EXPREAD: Making Crypto-Economy Decentralized Again

Decentralized, immutable, and trustless networks as well as the digital technologies that underlie cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, and other record-keeping applications are steadily on the rise. Bitcoin, for example, is not controlled by a single entity or institution, thereby making it mathematically impossible to steal from the network’s users, freeze accounts or stop spending money without access to your wallet’s private key. Blockchain technology’s encryption method guarantees that the record is reliable, without the need for a central governing authority. Users trust the algorithm without having to trust third-party guarantors and regulators, banks and government. The system is completely decentralized organization.

Today, most crypto-enthusiasts willingly chose to relinquish control over all or at least some of their money into the hands of intermediaries like centralized exchanges. Contrary to the principle behind Bitcoin, cryptocurrency users have opted for essential services which allow them to quickly and comfortably purchase and sell crypto-assets at the cost of privacy and safety, leaving them prone to government intervention. When users put their money into an exchange they no longer own it. Instead, they end up entrusting a third-party, the same way as one relies on a bank or other intermediary.

In recent news, certain countries, most notably China, have been escalating their crackdown on cryptocurrency trading through online platforms and mobile apps that offer cryptocurrency exchange services. This exposes how centralized exchanges are by design created to forfeit most of the security benefits cryptocurrencies offer including defense against hacking, heists, inside jobs and even malfunctions.

On the other hand, decentralized exchanges fueled by smart contracts should theoretically reflect the performance of the crypto-market but proved to be ineffective mainly due to slow trading engines, lower liquidity and limited set of trading instruments. However, this level of inefficiency is the alternative many traders settle for rather than risk using centralized exchanges. In response to this, a startup by the name EXPREAD is working to keep the decentralization of the crypto-market intact.

A new champion rises

EXPREAD is a hybrid solution designed to combine the advantages of centralized exchanges (sophisticated functionality, high performance of trading engine) as well as decentralized exchanges (higher security, fully transparent, auditable operations, and joint governance) to offer a highly scalable white-labeled solution on crypto-exchanges. The proposal is to completely decentralize and liberalize cryptocurrency exchange and virtually enable everyone to open his or her own node of exchange, at the same time bringing full aggregation of liquidity in the whole EXPREAD ecosystem.

“By introducing a new paradigm of operating cryptocurrency exchanges, the EXPREAD platform aims to liberate the space while eliminating the high barriers of entry,” Leo Liu, CEO, and co-founder of EXPREAD explained the concept in a press release.

Essentially, EXPREAD will focus on minimizing the barrier of entry to allow more and more people to participate in the exchange of cryptocurrencies. This will help in diminishing the monopolistic concentration of crypto trading operations, thereby playing a constructive role in ensuring that crypto-exchanges provide a designated service level for cryptocurrency users.

EXPREAD is designed as an ecosystem where white label crypto-exchanges, have a shared order book, trading engine, and liquidity pool. It is built on the proposition of shared economy on exchange services where multiple nodes or exchanges aggregate their liquidity, technology costs and unique expertise of the market depth to achieve synergetic value from the network effect. The whole system is composed in a way to distribute the liquidity reserves to avoid single point failures within the system. Furthermore, the entire trading operation is fully auditable by each node or exchange providing adequate internal control process.

The platform is the right choice for those who wish to build their own crypto-exchange. It doesn’t need to accumulate a critical mass of buyers and sellers to be operational thus the exchange owners can concentrate and leverage their own network, community, and existing client base, where they have accumulated trust, to build their crypto-exchange practice.

In the same fashion, EXPREAD will provide decentralized control over the funds deposited in the system, with diminishing concentration coefficient as the number of exchanges increase. The maintenance of the centralized order book and the trading engine makes sure that the exchanges run sophisticated trading tools, with fast execution time for high-frequency traders, and high scalability. To make the community a driving force behind the platform’s development, EXPREAD has embedded an internal governance mechanism into its operations, to make sure the entire ecosystem is always moving in the community-desired direction.

“2018 promises to be an important year for our platform as the team puts forth a global agenda in order to ensure its fast and sustainable development through acquiring strong partnerships and further funding. We are inviting the active crypto enthusiasts to join our telegram global community in order to gain more insight directly from the founders and technical team of the platform”, Leo Liu, CEO, and co-founder of EXPREAD.

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We’re going to jump right into our analysis for the session this evening in the bitcoin price, primarily because we’re watching price closely and it looks as though we may see a near-term entry signaled.

With this in mind, take a quick look at the chart below before we get started. As always, it’s a one-minute candlestick chart and it’s got our primary range overlaid in green.

As the chart shows, then, the range that we are looking at for the session right now comes in as defined by support to the downside at 10999 (for simplicity’s sake, let’s call this 11000) and resistance to the upside at 11132.

