In a report detailing how much ethical or white hat hackers made in 2018, blockchain firms have topped the list as the highest spenders in bounty programs than traditional firms.

The report disclosed that in 2018, blockchain firms have spent close to 900K U.S dollars paying hackers. These hackers, unlike those who penetrate systems for malicious or personal gains, penetrate a system, find weaknesses that can be used by black hat hackers and, instead of using the same for malicious gains, reports the vulnerabilities to the software developers so that the weaknesses can be fixed.

In the report, Block.one and Coinbase took the top spots as the blockchain firms that have spent more money on white hat hackers.

Block.one, which is responsible for the EOS blockchain, spent more than 500K U.S dollars on these bounty programs. This accounted for more than 50 percent of what blockchain firms spent on bounty programs. Coinbase, a cryptocurrency exchange, spent close to 300K U.S dollars.

TheNextWeb, a technology website, noted that “blockchain firms remunerate hackers slightly better than other industries.”

Citing a spokesman from HackerOne, a breach disclosure platform, TheNextWeb continued to note that:

The average bounty for all blockchain firms in 2018 was $1490, which is higher than the Q4 platform average of around $900. One of the top paid crypto hackers earned 7X the median software engineer salary in their country respectively.

The report also indicated that more than 3,000 weaknesses have been identified by bounty hunters this year. However, these vulnerabilities were from 64 blockchain firms on the breach disclosure platform. The platform is confident that the number of weaknesses is much higher given that blockchain firms are in excess of 2K.

Although blockchain is touted as the most secure, the report indicates that it has its own fair share of shortcomings.

As we cross over to 2019, do you think blockchain companies will increase their bounty rewards as they seek to make their platforms secure?

*This post is credited to Cryptoline News

How do you get people to try out cryptocurrency when the market is in a prolonged slump? You can try giving it away.

That’s what the makers of a little known digital currency, known as ZRX, are doing. In an initiative announced on Wednesday, users of the popular crypto exchange Coinbase can earn a few tokens of ZRX by watching videos and taking quizzes. Here’s a screenshot:

No one is going to get rich watching the videos, however. A person at Coinbase familiar with the project said participants will earn roughly $3 worth of ZRX tokens, but added that the company expects to offer the same arrangement for other cryptocurrencies.

“Traditionally, the two ways people get cryptocurrency are by mining or buying. Mining cryptocurrency typically means high setup costs and technical knowledge, while buying cryptocurrency requires disposable income to exchange for cryptocurrencies, which limits access. Earning cryptocurrency is a third option,” said Coinbase in blog post explaining the project.

In the case of ZRX, the creators of the cryptocurrency have reportedly earmarked 1.6 million tokens to give away through Coinbase, which amounts to around $500,000 given the tokens current price of 34 cents.

The ZRX tokens can be used in a blockchain project known as 0x, which offers a decentralized exchange for trading a wide variety of tokens.

For Coinbase, the ZRX education campaign represents a new phase for a company called Earn that it acquired last year. Earn paid users small amounts of cryptocurrency to complete small marketing tasks. Since the acquisition, Earn’s CEO Balaji CEO has become Coinbase’s CTO, and it appears the company is being rolled up into a new entity called Coinbase Earn.

*This post is credited to Fortune

Last week, smartereum.com reported that PayPal had created an internal blockchain for its staff. To show that the payment giant has developed strong interest in cryptocurrencies and the industry as a whole, it recently partnered with Coinbase to enable instant crypto-to-crypto withdrawals on the platform. What this means is that users will be able to move their cryptocurrencies into their PayPal accounts. What’s more, it is 100% free. Part of the announcement made on the Coinbase blog was as follows:

“The withdrawals are fast and free. You’ll not need to pay any fees. Converting and moving your cryptocurrencies to cash has never been this easy or this affordable.”

