Danish Exchange CCEDK launches MasterCard Bitcoin Debit Card

Bitcoin Magazine
Danish Exchange CCEDK launches MasterCard Bitcoin Debit Card

Danish cryptocurrency exchange CCEDK has announced a MasterCard Bitcoin debit card product, building a bridge between bitcoin users and MasterCard-enabled merchants all over the world, while adhering to strong compliance standards in accordance with E.U. financial regulators.

The Bitcoin Debit NanoCard MasterCard will enable withdrawals from their multi cryptocurrency exchange to ATMs and MasterCard-enabled merchants worldwide.

Unlike other Bitcoin debit cards including BitPlastic, CCEDK claims this card “is regulated by The European Union (EU) MasterCard rules” and as such it is covered under their fraud protection programs.

As such, CCEDK and any financial movements of its customers are strictly regulated under European anti-money laudering (AML), know-your-customer (KYC) and counter-terrorist financing (CTF) guidelines, as explained on their website.

While this will alarm privacy buffs and does not provide anonymity or privacy like that advertised by BitPlastic, it nevertheless should provide fraud protection under the MasterCard umbrella.

Verified users can expect service as if they were using a regular MasterCard, up to unlimited withdrawal limits, depending on your level of verification with CCEDK and their banking partners.

“At first, the Bitcoin Debit NanoCard MasterCard will only support bitcoin, but CCEDK plans to implement further cryptocurrencies as there is demand – including NuBits, BitUSD, NXT and LTC. In the meantime, other coins can of course be exchanged for bitcoin on the exchange, to be used to fund the NanoCard,” said a CCEDK spokesperson in a written statement.

The NanoCard will start shipping mid-June. Those who cannot wait that long can get it with CCEDK’s partner at Bit-X.

Is it really anonymous?

The card is also advertised as anonymous, but true anonymity is very difficult, particularly when interacting with the banking system. For example, while you may indeed be able to create an account with CCEDK using fake information and a VPN and order a NanoCard with no verified information, the withdraw limits are much lower than with a verified account.

For cash withdrawals from ATMs, nonverified or “Level 1” users can withdraw 100 euros a year. For point-of-sale purchases, Level 1 users can spend 250 euros per year. This is presumably per card. Here are the costs of getting a card and transaction fees.

Embossed name on card – 0.10 BTC
Card activation – 0.05 BTC
Card delivery via airmail – 0.05 BTC
Card delivery via DHL – 0.30 BTC
Monthly fee – FREE for the first 10,000 users
Monthly fee (no activity*) – 0.05 BTC
Cash withdrawal at ATM – 0.02 BTC (plus 3 percent MasterCard commission)
Payments (POS) – 0.005 BTC (plus 1 percent MasterCard commission)

Like any other MasterCard, all debit card and credit card transactions are recorded and transmitted as per standard operations. This means that the privacy concerns associated with using any credit card that can be tied to a series of transactions also apply to the NanoCard.

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New York Stock Exchange Launches Bitcoin Pricing Index NYXBT

The New York Stock Exchange today launched its NYSE Bitcoin Index (NYXBT) to track the price of bitcoin and give the digital currency’s value a definitive global benchmark.

This move by one of the largest and most influential stock exchanges in the world gives bitcoin new legitimacy and “gravitas” and may seal its spot in first place as the digital currency of choice.

New York Stock Exchange President Thomas Farley made the announcement today saying in a news release:

“Bitcoin values are quickly becoming a data point that our customers want to follow as they consider transacting, trading or investing with this emerging asset class. As a global index leader and administrator of ICE LIBOR, ICE Futures U.S. Dollar Index and many other notable benchmarks, we are pleased to bring transparency to this market.”

Tracking the Price of Bitcoin

The new NYXBT Index will indicate the U.S. dollar value of one bitcoin based on actual transactions occurring at 16:00 London time on selected bitcoin exchanges.

