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Peer-to-peer (P2P) cryptocurrency exchange CoinTouch has shut its virtual doors over concerns related to the passage of the European Union’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will take effect later this month.

The exchange — which was based out of London and opened in 2014 — did not charge fees, and founder Chris Beach operated it at a loss as a service to the cryptocurrency community.

The platform allowed Facebook and Google users to securely set up P2P cryptocurrency trades with users within their social networks. When a trader placed a bid or offer, it would become visible to the user’s friends and friends-of-friends, which ensured that traders were able to verify the identities of their counterparties. If another trader wanted to fulfill an order, he or she could automatically send a message to the other user through Facebook, where the two parties could arrange the trade.

However, Beach wrote in a statement announcing the shutdown that the recently-passed GDPR — which adopts new standards for individual data privacy and use — introduces regulatory uncertainty that makes it too risky to continue to operate CoinTouch, particularly as a free service.

“I asked trusted contacts in the industry for advice on how to make CoinTouch GDPR compliant. They came back with different answers (through no fault of their own – the law is ambiguously defined),” Beach said. “I concluded that I cannot justify running a free service while taking on a legal risk.”

The developer, who operates a number of non-profit websites, said that he is in the process of shutting them all down before the new rules — which he says actually reinforce the dominance of tech conglomerates like Facebook, Google, and Twitter — take effect.

“So, perversely, this new EU law hurts small website like mine, but helps reinforce the dominance of Facebook, Google, and Twitter, who are able to prepare and defend themselves using established legal teams and cash reserves, and who now face less competition from startups,” he concluded.

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Founded in 2014 by the creators of aftermarket.pl, BitMarket is a Polish cryptocurrency exchange that finds itself at number 18 on BlockExplorer’s top 25 cryptocurrency exchanges of 2017 list. This exchange offers 6 trading pairs, all of which are crypto/fiat.

BitMarket has some moderate activity, with almost 100 BTC traded in a single day on its BTC/PLN trading pair. It is recommended for all polish traders, especially those looking for a mid-volume market with a robust API for programmatic trading.

 

BitMarket

bitmarket cryptoURL: BitMarket.net

Launched: 2014

Trading pairs: 6, all fiat/crypto

Deposit Fees: Yes

Withdrawal Fees: Yes

Trading fees: Yes 0.0% – 0.45%

Verification: Yes, three levels

Margin Trading: Yes

Registration

Registration on BitMarket requires a first and last name, an email address, a password, and a current physical address. Once the information is filled out, there are four checkboxes that are required, one of which links to a document that seems to only be available in polish.

Verification

BitMarket has three verification levels, none of which are required unless you want to deposit or withdraw fiat, or are trading more than 15000 EUR in a year.

Verification level one is the simplest to acquire. You are required to send BitMarket a scanned ID that states your current address, or a scanned ID and some proof of residence. For level two, a verification code is sent to your stated address via post. The last verification level is required if you wish to use instant bank transfers to fund your account. Each bank account you want to transfer from has to be verified individually by way of a 1 PLN transfer to BitMarket.

Fees

BitMarket uses the usual Maker/Taker scheme that most exchanges use to structure their trading fees. Specifically, BitMarket bases its fees off of your last 30 days of trading. BitMarket does not state exactly when your current fee bracket is updated. On the low end, makers pay 0.15% for between 0 and 99.99 EUR traded, while takers pay 0.45 for the same. For the high end, over 500,000, makers pay no fees, and takers pay a fee of 0.30%. Margin trades follow the same fees above, with opening a position taking the maker’s fee, and closing a position taking the takers fee. After opening, margin trades pay a daily fee outlined on BitMarket’s fees page

For deposit and withdrawal, the fees you pay depend on the currency and the method of transfer. Cryptocurrencies have no deposit fees and have a small withdrawal fee. For fiat deposit, there is no fee for PLN, while EUR deposits cost between 2 and 5 EUR. Both PLN and EUR pay withdrawal fees, PLN ranging from 2 PLN to 20 PLN, while EUR is a flat 2 EUR.

Limits are set at 100,000,000 PLN or equivalent daily on deposits, aside from cryptocurrencies. And there is a limit of 100,000,000 or equivalent daily for withdrawal on all currencies.

Interface

BitMarket’s interface overall is a very bright white with green and blue accents. There is no dark mode available, meaning that late night trading could be a source of eye strain.

The trading interface feels quite simplistic, with a chart, order submission, order book, and trade history all stacked vertically. The chart itself while informative feels sluggish when changing settings, and overall seems somewhat blurred.

Security

BitMarket seems to have some very trigger happy bot protection in the form of a captcha via Cloudflare. I found myself solving one at least once every three page loads. Otherwise, BitMarket offers Two Factor Authentication by way of Google Authenticator.

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Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has internally valued itself at approximately $8 billion, sources familiar with the company’s recent acquisition of paid messaging startup Earn.com say.