An Open Financial System

Before now, a user who intends to withdraw funds from PayPal would need a federal wire account or an automated clearing house to move the funds. This may last for up to two business days. Thanks to this new arrangement, users can get their funds instantly for free.

A Coinbase executive, Allen Osgood said the service was launched in response to the demands made by customers. In his words:

“We believe having an open financial system is more important than simply owning cryptocurrencies. Users should be able to use it anytime and any how they want. By taking this step to integrate PayPal, we have moved one step towards giving our customers instant and smooth access to their funds.”

For now, this service is only available in the United States. However, the company stated that it will make it available in more countries by next year.

 

Coinbase: More Than A Cryptocurrency Exchange

When you hear the name Coinbase, the first thing that comes to mind is the cryptocurrency exchange. However, Coinbase is more than just an exchange. Behind the scenes, the company is making moves to ensure that cryptocurrencies are adopted mainstream. Along with Circle and other cryptocurrency related firms, Coinbase has been discussing with policy makers. The company is taking steps to promote adoption of cryptocurrencies by penetrating the industry.

Thanks to the effort of Coinbase and Circle, a lobbying group was launched and three bills specifically for the development of blockchain and cryptocurrencies were launched. Thankfully, some members of congress in the United States are in support of the promotion of blockchain technology. Tom Emmer, a co-chairman of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, said that the United States needs to prioritize blockchain development as well as create an environment that will be friendly to private investors and encourage innovation. In his words:

“This is an exciting era for cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. Legislators need to embrace these emerging technologies and provide a clear regulatory framework that will allow the industry to flourish in the United States and eventually on a global scale.”

*This post is credited to Smartereum

  • The most popular U.S. cryptocurrency exchange, known for its slow and careful nature when adding tokens to its platform, is looking to add 30 new ones.
  • XRP is notably on the list. Speculation that it might be added to Coinbase boosted prices earlier this year.
  • Coinbase only offered a handful of cryptocurrencies last year as bitcoin and crypto mania took hold of retail investing.
  • The exchange did not guarantee that all of the assets will ultimately be listed for trading.
A visual representation of the digital cryptocurrency, XRP.

XRP fans may finally get what they’ve loudly been calling for on Twitter and Reddit.

Popular U.S. exchange Coinbase said Friday it’s considering adding a broad range of assets, which includes the second largest cryptocurrency, XRP.

“We are continuing to explore the addition of new assets, and will be working with local banks and regulators to add them in as many jurisdictions as possible,” Coinbase said in a blog post Friday.

Earlier this year, the company updated its framework for how it judges whether or not to add a new cryptocurrency. It lists certain objective factors like security, compliance and other less tangible ones like if a project aligns with Coinbase’s “mission of creating an open financial system for the world.”

To be sure, all of the 30 assets still require significant exploratory work from both a technical and compliance standpoint. The company did not guarantee that all the assets will ultimately be listed for trading. Other digital currencies under consideration include EOS, Cardano, Stellar, Tezos, ChainLink, Mainframe and Dai.

Source: Coinbase

XRP, the second largest cryptocurrency by market cap, had notably been left off of Coinbase’s small but growing list of options. Fans of the cryptocurrency constantly call for its addition to Coinbase, which many say would boost volume and as a result, prices.

The speculation reached a fever pitch in March ahead of an appearance by Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse and Coinbase President and Chief Operating Officer Asiff Hirji on CNBC’s “Fast Money.” The two executives were scheduled to appear in separate, unrelated interviews.

Still, the cryptocurrency spiked 10 percent that day on rumors on Twitter and reports by other news outlets that XRP would finally make its debut on Coinbase. There was no such announcement.

Working with the regulators

Coinbase, recently valued at $8 billion, like most other crypto start-ups has been on high alert to stay on the right side of regulation.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has repeatedly warned cryptocurrency founders that initial coin offerings, aside from bitcoin and ether, are classified as securities and have to register accordingly.

