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Aujourd’hui — 21 juillet 2019Bitcoin News

Deutsche Bank Collapse Could Crash Global Financial Markets

Par Avi Mizrahi

German financial services giant Deutsche Bank AG is one of the largest and most important economic institutions in the world. Mainly due to self-imposed scandals, the bank is now having to taking drastic measures to stay afloat. Investors everywhere should note that if such a critical piece of the too-big-to-fail banking system falters, it could trigger another global financial crisis.

Also Read: Global Crypto War Is Heating up – Iran Next in Line With Its Own Gold-Backed Coin

Deutsche Bank Struggles to Survive

Deutsche Bank AG, the largest banking services group in Germany with well over a trillion dollars worth of assets, has been a major source of concern for international investors, economists and policy makers for more than a couple of years now. In fact, the International Monetary Fund called the bank in 2016 “the most important net contributor to systemic risks” to the global financial system. That same year, various financial publications around the world also started warning that Deutsche might be the “next Lehman Brothers,” referring to the investment bank whose collapse is considered to be a major part of starting the 2008 global financial crisis.

Now the German bank appears to be struggling again, with some commentators fearing it will not be able to survive. Just this month it was announced that Deutsche will undergo a major reorganization in order to stop the bleeding. As was widely reported, the restructuring process of the company will include downsizing about a fifth of its employees around the world, approximately 18,000-20,000 people. Additionally it was revealed that Deutsche will cut its investment in information technology by over a billion dollars per year, a move that will hinder it from catching up with competitors or being able to face new challengers in the fintech domain. Moreover, there are also reports in the market that some institutional investment funds are pulling out their assets from the bank, which might signal a lack of trust in the success of the reorganization efforts.

Costly Scandals and Billions in Fines

Before we ponder how the situation might unfold, let’s review how Deutsche Bank got to its current state. Over the last few years it has been involved in a number of scandals such as facilitating money laundering which cost the bank a fortune in legal expenses, reputational damage and massive fines. Its stock is now trading at a 30-year low, having lost over 70% in value since 2007. The bank also suffered frequent changes at the top because of this, replacing CEOs and other top executives at an alarming rate for a company of its kind in its industry. In November 2018, its headquarters were even raided by law enforcement officers and representatives of the German tax authority.

Deutsche Bank Collapse Could Crash Global Financial Markets

The myriad of legal troubles it’s faced have cost Deutsche Bank an incredible amount of money in the last few years. For example, in April 2015 it had to agree to pay a combined $2.5 billion in fines to American and British authorities for its involvement in the Libor scandal, where several banks were accused of colluding to fix interest rates widely used around the world. And in January 2017, Deutsche reached a $7.2 billion settlement with the U.S. Justice Department over its sale and pooling of toxic mortgage securities. In total, Deutsche Bank has paid more than $13 billion for litigation since 2012.

What Happens When Too-Big-to-Fail Fails?

So what will happen if Deutsche Bank does not succeed with its reorganization efforts and can no longer survive on its own? If it was operating in an economy governed by real free market principles, the bank would just go out of business the same way other companies do all the time. However, it is more than possible that politicians and bureaucrats will feel a need to intervene to prevent that from happening.

Bodies such as the German government and the European Central Bank (ECB) can say that the failure of the largest commercial banking institution in the economic heart of Europe would have disastrous ramifications for the continent and the world as a lack of investor trust will send an economic shockwave from Germany outward. For this reason they may claim to have no choice but to rescue Deutsche Bank with other people’s money. This can be done by several ways, including forcing other banks to buy out Deutsche (there were attempts to merge it with Commerzbank AG in the past), printing more fiat money and giving it away to Deutsche or even outright nationalizing the bank.

Deutsche Bank Collapse Could Crash Global Financial Markets

Whatever the case may be, it will have lasting implications on the global economy. Besides the knock-on effect on other financial institutions, a collapse of Deutsche Bank, as well as a rescue of it with European citizens’ money, could create serious political fallback. As we have seen with the last global crisis financial, disillusioned voters might feel that those in power are sacrificing their savings in order to help rich bankers from too-big-to-fail institutions, fueling a drift to populism in extreme right and left parties, further destabilizing the established order.

A new financial crisis triggered by a collapse of Deutsche Bank can also drive more people to discover cryptocurrency as an alternative to fiat, as the faults of the old system become obvious to understand. A costly and unfair rescue of the failing system will also have such an effect, evoking the Times headline “Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks” from January 3, 2009, enshrined by Satoshi Nakamoto in the Bitcoin genesis block for a reason.

What do you think about the current state of Deutsche Bank and the likelihood of its possible collapse to crash the global financial markets again? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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The post Deutsche Bank Collapse Could Crash Global Financial Markets appeared first on Bitcoin News.

How the Blockchain Stops Cheaters: Cryptocurrency and Provably Fair Gaming

Par Graham Smith
How The Blockchain Stops Cheaters - Cryptocurrency Allows Provably Fair Gaming

Online casinos and betting sites have proliferated since the first of their kind came on the scene in 1994. Thanks to the convenience of playing from home, the allure of winning real money, and a degree of privacy, these popular sites continue to evolve. There have been major problems, though, regarding perceived fairness and randomness of play. Blockchain technology offers a solution in provably fair gaming, taking trust out of the picture almost entirely.

Also read: Why You Can’t Bet With Bitcoin at Online Casinos in the US

Mistrust of Old Models

Consumer mistrust of online gaming sites has been understandably high in the past, as the relationship between house and player is often shrouded in slick talk and foggy uncertainty. A 2013 survey of online gamblers showed that 91.5% of the 10,000+ interviewed wanted some kind of reputable, third party report to guarantee fairness in play. Things like hashing and open source, blockchain-based code are now making this possible.

How the Blockchain Stops Cheaters: Cryptocurrency and Provably Fair Gaming

What Is ‘Provably Fair’?

Provably fair means that the mechanisms used to generate results on a gaming platform can be vetted by the user independently for authenticity and randomness. Prior to the rise of blockchain solutions, users had to simply trust that their online casino was generating results without altering them according to the player’s bet, or some other arbitrary factor.

The house could stand to win a lot more by knowing how players bet, and purposefully broadcasting results not favorable to the user. With blockchain-based gambling, however, all the information about every single bet and result, and how the outcomes were arrived at, is stored on a public ledger, and these algorithms can be verified by users.

Instead of relying on a website’s bold claim of “third party-verified gaming” players can now prove this fairness to themselves using randomly generated seeds and hashes, as well as verification tools unaffiliated with the site itself. While the words “provably fair” in and of themselves do not necessarily denote a trustless system (some sites can still “rig” outcomes in subtle ways if users aren’t careful), this innovation does take things leagues beyond “just trust us.”

How the Blockchain Stops Cheaters: Cryptocurrency and Provably Fair Gaming

How It Works

Let’s say online gamer Susan wants to play some dice games. She heads to a provably fair site and places her bet. Before her bet is placed, however, the site’s server provides her with a hash (a near impossible-to-reverse, fixed-length output scrambling of data) of the predetermined server-side result or outcome of the roll (server seed). Now, Susan’s browser — or Susan herself — provides a random seed (client seed) which modifies the predetermined hash to something neither she nor the gaming site can predict. When all this has taken place, the dice are rolled.

How the Blockchain Stops Cheaters: Cryptocurrency and Provably Fair Gaming

After Susan has finished her gaming session, she can check the hashes provided by the site against the seeds she provided, using a now unhashed server seed. Via verification tools, she can be sure that the outcomes of her rolls were generated both according to the gaming site’s original seed (unchangeable after being decided prior to the bet or roll), and her own random client seed (existing only in her browser) via a predetermined algorithm.

How the Blockchain Stops Cheaters: Cryptocurrency and Provably Fair Gaming

In essence, the process is like someone writing a math problem on a piece of paper (such as 2 + 2 = ?) but with one of the values written in invisible ink (2 + ? = ?) This person then folds the paper and places it in another person’s pocket. This other person removes the paper, and now secretly writes a new number in black ink, crossing out the first, visible integer. Both people can then examine the paper with identical “magic flashlights.” The intended result “4” can be understood via the original magic ink value of “2,” but now must be adjusted based on the newly placed first value in black ink. In this way, neither party is able to predict the result without the magic lights (open source code, seeds, and hashes) showing the invisible ink (unhashed server seed) and newly written number in black (client seed).

Though much more complex than the simple illustration given above, this is the basic idea. In provably fair gaming, nobody has to trust anyone else about the outcome being random and fair, as long as the underlying mechanisms are transparent.

How the Blockchain Stops Cheaters: Cryptocurrency and Provably Fair Gaming

Transparency Is Paramount

As alluded to earlier, not all sites claiming to be provably fair actually are, so it is important to exercise caution. Most online gamblers and gamers are not programmers, and wouldn’t know how to verify these things without some useful tools to help. Reputable sites include links to open source tools by which to check seeds and verify results. Oftentimes these tools are found on the sites themselves, and utilize the client’s browser. Beyond this, the algorithm used to generate randomness itself should also be clearly defined and open source.

In cases where this information is not transparent, platforms can potentially gather client browser data, and analyze the gambling patterns of individual players to avoid payouts. This is why a gaming site’s transparency and soundness of underlying mechanism is of utmost importance. It’s also why it’s good to manually generate new seeds with each play or session.

Less Trust Equates to More Reliability

Provably fair gaming and betting are continuing to evolve with the aid of blockchain innovation. Newly developing ideas such as atomic, on-chain betting would remove trust elements from transactions even further. As it stands, even on provably fair, completely reliable sites the player is still required to trust that they will indeed receive their payout after a randomly-generated outcome has given them a win. Using the opcode OP_Checkdatasig, however, it may be possible to remove this element completely, automating trustless gaming from start to finish.

Bitcoin.com’s Bitcoin Cash Games web portal is a provably fair gaming site that offers video poker, roulette, blackjack and more so players can wager BCH in a high stakes environment. We can 100 percent assure that our gaming platform can be played with confidence and that all deals are entirely fair. “The reason that we can guarantee provably fair gaming is that your web browser supplies a random number that we must incorporate into the random number generator in a provably consistent way,” explains Cashgames.Bitcoin.com.

How the Blockchain Stops Cheaters: Cryptocurrency and Provably Fair Gaming

Bridge to the Future: Fair Money and Fair Play

As online gaming — and finance itself — continue to evolve, permissionless systems are revolutionizing the way humans conceptualize fairness. Whereas altruistic, trust-based norms have held sway for most of history, it now appears that the best way to build trust might be by removing it completely. That is to say, in creating systems so transparent and understandable that bad actors and scammers will have nowhere to hide.

This is akin to the way people trust a well-tested bridge, and not a blindfolded promise from a stranger of safe passage. There’s always some element of risk, but knowing how the bridge was built, how often it is maintained, and seeing it for oneself is always preferable to being blindfolded and simply invited to walk across a canyon.

What are your thoughts on provably fair blockchain gaming? Let us know in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, Fair use


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The post How the Blockchain Stops Cheaters: Cryptocurrency and Provably Fair Gaming appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Crypto Bullishness Spreads on Capitol Hill

Par Kevin Helms
Cryptocurrency Bullishness Spreads on Capitol Hill

U.S. Congress has shown that it is starting to care about cryptocurrency as a number of lawmakers spoke up in favor of it this week. “The world Satoshi Nakamoto had envisioned is an unstoppable force” and “there’s no capacity to kill bitcoin” are some of the comments made by lawmakers. Meanwhile, the Fed chair said bitcoin is a store of value like gold and admitted that an era of many different currencies could return with the wider adoption of cryptocurrency.

Also read: G20 Leaders Issue Declaration on Crypto Assets – A Look at Their Commitments

Unstoppable Force, No Capacity to Kill Bitcoin

During congressional hearings on Facebook’s Libra this week, a number of U.S. lawmakers spoke in favor of cryptocurrency. Among them was Rep. Patrick McHenry, the Republican Leader of the House Financial Services Committee.

At the Committee on Financial Services hearing on July 17, McHenry said: “The reality is, whether Facebook is involved or not, change is here … Digital currencies exist, blockchain technology is real, and Facebook’s entry in this new world is just confirmation albeit its scale.” He elaborated:

The world that Satoshi Nakamoto, author of the Bitcoin whitepaper, envisioned and others are building is an unstoppable force.

The lawmaker added: “We should not attempt to deter this innovation, and governments cannot stop this innovation and those that have tried have already failed.”

Cryptocurrency Bullishness Spreads on Capitol Hill
Rep. Patrick McHenry

While speaking at length about innovation, McHenry stated: “Some politicians want us to live in a permission-based society where you need to come to government and ask for its blessing before you can begin to even think about innovating. Those are the politicians that would rather kill it before it grows, but there are others.” He proceeded to urge his colleagues on both sides of the aisle to unite in support of innovation, declaring that his party is ready to work with innovators to implement technology in the U.S. “before we lose out to other countries around the world.”

McHenry additionally emphasized: “Due to the nature of the technology of Bitcoin, governments cannot kill it, nor should they. You can’t kill digital currencies broadly. They will be enduring. They will be strong. That is the new framework of the next generation of the internet — that is clear.”

Cryptocurrency Bullishness Spreads on Capitol Hill

On the same day, McHenry appeared as a guest on CNBC’s Squawk Box to discuss the hearing. When asked whether, in the long term, he believes that regulators and politicians will allow the emergence of new types of currencies, the representative replied:

I think there’s no capacity to kill bitcoin. Even the Chinese with their firewall and their extreme intervention in their society could not kill bitcoin.

Bitcoin Is Store of Value Like Gold

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell also made some bullish statements about cryptocurrency when he testified before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs on July 11 regarding monetary policy and the U.S. economy.

Powell was questioned about the impact of a cryptocurrency system on the U.S. reserve currency. “If a cryptocurrency system were to become prevalent throughout the globe, would that diminish or remove the need for a reserve currency in the traditional sense?” asked Senator Mike Crapo, Chairman of the Banking Committee.

Crypto Bullishness Spreads on Capitol Hill
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell

“I think things like that are possible,” the Fed chair admitted but noted that “We haven’t seen widespread adoption.” Nonetheless, he opined:

That’s not to say we won’t see it and if we do see it, yes you could see a return to an era in the United States where we had many different currencies … in the so-called, I guess, national banking era.

After using bitcoin as an example, saying that almost no one uses it for payments, the Fed chair explained that “They use it more as an alternative to gold, really. It’s a store of value. It’s a speculative store of value like gold.”

President Donald Trump also made his first-ever tweet about bitcoin on July 11. Even though he wrote that he is “not a fan of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, which are not money, and whose value is highly volatile and based on thin air,” many in the crypto community view the first direct tweet about bitcoin by a U.S. president as a bullish sign.

Cryptocurrency Bullishness Spreads on Capitol Hill
President Donald Trump

Congress Has Started to Care

Rep. Tom Emmer also spoke at the congressional hearing on July 17. He revealed in a tweet afterward that the hearing was not only about Libra but “an opportunity to amplify a discussion on cryptocurrencies.” He suggested that “Lack of understanding by Congress and regulators will stifle blockchain technology, which stands to be a force of change for good.” During the hearing, he remarked:

I’m sure you’re aware bitcoin is now 10 years old and now suddenly, magically Congress is responding. In other words, after more than a decade, Congress has apparently started to care.

“Unfortunately some people want to unnecessarily restrict it or even ban it. They fear change,” the representative described. “Nothing has been more clear on this committee than the blind aversion to change that some of our members have constantly espoused, even when it wasn’t required or even the subject of the hearing.”

Crypto Bullishness Spreads on Capitol Hill
Rep. Tom Emmer

Emmer continued:

My colleagues are incredibly fearful of money laundering and criminal activity and cryptocurrencies, but the dollar and all fiat-backed currencies have been proven to be the largest means of illicit behavior and money laundering.

Nonetheless, “this does not mean we need to suppress individual freedom,” he stressed. “Individuals insistent on the exclusion of middlemen and the freedom of the individual will continue to create open networks separate from central control.” Libra, however, relies on middlemen instead of minimizing them, he explained, but believes that Facebook’s coin “presents an incredible opportunity for everyone on this committee to learn more about actual cryptocurrencies.”

‘We Will Allow for Proper Use’

Earlier this week, on July 15, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin held a press conference at the White House where he talked about regulatory issues surrounding Libra and other cryptocurrencies.

Despite stating that “Many players have attempted to use cryptocurrencies to fund their malign behavior,” calling it “a national security issue,” he emphasized that “the U.S. welcomes responsible innovation, including new technologies that may improve the efficiency of the financial system and expand access to financial services.” Regarding Libra and other cryptocurrencies, the treasury secretary confirmed that “our overriding goal is to maintain the integrity of our financial system and protect it from abuse.”

Vaneck director Gabor Gurbacs commented on Mnuchin’s speech:

I thought Treasury Secretary Mnuchin had a fair and balanced view on bitcoin and digital assets. Secretary Mnuchin told the general public to play by the rules, don’t do anything illegal and there are paths forwards.

Crypto Bullishness Spreads on Capitol Hill
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin

In a July 18 interview on Squawk Box, Mnuchin expressed concerns about cryptocurrency, echoing President Trump’s stance when he tweeted that “Unregulated cryptoassets can facilitate unlawful behavior, including drug trade and other illegal activity.”

Responding to Squawk Box co-host Joe Kernen suggesting that “Cash is laundered all the time and it’s all we’ve ever used for nefarious activities and we’ve certainly had plenty of them,” Mnuchin contradicted:

I don’t think that’s accurate at all that cash is laundered all the time. We have the strongest AML system in the world.

Kernen argued that “There’s been a lot of nefarious activities historically, and it’s never involved bitcoin, so obviously it’s been successfully done with cash,” but Mnuchin insisted: “I don’t think it’s successfully been done with cash, I’ll push back on that and we’re going to make sure that bitcoin doesn’t become the equivalent of Swiss-numbered bank accounts which were obviously a real risk to the financial system.”

Cryptocurrency Bullishness Spreads on Capitol Hill

The treasury secretary also recently called on all countries to apply the crypto standards set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). By adopting these guidelines, “the FATF will make sure that virtual asset service providers do not operate in the dark shadows,” Mnuchin noted. “We will allow for proper use [of cryptocurrency], but we will not tolerate the continued use for illicit activities.”

What do you think of these lawmakers’ opinions on cryptocurrency? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, C-span, and CNBC.


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The post Crypto Bullishness Spreads on Capitol Hill appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Why You Can’t Bet With Bitcoin at Online Casinos in the US

Par Jamie Redman
Why You Can't Bet With Bitcoin Using Online Casinos in the US

Since the dawn of Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency landscape has seen a lot of digital currency gaming websites where users can wager their coins in games like poker, dice, blackjack and slots. Because public blockchains are transparent, the protocols have made online gaming provably fair. However, throughout most states in the U.S., residents cannot participate in online gambling as politicians from the ‘Land of the Free’ stop them from making bets with their own money.

Also read: Bitcoin Cash Milestones: Delivered Code, Upgrades and Platform Development

Government: Here to Tell You What You Can and Can’t Do With Your Own Money on the Internet

Online gaming with bitcoin has been around ever since the digital currency was launched. Back in the early days, players used well known gambling sites such as Satoshidice, Sealswithclubs, and Just-Dice.com. These websites have seen large amounts of players and millions of dollars worth of crypto bets using these platforms. In fact, six years ago today Erik Vorhees sold Satoshidice for 126,315 BTC, which at the time were worth $11.5 million. However, even though there’s a bunch of bitcoin online gaming sites today, most people in the U.S. cannot participate as online casinos block residents. So when a person is inside the country, usually the online gaming site’s server can tell that their IP address stems from within the U.S.

Why You Can't Bet With Bitcoin at Online Casinos in the US
Bitcoin.com’s Bitcoin Cash Games offers provably fair gaming for citizens not living in the U.S.

For instance, when a visitor from the U.S. visits Bitcoin.com’s Bitcoin Cash Games, they are greeted with a geo-blocking message explaining that they cannot play any of the games with real money. However, visitors from the U.S. can play with test tokens for fun on the BCH gaming casino.

“Our servers have detected that you are trying to play from inside the USA,” explains Cashgames.Bitcoin.com. “Unfortunately strangers living in Washington D.C. think that they have the right to tell you what you can and can’t do with your own money on the internet.” The message adds:

Because they would likely hurt us if we were to allow you to play on our provably fair site, we’ve had to disable deposits for USA players.

Thanks to All the Patriotic Acts GW Bush Pushed Through, Law Enforcement Can Criminalize Anyone Offering Online Gambling Services to US Citizens

It’s odd that the country that supposedly promotes freedom does not allow its citizens to do what they want with their money online. At the moment, there are four states that allow regulated online poker: Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Native American reservations as well. The reason why people don’t play poker or gamble online in the U.S. is because of legislation called The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA). The act passed in congress and was signed into law by then President George W. Bush. The law is tricky and was tacked onto the year’s Port Security Bill and excluded fantasy sports websites that meet certain regulatory requirements. Essentially, the law does not prosecute individual Americans but rather aims its sights at foreign companies and offshore gambling operators. UIGEA gives U.S. law enforcement the power to criminalize anyone offering online gambling services to U.S. citizens.

Why You Can't Bet With Bitcoin at Online Casinos in the US

Many people think it’s foolish that U.S. residents cannot participate in online gambling because Americans love to wager. Plus there are legal regions throughout the country like Atlantic City and Las Vegas where people can go to gamble in person. But because they are so far and few between, millions of people don’t have the ability to get to a casino. So Americans often wonder why certain states allow online gambling, while the majority of them do not.

Online gambling could boost the U.S. economy if the UIGEA was repealed because currently the majority of online casinos operate overseas. The money would be funneled into the U.S. economy by millions of people who want to wager, while also creating jobs for people who specialize in customer service and software development. Even though the UIGEA was enacted in 2006, there have been many attempts to provide casino games to Americans. For example, in 2011 U.S. law enforcement agencies busted three extremely large online casino operations — Full Tilt Poker, Pokerstars and Absolute Poker. According to prosecutors, the websites violated the UIGEA and law enforcement said they fooled financial institutions into processing billions that stemmed from Americans gambling on the platforms.

Maybe It’s Time to Reject the Small Number of Humans Called Politicians?

Libertarians reject the reasons why the U.S. government has banned gambling and believe vices like drugs and wagers are not crimes. The reason why U.S. residents can’t gamble online in the country is because the government uses a monopoly of force and coercion that only allows citizens the right to play state-operated lotteries and regulated platforms. Because of this system, politicians have more opportunities to take funds when it comes to state lotteries and tax companies that are regulated. If they were to legalize online gambling, they would have less control over these types of funds and revenue would be siphoned from approved operators. In a world based on voluntary consent, a small group of elected officials wouldn’t be able to inflict their unfair rules on the rest of humanity. The philosophy of Voluntaryism asserts that all monopolies that use force as the means to gather certain ends is immoral.

In order to promote the idea of voluntaryism over the use of force, coercion and violence, Bitcoin.com’s Bitcoin Cash Games not only apologizes to U.S. residents for being unable to play, but provides a short video called “Government Explained.” The video has been viewed over 668,000 times and involves the story of an inquisitive alien that visits the planet to check on our progress as a species. The alien finds out that humans live under the rule of governments, which do a lot of things that we as citizens do not approve of like pollute the earth and cause endless wars. After a few initial questions, the alien wants to understand more about what government is, what it does, and why it exists.

Why You Can't Bet With Bitcoin at Online Casinos in the US
The video “Government Explained” was produced and voiced by Graham Wright, based on part of the talk by Larken Rose at the Free Your Mind Conference 2011.

“Let me get this straight — Because you’re worried about the small number of nasty people that are willing to kill, enslave and steal, you think it’s necessary for your survival to have a system where some humans among you, for a short while, get to call themselves the government, and they get to order everyone else around like slaves and, if they want, commit mass murder, using money they stole, using threats of violence?” the alien says. “Politicians get to kill, enslave and steal because if they didn’t, someone else might? And you try to elect good honest people to be politicians but what happens every time is that the people you elect turn out to be corrupt, evil, lying crooks — That’s your system?” The human describing the way governments work responds by admitting:

Yeah, that’s pretty much government.

If you question why the U.S. government prohibits online gambling, then you should check out the video Government Explained, written and voiced by Man Against The State’s Graham Wright. The story is based on part of a talk by Larken Rose at the Free Your Mind Conference in 2011. Since its release, the video has been translated into German, Spanish, French, Polish, Slovak, Slovenian, Greek, Russian and Chinese. Vices are not crimes and people should be able to spend their funds the way they want, at any time they want without a body of politicians telling them they can’t. Cryptocurrency-powered online casinos will continue to grow popular over the next few decades and it’s a shame that citizens from the so-called Land of the Free cannot participate. All because of a small number of bureaucrats from Washington D.C who claim to be protecting people from gambling abuse and getting victimized. Ironically, representatives have no issues with state-operated lotteries they control because it creates a lot of revenue for the state.

If you want to learn more about voluntaryism check out these websites: Voluntaryist.com, Man Against The State, and the essays Vices are Not Crimes and No Treason by Lysander Spooner.

What do you think about the fact that U.S. residents cannot play at online bitcoin casinos and wager their cryptocurrencies? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, Bitcoin.com, Bitcoin Cash Games, Government Explained and Pixabay.


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Hier — 20 juillet 2019Bitcoin News

G7 Agrees on Crypto Action Plan Spurred by Facebook’s Libra

Par Kevin Helms
G7 Agrees on Crypto Action Plan Spurred by Facebook's Libra

G7 finance chiefs met this week and Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency was high on their agenda. They agreed on several crypto initiatives and fast regulatory responses to projects such as Libra, calling for them to meet the highest standards of financial regulation.

Also read: G20 Leaders Issue Declaration on Crypto Assets – A Look at Their Commitments

A Call for Urgent Action

The G7 finance ministers and central bank governors met in Chantilly, north of Paris, for a two-day conference on July 17 and 18. Other than France, which chairs this year’s meetings, the G7 comprises Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.K., and the U.S. In addition, the European Union has participated fully in the G7 since 1981 as a “nonenumerated” member. At the end of their meeting, the ministers issued the Chair’s Summary of the decisions made.

G7 Agrees on Crypto Action Plan Spurred by Facebook's Libra
Group photo showing some of the G7 finance ministers and central bank governors who attended the two-day meeting in Chantilly.

“Ministers and governors acknowledged that while innovation in the financial sector can bring substantial benefits, it can also entail risks,” the statement reads. “They agreed that stablecoins and other various new products currently being developed, including projects with global and potentially systemic footprint such as Libra, raise serious regulatory and systemic concerns, as well as wider policy issues, which both need to be addressed before such projects can be implemented.” The summary details:

Regarding regulatory concerns, ministers and governors agreed that possible ‘stablecoin’ initiatives and their operators would in any case need to meet the highest standards of financial regulation.

“Regarding systemic concerns, ministers and governors agreed that projects such as Libra may affect monetary sovereignty and the functioning of the international monetary system,” the Chair’s Summary continues.

G7 Agrees on Crypto Action Plan Spurred by Facebook's Libra
G7 meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors in Chantilly.

“On Libra, we had a very constructive and detailed discussion with a very large and shared consensus on the need for action,” a French official told the AFP news agency. After chairing the first day’s meeting, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire was quoted by Reuters as saying:

The sovereignty of nations cannot be jeopardised … The overall mood around the table was clearly one of important concerns about the recent Libra announcements, and a shared view that action is needed urgently.

G7 Agrees on Crypto Action Plan in Response to Facebook’s Libra
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire.

“The issuance of a currency does not belong in the hands of a private company because it is a core feature of a sovereign state,” German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz proclaimed. Asserting that Facebook’s plans do not “seem to be fully thought through,” he is convinced Libra “cannot go ahead without all legal and regulatory questions being resolved,” the news outlet added. A senior Japanese finance ministry official who was at the meeting told the press:

Most G7 members saw Libra as posing a serious problem from the perspective of consumer data protection and the impact on monetary policy.

Facebook recently unveiled its plans for Calibra, a new subsidiary aimed at providing 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 company described.

Global Coordination and G7 Working Group

The G7 has set up a working group on stablecoins, coordinated by Benoit Coeure, Chair of the Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures (CPMI). Its preliminary findings were provided at the meeting.

The group consists initially of senior officials from the G7 central banks, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Bank for International Settlements and the Financial Stability Board (FSB), the Chair’s Summary reveals, adding that it will be expanded to representatives from G7 ministries of finance. The group will also coordinate with the G20 and other relevant standard-setting bodies. Its final report and recommendations are expected by the time of the IMF-World Bank annual meetings in October.

G7 Agrees on Crypto Action Plan Spurred by Facebook's Libra
Benoit Coeure, Chair of the CPMI.

Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda believes that, given the potential impact of Libra on the global economy, the G7 working group would evolve over time to include a broader range of regulators, elaborating:

If the Libra is aspiring to be used globally, countries must seek a globally coordinated response … This is not something that can be discussed among G7 central banks alone.

Central bankers have emphasized that Facebook needs a banking license if it wants to take deposits, with some expressing concerns about allowing people to transact anonymously.

Japan’s Own Crypto-Focused Working Group

In response to Facebook’s Libra plans, Japanese regulators also set up a working group ahead of the G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting to discuss the potential impact of the planned digital currency on monetary policy and financial regulation, Reuters reported government sources revealing.

This working group consists of Japan’s central bank, Ministry of Finance and Financial Services Agency (FSA) which is in charge of the country’s banking regulation. “The group has started comprehensive discussions on various aspects of stablecoins,” Mainichi publication reported Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso as saying after the G7 meeting. Sources told Reuters that the group “will seek to coordinate policies to address the impact Libra could have on regulation, monetary policy, tax and payments settlement.”

G7 Agrees on Crypto Action Plan Spurred by Facebook's Libra

The officials explained:

Japan hopes to rally support from other countries to expand the task force into a bigger group of tax and financial regulators, given the wide range of policies that could be affected by digital currencies.

As this year’s chair of the G20 meetings, Japan will look at ways to align separate efforts made by the G7 and G20 to address the policy implications of Libra, the officials noted.

At the G20 summit last month, the G20 leaders declared that “crypto-assets do not pose a threat to global financial stability at this point.” However, they “are closely monitoring developments and remain vigilant to existing and emerging risks.” The leaders also asked the FSB and other standard-setting bodies “to advise on additional multilateral responses as needed.”

Global Network for Crypto Payments

The Japanese government is also setting up “an international network for cryptocurrency payments, similar to the SWIFT network used by banks, in an effort to fight money laundering,” Reuters reported Thursday, citing a person familiar with the matter.

The plan, proposed by the country’s Ministry of Finance and the FSA, is for the network to be in place in the next few years, the publication noted. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an intergovernmental standard-setting body in areas such as money laundering, will monitor the system’s development and Japan will cooperate with other countries. The FATF approved the plan for this new network in June, according to the source.

G7 Agrees on Crypto Action Plan Spurred by Facebook's Libra

Moving Beyond Current Regulations

Japan’s finance minister urged his G7 counterparts Wednesday to comprehensively assess Libra for any new challenges that may fall outside of existing regulations, emphasizing:

Applying existing regulations alone may not be enough. A comprehensive examination is needed to see if Libra poses new challenges that existing rules do not take into account.

“On the other hand, authorities need to respond in a timely fashion so they’re not behind the curve,” the finance minister opined.

G7 Agrees on Crypto Action Plan Spurred by Facebook's Libra
Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso.

Libra Grilled by US Lawmakers

Facebook executive and Calibra CEO David Marcus appeared before the U.S. Senate Banking Committee and the House Financial Services Committee this week. The committees asked him questions such as how Libra could affect global monetary policy and how customer data will be protected.

“Facebook has demonstrated through scandal after scandal that it doesn’t deserve our trust … We’d be crazy to give them a chance to let them experiment with people’s bank accounts,” Senator Sherrod Brown said in his opening remarks.

Rep. Andy Barr said to Marcus: “Tell me how Libra will not undermine sovereign currencies and central banks, or is the very point to undermine central bankers and to provide a greater freedom away from central banking?” The Facebook executive responded: “I want to be very clear, we do not want to compete with the dollar or sovereign currencies.”

G7 Agrees on Crypto Action Plan Spurred by Facebook's Libra
Calibra CEO David Marcus.

During Wednesday’s hearing, Rep. Brad Sherman compared the potential consequences of Facebook’s crypto project to the terrorist attacks of 9/11. “We’re told by some that innovation is always good … The most innovative thing that’s happened this century is when Osama bin Laden came up with the innovative idea of flying two airplanes into towers,” he claimed. Sherman asserted that if successful, Libra could be “one of the biggest things this committee will deal with this decade,” then questioned why Marcus appeared in Congress for Facebook instead of CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

“I don’t think you should launch Libra at all,” Rep. Carolyn Maloney told Marcus, while Rep. Madeleine Dean said, “I think before you move on to Libra, you ought to clean up the messes of the past.” According to Marcus:

Facebook will not offer the Libra digital currency until we have fully addressed regulatory concerns and received appropriate approvals.

What do you think of how the G7 countries plan to handle cryptocurrencies including Libra? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, the French government, Nikkei Asian Review, Kyodo News, and Reuters.


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Bitcoin Cash Milestones: Delivered Code, Upgrades and Platform Development

Par Jamie Redman
Bitcoin Cash Milestones: Delivered Code, Upgrades, and Platform Development

Bitcoin Cash (BCH) platform and protocol development have seen a lot of delivered code and projects over the last two years. The upgrades will help Bitcoin Cash scale to the masses, and many of the added features are protocol developments that are unique to BCH.

Also read: Indian Government Breaks Silence on Crypto Regulation

BCH Infrastructure and Blockchain Development

In less than two weeks, BCH fans around the world will be celebrating the anniversary of the blockchain split that occurred on August 1, 2017. Since then there’s been a lot of Bitcoin Cash development and a total of four BCH upgrades. In the following report, news.Bitcoin.com summarizes a list of completed BCH developments that reveal how much has been accomplished in two years. All of the completed BCH features can be seen on the analytics website Coin Dance, alongside other developments in the works. BCH developers also have plans to upgrade the chain this November and the specifications in regard to the consensus rule changes are being reviewed before the feature freeze on August 15, 2019.

Bitcoin Cash Milestones: Delivered Code, Upgrades and Platform Development
A statement about Bitcoin Cash according to Ethereum cofounder Vitalik Buterin’s recent interview with the publication Coinspice.io.

Re-enabled Satoshi Opcodes

Back in the early days of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto added operation codes to the protocol that could push data or perform certain functions via the Bitcoin Script language. Not long after, the opcodes were disabled after developers found a bug in a specific opcode called OP_LShift. In May 2018, Bitcoin Cash developers re-enabled the Satoshi operation codes (opcodes) that can allow for a variety of decision-based transactions, compilers, and other functions depending on the opcode used.

Bitcoin Cash Milestones: Delivered Code, Upgrades and Platform Development
A long list of Bitcoin opcodes.

OP_Checkdatasig Implementation

The opcode OP_Checkdatasig is a Script operation that checks the validity of a signature using a message and public key. Essentially the operation calculates the hash within a transaction in order to validate signatures in an automated way. OP_Checkdatasig allows for data to be imported that can be validated through the use of an oracle. The opcode has facilitated some very cool concepts like a noncustodial escrow system, an onchain SLP token auction console, a BCH recurring payment system, an endowment platform, and an onchain game of chess.

Bitcoin Cash Milestones: Delivered Code, Upgrades and Platform Development

32MB Block Size Increase

The Bitcoin Cash chain implemented a 32MB block size increase in May 2018. The BCH block size is a lot larger than BTC’s 1MB limit and 4X larger than the 8MB size BCH started out with two years ago. 32MB blocks are not processed yet, but large blocks were tested on the BCH mainnet in September 2018 during the stress tests. During the first week of that month, BCH miners processed a few 15MB blocks and the largest was 23MB that week. However, prior to the blockchain split which created Bitcoin SV the mining pool, BMG processed multiple 32MB blocks on November 10, 2018.

Bitcoin Cash Milestones: Delivered Code, Upgrades and Platform Development

Graphene Version 1

On July 25, 2018, the Bitcoin Unlimited (BU) development team announced merging Graphene version 1 into the BU client. Graphene is a block propagation concept that aims to be 10X more efficient than compact blocks. The code merge provides the first functional implementation of graphene blocks according to BU’s George Bissias who also stated that the “code will also require further optimization.” In the past, developers have mentioned that Graphene blocks could be optimized with a different transaction ordering process like canonical ordering.

Bitcoin Cash Milestones: Delivered Code, Upgrades and Platform Development

Canonical Transaction Ordering

Prior to the implementation of Canonical Transaction Ordering or CTOR, consensus rules processed transactions in a list form and the list was topologically sorted. After the November 15, 2018 upgrade, the BCH chain can now work with blocks as a set, as opposed to a list ordering, and the process is done in a canonical fashion. As mentioned above, according to some, Graphene can leverage CTOR when it comes to concepts like Graphene compression rates. By itself, developers believe CTOR is important for the future of BCH scaling in order to alleviate computational load and allow for giant-sized blocks.

Bitcoin Cash Milestones: Delivered Code, Upgrades and Platform Development
The CTOR whitepaper.

Schnorr Signatures

At block 582680, the BCH chain upgraded by adding Schnorr signatures, a signature scheme invented by Claus Schnorr. The recent Schnorr addition acts as the foundation for a variety of different techniques that can improve scaling and privacy. The day before Schnorr was implemented on BCH, independent developer Mark Lundeberg told news.Bitcoin.com that the Schnorr foundations could remove 4% of the current transaction storage. Lundeberg also detailed that in the future after further Schnorr upgrades, the scheme could provide for public signature aggregation and more complex sign-to-contract concepts.

Bitcoin Cash Milestones: Delivered Code, Upgrades and Platform Development

A Number of Accomplishments Worth Celebrating

This is just the tip of the mountain when it comes to BCH platform and protocol development. Other notable developments include Cash-ID, an open protocol that allows secure authentication; Hash-DB, a database written by Flowee specifically for the Bitcoin Cash UTXO set; Cashshuffle, a stable mixing application release that helps preserve an individual’s transaction privacy when using the BCH network; Neutrino, a lightweight SPV wallet that uses BCHD and allows client-side filtering. Cashshuffle participants have already shuffled more than 100,000 BCH since March 27. Then there’s the Simple Ledger Protocol (SLP) which has boosted the concept of tokenization solutions using the BCH chain. SLP infrastructure is growing as various wallets like Crescent Cash, Badger, Ifwallet, and the social media platform Memo.cash all support SLP tokens. Moreover, developers have produced other features like X-Versionmessage, Cash Accounts, Cleanstack and the Segwit recovery option alongside other protocol developments.

Bitcoin Cash Milestones: Delivered Code, Upgrades and Platform Development

Bitcoin Cash developers are also working on features for the upcoming November 2019 BCH upgrade. The draft specification summary for the next set of implementations include various protocol enhancements like enabling Schnorr signatures for OP_Checkmultisig(Verify), a minimal push and minimal number encoding rules in Script, enabling NULLDUMMY and the rule that limits signature operations in Script will be changed.

