Bitcoin Targets $1T in Settlement in 2020 — Stablecoin Growth Explodes

Bitcoin Targets $1T in Settlement in 2020 — Stablecoin Growth Explodes

Bitcoin has settled $712 billion already in 2020, while stablecoins have already seen their biggest year ever.

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Cryptocurrency public blockchains will settle more in 2020 than ever before and have already topped $1.3 trillion, data shows.

Compiled by analytics firm Messari on July 21, the figures reveal that Bitcoin (BTC) has settled $712 billion so far this year, while Ether (ETH) is on $147 billion.

Messari: Blockchains have not “failed” as payment systems

The Ethereum network, which supports stablecoins including market cap leader Tether (USDT), has added another $423 billion to the total. Growth in combined stablecoin transaction value is conspicuous, with the first seven months of 2020 topping last year’s total of $337 billion and 2018’s $146 billion.

For Messari, the overall record for settlement is a firm rejection of the concept that cryptocurrencies cannot compete with legacy systems as a means of payment.

“Many people think blockchains have failed as payment systems. The typical argument goes something like, ‘you can’t buy a cup of coffee with Bitcoin, therefore it has failed as a payment system,’” it summarized. 

“Along this line of argument cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ether also suffer from extreme volatility making them unable to serve as payments mediums. Both premises aren’t entirely inaccurate, but the conclusion definitely is. In fact it is about $1.3 trillion wrong.”

Public blockchain settlement comparison

Public blockchain settlement comparison. Source: Messari/ Twitter

Continuing, researcher Ryan Watkins argued that it was unsuitable comparing blockchains to payment networks such as Visa.

A better comparison would be the umbrella settlement systems of the fiat realm, such as Fedwire.

“The purpose of these systems is to fully guarantee payments so that they cannot be repudiated, reversed, or charged back without agreement of the recipient, and they’re meant to settle immediately,” he wrote on Twitter.

Removing fiat ties

Cryptocurrency consumer payments are still firmly within the discovery phase. Many mainstream options represent a “bridge” to fiat, such as cryptocurrency debit cards.

These, and anything else which is dependent on the fiat economy, are also subject to disruption due to centralized control of the underlying infrastructure. 

As Cointelegraph reported, the liquidation of Germany’s Wirecard earlier this month temporarily caused European cryptocurrency debit cards to stop working. 

Decentralized cryptocurrencies, and specifically Bitcoin, are designed to make it impossible for a third party to control network activity.


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Bitcoin has settled $712 billion already in 2020, while stablecoins have already seen their biggest year ever.

$12M Wheat Trade Between U.S. and Indonesia Settled on Blockchain

$12M Wheat Trade Between U.S. and Indonesia Settled on Blockchain

Agriculture giants settled their first $12 million wheat trade between U.S. and Indonesia using blockchain

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International agriculture giants, Agrocorp and Cargill, have traded $12 million worth of wheat from North America to Indonesia via the blockchain. 

The transaction was made via the Singapore-based blockchain platform dltledgers, which is based on Hyperledger Fabric. 

International cooperative bank Rabobank, ship owner Amarante, and shipping agent Transmarine, also partnered in the transaction.

The trade settled on April 1 after five days, with reported time savings over manual processes and increased security and transparency. The transaction reduced the need for paperwork and for complex traditional trade settlement processes. 

Rabobank’s key facilitators, Mario Cortinhal and Olivier De Jong said the time they’d typically spent processing documents had been cut in half.

Blockchain going mainstream

Dltledgers’ blockchain platform has so far facilitated more than $2 billion in trade for 400 companies, 45 banking partners, and thousands of other ecosystem partners. CEO Samir Neji said the major cross continent wheat trade had “proven our blockchain solution’s ability to go mainstream”.

Agrocorp has been working with blockchain-based trades for over a year. Jumpstart Magazine reported its Sustainability Manager Abhinav Vijay as saying:

“Considering the current world climate and the logistical challenges to move physical documents around the globe, this is just a start and we hope to execute more trades via the platform in the near future.”


