The SEC Has a New Exchange Traded Fund Application to Review

The SEC Has a New Exchange Traded Fund Application to Review


The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)

has posted a new proposal from Crescent Crypto Index Services, a subsidiary of Crescent Asset Management, for the launch of a crypto-backed exchange-traded fund (ETF). According to the application, the company, which is based in New Jersey, will be looking to monitor the performance of a portfolio of ether (ETH) and bitcoin (BTC). The fund has been named the “USCF Crescent Crypto Index Fund” with “XBET” being its proposed ticker.

It will also be sponsored by United States Commodity Funds LLC, a commodity pool operator which, according to the filing, is under regulatory oversight from both the National Futures Association and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). The new ETF proposal joins the list of proposals being reviewed by the SEC, including the Bitwise Bitcoin ETF Trust, an ETF proposal filed jointly by Bitwise Asset Management and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) Arca, and the VanEck SolidX proposal that has yet to be approved since it was first filed in 2018.

The fact that there are three separate ETF proposals is an encouraging sign for crypto investors, even though the SEC has yet to approve any of them. But in the last two years, numerous companies have failed in their bids to secure ETF approval, including the Winklevoss-owned Gemini Trust, ProShares and Direxion. Some other companies have also had to withdraw their proposals after several delays from the regulator. Among other rationale, the SEC’s stated reasons for denying these proposals rest on concerns over market manipulation and insufficient investor protection.

Article Produced By
Jimmy Aki

Chris Corey

Facebook Reportedly in Talks With Crypto Exchanges to List New Coin

Facebook Reportedly in Talks With Crypto Exchanges to List New Coin


New reports suggest Facebook’s rumored stablecoin project

is making significant headway. Anonymous sources reportedly close to the project have revealed the social media titan has approached a number of crypto exchanges to list its coin.

Facebook’s Crypto Token to Roll Out in a Few Months

According to the New York Times, Facebook is in talks with a number of crypto exchanges regarding listing its much-awaited coin. However, the names of these exchanges have not been disclosed. Since 2018, rumors have circulated in the crypto community about Facebook’s secretive plan to develop a stablecoin, but no concrete proof has emerged. However, this new report lends some legitimacy to these rumors, suggesting the Facebook stablecoin could soon become a reality. New York Times claimed this news came from four people close to the project, choosing to remain anonymous due to a confidentiality agreement with Facebook. These sources told the Times that Facebook’s crypto token will be ready towards the end of Q2 2019.

According to various sources, the Facebook stablecoin will allow users to transfer money via WhatsApp Messenger — acquired by the company in 2014. The coin will be backed by a basket of fiat currencies, requiring Facebook to keep significant reserves in government-licensed banks. As of press time, no information has emerged regarding the type of blockchain this crypto will utilize. There is also no information available regarding the number of tokens Facebook will produce, or if it will retain any of the supply for itself. Further lending to the secrecy of this stablecoin, anonymous Facebook employees have claimed the project is being developed in an office separate from the company’s headquarters. Reportedly, this office is only accessible to employees actively working on the project.

Navigating Regulatory Obligations?

With more than 200 million users on WhatsApp, the Facebook token presents a major opportunity to introduce cryptocurrency to the mainstream. However, such exposure also comes with the risk of regulatory resistance. Pushback is nothing new in the crypto world, though, with governments expressing extreme skepticism towards the decentralized governance systems of many cryptocurrencies — namely Bitcoin. In Facebook’s case, if it really does plan to integrate its stablecoin into Whatsapp, it will have to comply with regulations from countries all over the globe. With over $55 billion USD in annual revenue, however, such regulatory hurdles likely wouldn’t cause much trouble for the tech giant.

Other Social Media Companies Making Moves Into Crypto in Light of Facebook Rumors

With Facebook reportedly preparing to enter the crypto space, Telegram has announced plans to launch its own token by the end of 2019. In its most recent update, Telegram revealed the blockchain technology underpinning the Gram token is almost complete. Primitive Ventures co-founder Eric Meltzer commented on the apparent crypto race between Facebook and Telegram, saying: “It’s pretty much the most fascinating thing happening in crypto right now. They each have their own advantage in this battle, and it will be insane to watch it go down.”

Article Produced By
Akshay Makadiya

Akshay is a founder of RankLane, a Digital Marketing Agency. Being an SEO consultant he loves to write and speak on Digital Marketing, Cryptocurrency and Latest Technologies.

Chris Corey

2019 Japan Prize Awarded for Significant Achievements in Technology and Science

2019 Japan Prize Awarded for Significant Achievements in Technology and Science


Bitsonline was fortunate this week to attend the 35th Japan Prize presentation ceremony in Tokyo.

The Prize, similar in status to the Nobel Prize, is awarded annually to recognize significant contributions to progress in science and technology. The ceremony at Japan’s National Theater included Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress, senior members of the country’s scientific community, and several government ministers.

Receiving the Japan Prize in 2019 were Prof. Yoshio Okamoto for Materials and Production research and Prof. Rattan Lal for Biological Production and Energy. Both Laureates have worked in several countries and made breakthroughs that have been applied on large scales worldwide. They receive the official Prize medallion and certificate, plus ¥50 million JPY ($449,000 USD) in cash. However the real prize is the international prestige and formal recognition of years of work, and in acknowledging the benefits their discoveries have produced for humanity.

