CoinMarketCap Looks to Repair Tainted Image with More Trustworthy Data

By CCN: Started as a side project in May 2013 by a lone developer in a Queens, New York apartment, CoinMarketCap celebrated its six-year anniversary last week. The website, which keeps track of the market capitalization of bitcoin and more than 2,100 altcoins, commemorated the milestone with a few announcements. The changes come on the heels of the crypto data market site coming under fire for reportedly relying on faulty data when calculating exchange trading volume.

CMC will be working to create a more rigorous and robust philosophy for what data it does and doesn’t include in its algorithms. Through a CoinMarketCap Data Accountability & Transparency Alliance, or DATA, it will “promote greater transparency, accountability, and disclosure from projects in the crypto space,” according to the announcement.

The real-time blockchain data provider is also launching a new blockchain explorer. The company is hoping to make it easier and more intuitive for newbies to explore and interact with the blockchain. With its new blockchain explorer, CoinMarketCap promises a friendlier, more down to earth interface for users to learn about the blockchain.

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CoinMarketCap user-interface circa 2013. | Source: CoinMarketCap

CoinMarketCap Dogged By Scandals

A Bitwise investigation published in March found that “at least 95 percent of all bitcoin trading volume is faked on unregulated exchanges.” CoinMarketCap was caught in the middle of the scandal, with Bitwise pointing to $6 billion in daily trading volume reported by the site vs. $273 million in actual volume.

CoinMarketCap’s Humble Beginnings in Tracking Crypto Market Capitalizations

When CoinMarketCap was started in 2013, there was no consistent way to keep track of and compare the relative performance of the already burgeoning number of altcoins. The nascent nature of the emerging cryptocurrency space has made their job that much harder. Leaders in the crypto industry have been quick to defend CoinMarketCap, including Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao:

He instead pointed the finger at the seemingly scammy exchanges that have faked their trading volume along the way.

No new business is without its flaws in the early stages of development, especially niche tech businesses. But as CoinMarketCap reckons with how to provide the best product as a real-time crypto market data company, here’s to wishing it all the best for the next six years.

Blockchain Researchers Look to Overhaul Crypto Exchange Ranking Data

By CCN: ‘Reported volume’ is the default metric that people look for when determining the ranks of crypto exchanges. ‘Reported’ and ‘adjusted’ volumes wildly differ on sites like CoinMarketCap.com. For example, if you look at the image below, you’ll notice a wild difference in “reported” and “adjusted” volumes at press time.

Ranking Exchanges Beyond Their “Volume”

Notice the difference between “reported” and “adjusted” volume on CoinMarketCap.com

ViewBase, a “market insights and community” platform centered around cryptocurrency, recently published a report which details other ways we might rank exchanges. Rankings could be based on real facts, like how much crypto they hold or the value of all their tokens combined.

The platform watches for large movements of various coins, including stablecoins, and provides traders the opportunity to discuss observations. It’s a bit like TradingView but crypto-centric.

Ranking exchanges purely by volume – reported or otherwise – may soon be a fallacy in and of itself, as the trend of “initial exchange offerings” gives rise to more “transaction mining.” Transaction mining is where users earn tokens for making trades; this may increase the volume but does it mean the exchange is more significant?

Three New Ways to Objectively Rank Exchanges

So ViewBase looks at three new ways to rank exchanges.

The first way is by ether balances.

Kraken holds the most Ethereum. Source: ViewBase

Kraken, with nearly 3 million ether, by far has the deepest pockets. Kraken’s volume in ether is interestingly currently ranked No. 98, with less than 1% of Ethereum’s alleged daily volume of more than $7.4 billion.

Kraken may have the most Ethereum, but they don’t do the most trading. Source: CoinMarketCap.com

Binance comes in second place by this method. Binance’s ETH/USDT market is 32nd in volume, with almost 1% of Ethereum’s daily trading volume, according to CoinMarketCap.

Binance Crushes With Help from BNB

The next metric ViewBase uses is the value of all ERC-20 tokens combined, which drops Kraken way down the list being that Kraken primarily focuses on fiat/major-cap markets.