In November, the SEC had its first settlement with an exchange for not registering with the agency. In addition to settling with crypto exchange EtherDelta, it also settled its first civil penalties solely for initial coin offering, or ICO, for a registration violation.

San Francisco-based payment company Ripple, which owns roughly 60 percent of the XRP in existence and uses it for its cross-border payments products, has been in talks with Coinbase since at least April about adding the cryptocurrency. But whether or not XRP was a security, and its regulatory status was never discussed, Ripple’s chief market strategist Cory Johnson told CNBC at the time.

Right now, Coinbase lists nine cryptocurrencies in the United States, up from just four options earlier this year.

After notching a record high of $3.84 in January, XRP has pulled back significantly to around 29 cents, according to CoinMarketCap.com. It was down 10 percent Friday as bitcoin dropped to a 15-month low.

*This post is credited to CNBC

What is a cryptocurrency index fund? Cryptocurrency index funds are a way for curious investors to gain exposure to crypto assets without having to invest in and hold a particular coin or token. Here’s everything you need to know about this growing trend among investors.

The following article is for educational purposes. It is not investment advice.

What Is a Cryptocurrency Index Fund?

It’s a type of index fund, which is a type of mutual fund, for cryptocurrency investing. In other words, it’s an investment portfolio designed to provide a wide market overview at a low cost. This translates to passive investment for long-term gains, not day trading.

Different Types of Funds

Active vs Passive Management
There are two types of cryptocurrency index funds: active or passive. Active ones actively trade cryptocurrencies while passive ones hold, or hodl, certain coins and tokens on your behalf.

Those that List all vs Select Cryptocurrencies 
Most cryptocurrency index funds only invest in the highest market cap coins and tokens, though some capture the whole market. The way they choose tokens differs, too. For example, how do they take market cap, liquidity and price into account?

Manual vs Automated
Some cryptocurrency index funds have the option to manually select and weigh each cryptocurrency. Others will create a basket of coins and tokens on your behalf based on your desired returns and their predictions.

Advantages

Reduced Risk
Cryptocurrency index funds diversify investors’ portfolios. Holding different coins vs tokens minimizes investors’ exposure to the volatility of the cryptocurrency market.

The logic is virtually identical to that behind the use of mutual funds. Like investing in a single company, investing in a single coin increases risk. Conversely, investing in diverse assets spreads that risk around.

Simplified Cryptocurrency Investing
Investing smartly in the dynamic crypto space requires constant attention to the market and research. Storing assets securely in hot vs cold wallets, on or off exchanges, and tracking their performance is also time-intensive.

Cryptocurrency index funds handle this much of this overhead so investors do not have to.

More Predictable Performance
Like any asset pool, they’re specialized for tracking the performance of the market and reallocating investments to maximize portfolio returns. Instead of relying on the time and resources of one person, they are an organization presumably with a staff and algorithms that track market data.

Fewer Trading Fees
Though they have their own fees, the larger and more active your trading portfolio, the more economical a professional service could be. Though it may not matter for infrequent investments, how Coinbase makes money comes down to their significant fees.

Disadvantages

Unique cryptocurrency index funds will have disadvantages depending on your investment strategy. For example, some may prioritize liquidity over long-term gains.

Lack of Liquidity
Though cryptocurrency index funds differ when it comes to liquidity, a common criticism is that withdrawing funds isn’t that easy. In some cases, investors have to invest in a token, which represents part of the pool. Therefore, converting those gains back into USD takes another step.

Price 
They have different levels of management, but this can come with fees. For example, Bitwise charges 2.5% in annual management fees, which can be a lot depending on the size of your portfolio. Of course, pools with less management have lower fees. Again, for frequent and high volume traders, it might be a more affordable option.

Barrier to Entry  
Cryptocurrency index funds are only available to accredited investors. This means someone who is legally allowed to buy and trade securities, per SEC regulations. Specifically, an accredited investor has made over $200,000 in the past 2 years or has a net worth of over $1 million.

