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Japan Exchange Bitarg Denies Yahoo Acquisition Press Reports

Media outlets are touting what would amount to a major shake-up of cryptocurrency exchanges, Bitarg Exchange selling off a little less than half its business to Yahoo Japan. Reports even detailed how Yahoo Japan (YJFX) would then launch still another exchange built on Bitarg’s system by spring of next year. As of March 23, Bitarg is vigorously denying press accounts, insisting they were instead “studying various possibilities.”

Also read: Bitcoiners Demand More Crypto CFDs and Spread-Betting in the UK

Bitarg Denies Yahoo Japan Rumors

A Bitarg statement with the salutation 株式会社ビットアルゴ取引所東京 代表取締役 尹 煕元, google translated as, “Bit-Argo Exchange Co., Ltd. Tokyo Representative Director Yoon Hee Yuan,” came after rumors of a done deal surfaced between the exchange and Yahoo Japan, according to an unsigned Nikkei Asian Review article.

The Nikkei headline and subtitle read, “Yahoo Japan to open cryptocurrency exchange; First step to be taken next month — tie-up with Bitarg Exchange Tokyo.” The online post insists, “The two companies have reported their capital tie-up plan to the FSA [(Financial Services Agency)].”

Japan Exchange Bitarg Denies Yahoo Acquisition

It goes on to detail how “Yahoo Japan next month will acquire 40% of operator Bitarg Exchange Tokyo, then launch a full-blown exchange in April 2019 or later. The Yahoo Japan exchange will be newly built but based on Bitarg’s system. Yahoo Japan will make additional investments in Bitarg, which is registered with the Financial Services Agency, early in 2019,” calling such moves “a realignment in the cryptocurrency exchange business.”

A Tantalizing Head Scratcher

For its part, Bitarg called out the Nikkei post in particular, as it “reported that our company accepted the investment from Weijay FX Corporation (100% subsidiary of Yahoo Japan Corporation) and will make a capital alliance, but this case it is not what we announced. Based on the recent environmental changes surrounding the virtual currency industry, we are studying various possibilities, including capital and business tie-ups with other companies, in order to further strengthen the system and management, […],” google translate clunkily phrased. “There is nothing we did. We will respond promptly when deciding the facts to be announced in the future,” Ms. Yuan urged.

Japan Exchange Bitarg Denies Yahoo Acquisition

Still, the article is a tantalizing read, filled with specifics, including how the purchase of Bitarg shares “will be made through Tokyo’s YJFX, a wholly owned Yahoo subsidiary that operates foreign exchange transaction services,” and “YJFX will pay about 2 billion yen ($19 million) for a 40% stake in Bitarg. The stake will be made up of outstanding shares and newly issued stock.”

The report also noted more investments will be made through yet another YJFX subsidiary during early next year, and that as soon as April of this year Yahoo Japan big wigs will spend “about a year” at Bitarg working on the new exchange configuration, internal controls, customer management, and corporate governance, … leaving outside observers scratching their heads.

Do you think they’ll merge? Let us know in the comments!

Images via Pixabay, Bitarg. 

At we do not censor any comment content based on politics or personal opinions. So, please be patient. Your comment will be published.

The post Japan Exchange Bitarg Denies Yahoo Acquisition Press Reports appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Binance Announces Expansion to Europe’s ‘Blockchain Island’

It has been quite a week for the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange. The scare with Japanese regulators was eventually dismissed as FUD with CEO Zhao Changpeng taking to Twitter to call out ‘irresponsible journalism’. A more notable development though has been the recent announcement that the exchange is expanding into Europe.

A Maltese Move for Binance

In a Medium post a few hours ago Binance announced that it will be setting up operations in Malta. The announcement states that the company reviewed several locations before deciding on this one for its pro-blockchain legislation and financial stability. CEO Changpeng went on to state;

“After meeting with Parliamentary Secretary, Mr Silvio Schembri, we were impressed by the logical, clear and forward thinking nature of Malta’s leadership. After reviewing a proposal bill, we are convinced that Malta will be the next hotbed for innovative blockchain companies, and a centre of the blockchain ecosystem in Europe. Binance is committed to lending our expertise to help shape a healthy regulatory framework as well as providing funds for other blockchain start-ups to grow the industry further in Malta.”

He also said that Binance will soon start a “fiat-to-crypto exchange” on the European island nation, and is close to securing a deal with local banks which will provide access to deposits and withdrawals. The move may be in light of recent regulatory tightening in Southeast Asia where Binance is currently based.

