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Aujourd’hui — 20 septembre 2019Bitcoin News

SLP Token Environment Built on Bitcoin Cash Continues to Expand

Par Jamie Redman
SLP Token Environment Built on Bitcoin Cash Continues to Expand

According to public data, a number of individuals are creating tokens using the Simple Ledger Protocol (SLP) on the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) blockchain every day. The SLP ecosystem is expanding and has given anyone the ability to create the next great digital token for tomorrow.

Also read: Snowden: US Seizing My Book Revenue is ‘Good for Bitcoin’

SLP Hackathon Prize Pool Grows, Crescent Cash Improvements, and Art on the Bitcoin Cash Blockchain

If you follow the BCH community, you’ve likely heard of the Simple Ledger Protocol (SLP) and the tokens that derive from this system. It’s been over a year since the SLP project launched and the token universe has grown exponentially as the outlying infrastructure has matured. Now developers are hosting a dedicated SLP hackathon aimed at building out the token environment even more. Further, when we last reported on the SLP Virtual Hackathon (SLPVH), we mentioned rewards that will be given to the winners. Now the prize pool is over $7,000 thanks to BCH and SLP token donations.

SLP Token Environment Built on Bitcoin Cash Continues to Expand
The SLP Virtual Hackathon will be held for 72 hours on September 27-30

Last week, BCH supporters donated bitcoin cash and various tokens like spice to the prize pool in order to give contestants more incentives. SLPVH will be held for 72 hours on September 27-30 and participants are encouraged to come up with unique ideas like onchain voting, token specific wallets, SLP tip bots, NFT (nonfungible token) collectibles, and onchain games. Additionally, software developer Chris Troutner published a descriptive video on SLP token development with tools like Badger Wallet, SLP SDK, SLP SDK Documentation, and the bch-cli-wallet alpha release with SLP support.

“I created this video to help contestants in the SLP hackathon,” Troutner explained. “[The video] is a walkthrough on how to set up a development environment, create tokens, mint tokens, and send tokens.”

SLP Token Environment Built on Bitcoin Cash Continues to Expand
Are you a developer looking to build on Bitcoin Cash? Head over to our Bitcoin Developer page where you can get Bitcoin Cash developer guides and start using the Bitbox, SLP, and Badger Wallet SDKs.

This week, the developer of the opensource, non-custodial BCH wallet that uses the Cash Accounts system, Pokkst, released version 1.8.1 of Crescent Cash. Similarly to Badger, Electron Cash, and Ifwallet, the Crescent Cash client also supports SLP tokens. Pokkst improved the user interface, added Tor support, and now the wallet supports SLP token icons. This means SLP tokens will show an attached image if the coins have an icon picture tethered to the design.

Crescent Cash v1.8.1 is now being rolled out to the Play Store!

Desktop versions are now available on https://t.co/bcoUV9GDNv

— Crescent Cash (@crescentcash) September 18, 2019

As news.Bitcoin.com discussed in a prior in-depth SLP editorial, developers have been trying to figure out the best methods to attach an SVG, GIF, or other types of images to tokens. People want to add images and custom art to nonfungible tokens and according to developer Gabriel Cardona “tokens are art.”

“There will be highly valuable pieces of art and music tokenized as NFTs — All collectibles will find a home as NFTs on the blockchain,” Cardona tweeted. Following the statement, Cardona shared an art token created by @brianxv15 which shows a moving GIF image and can be viewed by anyone on the Bitcoin Cash blockchain. The token, called silverII, shown in the explorer link is a single nonfungible art token out of 15 minted. Cardona is a huge fan of SLP tokens and refers to the trend as the “Tokambrian Explosion” on BCH and often shares every unique SLP concept he can find on his Twitter feed. On September 19, the Bitcoin Cash programmer noted:

One of the greatest attributes of Simple Ledger Protocol (SLP) tokens is how light-weight they are. Create a token for any occasion and when you’re done with it just send your tokens to a wallet which doesn’t support SLP and they will be safely burned and the underlying BCH will be recaptured.

Another great NFT art token by @brianxv15

Art on the blockchain!https://t.co/qGQrs4XRjI pic.twitter.com/oe6sbPupQf

— Gabriel Cardona (@cgcardona) September 18, 2019

Sideshift’s Sia, Honestcoin Transparency Report, and Nonfungible Tokens Built on Memo

Another interesting development in the SLP environment is the peer-to-peer trading platform Sideshift.ai’s SLP token called sia. The new token is basically like an exchange rewards coin that gives “exclusive services and privileges on Sideshift AI ecosystem.” Sia was added to the exchange Coinex last month currently the token is trading for roughly $0.04 per sia. There’s a max supply of 210 million sia coins and the token has seen $805,000 in 24-hour trading volume this Friday paired against bitcoin cash. Another token that has seen more infrastructure support is the stablecoin built on BCH called honestcoin (USDH). The SLP-centric trading exchange Cryptophyl recently added USDH support to the platform and also published a transparency report for the new listing. The report outlines the steps Cryptophyl took to “conduct due diligence on Honestnode, the company behind USDH.”

SLP Token Environment Built on Bitcoin Cash Continues to Expand
The SLP-centric trading platform Cryptophyl has recently added the stablecoin USDH to the exchange. Cryptophyl conducted a transparency report on the coin and team as well.

Cryptophyl collected information on Honestnode which consisted of “blockchain token data, information pertaining to the legal structure and registration(s) of the project, information about the team behind Honestnode, KYC documentation for persons with significant control over the company, KYC documentation for company executives, and copies of contracts for key commercial relationships.” The exchange transparency report concluded:

We decided that the Honestcoin team was able to meet and exceed our high listing standards. There is always room for improvement, and we are looking forward to seeing the first audit to be carried out by Cohen and Co. The publicly available roadmap and future products we can expect from Honestnode give us confidence that they are positioning Honestcoin to accelerate cryptocurrency adoption.

The SLP trend hasn’t let up and passionate BCH supporters continue to push tokenization to new levels. There are discussions every day concerning SLP tokens on social media and BCH forums. People have also been creating NFTs on the memo.cash onchain microblogging platform. The same person who created the NFT art token silverII, also published a two-minute demonstration video teaching viewers how to create NFTs using memo.cash. In the last 30 days, the most used SLP tokens include the bread emoji token, spice, tribeos test token #3, official SLP token, beer, and the realmx token created for the Realmx video game.

What do you think about the ongoing development happening with the SLP ecosystem? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, Cryptophyl, SLPVH 2019, and Twitter.


Did you know that Bitcoin.com’s BCH Block Explorer can query SLP token transactions? Check it today to search and find Simple Ledger Protocol token’s within the BCH network. Our Blockchain Explorer tool will allow you to view all previous BCH and BTC transactions as well.

The post SLP Token Environment Built on Bitcoin Cash Continues to Expand appeared first on Bitcoin News.

How Did You Get Into Bitcoin? Crypto Twitter Responds

Par Graham Smith
How Did You Get Into Bitcoin? Crypto Twitter Responds

Everybody loves a story. When it comes to how people first got into cryptocurrency, there’s no exception. Crypto Twitter (CT) is full of humorous, thought-provoking, and unexpected tales of diving down the Satoshi rabbit hole, and the reasons for entering the space are as diverse as the people themselves.

Also Read: North Korea Plans to Launch Cryptocurrency to Bypass Economic Sanctions

Reasons for Getting Into Bitcoin

Trawling CT, one can find many scattered gemstones and nuggets of interest about people’s discovery of Bitcoin. Recently there have been a few prominent threads asking for folks to share how they first became interested in crypto, and the reasons given fall into a few broadly defined categories. First, there’s the philosophical angle. Libertarian-minded individuals realized they could keep their own money and help to subvert the war-mongering, abusive Keynesian economic powers that be. Second, there’s the pure convenience approach, where, “hey, the stuff just works, so I’m going to use it.” There’s the tech angle and entrepreneurial angle, for those who saw the burgeoning growth of a new and lucrative industry. And finally there’s the straight “show me the money” crowd. Some tweets illustrate a little bit of everything, as well as the random, haphazard circumstances that often come into play.

How Did You Get Into Bitcoin? Crypto Twitter Responds

The Libertarian Angle

There’s something extremely exciting, hopeful and uplifting about mantras of “bitcoin not bombs” and the prospect of real economic sovereignty. Many previously uninitiated folks found in crypto an invigorating and simple freedom. The realization that this is what money was always meant to be, and a tool to achieve greater individual freedom and quality of life for everyone. User @DougFMoeller writes:

Bitcoin is freedom to interact.

How Did You Get Into Bitcoin? Crypto Twitter Responds

When prompted with “What was it that excited you about cryptocurrency,” user Preston Thornburg replied it was “the premise of a global currency that sees no borders.”

How Did You Get Into Bitcoin? Crypto Twitter Responds

Crypto by Convenience

On August 23 Mycrypto.com tweeted “How did you first get into crypto / blockchain? What made you stay?” @doerkadrian replied: “Open platforms without vetting or KYC restrictions. The momentum of the tech. And the welcoming community sucked me further in.” There are also certain business models in which relative anonymity and protecting real identities are important for workers, such as escort services and purchasing substances the state has deemed illegal.

How Did You Get Into Bitcoin? Crypto Twitter Responds

Silk Road is an oft-mentioned inspiration as well, being that many governments of the world still have an obsession with caging and violating people for peaceful possession of plant life. It’s always convenient not to get your head smashed in by police when going about your private, daily business.

How Did You Get Into Bitcoin? Crypto Twitter Responds

Even elected government officials are testing the waters, with Berkeley Councilmember and attorney Ben Bartlett purchasing cannabis for bitcoin cash in California on September 10. As news.Bitcoin.com reported, co-founder of financial platform Cred, Dan Schatt, noted at the event: “We are thrilled to build technology that solves real problems for customers, merchants, and politicians which will help usher in the next 100 million users of crypto.”

Great fun participating in yesterday’s live demonstration of how crypto-financial technology can benefit the cannabis industry! Produced by @ihaveCred and facilitated by @BlockAdCo @EvilleAlly @TranscendUs @RigelRobinson @UPAlliance Read more: https://t.co/ZUOTsevXDD

— Ben Bartlett (@BenBartlettCA) September 12, 2019

An Innovative New Industry

Some entrants to the holy church of crypto approached not in any sort of reverent, ideological way, and not even for simple convenience. They were practical observers of a burgeoning new tech industry bringing with it myriad innovation and opportunities.

How Did You Get Into Bitcoin? Crypto Twitter Responds

User @TimC2468 tweeted:

Wife said to me in Dec 2013 that my Christmas present was for me to learn how to mine Bitcoin. I told her I would work it like my 2nd job. I no longer need to work now. Still with my wife.

Bitcoin.com’s Executive Chairman, Roger Ver, cites a plethora of factors influencing his initial investment back in 2011, with the tech behind the project being a central one:

The reasons I started investing in Bitcoin in 2011 are the exact same reasons I’m investing in Bitcoin Cash today. pic.twitter.com/OpOV7OKeGN

— Roger Ver (@rogerkver) September 5, 2018

Show Me the Money and Other Amusing Tales

Everybody likes to have money. After all, without it, there’s not a whole lot one can do to bring their visions to life. Visions of overthrowing existing financial systems, creating a tech startup, or even securing that long-awaited moon Lambo are pretty tough to realize without a little cash flow. Some of the commenters on Twitter are well aware of this, and aiming at beachside mojitos and beyond. Others are simply chewing the fat and sharing unique crypto tales in humorous and amusing fashion.

How Did You Get Into Bitcoin? Crypto Twitter Responds

How Did You Get Into Bitcoin? Crypto Twitter Responds

One user going by the name Koodge wrote:

Fell off a ladder and while recovering to go back to work i found the btc white paper. Took me several weeks to pull the trigger.

Some made a point of calling out the posters of “how did you get into crypto” prompts with tongue-in-cheek retorts like “None of your business, IRS” and “Nice try IRS.” Others sardonically lamented the moment they were lowered into the nether regions of crypto Twitter by their own fatal curiosity:

How Did You Get Into Bitcoin? Crypto Twitter Responds

Freedom: A Common Thread

Whether one is interested in getting rich quick, entering a new field, or taking down banks and governments, a common theme emerges: freedom. Freedom to do business without intrusion from third parties, to build wealth, to support charities, and to sip tropical drinks while admiring a newly purchased sports car. Simple freedom of expression and speech. The version of the internet powered by bitcoin and blockchain have the potential to facilitate these things for all. This is something even folks from vastly different philosophical and socioeconomic backgrounds can appreciate.

How Did You Get Into Bitcoin? Crypto Twitter Responds

Crypto is presented by many as a chance to share one’s story and vision more powerfully, and a unifying force where fiat money like USD so often disempowers. Escape from even that paradigm may be possible, as noted in a since-deleted tweet from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, where he stated:

Coincidentally, new technologies raise the possibility of unstoppable tax protests.

For those tired of paying for bombs, robbery of businesses, and violence against non-violent people everywhere, the potential holds great hope for the future of Bitcoin, and for the stories of individuals who love permissionless cash around the world.

How did you get into Bitcoin? Let us know in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, fair use.


Did you know you can also buy Bitcoin Cash online with us? Download your free Bitcoin wallet and head to our Purchase Bitcoin page where you can buy BCH and BTC securely.

The post How Did You Get Into Bitcoin? Crypto Twitter Responds appeared first on Bitcoin News.

CC Forum – Blockchain and AI Investment Forum

Par Bitcoin.com PR
PR: CC Forum - Blockchain and AI Investment

Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre
London, UK

www.cc-forum.com

14-16 October 2019 will see one of the world’s major industry events. Following our highly successful inaugural edition in London last October as well as our the joint edition with the Maltese partners this May, the second edition of CC Forum London will connect global thought leaders, policy makers, investors and startups from across the world for a 3 day top content event. The summit will be attended by the industry leaders, think tanks, institutional and private investors, family offices and VC firms.

The event’s highlights include:
2 500+ attendees
100+ speakers
70+ exhibitors

Bringing traditionally together the elite of the space the event is privileged to have some of the world’s most authoritative speakers, some of whom are global movers and shakers. https://cc-forum.com/speakers

The programme of the event is highly intense: a muli-track conference, a buzzing exhibition floor, keynotes, panels, fireside chats, duels, pitching contests, workshops, round tables and a number of networking events.

The event’s agenda will address a wide range of issues including Institutional and Private Investment in the space, Blockchain & AI and Foreign Direct Investment and the Regulatory Framework of Blockchain & AI.

Part of the event’s programme are one-to-one duels where heavyweights will engage in heated public debates on the big issues of the space with the conference audience being involved.

The blockchain battle with a confirmed 100K pounds sterling prize draw will be held.

Last, but not least, the Forum abounds in a rich networking programme ranging from welcoming drinks reception to networking investors’ dinners. It will culminate in our traditional black-tie VIP Gala & Award Giving Ceremony on 15th October.

Tickets can be purchased here: https://cc-forum.com/register

Contact Email Address
media@cc-forum.com

Supporting Link
https://cc-forum.com

The post CC Forum – Blockchain and AI Investment Forum appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Popular Smartphone Apps Are Adding Crypto Capabilities

Par Graham Smith
Popular Smartphone Apps Are Adding Crypto Capabilities

News of Japan messaging giant Line’s September 17 launch of an app-connected crypto exchange is captivating lots of attention in the crypto and tech industries this week. Other initially non-crypto apps are also entering the market, adding native tokens, tipping functions and cryptocurrency wallets, illustrating a growing trend toward mainstream crypto acceptance and awareness.

Also Read: Taxation Isn’t Just Theft – It’s Bad for Crypto Adoption

Naver’s Line Launches Built-In Crypto Exchange

For almost anyone living in Japan, or Asia in general, popular messaging app Line is a household name. Line was launched in Japan in 2011 by Korean search engine company Naver Corporation, in the wake of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. The tech was a byproduct of improvised communications during telecommunications infrastructure damage resulting from the disaster.

Popular Smartphone Apps Are Adding Crypto Capabilities
The Bitmax exchange can be accessed directly through the Line app.

Line’s freeware app began as a rather simple service, but exploded in popularity soon after, evolving from a simple SMS for sending cute stickers and chatting, to a digital wallet, video on-demand, digital comics and games juggernaut in the Asian market and beyond. Just this month, the expansive trend has taken new ground with the launch of Bitmax, an app-connected cryptocurrency exchange featuring five digital assets: BCH, BTC, ETH, XRP, and LTC. Line is also in development of its own native crypto token, called Link (LN), currently exchangeable for Line points. According to the Link website:

LINE Token Economy is centered around a single token, our general-purpose coin LINK … A single-token economy can make the overall ecosystem more dynamic and stable, and because dApps contribute to the economy, they can grow with it.

Telegram Is Getting Tokenized

Though still cloaked in relative mystery, chat app Telegram’s upcoming Ton network (Telegram Open Network) and native token gram are nevertheless causing a buzz in the cryptosphere. The source code has already been released and testing of the network began in April. Slated for an October 31 launch, the 200 million+ monthly active users of the platform are looking forward to seeing the company put the $1.7 billion it raised via a 2018 token sale to full use. The network is set to operate utilizing a proof of stake (PoS) system, and with the rising popularity of the app in private communications and business applications / team-building functions as well, big waves will likely be made should Telegram deliver.

Tipping bots for BCH and SLP tokens have been added to Telegram as well, making the platform that much more compatible with crypto culture.

Popular Smartphone Apps Are Adding Crypto Capabilities

Rakuten Wallet

As news.Bitcoin.com reported last month, the “Amazon of Japan,” Rakuten, has now launched its own crypto wallet, featuring BTC, ETH and BCH. Like Line, the company is providing a fiat on-ramp with promise of exposing legions of neophytes to the world of cryptocurrency and crypto spot trading. Though Rakuten has many apps, the addition of Rakuten Wallet is indeed unprecedented thanks to its connection to the popular Rakuten Bank app. In an August 19 press release, the company describes how it works: “In order to provide customers with safe and secure crypto asset transaction services, Rakuten Wallet separates money deposited by customers (customer assets) from the company’s own funds, managing the assets (trust maintenance) in trust accounts provided by Rakuten Trust Co., Ltd., the trust company of Rakuten Group. Rakuten Trust manages those trust assets through Rakuten Bank, Ltd. savings accounts.”

Popular Smartphone Apps Are Adding Crypto Capabilities

Cash App

A popular U.S. app to “go crypto” in recent years is Cash App. The mobile payments service originally launched as Square Cash in 2015, and added bitcoin functionality in January 2018. July was a record-breaking month for the app, with a reported 2.4 million downloads. Talk was rampant of the Square service eclipsing competitors like Paypal’s Venmo, and many speculate that the addition of BTC functionalities and growing crypto-interested user base had something to do with this.

Square was founded in part by CEO of Twitter and BTC maximalist Jack Dorsey, so it’s not surprising the app doesn’t support other tokens. With the current atmosphere of increasing adoption, however, the calloused maximalism may come back to bite, should Square turn a blind eye to increasing user adoption of coins like bitcoin cash, and major players in the crypto altcoin world.

Facebook’s Libra as Mainstream Coup de Gras

For those that can remember the antiquated days when Facebook was only available to college students, and there were no moms, dads, or aunt Sallys on there sharing pictures of birthday cakes, the thought of a mobile app (not even a common concept at that time) dominating the world and featuring a cryptocurrency (bitcoin didn’t even exist yet) would have been somewhat mind-boggling. Fast forward to 2019, and the world’s most downloaded app and most popular social media network is now pushing to bring a new crypto payments system to fruition, called Libra.

Popular Smartphone Apps Are Adding Crypto Capabilities

With significant opposition from governments like the U.S., France and Germany, the Switzerland-based initiative to enable a “more inclusive global financial system” is struggling to gain regulatory approval. Normally such potential legal embattlement would signal the end of a project before it begins, but with Facebook’s roughly 2.4 billion monthly active users, and a mega battery of state-entrenched corporate power in the Libra Association, regulators and lawmakers are being careful not to shoot themselves in the foot too fast. As the Libra currency would not be a true crypto in the sense of bitcoin, being completely centralized, and thanks to the fact that project leaders have already expressed interest bending over backwards for regulators, some speculate the current “battles” are little more than show for the media. Whatever the case, the apple cart of global finance could definitely be upset.

Crypto adoption has extended now even to the world of the mainstream app, so it’s not reckless to wager the trend will grow like wildfire in today’s attention economy. After all, folks are with their smartphones 24/7, and electronic payment systems have become an everyday reality. For those looking to maintain the original vision of peer-to-peer, permissionless and private cash, however, these apps will likely be utilized in combination with more private platforms, which afford users financial autonomy in transaction. The Twitters, Facebooks and Rakutens of the world are by nature more interested in collecting user data than they are in privacy, so this stands to reason. Still, the convenience is alluring, and the apps-gone-crypto narrative seems charged and set to expand into the future of crypto adoption.

What are your thoughts on established apps adding crypto functionality? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, fair use.


Did you know you can buy and sell BCH privately using our noncustodial, peer-to-peer Local Bitcoin Cash trading platform? The Local.Bitcoin.com marketplace has thousands of participants from all around the world trading BCH right now. And if you need a bitcoin wallet to securely store your coins, you can download one from us here.

The post Popular Smartphone Apps Are Adding Crypto Capabilities appeared first on Bitcoin News.

VERDAD is the Most Dangerous Crypto Bill to Face Congress Yet

Par Wendy McElroy
VERDAD is the Most Dangerous Crypto Bill to Face Congress Yet

The U.S. Congress is considering more than 20 bills on cryptocurrency. One deserves special attention: S.1025, the Venezuela Emergency Relief, Democracy Assistance and Development Act (VERDAD). “Verdad” is Spanish for “truth.” If VERDAD passes, it will be the first time a specific crypto has been deemed illegal for Americans at home or abroad to use.

Also read: North Korea Plans to Launch Cryptocurrency to Bypass Economic Sanctions

The Truth About Verdad

The Venezuela Emergency Relief, Democracy Assistance and Development Act seeks to ban U.S. nationals and organizations from holding, trading, buying, and spending the state-issued Venezuelan crypto the Petro, which is backed by reserves of oil, gasoline, and diamonds—at least, in theory. The Petro was created in 2018 by Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s regime as a way to circumvent U.S. sanctions and to access international financing.

If VERDAD passes, it will be the first time a specific type of crypto has been outlawed by the U.S. Jason Brett, founder of Value Technology Foundation, a research company devoted to blockchain law, explains: “The implications for this are huge because it could be bitcoin or some other cryptocurrency inserted into this language, we’re talking about a road map for how to ban a particular cryptocurrency.” The Act would set a precedent for the banning of any other crypto in the future.

VERDAD is the Most Dangerous Crypto Bill to Face Congress Yet

A Bad Bill Dressed as a Good Deed

The potential impact on crypto usage receives little attention compared to VERDAD’s other goals, which are expressed in lofty philanthropic terms. The act expands humanitarian aid to Venezuela by $400 million, for example, and calls for the restoration of human rights and democracy. Most articles on VERDAD do not even mention the Petro.

The closest they come: the Secretary of State will recover assets stolen from the people of Venezuela and its institutions by means of special financial investigations to track the assets taken through money laundering, theft, corruption, and other “illicit” means. The Secretary of State and the Secretary of the Treasury are to consult with the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission as well as the Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in order “to develop a methodology to assess how any digital currency, digital coin, or digital token, that was issued by, for, or on behalf of the Maduro regime is being utilized to circumvent or undermine United States sanctions.”

VERDAD is the Most Dangerous Crypto Bill to Face Congress Yet

Title VII of VERDAD: “Cryptocurrency sanctions and ensuring the effectiveness of United States sanctions.” Note: the wording of S.1025 presented is as of June 3, 2019. If passed, the wording may vary somewhat.

Since the Petro has scant value as a currency, the construction of a monetary tracking system and authority could be one of the real goals of VERDAD. Once established, however, who would monitor the monitors and ensure they stay within the vague and sometimes unstated boundaries of VERDAD?

From Whence Did VERDAD Come?

On March 19, 2018, President Donald Trump signed Executive Order 13827: Executive Order on Taking Additional Steps to Address the Situation in Venezuela. It was signed one month after the Petro’s pre-sale launch and on the same day the pre-sale ended. A week later, the Petro was officially inaugurated.

VERDAD seeks to enact the order into law. What is the difference between the two? An executive order is a directive issued by a sitting President which determines the operations of the federal government; within this constraint, the directive has the power of law. But for it to apply outside of the federal government, it must be enacted into law.

Order 13827 states, in part:

I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America,… in light of recent actions taken by the Maduro regime to attempt to circumvent U.S. sanctions by issuing a digital currency in a process that Venezuela’s democratically elected National Assembly has denounced as unlawful, hereby order as follows…[A]ny digital currency, digital coin, or digital token, that was issued by, for, or on behalf of the Government of Venezuela on or after January 9, 2018, are prohibited…

Executive Orders are never the starting point of a political story, however; they are the result of one. Arguably, the starting point was the election of the socialist Hugo Chávez as President in 1999, which caused America to losE much of its influence in the region. The Venezuela-U.S. relationship became so tense that Chávez accused President George W. Bush of supporting a failed coup attempt against him in 2002. The accusation is unproven.

Fast forward to January 2019. The American-backed Juan Guaidó swears himself in as interim president of Venezuela even though Maduro—Chávez’s chosen successor—retains actual power. Trump immediately recognizes Guaidó and declares Maduro to be an illegitimate leader. Other nations follow Trump’s lead, but the attempted coup is badly bungled. Maduro retains power, although the situation is unstable.

VERDAD is the Most Dangerous Crypto Bill to Face Congress Yet

A History of Sanctions and Bullying

The U.S. has a long history of imposing financial sanctions upon objectionable regimes in order to cut them off from foreign investment and reserves; money is used as a tool of foreign policy and vice versa. Sometimes the strategy aims at extracting concessions, as with the current tariff war with China. Sometimes it aims at regime change, as with Venezuela. When the economy of a targeted regime crumbles, the U.S. blames the disaster on the leaders and so lays the groundwork for a coup, police action, or an economic takeover, often phrased in humanitarian terms.

Trump wants a U.S.-friendly regime in Venezuela, not only to access the nation’s vast oil resources but also because the current situation allows China and Russia to become entrenched in South America. Both nations are financial crutches for Maduro, without whom he could not retain power. In turn, China and Russia receive inexpensive access to Venezuelan resources, and they maintain their spheres of influence. Again, monetary policy is intimately connected with foreign policy goals. Analysis by the D.C.-based Atlantic Council illustrates this connection between Russia and Venezuela:

The success of Moscow’s policy in Venezuela rests on its military, economic, and financial clout…As of July 2019, Venezuela currently owes $10 billion for the purchase of 36 Russian Su-30MK2s fighter jets, $1.1 billion for Rosneft investment into Venezuelan oilfield development, and has received more than $4 billion of investment from Russia, according to Russian Economic Development Ministry.

An added wrinkle: China wants its fiat, the yuan, to replace the U.S. dollar as the world’s default currency. This makes the competition for control of money and its movement more urgent. China is not alone in waging monetary war, and Venezuela uses the conflict to advantage. In September 2017, Reuters reported: “’Venezuela is going to implement a new system of international payments and will create a basket of currencies to free us from the dollar’, Maduro said in an hours-long address to a new legislative superbody. ‘If they pursue us with the dollar, we’ll use the Russian ruble, the yuan, yen, the Indian rupee, the euro’.”

A March 26, 2018 article in Venezuela Analysis announced the official release of the Petro, which could be bought and spent anywhere in the world. The article declared: “The cryptocurrency can be purchased in Chinese yuan, Turkish lira, euros, Russian roubles, as well as in other cryptocurrencies, including bitcoins, ethereums, or litecoins. Money exchanges are to be opened in Venezuela and internationally.” It also reported Maduro’s final word on the U.S. dollar: “We won’t dollarize our economy, we are going to defend our Bolivar.”

Power politics underlies VERDAD. The May 22 Press Release by which the act moved from Senate Foreign Relations Committee to the full Senate states: “The legislation was amended to include three bills approved by the House of Representatives to expand U.S. humanitarian assistance in Venezuela (H.R. 854), prohibit U.S. exports of arm sales to the Maduro regime (H.R. 920), and counter Russia’s presence and influence in Venezuela (H.R.1477).” Nothing is more powerful in power politics than the control of money.

VERDAD is the Most Dangerous Crypto Bill to Face Congress Yet

Whither VERDAD?

If VERDAD is an isolated attack on the Maduro regime, then it may have minimal consequences for cryptocurrency in general. But there are reasons to worry.

  • It would be the first ban on the use of a specific cryptocurrency by American individuals and organizations; currently, as long as taxes are paid and some regulations met, crypto transactions are legal.
  • Expanding the ban to other forms of crypto might be as easy as filling in a blank.
  • It would establish a new monetary-tracking authority and system to monitor the Petro. The system could be used to monitor the movement of other financial vehicles.
  • Within 180 days of establishing the system, the Secretary of State and the Secretary of the Treasury must brief relevant congressional committees, thus raising Congressional oversight of crypto.
  • VERDAD would be a leap toward federalizing and centralizing policy on crypto.
  • The Act could be the leading edge to open the way for the approximately 20 other bills in Congress.

There are reasons to believe VERDAD will pass. Trump is not a fan of crypto, especially the unregulated type, and will do nothing but applaud a bill that embeds his executive order into law. Added to this, Congress has become more aggressive toward crypto. In the second week of September alone, Congress hosted three hearings related to cryptocurrency, largely due to concern over Facebook’s intentions to release Libra. So far, VERDAD appears to have bipartisan support; certainly, its prohibitions on the Petro are not likely to elicit debate.

But there are also reasons to believe VERDAD may not pass. For one thing, some observers expected it to be enacted already, but the bill is dragging. Moreover, the general bill may have overreached by including foreign policy goals that are too ambitious. The summary write up at Congress.gov states, for example:

The bill imposes sanctions on foreign persons responsible for or complicit in corruption or activity undermining Venezuela’s democratic institutions. Sanctions include barring entry into the United States and various financial restrictions. The bill also imposes various sanctions targeting the Maduro regime’s ability to finance debt, trade gold, and use cryptocurrencies to evade U.S. sanctions. The bill directs the President to prevent Russia’s government-controlled oil company Rosneft from acquiring control of critical U.S. energy infrastructure, including assets belonging to Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A.

Perhaps this overreach is why Skopos Labs—the Automated Predictive Intelligence service used by the govtrack.us site—gives VERDAD a poor chance of passing. Even if defeated, however, Brett’s warning about Congress should be heeded: “there are 20 active bills” by which crypto “could be impacted and could change in some way shape or form along the way. It’s very important that we watch them, almost like the weather map.”

Do you think VERDAD could lead to usage of other cryptocurrencies being criminalized in the U.S? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Did you know you can verify any unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction with our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool? Simply complete a Bitcoin address search to view it on the blockchain. Plus, visit our Bitcoin Charts to see what’s happening in the industry.

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Hier — 19 septembre 2019Bitcoin News

North Korea Plans to Launch Cryptocurrency to Bypass Economic Sanctions

Par Jamie Redman
North Korea Plans to Launch a Cryptocurrency to Bypass Economic Sanctions

A North Korean official claims that a Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) cryptocurrency is on the horizon. According to a delegate for the Committee for Cultural Relations, Alejandro Cao de Benós, the country plans to forge a token backed by a physical commodity like gold and the digital asset’s main purpose will be used to bypass U.S. and international sanctions.

Also read: Snowden: US Seizing My Book Revenue is ‘Good for Bitcoin’

North Korea Is Building a ‘DPRK Token’

Another nation state is in the midst of creating a digital currency but the North Korean cryptocurrency idea is intended to work in parallel with the local Korean won. Alejandro Cao de Benós, a member of the DPRK Committee for Cultural Relations and President of the Korean Friendship Association, told various news outlets this week that a DPRK token is in the works. Between April 18 and 25 of this year, North Korea held a cryptocurrency and blockchain conference which saw around 100 attendees in Pyongyang. Immediately after the event wrapped up, rumors of the North Korean government creating a digital currency made mainstream headlines. News publication The Diplomat reported that early clues also started arising in September 2017 when Kim Il Sung University released a report on the importance of digital currencies. Moreover, The Diplomat columnist Tae-jun Kang said that the conference itself and the DPRK token announcement was a signal to other nation states like the U.S.

“According to several Seoul-based North Korean experts, who believe the latest cryptocurrency conference in Pyongyang was designed to send out a warning message to the United States and the international community that it can overcome sanctions by utilizing digital currencies,” Tae-jun Kang wrote in April 2019 after the conference in Pyongyang.

North Korea Plans to Launch a Cryptocurrency to Bypass Economic Sanctions
North Korean representative Alejandro Cao de Benós says a DPRK token is being constructed, but the project is in its very early stages.

Now Alejandro Cao de Benós is speaking on the subject with a few select news outlets this week and has told reporters that a DPRK token is being built. Speaking with Vice journalist David Gilbert, he said the digital token North Korea is constructing is still in its nascent stages, but clearly emphasized that the cryptocurrency was made to bypass strict U.S. and international sanctions. However, the new coin created by the North Korean government will not be a digitized version of the Korean won. “[It will be] more like bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies,” Cao de Benós told Gilbert during a phone conversation. The North Korean diplomat added:

We are still in the very early stages in the creation of the token. Now we are in the phase of studying the goods that will give value to it.

DPRK Token Won’t Replace the Korean Won

Alejandro Cao de Benós has also spoken with the reporter Ben Muster from Decrypt and given a greater insight to the DPRK token. In the interview, Cao de Benós highlighted that North Korean citizens would still use the Korean won and that the new blockchain assets would be used by “banks and companies.” The concept of the DPRK token is different to China and the PBOC’s alleged digital yaun construction and the idea resembles Venezuela and Maduro’s petro cryptocurrency. There have been multiple reports detailing that average Venezuelan citizens don’t even use the petro and that the digital currency is mainly used by government officials and their friends to skip out on U.S. sanctions. Moreover, similarly to the DPRK token concept, Maduro didn’t replace the sovereign bolivar either, and the petro runs parallel with the local tender and is allegedly backed by oil and gold reserves.

North Korea Plans to Launch a Cryptocurrency to Bypass Economic Sanctions

During Cao de Benós’ interview, he claimed that the country was developing a digital asset that’s “based on something with physical value — in the international market.” The representative also said that the crypto needs to bolster a “more stable price for international settlements, between DPRK and other companies/individuals.” The columnist Ben Muster said that he reached out to DPRK officials but “requests for comment from the North Korean government went unanswered.” When reporter David Gilbert called North Korea’s Embassy in New York, the office said they could not verify Cao de Benós’ claims. “I am not in a position to give you an answer,” the North Korean Embassy spokesperson stated.

North Korea Plans to Launch a Cryptocurrency to Bypass Economic Sanctions
Just like the event in April, the Pyongyang Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference is closed to certain members of the media and citizens who reside in the U.S., Israel, South Korea, and Japan. U.S. residents can apply to attend the event this year in Pyongyang.

On September 9, Cao de Benós announced the next Pyongyang Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference which will be held in February 2020. Just like the last event, the conference will be very exclusive but Cao de Benós has said the event will be much larger this year. Also, attendees will get a chance to visit Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea and Kim Il Sung University as well. Just like the prior Pyongyang crypto conference, there will be restrictions for members of the media and citizens who reside in the U.S., Israel, South Korea, and Japan. It’s likely more information will come from the next conference in regard to the purported DPRK token. There’s been multiple reports in the past of North Korean’s gathering technical knowledge on digital currencies like bitcoin. Last week someone asked Cao de Benós if DPRK residents were allowed to hold digital assets and Cao de Benós replied:

Yes, we even have programmers that are designing crypto wallets and other related apps right now.

North Korea Plans to Launch a Cryptocurrency to Bypass Economic Sanctions
Pyongyang Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference will be held in February 2020 and attendees will visit North Korea’s DMZ and Kim Il Sung University.

Venezuelan officials from Maduro’s regime have been very friendly with the North Korean government as well according to pictures Cao de Benós shared last August. The Venezuelan government opened an embassy in Pyongyang and Cao de Benós said “surely this diplomatic advance will be very useful in the defense against the imperialist invasion.” Just like Venezuela and Iran, North Korea has had issues with the U.S. for quite some time. However, with North Korea under Kim Jong-un’s rule, the country has had problems with many international bodies since holding its first nuclear test in 2006. The U.S. and a number of countries have imposed economic sanctions against the DPRK and it is hard for the region to do business with people and organizations overseas. As the popularity of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies has increased, it seems that North Korean officials have begun to appreciate how this technology can be used to bypass financial blockades and borders.

What do you think about North Korea creating a DPRK token backed by a physical asset like gold? What do you think about the nation states that are in the midst of creating cryptocurrencies? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Twitter, and Pyongyang Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference.


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Changes Afoot for Philippine Crypto-Friendly Economic Zone

Par Kevin Helms
Changes Afoot for Philippine Crypto-Friendly Economic Zone

The special economic zone in the Philippines known for its crypto friendliness is undergoing some changes. Government-owned Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (Ceza) is investigating a case involving one of its licensed crypto exchanges after a tip from the Chinese government. The authority has also issued new directives to all of its licensees, including 40 crypto exchange operators.

