At 18:02 UTC, the bitcoin cash blockchain officially split in two.

With one iteration of the bitcoin cash protocol called Bitcoin “Satoshi’s Vision,” or Bitcoin SV, directly opposing the upgrades introduced through the project’s long-dominant Bitcoin ABC implementation, the blockchain forked into two distinct networks, with two separate cryptocurrencies.

And while a so-called “hash war” had been greatly anticipated, for now – at least – the two chains are steadily mining blocks on their respective networks. At press time, threats of cross-chain sabotage hinted at by Bitcoin SV proponents have yet to materialize, nor has any retaliation from the ABC camp.

Initially, the Bitcoin ABC network was the only bitcoin cash platform to successfully create new blocks and validate transactions after the system upgrade (or hard fork) went live. Two blocks in, however, the Bitcoin SV network saw its first block mined at 18:29 UTC.

Mining pool Mempool mined the first block of Bitcoin SV, with SVPool and Coingeek mining subsequent blocks. Mining pools Bitcoin.comBTC.com and Antpool have controlled the ABC action to date.

As of press time, Bitcoin ABC is 10 blocks ahead of Bitcoin SV, according to data compiled by Coin Dance.

How it’s all playing out

Thus far, most blocks mined on the Bitcoin ABC network have featured over 1,000 transactions, though starting at 20:48 UTC a significant drop in both block size and transaction count was recorded on blockchain explorer site Blockchair.

A few hours before hard fork activation, mining pools purporting to support the Bitcoin SV roadmap controlled a supermajority of the bitcoin cash network. However, according to bitcoin cash monitoring site CoinDance, Bitcoin ABC is now leading in terms of total hash power support.

One such example that received high attention over the course of today’s events was mining pool Bitcoin.com, which released an announcement to users saying all hash power going into mining the bitcoin blockchain would be temporarily deployed to mine Bitcoin ABC blocks.

Though this announcement received negative feedback from those who claimed the organization had no legal right to redirect mining support in this way, data on the site indicates that starting at 17:30 UTC the mining pool has steadily been reallocating hash power in support of the Bitcoin ABC blockchain.

In fact, as of press time, bitcoin.com purports that a total of 4218.89 Ph/s of hash power is being used to mine blocks on the Bitcoin ABC network; just one day prior that figure sat at roughly 240.00 Ph/s.

Remaining questions

As might be expected, the existence of two bitcoin cash chains leaves many questions, primarily regarding what will transpire in the days that come – and whether one chain ultimately gives way to another.

There was also an event Thursday that left lingering questions: as shown by blockchain explorer BlockDozer, a major spike in activity occurred within minutes of the chain split.

Taken by CoinDesk at 18:11 UTC, the above GIF captures transactions being submitted to the network in real-time on Blockdozer.

Who caused this spike in transaction activity – and for what purpose – remains unknown at this time, though the potential for another spam attack in efforts to overload either network is an ongoing possibility.

What’s more, wild fluctuations in bitcoin cash price were also seen throughout the day across different cryptocurrency exchanges.

Depending on ongoing hash power support and implementation of either software upgrade from users, prices could continue to see swings – but given the uniqueness of the scenario, it’s difficult to say at this time.

According to numbers on crypto exchange Poloniex, the comparative value estimated of both bitcoin cash cryptocurrencies is currently about $94 for Bitcoin SV and $285 for Bitcoin ABC.

*This post is credited to Coindesk

Singapore-based digital asset exchange, Huobi, which is reportedly processing $1 billion in trades daily, has opened a new office Russia.

New Office, Website To Officially Open On November 12th

Huobi, which recently became a publicly listed company in Hong Kong, announced (during a St Petersburg conference) that it would officially open its Russia-based office on November 12th.

In order to make its services more accessible to the country’s residents, Huobi will be launching a Russian language website. Similar to Huobi’s other websites, the new site will have online support and a dedicated call center.

Presumably as an extension to its blockchain startup incubator program (Huobi Labs), Huobi will provide an online support center specifically for Russian firms looking to enter the crypto space.

Collaborating With Russia’s “Top 10” Universities

Notably, Huobi’s support center for Russian startups is being launched through a partnership with the Plekhanov Russian University of Economics (a “top 10” Moscow-based public research university) and the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (an academic institution run by Russia’s foreign ministry).

In September, Huobi had joined the Moscow-based VEB Innovation Fund – which is a venture capital-funded financial services platform that focuses on investing in “high technology projects.”