Bitcoin Cash Milestones: Delivered Code, Upgrades and Platform Development

On July 11, during the 12th Bitcoin Cash Development video meeting, programmers explained that people can review the code and consensus ruleset changes before developers enact the feature freeze on August 15, 2019. There are also other developments under discussion like Avalanche, Merklix Trees, Blocktorrent, and projects still being worked on like Cashscript, Cashfusion, Spedn, and Xthinner.

Bitcoin Cash Milestones: Delivered Code, Upgrades and Platform Development
Tokenization on the BCH chain has been very popular using SLP.

Additionally, in May, a group of BCH supporting businesses and individuals initiated a fundraiser to help bolster the future of open source Bitcoin Cash development. BCH proponents can visit the Bitcoin.com/fundraise page to donate to BCH projects like Bitcoin ABC, Unlimited, BCHD, Bcash, Verde, Flowee, and Bitprim.

Bitcoin Cash Milestones: Delivered Code, Upgrades and Platform Development

The fundraiser aims to raise 1,600 BCH by August 1 and there are still 12 days left to go. At that time, Bitcoin Cash fans will be celebrating the large number of accomplishments the protocol has achieved in the last two years. BCH supporters will surely be tipping their hats to platform and protocol developers who have contributed an enormous amount of time, energy, and innovative concepts to the BCH chain.

What do you think about all the developments achieved in the last two years? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, Bitcoin.com/fundraise, SLP, Cashshuffle, Github, Blog.vermorel.com, Twitter, Coin Dance, and, en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Script.


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7 Unorthodox Ways to Mine Bitcoin

Par Kai Sedgwick
7 Unorthodox Ways to Mine Bitcoin

Bitcoin isn’t crazy – in fact it might just be the soundest monetary system this generation has ever known. Some of the techniques miners have devised to extract it, however, are extremely unorthodox, ranging from the ingenious to the downright crazy. Here are seven of the strangest attempts at extracting bitcoin ever conjured.

Also read: Bitcoin Mining Helps Oil Companies Reduce Carbon Footprint

Bitcoin Mining Takes Many Forms

The process of adding bitcoin transactions to a newly created block and propagating it to the network is known as mining. To create the next block, miners must solve a mathematical puzzle whose answer is a number ranging anywhere from 0 to 4,294,967,296. In exchange for performing this task, miners are rewarded the transaction fees included in that block, plus a reward that currently stands at 12.5 BTC, dropping to 6.25 BTC in 2020. That, in a nutshell, is bitcoin mining.

Given the lucrative rewards at stake – the block reward alone is worth $130,000 at current prices – it is no surprise that there are so many miners clamoring to solve the math problem that grants them authority to publish the next block. Bitcoin mining is an arms race, math the process as rationally as possible, seeking to maximize your hashrate (the number of computations your miners can perform per second) while minimizing your fixed costs such as electricity. As the following examples show, however, not all miners are in it for monetary gain; some are more interested in pushing the limits of what is physically and practically possible.

7 Unorthodox Ways to Mine Bitcoin

Method 1: With Waste Gas

“Stop burning, start earning” is the slogan of Upstream Data, which provides mobile mining datacenters that can be installed at oil company facilities that need to vent gas. As news.Bitcoin.com reported, they “can bring in over 15 times more revenue than the market price of the fuel, while limiting carbon footprint.” Ignore the screeching environmentalists – Bitcoin is greener and cleaner than mainstream media will ever acknowledge.

Introducing our newest #bitcoin mining product, the Ohmm® Mini! This datacenter was designed to be stackable in a 4' cube and is perfectly suited for any oil and gas wellsite.

In the background you can see a flare stack that will soon be removed.😎 /1 pic.twitter.com/wlYO8mi38a

— Upstream Data (@UpstreamDataInc) July 19, 2019

Method 2: With a Moon Computer

The Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC) was created in the 1960s to guide a U.S. rocket to the moon. It passed the test with flying colors, but in today’s fast-paced tech world, 16-bit computers no longer cut it. That didn’t stop one intrepid soul from attempting to mine bitcoin on an AGC. As he conceded, however, “Unfortunately, the computer is so slow that it would take about a million times the age of the universe to successfully mine a Bitcoin block.”

7 Unorthodox Ways to Mine Bitcoin
The Apollo Guidance Computer used to mine bitcoin.

Method 3: With Pencil and Paper

The same guy who attempted to mine bitcoin with an Apollo computer previously tried to mine BTC by solving the mathematical problems by hand. Technically it worked, though as Ken Shirriff concluded, “One round of the algorithm takes 16 minutes, 45 seconds which works out to a hash rate of 0.67 hashes per day.” The Apollo Guidance Computer, in comparison, managed one hash every 10.3 seconds. Still, as a proof of concept, manual mining is pretty cool.

Method 4: With a Nuclear Reactor

Okay, so no one’s built a nuclear reactor for the sole purpose of mining bitcoin, although if they did, they might just be able to 51% attack the network. A single reactor power plant produces 5.1 TWh annually, around 10% of the Bitcoin network’s annual consumption. Due to their sheer might, nuclear reactors face an unusual problem: they actually produce too much energy. As news.Bitcoin.com previously reported, “Slamming on the brakes does not save any fuel; rather, energy literary ends up being wasted.” You know what’s always on the lookout for excess energy? Bitcoin.

7 Unorthodox Ways to Mine Bitcoin

Method 5: With a Mosque

A mosque might sound like a strange tool with which to mine bitcoin, but when that mosque is subsidized with free electricity, it becomes the most attractive mining location in the world. Despite reports of a government crackdown on the practice, mosque mining is alive and well in Iran. It’s not the only country whose entrepreneurs have capitalized on this loophole, either, with a Russian church also having been caught mining.

7 Unorthodox Ways to Mine Bitcoin

Method 6: While Growing Tomatoes

It’s no secret that cryptocurrency mining generates heat. Some enterprising individuals have found ways to repurpose that heat, turning a byproduct into a valuable commodity in its own right. In 2018, for example, Kamil Brejcha used excess heat from mining to grow ‘cryptomatoes’ in a greenhouse.

Who would imagine that mining cryptocurrencies and agriculture can work together? The first batch of cryptomatoes is ready to be harvested. We are using the excess heat for the tomato greenhouse and it is working:-) pic.twitter.com/U7qqKTshqO

— Kamil Brejcha (@KamilBrejcha) March 10, 2018

Method 6: While Heating Your Home

Harnessing the heat from crypto mining to warm your home is a more obvious application for the primary byproduct of bitcoin extraction. The colder the climate, the more you’ll appreciate the toasty glow of your miners in winter. In Siberia, miners have even constructed an underfloor heating system that repurposes the excess heat expelled.

Method 7: While Making Rum

Heating your home while cryptocurrency mining is all well and good, but true patricians use their miners to make rum. That’s what Avi Aisenberg did in 2017, using the heat to warm his rum barrels, creating a spicy spirit that he dubbed EtherRum.

As “free speech money,” it’s not surprising that Bitcoin should attract free thinkers and free spirits in its droves. Their out of the box ideas can be seen in the multiple techniques devised for mining and in ever more efficient (and occasionally less efficient) ways. As the mining arms race intensifies, expect to see smarter solutions that derive greater hashrate at lower cost while further reducing Bitcoin’s environmental impact.

What other unusual ways do you know of mining bitcoin? 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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Hayek’s 1984: Rediscovered Footage Shows Austrian Economist Predicting Bitcoin

Par Graham Smith
Hayek's 1984: Rediscovered Footage of the Austrian Economist Predicting Bitcoin, Prescribing Subversion

Born in 1899 in Vienna, Nobel Prize-winning economist F.A. Hayek is a legend of sorts in voluntaryist, libertarian, and crypto-economic circles. Freshly rediscovered video footage of the Austrian School philosopher and social theorist from 1984 is now making the rounds on crypto Twitter. In a stunning soundbite of an already well-known quote, Hayek declares that the only way to return to sound money is to take it out of the hands of government. He goes on to describe in spine-chillingly fortuitous fashion a money that requires no permission, and no central “authority.”

Also read: Money Laundering Fines Worth Billions Help Bankers Avoid Prosecution and Unpleasant Labels

The Prescience of Hayek

“I don’t believe we shall ever have a good money again before we take the thing out of the hands of government, that is, we can’t take them violently out of the hands of government, all we can do is by some sly roundabout way introduce something they can’t stop.” So spoke Friedrich Hayek in 1984. Reevaluating those words 35 years hence and it is hard not to interpret them in the context of Bitcoin.

Hayek's 1984: Rediscovered Footage Shows Austrian Economist Predicting Bitcoin

Hayek was not alone in predicting the coming phenomenon of crypto in the 1980s. The Crypto Anarchist Manifesto of 1988 also called it way beforehand. As did American economist Milton Friedman in 1999:

The one thing that’s missing, but that will soon be developed, it’s a reliable e-cash. A method where buying on the Internet you can transfer funds from A to B, without A knowing B or B knowing A. The way in which I can take a 20 dollar bill and hand it over to you and there’s no record of where it came from. And you may get that without knowing who I am. That kind of thing will develop on the Internet.

The common thread among these striking predictions is, of course, the internet. Many thought it was crazy back in the early and mid-90s to talk of “working online” or “online shopping.” To try and imagine a permissionless future currency not regulated by the government would have been beyond the pale for most. And yet, bitcoin is here. They were right.

The Keynesian/Austrian Clash

Hayek was a key thinker and innovator of the Austrian school of economics. The Austrian system is a classic economic model in which government interference in the free market is undesired and viewed as harmful and illogical. The conflicting viewpoint and economic model which holds sway today, the Keynesian system, submits that governments must be actively involved in economies via centralized regulation and force-backed implementation of monetary policy.

While the view of almost all modern nation states is that interest rates must be set via policy—this would, in fact, be defined as a form of policing—adherents to the Austrian School view the market as an organic entity functioning by its own natural rules. Boom and bust cycles in business, and things like stock market crashes are the natural consequence of artificially instituted credit bubbles.

Hayek's 1984: Rediscovered Footage Shows Austrian Economist Predicting Bitcoin

The Knowledge Problem

Friedrich Hayek’s most important contribution to the Austrian school, arguably, is the concept known as the knowledge problem, or the “local knowledge problem.” A kind of derivative and extension of fellow Austrian School thinker Ludwig von Mises’ economic calculation problem, the knowledge problem deals with the fundamental dysfunction of central planning. In his 1945 work “The Use of Knowledge” Hayek states:

…the knowledge of the particular circumstances of time and place. It is with respect to this that practically every individual has some advantage over all others because he possesses unique information of which beneficial use might be made, but of which use can be made only if the decisions depending on it are left to him or are made with his active cooperation.

In this sense, centralized economic planning is doomed to fail. Whereas aggregated data, stats, and relatively “stable” numbers may present one picture, these are the effects of individual market actors and their demonstrated preferences, and not central planning. That is to say, relative stability is achieved as a byproduct of individual, independent, atomized market signals. This in spite — and not because — of central planning.

Hayek's 1984: Rediscovered Footage Shows Austrian Economist Predicting Bitcoin

Individual Nodes in a Free Market ‘Blockchain’

Unique, diverse knowledge possessed by each individual market actor (i.e. “The factory is out of nails, I must replace them” or “I could invent this great device, if only I had more affordable access to that specific resource”) cannot be processed, understood, or adequately detected by a synthetic, centrally regulated entity according to Austrian school thinking.

Supply and demand cannot be “felt” accurately. Thus, huge boom and bust cycles are seen, and are considered relatively stable when in fact this is a kind of ex post facto approach to the data. In a very real sense, Austrian economic theory advocates decentralized, “permissionless” networks of nodes (autonomous market actors) much like bitcoin and the decentralized network of actors on the blockchain.

Hayek's 1984: Rediscovered Footage Shows Austrian Economist Predicting Bitcoin

1984’s Non-Dystopian Prognosis

Though Keynesian policy currently holds sway, many take issue with the fact that prescribed government interference and assistance seems so often to take the form of disruptive market corrections. Hayek viewed economic cycles as signals that an organic adjustment was in progress. Much like a headache can signal dehydration or stress in the body, decreased demand and less spending signal hesitance on the part of market actors, and a call to readjust and recalibrate according to fresh, real-time market signals.

As witnessed with the mega bank bailouts of recent times, however, this Austrian “bitter pill” is not really allowed to function. Instead, Keynesian economists create more credit (and debt which taxpayers must ultimately hold) to save bad actors and institutions that would have failed otherwise. The predictions of Hayek, Mises, Friedman, and their fellows stand in stark contrast to those of noted, award-winning Keynesians.

Hayek's 1984: Rediscovered Footage Shows Austrian Economist Predicting Bitcoin
Award-winning Keynesian economist Paul Krugman.

Keynesian Predictions

Mises predicted the now-witnessed collapse of major socialist states choosing to ignore the economic calculation problem in modern times. Hayek and Friedman predicted — among other things — the advent of cryptocurrency. As for John Maynard Keynes, father of the Keynesian School, he predicted a 15-hour workweek back in 1930, as automation and a prevalence of riches would make toil unnecessary:

But beyond this, we shall endeavour to spread the bread thin on the butter-to make what work there is still to be done to be as widely shared as possible. Three-hour shifts or a fifteen-hour week may put off the problem for a great while. For three hours a day is quite enough to satisfy the old Adam in most of us!

The ‘Adam’ he speaks of is the Adam of the Christian Bible, who was cursed to work the ground for his sustenance and so habitually feels the need to toil. He goes on: “The love of money as a possession … will be recognised for what it is, a somewhat disgusting morbidity, one of those semi-criminal, semi-pathological propensities which one hands over with a shudder to the specialists in mental disease.”

Almost 100 years out, one might wonder why the altruism supposedly being exercised by Keynesian central planners hasn’t kicked in for everyone yet. Some have argued it has, as there is now at least more of a chance that this or that average Joe could get rich and afford a 15-hour workweek. Whichever predictions one chooses to abide by, one thing is for sure: bitcoin is here, and it isn’t going away anytime soon.

What are your thoughts on the Keynesian vs. Austrian debate, and Hayek’s quote? Let us know in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, Fair use


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.

The post Hayek’s 1984: Rediscovered Footage Shows Austrian Economist Predicting Bitcoin appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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Ethereum’s Wrapped Bitcoin Set to Eclipse Lightning Network Capacity

Par Jamie Redman
Ethereum's Wrapped Bitcoin Set to Eclipse the Lightning Network's Capacity

Since the project launched a little over six months ago, Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC) has roughly $5.9 million or 558 BTC locked into the system. At the rate WBTC’s token contract is climbing, the project is close to surpassing the Lightning Network’s capacity in the near future.

Also read: The ”Wrapped Bitcoin” Project Has Now Officially Launched on Ethereum

Wrapped Bitcoin Contract Captures 558 BTC

In January, Bitgo, Kyber Network, and Ren (formerly Republic Protocol) revealed the creation of a new ERC20 token project called Wrapped Bitcoin, a token created on the Ethereum network that’s been gathering a bunch of growth recently. Essentially WBTC is an ERC20 token backed by bitcoin core (BTC) at a 1:1 ratio. The creators of WBTC explained during the token’s launch that the system was designed to bring more liquidity into the crypto ecosystem. At the moment, the token contract’s locked BTC has climbed significantly in value, gathering 558 BTC with roughly $5.9 million in value. The numbers have been impressive since the project started in January and reached a million dollars by the first week of May. Since April 16, the amount of BTC added to the WBTC contract has grown by 272%.

Ethereum's Wrapped Bitcoin Set to Eclipse the Lightning Network's Capacity
WBTC statistics according to Defi Pulse.

In comparison to the Lightning Network’s growth, the WBTC contract is growing much faster and they both provide similar functionality. Since February 2018, the Lightning Network capacity has held around 5.5 BTC or roughly $46,000 and it’s taken more than a year to climb past $10 million and reached an all-time high of $12 million last month. At the time of writing, the Lighting Network’s current capacity is $9.5 million or 911 BTC. While the Lightning Network’s capacity has been dwindling, there’s been a lot more demand for WBTC tokens. WBTC can be obtained from a number of exchanges like Airswap, Hitbtc, Kyber, Radarrelay, Uniswap, and Imtoken. The project now has a slew of merchants like Grapefruit Trading and the San Francisco-based security platform Bitgo has been acting as the custodian for the WBTC project’s reserves as well.

Ethereum’s Wrapped Bitcoin Set to Eclipse Lightning Network Capacity
Lightning Network statistics according to Defi Pulse.

WBTC’s recent popularity is also due in part to the cryptocurrency infrastructure providers giving the asset support. On July 16, the Compound protocol, an open source lending platform that compounds interest on the Ethereum blockchain, announced its support for WBTC. The Compound community voted on adding WBTC in January, but there were some delays, like the length of time it took for bitcoins to get wrapped. After the project reached a level of maturity, Compound community members were “clamoring” for the coin to be supported. Now the team behind the Compound software has deployed WBTC and users are now able to earn interest on and borrow WBTC. “The market uses the same interest rate model as ETH, BAT, ZRX, and REP, and the initial exchange rate is 0.0200,” the Compound team detailed. So far, $32,000 worth of WBTC loans has been issued since the launch on Compound.

Ethereum's Wrapped Bitcoin Set to Eclipse the Lightning Network's Capacity
Infrastructure that supports WBTC.

A week prior, on July 8, the NEO-based cross-chain atomic swap exchange Switcheo also launched WBTC on the trading platform. Switcheo’s Jack Yeu explained: “For the first time, traders around the world will be able to buy or sell NEO with the BTC-pegged token, WBTC, in a trustless manner via Switcheo’s cross-chain atomic swaps.” Adding WBTC is part of Switcheo’s goal toward creating a network with cross-chain swapping capabilities across multiple chains. WBTC has added a lot of value into the Ethereum ecosystem and between all the decentralized finance (defi) platforms like WBTC, Maker, and Compound, defi protocols command more than 2% of the entire ETH supply.

Another Instance of Wrapping BTC Using the Bitcoin Cash Network

The rise of WBTC also follows the recent launch of a Simple Ledger Protocol (SLP) token that has similar attributes. The SLP token built on top of the Bitcoin Cash network is called BTC2 and the pegged token is issued by the platform Sideshift.ai. According to the Sideshift creator, BTC2 tokens are backed 1:1 with BTC and people who don’t live in the U.S. can obtain the token using the Sideshift swapping application. BTC2 tokens (not to be confused with the BTC snapshot fork of the same name) use the same BCH network fee to transact which means people can send BTC without paying high transaction fees.

Ethereum's Wrapped Bitcoin Set to Eclipse the Lightning Network's Capacity
Swapping BTC for WBTC on Sideshift.ai.

Similarly to sending WBTC, owners must sign a transaction that requires a certain amount of gas or gwei. In contrast, BCH or SLP transactions typically have a network fee of around $0.001 to $0.005 on average. At the time of publication, there are 100 BTC2 tokens in existence which is a touch more than $1 million worth at current BTC market prices. Sideshift’s creator Andreas Brekken told news.Bitcoin.com that with Sideshift acting as the custodian of people’s BTC, it adds a counterparty, which means BTC2 can also open new doors such as earning interest.

Ethereum's Wrapped Bitcoin Set to Eclipse the Lightning Network's Capacity
The BTC2 token graph according to Simpleledger.info.

In addition to both WBTC and BTC2, there’s Blockstream’s LBTC, a project aimed at facilitating large amounts of BTC transfers offchain. However, unlike the two aforementioned tokens created on public blockchains, LBTC is a federated sidechain using a number of exchanges as the trusted federation. It’s interesting and ironic that there are people with millions of dollars between WBTC, BTC2, and LBTC that think it’s valuable to transact with BTC using alternative chains with lower fees. Moreover, as WBTC comes close to surpassing the Lightning Network’s capacity, one could conclude that it’s easier to transact with WBTC or BTC2 than learning to grasp the technical aspects of the Lightning Network.

What do you think about the WBTC project’s growth? Why do you think people think it’s valuable to transact with BTC on an alternative chain? Let us know what you think about this project in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: This editorial is intended for informational purposes only. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the mentioned companies or any of their affiliates or services. 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 mentioned in this article.


Image credits: Shutterstock, Defi Pulse, Simpleledger.info, wbtc.network, and Sideshift.ai


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Bitcoin Mining Helps Oil Companies Reduce Carbon Footprint

Par Lubomir Tassev
Burning Wasted Gas to Mine Bitcoin Promises to Become a Booming Business

Natural gas acquired as a byproduct of oil extraction has become synonymous with wasted energy. In certain areas, drilling companies are unable to find a profitable market for the excess fuel. It’s often vented into the atmosphere. Startups are now offering on-site systems that utilize the surplus to mine cryptocurrencies. This new business is growing in regions where shale oil and gas extraction are major industries.

Also read: Georgia Exempts Bitcoin From VAT to Become the Next Country to Affirm Its Currency Status

Fossil Fuels Aren’t Going Anywhere

At least for the foreseeable future, traditional energy sources such as oil and gas are here to stay. Their abundance and relatively low price compared to some renewables, their utility, mobility and well developed supporting infrastructure are hard to beat. However, despite these obvious advantages, getting them out of the ground can sometimes be a wasteful process.

Bitcoin Helps Oil Companies Reduce Carbon Footprint

Electricity is the primary cost of bitcoin mining and while coin minting is often powered by renewables like hydro, energy from traditional sources is widely used as well. Cryptocurrency mining can utilize the surplus fuel that would otherwise be wasted, and the oil and gas industry is a good example of this. With the spread of alternative methods of extraction to even remote, hard-to-access places, the need for on-site consumers grows.

New shale oil wells have been popping up across North America and other parts of the world in the past few years. They are often located far from potential markets, and the transportation of certain byproducts such as methane and other compounds forming natural gas is not always economically viable, because grid prices are too low or because expensive additional infrastructure is needed to transport the fuel.

Associated gas, or flare gas, is a liability for oil companies and they have several options for dealing with it. If a well is close to a market, producers can pipe it to end consumers. Alternatively, they can flare it or vent it into the atmosphere. However, authorities in the U.S. and Canada impose restrictions on the amount of gas that can be released or burned. Exceeding these limits usually leads to costly production stoppages.

Crypto Mining Makes Excess Gas Profitable

Installing bitcoin mining equipment at oil production sites provides a solution to these problems. Some companies are already offering this type of service. Gas engines are used to generate electricity and power mining rigs. Oil producers remain compliant with venting quotas and receive additional income, while ensuring uninterrupted oil extraction. Mining rewards can be significantly higher than the price most companies get when they sell gas to the grid. At the same time, nature is spared from a very potent greenhouse gas – methane gas is 25 times more harmful than CO2.

Upstream Data is a Canadian company offering mobile mining datacenters that can be bought or rented by oil companies and installed at facilities which need to vent associated gas. They can bring in over 15 times more revenue than the market price of the fuel, while limiting carbon footprint. The datacenters come in different configurations depending on their equipment and power rating. The all-in-one Ohmm Combo can be ordered with up to 125 kW of ASICs and a natural gas genset, all housed in a modified shipping container. The midrange version starts at 28,000 Canadian dollars ($21,400). A new product called Ohmm Mini, a 50 kW stackable datacenter, is also on sale, and Ohmm Mega, a 1,000 kW datacenter, is currently under development.

Bitcoin Helps Oil Companies Reduce Carbon Footprint

Upstream Data founder and CEO Stephen Barbour, who is a mechanical engineer with eight years of experience in the oil industry, told news.Bitcoin.com that his business continues to pick up. Earlier this month, he tweeted about the commissioning of a new Ohmm datacenter in Texas. The entrepreneur noted that media reports on his solutions have brought more legitimacy to crypto mining as a means of utilizing stranded gas. His company continues to get new orders and is conducting trials with small and large groups. “A lot of great things are happening for us so we’re pretty excited to expand our services,” Barbour said and added:

Aside from the oil industry, our datacenters can also be used in traditional mining applications. However, I believe the future of bitcoin mining is in the oil and gas industry due to the enormity of the energy produced and wasted.

Huge Amounts of Stranded Gas Flared Each Year

Various studies have shown that oil companies vent or flare enormous quantities of natural gas year after year. According to the World Bank, 5.3 trillion cubic feet (150 billion cubic meters) of natural gas is flared annually, which amounts to 25% of the total consumption in the United States. An analysis conducted by General Electric claims that 5% of the global gas production is flared annually. It has been estimated that the stranded natural gas accounts for up to 60% of the planet’s reserves.

EZ Blockchain is another company expanding its operations in the sector. It has designed a mobile flare mitigation system which can be deployed on oil well pads and mine digital coins using energy from the flared gas. Its EZ Smartbox portable mining units are powered by gas-electric generators to convert associated gas into electricity used in data processing including crypto mining. The Chicago-based company has already delivered 13 mobile units to three locations, with 6 MWs under operation and 64 PH/s of hash power. To find out more about these operations and get further insights about the industry, news.Bitcoin.com contacted Sergii Gerasymovych, founder of EZ Blockchain.

Bitcoin Helps Oil Companies Reduce Carbon Footprint
Sergii Gerasymovych

“Our primary area of operation and target market is the Bakken region in North Dakota, which has very rich gas being flared, with over 1,500 BTU/ft3. Raw gas is dirty, it consists of methane, butane, hexane, pentane, ethane, and other gases. NGL companies are required by law to clean it before it can be burned and producers spend money to do that,” the entrepreneur explained.

In the smallest configuration of the EZ Smartgrid solution, a 350 kW datacenter can be equipped with 250 S9 miners and utilize up to 100 MCF of gas daily with a gas-electric generator. “This is a drop in the ocean for oil producers, but we worked hard to solve the scaling problem. We strategically partnered with a distributor of generators from Jenbacher with a power range of 200 kW to 10 MW and flexibility to run either on natural gas or a number of other gases,” Gerasymovych noted. He thinks this is a game changer as the average small well in North Dakota produces around 350 MCF of gas daily, and an oil pad can have five or more wells.

The company is currently working with one oil producer in the Bakken region and is about to start operations with another. Its team is also evaluating a 10 MW location in the Appalachian Basin. EZ Blockchain’s founder believes there’s huge opportunity for the expansion of this type of crypto mining, particularly in North America where due to the shale boom, there are many wells where gas is flared. This fuel isn’t going anywhere and building pipes is not economically feasible.

There is enough wasted gas in North Dakota alone to power a third of Bitcoin’s whole network. Bitcoin mining can be done completely off-grid, solving an environmental problem.

Sergii Gerasymovych expects more drilling companies to install and operate on-site mining equipment to utilize the excess gas that would otherwise be wasted. However, this will not happen quickly as the oil and gas industry is very conservative. It’s going to take time for small to midsize companies to look for a new, innovative approach. “They are in the business of pumping oil, not mining bitcoin. That’s why EZ Blockchain usually runs the mining operations,” he remarked.

Gerasymovych emphasized that these operations generally require a lot of investment into gas generation equipment upfront. “This is another obstacle we face with oil producers. Small companies can operate tens of wells and midsize companies – hundreds or even thousands. That means very big mining operations have to be built and funded in order for the flaring problem to go away completely,” he explained. Oil and gas companies are a bit hesitant to invest money in an industry which they do not know well and it may take more time before the technology becomes a mainstream solution.

Bitcoin Helps Oil Companies Reduce Carbon Footprint

The expansion of the shale oil industry in North America and the scale of gas wastage have created ideal conditions for services such as those offered by Upstream Data and EZ Blockchain, and they are not the only companies that are working to utilize the abundant byproduct in crypto mining applications. The U.S.-based Crusoe Energy Systems is developing its own solutions in the niche, helping oil and gas producers to reduce gas flaring while making a profit by verifying crypto transactions. This spring, the startup raised $4.5 million in a seed funding round led by Bain Capital Ventures and Founders Fund Pathfinder, bringing its total funding to $5.1 million.

The capital will be used to finance the production of Crusoe’s mobile datacenters designed to mine digital coins at oil drilling sites. The goal is to provide a large-scale flare mitigation service for oil and gas extraction companies across North America. Crusoe’s modular datacenter units are installed in shipping containers and can be quickly deployed on any oil well site in the U.S. and Canada to start mining within days. The systems not only reduce flaring but also eliminate most of the smog-forming emissions of volatile compounds such as nitrogen oxide (NOx) and carbon monoxide (CO).

Bitcoin Helps Oil Companies Reduce Carbon Footprint

Decentralizing Power Consumption in Bitcoin Mining

While cryptocurrency mining has become more and more centralized over the years, there’s a strong case that the generation of power used in the process will be gradually decentralizing, thanks to solutions like these. Datacenters running on stranded gas do mine on pools, but they are mobile units that can be installed anywhere. As the hunt for cheap energy intensifies, with electricity being the main expense in bitcoin mining, more and more businesses are likely to develop products allowing for the use of energy close to its source.

Companies specializing in flare gas utilization have some challenges to overcome. Datacenters require maintenance, rigs need to be restarted sometimes, fuel pipes can freeze, and it can be hard to establish a reliable internet connection in remote places. Add to that the low efficiency of gas engines used to power the mining modules – it’s less than 30% and most of the energy is still lost as heat and through the exhaust pipe. Bans imposed on shale oil and gas extraction and fracking also pose a threat to the business.

Bitcoin Helps Oil Companies Reduce Carbon Footprint

Nevertheless, bitcoin mining remains a viable option for energy companies operating far from potential markets and under strict regulations on venting and flaring. Mining containers can also be installed at ordinary natural gas fields and exploited whenever coin minting is more profitable than selling the fuel to other consumers. Along with Canada and the U.S., Russia, China, Iran, and Saudi Arabia are among the largest natural gas producers in the world. Global proven reserves have been estimated at 6.95 quadrillion cubic feet.

Do you expect to see a rapid development of other crypto mining technologies utilizing excess or wasted fossil fuels? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Upstream Data, Crusoe Energy Systems.


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Indian Government Breaks Silence on Crypto Regulation

Par Kevin Helms

The Indian government has finally spoken up about the regulatory framework for cryptocurrency it has been deliberating, providing answers to questions presented in the upper house of the Parliament of India. The government also confirmed that the report with the recommended crypto regulation has already been submitted by the interministerial committee tasked with drafting the regulation.

Also read: G20 Leaders Issue Declaration on Crypto Assets – A Look at Their Commitments

Crypto Not Prohibited in India

At a sitting on July 16 of the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian Parliament, five questions were directed at the Minister of Finance by Parliament member Shri Dharmapuri Srinivas regarding the “Prohibition of cryptocurrency” in India.

The set of questions begins with: “Will the Minister of Finance be pleased to state: (a) whether [the] government has prohibited cryptocurrency in the country; (b) if so, the details thereof.”

Indian Government Breaks Silence on Crypto Regulation

A document containing answers to these questions started circulating on social media Thursday. It shows that the answers were provided on July 16 by Shri Anurag Singh Thakur, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance.

Answering the first two questions above, Minister Thakur simply wrote: “No, Sir.”

Government Confirms Crypto Report Submitted

The next two questions request information regarding “(c) whether [the] government has taken note about [the] prevalence of cryptocurrency in the country; (d) if so, the details thereof.” The Minister of State replied:

Taking note of the issue, the government has constituted an interministerial committee (IMC) under the chairmanship of Secretary (DA). The IMC has submitted the report to the government.

Indian Government Breaks Silence on Crypto Regulation
Finance Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg (left) and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman (right).

The interministerial committee tasked with studying all aspects of cryptocurrency and providing a recommended crypto regulatory framework is headed by Secretary of Economic Affairs Subhash Chandra Garg who is also the country’s finance secretary. The committee has representation from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (Meity), the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), and the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT).

Action Taken on Crypto-Related Issues

The last question requests information on “(e) the action taken against the persons who are responsible for running the cryptocurrency in the market?” The Minister of State answered:

Presently, there is no separate law for dealing with issues relating to cryptocurrencies. Hence, all concerned departments and law enforcement agencies, such as RBI, Enforcement Directorate and Income Tax authorities, etc. take action as per the relevant existing laws.

Indian Government Breaks Silence on Crypto Regulation

The minister continued: “Similarly, police/courts take action on IPC offences. Further, in view of the risks and dangers associated with cryptocurrencies, [the] government and RBI have been issuing advisories, press releases and circulars to the public.”

Besides public warning notices regarding the risks of investing in cryptocurrencies, the central bank has issued a circular banning regulated entities from providing services to crypto businesses. The ban went into effect on July 6 last year.

Similar Answers to Lok Sabha

On July 8, Minister Thakur also answered some questions in Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Indian Parliament, about whether there is a plan to ban cryptocurrency in India. “Will the Minister of Corporate Affairs be pleased to state: (a) whether the government has any proposal to ban cryptocurrency in India,” Parliament member S. Gnanathiraviam asked.

At that time, Minister Thakur stated that “The issue of permitting trading in cryptocurrencies is currently under examination” by the aforementioned interministerial committee. He then repeated the answers his ministry provided Lok Sabha on Dec. 28 last year:

In absence of a globally acceptable solution and the need to devise technically feasible solution, the department is pursuing the matter with due caution. It is difficult to state a specific timeline to come up with clear recommendations.

Indian Government Breaks Silence on Crypto Regulation

Supreme Court Hearing Coming Up

In response to the banking restriction imposed by the RBI, a number of industry participants filed writ petitions to challenge the ban. The Indian supreme court is scheduled to hear the case on July 23.

The court was originally set to hear all the writ petitions against the RBI ban in September last year, but it continually postponed hearing the case in full. Meanwhile, the banking restriction continues and at least four crypto exchanges in India have had to shut down for this reason. Zebpay, formerly one of the largest crypto exchanges in the country, closed its Indian exchange operation in September last year. Coindelta followed suit in March, and Coinome made a similar announcement in May. Last month, Koinex also decided to shut down its exchange.

Indian Government Breaks Silence on Crypto Regulation

In February, the Indian supreme court gave the government four weeks to submit the report containing the crypto regulation recommended by the Garg committee. However, when the time was up, the court adjourned without addressing this matter.

Rumored Bill to Ban Crypto

Since the Indian government has been tight-lipped about its recommended legal framework for cryptocurrency, rumors of what the Garg committee’s report entails are rampant. In particular, the Banning of Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill 2019 has been heavily cited by the media such as The Economic Times and Bloombergquint. Among others, the bill proposes prohibition of a range of crypto activities.

However, experts have analyzed the bill’s content and agreed that, if this is the bill recommended by the Garg committee, it is nowhere near final. News.Bitcoin.com recently provided experts’ analyses and comments on this bill, as well as a preliminary analysis of its original leaked content.

Indian Government Breaks Silence on Crypto Regulation

“This document cannot be claimed as the final recommendation of the expert committee to the Ministry of Finance. The document contains no mark of authentication on it nor it has come out from any official source,” Advocate Mohammed Danish, co-founder of Crypto Kanoon, an Indian platform for blockchain and crypto regulatory news and analysis, told news.Bitcoin.com. Varun Sethi, founder of Blockchain Lawyer, shares a similar sentiment. “This looks like a very very rough draft of a proposed bill,” he opined, adding that it might just be “a random discussion paper and it may not actually become [a] bill in the same manner and mode in which this has been stated.”

Impact of G20 and FATF on India’s Crypto Regulation

Garg said that his committee’s report with the recommended crypto framework for India was ready in early June, a week before he attended the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting in Fukuoka, Japan, on June 8 and 9.

Indian Government Breaks Silence on Crypto Regulation
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman (left) and Finance Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg (right) in Fukuoka, Japan.

Both Garg and India’s new finance minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, attended the meeting where all G20 finance ministers and central bank governors jointly declared their commitments to applying the crypto standards set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an intergovernmental standard-setting body in areas such as money laundering. The FATF released its updated guidance for crypto assets on July 21, almost two months after Garg said his committee’s report was ready.

Furthermore, during the G20 leaders’ summit in Osaka, Japan, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and leaders of the other G20 nations jointly declared their commitments to applying the FATF standards.

The G20 meetings this year were hosted by Japan, where cryptocurrency has been legalized as a means of payment since April 2017. Crypto exchanges in the country are regulated by the Financial Services Agency (FSA), which has so far approved 19 of them to legally operate in the country.

How do you think India will eventually regulate cryptocurrency? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and the Japanese government.


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Market Outlook: Crypto Bulls Rally After Bearish Downturn

Par Jamie Redman
Market Outlook: Crypto Bull Market Still in Play After Bearish Decline

Since July 13, digital currency prices have dropped in value significantly, but most coins have since experienced some recovery. While many crypto supporters are optimistic on where the markets are headed, traders and analysts have noticed a bullish-to-bearish trend. BTC and a slew of other currencies spiked more than 10% at 11 a.m. EST on Thursday, however, indicating the bull market is still in play.

Also read: Ignore Crypto Twitter – Life as a Nocoiner Isn’t That Bad

The Bulls Are Back in Town

On Wednesday, cryptocurrency bulls were seemingly exhausted and bears had temporarily taken the reins, clawing back prices over the last week. Currently, the overall market capitalization of the entire cryptoconomy is $281 billion with around $83 billion worth of 24-hour global trade volume. The leading digital asset by market valuation, bitcoin core (BTC), is down over 8% over the last seven days. One BTC is trading for $10,622 after touching a low of $9,165 on Wednesday. BTC is followed by the second largest market cap held by ethereum (ETH) which has dipped by 17% this past week.

Market Outlook: Crypto Bulls Rally After Bearish Downturn

ETH is swapping for $225 per coin at press time as the cryptocurrency recovered 5.2% of its losses over the course of the earlier morning trading sessions. Following ethereum, ripple (XRP) is trading for $0.32 per XRP, down by 2.3%. Litecoin (LTC) is swapping for $101 per coin and down 1% over the last seven days. Bitcoin cash (BCH) is below litecoin’s market cap in fifth position as each coin is trading for $318, down 7% for the week.

Market Outlook: Crypto Bulls Rally After Bearish Downturn
Bitcoin cash (BCH) price on July 18, 2019, at 1 p.m. EST.

Analyst Insists Libra Scrutiny Pushed the Price of BTC Down

This week has been interesting as U.S. congressional leaders discussed cryptocurrencies at great length to attempt to understand and regulate Facebook’s upcoming Libra coin. Public blockchains like BTC were described by politicians and cryptocurrency advocates over the last two days. Financial columnist and market analyst Naeem Aslam thinks the Facebook Libra investigations and politicians probing BTC pushed crypto prices lower. Most of the questioning and debate in Congress this week revolved around the creation of Libra, the cryptocurrency Facebook plans to launch in 2020.

Market Outlook: Crypto Bulls Rally After Bearish Downturn
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY)

For instance, many Democrat representatives including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez seem to be against Facebook’s coin concept during the hearings. The New York Democrat representative asked Libra CEO David Marcus who backs the financial underpinnings of the planned Facebook currency. “So we are discussing a currency controlled by an undemocratically selected coalition of largely massive corporations,” Ocasio-Cortez said to Marcus, unimpressed with his testimony. Financial Services Committee representative Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) commended Satoshi Nakamoto’s creation, meanwhile. However, Aslam writes this week that the congressional hearing and “the scrutiny of Facebook’s cryptocurrency has hit bitcoin’s price.” Sharing his opinion on July 17, the analyst stated:

Speaking purely from a price action perspective, the Bitcoin price declined as much as 8.9 percent during the hearing and for the week it is down nearly 16 percent. The price has found its support near the 50-day moving average which is trading at $9,311. If the price falls below the 50-day moving average, it is likely that the price may continue to move lower and find support around the area of $7,418. The 242-day moving, which has an impressive track record, is something that I am looking at closely. It is trading at $6,983 and the price must stay above this line in order for the bulls to keep their hopes alive.

