Crypto Tidbits: Lil Pump(s) Bitcoin, TD Ameritrade Launches Blockchain Division, Bitfinex Under Investigation

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Another week, another round of Crypto Tidbits. Bitcoin (BTC) has picked up yet again, falling by 10% on Thursday as a result of news that Bitfinex and Tether may not be in entirely stable financial standing. Yet, by and large, industry developments were rather positive.

Samsung was revealed to have early-stage plans to launch its own Ethereum-based chain, Binance launched both its decentralized exchange and Singapore fiat onramp, and two big names in American finance revealed that they may offer BTC trading support to their millions of customers.

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Crypto Tidbits

  • Tether and Bitfinex Come Under Fire From U.S. Regulators: On Thursday, the New York Attorney General’s (NYAG) office published a press release, in which it was stated that Bitfinex and Tether were in violation of New York law through participation in activities that “may have defrauded” local cryptocurrency investors. Letitia James, the Attorney General herself, explained that the two firms may have “engaged in a cover-up” to hide the “apparent loss” of $850 million, which was a result of a payment processor, Crypto Capital, losing access to the funds (purported seizure by governments in Poland, Portugal, and the U.S.). It was explained in a 23-page document that sometime in the past six months, Tether transferred $625 million to Bitfinex. And just recently, Bitfinex is reported to have returned the funds, but still has an iFinex shares-backed line of credit, which amounts to $700 million, open with Tether. As a result of this news, BTC fell from $5,550 to $5,200. This news came just two days after Tether issued $300 million worth of USDT, and hours after hacked Bitcoin from Bitfinex’s 2016 hack moved to new wallets.
  • TD Ameritrade May Soon Introduce Spot Bitcoin, Litecoin Trading To 11+ Million Customers: Per The Block, who cited sources familiar with the matter, ErisX, an up-and-coming, Chicago-based cryptocurrency initiative that has recently embarked on a hiring spree, will soon launch its own exchange platform. TD Ameritrade is expected to be one of the platform’s strategic partners, and will thus be providing its 11 million retail clients with access to spot Bitcoin and Litecoin trading.

  • E*Trade Makes a Similar Announcement: Just a day after this news, Bloomberg reported that E*Trade Financial Corp, a prominent New York-based trading platform, will soon allow users of its platform to trade Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH). The anonymous source added that if the launch of the two aforementioned assets goes well, E*Trade may consider “adding other currencies in the future.”
  • Samsung Invests In Ledger, Looks To Launch Crypto Asset: Per an exclusive from Coindesk’s Korea branch, a person familiar with Samsung, one of the largest technology firms on Planet Earth, claims that the company is building an Ethereum-based blockchain. The blockchain, which is still in an “internal experimental” stage, may host its own cryptocurrency, the fittingly named “Samsung Coin.” It isn’t clear what use this asset would hold, but the source suggests that blockchain could be brought to Samsung Pay, the tech giant’s fintech application. After this news propagated, Ledger was revealed to have received a $2.9 million cheque from the South Korean corporation.
  • Binance Simultaneously Launches DEX On In-House Blockchain And Singapore Exchange: Just days after Binance launched Chain, the exchange’s in-house delegated proof of stake (DPOS) blockchain meant for asset issuance and token transfers, Binance DEX was launched. Funnily enough, DEX launches with zero trading pairs, but pundits expect for crypto transactions to commence on the platform in the coming weeks as Binance Coin (BNB) moves to and stabilizes on its own blockchain. Hours after the DEX news came to light, TechCrunch reported that Binance’s crypto-to-fiat onramp in Singapore had launched. The outlet claims that this new Coinbase-esque exchange will allow Singaporeans to purchase Bitcoin at fixed prices. As seen below, the portal and sign-up are very simple: Users submit KYC (government-issued ID), deposit Singaporean dollars through a fintech startup named Xfers, and then have access to purchase Bitcoin on a non-order book style platform. Then, users can withdraw their holdings to their personal wallets.
  • Coinbase Lays Off 30 Employee In Institutional U-Turn: Per a recent report from The Block, published on Tuesday, Coinbase, a Silicon Valley fintech darling, recently shuttered plans to launch a new trade matching engine. As a result, the company has laid off 30 employees, a move which is purportedly shocking as the firm was dead set on launching this new offering, which would have given institutional investors more flexibility and accessibility. This layoff will also see the firm’s institutional-centric Chicago office close, which is notable, especially considering that this city is deemed somewhat of a second home for big names in finance, namely JP Morgan and Northern Trust.
  • Lil Pump, Uh, Pumps Bitcoin: Popular rapper and hip hop artist Lil Pump is purportedly accepting Bitcoin through the Lightning Network for purchases of his fashion line, “Unhappy.” This marks yet another case of mainstream adoption. It is important to note, however, that the ubiquitous use of cryptocurrencies is still a quixotic dream.
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