Breakthroughs Greatly Improved Medical Treatments, Food Production

In his acceptance speech, Prof. Okamoto (77) stressed the need for persistence in scientific research. Scientists who dedicated most of their time to pursuing their field of interest “have a good chance to make at least two or three major scientific breakthroughs” in their careers, he said. Prof. Okamoto lived by his words, with a reputation in his younger years for sleeping overnight in his laboratory because he was too impatient to wait until the next morning to see the results of his experiments.

In 1977 he discovered “by accident”, according to him, a process to efficiently separate “right-handed” from “left-handed” optical isomers — something that was not even considered theoretically possible at the time. The discovery enabled mass production of optically active drug treatments; chemical compounds that were mirror-image identical and could be either safe or toxic due to this asymmetric nature. It took him five years to perfect the process, which has since become widely used in the pharmaceutical production industry and has benefited researchers working on other treatments.

Prof. Lal developed processes for soil management in agriculture, beginning his research in 1970. By studying regions where soil degradation had diminished crop-growing capacity, he was able to develop new techniques to capture carbon dioxide from plants and the atmosphere, revitalizing heavily-used soil in harsh environments. His work has been vital to sustaining food production in a world expected to top 9.8 billion in population by 2050, with techniques that result in better soil quality and longer use, improved water quality, and also mitigate the effects of climate change.

How the Japan Prize Has Contributed to Science, World Peace and Prosperity

The Japan Prize was conceived in the 1980s as a way for Japan to make a global contribution to scientific progress, and enjoys a status similar to the Nobel Prize. Like the Nobel Prize, the award is given to recipients who are still living in recognition for past achievements, some decades-old. Generally, two science/technology fields are honored each year, although the Prize can be shared among multiple individuals. Researchers from all regions of the world have been recognized, with the majority being citizens of the U.S. or Japan. The 2019 presentation ceremony was a landmark for the Emperor, who took the throne in 1989 and at 85 is set to hand it to his eldest son on May 1st — in just three weeks’ time. As Crown Prince in the mid-1980s he had played a part in establishing the Prize, and as Emperor has presented all but four of the awards.

The nomination, awards and ceremony are administered by the Japan Prize Foundation, established with a donation from Konosuke Matsushita, the founder of Panasonic Corporation (known as Matsushita Corp. in Japan). Every year over 13,000 nominators from the world scientific community present potential candidates. A Selection Committee then evaluates candidates with an emphasis on their achievements and their impact on peace and prosperity. The foundation’s Board of Directors then makes the final decision.

Article Produced By
Jon Southurst

Jon Southurst is a Senior Editor at Bitsonline. He is based mainly in Tokyo, and is interested in the roles Asian economies play in developing cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.

Chris Corey

Best Coinbase Alternatives For Buying amp Selling Bitcoin

Best Coinbase Alternatives For Buying & Selling Bitcoin

                                 Best Coinbase Alternatives

When it comes to buying Bitcoin,

there are plenty of options out there. But when it comes to buying Bitcoin in your home country’s fiat currency, the options become fewer and fewer. When most people think of buying Bitcoin using fiat currency, they think about Coinbase.

For those of you who don’t know Coinbase, here is a quick intro:

  • Coinbase is a US-based exchange. It the world’s most popular exchange to buy and sell Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin. They also support the instant purchase of these currencies via Visa/MasterCard credit and debit cards.

You might think this is great, but there’s a big problem…

  • At present, they only serve 32 countries. 
    • You can check if their service is available in your country.

It seems absurd that buying Bitcoin – something famous for its open, borderless, and decentralized nature – would be restricted because of where you are trying to buy it. Coinbase has said they’re trying to expand operations to 168 countries, but I doubt that.

Why do I doubt that? Because Coinbase became the first exchange to be valued over $1 billion, and they recently raised $100 million. Even before this funding, Coinbase was already heavily funded, so if they wanted to expand support for 168 countries, they would’ve started by now. Moreover, I think Coinbase is more like a bank because of their high fees, limited accessibility, and their recent stance on Bitcoin Cash. Considering all these facts, there are several Coinbase alternatives out there which will help you get your hands on some Bitcoin.

Top 6 Best Coinbase Alternatives

1. Coinmama

Coinmama is a digital financial service company operating in the cryptosphere ever since 2013 from Israel but is originally a venture of NBV International registered in Slovakia. It allows investors to buy popular coins such as ETH, BCH, ADA, LTC, etc., including BTC.

  • Fees: Simplex, Coinmama’s credit/debit card processor, charges a 5% additional fee (with a minimum cap of USD 10) on each transaction. Only Visa/MasterCard are supported.
  • Countries Supported: They operated in over 180 countries.
  • Additional Comments: Reliable and trusted service.

2. Local Bitcoins (aka LBC)

LocalBitcoins is a Bitcoin startup and P2P Bitcoin exchange based out of Helsinki, Finland which has been operating since 2012. If you don’t believe in centralized exchanges and want to go peer to peer, then this is one of the best options out there. It has on the ground Bitcoin buyers and sellers in more than 15,000 cities around the world. Here you can meet buyers and sellers online and execute a trade offline. You can pay in cash or send them money via wire transfer or PayPal or SEPA or direct bank deposit or whatever (all depending on what the seller wants). LBC only requires you to register using your email ID, however, you can also verify your identity which will raise trust between traders. All the fees on LBC are set by the buyers/sellers, and LocalBitcoins acts as an escrow manager.

