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Hier — 7 juillet 2020Bitcoin News

Escalating Bank Runs Spur Chinese Government to Require Approval for Large Cash Transactions

Par Kevin Helms
Escalating Bank Runs Spur Chinese Government to Require Approval for Large Cash Transactions

A series of bank runs has prompted the Chinese government to begin requiring approval for large cash deposits and withdrawals at commercial banks, starting with banks in a northern province. Recently, two bank runs happened within a week as people lost faith in financial institutions amid unprecedented economic contraction.

China’s Efforts to Prevent Bank Runs

China has launched a measure aimed at curbing bank runs. Starting July 1, residents of the northern province of Hebei are required to “apply for approval if they plan to make large cash deposits or withdrawals at commercial banks,” the South China Morning Post reported Sunday. The publication detailed:

The regulation comes after a series of bank runs in the past year at debt-laden small lenders and as an unprecedented pandemic-related economic contraction starts to take a toll.

Residents “will need to provide information about the source of deposits or the purpose of withdrawals for transactions over 100,000 yuan (US$14,162) for individuals, and 500,000 yuan for corporations,” the state-backed China Securities Journal described. “Applicants will have to give one day’s notice to the bank to make a withdrawal of this size or larger, and gain the branch’s approval of the registration information.”

This requirement will be expanded to banks in Zhejiang province and the city of Shenzhen in Guangdong province from October 1 for individual account transactions of more than 300,000 yuan and 200,000 yuan, respectively.

The regulation requires “every commercial bank to integrate their information systems to minimise the amount of reporting required by individual customers,” the Journal noted, claiming that this regulation primarily targets “transactions conducted with physical cash through quick, self-service deposit and withdrawal equipment that avoided monitoring.”

Many small lenders in China are facing problems such as rising number of non-performing loans, insufficient capital, and poor governance. Last month, runs on two small lenders happened within a week. The news outlet reported that customers mass-withdrew their money from Baoding in Hebei province and Yangquan in Shanxi province over concerns about the health of the banks. While China guarantees deposits of up to 500,000 yuan per bank, the publication conveyed that investments in wealth management products are not protected.

What do you think about China’s cash transaction measure to curb bank runs? Let us know in the comments section below.

The post Escalating Bank Runs Spur Chinese Government to Require Approval for Large Cash Transactions appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Tiktok Ban: US May Join India in Banning Chinese Social Media Apps

Par Kevin Helms
Tiktok Ban: US May Join India in Banning Chinese Social Media Apps

The Trump administration is looking at banning Tiktok and other Chinese social media apps, according to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The US has been concerned about Tiktok being used by the Chinese government to mine American users’ data. India has already banned Tiktok in its country, along with 58 other mobile apps.

US Considers a Ban on Tiktok

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday in an interview with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham that the Trump administration is “looking at” a ban on Tiktok and other Chinese social media apps. Lawmakers have long expressed concerns that the popular video-sharing social networking service could be used by the Chinese government to harvest data from American users.

Responding to a question about whether the United States should look at banning Tiktok and other Chinese social media apps, Pompeo told Ingraham:

We’re taking this very seriously. We’re certainly looking at it. We’ve worked on this very issue for a long time.

The secretary of state elaborated: “Whether it was the problems of having Huawei technology in your infrastructure, we’ve gone all over the world and we’re making real progress getting that out. We’ve declared ZTE a danger to American national security. We’ve done all of these things. With respect to Chinese apps on people’s cell phones, I can assure you the United States will get this one right too, Laura. I don’t want to get out in front of the president but it’s something we’re looking at.”

Ingraham further questioned Pompeo about whether he would currently “recommend that people download that app [Tiktok] on their phones.” The secretary of state replied:

Only if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.

Tiktok is owned by Beijing-based Bytedance but it is not available in China. The company has recently been trying to distance itself from its Chinese parent company, such as by hiring former Disney executive Kevin Mayer to be its CEO. Tiktok has also said that it will pull out of Hong Kong following last week’s enactment of the new national security law as military tensions between the United States and China escalate. The company has insisted that its data centers, including U.S. user data, are located outside of China and its data is not subject to Chinese law.

Responding to Pompeo’s comments, a Tiktok spokesperson told CNBC in a statement: “Tiktok is led by an American CEO, with hundreds of employees and key leaders across safety, security, product, and public policy here in the U.S. … We have never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do so if asked.”

According to an industry estimate, Tiktok has about 800 million monthly active users and the app has been downloaded over 2 billion times worldwide. Last week, India banned 59 mobile apps, including Tiktok, Tencent’s Wechat, Baidu maps, and Weibo.

What do you think about the U.S. banning Tiktok? Let us know in the comments section below.

The post Tiktok Ban: US May Join India in Banning Chinese Social Media Apps appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin.com Wallet Launches New Portfolio Breakdown and Stablecoin Swap Features

Par Bitcoin.com
Bitcoin.com Wallet Launches New Portfolio Breakdown and Stablecoin Swap Features

With over 11 Million Bitcoin.com Wallets created, we’re building new features our users need most in order to enjoy the best possible cryptocurrency experience. Our wallet’s latest features now provide seamless swaps between bitcoin (BTC), bitcoin cash (BCH), and the stablecoin honestcoin (USDH). Moreover, Bitcoin.com’s new portfolio breakdown allows users to manage their assets with ease.

Bitcoin.com is the premier destination for all your bitcoin needs with crypto-infused tools, the hottest digital currency news, a gaming platform, educational resources, and a powerful noncustodial wallet.

This week Bitcoin.com is pleased to reveal two new features that have been added to the noncustodial bitcoin (BTC), bitcoin cash (BCH) wallet, alongside Simple Ledger Protocol (SLP) token support. The new portfolio breakdown provides Bitcoin.com Wallet users with asset distribution and SLP pricing according to the July 3, 2020 release notes. Additionally, “improved swap support” has been added to the upgraded version.

Bitcoin.com Wallet Launches New Portfolio Breakdown and Stablecoin Swap Features
The portfolio asset breakdown via the Bitcoin.com Wallet.

Cryptocurrency markets can be volatile and our new portfolio section with stablecoin support helps individuals manage crypto-asset risks better. After upgrading to the latest version of the Bitcoin.com Wallet, in the home section, the user simply needs to scroll down to the bottom of the wallet screen. There the individual will see the asset breakdown between bitcoin cash (BCH), bitcoin (BTC), honestcoin (USDH), and the value of any other types of SLP tokens.

The asset breakdown gives the user a percentage rate, and on the right side of the tab it says “swap.” When an individual simply presses the “swap” button, it leads to a section where they can trade BCH, BTC, and USDH in a seamless fashion. The trades are powered by Sideshift.ai and if the person is trading for USDH, they need to enter their SLP address.

Bitcoin.com Wallet Launches New Portfolio Breakdown and Stablecoin Swap Features
Our wallet’s latest features now provide seamless swaps between bitcoin (BTC), bitcoin cash (BCH), and the stablecoin honestcoin (USDH).

The swap section allows the user to configure how much they want to swap and it offers a live exchange rate as well for price referencing. Honestcoin (USDH) is a fully regulated, 1:1 U.S. Dollar-backed stablecoin that can be bought, sold, invested in, and spent as freely. When swapping for USDH, the Bitcoin.com Wallet allows instant settlement without confirmations, so balances of USDH will show up immediately.

People who haven’t tried the lightning-fast, noncustodial Bitcoin.com Wallet can download the platform for Android or iOS devices. In order to leverage the two new asset breakdown and swap features, existing users simply need to upgrade their applications.

At Bitcoin.com we understand that volatility isn’t for everyone. That’s why the latest Bitcoin.com Wallet gives any individual, from anywhere around the world, full control over their digital assets.

What do you think about the latest Bitcoin.com Wallet features? Let us know in the comments section below.

The post Bitcoin.com Wallet Launches New Portfolio Breakdown and Stablecoin Swap Features appeared first on Bitcoin News.

South African Investors to Lose $13 Million as Bitcoin Scammer Declared Bankrupt

Par Terence Zimwara
South African Investors to Lose $13 Million as Bitcoin Scammer Declared Bankrupt

A South African high court has declared an alleged bitcoin scam mastermind, Willie Breedt, bankrupt. The court decision follows an application by one disgruntled investor, Simon Dix, a News24 report states.

Willie Breedt is the CEO of the defunct Vaultage Solutions (VS), the company at the center of the alleged cryptocurrency scam. According to South African media reports, an estimated 2,000 investors invested a total of 227 million South African rands or $13.35 million into Breedt’s company.

Trouble for the company’s investors started when Breedt reportedly broke off all communication just before heading to Mozambique for a holiday in December. In January, Breedt — who is under a criminal investigation — closed shop. He allegedly went into hiding as pressure from anxious investors grew.

In an earlier report, News24 said it “reliably” established that Breedt’s troubles started in November 2019 when “there was an apparent slump in the cryptocurrency market.” Breedt hoped “the markets would recover sufficiently enough so he could recoup the millions he had lost.”

However, an analysis of the bitcoin price chart for November 2019 shows the only significant slump occurred on the 25th when the bitcoin price dropped from $7,200 to $6,600. This “slump” was, however, short-lived. The next day, almost all the losses were reversed and the price would stay above $7,000 for the remainder of the month.

Still, the News24 report also alludes to claims by some investors who had investigated Breedt’ bank accounts. The investigation might have uncovered possible fraud. Without offering evidence, the investors claim the account, which previously held $3.15 million (52 million rands), was now empty.

In the meantime, news of Breedt’s bankruptcy declaration and the imminent loss of millions of dollars has sparked off debate. Some members of South Africa’s crypto community are unamused.

In one post, prominent South African blockchain journalist James Preston agrees that this will slow adoption, stating that irrespective of this latest scam story, mass adoption of cryptocurrency will take longer. Referring to a posit in a Forbes report published sometime in 2017, he suggests that cryptocurrency is still several years behind. Others complain that the news report itself contains inaccuracies and expose the general levels of ignorance.

Meanwhile, the South African Reserve Bank has appointed corporate accounting firm Pricewaterhousecoopers to investigate Vaultage Solutions.

What do you think about this bitcoin scam? Let us know in the comments section below.

The post South African Investors to Lose $13 Million as Bitcoin Scammer Declared Bankrupt appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Crypto Derivatives Volumes Crash 36% to $393 Billion in June, a Low for 2020

Par Jeffrey Gogo
Crypto Derivatives Volumes Crash 36% to $393 Billion in June, a Low for 2020

Crypto derivatives trading volumes plunged 36% to $393 billion in June, the lowest they have reached in 2020, according to a new report by Cryptocompare.

The decline may be the result of a lull in investor interest in the instruments during the month in review.

In May, derivatives – contracts signed by at least two people to buy or sell a digital asset at an agreed price in the future – soared to a record high $602 billion, possibly driven by the hype that accompanied Bitcoin’s third halving in that month.

Total spot volumes fell fastest, however, sliding 49% to $643 billion in June from $1.27 trillion the previous month, said the London-based data analytics firm.

The bulk of spot trading happened on exchanges considered by Cryptocompare as low-tier and unregulated, accounting for $466 billion of the volume while top-tier exchanges traded $177 billion.

“Spot volumes have gradually dwindled throughout the month of June, now representing roughly half of the daily volumes seen in the previous month,” notes the report, published July 6.

In June, derivatives share of the cryptocurrency market rose to 37% compared to 32% in May and 27% in April. Cryptocompare said all crypto derivatives exchanges saw large decreases in trading volume last month.

Bitmex reported the biggest decline of 50% to $51.6 billion while the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), which focuses on institutional investors, posted the least decrease, with trading volume dropping 17% to $6.7 billion.

However, Huobi accounted for the largest trade volume of $122.4 billion, down 38% from a month earlier. Okex and Binance followed with $107 billion and $86 billion worth of trades, respectively. Both the exchanges reported volume decline of over 30%. At Deribit, volumes crashed 43% to $8.8 billion.

Institutional options volumes on CME hit a record monthly high of 8,444 contracts traded, up 41% since May. The regulated exchange said futures volumes, as measured by the number of contracts, fell 23% to reach 128,258 in June.

Deribit monthly options volumes tanked 17.8% to about $2.5 billion in June, “but this is less of a decrease than seen on other derivatives exchanges that only offer futures products,” Cryptocompare observed.

What do you think about the declining crypto trading volumes in both the derivatives and spot markets? Let us know in the comments section below.

The post Crypto Derivatives Volumes Crash 36% to $393 Billion in June, a Low for 2020 appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Developer Reveals Layer-Two Private Messaging and Payment System on Bitcoin Cash

Par Jamie Redman
Developer Reveals Layer-Two Private Messaging and Payment System on Bitcoin Cash

On July 4, 2020, the Bitcoin Cash proponent Cain published an interview with the blockchain developer, Shammah Chancellor, about a new project called Stamp Chat. At its basic level, “Stamp is a prototype of a layer-2 private messaging and payment system on Bitcoin Cash. It implements stealth [plus] confidential transactions on top of Bitcoin Cash using layer-2 protocol technologies.”

This week Bitcoin Cash supporters were introduced to a new tool called Stamp, an encrypted message and payment system that leverages the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) chain. The project is being developed by the software programmer Shammah Chancellor, otherwise known as @micropresident.

The project was introduced on Saturday, July 4, 2020, by the Bitcoin Cash proponent Cain (@bchcain) via the read.cash blog. Cain gives a summary of how governments today have the ability to censor our speech online, and our financial lives as well through centralized parties. The BCH enthusiast highlights how our freedom of expression is censored and monitored by the powers that be.

Developer Reveals Layer-Two Private Messaging and Payment System on Bitcoin Cash

“The fact that we are being monitored limits our freedom of thought and our freedom of expression,” Cain’s interview stressed. “You might think twice about entering something into a search engine, or posting something on Facebook or Twitter. This limits our ability to communicate and explore ideas, and this is why I am so excited by Stamp, the new Bitcoin Cash project being developed by Shammah Chancellor, aka @micropresident.”

Cain’s post further added:

Stamp is still in its early stages and only available on testnet, but the interface already looks polished and many features like group chats and nested messages have already been deployed. According to his Github page: “Stamp is a prototype of a layer-2 private messaging and payment system on Bitcoin Cash. It implements stealth [plus] confidential transactions on top of Bitcoin Cash using layer-2 protocol technologies.

Individuals who are interested in Stamp can check out the Github repository and get more familiar with the project. The Github repo’s disclaimer is a touch different and states: “Stamp is in early alpha development stage. There will be multiple breaking changes from now until a stable release. We default to the Bitcoin Cash testnet as to protect against lost funds.”

Those who are interested in testing the Stamp protocol can do so by accessing the cashweb/stamp/releases section and grabbing test coins from faucet.fullstack.cash.

The Stamp developers who contribute to the project also have a Telegram chat channel as well for people who want to learn more about the project. Shammah Chancellor also describes the Stamp project in great detail during his interview with Cain.

“Stamp is the name of the wallet that uses a number of backend protocols,” the developer explained. “These protocols are a suite called ‘Cashweb,’ with the vision being that everything online is powered by Bitcoin Cash. Fundamentally, Cashweb is powered via standard web technologies: Websockets, JWT tokens, HTTP/2. The idea being to make it easy for non-cryptocurrency developers to integrate with.”

“Cashweb is a [three] tier network,” Shammah Chancellor continued. “The first tier being Bitcoin Cash. The second tier is a ‘keyserver’ network, which is used to look up, in a cryptographically secure way, important information about a Bitcoin Cash address. The third tier is a messaging system (called relay servers) which allows wallets to pass, encrypted, structured messages between them.” The developer concluded:

When you add a contact to a Stamp wallet, it reaches out to a keyserver and requests your contact information. This is then verified, and used to determine which relay server they accept messages on. Once your wallet has this information, it can start exchanging structured, encrypted, messages between itself and another user.

Cryptocurrency supporters who are interested in reading the rest of the interview between Cain and Shammah Chancellor can follow this link here that stems from the read.cash blog.

On the Reddit forum r/btc, BCH proponents seemed pleased with the announcement and some people contributed to the development funding. “Looks promising,” an individual wrote on Reddit. “I sent a bit of funding. Good luck with it.”

What do you think about the Stamp project built on the Bitcoin Cash network? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.

The post Developer Reveals Layer-Two Private Messaging and Payment System on Bitcoin Cash appeared first on Bitcoin News.

European Blockchain Ecosystem Needs €350 Million for the Next 18 Months

Par Terence Zimwara
European Blockchain Ecosystem Needs €350 Million for the Next 18 Months

A study report by Leadblock Partners, an appointed representative of Sapia Partners LLP, finds an accelerating growth of the European blockchain ecosystem.

The findings of the Leadblock Partners study suggest European respondents have a funding need for €350 million for the next 18 months.

The European Enterprise Blockchain start-up ecosystem is mainly composed of early-stage start-ups at the pre-seed to series A-stages.

About 60% of surveyed start-ups are now generating revenues, and of which 33% are generating €250k of recurring revenues.

The study notes that improving performance is due to the technology recently reaching sufficient maturity. The transitioning from proof-of-concepts (PoCs) and pilot projects to production mode is cited as another factor.

Nevertheless, Leadblock says the United States still leads. The country has $2 billion worth of assets under management (AUM) compared to Europe’s $100 million.

In the report, Leadblock offers some insights as to why half of the global funding for blockchain start-ups is going to the United States.

“We found that one of the key reasons is that blockchain venture capital funds lack AUM in Europe, with US funds having raised at least 20x more capital. U.S. startups typically raise 4x more,” the report affirms.

Another key observation from the findings is the fact that “most investors are not familiar with blockchain technology.

The average investor is not familiar with blockchain technology, its applications, and its benefits.

The knowledge gap is apparent as many investors do not “differentiate between blockchain from cryptocurrencies and its associated negative perceptions.”

Despite these findings, Leadblock still believes that as investors continue to learn about blockchain concepts “we expect to see increasing investments.”

Leadblock also remarks that the blockchain “is a strategic technology that should be seized across Europe.”

A member of the French National Assembly participating in the study, Jean-Michel shared Leadblock’s sentiments on the importance of the technology.

Jean-Michel, who is keen to see greater adoption of the technology, tells interviewers of his vision for the continents’ blockchain space, which he says is evolving.



Jean-Michel wants Europe to become “a leading player in the blockchain industry and impose its own standards.”

The French politician is optimistic about the technology’s prospects. He cites the use of blockchain already “in real estate, mass distribution, food, energy and even in some political votes.”

The thriving global enterprise blockchain start-up ecosystem is growing rapidly (500+/year). The growth is fuelled by two main drivers, new start-ups created every year, and existing bank-to-bank (B2B) start-ups adding a blockchain layer to their existing software solutions.