Market Outlook: Crypto Bulls Rally After Bearish Downturn
Bitcoin Core (BTC) price on July 18, 2019, at 1 p.m. EST.

The Dotcom Era

Ceteris Paribus from the crypto analytics firm Messari believes the current BTC market cycle is very similar to Amazon stock during the dotcom bubble. “Not all bubbles are created equal — The latest BTC cycle mirrors Amazon during the dot-com bubble, but the recovery has been much more swift — Even with the recent sell-off, bitcoin is 54% down from its high, vs. the 85% Amazon was trading at over a similar timeframe,” Paribus tweeted on July 17. “Why is this relevant? While different assets, they both traded on pure speculation — Bubbles follow similar patterns, but the quick BTC breakout has been extremely bullish. Only natural to see a bit of a pullback here — Still much further ahead than most people imagined in December.”

Market Outlook: Crypto Bulls Rally After Bearish Downturn
Ceteris Paribus says BTC market cycle is very similar to Amazon stock during the dotcom bubble.

Miners Will Defend the Price of BTC

According to trader and analyst Filb Filb, miners will defend the price of BTC if it sinks to a certain point. “I have seen a lot of hysterical calls for bitcoin to find new lows and want to revisit a logical economics-based approach which helped me call the 2018 bottom to near perfection and why I do not believe bitcoin will find new lows,” the trader wrote on Wednesday.

Market Outlook: Crypto Bulls Rally After Bearish Downturn
Will miners defend the price at a certain point?

By using certain tactics, miners will always maximize their rate of returns. “As Satoshi said himself rightly pointed out that commodity costs are likely to gravitate to production cost. Why? Because miners will sell into demand where revenue per unit > MC. Likewise, collectively they are disincentivized to sell when revenuedeclared. The popular trader added:

We have also seen the pre halving hype bottom out at 2x the cycle bottom historically — Go look for yourselves. Coincidence? I think not.

Money Managers Scour Forums and Social Media for Cryptocurrency Price Clues

According to a Reuters interview with Bin Ren, CEO of Elwood Asset Management, hedge funds and money managers are using algorithms capable of identifying cryptocurrency price clues throughout forums and social media platforms like Twitter. Reuters reports that the use of these algorithms has been growing fervently among traditional market managers. “It’s an arms race for money managers — Very few players are able to implement and deliver it, but I believe it is highly profitable,” Ren told the news outlet. Moreover, Bitspread, the digital asset management service based in London and Singapore, also uses social media algorithm techniques to profit.

“It’s a matter of gathering all the info, trying to understand who is trading where, what kind of liquidation can appear,” Bitspread CEO Cedric Jeanson said. “It’s a strategy that makes sense.”

Market Outlook: Crypto Bulls Rally After Bearish Downturn
Reuters reports that money managers are combing social media posts and forums for leads toward crypto price clues.

Despite the Possibility of BTC Prices Declining Below $7K, Market Parabola Is Still in Play

Well known Twitter cryptocurrency analyst Mr. Anderson detailed that BTC has very strong parabolic trend lines and the lowest band is under $7K. Essentially this means that despite BTC’s current price decline, the bull run could still be in play. For instance, despite the 10-25% dips for most digital assets within the cryptoconomy, the majority are still way up in comparison to the December 2018 lows.

Market Outlook: Crypto Bulls Rally After Bearish Downturn
Mr. Anderson’s Parabolic Curve chart.

Any of the parabolic trend lines could act as a support for BTC but calling large ones is very difficult according to Mr. Anderson. “BTC Parabolic Curve: Calling the end of a large Parabolic Curve is NOT EASY — It seems obvious and that is why it is hard. We already have a couple of fairly logical para-trend lines that we had to cancel and we have a couple more that may end up being canceled as well,” Anderson explained on Twitter in reference to his parabolic trend line chart.

Worldwide Economic Fears, Cut Interest Rates and a No-Deal Brexit

Overall, digital asset markets have still gained significant value in the midst of worldwide economic fears. However, retail sales in June were better than expected according to economists and the jump in spending has given them hope. However, in the U.S. some speculators believe that the Federal Reserve might cut interest rates when members of the Fed convene on July 30-31. According to reports, the U.S. Treasury has already priced in the rate cuts in order to bolster loans and lending rates for mortgages.

Market Outlook: Crypto Bulls Rally After Bearish Downturn
After someone succeeds Prime Minister Theresa May, many believe Brexit will happen.

Moreover, the possibility of a no-deal Brexit is being debated across the U.K. and EU. Economists fear that the U.K. will finally leave the EU monetary system, but waiting for Prime Minister Theresa May’s successor has paused an impending Brexit. With economists watching the global economy closely and politicians scrutinizing digital currencies, how all of this madness will affect cryptocurrency markets going forward is anyone’s guess. Today’s price breakout at 11 a.m, however, suggests that the crypto bulls are still in the game.

Where do you see the price of BCH, BTC and the cryptoconomy going from here? Let us know what you think in the comments 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.”


Images via Shutterstock, Twitter, Bitcoin.com Markets, Mr. Anderson, and Pixabay.


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Money Laundering Fines Help Bankers Avoid Prosecution

Par Lubomir Tassev
Money Laundering Fines Worth Billions Help Bankers Avoid Prosecution and Unpleasant Labels

The recent seizure of a cargo ship owned by JP Morgan, a vessel loaded with 20 tons of cocaine according to latest accounts, highlighted the risks of banks’ involvement in illicit activities, inadvertent or otherwise. And although U.S. authorities released the MSC Gayane after the owner, JP Morgan’s asset management arm, and the operator, Mediterranean Shipping Company, paid a $50M in cash and surety bond, the stain remains and this is not the only stain. Money laundering for drug cartels and moving funds for terrorists, arms dealers and dictatorial regimes are among the sins banks have accumulated through the years. However, court settlements and billions of dollars in fines often help major financial institutions avoid prosecution, conviction, and labels like ‘Drugbanks.’

Also read: Money Laundering Scandals Bring Court Charges and Record Job Cuts to Euro Banks

Money Laundering Pandemic

According to a study conducted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (Unodc) in 2017, up to $2.1T dollars is being laundered by criminals each year. Although it remains extremely difficult to estimate the exact amount, Unodc believes it’s between 2 and 5% of the global gross domestic product (GDP).

The advancement of financial technologies, including cryptocurrencies, has undoubtedly increased the speed and ease with which money moves around the world. However, the organization singles out developments related to the traditional financial system to explain why finding, freezing and forfeiting criminal assets have become harder. Unodc says the “dollarization” of black markets, financial deregulation, and the spread of financial havens are the main factors.

Money Laundering Fines Worth Billions Help Bankers Avoid Prosecution and Unpleasant Labels

Many banks have invested in implementing expensive transaction monitoring systems that should by design detect suspicious behavior on the part of their clients. They are programmed to raise the alarm whenever predetermined patterns are observed, such as large cash deposits, multiple transfers through a bank account in a quick succession, and other complex financial transactions.

In reality, however, the great majority of the automated alerts, 95% in the U.S., are being evaluated as “false positives,” according to research by the Thomson Reuters Regulatory Intelligence published last year. Around 98% never make it into a report on suspicious activity. At the same time, the billions buried in these software systems fail to stop the big money launderers who employ sophisticated techniques and manage to avoid detection. That includes drug cartels, terrorists and rogue states.

Swedbank Accused of Moving Funds for WMD Program

Since 2018, a number of large banks, mostly European, have been dogged by money-laundering accusations. Swedbank, one of the financial institutions implicated in the scandal centered on the Danish Danske Bank’s operations in the Baltics, now has to deal with another chapter in the ordeal. A new report by the Dagens Industri newspaper reveals that Sweden’s leading bank has identified transactions from its customers to the FBME bank, shut down two years ago after being connected to the Syrian chemical weapons program.

Money Laundering Fines Worth Billions Help Bankers Avoid Prosecution and Unpleasant Labels

The suspicious transfers were discovered during an internal investigation last year and, according to the publication, were brought to the attention of the bank’s top management. It’s unclear when exactly they were carried out, which makes it hard to determine whether they breached sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union on the regime in Damask.

The transactions were made between account holders in Swedbank’s Lithuanian branch and one or more clients of FBME. The Dar es Salaam-headquartered bank had previously been linked to arms and drugs trafficking, terrorist financing and money laundering. It was denied access to the U.S. financial sector and its license was revoked by the central bank of Tanzania in 2017.

Dagens Industri’s article comes during a difficult period for Swedbank. A documentary aired in February by the Swedish national broadcaster SVT provided details about the bank’s involvement in money laundering transactions with Danske Bank in the Baltic states. Following the revelations, Swedbank’s Chief Executive Birgitte Bonnesen and Chairman Lars Idermark left their posts.

Banks Fined Billions for Money Laundering Violations

The crypto industry is often criticized by the establishment for not doing enough to prevent risks associated with money laundering and terrorist financing that come with the use of decentralized digital currencies. But it’s actually the traditional financial sector that has a much longer track record of such violations. Scandals with banks providing services to bad actors are not a new occurrence and failure to prevent money laundering and the movement of illicit funds are not a recent phenomenon.

Banks often pay huge fines for breaches of anti-money laundering (AML) and counter terrorist financing (CTF) regulations. Multiple cases involving major financial institutions were recorded in 2018 alone, indicating either the inability of their AML systems to cope with the challenges or simply the lack of will to prevent criminal activities.

The list of banks punished by regulators last year is pretty long. ING Bank paid $900 million in the Netherlands for its failure to prevent money laundering and other bad practices between 2010 and 2016. One of the cases involved $55 million in bribes paid to the daughter of Uzbekistan’s president by the Russian mobile operator Vimpelcom, as reported by the Global Financial Integrity portal.

Another Dutch institution, Rabobank, paid $369M to the U.S. government for allowing hundreds of millions in cash from Mexico to be deposited in its branches in California and then transferred elsewhere. That happened despite obvious signs that the funds were linked to drug trafficking and other organized crime-related money laundering.

Money Laundering Fines Worth Billions Help Bankers Avoid Prosecution and Unpleasant Labels

Last year again, US Bancorp agreed to pay $613M in fines which went to settle two criminal charges after the bank was accused of failing to prevent money laundering by investigating only a limited number of suspicious transactions. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, as much as 80% of these transactions had to be examined. The bank, however, did not take steps to increase the funding and the size of its AML team.

The Swiss banking giant UBS was fined $15 million in the U.S. for failing to file suspicious activity reports. Between 2011 and 2013, its branch in San Diego transferred $9 billion for around 6,000 accounts of non-U.S. residents from Mexico, Venezuela and Panama. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) found that the bank’s analysts were allowing transactions despite multiple red flags.

Elsewhere, Australia’s largest bank was found responsible for no less than 50,000 breaches of AML and CFT laws between 2012 and 2015. They were related to a type of smart ATMs called intelligent deposit machines (IDMs) which allowed users to anonymously credit cash deposits to their accounts with an unlimited number of transactions. Regulators believe they were used by criminals who laundered $75M. The Commonwealth Bank of Australia agreed to pay $534M in penalties.

Other notable examples from the past couple of decades include JP Morgan Chase which paid over $2B in a 2014 court settlement for ignoring alerts about Bernard Madoff. The Wall Street financier had an account at the bank and used it to run his Ponzi scheme. Citigroup is another entry in a list compiled by Bloomberg, with $237M in fines for the operations of its subsidiary Banamex USA. It processed transactions worth some $8.8B with limited oversight in a five-year period until 2012.

Drug Cartels Use US Banks to Launder Illicit Proceeds

Wells Fargo-owned Wachovia was fined $160M for processing $373B in wire transfers from Mexican currency houses between 2004 and 2007. U.S. authorities believe drug cartels used accounts at the bank to launder illicit funds and finance their criminal operations. According to a federal investigation into the notorious Mexican crime syndicate Los Zetas, covered in media reports in 2012, accounts at Bank of America were allegedly used to launder proceeds from cocaine trafficking. HSBC, the largest European bank, was also used for money laundering by Latin American drug cartels. It had to pay $1.9B for failing to implement proper monitoring of over $670B in transfers from Mexico and $9.4B in USD purchases.

Money Laundering Fines Worth Billions Help Bankers Avoid Prosecution and Unpleasant Labels

Standard Chartered, another London-headquartered bank which operates in more than 70 countries, was fined $967M in total for violating U.S. sanctions on Iran in 2012 and for weak AML controls in 2014. Deutsche Bank, which is the largest German bank, paid authorities in the U.S. and U.K. fines worth $670M for allowing Russian citizens to expatriate billions of dollars in mirror trades conducted through its Moscow office. Commerzbank, another German giant, was fined $1.45B in 2015 for failing to share with U.S. authorities information about the dealings of clients that were subject to sanctions. The institution was accused of processing over $250B in transactions ordered by Iranian and Sudanese entities between 2002 and 2008.

In so many of these cases, the fines have been paid as part of court settlements that helped the banks avoid further prosecution. The absence of prison sentences for bankers involved in facilitating money laundering schemes on behalf of drug traffickers and entities under sanctions also makes a strong impression. It turns out that crime syndicates and bad actors have less trouble accessing regular bank services than crypto companies with perfectly legitimate businesses, which continue to face difficulties when trying to open a bank account in many jurisdictions.

Are fines enough of a punishment for banks in cases of large-scale money laundering via traditional financial channels? What are your thoughts on the subject? Tell us in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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Bitcoin and Voluntaryism – Where Libertarian Philosophy Meets Crypto

Par Graham Smith
Bitcoin and Voluntaryism - Where Libertarian Philosophy Meets Crypto

For the uninitiated, voluntaryism is a philosophy based on consent. In the simplest terms it says: “If it’s not voluntary, it’s not moral.” This basic statement is often countered with “Yes, but not everyone agrees on that, some people use violence to get what they want.” This is 100% true. And this is why voluntaryists are not pacifists, but believe in and support self-defense. Self-defense as per voluntaryism is defined as protecting one’s property, which begins with the self. As such, the philosophy and its adherents have taken a remarkable interest in bitcoin, thanks to the non-violent nature of peer-to-peer, decentralized currency.

Also read: Ignore Crypto Twitter – Life as a Nocoiner Isn’t That Bad

Bitcoin and Voluntaryism – Where Libertarian Philosophy Meets Crypto

Individual Self-Ownership

The central axiom of voluntaryism is individual self-ownership. What this means simply is that an individual’s body is their own, and the bodies of others are not theirs to coerce or control via violence or threats of violence. While this sounds like a given for any moral society, common practices and ideas in current culture and society such as taxation, democracy, and authoritarianism in general are incompatible. They are incompatible because they are based on violations of property, which is the definition of violence as per the philosophy.

What Is Property?

Voluntaryist conceptions of property are arrived at via the individual. As the individual’s body and life is his or her own (individual self-ownership), by extension, those previously unowned resources which they acquire via their body’s labor become their property. If there is an unowned apple tree in a meadow, the man who picks an apple from the tree has now appropriated the fruit. In the case where there is a dispute about the tree itself, laws of property—and not arbitrary assertions of authority—decide the rightful owner.

Let’s say two people in the above scenario disagree, and both claim ownership of the apple tree. They have a few choices. They can “duke it out” and attack one another physically for dominance based on arbitrary assertion. “It’s mine because I say so!” They can alternately work out some system voluntarily by which to share the tree and its fruit. Realistically, however, this does not always happen. The third option is to determine who—if anyone—is the tree’s proper owner. “Proper” being itself related to “property.”

Bitcoin and Voluntaryism – Where Libertarian Philosophy Meets Crypto

Determination of Ownership

Perhaps individual A in this scenario makes a more direct, objective link claim. “The tree was my father’s. He planted it and gave it to me when he died.” In this case the property legitimately acquired via the father’s body has been gifted to the son by his will. Party B has no say over the disposal of the tree, as property is defined as an exclusive use right.

In another scenario, party B might make the claim that the tree is part of his homestead. He fenced it in years ago and there was no one living around there at the time, or no protests if there were. He came upon the tree first, and claimed it. In yet another context a party C might be present to help resolve the conflict, as resorting to the initiation of physical force always comes with societal and economic consequences.

Bitcoin and Voluntaryism – Where Libertarian Philosophy Meets Crypto

The Price of Violent Conflict

Should individual A and individual B resort to fisticuffs for ownership of the tree, several serious costs are incurred. First, if there are no other parties in the area, individual A killing or maiming B for the tree will not be beneficial to him. Apart from losing some company in the wilderness, A also loses any hope of market cooperation with B, and their aggregated power to secure and manage resources is diminished. Perhaps B is an excellent marksman and a skilled hunter. Physically attacking B could result in no more deer jerky or meat supplies from A. In this way, cooperation is advantageous to both A and B as self-interested individuals, completely absent of any ideas about “selflessness” or altruism.

Bitcoin and Voluntaryism – Where Libertarian Philosophy Meets Crypto

The Current Situation (Euphemized Theft)

This simple illustration can be compounded, multiplied, or made infinitely more complex without changing or disproving the foundational ethics or functional logic beneath. In today’s world, small groups of individuals called “presidents,” “governments,” “prime ministers,” and “kings and queens,” have claimed ownership of vast swathes of property and resources—including the bodies of others—willy-nilly. There’s no connection to their bodies. No connection to self-ownership. And though “individual self-ownership” may be semantically critiqued, the natural reality is concrete, objective, and immutable. Only I can move my hands or blink my eyes via direct biological connection to my brain. No one can achieve this more directly than I can. In a sense, this is “nature’s design.”

The rulers of the world today claim ownership over the bodies of others via taxation. They demand a percentage of the income earned through the labor of the bodies of others under threat of violence. “Taxation” as such is merely a euphemism for extortion. On a one-to-one level (try it with your friends and see if they’re fine with it) this is called slavery. On a governmental level, it is illogically euphemized as “the price we pay to live in a civilized society.” The literal gangs called “governments” today claim land and resources, killing or caging any who challenge them, apropos of nothing more than the antiquated idea of “divine right to rule.”

Bitcoin and Voluntaryism – Where Libertarian Philosophy Meets Crypto

Universalization, Bitcoin, and Beyond

While objective morality is hotly contested, it is an unnecessary debate insofar as voluntaryism is concerned. The question is simple: does one value minimal violence? If one values the minimization of potential violence in a given society, it is empirically demonstrable that a non-universalizable norm like “kings and queens” (everybody cannot be king or queen) will always potentiate violent conflict over resources and influence. This is reliable as gravity. There must be a grundnorm for working out differences, which every individual (the smallest minority in any society) can exercise with equal potential clout.

Bitcoin and other peer-to-peer electronic payment systems have opened new doors for voluntaryists to transact peacefully. Where the fiat (“by decree”) money systems of governments worldwide rely on violence—”Use this money or we’ll physically harm or threaten you”—bitcoin relies on consent. Users are free to not surrender their value to bullies or violent parties, as the “bully” has no control over the mathematics which govern the system. This math, like individual self-ownership, is a naturally occurring, decentralized, objectively provable phenomenon. Voluntaryists prefer decentralized order as opposed to centralized, violent governance. This makes bitcoin and crypto a good fit.

Bitcoin and Voluntaryism – Where Libertarian Philosophy Meets Crypto

Answering Common Objections

There are plenty of objections to the use of bitcoin. Some think it is a deep state co-opt created as a long-game takeover of the world monetary system. A conspiracy to exit cash. Some view not paying taxes and a lack of centralized oversight as criminal and dangerous. Objections to the ideas of voluntaryism are in no short supply, either. “It’s utopian! People are generally violent and selfish!”

Regardless of personal opinion, the facts remain: bitcoin and crypto (technology) facilitate direct, consensual P2P transaction. Claiming a bitcoin user must be “supervised” with violence or forced to pay for something, is a violation of their self-ownership and natural human autonomy. Claiming that people are corrupt, so voluntaryism “cannot work” is a self-detonating position, logically. If indeed most people are evil, the worst idea ever would be to have a centralized power structure composed of these very same people.

Bitcoin and Voluntaryism – Where Libertarian Philosophy Meets Crypto

Massive criminal gangs have already taken over; one just needs to read the news every day. They’re called governments. Roads are already built by private companies all over the world. Breathtakingly complex webs of voluntary legal agreements hold together the modern economies of nations worldwide. Legions of individuals interact and transact peacefully every day, not because of a powerful police presence, or regulation, but because where highly self-interested individuals valuing peace are concerned, property norms, free trade, and strong social connections are infinitely preferable to superstitions about kings and queens backed by unthinkable brutality and violence.

For an introduction to the basic tenets of voluntaryism, check out this excellent video. To learn more about bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, consult this resource.

Did you come to bitcoin via voluntaryism? 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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Ignore Crypto Twitter – Life as a Nocoiner Isn’t That Bad

Par Jamie Redman
Life as a Nocoiner Will Be Dismal According to the 'Last Chance' Bitcoin Crowd

Crypto Twitter (CT) is filled with half-witted commentary and price predictions by so-called luminaries, maximalists, and influencers. As the price of BTC has dropped to four figures, the usual tweets from CT thought leaders has insisted that this is the last chance to buy bitcoin for under $10,000.

Also read: Bitcoin Cash Update: Multi-Party Escrow, Vitalik Suggests BCH as Data Layer for ETH

This Is Your Last (Last) Chance to Buy Cheap BTC

The price of BTC is under $10K and you would think from some of the cryptocurrency influencers on CT that there’s a fire sale going on. Type the phrase “last chance bitcoin” and you will find a ton of BTC enthusiasts insisting that this is the final opportunity to purchase bitcoin for less than $10K. “Last chance to buy bitcoin under $10,000 — This is a remarkable opportunity, don’t miss it,” Knut Svanholm exclaimed on July 16.

Ignore Crypto Twitter – Life as a Nocoiner Isn't That Bad

Well known BTC influencer Anthony Pompliano, better known as “Pomp,” tweeted that his takeaway from this week’s congressional Facebook hearings was to “buy bitcoin.” In response to Pomp’s tweet, CT was reminded once again that the current BTC price dip is a “last chance” moment. “It’s one of the last chances if not THE last chance to buy bitcoin so cheap — Buy the fucking dip,” one individual wrote. Another Twitter account dubbed Fiat Minimalist‏ stated:

This could very well be the last chance ever to buy Bitcoin under $10,000.

Not everyone in the crypto ecosystem is so exuberant and some believe the recent trend of BTC hopium tweets is deceitful and childish. The Twitter account Spinbch.com‏ explained how Satoshi Nakamoto invented Bitcoin for uncensorable peer to peer cash, but BTC “ends up attracting toxic dumbass retarded screeching, ‘Moon! Lambo! Today is your last chance to buy Bitcoin under $10K,'” types. “Satoshi is sad, very depressed. At least Bitcoin Cash is on the right path,” the account added.

Ignore Crypto Twitter – Life as a Nocoiner Isn't That Bad

One would have hoped that people had learned not to tweet such predictions after the well known crypto luminary Charlie Shrem claimed last year that: “May 2018 will be the last time we see bitcoin under $10,000.” Shrem’s tweet was retweeted more than 2,700 times, but was at the receiving end of many jokes after BTC’s price dropped well below that price range. Still, people have continued to shout the “last chance” mantra every time. “Unpopular opinion: Bitcoin isn’t dropping below 10k again — That was your chance,” one person opined on July 15. In response, another individual wrote:

It’s true — you had your last chance — for those of you [with] whole bitcoin goals…get it now before your goal is impossible to attain.

Ignore Crypto Twitter – Life as a Nocoiner Isn't That Bad

Bitcoiners Are Royalty, Altcoiners Are Scammers and Nocoiners Are Just a Waste of Time

Besides the “last chance” gang of pumpers, BTC maximalists have been explaining what it will be like for “nocoiners” in the future. Nocoiners is the name BTC maximalists have given to people who have zero bitcoin and who may never own any. One BTC supporter declared that even giving crypto to nocoiners was a waste of time because they’d probably spend it. “That’s why I think sending free bitcoins to nocoiners is a waste! Cashing out now to buy a kitchen — LOL — It literally couldn’t be any worse — I mean… a kitchen,” they wrote.

Ignore Crypto Twitter – Life as a Nocoiner Isn't That Bad

The popular maximalist Pierre Rochard‏ explained that “bitcoiners start out sounding a little crazy, but the more you hear them out, the more sense they make — nocoiners are the opposite of that.” Then, this week BTC developer Jimmy Song revealed on Twitter that he believes there are three types of people: “Bitcoin maximalists, nocoiners, and people who are scamming or are being scammed in the name of innovation, tolerance, and open-mindedness and are very defensive about their project.” However, in response to Song’s statements, Joshua Davis said that nocoiners are literally the only group identified there “not constantly trying to sell you shit.” Even though nocoiners are labeled as despicable types, some maximalists still believe there will be a wave of nocoiners rushing in to buy bitcoin at any moment.

“The mainstream media reporting on BTC hitting $10,000 will cause a wave of nocoiners to FOMO in,” one guy insisted on June 21, after BTC captured the $10K mark again. “We can amplify that by getting the hashtag #BitcoinIsBack trending.”

Ignore Crypto Twitter – Life as a Nocoiner Isn't That Bad

The maximalist and “last chance to buy at this price” thought leaders have been tweeting these tropes for months now with no shame. CT account Trolly McTrollface‏ roasted the maximalist position on nocoiners, writing: “It’s paramount for every Bitcoin bagholder to believe that nocoiners are all dumb, incapable of change, or brainwashed/bought by the bankster lizards. The fact banks have invested billions in blockchain R&D, tested it and realized it’s shit, doesn’t fit the ‘moon moon’ scenario.”

It’s hard to fathom how new people entering the space must perceive the vitriolic maximalist tweets about altcoiners and nocoiners being destroyed by the bitcoin master race. Ludicrous forecasts insisting that BTC will never be under $10K or any other arbitrary number again don’t help anyone.

What do you think about the “last chance” gang and the hatred of nocoiners? Do you think behavior like this is attractive to the world outside of crypto? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the subject material. Bitcoin.com and the author are not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any losses caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, advice and any opinions or predictions mentioned in this article.


Image credits: Shutterstock, and Twitter.


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Lightning Network’s Antifraud Methods Inferior to Nakamoto Consensus, Research Shows

Par Jamie Redman
Lightning Network's Antifraud Methods Inferior to Nakamoto Consensus, Research Shows

The Lightning Network, the touted scaling solution for the BTC chain, has recently seen its capacity decrease significantly and the beta project is still best suited for a cliche of technically savvy users. Now according to an analysis by Bitmex Research, the Lightning Network’s nodes have taken 2.2 BTC in “justice transactions” even though the connections might not be dishonest.

Also read: Looking Beyond the Lightning Network Hype: Everyday Users Experience Issues

2.2 BTC Taken in Justice Scenarios on the Lightning Network

It’s been well over 18 months and the Lightning Network is still in an experimental form, and one that has strayed away from Nakamoto Consensus. The project is intended to be a second layer solution for BTC payments and microtransactions, but the undertaking has been slow and filled with technical issues. Lightning started on Jan. 18, 2018, with around 60 nodes and it was highlighted to be very “experimental” and “in testing.” At that time, there was around 1.2 BTC held within the network and now there’s more than 940 BTC or $9.8 million, on July 15. A great majority of those funds stem from a node called Lnbig.com and some other big channels like Acinq, and Lightningpowerusers.com. On July 15, Bitmex Research examined the Lightning Network and studied how a mechanism called a “justice transaction” punishes alleged ‘dishonest’ parties. So far, justice transactions stemming from the Lightning Network have confiscated 2.2 BTC or a touch over $20,000.

Lightning Network’s Antifraud Methods Inferior to Nakamoto Consensus, Research Shows
Figure 3 – Number of justice transactions – monthly, according to Bitmex Research.

“We explain how to arbitrarily construct a “justice” scenario and present data on the prevalence of this type of transaction on the Bitcoin network,” The Bitmex Research report highlights. “We have potentially identified 241 justice transactions, representing 2.22 Bitcoin in value, since the Lightning Network launched at the end of 2017.”

According to Bitmex Research, when a ‘thief’ attempts to pilfer BTC on the Lightning Network and they are caught, they lose the funds they tried to steal and the funds within the channel as well. Bitmex Research said while conducting the study, the team executed their own justice transactions. Moreover, a member of the company Lightning Labs developed a tool that can detect these types of justice transactions. In total, Bitmex did 5 test justice transactions, which means the software’s “justice” scenario may not be accurate when it comes to identifying dishonesty.

“It is also possible that many of the 241 justice transactions do not indicate genuine dishonestly, for instance, it could be users testing the system, where the same user owns both lightning nodes in question,” the Lightning Network analysis explains. “For example Bitmex Research is responsible for 5 of the 241 justice transactions, when there was no victim, as Bitmex owned all the nodes and funds.”

Lightning Network’s Antifraud Methods Inferior to Nakamoto Consensus, Research Shows
Figure 4 – Value redeemed in justice transactions – monthly (BTC), according to Bitmex Research.

But Who Will Watch the Watchtowers?

The report follows the recent discussion concerning the idea of watchtowers on the Lightning Network. Watchtowers is another system of nodes that will attempt to protect the Lightning Network users from fraud. Basically, watchtowers are Lightning Network nodes that operate with a distinct algorithm and are meant to stop Alice from stealing Bob’s funds by monitoring transactions and channel states. Being permissionless by design, anyone will be able to run a watchtower, like individuals and companies, but blockchain surveillance firms could use them as well.

Lightning Network’s Antifraud Methods Inferior to Nakamoto Consensus, Research Shows
Lightning Network skeptics believe if you use BTC offchain with the Lightning Network, government entities and law enforcement agencies could use watchtowers. If they don’t like you for one reason or another (political, etc.), the watchtower owner could refuse to route your payment and censor you. Image credit fubar-bdhr

Because the Lightning Network (LN) does not use Nakamoto Consensus (the system that confirms onchain transactions), funds on the Lightning Network could essentially be double-spent by issuing a former channel state. So if your LN node is not online 100% time and you go offline for a couple of days, your funds could get stolen. Watchtowers could easily bring unwanted third parties into the LN design, but proponents say that anyone could subscribe to a group of watchtowers by running one themselves.

Lightning Network’s Antifraud Methods Inferior to Nakamoto Consensus, Research Shows
Jameson Lopp’s defense against third parties who are bad actors using watchtowers is that you can run your own watchtower.

The 940 BTC or $9.8 million is actually a decline in the Lightning Network’s capacity as it has been slowly dropping over the last few weeks. According to Blockstream developer Rusty Russell, the latest rise in price may be the reason why the capacity has declined while also highlighting the project is still in its infancy. “I hope this is an indication that people are remembering that Lightning is still beta,” Russell noted. “and [are] reducing capacity to control their risk profile as the bitcoin price rises.” The problem, however, took place during the height of the last price pump as onchain BTC fees skyrocketed upwards of $3-5 per transaction and the mempool (transaction queue) became backed up. LN proponents have said that high fees may push more people into using the LN system, but this hasn’t come to fruition yet.

Lightning Network’s Antifraud Methods Inferior to Nakamoto Consensus, Research Shows

The controversial discussion concerning justice transactions made its way to social media and forums on Tuesday, which invoked criticism against the Lightning Network and the idea of using watchtowers. On the Reddit forum r/btc, the user known as u/Mobtwo condemned the justice transactions concept and said: “In other words, Lightning Network is not immutable — Who will be watching the watchtowers to make sure they are not in cahoots with the bad guys? And why does it have to be so complicated?” Professor of computer science, Jorge Stolfi wrote on Reddit that [justice transactions] could have been an accidental error like someone trying to close a channel with a backup copy of an LN wallet. “Or an LN wallet in a different computer, that does not have a record of the most recent payment through that channel,” Stolfi emphasized. Commenting further, Stolfi added:

Note that there is no safe way to sync [Lightning Network] wallets — like there is, sort of, for ordinary bitcoin wallets. That’s because payments made through a channel are not stored anywhere, except on the two nodes connected by it.

Lightning Network’s Antifraud Methods Inferior to Nakamoto Consensus, Research Shows
The Lightning Network’s capacity has been declining and projects like Wrapped Ethereum may surpass LN’s capacity in the near future. At the rate WBTC’s token contract is climbing, the project is very close to surpassing the Lightning Network’s capacity in just six months time.

Will Lightning’s Topology Concerns, Centralized Hubs, and Routing Problems Be Addressed in the Next 18 Months? Skeptics Think Not

Lightning has been criticized by many individuals and with a quick Google search, anyone can find lengthy studies about LN’s topology concerns, discussions about centralized hubs, and routing problems. Electron Cash developer Jonald Fyookball thinks liquidity is the Lightning Network’s biggest issue. For example, in order to get your payment to someone, every hop in the route has to have a channel open and ready with at least as much funds as you wanted to send, Fyookball explained. The blockchain engineer commented further and stated that the best-case scenario for LN liquidity would be mega superhubs like banks which wouldn’t be peer-to-peer anymore.

“All [Lightning Network] nodes have to online all the time. So the user needs an always full bitcoin node plus a lightning node,” Fyookball said summing up his LN critique. “There are a bunch of other [LN] issues too, like [developers] don’t know how to actually solve distributed routing as it’s a known hard, unsolved problem in computer science. And even if LN worked great, it would take decades to onboard the world based on BTC’s low capacity.”

What do you think about the Lightning Network’s justice transactions and watchtower concepts in order to combat against fraud? Do you think the Lightning Network will help BTC scale? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, Twitter, Bitmex Research, Bitcoin Visuals, fubar-bdhr and Pixabay.


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SEC Begins Green-Lighting Token Offerings

Par Kevin Helms
SEC Begins Green-Lighting Token Offerings

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission recently made history when it green-lighted two token offerings under Regulation A+. “This is the first time in U.S. history that a crypto token offering has received SEC qualification,” one of the two qualified issuers proclaims.

Also read: G20 Leaders Issue Declaration on Crypto Assets – A Look at Their Commitments

Historic Event for Crypto Industry

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) began qualifying token offerings under Regulation A+ (Reg A+) last week. Blockstack PBC announced on July 10 that its application for Stacks tokens has been approved. The following day, Props Project announced that the SEC has also approved its application for Props tokens by Younow, a live streaming app which claims to have 46 million users.

SEC Starts Green-Lighting Token Offerings

Under the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, companies seeking to offer or sell securities to potential investors must either register the offer and sale or qualify for a registration exemption, such as under Regulation A.

The Jumpstart Our Business Startups (Jobs) Act, signed into law by former President Barack Obama on April 5, 2012, directed the SEC to amend the Securities Act and expand exemptions provided by Regulation A. The resulting final rules, often referred to as Reg A+, were adopted by the commission on March 25, 2015, and became effective on June 19 of the same year. The exemptions are aimed at facilitating small companies’ access to capital. However, the SEC never approved any token issuers’ Reg A+ applications until now.

Blockstack

Muneeb Ali, co-founder of decentralized app ecosystem Blockstack and CEO of Blockstack PBC, announced on July 10 that his company’s “upcoming token offering has been qualified by the SEC under Regulation A+,” elaborating:

This is the first time in U.S. history that a crypto token offering has received SEC qualification. We believe this is a huge step forward for decentralized applications, internet security, and privacy … It is a truly groundbreaking day for decentralized technology.

Ali added that there are currently over 165 applications built on the Blockstack decentralized computing network, including bitcoin-friendly web services such as Dmail, Bitpatron, and Graphite Docs. Blockstack PBC is a technology company that, together with its affiliates, develops an open-source peer-to-peer network using blockchain technologies to build a new network for decentralized applications, the Blockstack network.

SEC Begins Green-Lighting Token Offerings

The Blockstack team worked with the SEC over the past 10 months prior to qualifying for Reg A+, Ali said on Fyiam Tuesday. Under the Reg A+ framework, the company began conducting a $28 million cash offering on July 11. The sale is open to anyone globally “subject to a small number of geographical restrictions,” the CEO confirmed. Prior to obtaining the Reg A+ qualification, only accredited investors could participate in the company’s 2017 offering under Regulation D.

According to its offering circular filed with the SEC, Blockstack’s current offering is limited to $50 million in Stacks tokens each year. The circular details that Blockstack currently offers 40 million of these tokens to non-U.S. persons in a private placement exempt from the registration requirements under Regulation S. “We plan to continue our offering under Regulation S concurrently with this offering under Regulation A,” the filing notes. Blockstack also intends to offer its tokens to residents of the State of New York. “We have, however, taken the position that the State of New York’s Bitlicense regulatory framework does not apply to the offer and sale of securities like the Stacks tokens,” the filing explains.

SEC Starts Green-Lighting Token Offerings

Props Project and Younow

The day after Blockstack’s announcement, the Props Project announced that it has also been qualified by the SEC to distribute Props tokens under Reg A+. Its SEC filing states that “A Reg A+ filing would enable us to bring Props to our entire community of users.” The team wrote on July 11:

We are proud to announce that the Props offering statement on Form 1-A has been qualified by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), enabling us to grant Props to both accredited and unaccredited Props Network users in the United States and around the world.

“This is a landmark moment for our community,” the team continued, adding that Props tokens are now available to registered users of Younow, the first app on the Props Network.

SEC Starts Green-Lighting Token Offerings

According to Younow’s offering circular filed with the SEC on July 12, Props tokens will be used to reward users of the apps for in-app activities. “As a Tier 2 issuer under Regulation A, we will be subject to scaled disclosure and reporting requirements, and we will not be required to make the same level of public reporting required of issuers in traditional public offerings,” the company elaborated.

Rules and Eligibility

Reg A+ provides for two tiers of offerings. Tier 1 allows securities offerings of up to $20 million in a 12-month period while Tier 2 allows up to $50 million within the same time period. For offerings of up to $20 million, the issuer could elect either tier. Both Blockstack and Younow have opted for Tier 2 offerings. The SEC reiterated:

The updated exemption will enable smaller companies to offer and sell up to $50 million of securities in a 12-month period, subject to eligibility, disclosure and reporting requirements.

Both tiers are subject to basic requirements. However, Tier 2 issuers have additional rules to follow such as providing audited financial statements, filing annual, semiannual and current event reports, and “A limitation on the amount of securities non-accredited investors can purchase … of no more than 10 percent of the greater of the investor’s annual income or net worth.” Furthermore, issuers in Tier 2 offerings are not required to register or qualify their offerings with state securities regulators.

Exemptions under Reg A+ are limited to companies organized in and with their principal place of business in the U.S. or Canada. The exemptions are unavailable for companies that already report to the SEC and certain types of investment companies. Other criteria that could disqualify a company include not having a specific business plan, having been subject to any order of the commission entered within the past five years, or not filing ongoing reports required by the rules during the preceding two years.

What do you think of the SEC green-lighting these token offerings? Let us know in the comments section below.


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PR: Liechtenstein Financial Market Authority Approves Tokenized Real Estate Investment Product

Par Bitcoin.com PR
PR: Liechtenstein Financial Market Authority Approves Tokenized Real Estate Investment Product

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.

CROWDLITOKEN AG pioneers and starts distribution of a digital bond – European retail investors benefit as well

For the first time in Europe, the Liechtenstein Financial Market Authority (FMA) has approved the offering prospectus for a tokenised real estate investment product. CROWDLITOKEN AG is thus a pioneer for new financial innovations. The Security Token Offering (STO) is now running in European countries. By using blockchain technology, qualified and retail investors are enabled to invest in first-class real estate in Europe. Also the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) has confirmed that no special regulatory approval is needed to market this new class of digital assets in Switzerland.