Caution: Be sure to check the reputation of the seller; a higher reputation means they’re more trustworthy.

  • Further, consider reading our step-by-step guide on purchasing bitcoins with cash.

3. CEX

CEX is a London, UK-based exchange that has been operating since 2013. It supports the buying and selling of BTC and ETH. CEX has earned quite a bit of respect in the cryptocurrency space and is operational in 99% countries of the world. Moreover, they keep on adding more countries to their list, which is great.

Here are some of the notable features of CEX:

  • Supports wire transfers of USD, EUR, RUB, and GBP.
  • Offers a mobile app.
  • 2-factor account authentication (good security features).
  • Buy/sell/trade Bitcoin and Ethereum.
  • Buy Bitcoin using credit or debit card.
  • Buy Ethereum using credit or debit card.
  • Great 24*7 customer support.
  • Trade exchange.

It also supports the instant purchase of BTC/ETH via Visa/MasterCard credit and debit cards. And you should know that while dealing with fiat currencies, you need to verify your identification. Here you will be required to do a card verification and identity verification. CEX users need not worry about the security of their funds because they have 2FA authentication as well as SMS/call service available for extra security. Also, the fee structure is pretty easy to understand.

4. Kraken

Based out of San Francisco, U.S.A, and operational since 2011, Kraken is one of the biggest Bitcoin exchanges out there. Even though they are based in the US, they are one of the largest Euro to crypto markets in the world. Apart from Bitcoin, they also provide trading of Ethereum (ETH), Monero (XMR), Dash (DASH), Litecoin (LTC), Ripple (XRP), Stellar/Lumens (XLM), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Augur REP tokens (REP), ICONOMI (ICN), Melon (MLN), Zcash (ZEC), Dogecoin (XDG), Tether (USDT), Gnosis (GNO), and EOS (EOS). You can buy/sell these many different cryptocurrencies via 5 fiat currencies – USD, GBP, JPY, EUR, and CAD – by SEPA or wire transfer.

At this time, they don’t support buying through credit/debit cards.

Other notable features of Karken are:

  • Two-factor authentication.
  • Email supports PGP/GPG signing and encryption.
  • Create a master key for account recovery.

You can check the fee schedule of Kraken.

Kraken accounts take some time to get verified. There are three tiers, and getting through them all can require some patience. To make sure everything goes smoothly, be sure to take the proper steps.

5. Gemini

Gemini is one of the fastest growing Bitcoin exchanges in the world. They are based out of the United States and are fully compliant with the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYSDFS). Currently, Gemini is serving the following regions:

Gemini supports buying/selling of BTC and ETH against USD which you can wire transfer from the supported countries and states. One notable thing about this exchange is that they don’t charge a fee for wire transfer deposits, however, respective currency conversion charges will still apply. You can check their trade fee schedule, and see below for the withdrawal/deposit fee schedule. They also offer institutional accounts apart from individual accounts for more serious/larger trading. That said, if you are a beginner, you will have no trouble figuring out how to use this marketplace.

6. Bitcoin ATMs

Another alternative to Coinbase and centralized exchanges are Bitcoin ATMs.

However, the trend of BTC ATMs are not yet that prevalent, but if you live in a country where you have Bitcoin ATMs, then this is a great way to get some bitcoins. All you need is fiat money such as EUR, GBP or USD (these are the currencies most Bitcoin ATMs accept). A Bitcoin ATM asks you to scan your public address, and it will transfer BTC to that address in the amount of fiat that you deposited into the ATM. In some cases, if you don’t have a public address, just select the option of “don’t have an address” and the ATM will generate a paper wallet for you (if it supports that feature). Also, you can choose a Bitcoin wallet from our list, and generate a Bitcoin public address that way.

7. Mycelium Local Trader

Mycelium Local Trader is a LocalBitcoins-like facility built into the Mycelium mobile app. It uses your phone’s GPS location to get you connected to traders nearby, making a listing of sellers who are on the app. The buyer and seller meet in person to exchange cash/bitcoins, and there is no requirement of IDs or verifications to use Mycelium. Here is the official step by step guide to help you out in buying/selling bitcoins from Mycelium’s Local Trader. All the fees on it are set by the buyers/sellers, and Mycelium Local Trader simply acts as an escrow manager.

Best Coinbase Alternatives

I should mention that I am not against Coinbase. At the same time, I don’t see any harm in exploring other alternatives for those users across the globe that can’t get access to Coinbase. That said, there are plenty of options out there to buy and sell Bitcoin. So now all you need to do is go and do it!

Article Produced By
Sudhir Khatwani


Hey there! I am Sudhir Khatwani, an IT bank professional turned into a cryptocurrency and blockchain proponent from Pune, India. Cryptocurrencies and blockchain will change human life in inconceivable ways and I am here to empower people to understand this new ecosystem so that they can use it for their benefit. You will find me reading about cryptonomics and eating if I am not doing anything else.

Chris Corey

Successful Blockchain Projects in the Gaming Industry

Successful Blockchain Projects in the Gaming Industry



Blockchain technology is slowly being implemented in a number of industries,

from medicine to the legal industry and artificial intelligence. Naturally, the high-tech gaming industry is no exception.