What do you think about the European blockchain ecosystem needing €350 million? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

The post European Blockchain Ecosystem Needs €350 Million for the Next 18 Months appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin Volatility Hits Three-Year Low, Sparking Fears of Massive Sell-Off

Par Jeffrey Gogo
Bitcoin Volatility Hits Three-Year Low, Sparking Fears of Massive Sell-Off

The cryptocurrency data analytics and research company, Skew has warned that bitcoin could see a massive sell-off due to declining volatility.

The data analytics firm says that bitcoin (BTC) realized volatility hit 20% over the past 10 days – it’s the lowest 10-day reading in nearly three years.

“Last time we reached that level, we had the great sell-off of November 2018 shortly after,” Skew cautioned on Monday.

Back then, the price of BTC crashed by almost 50% from $6,500 in November to around $3,200 in early December. It was the lowest bitcoin had traded since its all-time-high of $20,000 in December 2017.

Realized volatility measures a change in prices in the past. Generally, the higher the volatility, the higher the risk, which also means the greater the earnings. The opposite is true for low volatility.

London-based Skew said bitcoin’s realized volatility in the last month averaged 35% and 64% over the past three months.

Bitcoin has struggled to scale past the psychological $10,000 level amid expectations of a bullish rally since its scheduled supply cut event in May.

The top cryptocurrency has mainly traded in the range of $9,000 to $10,000 for several weeks, occasionally falling below the threshold as investors took profit or as some other economic event led the price lower.

Falling BTC volatility has also coincided with declining bitcoin volumes, leading some analysts to predict an impending big breakout – either down or up.

“Stock market futures pumped since opening yesterday (July 5)and crypto has followed. So the short term picture has turned around completely again,” said crypto analyst Botje11 on his Telegram channel.

“So big chance if it (BTC) can stay above 9200/150 coming day or so, that we get a short squeeze of some kind coming days. Too early to say we see a break of 10k though, need much for that first,” he added.

At the time of writing, bitcoin is trading at $9,373, up more than 3% over the last 24 hours, according to data from markets.Bitcoin.com .

What do think about Bitcoin’s declining volatility? Let us know in the comments section below.

The post Bitcoin Volatility Hits Three-Year Low, Sparking Fears of Massive Sell-Off appeared first on Bitcoin News.

The Tokenized Metaverse: Non-Fungible Token Sales to Surpass $100 Million

Par Jamie Redman

On July 1, 2020, the partner of Polynexus Capital, Andrew Steinwold, detailed that the sales of blockchain-powered non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are about to cross the $100 million mark. The popularity of NFTs has grown massive since 2017, as blockchain cards, collectibles, digital artwork, virtual land parcels, and extensible virtual game items have become all the rage.

Blockchain-Fueled Non-Fungible Token Assets Close to $100M in Sales

Andrew Steinwold the managing partner at Polynexus Capital is a big believer in non-fungible token (NFT) solutions built using blockchain technology. NFTs have been around for years and the first mention of NFT technology stemmed from the Mastercoin white paper in 2012. Over the years, news.Bitcoin.com has reported on a number of blockchain projects that leverage NFT solutions like Counterparty’s Rare Pepe trading cards, Spells of Genesis cards, Cryptokitties, extensible game items and rewards, and many more unique concepts.

Decentraland where NFT-based parcels of land and extensible items are sold.

In a recent post written on the blog called “Bankless,” Steinwold notes that the NFT sales have amassed close to a $100 million worth of lifetime trade volume. The data stems from the web portal nonfungible.com, which gives a comprehensive overview of the NFT ecosystem. Steinwold thinks that the $100 million mark is just the start of the NFT evolution and the economy will grow much bigger going forward. “I believe NFTs will be a trillion-dollar market someday,” Steinwold stressed. “That means $999.9 billion in future opportunities. We’re just .01% of the way in.” Steinwold added:

We’ve talked about redemption NFTs in the past. We’ve learned about NFTs across gaming, art, culture, collectibles, and domains. But we’ve never zoomed out to look at the market as a whole. What are the categories? collectibles, gaming, worlds, art, culture. Which categories are winning? Volumes, value, [and] projects.

Nonfungible.com stats show that as of July 5, 2020, the total sales of NFTs is around $96.1 million so far.

Close to 20,000 Opensea Wallets and $2.5M in Monthly NFT Trade Volume

Steinwold’s data shows there are 18,552 wallets on Opensea and there is $2.5 million in global NFT trade volume on a monthly basis. As of June 5, 2020, the total lifetime trade volume of NFTs is around $96.1 million so far. The average price is around $20.90 per NFT according to nonfungible.com and Steinwold’s statistics.

The NFT projects n0wear and cryptopunks.

“With December 2017 as our starting point, the NFT market has only been around for ~2.5 years, an extremely small amount of time compared to bitcoin (11 years) or traditional markets (hundreds of years),” Steinwold highlighted. “While monthly trade volumes are low at roughly $2M per month, the NFT market has seen a steady increase over time.” Steinwold says the aforementioned data shows just how early it is when it comes to NFT technology.

“The above stats show just how early we are in a market that one day could be worth trillions of dollars — Of course, that trillion-dollar figure will only be reached once there’s a functioning metaverse, but I strongly believe we are headed in that direction,” Steinwold said. The Polynexus Capital partner further stated:

Perhaps the most shocking statistic is the number of wallets on Opensea: about 18,500 wallets have either purchased or sold an NFT. Since Opensea is the dominant NFT marketplace, this metric should give us a rough indication of the current number of NFT users overall.

Some of the projects Steinwold mentions include NFT ideas like Cryptopunks, Cryptokitties, Avastars, Gods Unchained, Axie Infinity, My Crypto Heroes, Crypto Space Commanders, Decentraland, Cryptovoxels, Somnium Space, The Sandbox, Async Art, Superrare, Nifty Gateway, Knownorigin, Makersplace, n0wear, Zora, and Foundation. Steinwold also mentions the possibilities of “ticketing for events, property titles, [and] digital identity” concepts.

Rare pepe and Spells of Genesis trading cards were one of the earliest versions of colorful and artistic versions of NFT technology.

A number of blockchains provide NFT technology but the most dominant is Ethereum by a long shot. Other blockchains like Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) can also be leveraged to created NFTs. In August 2019, the Simple Ledger Protocol (SLP) developer, James Cramer, announced the launch of the Electron Cash SLP version 3.5, which allowed the creation of non-fungible tokens that can be grouped together by a single ID. News.Bitcoin.com has published a step-by-step walkthrough on how to create non-fungible assets and collectible tokens with Bitcoin Cash.

The Growth of the Metaverse Is a Very Big Deal

Moreover, Forbes published an editorial on the coming of the metaverse on July 5 and exclaimed that “it’s a very big deal.” Columnist Cathy Hackl writes that today’s foundations concerning the metaverse are being built as we speak.

“Today, the metaverse is a shared virtual space where people are represented by digital avatars (think Ready Player One),” Hackl writes. She adds:

The virtual world constantly grows and evolves based on the decisions and actions of the society within it. Eventually, people will be able to enter the metaverse, completely virtually (i.e. with virtual reality) or interact with parts of it in their physical space with the help of augmented and mixed reality.

NFTs are going to be a big part of this growth according to Steinwold, and the innovations are just getting started. “When comparing these physical uses to gamers doing some new behavior in a virtual environment, the pace of innovation is often much higher in the digital world,” Steinwold’s observation concludes. “Going forward, I expect more differentiated NFT categories to arise and NFT market activity to increase dramatically.”

What do you think about the non-fungible token economy sales coming close to reaching $100 million so far? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.

The post The Tokenized Metaverse: Non-Fungible Token Sales to Surpass $100 Million appeared first on Bitcoin News.

700,000 Expedia Hotels Can Now Be Paid With Cryptocurrencies via Travala

Par Kevin Helms
700,000 Expedia Hotels Can Now Be Paid With Cryptocurrencies via Travala

More than 700,000 Expedia Group hotels and accommodations are now available via crypto-friendly travel booking platform Travala. Bookings can be paid with more than 30 cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin. Despite covid-19, Travala saw a 170% increase in booking revenue from its 2 million properties in 230 countries.

Travel With Crypto via Expedia and Travala

Cryptocurrency-friendly travel booking platform Travala announced on Monday that more than 700,000 Expedia Group hotels and accommodations are now available on its website. Users can pay for their bookings with more than 30 cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, in addition to traditional payments. This is possible due to a new partnership between Expedia Partner Solutions (EPS) and Travala.com.

Expedia launched EPS Rapid in 2018 to give travel companies access to its portfolio of over 700,000 properties with over 35 property types in more than 35,000 destinations worldwide. Travala.com was founded in 2017 and currently provides access to more than 2 million hotels and accommodations in 230 countries. Travala wrote:

Powered by EPS’s versatile API, Rapid, more than 700,000 Expedia Group hotels and accommodations are now available via Travala.com. On the site, travelers can book trips using more than 30 forms of cryptocurrency.

Among the cryptocurrencies accepted on Travala.com are BTC, BCH, ETH, BNB, and AVA, Travala’s native coin.

Expedia used to accept BTC on its own website. However, the company dropped the cryptocurrency payment option in June 2018.

Noting that “cryptocurrency adoption [is] on the rise,” Travala CEO Juan Otero said: “we want to ensure our users have payment choice and transparent pricing for every trip booked. EPS Rapid is the best API product in the travel industry and this partnership unlocks greater accommodation choice and availability for our users, including 4- and 5-star hotels in top destinations.”

On Saturday, Travala announced that AVA has been added to the Travelbybit point of sale (POS) system so it can now be used for purchases at over 500 merchants across Australia. Travala began offering Booking.com’s accommodation listings on its platform in November last year and merged with Travalbybit with backing from Binance in May.

In its June report, published on July 1, Travala revealed that its overall booking revenue for June was $184,296, an increase of over 170% from the previous month. Moreover, 59% of the total bookings were paid with cryptocurrencies in June, 21% of which were paid with bitcoin. Otero said Monday, “Our latest month-on-month data shows consumer confidence and the desire for travel is returning, with an 81% increase in room nights booked and website traffic up 50% week-on-week.”

What do you think about paying for Expedia hotels with crypto via Travala? Let us know in the comments section below.

The post 700,000 Expedia Hotels Can Now Be Paid With Cryptocurrencies via Travala appeared first on Bitcoin News.

À partir d’avant-hierBitcoin News

Bitcoin Entrepreneur Brock Pierce Joins the 2020 US Presidential Election

Par Jamie Redman
Bitcoin Entrepreneur Brock Pierce Joins the 2020 US Presidential Election

Blockchain entrepreneur and former Disney child actor, Brock Pierce, is running for President of the United States this election. Pierce announced he was running during America’s Independence Day celebration on July 4, the same day Kanye West revealed his candidacy. Pierce is an advocate of technology and cryptocurrencies and he wholeheartedly believes “entrepreneurs are essential to the rebuilding of this nation.”

On July 4, 2020, Brock Pierce, the child actor who starred in the classic Disney film the “Mighty Ducks” is running for President of the United States this election. Pierce is also a serial entrepreneur who shook up the virtual gaming industry as a young adult, and has continued his career bolstering cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.

News.Bitcoin.com spoke with Pierce in a private conversation back in September 2015. At the time Pierce told our newsdesk:

Satoshi gave us a gift but Bitcoin Stakeholders must continue to nurture and develop it. Disruptive technologies like the Internet and Bitcoin don’t get un-invented.

Bitcoin Entrepreneur Brock Pierce Joins the 2020 US Presidential Election
Bitcoin entrepreneur Brock Pierce announced he was joining the U.S. presidential election on July 4, 2020.

In Pierce’s 2020 presidential candidacy announcement video, he explains that he is a “staunch supporter of entrepreneurs and small businesses, he understands what it takes to build a business from the ground up.”

Pierce says that Americans need to embrace a future filled with technological advancements and says he can help guide the country toward 21st-century technology practices. The serial entrepreneur explains that he was a child actor as well and notes that he isn’t a “perfect” human and that his “battle scars” have given him fortitude.

The U.S. presidential candidate also leverages discussions involving Covid-19 and the recent protests held in nearly every city across the nation. Pierce wants Americans to “convene” and says mantras like “we are all in this together,” “make every voice count” and “Brock the vote.”

The crypto venture capitalist explains his recent philanthropy in Peurto Rico and his website mentions his involvement with “the Bitcoin Foundation and co-founder of EOS Alliance, Block.one, Blockchain Capital, Tether, and Mastercoin.”

Of course, cryptocurrency supporters will enjoy the fact that Pierce bolsters digital currency solutions and blockchain technology. Kanye West, the billion-dollar hip hop artist who is also running for president in 2020 is also considered bitcoin-friendly and has tweeted about the decentralized currency in the past.

The Libertarian candidate Jo Jorgensen is also pro-bitcoin as well, and news.Bitcoin.com recently talked with the first female Libertarian nominee. She said she would do away with certain legal tender laws, bolster cryptocurrency innovation, and free Ross Ulbricht as well.

Cryptocurrency supporters also have John McAfee and Adam Kokesh too, and both of those 2020 candidates support cryptocurrencies on a greater level than Trump or Biden. The presidential incumbent Donald Trump has only mentioned bitcoin in a couple of tweets and has yet to address the subject on any realistic level.

The presumptive Democrat candidate Joe Biden also hasn’t addressed digital currencies at all during his campaign. The only other pro-bitcoin candidate was Andrew Yang who dropped out a few months back, after his support was significantly lacking.

What do you think about Brock Pierce running for president in 2020? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.

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A New Price Valuation Model Says $10,670 Fair Value For Bitcoin

Par Terence Zimwara

Seba, a Switzerland based bank, is proposing a Bitcoin valuation model that places its fair value at $10,670. At this price, the model suggests Bitcoin is trading at a significant discount, at just above $9,100.

In a blog posting this past Thursday, Seba says the model’s estimate relies on the same concepts as other valuation models. It draws comparisons with the FX space.

“In the FX space, for instance, Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) and Uncovered Interest Rate Parity (UIP), two models based on sound concepts, provide estimates challenged by empirical evidence,” the blog post points out.

Yet, in spite of lacking empirical support, such currency valuation models “shape and form the basis of investors’” understanding of the FX market.

Furthermore, the models help explain where currency “value originates in a fiat money world” where none of the currencies have “intrinsic value.”

Seba tries to contrasts the findings of its model valuation with well-known Bitcoin valuation models. As the blog posting further claims, other valuation models place the network’s value between 0 and $100 trillion. This is a vast range that does not provide insight, alludes Seba.

A New Price Valuation Model Says $10 670 Fair Value For Bitcoin

Nevertheless, Seba does admit the limitations of its own models. It notes that the models’ estimates for other cryptocurrencies remain inconclusive.

The financial institution’s first of two models is built around four key concepts. These are key characteristics of blockchains (network and immutability) and cryptocurrencies (monetary policy and currency type).

According to the Seba, the valuation model estimates are cognizant of the most sensitive variables, namely the number of users and monetary policy.

On the other hand, “the immutability and Gresham parameters have lower price elasticity.”

It further notes that “for immutability, the calibrated hash rate is a large number, its level impacts price level.”

In the meantime, the second proposed model compares the exchange rates of cryptocurrencies within the cryptocurrency space. It is based on a no-arbitrage condition (mining parity).

According to it, miners should expect the same profit when mining comparable cryptocurrencies in terms of consensus algorithms.

The bank asserts there is empirical evidence that strongly supports the existence of mining parity.

Since May 2020, the month of halving, Bitcoin has only gone above the $10,000 mark once, on 2 June according to Coinmarketcap.

The price has oscillated between the 9000 and 10000 range for the past two months. This price range is also just above the maximum observed Bitcoin miner’s break-even price.

What do you think about SEBA’s Bitcoin valuation? Share your view in the comment section below.

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Encryption Crackdown: Private Phone Network With 60,000 Users Dismantled by Law Enforcement

Par Kevin Helms
Encryption Crackdown: Private Phone Network With 60,000 Users Dismantled by Law Enforcement

An international law enforcement team has brought down an encrypted phone network with 60,000 users worldwide. The platform was one of the largest providers of encrypted communications, widely used by organized crime groups.

UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA), Europol, Eurojust, and several other authorities announced on Thursday that they have infiltrated and taken down an encrypted phone platform widely used by organized crime groups worldwide.

Encrochat is “an encrypted phone network widely used by criminal networks,” Europol described. It “was one of the largest providers of encrypted communications,” the NCA added, asserting that “an international law enforcement team cracked the company’s encryption.” The NCA elaborated:

There were 60,000 users worldwide and around 10,000 users in the UK – the sole use was for coordinating and planning the distribution of illicit commodities, money laundering and plotting to kill rival criminals.

International law enforcement agencies have been collaborating to target Encrochat and other encrypted criminal communication platforms since 2016. “Over the last months, the joint investigation made it possible to intercept, share and analyse millions of messages that were exchanged between criminals to plan serious crimes,” the law enforcement team’s press release details.

In the U.K., the operation is called Venetic and it is “the biggest and most significant operation of its kind in the UK,” the NCA wrote, adding that “Entire organised crime groups [were] dismantled during Operation Venetic with 746 arrests, and £54m [$67 million] criminal cash, 77 firearms and over two tonnes of drugs seized so far.”

According to law enforcement, Encrochat realized the platform had been penetrated on June 13. The company then sent a message to its users urging them to throw away their handsets. The Encrochat servers have now been shut down.

The Encrochat phones have pre-loaded apps for instant messaging, the ability to make VOIP calls and a kill code which wipes them remotely. They cost around £1,500 for a six-month contract, the NCA added.

What do you think about how law enforcement brought down Encrochat? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Cryptocurrency-Focused Docuseries Airs to Millions of Viewers via the Discovery Science Channel

Par Jamie Redman

A new docuseries called “Open Source Money” recently aired on July 4 and premiered on the Discovery Science channel. The new show gave millions of Discovery viewers information concerning bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, initial coin offerings, and blockchain technology. The cryptocurrency-focused show airing on Discovery will continue this summer with a number of episodes broadcasting once a week.

Open Source Money” is the name of a new docuseries that aired on Saturday and premiered on the Discovery Science channel and the on-demand television provider Philo. The new series gives viewers insight into the cryptocurrency ecosystem by talking with a number of digital currency experts and luminaries like Brock Pierce and Charles Hoskinson.

The focus of the story is mainly about the Dragonchain (DRGN) initial coin offering (ICO) and how the project’s creators had to deal with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Dragonchain was also initially developed in 2014 at the Walt Disney Company branch in Seattle, but since 2016, the project and Disney severed relationships. The series “Open Source Money” was produced by the firm Vision Tree and the company raised $1 million via a variety of cryptocurrencies for filming.

The episodes feature Dragonchain’s issues with the SEC when the U.S. regulators deemed the project an “unlicensed security.” The episodes also feature the Chamber of Digital Commerce founder Perianne Boring, the notorious John McAfee, and Celsius Network’s Alex Mashinsky.