Founded in 2011, the VEB Fund aims to provide local startups the financial resources they need to develop their products.

Huobi Now Lists More Stablecoins

Established first in China, Huobi shifted its operations to other locations after the Chinese government began its crack down on cryptocurrency-related businesses. At present, Huobi has registered offices in Singapore, South Korea, London, San Francisco, Hong Kong, and Dubai.

Similar to how many crypto exchanges first started, Huobi only supported bitcoin (BTC) trading back in 2013. However, when crypto prices started to increase significantly last year, Huobi began listing more digital currencies on its trading platform.

After heightened fears regarding controversial stablecoin, Tether’s (USDT) operations, Huobi and many other exchanges have started listing other stablecoins. At present, Huobi lists the following USD-backed coins: Paxos Standard (PAX), True USD (TUSD), USD Coin (USDC), and Gemini Dollars (GUSD).

Huobi Accused Of “Mutual Voting”

In April 2018, Huobi Pro announced its plan to become a block producer (transaction validator) for the EOS platform. In October, a leaked document appeared to show that Huobi had been taking part in mutual and coordinated voting, when electing other block producers.

Although Huobi denied being involved in the incident, critics of the delegated proof-of-stake (DPoS) consensus mechanism (which EOS uses), such as Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, have said that “it was completely predictable [because] … human capacity for eternal vigilance is limited.”

*This post is credited to Crypto Globe

South Korea’s leading virtual currency exchange Bithumb has partnered with Asian e-commerce giant Qoo10 to provide a cryptocurrency payment service, according to an official announcement Nov. 7.

Qoo10, the so called “Asian Amazon,” is a leading South Korean e-commerce company in pan-Asian markets such as Singapore, Hong Kong, China, and Indonesia. The press release notes that the partnership will expand the Bithumb cash payment service as a global payment method.

The two companies initially signed a contract in August and proceeded to work with the Qoo10 settlement service and Bithumb Cache system. Introduced by Bithumb this spring, Bithumb Cache is a password settlement service that allows Bithumb customers to convert their funds to use for payments with their password, as Cointelegraph reported Mar. 10.

Through this new partnership, it will become possible to purchase products from Qoo10 and pay for them using the Bithumb Cache. Bithumb’s press release states:

“The partnership with Qoo10 has made it possible for us to utilize the Bithumb cache beyond our home country and abroad for real life. We will continue to improve our services to improve customer convenience.”

Earlier this summer, eBay, a global e-commerce platform, had acquired Qoo10 for the total sum of $573 million, with the aim of increasing eBay’s international presence.

Last week, Bithumb partnered with U.S. fintech firm SeriesOne with the goal to open a securities token exchange in America, Cointelegraph reported Nov. 1.

According to CoinMarketCap, Bithumb is currently the number 76th crypto exchange, with a total 24 hour trade volume of more than $3,028 billion at press time.

*This post is credited to Coin Telegraph

Fin-Block

Blockchain technology and digital asset investment have been a hot topic in many financial markets, as more and more financial firms delve into the blockchain-digital asset investment arena, mainly due to emerging regulations and a rise in global demand. It was recently revealed that the global accounting and advisory firm, Ernst & Young, has completed the acquisition of Elevated Consciousness Inc., a Silicon Valley based Cryptocurrency investment start-up Company.

The above-mentioned acquisition will have huge implications for Ernst & Young’s entry into the cryptocurrency world. It will give the company exclusive access to the crypto-market Accounting and Tax software (CAAT), allowing it to monitor records of global trading transaction history, covering multiple exchanges and wallets for revenue reporting. In effect the CAAT is an eye in the sky for crypto watchers. By aggregating the activity on a myriad of exchanges, it presents a detailed picture of what’s going on in the markets. The tool is well suited to an environment as known for its volatility as crypto.

The acquisition represents another move by Ernst & Young’s innovation driven group to establish a secure foothold in the growing blockchain and cryptocurrency industry.

Global Vice Chairman of Tax Services, Kate Barton, is apprehensive about the acquisition, commenting, “Cryptocurrencies and blockchain are transformational forces with a strong potential to fundamentally change the way business is done. CAAT positions us as a leader in serving a variety of companies adopting crypto-assets in an evolving regulatory environment.”

The Companies in Question

Regarded as one of the largest professional services on the global stage, Ernst & Young was formed in 1989, a result of the merger of Ernst & Whinney with Arthur Young & Co. headquartered in London; Ernst & Young operates as a network of member firms, represented as separate legal entities in the countries they operate. Assurance, financial auditing, tax consultation, and advisory services are just a few of the services offered by the firm. Over the years, the company has earned itself a host of awards.

