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Can SAFTs Create a Self-Regulated Cryptocurrency Market?

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The Chinese government’s recent ban on initial coin offerings (ICOs) has reignited the debate on how crypto-assets should be regulated. In the United States, lawmakers are grappling to define ICOs from a tax, legal and securities perspective. To this day, no one is certain how this new crowdfunding model will be treated.

ICOs mirror initial public offerings by allowing companies to raise money via Ethereum-based token sales. Their growth has occurred in lockstep with the broader cryptocurrency market, which has seen enormous uptake since the start of 2017. However, the key challenge for market participants has been predicting how the regulatory environment will evolve to keep pace with crypto-based crowdfunding.

The murky regulatory environment surrounding token sales has hastened the need to bring the cryptocurrency ecosystem to maturity. Recognizing the limitations of existing frameworks, the crypto community came together to create standard legal agreements for the ICO market. These efforts led to the creation of the Simple Agreement for Future Tokens (SAFT) project, which aims to streamline the verification and investor accreditation process. The open source movement is uniting technology companies, legal experts and members of the blockchain community to converge on a framework that gives rise to a self-regulated cryptocurrency market.

The Rise of SAFT

In its simplest form, a SAFT promises investors future tokens at a fixed price. It can be structured so that investors receive their tokens when the network launches or via inbuilt vesting that encourages their continued support.

SAFTs were modelled after the Simple Agreement for Future Equity (SAFE) protocol, which was created by Y Combinator to reduce the complexity of funding early stage startups. Whereas SAFTs promise investors future tokens, the SAFE guarantees future equity.

While SAFTs certainly fall under the ICO umbrella, they are structured to provide much more regulatory certainty. This is what people mean when they say SAFTs are creating a self-regulated crypto market.

Unlike plain ICOs, which sell tokens to pretty much everybody, the SAFT structure limits participation to accredited investors as defined by Rule 506(c) of the SEC’s Regulation D. This list includes high net worth individuals, high-income earners and multi-million-dollar trusts, among others. This is the demographic to which SAFT is designed to serve. By meeting these and other requirements set out under Rule 506(c), startups can theoretically raise an unlimited amount of money via crowdfunding and advertise their sale over the internet.

Uniting the Blockchain Community?

Because SAFT is open source, it can be used by anyone. It’s therefore no surprise that a budding startup community leveraging SAFTs has already emerged. Their goal is to create a more secure way for investors to access the ICO market. This will serve as an important stopgap until new laws are crafted and implemented.

Members of the blockchain community have already encouraged regulators to join the SAFT movement. At the time of writing, the only ruling on digital coin offerings has come from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Earlier this year, the agency ruled that the tokens offered by ‘The DAO’, an ether-based venture capital fund, were securities and therefore subject to national securities laws. The SEC maintains that not every token will be defined as a security, but determined on a case-by-case basis.

Other regulators expected to chime in on the digital token debate are the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Internal Revenue Service and the Financial Crime Enforcement Network. Internationally, financial regulators in Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, Russia and Canada are also exploring whether ICOs should be regulated as securities.

Just How Big Have ICOs Become?

The amount of money raised by startups via initial coin offerings approached $800 million in the second quarter, data from CoinDesk recently revealed. By mid-2017, ICOs had already outpaced early venture capital funding. That’s a significant achievement given that ICOs were barely heard of just 12 months ago.

The growth and widespread adoption of ICOs mirrors the massive explosion in cryptocurrency over the past nine months. Before 2017, the cryptocurrency market was synonymous with Bitcoin, which was officially launched in 2008 as the brainchild of Satoshi Nakamoto, the person or entity who designed its original reference implementation. While Bitcoin continues to lead the pack in terms of overall capitalization, nearly a dozen altcoins have surpassed the $1 billion mark in the past few months. Ethereum is among those, and is currently ranked second in terms of overall capitalization. The crypto market is collectively valued at over $140 billion, although this figure is prone to wild fluctuations.

Bitcoin has been the world’s best-performing currency in six of the past seven years. As of early September, it appears likely that the cryptocurrency asset class will retain that title over fiat currencies.

The Beginnings of a Self-Regulated Market

The ICO ban initiated by China dealt a major blow to the cryptocurrency market, with ether prices plunging as much as 30% in the days following the decision. There’s a general fear that China’s attack on ICOs marks an end to the first era of digital token offerings. At first glance, the decision appears to have set a bad precedent for an industry still finding its footing.

At the same time, China’s unique context makes the ruling hardly surprising. Beijing has zero tolerance for any activity that will undermine its financial stability. This is especially true at a time when policymakers are steering their economy away from export- and investment-dependence toward a model that is based on services and consumption. The People’s Bank of China has already intervened in the cryptocurrency market on several occasions, probably as a backhanded attempt to manage capital flight from the country. (Cryptos are a popular way for mainland investors to diversify away from a volatile yuan, which fell to more than eight-year lows against the dollar in 2016.)