The NYSE Bitcoin Index will initially use data from transactions from Coinbase Exchange. Other bitcoin exchanges will be carefully evaluated by the NYSE and will have to meet the quality standards set by the stock exchange.

The NYSE’s Index Committee will oversee the rules and methodology behind the benchmark, making sure it reflects the current nature of the evolving bitcoin market. The committee will also identify and review the data sources for the index calculation process and identify other bitcoin exchanges that meet NYSE’s “rigorous standards for transparency, liquidity and governance.”

The NYXBT index will be published as a part of the NYSE Global Index Feed and will be publicly available on the New York Stock Exchange’s Index Page.

Currently, sites such as Google and Bloomberg track the price of bitcoin, but the New York Stock Exchange’s Bitcoin Index will likely replace these indices as a single global indicator.

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Hong Kong Banks Targeted By DDOS Attacks, Bitcoin Payout Demanded

On May 9, an international group of hackers launched distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on two of the largest financial institutions in Hong Kong. Hong Kong police confirmed that they have received reports from the Bank of China and the Bank of East Asia claiming that the hackers demanded payments in bitcoin.

“The two institutions later received emails demanding payments in bitcoins, or there would be another round of attacks,” a spokesman said.

According to The Standard Hong Kong, the hackers overwhelmed the websites of the two banks with traffic from multiple sources, causing irregular spikes in Internet traffic and forcing some of the websites’ resources to be unavailable.

However, both banks stressed that none of its data and customer accounts were compromised.

Finance Magnets reported that the Cyber Security and Technology Crime Bureau has classified the case as “blackmail” and has begun an investigation.

The attack imposed on the two banks is similar to the DDoS attacks launched on the official corporate websites of banks in China and Hong Kong, most notably the People’s Bank of China in late 2013. The investigators at the time believed that the attacks were a result of the issuance of new rules which prohibited financial institutions from dealing with bitcoin.

The State media reported that they believed “bitcoin fans” have initiated the attack, as a response to prohibiting the use of digital currencies in China.

The local media began to speculate that the recent attack initiated on the Bank of China and the Bank of East Asia might have been launched by a group of hackers known as DD4BC. The group is currently listed on Bitcoin Bounty Hunter and has attacked several websites, including Finnish Bitcoin wallet and exchange Bitalo and Bitcoin sports betting platform Nitrogensports.

“DD4BC threatens the Bitcoin Community with DDoS extortion, blackmailing and slander,” Bitcoin Bountry Hunter explained. “Famous Bitcoin services like Bitalo.com and Nitrogensports.com were attacked and blackmailed.”

The banks declined to release information of the emails received by the hackers and the amount of BTC demanded.

If the DDoS attacks are continuing, the two banks may lose up to $100,000 an hour, American Banker reports. AMR (American Banker Reports) stated that “the average bandwidth consumed by a DDoS attack increased to 7.39 gigabits per second, according to Verisign’s analysis of DDoS attacks in the fourth quarter of 2014.”

A few days have passed since the Cyber Security and Technology Crime Bureau began investigating the case, but the case hasn’t showed any progress.

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17 Arrested and $80,000 Worth of Bitcoin Seized in Dark Web Sting Operation

As a result of a six-month joint investigation between the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS), law enforcement agencies charged four Australians with attempts to purchase illegal firearms and arrested 17 Dark Web buyers and merchants across Europe and North America.

Following the arrests from the undercover operation, all firearms, ballistic armor, and illicit drugs were seized and around $80,000 USD worth of bitcoin was confiscated.

In September of 2014, the joint investigation between the law enforcement agencies in the United States and Australia focused on the illicit trade of firearms via the Dark Web which led to the identification of an online alias account for a 33-year-old man in Montana.

The operation officially began as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security received relevant information from the ACBPS. In the same month as the investigation, HIS initiated a secret operation with an online alias account. HIS was able to identify Australian suspects attempting to engage in illicit trading of firearms.

Two months after, AFP partnered with HIS to instigate another secret operation targeting the Australian suspects.