The company CROWDLITOKEN AG, based in Triesen/Liechtenstein, is launching a security token that combines the advantages of direct and indirect real estate investments. CEO Domenic Kurt comments: “This represents an evolution in the world of financial products. New technologies are enabling us to launch a first-class product that not only offers new investment opportunities, but also remedies inefficiencies, cuts costs and safeguards transparency.”

In concrete terms, the product is a digital representation of a subordinated bond, whereby both the bond as well as the underlying real estate is digitised via blockchain. The token – named the “CRT” – replicates the income streams and the value changes of the real estate properties. Holders of the tokens can select their properties to invest in and thereby tailor their own portfolio. They will benefit from an attractive yield of 5–7% p.a. The ability to invest small amounts in selected European real estate, the easy tradability on digital stock exchanges (in preparation) and the investment flexibility are key innovative features of this unique real estate investment product.

The STO is divided into several phases. The private sale for the first 10 million tokens, which is open to all types of investors, is currently underway with a discount of 25% (equivalent to CHF 0.75 per token, 1 CRT = CHF 1.00). This is followed by the pre-public sale (20%) and public sale (10%). The minimum investment in all these phases is 100 CHF each.

CROWDLITOKEN AG targets to raise 100 million tokens through the STO, the funds will be used to build up the real estate portfolio. CROWDLITOKEN’s clear goal is to bring real estate investments into the digital era by using blockchain technology and thus democratise access to the market.
For more information, please visit crowdlitoken.com.

About CROWDLITOKEN AG
CROWDLITOKEN AG is a Liechtenstein-based start-up that provides investors with access to European core real estate via blockchain technology. This is based on real estate-linked security tokens – termed “CRTs” – i.e. a digital representation of a bond that returns a yield equating to 5–7% p.a. CRTs are fully compliant and combine the advantages of direct and indirect real estate investments.

Contact Email Address
welcome@crowdlitoken.com

Supporting Link
https://crowdlitoken.com/?utm_medium=article&utm_source=pr&%252520utm_campaign=45mio&utm_content=coinprkit

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.

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How They Will Attack Bitcoin: The Hypocritical Shock Campaign of US Monetary Policy

Par Graham Smith
How They Will Attack Bitcoin: The Hypocritical Shock Campaign of US Monetary Policy

On July 16, U.S. Department of the Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin gave a short press briefing discussing cryptocurrencies and the pressing need for regulation. A 28-minute slodge of alphabet agency soup, studded with calculated mentions of “terrorism” nearly every minute, casual observers were left confused. Are we talking about crypto or biological weapons of mass destruction here? Make no mistake, these misguided attacks on Bitcoin will continue as long as a threat is posed to obsolete and violent government economic systems. How they will attack is predictable: using some of the world’s most heinous, emotionally evocative crimes.

Like Dogs Howling

There’s a funny thing about dogs. When one howls, they all do, even if none of them really knows why. It’s the same with state-sponsored media. The AP releases something, and the top dogs in the news (i.e. those with the most funding and deepest state connections) start howling. Bitcoin is being used for terrorism! Libra will throw the U.S. into financial chaos! Soon, the smaller outlets — the media puppies, let’s call them — jump into the action. Not long after, there is a curious chorus of shrieking howls echoing across the culture, and those not even necessarily agreeing start to buy the story, if almost subconsciously.

How They Will Attack Bitcoin: The Hypocritical Shock Campaign of US Monetary Policy

Uncle Dave, who knows nothing about Bitcoin, will assure you in no uncertain terms at the family barbecue. This Bitcoin stuff is not good for America. Aunt Linda will chime in: “Yes, it’s used for terrorism!” Good luck reasoning with them. After all, howling is a very emotional thing. It’s a visceral expression of existential fear and sadness. Anyone who shouts against the cacophony is likely to be viewed as a threat. Or even an accomplice. It’s an exercise in primitive tribalism, really. A kind of bandwagon propaganda in and of itself.

Child Pornography, Drug Trafficking, and Terror

With the Jeffrey Epstein case fresh in the media, the child pornography angle of attack will become especially pointed from now on. After all, it’s been used before, repeatedly. According to former president Barack Obama, cryptographic technology raises urgent questions:

Then how do we apprehend the child pornographer? How do we solve or disrupt a terrorist plot? What mechanisms do we have available to do even simple things like tax enforcement?

It’s ironic that the Obama administration effectively shut down an ICE investigation called Project Flicker which unearthed a festering and systemic plague of child porn in Washington, including 264 DoD officials, and high-level Pentagon officials with top security clearances. Only a few cases were investigated before the matter was swept under the rug.

How They Will Attack Bitcoin: The Hypocritical Shock Campaign of US Monetary Policy
Excerpt from the Project Flicker report archive, in which 264 DoD officials were identified as having subscribed to child porn websites using government email addresses.

With 1,700 cases not investigated, and at least one official fleeing after indictment, it looks like the state is actually where illicit secrecy reigns supreme. This is not to mention the 16 NASA employees busted buying pornographic pictures of children as young as three, with personal credit cards and Paypal accounts. Their names of course can’t be released due to “government guidelines.” They could still be working for NASA for all anyone knows. Just last week, in fact, on July 8, a former NASA associate and professor at Portland State University pleaded no contest to “encouraging child sex abuse.”

How They Will Attack Bitcoin: The Hypocritical Shock Campaign of US Monetary Policy

According to prosecutors:

A forensic evaluation of Lehman’s cell phone revealed hundreds of child pornography of female victims between the ages of three and 12 being raped and sexually abused

If something this heinous at the very top levels of government is ignored by the ilk of Obama, Trump, Mnuchin and their cronies, how far down does the rabbit hole actually go?

Of course, child pornography is not the only issue state-sanctioned propaganda leverages against crypto, though it is arguably the most emotionally charged. Drug trafficking and “terrorism” (Mnuchin’s new favorite word) are the two other legs of this shoddily fabricated table to support the state’s “case” against Bitcoin.

Who’s Got the Most Dirty Laundry?

How They Will Attack Bitcoin: The Hypocritical Shock Campaign of US Monetary Policy
Source: https://messari.io/c/research/bitcoin-in-the-grand-scheme-of-things

According to the United Nations office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), most launderers are still using the almighty USD and the government regulated banking system to facilitate their activity. In fact, there’s really no contest. The stats find that for each dollar spent in BTC on the darknet, a staggering $800 in USD is criminally laundered.

With JP Morgan now embroiled in their cocaine ship scandal — discovered moving over $1.3B in illicit drugs — the recent ramped-up media assault on Bitcoin and Libra is telling. The centralized “drugbanks” of the world continuously evade any real prosecution or scrutiny, while lower level offenders are made glaring examples of.

The largest bank in Europe, HSBC, paid out a hefty $1.9B in 2012 to the U.S. Justice Department, avoiding prosecution for assisting Mexican and Colombian drug cartels in laundering $800M in narcotics loot. They were allowed to do so because, according to state officials, the bank’s work is important for the stability of society. Kristi Jacobsen, who directed a related episode of Netflix’s series “Dirty Money” called “Cartel Banks” had this to say:

That experience reflected what I think is the American way — to overpunish in terms of sentences for poor people, people of color, people who are powerless. HSBC was underpunished. A kid busted for marijuana possession can’t get away with saying, ‘I haven’t done a good job and I’ll change my behavior,’ as HSBC was allowed to.

Financing Terror Is the Name of the Game

Money laundering such as that engaged in by HSBC opens channels for massive funding of terrorists and terror cells globally. Many of the alphabet agencies mentioned in Treasury Secretary Mnuchin’s address have been complicit in covert funding of known terrorist groups. However, some of this funding and support is also done right out in the open.

In 2017, the United States and Saudi Arabian governments entered into a massive and controversial arms deal. The agreement provided an immediate $110B and $350B over 10 years, to a state that routinely beheads individuals for torture-induced “confessions,” homosexuality, and drug offenses. To many baffled critics, this didn’t seem like something a government concerned with human rights should do. Even now, Saudi forces are directly creating a mass starvation epidemic in Yemen by continuing to drop bombs on the decimated nation.

It has everything to do with global military dominance and resources. Nothing to do with the safety and security of human beings. As Trump told NBC News’ Chuck Todd on June 23:

I’m not like a fool that says, ‘We don’t want to do business with them.’ And by the way, if they don’t do business with us, you know what they do? They’ll do business with the Russians or with the Chinese. They will buy – we make the best equipment in the world, but they will buy great equipment from Russia and from China

One wonders why so much rhetoric is being devoted to talk of crypto regulation. After all, the Saudi government is committing all kinds of human rights abuses, yet the business negotiations take precedent. Idioms about pots and kettles come to mind. Maybe it’s the technological innovation they hate.


How They Will Attack Bitcoin: The Hypocritical Shock Campaign of US Monetary Policy

They Attacked TV and Internet, They’ll Attack Bitcoin

“So how come my local mall does more business in an afternoon than the entire Internet handles in a month? Even if there were a trustworthy way to send money over the Internet — which there isn’t — the network is missing a most essential ingredient of capitalism: salespeople.”

-Clifford Stoll, Newsweek, 1995

Like all new technological innovations, Bitcoin has come under attack from a rabid and motley crew of luddites, wide-mouthed politicos, and fearful authoritarians resting on the old laurels of a now rotted status quo. While some have legitimate concerns about crypto’s potential uses, monetary surveillance, and a perceived lack of stability, most are simply howling along with the mass media pack, not really knowing why. Surely everyone remembers Noble Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman sounding off in 1998:

The growth of the Internet will slow drastically, as the flaw in ‘Metcalfe’s law’ becomes apparent: most people have nothing to say to each other! By 2005, it will become clear that the Internet’s impact on the economy has been no greater than the fax machine’s

This guy won a Nobel Prize in economics. This says something about appeals to authority and tradition. Even television was met with scandalized resistance, during its advent. It’s no surprise then that bitcoin has been declared “dead” hundreds of times since its creation. Notably so by the renowned Washington Post in 2016. “R.I.P., Bitcoin,” indeed.

How They Will Attack Bitcoin: The Hypocritical Shock Campaign of US Monetary Policy

Ron Paul Slays Interview, Bitcoin Lives On

With all the mealy-mouthed clatter from Trump and Mnuchin’s MSM, former Texas Congressman Ron Paul’s recent CNBC interview is a breath of fresh air. When pressured to give some sort of justification for centralized state regulation, Paul remarked:

What the problem is, is you never have a truly free market. There’s always something the government says or does, or introduces a regulation. But they did that with gold, too…so they’ll do that with crypto as well. But no. If the market is allowed to operate, the bad guys get weeded out.

Paul went on to encourage multi-currency “true competition” with the U.S. dollar, something that is currently illegal. His view that a truly free market would weed out competition efficiently is supported economically, as market signals reducing demand for bad actors and faulty products or services are not stifled by centralized manipulation.

In a pill of truly bitter irony though, subjects to the U.S. dollar worldwide now must pay with their labor, their wealth, and even their lives and the lives of their families, to protect a child porn-proliferating, blood-bathed-terrorist financing, criminal drug syndicate the likes of which the world has never seen. All to the braindead mass media howls of “freedom,” of course.

What are your thoughts? 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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Global Crypto War Is Heating up – Iran Next in Line With Its Own Gold-Backed Coin

Par Avi Mizrahi

Control of the U.S. dollar and the global financial system that depends on it gives the American government an incredibly powerful tool in shaping international affairs. As such, it is not surprising that its geopolitical rivals around the world will try to exploit the invention of cryptocurrency to take the USD down a peg. The latest example comes from Iran that now wants to create a digital token backed by gold.

Also Read: Iranians Defy Warning and Share Pictures of Bitcoin Mining in Mosque

Central Bank of Iran Approves Gold Backed Token

On Saturday, July 13, Tehran-headquartered Mehr News Agency reported that the country’s first cryptocurrency issued under permission of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) is set to be unveiled. This was according to an announcement by an official from the Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture, a non-profit institution established to facilitate economic growth and development in the country.

The official, Shahab Javanmardi, said that the indigenous digital coin will be mined by a consortium of private Iranian IT firms in accordance with the agreement of the CBI and also called on the government to issue regulations for the country’s crypto mining sector. He claimed that “the Iranian cryptocurrency is backed by gold but its function is similar to foreign rivals.” Furthermore, he revealed that “the domestically encrypted money is to ease optimal use of Iranian banks’ frozen resources.”

Global Crypto War Is Heating up – Iran Next in Line With Its Own Gold-Backed Coin
The Shrine of Fatima Masumeh’s gold dome in Qom, Iran

Iran has reportedly been preparing to launch its own cryptocurrency for a long while now. Last July state-controlled media also claimed that a large number of homegrown Iranian tech companies were developing such a project in cooperation with the CBI. At the same time, the Iranian government has also made it harder on its own citizens to mine and trade cryptocurrency, with limited success.

Tools for Bypassing American Sanctions

Cryptocurrencies sanctioned by the government or even directly issued by central banks are not a new concept. Various countries around the world have floated the idea or claimed to have tested it in some capacity. Sweden, for example, is known to be probing the creation of an e-krona, its version of central bank digital currency (CBDC), with the help of private blockchain development companies. However, while the Scandinavian country is considering the move due to its ability to support a transition to a cashless society and other economic factors the Iranian goal for its own crypto is very different.

By imposing economic sanctions on other nations the U.S. can deter them from taking actions it disapproves of or even brings an enemy country to its knees without firing a single shot. Iran has been on the receiving end of various American sanctions for decades now and the development of local cryptocurrency needs to be seen in this context. Simply put, the main purpose of any Iranian digital asset will be to bypass the established banking and financial system in order to evade economic sanctions.

Global Crypto War Is Heating up – Iran Next in Line With Its Own Gold-Backed Coin
Petro sign in downtown Caracas, Venezuela

The prime example of a cryptocurrency created specifically for bypassing financial sanctions is the Venezuelan petro. Like the purported Iranian token, it is also a resource-backed digital asset, just with mainly oil instead of gold. When president Nicolás Maduro introduced the petro to the public on TV back in December 2017, he stated that it would allow the country to “advance in issues of monetary sovereignty”, and make “new forms of international financing” available to Venezuela.

In reality, these promises have failed to materialize so far and many consider the petro nothing more than a scam run by a corrupt government. It was of course also not helped by the U.S., which used all its powers to target the oil-backed coin. American citizens were forbidden from investing in it, and earlier this year the Treasury Department imposed sanctions on a Russian bank which was the primary international institution financing the petro’s launch.

Washington Must Lead International Crypto Race

All of these new crypto developments are not taken lightly in the U.S. which knows the power it may lose if they actually come to pass. Just a few days ago the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), a right-wing think tank based in Washington, DC, has published a report warning American policymakers about this threat.

The FDD paper details that Russia, Iran, and Venezuela have initiated experiments that their leaders admit are tools to offset U.S. financial coercive power. It claims that the petro serves as a case study for other regimes to learn what not to do and that Russia and Iran are strong allies in a plan to develop a digital currency that could be used for trade outside the SWIFT financial messaging system.

The report also focuses on America’s main trade war rival, China. It explains that the country is wary of the ever-present threat of sanctions against its officials. While China is less threatened by sanctions than other adversaries at the moment, the FDD notes that displacing American influence in the global financial system is a Chinese national priority. It warns that Chinese engagement may be the biggest variable in sanctions resistance efforts. “China’s buy-in, if it involved moving its trade onto a blockchain platform outside the conventional system, would be a game-changer.”

The think tank finds that technology has created a potential pathway to alternative financial value transfer systems outside of U.S. control. “Washington, therefore, must understand the benefits and threats posed by new financial technologies, maintain the integrity of global finance, and cultivate the expertise and influence to lead in what is becoming an international crypto race.”

This may help explain the Trump Administration’s recent interest in cryptocurrency.

What do you think about Iran issuing a crypto backed by gold? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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How to Create and Airdrop Your Own Token to Your Friends

Par Jamie Redman
How to Create and Airdrop Your Own Token to Your Friends

Roughly a year ago, the Simple Ledger Protocol (SLP) debuted on the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) network, giving anyone the ability to mint, store, receive, and send SLP tokens. Since then there’s been a ton of tokens created on the BCH network as the simplicity of the system outpaces tokens built on alternative chains like ERC20s and sending the tokens is far cheaper than most networks as well. The following walkthrough describes how to create SLP tokens and airdrop them to your friends and family in a short space of time.

Also read: Bitcoin Cash Update: Multi-Party Escrow, Vitalik Suggests BCH as Data Layer for ETH

Creating an SLP Token Using Memo.cash

Over the last few months the Simple Ledger Protocol, a tokenization platform built on top of the Bitcoin Cash network, has grown very popular among BCH enthusiasts. The reason for this is due to how easy it is to create an SLP token in a matter of minutes. To show how simple it is to mint, store, and airdrop tokens using the SLP tokenization platform, we’ve created a guide on the two easiest ways to get started. After reading this post and performing a few test runs on either the Memo.cash or Electron Cash applications, you’ll be able to create SLP tokens faster than the Fed prints dollars.

How To Create and Airdrop Your Own Token To Your Friends

One of the quickest ways to mint a token on the BCH network using the SLP platform is through the application Memo.cash. You first need to sign up for Memo.cash and load the account with a small number of satoshis (nickel or dimes’ worth will do) because every action on Memo is basically created with a BCH transaction. If you already have a Memo account you can skip ahead, but if you don’t have an account you can quickly create one here.

How To Create and Airdrop Your Own Token To Your Friends
In order to create an SLP token using Memo.cash you need to register for the platform and fund it with a small fraction of BCH.

After the Memo account is created, the top right-hand side of the account page shows a Bitcoin symbol which leads to Memo’s native wallet. To fund the account, choose and copy the BCH address on the right-hand side of the page or simply scan the QR code. After the Memo account is created and funded, you can play around with Memo’s functionality or head directly to the memo.cash/token/create page. Again, your account needs to be funded with a small fraction of BCH in order to create a token using the Memo platform.

How To Create and Airdrop Your Own Token To Your Friends
The “Create Token” window on Memo.cash allows users to customize the SLP token’s attributes.

The memo.cash/token/create page shows all the custom fields that can be customized before minting an SLP token. This includes the token’s ticker, name, decimal amount, custom URL, and the initial quantity. After deciding on the specifics of your new token, press “Create” and the new SLP token creation will be broadcast to the BCH network. Memo provides an SLP wallet so after you create a token, it will be stored in your account which can be found in the wallet section. After that step, you can do whatever you want with the new tokens and send them to people on a whim. There is one thing to remember when creating an SLP token on Memo.cash: everything is recorded onchain when you mint a token or send tokens to someone else from your Memo account. Of course, if you wanted you could create a throwaway account on Memo to build an SLP token in a private manner.

How To Create and Airdrop Your Own Token To Your Friends
The only difference between creating a token on Memo.cash, in comparison to creating one using the Electron Cash wallet (described below), is that every token created on Memo is broadcast on your public feed.

Designing an SLP Token Using the Electron Cash Light Client

Another way to create an SLP token is using the Electron Cash wallet SLP version. You can download the Electron Cash SLP 3.4.14 release here and the wallet is supported by Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems. Electron Cash SLP allows you to create, mint, burn and send SLP tokens using the light-wallet implementation. After downloading the wallet, the software will ask you to create a new wallet or import existing funds into the platform. If this is your first time, create a new wallet and record the seed phrase on paper as you would normally do when creating a new wallet. After that step, just like Memo, you will need a small fraction of funds to start creating tokens and for sending them as well. So at the top of the Electron Cash wallet, choose one of your BCH addresses and send a fraction of BCH ($0.05-0.10 is plenty) to the address. Once the wallet is funded you can now create a token using the Electron Cash wallet in a matter of minutes.

How To Create and Airdrop Your Own Token To Your Friends
To access the token creation window, press the “Tokens” tab and then press “Create New Token” at the bottom of the window.

At the top of the wallet, there’s a tab on the right-hand side that says “Tokens” and you choose this tab to create an SLP token using the wallet. After selecting the “Tokens” tab at the bottom of the wallet, there’s a tab that says “Create New Token” which will bring you to the token creation window. The customizable fields in the creation window include an optional ticker symbol, token name, document URL or email, a document hash, decimal amount, token quantity and the ability to customize the SLP receiving address.

How To Create and Airdrop Your Own Token To Your Friends
The Electron Cash SLP version “Create a Token” window.

The Electron Cash wallet has a few more functions as well, including the ability to upload a token document from the wallet itself, and you can also preview the customized settings before broadcasting the token’s genesis transaction to the network. The Electron Cash SLP version can also make it so your token is fixed or you can keep the baton open making minting more tokens possible in the future at any time. If you are comfortable with all the settings you chose, simply press “Create New Token” and Electron Cash will initiate the genesis creation transaction.

Creating a token on the SLP tokenization platform is super easy and creating one is much faster than designing an Ethereum-based ERC20 token. There’s a number of wallets that support SLP tokens now as well including Badger Wallet, Electron Cash, Memo, Ifwallet, and Crescent Cash. Users can put even more time into creating a token and design something that might gain value like collectibles or coupon tokens. For instance, I created a set of coins called PKMN S1 which stands for Pokémon Series 1. The Pokémon collection isn’t quite finished, but can be viewed at this address.

How To Create and Airdrop Your Own Token To Your Friends
Pikachu #025 can be seen here on the Simpleledger.info transaction explorer.

Each token is nondivisible and there is only one coin for each Pokémon character in the series. Each token is also tied to a unique URL that leads to the official Pokédex. In order to make sure my tokens are unique, I used one address for the genesis creation of PKMN S1. I also signed and verified a message that proves I own the address that is tethered to the Pokémon series. My idea is to one day airdrop these rare Pokémon characters to random people who share their SLP address online. So if you happen to randomly get a Pikachu, Bulbasaur, Charmander, or Squirtle sent to your wallet, you’ll know where it came from. If you want to airdrop your newly created tokens to your friends all you need is their SLP address.

BCH Tokenization Using SLP Has Matured a Great Deal With Wallet Support and People Making a Variety of Tokens

The BCH tokenization platform the Simple Ledger Protocol (SLP) has been gathering steam lately as many Bitcoin Cash proponents and businesses have been experimenting with the protocol. For instance, the most popular SLP tokens used today include Honk, Spice, the Official SLP Token, Honestcoin, and Dogecash. Then there’s the micronation of Liberland which created Merits which acts as Liberland community funding coin. The city of Dublin, Ohio is in the midst of creating a city-based token using the SLP platform and the coin will be used for city-wide discounts and rewards in Dublin.

How To Create and Airdrop Your Own Token To Your Friends
Wallets that support SLP tokens include Memo.cash, Ifwallet, Electron Cash SLP Version, Badger Wallet and Crescent Cash.

The Tokyo-based Alliance Cargo Direct minted the SLP-minted token ACD which is now traded on the Altilly exchange. The ACD token will be used at online and brick-and-mortar merchants from Japan, according to Alliance Cargo Direct, a subsidiary of ANA Holdings (ALNPF). Additionally, on June 12 the digital asset exchange Coinex announced the listing of a new SLP-based stablecoin USDH. Created by the Honestcoin.io team, USDH is fully regulated and backed 1-to-1 for U.S. dollars.

Making a token isn’t hard and they are fun to send to friends and people learning about the Bitcoin Cash ecosystem. You can even follow the vast amount of SLP tokens created using the Simpleledger.info transaction explorer or other explorers like Bitcoin.com’s BCH Block Explorer. After experimenting with SLP you’ll be well versed in creating tokens on top of the Bitcoin Cash network in no time and who knows, maybe after airdropping your token it could become used widely or gain monetary value.

What do you think about creating SLP tokens using either Memo.cash or the Electron Cash wallet? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the mentioned applications and services. Bitcoin.com and the author are not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.


Image credits: Shutterstock, Simple Ledger Protocol, Bitcoin.com, Jamie Redman, Memo.cash, the official Pokédex, Badger Wallet, Ifwallet, Crescent Cash, and Electron Cash.


Enjoy the easiest way to buy Bitcoin online with us. Download your free Bitcoin wallet and head to our Purchase Bitcoin page where you can buy BCH and BTC securely with a credit card.

The post How to Create and Airdrop Your Own Token to Your Friends appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Spain Thwarts Bitcoin ATM Scam, Prompting Regulatory Debate Worldwide

Par Graham Smith
Spain Thwarts Bitcoin ATM Scam, Prompting Regulatory Debate Worldwide

Bitcoin ATMs are not currently governed by EU money laundering regulations, and arrests coordinated by Spanish police and Europol in May are bringing new focus to this loophole. A group of eight Spanish and Latin American individuals have been arrested, along with several of their associates, for using crypto ATMs to fund drug traffickers in Columbia. While large cryptocurrency exchanges worldwide are subject to increasing oversight and regulation, bitcoin ATMs often fall in legal gray areas, prompting debate amongst regulators and crypto users alike.

Also read: Crypto Terminals Offer Venezuelans a Bridge to Economic Prosperity

Trouble in Vancouver

Back in June, police in Canada commented that the convenient crypto exchange hubs effected by bitcoin ATMs are “an ideal money-laundering vehicle.” According to a report from the Vancouver P.D. to the police board in February:

The other issue with unregulated Bitcoin ATMs is that they are an ideal money laundering vehicle. Since there are no requirements to register any customer details, it is easy to see how cash can be transferred into Bitcoin and vice versa. A user can also launder an unlimited amount of money using smaller transactions so as not to arouse suspicion, like they would at a regular bank.

Now, the mayor himself is pushing for direct bans on the ATMs. This is notable since the first ever bitcoin ATM was installed in a Vancouver coffee shop in 2013. The city is currently host to over 70.

Spain Thwarts Bitcoin ATM Scam, Prompting Regulatory Debate Worldwide

Japan’s Clampdown

Japan, often known as the world leader for crypto adoption and regulation, has already tackled the issue with a set of iron-fisted legal protocols of its own. Though just years ago Tokyo bitcoiners could easily find multiple ATMs allowing easy exchange from bitcoin to fiat or vice versa, the April 2017 Payment Services Act changed all this.

Many small business owners who had previously hosted the machines experimentally, or as a service to growing crypto-savvy customer bases, found themselves slapped with heavy licensing fees and tedious legal restrictions. Areas like the Roppongi district—once a small, but rapidly burgeoning hub of crypto ATM exchange—saw the machines essentially “ripped out” as a result of Japan’s FSA clampdown.

In Japan, where digital assets like bitcoin and others are officially recognized as legal currency, this is not surprising. ATMs in other regions, however, continue to afford users relative autonomy and privacy in transaction.

Spain Thwarts Bitcoin ATM Scam, Prompting Regulatory Debate Worldwide
A Bitcoin ATM in Los Angeles.

United States Regulations

Similar in some sense to the regulatory climate in Spain regarding ATMs, America’s licensing requirements for merchants are still in flux. Every state—other than Montana—has a licensing requirement, but not every state agrees on what bitcoin actually is. The cryptocurrency wedges itself as a kind of monkey wrench in the gears of traditional policy, owing to its unique characteristics and technological capabilities.

Unlike Japan, it’s still pretty clean and easy to make an ATM exchange in the states. Users don’t need to worry about each and every single transaction’s realized gains or losses for tax purposes. Where in the U.S. bitcoin is treated similar to a stock, and subject to capital gains tax, in Japan every last miniscule transaction must be recorded, and the gains calculated for later reporting.

Spain Thwarts Bitcoin ATM Scam, Prompting Regulatory Debate Worldwide

Crypto ATMs Across the Globe

There are an estimated 5,000 crypto ATMs globally, servicing locales subject to remarkably diverse regulatory and legal frameworks. How these machines should be managed is fiercely debated, though governing bodies tend to agree on the swelling capacity for use in criminal enterprise. With a forecasted compound annual growth rate of 56.9% from 2019 to 2026, it’s not hard to see why.

Companies like the United States’ Genesis Coin, General Bytes in the Czech Republic, and Lamassu in the U.K., are all leading industry players in the field of ATM manufacturing. Even established legacy system ATM manufacturers like Japanese Oki have entered the market in the recent past.

Government Reaction to Illegal Use

When Indian exchange company Unocoin tried to install India’s first bitcoin ATM in 2018, the company’s co-founder was swiftly arrested by the cyber crime unit of the CCB (Central Crime Branch) which stated:

The ATM kiosk installed by Unocoin in Bengaluru’s Kempfort Mall has not taken any permission from the state government and is dealing in cryptocurrency outside the remit of the law.

According to Unocoin, they were actually trying to help with legal adoption in the context of regulatory hurdles, as users could make withdrawals and deposits in BTC, but not buy or sell. In fact, at the time of the arrest the ATM was not even operational yet.

Regarding the Spanish scandal, EU regulations are now being proposed to take effect in 2020, which would include exchanges and online wallet custodians becoming subject to new anti-money laundering laws. As such, KYC policies and similar measures vetting users and customers are likely to become more widespread in the near future.

Spain Thwarts Bitcoin ATM Scam, Prompting Regulatory Debate Worldwide

Privacy Concerns

Arguably the most vital function of bitcoin and other cryptos is the ability to effect quick, low fee, and relatively private P2P transactions. Some users are growing uneasy as tighter regulatory measures sap this functionality, and seem to force the asset back into legacy-type, cumbersome processing channels. On the heels of recent criticism from U.S. President Donald Trump, claiming bitcoin facilitates money laundering and criminal activity, some privacy-minded users are beginning to sound off.

Spain Thwarts Bitcoin ATM Scam, Prompting Regulatory Debate Worldwide

Bitcoin ATMs have up until now provided—at least in some measure—a relative safe haven for private, autonomous exchange of crypto, as well as direct and simple means for onboarding new users.

Spain Thwarts Bitcoin ATM Scam, Prompting Regulatory Debate Worldwide

The Spanish Laundry Cycle

Laundering money with these machines, however, is not so simple. The busted scammers in Spain had used false identities to set up two bitcoin ATMs in a Madrid office, claiming to be a center for crypto exchange and remittances. When connected Colombian drug lords sold their product in Europe, the illicit euros were deposited into these ATMs. The crypto was then directed back to the cartels, and finally exchanged for “clean” Colombian pesos.

To facilitate this relatively straightforward-sounding loop, however, the group was utilizing a complex and layered network of cartel-connected bank accounts and corporations. Though Spain is home to just around 80 bitcoin ATMs, authorities are nonetheless concerned and are urging swift action in the face of this scheme coming to light.

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


Image credits: Shutterstock, Twitter


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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PR: Bitcoin.com Wallet Joins Blockchain Consortium FIO

Par Bitcoin.com PR
PR: Bitcoin.com Wallet Joins Blockchain Consortium FIO

Popular BCH and BTC wallet joins Foundation for Interwallet Operability (FIO) to improve crypto usability across blockchains

DENVER, CO — 16 July 2019: Bitcoin.com wallet, the official wallet of Bitcoin.com, has joined the Foundation for Interwallet Operability (FIO) in a move that will assist the wave of new users who are expected to join cryptocurrency markets as a result of June’s recent coin and token price increase.

As the newest member of the FIO, Bitcoin.com wallet joins a consortium of 23 other leading companies in the crypto ecosystem, including Binance’s Trust Wallet, BRD Wallet, ShapeShift, MyCrypto, Edge Wallet and Coinomi Wallet.

The FIO Protocol is a decentralized service layer that enables several major usability features across any blockchain, token or coin.

This includes functionality that puts an end to the need for a 64-character gibberish alphanumeric string to transfer crypto, integrated request for payment workflow that virtually eliminates errors when sending crypto and standardized metadata that provides context for the purpose of a transaction.

Future roadmap items include subscription billing, multi-signature routing for security and cross-wallet data visibility.

“Crypto usability is still one of the biggest challenges the industry has to solve and our new relationship with the FIO is all about trying to find a solution to this big issue, ” said Stefan Rust, Global Head of Business Development of Bitcoin.com.

“With prices rising once again, we’re likely to see more and more new entrants everyday. Therefore, we should be trying to ensure crypto is as easy as possible to use, which is why we have joined this consortium of leading companies already involved in the FIO.”

One of the main attacks that the FIO Protocol can help deflect is a keylogger attack, where the hacker can covertly monitor and record keystrokes. In addition, the FIO Protocol can be used to send public addresses in a more secure way than via email or text, eliminating the risk of man in the middle attacks.

A usability survey conducted by the FIO found that 75% of crypto users are less than completely confident when they send blockchain tokens and coins, and more than half experienced problems with transactions during 2018.

“Our research tells us that even those users who consider themselves comfortable with crypto are still not completely confident things will go as planned when engaging in blockchain transactions. We need to ensure they and all the new entrants we expect to see have a user experience across all blockchains that is easy and accurate, which is why it’s fantastic to have such a popular wallet as Bitcoin.com join the consortium and help us fulfill our mission for crypto usability,” commented David Gold, Founder and CEO of Dapix, the team behind the protocol’s development.

The addition of Bitcoin.com wallet to the FIO consortium comes after ChangeNOW joined in June and Enjin Wallet joined in April.

FIO sits alongside all other blockchains, providing a decentralized layer of messaging, communication and workflow about the sending of value on those blockchains. FIO does not send crypto value—it makes the sending of value on any blockchain better. Additionally, FIO is not a wallet—it enables all wallets to be safer and more user-friendly.

Crypto wallets, exchanges and payment processors can learn more about the Foundation, as well as the benefits of becoming a member, by visiting https://fio.foundation/.

For further information, please see:

FIO Protocol PR Contact:
Frances Wells
Cryptoland PR
US: 866–586–5603
UK: +44 020 3908 5686
frances@cryptolandpr.com

About FIO Protocol:
The Foundation for Interwallet Operability (FIO) is a consortium of leading wallets, exchange, and crypto payment processors supporting the FIO Protocol — a decentralized Service Layer that removes the risk, complexity, and inconvenience of sending and receiving tokens and coins identically across every blockchain. The FIO Protocol is not a wallet and does not compete with other blockchains, rather, it makes the user experience better across every wallet and every blockchain.
To learn more visit: https://fio.foundation/

The post PR: Bitcoin.com Wallet Joins Blockchain Consortium FIO appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Complete Indian Draft Crypto Bill Leaked – Experts Weigh In

Par Kevin Helms
A Complete Indian Draft Crypto Bill Leaked - Experts Weigh In

A draft cryptocurrency bill for India has been leaked in full, but details of the bill have raised some questions. News.Bitcoin.com talked to a number of experts in the field who shared their analyses of the bill’s content and its implications on the Indian crypto industry.

Also read: G20 Leaders Issue Declaration on Crypto Assets – A Look at Their Commitments

A Complete Draft Bill Surfaces

The draft cryptocurrency bill, which has been causing quite a stir within the Indian crypto community, has surfaced in its entirety. Varun Sethi, founder of Blockchain Lawyer, shared on Monday the document entitled Banning of Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill 2019. News.Bitcoin.com previously provided a preliminary analysis of this rumored bill after Bloombergquint and The Economic Times made outrageous claims about it.

A Complete Indian Draft Crypto Bill Leaked – Experts Weigh In

India is currently deliberating on the regulatory framework for cryptocurrency. An interministerial committee headed by Finance Secretary and Secretary of Economic Affairs Subhash Chandra Garg was tasked with studying all aspects of cryptocurrency and recommending crypto regulation for India. Garg said last month that his committee’s report was ready to be submitted to the finance minister for approval.

Important: Bill Is Unofficial and RBI Denies Involvement

Before paying much attention to this bill, there are several important points to note. First and foremost, this bill was not announced by the Indian government so its veracity is in dispute.

Advocate Mohammed Danish, co-founder of Crypto Kanoon, an Indian platform for blockchain and crypto regulatory news and analysis, told news.Bitcoin.com:

This document cannot be claimed as the final recommendation of the expert committee to the Ministry of Finance. The document contains no mark of authentication on it nor it has come out from any official source.

A Complete Indian Cryptocurrency Draft Bill Leaked – Experts Dissect

Another important observation is that at least one of the regulators listed on this bill has denied its involvement. The last page of the bill provides a list of “appropriate regulators,” namely the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India, the Pension Fund Regulatory Development Authority, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), “and any other appropriate regulator as may be notified by the central government.”

However, in its reply to a Right to Information (RTI) request filed by Sethi, the RBI stated last month that it did not have any knowledge of this bill. In addition, the central bank confirmed that it neither proposed a ban on crypto assets nor had knowledge of any other government departments doing so. After sharing a copy of the bill, Sethi asserted Monday:

This looks like a very very rough draft of a proposed bill … [it might be] just a random discussion paper and it may not actually become [a] bill in the same manner and mode in which this has been stated.

A Complete Indian Cryptocurrency Draft Bill Leaked – Experts Dissect

Draft Bill Far From Becoming Law, Plenty of Changes Expected

Nischal Shetty, CEO of local crypto exchange Wazirx, immediately tweeted in response to the leaked bill. He advised everyone not to panic until a bill becomes law. “This crypto bill has not been introduced in [the] current Parliament session,” he emphasized. “This looks like a rough draft, plenty of changes to come.” Shetty has been running a Twitter campaign calling for the Indian government to introduce positive regulation for cryptocurrency.

He explained to news.Bitcoin.com that “The Monsoon session of Parliament will not be discussing this bill, which means now we need to see if it gets discussed in the next parliament session which might be in December,” adding:

Regardless, there are many bills pending to be discussed in Parliament so there’s low likelihood of this bill being heard.

The CEO opined: “If this is a real draft then it’s a very regressive approach to new technology. I’m certain our lawmakers will question and amend it such that the ban applies on money laundering and not on entrepreneurship or public participation.”

A Complete Indian Cryptocurrency Draft Bill Leaked – Experts Dissect

Sumit Gupta, CEO of local crypto exchange Coindcx, said to news.Bitcoin.com that “I am not sure if the government will actually go ahead and implement this, given the recent discussions Prime Minister Narendra Modi and our Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had at the G20 summit in Japan.”

India, along with other G20 nations, declared its commitment last month to applying the crypto standards set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). Sitharaman and other G2 finance ministers and central bank governors also jointly declared their commitments to applying the FATF crypto standards.

A Complete Indian Cryptocurrency Draft Bill Leaked – Experts Dissect
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

Gupta believes that “If this becomes a law, this would be one of the biggest mistakes by the Indian government.” He described, “We will see blockchain startups moving out of the country, proficient blockchain developers moving abroad or working only on foreign projects,” adding:

At a global level, the industry will keep on growing, innovation will keep on happening, and India will lose out its technological edge, just because the government is not ready to understand this technology well.

Advocate Danish believes that “based on the language of the document coupled with other information based on earlier filed RTIs, it can be safely assumed that it may be that document which the committee has recommended.”

Positive and Surprising Aspects of the Bill

Sethi noticed some positive and surprising aspects of the bill. Firstly, according to the bill, cryptocurrency “means any information or code or number or token not being part of any official digital currency, generated through cryptographic means or otherwise, providing a digital representation of value which is exchange with or without consideration, with the promise or representation of having inherent value in any business activity which may involve risk of loss or an expectation of profits or income, or functions as a store of value or a unit of account and includes its use in any financial transaction or investment, but not limited to, investment schemes.”

