Brazil’s Largest Bitcoin Exchange Just Fired ‘at Least’ 20 Employees

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Mercado Bitcoin, Brazil’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, recently fired “at least” 20 employees amid restructuring efforts being made to “focus on professionalization, better governance and more agility in customer service.”

Local news outlet Portal do Bitcoin reportedly spoke to four now ex-employees that served at different hierarchical levels. One noted it “was horrible” and said that there “were people crying” over the occurrence.

The ex-employees revealed that senior executives started getting laid off earlier this week, on October 15, with other employees being fired by an executive the very next day. The company, justifying what was going on, revealed it was restructuring its marketing and human resources departments.

Those interviewed by the local news outlet claimed the affected departments were shuttered following the layoffs. One said that executives told employees that “it was a company moment, they needed to dry out their structure. In short, they went one step over what was being billed.”

bitfinexSource: Shutterstock

The move could seemingly have been predicted as the ex-employees further claimed the working environment at Mercado Bitcoin was deteriorating. Per their words, about two months ago most of what they were doing was getting “shelved,” and their work volume kept on decreasing.

“We created processes and presentations but everything kept getting stuck. Things that we did in an hour, now started being done in two days. Some people were really idle. I had nothing to do.”

According to their accounts, Mercado Bitcoin fired employees it hired from other companies less than six months ago and, in some cases, fired people that had been working there for less than two months.

The move is notable as the cryptocurrency exchange is the largest one in Brazil. According to available data, it traded 4,150 BTC in September, and 1,965 BTC so far this month, which means it represents over 30 percent of the Brazilian market’s volume.

Crypto Exchanges Under Scrutiny

Responding to a request for comment from Portal do Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency exchange revealed it has been “promoting changes in its structure” since the beginning of this year to serve its users better. In October, its reply reads, changes were made to the marketing, HR, and administrative departments, while others were left unchanged.

The exchange operator added:

“Regarding financial and personnel data, Mercado Bitcoin does not disclose its information to the market, but clarifies that the number of people who left the company in October is significantly lower than indicated, reaching 20 people only, if we include consultants and other service providers.”

The exchange’s move comes at a time in which XP Investimentos, Brazil’s biggest investment firm, is launching its XDEX cryptocurrency exchange. Huobi, the world’s second-largest exchange by trading volume, also expanded into the country earlier this year.

Notably, exchanges in Brazil have been under scrutiny, as back in August the government sent them a 14-point questionnaire to learn more about their businesses and their potential use in money laundering. Earlier this month, the country’s antitrust watchdog, CADE, sent them another questionnaire they’ll have to answer or face a fine that can reach $25,000.

Editor’s Note: Some statements in this article were translated from Portuguese.

Images from Shutterstock

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Indian Cryptocurrency Exchanges See Rapid Growth in P2P Trading

Indian Cryptocurrency Exchanges See Rapid Growth in P2P Trading

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Trading volumes on exchange-escrowed peer-to-peer (P2P) cryptocurrency trading platforms in India are rising rapidly amid the banking ban by the country’s central bank. “Indians are warming up to P2P in amazing ways,” the CEO of a local crypto exchange told news.Bitcoin.com. Several other exchanges competing in the same space are seeing similar responses from their users.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

P2P Trading Volumes Growing Rapidly

Indian cryptocurrency exchanges that offer P2P services are experiencing rapid growth in trading volumes despite the cryptocurrency banking ban by the country’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

Indian Cryptocurrency Exchanges See Rapid Growth in P2P TradingThe CEO of Indian crypto exchange Wazirx, Nischal Shetty, told news.Bitcoin.com that “In a bear market with no banking, Indians are warming up to P2P in amazing ways.” Wazirx launched its exchange-escrowed P2P service on July 10, a week before the RBI ban took effect.

Indian Cryptocurrency Exchanges See Rapid Growth in P2P TradingIndia’s central bank has banned financial institutions from providing services to crypto businesses. As the country’s supreme court continues to postpone hearing the petitions against the ban, a growing number of Indian exchanges have implemented their own solutions to the banking problem such as using P2P trading and launching cryptocurrency ATMs.

Shetty shared with news.Bitcoin.com:

P2P is working great for Wazirx. It’s helping us increase our daily trading volumes as well. In fact a few days ago we hit 100 BTC in daily trading volume for the first time … we’ve crossed over $5M in P2P in the 3 months since we’ve gone live.

The exchange revealed at the end of September that its trading volumes had grown 35 percent in the past few months, consistently reaching 50 BTC in daily trading volumes during the month.