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Agriculture giants settled their first $12 million wheat trade between U.S. and Indonesia using blockchain

Ex-Riot Blockchain CEO Settles in Penny Stock Manipulation Case

Ex-Riot Blockchain CEO Settles in Penny Stock Manipulation Case

Three defendants settled with the SEC for running a pump-and-dump stock scheme and will pay penalties over $3 million

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On March 6, three individuals including former Riot Blockchain CEO John O’Rourke III agreed to settle with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for $3.5 million over three alleged penny stock pump-and-dump schemes.

The terms of the settlement will see Michael Brauser, John Stetson, and O’Rourke pay disgorgement, prejudgment interest and civil penalties. The trio will not admit or deny the allegations laid out in the SEC’s 2018 enforcement action against the trio.

“Microcap fraudsters” settle with SEC

O’Rourke’s and Stetson will each have to pay penalties exceeding $1.15 million, while Brauser will have to pay roughly $1.17 million.

O’Rourke, O’Rourke’s company ATG Capital, Brauser, and Brauser’s Grander Holdings are permanently banned from engaging in all activities relating to penny stock offerings, while Stetson and Stetson Capital Investments are prohibited from involvement in penny stock offering for 10 years.

The judge also issued a partial ruling against HS Contrarian Investments — a company for which Stetson was the managing director.

O’Rourke left Riot Blockchain during September 2018 following the SEC’s enforcement action against him. O’Rourke was replaced by Riot’s then-chief operating officer Chris Ensey.

Riot Blockchain investor allegedly masterminded penny stock manipulation

The three individuals and four companies are the last to settle in the case — which brought charges against 10 individuals and 10 corporate entities concerning three alleged pump-and-schemes masterminded by venture capitalist and Riot Blockchain investor Barry Honig.

The group of 20 individuals and companies allegedly generated more than $27 million in profits through a coordinated manipulation of three microcap penny stocks. The SEC described their actions as comprising “brazen market manipulation” that involved “fleecing innocent investors [who] were left holding virtually worthless stock.”

The SEC alleged that Honig orchestrated the acquisition of large sums of penny stock issuers’ shares for discounted prices, before he and his associates “engaged in illegal promotional activity and manipulative trading to artificially boost each issuer’s stock price and to then give the stock the appearance of active trading volume,” then “[dump] their shares into the inflated market.”


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Three defendants settled with the SEC for running a pump-and-dump stock scheme and will pay penalties over $3 million

B2C2 Launches New Gold Derivative Priced and Settled in Bitcoin

B2C2 Launches New Gold Derivative Priced and Settled in Bitcoin

B2C2’s new gold-Bitcoin derivative pays out in BTC

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Over-the-counter (OTC) trading platform B2C2 has created what it calls the first product for gold trading using Bitcoin (BTC) for pricing and settlement.

Macro players eye new BTC gold product

Speaking to industry news outlet The Block on Oct. 10, the company’s CEO Max Boonen stated that the move comes on the back of increasing demand from large-volume traders.

“Clients trade an ounce of gold priced in bitcoin, and the derivative is settled in bitcoin,” he explained, adding that one ounce (roughly $1,507) is the minimum possible trade quantity.

Boonen also pointed out the market’s desire for a Bitcoin-based gold derivative:

“The clients we are seeing demand from are those who have their own user base of traders and macro hedge funds.”

Spotlight on Bitcoin contracts

As Cointelegraph reported previously, gold has seen a renaissance this year as cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin also showed increasing strength. A heated debate subsequently ensued, with gold proponent Peter Schiff claiming that the precious metal would ultimately outperform Bitcoin.

Meanwhile, B2C2’s product is conspicuous for using Bitcoin as the settlement asset. Last month, that trend continued with the launch of Bakkt’s physical Bitcoin futures, payouts for which will likewise occur exclusively in BTC.

In July, B2C2’s former managing director joined major cryptocurrency exchange Kraken to lead its new Bitcoin futures operation.