The project is a unique service based on blockchain, which aims to organize a global gaming platform using cryptocurrencies. Simply, this platform will serve as a place where developers will be able to do marketing, thereby introducing users to their gaming products. Purchase of any game through the platform will be made using a one-of-a-kind internal token of the GTC system. Developers offer using cryptocurrency to provide solutions for digital currency in many entertainment services. The project team considers the playing field a great way to push blockchain technology to the fastest pace of development, thereby increasing its popularity.


The first working marketplace on blockchain, DMarket, plans to solve all these problems and provide the global game community with the opportunity to become real and full owners of the extracted virtual assets. Once on the DMarket blockchain, the items are “assigned” to their owner—just like Bitcoins or Ethereum in a personal wallet. No one can reassign or unreasonably block these assets. With the help of DMarket tokens, the internal currency of the marketplace, any of these items can be quickly sold, bought, or exchanged, regardless of the game or the game platform. Thus, over 2 billion people will be able to become creators and participants of the new sector of the global economy with a potential turnover of $450 billion.


FirstBlood has launched a platform that will allow players of multiplayer online games to compete with each other and receive money if they win. The platform will create special judicial commissions that will judge primary online contests and decide which team won. Also, the creators expect that through the platform, players and sponsors will be more comfortable to find each other. Sponsors will be able to see a little-known and previously unnoticed team. Also, users can bet on the outcome of matches. All winnings will be paid in 1ST currency.


Blockchain and smart contracts can eliminate intermediaries, which will increase the profits of game creators and make them more accessible to gamers. The EON project plans to solve that. EON is a decentralized, transparent and secure structure with a copyright protection system for game developers, virtual reality systems, and gamers. The project aims to help developers from around the world to enter the video game industry, show their capabilities, and take a worthy place among the creators of game developers.

EON is built on Ethereum technology. This platform will give players the chance to not only play games but also share them with other users. However, the biggest advantages await the developers, because now they will be able to place their games on the platform without commissions, receiving all the profits without intermediaries. Thus, the games will become cheaper for users.


One upcoming and promising project in gaming industry based on blockchain technology is PIXELBIT (PXB Token). This is a special cryptocurrency based on the Ethereum blockchain, which serves as the basis for in-game purchases, opens up additional content, and also represents the original system for earning PXB coins during the game.

The company’s goal is to create an innovative system that not only stimulates game developers to implement blockchain, but also provides real tangible rewards to gamers playing games with PXB support. By giving players the opportunity to earn money during the game, as well as directly allowing them to spend this currency on game awards and additional content, they strive to create a living, cost-effective system that makes games even more profitable, enjoyable, and worthwhile. Cryptocurrency helps to increase the spread of unique and high-quality gaming platforms that allow users to cover a wide range of skill sets. Using blockchain technology, the game industry offers its players to more fully and comprehensively immerse themselves in the gameplay.

Article Produced By

Bitcoin News – Bitcoin News source since 2012

Chris Corey

Tron’s DAU Highs But Will TRX Respond and Rally? Dalmas Ngetich May 4 2019 7:00 pm

Tron’s DAU Highs But Will TRX Respond and Rally? Dalmas Ngetich | May 4, 2019 | 7:00 pm

  • Tron (TRX) prices drop 3.5 percent

  • Platform registers new dApp DAU highs

Tron’s superior dApp count and DAU is the reason why Misha Lederman, the network’s advisor of the Dapp Evolution Ecosystem is upbeat. Regardless, TRX prices are under pressure but technically bullish above 3.1 cents.

Tron Price Analysis


Misha Lederman is a Tron and TRX bull. He’s an ardent supporter as well a certified protector of the network. While Justin Sun has his fair share of criticism, what Tron represents and strive for cannot be dismissed. Adopting a delegated proof of stake consensus algorithm and introducing super representatives, their network is scalable and fast.

However, Tron’s value proposition lies not in their throughput but their TVM. Launched less than three quarters ago, it is compatible with Ethereum’s, and the icing on the cake is perhaps their irresistible offers. Because of that and incentives as Tron Arcade, for example, some projects did shift camps, migrating from Ethereum and settling for speed and scalability. Add that to the successful acquisition and tokenization of BitTorrent, and it is not hard to see why Misha is optimistic. In his latest tweet, he said Tron’s superior dApp and daily active user count is a testament enough of their superiority over competitors and that the platform’s potential is only beginning to show.

Candlestick Arrangement

Nonetheless, Ton (TRX) is under pressure, dropping 3.5 and 4.3 percent in the last day and week. All the same, technical candlestick arrangements are supportive of bulls. From our previous TRX/USD trade plan, the asset is trending within a bullish breakout pattern as TRX prices oscillate within a 1 cent range with caps at 2.1 cents and 3.1 cents on the upside. Currently, prices are ranging at around the breakout level at 2.5 cents, which is neutral but bullish. However, it is after there is a sharp move above Apr-30 highs confirming the double-bar bullish reversal pattern ofApr-25-26 that traders can begin loading up with tight stops at Apr-30 lows and targets at 3.1 cents. However, for trend continuation, prices must close above the consolidation at 3.1 cents as buyers of late Dec 2018 flow back.

Technical Indicator

As aforementioned, Tron (TRX) is flat, trading at 2.5 cents. Even so, buyers are in control as long as prices are above 2.1 cents or Jan-14 lows. Accompanying the next wave towards 3.1 cents must be high volumes exceeding 13 million of Apr-25 as laid out in our last TRX/USD trade plan. Conversely, losses below 2.1 cents must be with equally high volumes.

