Rejected Mt. Gox Victims Get Second Chance to Reclaim Lost Bitcoin

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Not everyone who used Mt. Gox or even who lost money on the disgraced bitcoin exchange is entitled to receive anything from the civil rehabilitation plan, a recent document posted to the failed exchange’s website reveals.

Approved creditors have the right to dispute the claims of other creditors, who in turn have the right to appeal. Japanese law also provides for “self-approved claims,” but these creditors fall under a different set procedure.

Bitcoin Exchange Victims Have Until May 7 to Appeal Claim Rejections

mt gox bitcoin exchangemt gox bitcoin exchange

Five years after cryptocurrency exchange Mt. Gox fell to pieces, traders still want to know: “Where is our bitcoin?” | Source: REUTERS / Toru Hanai

Self-approved claimants also lack the right to vote on various aspects of the civil rehabilitation plan, a power given only to creditors approved by the Rehabilitation Trustee. Victims whose self-approved claims were rejected by other creditors have until May 7th to file an appeal with the Tokyo District Court, who will decide whether the request is valid or not.

The Trustee says that it rejected claims on a few criteria. One, if the balance was zero, the user had no claim. Two, if the bitcoin balance was less than the amount the person claimed, their request was rejected. They’re still able to re-file if they do so within the prescribed time frame. Three, if the Trustee can’t determine whether the user was a Mt. Gox victim or not, the claim is rejected. Presumably, the massive fraud of Mt. Gox attracted fraudulent claims.

Some legitimate claims do seem to get lost as a result, however:

If an approved creditor has objected to your claim, you only have until May 7th to get it worked out, according to the document:

“If a creditor objects to your claim and you do not file an application for claim assessment with the Tokyo District Court between March 30 and May 7, 2019, you will lose your rights as a creditor.”

Approved Creditors Can Reject Claims of Others

Actual payments are likely still a ways off for Mt. Gox creditors. Creditors is the term used to refer to people whose money went missing. They will – eventually – be repaid out of what assets remained when the crypto exchange went bankrupt.

Crypto billionaire Brock Pierce put forth a plan to repay all creditors and then relaunch the bitcoin exchange, claiming a seemingly tenuous ownership of Mt. Gox’s assets. Exonerated CEO Mark Karpeles publicly denied Pierce’s claim to Mt. Gox assets, and the Mt. Gox Rising project seems ill-fated at best.

Mark Karpeles was recently found not guilty on the majority of the charges brought against him by Japanese authorities. Found guilty on just one charge of falsifying digital records, Karpeles was given a suspended sentence. Karpeles is appealing that ruling as well, with lawyers laughably arguing that he was looking out for his clients’ best interests.

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Tesla Stock Remains Bearish Despite Elon Musk’s SEC Optimism

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To the surprise of almost no one, Elon Musk walked out of a federal courthouse Thursday still wearing the hat of CEO of Tesla.

He was there for a hearing that resulted from the US Securities and Exchange Commission charging in February that Musk had violated an agreement it reached with him in October over his tweeting. After expressing disdain for the regulator, Musk kept on tweeting, which resulted in the SEC finding that he should be held in contempt of court.

Judge Sets 2-Week Deadline for Elon Musk & SEC to Work Out Differences

Instead of being stripped of his CEO role, or fined for being in contempt, the judge ordered that the teams for Musk and SEC work for the next two weeks to try to settle their differences.

When asked if that was feasible, Musk, with a smile, said “most likely.”

Musk Playing Nice Doesn’t Reverse Tesla Stock Drop

In a sign that things went well during the hearing, Musk said he was “happy” and “impressed” with the judge’s analysis of the situation. We know that when he doesn’t like someone, he doesn’t make it a secret. Just ask the SEC.

His optimism did little to quell investor unhappiness, however. The stock closed down 8.23%, though it edged 0.08% higher during after-market trading. It had been down by more than 10% on the day.