That range is just about wide enough to go at things with our intrarange strategy, so there’s a long entry on for anyone that wants to jump in on a bounce from support and a short trade in place on a correction from resistance. On these ones a stop at the other side of the key level defines risk.

With all that said, let’s now look at the trade that’s causing us to rush into things right now – it’s a short trade that signals if we see price break, and subsequently close, below support.

On this position, we’ll jump into the short entry with a downside target of 10900 and we’ll use a stop loss at 11030 to define risk and to make sure we get taken out of the position if things turn against us.

Looking the other way, if we see price close above resistance, we’ll get into a long trade towards an immediate upside target of 11250. This one is a little more aggressive so we’ve got a bit more room on the risk management side of things. A stop at 11000 flat looks like it should do the trick.

Let’s see what happens.

Charts courtesy of Trading View

Cyber researchers at Fortinet have managed to unearth a cryptocurrency app that is actually a ransomware in disguise.

The cybersecurity firm, in its report, indicated SpriteCoin app to be a new kind of ransomware technique. It poses as a “sure-to-be-profitable” cryptocurrency, prompts targets into installing it for profits, and encrypts their files. The ransomware asks 0.3 units of Monero (~$100) to counterbalance the attack with a decryption key. But once the targets pay the sum, they further get harassed by receiving more malware attacks.

SpiteCoin seems to have an embedded SQLite engine. The revelation has led researchers to believe that the database management system is being used to store harvested credentials. The Fortinet report explains:

“The ransomware first looks to harvest Chrome credentials, and if it finds nothing it then moves on and tries to access the Firefox credential store. It then looks for specific files to encrypt. These files are then encrypted with [a] .encrypted file extension.”

In simple words, the passwords stored in target’s Chrome or/and FireFox are sent to remote servers, where they are likely to be accessed by the attackers for every wrong purpose.

Social Engineering to Lure Targets

SpriteCoin is the one-of-the-first kind of malware attacks which is delivered in the form of a cryptocurrency wallet. The traditional ransomware techniques, on the other hand, rely on phishing websites and emails. But the underlying technique of every ransomware remains the same: social engineering.

It is to be noted that every ransomware out there pretends to offer something ridiculously attractive in return for some confidential information/file download. These messages may contain a compelling story and context – a cliffhanger – to make you either click on the attached links or files. It is always recommended to follow a think-first-act-later policy.

Bitcoin Losing Steam in Ransomware Department

The SpriteCoin ransomware also proves reports indicating the hackers’ depreciating interest in demanding payments labeled in Bitcoin. Just recently, a California-based enterprise cybersecurity firm noted a steep 73% decline in the Bitcoin ransomware demands. Synchronically, it was assumed that hackers will choose a local fiat or an alternative cryptocurrency over the Nakamoto’s brainchild.

The South Korean government has started to focus on fostering and regulating the local cryptocurrency market to protect investors and ensure businesses have robust infrastructure to secure sensitive information.

Major Banks Supporting Cryptocurrency Exchanges

Earlier this month, several officials in the South Korea Finance Ministry told local investors that banks and financial institutions within the country will begin cutting off money flow into cryptocurrency exchanges and trading platforms.

Investors became increasingly concerned when Kookmin Bank, the country’s biggest financial institution, stopped providing virtual bank accounts and banking services to cryptocurrency exchanges.

On South Korean bitcoin trading platforms, each user is granted a virtual bank account issued by local banks. With it, traders can initiate trades and execute orders without directly moving funds to their original bank accounts. Instead, traders can choose to keep their funds on virtual bank accounts on the exchanges to swiftly trade cryptocurrencies to fiat.

Korbit and Bithumb, two of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the market, revealed this week that Shinhan Bank along with five other major banks in South Korea will begin supporting cryptocurrency exchanges with virtual bank accounts. As such, by the end of this month, new users will be able to open accounts on trading platforms and existing users will be permitted to trade large volumes once again.

Previously, the Justice Ministry, which was heavily criticized for its premature statement on a cryptocurrency trading ban bill that was later refuted by the South Korean government, suggested that it will request banks to cut services to both investors and exchanges in the cryptocurrency market. However, with the exception of Kookmin Bank, all of the country’s major banks will continue to support cryptocurrency exchanges.

Cryptocurrency Exchanges Fined For Poor Security Measures

Today, on January 24, eight cryptocurrency exchanges in South Korea including Korbit and Coinone were fined $130,000 in total for implementing poor security measures. The South Korea Communications Commission (KCSC) penalized local exchanges for violating the Information and Communication Network Act and Privacy Act.