Reports say that Patrick Byrne will also star in one of the five parts filmed for the series. Despite the fact that the filmmakers follow the Dragonchain creators around for a bit, the first episode also acts as a Bitcoin 101 lesson.

The show’s theme also focuses on the current regulatory attitude toward cryptocurrencies in the United States. The show will air on Discovery Science and Philo at 10 a.m. ET every Saturday until the finale.

Discovery is an extremely popular channel with an 81 million U.S. network audience and six million in Canada. Outside the U.S., 2019 data shows that the Discovery network has well over 450 million viewers worldwide. Discovery Science is a subset of the official Discovery network of channels and can be found in most locations worldwide.

The San Francisco-based and Mark Cuban-backed on-demand streaming network, Philo has roughly 50,000 subscribers.

“Each episode highlights major contributors in the cryptocurrency revolution, including notable figures Patrick Byrne, Brock Pierce, Joe Roets, and companies the likes of Disney, Facebook, and more,” explains the “Open Source Money” website. The website’s welcome page adds:

Overall humanity is at a crossroads and the future of money as we know it will be transformed by Blockchain and the new internet of Value. The only question is, where will the US stand in the Space Race of our generation when the dust settles?

The website also notes that there’s a “provably fair 500,000 DRGN giveaway” and viewers need to find clues each week in order to win. According to the “Open Source Money” docuseries web portal, after each episode the clues can be used to find the elusive treasure.

This week’s question has a number of keywords and numbers that the viewer must choose in order to participate in the contest.

Words and numbers featured this week included: “1776, Pizza, Nascar, Cheesballs, Disney, Ramen, Beaxy, Hyundai, Seattle, or Avacodo Toast.” After each episode, a weekly prize winner will be selected,” explains the docuseries producers. “All correct answers, from the start of the contest, are entered into the Grand Prize drawing.”

The “Open Source Money” trailer can be seen below, while Philo and Discovery Science subscribers can watch from those channels.

What do you think about the “Open Source Money” docuseries? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Food and Cash Shortages Push Cubans Toward Permissionless Cryptocurrencies

Par Jamie Redman
Food and Cash Shortages Push Cubans Toward Permissionless Cryptocurrencies

The Nation of Cuba is dealing with a national food crisis, as Venezuela has stopped offering aid to the small island nation. Moreover, the coronavirus outbreak has caused a shortage of cash couriers called “mules” and everyday items are becoming scarcer. Amid the crisis, a number of Cubans are resorting to leveraging cryptocurrencies like bitcoin to curb inflationary pressure, and the country’s first peer-to-peer bitcoin exchange Qbita launched last April.

The Covid-19 pandemic has ravaged the Cuban economy just like it has throughout the globe. However, Cuba has been hit much harder because of the country’s socialist regime. Cuba is located in the northern Caribbean region and the state adheres to Communism and central planning. This gives the government an authoritarian position over the entire Cuban work force and the country’s means of production.

Leadership is quite tricky in Cuba, as Miguel Díaz-Canel is the President of the nation, but the people follow the rule of Raúl Castro’s guidelines. Raúl Castro is the official first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba, and to this day, the first secretary is the most powerful leader in Cuba.

Food and Cash Shortages Push Cubans Toward Permissionless Cryptocurrencies
The post-Covid-19 economy in Cuba is not looking good as Venezuela has stopped offering the island nation support. The Cuban Communist Party has told all Cubans to start growing food in every empty space they own. The country also is suffering from the lack of “Mules” or “Mulas” who deliver cash and products to the island from other countries.

The country’s dealings with the coronavirus outbreak caused the island significant hardship and just recently, Venezuela has stopped offering the country assistance. The Venezuelan government used to be a lifeline for Cubans when it came to financial assistance.

The lack of help from Venezuela invoked the Communist Party to tell all Cuban residents to grow as much food as they can in order to survive. “Cuba can and must develop its program of municipal self-sustainability definitively and with urgency, in the face of the obsessive and tightened U.S. blockade and the food crisis COVID-19 will leave,” José Ramón Machado Ventura, deputy leader of the Cuban Communist Party, recently told the media.

Food and Cash Shortages Push Cubans Toward Permissionless Cryptocurrencies
This April, Italian-Cuban entrepreneur Mario Mazzola launched Qbita, which is a peer-to-peer trading platform.

In addition to the possible food crisis, Cubans have been seeing a shortage of “mules.” “Mules,” otherwise known as “Mulas,” are not delivering much-needed goods and cash to Cubans.

There’s an estimated 50,000 Cubans who consider themselves Mules, and they travel all around the world to bring cash and certain products. Mules account for close to half of the cash remittances in Cuba as well. Since Covid-19, however, Mules are now scarcer than the products and cash, as the outbreak has pretty much halted the Mule supply chain.

In order to curb the economic turmoil, a number of Cubans are resorting to bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies. For instance, there are traders on the platform Localbitcoins stemming from Havana and Holguín.

Food and Cash Shortages Push Cubans Toward Permissionless Cryptocurrencies
Mario Mazzola has detailed that peer-to-peer marketplaces like Paxful and Localbitcoins have been hard for Cubans to leverage. Paxful allegedly geo-blocks Cubans due to U.S. sanctions and Localbitcoins has KYC issues, according to Mazzola.

A trader from San José de las Lajas sells bitcoin cash (BCH) with “no limits” for Western Union payments on the peer-to-peer exchange Local.Bitcoin.com. Further, a number of reports over the last two years show that a number of Cubans have been seeking out cryptocurrency solutions.

In September 2019, Reuters reported on Cuban residents “skirting U.S. sanctions by flocking to cryptocurrency, in order to shop online and send funds.” There is also a popular Telegram channel with thousands of Cubans called “Cubacripto,” where citizens gather to trade or discuss digital assets.

On April 23, 2020, Italian-Cuban entrepreneur, Mario Mazzola launched the country’s first peer-to-peer Bitcoin (BTC) exchange qbita.org. Mazzola has detailed that Cubans find the platform Localbitcoin’s Know Your Customer (KYC) rules too strict, and Paxful geo-blocks citizens from Cuba. Last April, Mazzola discussed the qbita launch with Decrypt.co columnist Jose Antonio Lanz.

“I think that in the future we’re going to see fewer people coming to crypto just to make some easy money,” Mazzola explained during the interview. “We’re going to see more people using Bitcoin for its true purpose: the freedom to move money and to have total control of your funds.”

Do you think cryptocurrencies like bitcoin can help with remittances and shortages? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.

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Bitcoin-Friendly Kanye West Running for US President 2020, Taking on Donald Trump and Joe Biden

Par Kevin Helms
Bitcoin-Friendly Kanye West Running for US President 2020, Taking on Donald Trump and Joe Biden

Kanye West announced on Independence Day that he is running for president of the United States in 2020, taking on Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden. Responding to the bitcoin-friendly singer with 21 Grammy Awards, Tesla and Spacex CEO Elon Musk said West has his full support.

Kanye West Running for President 2020

Kanye West is one of the world’s best-selling musicians, with over 140 million records sold worldwide. He announced on July 4 via Twitter that he is running for president in 2020. The pro-bitcoin singer tweeted: “We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future. I am running for president of the United States.” At press time, his tweet has more than 78.8K comments, 438.5K retweets, and 890.8K likes.

Bitcoin-Friendly Kanye West Running for US President 2020, Taking on Donald Trump and Joe Biden

Among people who have offered him support is Tesla and Spacex CEO Elon Musk, who tweeted in response to the singer’s announcement: “You have my full support.” West’s wife, Kim Kardashian West, tweeted an American flag emoji in response to her husband’s declaration.

However, it is not clear how serious West is about running for president in 2020, with some calling his tweet a marketing stunt. ABC News pointed out that it is possible that West is hoping to get “a little publicity for his upcoming album, ‘God’s Country,’ and its first single, ‘Wash Us in the Blood,’ which was released earlier this week.” West has won 21 Grammy awards, making him “one of the top Grammy winners in history, and is tied with Jay Z as the highest-decorated hip-hop artist,” according to Grammy’s website.

West and his wife are acquaintances of President Donald Trump and the pair have visited the White House multiple times. West has made several pro-Trump comments in the past. In 2018, he tweeted: “You don’t have to agree with Trump but the mob can’t make me not love him … He is my brother.” However, Kardashian West reportedly clarified that her husband “just happens to like Donald Trump’s personality but doesn’t know about the politics.”

Bitcoin-Friendly Kanye West Running for US President 2020, Taking on Donald Trump and Joe Biden
Kayne West with President Donald Trump. Kayne West was often seen wearing the red “Make America Great Again” hat in 2018, indicating his support for Trump. However, his wife said he just liked Trump’s personality.

Saturday’s announcement was not the first time West has talked about running for president. He said in 2015 that he would run for president in 2020 and made a similar statement in January and November last year for the 2024 presidential race.

In the cryptosphere, bitcoiners are happy that West may be running for president this year. The bitcoin-friendly singer said in an interview with TMZ in 2018: “When I saw Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill, that’s the moment when I wanted to use bitcoin.” In the same year, Kim Kardashian West received a Kialara physical bitcoin. A Twitter user opined: “Kanye West becomes the first potential United States presidential nominee to understand that bitcoin is money.” Soon after West’s announcement, Brock Pierce also tweeted that he is running for president of the United States this year.

ABC News explained that West would have to run as an independent and acquire the necessary signatures to get on November’s ballot. While voters can still write him in, the deadline for filing has already passed for some states, including Indiana, Maine, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, and Texas.

Do you want Kanye West to become the U.S. president? Let us know in the comments section below.

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4th Amendment Does Not Protect Bitcoin Data, US Fifth Circuit Court Rules

Par Jamie Redman
4th Amendment Does Not Protect Bitcoin Data, US Fifth Circuit Court Rules

A Fifth Circuit panel of judges recently ruled that Fourth Amendment rights do not apply to cryptocurrency transaction data that stems from an exchange. The U.S. court ruled against the defendant, Richard Gratkowski, who attempted to leverage the Fourth Amendment in an appeal.

According to the ruling of a three-judge panel from the Fifth Circuit courts, the American government’s Fourth Amendment does not apply to bitcoin transactions used in a crime if they stem from virtual currency exchanges. Richard Gratkowski was charged with allegedly making payments to a child pornography website, and sent bitcoin (BTC) to the web portal via his Coinbase account.

Now the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) searched Gratkowski and found illicit materials at his home and they subpoenaed Coinbase for transaction records. However, Gratkowski appealed the case and said that his bitcoin transaction history deserves to be protected by the Fourth Amendment.

Specifically, Gratkowski leveraged the 2018 Supreme Court ruling from Carpenter v. the United States. That particular case deemed cellphone data was personal and protected by Fourth Amendment protections.

However, Judge Catharina Haynes used an old Supreme Court decision from 1939 called the United States v. Miller. That particular ruling said that bank records are not protected by the Fourth Amendment. Judge Haynes ruled:

Coinbase is a financial institution, a virtual currency exchange, that provides Bitcoin users with a method for transferring bitcoin. The main difference between Coinbase and traditional banks, which were at issue in Miller, is that Coinbase deals with virtual currency while traditional banks deal with physical currency.

The other two judges agreed with Haynes, and the court noted that unlike cellphone data, bitcoin transactions are not “an intimate window into a person’s life.” The panel also highlighted that cryptocurrency transaction data was not a “pervasive or insistent part of daily life.” Of course, even though the case is controversial, bitcoiners are unsure of how the case will affect other U.S. lawsuits going forward.

Traditionally in America, decisions that are tied to the Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals, typically become formalized standards or law. Other judges will leverage the decision made during Gratkowski’s appeal process.

Founded in 1891, the Fifth Circuit is one of 13 American courts of appeals, and the branch is a federal court with appellate jurisdiction. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals presides over Texas, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

Now if other U.S. judges make contradictory rulings then this particular decision could be appealed again someday, and the weight of the three-judge panel decision may be tested. For now, and from the Fifth Circuit’s perspective, bitcoin data stemming from a virtual exchange like Coinbase is not protected by the Fourth Amendment.

Going forward, bitcoiners will simply have to wait for more court rulings that are similar to see if this decision holds water for an extended duration of time.

What do you think about the Fifth Circuit decision in the Gratkowski appeal? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.

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Personal Data of 250,000 People From 20 Countries Leaked by Bitcoin Scam

Par Kevin Helms
Personal Data of 250,000 People From 20 Countries Leaked by Bitcoin Scam

A global bitcoin scam has reportedly leaked personal data of about 250,000 people from more than 20 countries. The majority of the compromised data were of people in the U.K., Australia, South Africa, and the U.S. This bitcoin scam operates under several different names.

Investors’ Personal Data Leaked

A global threat hunting and intelligence company, Group IB, revealed this week that it has “discovered thousands of personal records of users from over 20 countries of the world exposed in a targeted multi-stage bitcoin scam.” The Singapore-based company said that it found 248,926 sets of unique personally identifiable information, elaborating:

The analysis of the exposed phone country codes showed that most of the victims were from the UK (147,610), followed by Australia (82,263), South Africa (4,149), the US (4,147), Singapore (3,499), Malaysia (2,491), Spain (2,420), and other countries.

At least six active domains featuring the same bitcoin investment platform were identified, the company described. The scheme operates under different names, such as Crypto Cash, Bitcoin Rejoin, Bitcoin Supreme, and Banking on Blockchain. Group IB’s analysts added that this new scheme resembles the Bitcoin Evolution scam.

Personal Data of 250,000 People From 20 Countries Leaked by Bitcoin Scam
An illustration of how this “personalized bitcoin investment scam” works. Source: Group IB

The company also explained how this bitcoin scam works. Firstly, a potential investor receives an SMS text message. Scammers sometimes send out phishing messages using the name of a recognized media outlet as the sender.

Every message contained a unique short link that takes the investor to a website “which already demonstrates their personal data, such as the phone number, first or/and last name, and sometimes an email address, and used for redirects to fake websites masquerading as a local media outlet,” the intelligence company detailed. “The experts believe that the personal information info could have been obtained by fraudsters through a separate fraudulent scheme or simply bought from a third party.”

The content displayed often depends on the targeted crypto investor’s location, such as major news outlets in the investor’s country. The scam websites feature fake interviews of famous people, articles, news, and comments attributed to local celebrities. They allege that famous people made a fortune using the new cryptocurrency investment platform. One example is Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, used by Bitcoin Evolution as news.Bitcoin.com previously reported.

“All the fake pages discovered are almost identical in terms of design, but the URL and the page code are unique every time and contain users’ personal records. If a victim decides to click any link in the article, they are taken to a bitcoin investment platform website, where their data, contained in the URL, would already be pre-filled in the registration form without a user’s consent. Later a victim would be asked to add to their account balance in BTC,” the researchers detailed. Bleepingcomputer noted that “targets can create an account and activate it for a modest fee of 0.03 BTC [$274].”

According to the intelligence company, the source of the leak has not been established but the information has been provided to relevant authorities in the affected countries.

What do you think about this bitcoin scam leaking people’s personal data? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Germany Takes Over FATF Presidency With New Guidance on Crypto Standards

Par Kevin Helms
Germany Takes Over FATF Presidency With Plans to Help Countries Fully Apply Crypto Standards

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has a new president as Germany took over the presidency from China. The intergovernmental organization also highlighted the need for more guidance on cryptocurrencies as many countries have not yet fully implemented its revised crypto standards. Another review has also been announced.

Germany Now Leads FATF

The FATF has a new president, Dr. Marcus Pleyer of Germany, who succeeded Xiangmin Liu of China. Pleyer serves as Deputy Director General in Germany’s Ministry of Finance. His two-year term as the president of the anti-money laundering watchdog began on June 1.

Pleyer presented his objectives at the lastest FATF virtual plenary, which took place on June 24 and published on Wednesday. Regarding the organization’s “new standards on virtual assets,” he declared: “The German Presidency intends to build on this work, focusing on the opportunities that technology can offer, by launching an initiative to monitor risks and explore opportunities.” Compared to China, Germany is much more crypto-friendly; the country began regulating the industry early this year and at least 40 banks in the country have reportedly expressed interest in offering crypto services.

At the plenary, the FATF also revealed the outcome of the 12-month review it conducted on how each country implemented its new cryptocurrency standards. Overall, “both the public and private sectors have made progress in implementing the revised FATF standards, in particular in the development of technological solutions to enable the implementation of the ‘travel rule’ for VASPs [virtual asset service providers],” the intergovernmental organization detailed.

While insisting that there is currently no need for revised standards on crypto assets, the FATF “did highlight the need for further guidance on virtual assets and VASPs.” The FATF believes, “This will help members of the FATF global network, many of whom have not yet fully implemented the revised standards, to make the necessary progress,” noting:

The FATF will continue its enhanced monitoring of virtual assets and VASPs by undertaking a second 12 month review by June 2021.

The subject of stablecoins was also discussed at the plenary, “particularly those that have the potential to be mass-adopted,” often referred to by regulators as “global stablecoins.” An example of a global stablecoin is the cryptocurrency libra, originally proposed by social media giant Facebook. The FATF has prepared a report on global stablecoins for the G20 as requested. The anti-money laundering watchdog believes that global stablecoins “could potentially cause a shift in the virtual asset ecosystem and have implications for money laundering and terrorist financing risks.”

The FATF further confirmed that its crypto standards apply to stablecoins and no amendments to the standards are required at this time. Nonetheless, it recognizes that “this is a rapidly evolving area and that it is essential to continue to closely monitor the ML/TF [money laundering/terrorism financing] risks of so-called stablecoins, including anonymous peer-to-peer transactions via unhosted wallets.”

What do you think about the FATF imposing its standards on the crypto industry? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Over 2,500 Austrian Merchants Can Now Accept Cryptocurrency Payments

Par Jamie Redman

More than 2,500 merchants in Austria can accept three types of cryptocurrencies via the payment processor Salamantex. The company explained that the system was tested with a number of select A1 5Gi network shops.

Since the Covid-19 outbreak, contactless payments have been trending more so than they ever were before. There are a number of traditional services that remove cash from the equation, but cryptocurrencies also provide the same ends except the means are decentralized.

This week the Austrian payment processor Salamantex announced that 2,500 merchants in the country will be able to support three different crypto assets via the system. The three supported assets include ethereum (ETH) dash (DASH) and bitcoin (BTC).

“Owners of [cryptocurrencies like] bitcoin and dash can be excited. From this summer on, they can spend their coins at more than 2,500 merchants using [the] A1 Payment service – provided the merchant has activated the feature,” Salamantex wrote.

The Salamantex team also mentioned how Austrians really like cash, but Covid-19 has changed that trend a great deal. Before the coronavirus outbreak, Austrians were extremely proud of cash and this was reflected in a large poll during the parliamentary election in late September 2019. One young Austrian woman interviewed during the poll said she liked cash because “you don’t leave a trace.”