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B2C2’s new gold-Bitcoin derivative pays out in BTC

CME Exec: No Plans for Physically Settled BTC Contracts Currently

CME Exec: No Plans for Physically Settled BTC Contracts Currently

A senior executive says CME Group has no current plans to launch physically settled BTC contracts

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The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) Group has no current plans to launch physically settled Bitcoin (BTC) contracts, a senior executive said.

Tim McCourt, global head of equity index and alternative investment products at CME Group, told MarketsMedia on Oct. 1 that all new contracts or products are driven by customer demand.

CME’s new options will be settled in BTC futures

CME has been trading BTC futures since December 2017 and recently revealed plans to launch options in the first quarter of 2020, pending regulatory review.

Its current Bitcoin futures contracts are settled in cash. McCourt said that “the number one demand from customers has been for options on our futures” since the launch of its futures product.

Since December 2017, there have been 20 successful futures expiration settlements, with more than 3,300 individual accounts trading the product. Year to date, reported 7,000 CME Bitcoin futures contracts — equivalent to roughly 35,000 BTC — were traded on average each day, breaking a new all-time high this May

Institutional interest in Bitcoin is growing

McCourt noted that “institutional interest in bitcoin is growing but they need time to become familiar with the market and get approval to use new products.” Current participation is reportedly spread between hedge funds, commodity trading advisors and asset managers, as well as crypto-focused hedge funds and trading firms.

The planned forthcoming options will use CME Group’s existing technology, matching engine and clearing mechanisms, and the product is currently undergoing the Group’s standard testing procedures.

Bakkt launches physically settled futures to tepid market

In late September,  Intercontinental Exchange launched its much-anticipated Bakkt, a regulated platform offering physically settled BTC futures contracts and custodial services approved by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Sluggish launch of the new product has in part been identified as a possible contributing factor to Bitcoin’s recent price weakness: in the days following Bakkt’s debut, BTC/USD plummeted from near $10,000 to under $8,000.

Bakkt COO Adam White earlier told reporters that the platform hoped its futures would aid price discovery long-term.


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A senior executive says CME Group has no current plans to launch physically settled BTC contracts

SEC Reaches $24 Million Settlement With EOS Parent Firm Block.one

SEC Reaches $24 Million Settlement With EOS Parent Firm Block.one

The U.S. SEC has settled with EOS creator Block.one in the form of a civil monetary penalty of $24 million

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The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has reached a settlement with Block.one to pay $24 million in penalties for conducting an unregistered initial coin offering (ICO).

On Sept. 30, the SEC announced in a press release that it has settled the charges against the firm behind the EOS network and corresponding token in the form of a civil monetary penalty. Block.one settled the charges without admitting or denying the findings.

According to the press release, Block.one’s ICO of 900 million tokens “began shortly before the SEC released the DAO Report of Investigation and continued for nearly a year after the report’s publication.”

Block.one raised the equivalent of billions of dollars but failed to register its ICO as a securities offering in agreement with the U.S. federal securities laws, “nor did it qualify for or seek an exemption from the registration requirements,” the SEC states. Co-director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement Stephanie Avakian said:

“A number of U.S. investors participated in Block.one’s ICO. Companies that offer or sell securities to U.S. investors must comply with the securities laws, irrespective of the industry they operate in or the labels they place on the investment products they offer.”

Steven Peikin, co-director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement added that Block.one did not provide ICO investors with the needed information, saying: 

“The SEC remains committed to bringing enforcement cases when investors are deprived of material information they need to make informed investment decisions.”

The $24 million fine is not expected to make a significant dent, as it only represents a small portion of the $4 billion initial raise.

Block.one opens headquarters in Washington DC

Cointelegraph reported recently that Block.one opened its fourth global site located in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region. The office is said to create 170 high-skilled jobs over a period of three years. Block.one CEO Brendan Blumer said at the time:

“Its proximity to the nation’s capital positions us close to the policy innovation around digital assets and distributed ledger technology in the U.S. This expansion opens up important new avenues of talent expansions for us at a time when there is rapidly increasing demand for blockchain-based technologies.”


