Controversial cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex recently announced in a whitepaper that its total net profit for last year was $404 million. The exchange …
Controversial cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex recently announced in a whitepaper that its total net profit for last year was $404 million. The exchange revealed details of its operation in a whitepaper from its owner company IFinex Inc.
What do Bitfinex’s financials say?
The Hong Kong-based IFinex released a whitepaper recently suggesting that the crypto exchange earned a net profit of $404 million last year. Its gross profit for the year was $418.2 million which means that the company netted 97% of its gross profits. Bitfinex has been tight-lipped about its finances till date, but now it is planning to raise over $1 billion in an Initial Exchange Offering (IEO). The offering will be available to non-US investors.
The company will be launching a new digital currency called LEO. The coin could be used to get discounted services on the crypto exchange. The company revealed that it has a staff of 60 to 90 people and its annual expenses amount to $14 million. In 2018, it paid dividends of $261.7 million to its shareholders. In 2017, they had paid $246 million to shareholders as dividends. Interestingly, the company noted that its financial data does not follow the generally accepted accounting principles of any jurisdiction. The data has also not been audited by a firm.
Is it the right time for the token launch?
Bitfinex’s IEO has been the talk of the town since rumors first started appearing. However, around the same time, the New York Attorney General also alleged that Bitfinex had used $850 million from Tether’s funds to hide its losses. Both Tether, a stablecoin and Bitfinex are operated by IFinex. This created a controversy about Bitfinex’s business practices as well as the legitimacy of Tether’s 1:1 dollar peg. As a stablecoin, each Tether coin is backed by $1 in cash. This helps in avoiding aggressive price fluctuations and provides a digitized dollar equivalent to the market. The company later revealed that only 74% of its outstanding coins are backed by cash and cash equivalents.
Bitfinex, on the other hand, said that the funds never went missing. Instead, they were seized by government authorities. As the company keeps its financial details under wraps, it is difficult to say for sure. However, the exchange says that it will use at least 95% of the funds recovered from the government and repurchase LEO tokens and burn them. It would take 18 months to burn the coins from the day of recovery.
Viraj has been writing for FXTimes covering Cryptocurrencies and Forex news for 2 years now. Also known as ‘Sherlock’, Viraj comments on the latest businesses emerging in the blockchain industry. His areas of expertise are Bitcoin and Blockchain. He enjoys covering new startups and busting myths across the industry.
Issuing a blanket ban on commerce in merchant currencies, however, punishes … It explicitly forbids advertising digital currency exchanges, ICOs, and …
Advertising is a special challenge for cryptocurrency startups because so many of the largest ad networks prohibit cryptocurrency in their advertising policies.
When the crypto bubble reached its height in 2017 and popped, Google, Facebook, and others issued blanket cryptocurrency bans the following years.
It’s understandable that these companies want to protect their users from scams and unrealistic promises on their ad platforms.
Issuing a blanket ban on commerce in merchant currencies, however, punishes an entire industry instead of removing individual actors for specific violations.
This kind of policy is blatantly anti-commercial and anti-industrial. It’s also an admission of defeat in the face of a specific, technical problem: How to make as much ad revenue as possible by having as many legitimate and professional advertisers on your platform as you can while weeding out whatever makes it a bad experience for the user.
That problem is on the face of it not nearly as overwhelming as the myriad challenges and edge cases that have been sorted out by a can do Silicon Valley attitude and some engineering. And the rewards are certainly worth it. The crypto industry is massive.
Double Standards for Crypto Advertising
There is also no shortage of scammy, ridiculous ads for all kinds of other industries’ absolute junk products on these platforms.
Google “penis enlargement” and you’ll find Google allows merchants to place ads for their business selling penis enlargement products. Google even serves ads for healing crystals. Yet the company banned all ICOs from Google Adwords in 2018.
So it’s clear enough that the wildly disruptive cryptocurrency industry has to play by a different set of rules than everyone else.
Entrepreneurs working to offer goods and services in this promising technical revolution are guilty until proven innocent, scams until proven professionals.
They’ll also have to dig deeper, find more creative ways to reach prospects, and work harder on optimizing their product and their sales offering to maximize opportunities.
The following is a review of ad policies on major advertising networks where cryptocurrency businesses can’t advertise, can advertise with no special permission, and can advertise only with a special permit from the ad platform.
The ad policies are linked, and the commentary about them is all current as of the date of publication, but note these policies can change quickly.
Google and Facebook’s Previous Cryptocurrency Advertising Bans are Now Restrictions
Shortly after crypto winner started in early 2018, Facebook and Google banned all cryptocurrency related advertising on the two most massive online ad platforms.
A few months later the search and social media giants relaxed their bans, but Google says only regulated merchants with special permission can advertise on its platform.