“Although Austria is traditionally a country with a high affinity for cash, the last few months have led to a mind shift after people were called upon by the government and retailers to primarily switch to cashless payment transactions as far as possible,” the Salamantex announcement detailed. The company added:

With the integration of the Salamantex service software into the complete A1 payment package, Austrian retailers can now offer another payment option and thereby accept common cryptocurrencies.

Crypto assets have seen wider adoption in recent weeks, as news.Bitcoin.com recently reported on the Australia Post providing bitcoin (BTC) purchases via Bitcoin.com.au. Further, Centrapay revealed 2,000 Coca-Cola brand vending machines in Australia and New Zealand that now support BTC payments.

Salamantex COO, Markus Pejacsevich is trying to usher in the same type of crypto payment adoption in Austria.

“Our goal is to make paying with digital currencies at the checkout as easy and natural as we have been used to with credit cards for decades,” Pejacsevich said. “The acceptance of cryptocurrencies opens up new affluent customer groups and enables merchants to position themselves as pioneers in their industry.”

What do you think about the crypto payment accessibility for 2,500 Austrian merchants via Salamantex? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

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John Perry Barlow: A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace

Par Guest Author
John Perry Barlow: A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace

Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather.

The following letter was published publicly on the internet on February 8, 1996. John Perry Barlow founded the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and wrote the letter of declaration in response to the U.S. Telecommunications Act of 1996. Barlow’s “A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace” is reprinted here on Bitcoin.com for historical preservation. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any opinions, content, accuracy, or quality within the historical article.

We have no elected government, nor are we likely to have one, so I address you with no greater authority than that with which liberty itself always speaks. I declare the global social space we are building to be naturally independent of the tyrannies you seek to impose on us. You have no moral right to rule us nor do you possess any methods of enforcement we have true reason to fear.

Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. You have neither solicited nor received ours. We did not invite you. You do not know us, nor do you know our world. Cyberspace does not lie within your borders. Do not think that you can build it, as though it were a public construction project. You cannot. It is an act of nature and it grows itself through our collective actions.

You have not engaged in our great and gathering conversation, nor did you create the wealth of our marketplaces. You do not know our culture, our ethics, or the unwritten codes that already provide our society more order than could be obtained by any of your impositions.

You claim there are problems among us that you need to solve. You use this claim as an excuse to invade our precincts. Many of these problems don’t exist. Where there are real conflicts, where there are wrongs, we will identify them and address them by our means. We are forming our own Social Contract. This governance will arise according to the conditions of our world, not yours. Our world is different.

Cyberspace consists of transactions, relationships, and thought itself, arrayed like a standing wave in the web of our communications. Ours is a world that is both everywhere and nowhere, but it is not where bodies live.

We are creating a world that all may enter without privilege or prejudice accorded by race, economic power, military force, or station of birth.

We are creating a world where anyone, anywhere may express his or her beliefs, no matter how singular, without fear of being coerced into silence or conformity.

Your legal concepts of property, expression, identity, movement, and context do not apply to us. They are all based on matter, and there is no matter here.

Our identities have no bodies, so, unlike you, we cannot obtain order by physical coercion. We believe that from ethics, enlightened self-interest, and the commonweal, our governance will emerge. Our identities may be distributed across many of your jurisdictions. The only law that all our constituent cultures would generally recognize is the Golden Rule. We hope we will be able to build our particular solutions on that basis. But we cannot accept the solutions you are attempting to impose.

In the United States, you have today created a law, the Telecommunications Reform Act, which repudiates your own Constitution and insults the dreams of Jefferson, Washington, Mill, Madison, DeToqueville, and Brandeis. These dreams must now be born anew in us.

You are terrified of your own children, since they are natives in a world where you will always be immigrants. Because you fear them, you entrust your bureaucracies with the parental responsibilities you are too cowardly to confront yourselves. In our world, all the sentiments and expressions of humanity, from the debasing to the angelic, are parts of a seamless whole, the global conversation of bits. We cannot separate the air that chokes from the air upon which wings beat.

In China, Germany, France, Russia, Singapore, Italy, and the United States, you are trying to ward off the virus of liberty by erecting guard posts at the frontiers of Cyberspace. These may keep out the contagion for a small time, but they will not work in a world that will soon be blanketed in bit-bearing media.

Your increasingly obsolete information industries would perpetuate themselves by proposing laws, in America and elsewhere, that claim to own speech itself throughout the world. These laws would declare ideas to be another industrial product, no more noble than pig iron. In our world, whatever the human mind may create can be reproduced and distributed infinitely at no cost. The global conveyance of thought no longer requires your factories to accomplish.

These increasingly hostile and colonial measures place us in the same position as those previous lovers of freedom and self-determination who had to reject the authorities of distant, uninformed powers. We must declare our virtual selves immune to your sovereignty, even as we continue to consent to your rule over our bodies. We will spread ourselves across the Planet so that no one can arrest our thoughts.

We will create a civilization of the Mind in Cyberspace. May it be more humane and fair than the world your governments have made before.

Davos, Switzerland

John Perry Barlow, February 8, 1996

What do you think about John Perry Barlow’s Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace? Let us know in the comments section below.

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The IRS Investigation Division Is Requesting Information About Privacy-Centric Cryptocurrencies

Par Jamie Redman
The IRS Investigation Division Is Requesting Information About Privacy-Centric Cryptocurrencies

The United States tax agency has published a request for information pertaining to privacy-centric cryptocurrencies and technologies that obfuscate crypto transactions. The IRS-CI Cyber Crimes Unit request is also asking for information in relation to “layer two offchain protocol networks, sidechains, and the Schnorr Signature algorithm.”

A recently published IRS-CI Cyber Crimes Unit request that’s available for public viewing is requesting information from “industry partners” in regards to crypto assets that leverage privacy techniques and other types of protocols that hide transaction data. The Request for Information (RFI) was published on June 30, 2020, and the RFI is dubbed “Pilot IRS Cryptocurrency Tracing.”

The IRS-CI request states:

This RFI is associated with a pilot IRS Criminal Investigation Division (CI) program. CI Cyber Crimes is requesting information about systems that will allow developers and testers to conduct investigative research of distributed ledger transactions involving privacy cryptocurrency coins.

The IRS Investigation Division Is Requesting Information About Privacy-Centric Cryptocurrencies

The privacy-centric crypto tokens mentioned in the IRS-CI request include “monero (XMR), zcash (ZEC), dash (DASH), grin (GRIN), komodo (KMD), verge (XVG), and horizon (ZEN). Alongside this, the IRS wants data concerning offchain networks and sidechains like “Lightning Network (LN), Raiden Network, Celer Network, Plasma, Omisego,” and coins that have integrated the Schnorr Signature algorithm like bitcoin cash (BCH).

The United States tax agency says the entity currently has little knowledge of these protocols and is looking to build its expertise. The IRS would also like to leverage applications that allow them to investigate these privacy tools and coins.

“Acquiring applications to allow an investigation to more easily trace privacy coins and other protocols that provide anonymity to illicit actors would allow investigations to be more effective, as well as facilitate a higher level of deterrence by making it harder to conceal criminal activity. It also provides an investigative efficiency that is currently limited,” the IRS request notes.

Similarly, there are only a “few investigative resources” that allow investigators to intercept or trace transactions involving “Layer 2 network protocol transactions [and] sidechain ledgers.” Including “distributed ledgers that are adopting signature algorithms that provide privacy to illicit actors.”

The IRS notes in the request that the use of privacy coins and offchain/sidchain networks are “becoming more popular for general use.” But also the tax agency is “seeing an increase in use by illicit actors.”

What do you think about the recently published IRS-CI Cyber Crimes Unit request? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Despite Covid-19 Negativity, Crypto Prediction Markets Say Trump Wins the 2020 Election

Par Jamie Redman

According to a number of crypto prediction markets and futures, Trump will still win the election in 123 days, but his chances have lessened a great deal. No matter who wins, however, the large sums of money flowing into these wager platforms indicate that people love to bet on election outcomes.

It’s been roughly four months since the start of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States and it has shaken the country to its core. How the government dealt with the Covid-19 situation is an extremely controversial subject and many Americans have lost respect for U.S. President Donald Trump since the crisis.

American citizens always argue about politics and the two-party system and the 2020 election cycle is no different for many U.S. citizens. At the time of publication, the public knows that the incumbent President, Donald Trump, will presumptively be presented as the leader in 52 days.

The public is also aware that former Vice President for the Obama administration, Joe Biden, will also likely be presented as the Democrats leader at the national convention in 45 days. A lot of people think that the two choices from the Democrat and Republican parties are horrible this election cycle but many Americans are not aware of third-party candidates.

The FTX futures contract called “TRUMP” is the only prediction market that shows Donald Trump might not win. His chances changed a great deal since the first week of February, and the FTX market today shows a 40% chance of winning. Wagers on Betfair and Augur, however, show that Trump is clearly in the lead as far as betting is concerned.

During the first week of February, news.Bitcoin.com reported on cryptocurrency futures and prediction markets which indicated at the time that Trump will win the U.S. 2020 presidential election. That week in February, a token called TRUMP was released in order to represent a futures agreement. Basically TRUMP is a futures contract on FTX,” the exchange FTX noted.

“[The token] expires to $1 if Donald Trump wins the 2020 US presidential general election, and $0 otherwise.” At that time, the trading platform FTX had shown the futures token was swapping for $0.62 per coin. That price per token means that Donald Trump had a 62% chance of winning the 2020 election.

Now, after the Covid-19 fiasco, the FTX futures token based on Donald Trump is trading for much less. At the time of publication, TRUMP is swapping for $0.40 per token which means traders think that Trump could lose the 2020 election. There is also a great number of people betting on the 2020 election via Betfair.

Betfair is a popular betting platform and users who want to leverage bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrency payments need to use the Neteller option. Looking at the Betfair stats for the “USA – Presidential Election 2020 – Next President” wagers shows Trump has better odds than Biden. There’s roughly, $43,000+ in wagers on the Betfair website at the time of publication and Biden and Trump are the top two choices.

Data from the web portal predictions.global shows the prediction marketplace Augur and the future 2020 election outcome predictions stemming from that platform. During the last few weeks, people are still not sure that Joe Biden will be the Democratic party nominee. Despite the fact that Biden has 2,144 delegates people still think it is questionable.

The Augur prediction market thinks there’s a 25% chance it could be someone else other than the presumptive Democratic nominee. The same question is asked about Donald Trump being the Republican nominee and the wisdom of the crowd is 95% sure it will be Trump.

Similarly to our last report on cryptocurrency futures and prediction markets betting on the 2020 election, the Augur-based prediction market question called “Will Donald J. Trump be elected and inaugurated as President of the United States” is the same. Currently, 55% of Augur’s wisdom of the crowd says that Trump will win and be inaugurated.

Augur shows other questions that could make it difficult for Trump if the predictions come to fruition. One question asks if Trump will be impeached before the end of his first term and 50% of the answers think yes. Another question asks if the House of Representatives would impeach Trump and 44% think that the group could.

Augur stats also show that 29% of the prediction marketplace users think Kamala Harris could be the Democratic party nominee for President in the 2020 election.

What do you think about the cryptocurrency futures and prediction markets betting on the 2020 election? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Investment Firm Arcane Crypto to Go Public via $33 Million Reverse Merger

Par Jeffrey Gogo
Investment Firm Arcane Crypto to Go Public via $33 Million Reverse Merger

Arcane Crypto, a Norway-based investment company, said Thursday that it is planning to go public through a reverse takeover by Vertical Ventures, a publicly traded Swedish firm.

Vertical Ventures will buy Arcane Crypto for $33 million by issuing over 6.6 billion new shares. Each share cost $0.005 or half a cent, according to a statement released by the company on July 2.

Once the merger is completed, Arcane, which operates Arcane Research, will be listed on Nasdaq First North Growth Market, where Vertical Ventures currently trades. Owners of Arcane will own 92.5% of the shares in the merged entity while the remainder goes to Vertical Ventures.

Both companies have signed a letter of intent pending finalization of the transaction, which is expected to be completed in the second half of 2020. Shareholders and Nasdaq North will have to approve the deal first.

Torbjørn Bull Jenssen, chief executive officer of Arcane Crypto, said listing creates “massive potential” and “interesting opportunities” for the digital asset firm.

“By going public we will expand our toolbox and position our self for further growth. In addition, our ecosystem approach and infrastructure focus will benefit from the opening up to a wider investor Base, ” said Jenssen.

A reverse takeover or reverse merger involves the acquisition of a public company by a private company. Some private firms prefer this route of going public because it eliminates the long and complex process of stock exchange listing associated with an initial public offering.

Arcane is made up of six business units, including cryptocurrency payment technology, crypto and digital assets liquidity provision, crypto-fiat exchange as well as a hedge fund.

Shares of Vertical Ventures soared by as much as 50% as the reverse merger news filtered through on Thursday, but the stock is down 13.8% in early morning trading Friday.

What do you think about Arcane Crypto’s listing plans? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Trouble in Defi Paradise: Compound-Issued DAI Surpasses DAI in Circulation

Par Jamie Redman
Trouble in Defi Paradise: Compound-Issued DAI Surpasses DAI in Circulation

A number of cryptocurrency proponents have been discussing the stablecoin DAI this week, as the DAI allegedly held on the Compound platform is much larger than what is recorded in circulation.

At press time, Compound statistics show there’s $523 million worth of DAI held in reserves, while the web portal daistats.com shows there’s only 160 million DAI in circulation.

There seems to be another mystery in the world of decentralized finance (defi) again as the crypto community is now discussing the stablecoin DAI and the algorithmic money market protocol Compound.

Essentially, the Compound platform allows users to earn interest or borrow assets against collateral by leveraging a myriad of crypto assets. The platform is a well known tool and the stablecoin DAI is the most popular asset on the market today.

According to stats on the compound. finance markets detail page, there is $523 million worth of DAI held in reserves. In fact, the market overview of the compound.finance total supply is $1.3 billion to-date. That specific data metric includes all the tokens that are leveraged on the Compound platform.

However, looking at the website daistats.com shows there is only 160 million DAI in circulation. This has caused many defi proponents and the crypto community, in general, to start theorizing on why there is more DAI allegedly held in reserves on Compound, than what’s ostensibly minted in the real world.

A number of people on Twitter started making fun of defi projects and specifically criticized Compound, DAI, and Maker proponents. In the official Maker Chat governance channel, one individual said: “This whole thing is just a little frustrating — Compound is not being a good actor right now.”

Other’s discussed whether or not there is a major issue with farmers, farming yields, and market makers. Just recently, the Compound project introduced a new governance proposal that affected “yield farming.”

On Twitter, some people discussed an ostensible issuance loophole that could grow the DAI held on Compound infinitely, while others didn’t believe it was possible. “This doesn’t seem [like a] possible/error. I don’t believe you can borrow DAI against a collateral of DAI…can you?” an individual asked.

One person responded: “Yeah you can, check out Instadapp. You can do it easily via the [Compound Finance] UI if you buy cToken of w/e too.” Another person confirmed the fact that it is entirely possible to borrow DAI against a collateral of DAI.

Whatever the case may be, in the defi world there is trouble in paradise once again. In the Maker governance chat, some people thought that simply changing the interest rate lower on another stablecoin like USDC would solve the issues Compound is dealing with at the moment.

However, some people thought that a decision like that would be tricky and cause yield farmers to move to other assets. “I mean what is a few hundred million DAI backed by a few hundred million worth of cDAI between friends,” another individual discussing the DAI/Compound situation remarked.

A concerned individual on Twitter wrote: “DAI will skyrocket above peg – that means the debt value will increase accordingly, [and] that’s dangerous for my collateralization. Many farmers will get rekt on Compound.”

What do you think about the discrepancy between DAI in circulation and what’s held on Compound? Let us know in the comments section below.

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UK Court Denies Maduro Access to $1 Billion of Venezuela’s Gold

Par Kevin Helms
UK Court Denies Maduro Access to $1 Billion of Venezuela's Gold Stored at Bank of England

The UK is denying Nicolas Maduro access to Venezuela’s gold worth about $1 billion, stored at the Bank of England. The UK High Court has ruled that the country does not recognize Maduro as president of Venezuela, blocking him from accessing the much-needed gold.

England Denies Maduro Access to Venezuela’s Gold

Nicolas Maduro’s attempt to access his country’s gold stored at the Bank of England has been dealt a blow as the U.K. High Court ruled against him on Thursday, blocking his government’s access to $1 billion in gold reserves.

The gold has been claimed by both Maduro and his rival, Juan Guaidó, who declared himself acting president of Venezuela last year. The Maduro government said the gold would help Venezuela cope with the coronavirus pandemic. However, Guaido alleges that Maduro would use the gold for corrupt purposes, asking the Bank of England not to hand over the gold to the Maduro government. Venezuela’s central bank, Banco Central de Venezuela (BCV), had sued the Bank of England to gain access to the gold. According to its website, Britain’s central bank holds around 400,000 bars of gold, worth over £200 billion ($249 billion).

Caught in the middle of two rival claims for the gold, the Bank of England asked the High Court to rule on whom the U.K. government recognizes as the Venezuelan president — Maduro or Guaidó. The court said Thursday that the U.K. had “unequivocally recognised opposition leader Juan Guaidó as president,” the BBC reported and quoted Judge Nigel Teare as saying:

Her Majesty’s government does recognise Mr Guaidó in the capacity of the constitutional interim president of Venezuela and, it must follow, does not recognise Mr Maduro as the constitutional interim president of Venezuela.

The judge added that there was “no room for recognition of Mr Guaidó as de jure president and of Mr Maduro as de facto president.”

A lawyer for the Venezuelan central bank had argued that even though the U.K. government did not approve of the Maduro government, it still recognized it de facto. Lawyer Sarosh Zaiwalla commented, “It is very rare for a case of such international legal importance to be decided by reference to legal questions alone without taking into account the facts on the ground.” The Central Bank of Venezuela tweeted on Thursday:

The BCV will immediately appeal the absurd and unusual decision of an English court that seeks to deprive the Venezuelan people of the gold so urgently needed to face covid-19.

What do you think about the UK blocking Maduro’s access to Venezuela’s gold? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Crypto Use-Cases in Africa on the Rise, According to Luno

Par Bitcoin.com PR
Crypto Use-Cases in Africa on the Rise, According to Luno

Twitter and Square CEO, Jack Dorsey recently said “Africa will define the future (especially the Bitcoin one!)” But was he right?

Crypto in Africa on the Rise

Sad to be leaving the continent…for now. Africa will define the future (especially the bitcoin one!). Not sure where yet, but I’ll be living here for 3-6 months mid 2020. Grateful I was able to experience a small part. 🌍 pic.twitter.com/9VqgbhCXWd

— jack (@jack) November 27, 2019

Earlier this year, Luno published The State of Crypto in Africa report in collaboration with Arcane Research. This was an attempt to understand where the future for crypto in Africa is headed. In this summary, we’ll highlight some of the key aspects of the research, including the catalysts for crypto adoption in Africa, obstacles to be overcome, and the latest trends.

