Stable Times at Circle: A Crypto Startup Counted Out Is Rebuilt and Riding High

––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– As I walked from my car to Circle’s offices in Boston on a Friday afternoon in early November, the sun appeared to have already set, even though it would be up a while longer – past 4:00 p.m. The weather was gray, windy and cold – above freezing, but only because it was due to rain biblically for the entire drive back to New York. If a bright orange parking ticket wasn’t already fluttering on my windshield, it would be soon. Oh, and bitcoin was down two-thirds from its…

How Lightning’s Elizabeth Stark Raised an Army

––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– A former academic, Elizabeth Stark likes to play devil’s advocate. Take, for instance, her appearance at the Crypto Springs conference in October 2018. It’s a sunny morning in Palm Springs, California, and most attendees are lounging by the pool; onstage, however, Stark is busy describing some of the darker potential scenarios for the cryptocurrency industry, ones in which it could fall short of its potential. But if the words of warning aren’t drawing a response, it’s perhaps because the price of bitcoin is still north of $6,000, and some…

Backstage With CZ, the CEO Who Can’t Be Stopped

––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– Cameras, flashlights, tweets – when Changpeng Zhao takes the stage these days, a kind of mania seems to ensue. Of course, that’s perhaps to be expected when you’re known to the world over by just two letters, but “CZ” has arguably achieved something greater in 2018 — a celebrity status that’s equaled by his clout as an entrepreneur. On a sweltering December day in Singapore, Zhao is quick to show why — he has a surprise that’s not so much up his sleeve as under it. “I’m gonna show…

Bitcoin Exchange Paxful Sees 20% 2018 Growth, Driven by Africa

Regardless of bitcoin’s price volatility, 2018 saw an explosion of activity among African users. Revealed exclusively to CoinDesk, the peer-to-peer bitcoin exchange Paxful increased its transaction volume by 130 percent since January 2018 with an average of $21 million a week, compared to $8.5 million in 2017. The growth was driven in part by Paxful’s user base almost tripling in Ghana, with 41,243 accounts, and more than doubling in Nigeria to 321,476 accounts. According to Paxful CEO Ray Youssef, African bitcoin traders accounted for 41 percent of all of the…

Executives at Korean Crypto Exchange UPbit Indicted for Fraud

The executives of UPbit, one of South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, have been formally charged by the country’s prosecutors. According to a report from CoinDesk Korea on Friday, the Prosecutors’ Office of the southern district of Seoul has indicted three senior staff members, including founder Song Chi-Hyung, on charges of fraud. The executives are alleged to have made fraudulent transactions between September to December of last year, using a fake corporate account to make bogus orders worth 254 trillion won (or $226.2 billion) to inflate trading volume figures and attract more customers…

OKEx Launches No-Expiry Bitcoin Derivative Product

Malta-based OKEx, currently the second largest crypto exchange by 24-hour adjusted volume, has launched a new bitcoin derivative product with no expiry date, meaning that positions can be held indefinitely. Announced Tuesday, the product, dubbed a “perpetual swap,” allows crypto traders to speculate on the future value of OKEx’s bitcoin (BTC) to U.S. dollar (USD) index. Each swap contract has a notional value of $100 equivalent in BTC, the exchange said in a statement, adding that traders can either long a position to profit from an increase in bitcoin’s price…

Coinbase Adds Crypto-to-Crypto Trading for Retail Customers

Coinbase users can begin trading cryptocurrencies directly with other cryptocurrencies, the exchange startup said Monday. The company is adding support for crypto-to-crypto trading for its retail customers, adding a feature that has long been available to professional cryptocurrency trading services, said product manager Anna Marie Clifton. Users on Coinbase.com, as well as the Android and iOS apps, will be able to begin trading bitcoin pairs in the coming days through the new feature, called Coinbase Convert. She told CoinDesk that while trading pairs are “a pretty common paradigm in the…

SeedCX Exchange Is Barring Employees from Crypto Trading

Having traded cryptocurrency with his own money since 2014, software engineer Alex Wachli made a difficult choice when he joined the institutional crypto startup Seed CX. He had to give up trading. Seed CX forbids cryptocurrency trading by its roughly 40 employees. So Walchli effectively locked up his crypto holdings by handing the compliance team a list of all his wallet addresses, so they could monitor them and confirm his holdings stayed put. The engineer says he understands how personal investments could create a conflict of interest with regards to the…

Major German Stock Exchange to Launch Crypto Trading Platform

Germany’s second-largest stock exchange, Boerse Stuttgart Group, is set to launch a cryptocurrency trading platform in the first half of 2019. The firm announced Wednesday that it has partnered with a local fintech company solarisBank to create an engineering infrastructure for digital assets trading. solarisBank, which operates with a banking license in the country, will also be Boerse’s banking partner for the venture. “With its combination of technology and banking expertise, solarisBank is a great partner for us to offer central services along the value chain for digital assets,” said…

Kraken Is Seeking ‘War Chest’ Investment at a $4 Billion Valuation

Crypto exchange Kraken is on a fundraising drive, offering “select” investors a chance to purchase stakes in the firm. CEO Jesse Powell confirmed to CoinDesk that his company is looking to tap a small number of clients for a fundraising round valuing the firm at $4 billion. “There is presently a limited time opportunity available to a very small, select number of clients to purchase Kraken shares” at a $4 billion valuation with a $100,000 minimum, he told CoinDesk via email. The general public will not have access to these shares,…