Malta’s government is actively working on a blockchain technology framework to encourage development and investment. It is in the process of establishing a Virtual Currency Act and plans to setup a Malta Digital Innovation Authority. This will create a unique auditing framework to regulate blockchain investment operations such as ICOs.

Maltese Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy & Innovation, Silvio Schembri, praised the move;

“This is a clear vote of confidence in our country and the work being done in this sector, mainly by the latest policy launched to offer a regulatory framework of DLT operations. It is obvious that Malta has become a natural point of reference on the international sphere and companies such as Binance will continue to look into Malta to further expand their operations or establish a base. Binance’s presence in Malta sustains our vision, that of making Malta ‘The Blockchain Island’,” 

The exchange has plans to expand their operations and hire 200 employees to facilitate the new base.

The announcement had an immediate effect on Binance’s own cryptocurrency, BNB, which was the top trading altcoin during the Asian trading session on Saturday morning. At the time of writing BNB was trading 25% higher on the day at just over $12. Trade volume on the exchange over the past 24 hours is just over $2.5 billion.

The post Binance Announces Expansion to Europe’s ‘Blockchain Island’ appeared first on NewsBTC.

Crypto Taxes? There’s an App for that…

Bitcoin went mainstream as an investment in 2017, hitting an all-time high of around $20,000 in December. Not surprisingly, numbers like these also drew the attention of tax authorities around the world, with many announcing plans go after digital currency investors.In this article, you will discover three applications you can use to help you with your cryptocurrency tax reporting.

Despite Prohibiting Crypto-Ads, Google To Develop Its Own Blockchain

Blockchain utilization

It has not been long since Google [most use search engine] did ban cryptocurrency related ads, very similar to the giant Facebook. However, the leading search-bar has chosen to move forward with the technology behind cryptos and create its own blockchain with the aim to deliver transactional and cloud services:

“The Alphabet Inc. unit is developing its own distributed digital ledger that third parties can use to post and verify transactions.” – various sources.

One of the main targets of focus for the company is security, in which case plans are being designed-out to use Identity-Aware Proxy and multiple factor authentication while additionally decentralized technology to be added as the cherry on top of the cake for further infrastructure improvements.

They have invested in many blockchain startups, which include Sorj Labs, Blockchain, Ripple, LedgerX, Buttercoin and Veem. A spokesperson for Google said;

“Like many new technologies, we have individuals in various teams exploring potential uses of blockchain but it’s way too early for us to speculate about any possible uses or plans.”

For the time being, the firm is exploring ways on how to use blockchain online while their IoT tool and Chrome browser has been outrun by the Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba and a blockchain startup – Brave. Supported on the Ethereum Blockchain, Brave is a web browser which using Basic Attention Token or BAT connects readers and publishers.

It is unclear at the moment how retargeting will be tackled. Despite launching a built-in ad blocker, it did not solve the problem. Brave however; promises that it will keep users anonymity by blocking Tracking Cookies.

“We’ve seen enough consumer harm or potential for consumer harm that it’s an area that we want to approach with extreme caution.”

The post Despite Prohibiting Crypto-Ads, Google To Develop Its Own Blockchain appeared first on Ethereum World News.

Quebec Pushes Hydropower Utility to Halt New Bitcoin Mines

Quebec is temporarily suspending new cryptomining operations from setting up facilities in its low-cost power region.

“Real Users”: Bitcoin Donations Helped These Earthquake Survivors Recover

Real people: Earthquake Norcia

This is the second in a series by Aaron van Wirdum focusing on real people who use cryptocurrencies. Read about his earlier experiences in Italy here: “Real Users”: In This Mountain Town, Everyone Knows About Bitcoin.

The straight stone road from the partially crumbled city wall to the scaffolded church in the center of the central Italian town of Norcia is empty. It glimmers a bit from the rain; the weather is unusually wet for this region today. Tourists and day-trippers that would usually be strolling around the historic town center on Saturday afternoons like these are nowhere to be seen.

Bad luck for Ilaria and Lorenzo. The couple — both in their thirties, both wearing thick coats, scarves and beanies to keep themselves warm — set up a small mobile bar near the end of the street, under a white marquee; the inside is decorated with pictures of flowers. It’s all part of a local street market festival.

There, they sell saffron and beer produced with saffron, produced from the thin reddish stalks plucked from the crocus. It’s a delicacy, Lorenzo explains, as he hands out taster-sized plastic cups with beer. “Pound-for-pound among the most expensive products in the world,” he says.

