Isabel Woodford

Isabel is The Block's London and European reporter. She previously reported for Reuters in Madrid and London, following on from her time as a freelance journalist for the Guardian and the New York Times. She has a Bachelors in War Studies from King’s College London and a Master of Philosophy from the University of Oxford. Conflict of Interest: Edward Woodford, the CEO of SeedCX, is Isabel's brother. She does not report on any issues related to Seed or advise other authors in any regard.

Crypto lending firm Celsius saw over 2,000% growth in deposits, but concerns surround where deposits go

Celsius Network, a cryptocurrency lending company, has seen 2,165% growth in deposits over the past year, although the mechanism that allows these deposits to generate interest is clouded by uncertainties. According to Celsius CEO Alex Mashinsky, the firm has processed over 160,000 lending transactions and accumulated around $345 million assets under management since it opened […]
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Aug 26, 2019, 8:33PM UTC

Engineers v. Management: R3 is facing rumblings among its core ranks, but it may not be alone

Disgruntled former employees are nothing new. But a dedicated group chat of over a dozen engineers criticising their employer, R3, is a different story.  R3 is one of the more prominent ventures in the blockchain space, having raised an eye-watering $120 million to fund its middleman-cutting creation and now counting over 200 employees across offices […]
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Aug 21, 2019, 4:52PM UTC

Custodian Anchorage adds support for Tezos and Stellar, hoping to lure investors with staking returns

Institutional crypto custodian Anchorage is adding Stellar and Tezos to its list of eligible assets, the firm announced in a blog post. The Andreessen Horowitz-backed firm is among the first regulated entities to offer custody support for Stellar. Meanwhile, Coinbase Custody is the only other institutional custodian that currently supports storage of Tezos, although uptake […]
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Aug 21, 2019, 12:01PM UTC

Crypto laws around Europe are about to tighten up: here’s what to expect and why Malta may struggle

Bear with me. We’ve got to talk policy for a minute. Actually, four minutes.  The focus this time is the European Union’s crypto directive, known under the enviably catchy abbreviation of AMLD5 (anti-money laundering directive 5). Admittedly, it might sound bland, but it’s the single most important, continent-wide piece of legislation concerning crypto to date. […]
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Aug 16, 2019, 4:53PM UTC

Bakkt confirms September launch date after getting green light from regulators

Bakkt has announced it will debut its long-awaited bitcoin futures and warehouse product to institutional clients on September 23, a welcomed update after the firm announced a series of delays last year. Bakkt, a venture that’s backed by Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), began testing its bitcoin futures contracts in July but until now has been unable to fully […]
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Aug 16, 2019, 3:18PM UTC

Bitfinex spinoff parts ways with troubled exchange as management eyes 'regulated' rebrand

Bitfinex’s sister exchange Ethfinex is flying the nest. Ethfinex is relaunching as a separate entity under the name “DeversiFi,” and will shed Bitfinex as a major shareholder and controlling presence. DeversiFi will also no longer share management or resources with Bitfinex. The rebrand coincides with ongoing controversy at Bitfinex, which is currently facing intense scrutiny […]
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Aug 13, 2019, 2:00PM UTC

Celsius reintroduces ICO token to US after brief suspension, as new leadership gives the green light

Celsius, a global crypto lending startup, is reinstating its native token to its U.S. members after a month and a half-long suspension. The company’s newly appointed Chief Compliance Officer, Jeremie Beaudry, took the original decision to suspend the token, dubbed CEL, over concerns it qualified as a security. But Beaudry told The Block he has […]
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Aug 7, 2019, 9:31PM UTC

Inside the derivatives exchange hoping to rival BitMEX. Its secret? A wealth of liquidity and a KYC miracle

Taking on derivatives giants like BitMEX and Deribit is high stakes. But new Asia-based crypto derivatives exchange FTX has accepted the challenge and has bolted out of the gate; born out of U.S.-trading firm Alameda Research. In the three months since launching, it’s turned over up to $200 million in daily volumes, allegedly KYC-ed 10,000 […]
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Aug 7, 2019, 7:50PM UTC

Digital collectibles market seeing renaissance as platform targeting superfans scores ~$8M acquisition