Additionally, you have to invest a significant amount of capital to join a fund. For example, Coinbase Index Fund has a minimum investment of $250,000.

Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and these funds are different. ETFs work on the stock exchange and trade during the day. According to SEC announcement, ETFs provide more liquidity. Additionally, they typically have a lower barrier to entry than cryptocurrency index funds, or any type of mutual fund.

Conversely, index funds require less management on an investor’s part day-to-day.

Best Cryptocurrency Index Funds

The following asset managers are the current industry leaders. Here’s what you need to know about each.

Bitwise Asset Management

Founded in 2017, Bitwise was the first cryptocurrency index fund. Bitwise holds the top 10 cryptocurrencies based on their 5-year diluted market cap, according to their SEC filing. The company readjusts the fund’s holdings monthly and claims it stores all assets in 100% cold storage, meaning they’re offline.

Historically, the Bitwise cryptocurrency index fund has outperformed Bitcoin alone.

Bitwise is technically an asset management service. It has several cryptocurrency pools within it. These include:

  • 10 Private Index Fund
  • 10 Index Offshore Fund
  • Digital Asset Index Fund

Coinbase Index Fund

Coinbase launched their own cryptocurrency index fund in 2018. Unlike Coinbase the wallet and exchange, it’s only available for accredited investors and requires a minimum investment of $250,000. It has a 1% management fee.

According to their own calculations, the Coinbase index has performed better than Bitcoin price since they launched the company in 2015. It includes:

  • Bitcoin (BTC)
  • Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
  • Ethereum (ETH)
  • Ethereum Classic (ETC)
  • Litecoin (LTC)

Iconomi

Iconomi is a fund without a barrier to entry. In other words, anyone can invest through their platform in a variety of coins and tokens. Unlike Coinbase, which focuses on a limited number of high market cap coins, Iconomi includes utility tokens and lesser-known digital assets.

Investors can select between low, medium and high risk.

Institutional Investment in Crypto

Index funds are bringing traditional approaches to investment into cryptocurrency. This means paying a management fee for a company to create a coin and token portfolio.

Investors can specify risk level and what types of cryptocurrency they’re most interested in. Do they prefer high market cap coins or security tokens? And how much do they want to customize their portfolio?

Overall, they’re for professional investors—which typically means accredited investors and people who would otherwise pay a lot in cryptocurrency transaction fees.

*This post is credited to Blocklr

No one knows how long cryptocurrencies will last, but it’s a decent bet they might outlast you. Passing your digital holdings on to loved ones after your death isn’t as simple as bequeathing cash or other property, though, particularly since wills aren’t designed for confidential information.

Because a private key is all that’s necessary to transfer funds from a wallet, including it in your will might be a terrible idea. “I would strongly advise against anyone putting any information they consider private into their will,” says estate planning attorney Gordon Fischer. “Wills, after your death, become court documents and are generally public documents, accessible by anyone.”

A private key is like an unchangeable password, which is generated when you create a new cryptocurrency wallet. It should always be kept as safe and secure as possible.

Although a will might not enter public records immediately, it’s unwise to risk exposing the keys to your crypto wallets at all. Your family might not recognize the significance of a private key right away, and by the time they do, your digital wealth could be pilfered by crafty crooks or other unsavory characters. Fischer notes that trusts, however, are “generally private documents.”

With conventional assets, there’s an established procedure for claiming them through probate court, but with cryptocurrencies the process is less certain. Complicating matters is that many cryptocurrency exchanges don’t let their customers name beneficiaries. Coinbase, the largest trading platform, puts the burden on the heirs to claim any assets left by the deceased (so, hopefully your family knows which exchange you use). Another major bourse, Gemini, declined to comment for this story.

Of course, the problem isn’t confined to the cryptocurrency world: Popular stock trading app Robinhood, which recently began offering crypto trading, doesn’t offer basic beneficiary support. Sadly, as a result, proving that heirs are entitled to crypto inheritance could quickly become a protracted legal nightmare.