As a part of the operation, HIS and AFP manipulated the secret account to complete six deals over Dark Web markets, which allowed them to identify the addresses of the buyers.

After identifying the addresses, HIS and AFP received 15 search warrants in February and March of 2015, and seized most of the items in the addresses including four illegal firearms, ammunition, steroids, computer equipment and mobile telephones. Supported by the Queensland Police Service and Australian State and Territory Law Enforcements, the operation filed 34 charges against the individuals involved.

“Disrupting the supply of illegal firearms remains a priority for the AFP, and the success of this operation is another example of the results that can be achieved through cross-agency collaboration,” said Steve Lancaster, ACBPS national director of investigations and assistant commissioner. This secret operation was the most successful Dark Web investigation in the history of Australia, he added.

“People using these sites should not be fooled by claims of online anonymity,” he said. “Each transaction builds up a global web of intelligence which international partners are using to target you.”

Due to the success in the recent secret operation, Australian law enforcement will continue to target illicit online trades, especially firearms, with a strong support from national and international law enforcement partners.

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Bitcoin Retailer Harborly Launches in the US and Gears Up For India Expansion

Texas-based startup Harborly launched its Bitcoin retail service in the United States today. Harborly, which was already operational in Canada, will be the first U.S. bitcoin-buying service to offer users the ability to lock their bitcoin to a fixed U.S. dollar exchange rate when it launches the feature in June.

Harborly, founded by computer programmers Connor Black and Gabriel Ferrin, will charge a one percent fee plus a 25-cent bank fee for bitcoin purchases. At launch, the retailer will be accessible to residents of Texas and California, but the startup plans on expanding to nine additional states in upcoming months.

The startup claims to have a close relationship with its U.S. banking partner, but said it was not at liberty to reveal which bank that is.

“Harborly’s goal is to make buying, selling and using digital currency as easy and attractive as possible,” Black, who is also the company’s CEO, told Bitcoin Magazine. “We’ve entered the U.S. market with a new, competitive alternative in the bitcoin retail space. As we secure a foothold and gain market share, we plan to launch additional innovative Bitcoin products, such as locked Bitcoin wallets.”

A Global Bitcoin Company

Harborly is focused on operating internationally and plans to expand to countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America within a year. The startup thinks Bitcoin will cause a “technology paradigm shift” in the next 10 years and that by operating a global Bitcoin company they will be best positioned to take advantage of the new technology.

The young startup hopes to accomplish its ambitious global vision with regional advisers who will help Harborly find banking partners and adjust its business model for each region. The advisers include AlemHealth founder Aschkan Abdul-Malek, KCP Capital Managing Director Roderik van der Graaf; Afrasia Development Corp. Chairman Pierre Gussing, ex-Deutsche Bank executive Jordan Himel and Tauil & Chequer Advogados Rio de Janeiro partner Salim Saud Neto.

“Bitcoin’s core architecture is innately borderless, but, generally speaking, it’s impractical to use in most regions across the globe. Digital currency is in a unique position right now where its success is dependent on cooperation with the current financial system, and this cooperation is shaky at best,” said Black.

“We understand this and have aligned our vision accordingly,” Black added. “First, Harborly is going to continue bridging the gap between local payment methods and the bitcoin markets. And second, we’re going to continue developing products and solutions that push past this status quo, enabling bitcoin to prosper in its own right.”

The Bitcoin retailer recently raised a small seed round from undisclosed angel investors. The funds raised will give the company capital to act as market marker, grow its operations in the United States and expand upon its business development efforts in India – a country the startup is keen on expanding to. Black said the company is in talks with several payment providers in India, so when launched, Indians will have many payment options.

Harborly, which plans on launching in the central Asian country in August, will create a remittance service from the United States to India, a nearly $12 billion remittance corridor. The startup will be the first company to offer a bitcoin remittance product between the two countries. Harborly will also operate its Bitcoin retail and price-locking service in the country.

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