Article Produced By
Misha Lederman

Chris Corey

Bitcoin BTC is significantly undervalued right now says Adamant Capital’s Tuur Demeester

Bitcoin [BTC] is significantly undervalued right now, says Adamant Capital’s Tuur Demeester


The multitude of research on Bitcoin [BTC]

and its characteristics have made a mark on the cryptoverse, with several proponents predicting the world’s largest cryptocurrency’s rise and fall. One such research that grabbed headlines recently was the one published by Tuur Demeester, Founding Partner at Adamant Capital, which addressed the properties of the coin and the sentiments surrounding it.

Speaking to Peter McCormack, Demeester touched upon one area of the research ie. Bitcoin being significantly undervalued right now. The Adamant Capital founder stated that Bitcoin has always been used as a performance benchmark and that it can be a lot more than just a saving grace from the mainstream financial ecosystem. Speaking about BTC being undervalued,

Demeester claimed,

“If you look at the blockchain and the Bitcoin that is being moved and then compare it to the current price, you will get something that is called the unrealized profit and loss. There is an assumption that when BTC is moved it is sold, and this event is called a value realization event. It is just that the owner had the opportunity to liquidate their Bitcoin and that is why they took it.”

Tuur Demeester further added that Bitcoin is a psychological market, with its value fluctuating depending on investor sentiments. He pointed out that the data aggregated for investors paint a picture if the market is in the green or in the red, which in turn affects market sentiment.

According to him,

“We have seen similar patterns during late 2013 and early 2014 where there was a lot of unrealized profits which again happened during the summer of 2017. The investor psychology was more inclined towards greed and when the bear market sets in, the positive sentiment obviously decreases. Once it is in the red, retail investors walk away which is what happened last November when BTC drooped from $6000 to almost $3000.”

Demeester was in the news recently after he opined that Bitcoin was slowly maturing into full-fledged digital gold and reserve asset. He compared the rise of BTC to money, stating that it was a result of evolution and not a sudden apparition.

Article Produced By
Akash Anand

Akash Anand

Engineering graduate, crypto head and Arsenal fan. Is fascinated by technology and all its marvels. Strictly against pineapple on pizza.

Chris Corey

Ctrip Options Trader Is Buying The Trade War Dip

Ctrip Options Trader Is Buying The Trade War Dip

Stocks tied to China have taken a big hit this week,

including Chinese online travel company Ctrip.Com International Ltd CTRP 2.67%. Despite a 7.7-percent sell-off since last Friday, one option trader stepped in with some large bullish bets on Monday. Throughout the day on Monday, Benzinga Pro subscribers were notified of several unusual options trades related to Ctrip.

The Trades

The largest of the series of trades was a purchase of 2,864 Ctrip call options at a $44.50 strike price that expire on May 17. The calls were purchased at the ask price of 40 cents and represent a $114,560 bullish trade ahead of the company’s earnings report expected on May 21. The break-even price for the call options is $44.90, more than 10 percent above Tuesday's trading price. The large buy took place roughly an hour after another Ctrip options buy of 509 Ctrip call options at a $45 strike price that expire on May 31. The $50,900 bullish bet could have been made by the same trader.

Options Insight

Due to the relative complexity of options trading, options traders are often seen as more advanced than the typical stock trader. Even if they aren’t trading options themselves, stock traders often watch for unusual options trades to provide some potential insight into what advanced institutional or wealthy individual traders may be thinking.

Trade War Pessimism Overdone?

Monday’s Ctrip option trader may believe the stock has been unjustly punished on trade war fears. That trader may believe first-quarter earnings will surprise to the upside and/or a trade deal isn’t as far off as this week’s negative headlines suggest. If it's the same trader behind both trades, he or she took one position ahead of earnings and one position after earnings. The larger position expires prior to earnings and will only pay off if the stock rallies on optimism prior to the earnings date.

Unfortunately, bullish call buying can also be a hedge against a larger bearish stock position, and it’s impossible to be 100 percent certain if an option trade is a hedge or not. However, given the Ctrip option trades’ relatively small size, it’s unlikely to be a hedge in this case. At time of publication, Ctrip's stock traded at $41 per share.

Article Produced By
Wayne Duggan
Wayne is a Benzinga Staff Writer

Chris Corey

Schnorr Signatures Await Bitcoin Cash as the Next Fork Draws Near

Schnorr Signatures Await Bitcoin Cash as the Next Fork Draws Near


The Bitcoin Cash network is scheduled to fork on May 15
and the community has been steadily preparing for the next upgrade, which will entail the addition of Schnorr signatures and Segwit recovery exemption.

Bitcoin Cash Upgrade Time: May 15, 2019, Shortly After 12 pm

Every six months the BCH chain upgrades the protocol in order to add new features that benefit scaling, privacy, and overall network performance. The upcoming hard fork scheduled for May 15 is a change that requires all participants to upgrade their software. The compatible full node implementations for the BCH fork next slated for next Wednesday include Bitcoin ABC 0.19.4, Bchd 0.14.2, Bitprim 0.19.0, and the Bitcoin Unlimited Cash Edition There are two protocol features that will be added to the chain: Segwit recovery and the highly anticipated Schnorr signatures.

The Upgrades: Segwit Recovery Exemption and the Benefits of Schnorr Signatures

Segwit recovery is basically an add-on to the last protocol upgrade implementation of a new CLEANSTACK rule which made it impossible for miners to recover BCH from Segwit addresses. Essentially, after May 15 the upgrade will make an exemption for these unrecoverable coins and make them spendable. “This means that once the P2SH redeem script pre-image is revealed (for example by spending coins from the corresponding BTC address), any miner can take the coins,” explains the hard fork specifications on Github.