Also read: Philippines Increasingly Crypto-Friendly

Better Due Diligence, License Suspensions

A government-owned and controlled corporation, Ceza oversees the development of the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport, with the aim to turn the area into the country’s cryptocurrency hub. While in the process of building what it calls the “Crypto Valley of Asia,” Ceza has been attracting many companies to set up offshore crypto exchanges in the zone.

Local news agency ABS-CBN reported Tuesday that 40 firms have been licensed by Ceza to operate crypto exchanges, but only three are fully operational as of September. They are Golden Millennial Quickpay Inc. Ltd., Liannet Technology Ltd., and Asia Premier International Ltd.

Changes Afoot for Philippine Crypto-Friendly Economic Zone

The operations of all three aforementioned licensees are temporarily suspended as Ceza improves its due diligence. The move follows a scam uncovered last week, which allegedly involved one of its licensees. Ceza spokesperson Mike David reiterated to the news outlet that their operations are suspended for “due diligence.”

In Tuesday’s press release, Ceza explained that the three companies have been “authorized to temporarily operate within a short incubation period in Metro Manila … Pending the completion of the facilities in Sta. Ana, Cagayan, where development works have already started this year.” Nonetheless, Administrator and CEO Raul Lambino clarified that they are still required to run all trading transactions through LR Data, a cyberpark in Cagayan, according to the Inquirer publication.

Tip From Chinese Government

Golden Millennial Quickpay’s license was suspended on Sept. 12 for its alleged involvement in illegal crypto operations conducted by its authorized service provider Grapefruit Service Inc., Ceza detailed on Tuesday. The suspension extends to all of the company’s related licensees, including Grapefruit, pending a full investigation by Ceza and all appropriate law and regulatory enforcement agencies.

Grapefruit’s office in Pasig City, Metro Manila, was raided on Sept. 11 by a number of Philippine authorities, ABS-CBN reported. The raid was carried out by agents of the Bureau of Immigration’s fugitive search unit, the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission, and the Philippine National Police’s integrity monitoring and enforcement group. They were accompanied by representatives of the Chinese Ministry of Public Security.

Changes Afoot for Philippine Crypto-Friendly Economic Zone

Grapefruit’s 277 employees were arrested “on suspicion of using cryptocurrency operations to dupe unsuspecting would-be investors back in China,” the news outlet noted, adding that all are Chinese nationals. Agence France-Presse reported that the firm’s operations have cost victims in China approximately 100 million yuan (~$14 million).

Lambino reportedly told radio DZMM that the firm failed to register with Ceza two floors of its three-storey office and some 100 employees, four of whom are wanted by Chinese authorities for previous charges. Documents obtained by the Inquirer show that all 277 employees had Ceza visas which carry certain restrictions. In addition, the firm’s filing with the country’s Securities and Exchange Commission expressly prohibits it “from undertaking activities as a securities broker or dealer, or as an investment adviser or investment company,” the news outlet described, noting that it is also “barred from operating on fiat money or virtual currency exchange.”

Jaime Hermo Morente, Commissioner of the Philippine Bureau of Immigration, said the raid was prompted by a tip from the Chinese Embassy. The arrested employees will be deported since the Chinese government has canceled their passports, making them illegal workers in the Philippines, he added.

Changes Afoot for Philippine Crypto-Friendly Economic Zone

David confirmed that Golden Millennial Quickpay faces a 90-day suspension and may lose its license if found guilty of wrongdoing, ABS-CBN conveyed. Meanwhile, Ceza maintains that it is certain no Filipino citizen has been defrauded by this scheme.

New Directives for All Licensees

Ceza offers two types of “Offshore Virtual Currency Exchange” licenses: the principal license and the regular license. The former allows licensees to conduct offshore fintech and crypto exchange activities, while the latter restricts them to only crypto exchange activities. According to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, there are 25 principal licensees, which include the three suspended companies.

The authority clarified Tuesday that “Offshore virtual currency exchanges are those which are registered in a jurisdiction other than the Philippines that do not transact with any Filipino citizen or any person located in the Philippines,” elaborating:

Ceza does not allow its licensees to conduct business activities or offshore virtual currency exchanges in any foreign country like China that prohibits such business activity.

In the first week of September, Ceza “issued directives to all of its licensees for complete reports of legal, regulatory, and ethical compliance practices and standards — specifically to those operating offshore virtual currency exchanges,” its press release states. These reports are under review and will form the basis for any internal investigation. Ceza emphasized that any violations will be subject to all applicable sanctions under its rules and Philippine laws. “If need be, adjustment of regulatory standards and protocols will be made to better enable that enforcement and application of the rules of law and fair commerce.”

Companies wanting to do business with Filipinos or deal in the Philippine peso need to register with the country’s central bank, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), which has registered 13 crypto exchanges so far.

What do you think of Ceza’s efforts? Do you think the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport will become a major crypto hub in Asia? Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or as a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Ceza.


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The Changing Shape of Crypto Funding in 2019

Par Kai Sedgwick
The Changing Shape of Crypto Funding in 2019

2019 was meant to be the year of the IEO. Or was it the STO? Whatever the case, it’s had its share of both, with mixed results. While the number of successfully completed token sales and the number of IEO launchpads has increased significantly, secondary market demand has been underwhelming. As emerging projects study the performance of this year’s favored fundraising vehicles, they’re faced with a conundrum: stick with a tested formula, or eschew the three-letter models for something new.

Also read: Snowden: US Seizing My Book Revenue is ‘Good for Bitcoin’

The Jury’s Out on IEOs

It’s hard to know what to make of this year’s initial exchange offerings (IEOs). Compared to their forebears – the projects that ICO’d two years ago – IEOs are clearly better in certain respects. Greater transparency, as mandated by exchanges, has prevented exit scams and compelled projects to actually ship code and build stuff. Greater liquidity, aided by the guaranteed exchange listing that comes built into the IEO model, has also been an improvement.

In Q3 of 2019, demand for IEOs remains strong. Emjac is a green energy project that’s creating economic incentives for waste tyres to be recycled. A spokesperson for the project, which is raising funds via an initial exchange offering, told news.Bitcoin.com that Emjac had considered a range of funding options, but believed the IEO model to be the optimum means of aligning incentives between early stage investors, and “providing a path to post-sale liquidity.”

The Changing Shape of Crypto Funding in 2019

Because IEOs limit the amount that can be raised in a public sale, typically capping it around $2 million, projects that wish to disburse a greater proportion of tokens have to devise alternative means. For Liquidapps, a blockchain scaling startup and interoperability protocol, that’s meant holding an ongoing auction on its own site. The project, which provides low-cost vRAM for EOS developers, is conducting a 12-month raise which is reminiscent of EOS’ own year-long crowdsale. So far, it’s raised around $2.8 million, with tokens made available in timed cycles.

The Changing Shape of Crypto Funding in 2019
Projects raising capital this year aren’t constrained to launching on Ethereum anymore, it should be noted: with the rise of token creation platform Simple Ledger Protocol, startups have the option of launching on Bitcoin Cash, which provides an alternative to the ERC20 token standard and the rising network fees on Ethereum.

The Changing Shape of Crypto Funding in 2019

But what about the quality of the projects themselves? This year, IEOs have brought us a whole lot of smart contracting platforms, dapp scaling solutions, and crypto protocols, but there hasn’t been much originality on display. Where the ICO era birthed prediction markets from Augur, a global exchange in Binance and decentralized token trading from 0x, today we have Elrond and Emogi. It’s hard to shake the feeling that good ideas for tokenized projects are now at a premium.

The Changing Shape of Crypto Funding in 2019

In the STO space, great progress has been made this year – just not in terms of fundraising. Blockstack garnered headlines when it became the first STO to be granted Reg A+ status by the SEC, opening its sale up to the wider public. Other security token projects have had to exclude U.S investors, however, or go down the more restrictive Reg D route. The infrastructure supporting the security token space is improving at least, which should make things easier for the next wave of aspiring STOs. This week, for example, security token platform Harbor announced that it was tokenizing $100M of real estate funds. CEO Josh Stein has expressed the goal of evolving Harbor into “the Salesforce.com” of the security token industry.

Crypto projects currently raising capital have some tough decisions to make. Do they stick with the conventional IEO/STO formula, or do they twist and go for something different? News.Bitcoin.com spoke to four projects that have decided to roll the dice.

Roobee and Dreamr Take Different Routes

Investment platform Roobee is currently holding its IEO on Asian cryptocurrency exchange Liquid, which is best known for hosting Telegram’s sale. What’s different about Roobee’s IEO is that it’s not the project’s first: in June it successfully completed two token offerings on Bitforex and Exmo, raising around $5.5 million.

The Changing Shape of Crypto Funding in 2019

Artem Popov, co-founder of Roobee, told news.Bitcoin.com: “Fundraising in installments across multiple exchanges requires a lot more work, but we believe it’s time well spent. The ability to cultivate a community on each platform, with the goal of turning these people into smart investors on the Roobee platform, is invaluable. Raising in stages also enables us to meet key development milestones along the way, and to benefit from the goodwill this brings, which feeds into our IEO.”

Meanwhile, Dreamr, a social networking application geared towards entrepreneurs, is going for an IEO-STO hybrid and planning a Security Token Exchange Offering (STEO). The sale will be held on crypto exchange IDCM, with ordinary investors able to participate. Strategic advisory firm Pirate Capital, led by Joseph Bar-Katz, prepared the offering under Regulation S, which excludes U.S. residents from participating. Bar-Katz asserts that this provision “should allow for the DRMR Token to be soon available internationally.”

The Changing Shape of Crypto Funding in 2019

Kleros Favors a Smaller Raise

Decentralized justice protocol Kleros, which sold 16% of its PNK tokens to the public last year, has the rest earmarked for future sale, either OTC or via a milestone-based crowdsale. “In mid 2018 we concluded our IICO (Interactive Initial Coin Offering) which was initially proposed by Vitalik and Jason Teustch as a more egalitarian way to conduct a token offering,” explained Kleros Operations Manager Stuart James. He added:

At that time, we were seeing crazy gas fees being paid by whales to corner token sales (BAT being the most notable). With the Kleros IICO, would-be contributors had more fined-tuned control over how they wanted to handle the trade-off between the certainty with which they could participate in the sale and the certainty they had over the valuation determined.

The Changing Shape of Crypto Funding in 2019

Like Liquidapps, Kleros has kept busy this year, completing a successful trial of crowdsourced adjudication in action, and joining the burgeoning defi movement by providing its services to Market Protocol to settle price oracle disputes. Keeping busy in the months to come while building a community will be imperative for those crypto projects that have yet to finish raising funds. There are signs that investor interest in IEOs is waning, as exemplified by the diminishing demand for Binance Launchpad tokens.

The Changing Shape of Crypto Funding in 2019

The crowdsale is not going away any time soon, but the acronym and form it takes may change once again. With each new tokenized funding mechanism, there’s a window of opportunity for launching while interest is high. Catching that wave at just the right time calls for a combination of luck, intuition and innovation. If the project’s innovative and the token metrics are good, it should succeed, in theory, whatever shape its crowdsale may take.

What are your thoughts on IEOs – have they fulfilled investor expectations so far? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and ICO Analytics.


Did you know you can verify any unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction with our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool? Simply complete a Bitcoin address search to view it on the blockchain. Plus, visit our Bitcoin Charts to see what’s happening in the industry.

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Tiny Block Advocates Speak Up After Veriblock ‘Abuses’ Bitcoin’s Block Size

Par Jamie Redman
Tiny Block Advocates Speak Up After Veriblock 'Abuses' Bitcoin's Block Size

The BTC community recently celebrated the fact that Segregated Witness (Segwit) transactions accounted for 50% of transactions and bech32 transactions doubled as well. However, the celebration quickly came to an end when a few Bitcoin Core developers found out where the transactions derived from and got upset at the Veriblock project for using scarce block space. Bitcoin Core developer Luke Jr urged the BTC community to reduce the block size limit. He further called Veriblock “spammers” and abusers of Segwit’s “block size increase to gain an advantage over legit Bitcoin users.”

Also read: South African Payment Gateway Drops BTC Over Fees and Network Congestion

The Argument for Scarce Block Space and ‘Legit’ Bitcoin Users

Block space is a contentious subject within the BTC community as many people believe it is sacred and only meant for “legit” users. Even though this opinion is very subjective, many BTC supporters believe that only certain transactions should be allowed onchain and anything else is considered “spam” or “abuse.” For instance, the founder of consulting firm Bitcoin Advisory, Pierre Rochard, discussed how people mistakenly use the term “fee market” when it should be considered a “block space market” at the Baltic Honeybadger conference.

Tiny Block Advocates Speak Up After Veriblock 'Abuses' Bitcoin's Block Size

Then, on September 15, BTC advocate Brad Mills published a post called “Transaction Eugenics: Bitcoin Blockspace is a Scarce Resource & Protocol Developers are Scientific Innovators.” The post outlines why he considers BTC’s block space to be precious and why the “1MB cap is transaction eugenics and the Bitcoin developers are scientists innovating at the edges to make humanity better.” The post was controversial due to Mills’ choice of words as the term “eugenics” refers to the science of population control and removing undesirable traits from humans.

Core Developer Takes Issue With Veriblock Project, Begs BTC Community to Consider Reducing the Block Size

A few days after BTC proponents celebrated the rise in Segwit and bech32 transactions, they found out that the project Veriblock was to blame. Veriblock even wrote a post about it on September 16 and specifically said the protocol will “now take more space on Bitcoin.” The move toward Segwit transactions came from the Veriblock team releasing an alpha Segwit-enabled proof-of-proof (PoP) miner. Additionally, the team highlighted that Segwit (bech32) PoP transactions will be ~28.9% less expensive for operations. Veriblock had already made headlines months ago when the project captured more than 30% of all BTC transactions last February and March. At the time many BTC influencers despised the Veriblock project and developer Jameson Lopp said it was “inefficient” and others called it straight “garbage.” Now, as the Veriblock protocol captures a ton of Segwit bech32 transactions, BTC developers like Luke Jr are getting upset about the situation.

Tiny Block Advocates Speak Up After Veriblock 'Abuses' Bitcoin's Block Size
A chart from Veriblock’s recent Medium blog post describing how they have switched to Segwit bech32 transactions.

“So it turns out (not so surprisingly) that spammers are abusing Segwit’s block size increase to gain an advantage over legit Bitcoin users,” Luke declared on September 17. “Reducing the block size limit could rebalance this unfair advantage / bad incentive Segwit has created.” BTC developer Luke Jr is well known for proposing a block size decrease and has submitted a proposal for such advances. In the proposal specifications published in 2017, Luke argued that developers should consider reducing the block size to 300 kilobytes. The developer claimed the block size should shrink to a “safe value, and gradually increased over time, eventually expanding beyond the current limits.” When the programmer insisted the block size should be reduced, the BTC chain was congested with a backlog of transactions (67,000 unconfirmed) and network fees continued to rise.

I am encouraged that "fees are good" is now orthodoxy for the most part. High fees:

– contribute to security spend, will replace subsidy long term
– price out uneconomical (wasteful) usage
– force heavy users to optimize their block space usage
– encourage L2 buildout

— nic carter (@nic__carter) September 18, 2019

A BTC Block Size Reduction Is Controversial But the Conversation Continues

When a few people told Luke this week that there wasn’t a problem with Segwit transactions and block space abuse, the developer replied: “Denying the problem won’t fix it — Reducing block sizes might.” Opendime and Coldcard founder Rodolfo Novak agreed with Luke Jr’s assessment and tweeted that “smaller blocks can be broadcasted by radio across the world for very cheap — I support this.” Hours later, Luke again insisted that the block size needs to be reduced for technical reasons and “Segwit broke the theory by creating a broken incentive.” Luke said there are a variety of methods that can be used to implement a block size reduction: “Miners can just do the right thing and flip a setting, users can pay higher fees to miners they can only collect if they do the right thing. (bad precedent?), and users can deploy a UASF to enforce a new limit.” Then someone asked the programmer if a hard fork was necessary to reduce the block size and Luke simply said “no.”

Tiny Block Advocates Speak Up After Veriblock 'Abuses' Bitcoin's Block Size

Luke’s statements were not welcomed by everybody and the topic was discussed on social media, even making an appearance on the comical Reddit forum /r/buttcoin. “As much as I hate Veriblock there is no such thing as bitcoin spam. Either you pay for the space or you don’t get onchain at all,” one individual chimed in on Twitter. Another person asked Luke to describe more accurately why Veriblock transactions are not achieving their intended purpose. “Which designed feature of bitcoin is preventing this? Who are bitcoin users? How are you gauging what they’ve agreed to?” they asked but received no reply from the developer. Another individual wrote: “There is no problem here — Veriblock will price itself out.” The following day, the developer continued to promote the idea of shrinking the block size. “Right now, Veriblock is paying half the fees that the equivalent legitimate user needs to pay to outbid them,” Luke exclaimed. The programmer further added:

Reducing the block size lets us fix that by making the fee rate the same for both.

BTC Mempool Congestion and Rising Fees Continue After the Price Jumped Over the $10K Zone

At the moment, we don’t know if Luke’s idea will convince other BTC developers as the concept has never previously gained traction. Despite this, the block size reduction conversation continues to show up every few months, alongside BTC supporters discussing the pros and cons of lifting the supply limit of 21 million coins in the future. Furthermore, there are those who believe that if certain groups get priced out of the block space, individuals can simply migrate to the Lightning Network and possibly even to Blockstream’s Liquid chain.

Okay, so your general point is that anyone using SegWit hurts Bitcoin – not Veriblock in particular?

— Hasu (@hasufl) September 18, 2019

With the BTC chain limited to 1MB, however, there are those who believe that lots of people are already priced out of using bitcoin. This week BTC network fees have been between $0.50-1.00 per transaction, which prices out billions of people from third world nations. When the fees grow higher than they are today, a few bitcoin decimals literally become neutered and even more users are priced out of the ‘sacred’ block space. Those who believe that keeping the 1MB block size for the BTC chain is still a glaring issue and that Segwit didn’t really help much think reducing the block size even further is a ludicrous idea. In fact, network fees already spiked significantly and fighting for block space became very apparent again throughout the spring and summer months of 2019. To this day, merchants continue to stop supporting the cryptocurrency due to network congestion and high transaction fees.

What do you think about BTC supporters disliking Veriblock transactions? What do you think about Luke Jr asking the community to consider shrinking the block size? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, Shrinky Dinks, Youtube, Pixabay, and Veriblock.


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The post Tiny Block Advocates Speak Up After Veriblock ‘Abuses’ Bitcoin’s Block Size appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Taxation Isn’t Just Theft – It’s Bad for Crypto Adoption

Par Graham Smith
Taxation Is Not Only Theft, It’s Also Bad for Crypto Adoption

Crypto awareness is reaching levels almost unimaginable just years ago, with telecommunications giants, big banks, mainstream media, and even professional sports teams now discussing and flouting digital assets. AT&T now allows customers to pay their phone bills in bitcoin, Japanese SMS giant Line is adding an FSA-approved crypto exchange to its hugely popular chat app, and the NFL’s Miami Dolphins have named litecoin their “official cryptocurrency.” Still, with all its wonderful attributes, it’s puzzling to some why crypto isn’t even bigger than it already is, and the answer may lie in one buzzkill of a word: taxes.

Also Read: At Least 19 Central Banks Give Way to Monetary Easing As Economy Slows

Breaking Into Pop Culture

Five years ago it might have been hard to imagine regular crypto-focused segments on popular MSM news outlets. That’s a normal thing now. The Miami Dolphins football team having an official cryptocurrency might have been a silly conversation at a house party with friends, but that’s the reality these days. How about a whole “Bitcoin Cash City” in Australia? Thinking of giants like AT&T, Microsoft, Rakuten, and Naver’s Line chat app (which just announced its Bitmax exchange launch on September 17) accepting and trading crypto almost boggles the mind, at least for those who’ve been in the space since less sensational times.

Taxation Isn't Just Theft – It’s Bad for Crypto Adoption
Tokyo-based messaging giant Line now has its own cryptocurrency exchange called Bitmax.

There’s no question that cryptocurrencies are generally easy to use. There’s no question that P2P transactions and international transfers are generally much easier and cheaper than those facilitated by legacy banking institutions. There’s also little doubt surrounding the fact that sound, decentralized digital assets can provide a level of autonomy and privacy hard to come by in the fiat world of government-issued money. Sure, there’s the volatility factor to consider, but that also provides holders a chance to reap handsome gains from favorable price fluctuations. As sending money via coins like BCH is so easy, and so many seem to be genuinely hungry for crypto ubiquity, it stands to ask why adoption and use have not skyrocketed more massively by now.

Taxation Isn't Just Theft – It’s Bad for Crypto Adoption

Taxation: Crypto’s Wet Blanket

You can’t steal from your neighbors at gunpoint to make them pay for things you want, even if those things you want are good, positive things. Should the whole town agree with you that your neighbor ought to pay for these things, forcing a non-violent person to give up their money under threat of violence is nonetheless unethical. And sociopathic, really. There’s a cognitive dissonance, though, when it comes to a group of people called “government.” They get a magical mystery pass on morals. “Taxation is theft,” as the old libertarian trope goes, is no lie. But it’s not only theft; it’s also a huge deterrent for already flourishing crypto adoption worldwide.

Taxation Isn't Just Theft – It’s Bad for Crypto Adoption
In recent years the bustling streets of Tokyo, Japan have been plastered with massive signs advertising large-scale, regulated crypto exchanges.

Extortion carries with it a high level of fear for its victims. Since crypto tax regulations in many jurisdictions are still so painfully unclear, it’s understandable when merchants, friends and family are reticent to touch “that bitcoin stuff.” The IRS has been sending out thousands of ominous warning letters for months now, and still has not delivered updated tax guidelines for crypto, promised in May to be soon forthcoming.

These guys aren’t kidding, either. Targeted individuals have found out the hard way. If you trade crypto in a way the local tax authorities don’t like, you could be facing years of prison time. Running afoul of FATF-backed regulatory bodies when it comes to crypto taxation could result in revoked passports, exorbitant legal fees, and the destruction of one’s livelihood. All this against a backdrop of increasing global debt and march toward a new worldwide recession means that, more than ever, underfunded and understaffed government agencies like the IRS are desperately pressuring mainstream crypto exchanges to surrender customer info, or risk being penalized.

A Forked Crypto Culture and the Need for Decentralized Governance

Apart from a remarkable polarization occurring in the crypto space since Bitcoin Cash forked from Bitcoin Core in August 2017, another arguably deeper divide has formed. This is the rift between large, state-compliant crypto interests and staunch advocates for a free market. Not all in the latter group are libertarians or “taxation is theft” philosophical purists, either. Some are everyday merchants who simply see the utility of crypto, and wish to grow their businesses while serving their customers more efficiently with crypto. Cafe owner Donna Kilpatrick, for example, spoke at the recent Bitcoin Cash City conference in Townsville, Australia, saying of BCH:

We work in hospitality … we’re not brain surgeons and we can all do it … It’s so easy, It really is so easy. That’s not to say that I think it’s perfection. I think there are issues with it in a retail environment … and that’s around the accounting side of things, because, you know, I don’t want to be running afoul of the ATO.

Interesting that the biggest flaw Kilpatrick can find with crypto is the unreasonable requirements of an obtuse Australian Taxation Office. Her observations and those of others at the conference shine a piercing light on a critical problem: the tech is decentralized, but the governments trying to regulate it are not. It’s like trying to force a square peg into a round hole.

Taxation Isn't Just Theft – It’s Bad for Crypto Adoption
Litecoin is now the official cryptocurrency of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins.

If a new money can work with nothing more than math, a market, and decentralized network, why not society as a whole? Arguments for warlords taking over, or evil individuals running amok and dominating these consensual, permissionless proposals for a new order are ultimately self-detonating. Looking around, warlords are already in power. Bad actors are already running amok. Why? The network model for society is now totally centralized.

“Denial of service attacks” on those not toeing the party lines are all too common. With Bitcoin, the model is mathematical. With violence-based, centralized governance, the model is whimsical. Whatever the ruling class feels like doing, they do. Imagine the developers of any respectable cryptocurrency behaving the same way. It would be laughable. There is no “divine right to rule” inherent to the mathematics governing crypto, so why society at large should be any different is a valid, if habitually ignored, question.

The electrified air of the cryptoverse is now bristling with adoption possibilities, and the next step is to ask how crypto can be leveraged for the benefit of individuals everywhere. Attempts to smash and shame economic autonomy back into the rusty cages of plantation finance are not only ill-advised – they are also immoral. The more decentralized societal governance becomes, the faster adoption will spread. Perhaps even until a day when kids will look at their history books marveling at times past, stunned that humankind actually believed systematic financial slavery was necessary for peace. They’ll close their dusty books, send a crypto tip to their friends on some augmented reality chat app, and head out into the sun to catch the Dolphins game.

What do you think about the recent developments in crypto adoption worldwide? Let us know in the comments section below.

Op-ed disclaimer: This is an Op-ed article. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the Op-ed article. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the content. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any information in this Op-ed article.


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Bitcoin Cash Futures Expected to Open up US Market by Q1 2020

Par Avi Mizrahi
Bitcoin Cash Futures Expected to Open up US Market by Q1 2020

Futures contracts on bitcoin cash can be available at a CFTC-regulated exchange by the end of this year or the first quarter of 2020. This will allow institutional U.S. investors to trade on a derivative of the cryptocurrency and bring in more trading volume for BCH overall.

Also Read: HTC Adds Native Bitcoin Cash Support to Its Flagship Smartphone

Bitcoin.com Champions Bitcoin Cash Futures

Bitcoin.com is in discussions about listing a bitcoin cash (BCH) futures contract on a new exchange with approval from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). David Shin, the head of the exchange business at Bitcoin.com, expects the new instrument can reach the market by the end of the year, or the first quarter of 2020, and that it will be cash-settled on day one.

The goal of having a BCH futures contract on a CFTC-regulated venue is to open up the U.S. market so that more institutional traders can gain exposure to the cryptocurrency and thus generate higher trading volumes in total. Additionally, there is interest from some retail brokers in offering trading on such a regulated instrument, and Shin is also in talks with them about the possibility.

Bitcoin Cash Futures Expected to Open up US Market by Q1 2020

“We are in discussion with a US exchange that will shortly be CFTC approved to list a BCH futures contract to create greater demand for BCH and increase trading volumes,” Bitcoin.com CEO Stefan Rust explains. “There are two main reasons behind this. First, with BCH futures, institutions will be able to manage the exposure to market volatility better and therefore protect funds under management better, and hence allocate a larger portion of their funds to BCH. Second, with this product BCH is also accessing a new US financial services market through futures that is CFTC regulated. This is a massive market that’s new to BCH. Both of these drive up volumes which in turn drives up demand for BCH which will lead to an increase in market value. This is largely driven by futures volumes in the US market increasing demand and ultimately the value.”

Regulators Keep US Market Behind in Crypto Adoption

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME Group) does offer financially-settled BTC futures contracts for U.S. investors. However, by global comparison, American regulators have made it very difficult for investors to access the global cryptocurrency market with ETFs and the same is true for derivatives. For example, a number of companies have been working hard to launch regulated physically-delivered bitcoin futures contracts in the U.S., but their efforts have so far been hampered by the CFTC.

Last month the CEO of Ledgerx, Paul Chou, had to retract the news that his company went live with bitcoin futures for retail trading after it received regulatory approval for swaps. Ledgerx launched its institutional trading platform back in 2017 and has been waiting ever since for the specific CFTC approval for the instrument. He also complained that the regulators were not doing their job and threatened to sue the CFTC for anti-competitive behavior and breach of duty.

Bitcoin Cash Futures Expected to Open up US Market by Q1 2020

Another trading platform recently approved by the CFTC for physically-delivered bitcoin futures is TD Ameritrade-backed Erisx. However, the most anticipated venue to enter the market is Bakkt, the digital assets subsidiary of New York Stock Exchange parent, Intercontinental Exchange (NYSE: ICE).

Back in 2018 ICE announced that the Bakkt Bitcoin Daily Futures Contract would start trading on Dec. 12, 2018. This has not happened, and the launch date has been pushed back again and again. The reason for this according to media reports is the necessity of compliance with cumbersome CFTC demands. If nothing changes again, Bakkt is now expected to bring physical delivery futures contracts to market participants in more than 30 countries by the end of 2019.

The International BCH Derivatives Market

Besides some of the biggest players in the traditional finance markets trying to enter the cryptocurrency derivatives business, we have also seen companies from the digital assets industry focus on filling the same niche. Among those crypto trading venues who started offering bitcoin cash derivatives to their traders we can list Bitmex, U.K. FCA-regulated Crypto Facilities, Hong Kong-based Coinflex and Huobi Derivative Market (Huobi DM). While these types of exchanges are a good option for experienced crypto traders to get into highly leveraged long and short positions on BCH, they don’t have the global brand power of being CFTC-regulated, which will serve as a major seal of approval for the cryptocurrency in the eyes of timid investors once they launch bitcoin cash futures.

Bitcoin Cash Futures Expected to Open up US Market by Q1 2020

Bitcoin.com has already been successful in making BCH instruments more accessible to traditional investors around the world. Amun AG, a Swiss company facilitating access to crypto asset investments, announced in July that it had listed the first exchange traded product (ETP) tracking the performance of bitcoin cash on Switzerland’s principal stock exchange. The Amun Bitcoin Cash ETP is a fully collateralized product that is denominated in U.S. dollars and has an annual investor fee of 2.5% that includes custody, insurance, and re-balancing fees. This crypto investment instrument was seeded with 25,000 BCH from Bitcoin.com Executive Chairman Roger Ver.

What do you think about the potential for CFTC-regulated bitcoin cash futures to open up the institutional U.S. market? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


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À partir d’avant-hierBitcoin News

Snowden: US Seizing My Book Revenue is ‘Good for Bitcoin’

Par Jamie Redman

Former U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) subcontractor Edward Snowden is being sued by the Department of Justice (DoJ) for his latest memoir. The agency won’t stop Metropolitan Books from publishing Snowden’s new book but the government will take the revenue he earns from the memoir instead. Following the book publishing fiasco, Snowden said that the outcome was “good for bitcoin.”

Also read: India’s Popular ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’ Show Gives Crypto a Boost

US Justice Department Files Lawsuit Against Edward Snowden and Seizes Memoir Revenue

The 36-year old Edward Snowden is best known for leaking information after working as a subcontractor for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the NSA. The American whistleblower disclosed a lot of information to the public regarding global surveillance programs. In 2013, Snowden gave three journalists access to thousands of highly classified NSA documents. Snowden’s leak gave privacy rights and the surveillance state international attention and his works have permanently scarred the reputation of government agencies worldwide. The DoJ charged Snowden with two counts of violating the Espionage Act and stealing classified information. Snowden was granted the right of asylum in Russia and is currently allowed to stay until 2020. The whistleblower has since decided to write a memoir called “Permanent Record” and on the day the book was published the DoJ decided to sue Snowden.

“The government of the United States has just announced a lawsuit over my memoir, which was just released today worldwide — This is the book the government does not want you to read,” Snowden tweeted on Tuesday.

Snowden: US Seizing My Book Revenue is 'Good for Bitcoin'
Edward Snowden’s book called Permanent Record.

The DoJ published a press release about the situation and alleged that Snowden published his book without “submitting it to the agencies for pre-publication review.” As such, the book and his “public speeches on intelligence-related matters are in violation of his non-disclosure agreements.” Now, instead of stopping book sales or restricting the memoir in the U.S., the agency said that it will recover all the proceeds that stem from sales. The DoJ declared that the Supreme Court case Snepp v. the United States gives it the right to all of Snowden’s “contractual and fiduciary obligations” stemming from the U.S. Furthermore, the DoJ is also suing the publisher Metropolitan Books, a subsidiary of Macmillan Publishers. The move to sue the publisher is “solely to ensure that no funds are transferred to Snowden,” the DoJ emphasized.

Snowden: US Seizing My Book Revenue is 'Good for Bitcoin'
Permanent Record is the best selling book on Amazon on Sep. 18.

After the news broke, cryptocurrency supporters asked Snowden on social media to accept bitcoin for book payments. “Hey Snowden – is there a way I can buy your book with bitcoin to avoid this DoJ nonsense?” asked Erik Voorhees. “I’ll buy a copy with Bitcoin — Screw the U.S. government,” another tweeted. Shortly after the DoJ announced the lawsuit, Snowden’s book quickly jumped to the top bestseller list on Amazon. The book describes the build up to when Snowden decided to leak the NSA’s files and metadata and give them to journalists. A few hours after the DoJ lawsuit went viral on the web, Snowden tweeted:

In conclusion, this is good for bitcoin.

Snowden: US Seizing My Book Revenue is 'Good for Bitcoin'

The First ‘Free’ Money

It’s not the first time the whistleblower has discussed bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, as he’s brushed on the subject on numerous occasions. But at the beginning of the year at the Bitcoin 2019 conference, Snowden discussed the digital currency at greater lengths. “The lack of privacy is an existential threat to bitcoin. It is the only protection users have from political change,” he said. However, he did note that there are privacy-centric coins and tumbling protocols available in the wild and highlighted the Shadow Brokers hacking group. Snowden suggested that the NSA likely would have busted the gang if there weren’t privacy tactics available and he also underlined the fact that Satoshi’s opsec was never uncovered by the NSA. During the conference via a video link from Russia, Snowden also explained that in 2013 he used bitcoin to pay for the servers he used when he leaked the NSA documents.

Snowden: US Seizing My Book Revenue is 'Good for Bitcoin'

Before his appearance at the conference, Snowden explained that bitcoin is the “first free money” system in an interview published by the American Civil Liberties Union in 2018. “I like Bitcoin transactions in that they are impartial — They can’t really be stopped or reversed, without the explicit, voluntary participation by the people involved,” Snowden said at the time. “Let’s say Bank of America doesn’t want to process a payment for someone like me. In the old financial system, they’ve got an enormous amount of clout, as do their peers, and can make that happen. If a teenager in Venezuela wants to get paid in a hard currency for a web development gig they did for someone in Paris, something prohibited by local currency controls, cryptocurrencies can make it possible.” Snowden added:

Bitcoin may not yet really be private money, but it is the first ‘free’ money.

Cryptocurrencies have made it possible for people to transact freely in a permissionless manner without the need for depending on a third party like the government, corporation, or any individual. Satoshi’s design has allowed individuals to do whatever they want with their funds at any time and even Snowden once said that “new technologies raise the possibility of unstoppable tax protests.” So far the DoJ’s move has stirred the hornet’s nest, shooting Snowden’s biography to the top of the bestseller list.

What do you think about the DoJ lawsuit against Edward Snowden? What do you think about what he said about bitcoin? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, NBC, Pixabay, Twitter, and Amazon.


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10 Tax Tools to Help Crypto Owners

Par Kevin Helms
10 Tax Tools to Help Crypto Owners

While tax laws on cryptocurrency vary by jurisdiction, there are many useful tools to help you calculate crypto taxes, lower your tax liabilities, and simplify your filing — no matter where you are. Many of them work globally, supporting tax forms of multiple countries, and can import data directly from all major crypto exchanges.

Also read: Central Banks Worldwide Testing Their Own Digital Currencies

Crypto Tax Tools

Tax laws and filing obligations may vary from country-to-country, state-to-state, and even city-to-city, but there are many tools that work worldwide to help you. In preparing to file your taxes, you would first need to have good records of all your crypto dealings to determine the types of taxes you owe and how much. The tax tools below can help you keep records of your crypto transactions, calculate your tax liabilities, minimize taxes owed, and prepare your filing. They are especially useful for those frequently trading many cryptocurrencies on multiple exchanges.

10 Tax Tools to Help Crypto Owners

Beartax is a cryptocurrency tax service with audit support. You can consolidate trades across over 40 exchanges and calculate capital gains. The platform is tailored to individuals, CPAs, and enterprise-level accounting firms.

Bittax is a tax filing platform which offers up to 3 calculation methods to optimize your tax results. You can import your wallet addresses and exchange data to calculate your taxes.

Blox offers cryptocurrency accounting, tracking and management tools, aimed at clients such as crypto businesses, asset managers, mining operations, crypto funds, and VCs. It also offers specific tools for mining operations.

Cointracker is a cryptocurrency wallet tracker and tax calculator that provides full tax reports for four countries and capital gain reports for all countries.

Cointracking analyzes your trades and generates real-time reports on profit and loss, realized and unrealized gains, and others for tax preparation. Data can be directly imported from eight wallets, over 50 crypto exchanges, as well as 15 closed platforms such as Mt. Gox.

10 Tax Tools to Help Crypto Owners

Cryptotax can import data from over 20 exchanges. It offers country-specific tax reports which can be generated in over 30 local currencies.

Cryptotrader supports 26 cryptocurrency exchanges. It has partnered with Turbotax, a leading U.S. tax preparation platform, so your data can be directly imported into Turbotax software for e-filing.

