OKCoin Exchange Launches in US Offering Fiat-to-Crypto Trading


Cryptocurrency exchange OKCoin has launched a branch in the U.S. market offering trading services between U.S. dollars and several major cryptocurrencies.

According to OKCoin's website on Friday, the exchange has already launched the new offering and is now accepting U.S. dollars deposits and withdrawals, as well as trading against bitcoin, bitcoin cash, litecoin, ethereum and ethereum classic.

For the new offshoot, the company filed a money service business (MSB) registration with the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) in November 2017. The document shows that the legal entity behind the exchange is called OKCoin USA Inc. and is based in Mountain View, California.

However, OKCoin states on its website that the fiat-to-crypto trading service is currently limited to investors in California – a limitation indicated in the initial MSB filing.

The news follows a report weeks ago revealing a similar move by Huobi, which launched a purely crypto-to-crypto trading service this month for all 50 states in the U.S. through a partner entity dubbed HBUS.

Earlier this year, HBUS also filed an MSB registration with FinCEN. However, Li Lin, co-founder and chief executive of Huobi, noted at the time that registering with FinCEN does not resolve all of the possible regulatory issues that come with operating within the U.S.

As previously reported by CoinDesk, both OKCoin and Huobi were once two of the three major crypto exchanges in China before the notable trading ban issued by the People's Bank of China in September 2017.

Following the regulatory clampdown, the exchanges shifted their businesses overseas with a focus largely on crypto-to-crypto trading.

What Does Crypto Care if Zooko Is a Millionaire?


2,033 ZEC.

That's how much Zooko Wilcox, CEO of the Zcash Company, earns per month from the $650 million zcash cryptocurrency network he helped create. Worth $305,000, or $3.65 million annually, the details of his salary, revealed by Wilcox in a presentation at Zcon0 Tuesday, have sparked somewhat of a scandal on social media.

«I really did this whole 'starting a cryptocurrency' thing wrong, didn't I?» Jackson Palmer, founder of $260 million cryptocurrency dogecoin, tweeted.

It's a notable critique, as in the past few weeks, an independent zcash wallet developer went so far as to threaten to «rage quit» and split the blockchain in the absence of further funding from the community. Central to his issue was the lack of monetary contributions he was receiving for his work, which as the response indicates, was necessary for the safety of the network.

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New Zcash Software Sets Stage for 'Sapling' Upgrade


The development team of the zcash cryptocurrency has released new software that contains support elements of the network's planned Sapling upgrade, set to take place later this year.

Sapling isn't the first hard fork for zcash on the horizon – that's Overwinter, which is slated for late June of this year – but the 1.1.1 update puts the initial consensus rules in place as prepares a Sapling-based testnet, according to release notes published Wednesday.

The Zcash team first revealed details about Sapling back in February of last year, which is aimed at speeding up transactions on the network, as previously reported.

What's missing is an activation «block height» – essentially, the exact transaction block at which point the Sapling hard fork takes effect – and according to developers, this will be included in a future update.

«As a reminder, because the Sapling activation height is not yet specified for mainnet, version 1.1.1 will behave similarly as other pre-Sapling releases even after a future activation of Sapling on the network. Upgrading from 1.1.1 will be required in order to follow the Sapling network upgrade on mainnet,» the blog post explained.

As previously reported by CoinDesk, next month's Overwinter upgrade is positioned, in part, as a way to set to stage for future hard forks – a process that has stoked controversy for other blockchain protocols, namely bitcoin – to take place on zcash.

«The purpose of this is to get practice doing network upgrades,» Zooko Wilcox, co-founder and CEO of Zerocoin Electric Coin Company, which develops the network, said in March.

Crypto's War On Miners? It Might Already Be Over


Brick 'em? Maybe not anymore.

What was once a phrase that echoed across message boards, one that defined an aggressive shift in sentiment against the companies that today make hardware required to run cryptocurrency software, is falling out a fashion as the so-called 'War on Miners' enters a less decisive period.

Indeed, in the wake of new research and analysis, leading developers now appear to believe that standing in the way of a shifting mining landscape might be hopeless. At least, that was the testimony of many blockchain software developers at Consensus 2018, who indicated that hardware manufacturer Bitmain's recent distribution of high-performance ASIC miners is proof of their inevitability for all cryptocurrencies.

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Japan's Ban Is a Wake-Up Call to Defend Privacy Coins


Crypto enthusiasts, heed this warning: Japanese regulators are veering into the unknown.

