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Airbnb Co-Founder Backs $23 Million Funding Round for Institutional Cryptocurrency Dealer

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nstitutional-grade cryptocurrency prime dealer SFOX has raised nearly $23 million to fund the development of full-featured asset management platform for large-scale cryptocurrency investors.

Announced on Thursday, FOX’s $22.7 million Series A funding round was led by Tribe Capital and Social Capital, and it also included investments from Y Combinator, Khosla Ventures, Blockchain Capital, and Airbnb co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk.

SFOX helps institutional investors execute large cryptocurrency trades, routing orders through a myriad of exchanges and over-the-counter (OTC) trading desk, enabling them to capture the best available prices while also minimizing the impact that large orders have on cryptocurrency prices in the spot markets.

“The distributed nature of cryptocurrency has given rise to a large breadth of exchanges around the globe, creating a fragmented market and limited liquidity,” said Akbar Thobhani, CEO of SFOX. “Over the last four years, we’ve been able to provide our clients a single point of access and the best price execution by building the necessary smart routing technology to navigate and connect these global markets and exchanges.”

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SFOX works primarily with institutional and other high net worth investors.

The company says that it has processed a total of $9 billion in transaction volume since its launch in 2014 and has seen its client base grow 12-fold in 2018, even as the cryptocurrency market has suffered under the weight of a severe downturn. That’s not entirely surprising, as declining trading volumes have made it harder for investors to enter or exit large positions without causing violent price swings that ripple throughout the entire market.

Reflecting on how institutional investors have warmed to cryptocurrency since SFOX’s launch four years ago, Thobhani told CCN that he now spends far less time than he used to educating prospective clients on the basics of the industry — answering questions such as “What is Bitcoin?” — and more time explaining the nuances of the difference between various asset classes, as well as best practices for managing their cryptoassets.

Thobhani told CCN that SFOX plans to use its new capital to solve additional “pain points” for institutions throughout the trading process, from KYC/AML onboarding to post-trade reporting.

He said, “institutions are looking for more than just trading. Institutions for example, look for reporting so they can manage their accounting better. To support them, we provide unified reporting to our customers. SFOX provides a complete-suite solution for institutions, from KYC / AML APIs for onboarding, pre-trade analysis using our data analytics, to post-trade management using our reporting solutions. We will be using the capital we raised to build more tools to solve for these additional pain points for institutions and provide a complete crypto asset management platform.”

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Bitcoin Educator Andreas Antonopoulos Gives a Digital Deep Dive on Blockchain Transactions

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One of the ways by which the crypto industry can make significant process is through the education of those who make use of crypto and those who simply observe the industry.

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The number of people who do this is growing and one of the most prominent is Andreas Antonopoulos, who is a bitcoin enthusiast and an author.

He recently uploaded a video in which he touched the process of manual construction of transactions that have multiple inputs in response to a question posed by a user about whether the process will be done by a blockchain or not. Antonopoulos explained that the process is done by a wallet and not a blockchain.“You can conduct the process with a variety of wallets that allow you to construct transactions. With multiple inputs. Electrum wallets and other web-based wallets are good examples of platforms that give you the liberty to control transactions. Just to clarify, the process is done by the wallets and not by the blockchain,” Antonopoulos said.

He also pointed out that the construction wallet is based on an algorithm and if more than one payment is needed due to small amounts the wallet will construct the transactions with payments. This process, he explained, is called coin selection and helps in the movement of various transactions.

Also, he touched on the concept of change on the blockchain and pointed out that bitcoin transaction outputs have two states in which the exist which are spent or unspent and that there is no concept of a half-spent transaction.

While this was very helpful for users, some controversy was caused when Antonopoulospointed out that the scalability problem that bitcoin struggles with will always exist and that solving one issue will inevitably bring up more.

“..and you can’t, in the beginning, solves the problem for the end there is no end and also if you prematurely optimize if you try to solve scale problems for a scale that doesn’t yet exist you shift the problem somewhere else in the case of cryptocurrencies,” he said.

The Need for an Education

While Antonopoulos might have caused some controversy, it cannot be denied that his efforts to educate the public on blockchain and crypto are highly needed, especially seeing as many of the problems faced by users can put down to a lack of education about how blockchain works.