Koinly helps you calculate cryptocurrency taxes and minimize taxable gains in over 100 countries. Data can be directly imported from 33 exchanges, five wallets, and six blockchains.

Tokentax accepts data from every major cryptocurrency exchange and helps you calculate your crypto taxes and file your full return.

Zenledger also works with all major exchanges, cryptocurrencies, and fiat currencies. It is an official Turbotax partner so your data can be automatically imported into the popular tax preparation software.

Some of the tools above are also discussed in our articles on portfolio tracking tools and tax calculation tools.

Taxable Transactions and Filing

Once you have all of your crypto records on hand, you can either take them to a tax accountant who can help you file your taxes or use a tax preparation software to do it yourself. For U.S. filers, there are many software products, including the aforementioned Turbotax, to help you file your taxes and claim applicable deductions and credits. Digital asset exchange platform Coinbase described in a nutshell:

All crypto sells, conversions, payments, donations, and earned income are reportable by U.S. taxpayers.

Not all crypto transactions are taxable, however. Some examples of non-taxable events include donating cryptocurrencies to a qualified tax-exempt charity, buying crypto with cash and holding it, and transferring cryptocurrencies between wallets.

A tax preparation software usually takes care of evaluating which transactions are taxable. It usually asks questions about your crypto earnings and transactions, then inputs your answers into relevant tax forms. However, these questions can be vague and some software may not provide enough explanation for you to accurately answer them, potentially resulting in errors on tax forms. In addition, even if your tax filing was accepted, tax authorities could ask you to file amended returns or pay back taxes years later, as did the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in its recent letters to crypto owners.

10 Tax Tools to Help Crypto Owners

Most software aims to help you lower your tax liabilities, such as through capital loss deductions, as crypto losses can be used to offset other types of capital gains or income.

A survey by personal finance firm Credit Karma shows that the number of taxpayers who reported short-term capital losses from cryptocurrencies in the first month of this year jumped 521% year-on-year. However, the company additionally found that the number of people who would not declare their crypto income also increased.

Refunds and Payments in Crypto

If you are due a tax refund, you may be able to receive it in cryptocurrency. Refundo, a provider of tax-related financial products, has been helping U.S. taxpayers receive all or a portion of their federal and state tax refunds in BTC. The platform works with a number of leading tax software such as Turbotax, Taxact, Credit Karma, and H&R Block. Refunds are sent directly to the taxpayer’s wallet. In April, the company partnered with payments provider Bitpay to enable refunds to be sent through Bitpay’s payouts.

A growing number of cities and states worldwide are starting to accept cryptocurrencies for tax payments. The Swiss cities of Zug and Chiasso and the U.S. state of Ohio, for example, are already doing so. Ohio accepts both bitcoin and bitcoin cash for payments of 23 types of taxes through Bitpay. The state of New Hampshire has approved a bill to allow tax payments in bitcoin, and the Canadian city of Richmond Hill, Ontario, has announced that its residents will soon have the option to pay their property taxes in the digital currency.

Resources: Top Posts on Crypto Tax Filing

What do you think of the tax tools listed here? Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or as a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.


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Meet Nimbus, a Concept for Enhancing BCH Smart Contracts

Par Jamie Redman
An Intro to 'Nimbus'- A Concept That Could Bolster Sophisticated BCH Smart Contracts

On Monday, software developer Tobias Ruck introduced a new transaction version for the BCH chain called Nimbus in a demonstration video. The introduction is a longer version of the presentation Ruck had shown at the Bitcoin Cash City conference. According to the developer, the transaction version could unleash sophisticated smart contract potential on the BCH network.

Also read: India’s Popular ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’ Show Gives Crypto a Boost

Nimbus Is a New Transaction Version for Bitcoin Cash

Tobias Ruck is well known for researching and developing within the BCH community with projects like the SLP Agora auction console, his programming blog, and demonstrating the concept of an onchain chess game. Ruck has now revealed a new project he’s been working on called Nimbus, an alternative transaction version for the BCH chain. The programmer explains in his recent video that he named the concept using a reference to the weather, much like protocols Avalanche and Storm. So Ruck decided to call his idea Nimbus, because of the intention to “make it rain” with transactions. He noted that the BCH chain has accomplished a great deal so far with CTOR, Graphene/Xthinner, and then Merklix trees and sharding ideas that are under development.

Meet Nimbus, a Concept for Enhancing BCH Smart Contracts
Tobias Ruck presenting Nimbus in a video published on September 16.

In his presentation, Ruck noted that Ethereum has a lot of action taking place on the chain due to smart contracts. According to his data, these transactions (txn) would account for 300,000 txn on the ETH chain and $37,000 in fees per day. This doesn’t really take into account the latest number of Tether-based txns Ruck remarks, which are seemingly congesting the ETH network right now. Ruck broke down some of the smart contract types into genres like gambling, exchanges, and oracles on the ETH chain and insisted that when it comes to “simple smart contracts” BCH could do them “really well.”

“In the areas where Bitcoin Cash could shine — Gambling, games, exchanges, and oracles,” Ruck detailed in his video. “Bitcoin Cash isn’t capable of such smart contracts at the moment so I’ve worked on a few changes to the Bitcoin Cash protocol and I’ve given it a fabulous name — Nimbus.” The developer added:

It enables sophisticated smart contracts on Bitcoin Cash.

Gaming, Exchanges and Oracles

Ruck does note several times that the concept requires a rule-set protocol change. Some of the protocol changes needed for Nimbus are on the BCH development roadmap, but some are not and could be “controversial” Ruck implies. “I think it’s better to shoot for the moon and miss than to aim for the mud and hit,” the developer added during his video presentation. Following the brief introduction, Ruck described how Nimbus could bolster more sophisticated smart contract designs using BCH.

Meet Nimbus, a Concept for Enhancing BCH Smart Contracts
Ruck compares certain smart contract costs on the ETH network compared to how much it would cost to run these operations using BCH.

He mentioned the transaction count for the ETH games Gods Unchained (500 txn per day) and Clover.network (3,000 txn per day). Ruck asserts that by utilizing the BCH network, certain games could become more profitable. “Profiting games would be able to lower their costs and for gambling, the pattern is the same, and it would benefit the same way from Nimbus — For exchanges and oracles, there’s also great potential for smart contracts as well,” the developer claims. He then discusses the Chainlink project on Ethereum as an example of an oracle. Ruck puts an emphasis on the fact that it costs $4 to update the Chainlink oracle. If developers used BCH for this particular oracle example “their revenue would double” Ruck claims.

Meet Nimbus, a Concept for Enhancing BCH Smart Contracts
The developer notes several times in the video that the new transaction format would require protocol changes, some of which are on the roadmap and some that are not.

Can a Decentralized Stablecoin Smart Contract System Be Built With Bitcoin Cash?

Following the description of how Nimbus could be used to facilitate gaming and oracles, Ruck also talked about a question that has been asked on numerous occasions — “Can we build a Maker DAO on Bitcoin Cash?” The Maker DAO platform is a protocol that has created the stablecoin DAI which is regarded as being decentralized. At around the 25:00 minute mark, Ruck shows all the requirements needed to create a Maker DAO like voting rights, price oracles, a DAO, CDPs, a burning mechanism and the ability to liquidate over-collateralized CDPs as well.

“Building a decentralized stablecoin like protocol like Maker DAO on Bitcoin Cash would be very complicated but with the right tools and support it shouldn’t be much more difficult than building it on Ethereum.”

Meet Nimbus, a Concept for Enhancing BCH Smart Contracts
Ruck shows the entire process involved with the Maker DAO concept and the stablecoin DAI.

However, Ruck again underlines the need for a couple of changes to the Bitcoin Cash transaction format for the stablecoin smart contract concept to work on the BCH chain. The main changes would be merklized script trees, cashassembly, and a preamble. Additionally, Ruck says you could add fractional satoshis and a malleability fix as well as Schnorr signature functionality. The developer also researched a time estimation or how long it would take to implement a project like the Maker DAO on BCH. “The sum would be around 248 days and the total cost around $297,600,” the software engineer suggests. At the very end of the presentation video, Ruck concludes by saying: “Alright, let’s make Bitcoin Cash the best cash the world has seen.”

Can we build MakerDAO on Bitcoin Cash? – Introducing Nimbus, a new transaction version by @TobiasRuck https://t.co/fdy43lJzCb

Tobias is a BlockStar and huge asset to the #BitcoinCash developer community. It was great to connect in Australia Tobias. Thanks for everything!🌟

— Gabriel Cardona (@cgcardona) September 16, 2019

After publishing the video on the Reddit forum /r/btc, a lot of BCH supporters really liked the idea. “Make it rain utility,” wrote BCH developer Emergent Reasons. “Great presentation — Also, thank you for sharing your unique research on ETH activity that would fit well/better on BCH,” he added. “This is a great presentation,” said another BCH proponent in response to the Nimbus video. “Being able to have something like Maker DAO would be awesome for adoption and merchants could automatically convert to a stablecoin of their choice, all on the blockchain, holding their keys the whole time — and it would have a good side-effect for BCH holders.”

Meet Nimbus, a Concept for Enhancing BCH Smart Contracts
Ruck figures that base costs just to get started building a complex Maker DAO system it would take 248 days and roughly $297,600.

Electron Cash developer Jonald Fyookball said the concept was “cool” but asked if the idea required a consensus change. “Yeah, a new transaction version,” Ruck replied. Overall the intro video was well received by most of the BCH supporters in the thread, but it was also acknowledged that the project will need full consensus from the BCH development community, economic participants, and miners.

For more information on Nimbus, check out the full presentation with Tobias Ruck in the video below.

What do you think about the Nimbus concept? What do you think about a Maker DAO-like project on the BCH network? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, Tobias Ruck, Youtube, Pixabay, and Twitter.


Are you a developer looking to build on Bitcoin Cash? Head over to our Bitcoin Developer page where you can get Bitcoin Cash developer guides and start using the Bitbox, SLP, and Badger Wallet SDKs.

The post Meet Nimbus, a Concept for Enhancing BCH Smart Contracts appeared first on Bitcoin News.

18,000 Traders and Growing – Bitcoin.com’s Crypto Exchange Shines Brightly

Par Bitcoin.com
18,000 Traders and Growing - Bitcoin.com's Crypto Exchange Shines Brightly

Since exchange.Bitcoin.com launched, our premier trading platform has seen a significant influx of users from Asia and Europe. So far, the grand opening of Bitcoin.com’s exchange has led to more than 18,000 registered traders. Moreover, exchange.Bitcoin.com’s Chief Operating Officer, Danish Chaudhry, explained that the exchange launch and the last two weeks of trading have been a success, and account signups continue to grow.

Also Read: Plans to Build $50M Bitcoin Cash Tech Park Revealed

Bitcoin.com’s Premier Crypto Exchange Captures 18,000 Users

Bitcoin.com recently launched a new trading platform on Sep. 2, and so far our team has seen positive results and significant growth. Exchange.Bitcoin.com is an easy-to-use trading platform that offers world-class security and a powerful trading engine. Furthermore, the exchange has a wide variety of trading pairs like litecoin (LTC), ripple (XRP), tron (TRX), zcash (ZEC) and denominated markets with base currencies such as tether (USDT), bitcoin cash (BCH), and bitcoin core (BTC) as well. Traders using exchange.Bitcoin.com can rest assured they are trading in a safe environment as our exchange offers the very best in institutional-grade encryption. On top of that safeguard, traders benefit from two-factor authentication (2FA) and IP whitelisting, so they can keep their accounts secure at all times.

18,000 Traders and Growing - Bitcoin.com's Crypto Exchange Shines Brightly
Bitcoin.com’s exchange offers the most professional trading experience out there, in the fast-paced, crypto market setting.

Danish Chaudhry, exchange.Bitcoin.com’s Chief Operating Officer, explained that the grand opening of our trading platform two weeks ago was a great success. “We have more than 18,000 registered users so far and we’re just getting started,” Chaudhry said. “The days leading up to the event were stressful because we want to offer the very best products and trading experiences for our customers. Before launching we worked day and night to bring exchange.Bitcoin.com to fruition and we continue to focus our efforts on the bright future ahead.”

18,000 Traders and Growing - Bitcoin.com's Crypto Exchange Shines Brightly
Danish Chaudhry, exchange.Bitcoin.com’s Chief Operating Officer said BCH/BTC pairs are the most popular right now.

Chaudhry remarked that exchange signups were stemming from a variety of different countries worldwide. “Right now Europe and parts of Asia are using the Bitcoin.com’s exchange the most thus far. There’s been a number of popular cryptocurrencies traded on a daily basis,” Chaudhry added, and noted that the BCH/BTC market is the most popular trading pair. Chaudhry also highlighted that exchange.Bitcoin.com is meant to provide the most optimal trading experience in this world of fast-paced crypto markets.

18,000 Traders and Growing - Bitcoin.com's Crypto Exchange Shines Brightly
Out of all the registrants so far, Chaudhry says there’s a lot of signups from Europe and Asia.

Crypto Newcomers and Veteran Traders Can Expect More Features from Exchange.Bitcoin.com Going Forward

“Newcomers just stepping into the crypto space should choose exchange.Bitcoin.com because of our trusted brand, our professionalized security, and ease of use. Users can buy bitcoin cash from any one of our other satellites, and can trade for a number other popular digital assets on the exchange — Our trading platform provides a fast, safe environment with low fees,” exchange.Bitcoin.com’s COO said. Chaudhry further opined:

On the same token, veteran traders should choose to trade at Bitcoin.com’s Exchange for the same reasons above. And because we will be introducing amazing new features like SLP token listings, which is exciting because the Simple Ledger Protocol universe has been bolstering relentless BCH innovation over the last six months.

18,000 Traders and Growing - Bitcoin.com's Crypto Exchange Shines Brightly

Chaudhry insisted that there’s a lot of new features being prepared at the moment for future services to be added to the exchange. For instance, in addition to the SLP token listings, Chaudhry said that down the line people will be able to make a purchase on exchange.Bitcoin.com with a credit card. At a future date, Bitcoin.com’s exchange will also offer fiat pairs and premier listings, he added.

18,000 Traders and Growing – Bitcoin.com’s Crypto Exchange Shines Brightly

If you haven’t signed up for exchange.Bitcoin.com yet, the process takes less than a minute and after you register you can immediately start swapping digital assets. Chaudhry concluded by detailing that the last two weeks have been a successful start to a far bigger vision, and his team aims to serve millions of traders moving forward.

What do you think about the new exchange.Bitcoin.com? Have you signed up for our exchange yet? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, exchange.Bitcoin.com.


How could our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool help you? Use the handy Bitcoin address search bar to track down transactions on both the BCH and BTC blockchain and, for even more industry insights, visit our in-depth Bitcoin Charts.

The post 18,000 Traders and Growing – Bitcoin.com’s Crypto Exchange Shines Brightly appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Indian Parliament Member Helping Crypto Community Influence Regulation

Par Kevin Helms
Indian Parliament Member Helping Crypto Community Influence Regulation

The Indian crypto community has made progress towards influencing the government’s crypto policies. Some industry leaders have met with an influential lawmaker who has agreed to help bring about positive crypto regulation in the country.

Also read: India’s Popular ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’ Show Gives Crypto a Boost

Parliament Member Agrees to Help

Since the Indian government published the draft bill to ban cryptocurrencies, the crypto community has united to convince lawmakers that the bill is flawed in hope that positive regulation will be introduced instead. This week, the community has made notable progress, as its efforts have caught the attention of an influential member of parliament (MP). Representing the state of Karnataka, Rajeev Chandrasekhar is a member of Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the parliament of India, and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Indian Parliament Member Helping Crypto Community Influence Regulation

Chandrasekhar met with some crypto industry leaders and stakeholders on Monday. Among those he met with was Nischal Shetty, CEO of local crypto exchange Wazirx, who told news.Bitcoin.com:

He’s agreed to help us with the case for blockchain and crypto innovation in India.

“He’s given us some great guidance on how to approach positive regulations,” the CEO recalled, emphasizing that “It’s a good step forward” for the “India Wants Crypto” campaign, which he started 320 days ago. The campaign, which calls for positive crypto regulation in India, is growing in supporters every day. As of Sept. 16, the hashtag “Indiawantscrypto” has been tweeted and retweeted over 56,600 times.

An entrepreneur with experience in technology, finance, and the economy, Chandrasekhar founded BPL Mobile in 1994 and Jupiter Capital in 2005. He was elected to the Rajya Sabha in 2006 to represent Urban Bengaluru, after serving on several committees including the Prime Minister’s Council on Trade and Development. He has also been on various parliamentary committees including defense, finance, telecom, urban development, GST, and real estate. Additionally, he has advocated and intervened on a number of issues including governance, regulatory reforms, policymaking, institution building, freedom of speech, net neutrality, privacy, the protection of children, and national security.

Indian Parliament Member Helping Crypto Community Influence Regulation

“He understands blockchain and crypto and how they’re innovative technologies,” Shetty remarked. Ecstatic that Chandrasekhar is helping to bring about positive crypto regulation in India, he opined:

Massive win for us. Especially since he’s been a leader for achieving net neutrality in India previously.

As for the next step, “he’ll help us connect with more leaders who can be helpful in this cause. He’s going to help and guide us … We’re going to be setting up some meetings next month with his help,” Shetty shared with news.Bitcoin.com. The MP has previously explained that he has the ability to create documents with the industry’s inputs and have them “presented either in parliament or to the government.”

To effectively convince lawmakers, a survey has been set up by a group of crypto enthusiasts for Indian crypto users to participate. Noting that “some analytical data would help us present better instead of just statistics,” Sathvik Vishwanath, CEO of local crypto exchange Unocoin, asserted that the “Crypto community in India has … another chance to get their voices heard.” Vishwanath also met with Chandrasekhar on Monday.

India Should Not Sit on the Sidelines

During Monday’s meeting, Chandrasekhar also discussed how India should take action to not fall behind other countries. Shetty conveyed the MP’s opinion to news.Bitcoin.com, stating:

When other countries are innovating in this technology, India cannot be sitting on the sidelines.

The Indian government is currently deliberating on the draft bill entitled “Banning of Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill 2019.” It was submitted by an interministerial committee (IMC) tasked with studying all aspects of cryptocurrencies and providing recommendations. The committee was constituted under the chairmanship of former Secretary of the Department of Economic Affairs Subhash Chandra Garg.

Indian Parliament Member Helping Crypto Community Influence Regulation

The 108-page IMC report containing the aforementioned draft bill is dated Feb. 28 but was made public on July 22. The Indian government has told the country’s supreme court that this bill may be introduced in the next parliament session.

Countries Studied by Interministerial Committee

Prior to drafting the crypto bill, the IMC studied the regulatory approaches to cryptocurrencies of a number of countries ⁠— Russia, China, Switzerland, Thailand, Japan, the U.S. (New York), and Canada.

Among them, China has taken the toughest stance against cryptocurrencies. While the report states that “Countries like China have completely banned virtual currencies. It does not allow any sort of legal transactions in virtual currencies,” holding crypto is not banned, however. In addition, bitcoin has since been legally recognized by a Chinese court as digital property.

In the U.S., several regulators oversee the crypto industry. While evaluating several proposed rule changes for bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs), the Securities and Exchange Commission has green-lighted some token offerings. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has allowed several companies to offer bitcoin derivatives. Each regulator has its own guidelines for crypto assets including the Internal Revenue Service and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. Some U.S. states also accept cryptocurrency for tax payments.

Indian Parliament Member Helping Crypto Community Influence Regulation

Another country the IMC studied was Russia, which is slowly progressing towards finalizing its crypto regulation. The government has drafted a few crypto-related bills, incorporating FATF’s recommendations. President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly directed the government to finalize the country’s regulatory framework for crypto assets.

The IMC also studied Switzerland, one of the most crypto-friendly countries, home to cities such as Zug which has attracted many crypto businesses.

Also highlighted in the IMC report is the regulatory approach of Japan, the country at the forefront of crypto regulation, having legalized cryptocurrency as a means of payment back in April 2017. The country’s top financial regulator, the Financial Services Agency (FSA), has approved 20 crypto exchange operators, and over 110 companies have expressed interest in market entry. The agency regularly holds meetings to discuss crypto regulation with industry experts and stakeholders. A new crypto bill has been passed and will go into effect next year. Japan also has a self-regulatory body, which works closely with the FSA.

Indian Parliament Member Helping Crypto Community Influence Regulation

Another country the IMC looked at which has adopted positive crypto regulation was Thailand. The Thai government started regulating crypto assets in May last year and has legalized four cryptocurrencies to trade against the Thai baht. Since the regulators started licensing crypto service providers earlier this year, five exchanges, three brokers, one dealer, and three ICO portals have been approved.

There are also other crypto-friendly countries the IMC did not examine. For example, catching up to Japan is the Philippines, which also started regulating its crypto industry in 2017. The country’s central bank, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, has registered 13 crypto exchanges so far. The Philippines also has a special economic zone, managed by the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) which has independently licensed 37 offshore crypto exchanges as of June. Portugal is another country that has emerged as the crypto hub due to its attractive tax regimes. Recently, the Dutch central bank announced that it will soon start regulating crypto service providers.

Furthermore, some laws pertaining to cryptocurrency have changed worldwide since the IMC report was compiled. In June, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) released its new guidance for crypto assets and service providers, and the G20 countries, including India, met and declared their commitments to following the FATF standards on crypto assets.

Despite examining several countries with positive crypto regulations, the IMC still recommended a blanket ban on cryptocurrencies for India. Meanwhile, the country’s supreme court is scheduled to resume hearing the writ petitions against the RBI ban on Sept. 25. The court will hear the case relating to the government’s crypto policies in January next year.

What do you think of the Indian parliament member helping the crypto community? Do you think the community can successfully influence the government’s crypto policies? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Did you know you can buy and sell BCH privately using our noncustodial, peer-to-peer Local Bitcoin Cash trading platform? The local.Bitcoin.com marketplace has thousands of participants from all around the world trading BCH right now. And if you need a bitcoin wallet to securely store your coins, you can download one from us here.

The post Indian Parliament Member Helping Crypto Community Influence Regulation appeared first on Bitcoin News.

FATF-Driven Delistings Capture the Criminalization of Privacy

Par Graham Smith
FATF-Driven Delistings Capture the Criminalization of Privacy

The delisting of privacy coins like monero, zcash, and dash is becoming something of a trend in Asia, and could soon expand elsewhere. In the wake of the intra-governmental Financial Action Task Force (FATF) issuing new global standards, Korean exchanges Okex and Upbit have announced they will delist and put warnings on several privacy coins in the immediate future, with Okex to axe the tokens in October. The progressive abandonment of such coins in “crypto-friendly” Asia is a warning call to all privacy advocates: you can’t have your regulations and privacy, too.

Also Read: European Countries Step Up Response to Facebook’s Libra

A Growing Trend

Prior to the issuance of FATF recommendations, one of Japan’s largest exchanges had already swung the axe. Coincheck delisted four major privacy coins in 2018 thanks to pressure from the Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA). An outright ban on Japanese exchanges dealing in privacy coins followed soon after. Further, very few privacy coins are set to be listed on Binance’s upcoming U.S.-compliant exchange, making the concerted effort of regulators worldwide to put the brakes on privacy very clear.

According to a September 10 blog post by Okex, the widely used exchange will cease trading of XMR, DASH, ZEC, ZEN and SBTC for Korean customers as of October 10, 2019 17:00 KST. Users will be able to make withdrawals of the tokens until December 10, 2019 17:00 KST. The announcement, translated from Korean, states in part:

According to the statement corresponding to FATF R.16 … We decided to take measures to end the trading support of stocks that are privacy-oriented cryptocurrency, aka dark coin.

The Okex blog post specifically details the necessity of knowing both sender and recipient information as per the FATF guidelines, something privacy coins can make exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, for exchanges.

FATF-Driven Delistings Capture the Criminalization of Privacy
Okex Korea will cease trading of privacy coins on October 10.

In similar fashion, Korean exchange Upbit has now listed several privacy coins under an “investment warning” status, informing traders that the tokens are under review and may be removed if they are not found to meet FATF recommendations. A September 9 notice on their English website reads: “The amendment to the FATF R.15 states companies handling virtual assets must hold the standard equivalent to that of financial institutions and to register/report its legal business of operation. Particularly applicable in R.16, it states that the collection and retention of information related to the sender and the recipient of the virtual asset.” An update is expected soon as to the final fate of the coins.

Binance’s U.S.-Compliant Exchange

The upcoming U.S. legal compliant iteration of trading behemoth Binance won’t be a haven for privacy seekers, either, judging by the looks of things. With registration beginning on September 18, users will be greeted with a whittled down assortment of trading pairs, and the assets under consideration conspicuously do not include regulator-shunned monero.

FATF-Driven Delistings Capture the Criminalization of Privacy
Candidates under consideration for Binance’s new U.S.-compliant exchange.

In deciding which assets will be supported, Binance lists criteria for qualification including:

Whether trading the candidate asset will affect Binance.US’s ability to comply with applicable legal requirements, including, without limitation, US AML/CFT and securities laws and their implementing regulations … Whether the candidate asset’s community has a record of reaching compromises and consensuses to move the project forward.

The notice is authored by former Ripple executive Catherine Coley, who is overseeing the rollout of the platform as CEO of Bam trading services, the operator of the upcoming Binance U.S. exchange.

FATF-Driven Delistings Capture the Criminalization of Privacy

Privacy’s Not Dead

Compliance, delistings, and compromise are not exactly thrilling prospects for the Satoshi Nakamotos of the world who got into the crypto game to take back financial sovereignty. With privacy coins being gutted, it seems crypto might be losing itself in order to fit in with the big boys of legacy finance. Problem is, the whole idea of bitcoin was to give the financial bullies on Wall Street the middle finger, and not a goofy, submissive thumbs up. In spite of all the pressure, though, the embattled class of privacy coins is far from dead.

XMR ranks number 10 for market cap with a slice of $1.3 billion at press time. DASH is in the 16 slot, and ZEC sits at 28. There is, furthermore, the continued capacity for various “standard coins” to implement new privacy protocols that make regulatory pigeon-holing even harder. Litecoin, for example, may support confidential transactions (CT) in the future according to talk early in the year from Charlie Lee. Developments in that arena seem to be moving forward, if slowly. In the BCH community, the privacy enhancing Cashshuffle protocol is being improved with a proposed anonymizing feature called Cashfusion. The Github project spec states:

Cashfusion provides high levels of privacy via a flexible scheme that allows an arbitrary number of inputs and outputs of non-standard amounts. It provides anonymous, trustless coordination with usually zero-knowledge of linkages revealed to other players or the server.

Where some privacy coins have anonymizing features baked right into the source code, a new generation of protocols like Cashfusion and CT are emerging to afford even “standard” coins a kind of toggle switch allowing for greater anonymity. This way, both mainstream onboarding zealots and philosophically grounded privacy advocates could theoretically get behind the same assets. The trouble this might create for the big-government-doting exchanges would be interesting to watch.

Cui Bono?

When it comes to tokens being banned, blackballed, or delisted, it stands to ask who benefits. As news.Bitcoin.com has reported in past articles, if the concern surrounding these assets was truly about the prevention of terror and crime, the USD fiat scheme should be priority number one for overhaul, but it’s not. In a Reddit thread from August discussing Coinbase’s delisting of zcash in the U.K., user sathound remarked sardonically:

Remember children, tax avoidance and moral bankruptcy is only for the rich.

@zcash @ElectricCoinCo @coinbase what’s going on with Zcash in the UK? pic.twitter.com/6GWS9CuIoH

— Alex (@heskavich) August 8, 2019

Asia and Japan are commonly hailed as crypto meccas thanks to adoption, regulation, and active use cases. Many in the space view this acceptance of crypto as a very bullish sign and a product of forward thinking societies. To those old-fashioned curmudgeons still intently focused on “a purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash that would allow online payments … without going through a financial institution,” all this talk can ring hollow, however. Of course, exchanges can do as they please, and time will tell which are going to kowtow to the FATF, and which DEXs, OTC platforms, and private traders won’t.

What are your thoughts on the delisting of privacy coins? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, fair use.


Did you know you can buy and sell BCH privately using our noncustodial, peer-to-peer Local Bitcoin Cash trading platform? The Local.Bitcoin.com marketplace has thousands of participants from all around the world trading BCH right now. And if you need a bitcoin wallet to securely store your coins, you can download one from us here.

The post FATF-Driven Delistings Capture the Criminalization of Privacy appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Here’s How Europeans Can Deal With Negative Interest Rates

Par Lubomir Tassev
Here’s How Europeans Can Deal With Negative Interest Rates

Low and negative interest rates have been a burden for account holders across Europe for some time. And it’s only getting worse, as the European Central Bank just announced a new rate cut to a record low of -0.5%. Private and corporate customers in many countries on the continent don’t have a lot of options to preserve the value of their holdings, at least not in the fiat money world. However, cryptocurrencies which have seen a revival this year offer a real alternative – one that can bring income instead of losses.

Also read: Big Banks Won’t Touch Crypto Clients – But These Smaller Banks Will

Interest Rates Freezing Deeper

The European economy never fully recovered from the 2008 global meltdown. What started as a subprime mortgage crisis in the U.S. the previous year, eventually grew into a large-scale international banking crisis followed by a worldwide economic downturn. On the Old Continent, it sparked a debt crisis which hurt countries using the common currency, the euro. Governments and central banks embarked on massive bailouts of financial institutions and other policies — such as a never-ending cutting of interest rates — to prevent a collapse of the traditional financial system.

Here’s How Europeans Can Deal With Negative Interest Rates

These monetary and fiscal measures did not help countries such as Italy, Spain and Greece to get out of the debt swamp. The Italian economy, the eighth-largest by nominal GDP, slowly caught up with the generally weak Eurozone growth indicators, but it continues to suffocate from its huge public debt accumulated through excessive government spending for decades. At least a third of Italians live in poverty or risk of social exclusion. Italy’s projected growth for 2019 is only 0.1%, according to the IMF, and the national institute of statistics, Istat, found the economy stagnating in the second quarter.

Economic growth has been slowing down across the rest of the Eurozone, largely due to the looming trade wars and the Brexit saga which hurt international commerce and economic prospects. Eurostat revealed that gross domestic product of the group’s 19 countries grew just 0.2% during the same three-month period, compared to Q1 of 2019 when the bloc’s economy expanded by 0.4%. The annual growth registered in the second quarter was 1.1%. Between April and June, the German economy, the largest in the monetary union and the EU, shrank by 0.1% quarter-on-quarter and slowed to 0.4% year-on-year.

ECB Announces More Quantitative Easing

On this backdrop, the European Central Bank (ECB) made good on its plans to implement new measures to stimulate Europe’s sluggish economy. Actually, these measures are nothing new, per se: a deeper deposit rate cut, by 10 basis points to an all-time low of -0.5%, and a fresh open-ended round of quantitative easing. In November, the bank will start purchasing 20 billion euros’ worth of bonds each month. That’s a commitment which will continue indefinitely, or at least until ECB decides to raise interest rates. The “new” in these moves obviously applies to the fact that the benchmark interest rate hasn’t been lowered in the past three years, and QE hasn’t been implemented since last December.

Here’s How Europeans Can Deal With Negative Interest Rates

This decision came from an ECB conference in Frankfurt last week. Later, Eurozone’s central bank clarified that the interest rate, at which European banks deposit funds, will remain at the newly introduced level until inflation reaches the 2% target. The institution also said it’s planning to exclude some European banks from the subzero rates. Negative interest rates have already caused adverse reactions in European countries. A political initiative in Germany, for instance, aims to legally prohibit banks from imposing punitive interest on savings of up to 100,000 euros.

The new record low rate is being introduced as Mario Draghi is preparing to step down as the head of ECB. Draghi, who will soon vacate the post, has never raised the interest rate during his eight-year term. He will be replaced by Christine Lagarde, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund who will assume the new office on November 1 this year. Some predict a rough start to her term as analysts believe 2020 will be the year when the next big financial crisis may hit.

Cryptocurrencies Are a Safer Bet for Europeans

In the current situation, where residents of many countries in the Eurozone and its periphery are forced to accept the burden of negative interest rates, decentralized digital currencies are becoming a viable alternative for savers, spenders, and investors. That’ll be even more so if predictions of a new major crash in the fiat system come true. This year’s rebound of crypto markets is a proof of that, and the number of crypto proponents in the region is likely to grow.

Banking is important for both businesses and private individuals. And while cryptocurrencies were invented in part to avoid third parties in financial relations, demand for banking services in the crypto space has been growing in the past months and years. In most cases, traditional financial institutions have been unable or unwilling to provide them. Fortunately, a new generation of fintech companies have been filling the gap, offering competitive financial products for the cryptocurrency user.

Some of them, like Cred which is a partner of Bitcoin.com, allow customers to earn interest on their crypto holdings. The rates are as high as 6% on bitcoin cash (BCH) and 10% on bitcoin core (BTC) invested with the Credearn product. Thus, keeping your digital assets with Cred will bring you much higher returns than converting the coins into fiat and depositing the money into a bank account. That wouldn’t be a smart decision in Europe because of the extremely low and negative interest rates on savings in central bank-issued currency.

No Need to Sell Your Crypto if You Want Some Fiat

If you need fiat liquidity but also want to keep your crypto investments intact, companies like Nexo extend loans backed by a number of major cryptocurrencies. Using digital coins as collateral, you can get an instant credit line in more than 45 fiat currencies, in over 200 jurisdictions. Clients can borrow from as little as $500 and up to $2 million. Nexo charges between 8% and a maximum of 16% per year. They also offer saving options and you can earn up to 6.5% interest on stablecoins such as USDC, TUSD, PAX, DAI, and USDT, with plans to add other cryptocurrencies in the future. A compounding interest of up to 6.5% is paid out on euro holdings as well. Just for comparison, a Swedish bank recently imposed a negative interest rate of -0.40% on euro accounts.

Here’s How Europeans Can Deal With Negative Interest Rates

London-based Cashaa is a company that helps crypto businesses and users open a bank account for both traditional and digital money, still a challenge in many jurisdictions. They operate globally with a few exceptions like the United States and some sanctioned countries. The platform allows customers to accept payments in fiat currencies such as euro and British pound as well as in a number of cryptocurrencies.

The Cashaa U.K. current account comes with a Mastercard which lets you spend your coins while shopping and withdraw funds at ATMs around the world through crypto-to-fiat conversion. You can also make and receive local and international money transfers. Debit cards with crypto features can be ordered from two other platforms based in Britain as well — Wirex and Revolut.

Bitwala is another major European crypto banking and payment provider. The German company is now offering residents of the European Economic Area bank accounts with an integrated bitcoin wallet, a debit Mastercard, and a mobile app. You can use its services to conduct your daily banking activities in both crypto and fiat currency. Customers can also trade digital assets directly from their bank account with Bitwala’s regulated partner, Solarisbank.

Bankera stands out among fintech firms based in Eastern Europe as it has become a leading provider of services to crypto customers in the region in the past six years. The Lithuanian company is currently working to establish an online bank and offer loans backed with digital assets. Its ambition is to become a “one-stop store for all financial services, in the same way traditional brick and mortar banks are.” To achieve that, Bankera plans to use technology to limit counterparties and lower the cost of banking for the end user, while providing innovative solutions.

If you are new to the crypto space and you are looking for a safe and secure way to acquire your first digital coins, you can purchase bitcoin cash (BCH) among major cryptocurrencies at buy.Bitcoin.com using a credit card. You can also freely trade your crypto assets on our noncustodial, peer-to-peer marketplace local.Bitcoin.com, which already has thousands of users around the world. Also, try our newly launched premier trading platform, exchange.Bitcoin.com. Registered users can access it right now.

What’s your opinion about crypto banking as a viable alternative to services offered by traditional financial institutions? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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The post Here’s How Europeans Can Deal With Negative Interest Rates appeared first on Bitcoin News.

BCH Microblog ‘Member’ Shows the Future of Reddit-Like Forums

Par Jamie Redman
BCH-Based Microblog Member Shows the Future of Reddit-Like Forums

Since the Bitcoin Cash upgrade in May 2018, software developers have unleashed a slew of microblogging protocols that utilize OP_return transactions. One application called Member is a BCH-based browser that makes use of these types of transactions and the extra space added to the data carrier size. While still in its infancy, the Member platform has matured into a censorship-resistant Reddit but with geolocated posts, reputational ratings, and native BCH tipping.

Also Read: At Least 19 Central Banks Give Way to Monetary Easing As Economy Slows

The Member Client Continues to Grow

Years ago, Reddit was an interesting online place that allowed many groups to connect, share news and content, and discuss in a forum-like atmosphere. These days, Reddit is synonymous with mass censorship and deplatforming as the corporate entity has banned a variety of subreddits this year. The crypto community caught wind of Reddit censorship last year when the company removed the subreddit /r/darknetmarkets. Reddit users can’t even trust the company’s founder and CEO Steve Huffman who was forced to apologize when he got caught altering pro-Trump related thread comments.