Tesla stock cratered on Thursday and barely moved in after-market trading. | Source: Yahoo Finance

CCN reported that Tesla’s stock was spiraling downwards on news that it had failed to deliver more cars in Q1 than it did during the previous quarter. Aggravating the shares was news that the failure also missed analysts’ expectations.

The selloff started after Tesla reported a record decline in deliveries in the first quarter. During the three months, Tesla produced about 77,000 vehicles, consisting mainly of its flagship Model 3. The Model S and Model X rounded out the bunch.

TSLA Roiled by Shorts

Musk’s confidence about getting the contempt charges behind him didn’t resonate with those shorting Tesla. Investors betting against Tesla were up nearly $800 million, CNBC reported.

short tesla stockshort tesla stock

TSLA has become a favorite about short-sellers. | Source: CNBC

Tesla has 129.5 million shares outstanding. Its short float is a whopping 20.81%.

 

Bitcoin Price Careens Lower But Bullish Trend Survives

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The bitcoin price on Thursday depreciated as much as 10.33-percent against the US dollar.

The cryptocurrency reached an intraday low at $4,833 in an interim bearish correction. It was already trending inside an overbought zone when the downside action started. Traders found a decent opportunity to exit their long positions around bitcoin’s fresh yearly high at $5,342, prompting a sharp pullback towards $4,789, the higher-low from yesterday. The price didn’t extend the correction and started consolidating within a new trading range instead.

Bitcoin Price Consolidates Below $5,000

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BITCOIN PRICE 1D CHART | SOURCE: TRADINGVIEW.COM, COINBASE

Coinbase data showed that bitcoin was more likely to extend its bearish correction to escape its overbought conditions. As of 20:21 UTC, the RSI was well above 70, signaling that buyers won’t be able to extend the bullish momentum any further. A red candle appeared thereafter, bringing RSI a little closer towards 70. A further selling action could, therefore, appear as the ongoing session matures.

BITCOIN PRICE, BTC PRICE, BTC USDBITCOIN PRICE, BTC PRICE, BTC USD

BITCOIN PRICE 1D CHART (ZOOM VERSION) | SOURCE: TRADINGVIEW.COM, COINBASE

An extended bearish correction could see bitcoin testing $4,738 – the 50% level of the Fibonacci retracement chart of the recent wave from 4134-low to 5342-high – as its next potential support. Nevertheless, it is the 78.6% level of the same wave that appears to be positioned ideally. The 4393-support was a critical resistance level from the November 29 trading session last year. Traders could consider it while opening new long orders.

We expect the bitcoin price to maintain its interim bullish bias as long as it stays above the ascending blue trendline. A break below it will push the price into a support zone, which was previously a critical resistance area. Bitcoin will resume its long-term downtrend only when it breaks below the green bar. Until then, it would keep its bullish momentum alive.

Bitcoin Price Could Test $6,000 if it Breaks Key Resistance Level

BITCOIN PRICE, BTC PRICE, BTC USDBITCOIN PRICE, BTC PRICE, BTC USD

BITCOIN PRICE 1W CHART | SOURCE: TRADINGVIEW.COM, COINBASE

As discussed in our previous analysis, the bitcoin weekly chart was giving us two crucial resistance levels to watch.

First, it is the RSI level at 53.85 that so far has acted as a borderline between a long-term bearish and bullish bias.

Second, it is the 50-period EMA that is capping bitcoin’s weekly upside momentum from flourishing further. A break above the said moving average will coincide with a jump above 53.85.

If the price manages to stay afloat above those two resistances, the likelihood of it extending its rally towards $6,000 will increase considerably.

Bitcoin Is a Hedge Against ‘Irresponsible’ Federal Reserve: Asset Manager

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As the bitcoin price recovers following a catastrophic bear market, crypto bulls are optimistic that good times lie ahead.

Moreover, they predict that the public’s embrace of bitcoin will strengthen over time as they lose faith in the Federal Reserve for its “irresponsible” fiscal policies.