While the Chinese ban may stifle blockchain development in the short run, it will only embolden industry players to converge on a new model for self-regulating this space. From a regulatory perspective, the combination of identity verification and investor accreditation offered by SAFT has several advantages, including greater token compliance and more clarity for entrepreneurs. These features make SAFT well positioned to become the industry standard. By giving accredited investors an easy onboarding platform, SAFT opens token crowdfunding to a large segment of the market, leading to vastly greater adoption than we’ve seen through the early stages of the ICO hype.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 647 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he leads content development for one of the world's foremost cryptocurrency resources. Over the past eight years Sam has authored more than 10,000 articles and over 40 whitepapers in the fields of labor market economics, emerging technologies, cryptocurrency and traditional finance. Sam's work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Contact: sam@hacked.com Twitter: @hsbourgi




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Altcoins

Basic Attention Token (BAT) Quietly Racks Up 42% Gains on Coinbase Anticipation

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Basic Attention Token (BAT) has been quietly recording day on day growth for the last four days as anticipation builds regarding a Coinbase listing.

The value of BAT has increased by 42% in that time, as public opinion leans toward the theory that BAT’s ERC-20 foundation makes it a prime candidate to be the next token listed on Coinbase.

This follows on from the recent listing of Ox (ZRX), which resulted in the token gaining 44% on its value in just over twenty-four hours. Attention has now turned to BAT, and trade volumes hit a three month high this week, all without any real confirmation from Coinbase.

BAT/USD

As of Friday afternoon BAT had grown by 15% in the preceding twenty-four hour period, arriving at a peak price of $0.242660. The last four days were marked by day on day growth, and by Friday afternoon’s peak BAT had risen 42% in value.

Furthermore, the monthly gains for BAT stand at 65%, showing a clear rise in momentum within the last week. The current valuation returns the altcoin to its valuation prior to the September crash. For Bitcoin and Ethereum to say the same, they’d have to reach valuations of $7,400 and $295 respectively.

The majority of trades came on Binance on Friday – 50% of the $14 million total. The BAT/BTC trade was the main mover, and racked up eight hours of green candles between 04:00 and 14:00 UTC.

Coinbase Effect

The whole Coinbase saga began for BAT over three months ago, when the exchange released an announcement stating they were considering the listings of five particular cryptocurrencies. Stellar (XLM), Cardano (ADA), Ox (ZRX), Zcash (ZEC) and Basic Attention Token (BAT) were the cryptos named, and all recorded double digit growth on the day of the announcement.

Even after Coinbase released another statement reminding people that the coins were merely ‘under consideration’, their values continued to surge.

Now, given the ERC-20 structure of BAT, it appears likely that the token will be the next one added to Coinbase. The underlying structure of a coin or token is one of the things an exchange must consider when adding a cryptocurrency. The recent additions of Ethereum Classic (ETC) and Ox (ZRX) suggest that the exchange now has a handle on Ethereum-based tokens.

New Brave Browser

Today also marked the release of the updated Brave Browser – the privacy focused web browser which pays users in BAT for time and attention. The new browser is being hailed as 22% faster than the previous version. According to the Brave twitter feed:

“Our new desktop browser has a 22% faster load time on average than our exiting Brave Muon version. That’s as much as 8-second faster page loads on certain sites.”

The Brave Browser hit four million downloads in September, making it one of the most utilized crypto-based applications to date.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can’t afford to comfortably
Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.4 stars on average, based on 81 rated postsGreg Thomson is a full-time crypto writer and digital nomad. He eats ICOs for breakfast and bleeds altcoins. Wherever he lays his public key is his home.




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Altcoins

Zcash Price Analysis: What is Behind the Recent Surge in Price?

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  • Zcash had jumped over 17% over the period of 12-18th October, before running into sellers.
  • The foundation set to launch the Sapling protocol upgrade. To improve efficiency for shielded transactions.

Zcash over a 6-day period from 12-18th October gained a whopping 17%. Moving quickly from as low as $108, to then be above $126. Since, the price has run into some sellers and touted profit-takinggiven the large run in such as short time frame.

What Is This ‘Zcash’ (ZEC)?

Zcash was a hard fork of Bitcoin in 2016. Unlike the number one ranked crypto by market cap, privacy is ensured via Zcash. Personal and transaction data are kept confidential. This being facilitated through zero-knowledge proofs, allowing conducted transactions to go through verification without any required details about the sender, receiver as well as the transacted amount.

Zcash Set to Launch Sapling Protocol Upgrade

The Zcash foundation recently updated via their blog ‘Sapling Transaction Anatomy’. Full breakdown details can be read there as they are set to launch the Sapling protocol upgrade.