There’s no perfect solution for delivering crypto from the crypt. On the bitcoin subreddit, some have suggested dividing portions of your private key among trusted advisors and loved ones. After your passing, they can piece them together to access the associated wallet. (Just make sure not to cross them while you’re still alive!)

It’s still a mystery how many bitcoins have been lost due to people passing away without a plan in place for their cryptocurrency. Overall, industry experts say that between 2.3 million and 3.7 million bitcoins have been lost for a variety of reasons—at current prices, that’s worth between $15 billion to $24 billion.

Although cryptocurrencies are often championed as a tool for financial self-sufficiency, the challenge of bequeathing bitcoin demonstrates how much we must trust one another, in life and death. Just plan ahead, so you can share your bitcoin from the beyond.

*This post is credited to NextGov

Patents are complex legal documents that are used in modern business for protecting important pieces of intellectual property. While they are applied in pretty much all branches of today’s industry, they are especially popular when it comes to emerging technologies.

As such, many were in a rush to patent as many aspects of the blockchain technology as possible. The result is today’s situation, where all the largest financial services companies in the world are struggling with blockchain patents. Naturally, some are more successful than others, but all of them are in a rush to change and control the new tech.

Blockchain Patenting Game

Blockchain technology is still considered to be in its infancy, but even so, it holds a lot of potential to completely change the way business is done in modern times. It can safely store data, and protect it from being altered and manipulated. As such, it can seriously impact every branch of today’s industries, and at the same time, it continues to constantly grow and evolve.

Whenever a new breakthrough is made, or a new use case is found, large companies return to the struggle of getting a patent for it. Back in 2017, different companies in the United States alone managed to file over 190 blockchain-related patents.

So far, these patents have been split into two different types, or categories — blockchain specific and cryptocurrency specific patents. Cryptocurrency specific patents are mostly owned by crypto startups and individuals, while blockchain specific patents are usually owned by companies like the Bank of America, IBM, and others. Most of such patents are coming from China, which has filed around 600 of them in 2017 alone.

7 Largest Patent-Holding Companies Right Now

1. Nasdaq

There are numerous companies that hold blockchain specific patents in the world, but Nasdaq is currently the only stock exchange among them. It has a market cap of $6.8 trillion, which makes it the second-biggest stock exchange in the world. It also makes it one of the most important adopters of this technology on this list.

The company filed a patent for an exchange system based on blockchain technology back in 2016. They also filed one for a blockchain-based data matching system recently. The company is using this technology in order to create a new cloud platform based on the blockchain, called Linq. The platform would combine Nasdaq’s exchange with the financial network of Citi Group in order to allow investors to trade securities.

All of this is being done under the supervision of Chain, another blockchain firm which is based on the cloud technology.

2. Qualcomm

Officially, Qualcomm describes itself as a mobile tech firm. However, many have an alternative description for them, which is “patent trolls”. These are firms that are filing patents only so that they can license them and demand a payment from other companies that wish to use them. Apple is one of the firms that seemingly fell into this trap, and is currently suing Qualcomm because they demand a percentage of Apple’s iPhone sales.

PateSnap claims that Qualcomm has more than 46,000 patents at the moment, with 100,000 being still in form of an application. Most of them are in the area of digital information transmission, which also includes blockchain technology.

3. Coinbase

Next, we have Coinbase, the leading crypto exchange, which is also based in the US. Apart from being the largest exchange, Coinbase is also a leader among the exchanges in regards to the number of filed patents. Many would describe the Exchange’s relationship with patents as ‘complicated’. This is due to the fact that they even decided to sign a Patent Pledge, which forbids them to use patents against firms with fewer than 25 employees.

Additionally, the exchange’s CEO, Brian Armstrong, explained their decision to patent blockchain. He claims that the Bitcoin community was created on the idea of openness, as well as that of decentralization. Because of this, patenting this technology is not exactly the right way to go. Still, the creation of a tech business cannot be done without obtaining patents, which is why the exchange does it anyway.