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The U.S. SEC has settled with EOS creator Block.one in the form of a civil monetary penalty of $24 million

Bakkt’s Much-Anticipated Bitcoin Futures Trading Platform Goes Live

Bakkt’s Much-Anticipated Bitcoin Futures Trading Platform Goes Live

Bakkt’s physically settled BTC futures trading goes live

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Bakkt’s physically settled Bitcoin (BTC) futures trading is now live for trading on the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE).

New option for traders

As of 8 PM EST on Sept. 22 (00:00 UTC Sept. 23), Bakkt’s much-anticipated BTC futures trading has launched. The platform is the first of its kind to receive approval from United States regulators and is a product of ICE, the operator of the New York Stock Exchange.  

While news of Bakkt’s launch and intention to facilitate BTC futures trading broke over a year ago, the platform itself has seen numerous delays owing to regulatory concerns. On Aug. 16 of this year, Bakkt announced that the company had secured approval from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and had scheduled today as the first day of trading.

What’s new?

While the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Chicago Board Options Exchange currently offer trading of Bitcoin futures, these trades are cash-settled. Bakkt’s physically settled futures contracts let clients get Bitcoin rather than its equivalent value in fiat currency once the contract expires.

The platform offers daily and monthly trading of physically settled Bitcoin futures, to be processed through Bakkt’s Bitcoin Warehouse, which began processing withdrawals and deposits at the beginning of September. Days later, Bakkt announced that they had secured a $125 million insurance policy protecting Bitcoin stored in their warehouse.

Significance for the crypto world

Bakkt’s platform has been the subject of a great deal of speculation and anticipation. Many commentators believe that physically delivered futures trading of BTC represents a leap forward for institutional acceptance of Bitcoin in particular and crypto in general. 

Noted crypto analyst Tom Lee tweeted on Sept. 19 that:

“I am very positive on Bakkt and its ability to improve trust with institutions to crypto.”


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Bakkt’s physically settled BTC futures trading goes live

Coinbase UK Settles Lawsuit With Victim of Email Phishing Attack

Coinbase UK Settles Lawsuit With Victim of Email Phishing Attack

Coinbase U.K. settled a lawsuit with a man who lost 80 Bitcoins in an email phishing attack

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The United Kingdom arm of cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase settled a two-month legal battle with a man who lost 80 Bitcoins (BTC) in an email phishing attack.

Stolen Bitcoin diverted to Coinbase

On Sept. 10, legal news site Law360 reported that Coinbase U.K. had reached an undisclosed settlement with Liam Robertson to exit a London-launched litigation after hackers stole 80 BTC (worth close to $815,744) in the attack.

Robertson lost his Bitcoin in a spear phishing attack, when the email account of a firm in which he was investing was hacked. 60 of the stolen Bitcoins were then diverted to a digital wallet that was held by Coinbase. Another 20 were sent to local exchanges. Roberston then received a Bankers Trust order to reveal the identity of the wallet holder and to see whether it was the same person who made the transfer.

Status of cryptocurrency in Britain

Attorneys for Roberston said that the case could help victims of fraud reclaim stolen cryptocurrency by classifying it as a specific asset or sum of money. In July, a court ordered Coinbase to not dissipate or transfer stolen cryptocurrencies, which could open the door for courts in England and Wales to treat Bitcoin as property, according to Law360.

In May, the U.K. government-led Jurisdiction Taskforce launched a public consultation to determine the status of crypto assets under English private law. The taskforce said that the uncertain legal status of cryptocurrency in Britain is a major deterrent for potential investors. Per Law360, the courts are still waiting for a determination by the task force.

Cyber criminals netted $4.3 billion in 2019

According to blockchain security company CipherTrace, outright thefts, scams and other kinds of misappropriation of funds from digital currency holders and trading platforms resulted in around $4.3 billion in losses throughout 2019.