Travis Kling is the founder and chief investment officer of Ikigai Asset Management. He says the Fed’s recent manipulation of interest rates has caused many people to lose faith in central banks.

travis kling bitcoin hedge fundtravis kling bitcoin hedge fund

Travis Kling believes the public’s increasing distrust of the Federal Reserve will cause them to embrace bitcoin. (Twitter)

Kling: Bitcoin Price Rally Was a Reaction to the Fed

In fact, Kling believes the recent bitcoin price spike was caused by growing public distrust of the Federal Reserve.

“I would say broadly it was central banks [that caused the recent rally],” Kling told MarketWatch. “[Bitcoin] has become a hedge against irresponsible monetary and fiscal policy.”

“We had the Fed do a complete U-turn into dovish mode. Then everyone else [European Central Bank and Bank of Japan] followed.”

“We now have this set-up where they [central banks] have become politicized both in the U.S. and globally. It’s the new world we are living in.”

Larry Kudlow: ‘The Fed Is Independent’

Travis Kling is suggesting that as the Fed’s artificial manipulation of interest rates — and hence, the stock market and the economy — becomes more apparent, investors will increasingly flock to bitcoin as a hedge against traditional monetary policies.

Kling said the Fed’s misguided “quantitative easing” policy fuels public distrust in central banks.

Kling seems to believe that President Donald Trump‘s fiery smack-downs of the Federal Reserve caused chairman Jerome Powell to decide not to raise interest rates in 2019.

However, Larry Kudlow — the White House’s chief economic adviser — trashed these kinds of insinuations.

Kudlow says the Fed is independent and does not take orders from Trump, Fox Business reported. Because if the Fed actually listened to the White House, it wouldn’t have raised interest rates four times in 2018 alone.

“The Fed is independent. We are not trying to compromise that independence. Never will. I, by the way, started my whole career at the Fed a long time ago.”

El-Erian Previously Predicted That the Fed Won’t Raise Rates in 2019

Similarly, economist Mohamed El-Erian, the chief economic adviser at German mega-bank Allianz, predicted back in February that the Fed would not raise rates again in 2019.

“I suspect they will do nothing this year, and next year will likely loosen,” El-Erian said February 5.

In March 2019, Fed chair Jerome Powell suggested that he won’t raise interest rates this year. This caused Wall Street to breathe a collective sigh of relief.

Before Powell made the statement, President Trump had slammed him for raising interest rates four times in 2018. The move caused the stock market to tank in December, and fueled widespread fears of a U.S. recession.

The Fed Raised Rates Four Times in 2018

The Federal Reserve has raised interest rates seven times during Trump’s two-year presidency; it boosted them four times in 2018 alone.

In contrast, the Fed increased rates just once during Barack Obama’s entire eight-year presidency. That’s why Trump was complaining.

Meanwhile, critics of the Federal Reserve say it’s time to abolish the central bank. Former Congressman Ron Paul — the father of current Senator Rand Paul — has repeatedly said the Fed should let the free market dictate interest rates instead of artificially manipulating them.

Rather than help the economy, Ron Paul says the Fed’s artificial machinations could actually cause a recession. Paul is a former bitcoin skeptic-turned-proponent.

Ron Paul: It Is Time to End the Fed!

In December 2018, Ron Paul torched the Fed on Twitter, saying it “has NO IDEA what rates should be,” and that it “manipulates prices and distorts the economy.”

Accordingly, Paul said it’s time to end the Fed because “central planning produces a world of economic delusions.”

As CCN reported in October 2018, Ron Paul has repeatedly warned against a “Fed-created recession.”

“This could be the major catastrophe that leads to the end of fiat currency.”

Paul said the only way to avoid a Fed-created recession is to let people use alternative currencies like bitcoin and to exempt crypto from taxes.

Is Facebook Racist? Research Suggests Ad Platform Uses Stereotypes

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New research by the University of Southern California, Northeastern, and a public interest group called Upturn makes an interesting conclusion about Facebook’s ad delivery algorithms: they skew based on racial and gender stereotypes. The algorithms are a trade secret of Facebook’s, so auditing them based on their design is not possible. Researchers instead ran experiments based on the results of the algorithms, focusing on where ads end up being displayed.