Coinbase simply wants to protect itself from patent trolls such as Qualcomm.

4. Fidelity

Fidelity is also actively working on patenting as much of the blockchain as possible. Thanks to their efforts and careful calculations, the company is currently managing around $6.9 trillion in customer assets. This makes Fidelity the fourth largest company when it comes to managed capital.

They also recently partnered up with Coinbase, meaning that their users will likely have the ability to combine their Fidelity investments with their crypto investments.

5. Mastercard

Next, there is Mastercard. This is one credit card company that takes blockchain development extremely seriously. They offer two different services at the moment, which are Smart Contract API and Blockchain Core API. Smart Contract API allows users to write their own smart contracts, while the other one allows businesses to use Mastercard’s network for processing blockchain-based transactions.

These transactions are often much faster thanks to Mastercard’s own, specially developed new technology.

The company filed a patent back in July of this year, and it concerns a new way to process cryptos via the same framework that is being used for fiat currencies. This would speed up transactions even more, while it would simultaneously reduce the risks since this technology has had decades to properly develop and grow to perfection.

6. IBM

Nearing the end of the list, we have IBM. IBM has a long history of investing in the blockchain, and they share the second place regarding the number of patents with previously discussed Mastercard. In fact, IBM has filed around 9,043 patents in 2017 alone. They also cover the new method of safely accepting payments from untrusted parties via the blockchain.

The company’s Blockchain Platform has more than 400 customers at the moment, and it relies on special tools used for creating a business-specific blockchain. Their most recently accepted patent proposes a new system that would make database managing easier and more efficient. Of course, it would be done via the blockchain.

7. Bank Of America

While this list has had some firms with an impressive number of patents, none of them has filed more patents in 2017 than the Bank of America itself. The company’s CTO, Catherine Bessant, recently stated that they have just under 50 patents in the blockchain technology.

This is all a part of their plan to acquire as much intellectual property as possible. They understand that owning the right technology will give them the competitive edge in the world of finances. As such, the blockchain is likely at the top of their wish list.

Despite this, the Bank remains firmly against Bitcoin, and they even banned its purchase earlier this year. This will likely remain so until they can create their own crypto wallet and find a way to charge their own fees for using digital currencies. Obviously, despite the BTC ban, they are still working hard on entering this space, and they even filed a patent on a new crypto transformation system about a year ago.

Which Company Has Filed The Most Patents?

As mentioned before, firms that are the most interested in filing blockchain specific patents are usually those from the financial services industry. According to data from Envision IP, around 124 blockchain patents in the US are filed by only 5 firms. The biggest ones among them are Fidelity, Bank of America, and Mastercard — all of which are financial services companies.

While it might seem strange that companies like Facebook and Google have not entered the rush with the same enthusiasm, there is a reason for that too. The reason is that this technology is currently in a state that best suits banks and credit card companies. In its current form, it is perfect for keeping records and sending payments, which is exactly what firms like these need.

*This post is credited to BitcoinExchangeGuide

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong predicts the number of  people in the cryptocurrency ecosystem to grow from the current 40 million to 1 billion in the next five years, TechCrunch reported September 7.

In an interview with TechCrunch, Armstrong projected that the crypto ecosystem and the total number of digital currencies will grow substantially, attributing the growth to commercial organizations which develop their own tokens. The tokens would reportedly function together with equity as an alternative investment system. Armstrong explained:

“It makes sense that any company out there who has a cap table should have their own token. Every open source project, every charity, potentially every fund or these new types of decentralized organizations [and] apps, they’re all going to have their own tokens.”

Addressing the issue of regulation as one of the crucial factors for implementing his vision, Armstrong called it “a big open question,” and noted that it remains to be seen whether the majority of tokens will be recognized as securities. He said that Coinbase does “feel a substantial subset of these tokens will be securities.”