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Coinbase U.K. settled a lawsuit with a man who lost 80 Bitcoins in an email phishing attack

US SEC Reaches $10 Million Settlement with Digital Assets Issuers

US SEC Reaches $10 Million Settlement with Digital Assets Issuers

The US SEC has settled with a Dallas-based digital assets company and its founders for $10 million

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The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), a primary governmental regulator, has settled charges with digital assets company Bitqyck Inc. and its founders.

Smart contracts and crypto mining?

The SEC announced the development in a press release on Aug. 29. According to the announcement, Bruce Bise and Sam Mendez­ are the founders of Bitqyck — a company that provided security offerings for digital assets Bitqy and BitqyM in Dallas, Texas. The company claimed that Bitqy tokens gave investors fractional shares of company stock via a smart contract. Additionally, Bitqyck said that BitqyM tokens would give holders interest in a cryptocurrency mining facility running on sub-market-rate electricity, per the press release.

The SEC alleged in its complaint that both of these claims were false. The SEC alleged that the founders fraudulently misrepresented a platform called QyckDeals, which was a deals platform for Bitqy tokens. Lastly, the SEC charged the company with illegally operating an unregistered, national security exchange for Bitqy entitled TradeBQ.

Losses and settlement fees

The SEC reports that Bitqyck raised over $13 million in fundraisers for its unregistered securities. Further, the release reads that investors received $4.5 million via referrals, but still lost over two-thirds of their investments as a whole.

According to the announcement, Bitqyck and its founders have settled with the regulator. As per the settlement agreement, Bitqyck will pay $8,375,617, and Bise and Mendez will pay respective fines of $890,254 and $850,022.

SEC Chair won’t make exceptions for digital assets

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, SEC chairman Jay Clayton recently told Bloomberg that he doesn’t plan to change securities laws to accommodate digital assets. He stated:

“I think a lot of people got excited that somehow we would change the rules to accommodate the technology and they invested their time and effort thinking that would happen […] I have been pretty clear from the start, that ain’t happening.’’


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The US SEC has settled with a Dallas-based digital assets company and its founders for $10 million

Atlantis Hard Fork for Ethereum Scheduled for September 17 Launch

Atlantis Hard Fork for Ethereum Scheduled for September 17 Launch

ETC developers settled on block number 8,722,000 for the Atlantis hard fork, which is expected on September 17

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The Atlantis hard fork for Ethereum Classic (ETC) has been officially set to occur at block 8,772,000 on the blockchain, according to the Ethereum Classic Improvement Protocol (ECIP) finalization call via Discord on June 20.

As per the discussions in the call, the developers and contributors had previously considered putting the hard fork at block number 8.75 million, which is predicted to run on September 15.

However, since the 15th is a Sunday, ETC Labs moved to increase the block number in order to have the projected update during the week, when more involved parties, such as exchanges and developers, are more likely be present to discover and deal with any issues that may arise.

Since the release is still several months away, the block number is an imperfect estimate of date; nonetheless, the number has been moved up with the aim of the hardfork arriving on Tuesday, September 17, around noon UST.

The decision appeared to be unanimous.

An official ETC blog post proposed this shift on June 19, which noted block 8.772 million for an intended fork date of approximately September 17. Today’s discussion further solidifies that number.

The post also notes that Atlantis is currently undergoing testing to weed out any bugs or other unwelcome consequences from introducing the new hard fork code to ETC’s original scheme.

The post also notes the following as main priorities of the upcoming hardfork:

“(1) develop high-quality blockchain software that preserves the security of the network

(2) consider the opinions and concerns of the community.”

ETC itself is the original Ethereum blockchain, which is named Classic in response to Ethereum carrying out a hard fork in 2016. This happened amid the collapse of Ethereum-based project “The DAO” after a major hack exploited its security flaws.


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ETC developers settled on block number 8,722,000 for the Atlantis hard fork, which is expected on September 17