Sapling, this will be a network upgrade that aims to substantially improve efficiency for shielded transactions – paving the way for broad mobile, exchange as well as vendor adoption of Zcash shielded addresses. Their motivations for the Sapling upgrade are to increase speed on these shielded transactions.

Coinbase Speculation Continues to Do Rounds

The community around Zcash continues to speculate on whether the privacy-focused crypto will be added to Coinbase. Earlier in the year, Coinbase said they were exploring the possibility of listing Zcash and others, such as Cardano, Basic Attention Token, Stellar Lumens and 0x on its platforms. This covered back in July and does not guarantee it will be added, but the hope still appears to be flowing through the community.

Zcash Jumps to 20th Largest by Market Cap

Earlier this week, Zcash managed to break into the top 20 cryptocurrencies by market cap. It overtook Dogecoin. The current market cap at time of writing seen at $588,429,693, ahead of DOGE at $513,884,230.

Technical Review – Daily Chart

ZEC/USD daily chart

ZEC/USD has been cooling over the past two sessions, after its recent 17% price run. It isn’t too much of a surprise to see the current easing, given the fast surge higher. Near-term support can be found around $115 area, then further south within a demand zone tracking from $110-105. Looking to the upside, sellers are camped heading into the $130 territory. A higher near-term target would be eyed at $145, price last traded here on 28th September.

This year Zcash is still down some 80% from the highs in January, up over the $800 price level. It has failed to sustain any upside momentum, rallies continue to be sold by the bears. This is something that has been seen across the other cryptocurrecies, not just Zcash. The market continues to search for a bottom.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 33 rated postsKen has over 8 years exposure to the financial markets. During a large part of his career, he worked as an analyst, covering a variety of asset classes; forex, fixed income, commodities, equities and cryptocurrencies. Ken has gone on to become a regular contributor across several large news and analysis outlets.




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Analysis

Ethereum Price Analysis: ETH/USD Coming Towards the End of Triangular Pattern, Breakout is Around the Corner

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  • Ethereum’s Annual Devcon is just under two weeks away, to be kicked off from 30th October – 2nd.
  • ETH/USD price action has been narrowing within a triangular pattern, subject to a breakout.

Ethereum’s Blockchain Upgrade Faces Delay

Just a few days ago, Ethereum’s software upgrade, had a failure, as Constantinople – proposed hard fork did not activate on the test network Ropsten. Ethereum has been planning to implement the Constantinople upgrade in November. However, given the failed attempt seen in the testing stage of the upgrade, this appears to have now shifted plans. The Ethereum infrastructure organization, Infura tweeted: “Due to a consensus issue with the Constantinople fork, Ropsten is currently not usable. The Ethereum dev community is investigating. Until further notice please utilize one of the other Ethereum testnets.”

As a result, the developers at Ethereum had released a patch, to fix the bug problem. An independent developer working on the project, Lane Rettig, commented on the delay, noting that they are investigating the failure to upgrade. Rettig said: “I would expect it to get delayed to 2019.”

Wave IV of Grants Program Distributed for Ethereum Development

Millions of dollars have been distributed by the Ethereum Foundation to projects that are contributing to the development of Ethereum. A full breakdown of the grants distributed can be viewed in their latest blog post. The funds totaling over $3 million, were sent out to 20 individuals and groups, that are working on the Ethereum blockchain.

Ethereum Annual Developer Conference

It is not long now until Etheruem’s Devcon 4, which will be held from Oct 30th–Nov 2nd in Prague.

Devcon is Ethereum’s “family reunion.” It is hosted to educate and empower their community to build decentralized applications, bringing Ethereum protocols, tools, and culture to the world.

The annual conference is for “builders: designers, UX researchers, smart contract devs, blockchain researchers, client implementers, test engineers, infrastructure operators, community organizers, and even artists in the community.”

Technical Review – 4-hour Chart

ETH/USD 4-hour chart

ETH/USD has been stuck trading within a triangular pattern, since mid-September. The price has swung between a low seen around $170 up to a high within $255 territory, within this period.  Over the past three weeks price action has been narrowing. As a result, ETH/USD is moving closer towards the end of the pattern, looking very likely of a breakout. On 15th October, the price saw a large surge in volume, which as a result saw a quick upper wick spike outside of the pattern. However, on the close of that candle, the price was back within the triangle.

Furthermore, resistance to the upside is eyed at $215, the upper trend line of the pattern. A break north will likely see the above supply zone tested again, $250-255 region. Finally, in terms of support, this can be seen at the lower part of the pattern, just below the $200 mark at $197. Consequently, should bearish momentum push for a breach, a below demand zone will likely come into play at $180-165 area.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 33 rated postsKen has over 8 years exposure to the financial markets. During a large part of his career, he worked as an analyst, covering a variety of asset classes; forex, fixed income, commodities, equities and cryptocurrencies. Ken has gone on to become a regular contributor across several large news and analysis outlets.




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