The high profile feature being added to the chain which has garnered the most attention is the addition of Schnorr signatures. The digital signature scheme invented by Claus Schnorr will allow BCH users the ability to build cryptographic keys in extraordinary ways. For example, using Schnorr signatures in place of ECDSA signatures allows for future concepts like multisignature aggregation. To the layman, the concept basically reduces transaction size by utilizing an aggregated signature in contrast to using multiple signatures. Essentially, the grouping produces the same cryptographic proof which in turn will reduce blockchain storage and bandwidth. Another advantage Schnorr signatures can offer is privacy when users and developers combine one batched pubkey scheme with different protocols like OP_CHECKSIG and pay-to-public-key-hash (P2PKH) addresses.

BCH developers have added the Schnorr signatures scheme as an optional replacement for traditional ECDSA signatures. The engineers will introduce Schnorr by using the same curve as ECDSA so regular users will not notice the upgrade as much as with prior forks, such as when the block size was raised. On the development side, however, Schnorr signatures only use 64 bytes which is lower than the typical 70-byte ECDSA signature. Basically, programmers who implement the upgraded feature can reduce transaction sizes by roughly 4%. But again, the switch from ECDSA to Schnorr is completely optional, but there are encouraging benefits of implementing the change. Besides a mixture of scaling and privacy, one attribute Schnorr will give to wallet platforms that use the protocol is replay protection. Other benefits of Schnorr that BCH developers will be able to utilize after May 15 include:

  • Payment channels hidden as ordinary payments.
  • Atomic swaps hidden as ordinary payments.
  • Lightning-style payment channel networks too, if desired.
  • Secure chains of unconfirmed transactions involving multiple parties (layer 2).

Future Schnorr Related Upgrades Could Bolster Public Signature Aggregation, Reduce Blockchain Storage and Bandwidth by 25% and Design Complex Smart Contracts

In the past, many cryptographers have recognized Schnorr for being a more polished scheme than ECDSA, but blockchain programmers could not use the concept because it was patented. Now that the patent has expired, BCH programmers can use Schnorr signatures and build a myriad of improvements going forward. After the May 15 fork, the new features will bring the very basics of Schnorr signatures at first which in turn will set the protocol up for future Schnorr related forks. For instance, further upgrades will be able to bolster public signature aggregation which could reduce blockchain storage and bandwidth by 20-25%. Another upgrade could help eliminate signature malleability so programmers can design complex smart contracts.

Further upgrades could introduce public signature aggregation which could reduce storage and bandwidth alongside the introduction of more complex concepts.

As mentioned above, the fork will take place next Wednesday, shortly after 12:00 p.m. UTC on May 15 and the protocol will lock in at a certain block height. After that takes place, there will be another 11 blocks and the BCH chain will have executed the upgrade and rule changes will take effect. BCH fans will be able to watch the fork in real time on data websites like Coin Dance in order to see that the consensus rule changes have been implemented as planned.

Moreover, existing wallets using ESDSA will be functioning in the same manner as before so regular users probably won’t notice much of a difference right away. Developers will find the feature appealing due to the 4% size decrease and the ability to build in new ways. There’s a wide variety of complex schemes that can be introduced in the future and the upgrade on May 15 will be the foundation for all types of innovative concepts. More information about the Bitcoin Cash development process and scheduled hard fork can be found here and here, and users can watch the countdown in real-time here.

Article Produced By
Jamie Redman

Jamie Redman is a financial tech journalist living in Florida. Redman has been an active member of the cryptocurrency community since 2011. He has a passion for Bitcoin, open source code, and decentralized applications. Redman has written thousands of articles for about the disruptive protocols emerging today.

Chris Corey

What’s the Difference Between Bitcoin BTC and Ethereum ETH?

What’s the Difference Between Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH)?


Bitcoin (BTC) is a peer-to-peer (P2P) digital asset system which has been implemented

on an immutable and distributed ledger, which allows users to view transaction details including the amount of funds transferred and the addresses of the recipient and sender. In a way that’s somewhat similar, Ethereum (ETH) is also a public blockchain-based network that allows users to build and deploy decentralized applications on its platform.

Because there’s no central authority which is responsible for determining how the ongoing development of both Bitcoin and Ethereum should be carried out, individuals and organizations are allowed to submit Improvement Proposals in order to further enhance both decentralized protocols.

Bitcoin Proposed As “Experiment In Monetary Theory”

Joseph Lubin, the founder of ConsenSys, a Brooklyn, New York-based organization focused on the ongoing development of Ethereum, the world’s first blockchain-based platform for building smart contract-based dApps, has explained why the Bitcoin (BTC) protocol was developed. Lubin, a crypto pioneer and also one of the co-founders of Ethereum, delivered a short explanation in the form of a comparison between Bitcoin’s and Ethereum’s use cases. He explained: “Ethereum is different from Bitcoin in that it was realized as a platform for decentralized applications (dApps) – whereas Bitcoin was proposed as a sort of an experiment in monetary theory.”