It’s been almost 18 months since the Norcia area was struck with a seismic shock of 6.2 on the Richter scale: an earthquake that many of the old brick homes typical of the Mediterranean countryside could not withstand. Whole street blocks had collapsed, claiming hundreds of casualties.

earthquake peopleIlario and Lorenzo in their market stand bar

Ilaria and Lorenzo got out safely, but their home was destroyed and their town, San Pellegrino di Norcia, is abandoned. They now live in a small, prefabricated house on the edge of Norcia.

Yet, Ilaria and Lorenzo have been able to keep their saffron business running, even after disaster struck their lives. They rebuilt parts of their organic plantation with financial help from Legambiente, a charity-based NGO dedicated to the earthquake recovery efforts.

This financial help did not come in euros. Legambiente had no euros left, Ilaria and Lorenzo were told when they applied for a reimbursement about a year ago; only bitcoin. The two had heard of the digital currency a couple of years ago when they were researching local money systems. But they had never owned any themselves.

“We would have preferred euros if it was available,” Ilaria admits, sitting down on one of the wooden benches they installed in the marquee. There are no potential customers stopping by, so she has time to talk about her experience. “But bitcoin was, of course, better than nothing, so we gladly accepted.”


GuidoGuido Baroncini Turricchia, founder of Helperbit

The reason Ilaria and Lorenzo received bitcoin is Guido Baroncini Turricchia. The 39-year old Italian environmental engineer is the founder of Helperbit, a Rome-based startup that leverages bitcoin for fundraising campaigns.

Bitcoin is particularly well-suited to these types of causes, Baroncini Turricchia thinks, because of the transparency it provides. Through Bitcoin’s public blockchain, donors can trace the funds they donate and be sure that they really end up at the Bitcoin addresses of the intended recipients of the money — and nowhere else.

“Helperbit was only four months old when disaster struck Norcia,” Baroncini Turricchia recalls, as we are driving in his car from Rome to the disaster-struck town.

“For any natural disaster it takes a couple of days before media attention catches onto the scope of the event and for donation infrastructure to be set up. As the fundraising campaign starts, the amount of incoming donations reaches a peak within one or two weeks. It then fizzles out over the next couple of months or years,” he explains, as he uses his finger to draw a long-tailed, skewed bell-curve through the fogged interior of the windshield in front of him.

The number of incoming donations for Norcia was already past its peak when Baroncini Turricchia was still looking for an NGO that would take bitcoin donations through Helperbit. Most of them were skeptical, even though he offered to set up integration for free. After several rejections, Legambiente was the first and only NGO that took Baroncini Turricchia up on the offer.

“They were initially skeptical too,” Baroncini Turricchia said. “News coverage about Bitcoin had been negative overall. But they ultimately agreed to give it a try.”

Even though Helperbit was late — it was November before it was all set up — the project was still able to collect more than 10 bitcoins over about a year’s time. The coins became part of Legambiente’s budget, set up to reimburse local entrepreneurs on some of the costs they had to make to keep their businesses running.

“There are still bitcoins in the fund,” Baroncini Turricchia said. With bitcoin’s price increase over the past year, the euro value of this fund is up quite a bit as well. “But I’m not sure many people in Norcia know about it. For now, Legambiente still controls what’s left.”

An Unexpected Windfall

Ilaria and Lorenzo are two of five earthquake victims who have taken bitcoin reimbursements, so far. A third, Ilaria and Lorenzo’s friend Alessia, is also at the festival.

Wearing a green baseball cap representing the local farmer cooperative, Alessia has set up her booth to the left of the saffron bar. She sells cheese produced at her local sheep farm, as well as different types of nuts, all displayed on top of bales of hay.

earthquake marketAlessia at her cheese and nut stall with Ilaria and Lorenzo’s bar in the background

Alessia took a big hit when the earthquake struck: She lost both her home and the stable for her farm. She says that she too would have accepted euros from Legambiente, if that had been an option: “I didn’t think bitcoin was real.”

Yet, having been introduced to the cryptocurrency by Baroncini Turricchia, who also personally helped her set up a Helperbit wallet, she decided to keep it.

“Guido told me it could go up in price,” she explains. “Maybe to 6,000 euros, if all went well.” She had received about 5,000 euros worth in June of 2018.

She didn’t think about her bitcoin much over the following months — not until her mother saw an item on the news this January: the price had crashed almost 40 percent within days. Concerned by the message from her mom, Alessia contacted Baroncini Turricchia to ask how much of her 5,000 euros worth of bitcoin was left.

It’s only then that Alessia learned to which level the price had actually “crashed”: “My 5,000 euros worth of bitcoin had not decreased in value at all. It had increased to around 20,000 euros.”

Guido grins while he helps Alessia translate her story from Italian into English. He’d known back in June that the price could go up far more than 20 percent. He just hadn’t wanted to raise her expectations too high.