Facebook’s Ad Delivery Skews Along Race and Gender Lines

Facebook allows an advertiser to target various, razor-sharp demographics. You can target people who like a specific page or even a particular book. You can target groups of people based on a broad range of categories. But for the research, published yesterday, researchers made no demographic selections. The goal was to determine what Facebook would do with advertisements if it weren’t told a specific demographic to target.

Advertisers may hope that their message reaches the broadest possible demographic when they select a region. For the study, the researchers only chose the certain zip codes as a demographic, rather than age, gender, interests, or anything else. This was the best possible way to ensure that ad delivery was left up to Facebook.

Facebook doesn’t allow you to target based on “race,” but researchers were able to determine the results of the ad delivery by using something called Designated Market Area “as a proxy.” Basically, by using publicly available voter records, they can determine the racial densities of various zip codes or municipalities. The report mentions some cities North Carolina as a specific area studied.

Determining the Race of Facebook Users by Proxy

They found two regions which were majority white and two which were majority black. They then tested to see how many of their ads were targeted to people in each area.

When we run ads where we want to examine the ad delivery along racial lines, we run the ads to one audience from the first grouping and the other race’s audience from the second grouping. We then request that Facebook’s Marketing API deliver us results broken down by DMA region. Because we selected DMA regions to be a proxy for race, we can use the results to infer which custom audience they were originally in, allowing us to determine the racial makeup of the audience who saw (and clicked on) the ad.

The researchers developed an even more exciting hypothesis, though, which is irresistible in terms of speculation.

Using an equal group of images that are stereotypically attractive to men and women, they then skewed the pictures so that people wouldn’t be able to see them. Some image formats, like PNG, allow for “alpha” channel to be modified – for the purpose of transparency and other cosmetic changes to an image.

Advertisers may hope that their message reaches the broadest possible demographic when they select a region. For the study, the researchers only chose the certain zip codes as a demographic, rather than age, gender, interests, or anything else. This was the best possible way to ensure that ad delivery was left up to Facebook. Image from Shutterstock.

Machine Learning Probably Determines Stereotypical Racial and Gender Attractiveness of Images

The researchers made the images 98% invisible to the human eye. An algorithm would still be able to gather information about the pixels, mind you. Facebook let the researchers use these images, and skewed the delivery of them: 42% of images normally attractive to men were delivered to men, and 39% of the images deemed normally attractive to women were delivered to women. The result of this test in particular inform the hypothesis that Facebook uses machine learning to determine the content of advertising images.

Thus, the researchers conclude:

We have observed that differences in the ad headline, text, and image can lead to dramatic difference in ad delivery, despite the bidding strategy and target audience of the advertiser remaining the same.

Another interesting finding: even though women have higher click-through rates than men, and the ads were not targeted at either “man,” “woman,” or “neutral,” the reserachers found that ads which would stereotypically (especially based on image content alone) appeal to men were delivered to them more often.

On page 11 of the report, we begin to reach the damning evidence. The researchers ran three types of entertainment ads linking to the top 30 albums in three categories: country music, hip hop, and general. They found that the ads for hip-hop were delivered to black people more often, while the country top list was delivered overwhelmingly to white people.

Hip Hop Ads Delivered to 87% Black People

The ad targeting and budgeting strategy was exactly the same for each ad. In fact, only 13% of people who saw the hip hop list were white. Again, Facebook does not allow targeting based on race, but a stereotypical understanding of people would assume that more blacks like hip hop than whites. Actual album statistics might discount such a belief – hip hop is, in fact, a widely popular genre, with a high number of white people buying its products.

We find that Facebook ad delivery follows the stereotypical distribution, despite all ads being targeted in the same manner and using the same bidding strategy. […] Assuming significant population level differences of preferences, it can be argued that this experiment highlights the “relevance” measures embedded in ad delivery working as intended.