Ethereum Co-Founder: Bitcoin’s “Experiment In Monetary Theory” Has “Caught On”

Lubin has acknowledged that the Bitcoin protocol, which provided the specification for the very first blockchain-enabled, P2P “electronic cash system”, has “caught on” and has become “quite successful.” He added that the “Bitcoin network exists in support of the bitcoin token whereas the Ethereum token (Ether) exists in support of the Ethereum platform.”

According to Lubin, “Ethereum’s really all about developers building applications on a new kind of platform … [and] on a new kind of world wide web.” He pointed out that “many of us” have been referring to the new web, or internet, as “Web 3.0” or the “decentralized world wide web.” Lubin argued that “Ethereum is one of the foundational protocols that will be part of” Web 3.0 – as the smart contract-enabled platform “brings trusted transactions, automated agreements, [and] smart software objects.”

“Heavy Compute Platforms” Being Built On Ethereum

Per the former Goldman Sachs executive, Ethereum “already interoperates with other decentralized protocols” such as those currently being used for “storage, bandwidth,” and “heavy compute” tasks. Lubin also revealed that “heavy compute platforms” have already been “built on top of Ethereum.” These include “decentralized identity” and “decentralized proof of location” software solutions, Lubin noted.

Ethereum Full-Node Operators Will Significantly Increase As It Moves From PoW To PoS

As Ethereum’s ongoing development continues, Lubin believes “hundreds of other protocols will either be built on Ethereum or adjacent to” it. These protocols will also “enable interoperation” – which puts “Ethereum in a special position,” Lubin stated. He argued that Ethereum “is the most decentralized of all these platforms” because it has “about 20,000 nodes worldwide.” The number of full-node transaction validators for the Ethereum network are “likely to grow quite dramatically when we move from the proof-of-work (PoW) consensus algorithm to the proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus” mechanism, Lubin predicted.

Proof-of-Stake (PoS)-Based Ethereum Will Be Even “More Decentralized”

Assuming the Ethereum network successfully transitions from PoW to a PoS-based blockchain, Lubin believes the smart contract platform will become even more decentralized “because the barrier to entry to participating, to validating transactions on the system, and securing the network … [will] drop quite dramatically.” He noted that “you get trust from decentralization, you get greater trust from greater decentralization.”

Lubin also explained that “if you have many of these different nodes that everybody can access, everybody can inspect, everybody can ensure that there isn’t improper manipulation … and the Ethereum platform resists manipulation if [at least] half of the actors of the system are honest in that sort of world.” He continued: “We can envision Ethereum as essentially the base layer, [or] the layer one trust infrastructure and upon that we’re already seeing many layer two technologies, state channels, different kinds of sidechains, plasma mechanisms … those are all being built and sort of anchored into Ethereum to garner that trust property from the base layer of Ethereum,”

Owning Bitcoins Is One Of The “Few Asymmetric Bets”

Although Lubin’s brief discussion about Bitcoin and Ethereum did not provide detailed insights into how the Bitcoin protocol has managed to achieve increased adoption, there have been many recent developments which suggest that Bitcoin is increasingly being used as a medium-of-exchange (MoE) and store-of-value (SoV). Vijay Boyapti, a former software engineer at Google and a widely-followed crypto analyst, has argued: “Owning bitcoins is one of the few asymmetric bets that people across the entire world can participate in.”  

In a detailed Medium blog post (published in March 2018), Boyapati wrote that “the bullish case for investors might seem so obvious it does not need stating.” Although the bitcoin price has dropped considerably after reaching its all-time high of nearly $20,000 on December 17th, 2017, Boyapati has noted in many different Twitter threads that Bitcoin is arguably one of the most important inventions in modern history. In his blog, Boyapti mentioned: “Never in the history of the world had it been possible to transfer value between distant peoples without relying on a trusted intermediary, such as a bank or government.”

Lightning Network (LN) Adoption Growing Steadily

While the Bitcoin blockchain has been plagued with scalability problems – as the distributed ledger can only handle around 7 transactions per second (TPS), second-layer payment solutions such as the Lightning Network (LN) protocol have been increasingly adopted. Blockchain developers are working on many different implementations of the LN and there are currently 7,979 nodes on the layer-two network.

Although the LN is only able to process relatively smaller bitcoin payments, there are many development teams throughout the world that are focused on improving the second-layer network. LN’s main design goals include enabling faster and more cost-effective cryptocurrency payments. At the time of writing, the LN’s capacity is only around 1,067 BTC, an amount valued at approximately $5,430,000 at press time – according CryptoCompare data. However, development has been steady as at the time of writing, in the past 30 days, the LN’s capacity has increased by 29% and there are now 38,707 active LN channels – which represents an increase of about 6.6% in the past month.

Bitcoin Adoption Has Increased 700% In Past 6 Years

In addition to software architects working consistently to improve the Bitcoin protocol, reports have revealed that Bitcoin adoption has increased by over 700% in the past 6 years (worldwide). This, according to Coinma’s data, which is a Bitcoin directory service provider. Meanwhile, Kaspersky Labs, a leading Russia-based cybersecurity firm, conducted a survey a few months back in which it asked shoppers whether they had used bitcoin to pay for goods and services online. Notably, about 10% of those who responded to Kaspersky’s survey said they had used BTC or another cryptocurrency to make purchases through e-commerce websites.

Founded in Moscow in 1997, Kaspersky Labs’ recent crypto survey was performed by gathering responses from more than 13,000 online shoppers based in 22 different countries. Significantly, 81% of survey respondents said they prefer using a bank-issued credit card to pay for items online. This suggests that cryptocurrencies are still not a widely used payment method, however an increasing number of merchants worldwide have started taking crypto payments.