Crypto in Africa

Despite being an incredibly diverse continent, African nations often share key similarities, ranging from socio-economic issues to a significant lack of infrastructure. The use of cryptocurrencies around the world has, to date, largely centred on investment, speculation and trading. This is not true of Africa, where applications for crypto and the scope of challenges it could help overcome vary far more.

This makes it a fertile breeding ground for crypto. As the report notes that “Africa is one of, if not the most promising region for the adoption of cryptocurrencies. This is due to its unique combination of economic and demographic trends. While the overall adoption is relatively low, the potential is enormous, the growth is rapid, and the development is likely to become defining for the cryptocurrency industry going forward.”

However, there’s currently a polarity to crypto adoption in Africa. On the one hand, researchers have identified high ownership rates in certain countries. Google Trend data indicates Uganda, Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and Ghana all rank in the top 10 on the topic of cryptocurrency, which demonstrates the growing interest therein. South Africa actually ranked third-highest worldwide at 13% with Nigeria ranking 5th (11%) in a survey about crypto ownership. In terms of crypto infrastructure, though, it’s lagging behind. There’s still a distinct lack of nodes, mining operations and supporting merchants. Of the 10,267 Bitcoin nodes worldwide, just 20 (0.2%) are located in Africa. Furthermore, research from CoinShares indicates there’s almost no meaningful Bitcoin mining activity across Africa.

Crypto in Africa

Trading trends

Trading volumes across non-P2P (peer to peer) exchanges indicate there is generally less than $10 million in daily trading volume across African currency pairs. Luno contributes to the majority of this volume.

On the other hand, Africa accounts for a comparatively much larger share of the P2P trading market. Trading across Africa now accounts for more than 14% of LocalBitcoins’ and Paxful’s global weekly trading volumes, with activity focused in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa. These volumes have seen a significant boost in 2020, surpassing $10 million in weekly volume across the two platforms.

Catalysts for adoption

Africa’s underdeveloped crypto infrastructure aside, there are a number of major catalysts that could be conducive to widespread adoption over the next decade. Many of these are unique to the African continent, showcasing a remarkable opportunity for projects that are able to leverage the potential.

Economic landscape: high inflation and financial instability

The majority of African nations suffer from high inflation rates – historically much higher than the global average. This drastically undermines purchasing power and the potential for wealth-gain. Bitcoin’s inherently disinflationary monetary model and decentralised governance therefore poses an attractive alternative.

In the same vein, many African countries suffer from depreciating and often volatile national currencies. For example, the South African Rand (ZAR) has lost over 50% of its value against the US Dollar, while also being one of the most volatile FX currencies.

Political instability and capital control

Most African nations suffer from vast political instability which exacerbates inflation and currency volatility. Data from the World Bank gives just nine of the 53 African nations with a positive score on the political instability index. Furthermore, 2019 registered the highest amount of civil conflicts since 1946. This type of vulnerability has an adverse knock-on effect on issues like forced migration, GDP collapse, and wealth confiscation.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are unique in that they combine the wealth preservation properties of hard assets, like gold and land, with the portability of digital currency, combined with an unparalleled degree of censorship resistance. These properties, in combination, make cryptocurrencies the ideal antidote to political chaos.

Financial infrastructure

The majority of Africa is underserved by traditional financial services. The number of commercial banks per 100,000 adults is 61% lower across Sub-Saharan Africa than the global average. As of 2018, 66% of those living in Sub-Saharan Africa had no access to a traditional bank account.

Inadequate banking services and limited access inhibit entrepreneurship, business growth, lending and saving. These all work to drastically undermine economic development. Cryptocurrencies and decentralised finance (DeFi) are poised to take on the challenge of providing individuals with a safe place to store and interact with their money.

Costly remittances and cross-border payments

Cryptocurrencies offer a much easier and often cheaper alternative to remittance payments. Remittances below $200 to Sub-Saharan countries cost an average of about 9% compared to the global average of 6.8%. These exorbitant costs are a combination of an inefficient uncompetitive banking market and a reliance on legacy financial communications systems, such as SWIFT.

Remittances are extremely important in Sub-Saharan Africa and make up a key component of economic income. It’s estimated that over 25 million people are expats from Sub-Saharan Africa as of 2017. This group remitted more than $48 billion in 2019.

Digital and mobile trends

Despite improvements to traditional finance infrastructure, more exponential growth would require significant investments. With almost 60% of the Sub-Saharan population living in rural areas, mobile and digital solutions are far more equipped to tackle issues to access. Unlike other regions, many African nations have leapfrogged traditional finance entirely, going straight to mobile banking. This trend is ideally suited to cryptocurrency adoption.

Mobile payments

M-Pesa’s success serves as one of the best examples of the growing dominance of mobile finance. Having debuted in 2007, it now has over 37 million active users, processing 11 billion transactions per year.

21% of Sub-Saharan Africans now use a mobile money service, with more users of mobile accounts than traditional bank accounts. A huge downside to mobile money services, though, is the hefty price tag with an average of 2% of a transaction’s total value. Crypto, on the other hand, offers far more competitive fees.

Unlike mobile money solutions, which are generally operable on basic devices, most cryptocurrency wallets only work on smartphones. Even though Sub-Saharan Africa lags behind the global average in terms of smartphone usage, the adoption rate is rapidly growing. While there were 250 million smartphone connections in 2017, accounting for 34% of total phone connections, this is projected to increase to 690 million in 2025, with smartphones accounting for 67% of phone connections

Obstacles to overcome

Along with the powerful catalysts expected to drive crypto adoption, there are a number of major challenges to be overcome. Some of the most prevalent are inadequate internet coverage, competition from mobile money services and hostility from governments.

Inadequate internet coverage

Unlike mobile money services, most cryptocurrency wallets require internet connectivity to send and receive transactions. Only 39.9% of the African population have some form of internet access, compared to 62.9% across the rest of the globe. Seven African countries have internet penetration rates below 10%. A UN report recently estimated that a staggering $100 billion of further investment over the next 10 years to increase coverage to a reasonable standard.

The lack of coverage can be attributed to a lack of infrastructure and resulting high costs. Sub-standard electricity supplies are additional contributing factors. Many African countries have dispersed populations, often with low average incomes, which means there’s less financial incentive for companies to invest in infrastructure development. This results in a vicious cycle of poor connectivity and economic underdevelopment. As a result, telecoms operators monopolise and collude on pricing, undermining African citizens. Across the continent, 1GB of data on average costs 7.12% of a person’s monthly salary, reaching as high as 20% in some nations.

Satellites as a solution

Over the past few years, the satellite industry has grown tremendously. Companies like SpaceX, Amazon, Viasat and OneWeb are building low-orbit satellite mega-constellations that aim to provide high-speed internet across the globe. These will be particularly handy in rural and remote regions.

Sending BTC without internet

There’s also an increasing focus on the transmission of crypto payments without internet connectivity. To date, Blockstream has been the pioneer in this area, creating a satellite network with global coverage that broadcasts the Bitcoin network for free.

Blockstream joined forces with another decentralised communications company, goTenna, which allows users to transmit transactions without internet via its mesh network. It’s expected that satellite internet could compete with more traditional methods in the coming years.

Poor electricity coverage

Beyond internet connectivity issues, poor electricity coverage presents another roadblock. A jaw-dropping 57% of the population across the Sub-Saharan region still lacks access to electricity.

Competition from mobile money providers

The success mobile money services have enjoyed in Africa is a double-edged sword to crypto adoption. Adoption may struggle in the face of such dominance due to the business moats and network effects that have developed. However, these services have made users more comfortable with and accustomed to digital and mobile payment solutions, which could pave the way for alternative and more cost-effective solutions like cryptocurrency wallets.

While mobile money services rely on a centralised business model to operate, extracting fees and revenue from customers, cryptocurrencies can compete with increased functionality minus the negligible costs.

Although Bitcoin and Ethereum blockchains may not be as competitive, other options like Ripple, Bitcoin Cash and Stellar can offer on-chain transactions for far less. Second-layer solutions like the Lightning Network also have the potential to offer almost-free transactions.

Mobile money solutions have an advantage in the breadth of services they offer (yield on deposits, insurance and loans) but developments in the DeFI space should allow crypto services some market share.

Resistance from regulators

The largest short-term hindrance for cryptocurrencies is unfavourable action from lawmakers and regulators. The legality of Bitcoin and other crypto varies significantly across Africa, with over 60% of African governments yet to clarify their position.

Crypto Use-Cases in Africa on the Rise, According to Luno

North African countries have taken the most hostile positions, with Alergia, Libya and Morocco having all issued bans against the use of cryptocurrencies. The most common position, though, is one of caution. Countries like Kenya, Ghana and Zambia have advised discretion without actively banning them.

Luno’s exchange

Luno appears to be the most popular centralised exchange platform with over 4 million customers. Launched in 2013, Luno has regional African hubs in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Lagos and processes approximately $4.5 million per day on average in 2020, mostly in the South African market. This is reflected in the overview of Luno’s fiat-to-crypto volume, where 75% of the trading volume has been in South African Rand (ZAR) so far this year.

Not only are the African countries dominating on Luno’s platform, a large portion of the users are also based in these countries (75%).

Looking to the future

By looking at cryptocurrencies not as an investment vehicle but as a global means of payment, it’s clear Africa is poised to embrace crypto as a solution to many of the persistent issues the continent faces. Most, if not all, obstacles to mass adoption can and will be overcome following investment in infrastructure and the creation of tangible applications that address issues unique to the African continent.

Education is an incredibly important aspect of the cryptocurrency space. If any new technology is to be adopted, users need to be empowered with the knowledge to make sound financial decisions for themselves. While the technological and economic benefits are there, without direct action and a firm grasp on the potentials, regulators and citizens alike won’t be equipped to adopt crypto in any meaningful way.


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Russian Court: Bitcoin Theft Not a Crime

Par Kevin Helms
Russian Court: Bitcoin Theft Not a Crime

A Russian district court has dismissed bitcoin theft as a crime since cryptocurrency is not regulated in Russia and there is no legal status for bitcoin. The accused were found guilty, sentenced to prison, and ordered to return only the fiat money stolen — not cryptocurrencies.

St. Petersburg’s Petrogradsky District Court has announced the verdict in a theft case involving bitcoin filed in December, the joint press service of the judicial system of St. Petersburg announced on Tuesday.

The two accused, Peter Piron and Yevgeny Prigozhin, disguised as officers of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB) in 2018, forced the plaintiff to transfer cash and cryptocurrencies to them. Under the threat of torture, the cryptocurrency owner transferred five million rubles and cryptocurrencies, including 99.7035 bitcoins. The BTC was worth more than 48 million rubles ($680,640) based on the exchange rate on June 3, 2018, the court announcement details. Currently, this amount of BTC is worth about $908,024. The other cryptocurrencies amounted to approximately 7 million rubles, bringing the total loss suffered by the plaintiff to more than 60 million rubles.

The victim sought the return of all properties stolen. The court admitted that cryptocurrencies were transferred to the accused under threat. However, citing information from the central bank, the Bank of Russia, and the criminal code, the court concluded:

Cryptocurrency [theft] is not a crime against property. Due to the lack of legal status, it is not possible to recognize it as an object of civil law.

“This type of virtual money does not fall into any category and is not a recognized means of payment in the territory of the Russian Federation. The legislator has assigned it to surrogates of funds,” the court added.

Prigozhin was sentenced to eight years and Prion 10 years in a maximum-security prison. They have also been ordered to return the five million rubles, but the cryptocurrencies worth 55 million rubles at the time of the theft were excluded from the verdict.

Russia still has no cryptocurrency regulation even though a bill on digital financial assets was submitted to the State Duma back in March 2018. Recently, a bill was proposed to outlaw cryptocurrencies with a jail term, but several ministries do not support this bill.

What do you think about this Russian court’s decision regarding crypto? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Mining Company Ebang’s Stock Listed on Nasdaq Down 11%, Firm Plans to Launch Offshore Exchange

Par Jamie Redman
Mining Company Ebang's Stock Listed on Nasdaq Down 11%, Firm Plans to Launch Offshore Exchange

The bitcoin ASIC mining rig manufacturer, Ebang International Holdings, was recently listed on Nasdaq last Friday on June 26. Ebang is now the second mining rig manufacturer to have a U.S. initial public offering (IPO) by selling company shares. Since the initial sale on opening day, Ebang’s Nasdaq-listed “EBON” is down 11.5%.

So far, the Nasdaq shares dubbed “EBON” haven’t changed too much in price and since the IPO launch. This week Ebang also revealed it is launching an offshore crypto exchange later this year.

The firm Ebang International Holdings is an ASIC mining rig manufacturer that specializes in fabricating bitcoin miners. Last Friday, on June 26, the company joined its mining rig manufacturing competitor Canaan on the Nasdaq stock exchange.

The launch of NASDAQ: EBON on Friday, saw 19.3 million shares offered and the firm raised $101 million. On June 26, at 12 p.m. ET, EBON stocks on Nasdaq opened at $4.85 and by 4 p.m. ET, it was up to $5.

Mining Company Ebang's Stock Listed on Nasdaq Down 11%, Firm Plans to Launch Offshore Exchange

However, since then EBON is currently trading at $4.29 on July 2, 2020, suffering a loss of -11.5% since the opening price on Friday. At the time of publication, 24-hour stats show the price of EBON is up 0.33% on Thursday.

So far Ebang is doing much better than Canaan Creative’s initial IPO run, which saw the company raise less on opening day selling only $90 million. Canaan (NASDAQ: CAN) initially sold for $8.99 and today it is trading for $1.88. This means since Canaan launched on CAN on November 21, the Nasdaq listing lost -79% since opening day.

Of course, Ebang’s IPO is much newer and Canaan’s stock has been listed on Nasdaq for months. Despite the fact that both ASIC mining manufacturers are listed on Nasdaq, Ebang wholeheartedly thinks they are separate from the competition.

“According to public information disclosed by Canaan Inc., its key development direction is focusing on [artificial intelligence] AI,” an Ebang representative told the press this week. “Although we are peers in bitcoin mining machine industry, Ebang focuses on the blockchain industry chain, integrating the digital economy industrial ecosystem,” the representative added.

Additionally, Ebang says it plans to create more revenue by launching an offshore exchange. Ebang’s chief financial officer (CFO), Chen Lei, told Bloomberg that the exchange will likely double the company’s revenue. Chen said that the company, at the very least, expects to hit that target by 2022.

Moreover, the CFO explained that Ebang is going to draw in sales from other nation-states. The interview with Chen Lei highlights that 90% of Ebang sales stem from mainland China, while the rest are being sold in other countries.

What do you think about Ebang’s IPO launch last Friday and the exchange announcement? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

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Demand for Bitcoin Will See a Dramatic Shift in 8 Years – Retail Investors to Eat up Entire New Supply

Par Jamie Redman
Demand for Bitcoin Will See a Dramatic Shift in 8 Years - Retail Addresses to Eat up Entire New Supply

A recent report from ZUBR Research explains that by 2028, retail demand for bitcoin will exceed the new supply. The report highlights that in eight years as Bitcoin’s supply rate decreases “retail size addresses [will] begin to eat up all the new supply alone.” Even the next halving in 2024 could see retail accounting for acquiring 50% of the bitcoins in circulation.

Not too long ago, cryptocurrency proponents witnessed the Bitcoin (BTC) network’s third halving, which cut the block reward by 50% on May 11, 2020. Just before the third BTC halving, the active supply issuance or inflation rate was around 3.8%.

Today that number is steadily dropping and at the time of publication, BTC’s inflation rate is 3.51%. On June 29, a research report published by ZUBR Research details that in eight years, retail demand will outshine the rate of issuance by a long shot.

The study called “Retail Investors Steady in Physical Bitcoin Snatch-Up” explains how the BTC network has entered the “next reward era.” “With 90% of all Bitcoins already mined, the remaining supply is estimated to take nearly 120 years to come to market,” ZUBR wrote. “This figure – the remaining 10% taking another 120 years – shows just how scarce the cryptocurrency already is.”

Demand for Bitcoin Will See a Dramatic Shift in 8 Years - Retail Investors to Eat up Entire New Supply

In time one of the great burdens will be liquidity and “physical Bitcoins become harder to come by.” The researcher’s findings also indicate that Covid-19 gave crypto proponents a glimpse at some potential scenarios. ZUBR Research also discussed the question of whether Bitcoin is a better version of gold or not.

The study says that investors will have to weigh this decision as “demand has moved in decline for gold further extending that gap available on the market” during the Covid-19 crisis. “No doubt, Bitcoin saw strong demand in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The demand was similarly witnessed for gold,” the report highlights.

ZUBR researchers add:

There is a very critical difference to gold, however. Bitcoin supply constraints will not be a result caused by black swan events (such as the global COVID-19 lockdown that shut-in mines), but the permanent perpetual nature of the store-of-value cryptocurrency that is designed to cut off new supply.

The study notes that the researchers leveraged data from the analytics firm Chainalysis. ZUBR predicts that retail demand will continue to grow this year and by 2028 the demand will be far greater than issuance.

Just like with gold markets, the demand for bitcoin while remaining scarce could send the price of BTC sky high. The next halving will sill a lot of retail and investor demand but the fifth halving will see uncontrollable buying pressure.

“Extrapolating future demand at this pace points to a very dramatic shift in 2028 when Bitcoin’s supply rate further decreases and these retail size addresses begin to eat up all the new supply alone,” ZUBR estimates. “By the time the next reward era comes around in 2024, retail could potentially account for eating up over 50% of the physical supply,” the researchers added.

The paper concludes by stressing:

With retail [investors] gunning hard, these supply constraints might come sooner rather than later should growth in demand from smaller investors remain as steady as it has in the past half-decade.

What do you think about the theory that retail demand will outshine bitcoin issuance in eight years? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.

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‘Running Drivenet:’ Bitcoin Proponent Discusses the Benefits of Drivechain Versus Lightning Network

Par Jamie Redman
'Running Drivenet:' Bitcoin Proponent Discusses the Benefits of Drivechain Versus Lightning Network

During the last few days, a number of cryptocurrency supporters have been discussing Paul Sztorc’s Drivechain project, also referred to as “Drivenet.” The Drivechain project has been a work in progress for years now, and just recently Sztorc published a new version of the Drivenet software. On June 29, the Bitcoin proponent John Light tweeted “Running Drivenet” on Twitter, letting the public know about the application’s “important benefits.”

During the last five years scaling concepts, offchain networks like Lightning, and sidechains have been both hot and controversial topics. This week, a number of bitcoiners have been discussing Paul Sztorc’s Drivechain and the platform Drivenet.