BCH Microblog 'Member' Shows the Future of Reddit-Like Forums
Reddit censorship has increased significantly in recent years.

Bitcoin supporters have seen severe forms of censorship on the subreddit /r/bitcoin as the owner and moderator Theymos and his minions deleted thousands of comments from visitors and suppressed the conversation during the block size debate. Last May, a former moderator who worked alongside Theymos told Bitcoin.com’s podcast host Matt Aaron how he was removed from the group of administrators after he failed to toe the line. Censorship like this has driven the BCH community to foster censorship-resistant microblogging communities like Memo. In tandem with Memo, another application called Member could push the Reddit-like forum concept to new heights using the BCH chain.

BCH Microblog 'Member' Shows the Future of Reddit-Like Forums

Member has been around for some time now but the application has matured a great deal since news.Bitcoin.com reported on it last year. The application’s creator, a developer called Freetrade, describes the platform on Github, calling it a BCH blockchain browser. “It reads and allows users to create actions in the Memo/Member protocol — The client is an HTML5/JS BCH blockchain browser app with no outside js dependencies and it can be run from a website, or from a local file system,” Freetrade’s Github repo details. “Currently it connects to the Member server to get content, and uses Bitbox to get utxos and broadcast transactions.”

BCH Microblog 'Member' Shows the Future of Reddit-Like Forums
Member treats topics like subreddits

Getting Acquainted With the Member App

In order to use Member, you need to have an account with the social network and microblogging app memo.cash where all posts are permanently recorded to the Bitcoin Cash chain. You can sign up for Memo here and it’s a good idea to fund your Memo wallet with a small fraction of BCH so you can post on memo.cash and the Member platform as well. To access Member, go to the website and press the “Login” tab at the top right side of the screen. You can also sign up directly from the Member Login page by pressing the “Create New Account” tab.

BCH Microblog 'Member' Shows the Future of Reddit-Like Forums
Creating a new account with a Memo private key.

Member will tell you to connect your wallet address to get started so you can post. After pressing “Ok,” Member will direct you to a page that shows your new BCH address so you can send a small fraction of funds. If you already have an account or started by signing up for memo.cash using the link mentioned above then Member asks you to paste your Memo private key (compressed WIF format, starts with ‘L’ or ‘K’) into the Login window. After these steps are complete, you are free to explore the Member app but also to create posts, upvote, tip people BCH, and initiate a geolocated post.

BCH Microblog 'Member' Shows the Future of Reddit-Like Forums
Creating a new account without a Memo private key.

To create a new post on Member, simply press the “New post” tab on the upper left side of the user interface. The platform will open a window that allows you to customize a new post with a title and text. You can also post a memorandum or post directly to the memo.cash feed. After creating a post, other Member users can reply to the thread just like a traditional Reddit post and they can “like” the post as well. Moreover, you can be tipped bitcoin cash as Member offers a native BCH wallet that allows for tipping users. If you observe Member’s main feed, it’s set up similarly to the front page of Reddit and there’s a large variety of threads and discussions hosted on the feed. Additionally, you can check the most recent posts on the Member feed by pressing the “Posts (new)” tab on the upper left side of the screen.

BCH Microblog 'Member' Shows the Future of Reddit-Like Forums
Creating a new post on Member.

Geolocated Posts, 2,000 Characters, and a Reputation System

You can also tether your location coordinates to a custom message using the Member app. At the top left side of the screen simply press the “Map” tab and the website will take you to a map of the world. Like a traditional geolocation map, your browser will ask you if you want to give the Member map your location coordinates so you can get a visual look at your area. The choice is optional but if you do, you can tie a special message to your location that’s written on the BCH chain. Essentially you or anyone can tether a message to any location in the world for less than a U.S. penny at any time. Just click the map with your mouse pointer to select the message location, write it and post it to the Member map. After a few minutes of exploring the Member app’s features, the platform is relatively easy to understand and use.

BCH Microblog 'Member' Shows the Future of Reddit-Like Forums
Member users can tie a message to a geolocation from anywhere in the world at anytime for less than a penny per message.

Member’s creator Freetrade has been hard at work adding more services to the application like reputational ratings and increased character limits for messages. The software engineer recently made it so Member users can reply with much longer character limits. “Member now allows 2,000 character replies by chaining transactions together — Member also treats topics more like subreddits,” Freetrade told BCH supporters on September 15. This announcement got the /r/btc community on Reddit pumped due to their intolerance of censorship. “Wow, now we’re talking,” a BCH proponent opined after Freetrade revealed the 2,000 character extension. “Reddit is slowly dying because of censorship and abuse from admins — If we could create a decentralized alternative on BCH that would be huge,” he added. In addition to the character extension, Freetrade has introduced a web of trust infrastructure to the Member platform. The new idea allows you to rate other Memo profiles using the Member app by giving them a public trust rating. Freetrade has shown that as the reputation system matures, robust trust graphs could be created.

BCH Microblog 'Member' Shows the Future of Reddit-Like Forums
(Right) bootstrapping memo.cash ratings. (Left) An example of a more mature trust graph initiated by Freetrade’s ratings.

There’s been a lot of development within the BCH ecosystem and Member’s improvements have bolstered a microblogging and censorship-resistant Reddit-like experience. As with most peer-to-peer and decentralized blockchain applications, Member needs to gather more users over time. Memo and Member have seen a lot of lively users since they were created and both have grown a great deal. While projects like Blockpress have fallen to the wayside and are now defunct, the Memo and Member apps have remained strong after the long crypto winter and the blockchain split in November 2018. One difference between the two clients is the Memo protocol browses both BCH and BSV blockchains but the Member app only browses the BCH chain. Freetrade continues to work on making the Member client more robust and has put together a list of certain elements of the project he could use help with.

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


Image credits: Shutterstock, Member, and Pixabay.


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Liven Announces Strategic Partnership with Bitcoin.com

Par Bitcoin.com PR
PR: Liven Announces Strategic Partnership with Bitcoin.com

Liven, the lifestyle rewards app that lets users spend and earn cryptocurrency rewards in over 1,000 restaurants across Australia, is introducing Bitcoin Cash into the LivenPay ecosystem. Meanwhile, Liven’s native token, LVN, gets listed on ZB.com after a successful completion of its oversubscribed ZB UP Launch.

Up until now, diners using the Liven app at participating restaurants have been able to settle their bills with a single button tap, using major credit and debit cards, as well as the LivenPay cryptocurrency (LVN), earning rewards between 10% and 30% of their bill, paid in LVN. The LVN earned is the diner’s to keep, send to friends or, of course, spend at any other restaurants within the Liven network.

With support for LVN or ‘old-fashioned’ fiat currency, and soon to be Bitcoin Cash, LivenPay aims to make the day-to-day use of cryptocurrencies both attractive and accessible to the everyday people, resulting in a global loyalty rewards program that will eventually support a plethora of cryptocurrencies.

“With LivenPay as the ‘on-ramp’, we want to entice users and businesses around the world to enjoy the benefits of using frictionless, global cryptocurrency payments. With our future pipeline of cryptocurrency integrations, Bitcoin Cash is the next step to expanding cryptocurrency support and being truly blockchain and currency agnostic” said CEO and Co-Founder William Wong.

LivenPay’s existing ecosystem makes it simple and straightforward to integrate new cryptocurrencies into its growing network of over 1,000 participating businesses and 500,000 tech-savvy consumers.

“The integration of Bitcoin Cash is a logical and exciting step for LivenPay, given that their popular and current business model is going fully global in 2019. With the support of Bitcoin Cash, LivenPay will soon create a perfect entry-point for hundreds of thousands of people into the wider blockchain and digital currency ecosystem,” said enthused cryptocurrency legend and Bitcoin.com Executive Chairman Roger Ver, who is also LivenPay’s official advisor.

Liven users will soon be able to pay for their meals with Bitcoin Cash through the Liven app.

The team soon hopes that paying with LivenPay will just be as ubiquitous around the world as taking an Uber, whether you are in Shanghai or St. Petersburg, as Wong’s take-away comment surmises:

“LivenPay enables people to grab a bite wherever in the world their feet may fall, whether it is a celebratory meal out or a burger joint for lunch. It also allows for the mass adoption of crypto from fiat, whether that be from Chinese Renminbis or Russian Rubles.”

Website: https://livenpay.io
Whitepaper (English): https://s3-ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com/livenpay.io/LIVEN-WhitePaper(EN).pdf

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How Crypto Became a Gambler’s Paradise

Par Kai Sedgwick
How Crypto Became a Gambler’s Paradise

Comparing cryptocurrency trading to gambling is like comparing crypto tribalism to religion: the analogy is correct, but it’s also tired. What bears emphasizing, then, isn’t that crypto trading and crypto gambling are often indistinguishable, but the extent to which the two disciplines permeate the cryptosphere. From the most popular dapps to the leading hacks, everything of interest within the space can be interpreted as a form of gambling. It’s the reason why crypto is so fascinating and so addictive.

Also read: HTC Adds Native Bitcoin Cash Support to Its Flagship Smartphone

The Whole World Is a Game

The gamification of everything is the endgame of life itself. Soon it will be impossible to go for a jog without receiving a high score or being showered in shitcoins for your efforts. Competition is what drives us as humans. The desire to be better than one’s fellow man or woman is the reason we’re here today on the internet, and not still living in mud huts. Combining money, mathematical puzzles, economics and copious amounts of game theory, crypto is a heady concoction of all the things that spur a man to get out of bed in the morning and conquer the world.

And the use of “man,” on this occasion is deliberate. There are many reasons why crypto has been historically male-dominated, some of which are too contentious or tangential to delve into here. This much, however, needs said: men are greater risk takers in life. It’s why their fortunes are more likely to fall in the extremes than in the mean: atop the mountain or in the gutter, but rarely in between. It’s also why crypto’s greatest success story so far has been letting men do what they were gonna do anyway: gamble, both literally and loosely, while striving to stack more sats than their peers.

How Crypto Became a Gambler’s Paradise

Gambling on a Future for Dapps

What is altcoin trading if not a game to end up with more BTC than you started out with? Whether you get there through charting ichimoku clouds or rolling high-low in a crypto casino seems immaterial. To understand the extent to which gambling dominates the cryptosphere, there’s only one place to start – the dapp store. Hit up your favorite dapp tracker (Dappradar or State of the Dapps are probably best) and take a look at the most popular decentralized applications on each chain.

How Crypto Became a Gambler’s Paradise
Top 10 dapps according to Dappradar

State of the Dapps notes six of the dapps in its top 10 as being gambling. Dappradar, which records more crypto networks, including Tron, also has six gambling applications in its top 10. Leading the pack is Wink, the betting platform that uses the same principles as Bitcoin.com’s Cashgames: instant wins, micropayments, and provably fair gambling. Wink can be accessed as a conventional casino or on a game by game (i.e dapp by dapp) basis. In most respects, Wink is indistinguishable from any other crypto casino, with the primary difference being the way in which it’s accessed.

How Crypto Became a Gambler’s Paradise

Online casinos can be banned and geo-restricted, as often occurs at national level. Dapps, while not the censorship-resistant paradise their proponents would have them, are a lot harder to block. It’s no surprise that many of the most popular gambling dapps have struck gold in Asia, where download links are shared in Wechat groups and where wagering on life is a way of life for many.

Trading or Wagering?

Not all gambling dapps can be neatly filed into the gambling category. How to interpret Bulls vs Bears for example? Like many of the leading dapps on Tron and EOS, it’s dubbed as gaming, rather than gambling, and as a skill-based endeavor, that’s technically correct. Players don’t compete against the house, and since the game calls for predicting crypto market trends, there’s skill involved. With talk of a “dynamic wagering environment” and large jackpots, though, it’s clear who the dapp’s target demographic is. Like many new dapps trying to bootstrap, Bulls vs Bears relies on giveaways (in this case TRX tokens for signing up) as a means of getting bodies through the door, or rather users on the protocol.

How Crypto Became a Gambler’s Paradise

In condensing the act of trading into basic binary options – high/low, bull/bear, the dapp bestows the same duality that bifurcates so many other domains in life, from U.S. politics to dead rappers. Are you a bull or bear? Republican or Democrat? Biggie or Tupac fan? Somewhere out there is a dapp for that, where you can wager on binary options for all the things you love and hate.

Further blurring the lines between what constitutes gambling and what’s trading is Guesser. Built on Augur, it’s technically a prediction market that uses crowdsourced wisdom to determine probable outcomes. In reality though, it’s a betting dapp, and a very neat one at that. Guesser appears to have given up all pretences of operating a prediction market, inviting users to “Bet up to” a certain amount on each market.

How Crypto Became a Gambler’s Paradise

There’s More Than One Way to Beat a Dapp

While crypto users have been filling Telegram and Wechat groups with gambling dapp strategies, a handful of more enterprising individuals have been working on their own means of beating the system. In crypto, as in everything else, there’s always a way to fast track your way to riches, provided you don’t mind breaking a few rules along the way.

How Crypto Became a Gambler’s Paradise
Eosplay usage briefly dropped to zero after an attacker found a way to drain the pool of EOS.

Eosplay is the sixth most popular gambling dapp on EOS. For a short while, over the weekend, it was also the most profitable for whoever rented a bunch of resources and used them to clean out 30,000 EOS from the contract. Call it genius, cheating or a bit of both, it was an effective case study in unorthodox ways to beat the house.

Just to summarise, someone rented a load of resources from REX and is using it to exploit a gambling dapp called EOSPlay. They seem to have walked away with about 30k EOS so far. Don't panic, just wait and resource usage should go back to normal.

— rektkid (@rektkid_) September 13, 2019

People can moan about the rough edges around defi protocols, the unreadability of bitcoin addresses, and the complexity of wallet recovery, but not everything in crypto is quite so wonky. Gambling has been a mainstay since the beginning of Bitcoin, and developers have gotten extremely efficient at it. If crypto builders can approach other ecosystem verticals with the same gusto with which players and devs have approached gambling dapps, mainstream adoption is just a UX breakthrough away. Where there’s a will to innovate, there’s a way, and when there’s money wagering on it, no problem is too big to solve.

From casinos to bitcoin, formerly fringe interests have now been normalized, thanks to those willing to put a punt on them when no one else would. Where gamblers lead, the mainstream tends to follow.

Do you think gambling is one of the best use cases for crypto to date? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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European Countries Step Up Response to Facebook’s Libra

Par Kevin Helms
European Countries Step Up Their Responses to Facebook’s Libra

The European Central Bank (ECB) and a number of countries in the region have stepped up their efforts in response to Facebook’s Libra, which has revived a competing ECB project for instant payments. As Facebook engages Switzerland’s financial regulator, the ECB clarifies how Libra can be regulated under EU laws.

Also read: India’s Popular ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’ Show Gives Crypto a Boost

A Wake-Up Call and ECB’s Project Revived

Facebook’s proposed Libra digital currency has given governments worldwide a run for their money. European Central Bank board member Benoit Coeure calls Libra “a wake-up call,” after discussing it at last week’s meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Helsinki. Amid concerns over a sovereign threat, 26 regulators worldwide, including the Bank of England and the U.S. Federal Reserve, reportedly met with representatives of Libra in Basel on Monday to discuss the scope and design of Libra.

European Countries Step Up Their Responses to Facebook's Libra

Coeure told the press Friday that Libra had revived efforts of an ECB-backed project for real-time payments in the eurozone, the Target Instant Payment Settlement (TIPS). The project could allow consumers to use electronic cash, directly deposited at the ECB without the need for bank accounts, financial intermediaries or clearing counterparties. Just like with Facebook’s plans, financial intermediaries will be unnecessary in this new ECB system. “TIPS offers final and irrevocable settlement of instant payments in euro, at any time of day and on any day of the year,” the ECB described.

The project was launched last year and could last months or even years, Coeure revealed, adding that the technical feasibility remains to be seen and opposition from banks is likely. In addition, “We also need to step up our thinking on a central bank digital currency,” he suggested. France’s Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said last week that the European Union should create a common set of rules for cryptocurrencies to counter the risks posed by Libra.

Strong Opposition by France and Germany

France and Germany have reportedly agreed to block Libra due to the risks the digital currency could pose to their financial sectors, the French finance ministry said. The two countries jointly issued a statement Friday, stating:

France and Germany consider that the Libra project, as set out in Facebook’s blueprint, fails to convince that those risks will be properly addressed … We believe that no private entity can claim monetary power, which is inherent to the sovereignty of nations.

European Countries Step Up Their Responses to Facebook's Libra

Le Maire believes that Libra should not be allowed to operate in Europe while concerns persist about sovereignty and persistent financial risks. “We encourage European central banks to accelerate work on issues around possible public digital currency solutions,” he added in the joint statement with Germany’s Finance Minister Olaf Scholz. The two countries further called on banks to work on improving European payment systems at the European level.

Swiss License for Libra, New Stablecoin Guidance

Meanwhile, the Libra Association has engaged the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (Finma). The regulator has confirmed that the association has requested an assessment of how Finma would classify its planned Libra project including the issuance of a stablecoin under Swiss supervisory law.

Finma revealed that, based on information provided so far, such a project would fall under financial market infrastructure regulation and would require its payment system license, under the Financial Market Infrastructure Act (FMIA). The requirements under the Principles for Financial Market Infrastructures would also apply to the management of cyber risks. Swiss payment systems are subject to the Anti-Money Laundering Act.

European Countries Step Up Their Responses to Facebook's Libra

Moreover, the FMIA sets out additional requirements for services that increase the risks of a payment system. “Due to the issuance of Libra payment tokens, the services planned by the Libra project would clearly go beyond those of a pure payment system and therefore be subject to such additional requirements,” the regulator clarified, adding:

A necessary condition for being granted a licence as a payment system would be that the returns and risks associated with the management of the reserve were borne entirely by the Libra Association and not – as in the case of a fund provider – by the ‘stablecoin’ holders.

In addition, Finma has updated its stablecoin guidance, which supplements its existing guidelines for initial coin offerings (ICOs). The regulator has acknowledged the rising number of stablecoin projects since mid-2018.

Finma detailed that the requirements for stablecoins may differ based on which assets they are backed by — such as currencies, commodities, real estate or securities — and the legal rights of its holders. “Money laundering, securities trading, banking, fund management and financial infrastructure regulation can all be of relevance,” Finma elaborated.

ECB Clarifies Libra’s Regulatory Challenges

European Central Bank executive board member Yves Mersch outlined the ECB’s approach to regulating Libra earlier this month. He described some “extremely concerning” differences between Libra and other cryptocurrencies. Firstly, he explained that “Libra’s ecosystem is not only complex, it is actually cartel-like,” citing several key areas that the Libra Association will have control over the coin’s functionalities. Unlike the decentralized and disintermediary nature of cryptocurrencies, he said that “similarly to public money Libra will actually be highly centralized, with Facebook and its partners acting as quasi-sovereign issuers of currency.”

European Countries Step Up Their Responses to Facebook's Libra
Yves Mersch

Mersch raised several concerns regarding Libra such as its lack of a global lender of last resort and the limited liability of the Libra Association members. It is also devoid of the equivalent of a deposit guarantee scheme to protect its holders’ interests during a crisis, the executive detailed. He further pointed out that “the fact that Libra is backed by a basket of sovereign currency-denominated assets appears to defeat the very purpose of its issuance as a private currency.” Mersch then proceeded to outline some legal and regulatory challenges of Libra:

The first challenge concerns Libra’s fundamental legal nature. The choice is, essentially, whether to treat Libra as e-money, as a financial instrument or as a virtual currency.

In his view, Libra does not appear to qualify as e-money, as it does not embody a claim of its holders against the Libra Association. The second option is to treat it as a transferable security or a different type of financial instrument, which means that both the Libra Association and any entities providing investment services through Libra coins would fall within the remit of the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive. Lastly, if it were to qualify as a virtual currency then both Calibra and its authorized resellers would become subject to the obligations and registration requirements under the Anti-Money Laundering Directive.

European Countries Step Up Their Responses to Facebook's Libra

Another challenge is to ensure that the relevant EU and member state regulatory and supervisory authorities can assert jurisdiction over Libra and its network, Mersch conveyed, adding that there is also the need for cross-border cooperation and coordination. “Because Libra will be used across borders, it is a matter of international interest.” He elaborated:

Its global nature would also call for a global regulatory and supervisory response to avoid regulatory arbitrage, ensure consistency of outcomes and guarantee the efficiency of public policy responses to Libra.

Mersch pointed out the joint efforts by the global community to mitigate risks associated with Libra, including efforts by the G7 countries, the G20 countries, and the Financial Stability Board (FSB). In its recently published report on how Libra could disrupt the financial system, the European Parliament wrote that “an international agreement is needed on harmonizing existing rules for crypto tokens.” The legislative body of the European Union believes that “Co-regulatory oversight of the Libra operation scheme by both state-operators and stakeholders would be needed to prevent money laundering, illicit transactions and consumer fraud.”

What do you think of how the ECB and European countries are responding to Facebook’s Libra? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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Bitcoin.com Announces Partnership With Telecommunications Manufacturer HTC

Par Bitcoin.com PR
PR: Bitcoin.com Announces Partnership With Telecommunications Manufacturer HTC

World’s leading telecom manufacturer strikes a partnership to support wallets and Bitcoin Cash on flagship products to be sold worldwide

Taipei, Taiwan — September 16 2019 – Bitcoin.com, one of the world’s oldest and most established cryptocurrency innovators with over 4.5 million wallet holders worldwide, and leading telecommunications manufacturer HTC have announced the beginning of a long-term, mutually beneficial partnership to drive innovation and adoption of crypto technologies.

HTC is known for pushing the boundaries of technology with cutting edge, futuristic smartphones, and they have done it again. HTC’s flagship EXODUS 1 smartphone is now the first phone that provides Bitcoin Cash (BCH) support without having to download a BCH wallet from an app store. For existing EXODUS 1 users, updating the software on their devices will provide users with a Bitcoin.com wallet app pre-loaded on their devices.

Phil Chen, Decentralized Chief Officer at HTC said, “The EXODUS vision has always aligned itself towards public blockchains and its fundamental transformative nature of the future of money and the Internet. The Zion Vault is happy to support BCH natively in hardware for security to go hand in hand with the BCH blockchain as an alternative to dominant payment rails and platforms.”

For Bitcoin.com and HTC, this is the first step in a long journey together. Future plans include rolling out to offer special discounts when paying for phones in BCH, to sell the EXODUS phones on store.bitcoin.com, and many more.

Bitcoin.com’s CEO Stefan Rust said, “There are so many synergies between Bitcoin.com and HTC. We are very excited to be on this incredible journey together.”

Bitcoin.com’s Executive Chairman Roger Ver also added, “Bitcoin.com’s partnership with HTC will enable Bitcoin Cash to be used as peer- to- peer electronic cash for all the EXODUS users around the world.”
About Bitcoin.com

Bitcoin.com is supercharged to change the world with Bitcoin Cash (BCH). Our suite of developer tools has been downloaded 36,000+ times from over 100 countries. Our team is the heart and soul of the Bitcoin Cash industry. We’re committed to making BCH available to all people, whatever their age, gender, nationality or financial status.

For more information: visit https://www.bitcoin.com/

Contact Email Address
press@bitcoin.com

Supporting Link
https://www.bitcoin.com/

About HTC EXODUS & Zion Vault:

HTC’s Project EXODUS is a smartphone solution that will power the decentralized web. For more than 20 years, HTC has created foundational technology for worldwide mobile and virtual reality technology. Through EXODUS, HTC is investing in the development and implementation of blockchain technology that will usher in a new area of secure data storage and transactions and take blockchain technology mobile for the first time.

Zion, your private vault on the blockchain, allows you to conduct crypto transactions, view and manage your crypto collectibles, and manage your crypto life while maintaining ownership of your keys. With your Zion Vault, store, send, and request bitcoin, ether, litecoin, stellar, selected ERC-20 tokens, and ERC-721 collectibles.

https://www.htcexodus.com/
@HTCEXODUS
You can keep up to date with Phil’s Vlog

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HTC Adds Native Bitcoin Cash Support to Its Flagship Smartphone

Par Avi Mizrahi
HTC's New Blockchain Smartphone Can Be Bought With Bitcoin

The bitcoin cash community now has a new way to secure and transact its digital money, as HTC adds native BCH support to its Exodus 1 smartphone. A key reason the technology manufacturer has chosen to do so is that many consumers are using BCH as a payment method and HTC wants to see a future where merchants use the Exodus to receive BCH payments.

Also Read: David Chaum’s Elixxir Invites Smartphone Users to Test Private Messaging

HTC Exodus 1 Now Supports Bitcoin Cash

Taiwanese consumer electronics manufacturer High Tech Computer Corporation or HTC (TWSE: 2498) has added native bitcoin cash support to its flagship smartphone, Exodus 1. The device’s killer feature for cryptocurrency users is the Zion Vault, a digital asset wallet with an easy-to-use software interface integrated with onboard hardware security. This secure built-in wallet is now capable of conducting bitcoin cash transactions, so users can easily buy, receive, spend and store BCH on the phone without the risk of remote hacking.

HTC Adds Native Bitcoin Cash Support to Its Flagship Smartphone

HTC has announced the support for BCH as part of a new partnership with Bitcoin.com, which will include pre-loading the company’s popular wallet app on the Exodus 1. Moreover, Bitcoin.com will also offer the smartphone, as well as the upcoming lower priced device HTC Exodus 1s, for sale on its online store. The Exodus 1s will feature the same native BCH support available to Exodus 1 users right now when it launches later this year.

Bitcoin.com CEO Stefan Rust commented: “There are so many synergies between Bitcoin.com and HTC. We are very excited to be on this incredible journey together.” Bitcoin.com Executive Chairman Roger Ver added: “Bitcoin.com’s partnership with HTC will enable Bitcoin Cash to be used as peer to peer electronic cash for the millions of HTC smartphone users around the world.”

Bringing Users Full Control Over Their Data and Assets

To understand how HTC sees the promise of cryptocurrency and why it has added bitcoin cash support now, we talked with the company’s Decentralized Chief Officer Phil Chen. Explaining the importance of the new partnership, Chen said: “Smartphones are everywhere and have proliferated across the planet. It’s very important for the adoption of crypto that it is easy to store and use, no matter which cryptocurrency is preferred by people. So the fact that BCH, one of the biggest cryptocurrencies, is now easy to use on our smartphone is very important for us. Together, HTC and Bitcoin.com are helping to bring crypto to the masses.”

HTC Adds Native Bitcoin Cash Support to Its Flagship Smartphone

Regarding its support for the crypto community in general, HTC sees this as an important part of its vision to empower users in the face of Big Tech. “True power is ownership of, control of and ability to transact with your digital assets. Cryptocurrency is the best place to start on this journey to allowing users to own their own data. It is a scary prospect for many of the big players in both Silicon Valley and in the smartphone maker space. If users are allowed to own their own keys and data, this will have a significant impact on the business models and revenue of these powerful firms,” explained Chen.

He added that HTC built the Exodus 1 device to drive the movement to a fully decentralized web where users have full control over their data and assets. “The first step is to allow the crypto community to hold their own keys; this will be a learning curve for many. So the crypto community is so important as we look to the mass adoption of both decentralized devices and crypto/blockchain in general.”

As for why users need a crypto-focused smartphone such as the Exodus 1, the developer says it provides usability for cryptocurrency. “While cold storage wallets are the ultimate in security, it can be hard and slow to use and transact your crypto. Live centralized exchanges, although fast, do not provide the security or afford you true ownership. It was important for HTC to find the right balance between the deadlock security of cold storage and the ease of use of live centralized wallets. You no longer need to have hardware wallets that then need something like Metamask and then a browser for instance. All the transaction and security capabilities are available using just your Exodus device.”

HTC Adds Native Bitcoin Cash Support to Its Flagship Smartphone
HTC is the developer of the groundbreaking Vive virtual reality headset

The company’s Decentralized Chief Officer explained that HTC has developed the Zion Vault to achieve this. It’s an all-in-one secure vault that allows users to keep their own keys and operate through a highly-secure Trusted Executive Environment (TEE), but also the ability to easily transact with those keys.

“All keys and passcodes are stored in TEE directly in users’ Exodus 1 device. The user will always own their own keys. HTC or the Android OS will never have custody,” Chen said. “Operating independently of the Android OS, the vault will protect the entrusted crypto-keys with stringent security. When authorizing your BCH transactions, Zion Trusted UI will create a safe zone through Trusted Executive Environments (TEE) that block possible malware attacks. Zion does not record any user information at any stage.”

The Key Reason for Supporting Bitcoin Cash

HTC sees crypto as a new paradigm for consumer electronics, after smartphones have seen a plateau in terms of global device development and innovation. They expect that smartphones of the future will be the core of your digital identity and the way to keep your digital assets and data.

“It is part of a longer roadmap but the HTC Exodus 1 marks a new beginning for users and their data,” explained Chen. “Only when users have full ownership of their own keys can we enact true decentralization, which is a vital first step toward protecting users. We see this as a stepping stone to how people will carry their own digital assets and digital identities in their pockets, in the very way we carry phones today.” He added that the upcoming Exodus 1s will be able to operate as a full node on the BTC blockchain. “That’s another industry first and we also expect more of this innovation as it is the only truly trustless way to transact using your crypto assets.”

HTC Adds Native Bitcoin Cash Support to Its Flagship Smartphone

HTC’s Decentralized Chief Officer added that BCH users have a lot to look forward to from the company’s cooperation with Bitcoin.com going forward. “This is only the beginning of what the decentralized world can offer, so the possibilities and potential are endless. We can see a future where merchants are using their Exodus device to receive BCH payments at their point of sale (POS). That’s a key reason we’re supporting BCH; it’s great to see so many consumers using BCH as a payment method.”

Future plans for the partnership include offering special discounts when paying for goods in BCH, and the sale of future Exodus phones on store.Bitcoin.com, with further collaborations to be announced in due course.

What do you think about HTC adding native bitcoin cash support to its flagship smartphone? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and HTC.


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At Least 19 Central Banks Give Way to Monetary Easing As Economy Slows

Par Jamie Redman
More Than 18 Central Banks Give Way to Monetary Easing As Economy Slows

In a coordinated fashion, more than 18 central banks worldwide have or plan to cut interest rates, sparking a domino effect of monetary easing. It’s been 10 years since the world has seen central planners orchestrate such harmonization in an attempt to save the economy from a deep recession.

Also Read: Money and Democracy: Why You Never Get to Vote on the Most Important Part of Society

A Large Number of Central Banks Slash Interest Rates

Economists have been saying for a while now that the global economy is headed for a severe wakeup call that could be worse than 2008’s financial crisis. The news started heating up at the beginning of 2019 and more than half of U.S. economists from the National Association for Business Economics (NABE) said they believe an economic downturn is coming by 2020. Financial forecasters think in the midst of a macroeconomic storm from elections, trade wars between the U.S. and China, and a no-deal Brexit that it’s only a matter of time. Tumultuous geopolitical events have caused the world’s central banks to awaken from their slumber and start slashing interest rates. As the end of the year draws near, many central banks have started a rate cut frenzy.

Usually, when the economy is consistent and considered ‘strong,’ central banks keep interest rates higher. On the other hand, when the economy doesn’t look so hot, central banks cut rates so smaller financial institutions can borrow at a better rate. The concept is derived from Keynesian economics, the economic theory of total spending in order to stave off inflation. The goal of interest rate cuts is so the smaller hive of banks below the central banks can give the savings from better rates to consumers. However, instead of trickling down to the people, the excesses usually stay with the monopoly. While keeping the hard assets to themselves, the banking cartel also starts to lend at an alarming rate. They don’t care if individuals and organizations don’t pay up and they know they will have to deal with delinquencies and foreclosures. At the end of the day, all those issues just give the bankers another way to pillage hard assets like homes, land, boats, cars, and anything people can’t afford. Unfortunately, this cycle continues every few decades and generations who haven’t even been born yet are left with more debt.

At Least 19 Central Banks Give Way to Monetary Easing As Economy Slows

Traditionally when central banks cut rates en masse it is a warning sign that the economy is likely headed for troubling times. In the past, people have always hedged their savings by using safe haven assets like gold to escape the wrath of rapid inflation and fiat currency devaluation. Nowadays, precious metals and cryptocurrencies are both benefiting from the doom and gloom financial forecasts. The following is a look at central banks that are currently planning for monetary easing and stimulus packages or have already approved financial inducement and slashed interest rates.

Japan

The Bank of Japan (BOJ) has an accommodative stance toward monetary easing these days. In July, BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda explained to the press that he was positive about keeping long-term interest rates at 0% and short-term rates to -0.1%. When negative rates were first introduced in Japan in 2016, the move was considered shocking. The following month, after the Federal Reserve cut rates this year, Deputy Governor Masayoshi Amamiya said the BOJ was also fully prepared to offer more easing. One of the central bank’s board members also mentioned that Japan’s banks might start charging fees for savings accounts as well. This September, the BOJ is considering deep negative interest rate cuts to respond to global risks facing the economy.

At Least 19 Central Banks Give Way to Monetary Easing As Economy Slows
BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda.

The U.S.

The Federal Reserve has already cut the U.S. interest rate by a quarter-point in July hoping to spur more lending and spending. When the Federal Open Market Committee and Fed Chair Jerome Powell sliced the rate for the first time since the 2008 financial crisis, the group noted economic “uncertainties” remain. Now reports detail that Fed officials will lower rates by another quarter-point by the end of September. U.S. President Donald Trump has encouraged the Fed to cut rates even lower. “The Federal Reserve should get our interest rates down to zero, or less, and we should then start to refinance our debt,” Trump declared on September 11 on Twitter. “Interest cost could be brought way down, while at the same time substantially lengthening the term — We have the great currency, power, and balance sheet.”

At Least 19 Central Banks Give Way to Monetary Easing As Economy Slows
During a conversation with Thomas Jordan, Chairman of the Swiss National Bank, on September 6, the Fed’s Jerome Powell said: “We are not forecasting or expecting a recession.”

Europe

On Thursday, September 12, the European Central Bank (ECB) approved a new stimulus package and cut interest rates. Just like the BOJ and the Fed, members of the ECB are afraid of “worrisome inflation.” According to the ECB, the deposit rate dropped from -0.4% to -0.5% and this November the bank plans to begin €20 billion a month worth of bond purchases. “The Governing Council expects (bond purchases) to run for as long as necessary to reinforce the accommodative impact of its policy rates, and to end shortly before it starts raising the key ECB interest rates,” the ECB said.

At Least 19 Central Banks Give Way to Monetary Easing As Economy Slows
ECB President Mario Draghi’s growth and inflation projections have been dreary.

China

The economy in China has been floundering according to economists and the country has also been dealing with a trade war with the U.S. China’s People’s Bank of China (PBOC) revealed on September 6 that the bank would cut its reserve requirement ratio by 50 basis points. The PBOC also announced that a few specific banks might be entitled to a ratio reduction of 100 basis points if they qualify. China’s new bank cuts will start on Monday, September 16 and the PBOC claims the cuts will provide roughly 900 billion yuan ($126.35 billion) into the Chinese economy. Like Japan, China has an accommodative stance toward monetary easing and this is the third time this year the PBOC has made changes and the seventh time since the financial crisis in 2008.

At Least 19 Central Banks Give Way to Monetary Easing As Economy Slows
The head of the PBOC just got his job last year as China named Yi Gang its first central bank chief in 15 years. Yi Gang is very comfortable with monetary easing tactics.

South Korea

In a surprise move in mid-July, the Bank of Korea (BOK) announced reducing the country’s benchmark interest rates. The BOK also told the press that economists predicted rapid inflation forecasts and slashed the seven-day repurchase rate from 1.75% to 1.5%. “Economic circumstances have deteriorated since April … With the rate cut, we took into account the effects of Japan’s trade restrictions,” BOK governor Lee Ju-Yeol explained during a press conference. Seoul has had conflicts with Japan and just like China and the U.S., the two countries are locked in a trade row.

At Least 19 Central Banks Give Way to Monetary Easing As Economy Slows
“As low growth may continue for a considerable period of time, the Bank of Korea will support economic recovery by maintaining an accommodative monetary policy,” Governor Lee Ju-Yeol has stated in the past.

Russia

The Bank of Russia has been a friend of monetary easing and rate cuts making its third interest rate reduction on September 6. Bank of Russia Governor Elvira Nabiullina and members of the board told the public that “If the situation develops in line with the baseline forecast, the Bank of Russia will consider the necessity of a further key rate reduction at one of the upcoming board of directors’ meetings.” Russia’s benchmark rate was trimmed down to 7% from 7.25%. Russian forecasters believe the inflation rate of 4% could drop to 3% and the Minister of Economic Affairs Maxim Oreshkin believes the bank should continue easing even further.

At Least 19 Central Banks Give Way to Monetary Easing As Economy Slows
Russian President Vladimir Putin with finance minister Maxim Oreshkin. Oreshkin wants deeper interest rate cuts.

India

In August, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) decreased rates for the fourth time in 2019. The rate cut this summer was the largest since 2010, shaving 35 basis points, and the RBI will now lend to banks at 5.4%. Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman stood by the rate cut and insisted that a “significant rate cut would do a lot of good for the country.” Members of the RBI and government officials plan to meet this October and the country could see further rate cuts in the near future.

