Bitcoin Suisse Partners European Payment Provider Wordline to Bring Crypto Payments

The largest Swiss-regulated financial intermediary and pioneer in crypto-financial services – Bitcoin Suisse – has just announced its partnership with European leader in payments and transactional services provider Wordline.

Recently announced, Bitcoin Suisse and Wordline have signed a letter of intent for a partnership that will provide cryptocurrency payment services to Swiss merchants and consumers both in-store and online.

As one of the oldest and largest crypto financial services provider, Bitcoin Suisse has developed extensive in-house technical and crypto-financial expertise through its more than 6 years of experience in trading, brokerage and storage for cryptocurrencies.

According to the reports, the main goal of this partnership is to augment the existing payment service network of Worldline with cryptocurrency payment capabilities as well as promote and encourage the adoption of cryptocurrency on a larger scale across a wide range of businesses and industries. Further details about the partnership will be revealed at the upcoming Swiss Payments Forum in Zurich.

Upon the announcement, Dr. Arthur Vayloyan – CEO of Bitcoin Suisse – commented:

“Our partnership with Worldline is an incredible step forward on the journey to bring crypto payments into broader adoption. Bitcoin Suisse is proud to serve as the processor of cryptocurrencies in Worldline’s payment service system. We applaud them for their pioneering spirit in taking this monumental step and pointing the way forward for others.”

As noted in the press release, the new system will be available for all users on SIX Payment – Worldline’s nationwide payments infrastructure. Currently, there are 65,000 Swiss merchants who are using the SIX Payment Services. Equipped with cryptocurrency payment capabilities, the traditional network will be expanded to promote the use of the new asset class at a mass scale, in-store and online.

In addition to that, it is noted that the service will be intuitive and easy to use for both staff and consumers. Payouts to merchants will be made in Swiss francs or Euros and the transaction figures will be fully integrated into the merchant reports like any other card or wallet.

Marc Schluep, CEO of Worldline in Switzerland, added that as a market leader, the company had a reputation to introduce latest payment functionalities that boost the customer journey as well as increase efficiency and profitability for its merchants. He further stated that due to the new partnership with Bitcoin Suisse, their client base could benefit from an entirely new offering without taking any conversion risk.

In the event of a successful launch in Switzerland, Worldline will roll out its new cryptocurrency payment service across Europe.

Meanwhile, this partnership aims at strengthening the leading position of Switzerland and as a result establishing the country as a strong center in the crypto-financial services industry. Nonetheless, there are currently over 800 companies developing blockchain solutions or providing services to crypto and companies in Switzerland.

Bakkt Launches Custody Solution for Institutional Investors

Bakkt, the institutional Bitcoin (BTC) trading platform backed by Intercontinental Exchange, has announced on Monday the launch of its custody feature for its entire client base.

The news was shared in a blog post on November 11th by Bakkt, confirming that it had received regulatory approval from the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) to offer custody services to any institution. Prior to this, this feature was only available for those trading its BTC futures.

The news came just weeks after the company said it would begin offering options on top of its existing BTC futures contracts, which in turn came less than a month after the company went live with its long-anticipated physically delivered offerings.

The new service provides is an extension of the company’s Bakkt Warehouse and will offer bitcoin custodial services to institutional investors. At the moment, several companies have signed on as initial customers for Bakkt Warehouse, including Pantera Capital, Galaxy Digital and Tagomi. Other marquee firms are expected to join in the next few weeks.

Following the release, Bakkt COO Adam White has claimed that the company believes that the custodial feature is a critical link in the institutional adoption of bitcoin is custody.

The blog post further noted that:

“Safely storing digital assets demands a comprehensive approach to custody. Institutions and sophisticated investors need more than cutting-edge technology. They require proven infrastructure, robust operational controls, and independent oversight.”

White further added that whilst technology provided the foundation by which the company stored customer funds, “the Bakkt Warehouse employs extensive physical, operational and cybersecurity safeguards too.”

He noted that due to the relationship between Bakkt and Intercontinental Exchange allowed them to uniquely address client needs in the digital asset custody space, including on-premises data centers and dedicated network connectivity between operational sites,that remove the need to rely on third parties.

According to Bakkt, the new tool will employ a range of security and safeguards, such as redundant secondary facilities, geographically-distributed signing operations, as well as independent reporting structures amongst others. The company is currently working with BNY Mellon to support its geographically separated key storage feature.

In addition to that, the company will also protect its systems with 24 hour video monitoring, armed guards, and security operations and incident response teams. The trading platform has also secured its SOC2 certification – a review of its systems by a third-party auditor.

Although a number of other companies are currently developing their own platforms for physically-settled bitcoin futures in the U.S., Bakkt has been the only one to launch so far.

In the meantime, Bakkt has also recently announced its plans to launch a cryptocurrency consumer app and merchant portal – Starbucks – which would launch in the first half of 2020 with Starbucks.

Meanwhile, Bakkt Warehouse is entering a market with a fair amount of competition, including Fidelity Digital Assets, which fully rolled-out its platform in October. Another market competitor is Coinbase Custody, which launched in 2018 and now manages over $7 billion thanks in part to its acquisition of Xapo’s institutional business.

BitMEX Inadvertently Leaks E-Mails, Making Users Susceptible to Phishing Attempts

Largest cryptocurrency derivatives exchange platform BitMEX, has been making the headlines today, with an error leading to the mass leak of user e-mails, followed by a temporary misappropriation of their official Twitter account.

In a recent email sent out by BitMEX, with an update to their index pricing to all its users, the recipient email addresses were accidentally added as carbon copy (CC) instead of the blind alternative (BCC). This means that every person’s email that was on the list of recipients was visible to every other recipient.