The Bitcoin supporter, John Light, tweeted about Drivenet on Wednesday. Similarly to Hal Finney’s 2009 tweet that said: “Running Bitcoin,” Light tweeted:

Running drivenet

— John Light (@lightcoin) June 29, 2020

Light detailed how he synced the platform and obtained testnet tokens from a faucet. He then sent some coins to a sidechain and after syncing up his sidechain node, the deposit confirmed. Following the confirmed deposit, Light decided to send some coins to a second sidechain, which also confirmed. “This is where the magic happens: withdrawing funds from the sidechain back to the mainchain,” Light wrote.

“My withdrawal [transaction] has been included in a bundle of sidechain [transactions] waiting to get transferred to the specified addresses on the mainchain. If mainchain miners ‘upvote’ this bundle in 140 of the next 300 blocks, the transfer will complete. Currently at 27/140 upvotes required. Mainchain status: Spent. [The] Sidechain withdrawal went through. Thank you testnet miners for not censoring or stealing my coins,” Light tweeted. The Bitcoin proponent further tweeted:

To recap: I sent some testnet coins from a modified bitcoin testnet to a Drivechain-based sidechain. I sent some sidecoins to myself. I withdrew the sidecoins back to my mainchain address for a full round trip. This is very exciting to me. When Drivechain mainnet?

Drivechain has been a popular project for quite some time, and many developers have been working in stealth mode messing around with the Drivenet software. The developers have a lively Telegram chat channel, where Sztorc and many others test and discuss the Drivechain project. Sztorc released a new version of Drivenet on June 23, 2020.

“A new version Drivenet. (Mainchain v33, Sidechain v06) has been released,” Sztorc tweeted. “Sidechain mining now just involves clicking a button, there’s also a really nice “Withdrawal Explorer” GUI now, [and] tons of UX and sidechain withdrawal-logic improvements.”

People who are interested in Drivechain can read about the project’s specifications and accompanying literature at the project’s web portal drivechain.info. After John Light told his 8,900 Twitter followers that he was running Drivenet, an individual asked Light “What sorts of use cases and benefits do you foresee for Drivechain as opposed to Lightning?” Light responded and said that’s a “good question.”

“[In my opinion] Drivechains have three important benefits vs [Lightning Network]: No hot wallet requirement, no channel limitations, and not constrained in functionality by mainchain consensus rules. One use case I am excited to see is a zcash-like fully encrypted sidechain using Drivechain,” Light said.

During the last few months, bitcoiners have noticed that Ethereum has dominated as Bitcoin’s (BTC) main sidechain. Despite trust model debates, there is no denying Ethereum’s current role and the number of synthetic bitcoins being transferred and stored within the chain.

Additionally, the federated sidechain deployed by Blockstream has been a controversial topic in recent days too. The reason for the contention about Bloskstream’s Liquid sidechain, is because the founder of the Summa project, James Prestwich, explained on Twitter that the emergency 2-of-3 controlled 870 bitcoin “violates Liquid’s security model.”

What do you think about the Drivechain project? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.

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Localbitcoins 2019 Revenue Rises 10% to $29.6 Million Amid Increased Paxful Competition

Par Jeffrey Gogo
Localbitcoins 2019 Revenue Rises 10% to $29.6 Million Amid Increased Paxful Competition

Peer-to-peer (P2P) crypto exchange Localbitcoins has reported that 2019 revenue rose 10% to $29.6 million from $27 million a year ago.

For the year, operating income fell 6% to $19.9 million from $21.2 million the year before. Localbitcoins did not provide detail about net profit.

The Finnish marketplace said about $2.8 billion in volume was traded from 15.6 million transactions.

Localbitcoins added 1.46 million new users last year, it stated. But stricter know-your-customer (KYC) requirements implemented in the last half of the year drove away some customers, both new and existing.

During the review period, the P2P exchange noted that the number of active users on the platform totaled 913,000. Chief executive officer Sebastian Sonntag commented:

2019 was an invaluable learning experience for us, as we implemented anti-money laundering and know-your-customer regulations…undesired activity was driven away from the platform and the implementation of KYC itself was a challenging process.

Sonntag expects that new users will continue joining the exchange in 2020. So far this year, new daily sign-ups have climbed 50% to 6,000 currently. In January, the figure averaged 4,000.

Localbitcoins has this year given up market share to competitor Paxful. According to data from Useful Tulips, Paxful became the top P2P exchange by trade volume last month, with about $25 million worth of bitcoin traded on the platform every week.

What do you think about Localbitcoins’ 2019 earnings? Let us know in the comments section below.

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$11 Trillion Offshore Assets Uncovered After 100 Countries Share Information on 84 Million Bank Accounts

Par Kevin Helms
$11 Trillion Offshore Assets Uncovered After 100 Countries Share Information on 84 Million Bank Accounts

Governments in nearly 100 countries have been sharing offshore bank account information in an effort to crack down on tax evasion. Their “Automatic exchange of information” has led to uncovering 10 trillion euros ($11 trillion) in offshore assets in 84 million bank accounts.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said on Tuesday that the international community continues making progress against offshore tax evasion. The group revealed:

Nearly 100 countries carried out automatic exchange of information in 2019, enabling their tax authorities to obtain data on 84 million financial accounts held offshore by their residents, covering total assets of EUR 10 trillion.

Governments began sharing offshore bank information in 2018, the OECD noted, adding that information on 47 million bank accounts was exchanged at that time, representing 5 trillion euros. The significant growth from 5 trillion to 10 trillion euros this year “stems from an increase in the number of jurisdictions receiving information as well as a wider scope of information exchanged,” the Paris-based international organization explained.

OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría believes that “Automatic exchange of information is a game-changer,” adding that “The discovery of previously hidden accounts thanks to automatic exchange of information has and will lead to billions in additional tax revenues.”

The Tax Justice Network has estimated that governments lose $189 billion a year from $21–32 trillion in offshore accounts of private wealth while the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates tax evasion to be approximately $12 trillion a year globally.

The June edition of the Crypto Research Report lists “offshore deposits” among the main use cases of cryptocurrencies, echoing the finding outlined a report prepared by the Satis Group. The Satis report estimates:

Cryptocurrencies will penetrate approximately 91% of the offshore deposits market during the next decade.

The group further estimated that the offshore deposit market will grow “because of capital controls, national debt, unpopular fiscal policy, and debasement of national fiat currencies.”

What do you think about governments sharing bank information? Let us know in the comments section below.

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A ‘Significant Increase’: UK Regulator Says 2.6 Million Residents Have Bought Cryptocurrencies

Par Kevin Helms
A 'Significant Increase': UK Regulator Says 2.6 Million Residents Have Bought Cryptocurrencies

The UK’s top financial regulator has conducted a survey and found a “significant increase” in the number of crypto owners and awareness of cryptocurrencies. The regulator estimates that 2.6 million people in the country have bought cryptocurrencies, most of which were from non-UK cryptocurrency exchanges.

UK Regulator’s Crypto Survey

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which regulates the financial services industry in the U.K., published a report entitled “Cryptoasset consumer research 2020” on Tuesday. This quantitative research follows the FCA report on cryptocurrency published in March last year but involves a longer survey and a larger sample of crypto owners.

“We estimate 3.86% of the general population currently own cryptocurrencies. This amounts to approximately 1.9 million adults with the UK population (over 18) taken to be approximately 50 million,” the report authors wrote, elaborating:

The research findings highlight a statistically significant increase … in those who hold or held cryptocurrencies … from approximately 1.5 million people to 2.6 million people.

The study estimates that “5.35% of the general population hold or held cryptocurrencies,” an increase of 2.35 percentage points from 3% in the previous survey which was conducted face to face with a smaller sample.

Meanwhile, the number of people who had never heard of cryptocurrencies dropped to 27% from 58%. “This represents a statistically significant increase in the percentage of those being aware of cryptocurrencies from 42% to 73% of adults,” the report reads. The regulator also found that “75% of consumers who own cryptocurrencies hold under £1,000 [$1,250].”

UK Regulator Says 2.6 Million Residents Have Bought Crypto, a 'Significant Increase'
The FCA study shows that the most recognized cryptocurrencies are bitcoin, libra, bitcoin cash, ether, bitcoin sv, and litecoin. Source: FCA

The most recognized cryptocurrency is bitcoin, according to survey participants, followed by libra, the cryptocurrency proposed by social media giant Facebook, then bitcoin cash, ethereum, bitcoin sv, and litecoin. Among crypto owners, 77% recognized three or more cryptocurrencies, and “92% could identify the correct definition.”

As for where respondents bought their cryptocurrencies, 77% said they bought through an online exchange. 5% only used UK-based exchanges, 12% used both U.K. and non-U.K. exchanges, while 83% only used non-U.K. exchanges. The top five cryptocurrency exchanges were Coinbase (63%), Binance (15%), Kraken (10%), Bittrex (8%), and Bitfinex (7%).

The FCA’s quantitative research fieldwork took place from Dec. 13-21 when 3,085 respondents were asked whether they had heard of cryptocurrencies. 73% or 2,258 people who said yes continued to complete an online questionnaire while the rest were screened out. In addition, 493 current or previous crypto owners were shown a longer survey.

In the 2020 budget, the U.K. government announced that it plans to “consult on bringing certain cryptoassets into scope of the financial promotions regulation.” It also “intends to consult on the broader regulatory approach to cryptoassets,” including stablecoins. The full FCA report can be found here.

What do you think about the FCA survey? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Alt-Right Activist Stefan Molyneux Banned from Youtube, Raises $100K in Crypto Donations

Par Jamie Redman
Alt-Right Activist Stefan Molyneux Banned from Youtube, Raises $100K in Crypto Donations

The founder of Freedomain, philosopher and alt-right activist, Stefan Molyneux, received more than $100,000 in cryptocurrency donations after he was banned from Youtube on June 29, 2020.

Stefan Molyneux is well known for his Youtube videos, podcasts, and books. His early Youtube videos describing the benefits of bitcoin have been lauded. While getting over $100k in bitcoin, dash, bitcoin cash, and ethereum donations this week, the alt-right activist has also joined the Lbry platform.

On June 29, Molyneux was banned from Youtube. Molyneux joins a number of popular alt-right activists, libertarians, and cryptocurrency advocates who have been banned from the platform. Just recently, Bitcoin.com’s official Youtube channel was banned but luckily it was reinstated.

Many cryptocurrency advocates abhor censorship and when Molyneux was banned the cryptocurrency community added $100k to his donation chest of coins.

At the website Freedomain.com, crypto supporters can find the coin addresses of all the crypto assets Molyneux website accepts. This includes bitcoin (BTC), bitcoin cash (BCH), dash (DASH), ethereum (ETH), and a few others.

A great majority of the funds donated to Molyneux stemmed from bitcoin cash (BCH) donations. There is approximately 444 BCH ($99,500) in Molyneux’s bitcoin cash address, and 3.82 BTC ($35,000) in the Freedomain bitcoin (BTC) wallet.

Looking at the block explorers of all six coins Molyneux accepts minus monero (XMR), people can see a flurry of small donations were sent after Molyneux was banned. After the Youtube ban, Molyneux did join Lbry.tv and he has 6,819 followers to-date.

The Freedomain podcaster also asked for crypto donations last January and a number of crypto enthusiasts asked him to support more coins.

“I have been demonetized on YouTube, but you can support me here, much appreciated my friend,” Molyneux wrote at the time. Molyneux was also a big influence on the voluntaryist and libertarian communities early in his career.

During the latter half of his career, many libertarians lost interest in Molyneux for his pro-Trump and alt-right activism. Molyneux has written 10 books that have gathered 600 million downloads, and he has also hosted 4,500 podcasts as well.

What do you think about Stefan Molyneux being banned on Youtube and raising $100,000 in crypto donations? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Tether’s Market Valuation Grows 144% in 2020, USDT Market Cap Worth $10 Billion

Par Jamie Redman

The most popular stablecoin, Tether, has propelled its way into the third-largest position by cryptocurrency market capitalization. At the time of publication, a number of market valuation aggregators show that Tether’s market cap is between $9.1 to $10.1 billion.

Tether (USDT) is a well known stablecoin token issued by the company Tether Limited. The company claims each token is backed by a single U.S. dollar, but during the last few years, the firm admitted the backing included loans as well.

USDT has always been controversial, but even with the contention, tether is the most popular stablecoin by far. This week cryptocurrency proponents have been discussing how tether’s market cap has grown massively since the beginning of 2020. Since January, USDT’s market valuation spiked by 144%.

Today the market data and analysis web portal, Messari, tether (USDT) has a $10.2 billion market valuation and $1.4 million in 24-hour global trade volume. Statistics on Coinmarketcap.com indicates that the market cap for tether (USDT) is $9.1 billion and a whopping $20 billion in 24-hour trades.

A number of other market aggregators show tether’s market valuation is just above the $9.1 billion mark. There also a number of other stablecoins that are doing well growth-wise, but not nearly as exponential as USDT.

The second-largest stablecoin by market valuation is USDC, a stablecoin token created by Circle. USDC is close to reaching a $1 billion market cap with $927,077,875 worth of USDC coins in circulation. The stablecoin BUSD launched by the crypto exchange Binance has a $165,876,444 market valuation at the time of publication.

Paxos Standard, otherwise known as PAX, has a $244,966,858 market cap, which is well above BUSD. This is followed by trueusd (TUSD $144M) and gemini dollar (GUSD $9.8M). Gemini’s stablecoin is barely a blip on the radar when it comes to the rest of the stablecoin competition.

In addition to tether’s (USDT) rise to a $10 billion dollar market, the coin has moved a massive amount of USDT value from the Omni Layer network over to the Ethereum network. In fact, 60% of tethers have been issued as ERC20 tokens to-date.

At press time, there are 6,037,847,550 USDT tokens that leverage the ERC20 standard. The Ethereum blockchain holds a large majority of stablecoins as well (that are mentioned above) and the network’s value transfer is dominated by stablecoins.

What do you think about tether’s (USDT) whopping $10 billion dollar market cap? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

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Bitcoin Investors Pocketed 42% in Gains During the Second Quarter of 2020

Par Jeffrey Gogo
Bitcoin Investors Pocketed 42% in Gains During the Second Quarter of 2020

The second quarter of 2020 was very profitable for bitcoin investors, according to data analytics firm Skew.

During the period, the top cryptocurrency climbed 42%, its fourth-best quarterly close since 2014. For the March quarter, the digital asset fell 10.6%, dragged by the massive Black Thursday crash. As a matter of fact, bitcoin declined in three successive quarters before Q2 2020.

In terms of price, bitcoin (BTC) soared from around $6,420 at the beginning of April to more than $9,140 at the end of June, Skew figures show. The coin has, however, struggled to break the psychological $10,000 level in a quarter in which Bitcoin underwent its scheduled supply cut.

Despite the sharp rise, this is not bitcoin’s biggest Q2 gain in the past seven years. Investors pocketed profits of 158% and 125% for the second quarters of 2019 and 2017, respectively. In 2016, Q2 gains came in at 62%.

According to Skew, third quarters have been historically more challenging for bitcoin. With the exception of “2017 vintage” when the BTC price surged 80%, thanks to that year’s phenomenal rally, and another 2.9% gain in 2018, Q3 performances have remained in the red for the last seven years.

While poor performance may not be valid for Q3 in all years, pundits expect 2020 to show little difference. That’s largely because BTC transaction volumes have not increased in recent days while it’s 60-day moving average has not improved.

There’s still optimism in some quarters, however, that Bitcoin’s third halving will lead to an increase in the price of the benchmark cryptocurrency in this quarter and beyond. A number of analysts’ predictions put BTC at a price of $20,000 by year-end.

At the time of writing, each BTC is trading at $9,191, down 0.16% over the last 24 hours, according to data from markets.bitcoin.com.

What do you think about bitcoin’s quarterly performance? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Brewdog Tokyo Accepts Bitcoin Cash Payments: Local BCH Meetup Gathers to Celebrate

Par Jamie Redman
Brewdog Tokyo Accepts Bitcoin Cash Payments: Local BCH Meetup Gathers to Celebrate

On July 1, 2020, the popular eatery and bar in Japan, Brewdog Tokyo, started accepting bitcoin cash payments for products and services. The establishment is the third Brewdog bar to accept bitcoin cash, as the cryptocurrency is accepted at the London and Budapest locations as well.

In order to celebrate Brewdog Tokyo supporting bitcoin cash, a number of Tokyo-based BCH Meetup members gathered at the bar on Wednesday to socialize and purchase refreshments.

The Roppongi location is officially the third Brewdog establishment that accepts bitcoin cash (BCH) for goods and services. The firm’s state-of-the-art breweries are located all around the world, and the eateries and bars are some of the most popular places to acquire craft brews.

Brewdog Tokyo Accepts Bitcoin Cash Payments: Local BCH Meetup Gathers to Celebrate

There are Brewdog locations in Roppongi, Aberdeenshire, Brisbane, London, Budapest, Ohio, and more. The Brewdog Tokyo location follows the acceptance from locations in Budapest and London.

On Wednesday, July 1, the Tokyo Bitcoin Cash Meetup decided to host a meetup at the Brewdog Tokyo location. Around 20-25 people attended (less attendance due to Covid-19) and the members will start to have meetups weekly again.

Brewdog Tokyo Accepts Bitcoin Cash Payments: Local BCH Meetup Gathers to Celebrate

According to an attendee, Brewdog Tokyo, located in Roppongi accepts bitcoin cash (BCH) via the Bitcoin.com Register application. Funds are then sent directly to a single address using a Bitcoin.com Wallet and owned by Brewdog.

Discussing the subject with Tokyo Bitcoin Cash Meetup co-organizer, Akane Yokoo, she explained that the group was thrilled with Brewdog Tokyo supporting BCH. “I am really glad that Brewdog Roppongi is open-minded and they decided to accept bitcoin cash (BCH) and host our meetups,” Yokoo told our newsdesk.

Yokoo also highlighted that a number of new BCH meetups are being launched in July, “which shows us that the BCH community is growing fast.” The new BCH Meetup regions will include the South Coast, U.K., Gold Coast Australia, Luxemburg, and another location in Texas as there is another meetup location in Houston, Texas.

Moreover, Yokoo explained that the other BCH Meetup community leaders are going to approach Brewdog in their own cities, in order to promote more BCH acceptance. “These use cases are great because the community can use them as an example when they approach new merchants for BCH payment adoption,” Yokoo concluded.

What do you think about Brewdog Tokyo accepting bitcoin cash for products and services? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments below.

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Gold Industry Shaken as 83 Tons of Fake Gold Bars Used to Secure $2 Billion Loans in China

Par Kevin Helms

The gold industry has been shaken after it was discovered that 83 tons of fake gold bars have been used as collateral for loans worth 20 billion yuan from 14 financial institutions to a major gold jewelry manufacturer in Wuhan, China. This amount of gold “would be equivalent to 22% of China’s annual gold production and 4.2% of the state gold reserve as of 2019.”