At Least 19 Central Banks Give Way to Monetary Easing As Economy Slows
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman doesn’t have issues with monetary easing and announced yesterday the RBI and the government would fund the real estate and export sector while also offering a ₹10,000 crore special window for unfinished development projects.

Thailand

Central bankers in Thailand are scared inflation is growing out of control and surprised the world on August 8 by cutting repurchase rates from 1.75% to 1.5%. The Bank of Thailand cited slow economic growth, trade wars, and economic uncertainty. The trade war between the U.S. and China was highlighted during the announcement. According to reports, five panel members voted for the cut and two wanted the interest rates to remain unchanged. Two weeks prior to the quarter-point cut, the seven members of the central bank committee unanimously voted to keep the rates untouched.

At Least 19 Central Banks Give Way to Monetary Easing As Economy Slows
(Left to right) Supant Mongkolsuthree, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries, Predee Daochai, chairman of the Thai Bankers’ Association, and Thai Chamber of Commerce chairman Kalin Sarasin. “Additional measures may be needed to cope with the stronger baht,” Supant Mongkolsuthree said on September 5. “Those measures include imposing a withholding tax, outbound investment promotion and tapering the bond supply. These are ultimately the regulators’ decisions.”

10 More Central Banks Participate in Monetary Easing

All of these banks are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the large number of other central banks participating in monetary easing. Other financial institutions include central banks from England, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Mexico, Hong Kong, Indonesia, South Africa, Turkey, and the Philippines. Despite decades of poor central planning, these financial institutions retain full power over the monetary system. The people have absolutely no say in how the system is adjusted, tightened and eased.

However, as the years pass, more individuals and organizations are growing tired of the banking cartel’s practices. A great number of people have sought alternatives like cryptocurrencies so they can protect their wealth from the financial system that’s clearly rigged. Individuals who are sick of bailing the banks out and paying for their mistakes believe that at some point the scales will tip. It merely takes enough people to opt out of the monopolized monetary system. At the rate at which people are learning about a new wave of monetary innovation, at some point there will be a mass exodus whether banks and governments like it or not.

If you are interested in joining the counter-economy and purchasing digital assets like bitcoin cash, you can check out buy.Bitcoin.com, local.Bitcoin.com, and exchange.Bitcoin.com.

What do you think about the cascade of central banks unveiling rate cuts and monetary easing methods? Do you think the central banks know what they are doing when it comes to monetary policy? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Kim Hong-Ji, Wiki Commons, Fair Use, and Qilai Shen.


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The post At Least 19 Central Banks Give Way to Monetary Easing As Economy Slows appeared first on Bitcoin News.

A Short History of the World’s Largest Bitcoin Mining Pools

Par Kai Sedgwick
7 Unorthodox Ways to Mine Bitcoin

Mining pools grow and shrink, and rise and fall altogether. Today there are more extinct mining pools than there are active ones. The hashpower of the survivors secures hundreds of PoW crypto networks, from major coins such as BTC and BCH to obscure altcoins such as monero classic and “zelcash.” The following guide provides an insight into the origins of the world’s largest mining pools including their founders, geography, and ideology.

Also read: Big Banks Won’t Touch Crypto Clients – But These Smaller Banks Will

Mining Pools Near Their Nine-Year Anniversary

Mining pools have been in operation since late 2010, when they emerged as a means for solo miners to share their computing resources and increase their chances of discovering blocks. While a lot has changed in bitcoin mining since then, including the introduction of dedicated ASIC mining rigs and the rise of huge mining farms, the basic premise of pools remains the same. Save for a handful of privately operated exceptions, pools are open to anyone to join.

A Short History of the World’s Largest Bitcoin Mining Pools
BTC mining pool hashrate distribution for the last four days

In addition to the dominant SHA-256 mined coins such as BTC and BCH, there are dozens of altcoins that can be mined using algorithms such as the popular equihash. Mining pool 2miners.com, by way of example, records the hashrate and profitability for scores of equihash coins, its layout showing the sort of metrics that cryptocurrency miners have become accustomed to crunching in their quest to determine the most profitable coins. As mining pools near their nine-year anniversary, an examination of the nine largest BTC pools – most of which also mine coins such as BCH and ETH – captures the state of pooled mining today.

A Short History of the World’s Largest Bitcoin Mining Pools
2miners.com stats

BTC.com

Founded: 2015

Owner: Bitmain

BTC hashrate (four-day average): 17.7%

Coins mined: BTC, BCH, ETH

History: Originally created by Blocktrail to serve as a web wallet, BTC.com still provides mobile and desktop wallets as well as a block explorer and Bitcoin API. It’s best known for its mining pool though, which has been in the hands of Bitmain since being acquired by the mining manufacturer in July 2016.

A Short History of the World’s Largest Bitcoin Mining Pools

Trivia: In June 2017, BTC.com appealed for the sender of a transaction with an 80 BTC fee attached to come forward, with the pool offering to return the accidental fee.

F2pool

Founded: April 2013

Founders: Discusfish and Wang Chun

BTC hashrate: 13.8%

Coins mined: BTC, LTC, ETH, ZEC, SCC, SC, DASH, XMR, DCR, XZC, AION

History: F2pool is China’s oldest bitcoin mining pool, and the second largest BTC pool in the world today after BTC.com. It also operates the third largest ethereum mining operation. As the Bitcoin Wiki explains, the F2pool was once known as Discus Fish on account of its coinbase signature of 七彩神仙鱼 (Discus Fish), the nickname of one of the operators. Today, F2pool captures 12.38 EH/s on the BTC network, 50.36 TH/s on LTC and 21.42 TH/s on ETH. The pool also provides Android and iOS apps and a range of tools including mining revenue comparisons.

A Short History of the World’s Largest Bitcoin Mining Pools
Decoded coinbase field for a block mined by F2pool

Trivia: In 2014, F2pool controlled 25% of the BTC network and 31% of the LTC, leading to fears that it could launch a 51% attack.

A Short History of the World’s Largest Bitcoin Mining Pools

Poolin

Founded: 2017

BTC hashrate: 13.3%

Coins mined: BTC, BCH, BSV, ZEC, LTC, DCR, DASH, XMR

History: Started by the founders of BTC.com, Poolin.com is another Chinese pool that’s overseen by a company called Blockin. One of the more innovative mining pools, Poolin has developed tools such as an auto-switch feature that alternates between BCH and BTC depending on which network is more profitable. It also operates a rather basic Lightning Network shop, mining profit calculator, and scores of other mining apps and tools.

Trivia: In June 2019, it was revealed that Bitmain was suing three former employees for violating a non-compete agreement by launching Poolin.

Antpool

Founded: 2014

Founders: Jihan Wu and Micree Zhan

BTC hashrate: 10.2%

Coins mined: BTC, BCH, LTC, ETH, ETC, ZEC, DASH, SCC, XMC, BTM

History: Another Bitmain-owned operation, Antpool is Jihan Wu’s original mining pool. It provides an array of advanced tools for experienced miners, particularly those who are mining at scale. Sub-account mining to a depth of three levels and anonymous mining are all supported, along with same-day payouts.

A Short History of the World’s Largest Bitcoin Mining Pools

Trivia: Despite being accused of contributing to mining centralization, Bitmain launched Antpool in 2014 with a “commitment to help decentralize the bitcoin network … and put the majority of hashing power into the hands of consumers.”

Viabtc

Founded: 2016

Founder: Yang Haipo

BTC hashrate: 7.8%

Coins mined: BTC, BCH, BSV, LTC, ETH, ZEC, DASH, XMR, DCR

History: Like most mining pools, Viabtc provides a block explorer and wallet. Yet another Chinese pool, Viabtc has since expanded to offer staking services, enabling holders to earn a passive return on their PoS coins.

A Short History of the World’s Largest Bitcoin Mining Pools

Trivia: Viabtc is famed as a major supporter of bigger blocks and in 2016 mined the first Bitcoin Unlimited block. It also proposed the name for Bitcoin Cash.

Slush Pool

Founded: 2010

BTC hashrate: 6.7%

Coins mined: BTC, ZEC

History: As the world’s first mining pool, Slush can trace its history all the way back to November 2010, when it was first proposed under the name Bitcoin Pooled Mining Server. Slush, which began as a one-man operation, has gone on to mine over 1 million BTC.

A Short History of the World’s Largest Bitcoin Mining Pools

Trivia: In March 2018, Slush Pool mined the first BTC block using Asicboost technology.

BTC.top

Founded: 2017

Founder: Jiang Zhuoer

BTC hashrate: 5.6%

Coins mined: BTC, BCH

History: One of the more inscrutable Chinese pools, BTC.top operates as a private mining pool, and as such is off-limits to ordinary miners. While other Chinese pools attempt to translate their services into English, BTC.top doesn’t see the need, making the pool something of an enigma to westerners.

Trivia: In July, BTC.top CEO Jiang Zhuoer debated Craig Wright, calling BSV’s path “extreme” and the concept of locking the protocol back to the original 0.1 version “ridiculous.”

Bitfury

Founded: 2011

Founder: Valery Vavilov

Coins mined: BTC

History: Bitfury is an industrial mining company that created some of the earliest ASICs, and by 2014 was mining in a pool simply known as pool.io. By early June 2014, this pool, about half of whose hashpower came from Bitfury ASICs, controlled more than 51% of the BTC network, prompting the company to remove some of its power from the pool.

Trivia: Bitfury is a widely mistrusted company that has willingly collaborated with law enforcement to deanonymize bitcoin transactions and erode privacy.

Bitcoin.com

Founded: 2016

BTC hashrate: 0.6%

Coins mined: BTC, BCH

History: Bitcoin.com’s mining pool has been operational for three years, having launched on Sept. 21, 2016, with a mandate to push for bigger blocks. From day one, the Bitcoin.com pool could process blocks of up to 16MB, but would only mine 1MB at the time as that was all BTC’s consensus rules would accept. Today. Bitcoin.com offers hardware and cloud mining, with the latter manifesting as contracts ranging from six months to two years. Bitcoin.com provides its own mobile monitoring software, while the Bitcoin.com Wallet is a major product in its own right with over 4.7 million installs.

Trivia: Bitcoin.com mined the first BCH ABC block on Nov. 15, 2018 following the split with SV.

A Short History of the World’s Largest Bitcoin Mining Pools

What are your thoughts on the various mining pools highlighted here? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Blockchain.com


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The post A Short History of the World’s Largest Bitcoin Mining Pools appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Distrust of the Bolivar Prompts Venezuelans to Seek Sound Money

Par Jamie Redman
Venezuelans Don't Trust Their Currency - They Want Something Else, Says Activist

There’s a small team of committed researchers and activists called the Ryver Bitcoin Cash group surveying Venezuelans, and giving them educational resources about the benefits of bitcoin cash. The Venezuelan country has been suffering from rapid inflation and many people distrust the sovereign bolivar. Unfortunately, most Venezuelans are not getting any exposure to digital currency use cases, and according to Ryver’s community manager, Sofia Corona, some people spreading the crypto message are doing it all wrong.

Also Read: Developer Reveals Token Reward Platform Fueled by Bitcoin Cash

88% of Venezuelan Respondents Don’t Trust Their Currency

This week news.Bitcoin.com spoke with Sofia Corona, the community manager of a Ryver Bitcoin Cash group. Sofia lives in Bogata, Colombia and was attracted to the project because “South American countries have a lot of problems.” The Venezuelan people have been dealing with extreme hyperinflation and central planners have destroyed the economy. Sofia joined the group because of the “bad decisions made by governments” and the team’s work is a form of independence for her.

Distrust of the Bolivar Prompts Venezuelans to Seek Sound Money
Sofia and her team members. “Listen to people’s needs, and try to do things with simple terms — [Venezuelans] do not want to know how big BCH blocks are, they want something else besides bad government decisions and bank interest,” Sofia said.
The group has been surveying 100 or more Venezuelan citizens on a weekly basis and asking them all sorts of questions. “I studied in Venezuela and emigrated from there,” Sofia told our newsdesk. “We started the survey because it is the best research strategy and you can share information shoulder to shoulder with the people and face to face.” So far, news.Bitcoin.com has seen two weeks’ worth of survey responses from 100-150 people living in Venezuela and dealing with hyperinflation.

Distrust of the Bolivar Prompts Venezuelans to Seek Sound Money
Survey week one – 100 people. (Right chart) 68% said they do not know of any cryptocurrencies, while 32% felt that they did. (Left chart) 88% of the Venezuelan respondents do not trust the bolivar as a method of savings and investment.

The first week’s survey was comprised of 100 Venezuelan citizens, surveyed by Sofia and the other team leaders Mr. Tank, Jena, and Jorge. The group visited malls and stores with a lot of foot traffic, specifically in Puerto la Cruz, Maturin, Guayana and Venezuela’s gold mining zones. Survey one shows the “participants do not currently rely on the national circulation currency (bolivar) as a method of savings and investment.”

“This situation is caused by high levels of exposure inflation, which causes rapid loss of consumer purchasing power — In the face of this reality Bitcoin Cash emerges as a necessary alternative, at a time when the country opens the doors to the legalization of cryptocurrencies, an option that would allow supporting the wages and economic assets of the citizens of this country,” the report details. Additionally, out of the first 100 people surveyed, 68% did not know of the existence of cryptocurrencies, while 32% felt they did. A staggering 88% of respondents replied that they do not trust the bolivar.

Distrust of the Bolivar Prompts Venezuelans to Seek Sound Money
Sofia and members of the Ryver Bitcoin Cash group surveying Venezuelan residents from Puerto la Cruz, Maturin, and Guayana.

Inflation and Gold Dealers

Sofia remarked that when people explained they did not trust the bolivar, they smiled when asked about it. “Last year the government printed new cash money — This year nobody can use it or accept it because of inflation and low salaries,” she explained. Sofia also spoke about some pictures she shared of Venezuelans waiting as long as six hours to withdraw 20,000 bolivares cash ($0.94). “The banks have limited the people with restricted amounts by day and they do not have enough printed money to deliver to people, so the lines are huge and people waste a lot of time there,” Sofia, said, adding:

They want this money to pay for bus tickets or sell to miners or the mafia — The mafia will pay you 100% value of cash money — Cash money is scarce.

In Venezuela, gold dealers from the mines run rampant in congested areas like shopping centers. Sofia said there are a lot of gold dealers and they are “everywhere and they have the control of the authorities and cash money.” After hearing about the gold dealers, news.Bitcoin.com asked the Ryver group community manager why her team thinks most Venezuelans are not getting exposure to digital currencies.

Distrust of the Bolivar Prompts Venezuelans to Seek Sound Money
Venezuelans in line for hours to use an ATM to withdraw 20,000 bolivares cash ($0.94) on Sep. 12, 2019.

The Wrong Strategy

“The Ryver team thinks that the South American strategies to spread cryptocurrency have been wrong so far,” Sofia insisted. “Some spreaders here act like supreme people or want to share this technology like it’s the first world. We have contacted people and specialists to do some live talk forums or activities with people and they have very high costs to share the message. So we took it upon ourselves to go to the streets and talk with the people.” Sofia further stated:

Many of these specialists want to copy strategies used in first world events in this region and have another heritage. We need to resolve simple problems, not have amazing events or restrict some people because they think different, we need it so people can feel the power in their hands. Do not make people feel like you are the owner of the brand or the message.

Survey Results:#Venezuela

Do you trust in your currency?

Yes= 12%
NO= 88%#BitcoinCashRyver #BCH pic.twitter.com/L7n9A2Ohp1

— Sofia Corona BCH (@VainilaMarket) September 2, 2019

Sofia continued by explaining that people should educate before giving Venezuelans something they don’t know how to use. “Listen to people’s needs, and try to do things with simple terms — They do not want to know how big BCH blocks are, they want something else besides bad government decisions and bank interest.”

“Share the economic freedom and take the lead by providing them with the knowledge to make their own decisions about the money,” the community manager added. “You can share rocket science with people but it no makes sense if you do not teach them how to turn the power on.”

Distrust of the Bolivar Prompts Venezuelans to Seek Sound Money
Survey week two – 150 people. 69% of respondents have had canceled purchases with points of sale, followed by bank transfers canceled representing 16% of respondents. Points of sale are the most efficient option for the population, but the researchers say it is common for platforms to be faulty “due to electrical problems, or inconveniences with the chip.”

Petro Propaganda

Sofia also told our newsdesk about the usage of the Venezuelan government’s Petro network as we’ve heard reports from Sunacrip (the Petro’s regulator) that the state-issued crypto is popular. She says that the positive Petro headlines and stories are only for “promotional” purposes. “Nobody uses the petro and only people close with government use it to skip out on U.S. sanctions — Sunacrip is really only for miners — they have installed crypto point-of-sale (POS) systems around some stores, but the POS only accepts bitcoin, litecoin, and BNB, so if you have petros, you need to exchange that,” Sofia asserted.

Distrust of the Bolivar Prompts Venezuelans to Seek Sound Money
The cryptocurrency known as the petro is “promotional” and not used by the common Venezuelan Sofia opined. “Only people close with government use it to skip out on U.S. sanctions,” she said.

Genuine Ideas and Helping People Take Control of Their Destiny

Sofia has talked to a lot of people and living in Bogota she’s seen refugees from Venezuela crossing the Simon Bolivar International Bridge daily for goods and services. The community manager said the team is also aware of other projects in Venezuela like nonprofit food drive @eatbch_VE. “They [@eatbch] are a genuine idea and supporters of BCH and we like that we can share their actions, the people need food to think, and to be educated to make their own decisions,” Sofia said.

Following a long discussion with Sofia, she explained what drives her to do what she does. “I believe that we can do something to help the people that have their families far away,” Sofia concluded. “I believe that we can try to build a new way to do things, I believe that the people can take the lead of their destiny, and I will try to help them.”

What do you think about what the Ryver Bitcoin Cash group is doing and Sofia’s efforts? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Image credits: Sofia Corona, the Ryver Bitcoin Cash group, Twitter, and Pixabay.


Venezuela.bitcoin.com is also making strides in Caracas, Maracaibo, and throughout the rest of the Latin American country by bolstering Bitcoin Cash merchant adoption in Venezuela.

The post Distrust of the Bolivar Prompts Venezuelans to Seek Sound Money appeared first on Bitcoin News.

How Prime Brokerage Will Affect Crypto Markets

Par Kai Sedgwick
How Prime Brokerage Will Affect Crypto Markets

Prime brokerage firms are coming for crypto in what’s likely to be a race of winner-takes-almost-all. Goldman Sachs is synonymous with institutional wealth and power, even to those who’ve never purchased a financial product in their life. Like the eponymous tower it occupies in Jersey City, Goldman Sachs dominates the prime brokerage trade. What will happen when crypto gains its own Goldman Sachs – an institutional investment company whose AUM grant it unprecedented sway?

Also read: Crypto Facilitates Money Transfer for Restricted China

Prime Brokerage Is Coming for Crypto

Prime brokerage is a term that’s synonymous with financial markets, but never with crypto. Used to describe the sort of bundled services that investment banks offer, it has little application to the cryptosphere, because there are no bitcoin investment banks. At least not in the traditional sense. For all its innovation, however, crypto has a habit of borrowing from the world it was meant to have deviated from. Think custodial services for cold storage of digital assets, which evoke banks with their dusty vaults and safety deposit boxes; or consider annualized interest from defi platforms that mirrors that once offered by personal savings accounts. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

It should come as no surprise, therefore, to learn that HNW individuals will soon have their own all-in-one firms willing to manage their wealth across a range of verticals, altcoins, blockchains, and sectors. If you’re willing to trust a third party to custody your crypto – as many investors are – you might as well trust them to invest your assets into the bargain, putting them to use in a manner that will generate the best return. It’s a world away from the financially sovereign one that Satoshi and Hal Finney envisaged, but then a lot has changed in Bitcoin in a decade.

How Prime Brokerage Will Affect Crypto Markets
Goldman Sachs Tower, Jersey City (left).

The Quest to Become the Goldman Sachs of Crypto

Troy Trade is one company eyeing the lucrative prime brokerage market, with the sort of all-in-one service that will be familiar to traditional investors: institutional-grade trading, including margin and OTC, together with quant strategies, and a suite of dynamic data tools. Having secured $10 million in funding from the likes of Block VC and Consensus Labs, Troy is now promising institutional investors direct market access to all tier-one exchanges such as Binance, Huobi, and Bitfinex.

Newcomers such as Troy will face competition from several of the same exchanges whose liquidity they’re tapping into. In the last two years, virtually every major U.S. and global exchange has courted institutional investors through laying on services such as custody and OTC, and slashing trading fees for high volume traders. Binance and Huobi have made significant headway in provisioning turnkey services tailored to the needs of institutional investors, but have struggled to shed their reputation as retail trading venues. It’s one thing to offer a suite of services under one roof; it’s another to successfully be all things to all people simultaneously, as the needs of distinct investor groups are very different.

How Prime Brokerage Will Affect Crypto Markets

What Institutional Investors Are Looking For

In crypto, as in traditional finance, institutional investors are seeking certain provisions before they’ll bring their money, and that of their clients, to the table. These include:

  • Deep liquidity
  • Advanced trading interface
  • Sophisticated data analytics
  • High speed order execution
  • Competitive rates and trading fees
  • Wide range of quantitative solutions

This latter caveat is particularly important, as institutional traders demand more comprehensive and sophisticated datasets from which to base their trading decisions. This includes detailed historical data, plus tools to facilitate the construction of proprietary trading systems. In addition, low latency, to maximize the performance of high frequency trading algorithms, is a must.

Looking around the cryptosphere, there aren’t many companies that can meet these sorts of demands. When reputable exchanges such as Kraken are experiencing $4,000 wicks, like the example below, it’s safe to say that institutional-grade liquidity still isn’t there, or at the very least, it’s beyond the reach of any single exchange right now.

Holy shit at Kraken.
This is the biggest holy cross yet.
Wick from $8000 – $12000 pic.twitter.com/xHoji6PWHx

— Squeeze (@cryptoSqueeze) September 14, 2019

Candles of this extremity are unusual, it’s true, but their very existence shows that the cryptosphere still has work to do before it can open for business to the big boys. Combining the liquidity of multiple exchanges, as brokerage services such as Troy Trade, Tagomi, and Caspian are doing, is a start, but institutional demands run deeper. What they’re really seeking is a prime broker they can trust, and that’s something which can’t be bought or acquired by plugging in to the trust of others. It will take time and flawless service for any of the emerging institutional brokers to become crypto’s own Goldman Sachs. Until then, expect to see intense competition among crypto brokers and established exchanges to woo Wall Street.

How Prime Brokerage Will Affect Crypto Markets

What Prime Brokerage Will Do for Crypto

The rise of prime brokerage firms may be good for institutional investors, but what will it mean for the rest of the market?

Lower volatility: When Cboe and CME launched BTC futures in late 2017, the talk was of big money “taming” bitcoin, but as history has shown, bitcoin doesn’t like being told what to do. As more money enters the market from institutional coffers, some of the intra-day moves should be flattened out, but lower volatility should not be mistaken for low volatility. This bronco will still buck.

Greater protection: Bitcoin, to all practical intents and purposes, cannot be killed. As such, it doesn’t need institutional investors to park their wealth in it to prevent the U.S. government from overregulating it. That said, the deeper crypto roots itself into the financial system, the harder it will be to weed out. By the time it’s a trillion-dollar asset class, the Federal Reserve and the IMF can bump their gums all they like – crypto won’t be going anywhere.

New products: Why trade an asset when you can trade derivatives of it, gaining exposure without the risk of custody? It won’t be retail investors who drive the innovation of new synthetic instruments for trading BTC, ETH, BCH, and other leading assets. The demand for new crypto derivatives will come from institutional investors, and as synthetic assets catch on, more money will flow into crypto. At the moment, there are limits on what you can do with bitcoin as an institutional investor, save for going long or short and playing around with leverage. Expect more levers to be added in future, and more complexity added, for the benefit of sophisticated traders with an appetite for such things.

For retail investors seeking a means to buy and sell cryptocurrency, platforms such as exchange.Bitcoin.com are more than up to the task. Institutional investors, however, tend to demand more bespoke solutions. For these entities, prime brokerages are the answer. The question is, which broker will be the first to step up and claim that crown?

Do you think the arrival of more institutional money will be good for the crypto market? Will there be any downsides to greater institutional participation? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


You can now purchase bitcoin without visiting a cryptocurrency exchange. Buy BTC and BCH directly from our trusted seller and, if you need a bitcoin wallet to securely store it, you can download one from us here.

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Nature Abhors a Vacuum: Why Trump’s Proposed Negative Rates Bode Well for Bitcoin

Par Graham Smith
Nature Abhors a Vacuum - Why Trump's Proposed Negative Rates Bode Well for Bitcoin

In a recent tweet, U.S. president Donald Trump delved into an explosive, all-caps-loaded mini-rant about the necessity of getting “interest rates down to ZERO, or less.” The bombastic politician stressed the need for America to refinance its debt, trailing off with some superficially conservative speak about the U.S. and its “great currency, power, and balance sheet,” and calling the Fed “boneheads” for refusing to inflate credit bubbles further. Sycophantic support of the leader aside, negative interest rate policies (NIRP) are slowly but surely gaining prominence worldwide, setting everyone up for a fall that can only be solved by sound money and sound economic principle.

Also Read: Market Outlook: Uncertainty Builds With Thin Trade Volumes and Bitcoin Futures Launch

Pretty Vacant

As the popular idiom goes, talk is cheap and lies are expensive. When it comes to national interest rate policies worldwide, the story is the same. While slashing rates may create short-term growth in a given economy, the long-term effect is to inflate credit bubbles which ultimately have to burst if not paid for. With the U.S. national debt currently sitting at over $22.5 trillion, it’s hard to imagine anything being paid up on. Ever.

While Trump’s tweet is worded to please the ears of an openly conservative-identifying support base, the underlying implications of what is being suggested are about as “conservative” as deciding to spend one’s entire paycheck at the strip club, and then selling plasma to fund a Maoist commune of unemployed California college hippie kids, all in order to receive their moral support later for help paying one’s bills.

Nature Abhors a Vacuum: Why Trump's Proposed Negative Rates Bode Well for Bitcoin
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso grin happily at a meeting of the IMF and World Bank in Washington D.C., in April.

NIRP policies are racking the world with more debt than ever recently, and while the flowery talk may sound pretty, it’s the common individual who always eats the dirt. Take Japan, for example. The current consumption tax was set to 8% in April, 2014. Next month, on October 1, it will jump to 10%. This is spite of the Bank of Japan’s (BOJ) current quantitative easing-friendly (QE) national interest rate of -0.1%. As Investopedia’s Sean Ross accurately surmises:

Wherever they have been tried, chronically low-interest rates and huge monetary expansions have failed to promote real economic growth. Quantitative easing (QE) did not achieve its stated objectives in the United States or the European Union (EU), and chronic low-interest rates have been unable to revive Japan’s once-thriving economy.

To deal with the hike and mask the downward spiral into recession, some Japanese businesses are simply changing price displays to not include tax, in a desperate bid to soften the perceived impact of the gutting.

Nature Abhors a Vacuum: Why Trump's Proposed Negative Rates Bode Well for Bitcoin

Denmark and the 2008 U.S. Housing Crisis

As news.Bitcoin.com has reported previously, negative interest rates in Europe are “saving” local economies and value holders to the tune of more debt, illiquidity, and negative yielding bonds. Taking out loans for housing is now very cheap in Denmark, with some mortgage financing even dipping into the negative territory. Thanks to the fact that borrowing has never been cheaper, Danes are expected to take out more and more loans. For Americans and others familiar with the housing crisis and collapse of 2007-08, all of this sounds eerily familiar.

Prior to the U.S. housing crisis and ensuing global recession, the American government was — as per Trump’s current prescription — slashing interest rates. The federal funds rate was lowered from 6.5% to 1.75% in December 2001, and the liquidity that followed attracted borrowers without adequate income or assets to seek out low-quality loans. Lenders and banks were happy to oblige.

Nature Abhors a Vacuum: Why Trump's Proposed Negative Rates Bode Well for Bitcoin
Interest rates in the U.S. are experiencing a continuing downward trend.

House prices shot up thanks to the new money on the market, and by June 2003 the interest rate was cut further to 1%, which was the lowest in 45 years. Sub-prime loans were then being repackaged and sold to investors as collateralized debt, and when people began to default, the whole house of cards imploded. The government’s solution? Just print hundreds of billions of dollars to buy the bad loans, further devaluing the U.S. dollar and increasing the national debt. For those with eyes to see, this is all a game being played with Monopoly money, where the banker can simply create more cash willy-nilly at any time. Trump may call bitcoin a “thin air” currency, but the truth is that his beloved USD is the real vapid scam being pushed here.

Nature Abhors a Vacuum: Why Trump's Proposed Negative Rates Bode Well for Bitcoin

Nature Abhors a Vacuum – Sound Money As a Hedge

These days, more and more investors are talking about hedging against a global liquidity crisis with crypto and gold. The foundational reasons are fairly simple: both assets are limited (supply and demand dynamics thus protect against inflation), and both assets can be controlled privately, without the approval of third parties like governments or major banks. This is in stark contrast to the fiat model, where money is created arbitrarily, and the supply adjusted by self-interested third parties with little to no incentive to serve the currency’s larger userbase.

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) recently released a letter to the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) on September 12, announcing they are “self-certifying an increase of the spot month position limits for the Bitcoin Futures contract (the “Contract”), commencing with the October 2019 contract month and beyond.”

Intercontinental Exchange’s (ICE) Bakkt has announced they will launch daily and monthly bitcoin futures on September 23.

Bakkt Warehouse custody is live.

Now accepting customer bitcoin deposits and withdrawals. Only 17 days until the Bakkt Daily and Monthly Futures contracts launch on Sep 23.

— Bakkt (@Bakkt) September 6, 2019

For the everyday investor not interested in high-falutin, leveraged futures as a hedge, simply holding and investing in gold and bitcoin serves the same basic purpose, and often with less risk. In today’s volatile economic climate where major governments — even in traditionally anti-negative interest, Five Eyes Alliance (FVEY) countries — are chopping rates like there’s no tomorrow, an action as simple as holding sound money quietly is a move that could potentially save much financial heartache down the road.

Japan, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, and major banks like the European Central Bank and UBS are already employing negative rates. Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. are experimenting with slashing rates consistently. President Trump’s wild proclamation that this is just what the doctor ordered comes at a time of worldwide skepticism, when more and more individuals are waking up to the fact that no matter how much money is printed, resources are limited, and supply and demand is a reality that must be faced.

Should the vacuum seal of negative rates and Keynesian QE crack, rest assured that the oxygen of free market principles and sound money will rush in to fill the gaps immediately, but there may not be enough to go around. In this light, Trump’s call for more credit can be seen as a call to individuals worldwide to invest in sound money as soon as possible, and with importunity.

What are your thoughts on Trump’s tweet? Let us know in the comments section below.

Op-ed disclaimer: This is an Op-ed article. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the Op-ed article. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the content. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any information in this Op-ed article.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Fair Use.


You can now purchase Bitcoin without visiting a cryptocurrency exchange. Buy BTC and BCH directly from our trusted seller and, if you need a Bitcoin wallet to securely store it, you can download one from us here.

 

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Crypto Facilitates Money Transfer for Restricted China

Par Graham Smith
Crypto Facilitates Money Transfer for Restricted China

Crypto is not illegal in China, but it is illegal for banks and financial institutions to deal in crypto. It’s also illegal for nationals to send over $50,000 in fiat money in a day, without government permission. Restrictive banking regulations, international trade wars, and a surveillance state in the midst of political unrest mean that transferring money can be difficult. In spite of bitcoin’s somewhat precarious legal standing, Chinese are nonetheless finding a ready avenue of non-draconian, free market exchange using crypto channels to prosper even in the face of economic oppression.

Also Read: Local.Bitcoin.com Gathers 56K Accounts and $200M Worth of Trades Initiated

The State of Crypto in China

Since a series of government bans in 2017, there’s been a lot of debate and misunderstanding as to the actual nature of crypto regulation in China. The long and short of it is that crypto is not illegal, per se, but is viewed as property under Chinese law. ICOs, non-OTC exchange of crypto, and brokerage services involving cryptocurrencies are all illegal. Basically, any transaction directly connecting government fiat like the yuan, and cryptocurrencies, is off-limits. Banks may not deal with bitcoin, and exchanges cannot facilitate the purchase or selling thereof. As for mining, a proposal to ban the activity was made in April, but hard action in this area has not been taken.

In spite of all this, the legal gray area of OTC trading is still alive and well, facilitated largely via offshore exchanges, VPNs, and stablecoins like Tether’s USDT. Some large, since-relocated exchanges like Huobi, continue to make trading possible by functioning as OTC fronts, with messaging and payment apps like Wechat being used to facilitate settlement after traders are connected via the Huobi platform. As China continues to crackdown on secure, decentralized digital assets, the state is also preparing to launch its own centralized asset, a kind of digital yuan, very soon.

Crypto Facilitates Money Transfer for China

Other Financial Restrictions

Not only are crypto transactions heavily regulated in the economic powerhouse, Communist nation, but fiat transactions as well. Chinese nationals are prohibited from international transfers of over $50,000 per day without special permission. Some have found a way around this by simply making numerous smaller transfers with several different parties assisting in the process. Unofficial brokerage firms also employ this method. Expats living in China have no such monetary amount limitations technically, but must prove that their income is legal before making transfers, which can be a cumbersome and sometimes impossible task. According to Josh Summers at travelchinacheaper.com:

For those who want to transfer money out of China, there are quite a few more regulatory hoops you’ll need to jump through … Even if you’ve paid all the necessary taxes, it’s common for people to run into roadblocks at the bank.

Crypto Facilitates Money Transfer for Restricted China
Users of Local.Bitcoin.com in China use the peer-to-peer platform to trade crypto and fiat without government restriction.

Circumventing Transfer Limits and Regulations With Crypto

The sea of murky, potentially prison-sentence inducing regulations still isn’t enough to deter users of crypto and advocates of economic freedom. Bitcoin is just too convenient where nation states are sluggish and incompetent. Overseas exchanges can still be accessed using VPNs, and though the Chinese government is cracking down in this area as well, use continues. In fact, the use of VPNs must be allowed for major corporations to do business in the restrictive cyber atmosphere of China’s “Great Firewall.” Even the iron-fisted People’s Bank of China (PBOC) knows this, and won’t starve the economy with such impositions. According to one local source:

Whether or not it is legal or illegal to use a VPN in China is a very grey area, and the government deliberately make it so … many businesses in China need VPN.

Chinese residents can also use a VPN to access peer-to-peer, OTC trading sites like Local.Bitcoin.com and exercise economic autonomy freely, buying and selling BCH and fiat currencies via a large array of diverse payment channels. Trade volume on sites like localbitcoins.com remains steady as well, proving that regardless of government restriction, crypto, like nature, will find a way.

Crypto Facilitates Money Transfer for Restricted China

The Tether Pipeline

Stablecoin Tether (USDT), with a market cap that just recently surpassed $4 billion, is the dominant crypto tool utilized these days by major Chinese traders. Tether Holdings has also launched a Chinese yuan stablecoin called the CNHT. While some question the wisdom of competing with the Communist giant in the field of currency issuance, others are supportive of the effort, thanks to the liquidity and relative stability the USDT stablecoin is already providing. Of course, still others are more concerned that pegging anything to a tanking world reserve USD, which has been steadily devaluing for well over a century, is not a good idea.

This notwithstanding, USDT is still a superhighway currently for getting around restrictive government regulations. Crypto network data provider Coin Metrics reported that in July USDT accounted for 40% and 80% of transactions on Binance and Huobi, respectively, according to reports. Should the dollar finally meet its demise in the face of expanding negative interest rate policy worldwide, and unremitting irresponsible fiscal policy, however, it will be the true free market, decentralized options that remain.

Crypto Facilitates Money Transfer for Restricted China

Tech Brings Free Market Solutions

For those who call the vast country of China home, and who appreciate its diverse beauty and culture outside of the foul taste of government meddling, leaving the country to pursue financial freedom may not be a desirable option. Thankfully, technological innovation has made much of the antiquated and force-based practices of legacy finance obsolete. Utilizing tools like VPNs, chat apps, legal gray areas, and emergent crypto transfer protocols, even as governments continue to restrict freedoms, crypto finance expands and affords users natural solutions. The momentous deluge of a powerful river can’t be stopped by an ad hoc network of sticks, or a sign reading “no water.” In this same way, crypto continues to flow above, under, and around unnatural barriers, worldwide.

What are your thoughts on the financial climate in China? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, fair use.


Did you know you can buy and sell BCH privately using our noncustodial, peer-to-peer Local Bitcoin Cash trading platform? The Local.Bitcoin.com marketplace has thousands of participants from all around the world trading BCH right now. And if you need a bitcoin wallet to securely store your coins, you can download one from us here.