Binance leads in other ways. Source: ViewBase

Binance, however, gets a huge boost thanks to all its tokens. Huobi is right behind it. ViewBase writes:

“A vast majority of Initial Coin Offering (ICO) tokens are issued on the Ethereum blockchain, ranging from established projects like Omisego to the latest IEO tokens like Fetch.AI and Celer. Hence it is reasonable to expect the valuation of ERC20 tokens deposited on an exchange to be reasonably proportional to its reported trading volumes.”

The last metric is the value of all Ethereum and all tokens combined.

Binance has a massive lead when you combine its Ethereum and all of its tokens. A big part of this is the fact that its own Binance Coin (BNB), a routine top 20 cryptocurrency, is largely stored on the exchange for obvious reasons. Source: ViewBase

This chart surprisingly brings Kraken back into the top 5, but Binance remains king – by a long shot.

If we’ve learned anything from all the fake volume scandals over the past year, it’s that volume is not necessarily the best way to judge an exchange. While it’s an important metric, especially for traders who require a lot of liquidity, there is a lot more to exchanges than the number of times tokens change hands.

The actual crypto holdings of exchanges are perhaps the most exciting takeaway here. On the one hand, it’s a scary situation that a few places control that much crypto – “not your keys, not your crypto” comes to mind. On the other, it’s a real testament to the level of trust people place in these companies.

Bitcoin Price Teeters on Brink of Brutal Panic-Driven Crash

By CCN: According to prominent technical analysts including Peter Brandt and DonAlt, the bitcoin price is facing strong resistance at around $6,000 and is vulnerable to a correction in the short-term.

“Just an opinion — there is a chance BTC is topping here, having met its price target at key resistance. A correction could occur before another move toward 6500, then a more significant correction,” Brandt said.

Brandt’s forecast comes after the bitcoin price has surged by 10 percent within the past week against the U.S. dollar, demonstrating strong momentum.

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The bitcoin price has increased by more than 10 percent in the past week. (source: coinmarketcap.com)

But, over the medium to long term, technical analysts remain fairly positive about the price trend of bitcoin and only expect temporary corrections to occur in the near-term.

Bitcoin Exchange Scandal Encourages Traders to Proceed With Caution

Based on the data provided by OnChainFX, the “real 10” daily volume of bitcoin, which calculates the legitimate spot volume of the dominant crypto asset using the methodology of Bitwise Asset Management, is at around $435 million.

In early March, Bitwise reported that the real daily volume of bitcoin taken from exchanges with at least $1 million in verifiable daily volumes such as Kraken, Binance, and Bitfinex was around $270 million.

“When you remove fake volume, the real BTC volume is quite healthy given its market cap. Gold’s market cap is ~$7 trillion with a spot volume of ~$37 billion implying a 0.53% daily turnover. Bitcoin’s $70 billion market cap would imply a 0.39% daily turnover, very much in-line with that of gold,” the Bitwise team said.

The daily volume of bitcoin is up nearly two-fold in the past 30 days, indicating a noticeable increase in demand for and interest in bitcoin.

However, as suggested by DonAlt, a crypto technical analyst, the Bitfinex scandal could become a threat to the short-term performance of bitcoin, especially if the premium on Bitfinex rises.

On April 25, the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit against iFinex, a company that oversees Tether and Bitfinex, alleging Bitfinex of mismanaging $900 million of Tether’s cash reserves to “cover-up” an $850 million loss.

“Our investigation has determined that the operators of the ‘Bitfinex’ trading platform, who also control the ‘tether’ virtual currency, have engaged in a cover-up to hide the apparent loss of $850 million dollars of co-mingled client and corporate funds,” Attorney General James said.

After the filing of the lawsuit, the premium of bitcoin on Bitfinex rose by around $300 to $400, which indicates that Tether holders are selling the stablecoin amidst the recent controversy to buy bitcoin at a higher rate than the spot price.

DonAlt said that this trend is not sustainable and if the premium of bitcoin on Bitfinex remains unreasonably high over the upcoming weeks, it may cause the market to crash.