Alessia continues her story. Delighted with the news, she decided she wanted to sell most of her coins. She needed a new cheese machine. She signed up for The Rock Trading, a Malta-based exchange operated by Italians. Here, she encountered her first problem.

“They required a copy of a utility bill to prove my home address,” she explains, with a sarcastic smile. “I don’t have an address anymore.” She still lives in emergency housing, best described as a sea container with a door and windows, next to a gas station just outside of Norcia.

Helped by the town mayor who provided her with a signed letter for the verification process, Alessia managed to get verified in the end. “But I still didn’t sell all of my bitcoin, I’m holding onto what I’ve got left,” she says. “At least until bitcoin reaches 100,000 euro.”

The Case for Bitcoin

Baroncini Turricchia is himself a Bitcoin enthusiast; he spent much of the drive to Norcia philosophizing on the consequences of hyperbitcoinization and speculating on Satoshi Nakamoto’s identity. But like Ilaria, Lorenzo and Alessia, his decision to use bitcoin is also practical.

The transparency provided by Bitcoin is unique compared to existing payment systems. Even funds donated in fiat currency — which is also possible via Helperbit — are converted into the cryptocurrency, which allows donors to track their own funds.

But that’s not all. If they want to, donors can also show to the world that they contributed; HelperBit even includes a provably fair ranking for donors.

Further, Baroncini Turricchia plans to extend that traceability to merchants who serve NGOs in disaster-struck areas, selling tents, sheets, food and more. Donors would know not only which victims received the funds but also where and how the funds were spent. Deals with such merchants could ultimately offer a profit opportunity for Helperbit, which is itself a for-profit company.

Transparency is not the only Bitcoin feature leveraged by Helperbit. Perhaps most obviously, the cryptocurrency is well suited for fast and cheap international payments, allowing donors to support causes anywhere in the world. To prevent anyone meddling with data, Helperbit also timestamps invoices on Bitcoin’s blockchain, like the invoices provided by Ilaria, Lorenzo and Alessia to claim their reimbursement. In the longer term, Baroncini Turricchia wants to establish a reputation system to let donors send bitcoin to victims directly, peer-to-peer.

At the same time, Bitcoin has presented its challenges. “The biggest problem is key management,” Baroncini Turricchia said. “It doesn’t matter how strongly we emphasize that private keys are crucial: It’s hard for people to understand that, without them, the money is literally gone, in a way that not even Helperbit can recover it.”

In part to mitigate this risk, Helperbit sets up a multi-signature solution. Legambiente, in this case, holds three keys assigned to three different people. Helperbit keeps one. Of this total of four keys, three keys are required to unlock the funds on Bitcoin’s blockchain.

“If Legambiente loses one key,” says Baroncini Turricchia, “they should contact us immediately to help send the funds to a new address. This has already happened once.”

Ilaria and Lorenzo, of course, did not choose Bitcoin for such practical reasons at first: It was simply the only option available. But now, as they learn more about the cryptocurrency, the couple is starting to see some benefits as well.

“It is the most transparent currency in the world,” Lorenzo says, when asked what he knows about Bitcoin by now. “And politicians don’t like it,” he jokes. “That’s a good sign.”

The two are now considering opening a webshop to sell saffron for bitcoin, most likely through OpenBazaar. Baroncini Turricchia recommended it because the peer-to-peer marketplace includes a built-in, dispute resolution solution. OpenBazaar will allow them to sell their saffron internationally, opening them up to a new market of bitcoin users, they hope.

Online, at least, the rain shouldn’t affect their sales.

Some of the quotes from this article were loosely translated from Italian.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

TMX’s Shorcan and Paycase Financial launching cryptocurrency desk

TMX Group today announced that its subsidiary, Shorcan Digital Currency Network (Shorcan DCN) has entered into an agreement with Paycase Financial (Paycase), a Toronto-based, value network and trustware provider for decentralized financial services, most widely known for their mobile-first remittance platform, to launch a new cryptocurrency brokerage service focused on Bitcoin and Ether.

TMX’s Shorcan and Paycase Financial launching cryptocurrency desk

Blockchain Technology can Create a Social Media Platform that Facebook Can Never be

Facebook has become so much more than a social media company over the years. Not all of their decisions are appreciated by the general public, though. It also seems the platform faces major concerns regarding privacy and censorship. Blockchain technology may very well be the undoing of platforms like these for many different reasons.