“Ads may not promote cryptocurrency and related products and services without our prior written permission.”
So if you’re running a legitimate cryptocurrency business offering a real product, and if your business plan and marketing methods are all above board and white hat, then you can advertise crypto goods and services on Google and Facebook.
It will, however, take extra effort over more traditional businesses. But if your crypto business is doing something real that shouldn’t stand in anybody’s way.
“Even if legal in the applicable jurisdiction, LinkedIn does not allow ads related to gambling, sweepstakes or the sale of virtual currency or cryptocurrency.”
Too bad that’s what LinkedIn thinks of cryptocurrency, since it was founded by Reid Hoffman, one of the “PayPal” mafia. It could be said that Entrepreneur called cryptocurrency gambling too, when it said Hoffman is betting big on Bitcoin.
Microsoft Ad Policy Does Not Currently Permit Any Cryptocurrency Advertising
Although for some time Microsoft did allow cryptocurrency advertising on its ad platforms, crypto ads are now prohibited by Microsoft:
“Advertising for the following products and services is not permitted:
-Cryptocurrencies and cryptocurrency related products including, but not limited to initial coin offerings, cryptocurrency exchanges, and cryptocurrency wallets.”
So even a transaction as straightforward as a hardware wallet, an electronic device in exchange for a retail purchase price, is prohibited by Microsoft at this time.
“Ads for financial products and services must clearly and prominently disclose all applicable material terms and conditions to consumers prior to the submission of an application.”
“Cryptocurrency including: Wallets, Trading Platforms, and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) unless prior approval is obtained from Snap.”
Twitter Does Allow Limited Crypto Advertising to Some Crypto Businesses with Certain Restrictions
Initial Coin Offerings and any kind of cryptocurrency token sales are globally prohibited on Twitter, but currency exchange, trading, and related services, cryptocurrency exchanges, and cryptocurrency hot wallets provided by publicly traded companies are allowed with certain restrictions and a special permit from Twitter.
Taboola Prohibits Cryptocurrency Advertising
You would think an ad network with standards as low as Taboola’s would let anyone advertise anything on their third party ad platform.
Yet cryptocurrency advertising is currently not allowed on Taboola. But enjoy your “new sleeping pill ‘better than Ambien’ and no prescription.”
Outbrain Prohibits All Crypto Advertising Except Editorial
Another major third party ad network in the same league as Taboola, Outbrain also restricts cryptocurrency advertising. It explicitly forbids advertising digital currency exchanges, ICOs, and investment and trading advice. Outbrain does make an exception for “editorial content from premium publisher sites,” that discuss cryptocurrency.
Reddit Allows Crypto Advertising
Cryptocurrency entrepreneurs are allowed to advertise on Reddit, but they cannot advertise crypto payment cards, wallets, ICOs, or any individual currencies or tokens themselves. That still leaves a world of opportunities open.
Crypto Ads Are Fine on Tumblr
There is currently no ban on advertising cryptocurrency goods and services to Tumblr’s audience. In the past the Tumblr user base, while smaller than that of Facebook, has been shown to spend more money on average after being referred from an advertisement on Tumblr to a retail website.
Advertising on The Cryptosphere
While platforms like Google and Facebook have globally massive users bases, the audiences on niche cryptocurrency news and information websites are the most valuable prospects for cryptocurrency businesses.
These audiences are more educated than general audiences about merchant currencies and digital assets, more likely to already use or own cryptocurrency, and more likely to have problems related to crypto that they would pay to have solved.
Tether provided a line-of-credit in order to get the business going as “the company needed money to cover losses it sustained by losing access to $850 million from payment processor Crypto Capital,”according to the filing.
What Is The Injunction About?
The court order was issued on April 25th by the New York Attorney General’s office against iFinex Inc.
The court ordered the company to stop violating the law and defrauding state residents, speaking strongly against the actions of the company.
iFinex Inc operates both the corporations involved (Bitfinex and Tether). The former is a cryptocurrency exchange, while the latter is the name behind Tether, a stable digital coin.
Why Did The New York State Attorney General (NYSAG) Interfere in the Matter?
The officials took the matter in their own hands to ensure compliance. One of the representatives said:
“New York state has led the way in requiring virtual currency businesses to operate according to the law. And we will continue to stand-up for investors and seek justice on their behalf when misled or cheated by any of these companies.”
The office believes that several NY-based traders use the firm’s platform to carry out transactions, despite Bitfinex’s 2018 announcement to not entertain clients on the platform.
The 23-page documentfiled states that the company is committing fraud and an investigation regarding the matter is currently underway.
According to the document, “the company is transferring money out of Tether reserve funds to cover Bitfinex’s losses.”