Surprised that this definition includes “any information,” Sethi pointed out how this bill’s definition of crypto is “massively different from the interpretation” of other countries. As an example, he explained that if he encrypted a message to tell his friend that it is raining in Delhi and his friend decided to cancel his business trip based on this message, that piece of information would be considered cryptocurrency based on this bill’s definition.

A Complete Indian Cryptocurrency Draft Bill Leaked – Experts Dissect

Secondly, he also noticed that the bill allows cryptocurrency to be used for research purposes. He raised the question of what if all developers declare that their crypto projects are for research purposes. Moreover, if a college professor issues tokens for research purposes, Sethi questioned whether the professor would be allowed to sell the tokens and if anyone would be allowed to buy them.

Professor A. Damodaran of the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore shared some thoughts with news.Bitcoin.com regarding the aforementioned bill. He remarked, “It is narrowly scoped. By design, the bill is meant to strengthen India’s Payment and Settlements Act 2007 and attack money laundering. Crypto tokens (including ICOs) which are assets/ securities are out of the ambit of this Bill,” elaborating:

The good news is that the bill does not prevent crypto tokens from being used as a development instrument to help India’s unbanked population, most of whom are poverty ridden.

About the Rumored Draft Bill

The draft bill has six main parts. Part 1 introduces the bill, states that it applies to all of India, and defines 18 terms including cryptocurrency, digital rupee, distributed ledger technology, foreign digital currency, investment schemes, miner, mining, and the RBI.

A Complete Indian Cryptocurrency Draft Bill Leaked – Experts Dissect

Part 2 outlines the activities prohibited. Part 3 addresses the regulation of the digital rupee and foreign digital currency, as well as prohibition on various uses of cryptocurrency. It also describes offenses and penalties. Part 4 details the powers of the investigating authority while Part 5 talks about the penalties and proceedings. The last part of the bill covers miscellaneous items such as “protection of action taken in good faith.”

The bill also proposes to amend the Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002, and also provides a list of five appropriate regulators, as previously mentioned.

Proposed Prohibitions and Offenses

Advocate Danish further told news.Bitcoin.com: “Now coming to the provisions of the bill, the definition clause attempts to transgress than what is actually required which is giving rise to confusion in understanding the terms like ‘cryptocurrency’ and ‘distributed ledger technology’ among others. The bill prescribes punishment of fine/jail term of up to 10 years for even buying, selling and storing of cryptocurrency. The bill not just cracks down on industry players but it also gives a shock to influencers by prescribing jail term up to 7 years for soliciting or inducing participation for use of cryptocurrency.” He noted:

By making some of offences cognizable and non-bailable, this bill conveys a clear message about the policy of zero tolerance.

Danish continued: “I must say that for implementing such a special legislation, the administration/ investigating agency must be well equipped. And I don’t think the decision of Home Ministry to provide special training to the police officials in September is a coincidence.” The advocate is referring to the cryptocurrency course by the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy for high-ranking officers, as news.Bitcoin.com previously reported.

A Complete Indian Draft Crypto Bill Leaked – Experts Weigh In

Regarding the content of the bill, Chapter 5 deals with “prohibition on use of cryptocurrency,” which excludes “digital rupee, or any foreign digital currency recognized as foreign currency in India.” Section 7 of this chapter explains that “Cryptocurrency shall not be used as legal tender or currency at any place in India … No person shall directly or indirectly use cryptocurrency in any manner, including as – (a) a medium of exchange; and/or (b) a store of value; and/or (c) a unit of account.”

Section 8 of this chapter states that “No person shall directly or indirectly use cryptocurrency” for the activities subsequently spelled out. The activities are “as a payment system; buy or sell or store cryptocurrency; provide cryptocurrency related services to consumers or investors which includes registering, trading, settling, clearing or other services; trade cryptocurrency with Indian currency or any foreign currency; issue cryptocurrency related financial products; as a basis of credit; issue cryptocurrency as a means of raising funds; and/or as a means for investment.”

Chapter 6 of the bill lists offenses: “Whoever directly or indirectly mines, generates, holds, sells, deals in, transfers, disposes of or issues cryptocurrency or any combination thereof with an intent to use it for any of the purposes mentioned in [Section 7 and 8] … shall be punishable with fine as may be prescribed by the central government in the First Schedule or with imprisonment which shall not be less than one year but which may extend up to ten years, or both.” News.Bitcoin.com has previously provided some analysis of this bill.

Helping Indian Government Understand Crypto

Sethi explained to news.Bitcoin.com that this bill presents an opportunity to talk to the government about cryptocurrency. Noting that most of the bill “looks as if crypto is a crime on [the] same terms as child pornography or kidnapping,” he reiterated that “a more democratic conversation is needed with the government to make them understand what the real matter is,” suggesting:

Things like the results we got from the signature campaign shall now become more relevant … we can use it to talk to the government now.

Last month, Sethi started a campaign on Change.org for the government to start regulating the crypto industry. He now urges stakeholders to “ramp up efforts” to engage with the government to help them understand.

A Complete Indian Cryptocurrency Draft Bill Leaked – Experts Dissect

Akshay Aggarwal, Blocumen Studios CEO and co-founder of Blockchained India, shared with news.Bitcoin.com that “It is sad to see that after witnessing the largest industry consultation drive in India, the government didn’t pay any heed to the recommendations of the industry stakeholders.” Blockchained India recently hosted a conference called India Dapp Fest, after organizing a series of roadshow town halls for anyone to voice their regulatory suggestions. Nonetheless, he maintains:

There is still time that the Indian government takes an open outlook towards ensuring that the young entrepreneurs grab opportunities that this paradigm shift presents.

The Indian government has not given a timeframe for when the recommended crypto regulation will be made public. However, the country’s supreme court is scheduled to hear the crypto case on July 23. The court is expected to address the writ petitions against the banking restriction imposed by the central bank. The RBI issued a circular in April last year banning regulated entities from providing services to crypto businesses.

The court may also follow up on its request made in February for the government to submit the crypto regulatory report from the Garg committee within four weeks. However, the case was postponed and the court has yet to follow up on this request.

What do you think of this draft bill? Do you think it’s legitimate? Do you think the Indian government will pass this bill as is? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and India Today.


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The post Complete Indian Draft Crypto Bill Leaked – Experts Weigh In appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin Cash Update: Multi-Party Escrow, Vitalik Suggests BCH as Data Layer for ETH

Par Jamie Redman
Bitcoin Cash Multi-Party Escrow, Retail Adoption, and Upgrade Discussions

Another week has passed for the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) community and as usual, there’s been a bunch of announcements and developments. BCH supporters this week saw the release of a multi-party onchain escrow system, Ethereum cofounder Vitalik Buterin discussed using the BCH chain as a data layer, and more BCH-accepting merchants were onboarded.

Also Read: Crypto Terminals Offer Venezuelans a Bridge to Economic Prosperity

The cryptocurrency ecosystem is filled with new applications and developments nearly every day and many announcements stem from the BCH community. Last week we mentioned the first exchange-traded product (ETP) tracking the performance of bitcoin cash, Jonathan Toomim’s scaling benchmark, and how the rising transaction volume on the BCH blockchain makes the network one of the most valuable chains according to the founder of Ryan Research, Peter Ryan. Since then there’s been a slew of new announcements and developments within the BCH environment.

Multi-Party Onchain Escrow Transactions Using OP_Checkdatasig

On July 12, the cofounder of Cointext, Vin Armani, announced the release of “Jeton Lib,” a Bitcore library extension that provides users with the ability to create multi-party onchain escrow transactions using OP_Checkdatasig. “I want to see more people experimenting with BCH power,” Armani stated during the release announcement. According to the Jeton Lib documentation on Github, it explains that the BCH protocol has a unique script functionality that’s not available on other Bitcoin forks like the opcode OP_Checkdatasig.

Bitcoin Cash Multi-Party Escrow, Retail Adoption, and Upgrade Discussions
Jeton Lib was designed by Vin Armani, the CEO of Cointext.

“This functionality allows Bitcoin Cash users to participate in onchain, noncustodial escrow transactions and more,” Jeton Lib’s readme summary details. Developer Chris Troutner called the work a “game changer” and mentioned how the BCH peer-to-peer marketplace Local.Bitcoin.com uses OP_Checkdatasig for secure escrow transactions. Armani wholeheartedly believes that noncustodial escrow is a very big deal when it comes to the crypto industry. On Twitter Armani insisted:

Non-Custodial Escrow — This is the biggest immediate win in my opinion. Local.Bitcoin.com has implemented the first crack at this. In its final form, this will be totally peer to peer and done 100% from mobile wallets. This allows prediction markets of all types — Disruptive.

Onboarding More Merchants

This past week, North Carolina resident and BCH supporter Laura Young onboarded a new BCH merchant in her region. The local tea house called Sipsum in Maggie Valley, NC now accepts BCH for services and goods thanks to Young’s persistence. “I just onboarded a new merchant to BCH today — Congratulations Sipsum in Maggie Valley, NC welcome to economic freedom,” Young said on Twitter. Electron Cash founder Jonald Fyookball complimented Young’s work and said: “Great job Laura — Adoption is everything.” “That means a lot coming from you, thank you,” Young responded.

Bitcoin Cash Multi-Party Escrow, Retail Adoption, and Upgrade Discussions
Laura Young onboarding the Sipsum tea house in Maggie Valley, NC.

On July 10, Bitcoin.com’s podcast host Matt Aaron revealed the first florist in Canada to accept bitcoin cash. “If you are in Quebec, order some flowers for your loved ones with BCH,” Aaron tweeted to his followers. BCH fans can visit the L’atelier Floral’s website to shop for flowers, join flower workshops and order floral design services.

Moreover, on the Reddit forum r/btc, the BCH supporter u/Neonwasteland explained that the website Acceptbitcoin.cash now has 1116 online merchants listed in a “Merchant Monday” post. “There are 1294 brick-and-mortar merchants listed on Marco Coino, which is 43 more than last week,” u/Neonwasteland noted. “And you can find 1128 merchants of all types on Green Pages, which is 1 more than last week.”

Ethereum’s Vitalik Buterin Discusses Using the Bitcoin Cash Network for a Data Layer

In a Ethresear.ch (research blog) post, Ethereum cofounder Vitalik Buterin proposed using the Bitcoin Cash network as a short-term data availability layer for Ethereum. In the long term, Buterin details that scaling the Ethereum network may require testing data throughput using an alternative blockchain.

Bitcoin Cash Multi-Party Escrow, Retail Adoption, and Upgrade Discussions
Ethereum cofounder Vitalik Buterin discusses using BCH as a data layer.

“Particularly [blockchains] that have lower transaction fees per byte than Ethereum, as the data layer — Bitcoin Cash arguably fits the bill perfectly for a few reasons.” Buterin listed four specific reasons as to why the BCH chain may fit the bill as a secondary data layer which includes:

  1. High data throughput (32 MB per 600 sec = 53333 bytes per sec, compared to ethereum ~8kb per sec which is already being used by applications)
  2. Very low fees (whereas BTC would be prohibitively expensive)
  3. We already have all the machinery we need to verify Bitcoin Cash blocks inside of ethereum thanks to http://btcrelay.org/; we just need to repoint it to the BCH chain and turn it back on. Verifying BCH blocks is also quite cheap compared to eg. ETC blocks
  4. The BCH community seems to be friendly to people using their chain for whatever they want as long as they pay the tx fees (eg. https://memo.cash)

Cashshuffle Blasts Through More Than 100,000 BCH Shuffled

Since March 27, the bitcoin cash shuffling application Cashshuffle has mixed 101,718 BCH according to statistics. That’s a whopping $31.9 million dollars (at the time of publication) shuffled by participants using the bitcoin cash mixing protocol.

Bitcoin Cash Multi-Party Escrow, Retail Adoption, and Upgrade Discussions

On Twitter and BCH-centric forums, Cashshuffle fans were thrilled with the milestone on July 15. BCH proponent and developer @Acidsploit said on Twitter: “We just blasted through 100,000 BCH shuffled — More bitcoin cash made fungible every day thanks to Cashshuffle. Get started now at Cashshuffle.com, because what you do with your money is your business — Cashshuffle helps keep it that way.” On the Reddit forum r/btc, Electron Cash developer and Cashshuffle engineer, Jonald Fyookball, was delighted with the news and stated:

That’s quite a milestone — This proves Cashshuffle is indeed a highly used solution, not a nerd-only curiosity. And I think we surpassed Wasabi for total coins shuffled.

A Recurring Payment Plugin for Electron Cash Designed for Noncustodial Patronate

On July 14, software developer Karol Trzeszczkowski launched a new plugin for the Electron Cash wallet that enables recurring payments in a noncustodial fashion. After the Patreon-like application Bitbacker project went silent, Trzeszczkowski explained that the crypto community suspected it was an exit scam. Trzeszczkowski told r/btc forum participants that he was inspired by the Bitbacker situation and designed a covenant-based smart contract solution called Mecenas. The open source tool operates from the Electron Cash wallet and lets you establish a direct mecenas-protege relationship with others, Trzeszczkowski stated.

“Mecenas was created as a solution for bitcoin patronate exit scam risk. The plugin creates and manages a contract that shifts the responsibility for making the transaction from the sender to the receiver with time and value restriction,” the project’s Github documentation details.

Bitcoin Cash Multi-Party Escrow, Retail Adoption, and Upgrade Discussions
Mecena was designed by Karol Trzeszczkowski the creator of Last Will and Licho Vault.

Trzeszczkowski is also the creator of Last Will, a smart contract program for the inheritance of bitcoin cash. The Last Will protocol is also an Electron Cash plugin, but allows users to create and manage BCH endowments. The Mecenas covenant-based smart contract system is done onchain, in a noncustodial manner, and is permissionless by design. “The contract is defined by a special address that is cryptographically determined by the contract itself,” the Mecenas document reads. Trzeszczkowski revealed that he’s also mentioned the project to the CEO of Honest.cash and the creator of Cashies.org as well to discuss the possibility of integrating Mecenas in the future for a patronate bitcoin cash service.

Bitcoin Cash Developers Public Meeting #12

On July 11, the 12th Bitcoin Cash Development video meeting for 2019 took place in order to discuss plans for the upcoming November 2019 Upgrade. Developers who participated in the meeting include Amaury Séchet, Jason B. Cox, Antony Zegers, Mark Lundeberg, Emil Oldenburg, and Andrea Suisani. Bitcoin Cash proponents interested in reading the draft specification summary for the next upgrade can review it now. Upgrade features proposed include enabling Schnorr signatures for OP_Checkmultisig(Verify), implementing a minimal push and minimal number encoding rules in Script, enforcing NULLDUMMY and changing the rule that limits signature operations in script. During the meeting, the developers also discussed the upgrade’s timeline and asked people to review the code before the feature freeze on August 15, 2019. Draft specifications are up for review at Bitcoincash.org and during the meeting, programmers conversed about what needs to be done in order to remove the 25 chained transaction limit as well.

A Steadfast Focus Toward Infrastructure Growth and Merchant Adoption

It was a busy week for BCH fans and it’s hard for everyone to keep track of all the different announcements and developments. Meanwhile, BCH market prices have dipped in value over the last seven days as well. At the current market value between $310 – 325, BCH has lost 22% over the course of the week. However, most digital assets are down by 10-40% this week depending on the coin, as the overall cryptoconomy’s market valuation has plummeted to $284 billion. Despite the price downturn, BCH supporters still show a lot of optimism in contrast to other crypto communities. The latest developments revealed this week indicate passionate proponents have continued to bolster BCH infrastructure growth and merchant adoption instead of focusing in on market speculation.

What do you think about all the developments within the Bitcoin Cash ecosystem? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: This editorial is intended for informational purposes only. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the mentioned companies or any of their affiliates or services. 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 mentioned in this article.


Image credits: Shutterstock, Github, Hifromlaura1, Twitter, Pixabay, and Ethresear.ch.


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Diamonds and the Treasury Debt Ceiling: Why Nothing Has ‘Intrinsic Value’ in Economics

Par Graham Smith
Diamonds and the Debt Ceiling: Why Nothing Has 'Intrinsic Value' in Economics

The U.S. Treasury Department has just issued an urgent letter requesting a lift on the debt ceiling, warning Congress of imminent financial collision in September as federal cash is running out. Though this scenario has played out many times before, it takes on special significance now in light of president Trump’s recent comments about bitcoin, saying it was created from “thin air,” and a congressional warning to Facebook regarding their Libra project. After all, to raise the debt ceiling and keep paying bills with borrowed USD is creating value out of thin air as well. Intrinsic value is nowhere to be found here. Not surprising when it comes to fiat perhaps, but diamonds and gold don’t make the cut, either.

Diamonds and the Treasury Debt Ceiling: Why Nothing Has 'Intrinsic Value' in Economics

Fiat: The Biggest Ponzi Scheme There Is

In Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s July 12 letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, he states:

“Based on updated projections, there is a scenario in which we run out of cash in early September, before Congress reconvenes”

Speaking of cash, contrary to popular belief, the Federal Reserve doesn’t actually print any paper money. That’s what the treasury does, and this practice isn’t all that remarkable anymore, comparatively speaking. As it stands today, only about 11% of the money supply in the U.S. exists as physical money. Though estimates on exact amounts vary, the vast majority is created digitally, and debited or credited to banks via Fed implemented policy.

What this means is that the current system is literally one of centrally controlled digital assets. The whole thing is really a debt spiral of sorts, where the creator of the credit and debt (the U.S. government) essentially borrows from itself while the budget and national debt continue to increase for taxpayers. A raised debt ceiling only exacerbates the situation, long term. Clearly, there is no plan to ever pay off these debts, or become solvent. That’s where you, your children, and your children’s children—and on and on—come in.

Diamonds and the Treasury Debt Ceiling: Why Nothing Has 'Intrinsic Value' in Economics

Where Does Value Come From?

If money can be created out of “thin air” as such, how can it have any real value? Some claim that cash should be backed by gold, and this is solid reasoning. Gold here on planet earth is a limited commodity, so the precious metal can’t be “printed” ad infinitum. As such it’s a safeguard against inflation. A much more sensible approach than simply firing up the old fiat printing presses and burning down the town, devaluing the dollar even more. But even gold is plagued by this singularly troubling, controversial question: what gives it value?

Diamonds and the Treasury Debt Ceiling: Why Nothing Has 'Intrinsic Value' in Economics

Gold’s ‘Intrinsic’ Value and the Diamond-Water Paradox

The “Diamond-Water Paradox” is a compelling thought experiment challenging popular economic misconceptions. Many have viewed—and continue to view—money through Keynesian or even (outside economic circles) Labor Theory-colored lenses. To the Keynesian and “Modern Monetary” mind, debt itself is a go-to tool in times of debt crisis, as evidenced now by the pleas to raise the ceiling in Washington. To the labor theory view (“I spent five hours on that paper, I should have gotten an A!”) time and effort equate to objective value.

To get to the paradox: Economically speaking, nothing has intrinsic value. How much value does a pile of diamonds have to someone stranded in the desert, about to die of thirst? Imagine a table there in the merciless, dry scorching heat, where you can either choose diamonds (and certain death), or a life-giving drink of cool, clear water.

Diamonds and the Treasury Debt Ceiling: Why Nothing Has 'Intrinsic Value' in Economics

Almost everyone (with a will to live) will choose water for a simple reason: value is not intrinsic. It is created from the market atmosphere of a given situation at a given time, as observed by a given market actor (in this case, the person dying of thirst). Get this individual back to civilization, where there is plenty of water, and they will most likely choose the diamonds.

Further, if there were multiple tables of water and diamonds in the desert (remember only one can be chosen), the market actor will consume the water first and begin to stockpile it, until its marginal utility has been exhausted. Diminishing returns (a heavy backpack and no more thirst) mean that soon the diamonds will be the best choice now that survival is likely, and their exchange value back in civilization is high.

Diamonds and the Treasury Debt Ceiling: Why Nothing Has 'Intrinsic Value' in Economics

Beethoven and Bitcoin: Unquantifiably Priceless

Gold and other resources do meet the criteria for being sound money, but they are all worthless without a market to value them. If suddenly nobody had any interest in gold, its value would plummet to zero, and even the number “zero” itself would become meaningless. This notwithstanding many individuals, even in official government positions, continue to argue that some things like gold or the USD have a kind of inherent value, where others don’t.

Though quality is often recognized in a sense that seems universal (very few people will, for example, say that Beethoven’s symphonies are garbage and of low quality or value) in economics, one is forced to recognize this critical limitation. So while gold might be argued by some to have some kind of mystical “intrinsic value,” or Beethoven’s music might be said to be quantifiably “better,” it’s a moot point, ultimately. It all depends on the market actor and context.

Diamonds and the Treasury Debt Ceiling: Why Nothing Has ‘Intrinsic Value’ in Economics

Crypto: Full of ‘Thin Air,’ But Not Lacking Value

Governments fail miserably in attempting to “force-fit” rigid economic templates like raising the “debt ceiling” or setting arbitrary interest rates. They engage in synthetic interference regardless of individuals and their market action, when ultimately it is these market actors creating the actual value and price signals for the economy in the first place.

Whomever Satoshi Nakamoto may be, he or she was fed up with this fiscal lunacy, and pitched a new idea to the world. The new idea gained currency (quite literally). As people began to value it in concert, a market was created. What Mnuchin and his friends at the treasury should really be worried about is the faulty, destined-to-fail monetary system they’re riding on, and not so much debt ceilings, or any other such meaningless policy in the context of pyramid-scheme fiat.

 

Diamonds and the Treasury Debt Ceiling: Why Nothing Has 'Intrinsic Value' in Economics

The Situation Truly Is Urgent, But Not Because of a Debt Ceiling

As it stands, the Treasury Department is sending urgent letters to Congress. The House of Representatives is sending urgent letters to Facebook. And Fed Chairman Jerome Powell says that Libra needs to be approved by regulatory bodies before moving forward any further. Because, of course, it’s urgently important. All in the name of not letting a voluntary monetary system overtake a violent one.

If one were visiting this planet as an alien, it might seem as if humans were being ruled by the violently, economically inept. Debt ceiling adjustment squabbles would look like the least of the world’s problems, or at least to be expected, when the name of the game in the first place is to create credit out of thin air, and saddle it to the backs of the debt-serfs when it implodes.

What do you think about Mnuchin’s letter to Congress? 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


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PR: Cred and Bitcoin.com Join Forces to Boost Crypto Lending

Par Bitcoin.com PR
PR: Cred and Bitcoin.com Join Forces to Boost Crypto Lending

By John Yearwood
Cred Correspondent

Amid a dramatic Bitcoin bull run, two of the most influential names in the blockchain finance industry have launched a platform to expand global lending and earning on investments in cryptocurrency.

The partnership between Bitcoin.com and Cred allows Bitcoin.com customers to earn up to 10 percent interest on Bitcoin and six percent on Bitcoin Cash invested with Cred, the companies said.

Customers with investments over $25,000 have been benefiting from the partnership for the last few months but it opens to all users, regardless of investment size, on July 15, 2019.

“We’re thrilled to offer Bitcoin.com customers the opportunity to earn interest on their digital assets,” said Dan Schatt, co-founder and president of Cred, a Silicon Valley-based decentralized global lending platform that facilitates open access to credit anywhere and anytime.

A major feature of the program is that interest will be offered in a customer’s choice of Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash or Cred’s LBA Token. This new offering is a departure from only earning interest in USD and is based on community feedback asking for more interest options. It gives customers more freedom when it comes to reinvesting earned interest, Schatt said.

“Customers benefit by receiving the full upside on the amount of crypto they originally committed,” he said.

Bitcoin has surged by double digits this year, with the coin at one point pricing above $13,000 before retreating. Bitcoin.com, based in Tokyo but with offices around the world, is the leading source for Bitcoin information with more than four million Bitcoin wallets.

“At Bitcoin.com, we believe borrowing and earning services like Cred are a natural next step for Bitcoin wallet holders and will be very attractive to users of Bitcoin Cash,” said Roger Ver, CEO of Bitcoin.com. “In Cred, we have found a like-minded partner who shares our vision and brings significant experience and a solid track record in offering reliable, secure crypto-backed lending and borrowing services to the crypto community.”

Cred, founded by former executives of PayPal and Goldman Sachs, has taken numerous steps to ensure that its investments are safe. The company, which has secured more than $300 million in lending capital, has implemented the industry’s most comprehensive set of risk management, information security, and insurance protections, Schatt said.

“Crypto is still in many ways the Wild West when it comes to the fundamental safeguards most of us have come to expect when ensuring the protection of financial assets,” Schatt said. “Cred is on a mission to dramatically improve that. If the worst happens and Cred loses customer funds, customers deserve certainty that they will be made whole.”

The new program comes as the decentralized finance industry gets a boost from Facebook, which announced last month that it plans to introduce a Libra coin next year. The coin faces regulatory hurdles but experts predict it’s poised to transform the industry, which has a current market cap in the hundreds of billions of dollars. The U.S. Congress will discuss Facebook’s plans in hearings this week.

Bitcoin.com customers will be required to make a six-month commitment to benefit from the partnership. They will have the option to roll over assets for additional periods if they wish. Those who stake their investments with Cred’s LBA token will enjoy the best interest rates and the option for early withdrawal at no penalty before the six-month term.

Investments in the program will be used to help increase crypto lending globally, including with retail investors and money managers who have a well-established track record on a fully collateralized and guaranteed basis, Cred officials said.

“It’s important to note that Cred does not lend to short-sellers,” said Meghan Gardler, director of marketing at Cred. “These are two strong companies coming together to offer Bitcoin Cash holders a secure opportunity to diversify their investments, which will benefit business owners and others around the world seeking access to capital.”

Press Inquiries:
Cred: meghan@mycred.io
Bitcoin.com: editor@bitcoin.com

Supporting Link
https://earn.mycred.io/bitcoin

The post PR: Cred and Bitcoin.com Join Forces to Boost Crypto Lending appeared first on Bitcoin News.

BCH Merchant Adoption and Exchange Support – Weekly Video Update

Par Avi Mizrahi

Businesses around the world continue to adopt bitcoin cash as a payment method and an exchange adds support for trading BCH. Watch these and other developments discussed in this week’s video update hosted by Roger Ver on Bitcoin.com’s Youtube channel.

Also Read: Win 2019 Rugby World Cup Tickets When You Play at Games.Bitcoin.com

Bitcoin Cash Adoption Grows Around the World

In the weekly video update, Bitcoin.com CEO Roger Ver talks about some of the work that is happening to onboard new merchants to BCH around the world, from Venezuela to Japan. He also discusses technological developments happening in the Bitcoin Cash ecosystem and planned celebrations for the August 1 anniversary. Plus, watch the video to the end to see Roger’s response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s crypto tweetstorm.

There are currently over 1,250 merchants accepting BCH listed on Marco Coino and about 2,000 ATMs around the world. For Japan, www.bitcoin.jp/merchants has a list of BCH-accepting merchants with location details, contact info, pictures and more.

Singapore-based cryptocurrency trading platform Liquid has announced the addition of a new BCH/USDC trading pair, allowing its users to accept bitcoin cash or to trade it for the stablecoin. Exchange users will also soon be able to connect their accounts to the Bitcoin Cash Register app and receive USDC directly. This is a simple point-of-sale (PoS) app from Bitcoin.com that allows any business to accept BCH payments.

Bitcoin Cash Register lets merchants choose from over 150 fiat currencies, and cash out customers wanting to pay in BCH in a non-custodial manner, without any registration. The app is available for iOS and Android devices and has surpassed 10,000 installs on the Google Play store.

Local.Bitcoin.com Referral Competition

Bitcoin.com is giving you the chance to win $1,500 to spend on flight tickets to the destination of your choice, $500 to spend on the mobile phone of your choice, and one of eight $100 Amazon gift vouchers. Sign up at Local.Bitcoin.com and share your unique referral code for a chance to win. The more referrals you make, the higher your chances of winning. Follow our Twitter channel @BitcoinCom for more details.

Since its launch on June 4, Local.Bitcoin.com has grown to over 27,000 users and facilitated the trading of more than $300,000 in total volume. The peer-to-peer marketplace allows users to trade bitcoin cash anonymously and without any KYC. It lets traders choose from a range of payment methods, with the most popular being bank transfer at 35%, Paypal 11%, Alipay 12%, Venmo 6%, cash in person 6%, UPI (India) 5%, cash deposit 5% and gift cards at 5%.

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How the US ‘Keep Big Tech Out of Finance’ Draft Bill Targets Facebook’s Libra

Par Jamie Redman
US Bill 'Keep Big Tech Out of Finance’ Discussion Draft Targets Facebook's Libra

Facebook’s digital currency plans have caused concern among bureaucrats worldwide and members of the U.S. government seem fearful of a giant tech establishing itself as a financial institution. Prior to the U.S. congressional hearings and the upcoming G7 finance meeting, a U.S. discussion draft bill, the Keep Big Tech Out of Finance Act, hopes to stop large tech corporations from “maintaining, or operating a digital asset.”

Also read: How 10 Countries Respond to Facebook’s Libra Cryptocurrency

Members of Congress Want to Keep Big Tech Out of Finance

Immediately after Facebook disclosed that it plans to launch a new digital currency called Libra, politicians around the world began to complain. Currently Facebook’s subsidiary startup Calibra faces the upcoming U.S. Senate Banking Committee on July 16, the House Financial Services Committee on July 17, as well as the G7 Finance Ministers meeting in Chantilly, France on July 17-18. Prior to these hearings on Thursday, President Donald Trump said on Twitter that “Facebook Libra’s ‘virtual currency’ will have little standing or dependability,” adding:

If Facebook and other companies want to become a bank, they must seek a new banking charter and become subject to all banking regulations, just like other banks, both national and international.

US 'Keep Big Tech Out of Finance’ Draft Bill Targets Facebook's Libra
Facebook aims to launch Libra and the Calibra digital currency wallet in 2020.

The following day, a U.S. draft discussion bill discovered by the publication The Block shows that U.S. leaders may take action against Facebook’s digital currency attempt. The Keep Big Tech Out of Finance Act would be a law enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives to rein in big tech forays into the financial field. “A bill to prohibit large platform utilities from being a financial institution or being affiliated with a person that is a financial institution, and for other purposes,” explains the discussion bill’s header.

“A large platform utility may not establish, maintain, or operate a digital asset that is intended to be widely used as a medium of exchange, a unit of account, store of value, or any other similar function, as defined by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System,” the bill details. The House of Representatives discussion draft also warns of harsh penalties for big tech firms that disobey the congressional statute if it gets enacted into law. The draft bill states:

Any large platform utility or financial institution that violates subsection (a) or (b) shall be subject to a fine of not more than $1,000,000 per each day of such violation, in an action brought by the appropriate Federal financial regulator.

US 'Keep Big Tech Out of Finance’ Draft Bill Targets Facebook's Libra

According to The Block’s source who is familiar with the matter, the discussion draft has been making rounds within the House Financial Services Committee. The latest discussion bill follows the House of Democrats request that Facebook stops developing Libra until Congress researches the risks involved.

Skeptics Believe Libra Will be Centralized and Privacy-Invasive

House Democrats are requesting Facebook halt development of its proposed cryptocurrency project Libra. Alongside this, congressional leaders want the company to stop developing its digital wallet Calibra until Congress and regulators have time to investigate the possible risks it poses to the global financial system. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), the chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, wrote a letter with other members of Congress asking Facebook to pause operations. Senator Sherrod Brown, the top Democrat on the Senate Banking Committee, emphasized in a statement:

Facebook is already too big and too powerful, and it has used that power to exploit users’ data without protecting their privacy. We cannot allow Facebook to run a risky new cryptocurrency out of a Swiss bank account without oversight.

There’s no doubt that Facebook’s proposed digital asset scares U.S. leaders as some of them wholeheartedly believe: “[Libra] could pose systemic risks that endanger the U.S. and global financial stability.” Mihai Alisie, cofounder of Ethereum, thinks Facebook is trying to dupe financial regulators by pushing a centralized digital currency into the economy. Alisie explained in an interview that the social media giant is claiming the new coin will not be centrally controlled, but he thinks they are misleading regulators and the general public with these promises.

“[Facebook plans] to mislead the regulators who have learned in the last few years that blockchain is not something that can easily be regulated … It should be treated as an entity trying to create a centralized currency,” Alisie insisted. “This has implications on so many areas, from the economic to the political to the technological to surveillance and data privacy — [Facebook] is actively manipulating the behavior of people on a global scale.”

Blow to "Bitcoin" as Fed warns about Libra??? There is no fv[https://t.co/YiE1amUjdk

— John McAfee (@officialmcafee) July 13, 2019

There are some pretty alarming tactics that Facebook uses to track the website’s visitors. Many people believe that adding a digital asset into the mix with 2.38 billion active Facebook users is dangerous. For instance, Edin Jusupovic, a programmer and CSIS certified cybersecurity researcher, demonstrated on July 10 how Facebook embeds tracking data inside photos you download. Jusupovic called his findings a “shocking level of tracking” and asserted that Facebook could “potentially track photos outside of their own platform with a disturbing level of precision about who originally uploaded the photo (and much more).” To many Libra skeptics, privacy-invasive tactics like Jusupovic’s example beg the question: If Facebook can track pictures with extreme precision then what stops them from tracking a digital currency’s movements in the same manner?

US 'Keep Big Tech Out of Finance’ Draft Bill Targets Facebook's Libra
A photo of metadata that tracks photos after they’ve been downloaded from Facebook.

The Possibility of Stimulating Fedcoin

Libra’s attempt also follows other large blockchain projects and crypto consortiums like Hyperledger, R3, and the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance which have yet to produce any meaningful products. Facebook’s digital currency is aiming to be a stablecoin backed by U.S. dollars, but a few people are skeptical of how long the backing will last. Galaxy Digital CEO Mike Novogratz foresees the possibility of Libra dropping the USD peg at some point in the future. Despite the fear U.S. government officials and worldwide leaders have toward Libra, some pundits believe the project could spark a Federal Reserve-backed cryptocurrency. Stanford Law professor Joseph Grundfest thinks it would be quite ironic if the U.S. government copied Libra’s solution if it becomes successful.

[It would be a] delicious irony if Facebook’s Libra proposal stimulates the United States government to develop functionality that operates like Libra, backed by U.S. dollar deposits, but operated by the U.S. government.

The drafted discussion bill involving the House Financial Services Committee indicates that certain bureaucrats are determined to stop big tech companies before they even start a crypto project. If the act were to become law, a fine of $1 million per day for starting a digital currency project would make any corporation think twice.

What do you think about the discussion draft bill floating around the House Financial Services Committee? Why do you think the U.S. government wants to keep big tech out of finance? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, Scribd/the Block, Twitter, Edin Jusupovic, Facebook, and Libra.


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The post How the US ‘Keep Big Tech Out of Finance’ Draft Bill Targets Facebook’s Libra appeared first on Bitcoin News.

PR: Matrix Exchange Receives Approval From Abu Dhabi Global Market

Par Bitcoin.com PR
PR: Matrix Exchange Receives Approval From Abu Dhabi Global Market

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.

Abu Dhabi-based crypto asset exchange, Matrix Exchange announced on July 12 that it has received an In-Principle Approval (IPA) from by the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) of the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) to operate as a crypto asset exchange and custodian in ADGM.

The United Arab Emirates keeps embracing and regulating blockchain & crypto assets into its financial system. ADGM was first in the Middle East and Africa region to establish and launch a fully operational and regulated crypto-asset framework and regime in June 2018. The ADGM business friendly and well-regulated ecosystem continues to attract more and global digital assets investors, blockchain technology companies and other related financial institutions to the UAE.

With digital assets becoming popular alternative investments, compliance is increasingly significant for investors and customers. “The IPA is an important milestone. Subject to regulatory approvals by the FSRA, Matrix Exchange aims to be a recognized regulated crypto asset exchange in the Middle East. It gives us the legitimacy to provide compliant, secure and reliable digital asset transactions for users when we are fully operational.” Matrix Exchange Chairman James Wo said.

With a particular focus on the UAE market, Matrix Exchange is also dedicated to establishing a world-class regulated exchange for international investors.

Matrix Exchange is sponsored by Digital Finance Group (DFG), which operates investments in both primary and secondary markets. DFG’s blockchain private equity fund has invested in excellent companies including Circle, LedgerX and more. DFG also provides support for ETC & ETH infrastructure projects, manages AToken (light wallet), BIKA (cryptocurrency market & info platform) and more.

Contact Email Address
lixingchen@dfg.group

Supporting Link
https://matrix.co/

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: Matrix Exchange Receives Approval From Abu Dhabi Global Market appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Crypto Terminals Offer Venezuelans a Bridge to Economic Prosperity

Par Jamie Redman

Arley Lozano, founder of the cryptocurrency based startup Panda Group, recently explained how his firm is spreading cryptocurrency adoption throughout Colombia and Venezuela. Panda Group has deployed 10 hybrid cryptocurrency point-of-sale (PoS) terminals that also act as automated teller machines (ATM). Four of the machines are situated near the border of Venezuela, giving refugees from the country and Colombian citizens access to cryptocurrencies like BCH, DAI, and BTC.

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

Spreading Crypto Adoption Throughout Colombia and Into Venezuela

In January, news.Bitcoin.com reported on Panda Group installing a hybrid PoS terminal that also works as a digital currency dispensing automated teller machine (ATM). At the time the machine was dubbed the “Exeler,” but since then the product has been rebranded as Pandabtm. Panda Group’s founder Arley Lozano said his team so far has installed 10 Pandabtms around Colombia and four machines are on the border of Venezuela in Cucuta city. The machines can be located on Coinatmradar.com and devices installed near the border are meant to help Venezuelan refugees who cross the Simon Bolivar International Bridge every day.

Panda Group’s Crypto Terminals Offer Venezuelans a Bridge to Economic Prosperity
Simon Bolivar International Bridge.

Panda Group emphasized that the machines process VES (Venezuela soberanía bolívar ) and COP (Colombian pesos). The devices allow anyone to process payments through the Xpay.cash payment system, which provides users with the ability to avoid fiat currency volatility. The machines process sales using a digital asset like bitcoin cash (BCH) or visitors can also purchase coins from the Pandabtm. Lozano told news.Bitcoin.com that the company has 15,000 users and three new partnerships. Panda Group is collaborating with Cobru, Gracon, and Pagos Inteligentes. Panda Group’s founder explained that the new alliances are meant to bolster true cryptocurrency adoption throughout Latin America.

Panda Group’s Crypto Terminals Offer Venezuelans a Bridge to Economic Prosperity

Opening Operations in Our Own House

In addition to the Pandabtm installations, Lozano said that Panda Group’s trading platform Panda.exchange is allowing all Colombians to deposit and withdraw COP. On July 15, accounts will be able to trade 113 different cryptocurrencies and tokens against the local tender. The founder said that this is the first time the door has opened in his country as the team, based in Colombia, have previously worked throughout Panama, Europe, and Portugal.

Panda Group’s Crypto Terminals Offer Venezuelans a Bridge to Economic Prosperity
The founder of the cryptocurrency based startup Panda Group, Arley Lozano, showing off a Pandabtm.

“Panda Group is a Colombian and Venezuelan company that started its operations almost three years ago with the hope of opening our operations in Colombia and generating true Latin American adoption. However, thanks to the slowness and fears we ended up operating outside of Colombia, in regions like Panama and Portugal,” Lozano explained, adding:

Now we come to open operations in our own house and we hope that the Colombian government and the local banks see us as allies. Panda Group wants to encourage the true education of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies and heal the wounds caused by Ponzis and pyramid schemes that plagued Colombia.