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Local.Bitcoin.com Gathers 56K Accounts and $200M Worth of Trades Initiated

Par Bitcoin.com
Local.Bitcoin.com Gathers 56K Accounts and $200M Worth of Trades Initiated

Three months ago, Bitcoin.com launched its over-the-counter BCH marketplace on June 4. Since then, Local.Bitcoin.com has aggregated more than 56,000 accounts, gathering traders from all over the world executing thousands of BCH trade offers.

Also Read: Plans to Build $50M Bitcoin Cash Tech Park Revealed

56,000 Local.Bitcoin.com Accounts and Growing

Since launch the peer-to-peer marketplace Local.Bitcoin.com has seen steady growth when it comes to registered accounts and liquidity. At the time of publication, the noncustodial trading platform has more than 56,000 accounts stemming from cities and towns all around the world. Some of the most popular Local.Bitcoin.com trading regions include the U.S., China, Venezuela, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, and various countries throughout Europe. Since the launch on June 4, accounts that have successfully traded have risen to 2,612% as of Sep. 12, 2019. The number of active offers continues to rise and the marketplace has seen an 8.7% increase since the marketplace launch. Global trade volume on Local.Bitcoin.com has expanded by 2,917% over the three months as well.

Since June 4, 2019, Local.Bitcoin.com trade volume has increased by 2,917%.

This month new accounts have been coming from Russia, Venezuela, the U.S., Canada, and Great Britain. The local fiat currencies tied to these regions are some of the top currencies traded for, or used to sell, BCH every day. Other popular domestic currencies traded on the peer-to-peer marketplace include CNY, EUR, INR, NGN.

Since the inception of Local.Bitcoin.com, there have been $200 million trades initiated.

There are a lot of traders with diverse methods of exchange as many active traders choose to use payment transfers through banks and Paypal, while you can also find lots of traders utilizing in-person cash trades. Other prevalent methods of trade include cash deposits, Western Union, Money Gram, gift cards and Venmo. Users can set up active trades for other cryptocurrencies and stablecoins and even trade BTC for BCH through Square’s Cash app, as well.

Sign Up Today and Check Out the Benefits of Over-the-Counter Trading

If you haven’t yet, the process to sign up for Local.Bitcoin.com takes less than a minute. After getting an account you can access a BCH marketplace that fosters privacy with encrypted communications and over-the-counter traders in nearly every region. You can immediately create offers or trades on Local.Bitcoin.com in no time at all. The exchange is protected by two-factor authentication, a wallet backup, and a blind escrow system for secure trading. The blind escrow allows people to trade without worrying about a third party or even Bitcoin.com touching the funds. You release the funds when you want to settle a trade and it’s technically impossible for our website to spend BCH held in escrow. Local.Bitcoin.com can provide mediation for dispute resolution but the blind escrow system ensures only the buyer or seller authorizes a withdrawal.

There are many benefits to using an OTC marketplace like Local.Bitcoin.com and one of the most important to a lot of people is that it’s a private way to purchase bitcoin cash. Another reason to use our BCH trading platform is that it offers a large variety of payment methods and more so than the traditional crypto exchange today. For instance, some exchanges will let you purchase crypto through your bank or a credit card but that’s about it. Local.Bitcoin.com has a variety of payment options to choose from and traders can use any payment route they desire. Another unique attribute of Local.Bitcoin.com is that it’s available in hundreds of countries and in some global regions, it’s the only avenue people have to purchase bitcoin cash.

Peer-to-peer trading platforms can offer better arbitrage opportunities than traditional exchanges as well. Arbitrage is an approach to buying bitcoin cash at cheaper OTC rates and then selling the BCH later when the price is a few percentages higher. Essentially, at Local.Bitcoin.com, you make the rules as to how you want to trade, and you can always rest assured you’re in control of your money with our professional noncustodial services.

What do you think about Local.Bitcoin.com? Have you signed up for our peer-to-peer trading platform yet? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, and Local.Bitcoin.com


How could our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool help you? Use the handy Bitcoin address search bar to track down transactions on both the BCH and BTC blockchain and, for even more industry insights, visit our in-depth Bitcoin Charts.

The post Local.Bitcoin.com Gathers 56K Accounts and $200M Worth of Trades Initiated appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Big Banks Won’t Touch Crypto Clients – But These Smaller Banks Will

Par Lubomir Tassev
Catering to Crypto Clients, Small Banks Embrace an Opportunity Big Players Are Missing Out On

Cryptocurrencies undoubtedly bring new business opportunities. The expanding industry around digital assets and its customers need more and more services that traditional sectors can provide. Banking is often a bottleneck in the crypto space as most traditional institutions are still reluctant to get their feet wet. Smaller banks, however, are more willing to occupy this niche and reap the rewards.

Also read: Crypto Banking Expands With Positive Interest Rates and New Services

Aiming for a Reward That Justifies the Effort

Navigating the regulatory maze, in the midst of which most crypto companies operate these days, is not easy. Organizations from other industries which work with crypto firms have to deal with the same obstacles. It’s often hard to do business and make a profit. But the current situation also creates opportunities, for there’s a margin to be made in this kind of environment. And it’s usually the small, young and hungry businesses that accept the challenge, hoping that the reward will justify the risks and efforts.

Most big banks have been shying away from the cryptosphere, be it because of the regulatory uncertainty, the volatile nature of the market, or maybe they just see a threat to their good old ways of banking. But small-size financial institutions and representatives of the nascent fintech industry cannot afford to be so shy. In the fast-moving cryptoconomy, every opportunity the growing sector offers is worth exploring and exploiting.

Big Banks Won't Touch Crypto Clients – But These Smaller Banks Will

The case of the German WEG Bank illustrates this very well and shows that banks and crypto companies can cooperate in a mutually beneficial way. In the summer of 2018, as part of a partnership deal, the crypto payment provider Tokenpay Swiss AG acquired a 9.9% stake in the bank with plans to increase its share in the future. And this spring, Nimiq, a provider of browser-based payment solutions, also bought 9.9% in WEG Bank. The two now work on a crypto-fiat product called Nimiq Oasis.

A Bridge Between Two Financial Worlds

WEG Bank is now promoting itself as an institution that bridges the gap between traditional banking and digital currencies. According to an announcement posted on Twitter, it has recently secured “full access to a crypto trading and custody license in Estonia.” The bank noted that it’s also applying for a securities trading and custody license in Germany. The licensed Estonian vehicle, WEG Bank later clarified, is WEG Blocklink OÜ, which is its sister company that will act as a servicer to WEG Bank AG.

Estonia has been a leading force in Europe when it comes to creating a favorable business climate for crypto companies. However, it’s been reported that authorities in Tallinn have started tightening some of the rules applicable to the sector. The new regulations oblige locally registered entities to keep their headquarters in the jurisdiction, while foreign companies are required to maintain an office in the Baltic country.

Fiat Products Backed With Crypto Assets

Having crypto companies among stakeholders is not a mandatory prerequisite to being a crypto-friendly financial institution. Since the launch of its crypto business six years ago, San Diego-headquartered Silvergate Bank has established itself as one of the few banks in the United States that is readily providing services to the digital asset industry. It serves more than 500 entities dealing with cryptocurrencies.

Silvergate has announced its intentions to offer loans collateralized with cryptocurrency. In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the lender describes its Silvergate Exchange Network (SEN) and explains that “an exchange client could hold the digital currency collateral, we could use the SEN to initially fund the loan from our balance sheet, and in the event of a collateral deficiency, we could immediately sell the digital currency collateral through our exchange client and use the SEN to bring the resulting funds back to our balance sheet.” Further elaborating, the bank points out:

We believe there may be attractive opportunities to provide digital currency borrowing facilities to deepen our high quality customer relationships and further enhance our interest income.

Other crypto-friendly banks operating in the United States include New York-based Quontic, which is now providing services to crypto companies in its strictly regulated jurisdiction. Elsewhere in the U.S., businesses from the industry can manage their finances with the help of institutions like Simple Bank and Ally Bank. In Europe, corporate and private clients can rely on the banking services provided by a new generation of online and mobile banks such as Revolut, Wirex, Bankera, and Bitwala.

Fintech startups have immensely helped the expansion of crypto banking. Their platforms turn your smartphone into a bank office or a crypto exchange, challenging the traditional understanding of what banks should look like. They are willing to experiment and cater to the needs of crypto businesses and users. In the face of this competition, large financial institutions have yet to integrate digital assets into their business models and strategies.

Big Banks Won't Touch Crypto Clients – But These Smaller Banks Will

Banks working with cryptocurrencies and companies specializing in crypto-related banking are likely to see more regulatory clarity in the future with the adoption of comprehensive national legal frameworks. Along with Estonia, Malta, Gibraltar, and Switzerland form a group of nations where crypto businesses can operate in a friendly regulatory environment. For example, financial authorities in Switzerland recently licensed two companies, SEBA Crypto AG and Sygnum AG, to serve as banking institutions for the country’s growing crypto industry.

And under increasing pressure, old Swiss banks like Zurich-based Maerki Baumann are turning towards the crypto market. “We suddenly had 400 people wanting to talk with us. And they were exactly the kind of people we had been struggling to access for 10 years with traditional private banking offerings,” CEO Stephan Zwahlen told Swissinfo last month. “We found that they were typically between 30 to 40 years old, very well educated and with an entrepreneurial mindset,” he added, speaking about how his bank found an alternative revenue source in the Swiss crypto sector.

Expanding banking services are sure to attract more investors and users. If you are looking to safely and securely enter the crypto space, you can do so by purchasing bitcoin cash (BCH) and other major coins with a credit card at buy.Bitcoin.com. You can also freely trade your cryptocurrencies on our noncustodial, peer-to-peer marketplace local.Bitcoin.com, which already has thousands of users around the world. Also, check out our newly launched premier trading platform exchange.Bitcoin.com. Registered users can access it right now.

Do you expect to see large banks offering services to clients dealing with cryptocurrency in the future? Tell us in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Do you need a reliable bitcoin mobile wallet to send, receive, and store your coins? Download one for free from us and then head to our Purchase Bitcoin page where you can quickly buy bitcoin with a credit card.

The post Big Banks Won’t Touch Crypto Clients – But These Smaller Banks Will appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Review: Coinfinity’s Card Wallet Provides Tamper-Proof Cold Storage

Par Kai Sedgwick
Review: Coinfinity’s Card Wallet Will Securely Store Your Crypto Offline

Outside of exchanges, few cryptocurrency industries are as prosperous as custody. At this stage in Bitcoin’s lifespan, trading crypto and storing crypto appear to be the most popular use cases for crypto – in that order. As a result, a thriving aftermarket for crypto storage solutions has sprung up, both custodial and non-custodial, hot and cold, online and offline. Card Wallet from Coinfinity is the latest product to enter the fray, providing a secure way for storing BTC and ETH offline.

Also read: Developer Reveals Token Reward Platform Fueled by Bitcoin Cash

Cold Storage Is Hot Right Now

As the dangers of storing funds online in custodial wallets and exchanges have been emphasized through a plethora of hacks and exit scams, the cold storage business has boomed. From hardware wallets resembling fancy thumb drives to devices disguised as calculators and credit cards, the range of ways to self-custody digital assets seems endless. The simply named Card Wallet by Coinfinity does exactly what it sounds like. On the surface, this plastic card looks like an extremely low-tech way to store bitcoin core or ether, but its unprepossessing exterior is deceptive. Peer a little closer at the credit card-shaped wallet and you’ll notice some interesting details.

Review: Coinfinity’s Card Wallet Provides Tamper-Proof Cold Storage
The Coin Wallet arrives inside a slender cardboard sleeve.

There are all kinds of anti-counterfeiting measures at play on the Card Wallet’s service, including microprinting and continuous color gradient techniques, giving it a look more akin to cash. The banknote-based design makes sense once you learn that Coinfinity – Austria’s first Bitcoin company – developed this device in conjunction with the Austrian State Printing House. They’re best known for printing passports, a skill they’ve refined over the course of 200 years, and thus know a thing or two about anti-counterfeiting.

Forgery-Proof Crypto Storage

The notion of forgery sounds strange in a crypto context. After all, bitcoins are impossible to falsify. The reason why the Austrian State Printing House has gone to town on the anti-forgery techniques they’ve used is to prevent fake cards from entering circulation and to provide guarantees that the private key, which was generated offline, remains offline. The private key for the cryptocurrency address printed on the card is concealed beneath a hologram on the back. It’s accompanied by a warning not to scratch this area – not even a little, just to test it – as to do so would be to risk the security of your funds. The Card Wallet is basically a modern version of the Casascius physical bitcoins that have become collector’s items today.

Review: Coinfinity’s Card Wallet Provides Tamper-Proof Cold Storage
Save for the wallet address printed across the center, the BTC and ETH wallets look identical.

The code printed beneath the Card Wallet’s seal can be thought of as Schrödinger’s key: until the moment it is observed through scratching off the protective covering, it effectively doesn’t exist. The manufacturer has no record of it. As a result, you can send funds to the address printed on the front of the card, but you can’t retrieve them until you reveal that seal, and doing so will essentially penalize you to the tune of the $67 the Card Wallet retails for. Think of it as an extremely high BTC network fee, and use it as an incentive not to dip into the funds stored on the card, save for an emergency.

Of course, technically nothing is stored on the card: it simply holds the secret code needed to send the bitcoin from the address in which it is currently locked on the BTC network to a new address on the network. To all intents and purposes, though, Card Wallet might as well physically hold those coins, since without it to hand, you’ll never be able to move those coins again.

Testing the Card Wallet

Unlike a hardware wallet, there’s nothing to power up or plug in here, but that doesn’t mean that testing the Card Wallet is an entirely analog experience. There is, after all, the QR code printed on the wallet, which, when scanned, reads the BTC address printed along the center. In testing, I scan the code using the Bitcoin.com Wallet and am prompted to select the amount of BTC I wish to send. When I drag the slider, the funds are released and that’s it: the first satoshis prepare to wing their way to my Card Wallet.

When the time comes to move or sell that bitcoin, I will remove the security seal and import the private key that’s revealed underneath into a noncustodial wallet such as Electrum. In theory, you could continue to use the wallet address securely, even with the seal scratched off, provided you destroyed the exposed private key. There would be little advantage to doing so, however, and it makes sense to view the wallet as compromised once the key has been revealed.

Review: Coinfinity’s Card Wallet Provides Tamper-Proof Cold Storage

On the reverse of the card, there’s another QR code that can be scanned, marked Chainlockcode (CLC). This requires installation of a dedicated mobile app, which will display the balance of the card – and of any other Card Wallets you wish to integrate into it – allowing you to manage all your cards within one app without revealing their private keys. Most people are unlikely to need this, since typing the wallet address into a block explorer achieves the same result, but if you’re a serial Card Wallet collector, it might prove useful

Alternative Cold Storage Solutions

While Coinfinity doesn’t support BCH at this time, bitcoin cash holders have the option of generating their own paper wallets, which can be printed at home. This theoretically provides the same security guarantees, and with the wallet folded and sealed correctly, it is effectively tamper-proof, albeit without the same allure as Card Wallet’s impressive shiny hologram. Cold storing cryptocurrency isn’t about showing off, however, and the winning wallet is the one that keeps your funds the safest.

Review: Coinfinity’s Card Wallet Provides Tamper-Proof Cold Storage

Some bitcoiners will balk at paying $67, in the Card Wallet, for a cold storage solution they could roughly replicate at home for the cost of a sheet of printer paper. Others will appreciate the imperviousness of the Coinfinity card, its convenient credit card shape, and its superior tamper-proof seal. As such, its value is really in the eyes of the beholder. For the same price you could pick up a basic hardware wallet, which will allow you to send, receive, and store a range of cryptocurrencies. That said, there’s something magical about the seal on the Coinfinity that challenges you not to sully it, but rather to sporadically send funds to it, building up your nest egg over time.

What are your thoughts on Coinfinity’s Card Wallet – would you use it? Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: Bitcoin.com does not endorse or support claims made by any parties in this article. None of the information in this article is intended as investment advice, as an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or as a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship of any products, services, or companies. Neither Bitcoin.com nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

Do you need a reliable bitcoin mobile wallet to send, receive, and store your coins? Download one for free from us and then head to our Purchase Bitcoin page where you can quickly buy bitcoin with a credit card.

The post Review: Coinfinity’s Card Wallet Provides Tamper-Proof Cold Storage appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Developer Reveals Token Reward Platform Fueled by Bitcoin Cash

Par Jamie Redman
Developer Reveals a Token Reward Platform Fueled by Bitcoin Cash

There’s a new crypto platform called Honeypoints that just released for beta testing on Apple’s Testflight. The digital currency application created by two former Bitcoin.com employees aims to fuel merchant adoption with loyalty rewards. The Honeypoints app is meant to stimulate retail acceptance by rewarding customers with unique crypto tokens when they make a purchase or show loyalty.

Also Read: SLP Developers Publish Specs for a Unique Type of Non-Fungible Tokens

Honeypoints: An SLP Token Reward Platform Built on the Bitcoin Cash Network

Last week at the Try Swift conference in New York, former Bitcoin.com software engineer Jean-Baptiste Dominguez unveiled a new crypto-based rewards application powered by the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) chain called Honeypoints. The latest SLP project was also designed by Bitcoin.com’s former developer Alfonso Rocha, and both cofounders aim to “make cryptocurrencies available to everyone.” The new application is currently in beta for iOS devices and the Honeypoints team plans to launch worldwide on Sep. 30. Basically, the Honeypoints platform acts as a crypto wallet that allows users to store BCH and Simple Ledger Protocol (SLP) tokens. But the application’s main feature allows anyone to construct a loyalty program that rewards patronage with SLP token rewards. At the Try Swift conference, attendees got their first glimpse of the powerful SLP protocol combined with BCH and Dominguez told the audience how retailers and brands can create Honeypoint reward programs.

“We empower businesses and individuals to retain their customers through a crypto-currency reward token — Coming soon,” the honeypoints.cash website reads.

Developer Reveals Token Reward Platform Fueled by Bitcoin Cash

After creating a custom Honeypoints card system merchants can reward crypto tokens to customers who make purchases in-store or online. Retailers and brands could also reward patrons who share social media posts on Twitter, handle a specified task, and even be rewarded for simply visiting a website. Dominguez and the Honeypoints team hopes to see the SLP token system mature greatly with tokenization bringing the same value to the table as it did with Ethereum. While demonstrating the new platform, Dominguez told the Try Swift attendees that “you don’t need a development team to have your enterprise-grade system for your most loyal customers.” The software engineer added:

We don’t want anybody to be confused or scared by the concept of cryptocurrencies. We just want them to enjoy the benefits of the technology. Everything that we’ve done, from the concept to the app itself, is designed to be useable for everyone instantly.

Developer Reveals Token Reward Platform Fueled by Bitcoin Cash
Software engineer Jean-Baptiste Dominguez at the Try Swift event in New York.

Testing Honeypoints Beta Version

Using the Honeypoints application is intuitive for anyone who has used a crypto wallet before, but it’s also simple enough for crypto newcomers as well. The wallet side of the app can store send and receive BCH, alongside the ability to store SLP tokens in a noncustodial fashion. Honeypoints uses a four-digit PIN to secure the wallet and a mnemonic seed phrase for backup and restoration purposes. The PIN is needed if you want to access the mnemonic’s 12-words and initiate a wallet restoration process as well. Right now, the beta wallet shows you balances in BCH and SLP tokens and also lets you purchase BCH for gas. If someone randomly sends you a token to your Honeypoints wallet, you can choose if you want to add it to the wallet’s balance or not. On the bottom right there’s a compass icon that says Discovery which shows how people can earn reward tokens by tweeting something from their Twitter account or handling another task. For instance, on the Honeypoints beta version, there’s a “Spice Must Flow” task available and if you share a meme from the Spicefeed on Twitter you get 200 spice.

Developer Reveals Token Reward Platform Fueled by Bitcoin Cash
A look at the beta version of Honeypoints.

The beta version also gives you the ability to forge a new SLP token from the wallet interface by pressing the “Create token” tab. You can customize the SLP token’s name, ticker, quantity, number of decimals, tether a document URL, and choose if the minting baton will be active or not. Just like the rest of the SLP applications out in the wild today, a small fraction of BCH (gas) is needed to create tokens and send them as well. The Honeypoints beta release from Apple’s Testflight also allows users to toggle between the BCH livenet and testnet.

‘Bitcoin Cash Development and Awareness Is at an All-Time High’

The SLP ecosystem has become very popular since the summer of 2018 and there’s a whole universe of ideas and token projects in the making. There have been thousands of SLP tokens created onchain and developers have even figured out how to create nonfungible SLP tokens and pay BCH dividend payments to token holders. At the Try Swift event in New York, Dominguez exposed the benefits of SLP tokens fueled by the BCH chain to a global audience.

HoneyPoints is now in public beta. 🐝 Get crypto rewards from your favorite places by downloading the iOS beta from: https://t.co/423Zw42SNQ pic.twitter.com/YWnGWCFznr

— HoneyPoints (@honey_points) September 7, 2019

The Honeypoints founders believe the demonstration has shown attendees a real-world use case that leverages cryptocurrency solutions. The Honeypoints engineers explained in a press release on Sep. 12 that the team chose BCH because it’s “20X cheaper” than using token systems that stem from Ethereum. “Recent tests of the Bitcoin Cash blockchain also proved that it can handle more transactions than Ethereum while keeping its costs low,” the press release highlights. Moreover, the startup emphasized that a Honeypoints token rewards system is friendlier to the environment than creating paper rewards programs.

Seeing the SLP system mature significantly, and after the Bitcoin Cash City conference in North Queensland, Australia, the Honeypoints creators Dominguez and Rocha believe “Bitcoin Cash development and awareness is at an all time high.” To them, it’s the perfect time to launch the crypto rewards platform and the team is currently onboarding their first retailers and brands via the Honeypoints beta Telegram group. You can follow the Tokyo-based startup’s Twitter page for upcoming announcements on when the application launches at the end of the month. SLP platforms are appearing left and right these days, and the rewards system is another token project built using the BCH chain in a unique manner.

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


Image credits: Shutterstock, Honeypoints, Pixabay, and Twitter.


Did you know you can verify any unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction with our Bitcoin Cash Block Explorer tool? Our block explorer can also search the SLP universe of tokens too. Simply complete a Bitcoin Cash or SLP token address to view it on the blockchain. Plus, visit our Bitcoin Charts to see what’s happening in the industry.

The post Developer Reveals Token Reward Platform Fueled by Bitcoin Cash appeared first on Bitcoin News.

PR: Sportsbet.io and Watford FC Drive Bitcoin Awareness

Par Bitcoin.com PR
PR: Sportsbet.io & Watford FC Drive Bitcoin Awareness

This is a paid press release, which contains forward looking statements, and should be treated as advertising or promotional material. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the press release.

Thursday, September 12th – The Bitcoin logo (₿) will appear on the shirt sleeve of Premier League football club Watford this season, as part of an educational drive led by the innovative sports betting brand Sportsbet.io.

The logo is part of a wider campaign to improve awareness around Bitcoin and educate the public on the benefits of using cryptocurrencies.

It is led by Watford FC’s primary shirt sponsor, Sportsbet.io, which announced a landmark deal with the Hornets team in June.

Justin Le Brocque, Head of Sportsbook.io Marketing, said: “The crypto community have been hugely supportive of us since we began, so putting the Bitcoin logo on the sleeve felt like a fun way to give something back while also showing them our support.”

The sponsorship will be crowd-funded, allowing anyone who holds Bitcoin the exclusive opportunity to share in the perks granted to Watford FC sponsors. Contributors can bid for public LED space shown live during matches, use of the Bitcoin box for eight people and exclusive Watford FC merchandise.

“Some of the biggest challenges we and others like us face is raising awareness, dispelling common myths around cryptos and educating the public on the advantages and opportunities presented by cryptocurrencies,” added Le Brocque.

“Our partnership with Watford marks a major disruption in the world of traditional sports sponsorship, and by adding the Bitcoin logo we hope this world’s first partnership will create even more buzz around cryptocurrencies.”

Scott Duxbury, Hornets’ Chairman & CEO, added: “Placing the Bitcoin logo on a Premier League shirt is something that challenges the accepted norm. We’re excited about the partnerships and the potential for new global conversations that it could help start for our club.”

To celebrate the Bitcoin sponsorship with all Bitcoin holders, Sportsbet.io is also giving away a 2 mbtc Free Bet to all Sportsbet.io players if Watford scores against Arsenal this coming Sunday. More information on the amazing offer can be found https://sportsbet.io/promotions/free-bet-giveaway.

Last month, Sportsbet.io announced a pioneering three-year partnership with Watford, marking the first time a company known for blockchain and cryptocurrency expertise had appeared on the front of a Premier League shirt.

The announcement was accompanied by the launch of Sportsbet.io’s ‘Know No Borders’ campaign, which highlights the brand’s commitment to putting players at the heart of the action, no matter their country, sport, team or currency.

Sportsbet.io accepts a range of fiat and cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, to deliver the very best in fun, fast and fair gaming.

To get involved, all you need to do is visit the site http://bitcoin.watfordfc.com.

ENDS

About Sportsbet.io

Founded in 2016 as part of the Coingaming Group, Sportsbet.io is a leading multi-currency sportsbook operator that has redefined online sport betting by combining cutting-edge technology with cryptocurrency expertise and a passion for offering its players with the ultimate fun, fast and fair gaming experience.

Sportsbet.io provides an expansive range of betting action across all major sports and eSports, offering players more than 350,000 pre-match events per year, as well as comprehensive in-play content and one of the industry’s most diverse array of both crypto and local currencies.

It is the first sportsbook of its kind to introduce streaming across all major sports and a cash out function with Sportsbet.io recognised as being a rising star within the online sports betting world.

Sportsbet.io prides itself on its secure and trustworthy betting service, with withdrawal times of around 1.5 minutes among the fastest in the industry.

For more information about Sportsbet.io, please visit https://sportsbet.io

Lucy Thomas,
Head of PR & Sponsorship,
Coingaming Group,
lucy.thomas@coingaming.io

Supporting Link
https://sportsbet.io

This is a paid press release. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the promoted company or any of its affiliates or services. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in the press release.

The post PR: Sportsbet.io and Watford FC Drive Bitcoin Awareness appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Crypto’s Forgotten Altcoins Re-Emerge: A Look at What’s Happening

Par Graham Smith
Crypto's Forgotten Altcoins Re-Emerge: A Look at What's Happening

During the crypto bull market of 2017, everybody was happy. It wasn’t just the BTC maximalists, BCH enthusiasts, or proponents of ETH. Privacy coins like monero were doing great, and even charity-supporting “comic relief” coins like doge were riding high. Since that enchanted time, however, the diverse class of tokens known as altcoins has somehow faded into obscurity. Just recently though, the tectonic plates of alt-crypto deadlock appear to be rumbling, and change might be just on the horizon for the spare change of the crypto world.

Also Read: David Chaum’s Elixxir Invites Smartphone Users to Test Private Messaging

The Lost Altcoin Conversation

On December 17, 2017, BTC reached an all-time high of over $20,000. Three days later, on December 20, BCH would peak at almost $4,000. In the same general time period ETH, XRP, LTC, and other market cap leaders would also achieve apogee, with the at-press-time-valued $0.0024, dogecoin then being worth well over a penny. While it’s clear to see why interest in the 2000+ altcoins on the market has waned since 2018 shattered so many crypto fantasies, market activity last week indicates something new may be on the horizon for crypto’s forgotten class.

Crypto’s Forgotten Altcoins Re-Emerge: A Look at What’s Happening
Weekly numbers are up for many non-BTC tokens.

In the past week, a slight dip in BTC dominance has gotten some in the space excited about their altcoin pet projects, announcing with gusto to crypto Twitter that alt season is back. Others are not so sure, and remain understandably wary of the recurrent hype. Regardless, at press time EOS, ETH, and XMR are all up significantly over the last week, with EOS enjoying a seven-day price surge of over 12%. Though not merely an “altcoin” by the standards of many, BTC competitor bitcoin cash has also experienced a significant rally.

Crypto Twitter in a nutshell:
____#altseason $btc $alts pic.twitter.com/TsHJyDlYdK

— CryptoLeee 🍜 (@CryptoLeee) September 10, 2019

The Forgotten Fun of Hunting Longshots

Time was that folks used to find interesting, fledgling projects, research them, and then load up on mounds of tokens for fractions of a penny. The excitement of this heavy bag holding for nascent projects was intoxicating. “If this even hits one dollar, I’m gonna be rich!” While investors are still doing this, the focus at large in the crypto space has shifted to the narrow world of BTC maximalism and basic religious hatred for anyone, not into the “right” crypto, or dominant ones. Still, Twitter accounts like that of Crypto Seer are holding out hope:

#Altcoin Marketcap Dominance. If you’re not too zoomed in it’s not that hard to really be patient. You just gotta wait for 2-3 months of sideways and you’ll know where we’ve bottomed. pic.twitter.com/1h5ciVmzxg

— Crypto Seer (@crypto_seer) September 4, 2019

Financial experts and other Twitter commentators, however, are speculating that until BTC hits a new all-time high, nothing much should be expected from the legions of hopeful tokens in the shadows. RT host and well-known BTC maximalist Max Keiser doesn’t mince words when it comes to his own views on the matter. Citing a still steady and growing BTC dominance, the bombastic crypto influencer tweeted on September 3rd:

Alts never coming back… Sorry.

Crypto’s Forgotten Altcoins Re-Emerge: A Look at What’s Happening

How Altcoins Can Gain Traction

In the fast-moving, oft-sensationalized world of crypto, there is no shortage of scams. Unfortunately, this reality has led to a kind of polarization in the space, where sometimes, no matter how good an idea is, if it ain’t BTC, it often isn’t going to be well-received. The tendency of money in economics is to consolidate into the most saleable good. For students of the Austrian school, this fact is well understood. The money that is most useful and liquid globally, will be the one most people want to use. On top of this framework, though, micro-economies and unique demand for various customized projects and initiatives still exist. This is where altcoins and unique tokens like those of the Simple Ledger Protocol (SLPs) can come in and provide flexible utility to major players.

Interesting projects like Augur, an incentivized system for predicting future events accurately, and dividends for anonymous bearer shares on BCH using SLPs, are illustrative of the continuing innovation the crypto space encourages. Stablecoins and exchange coins like USDT and BNB are also an emergent force, and are molding the market in unique ways, with a tendency to be viewed as more respectable and reputable than other alts.

The number of coins on the market has proliferated exponentially over the past years, so sifting through the heaps obscure tokens to find a winner can be a daunting task. Back in May, 2018, there were around 1,500 altcoins on the market. At press time there are well over 2,300. Deciding which are gems and which are shit takes time, so in a sense the migration to major tokens and the proportional, contemptuous distaste for alts is understandable. This shift could bode well for SLPs, however, and tokens built on top of established and reputable chains, providing unique functionality to already well-respected blockchain eco-systems.

Crypto’s Forgotten Altcoins Re-Emerge: A Look at What’s Happening

USD: The World’s Biggest Shitcoin

If all the world is a crypto market, and Carl Menger’s monetary theory was correct, there will eventually be a clear winner as the top dog, used-for-almost-all-transactions money of the world. Viewing the current global reserve currency under the lens of a crypto perspective, the USD fails to pass the test of a good token. It’s centralized, built on extremely shoddy and dysfunctional “code” (violent laws and fiat mandates), and, in the words of Donald Trump, is created not from market demand but from “thin air.”

Whether alt season is upon us or not is anybody’s guess. That notwithstanding, many crypto advocates are happy to see their beloved class of tokens reemerge from the shadows a bit, and step back into the mainstream conversation. Polarized and venomous as the space may be, there is still one thing many agree on, and that’s the fact that the broken fiat system is rapidly becoming obsolete, and a new system is on the way. Which long-shot alt or top market cap player will finally upset the apple cart is worthy of some popcorn-munching attention, either way.

What’s your favorite token? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


You can now purchase Bitcoin without visiting a cryptocurrency exchange. Buy BTC and BCH directly from our trusted seller and, if you need a Bitcoin wallet to securely store it, you can download one from us here.

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Greta Thunberg Joins Satoshi Questioning Bank Bailouts

Par Lubomir Tassev
Greta Thunberg Joins Satoshi in Questioning Bank Bailouts

Saving planet Earth is a noble goal with many different dimensions. Climate change needs to be addressed vigorously as our world warms up faster than ever. Economic development needs a higher degree of financial freedom to provide everyone access to opportunities and wealth. A teenager from Scandinavia, dubbed a “next generation leader,” has once again challenged governments and politicians. “If we can save the banks, we can save the world,” Sweden’s Greta Thunberg told those who always find money to postpone the problems but often claim real solutions are too expensive.

Also read: Initiative to Curtail Negative Interest Rates Gains Traction in Germany

The Greta Thunberg Effect

Greta, a 16-year-old student from Stockholm, has become a loud voice for bold action against the looming “climate crisis” as she calls it. Last year, the self-made environmental activist began her “school strikes” to protest the inability of decision makers and the current generation of grownups to tackle the issue. Handing out leaflets stating “I am doing this because you adults are shitting on my future” outside the Swedish parliament during school hours was how she chose to send her message.

She started her campaign before Sweden’s general elections in September 2018, after the hottest summer in over two centuries brought heat waves and wildfires to the Nordic country. Greta missed school for three weeks to sit down in front of the Riksdag and demand that her government take steps to reduce carbon emissions in accordance with the Paris Agreement. After the election, her “Skolstrejk för klimatet” protest continued on Fridays, inspiring similar actions by thousands of students around the world in what has been dubbed the “Greta Thunberg effect.” She is now participating in demonstrations throughout Europe as well.

Greta Thunberg Joins Satoshi in Questioning Bank Bailouts

The strategy eventually gave her a world stage where she told business leaders their financial success comes with an unthinkable price tag, warned politicians all their parties have failed, and told media not enough has been done to create broad public awareness about climate change. Her blunt manner and the way she puts the problems of global warming in perspective made her a coveted public speaker for the cause of all scientists and activists who point out we have only about a decade before our mistakes become irreversible.

Not content with limiting herself to protests and speeches, Greta Thunberg has set a personal example for how everyone can reduce their carbon footprint, including giving up flying and switching to a meat-free diet. She also managed to convince her own parents, Swedish opera singer Malena Ernman and actor Svante Thunberg, to implement these life-style changes in their family. Her efforts won support from academics and global leaders, while philanthropists and investors donated funds to the grassroots movement Extinction Rebellion and school strike groups in various countries.

We Have Money, We Lack Will

Thunberg’s latest mission took her on a sail across the Atlantic this past August. The 16-year-old crossed the ocean from Plymouth in the U.K. to New York in a 60-foot racing yacht, a vessel equipped with solar panels and underwater turbines. The trip was announced as carbon neutral and was organized to demonstrate Greta’s commitment to the goal of reducing CO2 emissions. It started on August 14 and took about two weeks. On the other side of the pond, the young activist will be attending the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York City and the COP 25 climate change conference in the Chilean capital Santiago.

Greta Thunberg arrived in America ahead of the September 20 global climate strikes which are expected to bring to the streets millions of protesters in over 150 countries. They are scheduled to coincide with the UN summit on climate change which kicks off on September 23. Greta’s relentless activism helped inspire the protests. “I want September 20 to be a tipping point. I want world leaders to feel like they have too many people watching them,” she said during an event on Monday, directly confronting elites as usual. And her strongest message was addressed to those who insist it’s too expensive to deal with the climate crisis by adopting comprehensive new policies:

If we can save the banks, we can save the world.

Quoted by the Common Dreams portal, Greta further noted that “If there is something we are not lacking in this world, it’s money. Of course, many people do lack money, but governments and these people in power, they do not lack money.” The Swede believes we also need to have the polluters pay for the damage they are causing. “So, I would not even respond to that argument, because it has been said so many times, the money is there. What we lack now is political will and social will to do it,” she stressed.

Indeed, the last global financial crisis showed governments are willing to spend billions to save financial institutions deemed too big to fail, despite the wrong decisions of their very well paid managers. According to a paper authored by Deborah Lucas, finance professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, the total direct cost of crisis-related bailouts during the 2008 financial meltdown in the U.S. alone was about $498 billion on a fair value basis. That amounted to 3.5% of the country’s gross domestic product in 2009. Lucas also found the main beneficiaries were the large, unsecured creditors of financial institutions, big institutional investors, pension and mutual funds, insurance companies, and sovereigns.

Greta Thunberg Joins Satoshi in Questioning Bank Bailouts

Calculating the cost of bank bailouts correctly is important as their real price tag often remains hidden from taxpayers whose money is spent to rescue wealthy bankers. That’s even more important now when the next financial crisis seems to be on the horizon, with central banks preparing for new interest rate cuts and planning for more quantitative easing. Just as Greta points out, the funds are there and they are definitely more needed elsewhere. Supporting the limiting of factors that lead to intensified climate change is worth more than financing policies which simply postpone the problems of the traditional financial system for the next generations to solve.