According to Recode, Coinbase assigned itself an $8 billion valuation in its offer to Earn, which included an equity package that distributed shares of the exchange operator’s common stock to Earn investors.

Coinbase has not discussed the terms of the Earn deal publicly, though Earn CEO Balaji Srinivasan said that, in addition to profits already distributed, the buyout had provided investors with a positive return on the more than $120 million they had invested in the company over the years.

In any case, the report indicates that Coinbase believes its value has exploded by several hundred percent in just a single calendar year.

Coinbase became the first “cryptocurrency unicorn” last summer when a funding round pegged its valuation at $1.6 billion. However, the company has experienced breakneck growth in the months since closing that investment round and reportedly brought in $1 billion in revenue during 2017.

This growth was largely — though not exclusively — due to a fourth-quarter cryptocurrency rally that was so pronounced that many exchanges paused new user registrations for months while they scrambled to scale up their internal operations.

According to the publication, brokers have approached existing Coinbase investors offering to buy their shares at prices that would value the company between $4.5 billion and $6 billion.

However, neither these offers nor Coinbase’s internal numbers are official, and Recode notes that the company may undergo a formal 409a valuation — which will be conducted by a third-party auditor — in the near future since it has recently acquired Earn and several other smaller startups.

Though best known for its cryptocurrency exchange and brokerage platforms, Coinbase has recently begun to branch out its product line. Earlier this year, the firm launched a cryptocurrency index fund for accredited investors, and more recently it announced its first venture capital fund.

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Nexon Korea has denied reports that the $13 billion gaming firm is acquiring cryptocurrency exchange Bitstamp.

According to a report in the Korea Herald, Nexon Korea CEO Lee Jung-hun on Wednesday said that the company is not involved in discussions to acquire Bitstamp, the world’s 10th-largest cryptocurrency exchange in terms of daily trading volume.

“Nexon Korea does not have anything to do with a Bitstamp acquisition,” Lee said during a press conference held at the company’s headquarters in Pangyo.

“We do not have any plans to link cryptocurrencies with our game business,” he added while clarifying that the firm has not ruled out using blockchain technology within its games.

As BlockExplorer reported, sources familiar with the matter had said that Nexon would acquire the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp — the world’s largest-surviving cryptocurrency exchange — for $350 million.

The news was first reported by Business Insider, though rumors had circulated for months that Korean investors were in talks to purchase the firm, which is Europe’s only licensed cryptocurrency exchange and one of a small number of platforms that offer fiat trading pairs.

It’s notable, however, that Lee specified in his remarks that “Nexon Korea” is not acquiring Bitstamp. Though founded in South Korea in 1994, the firm’s global headquarters are now located in Tokyo, and the original report had attributed the purchase to Nexon Japan.

Consequently, it’s possible that the firm is still in talks to acquire Bitstamp, even if its Korean division is not involved in those discussions and would not manage the exchange after it was purchased.

NXC Corp. — Nexon’s parent company — already owns a majority stake in South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Korbit, which it acquired last year at a $150 million valuation. At one time, the exchange was the country’s second-largest cryptocurrency exchange, though it has since been usurped by other platforms.

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Bitstamp, the world’s oldest currently-operating cryptocurrency exchange, is set to be purchased by a South Korean gaming firm that is looking to carve out a central role in the nascent blockchain industry.

Nexon, whose headquarters are now located in Japan, will likely acquire Bitstamp for $350 million, reports Business Insider, who cites three sources involved with the discussions.

The Luxembourg-based Bitstamp was founded in 2011, and it currently holds the distinction of being Europe’s only licensed cryptocurrency exchange. The firm regularly ranks among the world’s 10-15 largest exchanges as measured by daily trading volume, in part because it is one of a relatively low number of trading platforms equipped to offer fiat trading pairs.

In January, Bitstamp CEO said that the exchange had 3 million registered accounts and 500,000 active users, though this latter number may have declined over the past several months due to the lull in the market.

Nexon, meanwhile, released its first PC game in 1995 and remains a major player in the South Korean and Japanese PC and mobile gaming markets, though the firm also has offices in the US, Taiwan, and Thailand.

Some of the company’s better-known titles include South Korean and Japanese versions of Counter-Strike and FIFA Online, as well as Riders of Icarus and the MapleStory franchise.

Assuming the two parties ink the deal, Bitstamp will be the second cryptocurrency exchange Nexon has purchased in the past year alone. In September, the firm acquired a majority stake in Korbit, which at one time was South Korea’s second-largest cryptocurrency trading platform, at a $150 million valuation.

It will also be the industry’s third major cryptocurrency exchange acquisition in 2018.

In February, Circle acquired US cryptocurrency exchange Poloniex, which posts lower daily trading volumes than Bitstamp but nevertheless managed to command a reported $400 million from the Goldman Sachs-backed fintech startup.

Earlier this month, Japanese brokerage firm Monex acquired Tokyo-based exchange Coincheck — which in January succumbed to the largest cryptocurrency exchange theft in history — for approximately $34 million.

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