The KCSC, which led an investigation into 10 cryptocurrency exchanges in cooperation with the South Korea Technology, Science, and Information Ministries, discovered that the majority of exchanges have had poor security breach prevention systems, unsecure user information storage protocols, and unreliable storage technology for sensitive user information.

The eight cryptocurrency exchanges each received a fine in the range of $10,000 to $25,000. Analysts stated that the fines were significantly small relative to the magnitude of the business local cryptocurrency exchanges operate. The KCSC noted that small fines were imposed because poor security measures on cryptocurrency exchanges were discovered for the first time and since the exchanges have been provided with a 30-day window to implement stronger systems.

The strict regulation of the South Korean cryptocurrency market by the country’s Finance Ministry and KCSC is an optimistic sign for the long-term growth of the industry, because it demonstrates the unwillingness of the government to ban the market and cryptocurrency trading.

China is a country where cryptocurrencies are frowned upon. This is for many different reasons, including disturbing the financial ecosystem. However, there is another big threat most people seem to be unaware of right now. A lot of new Bitcoin-related scams have appeared out of nowhere. These are the findings of Kroll, a global risk management firm. At this rate, it is highly unlikely China will ever soften its stance on cryptocurrency.

The findings by global risk management firm Kroll paint a worrisome future. China is home to a lot of Bitcoin-related scams as of right now. Given the government’s negative stance toward cryptocurrencies, that is a bit of a surprise. At the same time, this is also part of a growing fraud threat in the country. More specifically, close to 90% of all Chinese companies faced some form of cybercrime in 2017. This is an extremely worrisome trend, and it’s unsurprising Bitcoin plays a role in all of this.

China Falls Victim to More Cybercrime

More specifically, the country is in the process of adopting new technologies. With every new generation of innovation come additional security risks. Innovations make the consumers’ daily lives more convenient, but they also bear risks. As such, we see more and more cyber fraud and scams in the Chinese market right now. Cybercriminals are targeting people who have an interest in Bitcoin for quite some time now. This report seems to indicate that trend will only continue for quite some time to come.

For the time being, it is a bit unclear how people in China are defrauded for Bitcoin exactly. The most common cyber threats include viruses, phishing, and data breaches. Data deletion, wire transfer fraud, and ransomware are all in the lower segments as of right now. This seems to indicate the role of Bitcoin is a lot less prominent than most people might expect at this time.  Since the report is not too clear on this front, Bitcoin’s role remains unclear for the time being.

One thing is certain: Chinese companies need to step up their game. A lot of companies have increased fraud awareness as we speak. However, there is still room for future improvements. Especially when it comes to conducting proper background checks, things can certainly improve a lot. Hiring the right people to take care of these problems is the top priority right now. Most of the cyber threats can be avoided with common sense as well.

Bitcoin and blockchain has come under extreme scrutiny over the past few months and for good reason. It would be advisable to consider anything that increases in price parabolically as a very high risk. Banking bosses, politicians and TV pundits have had their say and it is usually negative but the bottom line is that the blockchain can no longer be ignored.

There is a battle going on inside the offices of the world’s financial institutions. Do they join the misinformed media and authoritarian governments and decry it or do they stand up and join those that are investing in the revolutionary technology.

Too high too fast

The problem is that financial institutions thrive on stability so they are instantly wary of anything that can shoot up by over 3000% in a year. This is exactly what the entire cryptocurrency market capacity has done, powered by its underlying blockchain technology.

In a report by the Financial Times head of emerging technology at Royal Bank of Scotland, Richard Crook, said;

“We are sitting down around this table trying to decide whose lunch we are going to eat. Because blockchain’s benefits come from decentralisation there is little point replacing one technology with another without changing the business model.” 

The looming threat to financial entities is that decentralization. It is effectively their job to centralize and control the flows of finances between countries and their citizens. Big players such as JP Morgan and Citibank are anxious because cryptocurrency goes against their business model which is making profit by controlling other people’s money. Banks also reject crypto because of its anonymity; they want to see who is sending what where, supposedly for money laundering reasons.

Davos sentiment

The World Economic Forum in Davos is holding its first session on ‘the crypto-asset bubble’ this week. Advocates of blockchain have cited their support for the technology claiming that it is resilient to censorship, fraud, and provides an immutable record of transactions. No centralized government, bank or corporation can offer the equivalent while they maintain a tight grip on finances and data.

Crypto has already entered Wall Street with a couple of major exchanges offering futures and even larger trading houses and banks offering to clear them. Energy giants are also looking towards blockchain solutions alongside medical research facilities, security companies, biotech and agricultural industries, social networks, and even some banks. Former Barclays boss, Antony Jenkins, labelled the blockchain effect as profound and went on to tell the FT;

“If you can imagine a world in which you did have one global digital currency, imagine what the benefit of that would be, imagine all the friction and the cost that would come out of the system. These things of course might be far in the future, but I don’t think they are very far in the future.”