The world of digital collectibles like CryptoKitties may appear to be a quirky game, but the business moguls backing them aren’t playing around – and they expect to win big. Animoca, a mobile gaming firm listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, has paid approximately $8 million to acquire Quidd, a digital collectible startup pitched as […]
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Aug 7, 2019, 1:30AM UTC

Galaxy Digital snags former Cumberland and Credit Suisse exec David Gross to lead global sales

Galaxy Digital, the crypto merchant bank headed by Mike Novogratz, has hired former-Cumberland exec David Gross to lead global sales, according to an internal memo sent out to the firm’s counterparties.  Gross, a Wall Street veteran, left crypto trading giant Cumberland in February after an 11-month stint. He previously held positions as a director at […]
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Aug 6, 2019, 2:35PM UTC

Bakkt may have acquired DACC for $11M

Upcoming crypto exchange Bakkt likely paid $11 million for the April acquisition of Digital Asset Custody Company (DACC), an analysis of its parent company ICE’s Q2 financial filings suggest.  Bakkt and ICE declined to confirm the figure, but as ever, here are the essential clues. On page 8 of its filings, ICE notes the amount […]
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Aug 2, 2019, 5:00PM UTC

Physically delivered bitcoin future contracts are imminent, but the bottleneck now lies with clients

It’s been a bumpy road so far for Bakkt, ICE’s yet-to-launch crypto future exchange, facing a grueling regulatory climate, government standstills, and even some technological hurdles. With its updated Q3 launch now within reach, it seems to be nearing the finish line. But there is still one catch that might impede full adoption, and this […]
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Jul 31, 2019, 9:00PM UTC

Privacy coin Zcoin's new protocol launches on mainnet

Zcoin, an anonymity-focused cryptocurrency, is hoping to ramp up adoption by launching the Sigma protocol on its mainnet today, the firm shared with The Block on Tuesday. Zcoin was among the first cryptocurrencies to use zero-knowledge proofs but is now replacing its Zerocoin protocol with the Sigma protocol, aiming to fix underlying vulnerabilities. In particular, […]
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Jul 30, 2019, 8:00AM UTC

Bakkt is eyeing a launch in Q3, but part of its plan is risky, sources say

Bakkt is gearing up to announce a Q3 launch date, a source close to the upcoming exchange has told The Block, but leaked plans about its initial product structure have raised questions. As per a slide-deck obtained by The Block, the Intercontinental Exchange-backed project is still waiting on approval from the New York Department of […]
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Jul 26, 2019, 7:22PM UTC

Causing a Ripple: An interview with the controversial developer putting personal files on the XRP ledger

Blockchains, notoriously, have a plethora of use cases. But this week, an anonymous developer who launched a file storage app on the prolific Ripple ledger faced a backlash for what the community says is a use-case too far. Ripple community members have argued online that file storage is not appropriate for Ripple’s ledger; or indeed […]
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Jul 26, 2019, 2:55PM UTC

Verizon eyes new blockchain project, looking to recruit engineers for a ‘distributed network’

Verizon, the Telecom giant, is looking to build a blockchain team, according to the company’s job site. The firm is advertising for five blockchain engineers, as well as a “blockchain technology development” lead. In addition, a keyword search of ‘blockchain’ shows 35 job-openings where blockchain knowledge is required. Details about the new roles suggest that […]
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Jul 24, 2019, 7:52PM UTC

Wall Street banks 'shelved' crypto plans after 2018 crash, but insiders say they're gearing up for the next boom

Don’t underestimate the banks’ interest in crypto; that’s the message from sources at Morgan Stanley, one of the richest institutions in the world. It’s almost difficult to believe after last year, when Bloomberg revealed four major banks had “quietly shelved” their bitcoin dreams. The banks planned to offer their giant clients a taste of crypto-derivatives […]
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Jul 22, 2019, 3:00PM UTC

AlipayHK will extend mobile-wallet service nationally, granting Hong Kong users new payment rails in mainland China

E-wallet AlipayHK has been licenced to provide services country-wide, xinhuanet writes. The Hong Kong version of Alipay currently boasts more than 2 million mobile users and, according to Alipay, is the first Hong Kong e-wallet whose services extend to the whole country.  Earlier this year, the AlipayHK wallet extended its services from Hong Kong to […]
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Jul 22, 2019, 10:30AM UTC