A country that once served as a beacon of hope for the development of blockchain-backed initiatives in the region has abruptly changed its stance in recent months, reconsidering the role that cryptocurrencies should be allowed to play in Japan's commercial ecosystem.

And this is no more apparent than when discussing the current state of privacy coins.

Earlier this week, the Japanese Financial Security Agency (FSA) announced that on June 18, there will be an outright ban on all cryptocurrencies that provide a sufficient degree of anonymity to its end users.

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A New Startup Has Zooko and Naval Betting on Better Crypto Contracts


If a series of high-profile vulnerabilities weren't enough to persuade you that today's smart contracts are insecure, a group of computer scientists that have been researching the tech since the 1980s just might.

Announced Monday, computer scientists Mark Miller, Dean Tribble, Brian Warner and Bill Tulloh have launched a new startup, Agoric, to develop a secure, blockchain-agnostic programming language based on javascript. The launch comes with a seed investment from a notable group of backers including Naval Ravikant, Polychain Capital and Zcash Company, the for-profit institution that manages the development of privacy-oriented cryptocurrency zcash.

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At Ripple's Snoop Dogg Party, A Search for XRP


Would this be one of those crypto events? A star past his prime pumping the flavor of the month?

As part of the first-ever New York Blockchain Week, Snoop Dogg was booked to perform at the XRP Community Night on Tuesday. The event, as the name would suggest, was meant to celebrate XRP, a cryptocurrency most closely tied with the San Francisco startup Ripple. The party could have provided the latest example of a celebrity hyping crypto: Floyd Mayweather, Dennis Rodman and Paris Hilton have each pumped one token or another in recent months.

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Digital Currency Group Adds Zcash Offshoot ZenCash to Crypto Investment List


Digital Currency Group has added ZenCash, a little-known, privacy-focused coin, to its «conviction list» of cryptocurrencies. The other coins on the list are bitcoin, ethereum classic, zcash and Decentraland.

Speaking at the Stocktoberfest East conference in New York City, Digital Currency Group founder and CEO Barry Silbert asked audience members to raise their hands if they owned offshore bank accounts.

«There is approximately 10 percent of the world's wealth held in offshore bank accounts,» he said after some of the audience members raised their hands, adding:

«I believe that financial privacy is going to become a really, really important thing not just in emerging markets, but in the U.S. as well.»

For this reason, Silbert said, privacy coins were one of Digital Currency Group's primary focuses. That category includes the relatively prominent zcash, of which the lesser-known ZenCash is a fork of a fork — via ZClassic.

«I love the team,» Silbert said of ZenCash Wednesday, «I love the vision, and the community that we've gotten to know is incredibly passionate.»
He explained that the privacy coin is «broader» than its grandparent zcash, referring to its support for messaging and media applications.

Silbert said that ZenCash formed part of Digital Currency Group's «conviction list,» meaning that the firm has «meaningful dollars in a token.»

Despite his enthusiasm for certain digital assets, however, Silbert made it clear that the space as a whole is rife with soon-to-be flops.

«Most of the tokens are going to zero,» he said.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this article stated Grayscale Investments, a Digital Currency Group subsidiary, was investing in ZenCash.

Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group.

Overstock's tZero Unveils Token Trading Platform Prototype


The blockchain subsidiary of e-commerce giant Overstock has revealed the prototype for its soon-to-be-launched token trading platform.

tZero unveiled the prototype Monday and released a video demonstration detailing how it works in practice. The company is seeking public feedback on the prototype ahead of its full release, which is expected to take place in May, according to statements.

Overstock and tZero chief executive Patrick Byrne said the prototype will help users «get an idea of the breadth of what we intend,» given that the move follows the launch of Overstock's OSTKP security blockchain. OSTKP is also based on tZero's platform, according to the release.

The subsidiary is still waiting for federal regulators to weigh in on security tokens before launching the full platform, tZero president Joe Cammarata was quoted as saying.

That being said, he still believes the new platform is «making history,» adding:

«We anticipate the security token trading software will be ready to trade security tokens in May, subject to developing further regulatory clarity. We have been working hard on getting this prototype right and look forward to user feedback.»

Stepping back, Overstock has been raising funds through its $250 million offering, as previously reported. The sale of «Simple Agreements for Equity» (SAFE) will continue until May 14, 2018, tZERO also said Monday.