Armstrong added that Coinbase could host hundreds of tokens within “years” and potentially “millions” in the future.

In order to become a fully-regulated broker-dealer and “offer future services that include crypto securities trading, margin and over-the-counter trading,” Coinbase acquired securities dealer Keystone Capital Corp. in addition to Venovate Marketplace, Inc., and Digital Wealth LLC. The acquisition could help the company subsequently expand into non-crypto financial products.

Yesterday, Coinbase announced it will launch trading of four more cryptocurrencies for the U.K. pound sterling (GBP). British customers will now be able to trade altcoins Ethereum (ETH), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Litecoin (LTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) for GBP, in addition to the existing Bitcoin (BTC).

*The post is credited to TheBitcoinNews

LinkedIn has been keeping its finger on the pulse of the United States’ most thriving startups, and crypto organizations are showing tremendous signs of life — and growth.

The business and employment social media site released its LinkedIn Top Startups list this Thursday, September 6, 2018. Split into two articles, the list details the U.S.’s most dominant startups, weighing each company’s worth with in-house data that looks at “employee growth; jobseeker interest; member engagement with the company and its employees; and how well these startups pulled talent from [the company’s] flagship LinkedIn Top Companies list.” To be eligible, companies could be no older than seven years and must have had at least 50 employees.

Crypto Companies Take Top Spots

Interspersed between the expected ilk of general tech and software startups, cryptocurrency and blockchain companies had an impressive showing among their mainstream industry peers.

Coming in just behind Uber adversary Lyft and low-calorie ice-cream company Halo Top Creamery, respectively, Coinbase ranked third on the list. In describing the six-year-old cryptocurrency wallet and vendor, LinkedIn notes that its services house over 20 million accounts — twice the number of clients Charles Schwab has on its books. At 500 employees strong, the company hopes to double its manpower by year’s end.

Right behind number six — stock-trading service Robinhood (which, while not focused on cryptocurrencies, does offer crypto trading) — comes Ripple. With over 100 clients, the blockchain-based banking platform delivers its services to institutions like Santander, RBC and American Express. The company of 250 employees hopes to add 75 more by 2019. Slinging a bit of mud, the company boasted to LinkedIn that this dedication to expansion — along with an impressive clientele — is what distinguishes Ripple from other crypto startups that are “playing in the sandbox.”

Down the List, Crypto Still Finds Its Place

Outside of the top 10, the Winklevosses’ Gemini straddles the list’s upper and lower division at 25. LinkedIn highlights the Winklevosses’ hitherto unsuccessful attempts to list a bitcoin ETF, as well as their spearheading of an SRO (self-regulatory organization) for cryptocurrency exchanges. Among its 150 employees, the description draws attention to Robert Cornish, Gemini’s newly acquired CIO, whom it “poached” from the New York Stock Exchange.

Just below Gemini, Ethereum incubator ConsenSys tops the latter half of the rankings. Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin heads the organizational body, and its impressive staff of 965, the largest of any of the crypto companies surveyed, is spread across departments for technological development, consulting, education and investing. Earlier this year, the company partnered with Amazon to launch Kaleido, an enterprise-grade, blockchain software-as-a-service kit available on Amazon Web Services.

At 47, Axoni, a fintech firm focused on blockchain and distributed ledger technology, brings up the rear as the last crypto-related company on the list. Founded in 2013, the 50 employee company is starting to make a name for itself, as an infusion of $32 million in venture capital from market heavyweights like Goldman Sachs, Nyca Partners and Andreessen Horowitz has given the fledgling firm expectations to live up to.