Elevated Consciousness is a San Francisco based Crypto-Technology Start-up, formed and headed by CEO VJ Anma, an ex-crypto-fund manager. CAAT, the company’s software, focuses primarily on integrating investment management functions, a necessary asset to have in this dramatically shifting industry environment.

Industry Shift

This latest acquisition by Ernst & Young is part of a bigger shift of focus in the industry, as other major financial firms like Goldman Sachs are also expanding their cryptocurrency investment offerings with a custodial solution, allowing Goldman Sachs to hold cryptocurrencies in lieu of funds, providing a much-needed safeguard against the imminent threat of hacking and data breaches.

Several major financial firms have grown receptive to the digital currency and blockchain phenomenon, recognizing their potential to disrupt a number of industries worldwide.  This is also not Ernst & Young’s first blockchain venture, as the company’s Switzerland branch has been accepting Bitcoin payments for its services. The firm has also installed a Bitcoin ATM, exclusively for employees and passers-by.

If an accounting firm as large as EY (one of the “big four”) is this bullish on crypto, other major players can’t be far behind.

*This post is credited to BlockTelegraph

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has done its best to keep cryptocurrency from taking hold in the country, despite not having investigated its merits. RBI introduced a ban that forbid banks to deal with any entities in the crypto space, resulting in several deciding to move out of the country or shut down completely. Despite the bank’s attempts, cryptocurrency in the country is still moving forward, demonstrating the power crypto has and how it cannot be eliminated.

In light of the RBI ban and crypto exchanges’ inability to function normally, a number of peer-to-peer (P2P) exchanges are cropping up. According to a number of sources, P2P crypto services have grabbed hold in the country and are expanding more rapidly than anyone could have imagined. In an interview with Bitcoin.com, the CEO of the Wazirx crypto exchange, Nischal Shetty, said, “In a bear market with no banking, Indians are warming up to P2P in amazing ways.” Wazirx, which began operating a week before the RBI ban, saw an increase in trading volumes of 35% by the end of September.

He further asserted, “P2P is working great for Wazirx. It’s helping us increase our daily trading volumes as well. In fact a few days ago we hit 100 BTC in daily trading volume for the first time…We’ve crossed over $5M in P2P in the 3 months since we’ve gone live.”

According to a recent survey led by the Instashift crypto exchange, which provides support for more than 80 digital currencies, the majority of those who responded to the survey indicated that they prefer to cash out through P2P services. Instashift now has more than 900 members and says, “We are clocking approximately around [$27,194 – $67,985] per week in India & our volumes are looking promising in Canada & Nigeria as well.”

Another P2P option is Coindcx. It also supports over 80 cryptocurrencies, allowing its users to trade the coins for rupees. It operates the Dcxinsta P2P trading platform, which gives users a platform to purchase crypto “in less than 60 seconds.” Last week, the company launched a new rupee open order book on the exchange, allowing users to “place limit orders for trading in INR and see a complete order book using their existing INR wallets.”

Just a few days ago, India saw its first cryptocurrency ATM. It is owned by the Unocoin crypto exchange and is available only for its customers, but the company indicates that it plans on installing as many as 30 more machines across the country.

Regardless of what the naysayers would have everyone believe, cryptocurrency is here and it is here to stay. Instead of working against its expansion, they should use that energy to help the ecosystem grow and mature in a way that can be beneficial to everyone.

*This post is credited to CoinGeek

Singapore-based fiat-crypto exchange EurekaPro, led by a team consisting of Junus Eu, Douglas Gan and Lau Kin-Wai, today announced its entry into the Southeast Asian blockchain market. EurekaPro offers Asian-wide fiat-to-cryptocurrency support, allowing holders of the Singapore dollar, Malaysian ringgit, Indonesian rupiah, and other Asian fiat currencies to transact on the EurekaPro exchange.

EurekaPro has already launched an open public beta, in which over 8,000 users have signed up in its first week.

Eu, the exchange’s CEO, was previously the investment manager of zVentures, the venture capital arm of US- and Singapore-based gaming hardware and software firm Razer. Before that, she was an investment manager at VC firm Jafco Asia.

On the other hand, Gan and Lau co-founded iFashion, a holding firm that invests in various fashion ecommerce sites. Gan also started beauty services marketplace Vanitee and subscription ecommerce business Vanity Trove. Lau set up FatFish Internet Group, a startup accelerator.

