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Crypto News Updates

DBS Private Launches Asia's First Bank-Backed Bitcoin Trust Services

DBS Private Bank has launched a bank-backed trust to manage bitcoin for clients, the first such product in Asia.

DBS Private Bank has launched the first bank-backed cryptocurrency trust in Asia, which will allow private banking clients to invest in and manage bitcoin, according to a Bloomberg report.

Per the report, the trust services are built on DBS Digital Exchange and it would be offering cryptocurrency services to private banking clients for asset management, including for ether, bitcoin cash and XRP in addition to bitcoin. DBS Exchange was launched in December to offer fully integrated cryptocurrency services.

The news is another noteworthy indicator that demand for bitcoin is growing significantly.

According to the bank, this new service will allow its customers to be able to hold bitcoin with confidence about its custody and management. In the words of the group head of DBS Private Bank, Joseph Poon, “Our trust structure allows clients to conveniently hold these assets, with a peace of mind that they will be safely managed and passed on to their intended beneficiaries,” according to Bloomberg.

Bloomberg reported that DBS’s digital exchange currently has 120 clients. The firm holds “S$80 million ($60 million) in assets under custody, with trading volumes up 10-fold to S$30 million to S$40 million.”

Source: Bitcoin magazine

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Sat-Stacking Platform Bittr Relaunches

Bittr, a platform allowing European users to easily accumulate small denominations of bitcoin, has relaunched in Switzerland.

Bittr, a platform that offers sats stacking services in Europe, has announced the relaunch of its operation following a shutdown about a year ago that came as the result of stringent regulations surrounding the industry. It has transferred its headquarters from the Netherlands to Switzerland.

According to the firm, the initial plan was to shut down operations permanently. However, calls from the community encouraged it to return. The Swiss Bitcoin community promised support and highlighted solutions that could help the bitcoin firm grow. Upon evaluation, Bittr then decided to restart its operations.

However, some things have changed. Bittr indicated that users no longer need to provide a phone number, they can sign messages with their wallets, extended public keys (xPubs) have been removed and PGP-encrypted email support has been added.

Bittr also noted that it will still maintain its 1.5% low transaction fee, despite the high cost of running a business based in Switzerland and that it will still note require a passport or proof-of-residency documents.

According to the press release, customers can expect sat-based commissions for referrals.

Source: Bitcoin magazine

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IRS Authorized To Summon Kraken For User Information

The IRS has been authorized to seek information on users of the cryptocurrency exchange Kraken, to ensure they are paying their taxes.

A court in Northern California has empowered the IRS to serve a “John Doe summons” to Payward Ventures Inc., which does business in the U.S. as cryptocurrency exchange Kraken, as it seeks information about user transactions with tax implications.

Per this summons, the exchange could be compelled to provide information on users who might have conducted transactions worth at least $20,000 between 2016 and 2020. Notably, this summon does not imply that Kraken is suspected of any wrongdoing.

“This John Doe summons is part of our effort to uncover those who are trying to skirt reporting and avoid paying their fair share,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in a U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) press release.

“Gathering the information in the summons approved today is an important step to ensure cryptocurrency owners are following the tax laws,” added acting assistant attorney general David Hubbert of the DOJ’s Tax Division. “Those who transact with cryptocurrency must meet their tax obligations like any other taxpayer.”

The IRS uses the John Doe summon to get details l about taxpayers from agencies or exchanges within the country for those it does not yet know the names of. This move on the part of the government, to gather more information about bitcoin users and compel them to follow regulations, highlights one of the primary reasons many have sought an alternative to the conventional financial system.

In the last 24 hours, bitcoin has been the highest-volume cryptocurrency traded on Kraken, with more than $430 million worth.

Source: Bitcoin magazine

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Ten31 Announces Grants For Open Sats, Bitcoin Q+A

Investment firm Ten31 has announced it will be supporting Open Sats and Bitcoin Q+A with grant funds sourced from its management fees.

Ten31, an investment firm focused on Bitcoin-native companies, has announced its first Bitcoin developer and community grants, which are sourced from its fund’s management fees.

It will be supporting Open Sats, a nonprofit that funds Bitcoin contributors, as well as Bitcoin Q+A, a provider of accessible Bitcoin education content, with donations of undisclosed amounts.

“We formed our first fund, the Low Time Preference Fund, with the express intention of investing in great Bitcoin companies we believe would form the future foundation of the global economic and monetary infrastructure,” according to a Ten31 press release shared with Bitcoin Magazine. “We did not set out to create another traditional venture capital firm. Instead, we wanted to create a fund backed by bitcoiners, supporting bitcoiners.”

In the release, Ten31 said it was inspired by similar grants distributed by groups like the Human Rights Foundation, Square and Brink. But its funding model appears to be novel for the space.