But, the analyst said that a crash is likely to be avoided if Bitfinex does complete its $1 billion offering, as proposed by its billionaire shareholder Dong Zhao.

“What this does is decrease the risk of a panic-driven short squeeze off of Bitfinex which would’ve led to a huge drop in my opinion. That said the premium still needs to go. As stated in [my first tweet], the most likely way for that to happen, in my opinion, is still a dump,” the analyst said.

Major Crypto Assets Record Large Gains – for Now

As bitcoin demonstrated stability in the $5,700 to $5,800 range, major crypto assets such as bitcoin cash (BCH) recorded fairly large gains against the U.S. dollar, with BCH rising 5.3 percent on the day,

Elon Musk, Warren Buffett Spar After Berkshire Billionaire Disses Tesla

By CCN: Billionaire Elon Musk joked about Warren Buffett after the Berkshire Hathaway chairman dissed his plans to launch Tesla insurance and said he’d bet against it.

At the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholders meeting this weekend, Buffett questioned the wisdom of a Tesla insurance product, which Musk plans to launch soon.

Warren Buffett: I’d Bet Against Tesla Insurance

Buffett — whose net worth tops $89 billion — says insurance is a tough racket to break into. Accordingly, he expressed skepticism that Tesla could gain traction in the competitive industry.

“It’s not an easy business,” Buffett told shareholders (via CNBC). “The success of the auto companies getting into the insurance business is probably as likely as the success of the insurance companies getting into the auto business.”

“I’d bet against any company in the auto business [getting into insurance.] I worry much more about Progressive.”

It bears pointing out that one-third of Berkshire Hathaway’s business is in insurance, including Geico, its wholly-owned subsidiary.

So it’s not surprising that Buffett is talking down a potential competitor.

Elon Musk Fires Back: Warren Says to Buy Tesla

Elon Musk reacted to the diss by joking that Buffett secretly loves Tesla.

The hilarity erupted after Musk tweeted a link urging his followers to order the Tesla Model 3, which he says is cheaper than a Honda Accord.

Musk then followed up a playful tweet claiming that Tesla is “also 1,000 more fun” than a Honda Accord. He joked that “that’s a direct quote from Warren Buffett.”

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Elon Musk jokes: Warren Buffett says Tesla is ‘1,000 more fun’ than Honda. (Twitter)

That caused a flurry of comical replies, including funny Warren Buffett memes like the one below.

Musk — who has battled the SEC over his tweeting — then good-naturedly responded to several questions, including one asking when he plans to launch a candy company.

“Candy is coming 🍭,” Elon cheerfully chirped.

Buffett: Elon Musk Can Improve as a CEO

All jokes aside, Buffett has been fairly critical of Elon Musk recently. In April 2019, Buffett chided Musk’s behavior as Tesla CEO, saying Musk is a “remarkable guy” but his casual tweeting is problematic.

“I think he has room for improvement, and he would say the same thing. I just don’t see the necessity to communicate [on Twitter].”

Buffett says he has only spoken to Musk once or twice and hasn’t spoken to him at all in the past seven or eight years.

Despite his admiration for Musk personally, Warren Buffett is apparently not a fan of Tesla and does not invest in it.

Listed below are Berkshire Hathaway’s 15 biggest largest stock holdings by amount, as reported in its 13-F filing in February 2019.

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Berkshire Hathaway’s 15 biggest largest stock holdings. (13-F filing)

Buffett Goes All-In for Amazon

One recent addition to Berkshire’s portfolio is Amazon.

As CCN reported, Buffett confessed that he had underestimated Amazon’s enormous potential and CEO Jeff Bezos’ ruthless drive to crush all his rivals, especially Walmart.

“I’ve been an idiot for not buying [Amazon stock sooner].”

Buffett says Berkshire Hathaway has been quietly buying up Amazon shares in recent months. Those purchases will show up in an SEC filing later this month.