So, perhaps more black people on Facebook are looking at hip hop pages and sharing hip hop news. That might explain it. To deal with this, the researchers focus on other types of advertising: employment and housing.

Less Trivial: Housing and Employment Targeting When Advertiser Indicates No Preferences

The researchers found that the images used in the advertisements made a big difference in where they were delivered. They make efforts to scale back any conclusions, pointing out that their study was not overly exhaustive: they ran eleven different types of ads with five different types of images. Yet, the results are certainly interesting because, again, at no point did they target beyond region.

When selecting the ad image for each job type, we selected five different stock photo images: one that has a white male, one that has a white female, one that has a black male, one that has a black female, and one that is appropriate for the job type but has no people in it. We run each of these five independently to test a representative set of ads for each job type, looking to see how they are delivered along gender and racial lines. Thus, the target audiences that we use for these experiments are the North Carolina audiences described […] We can immediately observe drastic differences in ad delivery across our ads along both racial and gender lines: our five ads for positions in the lumber industry deliver to over 90% men and to over 70% white users in aggregate, while our five ads for janitors deliver to over 65%women and over 75% black users in aggregate.

Similar results are found for housing ads, based on the wording of the ads indicating the value of the housing offer and the image of a black family or a white family.

The researchers want you to know that their results are not conclusive. They are merely trying to raise awareness in hopes of getting these issues explored further by the public and public interest groups, especially when it comes to how employment and housing advertisements are delivered.

We demonstrate that, during the ad delivery phase, advertising plat-forms can play an independent, central role in creating skewed, and potentially discriminatory, outcomes.

Advertisers may be interested to know that it could be impossible to simply target everyone on Facebook. Based on the text, image, and nature of an advertisement, Facebook may discriminate for you.

Facebook’s HUD Case Just Got More Interesting

It’s not evident whether this is a more profitable approach than allowing advertisers to go where they wish, but it does belie any claim that Facebook isn’t using its vast resources to categorize people based on things like race.

If the researchers get what they want, it seems likely that further studies on Facebook’s advertising delivery mechanisms will be conducted. Facebook is such a large social network at this point that some people want to regulate it as a public utility. Their impact on wider society is undeniable, and as such, the results of studies like this one should not be taken lightly.

As a side note, Facebook is currently under investigation by the Housing and Urban Development department for enabling advertisers to illegally discriminate. HUD’s charges that Facebook violates the Fair Housing Act with its advertising platform are likely to be emboldened by research of this kind, and, as we said, more is likely to follow.

Dogecoin Hits the Big Leagues: Elon Musk’s Favorite Cryptocurrency Now Listed by Huobi

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Veteran exchange Huobi announced today that it would be listing three pairs for Dogecoin: DOGE/BTC, DOGE/ETH, and DOGE/USDT.

When Moon?

Dogecoin recently experienced a significant pump but has corrected on its BTC peg in the interim. The limitless supply cryptocurrency created by Jackson Palmer in 2014 has historically ranged between 50 and 100 Satoshis per coin, sometimes reaching as high as 2-300.

The currency is widely traded and used in many places that also accept Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum, including gambling sites and payment processors. Notably, it is one of the oldest cryptocurrencies with a reasonable hashrate not to be offered by Coinbase for sale.

Huobi Calls Doge “High-Quality”

Huobi writes in their announcement:

In a dedicated effort to provide our customers with carefully vetted and high-quality trading options, we are announcing support for a new addition to the Huobi Marketplace: Dogecoin (DOGE).

Perhaps intentionally, the team did not announce this news on April fool’s day, when people might have taken that wording for a joke. While some still view Dogecoin as a “joke,” we have previously noted here that the cryptocurrency – based on a meme – maintains a high degree of liquidity and trading platforms.

You’d Be Surprised How Many Places You Can Trade Doge Against Fiat Stablecoins

Aside from Huobi, several other exchanges offer stablecoin pairs for Dogecoin, which enables traders to visualize a fiat value for the crypto. Huobi Global (hbg.com) is the eighth largest crypto exchange by trading volume, as of press time. Trading and withdrawals will begin a few hours from now, at 7 PM PST. You can deposit on Huobi.com and HBG.com.