Thousands of emails have been compromised and hackers could potentially use other databases and easy passwords to attempt hacking BitMEX accounts. This mistake means that many BitMEX accounts are now susceptible to potential hacks and phishing attempts.

As a user, if you don’t have two-factor authentication (2FA) enabled, you should enable this security setting to protect yourself against unauthorized access from hackers.

In the wake of the incident, BitMEX’ Twitter account had also been compromised, which was reportedly flagged as misconduct from an employee that had been let off due to the user e-mail leak. In an official statement, BitMEX stated:

“Our team have acted immediately to contain the issue and we are taking steps to understand the extent of the impact. Rest assured that we are doing everything we can to identify the root cause of the fault and we will be in touch with any users affected by the issue. The privacy of our users is a top priority,” the exchange added.

Following news of the leak, competing exchange platform Binance advised all affected BitMEX users who also hold an account on Binance to change their Binance account email immediately. Hackers may attempt using the leaked e-mails on other exchange platforms as well.

One of the largest crypto derivatives markets known for its leverage rates of up to 100x, BitMEX operates out of Seychelles. Its largest product, the XBT/USD trade pair, had a 24-hour trade volume of $2.8 billion. As big as the platform is, it remains to be seen whether this email leak will end up negatively affecting customers and as a result its business reputation.

Bitmain Co-Founder Ousted in Internal Power Struggle

Bitmain co-founder and executive director Micree Ketuan Zhan has reportedly been forced out of the company in a power struggle with business partner Jihan Wu.

Bitmain’s co-founder Wu Jihan announced on Tuesday the resignation of his partner, a move which comes as a surprise to outsiders. The change appears to be the consequence of a power struggle within the largest crypto mining company in the world.

Zhan, who is considered one of the wealthiest cryptocurrency billionaire, was the largest Bitmain shareholder with 36% ownership. Since the company’s delayed IPO this is the second major shakeup at the executive level.

According to Wu’s memo Micree Zhan Ketuan, who started Bitmain alongside Wu six years ago, no longer holds any position at the company, effective immediately.

Jihan Wu also warned employees against taking further instructions from Zhan or attending any meetings, threatening staff with dismissal or criminal charges.

“If employees cause any harm to the company’s economic interests, the company will investigate their civil or criminal liability in accordance with the law,” Wu wrote in the memo, signing off as Bitmain’s co-founder and chairman.

Bitmain’s two co-founders had long served as co-CEOs but were replaced this year by Wang Haichao, in an attempt to reinvigorate the company after the crushing bear market for the cryptocurrency industry as a whole.

The unexpected memo from Wu is sure to stoke more questions around the world’s largest producer of crypto mining rigs, which had previously failed to get listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange.

Bitmain had high ambitions during the filing process, netting a valuation around US$15 billion in a private funding round last year. With the downward pressure on Bitcoin’s price and the uncertain regulatory environment, the IPO failed as the cryptocurrency industry was deemed too risky.

The mining giant also considered a US debut, long before rival Canaan Inc filed for its own American US initial public offering.

It’s yet unclear how Bitmain’s board made the decision and whether Zhan was bought out of his shares. As of September last year when Bitmain filed the IPO application, Zhan was still a major shareholder of Bitmain with 36 percent of Bitmain’s holding company while Wu owned 20 percent.

Coinbase Generated $2 Billion in Revenues from Transactions Since 2012

Co-founder and CEO of major US cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase Brian Armstrong has revealed that the firm has been profitable since 2017 and has generated close to $2 billion in transaction fees revenue since its launch in 2012.

Speaking at Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit on October 23rd, Armstrong has stated that the exchange has generated more operating profits than the funds it raised from venture capitals.

He further noted that the exchange has turned a profit the last three years, including during the 2018 bear market, and has earned more operating profit than venture capital raised so far, estimated at nearly $550 million in nine funding rounds, according to CrunchBase.

“We were profitable in 2018 and in 2017,” and as well as this year, he stated. However, instead of paying out to the investors, the exchange is focusing on putting the profits in its expansion.

 “Most of these profits we’re plowing back into the business to create new products. […] I sort of think of us as the anti-unicorn unicorn… I want Coinbase to be a company of repeatable innovation.”

Armstrong further added that it’s due to technology, which has always been the focus of Coinbase that the exchange has managed to remain profitable.

The San Francisco-based exchange is continuously adding digital coins to offer more options to its crypto traders. Moreover, as a way to boost the crypto ecosystem, the exchange is also heavily investing in startups that work in the development of blockchain technology.

Coinbase was founded in 2012 and is now one of the eight blockchain unicorns globally. The exchange offer a wide range of crypto-based services for both retail and institutional traders. Coinbase was valued at $8 billion in its last funding round, raising money from investors which include Andreessen Horowitz, Y Combinator, and Polychain Capital.

Meanwhile, Coinbase is currently part of Facebook’s cryptocurrency initiative – Libra. When asked about the future of the project, CEO Armstrong replied that he doesn’t know why regulators’ response to the project were preponderantly negative, adding:

“I’d really like to see the U.S. embrace this area of innovation. […] My hope is the U.S. embraces this kind of innovation, even if it comes from a company like Facebook that they’re not necessarily very happy with.”

Coinbase is currently one of the 21 remaining companies included in the Libra Association. The association has been under scrutiny by lawmakers across the world for its potential to put at risk user privacy as well as diregard regulatory rules. Most recently, Libra has lost seven high-profile contributors such as Visa, eBay, Mastercard, PayPal and others.

Earlier this month, Coinbase acquired an Irish e-money license from the Central Bank of Ireland, effectively expanding its European operations. Following this, the cryptocurrency exchange is certified to offer money and banking services throughout the European Economic Area and the EU.