Coinbase Wallet to Support Bitcoin Cash (BCH) in Both iOS and Android Versions

On Wednesday (February 20th), Coinbase announced Bitcoin Cash (BCH) support for "Coinbase Wallet", its highly popular "user-controlled cryptocurrency wallet" app for iOS and Android.

Coinbase.com ("Coinbase Consumer") is "a digital currency brokerage." It "can also act as a custodian, storing your digital currency for you after you purchase it." In contrast, Coinbase Wallet is "a user-custodied digital currency wallet and DApp browser," which means that "with Wallet, the private keys (that represent ownership of the cryptocurrency) are stored directly on your device and not with a centralized exchange like Coinbase Consumer." A Coinbase Consumer account is not needed if you want to use Coinbase Wallet, and you can download it from anywhere.

Coinbase Wallet is a mobile app that initially only supported Ethereum (ETH) and Ethereum tokens (ERC20 and ERC721). On 26 November 2018, support for Ethereum Classic (ETC) was added. On February 5th, support was Bitcoin (BTC) was announced. And starting today, it supports storing, sending, and receiving Bitcoin Cash (BCH).

According to the blog post by Coinbase Wallet Product Lead Siddharth Coelho-Prabhu, this update "will roll out to all users on iOS and Android over the next few weeks." BCH support is "activated by default — all you need to do is tap ‘Receive’ on the main wallet tab and select Bitcoin Cash to send BCH to your Coinbase Wallet."

He also points out that "Coinbase Wallet supports both newer CashAddr address formats, as well as Legacy addresses for backwards compatibility in all applications," and that Coinbase Wallet also supports "the Bitcoin Cash Testnet to aid developers and power users" (to switch to the testnet, you need to go to the "Advanced Settings" section of the "Settings" tab). And finally, the team plans to "add support for the JSON Payment Protocol in the future."

On February 12th, Coinbase announced that Coinbase Wallet had been enhanced such that it was now for users to backup an encrypted copy of their private keys to the cloud (iCloud in the case of iOS users and Google Drive in the case of Android users). Although this feature sounds like it would be of benefit to many of Coinbase's users, it has been met with controversy.  

Featured Image Courtesy of Coinbase

U.S. Senate Banking Committee Holding Hearing on Facebook’s Libra on July 16

A day after Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services, made a statement in which she asked Facebook executives "to come before the Committee to provide testimony" regarding its proposed cryptocurrency (Libra), the U.S. Senate Banking Committee announced that it had scheduled a hearing to discuss the same topic.

On Tuesday (June 18), Facebook announced that it is creating a new "low-volatility" cryptocurrency (a fully fiat-collateralized stablecoin) called Libra (LBR), built-on top of a permissioned but public blockchain called Libra Blockchain. It also said that one of its subsidiaries (called Calibra) is building a wallet (called Calibra) that will let you "save, send and spend Libra". 

Reaction by the French Finance Minister

Within a few hours, the French Finance Minister, Bruno Le Maire, said during an interview on Europe 1 radio that "it is out of the question" for Libra to "become a sovereign currency":

"It can’t and it must not happen.”

According to Bloomberg, Le Maire "called on the Group of Seven central bank governors, guardians of the global monetary system, to prepare a report on Facebook’s project for their July meeting."

Reaction of the Bank of England Governor 

Roughly around the same time, at the European Central Bank’s annual symposium in Sintra, Portugal, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney talked about Libra:

"Anything that works in this world will become instantly systemic and will have to be subject to the highest standards off regulation."

Congresswoman Maxine Water's Statement on Facebook’s Cryptocurrency Announcement

Another thing that happened on June 18 was that Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services, issued a statement about Libra:

“The cryptocurrency market currently lacks a clear regulatory framework to provide strong protections for investors, consumers, and the economy. Regulators should see this as a wake-up call to get serious about the privacy and national security concerns, cybersecurity risks, and trading risks that are posed by cryptocurrencies. Given the company’s troubled past, I am requesting that Facebook agree to a moratorium on any movement forward on developing a cryptocurrency until Congress and regulators have the opportunity to examine these issues and take action."

Reaction of the U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman

According to Coindesk, earlier today (June 19), Jerome Powell, the Chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, said during a press conference that Facebook had had preliminary talks with Fed officials before yesterday's Libra announcement:

“You know Facebook, I believe, has made quite broad rounds around the world with regulators, supervisors and lots of people to discuss their plans and that certainly includes us."

Powell did not seem too worried about cryptocurrencies, perhaps because he knows that there is a huge regulatory mountain for Facebook to climb before it can launch Libra:

“So essentially…not too concerned about the central banks no longer being able to carry out monetary policy because of cryptocurrencies or digital currencies... You know, there are potential benefits here, there are also potential risks, particularly of a currency that could, you know, have large application. So I would echo what Governor Carney said which is that we will wind up having quite high expectations from a safety and soundness and regulatory standpoint if they do decide to go forward with something.”

The U.S. Senate Banking Committee

Also, today (June 19), the U.S. Senate Banking Committee announced that it will hold a hearing (“Examining Facebook’s Proposed Digital Currency and Data Privacy Considerations") on July 16 to discuss Libra. No witnesses have been announced yet. According to Reuters, a source in Washington familiar with the matter has said that David Marcus, Co-Creator of Libra, is expected to testify.

This is the same Committee that wrote an open letter on May 9 to Mark Zuckerberg, Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Facebook, in order to get answers to seven questions about Facebook's proposed crypto-based global payments system.

Featured Image Credit: Photo via Pexels.com