*This post is credited to RetailNews.Asia

Binance Coin (BNB) has positioned itself among the top 20 in the list of over 2000 cryptocurrencies listed on Coinmarketcap. In a recent tweet, Binance revealed that BNB has become the 14th most valuable cryptocurrency by market capitalization, which presently stands at over $1.2 billion.

BNB is Binance’s native coin with several use cases for holders which the company highlighted in a blog post published on its official Medium account. The cryptocurrency can be used for paying trading fees on Binance, spending on goods and services with Binance’s partner merchants and establishments, using as a gift token on social media services.

Coinmarketcap.com’s 24-hour trading volume rankings for cryptocurrency exchanges show Binance at the top position, as the largest exchange by trading volume.

2018 Has Been an Eventful Year for Binance

From moving its heaquarters in Malta to making multi-million dollar venture capital investments, so far, 2018 has been a busy year for Binance. In March of this year, the company officially announced that it is moving its operations to Malta. The decision to make this move came as a response to the warning about the lack of an operating license from Japan’s financial watchdog, Financial Security Agency (FSA). In Malta, the company received a warm welcome from the Maltese Prime Minister and leader of the Labour Party, Joseph Muscat.

Earlier this week, Binance announced that it has invested USD$2.5 million in an Australian blockchain startup, TravelbyBit. With this partnership, Binance and Queensland-based TravelbyBit aim to expand the crypto-integrated point-of-sale (POS) payment system of TravelbyBit at airports around the world, which will enable merchants to to accept payments in Bitcoin and other digital currencies. The duo will also facilitate travelers in booking their travel plans using cryptocurrencies.

In June this year, Binance Labs, the blockchain technology incubator run by Binace, made its first venture capital investment in Crowdequity platform, Republic. Republic raised $12 million in total from Binance Labs, NEO and several other companies. The investment came soon after Binance announced that it was setting up a $1 billion fund to support blockchain and cryptocurrency startups.

The company also participated in a major M&A for the first time, this year. Binance acquired the cryptocurrency wallet provider and decentralized-application browser, Trust Wallet with the aim to give control back to users. Trust Wallet is known for not asking for any private information or data from the user.

Binance, which turned 1-year old in July has been involved in charity initiatives. It collaborated with Maltese President’s Trust to create the Blockchain Charity Foundation in July. The collaboration is aimed at using blockchain technology to “empower vulnerable communities and enhance transparency in charitable work.” In the same month, Japan received a $1 million donation for the company for victims in West Japan that were affected by the heavy rains on 7 July 2018.

At present, the company is working on a decentralized crypto exchange which is expected to launch in the Q1 of 2019.

*This post is credited to News BTC

The debate on whether the central authorities can ever regulate the cryptocurrency industry intensates further with the launch of a Chinese crypto-startup.

In a right-in-your-face stunt, InVault begins offering its cryptocurrency custody services last week in China despite the mainland ban. The Shanghai startup proposes to attract cryptocurrency exchanges as its primary clients, believing they should avoid the moral hazard of holding clients’ assets.

A custodian, in a traditional sense, holds clients’ securities or cash for safekeeping – in both electronics and physical form. China’s implicit ban on keeping and trading cryptocurrencies could arguably disallow an organization to hold assets that 1) are virtual currencies, and 2) belongs to companies with no legal status in the mainland.

But InVault seems to have found a way to circumvent the ongoing crackdown. The startup offers a decentralized corporate cryptocurrency wallet service, meaning that there would not be a central control over the safeguarded funds. InVault will instead be the custodian of users’ private keys. Local media reports hint that the startup will keep the users’ private keys secured in several Physical Vaults. Only authorized personnel will have access to these safes.

Kenneth Xu, chief executive and founder of InVault, said the only way by which cryptocurrencies can be secured is with the absence of human oversight.

“Today, the vast majority of cryptocurrency exchanges globally still involve their senior management in managing the transfer of digital tokens ordered by clients. Putting the private keys to your cryptocurrency assets in the hands of senior management is akin to putting all your money in their control,” said Xu, speaking to the South China Morning Post.

China’s Crackdown Insufficient to Enforce Crypto-ban

The launch of InVault occurs during tensed times. China’s financial and market regulators had recently stepped up its crackdown against the local crypto operations. During the chase, they blocked access to 124 offshore crypto-exchanges that were providing trading services to Chinese investors, banned events that were to discuss cryptocurrencies and enforced local companies, including WeChat and Alibaba, to monitor and report their users involved in crypto activities.