Some More P2P Offerings

Indian Cryptocurrency Exchanges See Rapid Growth in P2P TradingThe exchange-escrowed P2P option has become a popular way for traders in India to cash out their coins. Recently, crypto exchange Instashift conducted a survey of its users and found that the majority of 50 respondents prefer to cash out their cryptocurrencies using P2P services. Instashift offers the trading of over 80 cryptocurrencies. With a community of over 900 members using its P2P platform, the exchange told news.Bitcoin.com, “We are clocking approximately around 2-5 million INR [$27,194 – $67,985] per week in India & our volumes are looking promising in Canada & Nigeria as well.”

Indian Cryptocurrency Exchanges See Rapid Growth in P2P TradingCoindcx also allows its users to convert over 80 cryptocurrencies into the Indian rupee. Its P2P platform Dcxinsta allows users to buy cryptocurrencies “instantly with INR … in less than 60 seconds,” according to the exchange’s website. On Thursday, Coindcx announced that “INR open order book” is now live on the exchange so users can now “place limit orders for trading in INR and see a complete order book using their existing INR wallets.”

The CEO of Coindcx, Sumit Gupta, explained to news.Bitcoin.com that the “Minimum buy or sell amount for any user is Rs 10. (approx. 15 cents)” on his exchange, emphasizing that “every Indian can now invest in crypto.” He further revealed that on his P2P platform:

We’re getting a phenomenal response from users with average no. of orders being more than 10 per Dcxinsta user.

Disclaimer: Bitcoin.com does not endorse or support claims made by exchanges in this article. None of the information in this article is intended as investment advice, as an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or as a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship of any products or companies. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

What do you think of the growing popularity of P2P trading in India amid the RBI ban? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Wazirx, Instashift, and Coindcx.


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Over Half of All Crypto Exchanges Have Security Vulnerabilities: Report

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A recent report from ICO Rating has found that only 46% of cryptocurrency exchanges meet the desired security parameters with the remaining 54% considered to have sub-par security measures in place, leaving hundreds of thousands of traders and investors exposed. The sample group of exchanges contains 100 exchanges all of which have a 24-hour volume of over $1 million.

A total of $1.3 billion has been stolen from hacked cryptocurrency exchanges since 2010, and yet it still seems that exchange operators are failing to take security seriously. The security report published last week by ICO Rating considers the following four factors when establishing a security rating:

  • Console errors
  • User Account Security
  • Registrar and Domain Security
  • Web Protocols Security

Here’s what each of those relates to.

Console Errors

Console errors have caused data loss before, although this is usually not the result of a malicious attack but coding problems. The report found that 32% of exchanges have code errors that lead to operational malfunction.

User Account Security

To measure this, the analysts created a separate account on each exchange and examined password security as well as email verification and 2FA measures. They found that 41% of exchanges allow for the creation of a password less than 8 characters long and therefore considered unsafe to use. 37% of exchanges allow users to create their passwords out of letters or numerical digits only without combining the two, which is also considered to be a security flaw.

More seriously, 5% of exchanges allow users to create accounts without email verification and 3% of exchanges lack 2FA (two-factor authentication which requires users to confirm with a separate device their sign-in, considered to be a fundamental aspect of fund protection).

Registrar and Domain Security

The analysts used Cloudflare to identify security flaws regarding their domain and registrar.

A number of factors were considered here, such as registry lock which prevents anyone using out-of-band communication with the registry from making domain changes as well as registrar lock which prevents domain hijacking through heightened security measures such as requiring more than an authorization code for domain access – role accounts are often used to protect sensitive domain information from leaking.

The analysts recommend a 6-month expiration period for domains to allow for complications regarding ownership, etc, and that was tested for along with the presence of DNSSEC which authenticates all DNS queries with cryptographic signatures to prevent cache poisoning.

Analysts found that only 4% of exchanges were using best practices in all of these areas – only 2% of exchanges use registry lock and 10% use DNSSEC, although no exchange completely neglected all 5 parameters.

Web Protocols Security

Web protocols were examined for their security level using WebSec by HT Bridge. Analysts tested for HTTPS headers in URLs, X-SXX- protection headers, content security policy headers, x-frame-options headers, and x-content-type headers.

Only 10% of exchanges used all 5 security measures, with 29% using none of the above and only 17% having a content security policy header.

General Security

The analysts then ranked the 100 exchanges by order of most to least secure.

Coinbase Pro took the lead as the most secure exchange, with Kraken following after in second place. BitMEX, GOPAX, and CDPAX made up the rest of the top 5.

The report highlights the ongoing problem of cryptocurrency exchange security and stated that the nature of the cryptomarket and of crypto exchange security and regulation was “really attractive to hackers.”

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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