Panda Group’s Crypto Terminals Offer Venezuelans a Bridge to Economic Prosperity
Pandabtm locations.

Pushing the Orange Economy to the Blockchain

Lozano insisted that Panda Group wants the country’s citizens to know what true blockchain innovation and cryptocurrency solutions are. He noted that the Panda team is filled with passionate and talented individuals willing to work hard for that goal. The Panda Group founder detailed that Latin America was an “orange economy” filled with cultural and creative entrepreneurs. Between the Panda Group team, the Panda.exchange, Ccoins.io, Pandabtm, and Xpay, his crew is ready to take the “orange economy to the blockchain level.” Lozano commented further:

We will help all the individuals who want to learn what cryptocurrency technology is or assist them in buying their first digital currency using one of our many services where you can buy BCH, BTC, and more.

Panda Group’s Crypto Terminals Offer Venezuelans a Bridge to Economic Prosperity
Pandabtm locations situated near the Venezuelan border according to Coinatmradar.com.

The demand for digital assets in Colombia exceeds many other Latin American countries and the region is second to Brazil in terms of adoption. In fact, Rodolfo Andragnes, executive director of NGO Bitcoin Argentina, explained that there is clamor surrounding bitcoin and its “popularity has been impressive considering that it’s been only ten years and hundreds of new cryptocurrencies have been created.” “Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Venezuela, and Colombia are the countries with the highest activity and growth in the use of cryptocurrencies throughout Latin America,” Andragnes said in June. “Colombia has great potential and more and more people see the benefits of Bitcoin,” the NGO Bitcoin Argentina executive explained . Situated in Bogata, Lozano agrees that Colombia is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to digital asset usage and overall activity in Latin America.

Panda Group’s Crypto Terminals Offer Venezuelans a Bridge to Economic Prosperity
Cell phone shop owner showing off his Pandabtm in La Parada mall.

One of the Pandabtm machines located in Cucuta near the Simon Bolivar International Bridge is aimed at helping Venezuelan refugees escape the hardships of their stricken economy. The 300-meter-long bridge spans the Táchira River which covers the Colombian and Venezuelan border. Cucuta is an access point for many Venezuelans seeking safety from the country’s economic crisis. The Simon Bolivar International Bridge sees a lot of foot traffic as Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro closed the bridge to vehicular traffic.

“Thousands of Venezuelans cross the bridge,” Lozano told news.Bitcoin.com. “No cars are allowed to cross the bridge and only people can cross taking basic stuff like medicine, food, and supplies. They pass through to buy food and some of them are crossing to reach Peru or Ecuador. They pass and sometimes stay a few days — Some pass to work and return home in the night.”

Panda Group’s Crypto Terminals Offer Venezuelans a Bridge to Economic Prosperity
A great number of Venezuela’s refugees pass through Cucuta, crossing the Simon Bolivar International Bridge.

The Pandabtm positioned across the Táchira River is in Villa del Rosario City which sees vast numbers of Venezuelan travelers daily. Lozano is pleased with the strides Panda Group has been making and concluded that the company’s goals include increasing cryptocurrency ease of use and spreading economic prosperity. The Panda Group founder added:

Our products are designed so that even our grandparents can use them and we are always thinking of our Venezuelan brothers and sisters.

What do you think about what Panda Group has been doing in Colombia and Venezuela? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Arley Lozano, Coinatmradar.com, and Panda Group.


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South African Payment Gateway Drops BTC Over Fees and Network Congestion

Par Jamie Redman
South African Payment Gateway Drops BTC Over Fees and Network Congestion

On July 12, South African payment gateway service Payfast announced the company is dropping bitcoin core (BTC) payments due to network congestion and high fees. Payfast emphasized that BTC has a number of limitations and design flaws which makes it an “impractical substitute for cash.”

Also read: G20 Leaders Issue Declaration on Crypto Assets – A Look at Their Commitments

Network Congestion and High Transaction Fees Force Payfast to Drop BTC Support

According to a blog post written by Payfast, one of South Africa’s largest online payment gateways, BTC payments will no longer be processed after July 20, 2019. Payfast is a popular service provider with more than 80,000 registered merchants and was founded in 2007 by Jonathan Smit and Andy Higgins. The company blogpost details that unfortunately the company has found numerous limitations and “design flaws unique to Bitcoin that make it an impractical substitute for cash.” This includes high transaction fees and long confirmation times for Payfast customers. The company explained that it had tried various ways to mitigate the issues at hand, but had found that the underlying problem stems from the root of BTC’s fundamentals.

South African Payment Gateway Drops BTC Over Fees and Network Congestion
In a blog post published on July 12, 2019, the South African payment processor Payfast informed its customers it would be removing bitcoin core (BTC) from its payment options on July 20.

“The resultant poor user experience has led us to re-evaluate bitcoin as a payment method on our platform and a decision has been taken to discontinue support for bitcoin from midnight 20 July 2019,” Payfast wrote. The company further said that BTC once held the promise of a “global currency that would allow a faster, cheaper, and easier way to move money on the Internet,” but this never came to fruition. “Our aim was to enable that promise for our buyers and merchants, and to support this alternative to traditional payment methods,” Payfast highlighted. The South African company had partnered with the local cryptocurrency exchange Luno to provide an intermediary between a buyer’s BTC wallet and the Payfast service.

@PayFast Bitcoin Cash is the same version of Bitcoin that used to be fast, cheap and reliable. Bitpay supports it.

— ₿ Mike (@libertarianbit) July 12, 2019

Payfast remarked that buyers always paid the BTC amount, while sellers would receive a rand payment to their accounts. Luno also “locked the Bitcoin to ZAR exchange rate for a 10 minute window,” similarly to many cryptocurrency invoice solutions. For instance, the Atlanta-based Bitpay’s invoices last 14 minutes. However, if the person’s BTC transaction did not confirm within Luno’s invoice window, the payment was unsuccessful and a refund would be due. The Payfast blog post noted:

As Bitcoin has grown in popularity, it has become increasingly difficult for the network to sufficiently confirm transactions within the 10 minute time limit. Since the network isn’t able to handle the volume of instructions at the speed required, the majority of Bitcoin transactions on the Payfast platform ended up being unsuccessful.

South African Payment Gateway Drops BTC Over Fees and Network Congestion

A Tragic Trend of Lost Businesses Making HODL the Only Option

As the news spread across social media, some people said they had expected the announcement, while others were surprised and even a bit salty toward Payfast. Bitcoin ABC developer Amaury Séchet (Deadalnix) said on Twitter that “the tragedy continues — One more payment processor dropping bitcoin.” “Payfast, you might want to consider switching to bitcoin cash instead. You are experiencing exactly why the fork happened,” Séchet added.

South African Payment Gateway Drops BTC Over Fees and Network Congestion
One South African business owner asks Payfast to examine bitcoin cash (BCH) as a payment option after Séchet said the company should “consider switching to bitcoin cash instead.”

However, well known member of the Monero (XMR) community Riccardo Spagni‏ said the blog post was a “Garbage article from Payfast on why they’re removing bitcoin support — Sounds like they have no clue how Bitcoin works.” One person replied to Spagni’s criticism and said that it was not polite to blame and name call Payfast engineers. “If the tech does not meet their needs, they can move to better solutions,” he explained. Payfast’s blog post further sparked a number of BCH supporters to vocalize that there was a solution available right now for Payfast and that the company should try bitcoin cash instead.

“I have made zero payments with BTC in the past 3 years, but dozens with BCH with no issues and paying pennies in fees,” a BCH supporter chimed in after Payfast made the announcement. “If you add BCH you will have my business.”

This isn’t the first time bitcoin core (BTC) payments have been plagued with complaints about high fees and transaction congestion. There have been many well known companies that have dropped BTC support for these very reasons. Back in the summer of 2018 the brothers Patrick and John Collison, the cofounders of Stripe, explained why the company decided to drop BTC.

South African Payment Gateway Drops BTC Over Fees and Network Congestion
In December 2017, BTC transaction fees would average between $30-60 per transaction for the median transaction size of 226 bytes. At the time a slew of merchants and online retailers dropped BTC support due to the high fees and network congestion.

The Collison brothers questioned the BTC community and told them they faced a fork in the road where architects of the software chose to optimize BTC to be a form of “digital gold or a store of value.” “At the time we made our decision, it was trending towards being a digital store of value,” Patrick told the press. He wished the BTC crowd the best going forward and insisted that “if it starts increasing [in use] again as a payment method, then sure, great, we’ll go back and we’ll add [BTC].”

South African Payment Gateway Drops BTC Over Fees and Network Congestion
In 2017, some companies who previously accepted BTC for years switched to bitcoin cash (BCH) payments after Core developers provided Segregated Witness and recommended businesses batch transactions which never alleviated the problem.

Many other companies have dropped BTC support over the years almost immediately after BTC transaction fees started to spike infeasibly and became unpredictable. Businesses such as Expedia, Dell Computers, Steam Games, Reddit, Fiverr, and Paypal stopped supporting BTC. Moreover, many startups that were once looking to use BTC in applications also ditched the cryptocurrency network for alternative blockchains with cheaper transaction fees. Payfast eliminating BTC was also big news on Reddit forums and many crypto supporters sarcastically called the company’s move a “big win for BTC maximalists.” One Reddit user chortled:

Thank god all these wasteful use cases are being eliminated so that HODL is the only option for people which will ensure that moon lambos are handed out to all the Bitcoin Maxis by next halvening.

What do you think about Payfast dropping BTC support because of network congestion and high transaction fees? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, Payfast, and Twitter.


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Binance Adds Margin as Exchange Competition Heats Up

Par Kai Sedgwick
Binance Adds Margin as Exchange Competition Heats Up

This week, the world’s largest exchange by trading volume, Binance, launched margin trading. In doing so, it made the elite group of exchanges that offer crypto derivatives less exclusive than it once was. Binance, Kucoin, and Bitmax have all rolled out margin products this year, in a bid to give market leaders Bitmex and Deribit a run for their money.

Also read: Miners Flock to Iran Where Bitcoin Mining Is Set to Be Sanctioned

Binance Leverages Margin to Woo the Bitmex Brigade

To celebrate its second birthday, Binance has been rolling out a flurry of new products and announcements this week. Chairman CZ has been even more active on Twitter than usual, providing teasers of what’s to come and revealing events such as the introduction of fiat-crypto pairs for Binance Singapore. Today, the exchange launched its margin trading platform, allowing it to go head to head with Bitmex, the home of 100x leverage on BTC and other leading crypto assets.

Binance Adds Margin as Exchange Competition Heats Up

“With margin trading being one of the most requested services from our community, this is a testament to the large market demand from retail and institutional traders alike and its promising possibilities in the future,” said Binance co-founder Yi He. CZ echoed this sentiment, speaking of it as being “another step in providing an inclusive cryptocurrency trading platform catering to the needs of both advanced institutional traders and retail traders under the same roof.”

Binance launched as a retail-focused cryptocurrency exchange, but as the broader industry narrative has shifted towards onboarding institutional clients, companies have adjusted their strategy accordingly. Bitmex, registered in the Seychelles, requires no KYC and is thus unsuited to institutional clients, who require greater regulatory and custodial assurances. Binance is hoping to not only capture a share of the retail market for margin trading, but to establish itself as a leading institutional exchange for derivatives. It will face stiff competition on both fronts, however, with the retail market having become particularly crowded.

Everyone’s on Margin

Kucoin beat Binance to the punch for margin trading by three days, launching its Kumex platform on July 8. It is still in public beta, however, and offers leveraged perpetual BTC contracts with up to 20x leverage. Its XBT perpetual contract takes a volume-weighted average price for BTC from six exchanges. During the three-week beta launch period, demo BTC is available for trading to allow users to familiarize themselves with the platform. To stimulate trading activity during this period, 10,000 KCS – Kucoin’s native token – will be given away. Thereafter, 50% of the net revenue from Kumex will be distributed to KCS token holders.

Binance Adds Margin as Exchange Competition Heats Up

Okex is also trying to gain a share of the lucrative margin market. In February, it expanded its margin products by adding four new pairs, allowing traders to long or short BSV, QTUM, DASH, and NEO against BTC or USDT with up to 3x leverage, with BCH, ETC, ETH, and XRP already supported. The exchange also offers a BTC perpetual swap with up to 100x leverage.

Other exchanges that offer margin trading include Etoro, Prime XBT, and Kraken. They’ll soon be joined by forthcoming BTC and ETH futures exchange Digitex, which promises to deliver up to 100x leverage and onchain settlement.

The High Cost of Margin Trading

Margin trading on Binance was already available in beta, but is now fully rolled out, with a dedicated margin wallet that supports BTC, ETH, XRP, BNB, TRX, and USDT. Traders simply transfer assets from their main account to their margin account to get started. The exchange has been at pains to emphasize the need for careful risk management when trading with leverage, however, since sudden and extreme price swings, which are synonymous with crypto assets, can result in liquidation.

XBTUSD perp swap open interest is now in the 3 comma club. Welcome to the 2019 bull fucking market YeeHaw! pic.twitter.com/rLhKRIn83d

— Arthur Hayes (@CryptoHayes) June 26, 2019

Bitmex CEO Arthur Hayes is known for his unsympathetic attitude, which is all part of the experience when you’re trading on one of the world’s most unforgiving exchanges. “Man of the people” CZ is obliged to cut a more compassionate figure, however, and won’t be caught gloating at rekt traders. In an AMA on July 11, CZ revealed that 10,000 traders signed up for Binance margin in the first day and $15M in trades was placed.

Want to try your hand at margin trading or even just see what it's all about?

Learn how Margin Trading on #Binance works with @BinanceAcademy’s guide: #TradingEvolved #LeverageYourKnowledge https://t.co/YuufPADewO

— Binance (@binance) July 12, 2019

With margin trading now just a couple of clicks away, a wave of Binance users will be exposed to its high octane thrills and perils in the weeks to come. The odds of institutional investors onboarding in their droves seems remote at this time though. In addition to its huge user base, Binance boasts a more stable trading engine than Bitmex, which is prone to crashing at peak times, and Binance’s user-friendly interface is more attractive to beginners. But with $3.6 billion of derivatives traded on Bitmex in the last 24 hours, it remains the runaway market leader by some distance. Binance, in comparison, reported a volume of $1.6 billion in the same period. Binance has already beaten Coinbase and Bitstamp to become the world’s leading cryptocurrency exchange. Bitmex is now next on its hit list, as it seeks to claim the derivatives crown.

What are your thoughts on Binance introducing margin trading? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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Thailand Approves 4 New Cryptocurrency Service Providers

Par Kevin Helms
Thailand Approves 4 New Cryptocurrency Service Providers

The Thai Securities and Exchange Commission has approved four new crypto business operators to legally operate in the country. In addition to licensing a new crypto exchange, the government has officially approved the country’s first three digital token portals. Meanwhile, new rules, conditions, and procedures have been introduced for digital asset businesses.

Also read: G20 Leaders Issue Declaration on Crypto Assets – A Look at Their Commitments

Digital Asset Business Operators

Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has officially approved four new digital asset business operators. Under the country’s current regulatory framework for digital assets, which covers both cryptocurrency and digital tokens, a company can apply for a license to operate an exchange, a broker, or a dealer for cryptocurrency, digital tokens, or both. Separate licenses are required for cryptocurrency and digital tokens.

Thai Government Approves 4 New Cryptocurrency Service Providers

Among the four new digital asset business operators is Bitherb Co. Ltd. The company has received four licenses from the Thai SEC — one for providing a crypto exchange service, one for a digital token exchange service, one for a crypto brokerage service, and one for a digital token brokerage service. According to the commission’s website, the company has not begun operations.

Bitherb Co. Ltd. is a subsidiary of Japanese public company Remixpoint, which operates a regulated Japanese crypto exchange, Bitpoint Japan. It is co-founded by Asia Herb Association Bangkok Co. Ltd. Remixpoint revealed in February that it had obtained four licenses from the Thai SEC but the subsidiary had not been added to the SEC’s list of approved digital asset business operators at the time since its system still needed to be inspected and validated by the regulator. A representative of Bitpoint Japan told news.Bitcoin.com at the time that Bitherb “will begin to operate after [the] SEC inspects the company within 180 days after license acquisition (by July 30th, 2019).” Bitherb is now listed on the SEC website as an approved digital asset business operator.

Including Bitherb, Thailand now has four digital asset exchanges, all of which have been approved for both cryptocurrency and digital tokens. Three of them — Bitkub Online Co. Ltd. (Bitkub), Bitcoin Co. Ltd. (BX), and Satang Corporation (Satang Pro) — were approved in January. Another digital asset operator that has been approved by the Thai SEC is Coins TH. This company was approved in January to operate as a broker and a dealer for cryptocurrency.

First 3 Licensed ICO Portals Unveiled

Local media reported in March that the Thai SEC had approved the country’s first portal for initial coin offerings (ICOs). However, the commission neither made an official announcement about the approval nor disclosed the name of the portal it supposedly approved until now.

The country’s first three SEC-approved ICO portals have now been added to the commission’s website. They are Longroot (Thailand) Co. Ltd. (Longroot), T-box (Thailand) Co. Ltd. (T-box), and SE Digital Co. Ltd. (SE Digital). According to the regulator, none of them have started operations. Further, the latter two companies still need to have their systems inspected and validated by the SEC before they can begin operations.

Thai Government Approves 4 New Cryptocurrency Service Providers

ICO portals are an integral part of Thailand’s regulatory framework for digital tokens. To sell tokens to the public, the seller must obtain approval from the SEC and the tokens must be sold through an SEC-approved ICO portal. Thailand now has three ICO portals, but no ICO issuer has been approved so far.

In addition, the Thai SEC maintains two lists of “website, tokens, and coins the SEC has advised the public to be careful with any investment solicitations of such entities,” the commission detailed. The first list is for “digital tokens which have not applied or granted approval for offerings.” It comprises 21 names including Onecoin by OFC coin​, ​​DB token, ICO by Adventure Hostel Bangkok​, and ​Muay Thai coin. The other list is for “persons and websites relating to digital assets which have not been licensed.” There are currently 18 entries on the list, including ​Q Exchange​, a joint venture between Thai and South Korean companies.

Follow-Up Crypto Regulation

The Thai government’s Fiscal Policy Office has published the SEC’s follow-up regulation entitled “Rules, Conditions, and Procedures for Digital Asset Businesses.” It will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

Among the rules set forth in this document is the capital requirements for digital asset businesses. For example, operators holding customer assets must generally maintain daily liquid capital of at least 15 million baht [~$485,572] and at least 5% of the customer’s asset value. The percentage requirement is lower if some of the assets are kept in cold storage. Digital asset exchanges that do not hold customer assets must maintain capital of at least 5 million baht.

Thai Government Approves 4 New Cryptocurrency Service Providers

Thailand enacted two royal decrees to regulate crypto assets on May 14 last year — the Royal Decree on the Digital Asset Businesses B.E. 2561 and the Royal Decree of the Amendment to the Revenue Code. The latter imposes levies on income derived from cryptocurrency and digital tokens. Prior to any token offerings, the issuers must obtain approval from the SEC and “the registration statement and draft prospectus shall be filed with the SEC office,” the government explained.

In March, the Thai SEC announced that four cryptocurrencies had been approved: BTC, ETH, XRP, and XLM. They can be legally used for investments in ICOs and as base trading pairs against other cryptocurrencies. This list replaces the previous one announced in June last year. However, approval does not make these coins legal tender, the regulator clarified.

Sunisa Thamphiban, Assistant Director of the Legal and Development Department at the Thai SEC, emphasized at a public seminar on July 11 that “the Digital Asset Act” aims to “supervise the middleman that will act as an intermediary in the exchange of digital assets.” She elaborated that they must comply with all of the requirements set by the SEC and the Office of the Anti-Money Laundering Committee in order to “prevent the use of digital assets for money laundering.”

What do you think of the way Thailand regulates cryptocurrency? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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Georgia Exempts Bitcoin From VAT to Become the Next Country to Affirm Its Currency Status

Par Lubomir Tassev
Georgia Exempts Bitcoin From VAT to Become the Next Country Affirming Its Currency Status

Cryptocurrency taxation is a subject that concerns a growing number of users, traders and investors. An area that creates a lot of confusion among taxpayers is the application of VAT, or the value-added tax most countries levy on the sales of goods and services. Georgia has become the latest nation to free crypto-fiat transactions from VAT, a decision that affirms Bitcoin’s status as a currency. The same has already happened in many other jurisdictions, despite the absence of comprehensive regulations.

Also read: Money Laundering Scandals Bring Court Charges and Record Job Cuts to Euro Banks

VAT-Free Crypto Exchange, No Income Tax for Traders

Traders of digital coins, both companies and individuals, will not owe VAT to the government in Tbilisi. That’s according to an order aimed at clarifying certain aspects of the taxation of entities trading or mining cryptocurrencies, which was signed recently by Georgia’s finance minister Ivane Matchavariani and entered into force at the end of June. The document contains a definition for decentralized digital money:

Cryptocurrencies are digital assets that are exchanged electronically and based on a decentralized network. Their exchange does not require a reliable intermediary and they are managed using distributed ledger technology.

Residents of the South Caucasian republic exchanging coins to local or foreign fiat currency will not be obliged to pay the value-added tax, as Forbes Georgia reported. Furthermore, private citizens who conduct such transactions will also be spared from income tax. Bitcoin will not become legal tender in the country and using cryptocurrencies for payments will not be allowed. But that’s valid for any foreign currency as well.

Georgia Exempts Bitcoin From VAT to Become the Next Country to Affirm Its Currency Status

Mining companies will have to pay VAT unless they are registered abroad. Georgia, which offers abundant and cheap electrical energy generated by its many hydropower plants, has become a regional mining hotspot over the past few years. Now many companies from the industry are likely to relocate their official headquarters to offshore zones while maintaining their operations in the Caucasus.

Europe Considers Bitcoin a Currency for VAT Purposes

So far, European countries have been trying to regulate cryptocurrencies almost in a decentralized manner. Bitcoin is often treated differently by tax authorities in various EU member states and elsewhere on the continent. Germany, for example, considers the purchase of digital assets an investment but capital gains tax is due only if the coins are held for less than a year.

For many practical purposes, the United Kingdom treats cryptos like foreign currencies. Residents of Bitcoin-friendly Switzerland are expected to pay income and profit tax on their digital cash holdings. Estonia applies capital gains tax on the profit from crypto investments while Slovenia does not tax the gains of individual cryptocurrency traders.

Georgia Exempts Bitcoin From VAT to Become the Next Country to Affirm Its Currency Status

Generally, purchases and sales of cryptocurrency are not subject to VAT taxation in Europe, which is the birth place of the value-added tax. Financial regulators and revenue services in most countries often refer to a decision by the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) which ruled in 2015 that services for the exchange of bitcoin with any traditional fiat currency are exempt from VAT.

Despite the absence of a common European approach towards cryptocurrencies in terms of VAT taxation, the topic has been discussed by the VAT Committee of the European Commission on several occasions. Different proposals on the treatment of digital assets for VAT purposes have been reviewed by the advisory body which provides clarifications on EU’s VAT Directive. These proposals include the classification of Bitcoin as currency, electronic money, negotiable instrument, security, or digital product.

Since the ECJ ruling, the case for accepting bitcoin as a currency has been gaining ground in the light of applicable VAT regulations. In essence, the court decided that the exchange between virtual and traditional currency constitutes the supply of services which are exempt from VAT under Article 135(1)(e) of the VAT Directive.

VAT Is the Cash Cow of Many Governments

Value-added tax (VAT) is a widely implemented indirect tax based on the increase in value of a product or service until it reaches the market. It is collected by retailers from end users and, in most cases, in the jurisdiction where these products and services are consumed. It’s usually a flat rate charged on the final value of the sold goods or provided services.

VAT is an important income source for many governments around the world. Well over 160 nations employ the tax and in certain countries like France it accounts for around half of the state budget receipts. It is generally considered fairer than the sales tax used in the U.S., for example, which can potentially be charged on itself as it is applied at each stage of production and distribution.

Georgia Exempts Bitcoin From VAT to Become the Next Country to Affirm Its Currency Status

Wrapping one’s head around extensive VAT regulations can be a difficult task for many businesses and those in the crypto industry are no exception. But companies need to do so, as when they are registered under VAT laws they are entitled to apply for tax credit for the VAT amounts paid on the value of the materials and services used during production. The mechanism presents an opportunity to get some money back from the government.

Crypto-Related Services Pose a Challenge to VAT Rules

The ECJ ruling led to the issuance of additional interpretations by the VAT Committee that have no legal effect but can nevertheless be used as a reference by national authorities dealing with matters related to the VAT treatment of cryptocurrencies. One of them suggests that no VAT should be charged on the value of the digital coins themselves when they are used as a means of payment.

VAT is due, however, on the value of goods and services purchased with cryptocurrency. Their supply should be treated in the same way as taxable supplies of goods and services paid with fiat currencies. The taxable amount in such transactions should be the one received by the supplier. And if it is denominated in cryptocurrency, the tax should be paid on the equivalent expressed in the national currency of the respective EU member state at the time of the transaction.

Although these suggestions, detailed in a recently published article by PWC Cyprus, provide many answers pertaining to the VAT treatment of crypto transactions, important questions remain unanswered. And these are actually very hard to answer. For example, how do you define the appropriate exchange rate when reporting the value of a crypto transaction in fiat money?

Georgia Exempts Bitcoin From VAT to Become the Next Country to Affirm Its Currency Status

According to the VAT Directive, if bitcoin is viewed as a foreign currency that could be either the latest rate recorded on “the most representative exchange market” of the member state or the latest official exchange rate published by the European Central Bank (ECB). The VAT Committee provides a third option as well: “the open market value of the virtual currency, determined under the responsibility of the taxpayer.”

Neither of these alternatives, however, are directly applicable to cryptocurrencies without more questions. First of all, there’s no central bank publishing a daily spot price for bitcoin. Second, cryptos are often exchanged on a global platform that may not necessarily be the most representative for a particular country. And third, how do you determine the abstract “open market value” of a volatile digital asset without selling it?

Other aspects of VAT taxation in the case of cryptocurrency transactions that the VAT Committee has attempted to clarify include the provision of wallet and exchange services as well as the verification of crypto transactions through mining. For instance, free wallet services are exempt from taxation but the advisory body believes that when providers charge fees, they should fall within the scope of VAT, just like Swift services offered by traditional banks. As for exchange services, they are exempt from VAT when the supplier buys and sells the coins as a principle owner. But where a platform acts as an intermediary between buyers and sellers and charges a fee for their access to its virtual marketplace, these services are subject to VAT.

Things are much more complicated with crypto mining. On the one hand, until miners are rewarded with newly minted coins, transaction fees are in principle paid voluntarily. That means they are still outside the scope of VAT. On the other hand, fees are paid in most cases anyway, as wallets usually have them as a default option and users are not willing to wait too long for their transaction to be processed. Currently, the European Commission’s VAT Committee supports the view that mining is an “essential activity for the actual transfer of funds,” which is closely related to the supply of digital coins and is not a support service. Hence, crypto transaction fees should not be subject to VAT.

What’s your opinion about the applicability of the VAT regime in regards to crypto-related transactions? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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Miners Flock to Iran Where Bitcoin Mining Is Set to Be Sanctioned

Par Jamie Redman
Iran’s Central Bank Will Allow Bitcoin Mining Operations as Miners Flock to the Oil-Rich Nation

According to regional reports, the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) is planning to allow licensed cryptocurrency mining as long as operations are charged for electricity based on the price of export. The CBI governor, Abdol Nasser Hemmati, explained that mined cryptocurrencies should flow back into the Iranian economy.

Also read: Bitcoin Miner Recounts Struggle to Obtain Cheap Iranian Power

Chinese Miners Negotiate With Iranian Leaders to Set Up Mining Operations in the Free Trade Zones

In December 2018, there were reports of miners stemming from China, Spain, Ukraine, Armenia, and France to mine bitcoin in the oil-rich nation of Iran. The Middle Eastern country has extremely cheap electricity rates, and in April there were even more stories of Chinese miners heading to Iran for extremely affordable electric prices at $0.006 per kilowatt-hour (KWh). Then, at the end of June, the spokesperson for Tavanir, an Iranian state-operated grid entity, said that electrical consumption had spiked by 7% in comparison to the previous year. Tavanir executive Mostafa Rajabi Mashhad further blamed illicit cryptocurrency mining operations for the country’s increased electrical consumption. Rajabi told the press that other Iranian provinces were having difficulties due to the mass electrical consumption and emphasized that “illegal bitcoin miners will be identified and their electricity will be cut.”

Miners Flock to Iran Where Bitcoin Mining Is Set to Be Sanctioned
Spokesperson for Tavanir, Mostafa Rajabi Mashhad.

Following Rajabi’s statements, bitcoin miners defied his warning and Iranians shared pictures of a bitcoin mining mosque. The regional publication Iran Daily reported that there were roughly 100 unauthorized bitcoin mining sites located in various provinces. The Tabnak website claims 1,000 bitcoin mining machines were seized by Iranian law enforcement on June 28. “Two of these bitcoin farms have been identified, with a consumption of one megawatt,” a Tavanir official, Arash Navab, told state television. Bitcoin mining has become a very popular vehicle to escape sanctions across many provinces in Iran. “Everyone’s talking about Bitcoin and how to get it,” said Mahsa Alimardani, an Iranian native and researcher at the Oxford Internet Institute noted to regional reporters.

Then on July 10, Mohammad Sharqi, managing director of Iran Blockchain Association, told the local press that Chinese digital currency miners have asked Iranian officials to let them set up facilities in the country. Official discussions have been initiated and miners would like to operate in the Iranian free trade zones in Anzali, Kish Island, Qeshm Island, Chabahar, Arvand, and Aras. “The Chinese have made requests through official channels for cryptocurrency mining in the free zones,” Sharqi explained to the media. CBI’s deputy governor for new technologies, Nasser Hakimi, explained the same day that the local anti-money laundering authority had concerns with virtual currency trading. Sharqi thinks the stories of extreme electrical consumption have been exaggerated. Despite government warnings, according to an Iranian electrical industry spokesman, there are more than 148,000 machines in the country.

Mining that crypto! 1000 #Bitcoin mining machines seized by authorities in Yazd, #Iran pic.twitter.com/sDYPFPhYiK

— RT (@RT_com) June 29, 2019

Central Bank of Iran Governor: ‘Bitcoin Mining Will Be Authorized if Miners Pay Export Prices for Electricity and Help Feed Funds Back Into the Iranian Economy’

Abdol Nasser Hemmati, the CBI governor, explained on July 10 that the government will authorize bitcoin mining in Iran even though Iranian bureaucrats have not finished regulating cryptocurrency trade. There are two caveats to the deal, Hemmati told the press, which will have to be followed strictly if mining operations are initiated in Iran. “Mining of the international digital currencies should be done based on the price of electricity for export,” Hemmati expounded. “What’s more important is that these mined currencies should be fed back to the national economic cycle,” the CBI governor added.

Miners Flock to Iran Where Bitcoin Mining Is Set to Be Sanctioned
Abdol Nasser Hemmati, the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) governor.

Hemmati warned the CBI would not tolerate a cryptocurrency that affects the price of the Iranian rial or gold. Reports also detail that Iranian law enforcement have already started to bust operations using factories, mosques, and utility service areas that benefit from extremely cheap electricity rates. At the export rate that’s charged to neighboring countries, bitcoin miners would have to pay $0.07 to $0.10 per KWh. The news outlet Presstv reports that the utility service area rates in Iran can be as low as $0.05 per watt. Electricity prices in Iran can be even lower in places like greenhouses and mosques for $0.006 per KWh as long as mosque leaders don’t mind breaking fatwa against the use of their subsidized electricity.

Iranian Leader Claims U.S. Congress, Donald Trump and Sanctions Have Been Hindering Iran’s Cryptocurrency Progress

Even at $0.13 per KWh, there are more than 40 SHA-256 machines that are still very profitable at today’s BTC prices. In some countries, electricity is higher or even double $0.13 per KWh so Iran’s power prices are quite affordable even with the export rate tacked on. Saeed Zarandi, the Iranian assistant minister of industry, trade and supply revealed to the press that the U.S. has been hindering Iran’s cryptocurrency progress.

Miners Flock to Iran Where Bitcoin Mining Is Set to Be Sanctioned
Saeed Zarandi the Iranian assistant minister of industry, trade and supply explained that the U.S. and its newly imposed sanctions against Iran have curbed the country’s cryptocurrency progress. The U.S. and Iran have been in deep conflict over the last few weeks.

Zarandi said that the U.S. Congress under the Trump administration has been harsh toward the country. Iran and the U.S. have been at odds again lately as the country’s military shot down an American drone and told the press it was in Iran’s no-fly zone. The U.S. and President Donald Trump claim the aircraft was in international airspace and not in Iran’s territory. Since then many observers have been worried that the U.S. may spark a war with Iran or vice versa. Zarandi asserted that members of the U.S. Congress believe cryptocurrencies could be used in Iran to avoid sanctions.

One specific set of sanctions called the Blocking Iran Illicit Finance Act is comprised of rules that make it hard for international companies to do business with Iranian financial institutions. H. R. 7321 details the expansion of prohibitions on correspondent accounts or payable-through accounts for foreign financial institutions. This includes banks that facilitate transactions or provide financial services for Iranian financial institutions. H. R. 7321 also displays a set of three rules to follow when it comes to Iranian-based digital currencies.

  1. Sanctions with respect to foreign persons that engage in significant transactions for the sale, supply, or transfer to Iran of significant goods or services used in connection with the development of Iranian digital currency.
  2. Sanctions with respect to foreign persons that conduct or facilitate significant transactions related to the purchase or sale of Iranian digital currency or maintain significant amounts in Iranian digital currency.
  3. Report on the progress of the Government of Iran in creating a sovereign cryptocurrency.

The latest rules against an Iranian digital currency also follow the U.S. imposed sanctions against cryptocurrencies from Venezuela and more recently Cuba. Moreover, in November 2018 the American government convinced Swift to cut Iran off from the global financial system which pushed Iranian college students toward cryptocurrency to pay for books and online tuition. Furthermore, reports from regional news outlets in China claim that Iranian cryptocurrency miners have been scrambling to buy mining rigs from the mainland. With the CBI green-lighting bitcoin mining in the country, the inflow of funds could give Iran an edge over the imposed U.S. sanctions. With rules like the Blocking Iran Illicit Finance Act and major payment processors like Swift cutting Iranian banks off, the country may be forced to use a borderless currency.

What do you think about Iran’s central bank planning to approve authorized bitcoin mining in the country as long as miners pay export prices for electricity? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, Presstv, Iran Daily, Tabnak, and Pixabay.


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‘Zimdollar’ Reboot: Bitcoin Fills Liquidity Gaps as New Zimbabwe Currency Flounders

Par Graham Smith
'Zimdollar' Reboot: Bitcoin Fills Liquidity Gaps as New Zimbabwe Currency Flounders

P2P bitcoin trade is surging in Zimbabwe via mobile exchange platforms like Ecocash, despite recent government efforts to curb the use of competing currencies locally. As of June 24, the reinstated Zimbabwe dollar (formerly RTGS dollar) is now the only recognized currency in the economically embattled southern African country. Finance minister Mthuli Ncube sees the move as a way to pull in the reins on re-dollarization, and implement greater controls and stability. Others see the new currency as a disastrous decision paving the way for continued hyperinflation.

Also read: The Cryptocurrency Projects Pursuing a Path to Decentralization

'Zimdollar' Reboot: Bitcoin Fills Liquidity Gaps as New Zimbabwe Currency Flounders
A two-dollar Zimbabwean bond note.

The RTGS Dollar

Since abandoning the astronomically hyper-inflated Zimbabwe dollar in 2009, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe had switched to an international currency basket in an attempt to stabilize the economy. In February of this year, central bank chief John Mangudya announced the implementation of the RTGS (Real Time Gross Settlement) dollar, a new currency pitched as being at 1:1 parity with the USD.

Although the move to RTGS was ostensibly to provide greater balance to the economy, and restore Zimbabwean economic sovereignty, not everyone accepted this move as sound, or even as being well-intentioned.

Many Zimbabweans have significant savings and hedges in the form of U.S. dollars, and the sudden move was a severe economic blow. According to Zimbabwe opposition leader Nelson Chamisa:

The monetary policy statement is a disaster that will erode livelihoods, plunge the nation into darkness and uncertainty.

'Zimdollar' Reboot: Bitcoin Fills Liquidity Gaps as New Zimbabwe Currency Flounders
Zimbabwe dollars after hyperinflation.

Zimbabwe Dollar: A New Version of an Old Currency

Now the RTGS dollar is old news, and as of late June, a revamped version of the Zimbabwe dollar has returned, effectively replacing and swallowing the RTGS. In a bold move by the central bank and government, local transactions in United States dollars, British pounds, and other currencies are now banned. Comprising the Zimbabwe dollar are coins, e-balances, the RTGS dollar, and bond notes which were first introduced in 2016.

In an official statement on June 24th finance minister Ncube verified:

The British pound, United States Dollar, South African rand, Botswana pula and any other foreign currency whatsoever shall no longer be legal tender alongside the Zimbabwe dollar in any transactions in Zimbabwe.

Speculation as to why officials made this decision varies, but there is a general consensus among local economists that the move’s aim is to stop re-dollarization of the economy, with some even claiming the clampdown is mostly political, and being done for other reasons. But the USD and other foreign currencies are not the only ones affected by the reboot. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies (having already been made illegal in 2017) are experiencing increased demand in view of the new policy.

Bitcoin Trading Stays Peer-to-peer, Liquidating Dollars

Though settlement of local transactions with anything other than the new Zimbabwe dollar is illegal, P2P exchange of competing currencies is still possible thanks to popular trading platforms like Zimbabwean service Ecocash and localbitcoins.com.

'Zimdollar' Reboot: Bitcoin Fills Liquidity Gaps as New Zimbabwe Currency Flounders

Many news outlets ran with this idea and claimed earlier this month that bitcoin was trading for over $75K in Zimbabwe on popular trading platform localbitcoins.com. While a couple prices were in this range temporarily, the phenomenon was most likely a reflection of the now locally destroyed value of the USD. That said, in the absence of established, legal exchanges, the black market value of U.S. dollars remains lucrative and viable.

According to one local news agency, what has been observed in recent weeks is an attempt to liquidate USD via exchange for bitcoin. Utilizing channels like Paypal and Western Union, Zimbabweans are attempting to preserve as much value as possible in these volatile times.

Indeed, there seem to be practically two economies now: the one still tied to the USD as world reserve currency, and the newly imposed Zimbabwe dollar model. While black markets exist everywhere, in struggling economic contexts like this, alternative markets exert a much more profound influence.

'Zimdollar' Reboot: Bitcoin Fills Liquidity Gaps as New Zimbabwe Currency Flounders

Two Economies Side by Side

Prior to the reemergence of the “Zimdollar” and the RTGS, the government had introduced a system of bond notes and coins back in 2016, supposedly pegged to the USD. This plan failed as unemployment, lack of exports, and a shortage of physical cash created a lucrative black market where USD held greater value than the assets supposedly pegged to it.