A detailed version of LinkedIn’s terminology, along with qualifiers and exceptions, reads as follows:

LinkedIn measures startups based on four pillars: employment growth, engagement, job interest and attraction of top talent. Employment growth is measured as percentage headcount increase over one year, which must be a minimum of 15%. Engagement looks at non-employee views and follows of the company’s LinkedIn page as well as how many non-employees are viewing employees at that startup. Job interest counts what rate people are viewing and applying to jobs at the company, including both paid and unpaid postings. Attraction of top talent measures how many employees the startup has recruited away from LinkedIn Top Companies, as a percentage of the startup’s total workforce. Data is normalized across all eligible startups. The methodology time frame is July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018.

To be eligible, companies must be independent and privately held, have 50 or more employees, be 7 years old or younger and be headquartered in the country on whose list they appear. We exclude all staffing firms, think tanks, nonprofits, accelerators and government-owned entities.

*This post is credited to BitcoinMagazine

European crypto card provider Wirex has been awarded an e-money license by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK. The accreditation will allow the company to create e-money accounts in more than two dozen different currencies. Wirex hopes to secure similar licenses in Asia and North America.

Wirex to Create E-Money Accounts in 25 Currencies

Wirex Limited, a major provider of cryptocurrency debit cards in Europe, has been granted an e-money license by the Financial Conduct Authority. The watchdog regulates over 56,000 companies and 125,000 approved persons in the United Kingdom.

In a tweet, Wirex says it is only the third company to have received the license so far and notes the importance of the development. It explains in a post published on its website that “gaining the FCA license will open up a much broader market,” giving the platform an opportunity to create e-money accounts in over 25 different currencies.

The fintech firm also revealed it is currently developing offerings in Asia, including Singapore and Japan, as well as in North America. It did not say, however, when exactly users in these markets will be able to take advantage of its services. According to previous reports, its contactless cryptocurrency cards were supposed to be launched in Asia during the second quarter of 2018.

The London-headquartered company became the first to reintroduce crypto debit cards in Europe after they were suspended by Visa last year. It offers both virtual and physical cards in around 30 countries from the European Economic Aria. Wirex started shipping the plastics to customers in the UK and Europe in May.

The cards initially supported bitcoin core (BTC), litecoin (LTC) and instant exchange with GBP, USD, and EUR. Last month Wirex announced the addition of ripple (XRP). The cards come with a chip and Cryptoback rewards. The virtual Visas offer deposits in a number of altcoins through a proprietary wallet. Wirex claims it has 1.8 million clients and says it has facilitated transactions worth $2 billion.

Bringing Crypto to the Mainstream

The company expects the new accreditation to boost trust in its platform and improve its reputation on the global stage. “Acquiring an FCA license has been our ambition since we started the company, so we’re thrilled to be at this point,” said Wirex co-founder Dmitry Lazarichev. “The license gives us the freedom to optimize our e-money offering, which will lead to lower costs and fees for our customers,” he detailed in a press release.

According Wirex’s other co-founder, Pavel Matveev, the company has a robust approach to security and compliance and is working closely with regulators around the world. “We’re on a path of continuous improvement and focusing on these important milestones is key to achieving our ambitious global expansion plans. The FCA e-money license is just the first step to creating a broad and versatile offering that meets the varying needs of consumers worldwide,” he said.

Matveev expressed his satisfaction with the FCA accreditation and emphasized that Wirex wants to bring cryptocurrencies into the mainstream while providing a solution for managing both crypto and fiat funds. The UK-based crypto company noted that the license has taken 9 months to acquire. It seems the long application process has been worth it as Wirex believes the internationally-recognized credentials from the British regulator will help assure customers the platform is maintaining high compliance standards.

Wirex’s FCA license is the last in a series of positive crypto developments in Great Britain. Last week, Crypto Facilities, a crypto futures exchange regulated by the same authority, announced the launch of the first bitcoin cash – dollar (BCH/USD) futures. In early August, US-based crypto exchange Coinbase revealed its UK customers will be able to buy cryptocurrencies with British pounds (GBP). According to a recently published report, the United Kingdom has what it takes to become a leader in the crypto industry.

*This post is credited to Bitcoin News.