The lawsuit further claims a relationship between Bitfinex and Crypto Capital, a Panama-based payment processor. According to the lawsuit, the company got in touch with Crypto Capital after failing to find a bank to partner with.
Moreover, the company failed to sign a proper contract or agreement with Crypto Capital despite all that was at stake.
The report further states that the company is involved in commingling client funds through its payment partner, Crypto Capital, i.e., the company mixed client funds with its own.
This came to light when the company started to face issues with client withdrawal requests in the last quarter of 2018.
According to the lawsuit, this was due to the theft or loss of about $851 million from Crypto Capital.
Where’s The Money?
According to the judgment,
“Bitfinex has already taken at least $700 million from Tether’s reserves. Those transactions—which also have not been disclosed to investors—treat Tether’s cash reserves as Bitfinex’s corporate slush fund, and are being used to hide Bitfinex’s massive, undisclosed losses and inability to handle customer withdrawals.”
How Did iFinex React?
The company moved to vacate the order and declined to comply. It said:
“The New York Attorney General’s court filings were written in bad faith and are riddled with false assertions, including as to a purported $850 million “loss” at Crypto Capital. On the contrary, we have been informed that these Crypto Capital amounts are not lost but have been, in fact, seized and safeguarded.”
The company further added that “both Bitfinex and Tether are financially strong,” and that it intends to “fight this gross overreach.”
It questioned the decision to freeze funds stating it may “reduce liquidity on hand to satisfy the needs of Bitfinex’s customers and impede the normal operations of Bitfinex’s business.”
One of these is in the breadth of options available on VALR.
“We support over 50 cryptocurrencies on our platform, making us the platform with the largest selection of cryptocurrencies in South Africa and the continent at large. Currently customers can trade their bitcoin or ether for over 50 other cryptocurrencies in the simplest way. In a month or two we will be enabling South African rand on our platform so that customers can buy and sell cryptocurrencies with their rands,” Ehsani told Disrupt Africa.
Whereas previously South Africans needed to buy bitcoin or ether on one of the local South African exchanges and then send it to overseas exchanges to access a broader range of cryptocurrencies that exist, VALR brings this large range of cryptocurrencies directly to the South African public without the hassle of needing to “exchange jump”.
“VALR is also bringing the simplest buying experience to our customers at much more competitive rates than the market currently offers. For our market-makers – those that bring liquidity to VALR – we actually have negative fees,” Ehsani said.
“This means that we pay our customers 0.1 per cent of the value of their trades for the liquidity they bring to our platform. This is a first for South Africa, Africa and most of the world. We’re very excited to be offering this to our customers and have already received a very positive response.”
Positive indeed. Within 10 hours of going live, VALR had averaged one sign-up per minute, and it welcomed its thousandth customer shortly thereafter. Ehsani said the response in general had been “great”.
“We have been particularly pleased with the market’s response to our referral programme where customers can earn up to ZAR1,500 (US$100) for each referral they make to VALR through commissions they receive and they also get 15 per cent off their trading fees once they have referred one friend to VALR,” he said.
VALR, which makes money from trading fees, is positioning itself as a global platform, accepting customers from 160 countries worldwide, but faces challenges for customers at home and abroad. Backers like Jordaan and Bittrex will help, but Ehsani is under no illusions as to what lies ahead.
“Building a cryptocurrency exchange is a complex affair. From the technical build, to ensuring industry-leading security, to navigating and anticipating regulatory frameworks to marketing to attract a wide customer base that is needed for any company that requires network effects,” he said.
“Any startup is really in the business of problem solving, and that’s exactly what we’ve been able to become good at.”
Others will fancy their chances too, in what is an increasingly busy space. Yet all the signs are VALR has what it takes to last the distance.
Primas PST/KRW on Bithumb exchange is 0.10. The trading volume on Bithumb is 48615.00. At the same time Primas PST/BTC on BigONE exchange …
As at 2019-05-10 average Primas price is 0.07675504 USD, 0.00001253 BTC, 0.00045467 ETH.
It’s noteworthy that is issued into circulation Primas.
Primas PST/KRW on Bithumb exchange is 0.10. The trading volume on Bithumb is 48615.00.
At the same time Primas PST/BTC on BigONE exchange is 0.06. The trading volume on BigONE is 2254.05.
Primas PST/ETH on Lbank exchange is 0.07. The trading volume on Lbank is 1363102.00.
In this regard, 24 hour trading volume is 1565116.42388380 USD or 255.49994881 BTC. At the same time Primas market capitalization is 4044419 USD or $660 BTC.
Primas average change within 24 hour is -1.4 against USD, -3.84 against BTC, -0.42 against ETH. Weekly report: -22.45 against USD, -30 against BTC, -25.32 against ETH. Monthly report: -38.86 against USD, -48.07 against BTC, -35.66 against ETH.