Using 83 Tons of Fake Gold to Get Loans

One of China’s largest gold jewelry manufacturers, Kingold Jewelry Inc., has been using fake gold to secure loans obtained from 14 Chinese financial institutions, Caixin reported Monday. The loans were for 20 billion yuan ($2.8 billion) obtained over the past five years. The Wuhan-based jewelry company was able to pass on the fake gold as pure gold, using it as collateral for loans and insurance policies to cover any losses. The publication detailed:

At least some of 83 tons of gold bars used as loan collateral turned out to be nothing but gilded copper. That has left lenders holding the bag for the remaining 16 billion yuan [$2.3 billion] of loans outstanding against the bogus bars.

Founded by Jia Zhihong in 2002, Kingold is the largest privately-owned gold processor in central China’s Hubei province. The Nasdaq-listed company (NASDAQ: KGJI) was previously a gold factory affiliated with the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) that was split off from the central bank during a restructuring, the publication conveyed. Kingold’s chairman and controlling shareholder, the 59-year-old Jia served in the military in Wuhan and Guangzhou. He previously managed gold mines owned by the People’s Liberation Army.

Gold Industry Shaken as 83 Tons of Fake Gold Bars Used to Secure $2 Billion Loans in China

The fake gold was first discovered in February when Dongguan Trust Co. Ltd. tried to liquidate Kingold’s collateral to cover defaulted debts. However, the gold bars turned out to be just “gilded copper alloy,” the news outlet described, adding that “The news sent shockwaves through Kingold’s creditors.” China Minsheng Trust Co. Ltd., one of Kingold’s largest creditors, then obtained a court order to test Kingold’s gold bars sitting in its coffers. The test result came back on May 22, confirming that the gold bars were just copper alloy. Two other creditors also tested Kingold’s pledged gold bars and found they were fake, Caixin learned, adding:

The 83 tons of purportedly pure gold … would be equivalent to 22% of China’s annual gold production and 4.2% of the state gold reserve as of 2019.

According to the news outlet, Chinese authorities are investigating how this happened. While Jia flatly denies that anything is wrong with the collateral his company put up, the Shanghai Gold Exchange, a gold industry self-regulatory organization, disqualified Kingold as a member on June 24.

Gold Market Dilemma and How Bitcoin Outshines Gold

The news of China’s fake gold has been heavily discussed on social media, with some questioning how much of the overall gold market is fake gold. Saifedean Ammous, the author of the popular book “The Bitcoin Standard: The Decentralized Alternative to Central Banking,” tweeted: “A quantity [approximately] 20% of China’s annual gold production was found to be fake. China is the world’s largest gold producer. How much more fake gold is out there? Could gold’s market supply be growing at 5-15% every year because of all the fake gold?”

New York Times bestselling author Jim Rickards opined: “The problem with Wuhan is not only do they lie about the [covid-19] virus, they lie about gold also. Wuhan looks like the world center of counterfeit gold bars.”

Many bitcoiners also chimed in on the fake gold discussions, comparing gold’s attributes to bitcoin’s. Tyler Winklevoss of Gemini crypto exchange noted, “This is why bitcoin is gold 2.0. It’s mathematically impossible to counterfeit.”

Shapeshift CEO Erik Voorhees commented, “I’m an advocate of gold, but one monetary attribute in which bitcoin handily beats gold is ‘verifiability.’ With free software any human (or machine) can verify bitcoin authenticity. Verifying gold requires expertise and equipment, & hard to scale.” Parallax Digital CEO Robert Breedlove tweeted:

Bitcoin is more divisible, durable, portable, recognizable (which encompasses verifiability), and scarce than gold. Bitcoin is also cheaper to safeguard and less vulnerable to theft. I wonder which one the free market will select?

What do you think about this fake gold situation? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Bitcoin Miner Hut 8 to Add 275 PH/s of Mining Capacity With $8.3M Capital Raise

Par Jeffrey Gogo
Bitcoin Miner Hut 8 to Add 275 PH/s of Mining Capacity With $8.3M Capital Raise

Hut 8 Mining Corp. has raised $8.3 million from the sale of 6% of its shares to investors. The Canadian bitcoin miner originally intended to raise $7.5 million from the sale, but it was oversubscribed.

Totonto Stock Exchange-listed Hut 8 issued about 5.8 million “units” at a price of $1.45 each. Each unit is comprised of one common share. From this, investors have the option to buy another share for $1.80 between now and December 2021.

The Alberta-based miner said funds from the offering will be used to upgrade its range of mining hardware including Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) miners. The upgrade will add up to 275 petahash per second (PH/s) to Hut 8’s existing mining capacity of 952 PH/s.

Once installed, the new machines, which include “more efficient processing chips from Microbt” will also add 12.6 megawatts (MW) of power to the company’s current 107 MW maximum operating capacity.

“Hut 8 has been testing the Microbt equipment for the past three months in preparation of this upgrade… [we] expect to receive equipment between July and November 2020,” said the firm in a press statement.

In recent months, Hut 8 has seen the amount of bitcoin mined at its data centers in Canada decline. During the first quarter of 2020, the company extracted 1,116 BTC, down 54% from 2,405 BTC mined in the comparable year ago period.

The company blamed the decline on “the increasing network difficulty” which “impacted…production negatively with much fewer bitcoin mined.” For the March quarter, Hut 8 reported that its net loss widened to $8.4 million from $6.1 million a year earlier.

The Canadian miner is now hoping that its latest acquisition of more efficient mining equipment will help turnaround company fortunes, already facing a squeeze from the recent bitcoin supply cut event, which reduced the bonus paid to miners by 50% to 6.25 BTC per block.

Shares of Hut 8 are up 2% at CAD$1 (~$0.73) in Toronto trading on Tuesday. Over the last 52 weeks, the stock has reached a low of $0.37 and a high of $1.99.

What do you think about Hut 8’s bitcoin mining ambitions? Let us know in the comments section below.

The post Bitcoin Miner Hut 8 to Add 275 PH/s of Mining Capacity With $8.3M Capital Raise appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin’s 5% Drop in Value Puts Pressure on BTC Mining Operations and Older ASIC Rigs

Par Jamie Redman
Bitcoin's 5% Drop in Value Puts Pressure on BTC Mining Operations and Older ASIC Rigs

During the last seven days, the price of bitcoin has dropped 4.8% from a high of $9,700 on June 24, to a low of $8,965 on June 27. Since then the price has increased and the price per bitcoin is back above the $9k zone but much lower than before. The lower price has affected the profits of miners hashing away to find blocks on the network. Ever since they lost 50% of the block reward on May 11, gathering profits have been tough on miners with bitcoin prices at these levels.

Mining bitcoin is an extremely competitive industry and after the BTC reward halving on May 11, 2020, it has been much harder to mine the rare digital currency. At the time of publication, the price of a single BTC has been hovering between $9,050 to $9,250 during the last few days.

This has given the crypto asset an overall market valuation of between $165 billion to $170 billion during the course of the week. The price is over 4.8% lower than it was on June 24, when BTC prices were hovering around $9,700 last Wednesday.

Of course, the price of BTC directly affects miners and the tens of thousands of ASIC mining rigs housed in warehouses all around the world. An example of this trend is how the Bitmain Antminer S19 Pro (110TH/s) is the only profitable machine if a mining operation is paying $0.12 per kilowatt-hour (kWh).

With this electrical cost, the Antminer S19 Pro would only make $0.97 per day while a number of other miners would be mining at a loss. Now we all know that in places like China and other regions worldwide, those operations pay much less than $0.12 per kWh.

Bitcoin's 5% Drop in Value Puts Pressure on BTC Mining Operations and Older ASIC Rigs
Top 15 SHA256 ASIC mining rigs at an electrical rate of $0.12 per kWh.

At today’s BTC exchange rates and at a much lower rate of $0.04 per kWh, a much larger number of SHA256 miners would be profitable. At $0.04 per kWh, a total of 49 SHA256 ASIC mining rigs are profitable at today’s spot market price.

The top five mining rigs making the most profit at the electrical rate of $0.04 per kWh, includes the Bitmain Antminer S19 Pro (110TH/s), Bitmain Antminer S19 (95TH/s), MicroBT Whatsminer M30S (86TH/s), Bitmain Antminer T19 (84TH/s), and the Bitmain Antminer S17+ (73TH/s).

The machines that are making the worst profits at $0.04 per kWh and BTC’s current exchange rate include miners like the GMO miner B2 (24TH/s), Innosilicon T2 Turbo (24TH/s), Bitmain Antminer S9 SE (16TH/s), Bitfily Snow Panther B1+ (25.5TH/s), and the Canaan AvalonMiner 921 (20TH/s).

Bitcoin's 5% Drop in Value Puts Pressure on BTC Mining Operations and Older ASIC Rigs
Top 15 SHA256 ASIC mining rigs at an electrical rate of $0.04 per kWh.

Miners who are mining BTC at a loss at $0.04 per kWh include Bitfily Snow Panther B1 (16TH/s), Aladdin Miner (16TH/s), and the Ebang Ebit E10 (18TH/s). ASIC mining rigs that offer terahash below the 20TH/s level are likely not making profits unless they are paying less than $0.04 per kWh. Many of these older generation mining rigs would need to pay around $0.01 per kWh or get electricity for free.

Just like the blockchain analytics provider Tradeblock wrote in a report back in February, the company said that it estimated the cost to mine BTC should be over $12,500 after the halving.

“The [data] suggests that miners are likely expecting the price of bitcoin to rise to higher levels (above $12,000-15,000 per BTC) around the halving allowing them to continue to generate a profit,” Tradeblock wrote at the time. “Or they likely will look to reduce resources following the halving resulting in a hash rate decline as profitability falls,” the company added.

The price of BTC has yet to keep the $10k zone for very long and every time it does it’s been pushed back down below the psychological region. If the price of BTC does in fact jump back to above $12,000-15,000 per BTC like Tradeblock’s report suggested, miners of course, would do a whole lot better.

At $12,000-15,000 per bitcoin, older generation miners that process hashpower below the 20 terahash per second level would likely be turned right back on. It’s likely that many older generation miners with low terahash outputs are sitting and waiting to do just that.

What do you think about the profitability of ASIC mining rigs at today’s exchange rates? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

The post Bitcoin’s 5% Drop in Value Puts Pressure on BTC Mining Operations and Older ASIC Rigs appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bamboozled: Gavin Andresen Says He Could Have Been Fooled by Craig Wright, BSV Supporters Speak Out

Par Jamie Redman

This week a number of Kleiman v. Wright lawsuit depositions have published and are now available for public viewing. One specific deposition with the former Bitcoin Core lead maintainer, Gavin Andresen, casts doubt on the claim that Wright is Satoshi Nakamoto. Moreover, the Bitcoinsv supporter Daniel Krawisz has been speaking out about Wright and mentions there is “plagiarism in several of Craig Wright’s works.”

For well over five years now, Craig Steven Wright, has publicly claimed that he invented Bitcoin and that he is Satoshi Nakamoto. This claim has pushed Wright to court because the family of the now-deceased Dave Kleiman thinks that Wright’s multi-year business relationship with Dave means that they both created Bitcoin. The ostensible story has been debunked so much that the greater crypto community does not believe in any of Wright’s tales.

This week, a number of depositions have been published and one interesting one stems from the former Bitcoin Core lead maintainer Gavin Andresen. In May 2016, Andresen abruptly came out and told the public he believed Wright was Satoshi. However, not too long after that, he explained that he may have been confused. The same day Andresen said he believed Wright was Satoshi, Bitcoin Core developers removed Andresen’s Github commit privileges to the Bitcoin codebase. No one’s really discussed the matter with Andresen until now at least publicly.

Bamboozled: Gavin Andresen Says He Could Have Been Fooled by Craig Wright, BSV Supporters Speak Out
The Australian Craig Steven Wright has claimed he is Satoshi Nakamoto for the last five years, but has yet to prove this to the greater cryptocurrency community.

When asked about that particular moment in time, Andresen said he could have been fooled. “There are places in the private proving session where I could have been fooled, where somebody could have switched out the software that was being used or, perhaps, the laptop that was delivered was not a brand-new laptop, and it had been tampered with in some way. I was also jet-lagged,” Andresen said in the deposition.

He added:

I was not in the headspace of this is going to prove to the world that Craig Wright is Satoshi Nakamoto. I was in the headspace of, you know, this will prove to me beyond a reasonable doubt that Craig Wright is Satoshi Nakamoto. And my doubts arise because the proof that was presented to me is very different from the pseudo proof that was later presented to the world.

The entire deposition is very long and it discusses a variety of different meetings. Overall when he was asked about Wright’s Satoshi story, Andresen said he had “doubts.” “I have many, many doubts in my head about what parts of — What things Craig told me are true and what are not true,” Andresen stated further. The Andresen deposition may be changing the minds of many hardcore followers. Despite the fact that a good number of BSV supporters adore Wright and follow his every move, there are a number of individuals who have denounced him and want to focus on just BSV.

One person who has been vocal about Craig Wright lately is the well known Bitcoin advocate Daniel Krawisz. Krawisz supports Bitcoinsv (BSV) and in the past, he favored Craig Wright. However, more recently Krawisz has been speaking out against Wright and his story. On June 28, Krawisz tweeted:

There’s plagiarism in several of Craig Wright’s works. It’s easy to see if you look. Example. It would be a lot better if people stopped treating him like a hero and just made bitcoin successful on their own.

There have been many responses to Krawisz’s tweets about Craig Wright and even a response tweet from the billionaire gambling mogul Calvin Ayre. Many people thanked Krawisz for being honest, even though they said they didn’t like BSV. Others explained that the only reason why BSV exists is because of Craig Wright. “BSV exists because of Craig Wright, even the claim in its name. You got bamboozled,” one person wrote to Krawisz.

What do you think about the Gavin Andresen deposition and Daniel Krawisz’s recent change of opinion? Let us know what you think about this story in the comments below.

The post Bamboozled: Gavin Andresen Says He Could Have Been Fooled by Craig Wright, BSV Supporters Speak Out appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Record Breaking Unmoved Bitcoin Data Sparks Expectation of Imminent Bull Run

Par Kevin Helms
Record Breaking Unmoved Bitcoin Data Sparks Expectation of Imminent Bull Run

The amount of bitcoin that has not moved in over a year is at an all-time high. The last peak was in 2016, before the bitcoin bull run that saw the price spike to $20K. Several forecasting models have predicted that the price of bitcoin will reach $20K this year and the next bull run could start as soon as next month.

Data Resembles Previous Bull Run

The amount of bitcoin that has not moved in over a year is at 61.59% of the entire supply on Monday, an all-time high, according to blockchain data intelligence provider Glassnode. The company tweeted Sunday:

The last time we saw this amount of bitcoin that had not moved in over a year was in early 2016 – preceding BTC’s bull run to $20K.

Record Breaking Unmoved Bitcoin Data Sparks Expectation of Imminent Bull Run
The amount of bitcoin that has not moved in over one year, two years, and three years, according to data provider Glassnode.

Furthermore, the amount of bitcoin that has not moved in over two years is at about 44%, also approaching a new all-time high. This data shows “that we are in a period of sustained hodling,” Glassnode asserted in its latest publication of The Week On-Chain, published Monday. “This clear hodling behavior is macro bullish for bitcoin, supporting the narrative that BTC is a store of value,” the company added, elaborating:

As we have seen in the past, long-term hodling is usually followed by bull markets.

Glassnode continued, “It shows that investors overwhelmingly believe that, at current prices, BTC is worth holding rather than selling — suggesting that sentiment favors the price going up.”

While the all-time-high unmoved coins data has sparked an expectation among some traders of an imminent bull run, Twitter user “Joseph” pointed out that this may not be the case. He examined “the last two times the previous supply last active peak was breached.” One was in 2012, which did directly precede a bitcoin bull run. However, he explained that in 2014, the bottom “wasn’t in yet,” adding that “there was an extended consolidation period remaining before the bull run.”

Record Breaking Unmoved Bitcoin Data Sparks Expectation of Imminent Bull Run
The chart of the amount of unmoved bitcoin posted by Twitter user Joseph, showing the previous all-time highs and what happened to the price of bitcoin each time. Original chart provided by Glassnode.

Meanwhile, the topic of when the next bitcoin bull run will be has gained much attention. Analyst Willy Woo recently tweeted about a new pricing model he was working on that suggests that a bull run could be a month away. Several sources have predicted that the price of bitcoin will return to $20K in 2020.

When do you think the next bitcoin bull run will be? Let us know in the comments section below.

The post Record Breaking Unmoved Bitcoin Data Sparks Expectation of Imminent Bull Run appeared first on Bitcoin News.

60 Hong Kong-Based Vending Machines Support McAfee’s Ghost Token for Payments

Par Jamie Redman
60 Hong Kong-Based Vending Machines Support McAfee's Ghost Token for Payments

On June 28, 2020, the team behind Ghost Coin revealed a partnership with the digital currency payment processor Ivendpay. Ghost is a project led by the notorious John McAfee and according to the recent announcement, 60 vending machines in Hong Kong will support the privacy-centric coin for payments.

It’s surely never a dull day in John McAfee’s world and this week his Ghost Coin team revealed a collaboration with the crypto payment startup Ivendpay. The startup is a multi-currency payment system that allows people to accept cryptocurrency and other types of electronic fiat payments.

Ivendpay supports bitcoin (BTC), ethereum (ETH), bitcoin cash (BCH), binance coin (BNB), and more crypto coins at numerous vending machines and points of sale. The company also offers a payment device called the mPOS terminal which enables crypto payments leveraging NFC technology, a dual-screen, and a printer for receipts.

On Sunday, the official Twitter account for the Ghost Coin project led by McAfee revealed a collaboration with Ivendpay. “When we first launched Ghost our vision was not only to focus on privacy, but also on real user adoption,” the Ghost account tweeted. The tweet continued:

We are happy to announce that we have partnered with Ivendpay to deploy Ghost as a form of payment in over 60 vending machines across HK including Hong Kong Disneyland.

60 Hong Kong-Based Vending Machines Support McAfee's Ghost Token for Payments

Sergey Danilov, the founder of Ivendpay, believes that cryptocurrency support will benefit existing payment systems for automatic and retail trade. “Tens of thousands of small transactions worldwide will drum up cryptocurrencies’ capitalization,” said Danilov. News.Bitcoin.com reported on the Ghost project in mid-April, back when McAfee announced the launch and stressed that “governments will be unable to shut [ghost] down.”

Ghost also went live last week on McAfee’s new distributed exchange, and the Bitcoin.com exchange listed the ESH token at the end of May, in preparation for McAfee’s Ghost Airdrop. The Ghost network’s mainnet is live today and the coin’s creators claim the tokens are privacy-centric.