“We had not seen any other funds leveraging this model, and part of our hope was that other funds would see what we were doing and consider doing the same,” per the release. Fund management fees are typically charged annually and used to cover overhead, compensation, administrative, compliance and other expenses. We thought it would be great to carve out a large allocation of our management fees for purposes of recurring grants to developers and open-source contributors.”

Source: Bitcoin magazine

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Capitulating To Customer Demand, Revolut Will Allow Bitcoin Withdrawals

Financial services platform Revolut will allow users to withdraw bitcoin to their own wallets, something firms like PayPal should consider.

Revolut, one of the world’s largest mobile financial services platforms, historically has allowed users to purchase bitcoin on the platform, but not transfer it to wallets that they control. However, per a leaked blog post found by AltFi, premium customers will soon “get beta access to transfer their Bitcoin holdings out of Revolut.”

AltFi reported that the announcement was made on Revolut’s corporate blog, before being quickly deleted. A spokesperson has since confirmed the news, and the option should become available on May 6.

“The limitation of not being able to store your holdings anywhere apart from Revolut has long deterred traders, as it seemingly goes against the decentralized, open principles which underline crypto,” AltFi reported. “It has also stopped traders from using crypto bought via Revolut as a medium of exchange, given they haven’t been able to send or transfer bitcoin to other customers.”

The deleted announcement revealed that the firm was “starting with Bitcoin, but we’ll be adding more tokens and upgrades in the near future.” The report also mentioned that only three external addresses can be added to the app while withdrawals would be limited to £1,000 per month or £500 per day, with limits being reviewed in the future.

Notably, financial institutions like PayPal, which offer similar bitcoin investment options, do not allow their users withdraw their bitcoin into wallets for which they control the private keys and, therefore, the funds.

Source: Bitcoin magazine

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Coinbase Adds PayPal As Payment Option For U.S. Users

Major cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase now lets U.S. users invest in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies using their PayPal accounts.

Coinbase, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, now allows U.S. users to withdraw or sell bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies via an integrated PayPal account.

“We are now offering millions of customers in the U.S. a simple and speedy way to buy crypto on Coinbase using your debit cards and bank accounts linked to PayPal,” according to a company announcement posted today. “If you have an existing PayPal account, you’ll be able to start making transactions on Coinbase right away. Plus, there’s no need to add bank accounts or card numbers directly to Coinbase — you can continue using PayPal to securely manage your information.”

Previously, Coinbase customers in the United States could only purchase bitcoin from the exchange using either ACH or wire transfer via a connected bank account to fund their Coinbase wallet. But with the addition of PayPal as a direct payment method, Coinbase hopes to significantly ease and speed up transactions.

However, a few restrictions have been put in place. For instance, PayPal-linked credit cards can’t be used, there’s a purchase limit of $25,000 per day for PayPal users and Coinbase will charge 3.99% fees for purchases made this way and charge 2.5% fees for deposits from PayPal into Coinbase.

Coinbase recently made cryptocurrency history with a major public listing debut. And PayPal recently announced that users can leverage bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as payment methods to merchants using the platform.

Source: Bitcoin magazine

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Cricket Star Donates One BTC To Help India’s COVID-19 Fight

Professional cricket star Brett Lee has donated one bitcoin to a fund offering relief for Indian hospitals overwhelmed by COVID-19 cases.

Brett Lee, a professional cricketer for the Indian Premier League, has donated one bitcoin (worth about $55,000 at the time of this writing) to aid India’s ongoing battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.

He was inspired by fellow Australian cricket player Pat Cummins, who donated $50,000 toward a fund for oxygen supplies in India’s hospitals, according to a Twitter announcement about his own donation.

“India has been like a second home to me,” per the announcement. “I feel privileged to be in a position of making a difference and with that in in mind, I’d like to donate 1 BTC (Bitcoin) to Crypto Relief to help with the purchase of oxygen supplies for the hospitals across India.”

India is currently battling another wave of the coronavirus and the country’s healthcare system has been overwhelmed. Crypto Relief was started by the country’s cryptocurrency and blockchain technology leaders to help local hospitals. However, the fund may be facing regulatory hurdles in its mission.

“Now is the time to be united and ensure we do as much as we can to help the ones in need,” Lee added in his Twitter statement. “I’d also want to thank all the frontline workers who have been working round the clock during these tough times.”

Source: Bitcoin magazine

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U.S. Bank To Offer Cryptocurrency Custody, Administer NYDIG's Bitcoin ETF

Reports indicate that U.S. Bank will offer custody of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and potentially administer a bitcoin ETF.