Many economists and Zimbabwe residents alike are skeptical of the new financial policy, citing that a mere change in name does not denote real economic movement or progress. When one pizza can cost half the salary of a government teacher, that’s not surprising. Some are even declaring Ncube’s unilateral decree illegal. According to Harare-based lawyer Godfrey Mupanga:

Amending a principal legislation is a primary law-making power that can only be exercised by parliament.

This sudden move by the state which effectively creates a synthetic economy not tied to organic price signals could create new risks. The momentum being gained by black and gray market channels, as well as liquidation efforts via online payment platforms, is illustrative of the conflict.

'Zimdollar' Reboot: Bitcoin Fills Liquidity Gaps as New Zimbabwe Currency Flounders

Withdrawal of Foreign Currencies, Global Trend Toward Liquidity

At present, individuals may withdraw up to U.S. $1K per day in cash from foreign accounts in the country. Companies must request special permission if they wish to do so. According to Mangudya, business and individuals in Zimbabwe currently hold around $1.3B in these foreign accounts.

As liquidity gaps are filled by alternative currencies and markets worldwide, governments and their respective central banks continue unilateral economic regulation in efforts to stave off financial difficulties. Though some economists predict that the new Zimbabwe dollar will fail, others maintain that USD debt can be honored. The issue is, of course, which market’s rate will be chosen.

Zimbabwe’s new policy has continued to encourage market actors to secure value outside of official, state-sanctioned means. Globally, similar movements continue on a larger scale as certain national economies seek to move away from the U.S. dollar. Even in nations with relatively developed and established systems, individuals are seeking to hedge their bets via crypto and foreign money. This global, organic movement toward liquidity seems to be reflected in Zimbabwe, in spite of state regulation.

What are your views on the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s decision to reinstitute the Zimbabwe dollar? Let us know in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, Fair use


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Win 2019 Rugby World Cup Tickets When You Play at Games.Bitcoin.com

Par Avi Mizrahi

Are you a cryptocurrency user and rugby fan who’s always dreamed of going to the World Cup? Here’s your chance to win tickets to the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, including flights and accommodation, in an exclusive competition at Games.Bitcoin.com.

Also Read: Bitcoin Cash ETP Lists on Leading Swiss Stock Exchange SIX

How to Enter Games.Bitcoin.com’s New Giveaway

Games.Bitcoin.com is giving away prizes including admission to the upcoming 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan. The first couple of winners will receive a prize package that includes VIP hospitality tickets to the event’s quarter-final match, accommodation for three nights in a central Tokyo hotel, and $1,000 to purchase flight tickets from anywhere in the world to the land of the rising sun. The remaining top 16 places in the giveaway contest will also win nice prizes such as an official Japan 2019 World Cup rugby ball and jerseys as well as gaming credits.

Win 2019 Rugby World Cup Tickets When You Play at Games.Bitcoin.com

The VIP hospitality tickets feature prime locations (exclusive Category A seats), pre and post-match analysis by guest speakers, food and drinks including specially selected fine wines and premium beers served throughout the match. The VIP ticket winners will also get an official Rugby World Cup 2019 match programme, itinerary, map, and a commemorative souvenir.

For your chance to win one of the Rugby World Cup prizes, play the BTC Slots on Games.Bitcoin.com and make your way to the top of the leaderboard by September 1, 2019. Every time you win a bet, your username will move higher up the real-time public score board displayed on the site. You will need to stay in one of the top 16 positions to score some of the above mentioned prizes at the end of the promotion period.

Notice that this new promotion is exclusive to BTC Slots and other games are excluded from the current giveaway. Check out the promotion page for the full terms and conditions that apply to the offer.

2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan

Hosted once every four years, the Rugby World Cup is the sport’s top global tournament and is considered to be the third largest sports event in the world after the summer Olympics and the Football World Cup. The 2019 Rugby World Cup will be the ninth edition of the showcase event, and is to be held in Japan from September 20 to November 2.

Taking part in the upcoming event will be 20 teams from all over the world including Argentina, Australia, Canada, England, Fiji, France, Georgia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Namibia, New Zealand, Russia, Samoa, Scotland, South Africa, Tonga, Uruguay, the United States of America and Wales.

Win 2019 Rugby World Cup Tickets When You Play at Games.Bitcoin.com
2019 Rugby World Cup Mascots in St Patrick’s Day Parade at Harajuku, Tokyo, Japan

The six-week tournament will be hosted in a dozen venues across Japan. The 2019 edition will be the first Rugby World Cup to be hosted in Asia and the organizers see it as an opportunity to accelerate the development and profile of the sport across the world’s most populous and youthful continent. In all, there will be 48 matches, potentially reaching hundreds of millions of viewers all over the globe.

An estimated $344 million has been invested between 2016 and 2019 around the world in the run up to the event. This figure includes funding of dedicated strategic investment programs to assist unions who have qualified for the Rugby World Cup, development projects, tournament funding and player welfare research and projects.

Anonymous Online Play

If this is your first time hearing about it, Bitcoin.com’s entertainment section offers a multitude of other classic games in addition to Slots, such as Blackjack, Video Poker, Dice, Roulette, Keno and Craps. Players don’t need to register and can enjoy the games anonymously. At the same time, the platform offers two-factor authentication, password protected accounts and a dedicated customer support team.

The site supports playing with bitcoin core (BTC) on games.bitcoin.com and with bitcoin cash (BCH) on the separate cashgames.bitcoin.com domain. Besides the two websites, you can also download a mobile app for Android devices and play on the go wherever you are, as well as use the same account on the website and the mobile app.

Win 2019 Rugby World Cup Tickets When You Play at Games.Bitcoin.com

The entertainment section operates with transparency, showing the current house edge for all games and the expected returns to players. It also provides all of the information you need to verify that each game is fair and in no way manipulated so you can play with confidence. Check out the Provably Fair section in the ‘About’ tab of the game you are playing for more technical details.

The platform also provides a referral program that requires no registration and lets you earn up to 25% of the house edge on all bets made by people you direct to the site, with no top limit on how much you can earn. To join the referral program, all you have to do is visit the referral page and your account will be automatically set up. There you can find your unique referral link and banners in many shapes and sizes to share. The same page can also be used to track your earnings and referral statistics.

Are you excited about the opportunity to win tickets to the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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What Are Dollars Used for, President Trump? – The Gun Money Known as USD

Par Graham Smith
What Are US Dollars Used For, President Trump? - The Gun Money Known as USD

Donald Trump has taken to Twitter yet again, and this time he’s talking about bitcoin and the superiority of the United States dollar. Bashing lack of regulation and potential for criminal activity inherent to crypto, Trump claims the U.S. fiat will always be the strongest currency in the world. As empirical evidence goes, however, it’s USD that’s really in need of moral and economic scrutiny.

Also read: How 10 Countries Respond to Facebook’s Libra Cryptocurrency

Donald Trump Battles Bitcoin

On July 11, U.S. President Donald Trump went into full rant mode on Twitter, taking swipes at Bitcoin, Libra and cryptocurrencies in general, claiming they are “not money” and “based on thin air.” In addition to supplying the internet with a shining gem of mathematical, economic, and historical ineptitude, the president took things one step further, claiming that:

Unregulated Crypto Assets can facilitate unlawful behavior, including drug trade and other illegal activity.

Of course, he’s right. Unregulated crypto assets really can facilitate bad things. What makes his three-part proclamation so problematic, though, is that he closes it out by praising the strength and dominance of the U.S. dollar in pulsating, Orwellian tone:

“It is by far the most dominant currency anywhere in the World, and it will always stay that way. It is called the United States Dollar!”

But when we examine the actual nature of the USD versus bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, all the blustery rhetoric seems to lose its force, and the picture that remains is one of striking—if not tragic—clarity.

What Are Dollars Used for, President Trump? – The Gun Money Known as USD

What Does the US Dollar Finance?

Yes, crypto finances bad things and good things. Yes, fiat does the same. The almighty U.S. dollar is used to buy bread, iPhones, and throw birthday parties. It is also used to dismember infants in foreign lands, blasting them to bloody pieces with bombs, traffic illegal drugs, kidnap all manner of non-violent individuals, and keep billions impoverished, enslaved, and fearful. A butterknife can butter bread. A butterknife can kill someone. What is Trump’s argument, then? If the implicit claim is that bitcoin and crypto are more dangerous than the dollar empirically, then history, mathematics, and the science of economics can set the record straight here.

What Are Dollars Used for, President Trump? – The Gun Money Known as USD

Blood Money

The United States has been at war for 226 years of its 243-year existence. Perpetual warfare remains the reality today. A testament to this is the story of Cpl. Joseph Maciel, killed at age 20 in Afghanistan, who was only three years old when the conflict was set in motion in 2001. As sad as this is, it’s anecdotal, admittedly. But the numbers ultimately tell the same tragic story as Joseph’s.

Since 2001, wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, have cost at least half a million human lives, and over half of these deaths have been non-combatants—civilians. Of course this does not take into account drone bombings and battle in Yemen, Syria, Somalia, Libya, and elsewhere. These numbers also do not account for indirect deaths. According to a study by the Co-Director of the Costs of War Project at Brown University, Neta C. Crawford:

Because of limits in reporting, the numbers of people killed in the United States
post-9/11 wars, tallied in this chart, are an undercount … In addition, this tally does not include “indirect deaths.” Indirect harm occurs when
wars’ destruction leads to long term, “indirect,” consequences for people’s health in war
zones, for example because of loss of access to food, water, health facilities, electricity or
other infrastructure.

The Cost of War in US Dollars

As of November 2018, U.S. taxpayers have been forced to pay $5.9T to support war in the Middle East and Asia since 2001. The inflation-adjusted cost of military conflict since World War I is estimated by the Congressional Research Service to be over $5.6T. With numbers this astronomical, and a war machine that continues to grow cancerously, it is difficult to get a feel for the sheer amount of state-sanctioned economic power being leveraged here by the United States Federal Government.

It’s no problem, either, if the money supply runs low. According to Trump:

This is the United States government. First of all, you never have to default because you print the money.

Don’t worry about the resultant devalued currency. It is also important to ignore the repeating pattern of systematic U.S. violence against any leader or nation attempting to distance itself from the USD as a reserve currency. Libya, Iraq, and now Iran are examples of what happens when Trump’s “most dominant currency anywhere in the World” is challenged.

What Are Dollars Used for, President Trump? – The Gun Money Known as USD

The Violent, Volatile and Drugged Out USD

The following is a only a short overview of some of the illicit activity the USD has facilitated over the years:

  • The U.S. dollar funded Operation Paperclip, which brought Nazi leaders to America after World War II and gave them jobs in the U.S. government.
  • The dollar was used by the U.S. government itself to fund drug trafficking, rape, kidnapping, and violence which was wrought upon innocent individuals by Contra forces in Nicaragua in the late 1980s.
  • In 2003, $6.6B of United States dollars were strapped to pallets and airlifted to Iraq to provide aid, and were simply lost by the U.S. government, in likely the largest international cash airlift in history.
  • The United States dollar funds the production of weaponry whose use results in depleted uranium birth defects so grotesque and tragic they are difficult to look at without feeling nauseous.
  • The U.S. dollar was used to bail out a hyper-fraudulent company against the will of taxpayers to the tune of $700B in the 2008 Goldman Sachs case.
  • The United States government preferred a $1.9B fine over actual criminal prosecution in 2012, when mega bank HSBC admitted to extremely lax oversight, effectively allowing narcotics traffickers, terrorists, and a Mexican drug cartel to launder over $800M in drug money. In spite of strict banking regulations prohibiting this, HSBC kept its license.
  • The dollar is used to pay the salaries of police across the country who managed to surpass actual burglars in the amount of property they stole, and terrorists in the amount of people they killed, in 2015 and 2017, respectively.
  • The United States dollar is to this day used to fund the military’s drone program (which is no longer required to report civilian casualties thanks to an executive order issued by the president) which has murdered at least 769 civilians and 253 children (these are extremely conservative estimates) since its inception.
  • The U.S. dollar today continues its decades-long steady and rapid devaluation. An item purchased around the time of the Federal Reserve’s creation in 1913 for $1 would now cost over $25.

This list goes on and on. For as long as it has existed, the United States dollar has leveraged violence to stifle competing currencies, fund war, murder, rape, extortion, kidnapping, theft, terrorism, human trafficking, slavery, medical malpractice, child sexual abuse, illegal drugs and more with relative impunity, thanks to its “regulators.” If this is the result of banking charters and regulation, a hands-off approach might be a better consideration for Donald Trump.

Bitcoin or USD – Which Dominates Illicit Markets?

Though the data varies wildly, when it all comes down to it, bitcoin and crypto are no competition for the USD and its fiat counterparts for funding violent, criminal activity. The government itself backs this finding up. Just two years ago, then-U.S. Department of the Treasury officer Jennifer Fowler said:

Although virtual currencies are used for illicit transactions, the volume is small compared to the volume of illicit activity through traditional financial services.

More recent research backs up these findings, and from a global perspective, where total annual market volume for illegal drugs is estimated to be around $400B, even the most generous estimates put all illicit BTC transactions (not just drug-related) at around $72B. The clear winner here then, when it comes to financing violent and criminal activity, is USD and the fiat racket.

What Are Dollars Used for, President Trump? – The Gun Money Known as USD

Gun Money vs. Peaceful Money

The president’s Twitter tantrum is telling, and has sparked a momentous, flash explosion of internet commentary. All of this boils down to something rather simple, though. The real difference between USD and bitcoin is easy: one is backed by guns, and the other isn’t.

One is forced upon its users under threat of violence and ultimately death if refused, and the other isn’t. If you choose not to use bitcoin or crypto, nobody cares. But should you try to use money that doesn’t hail from the printers of the glorious Federal Reserve, or attempt to spend USD in a manner that isn’t approved, you can be caged. And if you resist being caged, you may be killed.

This is a government handing paper garbage to someone, and creating value out of “thin air” by putting a pistol to their head to force “adoption.” If this isn’t creating value “based on thin air,” I don’t know what is, Mr. President. This isn’t how bitcoin works. This isn’t how any sane, ethical, or moral system works.

What are your thoughts on Trump’s statements? 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


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.

The post What Are Dollars Used for, President Trump? – The Gun Money Known as USD appeared first on Bitcoin News.

The Best Responses to Donald Trump’s Claim That Bitcoin Is Backed by ‘Thin Air’

Par Kai Sedgwick
The Best Responses to Donald Trump’s Claim That Bitcoin Is Backed by ‘Thin Air’

The cryptosphere was rubbing its hands with glee when U.S. president Donald Trump fired off a typically cantankerous tweetstorm on June 11 in which he took aim at Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies and Libra. Bitcoiners relished the sudden attention directed towards their sphere from the president’s 62 million-strong Twitter account, but took issue with the veracity of his claims. Here are 10 of the best replies.

Also read: Expert Witness in Satoshi Case Claims Dr Wright’s Documents Were Doctored

Trump Tweetstorm Sparks a Thunderous Response

“I am not a fan of Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies, which are not money, and whose value is highly volatile and based on thin air,” began Donald Trump, never one to mince his words or check his facts before hitting send. “Unregulated Crypto Assets can facilitate unlawful behavior, including drug trade and other illegal activity.” He went on to pillory Facebook’s Libra currency, asserting that a banking charter is required to engage in money transmission. Then came the kicker, draped in the stars and stripes and dispatched on the wings of a bald eagle:

We have only one real currency in the USA, and it is stronger than ever, both dependable and reliable. It is by far the most dominant currency anywhere in the World, and it will always stay that way. It is called the United States Dollar!

As several million people were exposed to Bitcoin for the first time, 15,000 who were already familiar with the benefits of cryptocurrency took to Twitter and set President Trump right on a few matters.

The Best Responses to Donald Trump’s Claim That Bitcoin Is Backed by ‘Thin Air’

The Best Responses to Donald Trump’s Claim That Bitcoin Is Backed by ‘Thin Air’

‘Cryptocurrency Is Used by Criminals’

To counter the second of Trump’s misleading claims (the first being that the value of bitcoin is based on ‘thin air’), one user directed the president towards a series of images dispelling the notion that cryptocurrency is crims’ currency of choice:

The Best Responses to Donald Trump’s Claim That Bitcoin Is Backed by ‘Thin Air’The Best Responses to Donald Trump’s Claim That Bitcoin Is Backed by ‘Thin Air’The Best Responses to Donald Trump’s Claim That Bitcoin Is Backed by ‘Thin Air’The Best Responses to Donald Trump’s Claim That Bitcoin Is Backed by ‘Thin Air’

Others attacked the U.S. dollar’s diminishing value against bitcoin by linking to usdsat.com.

The Best Responses to Donald Trump’s Claim That Bitcoin Is Backed by ‘Thin Air’

And then there were those who targeted broader issues, such as America’s role in causing global instability through phony drug wars, unwarranted drone attacks, dragnet surveillance and operating a de facto financial cartel.

The Best Responses to Donald Trump’s Claim That Bitcoin Is Backed by ‘Thin Air’The Best Responses to Donald Trump’s Claim That Bitcoin Is Backed by ‘Thin Air’

The Best Responses to Donald Trump’s Claim That Bitcoin Is Backed by ‘Thin Air’

The Best Responses to Donald Trump’s Claim That Bitcoin Is Backed by ‘Thin Air’

The Best Responses to Donald Trump’s Claim That Bitcoin Is Backed by ‘Thin Air’

Many bitcoiners, however, were simply content in the knowledge that ‘the virus’ was spreading, and tomorrow millions would awaken with their curiosity piqued by Bitcoin’s capabilities.

The Best Responses to Donald Trump’s Claim That Bitcoin Is Backed by ‘Thin Air’

The Best Responses to Donald Trump’s Claim That Bitcoin Is Backed by ‘Thin Air’

As Nic Carter, addressing the tribalistic battleground that is crypto Twitter, put it, “For one glorious moment we were united.”

 

Real time responses to #TrumpTweetsBitcoin.

What are your thoughts on Donald Trump’s Bitcoin assertions? 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.

The post The Best Responses to Donald Trump’s Claim That Bitcoin Is Backed by ‘Thin Air’ appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Expert Witness in Satoshi Case Claims Dr Wright’s Documents Were Doctored

Par Jamie Redman
Kleiman's Expert Witness Claims So-Called 'Bitcoin Inventor's' Documents Were Doctored

The Kleiman v. Wright case continues this week and a slew of new evidence has been submitted to the Southern District of Florida courthouse. A supplemental affidavit stemming from the Kleiman estate’s expert witness, Dr. Matthew Edman, indicates that documents submitted to the court as evidence were “modified” and “backdated.”

Also Read: Bitcoin Cash Scaling Benchmarks, Brewdog, and Rising Transaction Volume

Plaintiff’s Analysis of Documents Shows David Kleiman’s PGP Signature Was Created Almost a Year After He Died

A transcript of an affidavit was recently submitted to the Kleiman v. Wright (9:18-cv-80176) court case, which shows that an expert witness found many flaws within certain documents filed in the case. The billion-dollar bitcoin lawsuit is one of the most high profile court cases in the U.S. because it involves 1 million BTC and self-proclaimed ‘Bitcoin inventor’ Craig Wright. Since December 2015, the crypto community has endured Wright’s repeated claims to be Satoshi Nakamoto. However, nearly every claim and every so-called proof Wright has provided has been debunked by researchers, cryptographers, and the greater crypto community. Many of the refutations against Wright’s story accuse him of providing backdated documents and proofs that have been modified at a later date. From the very beginning of Wright’s entrance into the community, his story has been suspected of being a falsified tale or hoax. On December 9, 2015, Vice reporter Sarah Jeong detailed that the “PGP keys referenced in stories naming Craig Wright as the creator of Bitcoin were probably falsely backdated.”

Expert Witness in Satoshi Case Claims Dr Wright's Documents Were Doctored
The set of keys that were reportedly “backdated and point to a hoax” according to Vice reporter Sarah Jeong, Motherboard staff writer Jordan Pearson, and Bitcoin Core developer Greg Maxwell.

Fast forward to today and Craig Wright is being sued by Ira Kleiman, the brother of the now deceased David Kleiman, for allegedly interfering with David’s bitcoin assets and intellectual property after he died. The first filing shows the value of the assets the Kleiman family thinks David was screwed out of is around $5.1 billion before punitive or treble damages. This week, an affidavit was submitted to the court that shows the testimony of the Kleiman estate’s witness, Dr. Matthew Edman, a cryptography expert.

As other have mentioned, Bitmessage wasn't even publicly available until November 12th 2012. Furthermore, the only visible address is a v4 address (as it begins with 2c) and those didn't even exist until about mid-2013.

— Peter Šurda (@PeterSurda) July 4, 2019

According to Edman’s resume submitted to the court, he has a deep knowledge of digital forensics, applied cryptography, Shamir’s Secret Sharing Scheme, and cryptocurrencies. Edman’s testimony examines an email that was submitted to the court as “Exhibit A.” Edman declares under penalty of perjury that he believes Exhibit A was likely created from an email Wright sent to himself on or about April 16, 2014. The document was then “converted to a PDF and modified to appear to have been sent from ‘Dave Kleiman’ to Uyen Nguyen on or about December 20, 2012.” The expert’s testimony further states:

I also determined that Exhibit A contained a PGP signature allegedly created by Dave Kleiman on or about March 12, 2014 – almost a year after he died.

Expert Witness in Satoshi Case Claims Dr Wright's Documents Were Doctored

A Trend of Modifications

Edman states that he analyzed Exhibit A previously and further analysis and forensic artifacts contained within the PDF itself bolster his opinion. The digital forensics expert said that he also examined “Exhibit F” and concluded that the document was “created by further modifying Exhibit A to make it appear as if Exhibit F is actually a separate email sent from Dave Kleiman to Uyen Nguyen.” “In my opinion, it is simply another revision to the PDF created from an email the defendant sent to himself on or about April 16, 2014,” Edman emphasized in his testimony. The witness’s affidavit declares that both Exhibit A and Exhibit F appear to be emails sent from David to Uyen Nguyen back in 2012, but “manipulations of a PDF created from an email” indicate that Wright sent it to himself in the spring of 2014. Edman noted that he understands that Exhibit A was withdrawn from the court because Wright could not “verify the date of that email exchange,” but to his knowledge Exhibit F was not withdrawn.

Expert Witness in Satoshi Case Claims Dr Wright's Documents Were Doctored

Edman goes on to explain that the metadata tied to the first exhibit’s PDF shows that it was created on or about April 17, 2014. The creator used the Acrobat PDF Maker 11 for Microsoft Outlook and Edman highlights that the computer’s time zone was consistent with Sydney, Australia (UTC+10) and then modified again five minutes later. Further analysis of the internal contents and structure of the document identified specific portions of the PDF were edited and revised. He further determined that Exhibit F was also comprised of modifications to the date field and revisions to the body of the document as well. Speaking on Exhibit A’s analysis Kleiman’s expert witness explained:

I identified a “TouchUp_TextEdit” marked-content point in the PDF file associated with Exhibit A which indicated that the text associated with the “From:”, “To:”, and “Date:” fields at the top of Exhibit A were edited.

Expert Witness in Satoshi Case Claims Dr Wright's Documents Were Doctored

The crypto community has not been kind about the latest documents and Edman’s affidavit has been shared widely across social media mocking Wright. The attorney Stephen Palley who often comments on cryptocurrency related lawsuits stated “you can’t really attack [Edman’s] credentials and the analysis looks sound.” “You have to show an alternative explanation — they should settle,” Palley added. The public will still hear from Wright’s expert witnesses which include Brett Roberson, Kevin Madura, and Nchain’s CTO Steve Shadders.

Expert Witness in Satoshi Case Claims Dr Wright's Documents Were Doctored

In addition to the court case drama last week, news.Bitcoin.com reported that Martti Malmi said on Twitter that he might take action against Wright for accusing him of starting the “Silk Road, Hydra and a number of other darker websites.” “Taking a closer look to the transcript, Craig Wright is accusing me and Theymos of soliciting drug trade, assassinations, terrorism and child porn — That is too much to be ignored,” Malmi told the public. Following the accusations against Malmi, the owner of Bitcointalk.org, Theymos, also refuted Wright’s court claims against him stemming from the June 28 transcript. “I was made a forum admin in 2011 after Satoshi left,” Theymos insisted.

“I never had any interaction with CSW — CSW’s whole shtick is to just lie constantly,” the forum moderator conceded. “He’s so brazen about it that some people think, ‘there must be some truth there,’ but really it’s 100% nonsense.”

What do you think about the Kleiman v. Wright lawsuit involving billions of dollars worth of bitcoin? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, Courtlistener, Twitter, Florida Case Kleiman v. Wright (9:18-cv-80176), Vice, and Pixabay.


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Bitcoin Cash Community on Bitkan’s K-Site Raises Funds for BCH Development

Par Jamie Redman
Bitkan's K-Site Bitcoin Cash Community Raised Funds for BCH Development

Last year news.Bitcoin.com spoke with the cofounder of Bitkan, Fang Yu, about the company’s K-Site project, which acts as a decentralized media outlet, micro-blog and forum with rewards. Just recently, Bitkan spoke with news.Bitcoin.com about K-Site’s growth and how the platform’s BCH community raised funds for the Bitcoin Cash Development Fund. Bitkan highlighted that the BCH community is one of the most active on the K-Site platform. Bitkan believes open source development is very important and that companies and individuals within the community should support development of innovative blockchain and cryptocurrency solutions.

Also read: Tip Twitch Livestreamers With BCH Using the New Tipbitcoin.cash App

Bitkan Loves Bitcoin

Bitkan.com is a well-known company based in Asia that has millions of users utilizing its one-stop services like smart trading, which aggregates the liquidity of main exchanges, market, news, K-Site community, and wallet. K-Site offers videos, articles, a micro-blog, forums and more while rewarding users with its native token KAN, and other digital assets like BCH.

Bitcoin Cash Community on Bitkan's K-Site Raises Funds for BCH Development

The micro-communities are designed so crypto users can focus on the ecosystem’s actual business instead of a community built on artificial demand. This week Bitkan spoke with news.Bitcoin.com and provided an update on its smart trading function and how the Bitcoin Cash community used the K-Site to donate to the Bitcoin Cash Development Fund.

Users of Bitkan’s K-Site Provide Support for the BCH Ecosystem

News.Bitcoin.com (BC): Bitkan recently donated to the Bitcoin Cash Development Fund. Can you tell the community why Bitkan decided to back BCH development?

Bitkan (BK): This donation for BCH is not Bitkan’s official act, but an activity initiated by the BCH community within the K-Site community. K-Site is one of the most active communities, especially in China. Compared with other monotonous communities, K-Site is more comprehensive and dynamic and always remains neutral. The donation sponsored by BCH community officials attracted many users who are interested in supporting Bitcoin Cash and providing more capital support for the BCH ecosystem in general.

Bitcoin Cash Community on Bitkan's K-Site Raises Funds for BCH Development
The Bitcoin Cash Development Fund aims to raise 1600 BCH by August 1, 2019.

BC: How can funding blockchain development help bolster the BCH ecosystem?

From the perspective of the cryptocurrency and blockchain community, BCH is an important community. We are always willing to support the development of blockchain tech and cryptocurrency solutions. Since there are many different types of coins, only continuous trials can promote the positive development of the entire cryptocurrency and blockchain initiative. Otherwise, without sponsorship, it will be difficult for the community to survive, therefore, providing capital support is essential for the development of a robust community.

BC: Do you think it’s important that corporations and community members support BCH development?

They are both important. Aside from good technical support, the support from backup communities for a project is also important, because communities can have different views. What’s more, in a peer-to-peer network, each node is characterized by a high degree of autonomy. The nodes can freely connect with each other to form a new connection union and the effect between nodes can build a nonlinear causal relationship through the network.

This open, flat and equal organizational structure allows each community member to become a small but independent contributor to participate in the development of the blockchain project.

BC: How is funding developers useful to businesses providing BCH infrastructure and tools?

The positive development of the community promotes the development of coin trials and a variety of applications in different fields. The development of applications can further promote the prosperity of the entire cryptocurrency and blockchain ecosystem in order to benefit the enterprise. Since the development of the industry can affect the development of enterprises, the enterprise should build a mutual assistance relationship with the community. Only with mutual help can the industry bolster the positive development of blockchain and cryptocurrency solutions.

BC: Bitkan’s cofounder Fang Yu explained at the 2018 Satoshi’s Vision Conference in Japan that the company would use BCH as an option for K-Site’s payments. Does this still hold true today?

Yes, K-Site is still supporting the BCH reward payment. The K-Site has supported and rewarded coin communities like KAN, BCH, ETH, USDT, BTC, TRX, QTUM, ELF, HC, ONT, LTC, etc. With BCH being one of the reward payment options, it is also supported by an official community group chat, red packet distribution, money transfer, and other functions.

Bitcoin Cash Community on Bitkan's K-Site Raises Funds for BCH Development

BC: Can you tell us how the K-site is doing?

There are more than 100,000 active users in K-Site every day. K-Site has attracted numerous KOLs to express their opinions in communities, and its exclusive reward system and dividend distribution principle can help to find quality content for users.

The BCH community is also one of the most active.

BCH Features No Congestion, Low Fees and Other Functions That Continuously Attract More Users

BC: How can the Chinese community benefit from a permissionless electronic cash system?

As a peer to peer cash system, the most important application is still the payment application aspect. That is one of the most important reasons why Bitcoin Cash was born. The BCH network features a macroblock, no congestion, low cost, and convenient to pay solution, which is also one of the important reasons why bitcoin cash is popular among buyers. Mini-reward or micropayments have always been one of the most major applications in the cryptocurrency space, which is also widely popular in the community.

Because BCH features no congestion, low fees, and other ease-of-use functions, it is continuously attracting more users. Likewise, users from the Chinese community also benefit from it.

BC: From Bitkan’s perspective, how does the Chinese community currently feel about Bitcoin Cash?

The Chinese community is an open and inclusive community and so is the K-Site. At Bitkan, there is a very active Chinese community of BCH supporters. Bitkan always supports different opinions expressed throughout the K-Site community. For the community, BCH applies the macroblock and Schnorr digital signature scheme, making the development concept of community progressive and closer to reality.

BC: Can you tell us about the recent improvements to the Bitkan app and wallet?

In May 2019, Bitkan launched another important trading function called “Bitkan Smart Trade.” Different from other exchange platforms, Bitkan Smart Trade aggregates the liquidity of major exchanges including Binance, Huobi Global and Okex. The aggregation system can automatically place orders with better prices among multiple exchanges and also to make trading faster for users.

BitKan changes the world by providing Smart Trade technology to provide users with the fastest trades at the best price.#BitKan#HuobiPrime #Blockchainchangesworld@Livio_huobi @HuobiGlobal

— BitKan (@BitKanOfficial) May 16, 2019

Founded in November 2012, Bitkan can be regarded as the first application to support a BCH wallet and a BCH over-the-counter (OTC) function. Bitkan has been a stable, security-centric operation with six years of experience with millions of global users. Bitkan has provided one-stop crypto asset investment services including market quotation, global information, content community wallet service and smart trading exchange for more than 5,000,000 users in around 170 countries by supporting roughly 90% of the existing cryptocurrencies in the world.

BC: What’s the most important feature Bitkan thinks is necessary for the mass adoption of bitcoin cash?

There are three features. First of all, BCH was created because of BTC’s fork. Compared to other cryptocurrencies, BCH owners are more decentralized, which avoids the problem of over-centralization. Secondly, BCH is the large capacity version of BTC, so it can be transferred faster with lower transaction fees. Last but not least, there is the payment function. BCH has also been developed with the function of smart contracts and more applications with strong scalability.

What do you think about the K-Site Bitcoin Cash community donating funds to the Bitcoin Cash Development Fund? Let us know your thoughts on this subject in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, Bitkan, K-Site, and Pixabay.


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The post Bitcoin Cash Community on Bitkan’s K-Site Raises Funds for BCH Development appeared first on Bitcoin News.

The Cryptocurrency Projects Pursuing a Path to Decentralization 

Par Kai Sedgwick
The Cryptocurrency Projects Pursuing a Path to Decentralization 

Decentralization over time is an ethos that many crypto projects espouse. To date, however, few have completed this journey. Talking the talk is easy, but when it comes down to it, only a handful of projects are bold enough to walk the walk and willingly entrust their fate to the community.

Also read: How 10 Countries Respond to Facebook’s Libra Cryptocurrency

The Road to Decentralization Is Littered With Good Intentions

Decentralization today evokes the “blockchain, not bitcoin” mantra of 2016: a popular concept, but with few real-world success stories to cite. Even Facebook, in its 26-page technical paper for Libra, has gotten on the decentralization bandwagon, outlining a “roadmap for the shift toward a permissionless system.” “I’m pretty sure this would be the first time a distributed network transitioned from permissioned to permissionless,” noted Jameson Lopp. Long before Facebook took an interest in the lingua franca of cryptocurrency, numerous projects within the ecosystem expressed the desire to distribute control over time. Today, projects as diverse as Icon, Iota, Digitex and Digibyte are intent on pursuing various implementations of this goal.

The Cryptocurrency Projects Pursuing a Path to Decentralization

To understand the extent to which it’s possible to decentralize a project, it’s first necessary to understand why. What is it about decentralization that’s so sexy in the eyes of so many within the cryptosphere? Ultimately, it all comes back to Bitcoin. There are many things that Bitcoin got right from day one, from its fair launch to its absence of a formal team that could be subpoenaed or cowed into submission. As Anthony Pompliano put it, the day Congress ordered Facebook to halt development of Libra, “Wait till Congress finds out they can’t send letters to Bitcoin.” Decentralization was and still is the killer feature.

The Cryptocurrency Projects Pursuing a Path to Decentralization

Icon Treads the Path to Greater Decentralization

Blockchain network Icon is currently on a mission to achieve optimum decentralization, a quest that’s described as a “core principle” of its governance model. To achieve this, Icon is assigning responsibility for overseeing node environments to a series of candidates who are elected by the community. Each node operator is tasked with maintaining consensus on the network, verifying transactions and participating in governance, including voting on policy proposals. Through assigning control to a distributed community, Icon aims to connect independent blockchains without the need for intermediaries. In September, 100 Public Representatives (P-Reps) will be elected by the community to facilitate the transition to a decentralized model.

Forthcoming crypto futures exchange Digitex, meanwhile, has pledged to transfer ownership and governance rights to a decentralized autonomous organization on October 1, with token-holders given a say on treasury management and key operational decisions. Other projects that have committed to becoming more decentralized over time include art provenance protocol Codex, and Iota, which in May committed to ditching the most controversial part of its architecture – a centralized coordinator. It will be 2020 before this is implemented, however, at which point network stability and security should be maintainable without the coordinator.

The Cryptocurrency Projects Pursuing a Path to Decentralization

Although reaching this milestone will not make Iota decentralized, by any reasonable definition, there is a case for stating that it makes sense for crypto projects to start out highly centralized. In “Centralize, then Decentralize,” Arjun Balaji of crypto investment firm Paradigm writes:

The common criticism with 2nd or 3rd-wave crypto projects … that they’re inferior to natively cypherpunk projects (e.g. Bitcoin, Monero) due to their “centralization” is ignorant of reality. It’s next to impossible to simultaneously build new types of distributed networks while optimizing for decentralization from early on.

From Central Control to Community Stewardship

Most projects today don’t have the luxury of operating under pseudonyms or issuing coins over time through mining. With the notable exception of Grin, every major project in the post-ICO era has been subject to rules pertaining to money transmission, KYC/AML, taxation and a glut of others. While these projects will always be dependent upon a centralized team to lead business development and technical improvements, there is scope for the underlying protocol to decentralize over time. This prevents the project from being monopolized by a handful of powerful actors. It may also ensure that the protocol’s token is deemed a utility rather than a security, under certain circumstances, paving the way for wider listing on crypto exchanges, including those that fall under the purview of the SEC.

The Cryptocurrency Projects Pursuing a Path to Decentralization

The ongoing decentralization of crypto projects can be measured across three main criteria:

Incentives: A truly decentralized protocol must have incentives aligned between network participants to support collaboration for mutual benefit. This requires trust, and the only way this can be maintained is by eliminating a central authority that presents a single point of failure. As Placeholder VC’s investment thesis explains, “Cryptonetworks alleviate [lack of trust] by decentralizing power structures and distributing most of the value to the users in a way that better aligns incentives.”

Community: There should be no entry barriers to participating in the network, with users, miners, developers, stakers and other entities granted permissionless access.

Consensus: There must be agreement on the current status of the network, and any changes made to it, including transactions and account balances, as well as technical changes to the protocol itself.

It’s a Scale, Not a Switch

There is no such thing as 100% decentralization. Even “full decentralized” projects such as Bitcoin have points of failure and potential attack vectors that a determined and well-funded actor could seek to exploit. The ability for projects to execute “continue[s] to be important, but so is selecting teams led by founders whose commitment to the promise of decentralization is far greater than their desire to make money,” assert Placeholder VC.

The current crop of projects assigning more control to the community aren’t trying to become the next Bitcoin. Rather, they recognize that the benefits of a distributed and leaderless network outweigh the advantages to be had from entrusting key decisions to a centralized cartel. So far, in the short history of cryptocurrency, the market has judged decentralized projects with strong fundamentals kindly. Today’s projects, pursuing a similar course, are hoping to be judged equally favorably.

Do you think it’s possible for a cryptocurrency project to effectively decentralize over time? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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PR: Crypto Exchange Bithoven.com Enables Margin Trading

Par Bitcoin.com PR
PR: Crypto Exchange Bithoven.com Enables Margin Trading

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.

Bithoven.com a progressive and high-tech cryptocurrency trading platform, has reported on the launch of advanced Margin Trading services on multifunctional MetaTrader 5, with maximum leverage 1:20 and BTC as margin nominal currency for more scalable and convenient buy and sell operations.

Registered platform users are able to open either Demo or Live margin accounts. By trading on Demo conditions, crypto traders can build up and refine successful trading strategies with zero risks, and by doing so, learn to effectively analyze market movements, support and resistance lines etc. Going Live opens up a rich and diverse trading environment with real market conditions. Here, traders are allowed to use trading robots/expert advisors, subscribe to trading signals and use copy-trading. Leveraged trading is fully compatible on all devices (web, mobile and desktop).

Built on the first-class practices of blockchain security and development, Bithoven.com facilitates the use of the latest and all-in-one trading platform MetaTrader 5, which features a great number of trading charts, timeframes, market depth, economic calendar, order-hedging etc. Registered users can maximize their potential return on investment by using the following margin tools ꟷ BTC/USD, ETH/USD, LTC/USD, XMR/USD, BCH/USD, ZEC/USD, DASH/USD, XRP/USD, EOS/USD, BCH/BTC, DASH/BTC, ETH/BTC, XMR/BTC and ZEC/BTC.

Further, there are no trading limits for margin trading accounts. Traders are free to trade either manually or apply algorithmic trading for large-scale data analysis, auto take profit and stop loss. What is more, the option of virtual hosting ensures round-the-clock connection to a trade server and an uninterrupted power supply.