Facebook Faces Many Problems

Being the world’s leading social network often comes at a price. For Facebook, there are growing concerns regarding privacy, data harvesting, and content censorship. Right now, users are forced to give their content and personal information freely to the company because there is no way to circumvent this problem. Blockchain technology, on the other hand, can make such platforms obsolete fairly quickly. Users can see which data is shared and with whom in a transparent manner. The idea is everything Facebook is, but also what Facebook isn’t or can’t be.

RBC Capital Markets analyst Mitch Steves has been thinking along the same lines. In his opinion, blockchain can disrupt social media for multiple reasons. Being able to share all types of content with only the people you want to without relying on intermediaries sounds quite appealing. This will prevent data harvesting by internet monopolies such as Facebook and Google. 

One of the pressing problems remains how data can be misused. Those issues are not easy to solve by any means. Privacy issues are also present on Facebook right now. The company’s recent exposure of data through Cambridge Analytics is just one example of this problem. Things are going from bad to worse for the company in this regard. Centralized control of user data simply isn’t working, that much has become more than evident.

People Are Fed Up With The Company

It has become painfully evident Facebook is fighting a losing battle on multiple fronts. Earlier this week, we saw a major social campaign telling people to delete FB altogether. Brian Acton, a co-founder of WhatsApp, is one of the people behind this campaign. Ever since Facebook bought out WhatsApp, Acton has become a lot more vocal about his dislike for the way things have gone. It is obvious this situation will only spur new debates moving forward.

On top of that, the platform has the audacity to ban specific advertisements on the platform, cryptocurrencies in this case. It is censorship in its purest form, illegal programs and scams do need to be blocked in one way or another, and they have made no effort to prevent spurious members peddling their scams and spam. Facebook’s decision to ban cryptocurrency ads altogether has created a lot of bad blood, for obvious reasons.

With a transparent network, such decisions aren’t even an issue, as users can determine what they want to see or not see. One entity should never make this decision on behalf of over a billion people. Whether or not most people will move away from this social platform moving forward, remains unknown however Facebook’s growth has started to decline. It is time people started to see these platforms and companies for what they really are – profit driven monopolies. Transparency has never been one of Facebook’s strong suits.

The post Blockchain Technology can Create a Social Media Platform that Facebook Can Never be appeared first on NewsBTC.

Coinbase Glitch Allowed Unlimited Ethereum Balances

Coinbase Glitch Allowed Unlimited Ethereum Balances

On March 21, the San Francisco based exchange Coinbase publicly revealed an ethereum balance glitch that allowed users to manipulate their account balances. Researchers noticed that, by utilizing a smart contract, a person could add as much ethereum as they wanted to their account.

Also Read: Survey Says 8% of the American Population Now Own Cryptocurrency

Smart Contract Manipulation Allowed Unlimited Ethereum Balances on Coinbase

Coinbase Glitch Allowed Unlimited Ethereum BalancesJust recently researchers had found a vulnerability within the Coinbase platform that allows a user to add as much ether as they want to their accounts by using a smart contract. The bug was revealed to the public on March 21 but the issue had existed since December of 2017. Coinbase rewarded the Dutch research analysts’ firm, Vicompany with a $10,000 reward after it discovered the glitch.

“The researchers noticed an issue with our ETH receiving code when receiving from a contract. This allowed sending of ETH to Coinbase to be credited even if the underlying contract execution failed,” explains the San Francisco trading platform.  

The issue was fixed by changing the contract handling logic — Analysis of the issue indicated only accidental loss for Coinbase, and no exploitation attempts.

Not the Only Exchange With an Unlimited Coin Glitch

Coinbase Glitch Allowed Unlimited Ethereum BalancesAccording to Vicompany, a malicious actor could manipulate their ether balance by using a smart contract to distribute ether throughout a set of wallets. Vicompany explains that if one of the internal transactions fail all transactions prior would be reversed. However, on the Coinbase interface, the transactions did not revert. The third party researcher states on the disclosure:  

On Coinbase these transactions will not be reversed, meaning someone could add as much ether to their balance as they want.

Coinbase is not the only exchange that has suffered from glitches that allow people to manipulate balances. This past February the Japanese exchange Zaif had a bug that let users purchase BTC for zero dollars. A month prior to the Zaif incident, the company Overstock had an API glitch which allowed users to pay for goods using BCH for a product priced in BTC.

What do you think about the Coinbase bug found last December? Why do you think the exchange disclosed the bug this week? Let us know what you think in the comments below.   

Images via Shutterstock, and Coinbase. 

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IT Giant Fujitsu Unveils European Blockchain Innovation Center

Japanese multinational Fujitsu has launched a Brussels-based Blockchain Innovation Center to facilitate research and projects around the tech.