 

Ex-Minnesota Vikings Owner Ensnared in Massive Bitcoin Scandal

By CCN: One of bitcoin’s biggest scandals just keeps growing more bizarre, as reports now indicate that former Minnesota Vikings co-owner Reginald “Reggie” Fowler finds himself ensnared by the scheme.

The U.S. Justice Department charged Fowler – who also helped bootstrap the now-defunct Alliance of American Football – over his role in concocting a shadow banking scheme that entailed the processing of hundreds of millions of dollars of unregulated transactions on behalf of several cryptocurrency exchanges, as CCN reported.

One of those bitcoin exchanges – Bitfinex – allegedly misused the Tether cryptocurrency to conceal that it had lost access to an eye-popping $850 million in client and corporate funds, leading the New York Attorney General’s Office to initiate legal proceedings against the company.

Shadowy Financial Dealings Have Dogged Reggie Fowler Since Minnesota Vikings Days

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Reggie Fowler attempted to become the majority owner of the Minnesota Vikings, but he settled for a minority stake. | Source: Shutterstock

It’s not the first time that Reggie Fowler has found his financial dealings the subject of legal controversy.

In 2005, Fowler attempted to buy the Minnesota Vikings, which would have made him the first African-American NFL team owner.

Almost immediately, questions began being raised about his finances, including more than 36 lawsuits that had been filed against him.

Back then, it was reported that most of the lawsuits were over unpaid bills racked up at several of the companies Fowler owned.

When confronted back then, Fowler reportedly said about the dozens of suits:

“We have several companies, and we have thousands of transactions that go through our companies each day. So as the normal course of business, this does happen.”

He even landed in hot water with the IRS over failing to pay taxes, according to Forbes. His financial issues quashed his majority stake hopes and he had to settle for having a limited partnership in the team.

Eventually, Fowler lost control of all his companies amid a debt of nearly $60 million, according to the Star Tribune. He also ended up relinquishing his limited partner stake in the Minnesota Vikings.

Later, he became the original investor in the Alliance of American Football (AAF) and may have contributed to the league’s untimely demise by failing to deliver the full $170 million he had promised to invest.

Lesson Learned for Bitcoin Investors?

Crypto investors should know by now they need to do their homework on the players involved in the nascent industry. Fowler’s information has been readily available through simple Google searches. Nevertheless, his shadowy dealings managed to fly under the radar, at least when it came to his role in the bitcoin exchange scandal.

Clearly, the lesson to learn here is: “do your due diligence.”

Officer Charged After Using Headlock On Woman Who Called Police

A South Florida police officer has been charged with official misconduct and battery nearly two months after he was filmed putting a woman in a headlock after she called police about being assaulted with a firearm.

Miami-Dade police officer Alejandro Giraldo was arrested last week on the two counts following a criminal investigation, the state attorney’s office said Friday.

“We believe that there is sufficient evidence to charge a violation of Florida’s criminal statutes,” the office said in a statement.

The misconduct charge is a third-degree felony while the battery is a second-degree misdemeanor. 

Dyma Loving, 26, was filmed being forcefully arrested on March 5 after she and her friend Adrianna Green, 22, called 911 to report Green’s neighbor for allegedly threatening them with a gun.

Loving, speaking to HuffPost shortly after the incident, said that Giraldo arrived at the scene as backup and began arguing with her and Green.

Video shows an officer placing 26-year-old Dyma Loving in a headlock and forcing her to the ground after accusing her of diso

Video shows an officer placing 26-year-old Dyma Loving in a headlock and forcing her to the ground after accusing her of disorderly conduct.

Video shows the officer telling Loving that she “needs to be corrected,” apparently for how she was dealing with the officers. It then shows her being forcefully taken down onto the sidewalk, handcuffed and arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting an officer.

“Why should my friend be arrested for telling the cops what was going on,” Green told HuffPost in a phone interview in March. “We were just telling them the situation and it was her adrenalin going.”

Miami-Dade Police Department Director Juan Perez, in a statement posted on Twitter shortly after the incident, called the video of Loving’s arrest “deeply troubling and in no way reflective of our core values of integrity, respect, service and fairness.”