Chinese crypto companies continue to offer services to Chinese investors from offshore despite the ban. KYC-enabled money exchanges have been replaced by peer-to-peer commerce, which could dampen the regulators’ efforts towards enforcing the crypto-ban overall. Furthermore, fugitive exchanges have started to work under the different domain names, making it difficult for regulators to improve their mouse-chase.

Terence Tsang, the chief operating officer of TideBit, which offers centralized crypto-exchange services in Hong Kong and Taiwan, said in a statement to the local press:

“The latest warning and potentially increased monitoring of foreign platforms is targeted at a batch of smaller exchanges that had claimed to be foreign entities, but are in fact operating in China claiming they have outsourced their operations to a Chinese company.”

Meanwhile, InVault has already scored its first major deal from an undisclosed cryptocurrency exchange for the custodianship of one million Ethereum tokens.

*This post is credited to CCN

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) cleared the Philippine Digital Asset Exchange (PDAX) for license to exchange crypto and the Philippine peso. The exchange is being touted as one of the first of its kind to be specifically designed with Filipinos in mind, and will trade an array of cryptos and tokens, including bitcoin cash (BCH).  

PDAX is Among First Exchanges of its Kind Geared Toward Filipinos

“Among the first cryptocurrencies that PDAX has listed,” the company’s press release noted, “are Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Ripple (XRP), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and Litecoin (LTC). More locally in-demand coins will be made available on the platform in the coming weeks.”

“This is an exciting time not just for seasoned cryptocurrency traders,” Nichel Gaba, PDAX CEO, explained, “but also for everyone who believes that the future of investing is digital. With the approval granted to us by the BSP, we hope to make financial markets more accessible to everyone.”

The Philippine Digital Asset Exchange, thought to be the first crypto exchange geared to Filipinos, was given license by the BSP to encourage trade between the Philippine peso and a variety of cryptocurrencies. A BSP circular back in 2017 made it formal that every such exchange must be in accord with its standards in order to operate.

Requirements Met

All the trappings of a licensed exchange are there for PDAX: requisite registrations and fees, anti-money laundering (AML) measures, local levels of risk management, security controls, and adhering to BSP’s transaction requirements.

“PDAX offers a platform for trading cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and other digital assets directly with Philippine Peso ,” its press release continues, “ thereby easing the costs and difficulties that many Filipino crypto-traders are currently forced to deal with. Through its partnership with major local banks and payment service providers, PDAX also affords its clients the convenience of cashing in and out of their account wherever they are and whenever they need to.”

No doubt the broader crypto community will keep its collective eye upon PDAX’s beta, but the crypto industry within the Philippines is really waiting for the country’s SEC to finalize overall rules.

*This post is credited to Bitcoin News

Japanese eCommerce company Rakuten is planning to acquire the cryptocurrency exchange service called everybody’s bitcoin Inc., according to an announcement. The deal could happen through a stock purchase agreement between Rakuten subsidiary Rakuten Card Co., Ltd. and everybody’s bitcoin parent company Traders Investment, Inc.

In a statement, Rakuten said it “decided to acquire everybody’s bitcoin shares so that it can realize the early registration as a cryptocurrency exchange” and combine everybody’s bitcoin “know-how” as a crypto exchange with its own as a company that provides financial services. According to Rakuten, everybody’s bitcoin started as a crypto exchange service in March of 2017.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is thinking of creating a cryptocurrency backed by the rupee, Cryptovest reported. To that end, the bank said in an annual report that an “interdepartmental group” had been gathered “to study and provide guidance on the desirability and feasibility to introduce a central bank digital currency (CBDC).”

In other news, the number of job postings for blockchain jobs has grown dramatically since last year, CNBC reported. Robert Walters, a recruitment firm, noted a 50 percent jump in the number of jobs within the crypto and blockchain fields in Asia since that time. However, since the area is new, many hires in the field previously worked in other sectors.

“We hardly ever hire from inside of crypto because most people inside of crypto are very inexperienced,” TenXCo-founder Julian Hosp told CNBC. “You have very, very few people who are experienced, who get into the crypto industry.”

Russia’s State Pension Fund (PFR) has its eye on using blockchain technology to help with employment contract information, Cryptovest reported. To that end, the institution wants to use smart contracts for labor agreements that bring employees and employers together. The contracts would be signed with electronic signatures, attainable from centers that offer municipal and state services.

*This post is credited to Pymnts.