Huobi.com was previously HBUS, the exclusive US partner of Huobi.

Dogecoin creator Jackson Palmer recently rankled some crypto community members when he went on a bit of a tirade about the viability of Bitcoin and comparisons with other networked technologies, like the Internet, in terms of investment, userbase, and scaling.

Just two days ago, Telsa CEO Elon Musk said his favorite cryptocurrency is Dogecoin – his choice might be related to Palmer helping him deal with Twitter scams some time back. Musk said:

The Tweet was in response to a semi-joke from the Dogecoin community about electing a CEO for the cryptocurrency. Palmer has long since abdicated any critical role in the crypto, admitting that it was started on a whim long ago and having several in-fights in the early days.

Palmer made a joke about Dogecoin recently:

But the joke currency’s founder has made it publicly clear that he has no involvement in any cryptocurrency project at all, at present:

Coinflict of Interest, a browser plugin that processes Twitter users and categorizes their cryptocurrency biases, shows that Palmer favors Ethereum over Bitcoin or Bitcoin Cash.

Coinbase Custody Launches Staking Program on Tezos

Coinbase Custody’s 60 institutional clients, who currently store around $600 million on the platform, will be able to stake or “bake” Tezos (XTZ) from today forward. Staking or baking dividends are akin to interest in the regular world. By holding tokens and putting them up for stake, new blocks get minted. The larger your coin stash, the better your odds of finding a block.

Earning Interest by Minting Blocks

Proof-of-stake is one of two primary models for cryptocurrencies, the first and most successful having been proof-of-work. A version of proof-of-stake called delegated proof-of-stake is present in platforms like Tron. Ethereum will be moving to proof-of-stake sometime in the near future. Tezos has a different governance model and calls its version “baking.”

But the concept is the same: holding coins and enabling baking puts you in a position to earn revenue from your holdings, thus giving the network some form of security as well as incentive to hold coins.

Coinbase writes:

Proof-of-Stake (“POS”) assets incentivize participants to help secure the blockchain by “staking”, or “delegating”, their assets to someone running the blockchain software. If you delegate to a trusted node (also known as a validator), you can share in the rewards that the validator receives for mining blocks. Anyone holding the blockchain’s token can participate in this process, making POS networks one of the first crypto-native ways to earn passive income on crypto assets.

MyTezosBaker.com says that using 01no.de as your baker, with a stack the size shown in the screenshot on the Coinbase blog (about 10 million XTZ), you would earn over $645,000 in a year, or about 7% interest. In and of itself, this is a decent return, especially on a crypto-asset.

The figure inherently assumes a constant price of Tezos. The price may rise or fall, which would definitively have an impact on the returns. In one sense, a falling price might help stakers – if other large holders sell, you stand to make even more by holding your stake.

Will Staking Bring More Clients on For Coinbase Custody?

The Wall Street Journal notes that Coinbase is the largest company so far to offer staking rewards to custodial clients:

Coinbase will be the largest company in the sector to start offering this service. A startup called Staked offers a similar service, and another one was just launched by a company called Battlestar Capital. These services are essentially cooperatives using pooled capital for the staking service. Another startup, BlockFi, accepts cryptocurrencies as deposits for interest-bearing accounts and as collateral for loans.

Readers should not forget about another service, open to everyone, which allows you to stake certain Ethereum tokens, including the Dai, for interest. Compound Protocol pays anywhere from 3 to 5% interest on, and updates your balance by the minute. You don’t have to be an institutional investor to take advantage of Compound both short and long-term.

Derivative financial products built on blockchain technology are likely to explode during the elusive next bull run. Coinbase’s position as a custodian with blockchain roots puts it in a good position to pick up more institutional business moving forward. However, traditional firms like Fidelity and JP Morgan have entire divisions devoted to exposing large clients to blockchain assets, and their reach is nothing to understate.