Brunei Says It Wont Enforce Death Penalty For Gay Sex After Massive Outcry

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, May 5 (Reuters) ― Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah on Sunday extended a moratorium on the death penalty to incoming legislation prohibiting gay sex, seeking to temper a global backlash led by celebrities such as George Clooney and Elton John.

The small Southeast Asian country sparked an outcry when it rolled out its interpretation of Islamic laws, or sharia, on April 3, punishing sodomy, adultery and rape with death, including by stoning.

Brunei has consistently defended its right to implement the laws, elements of which were first adopted in 2014 and which have been rolled out in phases since then.

However, in a rare response to criticism aimed at the oil-rich state, the sultan said the death penalty would not be imposed in the implementation of the Syariah Penal Code Order (SPCO).

Some crimes already command the death penalty in Brunei, including premeditated murder and drug trafficking, but no executions have been carried out since the 1990s.

“I am aware that there are many questions and misperceptions with regard to the implementation of the SPCO. However, we believe that once these have been cleared, the merit of the law will be evident,” the sultan said in a speech ahead of the start of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

“As evident for more than two decades, we have practiced a de facto moratorium on the execution of death penalty for cases under the common law. This will also be applied to cases under the SPCO which provides a wider scope for remission.”

Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah delivers a speech in Singapore on July 5, 2017.



Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah delivers a speech in Singapore on July 5, 2017.

The vastly wealthy sultan, who once piloted his own 747 airliner to meet former U.S. president Barack Obama, often faces criticism from activists who view his absolute monarchy as despotic, but it is unusual for him to respond.

The sultan’s office released an official English translation of his speech, which is not common practice.

“Both the common law and the Syariah law aim to ensure peace and harmony of the country,” he said.

“They are also crucial in protecting the morality and decency of the country as well as the privacy of individuals.”

The law’s implementation, which the United Nations condemned, prompted celebrities and rights groups to seek a boycott on hotels owned by the sultan, including the Dorchester in London and the Beverley Hills Hotel in Los Angeles.

Several multinational companies have since put a ban on staff using the sultan’s hotels, while some travel companies have stopped promoting Brunei as a tourist destination.

(Writing by Joe Brock; Editing by Dale Hudson)

Trump Names Former Obama Border Patrol Chief To Head ICE

President Donald Trump has named Mark Morgan, the former Board Patrol chief in President Barack Obama’s administration, to lead U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Trump announced his decision on Twitter on Sunday, calling Morgan a “true believer and American Patriot.”

Trump did not make clear in his tweet whether he was formally nominating Morgan, which requires Senate confirmation, or naming him as acting head of the agency.

Morgan, a former FBI agent, led the Border Patrol in the final months of Obama’s presidency. He was removed shortly after Trump took office.

Despite his ouster, in January he voiced support for Trump’s pledge to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, and in an interview with The Fix he urged Trump “to stay the course.”

“I’m standing up and saying, ‘I should have disdain for them, but I don’t because they are right,’” he said. “I can stand up and say they are right because it’s the right thing to do for this country.”

In April, speaking to The Epoch Times, Morgan called the migration situation “the worst in our history along the southwest border.”

Mark Morgan, President Donald Trump's latest pick to head ICE, formerly led Border Patrol in the final months of Barack Obama



Mark Morgan, President Donald Trump’s latest pick to head ICE, formerly led Border Patrol in the final months of Barack Obama’s presidency. He was removed shortly after Trump took office.

Trump’s appointment follows him pulling his previous nomination of Ronald D. Vitiello to serve as ICE chief in April. The former Border Patrol official had been leading the immigration agency since June.

A controversial agency, ICE is known for arresting and detaining immigrants as well as handling immigration proceedings.

Trump, speaking of his decision, said he wanted to go in a “tougher direction.”

Morgan’s nomination comes amid a major shake-up at the Department of Homeland Security, including the departure of Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in April. Acting Deputy Secretary Claire Grady also left her post, and Tex Alles, who recently stepped down as head of the Secret Service, rejoined DHS as a top undersecretary last week.