Bitcoin adoption among banks in the United States has been growing steadily. Now, the latest financial institution in the country poised to continue this trend is U.S. Bancorp, the parent of U.S. Bank, which appears set to expand its services to include cryptocurrency custody and administering one of the country’s first bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

A recent report from Biz News Post indicated that U.S. Bancorp, the fifth-largest bank in the country, will be introducing a cryptocurrency custody product along with an unnamed sub-custodian. This follows a 2020 clarification from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency that such services could be provided by national banks.

U.S. Bank would also serve as the administrator for a potential bitcoin ETF to be offered by NYDIG, pending the regulatory approval of that offering.

According to the report, the bank says its decision was motivated by the growing call of its customers for exposure to the crypto industry. The bank noted that “institutional investors such as pension funds and insurance companies … see cryptocurrencies as an asset class in which they would like to invest.”

The chief strategy officer for the U.S. Bank Global Fund Services, Christine Waldron, said that there has been a change in the desire of institutional investors to gain exposure to cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.

“They’ve always seen it bubbling around the surface on the retail investor side,” she said per the report. “This really allowed for institutional investors to take a look at cryptocurrency as a viable asset class.”

This is yet another sign that legacy financial institutions feel the need to meet customer demand for bitcoin services. Recently, reports have surfaced that JPMorgan Chase & Co. will be offering a bitcoin fund, Morgan Stanley will be offering bitcoin exposure and Goldman Sachs will provide bitcoin investment vehicles.

Source: Bitcoin magazine

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Bitfarms To Join Foundry USA Pool, Will Boost Mining Performance Up To 15%

The partnership will expand both Foundry’s and Bitfarm’s operations, while boosting the hash rate share of North America.

Bitfarms, an institutional bitcoin mining company, has partnered with Foundry USA Pool, in a partnership that will “Expand [Bitfarms’] Bitcoin Mining Fleet…Instantly Boosting Operating Hashrate By 15%,” according to a press release shared with Bitcoin Magazine today.

Bitfarms operates one of the most significant mining operations in North America, and together with Foundry Digital—a subsidiary company of Digital Currency Group, (also the parent company of Grayscale)—will improve the scale of the mining industry in the continent.

Foundry offers a suite of services that include the procurement of bitcoin miners for interested companies. Using Foundry, Bitfarms intends to purchase and finance the latest cryptomining machines, 2,465 of them per the release. The first 1,465 of these have been installed at Bitfarms’ Sherbrooke facility. Once they’re operational, they should bring Bitfarms hash rate up by a stunning 133PH/s.

The partnership between Foundry and Bitfarms isn’t the first Foundry has undertaken, after announcing they will accept institutional clients back in March 2021. They have partnerships with BitDeer and Hut 8. These partnerships provide a solution to the shortage of miners and help develop the mining space.

Per the press release, Emiliano Grodzki, CEO of Bitfarms, says that his firm is “excited to partner with an industry-leading provider of equipment financing to secure timely and reliable access to the latest generation of Bitcoin mining machines, and to continue to grow our business.” This sentiment was also shared by Mike Colyer, CEO of Foundry, who said, “We are pleased to provide Bitfarms, which is a leading Bitcoin mining company in North America, with equipment financing and a mining pool that has been designed to help publicly traded companies such as Bitfarms scale their operations locally and in a fully compliant manner.”

Source: Bitcoin magazine

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Baillie Gifford Invests $100 Million In Blockchain.com

110-year-old asset management firm Baillie Gifford has invested $100 million in bitcoin wallet, exchange and explorer tool Blockchain.com.

The CEO and cofounder of cryptocurrency wallet and exchange service provider Blockchain.com, Peter Smith, has announced that investment management company Baillie Gifford contributed $100 million to its $300 million funding round held in March.

Per the announcement, the 110-year-old asset management firm became the largest single investor in the history of Blockchain.com. Additionally, Blockchain.com is one of the first cryptocurrency companies that Baillie Gifford has invested in.

According to Smith, the investment is “a validation that a balanced and diversified retail/institutional business has incredible growth potential in the coming years.” He added that “we’re honored to include [Baillie Gifford] on our journey to bring the next 1B people into crypto.”

Baillie Gifford has made a name for itself in the technological space, as the firm has a knack for picking emerging leaders. It has invested in companies like Tesla, Google, Amazon and Airbnb over the last 20 years, per the announcement.

Blockchain.com was one of the first wallet providers in the Bitcoin space and it offers a free Bitcoin blockchain explorer tool. But some within the Bitcoin community feel that it could do more to support Bitcoin specifically. Users on Reddit, for instance, have noted accusations that the firm is “subverting segwit adoption” and that it “is widely believed to never accept it in the future.”

Source: Bitcoin magazine