According to the white paper or “litepaper”, the proof-of-stake (PoS) ghost token’s “transactions use a state of the art escrow pool to shield and erase the history of transactions.”

“[Ghost] transactions will be verified using zero-knowledge proofs and ZcashSapling, Zero-Knowledge Succinct Non-Interactive Argument of Knowledge (zk-SNARKs), ‘The Sapling Protocol,’” the paper highlights. Just recently the Ghost project released the Ghost Wallet 2.0.6 and another concept called ghostfundme.com.

Now with the partnership with Ivendpay, it will allow for ghost tokens to pay for a number of products in 60 vending machines across Hong Kong. The news follows the recent reports of a number of vending machines throughout Hong Kong that accept bitcoin cash (BCH) and ethereum (ETH).

For years now the concept of leveraging cryptocurrencies with vending machines has been a popular trend, this is natural because the two ideas go hand in hand. With coins that leverage low transaction fees, it seems the popular trend with vending machines will continue, at least on certain networks.

What do you think about the 60 vending machines in Hong Kong that will accept ghost token via Ivendpay? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments below.

The post 60 Hong Kong-Based Vending Machines Support McAfee’s Ghost Token for Payments appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Indian Crypto Banks and Exchanges See Massive Growth Amid Rising Covid-19 Crisis: Survey

Par Kevin Helms
Indian Crypto Banks and Exchanges See Massive Growth Amid Rising Covid-19 Crisis: Survey

The crypto industry in India is experiencing massive growth, according to a new survey of crypto banks and exchanges. Despite the country’s deepening coronavirus crisis, crypto exchanges say trading volumes and the number of signups continue to grow substantially.

India’s Cryptocurrency Trading 2020

Indian media agency Bit2buzz has conducted a survey of local crypto banks and exchanges on the demographics and trading behaviors of India’s crypto industry. The survey aims to understand “trading behaviors of Indians, women representations, and participation, the effect of covid-19 on Indian crypto blockchain entities, and how these crypto and blockchain companies are making waves in India,” the media outlet described.

Participating crypto exchanges included Wazirx, Unocoin, Coindcx, Pocketbits, and Bitbns. Cashaa, Bank of Hodlers, and Oropocket were also surveyed. Most of the respondents “reported major youth [ages 18-35] population using their platforms,” Bit2buzz wrote, adding that Unocoin and Bank of Hodlers “witnessed heavy traffic from the middle-aged group [ages 35 – 50].”

The survey also focuses on women trading and holding cryptocurrency in India. Coinmarketcap recently published a report stating that the number of women in the crypto industry rose by 43.24% in the first quarter. Bit2buzz has gathered India-specific data of female crypto traders.

Indian Crypto Banks and Exchanges See Massive Growth Amid Rising Covid-19 Crisis: Survey
The portion of women crypto investors in India at various crypto exchanges. Source: Bit2buzz

Unocoin revealed to the media outlet that almost 15% of its users are female while Bitbns said 11% and Pocketbits said nearly 2%. The percentages of female users at surveyed crypto banks are significantly higher than at exchanges. Oropocket claims to have over 39% female users, Cashaa 30%, and Bank of Hodlers 5%. Data from Wazirx and Coindcx were not included, the publication noted.

Meanwhile, the coronavirus pandemic has greatly affected the Indian economy. However, while most industries suffer, crypto “companies have seen a massive surge,” the survey shows, reiterating that crypto banks and exchanges “Saw massive growth in trading patterns due to covid-19 pandemic.”

Coindcx CEO Sumit Gupta shared that the daily trading volume on his exchange was around $15 million, adding that growth has continued on his exchange. He pointed out that Indians are highly active during the lockdown as they have a “chance to learn more about the benefits they could accrue with crypto, as well as to learn how to engage in the trading of crypto,” elaborating:

The lockdown due to the covid-19 pandemic meant that Indians spent more time at home, sustaining the national interest and curiosity in cryptocurrencies that was already high due to the favorable supreme court verdict.

Pocketbits CEO Sohail Merchant is seeing the same trend, confirming that both the volumes and overall interest on his exchange have risen due to users having more free time to research and trade. Wazirx CEO Nischal Shetty said trading volume has increased 470% on his exchange and he is seeing a tremendous increase in user signups. Cashaa told the media outlet that it is opening more bank accounts, noting a volume increase of more than 800%. Meanwhile, Unocoin, Bitbns, and Bank of Hodlers claim no major impacts on their platforms resulting from the covid-19 pandemic.

Recently, a rumor about the Indian government reconsidering banning cryptocurrency has swept across the country, but five exchange executives have told news.Bitcoin.com that a ban is unlikely. India is set to significantly increase its crypto market share globally this year. While the government is discussing crypto regulation, the central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), has confirmed that cryptocurrency is not banned in India.

What do you think about this survey? Let us know in the comments section below.

The post Indian Crypto Banks and Exchanges See Massive Growth Amid Rising Covid-19 Crisis: Survey appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Comprehensive Analysis Predicts Bitcoin Price Near $20K This Year, $398K by 2030

Par Kevin Helms
Comprehensive Analysis Predicts Bitcoin Price Near $20K This Year, $398K by 2030

A new, comprehensive analysis has predicted the price of bitcoin to reach almost $20K this year and will keep rising to almost $400K by 2030. The researchers have also predicted the future prices of several other major cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin cash, ethereum, and litecoin.

New Bitcoin Price Forecast

The June edition of the Crypto Research Report (CRR) reveals price predictions for several cryptocurrencies: bitcoin, bitcoin cash, ethereum, litecoin, and stellar. This is the 10th publication of the CRR report and it covers a popular valuation method used to forecast bitcoin’s future price called the “equation of exchange” model.

“The equation of exchange model is an absolute approach to valuing crypto assets,” the report begins. “This means that the model gives a target price that crypto assets should be priced at based on assumptions regarding changes in supply and demand.” Noting that “The absolute valuation approach is inspired by Mill’s equation of exchange, later formulated by Irving Fisher,” the CRR team detailed:

In this model, the percentage of the total addressable market (TAM) can be used to estimate a crypto asset’s implied future price.

After examining “all the variables and addressable markets,” the CRR researchers arrived at future price estimates for BTC, ETH, LTC, BCH, and XLM. They expect the price of bitcoin to rise to $19,044 in 2020, $341,000 in 2025, and $397,727 in 2030. Ethereum’s price is expected to reach $331, $3,549, and $3,644 respectively while bitcoin cash’s price should climb to $414, $6,690, and $13,016 during the same time periods.

Comprehensive Analysis Predicts Bitcoin Price Near $20K This Year, $398K by 2030
The price predictions for bitcoin, bitcoin cash, ethereum, litecoin, and stellar by the Crypto Research Report team. Source: Crypto Research Report, June edition.

The target addressable market for all cryptocurrencies today is approximately $212 trillion, the report notes. It includes unit of account and medium of exchange, consumer loans, offshore accounts, reserve currency, store of value, online transactions, remittance, micropayments, unbanked, gaming, crypto trading, ICO funding, and STO funding. The largest use case for cryptocurrencies is as a medium of exchange, the CRR research team found, elaborating:

We believe that bitcoin is still at the very start of its adoption curve. The price of $7,200 at the end of 2019 suggests that bitcoin has penetrated less than 0.44% of its total addressable markets. If this penetration manages to reach 10%, its non-discounted utility price should reach nearly $400,000.

The CRR analysis estimates that there are more than 40 million cryptocurrency users globally, and the number of crypto users in a country is positively correlated to the country’s GDP per capita. High GDP means more cryptocurrency adoption in the country.

Furthermore, “On-chain velocity for most coins is decreasing, while off-chain velocity is increasing, currently at an all-time high,” the report highlights, discussing in-depth how speculation and savings outpace all other uses of cryptocurrencies. They provided “evidence that growth in speculative transactions on exchanges is faster than the growth in using cryptocurrencies to buy goods and services.” The full Crypto Research Report can be found here.

What do you think about this price prediction? Let us know in the comments section below.

The post Comprehensive Analysis Predicts Bitcoin Price Near $20K This Year, $398K by 2030 appeared first on Bitcoin News.

US Contract Miner Core Scientific Buys 17,600 Bitcoin Miners From Bitmain

Par Jeffrey Gogo
US Contract Miner Core Scientific Buys 17,600 Bitcoin Miners From Bitmain

U.S. contract mining firm Core Scientific has agreed on a deal to buy 17,600 mining rigs from Chinese bitcoin hardware maker Bitmain Technologies Inc.

The company is buying Bitmain’s next-generation bitcoin (BTC) miner, the Antminer S19, it said in a statement on June 29. The miners will be fully installed at data centers operated by Core Scientific in the U.S. over the next four months, it added.

Washington-based Core Scientific did not provide details about cost, but the deal might come to a total of between $30 million and $42 million. Each S19 machine is currently selling at $1,785 while the newer S19 Pro is going for $2,407, according to the Bitmain shop.

Core Scientific said that the purchase is on behalf of its institutional customers and for its own use. It also claims the deal to be the largest acquisition of S19 BTC miners by a single blockchain hosting company.

Company president and chief executive officer Kevin Turner commented:

Core Scientific has received and begun testing the first of Bitmain’s newest ASIC miners, and has seen material success in increasing existing hashrate to achieve a 110 TH/s ± 3%.

Bitmain confirmed the deal in a blog post. The Antminer 19 series uses the latest generation of SHA256 Application-Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) from Bitmain, making it more energy-efficient compared to previous models from the Beijing-based entity.

According to F2pool, a large global bitcoin mining network, the Antminer S19 model generates up to $3.03 of profit each day. The Antminer S19 Pro, Bitmain’s latest offering, makes a profit of $4.12 per day. The figures are based on an average electricity cost of $0.05 per kilowatt-hour (kWh).

The Antminer S19 has a computing power or hashrate of 95 terahash per second (TH/s) and power efficiency of 37.5 joules per terahash (J/TH). The Pro version comes with 110 TH/s and a power efficiency of 29.5 J/TH.

Bitcoin miners have been forced to look for more efficient mining equipment since the supply cut event of May 11, which slashed miner revenue by 50% from 12.5 to 6.25 BTC per block. The United States appears to be upping its game on this front.

What do you think about Core Scientific’s ambitions? Let us know in the comments section below.

The post US Contract Miner Core Scientific Buys 17,600 Bitcoin Miners From Bitmain appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Gifts and Remittances: Bitcoin.com’s New Tools Allow People to Send BCH via Email

Par Bitcoin.com
Gifts and Remittances: Bitcoin.com's New Tools Allow People to Send BCH via Email

This month Bitcoin.com launched two services that help facilitate bitcoin cash adoption and crypto remittance via email. In a recent video on June 5, Bitcoin.com’s Roger Ver showcased gifts.bitcoin.com, a new feature that allows individuals to send BCH gift cards via email. Additionally, Bitcoin.com also launched send.bitcoin.com, a tool that provides users with the ability to send money in a number of local currencies by leveraging bitcoin cash.

Bitcoin.com is excited to launch two new features this month that provide more cryptocurrency accessibility on a global scale. Both new features work with email and they both make sending gifts and remittances easy by using the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) network. On June 5, 2020, Bitcoin.com’s Roger Ver introduced gifts.bitcoin.com which gives any individual the ability to send BCH to anyone, anywhere in the world via email.

The basics of using gifts.bitcoin.com are relatively intuitive and you simply press the “go” tab to create some new gifts. After that, you just need to confirm the recovery seed and begin to build the gift. Essentially this entails setting the amount, the currency, and the email address where you would like to send your gifts.

Gifts and Remittances: Bitcoin.com's New Tools Allow People to Send BCH via Email

From here you will be given an invoice so you can pay using your bitcoin cash wallet and the receiver simply needs to check their inbox to claim their gifts. The four-minute Youtube video with Ver offers a visual step-by-step on how to use gifts.bitcoin.com.

The website also shows there have been 2,010 BCH gifts claimed, 386 expired, and 240 unclaimed out of 83.6 BCH spent at the time of publication.

Not too long after the release of the gifts.bitcoin.com service, Bitcoin.com also launched send.bitcoin.com. The service provides users with the ability to quickly send BCH payments to any email address. The tool is lightning fast and Ver recently explained in an interview that anyone in any country can leverage the service.

Gifts and Remittances: Bitcoin.com's New Tools Allow People to Send BCH via Email

“It doesn’t matter what nationality they are, what country they reside in, or anything else,” Ver explained three days ago. “If they can access email, they can access their Bitcoin Cash. Bitcoin.com never keeps a copy of the private key.”

Ver also explained that if the transaction is not claimed the sender will get the funds back. “We keep a signed transaction to refund the BCH back to the sender after the specified number of days have elapsed. That way, if the recipient never claims their bitcoin cash, the sender will automatically get it back,” he added.

Similarly to the gifting service, send.bitcoin.com is very easy to use. All you have to do is fill in the destination email address and senders name, add a memo, select the amount to send, select a local currency from a myriad of options, and add your email address to receive notifications (optional).

Lastly, you need to fill out the refund address and choose an expiration date. Simply pay the given amount after all the fields are complete and again the receiver simply needs to check their inbox to claim their bitcoin cash (BCH).

At Bitcoin.com we’re excited to offer world-class cryptocurrency tools that provide people with ways to promote economic freedom. Bitcoin.com, one of the world’s oldest and most established cryptocurrency innovators with millions of wallet holders worldwide. Our hope is that tools like gifts.bitcoin.com and send.bitcoin.com will continue to bolster and accelerate bitcoin cash adoption.

What do you think about Bitcoin.com’s new services? Let us know in the comments section below.

The post Gifts and Remittances: Bitcoin.com’s New Tools Allow People to Send BCH via Email appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Visualize Crypto Transaction Privacy Scores With Blockchair’s ‘Privacy-o-Meter’

Par Jamie Redman
Visualize Crypto Transaction Privacy Scores With Blockchair's 'Privacy-o-Meter'

On June 24, the block explorer and blockchain data platform, Blockchair, announced the launch of a new privacy tool called the “Privacy-o-meter.” According to Blockchair, the new service combats blockchain surveillance companies by highlighting privacy issues for crypto transactions.

This week the blockchain explorer and crypto analytics firm, Blockchair, revealed a new tool that aims to show people some of the privacy issues involved with crypto transactions they send.

The team has explained that in the future there will be other features coming like address clustering/tagging and other insights that companies like Chainaylsis offer.

Visualize Crypto Transaction Privacy Scores With Blockchair's 'Privacy-o-Meter'
Blockchair’s Privacy-o-Meter

Blockchair was founded in 2016 and has been a popular service that offers data insights to over 15 different blockchains. Some of the supported coins Blockchair’s service tracks include ethereum (ETH), bitcoin cash (BCH), bitcoin (BTC), cardano (ADA), and others.

The explorer lets people check hashes, addresses, blocks, and embedded text data. There are other types of unique blockchain data and halving counters as well.

Last Wednesday, the official Blockchair Twitter account tweeted about the latest service saying:

Today we release Privacy-o-meter — a tool for Bitcoin users and developers to assess the privacy level of their transactions. Many of you have heard about blockchain surveillance companies. Privacy-o-meter is the first step to defend yourself against heuristics they use.

Blockchair also says that the Privacy-o-meter will “warn you if you’re doing things like reusing addresses or sending round amounts that lead to deteriorating your privacy.”

Visualize Crypto Transaction Privacy Scores With Blockchair's 'Privacy-o-Meter'
Blockchair’s Privacy-o-Meter

The user simply searchers for a transaction hash and they will be able to visualize the privacy score. For now, the block explorer company is offering Privacy-o-meter services for bitcoin (BTC) with “other cryptos are coming soon.”

Bitcoin Cash (BCH) supporters were pleased with the announcement and one individual wrote: “You rock, keep up the great work my friends.” Blockchair CEO, Nikita Zhavoronkov explained that the team would “launch [bitcoin cash] (BCH) support as soon as we’ve implemented Cashshuffle and Cashfusion detection.”

What do you think about Blockchair’s Privacy-o-meter service? Let us know in the comments section below.

The post Visualize Crypto Transaction Privacy Scores With Blockchair’s ‘Privacy-o-Meter’ appeared first on Bitcoin News.

‘Sophisticated’ Hacker Plunders $450,000 From Defi Protocol Balancer

Par Jeffrey Gogo
'Sophisticated' Hacker Plunders $450,000 From Defi Protocol Balancer

Decentralized finance (Defi) protocol ​Balancer was on Sunday hacked for more than $450,000 worth of cryptocurrency.

In two separate transactions, an attacker targeted two pools containing Ethereum-based tokens with transfer fees – or so-called deflationary tokens.

Pools with Sta and Stonk tokens were affected by this exploit, Balancer, an automated market marker protocol, said on June 29.

The hacker made off with around 601 ether, 11 wrapped bitcoin (WBTC), 22,600 chainlink (LINK), and 61,000 synthetix (SNX) – altogether totaling more than $451,000.

According to an analysis by Dex aggregator 1inch.exchange, the attacker used a smart contract to automate multiple actions in a single transaction. First, the hacker obtained a flash loan of $23 million worth of ethereum from the crypto-lending platform Dydx.

The money was used to swap Weth to Statera (Sta), a so-called deflationary token, back and forth 24 times until the Sta balance was totally drained. With Sta, at least one percent of the token is programmed to burn with every transaction.

However, the Balancer pool apparently failed to account for this mechanism. So, the Sta balance declined by one percent every time the attacker made their 24 swaps. After this, the hacker exchanged 1 weiSta, or the equivalent of a billionth of a token, to Weth several times.

Due to Sta token transfer fee implementation, the pool never received statera, but still proceeded to release the wrapped ether regardless, said 1inch. The same step was repeated to drain WBTC, SNX, and link token balances from the pool, it added.

Finally, the attacker repaid the $23 million Dydx loan. Later, they converted the Sta tokens to Balancer pool tokens and eventually into ethereum via Uniswap, which was then cashed out.

1inch noted that the attack was carried out by a “sophisticated smart contract engineer” who is deeply knowledgeable about decentralized finance and its protocols.

Balancer claimed that “we were not aware this specific type of attack was possible, [but] we have consistently…warned about the unintended effects ERC20s with transfer fees could have in the protocol.”

To prevent future attacks, the platform said that it will start to add ‘transfer fee tokens to the UI blacklist similarly to what we have done for no bool transfer tokens.”

“We will be adding more documentation around the risks of how these pools work and how broken or maliciously designed tokens can potentially drain assets from a pool,” it added.

A number of Defi platforms have been hacked this year.​ In February, Bzx protocol was attacked twice while Maker lost around $8.3 million in March. Uniswap and Dforce were drained of $300,000 and $25 million, respectively, although this later amount was returned by the hacker in April.

What do you think about the Balancer pool hack? Let us know in the comments section below.

The post ‘Sophisticated’ Hacker Plunders $450,000 From Defi Protocol Balancer appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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