While inventing Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto must have thought about these matters. We know the creator of the world’s first decentralized cryptocurrency inscribed into the genesis block the Times headline “Chancellor on Brink of Second Bailout for Banks” from the Jan. 3, 2009 issue. It’s difficult to know exactly why Satoshi did so, but he was likely worried about the continued wasting of people’s money on saving failed corporations that under normal market conditions would have been left to go bankrupt, just like thousands of homebuyers, for instance.

Greta Thunberg Joins Satoshi in Questioning Bank Bailouts

If a decade later, with another crisis approaching, you are more convinced about the need for a financial alternative to fiat money and want to invest in cryptocurrencies, you can do so safely and securely by purchasing bitcoin cash and other major coins at buy.Bitcoin.com. To freely trade your crypto assets, visit our noncustodial, peer-to-peer marketplace local.Bitcoin.com, which already has thousands of users around the world. Also, check out our newly launched premier trading platform exchange.Bitcoin.com. Registered users can access it right now and over 10,000 have already signed up.

Do you think the world would have enough money to adequately address the problems of climate change if it didn’t spend so much on bank bailouts? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Do you need a reliable bitcoin mobile wallet to send, receive, and store your coins? Download one for free from us and then head to our Purchase Bitcoin page where you can quickly buy bitcoin with a credit card.

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PR: Bitmain Announces Highly Anticipated World Digital Mining Summit

Par Bitcoin.com PR
PR: Bitmain Announces Highly Anticipated World Digital Mining Summit

Cryptocurrency mining leaders to speak include: Jihan Wu (Bitmain Co-Founder), John Ge (Matrixport CEO), Marco Streng (Genesis Mining CEO), and more.

HONG KONG, JULY, 30 2019 – The World Digital Mining Summit (WDMS) hosted by Bitmain – the world’s top 10 and China’s second largest fabless chipmaker – is set to return on 8-10 October in Frankfurt with a focus towards industry investment and innovation for the mining sector.

The second edition of the WDMS will expand its mining agenda to include various financial solutions into digital mining, mining optimization solutions, and showcase top mining and blockchain companies.

Over the two-day mining summit, attendees will have the opportunity to undertake workshops, hear keynote speeches from the industry’s leading minds, and meet new and old acquaintances from the mining industry.

Thought leaders confirmed to speak include Jihan Wu (Bitmain Co-Founder), John Ge (Matrixport CEO), Marco Streng (Genesis Mining CEO), amongst others. A full and updated list can be found here.

The 2019 WDMS will also provide attendees a chance to network with key industry decision makers, mining experts, investors and entrepreneurs.

The summit comes at an important time for the development of the cryptocurrency mining industry as the sector matures and demand for new and innovative ways to enhance digital mining grows.

WDMS continues to be the ideal setting for global miners to gather, share ideas and shape the future of the mining industry.

The full event agenda and ticket details for attendees can be found here.

Members of the press can apply for a pass by sending an email to media@miningconf.org

Supporting Link
https://blog.bitmain.com/en/category/bitmain-news/

The post PR: Bitmain Announces Highly Anticipated World Digital Mining Summit appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Indian Lawmaker Raises Hope of Positive Crypto Regulation

Par Kevin Helms
Indian Lawmaker Raises Hope of Positive Crypto Regulation

A member of the upper house of the Indian parliament has given the crypto community some advice on what can be done to influence the government’s crypto decisions. He encourages anyone to reach out to him and discuss their concerns, including issues related to the draft bill to ban cryptocurrencies in India. His words and suggestions have given the crypto community hope.

Also read: India’s Popular ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’ Show Gives Crypto a Boost

Rajya Sabha MP Ready to Discuss Crypto

Indian Member of Parliament (MP) Rajeev Chandrasekhar has given the crypto community some advice in Tuesday’s episode of the Blockworks Group’s Untold Stories podcast. He discussed various crypto-related topics, ranging from the Indian government’s policies and the draft bill to ban cryptocurrencies to the banking restrictions by the central bank and the supreme court hearing. The MP is scheduled to meet with some members of the Indian crypto community next week.

Chandrasekhar is a member of Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the parliament of India, and the ruling party, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He represents the state of Karnataka, of which Bengaluru is the capital.

Indian Lawmaker Raises Hope of Positive Crypto Regulation
BJP MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar

During the podcast, the MP was asked about the report and draft bill to ban cryptocurrencies, submitted by an interministerial committee headed by former Secretary of the Department of Economic Affairs Subhash Chandra Garg. The question came from Nischal Shetty, CEO of local crypto exchange Wazirx, who was a guest on the podcast. He informed the MP that this bill proposes a ban on cryptocurrencies in India without involving or consulting any industry experts. “Can we expect industry participation to make the report more positive, and better for our crypto ecosystem in India?” the CEO asked the MP.

“Those of you, who have a view on crypto and believe that there is sufficient room, in the public policy space, for the policies to evolve and be inclusive of innovation, and at the same time, address the security and other concerns. They should just reach out to me,” Chandrasekhar replied, elaborating:

I have the ability to create, let us say, documents with your inputs, and have that presented either in parliament or to the government.

“So, don’t worry about what goes on in government, and that is one particular point of view,” he remarked. “India is a fairly vibrant democracy in the sense that you can still approach people like me, and evolve an alternate view and have that alternate view be discussed, narrated, and debated within government. I can do that, you know, I’d encourage you to reach out to me.”

Indian Lawmaker Raises Hope of Positive Crypto Regulation

First Step to Influencing Government’s Policies

Chandrasekhar further detailed how anyone can get in touch with elected representatives and discuss their concerns, adding that many are already doing so on all kinds of issues. He reiterated that India is a vibrant democracy and there are many MPs like him who would listen. Many of them can be contacted via Twitter or Facebook; some have even posted their mobile numbers online, he said. The MP proceeded to encourage the crypto community to reach out and meet with him to discuss their concerns, declaring:

I actively encourage people to come, sit with me, and believe in my ability to articulate their positions, and their points of view to people in government and their leadership of the government, and hopefully persuade them to do the right thing.

As for the pending crypto case at the country’s supreme court, he admitted that he has not studied the case and has only read about it in media reports. Nonetheless, the MP emphasized: “I’m happy to look at it, I’m happy to even suggest an approach that is workable, if there is any room for that. I am happy to engage. I never say no to having a conversation with anybody on any issues related to technology.”

Indian Lawmaker Raises Hope of Positive Crypto Regulation

Sathvik Vishwanath, CEO of local crypto exchange Unocoin, tweeted that he felt “super pumped” after listening to Chandrasekhar. He is scheduled to meet the MP next week. Noting that the lawmaker “acknowledges innovation and can also influence policymaking,” Vishwanath is now convinced:

Banning need not be the destiny of crypto in India.

MP Wants to Help Crypto Community

Shetty is also meeting Chandrasekhar next week to further discuss the issue concerning crypto regulation in India. He has also been running an “India Wants Crypto” social media campaign, calling for positive crypto regulation in the country. The campaign has entered its 315th day.

Besides being an MP, Chandrasekhar is an entrepreneur with experience in technology, finance, entrepreneurship, and the economy. He founded BPL Mobile in 1994 and Jupiter Capital in 2005. The latter is an investment and financial services firm headquartered in Bangalore, with a presence in nine countries. Bangalore, known as a high-tech hub of India, ranked number one in the country for crypto jobs, according to job listing site Indeed.

In 2006, Chandrasekhar was elected to the Rajya Sabha to represent Urban Bengaluru, after serving on several committees including the Prime Minister’s Council on Trade and Development. He has also been on various standing and select committees of parliament including defense, finance, telecom, urban development, GST, and real estate. The MP has advocated and intervened on issues such as governance and regulatory reforms, policymaking, institution building, freedom of speech, net neutrality, privacy, protection of children, national security and the welfare of the armed forces personnel.

Indian Lawmaker Raises Hope of Positive Crypto Regulation
Wazirx CEO Nischal Shetty

Shetty told news.Bitcoin.com Wednesday:

He said he wants to help. And the best thing is that he’s previously helped with net neutrality in India and with making privacy laws better for people. I’m looking forward to the meeting and knowing his background I’m confident he’ll help us.

“He has a tech background and that will help crypto immensely as he understands technology really well,” the Wazirx CEO elaborated. “He has been an entrepreneur who has been instrumental in the telecom revolution of India. It is natural for him to understand cutting edge technologies such as crypto. We’re going to discuss the way forward with him, get his inputs and chart out our next path under his guidance.”

Chandrasekhar Asked RBI to Develop Framework

The Rajya Sabha MP has previously urged the government and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to develop a framework to handle new innovations and trends. In December 2016, he wrote a letter to the late Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, detailing some issues he expected to emerge as the government and the RBI moved to increasingly digitize the Indian economy. Particularly, he suggested that the banking and payments ecosystem would need to be transformed.

Indian Lawmaker Raises Hope of Positive Crypto Regulation

Citing a surge in domestic bitcoin trade, a “move of black economy to the dark internet,” and how “The surveillance and policing requirements are challenging,” he wrote:

I suspect the government and RBI are ill-equipped currently to deal with this … I am drawing your attention to the need to be ahead of the curve on this rather than behind and so the RBI must develop the capabilities on this urgently.

However, the duo did not create any framework. The RBI and the Ministry of Finance independently dealt with the rising interest in cryptocurrencies by issuing several warnings to the public about the risks associated with them. When interest did not wane, the central bank issued a circular, banning regulated financial institutions from providing services to crypto businesses. The ban went into effect in July last year, and banks subsequently closed the accounts of crypto exchanges, forcing some of them out of business.

Chandrasekhar shared his thoughts on why the RBI decided to issue a banking ban instead of setting up a framework to deal with crypto assets. He asserted that there are two ways of addressing a problem in any governmental system. One is to stay ahead of the curve, which he said is hard for a government to do, while the other is to shut down the threat. While maintaining that he himself does not want “innovation to be trampled by a paranoid approach to regulation,” the MP acknowledged that the RBI has chosen this path.

During last month’s supreme court hearing of the writ petitions against the RBI ban, the court gave the central bank two weeks to answer the representation filed by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) regarding measures crypto exchanges could take. The hearing is scheduled to resume on Sept. 25.

Do you think the Indian crypto community will succeed in convincing the government to introduce positive crypto regulation with the help of MP Chandrasekhar? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, and Nischal Shetty.


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The Hype Has Faded But Demand Remains for Enterprise Blockchains

Par Kai Sedgwick
The Hype Has Faded But Demand Remains for Enterprise Blockchains

The days when blockchain was portrayed as a cure-all for businesses of all kinds have gone. Now that the hype has faded, enterprise blockchain projects have quietly begun to ship. While some of these initiatives have faded into obscurity, others have prospered, suggesting that there’s life in enterprise blockchain yet.

Also read: David Chaum’s Elixxir Invites Smartphone Users to Test Private Messaging

After a Shaky Start, Enterprise Blockchain Adoption Ramps Up

When IBM and shipping giant Maersk teamed up to create a blockchain solution for supply chains, the two goliaths seemed to be shooting towards an open goal. The product, dubbed Trade Lens, would help shipping companies manage cargo and inventory, eliminating the vast bulk of administrative work required to keep track of consignments, cutting costs by up to 20% in the process.

The promise was of an “open and neutral” supply chain platform “underpinned by blockchain technology” and “supported by major industry players.” The project was slow to gain traction, however, with the duo initially finding it hard to secure major partners. Now, almost two years on, the project is finally gathering momentum, but the question still remains as to why two major players found it so hard to bring partners onboard. The answer may lie in the way that IBM-Maersk envisioned their blockchain from the outset, and the level of trust they asked their partners to place in them.

Rick Schmitz, CEO of hybrid blockchain LTO Network, has a theory as to why the shipping project floundered initially. “The real potential and the value of blockchain integration comes from creating a global level playing field,” he told news.Bitcoin.com. “A consortium is not the optimum way to go as it merely recreates an already existing permissioned system.” Schmitz remains a staunch advocate of enterprise-ready blockchains, but maintains that the optimal approach is a solution that enables businesses to control their own sidechain and broadcast transactions to a main chain that is not controlled by any single entity – particularly when that entity is a close competitor.

The Hype Has Faded But Demand Remains for Enterprise Blockchains

More Mainstream Companies Enter the Fray

Following scores of trials, most of which have ultimately resulted in little traction, businesses are beginning to commit to blockchain in greater numbers, and for wider ranging projects. Having transitioned from the realm of the exotic to the ordinary, blockchain can now be used by businesses without raising too many eyebrows. This week, it was revealed that Mastercard is constructing a blockchain-based payment solution with the aid of R3. Designed to facilitate cross-border payments, it follows a multi-blockchain patent filed by the payment processing giant in 2018.

As with many of these announcements, details of what the initiative will entail, or why a blockchain is needed, remain sketchy. In fact, in a carefully crafted soundbite accompanying the release, Peter Klein, executive vice president of New Payment Platforms for Mastercard, managed to avoid mentioning the word “blockchain” altogether, speaking instead about “Developing a new and better cross-border B2B payments solution by improving worldwide connectivity in the account-to-account space,” whatever that means.

There may be a justifiable use case for blockchain in this, and in so many other initiatives utilizing distributed ledger technology, but it can be hard for onlookers to ascertain why. The opacity of enterprises experimenting with the tech, coupled with a tendency to deal in business speak and platitudes, means the public are left none the wiser as to how or why blockchain is being deployed.

The Hype Has Faded But Demand Remains for Enterprise Blockchains

Trust Us, We’re Competitors

In tracking the uptake of enterprise blockchain to date, there are lessons to be learned from the failures as well as the successes. In IBM and Maersk’s logistics supply chain, there’s a bit of both. At first, third parties were slow to join the endeavor, with the first clue as to why lying in the fact that IBM and Maersk retain all rights to intellectual property on the blockchain. The job for the duo has since been to assuage the fears of potential partners. Persistent assurances from IBM regarding data privacy, governance and the publication of APIs seem to have had a positive effect on adoption of the blockchain, as does its rebranding from “joint venture” to “joint collaboration.”

The move is a smart one, as it is not unreasonable to argue that private blockchains are a misapplication of the technology on which they are built. On the surface, blockchain appears to offer a solution for supply chain companies in which all parties are equal. Shippers, manufacturers and suppliers all have differing and sometimes conflicting interests at stake, and as such, the only way to ensure equal access is to create a level playing field for every stakeholder. Instead of creating a trustless blockchain in which all network partners were equal, IBM and Maersk’s blockchain placed Maersk at the head of the table.

The Hype Has Faded But Demand Remains for Enterprise Blockchains

For smaller competitors, that pitch has dubious benefits and a high risk profile; an invitation from Maersk to place all your eggs in their cargo hold and observe as they steer the ship to whatever port they deem best. In the case of Trade Lens, IBM complicated matters by insisting that partners adopt proprietary IBM systems and products in order to onboard. That meant that for any company not already using IBM, the costs of integration were substantial. Permissioned blockchains have a habit of developing an unholy trinity of undesirable qualities in the form of poor trust and transparency issues, high costs, and limited functionality. IBM and Maersk have since recovered from these setbacks, and now have over 15 carriers and 90 companies using their blockchain, with the latest participant the Customs Department of Thailand.

The Inexorable March of Enterprise Blockchain

To date, most of the enterprise blockchain projects of note have been based upon IBM’s Hyperledger or R3’s Corda. Next week, there’ll be a new blockchain network in town for businesses to play about on. Hedera Hashgraph is about to launch, promising to serve as an enterprise-ready, highly scalable alternative to existing chains. With major corporations like Boeing, Deutsche Telekom, and IBM involved, it’s got the credentials to attract businesses eager to experiment with the latest tech. Despite questions over its claimed throughput, and its ability to deliver state proofs of transactions, Hedera looks set to claim a large slice of the enterprise pie.

The Hype Has Faded But Demand Remains for Enterprise Blockchains

If there are lessons to be learned from the performance of enterprise chains to date, it is that blockchain is only useful when you play to the strengths of the technology and work within the ethos of what made it so compelling in Bitcoin to begin with. After all, centralized blockchains are nothing more than databases controlled and run for the benefit of their owners.

What are your thoughts on the success of enterprise blockchain projects to date? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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The post The Hype Has Faded But Demand Remains for Enterprise Blockchains appeared first on Bitcoin News.

California City Official Uses Bitcoin Cash to Purchase Cannabis

Par Jamie Redman
Berkeley City Councilmember Uses Bitcoin Cash to Purchase Cannabis

In California, cryptocurrency payments are making headway in the cannabis industry as Berkeley City Councilmember Ben Bartlett became the first elected official to purchase cannabis using a digital asset. On Tuesday, Bartlett utilized bitcoin cash (BCH) and Cred’s LBA token to facilitate the transaction at the Ohana Cannabis dispensary in Emeryville.

Also Read: Bitmain Launches Next Gen Miner as Bitcoin Hashrate Touches 100 Exahash

BCH and the Universal Dollar Stablecoin Used by an Elected Official to Purchase Cannabis in California

Cryptocurrency enthusiasts have long dreamed of the cannabis industry and the cryptocurrency economy joining forces. On Sep. 10, the two industries made significant strides toward this effort when Berkeley City Councilmember Ben Bartlett purchased cannabis at a dispensary with crypto assets. The purchase at the Ohana Cannabis dispensary in Emeryville was part of a demonstration that showed the benefits of stablecoins and blockchain settlement.

California City Official Uses Bitcoin Cash to Purchase Cannabis
Berkeley City Councilmember Ben Bartlett.

The Ohana dispensary accepts bitcoin cash (BCH) and then takes advantage of the crypto financial platform Cred’s LBA token to finalize the settlement in the Universal Dollar. When Councilmember Ben Bartlett made the purchase, the Blockchain Advocacy Coalition and the Cred team was there on site to show the group of elected officials how digital currency solutions work. The cofounder of Cred, Dan Schatt, explained during the demo that digital currencies add far more benefits than traditional payment services.

“We are thrilled to build technology that solves real problems for customers, merchants, and politicians which will help usher in the next 100 million users of crypto,” Schatt noted during the event. The Cred cofounder added:

Not only does crypto result in significant cost reduction for consumers and merchants, but it also enables highly productive tax collection, transparency, and predictability for city and state governments.

California City Official Uses Bitcoin Cash to Purchase Cannabis
Bitcoin cash, Cred’s LBA token, and the Universal Dollar were used during the cannabis purchase demo with Berkeley City Councilmember Ben Bartlett.

The Blockchain Advocacy Coalition and California’s AB 953

The Universal Dollar stablecoin is an Ethereum-based token backed by USD and was created by the Universal Protocol Alliance. The group is made up of blockchain organizations including Blockchain at Berkeley, Uphold, and Cred. With members of Cred and the Blockchain Advocacy Coalition (BAC) helping, Councilmember Bartlett’s purchase “took seconds and resulted in substantially lower transaction fees for the dispensary.” Right now the BAC is sponsoring the assembly bill AB 953 which would allow the state to accept cannabis tax through a stablecoin. “AB 953 will allow cannabis companies to pay their taxes via virtual currency, specifically stablecoins,” the BAC website details. “This solves a significant banking issue for the state and lays the groundwork for broader statewide adoption of virtual currency.” At the time of writing, more than 70% of California’s state-endorsed cannabis industry is unbanked and these businesses are having issues dealing with financial institutions. Cannabis businesses incur significant risk by handling large cash deposits.

California City Official Uses Bitcoin Cash to Purchase Cannabis
California has always been ahead of the game when it comes to the cannabis industry.

Many other cannabis-friendly states like Colorado and Oregon are having the same financial issues. California aims to innovate by creating progressive laws that help ease the problems cannabis operations are dealing with. “By providing a cash-free method of cannabis tax payments, AB 953 can reduce costs and safety risks for cities and businesses,” said Bartlett. The Berkeley City Councilmember also stated:

The Green Rush is a 21st-century industry; it deserves a 21st-century payment system. Tax payments in digital currency will help bring this new industry into the light.

California has been at the forefront of digital innovation, with epicenters like Silicon Valley and pioneering legalized cannabis for medical use in 1996, before opening the state to recreational use 20 years later. After the demonstration using BCH and Ohana Cannabis settling the transaction in the Universal Dollar, Councilmember Bartlett told attendees at the Emeryville dispensary that he also plans to have his staff draft a report on the benefits of accepting cannabis using digital asset solutions.

What do you think about the first elected official purchasing cannabis using bitcoin cash and settling in a stablecoin to pay government taxes? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, Cred, benbartlett.vote, Berkeley City, Universal Dollar logo, and Pixabay.


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Market Outlook: Uncertainty Builds With Thin Trade Volumes and Bitcoin Futures Launch

Par Jamie Redman

Digital currency markets have dropped in value over the last three weeks, losing $25 billion since mid-August. Market prices have been creeping downward on thin global trade volume and the last two months of volatility seem to be taking a toll on short-term bullish optimism.

Also Read: Bitmain Launches Next Gen Miner as Bitcoin Hashrate Touches 100 Exahash

Cryptoconomy Loses $25 Billion in Three Weeks

Cryptocurrency market confidence seems to be dwindling as many digital assets have struggled to surpass higher price ranges over the last few weeks. Three weeks ago, market prices were much higher and the market cap was roughly $282 billion for all the crypto markets combined. On Sep. 11, the global valuation for all 2,000+ cryptocurrencies is now $261 billion, indicating a loss of over 7%. Wednesday’s trading sessions show bitcoin core (BTC) is hovering just above the $10K zone between $10,025 to $10,225 over the last 24 hours.

Market Outlook: Uncertainty Builds With Thin Trade Volumes and Bitcoin Futures Launch
Top 10 cryptocurrency market prices on Sep. 11, 2019. Did you know Bitcoin.com just launched a secure, professional-grade trading platform called exchange.Bitcoin.com? Check it out today.

BTC is seeing $15.7 billion in global trades and has a market valuation of roughly $180 billion or 69% of the entire crypto market cap. Ethereum is following behind BTC and hovering around $177 per coin. ETH markets are down 1.5% today and are down 0.06% over the last seven days. XRP markets lost 2.3% today and 2.2% for the week as each XRP is swapping for $0.25. Lastly, the fifth largest market valuation still belongs to litecoin (LTC) as each coin is swapping for $69. LTC markets are down 1.87% today but have gained 2.6% over the last seven days.

Bitcoin Cash (BCH) Market Action

The fourth largest market capitalization is held by bitcoin cash (BCH) at the moment. BCH is coasting along between $290 and $305 over the last 24 hours. There’s roughly $1.27 billion in global BCH trade volume and bitcoin cash has a market cap of over $5.3 billion at the time of writing. BCH has lost 2.8% in the last 24 hours, but over the last week BCH market prices are only down by 0.44%.

Market Outlook: Uncertainty Builds With Thin Trade Volumes and Bitcoin Futures Launch
BCH/USD price on Sep. 11, 2019.

Bithumb is trading the most BCH this Wednesday with $544 million in global trades. There’s also Coinbene, Coinex, P2pb2b, and Bibox as well following behind the South Korean exchange in BCH trade volume. Tether (USDT) is the top trading pair with BCH today capturing 59.7% of all BCH trades worldwide. This is followed by trading pairs like BTC (18.7%), USD (9.5%), ETH (9.2%), KRW (1.6%), and the EUR (0.56%). Over the last seven days, BCH transactions per day (TPD) have been averaging roughly 45,000 to 55,000.

Macroeconomic Storms Fail to Push Crypto Markets Higher

Over the last two months, many cryptocurrency supporters believe that macroeconomic turmoil pushed the price of BTC and other cryptocurrencies upwards. However, on Tuesday, BTC/USD prices dropped to $9,930 quickly before jumping back up over the $10k range. Most digital assets have at least two significant resistance levels before gaining the same headway they had weeks ago. The chief investment officer of asset manager Arca, Jeff Dorman, explained on Sep. 3 that the macroeconomic turmoil which was attributed to the spike last month has seen negative correlations in recent days.

Market Outlook: Uncertainty Builds With Thin Trade Volumes and Bitcoin Futures Launch
Many speculators believe macroeconomic storms will push cryptocurrency and precious metals markets much higher.

“August began with a 20% rally in Bitcoin led once again by the same macro factors that have supported it for most of this year – endless rate cuts from global central banks, declining currencies including the critically important Chinese yuan, a series of Trump tweets about tariffs and reckless monetary policy, a nasty decline in equities, and, of course, the potentially significant impact of a no-deal Brexit,” Dorman remarked. The “end of an ugly and peculiar month” retrospective continued:

Unfortunately, the perfect macro storm was erased throughout the rest of the month as these negative correlations broke down and Bitcoin and other digital assets ended the month in the red.

The Federal Reserve should get our interest rates down to ZERO, or less, and we should then start to refinance our debt. INTEREST COST COULD BE BROUGHT WAY DOWN, while at the same time substantially lengthening the term. We have the great currency, power, and balance sheet…..

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 11, 2019

Price Perspectives From Crypto Twitter

Crypto Twitter (CT) has seen an awful lot of opinions and technical analysis takes on the price of BTC and other digital assets. This week, Twitter user Planb who often comments on crypto analysis believes the price of BTC is being fueled by stock to flow trends. “Proof is in: bitcoin price is mainly driven by stock to flow, not by any other factor — Cointegration, not correlation, is key: BTC price has been and likely will be below and above S2F model value every year,” Planb stated on Sep. 7. The next day Mr. Jozza commented on BTC/USD on-balance volume (OBV) and his outlook seemed dreary. “That is not a happy OBV — A market creeping up on thin volume doesn’t fill me with confidence,” he tweeted. The crypto trader at Texas West Capital known as the Wolf of All Streets remarked on Twitter that even during the price drops he’s always bullish in regards to the long term.

“When someone asks me if I am bullish or bearish on bitcoin, the answer is always bullish,” the Wolf of All Streets stated on Sep. 11. “I believe that this market will continue to trend up over a long time frame, even if the price drops significantly in the short term — I will buy those dips.”

Investors Move Away From Safe Haven Assets as Gold Sees Worst Daily Decline in Two Years

After spiking in parallel with cryptocurrencies last month, the price of gold saw the worst daily decline in years on Sep. 5 and has dropped for a fourth straight session on Sep. 10. During the first drop in value last week since the initial rise, frontier markets investor Mark Mobius told CNBC that digital currencies and gold need to come together. Mobius explained that digital assets could trigger gold prices and bolster the demand for the precious metal. However, analysts are seeing investors leave safe haven assets and investing in riskier growth markets instead. “Globally we are seeing a shift back towards growth assets and that’s coming at the cost of the safe havens,” remarked Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets on Tuesday. Since touching a high of $1,557 on Sep. 4, gold spiked to its highest price range in six years, but bullion spot prices tumbled by more than 5% to $1,493 today.

Market Outlook: Uncertainty Builds With Thin Trade Volumes and Bitcoin Futures Launch
Gold spot prices on Sep. 11, 2019.

BTC/USD Shorts Rise While ICE Preps for Bakkt’s Upcoming Bitcoin Futures

Overall, crypto market observers are uncertain of where prices will be in the short term. BTC/USD short contracts are not nearly as high as they were months ago but they are starting to rise steadily. As far as ETH/USD shorts are concerned, markets have been meandering along with no significant increases or decreases in short contract volume.

Market Outlook: Uncertainty Builds With Thin Trade Volumes and Bitcoin Futures Launch
BTC/USD shorts on Sep. 11, 2019.

The long-awaited futures products from Bakkt continue to make headway as the exchange has started letting customers initiate deposits. However, the ICE futures notice explains clients are required to deposit $3,900 to participate in monthly and daily futures contracts on Monday, Sep. 23. Speculative requirements rather than initial hedge rates mandate depositing $4,290 to participate in Bakkt’s bitcoin futures markets. Some speculators think that the physically-delivered futures markets may create price discovery.

“Seven business days until the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) is offering physically settled Bitcoin futures through its Bakkt unit. It will act as exchange, clearinghouse and settlement authority. ICE BTC futures will create price discovery apart from any cash market influence,” Planb tweeted on Wednesday. “CME is cash-settled, therefore dependent on (an average of) exchange rates, thus sensitive to manipulation & fraud. Institutions don’t like that. ICE/Bakkt has its own price based on real bitcoin,” he added.

Where do you see the cryptocurrency markets heading from here? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: Price articles and markets updates are intended for informational purposes only and should not to be considered as trading advice. Neither Bitcoin.com nor the author is responsible for any losses or gains, as the ultimate decision to conduct a trade is made by the reader. Always remember that only those in possession of the private keys are in control of the “money.” Cryptocurrency and gold prices referenced in this article were recorded at 12 p.m. EST on Wednesday, Sep. 11, 2019.


Images via Shutterstock, Trading View, Bitcoin.com Markets, Getty, Goldprice.org, Wiki Commons, and Pixabay.


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Connecting Cash to the Internet Using Stablecoins

Par Guest Author

Most often overlooked in the fintech space is the world’s most scalable and private payment system: cash. It is used in every country around the world and despite its much exaggerated demise, according to the G4S Global Cash Report 2018, cash circulation has risen to 9.6% of GDP across developed and emerging market countries since 2000, up from 7%. Cash is still king for now, despite concerted attempts to usurp it.

Also read: David Chaum’s Elixxir Invites Smartphone Users to Test Private Messaging

The War on Cash Is in Full Swing

Cash settlements are direct and final, with particular usage for smaller value transactions accounting for 60-80%, as per the same GS4 report. Overall it is an essential pillar of civilization as cash is the primary mechanism by which the world conducts payments and trade. Were cash to disappear suddenly, the economy of various countries would be severely affected.

Connecting Cash to the Internet Using Stablecoins

Having recently attended the ESTA forum 2019 in Vienna, an annual event for Europe’s cash management industry, I was able to get a grasp on the situation:

  • The War on Cash is in full swing and many cash management providers don’t know how to react to this development. A recent IMF blog post comes to mind that explains how cash can be removed from the economy by charging a 4% fee to convert between cash and bank money.

  • Central banks want their interest rates to go negative and in some countries in Europe they are already negative. Cash is an effective escape from this and therefore central banks want to eliminate cash.

  • Nobody seems interested in defending cash from the larger powers that be in commercial banks and central banks, both of whom would prefer everything to be digital so that they can exert more control.

In Emerging Markets, Digital Services Need Cash

While negative interest rates and cashless economies are a talking subject in many developed countries, it’s a pipe dream for most of the world’s population. Only about 30 of the world’s 180 currencies are internationally floated and of them only about a third are effectively used for cross border trade.

Connecting Cash to the Internet Using Stablecoins

For the many billions of people in the world, cash will continue to play a key role for the foreseeable future as will positive interest rates and higher inflation.

In fact, the adoption of digital services and products in emerging markets relies on the ability to move between cash and digital money. Many people may tout the effectiveness of mobile money in Africa and how that can be a path forward for the developing world, but in order to get a mobile money balance you need to visit an agent who will top it up. Therefore, every unit of currency in the mobile money system is backed by an equivalent amount of cash.

The reality on the ground is that mobile money is not replacing cash, but instead cash is a necessity for mobile money services to take off in the first place.

Stablecoins Provide the Bridge Between Cash and Digital

Cryptocurrency has an important part to play in connecting cash-based markets to the digital economy. In particular, stablecoins are perfectly suited for this as a type of cryptocurrency where the value is pegged to the value of another more stable asset, like a national currency.

The mechanism for maintaining the peg can be classified in two ways: trusted and trustless. When a stablecoin is trusted, it means a central authority is in charge of the reserves and maintaining the peg (think: True USD, USD Tether, Gemini Dollar). Trustless stablecoins on the other hand are managed by smart contracts which control the reserves and maintain the peg (think: Makerdao, Bitusd, Stable.php).

Connecting Cash to the Internet Using Stablecoins

While most stablecoins are trusted and pegged to the US Dollar, we are increasingly seeing new projects branching out to include stablecoins for exotic currencies such as Indonesian rupiah, Philippine peso, Brazilian real, Vietnamese dong, South African rand and potentially many more.

This is where trustless stablecoins especially get to shine, as the creation of, say, a trustless Philippine peso stablecoin only requires crypto infrastructure – circumventing the traditional banking system – which makes it a lot easier for companies to enter that market.

Why Stablecoins Matter

Stablecoins are important for digital services to take off in emerging markets because they simplify the process of converting cash to digital money, without having to factor in the volatility of an asset like bitcoin. As a form of digital cash, stablecoins can then be integrated with any of the digital services provided by companies in that market.

Okra Solar serves as a great example of how stablecoins can be used to connect cash-based markets to a digital service: in the Philippines, residents can get their power from the solar grid provided by Okra and pay for their bills with stable.php, a stablecoin they can buy locally with cash. As an extra benefit, while this stablecoin was initially acquired to pay for solar electricity, those same people effectively now also have a way to access the wider world of cryptocurrencies using cash – especially relevant in markets with weaker currencies.

As more digital services are aiming for customers in emerging markets, stablecoins will become increasingly important as the connecting thread between cash and the digital economy. All it takes is a cash in, cash out network designed to make crypto accessible to everyone.

Connecting Cash to the Internet Using Stablecoins

George Harrap is the CEO & Co-Founder of Bitspark. Having started in early 2011, George is an early adopter of Bitcoin and blockchain technology. In 2014, he co-founded Bitspark with the intention of bringing greater financial access to everyone. Through a network of cash points, mobile app and DEX, Bitspark uses cryptocurrencies to form the bridge between the old and new worlds of finance.

 

Op-ed disclaimer: This is an Op-ed article. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the Op-ed article. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the content. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any information in this Op-ed article.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Did you know you can verify any unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction with our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool? Simply complete a Bitcoin address search to view it on the blockchain. Plus, visit our Bitcoin Charts to see what’s happening in the industry.

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David Chaum’s Elixxir Invites Smartphone Users to Test Private Messaging

Par Avi Mizrahi

In an age where Google, Facebook and the NSA are known to be harvesting as much as our communications as they can, many people are concerned that online privacy now only exists in the history books. One project trying to address this is the metadata-shredding platform Elixxir, led by cypherpunk innovator David Chaum, which now lets smartphone users test the network’s private messaging capabilities.

Also Read: Total Surveillance Coin Will Be a Dystopia if Controlled by Facebook or Government

Metadata-Shredding Platform Launches Public Alpha

Elixxir, the latest creation of the man known as the “father of online anonymity,” David Chaum, has announced the launch of the Xx network public alpha. Maintained by a team of nodes run by independent operators, the Xx network alpha represents the first public demonstration of Cmix, the transaction network that shreds metadata and provides unprecedented consumer privacy and security.

“We’ve worked very hard over many years to design and develop the Elixxir privacy protecting platform and now users can access the platform for private communication. It’s one thing to talk about and describe such a platform, it’s quite another to make it available for use on a smartphone. I’m very proud of our team for getting this done,” said David Chaum.

Privacy Network Elixxir Invites Smartphone Users to Test Private Messaging

In the weeks ahead, users will have a chance to test the Xx network public alpha for themselves. Currently, select partners are testing the public alpha. The developers say that the public alpha will immediately be capable of processing 500 transactions per second, and they expect it to scale within weeks to 2,500-5,000 transactions per second.

The Xx network public alpha nodes are run by a cross-section of selected node operators around the world. Operators include Bitcoin.com, Chainzilla, Everstake, Incrypt, Iqlusion, and Simply VC. Hand-picked by Elixxir, these node operators will contribute their expertise and feedback to inform the Xx network decentralized beta later this year.

“It’s great to see Elixxir is available publicly for high volume testing. I’m a supporter. Some things about my life are confidential, that’s why I’m looking forward to using their privacy protecting platform,” commented Roger Ver, Executive Chairman of Bitcoin.com.

How Elixxir Protects Users’ Metadata

Communication metadata is the information on the times, origins and destinations of phone calls, emails and instant messages, as opposed to their actual content. It can be used against people by advertisers, scammers, identity thieves, and even hostile governments.

The former National Security Agency (NSA) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director, Michael Hayden, famously said in 2014 that “We kill people based on metadata.” He explained that “metadata alone can provide an extremely detailed picture of a person’s most intimate associations and interests, and it’s actually much easier as a technological matter to search huge amounts of metadata than to listen to millions of phone calls.”

According to the Cmix whitepaper, Elixxir is working to provide protection against the harvesting and exploitation of metadata by fulfilling two core values fundamental to achieving true security and privacy. The first value is anonymity, protecting the identity of participants in activities; for example, a message sender and recipient. This means that an adversary cannot map any input to the corresponding output with any higher probability than random guessing, even if the adversary has compromised most of the system. The second value is integrity – verifying the trustworthiness of the transaction system. This means, for example, that at any given point, either the system delivers all messages without alteration, or, in the event of a failure, any malicious mixnode is identified with high probability.

Privacy Network Elixxir Invites Smartphone Users to Test Private Messaging

To achieve both anonymity and integrity, the system brings together two key concepts: mixnets and precomputation. Mixnets, also known as mixing networks, were first described by David Chaum in 1981. A mixnet lays down cryptographic rules for messages or transaction activity from a set of users to be relayed by a sequence of trusted intermediaries known as mixnodes. These are computer servers that receive a batch of encrypted messages, randomly permute or “mix” them, and then send them forward. Mixnets typically protect the contents of messages with public key encryption. The mixing process provides anonymity, while the public key encryption provides integrity.

