Ethfinex Soon To Offer Token Sales, ICOs In-Platform

Colin Muller

Ethfinex, the sister exchange of Bitfinex and built by its parent company iFinex Inc., will shortly begin to offer participation in token sales/initial coin offerings (ICOs) streamlined directly through its platform. Details of the first sale will be announced in the coming days, according to an official blog post.

There are many additional features being added to the core Ethfinex functionality, to support the new token sale features.

For one, the platform will employ a “random draw mechanism” - a lottery, in effect - to select which of its users can invest in the sales. Ethfinex says it will release the randomization code in the next month to prove the scheme’s fairness. The token sales will have a minimum of three rounds, and continue until the sale is full.

All users of the platform will enjoy a minimum level of access to the token sales, namely one round per sale. However, holders of the exchange’s proprietary Nectar (NEC) tokens will be afforded additional chances to access each token sale, through access to multiple rounds of the lottery.

Know-your-customer (KYC) identification will be required to access all token sales. To this end, users must register with BlockPass, which has in effect partnered with Ethfinex. The KYC requirement stands somewhat askance with the direction set by the recently launched Ethfinex Trustless version of the exchange, which allows identity-less trading via Metamask or a hardware wallet; but in the case of token sales this is largely unavoidable.

Some of the token sales will be available exclusively through the platform. The exchange states that it uses “strict criteria for project selection,” including but not limited to the presence of fair token sales. They also claim that some sales will be offered at “favorable terms” to its users. There is no further elaboration on the details of these criteria.

Finally, Ethfinex also announced the first activations of its Superuser program, which affords NEC token holders fee discounts and voting rights in addition to the above-mentioned token sale access. The blog states that there will be five levels of Superuser, ranks in effect, determined by the amount of NEC a user holds. Ethfinex offered no further details on the new program, however.

About Ethfinex

Ethfinex is itself a “spinoff” of Bitfinex, using the Bitfinex trading engine and sharing user accounts. It is a decentralized exchange (DEX), and it deals only in Ethereum ERC-20 tokens and assets.

Ethfinex’s new ICO portal comes during a period of waning interest in ICOs, according to news outlets like the Financial Times, who reported that token sale funding dropped precipitously during 2018: from $2.5 billion in February to a mere $181 million in September.

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BitMEX Slammed as Roubini Raises the Stakes in War Against Crypto

Neil Dennis

Every new concept has its critics and there's none so vehemently opposed to cryptocurrencies as New York University academic Nouriel Roubini, who has just taken his most vicious swipe yet at the emerging asset class.

In an essay entitled "The Great Crypto Heist", published this week on the website Project Syndicate, the NYU Stern Business School professor accuses financial regulators of "being asleep at the wheel" while an army of unregulated exchanges, propagandists and scammers commit "rampant fraud and abuse".

He singles out crypto-derivatives exchange BitMEX as being a particular threat to retail investors. Roubini clashed earlier this month with Arthur Hayes, the chief executive of BitMEX.

Regulation

But first, the professor explains why the sector needs to be more closely monitored. The broader financial sector came under increased regulatory scrutiny following the 2008 financial crisis, to protect investors and society. 

The regulatory regime does not capture cryptocurrencies, however, which are launched and traded outside the domain of official financial oversight, he says.

The result is that crypto land has become an unregulated casino, where unchecked criminality runs riot.

BitMEX

He rounds on BitMEX, registered in the Seychelles, which offers highly-leveraged bets on the rises and falls of cryptoassets: products more broadly known as derivatives.

These investment products have come under the microscope of regulators in many countries. The UK's Financial Conduct Authority would like to ban the sale of cryptoasset derivatives and exchange-traded notes to retail customers, saying they are too difficult to value and are prone to extreme price movements due to the volatile moves of the underlying cryptoassets.

Other global regulators have made moves to reduce the amount of leverage offered by crypto-derivatives exchanges. Roubini points out that with a 100-1 leverage, even a 1% price move in the underlying assets could trigger a margin call that wipes out the investor's entire account and leave them owing the exchange.

Hayes, boasted openly that the BitMEX business model involves peddling to 'degenerate gamblers' (meaning clueless retail investors) crypto derivatives with 100-to-one leverage.

BitMEX aslo runs a proprietary trading desk - an internal, for-profit desk that trades cryptocurrencies with its own money - that has been accused of front-running its own clients, Roubini asserts. He adds:

Hayes has denied this, but because BitMEX is totally unregulated, there are no independent audits of its accounts, and thus no way of knowing what happens behind the scenes.

Perhaps his most grand accusation in the essay, however, is that exchange is being used for criminal activity:

BitMEX insiders revealed to me that this exchange is also used daily for money laundering on a massive scale by terrorists and other criminals from Russia, Iran, and elsewhere; the exchange does nothing to stop this, as it profits from these transactions.

Tiff in Taipei

Roubini accused Hayes this month of holding back the broadcast of a video recorded of their clash at conference in Taipei - to which Hayes had secured exclusive right to.

In the essay, he continues this accusation, saying:

I suppose this is par for the course among crypto scammers, but it is ironic that someone who claims to represent the 'resistance' against censorship has become the father of all censors now that his con has been exposed.

Crypto Cancer Metastasized

In his final dig at the industry, Roubini says crypto trading has created a multi-billion dollar industry that does not just include the exchanges, but also "propagandists posing as journalists, opportunists talking up their own books and lobbyists seeking regulatory exemptions.

It is time global regulatory bodies stepped in, he concludes:

So far, regulators have been asleep at the wheel as the crypto cancer has metastasized. At a minimum, Hayes and all the others overseeing similar rackets from offshore safe havens should be investigated, before millions more retail investors get scammed into financial ruin.

So far, Hayes appears to have remained silent following the article's publication. No activity on his Twitter account. But the ball is now firmly in his court as the war of words heats up.