An example of this can be seen in security as a research piece that was published recently pointed out that over 700 crypto wallets were broken into by the researchers merely guessing the passphrases which were usually weak and repetitive phrases.

In such a case, education about how wallets, blockchain, and crypto work could go a long way to prevent such issues, ensuring Industries safer for all.

Source:bitcoinexchangeguide

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Russian Opposition Leader Raises $3 Million in Bitcoin Donations

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Bitcoin has become a significant funding source for one of Russia’s leading political dissidents.

Alexei Navalny, a politician believed by many to be President Vladimir Putin’s main opponent, has attracted more than 591 BTC in donations over the last three years, worth about $3 million at current prices, public blockchain data shows.

The donations became a flashpoint this week when a pro-Putin television network questioned their timing.

Navalny’s investigative center, the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), regularly publishes exposés of government officials, including prime minister Dimitri Medvedev and attorney general Yuri Chaika.

On Monday, an anonymous Telegram channel, “FBK Staffer’s Confession,”  noted that the Navalny organization’s wallet received several large donations a few days before FBK published one such investigation, insinuating it was a paid hit piece. The claim was covered in Russian media, including the pro-Putin Tsargrad TV.

When contacted by Russian news publication Znak, FBK’s chief of staff Leonid Volkov denied any connection between the transactions and its investigations, saying the anonymous blogger “dragged the non-existent facts together in by the head and shoulders.”

Volkov added:

“You can say that each time Encke’s Comet approaches the Earth it coincides with a big war: 1914 (First World War), 1941 (World War II) and 2014 (War on Eastern Ukraine). But its rotation period is three years, and it approached the Earth many times when there were no big wars.”

Funding dissent

The Navalny wallet (3QzYvaRFY6bakFBW4YBRrzmwzTnfZcaA6E, listed on the donations page of his website) received its first bitcoin in December 2016 and since then has seen more than 2,000 transactions, including withdrawals, according to blockchain data.

Most transactions were worth from a fraction of a bitcoin to several bitcoins. From time to time, larger transactions occurred, bringing in up to 20 BTC at once.

Yet Navalny’s political movement, which also accepts donations via bank transfers and PayPal, is not the only dissenting voice in Russia to take cryptocurrency.

Investigative outlets including Zona.Media and The Insider, as well as internet freedom movement Roskomsvoboda, accept donations in bitcoin or ether. However, their wallets have accumulated only small amounts of crypto, no more than 2 BTC each.

 

source:coindesk

 

 

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Bitfury, Swiss Investment Firm Launch Regulated Bitcoin Mining Fund

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Blockchain technology firm Bitfury and Switzerland-based investment firm Final Frontier have jointly launched a regulated bitcoin mining fund.

The fund is targeted at institutional and professional investors to give them “convenient access” to bitcoin mining, Bitfury announced in a blog post Wednesday.

Traditionally, there have been “technological, logistical, financial and execution risk challenges” with access to bitcoin mining, the firm said, adding that the fund aims to address those challenges with an offering that has now been authorized by a European financial watchdog. Which particular regulator was not specified, however.

The fund will invest in turnkey assets consisting of mining sites with some of the “lowest electricity and operating costs globally,” scouted and operated by Bitfury, which specializes in manufacturing cryptocurrency mining infrastructure and also mines itself.

Claiming that the fund has been launched at an “advantageous” time for investors, Final Frontier co-founder, Imraan Moola, said:

“With the bitcoin price down significantly from its all-time high, yet institutional interest growing every day, now may be an opportune time to consider investing in bitcoin mining.”

Bitfury’s executive vice-chairman George Kikvadze said that the fund will help investors “strengthen” their portfolios and bring bitcoin closer to mainstream adoption.

Earlier this year, Bitfury partnered with South Korean R&D firm Commons Foundation to jointly launch a network of bitcoin mining operations in Paraguay.

Bitfury is also reportedly considering an initial public offering (IPO) in Amsterdam, London or Hong Kong, possibly to be held this year. The firm raised $80 million in November, in a round led by venture capital firm Korelya Capital, with Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital, Macquarie Capital and Dentsu Inc. also participating.

 

source:coindesk

 

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