The main drawback to traditional mixnets is that they are slow; the public key encryption process takes computers a long time to perform, making mixnets too slow for most consumer uses. The Cmix system is designed to solve this problem by using precomputation. Precomputation allows mixnodes to do all the time-consuming work of public key cryptography before the real-time phase of handling messages between senders and recipients. The result, according to the developers, is a very efficient kind of mixnet that allows users to send and receive messages in real-time without compromising on security and privacy.

Mixnodes perform the work of decrypting messages and mixing traffic to hide the associations between senders and recipients. The work of mixnets is performed in three phases: setup, precomputation, and real-time. In the setup phase, mixnodes establish secret and shared public keys, which can be used as a seed to derive unique values for every session. The precomputation phase is performed once for each real-time phase. The mixnodes establish shared values to circumvent the need for public key operations during the real-time phase, with each mixnode in an n-member team doing 1/n of the decryption work. In the real-time phase, mixnodes receive messages, perform the decryption work prepared for with precomputation, and pass the message on to the next mixnode.

Cypherpunk Creator of Digital Cash

David Lee Chaum is known as a pioneer in cryptography and privacy-preserving technologies, and widely recognized as the inventor of digital cash. In 1995 his company Digicash, an electronic money corporation, created the first digital currency with ecash. The renowned cypherpunk once lamented that internet technologies would create a dossier society where government would catalog information on each individual and track every person and keep tabs on their comings and goings.

What do you think about Elixxir and the launch of the Xx network public alpha? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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Bitmain Launches Next Gen Miner as Bitcoin Hashrate Touches 100 Exahash

Par Jamie Redman
Bitmain Launches Next Gen Miner as Bitcoin Hashrate Touches 100 Exahash

Last Thursday the China-based mining rig manufacturer Bitmain announced the launch of two new Antminers that offer hashrates between 53 to 64 terahash per second (TH/s). When the Antminer sale started on Monday, first batch devices sold extremely fast and Bitmain expects to deliver units by mid-November. Meanwhile, the combined SHA256 hashrate (BCH and BTC) has grown exponentially, touching 100 exahash per second (EH/s) on Tuesday.

Also Read: Plans to Build $50M Bitcoin Cash Tech Park Revealed

Bitmain Launches Two New Next-Generation Miners With Hashrates of 53-64TH/s

Mining coins like BCH and BTC is extremely competitive and recently mining rig manufacturers have been launching next-generation devices making the competition even greater. Last week, on Sep. 5, Bitmain Technologies announced the launch of its newest set of Antminers after releasing multiple versions of SHA256 mining rigs over the last few months. The latest versions include the Antminer S17e and the T17e which will be sold in three batches. According to Bitmain’s specifications, both machines have been optimized to perform with “significant improvements to power efficiency and hashrate.” The S17e has an average hashrate of 64TH/s and 45 joules per terahash (J/TH). The Antminer T17e offers hashrate speeds of up to 53TH/s and power efficiency of roughly 55J/TH. So far both batches of the new Antminers have sold out and the last sale will end Wednesday morning on Sep. 11.

Bitmain Launches Next Gen Miner as Bitcoin Hashrate Touches 100 Exahash

In addition to the new Antminers, Bitmain introduced a compensation strategy for delivery delay. So if mining rigs are not shipped on the specified delivery dates then Bitmain will compensate customers with coupons for each day of delay, based on PPS rewards of the mining pool and electricity cost deducted. Bitmain explained that both new models have been created for better efficiency and longevity as well. “Both new models have been designed for more stable operations in the long-term to reduce maintenance costs for customers,” Bitmain detailed last week. “This is made possible through the dual tube heat dissipation technology which improves how efficiently heat dissipates. The models are also equipped with a more secure software system to prevent malicious attacks.”

Bitmain Launches Next Gen Miner as Bitcoin Hashrate Touches 100 Exahash

Bitmain will also be hosting the second annual World Digital Mining Summit (WDMS) in Frankfurt Germany on Oct. 8-10 2019. The two-day event will bring together some of the biggest entrepreneurs in the mining industry like Genesis Mining Marco Streng and Bitmain’s cofounder Jihan Wu. One specific event at the WDMS conference announced this week will be a contest for the “top ten mining farms around the world.” This will allow the mining industry to vote on the best mining farms out there today. In order to participate, miners need to disclose their location, capacity, mining farm systems, hosting price, length of operations, and submit photos of their crypto mines. Participants must submit all required materials by email before September 13 and winners will receive VIP tickets to WDMS.

High-Powered Mining Rigs Push the SHA256 Hashrate Above 100EH/s

With 64TH/s and 45J/TH, the new Antminer S17e would be the most profitable mining rig today, according to asicminervalue.com. At the time of writing, calculating current prices and with an electricity cost of $0.13 per kWh, the S17e would profit by $8.86 per day mining BTC (if it was available to the public today). Profits per day might be entirely different depending on the price per coin on Nov. 2019 and network difficulty. The new Antminer models will compete with the Microbt Whatsminer M20S (68TH/s), Ebang Ebit E11++ (44TH/s), and the Strongu STU-U8 pro (60TH/s).

Bitmain Launches Next Gen Miner as Bitcoin Hashrate Touches 100 Exahash
Top 12 mining rigs on Sep. 10, 2019.

The rest of the competitive mining rigs in the top list are other Bitmain models too such as the S17 pro (53TH/s), and the S17 (56TH/s). In 2019 Bitmain has released a wide assortment of SHA256 compatible miners including the new legacy S9 series, and the T version models. There’s still a bunch of low hashrate miners available on the Bitmain website, but most higher performance machines are selling out quickly. Still, with an electricity cost of $0.13 per kWh, any mining rig on the market that performs at more than 13TH/s is profiting at today’s BTC and BCH prices. On Sep. 10, it is currently 4% more profitable to mine on the Bitcoin Cash blockchain according to prices and Coin Dance statistics.

Bitmain Launches Next Gen Miner as Bitcoin Hashrate Touches 100 Exahash
On Sep. 10, 2019, at 12 p.m. EDT, it was 4% more profitable to mine the BCH chain. Do you want to maximize your Bitcoin Mining potential? Plug your own hardware into the world’s most profitable Bitcoin mining pool or get started without having to own hardware through one of our competitive Bitcoin cloud mining contracts.

Both chains’ SHA256 hashrate combined on Sep. 10 crossed the 100 exahash per second (EH/s) region as BTC captured 98.53EH/s and BCH gathered 2.4EH/s. If and when SHA256 networks can exceed 500 exahash per second, the processing power will penetrate the zetahash era. BTC’s hashrate is 8X more powerful than Dec. 2017 at the height of the bull run, and this past June the BTC hashrate was 55EH/s which nearly doubled in three months. The BCH network hashrate has hovered between 2-2.6EH/s over the last three months with 11 pools processing BCH blocks. There are 10 pools mining BTC with 18.1% of the hashrate being stealth mined by unknown miners. On Sep. 10, 22% of the BCH network hashrate consists of unknown mining pools as well.

Bitmain Launches Next Gen Miner as Bitcoin Hashrate Touches 100 Exahash
On Sep. 10, 2019, both SHA256 networks (BTC & BCH) combined crossed 100EH/s.

With market prices at what they are today, both BCH and BTC miners are seeing significant profits compared to last year’s prices. At current speeds, both SHA256 networks’ reward halvings will be at different times. The BTC chain is expected to see its reward halving in 248 days on May 16, 2020, while the BCH chain is expected to cut its block reward on April 8, 2020. Both dates are not exact and the time could change if hashrates increase or decline from here. The onslaught of new machines produced by manufacturers like Bitmain, Strongu, Innosilicon, and Microbt should continue to increase the overall SHA256 hashrates on both networks.

What do you think about the latest Bitmain miners and the exponential SHA256 hashrate? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the mentioned manufacturers and products associated with this article. Bitcoin.com or the author is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services, products, websites, and vendors mentioned in this article. This editorial review is for informational purposes only.


Image credits: Shutterstock, Bitmain, asicminervalue.com, Fork.lol, Coin Dance, Wiki Commons, and Pixabay.


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Plans to Build $50M Bitcoin Cash Tech Park Revealed

Par Jamie Redman
Plans to Build a $50M Bitcoin Cash Tech Park in North Queensland Revealed

At the Bitcoin Cash City conference in North Queensland, the CEO of Code Valley, Noel Lovisa, announced plans to build a $50 million dollar Bitcoin Cash tech park in the city of Townsville. The plan is to aggregate startup companies and there are more than 12 Bitcoin Cash focused startups already on board. Additionally, the BCH tech park creators aim to create a sister project with a mining and server facility built near the Kennedy Energy Park.

Also Read: Emergent Coding, Adoption Incentives and Practical Use – Bitcoin Cash City, Day 2

Code Valley CEO Announces Bitcoin Cash Tech Park

Over the last two years, many BCH proponents have heard about the city of Townsville on the coast of North Queensland, Australia. The city is well known for its dense population of BCH supporters and the 78 bitcoin cash accepting merchants. On Sep. 4-5, Townsville hosted the first annual Bitcoin Cash City conference, a BCH-centric event in a city full of supporters, developers, and BCH retailers. During the two-day event, participants heard from Code Valley team members like senior software engineer Mark Fabbro and CEO Noel Lovisa. The two discussed a subject called Emergent Coding which is essentially a software supply-chain or global compiler network that will work in concert with the BCH chain. “If the utility of BCH is going to be an international currency then at some point we’ve got to get the global economy using bitcoin cash,” the Code Valley CEO insisted during his talk at the event. Lovisa also told conference attendees that emergent coding will bring “a serious amount of economic activity onto the Bitcoin Cash blockchain.”

Plans to Build $50M Bitcoin Cash Tech Park in North Queensland Revealed
Code Valley CEO, Noel Lovisa, speaking to Bitcoin Cash City conference attendees in Townsville. He told the crowd that day that the Code Valley team had won a tender and they have plans to build a $50M Bitcoin Cash tech park in Townsville, North Queensland.

Lovisa further said that with emergent coding, the company didn’t want to stop there and aimed to leverage the benefits of Bitcoin Cash City as much as they could. So the company formulated a plan to create a Bitcoin Cash tech park based on Emergent Coding technology in Townsville. In Lovisa’s eyes, Townsville has an edge on adoption already and the city is “a year or more ahead” than most urban areas. The Code Valley executive told the event participants that a tender came up from the city for the redevelopment of the North Rail Yard and they won the tender. This means the project will partner with the city to develop the tech park Lovisa revealed. After the Bitcoin Cash City conference, news.Bitcoin.com spoke with Lovisa to get more information about the BCH tech park in Townsville.

Plans to Build $50M Bitcoin Cash Tech Park in North Queensland Revealed
The slide images of the model Bitcoin Cash Tech Park.

A Technology Park Fueled by Bitcoin Cash Innovation

Bitcoin.com (BC): How did the Bitcoin Cash City Conference turn out?

Code Valley CEO, Noel Lovisa (NL): When all the delegates are eager to return next year for the 2020 Bitcoin Cash City Conference, I think you can say it was successful. A combination of a location in sunny North Queensland, extraordinary Bitcoin BCH adoption and differentiation such as a helicopter scenic built into the premium ticket, together with a great organizing effort managed to attract all the big names for speakers and sponsorship. It was really fun for a conference to walk the talk too with tickets in BCH, flights in BCH, accommodation in BCH, food, taxis, etc. We are planning a much larger event next year built upon this successful model.

Plans to Build $50M Bitcoin Cash Tech Park in North Queensland Revealed

BC: Can you tell our readers what initiated the planning for a $50M Bitcoin Cash Tech Park to be built in North Queensland?

NL: A North Queensland innovation called Emergent Coding is the fuse that lit the BCH tech park tender proposal. Emergent Coding is a distributed software development technology which trades the ability to specify completely bespoke software for extraordinary advances in software design speed, cost, native performance, and resource usage. Emergent Coding solves software’s “double-spend” problem to permit the first feasible developer specialization. It aims to combine the world’s 30 million developers into a single cohesive unit that designs software. Since these 30 million developers are spread around the world, Bitcoin Cash is ideal for rewarding these developers for their design contributions.

Plans to Build $50M Bitcoin Cash Tech Park in North Queensland Revealed
The architect who designed the Bitcoin Cash Tech Park attended the conference as well.

With such a large innovation and recognising the many startups moving into the Emergent Coding space, it was decided that a Bitcoin Cash tech park would be the ideal vehicle to anchor much of the development benefit for North Queensland. When the City’s North Rail Yard redevelopment tender came up, and given the Rail Yards are the traditional tech center of the city circa 100 years ago, making it the modern tech center of the city while preserving these heritage-listed buildings of the original yards seems like an unbelievable opportunity. While we have won the tender, there is still much to do before we can make the Bitcoin Cash Park a reality.

Clearly, North Queensland is investing big in the future of Bitcoin Cash and as seen by the conference, North Queensland gets stuff done.

BC: When is the BCH tech park project starting?

NL: It has been a very exciting year with our tender application initially being shortlisted, then winning the right to partner with the city on the project. Presently we are racing to reach a heads-of-agreement before Christmas as the local government goes into caretaker mode ahead of the election next year. While the site is complicated by the heritage aspects, we have put an experienced team together and expect to begin construction mid next year.

Plans to Build $50M Bitcoin Cash Tech Park in North Queensland Revealed
Proposed Bitcoin Cash Tech Park plans. Are you a Bitcoin developer? Did you know you can create your own Bitcoin Cash app with the Bitbox and Badger Wallet SDKs, get started with BCH tokens through the SLP SDK, and build your knowledge base with our Bitcoin Cash developer guides.

BC: During your talk at the Bitcoin Cash City conference, you mentioned 12 Bitcoin Cash focused tech startups in the area are involved with this project. Which BCH startups are included in this list?

NL: Leading the startup list is Code Valley Corp P/L and Aptissio Australia P/L, with the latter securing about $1 million in its first seed round and already delivering their first Bitcoin Cash products into the market. Aptissio’s focus is about applying Emergent Coding to BCH software development and they already have more than 700 Emergent Coding Agents online in addition to Code Valley’s 1,400 Agents. Aptissio hopes to field a BCH full node in the near future which may well be the most exciting Bitcoin Cash development since the fork.

It promises to amplify BCH developer productivity, provide a new developer funding model which excludes the possibility of capture, eliminates duplication of effort intrinsic in incumbent development, and much more.

Plans to Build $50M Bitcoin Cash Tech Park in North Queensland Revealed
Proposed Bitcoin Cash tech park plans.

But coming back to your question, Aptissio may be the leader and furthest along with the application of Emergent Coding, however there’s Echt Fin P/L, Lexcode legal P/L, Bitcoin BCH P/L, Townsville Mining P/L, Appening P/L, Cyclone AI P/L, SatoshiwareNQ P/L, Townsville Technology Precincts P/L and several beginning to appear in SOCAL such as Straya LLC, Coactive Blockchain LLC. These startups are in various stages of funding and active development and all in the Emergent Coding Bitcoin Cash space.

BC: Can you tell our readers about the mining and server facility to be built near Kennedy Energy Park?

NL: The sister project to the BCH tech park is the server complex. Emergent Coding has a vast need for server capacity to support its design agents and is dependent on Bitcoin Cash, so we want to support the Bitcoin Cash network with some domestic mining. North Queensland has an incredible site that promises to be highly competitive in terms of renewable energy, cooling, data, and low-cost real estate. We have completed a comprehensive technical due diligence on the site and are in negotiations over its development. I can not say more about this project at this time but watch this space.

Check out the full version of Noel Lovisa’s Bitcoin Cash City tech park announcement in the video below.

What do you think about the BCH tech park planned for Townsville? Do you think this will help bolster BCH adoption and industrialization? Let us know what you think about this project in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, Bitcoin Cash City Conference, Code Valley, Noel Lovisa, and Pixabay. Bitcoin Cash Tech Park photos are not final depictions and the park design is subject to change.


Are you a developer looking to build on Bitcoin Cash? Head over to our Bitcoin Developer page where you can get Bitcoin Cash developer guides and start using the Bitbox, SLP, and Badger Wallet SDKs.

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Government Hates Crypto Because It Empowers the People, Not Because It’s Used for Crime

Par Graham Smith
Government Hates Crypto Because It Empowers the People, Not Because It's Used for Crime

A recent article from MIT Technology Review has leveraged a somewhat sensationalist headline to stir up fear about bitcoin and crypto. The article, written about a “hidden” government weapon to be deployed against Bitcoin, references September 3 senate subcommittee testimony by Washington D.C. consulting firm Financial Integrity Network. In the testimony, Vice President of the firm David Murray calls for the Bank Secrecy Act to be expanded to include regulating bitcoin miners as traditional financial institutions. With the U.S. dollar already backing most crime worldwide, one is left to wonder why so much focus is directed at crypto, and so little at the largest perpetrators of violence on earth — governments.

Also Read: The 3 Top Drivers of Crypto Adoption – BCH City Wrap-Up

Sordid Affairs at MIT

While the MIT publication drums up fear of unfeasible regulation of bitcoin miners via an almost 50-years-old “hidden weapon,” things at the crypto-involved Massachusetts Institute of Technology aren’t looking so regulated, either. Last week’s resignation of head of the MIT Media Lab, Joi Ito, follows the revelation that he had been secretly accepting huge donations from then-convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who was arrested for additional charges of sex trafficking of minors in July, and reportedly killed himself in a Manhattan jail cell on August 10.

MIT is conducting an internal review of the Epstein matter, which could be connected to donations from such influential tech-savvy billionaires as Bill Gates. The school has a history of taking underhanded jabs at disruptive and subversive tech like Bitcoin, and remaining tellingly silent when human rights activists are put on the spit of government persecution, or when ties with brutal, U.S.-supported dictatorial regimes like Saudi Arabia are concerned. In a joint-authored MIT Media Lab-connected piece published to The Atlantic in 2016, the writers state:

The [bitcoin] cryptocurrency is a powerful tool for early adopters and middle-class entrepreneurs, but it may not provide the opportunities in the developing world that its advocates claim.

Government Hates Crypto Because It Empowers the People, Not Because It's Used for Crime

That’s fair enough, and at face value a pretty innocuous and possibly substantial claim. But the Bitcoin critical hint-drops continue throughout the piece, suggesting to readers that they “dig into the ways mobile money is embedded in new, networked systems of control and value enclosure, as opposed to being a purely grassroots phenomenon for social inclusion.”

Tellingly, the url for the piece includes the word “hype” and the original title, prior to being edited, was “The New Bitcoin Myth.” For anyone that can read between the lines here, The Atlantic piece is an attempted attack on the utility of crypto and its revolutionary potential, coming from a massively government-funded university. According to a 2017 letter from MIT president L. Rafael Reif:

Congress will shape the final terms. But because we rely on federal funding for 66% of our campus research support, we must take this “blueprint” seriously, for both what it says and what it signals.

Government Hates Crypto Because It Empowers the People, Not Because It's Used for Crime
The Atlantic has since changed the title of the 2016 MIT-penned crypto hit piece to “Can Bitcoin Be Used for Good?”

Indeed, the block size limitation critiques made in the article are valid, but that was 2016, prior to the BCH fork remedying this issue. Even the sometimes lagging transactions of that time didn’t make legacy services truly better, anyway, and for someone looking to escape the anvil-heavy shackles of the fiat banking racket, BTC still held great utility. The MIT/Atlantic piece promotes fiat transfer services over crypto alternatives, and takes aim at so-called “Bitcoin do-gooders.” At the end of the day, it reads a lot like any other crypto faux intelligentsia screed.

Government Hates Crypto Because It Empowers the People, Not Because It's Used for Crime

True Power Through P2P

In the crypto space, seeing which altruist can shout the loudest about adoption and inclusion is the norm. But prattling on about government regulation helping to mainstream crypto, or stablecoins like USDC helping to “bank the unbanked” is largely fruitless when it comes to real world application. One voice is noticeably underrepresented here: that of the simple peer-to-peer trader.

What the aforementioned MIT secret weapon piece fails to note is that crypto can indeed already help anyone. If the banks would get out of the way, and with them, the state. Thanks to ever-increasing regulations designed by global groups like the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), tax agencies like the IRS, and government talking heads or financial regulators, the “unbanked” still cannot access these revolutionary technologies freely.

News.Bitcoin.com pointed out in a recent article on stablecoins that even access to the services supposedly tailor-made for the unbanked can require bank account information. A simple wallet, internet connection, and willing market is all that is truly required. So why do governments seek to complicate crypto? Maybe they’re not so much concerned with human trafficking and terrorism, after all, but more with maintaining control of the global money supply.

Government Hates Crypto Because It Empowers the People, Not Because It's Used for Crime

The Crypto Revolution Is Now

If politicians and lawmakers of the world truly want to help abused children, impoverished people, and victims of all sorts of other crimes and violations of humanity, they should turn the camera — and the handcuffs — back on themselves. Demanding that the unbanked and financially struggling of the world first pass through impossible KYC drawbridges, treating everyday P2P traders of crypto as criminals, and gaslighting an entire movement based on actions the government itself is more guilty of than anyone else — like murder, sex abuse, trafficking, and terrorism — perhaps it’s time to let the free market and local communities regulate themselves. This can be, and is currently being done in spite of the prevailing evil paradigm, via the understanding of individual self-ownership and economic sovereignty.

Government Hates Crypto Because It Empowers the People, Not Because It's Used for Crime
Eat BCH is a bitcoin cash initiative helping to feed people in Venezuela and Africa.

Wonderful charities and aid initiatives for helping the underprivileged of the world directly, already exist. Eatbch, for example, is a “Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash-to-Food System” that collects BCH donations to feed hungry people in economically struggling regions of the world. A member of the South Sudanese team reported to Bitcoinafrica.io:

We started the charity part-time on weekends in the capital, Juba, in our neighbourhood and then expanded to some of the most affected areas by the conflict, such as the town of Yei or Bor. There, we were able to feed over 500 internally displaced people, mostly elderly and children. We were able to do that through our colleagues whom we trained after coming back from the blockchain conference.

Other notable crypto-friendly initiatives include Airdropvenezuela, Coins 4 Clothes, and EFF. Beyond organized efforts, though, the real revolution of peer-to-peer electronic cash is individual financial sovereignty. The more wealth everyday individuals can build, the better they can help themselves, their communities, and grow their visions for making the world a better, more free and humane place. This is something no centralized government can ever do, as the intimate, one-on-one relationships and knowledge held by private individuals in community with one another can not be “processed” or formalized by monolithic, inefficient, violence-based institutions like the state.

The reason that so many crypto regulations are being introduced while governments evade scrutiny for the very same crimes is simple: their money is not sound. Not even conceptually. Bitcoin is. If critical mass is reached, and everyday folks realize that economic sovereignty is possible, it’s game over. The Monopoly board will have to be folded up, and the sulking bullies sent home. It’s highly unlikely they’ll go without a fight.

What are your thoughts on crypto regulation and economic freedom? Let us know in the comments section below.

Op-ed disclaimer: This is an Op-ed article. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the Op-ed article. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the content. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any information in this Op-ed article.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Fair Use.


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Total Surveillance Coin Will Be a Dystopia if Controlled by Facebook or Government

Par Avi Mizrahi
Total Surveillance Coin Will Be a Dystopia if Controlled by Facebook or Government

Digital currency provides unprecedented abilities to spy on and control what people do, and having that power in the hands of a few people is very dangerous. The Big Tech monopolies of Silicon Valley are building a future where your every action is monitored, and giving Facebook control over what you can and can’t do with your money will be the same level of dystopia as having a politician do the same.

Also Read: Capital Controls in Argentina Demonstrate Dangers of Government-Controlled Money

Libra Is The Exact Opposite of a Cryptocurrency Ideal

There has been a lot of attention given to Libra in the cryptocurrency community ever since Facebook has announced its plans for the digital coin. On social media and forums people were predicting it would be an on ramp to the new economy, and in conferences and other events people were talking about it as evidence that crypto is going mainstream. Some companies servicing the market have even announced that they are set to incorporate Libra into their current offerings. While the attention is understandable as Facebook is a huge company and its choosing to issue a digital token is a major event, the excitement is misplaced.

Cryptocurrency was invented to bring economic freedom to the world and provide people with a way to transfer money without intermediaries that can censor or block them. Libra will most surely be the exact opposite of this ideal. It will be a system for transferring value only between parties that are identified and pre-approved by the controlling bodies. And it may also be far worse than the current banking system.

Total Surveillance Coin Will Be a Dystopia if Controlled by Facebook or Government

Facebook makes its money selling your data. Not just your age, gender, and location, but also who you vote for, what causes you support and much more. It invests heavily in big data, artificial intelligence and other technologies to be able to track and commodify your every action on the Internet and in the real world. As its market value and billions in earnings prove, the company is very good at doing this, only second to Google perhaps. No bank in the world can match that. Giving Facebook the power to monitor every financial transfer you make is handing the social media juggernaut an incredibly powerful new tool to exploit you with.

Facebook and Government Are Closer Than You Think

It needs to be clear that the intention of Facebook is not to compete with banks, PayPal or credit cards, but to dominate all financial activities of its users. When payment apps started off in China they were just a way to send money to your contacts, but soon grew to become a universally accepted way to pay for everything and anything across the country. The ease of using a digital system like that is driving out all other payment methods in China, and Facebook will try to emulate that as much as it can in the rest of the world. Unlike the Chinese model however, Libra will not be just a conduit for local currencies, but its own coin backed by fiat.

This presents a direct threat to governments and central banks, and these have responded by putting a lot of pressure on Facebook. The company in reaction has basically said that it will bend over backwards to tailor the system to the desires of politicians in order to get their approval. This means that it will employ its full technological capabilities to make sure that users don’t do anything that the government disapproves of. And that will create a total surveillance system in a way that is not even imaginable for the banks to do.

Total Surveillance Coin Will Be a Dystopia if Controlled by Facebook or Government
K Street, the center of Washington, D.C.’s lobbying industry

Facebook has also not been idly waiting for governments to tell it what to do, and has been busy spending money to influence politicians to see things its way. The company is reportedly hiring the services of top lobbyists in Washington D.C., and probably doing the same in other capitals around the world as well. The social media giant is additionally embedding itself with governments by recruiting well connected politicians into its ranks, such as former British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who is now Vice-President for Global Affairs and Communications at Facebook. This means that the company can be seen as part of the overall governmental system, not necessarily some free market venture competing fairly and just having to protect itself from government intrusion into its business.

How to Prevent a Total Surveillance Dystopia

The Big Tech monopolies of Silicon Valley are powerful data brokers with an insatiable hunger for all your personal information. Moreover, they use their dominance over mass communication platforms such as Twitter and YouTube to silence voices they disagree with over political questions, or at the behest of governments. If the same standards and tactics will be now be used with the new crypto money Libra, it will mean that they are going to harvest any transaction you make to build a profile of your behavior and desires, and if you stray from the path allowed by those in charge, you will be locked out of access to the system. Therefore, anyone that values economic freedom and privacy needs to avoid Libra like a fire in an oil refinery.

Total Surveillance Coin Will Be a Dystopia if Controlled by Facebook or Government

Digital currency can be used to create an undeniable and immutable record of any purchase you ever made if it is tied to your personal identity as Facebook wants. To avoid putting this power in the wrong hands, users need to choose projects created by real crypto developers, such as those of Bitcoin Cash (BCH), which make a deliberate effort to increase the privacy of users.

What do you think about Facebook’s planned digital currency and its relation to government? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

OP-ed disclaimer: This is an Op-ed article. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the Op-ed article. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the content. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any information in this Op-ed article.


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India’s Popular ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’ Show Gives Crypto a Boost

Par Kevin Helms
India’s Popular ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’ Show Gives Crypto a Boost

One of the most popular reality TV shows in India called Kaun Banega Crorepati, based on the show ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,’ has just given crypto a boost. A contestant on the show was asked a question about Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency, and the show’s host, Amitabh Bachchan, proceeded to explain what cryptocurrencies are to millions of viewers.

Also read: Indian Government’s New Report Views Crypto Positively

Indian Version of ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’

Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC) is one of the most popular reality TV shows in India. Based on the British program “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” the game show began airing in the year 2000 and is now in its 11th season. It is hosted by veteran actor Amitabh Bachchan. During Monday’s episode, he asked a contestant about Facebook’s Libra and then talked briefly about cryptocurrencies in general.

India's Popular 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire' Show Gives Crypto a Boost
An episode of Kaun Banega Crorepati.

Himanshu Dhuria, a 19-year-old contestant from Uttar Pradesh who is training to be a commercial pilot, was in the hot seat. Among the questions presented to him was “What is Libra, proposed by Facebook?” He had to choose between four options: artificial intelligence camera, instant messenger app, short video platform, and cryptocurrency.

Similar to its Western counterparts, the show allows the use of lifelines to help contestants answer difficult questions, such as asking the audience, removing two of the four choices (50:50), and asking experts. Without using one of his lifelines, Dhuria correctly answered that Libra was a cryptocurrency. Host Bachchan then proceeded to briefly explain what cryptocurrencies are, stating:

Cryptocurrency is a form of digital and global money system — currency. Bitcoin, litecoin, [and] ripple are some existing cryptocurrencies.

India's Popular 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire' Show Gives Crypto a Boost
KBC host Amitabh Bachchan.

The Indian crypto community is overjoyed that millions of KBC viewers have now been exposed to cryptocurrency. Nischal Shetty, CEO of local crypto exchange Wazirx, tweeted after the show that “Millions of Indians now know about crypto thanks to this.”

According to local media, the game show is among the most popular in India. Rediff.com reported earlier this month that the show racked up a viewership of 246 million in 2017, which dropped to 223 million the following year. Data by the Indian Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) shows that, in September 2017, KBC was the second most watched show in the country.

Danny Boyle’s 2008 film Slumdog Millionaire was loosely based on this show. It won eight out of the 10 Oscars it was nominated for at the 81st Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Further, the host in the movie, a role portrayed by Anil Kapoor, was based loosely on Bachchan. The actor has since appeared on a celebrity version of KBC. Bachchan himself is also an actor and producer. He gained popularity in the early 1970s and has won numerous awards.

India's Popular 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire' Show Gives Crypto a Boost

Facebook’s Libra Scrutinized Globally

Facebook unveiled its plans in June for a newly formed subsidiary, Calibra, to provide financial services via the Libra network. “The first product Calibra will introduce is a digital wallet for Libra, a new global currency powered by blockchain technology,” the social media giant detailed. “The wallet will be available in Messenger, Whatsapp and as a standalone app — and we expect to launch in 2020.”

Since Facebook’s announcement, many countries have been scrutinizing Libra due to its massive scale which could propel the digital currency into the mainstream, jeopardizing the role of central banks worldwide. Several U.S. lawmakers have voiced their concerns and tried to stop Facebook from continuing its work on the project. The G7 countries have held several discussions on the matter. There have even been reports that some countries are escalating their efforts to launch central bank digital currencies to get ahead of Libra. China, for example, is reportedly close to launching its own digital currency that will resemble Libra.

India's Popular 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire' Show Gives Crypto a Boost

As for India, former Secretary of the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) Subhash Chandra Garg said at the time that the “Design of the Facebook currency has not been fully explained.” He elaborated, “But whatever it is, it would be a private cryptocurrency and that’s not something we have been comfortable with.” Garg headed an interministerial committee (IMC) tasked with studying all aspects of cryptocurrencies and providing recommendations. The IMC has submitted its report with a draft bill entitled “Banning of Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill 2019” to the Ministry of Finance. The government has told the country’s supreme court that this bill may be introduced in the next parliament session.

Positive News and Supreme Court Hearings

Since the IMC report and draft bill were made public on July 22, the Indian crypto community has been putting a lot of effort into convincing lawmakers how flawed the recommendations are. Instead of banning cryptocurrencies, the community is calling for positive regulation for the Indian crypto industry.

India's Popular 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire' Show Gives Crypto a Boost

The Indian crypto community’s efforts have gained the support of some major industry groups such as the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and the National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom). Both believe that banning is not the solution. The IAMAI also has a writ petition pending at the supreme court which challenges the banking ban by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The central bank issued a circular in April last year, banning banks from providing services to crypto businesses including exchanges. The ban went into effect 90 days later.

Last week, the Steering Committee constituted by the DEA, also under the chairmanship of Garg, submitted its final fintech report to the finance minister. The report put crypto in a positive light. It states that the “Use of digital tokens resolves the issue of multiple currencies, improves liquidity and capital compliance costs, allows for micro-payments and expedites the payment process, which further eliminates liquidity risks.” It further adds that “The mechanisms surrounding cryptocurrencies, particularly the blockchain and initial coin offerings (ICOs), are revolutionizing the global fintech landscape.”

The Indian supreme court is scheduled to resume hearing the case against RBI’s banking ban on Sept. 25. During the latest hearing of this case, the court ordered the central bank to reply to the representation filed by the IAMAI which outlines measures crypto exchanges could implement such as those related to KYC and AML. Meanwhile, the case concerning the country’s crypto policies has been moved to the end of January.

What do you think of this popular Indian TV show mentioning cryptocurrency and Libra? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Fox Pictures, and Sony TV India.


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Roger Ver Shares His Story in New Video Series

Par Kai Sedgwick

As someone who was there from virtually the start, Roger Ver has seen and done it all in Bitcoin. A tireless evangelist for Bitcoin since long before it was cool, Ver remains a vocal proponent of the benefits of peer-to-peer cash and its power to effect positive change in the world. Every day this week, Roger Ver will be sharing a chapter from his life story in a multi-part video series. Rich in anecdotes, it provides a fascinating insight into how Roger Ver and Bitcoin became inexorably intertwined.

Also read: Despite Setbacks, Darknet Markets Show Continuous Growth in 2019

Roger Ver Revisits His Formative Years

From preaching the gospel of Bitcoin to anyone who would listen to funding early crypto startups, Roger Ver’s support for the industry has known no bounds. Bitcoin’s first angel investor remains an outspoken advocate for Satoshi Nakamoto’s creation, and is perhaps best known today for his support of Bitcoin Cash. An instantly recognizable figure within the cryptocurrency space, Roger Ver’s entrepreneurial spirit shone through from an early age.

Roger Ver Shares His Story in New Video Series

In the first video in the series, published on September 9, Ver explains how his fifth grade class invented its own fiat currency, named after their teacher Lindy. Lindyland dollars would be used to pay kids for work or other tasks completed. The job that earned the most Lindyland dollars was carrying the food cart from class to the cafeteria, a task which Ver took on despite it meaning he would lose five minutes of recess each day.

“When you’re in the fifth grade, recess is the most important thing in life, but I wanted to earn those Lindyland dollars,” Ver recounts. “A lot of kids didn’t understand the difference, that one Lindyland dollar was not worth one US dollar – the actual exchange rate was 50 to 1.” The Bitcoin.com Chief Executive then confesses the money-making scheme he concocted, an experience which was to instill his first lesson on inflation.

Hustling in Junior High

When Roger Ver moved up to junior high, his side-hustles escalated and he found himself selling candy bars to fellow students. “My parents … took me to Costco where you could buy candy bars for 20 cents each,” Ver grins. “I had $20 of my own money, that maybe I found coins in couch cushions or whatever. I spent all of it on candy bars and then sold them at school for like 50 cents each. I was able to earn, I dunno, maybe $20 or $30 a week selling candy bars in junior high school and as a junior high school kid that was a lot of money.”

Bitcoin.com’s Executive Chairman, who served as the company’s CEO for years, remains deeply involved in promoting crypto, and continues to invest in projects building new crypto protocols, applications, networks, middleware, wallets and other tools. He’s also active on the ground, getting out there to meet people at crypto conferences and global events, while striving for real world adoption of cryptocurrency as a medium of exchange and a mechanism for financial inclusion.

Having manifested itself at a precocious age, Roger Ver’s sharp eye for a deal led to him launching his first online venture in 1999 through 2000. At the peak of the dot com crash, Ver was looking for a new hard drive for his PC and discovered that in the clearance sales they were selling 9GB hard drives for around $100. Checking on Ebay he found that the same drives would fetch almost $400 online.

“I am going to use every last penny I have to buy these hard drives,” he recalls. “So I had $1,400 of my own money. I bought 14 of those hard drives, I kept one for me and sold the other 13 on Ebay.” He continues:

So I went and took the $4,000 that I made in profit plus the $1,400 I had before, so I had around $5,000 and I went and bought $5,000 of additional computer parts and I sold those pretty quickly … I thought, wait a minute, I can make $5,000 a week just selling computer parts on eBay? I’m done with college.

In subsequent episodes of Roger Ver’s video retrospective, the bitcoin entrepreneur picks up where he left off, in a frank interview that reveals how:

  • He sold Magic the Gathering cards and Beanie Babies on the internet in high school.
  • He went to prison for selling firecrackers online.
  • He sold his Lamborghini to buy more bitcoin.

At the end of the first episode, Ver sums up his business philosophy succinctly:

“All any business is, is moving something from where it is worth less to where it is worth more … The value is in the mind of the beholder.”

What are your thoughts on Roger Ver’s business story? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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