Crypto Tidbits: Bakkt’s Bitcoin Futures, Coinbase & Xapo, IRS Cryptocurrency Crackdown

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Another week, another of Crypto Tidbits. While this week was crazy bearish for the Bitcoin price, the fundamental developments seen made up for the market collapse. Bakkt revealed that it will be finally launching its Bitcoin futures product; Coinbase made a large acquisition of a facet of Xapo; and Binance revealed that it will be taking its formal step into the U.S. market in the coming months.

It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, however. A massive cryptocurrency scam trended on Crypto Twitter and a number of verdicts on Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) were put off once again.

Related Reading: Crypto Tidbits: Bitcoin Mining by Blockstream, Ripple Investment Plans, Binance US Unveils Altcoin Lineup

Bitcoin & Crypto Tidbits

  • Bakkt Cleared by NDFS, Will Launch Bitcoin Futures in September: That’s right folks, Bakkt is finally ready to (fully) launch its Bitcoin futures contract to the world. Announced via a surprising blog post on Friday, the cryptocurrency exchange, which has been backed by players like the New York Stock Exchange, Microsoft Ventures, and Starbucks, has received NYDFS and CFTC — the two financial regulators involved in such cryptocurrency vehicles — clearance to offer its physically-deliverable Bitcoin futures to clients. The prominent startup is eyeing a September 23rd launch date. Analysts have stated that the product is likely to see mass adoption from the get-go, and might be the catalyst that slingshots the industry into its next round of rapid growth.
  • IRS Continues Crypto Crackdown… And It’s Not Done Yet: The Internal Revenue Service of the U.S. has continued its crackdown on American crypto investors, recently issuing yet another round of letters. The letters, according to CoinDesk, were sent to those that the IRS believes are skirting taxes on cryptocurrency trades. This comes shortly after the tax agency sent a preliminary warning to thousands of Coinbase users. A slide deck leaked on Twitter suggested that the IRS is likely to only expand its cryptocurrency-related collection efforts.
  • PlusToken Scam Trends on Twitter, Causes Mass Panic in Bitcoin Markets: This week, prominent cryptocurrency venture capitalist Dovey Wan issued dozens of tweets about a scam called “Plus Token”. As this scam originated and operated in Asia, it caught a large portion of Crypto Twitter by surprise, despite the fact that the scheme had been going on for just around a year. Wan claimed that while the ringleaders of the $3 billion scam had been caught, blockchain evidence suggested that PlusToken’s wallets, which contains hundreds of thousands of Bitcoin and Ethereum, was sending capital to exchanges. This result in fears that the market was going to dump.
  • Institutions Are Foraying Into Crypto: According to a recent tweet from Brian Armstrong, the chief executive of Coinbase, there is no question that institutions are starting to make bonafide forays into “crypto”. Citing data from his firm’s deposits, there is around $200 million to $400 million worth of cryptocurrencies deposited into Coinbase’s coffers each week from “institutional customers”.
  • Coinbase Picks up Xapo’s Institutional Custody Division: According to Fortune, Coinbase has acquired Xapo’s institutional custody business. for $55 million, outbidding Wall Street’s Fidelity Investments It isn’t clear if any of Xapo’s employees or executives will be jumping ship. But, it has been confirmed by a source that a “majority of Xapo’s largest clients” will be transferring their assets to Coinbase’s custody unit, which now owns over 514,000 BTC — wow. It is important to note that with this deal, Xapo isn’t leaving the crypto custodian business. Far from, in fact. Speaking with Fortune, Casares has stated that it will still have control over its famous Swiss vault, which he claims will be used to store Bitcoin on behalf of Xapo’s retail clients.
  • Binance to Launch U.S. BranchSpeaking to Cheddar, Binance’s Changpeng Zhao revealed that his company will likely be launching the U.S. branch of its service, which was launched to combat regulatory concerns, by November.
  • NBA’s Dallas Mavericks Now Accepts Bitcoin: Despite the fact that it may be just a PR stunt, the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, owned by Mark Cuban, will now be accepting Bitcoin as a method of payment for game tickets and merchandise. Announced via a press release on August 13th, the Dallas Mavericks has become the second team in the NBA to directly accept Bitcoin. Per the release and tweets posted by those involved in this sudden move, BitPay will be the payment processor in this move.
  • Ciphertrace Finds Cryptocurrency Crime is Still a Massive Industry: According to a recent report from industry analytics firm Ciphertrace, bad actors online have managed to make billions through digital asset-related crime in 2019 alone. The report, which is titled “Q2 2019 Cryptocurrency Anti-Money Laundering Report”, found that aggregate losses incurred by investors and firms due to cryptocurrency crime has reached $4.3 billion in the first half of 2019. 5% of the sum was sourced from hacking. Around 20% of the illicit gains were a result of misappropriated funds. And these rest of the gains were stolen through exit scams, like the aforementioned Plus Token.
  • Bitcoin ETF Proposals Delayed… Again: The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has delayed its verdict on proposals in this class for the umpteenth time. On Monday, it simultaneously issued a delay verdict on three Bitcoin-backed funds from Bitwise Asset Management, VanEck and SolidX, and Wilshire Phoenix.
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