Cryptocurrencies remain volatile by nature but it appears that the blockchain that powers them is here to stay.



Bitcoin rallied slightly during the trading session on Wednesday against the US dollar but continues to look very vulnerable to pressure. One major concern of course is the lack of volume, and as long as that’s an issue, rallies can’t necessarily be trusted. At this point, I would need to see the market either pick up a lot of volume on a green candle or break above the $13,000 level to start buying. More than likely, we will see a short-term pullback.



If there’s one bright spot, it could be the fact that Bitcoin has bounced from the 61.8% Fibonacci retracement level in the BTC/JPY pair. This pair is crucial, because 40% of crypto currency trading is done in the region. However, I’m not willing to buy this market until we break above the ¥1.4 million level, which is still a bit higher. That being said, this is a market to pay attention to as it could lead the way and tell us when it’s safe to start buying again.

Thanks for watching, I’ll be back tomorrow.

Investing in Bitcoin is always a bit difficult. Most people remain uncertain when the best time to do so comes around. Cryptocurrency enthusiasts will gladly tell people there is never a bad time to invest in Bitcoin. Brian Kelly, the founder of BK Capital Management, proclaims now is the best time to make an investment. With the Bitcoin price still struggling for traction, Kelly may be on to something. We all know Bitcoin isn’t dead yet, but it remains to be seen if there is upward potential.

No one should invest more money in Bitcoin than they can afford to lose. That is always the number one rule to go by. It doesn’t just apply to Bitcoin either, but any form of investment one can make. For those brave enough to take a gamble, now is a good time to buy Bitcoin. Or that is what BK Capital Management founder Brian Kelly thinks. The current lull in price action certainly creates an attractive opportunity for new investors. That is, assuming you expect the BTC price to go up again later this year.

Brian Kelly is a Bitcoin Permabull

Whether or not that will effectively happen, remains to be seen. Bitcoin has had price lulls like this one before on multiple occasions. Every time it happens, financial experts will tell people how cryptocurrency is dead and the bubble has popped. So far, these experts have been proven wrong time and time again. It’s possible history will repeat itself once again. Brian Kelly certainly seems to think so. He is confident money is still coming in despite regulatory opposition by governments. No one can ban Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies and people are slowly realizing this truth.

In fact, Brian Kelly claims the falling price is healthy for the ecosystem. After the 2017 bull run Bitcoin had, a major correction was bound to happen. Compared to January 2017, the price is still up by nearly 1,000%. Looking at the bigger picture, the uptrend is still intact as it was before. Kelly also states how the “weak hands need to be shaken out’. A very interesting sentiment, albeit one most cryptocurrency enthusiasts gladly echo. Not everyone is cut out to invest in Bitcoin and hold onto it during times of volatility.

Despite these brave words, investors need to remain wary. Now is not the time to go all-in with savings on Bitcoin either. It may turn out just fine, but there’s no need to take massive risks. It is still a new technology and there will be plenty of market volatility in the years ahead. Brian Kelly advises consumers to invest 1 to 5% of their assets at most. It is better to err on the side of caution when it comes to investing. Moreover, it is important investors do not “panic sell”. Holding on to Bitcoin is for the long-term and not quick profits.


Dash traders did very little during the day on Wednesday, although it was positive. There was little in the way of volume, and that is the most concerning part. I suspect that we will probably see the market roll over again, but if we were to break above the $1000 level, regardless of volume, I would be convinced to start buying. In the meantime, I suspect that we are going to get a pull back.


Litecoin had a little bit more volume, but quite frankly still looks very anemic. I believe that the $200 level above will probably continue to offer resistance, so I would be a bit surprised if we broke above there. If we did so with volume, I would be convinced to start buying. We have made a “higher low”, but on very little volume, so it’s not convincing quite yet.

Thanks for watching, I’ll be back tomorrow.


Ethereum rose slightly during the day on Wednesday as the crypto currency markets have gotten a bit of a reprieve. Regardless, one thing that I am concerned about is the lack of volume that we are seeing. Because of this, I don’t necessarily trust the move higher, but I do recognize that if we break to a fresh, new high, extensively clearing the $1125 level, then buying is the only thing that can be done. I need to see more volume to be convinced otherwise.


Ethereum continues to go sideways against Bitcoin, which of course isn’t a surprise, considering both currencies have struggled as of late. We are still consolidating between the 0.08 level on the bottom, and the 0.10 level on the top. Until that changes, range bound trading is about as good as it gets, and quite frankly the last couple of weeks haven’t been worth being bothered with. Until one of the currencies makes a major breakout against the US dollar, expect more of the same.

Thanks for watching, I’ll be back tomorrow.