to improve transparency of cryptocurrency trading and establish a healthy trade order. We will also establish a legal basis for cryptocurrency trading, including permission of ICOs, through the National Assembly Standing Committee.”

Furthermore, there have been additional signs that point towards this change in attitude.

Exchanges in the headlights

Now, the latest legal draft from the government involving the blockchain space is focusing on new categories for blockchain and, especially, cryptocurrency exchanges, putting them up next as the sector that needs to be dealt with.

On face value, exchanges are now recognized as legal entities, and this is major because it is an admission from the government that they recognizing the ecosystem as a legitimate one. 

But this move is a double-edged sword for exchanges, who have already jumped through a number of hoops in the government’s progression toward regulating blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

The Head of Operations Korea at EOS Asia, John Yoon, noted to Cointelegraph that the primary focus of this reclassification seems to be aimed at exchanges and the transactions that they produce:

“[The new classifications] will come out maybe at the end of the month or early August, from what I hear. Cryptocurrency exchanges and transactions will be the key issues, as most Koreans are having issues on Bithumb and Upbit, when it comes to exchanging and depositing/withdrawing.”

Yoon goes on to explain that this move from the government is clearly positive for everyday users of the exchanges — because of the difficulties already felt when depositing and withdrawing — but also points out that the exchanges will be heavily monitored now.

“[The exchanges] will be constantly monitored for their level of security and to make sure everything is on the up and up. For customers, it will be great, as it will open up more opportunities to invest in crypto.”

The Korean ministries have been working since the end of last month to produce the final draft of a new blockchain industry classification scheme, which is expected by the end of July. It is, of course, expected that the protection and recognition that comes with these new classifications will be beneficial for exchanges in the long run, but they will also be held to harsher rules and regulations.

Japanese comparison?

The South Korean move could be compared to the way in which Japan is looking to sort out its issues with exchanges — especially in the light of two major hacks in Tokyo, that of Coincheck on January 26, 2018 and Mt.Gox on February 7, 2014 — with their Financial Services Authority (FSA)  investigating exchanges and issuing business improvement orders.

Japan is looking for its exchanges to perform to the desired standard of the government and regulators, much like the Korean government. However, in Japan, there was a backlash from these harsh regulations — as some exchanges decided to go out of business, while the heads of Bitflyer and Bitbank quit the Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA) after also receiving these orders.

However, Yoon does not think the backlash will effect the Korean exchanges as much, he actually expects this regulation to stimulate the growth of more exchanges.

“I don’t think any [exchanges] will fight against it. Actually, there might be more created. Once regulations are up, I expect to see the number of exchanges double — or even triple — by the end of the year.”

Better for business

It is not only the people in charge of exchanges and the customers who have been waiting for direct regulation. Yoon also explains that many businesses that operate with or around cryptocurrencies have been somewhat in limbo, not sure which direction the South Korean government would go with their regulations. But now, they have a defined outline.

“There are many banks here that are in a wait-and-see mode. A lot of Korean companies are going to Singapore and other [places] to do their ICOs, so the Korean government is acting fast to incorporate these regulations.

Companies that have blockchain businesses in South Korea seem happy to see regulation coming in, as it spells a better future for the space.

“This is another step in the journey of legitimizing the asset class by providing regulatory framework for facilitating value exchange of digital assets, in one of the most leading geographies in the space,” Agada Nameri, General Manager of iCapital, told Cointelegraph.

Additionally, Uriel Peled, co-founder at Orbs, suggested to Cointelegraph: “Korea has the potential to become the ‘blockchain nation.’ If these government initiatives go hand-in-hand with training blockchain engineers, Korea is in a unique position to become the global leader in blockchain.”

Regulation opening the doors

There looks to be a battle every time regulators step into a new space — as is being seen in Japan and now in South Korea, with these new classifications changing things for exchanges. As crypto businesses begin to come under more scrutiny, they are faced with the decision to either better themselves or simply leave the space.

But on a fundamental level, it can only be seen as a good thing. The cryptocurrency space descended into a ‘wild west’ situation because there was no control, and now that the controls have stepped in, those who want to remain in the space have to up their game and produce a reputable service.

All the while, the act of regulating and making legal exchanges is simply legitimizing the blockchain and cryptocurrency space more, laying a foundation for a healthier environment down the line.

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This New Trick Helps Exchanges Artificially Pump Up Their Trade Volume

This New Trick Helps Exchanges Artificially Pump Up Their Trade VolumeSome exchange operators have found a new trick to artificially pump up their trade volume. They are directly rewarding users with their own issued tokens for generating transactions, something critics call a backdoor ICO ripe for manipulation. Also Read: If You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them – Bitcoin Is Hiring Regulators Trading as Mining High […]

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Crypto Exchanges, Payment and Wallet Firms Join EU Police to Fight Privacy

Crypto Exchanges, Payment and Wallet Firms Join EU Police to Fight PrivacyAbout sixteen major cryptocurrency exchanges, payment processors and digital wallet providers have joined the EU’s law enforcement agency for an event about preventing money laundering. The three-day conference on digital currencies and cyber crime began on Tuesday in the Hague. Also Read: The Daily: Akon Launches Akoin, ICO Mogul Buys $19M Land with Bitcoin “Tracing and […]

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What Do We Know About the CFTC Price Manipulation Probe

Nearly the whole of the crypto market is in the red as the CFTC launches a price manipulation probe.

On June 8, it was reported that the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) demanded extensive trading data from several cryptocurrency exchanges in order to investigate whether there has been price manipulation in the crypto market.