Increasing Number Of Merchants Accept Bitcoin

According to Cointelegraph en Español, Paraguay paid for a shipment from Argentina with bitcoin on February 16th, 2019. The BTC transaction involved Paraguay purchasing pesticides and fumigation products worth around $7,000 from Argentina. Bitex, a Latin American financial services company, helped process the crypto transaction. In early February 2019, the management at Argentina’s public transport system announced that it would start accepting bitcoin payments. Passengers in 37 different localities throughout the South American nation are now able to use bitcoin to add credit balance to their SUBE (Sistema Único de Boleto Electrónico) travel cards. Bitex also helped in the integration of bitcoin payments into the SUBE travelcards.

In December 2018,, a Denmark-based online food takeaway portal which helps process orders from more than 1,500 restaurants in the European nation, started accepting bitcoin payments again. Representatives from told the Bitcoinist that they had first started taking crypto payments in 2016. However, they briefly stopped accepting bitcoin when “average transaction times took too long” towards the end of 2017 – which was during the time that digital asset prices recorded all-time highs.

Ethereum Still In Early Stages Of Development & Adoption

Compared to Bitcoin, Ethereum’s adoption or usage rate does not appear to be that high. On February 9th, 2019, Twitter user Kevin Rooke pointed out (while referencing that “there [were] 1375 live [Ethereum-based] dApps” and “86% of them had 0 users” that day. Moreover, 93% of dApps on Ethereum did not record any transactions that day. Competing dApp creation platforms such as EOS and Tron were not much better – as out of 1828 live dApps that day, “77% of them had 0 users” and “85% of them had 0 [transaction] volume” on the same day. Ethereum Already Has Legitimate Use Cases Being Built On Top Of It

Anthony Sassano, a cybersecurity professional and the co-founder of EthHub, an organization focused on Ethereum-related research, has argued via Twitter that there are already several legitimate use cases for the smart contract platform. According to Sassano’s assessment, “people are putting too much emphasis on scale as a ‘make or break’ for Ethereum.” While he acknowledged that Ethereum must be able to scale effectively in the long-term, he listed the following platforms (which have already been launched on Ethereum):

  • Augur: an Ethereum-based decentralized predictions market platform,
  • Burner Wallet: a tool that allows users to transact in “an intuitive currency like DAI” through an easy-to-use UX/UI. It’s ideal in situations “where it's hard to find important goods with the traditional currency or the currency may fluctuate immensely in value due to inflation.”
  • Compound: an “Ethereum protocol that establishes money markets with algorithmically set interest rates”,
  • Dharma: a “suite of smart contracts and developer tools that make it possible to borrow and lend cryptoassets on blockchains like Ethereum”,
  • dYdX: a protocol designed to enable “decentralized margin trading and derivatives”,
  • Gnosis: a predictions market platform developed on Ethereum,
  • MakerDAO: a platform that utilizes a stablecoin called Dai to issue “collateralized loans” – which are part of an ecosystem managed by “decentralized governance”,
  • Stablecoins (a few examples):
    • Gemini Dollar (GUSD) – ERC-20-based token backed 1-to-1 with USD;
    • USD Coin (USDC) – “an Ethereum token, so you can store it in an Ethereum-compatible wallet, like Coinbase Wallet.”
  • Uniswap: a protocol for “automated token exchange” on Ethereum,

Looking Forward

Bitcoin is intended to function as decentralized means of value transfer whereas Ethereum is a protocol that allows users to develop decentralized applications on top of a blockchain network. As prominent Ethereum developer Vlad Zamfir has confirmed on several occasions, Ethereum is “not money.” Ethereum’s native token, Ether (ETH) exists in order to facilitate the process of building and deploying distributed applications. Meanwhile, the bitcoin currency exists on the Bitcoin blockchain to facilitate peer-to-peer (P2P) exchange of uncensorable, non-confiscatable money.

Because both Bitcoin and Ethereum are open-source protocols, their standard accepted definition and use cases are continuously evolving. Developers, business leaders, entrepreneurs, traders, individuals and organizations throughout the world expect different things from both Bitcoin and Ethereum. Due to different expectations and perceptions, Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs) and Bitcoin Improvement Proposals (BIPs) are used to manage the ongoing development of both blockchain networks.

Hard forks (backwards incompatible upgrades) and soft forks (backwards compatible upgrades) are used to make codebase modifications to both the Bitcoin and Ethereum blockchain networks. In principle, these changes are only made after a BIP or EIP are approved through distributed consensus by active members of the Bitcoin and Ethereum community, respectively.

A decade after the launch of Bitcoin and about five years after the introduction of Ethereum, there are thousands of businesses and various other decentralized application layers being developed on top of both Bitcoin and Ethereum. In the words of Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin: “Cryptocurrency Protocols Are Like Onions… One common design philosophy among many cryptocurrency 2.0 protocols is the idea that, just like the internet, cryptocurrency design would work best if protocols split off into different layers. Under this strain of thought, Bitcoin is to be thought of as a sort of TCP/IP of the cryptocurrency ecosystem, and other next-generation protocols can be built on top of Bitcoin much like we have SMTP for email, HTTP for webpages and XMPP for chat all on top of TCP as a common underlying data layer.”

Article Produced By

Chris Corey