Ever since its launch, crypto exchange Bithoven.com has progressed exponentially and has gained a reputation among many traders for its quality services. High liquidity portfolio in the order book guarantees instant trading and flawless order execution, thereby rendering precision and effectiveness. The platform renders professional online trading services and is widely recognized for its intuitive interface, cryptocurrency transaction speed, professional and dedicated customer care services and quality products. It has gained further momentum and received the Certificate for BEST CRYPTO START OF THE YEAR.

Contact Email Address
customercare@bithoven.com

Supporting Link
https://bithoven.com/

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.

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JP Morgan Chase Ship Busted: Cocaine, Banks and the Failed Drug War

Par Graham Smith
A History of Violent Intervention: John McAfee Offers to Help Cuba Resist US Sanctions With Crypto

A ship seized by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency in June carrying over 15,000 kilos of cocaine has now been tied to JP Morgan Chase’s asset management unit. Officially the company does not exercise any operational control of the vessel, but some serious questions are raised when such large scale transport is used for black market exchange. Especially given the extensive history of globally established banks paying reparations for money laundering. In view of this, Richard Nixon’s “War on Drugs,” and the popular focus on bitcoin and crypto as means to purchase illegal drugs, is interesting. Compared to fiat money, bitcoin’s impact on the failed drug war barely warrants a mention.

Also Read: IRS Agents Propose Draconian Tactics to Investigate Bitcoin Users

Are Most Crypto Transactions Illegal?

The claim that a significant percentage of bitcoin and crypto transactions is illegal isn’t really new, and isn’t really contestable, depending on how one defines “significant.” But then again, a claim that a significant percentage of fiat transactions is illegal isn’t contestable, either.

A January 2018 joint study conducted by researchers from the University of Sydney, University of Technology Sydney, and the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga found that approximately half of all BTC transactions were connected to illegal activity. Within the very same year, however, a source from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) claimed that the percentage of bitcoin transactions related to illegal drugs had shrunk drastically in five years, from 90% to 10%, as a result of greater speculative interest in the currency.

Regardless, according to the study, the result of this crypto market action adds up to about $72B per year, with around 24 million market actors making these transactions. It is also important to keep in mind that “illegal” here denotes all criminal transactions, not just those associated with illicit drugs. Estimates regarding the total market action (fiat, crypto) for illegal drugs are pinned at around $400B per year. Fiat is the clear winner here as far as volume, it would seem.

JP Morgan Chase Ship Busted: Cocaine, Banks and the Failed Drug War
JP Morgan Chase-owned ship MSC Gayane. Top left: U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents inspect a container.

Drugs Are Winning the War On Drugs

Considering that 90% of U.S. paper money is contaminated with cocaine, questions of crypto being used illicitly are put into a new perspective. Of course, black market drug transactions have been going on since long before the advent of crypto. Laws and regulations have historically engendered black market demand. And where there is black market demand, there are exorbitantly high prices to follow, which dealers and traffickers seek to exploit to the fullest. From small time peddlers to government agents themselves, regardless of legislation, the market will and does provide.

In the U.S. alone about $50B is spent every year simply on capturing illegal drugs and eradicating their use, with a reported 10% success rate. This large expenditure does not even measure the size of the fiat market for illegal substances itself. It is only the cost of trying to stop that same market from proliferating, and it’s already close to equalling the total amount in USD of illegal yearly bitcoin transactions.

JP Morgan Chase Ship Busted: Cocaine, Banks and the Failed Drug War

The Human Cost

Then there is the a tragic humanitarian crisis accompanying this ‘war’ to consider. There is an average of one drug-related arrest every 25 seconds in America, with over one million individuals arrested every year for use or possession. Over $3B annually is spent keeping these individuals, many of whom are non-violent, in cages.

National drug overdose rates are increasing rapidly, year after year, hitting a remarkable 70,237 deaths in 2017 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Despite all of this, illicit drug use as a whole has not declined (the increase has been mostly due to marijuana use) and both fiat and crypto purchases of illegal substances continue to increase as well, as far as direct measurements go.

JP Morgan Chase Ship Busted: Cocaine, Banks and the Failed Drug War

Know Your Dealer

Some of the biggest drug traffickers in recent history have been connected to seemingly unlikely parties, thought commonly to be the arbiters of justice and order in society. To big government and big business interests, in not-so-tenuous fashion, in other words. For example, cartel kingpin Pablo Escobar’s son has recently gone public with his claim:

[My] father worked for the CIA selling cocaine to finance the fight against Communism in Central America.”

The late Gary Webb, a groundbreaking and controversial journalist who released an incendiary three-part series in the San Jose Mercury News called “Dark Alliance” in August 1996, alleged that the L.A. crack cocaine epidemic of the 90s was an intentional ploy by the U.S. Federal Government to fund guerilla groups in Latin America for political and strategic military purposes.

JP Morgan Chase Ship Busted: Cocaine, Banks and the Failed Drug War

Webb was dogpiled by mainstream media outlets and even the Mercury News itself, which had stood by him initially, turned on him in the end. Many wrote Webb off as a fringe conspiracy theorist. In retrospect however, his claims don’t seem so crazy. Webb’s contemporary Jesse Katz would reflect in 2013:

As an L.A. Times reporter, we saw this series in the San Jose Mercury News and kind of wonder[ed] how legit it was and kind of put it under a microscope. And we did it in a way that most of us who were involved in it, I think, would look back on that and say it was overkill. We had this huge team of people at the L.A. Times and kind of piled on to one lone muckraker up in Northern California.

The “muckraker” Webb is also backed up by a government report which found: “It is clear that individuals who provided support for the Contras were involved in drug trafficking … In each case, one or another agency of the U.S. government had information regarding the involvement either while it was occurring, or immediately thereafter.” The U.S. Federal Reserve as well, had no power to stop this violent trafficking, or was complicit.

Finally, none of the above is to even mention the legal opioid crisis currently plaguing the United States, with a reported 130+ people overdosing daily on largely FDA-approved medications (arguably little more than legalized and controlled heroin). This, coupled with the annual economic burden of the crisis estimated by the CDC to be around $78.5B, and one begins to wonder who the real drug dealers are.

JP Morgan Chase Ship Busted: Cocaine, Banks and the Failed Drug War

Three Points to Consider

Whether or not JP Morgan Chase leadership is tied to the massive loads of coke on that ship is anyone’s guess. The following three points are clear, however:

First, crypto purchases of illegal substances happen, but they also happen in fiat, and at much greater volume via the latter.

Second, there is a strong argument to be made for some of the largest peddlers of illegal substances being the very entities that ostensibly legislate against them in the first place, reaping profits and political influence via black market exchange.

Finally, as with the advent of any new tool or development of any substance, new means by which to participate in unsavory or violent actions using said tool or substance will be discovered. This does not make the tool or substance immoral in and of itself.

JP Morgan Chase Ship Busted: Cocaine, Banks and the Failed Drug War

The Lost Cause of Endless War

Cocaine has medicinal uses not related to abuse, violence, or overdose. It is merely a substance derived from plants. The same is true of cannabis and many other “illegal drugs.” The American drug war has been a failure both by the numbers and by standards of basic human dignity, compassion and natural rights.

Breaking up families, caging non-violent individuals, and obfuscating paths to viable treatment options for physically dependent individuals doesn’t help anyone. As King County, Washington Prosecutor Dan Satterberg says:

So many major social problems come to the criminal justice system to be fixed … the only thing we really know how to do is send people to prison.

Sadly Satterberg is stating what is already painfully clear to so many: the drug war has been a failure. It’s by design violent and solves nothing. Ironically, it’s those talking the loudest about saving us from plants and inanimate substances that seem to be exploiting these markets the most.

What are your thoughts on the cargo seizure and the ongoing drug war? 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


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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How 10 Countries Respond to Facebook’s Libra Cryptocurrency

Par Kevin Helms
How 10 Countries Respond to Facebook’s Libra Cryptocurrency

A growing number of governments have responded to Facebook’s cryptocurrency plans including China, France, India, Japan, South Korea, Russia, Singapore, Thailand, the U.K., and the U.S. Several intergovernmental organizations have also weighed in such as the European Central Bank and the Bank of International Settlements.

Also read: G20 Leaders Issue Declaration on Crypto Assets – A Look at Their Commitments

Facebook’s Libra Project

Facebook unveiled its plans last month for newly formed subsidiary Calibra which aims 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 wallet will be available in Messenger, Whatsapp and as a standalone app — and we expect to launch in 2020,” the social media giant announced. Calibra has been providing information to central banks worldwide regarding its Libra plans to create understanding and exchange information, according to Calibra CEO David Marcus.

Regarding which countries Calibra will be available in, a Facebook spokesperson told news.Bitcoin.com on July 9 that “Calibra won’t be available in U.S.-sanctioned countries or countries that ban cryptocurrencies,” elaborating:

The Libra blockchain will be global. It will be up to custodial wallet providers to determine where they will and will not operate.

How 10 Countries Respond to Facebook’s Libra Cryptocurrency

United States

Lawmakers in the U.S. have been actively taking initiatives in response to Facebook’s Libra announcement. During his semi-annual testimony on monetary policy before the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee on July 10, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said:

Libra raises many serious concerns regarding privacy, money laundering, consumer protection and financial stability.

He added, “I don’t think the project can go forward” without addressing those concerns, noting that the Fed has established a working group to follow the project and is coordinating with other central banks across the globe.

How 10 Countries Respond to Facebook’s Libra Cryptocurrency
Jerome Powell

“Facebook has a couple billion-plus users, so I think you have for the first time the possibility of very broad adoption” of cryptocurrency, the Fed chair continued, emphasizing that any problems that could emerge through Libra “would arise to systemically important levels just because of the mere size of Facebook.”

Five Democratic lawmakers, including Rep. Maxine Waters, chairwoman of the House Committee on Financial Services, sent a letter to Facebook executives on July 2 “requesting an immediate moratorium on the implementation of Facebook’s proposed cryptocurrency and digital wallet,” the press release posted on the government’s website details. The announcement reads:

Because Facebook is already in the hands of over a quarter of the world’s population, it is imperative that Facebook and its partners immediately cease implementation plans until regulators and Congress have an opportunity to examine these issues and take action.

The letter continues: “During this moratorium, we intend to hold public hearings on the risks and benefits of cryptocurrency-based activities and explore legislative solutions. Failure to cease implementation before we can do so risks a new Swiss-based financial system that is too big to fail.”

How 10 Countries Respond to Facebook’s Libra Cryptocurrency

The U.S. Senate Banking Committee is holding a hearing on Libra on July 16, followed by a House Financial Services Committee hearing the next day. Calibra’s Marcus is scheduled to testify before both committees. According to him, the subsidiary has applied for state money transmitter licenses and is registered with the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

In addition, more than 30 groups including the Consumer Federation of America, the Economic Policy Institute, and the U.S. PIRG have asked lawmakers to intervene with the project. “We call on Congress and regulators to impose a moratorium on Facebook’s Libra and related plans until the profound questions raised by the proposal are addressed,” their July 2 letter reads.

China

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) is paying “high attention” to Libra, said Wang Xin, director of the central bank’s research bureau, South China Morning Post reported on July 8. According to the news outlet, the director warned that Libra could have a major impact on monetary policy and financial stability, elaborating:

Facebook’s plans to create its own cryptocurrency have forced China’s central bank into stepping up research into creating its own digital currency as Libra could potentially pose a challenge to Chinese cross-border payments, monetary policy and even financial sovereignty.

How 10 Countries Respond to Facebook’s Libra Cryptocurrency

Mu Changchun, deputy director of the PBOC’s payments department, said that Libra “must be put under the oversight of monetary authorities,” Bloomberg reported the same day. He told the publication that, as a convertible cryptocurrency or a type of stablecoin, Libra “will not be sustainable without the support and supervision of central banks,” asserting:

In the longer term, the yuan will be damaged by Libra if it’s not convertible.

He further revealed that the central bank’s research team tested Libra’s code and found that it’s “still in an initial stage and the quality of the code isn’t stable,” and there are also questions such as whether Libra would use blockchain technology, the publication conveyed.

India

India is currently deliberating on the regulatory framework for cryptocurrency, which was drafted by an interministerial committee headed by Finance Secretary and Secretary of Economic Affairs Subhash Chandra Garg. Bloomberg reported him as saying in an interview on July 6:

Design of the Facebook currency has not been fully explained … But whatever it is, it would be a private cryptocurrency and that’s not something we have been comfortable with.

How 10 Countries Respond to Facebook’s Libra Cryptocurrency
Subhash Chandra Garg

The Indian government has not announced the crypto regulation, which has led to rumors such as a draft bill to ban cryptocurrencies. Further, the central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), has prohibited regulated financial institutions from providing services to crypto businesses since September last year. The country’s supreme court is scheduled to hear a number of writ petitions against the RBI ban on July 23.

In the meantime, the Facebook spokesperson confirmed to news.Bitcoin.com on July 9:

There are no plans to offer Calibra in India.

Singapore

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) published its answers to questions from Parliament regarding Libra on July 8. “It is in the early stages of development, with a number of issues to be worked out around its features, use cases, and governance arrangements,” the central bank wrote. “Like other regulators around the world, MAS will make an informed assessment of the potential benefits and risks of Libra once these details become clear.”

How 10 Countries Respond to Facebook’s Libra Cryptocurrency

In Singapore, the Payment Services Act (PS Act) covers cryptocurrencies, as well as e-money, and domestic and cross-border fund transfers. The MAS clarified:

Depending on its nature, Libra may be regulated under the PS Act, and be subject to requirements on anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism imposed under the MAS Act.

“As for personal data privacy, all entities operating in Singapore that collect personal data are subject to the requirements of the Personal Data Protection Act,” the central bank continued. “MAS will continue to engage Facebook on its plans for Libra, and consider appropriate regulatory responses once they are clear.”

Thailand

Facebook has requested a meeting with the Bank of Thailand (BOT) to seek authorization from the central bank to integrate Libra into the Thai financial system, according to Siritida Panomwon, Assistant Governor for Payment Systems Policy and Financial Technology Group at the BOT. Thailand has approximately 50 million registered Facebook users. At press time, the meeting has yet to be confirmed.

Panomwon told the press on July 5 that a committee has been established to examine Libra. It comprises experts from the central bank’s foreign exchange, payments and legal teams, Xinhua reported. She was quoted as saying:

The BOT will study Facebook’s whitepaper … because consumer benefits and risks incurred from the digital currency are the central bank’s main focus.

Other than security concerns, the BOT will look into the stability of Libra’s value, currency model mechanism and public protection against fraud, she revealed. The bank has also set up a working group to study Libra, and is in discussion with the country’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and other related parties on the subject.

How 10 Countries Respond to Facebook’s Libra Cryptocurrency
Praoporn Senanarong

On July 8, SEC Assistant Secretary-General Praoporn Senanarong confirmed that the commission is preparing to discuss guidelines for Libra with the BOT since it is both an asset and a medium of exchange. She clarified that Libra is not under the supervision of the SEC based on the country’s current regulation for digital currencies.

Japan

The Bank of Japan (BOJ) is concerned that “the difficult-to-regulate coin will pose a risk to financial systems while exploiting their existing structure at no cost,” Nikkei reported July 3. BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda told reporters that he intends to “keep careful watch” for whether cryptocurrencies would gain acceptance as a method of payment, as well as how they might affect financial and payment systems.

How 10 Countries Respond to Facebook’s Libra Cryptocurrency

BOJ Deputy Governor Masayoshi Amamiya explained on July 5 that digital platform operators such as Facebook must comply with regulations on money laundering and risk management, Reuters reported. Noting that Facebook’s crypto plan is still sketchy, he urged central banks to be vigilant to the impact such moves could have on their country’s banking and settlement systems, emphasizing:

As for Libra, we must bear in mind that the potential global user-base could be enormous.

Meanwhile, Japan’s top financial regulator overseeing crypto exchange operators, the Financial Services Agency (FSA), is leaning on the view that Libra “is likely not to be a crypto asset,” Nikkei reported. The FSA previously told news.Bitcoin.com that under current regulations, stablecoins are not considered cryptocurrency.

South Korea

South Korea’s top financial regulator, the Financial Services Commission (FSC), published a report on “Understanding Libra and Related Trends” on July 8, Yonhap reported. The regulator explained:

We have seen that Libra is more likely to be commercialized than existing virtual currencies … Libra will have a big impact on the existing financial system, banking industry and financial consumers.

The report raises concerns that much of the detail about Libra is still unknown and there is a possibility that personal information will be leaked. Moreover, it notes that “If bank control is not achieved, Libra may turn into a money laundering solution.”

How 10 Countries Respond to Facebook’s Libra Cryptocurrency

Russia

Cryptocurrency is currently unregulated in Russia, but the country plans to adopt the bill “On digital financial assets” which will regulate the use of cryptocurrencies in the country. Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev said that Russia will not have a separate regulation for Libra, Interfax reported on July 1. He described:

There will be rules for all cryptocurrencies that are being traded.

“That is, it will be possible to buy, sell, store it, but it cannot be used, in fact,” Moiseev was quoted as saying. “No one is going to ban. A large number of businesses ask when it will finally be possible to legally conduct an ICO transparently, this will definitely be regulated, permitted, and that’s all,” he added.

How 10 Countries Respond to Facebook’s Libra Cryptocurrency
Alexei Moiseev

United Kingdom

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and other regulators have met Facebook representatives to discuss the plans for Libra. Christopher Woolard, the executive director of strategy and competition at the FCA, has highlighted a series of potential issues with Libra, from consumer protection and privacy concerns to financial market stability, the Guardian reported. Woolard asserted:

Its size and scale will pose questions for society and government more generally about what is acceptable and desirable in this space.

He clarified that the regulator would look at whether Libra and other crypto assets functioned in similar ways to other regulated investment vehicles, adding that “The issues raised here require deep thought and detail.”

How 10 Countries Respond to Facebook’s Libra Cryptocurrency

Commenting on Libra at a meeting in Portugal, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said that “Anything that works in this world will become instantly systemic and will have to be subject to the highest standards of regulation,” Bloomberg reported.

France and the G7

France’s Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said Libra would be fine if its use is limited to transactions, emphasizing that Facebook shouldn’t be allowed to create a sovereign currency, Reuters reported.

France currently holds the rotating presidency of the G7. The country’s central bank governor, Francois Villeroy de Galhau, said on June 21 that a G7 task force will be created to study how central banks ensure cryptocurrencies like Facebook’s Libra are governed by regulations ranging from money-laundering laws to consumer protection rules. It would be led by European Central Bank board member Benoit Coeure. Villeroy told finance industry officials:

We want to combine being open to innovation with firmness on regulation. This is in everyone’s interest.

How 10 Countries Respond to Facebook’s Libra Cryptocurrency

ECB and BIS

Several intergovernmental organizations have also weighed in on Libra. European Central Bank Executive Board member Benoit Coeure said on July 7 that “Financial regulators must act fast to prepare for the push by U.S. tech giants such as Facebook Inc. into the financial system,” elaborating:

It’s out of the question to allow them to develop in a regulatory void for their financial service activities, because it’s just too dangerous … We have to move more quickly than we’ve been able to do up until now.

Coeure believes that the development of digital currencies is exposing deficiencies in existing regulation and the failure of the banking system to adopt new technology. He was quoted by Bloomberg as saying, “All these projects are a rather useful wake-up call for regulators and public authorities, as they encourage us to raise a number of questions and might make us improve the way we do things.”

Meanwhile, the Bank for International Settlements, the Basel-based financial institution owned by 60 central banks, said last month that “Politicians need to quickly coordinate regulatory responses to new risks as Facebook and other tech firms move into finance.”

What do you think of the governmental response to Facebook’s Libra so far? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Business Korea, The Hans India, and The Times.


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Market Outlook: Gold and Crypto Reap the Benefits of Economic Fear

Par Jamie Redman
Market Outlook: Despite Price Dip, Gold and Cryptos Reap the Benefits of Economic Fear

Cryptocurrencies have recovered from losses incurred a week ago, with many digital assets up 50-80% since July 2. For instance, eight days ago bitcoin core (BTC) tumbled to $9,650 and then back to a high of $13,150 yesterday evening. However, during the afternoon trading sessions on Wednesday, most of the top 20 cryptocurrencies have seen losses of between 5-20%.

Also Read: Iranians Defy Warning and Share Pictures of Bitcoin Mining in Mosque

‘The Slow Death of the Old Financial System’

Cryptocurrency markets have been volatile over the last few weeks. Still, it’s safe to say that crypto enthusiasts and traders have been more bullish in 2019. Since January 1, the price of bitcoin cash (BCH) has increased by 156% and the value of bitcoin core (BTC) has jumped by 205%. On Wednesday, July 10, both digital assets are down as BTC is under by 5.4% over the last 24 hours and BCH by 6.3%. Meanwhile, LTC is down 10%, XRP has lost 8.9%, and ETH has dropped 6.2% in the last 24 hours. Despite the corrections, most coins continue to show higher lows and the eventual return to regions touched on June 28.

The digital asset economy’s latest run up follows the German-owned Deutsche Bank revealing it was laying off 18,000 employees. “The old financial system is dying a slow death — Let’s hope the new one is brighter,” Mati Greenspan, Etoro’s senior market analyst, explained to clients this week. On Tuesday, another analyst from Etoro, Simon Peters, explained in a note to investors that there are lots of crypto investors ready to buy again.

“After slowing to a jog, crypto prices have again started to sprint,” Peters noted. “After the recent strong rally reached a point of indecision, a breakout was imminent — As volumes fell, many investors felt ready to buy in again. Keen analysts of crypto prices will also have seen a ‘flag’ formation in the price charts in recent days and plotted their trading accordingly, which we’re now starting to see.” The Etoro analyst continued:

Investors will be waiting to see whether this rally has enough stamina to break this level. If not, falling back to levels of $7,000 is still highly possible.

Key Players and Institutional Investors

The chief market analyst with Thinkmarkets FX, Naeem Aslam, told the media that after BTC jumped above the $10K range in June “it sent a strong signal to average retail investors” that the cryptocurrency was back. Aslam’s outlook on BTC is that it will surpass the $20K all-time high and may even reach $50,000 per coin within the next few years. The Thinkmarkets FX analyst believes that institutional investors are getting involved and adds that Fidelity getting into cryptocurrencies further bolsters his rationale.

Market Outlook: Gold and Crypto Reap the Benefits of Economic Fear

Aslam believes “it’s only a matter of time before the Securities and Exchange Commission eventually approves a [Bitcoin] exchange-traded fund (ETF).” Lennon Sweeting, the director of institutional trading with Coinsquare Capital Markets, believes these “large investors” are just cashing in on the short-term volatility right now. “There are some key players who hold a lot of bitcoin and can rattle the market,” Sweeting noted.

Bitcoin Cash Shows Further Upside Potential

Bitcoin cash (BCH) markets have moved significantly this year as there was heavy BCH accumulation prior to the rise. “The conservative target for 2019 is $800; the aggressive target is $1,200. These figures are the market’s key long-term resistance levels,” explained an analyst when BCH was trading for $150 per coin. This year the decentralized digital asset has Schnorr signatures added to the chain and Coinflex launched BCH-based physically delivered futures products in February. In March, Crypto Facilities reported on a surge of interest toward its BCH derivatives products when the exchange saw close to $50 million in BCH contracts. At the time, Affiliate Economy Token project cofounder Jason Fernandes explained that smart money was moving into BCH.

“Bitcoin cash saw roughly $10 million per month and we saw that reflected in the price of bitcoin cash when it jumped up last week by something like 43%. I do believe this is a good way to see which way the smart money is moving,” Fernandes detailed in April.

Market Outlook: Gold and Crypto Reap the Benefits of Economic Fear

Adding more positive news to the BCH ecosystem on Friday, July 5, the Switzerland-based fintech firm Amun AG announced the establishment of a new Bitcoin Cash exchange-traded product (ETP). Under the ticker ABCH, the ETP tracks the performance of bitcoin cash (BCH) and is hosted on Switzerland’s principal stock exchange Six. The CEO of Amun AG, Hany Rashwan, explained that the company is all about providing accessible products to crypto investors and “thanks to this product, investors can now easily add bitcoin cash (BCH) to their portfolio.”

The Usual CNBC Guests Are Still Super Bullish

As usual, on the CNBC show Squawk Box and the broadcast’s Power Lunch segment, the guests are still extremely bullish about the upside potential for bitcoin core (BTC). Perma-bull and Fundstrat founder Tom Lee explained during a Power Lunch session after BTC crossed the $13K mark that new price highs are “imminent.” “The fact that Facebook and likely other FAANG companies are going to create their own digital currencies is validating the idea that digital money is here to stay — I think all-time highs are imminent,” Lee told the CNBC hosts. On the Squawk Box show, Golden State Warriors board member and CEO of Social Capital, Chamath Palihapitiya, said that BTC is the best hedge against the antiquated financial system. Palihapitiya insisted:

[Bitcoin] is the single best hedge against the traditional financial infrastructure. Whether you support fiscal and monetary policy or not, it doesn’t matter: this is the shmuck insurance under your mattress.

Market Outlook: Gold and Crypto Reap the Benefits of Economic Fear
Fundstrat founder Tom Lee is still bullish on BTC.

The Verdict: As the Global Economy Worsens, Many Are Trending Toward Free Market Solutions Like Cryptocurrencies and Safe Havens Like Gold

Overall, crypto market optimism remains high. The traditional global economy, in general, has been bearish for months now and cryptocurrency markets and precious metals have reaped the benefits of the fear. India is experiencing a severe economic slowdown due to the monsoon rains.

Market Outlook: Gold and Crypto Reap the Benefits of Economic Fear
After the Fed Chairman, Jerome Powell told Congress that he is concerned about the U.S. economy gold markets shot up to all-time highs again.

In the U.S., market analyst Jim Cramer emphasized on July 9 that “we have a real reason to be worried about the global economy.” Cramer discussed how many companies worldwide are reporting deep losses in earnings. Moreover, the Federal Reserve Chairman, Jerome Powell, told the U.S. House of Representatives that he is concerned about the U.S. economy. In fact, the Federal Reserve and a slew of other central banks have been contemplating or have already lowered interest rates, which have seemingly pushed investors toward gold and digital currency markets. Despite today’s downturn, cryptocurrencies, much like gold, appear to have been beneficiaries of worldwide economic fears.

Where do you see the price of BCH, BTC and the cryptoconomy going from here? Let us know what you think in the comments 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.”


Images via Shutterstock, Trading View, Bitcoin.com Markets, and Coinlib.io.


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A History of Violent Intervention: John McAfee Offers to Help Cuba Resist US Sanctions With Crypto

Par Graham Smith
A History of Violent Intervention: John McAfee Offers to Help Cuba Resist US Sanctions With Crypto

Former antivirus software guru and 2020 Libertarian presidential “hopeful” John McAfee is a controversial figure, polarizing opinion in politics and culture, and taking a bold stand against the U.S. federal government. Most recently this has involved offering to help the Cuban state develop its own cryptocurrency in the interest of avoiding U.S. interventionism in trade.

Also read: Who Are the Real Thieves? Danish Authorities in Tax Evasion Crackdown

Running From the State

John McAfee has been on the run since January 2019, when he fled to the Bahamas after major tax evasion charges in the U.S. According to the maverick entrepreneur, the FBI came looking for him there, and that’s when he fled to Cuba. Prior to all of this, the current presidential hopeful’s life was already riddled with scandal, tabloid press attention, and a smorgasbord of other troubles.

There was the wrongful death suit filed against him by the family of his neighbor in Belize, the drunk driving charges, and police discovering a 17-year-old girlfriend—and a house full of weapons—upon paying him a visit investigating suspected methamphetamine production. In the eyes of many, John McAfee is not what one would call a “good guy.”

A History of Violent Intervention: John McAfee to Help Cuba Resist US Sanctions With Crypto

Cuba Seeks to Create New Cryptocurrency

McAfee is surrounded by as many mythical stories and embellishments as he is actual facts it would seem, and maybe that’s what lends in part to his sympathy for Cuba, a country long shrouded in mystery and Westernized propaganda to foreign eyes. During an interview from his yacht harbored in Havana on July 4, McAfee told the attendant press agency that he had offered to help Cuba develop its own crypto, to get around the current U.S. embargo. Venezuela being in crisis has also knocked out significant sources of aid for the country.

On Cuban national television last week, president Miguel Diaz-Canel announced that a new cryptocurrency could aid in the economy’s recovery under Trump-tightened, decades old sanctions. Economy Minister Alejandro Gil Fernandez stated:

We are studying the potential use of cryptocurrency … in our national and international commercial transactions, and we are working on that together with academics.

A History of Violent Intervention: John McAfee to Help Cuba Resist US Sanctions With Crypto

A Long History of US Abuse

Since the late 19th century, Cuba has been torn and pulled apart by competing foreign interests. The Spanish-American War would be the beginning of a long and strained relationship between the U.S. and Cuban governments, setting the mold for a repeating pattern of puppet state installations, resource takeover, and clandestine intelligence operations seeking to overthrow political leadership.

After U.S.-backed Cuban president Fulgencio Batista was ousted by Fidel Castro’s revolutionary forces in December of 1958, the stage was set for further unrest and more interventionism. Although Batista had been notoriously corrupt, allowing organized crime and U.S. business and banking interests to dominate the Cuban landscape—in spite of high unemployment, water shortages, and starvation in much of the country—the American government viewed him as an ally all the same. With Castro’s revolutionary socialist government now in place, these big business and U.S. interests were effectively threatened.

A History of Violent Intervention: John McAfee to Help Cuba Resist US Sanctions With Crypto

Trade Wars Cost Human Lives

One of the results of this rising tension would be the infamous Bay of Pigs tragedy, illustrative of what happens when imperialist regimes seek to take control of weaker countries, and individuals in the weaker countries resist. A politicized and propagandized struggle for control of resources encouraged secret operations (which would have been viewed as despicable and politically unacceptable if shown in the light of day) and all kinds of trade restrictions, embargoes, and sanctions.

Castro had reached out to Soviet statesman Nikita Khrushchev in this context, and the Soviet Union began purchasing Cuban sugar in exchange for fuel. Though initially skeptical of Castro, the Cuban government eventually gained Khrushchev’s support, and in the volatile context of the “Red Scare” this made Cuba look all the more suspicious to Western eyes.

Clandestine CIA operations were approved by U.S. presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy, involving fake Cuban resistance aircraft, manufactured “uprisings,” and attacks designed to give the appearance of internal resistance to Castro’s government, providing a justification and pretext for U.S. political involvement. Due to disorganization and internal conflict, however, the lies and deceit were made public. This was only after the fact that many on both sides, not knowing the actual situation, had died in the debacle. Both military personnel and civilians paid the price with their lives.

A History of Violent Intervention: John McAfee to Help Cuba Resist US Sanctions With Crypto

Why Help Cuba Now?

While many Cubans have historically idolized Fidel Castro and his leadership, and many still do, his was a dark, and violence-based state which stifled dissent via horrific and inhumane brute force. After all the propaganda is washed away, though, it seems that U.S. foreign policy is usually more interventionist. After all, the U.S. military was not forced to bring its violence to Cuba. Cuban militants from Castro’s forces were not landing on U.S. soil attempting to install puppet states there. Humanitarian aid could have been provided. Instead supplies were cut off in the interest of securing oil and Cuban sugar resources.

The current embargo against Cuba is still stifling trade, prohibiting tourism, and costing the U.S. government $1.2B per year, according to some sources. In about six decades, the embargo has cost the small island nation itself around $130B. Individuals in both the U.S. and Cuba, having nothing to do with the implementation of economic policy, or the trade starvation that modern nation states deal in, are paying the price. Viewed in this light, it makes total sense that a libertarian being stalked by the same state would want to join forces and help.

A History of Violent Intervention: John McAfee to Help Cuba Resist US Sanctions With Crypto

‘But McAfee Is a Scumbag…Cuba Is a Communist Nation!’

Even if both of these protests are true, the reality remains. The creation and implementation of a Cuban crypto could help many people. This isn’t about McAfee as a persona, or Cuba as the legendary communist troublemaker Americans are taught to believe it is. The importance of McAfee’s official offer is about none of this.

The most important element lies in the fact that free market actors—everyday individuals—are affected by the whims of power happy “world leaders” far away, who get to dictate what they can and cannot do with their own bodies. What they can and cannot trade of their own property. This is a fundamental violation of human rights.

This view, regardless of one’s personal opinions on McAfee, Castro, or modern-day Cuba, to tell any individual or group of individuals that they may not trade or use their property as they see fit, is always the predictor of violent conflict. As McAfee continues his flight from the IRS on his yacht, while simultaneously running for president, one salient truth remains: this is a money racket, and when someone steps out of line, they will be hunted down relentlessly. Technology moves faster, however, and voices like McAfee’s lend boldness and courage to free marketeers everywhere, waiting for it to surpass the clunky movements of the violent state.

What do you think about McAfee’s plan to help Cuba? 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, Twitter, Fair use


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PR: My BitIRA Launches to Empower US Consumers With 24/7 Cryptocurrency Retirement Account Access

Par Bitcoin.com PR
PR: My BitIRA Launches to Empower US Consumers With 24/7 Cryptocurrency Retirement Account Access

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.

Burbank, Calif., July 10, 2019 – BitIRA — pioneer of the first insured cold storage solution for cryptocurrency retirement accounts — has launched its newest tool, the “My BitIRA” investing platform. My BitIRA maximizes the transparency and control individuals in the U.S. have over their cryptocurrency retirement accounts by granting direct access to monitor value and start transactions.

My BitIRA is a secure online portal that gives consumers the ability to track the performance of their tax-deferred cryptocurrency-based IRA whenever they choose, as well as initiate transactions. Users can view their portfolio’s performance over time — gaining real-time visibility into their returns — and they can also generate custom reports to show the investing details they value most.

This new platform makes it easier for users to have an active role in their account maintenance. Individual customers can use the funds from their IRA rollovers and other contributions to launch transactions to buy, trade or sell cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Ripple, Stellar Lumens, Litecoin and ZCash. Live feeds of currency values alongside market news provide additional context for informed decision-making.

One critical feature is the ability to access wallet addresses, which allows customers to independently verify the performance of their investment.

Already established as an industry leader in security, BitIRA has been demonstrating its commitment to transparency and education. “We are dedicated to meeting the needs of our customers and continuing to demonstrate how much we value and deserve their trust,” said Jay Blaskey, Head of Sales at BitIRA. “Giving users 24/7 access to their account details and performance was the logical next step in delivering on our commitments and helping our customers get the information they need about their retirement accounts.”

Although similar customer portals are common in other industries, only two self-directed IRA companies focused exclusively on cryptocurrency retirement investing — BitIRA and BitcoinIRA — offer their customers this level of access to account management.

Customers may access “My BitIRA” for their accounts by visiting https://my.bitira.com.

About BitIRA:
Based in Burbank, California, BitIRA is a leading specialist in the setup and management of cryptocurrency holdings in self-directed IRAs. Founded by team members from Birch Gold Group with extensive precious metals IRA experience, the company was established on the belief that Americans should have easier access to the wide range of conventional and alternative assets available to hold in their tax-advantaged retirement accounts. Aside from facilitating the setup and management of digital currency IRAs, BitIRA advocates for public awareness of available investment options.

For more information about BitIRA or to sign up for a digital currency IRA, visit https://www.bitira.com.

Contact Email Address
aklein@bitira.com

Supporting Link
https://my.bitira.com

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.

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Liquid Exchange Launches BCH/USDC Trading Pairs

Par Bitcoin.com
Liquid Exchange Launches BCH/USDC Trading Pairs

The global cryptocurrency trading platform Liquid has announced the release of its new BCH/USDC trading pairs allowing anyone to swap bitcoin cash for the popular stablecoin USDC. Moreover, Liquid users will soon be able to connect their accounts to Bitcoin.com’s new Bitcoin Cash Register app and receive USDC directly.

Also read: A Complete A-Z of Stablecoins

Liquid Exchange Adds BCH/USDC Trading Pairs Plus Bitcoin Cash Register Integration

This week the digital asset exchange Liquid revealed the launch of its new BCH/USDC pairs and the upcoming support for the Bitcoin Cash Register platform. Liquid users can now trade bitcoin cash (BCH) against Circle’s USD-pegged coin USDC. Founded in 2014 by Mike Kayamori and Mario Gomez Lozada, Liquid (a subsidy of Quoine) has been a popular exchange for quite some time. In a 12-month period up until May 2019, Liquid has processed more than $50 billion in transactions. The BCH/USDC trading pair support is coupled with the effort to integrate Liquid into Bitcoin.com’s new Bitcoin Cash Register application. Soon after the integration, users will be able to accept BCH payments and quickly settle into USDC via Liquid.

Liquid Exchange Launches BCH/USDC Trading Pairs

This year Bitcoin.com launched the Bitcoin Cash Register platform for iOS and Android devices. The application gives anyone the ability to accept BCH at any physical location by simply tethering the app to a public address or an extended public key. When the app feature is ready connecting the Bitcoin Cash Register app to the Liquid exchange will be able to be completed in just a few steps:

  1. Sign up for a Liquid account.
  2. Link the Bitcoin Cash Register app to the Liquid account.
  3. Accept BCH payments from anyone, and receive USDC directly into your Liquid account.

Liquid Exchange Launches BCH/USDC Trading Pairs

The Benefits of Bitcoin Cash and Fast Settlement

By giving merchants the ability to accept both BCH and USDC it will provide retailers with diversification through a simple point-of-sale solution that takes less than two minutes to set up. During the launch, the Liquid team detailed that the upcoming integration with the Bitcoin Cash Register app will be harnessed through Liquid’s Quick Exchange API that allows traders to quickly swap one asset for another.

“We have long been a supporter of the Bitcoin Cash ecosystem, with bitcoin cash traded on Liquid and also used as a funding currency for our initial exchange offering (IEO) platform,” Liquid CEO Mike Kayamori said during the launch. Kayamori continued by adding:

We firmly believe in making cryptocurrency accessible for all and so we welcome the opportunity to help merchants around the world accept payments in bitcoin cash and get fast settlement in a regulated stablecoin like USDC.

Liquid Exchange Launches BCH/USDC Trading Pairs

The USD-backed stablecoin developed by the open-source cryptocurrency organization Centre (Circle and Coinbase) has been a popular investment vehicle for trade and hedging since it launched in September 2018. USDC is also supported by other crypto infrastructure providers, wallets and software applications that support tokens through the open ERC-20 standard. A month later after the USDC launch, Liquid listed the coin to “meet the growing demand for reliable, regulated stablecoins that can be transferred quickly and used by traders to protect against market volatility.”

Bitcoin.com’s CEO Roger Ver is thrilled to see Liquid add the decentralized digital asset bitcoin cash paired with USDC on the exchange. Speaking on the announcement Ver further emphasized:

Bitcoin Cash is peer to peer electronic cash that is cheap, fast and reliable — We are very pleased with Liquid’s decision to add the BCH/USDC trading pair.

Users can sign up for the Liquid trading platform today and trade BCH against USDC at any time. People can also test out Bitcoin.com’s Bitcoin Cash Register app and sign up for Liquid to get updated on when the integration will be complete. Meanwhile, test out the merchant application with a public BCH address and accept crypto at your retail location. With another bitcoin cash market added to the cryptoconomy, Liquid’s new BCH/USDC pair adds more liquidity to the BCH ecosystem as a whole providing more accessible ways to trade.

What do you think about Liquid adding a BCH/USDC market? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, Bitcoin Cash Register, and Liquid


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