Earlier, on May 24, Bloomberg reported that a criminal probe into Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) price manipulation by crypto traders had been opened by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in conjunction with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). That information was indirectly confirmed in the recent Wall Street Journal report, although it was made clear that the DOJ was studying potential price manipulation in a separate case. In May, some mainstream players, including former Wall Street executive and billionaire investor Michael Novogratz, and Cameron of Winklevoss twins, president of the Gemini exchange, greeted the probe.

What provoked the CFTC investigation?

According to the Wall Street Journal, the probe followed the launch of BTC futures by CME Group, a major derivatives marketplace, in December 2017. CME generates its BTC futures prices based on data from four major crypto exchanges: Bitstamp, Coinbase, itBit and Kraken, where manipulative trading could potentially have altered the value of BTC futures.

After the settlement of the first contract in January, CME asked the four exchanges to provide trading data. However, several of the exchanges refused to cooperate, saying that the request was intrusive. The crypto exchanges only handed over their data once CME shortened the time window of its request from one day to a few hours, according to the Wall Street Journal’s sources. It was also reported that CME originally sought the information through a third-party — a London-based company that calculates the Bitcoin price to use for its futures contracts. The sources added that the crypto exchanges did not want to hand over data to the undisclosed British firm, which also runs its own trading platform.

CME is regulated by the CFTC, a federal agency dealing with futures and options markets in the U.S. The CFTC views Bitcoin as a commodity and is therefore subject to its direct supervision.

Thus, regulators from the CFTC were allegedly upset that CME does not have agreements which obligate crypto exchanges to share price data that is related to futures contracts. According to the Wall Street Journal’s sources, the quarrel between CME and the crypto exchanges led the CFTC to open an investigation.

Nevertheless, CME spokeswoman Laurie Bischel said that their London-based index provider has a disclosure agreement with all four exchanges:

“All participating exchanges are required to share information, including cooperation with inquiries and investigations.”

Kraken Chief Executive Jesse Powell told the Wall Street Journal that the “newly declared oversight” of how BTC prices form futures prices “has the spot exchanges [Eds: spot markets are non-futures exchanges] questioning the value and cost of their index participation,” while other exchanges declined to comment or didn’t respond at the time.

The Wall Street Journal article also mentions that the CFTC is coordinating their investigation with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). As mentioned above, last month the DOJ opened a similar — but separate — investigation into BTC and ETH price manipulation.

But how can one manipulate BTC price?

The Wall Street Journal’s article mentions ‘spoofing’ as one of the examples of illegal trading schemes that are investigated by CFTC. The May report regarding the separate criminal probe launched by DOJ also listed ‘wash trading’ in a similar context.  

Spoofing is a process when a trader (or a group of traders) creates an order for a substantial amount of BTC (or any coin, commodity, etc.) to form the illusion of exchange optimism or pessimism — depending on their goals — and then cancels it, i.e. when someone puts an order to sell 2000 BTC, it might cause some panic among traders, rushing them to sell their stock before the price drops, effectively dropping that price as a result. That’s what an entity named Spoofy would do on Bitfinex, according to a detailed blog on Hackernoon.

Similarly, an article in the Journal of Monetary Economics published by a group of academics in early January, suggests that the price of Bitcoin was artificially bloated in 2013 by a single player operating on the largest exchange at the time, Mt. Gox (which then infamously shut down) and trader Sylvain Ribes published a Medium post in March, arguing that about $3 billion of all crypto-assets’ volume is trumped up.

Wash trading, in turn, is when a trader simultaneously sells and buys the same amount of BTC, essentially trading with himself. First, an investor will place a sell order, then place a buy order to buy from himself, or vice versa. Both activities, spoofing and wash trading, are illegal in the mainstream financial world, but it is worth noting that crypto markets are largely unregulated.

In theory, there are more ways to manipulate the price of BTC: the FICC Markets Standards Board (FMSB), the UK industry body overseeing standards in fixed income, currency and commodity trading, lists about 24 of them besides spoofing and wash trading. 

Market and community reaction

On June 10, the day after the Wall Street Journal report, crypto markets saw a sharp drop, as all of the top-100 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization were in the red over 24 hours, while total market capitalization was down by about $20 billion over the same period.

John McAfee, founder of McAfee Antivirus Software and crypto enthusiast who recently announced his bid to run for U.S. president in 2020 as a way to serve the crypto community, urged the community to not panic about the price drop:

“It is an overreaction to the news that Bitstamp, Coinbase, itBit and Kraken are being investigated for price manipulation. This will delay the bull market by no more than 30 days. Don’t buy into the fear. Buy the coins.”

While the CFTC probe into four major exchanges is considered to be one of the reasons for the price drop, it might have also been related to the mainstream media reports regarding the security breach of South Korean crypto exchange Coinrail. However, this event is unlikely to have significantly impacted the price action on the markets, with Coinmarketcap data showing that Coinrail is the 99th largest crypto exchange, with a rather modest trading volume of about $2.5 million. The community’s reaction on Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, the Guardian and others claiming that Coinrail’s hack had crashed markets seemed frustrated.

In late May, BTC fell as much as 4.3 percent to $7,267 shortly after Bloomberg broke news about the DOJ and CFTC investigation on May 24 that the media outlet posted as an update a few hours after the original publication, which also prompted some community members to accuse the publication of FUD.

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US Justice Department Investigates Price Manipulation in Bitcoin Market

US Justice Department Investigates Price Manipulation in Bitcoin MarketHave you ever felt that someone is controlling the crypto markets, increasing prices to lure you in and crash it all as soon as you buy? Well, US authorities have apparently heard your whining because they are now reportedly suspicious manipulation is indeed occurring. Also Read: Bitcoin in Brief Thursday: Main Street Adopts Bitcoin Ahead of […]

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